Let's Make More Birthdays Happen

I got birthdays on my mind. Not just my own on Easter, but millions of others. I'm getting to my 22nd with relatively little trouble, but not everyone else is.

Cancer threatens the lives of millions.

The thing about cancer is that the world absolutely does not need it. It causes a lot of suffering and it affects so many-- I don't think I know anyone who hasn't had their life affected by cancer. I think we need less cancer and more cake. Birthday cake.

The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays. They have so much information for those diagnosed, their loved ones, and those who are at risk. They fund life-saving research and provide services to patients in need for free! Thanks to their work, there are around 500 birthdays every day that might not have happened otherwise.

That's why I'm raising money for the American Cancer Society. They do a fundraiser called Relay for Life, where teams sign up to walk around a track through the night and raise money. I'm participating at the event at my school for the third year with my team The Filipino American Student Association.

My goal is to raise $100 by April 10th. It's not a huge sum, but it can further research, provide 9 rides to or from a treatment facility for a patient who can't drive themselves, or provide a free night of lodging to a patient and their caregiver when they have to visit a treatment center far from home. If there is someone in your life you would like to honor, you can purchase a Luminaria on our track for $10, a donation which will also go to ACS. If you can donate any amount, even just $2, you can make a difference.

If you're not in a place to be able to donate, you can still help further the fight against cancer. You can also share one of my videos (It's Not Easy To Talk About More Birthdays above / Less Cancer, More Cake! below) on your social media with a link to my donation page, which is easily accessible at main.acsevents.org/goto/HarperHoney.

If you want to find a Relay for Life in your area, you can search for one on the Relay For Life site, or work to organize your own!

I hope you consider donating-- I'd consider it an amazing late birthday present to meet my fundraising goal of $100 by April 10. It's my last Relay for Life at W&M and I want to make it count!

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#oddhoneyswap Unboxing March

A photo posted by Harper Yi (@harperyi) on

I started a snail mail/care package swap back in January that happens on a two month cycle called the #oddhoneyswap, where every odd month you send a package to a new buddy! I got paired with Stephy from StephyYoung.com and I got an AMAZING care package from her.

I put together a little unboxing video of it!

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Weekend Links 03.28.2015

Today my brother and I are celebrating our birthdays! We're having a costume party because we both love dressing up. Dorky siblings forever! I also had fun with my youtube and worked on more job apps.

Stop devaluing femininity! How can we say we're telling girls they can be anything they want, if we won't let them be girly?

I had tons of fun with the #oddhoneyswap. Check out my unboxing video and learn about joining in on the next one!

Get ready to be pissed the hell off: fraternities are lobbying Congress to make it more difficult to report and get justice for on-campus rape.

Women are driving more box office sales and now Hollywood's gotta adapt.

It's Mean Girls-- as told by Kevin G. PS I have a huge crush on his character and the actor (now calligrapher) who played him.

Contemporary queer comic book artists you should know!

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#OddHoneySwap: MAY SIGN-UPS!

Hello everyone! You may remember that I've got a fun little snail-mail swap going on called the Odd Honey Swap! Every odd month, people who sign up send out a package to their new pen-pal who they've been talking to over the course of the preceding month. Wanna learn more about joining this super-fun snail-mail swap? It's pretty simple!

How does it work?

  • Sign up by filling out this form!
  • Wait for me to email you with your partner's info.
  • Chat it up with your swap partner over email!
  • Put together a package for your swap partner based on the current odd honey prompt: BLOOM!
  • Send it out to your partner by the deadline, May 9!
  • Wait for your goodies in the mail.
  • Enjoy & share photos on twitter and instagram using the hashtag #oddhoneyswap

May's Theme: BLOOM!

This month's theme is all about spring's flower power and harnessing it into your own growth and blossoming of potential. What makes you feel happy? What fulfills you? What gives you a sense of purpose? How do you keep up your momentum? How can you work to be a better, more positive person? What makes you laugh? These are the kinds of things you and your new buddy will broach over the course of this month!

Send at least one item for each of the 5 prompts:

  • motivation
  • positivity
  • growth
  • sunshine
  • fun

Some ideas

♥︎ a mini-book of motivational quotes ♥︎ a mini board game ♥︎ a deck of cards ♥︎ a letter explaining how you got through a hard time ♥︎ a list of your favorite jokes ♥︎ a list of fun online games ♥︎ stickers with affirmations ♥︎ a reading list of self-help books ♥︎ some cozy bath products ♥︎ balloons ♥︎ a drawing ♥︎ poetry ♥︎ glow sticks ♥︎ a notebook with a positive message in it ♥︎ glitter ♥︎ a bunch of cat pictures with study motivation on them ♥︎ a squishy toy ♥︎ 


Here are the ground rules.
  • There's a $20 limit (excluding shipping) on packages.
  • This swap is open internationally, and swappers in the US may choose whether or not they want to swap internationally. Higher postage rates, but you get to make a friend from another country!
  • Everyone gets one swap partner and you guys are mutual swaps, meaning you have each other :)
  • Be respectful of allergies and other restrictions.
  • Send your package out on time!
  • Be sure to use the proper amount of postage.
  • If for any reason you can't follow through on the swap, contact both me and your partner immediately!
  • You have to sign up for each swap separately since most people can't commit to multiple swaps at once. 

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Philly Recap: Brunch at Sabrina's Cafe

Over Spring Break I went to Philadelphia! It was still really cold and snowy, so it wasn't exactly a warm spot to spend Spring Break, but no one exactly visits Philadelphia to hang out in a bikini, am I right?

While I was there I was looking up Brunch places and I found a really cool spot called Sabrina's Cafe. They have four locations, and I visited the one near Drexel, since the cab ride was shorter and i assumed the lines would be less ridiculous given that I was up early on a Saturday morning-- not exactly the go-to routine of most college students. Sabrina's has a lot of really great reviews for being delicious and also different, putting twists on classics that you might not expect.

I didn't encounter this in my cursory research (can you blame a hungry girl?) but the brunch there is actually Community-themed!

I like, actually freaked out! So many references! So much flavor! I ended up getting the Señor Chang's Mexi Especial, sans pico de gallo because uncooked cilantro makes me a little loopy.

It was SO GOOD! There's chorizo and cajun shrimp in that bad-boy! They had Texas Pete's hot sauce on hand too-- so good!

If you're ever in Philly, I definitely recommend Sabrina's Cafe!

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Philly Recap: Disney Florals

Over Spring Break I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show-- and it was just as amazing as I had heard. This year the theme was movies, with specific emphasis on Disney! Today I'm doing a photo dump of all the Disney-themed florals at the show! I am a Disney dork so I was really excited to see the films reinterpreted as floral displays. I'm kind of a sucker for flowers, too, so this was a dream come true.

Naturally with the new live-action Cinderella coming out, Cinderella got a massive display. Side note: I'm wondering how Disney plans on managing so many doubles of titles. Right now it's Cinderella, and upcoming plans for Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo. They've done it before with lesser known titles, but the princess films are ubiquitous! Even at least Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland involved a new story. I'm curious as to how it handles all this.

Here's some more details of the Cinderella display.

And there's the centerpiece, the glass slipper!

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Philly Recap: Touring the ExCITE Center

While in Philadelphia over Spring Break, my friends and I got a chance to check out the ExCITe Center at Drexel. It's a totally rad place where technology intersects with other disciplines it doesn't often get to work with, like music and fashion.

They are working on tons of cool stuff like redefining wearable technology, creating an app that totally transforms listening to a live orchestra, and the magnetic resonator piano!

Here's a video of my friend Lily playing around with it.

We learned a ton about the work being done at the ExCITe Center to further different fields, and to give back tot he community. There tends to be a focus on STEM in education that often forgets about the importance of the arts, not just in our everyday lives, but for our own intellectual development. It's when technology meets with more parts of our lives that really exciting things happen!

To learn more about the ExCITe Center, check it out online!

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Harper's Birthday Wishlist

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
I'm turning 22 on Easter this year! I'm pretty excited because I love birthdays. Honestly, I love pretty much any occasion to make a day special and be extra ridiculous. Awards shows, holidays, fake holidays, even big sale weekends are really exciting to me. Because I'm a ridiculous girl, and I like to do ridiculous things. In fact, my little brother (from-another-mother) and I are having a joint birthday party with costumes because we both love dressing up!

1 // Once on DVD - I literally have no excuse as to why I do not have this on DVD. I need this so badly. I love the film, I love the music, and I love the musical. I mean honestly, I think everyone should see this film and see it on stage if they ever have the chance-- it's absolutely phenomenal. I need it in my DVD collection immediately.

2 // LSP Sweet Eyes Cardigan - Cute 3/4 sleeve sweaters are the best. Plus, I think we could all use more LSP in our lives. We do, in fact, want those lumps.

3 // Glitterbug by The Wombats - If you've been clicking through to my songs for the weekend in the weekend links posts I do, you've probably noticed that I really love the new stuff The Wombats have been coming out with. I'm really excited for this new album, and it's being released so close to my birthday!

4 // Ginger Breadhouse - While ya'll know I am a huge fan of Monster High dolls, I've also had my eye on Ever After High. I love the webseries and mini movies, but I'm not as crazy about the dolls as I am about the Monster High doll line. The one exception is Ginger, because she is so unbelievably cute. I think magical-candy-princess-witch-entrepreneur is like, pretty much my aesthetic, and that's exactly who Ginger is-- She's the daughter of the evil candy witch in the Hansel and Gretel story, but all she wants to do is have a baking business!

5 // Storytelling Showstopper Dress in Goldenrod - Goldenrod and mustard-y colors are great. I feel like this dress would be great in almost all the seasons-- it's a little too warm for summer. I like where the waist falls and all the design aspects like the pleats and the cowl neck!

6 // Tickets to Hamilton on Broadway - If you haven't heard, Hamilton is pretty much the hottest ticket in town. Lin-Manuel Miranda's new master pieces blends hip-hop and history to tell the tale of the most bad-ass founding father, Alexander Hamilton, with a race-blind cast. "It's America then as told by America now." The critics are absolutely raving (x x x x)! I'd love to get tickets to see it after I move to NY. Learn more about it as it was covered in CBS Sunday Morning and CNBC.

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*** This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through a link in this post might yield me compensation. I always write honestly about every product or service I promote. ***
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Weekend Links 03.21.2015

I had a rough week but it's really all because life is just getting more and more real in terms of post-grad life.

I did my first ever haul video of a thrift store haul!

A Marvel colorist talks about when they were asked to lighten a character.

A list of awesome voice actors of color.

How a huge flop became one of the most popular plays in America.

This piece on the friendzone is a must-read.

Song for the weekend.

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How To Get A Nice Dress For An Occasion On The Cheap

Spring has sprung and that means it's formal/prom/graduation/wedding season-- and that means it's dress season! I love looking great, but I also don't dropping tons of cash on looking good. Plenty of you guys are in the same boat, so that means it's time for me to spill my secrets.

For me, thrifting is always my go-to when it comes to big events. It requires extra patience, a long lead-time, and more hands-on effort, but it's a great way to save money without sacrificing style. I wrote a guide back when I was still in high school on how to thrift your prom dress. I thrifted dresses for both my junior and senior prom and didn't spend any more than $50 total on them. The tips still apply for dresses for any occasion, whether it's a wedding or graduation or whatever. You can get really lucky and find something great on your first go, but I would try to start looking as early as you can for a dress for an occasion, and check back every week. It's a labor-intensive way to shop with no guarantees, but it's definitely got a big pay-off if it works out!

If you're not into going back to the thrift store every week just for a dress or two, consider Rent The Runway, a site that allows you to rent a dress worth hundreds to thousands of dollars at a fraction of the price! Most of us only wear our fancy dresses once, and this is a super simple solution. When you rent, you get your dress, an extra dress in an additional size in case it doesn't work out, and a box and label with all the shipping included so you can send the dress back. They handle all the dry-cleaning and everything, so if you spill or stain, no worries-- it's all built into the service, and you don't have to run to the cleaners before shipping it back. RTR is offering $25 off your first order of $75+ or more for new members, so if you've got an event, this could be a great deal for you! Just use code 25OFFNEW.

Hoping to grab a new dress with a little more longevity in your closet? Check out TJ Maxx and Marshalls for deals on dresses. It's not as filled with high-end items or the selection of Rent the Runway, nor is it as cheap as a thrift store, but you'll get new items that will stay in your closet for as long as you like! I am a total Maxxinista and hit these two stores up on the regular. It's not the best bet for really showy occasions like prom, but for most of your needs like interviews and weddings, it's a great place to look!

I'll be doing a video about the dress I got for my graduation and formal, so stay tuned for that on youtube by subscribing to my channel!

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*** This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through a link in this post might yield me compensation. I always write honestly about every product or service I promote. ***
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Self-Worth Manual - Two Paths

Having a strong sense of self-worth can be really hard. We see so much goodness in others and have a hard time seeing it in ourselves, blinded by cries to fix our weaknesses, and told by others that it's only polite to dull our shine. Self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence-- this is all stuff you can work on. And unlike in those cheesy after-school specials and made-for-TV movies for teen and tweens, these moments of growth don't have to center around a sports event, a school dance, or getting the girl/guy/gender-nonconforming-cutie. (Side note: I'd love to have stories with gender non-conforming cuties become so mainstream that we have tons of cheesy, poorly written shows where teens overuse slang in attempts to seem more realistic that are also full of genderqueer characters.)

I really pride myself on being an extremely self-confident individual with a solid concept of my own self-worth. I like who I am. I like that I can list 5 things I think are awesome about myself at the drop of a hat. But the level of self-confidence I have isn't entirely innate. It's something you can cultivate and it's something I was just lucky enough to cultivate early on. If your level of self-esteem is not where you want it to be, you can fix it by taking steps not just within yourself, but within your environment.

First things first

You gotta understand that changing things outside yourself to change things inside yourself actually makes a whole lot of sense. It's not necessarily superficial or surface level-- your environment has a big impact on you: how you feel, how you act, what you do. A lot more stuff is situational than we often like to think. The fundamental attribution error is a term in psychology for when we attribute an act to an individual's personality or who they are, when really, the situation that person is in could have a huge amount of sway on how they act. When someone cuts you off on the highway, you might get really angry and think they are a huge jerkface, but what if they are driving a loved one in the midst of a medical emergency to the hospital? Are they still a jerkface in that situation? Probably not. Situations can really drastically impact things, so it's important to try to put yourself in situations that encourage better outcomes. (Side note: I highly encourage everyone to watch this 20-minute TED Talk about the effects situations can have on mankind's ability to reach its lowest lows and how to combat it!)

Now that we understand that changing our external situation can have profound impacts on how we function, let's get down to the nuts and bolts of how to make positive changes in our external environment.

There are two ways to change your external environment. Actually changing it or changing your perspective on it. Deciding between the two is about what is best for you, and sometimes it takes a brutal amount of honesty to understand which is best.

Path One: Perspective

Changing your perspective on something for the better is all about finding the thing in something to be grateful for. Maybe you're resentful of the religion you were forced to grow up with, but surely there are some positive values in it that you took away from the experience. Maybe you hate how your parents are always on your case, giving you advice that doesn't make sense from where you stand-- but you can find their caring and compassion for you within those acts, however misguided their actions might be. It's all about seeing the good things that can come with the bad, which can help you deal with the more disappointing parts. Changing your perspective is sometimes really hard, but can totally turn things around.

Some exercises in Perspective

♥︎ Write 5 things you're grateful for in a notebook every day. Try not to hit on the same things over and over.
♥︎ Take note of the things that make you happy, no matter how small. A full night's rest, cooking a meal for a friend, the weather, remembering to take all your vitamins, drinking enough water, stopping to chat with a buddy, an episode of a show you just watched, the candle you just lit. It's really easy to focus our attention on the annoyances in our lives, so break out of that cycle and balance your world by consciously taking note of the good.
♥︎ Take something you are really bothered by or sad about. Find the good in it. No matter how small. Appreciate the good. Realize the importance of that glimmer of light in something very dark. Be glad that you have it now, instead of just the darkness before you moments ago.
♥︎ What could be worse? Make a list. Make it silly and outrageous. You might be in "insert-terrible-situation-here," but that's way better than being in "insert-terrible-situation-here" and unable to stop sneezing for any amount of time. You could be stuck at a fireworks show with an incredibly poorly-trained technician! It can always be worse-- and people just like you have gotten through worse.

Changing your perspective should be part of your mental health first aid kit and life skills tool kit.

Path Two: Change It

This path can be a lot harder, but it can have a huge pay off. People are all different, and not every person does awesome in every situation. Not being able to do as well as other people in a given situation is not a sign that there's something wrong with you-- it just means this is not a good match for you, and there's probably somewhere else where you will fare better than some others. Sometimes it can be really hard to change things, but to get better things, you sometime need to let go of stuff to make room in your life. Accept that.

Some exercises in change

♥︎ Evaluate. What's good for you? What's bad for you? Be brutally honest with yourself. Sometimes comfortable things are also hurtful or stifling. Knowing who you are can help you make changes for the better.
♥︎ Let go. Clinging to the familiar and broken can keep you from reaching the new and wonderful.
♥︎ Make your feelings known. Sometimes the first part of breaking the status quo is you saying you're not okay with it. Sometimes things can change just because you made it known you weren't happy with them.
♥︎ Excise. Cut things out. Remove them like a surgeon. Some things and people are toxic, and you've got to get them out of your life as soon as you can and as completely as you can. 

It feels weird to admit, but working to change the stuff on the outside can really help you feel safer to be the kind of you that's most "you"! It puts you in a safer environment with more supportive people, and once you're in that kind of space, not only are you happier in general, but you can really become comfortable with loving yourself and taking risks to grow.

Have you ever taken either of these two paths to make a change? How did it work out for you?

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Spring Break Recap: Philly

I spent two days of my spring break on a road trip with friends to visit Philadelphia! I wanted to visit my gruncle's son's lab at Drexel (my gruncle is my grandfather-uncle, who is actually neither of those things, and is really my next door neighbor) and go to the Philadelphia Flower Show and Lily and Julian had friends at Drexel they wanted to visit. I've got so so many photos to dump on you guys, but I figured I'd break them into fewer posts so as to not overwhelm you. Today I'm giving you a quick recap of the cool things that happened in Philly!

I took this trip with my little brother, Julian, and our pal, Lily! We went by car and I drove like a quarter of it-- but I drove the most treacherous quarter of all-- the Virginia leg of the trip when layers and layers of ice coated the road! Virginia does not have it's business together when it comes to dealing with precipitation on the road. Seriously, the second we left Virginia the roads were fine. GET IT TOGETHER, VA.

Part one: The Drive

  • I fell on the way into Julian's car. Literally, I slipped on the ice. He barely missed it and it was like something out of a comedy TV show.
  • I drove very slow because of the ice-- good thing no one was on the road!
  • Lily was woken up several times on the drive by us driving over extremely icy roads and me saying "nope nope nope nope nope"
  • I cleaned the windshield with handwipes because it was so cold the squirty windshield fluid was gonna freeze on contact. That was a very unpleasant experience.
  • We listened to the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Next To Normal, because it's great and neither Lily nor Julian had experienced it. It was also a crucial part of my plan to drag Julian into the depths of musical fandom and destroy his emotions. Hooray for friendship! 
  • Successfully destroyed Lily and Julian and made them fans of Next to Normal. I think it was a bonding experience.

Part two: ExCITe Center at Drexel

  • Met Dr. Kim at the lab and it is so super cool it would blow your mind!
  • Julian and Lily and I were super energized even just by the design of the workspace which was developed to encourage collaboration and adapt to many different kinds of needs.
  • Lily got to play the Magnetic Resonance Piano-- more on that later-- and it was totally awesome. 
  • Youngmoo showed us the robots in the center, and they did the Chicken Dance and the YMCA for us.
  • We looks at the textile lab, where ExCITe was working with fashion designers and technologists to develop new innovations in wearables.
  • We learned about how ExCITe gives back to the community through education and service.
  • Then we went to Geno's Steaks for actual-factual Philly Cheesesteaks! They were DELICIOUS!

Part three: At the AirBnB

  • I'd never done AirBnB but I had a really great experience with it, and would totally do it again!
  • I played with cats! Exactly what was missing from my life. 
  • I fell asleep almost immediately-- I had been up since 3am and drove about 4 hours!
  • Watched all of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when I woke up before any breakfast places were open.
  • Took a short walk.
  • Played with the cat more. I love cats!
  • Looked up a place to eat. I found one called Sabrina's Cafe.

Part four: In Town!

  • Little did I know this place had a Community-themed brunch! (Of course I ate that.)
  • Went to the Penn bookstore to wait until more stuff opened. Ended up doing some reading.
  • What did I read? One of the Avatar: The Last Airbender continuation comics, The Search, which is about Zuko looking for his mother. It pretty much devastated me emotionally. 
  • Did a little shopping. Went to this cute store called Hello World and bought a cute Hexagon Necklace.
  • Met up with Angela from the Newsies fandom. Broadway Fansies run deep. We had coffee!
  • Then it was off to the Flower Show!

Part five: The Flower Show!

  • I wore a succulent-covered t-shirt because I love theme-outfits and I love succulents!
  • I met Christina Milian (singer of "Dip It Low," "From AM to PM," and the Kim Possible theme song, "Call Me Beep Me." She was also in one of the Bring It On! movies) and she signed a bottle of her moscato line for me that I bought!
  • I made a terrarium! Ah! I love terrariums.
  • I lost my camera's lens cap-- oops! I replaced it already though :)
  • I saw so many Disney themed flower arrangements/pieces.
  • I saw a ton of other flowerwork designs that were not strictly Disney or movie themed.
  • I saw so many cacti and succulents.
  • I bought so many succulents. I am a sucker for succulents
  • I thought about buying some flowers, but I ultimately decided against it due to the long drive back down to Virginia.
  • I took a million pictures.

Part six: The Drive Home

  • Lily and Julian got really lost in the City-Center area when they tried to pick me up from the flower show-- apparently it was terrifying!
  • We got McDonalds on the way home. I showed everyone the photos I took at the Flower Show.
  • This time we listened to Heathers: The Musical. They were so into it. Yes, yes, follow me down the rabbit hole into contemporary musical fandom!
  • We immediately did most of the cast recording again, singing along. We also discussed the brilliance of the storytelling.
  • Julian took a nap beforehand, so we made it all the way home in one go! Our back-up plan was to sleep over at my house near DC.
  • The road ice melted, so we were all safe and sound.

Stay tuned for more photos and videos of my trip to Philly! How was your spring break?

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Weekend Links 03.14.2015

My Spring Break is nearly over and I'm ending it on the sick side. I'm not sure if it's just my allergies acting up post-thaw or if I've got something else in my system, but the sinus issues are SERIOUS! I did some good re-centering this week and also did some serious job-hunting work. Anyway, here are your weekend links!

How to save crazy money this prom/wedding/graduation season with some patience at the thrift store!

Poem of the week: "Witch Hunt" by Arati Warrier

35 sites paying $100+ for articles.

I don't even care if you read the story-- this headline is a wild ride.

Death in the 20th Century! A beautiful infographic of how we died.

I did a #DearMe video to myself at age 6, a girl who thought she was an alien.

Welcome to the Board Game Renaissance!

Everyone needs to hear a little life advice from Beyoncé on the regular, right?

A song for the weekend.

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5FF: My Fictional BFFs

5 Fandom Friday

It's been ages since I've done 5 Fandom Friday, but I'm trying to get back on track! Brought to you by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick! Today's #Fandom5 is all about fictional BFFs. Everyone has them, especially if you are a geek. You by default have intense love of fictional characters, right?

Before we begin, I'd like to clarify that these are fictional characters who I could totally be best friends with, but not characters who I really identify with/as. I'm one of those people who totally loves myself and loves characters like myself, but probably could not be friends with them. I love Mindy Lahiri, but could I actually be friends with her? Probably not. I need friends who keep me grounded, not one who enables and encourages my ridiculousness, constantly pushing me to test the limits of my wallet and my stomach capacity. 

Rose Tyler. You guys, Rose is such a great character. I know that the Doctor's companions always stir up a ton of debate, especially over who qualifies as good and who doesn't, but seriously, Rose is such a wonderful person. A war-torn Doctor whisks her away to a new life of adventure and he's constantly making the hard choices that are necessary to save the world. Rose is the character who puts the sunshine back into him, not because she's a flimsy trope of the forever-fixing-men type of woman, but because she's just a spunky gal and her love of life and her belief in humanity is just that infectious. She's the type of girl who makes you a better person, not through lectures or long tearful speeches, but just by being by your side. Who isn't about a friend like that?

Olive Snook. This peppy, romantically frustrated, spunky blonde from Pushing Daisies is such a great ride-or-die chick. And I'm all about ride-or-die friends. Olive and I would probably talk about romantic daydreams all the time and do emotional musical numbers brought into the world by the sheer intensity of our feelings. And also have some pretty snappy things to say together. I think we can all relate to her unrequited devotion to a romantic interest (especially when said interest is Lee Pace)!

Alexia Tarabotti. If you've not looked into the Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger (beginning with Soulless) you gotta do it. Living in a steampunk, fantasy style England, Alexia is quite heavily frowned upon by society. The heavier set, darker-skinned daughter of a now-dead Italian father, still unmarried (god forbid!), mouthy Alexia is not what anyone wants her to be. Even more than that, she is a preternatural in a world of mortals and supernaturals. Where mortals can become supernatural, like a vampire or a werewolf, if they have enough "soul" to survive the transformation, Alexia is soulless. Even more than that, she is seen as a threat to supernaturals, because if they make physical contact with her, they become mortal for the duration of the contact. Thus, preternaturals are seen as the enemy, or at least polar opposite, of supernaturals who are quite well-regarded in this Victorian England, with vampires serving as astute politicians and much of the nobility and werewolves fulling out the distinguished military ranks. Still Alexia doesn't take any crap from anyone and she becomes a heroine because she refuses to give up her agency in any sense. Bad-ass.
Twyla from Monster High
(c/o Mattel)
Twyla. I've mentioned my love of Twyla before, but seriously, I love her character. Out of all the characters in Monster High (and believe me, there are plenty) she's the realest, most down to earth person, who really has her priorities in order. She's super chill, she knows that friendship is the most important thing, and that real friends support who she is and encourage her to grow, not compromise who she is (or who they are). 

Stargirl Caraway. This character is one that I both heavily identify with and could be friends with. If you haven't read the book Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, do it immediately. It's one of the books that changed my life. Stargirl is totally weird and totally fulfilled. She is so odd and yet so happy with who she is, despite everyone around her gawking and making fun of her because she is so different. She was a role model to me when I grew up and I still think we could get along really well together.

Who are your fictional BFFs?

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March To-Do List

It's March! Here in Williamsburg, spring has yet to be sprung-- we had so much snow recently due to the storm that hit the east coast. My spring break feels a bit more like a winter break, but I am having a great time unwinding and working on job applications. This month, I've got some really great to-dos for you all!

Watch Netflix. What's a relaxing weekend without some Netflix? My current fave is the Netflix Original The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a comedy about overcoming trauma which succeeds in neither minimizing it trauma nor having it define the eponymous lead. Plus it features characters of color and even an Asian love interest. It's from the mind of Tina Fey and has a surprisingly sunny voice that was totally missing from 30 Rock.

Get your Spring Break on. Whether you've got a vacation or a staycation planned, take some time out for yourself. It doesn't have to be for a whole week for you to get some great relaxation and adventure in. I took the weekend to do my travel thing and I feel like I've done so much spring breaking already! (More on my Philadelphia <48 hour trip to soon to come on the blog!) Take a trip somewhere fun. Have an all-day sleepover with your best friends. #TreatYoSelf

Do some spring cleaning. Take a day to really dig into your space and clean it. Scrub the tile, whittle down your wardrobe, climb under your bed and dig through all the stuff that has fallen down there when you inadvertently passed out in front of Netflix.

Start saving for your summer. Whatever you're doing with your summer, whether it's traveling to HongKong, moving, visiting friends, doing an internship, or attending a series of concerts, start putting away money now. It's also a good idea to put away some money for long after your summer-- just sayin'. If you don't know what you're doing with yourself this summer, think about it. The sooner you figure it out, the sooner you can start preparing.

What's on your March to do list?

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Weekend Links 03.07.2015

This weekend marks the start of my Spring Break! The week was filled with exams and devoid of reasonable amounts of sleep, but the light at the end of the tunnel is upon me, and contrary to the expression, I survived. I'm spending a couple days in Philadelphia, then back in Williamsburg, VA where I live, and then at home near DC to spend some time with my family. It'll be really nice to relax (and be done with midterms).

15 Things Bold Women Do.

Most people don't want to be racist. Most people know it's wrong. But their behavior, especially when they don't think anyone is watching, tells a story about biases people have that underlies their intellectual understanding of who they are.

Poem of the week: "Pass On" by Michael Lee.

This beauty video is not what you'd expect.

Cookie Monster is here to blow your damn mind.

If you are interning in NY and looking for a decent place to stay, I recommend the FIT Dorms for visiting interns. They're competitively priced, conveniently located, safe, and have great amenities like kitchenettes in every room, a bathroom in each room (rather than a hall bathroom), wifi and utilities built in, a gym and laundry on-site.

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5FF: Blogging Munchies

5 Fandom Friday

It's 5 Fandom Friday, brought to you by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick! Today's theme for #Fandom5 is favorite snacks for munching on while blogging! While I try not to snack too much while writing (it's a deep dark pit) I do have some favorite standby snacks for when my brain needs fuel.

1. Orange soda. I have a minor addiction to orange soda and I love to pound the stuff back. Boylan's Orange Soda is the most delicious soda ever. If you ever get a chance to try it-- DO IT! It's made with cane sugar which makes it extra yummy! They also have a creme soda that is out of this world, but Orange Soda is tops in my book.

2. Pirate's Booty. Aged White Cheddar Pirate's Booty is a light and tasty snack. I pop these waaaaay to often when I have them around so I try not to have a whole big bag in front of me.

3. Tea. Tea is relaxing, warming, and it's good for you. I really like drinking Korean corn and barley teas. I've been drinking them since I was a kid, so I find those flavors really pleasant.

4. Werther's Original. In further evidence that I am an old person, I really like caramel and toffee flavored hard candies.

5. Granola. I try to fill up on stuff that's at least marginally good for me. So I grab Nature Valley granola bars for a pick me up. I especially like the chocolate and peanut butter ones!

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