lately (06.23.19)

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.

binch cookies

I have no introduction for this post, but it’s been a while, so let’s do this.

(As a grammar disclaimer, I tend to write lists of songs out as “Song Title”, “Song Title” instead of “Song Title,” “Song Title” because I find the hyperlinks are easier to distinguish this way. “Proper” grammar is a social construct anyway!)

Over the past month and a half-ish, I’ve been…

 

…reading a research book/paper about childhood bereavement (Bereavement: Reactions, Consequences, and Care (1984)) and feeling validated and relieved and normal, because I can finally be sure that I am and always will be a little bit emotionally broken, because I went through something that breaks people. Being able to confirm that I am not and have never been alone in my inability to completely “move on” from my father’s death felt like… being sliced open, tenderly, and it was such a revelation that I wrote a blog post about it.

…working through my Marked for Later list on AO3 whenever I can’t fall asleep, which is most nights. I’ve tried just putting my phone away when I get into bed, but unless I’m completely pooped, I inevitably end up in a mental death spiral that leaves me lying in bed at 3AM, either contemplating the pointlessness of existence until I’m in tears, or so anxious about some mystery task I’m convinced I’ve forgotten that my heart feels like it’s going to rip a hole through my chest.

…helping my mom find a pair of dramatic earrings to wear to my cousin’s wedding. She settled on these acrylic ones from 8 Other Reasons:

8 Other Reasons - Slater 2.0 resin earrings - brown - geometric

Slater 2.0 resin earrings in brown, $62

They were on the pricey side, even with the Mother’s Day promo code, but my mom and I were both impressed by the quality when they arrived. The colors are gorgeous, and the material is substantial in a way that feels expensive, while still being lightweight enough that even my mom (who’s usually quite sensitive when it comes to earrings) finds them comfortable.

…remembering why I hate being out alone at night, after I got on Muni by myself past 9PM (for the first time in a very long time) and was immediately hit on by a guy drinking a Riesling out of his aluminum water bottle. He asked where I was headed, and when I told him I was going home to my boyfriend, he said “Nah, I already know you got a boyfriend. You got that kind of face,” a statement which is still incomprehensible to me. Several stops later, after he mumbled “you hot tho” into his drink and held my arm to ~guide me when I was scooting out of the way for another passenger while the train was moving, he tried to entice me with two tickets to an upcoming Elton John concert, which I turned down. It’s pretty funny to retell this story now, but I would be lying if I said even an encounter as amusing as this one didn’t include those moments of absolute terror when you’re not sure if a man is going to start yelling in your face and/or pull out a weapon and/or follow you off the train.

…going on our annual fruit-picking trip and coming home with way too many peaches and cherries. I also discovered that I actually do like Rainier cherries. For some reason, I thought I didn’t, but maybe the ones I had before weren’t ripe enough. The ones we picked were delicious.

anothertoast - samglorious - annual fruit picking excursion

I think my friend Victoria took these photos of me. I feel like I look like a cartoon character? Anyway.

Hat: Forever21. Plaid button-down: Uniqlo. Gray crop top: AE Waffle Crew Neck Baby T-Shirt in Gray, gift. Leggings: Forever21. Nail polish: Formula X for Sephora in Kelvin.

…finally being able to get back to studying, after over a month of stagnation. I’ve now finished all of the Easy problems on LeetCode, and I’m starting on the Medium ones. I feel like my brain was operating at maybe 35% after my uncle died, but I guess being able to articulate my feelings about grief was what unstuck things. I’ve also been eating more normally again, because I’m actually experiencing hunger again (whoo!!!). My sleep’s still a little wonky, but I’ll consider that a work in progress.

Am I still having existential crises when I work on these questions? Absolutely! Is my ability to focus anything close to what it used to be? Absolutely not! But I’m trying to muddle through it. 🤡

…being pleasantly surprised by how well Yasso Greek yogurt bars satisfy an ice cream craving. They taste good, they have a good texture, they’re 100 calories, and they’re high in protein and calcium! Amazing!!

…continuing to wear plenty of orange makeup.

anothertoast - samglorious - 90s scrunchie -colourpop pressed powder shadow - koi - matte yellow-orange - colourpop matte lux lipstick - check please - yellow-orange

Matte yellow-orange eyeshadow: ColourPop Pressed Powder Shadow in Koi. Matte yellow-orange lipstick: ColourPop Matte Lux Lipstick in Check, Please. Scrunchie: salvaged from my childhood closet.

anothertoast - samglorious -colourpop pressed powder shadow - koi - matte yellow-orange - colourpop matte lux lipstick - check please - yellow-orange

These pictures are out of focus, but that’s probably a good thing so I don’t have to look at all the little hairs on my face.

…attending my cousin’s wedding! It was beautiful! They played the instrumental of Taeyeon’s “11:11” before the ceremony started and I cried! After dinner, there was a “late night snack” of instant ramen, which was adorable! I witnessed a tea ceremony for the first time! (Usually only the parents’ generation is involved in the actual ceremony, but everyone was invited to observe, which was neat. It was less formal and went more quickly than I expected, but it felt really special for me because it’s a wedding tradition I actually care about… unlike, say, wearing something borrowed & something blue, or bouquet/garter-tossing, or having an all-female bridal party, which are all wedding traditions from which I feel really culturally removed.)

…buying a ticket to go see Pentagon in September! I like a lot of their songs and I know all their names, but I can only consistently pick out Hui’s and Hongseok’s (and former member E’Dawn’s) faces, so I plan to study up before the concert rolls around. (Here’s their most recent single, “Sha La La,” which is a big fuckin bop.)

…somehow winning tickets to see GOT7 in July! I won’t know where my seats are until a few days in advance, but I am PSYCHED.

got7 keep spinning 2019 world tour livenation.kpop giveaway winners

This will be my first K-Pop concert, and GOT7 is one of those groups where I somehow learned several members’ names (Jackson, Mark, and BamBam, aka the ones who speak English) before I ever got into their music. (Jackson also speaks Cantonese, which is probably why he’s always stood out to me the most. An HK boy!)

I know I listened to GOT7’s debut song, “Girls Girls Girls” when it came out in 2014 (the split camera in the music video was particularly memorable), as well as “Hard Carry” when it came out in 2016, but now I’m deliberately listening to their music and studiously putting names to faces. I’ll probably need to watch some of their variety content on VLIVE before I get everyone down pat, but it’s a task I’m looking forward to. I’m undecided on whether I’m going to try learning the fanchants or not before the concert, but I hella wish I had a GOT7 lightstick to wave around. (It’s called the Ahgabong, which comes from “Ahga” (from “Ahgase,” a nickname for IGOT7, which is the fandom’s official name) and “bong (봉),” which means “stick/rod” in Korean. “Ahgase” also means “baby bird” in Korean, hence the shape of the lightstick. 🐣😭)

Anyway, here’s the dance practice for their latest title track, “Eclipse”:

I love that eye-covering move they do!

(Or if you’d prefer, here’s another dance practice for the same song, where the music randomly switches speeds and they’re wearing astronaut costumes with fake exposed butts, for reasons unknown. And here’s that infamous tearjerker video of Jackson getting a surprise visit from his parents. 🤧)

…cooking chard using a stout. It was my first time cooking chard and my first time cooking with beer. We threw in garlic and onions and a bunch of miscellaneous spices, and it turned out tastier than I expected! (I also tried this using an IPA, and it was disgusting. Stick with stouts.)

…baking hot cross buns for the first time, using this recipe. We didn’t have enough dried cranberries, so I mixed in some golden raisins. Also I didn’t actually pipe icing crosses on the buns. But they turned out fluffy and lightly sweet and wonderful (bunderful?) anyway! This is the only yeasty thing I’ve ever made aside from Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread, and this was (relatively speaking) so much less time- and labor-intensive!

homemade hot cross buns - recipe from natashas kitchen

Sorry for my amateur pics, but check out my buns!!!

There’s a little bit of omelette going on between the buns in the 2nd pic because I went overboard with the egg wash, but the buns themselves were delicious.

…realizing that snail slime is one of the few products I can put near my eyes without causing milia or clogged oil ducts in my eyelids. (Hallelujah!) Specifically, I’ve been using COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. 🐌

…organizing my expanding file folders of the past several years’ tax/insurance/medical documents. It wasn’t a very exciting task, but MAN was it satisfying. I now have one expanding file folder for the current year, and one that I’m using as an archive for previous years. I also digitized some stray documents/receipts that are HSA-eligible, as well as my glasses and contact lens prescriptions. Honestly, having everything systematically organized makes me feel like my brain has more breathing room, so it was well worth the effort.

…ordering potential bridesmaid dresses from Lulu’s: the Mythical Kind of Love Maxi Dress in Wine Red, and the Air of Romance Maxi Dress in Burgundy. (Here’s a referral link for $20 off your first $50 purchase.) The first dress is significantly more flattering, but it’s a brighter red than the bride wants, so I’ll most likely be wearing the second one unless something major comes up.

lulus mythical kind of love maxi dress wine red - high neck strappy open back bridesmaid dress

Mythical Kind of Love Maxi Dress in Wine Red, $66 at Lulu’s

lulus air of romance burgundy maxi dress - high neck cross strap front low back bridesmaid dress

Air of Romance Maxi Dress in Burgundy, $74 at Lulu’s

(I guess I shouldn’t say it’s “more flattering,” as if there’s a “correct” way for a body to look, when what I really mean is that it looks more deliberate, like it’s something I selected in full awareness of the overall aesthetic created. The first dress has a less striking design, but it makes me look elegant and doesn’t fight with my bust/waist/hips. The second dress is more interesting to look at because of the neckline, but from the back, the wide parallel straps and the way it cuts off at the mid-back make my shoulders look more athletic/powerful than I’d like when I’m wearing a flowy formal dress. Also, the waistline piece is cut for someone with a less defined waist, so it squeezes my flesh, which makes me feel like I need to lose weight to wear it, which is a feeling I do not like!!! I like my waist!!! I like being a little squishy!!!

Anyway, the material is perfectly okay for something I’m expecting to wear only once, and I think it’ll look good in photographs, but the construction is kind of godawful. The bodice area is cut in such a way that the upper hem (the part that attaches to the wide straps in front) won’t lay flat no matter how much I move it (or my boobs) around, and I’m doubtful that any amount of tailoring can fix it. I know I have a low bustline, which can affect how things fit, but I definitely think the fabric was cut a little wonky, and I wouldn’t recommend this dress for anyone even remotely busty.

Also, the back zipper works fine, but the fabric around the zipper isn’t hemmed/finished properly. Instead, it seems like the fabric was just folded over and stitched through, so the fabric around the zipper is, like, a solid quarter-inch thick and protrudes from my back when I wear it. It looks pretty sad, but there aren’t many options for high-necked dresses that will cover the keloid scar on my chest, so in spite of all of my whining, I’m still grateful that this dress basically fits off the rack. I guess I just expected more from a dress that cost $74.)

And here are the shoes I’m hoping I’ll be able to wear:

inc international concepts macys champagne pale gold heels with rhinestones

The bride requested gold/champagne heels, but the pairs I ordered from Lulu’s (the Sidecar Cutie Ankle Strap Heels and the Taylor Ankle Strap Heels) fit like nightmares, despite having ankle straps and block heels, which I would’ve expected to make them more comfortable. Luckily, my mom happened to have a pair of never-worn pale gold heels lying around (these are from INC at Macy’s), and they happen to fit really well in the arch, which is miraculous. The ceremony is supposed to take place on a lawn, so I’ll probably need to get those little plastic heel caps to avoid sinking into the grass, but I have my fingers crossed that these (and the dress, which desperately needs hemming) will be finalized soon.

…attending my friend’s med school graduation (!!!) and going-away party before he left for New York City. We absolutely demolished this charcuterie board table.

charcuterie board with cheese grapes olives crackers salami strawberries carrots beer wine

During our soirée, I flipped through an inexplicable coffee table book full of tasteful black and white photographs of nude uncircumcised men posing in the desert; played a couple rounds of One Night Ultimate Werewolf; proved to myself yet again that I can’t drink much anymore (I’m glad, tbh); and ate far more cheese than is probably advisable for someone lactose intolerant.

…eating a lot of vegetarian and eggetarian sandwiches. I was kind of surprised to realize I’d never really tried to make veggie sandwiches before, aside from PB&J. I’ve been using lots of garlicky hummus, shredded carrots, pickles, cucumbers, bell peppers, salad greens, and cheese (just one slice per sandwich, so the dairy content isn’t too bad). Sometimes I’ll add a fried egg if I feel like something more savory, but it’s plenty tasty without one.

…reviving my semi-dried-up Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask with… 🥁🥁🥁… water. I wouldn’t recommend mixing water directly into the tub, but it’s easy enough to dig out a dried-up glob of clay mask and rub it onto your wet face. It’ll melt a bit on contact, so you can spread the mask around like normal, and then just wait for it to dry again.

innisfree jeju volcanic pore clay mask - how to revive old dried up clay mask

✨ works like a charm ✨

…experimenting with using smaller bath towels. Our tiny bathroom doesn’t have enough hardware for more than one full-sized bath towel (and we’ve been forbidden from making any new holes in the walls), so I’ve been hanging my bath towel on a free-standing drying rack in my room. It takes up a lot of space, though, so I’ve started doing the hand-squeegee thing after my showers to get most of the water off my body before drying off using a hand towel. I thought it would be hard to get myself fully dry, but the hand-squeegee is surprisingly effective and I got used to the small towel in, like, two days. I guess we’ll see how inconvenient it is when I’m on my period, though.

My next little project is to verify that the small towels can dry properly without the large drying rack. I set up a makeshift towel bar on my closet door using two Command hooks with a curtain rod propped across them, and I’ve got an S-hook and clothespin operation going on now, so I’ll probably know in a few days if it’s going to work out.

(Previously I tried hanging my full-sized bath towel directly on the rod, but the rod isn’t far enough away from the surface of the door, so there isn’t enough airflow to effectively dry a towel. I think this setup will work better.)

anothertoast - samglorious - small bath hand towels - command hook curtain rod towel rod - aquis hair towel

The long pink towel is my Aquis hair towel, which is a godsend for anyone with long hair. I’ve also been using a face washcloth (as usual) and two small towels for my body (one for crotch + feet, and one for everything else).

…using micellar water to get deodorant off my armpits. Actually, I’ve only done this once, when I didn’t feel like showering, but it made me feel like a genius. It probably only works so well because Native deodorant is coconut oil-based, so it can be broken down by micellar water…

…finally putting a desk in my room. It’s my old hardwood desk from college and it’s ugly as sin thanks to the crappy paint job the previous owner gave it, but it’s Good Enough™ for now.

sam finally has a desk 2019 - harry styles another man framed prints - picture rail hooks and cord

100% Adequate

…buying a very much unnecessary EXO lightstick, aka an Eribong, whose name comes from “Eri” (a nickname for EXO-L, the fandom’s official name) + “bong (봉),” which (again) means “stick/rod” in Korean. I don’t have tickets to EXO PLANET #5, nor do I expect EXO to tour outside of Asia any time soon, so I really, really don’t need a lightstick… but Eribong 3.0 is a beauty.

…participating in a couple EXO G.O.’s (group orders) and ordering some small fanmade items I absolutely do not need. (The damage so far: 4 sets of Xiumin stickers and a Chen drink lanyard. The stickers are just pretty, and I’m hoping the latter will be useful for carrying water bottles at concerts.) I’d never done a GO before, so I was a little wary about placing my order via Google Form and Paypal-ing money to a random email address, but I tried to stick with the group order managers (GOMs) who seem the most active and organized. We’ll see!

There’ve been a ton of things (both official and fanmade) that I’ve considered buying through GOs, but it always helps to remember that I’ll have to make second and third payments for international and then domestic shipping, on top of the cost of the item itself. The next thing I’m eyeing is a holographic sticker set to decorate my Eribong, but I really don’t need to accessorize a lightstick that I’m not sure I’ll ever get to use…

…trying some new foods and new restaurants, namely

  • Jijime – I loved the okonomiyaki fries and popcorn salmon, and the tonkotsu ramen was quite good too. I also really enjoyed the bulgogi bibimbap, which was served in an iron skillet instead of the usual stone bowl, resulting in extra surface area for the rice to get crispy. 😋
  • T-28 – They’ve added sour pork noodle soup to their menu, and it is really, REALLY good.
  • Ginza Sushi & Sake – I particularly liked the Ginza and Keiryo rolls. The former is deliciously smoky and a little spicy, and the latter is a very refreshing cucumber-wrap roll.
  • Mr. Szechuan – The Szechuan hot soup is sooo good. It’s made with Szechuan peppers, so it kind of makes your mouth numb, but I promise it’s delicious and less disorienting than it sounds.
  • Súp Noodle Bar – It’s just really good pho. I got the combo, which included a giant bone-in short rib that was so tender it basically fell off the bone.

sup noodle - combination pho - bone in short rib

🤤🤤🤤

…thinking about politics for more than five seconds and having to metaphorically switch tabs to low-stakes topics like K-Pop to avoid spontaneously combusting!!! 🙃

…smiling SO HARD at this BTS live stage for “Go Go” because they look like they’re having such a good time:

…crying over (BTS) Suga’s solo track, “First Love.” IMO, it sounds best if you follow the album order and listen to “Stigma” (V’s solo), followed by “First Love” (Suga’s solo), followed by “Reflection” (RM’s solo), for a nice talent sandwich. 🥪

…jamming to “Could You Turn off Your Cell Phone” from BTS’s 2014 album, Dark & Wild. Actually, the entire second half of Dark & Wild is 👌🏻, but I gotta be honest – I haven’t bothered paying attention to any of their lyrics. I’m sure they’re good, but Dark & Wild is full of jams regardless.

An aside: Even just from my casual listening, I get the sense that BTS’s overall sound changed around 2016. I’ve seen this sentiment echoed online by various longtime BTS fans, both as criticism (“selling out”) and as praise (“evolving”). I personally like a lot of their older tracks and significantly fewer of their newer ones, and I guess this is why.

…losing my mind over how UNBEARABLY cute NCT 127 is in their 180405 live stage for “Touch”:

…being super, suuuper impressed by ONEUS’ dead serious girl group covers, especially their covers of Red Velvet’s “Bad Boy” (original vs. cover; the rearrangement in their cover version is STUNNING) and Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” (original vs. cover; see below):

…laughing SO hard at ONEUS’ dance practice for “Twilight” where they wear fruit and vegetable costumes. I really admire Xion’s dedication to being an orange.

STAN XI🍊N , STAN 🍊NEUS

…listening to literally only K-Pop (and K-Pop-adjacent C-Pop and J-Pop), especially

SHINee – When their debut anniversary passed in late May, I decided to re-listen to their debut song, “Replay”, and I cannot believe how good it still is. (These two performances are really, really, really good and make me cry!!!) I’ve also been listening to “Honesty”, “Prism”, and “Symptoms”.

Red Velvet – Their latest single, “Zimzalabim,” is super polarizing, but I LOVE it. Like a lot of NCT 127’s songs, it’s one of those tracks where it sounds like pure WTF on first listen, but on second listen… you’ll realize you’ve been hooked. Also, I’m in love with Seulgi (the one with the heaviest bangs).

Chen – I love his latest OST track, “Rainfall,” because he sings in his lower register, which he doesn’t usually get to do in EXO songs, and which is HOT, and also his cover of IU’s “Through the Night.” I listened to the original and a whole bunch of other covers, but Chen’s version is still my favorite.

Lay“和你 (Honey),” not to be confused with “Honey (和你).” The former is the Mandarin version; the latter is the English version. All the promo I’ve seen has been for the English version, so I’ve probably listened to it more times, but I like the Mandarin version a LOT more. 🐝🍯💛

WayV – I actually still have their whole Take Off album on repeat, but they released a music video for “Let me love u,” and it’s SOOO cute. It’s like 🥰 in music video form.

NCT 127 – I’ve discovered that I really like, like, 95% of their entire discography. Lately I’ve had their new album, NCT #127 WE ARE SUPERHUMAN, on repeat (especially “Superhuman”, which sounds SHINee-esque in the best way (I think it’s the WALLS of harmonies plus all the mode/scale shifting, but I’m not a musician, so take my description with a grain of salt), and “FOOL”, which is fUnKy).

I LOOOVE their experimental pop(?) songs like “Back 2 U (AM 01:27)” (the harmony @ 3:24 makes me feel like my soul is being LAUNCHED into the NIGHT SKY 💫), “Replay (PM 01:27)”, “Welcome To My Playground”, “Touch”, “Baby Don’t Like It”, “Lips”, “Good Thing”, “Paradise”, and “No Longer” (the lone ballad on this list).

To my surprise, I’ve even gotten into their experimental trap songs, especially “Fire Truck”, “Simon Says”, and “Cherry Bomb”. (For those last 3 songs, I strongly recommend listening to them once to get past the “what the fuck am I listening to 🤯” reaction you’ll probably have, and then listening once more to see if you find it catchy.)

ONEUS – I love every song on their second album, RAISE US, but my favorites are definitely “Twilight” (which is good on the album but excellent live), “White Night” (which was composed by Leedo, the ridiculously deep-voiced one!), and “English Girl,” which is SO FRICKIN CUTE.

ONEWE“Reminisce about All,” which I cannot for the life of me get out of my head. ONEWE’s actually a band, not an idol group, which is why this song’s got an acoustic-singer-songwriter sound that is totally up my alley, and their main vocalist has a GORGEOUS voice.

I have no conclusion for this post, but I can say that I am looking forward to

  • Baekhyun’s upcoming solo album, City Lights (which features a crazy impressive list of producers and collaborators, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for something similar to the cool, smooth, sexy sound he had for “Young”) 🌃
  • the upcoming Chanyeol & Sehun subunit (I’m hoping for s’more of that playful, sorta chaotic vibe from “We Young,” but I’m also realllly curious to see how much of the lyrics and composition SM will let them influence, since they’ve both expressed interest in doing more on the production side)
  • D.O.’s enlistment, weirdly. I thought I’d be more sad about it (and I was, for a few days; his voice was what first drew me to EXO, after all), but ultimately, I think it’s a good thing he’s getting his enlistment over with sooner rather than later. Plus, he’s a social media hermit, so we’ll probably get more updates from him when he’s in the military than we do now (lmao). 🥚 And I can’t wait for his Station song!
  • the Carly Rae Jepsen concert I’m going to this week!!
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home with Spenser 🕸🔜
  • eating the Milano cookies I bought earlier today
  • showering

I can’t truthfully say I’m doing particularly well today (or even this week), but here’s to tomorrow, right? Cheers, pals. 🍻

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