Favorite Non-Book Things | 2020

I always try to make one end of the year wrap up post about things that brought me a lot of new joy that year! This year, I did seem to find a lot of love and comfort in already established happiness, but I still thought it would be fun to make a list of just a few things that helped make 2020 a little brighter (even if #10 is truly the most cursed timeline and I have no idea so I got here but…)! 💗

➽ 01.) Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream

Dr. Jart+ - Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream 1.69 oz/ 50 mL

2020 was truly a year of me trying to find a good night time moisturizer after Drunk Elephant Lala Retro reformulated. (I still love CLINIQUE Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator and/or Tatcha The Water Cream for in the mornings!) But basically, I truly would buy a new moisturizer every two months in hopes of finding a new love, and then I finally found (my number two non-bookish 2020 happiness on this list, which lead to me finding…) Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream and fell so in love! But also, honorable mention to PURITO DEEP SEA PURE WATER CREAM, which my family gifted to me for Christmas, and I very much am loving it and it has a much better price tag! And I imagine the PURITO Centella Green Level Recovery Cream is similar to the Dr. Jart one, and might be better for the colder seasons!

➽ 02.) Beauty Within

BeautyWithin | sundays

Truly, my new favorite youtube channel of 2020 is easily, hands down, Beauty Within! Felicia & Rowena are two Asian women with two very different skin types, and they use, review, and give the best recommendations for all price ranges! They have helped me so much with my skincare journey and they are truly just the sweetest in general, on top of being the most helpful and inclusive that I’ve ever found! Rowena has also very much helped me in 2020 to stay organized, to be more productive, and even help sparked my love for Notion!

➽ 03.) Notion

How I'm Using Notion to Track my Life in 2020

This summer, May posted some of their Notion pages on twitter and I was instantly intrigued! I love any and all kinds of different mediums for organization, and I quickly fell completely down the rabbit hole with the rest of the book community! I won’t lie, I have fell off a little bit in December keeping up with things, but I blame that on setting up a lot of my 2021 physical organization methods! Hopefully lots of new 2021 pages soon!

➽ 04.) My Cat

The light of my days, always. She deserves her own spot on this list for her cuddles alone!

➽ 05.) Writing Letters

There are many, many reasons for this, but writing letters has been something that I have really adored doing all 2020. To my family, to my friends, to different trades in the kpop community, I just really love writing letters! And I forever want to let me loved ones know I love them in every medium. Also, save the USPS!

➽ 06.) Going Outside

I will never take just being outside for granted again, ever. I feel like I am still very bad at reminding myself to go outside, which doesn’t make sense because I always feel 100 times better on the days that I do. But a lot of times, when I am finally free to go outside, it is too dark. But that special time, right before it gets dark, and I can just breath in all the crisp air right now, while looking at the mountains, and hearing the river (with no boats on it, please god, I am begging), it feels rather magical and extra healing, and a lot of those afternoons have been my favorite of all 2020.

➽ 07.) World of Warcraft

It is so wild, because 2020 is the year I should have the most free time (from not being able to commute alone), but it is the year I played less videogames and I read less books than any other. It is very strange to think about, but I think most people were just kind of focused on surviving and learning how to live in this very different world, and valid. But I still plated a lot of vanilla wow, and my guild is still going hard in Naxx. I also play a little retail wow with the new expansion, Shadowlands, but I still don’t love it as much as classic wow.

➽ 08.) Jocie B ASMR

Jocie B ASMR - YouTube

Would this be a meltotheany favorites list without incorporating at least one ASMR artist? So, I started watching Jocie in 2019, but I fell extra hard in love with her in 2020, and her ASMR really got me through some shit™! She has such a range of ASMR styles, and is never afraid to try new things. I also think she is very inclusive with the items she uses, and I think she is just amazing. Also, she does do fairy ASMR, and it really works for her and I love it so much!

➽ 09.) jtotheimin

I couldn’t really think of how to include this, because I am still a little scared to talk about my other channel to the book community, but the last half of 2020 had a lot of happiness brought into my life because of my BTS (and a few other kpop group) youtube channel, jtotheimin. Not to get too real, but it does feels strange to be in a different online space away from books, but I feel proud that I grew something without a Goodreads following and without feeling like I will never live up to the faith people have in me. (Or… just feeling like I’m letting people down by not being able to control my anxiety better and film a new booktube video.) A lot of bookish spaces in 2020 felt really unsafe to me, and I didn’t know what to do, or if I was just going to give up everything, but learning to have confidence in myself again, and getting to talk about being seen in a different way, was really healing to me, and I am so very thankful for this channel.

➽ 10.) Survivor

Survivor28logo.jpg

Listen, I really don’t know how I truly got here, but I have currently watched almost ten seasons of this damn show and I can only blame only leaving my house once in almost a year. Basically, two seasons dropped on Netflix and one of those seasons was set in the Philippines, in the north province of Luzon (Cagayan), and I was like “why not?” but it truly awoken something in me. Well, after I unexpected cried my eyes out because Cliff Robinson was on that first season I watched, and it truly was the heartbreak I didn’t see coming. But the TL;DR is that I am not emotionally, unstable, invested in Survivor, and I am currently using my parents Hulu membership to continue on with using my precious reading time to watch this show and get upset when they vote the wrong people out.

The way I am truly giggling after writing that last one. 2020 truly just threw all the curveballs, aye? But I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe something on this list will interest you and make your 2021 a little more fun. Tell me something non-bookish that made you happy last year! And I’m sending you all so much love and light always. Happy reading (and watching questionable shows)! 💗

Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

Favorite Asian Books of 2020

Hello friends! I hope you enjoyed My 2020 Reading Year in Review, but I just wanted to give a little bit more love and celebration to a few books that mean the whole world to me! Growing up, I couldn’t even dream that I would be able to pick from so many books from Asian authors, featuring Asian main characters, with Asian families, and just celebrating Asian lives. I truly feel more and more blessed every year, because I feel like every year this list gets harder and harder to make because we are getting more and more ownvoices stories that are going to make it easier and easier for kids to see themselves completely whole, not just bits and pieces. (Obviously publishing has SO MUCH work to do, but I can’t help but smile when looking at this list and how much overflowing love I have for these stories!) But here are my five favorite books written by Asian authors in 2020. 💕

➽ 5.) Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe 

“Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic…”

Japanese influences + Kiki’s Delivery Service inspirations + the power of friendship and having people who will unconditionally love and support you = perfection. This was truly the perfect middle-grade for me, and one that will be in my heart forever. 

➽ 4.) The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart

“A made thing could grow and change beyond its original purposes. I would show the Emperor: I’d grown beyond mine.”

Every pov, every storyline, every plot twist, every companion, perfection. I am still so blown away by the debut novel, the magic system, and how the last page left me feeling. I am absolutely begging for book two and more of this Asian inspired kingdom! (and more of my favorite crustaceans love story sapphics!)

➽ 3.) The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #1) by K.S. Villoso

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

This so beautifully (and sometimes heartbreakingly) incorporated Filipino culture, I was completely immersed and utterly captivated on every page. I truly inhale read this in 48 hours and I could not be bothered to tear myself away for anything besides work. This book truly reminded me of that magical feeling that reading can give you, especially when you feel safe and seen and so in love. 

➽ 2.) The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar 

“What I want more than anything else in the world is to feel like being myself isn’t something that should be hidden and a secret.”

This book was everything and had so many perfect layers, from seeing this main character unapologetically talking about their diaspora experiences, from the real truth about fetishization, from cultural appropriation and how it is never okay, and how westerners treat Asians, but south Asians in particular. But also, this book had the perfect sapphic romance interlaced throughout, where real learning (and unlearning) happened so beautifully. 

➽ 1.) The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3) by R.F. Kuang 

“Rin had spent so long hating how she felt when she burned, hating her fire and her god. Not anymore.”

The Poppy War trilogy is truly once in a lifetime and this conclusion was honestly a work of art all itself. This series is a military epic fantasy that is ownvoices and inspired from the authors family history and the stories she learned from them. Heavy themes of war, colonization, racism, colorism, genocide, cycles of abuse, and so many different types of trauma are never shied away from. I’ve read and reviewed many books these last six years of my life, and I’m not sure a series has impacted me more than this one. Every sentence has meaning, every chapter is so well planned, every event conveys layers and layers of thoughts and feelings. History is truly created by the victors mostly with the most blood on their hands, and the stories that get told are mostly through a white and colonized lens. R.F. Kuang has done so much with these three books and they mean so much to so many Asian readers. 

Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube