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…

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lately (05.16.19)

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.

panda express fortune cookie - your zest for life is unparalleled

lmao

Hello, friends.

I’m writing this while curled up on the living room couch with tissues shoved up my nose like nostril tampons. I’m slowly filling a Panda Express takeout bag with snotty tissues, my voice is shot, and my cough is inexplicably both wet and dry. I’ve somehow caught a cold again, which isn’t very sexy of me.

This is going to be another very K-pop filled post, so buckle up.

Since my last life update, I’ve been…

 

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lately (04.09.19)

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.

It surprised me to write this, but here is the truth:

In the words of BTS… I’m feeling just fine (fine fine).

In the depths of depression, it never feels like I’m going to return to any kind of sustainable equilibrium. It feels impossible, and pointless to try at all.

But here I am.

Sure, I’m still eyebrows-deep in my obsession with EXO (now with other K-Pop artists in the mix, as well), but this particular fixation’s purpose in my life has evolved. Instead of being pure escapism, a survival mechanism to keep myself from fixating on the futility of existence – instead of being a way to induce positive emotions in my broken brain, it’s now just… soothing, and sometimes exciting. A nice thing to look forward to. Some brain candy to reward myself.

It’s good. It’s sustainable.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately, in the form of an extremely (ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ) long blog post:

 

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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/Eri. (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, possibly 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 (EXO’s is solid and has good technique like pretty much all artists under SM Entertainment, but BTS’s rap line is really good) and is waaay more “knowable” 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.

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book, movie, and fic reviews (10.11.18)

As promised, this post is dedicated to books, movies, and fanfiction I’ve consumed recently (and not so recently). I’ve got 23 books, 16 movies, and 6 fics in this post, so I’ve put most of it under a cut. Let’s get started.

BOOKS I READ

chaotic good - whitney gardner - princess academy - shannon hale - daughters of the dragon - william andrews - anothertoast book reviews

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (Amazon | Goodreads) –  I was kind of disappointed the main character turned out to be cis and straight considering how important crossdressing is to the plot, but this book does a good job of exploring sexism and gatekeeping in fandom and geek culture, cyberbullying, costume design and construction, and the magic of Dungeons & Dragons. Also the illustrations are used really well.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a middle grade book that’s cute, fun, low-key feminist, and a little bit magical.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a good book that was really hard to read and which I never want to read again. It’s about the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. The Japanese government refused to acknowledge it happened at all until 1993 and continues to downplay this horrific part of Japan’s history.

beauty queens - libba bray - the secret history - donna tartt - rich people problems - kevin kwan - anothertoast book reviews

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Amazon | Goodreads) – A bit heavy-handed and clumsily written, but the premise is so damn good: Lord of the Flies but the plane that crashes is carrying beauty pageant contestants.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) – This was my first Donna Tartt book and my GOD it did not disappoint. I loved the prose, especially the physical descriptions of people and the environment. Francis “Asparagus is in season” Abernathy is a precious gemstone, and I was so into this book that I read it between sets while crushed in the pit at a Dua Lipa concert.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Amazon | Goodreads) The 3rd and final installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Trashy, entertaining fun.

room - emma donoghue - ship it - britta lundin - the raven king - maggie stiefvater - anothertoast book reviews

Room by Emma Donoghue (Amazon | Goodreads) – Honestly this was kind of excruciating to read because it’s written from a 5-year-old’s point of view, but once you get used to it, WHAT A STORY! It is about abduction and abuse but also hope and resilience and adaptability.

Ship It by Britta Lundin (Amazon | Goodreads) – I loved this book. I love that the main character is afraid of and confused by her own queerness, I love that she falls for someone who is so sure of her own queerness that she doesn’t leave room for those who are questioning, I love that there’s a bi character who’s not 100% sure about her sexuality despite being comfortable with herself, and I love that the main character gets called out for not caring about minority representation that doesn’t directly affect herself. A+

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Amazon | Goodreads) – I was loath to read this because I wanted The Raven Cycle series to go on forever, but I was in such a bad headspace re: work that I gave myself permission to escape to Cabeswater. It was super effective, and as soon as I finished reading, I immediately started looking for fic because I love all of my nightmare children so much!!!

the gentlemans guide to vice and virtue - mackenzi lee - sophia of silicon valley - anna yen - circe - madeline miller - anothertoast book reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Amazon | Goodreads) – This book really needs a trigger warning for physical abuse and period racism, but if you love gay-ass Victorians, sass, and character development, you’ll have a good time with this one.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (Amazon | Goodreads) – Amusing, but disappointingly blasé about sexism and racism in the tech industry. This book was based off the author’s own work experiences in 1990s Silicon Valley, but I feel very strongly that if a book about the tech industry published in 2018 mentions sexist and racist behavior, it should also call it what it is: a systemic problem.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon | Goodreads) – I decided to read this because I loved The Song of Achilles so fucking much, and it did not disappoint. Madeline Miller’s prose has this sort of timeless cadence that works particularly well in the context of Greek mythology, and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to both weep and swoon. This story is about Circe and WITCHCRAFT and POWERFUL WOMEN and (thirsty Spongebob voice) YOU. NEEEED IT!!!

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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 movie-screencaps.com)

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):

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