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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Things that Automatically Make Me Smile




 this music video


 him
and also him




 let's not forget these


 oh.
 hi there.

This may be the most beautiful post I've ever done. What makes you smile?

<3Kuo

Monday, July 27, 2015

YouTube Videos That Resonate with Me

For those who don't know, I'm a bit of a YouTube addict. It's been well over a year since I've gone a day without YouTube. In all the time that I've spent there, I've encountered a lot of random, hilarious crap as well as plain old crap--as expected. However, there are a number of videos with statements that resonate with me. Words that sit with me, make me think, and alter the way I behave. I'm sure I've left one or two out, but here are a few YouTube videos with words that resonated with me (in alphabetical order by username, because why not?):

1. "You can never judge someone too harshly because her entire family might have just been devoured by beetles or she might've lost custody to her dog or something... I don't know." (2:05 from "I'M SORRY!" by AmazingPhil)


My parents are extremely quick to judge and criticize strangers in public. Waitresses that keep forgetting you asked for napkins, mothers who can't get their kid to stop crying, cashiers that are a bit too sassy--all of these things never fail to induce cranky grumbles and complaints from my parents. From a young age, a little bit of my sympathy went out to the people my parents complained about for the reason that Phil described: you never know a stranger's entire story, so don't get so angry or judgy-wudgy when he or she does something that's rude or off. It's okay to be annoyed, you have that right, but please don't return their crankiness--that only makes everything worse.

2. "So yeah, the joys of being a teenager: school, homework, family drama, friend drama, dog dies, hormones, fun, fun, FUN, but guess what? Everybody had to deal with that kind of stuff, and like everyone says it gets better, you just need to survive..." (2:44 from "Draw My Life - Dan Howell" by danisnotonfire)


Although I always subconsciously knew that I definitely wasn't the only teenager going through all kinds of crap, I never really thought about it, so when I heard Dan say it out loud, I felt this subtle sense of ease. Hearing this statement erased this background of loneliness that haunted me whenever stress or anger took over. Now it's something that always comes to mind and makes me feel somewhat calmer whenever I start freaking out.

3. "When I called Dodie on the phone [during an anxiety attack], she didn't say Why can't you just be happy? She didn't offer up stupid suggestions or things that were mostly her imprinting on me. What she did was she asked How can I help you? What can I do to make you feel better?" (4:11 from "On Being Problematic" by Evan Edinger)


In this video, Evan discusses anxiety attacks and how to react to them. Now, the reason this statement sat with me isn't because I know loads of people who suffer from anxiety attacks. Specifically in regards to anxiety attacks, he goes on to say that the best way to help someone is to listen to them. But I kind of broadened the advice to apply to comforting people in any situation. A little bit of context: I am absolutely awful at helping people when they're emotionally unstable. I'd say I'm pretty good at giving sound, logical advice, but the moment I see tears or rage, I have no idea what to do. Thus, after I heard this, I subconsciously made a note to ask people how they want me to help before going in with sincere but ultimately useless "It will be okay"s and awkward hugs.

4. "I'm just a girl, who loved a boy, who didn't love himself, so I had to let him go." (8:48 from "Explaining my Breakup" by lisbug)


For those who don't know, Lisa recently broke up with her boyfriend Shane who came out as bisexual after a long personal struggle (they're both pretty big on YouTube, in case you thought I was just digging into the personal lives of random people; although, technically, I was... but that's just what YouTube is). I've never been in love or even dated, but I'm very familiar with the idea of having to let people go. What I liked about the way Lisa worded it, was that she effortlessly made it clear that she didn't let him go because she hated him. She did it out of necessity. That's something that I think people should realize: not every relationship ends because of anger or bad blood. Sometimes relationships have to end because that's the best option for everyone involved.

Hope this post had some positive influence. If you're interested, watch one, two, or all of the videos! I'd love to know what you think!

<3Kuo

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ever After by Marianas Trench


I randomly discovered this album back in June, and I'm still absolutely obsessed. And as a blogger, I have an unspoken duty to report the things I obsess over, so I'll just get into all the reasons that I love Ever After by Marianas Trench.
  1. Motifs. Marianas Trench frequently employs motifs in this album. Now this is the only album of theirs that I've listened to so far, so this could be something they always do, but it's ever present and fantastically executed in Ever After. The subtle repetition of certain lines and this one particular hum create this incredible sense of unity that fills my stomach with butterflies.
  2. Arrangement/Order. Personally, I appreciate an album twice as much if the songs are arranged in a particular, well thought out order. When the songs in an album really connect with each other and are arranged well, listening to the album from beginning to end is an experience, and if you play the album on shuffle, the experience is completely different. Does that make sense? For example, when I listen to American Beauty/American Psycho (Fall Out Boy), I can shuffle the album and still have the same listening experience (by the way, that doesn't make it a bad album; it's still a magnificent album). Whereas if I listen to The Resistance (Muse), shuffling the album screws up the experience that Muse prepared for its listeners. ...I realize that this example only helps if you've listened to those albums. I'll move on.
  3. Movie-like Experience. Because of the two aspects described above, listening to Ever After is the album equivalent of watching a movie. Each element of the album is carefully considered, just like the plot of a movie. Everything aligns in a manner that resembles the way backstories explain character motivations and subplots tie to main plots. At the end of the album, I experience this satisfying sense of ahh and it's incredible.
  4. The Usual. This stuff is the foundation of a good album: thoughtful lyrics, energetic beats, catchy tunes, etc.--the obvious but nonetheless important stuff.
If you hadn't already guessed it, they are Marianas Trench.
I know most people will probably be hesitant to listen to an entire album, so here are a few songs that will give you the best taste (i.e. my personal favorites):
  1. Ever After
  2. Haven't Had Enough
  3. Desperate Measures (and if you happen to be a phangirl, click this one)
  4. Fallout
  5. No Place Like Home
Click whichever name tickles your fancy, and if you give any of these, or the whole album, a listen, let me know if you liked it!

<3Kuo

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hi, I'm Smart

top: original by me; dress: Forever 21; 
bag: BCBGeneration; shoes: Nautica

I tend to think I’m dumb. On a near daily basis, I accuse myself of saying something incredibly stupid. I don’t have the best common sense, and I’m not particularly quick on my feet. Because I need that bit of extra time to process things, I always feel mentally inferior to the people around me who can react to everything automatically.

No one is harder on me than I am. There was a point a while ago where I got myself feeling so pathetic that my mom actually had tell me to stop calling myself stupid. It’s so obvious: don’t call yourself stupid. It does a horrible number on your self-confidence. But sometimes I just fall into it.

And I think that’s okay. It’s incredibly human to have little dips in self-confidence, but it’s also incredibly important to know when to pull myself out. So here I am, reminding myself that I am a smart girl.

For four years of high school, I took a full load of honors and AP classes and earned nothing but A’s.

Along with one of my closest friends (who I’ve actually featured on this blog before), I earned the most academic accolades in my graduating class.

I will be attending my top choice university in September.

I graduated as the highest ranked girl in my class.

So that’s me. While it does feel weird to post something like this online, it also feels kind of nice. Honestly, I think everyone should give it a shot. This is me, a random girl on the internet, giving you permission to brag a little. Brag in the comments, brag on your blog. I want to see people taking pride in their accomplishments.

Let’s just not take it too far.

Did I take it too far? I have this impairment that makes me incapable of seeing the line, so I never know when I cross it.

<3Kuo


I sketched this design with a Sharpie, scanned it, and ironed it onto a t-shirt. Can anyone guess what song this line is from? I'm pretty sure it was a somewhat popular song five or six years ago because I sang it all the time, and I really only listened to the radio back then. And if it was on the radio, it must have been popular, right?




Occasionally I'll start wondering if I'll regret my bangs in a few years because when I see people get bangs (either online or at school), I often think that they looked better before. Lately, though, I've been feeling more certain about my bangs because when I see photos like this with my hair pulled back, I'm kind of like ew. I'm always too afraid to ask people in real life, but people on the internet, do my bangs normally look bad? Please be honest. I've been curious for ages. There's photos of me with bangs on the side bar and (probably) a few posts down if you want to give your opinion.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Permanence, Forgetting Things, and How I Manage to Fear Both


Let's address my fears individually, starting with the concept of permanence.

There are a considerable number of scenarios that make me anxious*, which include eating slightly too much or snacking unnecessarily, getting stains on my clothes, damaging new things, and wasting oil, electricity, or water.

Recently, I realized that all of these scenarios leave me uneasy for the same reason: I am afraid of leaving a negative lasting effect on... anything. I hate the idea of my mistakes being permanent, never to be erased.

That's why I feel incredibly guilty eating food--because something inside me is certain that the food will stick to my body in lumps of fat and never leave.

That's why I get so worked up when I stain my clothes or wrinkle the cover of a new book--because I can't stand the guilt of murdering an object's newness.

That's why I get anxious when I go on long car rides or hear water running out of the faucet--because I know that precious resources are being wasted and that I'm contributing to the deterioration of the planet.

I think it ties to my perfectionism (which I'm working on; as Ingrid Nilsen would say, I'm a recovering perfectionist) and my need to keep things clean, whole, and perfect. When I describe the fear this way, I suppose that makes my fear of forgetting things less of a contradiction.

Ever since I could write, I've kept a journal in some form or another. In my super early youth, I wrote in girly little notebooks that I bought at Target, simply creating a record of what happened in my day-to-day life. As I got a bit older (around late elementary school), I started writing entries in a password protected word document. I had two--I accidentally deleted the first one, and because it was password protected, it couldn't be recovered (I cried for several hours). The second one still exists and is maturely named my "Notes on Life." That one covers middle school through the first two years of high school. Around the beginning of high school, I began keeping notebooks where I kept random blurbs of emotion--mere depictions of my anger or sadness, rather than what caused them. I still maintain one for things I deem too personal for this blog where, you guessed it, I log all my other emotions. As for day-to-day stuff, I have gigabytes among gigabytes of photos on my computer and on a back up hard drive and on Dropbox. Sorry, I just realized how boring it must be for a stranger to read my history of journal keeping, but I'm leaving this in anyway because I'm trying to convey my point: I'm afraid of forgetting.

Why is an absolute mystery. I haven't a clue as to what my rationale is. Any insight?

Does anyone else have fears similar to these?

Just something I felt like writing about, hope it wasn't too dull!

<3Kuo

*Just to clarify, I don't have panic or anxiety attacks; when I mention becoming anxious, I'm talking about feeling frustrated, uneasy, or queasy in this way that kind of makes me want to twist into myself.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Morning with Evelyn

Last week I spent the morning exercising with my darling friend Evelyn! We attended an early morning yoga class, went on a hike, and rewarded ourselves with Jamba Juice, and I spontaneously decided to take photos and document everything. Here we go!


I looked like such a noob for taking photos inside the studio, but I did it anyway because I don't let other's judgement influence my behavior. Just kidding, I waited until everyone was looking away.


My yoga set up; I'm so happy that my mat and water bottle match. It really doesn't get much better than that.



IT BEGINS.


This path was so incredibly narrow that we had to duck and dodge branches the entire way up, and it wasn't even the path we were looking for.


Sorry the front camera on my phone sucks, but I wanted evidence that I had friends. Look how charming and adorable and matchy matchy we are.


I've been obsessed with this water bottle lately. I bought it for school in September, but as of now I use it for pretty much everything.




We passed this bridge like three times because we *coughevelyncough* got lost.



Evelyn got an orange and carrot, and I ordered my usual (a strawberry nirvana). We looked ridiculous taking these photos, by the way, because we ended up moving chairs around and taking forever. People stared; it was awkward.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm Published!

Hey there! Rollick Magazine (an online literary magazine) published my short story, "The Solution," which is super cool. Please check it out because I'm really excited about it, and if my story manages to get popular, I get a little bit of scholarship money. It'd be really great if you could help me out!

THANK YOU!

Read the story here.

<3Kuo

Faded

crown: original by me; jacket/shirt: hand-me-down;
dress: H&M; bag: Coach; socks: Kohl's; shoes: Born

Today I'm aiming for very chill and a little bit edgy. I employed pastel colors and soft fabrics to achieve a relaxed vibe, but I sharpened the look with back accents like my "crown" and my sandals.

Just a quick little outfit post! Have a nice day!

<3Kuo



inspiration from this Against the Current music video; made from duct tape

By the way, Rollick Magazine, an online literary magazine, published one of my short stories, "The Solution," and it would be super cool if you could go over there and give it a look. I win some scholarship money if the post gets popular, so I'd really love it if you helped me out! Thank you!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ruled by Secrecy

 top: H&M; pinafore: eBay; bag: Michael Kors; socks: Kohl's; shoes: LoveD

Lost in a shroud of the past, she struggles to envision a future. Wrapped in a blanket of dysfunction, betrayal, and crisis, she hides from love and opportunity.

She's leaning how to lighten up and embrace happiness. It just takes time.

<3Kuo


I decided to casually channel my inner prep by pairing a collared shirt and knee socks with a pinafore. To maintain a summery element of chill, I embraced a somewhat opinionated print and tan wedges.


P.S. Plaz don't take this too seriously. It's like reality TV--I exaggerated for dramatic flair. As for the seemingly statement photos, I was having a bad face day. Happens to the best of us. Or just me. Whatever.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dresslink Wishlist

The kind people at Dresslink reached out to me to participate in a little collaboration type thing, and after scrolling through their website, I was down. Seriously, almost everything is less than ten dollars, and the variety is fantastic. And no one loves a plethora of inexpensive clothes like me. Here are some of the tops I picked out!


1. JUNK FOOD T-SHIRT. As of the past year, I refrain from buying t-shirts because I make them on my own. But this one is so fun and colorful (not to mention affordable!) that I couldn't resist.


2. HALF SLEEVE CHIFFON BLOUSE. My favorite aspect of this top is the quasi bell sleeve. The gentle flow is so feminine, but the structure also adds a little bit of drama.


3. SPAGHETTI STRAP CHIFFON TANK TOP. I love the embroidered details on this top, the delicate straps, and the flowing ruffles. Together, they exude very chill vibes. Not to mention, this shirt was literally one cent!

I'll put together a mini lookbook post soon!

<3Kuo