Book Review

Readgasm: We Should All be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

adichie we should all be feminists

This short book adapted from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk We Should All be Feminists is a wonderful expansion on her thoughts about growing up in Nigeria and her experiences there as a woman and as a feminist. She talks about the sexism she’s seen and asks important questions about how we can begin to move past the gender rules that have held us back in order. The questions she ask seek to lift up both women and men through equality. Continue Reading…

Lifestyle, Travel

Don’t Let Fear and What Ifs Stop You

My cousin gave me a Giving Keys necklace for Christmas last year. It’s a beautiful key with the word ‘fearless’ stamped into it. I loved it immediately, and I’ve worn it a lot over the past several months. Not because I identify with it, but because I’m a damn scaredy cat. People don’t believe me when I say this because I just moved to France to do my Master’s degree; because I’ve spent three months doing an internship in China; because I quit my job in DC with no savings and the hope I could learn to be a decent barista. But it’s true: I’m scared all the damn time. Continue Reading…

Book Review

Readgasm: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is the perfect book for cozy fall reading

I think this is where I admit that I had never read Pride and Prejudice before last month.  I had seen the movie adaptations (the one with Kiera Knightly, namely) but never actually read the book. For years I’ve avoided it because I thought it would be chick lit like, which I don’t enjoy–marriage plots tend to bore me. (There’s so much more to life!) But I finally picked it up because one of my classes is focused on comparing the original book with the film adaptations and I needed to familiarize myself with the content. Continue Reading…

Healing, How To

How to Recover When Your Past Makes Itself Present

A strange thing happened a few months ago, just before I left for France. Someone I hadn’t talked to in years texted me out of the blue, wanting to meet up. I was shocked and confused. The decline of our nearly decade-long friendship had taken a slow, agonizing year and yet the actual break happened so suddenly that a lot remained unresolved and unacknowledged. I suppose I thought we’d eventually work it out. Continue Reading…

Throwback, Travel

Throwback: Hiking Hero’s Peak, or The Magic of Seeing The Great Wall Alone

Every once in a while, I’ll be bringing back an old post from a previous site. This was originally published in July 2011. 

Recently, I left my apartment in Beijing at about 11 am to pick up my ticket to Badaling, the closest train station to one of the Great Wall entrances (the closest to Beijing and therefore one of the most touristy). Since I had some extra time to kill, I had some lunch with my friend Rachel (best noodles ever, picked up from a little roadside stand for less than a dollar for two bowls) before getting on the 2 pm train. I should add here that I did the whole trip alone, and that I’m very glad I did.

Continue Reading…

Book Review

Readgasm: Die Empty, Todd Henry

I picked up Die Empty expecting a lot out of it. Many of my creative friends swore by what Todd Henry had written, calling the book anything from inspirational to perspective-altering to downright life-changing. I started reading the book over a year ago, and frankly couldn’t get into it. It took me months to finish it. Maybe it was precisely because everyone was in such raptures about it. Regardless of why, I struggled through it.  Continue Reading…


Weekly Distractions, vol. 9

paris skies as i write this

This week has been a bit of a mess, truth be told. I haven’t done as much studying as I should have, and spent more money than I meant to. But today (and next week) is a chance to try again. I’m thankful for that.

In the moments I’ve been home and doing something other than watching Elementary, here’s what’s been distracting me:  Continue Reading…


Turning the Tables: How do you beat procrastination?

the view from the courtyard at ENS

I’m turning the tables a bit today and using this space to ask you all for a bit of advice about procrastination. I know, we all do it sometimes. It’s awful. I, for instance, have this awful habit of waiting until a sense of urgency sets in about a project–whether it’s research that needs to be done, an essay that needs to be written, errands that need to be run. Since high school I’ve had trouble working on anything before I was down to the wire. No food in fridge except one cup of yogurt? Well, maybe I can eat that and go to the grocery store tomorrow… This procrastination is why I still don’t have a French phone number. I’ve lived here for three monthsContinue Reading…


Solo-Travel versus Group Travel

“I get to Paris on Friday. See you then!”

I’ve done a lot of solo-travel the last few years. I road-tripped around the northeast US alone in my Jeep. I spent a month in Marseille and two months in Paris. I went to Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels. Traveling alone gave me so much freedom–I could sleep when I wanted to, write when I wanted to, while away as many hours at the museum as I wanted to. I never had to worry about what anyone else wanted to do on my trip; I could be selfish with my time.  Continue Reading…