#CityDisneyStyle: Rock The Dots!

Disney Style, Style

dsc08653Happy National Polka Dot Day!  And say hello to the first #citydisneystyle post!🙌🏼  If you follow me on instagram, then you already know that this series is an idea I’ve been toying around with for the past month.  After getting all your great feedback, I’m finally pulling the trigger!

I hope that each month I can tell you more about how to put together a Disney Style outfit that suits your city life.  Instead of following one format, I’ve decided to focus on one topic each month. I’m planning to write up step by step guides, how to style one item multiple ways, and hopefully showing you how to easily transition at-home Disney loungewear clothes into a pulled-together errand outfit!🏃🏻‍♀️

This month, I decided to provide three tips on how to wear one of the most timeless prints around — Minnie polka dots!🔴⚪️⚫️🔴⚪️⚫️

dsc08665Tip 1: Choose interesting basics to pair with your dots.

I love a good pattern mix, but for easy city dressing, I usually pair a pattern or print back to interesting basics.  What do I mean by interesting basics?🤔 It sounds like such a contradiction, Alisa. Well, I’m talking about basic pieces with an unexpected point of interest.  Basics with an intriguing detail that makes them NOT so basic.

Notice in this outfit, that the points of interest in my black coat are the longer streamlined silhouette, slim collars, and distinct pocket details.  For my bag, the mixed metal buckle feels unexpected. And blue tinted aviators actually pick up on the blue in Donald’s hat. These kind of small details help to elevate your basics from literal “basic clothes” to stylish staples that stand the test of time.

dsc08659Tip 2: Mix different styles into your outfit.

Mixing different styles is something I often think about when putting together a #citydisneystyle outfit.  As much as I prefer to have a predictable life and schedule🙄, I try to go for an unexpected mix in my outfits.  And when it comes to styling Disney pieces, mixing fun and bright with more refined items easily transforms Disney clothes into city clothes.

Since I based this outfit on my flouncy Cath Kidston dot skirt, I decided to pair it with more structured items to get that nice mix of feminine and sleek.  Again, my black jacket instantly adds polish with its sharp silhouette and my earrings are minimalistic and streamlined. Both give a nice contrast to a flowy skirt and that contrast is what taps into that “je ne sais quoi” cool city girl mood.

dsc08697.jpgTip 3: Tuck it in!

It’s such a simple styling “hack,” but it has so much pay off.  For skirts or pants that sit at your waist, try to tuck in your top.  Not only does it help keep the shape of your outfit, but doing a French or half tuck will also help you channel that cool Parisian city vibe.  I mean, it’s called a French tuck for a reason!👩🏻‍🎨  Tucking your shirt in ever so slightly will instantly read as effortless and more polished.

Minnie dots are such a playful and timeless print to wear and I hope these three tips will help you wear them with confidence around the city!  Minnie may be girlie and sweet, but she’s also strong and independent. So to style an outfit that speaks to different sides of Minnie’s character was fun and meaningful for me.  And to share this outfit and these tips on National Polka Dot Day is just the icing on the cake!🎂

How do you like to wear your Minnie dots?  Let me know here or over on instagram!

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Styling the Target x Mickey Mouse Collection

Disney Style, Style

Disney Style Mickey Mouse True Original 90 Birthday Target DisneylandAs we all know, Target released a Mickey Mouse summer collection a couple months back and I’m sure thousands of Disney fans raced to their closest Target.  I, of course, was one of those people because I am always SO thirsty for all the cute Disney merch!😆  The one item that I absolutely needed, and prompted my last minute evening Target run, were these white Mickey Mouse sunnies!  But alas, you never visit Target and leave with only one item.

Disneyland Disney Style Mickey Mouse 90 Birthday Target CollectionThe first apparel item I  reached for at the store was these lightweight chambray embroidered Mickey pants.  Fun and “less conventional” pants have been everywhere this past year and for good reason.  I love that these pants have an elastic waist.  (Hello, Jack Jack cookie num nums!🍪)  And to maximize the comfort factor, these pants are more of a straight leg cut, which gives you a little extra wiggle room for running to that FastPass station.

Disneyland Target Collection Disney Style Mickey Mouse Cath KidstonPants, sunglasses, and handkerchief: Target, Bag and bag strap: Cath Kidston, Shirt: H&M, Shoes: Superga

I love pairing light blue chambray with white and ivory, so I dug up an old white H&M scallop edge top and tucked it in for a defined waist.  And accessorizing is a breeze when you end up buying all the coordinating accessories from the collection.😅  The white Mickey sunnies add that element of fun to an otherwise more proper-looking outfit, and the red Mickey handkerchief brings attention to my face.  The Cath Kidston bag originally came with a navy strap, but for that extra punch of fun, I switched it out for the alternate red striped one.  And to tie it all together, I wore my red Superga 2750 classics.  (Bonus: California residents can get 10% off Superga shoes with the code “abitwong10”!)

pixar California Adventure cars land radiator springs target disney style disneyland mickey mouse 90 birthdayAnother clothing item from the Target collection is this rainbow “Good Times” Mickey shirt.  I love that it’s a basic tee with a twist.  Rather than a blank white shirt, a simple rainbow graphic brings more character to an outfit.  And instead of just pairing it with my usual skinny jeans, I decided to try something more fun!  These coral linen pants are colorful and breezy, but beware… linen = wrinkles galore.😩

california adventure cars land route 66 disney style target mickey mouse 90 birthday pixarI also picked up this girls😅 straw drawstring backpack from the Target collection.  It has a frickin’ hidden mickey on it made out of pom poms.  How does one not buy it?  And this particular backpack carries so much stuff!  Aside from my denim jacket, which I brought along for the chillier pre-summer evenings, I also fit my DSLR, water bottle, and polaroid camera — and I still had room for extra souvenirs.😆

If weather permits, I also like to wear a denim jacket because it’s a great way to “tone down” an outfit.  These coral pants are definitely loud and a little different than what I’m used to wearing.  So if I ever felt self-conscious, I just threw on my denim jacket.  And being a jacket fiend, I just love the way it completes an outfit.  But we all know that the real outfit completer are shoes.  These Vans Winnie the Pooh shoes perfectly picked up colors from the rest of my outfit and it’s always fun to add a little extra whimsy to your feet!

california adventure cars land pixar disney style target mickey mouse 90 birthdayShirt and backpack: Target, Pants: Sears, Shoes: Vans, Jacket: Forever 21

Yes, I did pick up more stuff from the Target x Mickey Mouse collab, but I’ll spare you for now.😆  And even though we’re still a few months out from Mickey AND Minnie’s 90th Birthday, I’m so excited that Target and other big retailers are already releasing Disney Style pieces!  I actually heard that Forever 21 is dropping some new fall Disney Style pieces, so….I’m going to go online shopping now.🛍🙈

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!

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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

Shanghai Disneyland – Experience

Musings, Travel

DSC07558

Last year, I was able to travel the world with a close friend to visit all of the Disney parks within a year.  The catalyst for this trip was of course the opening of Disney’s newest park, Shanghai Disneyland.  I thought it would be a few years until I was able to visit again, but last month I was lucky enough to travel to Shanghai for work.  And duh, of course I had to make a special trip to the park.🐭

Now that I’ve visited the park twice, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experiences.  And hopefully, this will give you some insight before your first or next visit to Shanghai Disneyland!

IMG_5830

Dibs!

You’ve probably heard already, but parkgoers in Shanghai Disneyland are pushy.  But know that it is not meant to be intentionally rude or mean-spirited, it’s just cultural norm.  So be mentally prepared for it.  There are tons of photo spots around the park and instead of forming a neat line, people crowd around in a circle and jump in once the spot is open.  If you’re in line and there’s space in front of you, people behind you look over your shoulder until you move up.  Or even worse, they’ll try to move around you to occupy that space and essentially cut you.  And again, this isn’t because they’re trying to be mean to you.  It’s more a “take it or lose it” mentality.  If you’re taking to long to get your photo, then I’ll go ahead of you.  If you’re not going to move up in line, then I’ll move up.  In a country where resources are sometimes limited, many grow up feeling the need to be more assertive in taking what they want or risk not getting anything at all.

As an avid Disney park-goer, this is a completely different and somewhat intolerable environment.  My advice is to take it in doses.  It’s much more bearable.  Wait in line for a ride and then go find a place to sit while you eat.  After you finally fight the crowd for that photo, head to Tomorrowland to watch the Tron bikes zoom by for a few rounds (the lights are actually mesmerizing).💫🚴🏻  Just break up your day if possible instead constantly battling the crowds for 10 straight hours.

DSC07574

You’ve been warned.

After a while, you might want to start yelling at the crowds.  But just know that security and cast members are not the most involved when it comes to altercations between guests.  Last year, while waiting in line for Tron, a guy cut past me and my other friend. The rest of his group was not far behind and I could tell what was about to happen.  Fed up with pushy guests all day, I grabbed the rail to prevent his friends from passing.  Of course, the guy was immediately upset and started to yell at me.  I sternly explained that his group needed to go to the back of the line.  Or alternatively he could go ahead, but his friends could not.  It was a single-riders line after all and it didn’t matter if they were altogether – they would be split on the ride anyways.  After a few minutes he pushed me backwards.  And this was a full-palm double handed push.  Luckily, his friends were behind me and actually caught me, but my friend and I were literally stuck in this tangled mess of flailing arms and loud yelling.  This showdown happened within earshot of cast members and they did nothing.  No one rushed over to mediate or to assist.  They literally just stared at us.  Not fun.

However, during this past visit, two women began yelling and thankfully it didn’t take long for cast members to show up.  BUT it still took cast members almost ten minutes to actually resolve the situation.  The Tarzan show actually had to be delayed.  And your girl just wants to watch a half-naked man do some aerial arts, so you can imagine how annoyed I was.  At any other Disney park, cast members would have escorted those ladies out in a flash.  But I think park operations are still learning how to handle guests.  So before getting into an argument with anyone, just know that you could be on your own.

IMG_5825

Spread the love! ❤

On the flip side, most cast members I encountered were helpful and friendly, IF you approach them politely.  Walking up to a cast member acting like they’re the crazy ones for not speaking English, just sets you up for a bitter interaction.  And believe me, I’ve seen that happen before.  Not a pretty sight.  So please don’t be that “ugly American.”  PUH-LEASE.🙏🏻  We have enough people in the world that hate Americans already.  In fact, try proving everyone wrong.  Show them how humble and polite Americans can actually be.💁🏻  And cast members deal with tons of unpleasant guests all day, that they’d probably be more than happy to assist someone that is actually nice to them.

Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Rose Cup Shanghai Disneyland

Do you suppose the sign says “Best Cup Ever” in Chinese?

Traveling in China as a Chinese American is an interesting experience.  Everyone expects that you’re just like them, but you’re really…not.  Most people I encountered in China automatically started talking to me in Mandarin.  As an ABC (American Born Chinese), I grew up speaking English.  And on top of that, my grandparents immigrated from Southern China, which means they and my parents speak Cantonese, not Mandarin.  So even if I did know some Chinese, it would still essentially be a different language.

So when I approached someone at the park, I would actually feel embarrassed for a split second.  They would start talking to me in Mandarin and since I couldn’t respond back I stared at them like a dear in headlights.😓  The worst response I’ve gotten goes back to my Tron incident.  The guy that pushed me yelled “You’re Chinese, why don’t you speak Chinese!” while we were arguing.  The “ugly American” in me yelled back “I’m not Chinese, I’m American!”  But I immediately regretted it.  There’s this sense of identity loss if you don’t speak the native language of whatever ethnicity you are.  Not speaking Chinese for some reason makes me less Chinese.  And to some extent I agree.  I’m not Chinese.  I’m Chinese-American.  And that shouldn’t mean I’ve somehow dishonored or disowned my Chinese roots.  Others, of course, feel differently.  But if you’re an Asian that doesn’t speak Mandarin, just be prepared for lots of people expecting you to know the language and to instead dish out lots of humble apologies in return.

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She’s a girl worth fighting for.

Other than the Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron rides, what I also love about Shanghai Disneyland is how Mulan is much more well-represented around the park.  She has her own spot in the parade, she’s shown in park decor, and is one of the princess stories shown in their storybook attractions.  And in the parade, Mulan is actually wearing her warrior outfit!  Not sure how the parks landed on that, but can we just appreciate the fact that it’s exposing kids to the idea that princesses don’t have to wear dresses?!  It’s also an introduction to non-conforming gender individuals and I’m 💯% on board with that.

But the fact that an Asian Disney character is so well-represented in a Disney park just feels…validating.  Yes, Disney came out with an Asian female led movie, but when she’s barely represented in the parks or in merchandise, it almost feels like Disney was just throwing Asian Americans a bone.  “Here you go, your Asian princess. Now back to our regularly scheduled non-colored princesses.”  We are not a charity case.  I get that Mulan isn’t nearly as popular as other Disney princesses.  I’m a merchandiser, I get that they have sales goals to meet and the safest bets are with white princesses.  But with the new Mulan live-action movie coming out soon, I’m hoping that will change.

IMG_5755

See ya real soon!

So that is my two cents on Shanghai Disneyland so far.  I’m sure my opinion will most likely change as I visit more and as the park matures.  Overall though, I really do like the park and am excited to visit again since I still haven’t actually done all of the attractions.   And maybe by my next visit, I’ll actually know a little more mandarin!

And stayed tuned for another post about Shanghai Disneyland!  I’ll have tips for your solo trip to the park. 🤗

ABW

Spotlight: The Golden Mickey’s Show on the Disney Wonder

Musings, Spotlight
golden mickey

“Lights, cameras, acceptance speeches!”  On our first night aboard the Disney Wonder, we caught the Golden Mickey’s show.  In my previous post, I mentioned how I cried my eyes out during the “heroism” part of the show, which showcased Tarzan, Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mulan.  Now you would guess that I would have cried hardest for the Mulan number.  But it was actually quite the opposite.

The sequence consisted of a “karate-style” dance to Be A Man, which is fine.  That’s how the scene is in the movie.  But there weren’t even any Asian dancers in the mix. 😑  Granted, we were sitting in one of the back rows, but I’m pretty sure Mulan and Li Shang were white performers.  And let’s get real for a second.  If this were a Princess and the Frog segment, and Tiana came out as a white person, that wouldn’t fly.  And not even as a white person wearing blackface, just literally as a white actor playing Tiana.  But when it comes to white people portraying Asians or Asian Americans, it’s much more acceptable. Just look at all these movies that have committed whitewashing.  And studios don’t seem to see anything wrong with that.  And that’s frustrating.

GM mulan

Photo of Mulan sequence above found on google images.

Now those who are familiar with the Asian or Asian American experience, probably know that more often than not, Asians love to emulate white/western culture.  Bigger eyes, lighter skin and hair, pointier noses.  And Asian Americans specifically tried to be more “white” to better assimilate into American culture.  So this craving to distance the group from “Asian-ness,” from being seen as foreigners, would seem to be the culprit for letting a white actress play Mulan like it was no big deal.  But of course, as with any issue related to race or intersecting identities, there is so much more to this than just wanting to be “less Asian.”  But I won’t hold you captive here.

My end game again is this — Tiana, Disney’s first black princess, is now part of many different Disney attractions and shows.  But Disney knows not to hire a white woman to play Tiana.  They would never imagine to do that (I would hope at least).  But for some reason, it’s ok to have a non-Asian play Mulan in a live show.  Do Disney and other entertainment powerhouses get away with it because Asians are the model minorities who won’t make a big fuss over it?  Maybe they figure there isn’t as much backlash to be had because many Asians have wanted to attain a certain level of “whiteness” for so long now that it’s almost second nature?

And for some reason, the only way to get something like this to change is to make a fuss over it.  To be vocal about it.  But why do we always need to rally?  It’s tiring!  I’m tired of having to point out the obvious.  But I guess what’s obvious to me, isn’t always obvious to others.  Oh how I long for the day when the people running these entertainment companies finally realize that accurate, yet diverse, portrayals and representations of POC are necessary.  Anything other than that is unacceptable.

*end rant*

ABW

Note: These comments are my own opinions and this is just what I’ve observed and encountered in my life.  Also, I understand that Disney has made huge strides, specifically in recent animated films, to be inclusive of different ethnic groups.  In this post, I am speaking specifically about the one show I watched while aboard the Disney Wonder.  This could very well have been a one time occurrence, but white actors were still used to portray Asian characters, so my opinions are based on that incident. 

Spotlight: Keiki Collection

Musings, Spotlight

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Earlier this month, I hopped over to Hawaii to spend some quality time (read: eating time) with my sister and mom.  Over the weekend, we decided to eat at Scratch Kitchen and Meatery.  Before talking about the Keiki Collection, you have to know something.  If you’re ever in the area, you HAVE to try at least one of  the “Pimp My Grits” dishes from Scratch Kitchen.  Just…ugh…so good.  A quick pic and then we’ll move on:IMG_2848

To walk off this amazing, but super heavy grits, we decided to shop around South Shore Market.  Picked up a copy of Alexa Chung’s It and a pair of delicate rose gold heart earrings, but the best pleasant surprise was running into a small pop-up shop from Keiki Collection.  Keiki Collection is a community of kids that learn how to sell their handmade goods.  But we should honestly call them mini #Girlbosses.💁🏿💁🏾💁🏽💁🏻💁🏼  Sidenote: There are young boys in the group too, but none were there that day.

IMG_2852I remember when I was younger, my mom and I would do the same thing.  We’d figure out what kind of crafts we could make to then sell at school holiday craft fairs.  I loved working away making tons of colorful lanyards and decorating hair claws with Christmas tinsel.  It was so fun to be creative and I felt so “official” when we sold them.  And we probably barely broke even each time because everything was pretty much under $5.  But I love that these girls are creating something that they’re proud of and then learning business skills to sell them.  Things you don’t necessarily learn in school these days.

IMG_2865I was most impressed by one girl that made large macrame hanging pot holders.  They were just so impeccably made!  I was so impressed that I ended up buying one even though I don’t really have a place to put it.😅  But it’s a small price to pay to support a young mini girlboss though, right?🤗

We tried our best to buy a little something from each person.  These girls are learning the basics of business and entrepreneurship and that’s just something we had to support.  And Hawaii in general has a pretty diverse population, but can we take a second to recognize that this was also an ethnically diverse group of girls!!  I mean, COME ON!  It’s just so amazing to see young girls of color learning to be entrepreneurs, creatives, and supportive of one another.  It warms my soouuull.💕

IMG_2863If you can, give Keiki Collection a follow on instagram.  They have occasional pop-ups like this one around the island.  Let them know what they’re doing is impressive and important — not only as a young female, but also as a person of color.

ABW

Why I Blog: The Effects of Internalized Oppression on Style Choices

Musings

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A close friend of mine posted this story on Facebook yesterday, and it’s one of those things that you’ve thought about before, but never really thought about it.  After reading this story, it just reconfirms why I wanted to start this blog in the first place.  I don’t necessarily wear crazy prints and colors like Lauren Stardust, but that just means I haven’t freed myself from the very thing Lauren is talking about.  My own internalized misogyny (which Lauren describes as an “”involuntary internalization by women of the sexist messages that are present in their societies and culture”) is completely intertwined with my internalized prejudice.  In fact, I would say it might even be stronger than my internalized misogyny.

Again, it just validates the whole reason I started this blog.  It’s no mystery who some of the more famous non-white bloggers are, but for years I’ve felt like they never casually talked about how being a POC influenced their lives – and more specifically style choices, the very thing they’re famous for.  And maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it doesn’t. But for me, being a POC influences so much of my life. Both good and bad of course. Bad: I try to steer clear of flouncy fit and flare dresses to avoid looking too doll-ish.  As a Chinese American female, “doll-ish” is something I’ve actively avoided my whole adult life in order to be taken seriously.  Good: A lot of times people thing I’m innocent because “hey, I’m a small Asian girl and what harm could I do?” Really plays in my favor whenever I want to be a little mischievous.😈

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Being Asian American…love it and hate the internalized oppression.

Other than giving myself the space to create, I also wanted to use this blog as a platform to talk about how internalized misogyny and prejudice really does affect my style choices and influence how I perceive and navigate the world.  And I really applaud Lauren for being able to confront those internalized oppressions head on.  I have yet to get that far.  But maybe, that journey is about to be written right before your eyes.  Now wouldn’t that be something?😏

ABW

Rock the Dots

Disney Style, Food, Style

dsc05877Since January is usually a birthday month in my books😉, I always tend to forget that it’s also a very special month for one of the top fashion icons – Minnie Mouse!  Throughout the month of January, Disney fans everywhere are encouraged to #RockTheDots to show off their own #MinnieStyle and Disney Style.

Rock the dots also purposely coincides with National Polka Dot day.  So a couple weeks ago, I brought out my dots!  I’ve had this American Apparel dot blouse for a few years now and I love it to death.  It always adds the perfect amount of whimsy to any outfit.  But with my round Asian face and short stature, going full on whimsy can tend to make me look a little tooo doll-ish.  And if you haven’t guessed already, I ain’t always a doll.😏

So I paired my shirt with sleeker items like a polished faux suede moto jacket and slick skinny jeans with a distressed knee, which helps give the whole look a little extra edge.  And to really #RockTheDots, I paired my dotted shirt with studded dot ballet flats.  Another great example of something sweet, yet polished with some edge.  And of course, I had to top it all off with my favorite Mickey bag.🐭

dsc05888Shirt: American Apparel, Jacket: Kohl’s LC Lauren Conrad, Jeans: Carmar, Shoes: Sam Edelman, Bag: Disney x Coach, Watch: Micheal Kors, Sunglasses: Quay

And since National Polka Dot day was on a Sunday, we of course had to go out for brunch.  So we stopped by The Palm House.  Got myself the spam and eggs benedict, which was much more filling than I was expecting it to be.  But the brown hash brown looking thing on the bottom…it’s actually a rice “hash brown” if you will.  Genius.  And the eggs… perfectlypoached.  Yolk splits that were food porn worthy.  And the spam wasn’t actual spam. Instead☝️, gourmet braised pork shoulder.  Yes, I may have had to wipe some drool off my face as I write this post.😛

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And aside from the food, the restaurant itself is adorable.  Is city beach house chic a decor term?  Lots of blue with palm green accents.  And if you’re sad about having to eat brunch instead of watching your favorite team play, fret not!  But come on, who actually says no to brunch?!  But if you insist on watching the game, there is a bar area with TVs and you can happily scarf down your jerk chicken tacos or huevos rancheros while watching people professionally tackle each other.  I, personally, prefer to enjoy a hot cup of tea.☕️

ABW

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Je Ne Sais Quoi

Disney Style, Food, Style, Travel

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There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the French expression je ne sais quoi, don’t you think?

Found that gem on google.  Did it make me sound posh and fancy?💁🏻 Unlike the cut off denim shorts I lived in while visiting Honolulu.  And even though many tourists and locals alike can enjoy all the luxurious things the city has to offer, my sister and I usually like to pretend we’re kama’aina.  For us, that means lots of shopping and eating.

To fuel up for our shopping pilgrimage, we stopped by Koko Head Cafe.  Opened by Chef Lee Anne Wong, a finalist on Top Chef, Koko Head Cafe serves up hefty dumplings and brunch-style Asian comfort food.   The cafe also captures that hometown diner feel with surf town decor and Wong’s framed personal photos.  And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Wong’s book Dumplings All Day Wong!  If you ask nicely, you can even leaf through it while you wait for deliciousness to be served.

After stuffing out faces, we needed to walk it all off…before heading to dinner of course.😅 So we stopped by Ward Village South Shore Market.  It actually underwent a huge re-model and I was excited to finally see it.  South Shore Market is comprised of 18 local merchants to showcase and cultivate Hawaii’s creative scene.  Shopping small couldn’t be any easier.  Walking through the stores, I also realized that many of the shop owners are probably POC.  Since Hawaii’s population is almost 40% Asian, it’s also likely that many of these creatives were Asian American.  So not only are you supporting small businesses, but you’re also supporting businesses owned by POC.  So. Much. YES.👏

Do you see that suitcase?  It’s filled with watercolor cards of creatures from Fantastic Beasts.  Yeah, ah-ma-zing!

And speaking of amazing, I also picked up these sparkle heel Zara boots the day before.  They were the last pair left and in my size, so you know…had to get ’em.  Don’t worry, they were on sale.😉  And one of the many apples of my eye, my Disney x Coach red cross body.  The perfect size for your phone and credit cards and comes with the cutest little Mickey hand charm.  It just has a certain je ne sais quoi, non??😏

ABW

dsc05573Shirt: Sincerely Jules, Crossbody: Disney x Coach, Shoes: Zara, Sunglasses: Free People, Shorts: Vintage

San Francisco Women’s March

Musings, Style
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Go get yourself a copy of Bad Girls Throughout History STAT.

Around this time last year, I was in Hawaii frolicking around Aulani Disney Resort with close friends.  We were enjoying a nice meal and of course started talking about the potential election candidates.  I remember I started to cry because it was just unfathomable to me that people were even considering Trump.  After feeling defeated for the past few months, I knew that it was imperative, now more than ever, to do what I could to show my support.* Support for women and feminists.  Support for POC.  Support for LGBTQIA.  Support for choice. Support for the underserved.  Support for the underrepresented.

I’m not usually a rally kind of person.  The introvert in me always tries to figure out if there’s anything that I could do within my four cozy walls to use my voice instead of having to venture to the outside world.  Sometimes I think I’m a cold-blooded reptile since I get so cold so easily outside.  But today was quite the exception.  Earlier in the week I decided to attend the San Francisco Women’s March and meet up with some old co-workers from my non-profit days. Backstory: We all worked together at a non-profit Chinese American Historical museum in Chinatown (check it ➡️ CHSA).  I probably still would have gone to the march, but knowing that I was going to meet up with these amazing women made me that much more excited.  One of them even printed and laminated these perfect Leia rebellion posters.  I, of course, had to sport my “Rebel” Star Wars cap. 👌

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Poster design from Ladies Who Design.  Download it for free and donate to designer Hayley Gilmore!

I actually had to run off for my family’s Chinese New Year’s dinner that evening, so I really only got to stay for the speeches and saw bits of the march on my way out.  A great lineup of speakers and performers, but I choked up the most listening to San Francisco supervisor, Jane Kim.

“My name is Jane Kim…and I am a nasty woman.” ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻   

She went on to explain how she hired an all female, all mothers, WOC legislative team at City Hall and how they’re “getting the job done!”  Are you crying tears of empowerment yet?  And then when she talked about how San Francisco is one of the cities pioneering for social change, I just couldn’t hold it in.  It makes me so proud to be a San Franciscan.

“We have a legacy of being bold.  We were one of the first cities to marry gay couples.  We are one of the first cities to provide single parent universal healthcare.  We are the first city to bring minimum wage to $15 an hour – and most of those workers are women. So let’s march.” – Jane Kim

img_1892My eggs, my choice.🍳🍳🍳 I like them over easy.😜

As mentioned, I pretty much had to make my way over to Chinatown after the speeches, but did get a chance to snap a few photos of the parade and some fun signs.  Apologizing now for the poor photo quality.  It was pretty gloomy.  And by the time the march started, it was raining and dark.  I’m sure the earth was upset that Trump and most, if not all, of his cabinet doesn’t believe in climate change. 😑

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Of course the city showed its support in lighting up City Hall with pink lights.  But I’m sure it’ll change back to blue and gold once the Warriors play again.  I’ll just have to be my own reminder to make my voice heard and support those who need it most.  And I urge you to help us fight.  Rebel against normalizing patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, and bullying.  Rebel against believing that you have no voice.  Rebel against silence.  And for everything that you’ve done so far, thank you. 💗

ABW

OOTD/N:womens-marchRebel hat, Mulan pin: Disney, Glasses: Warby Parker, Girls flag pin: Tuesday Bassen, Egg socks: ikspiari (Japan), Leather jacket: LF, Black skinny jeans: Sears

*UPDATE: I just realized that I did not point out the privilege I have for not feeling the need to go out and march until now.  More specifically, I did not participate in any Black Lives Matter marches or events. That just speaks to the privilege I hold. I was always an ally, re-posting and reading what I could.  But I never felt the need to march.  I never felt in danger because of my race or the language I speak.  I haven’t felt too threatened up until now.  Even though I am a POC, I am not as much a target as, for example, a black male.  And I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge that.