The other day, I was with some friends and we caught glance of a little occurrence by these strangers and for some reason found them SO funny. It was so funny to us that we just couldn't stop laughing, even as we were trying to explain what we saw. When we finally caught our breath, the explanation of what we saw sounds ridiculous because it seems like a completely normal situation that wouldn't be funny at all.

My friend saw a guy that waved hi to someone and dropped his cup and I saw someone eating pizza in an odd way and both times we couldn't stop laughing. Even though it seemed silly, having that moment made us feel happy. My friend said something along the lines of "you have to appreciate the little things" as an explanation for our intense laughter over normal things.

And that's true. You have to appreciate the little things.

So I want to take a moment to reflect on the little victories that I had this week. Whenever these tiny victories occur, I always want to share them with people because I'm so excited. Sometimes I share them with friends and family and other times I don't. Why don't I share them? Because I sometimes feel that they're so small that they're not so significant. But that's wrong. They are.

Related: Why You Shouldn't Skip Celebration Of Your Accomplishments

So right now I'm going to share all those little victories with you to appreciate the little things.

One. I finally understood the concepts from class!

While this seems pretty simple since you should always understand the concepts from class (thus the point of education), there's one class in particular that I had a lot of trouble following. Everything felt so abstract and like a whole different language and somehow everyone else understood it but I didn't. I left class that day feeling so lost. At my discussion, I felt like I understood it a bit more, but I still didn't feel that great about it. However, when I went home and revisited the concepts, I finally understood it. I was able to do the practice problems without any help and I felt like I was really beginning to understand it. Understanding it made me feel so smart, even though I definitely understood it later than other people did, and made me feel better about the class, thus the little victory.

Two. I did well on a test!

While it wasn't some big midterm that was worth 25% of my grade, I did much better on a test than expected. It was a good reminder to me that yes, I am capable of doing well academically. When we get bad grades, we often spiral, thinking that these grades define us, but we never give ourselves enough credit when we do well.

Three. I went to brunch with new friends and had a good time!

You know how sometimes you meet people and you say "we should meet up again sometime!" and never do? Well I actually met up with these people! We went to brunch at a Thai place and got to try lots of different and less traditional brunch foods. At the end of the day, I found myself feeling really happy and thinking "I had a great day", which is always a plus. Moral of the story: don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask them to meet up - it can be lots of fun and it's more likely than not that they're interested in meeting up again.

Four. I worked out!

I always struggle with getting myself to exercise and for me any form of working out is a success. I've been trying to get myself to do some kind of exercise (at any intensity) per week and last week I may or may not have skipped a workout. This week, I went to a pilates class and got my workout in for the week. It may not seem like a lot (because it isn't) but we're making progress and it's better than not at all. To me, this is a victory.

What are some little victories that you had this week?

Coming up with great gifts for the holiday season can be tough. I always spend forever looking online for the perfect gift. It's always the hardest for me to come up with gifts for my family.

Unlike with friends, returning gifts is usually okay, we just want to make sure that the gift is actually something that they can use and enjoy. However, for my dad, this always means that if it's something that he thinks he doesn't "need" even though he can still enjoy it, he wants to return it. This makes it SO difficult to find something good.

However, as I've been brainstorming Christmas gift ideas, I'm getting more into the idea of getting "experience" gifts for friends and family.

Why get "experience" gifts?

Let's be real, we all tend to buy ourselves a lot of things. When I see something that I want, if it's within a reasonable price, I'll buy it for myself. However, I always hesitate when it comes to a pricier and more specialty experience.

For example, I love cooking and baking, but the prices of cooking and baking classes tend to be a bit higher, so I probably wouldn't pay for that myself, and if I did it would be very infrequent. I would tell myself that I could get the same experience at home. And while that may be true that I could get a similar experience, when I finally got around to taking a class at Sur La Table, it practically made my day and it was such an incredible experience that I'm not sure I could have recreated exactly at home.

The point is that this experience was unique and enjoyable. I have the photos and the happy memories of it. And to me, that feels like a pretty good gift.

An experience gift might be something that the person would never pay for themselves, but you know that they would nevertheless enjoy. Because of that, you know that this gift will be more out of the box and also it wouldn't just be another gift to add to the pile of returns and you wouldn't really worry about whether or not they would find use to the gift in the long term. Unlike tangible gifts, an experience gift isn't about use, it's about treating yourself to something a little bit different.

What are some experience gifts you can get someone?

I've been brainstorming ideas as I've been considering gifts for friends and family and here are a few that I've thought of:

  • Cooking class
  • Facial
  • Massage
  • Craft beer tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Fancy exercise classes
  • Art classes (painting, pottery, etc.)
  • Photography classes
  • Show tickets (play, musical, concert, etc.)
For more, here's a website that I found that has a ton of great experience gift options. 

Happy gifting!

I wish that I could say that I was one of those people that made friends easily and was a social butterfly but I'm not. One thing that I always wished that I had was charisma. I wish that I could be one of those people that easily talks to everyone, makes friends quickly, and is generally likeable. However, things are not that simple for me.

There have been so many times that I have been in a conversation and said something and immediately thought, "wow I hate myself, why did I say that?" There are times that I have been sitting in a conversation, racking my brain for what I should say next, not knowing what to say.

To prove to you that yes, I'm socially awkward, here are 3 things that scare me about socializing.

3 Things That Scare Me About Socializing

People judging what I say

I'm find myself feeling awkward because I am worried that people will judge what I say. I have a bad habit of changing the way that I act depending on the people around me. As a result, I'm careful with what I say around new people because I'm not exactly sure how to act. I want to be liked and I want to say the right thing, even though I know that there is no "right thing" to say.

Being viewed as "not cool"

This kind of links with people judging what I say, but I'm worried that if I "be myself" people might view me as lame. I'm the kind of person that likes nights in, likes sleeping early, and likes doing grandma activities. For most people my age, these are not the ideal activities. That's not to say that there aren't people that find those things cool like I do, I noticed that a lot of the blogging community is really into that. However, in my day to day life I encounter more people that are night owls that want to go out and party that would view my lifestyle as boring.

Seeming clingy

I always get the feeling that people don't really feel like talking to me, even though they probably don't mind. I think that I shouldn't bother them and when I talk to someone for a long time, I worry that I'm being too clingy. In fact, even after I meet someone, I'm scared to reach out in the fear of being clingy. I don't want to annoy them, so I just don't reach out at all. This is kind of an unnecessary fear because I love when people reach out to me. Sure, there are some times that I feel that people are being a bit clingy, but for the most part I appreciate it. Despite that appreciation, it still feels clingy to reach out and that feeling always stops me from doing so.

So what?

When you look at the list of all the things that scare me about socializing, they all seem a little irrational. They seem like silly things that I shouldn't be worrying about. After all, they're not that big of a deal. The thing about being socially awkward is that it is a little irrational, it's really just all in your head. It's the fears that make those awkward moments.

Whenever I stop having the fears of being socially awkward is when I socialize best. When the fears go away I have the best time. When I begin feeling comfortable to be myself I have a good time and genuinely enjoy social activities.

The fears hold you back.

So we've established that yes, indeed, I am socially awkward and scared to socialize. And I hate it. As a result, I've been trying to take actions to be a little more social. This means that I'm trying to go places alone (without the safety blanket of a friend) and socialize and make new potential friends.

I try not to let me fears stop me from making friends, building relationships, and being happier.

So when I started to write this post I wanted to make a list of a few things that I did recently that were socially awkward to further prove how terrible I am at socializing. I wanted to write a post about how you are not alone in your awkwardness, but as I write this I am beginning to realize that it's not just that you are not alone, it's that your awkwardness means less than you think it does.

When I tried to think about all the recent awkward moments that occurred, I cannot remember specifically what I actually said or what made the conversation "awkward". I can't remember any specific moment of me actually being awkward, even though there were many (many) moments.

Maybe there have been a few things that I said that I wished I didn't and maybe I mulled over those words for a few days, but that was just in the short term. In the long term, I really cannot remember, even if I try. I don't doubt that there were those moments, they were just never as impactful as I thought they were in the moment.

In the big picture, the little awkward moments are never the things that people remember.

The thing about being socially awkward is that the only way to not be socially awkward is to face your fear and socialize more. As a result, I know that I will have many more socially awkward moments. But that's okay. I know that the little awkward moments are nothing to be ashamed of.

The truth is that everyone is awkward. Socializing is difficult. The good thing is that no one (including you, eventually) will remember those awkward moments. They're just a flash of awkwardness every now and then but they are not forever.

Do not be afraid to be socially awkward. Everyone is every now and then, maybe even the most charismatic people you know. At the end of the day, you will not remember those little awkward moments, only the best times that you had when all those fears faded away. So if you're like me and feeling socially awkward, go out, make friends, mingle, and face your fears.
Ahh yes, the Instagrammable Museum of Ice Cream. If you haven't heard of it before, the Museum of Ice Cream is a museum centered around (you guessed it!) ice cream and other insta-worthy installations. The museum is permanently located in San Francisco, but they have done pop ups in other locations.

I've seen it on the feed before and it's been on my list for one of the places to stop by - and now I have! Here are some of the photos from the visit and notes for if you're interested in going.

getting there

This is a heads up: you NEED to purchase tickets ahead of time online. You cannot buy tickets at the door. When you purchase the tickets, you will need to select a certain time slot for your visit. I bought the tickets approximately a week before visiting and had no problems picking a time slot, all the time slots were open. 

notes about the visit

the lighting is oddly not as good as you would expect.

For a museum full of Instagrammable things, you would expect really great lighting. While the lighting isn't necessarily bad, it's not great either. Everything looks great in person but the lighting doesn't always translate well on camera. 

you get ice cream!

When I visited, there were 4 opportunities for ice cream. You get a small ice cream scoop of any of the Museum of Ice Cream flavors, a mochi ice cream, a popsicle, and some soft serve. I thought that it was a good amount of ice cream, each time was a small portion but it added up. It was really nice to get to try different flavors and it was always exciting when you walked into a room and they offered you ice cream. My favorite was the mochi. 

you only get three minutes in the sprinkle pool

The sprinkle pool, which is a four foot pool filled with sprinkles where you can dive into, is a fan favorite of the Museum of Ice Cream. Unfortunately, you only get 3 minutes (exactly 3 minutes, they time you) to get those cute photos and have fun in the pool. This was a little disappointing to me because I would have enjoyed a little more time there. 

is it worth the money?

I was apprehensive to visit because it is a little pricey at $38 per ticket. I had a student discount, which helped (it wasn't much but it was something). If you're thinking about visiting the Museum of Ice Cream, I think that it's worth it if you're interested. It's a fun experience and makes for some cute photos. The ice cream is a bonus, but the real attraction is the aesthetic. 

However, if you don't want to pay the fee, it's not the end of the day either. The photos taken by the Museum of Ice Cream on their Instagram account are GORGEOUS and really capture how it looks in person. Honestly, I don't think that my photos do it justice. You can look in awe at those photos which really show off the best parts of the museum. 

Two months ago, I wrote a post in which I followed Marie Kondo's KonMari method to clean my closet. In order to understand this post, I HIGHLY recommend that you go and read the post, I Followed Marie Kondo's KonMari Method To Clean My Closet And This Is What Happened, first. It went through the process of me learning the KonMari method, beginning to apply it, and what I liked and didn't like about it.

In the process, I learned a few things about decluttering, something that I think was SO useful, but there's one very important thing that we need to discuss: did that decluttering stick?

The thing about decluttering is that I do it every now and then in big batches, but I can never really stick with it. It'll be clean for a short while and then go back to the mess that it was before. Therefore while I may have started introducing the KonMari method into my life, I wasn't sure if it would stick.

So here we are, two months later, revisiting the KonMari decluttering method to see if it really stuck.

Within the past two months, I did go back to school, so the environment is a little different. In the last post in which I cleaned my closet, I cleaned my closet at home. As a result, I'm kind of starting over in the decluttering process. Therefore it's a great way to see if this will stick even when I need to restart.

Here are things from the KonMari method that I still do now.

I use the folding method.

When I first started using the KonMari folding method, I was so shocked as to how effective it was in utilizing the space and being more functional for long term tidiness. As a result, I still use the KonMari folding method. I don't fold as pristinely as I did before, mostly because when I do laundry it can feel tedious to have to fold so many clothes so well all the time. If I'm too lazy to fold them nicely, sometimes I'll leave some clothes on top messily folded instead of the neat horizontal manner. However, for the most part, I still use the folding method and have great appreciation for it due to the tidiness and the space saving qualities of it.

Use the spark joy method.

I like the spark joy method and I like to consider it when I purchase new things. I should only purchase things that I know will spark joy and be useful in my life.

Here are things that I don't do.

I (still) don't do the hanging method.

When we last talked about the KonMari method, I complained about how I didn't like the method of putting the clothes in the closet with the heaviest clothes on the left and the lightest on the right. I decided to disregard that method and I still haven't changed my mind. I'm happy with the way that things are, which is actually the opposite, with the lightest clothes on the left and the heaviest clothes on the right.

Use the spark joy method.

You might have noticed that I marked this as something that I do and I don't. That's because I do use the spark joy method when I get things - I try and think about whether or not the item I purchase will spark joy, but the thing that I don't really do is use it to discard things. When I discard things, I do still use the spark joy method, but I don't do it regularly. I only discard things in batches, whenever I'm trying to do a deep clean. As a result, I do use the spark joy method but not regularly.

This means that I tend to accumulate a lot of things and hoard them because I refuse to let go of them even though they no longer "spark joy".

Other things I now do to declutter

I'm pretty sure that none of these are picked up from the Marie Kondo method, but rather a different environment (being at home vs. school). A while ago, I tried Gretchen Rubin's clean up method of 5 minute tidying. Since I did that post, I have to admit that I haven't really stuck with it. However, I've noticed that recently, I've been beginning to do it more often. During the day, I'll do a quick little clean up, nothing major, and I find that my space on average is pretty clean and neat.

This is an idea that is echoed in the KonMari method, continuous tidying up so that you never really have to do a huge clean up purge. I still think that for discarding, I will need to do a big purge of a lot of things that no longer spark joy, but for general tidiness, I am now seeing that with a few minutes here and there, the place can stay tidy on a day to day basis.

Does the KonMari Method of Tidying Up Work Long Term?

4 Ways To Be More Social

I am a shy introvert. This means that I not only prefer being alone, but even with other people I find myself to be quite reserved. I mentioned before about my lack of social charisma, but I've found that just because I'm not charismatic does not mean that I can't be successfully social.

I've tried my fair share of tricks to try and get out of my comfort zone and talk to people. Here are some tricks that I've found can be useful in forcing yourself to be more social.

Ask a question

Asking a question is a great way to approach someone in an indirect way. It's a lot less intimidating than simply walking up and introducing yourself. The other night, I was at a party with a friend. She walked up to some random people and asked them which type of popcorn was the best type. They responded and then ended up starting a conversation with us. It's an easy way to start up a conversation that does not seem super direct and is a very "low-risk" situation if you get nervous (like I do) about talking to someone.

Join a recreational class that you don't know other people in

I always like socializing in an activity format. This means that there's something other to do besides just talking to people. This might mean an exercise class, a cooking class, a painting class, whatever fits your own interests. The good thing about the class is that them being there means that they might already have a common interest, you both picked the class after all. Additionally, it's nice to have something to do or something to talk about. You can ask people about what to do next in the activity, if they've done it before, bond over how difficult (or not) the activity is, and so on. Moreover, if you don't find anyone you click with much, then no worries, at least you got something out of it.

Enter existing conversations

Here's a confession. I eavesdrop. I always listen in on other people's conversations and it's so fun. However, I've found that you can turn eavesdropping from creepy to social by entering the conversation. You can say something like "I couldn't help but over hear _____, but...." to enter a new conversation. All it takes is a little confidence and self motivation to step out of your comfort zone to do so.

Initiate a meetup or conversation.

Once you get past the hellos and small talk, again seeing the person you clicked with might not happen. Sure, you can get great at meeting new people, but forming friendships need more time. As a result, don't be afraid to reach out. Invite someone to get coffee, grab lunch, or just send a "hi" to initiate conversation. With texting and social media, it's easier to casually ask people to social events with minimal effort. While this is something that I tend to be nervous to do (aka me worrying if I seem to clingy) I love when people invite me to things. suggesting that people will appreciate you reaching out more than you think. Don't overthink it.

Netflix is bringing back rom-coms and making some new ones (to add to the list of classics that we've watched over and over again) and I am ALL FOR IT. I love a good rom-com, they're kind of my guilty pleasure for movies. As a result, I find myself searching for some new great ones and revisiting the classics all the time.

Here are a few rom coms that I love (aka have seen multiple times and still enjoy) that you will too.

one + two. Princess Diaries and Princess Diaries 2

what they're about
The Princess Diaries movies (and books) are about San Franciscan teenager Mia Thermopolis discovering that she is actually a princess of a small European country, Genovia. The first movie goes through the shock and discovery of her being a princess and the guidance from her grandmother, Clarice in the process. The second movie brings Mia to Genovia a few years later when she discovers that in order to be crowned Queen, she must marry. Mia has to rush to try and find a husband while dealing with the news that someone else is trying to steal the crown. 

why i liked them
Princess Diaries was one of those movies that I watched a long time ago when I was younger and it's still just as good now. Whenever I watch the movies, it's like I have that nostalgia for those iconic moments (mattress surfing, the makeover scene, the foot pop) which is super enjoyable, but I still feel engaged in every minute each time I watch it. Honestly the Princess Diaries is less about the romantic part, I'm not sure if it really classifies as a rom-com but hey there's romance in there, it's really about like getting to know and love Mia because she's a pretty awesome character. 

three. 13 Going on 30

what it's about
13 year old Jenna Rink wants to fit in with the popular girls and date the hot popular guy. She reads a magazine about being thirty, flirty, and thriving, and enamored with the idea of being thirty, wishes that she would too be thirty, flirty and thriving - and her wish comes true. Jenna wakes up to be thirty years old, friends with the popular girl at school, dating a hockey player, and in her dream job at Poise Magazine. The movie follows Jenna's realizations as a thirteen year old trying to discover what it's like being an adult. 

why i liked it
13 Going on 30 is really funny, there's a lot of great humor moments with Jenna discovering things about being an adult and not being 13 anymore that really makes the movie. 

four. 10 Things I Hate About You

what it's about
10 Things I Hate About You follows the story of Kat Stratford, a rebellious teenager who refuses to date. On the other hand, Kat's sister, Bianca, really wants to date, but their father says that Bianca cannot date until Kat does. Cameron James, a new kid at school that is crushing on Bianca, comes up with a plan to set Kat up with bad boy Patrick Verona so that he can date Bianca. 

why i liked it
One of the things that I like about 10 Things I Hate About You is that the main character, Kat, isn't your typical rom-com lead. Kat isn't the clumsy and quirky girl that leads a lot of rom-coms, but she's still super likeable. There's fantastic chemistry between Kat and Patrick (Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger) and it will make you laugh, cry, and smile. 

five. All The Boys I've Loved Before

what it's about
All The Boys I've Loved Before is about teenager Lara Jean, who writes letters to her crushes (aka all the boys she has ever loved) when they are so overwhelmingly powerful that she needs just needs to express her feelings. One day, the letters get sent out to all five of the boys: Peter, childhood friend and popular guy at school, John Ambrose McClaren from model UN, Kenny, who she went to camp with, Lucas, the boy she went to homecoming with, and Josh, her older sister's boyfriend. The movie (and book! it was based on a book) follows Lara Jean as she deals with the chaos from the letters coming out. 

why i liked it
Before All the Boys I Loved Before came out, I heard a lot of buzz and excitement over having an Asian lead in a rom-com, which also came with a lot of excitement from the all-Asian cast of Crazy Rich Asians. While I think that it's fantastic to have Lara Condor, an Asian actress, as the lead, it wasn't just the fact that there was an Asian lead that drew me to this movie, it was the movie itself as well. I thought the trailer was so well done, it gave away enough about the movie to me that I was compelled and also left a lot unknown. After watching the trailer, all I was thinking was "What's next? What's going to happen with the letters?" And the movie delivered. It was cute and enjoyable, all you need in a good rom-com. However, I noticed some parts of the movie that could have been confusing if you didn't read the book. I did, but there were some things touched on that weren't really fleshed out that seemed awkward to me if you didn't know the context from the book.

Honorable mentions:

27 Dresses

27 Dresses is pretty enjoyable and a fun movie to watch. I think I've seen it maybe twice, so I liked it enough to watch it again, but it's an honorable mention because I just didn't find it as touching as some of the other movies above.


One of the classics for a reason. However, the only reason why it's an honorable mention is because it makes me a little uncomfortable that Josh is Cher's ex-stepbrother. Aside from that, it's a great movie.

The Proposal

The Proposal is super cute and funny. It wasn't the kind of movie that I've watched over and over like some of the previously mentioned movies, but it's sweet and definitely worth a watch.

The food I eat isn't really that healthy. I am aware of it and I know that it is something that has to change. However, I'm not the kind of person that wants to adhere to a specific diet or rules, I just want to try and have general healthy eating habits.

As a result, I decided to try tracking what I eat for a week. My initial mentality would be that by tracking myself, I would be more inclined to eat better food so that I would be able to record that food, kind of like an extra motivation. I noticed that when I did an exercise log when I tried bullet journaling, I was more inclined to exercise so that I would be able to fill up my log in my journal, so I was hoping that tracking my food consumption would do something similar: encourage healthy eating habits.

However, while I had my own motivations, I was curious as to what other people thought regarding tracking food consumption.

According to Bon Appetit's healthyish, keeping a food log can make you more mindful of your food intake, potentially double a person's weight loss, understand what's making you feel the way that you feel, and just have a bit more accountability in what you eat.

Read more: Healthyish - How to Keep a Food Journal Without Losing Your Mind

In order to track my eating habits, I didn't quite know where to start. Should I just write down everything that I ate and leave it at that? Or did I need to record all the nutrition facts of everything? Should I make an excel document? A general list?

Overwhelmed, I realized that there was an easier solution. There are apps for literally anything nowadays, so I turned to the app store and found the app, Lifesum, that can track your diet. Because I'm cheap and I didn't pay for the full capabilities, I had a very limited view of what I was eating. I could mostly only see the calorie consumption, but I couldn't really see the breakdowns of what was in what I ate (aka how much fiber, saturated vs. unsaturated fats, sodium, etc.) so it was slightly limited.

what I realized throughout the week

On the first day, I also found myself surprised that I ate more than the recommended calorie consumption. The app generate a recommended calorie consumption, I'm assuming it's based off of your age, height, and weight, and mine suggested 1727 daily calories. On the first day of the week, I ate 2093 calories, which was quite a bit over the suggested amount. That really surprised me because generally when I go out to eat with people, people tell me that I didn't eat a lot and I often eat the least out of the group.

I Tracked What I Ate for a Week
The Lifesum app

Granted, it could be that there were difficulties tracking the calories, but nevertheless I felt more aware of how much food I was putting into my body because I found myself making an effort to eat a little bit less the next day. Moreover, I felt more motivated to exercise, mostly because when you exercise I a) get to document it, which makes me feel good about myself, and b) the app increases the amount of calories that you should eat (because you burned some), thus allowing myself to feel better about eating more.
penne with basil, tomato sauce, and ricotta

As a result, I felt like I was hyper-aware of my calorie consumption. I probably wasn't even looking much at how healthy the food I was eating was, I felt myself really zoning in on calories only, which isn't what I intended to occur in this experience. While it was good that I was becoming more aware of the possibilities of overeating and taking measures to prevent it, it felt wrong that I was focusing so much on calories when there were so many other indicators of a healthy diet.

However, the good thing was that in order to cut back on calories, I found myself actively avoiding having extra sweets such as sugary drinks and ice cream.

During the week, I was craving ice cream, but I didn't eat it because I didn't want to have to document the ice cream, thus increasing my calorie count. Therefore it was beneficial in discouraging unhealthy eating and indulgent treats.

On the other hand, a downside would also be that I felt a little confused regarding the calories. There were some days that the app stated that I had already overeaten, but I still found myself to be hungry. I'm not sure if it's because I was simply used to overeating, but I usually use a rule of thumb that if I'm hungry, I should eat. I think that it may be due to the types of food that I was eating rather than the amount. There are some kinds of food that keep you full longer (protein, complex carbohydrates) and some that you can burn faster (simple sugars) and I think that is something that I didn't really take into account much throughout the week.

issues that I encountered

On the first day, I realized that it was quite difficult to accurately track the exact amount of calories. I had gone out for breakfast with some friends, meaning that I had eaten something that I did not know the exact nutrition facts for. It was also difficult to gauge the exact amount of food that I had consumed. Yes, I had eaten 3 pancakes, but the size of those pancakes were relative. How many grams or ounces had I eaten? I wasn't really sure.

personal pizza topped with sausage and basil
Another problem that I encountered while recording what I ate was that it was difficult to pinpoint the extra calories by sauces, seasoning, and other additional aspects, especially for restaurant food. For example, I could record that I ate grilled chicken, but I didn't know exactly what was on the chicken because I didn't have the nutrition facts from the restaurant. As a result, the tracking that I did in terms of the calorie, protein, fat, and carb intake, is not the most reliable, but rather it is simply an estimate.

Additionally, I found that the app was a little deceiving. The Lifesum app gives each of your meals and the things that you eat a rating. Because I have the free version of the app, I do not know what goes into that rating.

The app ranked my breakfast of chocolate chip cakes as the best rating. I'm not sure if it's because the calorie amount was right or it thought that chocolate chip pancakes were healthy, but surely they're not very healthy. I knew that when I ate them and I was expecting the app to be mad at me for eating something so indulgent, which is why I was so confused by the rating. I noticed that issue pop up more times throughout the week, but I'm not going to go too in depth with that because this isn't a post about the app, but rather the process of tracking what I ate.

Lastly, it was difficult to really gauge how many calories I had burned. I usually just clicked the full body workout option when the app asked me to describe my workout, but a problem was that the only way to track it would be through how long your workout was. I couldn't document if it was cardio, strength training, high intensity, low intensity, and other indicators.

the takeaway

I've done quite a few "lifestyle challenges" on this blog before and one of the most difficult things of them is often getting into the habit. This was the problem when I tried bullet journaling and meditating. However, this habit of tracking my food was one of the easiest changes. I found myself easily remembering to track my food and I even looked forward to it, especially when I ate food that was healthy. Even after the week was over, I still found myself itching to note down what I ate. It easily became a habit.

I think that what I realized is that a healthy diet is quite complex. It's a difficult balance of eating the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats, as well as eating the right kinds of protein, carbs, and fats, along with the calories as a whole. I wish that while I was tracking the app I could become more aware of more specific things like fiber consumption and complex carbohydrates vs. simple ones, because I think that those are also important indicators of a healthy diet.

should you track what you eat?

I think that it is a very personal decision. Going into this, I didn't want to be the kind of person that became obsessive about calories and dieting, which is why I was a little nervous about beginning to track my diet. I never want to be that kind of person. I enjoy eating, I am not looking to lose any weight, and I am frankly uninterested in dieting. However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to eat healthier for my own body's sake.

Self care is more than just putting on a face mask and lighting candles, it's about taking proper care of your mind and body – and what you eat affects your body. 

As a result, I think that I am gaining a new appreciation for having a food log and may even continue using one. It provided me with some interesting realizations and a new outlook on food tracking. For example, I learned that I am overeating, which is something that I hadn't even realized before. I felt more motivated to exercise, which is always a good thing. I was more aware of the kinds of food that I was eating and felt excited to eat healthier with the extra incentive of getting to record it with pride.

Throughout this week, I have definitely seen the benefits of tracking your food consumption. 

I think that it is worth giving a try if you are interested in the following and take it with a grain of salt. I've had quite a few issues throughout the week that indicate that there can be some issues with the app and the tracking method that you use, I think you just have to be aware of that. While the app might not think that chocolate chip pancakes probably aren't the healthiest eating option, I am aware of that and I understand that. As a result, it's important to also be aware that there are many indicators of the health of certain foods beyond just the calories.

At the end of the day, if you choose to track what you eat, it is not impossible to feel the benefits and discover a newfound mindfulness of what you eat. You just have to understand that the data does not define you and also be aware that the data is an estimate, not the end-all be-all.

It's August, which means that school is starting pretty soon. I'm in that mode right now where it's like I know that I'm heading back to school but it hasn't really set in yet, but I keep trying to prepare myself for going to school by telling myself all these things that I intend to do when I get there.

However, it had always just been in my mind, some things popping up and fading away like afterthoughts. The other day, I was listening to Spotify when an ad came on. It was an ad for post its and it stated that you're more likely to get things done if you write them down. As a result, I decided that it was about time that I put those ideas on paper. These are my new school year resolutions.

Related: Why You NEED New School Year Resolutions

01 | start being fearlessly me.

One of the things that I tend to do is choose to do all the things that other people are doing in a desire to fit in. This school year, I intend to try and do things because I want to. I need to stop waiting around to take cues from other people and start paving my own path. This might mean that I stand beside my own principles even if they are different from others' or it might mean that I stop being embarrassed of things that I think others will perceive negative.

02 | take more initiative.

I thought about writing this as "be more assertive" but that can be construed as negative. This relates to #1 in a sense that I want to take more initiate and assert myself as me more, but I want to not only be able to act like myself and be myself, but I also want to be able to be unafraid to assert my own opinions and my own rules.

03 | get involved more. 

I'm lazy. I'm a lazy person. I don't like getting involved, I like to do the things that I'm already comfortable in. This new school year, I intend to get more involved - whether that means in general activities, academics, social life, I intend to start getting out and taking more action.

04 | be more social.

One of the things that I feel that I am terrible at is being social. One of my friends mentioned that we're (meaning me and her) are kind of homebodies. We like to be at home, relax, be comfortable, and spend a lot of time by ourselves, as we're both introverts. There's nothing wrong with that, but I feel that this leads me to being very insecure about my social abilities. I can't tell you how many times I've said things and immediately after I've thought "Wow that was terrible I hate myself" or how many times that I've felt awkward socializing with people. I want to start shedding that awkwardness and learning to be more comfortable being social.

05 | take advantage of my own education.

Even though we complain about it, everyone at school is there for a reason. I definitely feel like I take education for granted and I want to stop doing that. It's about time that I appreciate the fact that I can have an education and take advantage of all the benefits. This means that I intend to be more active in class and not let myself slack (aka skip classes and get lazy on assignments). I understand that this may be a little optimistic as I'm probably still going to slack sometimes (you need some balance!) but I want to have that reminder in my head for those times that I am beginning to get lazy.

06 | take proper care of myself.

Along with taking advantage of my own education, I have to make sure that I don't let my education burn myself out. I want to start exercising more often and do some yoga as a nice refresher from all the school stuff. I guess that I just want to remind myself that a part of not taking my education for granted would also be not taking myself for granted. There are ways that I put myself first in a lot of ways, which I've mentioned a lot through self care blog posts, but there are still more ways that I can care for my body and my mind.

What are your new school year resolutions?

You know those clothes in your closet that you never really wear but whenever you get rid of your clothes you always look at it and say "these aren't bad" and keep them anyways? I have a lot of those kinds of clothes. They're like the clothes that don't quite fit your style anymore so you don't wear them on a day to day basis, but they're pretty nice clothes anyways that you feel like you might wear sometime.

Recently, I've been tidying up according to Marie Kondo's book, the life-changing magic of tidying up. Her philosophy is to get rid of anything that no longer sparks joy. However, I've been having a tough time letting go of a lot of my things, thinking that maybe if I keep them, now that I remember having them, they may spark joy. So I decided to put that to the test and wear these items of clothing for a week to see if they're even worth keeping around.

Read more: I Followed Marie Kondo's KonMari Method to Tidy Up My Closet And This is What Happened

But let's be clear, the description for these types of clothes is long and awkward, so from now on throughout the post, I will be calling these "maybe keep" clothes. 

A couple of months ago, I had an idea to do a post on me wearing my least loved clothes from my closet for a week, aka doing head to toe items that I didn't really like wearing anymore but I still kept around, but I just felt so uncomfortable and not like myself. I felt like my past self, which discounted a lot of my confidence because I have grown and changed since I last wore those outfits. As a result, I'm going to be pairing them with clothes that I know that I do like, because I want to pair it realistically the way that I would if I decided to keep them. This means that I will probably have one "maybe keep" item per outfit.

To judge each item, I have a few methods of criteria for assessment:

1) Do I feel confident in it?
For me, confidence is key for what I wear. One of the main reasons why I'm so invested in fashion is because it has the power to make or break my day because it can have such a big impact on my mood and mindset. As a result, I want to only wear clothes that I feel good in and that make me feel confident.

Related: Why Does Fashion Matter?

2) Would I wear it again? Can I find other outfit possibilities for this item or does it only fit with this specific outfit?
Practicality is important for what I wear. There are some things in my closet that I absolutely love, but I rarely ever wear them. I want to have clothes that I can wear in different capacities, that I can style in different forms, and that can be worn more than once.

3) Lastly, will I keep this item?
Based off of the first two answers, I will decide the ultimate question that I am trying to answer: is it worth keeping or is it time to say goodbye to these items?

Day One

"Maybe keep" item: White lace top from Abercrombie (similar)

On the first day, I assessed this white lace top. It's from Abercrombie, which is a pretty good indicator of how long I've had it considering I got it during the elementary school to middle school Abercrombie phase that I think a lot of people had. I styled it first with a pair of paperbag pants (aka something trendy now that I'm super into) and then changed later into a pair of jeans. 

Do I feel confident in it?
I felt pretty confident in it. I felt a bit more confident in the first outfit with the paper bag pants, mostly because I love wearing that kind of pants. It surely did not make me as confident as some of the other items in my closet, an indicator of why I don't really wear it, but I still feel quite confident in it.

Would I wear it again?
I think that I would wear this top again. It's pretty easy to wear since it's just white. It's very easy to style and looks pretty timeless.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I think that I will. I can't say that I'm going to wear it all the time, but I do think that I should not get rid of it because I will wear it every now and then and I still feel pretty good in it. 

Day Two

"Maybe keep" items: Striped skirt from Marshalls (similar) and black mock neck top from Topshop (similar)
"Already love" items: watch from Daniel Wellington, necklace from Charming Charlie (similar), espadrilles from Alpagaratus (Spanish company, don't have the same color of these shoes) (similar)

Do I feel confident in it?
I didn't feel bad in this outfit, but I didn't feel spectacular in it either. When I put it on, I remembered why I don't really wear this skirt. I generally like to put my skirts at around the waist area. When I put it at the waist area, the skirt is very short to the point that I just feel uncomfortable. It just feels like the skirt is designed to be worn more at the hip area because then it would be a better length. As a result, I felt a little uncomfortable wearing it because I felt like I needed to keep pulling it down.

Would I wear it again?
I feel like I would not wear it again. For me, my main concern was less about the look of the skirt, because it really looks pretty decent, but just the comfort of wearing it. I don't want to have to wear something that I feel like I have to keep worrying about pulling down. It's just not really that practical for my needs.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I do not think that I will keep this skirt. It's just a little too short for my liking. 

Day Three

"Maybe keep" item: Plaid flannel from American Eagle
"Already love" items: watch from Daniel Wellington, scrunchie from Francesca's, leggings from Aerie, sneakers from Adidas

Do I feel confident in it?
I felt okay wearing this, I just felt rather content in terms of my confidence. I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel amazing either. However, the shirt is very comfortable, which made me feel a little bit better in it.

Would I wear it again?
I think that I would wear it again. It is very comfortable, which is the main reason why I wanted to give this shirt a second chance. It's the fact that the shirt looks pretty decent and feels comfy which makes it worth wearing again and adds extra practicality.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I think that I will keep this shirt. It's the kind of thing that is as comfortable as pajamas but looks good enough to wear out on a lazy day and I can still feel generally content in terms of my confidence and I think that those kinds of pieces still serve purpose in having.

Day Four

The main reason why I don't really like this romper is because I feel like the fit isn't that great. It's a little bit baggy, which is why I wear it with the belt. It's not so obvious that it looks awkwardly baggy, for example, it looks fine in the picture, but in real life the shape just isn't quite right. 

"Maybe keep" item: Romper from Forever 21 (similar)

Do I feel confident in it?
I felt decently confident in this romper. It's not really the kind of outfit that I'm excited to wear, but upon revisiting it I wouldn't say that I'm not confident when I wear it. There are things that I feel more confident in, but I wouldn't say that I feel bad in it either.

Would I wear it again?
I think that I would. It's pretty comfortable because it is kind of baggy and it looks pretty okay on me, despite my initial thoughts of it being too baggy.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I'm still on the fence about this item, but I'm leaning towards yes. This romper may not be my favorite item in my closet, but it doesn't mean that I shouldn't wear it and that I won't wear it. It's something that I still feel pretty good in, so to me it's worth keeping around.

Day Five

"Maybe keep" item: Bow top from Forever 21 (couldn't find a similar)

Do I feel confident in it?
I feel like the main reason that I don't really wear this top anymore is because it just doesn't fit my personal style anymore. I think that the top looks lovely and it was in fact one of my favorite shirts a few years ago. Looking at this photo, I think that this top looks great. It made me second guess why I didn't really wear it anymore. However, when I finally put it on to wear out, I just felt that it wasn't me. I guess that it wasn't that I did not feel confident in it, I felt okay in it. It just didn't feel right.

Would I wear it again?
I am not sure if I would wear it again. It just doesn't feel quite like me when I wear it. It can match with clothes in my wardrobe and I could style it in other ways, I just don't know if I want to.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I am very much on the fence for this. It is a gorgeous top and I like it, but it just doesn't really fit my personal style anymore. Per the Marie Kondo theory, I should let go of it because it served its purpose. It brought me joy then and it has done its job. However, I just feel bad getting rid of it because it is nice and I do like it. 

Day Six

"Maybe keep" items: Blue cardigan from Old Navy (similar), fruit dress from Aritzia (similar)

I remember when I first got this dress, I loved it. I was obsessed with the print of it and was so excited to wear it. However, I don't really wear it much anymore. I think that a large part of it is because I a) don't really have occasions to wear this and b) the skirt is a little short. 

Do I feel confident in them?
I feel relatively confident in it. I don't feel as confident in it as I did when I first bought it, I remember I was so happy when I first got it, but I don't necessarily feel bad in it either. I definitely feel more comfortable and like myself in it when I wear it with the sweater as opposed to just the dress on its own because I feel very exposed without the sweater. Therefore I do feel more confident in the cardigan, giving some brownie points to it.

Would I wear them again?
I'm not sure if I would keep the dress. The main reason that I don't wear it a lot in the first place is still true now. I just don't have occasions for me to wear it at. It also feels a little short, which I already mentioned being a reason for me being unsure about keeping it. As for the cardigan, I think that I would wear it again. Cardigans are so easy to match with things and are super practical for staying warm and comfortable.

Lastly, will I keep these items?
I am still unsure about the dress. The thing is that I do really like the look of it, but it's missing that practicality element. As for the cardigan, I think that I will keep it. I do like that it's a bit longer of a cardigan because I'm definitely into long cardigans now and I think that the reason that I stopped wearing it was because I was getting really into chunky knit cardigans at the time. However, this cardigan is a lot less bulky and warm and I think it could really come into use when the weather is a bit more in-between, like spring or fall. 

Day Seven

"Maybe keep" item: striped crop top from Forever 21 (similar)

I think that the main reason why I haven't really worn this top is because I haven't really been that comfortable in crop tops until recently, especially fitted ones. I generally like wearing more flowy crop tops, but this one is a bit more out of my comfort zone and I didn't like how it hitched up

Do I feel confident in it?
When I put this outfit on, I actually felt so confident and so good. Like seriously, I loved wearing this. I felt awesome. There's no doubt about it, I feel confident in this.

Would I wear it again?
I think that I would wear this top again, definitely with this outfit. I think the problem with this top is that it's a crop top and while I can wear it with high waisted jeans, it still shows a strip of skin that I don't really like/feel comfortable showing, so I can only wear it with super high waisted bottoms. I think that if I can find a maxi skirt, this top would look sooooo good with one.

Lastly, will I keep this item?
I think that it's worth keeping around, even if I only ever wear it with these pants, because I just felt really confident in this outfit. I'm only now becoming more comfortable in crop tops, so maybe I will become more comfortable wearing this in the future. 

What's the takeaway?

Fit your old clothes with your new clothes. Wearing all old clothes will make you feel like your old self, disrupting some of your confidence. You are growing and changing, so it only makes sense that your style would change as well to indicate that.

Just like the way that we change, a bit of the things that you liked in the past can still be liked in the present, as long as you find a way to merge it with your new lifestyle. It's like finding an old candle jar and repurposing it to become something else. It wouldn't look the exactly the same as it did before, but it is something a little bit different to fit your new needs. 

It's worth trying on old clothes that you're considering getting rid of because you can understand how they make you feel. 

There are some clothes that I thought that I might want to keep, but the second I tried them on, I realized that there was absolutely no way that I wanted to keep it. I tried on a pair of low waisted jeans that at first I thought I would keep, but then I realized that I hate low waisted jeans now. On the other hand, I tried on some things and I wondered why I never wore them because I find that I do like them today. However, you'll never know until you put those clothes on.