lately (06.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

Just wanna preface this post by saying that if you haven’t yet contacted your local officials about defunding your local police department (and diverting those funds which would’ve been used for, like, weapons and armored tanks (and other, less visibly egregious expenses), toward social services like, for example, mental health and substance abuse treatment/interventions), this website might be useful for you. (Are you in the Campaign Zero/#8CantWait camp and think police departments should be reformed instead of abolished? That hasn’t worked in the past, so here are some alternative ways to frame the issue.)

(Also, I feel like I don’t plug Ear Hustle enough, so here’s my plug: Do yourself a favor and learn a little about life inside prison (and life post-incarceration) so you can start forming your own opinions about the prison industrial complex. Listen to Ear Hustle.)

Alright, so. Since my last update, I…

…received a bunch of EXO group order stuff:

exo group order go kpop merch - baekhyun slogan - delight albums cinnamon mint honey versions - suho junmyeon self portrait album - chanyeol washi tape memo stickers

Albums! Stickers! Washi tape! A slogan!

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lately (05.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

samglorious - anothertoast - shein matte oversized double hair clips barrettes

(oversized matte hair clips from SHEIN)

Helllllooooooooo. I’m writing this intro on Thursday night, from the dining room table, where I’m folded up on my chair in cute floral-embroidered sweatpants and an ancient, ratty sweatshirt that may have once belonged to my uncle. The cat is curled up in a softly meeping circle on a nearby chair, snoozing on top of my partner’s sweatshirt, while my partner is at his desk, partially hidden by a piece of cardboard we hung up so I wouldn’t show up in the background of his video calls.

Since my last update, I…

…finished reading all 12 available issues of Fence by C.S. Pacat x Johanna the Mad. It was a TREAT and I’m excited for more!

…finished reading The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert. It was sexy! It was fun! I love consent!!! This book was written by a pan woman of color, whose writing voice was probably a huge factor in why I wasn’t squicked out by the sexual content, as I sometimes am in M/F romances. (The male love interest is bi, which also helps.)

…finished reading The Future of Feeling: Building Empathy in a Tech-Obsessed World by Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips. I didn’t really like it, but eh. It was largely about VR and how to build empathy into tech, but the author lost me within the first few pages because I have very little interest in listening to someone who thinks politics are a matter of opinion, not morality. When children are being held in cages and hate crimes are on the rise and people are being urged to risk their health to go to work in the middle of the pandemic for the sake of the economy, it is… literally a matter of morality. I just didn’t think the information in this book was particularly insightful, and I was disappointed that it took an entire book to basically say “People want to use VR for sex, but also for therapy” and “We need more diversity in tech.”

…started reading Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (aka the author of several of my favorite Drarry fics), and it is SO FUCKING GOOD. It’s magical! It’s dark!! It’s feminist!!! I don’t even want to finish reading it because I don’t want the book to end!!!!

…somehow came across and read “unbelievable” by mullethyuck, a Bee Movie AU NCT fic where Mark Lee is introduced as “Mark. Mark Bee.” I truly love fandom.

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lately (04.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

anothertoast - samglorious - ya girl is breaking out

im breaking out from lack of sleep but i also rediscovered some sparkly black alligator clips in my hair accessory collection so who’s the real winner here? (it’s not me (it’s digiorno))

I don’t know how to start this post, but in all honesty I’m just gonna bang out words until I’ve covered these past two weeks, not because I particularly feel like it, but because I want to maintain my posting record so far this year. I’d much rather be working on writing the long-form fiction story that I’m hoping will eventually end up novel-length, but here I am, so let’s do this.

Since my last update, I…

…ate a few things that I didn’t actually make myself(!!), including a morning bun, cheesy bread, garlic bread, and an XL combo pizza. Our food choices were definitely motivated by 1) things we couldn’t or didn’t want to make ourselves and 2) things that could be easily reheated for virus-killing purposes.

Honestly, going to the bakery to pick up our online order of pastries was really nerve-wracking, I think because the space was so small. They had tape on the ground to space out customers, but I had to pass way too close to people who were definitely not acting in the best interest of others.

The pizza and garlic bread, we had delivered (yes we tipped high), so that was significantly less nerve-wracking. The place we ordered from has their own delivery drivers (which is good because I HATE the exploitative Uber Eats, Grubhub, PostMates, Seamless etc. business model), and I found out that they use ChowNow, which is basically an online ordering middleman for restaurants that can fulfill their own orders. The restaurant pays ChowNow a subscription fee for using their platform, which has a solid UI. I just think it’s neat and a way more sensible, sustainable approach than what the gig economy offers.

…made a no-knead loaf of bread using this recipe and this recipe Frankenstein’d together (with some tips for doing the 2nd rise overnight in the fridge from here), because we don’t have a Dutch oven but we do have an Instant Pot. We didn’t even have an appropriate container to shape the bread in, so our loaf kind of turned out looking like unsliced biscotti.

babys first quarantine bread - no knead no dutch oven loaf - quarantine baking

baby’s first quarantine bread

It may have looked a little ugly, but it was definitely tasty! I threw in a bunch of rosemary we’d frozen a few months back, and it was really good dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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lately (03.31.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

anothertoast - samglorious - quarantine selfie

our bathroom is kinda gross, and so am i!

SOOO. Shortly after my last update, San Francisco issued a shelter-in-place order, closely followed by California issuing a stay-at-home order. I am so, so relieved that I was able to convince my mom to take one more sick day and avoid going into work, because the shelter-in-place order came literally hours later, so it would’ve been pointless exposure to other people if she’d gone in anyway.

(My uncle is still going into work, as he’s considered an essential worker. He takes public transportation and lives in the same house as my mom, so we’re still pretty worried he could get sick (and subsequently, so could my mom), but there doesn’t seem to be much to be done about it other than being as careful as possible.)

I am not an epidemiologist, but I have vague, wild hopes that because the Bay Area has so many tech workers (almost 30% of all private sector workers, according to Wikipedia), and because so many tech companies encouraged WFH pretty early in March, with most mandating it by mid-March – I have the vague, wild hope that regionally, at least, we might’ve slowed the spread enough (by taking so many people aka disease vectors out of their typical travel + interaction paths) to buy our healthcare workers more time. More time for PPE to be produced and distributed, more time for ventilators to be produced or refurbished, more time for hotel rooms to be requisitioned as quarantine facilities, more time for people to realize how seriously we need to take this.

I’m probably wrong. But I hope I’m right.

This post is basically gonna be a wall of text given the fact that I’ve been sheltering in place, but since my last update I…

…left the house a handful of times for 1) paranoia-inducing walks around the block (followed by religious hand-washing and surface-disinfecting), and 2) starting the car engine, once, just to let it run for a couple minutes. Sunlight is great! So is fresh air! I’ve completely given up on sunscreen! A whole new world!

…made one last trip to the grocery store before settling in at home for a couple weeks. It’s been 2 weeks since my last update, and I’m hoping we can hold out for a few more days before another trip to the grocery store. We can survive on what we have in the pantry, but it’s getting kinda depressing.

On our last trip, a lot of things were sold out, so I’m just going to give my late-February self a pat on the back for preemptively buying a carton of eggs on every grocery trip (though it seemed ridiculous at the time), and for freezing an extra loaf of sliced bread. We’re down to a couple butt pieces now, and I (like everyone else) am contemplating… a sourdough starter. I’m not sure how long our flour will last us, though, between baking and feeding the starter. (I’d considered buying extra flour and sugar and yeast in early March but then decided I was overreacting. I was a FOOL.)

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lately (03.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

Henlo, friends.

San Francisco had its first 2 confirmed cases of coronavirus a few days into March, both from community spread, and we’re up to 37 cases as of this morning (up from 28 yesterday).

I think most of the city has hunkered down for a long stay at home by now. The coronavirus is very much here, and while I continue to worry for the rest of the state (and the country, and the world), I feel pretty relieved by the measures my own city has taken to make sure we take care of each other.

(Some of those measures: Events and gatherings have been shut down or restricted, schools have been closed, school breakfasts and lunches are being made available for pickup, libraries and rec centers have been converted to emergency childcare centers for kids of healthcare workers and kids from low-income families, the citywide sick leave policy has been expanded, and utility shutdowns have been prohibited. It’s all disruptive, but it feels hopeful that we’re taking this seriously, in a very community-focused way.)

It feels weird that this thing I’ve been low-key panicking about since January is now a thing that most people around me are panicking about, but at this point I don’t care how many of them were mocking people like me for “overreacting” about things “unlikely to happen.” Sure, I still wanna yell at them for only believing what’s up after it affected a fuckin NBA player, but however people get here – I’m glad they’re here. We all need to work together to protect each other. As someone on Twitter said, “This is a group exercise, and we pass or fail together.”

My partner’s WFH indefinitely, and I couldn’t have picked a better person to be holed up with. I’ve been feeling extra grateful for him and my family lately.

So as you can imagine, things have been pretty quiet, but since my last update I…

…started joining NCT group orders because there aren’t enough EXO group orders to stress-join right now. So far I’ve joined GOs for an NCT 127 varsity jacket (which is absolutely sick; the back is embroidered with a massive dragon head), Mark Lee stickers and washi tape, a whole bunch of Neo Zone stickers, and some stickers of the other NCT boys.

…joined a couple more EXO GOs, including orders for a bucket hat (never thought I’d ever be swayed into buying a bucket hat, but… slap a fandom logo on it and I’m sold, I guess), beaded bracelets, and phone cases.

…bought a couple things from the official NCT 127 website: a physical Neo Zone album (the yellow/N version) and a “Kick It” sweatshirt. The sweatshirt design features the Chinese characters for “hero,” since the Korean title for “Kick It” is “Hero.” Feels kinda empowering to want giant Chinese characters on my clothes instead of being ashamed that I’ll never be white enough to be likable, ya know?

…lit a lot of candles. I’ve mostly been burning Frostbeard Studio’s Christmas at the Burrow (which smells like Christmas baking) and Bath & Body Works’ 3-wick Mango Mai Tai (which smells like tropical fruit with a little too much sugar), but I also recently acquired 3-wicks of Fiji White Sands (as mentioned by Baekhyun during an Instagram Live; it smells the way lying on a hot beach reading a steamy fic feels), White Tea & Sage (leans a little too floral for me, but it’s nice and clean, like something you’d smell in a yoga studio’s bathroom), and Paris Café (smells rich and deliciously coffee bean-y, with a touch of sweetness). I know it’s not great for indoor air quality to burn a lot of candles, but it’s hella hygge and I’ve needed a lot of soothing lately.

bath and body works 3 wick candles - mango mai tai - fiji white sands - white tea & sage - paris cafe

I’m particularly fond of the White Tea & Sage container. The concrete is just very satisfying.

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lately (02.29.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

HENLO. I am trying to crawl into bed within the next hour and a half, so I’m cutting this intro short. Since my last update post, I…

…received a SICK whiskey (er… whisky) bottle from Spenser, from the Nikka distillery in Japan, with a SICK-ASS SAMURAI DESIGN. Look at it!!!

nikka whiskey samurai bottle

LOOK AT HIM!!!

…finally watched Parasite and couldn’t stop thinking about it for, like, a week. I don’t know if this description makes sense to anyone but myself, but it was… symphonic? Watching it felt listening to a symphony, with every moment important and satisfying and tantalizing, whether it was sparse (in terms of visuals or dialogue or symbolism) or rich and layered. Also, this is extremely beside the point, but Park So-dam is SUPER pretty, and Choi Woo-shik… is Hot. Not with this Ki-woo/Kevin haircut, but, like. It’s there.

…watched Train to Busan, which Choi Woo-shik also happens to be in. (To reiterate: He’s hot.) It was thoughtful and thrilling and really entertaining, and I loved it. If you’re wary of zombie movies because they fall under the general category of horror (as I was), don’t worry; this one gets a little gross at times, but it’s not particularly nightmare-inducing.

…rewatched Pan’s Labyrinth for the first time since probably 2011. It’s definitely still one of my favorite movies of all time, and I definitely still want Ofelia’s green dress.

…watched To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, which was just alright. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles (or, uh, love wishbones?), and it was pretty much what I’d expected based on the book. On the one hand, it’s true that early relationships are messy and laden with insecurity and somebody always gets hurt, but on the other hand I was at least expecting Lara Jean’s outfits to be as cute as the first movie. They were not (they were… fine), and I was very disappointed.

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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 partner 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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