health nut * photographer * aspiring martial artist

Wanted: Subjects!

Calling families, friends and extended network in Waterloo Region:

I’m asking for you help to volunteer as my photo subjects so that I can build a photography portfolio. I’m looking to take individual portraits and family group shots using natural light and ideally, in an outdoor environment.

What I’m asking for: 

  • 1 hour of you and/or your family’s time around the golden hours of the day (sunrise and sunset) in Waterloo Region (exact date and time to be scheduled)
  • A signed photo release form giving me full rights to use and publish the photos I take of you and/or your family

What you’ll get:

  • Fun and memorable high resolution digital photographs of you and/or your family
  • Minimum 5 photos for individuals, 10 photos for couples, and 15 photos for families

If you or anyone in your network is interested, please give me a shout via e-mail and we shall schedule a session! I’ll take requests until I feel that I have enough samples to create a well-rounded portfolio. You can see samples of photos I’ve taken this year below:


One caveat: I’m not a professional photographer (at least not yet) and as such I cannot guarantee fabulous photos of babies, toddlers, multiple children, and young children who cannot reliably take direction from a stranger. But I promise to try my best!

To be honest, I’m quite intimidated by this new initiative because who knows where it’ll take me; but heck, 2014 has been a year of healing, discovery and good change. So balls to the walls! :D

Thank you in advance for your help and support!

Posted in Photography | 3 Responses

A New Direction

The beginning of March brought on a slew of emotions and physical feelings that I didn’t know quite how to handle. I was exercising and eating well but I still felt exhausted and emotionally unstable. There was a lot of self-talk going on in my head with lots of conflicting thoughts.

Anyhow, to sum it up, I decided to put the professional stuff on hold and just focus on my emotional and physical health for the time being.

When I saw my social worker, she reminded me that I needed to give myself permission to feel what I feel and not fight with my feelings.

I went to see a naturopath for my overall health and she made some very insightful comments about my life — that I’ve had a long and stressful journey for the past two to three years and with the down-time, my body was saying, “I’m done.” Over the last few years after the traumatic entrance of Evan into this world, my adrenals were essentially out of commission and I was only getting through the days on caffeine and sugar. So it’s no wonder that I felt depleted and easily irritable when I cut out processed sugars and lattes. She also recommended that I check out Brene Brown and The Gifts of Imperfection to help with emotional well-being which then prompted me to enrol in Brene’s eCourse that just started on Wednesday. Here’s two “creative” assignments from this week:

As part of the journal we're making, this is the self portrait I drew today in record time without worrying about boo-boos.

As part of the journal we’re making, this is the self portrait I drew today in record time without worrying about boo-boos.

Poster that can been seen everyday to remind me that I am creative.

Poster that I’ve decided to hang in my bedroom which can been seen everyday to remind me that I am a creative person.

I also had a consultation with a holistic nutritionalist and am learning lots about what foods to eat and what not to eat to help with some physical ailments. She’s also an avid yoga practitioner and recommended that I pick up the book The Woman’s Yoga Book: Asana and Pranayama for All Phases of the Menstrual Cycle which I’m starting to read.

On the topic of food, I’m eating a diet that resembles the Paleo diet right now. It was inspired by the combination of Evan’s ketogenic diet, then the book Grain Brain and then just a bit of trial-and-error. I’m not following the Paleo diet strictly, but for the most part I’m diary free and grain free and it feels wonderful! Combined with the regular exercise I’m doing, I’m down to 140 lbs now and wearing size 6 to 8! Woot!

I bought the cookbook Nom Nom Paleo as way to explore my inner-chef. I think there has been aspects of life that I’ve suppressed due to how I thought I should live life and now that I have the luxury to take the time off, I’m slowing digging through deep thoughts and re-evaluating everything.

Thanks for reading my rambles and welcome to my new journey as I turn 30 in a few months.


Posted in Art, Food, Health | 2 Responses

Starting with Sketching

So the past week, I’ve picked up the pencil and started sketching. I started out with the vase/face exercise and boy was it tricky! Then, I just started sketching what was in front of me at the moment. Below are some pictures:

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

Not very impressive but definitely not terrible for someone who hasn’t picked up a pencil to sketch since high school!

I think moving forward I will focus on trying to sketch quickly rather than accurately from the perspective of what I’m hoping to accomplish – get better at sketching user experiences.

On the topic of sketching, I’ve decided to join a local UX book club and our first meeting is this Thursday. I’ve downloaded the book See What I Mean by Kevin Cheng and I need to speed-read through it to be a productive member! It’s all about using comics as a form of communicating so I think it’ll align nicely and will no doubt morph how I continue to do my sketching exercises.

Another book that I need to resume is Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook. Must learn to read faster given the lack of hours in a day!!!

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2014 – A Year Filled with Change

It has been a year since I’ve updated my blog and again, so much has happened!

A quick reflection of the past year

Evan updates:

  • Evan has been seizure free since May 2013 after the introduction of the ketogenic diet with MCT oil (we are SOOOOOO happy for him and for us)
  • He finally started to walk independently right before Christmas (what a blessing!! and to all those parents out there, I don’t miss the days of no-walking :p)
  • He’s now able to say 抱 (“bao4″ which means pick-up or hug in Chinese) and Car (which sounds more like “gar” for him)
  • He LOVES cars and riding in the car buggies at stores/malls makes him uber happy
  • He understands some words like kiss, hug, eat, hungry, more, chicken, ouch, not okay, go outside
  • Chicken is his favourite food
  • He’s able to give high-fives
  • We discovered that he likes back scratches

Self updates:

  • We visited Joseph’s sister and her newborn in New Wesminster, BC; climate there was very nice and the sock-eye salmon sashimi was delicious!
  • I re-enrolled in Kungfu at the end of the summer to get some physical exercise and boy was I out of shape!
  • Got meself a new camera body (Canon 6D), new laptop (Macbook Pro 15in with Retina Display) and new cellphone (iPhone 5s); I’m all teched-out
  • We have someone who comes to help us with food prep and it’s been really nice to come home and have all the prep done

New and upcoming as I enter my 30s


  • I quit my day-job at the end of January to pursue dedicated design time during the workweek as a way to accelerate my professional development
  • I’ve got myself a coworking membership at Workplace One in the Breithaupt Property close to downtown Kitchener as of today and it’s fantastic!
  • I’m going to strengthen my sketching skills with daily sketching exercises
  • In the next six months I’m committing to creating three new pieces of work for my design portfolio:
    1. New and revamped blog with online portfolio
    2. eBook of UI examples that have been deconstructed and analyzed
    3. Design a mobile application in one OS (iPhone or Android TBD)
  • My stretch goal would be to actually make the mobile application


  • I am committing to attend noon-hour Kungfu classes 3 times a week
  • I’ve signed up for a gym membership and personal training sessions starting tomorrow
  • I’m looking to acquire a FitBit Flex/Force or Jawbone Up24 to help monitor my progress (suggestions are welcomed)


  • Lots of traveling this year!
  • Trip to the Bay Area in California later this month to celebrate a late Valentine’s Day
  • Family trip to San Jose, California for a wedding in May (Evan will get to visit his hometown again)
  • Trip to Italy with Joseph at the end of May as a 5-year anniversary gift for ourselves
  • Trip to NYC with Bessie to celebrate our birthdays (TBC)
  • Family trip to Hawaii at the end of the year in place of Christmas

This year is definitely filled with lots of change and I’m excited to embark on this new journey!

Posted in Design, Kung Fu, Parenthood | 20 Responses

Time to Embrace the Ketogenic Diet


Baby Mutant Ninja!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything on my blog but today calls for an update.

So not only is Evan a Baby Ninja, he’s now earned a new title of Baby Mutant Ninja! Haha. I joke, but one must see some humour in all this. :)

Last week we got a call from McMaster Children’s Hospital that Evan’s pediatric neurologist wanted to see us (sooner than later) and so we were scheduled for an appointment today. We weren’t quite sure what it was about but didn’t think too much into it.

Today we learned that Evan has what is called a Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency Syndrome (Glut1 DS). To sum it up, it is a very rare genetic disorder where the SLC2A1 gene, located on chromosome 1, is mutated. This disorder impairs the brain from absorbing glucose (sugars) which then impairs the brain from growing and developing normally and is known to cause seizures in 90% of the cases. It helps to explain why Evan is so behind in his development and why his MRI, although fine structurally, showed evidence of delayed development and also why his seizure medications aren’t working.

At this point in time, there is no “cure” per say but there is a very effective treatment — the Ketogenic Diet.

We learned of this diet back in the early fall last year as an alternative “last resort” option for Evan’s seizures if his medications didn’t work. It was considered “last resort” because it’s a very intensive and rigid diet that requires a complete lifestyle change and it takes quite a bit of work/effort to make happen. In light of what we now know, the neurologist has essentially said to us that the Ketogenic Diet is no longer just an alternative. It is now the ONLY option.

And so, we now must embrace the reality of a complete lifestyle overhall to accomodate Evan’s new diet. We are also seriously considering changing our own diet in order to align ourselves better to what Evan must eat. I will share more about this diet as we embark on the adventure. We’re due back to McMaster for another learning session with the pediatric Ketogenic dietician next week. Fun fun!

You may ask, so what’s Evan’s prognosis given this disorder? I wish I could say everything will be fine but the reality is, there is so much variation in the clinical observations of children with this disorder that there’s no clear cut answer.

The Ketogenic Diet should eliminate his seizures and start helping his brain get the energy it needs to grow but we just won’t know how his development will progress — whether he catches up or just start a new a trajectory. Only time will tell…

If you’re at all interested in learning more about this disorder or the Ketogenic diet, feel free to check out the link above which points you to a light read.

Now to sum up the last five months which I have failed to document:

All dressed up for Xinlei's Wedding in October

All dressed up for Xinlei’s Wedding in October

  • Three days before our move at the end of August, I sprained my ankel very badly playing the season ending ultimate game and was out of commission for over a month
  • Evan’s birthday party at the end of September never happened because I became grossly ill; we will have to make sure his 2nd birthday is super duper!
  • We visited San Jose, Evan’s home town, in October when we went down to California for Xinlei’s wedding; Evan’s a great flyer!
  • I went back to work in mid-November and switched roles to join the Engineering team as a UX Designer
  • We celebrated Christmas with the whole Fung family (Anne & Joe, Sheila & Clayton, Donna & Mike) in our new house
  • Joseph and I took a much needed vacation for just the two of us down in Cancun, Mexico at an all-inclusive resort; our oceanfront “honeymoon” suite was incredible!

View from our balcony as the sun was rising


View once the sun was up

Evan Laughing from August & November

That is all for now!

Posted in Food, Parenthood | 3 Responses

We’re celebrating!!!

It’s been a long time since we threw a party. We missed Evan’s pre-birthday celebration; we missed our annual post-Christmas dinner and gift exchange; we haven’t thrown a birthday party in a while. Thus, it is time for some fun at the Fung’s!

Party in the Dog House

Posted in Home, Parenthood | Leave a comment

© 2011 Xiaopu Fung
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