February 9, 2014

I Started Saving for Retirement, and I'm Super Pumped!

I opened my first retirement account this week!

I am now the proud owner of an E-Trade Roth IRA account. It even has a cute little nickname: "Roth IRA".

Why am I so excited? Because this is the first step to the financial empowerment that I am craving for my life.

For the past couple of months, I have been consuming personal finance articles like nobody's business. Maybe it's because of my major making anything to do with money so interesting. Or maybe it's because I don't like being your typical poor college student.

A common recurring theme in personal finance is retirement savings. From tax classes (shudder), I learned the differences between a 401(k), a traditional IRA, and a Roth IRA. I know about their contribution and withdrawal rules. What I didn't know was that I could have opened a Roth IRA account the moment I started working in freshman year! That bit of information I learned from reading one of the personal finance articles that I came across.

I do plan to contribute to my 401(k) and IRAs once I graduate and start working, but had I known sooner about the Roth IRA sooner, I wouldn't have missed out on almost four years of savings and potential growth! It's okay. Lesson learned.

I wasted no time doing my research. I didn't want to spend a lot of money for an initial deposit, and most of places I looked at required at least $1,000 with minimum monthly contributions. I wanted none of that. Luckily, I found E-Trade.

My savings account is linked so that it transfers $20 to my IRA every month. I'm keeping the amount low for now because I'm anticipating a lot of costs related to graduating and big life changes in the coming months. When I start working full time, the contributions will definitely be higher, and I will eventually have enough to actually invest. For now, the $20 transfers will hang tight for a while.

January 13, 2014

The Hundreds: My 2014 Fitness Journey

In 2014, I'm going to take working out a lot more seriously.

This isn't a new year's resolution. This is just me taking more solemn steps toward better healthy habits.

When I tell people that I need to work out more, the automatic answer is always, "But you're so skinny! You don't need to lose weight." They're right; at 5 feet and 90 pounds, I am actually underweight. Somehow people think that this fact is lost on me.

I need to work out more because I shouldn't be winded after climbing one flight of stairs. I need to work out more because I want to age gracefully and healthily. I need to work out more because I'm tired of getting acne at 22 (almost). Lastly, I just want to be healthy.

But I also can't shake this nagging feeling that I also want to work out for all the wrong reasons. All of the reasons I listed above probably make up 30% of my fitness motivation. The rest is purely shallow and narcissistic.

November 7, 2013

I'm Still Here!

To say that school and life has been crazy is an understatement. Senior year of college is a world's difference than senior year of high school! Mainly because nobody's asking me who I'm going to prom with.

Anyway, here's proof that I'm still alive.

I promise to get back to blogging soon soon soon! I do have things to share. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

June 17, 2013

Walking Tour of San Francisco

Earlier this month, I spent a week in Northern California to visit Corey's family. Coming from a small family, it's still an adjustment to get used to spending time and getting to know a large family like his. I'm sure it's going to be a continuous adjustment.

At one point, Corey and I had a whole morning and afternoon to ourselves to visit San Francisco. We took advantage of that rare moment by going to San Francisco. He let me play tourist and took me to Absinthe, Japantown, and City Hall. I once saw a blog post of a couple getting married at SF City Hall, and I was in love with the architecture, so I had to pay a visit!

Blazer: LOFT (similar here and  in white) // Top: H&M (similar here) // Jeans: LOFT (similar here)
Flats: Target // Bag: Nine West (similar here)
I usually try to be as comfortable as possible when traveling, and that usually meant that all fashion sense would go out the window. This time, though, I made an effort to pack things that I knew would make me feel both comfortable and fashionable without giving me a hassle. I brought colorful items to help me stay in a light, summery mood for the whole week. I also bought a small cross-body bag to keep my phone, camera, cash, and cards with me just to make things convenient for me. One regret, though, is not having a pair of flats comfortable enough for the amount of walking we did in SF. My shins hurt the next day!

May 26, 2013

Summer Graduation Party

Spring semester is finally over! I got my grades back (straight As!), and I can finally enjoy homework-free weekends for the next...two and a half months.

With the end of spring comes graduation. I had quite a few friends graduate this year. Although I'm proud of them and am inspired by their hard work, it will be weird to not see them again in the fall. BUT, with graduation also comes graduation parties! And I'm all for the free food and booze at said parties.

I was invited to one at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Calabasas, CA. It's a retirement home for the men and women who used to work in the entertainment industry. The complex is cool and reminds me of the vacation villas I used to visit while in Indonesia.

Necklace: Target
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
My friend snapped this picture at one of the complex's small gardens. I've been really gravitating toward orange lately. Orange nails, orange lipstick, and orange tops. I think it's a fresh color to wear when welcoming that infamously hot Southern California summer. The flowy material is breathable and kept me cool while getting a walking tour of the area. I paired it with Christian Siriano for Payless leopard heels which, unfortunately, scraped the backs of my ankles by the end of the night.

Congratulations for any of you who graduated this year! Best of luck on the next steps of your life :)

May 20, 2013

To My Superior Vietnamese Boyfriend

Today, Corey and I are halfway to our third year together.

I could not imagine a more supportive and loving partner who knows when to push me and when to comfort me. It's a blessing to have him in my life. We're about to go through our last year at our respective schools, and I am excited to see where the next step takes us.

I was trying to put together a longer write-up of what he means to me, but I believe Emeli Sande sings it better:

April 18, 2013

Aspiring Kitchen Goddess: Kale and Strawberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

I've had this nagging thought lately that's telling me that maybe I should make a conscious choice to eat healthier. I'm not unhealthy, but I'm not in the best health of my life, either. I feel like I should be. I don't eat nearly as much fruits and vegetables as I should. I blame it on my busy schedule which doesn't leave me much time for cooking or shopping for good food. When I get hungry, I go to the nearest vending machine or school cafeteria and buy whatever's cheap.

So because I knew I would have a sliver of time this week for shopping, I followed that nagging thought all the way to Trader Joe's. I bought a bunch food including kale, strawberries, pasta, feta cheese, turkey bacon, extra virgin olive oil, raspberry vinaigrette, and cocoa almond spread for sandwiches. I'm going to make two dishes with them, and I'm sharing the first one here.

Kale and Strawberry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

This was extremely easy and quick to make. I took as much kale as I wanted from the bag, sliced the strawberries, and drizzled the vinaigrette on top. The result is a fresh and bright salad that's perfect for a quick lunch. I wanted to add some slivered almonds, but that shit's expensive.

I didn't realize this, but kale is really bitter! It tastes like I would imagine a tree would taste. Any tree. Fortunately, I had enough strawberries and vinaigrette to cover up the bitterness. I'm definitely going to cook and flavor my kale in the future.

Stay tuned for my next dish!