In Malibu

The skies were not so blue the day I visited Malibu.


I giggle whenever I reminisce on my Malibu adventure. A newbie traveller, completely unaware that Malibu is its own city. Wait Malibu isn’t a beach along the LA coast? My mind was blown learning the ever so basic Greater Los Angeles area geography.

I was staying at a Santa Monica hotel and Malibu was a bucket-list destination for me. I assumed putting “Malibu” into my GPS would be a suffice method to get to the beach. I later found out there are multiple beaches in the city of Malibu. Yikes!

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Pre-Malibu picture. I’m devouring a Nutella cannoli from Carlo’s bakery. Damn, that pastry was so freakin’ delicious.

Malibu Pier

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After a 30 minute Uber ride (I literally thought Malibu was a 5 minute drive away), I found myself at the Malibu Pier. I wish I filmed my reaction. The whole pier, and I mean the WHOLE pier was filled with fog.

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Thinking this smog would eventually clear out, I decided to fill my bikini body with some Mexican food – A new obsession I developed while in California. Finding the nearest restaurant – it was literally across the street – I ordered my favourite Mexican dish… Quesadillas!

Feeling stuffer than ever and not giving a damn, I was ready to hit a nearby beach for some sunlight, sand, and to consume those Malibu vibes. Having little knowledge about the Malibu beaches, I basically played Russian roulette with a list of beaches. The winner, El Matador beach.

El Matador

The fog did not clear up. In fact, I’m pretty sure it got worse. I knew I would despise myself if I didn’t at least glance at the beach. So, I gained the confidence (even with my super full stomach) to rip off my outfit and strut down the beach in my cheetah print bikini. Body positivity, no matter what shape, size, colour or ability is everything to me. I wanted to capture a few pictures of myself near the rock formations. They were absolutely breathtaking.

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To reflect on my Malibu experience, yes the fog absolutely sucked. But, I wasn’t going to let something so insufficient to ruin my day. The skies weren’t blue, but the views were still as extraordinary as I anticipated. To be given the opportunity to travel to such a naturally beautiful destination was rewarding on its own. Fog, or no fog, I am grateful to have consumed such beauty in Malibu.

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2017 End Of The Year Goals

Most people wait until the new year to set their resolutions. I want to end my 2017 on a positive note. 2017 started off unstable for me. Suffering from cattiness, bullying, anxiety, and depression the first few months, it appeared like this year was going to be quite the rollercoaster. In August, I moved to California. This was a decision that completely changed my life (for the better).

I am the type of person that dwells on the past. When something doesn’t go my way, I reflect and contemplate why that happened. When I fail to accomplish my already unattainable goals, I get saddened. My perspectives on goals have changed recently. Before I begin listing what I expect to accomplish in 2018, here were my senior year goals:

  1. Get a 4.0 GPA both semesters of school
  2. Befriend all my professors – Ask for extra help and recommendation letters
  3. Earn $10,000 in profit through work, other freelancing opportunities, selling pre-loved things to new & welcoming homes, and blogging (a girl can still dream)
  4. Volunteer once a month. It doesn’t matter where, when, or what charity
  5. Buy a sewing machine then learn how to use it

As you can see, only 2/5 of my goals were achieved. And that’s okay! Earning $10,000 in a couple months without having a steady, full-time job is nearly impossible to do. Volunteering while travelling, in cities I’m visiting without proper transportation is difficult. And how did I expect to lug back a sewing machine from California to Toronto?

My senior year wasn’t a complete flop though. On top of befriending all my professors and getting a 4.0 GPA (So happy about this), I progressed in areas of my life I didn’t even realize needed attention.

 My fitness journey & body appreciation

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It took me 21 years to realize the importance of body acceptance and self-love. For once I am FULLY satisfied and appreciative of my petite, 5’2″ stature. Going to the gym regularly has made me realize that strength (both internal and external) is not defined by an individual’s frame. I feel stronger and healthier than ever before and no person, bigger or taller than me, will ever belittle my self-love again.

Now, onto my end of the year and new year goals

2018 All About Me

Sounds a little conceded, I know. But, the second half of 2017 was rewarding because I was centred on my self and my self worth. For once, I lived my life focusing merely on me. I want to continue this in 2018.

  1. That workout grind continues.
    • Instead of achieving a specific body type, I workout to gain mental strength and stability. It helps me clear my mind. If I gain physical strength as well, that is a bonus!
  2. Work, Work, Work
    • As you have probably assumed, California has drained my bank account (I have no regrets though). Since my course load next semester is extremely light, I plan to find a job, or two, or three.
  3. Take a trip
    • A lot of my happiness this year stemmed from travelling. I made a whole blog section on it. I have the travel bug.
  4. Apply to Graduate School
    • I’m taking a year off before I begin my masters. 2018 is the year to apply to my dream schools.
  5. Start a creative initiative
    • Super general, but I want to keep this a secret. I already have an idea of what I would like to do. I think a leadership role producing some creative content will be rewarding for me.

San Diego: Seaport Village

I spent days consuming the glistening sand of Coronado‘s beaches and hours in a trance glaring at the bright blue color illuminating from La Jolla’s skies. On my final day in San Diego, I decided to visit the sunny Seaport Village.

Window shopping by the waterfront, strolling on the boardwalk, and honouring veterans and current troops at the Maritime Museum. What a wonderful way to spend my last few hours in San Diego.

Again, let us just appreciate the beauty and history present in this environment. San Diego in general was life altering. I admire and value California’s culture at a much greater level because of my heart-stirring experiences in San Diego.

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The art; the music; and the animals. Just a few of my favourite things.

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Wave after wave.

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It wouldn’t be a Seaport Village without some ships.

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Veterans Day spent honouring our troops.

San Diego: La Jolla

Just a random thought before I start this post. I wonder if every blogger starts blogging because they enjoy writing, need a platform to vent, or have an interest in their niche of choice. Or, do some bloggers go into it already with the intention of making profit? 

Just a thought. 


Welcome to Part 2 of my mini San Diego series. If you tuned into last week’s post, you will remember my personal reflections and appreciations of Coronado. This week, we fly to the breathtaking La Jolla (seriously get ready to be lost for words). Since my last San Diego post focused heavily on my experiences and reactions to the city, this post will be mainly photo driven.

This journey starts off in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood. Let us all just take in those bright blue skies. Vivid and bold colours tend to brighten my mood.

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La Jolla

After spending a few hours in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood – eating ice cream, taking photos, and window shopping – We started our route to the legendary La Jolla. Every Uber driver, San Diego local, and California lover has spoken highly of La Jolla. My crappy iPhone 7 photos do not do this place justice. At this point in the day, it was dark, chilly and gloomy outside. I was too cold to pull out my DSLR. Still though, take in those views.

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OMNIA Nightclub

I am 21 years old and I like to have fun. Even though I was completely satisfied with my busy exploration day, the night was still young. I’ll leave the OMNIA stories out of my post. Those are “friends only” stories. In short, I had a great day AND night. Here are a few pictures I captured.

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School Blues

I have so many issues with people who constantly complain about school. And yes, I totally understand coming from a Middle-Upper class, European-Canadian home, I do hold privilege in the education institution. Curriculums have been catered to my upbringing and I recognize the incorrectness in this. 

However, I am a first-generation immigrant and was the first person in my immediate family to graduate high-school and receive a bachelors degree. My family’s lack of education has constantly pushed me to continue mine. 


Catholic school, private school, studying abroad in Italy, university (both in Canada and America), and soon-to-be graduate school… I have been granted an education, IN A FIELD I LOVE, that many people only dream of. I am grateful for this. One day, I will share the knowledge I have obtained with others.

As a journalism and women’s studies student, I am bombarded daily with assignments, essays, and articles to write. Oh and did I mention that I need to stay up-to-date with current event stories from all over the world? This isn’t to devalue any other major, but I complete way more assignments than the average college student.

Sometimes I wish that my programs would consist of only two exams and one major assignment. This is the standard course load I see in a lot of other majors. But, these were the degrees I chose. And, I have no regrets.

I love school. I would chant it from the top of the CN Tower in Toronto if I could. Sure, those late nights writing 20 page papers were brutal at times. But, I’ve been dreading graduating university ever since I was in Preschool. The end came so soon. How, in the matter of months will I be done 2 university degrees? Sure, I can probably prolong my degree. Take a 5th year, mess around and take a bunch of random courses. But, I’m already taking an extra semester I don’t really need. For what? To boost my already high average into a perfect 4.0. Is that really necessary? Nope, not at all.

This isn’t to brag about my knowledge. Everyone is smart in their own way. But, I saw something the other day that completely disheartened me. And it was this…

It’s so easy to claim you hate school when a big assignment is due. School is indeed stressful at times. But, if you’re constantly going to complain about your workload, skip class, or put in the bare minimum… You should not be in school. School, isn’t for everyone.

My issue arises because I acknowledge that school is a privilege. My parents were unable to receive an education because of familial and economic reasons. Though that was over 30 years ago, these inabilities to access education still occur today. Before you complain about hating school, think of all the individuals who were and still are unable to receive the same opportunity you have been given.

People are denied an education because:

  1. They simply cannot afford it
  2. They have familial duties (Usually tied in with economic inability)
  3. There are no education facilities in their local area
  4. They have disabilities & the society does not want to accommodate them
  5. They are a woman (Usually tied to poor sanitation and lack of menstrual accommodations)
  6.  AND MORE

So please, if learning really is a burden for you, either think twice about your position of privilege or simply question whether a higher education is right for you. As I stated previously, school isn’t for everyone.

Yilei Xiao: From China to California

Yilei Xiao is an international, exchange student from Zhejiang in China. She is studying Interior Design at Sacramento State. Back home, at Nanjing Tech University she studies Landscape Design. 


Where in China are you from?

East of China… It’s called Zhejiang.

What do you miss most about China? 

My parents and my grandma. The hours are different by 15 hours. It’s kind of like they are in my tomorrow. I’m still in their yesterday. It’s more than half a day a part.

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Why did you decide to come to America for exchange?

Because I want to see different cultures and to learn English. As a transfer student, we only have transfer programs to America. There are over 50 universities I could choose in America. If I fly from China to America, California it’s the closest to my home. I also really like the weather here.

Can I talk about the weather in California. For the past 4 months, it has only rained once.

Why do you think it’s important to learn English?

I think it’s interesting to communicate with different people from different countries.

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Have you had culture shock here?

Nearly everything is different. For example, in class it’s so strange that people can leave before class is over. Back in China, teachers think it’s impolite to leave before class is done. Here, no one cares about what you do. And obviously the food here is really different.

Oh and people here have high enthusiasm to participate in parties and in sports. Everyone likes to assemble. Also, when I’m walking in the streets here I can say hi to anyone even if we don’t even know each other

What new experience do you want to have while you’re here in America?

I experienced my first sports game here in America. Back home we all know that Americans like sports and people are all really enthusiastic about sports. I just go to the games here and have different experiences because of how passionate these sports fans are.

How can you compare American students to Chinese students?

I never talk much with American students, so I don’t know much about them. During the classes that I have taken, I see nearly most of the students paying attention in lecture. Students in China are always writing their notes by hand. There is an old proverb that says ‘writing can help you memorize things.’ Here everyone writes their notes on their laptops.

There is always a misunderstanding with a lot of Chinese students. There are a lot of students who have a lot of wealth and their families will send them abroad to study and a lot of these students don’t like school. I don’t hang out with these students. I feel like their parents did not give them a proper education. But some of these students are very hard working because studying abroad is an opportunity to cherish. Money sometimes does not equal a good education.

Do you feel scared being an international student in America? 

I rarely go off campus, but when I’m on campus I feel very safe. There are so many people in China. Here sometimes when you walk on the street there are only cars passing by. This kind of situation scares me. I read the news everyday and there is so much bad news here in America of deaths and hate crimes always happening.

I don’t think about my race when I think of safety. I think  you should try your best to obey all the rules in the country you are staying in. Don’t do something that others would get mad at you for.

Are you ever going to come back to America once your exchange is done?

I’m not sure. Maybe for travelling. I want to go back to China. I miss everything about China. I grew up there. I miss my parents; my family. America is so far away from there.

What are your thoughts on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival?

We really hate it. We have a micro blog and we’ll expose the people who hurt animals. When people from different cultures mention that we all eat dogs, we feel a lot of shame about that.