July 12, 2020

a shadow appears on a wall of the author waving at the camera in the sunlight
a shadow appears on a wall of the author waving at the camera in the sunlight

I don’t usually write to pass the time, but today, I’ll try something different. The sunlight this afternoon is too beautiful to ignore.

The way the light hits on late summer afternoons is truly something special. It’s one of my favorite things about our little home away from home.

In the summer, there’s so much warmth in the light — all of the richness that was buried by winter comes roaring back to its full glory for a few months before retreating back into hiding. …

A year of growth and discovery in Asian American identity

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Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

It’s been about one year since I started exploring my identity as an Asian American, and shared this post about my experience at the time. With May being Asian Pacific Heritage Month and the climate of current events, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this part of my identity means again. Here’s what’s on my mind now.

Product designer. Hawaii-grown. Not a foodie, just always hungry. Trance & deep house enthusiast. She/her. Asian American.

In February, I painstakingly crafted this new bio to use for my social media accounts. …

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It’s hard to believe I’ve been a “professional” designer for five years now, if I can even call it that! I’ve worked at three different companies, went through a few promotions, managed a team, and even moved across the country. I’ve grown immensely — both personally and professionally — and have learned so much about myself in the the process of it all.

Despite all the action that’s unfolded throughout my career, one thing has remained the same: I’m still designing experiences to market and sell products to customers. I’ve worked on countless campaigns, branding systems, emails, landing pages, banners…

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Photo by Jessica Da Rosa on Unsplash

When I started my career as a designer, I never imagined spending so little time designing and so much time talking. As a soft-spoken Asian American, design called to me because it seemed like you can plug in and just create.

Boy, was I wrong! Presenting work is one of the most important skills I’ve had to hone over my career, and I anticipate it won’t get any less important. Just as you’d continue to learn about design tools and processes, designers need to constantly develop public speaking skills.

On a personal level, presentations are especially tough because I’m a…

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

An integrative approach to Design and SEO

In the early days of the web, design and SEO weren’t really friends — websites with good SEO often had really “bad” design, and websites with “good” design often weren’t great for SEO. During that era, there was some crazy stuff going on involving stuffing content, really bad navigation, and just plain ol’ dated design.

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

At first glance, pretty much anyone would recognize that I’m Asian. I carry the telltale signs — dark hair, fair skin, squinty eyes, high cheekbones. But for the most part, people don’t dig any deeper than that. They don’t know that I’m actually mixed Asian descent — my mom being of Japanese descent, and my dad being of Chinese descent. But on both sides, we have deep roots in Hawaii. It’s complicated.

I believe that I’m the fourth or fifth generation on both of my parents’ sides to be raised in Hawaii. Although we carry all the physical traits of…

I’ve generally avoiding posting or talking about race publicly because it makes me uncomfortable in a lot of ways. I’m afraid that I might say the wrong thing, or that my thoughts aren’t really that valuable or relevant enough to put out into the world. But with everything happening nowadays, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about who I am and what that means, and I’m finally stepping up to talk about it. This is my personal experience and represents my unsolicited thoughts and feelings, and is that alone.

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Photo by Kevin Jesus Horacio on Unsplash

An Identity Crisis

For a long time, I never thought much about my…

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Usually, my visits home are a gentle reminder to step back and remember the humble roots that ground me. I always leave home remembering that the tech world I live and work in is indeed a bubble, and that there are much more important things that deserve my love and attention than the silly things that are happening at work. Things at home move slower, and it’s the one place I can always go back to knowing it won’t change.

My trip home in September was different. …

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The most moving musical experience I’ve ever had — ABGT 250 with Above & Beyond at The Gorge.

…would be a life without soul.

I grew up as un-musical as you possibly could be — my musical career consists of only one year of piano lessons, which I ended up having to quit when I moved away for high school. Whether it was by choice or chance, I never really developed my own musical identity while I was growing up. The music I knew was only whatever my parents listened to on the radio, which most of the time, was just Delilah’s syndicated radio show.

I got my first CD player when I was in middle school after many months of pleading with my…

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Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

A few months ago, I left my job and have been taking a little bit of time to figure out what I want to do next. I had the opportunity to relocate across the country, and have spent some time exploring, learning, and taking a breather from the corporate world.

There are parts of being “fun”employed that I really enjoy — waking up whenever I want, being able to explore the new city I’m living in — basically doing the things that I choose to do. …

Amanda Chong

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