lately (12.11.18)

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.

OKAY, PALS!!! Let’s set the scene.

I’m… crouched(?) on the floor of my bedroom (kind of in catloaf form but with sphinx arms; it’s very cute and sexy of me) blasting a playlist of EXO’s slow songs with my Frostbeard Rainy Day Reads candle burning atop my dresser.

The main development since my last life update is that I’ve gone whole-ass into K-Pop fandom, specifically the EXO fandom. I am now an EXO-L/Aeri. (You can witness my thirsty descent over on Tumblr, assuming I haven’t been banned for reblogging this screencap of Sehun and Chanyeol from the “We Young” music video, which was flagged, probably because Sehun is wearing a suit that’s too close to his skintone. 🙄)

I’ve casually enjoyed K-Pop since high school, and I started getting into specific K-Pop groups around 2013 (namely SHINee and EXO, to the extent that I learned the members’ names and picked out specific songs (and faces) I liked), but it wasn’t until recently that I became obsessed.

It started when I was scrolling through this post by Tracy at fanserviced-b and decided to watch the “Love Me Right” music video. Incredibly, I’d already seen and enjoyed the “Call Me Baby” MV, which was released just 2 months prior to “Love Me Right” and which is also a visual stunner and a big ol’ bop, and I’d seen and reblogged “Love Me Right” pics and GIFs (#sad defeated asian boys in athletic wear), but somehow I never actually watched the music video itself.

And then I did.

And it was just… shot after shot after shot of practically everything I find aesthetically pleasing on men. Tailored suits! Above-the-knee shorts! T-shirts tucked into tight jeans! Exposed legs and ankles! Men in pink! Suspenders! Floppy hair! Beautiful faces in ugly glasses! Sports uniforms feat. shoulder pads! Dirt smeared on their faces!

It was overwhelming. It was like the first time I watched the “Growl” MV and lost my goddamn mind over SO many dancing boys looking like hooligans in dress code-violating school uniforms. (Please keep in mind I first watched this five years ago, when I was five years younger. I was and still am younger than EXO’s oldest member.)

The difference was that this time, when I lost my mind over an EXO music video, it was mere days before their comeback single, “Tempo”, was released, which was simply too much good content for my small decrepit body to handle in such swift succession.

“Tempo” involves leather jackets, ripped skinny jeans, military-inspired jackets, decorative chains, and Kai in a DISTRESSED CROPPED SWEATER, SUSPENDERS, AND LEATHER SKINNIES, and yet! It was a mere ten seconds of Baekhyun in an unbearably smoldery smoky eye singing and dancing (from 3:08 – 3:18, see the clipped video below) that BROKE ME!!!

So now I’m here, awaiting packages from AliExpress, for an unlicensed cropped EXO hoodie with cat ears, and Snapfish, for 25 glossy 4×6 photos made from HQ images I found online of Baekhyun, Sehun, Chanyeol, and Kai.

(For the record, I was briefly interested in BTS in 2015 when they were mostly still going by Bangtan Boys, but while I like their music and dancing from an artistic perspective (not to mention this A+ cover of the Biebz’s “Mistletoe” c/o @keisha_pl), I’ve always preferred EXO’s musical aesthetic, which leans more pop/R&B. I also prefer their vocal line (here’s a cover of the Biebz’s “Boyfriend” by D.O., who may just have the smoothest voice in current K-Pop) as well as their faces (I am deeply biased for many reasons, but the biggest one is that Baekhyun has really pretty hands and looks absolutely unreal in makeup), but both groups have their charms. For example, BTS has a stronger rap line and is waaay more accessible in terms of social media and general media presence thanks to Big Hit’s marketing. Anyway, they’re both great, but EXO came into my life first.)

But slipping down a fandom hole isn’t the only thing I’ve done lately. Since my last life update, I…

  • had various nose and throat problems for about a month and a half. I legit only started being able to breathe through my nose again around Thanksgiving. The smoke from the Camp Fire certainly didn’t help, but my boyfriend had surprised me with a Coway air purifier a week or two prior, since I’m allergic to the cat with whom we live, and it’s helped a lot. Now I’m just dealing with what seems like neverending post-nasal drip.
  • read some books and fanfiction that I will detail in a follow-up post
  • watched some movies and television that I will detail in a follow-up post
  • cooked some new things. Sometimes I enjoy cooking, but mostly I just cook out of necessity. Weeknights are especially tiring (or at least they were when I was working 9 to 5 with an hour-long commute each way), so I’m always curious what other people cook during the workweek. I’m aware of meal prepping as a concept, but throw in food allergies, specific nutritional diets, and a bit of environmentalism, and the appetizing options narrow significantly. Anyway, here’s some of the stuff I’ve made recently:

crispy oven baked honey garlic tofu (i am a food blog) - roast eggplant with yogurt and tomato relish (smitten kitchen) - crispy fried eggs (smitten kitchen) - spicy vegan jackfruit tacos (minimalist baker)

Left to right, top to bottom:

Crispy oven-baked honey garlic tofu, using this recipe from I am a Food Blog. I tried making this like 5 times in a row and I’ve decided that medium-firm tofu works best, as long as you press out almost all of the moisture. I also foolishly used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper at first, which just made the tofu stick to the pan. IMO, this is a really tasty way to make tofu, but it takes a while to cook, and it gets chewy unless you eat it right away. (Did I overdo it on the green onion? The answer is no.)

Roasted eggplant with yogurt and tomato relish, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve only eaten this with rice, not the suggested couscous, but the flavors are strong (and delicious!!!), so it’s a good idea to serve this with a plain starch. This is hella good, but it involves a lot of cutting.

Crispy fried eggs, using this recipe/guide from Smitten Kitchen. I don’t know how you can make this without a splatter guard, because it’s VERY dramatic, but these are fantastic over fried rice or with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

Barbecue jackfruit taco filling, using this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I made this exactly once, and it took SO long to prepare the jackfruit that I will never do it again. Does it looks arrestingly similar to meat and have an appealing texture and tangy flavor? Yes. Is it worth the ridiculous amount of time it takes to deseed and cut/shred the canned jackfruit? No. Plus, jackfruit isn’t a good source of protein, so while I’ll gladly eat jackfruit tacos at a restaurant, I don’t think it’s worth having to prepare both the jackfruit and a protein (e.g. beans) for a nutritious vegetarian meal.

Read more…

this is progress.

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.

airplane safety placard infant water flotation device lifevest

a pictorial dumpling recipe

Henlo, friends.

I’m writing this post with my feet propped up on a chair at the dining room table while I wait for the Chinese herbal tea simmering in the kitchen to reach its full potency. My runny nose and I are working our way through a box of tissues, the cat is using the living room as her personal racetrack while she yells continuously (a Big Mood™), and my partner is perched on the Korean War-era military footlocker trunk we use as a coffee table, playing Grand Theft Auto V.

Last week I was in New York City for only the second time in my life, tagging along on my boyfriend’s business trip. It was equal parts enthralling and exhausting to wander around Manhattan by myself, and by the fourth day, I was completely wiped out, partially because I’d spent the entire day prior wandering the Met until my soul was replenished and my feet were blistered, but mostly because my partner was working normal business hours, and it was damn tiring to be out and about and always watching my own stuff, my own drinks, my own back, always aware of how much time was left until sunset when I should stop being visibly alone in public. I admire women who travel solo. I don’t know how they do it.

But even though I spent the latter half of the trip Netflix-and-despairing in our hotel room (mainlining Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and short circuiting over the steaming pile of shit that is Brett Kavanaugh), I loved NYC in a way I haven’t ever loved anywhere but San Francisco – in a way that made me feel like I’d enjoy living there.

anal street - canal street subway - new york city mta

(insert “nyc i’m in you” joke)

(wow that was an unintended triple(?) entendre)

Granted, I haven’t traveled all that much, so there are probably plenty of diverse cities with solid public transportation systems that I’d enjoy spending my prime childbearing years in. London seems promising, for one.

But I don’t think I’d ever actually go through with it, not for anything less than the death of the people I love most and a disgustingly lucrative job. I am far too comfortable and too content and too scared to leave San Francisco any time soon.

And beyond the thicket of fear that is the prospect of uprooting my life here, of moving far enough away from my mom and my family and friends that the number of times I can expect to see them before they or I die dwindles from the hundreds into the dozens, is the insidious thought that I wouldn’t be able to survive in New York City unless I were working a high-paying tech job.

Then again, I don’t think I can survive in San Francisco unless I’m working a high-paying tech job either.

It’s too black and white to be true, the idea that I have to either have a tech job or die. (After all, why not both?)

But it feels true. I know it’s just a story I tell myself out of habit, and I’m working on finding a new angle, but it’s like every time I try to look at it directly, it goes blurry around the edges and I can’t hold it in my mind.

Every few days (or hours), I regret quitting my six-figure tech job, but I’m trying to remind myself how unequivocally awful it was to work at my previous company. Reading the wall of one-star reviews (including my own) on their Glassdoor page helps. So does repeating the words of men I’ve worked with – words like “I’m sorry” and “As I’ve heard more of the stuff that you had to deal with, I’m more and more surprised you stayed as long as you did.”

I can’t yet see a way forward that doesn’t involve either forcing myself into another tech job, or dying. I’m trying to remind myself that my emotions make sense. That my response was a reasonable one, and that if I don’t or can’t work in tech again, I’ll still be okay, somehow. That it’s possible I’ll recover my original enthusiasm for web development, given enough time and room to breathe. And that until then, my most important task is trying to not feel guilty or useless or like a waste of space. Or a human leech. Or a liability.

I’m trying, and sometimes it doesn’t work particularly well. (Especially not lately. It feels immorally self-indulgent to be contemplating my career when this country is hurtling back into the 1800s and this planet is hurtling toward total catastrophe.)

So to help myself, here’s a partial list of things I’ve done over the past month-ish that have made me feel like a productive human:

Read more…

lately (08.16.18)

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.

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past couple weeks:

  • crying, a lot, in a variety of settings including but not limited to
    • the shower (while listlessly soaping my body)
    • the kitchen (while reheating soup, while emptying the dishwasher)
    • the couch (before dinner, during dinner, after dinner)
    • my bed (before sleeping, upon waking)
    • my boyfriend’s bed (see: my bed)
    • the car (on the way to get groceries, on the way to breakfast)
    • my Bedroom Floor (Liam Payne™ No Copyright Infringement Intended)
  • not bathing or grooming or sleeping enough
  • reading

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Circe by Madeline Miller

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Amazon | Goodreads) – Lovely! A surprise! A little life with a big heart!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) – Delicious, excruciating, and just nihilistic enough for my taste. Every scene with Boris made me want to crawl out of my skin in a good way.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon | Goodreads) – In progress. Achingly gorgeous prose, as expected from the author of The Song of Achilles.

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One by Jenny Blake - So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One by Jenny Blake (Amazon | Goodreads) – Generally helpful career advice, but could’ve been shortened to a blog post or a series of blog posts, IMO. Includes the phrases “monthly nut” and “yearly nut.”

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (Amazon | Goodreads) – In progress. So far it seems a lot less bullshitty than many other career books I’ve read.

  • reading “The Changeling” by Annerb, the first non-slash fic I’ve read in a long, long time. This one is Harry/Ginny, with the premise being that Ginny was actually sorted into Slytherin. I’m on Chapter 4 and am loving it so far.
  • watching

Winter's Bone - Mamma Mia! - Loving Vincent

Winter’s Bone (Amazon | IMDb) – Jennifer Lawrence is very, very good in this, and it’s obvious why she was cast as Katniss in Hunger Games, though they really should’ve picked someone less white for that role. At least she was appropriately white af in this movie.

Mamma Mia! (Amazon | IMDb) – PURE. JOY. Amanda Seyfried is beautiful, Meryl Streep is BEAUTIFUL, Pierce Brosnan is a dreamboat, and Colin Firth is A GODDAMN DREAM.)

Loving Vincent (Amazon | IMDb) – Worth watching for the artwork alone – it is absolutely gorgeous. This film was obviously made with a lot of love, and it shows.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark - Dirty Dancing

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Amazon | IMDb) – I had no idea how attractive I would find Harrison Ford in professorly tweeds and glasses, but I definitely knew how attractive I would find Harrison Ford glistening with sweat, shirt unbuttoned down to his bellybutton, destroying priceless archaeological artifacts. I hate that they put a white dude in monolid prosthetics though! I know it was for a stunt scene, but the yellowface was so jarring!!!

Dirty Dancing (Amazon | IMDb) – SO FUCKING GOOD?! I can’t believe I put off watching this for so long. It is a masterpiece. Patrick Swayze in high-waisted trousers is a masterpiece! “I carried a watermelon” is ICONIC!!!

(Here’s Harrison Ford in tweed and glasses, because:

indiana jones and the raiders of the lost ark - screencap - harrison ford - professor glasses tweed vest 3 piece suit

This is very sexy.

And here’s the yellowface, featuring really crappy single eyelid prosthetics:

indiana jones and the raiders of the lost ark - asian monolid eyelid prosthetics yellowface

This, on the other hand, is not very sexy at all.

(screencaps from

I can’t wait to see Crazy Rich Asians this weekend so I don’t have to look at a single fake Asian for a whole two hours. I know it’s going to be an imperfect movie because it’s based on an imperfect book, but frankly I’m not going to wait for a perfect movie before I start supporting American movies with many Asian actors.)

  • going to Niall’s concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View and being SO PROUD and SO FULL OF HORNS, because Niall is SO SO SO good live, especially at outdoor venues!

niall horan flicker world tour - shoreline amphitheatre mountain view - marquee

(This is not my video, but something about THOSE JEANS and THAT SHIRT and THIS SONG is what makes Niall Horan the sexiest Direction.)

niall horan flicker world tour - shoreline amphitheatre mountain view - samglorious - anothertoast - featuring a cardboard cutout of nialls head for wild 949

One day I hope to be famous enough that local radio stations have giant cardboard cutouts of my face to pose with. Not pictured: My cousin and I screaming the lyrics to “Better Than Words,” which was playing right before this photo was taken.

(Scrunchie: Forever21. Extra cropped crop top: Forever21. Black mom jeans: Monki via ASOS. Belt: childhood. Shoes: Converse. Backpack you can’t even see: Etsy shop you can’t even view because it’s no longer operating; gift.)

niall horan flicker world tour - shoreline amphitheatre mountain view - christian tierney - photo of crowd

I’m somewhere in this picture! I still don’t know where, but I’m definitely somewhere!!!

(Photo by Christian Tierney, via NJHNews)

  • wearing a lot of scarves in my hair

samglorious - anothertoast - scarf topknot hair

(Blue scarf: Innisfree gift with purchase (lol). Brown scarf: Esprit sample sale. Wild & Free Viking pin: bottleofclouds on Etsy, gift. Love Is A Many Gendered Thing pin: Abprallen on Etsy.)

  • watching Les Misérables at the Orpheum and crying as if on cue at “to love another person is to see the face of god” because it’s fuckin TRUE and it always makes me emosh

  • running lots of budget calculations
  • opening a new credit card
  • making all the appointments!!!
  • working on a long blog post 👀
  • looking up “how to write a glassdoor review without inciting a defamation lawsuit”

glassdoor how to avoid defamation lawsuit negative review - chicken butt

A list of things that have not been legal grounds for a defamation lawsuit, from Glassdoor’s very own article.

And on that note!!! Have a great weekend, pals.

lately (06.07.18)

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.

Since mid-February, I’ve been crying probably 3 or 4 times a week, which is a frequency creeping dangerously close to depressed-college-Sam levels of Crying Too Much. I’ve also been doing too little of the following: sleeping, washing my hair, washing my face, moisturizing my face, flossing my teeth, brushing my teeth, and bathing.

This is fine, I thought, like the comic strip dog wearing a hat while his kitchen is engulfed in flames. It was fine, because I was interviewing, so my anxiety was justified, and because I could deal with situational stress that had a foreseeable end. It was fine!

It was fine to have anxiety attacks at work while sitting at my desk doing nothing and having to leave work because I couldn’t focus while counting my heartbeats or feeling hysterical with nausea or trying to stop my eyeballs from producing inappropriately timed tears (a Sam classic).

And while I’m not yet at the point where I literally want to die and find myself zoning out mid-conversation or partway through a crosswalk to fantasize about tall buildings (college was uhhh how do you say this? rough), I am, in fact, not really all that fine.

My interviews are over. But I still had to leave my desk the other day to will a sudden onslaught of tears into submission in the privacy of a bathroom stall. I still haven’t been practicing normal hygiene routines (this week’s score: Hygiene-1, Anxiety-5), or sleeping at healthy hours.

I’m probably teetering on the edge of depression at this point, if I’m being objective about it, but this time I’m not so socially isolated that I’m being sucked into its gaping maw. I’ve got a few more hands to hold on to this time. It could be worse.

It also brings me some peace to know that my friend Victoria was right, back in college when I felt like I was going to break from the weight of deciding whether to quit my sensible second major (Computer Science) or not, and that she’s still right – either I’ll keep going, or something will break, and I’ll do something else.

It would be best if I could take one more tech job. I know this. I know how much it would help to take one more tech job, to hoard a couple more years’ worth of savings on a six-figure salary before I check the fuck out. But I’m not sure I can.

It might break me. And that’s the tea.

But I don’t want to end on that note. So here are some things that have been keeping my happiness levels afloat lately (and not so lately):

Read more…

lately (05.07.18)

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.

Henlo, friends. I am very tired.

I’ve spent the past 2 months or so in a maelstrom of abject misery, what with trying to interview at like 15 different companies at the same time.

(In Silicon Valley, this generally implies that for each company, you’re spending 1 hour on a recruiter phone call, 1 hour on a live coding exercise, and if you get past those, sometimes 4-8 hours on a take-home project, sometimes 1 hour with each manager whose team you might be joining, and, almost invariably, 6 hours on an onsite interview (though I know of some companies that take up to 16 hours onsite, split over a couple of days).)

After everything, I ended up with exactly one (1) verbal job offer, which I turned down earlier this week, on the grounds that I’d prefer not to work at a company whose self-described engineering culture reeks of Nice Guys™ (a suspicion that was only magnified by their post-interview communications, during which I felt like they were trying to bribe and/or woo me with actual gifts).


It’s May. I’m still at the same job, but I’m making slightly more than I was a couple months ago, thanks to a cost-of-living raise that was 4 months overdue and that took my salary from embarrassingly low to acceptably low.

I’m licking my wounds and wallowing for a bit in my sadness bath and trying not to feel guilty as I concentrate on actually moving out of my childhood home and in with my boyfriend at the apartment I’ve been paying rent on for the past 2 months, instead of trying to interview more.

(I should be studying. I should always be studying(!!!), because I’ve been doing so poorly on my interviews, because I’m mediocre at my profession and I can only get better through practice. But my study strategy so far has consisted of doing practice problems until I have an anxiety attack (lol), and then mentally checking out until the actual interview via a diet of fanfiction, YA fiction, and online window shopping.

And I know you could easily argue that it’s a numbers game and everyone faces rejection sometimes and I haven’t been through that many interviews, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel guilty for not being stoic enough to study harder. I just… My brain broke, so maybe I did do my best, and it just wasn’t very good.)

Anyway. This work stuff is all a bit boring, so here are some other things I’ve been up to over the past 2 months or so:

Read more…

lately (04.09.18)

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.

It is Monday, my dudes, and I am

  • putting off washing my hair for yet another day
  • still fucking fuming over the CTO describing “being a speaker at a conference” as “being like the pretty girl at a party… people actually want to talk to you, and they have interesting things to say…” which… NO!!! If being a speaker at a conference were like being the pretty girl at a party, people would be approaching you because they want to FUCK YOU. This happened on Friday during an all-hands engineering meeting, and I basically blacked out after he said it because I was SO. UNBELIEVABLY. FULL OF RAGE.
  • reminding myself I don’t need another pair of Tevas despite how goddamn GOOD this pattern is

Teva Women's Original Universal Sandal Campo Black & White Stripe Straps Pattern

Teva Original Universal Sandal in Campo Black & White, $49.99 at DSW

  • trying to figure out how to dress around the newly-updated office dress code (a la r/MaliciousCompliance)
  • thinking really hard about cabinet/dresser knobs and pulls (mirrored! or gold mercury glass! or silver mercury glass! or mother of pearl! or lucite!)
  • wondering who the fuck removed me from the calendar invite for today’s mandatory company-wide all-hands meeting, which I was 35 minutes(!!!) late for because I wasn’t fucking invited to it
  • thinking about acquiring some hella extra candlesticks

H&M metal candlestick in gold - simple bowl shaped candle holder

Metal Candlestick in Gold, $12.99 at H&M

So simple! So elegant! And it comes in two heights! Which is unfortunate because I’d want to get one of each so I could stagger them for the #aesthetic!

H&M Gold Palm Tree Candle Holder - Candlestick

Palm Tree Candle Holder in Gold, $24.99 at H&M

This candlestick!!! Is goddamn!!! INCREDIBLE!!! But it’s also $24.99, which is an absurd amount of money to spend on a candlestick that wasn’t previously owned by an 18th-century noble.

  • trying to move all my money from Betterment to Vanguard
  • trying to figure out if I need a raise, a vacation, a new job, or a career change (jk I know neither a raise nor a vacation would help for more than a couple days, and tbh I’m starting to suspect that even a new job wouldn’t help for more than a couple weeks)
  • absolutely not buying this bath mat

ivory and black tiger shag bath mat - cost plus world market - black and white tiger stripe rug

Ivory And Black Tiger Shag Bath Mat, $16.99 at Cost Plus World Market

JUST KIDDING! I totally might buy this bath mat.

  • struggling with questions #27 and #28 on LeetCode and wanting to cry from frustration because lmao i fucking hate this!!!
  • reading YA novels (Blue Lily, Lily Blue) and rereading Drarry fanfiction (What We Pretend We Can’t See) in an attempt to right the sinking ship that is my brain before I fucking capsize because I can feel a breakdown coming!!!
  • blogging in an attempt to soothe the withered husk that is my creative spirit!!!

In short, S. O. fucking. S. Here’s to making it to the next paycheck. 🍻

2018 resolutions (more like twenty-late-teen amirite)

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 know it’s, like, more than a month too late for New Year’s resolutions, but I was too mentally (and socially) busy around New Year’s to really reflect on what changes I’d like to effect in my life in 2018.

But lately I’ve been I’ve been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that GIVE ME ANXIETY thinking about what I want to focus my (limited) energy on over the next few months.

Here are some of them.


Finding a new damn job. I am very, very, very unhappy at work and have been for the past two years. (Literally since my first day, when I had to stand through an HOUR-LONG meeting where EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the company gave a status update, which is NOT HOW STANDUPS ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK!!!)

I think I’ve been able to justify staying for such a long time because I’ve had it worse before. Back in 2013 I was working for This Crazy Bitch* who made me so miserable I would take my lunch breaks at a nearby dog park and just sit there and cry and then go back to work. But having a paycheck that’s 347% larger (I used to make less than minimum wage**) doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m extremely bored with the work I do, I don’t feel like I’m learning, I don’t respect most of the company’s leadership (there is waaay too much of a focus on ~*optics*~), I expect this company to fall apart (the brain drain is happening, plus when a company trying to secure funding starts changing which metrics they measure success by… u kno they’re not hitting goals), and I am making at least $15k less than market rate.

*I don’t use the word bitch (with a negative connotation) lightly, but listen… she was a crazy bitch. Once, one of our unpaid interns (yep…) didn’t show up for work. The next day, she came in and apologized because she had been out the previous day getting a restraining order against her physically abusive boyfriend and would have to leave early to speak with the police, and my boss’s reaction was to 1) scoff at my coworker who suggested that our next partner charity should be a domestic violence prevention/recovery organization, despite the fact that our company was supposed to be all about Empowering Women™, 2) utter the actual words, “how dare she” and “that was so inappropriate” and “I’m going to let her go” after the intern told her story and left work crying, and 3) claim that our intern had just cost the company 45 minutes of lost work (15 minutes for each of the 3 of us) by telling us her “sob story.” One day, I should compile all of this woman’s behavior into a single blog post, because she was unbelievable. I hope she spends the rest of her life walking into face-level cobwebs.

**Legally, I was a contractor, which is why I could be paid so little. Of course, my boss took this to mean that not only were sick days unpaid, but so were makeup and overtime hours. #ethical

Anyway, I’ve started taking steps to address this (so! many! emails! and phone calls! so much pacing and stress sweating!), so hopefully this will no longer be a problem in a month or two.

Using the library more. I’ve been spending a little too much on ebooks that I’m not sure I’m going to like, mostly because of Goodreads’ sales alert emails. I would much rather borrow books that I probably won’t read more than once, and then pay when I want to support specific authors. I recently rediscovered the library via Overdrive, and since SFPL’s ebook selection is quite extensive, I should be able to use the library for most of my reading this year.

(From what I know, it’s more effective to support an author by purchasing a new book than by borrowing it from the library, but I’ve decided that I don’t need to feel guilty about this, because using the library is not inherently immoral.)

Not checking my net worth so often. I have a bad habit of checking my financial spreadsheets multiple times every night, which doesn’t help me save or earn more money, and which has the unfortunate side effect of making me too anxious to sleep. Checking so often doesn’t even help me plan for the future; I could easily make good decisions even if I only checked once a month, or even less often, now that I’ve established an emergency fund and an automated savings plan.

Luckily, with the market correction that seems to be happening, I’m going to be less enthused about meticulously tracking my net worth anyway, and since I’m moving out soon (and moving in with my partner(!!!)), I’m not going to be saving quite as much for the next couple months as we furnish our apartment.

(Plus my mom is hoping to retire soon, and my brother and I will be supporting her in retirement, plus we’re paying off the auto loan for her car from last year. If I think too hard about how much less I’m going to be saving, I just get kind of paralyzed, so… best not to think about it and just keep making incremental progress.)

Doing more creative activities. Maybe this means blogging or writing more, maybe it means knitting or sewing or finally getting into photography. I don’t know exactly what creative activities I want to partake in, but I know I haven’t indulged in my creative side for far too long, and it’s kind of making my soul shrivel up.

I recently started knitting this crop top, and I’ve already had to unravel it 7 times, but whereas in the past I think I would’ve been frustrated by having to take two steps forward, one step back, now it just feels kind of meditative. Plus I’m having fun knitting in the round for the first time and trying to read a knitting pattern that’s more complex than a 1×1 ribbed scarf. I guess the process feels just as important as the destination, especially since I haven’t done much of anything creative in… 2+ years. (Again, I think this timeline ties back to when I started my current job.)

One thing I’m particularly excited about is that my partner and I both want to purchase and learn how to use a decent digital camera after we move in together, and I want to keep a blank wall in the apartment where I can take outfit photos. (I used a little pink point-and-shoot from 2008-2014 or so, but it’s since crapped out on me and I’ve been making do with my iPhone camera.)

Practicing better sleep hygiene. This is another item that I think started being a problem around the time I started my current job. Anxiety makes it difficult for me to sleep, and lack of sleep makes me more anxious. I used to be able to exercise, shower, do a looong skincare routine, and then fall asleep in 20-30 minutes.


One, I haven’t been exercising at all, because exercising makes me AMPED at bedtime. This didn’t happen before! Exercising used to make me sleepy! I don’t know what happened!

Two, I put off showering until right before bed, because I can’t bring myself to even enter the bathroom until the last minute. Sometimes I put off showering until the morning, which makes me feel gross (and usually too cold) when I go to sleep and rushed when I wake up.

Three, I’ve stopped following my skincare routine. I still remove my makeup with a wipe at the end of the day, but sometimes I stay up so late I don’t even bother washing my face, which means I don’t moisturize either. It is Real Bad™, I am not proud of it, and it is not how I should be treating my body.

And four, even if I shower early and do a long and slow skincare routine with no screens before bed, even if I try to listen to a sleep podcast or meditate or do breathing exercises – whatever it is, I end up lying in bed for two hours completely unable to fall asleep, no matter how physically tired I am.

Something is DEFINITELY wrong, and, well, yes, I should probably see a therapist, but I also know the root cause is… my job.

(Actually I’ve been sleeping a little better lately, now that I’ve started sending my resume out and having initial phone calls with a few companies. The other day I even started trying the SCINIC Honey All in One Ampoule that I bought in December, which means I’m actually doing things for my skin again. A good omen!)

I know I can’t completely fix my sleep patterns until I remove the source of my anxiety (by getting a new job), but until then I can at least try to drag myself into the bathroom before 11:30PM and take a fucking shower every night. It’ll certainly feel better than staring at my money spreadsheets on my laptop until my eyes glaze over.

Eating less meat. As a Chinese-American who loves being Chinese-American and eating Chinese-American food, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to commit to being completely vegan or vegetarian. But what I can do is commit to eating less meat, or at the very least, less red meat.

Frankly, I think people are supposed to eat animals. We evolved to be omnivores; that’s why our teeth look the way they do. But eating animals is pretty damn bad for the environment, and I feel morally obligated to lessen my environmental footprint where I can.

For example, we get free lunch at work 2-3 days a week. I’ve been making an effort to choose vegetarian or vegan options for my entrees, and a while ago, I asked my office manager to put me on the list of vegans for when we get catering. This means I’m increasing the vegan headcount in the office, which means our catering companies have to adapt to vegan customers.

On a personal level, I’d like to make sure I at least look at the vegetarian options when I go to restaurants, and if I ever see tempeh on a menu, I’d like to try it. (I had sambal goreng tempeh through a work lunch a few weeks ago, and I thought it was really, really gross. It was my first time eating tempeh and I foolishly assumed it would be similar to tofu, but it is very much not like tofu despite also being made from soybeans. From what I’ve read, it seems like tempeh is often prepared fried, but the tempeh in my dish was most definitely not fried, so I don’t think it was a good example of what tempeh should taste like.)

Making the most of my MoviePass. I’m currently paying $9.95 a month for MoviePass, which is WAY cheaper than a single ticket at, like, any major theater in San Francisco, so you’d think I’d be getting my money’s worth every month, but no. I didn’t watch anything in January, which means I need to double up in February.

I think the time of my life when I watched the most movies in theaters was 2012-2013 or so, when my friend Spenser and I were both back home from college and in desperate need of distraction from our Monday to Friday lives. We probably watched one or two movies a month, if not more, and I LOVED it.

(Spenser and I both also spent a lot of time watching movies and TV shows in college because of the ol’ college depresh. It’s always good to have a friend who Just Gets It™.)

Anyway, these days I’m generally happier, but I also watch fewer movies. If it turns out MoviePass isn’t worth it for me after… maybe a year, then I’ll cancel it. Until then, I’m going to try to watch at least one movie a month. (First up: Jumanji: Into the Jungle. Three words: Karen Gillan’s legs.)

Continuing to spend 5 minutes a day on DuoLingo’s Mandarin course. I downloaded DuoLingo on a whim sometime in December, soon after they released their Mandarin offering. I was hoping to practice and review the 3 years of Mandarin I took in high school, and to make sure I don’t completely forget how Chinese grammar works. (I grew up speaking broken Cantonese at home, and Mandarin is similar enough that my understanding is transferrable.)

I can’t imagine the app is very useful for learning Mandarin unless you already speak some Mandarin or Cantonese, in which case it’s really for practicing, not learning, and it’s basically useless for learning how to write Chinese because it just teaches you how to recognize characters without recalling them. (Plus it only uses simplified characters, which IMO are somewhat easier to write but much harder to read than traditional characters because the components of each character don’t make sense after they’ve been simplified.)

However! It’s helping me remember a lot of vocabulary and grammatical constructions that I once knew very well, and while the lack of oral exercises means I won’t be improving my speaking ability, I think it’s helping me with listening and understanding. Also, I really like that’s it’s gamified and only requires a small commitment each day. I’m currently on an 86-day streak. 🔥

Buying less clothing and makeup, and trying to get into slow/ethical fashion. I own too many things, and I think I’d feel much more satisfied with myself if I tried to

  • minimize the cost-per-wear of the things I already own
  • make purchasing decisions based not only on their financial impact (on myself) but also their environmental impact (on the world)
  • actually use my makeup products until they’re empty

I fully expect to make exceptions for costumes, events, and celebrations, since those situations are special occasions, but I really don’t need any more everyday clothes, nor do I need any makeup other than replacement items.

I already own at least 10 crop tops, and I have no need for an 11th one. Even if, like, 5 of them suddenly became unwearable, I still wouldn’t need to buy a new crop top, because who needs this many crop tops?!

So I’ve decided that if I want another crop top, I’ll have to make it myself. That’s why I’m currently working on knitting this crop top (pattern by Emily Manasc), as I mentioned earlier in this post. The same goes for scrunchies – I don’t need a scrunchie, so I won’t buy one, but I want one to wear for fun, and I know they’re easy to sew. So if I want to own a scrunchie… I’m going to have to make it myself. Slow fashion, indeed.

I’d also like to start buying from ethical fashion brands (eventually, when I feel like I’ve stuck with my self-imposed shopping ban for long enough). Since ethical fashion tends to be more expensive, I think I’ll be forced to more carefully evaluate what’s worth spending my money on.

(I could also get back into buying secondhand, but that requires more time and effort. I’ll see how I feel about all this in a couple months.)

As for makeup, after a cursory pass through my makeup bags, I’ve counted at least 23 lipsticks, not including tinted lip balms and lip crayons, and 7 of those are metallic liquid lipsticks.

There’s no way I can use them all up before they expire, but I can sure as hell make myself wait until I’ve used up or thrown out 2 old products before I purchase 1 new one. (I’m sure some of them will become unusable over the course of this year, especially some of my older liquid lipsticks, so there’ll be some natural downsizing anyway.)

Basically, having a lot of stuff (and a lot of options) makes me feel like I’m keeping an inefficient wardrobe/vanity, and I’d like to optimize my whole damn life.


I consciously left “exercising more” off this list because, well, it’s one of those things I can’t fit into my life unless everything else is in place. I don’t have the discipline to exercise unless I’m already pretty happy to start with, and yes, I know exercise is supposed to help with happiness, but frankly I’ve tried exercising despite being unhappy, and all it does is temporarily boost my mood but not fix the actual problem.

(The actual problem is, of course, my job.)

I’m going to go spend some time working on tree and graph problems now. Hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll be so desensitized* to technical interviews that I won’t get nervous trying to convince a Google** recruiter that I’m worth hiring.

*It happens. It happened to me last time I looked for a job. I’d already gone through an interview so brutal that I realized nothing could possibly make me feel worse about myself as a software engineer. And so I learned helplessness, and it set me free. In comparison, my other interviews after that were like a tap on the shoulder instead of a punch in the jaw.

**I’m not actually applying there, but I’m so nervous about some of the Large Non-FAANG Tech Companies I’m applying to that I might as well be.

Here’s to a new week.