Uncategorized · wrap up

September 2018 Wrap Up

September was a relatively normal month for me. I’ve been trying to do this thing where I try not to let my social anxiety dictate my life. Not until I really analyzed myself in September did I notice how many of my behaviors (touching my hair incessantly, going on my phone, looking down) in social situations helped me avoid talking to people when really it’s not as bad as I made it out to be in my head.   I mentioned in my August wrap up that I wanted to live a more meaningful life. So I started forcing myself to initiate conversations and my theory is that by exposing myself more to different social situations I can start to become more myself wherever I go. It’s quite the difficult journey as I’ve had these habits for about 20 years of my life. In the meantime, here are some fun things I did.

IMG_0941
iSno cafe – shaved snow with brownies, chocolate chips, and whipped cream
IMG_0939
Patch Coffee – the usual hipster coffee shop but I liked this one’s airy atmosphere and travel pictures on the wall

IMG_0940

IMG_0923
I promise my next post will not contain Cha for Tea
IMG_0924
Happy Hour!
IMG_0952
My boyfriend got a pillowpet bear. His name is Lenny.

 

Books

Image result for the winner's curseImage result for the winner's curseImage result for the winner's curse

The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (4.5/5) – I reread the Winner’s Curse trilogy this year and I am still so amazed at this series. I did an entire review on it in my previous post here.

Image result for sadie courtney summers

Sadie by Courtney Summers (3.75/5) – Sadie is a YA crime thriller about Sadie who is out to kill her sister’s murderer. It alternates chapters between Sadie’s point of view and that of a journalist, West McCray who makes a podcast chronicling his investigation into Sadie’s whereabouts. For a crime thriller, I really liked this one and I thought the complicated relationship portrayed between Sadie’s mother, Sadie, and her sister Mattie was ambiguous and consequently fascinating.  Ironically, Sadie paints her neglectful and drug abusive mother in the best light to Mattie wanting to give her normal childhood, who, in turn, sees Sadie in a harsher light. Sadie is an awesome protagonist to follow in the first person. First person is written a lot in YA and I often wonder why because a lot of the perspectives offered nothing unique or nuanced but Sadie remains brutal and mysterious even though we are in her head. I thought the accompanying podcast to this book where you can follow along on the podcast was very ingenious and realistic. I just wish the book had a little bit more to it. Despite the good exploration of their relationships, I wish I knew more about Sadie’s past because it was so interesting. I also wish I knew more about the murderer too, he became just another murderer to me. Also, for reasons I can’t explain, this book lacked a certain tension to it.

Movies

Memento (A-) – Memento is about Lenny who is unable to form new memories whichImage result for memento makes it difficult when the movie revolves around him trying to find his wife’s murderer. When I found out this was a Christopher Nolan movie, I went into it with certain expectations since I had now seen Inception, Interstellar, Batman and now this movie. And as expected, you are left in the dark about basically everything which is actually fitting for this movie as the main character doesn’t remember anything about what he just experienced and the movie starts at its ending and meets in the middle. You will get more confused as Lenny tattoos more information to his body with the same ambiguous people appearing in his life again and people chasing him. This one is not as grand as the other movies in terms of CGI and worldbuilding. It definitely has more of a thriller aspect to it and once again that ending is left open for interpretation.

Image result for princess diaries 1 and 2Princess Diaries 1 and 2 (B) – Whenever anyone feels doubtful about who they are or whether they’re enough, they need a dose of Princess Diaries. Aside from being utterly charming and warm with a cast of lovable characters (my favorite of which is Mia’s grandmother, proper but sassy Julie Andrews), PD shows how Mia, a girl who thought she was an insecure outcast, found the princess inside herself. As a side note, I am always so delighted at the ending of PD 2. To me, it is one of the most feminist endings of any rom com I’ve seen.

TV

Insecure (A) – Insecure continues to be such a delightful comedy show. It’s definitely aRelated image show made for millennials. In this season we learn more about Issa’s childhood and we finally see her recognize her mistakes and try to fix them but really come into her own. Of course, as per Insecure, it’s filled with drama and relationship twists. The dynamics between her and Molly are as solid as ever. The Coachella episode was my favorite of the season as Issa and her friends grapple with the fact that they are growing apart.

Image result for emma approvedEmma Approved Season 1 (B)– I rewatched Emma Approved because as I am writing this Season 2 is already out!! It was such a wonderful shock when I found it was coming back because Season 1 was such a huge part of my life 5 years ago when it first came out. I was still in my sophomore year of college. I remember rushing to the library after my dreaded physics class and hurriedly finding a computer and putting headphones on to enjoy the next short but sweet episode. It was definitely one of the few bright spots in my otherwise dreary sophomore year. Though upon rewatch I found the plot to be lacking compared to the nuanced commentary and wit of the book, I definitely needed Emma’s stalwart optimism and high confidence in September.

Reality showsLove Island is only the start of more bad reality TV shows I’ve started watching except for British bake off (which is so charming). I’ve since started watching Married at First Sight. It ends up being more funny than anything since I can’t take any of them seriously.Image result for killing eve

Killing Eve – It’s been said a thousand times but I just cannot get behind watching a crime show and this one did not break that streak. Though objectively this is a great show about a female assassin (never gets shown on TV) and a female detective to boot, I need to be just in the right mood to watch crime! I watched 3 episodes before I stopped but for any crime junkies out there, I wouldn’t miss this one. It’s filled with some funny side characters and the potential for deeper psychological and violent reveals.

Games

Clash Royale

Image result for clash royale

I was back to playing this game because I just liked the gameplay and I found more interest in making new decks. But alas I got frustrated with it and stopped playing it although I know it is a game I’ll come back to eventually.

Music

Yellow by Coldplay, remade by Katherine Ho – I saw Crazy Rick Asians in August and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack. I really like the rendition of Coldplay’s Yellow. Fun fact: Coldplay originally did not want the song to be played since it had racist connotations but the director sent a heartfelt letter saying this was the song that made him comfortable in his Asian skin for the first time and Coldplay approved it.

Image result for nobody compares to you

Nobody Compares to You by Gryffin – This song was on repeat when I was driving to pick up my boyfriend from LAX airport. It’s got that airy but upbeat tone that I always gravitate to in a song.

Makeup

Image result for tarte microliner

Tarte Microliner

I have found my holy grail liner. I thought it was the Kat Von D liner but that one, after I’ve used it in its entirety, I’ve noticed it actually doesn’t last that long, it’s not that pigmented and it’s actually harder to take off than this liner. The great thing about the Kat Von D liner was its tip’s precision. This one is just as precise. It’s amazingly pigmented. I only need to put one line on if needed. It also comes off very fluidly and it won’t come off in crusty pieces. You can make any eyeliner shape you want with it.

sig

favorites · Uncategorized · wrap up

January 2018 Wrap Up

jan6

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.

IMG_0121
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.

jan

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.

jan1

My Happy Family | B+

Image result for my happy family

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.

jan3

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.

 

 

jan4

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.

 

jan7

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

jan5

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. =)

sig