A Belated Year In Review – 2019

It’s been a minute.

I want to make writing and journaling a habit and not come back here just to do year end reflections, so maybe that’ll be a resolution for 2020.

2019 was a truly momentous year for me. It entailed a lot of major life events:

  1. I got engaged!
  2. I got a new job!
  3. I moved in with my fiance!
  4. We adopted a dog!
  5. We got legally married!

Phew! It seems like a even just thinking about it now. All happy milestones, albeit with new challenges presenting themselves from all directions. Getting engaged means months of painstaking wedding planning, a new job required hours or preparation for interviews (and discretely going to interviews while still at a full-time job), moving into a new place is just hard, period. And getting a dog is like getting a new family member (a baby that never grows up at that), so you can imagine how tough the first few weeks were with our beagle, Coco.

Some moments through the year…

January: I started off 2019 in Korea, after our vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Here’s a shot of a gloriously spicy Korean snack just days before my departure.

February: I got a new tattoo in early February. Here’s a shot from our Valentine’s day dinner at Ilili.

March: We took a trip to Morocco, which was one of the best trips I have ever been on so far. The bustling markets, amazing scenery of the Atlas mountains, and the seemingly infinite Sahara (plus the camel rides!) were absolutely surreal. See travelogue below:

We also made a stop in Madrid, which was my first time in Spain. We spent a lot of time walking around and catching late night dinners.

When I came back from this trip, I suffered from a major kidney stone attack. I showed up to work in the morning and felt a sudden sharp pain on my left side. I had experienced these pains on a milder level before, so at first I thought it was a cramp. BUT the pain became more and more acute to a point where I had to resort to taking short breaths alone in a bathroom stall with my shirt off from the cold sweats I was getting. I ended up excusing myself from work and running (actually slowly stumbling) over to the urgent care, where I was told that they saw traces of blood in my urine and that I had a kidney stone. The pain didn’t fade away for a while even after I got a pain reliever shot through my muscle (the IV painkiller didn’t work because I was too dehydrated for the doctor to locate my vein and administer the meds properly). From there I had to go through a long series of doctor’s visits and CT scans to make sure this wasn’t going to happen again. I’ve been told that the pain of labor is similar in intensity as a kidney stone… so I am terrified)

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Flipping through 2018

Happy new year!

I cannot believe that another year is over and gone. It seemed to stretch out forever, filled with adventures abroad and new hobbies. Now that I’m back in New York City and done unpacking, I thought it would be fun to look through the pictures I took in 2018 and reflect on the last year (instead of falling into an Instagram vortex like I often do).


Weird to be in New York and not Korea over new year’s.

Started my first real audit engagement.

Took a stab at learning how to play the ukulele, got hooked!

Went to Benihana’s for the first time.

Tried a trampoline workout (“TrampoLEAN”), surprisingly tiring.

Went to see Kinky Boots, listened to the official soundtrack for two weeks after.


A very lovely Valentine’s dinner at Naoki Takahashi. They let us choose our own shot glasses.

A ski trip to Hunter Mountain! Funny because we went back to Tannersville, which I had visited just the previous month. It was good opportunity to repurchase the candles that I loved.


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A Midwest Thanksgiving


Can you believe 2018 is coming to an end in less than two months? This year, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my sister at her home in South Bend, Indiana. But before lazying around in bed, we met up in Chicago to spend a night there. My trip to Chicago was a pretty spontaneous decision, swiftly executed by two sisters browsing plane tickets in the middle of the night.

I left Newark airport on early Wednesday morning. On the flight over to Chicago, I had a pretty serious anxiety attack, where I was sweating profusely and panicking from not being able to hear through my ringing ears and headaches. I stumbled over to the airplane bathroom where I was able to take a breather and recover a little bit, but that was the first time I had ever experienced something like that, and it was truly traumatic. I got off the plane and met my sister waiting for me – but not before getting a cup of coffee!

We took the subway from the O’Hare airport into the city, where we stopped to have some breakfast/brunch at Cochon Volant Brasserie. It’s located on the main floor of a hotel, and it had a homey atmosphere and coffee refills. My sister ordered eggs benedict, and I got a gruyere omelet. The prices were very reasonable, and we were able to sit down and catch up for a long time.

Keep the coffee refills coming!—–

Afterwards, we walked over to the Christkindlmarket (yes, what a mouthful in just one word!). It’s an outdoor market in the Chicago Loop that is, I guess, the equivalent of the holiday markets that open up in Bryant Park and Union Square every year in New York.


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Summer in Asia – Beijing & Seoul

What is a summer without at least one trip back to Asia? Living a 14-hour flight away from home, these long and tiring trips are nevertheless the highlight of my summers. Last year, I spent a long summer in Korea after graduation, with an amazing trip to Jeju Island. (A recap here:)


Unfortunately, I could only go back for a short two weeks (vacation days are limited when you’re not a student anymore…), but it was still great to see the family. My parents moved into a new apartment that they recently renovated themselves, so it was nice to see how they decorated the place.

Tidbits from my first few days in Korea – grocery shopping, grabbing a bite after a morning yoga class…

Also stopped by a Mr. Pizza to fulfill that junk food craving I only get in Korea.


I also went through the annual chop-off & balayage! I went back to the salon that I visited last year and got my hair colored by the stylist I met through Instagram. The hair studio has a lovely vintage aesthetic and their service is an A+.

I opted for a navy ash, to minimize brassiness as my hair starts to grow and fade.  I love having bright colors in my hair again!

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Saying Goodbye to 2017


Wow, it’s been a while since I last checked in here. The last few months of 2017 really flew by, and now that I’m working full time, winter break ends with the new year. Before work picks up again, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year and set some new year’s intentions for 2018.

Well, let’s start off with what I said back in January of 2017:

“I hope 2017 will be another year full of happiness, love, and good news. This year, I don’t want to make grand plans to become a new person. I just want to keep growing, but as me. I want to become someone who gives more love, shows more kindness, possesses more courage and confidence, tries new things without fear, and someone who stays busy striving to make each moment meaningful.”

I know, it’s basically impossible to sum up an entire year in a short paragraph, but I think I really tried to stay true to these words. By the end of this year, I got to experience a handful of new adventures and hit some major milestones in my life. I graduated from college and got a master’s degree, and although it’s still hard to believe, passed all of my CPA exams. I moved into a new apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. I spent my first full winter in New York. Although I was apprehensive about being away from my family for the holidays, my Christmas season in New York was rather filled with love and warm spirit.


But what really made this year meaningful are the relationships and connections that I made with the many great friends that I got to know better throughout the year. I led a small group for another fall semester in 2017 and got to bond with more fellow brothers and sisters throughout the season. I tried to expand and maintain my individual relationships with friends that I have made at different points in my life. Moving from place to place every since I was a little kid, I’ve developed and surrounded myself with a different group of friends each time.  As blessed as I feel to have known so many great friends, I’ve felt that it’s tragically easy to let them just drift away with time. In 2017, I tried to go beyond just texts and simple hellos to developing deeper friendships, and I hope to continue doing so in the new year.

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A Weekend Away in Chicago!

As you may know, my sister has visited me in New York quite a few times over the past four years. I, however, did not get a chance to visit her in the great midwest until this past weekend. She rode up to Chicago to pick me up, and the two of us met up with our dad, who was making a quick stop in Chicago during a business trip. After a great day in the city with food and fun, we made the trip to my sister’s school in Notre Dame… which turned out to be completely different from my campus (if you can call it one) in downtown Manhattan. Here’s a video of what my weekend was like!

Without further ado, Here’s a video of what my weekend was like!

7 Easy Ways to Make Money


Life in New York City isn’t all that glamorous for a broke twenty-something.

With Manhattan’s notorious monthly rent and the endless (albeit necessary) takeout coffee, the soaring cost of living can take a toll on your bank account. So today, I wanted to share some easy ways to save money and make some extra change – with very little effort!



1. Be smart with your credit cards.

If you have a credit card, chances are it offers some kind of a cash back deal on your purchases. So I prefer using my credit card for everyday purchases, to the extent that I can safely pay off the bill at the end of the month. Plus, sometimes companies offer special promotions on certain purchases. For example, my Chase credit card will offer extra cash back for drugstore purchases for one quarter, and on restaurant purchases the next quarter; you can stock up on household supplies at the drugstore, or offer to pay the check at a group dinner then have your friends pay you. Other credit cards offer special deals on travel – you can redeem your cash back points for more value when you use them to book a trip. Being savvy with your purchases can earn you extra cash back.


2. Earn money from online shopping.

In this day and age, most of us do a lot of shopping online, whether it be beauty products, shoes, or household supplies. Websites like Ebates and Honey track your online shopping trips and give you cash back. Honey will also scan the web for any coupon codes when you check out to make sure that you get the benefits of any discounts that are out there (especially useful if you’re a frequent shopper on Amazon). If you use Google Chrome, you can install extensions for these websites to receive notifications when cash back opportunities are available.

3. Take surveys.

In college, the research center at my school used to offer students a chance to take a survey or complete a study in exchange for a couple bucks. You can do the same thing, except it’ll be easier because it’s online! SurveySavvy lets you take surveys for compensation that ranges anywhere from a dollar to $20. InboxDollars also offers surveys for slightly lower incentives, but there are more surveys available. InboxDollars also offers a variety of ways to make some spare change – you can watch videos, answer trivia questions, or search the web to start earning. Speaking of searching the web…

4. Get paid for searching the web.

Along with InboxDollars, Qmee also pays you for your searches. They pull up links to websites or advertisements that you could click through to make anywhere from 5 to 8 cents per click. Cashing out is super easy since you can get paid instantly through PayPal.

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5. Join rewards programs.

If you have shops that you visit frequently, you might want to consider getting a membership card. Stores like Walgreens and Starbucks have rewards programs that offer discounts and free credit as you accumulate points. Downloading LevelUp apps for various restaurants around the city can save you a lot of money during lunch hour. These apps allow you to pay with your phone, and every time you spend a certain amount, you can unlock free credit! Most of them also offer free credit when you first download them. Here is a list of apps that I enjoy using around the city:

Fresh & Co ($3 credit on download)

Bluestone Lane ($5 credit on download)

Sweetgreen ($3 credit on download)

Glaze Teriyaki Grill ($5 credit on download)

By Chloe. ($3 credit on download)

CAVA ($3 credit on download)


6. Clean out your closet.

I realized during my recent move that I have a lot of clothes and accessories that I don’t wear anymore. There are many platforms online through which you can sell things that you don’t need. EBay is a common one, but if you want an easier way to access your shop, apps like Poshmark are pretty effective. For a small haircut on your sale, Poshmark guarantees payment and also covers shipping. You can interact with potential buyers, share your listings, and track your shipments all from the palm of your hand.

7. Get paid for unlocking your phone screen.

Selling old clothes isn’t the only thing you can do on your phone. S’more literally pays you to move your finger; that’s right, the app pays you to unlock the screen on your smartphone (Sorry iPhone users, this app is currently only available on Android). For each day you keep the lock screen on, the app gives you 10 points. These points can be redeemed for rewards like Google Play gift cards, Starbucks cards, and Amazon gift cards (which is basically cash). S’more also offers opportunities to take surveys or complete offers for extra points.

Hope you enjoyed this list – Happy saving! 🙂