Tuesday, June 27, 2017

the impersonal internet.

Sometimes, I'm afraid that social media has replaced so many of the interactions I've used to treasure and hold so dearly. A tweet or Facebook status update is assumed to be enough; a blog post or Instagram photo appears to tell a full story. Even with my own parents, who follow me on most social platforms (sometimes, to my dismay), they'll refer to tweets from three weeks ago as if it was a story I had told them personally.

It's not that I'm exactly complaining about this. We all participate in social media willingly; nobody forces you to tweet or Snap. But it's easier, isn't it, than writing lengthy emails or talking on the phone. Sometimes, it's even easier than making time to sit down for coffee with someone and catch up on life.

Monday, June 26, 2017

harry potter tag.

At the WB Studio Tour in Leavesden
Happy 20th anniversary, Harry Potter franchise. When I was first introduced to the series (my mom read the first book to me before bed while I used my albuterol nebulizer to help me breathe while sleeping), I loved the idea of stepping into a world of magic. The concept of an outsider becoming a hero is not new, but there was something special about this scrawny kid who had something different about him.

So cheers to you, JK Rowling, and the world you've created that made this quiet, Asian-American girl who needed a machine to help her sleep and a wig to make her look "normal."

RELATED: the wizarding world of Orlando, Florida.

And here's the the HP tag for a bit of fun!:

1) Favourite book?
Philosopher's Stone (classic intro to the world!) or Order of the Phoenix.

2) Least favourite book?
Chamber of Secrets.

3) Favourite movie?
Prisoner of Azkaban or the Deathly Hallows films because having a two-part movie helped preserve more of the book details.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

travel diary: is it possible to visit three cities in one week?

When we began planning our London/Amsterdam/Dublin trip, the first question we had to ask ourselves was: can we do this all in a week?

Somewhere over London, en route to Amsterdam

The short answer is "yes," but it requires a lot of planning and understanding that you might not be able to do it all. (Check out my previous post on what we did/what we ate.)

I'm also an anxious traveler, so some of these steps and tips might seem overkill to you, but I found they worked best for me and helped us do (most of) what we wanted to do. And as Kristen just said to me: "It's smart to spend time worrying earlier instead of there."

Step 1: Use Google Flights.
Set your home airport and then move your mouse around the world with Google Flights' interactive map that shows you how much it costs to fly to various cities. This helped a lot in figuring out the order of cities to travel to, and I also love that it gives me a ton of options when it comes to airlines, time, and stopovers.

Being able to set notifications on specific flights helped too so I could get alerts on when prices went up or down dramatically.

Friday, June 16, 2017

can you live in LA without a car?

When I tell people I'm living in LA without a car, there are two responses I typically get:

1. How??
2. Why???

The latter is easier to respond to and understand: having a car is expensive. By the time you add up car payments and insurance, gas, parking (and parking tickets because, c'mon, it's LA)... it's a hefty monthly cost. And seeing as how my anxiety has only risen with age, putting a stressed and terrible driver on the road (yes, I do have my license but I'm really that bad of a driver) is bound to have terrible results.

The "how" is a bit more of a difficult explanation for some people to wrap their minds around, and seeing as how this is my personal experience and perspective, it will vary for each person who navigates the city without a car, so my opinion isn't even representative of the majority at all.

Is it more convenient to have a car you can just hop into when you want and need to? Absolutely. For instance, the amount of pre-planning it took for me to commit to buying a tower fan the other day was more than I cared for (I still did it).

Friday, June 9, 2017

travel diary: London, Amsterdam, Dublin.

Since traveling to Dublin and Amsterdam last year, I couldn't stop thinking about how much there was to do and see, and how much I didn't get the chance yet to experience.

The bench! I solo tripped it last time here so I didn't actually get to sit on it...

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy last year's trip, but I took it right before my busiest month and right at the time I had just launched a major project. I was exhausted and half-working and poorly prepared. So when the opportunity arose to travel back (at the END of this year's busy month), I couldn't pass it up – add a trip into London, a place I'd always wanted to go, and you had an irresistible itinerary.

My travel buddy Kristen and me at the WB Studio Tour,
in front of the doors to the Great Hall
We flew out of LAX on a Saturday night on a 787 Dreamliner and it was lovely and comfortable, and we had Panda Express before boarding the flight. (The flight back was just OK except for the one guy next to me who elbowed me in the head and face the whole 10 hours, and the part a few hours into the flight where I was asked to move seats for au upgraded male passenger. I guess if you buy the lowest fare with Norwegian, you're not considered a priority.)

Part of me was worried such a packed travel plan would backfire, but everything went well and our tired feet can attest to that.

Below is just a quick snapshot of what we did and what we ate, and I plan to write more about traveling and planning (and being an anxious traveler) and all that later, but if I don't post this now, you can absolutely bet I'll forget 80% of it.

There are also a ton of things here that deserve its own post, so that's coming later...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

favorites: May 2017.

So many of my favorite things in May had a lot to do with what kept me company on my travels. I've spent so much time the past few weeks in airports and hotels, and bopping around from place to event to outing. (For an introvert like me, that's exhausting.)

This month's list is a combination of beauty products that kept me glowing during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month events, to entertainment-related things that helped me get through all those travel delays...

1. BECCA X Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette by BECCA

I was dying to get my hands on this palette when I saw Chrissy Teigen was collaborating with BECCA, which has been my new favorite brand for highlighters this year. I traveled with this BECCA x Chrissy palette for my APAHM events at the end of May and – not only did it make my makeup collection so much more compact – it was the best accessory for every outfit. Everything is subtle, yet dewy, and not too pigmented either (which adds to that subtlety).