Just as I thought I was finally getting into the swing of things, I go ahead and miss last week’s #mochamonday. I was super busy with meetings for school organizations, projects for my internship, and hanging out with visiting friends, so I failed to write a blog post. And it was going to be a really good one too! I’ll publish it soon, but since the end of June is here and Independence Day quickly approaches, I’ll opt for an easier topic for today: my June favorites!
Lots of things have changed since last month: living in a new apartment, making lots of new friends, having a stellar performance review for my internship 😏 , finishing Haikyuu!!, getting somewhat better about blogging, cooking more often, and exploring more of New York City! June’s been pretty good, but I could have done more, so I hope July is more productive.
I should have posted my spring playlist last month. Despite summer not starting until June 21st, I started collecting my summer jams once I flew over to New York in May. Nevertheless, here are my spring faves. I was (and still am) really into Gorillaz’ new album ✨✨✨
And because I’m halfway through my internship and therefore halfway through summer, here are my favorite tunes for the hotter months too.
I had a very inspired day at work jamming out to DNCE and The Naked and Famous, so the playlist was born. Dear To Me by Electric Guest is an absolute gem. Bleachers just makes banger after banger, and I cannot get enough. Blood by ANIMA! is the grooviest; Redbone by Childish Gambino is just sooooo smooth and exquisite. And I am in love with Sleeping Powder by Gorillaz. It’s a shame it wasn’t included on Humanz but I’m so glad it was released because the song and the music video are precious. Imagine Dragons dropped their new album EVOLVE, which doesn’t quite compare to Night Visions but is still very good. I love Walking The Wire.
I’ve renamed all my seasonal playlists because “Summer 2016” and the like were too boring. Now they reflect a bit more of the context around each collection and what life was like during those handful of months. One of my favorite experiences in life is listening to a song for the first time, a song that just feels so good. Knowing a song will be my next obsession gives a rush that I can’t really describe because it’s not so much a rush but a feeling of utter relaxation and contentment. I settle back in my seat with eyes closed and nod my head along to the beat. That is how it feels, and I’m always trying to get another hit when I’m listening to new music.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami — It’s no secret that I’m in love with Murakami’s writing, so of course this book would also become a favorite of mine. Unlike the previous two novels I read by him, Norwegian Wood and Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, I didn’t like it that much at first. I’ll go into more detail in a book review later, but to put it simply: the story didn’t pick up for me until about halfway through. The novel explores the concepts of consciousness and the mind in illuminating yet confusing ways so I’m still trying to process what I’ve read, but ultimately I enjoyed the book a lot!
Book Thug Nation // Williamsburg, Brooklyn — Not a book but it deserves to be mentioned nonetheless! This used bookstore is tiny but packed with lots of second-hand novels, comics, anthologies, reference books, and more. I managed to snag Murakami’s 1Q84 for just $9! Hopefully I can head back there at the end of the summer to sell a couple of books and lighten my load before flying back to LA.
Almost Asian // YouTube webseries — This is one of the funniest and smartest pieces of media I have ever seen. I first watched Almost Asian when I attended the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, where a few episodes were screened as part of a collection of various webseries. Katie Malia is hilarious and so endearing in each of the episodes, tackling tough issues mixed-race millennials face in today’s society with tongue-in-cheek humor and superb acting. It’s a great laugh and a great starting point for talking about a specific brand of AAPI experiences that are often overlooked.
Mr. Robot // USA Network — Nothing much to say other than that this show makes me sad in such a good way. I just want Elliot to be happy, man.
Avatar: The Last Airbender // Nickelodeon — I originally intended to write a short blurb about the resurgence of my love for this show, but then it devolved into a bit of a rant. You can read that in a separate post here; it got long and heated. Basically, the series is amazing (still one of my favorite shows ever), but it could have been so much better, which I recently realized upon stumbling on a very important Tumblr post.
Gotan // coffee shop — This place is so expensive but the environment is ideal for working. There is an abundance of seating options ranging from small tables for 2 or 4; long, communal tables; high counters with stools; and chairs outside on the patio. Outlets line the walls and can be found at every table. The WiFi is super fast and reliable. The cortado I got was amazing and I was actually productive that day, making Gotan a haven for yuppies and coffee snobs alike.
Juice Generation // juice bar — I love smoothies, and without a strong blender or food processor at home, I am dependent on juice bars for what I call “high-end smoothies.” Juice Generation is kind of expensive but really tasty and healthy. Plus, you get a lot in your cup, so I’d say it’s worth it. Go for the Mr. Greengenes despite the cringe-worthy name.
Refresh Cafe // Viacom Office — When my tolerance for free office coffee is especially low, I trek on over to the main building for a much-needed reminder that good coffee exists and that paying for it is actually worth it. Refresh is located in the Viacom lobby so I don’t think non-employees can go there, but no worries. They serve Stumptown coffee, so it’s very good but you can get it elsewhere too. They also have smoothies and oatmeal in the mornings and pressed sandwiches for lunch. I love that they provide dairy milk, half & half, soy milk, and cinnamon out on the counter too.
Nando’s // Silver Spring, MD — Cheeky! I can’t believe they’re not in New York yet but in Maryland and Connecticut of all places. Nevertheless, it was delicious.
chili-spiced mangoes // Trader Joe’s — I’m obsessed…and addicted.
chocolate covered espresso beans // Trader Joe’s — Also addicting.
Trader Joe’s — Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh? The hellishly long checkout line is worth it…barely.
T. Howard Foundation — Back in the fall semester, I applied for the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program and got in, meaning I would get help in securing an internship in the media industry. Even though I got my current internship (and my other offer) on my own, I was able to convert it to a T. Howard Internship and still reap the benefits: THF Orientation, networking events, the mentorship program, an abundance of professional resources, etc. During Orientation I met so many wonderful people—fellow interns and industry professionals alike—listened to insightful speaker sessions, and attended development workshops. I was able to make a lot of new, super cool friends while there and learned more about diversity and inclusion in professional settings. I highly recommend applying for the program if you’re a minority interested in working media!!
The Wellness Studio // Viacom Office — After a month of neglecting physical exercise, I had to get moving again. Luckily for me, the office has a small studio that hosts a variety of fitness classes. I’ve been going about 3 to 4 times a week now, and it is amazing how much better I feel now that I’m being active again. Sitting for 8 hours a day really wears me out and gets mundane, so sweating it out at pilates or barre has become a highlight.
Old Skool // Vans — I’ve been wanting these shoes for so long and finally got them. Unfortunately, they’re the all black version instead of the classic black/white but these were on sale for $35 so I compromised.
Tess!! — She’s a gem.
Stay tuned for a Favorites Page where I’ll conveniently list every favorite I mentioned in a categorized format. It’s been fun doing monthly favorites and giving small updates about my life as I go, but for organization’s sake (and some self-reflection), this page is on my to-do list.