Posted in Life, Memory-keeping

2016 Best Nine

bestnine_2016

From left to right:

  1. Visiting dad’s grave Christmas week
  2. Voting November 8th
  3. Celebrating four years with G
  4. G and I’s Rick and Morty Halloween costumes
  5. My favorite family photo of us dressed in hanbok
  6. Turkey Day spread ft. this incredible sweet potato casserole (I added a whole stick of butter instead of 1/4 cup–no regrets)
  7. A market during off hours in Jejudo
  8. A throwback of my dad and I
  9. My mom and I’s trip to Mount San Jacinto for my 26th birthday weekend
Posted in Goal-setting

2017, leggo!

2017

It’s been a few days since ringing in the New Year and I’m here to review last year’s resolutions before I completely forget. Looking back on the resolutions I made last year…Phew, were they ambitious! Let’s go ahead and break down how each one went:

GOAL #1

So, basically, I wanted to become a morning person. How did that go? Well, even though I got a good morning routine going for a while the truth is…I’m still battling with being a night owl. In fact, I would say my night owl tendencies got a lot worse over the last few months. It really sucks because I truly do think waking up early is amazing and yet…my brain cannot quiet down before 2 AM. I do think that this goal is achievable but that it’s going to take a lot longer than I thought it would and that it’s a lot harder than I thought it’d be. One thing that has helped immensely with getting my brain to shut off is a “wind down routine” which is basically watching ASMR videos. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. The best way I can describe it is pleasant sensory overload (ex. the tingling feeling on your scalp when someone plays with your hair). The first time I heard of ASMR was through a react video and I was just as weirded out as most of the people who reacted to it. To be honest, I even thought it might be some type of fetish at first (I am laughing while I type this because I love ASMR now). The thing is, that react video came to mind one night when I was having a really, really hard time getting to sleep. In my desperation, I went on YouTube and typed in ASMR. I watched a video. I fell asleep. I had the best sleep I had had in a long, long time. From then on, I’ve been hooked. They certainly aren’t a fix-all (again, still struggling with being a night owl), but the videos have become a staple in my wind down routine for sure. I can’t deny it. While I do sometimes experience “tingles” the videos mostly relax me, some even put me in a type of trance. The one video I recommend to everyone who has no clue about ASMR and would most likely benefit from it is by an “ASMRtist” named Heather Feather (you can watch it here). It basically sums up what ASMR is all about in my opinion. I think these videos really help me because I am a naturally anxious person. I deal with my anxiety in a lot of different ways (I can write about that in a separate post if anyone is interested in that) and ASMR is now in my arsenal of tools. If you have trouble sleeping or need to relax, give it a go.

GOAL #2

Cut out added sugar. HA. HA. HA. This did not happen. There, I said it. Moving on…

GOAL #3

Exercise 3-4x a week. So, I was doing really, really well at this the first half of 2016. Until August. I just fell off. I don’t even know why. I crossed off the days I worked out on a huge calendar that I taped onto my closet and did a great job keeping track. I worked out a total of 111 days out of 365 days. I didn’t include the days I was in South Korea (even though I walked over 20,000 steps every other day). To qualify as a workout, it had to be deliberate (and at least 30 minutes-1 hour). If I had worked out 3x a week every week, I would have worked out 144 days. So I fell short 33 days. Even though I didn’t reach my goal, I’m super proud I was so close. This year I plan on getting to 144. One exercise I fell in love with this year was cycling. I try to go to a cycling class once a week at least. One interesting and unfortunate thing also coincided with working out: I gained weight. Not muscle weight either. I think I have been justifying eating more because I was working out and was not checking my weight (barely). Just goes to show that exercise and a bad diet won’t fix anything (unless you’re 18 and have an amazing metabolism because I for sure used to get away with it).

GOAL #4

I would say I’ve kept up so-so on my skin care routine. I ran out of one of my products (it’s been a few months) and it’s hard to track down, but way more money on Amazon. Still on the look-out. Overall, I’ve been taking better care of my skin than in the past, both on the inside and out (more about this in another post).

GOAL #5

Investing did not happen! More like I invested in traveling.

GOAL #6

As far as doing things that scare me, I think I did that for sure. But in a way that wasn’t really “extreme.” And I wouldn’t describe it as “scary” but scary in a way a new thing can be scary. I conquered student teaching and built up confidence over 6 months. It was scary but also exciting, challenging, and fun all at the same time. To add, I decided to use my savings (and the SkyMiles I had saved up) to take a trip to South Korea with my mom for three weeks (September-October). I will definitely write an entire blog post about the experience because it has been one of the best experiences of my entire life and something I have always dreamed of doing. I’ve been editing a video of the trip to share as well. So I’d say I accomplished this goal. Success!

GOAL #7

Filmed a second of every day using the 1 Second Everyday app. Now I still to this day think this is an amazing, cool, ingenious app. But it was pretty hard to remember to film each day (even with the timer) and I completely fell off after a while. However, I do have a compiled video of quite a few days (some videos overlap with my South Korea video, too) so I plan on uploading that soon to share. I still think I’ll use this app, though. Even if I don’t film every day, I think filming even just a bit is such a meaningful way to look back on everything. It’s crazy how much we don’t remember, even after a few weeks!

Well, there it is! A look back at the goals I set last year. I plan on writing another post about what I’ve been thinking about for my goals this year, too. Happy goal setting (or not) and Happy New Year!

Posted in Life

And so it is…

Image result for results election 2016

Donald Trump is the president of the United States. I can honestly say I hate talking politics. That isn’t to say I don’t think they are important, etc. I’ve stayed mute on this blog throughout this election because 1) I don’t update it enough to keep a running tab on my opinions about U.S. politics and 2) I don’t like talking politics, particularly U.S. politics because it enrages me and I want this space to be a positive one. I knew the moment Bernie Sanders lost the primaries that it was going to be a slippery slope for Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. Like many Bernie supporters, after he lost, I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not to say voting for Trump ever crossed my mind because it sure as hell didn’t and voting for Hillary was also the last thing I wanted to do, but between the two, voting for Hillary was the right thing to do and I still believe that with every fiber of my being. The thing that surprised me the most were people’s shock and surprise that he won. Why didn’t she win? How did he win?

In the summer, when Bernie lost, I spent hours looking at reasons why Trump would win because it’s what I most feared when Bernie lost. I have issues with Michael Moore–and who doesn’t with anyone–but his piece on “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win” pressed me to do more of my own research as did Fusion’s “The Naked Truth: Trumpland” because they made me realize just how out of touch I was with a huge portion of the population. I truly wanted to know why people would vote for someone who was so obviously horrible in my eyes. I also dove deep into the rise of populism in the EU and took a harder look at the Brexit and just what it means for the entire world going forward (or entering into another cycle as I like to say).

There are so many reasons I am angry right now; so many reasons why I’m sad and disappointed; so many it would turn this post into a dissertation.

It’s easy for me to say voting for Trump was wrong. My mother is an immigrant and we had an “uncle” who was an illegal immigrant live with us until he could get up on his own two feet and become a citizen–he started by painting houses and now he’s an ophthalmologist in Los Angeles. And although I was born into the middle class, my family is one of the “lucky ones”–we were able to keep our heads afloat in this economy and are still able to even now. So many others in the middle class, the working class, are floundering. Both parties have failed them. And the reason Trump won was hugely because of that reason (and the Electoral College, but let’s not go there). When people are scared and angry and feel forced to choose between themselves and their loved ones’ futures versus what’s right, history has shown time and time again they will choose the former.

To add, I have friends who nearly all agree with me on my political views; liberals to the core. Most of us are the same; the people we most associate with usually hold similar values and because of that we can get stuck inside a dangerous bubble where our beliefs and our opinions are constantly validated by others in our inner circle to be what we consider as common sense and infallible and only goaded on by social media. This is so dangerous because it can make us believe “the numbers” are all true and that “everyone” is on the same page. Everyone except those who don’t take part in polls (newsflash: Trump voters), everyone except those you don’t associate with. The liberal media is a perfect example of that and another reason why Hillary lost.

I want to encourage everyone to please be your own journalist. Coming from me, it’s easy to say. I wanted to be a journalist for years. For others, that might seem like too much of a “hassle”; it’s simply easier to buy into everything you see and/or hear on your selected media outlets. However, please don’t. Please, please do your own research. Please don’t be complacent and completely subjective as incredibly hard as it is. I truly do believe that if only we had been our own journalists, things would have been different.

To be honest, I just had to get some feelings out of my system and this seemed like a better place than any to do that. It’s necessary in order for me to re-focus on how to keep fighting for what’s right. We have to keep fighting.

 

Posted in Life

4 Years Strong

Happy 4 Year Anniversary, boo! This picture was taken over 4 years ago now…we look so…YOUNG! I can’t quite put into words how much I appreciate you, let alone love you. Nothing about these past 4 years has been easy; losing my dad, going through two deployments and preparing for a third. It makes me so emotional to think about how much we’ve been through and how thankful I am for you. You’ve given me a love I could have only dreamed of; you’ve seen me at my best and at my worst and you’ve loved me so incredibly through it all. So excited to celebrate this weekend with you, I love you.

Posted in Daily Prompt, Life

Daily Prompt: Expert

Image result for expert
via Daily Prompt: Expert

Clearly, experts exist. Experts, in my mind, are the people who are at the top of their game; the ones who are most successful in their line of work, whether that be gaming, art, sports, comedy, what-have-you, we can all think of people who are “experts” at their jobs (all examples of expertise, feat. some of my favorite experts). Because if you’re an expert at something, it probably means you’re doing “that thing” for a living. People love experts. People love to watch people do things they can’t do, but…

When I think of why I like to watch experts, especially in areas I’m most interested in, like the ones I listed above, it’s for two things: 1) I find it extremely entertaining/inspiring/hilarious and 2) I want to learn from them. There’s a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any given area (thanks Malcolm Gladwell). That translates into roughly 90 minutes of practice every day for 20 years. There are many, many people who disagree with this (see: here, here, here…) I tend to agree with them. There are faster ways to become an expert. Without a doubt, it takes time and dedication. Tim Ferris says it takes 6 months of focused time and dedication in order to master something. Of course, it all depends. Some things are harder to master than others. The first thing that comes to mind is teaching–because that’s what I want to do for a living. You don’t reach the stage of mastery in 6 months of teaching–I mean, even if you poured every spare minute you had into becoming a master teacher it wouldn’t happen. You simply need the experience. A lot of experience. In this regard, the 10,000 hour rule seems to make more sense. Unless you aren’t doing it right. You can be a 20+ year veteran teacher and still be a novice. I’m sure most people can attest to having had such a teacher, unfortunately.

This is where it gets tricky.

So, how do you maximize the time in which it takes to become an expert? The easiest solution: Learn from the pros. It’s that simple. Watch them, listen to them, ask them. Try out things that they are doing; if it doesn’t work, innovate, or move on to the next one. Don’t just focus on one “expert,” find different ones in the same field. I cannot tell you how much easier it is to do this. I love podcasts, especially Tim Ferris’s, because his entire podcast is about getting the juicy tidbits out of the best of the best. Another favorite is Jess Lively’s (although lately she hasn’t been interviewing anyone; check the archives).

To go on a slight tangent, I should say that I have a fear of mediocrity. Not in interests that are hobbies (ex. swimming, gaming, editing, learning languages, etc.–reaching mastery would simply be icing on the cake so to say), but in areas I want to succeed in most (ex. teaching, writing, creativity). Those areas are meaningful to me. When I hear mediocrity, I think laziness. At the same time, I think talentless, boring, unsuccessful. It is one of the harshest words in the English language in my opinion. The truth is, sometimes I am lazy when it comes to my so-called passions. I think having passion in life is very important, but also potentially damaging. We are expected to always be alight with passion, but the truth is…

Is that even possible? To always, constantly, be on fire? No, eventually we burn out. It doesn’t mean the flame can’t be rebuilt, but just because the fire went out doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It’s natural. I think humans tend to think linearly rather than cyclically, which isn’t the right way to think in the slightest. We think we go from rags-to-riches, and if we fall away, that’s it for us, or we see a “comeback” as rare and difficult to achieve. We think we need to keep achieving, achieving, achieving or our lives lose all meaning. The truth is, everything is cyclical. Just look at history, look at life. “Ups and downs” are normal in life; they are normal when it comes to things we are passionate about. It doesn’t mean we won’t regain that passion. Sometimes it goes out because we become passionate about something else, other times we may simply get tired or even bored. And that’s okay.

What I’m trying to get at is that if you’re like me and have moments where you feel mediocre–you get lazy, making you feel talentless, boring, unsuccessful–remember that this too shall pass. Dare I even say that it’s okay to be lazy every once in a while. Slow your roll. Over the course of the past decade, my passions have stayed the same, even though I’ve gone through ups and downs. To put it simply, passions are like the phoenix Fawkes from Harry Potter; they’ll be reborn. In the meantime, grab a Cinnabon and veg on the couch binging Stranger Things; you’re just going through the cycles.

Posted in TV Shows

Anime: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Just finished up this cute shoujo/slice of life anime and I’m here to write a little review of it. This anime is two seasons long and it doesn’t look like they are going to go past that, but I was very satisfied with the way it ended. In total, there are 24 episodes. The story is about a young girl named Shirayuki who was born with bright red hair, which, in this anime, is very rare and special (even though there are characters with blue and white hair, but hey). At the start, she is pursued by the prince of her kingdom, Prince Raji, who orders her to be his mistress. Forced with no other choice, she runs away and enters the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. This is where she meets a boy named Zen, who ends up being the second prince of the kingdom. You can probably guess where it goes from there…

I love shoujos. They are my treasure. The light touch of a hand causing an instant blush? A kiss being the climax of the plot? These are things I can’t get enough of. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime delivers in full. I caught myself smiling stupidly plenty and I love Zen and Shirayuki as a couple so much. They are both without flaws in my eyes.

I mean…forehead nuzzles? C’MON!

To boot, there are some very likable side characters. I do wish, though, there had been MORE on-the-side romancing happening but at the same time it was refreshing to not find yet another love triangle situation in a shoujo (as much as I do appreciate a really good one). I found myself wanting a bit more background behind all of the characters, but especially Zen and his family. I really didn’t think they delved into it at all.

To sum it up, this is a very light-hearted shoujo that does not have a lot of plot-heavy drama behind it. I think it’s very slice-of-life, which some people are not fans of. I do think it’s a good anime to unwind with. I watched it in a week. The good news is there is a manga you can read after watching the anime, if you so choose, although I hear it skips ahead a bit and goes back and forth in the anime. You might be re-reading a few scenes, but with scenes like the one above? WHO CARES!

Rating: 4/5