Vice- My Boots

My Vice is retail therapy. Orrrrrrr shopping.

I mostly get new things to reward myself for doing something difficult or meeting some longterm goal. I also shop to spend time with friends and family. Call me materialistic, but I recognize that these things are what they are- things. No one ever has to ask me the question of what matters more to me, but at the same time the act of buying something new and using it for the first few weeks makes me very, very happy.

Now, I usually keep my purchases cheap because shopping might be the most expensive hobby out there, but I could not resist what may be my most expensive purchase clothing-wise to date.

I present you, my beloved matte-black, suede, WATERPROOF, Timberland booties.



I believe it’s entirely worth it to invest in a good pair of shoes.

You might be saying, “Why, Lisa, it’s summer!”

Why, my dear stranger, yes. Yes. It. Is.

Case closed.

I wore these bright red Dr. Marten knock-off boots for most of the last two years. They’re well-loved and quite frankly, falling apart. The sole is coming out, the boots weren’t good quality to begin with, and the leather is peeling up on the most random places. I think it’s time to put those babies to rest, and welcome a new addition to the family!

I can not even begin to explain how great these shoes are for me. I wore them for 10 straight hours yesterday and my feet didn’t feel any worse than if I’d wore sneakers for 10 hours straight. Which is to say, I felt like I could run miles in these bad boys! I have wider feet so this degree of comfort is not easy to come by.

My dear Tims,







Experts in Ham Radio

I have good news and bad news. Good news is, I’ve finally found repeaters in my area and figured out when the local nets are. Bad news, I haven’t cracked up the courage to go on and talk to anyone yet.

I was considering it, and then I hear these Expert operators talk about HF radio, making contact with pilots, maritime mobile, and I’m wondering if my noobishness will just scare them all away.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a little introduction to ham radio:

Hopefully by this time next week i’ll have made a contact or two.

Until then, I’d appreciate any tips on how to get started talking on the repeaters. And is a handheld Baofeng radio considered mobile or fixed? Or does it depend on if I’m currently moving or not?

Oh the confusion.



Hello! I hope you’re all having a great day.

Let’s talk about Cheating in school. Plain and simple, it’s bad. I recognize that, and I value knowledge, learning and honesty.

A photo by Jeff Sheldon.

Cheating’s the single easiest way to earn an F… minus, it’s not respectful to your peers who are trying to get good grades honestly on whatever twisted domain your teacher has summoned their tests from, and it’s the best way to trick yourself out of learning something potentially useful.

Like for real, I’m an aspiring engineer, so I really need to learn this derivative stuff and mentally brace myself to be thrown into the pit of fire that is integration by parts.

College application season is finally upon me, and I can’t help but look at my GPA that’s lower than where I expected it to be by this time and wonder if cheating would have made a difference. I’ve certainly been given many opportunities to do so. It’s not like I plot out on blueprint paper mad-scientist style an operation with a posse of students to steal Mr. Dillydally’s answer key. I’m referring to things like overhearing kids discuss the answers with another class period super loudly. Sometimes tests are on computers with full google-bility only .5 seconds away. I’ve found slips of paper with parts of tests written down tucked in books. When teachers straight up walk out of the room during tests… The means to cheat have literally been handed to me on a silver platter over and over again, but I’ve turned them down whenever I could. It’s infuriating to know that others capitalized off of those opportunities and got away with it when I refused to.

Call it taking the high road, honesty, integrity, or whatever, but now I’m wondering if it was worth it. Maybe it was. Maybe if I started cheating I would’ve grown lazy and lost my work ethic, essentially torpedoing my grades to an abyss lower than any cheat could save them from. Or maybe getting a better grade in a class I took for nothing but a graduation requirement would’ve raised my GPA or cleared time to learn subjects that I’m actually passionate about.

I’m just playing the “what-if” game in my head. I believe most people can relate to my doubts at some point in their academic life.

At the end of the day, I’m dedicated to my work ethic. That work ethic keeps me from cheating, and that work ethic has brought me farther than an A in any class.





Earlier this month I published my first ever blog post, which you can still check out here, about my favorite planner system: The Bullet Journal!

I was so proud of the post and looking forward to starting my journey as a blogger that I overlooked something pretty important.

Here’s the incriminating photo from the blog post:


My future log is my version of a yearly calendar where I list out important dates such as holidays…. and friend’s birthdays.

Let me introduce you to Alice. She’s my beautiful friend who’s been by me through AP Chemistry, AP Pain post-ballet class, and pretty much all of AP Life. Oh, and HER BIRTHDAY IS FEBRUARY 7TH.

Moments after publishing my blog post:

(I hereby present you a real life excerpt from Facebook Messenger)

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 1.53.23 PM

it was at that moment

I knew her birthday was February 7th! Of course I did. Oh EFFFFF it all.

Alice’s only response:

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 1.53.37 PM

Yeah…. that was a bad Mistake.

Forgive me,

Lisa xx

Witness- The Cutting Board


This cutting board has been a Witness to the beginnings of the most wonderful cooking in the world.- My Grandmother’s.

My grandmother’s well into her eighties, yet every year when my mom and I go to stay with her over the summer, her first words are always, “I made some food, please eat!”

The journey to her home is the same every year. I’d board an airplane to Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, fighting nausea from the recycled air and the smell of airplane food. Finding the vomit bag has always been one of my first priorities, and I’m always marveling at the fact that no one else is madly scrambling to pull that thing out of the backseat pockets as soon as they find their seats. Then I’d stagger off the plane into the humid, mosquito-infested, colorful, and beautiful city of Guangzhou, elbowing my way through black-taxi drivers (never dark in skintone, but always shady and illegal AF) vying for my business to finally arrive at that one line of trustworthy blue and green taxis. And let me tell you, these blue and green taxi drivers drive more aggressively than New York cabbies during rush hour, but they won’t rip you off if you can speak Chinese- and they sure as hell won’t rob you at gunpoint.

I’ll pull up at the same gate every year, drag my luggage out of the trunk and smile at the security guard as I make my way to my Grandparents’ apartment. I’d always skeptically enter the building’s single elevator that has a reputation for trapping inside a certain high-profile scientist that was my grandparents’ neighbor. I’ve never been stuck inside that 110 degree-plus oven. Thank. Heavens.

And then my grandparents would be there in the doorway, all smiles and hugs.

I’d always tell my grandmother to go inside and sit down, and watch her slowly take one conscious step at a time to turn around in the cramped entryway. “Are you hungry, Lisa? I made some food!” I’d always say “yes, please!” After all:

one does not simply

For the next few weeks it always seems like her sole purpose in life is to make me chubby. Every year, she’d hunch over her well-loved cutting board, expertly chopping spring onions and bokchoy, dicing chicken, and chopping beef as water boiled beside her with some fresh noodles or wontons from the market across the road. I’ve never seen a cutting board as worn in as my Grandmother’s.

That board has been a helpless witness to my Grandmother’s failing health. Every year, her steps are slower. Every year, each stroke of her knife on that board is done more carefully, with squinty eyes and a shakier hand, but she insists that no one else knows how to make her braised pork. My grandfather’s tried… and gotten yelled out of the kitchen.

I sincerely hope that cutting board will witness a dozen more summers of my Grandmother’s cooking.

All the best,




My good intentions are so Obvious to myself. Of course I’d be there for my friends at their worst moments. Of course I’m grateful for each and every person that comes into my life. I’d take a bullet for my family, and cat videos pretty much turn my heart into a pile of mush.

Sometimes I forget that people who don’t know me and people who expect the worst of others, can’t see intentions. Intentions don’t make impressions. Intentions don’t comfort others. Actions do, however. I’m always reminding myself to do the little extra things for the people I care about, just so they know that I’m there for them now and I’ll be there when the real hell breaks loose.

I’ll give people rides, write a longer letter on a birthday card, reassure them when they’re doubting themselves, and all the little things that take just a little bit more effort but are very meaningful on the receiving end.



Learning Ham Radio



What is Ham Radio?

Ham Radio, or Amateur Radio, is an activity where people, called “Hams,” message each other over radio on specific frequencies for non-commercial purposes. It’s a mode of communication that’ll get through when cell phones fail, when the internet doesn’t work, and when all other systems are down.

In other words, it’s a place where particular nerds like to congregate and prepare for the apocalypse… or other natural disasters.

Can I get into it?

Yes! Anyone from any walk of life can become a Ham. There’s even a radio on the International Space Station. You do need a license to operate the amateur radio frequencies though. That’s because radio frequencies don’t stop at international borders and radio is regulated by international laws.

I got my license earlier this year by testing at my local Red Cross. The older folks were pretty surprised to see a young woman walking in for the exam but they were also very welcoming.

How difficult is it to get a license?

The test itself is not very difficult. Most of it is common sense with a little bit of Ohms law and new terminology sprinkled in. After you studied your butt off (psssst the question pools are all posted online), all you need is $10, a photo ID, your social security number, and a pencil.

There are three levels of licenses. In order of increasing difficulty to get and privileges, the three levels are Technicians, General, and Amateur Extra.

What radio do I get?

It seems like the most popular way to go is to get a short-range handheld radio that you can hook up to a repeater (radio towers that can send your signal a farther distance than your radio can), to talk to people all over the country. I ran into a little problem very early on. I got a Baofeng UV-5R, but the repeaters in my area are all dead silent! Either I’m not in range of a popular repeater that all the Ham’s in my town are gathering at or I haven’t found the right frequency. I’m not giving up Ham Radio yet though! I’m currently in the process of setting up Echolink. With Echolink, computers work as transceivers. Hams can talk to each other over the internet! Oh the endless possibilities.

I’m currently waiting for my callsign to get validated but once it is, stay tuned for a very exciting first contact!

If there are any Ham’s out there, let me know! And lend me your wisdom! I’ve been struggling a bit but I’m so excited to discover more. I’ve already learned so much about IP addresses, radio frequencies, morse code (which isn’t a requirement for a license anymore), antennas, and met amazing people.



50 Things I’d Do Again


Here’s my philosophy: There is a near endless amount of things to do for fun and while it’s impossible to experience them all, exploring more of them will allow you to grow, change and find your passions. Plus, it’s exciting to discover new things!

For that reason, I try not to do the same things twice when it comes to unique experiences. But some things in life are worth doing more than once. Some things are worth doing a million times. Others just bring me so much joy. For me, the following are those things:

  1. Geocache in the dark.
  2. Care for guinea pigs. 004
  3. Make Tiramisu.
  4. Stuff myself with Dim Sum.
  5. Move to a different country.
  6. Eat a crab roll from Fog Harbor Fish House in San Francisco.
  7. Say “I love you.”
  8. Go indoor rock climbing.
  9. Talk to someone on Ham Radio.
  10. Take a dance class with a new teacher.
  11. Sleep 10 hours.
  12. Do yoga with complete strangers.
  13. Bargain at a flea market.
  14. Eat a burger from In n Out at midnight.
  15. Hike the Great Wall of China.
  16. Laugh until my cheeks ache.
  17. Look at the view of NYC from the top floor of the World Trade Center.
  18. Go out to lunch at A&J Bistro with my mom.
  19. Pet a sugar glider.
  20. Light Paint. DSC_0009
  21. Run 5k.
  22. Visit Switzerland. 11222123_883827698367575_3660981886450880573_n
  23. Ride a horse.
  24. Play Guitar Hero with my brother.
  25. Dab… ’nuff said.
  26. Hug a friend.
  27. Play chess with a stranger.
  28. Watch the Walking Dead.
  29. Watch Game of Thrones.
  30. Belay someone on a rock wall.
  31. Go shopping for clothes.
  32. Do a friend’s makeup.
  33. Take a macro photo with a DSLR camera. DSC02998
  34. Stand in the rain on a humid day.
  35. Meet a new friend.
  36. Eat sushi.
  37. See a ballet.
  38. Ride the world’s tallest roller coaster- Kingda Ka.
  39. Paint my nails blue.
  40. Play a piano piece perfectly after polishing it up for weeks.
  41. Eat at the Cheesecake Factory.
  42. Zipline in mountains. DSC05390
  43. Eat a mango.
  44. Write a really long, thoughtful email or letter of thanks.
  45. Watch Roman Atwood vlogs.
  46. Get a piercing.
  47. Sit in a hot bath, watching a LUSH bath bomb fizzle.
  48. Watch someone’s eyes light up when they understand something.
  49. Take a polaroid selfie.
  50. Hit “Publish”



Jeopardize- Living the Good Life

I lose all self-control in the summers and I love it. I eat like crap and then work out like hell because I have the time. I go to sleep at 3am and wake up at 1pm (that’s 10 hours if I’m doing my math right). I’m basically done with my summer homework. Other than a few classes and robotics meetings, I have the rest of the week to spend time with my mom and watch movies. As long as I can get some degree of college app work in every day, I can justify this extremely unproductive lifestyle.

Part of me is wondering if these bad habits are going to stick around for once and Jeopardize my academics next year (read: in two weeks).

Only part of me.

The other 79% of me is a hardwired workaholic that’s itching to set the alarm at 8am every day. I’ll let him have his way and more later. Right now, I will bathe myself in the spirit of summer.

Taking inventory of my kitchen, I have eggs, coffee, sugar, milk, heavy cream, ladyfingers, and 8 ounces of decadent Italian Mascarpone Cheese. That’s enough for another full Tiramisu cake.

If I’m going to risk my health, I will get a good blog post out of it.

Look out,

Senioritis might have come about half a year too early.