January 31, 2021 - January reflection

Since today’s the last day of January, I wanted to write down a few accomplishments and reflections on the past month:

  • I’m proud of myself for starting a YouTube channel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I was too scared to take the leap in fear of judgment from others, or coming off like a know-it-all

  • I’m proud of myself for writing (almost) everyday (I missed 2 days) in my daily journal entries

  • I’m grateful for the time I got to spend at home and with my family

  • I’m grateful for the fulfilling month I had in my professional life

  • I need to work on reading consistently, perhaps try to squeeze in 10 minutes of reading before I go to bed every night

  • I need to work on exercising twice a week and really committing, maybe putting some sort of penalty if I don’t follow through with this

  • I’m grateful that I stopped taking digital portrait commissions and orders for a few weeks, to let myself rest and recharge

January 30, 2021 - Anohana

It seems that the most exciting things that are happening to me lately involve my consumption of new TV shows, animes, or movies. Today I watched Anohana for the first time, and it rocked me to my core. I don't know about you, but I know I've been deeply affected by a show when I'm still crying post credits. This is what happened to me with Anohana. It's great storytelling about coming of age, heartbreak, falling in love for the first time, and grief. Would definitely recommend! Plus it's on Netflix and is only 11 episodes long.

(L) January 29, 2021 - An L

No excuses here - missed a day :( We're 27 for 29 so ~93% success rate isn't too shabby. Aiming to get to each day in February though.

January 28, 2021 - Meditation is hard

Today was one of those "meh" days. Nothing specific happened to put a damper on my mood, but just one of those days. So I tried to meditate since I used to do it every day for awhile, and I would be a lot more mindful whenever I did. However, today it was nearly impossible. I only tried to go for a 10 minute meditation session, but I couldn't keep my eyes closed and my body at peace. It was rough. I'm sure it'll be better once I continue to keep this up, but creating habits is one of my weaknesses. I'll give it another go tomorrow.

January 27, 2021 - What is my fashion style?

This was another journalling prompt that I found on a random website. I never thought about defining my fashion style, but now that I think about it, writing it out will help me shop less since I won't just buy clothes for the sake of buying clothes. I think I have mainly two different styles, 1) more casual/streetwear. Think baggy cargo pants, a nice graphic tee, sneakers, and mid to tall height white ribbed socks. And 2) a more classic and timeless look - this one is more a mix of Club Monaco and Korean-inspired style. You can check out my fall/winter fashion Pinterest board too if you're curious about what type of outfits inspire me.

January 26, 2021 - How I like to spend my day

I'm getting desperate in coming up with journalling prompts so I had to search some up on Google. For today, the prompt is, "How do you like to spend your day?" My favourite way to spend my day is having a mix of outdoor and indoor activities, and food! I definitely enjoy soaking up sunlight during the day such as walking on Main Street or grabbing lunch on a patio. Then I like to round out my day by spending a nice night at home with takeout and a movie night in. Wow just imagining the day where I can sit outside on a nice patio again... spring can't come any sooner! The sun is starting to set late and later and I'm definitely all for it.

January 25, 2021 - Empath

This is the definition of an empath, "(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual." If I had a superpower, this would it the one - kind of like Professor X. No matter what I watch, I will almost definitely cry. And I am not over-exaggerating. And I do think it's my greatest strength because I know when to emote appropriately. I'm just a sucker for storytelling and in TV shows and films, they do such a great job storytelling characters.

January 24, 2021 - Bling Empire

I just started Bling Empire and this show is juicy greatness. There's something about reality TV that's exciting, and pretty new to see Asian-Americans in pop culture today. Love to see it.

January 23, 2021 - Finding it hard to keep up habits

It's been difficult to keep up my new year's resolutions for sure - mostly practicing daily gratitude & exercising. Even though I have a physical journal to maintain this it hasn't been going that smoothly. Will reset this week and try to go at it again!

January 22, 2021 - Creativity revived the cat(?)

FYI I made up that phrase. So far making YouTube videos has been so much fun because I feel like I'm being challenged creatively. I'm really bad at taking photos and videos, so I'm hoping that through my channel I'll be able to see my skills evolve overtime. I'm also cutting back on creating digital portraits because it doesn't give spark as much joy as it did in the beginning. Marie Kondo was definitely on to something...

January 21, 2021 - A shorty, Just Dance 2

Hey y'all today we're doing a short entry today because I'm feeling pretty sleepy. A quick update is I bought the full version of Just Dance 2 on my Switch so I'm really amped to use that as a way to exercise. Also, a great family game and activity to play! 😂😅 I'm so EXCITED!

January 20, 2021 - Travelling via music 🌏🎧

This is a fun fact of mine, but one of my favourite pastimes is travelling to different countries... musically. I go to Spotify Top 50 Charts by Country and randomly jump to different countries to shuffle the music. It's a way to peek into everyday life somewhere across the globe.

I volunteered in Taiwan 3 years ago, teaching English to elementary school students. On weekdays, I lived in the 'burbs, Hsinchu, at the homes of host families, usually teachers of the elementary school. And on the weekends I travelled around Taiwan or head up to Taipei and explored the city with other expats. I indulged fully into Taiwanese culture. Of course there's amazing food and traditions, but something that distinctly shaped my trip was the music. There were so many moments during my trip where the same trending songs that summer would come up, and now when I listen to them, I'm immediately taken right back to that summer. To me, those songs represent a snapshot of my life - a moment in time, at a specific place where I created memories with wonderful people (it seriously brings me to tears at times). A few of the songs that instantly bring me back are:

Ever since then I've been discovering new music and feeling like I'm travelling to new countries in the process. I've musically travelled to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, France, Spain, and many other countries! Can't wait for the day when I can actually travel again!

January 19, 2021 - YouTube channel launch tomorrow!

It's pretty cool how I had only dabbled around with the idea of about doing a YouTube channel on January 8th, and now I'm really going to launch it! Been working on this since then and thinking of a name for my channel, and I finally landed on one - A Little Piece (a little piece stylized). It's an homage to one of the first versions of a personal blog which I titled " A Little Piece of Em" - and it also has dual meaning. I can use my channel to share little pieces of my life, and hopefully bring a little peace into our busy and hectic lives. Stay tuned for the launch bright and early tomorrow!

January 18, 2021 - Taking my time

In stark contrast with yesterday's post, I felt wildly motivated today. It was quite a burst of energy, and I became really excited to work on my new YouTube channel - stay tuned for the official announcement! As a result, I rushed through filming and editing, without taking some time to truly think about what I want to say. This is another fatal flaw of mine - I'm usually quite patient when it comes to situations that are beyond my control, but when I'm piloting the plane I rarely take it easy and enjoy the ride.

I don't know why I felt like I was in such a rush to complete the video - in all honestly, I actually finished filming and editing in one night, and I was prepared to launch tomorrow. But this was a great lesson - I noticed a lot of areas in the video that can use more TLC and attention. Plus, I really should write a loose script before filming these videos.

Stay tuned! You'll probably hear about my new YouTube channel over the next few days :)

January 17, 2021 - Feeling unmotivated

We're more than halfway through January (already?) and I'm feeling exhausted. I definitely had a burst of energy in the beginning of the new year, as shown by the ambitious nature of my projects. But lately it's been tough to get the wheels turning - and that's okay. I don't need to be operating at 100% all the time, and the best thing I can do is acknowledge it, feel it, and recognize that it won't last forever. I hope this new week brings more motivation and good energy! ☀️🌻

January 16, 2021 - My Hero Academia

This weekend has been about taking it easy, catching up on some good ol' TV, and disconnecting as much as I can. The Zoom fatigue is real folks!

My Hero Academia... this show is incredible. I've already gone through the first season after 2 days but it's just what I like to see out of a shounen anime. There's something about the typical shounen main character that keeps pulling me in, they're brave, driven, and resilient - qualities that I admire. Midoriya, Hinata, Soma, Gon, Itadori, Ichigo, Tanjiro... amazing characters - love to see it.

January 15, 2021 - I vow to never shop at Yesstyle again!

I recently made an order of clothes from YesStyle - and I vow to never shop there again! The items I ordered are fine, but this decision is due to a few reasons:

  1. The quality is questionable and unpredictable - I truly feel like I'll never know what to expect, even if I go through the product reviews in depth. If I can't get good yield out of the garment (over 30 wears), what's the point?

  2. I should invest in clothing - I always thought shopping at these DTC fast fashion brands were such great value. After all, you can get 5 clothing items from YesStyle for the price of 1 at Club Monaco. But now I've come to realize that quality really trumps quantity when it comes to clothing, especially now that I want to live a bit more minimally.

  3. The environment - These fast fashion brands really don't create any of these garments with the environment in mind. I'll be trying to buy more secondhand via Depop, Poshmark, or thrift shops - and if I do want to invest in new pieces, I'll look for higher quality and slower fashion brands.

January 14, 2021 - Long week

'Twas a long work week and alas, I was not able to spend that much time to reflect and write in my daily journal so instead here are few current events that happened:

  • Trump to be impeached... a second time!

  • Toronto is in yet another lockdown

  • Kim K and Kanye are rumored to file for divorce?!?!?!?

That's all folks - tomorrow is FRIYAY!

January 13, 2021 - Health privilege

"Black people and other people of colour make up 83 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases while only making up half of Toronto's population, according to the latest data from the city."

In the musical Hamilton, there's a line in one of my favourite songs that goes like this: "Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes [...]" Although I love this song, I've always had my qualms with this statement - because death does discriminate. And it's become even more apparent during the pandemic. Aside from the political situation in the US, the same trends are happening right here in Toronto. COVID is disproportionately affecting the lives of Black people and low-income people, from none other than centuries of systemic racism embedded into our everyday lives.

I want to become a better ally, advocate, and continue to actively practice anti-racism.

January 12, 2021 - What's your greatest weakness?

The age old interview question - what is your great weakness? Now this is a tough one - if you're too honest, then it's game over because there's too many things wrong with you. But if you're too perfect - then it's also game over because there's no way you're being honest. I used to create an answer that's 50% authentic, and 50% interview ready. But since I'm in a mission to display my most authentic self, here are a few of my greatest weaknesses:

  1. I take criticism too harshly and personally. This came about after talking to my friend Dawson, but I always take criticism too seriously. Criticism is vital in helping me grow as a person, but at the end of the day it comes from someone else's perception of me. Since I can't control how people see me, I should take any criticism with a grain of salt.

  2. I need to stay focused on the (short-term) tasks at hand. When I'm uncomfortable, I procrastinate. The idea is to just keep avoiding it until I can't. This quality has bit and will continue to bite me in the back, especially in my professional life.

  3. I lack structure and discipline. This is partially why I decided to start this journal in the first place, to prove that I can commit to something and see it through. If I'm being optimistic, I'd say I'm a right-brained person and I'm more creative. But so far, inviting more structure and organization for my thoughts has yielded great results.

January 11, 2021 - My toxic relationship with money, we're breaking up 💔

My relationship with money is something I'm constantly working on. I come from a regular middle class family (not the middle class families you see on TikTok) and I'm grateful that growing up, my relationship with money was never a huge issue. This is mainly because my family raised me with love and protected me from our shortcomings, so I never really questioned my quality of life in comparison to others.

A very unfortunate byproduct of growing up is realizing the true pervasiveness of wealth - it's literally all around you. You can't drive around town or turn on the TV without noticing Lamborghinis and Bugattis, mansions with beautiful blue pools and heated driveways, the latest Nike drop or new Chanel collection, and more. I grew up for the majority of my young adult life wanting to be rich - so rich that I can hop on a private jet and buy every single thing from the new Artizia collection at original price. I even remember during my angsty Tumblr days, reblogging a photo of a matte black BMW i8 thinking, "Oh yes, Emily, this is going to be you in 5 years." And the problem with this relationship is that it's undeniably toxic. As defined by this article by Time Magazine, these are the warning signs of a toxic relationship (which I have interpreted differently than intended):

  • persistent unhappiness - Check!

  • negative shifts in mental health, personality, or self-esteem - Check!

  • changes in the way I spend my free time - Check! In which I'm always trying to find new income streams and get rich quick! (Fortunately no pyramid schemes for me)

  • concern from friends and family (this one hasn't happened yet but it's bound to)

Upon noticing this, I asked myself why this toxic relationship came to be and here are a few thoughts:

  1. I went to a university in which many of the students come from wealthy families

  2. I went to business school in which I was literally learning how to make people and companies more rich

  3. I grew up always striving to hit the next milestone: a good school, an internship, a job, a job that pays well, a house, a big house, a car, a trendy car, the list goes on

  4. I grew up in the 2000s in which social media was beginning to take flight and people were showing off their lavish lifestyles

  5. The world just works like that.

All in all, I recently realized the actual gravity of this toxic relationship. It weighs heavily on my mental health, because I keep tying my self-worth to the amount of money I have in my bank account - as if adding subsequent zeroes to my bank account is equivalent to the amount of happiness I deserve. Sorry to break it to you, Money, but it's over. And this time - it's you, not me.

January 10, 2021 - The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Today I started a graphic novel called, "The Best We Could Do", by Thi Bui. I first heard about this book from Jenn Im's book club, and I just received the loan from the library (via Libby of course). I've found it difficult to jump back into reading, so this graphic novel format will definitely help. I'm already halfway through and it's hard to stop reading once I start. The story is an autobiography of a second generation Vietnamese woman, Thi Bui, and highlights not only her familial history and life, but actual historical events that took place. So far, it's been a really great book that goes through the topics of pain, loss, grief, trauma, celebration, and more. I'm excited to do my mini report for this!

January 9, 2021 - Cool apps

Today I shall share with y'all some great phone apps that I've been really into:

  1. Neko Atsume - This is a passive game where you take care of cats. The point of the game is to check in a few times a day to see the cats that visit your yard. In return, they'll gift you silver or gold fish (the game's currency), and you can buy more furniture, toys, or expand your yard!

  2. GeoGuessr - This is a game in which you get dropped into a random place in the world on Google Maps, and you try to guess where you are. To figure it out, you want to leverage any hints such as signs, types of cars, or landscape.

  3. Be My Eyes - This app is a really great find! Essentially, you can sign up as a volunteer or as someone who is blind/loss of vision. The point of the app is to connect people with vision, to those who might need help in making simple decisions such as helping them figure out which sweater is the red one. The app will ping a few people at once when someone requires assistance, and the first person to pick up will get the call.

  4. 1 Second Everyday - A video compilation app where you film one second everyday for the entire year. It makes for a short recap of your year. I find it hard to keep it up every day, but definitely worthwhile when there are interesting events or memories you want to capture.

  5. Family Style - A great co-op game to play with your family when you're stuck in quarantine together. It's easy to learn and super hectic. Every member is a chef in a kitchen and you try to pass ingredients to each other to fulfill the recipes! Super simple, and people of all ages can play.

January 8, 2021 - Thinking about starting a YouTube channel🤔

If you haven't noticed - I get bored really easily. One of my biggest character flaws is my inability to complete things and see them through. I'll often start a few projects at once, but then I'll fail to finish them. That's partially why I'm trying to commit to writing every day. Adding fuel to the fire, I've thought about starting a YouTube channel for awhile now and while I don't have many things to say, I do enjoy talking, creating content, and sharing my life and stories with people. If I were to start a YouTube channel, it would probably be vlogs and fairly ad hoc. I'm thinking something similar to Weylie's vlog channel.

I'm clearly taking advantage of the clean slate that comes with the new year, hence all these new personal projects. YouTube seems like a natural progression from here, but I am hesitant to put myself out there. I'll spend this weekend brainstorming different video ideas and continue to mull over this decision...

January 7, 2021 - Things I'm looking forward to:

It's 2AM (I know - technically it's January 8th, but my sleep schedule is broken therefore it still counts!) so I'll keep this short and sweet. This weekend there will be a lot of exciting things for me to catch up on in the anime world including a new episode of Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack on Titan (anime and manga), and Promise Neverland Season 2. This weekend I'm also planning to go hiking and catch up on some commissioned digital portraits in the backlog. I'll try to fix my sleeping schedule starting next week.

Side note: We made it to the first full week of 2021! And it's been a long week. Capitol Hill in Washington, DC was terrorized by rioters and pro-Trump supporters who refuse Trump's concession and essentially threatening democracy as a whole. Although the events were unfortunate, it isn't surprising. Despite all of this, I remain hopeful - the world is watching and history has its eyes on us. (There are many Hamilton references I want to make)

January 6, 2021 - I am not my job

I recently saw this viral TikTok of a man yelling at me reminding me that I am not my job, that my self-worth is not tied to my job, and that I am a human outside of my job as well. While that seems obvious, it really is hard to separate. We go to school for at least 20 years of our lives with the sole purpose of finding a job - so obviously my self-worth is tied to that goal. But note to self: Emily, you are not your job!

I was also curious about why we work 40-hour work weeks. After some extensive (aka Google searches top 3 sites) research, it seems that in 1926, Henry Ford popularized the 40-hour work week after he discovered that working any more led to only a small increase in productivity. Other shocking facts from this site that I didn't fact check:

  • Working more than 8 hours a week is detrimental for the employee and the employer (but I didn't read the studies - do not quote me on this)

  • Americans work on average 7 extra hours a week due to the inability to disconnect from their phones and laptops

  • Luxembourg is the most productive country, and has an average work week of 29 hours 🤯

(L) January 5, 2021 - I didn't have time to write :(

It's Jan 6th and I missed yesterday's entry because I didn't have time... which is entirely an excuse because writing an entry can easily take 1 minute to complete.

FYI: (1) Journaling daily + (2) writing in my gratitude journal twice a day are my personal goals. As punishment, I will not buy any bubble tea or order any food until I succeed in writing for 5 days straight in both mediums. Only then I will be eligible to purchase bubble tea and food again. Wish me luck.

January 4, 2021 - Routines and habits

I'm trying to figure out the most ideal morning and night routine for me. Here's my current plan, but I decided to not be too hard on myself if I don't stick to it. We'll call this a "loose routine" for now - I'll continue to iterate depending on what works best for me:

Morning Routine

🚰 Wash my face & brush my teeth

📝 Take 5 minutes to write gratitude & daily affirmation

💧 Drink a cup of water

💊 Take my vitamins

☕️ Reward myself with morning coffee or tea

Night Routine

🚿 Take a shower - try to rinse cold, brush my teeth

🧖🏻‍♀️ All the other important self-care stuff: flossing, full skin-care routine, drink more water

📚 Evening wellness activity à la carte: read for 30 minutes or meditate for 10 minutes

📝 Take 5 minutes to write gratitude

😴 Sleep

January 3, 2021 - The people who inspire me and teach me life lessons

2020 has shown me how amazing people are. I'm constantly in awe of how those who are close to me continue to do great things. Here are a few things that continue to inspire me every day, I kept these pretty vague but if it's you, you'll know who you are. Also sorry in advance for how long this is:

  • My mom who goes hiking every week without fail, no matter how sunny or snowy it is outside. All while balancing her job, being an incredible chef, managing a household, and being the best mom. She teaches me unconditional love, and spending time to stop and smell the roses provides infinite value.

  • My dad who works countless hours even on holidays to provide for the family, yet still manages to do household chores and cook for us. He also teaches me unconditional love, and inspires me to do all I can to work hard so that I can reap its benefits.

  • My sister for creating a side business of adorable, quirky greeting cards, and stickers in the middle of a pandemic to make it a bit easier to connect with people during these tough times. On top of having her own full-time job + another small business on the side? She teaches me to never stop creating, doing things you love, and trying something new.

  • My best friend since pretty much birth for juggling school and putting herself outside of her comfort zone by creating online content. She teaches me to be unapologetically me, to cut the bs, and to only give love to those who deserve it.

  • My best friend for taking the leap to create his own business which is product-based. This means contacting suppliers, holding inventory, learning how to market, learning how shipping works, design products - all from scratch & investing his own money. He teaches me to never get too used to life. Life is about seeking discomfort, like investing your own time and money into a passion project - especially when you're still young.

  • Another best friend finding a career and industry that she loves, continuously learning to improve her skills and portfolio, attending events and talking to people tirelessly. She teaches me to be resilient and to always strive to improve my own skill gaps, while being confident in the skills that I do possess.

  • Another best friend looking for ways for self-improvement, breaking down the barriers of mental health, and putting herself first. She inspires me to always prioritize my mental health, and that it's okay to say no, or to take things slow. I don't always have to be doing something or chasing a goal - that's not what life is about.

  • Another best friend who is tackling a long distance relationship - which might be in and of itself one of the toughest things to do, exacerbated by the pandemic. I know that she also wants to do more and to challenge herself professionally. She teaches me how to be patient, especially with loved ones, and she teaches me to keep pushing myself professionally, and that the sky's the limit.

  • Another best friend who is in pursuit of true love in its rarest form. A love conquers all mentality. She teaches me how to be vulnerable with my loved ones, and how building trust is the most vulnerable task of all. She also teaches me that sometimes, all you need is a little good faith.

  • Another best friend who is one of the best listeners I know and amazingly down-to-earth, and reminds me that my friends are always there to listen and support me unconditionally when I need them. He teaches me that friendship is powerful, and keeps me grounded. He also makes bad jokes and teaches me that laughter is the best medicine.

  • Another best friend who is in grad school, doing what she can to live a comfortable life. But also not being afraid to explore other life options or decisions that might not be as linear. She teaches me that it's okay to both be in pursuit of a comfortable YAPPIE life, while dreaming and wanting more for oneself.

  • My best friend for being one of the most consistent and true advocates/allies of BLM and other BIPOC social issues. She also never fails to always put herself and her loved ones first. She teaches me how powerful it is to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good girlfriend, and a good ally.

January 2, 2021 - "To give or not to give (a f***)?", that is the question

Awhile back I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson and although I know this book isn't for everyone, it changed my mindset drastically. It taught me to define my goals/metrics as mundane things like being a good friend, daughter, or girlfriend. I decided to give it another read, audiobook style this time. (An aside, Libby is a great app that lets you borrow audiobooks and ebooks from your local library.) My favourite chapters are Chapter 4: The Value of Suffering, and Chapter 7: Failure Is the Way Forward. Check out this link for my mini book report!

Some random thoughts today:

  • I will stop justifying myself when I speak. I didn't realize how often I did this until I started catching it. Saying things like "just wanted to ask you..." or "I guess I can do..." or "I kind of wanted to check in with..." To the listener, it conveys that I'm not confident with my statements and inherently makes me feel less confident too.

  • Audiobooks are easier for me to commit than physical books. Audiobooks are excellent especially on a walk or hike, but not great to listen while multitasking.

  • I enjoyed my day today. I went hiking in Oakville with my mom and took in the sights of nature. Now I'm tired.

  • I'm glad it's only Saturday and I still have one more day before the work week starts again.

January 1, 2021 - One whole cycle around the sun

Happy New Year! I hope 2021 brings you great energy, new experiences, and hopefully the ability to spend time with friends and family within 6 feet of each other. We've made another cycle around the sun, which means it's time for earnest reflection and usually the peak of my journaling frequency.

I suck at journaling - and I've tried to do everything from blogging, unorganized brain dumps, and the notorious bullet journaling. For some reason I can never manage to get past a few weeks at most. This time it's going to be different (she says, fingers crossed). I'm challenging myself to write a journal entry every day this year, and to document it here. The criteria is the following:

  • Write

  • That's it.

I got the inspiration from my friend James, who attempted this in 2020 - and was successful in doing so! It doesn't have to be profound, life-changing, or self-reflective. As long as I manage to get some thoughts out on a page, I'll consider it a win. My goal is to better organize my own thoughts and feelings, and to have a neat time-capsule to look back. For today's January 1st entry, I deem it appropriate to list out my New Year's resolutions:

  • ✨ Do process-based goal setting (instead of outcome-based)

  • 🏋🏻‍♂️ Exercise twice a week

  • 💛 Practice daily gratitude and affirmations

  • 🌝 Seek discomfort (IYKYK)

  • 💵 Budget

Welcome to my journal!