Life & Ramblings

october ’19 // month in review

1 – neck deep in the quarter

It’s the penultimate month of the year and I am in week six of this ten week quarter thing and that calendar system is, you know, about as terrible as I thought it would be. (Except also I will be taking more classes and doing more stuff next quarter and I shudder to think at how overwhelmed and tired and stressed I may well be then.)

Anyway, I have been doing well. It feels a little weird to be like “yeah, I’m good”, and I’m pretty sure that’s me just used to being really anxious and depressed and not feeling good and now that I’ve made such a big move and am Surviving it’s like – Is this a joke? When’s the bad thing gonna happen? Where’s the proverbial other shoe that is definitely going to drop? I’m trying improve my self-talk, though, and just stop myself at “I’m good” before I get to catastrophizing and the like. In October I turned in my first few assignments here at UCLA, I got a good grade on the one assignment I got back, I hung out with people, I hung out with myself, I went to the gym, I kept my room relatively tidy except for one corner, I ate 100% more dessert items than I do at home. I feel pretty good about October, actually.

The thing I find myself comparing now to is a few years ago in Edinburgh. It was the same time of year and I was, in many ways, doing similar things: meeting new people, going to class in the form of huge lectures, walking about twenty-five minutes to get to class, eating by myself in the dining hall, studying and doing homework in fancy looking libraries. My mind is expecting Now to turn into That any second now, with the accompanying crying in bed, missing my boyfriend, agonizing over how I haven’t made my Best College Friend yet, feeling self-conscious about not laughing uproariously over dining hall food with a hashtag girl gang. I’m definitely in a better headspace about the whole thing now and, like I said before, I’m mostly sure my unease is me not quite knowing how to be OK. I’m figuring it out though, and I am OK. Soon I’ll be OK with being OK.

2 – good things

Cheyenne Barton on YouTube: This woman’s YouTube channel is so so nice, my lord. She’s an artist in a lot of different ways – she illustrates, makes videos, acts, and sings. Her videos on YouTube are so sweet and charming. I really love seeing her sit down to draw her stickers while her cat Sophie walks around her, make tea with her partner, and go to cafes and whatnot in the Pacific Northwest where she lives. Her illustrations are colorful and cute and happy. I usually put some YouTube videos on when I do my lil nighttime bathroom routine of skincare and teethcare and whatnot and recently I’ve been watching more videos from artists rather than influencers and it’s very nice! We’ll tackle the debate on whether influencers are artists another time, but for now my clarification here is that most influencer YouTube videos say something like “here are things I bought or received from PR teams this month and some affiliate links, hooray for capitalism, consumption, and destroying the planet with glitter packaging”. Anyway I digress from my praise of Cheyenne, highly recommend, love her, cannot get enough.

The Mind Explained on Netflix: This is a spinoff of the Vox ‘Explained’ show focusing on, well, ~THE MIND~ so psychology and the brain and that sort of thing. It’s informative, wonderfully edited, and narrated by Emma Stone, who still has a lovely voice despite her Scarlett Johansson-esque choice in roles recently. My favorite episodes so far have been ‘Psychedelics’, which features the author Michael Pollan and discusses research on LSD and shrooms as treatment for mental disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression; and ‘Mindfulness’, which explores mindful meditation originally from Buddhism and features Buddhist monks as well as Western biomedical researchers who explain what happens to your brain waves when you’re a master meditator like those monks.

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson on Buzzfeed: Such a good article about an awful thing. AHP is my fav celeb PhD Buzzfeed journalist speaking truth about Armie Hammer. Writing on her own experience becoming a professor in this quote below, she explains how millennials and the generations that follow have been raised with lessons that are no longer true for us. We now face systemic, institutionalized barriers to our future, and that’s our own personal economic future (and our lives on this dying planet, which are linked in the most fun, heartcrunching way).

Still, thousands of PhD students clung to the idea of a tenure-track professorship. And the tighter the academic market became, the harder we worked. We didn’t try to break the system, since that’s not how we’d been raised. We tried to win it.

I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I just believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. And it’s taken me years to understand the true ramifications of that mindset. I’d worked hard in college, but as an old millennial, the expectations for labor were tempered. We liked to say we worked hard, played hard — and there were clear boundaries around each of those activities. Grad school, then, is where I learned to work like a millennial, which is to say, all the time. My new watchword was “Everything that’s good is bad, everything that’s bad is good”: Things that should’ve felt good (leisure, not working) felt bad because I felt guilty for not working; things that should’ve felt “bad” (working all the time) felt good because I was doing what I thought I should and needed to be doing in order to succeed.

[…]

“Yet the more work we do, the more efficient we’ve proven ourselves to be, the worse our jobs become: lower pay, worse benefits, less job security. Our efficiency hasn’t bucked wage stagnation; our steadfastness hasn’t made us more valuable. If anything, our commitment to work, no matter how exploitative, has simply encouraged and facilitated our exploitation. We put up with companies treating us poorly because we don’t see another option. We don’t quit. We internalize that we’re not striving hard enough. And we get a second gig.”

We optimize ourselves for work so much, making sure everything we do is in service to our economic stability, like growing an online following with a hobby that we later leverage for a job and feeling somewhat guilty when we do something just for fun, and it’s literally all for naught. I’m not really sure what to do here now that we know this and I don’t think she is either. But at least we’re self-aware, right? And I think that’s the first step.

3 – not so good things

Being a renter: In a realization shocking to no other renters I am sure, being a renter has been Not Fun! Our apartment has a whole bunch o’ problems and our landlord doesn’t really respond to maintenance requests. I also, apparently, am in the single most expensive rental market in this whole goddamn state according to the LA Times.

Missing familiarity + the work it takes to gain it: Everything is new here and I am a homebody and creature of comfort with social anxiety, so predictably I’m having a bit of trouble fighting the urge to just curl up under the blankets forever. I miss having a routine and a regular schedule and knowing which restaurants in town have specials on what days. And I don’t like not having that but perhaps more, I dislike the work and time and effort it takes to gain that. It kind of scares me how complacent I am with being in a place I dislike just because I’m terrified of the work it takes to get out of it. So there’s something I’ll work on with a therapist if I ever get around to finding one here.

Why I Haven’t Gone Back to SCOTUS Since Kavanaugh by Dahlia Lithwick via Slate: Some big awful quotes here on letting the whole Kavanaugh thing go.

That is the problem with power: It incentivizes forgiveness and forgetting. It’s why the dozens of ethics complaints filed after the Kavanaugh hearings complaining about the judge’s behavior have been easily buried in a bottomless file of appeasement, on the grounds that he’s been seated and it’s too late. The problem with power is that there is no speaking truth to it when it holds all the cards. And now, given a lifetime appointment to a position that is checked by no one, Washington, the clerkship machinery, the cocktail party circuit, the elite academy all have a vested interest in getting over it and the public performance of getting over it. And a year perhaps seems a reasonable time stamp for that to begin.

The problem with power is that Brett Kavanaugh now has a monopoly on normalization, letting bygones be bygones, and turning the page. American women also have to decide whether to get over it or to invite more recriminations. That is, for those keeping track, the very definition of an abusive relationship. You stick around hoping that he’s changed, or that he didn’t mean it, or that if you don’t anger him again, maybe it’ll all be fine when the court hears the game-changing abortion appeal this year.

4 – reading list

Johann Hari’s TED Talk on depression and anxiety

Jenny Odell on why we need to learn to do nothing via The Guardian

The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles by Molly Conway via Man Repeller

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan via The New York Times

The Birthstone Ring by TAI Jewelry

5 – camera roll

I went thrifting at Jet Rag Vintage’s $1 sale! I got some really good stuff, some of which I have worn and some of which I am unsure if there will ever be a situation to wear it to (bolero top with pandas and tigers on it, hello), but all of it was a bargain that would make my grandparents proud.

I am always behind on finishing up my planner pages – hence this from September.

Using my foot as a pillow!!!! (I typed those words in the wrong place just now – i.e. “using my pillow as a foot”. I’m not drunk or sleepy or anything, perhaps just a little dumb, but isn’t that hilarious?)

Sometimes Pisces memes hit me right in the heart. Here’s one of them that Josie sent me. On the very day he sent me this I had earlier masturbated to procrastinate writing my philosophy paper. I also think my remix of track 8 would be Cross Stitching and Baking Shows feat. My Cat.

My friend sent me a letter with a crane she made!!!! It is on my bookshelf now and I am uwu about it.

I wrote and mailed letters to a couple friends and a boyfriend! I’m pretty happy I did this because I have a problem of wanting to send letters (/ do art) and not actually sitting down and getting around to it. I also got to use the wax seal I got in Rome with my initials on it. How pretty and useless, eh?

My laptop refused to turn on one day shortly before my first essay was due and I freeeeeaaaaked out and Lyfted over to the nearest Apple store that would get me an appointment right away. They fixed it thank the lord (and thank the lord I’m in a financial situation courtesy of parents to pay for that) and I met a really cute dog there. It was also the first time I was in The Grove, which I’ve seen many a time in influencer vlogs lol, but I didn’t enjoy it due to laptop-related heart palpitations.

I used the leftover thread from my Van Gogh cross stitch to make some lil plants from Stardew Valley! I used the guides here – the book costs $32 but there’s a sample PDF which is what I used. I also bastardized the colors completely just using what I had in store lol.

One dark night in LA, I was driving with my roommate home from Target when we saw the local cinema closed off. A big sign read “El Camino”. “What’s that? Do you know that movie?” I asked. “I don’t know, I’ve never heard of it,” my roommate replied. I forgot about it. UNTIL I WENT ON INSTAGRAM AND SAW THAT IT WAS A MOVIE PREMIERE THAT BOBBY BERK ATTENDED. I.E. A TEN MINUTE WALK FROM MY APARTMENT. WE WERE SO CLOSE. This is obviously my first brush with celebrity and I am not a native Angeleno.

On the shelf in my philosophy TA’s office!!!!! She said she didn’t know anything about it and it probably belonged to someone she shared the office with, but I was overjoyed. Am thinking of asking to borrow it.

On Halloween I went to a club in Koreatown lol. It was a pretty off brand activity but was still fun and an interesting insight into the ABG lifestyle! I couldn’t do it, y’all – I lack the ability to apply fake eyelashes well, the knowledge of how to twerk, and the dedication needed to up my alcohol tolerance.

Happy November, friends. I hope LA cools off soon and I get all the classes I want for winter quarter. I hope you get whatever you’re wishing for and your favorite fruit is on sale when you go shopping.

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Life & Ramblings

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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Life & Ramblings

august ’19 // month in review

1. LA again

We went to LA again! This time it was because I had my orientation for UCLA, where I enrolled in classes for my first quarter there, did some mandatory health and safety training, and listened to a lot of ‘welcome’ type talks. It was good, in that I still felt pretty nervous beforehand and afterwards those feelings were significantly lower. I think I just attribute that to there being a solid amount of information that helps me feel like things are going to be alright and there’s shit out there to help me when it’s not. A woman said to us that you’ve made transitions before, you’ve done them fine, and this is just another one that you can do too. I wrote that one down in my planner; it’s helpful to think of starting at UCLA as not an entirely new alien experience, but just a new transition that’s both similar and different to previous changes I’ve had in my life. So I’ve made transitions before, I’ll do it again, and this time around I can learn even more. 🙂

The view from the room where I enrolled in classes. I’ve heard friends talk about how difficult it can be to get the classes you need and my god, I understand why now! It feels like a mad rush when the enrollment window opens and you can see that there are 3 out of 157 seats still available in this class you want but the internet is slow and the discussion section you want isn’t available and your fingers are cramping and your bachelor’s degree depends on it!!!!

We had dinner at Malbec, an Argentinian restaurant. I’ve never had this cuisine before and it was delicious! I especially enjoyed the rice, which had peas and carrots in it, and the empanadas. I had to unbutton my skirt after the meal, which is how you know you did a good job and made your ancestors proud.

After eating there, we walked a few blocks to take a look at CalTech. It’s a really pretty campus and there’s a pond full of turtles (tortoises??). There’s apparently also a Pokestop (correct terminology?), as we saw a ton of groups clustered around one building looking at Pokemon Go on their phones. I’ve always swung towards the humanities/social science/art type interests, so going to places like CalTech makes me feel like “ah very science and technology, much prestige discovery, wow”.

A really nize painting at the Chinese restaurant we had dinner at.

The Hammer Museum! I’ve never been here before and I am so chuffed that I’ll be able to come here as it’s definitely walking distance from campus. I’ve never really lived in a place that feels full of art and “culture” (whatever this word means, you know) long-term, so that’s something I’m really excited to experience in LA. It’s something that’s helping me feel much more OK about uprooting myself into a new freaky place.

This piece by Sondra Perry, titled IT’S IN THE GAME ’17 or Mirror Gag for Vitrine and Projection, is so interesting. When I go to art museums/galleries, I take photos of pieces that really stick with me and their accompanying descriptive plaque, but I usually promptly forget about them in my mass of photos. In the spirit of remembering, here’s this one:

In the early 1990s, Electronic Arts (EA) Sports videogames were accompanied by the motto “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.” The slogan became catchy enough that eventually EA Sports did away with the consequent clause […] Sondra Perry’s [work] takes as its starting point a class action lawsuit brought against EA Sports for the unlawful use of the names and likenesses of student athletes whose identities were licensed by the national Collegiate Athletic Association without their consent. The case in question involved Perry’s twin brother Sandy, who had previously played Division 1 basketball for Georgia Southern University […] Perry’s video draws a parallel between the absorption of physical bodies into the digital space of the games and the colonial foundations of encyclopedic museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, whose collections are based on artifacts that were removed from their original cultural contexts in an attempt to represent the expanse of World civilizations.

And this one features much less social commentary, but it’s Claude Monet’s 1884 View of Bordighera.

2. favorites

The straw lid for my water bottle: The Hydroflask I have just has a regular screw off lid to drink from. On account of being generally a bit clumsy and prone to distraction, I’ve spilled water on myself quite a bit while drinking from it. (The worst time was during class once – everyone was listening to the professor lecture and I thought, ‘hey, this is a great time to drink some water’. I lift the water bottle to my mouth, start drinking, and spill some water down my chin/shirt. The professor looks at me at that exact moment. He keeps lecturing and looks away like nothing’s happened BUT I KNOW HE SAW IT. Anyway, that moment clearly still haunts me, as I’m writing about it months after the fact.) I also think I drink much less water if my water bottle lacks a straw, because I can’t sip while walking or driving. All this to explain that I bought this for around $10 on Amazon and I like it more than the ~official Hydroflask straw lids because it has a bigger handle to hold your bottle in. It’s great! Water intake has increased! Embarrassing spillages have decreased!

Walking my cat: As you can see in the above photo, my cat is on a harness and a leash. It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened in my whole life!!!!! I hope I can take her on walks to give her a lil more fun and exercise as we move from our big family house to a smol college apartment, but it’s early days yet and I’m kind of more scared than her lol.

Redwall: It’s not like I needed another cartoon show to cry about, but here we are. My bf and I are watching this on YouTube – he used to watch it as a kid on TV and I’ve never heard of it before. The seasons are distinct storylines, so the first season follows a mouse named Matthias who lives in Redwall Abbey. Matthias and his friends, including a badass badger named Constance and a funny English rabbit named Basil, are being attacked by Cluny the Scourge (a rat), so they must fight to defend their home. The second season, which we’re on right now, follows Matthias’ son, Mattimeo, who is kidnapped by Slagar the Slaver (a fox) and sold into slavery, along with all the other Abbey kids. We just finished the second season, I bawled my eyes out, and now we are starting the third!

3. not favz

Fahrenheit 451: I quite enjoyed this book (I even took a photo of this paragraph I really loved), but I’m popping it in the not favorite section because the bits afterwards really took me from 😌 to 😟. The edition I have, bought from a thrift store, is the 50th anniversary edition, so it had an afterword and a coda written by Bradbury himself and an interview with him. He said/wrote things that compared very valid criticism from women that there were no real female characters in his books (which is true! I was thinking to myself while reading it that it’s fucked how the circle of people Montag encounters at the end is entirely male!) to censorship or a difference of opinions that a white Southern man might have when POC are included in art. And it seems, based on the interview in the back of my edition, that Bradbury intended this to be a critique of the increasing consumption of TV, rather than any tyrannical government or censorship of books and ideas (which is what I mistakenly took from it). So, you know, Mixed bag here. Really did love some turns of phrase from this book, though!

4. camera roll + reading list

While I was away for my UCLA orientation, my bf took care of the cat and our house – he made her a little pizza!! I die from the cuteness, lord.

This is an old photo (are we still calling them tbts? @youth, what are we doing now?) of the British Library that I unearthed and posted on my Instagram. It is the literal prettiest.

How to Make Granola Without a Recipe from Epicurious: The tl;dr of this is 6 parts dry ingredients to 1 part wet, with at least 3 being rolled oats, the wet ingredients being made up of half oil, half sweetener + an egg white, whatever seasoning you want but definitely a pinch of salt, bake until golden brown at 300°F, ~45 minutes, and finally add dried fruit at the end so it doesn’t dry out while baking. I like to eat granola with Greek yoghurt, but I like it at a pretty extreme ratio so I always run out of granola suuuuper quickly. I also think a lot of the granolas out there are kinda extra and I’m not looking for free range quinoa coconut in everything, you know? So I made my own and it turned out great! I did oats, sliced almonds, walnuts, dried ginger, and vanilla extract/honey/cinnamon for my sweetener.

I decided my new planner for the academic year needed a new color code, and then I decided I wanted my Google Calendar to match. So I figured out the hex codes for these Mildliners lol.

I got into an Instagram meme spiral one night and looked at enneagram memes for hoooours with my brother. I’m a type 4 and my brother is a type 9. We LOLed a lot at these.

Jennifer Aniston’s Home from Architectural Digest: It’s beautiful! It looks homey and artsy and cozy and cool. I got onto this link from a Reddit thread that started with Kim and Kanye’s creepy looking mansion, and that one looks like a weird celebrity house… so this is like the polar opposite and is like, ah, they are doing the right thing with their mountains of money and fame. The bathroom has hand-painted floral wallpaper!!

UCLA’s brand guidelines: I’m not entirely sure how I got onto this page, but I think it must have been while I was trying to figure out what colors to use while editing photos for a blog post? In this class I took on the history of graphic design I learned that graphic designers will provide a list of guidelines for brands, to make sure they don’t fuck up the colors and logos. So this page is really interesting, as an inside look into the ~rules~ of color and design that UCLA uses.

Work Shutdown Ritual via Cal Newport: At the end of an average work day, Newport says he goes over his master task list, reviews his calendar for the next couple weeks, and, once he’s decided that he’s on top of everything, finally closes his computer and says “schedule shutdown, complete”. He says that after he says that, it helps put work-related worries and stresses to rest, as he’s said the “termination phrase” and he wouldn’t have done so if everything wasn’t taken care of. The general idea is that a ritual and a phrase to be said aloud upon completing the ritual will really help one’s ability to relax and focus on other things, like resting and recharging and not working. It’s summer now so I don’t have much need for it, but I think I might try it once the school year starts to try and quiet those school-related thoughts that pop up in my head right when I lie down in bed.

Plan.txt via Cal Newport: Another Cal Newport idea! He begins by saying that there are two main parts to productivity – one, organizing all the shit we have to do (which is, obviously, the fun part), and two, actually doing that shit. This blog post of his focuses on the second part. He says that he uses a plain text file named plan.txt to write an action plan for the week on Monday in a very freeform manner. By not being rigid – he says, some weeks it just says “work on X until it’s done” and others it’s longer, with specific people and deadlines mentioned – it helps him narrow in on what’s important to make progress on and in the short-term, he can just do it.

Glamour magazine’s ‘Money Tours’ series on YouTube looks at how women spend their money each month. This is the first video I watched from it and it’s still the best one, because she seems to have a really good handle on putting her money to work for her and saving where she can. It helps, of course, that her apartment is beautiful!!

My bf found some photos from our trip to SF and I think I look cooler than I am!

5. goal recap

THE GOOD

  • Sorted out my residency for UCLA
  • Signed my lease for my (room in an) apartment
  • Enrolled in classes for my first quarter
  • Took my car to be serviced
  • Got pest control for the ants in our house (except as of today September 3, 2019 THEY ARE BACK and my parents refuse to do much about it so I think I will just let them sit there because I’m outta here soon !)
  • Bought a cat tree, desk, and chair for my move
  • Trained my cat to walk on a harness and leash (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

THE NOT SO GR8

  • Learned how to cook my favorite dishes from my mom
  • Cleaned my bedroom/donated furniture (this is a perpetual item here lmao)
  • Was confused about orientation and didn’t enroll in all the classes I need for the double major I’m hoping to do (2 BE FAIR this is half my bad for not doing more research but half my orientation adviser’s bad for not u kno advising me correctly)
  • Honestly August was not half bad and I am being forgiving with myself for the stuff I didn’t do, bc I’m happy with where I spent my time! It’s my last month with my boyfriend and my bb brother and friends and whatnot before I leave, so I’m glad I did all that 🙂

Man this one was a long one. Thanks if you made it thru! :))

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Life & Ramblings, Travel

socal 🌞 santa monica, ucsd, & ucla again

This is the second part of this post, where we go to Santa Monica, UC San Diego, and then I go to UCLA without my parents to stay with my friend for a few days. First up, the beach!

I don’t have a ton to say about the beach, because all we really did was walk around for a bit. So here are photos of said walking around!

It’s weird to think that in a month I’ll be living closer to Santa Monica than to “home”. It’s weird to think that “home” might change soon.

In this one corner there were SO! MANY! BABY! SQUIRRELS! Please now enjoy a detour into amateur wildlife photography with me because they were SO small and SO cute and I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW CLOSE THEY WERE TO ME.

CONTINUE READING
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Life & Ramblings, Travel

a week in LA 🐻


At the end of May I drove down to LA with my parents to visit UCLA, my future school. I took some photos, I want to talk about them, we all know how blogs work. We did a tour led by one of those backwards walking student guides, met up with some of my dad’s friends from college who live in the area, and I dealt with some intense impostor syndrome.

I’m always into a blue and orange combination. And I really liked the “adventure starts here” lettering!

UCLA has a gorgeous campus. It is green and sunny and feels like California in all the best ways. It makes me want to post on my studyblr more and be a Cool College Gal laying on the grassy lawn reading smart books. It also kind of makes me want to have an anxiety attack on the bathroom floor. During our tour I felt intensely insecure about my place there and scared of myself, scared of failure, scared of my ability to self-sabotage so that I fail, and eventually I realized that I live with fear at the top of my mind and that’s something that I want to get rid of. It feels maddeningly simple now but when I thought about it then I was like “my god, is this what Kylie Jenner talked about when she said realizing things?”. I don’t think I’d ever fully grasped how much I live with fear and how much I think in a fearful way – and from that, how much I want that to stop now. So, that’s where I’m at now in regards to this Big Life Move Thing, and I’m trying my darnedest to keep hope and belief strung throughout my brain despite my worst instincts.

It was almost the end of the quarter when we went, so we saw lots of people doing graduation photo shoots and flinging confetti in the air (only to later land on the ground and remain for who knows how long).

This building is Royce Hall and is on the cover of all the brochures and websites and shit that gets trotted out to potential students. This building is also one I had a stress dream about, involving me showing up to class here and being turned away. It’s impossible that my dream will actually occur, in part because I was accepted god damn it, but also because I think this building is only really used for fancy purposes, not classes.

CONTINUE
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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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Life & Ramblings

april ’19 // month in review

1. close 2 the end

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

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

2. favorites

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

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

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

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

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

AP Style Book 2019

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

3. non-favs

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

5. camera roll + reading list

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

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

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

Jorinde Voigt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. goal recap

GOOD THINGS I DID!

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

NOT SO GR8 THINGS I DID!

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

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

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