Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Happy 2016!


photo via kinfolk

Hmm. Let's try something new.

notable items of 2015
what i could eat for any meal: crispy potatoes!
favorite dessert: tres leches cake
new favorite condiment: whole foods miso dressing
what i wanted to wear every day: sézane dress
what i've actually worn almost every day: acne jeans + sweater + boots
book i couldn't stop thinking about: sapiens
silliest thing that almost made me cry: no orange chicken at panda express
best habit that stuck: learning swedish every day
most used kitchen utensil besides a knife: mandoline
best thing that happened: every morning i've woken up with alex

what i'd like to do in 2016
read russian fiction
wear more lipstick
write more
rocksmith erry day

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Awesome Socks



I am going totally bonkers over these socks. They're thin, so they don't bulge under jeans, and look totally cute peeking out of your favorite boots. Both of my pairs are in the laundry already. Waaaahh. :(

Wouldn't they make a great gift for a dear friend?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Have a Boyfriend!

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Yep. I didn't want to say anything for a while because I was so cautious about this one. It was so easy and perfect, it couldn't possibly last. But... here we are 1 year later, and it's still pretty great.

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Above all, Alex is the happiest guy I know. It was a little alarming at first; how can nothing get you down? But now I realize I'm happier around him, so I don't question it anymore. When I'm bummed out about something silly, he always puts things in perspective.

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Alex likes sleeping under the stars, loves my cats more than he loves me, is very organized and neat, and has never seen The Godfather. I love him. :)



P.S. It all started with a jumpsuit

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Post-Thanksgiving


Happy December, everyone!

I trust you had the coziest start of the holiday season. Akin to last year, I'm still feeling bleh about the holidays. That is not to say I didn't enjoy a break from work.

My parents, brother, and Jackie went on a road trip to San Diego for Thanksgiving. And I took advantage of the empty streets on Thursday to go on a run, work on a secret project, make my tripod do things I didn't think was possible, and test the limits of my cheese-eating capacity. Turns out I can eat a whole wheel of brie! It was the loveliest of days.

And here we are in December! How is that possible?!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gift of the Rest of My Life

photo via lofts (it's exactly what it sounds like, and it's awesome :)

I recently stumbled on this article, and it really stuck with me this week. I can't stop re-reading this part:
If he hadn’t texted because he didn’t like me, was that so bad? Relationships shouldn’t be about suckering people in with some sanitized version of yourself, only to spring the real you on them later. [...]

Maybe he had seeds of doubt and realized what it takes a lot of other people years to figure out: that those seeds of doubt can spread tendrils through your body until they eventually strangle your heart. And then five years later, you’re having dinner together and all you can think is, “This isn’t right.” But by then, it’s too late.

It was better to take notice now and bow out gracefully. Better to save us both years of indecision, resentment and desperation.

Maybe by not texting, he had given me the gift of the rest of my life.

Especialy at the beginning of a new, exciting relationship, you agonize so much over every little detail. Was I too foward? Did he not get my sarcasm? But, why? In reality, he either thinks I'm the best thing ever, or he doesn't care at all. And if it's the later, oh well. A text wouldn't have made any difference.

This is such a freeing way to think about failed relationships, don't you think?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Have a Cozy Weekend


Hello, weekend!

I just finished presenting my #hackweek project at Remind. It involved cat gifs.

During the demo my hands were shaking so much that I trigged our app's Rage Shake feature which brings up a screen to report a bug. :) I had to acknowledge how nervous I was, put down the mic, and try to hold my phone steady with both hands. Thankfully, everything else went off without a hitch.

We have nothing planned for this weekend. I'm looking forward to... sleep! Hope you have a cozy pre-Thanksgiving weekend.

P.S. This was the first gif sent via Remind. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meh

bokeh

You know those meh feelings that you can't quite put a finger on? I've been feeling like that the last few days. It might be the winter blues, or the horror in Paris, or facing the terrible history of humankind (via this book).

I'll leave you with a beautiful poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light.

Sending you hugs and warm feelings!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Interview with Your Future Self



At 18 years old, Stoney Emshwiller interviewed his older self. He records various reactions for every possible answer to questions. 38 years later, at 56, he finally faces his 18-year-old self.

goosebumps

(via cupofjo)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another Trip to Big Sur

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Alex and I just got back from our third hike to Big Sur hot springs this year. (The first time feels like forever ago!)

Our campsite was covered in yellow and orange fallen leaves. It was beautiful. The sun set so early (~5), and the moon was nowhere to be seen. From the hot springs to camp was about 3 miles. We hiked it in pitch black, stopping every once in a while to turn off the headlamps and look at all the stars.

The weather was perfect for hiking, although it was a bit too cold just for hanging out at camp. You could see your breath! We made a fire, warmed up our frozen hands, and cooked sausages on sticks. :)

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Unfortunately, the last time we were there, I ruined my very expensive camera by dunking it in the water. So, these are the only two (iPhone) pictures I took on this trip. :(

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Knowledge =/= Understanding



I was tying my shoes the other day, thinking about all the mechanics my hands are doing for this really mundane task, when I remembered about this video.

Premise: guy tries to ride a backwards bicycle. Turning right turns left, and turning left turns right. It takes him 8 months! His 6 year old son does it in 2 weeks. And when he tries to switch to a regular bicycle, something weird happens.

Favorite moment: his son has almost got it, and the dad gets this mad scientist voice and says "Get up, you got it!" :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Home Again


photo from jenna's instagram

After being away from home for the month of October, I'm pretty stoked to stay in this week. The chilly weather (mid-60s, don't laugh) doesn't hurt either. It's just cool enough to make you want to linger in the kitchen to make a tiny chocolate cake, or just burn a scented candle (this one!) after dinner.

What are you excited for this week? Anything?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween as Lauren


I dressed up as Lauren for Halloween. 

You probably don't know her, but she is one of my amazing coworkers. She's also Huey's mom, and whose apartment I'm living in at the moment. Huey was part of my costume. It was perfect.

Lauren is coming back tomorrow. I'm excited to come home (after being gone for basically a month), but I know I'm going to miss Huey and our hilly walks. :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Huey

yawn

I am dogsitting, again! My coworker, Lauren, is in Morocco and Spain for 16 days. So, Huey and I get to hang out at Lauren's beautiful apartment in San Francisco. We are having the most fun.

Here are some photos, if you'd like to see...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Scandinavia Timelapses



I loved traveling around Scandinavia with my camera. Shooting a timelapse is really just people watching. Except you feel a tiny bit productive doing it. :)

See how many timelapses I've snuck into. (Hint: 3!)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Yosemite Falls Adventures


Remember the trip to Yosemite that left me weak-kneed? I finally worked up the courage to go through the footage and make a video. :) Enjoy!

Don't watch if you're scared of heights.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One Year at Remind

photo from instagram

As of today, I've been at Remind for a year. Remember this? The year flew by!

Joining Remind has been, easily, the best decision for my career. Every day, I get to work with brilliant people. If you had told me a year ago I would be contributing to our backend and web-frontend codebase, I'd tell you you're crazy and don't know me at all. I've totally surprised myself in the best possible way.

365 days later, I'm still as enamoured as I was 2 days into it.  :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rainy Morning

photo via remain simple

3 things:
- It's (barely) raining this morning! And it finally feels like fall. :)
- Anoraks are all the rage this season. I'm really, really happy with this one.
- Going to the Everlane office this afternoon for a Wool Coat fit session. Sooooo stoked.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Me Talk Pretty One Day


This morning, on the train, I sat down next to a woman reading Me Talk Pretty One Day. Made me smile thinking about when I read that book. Fresh after a breakup, after a tough first quarter at UCLA, on the flight to Russia. I was feeling pretty defeated.

I remember getting this book on a whim. (A splurge, at the time!) This book had just come out, and I asked the person working at the airport book store whether it was any good. She shrugged. I paid for it. One of the first chapters made me laugh so hard, I cried real tears. Losing myself in a hilarious book of short stories is one of the best memories I have of that time. :)

P.S. The chapter I talked about. Read it and weep. It'll take you 3 minutes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cream Scones


If you think scones are dry bricks of dense dough, that's OK. You've just had terrible scones. Try this. I've made this recipe 10+ times, and they're consistently the best scones I've ever eaten.

Best part: the more laid back you are about making them perfect, the better they turn out...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, Vova!

Vova

My brother turns 28 today!

Do you have a sibling? It's the most special thing. When you're young, all you're thinking is "why did I have to grow up with such a loser who is better than me at everything?" And then some time passes, and you realize what an incredible thing you have.

No other person in the world has more context on what you went through in your formative years. To have somebody so uniquely in tune with all your weirdness is such a gift. I'd be totally lost without you, Vova.

IMG_2892 IMG_2856 Untitled

Fun fact. Vova shaved his head and grew a beard since the last photo I've taken of him. :)

P.S. Some more Vova-related things, you're in the mood to look back: when we made an app, when we covered a song, when we moved to the US.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Every Open Eye - CHVRCHES


I haven't been this excited for an album to drop since, I don't know, probably something lame in early 2000s. (Britney, anyone?) CHVRCHES' second album comes out September 25th, and I am counting down the days.

I thought CHVRCHES was going to be one of those bands who release one killer album and then nobody hears from again until they make something meh 5 years later. On the morning of July 16th, I tuned in to Sveriges Radio P3 and they played something amazing that sounded like them, but wasn't a track from The Bones of What You Believe. Could it be new?? When they said "CHVRCHES är tillbaka", I couldn't belive my ears.

Spotify, iTunes, YouTube didn't have anything new. My Swedish is not super great. Could I have misheard? (Maybe they said "This band that sounds like CHVRCHES is back." :) Finally, Alex found Leave a Trace on some illegal leaked music website. And I'm pretty sure I played it on repeat all day.

Every single they've released so far has been amazing. I've read some reviews complaining that they've gone pop. Maybe. Do I give a shit? NOPE! It sounds awesome. Can't wait for next Friday!

P.S. How cool is the album art?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Have a Relaxing Weekend!

Untitled

What a crazy short week. New things! What are you up to this weekend?

I'm finally staying home! No packing! An early Saturday morning run is on the calendar. And Vova's birthday is next Tuesday. We're going to celebrate a little early this weekend by grilling some salmon and eating our weight in cherry jam cookies.

But first...a party. Scarrrry! (I'm not great at parties, so I'm nervous.)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Doing New Things



I've been working on web front-end this week. It's completely outside my comfort zone. This gif pretty accurately describes how I feel. Totally unprepared and nervous, but shit is getting done! Some of my changes are live. What??!

Never mind that the latest change I merged triggered an incident yesterday. :) (It was minor, I swear.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Be a Good One

photo via oktoberkind
"Eddie Willers shifted his glance down to the street, to a vegetable pushcart at the stoop of a brownstone house. He saw a pile of bright gold carrots and the fresh green of onions. He saw a clean white curtain blowing at an open window. He saw a bus turning a corner, expertly steered. He wondered why he felt reassured [...]"
- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Let's put in the extra work to do, whatever we do, well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Have a Fun (Long) Weekend!

IMG_8102

Biscuit and I are reunited at last! His parents are celebrating their anniversary, so Biscuit and I get to kick it for a week.

We're going to Tahoe this weekend! I'm looking forward to some chilly weather and wearing this on long dog walks. I will be editing a video from Yosemite, and hopefully finishing an update to Cake.

Hope you have a fun long weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Russian Literature Quiz

IMG_0016
photo by yours truly :) trans-siberian railroad '13

One of my brilliant coworkers posted this link in the #random channel. Who can figure our which lines are from a Russian novel and which are from a work email?

Some of my very favorite novels are Russian, and I'm so lucky to be able to read them in the native language. But this quiz quotes the novel in English! And it was surprisingly hilarious! (It doesn't translate well.) So, it's fun quiz time!

I did pretty well! 13/16. #16 is the easiest. (Hint: a Russian never turns down tea. :) How did you do?

P.S. If you're in the mood for more Russia, here is a video of my trans-siberian trip in 2013. And some tips for your very own journey. (I just re-read them, and they still hold true.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Moral Scolds

photo via dog-pictures b/c a dog would never talk shit.

I stumbled upon this piece regarding the internet reaction to the lion-killing dentist + the Ashley Madison leak. And it surprised me how much I agreed with it.
About 94 percent of the discourse on the internet now consists of this gleeful jeering at someone else's disgrace. I may not condone the transgressor's misdeeds — they may even disgust me as much as they do everyone else — but as soon as this loathsome noise starts up, I find myself always instinctively on the side of the supposed offender. Seeing your own reactions mirrored by other people is instructively repulsive. (When you're flirting with a girl, you always feel you're being genuine and charming, but when you overhear some other guy hitting on someone, it's so transparent and sleazy it makes you cringe.)

Thoughts? The last sentence is tooooo true.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Worlds Apart



This weekend left me with shaky hands. Too much adrenaline seeing my mortality at the edge of a cliff and jumping from rocks into freezing water.

Let's have a safe, productive week.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Have a Relaxing Weekend!

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i took this photo (a long time ago)

I'm heading out to Yosemite this weekend! We're going car camping!! I've only ever gone backpacking, so this is a new one for me.

What do you pack?! Everything?? I'm super overwhelmed with options. The first thing I thought of when I realized I wouldn't have to carry everything to the campsite was a jar of Nutella. No annoying plastic baggies! I'm so stoked to sleep under the stars on a comfy inflatable matress, go on long early morning hikes, and read in a hammock.

It's the last weekend of August! Let's make the best of it. :) Any plans?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Vegan Restaurant

photo by nathan

Breaking news, you guys. Sophie took me to a vegan restaurant. And despite being an enthusiastic meat eater, I loved it. That girl can do no wrong. :)

Also, this morning, I got to use a perfectly narrow spoon to eat my fage yogurt.

The happiest of Fridays to you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Svenska Kurs


photo via johner

I started a Swedish class last night!

So far, my quest to learn a language has been mostly a solo endeavor:
- started Duolingo (01/09/2015)
- finished the Duolingo Swedish course (06/27/2015)
- able to talk shit with Alex (07/31/2015)
- started reading Harry Potter och de Vises Sten (08/03/2015)

I've learned lots on my own. But ever since I finished the Duolingo tree it's become a little boring. And reading a book is hard and lonely. Remind offers everyone a $500 learning credit, so I thought I'd look for Swedish classes. That's how I found Scandinavian School!

I placed into Upper Intermediate class with Pia, and I couldn't be more stoked to be learning with a real teacher and 8 other students. I was grinning like an idiot the whole class yesterday. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

End of Summer

photo via theyardpdx

Can you believe it's the middle of August? Last night, after dinner with friends, we lingered at the table and chated about the rose and the thorn of summer. I was so caught up listening to their highs and lows, when it was my turn to speak, I was completely flustered.

Summer? Did I do anything? You start rolling back to pin-point a memorable moment, and all of a sudden you're thinking about something that happened in March! Oy. What a blur!

Any best/worst from your summer?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Remind Anthem



We just released our Back to School video, and it is so-so good! It hits you right in the feels. I get teary every time I watch it. :)

When I moved to the U.S. (12 years ago wattttt?!), the craziest difference from life in Russia was my school. My first year here, I went to one of those rural schools where you see pregnant girls in the hallways. But in my eyes, this school was an incredible bastion of opportunity and learning. I was so stoked to be able to choose my own classes, to choose my own path. Even at that school, those exhausted teachers still cared about me and whether I was challened in my classes.

The schools I went to, and the educators I met along the way, only got better from there. I'm really grateful for all the teachers who made a difference in my weird life. :) #teachsmall

Monday, August 10, 2015

True Detective



Have you been watching True Detective? The first season was so gripping! I watched the whole thing in one weekend. True Detective is one of those shows that has different story/characters every season. I was heartbroken upon finding that out. :(

Season 2? Such a disappointment! We just watched the finale last night, and still don't really know what the hell happened this season. All I learned is Rachel McAdams is a bad-ass bitch.

Did you watch it? I agree with the sentiment above. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

No Nonsense Confidence Advice


Mindy Kaling is my hero. She's easily in my top 3 of women I want to be. I loved Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and from the looks of it, the new book is going to be even better.

Glamour just published a chapter from Why Not Me?. This confidence advice is amazing:
People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That's a mistake. [...] Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn't always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.
You should go read the whole thing. Especially the Tiniest Bit of Bravery part.

Friday, July 31, 2015

25 - A State of the Union Address

photo by jenna 07/30/2015

Hi, whoever is still reading this. Probably just my older self. Hey, you! Do I seem like a baby at 25? All I want to know is, do I still have acne in the future? Is my dog just the best? Does everything turn out ok? Oof. I digress.

Let's tally up 24, shall we?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Insights into Sexism

photo of astrid lindgren

This study  confirms what we've always known to be true. Only the losers are sexist.

We show that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced teammate, especially when performing poorly. In contrast, lower-skilled players behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player in the identical scenario. We suggest that low-status males increase female-directed hostility to minimize the loss of status as a consequence of hierarchical reconfiguration resulting from the entrance of a woman into the competitive arena. Higher-skilled players, in contrast, were more positive towards a female relative to a male teammate. As higher-skilled players have less to fear from hierarchical reorganization, we argue that these males behave more positively in an attempt to support and garner a female player's attention.

Keep on keeping on, ladies! And don't date losers. (Or if you must, make it short.)

P.S. Gahhh. I love science. :)
(study via coquette)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Home

photo via a quiet style

My dearest friend just made a home out of her apartment, and the thought of it makes my heart swell.

I've moved 8 times, so far. Every time, I've done my best to make whatever space I occupy feel like home. Every time, it feels more safe. Two years ago, when I was moving from LA, I was convinced I wouldn't feel at home again. How wrong I was! :)

i built a constellation lair
out of the moles that hovered there

Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Feel Prettier

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jenna and i looking lovingly at each other

Ugh. Looking at myself in the mirror gives me anxiety. Another zit? Why is my hair doing that? I heard about this trick a while back, but I always forget to use it.

Look at yourself as if you're looking at a friend.

It really works! You instantly give yourself a break and gloss over the imprefections. In the end, it always goes back to the this beautiful advice by Mindy Kaling's mom. "You have to be your own best friend. If you always remember that, you will always have someone there with you."

But that one is a lot harder to put into practice. :) Start small, right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On Valuable Possesions



This is the result of the video I talked about in the previous post. I really like the way it turned out!

Making videos takes a lot of effort, but I think it's definitely worth the time. Having these memories in this neat video "packages" are some of my most valuable possessions. It's kind of embarrassing how often I go back and rewatch these.

Seeing the faces of the people I love doing their thang, grinning into the camera, looking out into the distance, or pointing(!) invariably puts me in a better mood. And I think it's only going to get better with age. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

So Tan

I was just reviewing footage for this video I'm editing and came upon this gem. Here, Jenna is saying "Make sure you get how tan I am."

I love that girl.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trevlig Midsommar!

via fjällräven

Wish I could be in Sweden for Midsommar. Nästa år kanske?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thank a Teacher



Did you know that May is the Teacher Appreciation Month? Remind made a short video reflecting on teachers who have had a huge impact in our lives. As soon as I got the prompt, I knew exactly the teacher I would talk about. You?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Going the Distance


This picture was taken in January, after our first run in our brand new shoes. This weekend, we're going for a loooong run. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Post-Vacation Gratitude

first breakfast at home!
my first breakfast at home (i missed avocados!)

I got in at 7:50 pm last night, and this is the first of my 4:30 am jet-lagged mornings. I had a great time on my impromptu vacation around Scandinavia, but I'm soooo happy to be home. This morning, my heart is filled with gratitude to the people who made my trip possible:

mama - for taking care of my cats and sending me a ton of cat photos. I love those two more than life itself. Leaving them with mom, I didn't have a single worry about whether they were fed or played with or loved.
anna and sigurd - for graciously sharing their beautiful Olso apartment on such short notice and making me feel totally home.
forrest - for inspiring me to travel, and persuading me to take the fjord tour. It was so totally worth it.
alex - for so many things including but not limited to: taking my call at work and letting me talk about the worst restaurant experience, updating me on airport gate changes, finding out what track the train I almost missed would be on, moving my (manual transmission) car to appease my neighbors, coming over to play with the cats, and giving me the best homecoming ever. I got to come home to avocados, eggs, the bread I like, tulips, and steak. It was completely unprompted. If it wasn't for Alex, I would surely be eating European candy for breakfast.

Even though this was a solo trip, I couldn't have done without this bunch of awesome people. Tusen tack!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Worst Part of Traveling

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Moos being a saint of a cat

...is missing these two.

♫ spotify | itunes

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Oslo

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Oslo is beautiful. And my host in Oslo is even more so. I basically invited myself to Anna's place, and she has made me feel totally at home.

Tomorrow, I'm taking the train to Bergen to see the obligatory fjord. ~5.5 hours on a boat! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two Selves


Do you keep up with Humans of New York? I was clearing out my old bookmarks today and found this gem:
I wish I’d partied a little less. People always say ‘be true to yourself.’ But that’s misleading, because there are two selves. There’s your short term self, and there’s your long term self. And if you’re only true to your short term self, your long term self slowly decays.
It reminded me of another quote I came across recently. "You have two lives. Your first life ends when you realize you only have one life."

♫ spotify | youtube | itunes