Recently Watched: Nine: Nine Time Travels

On this last day of the year, it seems like the perfect time to share one of my favorite television series with you. There’s something magical about moving from one year to the next in the span of one second. And the magic in this series is time travel. One of my favorite things!

I watched Nine: Nine Time Travels over a period of a few weeks. It’s dramatic, mysterious, fun, heart-wrenching, romantic and surprising. I looked forward to watching it each day and hated for it to end. I really loved this show.

The 20 episode series is in Korean with English subtitles and originally aired on tvN  in South Korea in 2013. I saw it on Netflix and it’s still available to watch.

The stars Lee Jin-wook and Jo Yoon-hee are so engaging that I was swept up in their story immediately. Wikipedia gives a good plot summary below.

The science fiction/romance series is about a man who finds nine magical incense sticks that allow him to travel 20 years back in time. He attempts to keep his family safe in order to change the world he lives in today. However, this is not without consequences as his actions in the past affects the lives of many in the present, including his.

As a fan of time travel, it’s always interesting to see the device chosen to facilitate the travels. The use of incense was very different than most, because it’s so relatable for me. Sometimes I’ll combine it with candles when I meditate. I love the smell. There’s something very calming about it — watching the smoke floating and knowing that it will burn itself out. The time component of the way incense burns is a key element of the story.

The lead character is a news anchor named Park Sun-woo who is able to travel back exactly 20 years to the day. So with each day that passes, he can go back to a different day in order to solve a mystery. The show is quite a ride! The twists and turns!

I hated when the show was over, but there is some good news. For the future. According to a 2013 article, actress Yunjin Kim, known from the shows Lost and Mistresses, is working with ABC on a show based on the series. She will be one of the executive producers of the show.

Since it’s now going on five years since that article, I’m not sure the status of the show, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.

This is the last that I’ll be here for 2017. See ya in 2018!

Happy New Year!

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Screenshot: tvN

{You Pick Six} An Interview with Author: Heather Sears

Here we are. In the thick of the holiday season. Food is everywhere. Especially sweets. And the urge to graze on anything and everything can be profound. It takes a lot of willpower to resist.

Since I’ve started my meditation practice, it’s given me some tools to be mindful and deliberate in many areas in my life. Of course with me, everything comes back to food. I love it, but have to resist it too. Gah!

Recently, I learned that Heather Sears is exploring how we can be more mindful with our meals. I was intrigued and interested in learning a bit more about Heather and the work she is doing. So let’s resume this ongoing series with the 17th interview of You Pick Six.

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What brings you peace every day?
Moving from my mind being nowhere to now-here. When I bring my attention to the present moment, take a few conscious breaths, and take in life with non-judgmental sensory awareness I always feel a deeper sense of calm and peace. I do this multiple times during the day – it could be at my desk, slicing cucumbers, or even sitting at a stoplight in the car. The repetition of many moments of mindfulness increases the spaciousness in my heart and head, and my appreciation for so many wonderful aspects of my life.

What are some of your pet peeves in the kitchen?
I used to get really worked up when my husband and son would be milling around where I was cooking right before dinner in a hangry state of agitation. Our kitchen is not big so the temperature seemed to increase as the stove heated up and their hunger grew. What I’ve learned to do is to breathe, rather than react. Instead of raising my voice or getting irritated, I now turn to whatever I am doing, focus closely on the slicing or stirring or whatever, and breath very deliberately a few times. This mellows me and I can think of a helpful action to change the dynamics, rather than join into the intensity.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
That our minds create our meals long before any food touches our palate. All of our senses are processed in our mind, which interprets what we take in and connects it to our body, our experience and can spur our actions. And we make 225 decisions about meals every day. A lot is happening before each bite. For example, research is proving that viewing #foodporn can lead to eating more; that being in a bad mood can make food taste bad; that buying healthy food first in a shopping trip can lead to the “permission to sin” and buying more treats afterwards; and that hearing high pitched music can make food taste sweeter. The examples are endless.

We go through a mostly unconscious consumption journey of meal planning, shopping, cooking and preparing our eating space. Becoming aware of the existence of external triggers and internal factors through mindfulness gives us more power to connect to food and ourselves, and create the experiences that we desire.

What is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
Ahh, there have been so many! And actually I’ve realized that when I pay attention and become really present with the food I’m eating and the situation I’m in, even the simplest sandwich in the park with my son can be memorable and nourishing on many levels.

But there is one meal in Bali over 20 years ago when I backpacked through Asia with a friend that remains like Technicolor in my mind. It was chicken satay, eaten at sunset on a beach, with a man playing “Blowing in the wind” on a guitar nearby. The colors, smells, sounds and feel of the air were amazing and distinctive. I remember telling myself to take everything in, moment by moment by moment, because I probably would not be back! So I drank it all in through my senses and wrote a permanent record in my memory. ☺

Tell me about what you’re working on now.
I just released my book “Mind to Mouth: A Busy Chick’s Guide to Mindful Mealtime Moments,” so I’m in the midst of speaking engagements and events! It’s really interesting to hear what women are saying about the content. Almost everyone I speak to has something about their eating habits or mealtimes that they would like to evolve. The research that I share is very surprising to them and the simplicity and effectiveness of integrating moments of mindfulness inspires them to take immediate action. It’s deeply gratifying that they are finding my content can make a difference in their lives.

Tell me about your book.
I wrote the book because I started choking during working lunches when I was rushing and triple-tasking to get things done in order to pick up my son. Mind to Mouth explores the realization that ultimately changed my life: that each bite is the end result of a journey through meal planning, shopping, cooking, and eating, and that a mindful approach to each of these moments has the power to shift everything. I share my research about how to plan, shop, cook, and eat mindfully; create mental space and be more fully present; and save time, energy, and money

Readers will find surprising, insightful data that will help them take ownership of mealtime experiences. As well as learn easy-to-digest mindfulness tips that fit into already-packed schedules. And you’ll see how you really can be both a busy chick and a mindful one at the same time. 😉

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Thank you so much for participating Heather!

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Photos: Provided by Heather Sears.

Holiday Baking Recipe: Swedish Spritz Cookies

It’s December, so holiday baking season is in full swing! This was the first Thanksgiving in decades that I didn’t cook or bake anything. And I was perfectly fine with it. But I had a few good reasons to bake these Swedish Spritz cookies today.

One of my brother’s housemates lost his mom a few years ago and she left him her cookbook. Out of the blue one day, he shared one of her recipes with me. I was so touched. A family recipe is a treasure.

He gave me the recipe this past summer, but I hadn’t had a chance to bake them.  Well, time just kept passing, as it’s known to do. He asked me a few times if I had tried them yet and I promised myself that I would make them soon. My family has Sunday dinners each week and I thought these would make a festive dessert. Plus, I was in a baking mood today!

As I was looking at the recipe and comparing it to other similar recipes, I realized that I didn’t have a cookie press. His family is Swedish, so his mom’s recipe didn’t have the part about needing the cookie press, because it was probably pretty obvious to her.

Luckily I have no problem improvising when I bake, so I used a cookie stamp to get a similar effect.

There were some cookies leftover from our family dinner, so I gave them to my brother’s house for everyone to share. His housemate had such a smile when I told him that I finally made the cookies and he gave me the biggest hug. Which he has never done before. Ever.

My mom said that baking these cookies was a way to keep memories of his mother alive. I have to agree. So much about food, especially around the holidays, is about family, memories and love.

These cookies are very good and I will definitely bake them again. Simple, tasty and not too sweet. They are practically as quick as using ready made cookie dough. Perfect for this time of year.

Here’s the adapted recipe below if you’d like to try it. I received permission to blog it.

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Swedish Spritz Cookies (makes a dozen and a half cookies)


1 stick butter (softened)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup plus 2T flour
pinch of salt


Set aside an ungreased cookie sheet or place parchment paper on sheet. Set oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together butter, sugar and egg yolk. Add extract, salt and flour. Stir until combined. Batter comes together nicely and will be a dough that is easy to handle. If you have a cookie press, use as instructed.

I rolled the dough into small balls, then baked for 10 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven and use cookie stamp to press design onto the top of each ball. Bake for another 5 minutes for total baking time of 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cook, then serve or store in a container. Enjoy!