A look back at 2016

2016 was a pretty challenging one on a global scale, but there's a lot of good that happened, too! Here's a list of some of the good things that happened in my life this year, in no particular order.

Met Liz, Mia, Nicole, and Dago IRL for the first time. These are some good buddies of mine, but I met them in person for the first time in 2016! All separately, except Nicole and Dago whom I met at the same time. We also all hung out together in Austin.

Went to Texas for the first time. Austin, as mentioned above. We shopped and ate great food and I was only a little bit allergic to the many cats I was among. Also I fell asleep on the stairs one day after staying up late making  Liz and Mia watch Dostana. This lead to probably the most iconic tweet of the year?

Got my first credit card. Maybe a little late at 22, but this was a big deal for me. I'm absolutely terrified of debt, so I was afraid to get a credit card for the longest time.

Moved in with Em, my best friend! We live in Brooklyn and she cooks some AMAZING food for us!

Saw Dear Evan Hansen. GUYS. Go see this. Absolutely amazing. Other entertainment faves: Moana, Zootopia (I saw it for the first time this year), Stranger Things, Black Mirror (esp. San Junipero), Lovesick.

Went to Disneyworld with Emily. Kind of spur of the moment with a splash of "let's get the heck outta reality for a sec." A great trip with my best pal that was very much needed.

Got new glasses from Warby Parker. I haven't had glasses in a long while and I LOVE these new frames.

Started organizing my life through Bullet Journaling. Thanks Mia for getting me into this. Still my fave thing!

Became a great snail mailer. Sending people letters and cards has always been a great comfort for me, but now I'm making more time for it. It's improved my mental health and my relationships!

Raised $500 for Sanctuary for Families with Papel New York! I did a fundraiser for one of my favorite non-profits in NYC and raised $500 with the help of Papel New York, an independent, woman-owned New York paper store in honor of Mother's Day!

Started investing. I'm just a simple jellybean trying to be a good, responsible, independent adult. I invest with Ellevest, a service designed to meet women's specific and unique financial needs.

What were your highlights from 2016?

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15 Things To Get Ready for 2017

New year. New you. New evils on the horizon. New opportunities to seize. It's time to prepare for a new year!

1 - Cull your feeds. Go through your inboxes, your twitter, facebook, instagram, and figure out who you need to kick out. Mute, block, delete, unsubscribe, whatever you need to do. It's good to be challenged, to learn, and to encounter different points of view. It's not good to constantly put yourself in bad situations that will ultimately drain you more than up-level you. If there is some excess baggage in your life right now, this is a good time to get rid of it. This also means removing temptations from your life, whether it's deleting ex-partners or ex-friends who you check up on too often, or just unsubscribing to emails that make it a little too easy to blow your budget.

2 - Figure out what you're fighting for. Not to be all Hamilton about this-- wait, actually, yes. To be Hamilton about EVERYTHING tbh-- it's important to know what you stand for. "If you stand for nothing, Burr, what'll you fall for?" 2016 has been a bunch of awful things coming to a head, and in 2017 you've gotta be more clear than ever not just what you're standing for, but what is so worth fighting for that you'll survive your worst days? Write that shit down.

3 - Make a commitment to self-care. Don't let yourself burn out! You can't do any good for the world if you don't keep your spirit healthy. Carve out time to experience joy and take care of yourself. Sometimes it's hard work-- it's not all bubble baths. Sometimes it means forcing yourself to do laundry so you don't feel guilty and gross. Or cleaning your room even though it seems useless and hopeless so that you don't continue to live in a den of despair. Whatever it is! Me and my best friend made a video about self care after the election that you can check out if you want tips.

4 - Get organized. By being organized you eliminate a lot of stress in your life. Start working on a system that works for you and get your life in order. Get a planner, figure out how to meal plan, read about productivity systems. Get ready to be a better you!

5 - Refresh your closet. Get rid of stuff that doesn't fit and probably won't within the next few months. I like using ThredUp since they can give me some credit for anything they sell and I can have anything they can't sell responsibly recycled-- you can use my referral link to get $10 off your first purchase with them. Put stuff into storage as needed. Figure out what you need to make your wardrobe better for your lifestyle-- even if that means being a little further removed from your dream version of yourself.

6 - Have a good cry. I'm a really emotional person but even so, I sometimes have a hard time crying my deepest, realest cries. For me, I always feel better when I've cried a cry that needs crying. It's very Mean Girls "suck the poison out." The longer I bury a cry, the more I need it and I think I have spent a lot of time being sad this year but too busy to have a good long cry. I'm getting all of 2016's tears out before the new year so I don't start the year with baggage. My secret weapon in my endeavor to cry? Undercover Boss on Netflix.

7 - Clean your house. Do you really want to start the year with your house out of order?

8 - Pay off your debts-- to the absolute best of your ability. There are a lot of traditions that say that starting the year with debts, especially personal debts, is a bad idea. Some say that your debts will multiply, others say that your owing someone else in a new year will lead to you having unpaid debts (a karmic payback for not paying stuff back). Not all debts are immediately payable, and some are designed to be paid back over long periods of time, but if you owe a friend a twenty, or borrowed something that hasn't been returned, handle that business.

9 - Cancel sh*t. What are you cancelling this year? Drama with your parents? Getting too wasted on the weekends? A subscription artisanal tortilla chip service? That project you told yourself you were totally gonna do and never do and now it makes you super guilty? You might have signed up for a lot of stuff in 2016, and now is your chance to cancel. Remove yourself from certain situations. Tell yourself you're not going to fall back into drama-creating habits. It's cancelled.

10 - Make a physical representation of what you want out of this year. One of the things that has drawn out my interest in magic is the creation of physical items to help your brain solidify decisions, hopes, and ideas. Make something that represents what you want this year to be. Lots of people make vision boards, but you can also make a painting, a sculpture, or even a list that you hang on your mirror. When you make a thing it helps your brain commit to what it represents.

11 - Make some financial plans. I try to start with a savings goal, as well as account for any big expenses like vacations at the start of the year. Do you want to move or change careers? Do you have student loans to pay off? Or do you just generally want to start eating in more to save for something nice? At the beginning of the year is a nice chill time to think all of that over.

12 - Take a personal inventory on what you need to change about your lifestyle. I'm not trying to tell you you're living your life wrong, but maybe you could be doing things a little better. Personally, I think I need to start reading novels again to destress and also to get back to doing something I really loved. Most people focus on health and wealth in the New Year, but there are other things too like: are you spending enough time with friends? Are you connecting enough with family? Do you need to learn to do stuff alone like see movies or go to restaurants? What do you think you need to shake up in 2017?

13 - Organize your computer. You've been putting off doing some housekeeping on your computer, but now is the time to get things organized. Empty the trash, delete unnecessary files, make those folders. Clear your inbox. Get it all done!

14 - Write down a list of your 2016 accomplishments. This year hasn't been a complete garbage fire. You've probably done at least a couple cool things. Write them down. Treasure them. Even if it's mostly movie releases you loved.

15 - Think about service. How can you serve your community? How can you take a stand? Consider volunteering, or making room in your budget to donate to causes you care about more regularly. If you don't want the world to be a worse place in 2017, you've gotta commit to fighting for better.

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life update 012

Bad at blogging but connecting with people in person a lot more is probably the theme of this life update. I've had a lot of high highs and a lot of hilariously low lows this month. And I didn't even do a goals post, but let's save that for when I figure out my goals for the new year.

I caught the heck up on mail. Last update I bemoaned falling behind on my usual mail activities. This month I caught up, largely due to my Holiday cards. I wrote a ton of them, and I have to say, the end product is everything I dreamed of. Recipients are instagramming and tweeting them and it makes my heart so happy. I tried to be a little more selective with my list of recipients this year since last year I was kind of overwhelmed. It turned out to be a good strategy.

Halls are decked. I have my own personal desk mini-tree and we set up our joint christmas tree the other weekend. I love absurdism and sentimentality so the holidays really hit a lot of good feel good notes for me.

I gave myself horrible bangs. Cue the Arrested Development montage. I've made a huge mistake, guys. I regularly trim my own bangs, and it's usually not a big deal, but I decided to try a new technique and I have a lot of regrets about it. I may have given myself a mullet. I guess I'm doing a lot of pinned back pomp looks for a while...

I saw LaLaLand. I'm going to try to post a review about it, but knowing how I've been off my content game lately, I'll give you the short version in case I don't make it. Music is great. Emma and Ryan aren't the strongest singers, but they're really trying to bridge that gap between real and surreal so they're sort of playing more average folks than pro singers here. Ryan's character Seb is probably every whiny guy you dated in your young adulthood who was super convinced he understood a thing better than most people. Very emotional, beautifully done, absolutely magical. A story for dreamers who are constantly struggling to stay dreaming. Watch dat.

I made holiday plans. For a long while all I knew was that I wasn't going to go back to Virginia. I finally made some plans involving IHOP, some friends, and winding down after hosting by seeing a movie with my roommate.

I finally caught up on faves videos. I did October and November in one video so now you know.

I'm struggling with the anxiety of what's to come in 2017. This feels like the most uncertain time I have experienced in years and I don't like it. Moreover, this is the most uncertain time I have experienced as an independent adult. I want to be hopeful, but I also don't want to minimize the grave situations I feel I am in. Sometimes it's hard to get out of bed and I'll admit that I have spent a lot of time over the weekend sleeping to avoid dealing with everything.

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Black Friday Haul!

You've seen the hit list, now you can see what I grabbed on Black Friday! I hit up Target, JC Penney, Kate Spade, and Too Faced.

Want to see what I got on Small Business Saturday? Check out my Instagram Story @harperyi

What'd you grab on Black Friday?

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Black Friday Hit List 2016

As you all know, I love me some Black Friday Action. I've done some serious scouting of Black Friday for my holiday and general shopping needs. Here's a peek at what's on my hit list.

Holiday Cards. I'm a well-known stationery nut and sending holiday cards to close friends is a deeply comforting ritual to me so I'm excited to order holiday cards. I'll be ordering from Minted, a fantastic place to order stationery-- customized or otherwise. You can get $25 off your Minted order if you shop through this link!

Gifts. I've got a few gifts left on my list to get done. I will likely grab them from a combination of Sephora, Kate Spade, Target, JC Penney, and Etsy.

Wardrobe. I've cleaned out my closet and now I'm updating it with more basics (I have too few), newer tights (mine have definitely seen better days), and a few key pieces I keep putting off grabbing. On my list:

  • 2 - 4 Skirts
  • 2 - 3 Blazers
  • 1 New Statement Necklace
  • 4 Sweaters
  • 5 Pairs of Tights
  • 2 - 4 Leggings
  • more underwear (literally never too much underwear)
  • Athletic Socks
  • Casual Socks
  • 2 Plain White Tees
  • 1 - 4 Colored Tees
  • 2 Pairs of Mid-to-High Waist Jeans (I don't own any? This is a mistake.)

I don't know if I'll be able to grab all of the above, but I'm hoping to grab most of it.

Goodies. Lastly there are a few items going on sale I'm hoping to grab for fun.

  • iTunes Gift Cards. Whether I use these as gifts or grab them for myself to use later, these are a great investment when Target is selling them as buy one get on 30% off. 
  • Kate Spade Statement Purse. I'm hoping I can grab either one of the bee bags or the banana bags or the grapefruit bags... They came out with a lot of prints I love this year and I don't have a fancy statement bag. Most of my statement bags are like, definitely from a kid or teens store, and I really am trying to make my garish personality a little more adulty. 

For those who are online shopping this year, be sure to get Honey, a chrome extension that scours the internet for the best coupons for your online carts at check out. It's easy, free, and will save you hella money. 

Stay tuned for my Black Friday Haul video which will go up on my Youtube channel

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Self-Care & Next Steps || Aftermath 2016

I don't think I'm the only one thoroughly upset about the results of the election. We have enjoyed a lot of progress in this country in terms of better visibility for the problems that have always been here, and we've even made some strides toward improving some of those things, and now all of that is being threatened. We can still continue to work fiercely for progress, but we also need to heal. You have to take care of yourself if you are going to make change.

My roommate and one of my best buddies, Emily, and I made a couple videos to help if you are feeling lost. We were totally devastated on Tuesday, but we are going to keep going.

Welcome to Aftermath 2016. 

Part 1: Self Care Tips

In this video we talk about why self care is important, give tips on how to do it, remind you why it's important, and we even go beyond the fluffy bubble bath parts-- not to knock glitter (NEVER TO KNOCK GLITTER) but it's important to remember that it's not just the "pinteresty" things that are critical to self care.

Part 2: Next Steps

In this video, we talk about how to make change. How do we make elections better? How do we reconcile what happened? How can we push for the progress and defend the things we care about after the election?

Here are some additional resources:

Find out who represents you! and then contact them.

Suicidal? Self-Harm-y?
  • Call 911
  • Online Chat suicide/crisis site: https://www.imalive.org/
  • Suicide talk lines: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 2)
  • LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

This is something that brings me a lot of comfort and empowerment in times when I see injustice and evil being done by people who aren't necessarily evil. It also reminds me that we can be heroes. Philip Zimbardo's TED Talk on the psychology of evil and the importance of everyday heroism.


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November Goals

Before we jump into this month's goals, let's see how I did on last month's goals!

Be outside more. Check! I got out of the house at least once every weekend for non-errand related reasons. I got in some walks, grabbed some coffee, and chilled out outside of my house. There were even snaps to prove it!

Get a better sleep cycle. I don't think I succeeded here, but I did get a lot of sleep. I've been staying late at work recently so I think it's making me extra tired. Maybe next month!

Drink more water. Check! I have been trying to hydrate more. It's doing wonders for my skin and for lessening the frequency of headaches.

Post once a week. Didn't do great but didn't do terrible. I think I averaged out at one post a week. I wante to be more regimented though, which means I have to write more and netflix less.

So for this month, I have some new goals! This month marks a full-year of being an adult with a "real" job. I even got my Disney one-year pin! Between this milestone and the holidays, there's a lot on my to-do list. So let's get to it!

Save $1000 for holiday spending. This should carry me through the holidays. There's a lot to do and a lot to buy this holiday season and I am so excited to celebrate the holidays here in New York now that I live in a space that has the capacity to deal with my decorating whims.

Take new inventory of my closet. Having done my spring/summer clean out, and now swapping to my cold-weather wardrobe, I want to clean out my fall/winter wardrobe. I want to get rid of dingy or worn out clothes and figure out the weak spots in my wardrobe. I also need to do my annual fall coat button-reinforcement (where I resecure all the buttons on my coats by hand). I may even begin de-underwiring my bras-- a tip I read on a minimalist fashion blog and tried out today for the first time. It's definitely a game changer in terms of comfort and durability. I also want to cycle out clothes that don't fit me right. As much as I intend to get healthier in such a way that my size will likely change, I cannot live present lies in the hopes of future truths.

Start investing money. Right now I save money, but I need to start investing it. I'm starting up with ElleVest. It's a site dedicated to helping women invest that takes into account the particular nature of women's investing needs rather than assuming they're the same as men's. Our our salary arcs are different, and we need more for retirement since we live longer. Things like that. You can customize it based on your goals and they give you financial advice to match. No minimum investment and a low fee.

Create and start my holiday to-do list. Is it stupid to have making a to-do list on what is essentially a to-do list? Probably. But I'm doing it anyway because my holiday to-do list is a doozy! I have so many tasks bouncing around my head and I really need to get them down, on paper.

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Life Update 011

I bailed on a lot of plans. Part of me feels bad about this, but a bigger, stronger part of me is really proud of this. I have a good handle on when I need to be somewhere, and when it's something "extra" that shouldn't be forced on me at the expense of my mental health. The honest truth is that sometimes the idea of going places on the weekend really, truly, freaks me out between how long it takes me to get places now that I am no longer centrally located and knowing how dark it'll be when I finally get out of the train to talk back home. If I'm not going to have fun, or if I'm going to be upset the whole time, there is no point in me going out and it has nothing to do with how "fun" I am or how much I care about my friends. As long as you give notice and find other ways/opportunities to bond with other people, it's not a big deal.

I fell really behind on my mail. It's so unlike me, I know.  I usually send out 1-3 pieces of mail per week but I really fell behind between having company over and my body thinking it's time to hibernate. I'm trying to make sure I send out everything I need to and then I can start back on writing more mail.

I was Vanellope Von Schweetz for Halloween! I made the skirt and hairclips and customized the hoodie myself. I'd been wanting to dress as her for a long time. Too bad only a handful of people at the office knew who I was. Honestly, I'm more sorry for them because Wreck It Ralph is a phenomenal movie.

A photo posted by Harper Yi (@harperyi) on

I watched Supergirl on Netflix. It's much less sappy than I thought it was going to be, but a very far cry from the whole "dark, gritty superhero" that has honestly oversaturated pop culture superheroes of late. I really liked it and I think I'll try to get caught all the way up.

Speaking of Netflix: Black Mirror. I watched Season 3 and god, did I love it. I've always been a fan of The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror has consistently impressed me with its ruminations on the state of humanity as told through self-contained sci-fi thought experiments. Every episode has impressed me. But of course, my absolute favorite is San Junipero. Even if you don't watch that show, please watch that episode. For those who have seen it, please enjoy reliving that roller coaster of 80s stylized emotion with this video (spoilers!). San Junipero is everything to me.

I bought some more candles at TJ Maxx. A good candle makes a space much cozier. Their symbolism is also really nice to have around. I find that symbols are incredible important to me, which is what draws me to both my career in media and my interest in witchcraft.

I am getting so excited for the Holidays. As someone who loves "occasions" because I am both emotional and ostentatious by nature, I am absolutely thrilled for the holidays. This is also the first year I live in a space that is spacious enough for actual decorating. Between decorating, cards, and gifts, I'm absolutely thrilled for both crafting and shopping.

What's new with you?

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Cosmetics Empire Giveaway - The Wangs vs The World

This post is sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who are powering this giveaway and gave me a copy of The Wangs vs. The World to check out!

Y'all know I work to champion Asian American art and voices on this blog, and today I'm back at it again to tell you about The Wangs vs. The World, a novel by Jade Chang, in stores now! In a subversion of the classic rags-to-riches trope, this story is a riches-to-rags story of a family's fall from grace and subsequent cross-country journey to get their sh*t back together. It sounds gloom-and-doom, but don't let the premise deceive you. This book is full of hilarious twists and turns and the incorrigible sense of humor that one develops as an immigrant in America-- the one that leans into the melodrama of life for what it is: humbling, horrible, joyous, life-affirming, and absolutely absurd.

Charles Wang's cosmetics empire goes under amid economic turmoil, and in a somewhat desperate plan to turn fortunes, he pulls his children out of expensive schools and embarks on a cross-country road trip under the delusion that if America has failed him, he will find a way to rise again in his ancestral land of China! In the midst of all this grandeur and not-so-tragic tragedy, the family finds themselves crammed in close quarters and having misadventures and follies along the way. All the while, the Wangs are re-discovering what it means to belong in America.

You'll get my full review for you in a week or so-- I'm not all the way done yet since I had some visitors these past few weeks-- but I trust that this book is going to deliver. It's one of Entertainment Weekly's Most Anticipated Titles of 2016, one of Library Journal's Big Five Debuts for Fall 2016, and one of Nylon's Amazing Books for Fall.

In the meantime, the publisher and I are running a giveaway for you! Not only will the publisher ship the winner (you??) a copy of one of this season's most anticipated titles-- they'll also send you some really rad cosmetics, which tie in with Charles Wang's former empire. In addition to your very own copy of The Wangs Vs. The World, you can win an Anastasia Beverly Hills Lipstick, Benefit's Gimme Brow volumizing eyebrow gel, and Tarte's The Sculptor contouring face slenderizer.

It's a really great prize pack for anyone who is building their own cosmetics empire... on their vanity or dresser! 

There are a couple rules for entering:
  • US only.
  • No PO Boxes.
  • You can only enter through the widget below.
  • If you don't respond with your mailing address within 48 hours, I'll pick a new winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lastly a couple terms you might want to know:
  • It's free to enter.
  • The prize will be sent to you by the publisher, not me. This means I'm passing your mailing address to them and only them if you win, and that they are responsible to sending the prize to you.
  • This giveaway is affiliated with HMH Books and The Wangs vs The World.

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October Wishlist

Marimekko Ritva Duvet Set. My spring/summer bedding is all coral, and it's definitely time to change it up. I really want some new bedding for fall/winter and I'm really feeling these florals. It's no secret I'm a lover of Scandinavian design, and these stately botanicals are perfect for bringing the crisp clean air of the cooler months into my room-- without making me depressed. Is it just me or are a lot of winter colors depressing?

Kiki's Delivery Service Radio Crossbody Bag.
 Kiki's Delivery Service is one of my favorite witchy movies and this cute bag from Hot Topic is the perfect piece. I have been loving statement bags that look like retro tech.

Halloween Spirit Serving Board Tray. The perfect way to entertain this Halloween season is with a spooky tray. Let's be real, I'll have it out all year round.

Justin Trudeau Scented Candle. Even if this candle was not made in tribute to my fave world leader, it smells like maple and chai, which is a pretty rad blend of smells. Ps: this is the candle I literally brought up at a party.

Too Faced Grand Hotel Cafe Gift Set. Too Faced is quickly becoming one of my favorite cosmetic brands. On top of having great quality product, it is all packaged in cute and dessert-themed packaging, and it all smells like sweets. My aesthetic at all times is "princess candy witch" so Too Faced hits on all of the above. This set is amazing and I need it.

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Life Update 010

I got glasses. They're the Milton from Warby Parker. They look really good, and apart from no longer being able to pretend my eyesight is mostly okay by having things on my literal eyeballs almost all the time giving me the illusion that my eyesight isn't really that bad, I'm adjusting pretty well.

I bought the most amazing calendar I've ever seen in my life for way too much money. My 2016 calendar is 3 months from the end, and with my need to constantly by surrounded by calendars and have my plans mapped out ahead of time, I began getting antsy about having a new calendar lined up. While enjoying myself at Papél New York's sample sale, I bought tons of cards and this gorgeous calendar.

I am dead inside, but at least all my TV is back. Work has been especially intense lately, and while I love working on big stuff, it's also crazy tiring. That's part of the reason I'm not able to post as often-- I just don't want to use my brain after work. Thank goodness TV is back. It's so nice to be able to kick back and enjoy the products of other people's brains rather thank cranking out stuff on my own.

I went to a murder mystery party. I had a ton of fun pretending to be a ball-busting LA lawyer and I successfully solved the murder!

My best ever ThredUp haul to date touched down at my apartment. Man, once you learn your sizes, shopping on ThredUp is suuuper fun. I'm not planning on buying anything but immediate needs until Black Friday, but boy did I get some goodies from ThredUp including a totally magical dress and a black skirt in the exact length I have been scouring the pages for! Use this link and get $10 to use within 30 days of sign up!

I finally posted my September Faves video. I'm trying to get back on top of content but work has been pretty brutal.

I decided what I'm going to be for Halloween! Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck It Ralph! I'll probably post my costume progress on social so don't forget to follow me on instagram and twitter @harperyi!

I'm looking for a New York or Brooklyn-based photographer who can do 80s glamour style photos for me. Let me know if you've got recommendations.

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October Goals

It's my favorite month of the year! October is the best part of Fall, my favorite season! It's cooled down but not cold. The fashion is better. Halloween is on the way. The leaves turn colors. And none of the pressure of the big holidays has set in yet. I'm trying to get back to posting more and I like having the accountability of setting and sharing small goals each month so I'm starting that again :)

Be outside more. Due to the heat and humidity I've been hanging out indoors. At home. Alone. I think I want to hang out in other places, even if it's just sitting in a cafe. I can still chill out writing or marathoning TV while hanging at a local cafe or something. I think that would be good because it would force me to be a human on the weekends while doing things that aren't intimidatingly involved. Hanging out with other people can take a lot out of me, but I think being alone in public will be good for me.

Get a better sleep cycle. I stay up way too late mostly because it feels normal. I want to eventually be a morning person, but I know that has to start with me actually going to bed because I love sleep.

Drink more water. Things have been crazy stressful at work and it's throwing off my self-care and skin situation. I need to commit to drinking a lot more water again. I think it will reduce the amount of sugar and empty calories I consume and also reduce the amount of headaches I experience.

Post once a week. I've been really off my content game and I want it to be a bigger priority in my life. I'm in a work-netflix-sleep loop and I don't think it's healthy for me to not have creative outlets. Work is such a huge part of my life and I love it, but right now, it's most of my life, and I don't think that's healthy so I really want to get back into posting on here.

What are your goals this month?

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Life Update 009

I swapped my summer wardrobe out for my fall wardrobe! I still have some shorts and tank tops out, but I also put away most of my summer-specific clothes and busted out the sweaters and heavier skirts!

I bought some amazing jackets at Burlington Coat Factory! One is a bad ass fake leather jacket and the other is a berry/wine Steve Madden hooded jacket that makes me look like a fairy tale character. I'm LIVING for it.

I saw Aubergine at Playwrights Horizons. It's my first time seeing a play by a Korean American writer. I have a lot of feelings about it and you can read about them in my latest Harper Watched

I've decided to cut beef out of my diet. For me personally the most compelling argument against eating meat is the environmental one, and the beef industry is the most resource intensive, environmentally harmful meat product of all. I don't think I could ever go vegan or even vegetarian, but I do want to do a little bit better. I've made a couple exceptions for myself-- I'm allowed to eat beef when I'm sick, as several of my comfort foods during sickness involve beef, and on special occasions.

I finally got my exam done. Literally just in time since I have no glasses and until the other day, only another week's worth of contacts. I've been meaning to do it for months, but between the complicated nature of insurance (it's my parents', not my own, so I have to route a lot of questions through them first) and my general dread regarding setting up commitments to strangers (albeit medical strangers) I kept putting it off. 

I finished Stranger Things. Things I'm mad about: Apparently everyone just bought the "Barb ran away" story and even when Nance found out she was dead she was like... over it a lil too fast?? Barb was a queen and did not deserve to die. Why in the hell did they cast a guy who looks exactly like a young Jean Ralphio to be Steve Harrington, the cool guy love interest? The most distracting thing ever. 

Also I finally posted my August Faves video-- which I kept being too tired to edit. 

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Harper Watched: Aubergine at Playwrights Horizons

via Playwrights Horizons
Last weekend I went to see a play that I'd been dying to see since I'd heard about it. Aubergine at Playwrights Horizons represents an opportunity to see my experiences on stage in a way I rarely have the opportunity to see them. Written by Julia Cho-- a Korean American woman-- this was the first play I'd ever seen that was written and performed by other Korean Americans.

Growing up Asian American, you see very few people like you on television, and when you do you're a sidekick, a delivery guy, a martial artist, a submissive girlfriend with no lines-- a caricature. In terms of media representation, Asian Americans are kind of where Black Americans were at in the 60s. It's so important to me as an Asian American to support Asian American art, because it's through art that we not only see ourselves reflected back at us, but we are validated in that others are seeing us and our experiences in a way they never have before.

So I found my way to Playwrights Horizons, a theater I absolutely adore, to see Aubergine. It's a drama about tensions surrounding family, death, immigrant parent / first generation American dynamics, and relationships decaying and coming back together. And it's all told through the lens of food.

via Playwrights Horizons

The Story

Ray Park is a late-thirty-something chef born to an immigrant father who has no taste for food. Their relationship is strained at best. And his father is dying.

Ray is left to care for his father in his childhood home as his father lives out his final days, and in this time he copes with not only his father's impending demise, but his own relationship with his father, his feelings on his own identity, mortality at large, and other connections to people he cares about. Ray's father is cared for by a hospice nurse named Lucien who has seen more than his fair share of death and still finds the blessings in his work, and Ray turns to his on-again-off-again girlfriend Cornelia for help.

In Aubergine, food is used as a time machine. It informs moments in time, places, people, culture, homes, and families. Each character has an aside where they tell the audience about their favorite meal-- and it serves as a time capsule about a place and time when they felt connected to someone. While it is especially salient in a story about a man who is a chef and his dying father who cannot eat, food-as-memory and food-as-metaphor is a powerful tool that I wish more people made use of. Food transforms from life to dish to life-as-fuel. Food gives us life as nourishment, but also a means to show affection, to build community, and to share with loved ones. Just as many favorite dishes begin with humble components, we are just flesh and chemicals-- and yet there is so much more to us than the things we're made of.

Playwright Julia Cho makes us one with the food we eat in a way that many are less used to. Cho relates humanity to their food through the common thread of fleeting connections and emotions, altogether meaningless in the vast expanse of time. We are mortal beings with an infinite beginning and a finite end, just as any meal. Our food is not elevated from dishes to the ethical contemplation of human-like suffering. Rather, we are reduced, in the face of mortality, to the mundane-yet-memorable, temporary-yet-transcendent nature of the food we eat.

Ultimately, the play is about making peace when we have the clarity and opportunity to do so. Making peace with fathers and girlfriends and disease. Making peace with mortality. It's sharp and compassionate.

Getting Down To Business

Aubergine presents a very nuanced view on family and death. It finds the blessings in a death by sickness. It promotes comfort when soon-to-be-bereft family seeks longevity. It demonstrates many ways of loving someone-- ways that might be filled with resentment, silence, apathy, and fear.

This play is intense and robust in its emotionality. For me as a 1st generation Korean American, I saw and felt so much of my own experience and my parents' experiences (they're half-generation Americans who came as children) on stage, and that was incredibly powerful in and of itself. The way children of immigrants carry the burdens of a pained history they are not aware of--whether due to a language barrier or the tendency for parents to spare their children from their hardships by simply swallowing them silently. The pressure to live up to parental expectation with the added layer of them sacrificing home, language, food, and comfort. The confusion and resentment that grows from rifts between the immigrant generation and their American offspring.

Outside the family, there is also a discussion of the peculiarities of being Korean American-- for example, having 4 refrigerators. (Mine had 3, perhaps a symptom of my parents being half-generation Americans.) Even the set dressings were just right, down to the tasseled slipper replicas on the china cabinet handles. There is something so validating in this casual attention. When Asian narratives are told in the West, we are often exotified, romanticized, demonized, or otherwise made other. In these carefully placed, but casually experienced details, the audience is at home. A Korean American home. This work is important. When you can see me as centered-- rather than marginalized or othered-- in art, you are better equipped to see me as a real person in the real world. It seems so simple, and yet it makes an immense difference, knowing I am being seen as not-other.

All that said, I'm not comfortable with the decision to bookend the play with a white woman who serves little other purpose in the show than as a frame. She eases the audience into the themes of food, memory, experience, life, and death with a monologue, and then returns only at the end to round out her story about her favorite meal. This is, in my opinion, a deliberate stepping stone into the main action, and it frustrates me that we're in a place where writers feel that is necessary. It feels like a concession made to those who find it too difficult to relate to the story as is-- a story about immigrants, Koreans and Korean Americans, refugees, and people of color. I don't fault the writer for this since the fact of the matter is, for the moment, it might be necessary. The fact is, some audiences will demand that art created by marginalized people "meet them half way." A standard that artists that represent groups that are not marginalized are not held to. Things are getting better, sure, but it's still very much alive the idea that Asian American work is niche and work by white Americans is for all audiences. The character felt mostly like a prop to soothe audience members who, in of all places a theater, would have a hard time suspending their disbelief enough to find the main plot relatable. It frustrates me that these choices must be made-- that large segments of audiences find it easier relate to cats and robots and apes than people who look like me.

The use of non-linear time-flow in the play is well-done, showing how moments that are years--decades apart, even-- collapse on themselves into the now. Our past feelings fold into and motivate our current reality. I am a huge fan of non-linear storytelling. However, I do think that stronger cues indicating shifts from the "current" story and visits to other times would be helpful. I didn't always catch when something was happening until a minute or so into the scene-- but maybe that's intentional. Perhaps we're supposed to be ill-equipped to navigate time, as a further statement on how we are not able to divorce experiences in the past from how we experience now.

Overall, this is a really beautiful, honest play about death that I would recommend highly. As frustrated as I am with the first and final scenes, the rest is authentic. It is important to me that others see this show, experience voices and homes that I know so well and that others see very little of. It's important that work by minority creators is supported and that other people experience it. In my mind, art exists to challenge audiences and expand their understanding of humanity. This play does that in a lot of ways. This is a play for anyone who has lost someone, or will lose someone. It's a play for children who even in adulthood feel misunderstood by their parents. It's a play for people who fear death, whether their own, or that of their loved ones. Tim Kang is phenomenal as Ray, and the tensions and missed connections are so very authentic to the 1st generation and immigrant experiences.

You can see Aubergine at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, now through October 2nd. Tickets are on sale online of at the box office, and those under 30 can subscribe as a Young Member for free to get a special rate on tickets-- $25 for you ($15 if you're a student) and $35 for one guest-- at all Playwrights Horizons performances.

Harper's Rating: 4 / 5

Emotional honesty about death, sickness, & family
Korean American representation #hereforit
Casual gaze at Korean American life
Brilliant use of food as memory and life/death
Turntable set (I honestly just LOVE turntable sets)
Complicated adult parent-child relationships
A refugee character talking about his experiences
Tim Kang killin' it
Dark humor
A hint of magical realism
The Diane character's existence frustrates me
You will ugly cry (or at least I did)
Implied turtle slaughter

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Life Update 008

I went to an engagement party. I love weddings and events celebrating friends in love, so I was very excited to spend time with the couple and their loved ones as we ate fried chicken.

I bought some new nail polish from deco.miami. I've had my eye on their products for a while, but I wanted to purge my nail polish collection before I bought more. I finally pulled the trigger and got Nip Slip which is a nude, and Tied Down which is a deep burgundy that I think is perfect for fall.

My beginning-of-Senior-Year care packages I sent my siblings arrived! As a really affectionate person, long distances between me and my loved ones can really wear on me, so I try to keep up with and care for people in my life by sending them mail. I sent my little brother and sister some supplies for school!

I bought some paper goods from Evil Supply Co! I've been a fan of theirs forever and we have a long-standing twitter friendship. I finally felt stable enough to clean out and begin my stationery collection anew!

Bumble gave up on me. Okay, so maybe that's a little dramatic, but one of my dating apps is apparently running out of people for me to look at. It regularly informs me that they've "run out." This is either a testament to my standards or a death knell upon the app's dwindling population. 

My Kate Spade planner came in. I am adjusting to the personal size. I love A5 (large) planners but they are so heavy and bulky that I'm downsizing while also upgrading the quality. It was on sale and I'm very happy I caught it.

I started watching Stranger Things. I love it-- but I'm pacing myself and haven't finished so please no spoilers!

ICYMI - I got some dresses from ThredUp! Check out my haul/try-on video!

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Clean out

I feel that I've always been the same person, but with varying seasons and accessories that come along with those seasons. And it's these accessories I'm trying to thin out. I'm not only talking about my closet-- I'm hoping to really commit to being more intentional about the kind of baggage I bring into my life.

"Stuff" has always been emotional to me. Each item I have in my life has some of my life force attached to it-- work surrounding their maintenance, visual processing that leads to emotional processing whenever I see that item. For someone as emotional as I am, it takes a lot of energy to deal with stuff, and I'm working to make those things more intentional-- I want things to be in my life because I want them and their baggage here for good reasons.

I've generally been better than most about this when it comes to lifestyle choices and relationships. I didn't enjoy alcohol and I realized I wouldn't gain much by putting in the effort and money to "acquire the taste" for it so I never did. I end relationships when they need to end-- friendships or otherwise. I've never put pressure on myself to enjoy and spend money on things that don't matter to me like professional manicures or fancy vacations. But for some reason it's a lot easier for me to buy things.

When I buy stuff, I tend to think those things are going to be the first step towards something-- a version of me that is more together, athletic, happy, responsible... something. I think it's how a lot of people buy stuff.

At the end of the day though, I feel like I've been spreading myself too thin. I am a sea, but I've made myself into a vast puddle.

Here is a short list of things I'm working to clean out and then improve:
  • my closet
  • my book collection
  • my notebook collection
  • my make-up collection
  • my office supply horde
  • my stationery (already made great progress)
Here's a short list of things I'm hoping to make more space for:
  • flowers and live plants
  • better clothes I love
  • being healthier
  • witchcraft
  • letter writing
What are you cleaning out?

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Weekly Update 007

It's been a couple weeks. Bear with me, fam.

I went to Disneyland! It was my second time there-- and also my second time in Los Angeles. I went on a business trip and had a blast learning more about the business and bonding with my team.

Speaking of which, I love my job and the people I work with. I talk pretty regularly about how much I love my job, but I think I was really overcome with how happy I am to be working with such wonderful people after getting to spend so much time with them. For some people, a job is just a job, but for me it's very important for my workplace to also be my community, and I think I have such a truly wonderful one.

I visited Austin and met one of my best friends! After a trip to Los Angeles, I took a weekend trip to Austin to visit my friends Mia and Liz! Mia's one of my best friends and I met her in person for the first time not to long ago in NY. This was my first time in her neck of the woods (and in Texas in general. I stayed with her and her cats and saw Austin sights and succulents and met Breakfast for Dinner Podcast.

I was a guest on a podcast! Liz & Mia have a podcast called Fake Goth Girls and I was a guest. We did a long rambley, fun episode and you can listen to it here! We talked about bad advice, succulents, Karaoke, and more!

I started using Instagram stories. At first I was salty about it, but Instagram has done a great job at matching Snapchat at its own game. Thus far I love the art tools, but the video function works very inconsistently. Follow me on instagram @harperyi to catch my snaps on things like drawing and running around Brooklyn!

Sending snail mail at a high volume. I sent tons of mail in the past couple of weeks and tomorrow I'll be sending out some packages. I love sending out snail mail and I was so happy to get tons of great pieces from The Paper and Craft Pantry and Take Heart in Austin to send to friends and colleagues. Be on the look out for an Austin Haul video on my Youtube in the coming weeks!

Went to Eggloo with the workfam! Waffles and Ice Cream are a beautiful combo.

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How Do You Move to New York?

It's been a little over a year since I moved to New York City permanently and with a lot of people asking me how I did it, I figured a little overview is in order. If you're considering moving to New York, it's a good idea to do a lot of research since, financially, it's not one of the more forgiving cities to live in.

*** I am not an expert ***

*** There is literally no way to fully prepare for a move to a new city ***

This is just a primer for those of you interested in Moving to New York. There are exceptions to every rule, and no one's experiences in this wild and crazy world of New York real estate will be the same... other than that they are generally terrible and stressful. But much like doing your taxes, there are ways to make it less terrible and stressful. Let's begin.

Why do you want to move to New York?
Ask yourself this seriously, because as I mentioned before, this is not one of the more forgiving cities to move to. Maybe it's for career opportunities. Maybe it's because it seems exciting. Maybe it's for the cultural opportunities. Ask yourself really seriously if this is what you want and if you're ready for the risks involved, including paying hundreds more in rent that could have gone to savings or paying off student loans, or just generally living in a more dangerous part of the country. There are so many wonderful cities in the US that are worth considering and that may have the things you like about New York available to you at less personal and financial risk. Be honest with yourself. Weigh risks to the best of your ability and don't make a decision you might not have made if you'd thought it through more seriously.

Rent is high. 
Location, space and amenities, or price. You cannot have it all, and for damn sure, nothing in New York is cheap. I have friends paying less monthly for single family homes in other parts of the country than I do with my roommate in rent for our two bedroom apartment-- and even this two bedroom in Brooklyn is a thousand dollars less monthly than my last place in Hells Kitchen which I shared with 3 other people.

Let's talk money. 
To qualify for an apartment, you and your roommate(s) (if any) need to make 40x the rent on a yearly basis. You also need to have decent credit. If you don't have those things, you can still get an apartment by using a guarantor. A guarantor signs on saying that they will pay rent if you are unable to for whatever reason, so it's a pretty serious deal. Guarantors apply just like every other applicant on your lease which includes meeting the above stated qualifications, presenting the management company with documents (I'll come back to that), and paying an application fee. Typically, you might expect someone's guarantor to be their parents.

So if rent is $3000 per month, you need to make 40 times that if you are living alone which comes out to a salary of a minimum of $80,000 per year. If you're living with a roommate, your total salaries need to be at least $80,000 per year between the two of you and it usually doesn't matter if one roommate makes the bulk of the income-- the management company just cares about getting paid on time and in full.

In addition to paying first, last, and 1 month as a deposit (fairly standard) you may also need to pay a broker's fee. Brokers are the ones you work with to help secure a deal with an apartment. Usually they save you a lot of time and effort since they know about enough listings that they can do a lot of the leg work for you. Many apartments require you go through a broker. A standard Broker's fee is 15% of annual rent, however some are less than that. You may be able to find one that charges 10% or even 8%.

If we go back to our $3,000 per month example from earlier, this means that at the time of signing, you will have to hand over first month's rent, last month's rent, deposit, and 15% broker's fee.

That's $3,000 + $3,000 + $3,000 + ($3,000 * 12 * .15)
3,000 * 12 = $36,000 in yearly rent
15% of $36,000 = $5,400
Which gives you a grand total of $14,400 due at signing.

This does not include moving costs, new furniture, or utilities. If you are a risky applicant (which might mean you have terrible credit, are unemployed, etc.) they may ask you to pay more money upfront, like another month's worth of rent as deposit to protect themselves if you can't pay.

All this to say, it's a good idea to have a roommate, and you're going to need to have some dough saved up ahead of time.

The biggest obstacle, I think, is the financial struggle of living in New York. This is the cold hard reality of what you're looking at just to get an apartment. It is super important to know what you are getting into. I would say, if you're early on in your career and not hoping to live anywhere terribly fancy, expect to pay between $800 and $1,500 with at least one roommate. Please work out your own budget according to your life situation.

So let's back up: Trying out the city. 
A lot of people come to New York before they actually move to New York. I'm not talking about on vacation-- I mean pounding the pavement, testing the city out, looking for work, roommates, and an apartment. Lots of people stay with friend or couch surf for a few weeks, some people book longer term AirBnBs, or grab short-term sublets off Craigslist. Moving to New York is a big task and you don't want to go in blind, so a lot of people have a transition period so they can "be in town" looking for housing and things of that nature. Bring a large luggage for now, bring the rest up later.

If you're an undergrad or even a recent grad, you may have the opportunity to intern in New York-- this is a great option because lots of summer housing is available for interns, and you have the opportunity to try out the city for 3 months and potentially give yourself some career opportunity to move here full-time. I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity.

Searching for roommates.
I cannot stress enough my recommendation that you go with someone you know, or a friend of a friend, or even an alum from your college. Going with a random person can be incredibly stressful, as any roommate situation can be, with the added layer of zero accountability to any mutual social circle. If you know anyone already living in New York, they may know of another person searching for a roommate either to join an existing lease, or to apartment hunt with. Otherwise you can search on facebook groups for New York like Secret NYC, or look for places on Craigslist that are looking for a roommate.

Apartment hunting: Neighborhoods.
It is impossible for a newcomer to learn all the neighborhoods in New York-- many of them have sub-neighborhoods inside them and trust me, it's very overwhelming. Instead, ask a local if possible Find a friend, or friend of a friend, who lives in New York and ask them their opinion of neighborhoods you are interested in.


  • The outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Long Island) are cheaper, but if you work on Manhattan, you will have a longer commute.
  • On Manhattan, Harlem (north of Central Park) is pretty inexpensive, but it's a long way out from more developed areas where you might be working.
  • Upper East Side is where old money lives, so it's pretty rare to see not-a-lot-of-money places in that area.
  • Upper West Side is a mix of cool moneyed people and students. Still on the more expensive side unless you want to live somewhere not that nice. 
  • Midtown is very touristy. Places are small, but you're really paying to be in the middle of everything. 
  • Lower East Side. This is a very mixed bag of really nice cool places and some not that great places, but if you are really looking to compromise on location, size, and price, this is where you can get a little of everything and not a lot of anything.
  • Lower West Side is more trendy, and you often pay a little premium for that. 
  • Financial District is the southern most part of town. You will live in a really nice building, with a slightly awkward lay out, since these buildings often weren't originally intended to be apartments. Everything is dead at night because people don't really live there... they mostly just work there.
When getting an apartment, consider the subway lines you are near. If you already have a job, you are going to want to live somewhere so that your commute is not torturous. 

Apartment hunting websites.
My recommendations are:
Applying for an apartment.
You've found an apartment. You have a roommate or two. Now you've gotta actually apply. Your broker or whatever representative of the management company will request a lot of documents from you in addition to your application fee. These must be provided by every applicant including guarantors. 
  • Signed application form
  • A copy of a photo ID
  • Tax return from the last year (the first 5 pages)
  • 2-4 of your most recent paystubs
  • 2-4 of your most recent bank statements (be sure to whiteout/blur bank account numbers!!)
They may ask you for additional documents, but that is the standard set. If for some reason you can't provide any of those things, types up a formal letter explaining why you are unable to provide those things and sign it. Your application might be weaker, but this is an acceptable substitute for just not having something.

Signing the lease.
Once you have been approved, you'll schedule a lease signing. This is when you've gotta pony up the cash or cashiers checks for the first, last, and deposit, and the broker's fee. Sign and read all the forms. Ask questions if you have any. Ask the broker about contacts for the landlord and super, as well as their recommended providers for utilities-- some buildings have only one hook up for each utility, but others might have multiple choices available for things like internet/cable. 

The logistics of physically moving all your stuff from one city to another can be complicated. My family agreed to bring all my stuff up for me, which was a huge money saver. You might have to fly out and rent a U-Haul. Moving takes money, but it is really worth it to pay for pros where you can. Also consider paring down to only those things that you actually need, since your space in NY will likely be smaller than what you are used to and to be frank... the less stuff to pack, move, and unpack, the happier you will be. Take a couple days to move, and unpack the things you need to get through the next few days. 

That's about it in terms of the actual process of hunting for an apartment and moving in. I think I'll cover more basics on moving to New York later, but for now, that covers it.

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Channing Tatum is gonna be a Mermaid!

In case you have been living under a rock, let me break the news to you that Channing Tatum is going to star as the mermaid in the upcoming Splash remake. That's right, the sleeper romcom hit about a man who fell in love with a mermaid as she attempts to hide her mermaidness is returning to the silver screen with the genders of at least our main protagonists swapped. Here's the trailer from the original film, for the uninitiated.

I have a lot of feelings about this, which I tweeted on Tuesday over the course of two hours. I'm excited, I'm curious, and I adore Channing Tatum. Here is my stor(if)y.

Who knew I'd graduate school and then write a dissertation on Twitter about Channing Tatum and gender? (Me. I knew and I couldn't fight it any longer.)

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Splash remake?

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Weekly Update 006

My parents visited! My parents visited and brought up some of my distant relatives up to check New York out. They saw my apartment for the first time and we ate a nice lunch together. I was really excited to show them my new place because despite being much further from "everything" it really is leaps and bounds bigger than the previous space I was living in. They brought some of my books up and they also brought me an air conditioning unit which are super appreciated (especially in this heat).

My desk art set up is finally up. I love my high ceilings but I hate bare walls, and since painting isn't an option I really love finding ways to cover my walls with fun art or textured pieces. I've even expanded my art wall even further since I took the photo above and I'm really happy with the way it has turned out. It's a mix of art prints, postcards, magazine  clippings, ticket stubs, window cards, and now a calendar.

I gave myself bangs. Sometimes they don't cooperate since I don't use heat on my hair, but so far I've been digging the look even though the morning cowlick I get is ridiculous since my hair is thick/coarse. I cut them on a bit of a whim but so far they're mostly working out!

Mia is visiting. Y'all might know from twitter that me and Mia of Fake Goth Girls are real good friends, but what you may not know is that this is the first time we have been able to physically meet in person! Mia and her sigO Colby are visiting New York and we were finally able to hang out in person, and probably just as important-- play pokemon and eat food together. Stay tuned on her Youtube Channel for a video about it.

I don't trust strapless dresses. I think I own one, but I'm realizing more and more that I do not trust strapless dresses. I definitely do not have big enough boobs for this to be an undoubted fact of life, I've just grown very jaded at the age of 23.

Bojack Horseman continues to be amazing. I have a lot of feelings about Bojack Horseman's brilliant writing, phenomenal jokes, and incisive examination of the search for meaning and happiness. If you do not watch the show, you need to start.

I'm traveling to Los Angeles and Austin next month. Both will be relatively short and busy trips but I'm hoping to maximize the excitement of being in a different place. Also, I've never been to Austin before and I'm excited for everything except the heat. Hopefully I'll put another Travel vlog out! If you're in the area, hit me up on twitter and maybe we can hang out.

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

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7 Things Pokemon Go Has Changed for Me

I don't think I need to explain how big Pokemon Go is to anyone, but for anyone living under a rock, it's a game that combines the nostalgia and excitement of the biggest craze of my childhood with augmented reality, setting game play in the physical world. In about a week, it's caused some major changes in me-- for better or worse.

1 - I want to go outside. As someone who suffers from depression and an anxiety disorder, it can be really hard to want to go outside. Despite the mountains of evidence that going out improves the body's ability to cope with stress, it can be hard to actually do it when your depression makes you feel like you can't do anything and your anxiety tells you you shouldn't do anything. Pokemon Go is not only helping me overcome those feelings when they arise, but actually causing me to think about going outside more often, even before I feel the shadow of depression descend upon me.

2 - I'm probably tearing through data. There's no way I'm NOT, right?

3 - I'm noticing my environment more. This is a little counter intuitive. You may be asking how a game that literally begs me to interface with my screen while out in the world has made me more observant. But really this game is encouraging me to visit new places, take in landmarks, street art, and history.

4 - I am walking way more than ever. In a typical week, between work and wanting to make content, I don't move much. Pokemon Go actually encourages walking around through game rewards and distance-based events.

5 - I'm bonding with strangers. The other night I was battling to take down a Valor gym at Astor Place and I came across a team mate who was taking it down with me. We swapped names and tips and just bonded over the game. And here's the thing-- we didn't exchange twitter handles or phone numbers or anything. No intention to "build a friendship" or anything intense like that. We just ARE teammates (#TeamMystic) and we had a nice moment and that's it. It's so rare for me to have interactions like that where no one expects anything of anybody, or there's no pressure to make a follow-up something. It was really nice to have a moment like that when I'm constantly trying to engage with the difficult fight to make this country a better place in the face of abusive authority structures and a Trump candidacy.

6 - I'm making the most of my external charger. To be honest I thought I was a little bananas when I bought my 7x charge external battery for my phone, but now I feel very vindicated in my purchasing decision.

7 - I'm wearing my team colors more and even planning Pokemon Trainer Outfits. I'm legitimately putting together outfits just for hunting Pokemon so people can know what team I'm on (and also to make Pokemon more fun for me).  It's a lot of fun to think about for me since planning outfits is like, half the fun of going out.

What has Pokemon Go changed for you?

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