Life & Ramblings

may ’19 // month in review

1. summer !!

May brought me into ~summer ~*! I finished my last semester of community college and will be interning/working at the restaurant for the summer before I go off to college and I have this weird feeling of being in a transitory state in my life. My life in a few months will be so different from my life a few months ago, and that uncertainty coupled with no belief in myself lol is freaking me out a bit. I’m going to be going to Rome in June (!!!!!), but other than that I want to stay close to home and maybe work on learning some Good Life Habits like exercising and cooking and sleeping well and cleaning and whatnot so I can take them with me when I leave in the fall.

2. a trip to LA

The day after I finished my last final exam, we drove down to LA to visit UCLA and UC San Diego. I took my DSLR camera with me so I might make another post if I have good photos, but in the mean time here are lots of HUJI pics lmao. We did a tour of UCLA led by those backwards walking tour guides and it was very cool, if also very intimidating. I felt a lot of imposter syndrome when they were talking about all the amazing people who went to UCLA or worked there and all the amazing things that the school was affiliated with and started getting really in my head and feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be here. I actually had a dream a couple weeks ago where I moved into my dorm and then walked into my first day of class at UCLA, only to be told by someone that a mistake was made, I was never accepted, and I had to go home right away. It was the worst and uh really illustrates why I need to work on ye olde self-esteem and confidence lol.

The campus is really beautiful. My parents left after a few days and I stayed with my friend who goes to UCLA and basically just followed her around for a few days lol, like a live action day in the life of a UCLA student vlog. This picture below is from a bar called Barney’s and the tables were decorated with pictures of celebrities from the 2000s which is 100% my ideal bar aesthetic. Imagine if you had a bar and all the tables were dedicated to celebrities from the early 2000s. There’s a Paris Hilton table, a Kim K as Paris’ assistant table, a Mischa Barton table… it goes on. Stay tuned, we will open when I find an investor as into this idea as I am.

On my flight home I was treated to the realization that Southwest works by having unassigned seats. I had no idea and was just moseying around airport gift shops like an utter fig instead of standing in line! I got the very last window seat in the whole plane.

3. favz

Detective Pikachu: This movie killed me. I cried out of sadness, I cried out of awe at Pikachu’s fluffy cheeks, I cried out of happiness. The moviemakers pushed all the right buttons for me. Other than Pikachu, I loved Psyduck and Ken Watanabe’s Snubbull. I do have a fair amount of complaints and here’s the biggest one of them – Why was Rita Ora there?? Why is she still around??? I’ve always been confused as to why she’s in movies or at premieres/celeb events because she hasn’t…done anything? Except some not great songs?? Anyway, 10/10 would recommend! I would watch Pokemon anything even if I have problems with it like I do here, but if you grew up playing Pokemon like I did I feel liiiike it’d take a lot to ruin that sweet sweet nostalgia.

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette special on Netflix: My friend recommended this to me and I watched it in bits and spurts while eating lunch at various times throughout the month. It was so good. Her art history tidbits were interesting and her story was alternately insightful, funny, painful, and touching. I wrote down this quote to remember –

Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine.

Hannah Gadsby

The Enneagram: It’s been established that I am a sucker for personality tests and I took this one this month. I’m a 4 wing 3 and I read the entire page and was like 😮 it tru :o. The enneagram is a model of personality types that describes 9 interconnected types – thus the name, as ‘enneagram’ means nine-pointed figure. The official website is here, but they charge money to take the test so you can take a free test here and then just go back to the official website to read about your results. It’s not widely scientifically accepted but I thought reading the page for mine helped me realize a fair amount of uncomfortable truths about myself. The description page on the official website has a section on the end listing stages of development for each type, with 3 healthy levels, 3 average levels, and 3 unhealthy levels. The unhealthy levels capture how I was/am at high levels of anxiety and depression and the healthy levels are exactly how I picture my dream life going. I took the quiz and read it all while I was feeling really intimidated and afraid about UCLA; the recommendations for personal growth in my section are so relevant in that regard.

Multicolored nails: This has been ~trendy for a while but I really liked it and did it myself in May. I realized it’s the perfect trendy mani thing for me to partake in because I don’t need any actual nail painting skill, I just need a variety of colors. Amazing!! I think watching AmandaRachLee’s bullet journal videos on YouTube made me get really into the idea. This Byrdie compilation of looks didn’t hurt either.

Aurora James’ Met Gala look + commentary:

4. goal recap

THINGS I AM 🙂 ABOUT

  • Graduated from community college with an Associate’s Degree and a 4.0 GPA
  • Finally went to my eye exam
  • Submitted all my forms and stuff to UCLA (admission offer, housing application, IGETC, transcripts)
  • Made thank you cards for some professors
  • Got my Catbird necklace repaired
  • Renewed car registration
  • Opted out of those awful credit card letters that say you’re pre-approved every week and try to get you to sign up
  • Approved for a credit line increase

THINGS I AM :/ ABOUT

  • Had an abysmal sleep schedule
  • Didn’t get accepted for many of the main scholarships I applied for
  • Did not exercise
  • Did not keep up with my monthly reflection page in my planner
  • Did not clean (I wanted to clean out a lot of things but this month, as in the last 93 months, I did not do it)

5. camera roll

I won a Passion Planner giveaway on Instagram this month! It’s the first time I’ve won something since I was in the single digit years of my life and we are very excited. I’m very much looking forward to August so I can crack this guy open and start using it. It’s also in the small (/compact) size that Passion Planner discontinued, so I’m even more excited to use that size again. I went to tell all those people I complained to when they changed to only the medium (/pro) size and they were still like cool, don’t care about planners, lol.

Thank you cards for professors who wrote me letters of recommendation. I’m happy with how they turned out but I’m more happy that I finally did them, because two (2) months ago I was all “this weekend I’ll make the thank you cards and then I’ll have them all ready to go in a couple months!” I did not do that.

My bf sent me some UC memes in celebration of my UC acceptances and they are hILARIOUS.

Just 2 Chinese gals makin’ dumplings!

A screenshot from a video on the Passion Planner YouTube that I’ve sadly lost track of. Really want to start doing this myself!

Luna’s new favorite spot to curl up in – my bag o’ scarves.

A dream size cat!!!!!!!!


Thank u guys for reading! Happy summer if it’s starting for you too 🙂

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Life & Ramblings

april ’19 // month in review

1. close 2 the end

We’re in May, which means in about twenty days it will be ~summer~! (I’m trying not to think about how in 2 years I will no longer have a ‘summer’, it’ll just be hot months where I am working. And that’s optimistically if I’m able to wangle a job lordy lord adult life sounds terrifying.) I’ll graduate and be done with community college and will be heading off to finish my undergraduate degree in the fall, and as with any ending, I have feelings about it.

Also, April 22 was Earth Day. I was going to talk abut this in my non-favs section but I have a lot to say and I think it’s important and like our planet is also close 2 the end. I saw many many posts on Instagram encouraging me to recycle and buy metal straws on Earth Day, and I also had to sit through a fair amount of presentations from my classmates about how I should say no to plastic bags. The past couple months I’ve gradually come to be a little ??? at this line of argument because how on earth is me trying desperately to recycle everything that comes into my hands going to tackle climate change largely caused by polluting industries and corporations? Did some thinking. Did some listening. Did some reading. And I want to share them with you. This YouTube video from The Atlantic, titled America’s Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction, discussed consumerism in the U.S. and how it has grown into an entirely too wasteful form of consumption. Consumption is undoubtedly tied to climate change, but I think it’s unfair to expect everyone to live a zero waste lifestyle (great as they are) when businesses are still skirting regulations and pumping carbon into the atmosphere and governments are failing to protect the people they work for. The recap episode for the Articles of Interest miniseries from 99% Invisible highlighted the lessons Avery Trufelman learned in reporting on clothing for that series and how she’s changed her own consumption patterns regarding style and fashion in light of how polluting that industry is. The Circular(s) episode from the Still Processing podcast featured David Wallace-Wells, a climate columnist for New York Magazine who wrote the book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. They talked about the limits of conscious consumption in the fight against climate change and the necessity of political action rather than, say, worrying about how much plastic you, individually, are consuming. And this all brings me to the main point – that the response to the environmental crisis that understands “environmental degradation as the product of individual shortcomings and finds solutions in enlightened, uncoordinated consumer choice” ultimately “narrow[s] our collective ability to imagine and pursue a variety of productive responses to the environmental problems before us”. The journal article Individualization: Plant a Tree, Buy a Bike, Save the World? by Michael F. Maniates, published in Global Environmental Politics all the way back in 2001 (FOREVER AGO god how did it take me so long to figure this out), argues that “when responsibility for environmental problems is individualized, there is little room to ponder institutions, the nature and exercise of political power, or ways of collectively changing the distribution of power and influence in society”. Some food for thought, eh? Imagine if I had taken all the energy I used fretting over what kind of reusable cotton pads to get to write my legislative representatives or volunteer my time to lobby for political change, huh?

2. favorites

Mejuri x Claire Marshall ear cuff: Mejuri had a sale in March, so I bought this lil guy from their collaboration with Claire Marshall, one of my favorite Internet content people. I’m generally really skeeved out at the thought of buying jewelry and accessories because it’s so much money for such a small product, but I’ve realized that I have entirely too much clothing and jewelry/accessories can do a whole ton for a ~look. This is probably the first piece of jewelry I’ve bought for myself that’s cost more than $15 and it felt like the biggest fucking splurge. Anyway, I’ve been wearing it and it looks really cool! I had hoped to get a cartilage piercing with a hoop this summer, but I think my second lobe piercing is infected so I should probably take care of that first..

The Paula Scher episode of Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix: This episode was amazing!!! I’ve seen trailers for Abstract and my bf’s been telling me I’ll like it for um a very long while, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until a few weeks ago. I picked the graphic design episode to watch and was like o00000oOO0oomg the whole time. If you have a passing interest in typography or graphic design, you’ll probably be like that, too. Her work is amazing! Her maps are amazing! Her album covers are amazing! Omfg!! I felt so inspired after I watched it lol.

The Study Group Bringing bell hooks to Prisons from Next City: What an amazing headline, right? While in prison, Richie ‘Reseda’ Edmond-Vargas and Charles Berry began developing curriculum to educate other incarcerated men on the effects of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. The program is called Success Stories and launched in 2014 with a focus on bell hooks and including many intersectional feminist texts. Now based in LA, Edmond-Vargas and Berry operate Success Stories as a non-profit that introduces concepts of toxic patriarchal masculinity and rape culture and then discussing “how their lives have been affected, and in many ways defined, by them”. Over a weekly course, men “find space to talk about their feelings” and many “make conscious efforts to free themselves from it”. Eventually they hope to deliver this program nationally, and I hope to god it happens. People learning about patriarchy and men learning about how living under it affects them too makes my angry sad feminist heart swell.

This tweet from AP: I’m so glad we’re on the same page about calling a racist spade a racist spade.

Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.

AP Style Book 2019

Ky Ryssdall and Beth Ruyak’s voices: Every once in a while I listen to Marketplace on NPR when I happen to be driving, and lately I’ve started listening to it from the podcast app on my phone. The podcast is fine, but what I want to talk about is THIS MAN’S VOICE. What the fuck? It is such a nice voice. How does he get it that way? Has it always been that way? Did he get a vocal coach to make it that way? I have the same questions about Beth Ruyak, who hosts the Insight show on Capital Public Radio, my local NPR station. They have such nice voices. Every time it comes on the radio I’m like oh ho ho.

3. non-favs

Me health: After about a week and a bit this month, I started feeling super sick. It’s a mystery ailment, mostly involving nausea, and my doctor is confused about what’s going on, as am I. They think it could be a stomach problem. As of now, I feel OK, but it comes and goes and I hope it goes away forever soon.

5. camera roll + reading list

After I got my email rejection for a summer internship I was really hoping to do, I kind of just sat in my bathroom feeling bummed for a while. Luna came over and cuddled with me :’)

How to Fail Like a Pro episode from Freakonomics: The week I got the internship rejection was not a great one, as I was also sick and got waitlisted at UC Berkeley. In the spirit of rejection (and in recognition of the fact that I was totally bitterly wallowing), I listened to some podcast episodes about failure and picking yourself up and growing from it and all that. This one from Freakonomics was a really good one, and I wrote this thing that Jorinde Voigt, a painter and artist, said down in my phone to remember –

It’s not about failing or winning, it’s just about being and doing.

Jorinde Voigt

WOOP, There It Is! episode from Hidden Brain: In the same dejected frenzy, I listened to this episode from Hidden Brain which featured the psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation. Long story short, those who have stronger and more positive fantasies are less likely to achieve them in areas ranging from job seeking to forming relationships. Oettingen devised WOOP as a way to actually reach more of your goals – it stands for Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan. You start by deciding your wish or goal, and then you envision the outcome if you were to achieve this wish of yours. But then you pivot and see obstacles in you that may hinder you from achieving this wish. Oettingen stressed that by focusing on obstacles within you rather than the environment or the situation, you maintain agency and only work on what you can, instead of just making excuses when you get a C instead of a B grade. After you know your obstacles, you make a plan to deal with them so that you can get your wish.

What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job? from Bitches Get Riches: I don’t think I’ve mentioned this blog before, but it’s a personal finance blog written by two women and it’s hilarious, well-written, informative, and conscious about stupid things like sexism and capitalism and this lone Internet reader highly recs! In the throes of my internship rejection woe I worried about how I could ever ever find a job. These were some good tips about putting yourself out there and finding opportunity, which is something I need to work on as someone generally uncomfortable with asking for more ketchup at a restaurant. I also read, like, six more articles about retirement, because that’s a thing you worry about when you know your parents are not super financially savvy. This retirement 101 post and this traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA comparison were both helpful for this Gen Z-er who learned about mitochondrias in high school and not taxes or how on earth I’m going to pay to live when the funds for Social Security run out by the time I’m wizened.

Why Did New York’s Most Selective Public High School Admit Only 7 Black Students? episode from The Daily: At one of NYC’s top public high schools, only 7 out of 895 spots in the freshman class were offered to black students. This is fucking bonkers. As a Chinese American person, school demographics are something people who share my ethnic and racial background talk about a lot, and I am part of a group of people that is talked about a lot in regards to school populations. This episode was challenging to listen to because I can totally understand how immigrant Asian families feel but at the same time I disagree vehemently and wish they could see that it’s not about us vs. them, it’s about justice vs. segregation. It’s about equal opportunity for everyone. Right now black and brown kids lack the same opportunities white and East Asian kids commonly have and face challenges once they’re in systems of prestige and education.

The NHS exercise guides: Pls don’t laugh at me lol I’m such a couch potato and I’m trying not to be. I’ve never been ~active~*, not even as a kid, and um what do u kno a sedentary lifestyle usually means you will be in uncomfortable pain and die early. Fun times!!!! This was helpful for a potato like me in figuring out how much exercise I should aim for, as well as how fast I have to walk for it to count as moderate exercise.

The Sacramento Bee’s CA Influencers series: Very much unrelated to how I think about influencers in this blogging day n age lol – the Sac Bee, the newspaper in the capital of this fine state, does this series with the people ~influencing~* the state and the country. It’s interesting and good to know

The Light Triad: Psychologists Outline the Personality Traits of Everyday Saints from Discover: I think my bf found this on Reddit. If you like personality quizzes, you’ll love this!! Lol, the dark triad measures the more sinister aspects of personality (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) and this year, psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu developed a counter part light triad test consisting of humanism, Kantianism, and faith in humanity. Interesting article to read, and you can take the light triad scale test for yourself at one of the researchers’ website!

UC decisions came out this month and I got into UCLA, where I’ll probably be going! A relevant meme:

Explicit Design: An artist on Instagram with very minimalist and v nice art! I saw a tattoo of their work and it was gorgeous.

Cleansing Tools & Techniques from Snow White and the Asian Pear: On this month’s skincare article rabbit hole, I learned about Go Hyun Jung’s cleansing rules – never touch your face without washing your hands first, wash properly and at length, and wash against the grain of your skin. This means “instead of starting from the inside and sweeping out like you do with a toner or general skincare, start at the outside of your face, and using tiny circular motions, slowly work your way in towards the center”. Also, don’t apply cleanser all over your face right away, to ensure the dry patches of your skin don’t dry out too much. Go hyun Jung says you should apply cleanser to the nose, forehead, and outside of the face, and then move from the outside inward. I’ve been trying the washing against the grain of my skin thing and I can’t say I feel anything different on my fingertips, but my skin’s been looking pretty good lately!

5. goal recap

GOOD THINGS I DID!

  • Get accepted to UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara
  • Tried acupuncture for the first couple times
  • Filed my taxes
  • Got A’s on all my essays/exams in my classes

NOT SO GR8 THINGS I DID!

  • Got waitlisted at UC Berkeley
  • Got rejected for the summer internship I wanted to do
  • Got very weirdly sick – this one has had a big impact on this month. I’ve stayed home sick a bunch and taken time off from school, my internship, and work, so I haven’t super gotten things done. I’m trying to be OK with it instead of mad at myself for not getting stuff done, because illness is, you know, a Rl Thing, and I’ve been brainwashed into wanting productivity and business at the expense of my wellbeing. This month was a little slower than usual and I spent the bulk of it trying to feel better. That’s OK.

Thanks for reading u guys! I hope May is off to a good start for you.

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Travel

lijiang 🇨🇳 china travel diary

We are almost done! Truth be told, I’ve been a bit sick recently so stuck at home with time to edit photos and whatnot lol. Today we’re going to Lijiang (丽江), a city in the northwest of Yunnan province, to look at the historic Old Town area. Like any good day, we start with a couple bags of chips in the car.

We had a meal (lunch? Breakfast? How do I remember timelines almost a year afterwards?) at this place on the side of the freeway, where we had chicken soup. I wish I could tell you more about it because it was delicious and there was some kind of special method for cooking it but, alas, memory does not serve me as well as it did in my youth.

A China Mobile shop near our hotel! The Naxi ethnic minority lives in this area, so you can see their language on a lot of signs – like here, the smaller characters underneath the Chinese 手机 words show the Naxi language translation.

And here we are at the Old Town – my uncle works in the tourism industry, and this city is a really big spot for tourists (mostly Han Chinese, not international, I think) after having been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Frogs, according to my uncle our tour guide, are important to the Naxi people because they’re…resilient and strong? Do not remember, pls take all info with several hundred grains of salt.

My brother and I tried bubble waffles for the first time here! When we were in London, there was a bubble waffle place on the corner of Chinatown that we would always pass and think about going into but never did because of the huge lines that were always there. So we are late to the trendy food party and it is indeed fun to eat, and fluffier than regular waffles.

We walked around Old Town going in and out of buildings and shops. These are some signs showing the Naxi language, which a nice old man started explaining to my dad and I.

You can’t super see, but this picture on the right has one of those stone lions that sit outside buildings and there is a BABY LION BREASTFEEDING. This is the interior decor of my dreams.

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Travel

(belated) vancouver travel diary 🇨🇦

In December my family went to Vancouver for a lil family holiday. I took some photos and heeeeere is a blog post about it a whopping four months later! I always feel the urge to apologize when I am tremendously late like this but I wonder if 1) if that is necessary (because like 3 people read this blog, 2 of whom are my cat and my brother, and it’s not like there is a real ~deadline~ with ~consequences~* for my fun time blog) and 2) if it’s annoying (because I get annoyed when YouTubers spend the first eight minutes of a video apologizing for something being late). OK that said, I still feel bad about my travel posts being late because it feels awkward talking about a winter holiday when Vancouver is no longer in winter mode… The next big trip I take is going to be in a couple months to Rome (!!!!!), so hopefully I can make those blawg posts happen in a time frame that makes sense.

The Vancouver airport! I thought the way First Nations art was featured was really cool. To me, the US and Canada are like sibling colonists who killed mass amounts of indigenous people for our new nations, but Canada seems to be doing a slightly better job at respecting indigenous populations than this lovely home of the brave land of the free etc etc.

We arrived at night and took a taxi to our Airbnb, which was actually in Burnaby and not Vancouver itself so it was a bit of a longer transit time than initially anticipated. I didn’t check the address of the Airbnb when I booked because I assumed all the places that popped up in the Vancouver search would be in, you know, Vancouver. Lesson learned, I guess.

We walked around our Airbnb to find dinner and decided on a ramen place. They had dog butts on the walls for you to hang your coat, which I thought was a cute interior decor moment lol.

This trip was over Christmas, so right after my fall semester had ended. Unfortunately, I did a real dumb thing right before finals week and spilled water all over my laptop. Fortunately, the professor for the class that I lost my term paper for gave me an extension, so I spent the first couple days on holiday writing that again. In the afternoon once I finished, I left to meet the rest of my family who had already begun their day of touristing. On this particular day our agenda was to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

And we’re here! All the lights were up for the holiday season, so it was very festive and Christmas-y. We started with a guided tour of some totem poles – I think I remember our tour guide telling us all except a couple of the totem poles inside the park were carved by indigenous people (i.e. not white people co-opting the practice), so that was cool! Some of the totem poles represented clans and some told stories. I don’t think I have a picture of the story I found the most interesting, but it was the origin legend of mosquitoes. It involved, among other things, a giant who carried a basket to put children in for meals, so for the rest of the trip my brother and I would snicker about getting a basket whenever we were around annoying children. I would not be a good babysitter, lol.

Nature! Trees! Walking amongst the greenery!

Once it got dark, the lights turned on and really ~shone~*. (Pun initially unintended). I will say that I’m certain my toes almost fell off from the cold, but it’s probably my bad for wearing slip-on Vans and not, you know, sensible winter shoes.

And that’s the end of our Capilano Park day! Very cold, very pretty, very marvel of technology (but I didn’t read the descriptive plaques on how the bridge was constructed so cannot know 4 sure).

Another day was spent at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was an absolute dreeaaaam. The temporary exhibition they had going on featured Guo Pei, a Chinese fashion designer, probably best known for the huge trailing yellow gown Rihanna wore to the Met Ball a few years ago. Her work is, obviously, beautiful, but I think it’s the combination of Chinese history, legend, and culture with her haute couture that makes it unique.

All of her mannequins were shown with platform shoes in reference to ancient trends in Chinese history.

This jumpsuit is a dragon, and the blue dress is a phoenix.

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Life & Ramblings

march ’19 // month in review

1. i don’t know about you but…

I’m feeling 22! March 13th is my birthday and I’ve only been waiting seventy years to get to feel that Taylor Swift song in my goddamn bones. March was a weird one for me. I cried a lot because of some Big Life Talks/Thoughts about some impending Big Life Changes; I also laughed a lot and felt good a fair amount of the time. It was all Taylor told me it’d be when I heard it six years ago for the first time as a wee sixteen year old: miserable and magical at the same time!

A few big events happened in the world in this month, too: the shooting in Christchurch, as well as the anniversary of Stephon Clark’s death and the DA announcing she would not be indicting the police officers involved. New Zealand is halfway across the world from me while the Clark decision happened right next to me, but they felt like two sides of the same hateful coin. I was incredibly impressed and inspired by the Prime Minister of New Zealand’s leadership during this time, and hope that that can be the future for all of us someday. This op-ed from the New York Times on Why Jacinda Arden Matters is worth using one of your free articles on. In times like these, we would be wise to remember, as Ardern said, “it takes strength to be an empathetic leader.”

2. favorites

My Aritzia belt: A couple months ago in Vancouver, one of the girls working at Aritzia was wearing this beautiful belt. I desperately wanted it, found out it was no longer available on the US website, and like any self-respecting Gen Z-er, complained about it on my blog. Well, I got it! It came back in stock and I snatched it up. It’s now one of two belts I own and I like it very much, even though it was FIFTY DOLLARS aka more than I feel comfortable spending on a single item. I justify it to myself because I have one belt that I never really wear, and I hear it’s good to have a basic black leather belt. And it is good! I’m wearing it right now and I look as cool as that girl I saw at Aritzia.

Taylor Swift’s article for Elle: This woman is my problematic fave 4evr and I am 100% behind her in her journey to becoming less problematic lol. I read this article early this month after a weekend I spent crying and worrying about what I was doing with my life and where on earth I was going with everything, and Taylor’s words were the best thing for me to read after that. Here are some of my favorite parts:

I learned not to let outside opinions establish the value I place on my own life choices. For too long, the projected opinions of strangers affected how I viewed my relationships. Whether it was the general internet consensus of who would be right for me, or what they thought was “couples goals” based on a picture I posted on Instagram. That stuff isn’t real. For an approval seeker like me, it was an important lesson for me to learn to have my OWN value system of what I actually want.

Lesson 8

How to fight fair with the ones you love. Chances are you’re not trying to hurt the person you love and they aren’t trying to hurt you. If you can wind the tension of an argument down to a conversation about where the other person is coming from, there’s a greater chance you can remove the shame of losing a fight for one of you and the ego boost of the one who “won” the fight. I know a couple who, in the thick of a fight, say “Hey, same team.” Find a way to defuse the anger that can spiral out of control and make you lose sight of the good things you two have built. They don’t give out awards for winning the most fights in your relationship. They just give out divorce papers.

Lesson 22

My mom always tells me that when I was a little kid, she never had to punish me for misbehaving because I would punish myself even worse. I’d lock myself in my room and couldn’t forgive myself, as a five-year-old. I realized that I do the same thing now when I feel I’ve made a mistake, whether it’s self-imposed exile or silencing myself and isolating. I’ve come to a realization that I need to be able to forgive myself for making the wrong choice, trusting the wrong person, or figuratively falling on my face in front of everyone. Step into the daylight and let it go.

Lesson 30

I also really liked number 28, where she spoke about finding her political voice. I’m a strong believer in celebrities and people with a platform using that for good causes, and I’m so glad Taylor is finally speaking up about this more and becoming less problematic, lol.

Pretty Hurts episode from NPR’s Code Switch: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this podcast from NPR before, but Code Switch is NPR’s show focusing on race, ethnicity, and culture in the world today. It’s always an interesting time and this episode on beauty, and the power and politics involved in the concept of beauty, was so interesting and thought-provoking for me. I loved hearing from Heijin Lee, who teaches a course on the Geoplitics of Beauty at NYU. A statement at the very end really kept me thinking about the concept of beauty:

You could argue that a profound way to decolonize your beauty routine is to have none, is to say, my body and my face are valuable and beautiful without modification.

[…]

The other really radical thing, I think, would be to try and reject personal beauty as a measure of worth. That’s something that a lot of people in the fat acceptance movement in particular have done a lot of work towards, not just broadening beauty ideals, but saying, we should respect people regardless of whether they’re considered beautiful.

[…]

Ultimately, beauty is a facet of power. So you can play into our current beauty norms, or you can try to change those norms, as people in a lot of these different movements have done, or you can decide you’re going to opt out of the whole process. But from a social standpoint, even if you decide not to play the game, the game is still being played, and you’re still stuck on the field.

Leah Donnella

The idea of shirking beauty is something I think about a lot. I’m a woman who enjoys art, fashion, makeup and following bloggers, so I like beautiful objects and images and people. I also think it’s bullshit that people, and especially women, are expected to be beautiful to be worth our time. I get so angry when girls say things like “sorry I look like shit, I didn’t have time to get ready this morning” or “I have to put on concealer to not look like death after a plane ride”. Why do we feel like we should apologize when we don’t look pleasing to others? Why do we judge others when they are not perceived as beautiful? It’s a game of power dynamics that makes me want to throw up my hands and just look ugly as hell forever. But as Leah said, even if you decide not to play the game, it’s still being played, and we’re all stuck on the goddamn field.

The Secret Lives of Color episode from 99% Invisible: Kassia St. Clair wrote a book about the secret lives of color and I am dying to read it after listening to this episode. It’s about forty-five minutes and it’s incredibly interesting, delving into the history of a bunch of different shades – how we humans have used these pigments throughout time, in different places, and all the different meanings that have come with it. There are some things that I’ve always been drawn to and been completely entranced by and color is one of them. I have no idea how to explain it, though, except by making squealing pig sounds when looking at swatches of blue.

3. non-favorites

College transfer applications: I’m supposed to hear back from UCs about acceptances/rejections in mid to late April, but during March I had a super stressful moment involving documents and urgent requests that threatened to cancel my application should I not give a prompt reply. I stress cried and it was cool.

Artesian water: Not to be confused with artisan water! Artesian water means groundwater that is really difficult to access, such as groundwater underneath nearly impermeable rocks. This water is used for drinking water, like Fiji and Voss brands, and it’s terrible for the environment because it’s so hard to replenish. Water is obviously a finite resource on our planet and it doesn’t get renewed nearly as quickly as we use it. Of course the whole issue of negative effects on the planet because of the human species is an eternal non-favorite, but this was a thing I learned this month that made me go, “holy shit, we’re killing the Earth bc we want to drink Fiji water?!”

Interviews: On one of the last days of March, I interviewed for this internship I’m hoping to do over the summer. And it was so nerve-wracking! I have veeeery little experience with interviews and had a lot of stress sweat that day lol.

4. goal recap

THINGS I DID AND AM 🙂 ABOUT

  1. Renewed my driver’s license
  2. Turned 22 lol
  3. Went to the dentist for a cleaning – they told me they can tell I’ve been flossing more!
  4. Took 4 tests and got As on all of them, including 2 100%s on my comparative politics exams
  5. Figured out a health insurance problem with a therapist
  6. Booked a place to stay for my dad and I’s trip to Italy this summer
  7. Started an accelerated public speaking class (the one that I found out v last minute I needed to graduate)
  8. Survived/dealt with a reaaaally stressful situation with my UC applications
  9. Interviewed for a summer internship program (and really grew my interview skills in the process of preparing)
  10. Sold 2 clothing items online
  11. Made time to hang out with friends
  12. Submitted my application to graduate with honors

THINGS I DID NOT DO AND AM :/ ABOUT

  1. Get a good amount of sleep
  2. Exercise (like, not one day lol)
  3. Take care of myself in general (I added a 3+ hour class to my schedule so I’ve been busier, and I’ve been skipping meals and having to take emergency naps bc I haven’t been caring for my physical needs. This is the biggest thing I’m bummed about)
  4. Figure out the getting rid of furniture situation
  5. Donate the bag of clothes that I put together to donate (like it’s sitting in the corner, I just have not taken it..)
  6. Attend class regularly (I skipped a lo0oO00ot of class this month)
  7. Spent money well (way too much eating out)
  8. Keep up with my planner (I started using this app Now/Then which basically acts as a timer to track what you do during your day – it’s a function I also use my planner for, so I haven’t been very good at filling it in as the week goes by)

5. + camera roll/good reads !


How Jerry Brown Quietly Pulled California Back From The Brink from Newsweek: I read this for my California politics class and I thought it was an interesting look at his life and political career. Jerry Brown was our state’s governor for a long while, and a pretty prominent one at that, so it’s worth a read, especially if you’re from/live in California (like I am/do)!

r/AsianBeauty thread about reducing waste with beauty products: In case you care about your skin lookin’ cute as well as the environment, like I do, this thread is a good read! I also heard about TerraCycle, which I’m definitely going to be using to recycle more.

My dad’s birthday is also this month, so we went out for dinner to celebrate that. He chose to go to this casino, as he and my mom recently discovered the all-you-can-eat buffet there, and our family is built on enjoying food and not enjoying spending money. I was so disappointed with myself because I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to – I got a really awful headache because of the indoor smoking. As soon as I went outside and breathed in some fresh air, my head started to feel much better.

But check out this Snapchat filter from The Secret Life of Pets!!

And we also saw this children’s book in the gift store that I adored with all my heart. When I was little, I really wanted to illustrate books and that’s one ~dream~* that’s stuck with me.

My school did a walk out to protest the D.A. here deciding not to indict the police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark. It was the first sort of protest-y thing I went to and it felt important and scary. Scary in the sense that I’m not really a person who’s comfortable yelling and chanting and I get nervous asking for something extra at a restaurant. It was a big feeling though, to see people out fighting for change and be a part of it.

Reddit thread from r/AsianBeauty on how to apply sunscreen properly: This freaaaaaked me out! I’ve been wearing sunscreen almost every day for the past year or so, and I learned from this thread that I’ve been applying it all wrong. It links to a Japanese TV show which showed how if you apply sunscreen by rubbing it in, your skin is exposed and the sunscreen is unevenly protecting your face. The correct way to apply sunscreen, according to the doctor on the program, is to put five blobs on your face (forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks) and pat it on with your fingertips, so it sits on top of your face evenly.

“Positive thinking” has turned happiness into a duty and a burden, says a Danish psychologist from Quartz: I was very depressed for a good while, so happiness was kind of the goal for a long time – it’s the opposite of depression, right? Over the past year or so I’ve started shifting my emotional goal to feeling whole and balanced and at peace with myself, rather than happy. This short article describes how Svend Brinkmann, a psychology professor at Denmark’s Aalborg University, thinks about the “culture of positivity” and I thought it was a good read for that reason. And it explains why I hate all those relentlessly positive and inspirational Pinterest quotes lol.

Get u a gal who looks at you like Luna looks at someone eating ice cream.

Tag urself I’m bitey, borb, and moist baby

Campus was super empty over spring break so I sat outside to get some studying done and this lil squirrel came right up to me!! I think he thought I had food, but alas, I had none on me and he left after a while. He was so cute when his little head poked over the top of my laptop though!

While waiting to pick my mom up from the airport, we had lunch in Saratoga and walked around a bit. It was a really cute area!

My bf sent me this and it made me smile. Animals are like that, right? Thanks for reading guys, and I hope you’re having a good start to April.

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Travel

yunnan 🇨🇳 china travel diary (pt. 6 of 8)

(There is no city or place name for this past the province that I was definitely in, because I am afraid I don’t remember… a clear sign I need to finish this series already lol)

We start our day in a town that I do not remember, because I had just started my period and was feeling nauseous and Very Not Good and did not pay attention when my uncle said where we were. My brother and I just kind of strolled throughout the town while our parents and aunt/uncle went off to the original touristy destination, and it was nice to get a breather from the nonstop sightseeing my aunt/uncle are big fans of. We just got to wander around together and pop into stores that caught our eye, and be flattered by light-up café signs that say the sweetest things.

A group of kids were having a dance performance performance at the town square (? Is there a better word for this?), so we sat for a bit while I tried not to feel like barfing and watched them.

I think my brother took a few of these photos while I was feeling pained and pitiful, so pls reach out if you would like to hire him for photography jobs!!

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