As 2016 Ends...

Oh, right...I have a blog.

As TWENTY-SIXTEEN draws to a close, I am back on my digital diary to reflect on the past year.


Twenty-sixteen was an incredible year, but it definitely didn't start that way.
At the beginning of 2016, I learned a huge lesson to not hold onto people and situations that I had no control over. In exchange, I was taught that I can be happy simply being myself.

I started going out with a fantastic man that showed me that over-complicating matters in life was stopping me from realizing my own potential and barring my journey to happiness.

I started my awesome job under 2 bosses who challenge and motivate me each and every single day. I am learning, not only how to do my job and excel at my career, but what makes me feel truly passionate about being a paralegal.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been there for me in the past year, the people who have my back through thick and thin, and those who wish for my success and happiness. I only wish I had taken more time out of my life to see each and every one of you. Know that you are in my heart and that I wish you all the joy and accomplishment that anyone can ever dream of.

I am still grasping at how twenty-sixteen has just flown by, but I am beginning to feel a revival of purpose. And what better way to brush away the old and look forward to the new than with the dawn of a new year?

Here's to bigger and better things! Cheers!


Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Journey to Self-Discovery (New Years Resolutions)

They say it takes something major to force you to change.

At the beginning of twenty-fifteen, I had already predicted that it would be a year of change and stress. Little did I know that the events that would happen would bring me to the me that I am today.

Twenty-fifteen proved to be one of the toughest years I had to ever go through, mentally and emotionally. I know that in a couple of years, this year will fade into mere memory and no longer affect me.

Until then, I have never been more happy to embrace the new year. Although I am not able to just turn off what has happened to me the past year, I am determined to embrace the cliché of starting anew in the new year.

I was going to write an entry containing concrete resolutions, but as I sat down to type...I found myself at a loss for words. Since my blog is centered around illusions and perspectives, I decided I will share a broader resolution for the new year.

For twenty-sixteen, I want to first and foremost learn to care for myself. The past year, I neglected my mental health and as a result, my physical health suffered.

I want to become a person that I can be proud of.
I want to give thanks rather than apologize for my existence.
I want to create memories worth looking back on.
I want to cherish the relationships and the people I have in my life.

And most of all...

I want my actions to be based on a foundation of love, generosity, and understanding.

Maybe then, I will learn to find happiness within myself.


My Perception on LOVE Right Now

Love is an abstract concept.
Love is a concept and a phenomenon that depends on the beholder of same.

There are also many concepts that mimic love but are simply not so:
Crushes, lust, infatuation, pride.

Over the span of my short life, I've only started to begin to understand what love is.
First and foremost, love is a growing experience and definitely not a game or some sort of time to test another person.

In young "love", we hear about many psychological tricks played between couples to somehow gain an upper-hand on the relationship.
I myself am guilty of such foolishness, but I feel social pressures aided in the facilitation of such foolishness as well.

Nowadays, with time spent alone or with people who have displayed unconditional love to me, I have learned that love comes in many forms.

I think that love, absent of any religious subtext, is a form of acceptance.
It is an admiration that does not stem from pride, but allows a person to be proud.
It is a willingness to support a person knowing full well their flaws and imperfections.
It is a willingness to embrace the things happening in your life as well as another person's life.

Don't get me wrong. Not everyone can love as idealistically as this interpretation of love may seem.
People say that when you love someone, it is easy.
But hear me out when I say, love is easy...maintaining relationships and reminding yourself of love is hard.

I attended a wedding yesterday where the couple showcased a "Fight Box" where they would write letters reminding each other why they fell in love.
When they have their first intense fight, they will open this box and read the letters and, with this willingness, choose to settle their differences with love.

Someone once said to me that they realized love is something that develops over time.

Lately, I'm constantly needing to evaluate whether the love (for family, friends, and special people in my life) I possess is in line with the interpretation that I have and is something that I can proudly boast about. For now, dear readers, I can confidently say I know this love, but what I do with it is to be seen, through the test of time.

So tell me, what is love to you?



“By what merit?” He asked me.

And I stared at him, wide-eyed, scanning his face for answers.

Yet, I knew the answer to that question.

I knew who I was – in a simple sense: I was a girl with a very big heart.

A very big heart, ready and hoping to find that one person I could show it to.

“I’ll shower you with love!” I answered, proudly.

“But love doesn’t pay bills, honey,” he tutted.

And of course he was right. As always.

“Well, we would work, of course! But I’m offering you a lifetime of support and care and-“

“There’s more to life than that,” he interjected, clearly not seeing eye-to-eye with me.

We stared at each other in silence for a while and I felt the disconnect settle in.

I scanned his stoic face again as a wave of heat washed over me.

“Why are you being so stubborn?” I mustered, my anger leaking.

“You will understand one day,” he said.

And then he turned on his heel and walked away.


[FF] My Favourite Minimalist YouTubers

On my post yesterday, I shared with you the beginning of my journey to become a Minimalist. Today, I will share YouTubers who have helped influence and inspire me.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists)
Photo from TheMinimalists.com

These guys are the pioneers of the Minimalist lifestyle. There is no mentioning of Minimalism without talking about these two fine gentlemen.

Millburn and Nicodemus understand that Minimalism is a hard concept to put into action and may not be embraced by some. They found that after achieving the things their younger selves aimed to achieve, like having a high paying job, buying that dream car, buying that dream house, there was a void that could not be filled with simply accumulating more things. They realized life was more than just owning and left their corporate careers to chase their dreams of becoming authors and motivational speakers.

In addition to giving interviews and talks on Minimalism around the world, they have written multiple books on the subject.

Coco (LightbyCoco)

Photo from LightbyCoco's Twitter page
This girl puts the minimal in Minimalism.

I'll admit the first time I watched through all her videos (yes, all), my jaw (and so did my boyfriend's jaw) dropped to the floor at how little she owned. I will never de-clutter and purge to the extent that this woman has, but her lifestyle is incredibly inspirational.

Her YouTube channel and blog provides tips and advice for anyone planning to pursue Minimalism. She has replaced clutter and excess with a strong focus on her dream career, travelling, and building relationships with the people around her.

One of the most inspirational things about Coco is that her and her husband both adopted the Minimalist way. They taught me (indirectly) tips on how I should approach my relationship with my significant other and this idea of Minimalism has brought many a good discussion points between the two of us.

Cynthia (Inspiroue)
Photo from Inspiroue's Google+

Relatively new to the Minimalist game, Cynthia is how I wish I was as a young student. I am still a student now, but I wish Cynthia was around for me when I was younger.

Cynthia's channel focuses mainly on fashion and the concept of Capsule Wardrobes. She inspires me to focus on pieces of clothing that last and to walk away from clothing that may be fashionable at the time but may not translate (or last) years down the road. Quality is always better than quantity.

Aileen Xu (Lavendaire)

Photo from Lavendaire's blog
This girl is just a big ray of sunshine whenever a new video appears on my YouTube feed.

Aileen lives a Minimalist lifestyle and motivates me to save my money to travel and explore the world. In her daily life, she aims not to compromise fun in light of spending less.

She posts videos that not only inspire others to be a Minimalist, but she teaches us that the best way to achieve happiness is to start with oneself. Loving yourself and honing your creativity are just some of the ways Aileen teaches us to improve our lives. Truly inspirational!

I hope you like my shares for this week and that you check out these YouTubers' channels! Have a fantastic weekend!


[TT] Why I Want To Be A Minimalist

I was raised in an Asian household that believed that it was better to have than to not have. Although this is not a bad mantra to have, it also means that there is a propensity for my family to...hoard. One item came with a back up item, another item was kept purely because my parents could predict a possible use for it, when in reality, the chances of us actually using the item was slim.

Material items take up space. A lot of material items take up a lot of space. It started to become difficult to keep track of the things. Often, we bought more things thinking that we didn't have them. Valuables became excess, excess became mess.

I don't know when I began to realize that the mess and the excess was affecting me psychologically. I started to feel claustrophobic and like nothing was ever tidy enough or clean enough. This was when I decided I needed to purge some stuff.

In my search for motivation to purge, I found the idea of Minimalism. Inspired by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, I realized that there was happiness to be found in freedom, especially freedom from putting too much emphasis on material goods. Alternatively, happiness should not come from owning a lot of stuff, but from finding meaning from what we do. I found that, personally, I could not find value in having too much clutter. (Read more about Minimalism here.)

I found that embracing the idea of minimalism influenced my decisions greatly, from walking away from something I previously would have said "I need this in my life" to motivating me to save money for experiences that I would otherwise never have if I had spent my money on material things.

This is only the beginning of my journey towards Minimalism, and although I will never become a hardcore Minimalist, like some, I can already see the benefits of the lifestyle.


[TT] Is It Okay To Not Know Everything?

"What the ****?"
"How could you not know that?"
"You're so stupid."
"Did you not go to school or something?"

Raise your hand if you've had anyone say any of the above or anything similar to you, 
or if you've ever said any of the above to another person.

My question for this Thought Thursday is whether it's really okay to not know things...or everything. In my short and sheltered life, I have come across situations where me or another knew little, or did not know at all, about something.

Take for example a friend of mine (apologies for not asking permission before disclosing this) who was stumped during a conversation about the Holocaust. He stopped the conversation to ask, "what's the Holocaust?" To which there was a brief silence before people, including myself, responded with things like, "you're joking, right," a few eye-rolls and a few sarcastic chuckles, followed by "how could you not know what the Holocaust is?"

Similarly, I was in a group discussion in school when I took an educated guess in response to a question. While the other members nodded at my participation, one group member interjected and ridiculed me for coming up with an answer that-she claimed-was not remotely close to being correct. That response not only made me angry, but diminished my spirit to engage in the discussion.

The issue is not that my friend did not know what the Holocaust was (because his school did not cover it as extensively as some) or whether my answer to the question was incorrect, but how people responded to it.

Have we come to an era in which it's okay to be judged or ridiculed for not knowing something? Have we already forgotten that people come from different walks of life and that what we know may not be what others know?

I have definitely learned to think twice before judging another person when they have answered a question incorrectly or asked about something they genuinely knew little or nothing about. What about you?


[FF] My (Current) Favourites List

Hey all. Just felt like doing one of these lists to keep a record of my favourites of the now, so here we go!

Favourite thing to do when I’m nervous: bite my lip
Favourite children’s book: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Favourite author: Pablo Neruda...poet's count right?
Favourite food topping: sour cream
Favourite soda: Coca Cola
Favourite Starbucks drink: Extra hot skinny Hazelnut Macchiato
Favourite class in college:  a Criminology course I took on professional misconduct
Favourite holiday: Halloween
Favourite cereal: Captain Crunch
Favourite cookie: Oatmeal raisin
Favourite song: Keane - Somewhere Only We Know
Favourite positive affirmation: "You have a divine right to be happy."
Favourite book: Phantom by Susan Kay
Favourite country: Canada
Favourite state of mind: feeling needed
Favourite character: Johji Koizumi from Paradise Kiss
Favourite cartoon: Paradise Kiss (anime/manga)
Favourite breakfast food: toast with honey
Favourite beverage: coffee
Favourite tropical fruit: durian
Favourite TV series: Sherlock
Favourite animal: kittens, in general.
Favourite utensil: chopsticks
Favourite vegetable: Chinese pea shoots
Favourite album: Kings of Suburbia by Tokio Hotel
Favourite board game: Telestrations
Favourite cheese: Bra cheese
Favourite sleeping position: on my stomach
Favourite romantic moment: when my bf and i made our relationship official
Favourite stress reliever: drinking coffee
Favourite life accomplishment: getting into my current school program
Favourite hero/heroine: Rorschach from Watchmen
Favourite villain: Malificent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Favourite day of the week: Saturday
Favourite actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
Favourite actress: Tina Fey
Favourite movie director: Baz Luhrmann

Feel free to take this list and complete them yourself in the comments below! I'd love to hear what some of your favourite things are!


[WW] The Young Murderers of James Bulger

In February of 1993, a CCTV camera caught a 2 year old boy being led down a shopping mall by a 10 year old. The pair are seen meeting up with another 10 year old boy. What onlookers did not know was that the 2 year old was being led away from his mother who was at a butcher shop in the mall. This was the last footage of James Bulger before he was murdered.

Photo courtesy of Mirror UK

The murderers, 10 year old Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were arrested after Bulger's body was found mutilated by a railroad track. Bulger had been beaten to death by the pair and his body was dumped by the railway. There was no doubt that Venables and Thompson had killed Bulger, but the courts had to prove whether they understood the right or wrong of their actions. In 1993, laws in Britain stated that 10-14 year old's could not be held legally responsible for their actions and they could not be sentenced to prison. Therefore, when the jury found the two guilty of first degree murder, the two were sent to a secure housing unit.

Britain was angered with the trial decision as they felt that the two did not receive a severe enough punishment. The judge and the secure housing unit believed that these two boys did not need punishment per say, but to be detained in a place where the boys would be taken care of and adults would be able to exact authority. This was fueled by the idea that the two boys came from broken families, displayed deviant behaviour, and needed structure in their lives. It further angered the public when it was found that during their time at the secured housing, Venables was allowed to leave the facility with his dad and to play soccer. Thompson was able to visit shopping malls. The staff at the secure unit claimed that allowing mobility for these offenders prepared them to transition back into society.

In 2001, the parole board found that the boys no longer posed as threats to public safety and were released after spending eight years in the secure unit. They were released with conditions such as not being allowed to contact each other or the Bulger's family. They were given new identities and left to live their own lives. Some who attempted to identify the two boys had been sentenced to prison.

After their release, although the boys have been noted to have completed their education, Venables was arrested multiple times for violating his release conditions and later for possession and distribution of child pornography in 2010.

So here is a question for my readers. Do you feel that justice was served and whether the boys deserved their sentence? Should the public leave these two alone?

I am glad that Canadian laws have learned from our British law counterparts in understanding that age should not necessarily bar a child from being tried as an adult. This incident stresses the idea of the effects on broken homes and the allowance for children to wander and associate themselves with deviance. Of course, we cannot eliminate any mental history that these children may have which we will never know or understand as this happened a long time ago and even then the publication bans were strict.

There is an internal struggle within me because I too am angered by the idea that people who have committed a horrific crime have not been "punished". Some may remind me that they are 10, but I'm rather positive 10 year old's understand that taking a child and killing them is not something virtuous. I do feel that despite the idealistic goals of the secure unit in trying to give the boys structure, I hope (for everyone's sake) that their therapy sessions while detainment allowed for pinpointing the source of their aggression and can help to prevent something like this from happening. Considering Venables came out to further re-offend, I can safely say that therapy did not deter these children. It angers me because the secure unit staff were saying that the program allowed youth to find their self-worth and I hardly think that's an issue when such a thought out horrific act can only be associated with self-entitled individuals.

It's incredibly scary that young kids are capable of such horrific things and there continues to be a divide on how legally responsible infants or young adults should be for their actions.

Let me know what you think!