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Things I Love: December 09

This last Things I Love for 2009 is a miniature, ruthlessly edited recap of why I loved December:
  • Air high fives with Lee, and our scene
  • My Indian roommate learning to write Chinese
  • Lisa and early early early phone calls about homework
  • Amman for doing my linguistics project with me
Gujarati prosodyAbove, Amman saying “Your face is very beautiful,” from the prosody section of my report.
  • Seeing a hummingbird on my way out of class
  • Will, my GSI, who is a fount of practical advice and curious vocabulary words
  • Joce, Liz, and Erica for letting Kim and me shower at their place (and Jessie and Ching, whom we ran into)
  • Michelle, Maddy, Jeff, Danica, Ben, Danielle, Stuart
  • Lincoln and Tony for dealing with my crisis-ing at its worst and at ungodly hours
  • Really nice sales associates, especially during Christmas season
  • Past Me for having enough foresight to record my qualms (using FutureMe) about the educational path I told myself I wanted, and to send them to my future self at exactly the right time, and massive revelations about my choice of major
  • Onigiri-making with Connie
onigiri failAbove, photo of misshapen onigiri lifted off Connie's blog. I must admit I am responsible for the one that looks like a landing strip.
  • My uncle’s reaction (the manly version of squealing) when he opened his (extremely cold) Christmas present, which was 5 pounds of frozen Top Dog hot dogs in lemon chicken (his favorite)
  • That I have stopped asking myself if some people are Sure Things
  • My family
And we’ll finish off this year with a few fi-i-ine male specimens:

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Happy New Year 2010

New year is the time to celebrate a new beginning, a time to wish all my lovely followers and friends...

May the New Year bring everyone lots of good health, happiness and beautiful new memories. Everyone stay safe while ringing in the New Year. Love you all for being a part of my life and look forward to making new memories with you all.

Cheers to 2010!

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a(n edited) 2009 bumper survey

In the spirit of last year's recap...

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Watch Rent live. Watch a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Give myself a drastic haircut. Read Kurt Vonnegut. Relate to a book character so hard. Cable-knit. Get paid. Blow up a condom. Feel guilty enough about eating meat that I had to rethink it. Experience having a class I care about, badly. Learn how to apply eyeliner to my waterline. Attempt to go no-poo. Write a non-comedic play. Begin to come into full awareness of what it means to be Asian American. Feel cute in a one-piece instead of embarrassed about not owning a bikini. Tweet. Break 1000 Facebook photos (thanks, Carmen). Experience consecutive weekends of not feeling the dread of returning to Berkeley. Email my professor. Actually attempt to engage in the blogosphere. Cook. Drink coffee. Buy things with coupons. Help with Thanksgiving dinner. Meet people in person I knew only through the internet. Say no. Kiss someone really attractive and feel nothing. Attend a blogger meetup. Show up for a 1-hour class 58 minutes late. Eat a lot of meals with a spoon instead of a fork thanks to Vivian’s persuasion. Get a final A+. Tumble.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Not all of them, but that's because I set my goals at impossible. I have taken time out for myself whenever I've needed to, though, which is something I am glad of. And I will be making more resolutions for 2010.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, and I can't help it, I just fucking love babies, you guys.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A direction in life. A pair of black over-the-knee socks. Hair I am in love with again.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Thinking that my problems are unique and world-shattering and not remembering that we are all fighting our own battles.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

MAC lipstick in Swelter
. Perfect color.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Tuition + rent. I feel so grown-up. And broke.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

“Touch Me”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Definitely happier.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Making the first move. Taking my blog seriously. Putting myself out there. Harmless flirting.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Romantically, no. But I fell in love with linguistics and with tumblr, which I think are just as important at this point.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Glee, hands down.

25. What was the best book you read?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

27. What did you want and get?

Help. Advice. Legit rain boots. A different kind of year.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

I’m going to have to say District 9 because I went in with no idea what it was going to be about and left feeling devastated about humanity, although Half-Blood Prince should really win by default. I don’t watch very many movies, though.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Keep it clean.

33. What kept you sane?

Putting things into words.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I'm so indecisive (and have so much love for the world) that I'm looking at a 12-way tie among Dev Patel, Ash Stymest, Connie Wang, Darren Criss, Blake Bashoff, Andy Mientus, Ben Moss, Lea Michele, Steffi D, Kyle Riabko, Nicole Antoinette, and Tao Okamoto.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The UC budget cuts and protests.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

A tie among Lisa, Chris, Will, Danica, Lee, Maddy, Danielle, Jeff, Stuart, and Michelle. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

If you don't ask for it or go and get it yourself, you're really not going to get it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Don't stop believing.
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Parkson Bonuslink/Origins Promotion - 30th December 2009

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ALSO, Get 5X Bonuslink points, and a RM20 Parkson Bonuslink voucher with purchases worth RM150 and above.

*Not valid for value buy items.
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digging up the past

Jessie recently tumbl’d this ModCloth dress, which I have to say is Utterly Effing Gorgeous, along with the caption “if only I could flashback and wear this to prom!”:

Above, Tiers of a Gown, $64.99 at ModCloth

Given the opportunity to relive my senior prom, I would seize it, stuff a rag in its mouth, tie it to a tree, and threaten it with an instrument of torture artfully crafted from everyday office supplies until it were too afraid to even suggest so horrific a proposition. Because GUYS!, it was that bad.

Well, no, it wasn’t really, because it began and ended with my favorite people, but it was a lot more trouble than it was worth.

You’d think there’d only be a few things to worry about – dress, shoes, bag, hair, makeup, date, transportation – and that at least a couple of them would lend themselves to fun. But nooo, AS FLIES TO WANTON BOYS ARE WE TO THE GODS.

Above, this is not related to what I just said, but it is representative of my feelings about prom.

But now I’ll address these in order of Disaster.

Transportation was taken care of by virtue of my friends and I being too cheap to pay for a bus/limo/helicopter/caravan led by elephants, camels, and other members of an exotic menagerie laden with treasures of the Orient.

My bag ended up being a repeat from my high school’s Senior Boat dance, where we were on a boat (motherfu**er), but it was sort of a mess because my shoes were brown and my bag was black and I was breaking all the rules.

Then there was the makeup. As someone who first learned to apply makeup through her theater group, where the rule was MORE IS MORE, YES, FILL IN SHERWIN’S* EYEBROWS AND HAND ME THE LIPSTICK, STAT, the chances of me failing at doing my own eye makeup were close to 100%.
*Sherwin’s eyebrows were generally not referred to as “forehead caterpillars” (to his face), so you can imagine that the misguided executive order to fill them in only enhanced the Groucho Marx/pre-chrysalis moth effect.
I would like to apologize to the people in the next photos, because I am using these without their knowledge despite most of them being my good friends. In the unlikely event that you happen to be one of the subjects of these incredibly embarrassing photos, stumble across this post, and want them removed, just let me know.

Definitely too much makeup on these girls, even for a theater performance.

Above, we smeared his face in orange lipstick to make him look like an Oompa Loompa. It got messy.

Too much eye makeup, and enough hair product to rival Gavin Newsom. I'm guessing someone had the bright idea of filling in his eyebrows, too. IN THE WORDS OF MISS UNDERWOOD, looks like a cool drink of water, but he’s candy-coated misery. (...If you are reading this, Wilson, I am so sorry, except not really.)

Above, I claim no responsibility for this (except the suspenders).

So, yeah, we might have been a little overenthusiastic with the makeup.

Anyway, this is how my prom makeup turned out:

I ended up looking like a hungover raccoon by the end of the night, not having yet mastered the art of lining only my waterline, and because I was under the impression that I needed really heavy eyeliner to make up for a lack of lipstick.

My hair was also an amateur mess because I had recently gone at it with safety scissors, leaving myself with enough hair to do just about nothing. And as a straight-haired Asian girl, of course I had to curl it. Which resulted in me looking like… Judy Jetson.

Not to mention the weird choice of off-white nail polish.

Above, from the hotel Starbucks, where the barista also decided that "Spenser" was spelled "Vensoo"

Moving on, we have my prom shoes and dress, which were a minor disaster. I had decided to go with a dress cut that usually looks flattering on me, partially because I had too many bodily gripes at the time for anything more revealing, only to discover that 1) my boobs looked like they were way on their way to Mars, 2) I looked like a mom, and 3) the shade of green was made for people less pale than I:

Also, my shoes didn’t fit properly and I completely failed at thinking of a shoe color that would go with my dress and had to (horror of horrors!) settle on a pair I did not love. I didn’t love my dress either. I know I'm exaggerating about how bad this is, but really, I shouldn't have worried so much about Not Looking Like Everyone Else and paid more attention to What I Look Good In.

Finally, The Date. This was a disaster and a half. Without naming any names, I will try to explain with this diagram:

I had knowledge of A, B, C, and E wanting to ask me to prom, but D, with whom I had had a brief might-be-classified-as romantic history, got to me first (and I said yes, and then no), and E continued to make nervous-asking-type overtures even after he found out D had asked and I had said yes, although E was the one I was interested in going with, and I ended up going with no one because it was just too much trouble and D wasn’t really in my circle of friends, even though E had lots of excuses to have conversations with me and made awkward I-want-to-dance advances during prom and was even staying in the same hotel as my friends with his friends afterward, and I ran and hid like the noncommittal maneater I apparently once was, and the point of this all is that PROM IS RIDICULOUS and not worth it and my dress cost $153 and my shoes cost $70, and I would have traded them for these cheaper, better-looking versions in a heartbeat so that at least I’d have more glamorous pictures to look back on:

Above, The It Girl Dress, $137.99 at ModCloth

Above, Sweetheart Two-Toned Mini Dress, $46 at American Apparel

Above, Nylon Spandex Micro-Mesh Long Sleeve Mini Dress, $42 at American Apparel, which I would layer like faux as f*ck with this:

Above, Glitz and Glamour Dress in Night, $72.99 at ModCloth

Above, Unicorn Princess Heels in Black, $119.99 at ModCloth (okay, not cheaper, but infinitely more exciting than my original pair)

Above, sparkling cabaret pursette, $19.99 on sale at fredflare

So, 2.5 readers, if you could relive your prom, what (if anything) would you have done differently?
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Christmas Eve Party

So, like I said, I finally got to wear my Anna Sui for Target houndstooth patterned dress.  I knew when I saw it that I had to have it, but I had nowhere to wear it to, so I decided back in September that it would be my Christmas dress.  I wore it with a blazer from Forever 21 and my black peep toe pumps from White House Black Market (incredibly comfortable) and I also added a cute black headband with a bow, just so that my hair didn't look too plain.

My lovely sister wore an outfit that I bought her last week from Forever 21's Twist Tres Paris line, which is veryyy cute, along with black tights and adorable shoes, also from Forever 21.

My lovely boyfriend should be a fashion inspiration to all boys.  He was dressed so cute, with his red with navy trim Penguin sweatervest, black shirt, gray pinstriped slacks, and his super awesome new brown shoes.  Oh yes, working that large combination of neutral colors.

Also, in the spirit of Christmas, he wore Santa Claus socks :]
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Holiday Wishes

This is our Christmas card. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season :]  Sorry this is late, I've been stuck in front of my sister's new flatscreen alternating between the Beatles Rock Band and the new Super Mario Bros.Wii, in a sad attempt to come close to winning against my talented boyfriend. But anyway,   anyone who we actually sent this card to in the mail probably didn't even get it yet because we were very late this year in taking our picture.  Usually, it takes us forever because my brother thinks it's funny to make silly faces, conveniently in all of the ones that are actually decent pictures of Hannah and myself.  However, this year, instead of Jaxon, we had to worry about getting a good picture of the three of us as well as our new dog, Blaze.  It was an interesting evening, to say the least. Well anyway. I hope that everyone's holiday wishes came true! I will do another post tomorrow featuring the debut of my Anna Sui for Target Blair inspired party dress that I FINALLY got to wear for Christmas Eve

love calli cabrini
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A Ten-Point Open Letter to Students at Lowell High School, San Francisco, from an Alum

This isn’t relevant to most of you 2.5 readers, but I really wanted to write this, so I have no apologies.

Dear Lowellite,

You know how people say you’re at an academically elite high school, and how a B-minus at Lowell is like an A at any other public? And how you probably haven’t gotten enough sleep in a week and how you’ve learned to work for the 89.5% that will give you a final A and how you measure time in mods?

Though I anticipate that this won’t apply to every Lowell student, let me (a 3.81 unweighted Lowell alum and a sophomore at UC Berkeley, if that helps you put me in context) share with you what I gleaned from my high school experience, and what I wish someone had told me:
  1. They’re right. Lowell is considered academically elite for a reason. Your high school is like a downsized college but with (probably) more Asians than you’re going to encounter when you leave. The self-scheduling system and arena are exactly like college (but with fewer class options). Learning to plan optimal schedules and alternate schedules and being flexible and dealing with really shitty teachers and still acing the class is part of college, too, and going to Lowell puts you ahead of the game because you’ve already gone through this crap before. And if you’re going to Cal, you will love Tele-Bears because it’s all online and you don’t have to sprint to the social studies department table anymore or push people out of the way to get your classes. (Cal is not any scarier than Lowell, academically. The student body is no more or less brilliant on the whole; you just find more extremes on the brilliant end (so they say; I haven’t experienced this personally) and more kids who think they’re the shit but haven’t met the people smarter than them yet (I have definitely encountered this).) That being said, take all the AP classes you can handle and still get As. Take random classes that no one expects you to, like computer programming and drama and theater tech. They will keep you sane. TA for a teacher at least once. Talk to your teachers. Don’t be too proud or too lazy to ask for help when you need it. Tutor in earnest. Learn how to take really good notes, turn things in on time, and don’t cut class (until second semester of senior year).

  2. College is easier than high school – but a more accurate restatement would be that you have more free time in college to do work for school, but the work is slightly harder, unlike high school where none of the work is that brain-crushing, but the workload is soul-crushing. But I’m going to bet you’re brilliant, so don’t worry about it. (Work your ass off in college anyway, and you’ll be miles ahead of your peers.)

  3. Lowell can be where you find better friends than you have ever had, if you let it be. Most students go through high school between the ages of 14 and 18, give or take a year on either end. For me, at the very least, these were my formative years, when I went through emotional shitstorms involving losing best friends, inappropriate crushes, being afraid of flunking (or C-ing) out of classes, unrequited crushes, body insecurities, actual love, death, realizations about faith and religion, repelling unwanted advances, learning to deal with my family, learning to love my family, breakdowns, friends’ breakdowns, the most stress I had ever encountered, college apps, homework, rehearsals til midnight, those damned video projects, tests, finals, AP tests, minimal sleep, pressure, pressure, pressure – and the most fun I had ever had, the biggest thoughts I had ever entertained, the best work I had ever done. I learned how to open up to people at Lowell, and how to keep friends for longer than the semester we had class together, and how whatever limits I thought I had were just in my head, and that I could push myself that much further. I found my support system at Lowell, and I realized that even though there are cliques, nobody actively hates, and that bouncing around social circles is easier than it might seem. The point is, one person can make all the difference in how you grow up. So offer lots of friendly hands and grab hold of all the ones you can and like, and hold on to the ones you love.

  4. Outside of Lowell, boys aren’t all chickens.

  5. Lowell teaches you how to get the A. It takes the joy out of some subjects, but it makes things you’d otherwise hate into a kind of challenge. In many ways, this is a useful mentality because it’s goal-oriented and will serve you well when you’re doing things you hate, but pay attention to which classes you actually enjoy, and realize that you probably get As in them because you enjoy them, not because you kick yourself until you make the grade.

  6. If you get on the honors/AP English track, plan on not exercising your creative writing skills for the next four years. But if you’re any good, keep writing crazy, fantastic things on the side. Flex those muscles. You’ll thank yourself when college apps come around because storytelling is a useful skill.

  7. Sometime during senior year, all your male acquaintances will suddenly finally hit puberty or something and become supernaturally attractive. Appreciate it.

  8. Lowell will pit you against the smartest kids you have ever met and make you realize there is always someone better than you. This is an important lesson. You are not invincible. Don’t write people off because you think they’re dumber than you or because they have a lower GPA or are taking a lighter courseload. They’re better than you at something, even if it might not be quantifiable.

  9. This is a point I only learned recently. Lowell tells you what you’re good at. I started on the accel math track and ended up getting straight Bs in math for three years until I switched down to Calc AB for senior year (instead of Calc BC), when I finally got As. I left high school convinced that I was really bad at math because Lowell told me I was bad at it. I also left high school thinking I was phenomenal at English and public speaking. Those are my strengths, to some extent, but the fact is I’m a lot better at math than I think I am, and I shouldn’t have let my high school experience shape my view of what I am capable of. I went to college with the mindset that I should avoid and was mentally incapable of studying anything that involved math, so I limited myself to exploring arts and humanities. Maybe I do suck at math so much that I’m going to C out of Math 1A (the equivalent of a year of AB), but it’s a little bit mind-blowing to get over the mental block that I can’t do math. If you think you suck at something, maybe you really do, but being a B-student doesn’t mean that much when everyone else is incredibly talented and you’re in the highest academic track offered. (On that same note, being an A+ student in something non-honors, non-AP means very little. I’m looking at you, regular classes.)

  10. Mr. Spellicy, the AP Econ teacher (who you should take, given the chance), once said something that really hit home for me as some of us were pulling out our hair over college decisions. It was “Did you ever think you weren’t going to college?” And not one of us could honestly say that we ever thought we wouldn’t be able to go to college for academic reasons. Financial, maybe, but getting into some college somewhere was not a question. So consider yourself ridiculously lucky.
I’m proud to have gone to a school where the standard for nerdiness was set higher than average. I might love-hate Lowell for making me grow up too fast and probably taking years off my life from accumulated sleep deprivation and for pigeonholing me into a particular mindset, but at least I skipped a lot of the (completely inane adolescent) hell that most other high school kids go through and collected some beautiful relationships in the process. I really truly sincerely hope you do too.

Well, that was cathartic.

To my fellow alumni, do you have any additions, corrections, or deletions?
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Make It Big - It's A Big Deal @ Origins

Hi girls. Origins starting their Make It Big promotion today! Save up to 40% when you purchase any selected Origins products in Jumbo Sizes from 26 December 2009 to 7th January 2010. There are only a limited items and quantities so hurry over to Origins now!

For the complete list, visit

*This promotion is available at all Origins outlets nationwide except Jusco Tebrau City Johor Bahru and Metrojaya Mid Valley (starts 4th January 2010).

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Merry Christmas!

This may be a product of having an endlessly loving and supportive extended family to come home to, but I say that today you should


Enjoy commercialized Christmas!
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Biotherm Christmas Countdown!

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a gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifea gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifea gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifea gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifea gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifeAbove, gray cardigan: Uniqlo. Gray sweater-blouse with tie-neck: Esprit. Gray-green thermal: gift. Black satin short shorts: Nordstrom Rack. Tights: BP Nordstrom. Flats: Steve Madden.

Don't let the smile fool you. This is what I look like when, thanks to outside input from everyone I can justify asking, I suddenly realize my non-plan for the future just might not cut it and spend the next many days deconstructing my life so I can rebuild it into something more stable than a shiny soap hope bubble.

a gray-green outfit, in which I reconsider my lifeNow that's more like it.
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