Selena KohngWriterPhotography by Selena KohngStory by Andrea Posadas
Selena Kohng is a creative through and through. While juggling her three kids in tow, Selena always makes time to be inspired through writing, reading blogs, instagram, and lately, through creatively hiding veggies in her kids’ lunchboxes. We are impressed! Selena’s ability to be open, to see and be a part of so many creative outlets gives her children new perspectives and creative angles in their journey and life. And this is how she does it, we’re taking notes.
I’m Selena… I’m a mom of three kids living in Chicago. My children are Micah, 9, Lucas, 6 and Cadence, 2. I’m passionate about many things…
…– from good literature to good Korean barbecue, public education to the latest cleverly designed baby product. I love and appreciate creativity in any genre, which probably explains how my food art was born!
My main work is as a parenting writer and website copywriter. Writing is really my first love, and I pitch articles and try to chase after freelance gigs as often as I can.
I used to be an avid blog reader. I’ve been a longtime fan of Apartment Therapy, Oh Joy, and Making it Lovely to name a few. These days, though, Instagram has been a huge source of inspiration, and I love that it’s in many ways so grassroots and democratic. Anyone can create a gorgeous photo and start from the ground up.
I started making bento lunches in the beginning of this past school year since Lucas was starting kindergarten. He’s my picky eater, so I wanted to make sure he ate at school when I wasn’t there to nag him about it! I told myself I’d never do the cutesy stuff, but around Christmas I made a little penguin-shaped rice ball and the kids loved it. At that point I realized the food art wasn’t as hard or time-consuming as I thought, and it took off from there.
It’s a fun creative outlet for me, and I love that the underlying message is that my kids shouldn’t judge something or decide they don’t like it until they see it from different creative angles.
“MY KIDS TEACH ME TO SEE WITH NEW EYES.”
One time, my six-year-old plucked two toilet paper rolls out of the…
…recycling bin and taped magnifying glasses to them to make binoculars. They’re always coloring, creating, and innovating (and making a mess). Actually, I’m trying to learn how to see messes with new eyes, too.
My kids also teach me that grown-ups say “no” too often and care too much about schedules. When my kids get lost in their own world and lose track of time, in some ways it feels like they have a more mature understanding of life and of what’s important than I do.
Micah is an avid reader and huge sports fan. If it has pages, he’ll read it. Anything from Roald Dahl to Wimpy Kid to Laura Ingalls Wilder is fair game, and of course his Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine.
Lucas is our little inventor and thinks outside the box. He’s into Legos, the Magic School Bus series, Spirograph kits when they cooperate, and Kiwi Crate crafts.
Cadence is my feisty toddler and loves her Jellycat Bunny and Dr. Seuss books.
My kids love the food art, but thankfully they don’t expect it every time! Their friends at school reportedly love it, too, and some of the moms have been really supportive and ask how they can get started on bentos. I haven’t gotten any “you’re crazy” comments from anyone. At least not yet. I can see how this kind of thing might make people think I have too much time on my hands, but nothing I do takes that long. I’m a big believer in keeping the food art simple.
If we only knew playing with food could be artful and acceptable! It is always best to see life from all visionary angles. And art truly comes in all ages, forms and bento boxes. xo, TMP