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Au Revoir 2018!

Wow, I really did NOT do any writing for 2018. Video taking/editing has been my creative go-to, but no better way to reflect than a blog post.

1 jan

Jan ’18: Devil’s Punch Bowl

The beginning of 2018 started very hopeful and strong. I followed a strict diet of no alcohol, gluten, or dairy and exercised almost every day. January taught me how very capable I was of determination and follow-thru. But like most resolutions, it died out into February.

2 feb

Feb ’18: San Fran

3 march

March ’18: Sasha Fierce’s Birthday

First part of the year was very busy. Two jobs, heavy social calendar, and trying to keep up with a YouTube schedule. I started to realize I was taking on too much for self and needed some time to just stay still. I noted to myself that I needed to take at least one weekend out of the month to just stay home and I downloaded a meditating app to help me daily.

After March’s reflection, we kicked it up a notch again in April. My work team faced a big sudden shift, giving me more responsibilities and forcing me out of my comfort zone. In my personal life, my 25th birthday was approaching and so was a heavy social calendar once again, with not only my birthday but others to celebrate as well. This continued up until the end of May. I lived each weekday working hard and weekends just having fun and living life, “playing harder” I guess you’d say lol.

4 april-2

April ’18: 25th Birthday

5 may

May ’18: T-Swizzle concert

That all turned around quickly starting June. Met someone special which was not part of my 2018 plan. Starting in June, my weekdays were consumed by Fair and weekends by my guy, I. I already kept a very busy schedule on my own, so adding him to my life was certainly a balancing act. I was learning how to balance work, video editing, self care, family, friends, and I. (still learning to be honest).

6 june

June ’18: JB & Chris Bridal Party reveal

7 july

July ’18: Vegas

9 september

September ’18: LA County Fair

I hit some stressful times by the end of summer with the Fair and some family stuff, and leaned for a lot of support on I. and others I’m close to. Still feeling the aftershocks of such events, but slowly (very slowly) feeling like myself again.

10 october

October ’18: Hawaii

12 december -2

December ’18: My guy & I

In all, 2018 was actually a really great year. I was reflecting earlier as well and wrote down all my favorite moments of 2018 and there was more than I thought. All the people and experiences I would never take back. Not at all what I planned, but no one can ever plan or prepare for such moments and changes.

I have many hopes and plans for next year that I will keep to myself for now. But if there are two words I’d like to keep to, it’s DETERMINED and CONSISTENT. Determined to keep to my goals and realize that each day is 24 hours to work toward them, and to keep consistent.

Here’s to 2019, and all that we have yet to accomplish!

IMO · Uncategorized

Importance of Representation in Media

The first full trailer for the upcoming movie Crazy Rich Asians released not too long ago, and I was absolutely ecstatic. Not only because I absolutely enjoyed the book, but because I learned that this was going to be the first American-made movie with an all Asian cast in 25 years! I just turned 25 this past week! That is my whole life span right there.

Learning this just reminded me of the conversation about the importance of representation in media and made me think about how this has affected me personally.

I am a first generation Filipina. Born in America but raised with the Filipino ideals and traditions of my parents, who didn’t come to America until their late 20s.

I grew up watching Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Hello All-American Nuclear Family 101. Around the ages 7-9, I remember being very upset with my home lifestyle. I would watch these “normal” families on television and when comparing them to my own, we were nothing like them. This made me think my family was weird and not, “normal”. I remember one morning before going to school, my grandpa made lugaw (a typical filipino breakfast dish) and I made a huge fit. I refused to eat my breakfast and was yelling out, “WHY CAN’T WE BE A NORMAL FAMILY AND HAVE PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST?!”

Present me is rolling my eyes hard at old me.

Around the ages 12-14 I was obsessed with the entertainment industry and was determined to be a part of it. I was in theater, dance, choir, and even submitting my own head shots and resumes to casting calls! But the more I kept wanting to learn about the industry, the more I started to realize no one looked like me. And looking back now, I tried so hard to relate to the characters that somewhat resembled how I look. For instance, characters like Miranda from Lizzie McGuire or Manny from Degrassi. But these were just a hand full of characters for me to look up to. This made me feel like an outsider and left to accept there wasn’t much room for Asian women in entertainment.

Growing up, I had no appreciation for my Filipino culture. I strayed away from Asian culture in general. I made comments to my parents like “you’re in America now” as if that would make them assimilate into American culture.

Presently, my eyes are so far rolled back, they’re facing the back of my head.

It wasn’t until I went to college when I moved outside my bubble, that I was really exposed to other Asian ethnicities. I’m Asian, but honestly it was an Asian culture shock for me. I was surrounded by Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Cambodians, and more. I was exposed to new Asian foods, cultural habits, and most importantly, people who had no shame of who they were.

Holy shit! I found my people. They’re all cool, confident, and worthy.

Then it clicked in me. The problem wasn’t the culture, it was the media and the lack of diversity it presents to the American public.

This brings me back to present day, and how proud I am to be able to see this small growth in the industry. I didn’t have this movie growing up, but maybe if I did, I wouldn’t have had such a passive attitude towards Asian culture.

In a 73 Question Vogue interview with Gina Rodriguez, she’s asked when did she absolutely know she wanted to be an actress. She said, after seeing America Ferrera in Real Women Have Curves. THAT! That my friends, is the importance of representation in media. I want an Asian kid today to watch that movie and think to themselves that they too can be on that screen. They too can do something great while embracing where they came from.

If we want more diversity, we must create more of a demand for it. As much as I hate the lack of diversity in media, I will not bash what I hate, instead I will promote what I love! (Thank you Lilly Singh). I try to embrace and support Asian-American media, and any American-Ethnic media for that matter. Support your ethnic creatives and share with everyone else the talent that comes about from diversity. We have a long way to go, but with the support of one another, we are most certainly on our way!

With that said, mark your calendars for August 17 when Crazy Rich Asians releases in theaters! 🙂

(Until then, I’d also like to recommend Gook on Netflix)

Okay, that’s all!

-Melissa

 

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Bye 2017

Wow, this year just flew! Besides all the politics and crazy lunatics of the world, 2017 was a really good year for me. It went quick so it’s a bit of a blur, but going to refer back to my YouTube, Twitter, and journal to remember what happened and how I was feeling.

The beginning was tough. I was at my old job stressing and hating my life (as I’ve mentioned many times before). With my life consumed by work and the cookbook we were working on, I made sure to really enjoy the time when I wasn’t working. My weekends were filled with hanging out with people and finding any way to plug out of work, even if that meant turning off my phone every night after 6pm (like really, I did this for awhile).

2. februaryFebruary 2017: Lake Arrowhead

By the end of March, I finally reached my wits end and gave my two weeks. Next day, got offered a new job. In between the jobs, I attended the How To Be a Bawse Book Tour with youtuber and real bawse, Lilly Singh. One of my favorite takeaways from this event was when she had us high five a random stranger sitting around us. Then she had us high-five them again… then again… then again. She pointed out how awkward that first high five was, but by the last high-five we were like best friends with that stranger. Just like the high-fives, certain events or tasks in our lives will be uncomfortable, but when we try over and over gain, the better at it we become. That lesson just spoke to me right at that moment.

4. April_2.jpg
April 2017: How To Be a Bawse Book Tour

April was an absolute blessing of a turning point in my year. Starting a new job and actually enjoying life once again. I started to enjoy social media again and my phone was now on all day once again.

5. may.JPGMay 2017: Magic Gardens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In May, I finally got to visit the East Coast for the first time for my cousin’s UPenn graduation. I had the time of my life with my cousins enjoying the new sites and vlogging the whole trip.

8. AugustAugust 2017: AV Fair

After my trip, it was straight to working and preparing for Fair. Crazy busy, but a good one. I was actually excited about everything I was working on and was super stoked for Fair. Then Fair time came and I spent most nights after work going around the Fair and just enjoy the energy of everything. One night I was able to enjoy with my cousins and on the last day had more fair time with two of my sorority sisters.

10. october.JPGOctober 2017: Rise Festival

The rest of the year has honestly been about enjoying it. There were small issues here and there but overall, the year has ended quite well for me. I’ve spent quality time with a lot of people, I love my team at work, and I’m still using vlogging as a creative outlet. I think this year has really set up 2018 to be a year of improvement from what I’ve established in 2017.

12. DecemberDecember 2017: Hollywood Red Carpet Themed Christmas

I want to go into 2018 with fresh and creative ideas as well as improve and learn new editing styles. I’m going to really push myself out there to make new friends in my area, cause driving an hour or more to hang out with people is really hurting my bank account. I’d also like to experience more by saying yes to opportunities that are outside my comfort zone, because that’s the only way to grow.

But wait, here’s who and what I have to thank for making my 2017 what it was:

  • My supervisor, W, for continually teaching me and inspiring me with her work ethic
  • My cousins Ashely and Tiffany for really getting me through the first part of the year and giving me the courage I needed
  • My iPhone, you make life so much easier
  • My cousins Ethan, Jason, and JR for being hella funny. Thank goodness I still have family that live close by
  • My brother Q for allowing me to drag to him to all my Target trips and putting up with my annoying ass
  • My brother Kevin for taking care of a lot of things I have no idea about
  • My Lil Sis, A, for being someone to confide in all year long
  • YouTube for being my creative outlet
  • My galaxy camera, you have been retired but thank you for capturing all my memories
  • My cats for waking me up every morning and giving me smile because they are so damn cute
  • My second job for our crazy but wonderful customers, and coworkers who make standing for hours straight bareable

 

Ready for ya 2018!

IMO · Uncategorized

Trunk Club First Timer Review

ashim-d-silva-89336

Lately I’ve been SO over my closet and I’ve been in the process of getting rid of clothes and adding clothes that I think are a bit more timeless (or at least pieces of that can be worn for more than one season). In this process I decided to try out Trunk Club and document the whole thing.

Now I’m a very cheap person when it comes to clothing. I don’t like spending more than $10 on tops or $40 on shoes, so using Trunk Club was kind of a big deal because I just have never invested in clothing. As I slowly transition into an adult with responsibilities, sigh, I think my wardrobe needs to say the same and not say “Hey, I’m a broke college student.”

Although I only kept two items from the trunk, my stylist did say that the common issue with everyone’s first trunk is size, so I’m keeping the app just in case. After spending as much as I did on just two items, but realizing they are both so worth it, I think I’m definitely a little more comfortable spending a little more $$ for worthwhile items instead of just settling for what’s in the clearance section of each store.

Baby steps.

-Melissa

Personal · Uncategorized

6 Months Later

Wow, it has been a very long while since I’ve been here. I’m back because I found a note in my agenda that I left 6 months prior that read, “Congrats! You’ve worked @ (Insert company name here) for 6 months. Time to reflect.” This blog was there to help me in those not-so-great months before my current job, so it seemed to be appropriate to type out my 6 month reflection here.

6 months ago on this day was my last day at my previous job, aka the job from hell. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted but absolutely over the moon about leaving. I was ready to erase all evidence of working there… which didn’t happen cause I still had a few more weeks of training the new girl… BUT I was that much closer.

2 weeks before that, I finally took the giant leap of giving my 2 weeks. The past few months of that job I was contemplating about leaving or not until I finally hit the end of my patience (and I had lots of it). I remember feeling so lightheaded but relieved once the words, “this isn’t the job for me” left my mouth. Once I left my boss’ house, I was relieved but then quickly overwhelmed with the anxiety of being unemployed once again. That was until the very next day when I went in for an interview at a new company and was offered a job that same day.

1 month before that I was the most depressed I’ve ever been in my life. I was on edge from early in the morning to late at night. I was living in paranoia that my boss would call me at any second. I was unmotivated and helpless. I started and ended my day in tears and stress, lost from the feeling of a good night’s rest. I can clearly feel and remember these emotions to this day because like any traumatic experience, they leave their mark.

Fast forward to present day. WOW. I… I’m just so thankful that I am now in such a better place than where I was 7 months ago. I am now in a work place where I am respected and my work is appreciated. I am positively challenged and encouraged to learn every day. It sounds dramatic to say (as if everything I wrote previously wasn’t dramatic at all) but I feel like I can breathe nowadays.

Well, this is taking a turn I didn’t expect but I’m about to pay homage to mental health awareness day, which was just yesterday. Part of mental health is surrounding yourself in a good environment. When in a toxic work environment or surrounded by toxic people, if you have the option, leave it. It’s scary, yes. But from my experience, well worth the jump to take of yourself in order to live a filling life.

Thanks for reading,

Melissa

 

Personal · Uncategorized

New York, New York

I just finished editing my NYC vlog (which you can find below) and it just brought me back to that crazy day that I had to write about for memory.

 

NYC was great but SO tiring, like to the point where I couldn’t speak and my cousins all said I looked high. We just packed so much into one day and with the heat and traffic, my immune system didn’t stand a chance. I ended up sick for a straight week after, meaning just 2 days ago I got over it.

I just wanted to write about two things not included in the video, which happen to be my favorite parts of that day, but came at the end when my camera was low on battery and we were on a time crunch.

  1. Running through Times Square

    Me and my ateh Kristina were on a mission to get everyone’s stuff from the hotel and get back to our bus on time. We attempted to walk to our hotel from Top of the Rock, then realized our aunt was following us. She was not wearing suitable walking shoes, but we continued to walk because it was supposed to be a short one. We were using Waze on my cousin’s phone and she stopped to realize we were going the wrong way. With my aunt and other cousin Jay both in pain, we decided to just take a taxi. We got a taxi but MY GOODNESS the traffic late at night. We asked our Taxi driver to just take my aunt and Jay straight to the station while my cousin and I got off and ran to our hotel.
    We were much better off on foot. We grabbed all our stuff and as my cousin was checking out she asked me to look for directions. Again, the directions were wrong cause I remembered a few turns we had to make that Waze was not giving us. I knew I had to rely on memory to get back to the station.
    This is where my favorite part comes in… When we first arrived to New York, I just wanted to soak it all in. Yes I was recording on my camera, but i wasn’t looking at the camera screen. When we arrived, my head was looking up the whole time trying to remember this very moment of walking through times square.
    Now fast forward to the evening, my cousin was lost and didn’t know where to go. Thankfully, because I was “soaking in” what New York had to offer, I was following streets and pointing to buildings I remembered earlier in the day. “Oh turn right here, I remember thinking this was a funky sign!” “Oh we’re going the right way, I wanted to go into this store earlier!” Here I was looking for clues and dodging crowds. It felt like the climax of a movie and although we were in a rush, it was also lots of fun.

  2. When I almost missed my bus for a water bottle

    We actually arrived to the station a little early so I decided to buy a water bottle before the drive back to Philadelphia. As we were going down the escalator, I asked my cousin “Wait, where’s my water bottle? Did I leave it on the counter??” Dammit. This got me into panic mode and instead of waiting till i reached downstairs and taking the escalator up, I for some odd reason started running up the escalator going down. So here I was now, running up the escalator with an open backpack, wallet in one hand, and jacket in the other. I passed by a man who said, “You’re not going to make it, you’re not going to make it.” I was almost towards the top and internally rolling my eyes at the man saying I wouldn’t make it, but with one big leap I reached the top of the escalator and ran to the convenience store now hearing the man at distance saying “Oh she made it!”. Yes bitch.

And that is how my trip to NY ended, with a bang I’d like to think.

P.S. I made it to my bus

Personal

I Hate Birthdays

I hate birthdays. No not yours. Specifically mine. But if you feel my frustration, then awesome. We can hate birthdays together.

Celebrating someone else’s birthday is great. You’re either sending them a nice text/email wishing them a great day or attending a party and letting the celebrant know they are worth the few hours out of your weekend. It genuinely makes me happy seeing someone else happy on their birthday. I mean, you’re another year older, that’s certainly something to celebrate, right?

annie-spratt-96525

I don’t know if it’s just one of those weird days… Or months but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  Birthdays can also freaking suck! I blame those damn birthday expectations. Why is there such an expectation to have an absolutely perfect day(s) for your birthday. Why is there an expectation to celebrate your birthday at all? Why do I expect people to make me feel special? Who put this pressure on birthdays to be so amazing? Whyyyyy?!

The best way I could explain it is there are 2 sides of me on this issue. Let’s call one side Melissa and the other Nichole. Heh, yes they are both my names but each name has a different personalities (as mentioned on a previous post here) and they both have a different opinion on this issue.

Melissa: Okay, so let’s make plans for your birthday. What can we do to make this day ah-mazing!

Nichole: Chill out, it’s just another day. Just do some things you enjoy and we’re good. It doesn’t have to be “ah-mazing”

Melissa: But it’s your birthday! We’re celebrating another year of your life! You have to do something!

Nichole: Why?

Melissa: So you can feel special?

Nichole: Why? I mean that’s awesome to feel special, but if you don’t, does that make it a bad birthday?

Melissa: No… but you’ll feel really bummed if you don’t celebrate it some way

Nichole: Why? Why on your birthday specifically, do you have to have such an amazing day?

Melissa: Man, I don’t know…. You’re a bitch.

And that’s pretty much what’s going on in my mind right now. I have no idea if that even made sense. Long story short, I hate birthday expectations and the fact that I have them every time my birthday comes around. Why do I care so much?

But good or bad, take the time to appreciate you made it through another year alive. And if you only have a friend or two that’s happy to see you happy on your birthday, you’re doing pretty good.