first kiss

The first time his lips touched mine, it sent a wave of shock down my spine. So passionate, yet gentle, and I can feel the flame inside of him burning through his touch. It was my first time kissed by a man. We had known each other for almost six weeks, being lab partners and spending those nights in the library writing those lab reports. At first, I find it annoying that he wanted to meet up and write our lab reports. After all, the lab report was individual work. However, after our second lab report, I didn’t mind meeting up in the library. It wasn’t like we meet up for every lab, but we would always get dinner before or after when we did. Even if I made plans to get dinner with my friends, he would always invite himself, and I didn’t mind. It was during one night when he asked me to go bowling and get dinner. Was it a date? According to my friends, it was, but for me, it was just time to destress myself and spend time with a great friend. After all, we have become friends, at least I thought we did.

The moment his lips touched mine, I got scared, but yet it was enjoyable. Inexperienced yet curious and wild, I kissed him back. It was amazing—a feeling I have never experienced. Perhaps, I did like him. He was cute, good looking, tall, smart, and kind. The way his rough hands caressed my face and glide across my back against my sweatshirt send me burning flames. For a short moment, I understood why people often wanted time to stop. It was a wonderful kiss that made us both smile–sincerely smile as we both made our feelings clear. Soon, we had each disclose our feelings to our friends, and one of his friends even informed me about his feelings and how long he had those feelings. My friends encouraged me to asked him out, but I was too scared. I have never known what it was like to have feelings for someone or have someone who liked me back.

All my life, boys were never interested in me. I was considered fat, ugly, and not what they wanted. Instead, I spent my time focusing on myself. My goals, making improvements to my life and working hard as a cow. So, I decided to wait for him. I thought if he genuinely liked me for who I am, he would make the first move. Nothing more happened, and we were back to being lab partners, spending a few more nights together writing labs and then dinner. I heard that another girl asked him out, but he kindly rejected her. For a short moment, I was hurt and then relieved. I had no idea what I was experiencing, but I pretended not to know and acted indifferently. I also convinced myself to focus on my education. No matter how hard I wanted to confront him about the kiss- he did kiss me first! I couldn’t. I have no idea where my courageous self went, so I waited for him to bring it up. Neither of us talked about the kiss. Then the semester flew by. The following semester we were in the same lab again, but this time unlike how he chose me to be his lab partner. The moment I stepped into that lab classroom, I chose another student to be my lab partner.

The next year and a half, we both sort of went our separate ways, but he would once in a while text me to see how I was doing. Sometimes we run into each other in the library or at the cafeteria, but we barely make eye contact. Somehow, we were beginning to become strangers again. Then, we had one last class together before our last semester. We were assigned as partners, and we spend most of our time doing our research together. It was awkward. Super awkward because I can feel those same feelings growing back inside of me. Feelings that I have long forgotten. Nearing graduation week, he finally confessed, but I rejected him. I don’t know what happened, but I told him no. For the first time in a long time, we made eye contact. I felt like I could feel his broken heart and soul just by the way he looked at me and how he tried to smile. Once again, we both went our separate ways.

Because I was not Enough For him

Note: This story was sent to me and the author wishes to remain anonymous. After communicating with the author, she wanted me to take out names of locations/places that could possibly give away her identity. The world is, after all, a small and scary world. Therefore, any names in the story has been altered or replaced with pronouns. Also, I want to give many THANKS to the lovely author for sending me her story because it takes a lot of courage to send such personal and intimate story to a stranger on the other half of the country. Happy reading!

I got married at a young age—fourteen. Naïve, carefree, and impatience were the perfect words to describe me during my teens. I met my husband when I was thirteen years old at a traditional housewarming party. He was eighteen then. It was 2005, a few months after my family and I came to the United States from Thailand. As a young girl, I was always very talkative and outgoing, so many of my friends considered me flirtatious but cautious. However, I wasn’t attentive enough around him.

I remembered flirting with him because he was tall and handsome. So, we both flirted with each other, and finally, he asked for my number before he left. I didn’t have a cell phone then, so I gave him my mom’s cell phone number. A few days later, he contacted me, and we began to talk for a year. During that year, I thought he was a nice man as he helped me with my homework and projects. He always came over to help me whenever I told him I didn’t know or understand what I was doing. I had cousins, but they did not want to spare their time to help me. So, I turned to him for help. Soon enough, we began to date officially.

I slept with him three days after I turned fourteen. I had denied him a few times, but that day I let him manipulate me. He told me, “if you really love me, you will give me your virginity without me having to beg. That is what a real couple does.” After a few hours of being alone after an argument, I finally went to him and agreed to have intercourse with him. A few months go by, and I was pregnant. My parents were furious and demanded to know who the father was. I finally told them.

His parents were also furious with him, he was an adult, and I was a minor. I remembered them yelling at him, saying that what he did was illegal and deserved jail time according to state laws. However, both families resolved this the Hmong way, and we married traditionally. It was not a marriage with a fairy tale ending. He could not go to university like he planned but did attend a nearby community college and work a part-time job. Our baby was a little girl. We were happy for the first three years. A year later, we had a little boy but started having minor problems in our marriage life.

When I finally turned 21, I worked two part-time jobs, and he one day told my in-laws and me that he was going to college. He had already applied and filed for FAFSA. He said it was because of me that he spent his youth working so hard, so I should let him go to university. We fought. I asked him to wait until the kids were older—back then, online colleges were not as popular. Hours later, I finally gave in, but my in-laws and I told him the only college he can attend was the one that is thirty minutes away. I remembered our younger brother in law told him, “if you got accepted once, you could get accepted again (referring to the university close to home). If you want to go far from home, then you’re just wanting a way out to have fun and not take on any responsibilities. I know the truth brother, because I have been seeing you at the bars with your friends. Friends with negative influence that won’t help you get anywhere in life.”

I started to notice some changes. He was out later, calling off work, and he would bring his friends home even though I was too tired to cook a meal for them. Especially after putting the kids to sleep and getting off from work. He would get mad at me for not letting him go out with his friends, but he never hit me. I threatened to leave a couple of times, and he would tell me to go ahead and leave. Since I ruined his life after all, and everything was my fault so I can leave. I couldn’t because he had never hit me. This continued for the remainder of our marriage. One day his cousin came over while my parents-in-law were visiting. She told us that she caught him at the mall with a girl holding hands and shopping together. I was so upset that I just cried for hours. My mother-in-law comforted me while my father-in-law was ready to talk with him once he came home.

My husband admitted to the affair, and my heart broke. My father-in-law told him to stop acting like a child and get his head straight because he is a married man. He got mad and said he never asked for any of it. That it was not his fault that I got pregnant; it was my fault that he missed out having fun. My father-in-law got so angry that he had a stroke on the spot. My two brothers-in-law (one older and one younger) were also upset that the three brothers got into a fight. Two of their other uncles were present because my father-in-law called them over, and they broke the three brothers apart. Once separated, my older brother-in-law yelled at my husband, “Everything is your fault, not hers. Now you want to walk away! You are a coward and nothing but a disgrace.”

I was so sad and ran outside to cry. I blamed everything on myself. If I had not been so carefree, stupid, flirtatious, and naïve, I would not be in the position I was. My older brother-in-law and his wife came out to comfort me. I was the youngest in my husband’s family; our younger brother-in-law is two to three years older than me. I cried in my older sister-in-law’s arms while my brother-in-law hugged us both. No words were said, and we stood in silence as we can hear the ambulance finally making its way towards our tiny house. My husband left for a few days, and I could not get hold of him. Everyone told me to let him be, even if he died and rot under a bridge, then let him because I deserve better. My in-laws were willing to send me back to my family and even keep my children to raise them until I got a better job. However, I rejected the offer.

A few days became weeks, and weeks became a month since my husband ran away. Then one day, my oldest sister-in-law dropped me off after picking me up from work. I saw that he was home because his car was parked outside. She helped me carry the groceries bag inside and walked in first. From outside, I can hear her screaming. I rushed in, thinking something terrible had happened to my husband, only this time to get heartbroken for the last time.

I cried as soon I saw him and his girlfriend naked on the couch, kissing and cuddling together. I was so angry that I picked up a pair of heels and hit his head with them before running out the door. My in-law lived closed by, two minutes by car and roughly ten minutes by walking. However, I was so furious that I ran so hard and reached them in five minutes. I told them what happened, and we all went back to the house. My younger sister-in-law stayed with all the children.

He and his girlfriend were still there. She tried to leave, but my sister-in-law prevented her from leaving and said she is now part of the problem. She cannot leave, but she is more than welcome to call her parents and an elder from her family side. She could not look me in the eyes, but when my in-laws asked if she knew about me. She said, “Yes, I knew.” I wanted to strangle her for knowing that she slept with a married man, but I had no more energy to fight. I wiped my tears away and asked my father-in-law to call my side of the family; I saw the tears in his eyes. He knew that I was leaving, but he went outside with my older brother-in-law and made the calls. I turned to my mother-in-law, who was silently wiping her tears, and we hold each other’s hands throughout the night.

I divorced him that night at age 23. I left both my children with my in-laws, but I always visited them on the weekends. I went back to community college and earned my CNA. A year later, a friend of my father came to visit, and he brought his daughter, Kalia. She was around my age. I heard her telling my father that she was planning to get her master’s degree. Curious, while our fathers went outside to look at some chickens, I asked her what it takes to attend a four-year university. She told me that it would be an easy process for me because I already had an associate degree. The next few days, I went over to her place, and we look at a few universities’ options and eventually became friends.

I was hesitant, but I remembered her words, “There some sacrifices you’re going to have to make, but it’s good sacrifices. Your children will grow up to be thankful later.” I was stunned at how she knew that I was thinking about my children and worried about not seeing them. I did not want them to think I abandoned them, but Kalia was right. I wanted to do everything for me and my children’s future. So, I crossed my fingers and began applying.The colleges that accepted me into their nursing programs were roughly about an hour and a half to two hours away. After looking at tuition and cost, I chose the one I can afford without taking too many loans—Kalia had told me that was a mistake she made for undergraduate, so I should learn from her. It was two hours away, but everyone was supportive of me: my parents, siblings, my former in-laws, and even my two children.

It was rough for me in college, learning new vocabulary and making friends all over. It was hard and sometimes I cried. However, I thought about my husband’s last words on the night we got a divorced. That I was not enough for him. I was stupid and not good enough for him. I will not be able to get him anywhere in life. Those words became my motivator and encouragement. I want him to see me be successful and that he was the one not good enough for me. During my free time, I would video call my children and talk to them. They would cry over the phone about how much they missed me, and I would tell them how much I missed them. In 2018, I graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing. I would never forget the day I walked across that stage and managed to find my entire family applauding and cheering for me.

I went back to work at the hospital where I used to work. Of course, I got a promotion from my supervisor right away. My two children finally moved in with me in early 2020 after I got a lovely small house. Currently, I am not seeing anyone, but that does not matter. I am happy with my two children and where I am at in my life. Every time I look back on my life, I deeply regret all my decisions at such a young age. However, out of all my friends, including me, we all came to the United States during 2005-2006. I am the lucky one. I went to school, earned a degree, and have a stable career that I enjoy. Like, Kalia told me “You deserved to walk around with your head held high no matter what your past look like because you earned it.”

The Girl who wore toothpicks

As a kid, I wore toothpicks in my ear piercings for almost six years. Maybe even longer. I got my ears pierced somewhere between five and six years old. I remembered seeing my older sister wearing pretty earrings and always wanted to wear them, that I always asked my parents to buy me any set of beauty toys with clip-on earrings. After I got my ears pierced, I started to develop an allergic reaction to the earrings and lost my earrings. My piercings were also beginning to close. My mom put a thread in both my piercings to prevent the holes from closing. That did not work, and so she did the toothpicks. Marking my adventure as the girl who wore toothpicks.

I had no problems with the toothpicks in my ear piercings. It was not like I worn the full length of it. My mom broke a tiny piece and put it in my ears. So, I wore short fragments of toothpicks throughout elementary school and also halfway through middle school. A lot of my peers would always ask me why I wear toothpicks instead of earrings. I was not one to talk much, nor did I always wanted to share my businesses with other students. Hence, I always told them, “My mom put them there. So I don’t know,” and just went back to do whatever I was doing. Moreover, I was never jealous of other girls wearing pretty earrings. 

Photo by Ashithosh U on

In seventh grade was when I started to wear earrings. One day my family and I were at Walmart. I followed my older sister to the jewelry section and saw jewelry pieces labeled nickel free. My sister picked one up, and she told me because the earrings were nickel-free and will probably not cause any irritations, I can most likely wear them. So, I picked one up after asking my mom if I can also choose a pair. I wore them to school the next day. Many students and my friends were surprised to me without my toothpicks. Honestly, I did not care much about their reactions, but as a month passed, I was delighted that I could wear earrings. Something I had always wanted too, but could not because of the irritations I would often get. 

As a teenager, I love earrings and collected so many pairs of earrings. Even my friends and other students loved my earrings that they asked where I bought my earrings. As time went on, I got over my earrings phase and threw away my old pairs of earrings. I no longer have to wear toothpicks, but I am not embarrassed, and I talked about it all the time. 

How to fail

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill

How it Began
It was a sunny and cold afternoon as the entire class began to walk in and sit down before class started. As always, we all talk about life and other courses—what was more fun to hear about what had happened in other classes? Dr. Patricia comes in; like always, we remain in our seats and doing our businesses until it was time for class to start. Everyone quiet down and begin to pay attention as soon as Dr. Patricia started to talk. Her class always seemed so long due to the horrendous and lengthy notes, but we were finishing up a documentary that day. Twenty minutes into class, we were done with the documentary. We thought that we would be able to leave early like other previous times. However, that day she said she would share a story since we were all seniors in that class and a few of us were not going to return in the spring—except to walk across the stage.

A Story No One Expected
Dr. Patricia told us about her days in college. Like us, she was young and excited. She didn’t fear the future as the present was all that mattered to her. Dr. Patricia told us about how she spent her first-year partying and hanging around a bunch of hippies. Eventually, she became a hippy herself and dropped out of college.

“I know many of you go clubbing on Thursdays and enjoy getting drunk instead of studying. Yeah, I know because I was the same. I spent my days having too much fun that I didn’t get my bachelor’s degree until I was a few years older than all of you right now.”

She spent the following year enjoying her life and freedom until she ended up with a guy and had her oldest child. Unfortunately, the man did not stick around. After her child turned two years old, she decided to go back to college and get her undergraduate degree. At that time, she had had enough time fooling around and wanted to get a promising career to support both her and her child. She told us the struggles of being a single mom and going to school with little to no help and support.

“There were times when I was up late at night studying, and I started crying. I just wanted to give up, but then it would be freezing cold in my house that I decided I needed to preserve through all it and get a better place to live.”

So, she persevered and eventually graduated with Latin Honors and was valedictorian of her class. She continued her education and, in graduate school, met her first ex-husband. They got married, and she had her second child after she earned her master’s degree. Unfortunately, she hit another bottom rock as she and her first ex-husband got a divorce, and now, he left her with two children. After a year of working, she decided to pursue her Doctor of Philosophy. That was also not easy.

“I had to carry my youngest on my back and hold my oldest’s hand while hiking up so many mountains to collect data and continue my grant research. It was so tiring and hard, but when I saw my children. I thought, ‘how much harder it must be for them hiking in the cold and heat, not being able to have a proper meal, and how exhausted they must be just wanting to take a nap.’ I had to comfort them while I had no one to comfort me, but I was fine with that. I thought to myself, as long I made it through all this trouble and got a better job, everything will pay off.”

Once again, she persevered and earned her Ph.D. She did not land a good-paying job right away, but eventually, she made her way up in her career. As for love, she managed to find the perfect man and married him. Together they had two children, but soon they had their differences and thirteen years later divorced. They remained best friends even after he re-married. For her, that is one successful relationship. Finally, she decided to spend her later years teaching, which brought her to our campus. In 2016, she decided it was time to retired.

“My entire life has been filled with lots of ups and downs. You can even say I spent most of my life failing. However, I want all of you to know that just because you fail at one thing doesn’t mean you have completely failed. Failing is part of success, and if you fail successfully, you will find a way to succeed. All of you made it this far, and I am proud of every single one of you. No matter where you all go from here, never give up.”

How I Learn To Fail Successfully
Thirteen years I spent in school, I have never heard “fail successfully.” All I ever heard from other people was that you have to pick yourself back up every time you fail. You have to learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them. However, learning from your mistakes is a given and does not require one to be a rocket scientist to know that. Nonetheless, I graduated, and before pursuing my master’s degree, I have been through endless ups and downs. Even now, I’m still going through a bunch of ups and downs. Whenever I felt like I was going to hit rock’s bottom, I told myself, “please just let me fail successfully.” For some odd reason, Dr. Patricia’s words always come back to me during hard times.

Over these past few years, I learned a lot about how to fail successfully. It begins with emotions; at least it was in my case. I learned that if I leave room to accept mistakes, even the pettiest mistakes, I will feel a lot better about making the mistakes. In the past, I did not allow a single millimeter for making mistakes, which is not healthy and very harsh. I like being perfect and being an overachiever. For the longest time, that was the image that I had built, and that was how other students and colleagues saw as my most desirable traits: perfect and overachieving. It became exhausting, and soon I was losing my sanity even at the slightest mistakes.

I used to blame others for my mistakes or pushed the blame onto someone else because of embarrassment. Now, I do not care. If I made a mistake, then so be it. I come out to accept my mistakes and make sure that everyone knows it was mine and not another person’s doing. Of course, I learn from it and analyze the “what.” What could I have done to make the situation better? What were better options that I had but could not possibly think of to ensure that the same or similar mistakes do not happen again? What went wrong, and how it went wrong? Most importantly, when I admit that I screwed up, I never followed up with “but” or “however.” Following up a “but” or “however” is just lame excuses to justify my actions. That is not acceptable. The more you try to sugarcoat or rationalize it, you will be less likely to learn from it and most likely repeat it.

“Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” ― Oprah Winfrey.

Everything Is Going to Be Alright
At some point, I started telling my friends, “everything will be alright. Just trust me.” I am actually screaming inside my head, “do not trust me. I do not know what is going to happen next. I am just saying this to make you feel better.” However, my friends always reply, “yeah, you’re right.” It could just be that they know I am trolling them, and they are just going with the flow. But a little positivity does not hurt, and sometimes it helps to bring better results when you felt like you have failed.

There used to be this kid in high school, and he was perfect in every single way. I remember how one of my friends, Becca, once said that he was just so perfect. Yes, she was right. He was just so perfect. So perfect that now I think about it, he is unrelatable. I never once heard him talking about any mistakes he made, nor have I heard other students talk about mistakes he made even during our undergraduate years. I used to think, what would he ever do if he ever made a mistake. Lucky for me, we ran into each other one day, and he solved my curiosity.

Surprisingly he recognized me and asked for my spare time. Of course, I had nothing better to do, so I grabbed Starbucks with him and learned that he was visiting his family for a few days. So, there it began. We catch up with one another, and he starts to update me about his life as if I had always been someone so important to him. Before I knew it, he tells me that I amazed him by still being me—carefree and untouchable. My response to him—I stopped caring about living up to people’s expectations because it was unrealistic. I just let my imperfections flow out because shit happens all the time, and I learned from them. I open up about my mistakes and failures to people I trust and can give me constructive feedback. I am no longer afraid of criticisms and failures.

However, it would be best if you never failed on purpose because while some mistakes are teachable. Some mistakes are impossible to rectify. Therefore, as awful as the mistakes can be, you will have to live with them. So, in situations where you know that you can prevent failure, you need to prevent it from happening. We are humans. We make mistakes. We learn from it. We are full of imperfections. Shit happens, but mistakes and failures can and will lead to success. Everything will turn out alright.

Hello 2021

Nothing Has Changed
Hello and welcome everyone to my first post of 2021. It feels like yesterday when I had just written my last post in 2020, and nothing much has changed. Seriously, nothing changed. I’m still losing hair. I’m always grumpy and impatient. Moreover, I still have to go to work tomorrow morning. Also, I still need to make a much needed dentist appointment. Moving on, for the first post of 2021, I thought that I would share my New Year’s resolution, which is nothing.

What Happened to Last Year’s Resolutions?
Last year my three resolution was to eat healthier, work out more, and save more money. It didn’t work out. In the beginning, I was working out three times a week for at least fifteen to thirty minutes. I was on a streak, but then I got burned out and lazy. I’m going to use the pandemic as an excuse for my laziness because I worked every day, and we were far busier than Christmas and Black Friday. I didn’t save money because of my humanly desire for nice things and the urge to shop online to destress myself. Therefore, I couldn’t eat healthier. Eating healthy is costly and materialistic–at least the materialistic part is my sole opinion. Hence, I gave up around mid-June.

Sometimes Nothing is Better
As I mentioned previously this year, I have no resolutions set; however, that does not mean I do not have small goals set forth. This year’s primary goal is to be happy and healthy–mentally, physically, and emotionally. This means making that much needed dental appointment as soon as possible, getting a few health checkups, rest and relaxing as needed, laughing more often, and getting rid of any toxicities in my life. In 2021, I want to focus on growing, learning, and accepting new challenges to become a better version of myself. 2021 come and catch me if you can.

Goodbye 2020…Hello 2021

2020 by far in my 28 years of life, has been the most dramatic and most challenging year ever. I spent the year working through the pandemic and dealing with rude people who would not wear face coverings and people who did not like waiting in line to shop. I spend my time at work listening to customers talking about doing new experiences due to quarantine, in which I have to admit I do not have the brightest customers. Additionally, I also spend time talking to customers because it has naturally become part of our job: compassion and care– who dealt with losses. Some of these customers are frontline workers—nurses, doctors, caregivers, etc. I don’t spend time listening to my sister—a teacher—but I overheard about online teachings complications. Plus, I also overheard most of her phone conversations with a colleague about how uncooperative some parents are and how mentally and emotionally distressful it can be.

If you are somewhat similar to me, then 2020 has yet to be the most challenging year we have faced. We struggle to stay healthy, mentally, emotionally, and physically strong. We struggle to voice our opinions on many political topics with the fear of disrespecting others, and yet other people disrespect our opinions. We struggle to stay safe and healthy. Finally, most of us struggle to remain creative and productive. The most crucial part is that we made it this far together.

I’m pretty sure we all probably learn one or two new skills over the year. I learned how to change my car headlights and spend 3.5 hours on both of them with my little brother’s assistance. Also, I’m talking about the lightbulbs; I mean taking out the entire headlights from my car and replacing them with brand new head lights. I also had to switch out the lightbulbs. I learn how to change my car oil. I learned how to sew three different face mask patterns and sent out some to my friends, who made some requests. I learned how to read a sewing pattern and made a whole Hmong outfit (this is my third outfit, but the first one I made with a sewing pattern. My previous two outfits were made the traditional box cut style). Finally, I learned how to use a Cricut machine, and I honestly thought I would never bother to learned it, but I got bored.

On another note, I also caught up with some incredible people from college. Some that I forgot about; I’m surprised that they remembered me. It brings back some perfect memories. Additionally, I spend more time talking to my friends through Facetiming or Facebook video calls. It was all significant to know everyone was still living through his/her boring old life. Overall, 2020 was crazy, emotionally, and mentally stressful. However, we all made it this far. We will continue to fight against this together in 2021—lastly, Happy New Year to everyone.

Merry Christmas!!!

There’s a few hours left until Christmas 2020 is over, at least where I live, I have a few hours left, so I just wanted to share a message with all my readers. However, before I do that I want to thank everyone for all the views, likes, comments and follows. It has been quite a long while since I started blogging again, but I’m still thankful for all the positive and supportive comments! Anyway here is my message:

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

Even if you didn’t get all the gifts you wanted, I hoped that you had a day filled with love and laughter. Although we may not have shared the holidays with all the people we wanted, I hoped that you and all of your loved ones remain safe and healthy towards the end of 2020 and for the rest of 2021. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone. I don’t know how 2021 will turn out, but I do know that everyone only wants good results and I do too. No matter what happens in 2021 don’t forget:

  • A phone/video call is better than saying you never got to hang out/see/talk with anyone
  • Always show your support and kindness to all workers, that includes retail workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, pharmacists, and even your house cleaning maids
  • Show your support for local and small businesses
  • Wash your hands (like how we were taught ever since kindergarten)
  • No hoarding all the cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and hand sanitizers
  • Treat everyone with respect and kindness–just like how you would want to be treated
  • Finally, share a smile!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! No matter what happens in 2021, WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! I’ll be back in 2021 with more and new content. Stay safe and healthy!

gnoce vs. pandora

Today’s post is going to be a bit different. It has been a long time since I wrote any fashion post, so today, I’m going to be comparing two jewelry website: Gnoce and Pandora. A few days ago, I ordered two charm bracelets, one from each. Today I will be comparing the bracelets. I’m going to talk about quality, pricing, and shipping. Additionally, I want to note that any sales or pricing may differ from both retailers as all sales and pricing mentioned in the post are from when I made the purchases. 

I ordered both bracelets on November 16th. I received my Pandora bracelet on November 19th and my Gnoce bracelet on November 27th. I read a few reviews about Gnoce, and some customers had mentioned that it is a company based in New York but that the item was shipped from China–this is true. My Gnoce bracelet came from China–Hong Kong, to be exact, so shipping took longer. However, other customers ran into additional problems, which I didn’t. For example, only receiving part of the order or never got the order. Therefore, I did not have to use customer service from either retailer, so I cannot say about customer services.

The Pandora bracelet cost $207.05, which was for one silver charm bracelet and three silver charms. A few selected charms were on sale, but the charms that I wanted were full price. I did not have any discount coupons, so I paid the total cost. However, at checkout, I learned that Pandora partnered up with Klarna and Afterpay. If you don’t know what Klarna or Afterpay is, they are two platforms that many retailers partnered with where customers can shop and split the total into four installments with zero interest. So, anyone on a tight budget can use that payment option on Pandora.

The Gnoce bracelet cost $96.90, which was for one rose gold charm bracelet and three rose gold charms. After ordering the Pandora bracelet, I decided to search “bracelet similar to the Pandora charm bracelet.” That was how I discovered Gnoce. I bought the items on sale “buy two get two free.” Additionally, I received a 5% discount for my first purchase. Unlike Pandora, Gnoce does not partner with Afterpay or Klarna.

However, when it comes to variety and pricing, I admit that Gnoce is cheaper and has a better selection. Quality-wise the bracelet from Gnoce is as good as the Pandora bracelet. So far, both feels great and sturdy. At first, they both feel a bit stiff, but the stiffness begins to go away after a day of wearing them. Additionally, most charms can fit on either bracelet. I do want to note that only one charm from Pandora fits on the Gnoce bracelet

Both shopping sites offer good quality bracelets and charms. However, if you want more variety and affordable goods, then Gnoce will be the better choice. The downside is that it does take a little bit longer to arrive. Pandora has faster shipping services; however, it is more expensive and has less variety. Additionally, Pandora also offers payments through Afterpay or Klarna. Therefore, those on a tight budget can split up the total into four even payments without zero interest. I am thinking about making another purchase from Gnoce shortly as they have some cute stuff. If you’re not much of a cutesy or elegant type of girl, they also have some gothic and punk style jewelry. This brings me to my final verdict: Gnoce is the winner for me as it is more affordable and has more variety.

my happy and single life

Yes, I am single.

Yes, I am happy and content.

Yes, sometimes I get jealous of my friends with girlfriends or boyfriends.

However, that is what life is all about. You cannot have everything, so you will just have to adapt to the situation. Here a quick sneak peak on my past love life.

The only serious relationship I have been in lasted for a year. For privacy purposes I will just call him Toby. He and I met during my second year in college through a friend. Toby was also my friend’s roommate. We got a long fine and after a few persistence moves and not leaving me alone, I finally say “Yes, Toby I’ll date you.” However, I call it done with Toby because I was too focused myself and was not ready to be in a relationship. I definitely had commitment issues. I wasn’t cheating on him, but sometimes I cancel our plans to hang out with my friends. I was a badass and savage girlfriend. We are still good friends and I even went to Toby’s wedding.

I talk to a few guys on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge. I even had Bumble, but honestly, I don’t know what to say. So, even if it is a match, I don’t make the first move. Talking to a stranger is VERY complicated for me. Moreover, I don’t stay long on dating apps, I find myself deleting my account and when I’m very bored–I mean very bored–I would just create another one with new profile pictures. I even had a few blind dates, but I don’t go on second dates.

Hence all the reasons as to why I am still single. I do enjoy my single life. All my money goes towards me or my family. I don’t have to worry about saving money for the next date or buying nice gifts. I don’t have to wait for someone to voice out what they want to eat (the exception for my family). I can do whatever I want and when I want (once again the exception is my family). However, being single has given me some advantages in life when I compared myself to other women around me.I can change my own car tires, oil, and headlights. I can cut the grass. I even know how to use a drill, probably one of the most simplest steps of becoming a full dependent woman.

Jokes aside, my single life has led me to become more dependable. Seriously though, I do know how to change my car oil and car tires. Also, this past summer I learned how to change my car headlights after watching a YouTube tutorial.

As a matter of fact when I am out enjoying the beautiful day by myself, I don’t mind taking pictures for other couples. There has been countless time when some couples asked me to take pictures for them and if I’m carrying my camera around, I used it to take pictures for them if their phone camera has low quality. I also have no shame in carrying my tripod if I want to take some pictures of myself. I don’t have someone to hang out with on my free days or someone to talk to during my break or before I go to bed, but I like spending my time alone. Plus, since I’m in school I spend. my time doing homework. If I’m not doing homework, then I watch a movie, tease my younger siblings, learn a new recipe, do some self reflection or laid in bed until I fall asleep.

I do get the question from friends and some family, “you have a boyfriend yet,” or “when are we going to hear wedding bells?” Now, I don’t get offended from these types of questions nor do I get tired of people asking me these types of questions. I would either give a simple or witty response. One time my mom’s brother in law asked me and my sisters “when will I get to drink some beer?” In my culture that means when he is going to hear some wedding bells. I responded “Uncle, if it’s some beer you want I can just go buy it for you.” We both laugh and he jokingly clarified “I don’t your beer I want my future son-in-law’s beer.” It was a good laugh for everyone.

Every now and then I do think about marriage and children. When I do think about it, that’s when I would give dating a try. I have no idea how many times I have given dating a try and just never work out. Sometimes I joke with my friends that online dating is not for me because I don’t know what to say. However, when I do go on blind dates or meet the guy in person it just doesn’t go well. If the date goes well, then I always come back to focusing on my needs and wants. It always come to the conclusion that I want to focus on myself, which is not a bad thing.

When you are single, you get the chance for self improvements including a little break from relationships to re-evaluate what you really want for a life partner. You also get time to heal from heartbreaks and enjoy doing some of things you miss doing or new things. Being single just mean self care and self love. It doesn’t mean that you’re lonely or going to be alone for the rest of your life. I have been single for the majority of my life and I’m happy about it. I have found friends that I can talk and go on trips with. I have my family, sometimes we fight and get on each others’ nerves but that’s family for everyone. I don’t feel bad for myself when my friends find a new boyfriend or girlfriend. In fact, I have too much time on my hand to get upset over such trivia things. I’m single and I’m happy. If you’re also single, then you should also embrace it and be happy.

If Mails Can be send to Heaven

If there was a way to send letters to the dead, then I will probably be up late into the night writing endless letters. I won’t be writing long pages of letter, but rather short and straight to the point letters. The last few words I had to said to each person I had lost over the years. I’d asked them questions that I always wanted to ask, but never did. I’ll apologize to them for the mean and hurtful words I never meant to say. Lastly, I’ll let them how much I appreciated having them in my life.

To Sun Young, the friend that cooked me food when I was too lazy to do so,

I wish you would have listened to me and left his ass. It broke my heart when you took your life, then again at the same time I was not surprised at your action. You lived in a country with one of the highest suicide rate and one where divorce is shunned upon on. Did you finally find your grandmother in heaven? How is she doing? As much as I missed you, I also missed your spicy stir fry pork. Can you please send me the recipe to your secret sauce?

To Tyler, the kid I hated but loved because you were my friend,

It was only after a year after we graduated high school. We all made it through the first year of college, then as I scrolled through Facebook I saw the news. I even came to the memorial that our high school dedicated to you. Yes, you were right and I was wrong. You were that much of a great influence. LOL, just lying. A year later, I learned the truth that you took your own life because of girl. Why? Everyone was angry when we learned the truth. Then again, we were also angry because it was your big mouth aunt that let the secret out. Still though, why you do it? I finally gave up asking that question a year after your death, because after a few psychology classes I came to realize (or at the very least hoping) that you were showing signs of depression and anxiety. It all show through your Facebook posts. Are you still playing football up there? Most everyone from high school are married now. Did you find a beautiful wife or girlfriend? If not, it’s okay because me and a few other of our friends are still single.

To Abby, the girl who smiled too often and hide her true feelings

I always hated how optimistic you were, then again that’s probably why we became friends. I remember sitting in the hallway during a floor meeting with our RA’s and thought to myself “I need a friend like her to get rid of my negative energy.” Why didn’t you never let anyone know what you were going through? Why did you always had to smile when you were hurt, frustrated, and upset? You were like a robot, a smiling robot. I wish you would have expressed yourself more, but you kept yourself bottled up and never said a single thing. I always admired that about you. You never complained about how tired or frustrated you were, but kept smiling. Are you still smiling up there? Remember my dog, Coco? If you see her, you can keep her. She always liked you more than me.

To my old and frail maternal grandmother that became a stranger to me,

Were you sad that we never called or visited? If so, sorry for not calling more often. And trust me, if you had lived only a few minutes away instead of fifteen states away we would have visited you more often. I don’t remember what we even talked about during our last phone call. The only thing I remember was that you kept calling me different names. I was all giggles while reminding you of who you were talking to. It wasn’t until later on that I realized that you might have been suffering from Alzheimer’s. In fact, a lot of us (all your grandchildren) started suspecting that you were showing late symptoms of Alzheimers, but we didn’t knew it back then. Also, those Hmong clothes that you made for me, yeah they no longer fit. But they are store away in a safe place. I only wished we could have made more memories together.

To my grumpy paternal grandpa who passed away while calling out our names,

Every time grandma reminds us that when you were near your last breath you called out to us, but we weren’t there. It makes me frustrated because you were the one that choose to go lived in a state where you none of your own blood and flesh lived. Even after my dad and uncle begged you and grandma to come back, you guys never did. Why did you have to be so stubborn? Why didn’t you listen? That’s why you spent your last days being alone or nearly alone. I couldn’t even come your funeral because airplane tickets was so expensive, but did you know that I had to crammed five finals into two days so that my parents can come pick me up to make it for your funeral. It wasn’t hard, in fact it was all too easy for me. As you know, your granddaughter here can handle anything or almost anything. I hope you’re doing well up there. Also, you should give grandma a visit whenever you can so that she can lessen the nagging on us grandkids.

To my authoritative father, but a loving and supporting one,

Sometimes I wished you would have listened to us, more like mom. Why bother going out to help the community at your age? Especially since you were older and no longer healthy and strong. I get it that you said you are doin git for the sake of us, your children. However, we would have appreciate it if you had just stay home and do nothing strenuous. Now look at what had happened because you couldn’t stay still. Everything has changed. Do you miss us like we miss you? Is your skull back to normal? Sorry for signing the form to let them do the craniotomy, but I had too or we were going to lose you right then and right there. Can you finally speak now? Had I know that I was not going to hear your voice ever again, I would had called home more often. I’m sorry that you didn’t get a chance to go to community college like you wanted and I’m sorry that you had to be our father.