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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Category Archives: Lists

Yufei and I are going to New York for a few days over my spring break next week and I’m so so so excited. This would be the first time I’ve properly been back in NYC since graduation almost 2 years ago (my NYU interview doesn’t count… I barely had time to do anything). As much as I like living in San Francisco, New York will always holds a special place in my heart. Here’s why:

1. The subway. You know, an actual functional, reliable public transit system that gets you where you need to be, when you need to be there. Unlike whatever you call Muni.

2. The subway (and subway station) performers. Steelpan players, mariachi bands, a capella groups, break dancers, string quartets… so much talent all within the subway system. Commutes are never boring.

3. HALAL CARTS. The first thing I’m eating in New York is a good combo over rice. With lots of white sauce.

4. The food in general. Actually, we planned our entire itinerary around food.

5. The fact that it’s where Yufei and I met and fell in love and had a lot of our relationship milestones. Our story will always be inextricably tied to New York.

6. It’s truly the city that never sleeps. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stuck in SF with nothing to eat at a very reasonable hour of 10pm. That would NEVER happen in New York. The city never feels dead or lonely and you’ll never find yourself with nothing to do at any hour of the day.

7. Columbia. I loved (love) everything about it. Low steps at sunset. The lawns on a warm sunny day. The trees lining College Walk transforming from lush foliage in the summer to golden flurries of falling leaves in autumn, from barren branches wrapped in thousands of sparkling lights in the winter to pink cotton candy-like blossoms in the spring. The hallowed halls of Havenmeyer and Hamilton and the shiny new ones of Lerner and the Northwest Corner Building. And, of course, the people who made my time there so memorable. Oh, and the top notch education I got.

8. Throughout the 4 years I spent in New York, I’ve flown in and out of the city more times than I can count. But every single time I return, when the plane descends and the island of Manhattan comes into view, my heart skips a beat. Every. Single. Time.

9. The fact that there’s nowhere else on earth where life feels more vibrant, magical, and full of possibilities than New York City.


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I love books. I love getting lost in the different worlds of novels and learning cool new things from nonfiction. I’ve loved books ever since I learned to read in English (age 12-ish, for some reason I never read that much in Chinese). Unfortunately, it’s so hard to find time to read for my own pleasure during school. So my gap year between undergrad and dental school was an amazing gift to me in terms of reading books. I wrote about this in a previous post, and here I just wanted to share the books that I’ve read in my gap year (May 2012 to September 2013). I feel pretty accomplished and happy when I look at this list :) I may not have as much time to read this year, but I’m going to try my best to squeeze in a few books too.

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist
Laurie Fabiano – Elizabeth Street
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Sara Gruen – Water for Elephants
Phillip Hawley Jr – Stigma
Neve Maslakovic – Regarding Ducks and Universes
Karen McQuestion – The Long Way Home
Carlos Meza – Silicone
Kyle Mills – The Immortalists
Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus
Haruki Murakami – Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the Shore
Robin Sloan – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga – Falling Uphill
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga – Midori by Moonlight

Izzeldin Abuelaish – I Shall Not Hate
Zac Bissonnette – How to Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than Your Parents
Susan Cain – Quiet: The Power of Introverts
Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit
Nora Ephron – I Feel Bad About My Neck
Nora Ephron – I Remember Nothing
Joshua Foer – Moonwalking with Einstein
Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell – What the Dog Saw
Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
Malcolm Gladwell – Blink
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha – The Start-up of You
Meg Jay – The Defining Decade
Mindy Kaling – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Maria Menounos – The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life
Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow – The Last Lecture
Oliver Sacks – The Mind’s Eye
Sheryl Sandberg – Lean In
HervĂ© This – Molecular Gastronomy


Ever since I started the dental school application process, I’ve been on the look out for blogs of dental students to get an inside look at life in dental school. Not all of these blogs are entirely dental focused, but they’re all run by dental students. Here are a few of my favorites that I hope are enjoyable and insightful for my fellow dental students/pre-dents (and I will be joining their ranks in just a few days – eek!).

Mirror and Explorer

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Stephanie is a second-year dental student at USC. She had a few posts about her interview experience at a couple of the schools I applied to last cycle, which I found really informative. She blogs about her life at USC as well as her adventures outside of school.

Christina & Olivia

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Christina is a third-year dental student at NYU and Olivia is a third-year at UCSF. Two for the price of one! Again I found this blog very helpful when I was applying last year since both NYU and UCSF were on my list. Again, the girls talk about school life and life life on this blog.

Erica’s Sweet Tooth

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Not really dental focused, but it’s run by a fellow baker/dental student/resident! Erica is pro though, and her creations always looks so scrumptious. You might have seen her tooth cupcakes before – they’re amazing! She does talk about her dental experience and life in general here and there. I believe she’s currently a pediatric resident in New York.

Say Yes to DDS

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A Tumbler by another UCSF student, D2 Neek. The blog is full of cute and funny dental-related images and other finds, links to interesting articles, and commentary on life at UCSF.

Are there any other great dental student blogs out there that you know of? I would love to know!

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NOTE: Somehow found this reallllly old post from back when I was still a college senior, haha. There is still a lot of helpful information in here so I’m going to post this now. If you’re still in college, I hope you find this useful!

I was talking with a freshman who was in one of the campus organizations I was in last semester, and when asked what his plans were for the summer, he replied “oh I don’t know, I think I’ll just sit on my butt and watch TV”. I sincerely hoped that he was joking, but from his tone, it didn’t sound like it.

I know that when you were a kid, summers really were the time you didn’t do anything productive and probably watched TV all day, or ran around on the lawn, or had fun in camp, or maybe even had a summer job at the grocery store, or whatever. But once you’re in college it’s different. You actually have to do stuff in the summer. Useful stuff. Stuff you can put on your resume and can talk about during interviews for grad school or jobs. As tempting as it is to just relax and have fun all summer or go back to the Starbucks job you’ve had since high school, don’t. So what are you supposed to do? Here are some of the most popular options.

1. Take summer classes.

I’ve never done this myself, but lots of people do it and it certainly has many advantages. You can get ahead on the road to graduation, or maybe catch up on requirements you might have missed. Summer classes -often have smaller class sizes, therefore offering more faculty-student interaction. You are also probably better able to focus your studying on 1 or 2 summer classes, as opposed to 5 or 6 in a regular semester. So it’s a good option if you need or want the credits!

2. Do research.

If you’re a science major like me and want a career in healthcare or research, then doing research as an undergrad is a must. Summer is prime time to find a position as a research assistant in a lab, and this may come in many different forms. There are a ton of summer research programs out there, and many of them are paid (though often not much). If you can’t find or can’t get into one of these programs, you can always just contact professors directly. Most profs are open to getting more help in their lab, especially if you volunteer (see below).

3. Volunteer.

I know you might feel like making any money at all is better than doing free labour, but trust me, in the long run, your summer volunteer work will mean much more than a retail job at the mall. Volunteering can also come in many different forms. For example, I volunteered as a research assistant my summer after freshman year in a lab. Volunteer to work in an organization you’re interested in, and maybe it will eventually even turn into a paid job! Another way to volunteer is to join an international volunteer organization and go abroad. But these programs usually cost money, so not only will you have to pay, some companies or grad schools may even be wary of them because they might think you just paid for an experience. Still, volunteering is another great option for summer.

4. Do an internship.

No matter your major or intended career, doing internships is beneficial or even essential. Interning is a great opportunity to explore a potential career, build your skills in the workplace, and network. Plus, you will make some money! Start looking early – many internship programs start accepting applications in the fall. Look online by searching “summer internship in _____”, look in the career section of companies you’re interested in, and talk to a counselor at your school’s career center. Most summer internships are likely very competitive, so apply early and apply to many!

And if you want extra challenge and excitement – you can do any of the above abroad! Like I did with my research internship in Vienna. It was one of the most amazing yet challenging experience of my life (you can read more about that here)!

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Okay, so I talked about some of my new hopes and wishes for the new year, now I want to be a little bit more specific and talk about my new year’s resolutions in terms of beauty and skincare. More and more I’m starting to realize the importance of taking care of my skin, especially considering now is probably the best it’ll ever look (a bit depressing, isn’t it). Anyway, here are some of the things I’m starting to add to my routine this year.

1. Moisturize better.
This encompasses several things. A couple of years ago, I never even bothered to moisturize my face at night, only in the morning. But my skin gets quite dry overnight, so I started using the same moisturizer I use during the day (L’Oreal Active Daily Moisture Lotion, it’s discontinued but still available from at night. However, I learned recently that I need to use something different at night. Why? Because my daytime moisturizer has SPF, and it turns out that your skin needs a break from the sunscreen ingredients and it’s better to not wear it all the time. So I got a different night moisturizer (this one) and have been using it religiously.

Speaking of moisturizers with SPF, it’s important to not only use them on your face, but also your neck. So that’s what I started doing. Think about it, your neck is just as exposed to the sun and the skin there is thin and delicate, and that’s often where you see the signs of aging first. I’m also starting to use sun protection on my hands for the same reason.

2. Clean my face better.
This also includes several things. I’ve thought about getting a Clarisonic brush but I just can’t bring myself to spend that much money on it. So I got this little brush instead. It’s only $1 and I was amazed at what it can do! It’s the same type as Lindy of Bubzbeauty uses, and it works great! My face feels so smooth and I’ve been getting fewer pimples since I started using it.

Another thing I started doing is using a toner after I wash my face. I got this one since it was really cheap and 100% natural, and it’s been great. The witch hazel smell took a little getting used to but now it doesn’t bother me at all. (Also you can see how much I love! It’s awesome. Try it.)

Oh! Another thing I started doing is to let my face air dry after I wash it. Not that there’s anything wrong with towel drying, but I learned that you really should only use face towels once before you need to wash it, otherwise bacteria and other gunk can build up. It’s really inconvenient and not very environmentally friendly to do that, so now I’m trying to change my routine and wash my face before I brush my teeth. By the time I’m done brushing my teeth, my face is pretty much dry. This is great in the morning especially, because the evaporating water cools my face and wakes me up!

3. Take care of my nails and make them look good!
I never even used to do my nails at all until about a year ago. Now I’m addicted! I love taking time out of the day to pamper myself and make my nails look pretty. I finally invested in some more tools and products (a good nail file, base coat, top coat, and nail polish remover) so I can do my own manicures at home. It’s a simple way to make me feel put together and polished (Ha! Bad pun, sorry) every day.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any beauty and skincare related resolutions or tips? Share them in the comments because I want to know and also because you get a chance to win! Win what? This awesome little beauty pack! One lucky commenter will get:

2 mini bottles of nail polish from e.l.f. in black and nude

A brow kit in dark from e.l.f. (this is a personal favorite!)

NYX eyeshadow in Baby Pink Pearl

A mini bottle of 100% argan oil from Josie Maran

A booklet of highlighter paper from Mai Couture

A small can of hairspray from Sexy Hair

A white ginger massage soap bar from Portico Spa

An eyeliner brush from Soho Beauty

…And everything comes in this cute little makeup bag!

So again, the rules:
– To enter, leave a comment letting me know your beauty/skincare resolutions and/or any beauty tips and tricks.
– Make sure to leave your email when you comment so I can contact you if you win!
– Only one entry per person.
– Giveaway ends Jan. 31 at midnight PST.
– The winner will be randomly chosen the following week.
– This giveaway is for residents of the US only.

Good luck and stay beautiful! :)

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is having a good start to the new year! I was quite busy the past 2 weeks teaching SAT classes over winter break, so I haven’t had the chance to write new blog posts. Thank goodness that’s over now (today was the last day I am going to get up at 7am in a very long time).

My Christmas and new year were great! For the first time in over 4 years, I was finally able to spend the holidays with Yufei as well as my family, so that was wonderful. Here I will are some of the photos of the various holidays events.


This was at Twitter’s annual holiday party back in mid-December. It was San Francisco-themed and the space was set up with structures and booths representing different neighborhoods and places in SF. For example, the entrance was set up like the Golden Gate Bridge, and the ramps up to the stage looked like Lombard Street. The food stations were also neighborhood-themed, like this Chinatown one, which served up dumpling, ribs, and noodle salad. I thought the whole set up was really cute and creative!


A professional photo taken at the party.


They also had a photobooth!! So much fun!



Pretty holidays lights in Pacific Heights, aka the neighborhood of mansions of epic proportions that I dream of living in some day.


SF City Hall all lit up.


Not really holiday related, but Yufei and I went to Oakland for a night on Dec. 30, and we had this amazing view of SF from our hotel window. Doesn’t it look dreamy?


In Jack London Square in Oakland.


Christmas tree in Jack London Square.


New Year’s Eve. We went down to the bay to watch the fireworks and ring in the new year.


Looking back, 2012 has been quite a year for me. In no particular order, these are some of the biggest things that happened in the past 12 months:

– I graduated magna cum laude from Columbia.
– I moved across the country to SF and began living with Yufei.
– I aced my DAT, went through the dental school application process, and got accepted to some amazing schools!
– I traveled to many new places, including the US Virgin Islands and Las Vegas.

And just for fun, I looked up my new year’s post from last year to see how I did on my resolutions for 2012. Well, here’s the verdict:

1. To lose weight and stay healthy.
Well, I think I did ok. I kind of slacked off during the middle of the year but picked it up again in the winter. Definitely still need to work on it.

2. To take control of my finances.
I think I did pretty well on this one. I opened a savings account after I got a job in SF, and I even spent a whole month without shopping online (!!!).

3. To make an effort to dress up nicely everyday.
Ugh, total fail on this after moving to SF. Like I explained in this post, there have been some obstacles to dressing nicely since the move. But yesterday one of my students said that I looked “very New York”, which was encouraging!

4. To make the most out of my last semester in college.
Achieved! My last semester in college was awesome. Wish I could go back sometimes.

5. To keep a positive outlook, no matter where life takes me.
I think I have gotten a lot better at this actually. I read this advice last year and simple as it sounds, it actually works for me.

Looking forward to 2013, there are of course things that I want to accomplish. They’re not really resolutions per se, but just things that I hope to do. Here are a few of them:

– Work out more! I finally found something that works for me so I’m going to try to keep it up.
– Travel more! Especially since I will be starting dental school in the fall and won’t really have time to travel. So before school begins there will be one epic trip and many small trips to new and exciting places.
– Learn to play the ukelele. I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument and I love the sound of the ukelele. Yufei got me one for Christmas (along with a shiny new website) so I’m going to learn to play it.
– Learn to drive and get my driver’s license. Because it’s about time and I’m tired of the nagging from Yufei and my parents.
– Save up $10k for dental school. 65% there so far.
– Start dental school, do well, and make new friends!

2013 is going to be an awesome year, I can feel it! What are some of your biggest events/accomplishments in 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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I realized that many of the search terms that lead to my blog the most have to do with the style choices of a certain Robin Scherbatsky, so I decided to dedicate a post to it. Here I gathered the websites that I use to find where certain pieces worn by Robin came from, and I hope you find it helpful!

1. Worn on TV

A relatively new site that identifies stuff from Robin (and Lily) from mainly this past season (season 7). I love that they not only give you an exact match, but also similar, less expensive styles.

2. CelebStyle

Kind of the opposite of #1, this site only has stuff from older seasons. But it gives exact matches for entire outfits!

3. Coolspotters

Gives you exact product matches as well. It’s a little behind on the updating, but it might be helpful to check the page for Cobie Smulders (here) as well since sometimes they’ll have stuff on that page that’s not on the Robin one.

4. The Look 4 Less

Search for “Cobie Smulders” or “HIMYM” in the search box and you will get quite a few posts dedicated to finding both exact matches and similar looks from Robin. You can also send in requests!

5. HIMYM Style Livejournal

Fan-powered page for identifying clothes worn on the show (goes all the way back to season 1!). You can also post requests.

And there you have it! My secret’s out! I personally love the sites where they give you similar looks, because all the stuff they actually wear on the show are usually super pricey. Have fun dressing like Robin!

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