Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#obsessed: Magnets – Disclosure ft. Lorde

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Lorde, and her newest song with Disclosure is pure mesmerization (you could even say that it is magnetic). It's haunting and electric and vengeful, and I love every single second of it, so I just wanted to share that here. ◊

Sunday, September 27, 2015

MDIP – Wonton Party!

Saturday Wonton Party, details to follow :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Food Friday #019 – Smoke's Poutinerie

I honestly don't know where to start with this one. I suppose I'll start at the bottom, and explain the "Canadian with a craving" that is my suitemate Chloe. Chloe the Canadian was craving some Canadian food: poutine. Luckily, there is a "Poutinerie" in Berkeley: Smoke's Poutinerie. So we went. And bought poutine. Lots of it.

It was my first time trying poutine, so I honestly don't know what I was expecting. I had heard many good things about it from various people, and since the dish is basically potato fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, it couldn't possibly taste bad. I was considering trying the original poutine, but decided that would be too boring, so I went with Chicken Bacon Ranch. I wanted a snack size, but that topping wasn't available for that size, so I went with a meal size.

If "Bacon Ranch" didn't warn me already, the message on the wall saying, "Clogging arteries since 2008!" should have, but for some reason I was not expecting it to be so loaded with fat. For most people this shouldn't be a problem, but it is for me, because eating excessive amounts of fat will give me a headache that renders me incapable of functioning. I suppose it's my body's natural way of preventing me from gaining too much weight, and for that I am thankful, otherwise I would be much larger than I currently am, but it also prevents me from eating a lot of delicious food.

»Portions: [5/5] A "meal size" box is definitely sufficient for the average person. There is also a smaller "snack size" and a larger "wow size." If you eat in, the toppings often pile higher than the box, so there is no lack of food at all.
»Price: [4/5] This order was just shy of $10, so while it is affordable, it's not somewhere a broke college student would eat at frequently. However, I did order a special topping and medium box, so a plain smaller size would definitely be more budget friendly.
»Value: [4.5/5] The poutine was definitely quality, so I'd say that the $10 was worth it.
»Cleanliness: [5/5] I definitely did not notice any crumbs on the counters and the tables, or even the ground, which was quite pleasant. Napkins were also easily accessible everywhere.
»Atmosphere: [3.5/5] I blame the heat in the poutinerie partly on the weather, which reached over 90˚F today. Other than that, the staff made it a very friendly environment to eat in.
»Service: [4/5] The staff was very helpful in explaining how the sizing and toppings worked. The order didn't take too long to be ready, and as we were getting ready to leave, the staff noticed Chloe struggling with the box, and offered her a paper bag to hold everything in.
»Overall: [4/5] The poutine was good, I can't deny that, but there was simply so much of it. I only was able to eat about half the box (I saved the rest in the fridge and my other roommates finished it off). Maybe next time I'll order something with fewer toppings and see if that is more manageable. I like the restaurant and I like the food, but personally I don't think I would visit frequently simply because I can't handle the fat. Still, I would recommend if you try it if you are in Berkeley and want something Canadian and filling to eat. ◊

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#obsessed: Castle – Halsey

My friend Asteria is absolutely obsessed with Halsey, so I thought I'd give her an album a try, and now I am obsessed too (though still not as much as her). My favorite song is the first song on the album, "Castle." It is very /aesthetic/ in its lyrics, and very similar to Lorde, for example:
"Sick of all these people talking, sick of all this noise
Tired of all these cameras flashing, sick of being poised"
For some reason I always gravitate towards lyrics about "too much noise." I suppose as an introvert, it's always too noisy. There's also the imagery of "being queen," like with "Royals":
"I'm headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen"
Myth and royalty are my favorite historical lore, so this song makes me me giddy with the aural imagery of dark, powerful queens. Many of Halsey's songs have a similar vibe, but the lyrics in this one are what captivate me, and I have definitely listened to it many times on repeat. ◊

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I went back to San Jose for a doctor's appointment and picked up a few more supplies, namely a bookshelf for this semester's new textbooks, an aloe plant, and a few postcards for my suitemates' and my decorative purposes. The lighting was excellent this morning, so I decided to take a few aesthetic pictures to practice photo composition and editing. Aside from that, I spent the morning doing extensive self care after a less than pleasant experience being in Almaden with my parents again (no surprise there). However, the trip wasn't all for nought. I was able to visit Leland to see a few teachers and friends, which is always slightly awkward but nevertheless puts me in a good mood.

A pleasant surprise awaited me when I returned to my dorm room. I had bought a stargazer lily last week, a completely unnecessary splurge, but it made me so happy (documented on Instagram). To my dismay, the two large blooms wilted within a few days, but when I got back, the two buds had bloomed! They're not as large as the original lilies, but they're just as pretty.

Unfortunately, though I brought my textbooks with me (and yes, I finally got my textbooks after they've been sold out for weeks), I didn't do any homework over the weekend. Today was spent stressing over a sociology quiz (I actually did really well on it on the first try), cramming readings (an ongoing process), attempting to start a political science essay (meaning I thought about it but didn't start), and attending extracurricular events (RHA is taking a lot more time than I had expected). Tomorrow is definitely going to be work heavy day, but in the meantime, I'm letting myself take today as a recovery day after visiting Almaden.

I'm also trying to reevaluate what my priorities are, because while my time management isn't too shoddy, it could use some improvement. Lately, I've realized I've invested too much energy in social media and not enough energy in an actual social life. I've tried to cut back on all "newsfeed" style sites: Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter (which I never really used in the first place), Pinterest, and Instagram (which I don't use much of in the first place because I only follow six people, so there's not much to keep up with).

Once I am all caught up with my work (there's a lot to catch up on as I've only recently bought my textbooks due to supply shortage), I'll finally be able to settle into a fixed schedule for the semester and have the stability to start pursuing more consistent friendships. It's difficult in the first few weeks because I've been meeting so many new people, I forget more names and faces than I remember. Also, now that I have acquired of all my supplies and textbooks for the semester, a more stable homework pattern should emerge, and I'll be able to establish a better sleep schedule.

I'm feeling surprisingly enthusiastic towards transitioning into a more competent adult. I've already figured out a grocery shopping schedule, which means I'm eating healthier, with fresh fruits and vegetables to supplement dining hall food. Cutting back on social media should also give me more space of mind to reevaluate other aspects of my life and have a sense of order in the things I do, something that is very important to me. College has been great, and aside from work, it only looks like it's going to get better. ◊

Friday, September 11, 2015

Food Friday #018 – College Kitchen Cooking

Dining hall food gets boring pretty quickly, and it's expensive to eat out, so the next best option is to DIY. Breakfast today was Keurig coffee, salmon on creme cheese and bread, and a banana. Lunch was red bell pepper quesadilla, spanakopita, broccoli stir fry, and strawberry mango smoothies. Cooking in the general kitchenette was actually roommate's idea, but I was glad I tagged along. We ended up making too much food and gave some of it away to people (sadly it was lunchtime so the people returning to the dorm had already eaten, and there was much rejection). The smoothies were probably my favorite part. We had frozen strawberries, frozen mangoes, banana split ice cream, and juice, and just enough of everything to make a Jamba quality drink. It was actually a lot of fun, and hopefully it will happen again soon! ◊

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Shopping Story

There's really not much of a story here, except that I went shopping on Sunday with my suitemate Chloe and we had a lot of fun. I went to IKEA for the first time, which was exciting, and I bought a lot of pants on sale (it was Labor Day weekend). We had crepes for breakfast and took the bus, which had to take a detour and drop us off early. At the stop, we decided to walk to the mall, which wasn't far away. About a quarter of the way there, two junior guys caught up with us and said that it would be a better idea to wait at the original stop until the shuttle came around. After they joked about how "freshmen have an aura of cluelessness," and waited a long time for the shuttle to come, we ended up walking over to the mall anyway, and laughed about how upperclassmen think they know everything, even when they're clearly wrong.

The mall itself was a cute, outdoor, open air mall (in contrast to the single building, enclosed malls in San Jose). They actually have a much greater selection of stores than I had expected, including a Sephora, Body Shop, and Apple Store.

I should mention that my primary concern was a visit to LUSH to trade in five old pots for a fresh face mask. I've been dying to exfoliate since getting to college, and the store had lost their shipment of face masks last week, so I made sure to double check that they had my favorite mask, Love Lettuce, in stock before I got there. Unfortunately, the salesperson on the phone had said they were out of Love Lettuce, so I planned to pick up Cupcake instead, but once I got to the store, they did have one Love Lettuce mask left! I also asked for samples of the new face masks, Rosy Cheeks and Don't Look at Me, which both look lovely and I am excited to try. Rosy Cheeks smells like roses, and is supposed to be calming and soothing, while Don't Look at Me is more of a lemony scent, with tofu to soften skin and ground rice for exfoliation. I have yet to try either of them yet, but I think Don't Look at Me has the potential to be my new favorite mask if the texture works out, as it is brightening and exfoliating.

Aside from that, while I was there, I went in and poked around in Forever 21 and H&M, as Chloe did not bring enough clothes from Canada and needed more. Forever 21 was having a buy one get one free sale in its sale section, so we took advantage of that and each bought one piece. She ended up with a cute floral jumpsuit while I found an immaculate business dress. A necklace also caught my eye, so I bought that as well. [Dress: ~$7 with sale; Necklace: $3]

I spent considerably more at H&M, ending up with more clothes than I need, but they were all on sale, so I had to. Two of the shorts don't even really fit well; I imagine that I've gained a few pounds from the dining hall food. Nevertheless, they still serve a purpose: motivation. As you will see, on the left is what I currently look like in the high waisted shorts, and on the right is what I would potentially look like in the high waisted shorts, if I exercised and ate healthy (I'm sucking in my stomach a lot in that photo, it's not photoshopped). Also, a point about the snakeskin print pants, when I picked it up off the rack, I could not find a price tag anywhere. I took it up to checkout to check the price, they said was $10, which isn't too bad, but once I got back to the dorm I noticed a sticker on the backside of the washing instructions that said $7. I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to spending money, especially in college, but it wasn't worth the return trip, and anyhow, $10 is reasonable for a pair of pants. [Tank top: $3; Sweater: $13; Snakeskin Print Pants: $7 $10; Dark Grey Shorts: $10; High Waisted Shorts: $10]

Finally, today, to fulfill that ideal, I went healthy grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. It was honestly such a fulfilling experience (#successfuladult), but also oh-so frightening. Being an adult costs so much money just to be alive, but I'm pretty proud of myself for not spending excessively, and also for buying hummus, celery, baby carrots, orange juice, vanilla soymilk, coffee creamer, red bell peppers, dried mangoes, banana chips, actual bananas, strawberries, peaches, and broccoli, green beans, and an onion for my roommate Kelly (hello!). I really need to work on budgeting if I don't want to run out of food by the end of the school year, but I don't think that will actually be as much of a problem as my simple unwillingness to spend. Luckily, I've gotten pretty good at sneaking food out of the dining halls, so I'm just going to have to believe that everything's going to be fine. ◊