The Fortunes + American Panda: Stories of Belonging

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recently I read two really great books that explore what belonging as an immigrant in American society. One book deals with belonging as a Chinese-American throughout major points in history and the other deals with belonging as a Taiwanese-American teen. 

Behind Every Woman, There Are Other Women: Happy International Women's Day

Thursday, March 8, 2018

It’s International Women’s Day today and I wanted to give a shout out to the women who inspire me, both online and offline. Let's support and uplift women.

On Representation

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hi, hello. I haven’t blogged as much as I’d like since “returning” to blogging but I am spending time pitching and writing articles to publications (hopefully they’ll see the light of the internet eventually).

Something that did make it to the internet recently is this short piece I did for Mochi, about the importance of accurate representation in TV, especially network TV. Fresh Off the Boat had their Lunar New Year episode a couple weeks ago and they used 50% Mandarin dialogue, which is so exciting.

“What I love about the show is that it reflected some of the experiences I had growing up, such as the scene in the pilot episode where Eddie wants to fit in with his classmates and bring Lunchables to school, because they mocked his homemade noodles. Before that, I hadn’t really seen accurate portrayals of my own experiences on network TV, beyond stereotyped caricatures… It’s not an overly dramatic or exoticized portrayal, which is exactly what we need. For too long, Asian Americans have been shown in the media as “other,” but “Ride the Tiger” instead shows how relatable these characters’ lives are, despite knowing a second language.”

Representation in the media is a finicky beast. For every positive representation, there seems to be two steps backward. Within publishing, there are whispers of publishers and agents seeing the diverse books movement as a trend. I want to shout from the rooftops, “Goddamnit, my life, my experiences and my identity are not trends or marketing strategies.

5 Inspiring and Informative Podcasts to Listen to On the Go

Monday, January 22, 2018

After listening to what feels like the same 10 songs (I don’t think I can stand another play of Havana) on the radio during my commute, I told myself I needed to listen to something else. I have a hard time multitasking on public transit but my commutes just seemed so unproductive.

Podcasts seemed like a good solution because I can learn something on the go. I’m currently interested in learning how people get to where they are now, improving my life and exploring my other interests. Here are some of the podcasts that I’m listening to and loving right now.

So It Goes

Thursday, January 4, 2018

We’re here at the  beginning of yet another year. I don’t do year end posts/new year resolution posts very often (I don’t think I’ve ever done one in recent memory) but I thought it would be a fun thing to do for me with the things that I’ve read recently that sum up 2017 and plans for 2018 as well.
I spent the first day of the year going to a frozen waterfall in cold and windy weather thinking it was quite cold, only to find myself in a bomb cyclone days later. Such is life. 

Personalized Leather Key Strap Tutorial

Friday, December 22, 2017

I'm a do-it-yourself girl, through and through. When the holiday season rolled around and holiday cards (and gifts) were in order, I turned to the good ol' Internet for DIY ideas. In previous years, I used to make paper craft holiday cards, personalizing each design to the receiver's interests, but quite frankly, I don't have time for that anymore.

This year, I made friends (and family) personalized leather key straps as presents (friends, sorry for the early surprise!). I've been a fan of them since I always have to dig for my keys inside of my bag (doesn't that happen to everyone?) and I wanted to make them myself. After some quick research, I bought the appropriate supplies and went to work.

Google tells me leather is a second anniversary gift so if you're scrambling for a gift, this may be a good option. It's also a great gift for the holidays and other occasions. 

Little Fires Everywhere + Marginalized Identities Book Donation Call

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Shaker Heights, OH, USA

Make no mistake about it, Celeste Ng’s latest book, Little Fires Everywhere, is a book worth reading, and is complex in its exploration of race, motherhood, identity and secrets. It’s been featured on multiple lists, including New York Times and Amazon’s Book of the Month. Yet, for me, it’s impact was far more than that. The book is intensely personal for me, as I’ve spent the past four years in Cleveland and many of the places in the book are deeply familiar.

There’s a weird sense of intensity that only comes with a familiar setting. It’s intimate and strange at the same time. Although Little Fires Everywhere is set in the Shaker Heights of the 90’s, many of the locations mentioned still exist and the feelings that Ng writes so eloquently about are still the same.

While Little Fires Everywhere seems like an ordinary book about an ordinary place, at the same time it isn’t. Ng zones in so clearly and perceptively on the character’s intentions and needs, sometimes to an intensity where we start to question ourselves. What do we know about ourselves? Are we anything like these characters? She explores privilege and race inside of a community that sees itself as progressive and liberal, and are blind to their own biases.

Shaker Heights, Ohio is real planned community. I remember a conversation that I had with a coworker about Shaker Heights a couple years ago and she had told me how it wasn’t just any community and the rules for living there, which lasted until quite recently. There are rules for how houses look, both inside and out, and who owns those houses. I had smiled and filed it away, with some disbelief. Cleveland was an interesting place, after all, with its former booming industry in the early 1900s (it was the place to be, before New York became New York) with Millionaire’s Row on Euclid Avenue and some of its former glory can be seen in nearby Lake View Cemetery, where some of the Rockefeller family are buried and President Garfield is laid to rest in his mausoleum. Yet it’s also the same place that was the subject of a viral satire video on YouTube several years back. (Now though, Cleveland is on the up and up, with revitalization occurring throughout the city.)

I think that’s why Shaker Heights is the perfect setting for Little Fires Everywhere. It’s an idyllic place to be, with its orderly houses and wide streets, but at what cost are these maintained? Ng deftly explores the secrets that family members have, between each other, and the cost of following rules. The lives of Richardson family, a typical family with four kids, are shaken up when a single mother, Mia Warren, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, move into their rental house. The Richardson’s youngest daughter, Izzy, is drawn to the Warren’s and the unconventional life that they lead. Mia’s an artist who picks up part-time jobs to make rent and her life is the antithesis of the lives that everyone else in Shaker Heights lead.
One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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