December 31, 2013

A look back at 2013, and a list of firsts.

Every year, I like to highlight the new experiences I've had in the form of a list. I used to do them on Livejournal (since 2007!), but last year was the first time I brought it over to my blog. To continue tradition, I'd like to take a look back at all of the firsts I had in 2013.

So began my anxiety about starting my last semester as an undergraduate at NYU. I packed up, mentally preparing myself for the sprint I knew the next few months would be.

The most significant thing I remember about February is hanging out with my girls Leigh and Lindsey on Valentine's day, enjoying a nice bottle of vino and discussing the perfection that is Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge.

Instead of going somewhere crazy for spring break, I opted to hang out in New York for the week in hopes of earning some extra money by working and experiencing my first St. Patrick's day in the city. Neither disappointed, and I had some good bonding time with my fellow RAs. Oh, and I went to the Game of Thrones exhibit this month...which was, to say the least, a highlight of my year. Photo on the Iron Throne? Yes, please.

This month was filled with doing a bunch of small programs in my building, enjoying my last few weeks as an RA. I kept my schedule busy, and was happier for it. I made it a point to spend time with my friends and appreciate the bits of college life that I wouldn't get to experience again.

Those first few weeks of May were ridiculously packed. Looking back at my Google calendar now, I don't know how I managed to get everything done. And I graduated! It was the first time my family came out to visit me in New York, and it was for a fantastic graduation. I went to Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall for the first time for the events, and I was ever so thankful to have spent the past four years at NYU. I spent a lot of time with my friends, and said goodbyes that I didn't want to. I also took a roadtrip home with my family from New York, and went through the Midwest for the first time. Donated my hair this month, too.

This was the first time I ever wore a two-piece bathing suit out in public. I didn't feel too comfortable, and probably won't do it again, but it was a great accomplishment for myself to actually just do it. We did a family trip to Disneyland, and I had a turkey leg for the first time! Can you believe it? I also interviewed like crazy this month to find a job back in New York.

Received my job offer and spent the month frolicking with my family in Los Angeles. I ate good food, sunbathed, and prepared to return to New York. I went crabbing for the first time, had my first kale salad, and then some. At the end of the month, I flew back, and was heartbroken for the first time.

Started my new job, found an apartment, and made the move up to East Harlem. I sweated in the unfortunate humidity of New York and whined like the dry-heat-Angeleno that I am. Oh well. And I had my first Italian ice!

I went to Governor's Island for the first time, went to my first New York-y event, and went to a number of movie screenings. I also became a brunch person, and got addicted to that Saturday afternoon brunch. This was also the month that I launched Dear Skim, so it's very near and dear to my heart as a marker of new beginnings.

What a ridiculous month. I kept myself quite busy, going to movie screenings, hangouts, and getting into all kinds of trouble with friends. I also got ready to move and was on the hunt for a new apartment.

I moved down to Brooklyn and marveled at how different it felt from the rest of New York that I was used to. Quiet, still, different. I went to Michigan and cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner, which was largely a success..despite it being a little makeshift and my being frazzled.

Oh, what a month. I turned twenty-two and got to celebrate it with my friends. It was more of a quiet month, compared to the running around I had done the past three months, but the change of pace was very welcome.

What firsts have you experienced this year? I love looking back every year and reading what I thought was worth documenting, and what firsts I accomplished back then versus now. And now, I'm ready for 2014. Let me take it by the horns and hang on for dear life.

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November 6, 2013

Hello from Korea, From Lost in Travels - Snail Mail Collective

After spending the weekend trying to figure out what I wanted to post about this week, I received a friendly hello from Korea in the mail! I was so excited that I opened it up and took these quick photos at work, haha. Last month, I decided that I wanted to get to know more bloggers. So I signed up for the Snail Mail Collective and hoped for the best.

Little did I know that I was going to be paired up with one of the lovely ladies who runs the program. I was intimidated at first to have Chelsea from Lost in Travels as my partner (and I've told her as much!), but what a darling surprise it has been to get to know her. She and her husband are ridiculously cute (is it weird that I'm linking this post? Maybe) and I got to taste a little bit of Korea through her, despite my having never been.

I'm most excited to try the citron tea -- Chelsea has been raving about these! When I first opened the package, everything was faced down and so I thought she sent me little packets of jam. Little did I know that those would hold the magical tea I've been hearing about. And the fish goodies! I asked her about something my siblings used to tell me about all the time and she sent me these darling things.

Another beautiful gift is this scarf. It's a really lovely print and adds the right pop of both color and pattern to any outfit. As soon as I saw it I threw my scarf off and wrapped this around me instead. And look at this postcard! Look at how pretty Korea is! I need to plan a trip out there very, very soon. Also, please excuse my nasty unpainted nail. They're green now, so no longer weird to look at.

Thank you Chelsea, for these really lovely gifts. And for any of you out there who want to participate or are curious about what the SMC is, go check it out here. Sign-ups for this month end tomorrow, so go over now! It's really quite fun, and I had a blast.

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October 11, 2013

A little story about how I lost weight and got healthy.

"How did you lose all that weight?"

I get asked this question a lot these days. I don't really notice the weight loss (well, it's more of fluctuation because I lose a few, and gain some of it back...which means I only notice the addition of pounds, of course). Though it's extremely flattering to have so many people notice for me, I don't really see anything on a day-to-day basis.

Freshman year - Winter

But I was trying on some of my fall/winter clothes last month, and I realized that everything was fitting differently. All of the clothes that used to be too small on me (my sister and I are weirdly firm believers in "Just buy it, you'll fit into it later" -- which is never a good thing to go by, by the way) now fit, and all the things that used to fit are now too big on me. And it was a big deal.

So I wanted to write about it. Though even now, I'm not sure exactly how to.

Sophomore year - Spring, Fall

My initial intention really wasn't to lose weight. I expected it to be a by-product of my efforts, but the goal was to be healthier. And I know so many people are going to laugh at me for that, but it's true. I was tired of getting winded from walking up a flight of stairs, or not being able to keep up with my friends when they power-walked down the streets of New York like we had somewhere to be. I was tired of being tired all the time, of feeling sluggish and exhausted in the middle of the day. For someone so young, I thought it was super abnormal.

I didn't really cut out any foods or force myself to exercise if I didn't want to. If I wanted dessert, I got dessert. If I wanted pizza, I ate pizza. The one thing I did that I think really did the trick was doing everything in moderation. I drank a lot more water. When it came to exercising, I didn't force myself to jog. I didn't guilt myself. If I really didn't want to work out, then I walked instead of jogging. As long as I wasn't sitting around doing nothing, I was content.

Junior year - Spring, Winter

And I did that on and off for a year and a half, in what seemed like five-month intervals, until January of this year, when I really tried to stick with it. What helped me in doing that was not forcing myself to do anything I really didn't want to do, just for the sake of being healthy. I let the change be gradual and went with it, instead of trying to make it happen overnight.

Of course, the lifestyle change helped a lot to. I went from California, where everyone drives and portions are huge, to being in New York, where everyone walks and everything is so much more expensive (either that, or I was paying for my own meals outside of the dining hall so I saw how much everything cost).

Now (top), Senior year (bottom)

So what does all of that mean? I have lost more than fifty pounds since I came to New York in the fall of 2009. A good portion of that weight was lost this year, after I started eating smaller portions and being more active (this even means walking a few blocks instead of taking the train). And I feel a lot better about myself, my health. I don't need to sit down for ten minutes after walking up some stairs (or...maybe I still do). I'm not as tired as I used to be. I'm still an insomniac and I don't get nearly enough sleep, but I know the source of my lack of energy -- it's not a mysterious thing anymore.

The only unfortunate part (though I'm definitely not complaining!) is that all of my beloved jackets and jeans are too big now. Jackets are a bit of an easier fix as I can layer to my heart's content, but the jeans...well. I'm going to have to either get creative or to the Goodwill I go!

Just to note, I didn't think I was terribly large before -- again, this was all an attempt to be healthier. Starving myself wasn't an option. It was about moving around, changing the way that I ate, and making sustainable changes in my life.

Have any of you been trying to get healthier? Especially with the holidays coming up, I'm trying to make sure I don't binge on apple pie and hot chocolate...too much, haha.

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