Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine

I'm a huge fan of snail mail and always get excited when postcards, letters, or packages arrive for me, even if the package is just something I ordered off Amazon for myself. I've been meaning to send out postcards from Bryn Mawr College to many of my high school friends, but I haven't gotten around to that yet, what with life going on--ah, life, always so inopportune (haha just kidding...maybe). Anyways, this means that I've been saving my updates for these postcards I haven't yet written, and thus have been avoiding contact for fear of divulging updates that would render my postcards "outdated"--snail mail is slow enough as it is, and don't even get me started on the complexities of postage stamps!

I've been off the grid ever since I started college, except for playing Bakery Story (still going strong!!), but since I've been at it for over a month now, and it's the beginning of a new one (Happy October!), I figured that now would be as good a time as any for a little update. I can't fit it all on a postcard anyway.

Although the Bryn Mawr College dining service is ranked pretty high, one can stand only so much dining hall food. One weekend I took the SEPTA to meet up with friends at Reading Terminal Market, right across the exit of Market East Station (renamed Jefferson Station), and it was like the Eataly in New York with food as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately, I didn't know that that was where my friends were taking me, so I didn't bring a camera, but I'll definitely be making a trip down there again some time. Chinatown isn't far from there either. I might make the trip over Fall Break.

no-bake Nutella cheesecake with Oreo crust
verdict: amped up the recipe by sprinkling over semi-sweet chocolate chips #chefs

Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies
verdict: accidentally made five dozen between the four of us

strawberry-banana Jell-O
verdict: horrendous catastrophe

I miss my kitchen and all of its baking parties! Before leaving for college, SheenaNicole, and I went to Julia's for a last baking party where we made these (mostly) delectable goodies. I've been on the hunt for no-bake recipes as we're not allowed to cook/bake in our dorms. If you have any good ones, let me know! For now, I'm going to content myself with midnight snacks from Insomnia Cookies and cupcakes from Twelve Baskets, which I discovered during Bryn Mawr Day.

I had this one last night and it was the best cupcake I've ever eaten in my life. Highly recommended. Hopefully I haven't progressed too far into the Freshman Fifty Fifteen. After all, I am walking around Bryn Mawr a lot, which, true to its Welsh namesake meaning "big hill," is, well, hilly.

In fact, even though I haven't been sightseeing Philly, or even been off campus that often for that matter, I feel totally swamped! I'm still not used to living at school. When does school start? When am I supposed to be on task? When does school end? When can I start chillin'? Ideally, I should always be on task, whether or not it is "school time," but someone like me doesn't cope well with always being on task. The thought of always being on task, finishing one thing only to start the next one, sends me into a state of panic, which isn't really a good thing for productivity (unless stress is your friend?).

Maybe I slacked off too much during the last semester of my senior year of high school. I've become so used to having outings and jam sessions and photo trips. Is it possible to feel like you're doing so much, but at the same, not doing anything at all? Because that's me in a nutshell.

Mid-terms are happening over the next two weeks, but thankfully I only have two of them: Introduction to Economics and Calculus 1. After that, I'm on Fall Break, which I'll reserve for touring Philly, AKA hunting for bloggable moments. Until then, I'll do my best to hold off spiraling into an existential crisis.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?

My wits. Harharhar. Just kidding, I’ve already lost them and I’m going flipping mad (but the best people usually are ;)). Anyways, the first thing that popped into my mind was clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made an attempt at spring cleaning, only to have my room end up more messy than before with clothes strewn all over the place. Then, in an attempt to be more “deep,” I wondered if there was any first love I was still holding onto that I needed to let go of, but alas, I have never yet fallen in love, so that was not the case.

Standards: I’m torn between aiming for high standards or aiming for low standards; on one hand, you should never sell yourself short, and you should always believe in yourself, but on the other hand, setting impossible standards can be quite discouraging. I guess what you need, as in the case with all things in life, is balance. But that’s not what I’m most concerned with. I’m pretty tough on myself most of the time. Lately I’ve been giving myself some slack (it is summer after all). However, when there comes a time I don’t understand something, I can never bring myself to admit it. Not understanding something has never been a thing I needed to consider. I was on top of everything. I went above and beyond. In group projects, I’d finalize everyone’s work and redo parts myself if necessary. If people had questions, they came to me. It didn’t come so easy in high school, but I managed pretty well, that is, until the upperclassman years. I didn’t know how to cope with it, and I felt so ashamed admitting that I needed help, even if it was just a simple question that could easily be resolved by my teacher and quickly explained to me. In this case, the high standards I set for myself hindered me. My need to assume the image of this brilliant, quick-witted student, did not allow me to admit that I couldn’t do everything myself. I’m about to start college, and I know the academic level will be much more rigorous than what it was in high school, so there is no doubt that I will face many challenges, and when I do, I’m going to tell myself that seeking help and asking questions is not a sign of weakness but of intellectual curiosity, which is not even a euphemism—it’s completely true! (with maybe a dash of this and that)

Middle school glory days: Where did I get the image of this brilliant, quick-witted student I was supposed to be? From my middle school self of course. The school I attended in Beijing went from pre-K up until high school. You study with the same community of people, and over the course of time, you build a reputation, and believe it or not, my good reputation was what was holding me back. We are taught to believe that it is okay to make mistakes, and it is, but that doesn’t mean you go around making mistakes on purpose if you know the correct way to go about it. Some people make more mistakes than others, and I didn’t want to be one of those people. If you don’t make mistakes, how do you grow? Well geez, I’m only human. I’m going to make mistakes no matter what, and hopefully I’ll learn from most of them, but I’d still like to minimize the amount of mistakes I make. What I didn’t realize I was doing was that I was trying to cover my mistakes. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling. In the last four years, I’ve caught myself saying numerous times, “I was so this,” “I was so that,” and what am I now? I’ll tell you what. A complete failure!!!!! You know what’s just as important as learning from your past? Moving forward. That’s what I didn’t do, and that’s what I need to do.

Anger: Don’t let my tiny appearance fool you. This is the ultimate one for me. I’m that short, kinda chubby girl that nobody hates (I think. Well, at least one that nobody hates aggressively), and some people like. I’m agreeable but not necessarily friendly. That started changing around the upperclassmen years. I don’t know if it was because of all the stress building up, or because I was spending too much time around Internet-people, but I just didn’t like people (irl) anymore. I was sick of what I thought I was doing all this time in my life, merely tolerating them. I thought, why should I keep tolerating them? Here they are being unapologetically annoying, and here I am letting the anger fester up inside me. It’s time that they know that they’re being annoying and maybe they’ll kindly shut the firetruck up. I thought that they owed me, which I realize, now that I’m putting this out in words, is absolutely ridiculous! Really, the problem was me. Most likely (I say most likely, because when I get mad my mind gets kinda hazy and I lose the details), I’m getting worked up about nothing, and there really should be no reason to get angry. If I get angry, I lose. And what do I get if I win? Nothing. Probably not even happiness. But at least I’m not angry. Whenever I feel like I’m really gonna lose it, I’m going to chant under my breath, karma’s a witch, karma’s a witch, karma’s a witch, and let fate take its course. (I’m trying to keep it PG-13 here). Be the better [wo]man.

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday favorites // 03

ONE // How to make stress your friend

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? I was shown this video during my Wellness Issues Seminar at Bryn Mawr College and it has changed my perspective on stress. Of course, it's always preferred to start off on the right foot, so get excited with a back to school party! I've been back at it for three weeks trying to conquer chronic procrastination, but it's been a blur. Perhaps I should take a breather with a DIY like this back to school paint chip calendar.

TWO // Setting up your bar cart

Or ya know, just have a plain ol' party, but by myself, with my own bar so that I can drink all I want without having to share being the introvert that I am. Really, all I need is to tune out with a solo pamper evening and some Netflix. Speaking of which, have you seen the cast of Grey's Anatomy dressed up as Orange is the New Black? Maybe that's a big enough occasion to garner party invites, and also a perfect excuse to try out these tassel garland invitations, which would also be great for dorm deco.

THREE // Take a flask of hot chocolate along on a walk

Autumn is my absolute favorite season. So yeah school's coming up and that sucks but you know what else is coming up? Ugly sweaters and scarves and PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES AND HALLOWEEN AND CUDDLING BECAUSE IT'S COLD AND FALL LEAVES AND HIKING IN THE BRISK AIR AND THEN AFTER THAT SNOW AND HOT COCOA AND MALLS DECORATED FOR HOLIDAYS AND FRICK SCHOOL ALL OF THIS IS WORTH IT WOWIE. The weather in Pennsylvania is unstable, switching between freezing cold and burning hot in a single day, so I'm at a loss as to what to wear. All I want is to layer up! Meanwhile I'll content myself with building forts for cozy mornings like these.

FOUR // Medjool date and vanilla bean cafe au lait de coco

It's hard to find time/energy to get off campus and get fancy beverages or even just a nice cup of coffee, so I've been on withdrawal. I swear that more coffee/tea/fancy drink related posts have been popping up ever since, such as frozen almond spiced chai, cinnamon latte, and chocolate and toasted hazelnut milk. Although Bryn Mawr College is ranked #10 for campus food, it's not enough to sustain me. I miss having my own kitchen, my own oven, to make delicious things I find on the Internet, such as apple pie baked apples and homemade pocky. Or at least give me an Asian mart!

FIVE // Pretending to be Humans of New York

While Humans of New York photographer Brandon has been going on a world tour, a prankster was messing around back in New York. It was all in good fun, and HONY even shared it on his Facebook page, commenting "In case any of you had a strange conversation with 'me' lately.... don't feel bad if you got tricked, not a bad impression, actually!" I love HONY's ability to capture glimpses of people's lives. Tell me your story and I'll give you $1. On a side note, whenever someone asks me how my life is going, I get a strong urge to tell them to go read my blog.

Brunch at Audrey's © 2013.

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