It’s not until you’re an adult you appreciate how awesome a dog is.  You dreams start dyin’, somebody cheats on ya, bankers f*** up your 401K, ya know?  Then ya come home and that dog’s looking at you and he’s like, ‘Dude, you’re awesome!’  It’s like, ‘No, Dude you … you are f****** awesome!’

William Frederic Burr, commonly known as Bill Burr, American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, podcaster (1968-present)

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+how to spend+

“They said I was a valued customer, now they send me hate mail.”

Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic (2003)

NOTE: I wrote this when I was first starting my blog – I wanted to post this again because I wanted to insert comments on what I wrote, so as to reflect how much has changed, three years later. X ENC

Among everyone that I know, I would consider myself a sensible shopper because quite frankly, I don’t shop often (as seen in my sparse and half-empty closet).  However, during the times that I do go shopping, I feel as though I go overboard on my purchases.

Three years later, I still agree with this opener.  I still don’t shop often, and when I do, I do stretch my boundaries.  My closet is smaller than it was three years ago, and I’m constantly re-wearing things.

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My Shopping Philosophy: Quality Over Quantity

I believe that if I physically do not have the money to buy the one expensive item that I really want, then I need to make a smart choice.  I can either save until I have the means to purchase it, or give up the dream completely.  With the former, when I do have the sufficient funds to purchase said item, if I still want that item, then I would positively consider buying it.  If not, that’s one more item that got away.

I would say that I still treat my potential purchases this way.  One change is that I now obsessively look at my Chase app, constantly checking my checking account and credit card balances.  The downside of being an adult is that if you want something, you have to buy it yourself (crying emoji).

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The Dangers of Credit Cards

When I turned 18, my dad helped me set up a credit card solely under my name, without his cosign.  This means that I have a typical credit card that 25+-year old adults have, where every credit earned is completely under my name.  I would say that I am one of the rare cases that get approved for this credit card, as many of my friends who have credit cards are just extensions of their parents’.

Reading this, I’m cringing at how embarrassing I was.  Though it is pretty remarkable for a high school graduate’s first credit card to be a “normal” one sans cosign, the way I wrote this comes off as pretty condescending.  I apologize for my younger self 😅.

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I haven’t been a Rebecca Bloomwood, scraping my credit card at every possible reader that I see.  However, there’s a power that you have with a credit card and “virtual money.”  It’s frightening to think if I went crazy and spent all of my credit limit.  Or if someone somehow stole my identity and spent thousands under my name.  Worst of all, I’m scared about accidentally spending so much that I can’t chase down my debt.

Despite the age of technology and advancements in security, I’m still scared of identity theft, and I probably will be until the day I die.  Oh well.

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When a Budding Shopaholic Meets Fashion

The best and worst thing about being a girl is our eye for fashion.

DISCLAIMER: I know there are girls who don’t agree with this bold statement, but for the most part, I believe that we girls all have a soft spot for anything fashion related.  It can be a small or huge hole in the corner of your heart.

Loving fashion isn’t necessarily a bad thing because who doesn’t enjoy a herringbone patterned jacket?  The issue that arises for a girl like me is that NYC can act like a “pusher” for bad spending decisions.

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Normally, I wear black clothes, as black is easy to style, pull off, and repeat.  In a city like the one I was born in raised in, wearing black is an obvious and safe choice.  NYC loves anyone who wears a severe black turtleneck, skintight leather pants, and thigh-high boots, as well as the bold fashionistas who drape themselves in seemingly mismatching patterns.  The latter can be unique and harmonious, but also loud and crazy – NYC will love you no less.

There will always be critics who judge you, but I think we’re afforded a lot of creative freedom in NYC.

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What I’m Saving For

Back when I originally wrote this post, I made a list of things I needed/ truthfully wanted.  These things included shoes, clothes, makeup, though I highlighted the need for eyeshadow primer and new shoes.  I really needed shoes because most of my shoes were worn down and/ or had significant holes in them.  It didn’t help that I was short strapped on funds at the time.  This blog was a wonderful outlet to moan about my lack of funds, as well as my jealousy at people who don’t have to worry about money.

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For a while now, I have been broke, though probably more so than before.  I’ve also begun to abstain from buying things, unless they’re for a quick lunch and a monthly MetroCard.  I’m currently saving up for a few big things in my life:

Short term: a domestic trip, somewhere in the U.S., by the end of the year and a trip to Korea within the next year.

Long term: launching my fashion house, saving up for my future wedding, and paying off my college loans.

Prioritizing my goals and organizing how I should be spending my money made me realize how much I’ve changed.  Though appearances are extremely important, experiencing things and working to make your dream a reality are things I value more.  This may seem to compromise my love for fashion, but I’ve changed the way I think about things.

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Instead of getting things too early and not really appreciating it’s worth, I’ve decided to wait for my time to drape myself in designer brands.  In focusing on making my future, I know that it’s the only surefire way to be able to afford all the things I wanted to buy without being worried about my balance.  It’s like that psychology experiment – you just have to wait those 10 minutes before you can enjoy five more cookies.

xoxo,

the girl who likes to think that she’ll be successful in the future

IMAGE CREDIT: Sky Cinema

+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

+delayed gratification+

Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification.  To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.

Pope Francis, 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (1936-present)

Note: I wrote this when I was first starting off my blog.  I wanted to post this because I wanted to insert comments on what I wrote, reflecting on how much I’ve changed, three years later.  X ENC

Turning 18 is a rite of passage where we become full-fledged adults.  Even then, we still don’t get to enjoy the ~luxuries~ of adulthood, like drinking, obviously (winking face emoji); in America, adulthood is basically synonymous to turning 21.  During that three-year gap between 18 and 21, we’ll still pretend to be adults, some of us hunting down a shady friend of a friend who makes convincing fake IDs, so we can sneak into the nearest bar/club/pub.  Since when did your baby face become a convincing 25-year old?

I personally never got a fake ID because during my lucky (?) three years, my friends got me into places.  It really helps to have connections and friends who know people, especially in NYC.  The power of word of mouth is undeniable.

However, turning 18 is still very important.  18 means breaking off the metaphorical chains created by society; we must make somewhat free choices that we must now claim responsibility to, a stark contrast to the past 18 years, filled with decisions we cannot, will not, call our own.  We are put through a flawed school system, which ingrains in us a belief that once high school ends, we will go onto college, and then possibly a professional school if you majored in something useless to the job market during the past four years.  After all those extra school years, we will be working, making bucket loads of money with the sole purpose of paying back the choices that have been made for our sake.  Supposedly.

Reading this again, I noticed how bleak my perspective on life was.  Sadly, it hasn’t changed – if anything, it has turned bleaker.  My younger self didn’t account the competition that will inevitably prevent us from making said “bucket loads of money.”

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Adulthood is an asset to us when seeking jobs that we want and buying ourselves things we want with our hard-earned cash.  If college wasn’t a choice all of us wanted, then working and spending money are two areas that we can control.

Oh my naïve self, thinking that we still have control over these things.  Our jobs are generally decided by whoever wants you, regardless to the places that you apply to work for.  Our wages are spent mostly on living expenses, unless you’re irresponsible and still believe that your parents will still pay for you.

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The Problem with Being an Adult

Growing up in a household where money was tight, I was always filled with envy, seeing fellow peers and famous celebrities prancing around with the newest gadgets and fanciest clothing.  Looking at those people, I would always think, “Just wait, that will be you in 20 years, when you hit it big and become famous, way bigger than the celebs you see now.  They will be jealous of YOU.”

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Now that I’m an “adult,” I want to cash in that statement, despite not having a job that can support the billionaire lifestyle.  My rationale for purchasing things I need, aka want, is my childhood saving habits that Warrant Buffet has always preached about – one should live frugally and save now, spend later.  However, going into college, I haven’t been consistent with myself, shifting towards spending now, and hopefully saving later.

I still agree with this because I have made questionable purchases over the past few years that I regret.  If I could go back in time, I would stop myself from making my “need” purchases, and saving it for something bigger for myself instead.

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Giving it a Label

This isn’t a unique problem.  I feel as though everyone has experienced the struggle of “delayed gratification” at some point.  We learned of this term in AP Psychology, through a famous experiment:

Children under 10 were given a cookie and told that if they didn’t eat it for 10 minutes, then they would be rewarded with five more cookies at the end.  Supposedly, the children who held off eating the cookie led more successful lives in comparison to the kids who didn’t.

The purpose of this experiment was to show that children didn’t understand delayed gratification and restraint because their brains weren’t developed to the point where they could comprehend the implications of waiting for things.  However, seeing the crimes and scandals written in The New York Times and The Daily Post, we can conclude that this isn’t a problem only found in children.  Even better, we can conclude that following rules is something we all struggle with.  Consequently, my spending struggles as an ~adult~ is something that goes beyond just a lack of development.

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Granted, I’m not like Rebecca in Confessions of a Shopaholic, but I do get tunnel vision, looking at the things I want, for days on end; I try to justify purchasing them.  Some of my reasons are, “I threw out my clothes, so I need new clothes to replace them,” “It’s a new season,” and sometimes, “I don’t want to be judged by what I own.”  My email subscriptions to Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co., Vogue, etc. certainly don’t help.  I’m bombarded with enticing titles like, “Normcore is Back in Trend: How You Can Wear This Season’s Latest Trends.”

I still get tempted when Kate Spade sends an email with an awesome sale, but I feel like the key to ignoring them is getting so many automated emails, that you just begin to tune them all out.

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Conflicts with Getting a Job

I ask myself, “If I buy this herringbone tweed coat for $220 now, will I regret it down the line, knowing that I could’ve spent it on something more fashionable in the future?”  This sounds like a vapid first world problem, but it’s much greater than that.  The most materialistic things influence how others perceive us, and will affect our future job prospects.  First impressions are always important, and physical manifestations of a person’s personality through fashion choices give people a general idea of what kind of person they are.

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While judging is hurtful, at time, it’s a necessary evil because in a wired society, no one have the time, or wants to spend the time, getting to know each and every person they meet.  Probably outside of Silicon Valley, no one wants to hire an employee who looks like they’re going to get a visit from the fashion police.  Unless you’re wearing your grandparents’ vintage designer denim overalls from the 60s as a fashion statement, it’s probably not work appropriate, especially in a corporate setting.

I understand as a fashion lover that it’s important to create your own trends, but there are some societal norms that are hard to overcome.  Especially if you aren’t what people perceive as pretty, then it can be even harder for people to be accepting 😥.

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In the End of the Day…

Everything we do is a choice, whether it’s shopping for shoes, or only eating a granola bar for lunch.  All these choices have their own after effects and ripples.  Times like these make me appreciate the days when I was imprisoned to my parents’ ‘choices – at least then I would never have to feel the burden of responsibility.  Being an adult means making choices that we live with forever, the good and the bad.  I guess I answered my own question then – I’ll just wait another 20 years, saving so that I can only buy luxury goods in the future.

I think this was a good ending to my delayed gratification post, despite almost veering off course in the middle.  We don’t fully get to control our choices, but we still have to live with the responsibility of them.  And instead of being caught up in how others perceive me, I might as well just save until people look at me with jealousy because of my decision to save.

xoxo,

the girl who will be living a fashionable life soon

IMAGE CREDIT: Analysis & Opinion | Reuter’s

+mindset+

We dream of having a clean house – but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning?  We don’t have to dream about doing the work, because doing the work is always within our grasp; the dream, in this sense, is to attain a goal without the work.

Marcus Buckingham, British writer, motivational speaker, business consultant (1966-present)

My all-time favorite Disney movie is the 1950 production of Cinderella because I have always felt a spiritual connection to the titular character.  Like Cinderella, cleaning meant getting on your hands and knees to wash the floors with a rag, and not with a smart robot vacuum, let alone a Swiffer.

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A Millennial Thing

I would say that a characteristic of millennials is that our childhoods are a mixture of old and new traditions.  Many of us grew up doing things that our parents did, but we also got to experience never before seen technological advances.  While many millennials may not clean with a rag anymore, I feel that its existence is something we can all relate to.

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The Backstory

Growing up, I dreaded frequent cleaning days.  A typical cleaning day began at 8:00 a.m., and was spent reaching for every little nook and cranny in the apartment, while we collected a pile of dust, hair, and other unidentifiable objects that camouflaged with the hardwood floors.  Starting the job was always hard because who doesn’t like sleeping in on a Saturday?

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Efficiency: Cleaning with Rags

If you think about it, vacuums and Swiffers are physically unable to clean the hard to reach corners because its rigid designs can only fit a certain size or larger.  In a fast-paced society, it’s only practical to clean the floor with a rag because if you use a device, then you will have to go back again with a rag to clean the areas that the vacuums weren’t able to reach.

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Looking Back

Today, I still get down on my hands and knees to keep my home clean.  It has positively contributed to my obsession with +perfectionism+ over the years because who doesn’t like living in a clean home free of dirt?  I know I do.

Besides the dirt, cleaning is cathartic because as I clean the floor, I also feel like I’m doing a spiritual cleansing.  When I pour my energy into getting rid of the physical markers of uncleanliness, I release any negative energy that has built up within me.

I will admit that at times, I do feel annoyed towards the process.  However, my aching back and sweat face is but a small price to pay.  Looking at my sparkling windows provides such a great feeling of satisfaction that my pain is forgettable.

Beyond just the physical and spiritual reminders, cleaning has been a valuable tool to getting things done.  You never want to do a shoddy job with a vacuum cleaner, but a thorough one with a rag.  It’s better to get it right the first time, rather than go back to fix the mistakes that the lazy method has caused.

xoxo,

the girl who used to think of her mom as Lady Tremaine

IMAGE CREDIT: Tonya’s Touch

For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.

John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things (2006)