Distractions

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When you are confused about life, seek distractions. At least that seems to be my approach right now.

Distract me with music. Upbeat or melancholic, switch it up. Just make noise and fill the air.

Distract me with food. Eating bite by bite. Not exactly savoring, but trying to.

Distract me with driving. Doesn’t matter where. Find a place and go.

Distract me with Facebook/Instagram. I don’t think I’ve been this social media absorbed since college.

Distract me with new people. It’s fresh and new. Maybe they’re the one to pull me out of my funk.

Distract me with working out. If I’m busy working on my form and exerting my body, maybe my mind will calm.

Yet I can’t seem to find catharsis, much as I desperately want it. I’ve got some things to work through I guess. (At least it’s slowly getting better.)

Gender gap and sexism at work

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Last week, our class discussed the gender pay gap. Well, it was actually a follow-up that the professor brought up because the first time we talked about it, a classmate had been skeptical of the size of the gap and the professor felt bad that he hadn’t properly addressed that skepticism when it arose. So he did a bunch of research and presented us with a slew of numbers from various sources and studies.

This then prompted a very interesting conversation in which the guy who had pushed back initially explained his thoughts and a few of us chimed in. He said that while there is a discrepancy, it’s not the entire story – men are by far involved in the most dangerous jobs out there, risking their lives all the time and that is not accounted for. While this was very valid and gave me pause, I agreed with the professor that ultimately it was unrelated to the topic at hand. The point would be for any women who are in those professions, whether they also see a pay gap.

I completely agree that it is not fair that men are doing such difficult jobs – going to war, working in mines, and doing hard labor that puts them at risk. Another classmate threw in her two cents about how she felt women don’t choose as much risk as men do and that is a personal choice people make. (I don’t exactly agree with her on that, but it might be broadly true. I still think societal expectations do play a role.) Then as I was thinking about this, I suddenly realized that all my life I’ve been surrounded in male-dominated situations and much as I wanted to part of those worlds, I often did not feel welcome.

Prior to that part of the conversation, we also heard from some people talking about how the gap may be due to the fact that women don’t stand up for themselves as much and go ask for raises or negotiate salary. I’ve never had an issue broaching that topic and I always thought it was expected that you negotiate your salary before accepting. I hadn’t realized that so many people don’t do that!

With all that, I had quite a bit on my mind to share. When my hand raised up, the professor noted it and called on me in order. I almost never speak in class because I don’t like to say anything that isn’t truly interesting or valuable. I think what I shared certainly got everyone’s attention. What came out went something like this…

Two things. First, I think a lot of what happens is not just what women do or do not do, but how it is taken. I tend to be more on the assertive side and the last time I went to ask for a raise, I was told not to, that I shouldn’t ask (instead I should apparently wait for my manager to recognize me in due time). So I think to some extent, even women who do exactly what men do end up getting different reactions and results. Would the same comment have been given to a man asking for a raise? I don’t know.

Second, in regards to the gentleman’s comment about men in riskier roles… these are anecdotes and my personal experience, so I don’t know how well they translate broadly, but: I spent much of my life trying to break in to male-dominated arenas. I was in ROTC and I worked in the tech industry. At one point I was the only female in the office with 12 men. For the women who are trying to join these ranks, it isn’t easy. The amount of sexism I encountered – oh and in the film industry as well (I interned there once) – made me feel sometimes unsafe and at the least, unwelcome. So the question is, for women who do want to take on those riskier jobs, how do they do that with these obstacles?

Some of my thoughts hadn’t ever been properly formulated before I said them! I was the last person to contribute before the professor wrapped up the conversation and moved on to the next topic. It was strangely liberating to share those stories in such a public setting. I found my voice quivering a bit though I’m not sure why. With that, we laid the discussion to rest and continued on with other things in class.

It was strange; I had never made the connection between my own experiences in male-dominated situations and why it was such a challenge. Between this and some other things going on in my life, I have had some painful reminders of bad moments from my past. Then I received an email from the professor recently, thanking me for sharing in class and essentially apologizing for not giving me “an adequate response” and offering to chat more if I wanted. The niceness and effort hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried.

What we need are more men like these. Ones who are willing to open up the conversation, advocate for what they feel is right. After all, we all know deserving women. Too many women are treated poorly at work, whether it is inequitable pay or workplace harassment. On another note, one of the female MBAs in the program shared an article with some strong PSAs about harassment at work – they’re uncomfortable, awkward, and powerful displays of some of the very real things that happen to women constantly. I know I’ve been in similar situations.

So I’m uplifted that men are taking note and speaking up about this. But I’m also saddened that this is such a problem in the first place. I’m glad we talked about it and hopefully my stories touched some people in class, so as they rise in the ranks in their organizations, they can be cognizant of the issues that women face. More than that, I hope they take the professor’s lead and bring up these conversations so it can be dealt with.

As for that gender pay gap? Numbers vary from as good as 98 cents on the dollar to as low as in the 70s. Take what you will from that.

USC Marshall iTrek 2017: Purim & Western Wall

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Spring break was AMAZING. Magical, even. I got a chance to go to Israel with 19 other classmates and I really can’t imagine doing anything better during that week (I can’t believe it has already been a month since, wow). Our schedule was jam packed with activities giving us a wide range of experiences all around the country and we were all raving about it when we got back.

I’m breaking down the trip into multiple posts since there is just so much to share. Let’s start off with the first two days! Friday night I boarded a plane to Istanbul and met five of the others on our trip. We had a short 1 hour layover before flying off to Tel Aviv and arriving at night in time to catch Purim (it’s like Halloween!).

The next day, we bused over to Jerusalem and toured the Western Wall tunnels and Machane Yehuda market. At night, it was Purim time again, since apparently they stagger celebrations and it was Jerusalem’s turn to party. The market by day became an outdoor club by night!

art display in tom bradley terminal of lax

This was my first time being in Tom Bradley since they renovated! This piece of art hung overhead as we lined up for security.

turkish airlines lunch on plane

On the plane, I opted for chicken as my first meal.

turkish airlines breakfast on plane

After about 12 hours on the plane, we ate breakfast prior to landing in Istanbul for a layover.

entertainment screen showing plane path from los angeles to istanbul

My remote didn’t work so I couldn’t watch any shows, but I did watch the map for a long time.

turkish airlines snack on plane

On the Istanbul to Tel Aviv leg, we all got a quick snack.

view of tel aviv coast from plane at night

First glimpse of Tel Aviv from the air!!

view of tel aviv city from plane at night

As we got closer to the airport, we saw more of Tel Aviv upon descent.

electronic display at hotel showing usc group meeting in alon hall

At the Metropolitan Hotel, the rest of our party was busy pre-partying before heading out for Purim!

food at tel aviv hotel

We got in late so there wasn’t much food left.

usc marshall purim party on the streets of tel aviv

Out we went to party on the streets (mainly Rothschild)! We even brought our sign. 😉
Photo cred: “Mr. Photogenic”

late night pizza after purim party with v for vendetta mask

I borrowed a friend’s V for Vendetta mask for a bit as we got pizza on the way back to the hotel.

tel aviv beach and ocean

The next morning, we got our first glimpse of the beach before leaving Tel Aviv for Jerusalem.

towns on the hill of israel

There were all these towns on hills that I barely captured on the right here.

entrance area to western wall in jerusalem

Our day tour for the day was the Western Wall tunnels. Check out the giant cemetery in the distance.

western wall tunnel under construction with empty bath

Underneath the tunnels were arches that are veeeery old. This used to be a bath.

western wall tunnel with restored bath

This is where they uncovered a bath and water mysteriously filled it up! Our tour guide Shani was there for the excavation. (He’s awesome btw!!)

After all that time underground, it was nice to come back out to the daylight.

western wall women's crowded side

We then took some time to visit the wall and write our wishes to stuff in the cracks.

western wall large men's side

The men’s side was disproportionately larger for some reason… ahem.

western wall bushes and birds

Up against the wall, you’ll hear plenty of chirping from the birds that are chilling on the plants and cracks.

walking back to bus

After the Western Wall, it was back on the bus to go over to Machane Yehuda for lunch and browsing.

signs in jerusalem on the way to machane yehuda market

On our way to the market! Who knew that later tonight it would be a raging Purim party?

facebook post on streets of jerusalem

They turned this post into a FB icon.

tuna tartare dish at mona restaurant jerusalem

Dinner that night was at a nice fancy place, Mona Restaurant.

tough pose with israeli security guard

Check out our awesome security guard for the day! He may have had a gun, but he was the sweetest (and who could resist that crown?). 🙂

purim party at machane yehuda jerusalem

Back to the market that night for some dancing!

israelis dancing on bus stop awning for purim

These crazies got on top of the bus stop awning and I was so scared it would break.

mary poppins costume for purim party jerusalem

I spotted Mary Poppins! Her costume was SO GOOD.

And that wrapped up the first full day of being in Israel. It was only the start to something truly special. I’ll try to get the other posts up quickly…

Checking out

laelene Post in mba,Tags: , , ,
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There’s too much going on right now.

I shouldn’t even be writing this post, but I need some time to myself and my thoughts amidst this mess. I had a midterm this morning (it went awful – I’m pretty sure I only answered 1/17 short answer questions correctly), we are just two days away from Admit Weekend (AW17), I have a take-home midterm due on Friday, and there’s a project presentation Friday morning right before the insanity of AW17 kicks off and takes me through Saturday night.

At the moment, it’s all a little too overwhelming. I can’t even step back to properly gauge what I should be doing when. I kind of need a hug and a shoulder to cry on.

Yet at the same time, I’m having fun and enjoying life. I went to Israelpalooza on campus with friends today and enjoyed some delicious Israeli food in the beautiful shade of a tree. I wore my neon orange blazer for the first time since buying it something like 5 years ago and got tons of compliments. I even went to a social hour with a colonel and lieutenant colonel who came to speak to us (they were super cool).

I don’t know if it’s subconscious, but I seem to opt for a bright color against neutrals whenever I’m feeling down. I did that years ago with bold red lipstick and a cream top/black leggings. Today it was the blazer that pretty much glowed on its own against a cream dress.

Internally I’m struggling with a lot of ups and downs. I’m starting to think I might need a therapist. Externally, I think I appear pretty happy (albeit tired). I feel so conflicted and I think the most frustrating part is that it is so back and forth. Happy, sad. High, low. Good, bad. I can’t keep up with my own emotions and it’s exhausting.

I wish I had somebody to go on a walk with, tell all my secrets to. I wish I had the time to take a breather and have the space for that. I wish I had the energy to cry.

For now, I’m just trying to hold on until Sunday. Then I’m treating myself to a glorious spa day.

Royal bloodlines

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Before I forget, I want to write this down…

When I was young, my mom mentioned to me in passing that I could have been a princess/lady (??). Somehow that became a little joke I would tell occasionally, saying that I’m 2% princess. I also knew that I had Manchurian heritage from my mother’s side.

This week when my professor said I looked Han Chinese, I wasn’t so sure so I called up my mom to check. She confirmed my memory that our family had a lot of Manchu from her side (my grandma being full Manchu and my grandpa being half). Since bloodlines go through the men, we were technically considered Han because my grandpa’s dad was the Han in the family.

I also clarified the whole royalty situation (as best I could) and learned that my maternal grandmother’s paternal grandfather was the last generation that was supported by the emperor. What does that mean? Basically, he was closely related enough to the emperor that he was taken care of by the ruler. This was for a Manchurian dynasty called Huang zhu, if I heard correctly. So if they had hung in there another 100 years, I could be living a cush life right now. Per my calculations, that makes me up to 6.25% royal. 😛

Now imagine my amusement when one of my friends recently likened me to Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time… I know nothing about the show or about her, but I’m happy to embrace the title! 😉

Website down

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Yesterday I went to check on my site here to find it was disabled. Cue minor freak out.

I logged in to JustHost, my provider, and found that the issue is I have too many files. Apparently there’s a 200,000 limit for my type of account. About 150,000 of them were sitting in my various email accounts. I figured it’d be simple enough to delete all those messages since I have them forwarded to another email client anyway.

Well, I should have known that things wouldn’t be so straightforward. It took me forever to get around to figuring out that I wasn’t logging in to the correct email account. Yet even when I managed to delete all those messages, my file count did not change. Seems like there’s quite a lag in when that number gets updated.

My site got restored just minutes ago, so if you tried to visit before and got an error, you know why. I need to keep track of this situation for the future so I don’t have downtime again! Because of this debacle, I haven’t been able to get in to edit posts, but hopefully I’ll have a spring break update soon. 🙂

Israel preview

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Spring break has been incredible. We’re exploring Israel and have done things ranging from the Dead Sea to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem) to an Israeli Air Force base.

Today we hiked Masada, rode camels, visited SodaStream, and have settled into a quaint resort. Here’s a quick look at my fav photos that a friend took. More to come later!!

I look like I’m saying something important right? 😉
Photo cred: “My Front Half”

Oh you know, just floating in the Dead Sea and admiring my muddy hands.
Photo cred: “My Front Half”

Prospurly December 2016 review

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I can’t believe I’m a quarter behind already… next weekend kicks off our spring break! And here I am trying to close out the year’s reviews still. Let’s get to it!

Prospurly is just under $45 per box (with code for 10% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with artisan foods, bath & body items, home products, and other sustainably crafted items. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

prospurly december 2016 box open with products showingprospurly december 2016 info card with product details

 

Nature’s Skin Nutrition ancient bath milk in Vanilla Noel – Ah, the sweet vanilla scent (with a hint of something medicinal perhaps?). This smells fabulous and I could absolutely bathe in it every day. I don’t like using the bath at my apartment, so this will have to wait until I move back to my own place.

Dr. Jacobs Naturals castile soap in peppermint and almond honey – Castile soap is so versatile! You can use these for cleaning your body, face, hair, or even clothes. I love how this soap is gentle enough for all uses and won’t strip skin of its natural oils.

The Brothers Apothecary Ancient Mulling Spices – Ooo this is the ideal winter drink. I need to get myself some cider and brew this next time I want something a bit more sweet or fragrant than tea.

Foxes & Ferns lavender room & body spray – Now I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a room AND body spray in one before. Since this works as a toner, that’s the use I’d prefer to keep it for. I have plenty of other sprays and oils for the room, but I’m a sucker for toner.

Menagerie Tea & Earth cleanser – Ok, I was about to say this reminds me of the face wash I’m using right now… so I went to compare them and it turns out it’s the same thing! The formulas may be slightly different but it’s essentially the very face wash I got back in March 2016. I enjoy the scent and the soothing feeling of this cleanser. I do wish it was a little less runny and lathered up more though. This little bottle will be great for me to use in my travel bag.

Be ME Solutions Guardian Immunity oil – Behind that brown wrapper is the true label for this bottle. The outside wrap contains instructions on how to use this oil to prevent illness or help with healing. The consistency is a bit gooier than I expected and there’s a nice minty scent. It’s not too cooling, which I like since I’m very sensitive to that. I’m surprised it said to rub some on your feet too – is that a way to help with illness? And could it really be so powerful as to prevent me from getting sick? It’s the perfect time for me to try since I’ve been feeling juuust short of under the weather recently.

Dr. Jacobs Naturals Citrus Crush Cocktail loofah exfoliating castile soap – I love the delightful scent of this soap! It’s the perfect one to use in the shower to make me feel revitalized and fresh. I don’t really see where the loofah is though – I’m guessing they mean the small bits in the soap that help exfoliate? I was hoping to find a loofah in the middle of the soap, like some I made recently for my roommates!

I am going to enjoy every single item in this box. It’s full of all the kinds of things I enjoy trying! What do you think of this month’s box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Julep Coveted

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The #Coveted collection is a delightful box of a dozen of 2015’s favorite polish colors.

Julep ranges from just under $25 to $40 per box based on tier (or as discounted as just under $20 to $35 per box when prepaid three at a time) and comes with combinations of nail polish colors, skincare products, and beauty products (depending on your style profile choice). They offer plenty of upgrade and add-on options too. Boxes are sent monthly unless you choose to skip. You also have the option of gifting your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you $15 store credit per referral.

julep coveted collection mini nail polishes box julep coveted collection mini nail polishes julep coveted collection mini nail polishes box left half of box julep coveted collection mini nail polishes box right half of box

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. ? All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review.]

 

The nights are the hardest

laelene Post in mba, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,
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It is a hormonal thing that at night I feel more emotional?

This has been going on for about two weeks now. Late at night, as I’m winding down for bed, I find myself feeling melancholic. It’s something that suddenly hits me and makes me cry (or just want to). It’s not that I’m going through a particularly tough time or feeling depressed these days. In fact, I’m very satisfied with where I’m at in life.

But right before I get to bed and before I can fall asleep, sadness hits. Out of nowhere, I miss Panda. It got so bad a few days ago that I basically had to coerce him into flying out to visit me this weekend (yay!). I don’t know why this happens because I’m perfectly fine and happy in the day. I really don’t think about it at all. What is it about the late night that is bringing this out? Am I suppressing something without realizing it?

We are about 8 months in to the third time that we’ve done a long distance relationship. It’s the first time since we got engaged and married. I live with two delightful ladies in my MBA class who I love to pieces. I’ve been doing pretty well in classes, though it feels like a struggle much of the time. Still, I’m very fortunate that I was able to get my recruiting done early so I haven’t had to balance interviewing with coursework. Instead, I’ve been able to focus energy into planning Admit Weekend, which is fast approaching (in early April)!

All in all, things are going well.

So I wonder, maybe it’s because I’ve been very introspective lately? Right now, we are in the midst of electing our student leadership for the next year. I have been struggling with how I want to be involved and how much energy I will be able to dedicate over the next year to new roles. Tooooons of thinking, questioning, and re-thinking there. Also, I am in the Marshall LEAD Fellows Program and we had our first session early this month. Another chance for introspection and reflection. Plus, they gave us Passion Planners and essentialism (a book), both of which I’ve started to use and have challenged me to think hard on my life goals.

I must say, I found it easier to outline what I want long-term. I’m having trouble pondering the next couple of months. Could all this intense thinking and soul-searching be triggering my midnight moods? Whatever the case, I’m glad that I get my husband back ever so briefly this weekend. Maybe that will be the cure (or maybe it’ll be finally settling the roles I may take on).

Oh yeah, and I completely forgot — Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

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