Category Archives: Personal Life

SUMMER RECAP: Fitspiration

Just like last year, I took a break from blogging for a few months – I mean, summer IS the prime season for social events and outdoor activities. But apart from that, it gave me the opportunity to dabble in a side job, reprioritize my life, set aside some much-needed time for myself, and improve some aspects of my lifestyle that I wasn’t satisfied with. But since I can’t recap my entire summer in a single post, I’ve decided to do a series of entries to get all my followers caught up. Enjoy! :)

I think it’s about time I make a confession – something I haven’t been fully honest about to even some of my closest friends. During my senior year of college I was diagnosed with body dysmorphia, brought on by my already existing generalized anxiety disorder and mild obsessive compulsive disorder. 80% of the time, I look in the mirror and see myself anywhere from 20 to 60 lbs heavier. Some nights, I will still spend hours at a time poring over my facial imperfections in photos uploaded on Facebook. It’s only under very rare and specific conditions that I see myself accurately. And when I do, I end up spending the whole night crying.

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With that said, over the past few summer months a friend introduced me to the concept of fitspiration. It became popular after pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia blogs started getting banned from Tumblr. The idea is to see “fitness” as the goal, not “skinny”. Since then, I’ve been eating a lot cleaner, and focusing more on toning. And although the number on the scale has remained the same, I can definitely see the change in my body. Most importantly, I’ve learned that being fit is not a fad that you do temporarily until you’re happy with yourself; it’s an entire lifestyle change.

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Three things I’ve recently added into my regimen are: oatmeal, biking, and light weight training. Every morning for breakfast, I used to have yogurt with granola. And while it’s a fantastic option, it doesn’t fill me up. And because I can’t take a break for a small snack on busy work days, I would always end up overeating during my lunch break. Oatmeal is plenty filling and contains soluble fiber, of which I otherwise don’t get much of throughout the rest of the day. It’s great for your heart and digestive system, and tastes so good with some fruit, walnuts, and a dash of brown sugar! But personally, I prefer the texture of the old-fashioned rolled oats over the all-too-mushy instant oatmeal.

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As for biking, my boyfriend and I go for about 5 or 6 miles every Sunday morning – usually in a local scenic spot like Alley Pond Park or Bayside Marina near Fort Totten. It’s a great addition to our weekly schedule, and it’s so much easier to get motivated to exercise when you have a workout buddy. Unfortunately, my old bicycle that I used to cruise around my college campus with is now a dilapidated mess. Not fit for riding anymore, I’ve been borrowing my brother’s. I plan to invest in a speedy new one in the near future, though. :)

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And last, but not least, is light weight training. It all started when my regular Zumba instructor was out for the whole month of August. The substitute incorporated dumbbells into our dance moves, and you can really feel the resistance and burn in your arms after a few minutes! I was able to score a weight set on Amazon for an amazing deal, so every other night I do a bunch of reps for a more toned upper body. And in the relatively short time I’ve been doing it, I can already see more defined biceps! I really want to keep this up, since it takes more work to get rid of the dreaded “bra bulge”. Wish me luck!
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SUMMER RECAP: Cosplayholic

Just like last year, I took a break from blogging for a few months – I mean, summer IS the prime season for social events and outdoor activities. But apart from that, it gave me the opportunity to dabble in a side job, reprioritize my life, set aside some much-needed time for myself, and improve some aspects of my lifestyle that I wasn’t satisfied with. But since I can’t recap my entire summer in a single post, I’ve decided to do a series of entries to get all my followers caught up. Enjoy! :)

Cosplayholic is an eBay shop (with an impressive positive feedback score) that I had been eyeing for months. Since I know many of my readers are comparison shoppers like myself, I wanted to share an honest and detailed narrative of my purchasing experience with this seller.

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My boyfriend and I decided to order the custom-tailored Tidus and Songstress Yuna outfits, since we had two events coming up – my annual trip to New Jersey for AnimeNext and a Final Fantasy themed rave in Brooklyn called Vinyl Fantasy IV. We sent Cosplayholic our measurements and paid the outrageous shipping costs, thinking it would be worth it. Unfortunately, my bank thought the order was fraudulent and activated a chargeback – which would take several weeks to process, even after I cancelled it.

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Since the convention was approaching soon, I made an agreement with the seller to pay the $220+ total again via PayPal while the chargeback was processing, and in the event that the money would get taken out of my bank account a second time, they would return it to me. Yes, I know that the terms of agreement on eBay specifically state that they are not held responsible for arrangements done independently of their site. So I took the risk, thinking the seller was trustworthy.

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When the costumes arrived in the mail several weeks later, we were pleased to find that both fit perfectly and looked just like the photos in the listing. (They even included a note in the package that asked us to leave them positive feedback, since they’re feeding their families in China with the money they make from their cosplay shop, and any store below a certain score is banned from making any more transactions.) It was a personal decision for me to wear a different skirt, since I thought the one included was too long. Nonetheless, we received many compliments at both events – so I’m not taking a jab at the quality of their products at all.

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Now fast forward a little over a month later, where the cancelled chargeback was finished processing and I am charged a second time for my order. Despite our agreement, Cosplayholic denies receiving the second payment. After many phone calls and messages between me, my bank, and PayPal – the consensus was that the seller did receive the money. After threatening to file a dispute with them through my bank, and giving them both PayPal transaction numbers as proof of my payments, they CONVENIENTLY only responded back to me once a week – promising they would return my money but never actually doing it until months later. Ultimately, it took them from April until September to return $220+ to me even though I was messaging them every week. I do not recommend them, the customer service is a nightmare.
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Trend Alert: Bralettes

A few weeks ago, I attended my first large-scale rave: Naughty Neon 3D. And to be honest, it was one of the best nights of my life. Why? Because it combined three of my favorite things: music, dancing, and good vibes. I can’t even express how infectious the energy was from the crowd. <3

Unfortunately, I have neither the body or bravery to dress up like the typical raver girl. Half of them were literally only wearing bikini tops and hot shorts, and it was the middle of February! D: All the power to you if you do, but personally it’s not for me. At dance clubs, I prefer to be a little more practical and conservative.. which is why I rock the popular new bralette trend.

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Wearing a bralette is a great alternative to wearing an itty-bitty piece of clothing that shows off your entire midriff. Unlike boxy crop tops, these fit snugly around your figure instead of draping loosely and end right above your belly button. If you don’t have the flattest stomach, they pair excellently with high-waisted skirts! Not only is your belly concealed, but your torso is elongated by the small sliver of naked skin in between. Less can be more, in the right situations. ;)

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In the case that you don’t want to wear a high-waisted skirt, bralettes can also look fabulous with a simple pair of skinny jeans. Just remember to balance your top half by layering something more modest on top. Disregarding the terrible camera phone quality, below are two examples of outfits I’ve worn out recently on weekend nights. Pairing the same two boohoo bralettes pictured above with denim leggings, I kept it classy with a structured blazer and a semi-sheer tie blouse on top, both in black because it’s slimming. :D

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While we’re on the topic of looking slim, I’m proud to say that I’ve lost several pounds over the last month! :) My secret? Eating healthy and working out. I never realized how much of an effect going to the gym three times per week actually makes. I’m more well-rested at night, and it puts me in a good mood if I’m having a particularly bad day. If you guys are interested, my friends at eMeals provide some really useful resources on a clean eating meal plan. I’m more motivated than ever to get in shape – so much so that I even rewarded myself with a spontaneous new piercing this past weekend. ;D Until next time!

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When You’re The One Who Loves Less

In light of Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I just wanted to reflect briefly on my identity as a lover and how it’s changed over the past few years. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the Thought Catalog article When You’re The One Who Loves Less. I can relate so closely with the author, it’s almost terrifying.

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When you’re the one who loves less, you take the other person for granted. They try so hard to make you happy, to make you feel complete, to prove that they deserve your love – as if it’s a privilege that must constantly be earned. But no matter how much time or effort they put into making the relationship work, the inevitable truth is that you can’t give them what they want or need. But why do you stay? Because it’s comforting, convenient, and familiar. Because you’re afraid to be alone. Because you have this hole inside your heart that you’re trying so desperately to fill with the first person who is willing to devote themselves completely to you.

And when you finally have the courage to leave them, you ruin their lives. Not forever, but long enough. You think about single instances where you could have been more considerate, more affectionate, a better human being to them. You feel selfish. You ask yourself if you’re even capable of commitment anymore, even though it’s the only thing you’ve ever truly wanted. Months go by and you wonder if you had made the right decision. What if you had taken the risk, packed your bags, invested yourself fully in that person, and never looked back? Regret starts to sink in.

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But then it suddenly hits you: This isn’t the first time you’ve been here. You scrutinize every relationship you’ve ever been in, regardless of how serious, and realize that you were always the one who loved less – and it’s shameful. So when someone new walks into your life, no matter how wonderful they may be, you’re perpetually second-guessing yourself. Wondering if you’ll get it right this time. Hoping that one day you’ll finally become the one who loves equally.

Until one night, as if reading your mind, they tell you what it’s like to be the one who always loved more. How they were left feeling insufficient, abandoned, and so easily replaceable in past relationships. And when they confide in you the single most intimate and devastating moment in their life, it dawns on you that this is it. This is the most vulnerable part of them, and they were entrusting you with it. As if to hand you their still-beating heart and tell you, “Do whatever you want with it.” And it hurts so much that you’re guilty of being the villain in a tragedy too similar. But there’s just something so sincere about this kind of intimacy that you have no time to think, just feel. And for the first time in too long, you’re optimistic.

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Nico Lang couldn’t have worded it better:
“Love doesn’t happen all at once; love grows inside of you; love is built through trust, communication and respect and that takes time and openness. If you want to be the one who loves, you need to stop focusing so much on the end goal and enjoy where you are at now, and if you can’t, that’s when you get out. Because you might wake up one day and discover that the life you have now — that life of shared dishes and Christmas stockings with their name on it — is love. You might not be able to call it that yet, but it’s there waiting for you — whenever you’re ready for it. ”

I can now recognize that my major flaw was being impatient – wanting life to breeze by too quickly, and fast forward to the “good parts.” But I’ve learned that it doesn’t work like that. Expecting too much too soon will inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go the way you planned. It’s the journey to the final destination that makes it more meaningful and worthwhile, after all. I admit that I’ve made mistakes in the past, but I also think I’ve developed into someone who can now appreciate relationships for what they are instead of what I can get out of them. With that said.. I am truly grateful to be able to say that I couldn’t be happier with who I’m with right now, and I look forward to spending a fulfilling future with them.signature3signature5

I’m sooo done with winter.

New York, you crazy. No, really – it was 12°F outside last week, and now it’s 50°? Just having a taste of warm weather for the past few days makes me crave Spring and Summer so badly. I miss wearing skirts and dresses without shivering. :( The only thing I like about winter is that I can use my combat/poleclimber boots in the snow. :D Definitely a more stylish and practical alternative to galoshes or Uggs – both of which I’m not a fan of.

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Like my style? Hype it on Lookbook! :) ~ Take It Back

What I dislike the most about winter is how it interferes with outdoor activities that I would be doing otherwise. I’ve been meaning to go ice skating in the city with my best friend for a while, but Mother Nature just hasn’t been cooperative. (I like to feel my fingers, thank you very much.) Fortunately, I know how to keep myself busy with all this free time indoors. :P Namely, I’ve been catching up on some scrapbooking and I even started playing through Final Fantasy XIII for the first time. Better late than never, right? I’m really enjoying the battle system and plot, but I just can’t develop any connection with the characters yet. :/

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While I’m on the topic of video gaming, excuse me while I nerd out for a little bit. My boyfriend and I have been playing a lot of Diablo III lately. I stopped shortly after beating the storyline once a couple months ago, but just recently started playing again and finished Inferno Mode last week. I hit Paragon Level 8 last night, and with my new ring I can consistently crit for over 700,000 damage. I still have a long way to go before I’ll be prepared for PVP, though. (Whenever it comes out, that is. Damn you, Blizzard!) Here’s a screenshot, but don’t judge me for playing on the lowest graphic settings. My laptop isn’t built to handle the game. :< And yes, my character is wearing a bird mask.

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In other news, what’s new with me? Well, I just received several packages of goodies in the mail. Eventually, I’ll get to posting about them over the course of several entries when I find the time. :P It’s actually my last fashion haul for a while, since I’ve made a resolution to stop impulse-shopping until I drop a few more pounds. I’m also thinking about putting a percentage of all the money I’ll be saving into separate savings accounts for each goal I want to reach – I just don’t know the exact figures. I’ve never been good with numbers or finances, but I’m sure my friends at WallStreetSurvivor.com could help out those of you who are in the same boat as me. Until next time! ^.^
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I used to find it embarrassing..

..when people I knew in real life stumbled upon my blog. (Hence why I rarely promote any of my posts via Facebook.) But recently, a coworker of mine reassured me that it really takes courage to put yourself out there and turn a hobby into something bigger. Especially on the internet, where people like to criticize every single facet of your digital existence. With over 150 subscribers and 320,000 hits, I’d like to think that all the time and work I’ve put into this website must amount to something that I should be proud of, right? So I just want to thank all of my wonderful, supportive readers for sticking with me. <3

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So what have I been up to? (Apart from having way too many unfinished blog posts drafted in my queue, waiting for the right time to be published.) My new iPhone 5 case finally arrived all the way from Toronto – isn’t it adorable?! :D And for those of you wondering what nail polish I’m wearing in the photo above, I used Merino Cool and Set in Stones. Although Essie is pricier than most drugstore brands, they’re worth the extra few bucks. Because as much as I love cheap varnish from New York Color, they don’t prevent the chipping that inevitably comes with all the paperwork I do throughout the week. :<

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Speaking of work, I took the plunge a few weeks ago and bought two pairs of Columnist Pants from Express, since my wardrobe had been slightly lacking in the business casual department. Yes, they were expensive. And because I’m an infamous penny pincher, I was worried that I had made an unnecessary splurge. But I like that the fabric isn’t thin or flimsy – it’s also wrinkle-free so I don’t have to iron them! The fit is better than most dress pants I’ve had. The legs are slightly tapered for that slim look, while still looking professional. They still run a little long and large, though. I ordered them both in a size 4-short, but the waist is a bit loose and the inseams are too long for me to wear flats. But I don’t mind wearing heels every day. ;)

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In other news, I finally gave in and signed up for a gym membership. It would be cliché of me to say that getting in shape was my New Year’s Resolution, but the winter cold got the best of me, so I couldn’t continue my jogging routine. And after taking photos with my friend Mia, I realized just how much weight I had gained over the holidays. :< This was my favorite shot out of the set, though. Click here to hype it on Lookbook! :D

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Although it’s only been a week, I already enjoy it. Going to the gym is convenient and flexible with my work schedule. Whether I’m driving or walking, it’s a very short distance from where I live. And the best part? It’s only two blocks away from my boyfriend’s house. :P Right now, I’ve been sticking exclusively to cardio. But when I’m ready to get toned, I’ll look into weights. I just had my first Zumba class the other night, too! Although it’s not as intense as I was hoping for it to be, it’s still a lot of fun. Since I already have experience in Latin dance, it was easy for me to pick up right away. :)

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And although it may be too early to be thinking about the beach, I hope that with enough determination I could have a bikini body by summer. I’ve already been drooling over pretty swimsuits on ASOS. >.<; Wish me luck! :X

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