n i c o c . o

* n i c o c . o: November 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Things You Realize In Your Early Twenties



Being 23 years old, I feel like I've changed so much from the time as a teenager. I felt compelled to share the following thoughts...



1. You Are Not Less Confused

When I was 17 years old, I thought when I hit my twenties I would magically have a routine that I would be using to better myself everyday and I would know exactly what I wanted and how to get it. It's so far from the truth that sometimes I want to have a breakdown and cry. Its a constant battle, just as in my teen years, but this time, I just have more responsibilities. I am still finding out who I am, how I work, and what I want out of life. I am constantly losing dreams and picking up the pieces of those dreams and forming them anew. It's an inward battle.





2. That In Between Stage 

I'm expected to be an adult. But it seems to depend on the situation. At my office day job, I'm the young kid. When I'm with my younger siblings and their friends, I'm the adult. And I'm terrible at introducing people because I'm still not used to having an "adult" there to do it for me.




3. I'm Still Figuring Out The Whole Relationship Thing 

It's not too common for my age, but I'm married. And people then assume that either I'm stupid or actually know what I'm doing. And I think it's a bit of both. We're inexperienced with marriage, so we do have rough patches, but with every issue we learn how to understand each other, how we cope when we're upset, and how we work well together. I think the hardest part about being in a long term relationship in your twenties is the part where you are still finding yourself. It's not like your teen years where it's not geared towards spending the rest of your life with your SO. And it's hard because you're still going through all of the growing pains you had before. 




4. Caring For Your Health

It's easy to fall into those college habits of staying up late, eating out excessively, and eating junk late at night. It comes in phases when you graduate. One week you are inspired to be healthy, go to the gym, drink green smoothies and eat better and never after 7 pm. You try to go to bed at 10 pm. And then, suddenly you feel that maybe drinking on Saturday night will be ok, going out to eat on Monday will be alright, and you actually don't have time to go to the gym. You lose your motivation to get up early and you begin to think that maybe your metabolism will still serve you well as it did in your teen years. And then you see an IG post on water detoxing and the cycle begins again.



5. You Are Never Going to Always Know What to Do

In younger years, I relied on others to tell me how to do things. Advice for getting a part time job, what to do in school, what I should be doing with my friends. Especially when it came to crisis. Car broke down? Call dad. Need money? Call parents. Spider on the wall? Call mom. But now it's finally that time where you've been away from your parents long enough to sort of know how to handle certain situations. But there are always those times where you feel that you'll never get through or you are completely clueless and Google doesn't know the answer -- so you just wing it and go with your feeling. That's how we grow as young adults, I think.



#OOTD: 
Dress - Sweet Rain
Shoes - Predictions 
Socks - Burlington Coat Factory
Clutch - Coach

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Being Thankful

Today is thanksgiving, so naturally I thought about what I was thankful to have. It's so natural to think generically about these things- family, friends, a roof over your head. Those are the things that we think of.

But I started searching deeper in my heart.

I remember the flight there. It was 36 hours total, with four connecting flights, and I distinctly remember asking myself how I lived through that without getting lost, robbed or having a breakdown. That is something I am so grateful for even today.

I remember the humid air hitting my skin as I fell once again into his arms. The luggage was heavy, I was tired, but I was happy. So happy. The kind of happiness you just can't explain, but you'll always remember.

I remember he took me to a crystal clear lake and we had lunch in one of the covered tables on the dock. He spilled his soft drink all over the table. We laughed. Then he told me to close my eyes and make a wish. I closed my eyes and wished to spend he rest of my life with him. I opened my eyes to a ring in his hands. I am forever grateful for this moment.

I remember the night before he had to go to the army recruiting draw. I was alone because he had to go home the night before the big day. I sat on the bed all night praying for him to not have to go to the army. I cried, meditated, and waited the entire day. I am thankful for the moment when he came back to the apartment with the good news that he was free to go.

After my three months was up, I remember the night before I left. We both shook with nervousness and our hearts were heavy with sorrow. I remember the day I left when he smiled weakly at me and said "I'll see you soon." I remember the feeling of uncertainty. The thought of never knowing if we would see each other again. I cried the entire 36 hours home. I remember not being able to physically breathe.

I am eternally grateful for that moment when he came out of the airport terminal at Washington D.C. Dulles airport eight months later. I cannot express my gratitude for how it all worked out.

And as I sit here next to my sleeping husband, while writing this in our bed, after almost three years of marriage, I wish I would appreciate him always, and that he would to me. 

This year don't just think of the overall in your life; think back, dig deeper into your memories, to those moments that made you think, "I'm so glad to be alive today!" or, "I can't believe that worked out in the end!"

You'll realize that appreciation for others comes from reliving what you went through with them and how it made you who you are today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!




Monday, November 24, 2014

Holidays

With the holidays coming up, I've been working overtime. 


It's so tiring but I really want to take advantage of it because they don't offer it  often. 


I've also been carried away buying new things. New Calvin Klein scarf! 


 We have been to Burlington Coat Factory three times this week. That's ridiculous!


 We tried to go to the gym more than once, but honestly we've been super tired lately and it's come to this:

How sad. To make matters worse, I've been drinking almost every night because I love wine but I feel like an alcoholic.


My work wife got this for me. She knows me <3

I'm just counting the days till Thanksgiving. Two more ten hour days and I'm free!


The sky is taunting me from inside the office. It was super nice outside today and I was at work until 6 pm. 

Almost the holidays!!! Almost!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paris

No this isn't actually about the city Paris. 

I remember the day I met her. It was in creative writing class. She had her black shoulder length hair, pulled into a half ponytail. She was wearing a bright yellow tee and blue jeans. She sat in the desk right in front of me and I reeked of jealousy because she was so pretty and I wasn't. She had perfect white skin and she smelled of baby powder. She had refectory shaped red lips.

We were in first year highschool and I had started talking to her. She was a Korean student who had literally just moved from South Korea. Her English was surprisingly perfect. No accent at all. At first I thought I would always be jealous of her and she would be above me and not want to be friends. But as it turned out, her personality was similar in terms of weirdness to mine and we were BFFs for most of all our high school years.


Since cellphones were not yet mainstream for kids our age and both of us were writers, we kept notebooks that we would pass back and forth between classes to keep each other updated on our daily lives. We didn't have many classes together, so in actuality, most of our friendship was through our writing.


I'm not really afraid to post this old photo of her because basically after college, she dropped off the face of the earth.  And I cannot search her through social media because her name is too common. :(

I hope someday we can be reunited. 

Oh and one of her fav songs was Paris by Epik High. It now reminds me of her. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Update: Panties, Awkwardness and Too Much Alcohol?

Yeah the title is misleading. 

People who know I shop at Victoria's Secret for my bras always tell me it's a waste of money. But first of all, it definitely isn't because the material quality is amazing; I haven't thrown away even one bra that I've bought there yet. Secondly, if you subscribe to their email list after buying something, you get free panties for life. Yes, for life! You get a card in the mail about every two months for s free panty, no purchase required. Here's the one I got last week:


I found this online, and it pretty much sums up my life. 


I'm awkward and there's not really much I can do about it at this point, so I've decided to embrace it. If you don't believe my awkwardness let me tell you what happened on Friday:

*on Thursday all of my friends except one (let's call him friend A) were gone during lunch time, and he smokes so he asked me to sit outside with him. I didn't bring my jacket and he told me to be prepared next time in case we're the only ones at lunch again*

So I bring my coat just in case on Friday.
All friends show up, want to eat inside. I'm sitting there with my winter coat, inside. Friend A leaves to smoke. Everybody asks me why I have my coat.

Me: Ergh, I'm cold?

Silence. 

It was so awkward. And I knew that would happen. Figures! But to be honest, the worst awkward moments are when I order at restaurants or cafes. 

Seriously if I want something at Starbucks, it's like they're trying to make it awkward with the amount of words I have to say. What order do I say it in?!

"Um can I please have a tall Chestnut Praline latte decaf cold? Uh, I mean, a Chestnut Praline frappechino. Tall! And decaf!"

Wtf seriously. This is how it always happens.

Moving on, my ootd pic for IG, even tho I did actually wear it to work on Friday. It has holes in the back. 


Yesterday I was weak and gave into bun bo xao temptation again. I seriously could eat this everyday. Which is why I need to find a trust worthy recipe asap! 


We went to the Asian mart to get the ingredients, but I'm sure I forgot something important because I don't have a recipe pinpointed yet. But while we were there, I got peach juice and it was so refreshing!


I think I'm starting to have an actual problem with alcohol lately. I've drank almost everyday since two weeks ago. I haven't done that since I was in my first year of college! I think it's really time to stop.


But ending on a positive note, I cooked dinner last night and it was delicious. Tonkatsu and fried little fishes with edamame. 


Hope everyone's weekend is going well!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

All about that (Drum and) Bass

The other day I heard Knife Party's new album Abandon Ship, and I felt crazy nostalgic when I heard the song Believe. It was because Rob Swire was singing, and it reminded me of their Pendulum days.

Many people nowadays know who Knife Party is because they have gone almost mainstream. But not many know that they were once part of a great band called Pendulum. They were they reason I got into drum and bass. I was so upset when they disbanded and went into other projects. 

Now I could cry if I heard one of their songs from their Immersion album because it was that album that carried me through the hardest and most desperate days of immigration. 

But they've moved on, and I've found other songs that touch my heart. Here are a few of my favorite DnB songs at the moment:

Polarized (Matrix and Futurebound remix) - seven Lions
Never Again - Maduk
Free fall - Metrik
Feint - Timebomb
Koven - Miracle (DnB remix)
Cannonball (Matrix and Futurebound remix) - Justin Prime and Showtek feat. Matthew Koma
Just a Thought - Fred V and Grfix feat. Reija Lee
Universes - ShockOne feat. Reija Lee
Lost -The Eden Project


Please look them up if you love DnB or if you're not afraid to try!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Tips for Wolf Biters

You can tell a lot from a persons hands. Especially if they have dermatophagia. Seems calm and collected, but the fingers are all torn up? Yep, it was a bad week.

I've been getting better, but the past week and a half was stressful and I relapsed. Especially with this cold weather, my skin is getting really dry.

Today for the first time, I realized I know someone with dermatophagia. It was liberating to talk to him about our problem. And it hit me that maybe this is a silent struggle for many people out there. 

Here are some tips for those who have dermatophagia...

1. When you feel the urge to bite, do something else immediately to break the pattern.

2. Have hand lotion with you at all times so you can moisturize. The softer and smoother your fingers are, the less the urges.

3. Carry something smooth such as a marble that you can play with in your hand to distract. It's not going to help just to chew gum or eat something.

4. At night, lather your hands with oils or cream and cover with socks to lock in moisture and reduce healing time.

5. Never think that you are out of control. You can quit. If you find yourself biting, forgive yourself and start again.

Dermatophagia is really a devastating OCD. We can beat it. I know we can. :)


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Hungry?

Posting the latest home eats plus a new challenge!


Taco salad with cilantro and lime juice.


Alio et olio with parsley.


Apple tart Marco Pierre White style.


Rib eye steak with jim jaew dipping sauce.

Katsu with clementine and cherries.


Whole chicken roasted with chickpeas and chilies. 

Fish stew with young coconut water.

English styled Mac and cheese.

Deep fried boiled eggs with tamarind sauce.


Calamari with sweet potato fries and cucumber salad.


Thai fried rice with steak.


Roasted pork belly with Apple cider cream sauce.

Everything from scratch lemon tart.

Korean fried chicken with chili sauce.

Whole baked pompano fish with Chinese ginger sauce.

And good old fashioned Japanese styled hot cakes with black coffee.

My husband and I are very much into taste, and we try our best to replicate good food that we discover. Our next challenge is bun bo xao:



This photo is from a few weeks ago at the Vietnamese restaurant. It has since that time been my obsession and my favorite food. We actually go back so often that we need to learn how to make this to avoid becoming broke.

Stay tuned for the result...

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cats Rule the Internet

As any internet person would know, cats rule here on the webs. They get a good amount of followers on social networks as well.

It took me a while, but I have finally done it. I've created an Instagram account for my kitteh. Her name is Nami, short for Tsunami, and she's now officially on IG:


If you have an IG account, go follow her now! I'll be posting many adorable photos of Nami, and believe me, I have so many. I always say if my phone was stolen then you would never find anything like sexy selca on there.... it would just be full of pictures of the kitteh.

I'm hoping for her to gain more followers than my personal IG, so I will be trying my best to get her followers. My personal IG is used more for my own viewing pleasure rather than to gain popularity.


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How To: Hair Growth

When I was a teenager one of the things I hated about my appearance was my inability to grow my hair long. I would cut it because I would frequently get split ends due to excessive hair straightening, and it would only grow to about just past my shoulders until it would have to be cut again. I absolutely hated it!

As I have been on the journey of growing my hair, here are some tips on how to grow your hair long.

#1: Stop Processing Your Hair!
I know this is extremely hard, especially for teenagers, but this is really a huge key to having long, healthy hair. I always wanted straight hair. But I realized that when your hair gets long enough, the weight of the hair makes it straight. I used to have frizz problems almost every day, but now my hair is at my waist and I can literally braid it and leave it like that for a few hours, and then take out the braid, and it will completely straight within 30 minutes.

#2: Drink Unicity Complete
This is a lean protein shake that I started taking about a year ago. It's truly amazing - my hair has grown at least an 1 per month when it used to barely grow a 1/2 an inch before.  I didn't understand why until I saw the ingredients: any supplements you would ever need to take for healthy hair are included.

No more need for the biotin supplement! No vitamin supplements! It's all there!


#3: Braids
One reason why our hair tends to break is just from environment. If you are very serious about growing your hair, you should often braid it during the day to avoid exposure. When I got serious about getting it to my waist, I learned how to French braid. And everyday for months I just braided a single braid down my back. It really does help!

#4: Mane and Tail Shampoo and Conditioner
This is a good shampoo and conditioner to use to minimize oil production. When I switched to this at first, my scalp was oily, but now that it's gotten used to it, whenever I use other shampoos, my hair is usually dry and then becomes oily much faster throughout the day. Also, when you wash your hair, only scrub your scalp; don't really scrub the ends of your hair, which are dry enough already.

#5: Stop Cutting Your Hair
This is seriously a myth. If you take care of your hair, you don't need to get a "trim" every month to keep it healthy. If you don't believe me, read this post by Xiaxue.

It really is possible for someone who just thinks their hair grows slowly to make it happen!


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

OL Problems: Winter


Absolutely horrendous, isn't it? This place used to be full of life, full of color. And I can't wait until those days of sunshine are back.


Same place on my secret hill at work, but last summer. I posted this on IG when I was hiding from everyone (strangely enough, all of the people I hid from became my good friends) on break. 

Now that it's too cold to be outside, it really leaves me wondering what my options are for my 15 minute break time. It's such a short time that I can't really do anything big.

So these are the choices I've come up with. 

Ten things office ladies can do on break during the winter:

1. Still Go Outside for a Walk
You can bundle up completely with the scarf, hat, winter coat and all, and you can attempt to take a walk. Unfortunately, everything will most likely be dead and the sky will resemble a ceiling of white. It will probably still be cold even all bundled up, and the chances of the winter winds ruining your hair or make up are very high.

2. Can Stand Outside With the Smokers
So you'll still have to dress yourself for the harsh weather. And you'll have to deal with the smoke even though you don't smoke. But if you pick this option, good chances are that you have a good friend or group of friends who smoke. So they will really get an idea of how good your friendship is when you're standing out with them in the snow, not even smoking.

3. Play on the Internet on Your Smartphone 
This is a great way to waste time. It might use up a lot of data, but at least you'll be okay being alone stuck inside the building. That sounds terribly antisocial and unproductive.

4. Call Friends or Family
There really isn't enough time to have a worthwhile conversation. So good luck with this one.

5. Sit in the Cafeteria and Attempt to Talk to Others
This is ridiculously awkward but I guess if you are bored or lonely enough, you can do this. It would pass the time and get your mind off of work trying to see how many people will actually engage in conversation with you. Who knows, you could make friends with important people this way!

6. Keep Working through Your Breaks
A lot of people at my job seem to do this. Just get caught up in their work and figure that a 15 minute break isn't long enough to relax, but just long enough to interrupt their concentration. I actually used to do this one a lot.

7. Stand in the Bathroom and Touch up Your Hair/Makeup 
Vanity. This is fun if you have to fix your make up or if you just want to stare at yourself in the mirror.

8. Take a Sh*t at Break
15 minutes is actually the perfect amount of time to go number two. But I don't usually do that for two reasons: first, if you are having to click back in, you don't want to be under that pressure. Second, I can get paid to do it, if you know what I mean.

9. Walk Aimlessly Around the Inside of the Building 
Exercise. It's still important during winter, right? Walk up and down the stairs, all around the halls of each floor. Maybe you'll discover a hidden paradise where you can come on break next time and play on your phone!

10. Visit Co-Workers at their Desks
I'm guilty of this one. It's fun until the supervisor catches you and your co-worker gets scolded for talking on the clock. If you do this, you better be visiting a lot of people for short periods of time.

So as you can see, the options are limited. I'll see if I can figure out how to make the breaks more productive.

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