Following the pandemic, I wanted to raise awareness to the sudden surge of racism and racially-based discrimination and violence that has unfortunately been targeting Asians around the world. I wrote an article that objectively describes the situation along with ways to help and get involved. But I wanted to add onto what I wrote with a personal approach and express my anger towards this anti-Asian sentiment that has been spreading as fast as the coronavirus.

May is the month of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - a month in which celebrates the successes, achievements, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to America. But, amidst the outbreak, this celebration and appreciation have been overlooked and under appreciated because of the careless ignorance, discrimination and violence, and the growing (and unnecessary) hatred towards the Asian community.

Courtesy of PBS https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/i-am-not-a-virus-how-this-artist-is-illustrating-coronavirus-fueled-racism

My article explains some of the incentives behind the recent racism, as well as awful real life examples that have been circling around the Internet. Some of which included the viral video of the homeless elderly Asian man in San Fransisco who was ridiculed and had his cart of cans stolen. There were some that I can even barely watch, and these videos just keep coming! (Look at @jackfroot and @nextshark on Instagram who covers these stories).

This time should be a time of solidarity and support for one another because we're all under the same umbrella, experiencing the same thing, and suffering altogether in this global health crises; but I find it sad that there are people out there who have the audacity and time to spew and spread hatred. It just makes me so mad that people's minds can be this narrow. I know it's hard to look at what's happening, but it is important that we share this and raise awareness of this awful racism that the Asian community is sadly facing.

Before the performance of a traditional Filipino folk dance called the Itik-Itik. Circa 2011.

I am fortunate enough to not face this experience yet, and I hope none my Asian readers do or will in the future. Since Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is supposed to be a month of appreciation, I challenge you to create something - whether it's a photograph, a poem, or something artistic - that represents your heritage and culture, or perhaps a piece of history that's important to you, in celebration of APAHM. And then use the tag #APAHM2020 on Instagram or Twitter and encourage others to do it! Let's spread joy, appreciation, and love instead of hate and racism.
As some of you may know, I'm currently working on a new venture - The Wallflower Collective - which is an upcoming online zine and website. In terms of writing and journalism, I was very much inspired by the New Yorker, a weekly magazine I'm subscribed to, and their variety of dedicated and quality content of essays, articles, and creative writing on thoughtful and thought-provoking topics - as well as their Pulitzer prize winning journalism - by their crazy talented writers and contributors. With the Wallflower Collective, I wanted to do the same but for the next generation of writers.


Are you a young and ambitious writer?

At the Collective, we are looking for aspiring writers who are willing to grow, connect, and inspire. If you think you are that ambitious writer, then join our community of creatives and like-minded people like you! We are on the search for people to be regular writers for The Wallflower Collective and create and curate thoughtful and thought-provoking essays, articles, and creative writing. 

If you are willing to be part of the team and help The Wallflower Collective grow as an intellectual, creative, and engaging community, as well as expand your portfolio, build your network, and thrive as a writer, please apply here!

Otherwise, feel free to submit your work to wallflowercollectivesubmit@gmail.com - please read our guidelines first.

If you have any questions, looking for other opportunities, or want to collaborate, please feel free to contact me
With parts of the world slowly reopening and lifting lockdowns, you know it's almost time to set up and plan a celebration for Mother's Day this weekend. But with a month of being in quarantine, it's gonna be hard for things to be the way it was. Numbers are still high, and there a lot of risks with opening the economy back up again. But no worries, as I've compiled ideas to celebrate Mother's Day whilst at home!

My beautiful mother pictured outside our holiday home in Brittany, France.

The Classic breakfast in bed


Surprise your mother with a tray of waffles and fruit with a side of black tea, or perhaps a pile of pancakes and a mug of freshly brewed coffee. Whatever it is your mother likes, gift her first thing in the morning with a classic breakfast in bed. Nothing is more heartwarming than waking up to your favorite homemade breakfast.

Go online shopping together!

Perhaps some of your favorite stores are still closed due to the outbreak, but that shouldn't stop you from online shopping together! I love doing this with my mother where we browse through online clothing shops, or scroll through Amazon looking at some of things we want. I was looking through the UNIQLO website one time with my mum, and she said she loves the colored nylon bags - so I bought it for her!

Bake her a special cake

I did this last year for Mother's Day - I bought her a cake mix and made her a chocolate cake along with buying her flowers. Though, don't use cake mix, it's better and more thoughtful and authentic if you make it from scratch! Pair the cake with a lovely present that she'll adore.

Write a monologue speech telling her your favorite moments and anecdotes

I think this is a very simple, easy, and yet heartfelt and thoughtful gift for Mother's Day. It can either be a one person speech or you can create a presentation with your siblings, if any, with pictures or videos of your young mother! Share funny stories, embarrassing moments, or what you love about your mother.

What are y'all doing for Mother's Day this weekend? If you have any ideas of your own to celebrate at home, let me know :)
Big thanks to those who signed up to my book club newsletter and who joined my GoodReads group! As members, some of you have probably received the announcement but, to honor Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the book I've chosen for May is...


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations. 

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and so I chose this book in my book club because of what it represents in majority of Asian cultures, including my own: family and love. I've already read a few pages and I can't wait to read more, and start discussions (in which you could participate here!).

Become a member of my club by signing up to my newsletter to receive some of the latest discussions and prompts, features of my favorite writers and bloggers, and curated reading lists. Join my GoodReads group to participate in discussions and share ideas! 



wallflowerings book club

wallflowerings book club
3 members
A book club by writer and blogger behind "wallflowerings", Nicole, that aims to encourage others to read more books. Join us and let's start reading!

Books we're currently reading

Pachinko
Pachinko

by Min Jin Lee

Start date: May 1, 2020




View this group on Goodreads »





Throughout this self-isolation, I've been doing nothing but tapping away on my keyboard and scrawling ideas and words out on my piles of A4 and A5 notebooks. And it's not just homework, finals, project planning, and journaling - but writing poetry.


April is National Poetry Month, and I wish I'd share some of the work that I've been writing up this past month, but I will be (hopefully) soon self-publish my collection. I have yet to spill the beans because my manuscript and the whole concept of my first book is still in development. Although, I've shared some of my favorites already on my Instagram which you could check out. :)

And, since I haven't posted any poetry in a while on my blog, here is also another favorite that's inspired by how I've been feeling in this quarantine-phase.

at eight in the morning
i sit outside with a cup of coffee
staring at the hanging daffodils
as they sway in the spring breeze
from the darkness of my kitchen
by myself at the table under the chandelier
at eight in the morning. 


i stir my cup, watching the froth 
gather in the centre as my spoon creates 
a whirlpool, stirring my cup. 
i think about my day ahead, staring
at the spinning froth, wondering
when i’ll get that assignment done;
wondering where i’ll roam to next
in this empty house, which room to go to,
which wall or ceiling to stare at. 


at noon, the beginning of peak sunlight,
i bury myself in my pillows, wondering 
when the day will become night. browsing
through the meaningless selections on netflix
looking for which book to read, what to write.
thinking about that assignment and when i’ll
get it done, especially on a day where I feel
lost and lonely under the peak of daylight. 


at six in the evening,
i awoke from a nap, looking at the time
and thinking about what to eat next.
i don’t have money for food and only
an unfinished pack of chips under my bed.
And frozen pizza in the freezer 
with red sangria from 1988. 


it’s almost midnight
the streets are usually sound and people are asleep
but the fluorescent light of my lamp
is keeping me up and i won’t sleep
the days just feels like it’s dragging
and i don’t feel like me
i want this night to end

i don’t want to feel lonely.
- n.i

What have you been writing for National Poetry Month? :)



Book Club


Soo, what some of you may have noticed, I'm starting a new book club! Read more about it here, or sign up right now!



*We are also still looking for people to submit their work to The Wallflower Collective as well as people to join our team! If you're interested, please go here for more info :)
The pandemic has been taking a toll on us all; we have all been withdrawn inside in our own homes out of fear of being infected or through being proactive in flattening the curve. My parents are essential workers and are constantly exposed to those potentially infected or are carriers of the virus - leading me to stay home as much as possible and quarantine as a means of preventing it to spread.


Quarantine has definitely affected me mentally. I was accustomed to the routine of waking up at 5am and driving to work three days a week, as well as going out to places like studying and writing in a cafe, exploring new restaurants and places in Orlando, and hanging out with my boyfriend. But that's all changed now that I'm obliged to stay home. 

I'm always one for new routines and so I viewed this quarantine as an opportunity, now with all the time and space, to focus on my school work and some projects that I've been meaning to work on (read more for my project I'm launching soon!). I've had the pleasure to do so and catch up with school, but staying at home for so long has slowly deteriorated my mental energy. 

The anxiety and uncertainty has been a part of it - when is this going to end? When am I going back to work? How are we going to recover from this? Will I still get paid? All these unanswered questions has been influencing a series of existential crises the past few weeks and has had an effect on my work. It's not easy being constantly positive in an unknown time like this, and there were times when I couldn't get up and be productive or had mental breakdowns because of how sensitive this situation one was.

Despite what's happening, the only thing I could do was carry on with my life. Of course, it's not the same as before, but I continued completing my school work, I continued writing poetry and articles (see my most recent one about how the pandemic is affecting Asian-Americans), and I continued to work on a project I've been meaning to work on for a long time. 

I mentioned in my previous post that I was starting a book club called The Wallflower Collective. It was a club that aimed to encourage more people to read and be creatively engaged in reading. After some thought and being inspired, I wanted to expand it into an online magazine.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR SUBMISSIONS

The website is under construction, but we need content to fill it up! If you are a writer like myself, or a photographer, poet, artist, journalist - we need your talent! Please look for more information here! If you have any questions, please contact me

Anyways...

I'm done with my Spring classes, so I'll have more time to work on this project, review your submissions, and also relax every once in a while. 

Some advice from me to you during this time of stress and anxiety: take some time off. Get your mind off things by continuing what you love to do, or perhaps try something new. Restore and preserve your energy and I hope y'all stay safe and well ❤️.
As everyone knows, there's an outbreak amongst us with people staying home as a means of staying safe. Since we're all currently in confinement, I decided to share my reading list for this month! I did not want to forget the fact that March was Women's History Month, so I've included in this list books for and about female empowerment!


The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin

This book is an interesting account of the author, Rubin, in her twelve-month long 'happiness project'. It's a book of discovery: how to be happy, what happiness is, and what it means to be happy. 


#GIRLBOSS - Sophia Amoruso

Growing to be one of my favorite books at the moment, #GIRLBOSS talks about the business journey of Sophia Amoruso - the CEO of the multi-millionaire online fashion store Nasty Gal. It recounts what she learned throughout her journey of starting a business - from initially being an eBay Vintage Shop to slowly expanding it to the beloved and influential Nasty Gal it is today. A very inspiring book and the perfect book to read for Women's History Month - specially for those aspiring to be entrepreneurs. 


You can also watch the series adapted from the book starring Brit Robertson on Netflix!

Emma - Jane Austen

With the new and stunning film that has recently came out (starring one of my favorite actresses, Anya Taylor-Joy!), I wanted to put this on the list. Being an eccentric female protagonist, written by the one of the most influential and inspiring woman in the literary world, Emma is the perfect book to celebrate the history of women. After reading one chapter in, it's definitely a more advanced read but definitely an interesting story with an interesting character. 


Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

This beautiful story of four sisters is a true representation of sisterhood - something I strongly relate to as I grew up with three. I thought it's a very empowering story: tear-jerking, heartfelt, and relatable. This book was also adapted into stunning film by Greta Gerwig that has been up for nominations at the OSCARs. I've watched the original but not this one yet - but I'm planning to soon after the outbreak has been cleared! 



What are some books in your March reading list?

Amidst the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China and has now spread across international waters, igniting a global pandemic, people are pushed to remain indoors and distance themselves from the outside world.

As a person who has done social distancing all her life, I would say I'm an expert in being comfortable in isolation and being away from the people and the outside world. If you know me, I had formerly worked as a freelancer writer working from the comforts of my own home. And even when I did get a job where I did have to go outside and socialize, I still managed to always remain withdrawn to my room like the introverted hermit I am.

Sooo, since we're currently in an outbreak and people are 'self-quarantining' by staying at home, I decided to share a few helpful tips to make the hermit-lifestyle more comfortable and easy - especially for those who aren't used to staying at home for a long period of time.


Reorganize your closet

Now that you have time in your hands, utilize this to deep-tidy areas of your house you hadn't had time to do. Take your closet for example - it's a place in your room where you pick your clothes and throw in your clothes. If you're like me and tend to get disorganized, my closet can accumulate mess and a pile of clothes hidden in the corner you didn't even know about. 

But the closet can be an infinite storage space for anything - if you make the space. Reorganize your closet and make room for your other things you've been meaning to store. A great example would be bags - my room is littered with my graphic totes and tiny pin-covered backpacks and I had nowhere else to put them but at the end of my bed. 


So I bought new hangers, hung some of my clothes, and made space at the top shelf to neatly store my bags.

Journaling


This time of self-isolation can be used for a time of introspection. I've always stressed how important and impactful journaling can be and can help lead a more mindful life. Ever since I got into planning and bought myself the Happy Planner, as well as the Passion Planner (let me know if you want to see a review!), I've been spending most of my time writing and journaling my days and thoughts.


There's not many to do when you're confined in your own home, but look for opportunities to be grateful for some of the little things or learn something new, whether if it's about someone you're in quarantine with or perhaps something about your house/apartment, and write them down! Not many notice or realize some of the things that happens around us in our own homes.

Catch up with your TBR

If you're like me and you've been stockpiling books, ever expanding their bookshelves, but never reading those books, use this free time to read! If you have a list of TBR (to be read) books, then catch up! I will be posting a book recommendations list soon!

BAKE!

If you have left over flour, sugar, or chocolate chips, then let's bake! I downloaded the TASTY app on my phone, which is an app that provides recipes along with one of those fascinating and aesthetically-pleasing cooking videos we see on the Instagram. They list the ingredients you need, in which you can purchase from your phone and then pick up at your nearest Walmart! Cooking and baking has never been easier thanks to this app! Give it a try and become your resident's cook. 


Facetime a friend

Confinement can make you feel lonely. Keep in contact with your friends, coworkers, and your families! Uplift each other, provide support and help for one another - this a very tough time, as lives are at risk, businesses are closing, people are forced to stay at home, and cities are going on lockdown. Talk about movies, video call whilst watching a movie, bake together, cook together, do mukbang, do on-nomi (what Japanese refer to as "digital drinking"), and be yourself. 


Let me know if you have any other tips and ways to adapt to the life of self-isolation! 

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