let’s talk about money, part i: an introduction

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

lets talk about money - feat. moneycat - anothertoast

feat. Miss Lucifer Muffinbutz

If you find it impolite or improper or tacky to discuss money, I invite you to nope your way far from this blog post right now, ’cause that’s what I’m about to do, and I don’t have time for yer judgment.

If, however, it just makes you uncomfortable to discuss money because you find it intimidating and want to cover your ears like a kid and sing that annoying Naughty Boy song (feat. Sam Smith) to yourself, I encourage you to 1) keep reading and 2) listen to Harry Styles croon about how he’s been prayin’ ever since New York instead of listening to effing Naughty Boy.*

*Support my beautiful warbling son and pre-order Harry Styles!!!

Why I’m Blogging About Money (in theory)

I have a few reasons for wanting to discuss money on this blog.

  1. I like seeing what other people do with their money, so I figure others might like seeing what I do with mine.
  2. It keeps me accountable when I document and publicize my spending and saving, which helps keep me on track for meeting my financial goals.
  3. I think, perhaps, I feel like I need to justify my life choices, because I work as a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I get paid like a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I feel guilty about it. (But not ashamed – I feel responsible, but I don’t feel like I’ve done something wrong, although some acquaintances have treated me as if I have, and press about Silicon Valley/Bay Area tech workers is generally (rightfully) negative.)
  4. After speaking with several people in circumstances similar to mine (Asian American, living at home, etc.), I’ve concluded that sharing the details of my own situation will help others feel more confident in their current and future life choices when it comes to money.
  5. As much as I hate the concept of valuing people’s lives and existences based on how productive they are in an economic system that favors a small group of people and leaves the rest behind, I do not live in a void, and neither do you (unless you’re a cryptid, I guess), and money is an important tool for achieving your life goals. It is virtually unavoidable (except for you cryptids out there; shoutout to my pals deep in the mountains and woods who are somehow still reading this post!!), so it’s in your best interest to learn to use this tool wisely.

I hope that in writing these posts I can encourage others (especially young women, who are, on the whole, less financially literate than men) to educate themselves about personal finance and financial planning, so that we can all make informed decisions about our futures.

In addition, I hope that these posts will help others see what I and so many others already know: that making life choices that don’t look like everyone else’s version of #TheAmericanDream doesn’t mean you’re a loser – it probably means you’re smart with your money.

Why I’m Blogging About Money (in practice)

The purpose of this blog is to document and provide an outlet for my obsessions, and I am obsessed with money.

But let me be clear – I’m not fixated on living a champagne life. I don’t value material possessions or luxurious lifestyles (though I think they’re very nice to have), but I do value the security and freedom that comes with the accumulation of wealth.

The truth is that I am terrified of not having money, because it would mean being unable to take care of my family. That’s the whole of it. I am obsessed with money because my family is the most important thing in my life, bar literally nothing. (I consider my family more important than my partner until such time as he becomes family, and more important than myself in that it is far greater motivation for me to take care of myself for my family’s sake than for my own. Maybe this is unhealthy, but for me it is #survival and a #copingmechanism for plodding through this tiny, insignificant human life.)

I didn’t always know this, but it’s amazing how fire exposes our priorities, and every time life gets difficult, I am reminded that I am 100% one of those ride-or-die Family First people. It’s just a fact of life for me, one that makes the big decisions simpler and keeps my aim true – my family comes first.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting (Posts About Money From Me)

I do not plan to share my net worth or my salary on this blog, but I will do my best to balance financial transparency with my own privacy and safety. In future posts in this (unstructured) series, you should expect to see

  • an overview of my finances
  • long-term financial goals and how I plan to achieve them
  • what I’ve spent my money on recently
  • thoughts about how money ties into my life and career choices
  • and other topics yet to be determined

This brief introduction barely scratches the surface of what I want to discuss, but I hope it’s piqued your interest and given you a good idea of what to expect from me next. I’m going to try to avoid writing indigestibly long posts, so I’ll leave off here, but stay tuned for Part II, where I lay out my current financial situation, coming soon to a (computer) screen near you.

colinfluence: topo designs

A couple weeks ago my coworker and our local devops babby* Colin showed up for work wearing the weirdest half-zip fleece I had ever seen, which automatically made it the coolest half-zip fleece I have ever seen, which isn’t actually saying much since all the half-zip fleeces I remember from my illustrious youth** are from Old Navy.

*He’s the same age as Augustus, who is also a babby, because he’s an entire year younger than I am.

**I mean, I’m still young, but I’m definitely no longer a Youth™. I have a 401k and the fine lines under my eyes get all “I’m Coming Out” if I don’t sleep enough.

After seeing him wear it a few times and repeatedly complimenting him on it (his #colinfluence), I BEGGED him to tell me where it was from, and he kindly obliged by linking me to Topo Designs, an outdoors-y bag and apparel brand based in Colorado, with multiple storefronts including one in San Francisco (on Divisadero).

This is the women’s version of the weird fleece I was so smitten with:

women's mountain fleece half-zip jacket - topo designs

Women’s Mountain Fleece in Sand/Teal, $149 at Topo Designs

women's mountain fleece half-zip jacket - topo designs

The colorblocking! That gorgeous teal, in contrast with that poop-like greenish-brown! The little yellow bits peeking out by the pocket and collar! The fact that I just realized this fleece is a half button-up and not a half-zip!

What a weird, wonderful look.

I also found this $189 jumpsuit which is way out of my price range but which I would wear the HECK out of, even if it would take me 10 minutes to pee:

black jumpsuit - topo designs - women's coverall

Women’s Coverall, $189 at Topo Designs

women's coverall - topo designs - jumpsuit

Someday (read: never, because I’m too fuckin cheap) I will own these coveralls, and I, too, will look like a sexy, mechanically-inclined sidekiq-cum-love-interest in a movie with lots of cars and explosions, and I, too, will share a passionate kiss with the hero/heroine whilst my face is artfully smudged with faux motor oil, or fauxtor oil, if you will.

(For anyone who knows me 2 well, yes, I am 100% blogging about insubstantial things to make up for how tired I am IRL right now. More to come, pals. For now, I need a long-ass sleep while I consider dropping $75 on the men’s version of that fleece since it’s on sale…)

The Raven Boys is ON SALE and i’m PSYCHED because you should read it

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

The Kindle edition of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is on sale TODAY ONLY!!! for $3.99 (originally $9.99, according to the GoodReads email that alerted me to this most glorious deal). Cop yer copy while the price is right, or let me convince you with my in-depth literary analysis reading notes (a vocabulary list and choice quotes) (though they are a bit spoiler-y, so beware).

From the author’s own website:

“Four private school boys and a psychic’s daughter quest for ancient magic in the mountains of Virginia”


Reading Notes: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

the raven boys - maggie stiefvater - book cover - the raven cycle

I purchased my copy of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater one day last October when I was feeling really, really down. I’d heard many positive (read: raving) reviews on Tumblr, and I figured what better pick-me-up can I get for $5.99 without leaving my bed than a Kindle copy of a YA fantasy novel where you can ship pretty much all configurations of the characters?

(YA and fanfiction have long been my escapist self-care of choice. Sometimes self-care is brushing your teeth; sometimes it’s reading Drarry fic. I was having a really bad day when I sprung for The Raven Boys.)

Anyway, the short of it is that I, too, am now a raving fan of The Raven Boys. (A raven fan? Please stop me.) It’s fun and easy to read, a little bit creepy, and a lotta bit NOW KISS!!! What more could I ask for?!

If it’s any testament to how much I liked it, I

  1. paced myself and read it over several weeks because I didn’t want it to end
  2. still haven’t read the second installment in the series, because I know I’m going to become obsessed with it to the point of total distraction

If you like your YA fantasy with boarding school uniforms and unresolved sexual tension up the wazoo, check out my reading notes, after the jump.


REVIEW: Native Deodorant

Y’know, normally I would apologize or explain why I haven’t posted anything on this blog for several months, but, like, it’s not very complicated – I’ve just been prioritizing other things. Anyway, the meat and potatoes of this post is that I’m here to YELL AT YOU ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE NATIVE DEODORANT. THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST, BUT IT REALLY SHOULD BE, BECAUSE I LIKE NATIVE DEODORANT AND I LIKE MONEY.

My deodorant history looks like this:

my personal deodorant history

I started wearing a solid Secret deodorant in 7th grade after one day when the girls were segregated from the boys and one of the teachers handed out mini deodorants because we were Coming Of Age. My mom refused to buy me deodorant on the grounds that it would give me breast cancer, so I hoarded my single travel-sized stick all the way ’til high school.

In the meantime, my mom tried to convince me that natural deodorants that didn’t have antiperspirant ingredients would do the job just as well. To nobody’s surprise, rubbing a crystal on my armpits made my armpits smell fresh for almost two whole minutes, and Tom’s of Maine made me break out in a rash and smelled terrible after a few hours.

Early on in my high school career, I became extremely self-conscious about my abnormally sweaty armpits (spoiler alert: they’re normal) and was convinced that I had to do something about it. (It was also about this time that my single mini stick of Secret had run out.) I stole my brother’s (or uncle’s? I don’t know) gel deodorant/antiperspirant and applied it daily. It worked, and damn was it strong.

Partway through high school I secretly bought myself a gel deodorant/antiperspirant from Secret, convinced that I could not sweat ever, and just stuck with the same product out of apathy for a decade. A DECADE!!!

(I had a brief fling in 2014 with Zion Health Clay Dry Deodorant, which smelled good but was basically ineffective after any physical activity.)

One day in 2015 I copped my partner’s deodorant out of necessity. Turns out I like the smell of Old Spice way more than the smell of baby powder and lavender, and it’s effective as an antiperspirant and a deodorant, so I switched for the better part of a year.

AND THEN!!! A couple months ago I received an email from Native Deodorant (through some giveaway I signed up for and did not win), with a COUPON and I was INTRIGUED and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve been using Cotton & Lily (for sensitive skin) as well as Eucalyptus & Mint, which is a ~men’s scent~, but honestly, fuck lavender and vanilla! I want to smell like TREES and EMOTIONAL REPRESSION!!!

The first two weeks of use, it honestly was not very effective and the armpits of my shirts smelled by the end of the day (but only upon close sniffing), but after that break-in period, HOO BOY. It’s performed AMAZINGLY. One weekend I ended up not showering for like three days and I STILL smelled fresh and clean by the time I finally took a shower.

I mean, okay, it doesn’t keep me completely odor-free after a vinyasa yoga class, but neither did my Secret gel deodorant. (In fact, the Secret deodorant smelled really gross and cloying after I broke a sweat or skipped a shower.) And Native Deodorant is only a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, but that works for my lifestyle because I only work out at the end of my workday. And honestly? An aluminum-free deodorant that ACTUALLY FOR REAL WORKS AND DOESN’T MAKE MY PITS RASHY AND IS REASONABLY PRICED AT $12???


(Caveats: I’m not an especially smelly person, I generally don’t sweat much unless I’m exercising, and Native Deodorant contains both baking soda and coconut oil, which can be irritating for some people’s skin, so YMMV. If you know you have a sensitivity to baking soda, the sensitive skin version is baking soda-free, so you might give that one a try.)



  • reasonably priced ($12)
  • free shipping
  • does not contain aluminum
  • smells like emotional repression good, scent is not overpowering
  • did not irritate my skin or give me a rash
  • deodorizing performance is great with normal levels of sweatiness
  • deodorizing performance is comparable to a gel antiperspirant with high levels of sweatiness


  • not an antiperspirant
  • contains baking soda and coconut oil (potential irritants for some people, though they do make a baking soda-free version)
  • not as cheap as dirt

Get yer Native Deodorant fix for $12 a pop here.

[EDIT: Turns out you can, in fact, show your support for my Native Deodorant rhapsody by purchasing through this referral link, which will net me a free travel size deodorant with my next purchase.]