lately (02.14.20)

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.

I originally started this post with a recap of the SuperM concert, but I’ve already hit 2000 words and I’m not done yet, so I’ll be putting my concert recap into its own post. Aside from attending the SuperM concert in San Jose, since my last life update, I…

…finally added a collapsing archive to my sidebar. I’m using the Expanding Archives plugin, and while I wish it were as lightweight as the old collapsing archives that I had when I was on Blogger back in the day, it gets the job done.

…ate a Samanco fish-shaped ice cream waffle sandwich for the first time. It basically looks like taiyaki but is filled with ice cream instead of red bean! And it’s DELICIOUS!! The ice cream filling has this slightly crisp(?) texture (compared to your typical ice cream sandwich), which I really enjoyed. (After reading the name of the brand, my partner asked me “Is that your company?” -_-)

…read Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim. This version of Mulan begins with the snowy mountain scene from the animated Disney movie and turns into a journey through the Underworld to save Captain Shang’s spirit. Mulan’s character is awesome and strikes all my favorite notes about bringing your family honor and trying to be true to yourself and feeling confined by gender expectations. Also Shang does his usual thing and… acts like a whole bi baby when he realizes this dude in his regiment is actually a chick and has an internal crisis over why he was so fond of Ping. (I mean, not explicitly, but honestly what else would be going on in his head?)

…received my group order for this adorable fuzzy baseball cap with bear ears (a la Jongin’s Instagram Live) and these tiny little EXO motto/slogan patches (“μ‚¬λž‘ν•˜μž” translates to “Let’s love”; one is iron-on and the other is sew-on)

exo kai bear hat - exo motto slogan saranghaja lets love patch sew on iron on

…finished reading “Away from the Sun” by hgfan1111. (Again, it’s only available as a PDF these days, so if you’d like a copy, feel free to email me.) I have to say, I liked this fic overall because the plotline is great and Ginny is really badass, but I actually really disliked the Harry/Ginny dynamic in this story and sort of lost interest during any scenes they were actually together. I don’t know if it’s just this fic (I don’t read much het fic, let alone Hinny fic) or if I just have a thing against them as a couple. Their ship always felt forced to me in canon, and I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I also know that there are plenty of arguments for how it wasn’t actually forced, but that… does not change how I experienced the books when I was growing up reading them.

I think that for a lot of people (myself included), our ideas about what characters are supposed to be like was so shaped by the fanfiction we read between canon releases that it’s hard to separate the two. For example, I probably read a total of, like, maybe 5 Ginny fics before the entire Harry Potter series was completed, so my view of her was pretty much only shaped by the books, and there’s just not that much to work with. (Part of this is because the story is mostly told from Harry’s point of view, and she doesn’t really register as anything other than “best friend’s nice little sister” for the majority of the series, but I also feel very strongly that part of this is because JK Rowling simply did not do a good job setting up their relationship (like, even when Harry’s worried he’s being possessed, they have like one conversation about this traumatic experience they may or may not share, and then ??? nothing???). My issue is not with Ginny; it is with JKR not building up their relationship in a way I found believable.)

I implicate myself in this fic headcanon thing, too, because I read a TON of Drarry while the series was still being written, and while I knew Hinny was supposed to be endgame, I had only vague positive feelings about Ginny as a person, whereas I always felt so MUCH for Draco, who I think is, like, deeply insecure and desperate for his parents’ approval and the validation of others. So I’m probably more sympathetic to him than someone who doesn’t have elaborate canon-compliant headcanons about him!

But anyway. My point is that I liked this fic, but Harry felt OOC to me.

…acquired a few more items from SHEIN, including

  • a light gray A-line zip-up corduroy miniskirt

shein o ring zip up pocket side corduroy skirt grey - a-line miniskirt

SHEIN O-ring Zip Up Pocket Side Corduroy Skirt in Grey, $9 $8

This is the exact same skirt as the blue one I mentioned buying in my last update. I just really wanted to own it in a couple more colors, because it’s cute as heck, and I no longer work at an office where a mid-thigh skirt worn with tights is something I’ll be judged negatively for.

  • a forest green A-line zip-up corduroy miniskirt

shein o ring zip up pocket side corduroy skirt green - a-line miniskirt

SHEIN O-ring Zip Up Pocket Side Corduroy Skirt in Green, $9 $8

Same as the above skirt, but in green, because it’s a pretty shade. (Not that this picture is any good. Just look at the product photos; they’re pretty color-accurate. πŸ˜“)

  • a pleated black miniskirt

shein box pleat black miniskirt

SHEIN Zip Back Boxy Pleated Solid Skirt in Black, $15

I’ve always loved pleated skirts (probably because I grew up wearing a Catholic school uniform), but my favorite pleated black skirt was sewn for me by my grandma when I was in 7th grade, and it can no longer accommodate my ass. (It’s still in my closet because I love it and can’t bear to part with it. It’s satin, and I used to get a lot of Sailor Moon comments when I wore it.) This one from SHEIN doesn’t look too schoolgirl-y, and it’s a decent mid-thigh length, which I prefer so it doesn’t look like fetishwear. It’s not lined, but the material seems pretty opaque, and it swings nicely when I walk. The material’s also very smooth and not clingy, which will be good for wearing with tights.

I’ve had issues with pleated miniskirts from Asia before – often for pleated high waisted skirts, the “high waist” portion is actually just an unforgivingly straight tube, so it doesn’t account for someone having any kind of hips. I’d end up having to pull those skirts up to my ribcage just to get them to zip, and then somehow the waist would be too loose but the hips would be too tight and my butt would be threatening to hang out at the same time.

In contrast, this skirt fits snugly in the waist and then flows over my mighty ass, as it should.

  • a mustard yellow turtleneck with thumbholes

shein solid turtleneck long sleeve top with thumbholes - mustard yellow

SHEIN Solid High Neck Slim Tee in Yellow, $10

This photo is a whole other level of awful because the bright yellow skewed all the colors, but I am… not a photographer… The SHEIN product page is pretty color-accurate, if you are so inclined.

The description for this item says it’s 100% cotton, but it absolutely is not. The tag reads 95% polyester / 5% spandex, and it’s got this weird sort of brushed microfleece texture on the outside and a smooth, sportier texture on the inside. It’s very warm, thanks to the synthetics, and the material is quite thick and very stretchy, though the thumbholes run a little tight. This mustard yellow looks surprisingly good on me, but I guess I’ve always needed warmer yellows for my skintone.

  • a white turtleneck with thumbholes

shein solid turtleneck long sleeve top with thumbholes - white

SHEIN Solid High Neck Slim Tee in White, $10

This is the same as the yellow turtleneck, but in white. I already own a white turtleneck (that’s actually cotton), but I only wear it sparingly because I’m worried I’ll stain it (with food or sweat/deodorant or who knows what else). This one will be a good alternative that I won’t feel as bad about accidentally ruining.

  • an army green velveteen military/marching band-style jacket

shein army green military band jacket brass details - little women jo march writing coat inspired

SHEIN Button Detail Stand Collar Jacket, $37

This was way pricier than anything else I’ve bought on SHEIN, but it’s reflected in the quality. I got a Medium, but if they’d had Large in stock, I would’ve gone another size up, because the fit is verrry true to the measurements. As such, I start to lose arm mobility if I wear too many layers underneath this jacket.

The material has this sort of velveteen/faux suede/corduroy texture that looks and feels very lush, and the deep army green color is very nice as well. (These photos aren’t very good. The poor lighting exaggerates the texture of the material; it doesn’t look wrinkly at all in person.) I believe all the hardware on this jacket is actually metal (probably brass?), because I banged my arms into a couple street poles while walking, and the buttons clanged SO loudly. The jacket has hook-and-eye closures along the front, of the same brassy color/material as the buttons. The stripe details are done in this glittery woven material that I quite like, and the jacket is fully lined.

shein army green military band jacket brass buttons - little women jo march inspired

I bought this for Jo March reasons, because of that green coat she wears in her big writing scene, but I cannot for the life of me find a full picture of it online. (If you look up “little women 2019 jo writing” on YouTube, there’s at least one video that shows it well, but I won’t link it here.) I wish it were easier to find clothing in that brilliant shade of green, because I look great in it, but this army green’s not bad. I’d also been hoping to find a longer, housecoat-length style, but this length is more wearable anyway, so overall I’m happy with my purchase.

  • black zip-back skinny pants

shein black tailored zip back split hem skinny pants

SHEIN Split Hem Zip Back Tailored Pants, $13

I’d ordered XS for my previous pants from SHEIN, which was very snug, so I sized up to a S for this pair. It’s high waisted, the material is stretchy enough to squat in, and it seems pretty opaque. However, I had to snip some extraneous stitches around the zipper in order to be able to put on the pants, so that was annoying. (It looked like a simple manufacturing error, where they stitched across the waistband too far and crossed over the zipper.)

(Also, just as an update on the last pair of pants I bought from SHEIN, from this post: I was going to wear them for the first time to go visit a friend, but I decided to pee before leaving the house. When I went to pull my pants back on, the side zipper ran off the track and completely detached, because the stitching at the base of the zipper was so loose. I’m going to try to repair it by hand, but it really would’ve been a disaster if it’d happened while I was out… so I can’t make a strong recommendation for SHEIN’s pants, but their tops have all been great so far.)

  • 2 sets of generic Flexi-Rods

shein bendable flexible hair curling rods sticks - generic flexi rods

SHEIN 10pcs Random Color Hair Curler, $2

I try to avoid heat-styling my hair whenever possible, so I bought these hoping they’d work well on my very long hair. I’ve always liked the look of rag curls, and when my hair was shorter (like below-shoulder length instead of below-bellybutton), I actually did use rags to curl my hair. But because my hair’s so long now, rags get very unwieldy and tangled as I’m rolling my hair around them. I’ve already tried these out a couple times, and they’re super easy to use compared to rags.

Last night, I washed my hair, put 10 curlers in for my whole head, and left it to set overnight. Today, my hair is absolutely MASSIVE. I think I’ll try 6 or 8 curlers next time for some looser ringlets, but I do love having a giant head of hair once in a while. The curls are so tight that my butt-length hair is currently below-the-shoulder, which is insane to me.

  • a massive tapestry with a Strength tarot design featuring a woman riding a lion

shein tapestry - tarot Strength - lion and girl

SHEIN Lion & Girl Print Tapestry, $8

I bought this with the intention of using it as an outfit photo backdrop, but I’m still not sure where I’m going to hang it. But anyway, this tapestry is massive, and I’d venture that the quality isn’t significantly different from the $45 one I bought from Society6. Well worth the price.

…accidentally zipped a spider inside the carrying bag for my Baekhyun slogan from DaymareDoodles. I should’ve put the whole bag in the freezer and then shaken the spider out afterward, but instead I tried to suffocate it with an alcohol-soaked cotton pad. (I’m pretty sure I learned that technique from my AP Environmental Science class…) It was really gross. But the good news is you can rinse off microsuede slogans without ruining the print.

…tried baking crispy chickpeas using this recipe. They popped while baking, so some of them ended up on the floor of the oven, which was kind of annoying. Also, we used taco seasoning, which was tasty, but I think they actually turned out… too crispy? They’d be great on a salad, but I think next time I’ll try a slightly shorter cook time. (As per the tips in the comments, I pre-baked them to dry them out, instead of towel-drying them. I also turned off the oven and left them inside to cool down slowly, in order to retain their crispiness. Maybe that was what made them too crispy.)

…bought tickets to see Tiny Beautiful Things at the San Francisco Playhouse. It’s based off Cheryl Strayed’s book, which I love, so I hope I’ll love this performance as well.

…worked through a couple more masks from my skincare stash:

anothertoast - samglorious - korean skincare - face sheet masks - secret nature rose - innisfree refining gommage exfoliating mask with green barley

Top: Innisfree Green Barley Refining Exfoliating Mask. Bottom: Secret Nature Moisturizing Rose Mask Sheet.

…sighed over my landlords arguing very loudly downstairs. I started a Twitter thread to record when they argue, because it happens a LOT, and it makes me feel a little less secondhand misery when I can make it into something slightly comical. It’s very draining to listen to – or rather, to overhear, because I’m usually listening to music and then they start yelling so loudly that I can hear them over my playlist. Their most commonly used phrase seems to be “You never listen,” which the wife yells over the husband while he tries to speak.

…set up a WordPress plugin for surfacing related posts at the bottom of each individual post page. I’m using the Contextual Related Posts plugin with some CSS customizations.

…mended another sock! This one was a Christmas gift from my partner from a few years back. I think I did a great job on this one, in terms of both color and neatness! Here are gratuitous pictures:

sock mending darning - visible mending - make do and mend - embroidery floss sock repair

Interior view, looking neat! It helps a lot that I used harmonious embroidery floss/thread colors this time around.

sock mending - darning - visible mending - make do and mend - embroidery floss sock repair

Exterior view! Also looking super neat!

sock mending darning - visible mending - make do and mend - embroidery floss clothing repair closeup

A closeup, because I am proud of this sock repair.

sock mending darning - visible mending - make do and mend - embroidery floss repair

And a view of the whole darned area.

…listened to the audiobook for The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I’m not usually an audiobook person (they tend to put me to sleep, like a baby), but this one was short and kind of scary, so it was an easy listen. I have mixed feelings about this, but I think he makes some good points about how women are particularly good at ignoring their instinctual fear responses, by dismissing themselves as irrational, overemotional, etc., and choosing to remain polite when it is often more effective to be direct and confrontational. (Not, like, in a fistfight. More like when rejecting a romantic advance.) It was an interesting listen.

…watched Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, loved it. It’s a dumb movie with crude humor and it totally objectifies women, but it’s self-aware and I like the commentary about race and also John Cho is hot.

…said goodbye to some old clothes that were once very precious to me. Relics:

sam goes through her childhood closet - limited too fuzzy sparkly white mock neck sweater

A fuzzy white sparkly mockneck sweater from Limited Too. I wore this a LOT in middle school/junior high. It doesn’t fit anymore, unless I want to wear it as a crop top.

sam goes through her childhood closet - delias blush pink halter dress - handmade coral aline dress - express denim floral inset skirt - express blue floral mermaid skirt

(Please excuse that gross carpet stain. I’m 100% sure it’s an ancient food or drink stain from one of us eating in the bedroom when we were little.)

A blush pink halter dress from delia’s, a salmon pink dress my grandma made me and which I belted with a ribbon that might’ve been from a box of chocolates or cookies or something, a denim skirt with a floral inset/gore from Express, and a blue floral mermaid skirt from Express. The dresses are from high school, and I only wore them a handful of times because it was hard to layer them warmly enough to wear to school. I can still wear them, but they’re very snug and I don’t think they’ll ever fit my style again. The skirts are from middle school/junior high, but my mom bought them a couple sizes up, and they definitely still fit me. I adored them when I was younger, but I don’t think I can make these extremely early-2000s styles look remotely fresh anymore. It’s a shame, because they’re much nicer quality than any clothing Express has put out in recent years.

sam goes through her childhood closet - empire waist heart button top

An empire waist top with tiny knit hearts and big heart buttons. I loved layering this top over longsleeves when I was in high school. It was so childish, and I liked the energy of dressing like a toddler when I was at an age where I was expected to start trying to look pretty/sexy. I also liked wearing this when I was on my period, because it was flowy and provided some butt coverage. I remember suddenly growing out of this top over the course of a few months because of my boobs, the only part of my body that’s ever gone through a growth spurt.

…listened to

Niall’s new single, “No Judgement,” which I LOVE. First of all, the song is a bop, and second of all, I absolutely love that this song is about a healthy friends-with-benefits relationship. He starts out singing about being in a relationship that’s comfortable because the parties don’t judge each other, and you’re like, Oh, that’s nice, an established relationship, but THEN he hits you with “I’ll get us breakfast in the morning / or you can slip out in the night / you don’t have to give me a warning” and “even though we don’t talk for a couple of months, yeah / it’s like we didn’t lose any time” and “I hope we never change / even though that we both know that we’ll move on again / I’ll keep your secrets safe / Until the time we both find ourselves alone again.”

WHOMST ELSE is putting out songs like this, about how hooking up is great, but without bragging about the hookup or objectifying the hookup partner? It’s about respecting each other’s boundaries, and respecting each other as people. It’s about how casual hookups can be emotionally fulfilling without requiring commitment!! It’s about being friends with the people you have sex with, and how NICE it feels to give each other what you want/need at that moment, without promising anything in the future other than mutual respect.

The tone of “No Judgement” reminds me a lot of his song “On My Own,” which starts out with “Everybody’s got somebody” and you’re like Ah yes, a self-pitying song about not being coupled up, and then he sings “but I just wanna be alone.” And it’s so SATISFYING!!! Because he flips the established narrative about romantic relationships being the be-all and end-all of existence on its head, and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH FOR THAT. Like, I firmly believe that love is a necessary part of being a healthy person, but love comes in many fulfilling, life-affirming forms other than romantic love. Romantic love can be really, really wonderful, but it’s not everything.

And finally, I love the lyrics “When you’re with me, no judgment / We can get that from everyone else.” He’s right; the world passes enough negative judgment on us as it is; why should we bother bringing that energy into something private and good? It reminds me a little bit of Alessia Cara’s lyrics, “You don’t have to change yourself / The world can change its heart.”

I don’t have plans to see him in concert this summer (yet), but I’m really excited to hear the rest of his album when it’s released. (And then maaaybe I’ll feel compelled to make a trip down to San Jose on a Wednesday night. His last tour was really fun, so…)

SuperM’s “Dangerous Woman” and “With You,” which are sooo good and I PRAY we get studio versions soon.

MAMAMOO’s “Rainy Season,” which is holy smokes SO smooth. Their vocals are, of course, hella good, and Moonbyul sounds extra hot on this track.

Pentagon’s first album, Universe: The Black Hall, which is just AHHHHHHHH!!! It’s so good!!! This is their first full-length album, and they absolutely killed it. They’d only released EPs up until this point, and while they’ve all been solid (and a good handful have been REALLY good), IMO they reflect Hui’s composition style so strongly that they get a little repetitive after 8 Korean EPs (and I think 3 Japanese ones).

This album, on the other hand, is a really fresh update on that signature Pentagon sound. It’s a little cooler and a little more experimental, with a little more variety that lets the members shine individually in a way I don’t feel like they were always able to on their EPs.

I particularly like “Shower Of Rain,” which has more of that classic youthful, summery, almost anthem-y Pentagon sound, and “Worship U,” which features incrrredible vocals from Hui (and Jinho, of course). (I’m totally biased because Hui’s timbre is similar to Baekhyun’s, but it’s really fun and jammable regardless.)

Their lead single “Dr. BeBe” is also really good (it has a darker sound that actually reminds me of EXO, in a really good way), and the MV features Hongseok in a crop top even shorter than X-EXO Kai’s, which is truly a sight to behold, considering Kai’s top was basically nipple-length. Like, Hongseok is wearing a fucking bolero. A sexy bolero.

I also really like “Die For You”, “Talk”, “The Black Hall”, “Zoom Up”, and “Camellia”, which… covers almost the entire album, so… Yes. I’m really into U:TBH. (I just wanted to abbreviate the album title so I could read it as “I’m really into you, tbh.” Thank you for your time.)

SHINee’s “Replay,” which is still a perfect song, although currently it’s been ruined for me by 21-year-old Lucas “Age Doesn’t Matter” Wong insisting that the most important lyrics are “λˆ„λ‚œ λ„ˆλ¬΄ 예뻐,” or “Noona (older female), you’re so pretty.”

NCT U’s “The 7th Sense” and NCT 127’s “Fire Truck” because I am beyond ready for NCT 127’s comeback. I really enjoyed “Superhuman”, but I’m hoping we’ll get a little more of that signature dirty NCT noise on this album. (Although, from the (extremely fuckin cool, 90s-themed) promo material so far, I think they might be going in a 90s R&B/hip hop/rap direction, which I’m also super down for. But there’s always the B-sides!)

Monsta X’s new album,Β All About Luv. I don’t think there’s anything groundbreaking about these songs music or lyric-wise (other than that they’re all in English!), but I’m particularly fond of “LOVE U” and “GOT MY NUMBER” which both sound like what you’d get if someone was like… cheeky fuckboi song, but make it adorable.

…wrote?! A whole bunch?! I started a long-form fiction story a year or two ago, and I’ve worked on it in bits and pieces, in fits and starts, here and there, etc., etc., but the last time I’d touched it was last summer, so imagine my surprise when I suddenly had an epiphany for how to move a scene forward, which unlocked a multi-day writing bender. I credit Alice (who’s been texting me about writing lately) for inspiring me to get back into this project. (I also… started writing… a fic… Help?)

…got so frustrated and overwhelmed over coding that I started hoping I would just die again! Not that I’ve died before! I just mean that I’ve experienced suicidal ideation many a time! I was so upset I consulted my tarot deck hoping it might give me a new idea for how to approach my feelings, and I drew the Moon reversed, which is largely about working through fear and anxiety, and about how sometimes things get worse before they get better! And then had to write these words to myself to calm myself down: “the key is i need to take pressure off myself. i am not useless if i am not making money. i will not die if i take another 6 months to finish this course. i will not die if i do not ever finish this course.” Do you know how SMALL and PATHETIC you feel when you realize THESE are the thoughts your subconscious BELIEVES TO BE TRUE and that even though they’re IRRATIONAL their effect is still very real and it is completely PARALYZING?! GOD. I cried a few more times after that, but I’m now unstuck and things are… going.

ANYWAY. I think it’s time for me to go back to writing up my SuperM concert recap and thinking about what D&D character class Minseok would choose. Happy Valentine’s Day! πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

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