If I have to point to one daily dimension in which South Korea transformed my life, it’s wearing sunscreen. South Koreans protect their skin with a near religious fervor, and it rubbed off on me. (Hehe, pun intended.) Now I am militant about never leaving home without sunscreen on my face and am super serious about putting it on my kids, too. They are better at reapplying sunscreen than brushing and flossing 2x a day.
Asia and Europe seem to have superior sunscreen, because regulatory bodies across both continents allow for more sun protection filters in their sunscreen ingredients and formulations than the US FDA, which has not updated its sunscreen protocols since 1999. Now that Congresswoman AOC is in on the call for better American sunscreen, Vox’s excellent Today Explained podcast made it a topic of its Wednesday show, featuring The Atlantic’s Amanda Mull and me. I join during the second half to gab about South Korean skincare — and why sunscreen is so crucial as part of the Korean skincare routines.
This led some listeners to ask, what Korean sunscreens do you recommend? Well, I’m happy to share! Note: I am not sponsored by any of these brands, they are just the products I use on myself and my children. Among US products, my daughter Eva likes SuperGoop’s ubiquitous Unseen Sunscreen, but I find it too greasy.
MISSHA All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk
I wear this everyday, it’s in my purse. It goes on light and smooth. It’s white but rubs in without white residue. It never stings when you sweat or when it washes off in the shower. It’s less than $20. You’ll notice it has a PA++++ factor on the bottle, that’s because sun protection factor (SPF) is a US measurement, while Europe uses the PA followed by +’s standard. Missha is a low-cost “road shop” brand whose backstory I tell in Flawless, my book.
AHC Natural Perfection Fresh Sun Stick
I loaded up on these sun sticks before I came home from Seoul. They are perfect for kids, so they can apply without the product ever touching their hands. It’s clear and not chalky. Great to use in the summer, and on the go.
People outside South Korea seem to have really caught onto Innisfree and its focus on natural ingredients that are gentle on our skin. This is at a slightly higher price point than the Missha I use all the time, and I think it’s because it also has some moisturizing ingredients that consumers really like. If you’re okay with spending a little more, Innisfree’s sunscreen are a good bet. There’s a whole fascinating history of its parent company, Amore Pacific, and how it emerged as the Korean peninsula was being split apart by war and geopolitical factors, which I also detail in Flawless.
I abandoned the book-a-week pace of earlier years once the pandemic came for us. 2022 was a year I spent writing and revising, revising, revising my own book, which is now ready for preorder. I hope you will reserve a copy, and if you do, please write me a note or comment that you have done so, if only to spare you my reminders to preorder. 🙂
Much like last year, work assignments are responsible for selecting much of my 2022 reading, since author interviews comprise many of my ongoing contributions to NPR Life Kit, It’s Been a Minute, and I drop in for guest appearances on the Nerdette podcast for WBEZ.
Other recommendations from my book-devoted friends led to nourishing and surprising reading in 2022, though it was way too heavy on non-fiction. I’ll balance it out more in 2023.
My 2022 list:
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz
The Power of Regret
You Sound Like A White Girl
Atlas of the Heart
Imagine If: Creating A Future For Us All
Sir Ken Robinson
How to Tell A Story
The Team at The Moth
All About Love
Sorrow and Bliss
This America: The Case for the Nation
Out of Love
Our Missing Hearts
Lark and Kasim Start a Revolution
The Art of Love
Fave Nonfiction: This America: A Case for the Nation. This slim, breezy, engrossing tale of America is one that I wish I would have been taught in school. It helped root so much of the fissures and struggles we see in today’s headlines in history and an unvarnished version of America. It is realistic and hopeful, though, because I believe the difference between patriotism and nationalism is that patriotism honors love in a nation’s possibility — which means critiquing it — over simply accepting it as it is. Runner up: Laurie Penny’s Sexual Revolution is a must-read especially as bodily autonomy and abortion rights were stripped from people who can become pregnant in half of the United States.
My Fave Fiction:Sorrow and Bliss, a love story that reminded me of the Sally Rooney bestsellers which evoke such feeling from small moments and the rich inner lives of characters.
This was the year the pandemic felt “over” enough that everyone I know began jet-setting again (curiously it seemed like the aforementioned “everyone” summered in Italy?). For me, as accustomed as I am to constant movement, I spent much of 2022 alone, writing from my bed. The deadline to turn in the book nearly flattened me and I wrote much of FLAWLESS in what felt like a semi-conscious state. But for the tireless researchers and interpreters and fact-checkers who kept me going, that book would not be finished.
I turned 40 in the small window of time after a major Omicron wave and before Russia waged an unprovoked war on Ukraine. Friends from seven cities across the country flew in and donned costumes for my 1994-themed party, because in retrospect my 6th and 7th grade years represented points in culture that lasted with me a lifetime. (Yellow Ledbetter, anybody?!) In the final minutes of that most merry and warm celebration, the lights went out on all of Abbott Kinney, the much-frequented, boutique-filled party drag in Venice. We read it as a sign that we properly captured all the energy on the block that night. I desperately clung to that serendipity and energy through 2022, especially the night of the midterm elections which … hoo boy, what a relief.
There’s so much I wish I would have captured better, but I really spent so much of this year just participating in life as fully as I could, and trying to keep up with my children after losing my long time nanny and friend and housekeeper, whose absence is felt every moment in our house.
Firsts: Consuming an ostrich egg, encounter with a Zonkey (a zebra-donkey), Costco vacation, becoming an NFT, selling my own NFT, fight with Hot Rob, having a back house, visiting TV writers rooms, attending the big TED.
In no particular order, this year I…
Attended three weddings, in person
Swam with dolphins
Bought a house and sold a house in the same week
Ripped and replaced the insides of the house inside of a month
Made back-to-back trips to Texas and consumed so much queso and P Terrys
Talked TSA into letting me take 16oz of queso through in my carry-on
Read books with second graders every Tuesday
Took tennis lessons every week
Sprained my foot, but just at home, not from tennis
Glamped in the Santa Ynez Valley Hard launched my man/mancrush of 2+(!) years by having him play Who Said That? on NPR
Hung out with my parents a lot — they lived in the guest house for four months of the year
Saw our podcast company double its revenue
Got an electric car
Learned how to TikTok from my child
Advised two TV writers rooms
Enjoyed a lot of live music again: Leon Bridges, DEVO, Lisa Loeb, The Violent Femmes, even … Wilson Phillips(!), a real full circle moment since its greatest hits figured in that 1990s-themed birthday party, naturally
Adjusted to parenting alone after our nanny of seven years went home
Traveled 25,228 miles to three countries, 13 cities, and spent 40 days away from home Became a set mom and hung out in motorhomes on location for a week, wondering what I’m doing with my life
Read 19 books in full, but started six others
Finished writing my book, oh my god. Saw it in print, as a galley anyway
I read the fewest books in years in 2021. It makes sense, as I spent much of the year heads down, writing my own book.
The bulk of the reading I did wasn’t books. It comprised of chapters of academic texts, research studies and a lot of interview transcripts and news stories. That said, thanks to my ongoing contributions to NPR Life Kit, a request to appear on the Nerdette podcast for WBEZ and really solid recommendations from friends, I was fortunate to encounter books I would have never picked up on my own.
Also I am part of a book club called Literati, in which you choose one of their famous curators to send you a selection per month. I love it! Susan Orlean is the curator of the “club” I joined. This has been the source at least a few of the books on my list this year.
My 2021 list:
My Inner Sky
Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity and Change
Come as You Are
Lynn Steger Strong
How to Change
Let’s Face It
Rio Viera Newton
In The Dream House
Carmen Marie Machado
RO Kwon and Garth Greenwell
The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin
The Soulmate Equation
The Family Firm
Laziness Does Not Exist
I Wrote This Book Because I Love You
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud
Anne Helen Petersen
Love in the Big City
Sang Young Park
Must-Read Memoir:Seeing Ghosts, by my sister from another mother, Kat Chow. Kat is really the closest person to a younger sister that I have in my life, and I look to her for advice constantly. She is wise and thoughtful and the kind of writer that pierces straight through you. I read her book en route home from Mexico and bawled my eyes out on the plane.
My Fave Fiction:Love in the Big City, a nostalgic trip back to Seoul for me, but also a glimpse into life in the gay scene in Korea, which deserves a lot more rich storytelling like this. Luster, whose set piece at the end was so well earned. Beautiful World, Where Are You, because Sally Rooney still knows what’s up.
Fave Non-Fiction: Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis, who is my go-to Jungian author. Read him or listen to him on podcasts, that man makes complete sense.
After Trump was elected, I made it a goal to spend more time reading books, as an escape from the ephemeral headlines that were zapping my brain and frying my soul. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 I read at a pace of a book a week.
This year I signed a deal with Dutton, a division of Penguin Random House, to write my own actual book! But when it came to reading books, I didn’t do much of what I intended.
Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
Wow, No, Thank you, Samantha Irby
The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle The Masters House, Audre Lorde
Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems, Danez Smith
Between the World and Me, Tanehisi Coates
Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong
Someone Who Will Love You In All You Damaged Glory, Raphael Bob Waksberg
The First Bad Man, Miranda July
Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
How Much Of These Hills Is Gold?, C. Pam Zhang
Started but Didn’t Finish: Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov. I know, I know, such a classic. I just got too distracted. The Night of the Gun, by David Carr. I am a great admirer of that late journalist, and he signed Stiles’ copy of it, but neither of us had gotten around to reading the book. I made it about halfway through but lost interest. The Sexual Life of Catherine M, which the poet/artist Maggie Smith cited as an inspiration for her work. I don’t know if it was the translation from French or the lack of a structure but I just could not get through it.
Picking ‘Em: I had been prioritizing works by women and people of color, but this year I just read anything I was reviewing for work, books my friends recommended, or art by artists I already like. For example, the end of Bojack Horseman swelled and broke my heart, so I had to read its creator’s short story collection. In the fall I reconnected with Matt Weiner, a hypersmart dude who wrote Mad Men, so a couple of the books at the end of my year were from his recommendations.
Books by Author Gender
Books by Classification
I still read on my Kindle, and got a second one this year because I misplace my Kindle so much. Recall from my previous years’ posts that I read the most on planes. This year I spent less time on planes than I have since I was maybe 18 years old. So that evaporated my dedicated book reading time. I still love it, though, and just need to be more disciplined about reading at home.
Now that 2019 is over, it’s time for my annual look back at my year in books. Man, there was so much great new fiction and nonfiction this year, and many titles remain on my “to read” list, which have rolled over to 2020. My favorites represent a mix of 2019-released books and modern classics. I struggled to prune it to ten, because I loved SO MUCH of what I read:
Book I Did NOT Like: The New Me, by Halle Butler, even though this was well-reviewed by critics. I think it was too nihilistic for me.
I didn’t have any new reading objectives this year. I tried to keep 52 books, stay committed to my book club and keep prioritizing works by women and people of color.
Picking ‘Em: Generally, I pick books by simply reading authors I already like, i.e. Roth, Jamison and Shteyngart. I also read books that publicists send me* that look different or interesting — this year, a poetry book on surveillance, Swedish lit and a lovely graphic novel by my friend Malaka. The bulk of my reading list represents recommendations from friends. It felt like a fiction-heavy year, but the data surprised me.
I spent a month in a sling and a lot of that month proned out after my shoulder injury, so that led to a burst in reading time. I also read a lot on planes, so when I was on planes more, I seemed to enjoy more reading.
I still read on my Kindle, to which I really need to attach a tracking device, because I turn places upside down looking for my Kindle WAAAAY too much. As a regular habit, I try to read a chapter or a unit (story, essay etc) in a collection of a book when I first wake up in the morning, instead of first checking my phone upon waking. I binge-read a lot on planes (when I’m not watching terrible movies), in cabs and while getting pedicures.
Credit to Nicole Zhu, a friend and fellow book-lover who inspired me to start the 52/52 challenge a few years ago. We finally hung out, in Atlanta in August, and spent hours talking about books we read! A dream. And big thanks to my perpetually grumpy-yet-weirdly-generous spouse, Matty, who made this post’s dynamic charts in Python this year, a first for him. The code behind this is available, so you can do this with YOUR reading data. too.
*This is a perk of being an NPR journalist/host. Free, new books get mailed to you all the time by publicists.
A commenter on my recent book post asked about children’s books and surprise, I read a lot of them. It’s a crucial part of the girls’ bedtime routine, and Isa, my second daughter, always wants more stories than reasonable. I wind up spacing out while reading because at some point I go into the zone of thinking, JUST GO TO SLEEP, CHILDREN, SO I CAN GO OUT AND EAT SECOND DINNER.
That said, quality children’s literature is so delightful. Here are few of my favorites to read with the girls:
A Squash and a Squeeze, Monkey Puzzle, Room for a Broom, all by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This author and illustrator combo are best known for The Gruffalo, a modern classic. Julia Donaldson’s rhymes are brilliant and the hidden lessons in these books tug at my heart. The first time I read Squash, which is an allegory about abundance, I teared up a little bit. I love Monkey Puzzle because it’s a quest to find the small monkey’s mom and at the end there’s a happy reunion. We always really over-dramatize the end and do big hugs once the monkey dad takes the monkey child home to mom. And Room on a Broom is just an awesome story with an adorable dragon at the end. Also they made it into a perfect half-hour length film to show your kids if you need to distract them for 30 minutes.
Triangle, by Mac Bennett and Jon Claussen
Triangle is the first in an the immensely popular series that’s followed by Square, also by this duo. I like the relationship between Triangle and Square, as well as the subversiveness of their behavior.
The Knuffle Bunny Trilogy, by Mo Willems
Each of the Knuffle Bunny stories builds on the previous one. The main character, Trixie, grows from blathering baby to an elementary-aged child. Together, they comprise a love letter from father to daughter, and the last one, while the longest, also feels most close to our family, as Trixie goes to visit her Oma and Opa in Amsterdam, which is also where the girls’ own Oma and Opa called home for five years.
Lucia the Luchadora, Cynthia Leonor Garza and Alyssa Bermudez
In the Lucia books, heteronormative notions about who can be a luchador are subverted and Lucia and her sister Gemma are such little firecrackers that the girls can’t get enough of these stories. They also utilize a lot of onomatopoeia, which the kids get into.
Poppy Pickle, by Emma Yarlett
I got this from one of the free book shelves we have at work, which are the overflow copies of the stacks and stacks of books sent to us by publishers. It’s a fun tale about a girl with an outsized imagination. You can read it the fast way by skipping all the things she thinks up, or the slow way by identifying all of them.
Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman
A lovely board book by the great author. So good to read aloud because of all the AAAAAAHHHCHOOOOOOS!
The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak
It’s true, there are no pictures are in this book. It doesn’t need them. The girls love it so much they memorized it.
I read all Peppa Pig books in a British accent.
Anything by Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss are easy wins at our house.
When I am in airport book shops I always pick up a book that’s location specific, so we have a ton of board books like, “Good Night St. Louis” or “San Francisco Baby.” They are hit-or-miss in terms of quality.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales was among my favorite children’s books as a child. I was so excited to read to the girls my original copy (which I kept in pristine condition because I was a very organized small person). But they were not impressed and did not think it was half as funny as I did. Bummer.
I love that children always, always notice more little things in the illustrations than you will. Eva was tracking a tiny snail that was hidden on every single page of one story one time and I didn’t realize it was even there until one time I turned the page too quickly and she freaked out because she hadn’t located the snail yet.
I also love how they bring the stories to life with their imaginations — the questions I get about the reading material remind you how constrained and boring adult frameworks for thinking can get.
What are YOUR favorites to read to children? Please share, as I am always trying to find new stories that won’t have me spacing out. 🙂
I committed to reading more books instead of periodicals in the haze following the 2016 election. It began as escapism and now, a couple years into it, I think it’s actually helped me grow as a thinker/feeler/human stumbling through life. As Matt Haig wrote, “The process of finding my best self was an endless quest. And books themselves seemed to reflect this idea.”
This year, I liked most everything I read, which included a heavy dose of contemporary fiction and more science fiction tales and genre romance than before. I continued to select non-white and/or non-male authors, which paid off. My book club kept things in balance with random nonfiction picks, like the Patagonia founder’s business book-slash-memoir, which really affected the way I think about consumption. Now I buy so much less crap!
I also got back to reading classics from giants — Philip Roth, James Baldwin, Joan Didion. I had to read them in school but appreciate them much more as a grown-up.
Here’s how this year’s book reading breaks down:
This year’s timeline shows I pretty evenly distributed my reading, though there was a big gap in which I read no non-fiction. Last year’s timeline was more interesting because I had a baby and that affected things.
I am deliberate in choosing more fiction than non-fiction, generally.
To chart “pages by month,” we used the page sum of all books finished in a month. (I don’t have a count of daily pages I’ve read, so this should really be called “Total-number-of-pages-in-a-book-by-month-finished.”) Note that June was when the Trump-Kim Singapore summit happened and my life was held together by duct tape and gum. It shows in the leisure reading completion.
These subgenres are sort of arbitrary, they are just what the Goodreads crowd classifies the books as, following the fiction or non-fiction categorization.
On Choosing Books
I still continually quiz people for recommendations but settled on a few people I really trust for recs, based on what they recommended before, or what they themselves have written. For example, last year I liked Sally Rooney’s book Conversations with Friendsso much that when she wrote a positive review of An American Marriage, I made it a priority. Ditto the author Celeste Ng, who alerted me to Rich and Pretty.
I also trust Japan analyst Tobias Harris, who reads prolifically about subjects besides Japan. When he was in Seoul earlier this year, I asked him to tell me the best new books of 2017 he read and he chose Exit West and Pachinko, which became two of the best books I read in 2018.
1 Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
2 Too Much and Not the Mood, Durga Chew Bose
3 Deception, Philip Roth
4 Chemistry, Weike Wang
5 Outline, Rachel Cusk
6 Sex Object, Jessica Valenti
7 The Boat, Nam Le
8 Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
9 Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
10 Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari
11 Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery
12 Sam the Cat, Matthew Klam
13 Goodbye Vitamin, Rachel Khoung
14 Hunger, Roxane Gay
15 Emergency Contact, Mary H.K. Choi
16 Fire Sermon, Jamie Quatro
17 The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer
18 The Paper Menagerie (And Other Stories), Ken Liu
19 You Think It, I’ll Say It, Curtis Sittenfeld
20 The Man of My Dreams, Curtis Sittenfeld
21 Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
22 How To Write An Autobiographical Novel, Alexander Chee
23 Tin Man, Sarah Winman
24 Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed
25 Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chouinard
26 An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
27 My Last Love Story, Falguni Kothari
28 Pachinko, Min Jun Lee
29 Three Body Problem, Cixin Lou
30 Exit West, Moshin Hamid
31 How to Fix A Broken Heart, Guy Winch
32 How Toddlers Thrive, Tovah Klein
33 The Internet of Garbage, Sarah Jeong
34 The Hike, Drew Magary
35 Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan
36 Rich and Pretty, Rumaan Alam
37 Love Poems (for Married People), John Kenney
38 The Proposal, Jasmine Guillory
39 I Want To Show You More, Jamie Quattro
40 Forget Having It All, Amy Westervelt
41 The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly
42 Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday
43 Farsighted, Steve Johnson
44 Norwegian Wood, Haruki Marukami
45 Severance, Ling Ma
46 Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin
47 The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
48 The Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante
49 On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong
50 New People, Danzy Senna
51 Us vs Them, Ian Bremmer
52 The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang
53 Crudo, A Novel, Olivia Laing
54 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari
“This is such a nerdy post I do,” I said. “You don’t actually DO any of it,” spouse Stiles clapped back, since he does all the data clean-up/analysis/visualizing for me. (Thanks, dude.)
It turns out we can read 200 books a year in the amount of time we spend on social media, but this would require me ending my Twitter addiction and I have given up enough vices in my life, thank you very much.
I suppose it was fortuitous that the year I decided to read 52 books was also a year the news was an epic dumpster fire. I needed the escape from reading news alerts.
But reading MORE than I already do was tricky, when a huge chunk of my job is simply reading, writing, and then reading out loud. But Friend Nicole Zhu, who inspired me to do this challenge, made a convincing case:
“Even for people who already read 109312 tweets and articles every day, reading books builds a different set of habits and has its own set of rewards. You learn so much more without the distraction of notifications or the temptation to Pocket or bookmark something to read later.”
Hated: Hausfrau. I HAAAAAATED this book. So annoying that it indirectly made me annoyed with Switzerland.
Breakdown of What I Read:
Before my data journalist spouse Stiles would dataviz my reading for me, he asked me to list some hypotheses that the visualizations would either prove or disprove.
My hypotheses: I read a lot of women authors, mostly fiction, many memoirs and I feel like I read a lot more in the first months of the year than the final months. Here’s what the data show…
Damn, I was surprised to see how many books I polished off before or in the same month Baby Luna was born. Being unable to drink and not staying out late in the lead up to Luna really gave me a lot of extra reading time. After I got back to my usual shenanigans, my book reading really slowed down.
How I Read ‘Em
I read the same way I work, which is in intervals. (Sometimes I will work my ass off for a week and never sleep and party every night and then fly home, lose my voice, become practically catatonic and move no farther than to the fridge and back.) So when I read books I’ll often read in bursts of intensity, devouring a few in a few days and then take a month to finish the next one.
I watched a lot less television (but managed to make time for Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies and am glad for it).
I read in transit and in “in between” moments. I read on planes a lot. I read at bus stops and on the bus. In the back of cabs. In waiting rooms, restaurants while waiting on friends, at home as procrastination from work.
I switched my habit of reading periodicals before bed (namely, New York Magazine from back to front because the Approval Matrix is on the back page) to reading books before bed, instead.
Will try to read a lot this year but I don’t anticipate fitting in 52. Leave a comment here (or elsewhere) if you have recommendations!
Last year my key resolution was to read 52 books before 2017 was out and by golly, I did it. So I’m gonna get ambitious and write down a LIST of resolutions this time. Let’s check back on these at the end of the year:
Hire a financial planner
I’ve had an accountant for a few years (hi Richard!) but no financial planner, because even though I am 35-years old and a slumlord two times over, I still have my bestie Sudeep hop into my TD Ameritrade account every once in awhile and just make sure my money is still there. He and my accountant both agree this is not a grown-up way to handle finances.
Start a book club on Slack so we don’t have to meet in real life
It’s not that I have a huge issue with the real-life book clubs of which I’ve been a part, it’s that I don’t like any structured socializing, including meetup groups, Bible studies, mommy yoga, etc. So, I want to start a Slack for my cleverest, book-loving friends to tackle a different book every month and have a running Slack conversation about it. And if you don’t read that month’s book, whatever, it’s your loss. The rest of us will be snarking on Slack about it. Hit me up if you want to do this.
Stop drinking as much flavored tea and drink more water
I don’t know that this will happen because spending $4 on a sweetened green ice tea at Starbucks almost every day is the kind of time, money and energy waste that has been written into my routine since I was 16 years old. But whatever, this is my intention list and I’m leaving this in.
Get an accurate bra measurement
I have fears that my boobs are going the way of my great-grandmother’s after she breastfed seven, SEVEN children. I realize bra technology can’t really solve for this, but either way it’s good for every woman to know what bra size she actually wears.
Write handwritten letters and cards to people for no reason
This is a perennial resolution. Last year I did a twist on it, which was “send rando packages.” It was all working out well until the unfortunate melted wax that Friend Harper received, so I’m going back to letters and cards.
Blog at least five times a month
This is my version of the clichéd “write an hour a day” resolution because there’s no way that I DON’T write an hour a day as a function of my job. But I have been trying to get back to non-work blogging as a discipline, and to have the written record of the absurdity or outrage or gratitude of the moment.
See more movies at the theatre
This is one of my favorite things to do, period, especially at Alamo Drafthouse. But in South Korea I have barely gone to the movies and I’m lesser for it. Please note this is a resolution that I’m gonna be better at keeping after we repatriate.
Keep my credit card balance at zero
Spend more time in Texas
Wean Baby Luna from nursing
Have no more children
Year End Update, December 2018
Hire a financial planner
Failed: I actually started working with a guy named Bob to try and do a tax deferral thing from selling my Austin house and to get my money in order but never followed through, so, fail.
Start a book club on Slack
Failed: Took steps to start this and strangers even wrote me saying they wanted to do it but I had too much going on in the early months of this year (mainly with the Olympics and North Korea) and never got it off the ground. Now I just joined a new “Asian Americans read Asian Americans” book club in LA that has yet to meet (but we have chosen ONE book) so I think I’m giving up on this.
Drink Less Flavored Tea and More Water
Marginal, as Trump would say
Get Accurate Bra Measurement
Success: Squeezed this in before the end of the year when I realized it was a resolution!
Write handwritten cards and letters for no reason
Partially fulfilled: This is a consistent hit or miss, but a perennial resolution. Last year I gave up writing people and replaced it with the “send rando packages” thing, but now that I’m back in America it’s much less hassle to mail things to Americans. Sent Christmas cards, but that’s not for “no reason.” I have no excuses!
Blog at least five times a month
Partially fulfilled. The months I made it to five: January, March, April, December
Other intentions of 2018: Keep my credit card balance at zero, spend more time in Texas, wean Baby Luna from nursing, have no more children. ALL ACCOMPLISHED!