Rouge Bouquet

Rouge Bouquet

Before celebrating the long weekend with barbecues, sales, social gatherings, and picnics at the park, take a moment to read a poem by Joyce Kilmer, an American poet who wrote these words in 1918 as a soldier during World War I. He, too, became a casualty of the war just four months later. Let us not forget why we commemorate this day.

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Pursuing Happiness by Taking Risks

Pursuing Happiness by Taking Risks

At this age, trying something new is scary. We’ve gained skills working at the same career for a while, and now many of us are looking for a change. We want something new. We want to pursue our passions. We want to find meaning in our jobs.

Maybe to older generations, us Millennials seem like perpetual dreamers, acting as though we’re Peter Pan (thought what else is new), but I can’t see the desire for more being a bad thing.

Actually taking action to switch career paths, apply to graduate schools, or start your own business is terrifying. The potential of failing and completely giving up our stability keeps many of us grounded in our dull jobs instead of seeking growth or following our dreams. For those with children or families, it seems near impossible. But I’ve seen some single mothers start new careers or open their own businesses, not allowing anything to compromise doing what they love while working extra hard to achieve their goals.

After all, when does life really start if we don’t start living it now?

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Closure and Moving Forward

Closure and Moving Forward

Each month so far this year, I’ve experienced some kind of loss. I didn’t have much time to process before the next one hit, and pretending to feel OK and faking it till I “make it” hasn’t helped. I’m sure it makes other people feel better, but it still makes me feel like crap. Due to COVID, it’s been really hard not being able to spend comforting quality time with friends or be consoled through physical touch.

However, through this process of coping, one thing I recognized was the importance of closure. I used to think of closure as a melodramatic term that simply served as an excuse to hold onto a former relationship. But I was wrong. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but it’s a crucial step in the grieving process. The end of any relationship–by death, breakups, or distance–needs some kind of closure to move on.

It’s not easy knowing what that closure looks like. Sometimes it means burning a bunch of pictures or memorabilia. Other times it means keeping memories in a safe box, cleaning out the room they used to occupy, setting up a memorial area, or having deep, vulnerable conversations with others. The trouble with death is it’s harder to find that kind of closure, especially if you have regrets or can’t say your last goodbyes properly.

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Mourning the Loss of a Loved One

Mourning the Loss of a Loved One

Last month, my family and I experienced something we never expected despite the pandemic going on around us. It started with a sore throat that turned into intense fatigue and body aches. In a matter of days, it quickly spread from one person to the rest of my household despite our attempts at isolation. The positive COVID tests just confirmed what we already knew.

Maybe if I only lived with my parents and siblings, we would have been slightly less concerned, but we live with people at high risk. When my grandparents fell sick, we hoped and prayed for the best. Yet, two weeks turned into a month for my grandfather. He went to the hospital, returned feeling much livelier after one night, then a week later was admitted again due to pneumonia and low blood-oxygen levels.

Little did I know that was the last time I would see him.

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Hosting a Virtual Game Night

Hosting a Virtual Game Night

This year, I had big plans for my “golden birthday.” It was going to be a flashy Roaring Twenties bash with lots of fancy accessories and fun party favors. My friends would be there dressed in sparkly outfits and ostentatious jewelry. Jazz music would play as we hold champagne flutes and take classy photos in front of a snazzy background.

COVID-19 did, of course, change those plans drastically, and I ended up hosting a virtual game night instead. Though I wasn’t able to throw the big party I had dreamed of, I got dolled up in my best 1920’s outfit and celebrated virtually with a few friends. Being able to include people from out of town made it feel extra special, and I loved seeing my friends dress up for the theme.

But you can’t host a game night without the right games! As I looked at different websites and blogs for ideas, there were a few things I looked for:

  1. The number of people it could accommodate (more than 8).
  2. How long the games would last (at least an hour +).
  3. Possible birthday-themed activities.

I tried out a few options, and they turned out to be a ton of fun. If you’re wanting to host your own virtual game night for a special celebration, date night, or just a fun time with friends, check out some of the sites below for ideas.

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Looking Back to Look Forward

Looking Back to Look Forward

I think everyone can agree that 2020 has been an incredibly insane year. When we thought things couldn’t get any worse, somehow they did. Like many others, my family suffered losses and mourned the death of a few loved ones. We did our best to support friends struggling with their mental health and tried to stay positive during quarantine. Yet, in spite of all the difficulties, we also celebrated a lot of joys.

I started this year feeling completely in the dumps. I was working at a job I loathed, avoiding my home life by going out as much as possible, and feeling so bad about myself because I couldn’t land a counseling job. As I followed the news of this new virus in China, it suddenly became more real when it flooded the US and quarantine started in March.

I was furloughed like so many others in the spring, initially ignored by EDD, and forced to spend countless hours at home with absolutely nothing to do. If I wasn’t already unhappy, leaving me alone with my negative thoughts was enough to send me spiraling into action.

So, with Matthew 6:33* as my mantra for the year, I got creative. Continue reading “Looking Back to Look Forward”

ABC Gratitude 2020

ABC Gratitude 2020

So much has changed for me in the past two months, and I have a great deal to be thankful for this year. Alphabetic thankfulness (or “ABC Gratitude”) provides an easy way to reflect on the things you’re grateful for in a linear fashion. It’s been a while since I last did this, so it’s about time I do it again.

Try it out yourself this month to stay positive and remind yourself of the wonderful things you have in your life right now.

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The Difficulties of Being Vulnerable

The Difficulties of Being Vulnerable

The journey of vulnerability is one I’ve explored more intentionally these past three years. It’s always been tough for me to be open with my feelings and ask for help. Throughout my life, one of the words people used to describe me as aloof or reserved, words in which I used to take pride. I liked being enigmatic and mysterious, a misunderstood puzzle that very few people were willing to take the time to figure out.

Like many Korean Americans, I grew up in a household where being strong, both physically and emotionally, was an asset and almost necessary for survival. Being “strong” meant bottling up hurts, bitterness, and disappointments to put on a pristine face against the world. That meant no one–friends, parents, siblings, and even myself–was allowed to see the deeper, darker, softer part of me.

As a consequence, forming lasting relationships with people was always difficult for me. Relationships demand intimacy on a deeper level. Not only was I afraid of commit to it, but there lay a deeper fear of exposing all that I am and being rejected or misunderstood.

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Chasing Dreams and Reflecting

Chasing Dreams and Reflecting

There’s a quote by Mindy Kahling that goes:

“If you don’t see a clear path for what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself.”

During these past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my life and what I want in this world. Since my last post about staying true to dreams, I’ve been thinking about the things that stop me from running towards my ambitions. Finances, societal expectations, and family approval are all pieces of the brick wall that closes me in.

But, like so many of us with creative passions, I let those realities limit me and allow those expectations and responsibilities to define me. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of being penniless and looked down upon for the rest of my life. I’m afraid of doing so much and having nothing to show for it. And all of that stops me from even trying.

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High as the Waters Rise Review

“This wasn’t Mexico, and the ocean was calm, but Mátyás wasn’t there.”


In Kampmann’s debut novel, her gorgeous poetic prose, translated by Posten, showcases the grim reality of oil drillers and blue-collared workers who fuel society’s economic system but receive next to nothing in return.

Waclaw’s journey of grief begins when his close companion, Mátyás, disappears on an oil drilling platform in the Atlantic Ocean. He wanders through several different countries, reflecting on his time drilling oil all over the world, and meets others who live on the edge of a society that takes freedom and natural resources for granted. As Waclaw processes his grief, he eventually drifts back to his small German mining town and encounters the past he had once left behind.

In our time where travel is so accessible and glamorized, Kampmann uses lyrical language to take readers to beautiful countries without letting them forget the economic hardships others must endure in order for us to enjoy life as we know it. This is a beautiful and poignant book, bitter yet tender, full of yearning for people to recognize the difficult sacrifices others must make to keep society moving.

A must-read when it comes out in September 2020!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Special thanks to Catapult for the advanced reader’s copy.