Taking responsibility for myself is one of New Year Resolutions. While reading up on some self-care articles I came across the online platform Medium. I have seen the logo pop up here and there on my newsfeed back in college, but I have never dived into all the articles it offers. The few self-care articles led to more and more with tabs so squished you can’t read a word, much like going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. The website is laid out very similar to a newspaper, say the New York Times, with featured articles on the upper most section. Under that are articles catered to me based my reading history or network (aka the writers I follow on Medium). The interface is very clean, black font on white background with pops of color (I’m very into the site layout).

Here are six things I learned while reading on Medium:

  1. Reading the suggested articles makes me feel like everyone knows everything but also no one knows anything. “Why breakups hurt like hell,” “will you text me ever again,” “he doesn’t love you.”
  2. Listicle is a thing and it’s defined. Prior to Medium, I did not notice the phenomenon nor did I know there’s a name for it.
  3. Whatever your interest is, there is probably an article written about it (if not, you can publish one!). The platform is set up in a way that everyone can publish. This means that the range of topics is limitless, but it also means not all articles are beautifully written. You either have to sift through the articles yourself, or read the featured ones that had been curated. However to gain access to unlimited featured articles, you have to pay and become a member (I’m just sifting through the articles myself).
  4. Some of the articles are basically SparkNotes for a whole industry. For example, during the whole cryptocurrency craze a few months back, this article helped me understand the basic concepts so I could understand a little bit of what’s being discussed.
  5. The highlight function is wonderful. I can highlight phrases that resonated with me within different articles and have them saved in a section where I can reread all the sentences that I loved. Whenever I’m changing my phone’s background I read through my highlights to find a phrase that will serve as a daily reminder (right now it’s “love was never a sure thing”).
  6. Some people just have a way with words, and it leaves me in awe.

If you have some time, here are a few articles I really enjoyed:

On the Nature of Little Gestures

Pale Blue Dot: What‘s the Point of It All?

L’eau de Life

Let me know if you are also a Medium fan or have any articles you’d like to share.

xo,

Jenn

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i’ve been pondering

should i jump

embracing the impact

the tiniest vibration

or should i stay

watching the story unfold

like an out-of-body experience

 

“whatever, i give up” has been on repeat since the Friday we met

still it cannot persuade, not even my brain

she doesn’t want to give up

not when there are much hope, imagination and potential left

to be used

wasted

 

fear is the best gatekeeper

“what if beyond the door is rejection

embarrassment

incompetence

at least you can still dream on this side.”

 

can’t someone tell me what to do

to feel emotion bursting through every cell

or to protect my heart from free-falling

 

“whatever, i give up”

but i sit here pondering

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This year’s March was a pretty busy month. I took two quick trips during the month, to upstate New York and Washington D.C. Although I had planned the trip to Ithaca since early February, I bought the bus tickets to D.C. two weeks before.

For some reason, the cold seemed to follow me wherever I went. There was a snow storm during the four days I was visiting. Cornell even had a snow day. If you’d gone to school in upstate New York, you would know how rare snows days are. I went to D.C. in mid-March. The Washington Post had reported that the weekend would have been the peak bloom period for the cherry blossoms. But a week before my trip, they pushed back the peak period for two weeks! I ended up not seeing any of the blossoms that I was supposed to see.

Thanks to the snow day in Ithaca, I spent most of my trip lounging around my friend’s house and played with her two very cute cats. It was very relaxing; the perception of time slowed down drastically compared to New York City. It made me consider briefly moving to a smaller town. But only briefly since I can’t drive and wouldn’t be able to get around if I had actually moved.

Compared to how I spent my days in Ithaca, I was more rushed in D.C. That’s to be expected since I was only really there for one day. I had taken the bus after work on a Friday and came back around noon the same Sunday. There were a lot more places I would have liked to visit (like the other Smithsonian Museums), but it was a nice change of scenery. The city reminded me of Chicago, from the wide streets to the metro system. I definitely would like to visit again another time when it’s warmer.

Unlike March, I’m planning on taking a chill April and stay in the city. Honestly the main reason is because I want to get my driver’s license, so I need to stay in the city to take lessons. How was your month? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Cheers,

Jenn

Back in April 2016 I posted a piece on self validation. More than anything, it was as a piece I wrote to clear my mind and provide comfort for myself. Now almost two years later, the same questions still come and go (did I choose the right career path, what am I doing with my life, etc. etc.) and I have a feeling they will stay around for a long time.

But this is a part two, a continuation, and I wanted to touch on the validation of my thoughts and feelings. Often I reflect through my actions and wonder if I made them to gain the approval from others as way to validate my choices. I wrote before that I instinctively take in the group’s opinion regarding an issue as a mechanism to fit in. Although this doesn’t really matter for topics I have no feelings about, but for things I do have an opinion on, it’s problematic that I always reevaluate my experiences, thoughts and feelings thinking there’s a flaw somewhere.

Here’s a prime example: the other day my friend and I were discussing people I’ve had crushes on, and she commented that she finds visuals on these boys to be below average. Rather than just accepting that as her opinion and move on, I started to explain my attraction to try and essentially convince her that my taste in men are good. Logically speaking, the people we are attracted have different traits because we are different people; she may find someone I like unattractive and vice versa. There really was no reason for me to explain myself. But I wanted to gain approval from her. Approval for my taste. As if my taste is a substitute for my being and I want her to validate me.

In my new year resolution I mentioned to be responsible for my emotions; to accept my experiences, thoughts and feelings as part of my truth. My problem with self validation is just one level waiting conquered on the journey of becoming responsible for myself. I think acknowledging the problem is always a great way to start when tackling any issue, and this is why I’m writing this post. It will be a reminder for myself that what goes on inside my head are real and they matter as much as someone else’s words.

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It has been a while since I’ve created any lifestyle posts, the last one was in September. With all the previous pieces about emotions, I think this will be a nice change of pace.

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My skincare routine went under a major shift back in October 2017 when I signed up for Curology. Although I say major, it wasn’t like I changed all my products. I switched in Curology for all the other acne fighting products I had been using then (the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and the PCA Skin Smoothing Toner). I also stopped using the Clarisonic Mia 2 to avoid over exfoliating the skin. For those of you do not know about Curology, it’s customized acne treatment created by a medial provider the company connects you to.  I had seen the Curology ads on my Instagram and Facebook newsfeed for a while but subscribing to the service was an impromptu decision made on a weekday night. My skincare routine since Curology has only been simplified by a couple steps; the majority is still based on the Korean 10-Step skincare routine (I’m sure majority of you know are familiar with the concept now).  Here’s a flat lay of all the products I’ve been using everyday excluding makeup remover and face cleanser (I’ve been using Innisfree’s Balancing Cleaning Oil with Green Tea and Shiseido’s Perfect Whip Facial Wash).

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Since this isn’t an in-depth review post, so I will just give a little of my thoughts on each of the products:

  • The Balancing Cleansing Oil has a nice scent and it doesn’t hurt my eyes when I wash the product off, but the only thing is that it takes a bit of work before removing my waterproof mascara.
  • The Perfect Whip cleanser has no scent, lathers up well, is super cheap, but it’s a little bit drying after use; although not as bad as some other cleansers, it does leave a little bit of the “squeaky clean” feeling after use.
  • Avene’s facial mist has been one of my favorites since that initial French skincare haul, it very hydrating and can be used at anytime. Although I included it in this everyday skincare routine, I only use it when my skin feels especially dry after cleansing.
  • Missha’s Time Revolution the First Treatment Essence has been known as the cheaper dupe for the SKII essence, but I have never used the SKII one so I don’t know how the Missha one is compared to that. This is probably my third or fourth bottle. Even though I’m not really sure what this product does for my skin but seems like it’s keeping my skin softer, and hopefully the anti-aging properties has been making some differences too.
  • It’s been around four months since I started the Curology treatment, it has been doing well keeping active acnes at bay and fading hyper-pigmentation. My only concern is that I’don’t know if my skin will act out once I go off of this treatment. I would like to try other products as well in the future, I don’t want to be completely dependent on this one product.
  • This is my second bottle of The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum, but I’m still not sure what it does to my skin. This product has no scent and it’s a little sticky when you first apply; other than it’s physical attributes, I have no opinions on whether this product is good or not.
  • I purchased the Belif’s Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream from a friend’s recommendation. The product is in a balm like consistency, which is very interesting. I think it’s been keeping my eye area moisturized during the winter season, but I don’t think it has done much regarding my dark circles.
  • Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar smells wonderful with and it has definitely improved my skin’s texture. However when I first used the product, I made the mistake of using it in the morning and my nose started to peel a little bit even with sunscreen. The product contains AHA, which is a chemical exfoliator (a reason why my skin felt softer?) and it increases the skin’s sensitivity in the sun (why my skin was peeling?). After that incident, I’ve only been using it as a night cream.
  • Clarins’ Multi-Active Jour SPF 20 is the first day cream I’ve ever used. I really like the scent and the consistency of the product, and it also gets absorbed very easily. But I’m not sure if SPF 20 is enough so sometimes I use another sunscreen on top. Also I think it might have been causing my skin to get oiler quicker while I’m in the office (I’m only speculating this, I have no idea), I will decide on whether this product is the cause when I switch moisturizers later.
  • The Nuxe Reve de Miel is probably one of the most hyped up lip balm there ever was. It is very nourishing and have saved my almost chapped lips multiple times this season, but it’s not as long lasting as I’d imagined. If I put it on after I shower, I would need to reapply again before going to bed a hour or so later.

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This has just been a list of the products I’ve been using daily. If any of you want a detailed review on a product, feel free to let me know in the comments! Hope your 2018 has been off to a great start, but can you believe January is almost over?!

Cheers,

Jenn

To F.

Almost lover. To me you were my almost lover. I never want to see you unhappy, I thought you wanted the same for me. You were the one who taught me that age is just a number. You also taught me the heartbreak of losing someone overnight. I avoided the restaurant we last went, using shitty excuses like I’m not feeling the type of food. It was painful to drive by the places we went to, see you on friends’ social media, reading words that evoked your name.

Two months later after your “let’s stop talking,” you reached out again. I was dumbfounded. It was so hard getting you out of my mind, will it be this easy for you to move back in again? You asked to grab food, naturally i said yes. I didn’t reply like I’ve always done, but I doubt you noticed. During the two months that we stopped talking, I started texting with more grammar; using commas and periods that I’d never done before. I cut off majority of social media, taking the time to acknowledge emotions and trace their origins. I felt jittery but dreadful when I went to meet you. Somewhere in my mind, my intuition told me this will be an end to something.

I asked would you consider me if you were ready for a relationship. It took a few second but you still responded no. I’m not mature enough; all I do is complain. I didn’t know what to say; I tried to refute but deep down I knew it was the truth. I’ve noticed as well. I would catch myself doing it in mid-conversation and I wouldn’t know how to stop. I don’t know how else to interact people without going too deep, too personal, too emotional. I hide behind the wall of complaints, burying away the vulnerability that would otherwise peek through. I don’t want to burden another with my overflow of thoughts. I also don’t want to explain these thoughts because that will fish up even more feelings and history.

You said I know you better than you know me. But I felt closer to you than many others.  I confided in you problems I’ve never mentioned to any other. Maybe they were so masked under complaints that they never reached to you.  

Goodbye, my almost lover

Goodbye, my hopeless dream

I’m trying not to think about you

Can’t you just let me be?

So long, my luckless romance

My back is turned on you

Should’ve known you’d bring me heartache

Almost lovers always do

We first met on a chilly night by a bonfire. In February it will be a year. It felt so short with all that’s happened. This is a goodbye; an end to a very long chapter. Next time we meet, it will be the start of a new arc. The one where we will just be friends.

With love,

J.

Lyrics from almost lover by a fine frenzy

 

It’s been eight days since the start of the new year and I’ve yet properly made any new year resolutions. Rather than having a list of things I need to work on (that never seems to work and by the middle of the year I’d forgotten what was even on my list), I’m setting a general guideline for this year.

I dedicate 2018 to a year of responsibilities; to be more accountable for my thoughts, commitments, and most importantly myself.

I have a tendency to change my opinions based on other people; whether it’s in discussion seminars back in school or during conversations with friends, I always try not to be the odd one out. Maybe this stemmed from early education where there’s always only one correct answer to a problem; if you come to a conclusion different from your peers, you’re wrong. Or maybe the fear of being different goes beyond having to explain myself to something even deeper. I want to consciously stop justifying my thoughts and opinions, they are formed for a reason. Instead I will work on taking responsibility and voicing them.

Commitment has been an issue for the past several years. I’m not referring to relationships, but rather things I’ve started. This blog, my Instagram, weekly exercise schedule, the many many shows that I’ve started are just a few examples. Whenever there’s a spark, I would dive into the idea. But as soon as the burst of motivation and inspiration dissipates, the project would be on hiatus to who knows when. I’ve been pretty good at updating this blog and instagram, but I’m not at a frequency that I’m happy with. I want to be more responsible to the projects I’ve undertook and see them until completion, whatever that means relative to the project.

Taking responsibility for yourself is basically what adulthood means right? I guess to be more specific, this year I want to be more responsible for my health, mentally and physically. Mental health is crucial as it affects all aspects of your actions, from the biggest to the tiniest. Nowadays there are many guides available on the internet to distress and improve your mental health. One of the ways that work the best for me is to draw. So in a way, 2018 will be the year that I feed my creativity and see where it takes me. As for physical health, I’m sure we all know why that’s important by now. I’ve never been the one who’s excited to goto the gym (I refuse to pay for a gym membership since that’s just a waste of money). I will either do yoga and Pilates at home or take classes. Currently I’m doing kickboxing (thanks Groupon for affordable vouchers), and I’m planning on trying rock climbing after I finish this session. But of course, the biggest obstacle is consistently going to these classes and not take a 6-week break in between.  

All in all, here’s a quote that summarizes my vision for this year pretty well:

“The only thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil GaimanIMG_2124-2

As always, learn more, travel more, experience more.

What do you dedicate your 2018 to?

 

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