Another year, another recap

Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness. — William Shakesphere

Wow, I’m so fucking late to the game with this post.

It’s already been over a month since it was New Years and almost 2 months since it’s been Christmas. The craziest thing is, I’m actually looking forward to March (like a week from now).

We’re only 2 months in and so much has happened so far in 2019:

  • Toronto’s insane Snow Storm and the Polar Vortex in the Midwest simultaneously dusting our streets with unseeable ice, snow, slush, and frozen slush. Fun, right? Can’t forget that wind chill, though!
  • Lunar New Year just passed (祝大家新年好!)
  • It’s currently Black History Month. There’s so much to celebrate, remember, and learn.
  • Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth finally got hitched after a decade! (Not all hope is lost for those who are still wandering and exploring.)
  • We lost another fashion icon/legend, Karl Lagerfeld. He had an immaculate vision and story.
  • And… a bunch of dark, heavy shit that we won’t get into today.

Reflecting on 2018, there were good, bad, and ugly moments but I wouldn’t trade them for anything else. It was also a year that I was taking a lot of things with a grain of salt — which has taught me to focus primarily on the positives and the present. It’s better for the soul, anyway.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. — Mark Twain

For me, the past year was about finding my voice again. I felt lost, unmotivated, and I started so many projects that never saw the light of day. There were also some cool events that I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve gone to by myself but I wasn’t able to overcome the fear of being in a room full of strangers. So I said, Fuck it.

I realized that I wasn’t really being myself whenever I had to succumb to other people’s ideas of things they wanted to do. What about the things I want to do? So, I took the reigns back because I ain’t about to live my life by someone else’s terms and conditions.

#TBT to me with long hair!

Never settle. It’s the one thought I have whenever I make decisions — big or small. And the difference in my quality of life has been transcendent.

The last couple of years, I started setting micro-goals. Goals that, when achieved, brings you one step closer to realizing your dream; your vision; your foundation. It makes the time I spent isolating myself from a world of constant distractions worthwhile. This is my process—and these are the outcomes of 2018 I scrambled my brain to remember.

The Highlights

Landed in UI/UX 👩🏻‍💻

One of my goals was to land a UI/UX designer role and I did it ( 🎉). Now, I have an amazing, supportive team that enables me to do my best every day. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful to be amongst these superstars.

I remember going to countless interviews and the “never settle” concept, to always strive for the best of the best, appeared clear as day. It’s directly correlated to knowing your worth—and no, I’m not talking about knowing how much you should bill your clients. It’s much more than that—it’s a lifestyle mindset of understanding and acknowledging how valuable you are as a person. Self-worth turns into self-care which is the building blocks of confidence.

Confidence begets confidence.—Jaclyn Johnson

Right now, I’m fucking fired up. I’ve never felt more infused with confidence in my process and my abilities. With that being said, the confidence to be unapologetically myself also came surprisingly natural—well, because it’s really the only person I can be.

Anyway, other than my discovery of self-worth, I’m still running Brooklyn 99 in the background while I hammer out designs, work on writing, and conceptualizing insane/inane ideas for present and future projects. #NewYearSameMe

Created a publication ✍🏻

I started a community called People talk. where I spend most of my time conversing with various makers, shakers, and doers about their processes, ideas, and living life. My main objective for People talk. is to share stories from people like ourselves and start conversations that may spark ideas, collaborations, or even create magic.

I’m working on publishing a ton this year on Medium—several of them are close to reaching the public eye. Most recently, I published the conversation with, my good friend and artist, Marina Stojkovic which you can read here.

The next conversation is coming this week!

Top 5 books I read in 2018

Embraced my culture 🇨🇳

Inspired by my drive to be completely fluent in Mandarin (I’m Cantonese), I’m going deep into the world of China starting with C-dramas, then their mobile apps, and finally, their men (just kidding 👅💦).

Also, whoever said that language is a barrier has no intention of learning a new language. I think learning a language is an incredibly humbling and intelligent way of understanding cultural behaviours. Though I can understand a bit of Mandarin, I’ve finally shaken myself out of denial (of ever needing to know Mandarin) and seriously learn it.

“Facing a language you don’t know is like returning to your infancy when your mother tongue used to be a foreign language to you” — Munia Khan

I’ve watched 2 Chinese TV Dramas over the winter break (‘Eternal Love’ and ‘Ashes of Love’, both incredible and super well done). Now, I’ve just finished ‘Legend of Fuyao’ and so… I felt compelled to start ‘The Flame’s Daughter’. Whoops. Y’all could say I’m committed AF.

Left to right: ‘Ashes of Love’, ‘Eternal Love: 10 Mile Peach Blossom’, and ‘Legend of Fu Yao

Other languages I’m learning (but put on hold)

  • Spanish
  • Korean
  • Japanese

Top 5 apps to learn a new language

Traveled to NYC 🍎

Last Spring, I had an opportunity to meet with a company in Manhattan. Since my mom and I had already planned this trip to visit my brother who just moved there — two birds, one stone. Y’better fucking believe I took complete advantage of this trip.

This was my first time flying into NYC without older relatives or family friends. Alas, I was able to build my own itinerary and stick with all the good stuff. So, I went completely overboard in the best way possible: I wanted to curate my trip and share it on IG Stories (like an influencer). It’s when my alter-ego ‘Anne’ was born—she made sure that each day was filled with interesting activities, cool art, iconic views, and delicious food.

Some key places we visited

  • MoMA
  • Cooper-Hewitt Museum
  • #TheSundayRileyExperience

Noteworthy places we ate at

And ✈️ to Chicago

My last job took the entire office to Chicago to celebrate their 90th anniversary of being in business—it wasn’t the same owner but still an incredible milestone nonetheless. It was a great experience to be in Chicago and it felt very close to home (general vibe and people’s attitudes).

If I get the chance to visit Chicago again, I definitely would do it a lot differently. This trip, as I mentioned, was for a work function at the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon. I fell in love with the architecture, the history, and the feeling home away from home.

The weather—eh, I could do without the constant fog.

Saw a bunch of cool art and performances 🎨

Growing up, I never really went to concerts because like the friends I had, I was never devoted to a single group.

My friends came from different schools, different cities, and different environments — so that’s always reflected in how I view the world and particularly, music. We all listen to music to feel good, to hurt, to love, to be confident — music is a force to be reckoned with and it connects us all.

Creativity takes courage.—Henri Matisse

Last year was a lot about self-reflection and indulging in all kinds of pleasures. So, I decided it was worthwhile to attend a handful of performances like Charlotte Day Wilson, Chris D’Elia, Rupi Kaur, and Li Yundi to name a few.

I like learning about people’s ideas; seeing their drive and commitment to their crafts; trying to understand them beyond their works. So, I went to a ton of Artist Talks at Free Space with up-and-coming creatives like Yimmy Yayo, Alex Strohl and Justin Wu. However, my favourite of the year is Anthropocene’s panel at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) with Burtynsky, Baichwal, and De Pencier of Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark.

In the Spring, my good friend’s sister wasn’t able to attend Yayoi Kusama’s #InfiniteKUSAMA exhibition at the AGO and asked if I wanted to go in place of her. Of course, I said yes. And with pure luck and the help of the universe, I witnessed infinity through Kusama’s interactive art during opening weekend with Judy Lin.

It was an incredible, exhilarating, and completely unique experience because during that time, Kusama was just blowing up the internet and her style hadn’t been replicated to the extent it has been now!

Also, Judy’s pretty cool.

Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. — Yayoi Kusama

Started writing screenplay 🎬

I’ve always pictured my life in scenes; quoting lines from movies that are part of me now; and always trying to peek behind the scenes of actors, directors, and set designers. Being a natural born storyteller, I want to be able to use every kind of medium and platform to help me bring my visions to the big screen. And filmmaking is something I’ve always been interested in.

Right now, I’m ironing out the wrinkles of my short film series touching on stories of mental health. I hope to shed light on the day-to-day struggles of someone with a non-visible disability and give them a stronger voice.

Other noteworthy mentions 🏁

  • Got a selfie stick that’s also a tripod. You’re welcome, cuz.
  • Read a bunch of books. See my Top 5 near the top!
  • Bought my plane ticket to Vietnam in March 2019.

Final words

2018 blew by like a gust of wind; like the Road Runner; or like Stephen Chow and Qiu Yuen’s characters’ race-off in the movie ‘Kung Fu Hustle’.

I have never been one to make resolutions and if I made one, I’d be lying to myself. I think growth is continuous and you can never set a date on when you want to start — you just fucking start. Over the years, I learned to never wait until the new year to start thinking about doing better/different things; who you want to be; and goals that become unreachable, untouchable.

So, I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Jocko Willink: get after it.

I hope everyone had a great start to the new year! Also, thanks so much for reading about the shit that happened within the past year. If you like this, you can follow me on IG and Twitter to catch with all my shenanigans this year. Y’all will want to stay tuned for my trip to Vietnam in March—a lot of new content. That’s all I’m going to say 😏




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