Why I KickStart

Curated

We live in a world full of people with so many great ideas, but resources are scarce. That is what makes crowd funding so interesting and why I love to browse sites like KickStarter. The first time I participated was back in 2013 when Kristen Bell announced that they were FINALLY going to begin a KickStarter campaign to fund the Veronica Mars movie. They broke all sorts of records and were able to create a movie that did the series justice. Ever since, I find myself browsing KickStarter campaigns to see what I can find. Here’s a list of some of the ones I have funded and some that I am SO very tempted to fund:

The Veronica Mars Movie Project: unprecedented campaign to fund the making of the Veronica Mars Movie. As a Marshmallow I couldn’t say no to finally getting what we always wanted: a movie! (fully funded, completed)

OdiousList: an R-rated version of Scattergories. I was brought up on that game and can only play cards against humanity so many times! (fully funded, through March 9th)

The Rising Star Project Documentary: documentary about a local Seattle theater’s flagship educational program. I love going to the 5th Avenue Theatre and always want to promote the arts in my city! (not fully funded, through March 9th)

Hogwarts: the Ballet Based on Harry Potter’s Famous Stories: ballet and Harry Potter… need I say more? (fully funded, through March 2nd)

Face Masks

Beauty, Reviews, Skincare

As a skincare enthusiast, face masks have a special place in my heart. When you take the time to slather a bunch of goop on your face, let it sit for half an hour, and rinse it off, you are straight up pampering yourself. You are saying, “Hey skin, I love you.” Self-care is important. It’s good to be decadent sometimes.

I love trying new face masks, but there are a few that I always go back to.

LUSH Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask

This mask is calming, scrubby, and natural. Plus, it’s bright green. I just feel like face masks should be bright green, don’t you? The scrubby bits are made of ground almonds so you do have to be careful not to rub too hard when removing it (be gentle with your skin!). This is one mask that makes my face brighter as soon as I rinse it off. It needs to be stored in the fridge and does need to be used up within a few weeks. One tub gives me 4-5 uses.

Moroccan Lava Rose-Vedic Blemish Relief Face Masque

Whew, that is a mouthful. From Shea Terra Organics, this mask is all natural and organic. It comes in powder form so you mix it with water (and don’t have to worry about it going bad). My skin feels healthier after using this mask, but it also smells strongly of thyme — I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I want to try Shea Terra’s other clay-based masks, especially the one made with camel’s milk!

Raw honey & lemon juice

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This one is great if your skin needs moisture or if you are dealing with a breakout. Just mix a few drops of lemon juice with raw honey (you might need to heat it up if your honey is solid) and spread it over your skin. This also works as a spot treatment. Raw honey is great on its own, too.

Sheet masks

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Sheet masks come in a million varieties. I stock up on them whenever I am in an Asian grocery store. I’ve never used the same type of sheet mask twice so I don’t have a specific recommendation. All I know is these are fun to use (and the packaging is so cute). At one point I used multiple sheet masks a week and left the product on my face when I went to bed (rather than rinsing it off) and my skin didn’t like that so much. So now I just use one every now and then and rinse the product off after removing the sheet. If you are ever in an Asian market and see some of these babies, try one! They are super cheap (just beware of spooking your roommates by walking around with one of these on your face).

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Those are my recommendations! What are your favorite face masks?

-L

Note: I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by any of these companies. These are just products I have enjoyed and purchased on my own.

I would like a Madam President, please

Feminism, Politics

57% of adults are apathetic to the idea of having a woman president during their lifetime says this Pew Center research. This number scares me. Women’s rights are being challenged every day in the United States of America, land of the free. If women don’t have political power, who is going to help protect these rights? What scares me even more is that the same people taking away these freedoms don’t care if there is a woman president. I’m talking to you, Republican men. Why do only 16% of you care to have a woman president? It’s almost as if you don’t respect women.

If I live until the ripe old age of 85 and every subsequent president after Obama completes two terms, I have the potential to have eight more presidents in my life time. Statistically speaking, half the population is women so I should see four women presidents in my life. Historically speaking, none should be women and at the rate we are going I probably won’t see a woman president. We can’t let history continue to repeat itself. I want women to be represented in all leadership, not just as the President of the United States. Different problems could be solved with women in leadership. Don’t believe me? Watch this video that describes how diversity drives innovation.

I want women to be inspired to become leaders and make this world better. I was lucky enough to have Grandma always supporting women leaders and giving me awesome shirts like the one in the picture below. Don’t we want more people engaged in the political process? I believe a woman president would do that– and bring something refreshing to good ole U.S.A.

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3rd grade Jenna sporting the “Someday a woman will be president” t-shirt gifted by her grandmother

Seattle To Do List

Friendship, Travel

With Lauren’s time in Seattle coming to an end in April, we decided to make a to-do list of Seattle activities.  Some to do before she leaves and some for future visits I’m sure.  As sad as I am that she’s moving to California, I’m so excited to have a friend in a new place for me to visit!  It’ll add some spice to our blog as well, having her blog from California and Jenna and myself in Seattle.

Our Seattle bucket list is great if you are visiting Seattle for the first (or second or third) time, if you’re playing tour guide for out-of-town visitors, or if you’re simply looking for new activities in your city.

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Ride a water taxi

Take a dance class

Eat at Paseo

Find and go to secret bars

Ride a seaplane

Go for a hike

Go to the Ballard farmers market & Fremont Sunday market

Ride the Great Wheel

Pike Place Market Ghost Tour

Seattle underground history tour

Kayak or paddleboard on Lake Union

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What are your favorite Seattle activities?

-S, L & J

Surprising Find at the Starbucks Roastery

Gender

Last weekend I went to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room which is fairly new to Seattle. I was excited to see how they roasted the coffee beans and created the different brews. All my friends have raved about it and I even know some people who go every weekend. What I didn’t expect, was to be more interested in the restrooms.

WP_20150208_13_33_25_ProI was confused while I was walking towards the restroom and saw people do a double take. Stopping in their tracks and looking around dumbfounded. When I got closer I realized why: Starbucks had unisex restrooms! You wait in line with everyone else until one of the many large stalls opened up– and this idea was so foreign to people they awkwardly looked at each other to verify that they were allowed to be standing there. You might not understand why I am so excited about this but I have a reason why. When I was in college, I was taking classes in the dance department. One day between classes I was sitting at a bench outside the restrooms and a faculty member was giving a new student a tour of the facilities. I was watching the student stop in her tracks and say “The restrooms are unisex?” She went on to tell a story about growing up and people questioning which restroom she should be allowed to use. I don’t want to share the personal story in detail, but instead this learning: Creating a space that is cognizant of diversity allows people to be comfortable and thrive. You will never understand what this entails until you learn about the trials and tribulations of all walks of life. I would never have looked at a restroom the way I do now if I had never heard that story. I still have a long way to go until I even begin to understand how she feels in those situations but I hope it helps me start to create a better world for her.

My favorite travel blogs

Curated, Travel

I read a lot of blogs. It started a couple years ago when I stumbled across some travel blogs. I was immediately hooked, getting to know the bloggers and their stories and daydreaming about visiting the places they write about.

Travel blogs are ubiquitous — there’s something out there for everyone. If you’re looking for travel tips or just want to satisfy your wanderlust vicariously, check out my favorites.

Adventurous Kate

Arguably the most popular solo female travel blogger, Kate has been writing about her adventures for years. She quit her job at age 26 to travel and now she travels full-time and gets paid for it.

The Wanderlust Project

Sheryll blogs about her life teaching English in Asia, and also reviews Asian beauty and skincare products. She currently lives in Vietnam.

This Battered Suitcase

Brenna has been traveling for 8 years and has been to an astounding 90 countries. I’ve spent many a pleasant afternoon reading through her heartfelt and helpful blog posts.

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What are your favorite travel blogs? We can always use new adventures to read about!

-L

Traveling Flubs

Travel

A Facebook friend recently posted a status asking what peoples most expensive traveling mistakes have been, and it inspired me to write about mine!  It was such an utter failure, I can only laugh about it now and hope others learn from my mistake.  I sure as hell won’t be repeating it.

In 2012, after studying abroad in Australia, I wanted to go on a trip to a country vastly different from the western countries I’m used to.  I thought about Thailand because it was a popular destination for Australians. Ever since seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, I’d dreamed of Bali.  One day while running with my friend Amanda from Sri Lanka, she suggested I come stay with her and her family in Sri Lanka.  I honestly don’t think I’d heard of Sri Lanka before meeting Amanda, so what could be better than a mysterious island for my adventure!  I could write a whole blog post on that experience, but I’ll save Sri Lanka for another time.

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With the budget airline I booked, I had to spend a night in Malaysia each way.  This was a bonus — I got to hit two countries in one trip.  A family friend had been to Malaysia many times and had all sorts of shopping and eating suggestions for the city, which were incredible.  All the noodles my heart could desire, a shopping spree at Zara and architectural marvels galore.  It was the end of my travels, 6 months away from home and I was ready to get back to my friends and family.  I arrived at the budget airport with plenty of time and had my last Malaysian meal.  I decided to check out what movies I could watch on the flight, but I didn’t see my flight listed.  I headed to the counter and was informed that my flight had taken off yesterday…I missed my flight by an entire day and the next flight didn’t leave until the next day.  By that time the next day I would have missed my expensive flight from Australia back to the U.S.

First things first, I curled up into a ball on the floor and cried because I had no way to communicate with my parents or our family friends in Australia who had planned to pick me up and were probably panicking like I was.  Once I pulled myself together I asked the girl at the counter how I could possibly get back to Australia that day, to which the only solution was to bus to the fancy airport, purchase a $1000 ticket to Melbourne, from there call my parents and have them buy me a ticket from Melbourne to Brisbane where my plane took off back to the U.S. the next day.  I flew Malaysia Air and had the fanciest flying experience ever, where I was served tuna sashimi salad for dinner and watched movies on a big, flat screen T.V.  Thank goodness this was before the issues they’ve had this year or I would have had a much more severe panic attack.

All in all, an experience I’ll never forget and never repeat!  Always check your itinerary VERY carefully.  I’d love to hear other traveling flubs, feel free to share in a comment!

-S

Diversity in Hollywood

Essay, Feminism, Gender

I am someone who gets invested in stories. I get sucked into books, especially series, and I recently realized I prefer this new age of television (ability to watch full seasons via Netflix, Hulu, etc) to movies. This new age of television has also brought a much needed touch of diversity with more and more lead characters, writers, and show runners who are not only Caucasian, middle-aged, men. Even though I am drawn to these new shows, cable television has definitely missed a few steps along the way.

Going through the current major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC), diversity is starting to take hold, but usually as an addition and very safe. The Mindy Project was lauded for featuring an female who is Indian as the lead, but most of the rest of the featured cast is a Caucasian boys club. Modern Family features a gay couple, but most of the cast, including the couple, are middle-class Caucasian. The Big Bang Theory shows off the stereotypical Caucasian (and Indian) “nerds” and the dumb-blonde Caucasian woman. It finally (sort-of, almost) got its act together when adding the smart, nerdy Caucasian women. I will give it props for showcasing a character who is (most likely) on the autism spectrum.

Some outliers include Fox’s Glee (in its last season) who tries to “champion the underdog” by showcasing characters who are transgender, bi-sexual, gay, disabled, etc. ABC’s Black-ish features a middle-class African-American family.  We also have a saving grace in Shonda Rhimes, whose series include Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy. They all have strong, female leads. They also feature ethnic and sexual orientation diversity. They definitely aren’t perfect, but I feel they are some of the only series where diversity is effortless.

Cable television isn’t perfect, nor does every show have to be a perfect depiction of diversity. But, I am now looking towards new television outlets to set the bar.The change from traditional cable networks to other content creators and providers has allowed for a more thoughtful and daring look at diversity. Maybe there is less red tape. Maybe they don’t have to rely on ad revenue. It is clear that they have more freedom to explore. Here are some quick examples of these shows:

– Transparent on Amazon: Transgender father, tackles gender identity. Female creator and producer who enacted a “transfirmative action program” that favors hiring transgender candidates over cisgender applicants. All the bathrooms on set are gender neutral.

– Girls on HBO: Created, produced, directed, written, and starred by Lena Dunham. All four leads are female, not just sex focused a la Sex and the City.

-Orange is the New Black on Netflix: Mostly female cast in a woman’s prison. Tackles ethnic diversity, gender identity, sexuality, and represents people of different socio-economic backgrounds.

– Looking on HBO: Unfiltered view of 3 men’s lives who are gay in San Francisco.

This has got me thinking: maybe I am staying away from movies because it hasn’t transitioned as quickly as television. I have no interest in the fifth Transformers movie especially after watching the opening scene with Megan Fox in the sequel. I am clearly bored of the Spider Man reboots, every Iron Man, X-Men, Avengers, Wolverine, Thor, Hulk… wait there are still more Marvel movie franchises I haven’t listed? They must be making so much money… anyways, I digress. Where is the diversity? Reese Witherspoon started her own production company because Hollywood was lacking in movies with “clear, female voices”. Interestingly enough, most of my to-see movie list for the last year wouldn’t exist that company: Gone Girl and Wild.

It is your call Hollywood, how quickly are you going to catch up? I guess I am just going to continue sitting here, binge watching Netflix until you do.

A Special Valentine’s Day

Dating, Friendship

I had a wonderful Valentine’s day with an old friend,  an older friend, a new friend, and a even newer friend! We went to brunch, shopped at boutiques in Ballard, enjoyed the sunshine, and spent a lovely evening drinking wine and baking cupcakes. However, something even more wonderful happened: My best friend got engaged! I received the call as we were walking back from dinner and my momentary freak out to the news caused enough alarm a security guard came running to make sure everything was okay.

He proposed on the beach in San Diego at sunset with rose petals– so romantic! So crazy to think that my boy-crazy friend since we were five is now engaged. What a great reminder on Valentine’s Day about how beautiful love can be! Congrats to my favorite couple,  Victoria and Michael, on their engagement– can’t wait to celebrate with you both!

What to read when you want to get out of your own head

Books

Do you ever have a bad day where you are feeling sorry for yourself and you want to stop? You want to realize that other people have complicated lives too? You want to get out of your own head? Sometimes I find that best thing to do is to get absorbed in a book where the protagonist is unlike yourself. Their struggles, the way they think, their morals– they are different from your own. Here are a few books that have helped me do exactly that and are ones I strongly recommend picking up. What’s even better: they are all quick reads!

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

I realize these are all male protagonists. Feel free to suggest any similar books with female protagonists– I’ve been looking but haven’t found any! 🙂 — J