January 2018: Reviews and Faves

Wayne Thiebaud — San Francisco West Side Ridge

Happy 2018 everyone! Is it just me or did January go by really fast?!

I’m excited to continue my “Reviews and Faves” series and am so grateful for everyone who takes the time to read these posts. Last year, these posts were a brain dump of everything I had read, watched, and listened to. This year, I want to improve the quality by (1) including in-depth reviews of what I’ve been enjoying rather than a simple highlight and (2) including an actual “Faves” section where you can read the highlights.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been enjoying in 2018 so far.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (5/5)

My dear friend Arpan suggested this book to me years ago and I finally borrowed it from the library. For some reason, I thought this was a fiction story similar to Howl’s Moving Castle. However, The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of Walls’ intense, adventurous, and at times, unbelievable life. Her father was an alcoholic who had a bit of a temper but was a big dreamer. Her mother was a free-spirited artist who prioritized her art over her children. Her writing is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking. Bring tissues as you join Walls’ for a walk down memory lane and notice yourself crying from tears of happiness and sadness all at the same time.

Artistic San Francisco by James A. Ganz (3/5)

After living in San Francisco for a little over two years, I’m embarrassed to admit how little I know about San Francisco’s art scene. One of my goals this year is to learn about San Francisco’s art history and to integrate myself into the local art community. The city is so vibrant and has undergone so much transformation. Artistic San Francisco is published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. I recognized one of the paintings by Wayne Thiebaud and am excited to take a deeper look into his work.

The female price of male pleasure” by Lili Loofbourow (4/5)

Like many women, I felt divided about the Aziz Ansari scandal. I flipped from being angry at Aziz to shaming “Grace.” But the worst part was that “Grace’s” experience felt all too familiar.

PubMed has almost five times as many clinical trials on male sexual pleasure as it has on female sexual pain. And why? Because we live in a culture that sees female pain as normal and male pleasure as a right.”

The Skincare Con” by Krithika Varagur (4.5/5)

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with skincare routines so reading this article made me pause and reflect. It reminds me of the time when I fantasized about getting diamonds only to read about De Beers and the corrupt diamond industry.

“Before you start a militant skincare regimen, it’s instructive to think about why you want one and why it seems like an intrinsic good.”

Varagur is right. It’s important to really question why you want something. Let’s not limit the topic to clear skin but expand it to include buying clothes, owning a house, or having children?

“And most skincare is really just a waste of money. The invisible investments are of a kind with today’s boring rich. Rich people used to build castles and museums; today they buy clunky smartwatches and personalized vitamins. Those with disposable income would, before we all lost our minds, buy books or art or beautiful shoes or literally anything that gives more pleasure than another useless exfoliant.”

The last part of this quote made me chuckle.


Serial Podcast — Sarah Koenig (5/5)

Yes, I was living under a rock for the past few years. Everyone is obsessed with the Serial podcast and rightly so. I listened to two seasons within 5 days. The storytelling is 5/5 and as a sales person who pays close attention to how one articulates, I really loved Koenig’s narration.

“Skyline” by FKJ (4/5)

Uber drivers usually have awesome music taste and I am #blessed that my Uber driver introduced me to FKJ. I feel like this is the perfect song to listen to on a summer day. (I also feel like the intro of this song sounds like Hoody’s “Like You” — anyone else?!)

Filthy” by Justin Timberlake (4/5)

Oh JT. Your music always makes me dance. Note: The first time I watched this music video was when I had to find the link for this blog post. The video is definitely interesting…


My My My!” by Troye Sivan (4/5)

Troye Sivan has grown into this confident young man and I 👏 am 👏 here 👏 for 👏 it. This music video makes me dance. Also the sexual vibes are strong. DAMN. (Thank you Simon Mills for sending me this.)

Jay-Z Opens Up About Constantly CHEATING On Beyonce & Much More! (4/5)

You’re probably thinking what I was thinking when I read the title of this video…a clickbait video?! However, I was surprised to find a 35 minute interview between Jay-Z and Dean Baquet. He discusses racism, his relationship with Kanye, and what it’s like being a creator.

How to Create More and Consume Less (More Productivity, Less Potato) 🥔” (5/5)

If I ever start a Youtube channel, I want to emulate Rowena Tsai. Her videos are inspiring, she’s really fun/quirky, and the topics are relatable. I found this topic to really resonate with me, especially as we enter the new year.


Day One 2.0 (5/5)

I’ve been using this app for years and it’s hands down the best journaling app. It’s available on both OS and iOS, which I love because I can add photos from my phone but continue my entry on my Macbook. It also has a feature similar to Facebook’s “On This Day” where it’ll show you entries you wrote on the same day from years ago.

(Full disclosure: I purchased Day One years ago and was offered grandfather pricing of $49.99 for Day One 2.0 lifetime access. As a new user, I believe it costs $9.99 per month.)

Waterlogged (5/5)

Easy and simple to use app to help me track how much water I’m drinking each day. I like how the home page shows your goal and it‘s only 2 taps to add your progress.


Dialogue’s video about Aziz Ansari and the discussion about consent, harassment, and powerful men

As mentioned above, I’ve had a hard time navigating the Aziz Ansari scandal. This video perfectly articulated my confusing feelings.

“It almost feels like a betrayal to have a good, woke guy like Aziz turn out to be predatory. What really confused all of us was that, this wasn’t a woman he worked with. Not someone he had professional power over. This wasn’t a situation where he used his power to keep her quiet. It wasn’t a non-consensual encounter. He didn’t woo her inappropriately. And it happened on a date, where both ppl mutually agreed to go back to his apartment together. It was two consenting adults who just didn’t seem to agree with where the sex was to start and where it was supposed to stop.”

I encourage you to watch the rest of the video as it offers some guidance about what questions we should be asking.

The Power of Morning Routine | Facebook Depression” — Jim Kwik

“A lot of people give away their sovereignty and their power first thing in the morning.”

Jim Kwik talks about how people give up their power in the morning by checking their phone. I agree that your morning and evening routines are parts of your day that you should protect. Now, I don’t think you need to run 5 miles, read a book, and paint a photo before 5am in the morning, but morning routines set the tone for the rest of your day.


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

  1. The Glass Castle
  2. The Skincare Con
  3. Serial Podcast
  4. My My My! — Troye Sivan’s music video
  5. Waterlogged app


February will be a busy month! I’ll be going skiing in Tahoe, partying in Vegas for Shan’s 25th’s birthday, celebrating Chinese New Year, and my family will be visiting San Francisco.

  1. Art Blog — I’m excited to launch my art-focused blog by February 12th!

2. www.victorialimary.com — Hoping to relaunch my personal blog by end of February (you can still find my old blog posts here).

Literally called “Very Big Sketchbook”!

3. 600 Page Sketchbook Challenge in 30 Days — There’s a challenge on Youtube where artists fill in a Very Big Sketchbook (aka 600 pages) in 30 days. That’s 20 pages of drawings every day. I’m hoping to start this at the end of February and carry it into March. I usually fail at 30 day challenges so if anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them!

4. Insanity Workouts + 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene — I started both these programs and was going strong for 10 days…I am excited to get into a workout routine again. Hope to have an in-depth review to include in the future.

I’d love to hear about what you’re working on and if there’s anything I can do to support! Let me know in the comments or send me a message! Thanks for reading. Here’s to a fantastic and fun February!

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