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Summer 2023 Journal

Warning: my blog got no filter. I hashtagged it personal for a reason, which means that you will end up reading my trash, my crap, and my compost. They can be irrational and vulgar. Sometimes I might write Chicken soup for the soul things, sometimes not.

8.28.2023 Just catching up with things

Again, just like last time, I've been busy again..and in a good way! My freelancing project has been very slowly picking up. Because of my circumstances, I'm not fit to work outside of my home environment. It's nice that I am able to work at home, set my own schedule and still earn a little bit of money while working on stuff that allows me to be creative.  Not sure if I'll be making as much as I would like to by the end of fall *crosses fingers*, but we shall see. As long as Bern got his job, I know we will be okay in the long run.

Recently, I found another youtube channel that's related to One Piece manga discussion. The creator had his mom, who is an English teacher, as a guest speaker. She just started reading, and her inputs on Oda's writing were interesting to listen to.  I'm super jealous of the creator because he got a mom who is willing to share an interest with him by keeping up with the anime/manga. I'm so used to seeing parents who don't invest in their children's interests, so it warms up my heart by watching his channel. It was also nice hearing that she genuinely likes the story and made every note of little details throughout the first few arcs. They treated the whole discussion like a book club discussion...I can't wait to hear more from them. 

I finally started an episode of the tv series What We Do In the Shadows. So far, I'm loving it-- it's amusing! I find it hard to get attached to random mockumentary shows outside of Abott's Elementary and Flight of the Conchords, so I think the writing seems very clever. Enunciating lines while wearing vampire fangs is not easy, I think the actors nailed their speeches. 

Oh, and I finally got around to doing full cosplay (safely at home) once again. Sometimes, it's just fun to dress up. I'm at this point in my life where I'm pretty comfortable with my body and not give a f**k from the opinions by others. The life clock is ticking and I want to be able to have fun with it. I made a separate social account just so I to share my outfits, photography, sewing templates and crafting ideas between a few of my cosplayer friends. It's nice to find a little corner to nerd out with people who actually cares. Hopefully I'll be able to build a community based off of the fandoms that I like? If not, I'm super happy with my very little-and-cozy following. 

As for the tropical storm (from Hurrican Hillary), at least I was in part of LA that wasn't too bad. No blackouts or power outages. It seems like our hot weather evaporated everything out the following day. Unfortunately, I've read that our neighboring regions got the unpleasant end of it. 

This One Piece drone show at the Santa Monica Pier looks awesome! 

8.18.2023 Storm watch!

For the past few weeks, I've been pretty busy.  I think it's relieving to finally have a bit of time to myself simply to just rest for a bit. I tried my hardest to avoid doomscrolling through social media feeds...but at the same time, I do not ever want to turn a blind eye to the stuff that's super important

On my weather app, it says that there's a flood watch. It was nothing but sunny today. I know we're expected about to get hurricane over the weekend?  I really never been in one, hurricanes are not that common in the West Coast O_o. I think it will turn into a tropical storm for us?  The only major storms I'm only familiar with are the El Niño storms. I'm hoping it won't be anything too crazy! *Crosses fingers* 

I guess it doesn't hurt to at least be a little prepared. I've got some spare batteries around, a couple of canteens, portable phone charger, & emergency kit near my door. Anyway, I'll be spending the remainder of my Friday completing my chores just incase if it does get crazy out there. 

My last summer vibes art with CS Paint:
drawing of girl at the pool

7.29.2023 Summer heat wave & Barbie dolls

Listening to cd gif Yung Bae Playlist


July has been feeling dreadfully long. The past weeks has been nothing but heatwaves during the day, I feel like I'm living in Hey, Arnold!'s episode, Heat. I ended up preparing most our dinners early in the day-- anything to prevent heat in the house. I have been fixing up variations of cold pasta salads. They're refreshing, well-balanced, inexpensive & super satisfying...I'm not sure how we didn't think of preparing pasta salads in the past. I know for sure having a Kewpie mayonnaise makes whole wheat pasta noodles tastes a whole lot better. 

At least this month, Bern and I were able to cool off by seeing Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie at an *empty theater* during a quiet viewing hour-- we want to support writers, actors, & artists. As we're both familiar in the art& entertainment industry circle, we're amazed with the usage of practical effects, like painted backgrounds and silent-film style showcasing a moving vehicle. I thought Ryan Gosling's Ken was hilarious, he reminded me of Jack Black's Bowser from the Mario movie. Bern even agreed. 

My babysister (she's actually an adult btw), who is also a fan of Barbie, watched the movie as well and we ended up having a deep conversation about it. The movie made her cry, and I totally get why. For different reasons, we both experienced our childhoods getting zapped out before middle school. It's not like our parents forced us to grow up fast, it's just when you're caught up with time, you're sucked into an environment that takes your imaginative play time away. 

Like yes, I know it's Mattel and I understand that their sole purpose is to promote their brand...I don't think think the messaging of the film is as complex (it's digestible, and that's okay) as the other stuff made by Gerwig, but it got me reflecting back on to some things.  Because we moved a lot, I ended up losing most of my dolls (Disney, Mattel, dollar store brands). I believe my most favorite of them all was a Barbie (or was it a Teresa doll?) that came with a blank denim jacket, and it came with some embroidery gels. I even got better about keeping my dolls in decent shape as I reached towards fourth grade-- I would put them back into my glass hutch after playing. I had a cousin who claimed that it was weird that I didn't let my sister (who was a baby at the time) play with them. My sister was still teething and I'm pretty sure it would kind of hazardous for her to play with them. Reflecting back, I concluded that my cousin wanted to play with them... and she didn't know how to express it considering that she was also going through a pre-teen developing stage. I think she used my baby sister as an excuse to get my dolls out. Also, our dad did our best to preserve some of our childhood stuff.  Before they disappeared, he was protective of my dolls *being out of my encased hutch* since I wasn't assertive about setting boundaries with my childhood toys when it comes to neighborhood friends. He was the same way with my sister's belongings, but this time, he was very *hardcore* about it. 

Unfortunately, I don't think some of the other people close to me were that great about letting me embrace my femineity in a way that was comfortable for me. It's like you have to be a *proper lady* but you cannot go full out glitter and lipstick. It took me some developing years to figure out what was right for me. 

Even after high school, when I fully embraced my doll-like fashion during my hipster years, I was still struggling with it back and forth. I remembered thinking how beautiful Zoey Deschanel looked in her vintage dresses and with ribbons in her hair. She was technically indie Barbie for me. But in art school circles, people have argued that her look wasn't very " good feminist" and she was childish to be rocking her pretty ribbons.T__T  Luckily, I ended up not giving into that. I'm sure some criticisms were valid, I think it's just a party pooper to pick on someone's choice of attire to reflect on the person's entire character. Some of my most helpful colleagues happened to be people who were always covered in blings and frills. The safest person I know is all tatted.  

  Ahhh, sorry for the bizarre reflection (also going off tangent). Now about the toy stuff, I still got most of my Pokemon cards and my sister still got some of her Barbie dolls (she took better care of them than I did & thanks to my dad). I was able to retrieve my childhood Happy Meal dolls from a second hand shop. Also, me being on the old web doing html is also part of it too! Seeing dollz around brings joy to my thirteen year old heart. Right now, I have my sister's unbuilt Gundam model.  We're hoping to have a holiday get together and build the model for the occasion. Once it gets on Blu-ray disc, maybe we'll be able to rewatch the Barbie movie together for Christmas? Whether you're a teen or a person pushing sixty, I guess the perks of growing old is that you will always get to go back to your playtime & make newer memories.  Also, if you're truly into the sparkly stuff..just go right ahead and get into it, life is way too short to not enjoy em'!

7.14.2023 Remember Summer Days: health appointments, picnic hangout, & drawings

Listening to cd gif Anri- Summer Days

 beach gyaru

The past couple of weeks, I've felt like I've been back to my spiritual- productivity. I love waking up early in the morning and diving straight into doing creative stuff.  Getting into a creative stimulation prevents me from getting trapped into doomscrolling (it's honestly not something I could a 100 percent avoid) on mainstream social media.  There's a part of me that wants to drive out to beach places, but the most of the public ones nearby are contaminated.  Most of the quiet beaches are in super bougie areas (sometimes I just don't feel comfortable in those places) or they're a bit of a drive away.  So instead, I've been listening to Artzie Music playlist while drawing summery scenes, replaying romantic memories of the beach scenes in my head. 

bear bunny beach hot bear man

ice cream couple

I basically drew more of my OCs in their summertime-related activities... and yeah, they're loosely based off of Bern and I ^^.  You know the saying, 'write what you know'? Well, I guess in my case... I just 'draw' what I know, or all the things I've experienced with Bern. I guess I'm a simple gal who likes simple activities.

Some of my favorite summertime activities includes things like grabbing a burger from a local joint, heading to a seaside, sitting in a parked car just to view ocean waves or see seagulls doing funny bird things. hamburger decome

*Ok, now back to reality!* Besides romanticizing beach memories, I finally get to see a new endocrinologist. According to my new doctor, they said that they've been super swamped and it wasn't normal for them since the pandemic started (the reasoning wasn't simply the pandemic alone, the reasoning was a combination of  things we can't just easily claim and pinpoint). Now, I really really have to be a lot more strict with my routines... like not skipping my meals and incorporate my whole grain/ brown rice to most of my sides.  As a person who is very scatterbrained, when you're caught up with activities, it's so easy to forget. I think I may have to put alarms for myself XD. 

By the end of the week, Bern and I went on a casual picnic to see some of our friends...we didn't get to see them since April. Seems like they're all in decent health. We basically sat in a shade and discussed our entertainment media we've picked up for the past few months. And yes, there will always be that one person in a friend group who will diss your favorite tv show ;___; (if there's any One Piece club meet ups made for couples in Los Angeles, pls let me know).  We shared some snacks. Overall, it was a nice picnic hangout.  The weather was pretty mild for summertime... like 75 degrees F/ 24 degrees C type of mild. ..and it got slightly breezier towards later afternoon. 
freeway waffers canyon
Pictures of our scenic day drives & my picnic snacks

hello kitty

7.05.2023 First week of July!

Spoilers: mentions of my Tears of the Kingdom gameplay in the first - third paragraph. 

So far with my Hyrule summer, I have unlocked three different temples in LoZ: TotK.   I think I'm left with one more temple... I need to explore more of the Gerudo region. Lately, I've been finding lightroots in the Depths.  So far, I think some of the *temple* boss battles have been pretty fair. In terms of mechanics (yet thrilling too, like a ride), I think the Wind Temple was the easiest. I did however, got just a bit confused with the Fire temple on the second part of the battle.  I personally love going up against Master Kohga, from the Yiga Clan in the Depths. He's so babygirl, I cannot loathe him at all...he's just so precious. It makes me happy to see that Nintendo decided to add some goofy villain characters. The Yiga clan reminds me of Pokemon's Team Rocket.
To whoever has been catching up the game: Master Kohga's music theme is addicting, isn't it? 

Just for fun I took some pictures from TotK. 

Paya Naydra


Bern and I didn't do a whole lot yesterday. We basically stayed home, got caught up with chores and discussed the kind of music playlists our dads would have made during BBQ was a funny discussion. Bern's dad was clearly into classic rock from the 70s. My dad, in particular, had music taste that was all over the place, mostly 80s pop songs.  Bern and I somehow ended up on the Bruce Springsteen youtube as we roamed through our dads's favorite songs. After that, we watched some One Piece reactions. 

I made peach pie & smashed turkey sliders for the weekend. I made a mistake of not going with my own instinct in preparing the pie filling. ;___; I felt like the peach pie filling would have been better without the boiling process (might be great for cobbler), because I've made better peach pies without the extra steps. It was still good, just not my most favorite. Smashed turkey sliders turned out well. 

peach pie smashed turkey burger

6.27.2023 Feeling spooky

I know to many people, it's super early to think of Halloween month in the middle of the summer. Usually for me, around this time of the year, I tend to make early plans for fall celebrations because I know I will be super busy getting lost doing Halloween decorations. I'm not the only one feeling this way, because I've been getting feeds of Monster Palooza and Spooky Swap Meet events for the summer. I probably won't be attending to any of them this year. My living place is small af, we got other priorities in finances, and tickets to these places tend to sell out anyways. In a practical sense, I could use some more couch pillows and essential kitchenware... maybe I'll look to get pumpkin-themed house supplies? Look for an inexpensive B-film poster? I'm definitely looking forward to craft some specific witchy items that I have in mind!

halloween drawing prompt

I like posting a lot of my art drawings around October (Drawtober). I've just made a drawing prompt centering around gothic romance novels or things that kinda feels like Guillermo del Toro's Shape of Water. Posting things like this will help me stay committed to my personal assignments. And yes, I do intend to make my werewolves and my clowns appear chiseled emote If any of y'all are actually reading this and wants to participate, feel free to use my prompt list! I have no due dates or exact days in October to post my drawings. And no, you do not have to draw McDreamy monsters!

Normally, almost every year, I would have a list of movies I'd love to catch for Halloween month...but I find that I tend to watch the same ol' iconic classics these past few years, and they've become background ambiences during my chores time. I'm sure I'll catch a couple of unwatched films.

I do have a list of Halloween video games playlist tho! I don't expect to finish any of them, but I think they got some spooky vibes for autumn month. I'm hoping to re/play:

    Night In the Woods

    Vampire Survivors

    Luigi's Mansion 3

    Pocky and Rocky

    Jersey Devil (not sure if I'll get a hold of this one)

    Pumpkin Jack

halloween div
 pho ga and youtiao

I made pho ga today! Got my chicken rotisserie from Vons and it slaps. It's perfect because it doesn't take super long to cook up. 

6.26.2023 Listening to cd emote gifJolene cover by Strawberry Switchblade

Link cucco

I guess since the Hyrule map in TOTK is starting to feel a lot smaller, I finally cut some of my gaming hours and incorporated a bunch of side hobbies. I got back into drawing once again! I did a redraw of my OC clown couple, kind of inspired by Mira Fujita, but without studying her works too carefully and having a faint memory of her illustrations. I'm hoping to get better with the Procreate *crosses fingers*.

Bern and I have been caught up with One Piece series for quite awhile now, the painful part is having to wait every week for a new episode. Last week episode was just a recap. The past weekend's episode was INSANE, we get to see a battle with Kidd & Law versus Big Mom. Bern found a really good One Piece (mostly for the manga) reviewer on youtube, it's nice to hear from someone who've been thoroughly reading the pages, researched the materials, and articulate the piece with appreciation and care. As much as I find power-up battles to be entertaining, to me, I personally think a decent shonen is not always solely about that. I appreciate a good character development& characters who aren't physically strong, but managed to play big supporting roles in the series. I'm finally happy to listen to a reviewer who isn't obnoxious about a medium.

I'm sure most of y'all loathe TikTok and many fast social media apps in general, and it's valid to feel that way, BUT I finally found a decent recipe to make a better youtiao this time (this person actually listed the directions in the caption). I also upgraded my kitchen tool by using a wider pot. I'm so happy how it turned out. My grandpa used to dip them in his coffee drinks, but unfortunately I can no longer have coffee, so I dabbed some Nutella on them instead-- they tasted pretty bomb.

youtiao youtiao closeup

I think these are the best youtiao I've made so far. I grew up eating them with congee, kuyteav/ hu tieu or condensed milk. Maybe I'll t try them with hot chocolate during the winter time?
bicycle girl gif

6.18.2023- Happy Father's Day

 Warning: mentions of implied abuse & smoking. I do not advocate damaging the lungs.

Before I start of sharing my picture dump from the past couple of weeks, I like to mindfully wish my belated grandfather & my father a Happy Father's Day. While they weren't child development's textbook definition of perfect parents, I was never physically neglected by them.  I'm not going to get into what they could have done better, but at least I know what not to repeat if Bern and I do end up raising a child in the future.

So what were the things he did right? My father, who often worked overtime, was great about penciling in most weekends with my brother and I growing up. He valued going outdoors and made sure we were active. Our weekends were always filled with local parks, beach trips, & kid-friendly hiking places at state parks.  Also, he was considered the cool uncle/ brother-in-law when I was a toddler, so I had my young aunt, uncles, and cousins who would frequently tag along with us. Sometimes, he would switch it up and do scenic night drives on hills just to catch city lights or he would take us all to some interesting arcades. I used to address my dad as Uncle Johnny* as a toddler because my cousins were around a lot. 

I remember a handful of McDonald's drive-thru trips and Chuck E. Cheese hangouts on weekdays, but I then later learn as an adult that was a way for my dad to blow off steam from my uncle (his narcissistic* older brother)  while my mother worked night shifts. I believe he didn't want my brother and I to see our uncle's outbursts. We became homeless for a bit because of him... my father  had to protect my brother and I (that's how we both ended up living with our maternal grandparents).  Unfortunately, he couldn't protect our cousins & his sister-in-law. 

My maternal grandpa used to make  passive aggressive comments about my dad's siblings ;__;. I thought my grandpa was being mean in that regards, but now I've just realized why he did them. I guess as a child, you don't realize how ill some adults were and the ones who cared for you weren't too open about articulating it. 

My gramps wasn't the most social person, he was just a quiet man who loved his coffee mornings. He was also a heavy smoker, he loved his pipe and his 555 cigs. However, him being a quiet person and heavy smoker did not negate the fact that he was the most sweetest person around...before my grandma's dementia, she talked about how she misses him a lot. I always loved the contraptions and playgrounds he built for my brother and I. When he saw how I was confident with my balance, he was the first person who taught me how to ride a bike! He was always there to help my grandma with food preparations. Like a lot of people in my family, he was quite green thumbed. It's nice to know that his gardens are still around. 

Once again, cheers to the men in my life who did their best. 

*Note: Johnny isn't really his name since I don't need to have my parents' name out there. 
Also, my family and I are speculating that our uncle was a narcissist, he was never properly diagnosed.

And now, my Vitamin D- walk pics with Bern:

la hills la hills 

la hills la hills

I love doing hilly walks, I've been doing mental scavenger hunts with different architectural buildings: Storybook cottages, 20s style buildings, and Mid Century modern homes. If you haven't heard of Paul Revere Williams, check out his stuff! He's one of the notable architects who've designed and influenced a lot of Mid Century styles in Los Angeles. 

 blueberry pancakes chakway and congee

And because I was advised not to have any hard or crunchy foods after my wisdom tooth extraction, I've made blueberry pancakes for one day and congee with youtiao (I know it looks a bit lumpy, but I still liked it) for one other day. I've also made a delicious eggplant stir fry, but I don't really want to share my night time photography right now. XD 

6.13.2023-Listening to Zora's Domain

Starting my summer in Hyrule...

Animated pixel sprite gif of Link from Legend of Zelda

I haven't been updating, because I've been in a semi-hibernation mode playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Usually Animal Crossing and Dragon Quest are my go-to-games for these past pandemic years, BUT not as much as Tears of the Kingdom. I feel like I could get lost for hours unlocking temples and getting in touch with physics in the most intuitive way. I believe I will be spending most of my summer wandering in Hyrule. I'll have to remember to set my schedule accordingly to not exclude my essential activities. Besides these TOTK gaming weeks, a lot has happened for sure: phone convos with a couple of difficult family members, wisdom tooth extraction, Netflix series binges, and 60 degrees cloudy day strolls (very unusual for LA County).

I finished the Netflix series featuring Margaret Qualley and her mother, Andie MacDowell, in Maid. Apparently, it is based on Stephanie Land's book,Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother's Will To Survive. I think the series did a decent job showing the difficulties our system (and our societal attitudes) has made for those trying to survive and escape the cycle of domestic violence.

Luckily, I've always had supportive parents/grandparents who were (and currently still for my parents who are very much alive) pretty stable in their marriage life, certain scenes hits home for me. I'm familiar with the feeling of living in a nice home for a few years and not having a home the next day. Like I said, I was lucky...they were by no means perfect, but I had my grandparents( AND cool teenaged aunt & uncles)who helped my parents raised me while they worked full-time to start from scratch. I'll probably have to check out Land's books.

Since I do enjoy cooking for Bern and friends, I got into watching The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House series. It's very wholesome! Loads of scrumptious food scenes, satisfying senses, and happy non verbal moments... but not in a way that would make you want to escape reality, instead, the drama encourages to wear your heart on your sleeve and appreciate the connection you've made with your friends in a tight knit community.

Speaking about connections with friends, significant others and all.... I'm happy to have Bern by my side! If you're a grown ass person like me and you need your other half for medical appointments (this is the week where I got my wisdom tooth out) and such, please please do not hesitate to bring someone you love and trust to help you take notes. Especially if you need a friend to help you articulate things better (I get spacey af). Two brains are better than one! This is something I've learned within these past thirteen years... it's okay to not do certain things alone if you are able to.

Since I do have life outside of Hyrule, here are some pictures from my anniversary stroll with Bern at the Arboretum in Arcadia:

The Rose Arch The Lake

Rose arch with white roses Peacock

The Queen Anne building a walking path of trees

We ended up having Ike's Sandwiches that day. It was delightful as usual. There has never been a day where I've been dissatisfied with an Ike's sandwich: halal chicken, avocado, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, and honey mustard in Dutch crust bread!

Picnic basket sprite