coração selvagem

Me enfoco en el acto de encontrar la paz. Hay una tormenta adentro de mí y sigo buscando una manera de tranquilizarla. Ayer fui a un campo para colectar mis pensamientos. No puedo decir que me di cuenta de nada, pero por un momento me sentía una calma. De hecho, este año no ha sido fácil – en cuanto a la familia, la carrera…

Un amigo me dijo que tengo el alma de poeta – elusiva, pensativa, sentimental, nostálgica y cada vez más torturada. Cuanto más se piensa, más se sufre.

Siempre quiero ser optimista por el futuro, pero in medias res, quedan las cosas muy difíciles. Por lo menos tengo la salud, el apoyo de mi amor, y la puesta del sol para animarme.


Although I don’t want to be, I’m on edge today somehow.

Tornadoes are tearing through the country and through me. My heart goes out to those who have lost this week – their homes, their possessions, their loved ones.

Small triumph today. I ran four miles in forty-four minutes.


Every once in a while, you need to have your breath taken away.

We hiked through the Morgan Trail in the Santa Ana Mountains this past weekend. How beautiful it all was! We drove out to the trail head near Lake Elsinore early in the morning and set out. Most of the trail was brush, flora, and fauna. Every quarter mile or so, we’d come across a window that overlooked all the other hills surrounding ours. No one else was on our trail, so it was as if we had the entire place to ourselves. I felt so small in comparison to all the huge boulders across the way. I wondered what it would have been like to walk through the same place 100 years ago. In places like this, I find peace.

A picture doesn’t do the landscape any justice. Unless that picture was painted by Bob Ross. Only then would I retract my statement.

Spiritually, I feel off balance (and that may also have to do with hormones), but I am on a constant quest to seek peace in myself. My days are filled with many blessings, so I can’t complain about anything.

Though no one believes me when I say it, I am incredibly shy. This is what I’ve been struggling with most lately. On stage, I’m perfectly happy sharing my music and my stories, but I still feel like I’m restricting a bit of myself where I don’t necessarily have to. Then, off-stage, I’m hesitant to approach others and over-analyze what to say. It may not show too much on the surface, but I certainly do feel it on the inside. I’m a musical extrovert but a natural introvert, as Felipe puts it. Like everything, this will take practice. I am trying to live more openly and yet again expand my comfort zone with as few excuses as possible. Here goes.

quintana roo

I am planning to have an amazing summer. In August, my love and I are headed to blue waters, sticky heat, and pristine views in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

The last time I was here, I was 17 years old. Since then, the ocean has washed away the sand in which I left footprints. The sun has repeatedly sunken below the horizon, splashing the sky with colors. Yet, I hope to revisit the same feeling of peace that I felt while standing there, eyes closed, heart open.

Adventure is out there, and I’m going to go find it.

green beans flambé

I found this entry whilst digging through old xanga entries. Some things never change…

June 2006

Today I explored the flammable property of green beans. In an attempt (operative word being “attempt”) to cook dinner in lieu of my parents being away this weekend, I overestimated how much vegetable oil I should use in sauteeing green beans. After adding the beans to the frying pan, a little bit of oil spilled over into the flame. Now, folks – we all know that in certain cases, a little goes a long way. This case was absolutely no exception.

As I watched the green beans burst into flames, I experienced a cathartic moment. I, Lilian Da Ly Bui, realized in that very minute that I was never meant to cook. Certainly enough, some of my efforts yield successful results: delicious cup of noodles, boiling water, runny eggs… However, at the core, my cooking skills are, how shall I put this? Nonexistent.

Along with the flames, I extinguished my dreams of ever being able to prepare a decent meal. I cleaned up, wiped off the sweat that had broken across my brow, and retired to my journal to report the latest.

prom night

by olaf hajek

I’ve been sitting at Starbucks for the past half hour waiting for the line to get shorter. No dice.

It’s prom night tonight. Corsages delicately placed and ties awkwardly fixed bounce across the cafe. I’m deep in thought about everything and accomplishing close to nothing.

True story: I went to prom by myself. My boyfriend (at the time) and I had a huge fight, and for some reason or another, he decided not to go. I already had my ticket, so I went to prom anyway. It was on a three-story yacht somewhere in Long Beach. I dorkily ran around pestering people during slow dances. I came home early.

Felipe tells me that he never had a real prom either. His entire high school class planned a trip to Nicaragua instead. Fair trade.

Before I even let myself feel a morsel of relative poverty in regard to all the spiffy prom memories these kids are going to have in comparison to mine, I remind myself that life’s too short, and I have found romance in other, less conventional places (away from hip hop music blasting at maximum volume).

This, I can live with.

Gary Shteyngart wrote a book that I already love, and I haven’t even read it yet. He did an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air about it. ( The book talks about a dystopian future in which “books no longer exist, Americans spend the majority of their time watching videos on their iPhone-like “apparats” and the country is on the brink of complete collapse.” As a lover of books and of Jews, I am particularly excited to delve into this one.

I also finally watched Y tu mama tambien, directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It was long overdue for someone who took a Spanish cinema class and wrote a 25-page paper on the Latin American Film Movement. (Just so you know, I came to terms with my nerd-dom ages ago!) Along the same lines of prom night, the movie was a thesis on adolescence, self-discovery, adventure, and sexual curiosity. It’s wild and confused and naive, but at the same time, it shows you how to be a part of life around you. What I love most about Latin American films is that the story is more often about the journey of the characters as opposed to how succinctly you can tell the tale.

The line is finally down to one person. That’s my cue. Lily out.

the art of storytelling

Ernesto Lago (Argentina)

Everybody has a story.

Maybe you played an obnoxious prank on somebody you didn’t like in high school and stuck plastic forks all over their lawn. Perhaps you unknowingly shook hands with the mayor of the city one night during a rally. Maybe you witnessed a bad public transportation accident. Or maybe you know a family member who immigrated from another country during a time of war to start all over in a new place.

Storytelling is a tradition that pre-dates every living person on the earth. Before the advent of the written word, history was passed down from one generation to another purely by oral tradition. If you remember anything from your ninth grade English class, recall that Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey were both composed and transmitted orally (and received aurally) for years before it was finally recorded in written form.

All right, so not all of us may have been blessed with Homer’s eloquence, but we all have something to say for ourselves, and I think that’s very powerful. Stories drive conversations when you meet somebody new. (“So this one time, I…”) Stories are what we delve into when we reminisce with old friends. (“Remember when…?”)  Stories compel us. Good stories inspire us to think about our own lives.

Ever hear the saying, “If I don’t tell anyone, it’s like it never happened”? In a way, stories help us validate our experience in this world.

Even Disney’s business philosophy is based on storytelling and keeping the company’s history alive. They believe that the story of Disney’s humble beginnings reinforces the brand today. Even if you’ve never worked for Disney, you know about the man and the mouse (Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse) and their relationship to each other. Think of how many jobs you may have had in which the initial training period takes you through the history of the company itself – when it was founded, when milestones were, leading up to where it stands today.

I’ve been listening to three shows that have stimulated my ears and mind: RadioLab of WNYC, This American Life of Chicago Public Radio, and StoryCorps on NPR (based in Brooklyn, NY). These three shows have one thing in common, and that is they are an amalgam of stories from different people in all different parts of the world. Through them, I realized that although we all exist in different contexts, we share a breadth of common emotions that come with being human.

There’s something about listening to someone’s story that sparks the imagination. It opens up their world to you. Unlike when you’re reading and imagining the tone of the author, you can pick up on tons of nuances from a speaker when you are listening to him or her convey a story to you – how they feel about certain things, tension, enthusiasm, nostalgia, reluctance, sadness. There’s something about listening to someone else’s experience that makes us feel more connected to others and more in tune with ourselves.

Everybody has a story. What’s yours?


I bet a real fish could potentially be very critical of fisheye photography. What makes us so certain that we see through our lenses what they do?

When I’m lucky, Creativity comes to visit and stays all day. Today was such a day. I polished up a new song that I’d had under wraps for a while, did some more non-musical writing, took some photos, filmed some footage at the beach, read my book, worked on a puzzle, and daydreamed almost all day. I love when my mind wanders and wish that I had time to let it do so constantly.

I feel a new artistic chapter of my life unfolding. For someone who has only recently come to terms with her role as a songwriter and musician, I find myself almost undeserving of being called an artist at all. When up against the Monet’s, Django’s, Hitchcock’s, and Banksy’s of the world, how can one even bear the idea of stepping into the same realm as they?

Somewhere along the way, I know I crossed the threshold between being an enthusiast for the world around me and being someone who craves to interpret it. I feel life so intensely – colors, images, sounds, voices, stories, melodies, rhythms, scents, textures…I constantly lust after new mediums to present what I am experiencing in different ways. What to do with all the energy but to expend it? Potential energy never got anybody anywhere. I must be kinetic and do.

Life has been speaking to me so much more lately, and I feel it incumbent upon me to listen.

happiness in your backyard

Oh, we’ve got the life.

Brunch is too expensive on this side of town, so we decided to open up a new restaurant in my backyard! F and I made breakfast and had it outside in the sun, next to the roses. Mina joined us but sunbathed most of the time. What a lovely morning.

Yesterday was a Disney day. California Adventure is revamping its look. The new look and feel will be a 1920’s art deco kind of style. And it looks like there will be a new additional section to the park, themed after the movie Cars. Also saw World of Color for the first time. “Overstimulation” would be the word that I would use to best describe it. Then again, it is the Disney philosophy to go big or go home.

Tonight, we wandered into Hollywood to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the prestigious Angry Asian Man blog and ran into some very, very good friends by surprise. Lots of lights, dancing, singing, laughing, and celebrating each other. Nothing better than that. Also, flipbooks!

It’s 3:40am, and my feet are tired but I feel happy. Currently riding on a couple important decisions and am struggling with which to make. Still inconclusive, but things will always work themselves out in the end. I have faith in at least that.