BEDA – Blog Every Day April

I thought I’d try blogging every day for the month of April as an exercise to remind myself that not every blog needs to be something that I put a whole lot of thought and effort into. Blogging used to be really casual for me, and I liked that about it. I started gaining a small readership when I started posting more frequently, and I think that made me feel like I had to step up my game a little bit.

BUT duh, people started reading when I was posting frequently and without spending too much time on posts. So why not let myself off the hook a little and just relax?

Posts that you’ll see in April include:

TL;DR – I will be word-vomiting every day for the month of April. Brace yourselves.

BEDA with me? :D

{ UPDATE } This is challenging, but it’s a good exercise for me to just push out posts and just focus on hitting “Publish”.  I hope the quality isn’t suffering too much! (aka my posts weren’t that great before anyway :P)

Starr in Europe

You mean you didn’t ask to see a bunch of photos of my face from my trip to Europe? OOPS SORRY :P
This is meant to tide you over until I muster up the willpower to finish the recaps. (If I don’t finish those by 2015, I probably never will.)

Here’s a collection of all the photos I have of myself from my trip in Europe. Some of them aren’t flattering and a lot of them I had to take myself (so sad) but here they are! Ways for me to know that I really was there. (Because I don’t know how to use Photoshop… alas, I am not quite so l33t.)

My dad should have a lot more, actually, but I don’t have a hold of those just yet. For now, here is my selfie compilation, I guess? He loves taking photos of me and my brother when we go on vacation, so he has heaps of portraits of me.

These are posted in the order of when I took them, starting with our initial visit to London, going around my cruise itinerary, swinging ’round to Paris and then back to London.

Let me know if you’d also like a gallery of just my food photos, because there are a LOT of those, too! XD I don’t really enjoy taking photos of myself, so I don’t have a lot of selfies, but some places I wanted to remember seeing and being there.

Do you have a favorite? Mine is maybe the Dalek one, which was my Facebook profile photo for a little while.

Whether the Weather

I post a lot of weather app screenshots to Instagram.

It’s not necessarily that I have nothing else going on in my life… not every time, anyway.

But I just have a bit of a preoccupation with the weather. I always like being prepared for the weather. I’m the kind of person who carries an umbrella around every day.


I like knowing what temperature it is outside. What’s the probability that it will rain? What is the humidity? What time are sunrise and sunset? How much wind are we experiencing and where is that wind coming from? Is there a tornado watch or is it a tornado warning?

I am a little embarrassed by how many of these screenshots I have. But I am the kind of person who checks the weather, even on days that I know I will be holed up indoors all day.

It’s really a miracle that any of my friends still follow my Instagram. And they’ll even like these photos!

Maybe I’m like their surrogate weather app…

I think it goes without saying that the thing I post most frequently on Instagram is weather app screenshots.

What do you post most on Instagram?
Do you care as strongly about the weather as I do? Or could you not care less?

Things You See More of in China

I made little notes about things that I noticed you see a lot of in China but you don’t really see in America. Here’s a little list I had been jotting down during my trip:

  • Kites
  • Fireworks/firecrackers

  • Good luck symbols
  • Tea
    • Loose leaf tea
    • Tea pots

      Chinese-Tea-Sets-6.jpg (800×533)

      Haha wait I think I own this set XD

  • Private room dining
  • Sheet masks
  • Knee-length puffer coats
  • Tissues in bags (vs. in boxes)
  • Oranges

    They’re good luck!

  • People who are more afraid of being cold than of looking stylish
  • Incense
  • Overly cute accessories

    They don’t do anything, really, for pollution but they add a little extra something to your outfit.

These are the ones I have for now, but there are loads more. I left out so really obvious ones, trying to find little things.

What are some differences you have noticed between America and China?
Do you wish any of these were seen more in America?

Slow Dance Songs [playlist]

Prematurely hot weather always reminds me of certain summer feelings. Today, it reminded me of things like prom, summer camp dances, and driving home after a fun evening with friends.

Here are a couple of slow dance songs that I thought of today. Some of them have memories of specific slow dances I shared with someone, but not all of them are. I haven’t told the boys I danced with that I always think of them when I hear these songs, but I secretly hope that they think of me — even if for just a fleeting moment — when they hear them, too.

I don’t want to feel lonely thinking about slow dances. I like them because, as much as I love grooving out on the dancefloor, sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you get caught up over whether you’re holding someone or not during this break.

This is not the definitive list and I’ll be adding to it as time goes by. I’ll let you know when I do, but for now, here is a little playlist.

Earth Angel | The Penguins // In Your Eyes | Peter Gabriel // Can’t Help Falling in Love | Elvis Presley // At Last | Etta James // Smoke Gets In Your Eyes | The Platters // The Way You Look Tonight | Frank Sinatra // Take My Breath Away | Berlin //

Enjoy!

Name the movies that some of these songs come from!
What’s a slow dance song that hold a special memory for you?

Bonus question: have you seen the movie where I got the still for the playlist image?

 

 

Foods I Used to Avoid

When I was a little girl, my tastes were strictly defined. I only ate butter pecan ice cream, but would sometimes make an exception for strawberry and maaaaaybe chocolate. I only drank apple juice. I only ate cut up hot dogs for lunch.

Not only did I have very set favorites, but there were a lot of foods I would never touch or look at.

However, now that I’m older, I’ve expanded a little. I’ve given some of these foods a second (or… hundredth) chance, and now I almost like some of these previously Untouchable foods! The list of reformed foods includes:

  • Celery: I forced myself to like celery. I like the crunch a lot, but the flavor was always so weird to me. Now, I’ve mostly gotten used to it, and I think I like it. (Or I tell myself I do, anyway?) The first time I ate celery, it was weighed down in a really unhealthy amount of ranch dressing. I take it a bit easier with the ranch now.
  • Mac & cheese: The most controversial item, because I still detest cheese. I think what I really like is creamy baked pasta casseroles, so I really enjoy baked mac. With a nice breadcrumb topping? And maybe some veggies mixed in? Don’t go overboard with the cheese or I will hate it. The first time I ate mac & cheese, I wiped all the cheese off the macaroni. It was good, though. The first time I ate it with the cheese, I was half-starved at a graduation party and I ate a quarter of the tray. Oops.
    REE_2559
  • Onions: I was really scared of onions. I still can’t eat raw onions because the flavor is too strong (although I’ll put a pinch in when I make guacamole). The first time I ate onions was with my ex-uncle, who I was scared of because he had a mean-looking neutral face, and he sauteed onions for dinner. I was too scared not to eat them, and luckily they were really delicious.
  • Mayonnaise: Okay, mayo is freaky-looking and weird-smelling. I just didn’t want anything to do with it, I didn’t want to eat chicken salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, anything with mayo was like no thank you! The first time I had mayonnaise was in a potato salad, I believe. And I liked it! I also found that I liked my turkey sandwiches with mayo even better than without and I regularly make chicken salad now. Say whaaaaat. Also I’m an even bigger fan of spicy mayo, yum.
  • Mustard: I don’t really love the flavor of mustard, it’s a really sharp spiciness that I feel mostly in my sinuses and less in my mouth. The first time I had mustard was at DC’s famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, where I had a half-smoke. I don’t like chili (I know, I know, Ben’s Chili Bowl) but I was surprised but how I didn’t dislike the mustard. Now, I’m more than happy to put mustard on hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches.
  • Chili and jalapeno: I am still quite a bit pansy when it comes to spiciness, but I am actively trying to increase my spice tolerance! Spicy foods boost your health, after all. I can’t pinpoint the first time I ate chili peppers or chili oil on purpose (although it happened plenty of time without my agreeing to it!) but I do remember a few moments of eating something with a kick and thinking “Hmm…… this actually isn’t so bad. I am not in pain.”

I currently have all of these in my fridge/pantry right now. Oh, how the times have changed!

What are some foods that you used to avoid but now eat?
I still avoid some foods… what are some that I definitely shouldn’t?

(Sorry I’m a little late, but I promise this is for Saturday, BEDA-wise.)

Friday Favorites (5)

Time for more Friday Favorites! No photos today because I am completely pooped, sorry!

Field Days

Our marketing department had a field day yesterday and it was so much fun. Remember having field day in elementary school? It’s just a great way to get outside, get bonding, and get competitive. I may have overhyped my dizzy bat skills / gotten nervous and thrown my strategy out the window. Dizzy bat protips:

  • It is worth it to spin slower so that you can run better
  • It is also worth it to take a moment to regain stability before you start running
  • Closing your eyes helps some people, but not all people

There is no way to do dizzy bat and still be graceful. That is why it is great for bringing people together. It is a great equalizer.

warmer Weather

Even though… the temperature jumped up a little TOO fast this week. It was 80° today and yet I could see my breath walking to work just a few days ago. That’s DC weather for you. However, it is nice to be able to be outside and NOT see your breath, to not wear a coat. I don’t love wearing a lot of layers too often, because sometimes I feel stifled (especially after wearing 6 layers in Harbin…). Warmer weather means winter is really gone (or… on its way out, I don’t want to jinx anything) and that spring is more or less here.

Happy Hours

Even though I don’t really drink, I like that happy hour is a space where I can get together with friends and we can all unwind together. The workday feels really long some days, and I was surprised at how much a happy hour special can turn those days around. Similar to how I enjoy the unacknowledged camaraderie of commuting on the train, I also enjoy the usually unacknowledged camaraderie of leaving your work worries at the door for a magical moment of food and drink.

Payless dexflex flats

I wear these every day to work, unless I wear boots in anticipation of rain. I found them before my Europe trip when I was looking for comfortable walking shoes that weren’t sneakers. A really friendly sales associate asked if I needed help, and while I usually say “nah thanks though”, I accepted and she immediately pointed to her own feet and said that these shoes are amazingly comfortable. She wears them for her on-her-feet jobs and they are cute and come in different colors. They’ve got memory foam in the soles. I was so sold.

I own them in black and in nude so that I have a pair for essentially every outfit. (Fun fact: These are my first and only pair of nude shoes. I still think nude shoes are kinda weird as a concept but these work.) Every now and then, they’ll offer new colors and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive: 296 out of 311 would recommend them and they have a solid 5 star rating on the Payless website.  They really are extremely comfortable and many of my friends own the shoes. The only real downside is, at the end of the night, leaving someone’s place and trying to figure out whose flats are whose.

Friendly People

One thing about being alone for most of my little gap of unemployment was that I somehow forgot how friendly and nice and helpful people are! It’s just really great to be reminded of that every day. Whether it’s my coworkers, people at Yelp events, or even strangers in bars and on the train, you can’t help but feel a warm and fuzzy faith-in-humanity feeling in your chest when someone smiles at you and genuinely wants to help you. Sometimes you hate people, but sometimes you just gotta love ‘em.

What are you loving this week?
What are your most comfortable shoes?
Did you have any moments that just made you love humanity?
Are you excited for warmer weather? Or do you live somewhere where the temperature doesn’t change much?

I’ve Been Reading!

There is one plus side to my outrageously long commute, and that is that I can dedicate that time to reading.

I used to read almost every day before bed, but these past few years, I’ve been so exhausted after classes (or work) that I would fall asleep as soon as I snuggled under my covers. My time on the train or on the subway can be devoted entirely to reading. There are few alternative activities that can occupy that time.

Another thing that has helped me read more is my tablet. I set up borrowing eBooks from my public library a little while ago. What this has meant for me is that books where I was #143 (actual position) on the waitlist, I could get access to an electronic version of the book within a much shorter amount of time. In fact, I can have multiple books at a time, although I read one book at a time.

So far, the books I have finished on my commute, with a little bit of extra time in-between, include:

  • Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Hunger Games* – Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars* – John Green

And I’m working on Divergent* – Veronica Roth, while also dabbling a little bit with The Tao of Pooh – Benjamin Hoff. (An asterisk (*) denotes a book that I read on my tablet.)

As you can see, reading crazy popular young adult books is a lot easier for me to do through the eBook borrowing system than through physical books. Another benefit with reading on my tablet is just that it takes up less space than books in my bag, which has been feeling kinda full of late. My new commute has made me a little sleepier than I’d like for my commuting reading time, so I need to get myself a bit sorted.

Also, I like to try to read some news. On the DC Metro, you can read the Express. I also like reading Time magazine but I haven’t been able to do for some time. Soon!

Do you like to read/listen to books on your commute? What have you been reading lately?
If not, how do you pass your commute time if you’re not driving?