+pasta+

Usually, one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is.

Julia Child, American chef, author, and television personality (1912-2004)

Up until my unexpected vegetarian phase, I was a voracious eater.  I remember summer of ’09 when my brother and I visited Korea and would eat a minimum of seven servings of kbbq together, to aunts’ surprise.  They thought that our parents were starving us from the way that we ate, but after reassurance from our mom, they realized that we just ate a lot.  Sadly, I can no longer eat that much kbbq, no matter how tempting it sounds.

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Picky Eater vs. Particular Eater

While I’m no longer a big eater, I’m still a foodie.  I love trying food from all sorts of countries, as well as fusion dishes.  However, even with these foods, I’m very specific on the manner the food is presented to me.  To be clear, I am not a picky eater – I’m a particular eater.  In millennial vernacular, my OCD causes my particular eating, though for the record, I was never diagnosed as such.

Picky eats will only eat certain foods, while besmirching others, like vegetables.  I love vegetables so much that I’ll eat it without dressing.  Particular eaters, however, will eat all sorts of food, but they’re adamant on it being served in a certain manner.  As the name refers, food must be in a particular way, almost like a ritual.

For example, I won’t eat spaghetti if the pasta noodles are mixed with marinara sauce, but I will eat it if the pasta noodles and the sauce are in separate bowls, weird I know 🤗.  I know this sounds absurd because plain pasta isn’t particularly appealing, but in my head, I have to eat it this way.  I know that I have this arrogance inside because I think, “How dare the marinara sauce mix with the pasta without my permission?”

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I know that this preference irks my family, though they’ve adjusted to this.  They understand that I’m not picky, but it’s that I don’t like the method of preparation.  My family, spaghetti lovers, would get frustrated when I wouldn’t eat it, but in hindsight, it’s almost my fault for not being able to express how off-putting mixing the two were.

Other dishes that I approach the same way are ramen, anything on white rice, etc.  Ramen noodles and the soup are in separate bowls, and are eaten separately.  Kimchi, or food with strong colors, are things that I hate touching my rice because it changes the color.

However, despite this weird preference, I love making new types of pasta dishes and experimenting with pasta noodles to see what kind of cool thing I can concoct from the things I have at home.  And while pasta isn’t the healthiest dish out there, I want to share the interesting creations that I have come up with, from the things I have at home.

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The Conception (?) Story

My brother and I were scrounging around the kitchen to see if there was anything we wanted to eat.  Per usual, we had a ton of pasta noodles, like farfalle (“bowties”), penne, spaghetti, etc.  My brother laid claim on the marinara sauce that we had, so I was left to make something out of the things in the kitchen.

Taking inventory of the cabinets and fridge, I was pleasantly surprised to see what I could work with.  I was able to pick the ingredients I wanted to use for the spontaneous dish I had in mind.

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Ingredients

  • 1~2 servings of farfalle pasta, depending on how hungry you are 😬
  • ½ cup of sundried tomatoes
  • 3 slices of chopped bacon
  • ¼ cup of diced onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • cooking oil (e.g. vegetable, sunflower, etc. but not olive)
  • 1 thin slice of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried basil leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic & parsley salt
  • Parmesan cheese, or 3 Italian cheese blend, depending on your preference

Steps

  1. In a pot, cook the farfalle according to the instructions on the back of the box. This should take around 11 minutes, though you may cook it for a little longer if you like soft pasta.
  2. Heat a pan and grease it with cooking oil and a thin slice of butter (you don’t need a lot), for flavor. Once the oil moves fluidly on the pan, add in the garlic, tomatoes, and onions, lowering the stove to medium heat.
  3. Next, add the bacon to the pan. Right before the pasta’s drained, add in the marinara sauce into the pan and mix.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan, adding various seasonings (i.e. Italian, basil leaves, garlic powder), as you see fit. If it tastes a bit lacking, throw in a little garlic & parsley sauce, though it isn’t necessary.
  5. Fold in the cheese, on low heat, for a few minutes. Plate it and enjoy!

I know that it went on a rant about marinara sauce in my pasta, but I thought it would add a nice pale red color to the dish.  I’m not a certified chef, but food is also about aesthetics, so I would say that I’m pretty proud of myself 🙌🏻.

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Oh and before I forget, here are two pictures of my creation.

IMG_3519by me!
IMG_3520close up – look at the cheese

xoxo,

the girl who likes to play with her food, literally

I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It’s probably the most important thing in a person.

Audrey Hepburn, British actress, model, dancer, humanitarian, film and fashion icon (1929-1993)

IMAGE CREDIT: The Dissolve

Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.

Elizabeth Gilbert, American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, memoirist (1969-present)

I have him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me.  People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have no power to feel for him.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)

+elementary+

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, translator, key figure in Spanish-language literature (1899-1986)

My book posts aren’t as popular as the beauty ones, but I’ve gotten some emails asking which books I’m currently reading.  This may sound like a shoddy excuse, but even though it’s the summer, I find that my schedule is jam packed with things to do.  That being said, it is the summer, and I should be spending time reading books off my long reading list, like I used to back in elementary school (though that was mandatory).  Some of the books that I’m hoping to achieve this summer are

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life
My old English professor recommended this book to me, and hopefully I’ll be able to tackle this piece this summer.

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
What can I say, I love sci-fi 🤗.

Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain
“A classic that everyone should read.”

Beth Revis, Shades of Earth (Across the Universe Series #3)
I loved reading the first two books, but I haven’t had the time to read the last in this amazing trilogy.  Hopefully by the end of this summer I’ll have a book review on this series!

Erin Watt, Broken Prince (The Royals #2) // Twisted Palace (The Royals #3)
I raced through the first book, and I’m eager to see where the journey continues in the next books.

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I know this may seem like a short list, but I’m also in the process of rereading some of my favorite series, like Melissa de la Cruz’s The Blue Bloods Series, probably one of the best vampire books out there.  I’m also open to any book recommendations this summer, so please leave a comment or shoot me an email with any books you think I should read!

xoxo,

the girl who’s in college but still reads teen fiction (at times 😏)

IMAGE CREDIT: Odyssey

+beginning+

Taking sartorial risks and not following other people is what makes you stand out.

Zac Posen, American fashion designer (1980-present)

A few months ago, my school hosted a fashion entrepreneurship and networking event.  In theory, this was a wonderful opportunity, but the actual event wasn’t as useful as advertised.  However, I won’t deny that this event was somewhat helpful.  I had the chance to talk to people in various parts of the fashion industry, ranging from entrepreneurship to PR to finance.

The panel members and guest speaker all repeated variations of the same sentiment in regard to working in fashion.  Everyone said it is an extremely cutthroat and competitive field, though they were few lucky ones who were at the right place at the right moment.  For them, this “coincidence” contributed greatly to their success, as well as their pride to return to their alma mater to talk about this.

I had an issue with their words because general statements like these are simply just useless pieces of advice for anyone, regardless of industry.

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When asked what I want to be, I always say, “a successful fashion designer and businesswoman like Coco [Chanel].”  Despite the wishful nature of my career goal, I have no reservations, nor do I have a starry look in my eyes that success will come easy to me, let alone launch my own fashion house.  I am well-aware of my numerous disadvantages when trying to break into the fashion world, though it is a double-edge sword, as I do have some unique advantages.

My Bachelor of Science in Mathematics if very far off from the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, or other similar degrees that many notable fashion designers have.  I do get the value in a fashion degree because there are things that you can only learn in school.  Colleges teach students discipline, which include a good foundation in the basics of creating apparel and accessories.

Going to fashion school is also extremely beneficial beyond the classroom.  It helps with creating connections in the fashion industry, as most fields, even finance and entertainment, are heavily reliant on a good word of mouth to get you the much-needed exposure towards achieving your dreams.  Teachers and peers can help each other meet potential employees, like seamstresses who can work in-house to create your sample, or introduce you to fashion magazines that can do print work featuring your stuff.

While I haven’t reached the point where I have launched my fashion house or shown in New York Fashion Week, I wouldn’t call my college choices deal breakers to make it big in fashion.  Interestingly, my choice in major has greatly contributed to my creativity, as well as my focus on detail – two skills that are valuable when designing.  You may not believe me when I say this, but the most creative people in this world are those in love with understanding numbers.

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Besides the creative aspect of a successful fashion line, it’s also important to understand that an atelier is also a business.  It’s great when high fashion designers create covetable pieces that the cream of the crop (i.e. Hollywood actors and actresses, socialites, etc.) are fighting on line to wear.  However, to sustain a brand in a world where you’re not the only talented designer creating desirable apparel, you have to keep in mind that you’re a business that also runs on generating revenue.

Looking at the business side of a fashion house, there are many things that go into running a good business.  These include a good HR department, possibly a team of in-house lawyers, a marketing team, a finance department, as well as many more.  Without these things, yes, you can make great clothes, but you can also rack up tons of lawsuits from employees and former employees that can drive you and your business to bankruptcy.

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Thanks to my choice to attend an arts and science college, I get to meet lawyers who know about fashion law, experience the day in the life of startup businesses, as well as learn how to maximize on numbers, so as to generate sales that count.  Obviously, a great deal of college is what you make of it.  Through my choice, I was able to befriend lifelong friends of various majors who may possibly be future employees at my fashion house.  I know that if I need an accountant to keep a close eye on funds, as well as a marketing expert who can bring in models and actresses as the brand representative, I have a plethora of friends to pick from (happy emoji).

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In the end of the day, don’t get too bogged down when you have trouble achieving your dreams.  Not going down a traditional route to realize those dreams may actually be a blessing in disguise.  And don’t be afraid of asking questions or grabbing opportunities just because you’re scared of rejection.  You’re bound to get rejected, regardless of your career path.  It’s never too early to become acquainted to the bitter taste of rejection, so that you can truly understand the determination it takes to make things work.  While it would be nice to have a smooth sailing from the day you created your dream to the day it’s finally realized, that’s not how life works, unless you have a genie.

xoxo,

the girl who’s going to create a successful atelier like how the tortoise won the race

IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Hazzard Photography

Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.

John Kennedy TooleA Confederacy of Dunces (1980)

+wasting+

“You must excuse my gruff conduct,” the watchdog said, after they’d been driving for some time, “but you see it’s traditional for watchdogs to be ferocious.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

On a rare visit to Facebook, I came across an article, “26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20” on Business Insider.  To be precise, it isn’t really an article, but just a list of screenshots sharing Étienne Garbugli’s SlideShare presentation, in which he creatively shared tips he wished he had known when he was younger.  These hacks range from how productive we actually are in a day, to how to maximize on communication in a busy day.

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As a person in my (early) 20s, I wouldn’t call myself a master at time management, though I would love to call myself that.  How can I call myself such, when procrastination has a “tendency” of becoming my best friend? 😅

Since I am the age that Garbugli’s targeting his presentation to, I want to share my list of tips that I wish I had known in my teens, going into high school.  Middle school was a breeze, where it didn’t matter if you procrastinated or not because the work load was so light and deadlines were always at the end of the year.  High school was an abrupt wakeup call because my middle school habits were no longer viable and my new school’s environment didn’t allow it.

In a matter of months, I was thrust into a quasi-college setting, where no one cared about where they were, but where they were going to be at the end of the four years and beyond.  Looking back, I regret those four years so much because I was so underprepared and now these effects are harming the future that I’m currently living in.

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Here are the time management hacks and other life hacks I wish I had known in my teen years:

  1. Four years may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t. High school is nothing like the things you’ve seen in every 90s-teen movie, and sadly, you probably won’t get to have those experiences.
  2. Make your digital calendar or planner your best friends, with obnoxious reminders because deadlines will always creep up on you, especially when you take multiple AP classes in a year, on top of your extracurricular activities.
  3. Instead of thinking about trying to find time to play games, think about how to cram in more sleep because. In college, you’ll regret your decision when you’re not in peak condition, after four years of abusing your youth.
  4. Truthfully, high school’s just part one of your undergrad years, while college’s part two. Basically, you’re in college for at least eight years, more if you decide to go to professional school too, so every grade counts.
  5. Try to plan your hangouts with friends around your extracurricular activities because it’s an easy way to kill multiple birds with one stone. You get to spend time with your friends, explore your mutual hobbies, save money, and write on your college applications that you were involved in various activities that you love/have grown to love.
  6. Join the sports teams that you were involved in and passionate about during your middle school days – soccer and dance are just two easy ways to get your daily workouts and it really pads your college apps.
  7. Office hours are amazing. It’s an easy way to befriend your teachers outside of the class(es) that you’re taking with them and practice your interpersonal skills with people older than you, a precursor to meeting hiring managers.  Also, you never know if they may end up being lifelong friends!
  8. Boys will come and go, so don’t worry about finding your true love in high school. After all, you want to marry a man, not a boy, right? 😉
  9. Read as much as you can because there are so many beautiful pieces out there. You won’t have enough time to enjoy them when you’re older, and reading is one of the keys to success.
  10. Schedule time away from technology, even if it seems counterintuitive to productivity. Technology’s a crucial part of society, but migraines are no one’s best friend.
  11. Whenever you have an idea, write it down. You never know when that idea can blossom into something great, so save it!
  12. Don’t give up and procrastinate when you don’t understand something; just work on something else. You may find yourself inspired to solve the problem you were stuck on while you do something else.
  13. Have a part time job so you can get work experience and cash. Surprisingly, it’s expensive to be a high schooler, especially in NYC and it’s embarrassing to ask your parents for money all the time.
  14. Don’t excuse missing out on opportunities on your personality. Everyone’s scared of rejection, and regardless of getting the opportunity or not, having a backbone’s invaluable.
  15. Try things on your own. Friends and family are safety blankets, but they also prevent you from realizing your true potential, so go out in the wild and create some unique memories.

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Honestly, I could go on and on about the things I wish I could have done right when I was a teenager, but it’s better to leave some things unsaid.  Life’s about growing from the mistakes you made, so if I had a solution for everything, I’ve defeated the purpose of living.

For a person who loves perfection, I know that we aren’t meant to be perfect.  Hence, we shouldn’t kill ourselves with stress trying to make everything right, then forgetting to live.  It’s important to focus on the small details, but don’t forget that they’re part of a bigger picture, and not every detail will show when you take a step back.

xoxo,

the girl who regrets her high school years, but hopes that they won’t matter when she’s older

IMAGE CREDIT: On Point with Tom Ashbrook

I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman (1847-1931)

IMAGE CREDIT: Motherboard

+amp+

Good music is good music.

Gretchen Wilson, American country music artist (1973-present)

Everyday I go to the gym, I wonder what people listen to while they workout.  Obviously not everyone listens to music while they workout, i.e. my one friend studies on the treadmill by watching chemistry videos, but most of us are generally plugged in while we whip ourselves into shape.  Some may have their go to playlist, while others just listen to whatever’s on their phone.

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Personally, my playlist(s) changes depending on my mood.  There are days when I just want to listen to the old songs on my phone, while on other days, I will listen to a set of playlists targeted for certain workouts.

On my old songs days, some of the songs I jam to are

  • Avicii vs. Nicky Romero, I Could Be The One (Nicktim)
  • Boys Like Girls, The Great Escape
  • DJ Sammy, Heaven ft. Yanou, Do
  • Enrique Iglesias, Bailando ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona
  • G-Dragon, Black/Without You
  • Jimmy Eat World, The Middle
  • Justin Bieber, Sorry
  • Marina and the Diamonds, Blue/Forget/Froot/Primadonna
  • Phoebe Ryan, Mine (Illenium Remix)
  • Secondhand Serenade, Fall for You
  • Seven Lions x Illenium x Said the Sky, Rush Over Me ft. HALIENE
  • Shakira, La Tortura ft. Alejandro Sanz
  • We the Kings, Check Yes Juliet

On my old songs days, I basically workout to any song I have heard from the late 90s to today.  And if I’m not feeling a song while I work out, I just simply skip it and listen to the next song in the queue.

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When I’m feeling anal, I have multiple playlists that I must listen to.  These playlists are targeted for a specific workout; the cardio songs are different from my weight training songs.  I may be projecting too much, but I try to match the energy required for the workout with a respective song that will maintain that energy during the workout.  I don’t know if this is a scientifically proven thing, but personally, I feel that whenever I do this, I’m able to maximize on my productivity.

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Here are some of the songs in these playlists, separated by routine:

Walking to the gym and warm-up

  • AJR, Weak
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up
  • Daft Punk, Get Lucky ft. Pharell Williams
  • Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty ft. 2 Chainz
  • Sean Paul, Get Busy/Temperature
  • Slushii x Marshmello, Twinbow
  • Survivor, Eye of the Tiger

Cardio

  • All American Rejects, Dirty Little Secret
  • Cash Cash, Matches ft. ROZES
  • Ellie Goulding, Burn
  • Lady Gaga, Applause
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Can’t Hold Us ft. Ray Dalton
  • Pitbull, Timber ft. Ke$sha
  • Sia, Cheap Thrills ft. Sean Paul
  • The Chainsmokers and Tritonal, Until You were Gone ft. Emily Warren

Weight training

  • Alan Walker, Alone/Faded/Sing Me to Sleep
  • Eminem, The Monster ft. Rihanna
  • Jennifer Lopez, On the Floor ft. Pitbull
  • Jon Bellion, All Time Low (Shew Remix)
  • Snakehips & MØ, Don’t Leave (Gryffin Remix)
  • The Chainsmokers, Roses ft. ROZES
  • will.i.am, #thatPOWER ft. Justin Bieber

Abs

  • Alan WalkerTired
  • Alexandra Stan, Mr. Saxobeat
  • David Guetta, Play Hard ft. Ne-Yo, Akon
  • Lady Gaga, Paparazzi
  • Porter Robinson & Madeon, Shelter
  • Rihanna, Diamonds
  • The Chainsmokers, All We Know ft. Phoebe Ryan

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I feel like when you work out, you can never go wrong with songs by Sean Paul, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna.  Their songs have a great combination of relevant lyrics and addictive beats that get you into the mood to move.

While I didn’t include my dance playlist, many of the songs scattered throughout my playlists have gotten inspiration from my dancing days.  Sean Paul, Usher, Britney Spears, and many more greats all have a place in my heart, as they are the original dance practice songs I would listen to when I was younger.  Just writing these names makes me want to dance as often as I used to.

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EDM songs are also a great choice to work out to because their beats usually keep you motivated throughout your workout.  Some of these choices are obvious, like Ellie Goulding’s Burn, to burn off your fat, or like The Chainsmokers and Tritonal’s Until You Were Gone, whose music video was a tribute to cardio (shoutout to soul cycle 🤗).  Other songs are there to boost your self-confidence, like Rihanna’s Diamonds and AJR’s Weak because “I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that?”, a clear tribute to my noodle arms that struggle the most during arm workouts.

xoxo,

the girl who proudly shows off her noodle arms at the gym

p.s. I compiled the songs featured in this posts into a large melting pot playlist.  Feel free to listen to these songs while you work out, and I hope they help you on your fitness journey!

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Pjatt.is