2016 in the Positive

Thursday January 19, 2017   

So on New Year’s Day I felt my previous post was pretty bleak even if completely valid, but I realized there were things about 2016 that I gained a lot of positivity from and I wrote out this short list. Some 3 weeks later I’m actually posting it…

Leo Villareal

Discovered his work through the Renwick and later found another of his pieces in New York. He uses binary code to create beautiful lighted suspended pieces. Each light has a piece of personally written code telling it to turn on or off creating a visual representation of the binary system. It also creates light patterns that are unique in the moment and avoids any sort of pre-programmed looping. There is another of his installations in DC I still need to make my way to seeing.

a gif of Leo Villareal's work at the Renwick


One of my resolutions last year was to learn 5 new recipes to add to my current rotation. Well I surpassed that by far but one of the best recipes I finally picked up was for Nikujaga. While in New York I bought this Japanese recipe book “Create Eat Happy” that had a bunch of simple home cooked meals. Nikujaga has made cooking dinner some nights very, very easy and it’s very very versatile. The hardest part might be finding the right beef but if you have an HMart or Lotte it will be easy. Also Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter in my area carry the beef. Actually my every-day grocery store carries it now too but the quality is not so good. The version from Trader Joe’s has actually been the best quality.

Nikujaga from last night's dinner
Nikujaga with beef, cabbage, potato, rice, and gyoza

Here’s the recipe I started out with at Create Eat Happy.

Toxic Parents

I suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder and during those times things crop up for me. I’ve always been determined to better myself even when times are tough and this year was no different. I was looking into some research and came across this book Toxic Parents. The title is straightforward. It delves into lingering issues many adults may suffer from due to their relationship with their parent(s) as a child and even into adulthood. Without getting into details this book is tough, requires a lot of work, and has already started making my life better. We are taught to be so cautious about how we discuss our parents. How we should honor them no matter what. But for myself and many out there understanding how toxic relationships can shape us beyond childhood is important and shouldn’t be ignored. If you think you might be interested (and you know if your parent(s) were/are toxic, trust me, there is no gray area here,) but can’t afford to purchase it I will say if you Google the title and add pdf you’ll find it. I had actually skimmed the book years ago through pdf but didn’t read it. I wasn’t ready to face the truth at the time.


I saw a short text post where someone’s ambition was to someday be able to donate to GoFundMe and not just share the page through social media. I spent a lot of the year doing just that and it’s been almost a coping mechanism at times. Some places I’ve found easy to contribute to include the ACLU, You Can Play, Children’s Defense Fund, The Trevor Project, ASPCA, and Planned Parenthood.

If you can contribute every little bit counts. And if you can’t, sharing links and posts really does work because people who can contribute will honestly see them.


59 Responses to “2016 in the Positive”

  1. Nicky says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Glad to read your are feeling better overall. Thanks for mentioning the book “Toxic Parents” I will check it out. Can you recommend any Japanese lifestyle books?
    And well wishes to you..

    • jenny says:

      No specific books come to mind for Japanese lifestyle. It depends on what you’re looking for like interior lifestyle or more philosophical. I definitely recommend Marie Kondo’s book “Life-Changing Magic” and not the “Spark Joy” which is very abbreviated. The original one offers a lot of insight and perspective on how to live life.

      For interiors or food or just inspiration I spend a lot of time on Lee Magazine’s best 100 site: https://lee.hpplus.jp/100nintai/

      A lot of lifestyle books lately are Scandinavian style or Brooklyn style and nothing specific has jumped out at me in recent years.

  2. Nicky says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, looking for more cute decor books. Like Cutie Romantic Interior and Hello Sandwich craft book. My local Japanese book store no longer had Hello Sandwich, yet I could easily order on amazon. But the other book I can’t find :(

  3. Mija says:

    Awesome charities and links that you posted! The world is kinda strange this year – ;-;

  4. Hailey says:

    Hi, Great information! Would you please consider sharing my link to your readers? Please email me back at haileyxhailey gmail.com.


  5. Lolo says:

    Hey Jen <3
    If I ever own a huge house, I'd only want pre-programmed lights hanging. It's so beautiful.
    The book sounds wonderful – I'm so happy for you.
    Sending you the warmest vibes ~

  6. Samantha says:

    Hi Jenny! It was nice reading this post even if not everything was positive. Thanks for sharing the links to charities and to Ochikerons book! I didn’t even know she had one out! I hope you’re have a better 2017!

  7. Megan says:

    Hello. I’ve been following this blog for years and I hope you are doing ok!

  8. Leanne Hoang says:

    Hi Jen,
    I know this post is old, I’ve been following your blog for years and I hope that things have continued to improve.

    2018 so far has been about me doing a while mental health overhaul. Having suffered with it and been non-compliant about management I took a step because I was sick of going through the same “spiral.” As you know, it’s bloody hard but there’s hope. We can change. Unfortunately we cannot change the people around us, especially our parents, but we can change how to react to them.

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