February 2018: Reviews and Faves

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. This month has been packed with weekend plans (Tahoe, Vegas, family visiting etc.). Despite being an extrovert and deriving energy from people, I’m realizing how important it is to have lazy weekends where I can relax and just be lazy.

I want to be lazy like Gudetama.


While browsing through SFMoMA’s book store, I saw these books next to one another. I always see these books and decided to place a hold at the SF Public Library so I could finally read them.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (4/5)

A short and inspiring book about what it takes to be a creative. Steal like an Artist reminds you that it’s okay to be not produce original work and to be influenced by other work around you. My favorite chapters include “Use Your Hands” and “Creativity is Subtraction.” In a nutshell, “Use Your Hands” encourages people to get off digital screens and simply make things. “Creativity is Subtraction” explains how some constraints can actually be a good thing for your artwork!

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (4.5/5)

Written by the same author as Steal like an Artist, this book explains why it’s so important and crucial for you to share your work. As an (aspiring) artist, this is the hardest part for me so this book’s message resonated with me. Kleon describes a morning ritual where one reads an obituaries (a little morbid I know) to think deeply about who you want to be and what you want to be remembered for. He stresses the importance of finding your story and sharing it with the world.

Read This if You Want to Be Instagram Famous by Henry Carroll (3/5)

Don’t judge me or this book by its title. Henry Carroll is the author of several other books like Read This if You Want to Take Great Photos. This book features several Instagram famous accounts and a short blurb of advice from what filters to use to why you should get an agent. I’m hoping to improve my photo-taking skills and this book is a good primer for what it takes to be successful on social media platforms like Instagram.


When life is moving too quickly and you’re having a quarter-life crisis

It seems like everyone is worried about what they haven’t achieved yet. I recommend this article “To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind” by Jamie Varon. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take a break and to simply *be.*

“Let’s just say that whatever you want, you want it enough. So much so that you’re making yourself miserable in order to achieve it. What about chilling out? Maybe your motivation isn’t the problem, but that you keep pushing a boulder up a mountain that only grows in size the more you push.”

When you’re wondering if it’s too late to do X
On the other hand, if you’re worried about it being too late to learn how to paint/speak another language/learn a new skill, this short article by Seth Godin (Born to paint?) is a gentle reminder that you can do anything.

“It’s not too late for you to be a genius. It comes at a price, but it’s not based on your DNA.”

When you’re drinking the startup/tech koolaid
If you work long hours at a startup with all the cool perks but find yourself sitting at home unhappy, Does the Breakdown of the American Marriage Signal Something More Sinister “ by Emma Lindsay is the article for you. Thanks Isaac J. Kim for sending this to me.

“Slavery is Freedom. Money is Virtue. Suffering is Joy.

That last one came up because, not only was I expected to put in 70 hour weeks at the office, I was expected to enjoy it.”

When you’re worried about being your own person
I’ll admit, when I read the title of this article (For a Better Marriage, Act Like a Single Person” by Stephanie Coontz) I thought the author was suggesting open relationships being the key to marriage. However, the article describes the link between social integration and well-being. (Thanks Breanna Hughes for sharing this article on Valentine’s Day.)

“But finding the right mate is no substitute for having friends and other interests. Indeed, people who are successful as singles are especially likely to end up in happy marriages, in large part because of the personal and social resources they developed before marrying.”

When you want to just want to laugh at society
Sometimes you love technology and sometimes you hate it. If you haven’t heard about “The Shed” and its crazy story, I highly recommend reading and watching the videos on Vice (“I Made My Shed the Top-Rated Restaurant on TripAdvisor”). Next time you’re looking for the best restaurant in town, remember to read review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor with a grain of salt.


Portia’s birthday present to Ellen
Do you want to ugly cry while at work? Then definitely watch this video of Portia giving Ellen the most wonderful gift. My favorite part is when Ellen looks at Portia as she’s walking out (about 10 seconds in). Brb crying. *so pure*

Black Panther
Honestly, who hasn’t seen Black Panther?! I was listening to a podcast that accurately described how I felt leaving the theatre — it was as if I was vibrating from the energy. What I loved is how the hero and antagonist both had stories that made you empathize with them. Also Michael B. Jordan. *SWOON*

Captain America: Civil War
I’m not here for everyone’s judgment but I actually didn’t watch Civil War before watching Black Panther (there are SO many Marvel movies and shows). It was a wonderful movie and I know I’m late here, but the storyline was great.

Joe Lycett vs. Nick Helm— Roast Battle
I’m crying. I laughed so hard. Please watch this video.

Advice from Will Smith
Similar to the article “For a Better Marriage, Act Like a Single Person” by Stephanie Coontz (see above), Will Smith talks about how we are each individually responsible for our own happiness, and how we cannot expect our partner to be the source of happiness.

Papers, Please
A short documentary based on the game “Papers, please.” Your POV is an immigration officer during a fictional eastern European war and you need to decide whether people can cross the border.

David Letterman’s Interview with George Clooney
Letterman interviews Clooney and they shoot the shit. I enjoyed hearing about Clooney’s humanitarian efforts and was surprised to hear them both talk about how they regret not having kids earlier.

Olympics — Women’s Hockey Canada vs. USA
Heartbreaking loss for Canada. 😭


Some catchy pop songs including “Wait” by Maroon 5 and “What Ifs” by Kane Brown. Please suggest songs for me. I really need to venture out of Top 40.

Donald Glover Can’t Save You
You can also read this article. It’s a fascinating deep dive into the mind of Donald Glover. I really respect Glover and his ability to master any craft — singing, acting, directing, producing, rapping etc.

Is there anything you’re bad at? “To be honest, no. Probably just people. People don’t like to be studied, or bested.” He shrugged. “I’m fine with it. I don’t really like people that much. People accept me now because I have power, but they still think, Oh, he thinks he’s the golden flower of the black community, thinks he’s so different.” He laughed. “But I am, though! I feel like Jesus. I do feel chosen. My struggle is to use my humanity to create a classic work — but I don’t know if humanity is worth it, or if we’re going to make it. I don’t know if there’s much time left.”


CreativeMornings/SF Talk by Christina Amini
Christina is an incredible speaker and creator. She spoke about the importance of creating projects you care about with people that you love working with. She was vulnerable and shared her story about losing her close friend Susan. I sobbed through most of her talk.

A recording of her talk will be available soon so you can experience her energy yourself.

“Projects connect people in ways you’ve never imagined. Authentic relationships lead to awesome projects which lead to authentic relationships.”


Sketchbook Slam Challenge
The challenge: fill a 600-page sketchbook in 30 Days. As you might imagine, it’s incredibly difficult. I am 60+ pages behind and I’m trying not to stress. The purpose of the challenge is to create quickly and create everyday. I’m 10 days into the challenge and I’m proud of myself for drawing every 👏 single 👏 day. Follow me at artwithv.

Win Bigly by Scott Adams
I’m listening to the audiobook narrated by Scott Adams himself. A fascinating analysis about how Donald Trump won the presidency and a practical explanation of persuasion.

The Blondes by Emily Shultz
A woman from Toronto moves to New York to study and has an affair with her professor, winding up pregnant. At the same time, a mysterious disease occurs and seems to only affect blonde women, causing them to be erratic and harm others. So far, it’s been pretty entertaining and it was a pleasant surprise to understand all the Canadian references.

Birds, Art, Life by Kyo Maclear
Another author from Toronto. Kyo’s life is moving too fast — she’s taking care of her ill father, being a mother, and creatively blocked as a writer. She decides to take up bird watching with a musician she meets. I have a feeling I’m going to love this book. It describes life in such a beautiful way.


If you’re only going to read/listen/watch 5 things I mentioned above, I recommend:

  1. To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind
  2. Does the Breakdown of the American Marriage Signal Something More Sinister
  3. Black Panther
  4. CreativeMornings/SF talk by Christina Amini (I’ll update this once her video is up)
  5. Joe Lycett vs. Nick Helm Roast Battle


Thanks for sticking around if you’ve read this far. What are your recommendations for what I should read, watch, or listen to next?

Product Manager during the day. Artist all day. Advocate for reading fiction and meditating. Ask me about why you should love BTS.