Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Fandom Lovers

Disney Style, Musings, Style

If you follow this blog then it’s very likely you’re a fandom lover like me! There’s something about fandoms that really resonates with me and I’m sure many of you. To find people out there that love something as much as you do is incredible. Then you start bonding and helping build that little (or big!) community and in a flash you inherit a family that gets your love of movies, games, magical things, or comics.

So I’m super excited to share my second gift guide of the season, a Holiday Gift Guide for Fandom Lovers! Obviously, there are a lot of Disney-related items mentioned here, but many of the shops listed also carry licensed products from Nintendo, Studio Ghibli, Star Wars, Golden Girls, and Looney Tunes just to name a few. I also mention a lot of apparel and accessories items on this list, but a handful of the shops mentioned also carry books, home items, and toys!

Cakeworthy: Apparel & Accessories, $20-$80
Cakeworthy is one of my go-to shops for licensed apparel. Most of their collections are Disney, but over the past few years, they’ve expanded their offering of licensed collaborations — including The Golden Girls, Nikelodeon, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Nintendo! The character quote flannels specifically are great gifts since the colors, quote, and details are all designed around a specific character or franchise. And one of their newest ones is inspired by Buddy the Elf! But the totes, all over print t-shirts, and dresses also make great gifts for fashion-loving fans.

Buckle-Down: Accessories & Pet Supplies, $16-$30
Buckle-Down is another shop that sell products from a variety of licenses. Aside from Disney, they also have licensed products for DC Comics, Warner Bros., various car brands, and even Grumpy Cat! Known mostly for their buckle belts, Buckle-Down recently introduced quirky licensed crossbody bags to their assortment. The bag is on the smaller side, but still roomy enough to carry everything you need! Other items that make great gifts are their Signature D belt collection and purse straps!

PARC Collection: Crossbody Bag Straps, $28
This small shop just released their newest item, polka dot crossbody bag straps! The crossbody straps are meant to be paired with their travel cases, but the clips make it possible for you to attach it to any of your other Disney bags. Although these aren’t officially licensed, I love that the oversized dot print really evokes that classic Minnie style look. I may have ordered both colors and I can’t wait to pair them with my Minnie Mouse Disney bags!

BoxLunch Totoro Sweater

BoxLunch: Sweaters, $60 (but check for sales!)
The holiday season is pretty much synonymous with sweater weather. And when I saw BoxLunch’s collection of fairisle-inspired licensed sweaters, I was obsessed! All the designs are so adorable and the sweater itself is soooo cozy. They’re perfect for those homey quarantine nights with a toasty hot chocolate in hand. Aside from sweaters, BoxLunch also has tons of other apparel, accessories, home decor, figurine, and beauty gifts. Plus, for every $10 you spend BoxLunch donates a meal through Feeding America.

DIFF Eyewear: Star Wars Sunglasses & Frames, $95-$105
DIFF Eyewear released a capsule collection of Star Wars sunglasses and frames I’ve had my eyes on them. When the time came for me to write my holiday wishlist, I immediately knew these would be on my list. Each pair is super wearable and has that hint of character inspiration. And they also offer the same frames as blue light blocking glasses, which is great for anyone who is staring at a screen all day, aka me!

DisneyBound Dress Disney and Make It Fashion” by Leslie Kay

DisneyBound Dress Disney and Make It Fashion by Leslie Kay, $17.99
DisneyBound is now officially a book! Written by the DisneyBound creator herself, Leslie talks about the myriad of ways everyone can DisneyBound and how it’s ultimately a way for Disney-lovers to express their own style and creativity. Although it’s written with newcomers in mind, this is still a great coffee table book for the most avid DisneyBounders. And the outfit illustrations are too cute!

Chronicle Books: The Disney Princess & Star Wars The Jedi Mind Books, $15-$50
A couple other great coffee table book options are The Disney Princess and Star Wars The Jedi Mind from Chronicle Books. The Disney Princess book looks like it’s filled with beautiful illustrations and histories about our beloved princesses and I love how Star Wars The Jedi Mind is pretty much a mindfulness book in Jedi wrapping.

BlackMilk Bambi Slip Dress from Poshmark

BlackMilk: Apparel, $42-117
From Pokemon to the Mandalorian, BlackMilk has released so many amazing licensed collections that I literally could not not get everything. Ok, not everything, but I adore the innovative ways they use characters to inspire their fabrics and prints. The cuts of their dresses are also really flattering and you can’t resist the urge to twirl. And gifting the joy of twirling sounds like a pretty great present if you ask me!

Poshmark, Depop, Etsy: Vintage or Unique Apparel & Accessories, prices vary
If you’re looking to shop sustainably this season, definitely turn to shops like Poshmark, Depop, and Etsy. These sites are great for finding vintage or unique Disney finds, but I love when I get lucky and find pieces from past collaborations that I missed out on, like old BlackMilk collections. And of course, you can also find other fandom licenses, like Harry Potter.

Loungefly The Child Wristlet (Background: Cakeworthy The Child Shirt)

Disney Store: Accessories, prices vary
An obvious pick for this Holiday Gift Guide, but I want to talk specifically about all things Grogu and the character stretch headbands. With season 2 of The Mandalorian, baby yoda merch, or should I say Grogu merch, is on the rise! Some of my favorite Grogu merch from the Disney store is the Loungefly wristlet and ear headband. Another great stocking stuffer is the character stretch headband, which is available in a variety of characters. I don’t believe they’re available at Disney Store locations, but you can easily order them online. They’re perfect for those self-care nights when you need to keep hair out of the way while wearing a face mask!

Giving your friend or family member a present that supports their fandom is such a meaningful way to say “I support you and what you love.” And for those of us that found each other through our shared love of fandoms, you’ll be able to create an even stronger bond and passion over the mouse that started it all, little animal villagers or even senior citizen cheesecake lovers. For me, passions for fandoms is what brought some of the most important people into my life.

If you’re still looking for more fun gift ideas, check out the Galentine’s Day Gift Guide for Disney Lovers that I posted earlier this year or jump back to the first gift guide I posted this week of gifts that support BIPOC brands and shops.

Happy Holidays!
ABW

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that Support BIPOC Brands, Shops, & Creators

Musings, Style

It’s the first day of December which most likely means I’m already behind on holiday gift shopping. And if, like me, you haven’t quite gotten around to finding that perfect holiday gift for your friends, family, and loved ones, then I hope you’ll find this Gift Guide helpful!

I’m excited to share one of the two Gift Guides I’m putting together this year. But this Gift Guide is especially significant to me because all the gifts on this list are created by or support BIPOC! Even better, most of the shops included are considered small shops. So not only are you supporting BIPOC, but you’re most likely supporting a business that truly values your business.

FOR THE FASHIONISTA

Marte Egele Toy Ese Top Handle Bag in pink

Marte Egele: Toy Ese Top Handle bag, $120-$150
I learned about this brand through Melissa Soldera who showed off the Ese Top Handle bag. I immediately fell in love with the unique shape, but once Melissa raved about the quality, I was sold. Made in limited runs, Marte Egele bags are designed by Nigerian native Uche Egelecarefully and handcrafted by local artisans. So it’s perfect for the fashion lover!

Urban Native Era: Apparel, Hats, & Accessories, $14.95-$64.55
Urban Native Era is a brand that specializes in clothing design that that increase the visibility of indigenous peoples. The clean designs also make the apparel, hats, and accessories super versatile and wearable. Or pick up a stickers, patches, or pins for less than $13!

Sunflowers & Honeycombs Flower Earrings

Sunflowers & Honeycombs: Sunflower Earrings, $8-$15
*cue Post Malone’s “Sunflower”* You can’t help but smile when wearing these bright sunflower earrings! What I love most about these earrings is that they’re the perfect size to standout and make a statement, but not so big to be distracting. Bree crafts flower earrings and hairpins, but you can also find colorful sugar scrubs, necklaces, and sage sticks.

Warren Steven Scott: Earrings, $45-$70
If sunflowers are too floral, try Warren Steven Scott’s geometric shapes instead. As a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, Scott’s designs with a modern image of fashion through an Indigenous lens. Go for a more classic looking metallic mirrored pair of earrings or choose something mismatched and colorful!

Second Wind: Face Masks & Chains, $38-65
Masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So why not invest in a timeless mask handmade by master tailors? Everything about Karen Perez’s masks feel super luxe, from the sleek cut to the chic chains. And I love that all the colors are neutrals so they literally go with everything!

iluvit Upcycled Gucci Face Mask with Chain

iluvit: Face Masks & Chains, $25-$50
Time for the shameless plug! My mom and I also started our own little shop to sell handmade masks. Like I mentioned, masks aren’t going anywhere. And I love having a matching chain so I can easily take my mask off the second I get back into my car and not have to worry about where to hang it. With most of our masks and chain sets under $30, it’s an easy and stylish holiday gift! Did I also mention most are adjustable and reversible?

FOR THE BEAUTY GURU

The Lip Bar Liquid Lipsticks

The Lip Bar: Liquid Matte Lipsticks, $13
For only $13, Lip Bar’s vegan & cruelty free liquid matte lipsticks are perfect beauty stocking stuffers. They work really well for the price point and one person even did a mask wear test and there was barely any smudging! My favorites are the darker and punchier colors, but honestly we need all of the colors.

Cheekbone Beauty: Liquid Lipsticks, $23
Another BIWOC beauty brand that has also gotten stellar reviews for their liquid lipsticks is Cheekbone Beauty. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their high quality and cruelty free products.

Rare Beauty: Soft Pinch Liquid Blush & Eyeshadow Palettes, $20-$25
Probably one of the hottest beauty launches this year was Selena Gomez’s Rare. After trying out a few different things from the collection, I think my favorite products are the soft pinch liquid blush and the holiday eyeshadow palettes. And If you need some inspo, I’ve been obsessed with Rare’s Global Stylist, Cynthia Di Meo.

KNC Beauty Star Eye Mask

KNC Beauty: Lip and Star Eye Masks, $25-40
Self-care night never looked so cute! The all natural and retinol-infused star eye masks are so fun to wear and really depuff and hydrate my eyes. The collagen-infused lip masks are equally fun to wear and my lips feel so silky afterwards. The packs come in adorable matching pouches making these sets another great beauty stocking stuffer!

Scrubtious Inc: Dry Face Masks, $17-22
If masks are more your speed, try one of Scrubtious Inc’s dry face masks. Vegan and made of natural ingredients, the shop offers a variety of mixes that address different skincare needs. And as a first-time dry mask user, I thoroughly enjoy pretending I’m making a witchy concoction and manifesting brighter and softer skin.

FOR THE BOOK LOVER

“Bad Girls Throughout History” & “Legendary Ladies” by Ann Shen

Nevertheless, She Wore It by Ann Shen, $22.50
As a fashion and art lover, I’m so excited for Ann Shen’s newest book. Her books are such an easy way to learn about incredible women, who are very often barely recognized. Speaking of, other great gift options are her previous books, Legendary Ladies and Bad Girls Throughout History!

The Boba Book by Andrew Chau & Bin Chen, $22
Everyone might argue over who makes the best boba, but no one can deny that boba has become more mainstream, especially thanks to The Boba Guys. And this year, Boba Guys Andrew Chau & Bin Chen finally published a cookbook sharing step-by-step guides and recipes on how to make your favorite boba drinks at home. This book is a feast for the eyes and our bellies.

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell & Aurelia Durand

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell & Illustrated by Aurelia Durand, $14.99
Because of the importance of the BLM movement, this book is a great way to unlearn harmful habits and learn proactive ones. Packed with history and research in a digestible format, even the most unwilling will be able to learn something. Pair that with activities that challenge readers to reflect on themselves and how they fit into the world, it’s a great gift for everyone. Yes, if you’re daring enough, even for that stubborn family member that never seems to understand why this matters.

Gmorning, Gnight by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Illustrated by Jonny Sun, $22
I’ve added this book to my wishlist because who couldn’t use a little extra encouragement and love. Originally writing uplifting tweets before his name was widely known, Lin-Manuel Miranda has finally gathered his best words of encouragement into one precious little book. Plus, I love how cheeky the illustrations look!

FOR THE MODERN WITCH

“Black Mage” by Daniel Barnes & D.J. Kirkland

Black Mage by Daniel Barnes & Illustrated by D.J. Kirkland, $19.99
Since she who shall not be named revealed how problematic she is, find that same sense of witchcraft and wizardry with a racial twist with “Black Mage.” With the main character named Tom Token who is accepted to an academy through the “Magical Minority Initiative,” it’s obvious how cheeky the references are. And while it’s meant for kids, the nerdy adults in your life will also appreciate this fun story.

Heritage Apothecary: Smudge Sticks & Stone Candle Holders, $5-$105
Find an array of home & energy balancing products at Heritage Apothecary. I picked up the obsidian candle holder earlier this year and I love it. It’s beautiful and striking as a home decor piece and I gladly welcome the extra protection that obsidian is said to provide. Find a variety of affordable smudge sticks, cleansing kits, shells, crystals, and stones, which are the perfect gift for the modern witch.

Teas with Meaning Loose Leaf Tea

Teas with Meaning: Tea Blends, $22-25
Created in the heart of Oakland, Teas with Meaning is committed to providing organic loose leaf tea blends with a dash of magic. Kamilah Mitchell is a brain tumor survivor and began learning more about herbs after she was first diagnosed in 2017. She now uses her knowledge of herbs to make magnificently balanced tea blends. Plus, each season she offers seasonal blends!

I hope this Gift Guide encourages you to find presents that support BIPOC brands, shops, and creators this year! After what’s been a ridiculous year, I’m excited to support shops and brands that will actually value my business this season. What other BIPOC brands and shops do you love? I’m always open to finding a few extra gifts for myself!
ABW

💖Galentine’s Day Gift Guide for Disney Lovers

Musings, Spotlight

Chocolates and roses are nice, but your gal pals are extraordinary and deserve something just as special!  For me, I actually met many of my close friends through our love for Disney.  So I was excited to think about what kind of small Disney gifts I could give to friends this Valentine’s Day! If you have Disney friends in your life, here are some great Galentine’s Day gifts they’ll love!

1. Disney Headbands

We’ve seen these cute headbands make their way to the US parks after their popularity spiked at Tokyo Disney Resort.  I’ve definitely started quite the collection.😆  But I especially love the ones from BooHoo because you can also find fun Disney PJs for you and your bestie!

2. Park Photo Session

Since I met many of my close friends through social media, booking a mini photoshoot with a friend is such a fun way to bond and get some memorable photos!  I highly recommend Edwin and Kevin, who both have an amazing eye for getting that unforgettable shot!📸

 

3. Disney DIY Earrings

I’m not super crafty, but if you’re wanting something truly unique for your one of a kind friend, try DIY’ing the most extra Disney earrings!  Erika’s DIYs are so clever and her tutorials are super easy to follow!

4. DisneyBound Book

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I met many of my close friends because of our love for Disney.  But more specifically, I met many through DisneyBounding! And honestly, we’ve become so close because DisneyBounding is such a great way to bond and get to know new people! If your friend is unfamiliar with DisneyBound, the official DisneyBound book is the perfect introduction!

5. Basin Soaps and Bath Bombs

If you want to pamper your bestie, consider getting them some soaps or bath bombs! And for the Disney lover, the only thing that makes luxurious bath bombs even better, is a bit of Disney magic. I especially love visiting the Basin store at Disney Springs because they have SO many cute Disney designs!

6. Disney Luggage Tags

It’s no surprise that I love a fun Disney trip. And I can never say no to a Disney trip with friends! So show your Galentine how excited you are for your friends getaway with a Disney luggage tag! I love these Mickey and Minnie ones from American Tourister!

 

 

7. Wishable

I’m not usually a plushie person, but I couldn’t resist the spam musubi and shave ice Wishables from Aulani! Because Wishable are blind bags, it would be so fun to have a Charlie and Grandpa moment, à la the Chocolate Factory, with your bestie and open them up together! Sorry, no lifetime supply of chocolate, but you get a lifetime supply friendship!😆

Getting a little something for your friends is always a kind gesture, but it can never replace the emotional support and quality time that you and your friend give to each other. So this Galentine’s Day, don’t forget to tell your friend how much you appreciate them and make some fun memories together!💖

ABW

13 Halloween Shows & Movies that Pass the Bechdel Test

Musings, Spotlight

And the countdown begins! We’re only 13 days away from Halloween! And we all have our favorite Halloween movies on repeat, but how many of those movies can actually pass the Bechdel Test?!🤔

This Halloween season, I’ve been proactive about watching movies and shows that pass the Bechdel Test. And honestly, some of these barely pass. I used the most basic measurements which are 1. Incorporating at least two female characters, 2. Two female characters must talk to one another, 3. They must talk about something other than a male. Some uses of the Bechdel Test require the female characters to have names, but I chose not to include that as a requirement for this list.

So in no particular order, let the binging begin!

1. Maleficent: For all the misunderstood, fairy witch queens out there, Maleficent is an obvious movie choice for Halloween.  And even more exciting, the sequel is out now!🖤🧚🏼‍♀️💜👑

2. Us: One of the best horror movies from this year!✂️

3. Get Out: Everyone knows you won’t get out of your seat while watching this first Jordan Peele thriller.☕️🥄

4. Stranger Things (2 & 3): Season 1, I dump your ass!  To be inspired by determined female characters, travel to the upside down in seasons 2 & 3!🍦

5. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Studio Ghibli is known for producing movies with strong female leads.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception.🐱🥖

6. Halloweentown: Because Halloween is cool and being normal is vastly overrated.Image result for halloween is cool halloweentown gif

7. Practical Magic: It’s hard to not love witchy sisters that always have each others’ backs.  And midnight margaritas.🍹

8. American Horror Story: While Ryan Murphy has given us numerous intriguing female characters, I’m especially bewitched by the witches in CovenApocalypse.🔮

9. Hocus Pocus: This classic Disney Halloween movie puts a spell on everyone.👁🕯

10. Addams Family: Because Christina Ricci as Wednesday is just to die for. *duh duh dun dun, 👌🏼👌🏼*

11. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: I admit, I didn’t watch the series until this year.  But it’s so wickedly addicting.😈🐗

12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: This is one of the only HP movies that passes the Bechdel Test.  And it only passes by a werewolf’s hair!  But the shift to a darker mood in the series is…well, A MOOD.🐺

13. Ghostbusters (2016): The power of Patty compels you!…To love this witty re-make with smart female leads!👻

And that’s 13!🙌🏼 How many of these shows and movies have you seen?! To help you keep track, use the template list below to check off what you’ve binged so far this season and then share it in your stories on instagram so I can see it too!👀  If you have other movies and/or shows that you love to watch for Halloween and pass the Bechdel Test, let me know and I’ll add them to the Honorable Mention list below!🏅Halloween Watch List (1).jpg

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Freaky Friday (2003): I actually really love the songs from this movie!🤘🏼

The Labyrinth: This also barely passes the Bechdel Test, but who can deny the babe with the power?💁🏻‍♀️🔮

Twitches: Another Halloween DCOM, but vastly underrated.  This made for tv movie also deserves bonus points since it’s lead characters are WOC!✊🏾 The only reason this isn’t on the official list is because I haven’t seen it in ages.😅

The Craft: Because we’re all weirdos.😎

 

 

 

 

 

90 Years of Mickey, the True Original!

Disney Style, Musings, Style

San Francisco Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original Levi's Golden Gate BridgeToday’s the day we’ve all been waiting for!  It’s Mickey’s 90th birthday! And you can bet I’m not just celebrating today.  I definitely celebrated alllll year long by buying into the many Mickey True Original collections that released throughout the year. 😆  Opening Ceremony, Forever 21, Cakeworthy, Vans, Target, and most recently H&MxMoschino and Levi’s — just to name a few.  So thank you, Mickey, for turning 90!  I have a closet full of amazing Disney Style pieces thanks to your birthday.  Unfortunately, my wallet doesn’t thank you so much.😅

A few months back, Disney Style asked me to share how I liked to style a classic Mickey tee and why I think Mickey is timeless.  For me, Mickey stands the test of time not only because his love for life, friends, and new adventures never goes out of style, but also because in everything he does or wears, he always makes it his own.  And that’s some life inspo I can get behind.

San Francisco Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original Levi's Golden Gate BridgeThis is also why I loved all the Mickey True Original collections so much.  Each collection retained the brand’s DNA.  Forever 21’s collection was fun and spunky, Opening Ceremony was unconventional and funky, Rag & Bone was ultra cool.  Each brand that released a collaboration took Mickey as inspiration, but made the collection unapologetically their own.  And it inspires me to approach personal style in the same way.

San Francisco Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original Levi's Golden Gate BridgeSo to take a page out of Mickey’s playbook, I KNEW I had to make this Disney Style Canadian tuxedo my own.  Obviously, I wanted everything from all the collections, but I knew I absolutely needed these Levi’s Mickey decal jeans and matching sherpa jacket for a few reasons.  It’s probably obvious by now that I’m a sucker for denim and an adorable classic Mickey.  But Levi’s was and still remains an integral part of San Francisco’s heritage.  The company was born and raised in San Francisco!  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?😏

You might wonder why I’m sometimes overly aggressive about declaring San Francisco as my home. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has asked me “Where are you from?” and they don’t actually want to know what city.  Many POC and WOC can probably relate to this.  Sometimes, I keep telling them San Francisco until they ask me the actual question, “What race/ethnicity are you?”  Additionally, a good handful of people assume I wasn’t born here.  You would think at this point in our lives, someone wouldn’t be so shocked to learn that you were born here just like your own parents. 

San Francisco Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original Levi's Golden Gate BridgeBut as a third generation San Franciscan and with Levi’s significant ties to SF, I obviously had to pair this denim set with a San Francisco, City by the Bay graphic tee.  The simple, yet strong font pairs nicely with the classic Mickey decals.  Laid back round sunglasses and practical, yet polished flats finish off this outfit and lend that perfect touch of city ease and California cool.  And of course, I added a little extra flair with a pin from the Disney Store’s new Mouseketeer collection!

DSC08389So here’s to you, Mickey!  Thank you for 90 years of laughter and magic!  You look good for your age, but I reckon it’s because you’re young at heart.  Just another life lesson that you’ve taught millions of people, including myself.  I can’t wait to see the countless number of amazing people you’ll inspire for another 90 years to come!  And of course, I know you’ll do that with your own unique flair. 😉

ABW

These Paintings Are My Everything: Highlighting Women of Color & Female Empowerment at the Asian Art Museum

Musings, Spotlight, Style

asian art museum san francisco mithila painting feminismThe Asian Art Museum is devoted to connecting art to life.  And with their latest exhibit, Painting Is My Everything: Art from India’s Mithila Regionart and life collide to highlight the strength, power, vulnerability, and resilience of Mithila artists — who, of course, happen to be…MOSTLY WOMEN!  As an exhibit that features women of color, I was ecstatic to partner with the Asian Art Museum to further accentuate the brilliant work and lives of these amazing artists.

3110-2018-0228431696152443144227This domestic art tradition, that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, was confined to the interior walls of the most intimate rooms in Mithila.  Word of these intricate murals spread beyond the region and during a severe drought in 1966, Pupul Jayakar, a director of the All India Handicrafts Board, saw an opportunity.    She arranged for women to learn how to paint on paper, enabling those women to sell their own work and gain economic independence — something many women from this region had never experienced.  Jayakar’s plan not only empowered village women, but ultimately sparked the economic resurgence of the region.  Moreover, the newfound artistic and financial success of these artists inherently breaks the boundaries of gender and caste norms.

On the other side of the world, we’ve seen a surge of female empowerment apparel in fast fashion.  Consumers can now physically show their support for gender equality every day while feeling cute and fashionable.💁🏻‍♀️  To emphasize the powerful and unique stories of these female Mithila artists and the subjects of their paintings, I’ve styled female empowerment pieces that coordinate with the exhibit’s colorful and feministically charged paintings.  From almighty deities, to the emotional life stories of the artists, Painting Is My Everything, showcases a myriad of female stories and perspectives that celebrate the resilience and strength of women.

Asian Art Museum Mithila painting feminism Target Vital Voices

Hindi deity Kali, is a fierce mother goddess and represents the force that controls time and divine wisdom that ends all illusion. She is the personification of creative and destructive powers of time and could be interpreted as a representation of women’s assertiveness and power.

One company that recently created feminist apparel in collaboration with Vital Voices is Target.  And in line with the collection’s raison d’etre, Vital Voices “supports fearless women leaders around the world to amplify their voices and increase their impact in their pursuit of economic empowerment, public and political leadership, and the protection of all human rights.”  Each design was created to celebrate the passion, strength, and undeniable power of women.

Asian Art Museum Mithila Painting Target Vital Voices

Artist Mahasundari Devi depicts children painting on sheets of paper instead of on walls, suggesting the shift to personable salable art.

Aside from the power of economic independence, Mithila artists also found power in using painting as a means for personal storytelling and reflection. The artist’s personal perspectives and life experiences often serve as the subjects for their work, which allows their stories to be heard and validated. Through painting, their voices became important narratives rather than being easily dismissed.

Asian Art Museum Mithila Painting Shanilee Kumari Target Vital Voices

Shalinee Kumari pays tribute to the “great goddess” Devi and celebrates women through her use of composition and symbolism.  Here, Devi is shown holding various objects, which are usually associated with other deities. Wielding these various objects conveys Devi’s immense and numerous powers and is position as a mighty goddess that embodies the power of women.

One artist whose paintings are greatly influenced by personal perspective is Shalinee Kumari.  Originally studying geography, Kumari decided to start painting after discovering colorful Madhubani paintings. When she headed to women’s college, she heard about the Mithila Art Institute and applied to be admitted into the program. She is now one of the young female artists who is pushing the boundaries of Mithila painting by using the centuries-old style for personal self-expression.  Her work often focuses on global, personal, and community topics such as climate change, terrorism, and gender equality.

In Daughters are for Others, Kumari comments on social roles of Indian women as daughters, wives, and daughters-in-law. The painting’s title evokes the perspective of the girl’s parents and hints at the emotions of loss and resignation. The tight arrangement of the yellow and orange footprints, which reference the Hindu marriage rite of circumambulation of the sacred fire, feels like an impenetrable wall and creates a domestic space. Confined inside the space are two women whose conjoined form recall images of powerful goddesses. Though the true meaning may not be entirely known, Kumari cleverly combines decorative qualities and serious content to create a tension that makes this painting impactful.

Asian Art Museum Mithila Painting

Devi makes use of a style that was traditionally employed only by members of her caste. It is distinctive for its linear bands filled with dots and for its paper that is coated with an auspicious cow dung wash that recalls a mud wall.

One of the most educated and continually innovative artists among the lower-caste Dusadh community (aka “untouchables”), is Shanti Devi.  Many of her works depict everyday subjects, but she beautifully injects them with new meaning.  In Pregnant Cow, Devi surrounds the cow with blooming flowers, sprouting buds, and multiple bees to convey nature’s bounty and fertility.  In her intention to depict a common subject, Devi has instead instilled powerful meaning into it.

Asian Art Museum Mithila Painting Phenomenal Woman Target Vital Voices

In 1976, Devi traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Smithsonian’s annual Festival of American Folklife.  She subsequently created several paintings that document her experiences through personalizing and transforming iconic monuments such as the Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Sita Devi is perhaps one of the most phenomenal women amongst Mithila artists.  She was one of the earliest village artists to paint on paper and her work immediately attracted attention in the 60s. Her paintings received government and private commissions, won national awards, and warranted solo exhibitions.  All of which brought wide-spread attention to Mithila paintings and paved the way for other Mithila artists.  Over the course of her life, she worked tirelessly to develop and uplift her village and community through education and economic empowerment.  She paved the way for many, if not all, the amazing artists featured in this exhibit.

Asian Art Museum Mithila painting female empowerment

Reflective of Bihar’s electoral landscape, female supporters are shown at the bottom of the painting.  In recent elections, women have turned out the vote and are thereby influencing policy changes in the state.  In this painting, Devi shows the powerful influence of the female vote in India.

Dulari Devi is another artist that lived in extreme poverty until she became an accomplished painter.  She worked menial jobs, but her unhappiness with her life began to change when she started to visualize everyday occurrences as paintings.  And with a with a stroke of good fortune, Devi began working in the house of a Mithila artist who would host artist trainings.  Fascinated by the paintings, Devi eventually asked if she too could be trained to paint and thus was the beginning of her new life.  And when strong women unite, the possibilities are extraordinary and endless.

Asian Art Museum Mithila Painting

Baccha Dai Devi’s The Hindi deity Shiva in half-male, half female form, Ardhanarishvara is the combined form of Shiva and Parvati. The right half shows Shiva in his male form and the left represents the female aspect, Parvati.  Ardhanarishvara represents the combination of masculine and female energies of the universe and the unity of opposites. And despite being opposites, the two are inseparable.

The sheer desire to create saleable paintings in and of itself is a powerful act of independence for many of these Mithila artists.  Many were living in extreme poverty and had little to no control over their own lives, so wanting to produce art is a defiant act against strong gender and caste norms.  And whether Mithila artists are painting otherwordly deities or day-to-day life, painting has given them opportunity, choice, freedome; painting has given them everything.  And I felt so honored to help tell their stories and be inspired by their pieces.  It was everything. 😉

Painting Is My Everything will be on display at the Asian Art Museum through December 30, 2018.  For more information about the exhibit and upcoming exhibit events, visit AsianArt.org.

Asian Art Museum Shanilee Kumari

Artist Shalinee Kumari is second from the right wearing a yellow dress standing in front her painting, “Daughters Are For Others.”

Female empowerment shirts partially provided by:
Kidd Bell & Inkcourage

Photographed by:
Colleen Lem

 

Tokyo Disney Resort Travel Guide: Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

Musings, Travel

Tokyo disney resort disneyland disneysea style travel outfit mickey international

In 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to visit all 6 Disney parks within a year thanks to a close friend who encouraged me to do it with her.  And even though it’s been a quick (read “LONG”) minute, I’ve heard your cries on Instagram and am finally writing up reviews of each international park and hopefully answering your questions on accommodations, transportation, food, and more!  To kick it off, I’m starting with Tokyo Disney Resort!

japan tokyo disney resort mickey mouse disney style

Transporation

Transportation to the parks from on property and nearby hotels is easy and convenient.  Many hotels provide a shuttle that will either take you to the park or take to your closest monorail station. Disney-sanctioned hotels will even have the cute Mickey shuttle buses!

The monorail, unlike Disney World’s monorail, charges a fee.  But tickets are fairly cheap and if you know how many days you will be using the monorail, then you can buy multi-day passes which are a better value.  The monorail tickets can be bought at kiosks at the monorail station and they usually have cute seasonal Disney designs!

If traveling to the parks from Tokyo, you can take the metro (called the JR or Japan Railway).  It usually takes an hour to travel to the resort depending on where you are staying in the city and how many transfers you need to make.  But find the Keiyo Line or the Musashino Line, which both lead to Maihama Station.  Maihama Station lets you off at Ikspiari, which is like Downtown Disney or Disney Springs.  You can then board the resort monorail that takes you to the parks!

More info here: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tdr/access.html

tokyo disney resort celebration hotel alice in wonderland disney style japan

Where to Stay

I’ve stayed both on and off resort and depending on how you want to spend your time in Tokyo, that is how you should plan where to stay.  If you are planning on visiting the parks for three days, I would suggest finding a hotel “on property.”  And I say that with quotes because similar to other Disney resorts, there are hotels within the vicinity of the parks, but aren’t necessarily associated with Disney. And these are great for those looking for cheaper rooms! But if you only have one chance to visit, I would recommend the Celebration Hotel! It’s one of the more affordable Disney hotels if you’re able to split the costs with a few people. I LOVED it! There are so many cute decor details (like bread and butterfly decals outside the room doors) and our room had the Joey Chou Alice in Wonderland mural along the wall.  SO MANY PHOTO SPOTS!

If you plan on visiting the parks for only one or two days and seeing Tokyo the remainder of your stay, then I would suggest finding a place in the city.  Even better, if you can find a hotel or airbnb near the Keiyo or Musashino JR Lines, it will cut down the number of transfers you have to make and get you to the magic that much faster.😉

japan tokyo disneyland resort mickey mouse disney food eats style cape cod

Food

TDR food is on another level.  Most, if not all, things are adorably cute.  However, I will say some of the food tastes a little processed.  Whether that’s good or bad is a different question, but do not expect to find fresh sashimi.  It still is after all, a theme park.

One of the more famed restaurants that is unique to TDR is the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall.  It is a cafeteria style restaurant that surrounds diners with the intricacies of Wonderland.  The signature dish is the Queen of Hearts hamburger patty, which is a fun heart shaped patty topped with a cheese crown.  However, since beef isn’t a super common meat in Japan, unlike the US, don’t be surprised if it tastes more like meatloaf.

japan tokyo disneyland resort sea disney style food eats stitch lilo hawaii curry popcornSome of my favorite TDR foods include the Mickey hand bun (Disneyland, Toontown), chandu tailchandu tail (Disney Sea, Arabian Coast), and Mickey chicken nuggets (DL, Tomorrowland Terrace but I like getting them in DS at Cape Cod Cookoff in American Water).  Other TDR foods that guests love are the different flavored popcorn and the Mickey shaped churro!  PS: Disney Sea has wine at Cafe Portofino in the Mediterranean Harbor area.🍷 Gotta thank the Nakajima sisters (Ayano & Natsuki) for helping us tourists with that one!😉

jack skellington disney sea style merch japan tokyo disneyland nailart nail art nightmare before christmas
Merchandise

I feel like there really isn’t much to say here because I think most Disney fans know that TDR merch is THE BEST.  Everything they sell is so much better than any other Disney park.  But aside from the ears, sunglasses, and apparel, I also really love TDR’s snack souvenirs!

Japan loves little packaged snacks.  And at both TDR parks, you’ll find whole sections of stores devoted to snacks and candies.  Even better, many of the snacks are cased in souvenir tins or containers.  So after you’ve eaten everything, you still get a fun case or tin as a souvenir!  I personally like bringing back the snack souvenirs as gifts for friends and coworkers.  But I always buy some for myself because it reminds me of my childhood.  My family was frequently in SF’s Japantown.  Preschool, summer camp, basketball leagues, piano lessons…it was all in Japantown for us. So growing up, we loved going to the Japanese markets to pick out whatever snack we wanted as our afternoon treat.  And now seeing some of my favorite childhood snacks wrapped up in fun Disney packaging just makes the child in me scream with joy!

japan tokyo disney sea resort disneyland disneybound disney style
People

Part of the reason why this one of my top Disney resorts is because of the people.  Guests and visitors are not only polite and nice, but they’re trustworthy.  Japan in general has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it’s because everyone respects one another.  Not saying you should leave your stuff around willy nilly, but if for some reason you left something behind, you have a good chance of getting it back.  Granted, there’s probably not much crime or theft that happens in Disney parks, you just get that extra reassurance that your belongings won’t be lost forever.

Tokyo DisneySea Disneyland Disney Resort Disneybound

Natsuki (left) & Ayano (right) 💖

Not many people there speak English.  So if you’re not knowledgeable in Japanese, be ready to charade your way through a conversation.  There are English maps and most signs have English translations.  Worst case scenario, have your map handy and point to what you’re looking for.  And better yet, also have a Japanese map with you so the cast member can read it in their own language instead of having to try to guess what the English map says.  But at least know “hello” (kon’nichiwa) and “thank you” (arigato).

japan tokyo disneyland sea resort disney style monsters inc university pixar

Unique Rides/Attractions 

Tokyo Disneyland is pretty similar to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. But they do have some rides and attractions that are unique to Tokyo! And of course, DisneySea is a completely different park, so everything they have can’t be found at any other Disney park. But if you only have a limited time, here’s what I would strongly suggest you try to ride in each park!

Disneyland park: Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Monsters Inc. Ride & Go Seek

DisneySea: Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage, Magic Lamp Theater, Aquatopia, Nemo & Friends SeaRider

japan tokyo disneyland disney style park sea resort walt mickey mouse international park

Overall Thoughts & Suggestions

TDR is by far one of my favorite Disney parks.  I love the mix of Japanese culture and Disney magic, but overall it’s just a well-rounded resort.  Fun rides, easy transportation, various hotels, instagrammable food, and of course amazing merch.  But what really captures my heart are all the small details in the park.  The soap in the bathrooms are dispensed as mickey shaped foam, ramen egg yolks are also mickey shaped, and one time we swore the camel statue in Arabian Coast smelled like actual camel poop smell. They’re THAT dedicated to details.

To fully experience the parks, I would suggest a three day stay.  However, two days will still allow you to enjoy most of what the parks offer.  And I would probably spend a little more time in DisneySea versus Disneyland.  Only because DisneySea is completely different from any other Disney park.

If you’ve been to TDR, let me know what you love most about it! Or if you have extra tips, leave them here to so others can learn more too! And stay tuned for the next international international Disney park travel guide!🐭✈️

ABW

There is a place in New Orleans – AHS Coven Tour

Musings, Spotlight, Travel

New Orleans walking tour american horror story coven LaLaurie Mansion American Horror Story Coven Witch

Who’s the baddest witch in town?

New Orleans.  Food, jazz music, Mardi Gras celebrations…but I came for the AHS filming locations.😆  American Horror Story: Coven, the third season from the American Horror Story franchise, was actually the first season I ever watched.  I remember seeing commercials for season one and definitely thought it was way too scary for me.  But when commercials for Season 3 started airing, I was strangely drawn to it.  Some AHS fans felt season 3 was too “housewife-y,” but I honestly thought it was great to see a story focused around women and their relationships with each other within the “horror” genre.  I especially loved the show’s focus on the temperamental mother-daughter relationship.  And THANK GOODNESS we also get to see how race, class, and age play a role in those relationships. Like…yes, Ryan Murphy, YES.👏🏼

After doing some research, I found a gem of a walking tour — the unofficial American Horror Story Tour.  Mostly in the French Quarter, the tour is the perfect mix of AHS fandom and historical facts.  Bea, the tour guide, is also just amazing.  She is super knowledgeable about what parts of the show are based on New Orleans history and what parts were embellished or fictional.  And to my surprise, she knew those prime instagram spots AND was willing to help us stop to take photos.  What more could you ask for?! Thank you, Bea!!

New Orleans French Quarter LaLaurie mansionOur first stop was the LaLaurie house.  Not only infamous for being the residence of Madame LaLaurie in the show, but a bonafide haunted mansion and the site of LaLaurie’s torture “chamber.”  In Coven, we are slowly introduced to Madame LaLaurie’s fascination with blood and the human body.  She was filled with “childlike curiosity.”  And that was not a far departure from the truth.  Bea explained how Madame LaLaurie was accused of over-punishing her slaves, but since she had friends that were city officials, she was able to escape any serious charges.  But one time, the evidence was undeniable.

While hosting a party, the kitchen, which was in a separate back annex of the house, caught fire.  After rescuers extinguished the fire, they found a 70-year-old woman chained to the stove.  She later revealed that she started the fire to escape Madame LaLaurie’s torture and then led authorities to the attic where other slaves were imprisoned and tortured.  The evidence and testimonials were overwhelming.  So much so that her and her husband fled New Orleans shortly afterwards.  However, in Coven, the family’s disappearance is due to Marie Laveau’s revenge against LaLaurie. Below is the green iron gate where Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau first meet and Laveau’s plan for retaliation is set into motion.  In the show, it is shown as the front gate to the LaLaurie house, but is actually part of the neighboring building.

American Horror Story Coven LaLaurie Laveau Voodoo Kathy Bates Angela Bassett

New Orleans French Quarter American Horror Story Coven Witch

Even though the two women never met IRL, they lived within walking distance of each other in the French Quarter.  Marie Laveau, aka the Voodoo Queen, was renowned in New Orleans and obviously was included as a character in Coven.  She was the first practitioner to popularize Louisiana voodoo.  And honestly, learning more about Marie Laveau was probably my favorite part about this tour.  In the show, Marie is almost positioned as a villain against not only the Coven’s Supreme, but also Madame LaLaurie.  Both white women.  But hearing about Laveau’s real story, I was amazed to learn that not only was she a healer in the community, but she was also devilishly smart.

Accurately shown in AHS, Laveau was a hairdresser.  And she would occasionally offer her healing “powers” to clients.  Afterwards, she would simply tell clients to pay what they felt her help was worth.  She knew satisfied patrons would usually overpay because they were so grateful for her services.  Slightly Godfather-ish, but so admirable for a woman of that time to be so business savvy.  And though it’s not thoroughly shown in the series, we do see glimpses of Laveau’s business acumen.

When Laveau had daughters, she would give them her name, Marie Laveau, with different middle names.  The daughters looked just like their mother, so when the daughters were out, Laveau ensured that they were in different parts of town.  When townspeople asked who they were, the daughters of course replied “Marie Laveau.”  Baffled, people began to believe that Marie Laveau was actually getting younger!  And since Laveau and her daughters were never in the same place at the same time, no one knew otherwise.  This urban myth is also written into the show as LaLaurie and the Supreme meet Laveau in the hopes of obtaining her secret to “everlasting life.”

For Marie Laveau to build such a reputation during that time in history is impressive and inspiring.  Complete #girlboss behavior.  Granted she benefited greatly from the Code Noir, Marie Laveau found a way to make herself a legend.  If I ever have to answer that icebreaker question about the one person I’d like to meet or have dinner with, Laveau would definitely be at the top of my list.

New Orleans Saint Louis cemetery Marie Laveau American Horror Story Coven

Saint Louis Cemetery

Our walking tour also took us to the Saint Louis Cemetary.  Not only the site of Nicolas Cage’s semi-outrageous pyramid-shaped tomb, it is also home to Laveua’s tomb.  Upon visiting her tomb, it’s evident how influential Laveau was.  To this day, people still visit her tomb to make a wish.  If the wish was granted, they revisit her grave and mark a triple X as proof.  And if you see a lonely hair-tie or bobby pins, do not take them.  Those are gifts left for the hairdresser, Laveau.

Our last stop was the street where the infamous witch’s walk takes place.  It definitely didn’t feel as eerie as it seemed on the show since there were tons of tourists and cars around, but I made the most of it and strutted my witchy self up and down the sidewalk a couple of times.  And now I understand why all the girls of Miss Robichaux’s Academy For Exceptional Young Ladies complained so much about the heat.  Yeah, it’s hot and humid, but wearing an all black and mostly covered ensemble IN the heat is an entirely different story.

New Orleans French Quarter walking tour American Horror Story Coven Witches walk

If you haven’t watched AHS: Coven, please set up a fort in your house and watch it ASAP.  I personally love that it’s rooted in New Orleans history and shows the relationships, successes, and struggles of powerful women and women of color.  It is a treasure trove for exploring the intersecting identities of women.  And if you ever find yourself in New Orleans, please book this tour!  You get to learn more about one of the most kickass women in New Orleans history and grab yourself a few insta worthy shots…there’s really nothing to say “no” to here, ladies and gents.😏

ABW

Growing Up Asian American

Musings

epcot disneyworld growing up asian american

For the conclusion of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, I thought I’d participate in an “Growing Up Asian American” tag.  I also feel guilty that I didn’t do more posts dedicated to this month, so hopefully this can help make up for it.😁

1. Which ethnicity are you?

100% Chinese 🤗

2. Which generation are you?

I consider myself to be a 3rd generation Chinese American, but I think according to the Webster dictionary, I’m 2nd generation.  My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. when they were young, and in fact, my great grandfather on my dad’s side was working in the U.S. and would occasionally return to China.  While in California, he found a suitable husband for my grandmother to marry.  And so my grandmother then immigrated to the U.S. essentially as a “picture bride.”  On my mother’s side, my grandparents were married and had their first child in China.  Soon after my uncle was born, they immigrated to California.

3. What is the first experience where you felt that demarcation of being a minority/different?

It’s hard to say because when using the words “minority” and “different,” this question seems to imply that learning I was Asian American was a bad experience.  But between growing up in San Francisco, which has a huge Asian American community, and my parents who were actively engaged in Asian American community organizations, knowing that I was Asian American was something to be proud of and something I learned at an early age.  Especially around Lunar New Year because I could brag about how the huge televised SF Chinese New Year Parade was an event that honored my culture.  Plus…red envelopes!😆

But it’s hard for me to pinpoint what exact experience made me realize I was a minority.  And even if I did realize that being Asian American meant I was different, being around a large community of Asian Americans reassured me that it wasn’t wrong to be one.  In grammar school (K-8th grade), the popular girls were Asian, the MVPs of our female sports teams were Asian, the girls most of the boys liked…were Asian.  I owned a hoodie that said “Generasian” on it and practically wore it everywhere I went when I was a tween.

From a young age, my parents made it a point to teach us about our ethnicity and culture and to expose us to the community.  An experience that I think is unique to cities and areas that have a dense Asian American population.

4. Were you always proud of your heritage or was there a time you rejected it?

The time in my life that I regretfully rejected being Chinese American was in high school.  To this day, I feel like I am still fighting to win back that Asian American confidence I once had in grammar school.

And maybe this pertains to the previous question, but I distinctly remember one day in high school when I was trying to get my books out of my locker.  I was in a rush because I gave a presentation in my previous class in which I had to dress up as a jazz singer.  Trying not to be tardy, I had to quickly change my clothes and head to my next class.  When I got to my locker, the guy who owned the locker above mine, was leaning against them and therefore blocking my way.  Instead of stepping to the side, he just ignored me.  And this wasn’t the beginning of the year; he knew I had the locker below his.

I finally spoke up and asked him to move.  He scoffed, turned to his friend, and said something to the effect of “She thinks she’s a Chinese princess over here.”  And those words don’t seem scarring, but for some reason, they stuck with me.  Why is it that all of the sudden I’m a demanding Chinese princess for speaking up?  But as someone who is also a major introvert, I don’t like to cause a commotion (in public at least😅).  And if speaking up prompts that kind of response, then maybe it’s better if I just held my tongue.

So throughout highschool, I tried my best to not come off as “too Asian.”  And granted there’s probably more to unpack in that one experience (me being female, him being male, him trying to be cool, me being stressed, him being a Sophomore, me being a Junior), but the overall tone of this interaction was racial.

5. What are some stereotypes that you struggle with?

Because I’m Asian American, many people assume that I’m smart and quiet.  Both which feed into the model minority stereotype – which is a larger, more general stereotype about Asian Americans.  And I agree, there are many Asian and Asian American families that have been extremely successful.  My family is probably even considered successful.  We’ve had the privilege of not having to worry about money, living in a house we owned, being able to work free of disabilities, and having English be our first language.  But there are also so many families that experience economic struggles, domestic violence, and immigration issues.  And they’re often overlooked because so many people believe the model minority stereotype.

But I like to think I have my smart days.  Ask my boyfriend about the countless million dollar ideas I’ve pitched to him.😂  And in school, I did manage to get some good grades and took a few honors and AP classes.  But don’t be fooled because I had to get good grades in those classes to offset the ones I failed in.🙈

And in general, I’m pretty quiet and keep to myself.  But that’s because I’m an introvert.  As a child, I was probably taught to be quiet rather than loud because that’s the respectable thing to be in Asian cultures, but if I was an extrovert at heart, I would probably be more outspoken.

But as an Asian American female, the expectation that I’m to be quiet and submissive is compounded.  There have been multiple times in my life where a stranger would try to dominate the situation because they figured I’d roll over and they could get away with being overly mean.  But be warned, I have held my own in a few instances!  Asian American females are also often hypersexualized.  Luckily I’ve never had to deal with those kind of encounters, but unfortunately, many Asian American females do.

6. Can you speak your language?

Sadly, no.  I can order a chicken bun and know a few baby words (milk, bad, “don’t pick your nose” is a handy one), but that’s the extent of my Cantonese.  Don’t even ask me about mandarin. >.<

7. How has being Asian American affected your relationship with your parents?

Since my parents are American-born, they were better equipped to navigate my “American” upbringing compared to my immigrant grandparents raising them.  And as I mentioned earlier, teaching us about being Asian American, and to be proud of it, was something they prioritized.   My mom made us watch Flower Drum Song, one of the first movies to feature a predominantly Asian cast.  For the release of Mulan, my family coordinated with my friend’s family, who was also Asian American, so both our families could see it together and celebrate Disney’s first animated Asian heroine.  They would even bring us along to events hosted by those Asian American non-profit orgs so we could meet their colleagues – aka social justice advocates, like themselves.  In fact, my parents’ involvement in Asian American non-profit community organizations is what inspired me to take Asian American studies and Sociology classes focused on non-profit orgs in college.

8. How do you feel about your heritage now? Do you identify with it?

Yes, I am grateful to be Asian American and identify as being Asian American.  But occasionally, I also feel hesitant to fully claim it because there is a myriad of Asian American experiences that many have experienced, but I haven’t.  I never knew what it was like to have to translate English for my parents.  I never had to feel ashamed of my “weird” Asian food at school because I was usually signed up for the school provided lunches.  I did have classmates pull their eyelids to the side and make funny faces at me and my friends, but my teachers knew to immediately educate them on why it wasn’t appropriate.  And I won’t get into being Asian v. Asian American.

9. What is your favorite thing about being Asian American/your heritage?

I think being an Asian American female gives me a unique perspective on the world.  It enables me to provide a different POV to others and hopefully encourages them to share theirs as well.

I’m also proud of the leaders in the community that fight for the social injustices that affects the Asian American community.  And I’m especially proud of those who try to further Asian American representation with more diverse and dynamic stories.  Asian American representation is something I value and the reason I started this shindig in the first place!

__

If you’ve made it through this whole post, thank you so much for lending me your eeaaarrr…eye!😉  I hope telling you my story encourages you to tell yours!  And even though APAHM is coming to a close, we can still ask each other these questions and talk about our shared experiences year-round!  The more we tell our stories, the more we can learn from one another and grow together.

ABW

Rockin’ the Dots for Minnie’s Walk of Fame Star

Disney Style, Musings, Style

January is always a great month for me because…

1. BIRTHDAY MONTH! and

2. It’s a month devoted to Minnie and rockin’ the dots!

paradise pier california adventure disneyland rock the dots minnie mouse disney styledress: Realisation Par, jacket: Zara, purse: Coach, shoes: Converse

But this is post is going to be about Minnie (and some Minnie inspired outfits), not my birthday shenannigans. 😉  In fact, Minnie had a “facebook worthy” life event when she received her star on the walk of fame earlier this month!  And honestly, it’s about time!

disneyland california adventure disney style mickey mouse minnie paradise pier

Mickey got his star back in 1978, but Minnie was only nominated for her own star just a few years ago. And in the wake of the #TimesUp movement, I’m sure the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce felt pressure and saw the perfect opportunity to show support.  More about how Minnie had to wait 40 years before getting her star here!

california adventure paradise pier mouseketeer disney style minnie mouse mickey

And I’ll be honest, I tend to choose Mickey over Minnie; especially when it comes to merch and disney fashion.  And that’s usually because I find Minnie to be a little too girly for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got love for Minnie and everything she’s done.  But when it comes to girly, I’ve mentioned in previous posts how I tend to shy away from it.  When you’re a short asian and look “doll-like” in girly clothes, people tend to treat you more like a child rather than an adult.

paradise pier california adventure minnie mouse disney style mickeyjeans: Siwy, purse: Danielle Nicole, shirt: Harajuku, tank: LF, sunglasses: QUAY

Should I let the way others treat me deter me from wearing girly clothes? Absolutely not.  But the other part of wearing less girly clothes is to limit the amount of defense I have play.  If I encounter someone who starts treating me like a child, all of the sudden I have to make my case on why they should treat me like, I don’t know, a grown adult?!  Yes, I have a major sweet tooth, hate going to sleep when I’m told to, and I like Disney.  But that means I’m a child at heart, not an actual child.

paradise pier california adventure minnie mouse siwy denim mickey fun wheel disney style

But let’s get back to Minnie.  I’m so glad Minnie finally got her star!⭐️  It was long overdue and just highlights how far behind we were in recognizing the gender disparity between Minnie and Mickey.  So instead of just rockin’ the dots only in January, I’m going to try to let Minnie inspire more of my Disney outfits.  Because the only thing better than representing this iconic fashionista is to shock strangers that dare treat me like a child.

ABW

california adventure paradise pier minnie style mickey mouse disney style