Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Living Through Fiction

shirt (under): Love Tree; sweatshirt: Vans;
skirt: Forever 21; socks: Forever 21; shoes: LoveD

I spend most of my days with books and screens. Even when I'm not doing homework, I choose to absorb the world around me through books, music, YouTube, television. Rather than going outside and experiencing life first hand, I tend to acquire life experience via stories--primarily fiction. And that kind of worries me. Because fiction is just that: fiction, made up, exaggerated, and glorified. How much of what I think I know is false? It's just like in Animal Farm. Most of the animals trust the pigs to read for them, so the pigs easily manipulate everyone to do their bidding. Instead of going out and living life on my own, I trust other people to teach me about the world through their stories. What if I'm being horribly mislead?

I watched a lot of Disney Channel sitcoms as a kid. And you know the whole thing with sitcoms is that the characters get in trouble or they do something embarrassing, but then they manage to work their way out of the situation in a comedic way.

Probably unnecessary description of sitcoms aside, whenever I watched Raven make a fool out of herself or Zach and Cody destroy some Tipton property, I always had the same thought: it would save them a whole lot of trouble if they would just be honest from the beginning or not tell a bunch of people about their crushes or listen to their parents or avoid taking risks.

So that's what I did. I played it safe. I did what I was told. And for eighteen years, I've successfully managed to stay out of trouble.
I remember in eighth grade, my language arts teacher told the class that bad decisions make good stories. For the most part, I don't make bad decisions. And for the most part, I'm pretty boring. Sure I'm a complex human being with problems and emotions and thoughts and whatever, but I've never really thrown myself out there and taken a real risk. Hence, I don't have a lot of stories to tell--I'm boring. Even though playing it safe means I avoided a lot of lows, it also means I missed out on a lot of highs. While it's great that I've never had my heart broken, isn't it kind of sad that I've never been in love?
Not to mention, as I get older, the lows manage to hunt me down regardless of how sneaky or fast or completely in denial I am. Because let's just be honest, life sucks. Depression and anger and frustration and stress are all coming for me no matter how hard I try to live my life in neutral. So if I'm cursed with all this bad stuff anyway, shouldn't I take a few risks in order to be happy? To feel excited about something?
That's right! You've been tricked into reading a New Year's resolution post. Gotcha!

Now I'm not going to go around screaming YOLO or whatever. (I'm a bit concerned about the people who plan to. It's 2016, guys. Come on.) But I want to do things like going out even though it'll cut into YouTube time, or being less paranoid about people secretly hating me (so I can make friends). Things of the like.

I might run into trouble along the way, but whatever I've been doing for the past eighteen years is getting kind of old. It's time for a change.

I'm also going to not be so cynical about cheesy and cliche. (See preceding statement.) I even bought a journal that says "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" on the front. Cheesy, but not cliche--I'm easing into it. (By the way, I'm sure fellow bloggers will be proud of me when I say I managed to fill out an entire journal in 2015! I'm trying it again in 2016. Though I'm not too optimistic about filling it up in one year's time because it's four times as thick as the last one. We'll see.)

Got a bit rambly at the end there. Sorry about that! Happy New Year, everyone!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fairmont's Grand New Year's Eve Party

choker: ribbon from Michael's; coat: eBay; dress: Forever 21;
tights: Forever 21; shoes: Nine West

I've mentioned before that I rarely get to do proper holiday celebrations, so when Fairmont Hotels contacted me about creating an outfit for their Grand New Year's Eve Party, I was intrigued. Everywhere I look I see glittery and velvety dresses, so I'm excited to have a reason to embrace some festive fashion.

Inspired by the grand and traditional style of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, I opted for a rather conventional outfit structure: dress, tights, heels. But of course I added a Kuo touch by including a mix of patterns and textures. The Cinderella-esque choker adds a bit of sophistication--perfect for a classy event.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Dustland Fairytale

hat: Daiso; shirt: TJ Maxx; dress: Free People; tights: Kohl's; shoes: Born

Your mind is poisoned.
Castles in the sky sit stranded, vandalized.
The drawbridge is closing.

from "A Dustland Fairytale" by The Killers

Bright silver coins flipping through the air;
Cannon-balling into rushing waters.
Quiet whispers escape her lips:
Toys and clothes and money and fame--
Each request is nearly the same.
The stars shift as the flowers die.
She thinks of a new type of wish to try.
Thousands of coins sink to the bottom,
Joining the crowd of failed and forgotten.
But she still saves shiny coins just to say,
"I wish that I will be happy one day."
 These past couple of weeks I've been dressing more preppily than usual. I just made up that word; you know which one. It's just been this knit beret and collared shirts constantly. Typically when I notice myself dressing in a "uniform" I force myself to switch things up, but I think I'll see where it goes this time.

I really like the combination of patterns and colors between my shirt, dress, and tights; and the black knit beret and wedges serve as a strong frame for the outfit.

This is actually an outfit idea that I've had laying around for months. Sometimes I'll be going about my business when an outfit just pops into my head, so I scribble it down and save it for another day. This one has been on a sticky note since before I left for university, so I'm so pleased to have it posted.
I find that my general mood these days is "fine". Not particularly happy, nor particularly sad; just fine. And that itself kind of puts me in a sour mood. Why aren't I doing better?

There's a lot of mixed commentary on happiness. Some say that happiness must be pursued; some say that happiness just doesn't happen some days. In the same sense that I need to take my happiness into my own hands, I don't really have total control over it. So what am I expected to do?

I suppose the best anyone can do is keep trying. I know for sure that I'm not meant to give up.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Lights

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to see Christmas lights, and when I went I ended up taking some photos, so here they are!
There's a little lake in my town that's surrounded by houses, and during Christmas, every house goes all out with the lights and decorations. Last night, my friend and I took a little walk around the lake to see all the pretty lights and colors, but plot twist: it was raining. While the rain did make everything ten percent more cold and wet, it did give me some cool photos. In the picture above, it looks like snow is falling, right? (Well, to a girl who's lived in Southern California all her life and has never seen snow falling, it looks like falling snow. For people on the East Coast it might just look like my lens was dirty, I don't know.) The little white spots are actually the reflection of my camera's flash on the rain. Oooooh interesting!
 We were walking by when I randomly noticed the reflection of this laser light in the rain drops. I literally have no idea where these lasers were pointed. The nearest house was about twenty feet of water across from me, and the only thing behind me was an empty street.
The holidays are a weird time for me. I always get excited by them, but because I don't really talk to extended family that much, my Christmas is usually just dinner and gifts with my brother and my parents. And as much as I appreciate a low-key celebration, it can be underwhelming sometimes. I don't know, maybe one year I'll somehow end up doing a big holiday with loads of friends and family. Maybe only now and then... because now that I'm thinking about it, it sounds like a lot of work.

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 11, 2015

I'm Alive!

hat: Forever 21; sweater: Forever 21; dress: Forever 21; 
bag: Esprit; socks: TJ Maxx; shoes: Unisa

I survived--er "survived"--my first quarter at university! Now I'm on winter break for three weeks, so I plan on going full force with this blog to make up for the past few weeks. I'm talking posting two to three times a week, responding to comments, and reading all the blogs on my Bloglovin' feed. I've missed being able to do all this, but with all my schoolwork, I fell so behind on blog stuff that just logging into my blog e-mail was intimidating.

But enough about how busy I've been, let's do a little update!

1. Over Thanksgiving break I found out that I get to be an editor for my school's law journal! So starting winter quarter, I'll be working with a writer to publish an article! Apparently it has to be a minimum of fifteen pages, which I think will be a challenge, but it sounds fun! I'm excited to have something to take my mind off of classes a couple times a week.

2. I'll be taking four classes next quarter, even though three classes were crazy enough (because engineering). But I happened to have two awful professors this quarter, so I put in a lot of hours teaching myself material. I was told that once you have these two bad professors together, it only gets easier. So that's good to hear.
 3. One of my awful professors may or may not be crazy. We have a class Facebook page, and after our final, someone wrote something along the lines of this: "I'd like to note that during the final, the professor was talking to the TAs and just kept repeating 'strange times, strange times'". He's one weird dude.

4. I'm going to be rooming with one of my current roommates next year! That'll be fun. We can eat endless cakes in the dining halls together for at least another year!

5. Sometime during the break, I'll be going with my friends to see Christmas lights with my friend. It's really simple, but it's something that people do a lot, so I'm excited.
6. I've been feeling this insane urge to go shopping (I'm sure most of you can relate), but I keep trying to fight it because I've recently learned that buying a lot of clothes is actually really wasteful. Ugh. The moral dilemma. Maybe I can go to Goodwill or something...

You'll hear more from me soon!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Do colors disappear when it's dark?

choker: ribbon (from Michael's); shirt: Cotton On;
tights: Kohl's; shoes: Unisa

You are my light.
Without you I am gray.
When it falls night, 
My soul begins to fade.
Rosy red lips, twinkling bright eyes,
Where do they go when you're not by my side?
Do colors disappear when it's dark?

Sorry for the lame photos (I could've at least cleaned the mirror--I know), but I really liked this outfit and thought it fit the mood of my poem. Also, I picked up this shirt in the men's sale section at Cotton On--only $5! I'm pretty sure my affection for this top literally increased when I saw the price.

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2015

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

 hat: university store; top: TJ Maxx; shorts: Cotton On; shoes: Topshop

I could easily be described as paranoid. Every morning, I need to triple check that I have my key and all the right notebooks before I can leave for class. I struggle to convince myself that not everyone hates me. And I can't help but feel as if I'm always under watch.

Now I'm not talking Republic of Gilead the Eyes are everywhere (Margaret Atwood, where you at?), and you won't find me wearing a tin foil hat or anything. It's more like I think I'm in some movie, and people are observing even my most insignificant moments.

It's a blessing and a curse. I'll admit that it makes walking places slightly more interesting. And when I'm passing a tall building, I like doing something a bit weird in hopes of giving someone glancing out the window a chuckle (because I'm such a giver).

But it also means that when I do something stupid, I feel reeaaally stupid. It's like farting. Farting in front of a friend--might be a bit awkward, but generally not that bad. Farting in front of a crowd of strangers? Now you're girl-who-farted-that-one-time. Reputation destroyed.

It also makes me wonder if I'm too self-centered. I mean, who am I to think that people--who have their own lives and their own problems--give a flying fladoodle about what I'm doing?

I wonder what my life would be like if I didn't think this way... Do other people think this way? Does everyone think this way??

These are things I think about when my eyes are passively scanning over the words in my chemistry textbook.
Okay, I need to make a conscious effort to not turn this blog into me whining about how much time I don't have. Around this time last year, I pretty much only wrote about how the weather influenced how I dressed because (a) I was too busy to think of anything else to say and (b) I had no idea what I was doing with this blog. Let's try to avoid falling into that again. Content, people. Content!

I have no idea what I'm doing right now. I didn't mean to yell at you there.
I really don't know what happened up there, but I'm going to leave it in anyway. #genuinecontent

Also it's centered for some reason instead of left-aligned. I can't figure out how to fix it, but I'm not going to keep trying. (I'm not lazy!! I'm learning how to not sweat the little things. Maybe I'll talk about that sometime...)

Happy weekend!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween: Jessica Day

 glasses: Coach; cardigan: Juicy Couture; blouse: TJ Maxx;
skirt: Target; tights: Kohl's; shoes: Guess

Happy Halloween! Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, because I love things that are gently creepy and the opportunity to dress up. Unfortunately, because I'm too old to trick-or-treat and too much of a homebody to party, I don't really get to wear costumes or anything. *sigh* At least this blog grants me the excuse to dress up and take a few photos.

This year I decided to dress up as Jessica Day from New Girl. I'm quite pleased with how close I got the hair, although my head kind of blends in with the bush behind me so it's hard to see. When thinking of a costume idea, my instinct was to blacken my eyes and wear one of my white vintage-looking dresses, but I tried to force myself to be a bit more thoughtful. Hope I'm not disgusting any New Girl fans out there.

In an unrelated note: Omigod so busy. Midterms, papers, taking care of myself--yikes. I've been falling way behind in terms of blogging, but sacrifices must be made if I want to do well in school. I've reached the point where my Bloglovin' feed has so many unread posts that I'm afraid to look at it. Does anyone else get that? I get that feeling with Twitter a lot, too. It's crazy how social media puts this weird pressure on us, but I think that's a conversation for another day.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! And I'll hopefully be more diligent with blogging after my midterm on Tuesday.


I based my costume/outfit loosely on this photo.
P.S. I'm thinking about it, and I'm not sure how much of a "costume" this is because I'm pretty sure I've worn this outfit to school before. Oops.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Storytelling: "Chaos at 1:30am"

totally random photo. kind of cool to look at, though
I've always wanted to be a great storyteller. And to an extent, I think I am. I did speech for four years in high school, and a dominant element of my primary event was storytelling. In that sense, I was quite good at storytelling--verbally articulating something that's already been written for me. I guess that means my talent is limited to recounting the stories of others--with heavy preparation. *sigh* So I'm not really much of a raconteur... The problem I have with telling my own stories is that I get too wordy--both verbally and in writing.

Something kind of funny happened in my room last night, so I want to challenge myself to tell that story. Hope it goes well. Hope you enjoy.

In my room live a total of six girls, and in my room I'm the resident old person: I mostly hang out in the room, I almost never go out at night, and I'm pretty consistently in bed by about midnight.

Yesterday was Thursday, which makes last night "Thirsty Thursday"--a party night, for those who don't know. This means that three of my roommates, who party every week, left around 11 p.m. for the frat houses. Meanwhile, I was getting ready for bed. Typical Thursday night.

I settle in under my poofy comforter. The last time I see before I fall asleep is 11:45.

I'm in this unconscious state of black stillness when I hear my roommates talking in serious tones about some guy. They usually wake me up a bit when they come back from whatever parties they were at, so, as usual, I try to fall back into my slumber. A minute or so later, I'm in this half-conscious state when I hear my roommates talking--apparently one of them is crying. I start wondering if I should get up and see what's wrong. As I consider walking into our living room to find out what's going on, I look over at my alarm clock. It's 1:30.

Okay, here's where the story complicates because I need to explain the brain of half-asleep Kuo.

For some reason, the amount of 1's in the time threw me off, so I thought I'd gone to bed at 1:45. You can imagine that I was pretty mixed up. Confused about my roommate's drama and wondering how I'd managed to go back in time, I wander into my living room--hoping  my roommates can provide clarification. One of the roommates that went to party was in the bathroom, one hadn't come home yet, and one was crying--the remaining two roommates (this brings us to a total of five roommates, six including me) were comforting her.

There were two questions on my mind: (1) Why is she crying? and, more importantly, (2) What time did I actually go to bed?

(1) Something small happened with some guy, but (as I found out this morning) in her drunken state, she vastly overreacted because the roommate who was in the bathroom told her it was a big deal in her drunken state. Hilarious. Drunk people are silly. Ha ha ha.

(2) I went to bed at 11:45, not 1:45. So I didn't time travel. Poo.

I left the living room with a "There are cookies in the drawer if you want them." (which my roommates found hilarious) and went back to sleep.

All the while, one of the roommates who had been in the living room was Skyping someone about their math midterm, so this random guy who just wanted to study for his test, was forced to witness my roommates and I as we fell subject to self-imposed mental and emotional trauma.

This morning, as we recounted what happened, we couldn't help but laugh at how absolutely stupid the whole thing was--especially because we all took everything so seriously. Like literally, my roommate was sobbing, and I was ridiculously confused.

Oy. We're a mess, but I really love living with all of them.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Pop and Tulle

t-shirt: original by me; skirt: eBay; shoes: Converse

What have we here? I finally worked up the courage to ask one of my suite mates to help me take photos. This is just the wall outside my front door, but the lighting is pretty dramatic! I'll eventually get around to shooting at some of the more picturesque locations on campus--promise!

I'll admit that I haven't been doing my best with outfits lately. It's just been so hot here, and with all the walking I do, I mainly dress to minimize sweating. But the weather has been slightly cooler these past two days--it even sprinkled for ten minutes this morning! *gasp*

My mint green tulle skirt always makes me feel a bit whimsical, so I played on that with my bright pink Converse. To ground the look, though, I employed the subtle yet sharp black accents from the sketch on my tee and the laces on my sneakers.

I've been experiencing social anxiety lately. Like everyone else, I've had it before, but luckily it only came in small increments. As of recent, all these small increments have been adding up and are starting to weigh me down. I'm the kind of person who tends to dwell on my awkward encounters--like for a very long time. In the fifth grade, I had invitations to give to seven of my friends for a little Christmas party I was hosting. One of them was absent, so I had one left over. My friend Brendan, who sat next to me in class, asked me what it was, and I told him it was an extra invitation. Then I randomly said "Do you want it?" (because I let all kinds of random crap flow out of my mouth), and right as he said "Yeah, sure!" I said "Just kidding." I felt so bad. I STILL DO. Brendan, I'm so sorry. According to Facebook, you seem to be doing pretty well, though. So that's good!

I digress. Point is, I don't really let things go.

Hence, every time I think I do something awkward, this pressure pushes down on my stomach. 

Waving at that guy I sat next to in lecture yesterday--oh.
Walking up to that girl I talked to outside of class--ouch.
Introducing myself to some guy I've made eye contact with a few times--ugh why.

I've been meeting a lot of people and kinda sorta trying to make friends. IT MAKES ME NERVOUS. It's one thing for me to be charming around new people. I can comfortably carry a conversation with people I just met. I can't however gauge how people feel about me. Does he want to be friends with me? Is she just talking to me because no one else is here? Am I annoying her? Honestly, I assume everyone hates me--just to be safe.

I speculate that the primary reason I struggle to make friends is because I'm afraid of making the effort. I'm nervous that people will find me pathetic because I'm trying to become their friend even though they think I'm annoying. Essentially, I fear a lack of mutual feelings.

This keeps me from making new friends and developing relationships with the friends I already have. I rely on other people to make the first move; reciprocating what's given to me is easy. The difficult part is taking the first step and putting in that effort. I know I can't live in fear, that I need to be more confident in myself blah blah blah. IT'S JUST SO STRESSFUL.

I really don't have anything profound or conclusive to say--apologies. I just needed to let this out. My blog has become more of a "what's on my mind" type of place whereas before my posts were planned and thoughtful, but I think that's okay. I say as long as it's genuine, it's a good blog.

Enjoy your weekend!