In the garden: Feels good, Smells good, and… HUH?

Spending time in nature is good for health. Benefits include improved attention, reduced stress, and increased happiness. No wonder in The Secret Garden, the sickly, tyrannical Colin tells his cousin Mary that if he were to go the the garden everyday, he should stop being bad-tempered. “There is Magic in there—good Magic,” he proclaims. So … More

In the Eye of the Beholder, “Man of God” Inspects the Male Gaze

We’ve all heard of the old axiom that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” While the expression appears innocently empowering, making a point that beauty is subjective and allowing beauty to come in all colors, sizes, and shapes, the phrase in fact does the opposite—it authorizes the Beholder to be the judge of … More

Consider the parsley.

America’s salad landscape has since gotten so exciting since my childhood salad days comprised of iceberg/romaine lettuce salad mix dressed in Ranch, Thousand Island or Caesar Salad dressing. As the modern salad becomes a main dish in its own right, dressed in various condiments and accompanied by meats or seafood, here’s a fresh ingredient to … More

A Burning

Frustrated? Disappointed? Cynical? I can’t quite nail down how I was feeling after finishing Megha Majumdar’s A Burning. The book lights a fire, burns and builds up hope, but ultimately comes crashing down, disintegrating the ashes bit by bit. I wanted a happy ending to this novel—I was somehow hopeful all along that one of … More

Drink, Eat, Exfoliate.

Eat, pray, love? Nahhhh. Let’s drink, eat, and exfoliate. I am talking about homemade soy + barley milk. Growing up, soy milk is a familiar breakfast item—a favorite childhood breakfast menu of mine was pairing a Taiwanese rice ball (飯糰 fan-tuan) with a bowl of slightly-sweetened soy milk. The items, prepared on the spot, were … More

Tell you a Kahaani

I can’t tell you a lot. Except, watch Kahaani, a 2012 Hindi-language thriller directed by Sujoy Ghosh. My one hint for you is that Kahaani is the Hindu word for story. Who is telling who a story? And whose story should you be paying attention to and detangling? The Plot The film opens with the … More

CNY in Penang, Malaysia

Growing up in the U.S. I have vague memories of celebrating the Lunar New Year. Sure, I kind of remember that the holiday is about 15 days long and on occasions when relatives were present, I received lucky money. But since moving to the U.S. in grade school, I mainly just remember eating hotpot with … More

The Vanishing Half

“The hardest part about becoming someone else was deciding to. The rest was only logistics.”  Stella, The Vanishing Half I was hooked by Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half the moment I read the opening chapter. I churned through the book into the wee hours of the night, finishing the book in one sitting after several … More

Heart in a Bottle

Dear Hsieh With You readers, happy new year. What a year 2020 has been. And I think I can safely say that none of us were prepared for the life-changing year. In face of the uncertainties that still loom large in regards to the pandemic, more specifically when will it end and when can life … More

Totoro goes electronic..?

The title of this post is a bit misleading. Totoro has always been somewhat electronic. Joe Hisaishi My Neighbor Totoro is an 1988 animated film from Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. Nearly all of Studio Ghibli’s films have been musically scored by the same man, Joe Hisaishi (久石 譲). Hisaishi is a titan in the Japanese … More


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