november 2018 gratitude journal + intentions for december

Nov 30, 2018

november has been quite eventful -- both personally and out there all over the world.

here's a few things i'm grateful for this month:

☽ conscious and moral voters investing time and energy in the 2018 midterm elections
☽ progressive orgs/groups putting in the work to inform constituents about current issues happening on capital hill, progressive candidate endorsements + campaigns; and the volunteers who dedicated their time and energy to help get out the vote
☽ stunning fall sunrises
☽ being blessed with a new job
☽ emergency responders and volunteers that are fighting the california wildfires
☽ community coming together for the camp fire wildfire victims
☽ giving tuesday, and those who partake in the generous global day of giving
☽ cooler weather
☽ having the right to vote
☽ empathy
☽ passionate + empathetic people who care about justice, equality + the well-being of others
☽ my little brother making honor roll
☽ people from all walks of life (i.e. religions, ethnicities, etc) coming together to mourn the jewish victims from the pittsburgh synagogue shooting, and protecting the jewish folks mourning at the vigil. restores a bit of faith in humanity in the climate seeped in hate
☽ people, organizations, charities + businesses donating/participating in giving tuesday
☽ earning + passing my very first food handlers certificate

intentions for december:

✰ stop blaming planet retrogrades (*ahem* mercury retrograde) + moons for every bad/negative thing that happens
✰ remember the lessons learned at the wellness retreats -- namely about being non-reactionary so quickly + self care
✰ give back to those in need. remember giving doesn't have to only happen on giving tuesday
✰ make new friends at new job
✰ rid of all the toxic people in my life once and for all
✰ learn as much as i can + not be too overwhelmed by everything

{Story Diary} Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Nov 6, 2018

I received an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review, however it does not influence my review. Quotes are taken from an unedited advanced review copy and is subject to change in the final copy. Thanks, Little Brown & Co./Jimmy Patterson Books for the review copy!

girls of paper and fire natasha ngan f/f sapphic repGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Young Adult Fantasy, Asian-coded, LGBTQ+
November 6, 2018 from Jimmy Patterson Books/Little Brown

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most demeaning. This year, there's a ninth. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it's Lei they're after -- the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, she does the unthinkable -- she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.


➤ Paper

        ➣ Fully human, unadorned with any animal-demon features and incapable of demon abilities

        ➣ The lowest and most oppressed class

➤ Steele

        ➣ Humans endowed with partial animal-demon qualities, both in physicality and abilities

➤ Moon

        ➣ Fully demon, with whole animal-demon features such as horns, wings or fur on a humanoid form and complete demon capabilities


☀ Asians in fantasy
☀ #ownvoices
☀ f/f romance
☀ Asian-coded fantasy
☀ Queer MC + LI

Content/Trigger Warnings

➤ Violence
➤ Graphic animal death
➤ Sexual Assault
➤ Abuse
➤ Rape

"The fear might be strong.
But my hatred is stronger."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

"It doesn't matter how beautiful the cage is. It's still a prison."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

"When the world denies your choices, you make your own."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

"I don't want an easy life. I want a meaningful one."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

"We might be Paper Girls, easily torn and written upon. The very title we're given suggests that we are blank, waiting to be filled. But what the Demon King and his court do not understand is that paper is flammable. And there is a fire catching among us."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

"Her kisses heal the parts of me that the king broke. They tell me: You are strong, Lei. You are beautiful. You are mine. And, always, most important: You are yours."

--Natasha Ngan, Girls of Paper and Fire

**Quotes are taken from an uncorrected advanced review copy and is subject to change in the final copy**

Plot | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
Writing | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
Characters | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
World-building | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
Diversity | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
Pacing | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™
Swoon | πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™πŸŒ™

Natasha Ngan is a writer and yoga teacher. She grew up between Malaysia, where the Chinese side of her family is from, and the UK. This multicultural upbringing continues to influence her writing, and she is passionate about bringing diverse stories to teens. Natasha studied Geography at the University of Cambridge before working as a social media consultant and fashion blogger.

She recently moved to Paris, where she likes to imagine she drifts stylishly from brasserie to brasserie, notepad in one hand, wineglass in the other. In reality, she spends most of her time getting lost on the metro and confusing locals with her French. She is represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary. Her YA novels THE ELITES and THE MEMORY KEEPERS are out now from Hot Key Books, and GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE will be published in October 2018 by Jimmy Patterson/Little Brown (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK). Head on over to the Books page for more info!

Natasha is also co-owner of fashion, travel and lifestyle blog Girl in the Lens.

october 2018 | a look back

Oct 31, 2018



  • early absentee 2018 ballots came in the mail this month for the 2018 midterms! after careful research and consideration, it's been filled out and awaiting until it's time to drop them off.
  • i got back into listening to podcasts again and discovered more great ones worth listening to.
  • after 3 weeks of not being able to eat certain foods due to dental extraction and temporary crowns, i finally got permanent crowns and can eat whatever i want again. hello pizza, i've missed you.
  • dedicated time and energy to join + people power in phone/text banking, postcard writing + mailing, and canvassing with fellow volunteers in my community for progressive candidates to get out the vote for the midterms.


  • a dear friend of mine got bad health news but i'm praying and supporting her to pull through.
  • as if my bank account didn't take a hit enough after my dentist bills last month, my car took even more for maintenance and repairs. whoever said owning cars were fun, lied! 
  • job rejections/non-follow ups
  • flakey friends
  • dealing with health insurance issues
  • halloween was lackluster this year but at least i had a job interview
  • my mental health was at a low this month

what i read

well-read black girl // glory edim
the minimalist home // joshua becker
a blade so black // l. l. mckinney
in the vanisher's palace // aliette de bodard
blanca & roja // anna-marie mclemore
odd one out // nic stone
a very large expanse of sea // tahera mafi
the boneless mercies // april genevieve tucholkk
what if it's us // becky albertalli x adam silvera
frugal living guide for the minimalism lifestyle // 
minimalist living // genevieve parker hill
frugal: the art of frugal simplicity // jessica jacobs
a little bit of mindfulness //
mind detox // 
betraying big brother // leta hong ficher
pinay: culture bearers of the filipino diaspora //

what i listened to

without me// halsey
taki taki // dj snake x ozuna x cardi b x selena gomez
bad guy // niykee heaton
1999 // charli xcx x troye sivan
focus // saweetie
sweet but psycho // ava max

(full playlist on my october playlist post)

{Raditorial} Museum of Ice Cream | San Francisco, CA

Sep 10, 2018

museum of ice cream san francisco

i celebrated my 26th birthday at the museum of ice cream in san francisco last week with my friends, and after showing my parents and siblings (little sis is an ice cream connoisseur) the photos we took, they wanted to check it out so we took a quick family trip to the museum. having visited the museum three times already, somehow every visit gets better and better. i've only been to the ones in LA and SF, and personally i like SF the best.

it was pretty cool to see all the ice cream-themed exhibits, although the lines and crowds were not. some of the exhibits were interactive and full of ice cream fun facts. some exhibits gave away free ice cream, pop rocks, cotton candy & lemonade for those with a sweet tooth out there. as you go through the exhibits, you'll find yourself jumping into the sprinkles pool, to candyland with a gummybear, to a crawl space that's made of all mirror, to a unicorn, to a ring toss game, to a 1950s diner with a jukebox, to a magnetic exhibit with refrigerator magnets to leave your mark, and more. there's also a set of swings perfect for the (insta)gram.

originally opened as a pop-up museum for a few months, by demand they extended it. twice. we're glad to hear that the museum of ice cream is here to stay permanently! so if you've planned on a visit to san francisco one day in the near future, make sure to put this down as one of your stops (if you're into ice cream and sweets). currently there are museum of ice creams in san francisco, LA, NYC and miami.

location: museum of ice cream
1 grant ave.
san francisco, ca 94108

♥ have you been to any of the museum of ice creams?
what were your favorite exhibits and flavors? ♥

august 2018 | a look back

Sep 1, 2018


  • my lola (grandma) came back from philippines. again. she'll be here for my birthday and for the rest of the year until she goes back march next year.
  • my little brother started the 5th grade. his last year of elementary school :'-(
  • saw valfre and charmaine olivia paint their murals at our local open wide walls mural festival. they're my favorite artists, so it'll be nice to have a piece of their work on the streets of downtown and pass by everyday.
  • roomies + i participated in an aclu people power postcard writing party campaign with fellow local aclu volunteers to get out the vote to folks across the country.
  • celebrated end of summer at third thursday event hosted in downtown sacramento, where there were crafts that people got to participate in, games, drinks, silent disco, + a free showing of lady bird.
  • joined indivisible guide's textbank team (aka indivisitext) to text people in florida for andrew gillum for governor.
  • attended local aclu people power's 'demand police accountability' lobby day for ab 931. thank you assemblymember skinner and cosigners for creating and pushing for this bill. it's good to know there are still some people who care about accountability and the community.


  • if you've been following me on twitter the past few months, you'll know that i've been having a bug problem particularly in my room. the usual culprits are spiders (and 2 cockroaches), but this time we found a centipede in there. how did a centipede get in the house? we have no idea.
  • mendocino fire grew and outbeat last years napa wildfire at 459,000 acres. larger than the size of the city of los angeles.
  • my skin broke out in weird patches out of nowhere, and then got puffy after putting aloe vera gel. i looked like a zombie with red circles around my eyes but luckily everything went back to normal a few days later.
  • ab 931 was shelved for another year, unfortunately. but we're not giving up on passing this bill to hold california police accountable for abusing their power.

what i read

the descent of monsters by j.y. yang
unapologetic: a black, queer, and feminist mandate for radical movements by charlene carruthers
legacy by whiti hereaka
rising out of hatred: the awakening of a former white nationalist by eli saslow
nejma by nayyirah waheed
mindful moments: everyday mindfulness for real people by haven e. carter
so done by paula chase
give a sh*t: do good. live better. save the planet. by ashlee piper
new poems of native nations, edited by heid e. erdrich + more
noughts & crosses by malorie blackman
girls resist!: a guide to activism, leadership, and starting a revolution by kaelyn rich
the joy of less, a minimalist living guide: how to declutter, organize, and simplify your life by francine jay
rad women worldwide: artists and athletes, pirates and punks, and other revolutionaries who shaped history, edited by kate schatz and miriam klein stahl

what i listened to

lucid dreaming (cover) // first to eleven
the 1 // blackbear
summertime magic // childish gambino
real friends (remix) // camila cabello x swae lee
tootimetootimetootime // the 1975
all the time // kim petras
lomesome love // mitski
devil's in the backseat // lostboycrow
beautiful // bazzi x camila cabello
summer on you // prettymuch

[full summer playlist coming in my next post]


none. i'll be going to the museum of ice cream sf and seattle next month, so stay tuned.

looking forward to in september

  • my birthday on the 1st! (but not so excited at the prospect of turning 26)
  • museum of ice cream
  • capitol airshow
  • vacation in seattle

summer 2018 playlist

Aug 31, 2018

f.f.f. // bebe rexha x g-eazy
give yourself a try // the 1975
playwitme // kyle x kehlani
i do // cardi b x sza
myself // bazzi
girls like you // maroon 5 x  cardi b
middle finger // phoebe ryan x quinn xcii
i got time // bebe rexha
enemies // lauv
all the talk // mike stud
tension // cappa
5 in the morning // charli xcx
gratitude // livvia
so sad so sexy // lykke li
hunger // florence + the machine
first love / late spring // mitski
beautiful // bazzi
spin the globe // lostboycrow
better alone // lykke li

♥ the 1975 and lykke li are back!!
what were you listening to this month? ♥

july 2018 | a look back

Aug 1, 2018


  • family road trip to venice beach to celebrate my little sister's birthday. i can't believe she's 4 already!!
  • friend from alaska surprised me with a last minute quick visit. unfortunately i didn't get to spend much time with her or take her on adventures like we talked about, but it was still good to see her and hug her.
  • attended the indivisible guide's #savescotus visit to senator kamala harris' office alongside fellow indivisible volunteers/activists.
  • phone banked for ami bera (ca-07) with the local swing left team.
  • text banked for aclu people power to commit voters to 'be an aclu voter and vote like their rights depend on it' campaign. more info on the campaign:
  • i got to hangout with a friend and her baby after a few months of her recovering from surgeries. glad she's doing okay and it's unbelievable how fast my little nephew is growing.
  • phone banked with indivisible volunteers for the #100daysout, which is an initiative to volunteer for the 100 days countdown to the midterms


  • senate is back on their b.s. again. can't wait to vote those suckers out.
  • dad and brother got into a car accident, luckily it was small and everyone involved is okay. can't say the same for my parents car insurance rates though.
  • it's finally been confirmed that russia did in fact meddle in the u.s. 2016 elections, but of course our government doesn't give a damn nor are they going to do anything about it. no surprise.
  • the carr fire in redding, ca -- 2.5 hours away from us -- has grown exponentially. we're getting a grey haze and smoke smell all the way out here. that's how bad it is. a good chunk of the city had to be evacuated. roomies and i opened our couch in the living and lounge rooms to a couple of evacuees over a weekend. wish we could do more.

what i read

girls resist!: a guide to activism, leadership, and starting a revolution by kaelyn rich

trail of lightning by rebecca roanhorse
second wave summer by jay e. tria
mindful moments: everyday mindfulness for real people by haven e. carter
sweet sixteen by brenda rothert
the mere wife by maria dahvana headley
fire & heist by sarah beth durst
gotita de dragon and other stories by nick joaquin
a quick & easy guide to they/them pronouns by archie bongiovanni & tristan jimerson
among the glimmering flowers by lynn e. o'connacht
the death of truth: notes on falsehood in the age of trump by michiko kakutani
rad girls can: stories of bold, brave, and brilliant young women by kate schatz
mindfulness for compassionate living: mindful ways to less stress and more kindness by patrizia collard
a girl called murder by kennedy cannon
white kids: growing up with privilege in a racially divided america by margaret a. hagerman

what i listened to

eastside // benny blanco x halsey x khalid
in my feelings (cover) // lights
lucid dreams // juice world
love it if we made it // the 1975
ex // kiana lede
broke // will jay

[more to come in my full summer playlist]


venice beach, ca

inspiration/motivation this month

firefighters and first responders battling the wildfire flames. thank you for your service and rest in peace to those who lost their lives due to the fires.

"go back to europe" viral video

looking forward to in august

  • little siblings starting school
  • my fall semester classes

{Story Diary} The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Jul 19, 2018

the secret history donna tartt dark academiaThe Secret History by Donna Tartt
Literary Fiction, Mystery, Social Issues, 1980s
July 1, 1993 from Penguin Books

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt's cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement - both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful. 

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.

"Forgive me, for all the things I did but mostly for things that I did not."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History

New England, US 

[Image Source]
Set in college somewhere in New England in the 1980s.
aka the characters
  • Richard Papen
  • Henry Winter
  • Camilla Macaulay
  • Francis Abernathy
  • Charles Macaulay
  • Edmund "Bunny" Corcoran
  • unreliable narrator (also morbid)
  • morally gray characters
  • accidental murder
  • murder mystery sans the whodunit aspect
  • classical mythology influence
  • politically incorrect
  • fatal flaw
  • the five-man band archetype
  • set in the 1980s New England
There's a ton of classics mentioned in this literary novel.

  • Untimely Meditations by Friedrich Nietzsche, Epigraph
  • Republic, Book II by Plato, Epigraph
  • Tom Swift by Victor Appleton
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
  • The New Testament
  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  • Oresteia by Aeschylus
  • Inferno by Dante
  • Poetics by Aristotle
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Bacchae by Euripides
  • Parmenides by Plato
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Rover Boys by Edward Stratemeyer
  • Journey from Chester to London by Thomas Pennant
  • The Club History of London
  • The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert
  • Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
  • Marino Faliero by Lord Byron
  • The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  • Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • MΓ©moires by Duc de Saint-Simon
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Othello by Shakespeare
  • The World Book Encyclopedia
  • Men of Thought and Deed by E. Tipton Chatsford
  • Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  • Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by J. M. Barrie
  • The Divine Comedy by Dante
  • The Upanishads
  • Perry Mason Novels by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • With Rue my Heart is Laden by A.E. Housman
  • Lycidas by John Milton
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
  • Corpus of Mycenaean Inscriptions from Knossos
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Malcontent by John Marston
  • The White Devil by John Webster
  • The Broken Heart by John Ford, epilogue epigraph
  • Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
  • The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

"There are such things as ghosts. People somewhere have always known that. And we believe in them every bit as much as Homer did. Only now, we call them by different names. Memory. The unconscious."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
"Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
"It is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially."

--Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History and The Little Friend, which have been translated into thirty languages. Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

The daughter of Don and Taylor Tartt, she was born in Greenwood, Mississippi but raised 32 miles away in Grenada, Mississippi. At age five, she wrote her first poem, and she first saw publication in a Mississippi literary review at age 13.

Enrolling in the University of Mississippi in 1981, she pledged to the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris while she was a freshman. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss Writer-in-Residence, admitted Tartt into his graduate short story course where, stated Hannah, she ranked higher than the graduate students. Following the suggestion of Morris and others, she transferred to Bennington College in 1982, where she was friends with fellow students Bret Easton Ellis, Jill Eisenstadt, and Jonathan Lethem. At Bennington she studied classics with Claude Fredericks.

She divides her time between Virginia and New York City.

{Story Diary} The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Jul 13, 2018

the foxhole court nora sakavicThe Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
Contemporary, Older YA/College Sports
January 15, 2013 from Smashwords Edition

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.



the foxhole court exy

Exy is a huge thing in this trilogy, as it is the center and connection in all of the characters lives, so I'll give you the lowdown on the sport.

[Image Source]
Exy is a sport played on a soccer-sized court that has walls and ceilings made of Plexiglas. It is "an evolved sort of lacrosse with the violence of ice hockey." A team consists of six players, each of which has a racquet with varyind depths of netting. To score, the players must shoot the ball at the goal, a rectangle marked on the shorter wall. The goal will light up in red if it has been hit. The objective of the game is to out-score one's opponents.

Six players per team are allowed on the court at a time. Generally speaking, this allows for two strikers, a dealer, two backliners, and the goalkeeper. The goalkeepers is an optional position, however, a manager may sacrifice the goal for an extra player under certain circumstances. The minimum size for an NCAA team is nine players. In theory, this allows for six on-court players and a sub for each position save goalkeeper.

[Read the authors full explanation of Exy on her website here!]


There are four positions:

  • Striker: The striker is offense and plays to score. They start the game on the half-court line. Strikers on the serving team start on the inside; strikers for the defending team are on the outside.

  • Offensive Dealer: The dealer serves and is the thereafter the middleman; dealers have the option to specialize as offense or defense and can play as an extra striker or backliner depending on how the game is going. Dealers start on the first/far-court lines.

  • Backliner: The backliner is defense and protects the goal. Backliners start on the first/far-court lines.

  • Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper guards the goal.

The equipment's needed are:

  • Racquet

  • Ball

  • Helmet

  • Armor


AKA my fox children: the Exy team of Palmetto State University.

In their first year, Palmetto State refused to sign any female players Coach Wymack asked for. After their disastrous first season, he was allowed to sign the three women and made Danielle captain - the first female team captain in NCAA Class I Exy. GO LADIES!!!

  • Coach Wymack

  • Neil Josten

  • Andrew Minyard

  • Kevin Day

  • Danielle Wilds

  • Renee Walker

  • Aaron Minyard

  • Allison Reynolds

  • Matt Boyd

  • Nicky Hemmick

  • Seth Gordon


"It sounded like a dream; it tasted like damnation."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he thought perhaps he liked it."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"Neil couldn't remember what it felt like to have someone hold him up. It was terrifying and liberating all at once. His life was out of his control now; he was giving it to Andrew and hoping Andrew would keep it safe."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


"It’s not the world that’s cruel. It’s the people in it."

--Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court


Sagittarius & barista. Army brat & Japanophile. Sex-repulsed aro-ace. Love-hate relationship with writing; love-love relationship with alcohol. You gotta work for your happy ending around here.

june 2018 | a look back

Jul 1, 2018


  • i went to an advanced screening of THE HATE U GIVE and that's all i can legally say. but go watch it on opening weekend in october! fans of the book will not be disappointed.
  • voted in the california primary election!! 
  • speaking of election, roomies and i volunteered in door-to-door canvassing in the sacramento area and phone banked california voters with fellow volunteers, organized by the amazing aclu of norcal team
  • started our family fro-yo tradition we do every summer
  • we did some late spring cleaning but let's just call it summer cleaning
  • attended the aclu of norcal's webinar campaign to help pass ab 931 and sb 1421
  • text-banked for caleb frostman (sd-1) and anne groves lloyd (ad-42) with to #gotv in wisconsin
  • judge aaron persky got recalled! karma is fucking sweet. thank you to the voters in santa clara county.
  • attended the local indivisible general meeting organized by the indivisible guide team, where we discussed 
  • marched in the families belong together march at the state capitol. the turn out and compassion and drive from everyone who participated was incredibly heartwarming. definitely restored a bit of faith in humanity.
  • kid lit says no kids in cages raised $195,000+ for the migrant kids! the authors/publishing peeps who organized it and those who shared and donated are amazing.
  • roomies and i marched at the local families belong together rally at u.s. citizenship immigration here in downtown sacramento, and also attended to support the immigrants in ca vs. (jeff) sessions court hearing via aclu of norcal


  • we hit 100 degrees pretty early this month, the first three-digit weather this year. i know i said i'm ready for summer but i will never be ready for the 100+ degree heat.
  • speaking of summer, my skin hasn't been handling this heat very well (as it never does around this time of year). my face has been more dry than it usually is and parts of it burns. wasn't as bad as the flare up around this time last year but it was still painful. aloe vera gel and vasaline saved my skin, thank God.
  • killed a big spider i saw in my room at my parents house and right after i killed it, on the other side of my room there was a huge cockroach. my mom and i screamed...loud. but we killed it. cleaned out my closet and room after that. it reminded me of when i used to live in san jose, but they never that huge. my skin still crawls just thinking about it.
  • some of the california and local election results were disappointing. we're definitely going to have to vote better in the general midterm elections this november.
  • grandma went back to philippines. only for two months and she's coming back in august.
  • the "zero tolerance policy" and locking up both illegal and legal migrant children in cages and separating them from their mother. this is eerily reminiscent of the japanese internment camps. the photos and audios of those poor children is absolutely heart-breaking. 

what i read

fresh ink: an anthology by lamar giles

what i listened to

calypso // luis fonsi x stefflon don
girls like you // maroon 5 x cardi b
never been in love // will jay
summer games // drake
f.f.f. // bebe rexha x g-eazy
give yourself a try // the 1975
beautiful // bazzi
wish i never met you // loote

[more in my summer playlist post coming soon]


none. i was supposed to go to seattle with my grandma to see my cousins but she had to go back to philippines, so the trip will be postponed until she comes back.

inspiration/motivation this month

maxine waters. she is badass.

everyone who called their reps, marched to end family separation, and donated to orgs/funds that provides for migrant children.

looking forward to in july

  • my baby sister turns 4 on the 22nd! (i can't call her baby sister anymore)
  • road trip with friends
  • california adventure with the family for my little sisters birthday.
  • my friend from alaska is coming down for a visit and i'm hoping on taking her on some california adventures since we couldn't the last time she was here

{Story Diary} Swept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista-Yao

Jun 17, 2018

swept off my feet ines bautista-yao #romanceclassSwept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista-Yao
Young Adult Contemporary Romance, Filipino Lit, Sports
September 19, 2017

Why my life sucks
by Geri Lazaro

1. My dad left when I was a kid.
2. My mom is in love (insert eye roll).
3. With a guy who is like 10 years younger than her!
4. My friends think he’s hot. (Gross)
5. I love ballet but our dance studio has a leak and we have to dance in this smelly studio that doubles as an aikido dojo.
6. There’s this Dojo guy who thinks the studio belongs to him.
7. Friends think Dojo guy is cute. (Ew.) (Okay, objectively maybe but still, ew.)
8. I’m failing algebra.
9. Need to quit either basketball or ballet. Or both.
10. Dojo guy keeps showing up! (Fine, he does aikido in the same building but whatever.)
11. Dojo guy is asking me to dance with him. And maybe he is as cute as my friends say.
12. I don't know what to do anymore!

The main characters Geri and Bas and their friends are into a few sport activities, which plays an integral part of their lives and story.

swept off my feet moodboard

  • Geri plays basketball, but her passion is ballet. You could feel her passion emanating from the page.

  • Geri and Bas can ball against each other in some healthy one-one-one competition. (spoiler alert: Geri won! Bas was winded, but he tried.)

  • Geri having to choose between her two loves: ballet and basketball, because her grades are suffering. This was a true depiction of what some student athletes face when juggling school with their activities.

  • They integrated ballet with aikido for Bas's performance. This concept sounded pretty cool, and I wish that we could actually see how it looks like.

  • Accurate portrayal teenage pains: navigating through school, home life, after school activities, friendships, life decisions, and emotions they've never felt before. It was an all too familiar nostalgic feeling.

  • Tight-knit family dynamic, though not perfect nor typically traditional.

  • Lessons of forgiveness in a multitude of ways.

  • Challenges the asian academic excellence/straight A's stereotype. Geri struggled with math, and her working on bringing her grade up was a huge part of the story. It showed that no, asians are not automatically/effortlessly smart in every single subject. I related to her a lot because, like Geri, I too am Filipino who sucks at math. It was always my least favorite subject. Still is.

  • Michael Jordan and Steph Curry idolization and appreciation. (I might be biased about Steph Curry as a Bay Area girl)

Salamat = thank you
Kuya = term of respect for older male relatives
Lola = grandma
Yaya = nanny
Naku = no direct translation; it's used as an expression of exasperation or frustration
Balikbayan = a box filled with stuff that one ships back home to Philippines
Merienda = light meal or snack


I loved watching women's sports. There was something so empowering about seeing girls do what many people tell us we can't or shouldn't be doing.

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 53)


I knew what I had to do to hit the goals I set for myself. I could see where I wanted to take myself.

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 62)


"[Y]ou dance like you're on air, and you play like you're on fire."

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 82)


When you're used to building a thick layer of granite around your feelings, it isn't easy to chip away at it to reveal the soft, vulnerable rawness underneath.

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 110)


The sensei introduced us, saying this was Bas's idea and that he wanted to do something different to show how aikido had changed his life. My eyes flew open and I stared at him. "I didn't know that's why we're doing this."

He smiled at me, all the earlier tension gone, as if he had made peace with the performance in the few seconds I had my eyes closed. "That's why there's no one else I want to dance with but you."

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 134)


It didn't matter if my dad had broken my heart. Because even if he had flown away, even if he had to leave us to find himself, I could forgive him. I could move on. And I could let go of the fear that all boys were going to hurt me the way he did.

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 136)


"How are we going to get to your car now?" I glanced down at my ballet shoes. "My feet will get soaked!"

"I'll carry you." Bas smirked.

"I don't think so."

"I'll find an umbrella. Maybe you can ride on my back?"

"This isn't a Korean drama, Bas."

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 138)

That response was absolute gold. I actually LOL'd.

"I never thought the inside of your head was such a war zone."

"You didn't know what you were getting into."

"Doesn't mean I still don't want to be here." He took my clammy hand in his warm one. "I never wanted to be anywhere else, Geri, since the first time I saw you dance."

--Ines Bautista-Yao, Swept Off My Feet (pg. 146)

Bas is swoon-worthy.

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, Only A Kiss, and When Sparks Fly. She has also written several short stories. Among them are “Plain Vanilla,” “Flashbacks and Echoes” which is part of a compilation called All is Wanting, “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica: Love Notes from a Festival, and “ ings I’ll Never Say,” part of the Summit Books anthology Coming of Age.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher. She is also a wife and mom and blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at http://www. Author Project ( is a section in her blog devoted to the stories in her head.

She lives in the Philippines with her husband and two little girls. She posts on Instagram and tweets @inesbyao and her author page is Her e-books are available on Amazon and


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