To & From the Philippines

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Sandos from the Philippines.

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

A recent episode of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown-Philippines, included a scene highlighting the balikibayan box. Most L.A. Filipinos have at some point seen first hand the chaos at the LAX International Terminal when checking into a Philippines Air Lines’ flight. Any given night, travelers will find a long line of Filipinos and extra family members waiting (not always patiently) to weigh their balkibayan box imprinted, in perfect Sharpie black ink, with a Philippines destination. The box, filled with American goodies, will travel across the Pacific and pretty much bring joy to many waiting family members.

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Beached Whale In the Summer

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Fire Island

FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

The other day the owner at the wine store asked me if I had any plans for Memorial Day weekend. I hesitated for a moment, trying to think of exciting things to say. What were my plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Was I going somewhere instagrammable (I just made that up)? Was I going to some kind of bbq or maybe even a luau? I wanted to say something interesting, like swimming up the Hudson or something, but all I could say was “I’m just going to sleep.” Continue reading “Beached Whale In the Summer”

My Life as a Boxed Wine

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This wine is a drinkable manifestation of my life at the moment. And yes, that is 100% boxed wine in the Erewhon bottle. Is it still considered cold-pressed juice if the grapes are cold and have been pressed with a wine press?

FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been feeling as though the air has been thick with plot twists and the winds of change.

Without getting into too much detail, I have somehow found myself in the position of making a whole lot of difficult decisions this week, and while I am completely positive the fruits of these decisions will taste sweet in the long run, I’m finding that the process of extracting that sweetness doesn’t come without a hearty helping of sourness, too. I’m finding that sourness to be a heck of an acquired taste.

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Best Study Spots in L.A. Area

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I wish I could re-create this study environment again.

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

This past month I started to actively study for a test scheduled at the end of July. Since I don’t have a student ID card to access the local university libraries, I am in a constant quest to find a place to study where I can remain focused, motivated and inspired.

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Siena Postcard

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Siena, Italy

FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

It’s been ten years since that time I lived in Siena, Italy. This week, many of us who were in that study abroad program are coming together again for a wedding in Louisiana. The groom, Nick Miller, is getting married in a lakehouse by the Toledo Bend Reservoir. I was only 21 years old when I was in Siena–and now I look back and I’m reminded of that line from the song “Countdown” by Phoenix: “Do you remember when 21 years was old?” Continue reading “Siena Postcard”

A (Sort of) Anthropological Realization: I’ve Become the Type of Angeleno I Used to Ridicule

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FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

In humanities-based fields such as anthropology and sociology, there’s this type of qualitative research method known as ethnography, which is officially defined as “the study and systematic recording of human cultures”. Translation: it is, on an extremely basic level, people-watching with a notebook.

I had my fair share of ethnographic stints throughout college. During freshman year, a few of my assignments required me to spend hours on the L.A. Metro to people-watch in the name of “research.” Furthermore, when I wasn’t bus-riding for academic purposes, I was hopping on the Big Blue to either get to the SD-bound Surfliner track at Union Station or simply get out of the college town that is Westwood. By the end of freshman year, I didn’t know many things about where I was headed academically but I did know one thing was certain: I had become pro at people-watching.

When you become a professional Harriet the Spy in the city, though, something strange happens over time. Autopilot instincts kick in. Streets feel less like fun house mazes. People start asking you for directions. Strange becomes the new normal, and local social idiosyncrasies you once thought were “ridiculous” are now things you find yourself explaining to visitors. You’re no longer an observer; you become part of the observed, an active participant in, and an essential component to, the life and fabric of the city you’ve been watching all this time.

In the context of my own life, this transformation from an outsider-looking-in to an active participant roughly translates to this: I’ve slowly become the very L.A. resident I spent years ridiculing when I was still a lost L.A. n00b  getting to know this city.

Here’s how I know this has happened.

I use the term “Angeleno.”* Who the heck uses that term other than people who live in L.A.? Dumb. But that doesn’t stop me from using it. #cantstopwontstop

*The article hyperlinked in “Angeleno” really isn’t intended to provide an informative source explaining the origin of the term Angeleno; it’s purely for my own entertainment because this depiction of L.A. living makes me criiiiinge. “Loubi’s”? Really?! So embarrassing. #Idontknowaboutthatlife #wherethesneakersat

I learned to enjoy the taste of cold-pressed juiceAnd I don’t mean the ones that are simply green-colored but are basically just pineapple juice-laced diabetes in makeup. I’m talking about those gnarly spinach/kale/algae/can-you-even-eat-that loaded juices that have, like, negative grams of sugar in them. What did I do to my tastebuds?

I grew to tolerate, and maybe even like, yoga. Now, let me clarify: I am not a hippie. I repeat: I. am. not. a. hippie. BUT… with the right teacher (I REPEAT: WITH THE RIGHT TEACHER), I do think yoga can be a pleasant, rejuvenating experience. And it does yield some health benefits which I greatly appreciate – namely, increased flexibility, better breathing, and improved posture so I don’t have to feel like I’m wheezing/suffocating under my stomach folds. I gotta check myself once in awhile, though – one time I tried being one of those perpetually put-together, sports-bra-only/no-shirt yoga girls by taking off my shirt in hot yoga because I got too warm, but then realized that was a mistake when I attempted bridge pose & my sweaty back made this weird suction noise. Note to self: keep the shirt on next time. #pumpthebrakes

I make hike-and-brunch plans on the weekends. Make fun of me all you want, I will always stand behind this activity. Fresh air, a little exercise, quality time, good conversations, and a delicious breakfast to top everything off? Why would I ever be ashamed of such a wonderful activity?

I adopted a style of dress that, for whatever reason, often needs to be toned down when I leave L.A. I was never a hat person until I started working in the streetwear industry. I didn’t even know what a “snapback” was until I got here. I also never even dared to wear running sneakers with a dress before I lived here. Nor did I think oversized clothing would be something I would ever try. Fast-forward to now, and all of those elements comprise my everyday style. For whatever reason, whenever I dress like this anywhere else other than L.A. or New York, my style is categorized as “edgy”, “trendy”, “hipster”, or even just “so L.A.”; I just call it lazy tomboy in monochromatic pajamas on the daily. #hatersgonnahate

I could go on and on about the many ways in which L.A. has turned me into one of its weirdos, but that list continues to grow each day, and I’m getting sleepy. To be continued…

Harriet, out.

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 This article has been edited to correct any sleepy mistakes not caught prior to the initial time of posting.

Current Obsession: Broad City

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Photo Credit: Broad City

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

I am obsessed with Broad City on Comedy Central. Basically the show is about two 20-something year olds navigating their life and other adventures in New York. The creators of the show, Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, have captured life in the city when you are still young, broke and free. Despite moving from New York about ten years ago, little details throughout Broad City episodes remind me of my life back then. The only difference between these characters’ circumstances and the life I lived years ago would be unlimited texting and easy access to the Internet (my roommates and I didn’t have Internet back then, we just tried to pick up neighbors’ unlocked Wi-Fi). Does that mean the city stays the same all these years? Just insert a 25 year old? I don’t know but Broad City takes me down a memory lane that I love and miss.

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