+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

+warfare+

Fashion fades, only style remains the same.

Coco Chanel, French fashion designer and businesswoman (1883-1971)

Ever since I was little, I always wanted to own a Burberry trench coat.  I know other brands make their own versions of it, but there isn’t anything more iconic than having a Burberry trench coat with your initials monogrammed on the inside.  When I was younger, my mother promised me that once I graduated college that she would buy me one.  As I have only one more year of school left, hopefully it’ll be a dream come true in May 2018 🖤!

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I always dreamt of being an adult, tall and able to wear the form-flattering trench coat featured in the Burberry ads, or during a fashion week collection, paired with a blanket-like poncho.  I would jealousy stare at pictures of models, celebs, and fashion bloggers who wore this consistently trend piece, and would turn green with envy whenever someone wore their trench coat on the streets of NYC.

To me, everything about the trench coat was appealing, from the history of the material to its waist slimming design.  The trench coat is extremely versatile: it can be worn as a jacket dress or simply as a fashionable yet practical piece during a rainy day.  For its two-grand price tag, it’s certainly an investment that every fashion inclined woman should make.

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The trench coat has a unique story – Thomas Burberry, the creator of the gabardine material used for trench coats, never intended to make these coats for the fashion industry.  Trench coats were originally made to serve as the standard Army uniform and apparel for the United Kingdom due to its fabric being waterproof and sturdy.

However, as we know about army inspired clothing, they almost always end up in the mainstream fashion scene.  Even today, the army green color and camouflage pattern are used as fashion statements by many designers, and are eagerly worn by customers who want to flaunt off their knowledge of the ever-changing trends.

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Even if Burberry didn’t intend to make this for fashion, it’s amazing how he created something that transcended time.  Very few fashion pieces have managed this feat, capturing the hearts of fashion people and regular folk alike, like Chanel’s No. 5 perfume and Hermès Birkin bag.

Hopefully I’ll be a new owner of a trench coat as I make my own journey to find an accidental mistake that spurs the success of my own fashion house.

xoxo,

the girl who dreams of making an iconic fashion piece

IMAGE CREDIT: Burberry

+alternative+

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy.  It’s not about nutrients and calories.  It’s about sharing.  It’s about honesty.  It’s about identity.

Louise Fresco, Danish scientist, director, writer (1952-present)

Most of us spend a good portion of our lives consuming countless burgers, hotdogs, and pizza, whether you buy it from Nathan’s at Jones Beach or make it at home because you never celebrate the Fourth of July without a cookout.  According to Yahoo Answers, a super reliable source, Americans eat 22.2 billion hamburgers and 13.7 billion hotdogs yearly; just reading those numbers make me feel sick.

America has become a global empire built from machine made food that can probably outlast humans themselves.  How can an average consumer be sure if their hamburger “beef” patty is really made from a cow’s side?  Ignorance is bliss, considering how we eat tons of it anyways.

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I was once an avid hamburger consumer, telling my mom how I wanted McDonald’s Big Macs at my wedding when I was younger.  Today, the only time I eat hamburgers are the rare occasions when my dad decides to make hamburgers for Sunday lunch.

For me, a hamburger is one that contains a lot of raw onion, cooked onions, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise mixed with a little barbecue sauce, a patty, and of course a nice potato bun.  I feel like my subconscious knows how unhealthy burgers are, even if I don’t eat them often, so I try to add a lot of raw vegetables to it.

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My dad came up with two hamburger patty recipes that we follow, a lazy version and a stuffed version.  The lazy version is just grounded beef shaped into a patty, and while it’s being cooked, a little bit of ground red pepper will be added.  The stuffed version, however, is another story.

To make my dad’s stuffed hamburger patties, here are the ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground beef – 85% lean, 15% fat
  • ½ of a sweet/white onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. After washing your hands, dice the sweet onion into small pieces and mince the garlic cloves; they should be small so they can easily be incorporated with the ground beef, but it’s your preference really.
  2. Taking the ground beef out of its packaging, place it into a medium sized mixing bowl and mix along with the diced onions and minced garlic, using a clean wooden spoon, bare or gloved hands – whatever does the job for you.
  3. Once it’s all combined, portion it, depending on how many patties you want to make. My dad generally makes five large patties with this recipe, but you can make more smaller patties if you desire.  Shape each portion into a patty carefully because some onion and garlic pieces may fall out.
  4. Cook the patties in whatever manner you prefer, like frying, grilling, etc. Since I live in an apartment, we generally lightly grease a pan and cook our patties on it.  NOTE: you can save the uncooked patties by wrapping them in cling wrap and storing it in your freeze, but you should eat them as soon as possible, as meat that has come into contact with hands will start to deteriorate faster.
  5. Assemble after the patties are cooked to your liking.

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Even though there aren’t any preservatives or questionable materials in this recipe, I feel as though I rarely eat burgers, whether it’s homemade or from a Shake Shack.  I’ve become obsessed with eating lettuce again, so I probably won’t crave a burger for a while.  Nonetheless, everyone should try this stuffed patty recipe!

xoxo,

the girl who eats like a rabbit (sometimes)

IMAGE CREDIT: Serious Eats

+secrets+

Your smile was derisive and colder than the arctic.  “Didn’t you guess?  You’re not Dad’s favourite child, I am and Ariel is Jasmin’s fave.”

– northbynorth, The Dreamer (2015)

I originally started reviewing this book a few years ago when it was still being written.  The Dreamer, originally Thirty Letters is a book written by a wonderful author under the username northbynorth on Wattpad.  I was exposed to the author’s amazing quality of writing in a previous novel, Saving Elliot, a story that everyone should read.  Saving Elliot superficially is a good-girl-saves-bad-boy story, but it’s much more than that; the author reminds us that even the good need help sometimes.

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In my draft, I wrote a huge paragraph about how much I loved the cover’s aesthetic, but the cover has since changed, so I’ll skip over that.

The Dreamer is written in a series of letters addressed to the important people in the protagonist, Morgana’s, life.  There are pros and cons to writing stories in this format, like reading between the lines and not having an author spoon-feed you everything through an omniscient outside narrator.  For some, this is cumbersome because they can’t, or don’t want to find the links between characters, etc., while others love the adventure the letter format takes them on; it’s a mystery that maximizes the emotions and reactions at the end of each letter.

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The story is Morgana’s self-reflecting piece, as she writes down the realizations she has made during her short life so far.  In the beginning, each letter seems like they will be delivered to the person it’s addressed to, but Morgana explicitly states that the good and bad part about this letter is that the addressee will never see, read, nor understand what she is going through.  At that point, I realized that these letters are not for the sake of creating a discussion, but it’s for Morgana’s sake – in this world, there’s no one who can fully empathize with Morgana, so she, through these letters, will be the friend and therapist that no one will be for her.

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Superficially, Morgana comes off as a typical, whiny teenager who complains about how no one understands her.  The sad thing is that her words are true – she doesn’t have anyone to confide in.  Her mother may have been the one person she could’ve confided in when she was younger, but her mother’s gone.  People from all parts of her life have effectively abandoned her since her mother’s passing, and the people who are supposed to love her are distant with her; none of them try to understand her, a stark contrast to Hucky.

Morgana’s letters reveal the raw feelings of loneliness and isolation she faces.  Correction, we don’t know if she really needs their support, as she comes off as a mentally strong teenager who was forced to fend for herself.  Nonetheless, it’s always nice to have people to lean on.

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As an older sibling, I relate to Morgana’s isolation because at times, my family will ignore me for my brother.  However, we can’t simply blame our parents because I believe that there’s an error within our DNA; we are unable to truly focus on more than one thing at any given moment.  Ergo, anyone who claims to be able to multitask is a liar because you won’t do a good job.  Think: rubbing your stomach with your left hand, while patting your head with the right.

Consequently, humans are unable to successfully maintain multiple human relationships at once.  In many ways, we are similar to the simplest of animals, as we can only focus on one topic at hand at any given moment.  There’s an imbalance between the demands of the society and the extent to our own capabilities.  Studies have shown that despite parents’ verbal exclamations and refusals about having a favorite child, in the end of the day, parents do have a child that they prefer, and tend to look more favorably upon.

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Is it unfair for the other children who aren’t the apple of their parents’ eyes?  No.  However, it is important for the child to communicate this feeling of hurt to their parents.  On the parents end, especially parents who have grown up marginalized by their siblings, they should try to put themselves back into the shoes of their Morganas and think about how they can effectively translate affection to them.  Especially during puberty, parents should be understanding because they’re gone through those rough years, and previous feelings of isolation are exacerbated during this period.

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I wouldn’t call myself Morgana, but I have been in many situations where I felt like Morgana, but for me, it has helped me grow.  Because I didn’t feel as much love and would feel jealous at the love my brother received, it helped me grow independent and less reliant on receiving external validation.

This, begs the question – is Morgana, and other quasi-abandoned children, the lucky one?  After all, they seem more prepared in entering an unfair world where you aren’t the apple of somebody’s eyes.  For me, I would say yes, though yes with reservations because not everyone put in that situation are mentally capable of handling such a feeling.

xoxo,

the girl who was Morgana, just like you were at one point as well

IMAGE CREDIT: Wattpad

+next+

When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (2011)

I feel like everyone has spent a sleepless night scrolling through Buzzfeed, taking quizzes, watching videos, and reading lists.  One of these was Michelle Regna’s “28 Profoundly Beautiful Quotes About Life and Death,” a compilation of community suggested quotes.

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I noticed that the quotes Regna chose shared a similar theme – finding peace after death because death is but a step in life’s journey.  I have a problem with that because we don’t need to define death in such a way; we try to make sense of death in a positive way, so as to feel better about our mortality.  For some reason, humans have trouble reconciling with the fact that their time on earth is finite, when we get so frustrated at times and irrational numbers that have no finite solution.

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Why do we waste so much time thinking about our inevitable end when living’s already stressful?  Why should we put more stress on ourselves thinking about how it’ll all end?  Maybe it’s because of my age or because of my proactive personality, but I don’t understand why we’re so obsessed with thinking about death.

For example, when a person dies, we generally attend their funeral.  At their funeral, we always talk about how much we will miss them, how much they impacted our lives, etc.  Rarely do people talk about the deceased feelings because funerals have become perverted to a competition to see who loved the deceased the most.  Whoever has the largest funeral is almost like the winner of that disgusting competition.

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In a way, we don’t have our priorities straight.  We have a tunnel vision towards the end of the tunnel, a door that signifies death, and past it, a continuation of our supposed journey.  However, to reach that door, we have to walk towards it first.  We all seem to forget that fact; we’re so occupied about the life after death.

I know that I’m young and unexperienced in many things that one experiences in life, but I do know that living’s stressful, and thinking about death is just as stressful, so do yourself a favor and just think about what you need to do at this moment.

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As seen in my other late night musings, I’m no stranger to stress.  I get stressed out when I’m not stressed over something because my brain thinks that something isn’t right.  I’m not trying to say that you should all live anally like me, but we’re young.  We should be focused on realizing our dreams, and if you don’t have one, go out in the world and find something that ignites you.  Don’t rest until you find something that gets you going because nothing’s worse than thinking about death than to waste your time just sitting down and regretting about the things that could have been.

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I know that this may sound all over the place, but I hope there’s some semblance to a motivational speech.  Carpe diem and blah blah blah because there’s seven billion people on earth, and we should all have the chance to have our fifteen minutes of fame (hopefully the good kind of fame).  Also, this is scheduled for a Monday posting, which may seem a bit odd because I’m starting off the week serious, but we’ll be fine.  Sometimes we all need a dose of reality, right?

xoxo,

the girl who is too busy about living to think about death

IMAGE CREDIT: Mind Over Food