“There is more to be learned on one day of discomfort, poverty and anxiety than in a lifetime of apparent happiness, security, riches and power.”

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Kissing ♥

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Effects of Kissing:

Long kisses are beneficial to our circulatory system. When kissing, our pulse rate is quickening up to 110 beats per minute. This is a great training for our cardiovascular system.
After kissing, the lungs work harder, resulting in 60 inhales per minute compared to regular 20 inhales. Such “ventilation” is a good preventive measure against lung diseases.
Some dentists believe that kissing is a preventive measure against dental caries. Indeed, kissing stimulates the flow of saliva that eliminates acid coat on the teeth.
Kisses that last more than three minutes help us fight stress and its effects. Long kisses trigger the chain of biochemical reactions, which destroys stress hormones.
Those who kiss their partner goodbye each morning live five years longer than those who don’t.
Kissing is great for self-esteem. It makes you feel appreciated and helps your state of mind.
Kissing burns calories, 2-3 calories a minute and can double your metabolic rate. Research claims that three passionate kisses a day (at least lasting 20 seconds each) will cause you to loose an entire extra pound.
Kissing is a known stress-reliever. Passionate kissing relieves tension, reduces negative energy and produces a sense of well being, lowering your cortisol ‘stress’ hormone.
Kissing uses 30 facial muscles and it helps keep the facial muscles tight, preventing baggy cheeks! The tension in the muscles caused by a passionate kiss helps smooth the skin and increases the circulation.
Kissing is good for the heart, as it creates an adrenaline which causes your heart to pump more blood around your body. Frequent kissing has scientifically been proven to stabilize cardiovascular activity, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.
Those who kiss quite frequently are less likely to suffer from stomach, bladder and blood infections.
During a kiss, natural antibiotics are secreted in the saliva. Also, the saliva contains a type of anesthetic that helps relieve pain.
Kissing reduces anxiety and stops the ‘noise’ in your mind. It increases the levels of oxytocin, an extremely calming hormone that produces a feeling of peace.

The best kind of kiss is when you have to stop because you can’t help but smile.

Why I Told My Daughter to Quit Her Job

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My daughter called me last night to celebrate her news. “I got the job!” she said. “I’m going to be decorating cupcakes!”

I cheered. My daughter earned an honors degree in Natural Resources from a major university this past May. This is the happiest I’ve heard her sound in months.

You think that you know where this blog post is going: oh, no, another parent bemoaning the fact that our nation’s newly minted college graduates can’t find decent jobs! And why wouldn’t you think that? New books like Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest are rolling off the presses daily to explain the “shocking truth” behind the fact that 5.9 million people between the ages of 25 and 35 are now living with their parents.

But you would be wrong. This is a very different rant.

My daughter is the poster child for why college matters. She went to a decent suburban high school, finished in the top quarter of her class, played varsity sports. Attending a state university allowed her to continue expanding her intellectual and social horizons. She worked closely with researchers in Natural Resources, learned Spanish, studied and worked abroad, explored electives that enriched her perspective. She continually added to her resume, too, always building toward her post-graduation dream of working as a scientist.

She did everything right, and lo and behold, the system worked. She landed a job with a West Coast environmental engineering company that paid her more money than she had ever dreamed of making right out of college. Hurray!

Slowly, though, things unraveled. My daughter loved living near San Francisco, but even on her hefty salary, she could only afford an apartment in a dire section of Oakland, which led to her being caught in the middle of a mini gang shootout. (She has a nasty bullet wound on her car to prove it.) Meanwhile, her spiffy new job bored her, and her bosses were often negative, even mean-spirited.

For months, she stuck it out. Her student loans were about to kick in and this job paid double what any of her friends were making, plus benefits. As time passed, though, my sunny girl grew more despondent. Every day, she dragged herself into work. And, every day, things didn’t get better.

She started looking for work. In California, the unemployment rate is dire — 11.3 percent, compared to 8.6 percent nationwide as of November 2011. One of her job interviews for a coffee company required four different interviews, plus test taking. My daughter got the job and was thrilled, especially because the position includes health benefits. But the pay was abysmal: minimum wage.

Did she really want to leave her posh job for minimum wage? How could she — a driven student, a hard worker, a young woman who had always set goals and reached them — possibly justify making that leap?

There wasn’t any rational reason for her to quit. But there was every emotional reason to do so.

“Life is too short to be miserable for money,” I told her finally. “Just quit. Take the barista job and figure out something else while you’re making lattes.”

I can hear the gasps of horror from most parents out there. How could I advise my daughter to join the ranks of the marginally employed, after our family invested so much into her college degree?

Easily. College, you see, is not really about preparing you for the job market. It’s about gaining the knowledge and skills you need to seize opportunities — and that includes knowing when to walk away from something that makes you unhappy.

There’s a lot of talk these days — well, all days, I suppose — about what good it is to get a liberal arts degree, what majors are most likely to lead to the best-paid and most stable careers, and the importance of building your resume while you’re in school so that you have an edge when it’s time to enter the almighty job race.

That’s all true, mostly. Obviously, you have to eat. But maybe the goal of college shouldn’t be so closely linked to employment. Actual life isn’t that different from the game of Life, in the sense that there’s a point where at the start we all have to choose the college path or the career path. You can earn the same money either way, and the same good (or bad) spins on the dial can send you into a tailspin of debt or misery: illness, accidents, divorce, tornadoes taking your house. College is no guarantee that you’ll be rich, or even middle class. In fact, there are some arguments that suggest technical training is a better bang for the buck.

(A handy example: my younger brother never finished his four-year college degree, yet he makes ten times more money than my other brother and I do, and we both have master’s degrees.)

College, if you’re lucky enough to get there, is really about figuring out your friends and your values as well as your dreams for the future. Nobody — well, almost nobody — finds a top-paying position right out of college. Most of us have to pay our dues and climb a dozen different career ladders before we find one that has rungs we can reach — and a place at the top with a view that suits us. If you land that seemingly “perfect” job with a salary worth boasting about, but then you hate it and are afraid to quit, your wings are clipped. That “safe” job will kill your creativity, drown your enthusiasm, and smother your ability to get up in the morning with a bounce in your step. Why stay?

The answer most people give is “fear.” We’ve all heard the unemployment statistics.

But let’s turn those around. The unemployment rate is high — even upwards of 12 percent in certain U.S. cities. But that means that 88 percent of people have jobs. Can they make a living on their wages? That depends on how you define a “living.” Maybe you don’t need a new car, or a car at all. Maybe you can find a seasonal rental or roommates.

Jobs are like college courses. Each one you take teaches you a set of new skills and offers a fresh perspective on life. They aren’t meant to be permanent, most of them. They are only stepping stones.

In my daughter’s case, the barista job led her to have enough free hours to do what she really loves: draw comics. She’s thinking about publishing her comics online. In her free time, she also happened to stop by a new gourmet cupcake store, where she chatted with the enthusiastic owner and was hired to decorate cupcakes and work the counter. Again, it’s not much money, but combined with the coffee place, it’s enough for her to scrape by. Meanwhile, she has moved out of Oakland and into an affordable room in a house near the beach in Santa Cruz. She’s happily experimenting with cupcake flavors and thinking about helping this new business owner with social media and marketing. She is learning something new every day. Life is good.

When you quit a job, any job, it can be terrifying. But it’s also exhilarating, as you open yourself to new possibilities. So go ahead. Take the risk. Quit that job, if you hate it. You might surprise yourself.

i want !

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You can be Henry Miller and I’ll be Anaïs Nin. ♥

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Henry in one of his many many love letters to Anais, dated March 21 1932:

Anais, I don’t know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me. […] I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you – even the impossible, because you encourage it.

Anais in one of her many many love letters to Henry, dated March 26 1932:

I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic., and I am so aroused by living – god, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness, the fullness… Before, i almost used to think there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on. […] I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy.


I wish I lived long ago. Not in 2011.

I’m not cut out for this era. Technology wears me down.

Yes. I have 2 smartphones charging beside me in bed while I type this entry in Google Chrome on my mbp on my lap. 10 tabs including this one are open. Emails. YouTube. Tumblr accounts. Searches. You could say I’m lucky. I barely have to get out of bed to get work and play done while being thoroughly connected.

When I say “thoroughly”, it isn’t an overstatement.

BBM. Whatsapp. SMS. MSN. Skype. KakaoTalk. LINE. Facebook messages. Twitter replies/DMs. SIX email accounts. I would NEVER be able to fall off the face of this earth. Even if I wanted to, assuming I wanted to.

Truth be told, while I don’t know what I’d do without all these conveniences and this level of connectivity(nothing figurative about my assertion that I can’t live without my Blackberry), I sometimes wish I live in a time during which NONE of these exist.

Even as I word this post, when my Blackberry blinks with all sorts of notifications, I reach for it to check and reply; when my iPhone vibrates to alert me on Whatsapp messages, emails, Twitter replies, I reach for it to check and reply; when the song I’m listening to stops, I go to YouTube and click replay or search for a new one. Then I come back here to continue where I left off.

I am SO distracted. And more than that, I’m drained from being an every-waking-moment slave to all the gadgets I wanted in the first place. I’m totally addicted and I CANNOT STOP. Unless of course I go cold turkey on technology.

It would be excruciating to have all my gadgets taken away, not gonna lie. But I think that is ONLY because I’ve been exposed and grown accustomed to them.

What if, just WHAT IF, I lived in the 1930′s? Just like Henry Miller and Anais Nin.

I’d have to write. Manually.

For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I put pen to paper and inked out a letter. Can you? (Signatures do NOT count.)

Imagine if I have zero gadgets, zero distractions, and half a day to read a handwritten letter and to write one back.

I dare not and do not want to think about how much the quality of my writing would improve. When I have oodles of time and my attention is undivided, I can truly focus on pouring my heart and head out into a single handwritten letter.

It’s no wonder love affairs of times past were so intense and everlasting. And “I will love you forever” was actually believable and not just a cheesy movie line.

Regardless of time period, communication is the heart of love. Here in 2011, how do we communicate?

I’m SMS-ing you “imu” while reading a Facebook message from some old acquaintance asking for my MSN address while getting bombed by my Whatsapp group chat in which I lost track of what they’re talking about some 20 mins ago cos I was kaypoh-ing on status updates in BBM. And in the 10 mins you take to reply me, I go on Twitter to catch up on the tweets of the past hour and 2 of the people I happen to be following are engaging in a heated tweet war with replies with screenshots and links which I click on and get myself caught up in the drama. When you reply me “imu 2″ 10 mins later, I have clean forgotten that I texted u “imu”, much less how I felt when I sent that text. Not knowing what to reply cos I no longer feel like I miss you, I end this SMS convo with “Ok ttyl! x” and go back to losing myself in more Twitter drama, Facebook chats, BBM chats, and back to my group chat on Whatsapp to ask for a summary of who said what.

If you’re still with me here, please scroll up to the top of this entry and compare the above paragraph to the passionate exchange between Henry Miller and Anais Nin.

In decades long ago, writing to someone was all about letting the words deliver your heart and soul over the distance. You pour your innermost feelings out in as many and as colourful words you desire. You let your pen fly off the pages because you just have so much to say and you only have the chance of this ONE letter to make known your love before you wait days or weeks for a reply. Thoughtfulness, patience, assurance, care, admiration, worship, desire, longing, intensity, passion. LOVE.

Today, on top of the distractions of technology and its demands on us, we’ve also been trained to communicate in an entirely new fashion. SHORT Message Service: 160 characters. Tweets: 140 characters. Even when we are granted new avenues to express our feelings/thoughts, eg. Facebook status, BBM status and the like, they ALL have character limits. Technology has made us impatient and lazy. In emails and other communication medium where there isn’t a ceiling on the number of words, we use acronyms, short forms, and standard emoticons in place of words. It is exactly the same on the receiving end; nobody now has the patience to read lengthy tedious messages/emails, regardless of content. Case in point: how many of you made it here?

You see now why I don’t wanna live in 2011? I need to communicate. I want to know the heart of the person I love. I can’t read minds– he has to tell me. How am I EVER going to connect and entwine my soul with somebody else’s when I’m texting “imu”?

I’ve always wished for a love so intense and so ablaze with passion it will wear time down. I feel acutely tragic that it had to take me stumbling upon excerpts of the handwritten love letters between 2 people 80 years ago to realize this: There can never be passion in “ilu”.

I want the 1930′s deal. Will trade in my Apples and Berries for handwritten love letters. I think I will go write one now. With a real pen. I hope I make it past 140 characters.

hearts ♥

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i love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce

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