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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Life & Ramblings

february ’19 // month in review

1. more of the same

It’s March and this post is solate! February flew the fuck by, and I guess that’s what it’s supposed to do, being the shortest month and all. I mentioned last month that I felt pretty tired and blah, and I’m still feeling that way. I hope it just means I’m gearing up to be the 100 emoji, but it’s OK, I think, because these things pass.

Image source: NPR

2. favorites

Paddington 2: I really loved Paddington 1 and I thought to myself, how could the sequel possibly beat this perfect movie? And then we watched it, and I witnessed the best sequel in the history of cinema unfold before my eyes. If you liked the first movie, the original books, and the emotion joy, you will love this movie. And if you’re not willing to die for that little bear at the end of it? I’ll eat my marmalade sandwich hat.

This tip for getting rid of hickeys: I’m not too skilled at makeup, but this month I learned a useful makeup + get out of my life trick for hickeys! After several YouTube videos and Google searches and blog posts and magazine articles, I did a really good job at covering up and then banishing a hickey pretty quickly. It was gone in, like, four days, and sometimes I’ve had them stick around for over a week. The makeup side of this is to layer liquid and powder products over and over with flat brushes – I did a layer of liquid concealer, patted on with my ring finger, then powder concealer from Bare Minerals, patted on with a flat brush, and then repeat. Sometimes I mix it up with a liquid foundation or a powder foundation or a translucent setting powder, just to make the color right. It’s also important to just dab and pat with your fingers or a flat brush (not a fluffy brush), to make sure you’re depositing the product exactly where it needs to go and not buffing or sheering it out too much. And to get rid of the thing quickly, take a flat topped round object (like the top of a mascara tube), press it into the hickey in question, and turn it. Alternatively, you can use a coin (or some other similarly-shaped object that is not so dirty lol) and scrape your hickey with the side. This is supposed to break up the blood clotted up there. You have to do it as hard as you can take it, but I didn’t do it very often or very hard and it still worked pretty well. Hashtag hoe tips!

Pokemon: Indigo League: In February, J and I got very into Pokemon. Like, it’s all we’ve been watching, we only communicate in Pokemon gifs, he got me a stuffed Pikachu for Valentine’s Day, we unearthed my little brother’s old Nintendo DS and J’s been playing the game like mad, we’re really into Pokemon now. The first season (which is on Netflix) is actually incredibly funny and entertaining to watch. We have a theory that it was just supposed to run for one season and they didn’t anticipate how popular the whole franchise would get, so the writing and voice actors were really good then, and deteriorated as time went on and they realized people would still keep watching and they could still keep making money.

3. non-favorites

This is the section where I would usually talk about things that did not bring joy to my month, and I can’t super think of that much I want to gripe about. I don’t think that’s actually a good thing, because I think I felt fairly meh all of February, and there weren’t highs and lows that I can point to.

4. goals

So I thought I would change the way I’m doing this section bc, honestly, I do not remember what I said in my last post when I’m going through the days/weeks – my new idea is that I can go over things I did and am feeling good about and things I did not do and am feeling bad about. This is also a defense because I did exactly zero (0) of the actual specific things I set out in January. But, like, I did other things!? And it’s good to celebrate the wins while also being like, girl, is it really so hard to get rid of homework your family has been hoarding since the first grade???? And so, in no particular order~

THINGS I DID + AM 🙂 ABOUT

  1. Submitted my FAFSA
  2. Finished up my UCLA transfer application (I’m in my CC’s honors program, so I have to do a certification thingy)
  3. Edited my photos from Vancouver
  4. Went on walks a few times a week (in an effort to get my step count up, bc going from home -> class -> office -> home is not a recipe for movement)
  5. Cut my cat’s nails
  6. Saw my brother while he was visiting
  7. Got As on my first couple tests in school!
  8. Submitted my CC’s scholarship application
  9. Sold a couple clothes/makeup bits n bobs on Mercari
  10. Submitted my application to a summer program
  11. Booked flights for my summer trip to Rome with my dad! (He’s going to a work conference, I am excitedly tagging along)
  12. Submitted my petition to graduate after this semester
  13. Realized I need another class to graduate in time to enroll

THINGS I DID NOT DO AND AM 😦 ABOUT

  1. Finish my Common App
  2. Give my boyfriend his Valentine’s Day card (I gave him his gift and a smol card, but I didn’t finish the main card in time for the actual day…)
  3. Keep up with my planner
  4. Exercise (I had the goal of exercising 2-3 times a week, whether that be running, going to the gym with my bf, or doing a video workout at home, and I exercised like…. 3 times the whole month. Better than nothing, I guess, but definitely not my goal)
  5. Get a good amount of sleep
  6. Keep my bedroom/physical space clean
  7. Take my car to be washed inside and out
  8. Cross stitch (I’ve been working on this thing for legit 3 years at this point)
  9. Plan my spring break holiday (I’m planning on visiting colleges during this time, and still have no0oo0o00O clue what is going on lol)
  10. Get rid of some old furniture
  11. Donate unwanted bits around the house
  12. KonMari my clothes

5. + camera roll / good reads !

Fifty Shades of Snail’s 7 Skincare Classics: I love a good makeup/skincare blogger – it’s fun seeing people much better at it than I am do it well, hopefully learn something, get a peek into a lot of products and lavish routines that I would probably otherwise not be able to, and the chatter is nice when I’m getting ready for bed at night and don’t want to do it in silence but also don’t want to listen to a podcast (for fear that I might miss something crucial when the water’s splashing). The thing everyone hates about bloggers is, obviously, their seemingly endless stream of consumption and subsequent sponsored shilling of the night cream you have to have because it’s changed their life. I like Jude because her writing on Asian cosmetics and skincare describes what works and what doesn’t and why, and I especially liked this post because at the end of the day, hauls don’t tell you anything useful, but consistent repurchases do.


My name is fairly uncommon these days – I think its popularity peaked in the 1910s or ’20s. I never see anything with my name on it, even though I’ve been dying for a souvenir mug or nail polish color since forever, so imagine my rabid excitement when I saw the name of this shirt from Princess Polly! Unfortunately I think it’s ugly – but small victories, yeah?

My name is fairly uncommon these days – I think its popularity peaked in the 1910s or ’20s. I never see anything with my name on it, even though I’ve been dying for a souvenir mug or nail polish color since forever, so imagine my rabid excitement when I saw the name of this shirt from Princess Polly! Unfortunately I think it’s pretty ugly – but small victories, yeah?

Angel Trazo’s art on Instagram: I discover so many artists on Instagram that I love and am unable to remember in the coming months, so let this be the first one I am setting in ink (pixels?) to remember!! I like seeing artists, I like seeing artists illustrating about things I can relate to, like being an Asian American woman, I like seeing people do cool things and pursue things they care about and that are important. How else can I describe how art makes one feel? Idk, but I’m into art, and into this artist I found this month.

Goop’s GIFs of the KonMari Folding Method and Juju Sprinkles’ Illustrated Explanations of KonMari Folding: Like the rest of the country, I watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo’s Netflix show and felt personally attacked and inspired all at once to go forth and tidy up! I did not KonMari my closet, but I did start folding my clothes, and was immediately stumped. These two pages were the most helpful in helping me figure out how tf to make a neat little rectangle out of clothes, although I will say that I am still having a struggle with my crop top bralette party type tops and general bra storage. It’s nice to see the nice little rows in my wardrobe now, and it is, as everyone says, much easier to deal with than the vertical stacking we were all doing before.

Time’s Art History Expert Explanation of the Art in Beyoncé and Jay Z’s Apeshit Video: Totally know this video came out a while ago, but I just read this article recently and it is not worth skipping because of time. Kimberly Drew (art curator, writer, NYC Met’s social media editor) and Alexandra Thomas (art historian, PhD candidate at Yale for African American Studies and History of Art) go into the meaning of The Louvre and its artwork as a setting for the Carters, and it’s the best fucking thing. I could have read another five hundred pages of this. So interesting, and I loved this quote from Thomas in particular:

Beyoncé and these other artists aren’t assimilating, but instead, staging this embodied intervention that disrupts more than it conforms to the logistics of Western art and Western museums

Alexandra Thomas, on Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait of a Black Woman (Negress) painting

OK that is it for this laaaate post, it’s my birthday tomorrow and my gift to myself is getting this off my to-do list! Thanks as always 4 bein’ here, and I’ll see you in the next one (hopefully on time)

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