Life & Ramblings

april, may, and june | 2020

1 – a few months in review

It’s been a hot minute, Internet void, and I’m back to blabber on a bit about the toxic hellhole cesspit we call the year 2020. April was the first whole month I spent inside at home with my parents, my brother, and my boyfriend. At the end of the month my laptop charger frayed beyond the point of any artful smushing to get it at just the right angle to charge, and that’s a good metaphor for the month. Family issues were, as always, not fun! May brought midterms, more of those fun family issues, and a headfirst tumble into bad depression and anxiety land. I moved back to my apartment in LA near the end of May, and then June was finals week and another fun household conflict, roommate edition this time, and I’m preparing to move back in with my parents again. The days have kind of blurred together and it feels so bizarre that we are halfway through the year. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that I can’t seem to remember the passage of time (makes this mess pass a bit faster?) or not (feels like I’m trapped in an endless series of reboots of the same jumble of shit?) but it’s happening either way.

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Life & Ramblings

march | 2020

1 – welp

Anyone reading this right now probably knows that everything is shit, but it still bears mentioning. So uh, we’re obviously in the midst of a global pandemic right now. That means I’m back home with my family in northern California instead of in my LA college apartment, and it feels bonkers to think about what I started this month doing and feeling versus how I’m ending. At the beginning of March I went to my friend’s theatre show, a dinner with twelve strangers (a cool UCLA alumni event where I had tortellini the size of my fist it was great), voted in our state’s primary election, finished my tours training, ate Korean BBQ and spent legitimately the next 3 days feeling full, watched a lot of New Girl, and planned my spring break. Soon after those first, like, ten days of the month, it became clear that life was not going to proceed as previously planned. I did all my finals online. I cancelled my spring break travel. UCLA announced the whole of spring quarter would be online, so I came home for break and now I’m home for an indefinite amount of time, planning to work from home and wondering what the hell’s gonna happen to my apartment. At some point in all this, I turned 23. (It was on the day we got the email that spring quarter would be all online.)

It’s funny, because I was walking around campus sometime in late February, listening to some music that may or may not play in the indie movie daydreams I have, and I thought to myself “man, I’m really gonna miss this place one day”. And that day is upon us! Who knows when I’ll be back at UCLA, you know? My days were already numbered, and now those numbers have dwindled even more. This time has been clarifying for me, in the way that tragedy always is. I know I — and my family, friends, state, country, planet — am not even in the worst of it yet. But already I’m thinking about how I want to live after this is over. I want to dye my hair blue, because life is too short to worry about how weird it’ll be and it’ll be fun and I’ll either look cool and love it or not look so cool and it’ll be over soon enough. I want to donate more money to causes I care about, because I can probably spare the price of a dinner and what’s the point of being an American immigrant with a better livelihood than your grandparents if you can’t help others get there too. I want to canvass for policies that need voices, any voices, maybe mine, just to have one more. I want to give more hugs.

So, um, yeah. That’s where I’m at as March is ending. I’m 3 for 3 on saying “this month was awful, I hope it gets better!” but this time, for the world’s sake as well as my own, I really fucking hope things take an upturn from here.

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Life & Ramblings

february | 2020

1 – the good times were good, the bad was real bad

Ah February. You half listened to what I wanted from you, and gave me some good times, but also some p bad ones! I’m ending February and beginning March much like I ended January and began February, meaning that there has been a string of Real Bad Days that I’m eager to leave behind. I did some nice things in February, to be sure – had good times with friends, went on a lil trip to Big Bear, did some good hard work in therapy, got an A+ on the midterm for this class that everyone said was terrifying. But I also was stressed out and tired bc of health and home things, and of bad things to happen, they were pretty bad things to deal with. We’re not even getting to the public bad news of February, lol. Anyway, March is my birthday month, I’m really hoping it’s a better time. Fingers crossed!

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Life & Ramblings

january | 2020

1 | a bad time

January has been an utter shit to me. The first few days were still winter break for me, but then I started winter quarter, which I have heard many people say is the worst quarter out of all of them. So I’ve been trying to balance my four classes, internship, job, and not give up eating and showering, but I’ve also been dealing with this health thing. My stupid body’s taken me to doctor’s office, specialist’s offices, so many please hold’s on the phone, insurance customer service, and a whole nightmare. It’s such a slog to take care of yourself, god. I’ve been so tired. Cried a lot. Cried in a school bathroom for the first time! A professor’s office! All that fun stuff. So, yes, January has been a shit, and I am hoping February turns out better. On the up and up, right? (It’s Feb 10 as I write this, so I can say that I thiiiink I’m coming out of it.)

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december '19 // month in review

1 – i got a vacation!

My first quarter at UCLA ended in December, so that was my first finals week and all that here. I’m really happy with it overall! So, a couple weeks into the month, I headed back up north to do not much for winter break. I watched The Mandalorian, cuddled a lot with my boyfriend, saw friends and my brother, and wondered if I’d ever use the yoga mat I packed for winter break. It was nice to get a lil rest from everything, but we are already in January 10 and boy oh boy has winter quarter hit me like a truck.

2 – things i liked

The Anthropocene Reviewed: John Green, of The Fault in Our Stars and Crash Course fame, hosts this podcast where he reviews various aspects of the human-centered world on a five-star scale. I discovered this on the 99% Invisible podcast. When I was in middle school I loved Green’s books and my friends and I even went to see the Vlogbrothers live. Then he got even more popular and I think I thought he was too self-aggrandizing and pretentious, especially his Tumblr presence, and now I haven’t thought about him in a couple years. Until now! I was so surprised when he came on the show, and pleasantly so when his podcast turned out to be funny and insightful and touching. They feel the same way as his books felt for me years ago, only a little more smart, and a little less teen angst. The episode on the potatoes of Lenin made me cry, and the episode on penalty kicks in football/soccer made me care about sports more than I ever have in my life. I’m happy to have come back to John Green in this way.

Baby Yoda: We watched The Mandalorian, not all of it, and the best thing ever is Baby Yoda. The rest of it, eh. It was good, but I don’t care for fighting. Love Baby Yoda though.

Mario Party on Nintendo Switch: Not much to say, other than I play as Monty Mole and am not very good, but still have a grand old time.

3 – things i did not like

Someone stole my Instagram post: I posted a photo of UCLA and then someone else posted it! This was weird and I felt weird at how annoyed I felt. I thought I should have been more chill – it was an Instagram photo, some pixels and that’s all. But I was pretty upset about it. She ended up crediting me in her caption and said she thought it wasn’t my photo in the first place, so whatever, sort of believable mistake. Just a weird occurrence in my month, lol.

Vacation with some people is not vacation: Taking breaks is important, and I was really glad to go home and see my boyfriend and friends and moof around a lot. Sometimes ‘home’ doesn’t feel like home though, because people there impede your sense of self and safety. A big realization for me!

4 – other things i liked that you can click and also like

View this post on Instagram

It’s the time of year when I’ve always started thinking about making New Year’s resolutions, examining myself in the mirror, contemplating my drinking or workout habits, running on the hamster wheel of my thoughts about what I should change or fix or alter about myself. And because I have always done all of this in the name of growth and self-improvement, I have always felt like it was a useful exercise. But I’ve realized, lately, that I was doing myself a disservice—selling myself short, holding myself back—by always viewing myself in terms of how I was deficient, how I needed to change.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I think it is a very good and noble thing to want to improve yourself, and I’m not against New Year’s resolutions or anything (as an Enneagram 1, actually, the only reason New Year’s resolutions aren’t my jam is because if I want to make a change, I make it right away instead of waiting for a holiday 😂). But I’m growing to learn that the motivation behind making a change is as important as the change itself. I am working to shift my motivation for self-improvement from “because I’m somehow deficient as I am” to “because this change will bring me more peace and greater joy, and I am worthy of both.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are each of us so much more than our least favorite things about ourselves. So maybe in 2020 we can work on caring for ourselves and loving ourselves just as we are right now, today. Flaws and all.

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Virtue and Vanity at Reformation by Jia Tolentino for The New Yorker

The Company That Branded Your Millennial Life Is Pivoting To Burnout by Anne Helen Peterson for Buzzfeed

The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter by Jason Kottke

Toward an Applicable Theory of Just Not by Rachel for Autostraddle

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What I wish I could say but cannot 🙃

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I didn’t!

I had no idea what I wanted to do, and felt “stuck” for a long time.

Eventually – when I was working in restaurants, unable to afford going back to school, and feeling like I was so far away from doing anything I enjoyed – I gave up on having a 5 year plan or destination/dream job, and just started to follow my curiosity and values to create meaning in my life outside of work. That led me back to the path of community work and activism that led me to Congress. The funny thing is that I had been invested in community work since I was young, I just didn’t quite realize it.

That’s all to say if you feel “stuck” one of the most helpful (and difficult) things to do is to let go of expectations about external achievements (title, job, money) and start listening to what you are immediately curious about, invested in, or good at and follow that in ways outside of work. That can help you re-orient yourself.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram Stories, answering the Q ‘how did you know you wanted to do what you do?’

5 – camera roll

In closing, I leave you with a reminder of what my face looks like from a photo my brother took of me a few months ago and a Tweet I believe in strongly.

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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 give 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.

hospital at saint-rémy, 1889 (vincent van gogh)

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, absolute silence while walking past people I just 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 stupid 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 it ended up making my brain constantly panic over measuring how productive I was being.

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 a 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

back garden of sien’s mother’s house, the hague, 1882 (vincent van gogh)

Doggo spotted looking at Van Gogh with his ma!

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. I just thought it would serve me well as someone who cannot handle spicy food. But I added a lot of cilantro (as you can see) and it got much better! I think cilantro does that to everything.

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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september ’19 // month in review

1 – beginnings + endings

I’ve moved to LA! Halfway through the month I moved 400 miles south. The first two weeks of September were spent finishing up at my internship and restaurant job, packing up a lot of stuff, and feeling very unprepared for the end of my time in my lil ol’ hometown. Then I had a six-hour drive, a confused cat, a helpful boyfriend, blessedly absent parents, a very difficult IKEA bed, and the beginning of whatever I’m doing now!

I’m in the first week of my first quarter here at UCLA and hopefully two years from now I’ll have a bachelor’s degree, a few friends, some cool LA thrifted clothes, and some cooking and tidying and general house skills to show for it. I still feel pretty weird but I’m looking forward to feeling normal here eventually.

2 – things i’ve liked a lot

Silent D Shoes: I was so fucking #influenced and I’m only slightly ashamed that I was seriously going to spend $150 on these. Ashley from bestdressed wears these in black a lot and they look so fucking cool that I clicked on the link and looked at them seventeen times a day for, like, four days straight. I think the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes is around $100 (for my Sam Edelman loafers), everything else is in the 50 or 60ish range, but lord. Shoes are my biggest wardrobe weakness and I went from “wow, I am generally uncomfortable spending anything over $50 for shoes” to “I need those $150 shoes right now and I will express ship them if needed” at a frightening speed. My bf thought they were hideous (he’s wrong, obviously) and expensive (he’s got me there), so I checked Ebay and Poshmark and Mercari and LO, $30 ON POSHMARK, MY SIZE, THEY’RE MINE. I wasn’t sold on the silver at first as it’s a bit loud, but for $30?! I’ll take ‘em. I really like them!!!! I really love them!!!!! The silver isn’t as unwearable as I had feared and, I mean, they’re kind of an out there shoe look to begin with so in for a huge buckle penny in for a shiny silver pound, eh?

Moving away from my parents: Don’t want to put anyone on blast here, not least people who are responsible for funding the vast majority of my life, but let’s just say I have very much enjoyed some geographic distance from a few people who are not the most helpful to my mental health. Depression, actually improved. Anxiety, same. Acne, still fine because of my acne cream. 🙂

My new tattoo: A lot of big changes this September!!! Another being that my right arm has this big piece o’ black on it now! Claire at Tex Tattoo in SF did it for me and it is so gosh dang pretty. I wanted golden poppies (for sweet home California) and thistles (for sweet birthplace Scotland) and she whipped up this cute lil thing. My butt was numb and hurt by the end, but my arm didn’t feel too bad at all and it’s healing pretty well now. My parents are disappointed in me which is par for the course, I know the rest of my family is going to be o_O (I think this is an emoticon we need to bring back from the 2000s graveyard), and I myself think it looks so so nice.

3 – from my camera roll

Thank you cards I made for my internship office! I wasn’t the happiest with the middle one but I also lacked the time and energy to make a new one lol. For my last day we went out for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and they got me a California State Senate resolution which meant a lot to me. It’s good to be appreciated for ur work u kno!

This sign was at my vet one day and I mean, my god. Zoom in and you can see those lil animal faces. And my tears because it is so sad.

We did a lil day trip to SF to get my tattoo and had ramen in Japantown afterwards, as well as picking up some donuts for the drive back home.

Saw this sign in Berkeley on the way back – I think someone hacks into those traffic signs to say stuff like that :O ✊✊✊

I’m trying really hard to remember this! I think it’s important. My resilience being responsible for me being me – not shit that should not have been there in the first place. Just me taking care of me.

This is literally me every time I go to a Chinese restaurant without my parents lmao.

While my bf was helping me move in, we went to Santa Monica Pier where I saw my gosh darned name on a tourist knick knack for the first time in my entire life. It was less exciting than I thought it would be.

Lots of people go fishing here!! It’s wild.

I finally finished my cross stitch! I didn’t even properly finish it because I lost the instructions lmao; I think I was supposed to backstitch a detail or something. But I’m really happy with it! I have a lot of trouble doing art and creative things because I’m afraid of being bad at it – and that’s a thing I’m working on getting over because obviously when you learn new things you’re not amazing at them + sometimes it’s nice to do things you like even if you’re not really good. So I’m proud of myself for being persistent with this guy and I hope my next project doesn’t take me two years! (I’m not that bad, it took me 2 years mostly because I would start and then forget about it for three months and then pick it back up for a week and then repeat the cycle.)

And this is a wire grid from IKEA I got as ~decor~*. I’m really looking forward to making this space mine and feel like home, so this is me trying to decorate!

After moving/building furniture, we went out for a very late dinner at Fat Sal’s. We realized very quickly that this is definitely food that’s great at 2AM when you’re drunk.

It’s really bright in my room. My blinds don’t do anything! So I put up my towels in a sad attempt to block light and this is Luna being confused about my interior decor.

Actual images of me trying to be social and make friends right now lmao.

I leave you with this hILARIOUS Chinese meme.

4 – things i have not really liked at all

Long distance: My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship now with 400 miles between us. It feels pretty sad to not be able to drive fifteen minutes to see each other and have to schedule phone calls every couple days. I’m really thankful we’re making it work right now, but it’s just sort of sad, you know? When your individual life plans mean you kind of have to not be physically together. I don’t think I realized how sad some small things would be or just how empty it feels to receive 0 hugs a day instead of 30.

Being sick and lonely and a bit overwhelmed: The day before the quarter started I woke up with a sore throat, and I’ve still got a cold! It’s not great timing. This is kind of big change in my life and, you know, it’s not the easiest. I’ll figure it out in time, but right now I haven’t yet and it doesn’t feel great.

5 – reading + looking list

Tracy Ma’s typographic tour of Manhattan’s Chinatown for AIGA Eye on Design

I Was a Low-Income College Student. Classes Weren’t the Hard Part. by Anthony Abraham Jack for The New York Times Magazine

I may be just an ordinary orc, but I wasn’t at all surprised when the Dark Lord Sauron became the leader of Mordor. A lot of my smart, liberal friends, though, reacted as if Middle-earth was coming to an end.

[…]

It’s all very well for those of you who dwell in the Shire, the haven of Rivendell, or the quiet forests of Lothlórien. You live in a bubble. You don’t know what life is like for the average orc, in depressed areas like the Trollshaws, the Misty Mountains, or the Dead Marshes. Let me tell you, it’s hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we’ll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth.

[…]

And to those who say it’s time we choose someone like Lady Galadriel, forget it. There are still a lot of people who will never vote for an elf.

‘We Need a Wizard Who Can Appeal to the Moderate Orc Voter’ by David Howard for McSweeney’s

Vanessa Lianne’s custom signet rings: If I had more money and more of an inclination to buy things without feeling very guilty I’d like to get one of these that says Luna.

Active meditation: Victoria Hoff writing for The/Thirty on WhoWhatWear

GOOP has no issues weaponizing fears about femininity for profit. They use words like “pure,” “clean,” and “natural” — the same language as the patriarchy — to market supposedly better than conventional (but not really), yet definitely more expensive products as taking charge of your health.

GOOP has promoted vaginal steaming, the origins of which include the false belief that a uterus is full of toxins. If the myth weren’t so harmful, it would be laughable. If menstrual blood were filled with deadly toxins, how exactly does an embryo implant and thrive? 

This lie has been used to exclude menstruating women from school, work, and religious services. Vaginal steaming is a literal tool of the patriarchy. A literal tool of the patriarchy.

No GOOP, we are most definitely not on the same side by Dr. Jen Gunter

Maxwell Tilse’s illustrations and his Etsy shop

AM I OVERTHINKING THIS? Over-answering life’s questions in 101 charts by Michelle Rial


It’s been a big September for me, y’all. I’m not ready for whatever’s coming next but we’re gonna do it anyways. Have a good October!

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july ’19 // month in review

1. a weekend in sf

July flew by, which is obvious because here I am two weeks into August writing this post lol. I spent a weekend in SF with my bf and my brother and I have a lot of photos to show for it! Otherwise, I have already completely forgotten most of what I did in July – so it’s a good thing I have some photos to fill this post up with.

A mural in the Mission of Carlos Santana.

This is SF’s City Hall! I’d never been there before and we just kind of stumbled across it, but now I finally know the location of the trendy photos everyone takes with those trees lol.

After walking around the Sutro Baths a bit on our first day there, we found a hot pot place in Richmond for dinner. They were very popular and busy so we had to wait, but it was worth it for all you can eat delicious hot pot! While we waited we walked around the area and got donuts down the street at Golden Donuts.

I saw so many lovely plants decorating the entry ways of houses and I felt really ~inspired~* for when I move into my own (room in an) apartment in September.

The Heath Newstand was a very cute, hipster, SF artsy type shop (or at least it felt like that to me, an out-of-towner). I loved the greeting cards and the books they had, especially the travel and art section.

We wandered into a good few random boutiques on the second day, and I was absolute heart eyes at all the art supplies at The Aesthetic Union. I do this thing where I take photos of things I want to buy but won’t let myself buy, like these compliment cards. (I think I do this because I’m pretty frugal with money and feel like I can DIY cards instead of buying them, but I feel liiiiiike it’s weird that it makes me feel an inordinate amount of guilt to buy a nice piece of art that makes me happy so maybe I should talk to a therapist about that.)

My bf saw this tent and said “omg, it would be perfect for Luna!”. I picked it up and saw that, wonder of wonders, it was actually intended to be a cat tent! Then we looked at the tag and it was almost $200, so we put it back to wait for the day when we are millionaires and can spend $200 on a cat tent.

This was outside a school – it says “curious and courageous”. :’)

The murals across SF are so so nice. These are from a brewery that we walked past, and the one above was in the Mission.

2. things i liked a lot

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui: My best friend from high school gave me this book while I was visiting her in LA, so this was my July read. It’s an illustrated memoir and pretty fast to get through because of that, and it was the first graphic novel type book I’ve read that hit me like a non-illustrated one would. She writes and paints with such care and skill and it felt so big to be able to read her story and her family’s history. I saw parts of myself and my Asian immigrant family in it, especially when she wrote about her relationships with her parents and their life in Vietnam. Other parts I couldn’t see us in at all. It feels intimate and foreign all at once, but most of all, it’s exactly what the quote on the back says – “a book to break your heart and heal it”. It was UCLA’s Common Book last year (? I think?) and I’m really :’) to have it as a memory of a visit to my best friend from high school for the school I’m starting at soon.

My Mango wide-leg jeans: I was going to take a photo of these, but honestly it’s the middle of August already and I just want to publish this post lol. Maybe I’ll add one later. In any case, I have the tag in my travel journal which is further down this page in my Rome journal spreads, so you can kind of see what they look like. On me, a person who is firmly 5’3, they look nothing like they do in the picture because they skim the top of my feet and are not culotte length – so that’s why they are my wide-leg jeans and not my culottes, lol. I got them in Rome with my dad and I’m really into the aggressively wide-leg look! I’ve realized lately that I’ve become very blah with my style, wearing the same things all the time, and it bugs me because I remember being into putting outfits together and having fun with experimenting like that. I’m trying to remember that feeling and also trying to dress in a more interesting way – it’s not worked out yet, but we’ll see where we get lol.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe: This is a webcomic about the Greek gods that I kept seeing Instagram ads for and my god, they know exactly what kind of people to target with those ads, because I caved and clicked and I’m obsessed with this comic now!!!!! I have push notifications on (and I only have notifications turned on for like 10 apps on my phone that are ‘important’ like banking and messages, not even Instagram!!!) so I know immediately when a new update is up!!!! I LOVE THE GODDAMN THING AND I’M EVEN THINKING OF CONTRIBUTING VIA PATREON!!!! …Anyway, this is a webcomic mainly about Hades and Persephone and I adore the artist’s style of art. It deals with things like sexual assault and toxic parenting really well, and it’s fun and gorgeous to read. I cannot believe an Instagram ad for Webtoon brought this into my life and knew exactly what I wanted. I also know full well that I was a child with a book of 101 illustrated Greek myths that I read cover to cover at least twenty times so, you know, that last sentence is a complete lie.

3. things i did not like a lot

Photographers, Instagrammers – Stop Being So Damn Selfish and Disrespectful from Paul Reiffer’s blog: If you’ve gone anywhere in the past few years, you’ve probably taken a photo for the ‘gram or helped someone take one for the ‘gram or seen a lot of people taking pics for the ‘gram. And, like, this is not to be old man yelling at a cloud about it, but I think we all need to look critically at our photo-taking habits and reassess whether we really need a photo in this lavender field right now. I like Instagram as much as any Gen Z gal, but it’s hard to deny how narcissistic it can make us, as well as how a photo op can be incredibly disrespectful to lands and people. Reiffer is a photographer who wrote this blog post after seeing the lavender fields in Provence overrun by people trying to get their shot. I think Instagrammers, Chinese wedding shoots (idk about other groups bc I’m Chinese? But omg the Chinese wedding shoot thing is like. A WHOLE THING. It’s wild.), photographers, and normal everyday folk alike have a hand in this, and I think Reiffer could have been a little more self-aware of the role he and his fellow photographers have played. Overall though, it’s an interesting read from a photographer’s perspective.

These weren’t people wanting to enjoy the view – or even capture the scenery to share and enjoy well into the future with friends. These are people so obsessed with their own sense of self-importance for the sake of a few instant “likes” on their social media profile that they find it perfectly acceptable to trespass, steal, disrespect the workers and their land – all in the name of “influencing”.

+ how I don’t remember anything else from this month lol

4. camera roll

Something Shalom said to me after I read one of her Instagram captions that really fucking ~spoke to me~ after a week of feeling hardcore imposter syndrome and freaking out about what I’m doing and where I’m going. I wrote it in my planner and I’m trying to remember it still.

I finally finished journalling my Rome trip!

Saw this on my Instagram explore tab, went :o. You guys think it’s true?! I’d like to try it out the next time I’m writing a paper.

Luna’s turned five!!!!! This was my bf’s birthday cake, so don’t worry, we didn’t serve her chocolate cake lol. We just put Luna-appropriate candles on it and gave her extra tuna for dinner. 🙂

I also screenshotted this from somewhere on Instagram (I think someone’s story) and I’d like to read her book. I struggle a lot with the feeling of constantly disappointing my parents, and it would be more OK if I didn’t have accompanying not-super-high self-worth/-esteem. I’m learning every day that it’s not my job to satisfy my parents’ needs and wants; sometimes people are unhappy because they want to be, not because of me.

While sorting my clothes into piles of keep and don’t keep, I tossed my bf’s sweater to the side. And Luna jumped on it immediately, curled right up, and fell asleep. Can you believe this little bub?!?!?? Ach, my heart.

VERY USEFUL BANANA INFO !!

5. goal recap

THE GOOD

  • Got prescription sunglasses
  • Went through all my clothes and got rid of a whole bunch via consignment/donation
  • Applied for my UCLA student ID card
  • + some other miscellaneous school stuff
  • Took my cat to the vet for her annual check up
  • Started working on my cross stitch again
  • Finished my travel journal for my trip to Rome

THE NOT GR8

  • Did not donate various items of furniture that I’ve been meaning to do 4 4evr
  • Did not seriously look for/apply for scholarships
  • Completely stopped writing in my planner so I don’t know what I wanted to do but did not lol

That’s all for July! If I do August on time, I’ll see you in two weeks lol.

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Life & Ramblings, Travel

june ’19 // month in review

1. rome

This June I went to Rome/Italy for the first time! I’m a big fan of pasta and art, so Rome is a good place for a tourist with these interests.

I went with my dad, who had a work conference, and that was a. lot. of time to spend with him. And I didn’t super understand what having only him as proper social contact for 24 hours a day for 10 days would do to my mental state!! Short-sighted on my part, seeing as I try to avoid my parents normally, but we live and we learn. As a result of this miscalculation + the stress of traveling, I felt pretty depressed for a few days over this trip and it was really scary! One of the biggest giveaways of my depression flaring up into a bad spot is when I lose my appetite completely; I enjoy eating for fun and regularly melodramatically whine about how I’m absolutely starving and must eat something right this second or else wither away into nothingness, will somebody please bring me some chips!!!!! When I’m depressed, I lose my desire to eat completely. It’s really weird and I don’t know how it works, but when that happens I can easily not eat for, like, 12 hours with nary a tum grumble at all. So that happened in Italy, which was scary and made me feel really guilty for getting to travel to such an amazing place and then not wanting to get out of bed at all.

That said, what a time it was. The art was beautiful, the architecture was beautiful, the people were too, and I’m already mentally planning a trip back for myself – maybe not in the middle of summer when it’s roasting hot. We hit all the main tourist attractions while we were there, so ideally next time I’ll get to spend a lot more time looking at art in museums and galleries.

These are some photos from my phone, but I’ll pull together some DSLR pictures for a post! Hopefully sooner rather than later, but that’s a battle I’ve already lost lol.

And lastly, a page of doodles in the back of my Passion Planner of things I saw a lot of there. It’s funny (in the interesting funny sort of way, not the interesting haha sort of way) to see the smaller, everyday things that are so different from place to place. I think that’s why I like going to grocery stores when I travel so much lol – it really shows how people live, in a way that I think you would miss if you just went to the major tourist attractions and nowhere else.

2. favoritez

Eddy de Pretto’s Random performance on Colors: I’ve been listening to this YouTube video on repeat, and I do not mean that in a hyperbolic way. I mean that I have actually been rewinding the YouTube video (the actual song recording on Spotify just doesn’t sound as good to me?) over and over again while I cross stitch or edit photos or reply to emails or whatever. I have no idea what he’s saying parçe que je parle no bien français, but this is really good. I dig his monk going bowling look, too.

New phone: This month I got a new phone! I had the iPhone 6 and now have the XS. It’s very nice to have a phone that doesn’t crash apps all the time and act very slow, as well as to be able to take portrait photos of my cat lol. I think this might be the last iPhone I get because of pricing/functionality/very obviously planned obsolescence.

Stardew Valley: Like any young child who disliked violence in video games and enjoyed games where the goal is to befriend people and chickens, I loved Harvest Moon. I played it a lot and had a notebook that I kept notes in, featuring illustrations of townspeople and their favorite things. (I married Ellie, in case you were wondering, and in the Nintendo DS version where I played as a girl, I married no one because I thought all the eligible male bachelors were ugly. Ten-year-old me had high standards, apparently.) My bf told me about Stardew Valley by describing it as “a better and bigger Harvest Moon”, I downloaded it on my phone (the only time I’ve ever bought an app with my own money), and now I’m obsessed. It’s just like Harvest Moon but better and bigger and I’m amazed that one person made it all, from the character design to the music to the coding and technical stuff. The game is basically a farming simulator, where you play a person who has inherited a farm and now must make a life for yourself in Stardew Valley. You farm crops, you raise animals, you mine gems in caves, you fish, you befriend villagers, you marry someone, YOU HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. I think this is a game for people who enjoy games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, where you don’t shoot anyone or steal any cars – you just give your neighbors cookies and hug your goats everyday.

3. not favoritez

Shopping for sunglasses: I’m Chinese, and one of the facial features people with my ethnic background tend to have is a very low nose bridge. This makes it difficult for glasses to stay up on my face. In turn, this makes it very difficult for me because I need glasses to see. I want to get prescription sunglasses because 1) I live in sunny California and 2) I don’t like contact lenses, and it’s been hard finding nice sunglasses that look good and don’t fall off my face immediately. It’s 2019, y’all! Why aren’t there more options for me!? Gentle Monster is cool and all but I don’t have that kind of money!!

What I’ve learned implicitly from family: I’ve been realizing a lot of beliefs I have are pretty dang harmful to me, my mental health, and my ability to live and be cool and fine. Those beliefs had to have come from somewhere, and a lot of them come from my parents and how they raised me! Whether intentionally or not, I’ve taken on a lot of things, and this month I realized I think affection/love is tied to achievement/success (and this is part of why I’m terrified of failure bc it equals being alone and uncared for 4evr). Fun fun funnnn. This video on manipulative parents made me :/, but (not to get all emo or anything) I think it’s better to become aware of these things so I can excavate these shitty beliefs from my mind and grow better.

4. camera roll

Another UC meme, lol.

Rose, bud, thorn via Cupcakes & Cashmere: I hate small talk and like to squirrel away questions to ask people to force them to open up to me, so I thought this was a good one. The idea is you go over a positive thing currently going great (rose), something with the potential to grow (bud), and a struggle or negative you’re going through (thorn). I really like this one, so I hope I remember it next time I’m catching up with someone.

Officine Universelle Buly 1803: A beautiful store’s Instagram I discovered via Lorna Luxe‘s Instagram, filled with things that would be so cool to get or give as gifts. All madly out of my price range, of course!

A Stardew Valley comic that made me actually laugh out loud.

Annamarie Tendler Mulaney’s interview with Nylon: Talking about women by mentioning their husbands first is something I dislike doing, but I discovered Annamarie via her husband John (the comedian, the skinny white guy that wears suits on stage) and this article via his Instagram, so I’m afraid I will here. On this picture, his caption reads ‘As I once said to [Annamarie] “you are an art project that is always evolving”‘ and that is when I melted. What a lovely way to view one’s life, right? Her many artistic ventures from makeup to lampshades to embroidery to looking cool as fuck are so cool to be able to watch. And that sentiment of being a constantly evolving art project is something I hope to keep with me instead of freaking out about how I don’t have everything planned out perfectly.

5. goal recap

THE GOOD

  1. Repaired my necklace that I wear everyday
  2. Started investing (opened a Roth IRA! HOW ADULT)
  3. Registered for orientation at UCLA

THE NOT SO GOOD

  1. Find new sunglasses
  2. Do a whole lot of cleaning/decluttering
  3. Finish my LA post for WordPress on time (not that there is an on time, but it’s been like 2 months lol)
  4. Sent my transcripts for UCLA late (snail mail takes a while, who knew!)
  5. Remembered things I did/didn’t do this month tbh

That’s all I’ve got for June! I can’t believe we’re already a good week into July. Next month I’ll have my UCLA orientation, and the month after that I’ll be moved in there – so weird to think about. I hope your summers are going well and that you’re taking good care of yourselves ~

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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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