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. ūüôĄ)

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.

Read more…

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.


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) РA 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 blas√© 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!!!

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‚ĄĘ 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) РLovely! A surprise! A little life with a big heart!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) РDelicious, 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) РIn 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) РI 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 Mis√©rables 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 ūüĎÄ
  • 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.

things i liked in 2016

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 don’t know about you, but I

  1. am no longer feeling 22*, and
  2. spent New Year’s Day warming up canned soup and periodically sticking a thermometer in¬†my partner’s¬†mouth and¬†checking and re-checking the maximum daily dosage of Tylenol.

(I also got to watch BBC Sherlock‘s “The Six Thatchers”** and an episode and a half of Jessica Jones (thanks, Netflix free trials!) in bed while my partner slept, which was nice.)

(I also also helped clean up after the cat spilled a glass of water onto the bed, floor, and nightstand, and then I cleaned out her litter box (#samfirst), because Stockholm Syndrome***.)

*I have not felt 22 since I was 22 and spent my lunch breaks sitting on park benches crying¬†about how much I hated my job and my weekends drinking about some guy who wouldn’t text me back and¬†repeating to myself, “This is the way my cookie crumbled, and I’m trying to make it something I’m proud of again,”¬†and, coincidentally, when¬†“22” (Taylor Swift‚ĄĘ No copyright infringement intended. Property of TAS LLC management 2013¬©) was released.


***Buy One Direction’s “Stockholm Syndrome” on iTunes!!!

The rest of my first week of January consisted of reading Sherlock theories,¬†getting ghosted by Muni trains for an entire hour on my first day back at work,¬†having my heart broken by both Noah and Jude in¬†I’ll Give You the Sun¬†by Jandy Nelson (I’m not done yet, but already I am crushed with the weight of my emotions), buying an early Valentine’s Day card for my bae, catching up on Talk Direction, watching s’more¬†Jessica Jones, listening to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” on repeat, and watching Sherlock‘s¬†“The Lying Detective” and then screaming about it.

But before I attempt to look ahead to the rest of this year, I’d like to pause and mention¬†things I liked in 2016, as inspired by Cara:

The iPhone 6s. I’m not even sure this is a¬†great phone, but it’s such a dramatic upgrade from my iPhone 4 that I can’t hear you over the sound of¬†actually being on the latest versions of apps.

Growing succulents. For the first time in my life, I’ve successfully kept a non-cactus plant alive for more than a few weeks.¬†I’m even propagating my succulents at¬†my partner’s¬†apartment (he gets better sunlight), and they are so dang cute and tiny.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I picked up my copy at SFPL’s Big Book Sale because this guy¬†in one of my freshman seminars said it was his favorite book, and his sheer enthusiasm left an impression on me that lasted, like, six years. This book broke my heart in a million¬†small ways and about six enormous ones. It¬†is funny, poignant, swashbuckling,¬†and epic. It is gorgeous. It is now my #1 favorite book of ever, so there’s that.¬†If you haven’t read this, please do yourself a favor and DO.

Waiting by Ha Jin. I picked up this book at SFPL’s Big Book Sale because one of my high school Chinese teachers recommended it, and¬†honestly??? I straight-up hated this book and¬†both main characters for almost the ENTIRE¬†book, but the emotional payoff¬†of the ending was 1) SO FUCKING CHINESE and 2) so worth it. Absolutely recommend.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I loved this book, but 1) it was my first Neal Stephenson book, so I had nothing to compare it to (I’ve heard many people¬†say they couldn’t finish this book, but they really liked¬†Snow Crash), and 2) I¬†actually enjoyed Stephenson’s¬†“this writer really likes to hear himself talk” style of writing (unlike when I tried to start reading¬†Infinite Jest and stopped after a few pages out of total boredom). I picked this up at the SFPL Big Book Sale at the recommendation of Augustine, a friend I made at¬†my coding bootcamp a couple years ago.¬†Maybe not for everyone considering it’s 918 pages long, but I¬†thoroughly enjoyed it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, not because it was very good (it read like mediocre fanfiction), but for sending me into a Harry Potter death spiral, what with Ron and Hermione together in every version of the universe, and Draco Malfoy being LONELY, and Harry having to literally witness his parents’ deaths… what the fuck. Anyway, Albus & Scorpius 4ever, amirite¬†lads?

Yuri!!! on Ice,¬†an anime about competitive male figure skating, centered around the relationship between Katsuki Yuri, a Japanese figure skater, and Viktor Nikiforov, his Russian coach. I found out about this show through Tumblr (of course), and lemme tell you, it¬†is SO PURE. It handles Yuri’s performance anxiety and general lack of self confidence with respect and realism! (I too have felt so overwhelmed that I’ve given up and tried to sleep the feelings away!) And the progression of Viktor and Yuri’s relationship truly cleansed my soul – it was like coming out of the water and¬†drying off in the warm sun (or coming off the ice rink and soaking in a hot spring!!!).¬†The choreography and animation of the skating routines are¬†beautiful, and the show’s¬†depiction of competitive ice skating is accessible¬†to the casual viewer while being completely realistic. Honestly,¬†Yuri!!! On Ice might be the best¬†thing to have come out of 2016.

The Girl on the Train,¬†the movie. (I haven’t read the book.) It gave me serious¬†Gone Girl vibes, but it was like 4000 times more satisfying, because everyone got what they deserved, and also men are the worst.

Spotify, which I’d¬†only used occasionally until¬†this past year. I used to listen to KPop on repeat on iTunes during work, but now I jump around on Spotify’s web player when people are taking their phone calls too loudly in the office. It’s rad.

These songs,¬†all of which are pop and almost certainly things you’ve already listened to:

Bob’s Burgers, which I’m watching with my boyfriend. It’s funny, weird, and a little dark¬†while being ultimately optimistic – all things I love in a television show.

Deadpool, which made me laugh out loud in the theater within the first 30 seconds. Definitely one of¬†my favorite Marvel movies¬†ever, and Ryan Reynolds was actually… really hot, so… yes.

Goodreads Deals, which is a fucking blessing¬†in the form of a daily email that alerts you about special pricing for Kindle books that you might be interested in based on your Goodreads profile. I read a¬†lot more on my phone than on paper these days (which is¬†both surprising and unsurprising to me, because I love books but¬†it’s also way easier to hold your phone¬†when you’re standing on¬†Muni than to hold a paperback), and¬†Goodreads Deals has already introduced me to¬†a handful of wonderful books for usually less than $3 each. I have zero intention of unsubscribing in the foreseeable future.

Plant Nanny, an app that helps you drink more water and the #1 reason why my skin has been so much clearer this past year. In the app, you grow a cute little virtual plant that you can only water when you yourself drink water, and if you go too many days without drinking an adequate amount of water, your plant shrivels up and dies an adorable, guilt-inducing death. (I actually heard about Plant Nanny through Coffee with Chrachel, which I heard about through Talk Direction.)

CLIO¬†Kill Black waterproof liquid eyeliner.¬†I’ve marveled at my¬†friend Jess’s mastery¬†of liquid eyeliner and perfectly flicked cat-eyes since I first watched her do her eyeliner in a compact mirror while we sat at a food court table at the mall back in like 2012, and¬†I’ve always struggled with the angle of cat-eye wings,¬†but CLIO’s Kill Black liner made it so, SO much easier to achieve her look.¬†The brush is both stiff and¬†supple, with a fine tip that makes it easy to¬†draw¬†a good line, the pigmentation is¬†superbly dark, and the finish¬†has a slight sheen that¬†I really love the look of. (And if you want to buy it through SokoGlam, shoot me an email so I can get $10 and you can get 20% off.)

Sleeping masks/packs, which have proven way, way more beneficial for my skin¬†than sheet masks. Sheet masks are fun and relaxing, but¬†they don’t actually do that much for me. Sleeping masks, on the other hand, help so much¬†with hydration. I thought sleeping masks were really thick and goopy and didn’t understand how people didn’t just smear it all over their pillowcases until I¬†tried a sample of the¬†A’Pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask. It was lightweight and actually dried down on my skin after a few minutes like any other lotion or cream, and when I woke up, I was¬†glowing. Since then, I’ve also purchased the¬†SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack, which has a really weird consistency (like melty¬†mozzarella ice cream) but¬†solid results, and the Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Night Spa Mask, which smells super refreshing, is lightweight, and leaves my skin calm when I wake up.

CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, which I’ve been using as a spot treatment.¬†It’s helped a lot with my hormonal acne, bringing things to a head/to the surface more quickly, and sometimes actually preventing breakouts in the first place. Your mileage may vary, of course, but¬†I recommend giving this a try if¬†you’ve never tried any actives or chemical exfoliants¬†– this one’s pretty gentle. (My only gripes are that it smells like stinky tofu, and the pump dispenser just kind of shoots it forward instead of into your hand, but you get used to it.)

SUM:37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick,¬†as¬†my solid cleanser when I travel. This¬†contains coconut oil¬†and it foams, so it’s technically both an oil cleanser and a foaming cleanser, but¬†I use it as just a foaming cleanser. It works well and doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped, but it made my boyfriend break out (probably from the coconut oil), so, as with everything, patch test.

ColourPop liquid lipsticks, especially their metallics. I own and love¬†Man Eater (metallic¬†rose gold that reads almost bronze on me; perfect for that bionic woman look (no, seriously, this is shockingly wearable)) and¬†Mugshot (metallic cranberry red that¬†leans pink; fantastic for slightly unconventional holiday looks),¬†but the Ultra Satin Lip in TooLips is also gorgeous. It’s a “deepened plum brown” that reads nearly black on me, but in a slightly pigmented way that’s more flattering than pure black. These wear well when eating/drinking, reapply well, and are $6. SIX FREAKING DOLLARS. Eat that, Kylie.

Black cotton period underwear.¬†I don’t know how I spent this much of my menstruating life without dedicated period underwear, but I finally bought 5 pairs of black cotton hipsters¬†from Gap (on sale, so they were $5.40 each) and they have VASTLY increased my quality of life by¬†giving me one less thing to worry about staining when I’m on my period, AND¬†they offer enough¬†booty coverage that I can wear them when I’m using my Lunette menstrual cup with a pantyliner or wearing an ultralong super absorbent overnight pad with wings.

Maxing out my retirement accounts.¬†I maxed out my¬†Roth IRA with Betterment early in the year, and¬†in¬†Q2 of 2016, my company started offering a 401k plan with both traditional and Roth options. I don’t get a match, but¬†I’m still excited for my first 401k ever! I opted to split my 401k contributions between traditional and Roth, and I finished maxing out in Q4. (Please note: I have the privilege of working at a relatively high-paying job while¬†still living at home. I did not manage to do this through extreme frugality.)

Opening a savings account with Ally. That sweet 1% interest on my emergency fund tho. Way better than whatever hundredths of a percent I was getting.

The Chase Freedom card. That sweet 1% cash back (and rotating 5% cash back categories) tho. A fantastic perk for someone like me who uses credit cards like cash.

Ebates, because I do a shit-ton of my shopping online, and it’s so easy to earn cash back if you¬†use the Google Chrome extension to remind you if you’re on an Ebates-eligible website. I’ve earned¬†$292.04 in cash back since 2013, so it’s been super useful for me, especially around the holidays. (If you’re not already signed up, you can use my referral link so I can get $25, and you can get $10. (I swear to you ALL¬†of that $292.04 was from my own consumerism, not referral bonuses.))

Having shower sex during my period.¬†In 2015, I had two¬†very painful UTIs from having sex while on my period, which I was told was “normal” and “won’t be considered a problem unless you have more than three in a year.” It didn’t matter if I showered before and after, avoided using my Lunette menstrual cup, chugged water so I could pee waterfalls afterward, or took a billion cranberry pills. (I did all of those things religiously, and I still got the 2nd UTI.) After cautious experimentation,¬†I realized¬†that it was fine to have sex¬†near the end of my period, when my flow was much lighter (which leads me to think that something about the presence of lots of blood¬†makes¬†me more likely to get a UTI). In any case, I ended up having shower sex (#samfirst) while I was on my period, and it was glorious. First of all,¬†my fertility cycle is pretty predictable and also on the long side, which means that¬†I don’t have to worry about pregnancy for the first few days of my period, at the very least, which makes for a very happy partner with a very happy penis. Second, when you’re on your period,¬†penetration is way, waaay easier, which means¬†I don’t have to worry about lube or more than, like, 10 minutes of foreplay. Third, there’s no mess!!! My partner and I used to lay down an old comforter for period sex, and it¬†ended up covered in all sorts of stains and frankly¬†disturbing handprints. He enjoys period sex, so he didn’t and¬†doesn’t¬†care about the mess, but it’s certainly more convenient¬†when you’re not leaving bloody evidence everywhere. And finally (and most importantly),¬†I don’t get UTIs from period sex anymore. Win, win, win,¬†and WIN.

Excedrin, even though it makes me feel¬†anxious and panicky after I take it. (It’s probably the caffeine.) Sometimes you just have to¬†kick that migraine’s ass, even if it means¬†being¬†very nervous for no reason for a¬†while.

Running on a treadmill. I used to hate running. I still kind of do, but now I love-hate it. Running outdoors isn’t really an option for me (I don’t feel safe running outdoors in the early morning or in the evening, which are the only times I can run), but running indoors while listening to Talk Direction¬†at a fixed pace¬†is actually¬†pleasant, and the post-run euphoria is Real, guys. It feels so good. (The pacing was actually my biggest problem – I have to run a lot more¬†slowly than I thought, but now I can actually run an entire mile without feeling like Death Is Come, so¬†I consider that a huge win.)

And, last but in fact GREATEST, being blessed by this Corgi sploot:

I’m under that blanket. I fell asleep on the living room floor, and Butters came by and splooted behind my butt.

Hella blessed, hella thankful.