three hundid, 3 – zero – zero

April 18, 2015

That’s right – 300 hundred posts later, here I am.

I recall it was yesterday that I reached my 100 post and how excited I was to reach such a blog “milestone.” Now, almost to two years for my blog, the question is: what is next for buttonsandchary.com?

Although I originally created this website as a creative platform for me to express myself into words, refining my writing skills and sharing my stories about any average twenty-somethings young woman, I want to make it more. I want for my blog and myself to continue growing in creative ways. Whether it is mixing up my content, or possibly having other writers publish their favorite pieces, here. Who knows?!

Why I chose to publicly display myself was more of an unintentional mishap, but somehow intentional thing. I know, that doesn’t make sense. But I felt alone in my post-grad motions and feeling lost. I turned to writing because it gave me solace. Once I went public and shared my stories on my social networks, it got attention, and somehow connected with people all over. Then, I find myself not alone! You and I are going through the same thing, not exactly maybe, but similar motions and the only difference is, I am verbalizing it. The power of words bringing us together. I know that sounds kind of cheesy.

Personally, I also find it super exciting to see the growth in my writing and in myself. Although I hate saying this is my digital diary, but it kind of is. My blog has highlighted so many great successes and failures in my life. Hell, if I wanted, I could probably create a short novel out of it.

Anyway, I just want to whole heartedly thank those who have always stuck by my side. From being this confused recent graduate to this confused wanna-be adult – I kid – I am an adult. But on a serious note, thank you all for being my cheerleaders and chiming here for a quick read, or two. It truly means a lot that I have such a great and supportive audience.

Trust me, your feedback pleases me. I am forever grateful for my readers (:

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While I do not know where my blog my may take me in the next 300 posts or the years to come – I thought it may be appropriate to share one of my favorite songs that always hit home. Surprisingly by Yeezy, who I am not such a great fan of, but this one always, I mean always, give me the chills and makes me feel some typa way:

Seems like street lights glowing
Happen to be just like moments passing
In front of me
So I hopped in the cab and
I paid my fare
See I know my destination, but I’m just not there

Street Lights by Kanye West, 808’s & Heartbreaks

Oh, and the lyrics are a great reflection about our lives, our unknown path. I bid you good day. Again, thank you all for your ongoing support and taking the time to read my mad thoughts (:

– C

PS: Happy Cambodian New Years to all my Cambodian family & friends!!! I went to a temple in Brooklyn – details will follow (:

more harm than good

April 16, 2015

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love and value. – occ

There are these voices that live in the walls of our minds. Some days a voice whispers, “You are a confident, brilliant, and successful young woman.” Some days, another mysterious voice whispers, “That shirt really makes you look fat,” or even worse, “Are you thinking? You sound really inadequate right now.”

I don’t know about you, but I have these voices in my head and am constantly battling myself. Let’s be honest, I am not walking with confidence every day – well not as of late. Do you? The thing is, I allow myself to listen to these voices in my head; these voices that should not exist, but I allow them to stay for whatever reason.

I came across this video on the HuffPost Women – of course, and although it is in French, please watch it. The premise of Dove’s #OneBeautifulThought is taking a second look at how harmful we can be to ourselves if someone said what we told ourselves. Does that make sense? If I poorly described it, refer to the quote above or watch this:

Isn’t it powerful? It really made me think twice when I want to say negative things about myself. Imagine someone telling you all the things you thought about yourself out loud? It hurts, right? So, in reference to the quote above we should talk to ourselves with a little more respect, kindness, value and love. It really does make a difference.

Now, give yourself a big hug.

Goodnight family & friends.

– C

 

beauty: dry shampoo

April 13, 2015

I have a confession: I only wash my hair two to three times per week.

Is that gross? Maybe to some, but actually I’ve heard that you should wash your hair every other day to let your hair have your natural oils. However, according to WedMD, it really is different for everyone – click here if you want to read. You will learn find that everything is situational, too. If I had an intense workout and I washed my hair the previous night, I can get away without washing it, but I will need to wash it the follow day…

Here is my secret weapon to maintain my hair when I choose to skip on a wash:

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I have tried a couple of dry shampoos; my first one was Tresemme, and I was not a fan at all. Mainly because of the scent it produced. I also tried Garner Fructis, and it worked well; the scent was more appealing and appreciated. However, my current favorite is Not Your Mother’s.

It genuinely makes my scalp feel clean! You know when you just feel dirty – ladies know what I am talking about. When I spray different sections of my roots, I instantly get volume and feel cleaner. I also like that it doesn’t make my hair shiny or anything – I am a matte girl. All the way. If you have wavy, thick hair like myself, then I highly suggest giving this product a try. What is the scent like? Personally, I like it. It smells… clean! Fresh! Oh, the best part is that it doesn’t leave any residue after your apply the product to your hair. I lied – this is the best part of this brand: it’s affordable. A large bottle less then nine dollars. Yes!

I know it sounds absurd to not wash your after three to four days, but I really can get away with it, especially this past winter. And I save money on shampoo and conditioner, haha! Alright, it’s late here, but I hope you enjoyed this quick beauty post! Goodnight and until next time (:

– C

 

a check list to anxiety

April 10, 2015

  1. Save money
  2. Move to New York
  3. Get a job to stay afloat 
  4. Then get a job I actually like and relevant to my career
  5. Get my own apartment
  6. ….

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I know many driven and ambitious people who are constantly thinking what is next and feel anxious all the time. It sounds like anxiety goes hand-in-hand with creating a list to check off, or when you are wanting something to happen.

The short list above was a mental list prior to my move; my own New York “checklist,” if you will. Less than a year here and I have accomplished so much so now, I question myself, “What’s next?” But I later find that this process not very healthy for me because my mind is constantly worried about things I have to do and how I am going to get there. 

Here is a disclaimer: I have always been an anxious person, but I recognize that this is unhealthy for me. But I do want more. I want to succeed. I have a dream, damn it!

Back to the question that provoked this entire post’s theme: so I crossed things off my list, now what? What is next? The underlie meaning of this question is: what is next on my career path?

This question has been tossed around in the past couple of weeks during my conversations with friends – thing is… as much as I know what I want to do in five years, I cannot plan for what is the next thing to check off “my list” as of yet. Frankly, I am flirting with different ideas and potential roles, and life is a truly a series of trial-and-errors.

Before I can move on from any role, I believe that I need to master what I am doing now. And right now, I am not mastering anything. I am not killing it. (Okay I am lying, some days I am, but most days, I am drowning and crying for help). I want to explore and acquire new skills that will strengthen me as a candidate for future employers, but as a person, too.

This subject rather frustrates me because while I am “making plans” and trying to think of things to conquer, anxiety is controlling my life and emotions. This goes back to the figuring it out bullshit sorta. In the words of a great friend, B, she said, “I call that future tripping.” Sounds hysterical, but truthfully right. I need to stop future tripping.

Although I believe making plans and setting goals are crucial in life, my point is: it must not become an obsession. It exudes my entire mind completely, and this is not good-healthy.

While we all have things we want to check off our life list, we cannot get overly worked up on something that may or may not happen. I believe the only way we can feel or take any action is to plan as much as you can, and be prepared for any unfortunate circumstances (if any). Why stress and get anxious about things that we cannot control? My second step is learning how to manage stress and anxiety; when I figure that out successfully, I will let you know. 

While I can sit here, be anxious about the mysterious and unknown No. 6 on the list, I really need to bring myself to the present and focus. Focus on what I am going to do today to bring me where I want to be tomorrow.

Don’t you agree?

- C

PS: It’s Friday, and if you’re reading this: thank you. Because who reads on Fridays, right? Ha. But wanted to share that I wrote more than half this post sitting at a bar. Was unhappy with the product then went back to edit it countless times – two days of editing. Although here is the final product up – I do not know if I convey the message thoroughly to you all, but I had to get it off my chest because there are so many things happening internally! In short, though, what I am trying to say is: life check lists are good, but they can be bad too. Stop projecting fear, and anxiety about our future and enjoy now. Like right now. I am going to enjoy my serious Grey’s binge on Netflix. K, bye!

chef chary: vegan summer rolls

April 7, 2015

Traditionally, I believe they are called Spring Rolls, but New York is weird. They call it Summer Rolls. And what we call “egg rolls” you know the wonton wrapping and fried? They call that Spring Rolls. Weird.

If you have not heard me complain about the lack of authentic Vietnamese food in New York, then let me say it: I miss real tacos, bomb Vietnamese and Cambodian food so bad. I miss food (family and friends) most.

Lately, I have been inspired to change up my cooking rut. As you all know, I enjoy cooking! Nothing fancy, fancy, ever. I guess I am a lazy cook. I like quick, easy, healthy and super hassle-free. Plus, I have to do light cooking because my apartment is small, and there is a lack of air ventilation, so the scent can linger.

Due to the conditions I am, it challenges me how to adapt to my new environment, but also making healthy choices. While I have been experimenting more with vegan quick-meals, thought you may enjoy this:

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Filling: red cabbage, carrots, dark leafy greens, cucumber and fried tofu. I am trying to reduce my daily carbohydrate intake hence why there are no vermicelli noodles in the filling. Plus, making the noodles is the difficult part for me. The wrapping paper can be found at majority of Asian markets – I requested this one from my mother, when she sent me a care package months ago. However, I do believe American Corporate food markets such as Whole Foods carry them – check the Asian aisle, near the section where they carry the Mexican canned beans.

As for the dipping sauce (peanut sauce), a friend taught me that all you do is add hoisin sauce, canned coconut milk and peanut butter. However, while I was looking for the hoisin sauce, I found that Whole Foods have the peanut sauce already made in a bottle! Yay!

The only time consuming part making these is frying the tofu. Other than that, it is fairly quick and easy! There you go! I shared a roll with my colleague and she enjoyed it a lot. Plus, it is very crunchy!

– C

beauty: origin’s charcoal mask

April 5, 2015

I’m baaaaack! Welcoming my extended absence (it was not thaaaat long), with a new beauty post for you all!

I know I have talked about face masks before, and last time it was more natural – refer to that old post here. Although I have switched it up from brands to different texture types, I wanted to give this product, especially after hearing great things, a try.

Origin’s Charcoal Mask was my recent beauty purchase, and wanted to give this bad boy a try. The thing about product reviews is that every skin type reacts differently. Whether you have super sensitive skin like myself, normal skin or dry skin, your skin may respond differently to certain products and it’s chemicals. I am prone to dark spots and acne scars, and when I break out, it is all in one area all at once. It’s annoying and so gross.

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The back label instructed to mask yourself every week, or as much as needed. For me, I generally have pores in the center of my face (nose mainly and certain radius around my nose). I try to facial at minimum twice a week to prevent future acne, and I do not believe you can overdo this skincare procedure. But what do I know? I am not a dermatologist. But what I do know is living in New York, my skin has changed so much. I don’t get much fresh air as I do as if my skin is not breathing. Large cities have bad air and smog, filling our pours with gunk! If it was not for my concealer, I kid you not, the way my skin has been reacting to the weather conditions, it is awful than when I was going through puberty…

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Once you apply it on your face, depending how thick you apply it, it may take awhile to dry. Unlike the Lush product, Origin’s mask tightens up your skin when it is dried – similar to my first ever masque product: Pur Minerals. It really does tightens up your skin, and once you try to move your face when it dries, it may hurt a little.

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Verdict: I like how it is out of a tube so when it comes to product application, it’s nice. It is more of a consistent texture than Pur Minerals; Pur Minerals after awhile, I had to shake the bottle in order for the chemicals to blend and mix before I applied. I recommend doing this before you shower because it might be troubling when you are trying to wash it off. In all, I like what I am seeing so far, and I see the difference in my pores, especially where I have it most.

Another to add to my beauty shelf! Happy Easter Sunday family and friends! While you all are doing the egg hunting, I will be hunting too (for food at Smorgasburg “A Brooklyn Flea Food Market”). New Yorkers know what I am talking about. Click here if you’re curious.

Bye!

– C

the best present, evar

March 23, 2015

brooklyn skyline

As an early birthday to myself I signed a lease for a studio apartment in Brooklyn. Oh yeah, if you did not know, I moved.

If you don’t know, now you know.

Which would explain my hardcore absence on my writing and well, everything. It all happened so fast – in a matter of a week, I viewed the place, got my credit approved (A big shocker, seriously.  Not being sarcastic at all), and signed the lease. I moved in three days later that week. Boxes and bags everywhere. No mattress. Nothing.

This is not some quarter crisis decision-making type of ordeal. I have thought about moving quite some time and I have mentioned it as one of my 2015 Goals I wanted to work towards. (Forgot? Let me remind you here). It was a matter of opportunity and finances aligning. Again, this was not an impulsive decision…

New York’s leasing/renting requirements are so different than California. I am too lazy to go into the full on details of the specifics, but let’s just say there are so many requirements that can trigger difficulty. You may need to involve a Broker, maybe not. It makes signing a lease in CA look and taste like sweet, ass cake!

Now, coming close to two full weeks in my apartment, it is beginning to feel like home. Truly, my own space that I can come to. It is my first own apartment in New York! Playing my music loudly without any care, roam around without pants, keeping things in an orderly fashion the way I like it, and most of all: decorating and furnishing it the way I want it.

Every idea romanticized is, well, obviously, romanticized, but the reality is this is a huge responsibility. The biggest factor was is it within my means, and am I willing to make such a commitment?!

Smaller factors were one, my apartment is a studio apartment. Translate to small space; I do not even know the exact square feet, but I justify it with: it will only be Me, Myself, and I – and maybe a cat in a few short months. Secondly, living on a budget as a twenty-somethings-year-old is another story of its own. But specifically, how does one furnish an apartment with a tight budget? I moved in with my luggages and whatever I have hoarded from the past few months from my old loft, which were Mason Jars and hangers, really. After visiting Boston last weekend, my Aunt generously purchased me a mattress!

If you are in disbelief that this happened, I can assure you that you and I are on the same page. Even after the fact.

I am really in love with my life. I would be lying to you if I said it sucked balls and if I was unhappy. I can truly sit here and complain and go on and on, but I do not want to utilize my blog as a form of negative expression. I believe in throwing out positive thoughts into the Universe, as cheesy one may deem it to be. Whatever!

This month so far has been a series of great highs; frankly, I am kind of fearful that something terrible may surface, but you know what? I am going embrace all the great things that are happening to me. I need to eliminate the whole idea of this is too good to be true bullshit.

I mustn’t let fear rob my happiness, and you should not either.

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If you look closely, it’s a sage and crystals that were gifted by my Big Sis along with my new succulent plant. Above is my little kitchen – I kid you not when I say this. The only area that is completely furnished. Although I am not used to such a smaller cooking area, I don’t cook as heavy, so this is doable.

Teaser photos, but I will share when I am completely satisfied with everything. Sorry I have not been super active on my website. So many things happening offline, and with transitions in both professional and personal, I appreciate your patience with me.

Thank you for all your kind words through instagram, love notes and text messages on congratulating me on such a personal milestone! I am truly blessed with the greatest people. More stories later (:

– C

PS: Six days until my birthday? Where did the time go? I just remembered it was 25 days?!

growing up: body image

March 15, 2015

In a recent published article, I opened with the best part about growing up is knowing your self-worth and values. You can view that article here.

Truly believe in that. In last week’s post about turning 25, I mentioned how I learned to ease the pressure of figuring it out and trying to handle my shit.

Tonight, I am going to share something insightful as well. Well, something I discovered about myself. You know how in our teenage years and maybe even today, we deal with so many insecurities? Whether it is about staying in trends so we won’t feel left out or lacking skills in our profession. The whole what if I am not good enough bullshit. They say that when you get older, we learn not to give a shit anymore about what people think, and that goes for every aspect of our lives. I am sure you’ve seen postings it on Tumblr along the lines of: the less you care, the happier you’ll be. The Tumblr community is pretty amazing and right.

I have to agree. Women in their thirties tell me that their twenties were filled with uncertainties and insecurities. Uh, yes. I concur. But being in my twenties are definitely better than my teens.

Man, I was not the same person as I was in high school. Thank goodness.

I know one thing for certain, my battle with my body image is a work in progress, and ongoing. Like every person, I have this argument with myself between having to work out or having that extra slice of pizza. Guess which one I will take? If you answered pizza, you know me damn well. I will eventually try to “work it off” later.

I have been called chubby, fat girl, and all that crap when I was growing up. I can sit here and tell you how all the bullying and name-calling impacted my self-esteem growing up, but no. Not here to share some childhood sob story. However, there is a photo below. Enjoy it.

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Here is my thought: I will never be a size-0. Ever. And I am okay with that. Finally coming to full acceptance of my body image.

Near my pubescent age, when someone identified me as a “thick” individual, I always thought they were trying to be nice about calling me “fat.” But now, I acknowledge and know the difference.

I have become proud of the physical features that I once hated so much and to be teased about constantly. For instance, my legs. I hate denim shopping -still do- because I have thick legs, but I love them because they’re strong legs. Your girl can squat. I wish I was taller so I can have long, strong legs like Beyonce, but who really can be like Bey, though? Foreal?

Basically what I am saying here is, we all have different body shapes and sizes, and as much as we are bombarded with diets, “How To Lose 5 Inches” articles, and the definition of beauty by the media, we are beautiful. If you have not caught any campaigns by Dove, then you are missing out. There is this new video about Girls with Curly hair. It’s so amazing, you must watch it here.

Self-love is not just loving yourself internally: like your mind, soul and your qualities as a person. It’s externally too, with body and all of that. I believe in health, sure muscles awesome, but health and well being comes first.

I am also starting to find the beauty in aging, too. There is a documentary on Netflix called Advanced Style, where this blogger photographs older women in New York killing it in their personal style day-to-day. You can find his blog here. That’s kind off topic, but I thought I would share that bit.

What provoked me to write such a lengthy story about my body image was caused by a conversation I was having with my Big Sis, B. She keeps reiterating how much I have grown . I have and proud of it. Another year older, a milestone-age if you will, caused me to reflect in so many ways and share these stories with you.

Hope I am not boring you. Moral of the story? Learn to love yourself wholly. Embrace the skin you’re in. But if you’re in the pursuit of that six-pack or whatever your workout regime may be, don’t self-hate in the process. All we can do is try to be a better version of ourselves, inside and out. But for me, after years of my obsession with weight and body issues, I have learned to love myself in the process.

It takes time, trust.

Anyway, I bid you goodnite. Thank you for tuning in family & friends.

– C

PS: Two weeks until my birthday. I had a meltdown today… do not ask me why. It’s petty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

international women’s day

March 8, 2015

Happy International Women’s Day!

I do not need to scream it or share my stance on feminism on all my social feeds because it’s kind there. I know some people are not transparent compared to others, but if we are friends on any platform, I share a lot of information that gives you an indication that yes, I am a feminist and I believe in gender equality. 

If you are in tuned with social media today, there are two popular hashtags that are roaming Twitter-sphere that are spreading ideas about today’s International Women’s Day. #InternationalWomensDay and #NotThere. I have linked it for you all to take a read to acknowledge the movement and the information that is being shared. Here is a breakdown for the whole Not There campaign on Yahoo News.

I know friends and people who are timid of the “F” word, because of the lack of knowledge or feel that there are certain things that define a feminist, but what I am learning about the movement and the term itself, there is no right or wrong. Sure, there is a true definition of feminism. But to me, if something does not sit will well with you, and because you are a woman, and you feel the need to vocalize yourself, then damn, you might be a feminist and you may not even know it. Or, you are having a stomach ache, but I am going to go with the first one.

Since we are on the topic of women and feminism, last night the Brooklyn Museum held an event celebrating Women and the timing was perfect. Although there were great art displayed, my objective was to see Tavi Gevinson, from Style Rookie/Rookie Mag, and Anna Holmes, Founder of Jezebel, in a Conversation. 

It was an event that I found randomly on Twitter, you know, scrolling my feed and catching up what I missed in that day. Next thing you know, I saw Rookie Mag tweeted about Gevinson’s as a speaker at some event. I knew I had to go, because she is considerably young and so established in the media. Although I was hoping she would speak more about how she became such an icon for teenage millennials, how her business took off and so forth, the conversation with Holmes narrowed down to women in media and projecting feminism through their work as creative types.

It was beautiful. I wish I was able to record the entire thing because Holmes asked such profound questions that I have been pondering myself about feminism. It was nice to know even a grown ass woman who is older, experienced and with great wisdom have thought about the same questions as I have as a young feminist. My favorite question asked was, “Do you think feminism is trendy?”

DSC03069 DSC03072And we have tossed the word “empowered” out there many times, especially as women, but you know what? I do feel empowered after last night’s event and today’s trending topics. Although, we as women, are not where we want to be exactly, it’s 2015 and today it feels good to be a woman.

And here is something I am proud to share with you all:

CHARY TNF MAGPublished on TNF Magazine – to view this season’s issue, please click here. This is so amazing! An international publication first off. Man, things are moving and shaking for me, that I am so overwhelmed…

Also, I have great news to share with you all! Remember how I was talking about taking chances and not waiting until we are ready? Well, something happened. Have no idea what the eff I am talking about? Lemme refresh yo memory here.

Until the next post. Thank you so much for reading and tuning in for today’s post. Don’t forget today is also Spring Forward on your clocks. That means, another hour until the sun sets. Yes! A lengthy post today, but I hope you got something out of it.

Oh, one last thing I promise: thank you for the tremendous feedback on my last post about turning 25. I am glad I resonate with many of you. Hope it provoke you in some way for you to ease that pressure off of yourself or reassured you to continue doing you.

(:

– C

25 in 25

March 5, 2015

I know I have neglected my writing and sharing stories with you all. Not that I do not want to share personal stories, but I am struggling to find that balance between work and life right now. Details on that later. It’s close to midnight and while it is late, I had this urge to share a quick post with you all.

They say age is nothing but a number.

I have mix feelings about this line. I am turning twenty-five in twenty-five days. (March 29th – greetings are always welcomed, haha). Creepy. How scary. Ugh, I am getting old. Are you thinking that, too? I bet you think about that, too.

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To my original thought of this post, I vaguely remember my chubby, nerdy, middle-school self asking: I wonder where I will be at twenty-five…

I was quickly going over the things I have accomplished and what I have yet to accomplish. Frankly, I would say, I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. Not beating myself up over this, just so you know. For someone who persistently wanted to get her shit together, I am confidently saying I sorta have my shit together. Emphasis on sorta.

But what I really want to say is I have suppressed, or minimized rather, the whole pressure of needing to have-my-shit-together and trying-to-figure-it-out. Instead, I am going to embrace being.

Meeting people who are significantly older than I am, and to hear them say they do not have their shit together makes me a little scared, but I realized that if these older men and women are still trying to figure it out then I have time, or I do not need to have this large amount of pressure to figure my shit out. 

I learned that things do unfold naturally. I firmly believe in persistence, hard work, and timing all coincide to create a thing I call luck. My definition of luck is when hard work meets opportunity. But… some can say otherwise.

Here’s a side note, and maybe irrelevant: in the early months I moved here, I was in that vicious stress cycle of wanting to get this-and-that done. My persistence got me where I am today, but I should have more kind to myself because I was beating myself up for my shortcomings. We all do, and it is natural, but not advised.

So, for all my twenty-somethings family and friends, do get your shit together, but be kind to yourself while you are at it. If you are a goal-getter, then go get it. If you are unsure about what to get, explore what pulls you in. The whole idea of having your shit together at a particular age is something that sprung on society, making us feel like we ought to.

Why conform? Do you.

– C

PS: I really do not know if I made any sense, but you get the idea – I hope.