Follow

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dorm Tour (2015)

About a week and a half ago, I moved into the dorms for the very first time! Here's a little dorm tour and a life update. By the way, I tried to jazz up these photos with a lot of random filters (crinkly paper, for example) because the room itself is kind of drab. I'm not sure how well it worked, but I've committed to it. So we all just need to accept it.

Wow. It has been a long time since I wrote a post right before publishing. I didn't even realize that today was a posting day until I saw my calendar and noticed it was Monday. Seriously, I haven't been this spontaneous in ages. Let's see how this goes.
top: Net; shorts: Cotton On

^^This is probably how a lot of my outfit posts will look for the next nine months--if I even get a chance to take them. Things are already crazy busy, and classes just started! Taking care of myself is its own job. Not to mention, a good 2 hours of my day are dedicated to me walking to and from wherever I need to go. And my school is abundant with hills and stairs and hills and stairs and hills and stairs. You get it. Very little of the campus is flat. We are not a wheelchair/skateboard/bike friendly campus. As a result of all the walking, I'm constantly exhausted. I'm not particularly fit, so all this walking is definitely taking a toll on my body. On the bright side, almost no one here gets the freshman 15, so that's not really a concern anymore.

Can we appreciate how little closet space I'm using? Thank you.



My Dan and Phil backpack!! I wanted to do a whole post about it when it arrived in the mail a month ago, but I restrained myself. Look how beautiful! It's Dan. It's Phil. It's Dan. It's Phil. It's PHANTASTIC.

Also, this Minnie Mouse Tsum Tsum plushie was a Christmas gift from my brother. He gave it to me specifically to take to college, and it's adorable. He taped a Disneyland ticket to it, too--which was also amazing.


Okay, this organization of this post is abysmal, and I'm sorry. But not sorry enough to go back and change it. I have things to do after this!

Being away from home has been hard. Whenever I'm really tired (which, as I mentioned, is practically every day), I wish I could go back home where everything is more comfortable and, let's be honest, spacious. I could elaborate more, but I'll probably make myself cry, and all five of my suite mates are here (by the way, I live with five girls), and I don't want to freak them out. Wow. That is a run-on sentence if I ever did see one. But it's okay, because this is a very casual post.

I haven't really been making friends. I'm constantly meeting people, and, like I said, I live with five other girls, but I haven't really found anyone that I connect with yet. A lot of people around me are making friends for the sake of making friends, and I'm just not into that. I really only want to befriend people with whom I share common interests, a sense of humor, etc. Hopefully I meet someone soon, but for now, I'm genuinely doing just fine on my own. The great thing about college is that people understand the need for alone time. I can eat alone or walk alone without feeling like a freaky loner. And honestly, when you share a very small space with five people, alone time is a treasure. I don't know if it's a bad thing that I'm not really trying to befriend people, but whatever. Thinking about that is too stressful.

I think that's all for now. Hopefully my next posts will be less messy. And hopefully I'll be able to keep up a decent posting schedule. I'm thinking I might need to reduce my frequency to once a week, but we'll see.

Happy Monday (ha).

<3Kuo

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Art Stuff That I Made

Over the summer, I was blessed with a lot of free time. Whenever I'm given an opportunity like this, I revisit all my hobbies. I blogged tons this summer. I went to yoga classes multiple times per week. I learned a new song on piano ("New Born" by Muse, it was eighteen pages long ugh). I read twenty books. And I drew/painted/pasted together a bunch of stuff, so I thought I'd show off some of my art! 

Sketches. 
I attempted to do an accurate looking portrait. He definitely looks human, so ten points there. Does anyone know who this is? Guess before you scroll down more because the following photos might give it away for some people. But I'm seriously interested in knowing if I did an adequate portrait job. My original intention was to do a handful of portraits this summer, but portraits take for. eh. ver. They involve a lot of erasing and redrawing and erasing again, which is a pain in the ass, but totally necessary.
 Phil is not on fire based phanart.
More Phil is not on fire based phanart.
General phanart.
Based on the song "This is What Makes Us Girls" by Lana Del Rey. I believe it's from Born to Die.

Ink sketches.
Lyrics from the song "Human" by The Killers' album Day and Age. I made it into a t-shirt, which you can see here.
Lyrics from the song "Ever After" off of Mariana's Trench's album Ever After.
Basically a copy of a little poem I saw on Tumblr, but I changed a few of the words to improve the meter. Unfortunately for any phangirls out there, I don't have the link. Sorry about that.
From the song "Control" on Halsey's Badlands album.
I attempted to do one of those fashion sketches, but I'm an amateur. I mean, I'm not unhappy with it.

Oil pastel.
I broke out my oil pastels to do this horrifying sketch. You can call it abstract, but I call it wanted-to-use-every-color-at-her-disposal.

Acrylic.
This was the first time I touched acrylic paints in a very long time, so honestly, I was just kind of messing around. I mean, you can think it's deep and profound if you want to, but I think it's merely charming junk.
Ugh. Okay, I found out two months after painting this that "Feeling Good" was originally sung by some famous jazz singer awhile ago, and that Muse only did a cover. Hence, my poster doesn't quite make sense with the little Muse logo there, but whatever. Too lazy to go back now.
From "Resistance" off of Muse's Resistance album. You might've noticed that I wanted to paint the sky at different times of day in thisposter series and tried to coordinate them with the lyrics.
From "Mercy" off of Muse's latest album, Drones.
These lyrics are also from the song "Ever After" from Mariana's Trench's Ever After album.
I personally think this is my best painting. I was so proud of all the details that I managed to depict (my sunflowers look freaking bomb). And I'm really happy with how all the colors look together.
Does anyone recognize this? People who have been reading my blog for a couple months now might know this from here.

Water color. I was actually inspired by Celeststralite's index card a day challenge, so if you want to see similar, better executed stuff, you can look for those posts on her blog. Oh! And seeing all the beautiful water color sketches on Rosie's blog had a hand in this, too. The combination of their posts, me discovering my old paints, and these small water color cards being on sale bring you the following paintings.
This is the first water color I did after several years of not touching water colors, so I definitely squeezed out too much paint (ugh waste) and screwed up the water to paint ratio.
A little better--I had more control here, but the painting itself isn't really anything special.
Some more below average phanart (and I mean below average; for some reason a lot of phangirls are amazing artists).
Okay, I'm proud of this one. When I draw, I do way better if I have something to go off of, so I combined elements of a few different drawings I saw online to get this lotus/water/sun painting.

Collages. I made both of these using cut outs from a Vogue that came out two years ago (I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to magazines and magazine clippings).
That dress in the middle--tell me it's not amazing. The Venetian canals have such Romantic vibes, and the tulle and lace add so much drama. Looking at this dress actually gives me tingles.

That's all of the stuff I made this summer! What did you think? Does anyone else out there paint or sketch?

<3Kuo

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Americana

beanie: Forever 21; top: Net; skirt: Forever 21;
bag: Michael Kors; shoes: Born

ABC. American born Chinese--another cold acronym assigned to people who society deems different, in need of a label. Well guess what, society? I don't need your stupid labels. Labels make me a foreigner among Chinese and a sore thumb among Americans. Why can't I just be?

Besides, if anything I'm a Chinese born American because, technically, I was Chinese in the womb, and I didn't become an American until I was born in California. Hence, I'm "born American," making me a Chinese born American. But CBA isn't nearly as catchy, is it society? Well screw you, society--messing with people's identities because it's more convenient for you.

I digress.

I've always felt like an outsider among Chinese people who speak little English. My Chinese is poor, but when I'm around people who communicate primarily in Chinese, I feel compelled to speak Chinese because I have black hair and brown almond-shaped eyes. That's always awkward. What's more, I find it difficult to be myself in another language. When I speak Chinese, I'm dumb and plain--inferior. In English, I'm charming, sarcastic, intelligent, complex. Language truly is a barrier, and so is culture.
While I feel more comfortable with Americans (born and raised in 'Murica), there are a lot of differences between me and many of my peers. To be brief, there are high family expectations, inter-familial hierarchies, being extremely respectful, and no dating until you're thirty.

Here's one that always stuck out: before high school, my friends were all very Americanized, which meant they didn't understand my need to have every single detail regarding our hang out plans (i.e. who's driving, what time will we be home, where are we going, etc.). If I panicked about being yelled at by my parents, they would be sympathetic but not empathetic. In the end, I always felt like I was some sort of burden on them, and it sucked. Conversely, throughout high school, most of my close friends were Asian, which meant that we all had to have loads of details regarding the night's plan. And whenever we ran late, we all panicked together. We all understood the fear that omigod my parents are going to be pissed. Everyone was on the same page, which made things easy and comfortable.

You might be thinking, "Then why don't you just have Asian American friends?" Honestly, that would be a super easy fix, but it seems weird to pick my friends by race. Besides, one of America's greatest attributes is being a melting pot--a decadent mix of cultures and beliefs. I want to be exposed to that diversity. But ugh. It's just hard sometimes.
I also want to touch upon Asian stereotypes and how they pertain to the fact that I tend to dress more loudly. Most people are already familiar with the term, but I'll review it. FOB: fresh off the boat. A derogatory term used to describe people who immigrate to America from an Asian country. There's a stereotype (albeit a mostly true one) that recent Asian immigrants tend to wear "weird" clothes--clothes that are too colorful, slightly unusual, and occasionally garish. Because I tend to dress on the louder side, I'm always paranoid that people think of me as a FOB. Granted, I shouldn't care what strangers think about me. And being considered a FOB isn't even a super insulting thing (in the sense that a FOB is technically just a person who's new to America, not because the term is acceptable). I don't know. This is just something that's confusing for me personally, and I often find myself wondering if people would forgo the weird stares if I was white. Is that a bad thing? Does that mean I'm ashamed of my ethnicity? Or does that make me human? Just another person with another insecurity?
I come from two cultures. Sometimes I embrace that as an element of my individuality. Sometimes I tire of the confusion of not completely belonging to one culture.

How do ethnicity and culture influence your everyday life? I'm interested to know.

<3Kuo

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Best of Hello Kuo

I want to start with a thank you. I can’t remember a time when you weren’t right by my side, so I can barely fathom leaving some of you behind—“some” meaning that I can’t cling onto you forever, but that I will always hold you and your life lessons near my heart. Over the years, you gave me the confidence I need to express my individuality and taught me how to love myself. You constantly brighten my mood, erasing my frown to make space for happiness. Trust me when I say I will never let go of the enlightenment you’ve given me.








I also need to tell you that I’m sorry. Hopefully, you aren’t upset with me. Hopefully you understand that this decision lies beyond my control, that this has to be done, and that some elements of life, like our separation, are inevitable. I know it seems like I’m abandoning you, and it kills me to think that you might feel this way. Just please know that if I had the choice, all of you would be coming with me. But after seeing the dorms, I can’t deny that there simply isn’t enough space for all of you.

So to the clothes I must leave behind, farewell.









People often mistake the relationship between a girl and her clothes as superficial. They see the motivation as shallow; the growth, nonexistent. The girl only wishes to look pretty and the clothes merely change with the trends. This thinking is surface-level. It fails to appreciate the clothes’ influence over the girl and the girl’s interpretation of the clothes. Blair Waldorf once said, “Fashion is the most powerful art there is... It shows the world who we are and who we want to be.” As my concept of self-identity clarifies, my personal style becomes more distinct. My closet is a collection that I’ve carefully crafted over the past few years. A collection in which each piece represents a different part of me. My knee socks embody my quirk. My sneakers personify my strength. My dresses depict my femininity. My t-shirts portray my creativity. Each piece has something to say, and every outfit tells a different story.


I associate outfits with memories. I wore my favorite purple t-shirt, the one with the little surfer girl on it, on my last day with my best friend before she moved to Japan in the second grade. On my first day of high school, I wore a pink Banana Republic tank top, a black lace skirt from Forever 21, purple sneakers that I bought in the seventh grade, and two bracelets: a silver Tiffany one that my aunt gave me and a rubber one from Knott’s Berry Farm that I bought to match with my best friends from middle school.







There was a headband that I wore to every speech and debate competition, from my first Cypress Invitational to my last CHSSA State Final. Right after my last competition, it snapped. I was heartbroken. Though it seems stupid to other people, this headband symbolized my speech and debate career, something that I loved and dedicated myself to. For it to break really solidified the end of that era of my life.

Clearly, I attach a lot of sentimental value to my clothes.

Leaving some of my clothes behind means not only leaving the past behind, but part of myself. That I cannot bring everything single thing with me is blaringly symbolic of how we as people must let go in order to move forward. Think about it. If I brought all of my clothes with me and stuffed my closet to the brim, there would be no room for development. It would be nearly impossible for me to grow because all of my resources would be dedicated to clinging onto the past. In life, like in fashion, we must forsake some things in order to allow space for maturity and improvement.


I know this is difficult now, but I have faith that all of this is for the better. Our relationship is undergoing renovation, not termination. Though the outcome is vague and mysterious, I genuinely believe that we will come out of this stronger than ever.

I guess that means this isn’t really a goodbye. It’s more like the beginning of something wonderful.

<3Kuo

P.S. I decided to post this today because I'm moving into the dorms in a few hours!

P.P.S. This is only like 50% serious. I wrote this for a class assignment and had to present it, and because I'm (a) not funny and (b) a poor actor, people thought I was totally serious. It was embarrassing but whatever, high school is over--it's time to move on.