Tag Archives: Life

Natalie Tran – Asians in Media Talk

A few years ago, my brother introduced me to Natalie Tran’s videos and I found them to be pretty comical, but this is – by far – the most powerful video that I’ve ever seen from her and I’m really excited to share this with everyone.

Growing up, I’ve experienced having to answer every question under the sun about my heritage and the stereotypes that come along with it. The “where are you from?” question is one that I know all too well. In addition to “…but where are your parents from?” like Natalie mentioned, I’ve also gotten much more.

“You’re full Asian? But your eyes are SO big.”

“You must be really good at math.”

“Are your parents fresh off the boat?”

“Are your parents upset that you didn’t go on to be a doctor?”

“Do your parents speak any English?”

“Wait – say something in Vietnamese. Anything!”

It’s interesting for me to look back on my childhood and the types of things people expected me to answer. There were plenty of times when I received questions from those that were Asian that also confused me. “What do you mean you can’t eat spicy food? Didn’t you grow up on this?” “You only have a few Asian friends? That’s weird.” “If you grew up speaking Vietnamese, shouldn’t you still be pretty fluent?”

In the end, I think having to endure these types of questions has probably made me a stronger individual. At first, I felt pulled in a number of directions and naturally – it’s these questions that cause you to question yourself and who you are and who you should be. But we’re not alike. Not any of us. I don’t have to radiate “Asianess” to show that I’m proud of my heritage and where I came from. I want to show that in my actions and the things that I can accomplish. And goodness, it’s crazy to think of the things I still have to experience in 2015, but that just means that we still have a ways to go.

It’s important to know and continuously remind everyone through media or through our everyday relationships that not all Asians are the same and that racism does very much exist on both sides so let’s help each other out and just let people be who they are and be okay with that.

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Jemima Kirke Shares Her Abortion Story

Wow, watching this was so powerful to me. Jemima does such a great job for her character on “Girls” and the Pro-Choice / Pro-Life arguement is something that I’ve been fascinated with ever since I was in school so it was enlightening to hear her share her story.

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Review: Ariana Grande’s Honeymoon Tour

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first day for Ariana’s pre-sale tickets to go on sale (September 15, 2014) and I had downloaded some app called “Fahlo” so that I could gain access to buy tickets first. After they were purchased, I thought waiting 7 months for the actual show was forever. Turns out, it was. That’s a long time to wait to go to a concert, but it was so worth it. I didn’t have any doubts about her vocals because as most of us know – she’s kind of a powerhouse. With that said though, I definitely have a lot of feels about the show itself.

Let’s start with the positives.

Singing – She sang her songs in a different way than I’ve ever seen her perform them before at any event, show, or performance that I had to stream on YouTube so it’s unlikely that she was lip synching. If she did lip synch at all, it was most likely for “Hands On Me” which is fine because that’s not her best song anyways and doesn’t exactly highlight her range. There were so many times when the audience was just in awe of her vocals and you just couldn’t even look away from her because it was that. amazing.

Dancing – Ari used to get a bad rap for not being a great dancer because of the dance moves that she produced while always performing “Problem.” In her defense though, that’s not really a track where you need to go all out for. I had read articles before about how people have said that she’s actually a really good dancer, but just hasn’t had a chance to show them off. Well, I think it’s because she was saving them for the Honeymoon tour! I was actually super impressed with her moves and she looked adorable as always.

Outfits – For her tour, Ariana worked closely with Emmy-award winning costume designer Marina Toybina who designed the seven looks that she took the stage with. Each outfit was cute, sparkly, and sexy in true Ariana fashion. Also, let’s not forget that each outfit had a pair of matching cat ears, which was probably the best part. Glowing cat-ears were also being sold as part of the merch and it was probably one of the best merch pieces I’ve ever seen. The cat ears glowed in a hue of colors and sometimes even with the beat of her songs. The more I saw them in the crowd, the more I wanted them… that was until Sheila and I learned that they cost $40! We’re assuming that they only cost about $5 or less to make, but whatever – it’s a day later and I still want a pair.

Instrumentals – I couldn’t get enough. Her mini orchestra transitioned into her songs beautifully especially for “One Last Time” and “Tatooed Heart.” I love seeing this kind of thing at shows because I find that artists often get lazy and rely on a DJ or a backing track and having strings there on stage with her brought her songs to life in a really refreshing way. If you want a sneak peek at what this actually looked like, here’s a video that she shared with her fans prior to the tour starting.

Opening Acts – I can’t believe I’m considering this a positive because when I first caught sight of the opening act, I was completely over it. How quickly I change my mind… So Sheila and I ended up missing Cashmere Cat which was a huge bummer. We didn’t know if he’d actually be there or not so the whole thing was very confusing to us. After CC, Rixton took the stage – a UK boyband that we’d never heard of before, but somehow grew to love by the end of their set. Tbh, their songs aren’t all that great, but they can really nail some covers. When I watched them cover “Frontin'” by Pharrell, “Fine China” by Chris Brown, “Uptown Funk,” Beyonce, and Sam Smith, I was sold. The last song of their set was actually a song that played on the radio and was considered Top 40, but we had no idea they were the ones behind it. Embarassingly enough, Sheila and I just thought it was yet another cover.

And now… for the negatives. I know… I just wish I didn’t have any!

Continue reading

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What 25 Feels Like

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When it was my birthday last week, Diana and I held a mini photo shoot. I really wanted to capture exactly how I was feeling that day and at this moment of being 25. Also, I purchased my pinata Ralph last year with every intention of smashing it, but I’m such a little hoarder and I didn’t have the heart to do it! So now Ralph and I are celebrating our birthdays together every year. We took a few photos this day, but this one is probably the best. I’ve really matured y’all.

*This is a Birkenstock post. Ever since I bought these, I’ve been struggling to find a way to make these work with my outfits, but I’m not quitting yet.

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My Kid And Me

A coworker of mine once told me over breakfast that one of the best things about being a parent is watching his son discover something new for the very first time. As his son was having this experience, he himself as a parent, was learning how to appreciate those little things all over again from the eys of his son. It was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever heard at my office and it wasn’t even about work.

I came across this video that Casey Neistat made about his son Owen this evening which I ended up watching in between lots of commercial breaks. It’s really worth all 19 minutes. This video that Casey made about his trip to Peru with his teenage son was the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

For one, Owen is way cooler than I ever was at 13. This video reminded me of the adventure my mom took me on to Japan when I was 17 and even then I remember whining that  I was missing a month of my summer. Years later, I came to terms that one month back in Seattle would never equate to the experience I had in Japan.

I can’t wait to be a parent someday so I can do things like this with my kid!

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I’m 25.

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There is nothing like celebrating a birthday to show you just how many people care about you both near and far. It’s something we often forget about the other 364 days out of the year. 24 was a great year, but I am looking forward to 25 so much more. Everyone keeps asking me how I feel and if I feel older. The answer is yes. I do feel older, but I also want to act older. Your 20’s are supposed to be some of your best years and I’m halfway with so much more to look forward to, but at the same time at 25, I want to be more confident, more assertive, and of course making better decisions for myself and my life. Not a bad plan, right? The 25 year old me is already so different! I always used to emphasize celebrating birthday month and birthday week in high school and college and I’m glad to see that that hasn’t stopped. I felt really spoiled this week by having Kevin visiting, eating out non-stop, and catching up with so many great friends especially ones that happened to be in town from college which I didn’t expect. My former manager even baked me the most delicous cake on my birthday! My only request? Candles, pls! It used to be one of my favorite parts about my birthday and as you get older you kind of stop doing that.

Earlier this week, I was checking out the top posts like I normally do and saw near the top my throwback post that I wrote when I celebrated turning 20. It’s funny to look back on this and remember that back then I had no idea what was going to be in store for me. I didn’t know what living outside of a dorm would like or what graduating college looked like or what having a job would look like. Five years ago… I was a child, basically. I guess the reason why I’ve been blogging for so long is so that I can have moments like these.

Thank you so much to all of my friends and family who made my 25th birthday so wonderful.

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And a bonus photo of the birthday card my lovely parents sent me. Adorableness.

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Sometimes You Meet People Twice

There have only been two times in my life where I have managed to sit next to someone on an airplane and then come across them in “real life” afterwards. It’s one of those things that you just never expect to happen, but when it does you’re half surprised and half not. Over Thanksgiving break, I was taking off on a flight to Southern California thinking that I’d just be holed up for an hour reading Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In.” Fact: I’ve been trying to read this book for months and I’m still not done. As I was starting to get comfortable with the book, I became aware of my seatmates – a mother and her son. A mother… that looked a lot like Sheryl Sandberg herself! Could it be?

As expected, I played it cool and decided to strike up a conversation just asking her what she did instead. Turns out, I was wrong. Not Sheryl. What actually happened next was that we talked the entire hour of the flight, I made no progress in the book at all, and this went down in being one of my favorite memories of meeting a stranger while flying. A couple of weeks ago at brunch, I ended up seeing this woman with her family again at one of my favorite spots (hers too! as we also had a conversation about Borrone on the flight) I didn’t get a chance to talk to her because I wasn’t sure if she would remember me too, but it made me really happy thinking back to my talks with her and recognizing the funny coincidence that we were both in the same place at the same time again in our lives.

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Blog Roundup

– 8 Graphs That Capture the Truths of Breaking Up [The Bold Italic]

– How addicted to the internet are you? [PsychCentral] I received a healthy score of 14! What did you all get?

– The Secrets of Highly Efficient Napping [i09]

– How my old neighborhood of Capitol Hill is evolving and unfortunately, not in a good way [Seattle Times]

– The science of why Legos are so painful to step on [Quartz]

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30-Day Minimalism Challenge

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling a little bit unhinged with my days and weekends being less and less structured. I’ve been enjoying it because it allows me to plan less – something that I have a hard time doing – and giving myself time when I need it for extra time hanging out with friends on the fly or taking a few extra hours to sleep in. After doing this for so long, I think I’m ready to have more of a balanced set schedule again or at least disciplining myself. This extra time has enabled me to spend more time on Yow Yow! but that means that I’m much more connected to my laptop than I need to be and I think more time offline would probably be good for me. I came across this 30 day minimalism challenge which seems perfect. It’s simple and not too demanding, but sticking to it for 30 days could really improve how I’m doing things in my life. I’m not at a point where I feel like I can accept doing it just yet especially since I run this blog and work in tech, but I thought I would share it in case anyone else wanted to test themselves. You have 10 days to decide if you want to jump on it or not! For full rules and details, click here.

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Currently Craving:

Kevin is getting a lot of shoutouts on Yow Yow! this week.

It’s not rare for me to get the late night munchies right before bed on…just about any given day, but I like to think I practice a little bit of self control. So lately, I’ve been buying packaged vegetables with ranch (my mom hates this stuff) so that I can snack if I need to in a healthy way! However, my late night snacks weren’t always like this and when I got hungry this evening, I was reminded of some classic childhood times. There’s something really endearing about having not only childhood traditions, but a brother that you can share them with! When we were kids, Kevin and I were all-star bakers and we LOVED cake mix probably more than the average household. It felt like every Sunday we were allowed to bake a cake and each week we’d compare if it was too dry, too wet (just so you know – this means it wasn’t cooked enough initially and we were probably on the verge of salmonella) or just right. These cakes would last us a week because we’d treat ourselves every night (and after school) until the next Sunday when we baked another cake!

Readers, did you have any quirky childhood traditions with your sibling?

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Find Foxy Films

Almost every evening, I come home from work and spend a little time with my television and my laptop looking for material that I’m going to post that day. I’ve had the same routine since college. 85% of the time it’s something that will be a quick post – something involving fashion, a funny photo, a Song of the Day, something that requires me to write so little because at the end of the day, I’m just tired.

This morning, my brother’s friend Phil launched his new short film company Find Foxy Films as a way to bring real stories to life… so I decided to be a little less tired this evening. Last summer, Phil unexpectedly learned that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Nodular Hogdkin’s Lymphoma and immediately started chemotherapy. Though he had to put his dream job working in the film industry on hold, he wasn’t going to let that stop him from doing what he loved while still getting the treatment he needed in Seattle.

Find Foxy Films will give you a look into those big moments we may face in life in both a personal and intimate form. Some documentaries he has in production will highlight my brother’s two friends becoming parents for the first time and raising their child Asher as he explores his first year while another friend ventures into developing a cooperative brewery in Washington. We will also see Phil’s experience of battling cancer from his own eyes. Above is a scene from Happy Happy Punsalan, which I know you’re all going to love. I am really excited to see all of these films come to fruition.

I was thinking about writing this post all day at work and knew that when I got home, it had to come before anything else. Here are three takeaways that we’re going to leave you with:

  1. Asher is officially the cutest baby we’ve ever seen.
  2. My brother is surrounded by these incredible and strong people that he gets to call his friends.
  3. An inspiration and a role model to everyone in your life, Phil, we always knew you were destined for incredible things (especially after I saw The Short Game I knew for sure) and we’re rooting for you!

To learn more about Find Foxy Films, please visit their website and like their Facebook page.

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“After Us”

I read a blog called Doobybrain every day and every so often they highlight Wong Fu Production short videos and they’ve always been so so good. “After Us” definitely hits close to home. It reminds me of my own breakups, but also the type of rebuilding after a breakup that we all go through and that I’ve even seen through my own friends and those closest to me. I thought this was very well done.

And after watching the actual video, watch the behind the scenes for how it was all done.

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“Voted Best First Date”

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Happy President’s Day! I’ve had such a great afternoon catching up on Yow Yow and completely (well 85%) turning off work. I also hope all of you had a very lovely Valentine’s Day. I’m totally stopping by my local Safeway tomorrow to see if there’s any candy on sale that I can snag for myself and my co-workers. Valentine’s Day weekend in San Francisco was absolutely stunning. It was 70’s all weekend and it’s February so we were really the lucky ones. I mentioned earlier this week that I whole-heartedly believe that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated by everyone and that it isn’t just for those that are in a coupling. So that’s exactly what I did. I totally took the opportunity to go all out and give my friend Vo a day that he would love. Upon picking him up at his place in the city, he arrived at the same time as I did on his bicycle and carrying a bouquet of flowers for me! I was a little bit surprised since I thought that I was planning this whole day, but the flowers are a nice touch and I would never turn down flowers.

From there, we drove over to the Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park since we’d both never been there before. Did you know this place was voted “Best First Date” by the city or something? I don’t think I really agree, but whatever. For two, the admission is $16 and I’d say unless you’re really into flowers and all of that stuff, it might not be worth it because we got through the entire place in less than 30 minutes. We might have had a better time just sitting outside the conservatory surrounded by flowers on flowers on flowers. For dinner, I surprised Vo by making us drive over to Chinatown so that we could do a dim sum picnic in his living room! I forgot the blanket to perfect the setting, but I did remember the bottle of Riesling. Priorities. After we were stuffed, we watched a movie on Netflix called “Stuck in Love” which we thought was going to be pretty horrible, but it actually turned out to be much better than expected. I’ve included the trailer below. I hope you all had a great day celebrating however you did!

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Valentine’s Day: Not Just For the s/o’s

While Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, it’s definitely not a holiday that I have had an opportunity to celebrate as often as I would like. In college, I used to be around friends that hated the holiday because they were never in relationships. I probably had similar sentiments at the time, but oh my gosh, it broke my heart to not celebrate it because it’s such a fun holiday and if I’m being really honest here – I don’t think it has to be a holiday that you have to be in a relationship for to celebrate. So with that said, I’m planning a pretty elaborate date for my dearest friend this Saturday and I am pretty excited about it. I don’t think he reads my blog, but I don’t want to spoil anything just in case.

I’ve always been the “date planner” in most situations and I think relationship dates and friend dates are pretty similar so why not treat them all the same?

Readers, what are your Valentine’s Day plans and have you ever planned a friend date for someone special in your life?

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Vogue’s Love Stories

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day Week, love is pretty much on everyone’s mind. For me, a little bit more than the average person probably, but only because I just love love. I wanted to try and do a Valentine’s Day inspired post every day this week, but then I decided that I didn’t want to put that much pressure on myself. However, if there’s something that I find, that I feel like sharing, I’ll go ahead and do so. Basically, we’re doing what we’ve always been doing. I discovered today that Vogue has been hosting a series called “Love Stories” and publishing a new story every day up until Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry, it’s not all sunshines and rainbows, but that’s just life isn’t it? Sometimes even the greatest kind of love will end up hurting you big or small, but I think in the end, the most rewarding thing is the lessons you take away from it and they’re coming out in these stories that others have shared. I’m currently waching The Bachelor though and finding that I’m really enjoying these short stories during the commercial breaks.

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