Wise Words from My Amazing Friends: Vanessa on Matters of the Heart

This is the face of someone who will not hesitate to punch a person in the throat or groin if needed.

This is the face of someone who will not hesitate to punch a person in the throat or groin if needed.

Vanessa is one of my oldest friends. Since high school, she has been there for me throughout almost all of my boy problems and boy joys (Cute rhyming, right? Maybe the phrase will catch on). She’d listen patiently when I giggle through detailed recounts of great dates, and comfort me when I cry through explanations of why it didn’t work out. She’s also one of the rare few people who don’t look at me like I’m crazy when I draw parallels between real life experiences and something that happens in Harry Potter.

We are so close and comfortable with each another that when we used to both have super short hair, walking down the street together we received glances from strangers who obviously think we’re a lesbian couple.  It was very amusing, but yes, we should all be so lucky that the person we’re dating happens to be one of our best friends.

Anyway, recently Vanessa comments that I’m very good about keeping safe. It’s true: I carry a pepper spray with me 95% of the time, I rarely use my headphones outside of the office or home because I like to be aware of my surroundings at all times, and I only very occasionally get wasted and I only do that when I’m surrounded by close ones. My dad grew up in a part of Vietnam that was pretty shady back then, so at an early age, I was taught the mindset to always be cautious: “If someone asks you for directions, tell them but don’t go with them. Write it down on a piece of paper if they insist.” “If a stranger offers to help you carry your luggage, say ‘no, thank you’- who knows if they’ll run off with it.” “Try to memorize the cab driver’s name or license plate until you are out of the car.” And of course- “Never get into a physical fight with anyone in their own home. They would know where the knives are.” I remember reading multiple books on safety tips for children as well. High five, parents.

So I tell Vanessa that, yes, I am very careful about physical safety but I am actually really terrible at guarding against others when it comes to matters of the heart. Continue reading


Pt 2: Strange Advice My Dad Gave Me On Very Important Things in Life

Still the most badass picture of my dad ever. Worth reposting.

This week is Papa Lu’s birthday. Since he enjoyed telling his friends that I wrote a blog post of things he told me last time, I decided to write another one.

————–Encounter with a Gangster————–


Recently I was walking down Mission Street with my dad, and a man came up to us and spewed made-up words in a fake imitation Chinese accent out of nowhere. Maybe he got inspiration from Rush Limbaugh. I don’t know. Anyway, I was SO offended and furious, especially he could clearly see I was with my father. I’m pissed if you diss me but if you want to disrespect my older family members? HO! PREPARE FOR A SMACK DOWN!

…At the same time, I knew my dad hates violence or unnecessarily conflicts, so I just gave the ignorant man a death stare and asked rhetorically “Are you done yet?” The man laughed manically and exclaimed “Oh the Chinese speak English!” I gave him my beautiful, elegant middle finger while walking away.

My dad could tell I was riled up so he sighed and said “Do you remember when I used to live in an apartment with three guys in college? Let me tell you…

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Strange Advice My Dad Gave Me On Very Important Things In Life


Upon noticing my depressed state shortly after my first real break up ever, my father said to me over a meal:

“The way I see it is this: It’s like you had a favorite mug. You used it and carried it with you all the time. One day it broke. What are you going to do? Are you going to hold onto the pieces? Are you going to cry about how it shattered? No, you go out there and find another f***ing mug to buy.”

Ooh boy just got objectified!

(Okay my dad didn’t really curse, but that would have been epic.)


One time when my dad came over to visit, my housemates and I were recounting how a female guest was so into our male resident that she knocked on his door at wee hours the night before. My dad laughed and exclaimed:

“Oh I was also handsome when young! I was so popular in school because I was charming and smart. Actually a girl literally kicked down my dorm room’s door once- that’s how much she liked me. But you see, now you’re young and good-looking, but when you’re old…*motions to balding head*…It’s all gone. I am still really funny though. And sharp.”

This is a picture of my dad when he was young. So fly with the aviators and curly hair.

Tru dat.


My second ex-boyfriend kept trying to be friends with me after we broke things off. I made polite attempts but he complained about my minimum correspondence.

Once I happened to receive a text message from said ex when I was hanging out with my dad. I let out a grunt so exasperated that Papa Lu demanded an explanation. I briefed him and this is what he responded with:

“Okay, it’s like this: You went to the supermarket and grabbed a big piece of chicken. You paid for it at the register. Now you’ve come home with it. Should you cut it in pieces? And how many pieces? Then, how should you cook it, hmm? Stir-fry it? Bake it?…. Guess what? It’s your f***ing chicken! You can do whatever you want with it. It’s up to you.”

My affinity for creating weird metaphors is definitely hereditary.

(I think I should clarify that I actually have never heard my dad swear in my entire life, although seriously sometimes it’s needed for emphasis.)


“Never get into a physical fight with anyone in their own home. They would know where the knives are.”

And now you know.


If you plan on taking any of these tips from my dad, PLEASE let me know in the comments section so I can tell him and make him super happy.

I Have Type A Personality, and I’m Proud of It

I'm sorry that I messed up your book title, Foucault, but doesn't that sound much better with matching numbers of syllables?

According to today’s Wikipedia page, Type A personality means  “ambitious, rigidly organized…impatient, take on more than they can handle… obsessed with time management…hate both delays and ambivalence.”

I think a more vernacular and succinct definition is “over-achieving control freak.”

All my life people have been telling me I “care too much,” “take everything too seriously,” and “need to relax.” I don’t really resent it because I don’t think that’s negative at all (and I’ll relax once the issue is resolved, duh!). Why do anything if I am not going to put 100% into it? Why do anything that I care little about? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Trust me, I don’t like worrying about the future either but I do it because I am actively trying to steer its course towards the way I want it. I make lists so I am less likely to forget anything. I keep an agenda so I can plan days and weeks in advance. The whole point of planning ahead to me is that appointments, reservations, and social engagements will work out without wasting anyone’s time and effort.

It’s not that I don’t like spontaneity. If someone says “keep next Friday night open because I’m surprising you with something,” I’m totally up for that! What I dislike is when someone refuses to make a commitment with wishy-washy language, because then they occupy an available slot that could be booked for something else with more certainty.

The other day I was talking to one of my best guy friends, Will. He’s a few years older than me and likes to think of himself as a real-life Ryan Gosling, so naturally I like to ask him for advice on what to text cute guys back, and then not listen to him most of time.

Of course, I went against his council again and he said “The way I see it, you got two ways you can go: You can try to fight your Type A, play the game, and try to get a dude that way. Or, just be you and at some point you will meet a super compatible dude who loves how forward and plan-tastic you are…That second route is probably better in the long run, just might take more time.

Cue huge relief of heavy sigh here. It is so refreshing to hear the opposite of “You’re too _____ and need to change” finally. At this point in my life, it is too late for me to mold myself in a way that I do NOT like. Don’t get me wrong- I love to better myself and aim for improvement all the time, but if I don’t want to see myself going in a particular direction, then why should I?

My unofficial personal motto is “All or Nothing.” And I am sticking to it. My blood type is even Type A, btw. What a coincidence, right?

Take it or leave it,


Amazing Life Advice from Older and Wiser Ladies

I am trying to take a peek at a store that has not opened yet. This pretty much sums up my attitude in life.

Last week thanks to my job, I had the chance to hang out with twenty women who are mostly mothers for a whole day. I know, don’t be too jealous of me. They were bloggers we invited to an event for Method who makes green cleaning products. These ladies were inspiring with how much they do and how well they do it. As more wine started flowing, I think I actually told some of them that they were role models. How embarrassing!

Anyway, over this course of time, many of them bestowed some valuable life lessons upon me, which I happily and gratefully accepted. I also heard some stories about being pregnant and giving birth, but you can Google those.

This couldn’t have come at a better time since I just turned the age of 24, AND found a strand of grey hair on myself for the first time ever a few weeks ago. Almost everyone’s reaction when they found out how young I am is “Wow, 24! That’s a wonderful age!” But many women slightly older than me have said that quarter life crisis, just like midlife crisis, comes in waves and may last for years. Needless to say, I’m a bit freaked out and scared.

Overall, the ladies told me to not worry so much. I am a Type A person who tries to plan everything in her life, from miniscule things like working out on which weekdays to far away schemes like where I plan to live when I’m 30. Of course, the majority of my meticulous plans fall through, but I can’t help making to do lists, both on paper and in my head.

Many of these smart women admitted that they had similar perspective when they were my age, but gradually came to realize that there’s no point in trying to plan something before the situation arises because you can’t predict the future. Life has turned out SO differently than what they imagined years ago, but they wouldn’t want it any other way. So just deal with making decisions as the choices appear, and not get stressed about them beforehand.

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Wise Words From My Amazing Friends: Yasya on Choosing in Dating

To continue on the theme of previous post….

When I had the fortune of living with Yasya, I often referred to her as “my voice of reason” only half jokingly. Unlike most other people, she would never just tell me “it’s going to be ok” in times of difficulty without providing practical ways to make things better. When I’m conflicted, she offers realistic points of view without sugarcoating.

Here’s how Yasya told it like it was after one of my earlier breakups:

Every woman tries to improve her man in some way- That’s just how we show our affection. But you’re supposed to take a good man and turn him into a great man. Trying to change a broken, crappy person is too much of a leap and therefore, will result in failure.

Yasya is now engaged to a wonderful man named Steve, who gives the best hugs ever.



Wise Words From My Amazing Friends: Adam on Karma

I’ve been keeping a personal notebook for the past 5 years. Some pages are filled with quotations from people I know, and they’re as deep as those by famed authors or ancient philosophers.

Adam Plans told me this one day:

If you keep focusing on what others deserve for their bad behavior, you’d overlook your own life and happiness. Don’t stop believing what you do is good. Be proud of the things you do and be happy that you treat others well.

You can read his tweets @From_Adam.

Happy Friday!