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Deep Thoughts #8: Banksia Bakehouse

September 15, 2018 – Nerdy 30s Ladies of KC – I went into this thinking I was going to get your typical café experience: one where you order a latte and a pastry and then sit down to a nice conversation with your friends. I was not prepared for what actually happened that day.

I saw some familiar faces, but I met many new ladies as well. One stood out in particular for her strong-willed nature. I admired her strength when it comes to making big life decisions in the realm of changing careers. I think personalities like this makes me feel motivated in my life to go for it in situations where I’m a little more scared or hesitant to put one foot in front of the other. I like this kind of inspiration, the kind that pushes me.

I can’t remember what kind of doctored up coffee drink I got, but I do remember the kangaroo meat I tried. I definitely did not wake up that morning thinking I would try an Australian delicacy. But while ordering my drink, here it was in the window, enticing me to try it. So I did. And boy did it taste gamy. I will never have it again I’m sure, but at least I have given it a try. I wonder if it basically tastes like deer meat? I guess there’s only one way to find out…

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TikiCat and Spontaneity

Friday, June 8, 2018 – I texted you that it was such a fun night to let you know you were right about how to do fun nights when someone is a grandma like me. You didn’t respond to that text because you didn’t like the idea of me going to a bar scene without you and the potential for me to go all crazy party girl for one late night or meeting some other guy who’s a lot more funnier and charming than you. Don’t even front with that. What didn’t make sense to me is you and I weren’t even an item back then. (Not that we are now either.) Yet it hurt not to get a text back from you. It was as if you were already forcing your standards of how a perfect girlfriend should behave on me before we were anything to be labeled. I don’t even know what to label us now, but I do know now that we aren’t even an “us.” What I’m questioning is if we ever were an “us.” Especially since the beginning we have ever known each other you have treated me like I’m already “yours,” even though we have never talked about it. Wednesday Tuesday Friday. You would neither confirm nor deny any of this. I know you well enough now that your best would be to just leave me guessing because you’re not man enough to face your insecurities and move the F on and grow the F up.

That night I learned I didn’t belong amongst a group of unsober girls, I can put myself in situations where I know nobody and still have a fantastic time, I can be flexible and change my mind about a specific drink I want to try so I can try one drink collectively with a few girls who want to try the same drink, and while every other girl was talking about leaving her man at home to go out with the girls, I wanted to be one of those girls who could say stuff like that. Well, after getting to know the limited you that you ended up allowing me to know, I can say I no longer want the same things I did that night. Except I do, with someone else. Someone else who I know is worthy of my time and affection. A man who is actually a man, not a boy inside a man’s body. A man who is a leader and not afraid to take charge. A man who is confident, but not cocky. A man who communicates well, especially who is not afraid to be vulnerable with me and will let me baby him from time to time. A man who calls me “babe” and actually means it. A man who actually puts God first in all aspects of his life, not just says he does, and leads me to do the same. Who that is will be for me to know and you to not find out.

In the words of Ariana Grande: thank u, next.  

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Deep Thoughts #5 at Pilgrim Coffee

Saturday, June 2, 2018 – This was not the fifth one I had been to. I think this was my second one. I liked the name of the coffee shop, Pilgrim Coffee, and it was surprisingly easy for me to find, but I didn’t like the design of the name of the coffee shop. It looked too generic. I’m bothered by the little things as well as the big things. I remember liking my pastry and latte, but I couldn’t tell you what specifically I liked about it. I would say it tasted too generic as well, but I feel like most coffee places are like that. Our host provided a sheet with three topic points to cover. One was on FOMO vs. JOMO, another one on if discomfort has to come with personal growth, and a third one on how to describe home. I liked all of them because I can relate to all of them one way or another. But the thing is, what I remember the most from this get-together was not our answers to these questions. It was when we talked about our lives. It’s not that these topics weren’t interesting to talk about. They were, but they were even more interesting to discuss once we made our answers personal and then some. I think that’s with a lot of things in life. It’s just hard to be interested in something that we have no personal perspective on. Time moves so much slower when you’re trying to pay attention to someone speaking about something in a monotone or in such a way that expresses they are not passionate about the topic they are talking about. That’s why when you’re watching your favorite TV show or movie, you get to the end and you’re always like “that’s it?” 2.5 hours may have passed, but it feels like it was only 0.0167 hour. Guys, I’ve just explained the existence of movie marathons and binge watching. On that note, I’d like to say this: I enjoy these kinds of Nerdy 30s Ladies get-togethers because I get to learn more about other people’s perspectives on life as well as learn more about my likes and dislikes with regards to my environment. El fin.

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Makeup, Mischief & Mayhem

Saturday, April 21, 2018 – I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures from this Nerdy 30s event. I honestly don’t know what happened to them. This was at one of the girls’ house. I remember walking in thinking “wow, her house is nice, but in the way anyone who is around her 30s with a house would be.” I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. I am not one to talk as I don’t even own my own house. Anyway…she did an excellent job hosting in my humble opinion. I remember three distinct areas: one with all the refreshments, one with all the couches and sitting room, and of course, one with the table with all the loot.

Now I’m not as into makeup as I believe many other girls are, but I decided to come because I wanted to do something fun like my own DIY skincare product with like-minded girls. I had my eye on making a lip scrub so that was my focus while I watched the other girls work on actual makeup for eyes and lips and the such. I was amazed at how simple it was to make a lip scrub by mixing a few natural ingredients together like sugar and lemon. (And no, that’s not a lip scrub by itself, just two different ingredients.) Since then I’ve been using my lip scrub on areas of my skin where it’s more dry than others so it did not end up being strictly for my lips. If it did, I’m afraid I would have eaten it up faster than I let it exfoliate.

Our hostess had Hershey’s nuggets and I was so excited for them because I hadn’t had those in forever and I loved them as a teen! She also got us talking about our favorite shows and guy chick flicks like That Awkward Moment and what everyone does for a living. I got to know a lawyer and an editor better than I did before, which goes to show it doesn’t matter what we girls do for a living, we all like hanging out and chilling at a girly table laughing about our life experiences that many times involve our jobs. So hopefully I didn’t disappoint you by the title, but it was not named by me and the whole event was more about makeup than any sorts of trouble, though I guess you can count us sharing work stories as that, but it was a fun, relaxing afternoon to say the least. Sometimes that’s all you need. No drama mamas here.

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Deep Thoughts #2 at Opera House Coffee & Food Emporium

 

Saturday, March 3, 2018 – This was not the first Deep Thoughts event of the Nerdy 30s Ladies, but it was the first one I went to. I had been looking forward to an event where all us girls can talk about anything that is not guys, love life, relationships, and hair and makeup or whatever. Anything else at all. As usual, whenever an event was located downtown, I’d stress about parking. Luckily, I think on that day I was able to find a parking spot on the street somewhere a couple of blocks away. When I got to Opera House, I noticed right away this was not your regular coffee house. There was a coffee station, couches, and tables where you could enjoy your coffee selection, and around the corner another station where breakfast and lunch was served. It’s like a place where you can shift from breakfast to lunch with a simple set change. It’s like a sit-com! The girls I met that day were from all over the country and it was really nice to talk to each of them. One was from Germany and shared the same interests in writing as me. It was refreshing to talk to her. I can’t remember all our topics, but I remember talking about our jobs and spaces we live in. But most of all, I remember the feeling of walking away knowing I had made some new girl friends who had other interests besides typical girly stuff and I fit right in. There’s no better feeling in the world.

 

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feeling like a real writer at YALLSTAYHOME a.k.a. YALLWest

I have not felt more at home than I did this past weekend during YALLSTAYHOME. It is normally called YALLWest and would have taken place at Santa Monica, but due to the coronavirus, it became YALLSTAYHOME in the format of several consecutive Zoom meetings. Attendees could pick and register for the specific meeting they wanted to attend and registration could include entering to win some of the fun book giveaways if so desired. YALLWest is the sister festival to YALLFest and both festivals are celebrations of the reading and writing world, with a focus on YA authors. I registered for as many panels I was interested in, but due to my schedule, I was not able to attend all the ones I registered for. However, cross my fingers that because I registered, later I will get a link to each recorded session. Hoping for the best here, guys!

Anyway, the whole festival ran from Friday, April 24 – Sunday, April 26 and here are the panels I registered for: Fierce Friday: Create Your Own Fantasy Story, I Read YA@Home, Opening Ceremony + Keynote, Creativity in the Time of Corona, Modern Magic Worldbuilding, This American Experience, PM Keynote with Brandon Sanderson, YALLSTAYHOME Smackdown, Suckage is Part of Writing, Remember High School?, and Writing Empathy. There were so many others as well that I did not register for just because I did not have room in my schedule! There were so many authors there including Marie Lu, Julie Buxbaum, Leah Johnson, Marisa Kanter, Bill Konigsberg, Alex London, Samuel Miller, Zan Romanoff, Tara Sim, Angie Thomas, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and F.C. Yee.

I have got to say, I want to read all of their books!! And…I felt like Belle when she opens her eyes for the first time inside Beast’s library. With each panel I learned all about each author’s background and writing journey and in the case of Brandon Sanderson, got to meet his pet macaw as well. With each panel I learned the struggle is real during this pandemic. Many authors feel that it is harder to write staying inside all the time. I learned stuff like you can build a world based off of your main character’s needs and it’s important to write your truth and teens go to novels as a form of escape, some making more friends with the characters in the books than in real life and there is a now a lot more representation from Asian authors to Muslim authors to queer authors to biracial authors. A lot of times someone becomes an author because they weren’t reading books with their race or culture represented, so they became the first to write that representation. That is awesome!

It was also awesome to finally experience the Smackdown. I had read about it beforehand and I really looked forward to it. The Smackdown did not disappoint: Dumbledope and Snape Dog were there for starters, and it kicked off with a Cards Against Humanity type of game and I only just learned how to play this game a couple months ago, pre-coronavirus and a Harry Potter version, no less. Let me tell you there is nothing more LOL than this game. There was another segment a lot like MTV Cribs and then a Pet Roast and finally a dance party at the end. Once coronavirus is over this festival is definitely on my top ten list of places want to go to for real.

Finally, noticing there are a lot more Asian authors out there now made me feel comforted and happy and giddy. I seriously could not stop smiling. Then I noticed how welcoming and inviting and safe these panels were. It didn’t matter what someone’s background was, everyone was open to listening to everyone’s stories and where they came from and how they got into writing. I realized writing = life. There’s going to be racism, suicide, queer life, privileged life, and everything else in between in stories and everyone accepts this as is. Many of the authors mentioned inspiration can come from anywhere and even talked about how writing can get so hard sometimes you end up playing a video game instead of writing sometimes. I could not agree more. I love how relatable each of the panels were and I truly felt right at home. I left the festival with a feeling I’ve known all along and just needed a little reminder: This, reading and writing and talking about reading and writing until the cows come home, is the community I belong in.

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Blind Date with a Book

It was a Saturday of course. This particular Saturday was on February 24, 2018. I can’t believe it’s been a little over two years already! I feel blessed now thinking of all the moments I’ve gotten to share with my Nerdy 30s gals. I know I’m still behind in documenting our adventures, but I bet I’ll be able to catch up soon now. I also think if you’re going to go on a blind date, the best option is with a book. It shows up with a story to tell and you can stop it from speaking at any time and pick up where you left off at any time. If you don’t like it you can sell it or gift it to someone who will like it. If you do like it, you’ll be able to discover a new genre and find more like it to read. Win-win.

On this particular blind date, we met at La Bodega. I’m pretty sure it was during brunch hour, not just because I’m looking at the eggs I had, but because this group loves meeting during brunch hour. Don’t ask me how many of us were there. I honestly don’t remember anymore, but if you see the table of books, you’ll see there was a good number of us. La Bodega is a Spanish restaurant known for its tapas. Yummy.

I brought my absolute favorite book of all time, the one that made me fall in love with reading, A Ring of Endless Light. I read this novel for the first time in fifth grade and I remember sneaking it under the covers at night and waking up at 5:00 a.m. to find out what happens next. It was the first book I found out what “couldn’t put down” meant. I am still inspired to this day by this book to keep reading and keep writing. It is an oldie and a goodie.

Since each book is covered in a brown paper wrapping with just the description on the outside, there is no way to know what book you are picking, but of course, you do get to decide based on the words used to describe the content. I ended up with Beloved, a classic, but yet not one I enjoyed. Maybe if I studied it in school it would make it enjoyable to me, but on my own, no. So unfortunately you’re not going to get any words from me about it.

Hey, a blind date doesn’t work out every time, right? At least this one I didn’t have to delete a number or anything…XD…but seriously though, this was a lot of fun and I’m glad I went. I wouldn’t have had my first sangria and I got to go back to a restaurant I like eating at, but don’t get to go too often due to distance. But the best part was getting to get together with my girls and discussing a lot of different books across the board as well as why each book was special to the lady who brought it. Another win-win if you ask me. 😉

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*~*Holiday Traditions*~*

For many American families, the holidays are a time to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. For some families the traditions look a little different because of the different holidays celebrated. Whatever the case may be, the holidays are a time where families get together. But it’s not just the immediate family. This includes the extended family and anyone else who is considered a part of the family. It’s one of the times during the year when everyone gets to see everyone again and catch up. Sometimes there’s a lot of good feelings, other times there are some not so good feelings. There might even be a few inside jokes here and there. But for the Ye family, it’s not like that.

I’m not sure how many American families go through the holidays like this, but I’m sure my family isn’t the only one. I have a big family, especially on my father’s side. In this way we are no different from many American families out there. We just don’t get to see everybody every year because most of the extended family is in China. So while everyone else gets together at Grandma’s or whatever, we get together at home, at my parents’ house. The immediate family was my dad, my mom, and me. Now it’s just me and my mom. Yes, I lost my dad in 2018 and just a few days ago on the 3rd, I lost my cat. She was a part of my immediate family in the sense that I loved her like a family member. I believe pets really do become a part of the family and losing her was one of the hardest things I just went through in my life. I know I sound dramatic, but I don’t care. She is my first cat I have lost this way and things will never be the same going forward. But her story is for another time.

I am lucky I still have my mom. She keeps in touch with her side of the family on a regular basis because she loves her sisters to death (excuse the diction here) and wants to keep tabs on Grandpa. However, like my cat story, right now I’m not going to get into why we don’t really keep in touch with my dad’s side of the family, especially now that he’s gone. So it’s just the two of us. We are a small family, but we have the flexibility to do whatever we want. We don’t have to follow any traditions and there are no awkward uncles to face.

This past Christmas Mom and I went to see the new “Little Women” movie that came out that day starring Emma Watson and Meryl Streep. It has always been this way, but we noticed the movie theater is one of the few places that stays open on Christmas Day and therefore one of the only places you can buy food should you not have food at home. We immediately thought you could spend the whole day at the movies on Christmas Day if you wanted. I’m going to remember that in case I ever need it. We don’t really have any traditions. I think at the beginning, we did – with decorations and dinner parties and presents and even cards. Remember those? Then my cat would always play with the Christmas tree until the whole thing got knocked over. Then I went away to college so we started taking family vacations every year around Christmas break since there were no family friends nearby anymore. Then two Christmases ago he was gone and Mom and I haven’t found a new routine yet.

The holidays don’t feel like anything different compared to what many families in America experience. It’s just the two of us. No travelling, unless we decide to go on vacation. No traditions because I’m too old for presents and Mom and I both don’t like getting a lot of “stuff.” We’d rather spend time together and gain experiences instead. So really the holidays equals a big question mark for us at the moment.

 

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NaNoWriMo results

This year I won NaNoWriMo two days early on November 28th. I’ve had a lot going on since then, so sorry I have not updated about it since winning. On the left is the shirt I got myself as soon as I won and a few days later I treated myself to a shake from Chick-fil-A. I can’t remember what exactly it was called, but it was a chocolate chip peppermint flavor. The name doesn’t matter. That shake was good and Chick-fil-A makes good shakes in general.

This was only my third time participating. I’ve won it twice so far. The first I completed a first draft of an entire novel. Last time I finished roughly ~14,000 words. This time I won, but I don’t have a complete first draft. What I’ve found to work really well is an outline before starting. That’s what I did the first time around. The second time around I decided to dive in with no sense of direction. This time around I didn’t have an outline, but I had an idea of where I wanted my story to go. I think the results show the outline works the best if you want a completed novel by the end of the challenge.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? How did it go?

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NaNoWriMo 2019

I just wanted to say I haven’t been that active on here lately because I am currently participating in NaNoWriMo 2019. For those of you who know what that is and/or have participated, good for you and I hope you the best in your word count keep up. I know it’s taken a toll on my sleep. For those of you who do not know what NaNoWriMo is, it is a non-profit organization, short for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. This is my third time participating and my goal this time is to simply crank out 50,000 words. I am not worried about how good my novel is. I want to get in a good writing habit, starting with this challenge so I will be happy if I just write 50,000 words. I can always edit the story later, but for now, just getting the words out.

Peace x