The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with rain" - Dolly Parton


Big Thoughts & Feels About Abortion, Systemic Racism, Social Media, and a dash of Guns | Imperfect Analysis

SNAIL MAIL - June 26, 2022

12 – 13 min read.

Forward: I started the process for this piece on May 7th. I am closing it out on June 24th. Like my Sophomore English teacher wrote in the graded margin of my short story, “the ending is a little rushed.” But I’m done, I’ve said what I want to say, and there aren’t enough hours in my lifetime to refine and clarify my thoughts to my satisfaction. So here we are.

“What are you doing this weekend? Want to attend a protest against the abortion clinic?” 

I can’t say these were the exact words of the plucky, intelligent and deeply caring junior high friend who asked me to join her and the group organizing this protest, but that was the impression it left me. And I can’t recall my exact words back to her, but I likely stuttered and declined – not challenging her desire to protest abortion and now exploring my ideas about her and why it felt wrong to attend. We were 14, maybe 15. I remember being thrown off by the proposal. I had been raised Catholic; she might have known that and assumed I was in line with her thinking. But unbeknownst to her, I had already begun deconstructing my feelings around the church, and I couldn’t co-sign being pro-life. I also had an interest in possibly pursuing social work within the foster care system or child protective services. My early exposure to the horrendous acts of child abuse through the book “A Child Called It” and watching Lifetime movies about runaways – made it known to me that there were people out there that needed a support system and a safe space to turn. But my growing awareness that the system was filled with red tape and left people behind let me know it wasn’t perfect. In my teenage brain, the math wasn’t adding up. Why should women who are incapable of caring for a child be forced to carry their pregnancy? Adoption doesn’t always work out for the child. The foster care system is strained and is another area for bad actors to hide. The idea of eliminating the option for abortion only led me to ask more questions about the support system for the children.

So on May 2nd, 2022 when Politico’s article “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows” breaks and the fallout is plastered across the headlines and social media with the same talking points my teenage brain had been working through twenty years ago – I was fired up. I wanted to understand the whole picture and the arguments on both sides. Dissect the flawed logic in the pro-life view and counter with stats that eviscerated the notion that giving states power to determine abortion access wouldn’t be incredibly damaging to society.

A piece that would first highlight the long-term health implications for people due to OBGYNs and medical physicians being ill-equipped to perform procedures for people who are experiencing a miscarriage or have a life-threatening pregnancy. The essential need for body autonomy in a medical space. Present that the argument “abortion is used as birth control” completely negates the fact that it’s a difficult choice for any person to make and one that most don’t take lightly but are thankful for the option. An unwanted pregnancy isn’t out of an act of irresponsibility, and a child shouldn’t be born as a “consequence of one’s action” like a character-building punishment. Limiting access based on the viability of life, a philosophical debate that excludes quality of life, vilifies the <1% who have to make that choice at 21+ weeks. The late-stage abortion is a likely indicator that something has gone terribly wrong with the pregnancy and the choice should be received with support, love, and grace in this devastating time. Abortion was never in the plan, but now they find themselves at the doors of a dark decision.

Then bring up stats around adoption rates and the foster care system. Indicate the risks for those that do not have a stable family option – express the intense stressors and potential trauma that impacts one’s ability to thrive in society when they lack a healthy home environment. For example, 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues and 75% of girls who have been within the foster care system* are pregnant by 21, limiting their ability for upward mobility. And finally, I was going to tie up the piece with a statement from the perspective of a spiritual person who returned to Catholicism, saying if God gave us free will are we not playing God by eliminating the women’s right to choose. Pregnancy is a personal journey and should be honored as such. 

Basically, a dissertation on Abortion in America for a self-assigned Ph.D. program. The ambitious assignment ended with a thirty-six slide Powerpoint filled with notes, 15 plus links, and 7 to-be-read tabs open in Google Chrome. Each article sprouted a new branch of questions, and while chipping away at my dissertation for my inner professor, the headlines moved on, and there was a shooting in Buffalo. Ten Black people killed by a mass shooter in a grocery store located in a predominately black neighborhood. The motive — to prevent the elimination of the White race.

Again, social media is a flutter, but this time not as loud. Because although I follow Black creators and friends on my Instagram, accounts that are active in highlighting when White supremacy rears its ugly head and people who publicly engage in the act of bearing witness to the heartbreak in the world – it’s not the majority of accounts I follow. In my algorithmic bubble, Buffalo did not receive story after story of reposted content. The inescapable rhetoric only occurs when something directly impacts the majority. Emotionally driven to cry out the injustice, this incident didn’t hit my bubbles threshold for mass dissemination. One could analyze the reasons for this shift in behavior. Is it an indicator of the desensitization around the violence towards Black Americans or simply the result of burnout from the Roe v. Wade passion posting? I’m not judging people based on a social media observation. Measuring the whole of a person based on their social activity is today’s version of “judging the book by the cover,” you can get an idea, a good curated synopsis, maybe even cliff notes, but we don’t know the person line by line – we miss most of the nuance. There is no rule book for expressing oneself around the horror of our human existence. The idea of “doing enough” is a bottomless pit that guilt and shame love to attach themselves to – do not allow social media behavior to feed those feelings.

I didn’t repost the words of someone else’s outrage. I didn’t reach out and check on my Black friends. However, I listened to what they were saying and will always stop to listen to their thoughts and experience. The Buffalo Supermarket shooting is another reminder of the deep systemic issues around race that plague society. A malware humming in the background. The human psyche normalizes or finds ways to cope with ongoing anxiety, so I understand what the disruptive, ice-cold water of reality race-based tragedy can feel like. It shakes one out of the cocoon of mental safety and brings the pain right back up to the surface.

Humanity has used othering as a form of survival from the dawn of time. It’s a survival instinct. Othering can be based on various factors, but it’s a us vs. them as there is safety in numbers. When I drove across the South in 2014, a dream road trip through a part of the country I’d always been fascinated with due to early exposure to “Gone With the Wind” and heroic stories of people within the civil rights movement. I toyed with the idea of dying my hair turquoise but decided against it because I knew having my normal brown hair would make life easier. Not knowing the prejudice I might encounter cause of alt-colored hair, in a territory known for its propensity to “other people,” I choose to avoid it as a way to simplify the adventure. I made a biased decision against the people of the South around something I could control. I was exercising a privilege I know other BIPOC individuals can’t easily make. 

I understand there is resistance around the conversation of privilege and White supremacy. It baffles me, cause to me it’s simple. However, I am aware that the ideas are politicized and characters have agendas that cause people to tune out. I don’t want someone to tune out. So the following is expressed to simply illustrate why to me it’s clear as day that it exists; cause we all have it (privilege) and live under or amongst it (White supremacy). Whatever small advantage you have had above someone else, in any particular situation, is when your privilege has shown. And every time you felt your features or behavior didn’t fit some Eurocentric idea of perfection, that’s a form of White supremacy. Our country, and other European colonized countries, are founded on White supremacy because of the ideas and values of White Europeans that shaped it to where we are today. And there has been opposition, thankfully, that has fostered the diversity and expansion of our culture and emotional intelligence. There have also been good Whites along the way, but White supremacy exists, and I hope one day it will become so minute it will be like when the flat earth society only had two members. However, due to the ever-growing feeling of lack and fear, fighting each other over a metaphorical space to lay our heads down and protect our families. I’m not sure what progress we will make – I’m optimistic. But then the flat earth society has 225,108 followers on Facebook, and sadly, I don’t think it’s a majority of hate follows.

It’s insanity. We live in a maddening world that forces us to question everything and ourselves. In the search for answers we latch onto data, comforting conspiracy theories, spiritual beliefs, you name it, and combine our favorite pieces of information into a gooey healing balm for our psyche and say it’s going to get better. But then it doesn’t, cause we’ll have another affliction to swallow, but this time its children – 19 innocent children (and two adults).

Headlines stitched together from keywords “school shooting” and “Uvalde, Texas”. A disturbed 18-year-old purchased two AR platform riles from a federally licensed gun store and 375 rounds of 5.56 caliber ammunition a few days after his birthday. In the school he enters to commit murder, the police will stand outside the active shooter situation for 45 mins while a mother runs into the school to find her children. Matthew McConaughey becomes the voice of reason for gun control.

The Word doc for this article is titled “big piece” because I had the spark to write something, and then as the weeks unfolded, the objective, the voice, and the purpose morphed and evolved. As the tedium of everyday life disrupts the creative process, so did the traumatic events that fueled the words on the page. Outlines in the form of early morning word vomit in my journal, trying to deconstruct and understand the world through my thoughts and experiences.

Today, Roe v. Wade has been overturned. I don’t like hyperbole or emotional manipulation when it comes to politics, but it’s hard not to look at a map of the United States with trigger laws on abortion in place and not think – this is how the dystopian America that the movies warned us about begins. And yet, it can’t be ignored that many in this country have already been living in a dystopian nightmare of restricted access to fundamental rights and needs, this is just what happens when it knocks on the doors of “safe” middle-class neighborhoods. The attacks on personhood from the government to civilians is and has always been constant, perhaps the only difference is the rate and our consumption of the trauma.

I’m scared about what happens next. I don’t like what I see, but I refuse to turn a blind eye. And I’m privileged (currently) with financial stability and the freedoms awarded to me because I was born, raised, and currently still reside in California – and when you have privilege, you use it to help others.

Donating monthly to the Abortion Fund Network and ACLU, as behind them are individuals who are invested in the work day to day.


Fighting a low-grade depression for months now, and it coming to a head while crafting this babble; I have a sense I won’t want to continue to write about current events. My off-hours bliss is not found in being an argumentative mouthpiece or writing a thoroughly researched persuasive argument. The anxiety knowing that there are angles of the tesseract that I have excluded gnaw at me. I have an awareness of the neverending wheel of horrors, home and abroad, and consistent commentary or speculation isn’t my aim. Also, I can’t keep up. I am the slow kid finishing the mile run, coming in huffing and puffing, wheezing as I bend over in pain from the knowledge that this will all happen again and again and again and again. All the hate, pain, suffering, death, violence and whatever other adjectives that describe the dark low vibrational frequency of existence is the same coin different side to joy, elation, love, pleasure, comfort, and subsequent adjectives that describe a bright light higher vibrational state. A utopia doesn’t exist outside of us but within us, and we influence the world by doing whatever in our power to create that utopia outside of us. Collectively a shared vision is lovely but impossible, as everyone will have some altering view – but if we can sign off on respect, support, and openness to being our guardrails, I think we can get closer.

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My Period and the Plight of Humanity

HEALTH & WELLNESS - April 23, 2022

Audio Recording of Article:

Dunes of fast fashion pile up in the Chilean desert, and sea turtles get straws stuck up their nose. A plastic bag and plastic gloves are kept in our hiking backpack to pick up litter along the dirt paths leading to scenic nature vistas. Only to later throw said litter bag in a bin that ends up in a landfill where it will be isolated from the rest of the environment, yet potentially reach capacity in less than eight years and be closed—forcing a new shiny landfill to be developed somewhere else. I don’t state this to trigger any eco-anxiety. It’s a reality of our human existence due to the overproduction, overconsumption, and over-accumulation driven by the unchecked dark side of capitalist philosophy, free-market rhetoric, and mental health trauma. Yes, corporations are the largest producer of waste. The world would require a seismic shift in priorities to curtail the plain fact that we will eventually exhaust our options, and our planet will have a landscape that doesn’t look too far off from the backdrop of Disney’s Wall-E. I won’t be alive when that happens. I don’t know if my genetic code will be existing in a human lifeform by the time we reach that point. But it doesn’t mean I don’t think of it, nor think of what I can do to curb my own careless behaviors and be a dash more mindful about the planet I inhabit. The reality of being a parasitic species is we will eventually kill the host. And I don’t find hopelessness in this bleak future; I find my own areas of influence to create the illusion of control in the wild chaos that is life.

Like, learning how to shove a menstrual cup up my vagina and investing in $300 worth of eco-alternative menstrual supplies. Clearly, I’m privileged as I have the means to make the pricey upfront purchases without impacting other areas of my life, and I have a private, clean environment to hygienically keep up the cyclical routine. The marketing tactic of sustainability and wellness appeal to our values of keeping not only ourselves but the planet clean and healthy, with a price tag that falls into aspiration and elitism. Stimulating the built-in superiority complex that is engrained in Western cultures evolution from feudalism, feeding on the desire to be comfortable within a court.

However, this isn’t to say that an eco-friendly healthy lifestyle isn’t achievable by other lower-cost means – one would just need to have the one resource that alchemizes money — time. Not ignoring the fact that in most societal structures, you still need money to practice in the exchange of value for goods, but with time – money can be stretched further. I don’t have time. Most of us don’t have time. And I have plugged into the money game. Majority of us HAVE to plug into the money game. And I’m fortunate enough to be in a level of the game with the starter pack I was born with and bonus point tools earned along the way that allows me to shift from Ziplocs to reusable Stasher bags. One $12 bag at a time (24 Ziploc bags is $7.00).

What’s my point? Initially, it was if you have the privilege to learn how to use a menstrual cup and wear period panties then do it for the planet. Because there are likely more people who don’t have that privilege than do, and reusable menstruation cups have the lightest environmental impact. If I can do it, then you definitely can too*. But then it’s unraveled into the philosophical analysis of the fact that we’re all just caught in the hamster wheel of time vs. money because at some point, the paradigm shifted from being caught in a cage of divine right vs. serfdom. And if a paradigm can shift once before, it can shift again and again until at some point we can find the right combination to support the common good and fight back the dark underbelly – just hopefully it occurs before we’re living in a dystopian hellscape surrounded by the things that once adorned our identities, or are taken out by artificial intelligence through nuclear warfare.

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Bless This Mess: A Reflection on Overwhelm

--- - February 2, 2022

Bless this mess that is the physical manifestation of my inner world. The piles and temporary designated areas of significance. The loosely outlined sections on the floor for this and that. My fuzzy idea that I’ll be able to find THIS under or on top of THAT. This blessed mess is not ideal, but it will function right now as being the one thing I don’t have to be concerned about. It will grow or shrink over time proportionate to the energy I am expending elsewhere. It is the blessed symptom of a life that is overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by the consequences of a life that is lived and filled with love. A life that is intertwined with others and creates rich tapestries of memories. A life that has connections and responsibilities, obligation and duty. Overwhelmed by opportunities to say yes – yes to laughter, yes to dancing, yes to nature, yes to financial security, yes to family, yes to health, yes to sunrises, yes to friends, yes to the difficult moments because from it comes release and then ease. Yes to the growth that comes from feeling the burn of my limitations and deciding to grow new skin instead of callous scars. Overwhelm is not always a bad thing, it can be an indicator of a life that is in full motion. And while in full motion, energy is expended where it needs to be and stretched to cover the edges of what can be managed. Stopping to rest when the human machines demands the attention.

The act of rest and ability to participate in its restorative magic is a savored privilege. Rest the soothing balm I apply whenever necessary. The blessed mess there for me to address after rest has had an opportunity to mend. Pockets of rest that oil joints and spitshine my mind to take on another day – one foot infront of the other. Another day blessed by the mess.

And may your mess be blessed. May your life in full motion find time for laughter, if rest can’t come soon enough and is too far out of reach for what is necessary — then may laughter give a release valve to the tender but resilient human machine.

And I’m starting to realize I’m a person who may be addicted to overwhelm – but that’s another post.

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Interview with Ashley Hosmer, Romanticizer of Life

HOME + LIFESTYLE, INTERVIEWS - September 19, 2021

Before there was a trend on TikTok to romanticize your life, Ashley Hosmer was already in the act of curating beautiful spaces within her home, relishing in the refined scents of luxury candles, and enjoying a decadent pastry at her favorite local bakery. The warmth she creates within her physical and digital space, with just enough spice that neither environment feels overly curated or cloyingly sweet, makes her one of my favorite people to follow on the internet. Known for her detailed candle reviews complete with a Google Spreadsheet and 5 point grading system, she is unabashedly bougie when it comes to her candle selection and does not hold back her opinion. If the Bath & Bodyworks YouTube candle hauls from 10 years ago scarred you, her candle chats are the healing balm.

I was drawn to her account through a giveaway she was hosting. She was transparent that she desired follower growth but was firm in the type of follower she wanted to attract. Being forthright about who she is so no one would get short-changed in the social media transaction. It’s her vulnerability with a dash of sass, along with her honest reviews and earnest support of companies and products she loves, that makes her one of my go-tos when on the fence about a purchase. I consider if Ashley has tried it? What’s her hot-take? Can she help me not waste my money? I’m a maximalist loves to romanticize my life, appreciating the little things and know the power of drinking from a beautiful glass or snuggling in a soft blanket. Ashley is extra, and her extraness makes her uniquely qualified to be an expert in luxuriating in life.

*Ashley sent this interview back to me in May, shortly after she started her journey as a full-time influencer. I am 5 months behind on publishing this interview in a timely manner for reasons that would bore you, so let’s just jump into her thoughtful responses.

Name: Ashley Hosmer

Sun/Rising/Moon Placement: Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Leo, Ascent in Aquarius

Favorite Color: This is so hard! Lately cobalt blue but mustard always.

Childhood Hero: Lucille Ball. I grew up watching I Love Lucy with my grandma and Lucille Ball was what I aspired to be, kind and funny.

You’re incredibly honest and transparent with your reviews and seem to be pretty discerning around anything from homewares to bakery spots. It’s why I know people can trust your taste and voice. Who are voices that you completely trust?

@marielle.elizabeth is my personal style icon, following her has done wonders for my own self-esteem, and chatting with her has been a huge comfort. She is so honest and true to herself. 

@thecasaverde has the most vibrant energy, she is so kind and has this ability to make you smile even when that’s the last thing you want to do.

@dommdotcom, @wanderingmyhome and @midmodathome are so honest and authentically themselves.

I follow so many amazing people and feel so lucky to have built connections with them.

What are three trends that you love, and three trends that you hate? 

I feel like I am in such a bubble, I only see the things that really resonate with me and enforce what I like/believe so I actually feel like I am out of the trend loop. I’m seeing a lot of grid patterns which I love, a lot of vibrant colors and more maximalism styles. I love things, I love color, I love filling my home with things that make me happy. I don’t think those are trends really but I see a lot of it on social and love it. The things I don’t love are the constant DIYing, it seems exhausting and I am not handy like that so that just isn’t my thing and I don’t really want to upcycle everything I see. But more power to you if that’s your thing. I find when I attempt a DIY, I usually spend more money on the materials and am less happy with the results haha.

How long have you been raising plant babies? How many plant babies do you have? And do you have a favorite? 

My love of plants really started in our last apartment about four or so years ago. Once I started, there was no stopping me. Right now I am loving my hoyas, my tricolor is flowering for the second time and it is so rewarding. Last time I counted it was over 70.

If you could download any skill into your brain, what would it be?

The ability to let things go. I would love to care less about certain things and be able to move on from hurtful messages instead of playing them over and over in my mind.

Have you picked up any hobbies during the pandemic that you will continue into your post-vaccinated life? Are there any pre-pandemic habits or hobbies that no longer interest you? 

I got into puzzles and that won’t go away. I find it so rewarding. Pre-pandemic I had a lot of road rage, I live in LA so it kind of comes with the territory but I have mellowed out so much not having to commute and I am really hoping that zen stays with me.

What is a quality in Matty that you wish came more naturally to you? (Would be cool if Matty answered this but for you) 

His kitchen skills. He can watch a single YouTube video and make that dish but he will modify it to our taste preferences and then be able to replicate it on his own after. It’s amazing. Cooking does not come naturally to me at all and that innate ability to make a dish your own just baffles me. 

Matty said, “being able to see the messes you see”. I can see the hairs in the sink after he’d trimmed his beard and the coffee grounds on the counter, he somehow can’t see these things. I too wish he had this ability haha.

Recently, you shared how your opinion on Influencers is beginning to shift. Having worked with influencers and now being in a space where you’ve grown your own visibility, can you share what the evolution has been like and what new ideas you have around the space? 

I used to get really annoyed by influencers, thinking they were fake and constantly pushing products, and sure this may be true for some but what I have realized from my own audience growing, is just how taxing this is. You are opening up your life to thousands of people and they all have access to you –  to your comments and private messages, and they don’t hold back. I have made so many amazing connections but I have also been on the receiving end of so many hurtful messages. 

I was trying so hard to be the kind of influencer I didn’t see much of on Instagram. To share the real moments and reply to every single message I received, to really build connections with people. I didn’t understand why an influencer would go on stories and ask a question and then NOT reply to the message. Now I realize, it’s because it’s overwhelming and mentally taxing. I receive hundreds of messages daily, depending on the topic I post about. I, in passing, mentioned natural deodorant one day and received over 200 suggestions on brands to try. It’s a lot. A lot to take in. And once you build a connection, you have so many more touch points with a person, which I truly love, but multiply that by a hundred and it’s overwhelming. Then you grow your audience and it just keeps going. 

And I don’t want that to change, I don’t want to not connect with people. I just need to be ok with taking longer to reply and setting boundaries. I share a lot of my personal life which opens up a lot of criticism, I do not need to reply to those messages. I have in the past and nothing good has come from it. So setting boundaries is important and now I understand why those large influencers sometimes don’t reply. It’s honestly just not possible or healthy to reply to every single message. 

Have you always been savvy in interior styling, or have you picked up tips and tricks along the way? Any design decisions that you immediately regretted or have since learned from? 

I think my love of interiors and styling came from my step mom. Any time I went on vacation with my dad, I would come home to our home completely rearranged. It became a joke like how will the rooms be different when we get home? It was thrilling and somehow always looked better. I think that’s where it started. Then after moving in with Matty, my husband, and creating spaces that serve us and reflect us, it has been something I’ve really grown to love and it comes naturally to me. 

The only regrets I’ve had have come from rushing to design a space to finish. You’re never really finished and when you do that, you end up owning items that you like but don’t love. I want our home to be filled with things we love. So in our current home, I have really taken my time decorating.

What does the perfect day in Los Angeles look like for you, and please include some songs on the soundtrack? 

For me, a perfect anywhere involves great food, great company, and my ideal weather – sweater weather. Cool enough for a light sweater but not too cold and definitely not hot haha. Mid 60s is heaven to me. 

So a perfect LA day would be waking up early, heading to my favorite bakery, Just What I Kneaded, grabbing a mix of sweet and savory items and splitting them in the park with my husband. Then heading to some cute boutiques like Prelude & Dawn and Individual Medley, maybe finding a new candle or ceramic. Picking up sandwiches from Wax Paper for lunch. Hitting up a local market like Wine & Egg shop. Going home and watching a movie together or having friends over for dinner. 

We actually have a lot of days like that but they’re my favorite. Supporting small businesses, shopping local, and eating amazing food. That’s my perfect day in any city.

And food songs, anything upbeat. I love Haim, Borns, Bleachers, any song that’s fun to belt out.

Almost four years ago this month* you published Goals, Motivation & Manifesting My Future on your blog, and now 2021 – it looks like a few things are being crossed off the list (even if unintentional like being laid off) but as you and I have talked about in the DM – this moment feels like the universe is pushing you into new territory. What are some things you’re looking to manifest and work towards next? 

Wow, I had no recollection of writing that blog post and had to take a minute to go read it. It really shows how fast time goes by. I wrote about being unhappy at work almost four years ago and here I was thinking this feeling developed in 2020. 

Ok, shock aside haha, I am really looking forward to seeing how things evolve for me. Will I settle into life as an influencer? Will I be able to pay my bills doing this? Or will I look for part time work in a shop or go back to a ful- time corporate job?

In my ideal scenario, I will continue to grow my following, continue to make meaningful connections with people, learn to handle the criticism, and find revenue streams that make this a possible career for me. I would love to be hired for lifestyle photography by brands, be paid for partnerships, and continue to share things I love with my community.

*this month = MAY ( I was really slow to get this live)

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Celebrating Americana This 4th

SNAIL MAIL - July 4, 2021

Audio Recording of Article:

Estimated Reading Time: 5 min

This 4th of July I’m celebrating Americana, cause I’ve got some issues with America.

America’s a hot mess that talks a big game but can never seem to really get their shit together. I need to set boundaries with America, or else they will suck me dry of any spirit or joy. An emotional vampire, toxic environment, straight-up infuriating devil I know. So, yeah, America – we have issues, and I don’t want you to think that my eating BBQ, watching colorful explosives, and enjoying my federal holiday off of work is because we’re friends.

No – I’m celebrating in the name of Americana.

I am celebrating the culture of my home country and place of origin. As a biracial person in America, I’ve reflected on the fact I have no other country. The roots of my family tree trace back to islands in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. So, I drank the “melting pot” Kool-Aid of the 90s cause it affirmed I had a place in this world. Before I knew to be critical of America, I had already fallen in love with the mythology of Americana. I carry a sense of pride over the ideology behind our nation and belief that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, which among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Men being shorthand for human beings. Men being an antiquated generalized pronoun placeholder representing all people regardless of race, gender or gender identity, and sexual orientation.  

To me, Americana is Chuck Berry and the birth of rock n roll. Two immigrants, Levis Strauss and Jacob Youphes coming together to create modern jeans/denim. Mr. Rodgers, Charlie Brown, the work of American puppeteer Jim Henson. Hamburgers, coca cola, and route 66. Disco and large shopping malls. Hollywood glamour and apple pie wholesomeness. All the elements that influence and inform a unique cutural experience and blossomed while America fluctuated between getting it right and horribly wrong. Since my experience on this planet is geographically from an American perspective, I’m curious about the cultural nuances that will be picked up and woven into the tapestry of Americana in another hundred years.   

My Bachan’s birthday is July 4th, so growing up, the 4th always had this extra special place in my heart. After birthday cake, we would break out lawn chairs and settle in to watch my Dad and Uncle take turns setting off a box of legal fireworks purchased from a church parking lot. And I would rock a red, white, and blue ensemble for the occasion. After my Bachan passed away, going up to her grave for a picnic became the 4th of July ritual. 

At eighteen and the start of her adult life, when one gains a sense of freedom and grows into their autonomy, she was sent to live behind barbed wire in a Japanese Internment Camp by her country. Like me, she was born in America, but since she was of Japanese descent, her freedoms as an American citizen were violated. The trauma my Bachan experienced is not easily healed, and she never discussed her experience. After the war, she wanted to stay in America but was forced to move to Japan by her father. An American woman in a foreign country, it would take her eight years to get back home.

At the end of the day, this hot mess called America is my country and home. I’m rooting for you and hold onto hope that with each decade you’ll progressive forward in a more positive manner than negative. Americana is the sugar that helps one swallow America. It’s what my Bachan loved and celebrated every 4th, the fireworks clearly going off just for her. As a woman, she appreciated that American culture afforded her more opportunities. And her husband, a fellow American she met in Japan, loved country music, westerns, and baseball. Two Americans of Japanese descent writing their own great American story. I spent every 4th with my side of the family that looked a lot different than the homogenous American family sold to us. Still, we couldn’t have been more made in the USA than the manufacturing label on the American Dream.

Happy 4th of July. I hope you’re able to enjoy your slice of whatever Americana means to you.

And remember, unless your Native American, you’re a visitor on this land – so have some respect.

It’s no surprise that the expansion and building of America was done by some well-meaning people and some really heinous people. We can’t change the past; and if it was changed, I don’t know where that leaves me. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge our f*d up colonial background, so be humble, and let’s try to right the wrongs of the past. Know better, do better – it’s that simple.  

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Charging Waves & Tetris Games


I’ve been struggling to hold on to a sense of myself outside of over-working and burnout. On weekends I find myself lost and aimless on how to navigate the unstructured time—struggling to prioritize myself over the boxes that line up next to my professional to-do list like a Level 10 Tetris screen.

Should I rest? Watch Netflix? Clean? Organize? Write? Create? What am I trying to achieve? What do I like? Who am I? What do I do first? What time is it? How is it already 8 pm? Damn, the sun is a mind f*ck.

Compound the existential crisis with trying to get in the swing of socializing after a year of living my best hermit life, and I’m like – not awesome. I’m not terrible, but I’m not awesome.

I’m growing at an incredibly rapid rate, and I feel like I have a spiritual camel-toe high-water situation happening. Grateful for the lessons and challenges that I’m experiencing. Each day feels like I’m charging wave after wave in an endless ocean of possibilities riding a tide that seems not to be taking me any closer to the shore.

When I was about 11 years old, I had gone through a growth spurt and, unbeknownst to me, packed a bathing suit that was too small for a pool party. Excited to go swimming, I put on the teeny weeny one piece that wedged up my bum with straps pulled taught like the end of a slingshot determined to make the poly-blend work for me. I’m not exactly sure who recognized or saved me from public embarrassment, but I was set up with an old bathing suit from my older cousin to wear instead. At the moment, I was uncomfortable with wearing a suit that wasn’t mine, but it was made clear to me that I had outgrown the suit I had brought.

Growth is uncomfortable and brings on more discomfort.

Guess that’s just where I’m at, the uncomfortable state of growing into a new person and figuring out what fits.


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Add To Cart: Anine Bing, Marc Jacobs, and House of Harlow

BEAUTY & STYLE - April 17, 2021

Sarah Connor, Trinity, Laura Croft, Buffy Summers – I have a thing for badass women who are unapologetic and lethal. It might be my Mars in Aries placement or watching Terminator 2 at an incredibly impressionable age, but I desperately wish I could snap my fingers and automatically be able to know how to take someone down in hand-to-hand combat and hit a target while somersaulting into my getaway vehicle. However, the truth of the matter is, I’m more Jessica Day than Jessica Jones. Despite thinking that my final form is that of a tortured female heroine with trust issues and the stamina to run for miles in chunky boots with a slight heel, the reality is those characters are a fantasy. And if my destiny was meant to be that of a true ass-kicker, I’d be writing case reports for the FBI instead of Facebook analytics. So the next best thing in embodying that boss energy is through my fashion choices. Leather pants have always been a part of my mental closet, yet I’ve never purchased any, and it’s an item I frequently window shop. The latest pair of leather pants I’ve set my heart on is from Anine Bing, which then lead to me perusing the rest of her site and finding more items that inform my heroine’s day to night transformation.

One day I’ll have leather pants. I have a signature leather jacket that needs an upgrade as it was purchased from Forever 21 over 15 years ago and is finally starting to show that it’s from Forever 21. But until I’m able to have the full leather pant and jacket combo, I’ll abandon my add-to carts until I can justify the extravagant purchase

Here are some recent add to carts (didn’t buy):

  1. Tourmaline Double Crystal Ring (House of Harlow 1960) – $75.00
  2. The Vanity Leather Crossbody Bag (Marc Jacobs) – $495.00
  3. Rey Top (Anine Bing) – $399.00
  4. Eleanor Trouser (Anine Bing) – $349.00
  5. Jagger Pant (Anine Bing) – $899.00
  6. Carla Pant (Anine Bing) – $249.00
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Girl In Red & other melodies

LISTEN - April 16, 2021

My favorite discovery this past month, outside of Waterloo strawberry sparkling water, has been Girl In Red. The project of Norwegian singer-songwriter and record producer Marie Ulven. When I heard her tracks Serotonin and Summer Depression, it was like hearing the lines of my adolescent diary entries woven into a bright bopping melody. Girl In Red is refreshingly earnest, capturing the truth of what it feels like to cope with depression while avoiding the recreation of a post-punk drone that mirrors the feeling and feeds the bottomless pit. I wish I had her music to play on repeat as I stared up at my ceiling filled with self-loathing and anxiety, ruminating about if this feeling would ever go away. Perhaps the audio rainbow could have helped me feel less alone while also cutting through the fog.

Music has the power to illustrate the complex emotional landscape one is navigating, either through lyrics or the notes that reverberate off our eardrums and resonate within our souls. Songs act as beacon lights, a north star to describe the feelings we lack the vocabulary to name.

It’s been two years since my last long-term depressive episode and over a decade since I’ve felt defenseless in my ability to confront my mental health struggles. Thankfully, I’ve gained tools and learned strategies that help me hear Serotonin and Summer Depression and feel connected without feeling the emotions. Girl In Red’s library is filled with songs that perfectly illustrate nuanced emotions like longing, nerves, falling in love, regret, and more. All those emotions that make life so painfully delicious and rich with meaning.

Also, highly recommend listening to “WTF is Self Care” by Open Mike Eagle — it’s pure poetry.

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Add To Cart: Notebooks

HOME + LIFESTYLE - March 15, 2021

Notebook people are extraordinarily skilled at justifying the purchase of a new notebook. No ambition is too small not to receive its own dedicated log. Scribbled into several notebooks are our thoughts, ideas, “note to self” reminders, fears, and accomplishments—a group of us notebook people knowing that their half-used notebooks with blank pages outnumber the completed journals. Eco-guilt is pulling at the edges of our stationery-obsessed hearts, so we promise to finish our notebooks before buying another. And our eyes wander to stationery accessories that will enhance the ritual of putting pen to paper—the lure of a fresh notebook itching at the back of our mind.

Here are collection of notebooks and other items I would add to cart:

  1. Artists Set (Poketo) | $ 117
  2. Meadows Notebook (Erin Condren) | $16.00 / on sale: $12.80
  3. Birds of Paradise Lined Notebook (Erin Condren) |$20.00 / on sale: $16.00
  4. 60s Eye Pattern Notebook (Society6) | $14.99
  5. Vintage & Shabby Chic – Autumn Harvest Black Notebook (Society6) | $14.99
  6. Fruit Stickers (Shout&About) | $5.00
  7. Object Notebook in Sunrise (Poketo) | $24.00
  8. Self Planner (Poketo) | $28.00
  9. I Got This Notepad ( People I Have Loved)| $12.00
  10. Eye Dream Journal in Lemon (Rainbow Vision) | $26.00
  11. Make It Happen Journal (People I Have Loved) | $15.00
  12. Rainbow Waves (Papier) |$26.99
  13. n/a
  14. Flower Power Notebook (Rainbow Vision) |$14.00
  15. Stacked Shapes (Papier) | $26.99
  16. Joy (Papier) | $26.99
  17. Pencil & Paper Co. Take Note Pens (Anthropologie) |$14.00
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It’s 2021, let’s catch up!

LISTEN, SNAIL MAIL - March 1, 2021

A quick status report of where I’m at today, and 2021 thus far…

Feel free to read it all or scroll to the section of maximum interest.


Back in September 2020, after an innocent conversation I was having with a friend over Instagram voice messages caused me to spiral into a full-blown panic attack, I realized I should hire an expert in emotions to help me move past some major blocks I had been experiencing. At the top of 2020, before the pan dulce, I was extremely agitated when I’d sit down to set goals and have to push through the extraneous stress to even open up my imagination for envisioning a life I’d want to cultivate. I’ve always been a “figure it out as you go type of person” because, at some point in my past, that was what I learned for survival. My emotional brain has struggled to evolve past immediate needs and into being capable of working toward defining my own vision of success, especially when associated with my creative aspirations. In my perspective, my ambitions have thrived more professionally than personally because professions equate to income and stability. But even in that department, I’ve had my fair share of struggles. Since connecting with a professional life navigator, I’ve been able to shift and remove a few of my mental blocks. Allowing my brain to see new pathways for professional and personal fulfillment. I’m genuinely excited for this next chapter because I feel like I just may be equipped to achieve my idea of success for the first time. It doesn’t mean I don’t shake in my brocade boots or that the mean girls in my mind are in detention – but I’m able to acknowledge them and return to the yellow brick road laid in front of me.

Not ready to publicly share my specific goals and ambitions, but to those paying attention, you might start to see them manifest.


The start of this year has been a little trying on my mental and physical health. Due to an overly ambitious holiday card project, I didn’t have time to set 2021 goals or make a 2021 vision board. Basically, apply all the great knowledge and insight I’d gained by doing the self-work I’d alluded to above. Seemingly innocent, except my inner critic would not let up how this lack of goal setting was a reflection of my self-worth. I fought back the mental bully while finishing up 30+ hand-painted ornament for friends and family. In addition to putting Christmas décor away because, after January 6th, formally cute turns to chaos and raises my cortisol levels.  Then the weekend, I’m finally getting everything wrapped up, Christmas tree is being deconstructed, and only six more holiday ornament packages need to be sent out – I come down with the rona. The panna cotta hit home. My husband works at a grocery store, and with the surge occurring in Los Angeles, everyone in his store eventually caught the virus. If you’re curious, I shared the full story on my Instagram the first weekend I felt recovered and saved it as a highlight labeled “storytime“. It’s a little all over the place, but you’ll get the gist.

My husband and I feel very fortunate that neither of us had to go to the hospital and are mostly back to normal. But we’re still experiencing some effects of Covid-19, like being easy to fatigue, and I have increased inflammation in my body, triggering a skin rash all over my abdomen.


After Covid-19 robbed me of my sense of taste and smell for about a week, I came out of the darkness with a fire in my belly, ready to indulge in all my favorites. Plus, it was my birthday, so I kicked off the top of February with cupcakes, pasta, Japanese fried chicken, ramen, sushi, and the decadence did not stop. My taste buds traveled to several countries from the comfort of my home. I don’t regret a single bite, but the excess and richness exacerbated my post-rona inflammation. Although cute, I’m not trying to have a skin suit that resembles a speckled robin’s egg for the rest of my life. Plus, who knows what damage the long-term inflammation can have on my body in the future, especially as I have a history of rheumatoid arthritis in my family.

So, I’m working on cutting out refined sugar (anything above >1% on the label), dairy, and most meats from my diet. Fortunately, I’ve been using Daily Harvest for a few months now as a quick meal solution on busy days. With this shift in my diet, I’ll be leaning harder on Daily Harvest as my Monday through Thursday breakfast, lunch, and dinner solution. I want to eliminate the window of opportunity for my brain to go, I’m not sure what to eat, or we don’t have anything to eat – so let’s get french fries and chicken strips. My goal here is to set myself up for success, which means knowing my weaknesses and countering them with fool-proof solutions. DH also helps manage food-waste in my home. A DH meal never goes to waste.  However, the fresh produce I purchased due to unrealistic expectations for myself cooking it before it spoils is an expensive and wasteful delusion.

I also picked up this SUPER cute Poketo Food Planner. It was sold out on Poketo’s website, but I found it on I’ll be using it to plan what Daily Harvest meals I’ll be eating each day and what anti-inflammatory meals I want to cook for my legally bound life partner and me on the weekends. 


HBOMax has been showing up with the light-hearted, feel-good content I’ve needed to escape the weight of 2021 thus far.

Selena + Chef

I’m a pretty big Selena Gomez fan, not going to go into it right now, but let’s just say if I need to stay awake on a long drive home – Selena is one of my go-to sing-a-long artists. I love the girl, so it surprising that it took so long to start watching Selena + Chef. But it was the perfect show to binge when I felt like absolute crap and needed some comfort television, consuming delicious episode after episode with talented chefs and Selena’s sweet determination to learn to cook. The tension is real; in one episode she came out wearing a sweater I thought was awful for cooking in (sleeves for days, kitchen hazard 101 – no loose sleeves), she never lit a sleeve on fire, BUT lots of other shenanigans go down.  For foodies and novice chefs, this is a fun show. I’ve been using the French omelet technique to cook eggs since watching episode 1.

Full Bloom

It’s a wholesome reality competition involving flowers. The contestants and judges were entertaining, but I was there mostly for the floral executions and occasional takeaway tips on playing with flowers at home. This reminds me, I want to pick up some tulips from Trader Joes this week.

Honorable Mentions:

The Great (Hulu)

Fun period piece, drama/comedy, featuring the occasionally true story of Katherine The Great. Costumes are opulent and gorgeous, and watching Katherine (Elle Fanning) navigate assimilation and rise to power in Russia is fascinating, although 99.9% fictional in its depiction. Discard the need for historical accuracy and go for the ride.

Crack (Netflix)

A fascinating documentary about the crack epidemic that is heartbreaking and blood-boiling, but I’m a firm believer in consuming content that expands one’s understanding of our society, country, and how the world operates. Documentaries allow for our continued education, helping us to paint a richer picture of our reality and the reality of those who do not have our same experiences.


I love fun-size candy and travel-size skincare. Skincare can be so expensive, so I rarely buy a full bottle of something if I can try it out first in a value/gift pack or travel size version.

Here is what I’ve explored recently all as travel sizes:

Sunday Riley

Good, I like it, nothing offensive – not sure if it’s doing anything, but might purchase cause it MAY be doing something just needs more time.

Love it, will definitely be purchasing full-size product


Also, while in a corona-fueled moment of cabin fever, I bought the Les Mieux’s Skin Perfecter, which is a $200* exfoliation tool. I really like it, and it’s totally satisfying for anyone that enjoys seeing gunk come out of their pores.

LISTEN [ Hyperlinks go to Spotify]


Still making playlists, this year’s start has been light in development hitting around 40 – 45 mins for both monthly mixtapes.

2021 January Playlist

2021 February Playlist

This radio station has been my go to for the workday –

Mista Izm Radio


Good Word with Kirk Franklin  –  so far, he’s interviewed Pharrell Williams, H.E.R., and Chance the Rapper. Each conversation has provided nuggets of insight around the human experience, reflection on our relationship with God, faith, or church. Chance the Rapper educated me on Chicago’s segregation issues that added colors and context to the conversation around black on black crime. Great podcast – looking forward to more episodes.

Thanks for catching up with me! What have you’ve been eating, watching, listening to, or adding to cart? How have you been hustling and flowing? No winners or losers here, only wins and lessons – got any you want to get off your chest? Let me know in the comments.

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