Wednesday, April 19, 2017

the things in my brain.

After a long day filled with laughs, coffee, and wedding planning (for non-existent weddings), a friend said to me upon our reflections about work and our chosen profession: "It isn't something you just half 'do.'"

He was right, but I think that's really true about anything you're passionate about. You have to work hard and there are sacrifices that go hand-in-hand with it, and as you throw yourself deeply into the career you've picked, you'll also find that that dedication ends up bleeding into other parts of your life. Half-assing anything is no longer an option.

But lately I've been wondering about what happens when that light dims a bit. Where does all the motivation and the passion go if it isn't wrapped around you every day? Did it burn out with the rest of your fire, or did you build walls around it in your heart so you could save it for later?

Monday, April 10, 2017

favorites: March 2017.

I'm a bit light on favorites this month – not because I didn't like things, but because I don't think I explored enough new items really worth writing home about.

That having been said, March was a fine enough month, but it was so busy that I fell massively behind on reading and TV and film and, in general.

But here are a couple of things I'd recommend from the month...

1. BECCA Prismatic Amethyst highlighter

Watch this Instagram video previewing the amethyst highlighter and try not to be mesmerized. I love this highlighter, and I've never been one to really use highlighters in the first place. But since moving back to a state where the sun is out more often than not, I figured now's the time to dive right into this shimmery trend. This BECCA powder is subtle, but still provides a unique tint to those cheeks. I'm obsessed.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

how to kill a giant spider.

1. Scream and run out of the room.
2. Pull everything out of the broom closet that might help you defend yourself.
3. Cry.
4. Consider vacuuming it up, but then think about what to do if it's still alive inside the vacuum.
5. Think about what happens if it gets shredded to bits and then stuck inside the vacuum.
6. Abandon the vacuum.
7. Grab a cup and postcard.
8. Inch toward the spider, realize how big it is, then run out of the room.
9. Go online and look up the guidelines for your apartment complex on how to report a maintenance emergency.
10. Realize "help me kill a spider" isn't a maintenance emergency and the staff probably won't come.
11. Consider breaking something serious in your apartment to fake a maintenance emergency.
12. Get on Twitter and Facebook and panic at anyone still awake cuz it's almost midnight, you idiot. Find a friend who 100% GETS YOU and your freakout.
13. Grab a shoe and a wad of paper towels and try to be brave.
14. Imagine the spider dodging your shoe and then running up toward the ceiling, and now you'll have to move because your apartment now belongs to the spider.
15. Go back to the closet. Pull out the Swiffer wand.
16. Seek advice on whether the dry or wet Swiffer cloths are the better option. (The wet Swiffer is your best bet, according to your friend.)
17. Grab Scotch tape and wrap it around the ball of the Swiffer wand to keep the flat end from moving.
18. For background noise, turn up the podcast episode you were listening to before the spider entered your life. Waffle A LOT.
19. Scream. Smash the spider against the wall with the Swiffer wand. (Wonder if your neighbors are trying to sleep.)
20. Panic about what to do next. Video call a second friend who's half asleep but will laugh with you to make you feel better about yourself.
21. Scream while scraping the spider off the wall.
22. Panic and throw the Swiffer cloth into the toilet and flush without thinking.
23. Watch as your toilet gets clogged.
24. Call the maintenance emergency line and explain to them what happened. Wait for the maintenance guy to show up and unclog the toilet.
25. Stay awake all night in fear of more spiders showing up to get revenge.

* This is inspired (as in, it is) a true story.
** This post is #notspon by Swiffer.
*** S/o to Jason and Kristen for sticking by me during this emotionally challenging time.

Friday, March 31, 2017

apologies, pt. 2.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about catching myself apologizing for things I shouldn't really apologize for. In a follow-up to that, I've realized that one thing I tend to do often is apologize to people for not responding to emails right away. It's a bad habit I developed during college in my need to prove I could be a reliable assistant and, eventually, freelancer (when I began to do more graphic design freelancing).

And then it just kind of continued onto my professional life, because in the era of breaking news, you have to be fast – and not just fast, but with precision and professionalism.

The problem with that is then you develop a reputation for being reliable – even on your days off. Because I can literally take my job anywhere with me, I've felt this weird sense of obligation to be responsive 24/7. There have been many moments, too, where people would get upset if I didn't respond on a Saturday night or at 10PM on a Tuesday.

Lately, in an effort to disconnect more frequently, I've tried not to respond to emails past a certain hour of the day or on weekends – not because I don't care about my job, but because I also care about my mental health too (which, let's face it, has not been in a great state these days). The exceptions have been emergencies, of course, but the people who need to reach me in a life or death situation have my phone number, and they would call if the situation was urgent (I think).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

gratitude check 2017: #1.

2017 has been off to a less-than-stellar start, so I thought I'd do a quick "gratitude check" to remind myself that even when times are tough, there are always things to be thankful for:

  • Best friends who will talk with you all day (sometimes about everything, sometimes about nothing – and it's always exactly what we both need), go on random adventures when you just need to do something in the sun, or go to Target just to buy dish soap
  • My apartment (specifically, the furniture + having family around to help build said furniture)
  • Falling asleep on Na's couch (usually, on accident)
  • Conversations with Lyft drivers (this is uniquely LA – or, at least, uniquely non-NYC – and also the topic of a future, longer blog post)
  • JetBlue Mint status
  • Receiving the same viral panda video/image from a dozen different people in one day because my brand is very strong

Thursday, March 16, 2017

coffee book tag.

I don't talk enough about coffee, but I do love my lists. Here's the most roundabout way to tie those things together: the coffee book tag!

1. Black: Name a series that's tough to get into but has hardcore fans.
For me, it would be Game of Thrones. I read the first book and then a third of the second book, but then it just stopped holding my attention. I think the genre just isn't for me, but every time I tell anyone I've not read the books (or that I don't watch the show), they look at me like I'm missing out on the most important thing in the world.

2. Peppermint mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.
For me, I feel like it's the first Harry Potter book. It just makes me feel warm and cheerful.

Friday, March 10, 2017


The lid of my record player broke.

I don't know when it happened – it was fine last week – but I went to move things around on the shelf and it just...came off. The hinge was already in a fragile state, from several big moves over the last 6 years, but it didn't mean it sucked any less to find it snapped.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

favorites: January/February 2017.

Be glad I'm combining the past two months because, otherwise, my January favorites would've just been IKEA furniture.

Speaking of which! I've finally settled into my apartment out here on the Best Coast – at least, as settled as I can be right now. The moving boxes are gone, I have a rice cooker (finally!)... with the exception of a couple of missing things (I'm going to be talking about the end table I want to buy for months, I bet), I'm pretty much unpacked and pleased with it.

Surprisingly, as in love as I am with my apartment, there's only one apartment-related thing on this list...

1. Pillowfort Glass Table Lamp 

This is just one of my favorite things in my apartment, but currently near the top of that list. It's operated by touching the base, which turns it on and off. If there's one thing that can further encourage my laziness, it's this.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

the best advice I've ever gotten.

The best advice I've ever received comes in two parts, and both are not pieces of advice I would've thought to label as "the best" a few years ago. But lately, when I've been asked to share advice or words of wisdom, these are the two I keep coming back to:

1. You have your entire life to work, but only right now to be there for the people who need you most.
I used to be the kind of person who put work before everything. But last year, I began to make the conscious effort to unplug on weekends; to keep my phone zipped away in my purse when catching up with friends. Even up until the spring of last year, I was constantly on my phone, thinking I needed to respond RIGHT AWAY to every email I got, even if it was something that could've waited until Monday. Even when I was in Amsterdam on vacation in April, I was answering inquiries about invoices and demands to read pitches. That only contributed to what happened at the end of the year when I left New York burnt out AF.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

carless in LA.

Most people, when I tell them I don't plan to buy a car upon moving to Los Angeles, look at me like I'm crazy.

"You need a car," some say.

From another: "Enjoy having no social life."

Coming from New York City, where it was rare for someone to own a car, the comments don't surprise me. LA is a city built for cars. And while it isn't the most convenient thing to not have a car, I also believe in my abilities to survive on my own.

So it does bother me when people assume I'm either A) helpless, or B) naive. In the month I've been here, I've never asked someone for a ride (so even my own sister snarkily – I know, that's not a word – suggesting to people that I only use her for rides drives me crazy, though not totally surprising given her unconscious habit for putting me down in front of other people as a "joke") and have gotten from points A to B to C either on the Metro or with the push of a button on my Lyft app. The other night I was en route to the Metro to go home from a business dinner when one of my colleagues insisted he give me a ride because it was on his way home, and I tried to refuse because, at this point, I just want to be stubborn and prove people wrong: that I am actually a capable young adult who can figure out how to make her current situation work for her.

Yes, it'd be easier to buy a car. It probably wouldn't be cheaper than my current public transportation/Lyft combination, I can tell you that. I will say that I am a terrible driver, which adds to my desire to not put myself behind a wheel, so really it's just better for the whole city that I'm not driving.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that. And shout out to the handful of friends I have in this city who also don't have cars – y'all give me confidence to say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to the non-believers.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

burnt out.

I had about three posts half-written with the intention of having one ready to go for this week, but you'll have to allow me a brief pause this time around.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

stop asking your journalism students to interview working journalists.

Last year, I received an email from a journalism student who had an assignment in one of her classes to interview a working journalist. The email I received explained the assignment briefly, and then a list of 8 questions she had copied and pasted from the professor (I assumed they were copied and pasted because she didn't bother to remove the professor' notes on each question).

No request asking if I was available, no offer to speak by phone – oh, and her assignment was due Tuesday morning. I got this email on a Sunday night.

It's not that I don't like helping young journalists out. What I dislike is being asked to essentially complete an assignment for them. In this case, I wasn't even asked. It felt like a command or an obligation, like an expectation that I would fulfill.

In my career, I've done informational interviews with people, and I helped a student once with one of these interview assignments (it was a student who I knew because she interned at my company, she asked me well in advance for my help, and we spoke by phone). But the more and more I get these requests from students for their classes, the less inclined I've been to do them.

Again, not because I don't want to help, but for other reasons, which include a lack of time and also something that needs to be addressed with journalism instructors everywhere:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I've been catching myself every day apologizing for things I don't really need to apologize for: opening a door when someone on the other side is trying to come in, or using the printer when someone else in the office also needs to use it.

It's a natural tendency to say, "I'm sorry" even if you technically don't have anything to be sorry about. I needed to go through that door and don't have X-ray vision. I deserve to use the printer as much as anyone else, and it wasn't like I had cut the queue.

One of the reasons I've been thinking about this lately is because I think some of that tendency to say "I'm sorry" all the time has spilled over into other areas of my life, leading me to apologize for other things: for asserting authority at work when people try to take advantage of my openness; for not bending over backwards 24/7 to be everyone else's cheerleader; for daring to set boundaries and not work all the time; for trying to practice this thing called "self care" people always talk about but I've never felt permitted to do because people always want something from me because of what I do for a living.

It took me awhile to pinpoint this as a problem. Obviously, apologies sometimes are necessary. But apologizing for taking up space in the world, which is what I've been doing the last few years, is a habit I'm trying to break.

Friday, February 3, 2017

some Qs to A.

I've never been private about my blogging, but that apparently seems to strike at people most. "How are you able to be so honest? Aren't you afraid people will read it?"

The answer is both "yes" and "no." Longtime friends will know the constant battle I go through of trying to figure out if I should be writing with an audience in mind or not. More often than not, this blog is a personal diary of babblings and freaking out. (Sometimes I'm told I say something insightful, which is nice.)

I figured I'd answer a few of those questions I get often about this blog, and blogging in general, because I've been terrible at actually having real, human conversations with people these days.

Q: Aren't you afraid of people reading your blog and judging you?
A: Yes, but I'm also afraid of people knowing me in real life and judging me. Or the barista at the coffee shop judging my order. Or the stranger on the subway judging my hat/scarf combo. Truthfully, social media has made it so it's quite easy to judge others without really knowing them or talking much to them. I still get nervous sometimes about hitting "publish" on posts, but I like to think of my blog as a place where I can just be 100% me. If people judge me for it, then OK.

Monday, January 23, 2017

a true story.



January 2nd. TWO SISTERS wait for the elevator to the store. They enter, along with a WOMAN and her SON, and a MAN.

                                                      Happy New Year!

                                                     Oh, Happy New Year!

                                                             (He looks at the sisters)
                                                      Well, not for you two yet!

The sisters exchange a glance.

                                                     ..."Asian New Year," right?

The woman and her son look nervous. The elevator ride to the grocery store feels long.

                                                     Oh.'s still a new

                                                     No! Your new year is later, right? Next month, huh? Mooncake!

                                                             (Laughing nervously)
                                                     Ha, ha...different holiday...but yeah. Lunar New Year is the end of the month.

The elevator doors open.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

6 beauty favorites of 2016.

This is a bit overdue, considering it's 18 days into the new year and I meant to write this 18 and a half days ago. But after spending the last week or two giving makeup advice to some of my friends (actually, one of my favorite things to chat about!), it reminded me that I need to catch up on my blog drafts...

Also, who doesn't love a good favorites list? I've always struggled at the end of each year to do my annual round-up, but I think I'd like to sprinkle more of these throughout my blog (which will help with that goal I've made of creating weekly content...more on that later).

These aren't necessarily all new products that came out in 2016, just new to my favorites/routine. (Also, none of this is sponsored – I wish!)

1. Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint by tarte

Sunday, January 15, 2017

soundtrack to my life.

I've missed doing lists, so when I came across this "soundtrack to my life" tag, I couldn't resist.

1. Song you listen to when you're happy? "Rainbow Veins" by Owl City

It's a shame "Maybe I'm Dreaming" isn't on Spotify because it's the album that introduced me to Adam Young, though I don't even remember how I came across it in the first place. It's just such a cheerful mix of songs, and "Rainbow Veins" is maybe the cheeriest of all the tracks.

(Fun fact: I interviewed him back in 2011 when "All Things Bright and Beautiful" came out and asked him about some of his more nonsensical lyrics, and he said he liked to write what made him smile.)

2. Song you listen to when you're sad? "Best Day Of My Life" by American Authors

I don't really like listening to sad songs when I'm already feeling sad. But I stumbled across the Oh, What A Life album while searching for another song two years ago, and it was the album that oddly got me through the death of a close friend. I don't know why, but from start to finish, it just...fixed things.

Monday, January 9, 2017

in pursuit of joy.

When I first moved to New York, finding an apartment as soon as possible was an absolute necessity. I was couchsurfing and had no family or close friends in the city, and an internship looming in the not-too-distant future. I just needed an apartment to put my suitcases until I could feel more "settled" and really think about making a home here.

I was 22, broke, and had no real concept of what living in New York City was like. I had looked at maps, but I'd never really been in New York before, so I had no idea what to expect. I ended up finding a place in Harlem – and now, at 27 going on 28, I'm cleaning out this apartment I've lived in for 5 years and I'm honestly so happy at how this journey has gone.

It's been really tough to tell people I'm leaving New York. The reaction I've gotten from people has generally been something along the lines of: "Awww," but that's been bothering me because I don't want to feel sad about it. I'm glad I moved to New York when I did, even though I'm glad to be leaving it too.