Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year, New Theme

As the end of yet another year rolls around, it's time for some evaluations and forecasts.

Looking Back

Obviously the biggest things that happened this year were graduating high school and going to college. In the interim summer, I worked with my wonderful speech and debate coach to teach two elementary speech workshops, and in college I joined a mentorship program to continue working with elementary school students. I definitely want to continue my path working in education, so I declared the Education Minor at Berkeley. I wrote about every memorable event (and some of the things in between) on this blog, so there's no need to go over everything again (I'm so glad I decided to continue blogging). I would say that the big theme this year was change and transitions. Turning 18 meant becoming an adult, and with that came college and freedom. I've been so incredibly happy this year, but I've still been struggling with mental health problems. I can't possibly go over all the things that are now different, so I truly mean it when I say everything has changed and I've had to change too to keep up.

Looking Forward

I am so very excited for second semester. After all the lessons I learned about time management and whatnot first semester, I am ready for another round. As for goals next year, I think it's more effective for me to think about what not to focus on rather than a single goal.

Last year my goal was "Mindful Body Wellness." Apparently, it was a pretty complicated concept, but it boiled down to three actions: skin care, eating right, and exercise. Skin care I definitely succeeded in, with the Lush lotions and Clarisonic cleansers and whatnot. My skin still isn't perfect, but it is improving. Eating right started out ok, but then I went to college and had a meal plan in the dining halls. Still, I tried my best to go grocery shopping for celery and smoothie ingredients, so I'd say this is still a success. As for exercise, I tried, I really did, but after two Zumba classes and a series of yoga classes, not much happened. However, being on the Berkeley campus should really qualify as exercise, with the hills and walking. I don't know what to make of that goal. I guess it was a partial success, but there's still plenty of room to improve.

"Mindful Body Wellness" actually isn't too bad of a goal, so I will definitely continue to strive for it as best as possible, but additionally, I want to revisit a concept that has been very important to me: identity. 2016 will be the year to work on something I will call "Core Self." Less worry about what other people think of me and what they want me to be, and more focus on what I think of who I am and what I want to be. Cut out the extras, build a stronger sense of my own person. Become comfortable with who I am. Everything is clean, fresh, and pure. Let life come to me instead of me chasing after life.

A part of starting fresh is a haircut!

Also, as much as I love this pretty purple theme, it does look a little high-school-y. It's way past time for me to update it into something clean, minimalistic, and mature. To live is to change is to improve. What better time to do that than the transition into the new year? Sadly, as soon as I've caught onto one web design trend, everyone else has already moved on to the next big thing (for now that would be paneled posts; I'm not a huge fan, I'd rather just see everything on one page without pop-ups). I can't decide if I want to change the blog title into something a little more simple as well, but I think I'll be keeping the URL the same. Hopefully nothing gets too messed up when I tinker with the code, because I've already forgotten to save a backup of this old one. Some of the old posts are still wonky because of the image resizing, but oh well. Happy New Year! ◊

Friday, December 18, 2015

The End of a Semester

By the numbers:
I arrived 116 days ago;
I lived with 2 roommates;
I watched 4 seasons of Doctor Who;
I read 14 textbooks;
I wrote 7 essays;
I was sick for 4 weeks;
I saw 43 small dogs;
I went to 1 wonton party;
I observed 1 protest/rally;
I pulled 1 all nighter;
I took 1 final exam;
I went to 1 football game.

By the things I did:
I learned how to take public transport;
I became acquainted with an Italian activist abstract concept;
I hung out in my friends' rooms, just like I used to;
I had too many cups of coffee;
I mused about a blue-mohawked Alaskan GSI;
I ate too many Clif bars and drank too much juice;
I spent Thanksgiving with a group of strangers;
I lost my head over a boy who was allergic to cats;
I made so many smoothies;
I hiked up to the Big C;
I mentored the most wonderful small children.

By the feelings:
I felt unrestrained happiness;
I felt free;
I felt exhaustion;
I felt the cold, empty fog;
I felt in control;
I felt content;
I felt panic;
I felt everything;
I felt nothing.

By the things I didn't:
I didn't go to San Francisco;
I didn't run out of meal points;
I didn't attend a frat party;
I didn't recopy all my notes;
I didn't apply for scholarships or internships;
I didn't drink or do drugs or party too hard;
I didn't eat at Clark Kerr for Sunday brunch;
I didn't get straight A's;
I didn't visit the top of the Campanile;
I didn't fall in love.

By the ways I've changed:
I have a better fashion sense;
I can write a four page paper in two hours;
I know how to take care of myself better;
I let my social anxiety get worse;
I completely lost track of my eating habits;
I figured out why I have problems;
I deleted people I didn't really know off of Facebook;
I learned that it's ok to not let people know everything.

This is the last night I'll sleep in this bed this year. Lately, I haven't been able to fall asleep. I remember the first night, right after I moved in. I had never fallen asleep so quickly. It felt safe, a fresh start, a world of endless possibilities. I was scared, but I was excited and ready to take on all the things being thrown at me. And I did pretty well.

But now, as I anticipate heading back to suburbia, I am only scared. It's all going by way too fast, and I'm afraid that if I just blink a few more times, I'll look back and college is all gone, and I still won't have done so many of the things I wanted to do. They say to live life to the fullest, but there's only so much a human body can do in the time it's given to exist in this world. And I tried, I really did, but sometimes, some things just didn't work out. I can only wish for more, but despite that, I'm proud of what I have accomplished. Here's to even more next year. ◊

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Clarisonic Mia 2 Deep Pore Detox Set Unboxing

R.I.P. Neutrogena Wave
It's the midst of finals seasons which means a lot of stress and breakouts, which I have been struggling with forever. I've tried a whole slew of face washes and exfoliants and coconut oil and face masks but nothing seems to work on my poor clogged pores. Especially as my old $5 Gen1 Neutrogena Wave has finally sputtered to a stop and I've been too lazy to replace the battery, skin care has been tough. I don't know what made me do it (maybe it was the stress shopping urges) but I finally decided to invest in a significantly pricier device on Cyber Monday. I present to you: the Deep Pore Detoxifying Clarisonic Mia 2 Holiday Gift Set.

As it was Cyber Monday, all online orders were an additional 20% off, which brought the price of the set down to about $95 before tax and $105 after tax. Initially, I was suspicious because the basic Clarisonic Mia 2 costs $149 on its own, and this whole set with a cleanser and face mask were priced at $119. The box itself said the value of the set was $203, and it was priced at $169 on the sticker. There was a chance that the set wouldn't have the actual device in it, and would only consist of the accessories, but it was a risk I was willing to take as the sale was ending soon and the return policy seemed pretty straightforward. To my satisfaction, the kit included the device with a brush head as well.

I haven't gotten a chance to use it yet as it is recommended to charge the device approximately 24 hours before use, but comments on the first impressions of the product. Everything was impeccably packed, though the box was a bit confusing to figure out. The device feels well balanced to hold, and the magnetic charger attaches easily, though not particularly strongly. The cleanser and the face mask actually smell wonderfully light and clean, opposite to the heavy chemical smell I had anticipated for whatever reason. The device also comes with a travel case, though I don't know how frequently that will be of use for me.

Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with this stress shopping/Cyber Monday purchase, and I look forward to using the device! I'm hoping its the miracle product I've been looking for to take care of my pores. Here's to happy skin! ◊