Life & Ramblings

november ’19 // month in review

1 – i want a vacation!

So, it’s the last month of the year and I am writing three final papers and trying desperately to come up with “good original ideas which contribute to a scholarly conversation”. Isn’t it funny how you go through school for so long being told to cite experts and remember this important objective fact and don’t too much of your own opinions – and then eventually you’re just expected to pull some original insights out of your ass with no explanation of how to do that? Isn’t that just awesome?

So clearly I’m in a ‘really need a vacation’ mood. It takes energy to put myself out there and walk thirty minutes uphill to class each day and exercise seasonal wintertime dreariness away, and I am ready to be done with it for a bit. It’s the Sunday before finals week – I’ve only got a bit left. That feels so wild to me, because it literally feels like just yesterday that I was moving in and getting lost (I still get lost, so that is less a “feels like” thing and more a “happens on a regular basis” thing), and also just yesterday that I was far, far away from LA and had no idea why UC students always knew what numbered week it was. I am really looking forward to December – finishing up my first quarter here, hopefully seeing some good grades come out of it, my favorite holiday (Christmas), getting to take a breather after all this school, seeing friends and catching up and all that. November has been alright, all in all! More of the same, but with a bit of Trying Not Get Seasonal Depression seasoning.

2 – what is good

Queen & Slim: The film club here at UCLA did an advance screening of this for free – I felt very cool for seeing a movie before it was released and also wonderful for spending $0 to do such a cool thing, lol. This movie wrecked my whole damn heart and then some. The premise is that a black man and woman go on a first date and it doesn’t go that great. They’re driving home when they get pulled over by a cop, and he’s the worst kind of cop. He’s unreasonable and aggressive and makes demands he has no right to make. The woman steps out of the car and is like, hey man, I’m a lawyer, and you can’t do that, you need a warrant! The cop ends up shooting her in the leg and then fights with Daniel Kaluuya’s character, who grabs his gun and shoots him. They drive away and are basically on the run trying to escape to Cuba for the rest of the film. It is exactly as tense as that summary suggests, a blistering mirror to America, and it’s also so full of heart it makes you weep until your whole face doesn’t remember what it feels like to be dry. Melina Matsoukas directed – it’s her first film but she’s previously directed a whole truckload of music videos, like Beyoncé’s Formation. Lena Waithe wrote the screenplay. I know nothing about film – most of my movie reviews are just “yes good I like made me cry” – but I know that this one deserves attention. It is the kind of two hour long experience that leaves you troubled over the state of your racist, anti-black country and yet a little heartened by human connection and love; just enough to keep from barricading your heart up forever. It came out properly over Thanksgiving weekend and I really hope it gets a strong reception.

Community: Big tone switch here. This TV show has been over for a while, but it’s a sitcom that follows a study group of community college students and, you know, hijinks ensue. In community college I had a study group and one time we were talking about Community and people were like ‘haha let’s cast our study group in the roles in Community!’ and they decided I was Annie. I had never seen it at the time, so I Googled her and was like, oh great, I’m this prissy cardigan-wearing nerd girl. Thanks a lot. After that I did a lot of Wikipedia reading on the TV show and character, but didn’t actually watch the show until now. In hindsight, my Wikipedia activities entirely prove the accuracy of that casting. So I’m on season two now and it’s very funny! It’s so weird seeing Donald Glover being funny instead of dancing intensely! There are definitely some really shitty moments like when Ken Jeong is in more or less blackface and I’m not sure what to do with that!

Van Gogh at the Hammer: Another cool LA thing I did was go to a couple lectures on Vincent Van Gogh at the Hammer Museum! You guys, it was super fucking cool. Art historian John Walsh lectured on Van Gogh’s time in a three-part lecture series and I went to two of them. I learned so much about him and his art! I got to see some really cool paintings and drawings they carted out for this! And it was all free! They even had my favorite cookies from Trader Joe’s at the reception afterwards! Agh!!

Warranty earphones: My earphones broke and I was super bummed. In one fell swoop, I lost the ability to listen to podcasts while walking to class, music while doing laundry, absolutely while walking past people I don’t want to talk to… Anyway, turns out the warranty was still valid! So the company, Anker, sent me some new ones. This is the first time I’ve ever actually used a warranty, lol. It’s wonderful! Thank god they exist!

3 – what is bad

College dining halls, or rather, what they have exposed about me: I enjoy eating and I am extremely averse to spending/wasting money (in other words, cheap). I have grown up knowing that when I walk into a buffet, I cannot leave until I am stuffed to the brim and have to unbutton my pants, because that is how you know you got your money’s worth and didn’t waste food, because did you know your father grew up poor and food-insecure? So, now I’m here at UCLA, and the dining halls are the home to “the #1 college food in the country!” as the advertisements will proudly declare, and I have a meal plan that I’ve already paid for, and the set-up is exactly like a buffet. And I just keep eating!!!! And then I leave and go to class and I’m like “holy fuck, I feel like I’m gonna barf”!!! And the next day I go back and eat the same uncomfortable amount!!!!! I really need to learn a lesson here. It’s just so hard to shake this mindset of scarcity concerning food and money. I literally don’t need nine flatbread slices for dinner! I was probably full at five! Maybe even four! Why did I keep going! Agh!

My poor left loafer: One night I left my loafers out while trying to figure out a good interview outfit. The next morning I put them on and saw these things on them and, I mean, it can really only be my cat’s nails, right? I can’t think of anything else that would cause this shape so I think she must have decided to do a bit of biscuit kneading on top of them. Now my shoes look like this and I am very, very sad about it. I should look into how to get it fixed or if that’s possible at all.

The Now/Then app: A number of months ago, I declared my love for this app – it lets me track everything I do! In satisfying color blocks! Amazing! Actually, it became pretty terrible. Every time I did something I felt vaguely panicked because I had to pick what category my activity fell under. Is curling my hair under “health and hygiene” or “leisure”?? The stopwatch that goes when you hit start on a particular activity is pretty darn stressful. I’ve been trying to step back from endless productivity being a main goal of my life, so I deleted this app. It’s been going really well. I enjoy bar graphs and pie charts in nice colors depicting random facts of my life very much, but when it measured my time so much it made me pretty panicked about stopping and starting the stopwatch of stuff.

My fingers/hands: I think I may have carpal tunnel, arthritis, or tendonitis. We are working on figuring what, but it’s pretty shit.

4 – cool things from the internet that i liked looking at

Am I overjoyed that I am Li? Do I think it is all of my positive traits and I am a cute fat panda to boot? Yes x2.

I got really into looking at embroidery and cross stitch things. I hope eventually it spurs me into making my own lol.

Erica Weiner’s Secret Message Acrostic Ring: This is $600, so approximately $580 more than I would ever consider spending on a ring in the next several years of my life, BUT BOY OH BOY – If you like fancy shiny things, secret messages, personalization, and romance and sentimentality, have I got the ring for you!! Acrostic rings were big in ye olden days (starting late 1800s, apparently) and each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a different gemstone. So it’s SECRET FUCKING MESSAGE SPELLED IN EXPENSIVE FUCKING ROCKS. My god, how cool. Take my money. Let’s forget for a second that I don’t have the money for a $600 ring – what would I spell with it?? Isn’t that so hard to decide if you don’t have a spouse or a kid??

5 – camera roll

I used this recipe, although I did change it a little. It was pretty bland, which I guess is my bad for using an Indian recipe from a white person… But I added a lot of cilantro (as you can see) and it got much better, mostly because I adore cilantro.

My roommate and my friend sent me this meme literally less than ten minutes apart. My heart felt so full, like all those cheesy Pinterest boards say.

Thank u for being here with me. I hope the last weeks and days of your 2019 are good, safe, and easy.

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Life & Ramblings, School

first impressions

I am a resident of Los Angeles, California now. If I weren’t signed up for paperless billing, my credit card bill would go to LA, CA, USA. If I were faster at doing things on my to-do list, I would be registered to vote in the same city that Lauren Conrad is. (I have a very surface-level knowledge of her and assume that she both lives in LA and votes.)

I will be living here for at least the next two years of my life for school and feel, as with any ending/beginning I experience, funny about it. My boyfriend came to help me move in and as we walked around talking about how different everything is here compared to what we’re used to, he suggested I should write down some first impressions to revisit later. I love this idea and can’t believe I, a highly sentimental and stationery loving person, have never done it before in any of the places I’ve been.

So that’s what this is: the view from my first week here in LA. I hope I’ll be able to look back on this in a year, five, ten, seven hundred, and feel funny all over again.

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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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Travel

socal 🎨 spring break photo diary (pt. 2 of 2)

On this day, my frond Olive and I headed to LA, city of angels, city of girls with very long fingernails, city of The Broad art museum!!!!! We did a couple other things too, but the main attraction was obviously The Broad.

(Above is my attempt at a cute handwritten title card, done with the back pages of my planner and photographed with my phone and messily cut out with my old Photoshop app. Ta da. Am I happy with it? Not really. Am I so unhappy with it that I’m willing to spend more time learning how to do it better right now? Also not really. Maybe when I’m like 72 I’ll be a self-taught PS master.)

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We went to Sprinkles Cupcakes, which, if you’ve spent any time at all on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a photo of their cupcake ATMs. A basic bee’s pilgrimage, honestly lol. The writing in the ceiling circle (what an awful description, but lmk if you can think of a better way to refer to that lol) is an ice cream recipe from Benjamin Franklin, I think. How cerebral/historic/cool, right? I appreciated that.

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The location we went to had both cupcakes and ice cream, and I prefer ice cream over cake so I got a cupcake sundae type thing with salted caramel ice cream and a vanilla cupcake covered with sprinkles. A word of warning – the salted caramel flavor is super fucking salty. The girl working warned me that it would be and I even tried a bit and decided I liked it, because my usual gripe with salted caramel ice cream is that there’s too much ‘caramel’ and not enough ‘salted’. I was wrong, y’all. I was so wrong. It would have been all fine and good if it were a kid’s cup of ice cream, but it was larger than I expected and after a while it just tasted like a salt water rinse had accidentally fallen into a vat of ice cream. I had a lot of feelings about it.

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OK lol moving on from the ice cream tragedy, we also took a walk around the UC Irvine campus. These lockers are from the art department and the stickers say “everything is not going to be ok”, so in case you were wondering if things were going to turn out alright? They’re not.

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The Broad!! Pronounced like “road”, for us non-locals. Admission is free but tickets are popular, so you can either reserve tickets online for the next month (so, for example, tickets for July are released on the 1st of June) or wait in line at the door, which is what we did. I think we got there at 9 and they opened at 10, but it wasn’t a huge deal because we just sat and chatted. I don’t mind waiting in lines too much, which I think is a bit of an uncommon feeling re: queues. I guess I look at it as an opportunity to hang out with whoever you’re with, or if you’re alone, catch up on some reading or something like that. (Obviously DMV lines etc are hell on earth – this sentiment really only applies to voluntary ‘fun’-ish lines like art museum admission.)

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An infinity room! Yayoi Kusama’s famous infinity rooms were very very cool. Still undecided as to whether the strict time limits are a valuable part of the artistic experience or just annoying as hell. I didn’t take a ton of photos on my camera as I was freaked out because of the time limits, so I just kind of waved my phone around and tried to take it in.

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The paid exhibition going on at that time was for Jasper Johns. We just did the free stuff.

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