Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My life is a lot cooler on Instagram

If you were to go on my Instagram account right now, you'd see pictures of delicious food, New York City, selfies, and a lot of coffee. At first glance, one might think: "Man. Her life in the city looks awesome." And while it is, no doubt, it's not as glamorous as it seems. My life is a lot cooler on Instagram and on social media.

Here's a good example. I shared a picture of Ella Woodward's cookbook alongside a plate of vegan food, and lemon-cucumber water on the rooftop. It looks picturesque but behind the scenes, it was pure chaos. My things were flying everywhere because it was really windy that day. After 10 minutes, I called it quits and went back into my apartment. I couldn't help but laugh a little inside.

The photo's caption is: It was a long but productive day. Relaxing, eating a snack, and reading before I work out! It wasn't relaxing and I couldn't read because it was so windy. I did eat, however.

No one shows pictures of their brown-bagged lunch that they took to work that day or a really spotty banana because it's boring (and too realistic). If my Instagram photos truly mirrored my life, I'm pretty confident I would have half as many followers, if that. I'm not perfect and my life is no where near perfect. My photos? Well, they're okay.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Losing and finding my identity

 Before I started working, I thought a few things:

a) Money and the status that comes with your job will bring you happiness

b) The amount of money you make and your job title defines who you are

Boy, was I wrong.

When I had just graduated from college (and was unemployed), I remember going on LinkedIn and admiring everyone who had a job. My thought process was: 'Wow. They work at NBC, Google, Vogue? They must be making so much money and they must be so happy.' It was wrong of me to assume those things because at the end of the day, I have no clue what's going on in their life. They may be successful but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're happy.

Now that I've started working, I've realized that money, status, and job titles don't define me. I'm much more than that. And those things don't bring me joy. What brings me joy is a sunny day, a nice jog, listening to a beautiful song on my morning commute, and talking to my family on the phone. And as a Christian, I need to remember that my identity lies in Jesus.

It doesn't matter how much money I make, who's in my social circle, or what brands I wear. Jesus could care less about those things. What matters is the heart.

Am I kind towards others? Do I respect and listen to different opinions? Am I honest? Do I help those that are less fortunate? Do I go out of my way to help others without expecting anything in return? Do I lift people up? Do I put my trust in Jesus?

Don't make the same mistake I made and believe that your worth is based on the number in your bank account, or what's on your resume. And don't look for fulfillment in the wrong places.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Balancing life and work, and setting boundaries

Ever since I started working full-time, it's been a bit of a struggle finding time for myself. Right after I graduated, I spent the majority of my day applying to jobs, going on jogs around my neighborhood, baking cookies, and watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Looking back, I had it really good. My mom wasn't nagging me to find a job and she let me take my time. I'm really grateful for that.

Finding that balance between my personal life and work isn't easy but it's something I'm getting better at. For example, instead of going straight home after work, I'm making an effort to visit a neighborhood I've never been to, walk around aimlessly, and see what I stumble upon. This week I ate vegan dark chocolate ice cream from Van Leeuwen and looked around COS, a store I've been wanting to visit. This small act has made a huge difference in my well-being. While I don't do this every single day, it's important to break your normal routine once and a while. Otherwise, you'll feel like a hamster on an exercise wheel.

I've realized how important it is to make time for yourself and your hobbies. If we don't, we're going to burn out. It's inevitable. I've also set some boundaries and I don't feel bad about it. If someone texts or messages me on Facebook after a certain time during the workweek, I don't check it until the morning. Same thing goes for email.

I know I'm not the only one who's struggling with this and I find solace in that. It's just something every adult goes through. Making money to put food on the table and taking care of your loved ones is both necessary and beautiful. However, don't forget about yourself along the way. If we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of everything else that's important.

The two photos above are from Dominique Ansel Bakery and COS during a trip to SoHo on Friday after work. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

To my younger self

YouTube started the #DearMe campaign in honor of International Women's Day, which was on March 8. In all honesty, I didn't know the day even existed until I saw it all over social media. I think it's great that we have a day where we can celebrate the women who've made an impact on our lives and the world. And if you're a woman, you can celebrate yourself!

The campaign allows you to write a letter or "talk" to your younger self. I had the letter you're about to read in my drafts for a while now. It came across my mind at 12:31 am so I thought I'd continue writing it. Even if no one reads it, that's okay. Ultimately, this letter is for me and this opportunity to talk to my younger self is pretty darn neat.

Dear Sarah,

As you get older, you'll start to realize that popularity, boys, the brands you put on your body, and the 10 best friends you currently have, really aren't that important. You'll realize that doing well in school, speaking your mind, doing what you truly enjoy, and surrounding yourself with a few, good people, are. The people you are close with right now won't be in your life forever and that will break your heart. However, you'll be okay.

Life is beautiful and it is also fragile. Treat everyone you know with respect and love. We need more love in this world. We need more kindness. We need more humanity. I see so many homeless people on the streets of New York, looking hopeless and scared. It breaks my heart. I wish I could feed and provide shelter to every single one of them. However, it's simply not possible. Why am I telling you this? I'm telling you this because you're in a very good place. You have a roof over your head, a loving and supportive family, an education, friends, food, and clothes. You are very blessed and fortunate compared to a lot of people.

Work on being the best version of yourself. Make a positive impact on this world. Kindness, love, patience, humility, generosity, and hard work never goes out of style. On the other hand, Myspace does. You may not be a straight-A student right now but eventually, you start caring a lot about getting good grades and you work your butt off in school. That doesn't make you a nerd. That just makes you cool. Although you still love to sing, you'll discover new passions. You're currently working in New York and you've developed a huge sweet tooth.

You're going to make a lot of decisions and you'll regret some of them. But that's okay. Don't live in fear and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are beautiful. Life is beautiful. You are beautiful.


Your older self

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Eating, sipping, and living in New York

A good day in my book includes a good cup of coffee, a run around the neighborhood and a lot of chocolate. January 24, 2014 was a very good day. 

I took the bus into New York and went searching for a chocolate chip cookie, coffee, and chocolate. My friend recommended Culture Espresso one day so I went on Yelp to read some reviews. People were going on-and-on about their chocolate chips cookies and I had to taste it for myself. It was crispy on the outside but soft and moist on the inside. Very cliché but how else can you describe a cookie that's been done the right way? Unfortunately, it lacked that fresh-out-of-the-oven texture, which I was desperately seeking.

My next stop was Blue Bottle Coffee. The cafe felt cozy and the interior is modern and simple. I ended up reading a book while I sipped on a macchiato. It was a little too bitter so I added milk. I felt like I was making a faux pas but I'm not used to drinking really strong coffee.

Afterwards, I wandered around to see what else was nearby. To my surprise, I saw the Flatiron Building from afar. It's probably not a big deal to most people but I never saw it in person. What a beauty. On another note, I received some good news today! My aunt has a vacant loft in her apartment, located 2 blocks away from the building, and said I'm welcome to sleepover a couple of days a week. It's such a cool and strange coincidence. I guess stumbling upon the building was foreshadowing something really good.

Other places I went: ROYCE' ChocolateEataly, Grimaldi's, The Cellar

Monday, January 5, 2015

Goals for the new year

Happy new year! I celebrated it a little differently this year but nonetheless, the night was lovely. A new year comes with new goals. I feel like I've matured a lot this past year and have a better sense of who I am, and who I want to become. The goals I made for myself will help me become stronger (mentally and physically), healthier and happier.

- Drink more water and tea (less coffee)

- Exercise at least 4x a week

- Be kinder and more patient

- Consume less sugar (this may be a difficult challenge)

- Continue to stick up for my beliefs and respect myself

- Check my phone less, especially right before bed

- Worry less and stop trying to please everyone

- Carry my camera around for those impromptu moments

- Read more

- Spend more quality time with God

- Write a list of goals for every week

Revised on January 13, 2015