Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

October 2018 Wrap Up

Personal

This month, I finished my goodreads goal of 40 books!!

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I honestly did not think I was going to reach my goodreads goal this year because so much has been going on but I’m pretty proud of myself for getting here. 40 is only about half of what I read in 2017 but I realized last year (and this year) that I have a lot more interests now from gaming to blogging to cooking to scrapbooking to even just going out that I put reading on the backburner. I read for a lot of things. For escape, for entertainment, for the writing, for a new perspective. A huge chunk of it was for escape but I realized I don’t need an escape as often anymore. Same goes for Youtube and certain vloggers I follow, gone are the days I crave for those cozy stay-at-home vlogs from fleurdeforce or extensive reading vlogs. My interests have changed significantly this year but don’t get me wrong, you bet your ass I will be here for Fleur’s vlogmas and digging myself into the next coming-of-age YA or patiently waiting for The Wicked King (because I fucking need that book in my life right now). That, for one, will never change.

In other life things, this month I got to tour a school I went to a concert this month featuring Sophia Black, Pluko, Phantoms, and the best one, Manila Killa. They produce electronic/dance music but more on the low key side. The venue was very laid back as well but still atmospheric which was pretty awesome..

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What would my wrap ups be without my boba adventures? This month, I have a new boba shop favorite, which has not happened since discovering Tastea. It’s called Omomo Tea Shoppe. I really like my boba drinks with a decent amount of tea. I don’t like it overly milky or powdery. And when it comes to the actual tapioca pearls, I really like soft but decently chewy pearls without the sliminess. Omomo has all of that. I may or may not have gotten this about 4 times this month and waited an hour once for it.

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Taro Fresh Milk Tea with Red Bean

I also tried boba cake this month. I had to comfirm this was a gimmick and it was. Boba just does not work with cake. Cake needs a crunchy topping to go with the softness.

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And of course, what would October be without a basic pumpkin patch picture. I pumpkin carved for the first time this month.

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Books

Image result for adult children of emotionally immature parentsAdult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (4/5) – I don’t think I need to explain what this book is about based on the title. I will say that this book brought to life many things that I had not realized and does so in a concise and understandable way. It does not point fingers and assuages your fears and desires. It even provides a plan of action for you which to me was the helpful complete with extra quizzes and exercises to help you feel less emotionally stranded in your day to day life. Even if you think you know everything, this book puts into words what you felt but couldn’t explain about your parents.

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Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (2.5/5) – This series is not that good but I have to thank it for getting me out of a reading slump and getting really excited about reading again. This first installment is full of infodumps and “special snowflake” vibes from both Feyre and Rhysand, no wonder these two belong together. I gave this a freaking 4 stars when I first read it (wtf was I thinking?) and upon reread, the part after she goes to Amarantha is definitely much better but still now the novelty of the plot is over, I am only left with some unmemorable characters. But the worldbuilding is light years better than Maas’s Throne of Glass series so there’s that. I do love me some good descriptions of buildings and fashion.

Image result for court of mist and furyCourt of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (2.5/5) – Contrary to maybe popular belief, I did like what Maas did with Tamlin. It may just be me seeing what he did in the first book in a new light? but it kinda makes sense that Tamlin showed his true colors in this book considering his anger management problems, secrecy, and overprotective nature in the first book. You don’t see a lot of this in NA or even YA where the main female protagonist is with another guy in the second book; it’s usually a very slow build where the characters are endgame in the third book, in NA, the two endgame characters are together by the end of the first book and the first boyfriend is nothing more than a passing glance. I liked that this was about recognizing that Feyre is a different person with different needs. I also did like the message that Maas sent about doing things for you and recognizing

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g the power within yourself although I have to admit, that power message is marred by the fact that Feyre is constantly saying “Rhys let me do this and Tamlin didn’t” Keyword: let.

But there are just numerous things I didn’t like about this book. For one, the very sad back stories for everyone started to blur together. Not everyone needs a tragic backstory and top of that, it is not an excuse for a bland personality. All h

er male characters are either tragic and brooding or tragic and funny (and funny only because 80% of their jokes are sexual innuendos and 20% sniping at other characters) because obviously making sexual innuendos is what all guys do and that’s the only type of joke there is. *rolls eyes* Also, making sexual jokes really does not make you that endearing. Also, honestly, the number of times I have to read the phrase “Bile rose in my throat” or the words “male” and “female”, I will personally throw up. Tell me this is not Heir of Fire 2.0.

Court of Wings and Ruin (DNF) – I quit this book about 1/4 of the way through because I just could not stand the cons anymore. Now that the overlying theme of Feyre coming into her own is over, the plot just lacks any sort of tension and excitement. It’s just so linear, do this, say some things that sound badass but aren’t really, break some bones threaten battle. It’s just so trite and there’s no sense of character development. Also it seriously is a carbon copy of her other series.

Image result for how to be yourself quiet your inner critic and rise above social anxietyHow to be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise above Social Anxiety (4/5) – This book is really reassuring in that it really encourages the notion that a lot of social anxiety does not have to be a part of you forever. You can do things to change it. Most importantly, it actually gives you useful cognitive processes that you can apply in your daily life to help with your anxiety. It’s been helping me quite a bit.

 

 

 

TV shows

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Emma approved Season 2 – Yes, it’s finally here! It seems that Pemberley Digital is going for all the Jane Austen crossovers with the introduction of Persuasion in this one. It inspired me to actually read Persuasion. It’s so nice to see the new camera format too that makes the documentary more plausible.

Sorry for Your Loss (A-) – We have to talk about Sorry for Your Loss, sure to be among my top shows of 2018. It is literally 10 episodes of played by Elisabeth Olsen slowing going through her grieving her husband who died. In between, there are flashbacks of moments with her husband. As the show progresses, the conflicts between her and her husband start to emerge more and you start to realize she does not know as much about her

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husband as she would have liked. What happens when you have all these unanswered questions, thinking you had all this time to ask them? When is the right time to “get over” your grief? What are the things we pretend about the other person to make lessen the brutality of grief?

The show also follow her mother, adopted sister, Jules, and brother-in-law as they try to do what’s best for her while grappling with their own unique grief. The show is very somber in tone and focused on the little things that face you in the aftermath of a death. Grief is obviously not easy and we see this manifest in her random outbursts that others could only see has hysteria, the inability to stay during weddings, irritability, depression, going to therapy groups that don’t seem to help. She sees

Image result for what's wrong with secretary kimWhat’s Wrong with Secretary Kim – I’ve been in the mood to watch a kdrama recently and I went through a slew of ones in the hopes of finding one that will stick to my impossibly high standards for dramas. I just wanted something fun and light and slightly ridiculous. This drama fit all that but the pacing was so weird and there was a bad case of instalove. Initially I was so excited by the main heroine but thepacing just threw me off too much.

Oh My Ghostess (DNF at ep 3) – Eh, realistic characters and funny heroine but pacing is slow again. Characters also cliche. Also, how many times can the heroine say “what?” before I start to think she has a hearing problem.

Go Back Couple (DNF at ep 1) – Eh, cliche, characters I don’t care to see develop to be honest.

If there’s any recommendations for kdramas you can suggest, please do! I’m going to watch On the Way to the Airport but if that doesn’t work, I’m not gonna try again until maybe awards come out.

 

Songs

Sunflower by Post Malone & Swae Lee– Yes, more Post Malone songs. It actually seems fitting he did a collab with Swae Lee since they have similar music vibes in their songs. I like his songs more and more each time.

1999 by Charlie XCX & Troye Sivan – I was 5 years old in 1999 and nostalgia is real when I watch the music video. There’s references to Titanic, Sketchers, the Matrix, Justin Timberlake , cheesy Windows wallpaper. I am honestly so ready nostalgic movies and shows to come out about the 90s especially after the plethora of 80’s inspired media. It would seem the trend is already starting with mid90s which is going to be Jonah Hill’s directorial debut.

Youtube

Peruseproject: Reading vlogs

Her vlogs are literally the best reading vlogs and I watch all of them. I always feel so cozy and warm and safe watching them after a hard day even though she is just reading, playing with her dog, eating out with her boyfriend or doing a clothes haul. The vlogs also inspires to read a lot more. Also bonus points because her apartment is so dang cute.

Games

Soulcalibur VI

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This game always reminds me of old-school fighting games I use to play in the 2000s like Dragon Ball Z. I freaking love this game. There’s story mode and the regular battle mode. The great thing about this update is that you can customize your character from eye color all the way to calf size. Outfit customization is pretty impressive too. But really why is there no female option for some of the races???

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Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

February 2018 Wrap Up

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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.

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One day, I’ll take better pictures..

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

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Misc · Miscellaneous · Quote to Self · Uncategorized

Quote to Self #4: On Self Esteem

I’ve recently become fond of the essay format and read an especially well written one, “On Self Respect” by Joan Didion and it inspired a musing of sorts:

I try not to talk about my self esteem. Mostly because I think it’s obvious on me. It hangs there like an undeniably obnoxious sweater. People can see it. As recently as a year ago, when they joked with me, they must have seen the quick hurt on my face and quickly tried to assuage my fears and I think to myself, is it that obvious? I wilted under the slightest criticism. Everything I did was a test of my competence and any failure fed this monster of self doubt. I stuttered over words and had no conviction in what I said even if I wholeheartedly believed what I was saying. I wasn’t afraid to speak, but I was afraid to speak. And trying to understand my sense of self felt like grasping at straws.

Self esteem has always been a tedious and insidious thing for me. I have never known a time when I didn’t have low self esteem until maybe 3 years ago when I saw an inkling of who I could be without that crushing self hate and doubt. It started slowly, first believing that my opinions were worthy of being voiced. Of course, there are still many days when I don’t want to develop it, when I feel almost safe in my self pity and berating of myself. And there are just days when the criticisms of past and present threaten to overwhelm me. And for years, I didn’t know that the little criticisms that always pervaded my brain had a subtle but invisible effect on me so I constantly felt this heavy burden on me that I didn’t know was even there.  That every time I told myself I couldn’t do it or every time I mentally degraded myself for not doing it as well as I thought I should have done it, I was slowly but surely eating myself away. But I thought I couldn’t do it because I was not smart enough or just not enough. 

That enoughness is what I kept pursuing. This feeling of being good enough. Whatever that meant and I was sure when I found it I would know what it meant. But foolishly, I kept trudging through trying desperately to find this imaginary line. During this quest to find, when I fell, I fell hard and told myself I deserved to fall. And when I was happy, I didn’t think i deserved this happiness, because I don’t know, it was just because I was me and that was that. And being me just was not good enough. Not interesting enough. Not funny enough. Not enough of anything.  Maybe if I tried to be more social, I can be funnier. Maybe if I tried this, I could be less awkward. Maybe if I studied harder, I would be less stupid. And without realizing I started to associate my self esteem with what I did instead of who I was. When I didn’t perform as well on an ochem test as my peers, I grew bitter and angry. When I couldn’t think of a snappy comeback to a funny joke, I thought about it for days. When I was at a loss for words or when I failed to think of something my friends had but I hadn’t, I angrily thought I was stupid. I felt like a fake person who was “trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials”. And then despairingly, I thought maybe there would always be a disconnect between who I am and who I wanted to be.

If we do not respect ourselves…we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out–since our self image is untenable–their false notion of us.

I don’t know what specifically changed this year but I realized how intense the problem was but I was tired of it just inching forward. I wanted something more drastic to change. When before I sought that feeling of being enough, now I was more desperate to find an inner peace within myself.

Of course, when I am in doubt about anything or need any kind of help, I always consult the internet first. I read dozens of essays, books, and articles on self esteem in the hopes that I would find an answer.

And I think I found part of the answer in the pages of the internet and started to apply it. I started consistently journaling about the things I liked about myself no matter how corny I felt. I started repeating daily affirmations to myself everyday. I started to push myself to speak as honestly and as clearly as I could. I started thinking about other people and tried to give back more than being self absorbed all the time. I started to believe in the best outcomes instead of the worst. But there are two important things about building self esteem that I’ve learned are the most important. The first is to forgive yourself.

It’s a foreign concept–forgiveness. It demanded that I gave myself the time and space to grow and learn without crushing myself. But it makes the world. Instead now when I make a mistake or did something I didn’t really like, I forgave myself, told myself how I could improve and moved on. There’s a lot of comfort knowing that whatever I can’t change about my situation, each day starts clean and making improvements has no start or stop timeline.

The second factor was knowing that there is no give or take in this universe. Just because I had one good day does not mean the day after will be bad or maybe it will be. And just because an amazingly wonderful thing happened to me does not mean I have to sacrifice something to maintain that gift. Believing this helped me believe in the best possible outcomes for myself. To start focusing on what can happen rather than what cannot. And of course with that came the conviction that I deserved this happiness.

You never know how important self esteem is until you have it. As Joan Didion so perfectly describes in her essay, “to have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth…is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love, and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference”.

I might have more moments of self despair and feeling as though I lack so much than is warranted from an average person. In fact, I had that moment today as a friend was delivering delicious, custard and strawberry filled croissants to me. I spent an inordinate amount of time annoyed at myself for not saying things I should have. The old me would have spent several more inordinate days thinking about what I should have done. The newish me spent a few, agonizing minutes.  But as I finish this post, I realize I am who I am and even so, tomorrow, there is always time for improvement. I got this.

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The source of my inspiration and all the quotes in this post (including the header): Joan Didion’s, “On Self-Respect“. Parts of it is racist and slightly off putting but her musings on self esteem resonated a lot with me.