Thursday, August 30

It's not easy wearing green!

When I was in high school, green became my favorite color. I had green cardigans, shirts, everything. At a certain point, I felt like 30% of my closet was green.

Then, a few weeks ago, I discovered that kelly green was a color. Bloggers are so enabling when they all talk about the same few trends! I knew that green wasn't amazing on me (it makes me look green since I'm olive toned), but I still had to get a green polish. So here we are with Sinful Color's exotic green, purchased during a half off sale, of course! It stinks that this isn't work appropriate, but I think I'll be wearing this during the school year!

Tuesday, August 28

Random Baking Day

I got together with my friends and had a random baking day. It was chaos. And it was wonderful.

There are hershey's kisses inside these brownies. 

I don't really recall what these are. Mexican pretzels? So, they're dry in these cans... and if you stick them in the microwave, they puff up. I don't know if you've ever seen this before, but I was amazed. 

We also made snickerdoodles. 

So that's snickerdoodle cookie + dough in the middle. 

We created a new way of eating them. Take a piece of a cookie and dip it in a bit of dough... then dip it in a bit of the cinnamon... 

There's also banana muffins. Treats all around!

We left a bit of a disaster on the counter. 

Saturday, August 25

College Advice for College Seniors - From a College Graduate

This is the last in my series of advice for college, from a college graduate. I've made a ton of assumptions and this is only based on my personal conditions/values. Check out College Advice for College Freshmen - From a Graduate and College Advice for High School Seniors - From a Graduate

In my last post, Kim reminded me to talk about personal financial debt--an area I totally forgot about. Whether it's your parents' money or your money, spend wisely. This applies especially if it's loan money! If you're not careful, you can get into a lot of trouble with student loans. Defer payment, yes, but don't take 'em out because everyone else is. I don't have a ton of advice on this, but I bet your school has counselors with more experience.

Now, this guide is for college seniors. You've made it through 4 (or more? ...or maybe less) years of college. Where do you go from now? I myself just graduated and so I really can't give you advice as much as thinking out a few of your options. 

via knowyourmeme

Graduate School?

Graduate School is expensive and it's not necessary for every career, but this depends on a career by career basis. First, here's the wrong reason to go to graduate school--to delay working. If you can't find a job or would rather continue the familiar than work, going to Graduate School may not be the best idea. Are you waiting for the economy to get better or is that an excuse? Through the years I've seen that as such a common excuse (and used it myself). Secondly, if you're in a career where a graduate degree is necessary for future advancement, going to school right afterwards might be a good idea so you can get it out of the way. 

Start your Career?

I feel like a lot of students who aren't good at school escape into this option as well. While some of those who choose graduate school may want to delay work and keep at what they're good at, those who want to start their career could be trying something new because they know that they're not good at school. Unlike school, starting your career won't land you in debt but it might force you to return to school at a more inconvenient time in your life when you realize you need advance degrees for a promotion. Your bachelor's degree not only limits your upward mobility, it also limits the breadth of options. 

Get a Job?

A job means employment, but not quite the start of your career in your chosen field. In my opinion, a job is the best way to bridge a gap when you're not sure what you want to do (in terms of more school or starting a career). You earn money and support yourself while figuring things out! I think opportunities like the Peace Corp and Teach for America fit in this category. 

I know, that's such a short list! Anyone have any ideas about what you can do after graduating? I'm sure I missed a ton! 

Thursday, August 23

Silly ol' me!

I wanted to share this outfit to show the lovely blue shirt I was wearing underneath, but apparently, for these pictures, I decided to button everything up. Good job, self. Good freaking job. 

Shirt: Forever 21 (17.80)
Blazer: Love Culture (32.80)
Skirt: Tahari (40.00)
Shoes: Aldo Arnoldoa (70.00)

I like this look for a day at work, especially if you have a meeting or a more formal conference. I love wearing cardigans but blazers add a bit of warmth, if you need it, and a really easy layer of formality.

Blazers buttoned or unbuttoned at the office?

Tuesday, August 21

Noteworthy Pictures

Like almost every other blogger who got an iphone, I've been just taking pictures on my phone much more than I have been on my camera. So, cue the collection of twitter photographs. Visit @seven_percent if these pictures are really exciting!

Here's a bit of serendipity where, in a Sherlock Holmes story, Chapter 7 corresponded with The Solution. Just making my blog name all the more relevant. 

Starting in April, I think these bushes bloomed and I thought they were absolutely beautiful when I walked past them each day.

I'm definitely one of those girls who snaps pictures of food. ALL THE TIME. 

The one above and this one below are from Ncounter

Fishsticks and custard. If this is gross to you, you probably haven't seen Doctor Who. If this is still gross to you...have you tried it? Because it's not bad!

A black berry italian ice from Chloe's in Downtown Phoenix. The perfect blend of sweet and tart and fizzy. 

A oatmeal almond smoothie from the Mojo Food Truck. Seriously, seriously, seriously amazing. 

Saturday, August 18

Gamer Galore in Shanghai and Japanese Food in China

I don't know if I've never told you guys, but ever since watching Wil Wheaton's Tabletop I've been obsessed with board games. I've always like Sorry, Monopoly and Candyland but I've recently discovered more nerdy and less mainstream games. Does anyone play Settlers of Catan? I've been obsessed with that game. We came to this mall like place to visit a maid cafe, but I just saw so many board games advertised here.

There was a lot of this kind of gaming in addition to board games. 

A lot of manga stores as well. Basically a geek/nerd's paradise. 

This is a picture of my cousin walking into the Maid Cafe. If you don't know what a Maid Cafe is,  it's basically a cafe where the waitresses are dressed up as maids and serve you. If your first reaction is that this is a creepy concept, let me assure, it's not unless you make it so. And you're not Picard, are you? 

We ordered drinks and spent the afternoon playing Jenga. Loudly. At the maid cafe, in addition to getting drinks, they have a ton of board games, card games and an xbox. For an additional fee of one RMB a minute, maids will play a game with you. 

Pictures in maid cafes are generally not allowed unless you pay. I thought she was super cute and sweet! If you still think this restaurant is strange, just compare it to a bar where all the waitresses are wearing very low cut tops and short shorts. Each culture has their own aesthetics. 

After an afternoon in the maid cafe, we went to a relatively traditional Japanese restaurant.

We had relatively traditional Japanese foods. This was raw squid in wasabi sauce. So spicy and so delicious. 

This is a chicken heart kabob. I don't think I've ever had chicken hearts before and they were pretty good. Kinda like liver or kidney. Maybe I think all innards taste the same. 

This is pig's neck. Tastes like bacon. ...So all innards taste the same and all parts of pig taste the same?

Lastly, this is a small fishy of some kind. (As if you couldn't tell.) Overall, the day was freaking awesome and I was exposed to a ton of new environments and activities. 

Thursday, August 16

College Advice for College Freshmen - From a Graduate

In my last post, I gave some advice to High School Seniors applying to College

Femme Noblesse Oblige had this to add to my last post. 
"Another thing I would add is being well rounded. Next to good grades and community/social involvement, colleges (especially liberal arts colleges) look for students who are well rounded in interests and activities, as this shows that they are willing to explore new things, both academically and in life. As a first generation college student, I beat all odds by getting into a top university partly because the admissions people were impressed with my range of clubs and courses that I had taken in hs. It also helps to have a well organized application and portfolio!"

This post is all about going into College as a brand new freshman. Again, everything is based off of my values and personal experiences. 

via weheartit

I'm so nervous about dorm life/meeting friends/drinking!

Dorm life is definitely something new, but the best piece of advice I can give you is to look at it optimistically. You may find that your roommate is crazy, or that you and your friend have more differences than similarities. On the other hand, your new roommate could be your best friend and living with a friend can be as awesome as you thought! Also remember that there are campus resources to help with any on or off campus roommate issues and if you are close to your family, moving in with them is an option. If you miss your family, take advantage of living in this modern age and skype and call the heck out of them. Also remember to fill up your time by joining activities and meeting new people though! If you're busy, you won't miss your family as much!

Speaking of, that's a great way to meet friends. It's absolutely normal to go through a rough first year or first semester but if you stay indoors and think about how everyone else has friends and you don't, it's going to remain that way. Join clubs, talk to people in your classes, make friends with the people you live with and go to all of those events that the school puts on. Most likely, you'll find someone else who feels alone there.

However, don't feel pressured that you have to drink. I attended a school that was largely known as a party school but I've never once attended a "crazy" party. Even in my freshman and sophomore years, I never even saw alcohol at the events I went to. I've never been pressured to drink. While I realize that isn't the same for everyone, do realize that college just a fountain of knowledge and some students are only there to drink. 

How do you study for exams?

Selectively. You're going to have easy classes and difficult classes. It's up to you to decide how much time to dedicate to each when exam time comes. Allocate your time wisely. In addition, attend class and pay attention (more or less). Attending class makes a huge differences especially if you're the kind of person who takes a few repetitions to learn something. You may not feel like you're learning anything at first, but when you go back to it, it should be easier. In a way, studying is the same task it has always been--gathering all the material (your in class notes, powerpoint notes, textbook and practice problems) and looking it over. 

How are classes different than in high school?

There is more autonomy, which some kids thrive on and other kids fail to work with. Honestly, be organized. Know when your exams are and if the professor changes them and know what material you're going to be tested on. Other than that, it's not too incredibly different. Some schools are more stringent than others but my University still had study guides, study sessions and extra office hours. 

How do you avoid the freshman 15?

Avoid the alcohol, the midnight snacking, and the unhealthy choices in food. Those are the three most obvious offenders. Alcohol, like a shot of vodka, comes with 80 calories. Beer is even worse. Midnight snacking comes from setting your own bedtime... so that when you have nachos at midnight and go to bed two hours later, it's not burned off. And unhealthy choices come from cafeteria dining. When I lived at home, my mother always cooked for me and it wasn't purposefully healthy, but more balanced. At school, I switched from eating Chinese food to eating American food.

How do you pick a major?
Decisively, and follow through. I don't know what I was thinking when I picked my major. I had no idea what it was really about. Though I've always kept the same major, I explored different careers within my major and used clubs to supplement my learning experience. During the last semester of my sophomore year, I added another major. So, planning! If you want to graduate within four years, make sure you have at least planned to finish your chosen major within those four years. That way, it won't be that difficult to pick up another major. Don't close off your learning to other areas of study... and TALK TO YOUR COUNSELORS. 

Again, feel free to ask questions, give your own advice and agree or disagree!

Tuesday, August 14

Purple Polishes and Comic Inspiration

Purple polishes! Purple is not a color I wear often at all, which makes this polish color all the more treasured.

This shade of purple reminds me of Catwoman, for some reason. 

So, confession. I love dressing up with fashion inspirations. No, not a specific stylish woman or a collection or designer (though I do have my favorite bloggers), but sometimes superheros. I made a post about Sheldon, from the Big Bang Theory being an unlikely Style Inspiration a while back but I've been recently inspired by Spiderman a ton. I think it's the only explanation for wearing bright blue and bright red together. 

What's your style inspiration? Celebrities, bloggers or... superheros?

Saturday, August 11

Afternoon Tea in Shanghai

One of the things that I really, really, really, really wanted to do in Shanghai was afternoon tea. After practically begging my aunt and uncle in Beijing to visit, I coerced my father into doing it. When we went to the Afternoon Tea place, it wasn't quite afternoon, so the place was entirely empty. 

Here's me, trying to look like a lady. Is it working?

Here's a piece of fruity sponge cake. It was really good, but nothing I'd fly to Shanghai again for. 

I also had a fruit tea. Together, they were magically delicious. I so, so, so want to go to Afternoon Tea again. I'm such a sucker for little cakes and snacks. 

Also, I'd like to let you all know that this weekend, aka right now, I'm in Vegas. I'll be going to a Star Trek Convention as well as visiting all the touristy sites. It's my first time in Vegas as a 21 year old!

Thursday, August 9

College Advice for High School Seniors - From a Graduate

I've been seeing a lot of college advice for you undergrads and I really feel like putting in my 2 cents since I've graduated. This is by no means an end all list of advice but my personal experience. I highly value education, come from a well educated upper middle class family and am pragmatic. 
via weheartit
I'm going to be a high school senior... do I really want to go to College? 

Congrats on passing junior year! As far as attending University goes, make sure higher education is right for you. I have many friends who wasted four years at a University or community college, some who dropped out, and others who are continuing to pour in money and time when they don't really know what they want to do. Just because all your friends are going to University doesn't mean you have to as well. If you need time to figure things out, take it. Now, when I say figure things out, I mean take a job or try an internship or a vocation of some sort. Seriously think things through if you want to spend a year backpacking through Europe on your parent's dime. 

I'm definitely going to College!

Are you? Do you want to aim for a prestigious Ivy League school? A public school? A private school? A liberal school? A religious school? A community college? (And if so, 2 year or 4 year?) They say you don't have to declare a major until you're a sophomore, but if you're anything like me, you plan and plan and plan. College is the time of many changes, so be flexible with that plan! Do your research here. Think about your future career (and if you have no idea what you want to do, think about your future lifestyle). How long do you want your hours? Do you want to travel? Words or numbers or both? Are you more left brain or right brain? Take this time not only to study what each college is known for (a quick degree program, cost effective, a strong research facility, or a good arts program). Talk to the recruiters, visit the school, meet the students. Honestly, if there's one thing I really wished I did in high school, it was this step. I felt so foolish when I realized that everyone else had taken this decision more seriously than I. While the US News and World Report is a fantastic guide, it is not a substitute for communication. 

Okay, okay, but how do I get in? 

Erm... In a way, I was groomed to get into a good college from middle school. My parents enrolled me in SAT classes when I was in the 7th grade. But did it help? Not at all. While you need to prepare early, ultimately, you need at least 2 of the following: 1. Good grades. Colleges definitely look at your GPA! 2. Social/Community Involvement. Sports teams (or speech and debate team, in my case), volunteering, academic decathlon are all important. Start clubs, or if not, try to be on the executive board. 3. Good SAT scores. 

I won't give you too much on this because not only is it the job of your high school counselors to help you apply, there are also professionals you can hire to look over your resumes,  personal statements and general application. 

Ask me any questions you wish and feel free to disagree with me as well! I'd love to know your thoughts. If you have more advice, I'll compile it into another post!

Tuesday, August 7

Nail Polish Named after a Pokemon

Wynaut. Do you know that pokemon?

via wikipedia
I swear that this nailpolish color is based off this pokemon. 

I have been dying for a bright, sparking blue and this one absolutely answered all my dreams and wishes. It reminds of of the sky!

Do you think this polish is named after a pokemon?

Saturday, August 4

China Recap: Part 4 - The Where in Shanghai

After Beijing, I went back to Shanghai. This includes a few landmarks that I had to take pictures of. These are some shops in the subway that were built in the style of Shanghai in the 1920s. I really adore Shanghai during that time. 

As an American girl, I really love the 20s, 50s and 60s. But I was only exposed to these time periods during school when we were asked to dress up in poodle skirts, neons and grunge to signify the 70s, 80s and 90s. My parents weren't a great resource for me to learn more about China so I only eventually learned about China's recent (fashion and style) history through period dramas. 

Shanghai is much more metro than Beijing. It seems like there's a lot more foreigners and even more Chinese people who speak English. 

Forgive me for doing the same pose in all of these pictures. I literally stayed in the same place and turned to face my dad who rotated around me and captured this picture. 

Me in front of the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition. No. I don't know what that is.

This is the People's Square. My dad, who is native to Shanghai, told me that when he was a kid (in the sixties) this was an actual square. Now, it's more like a park. 

After so many pictures, I'm not really into the whole picture taking thing.

Forced smile. 

This is XinTianDi. It's a really nice area of shops, restaurants and bars made for mostly tourists. 

This is an unflattering skirt being pulled up picture of me in one of the lanes. The street looks old but it's only a look that they made for this place. 

When I was on a taxi ride, I spotted these huge, huge posters of the Avengers. I wasn't in any good position to take a picture but I still tried. Take a look at how huge they are compared to the person walking!

This is in YuYuan Park. Home of amazing steamed buns. I'm sure it has actual historic value, but that's what I know it as. Again, tons of tourist shops here.

This was found while walking down East Nanjing Road, (or, the Times Square of Shanghai). I've heard about this brand's popularity and actually picked up a face wash from this store. Review to come...whenever I get to using it. 

On that same road, there's a tank with sharks and turtles in it. It's cool, but it makes me a little sad to see that these animals don't have a ton of space to swim in and that they're always exposed to the sun/bright lights. Maybe they're okay with that. 

This is the Bund. I've been here a ton of times but had no idea it was called the Bund. I still have no idea why it's called that. It's a weird word isn't it? Bund? I always want to say Bun. The scenery this way was pretty. 

But directly on the other side is the French Quarter. And I thought that was breathtaking. 
That's all guys!