Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

February 2018 Wrap Up


Yes, I know it’s already almost the end of March as I’m writing this, but it’s hard to compile a month into one post. February was such a pleasant gift compared to January. First of all, it was Asian New Year’s on the 16th and I remember writing about new year’s last year and feeling very hopeless but this year I felt slightly more optimistic and it felt nice to be optimistic. According to the signs, it will either be a very good year or a very bad year for any year of the dogs, which just sounds very foreboding. It is fruitless to watch out of signs telling me it is either, but it sometimes feels I should be looking for them.

February was particularly special to me because I celebrated my first Valentine’s Day ever in my 23 years of life. It was a definite change from the days of treating Valentine’s Day just like any other day and simultaneously yearning for someone while still appreciating my singledom but also wondering when the hecking heck someone would like me but also not caring because I had other priorities to fulfill but also wanting to do cute things with someone I loved but also realistically knowing dating with my less than ideal home situation and not being able to express myself creatively made it oh so hard but also wanting to laugh about inside jokes that only we would get but also wondering if I was even interesting enough to get a date with anyone. I was definitely not conflicted about this as you can see. But I’m here now and I had a really nice dinner at a Brazilian BBQ place with my boyfriend. This day is only as good as the person you spend it with and if that is truly the case, then I had an amazing time.

One day, I’ll take better pictures..


Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke, Alex Campbell, Hilary Sycamore

27414475Mighty Jack is a middle grade graphic novel following Jack who finds a bean and grows it and watches as the garden in front of his house turns into a mysterious garden with plants that have superpowers. Although the art for the plants was vibrant and explosive, it was the only interesting thing about this story. The characters were cardboard cutouts. Jack is the underdog that needs to get his act together to save everyone he loves, the girl next door is the token strong girl, and Jack’s sister really reads like a plot device so Jack can step it up. I really wish the characters were drawn better, then I would have enjoyed this world a heck of a lot more. 2/5

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


I finally read Nimona!!!! And it’s overhyped!!! At the time, I thought it was charming and now I’ve practically forgotten everything about it. I did really like the concept though, of an evil endearing girl becoming a sidekick to a villain. But then I stepped back thinking the story sounded familiar and it was: it is basically a Tumblr fanfic about a villain who is actually in love with the superhero. It sounds almost exactly like a Thor and Loki fanfic vibe. 3/5


The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

28096541I’ve been expanding the number of YA books that I’ve read that talks about rape and rape culture. Although I admire that there is more of these books being put out, there are definitely some that do it better than others. This is definitely not one of them. I’m getting a little tired of YA books that always cover rape culture in a small town as if only small town people are capable of small minded thinking. I’m also getting really tired of the method of feminism that says the solution to confront the patriarchy is to take down some sexist boys (usually, for some reason, football players). It makes for some feel good victory and the book even addresses that! It says “even if we win this battle, [we have other ones to fight]”. Feminism is a line of thinking, not a battle form. I also did not like the idea of the “benevolent” victim whose voice got to be heard but not the supposed “slut”. Where was her story, her voice? I did like that there were conversations about female masturbation and pleasure. The conversations felt pretty natural. Overall, an important topic understated with cliches. 3/5

Adulthood is a Myth & Big, Mushy, Happy Lump by Sarah Anderson 

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I really liked the sequel because it was so relatable to a particular type of introvert. However, the second was more of a rehash of the first except in the sequel, there were author’s notes alongside the cartoons which were a little unnecessary to me. The sequel just felt a little too relatable which I don’t even know is a concept but it feels like a concept appropriate for these books. It’s got a cutesy, special snowflake vibe that grated on me after a while but nevertheless some of that were hilarious and because I am THAT introvert, I found it very relatable which I suppose is the point anyways. 3/5

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister


I have a full review here.

March Vol. 3 by John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Aydin

My second favorite read of the month. There is something so incredible special about this series, in fact the third installment cementing it as one of my fa29436571vorite graphic novel series of all time. I like the different perspective on the civil rights movement. Most civil rights movement books that I read about center on the benevolence of these people, how a few protests helped cure centuries worth of racism and bigotry. I love the look that we get into how the movement’s morale changed during these years. It ebbed and almost lost momentum during the worst times. I learned that progress is sometimes even about finding the right political support even as they are only moderate about your statements or finding the right opportunities to strike when the violent sheriff is out of town. I think it’s so powerful how he juxtaposes these violent acts of so much hatred with the supposed fairness of American law, the law that every person in America has the right to vote.


Seventeen – “Thanks”

Every so often as you know, I go into one of my kpop kicks. I am completely obsessed with this song and its choreography. I seriously watched the live version more than 10x in a row. The vocals are so strong. Everything about this is so catchy and explosive, but expertly restrained. I also completely adore the music video. It’s a lot darker and moody than the usual kpop video. It’s so interesting; normally American men would not be caught dead in a music video doing their own makeup., but it’s normal here. Yet this embrace of femininity still does nothing for society’s patriarchal nature.

Ikon – “Love scenario”

Apparently, they got inspiration for this song after watching La La Land and I thought it fit perfectly for the movie. It’s such a cozy, feel good song.

Red Velvet – “Bad Boy”

I think you can see the trend with these songs. They are upbeat and cheerful, but they have a go get em attitude that I really love. Again, I love the music video. The outfits are so sexy 90’s and I need all those black outfits in my wardrobe, all those black boots! Fishnet stockings! Crop tops!

A$AP Rocky – “LPFJ2”

Wanna know how I find out about rap songs. I listen to other people listen to them and then I memorize the lyrics and search it up on google.

NCT – “Baby Don’t Stop”

I have to like at least one NCT song in their comebacks.


Black Mirror Season 4

Image result for black mirror season 4Oh black mirror, what has happened to you? Out of 6 episodes, I only really liked 2 of them, but only one was truly standout though it was nowhere near the level of the best episodes from Seasons 1 and 2. I’m disappointed in it. Although Black Mirror is about exploring how technology negatively affects us, even lethally, it never failed to explore the emotional depths that technology was suppose to alleviate, resolve, or amplify. These technological advances are only spurred from human desires. The show is opting for shock value and exploring technology that is more extraneous than plausible which is frustrating. I’ll continue to watch anything Black Mirror puts out, but I have to admit I am now wary of the quality.

Big Little Lies

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I completely adored Big Little Lies. I will have a full review coming up for this coming up (hopefully) soon.



Growstone – mobile game

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Growstone is a mobile RPG game where you basically collect stones and become as strong as possible. I was skeptical at first because the coding and artwork is just not my cup of tea. It’s very old school 90’s. But as I kept playing, I really started liking it and the artwork just became endearing. It’s a nice game to play as you wait for something or just pure escapism. You can also automatically play it and leave it to play itself while you do something else.

Tabletop with Wil Wheaton – Youtube series

Tabletop with Wil Wheaton is a series where WIll Wheaton and other guest stars play tabletop or board games. Aside from introducing me to sooo many board games that I would like to play in the future (including that I bought: Avalon Resistancew, a bluffing game.), they also provide such hilarious entertainment at the same time. All the stars have such great chemistry together and they are just unabashed nerds who are not afraid to roleplay. I’ve watched gameplay for Munchkins, Forbidden Island, Go sushi, and many, many more. Guest stars include Felicia Day, John Scalzi, Ashley Clements and many more!



book review · Uncategorized

Book Review: All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Image result for single ladies the rise of an independent nation

Title: All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Author: Rebecca Traister

Pages: 339

Genre: Nonfiction




Often culturally accepted assumptions are presented as the norm. There is a certain formula that is usually accepted for how to live.  You go to school, get a job, then you get married, and then have kids. In that order. This formula is so ingrained in American society (and worldwide society in general) that a person is seen as a pariah if they don’t follow these unspoken rules, even by which age you are considered basically  unmarriageable. These unspoken rules are often more rigidly placed on women. So what happens now when more and more women are not adhering to this strict formula? When more and more women in American society are single?

“In 2009, the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50% [and] ‘the median age of first marriage is around 27 and higher in cities'”.

Traister follows the history of single women and the implications of single women and the future in this nonfiction work. She explores multiple societal factors that this trend influences and devotes chapters to topics such as the institution of marriage, the wage gap, gender imbalances, and

Image result for elizabeth blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell, first accredited female physician, never married

sexual promiscuity or lack thereof, and even female friendships. She also explores power and freedom and how it manifests in women who remain single or delay marriage till a later age. Throughout the book, she includes many interesting statistics and anecdotes from women she has interviewed. I also appreciate that she explores the stigma that single women have long suffered and provides counterpoints to each. I did wish she had discussed this using people of different races and ethnicities and sexual orientations. This would support the many points of her argument. For instance, she insists that singlehood is not a new phenomenon as black women have historically seen higher percentages of singleness than their white counterparts. When she does, she consistently repeats herself and does not analyze her perspectives to include people of different sexual orientation especially in the chapter talking about gay marriage. This book does take a liberal slant although it does try hard to remain impartial and does take into account conservative sources.

What is so special about more women being single/delaying marriage whether by choice or not? One of the major and fascinating impacts it has is on marriage, a topic that is

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Anne Bronte, English novelist, never married

thoroughly explored in All the Single Ladies. Marriage has historically been one of the best institutions “for men to assert, reproduce, and pass on their power to retain their control” and this is becoming irrelevant more today with the rise of single women.  Yet despite this, “marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives, health, life, home, and car insurance all cost more for single people, and reports that “it is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status.” Ironically, even though there is definitely marital privilege, this seems to affect men more beneficially, as on the whole, “women earn approximately five percent less per hour, per child, than their childless peers with comparable experience.” I like how she explains these ironies in a progression that helps the reader understand the existence of these ironies.

The author explains the attributes of a marriage that have long enforced gender imbalances. Why is that women have more career ambitions than ever before but are still saddled with most of the domestic chores and childcare? The single woman phenomenon is inadvertently toppling these biases. What’s even more fascinating is that marriage is seen more and more as entrapment but the LGBTQ community has long fought for and won the battle for gay marriage even as more and more women are staying single.

By far, I think the most fascinating thing about this book is the way it opened my eyes to this world we live in, how a family does not always follow the 2 parent, heterosexual formula and that single women have given way to many of these non nuclear families,

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Gloria Steinem, journalist & social political activist

how technology allows women to have babies in their own time and under the circumstances they choose. She does explain that the older the woman, the more likely incidence of miscarriages and higher incidence of disease and mental disabilities. There are single women with children by necessity and by choice. There are long term couples who cohabit and have kids. These choices are becoming the norm. It is interesting how we have so many ingrained ideals about marriage with kids when the association of marriage and kids together is completely a social construct. I also did appreciate that not everyone wants marriage, she explores the fact that women are often fulfilled by their work, their passions, and their friends that marriage is suppose to fill. What this trend ultimately leads to is a greater independence for women, greater responsibility for men, and a diverse model for family.

This book is about the implications of the rise of single women in the country. I was surprised to learn it’s about more than just changing the landscape of marriage and family, but it’s changing the social landscape from work to education to and to the changing of gender dynamics. Going into this book, I thought it would be a pretty niche topic that would, at best, only have a small ripple effect but as it turns out, the phenomenon of the single woman has an effect on all parts of society and will continue to do so.



favorites · Uncategorized · wrap up

January 2018 Wrap Up


It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these but I told myself I would restart this year so here I am. As a side effect of only posting 2x a month now, I’m compiling all the books, movies, TV shows, and music in one big monthly wrap up rather than separating my favorites apart from the book wrap up. I am convinced that January is just not my month. It’s like the Monday of the year. I anticipate a change because it’s the beginning of the year but usually everything stays completely the same. Consequently, I think it’s the month I feel the most restless. It’s the month when the holiday cheer is gone and over, set in by a gloominess and overcast, everyone is suddenly back to business. If January was about anything, working those hours, I realized what was and is truly important to my time. I started doing this project called the one second a day for the rest of the year. The idea behind it is that you take a video of your life everyday and compile one second of each to put into a video compilation at the end of the year. I’ve modified it so that it’s one picture a day. This year is more of a test year than anything because I’m not used to taking pictures frequently but nevertheless, I have taken on this endeavor. However I realized that during the middle of January, that each day was a blur of work and I just did not have a picture that highlighted my day.

Matcha Ice Cream

Sadly, a symptom of being a fully fledged working person is that while you realize you have more responsibilities, you also realize you have to fight for what is truly important to you and how to distribute that time. I have a habit of “sucking it up” or adapting rather than changing. It’s the way I taught myself to do things but I realize that sucking it up doesn’t change anything and it just makes you more miserable. You have no sense of whether something is truly working out for you or not. If it is not working, it doesn’t mean that I should keep doing it. Life is too short to just endure.


The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison (3.5/5)

17934655The Empathy Exams is an interesting concept of a book. It deals entirely with our ability to empathize and the nuanced ways in which we do so. One essay explores the irony of going on a tour to learn about poverty, another follows empathy through her experiences as a medical actor and how we must have common ground before we are able to empathize with someone, and another essay defends the concept of being too sentimental. As with any essay collection, there were definitely ones that had excellent premises but that I wished she had analyzed more of what she observed from it. But the very best stories are so worth the more mediocre ones because they are so in tune to how we perceive empathy in our daily lives.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (4/5)

I actually don’t think I’ve been this enamored by a YA fantasy since The Winner’s Kiss. 26032825The only thing I wish it had more of is Marie Rutkoski’s ephemeral writing. Holly Black’s writing cuts like a bland knife. It cuts, and does the job, even fairly well, but it just lacks a certain sharpness not to mention she uses the cliche that every YA writer uses and overly emphasizes a feeling. But what makes this different from other YA fantasies is that every single character has an immediate stake but also an underlying stake throughout the book that is not immediately apparent when they are introduced. Our main character is utterly fascinating. Jude is someone who has grown up with fire. She hates these fairies who have tormented her and who have ultimate power over her, but at the same time, this is the place she calls her home and the place that has nurtured the brutal, caustic person she has become.  Of course, I also cannot forget the slow burn romance that I fervently hope will develop more in the second book. I don’t think I’ve shipped two characters this much since Arin and Kestrel. I cannot, cannot, wait for the next book.

Meet Cute by various YA authors (3.5/5)

33503607I have to say that this is probably the strongest short story collection I’ve read in terms of how many of the stories I liked. Even if the execution was not up to par, the premises provided such a fascinating take that I had a lot of fun reading it anyways. It was such a lighthearted and happy collection and only proves why I could like YA contemporary. It brought such a smile to my face.  My favorites were “Oomph” by Emery Lord, a story that follows two girls at the airport and “Print Shop” by Nina La Cour, Nina La Cour really knows how to write a dreamy, vintage California setting. Honorable mentions have to go to Nicola Yoon’s, “The Department of Dead Love” which follows social workers who help you after a break up, Dhonielle Clayton’s, “The Way We Love Here”, where you know who your true love is beforehand, Jocelyn Davies’s, “The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love”, which follows a girl’s statistics of meeting this boy on the train everyday, Julie Murphy’s “Something Real”, which follows two girls on the set of a reality show, and even Jennifer L. Armentrout’s, “The Dictionary of You and Me” which follows a librarian and her repeated calls to the owner of an overdue book. All are squirmingly cute. I want a full book on some of these.

What do you think the difference between wanting to be friends and wanting to be more than friends is?

Some people you want to get to know and some people you want to know you. I think that’s the difference.


My Happy Family | B+

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My Happy Family is a quiet movie about a woman who leaves her family and buys an apartment to live alone. It’s one of those movies where nothing much actually happens, and yet you have this rich sense of the main character’s inner life. When she first presents this idea of living on her own after living with her extended family including her mother, father, husband and children, her entire life. Her family cannot fathom why she would want to do this; they immediately ask if her husband has abused her in any way, wondering what she could be unhappy about. I love the way this movie explores a person, especially a woman, finding her own space, literally and figuratively. It explores the importance of finding your identity separate from your family, and how it is difficult for a woman to do so as they are expected to sacrifice for family often at the expense of their own health. This movie is set in Georgia (European Georgia) and I did watch the dubbed version, it did take me out at first because I’m so used to finding a subtitled version but I got used to it.

It | B

Image result for itI’m not really sure how to feel about this movie. On the one hand, found family especially between kids is one of my favorite things ever and this movie delivers that. It’s a fun (and scary) romp to defeat this evil clown (who is btw terrifying). It delivers a scary story that only Stephen King can write where the scary entity is just an extension of the real things to fear: abusive parents, mean bullies, and growing up. And yet, on the other hand, I just think this ’80s nostalgia has gotten old. Maybe it’s just me, but I just cannot deal without another disproportionate all white male kid gang and that 1 manic pixie dream girl. Maybe I’m not as attached to the ’80s because I was obviously not born during this time but the oftentimes racist and sexist undertones is just not nostalgic for me. This was definitely a movie adapted from a book that was definitely written in the ’80s which is different from, say Stranger Things, that has a love for the ’80s but feels less stranded in its time.


Father is Strange | finished 8 episodes 

Father is Strange is the perfect example of why cliches can work if they are well Related imageexecuted. I’ve rolled my eyes a lot at the traditional family dramas that have pervaded TV and you know, this drama’s story doesn’t deter from those familiar plot points: missing dad, shrewish mother- –in-law, miscommunication, an unexpected pregnancy subplot, no nonsense grandma, poor vs rich class conflict, and of course, some good ol’ fashioned romance. These plot points, however, are done with a subtlety and are better appreciated with distinct characters and strong acting. It also has a progressiveness that has been missing from many traditional dramas that helps it feel fresh and modern while keeping the nostalgia of a family drama. I have since stopped this drama because, however much I enjoy it, the storylines move at a snail’s pace, and I would appreciate this more when I do not have other, faster shows to occupy my time.

Image result for the end of the f *** ing worldThe End of the Fucking World | Finished 2 episodes

I think I would have liked this show 2 years ago, even a year ago, but the fact of the matter is, I just have less tolerance now for shows with apologetically shitty characters. There are always exceptions but I just do not think I’m in the mood to watch shitty, pretentious teenagers at the moment. Don’t let my review deter you from watching it though, objectively, the acting and editing are on point.

Alias Grace | Finished 4 episodesImage result for alias grace

Another stopped show. I liked it fine, but it just needed more space to explore its concepts. I love the set design and the cinematography but the story is lacking. I should just finish the last two episodes but honestly I’ve got other shows to watch.




Feminist Frequency

Image result for feminist frequency podcastAs I get more and more into the podcast world, this continues to be one of my favorite podcasts. This features 3 women, including Anita Sarkessian who produced the video games vs tropes series on YouTube. The podcast discusses the latest media including movies, TV shows, games, and the news and looks at them through a feminist lens. I really love the discussion these ladies have together. I also get some great recommendations from them.



Illenium – Beautiful Creatures (feat. MAX)

I’m actually really enjoying all of Illenium’s music, but this one I’ve been listening to the most. My perfect kind of EDM.

If love is a lie, then why do we need it?
We swear we’re alive, but we’re falling to pieces


Clash RoyaleImage result for clash royale

Yes, I had been playing this a lot in January and it made me realize how much I actually like playing games if only I can really apply my analytical and strategical skills. The only bad part is that I get really competitive and angry when I lose.




February is already shaping up to a great month, and I hope that bodes well for the rest of the year. As always, let me know if you have enjoyed any of these and if you have any recommendations for me based on these. =)




tv review · Uncategorized

TV Review: Search Party

Image result for search partyTitle: Search Party (Seasons 1-2)

Genre: Comedy, Mystery

Episodes: 20

Created by: Sarah-violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter

Starring: Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner, Brandon Michael Hall

Rating: A-


A lot of articles have described Search Party as the millennial Nancy Drew and that was pretty much all I needed to hear to start this oddball of a show.

Search Party is the type of dark absurdist comedy that I normally don’t get. The absurd is usually too absurd and the comedy too black for me to really enjoy. But Search Party, Search Party is something special and likewise wholly original from what I normally watch. It features Dory Sief, who at the beginning of the show, sees a missing person flyer of Chantal Witherbottom who went to college with her. Dory has only bumped into her once when she dropped her teddy bear while moving into college. But somehow Dory becomes obsessed with finding her believing Chantal to hold a greater purpose in life for her than running mindless errands for a rich, lonely housewife and coming back home to a loveless relationship with her boyfriend, Drew Gardner. She sets out to find Chantal, stringing along Drew, and her friends Elliot Goss, cliche in his flamboyance and Portia Davenport, ditzy and a little naive.

Search Party is a satire of millennials, of self-obsession, and of the social media that perpetuates this self-obsession. These themes are hidden underneath characters who seem harmless at first but as they are pushed to their limits, (especially in season 2 where they have to keep up with the repercussions of their actions in Season 1), they slowly show their true layers underneath. Although Drew is passive, in Season 2, we see him do whatever it takes to get the job he desires dragging down anyone and everyone he can; he reveals himself to be just as cunning and clever as the other characters. We cheer and clap when these characters are given their due but we also feel a little guiltily sympathetic. Although we know that Dory has an ulterior motive to finding Chantal Witherbottom whom she believes is in danger, we at first think it is either amusing or slightly absurd but we go along with it because what’s the harm? We laugh at the dry humor and the character’s harmless attempts at trying to find Chantal but it quickly devolves into something more sinister.

Our four main characters are incredibly unlikeable. They are entitled, selfish, and unapologetic and unaware of both.  When Dory announces Chantal’s death to her group of friends, Elliot immediately dismisses it but then pulls out his phone to tweet about his sorrow at her disappearance. It is a testament to this show that the moment is disturbing but also incredibly funny and oddly enough, relatable.

The show never demands us to like them as so many shows with despicable characters do.  But instead the show lays the onion on the table, and slowly peels back the layers one by one until the core character is revealed. You don’t have to sympathize with them and yet they are so oddly relatable without someone demanding that they be relatable to us. In fact, tragic backstories are never revealed so there’s not an automatic stake for sympathy. Their few moments of vulnerability are less touching than desperate and frustrating. The ending of Season 1 was incredibly satisfying, surprising, and most importantly, original from so many murder mystery plot twists.Search (1)

Even though this show is definitely a character study, the mystery is just as compelling and gripping especially in Season 2. In both seasons, the progression of the mystery serves to amplify who the characters already are. What will happen if desperate Dory does not find the answer she is looking for in finding Chantal? What will happen when the carpet of privilege and wealth is swept under Elliot Goss’s feet? I think Season 2 is actually better than Season 1 because the stakes are higher. Plot twist after plot twist is revealed. The characters do crazier things because the stakes are higher but their actions are so true to their characters. What’s also compelling is that the side characters including Julian, Dory’s ex-boyfriend who is very blunt, Chantal, ditzy and spoiled, and most notably, Dory’s and Drew’s next door neighbor, April who i certifiably crazy and unpredictable. It is great that they become so fleshed out as they inadvertently become more and more embroiled in Dory’s affairs.

Search Party does not fit the mold of the usual TV show I watch but it is incredibly brilliant in its portrayal of its characters combined with a sharp script and breakneck pacing, it is something I’m wholly glad I gave a chance.



Miscellaneous · Uncategorized

New Year, Really New Me?

2017 was the year I finally realized how much insecurity I’ve always struggled with. I always knew they were there but I always thought they were a part of me in so much as that weird birthmark that you’ve always had on your skin. Ironically, I berated myself for even having these insecurities which was the exact opposite of what I should be doing. I think I had enough of these inner demons this year and I wanted to quiet them. I started trying to love and forgive myself more and truly learning from my mistakes. I tried to remember that everywhere I go, I deserved to be there and if I find myself shrinking within myself, I ask myself why? and remembering that the insecurities I have are so small in the long run, I might as well show my authentic self. I think that’s what I wanted most, to be able to be happy and comfortable in who I am. I make a lot of mistakes but I accept them and ask myself what can be done better and move on. I  even had moments this year when I realized old me would have never done something like that. Usually when I did that last year, I would have had way more self loathing. I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come in 2017. There is still so much more left to do but I’ve come miles last year. Looking back on where I was at the beginning of the year and looking now at where I am, I never thought, for a second, that this is where life would take me but I’m so grateful for it. Of course, a good year cannot happen without the help of my amazing friends and, for the first time ever, an amazing boyfriend(I know y’all are reading this). Having a job really proved that I could work through adversity and that I am capable. I should trust myself more. I can’t be anything else other than who I am so why not embrace it? This year, I’ve also come to realize how important my health is. I had wisdom teeth surgery this year and I had post surgery infections and a lot of side effects after I took antibiotics and it just showed me how much of my health I’ve been taking for granted so I want to make my health more seriously. 2017 was definitely a growing up year but it was the best year I’ve had in so long. The big things made me happen but so did the small things. It was if someone was looking out for me last year. I hope the good streak continues to last in 2018. Cheers to a new year and new adventures! =)

Personal Resolutions

  • Find more creative and self improvement outlets.
    • My creative outlets have always been Youtube and my blog but I want to find more diversity of creative outlets like podcasts, movies, games, makeup, fashion, and graphic design. These are places where I have always found passion but this year I want to hone in on more of my creative side with them and basically broaden my creative horizons.
  • Eat more vegetables and exercise 2x a week.
    • I realize when I’m making a health goal I have to start small, otherwise I will not go through with it so I think this goal is pretty feasible.
  • Journal at least once a week.
    • The consequence of being busier than ever is that I don’t get as much time to self reflect which is something that is foreign to me. I think telling myself to journal at least once a week will help me center myself more and create a space for myself.
  • Focus on what I can do in the present.
    • Too often, I focus on what I do not have and what other fun things people are doing. I realize there are certain things about my circumstances that I can’t change right now and I hope I can channel that restlessness into productivity and doing what I can do instead of self pity.

Reading Resolutions

  • Read for at least 20 uninterrupted minutes a day.
    • I realize that whenever I read now, I had to keep checking my phone every 5 minutes and even that took away from my reading experience so I hope that in 2018, I can read for at least that allotted time without distractions.
  • Read 40 books
    • I’ve literally cut my end goal by half so I don’t put as much stress on myself this year.
  • Continue to read short story collections/essay collections.
    • I had a goal every year before this to read a diversity of formats and so far it has worked out very well. I think after this I can stop doing this and hope that I can just read diversely on my own without having to set a goal for it.

Blogging Resolutions

  • Post at least 2x a month.
    • There are several reasons for this. This year, I’ve found that my blog posts have been too sporadic and I realize that I’ve been sacrificing quality to post up content. The writing itself has probably suffered, my banners and headers have definitely deteriorated and by the end, I hadn’t included them at all. I just want to produce content that I am proud of this year. Not to say that I wasn’t proud of my content this year but it could have been better so let’s say I want to do 4 reviews this month, ideally it’ll force me to write all four but I think realistically it will at least force me to write better about two of the ones I pick.
  • Go back to posting up quarterly “What I’ve Been Watching” posts and “Monthly Favorites”
    • I realized this year that I really miss doing the Monthly Favorites post and I miss having this record of the highlights of the month. Part of the problem for Monthly Favorites was that I didn’t have a good phone to take pictures with but now I do so I have no excuse not to do this post.
    • I also miss keeping track of what I’ve been watching for the past few months. It gave me a chance to analyze the movies that I don’t want to review so I’m going to try and do more of those this year.


favorites · Uncategorized

Favorite Books/TV Shows of 2017

Sadly, because 2017 was not a great reading year, there weren’t many books that really stuck out to me. I even hesitated making a best of 2017 for books because even the ones I considered my favorites of the year were not the same greatness that my favorites for previous books. But I decided I do want to mention the most memorable of the year. I tried to include a variety of formats that I read. Unlike in previous years, I have not ordered these in any way.

Human Acts by Han Kang

30091914Han Kang is such a daring writer. She experiments with format and writing style and whether or not it is effective is often besides the point. What I feel she always tries to achieve though is capturing the rawest emotion of her characters. I think it works very well here. It is stylistically quite different than her previous work, The Vegetarian. Human Acts is definitely more like one long metaphor but it completely works as she portrays the brutality of the 1980’s rights as an extension of death and life.



I have a few short forms I would like to celebrate.

  • A Series of Steaks by by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Short story) – A clever scifi story about 3D printing and female friendship.
  • Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station by Caroline M. Yoachim (Short story)- A throwback to Choose Your Own Adventures stories. It, at once, celebrates the format but also pokes fun at it.
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Agozi Adichie (novella) – nothing in this novella is particularly new but the way Adichie crafts her writing about feminism makes you feel as if this should be common sense and her arguments are
  • The Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf (Essay) – I need to read virginia woolf’s other works asap after reading this. This short story is literally about the narrator watching a moth die but the spectrum of feelings you get while reading it is  all encompassing.

We were Feminists Once from Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl: the buying and selling of a 25898263political movement by Andi Zeisler

I’ve read a lot of feminist rhetoric and it’s surprising to find a recent one that I learn so much from. This book ties modern feminism and how it has affected capitalism. This book has been so eye-opening for me and I see how feminism in the modern age can be manipulated for less than wholesome motives.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

35247769You know I like this book because I’ve read it 1 year. It’s hard to explain why exactly this book and this series is so special to me. On the surface, it wouldn’t seem so, after all it is just a romantic contemporary about a high school girl and her journey through high school and romantic entanglements. But it is just so sincerely heartwarming and fun to read. I love Lara Jean’s little family, Peter, and of course, all the cookies Lara Jean baked.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios29102896

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I have no qualms about coining this book as the best YA book discussing the progression of a toxic relationship. It is subtle and powerful and just has an all around depth to it. It paints everything in greys instead of blacks and whites and it’s such an honest and realistic portrayal of all different types of toxic relationships.

Image result for the language of thornsThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I’m starting to like Leigh Bardugo more and more as a writer. My favorite thing about this collection is how it upends fairy tale traditions and canon. By reversing these traditions, Bardugo really shows the reader how much we have relied on traditional tropes to write our fairy tales and how when you look at these tropes in the light, it might cause you to look at these characters differently than you always have. It is honestly worth a hard copy just because the illustrations inside are so beautiful!

TV Shows

I had much better luck in finding great shows this year. These are my top 5 definitive TV shows of 2017 and I would rewatch all of these in a heartbeat. I thought it would be a little repetitive if I included Superstore because I have a feeling that that show will be here for a while and it will probably on every single one of my favorite TV show lists. But other than that, here are my favorite shows of 2017. These are in order from least favorite to favorite show of 2017

Insecure, Season 2

Comedy|8 episodes|HBO

Image result for Insecure season 2I watch Insecure like I listen to friends gossip. It is so deliciously juicy and enticing in the way that the world of dating can be.  But the great thing about this show is that its so clever about portraying how the different men in Issa’s and Molly’s life reveal who they really are. But it’s not just about that. It’s about their struggles in the workplace and of course, the struggle to find who or what they truly want. Even better is that in the end this show is about Issa’s and Molly’s enduring friendship. It is a completely bingeworthy show.


Master of None, Season 2

Comedy|10 episodes|Netflix

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I am so, so impressed with this show above all else to experiment with different storytelling formats. One episode will be an hour long while another will be half an hour. One episode is partly told in subtitles with the main characters not even being present in the episode. One is told like an old Italian movie. There are long pauses without dialogue. This show feels like a meandering but it manages to stay cohesive. It is absolutely brilliant in its discussion of modern dating, workplace harassment, and diversity. I’ve seen and read a lot of media that covers the coming of age of high school to college to post grad people but Master of None shows that a coming of age for the late 20s-30s group can be done so well.

Search Party Seasons 1&2

Dark comedy|20 episodes|TBS

Image result for search partyI love Search Party and it is one of the most unique shows I’ve seen in a long time. Its young 20something characters are very difficult to like and even sympathize but they are great fodders for discussing self entitlement and self obsession as well as the struggle that a lot of 20some year olds struggle with now: the struggle for purpose and meaning in their lives. Don’t take this to mean that this show is a continual philosophical story but these themes are the foundation for a darkly funny and satirical tale. This show is weird. It combines a mystery featuring amateur detectives with a great look at characters that we think we know until they sweep the rug from under our feet to reveal who they truly are. My review for this is coming soon but this is truly a unique, weird little show that deserves so much more hype.

Anne with an E

Drama|7 episodes|Netflix

This was honestly a wonderful gem of a show and I’m so happy it has been renewed for aRelated image second season. This is just one of the few book to TV show adaptations that have so accurately casted the right actors and actresses for their respective characters. I also think it is one of the few book to movie TV adaptations that have stayed so true to the book’s core themes while still adding its own individuality to the show.  The addition of the stable boy, Jerry, was such a delight considering how much humor he brings to the show. This show is somber, melancholic, and aesthetically beautiful but it is full of hope and lightheartedness just like its main character.


Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Korean drama|16 episodes| MBC

My number one favorite show of the year is Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. I’m actually Image result for weightlifting fairy kim bok-jooalready thinking of rewatching this next month. It is a beautiful, beautiful drama full of hope and love. I completely adore the lighthearted and vibrant tone of the show. Our main character, Bok Joo, is a charismatic and blunt weightlifter who goes to a college for athletes. She is always a character that you root for and throughout the show you are cheering for her success and the ambitions she has despite the many comedic and cringeworthy situations she finds herself in. Cushioned around this character are two lovely best friends, a well meaning father, some endearing coaches, and a charming and swoonworthy love interest. I especially like this drama for how it upends some traditional korean drama tropes and understands that at its heart, it is a story of a girl who dreams of being the best weightlifter instead of a story of a girl who has a romance. It had me smiling, laughing, and crying the entire way through.

Have a wonderful New Year’s and here’s hoping that 2018 will be full of even better books and TV shows!






movie reviews · tv review · Uncategorized

Reviews: A TV Show, A Movie, A Drama

For Beginners

Stranger Things season 2 was an inevitable thing considering the enormous popularity of the first season. As a whole, I think it succeeds but I have a few qualms. First of all, my feelings about the side characters are two fold. On the one hand, I struggle to see how they stand on their own throughout the season; I even question some of their significance such as Maxine’s stepbrother who is a dick for basically no other reason than being a dick. With that said, however, some of the success of Stranger Things is the fact that it juggles so many characters but gives each one their moment in the spotlight. It takes a while for some of the characters to show their true deal and sometimes I feel the side characters are just used to create tension in the plot like Bob.

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As conflicted as I feel about the side characters, I do like that the show continued to expand our core cast of characters with the exception of Will and Joyce. I wish Will hadn’t spent the entire season unconscious or confused or seeing visions. I think there wasn’t enough time for him to really develop as a character what with him being entirely missing in S1 and unconscious for much of S2. I also wish Joyce didn’t spend all season screaming. However, I feel as though the dynamics of the group are ever evolving in a good way. They are each trying to find their own identity outside of the group and because of that they spend a significant amount of time away from each other. Dustin discovers a new creature that he wants to keep despite the group’s skepticism. Mike is still trying to get Eleven back. Lucas is grappling with his feelings for Maxine. I’m very pleased with Eleven’s story arc as well even though the storyline with finding her mom was a little tedious. She finally figures out what her powers mean to her and how she wants to use them.

I have to say I was so very happy about what happened between Nancy and Jonathan, my OTP of this show. I like that Nancy really got to shine on her own. It was somewhat marred by the fact that Steve did not get any closure from this but I’ll take it and hope he gets some more development next season. And let me just say, I did not know I needed Steve as an unwilling babysitter till now. I completely love Steve as a character this season. He is an incredibly funny character and he plays it just right.

Image result for steve harrington season 2 gif

The cliffhanger was unsatisfying to me because I thought the entire season was about just this thing (that I won’t spoil). The plot continued to be compelling and it definitely got pretty gruesome at parts for a family show but I’m all for it. But side note, what is up with all the cliche one-liners? B+

For Beginners (1).png

Lady Bird is only one of a slew of coming of age movies that I’ve had the pleasure to watch in the past couple of years. It’s about a girl named Christine, or as she dubs herself, “Lady Bird”, in her final year of high school. I have to say it’s one of the most stylistically unique. It moves in vignettes and mere snapshots of Lady Bird’s life with no sense of beginning, middle, or even end. It just feels like you’re watching little video clips spliced together as she tries to figure out to get out of California and get into college to a school on the East Coast. She is misunderstood but that misunderstanding is as much a result of her own perception of herself as those of the perceived perceptions of her from the people around her such as her father, her brother, her friends, her love interests, and especially her mom. A hodgepodge of juxtapositions herself, she is romantic but crass, she is delusional but also very grounded in reality, she is an outcast but wants to fit in.

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She has a frustrating relationship with her mom and I like that they spend an equal amount of time focusing on all her relationships, romantic, familial, and friends.

No scene really begins with a clear purpose; no scene ends with a clear resolution. It could just be a clip of her and her mom shopping at the mall and then cutting to a scene of her at school. It is beautifully acted, often feeling more improv than scripted which is only a testament to the natural dialogue. Everything feels just well balanced. A lovely coming of age movie. A

For Beginners (2)

It is rare for me for me to have completed a kdrama and give it a B. Usually, I know it’s a B from the first few episodes and just quit it. You can see from my previous reviews of Descendants of the Sun, Age of Youth, Signal, and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo that I gave all of them A’s and if I didn’t, such as Tomorrow with You, I have already stopped watching by the 3rd episode. Despite the cons of the drama, I loved the poignancy of this drama and what it has to say about the institution of marriage. Ji Ho is a quiet, mousy 30 year old who wants to make it as a writer. She desperately needs a room while she is looking for jobs after quitting her first one as an assistant writer. She finds a room with Se Hee who just wants a roommate who will recycle and look after his cat and pay the rent so he can pay back his debts. They don’t ask for much from life, just a place to stay, food, and the ability to watch soccer games in their spare time.

Image result for because this is my first life cat

They fall in love, obviously, as one can only expect in a kdrama. This will not be the first time there is a marriage contract based korean drama nor will it be the last. It is, however, unique in many ways. Even though Ji Ho and Se Hee are the main characters, they are not exactly the type of main characters I usually gravitate towards and they are not charismatic enough to hold the storyline together. It’s a good thing then that the show focuses also on Ji Ho’s two best friends, Ho Rang and Soo Ji and interesting opposite studies on their own. Ho Rang goal in life is to get married, have kids, and be a good housewife. Soo Ji works at a big male-dominated company and dreams of becoming a CEO of her own company. The drama directly explores gender dynamics in a relationship such as proposals, sexual harassment in the workplace, and patriarchy in the family head on. The very subjects that Korean dramas never, ever, ever explore.

It’s even better that the drama does not take any sides on these issues but instead portrays the characters to the best of its ability and allows viewers to make their own opinion. It does not take Ho Rang’s side or Soo Ji’s side or even Ji Ho’s side although it could be said that it supports all these characters equally in their endeavors. On top of that, I will always support a drama that supports their female friendships. It asks us if she can live her life even if she doesn’t become her life-long career of being a writer. It tell us how complicated but how simple it is to love someone. And most importantly, it asks these characters what it means to live a meaningful life to them.

Image result for because this is my first life

The main reason for my B rating are the last few episodes. I think it’s a shame that the previous explored these issues so deeply and carefully that the rushed last episodes felt like a bow slapped onto an almost finished present. I was especially dissatisfied with Ho Rang’s ending. I think what hurt the drama was that the writers thought, as with all kdramas, that there had to be an HEA when it would have been perfectly fine and even more emotionally enriching to have a more ambiguous ending. However, its poignant moments and its thoughtful dialogue on what it means to live a meaningful life make this worth watching. B