. Wednesday, May 30, 2018 .
As you may have noticed, I haven't been writing as much as I used to on this blog. I used to have this idea in my mind that I needed to update every 3 days to keep people's interest, but I realize now that by doing so I wasn't making content I was proud of. I realize that it should be less about the volume of the content that I produce and more about the quality of what I put out there. 

For a short period of time, my priorities were in the wrong order: I cared more about the number of page views I was getting rather than whether or not a post really meant something to me. My original purpose of this blog was to document my life and study abroad, and I want to stay with that theme because I feel that's being true to myself. My goal for the rest of this year is to place less pressure on myself and create blog posts that I would want to read 5, 10 years down the line.

With this in mind, I'm finally making a post about what's been going on in my life recently, along with some camera shots that I've taken with my new camera. 

New Camera


About a month ago I purchased the Sony A5000 again after my old one sadly broke. If you are just getting into photography, blogging or vlogging I definitely recommend this camera for you. It doesn't break the bank as it only comes in at around $250. I've found that the audio and video quality are incredible, and I haven't had any issues! I'll admit it, it was my own fault the camera broke. I'm trying to be more gentle with this one!

Since getting my camera I've focused more on actually taking photos instead of uploading them. I've been taking more photos that I keep to myself instead of posting on social media platforms. I've been trying to do some more experimental photography and I've also been working on photography in the realm of documenting my everyday life.

Being wacky with Charis


Social Media Cleanse

'Cleanse' is a super trendy word these days but I feel like that's exactly what I've done recently. About a month ago I decided to delete my Snapchat account. I noticed that I was never using it and that it just kind of sat there on my phone taking up space, so I decided to end it all and finally delete it. If I'm being totally honest, sometimes I forget that Snapchat even exists. These days a lot of other social media platforms have the element of a "story" to them so I don't find myself missing Snapchat.

After my 'cleansing' member of deleting Snapchat, I decided to dive right into a full social media cleanse, in which I've stayed away from platforms like Facebook or Twitter. I found that these platforms didn't contribute positively to my life and instead promoted me consuming pointless media whenever I had a free moment. 

I found that my time on Instagram was usually spent wishing that I had certain things or looked a certain way. In the end, I chose to keep these platforms because they help me connect with others and promote my blog but I've been learning how to use them in a healthier way. 

I no longer spend time watching people's "stories". I no longer send a tweet unless I feel like it's something that I feel is important to share. I'm actively trying to be mindful of my actions, which means I need to be mindful of my blogging as well. I'll never be the type of person that posts on their Instagram story every day. I won't be the person that posts a Facebook status or checks in somewhere when I go out. 

I'm not saying that type of person is wrong in any way (you do you!), but I know that's just not how I want to use my social media. 


I posted these two pretty shots of Coraline!

A New Job


Another big reason as to why haven't been blogging as much as I used to is because I'm focusing on my new job. I started working with a new company called TAL (VIPX, Le Waijiao, etc) about 15 days ago. I have to say it's one of the most intense interview experiences I've ever had, all in all, lasting about a week including training sessions. 

The job is more intense than my older teaching position but I'm realizing now that that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

Through this job, I'm learning that your attitude and motivation towards something can entirely change your perspective of how daunting a task may be. The first week I started working I had my mind made up that this job was way too stressful, but after sticking out a little longer I realize that my happiness in this position is entirely how I view it, so I'm working to adopt a more positive attitude to make work more fun! 

A New Experience


Very recently, I started adventuring alone. 

Now anyone that knows me knows that I'm a huge extrovert! I'm not the type of person who enjoys doing social activities by myself, but I had a passing thought that I really wanted to branch out and explore where I live, New York.

So: here's my big moment. About 2 weeks ago I went into the city alone for the first time. I've traveled to New York City dozens of times before, but this was the first time that I was going to New York City totally alone. I know, this may sound ridiculous because I'm 20 years old doing something alone for the first time, but this was a really big step for me! 

I went to a Japanese conversation meetup and met a lot of great people. I had such a great experience that I decided to do the same thing the next week!

I had a mindful moment while I was in the city last Friday. It was about 10 pm and I looked up to the sky as I was walking through the city streets. I saw the lights all around me and had this thought floating around in my mind. I thought "I feel so free right now". At that moment, this overwhelming feeling of happiness, self-assurance, and gratefulness just washed over me. I felt so lucky to be myself. I felt so happy just to be me. 

My Sister


My beautiful sister turned 18 this month and graduated high school. We were practicing some makeup looks for prom and I snapped this beautiful picture of her. This has got to be my favorite shot from this month. Happy 18th to the best sister I could have asked for.

Makeup practicing for Prom

That's all to share for now. I hope you have a beautiful day!

. Monday, May 7, 2018 .

 ENG/JP POST! :)


In this post I'm going to include a brief summary of what I did at the festival and such in Japanese as well, just to get some practice in! I took a little vlog of my time at the festival, I hope you enjoy!! I had a lot of fun, I really recommend everyone to go to Sakura Matsuri at least once in their lives~


先週末、私はホワイト・プレインズの桜祭りに行きました!過去5年間に、毎年桜祭りに行ったことがあります!前の5年間は、毎年桜祭りに行く時は、浴衣を着たんですけど、今年手伝える友達がいなかったので、普通の洋服を着ました!祭りに行く前に、ビデオを取る予定があったけど、あまり使えるビデオ映像はあまり取れませんでした!!

私は祭りの色々な美味しい食べ物に気を取られすぎました。私の友達カリスさん、が初めて来たから、ビデオで日本のお菓子を食べて見る経験が撮りました!楽しかったです!本当に少なくとも一度は桜祭りに行くことをおすすめします!撮ったビデオをぜひ見てください〜


VIDEO:










. Tuesday, May 1, 2018 .



I've been teaching English online to Chinese students for about 6 months now, and I've finally decided to move to another company after using TaoTao English, my first online teaching job.

I really enjoyed working at Tao Tao, and I noticed that when I first signed up for the program I couldn't find any resources from other teachers that explained how to use the app or what the teaching experience was like.

For that reason, I decided to make a video talking about my experiences and the pros and cons of working with TaoTao. I'll be perfectly honest and say that I'm sad to be moving on from working with them because I love my students there but I'm ready to jump into my next position which is also a teaching job teaching English to students in China!




By the way, I know my bangs are super messed up in this video. I didn't check them before I started filming the video which is my bad LOL.

I hope this video is informative and can help you if you are someone who's looking to teach online!

Despite the issues I may have had with TaoTao,  I really recommend them as an entry-level position for getting your feet wet into the remote/online teaching world.

Enjoy!

. Monday, April 9, 2018 .


When studying a language, having a plethora of examples is an extremely useful tool for seeing how the word is used.

I have used both Tangorin and Tatoeba in the past when looking for example sentences for new JLPT vocab! I thought it would be fun to compare them, so here we are!

I wanted to make a comparison post with some pros and con's for each one because I feel they have a few similarities.

Let's get started!


Tangorin



So this is the launch page when you click the website! It's pretty simple, and the tags are pretty self-explanatory.  The color scheme is pretty much orange, black, white and grey.


I decided to search the word '教育'. Here we can see not only a definition but also a breakdown of the Kanji. This is using the general tab, which encompasses all of the other tabs into one large search.


Since I use this site to help me find examples for new vocab, I just clicked the 'Examples' tab right after using the 'General' tab and a few examples popped up. This is only half of what was offered, so needless to say Tangorin offers a lot of natural sounding and pretty commonly used phrases.

The cool thing about this site is that if you click the grey plus button at the end of each example, you can save these to your account on the site. Then you can easily access your favorite examples and use them to study!

Another feature is that they sort of have additional translations available if English isn't your native language. However, this seems pretty limited.




Pros:


  • Easy to read, nice layout
  • Multiple language options
  • Ability to save examples
  • Simplistic but effective search options

Cons:


  • Not all examples have other language translations up and ready

Tatoeba


So Tatoeba is a little bit different in the way that the examples are crowdsourced from the user base. These users can take examples from basically anywhere, and I noticed some exact copies from Tangorin.

Another thing about Tatoeba is that you don't even need to use it for Japanese, it can be used for anyone who's learning a foreign language and would like to just search for something in that language.


This is the top half of the launch page. I decided to use the same word '教育' and search without applying any language filters, just to see what results the site provides me.


I got these results, which means the system picked up these two Kanji as Chinese. I can't read Chinese but I can understand the French sentence, which basically said that education is important. So it looks like we have the meaning down, but the language is incorrect.


So once I set the language to Japanese I got a correct search, accompanied by some other language translations. Something interesting I want to point out here is that this sentence came from a user who submitted it. However, this is the exact same sentence that was displayed on Tangorin.


Scrolling down a bit, this sentence is clearly also from Tangorin. It even uses the exact same name: Tom. 

My issue with this site is that, though translations and submissions need to be approved, I don't really trust user provided example sentences. 
Another thing is that, if you look at the side, the users can self-identify as a native speaker. I'm not so trusting that all the people that 'self-identify' are actually natives.

However, I will say that this site is miles ahead of Tangorin regarding other language translations. If you don't speak English and want to use Tangorin, your examples are a lot more limited.

When you click on the 'i' next to an example, you are taken to this page. This is where you can see who added, liked or commented on this example. Also, I think it's really cool that some of the translations have audio!

Pros:

  • Can be used with virtually any language
  • Multi-language translation
  • Seems like a fun and active community
  • Possible audio that can come along with the examples

Cons:

  • The site seems a little messy 
  • Not sure about crowdsourced example reliability
All in all, I think if I was learning a language other than Japanese I might take a trip to Tatoeba, but for now, I really like Tangorin! Luckily, I speak English natively and don't need to use the other language functions. For those who don't, I really recommend trying out Tatoeba and seeing how you like it.

I hope this post was helpful!

. Wednesday, March 28, 2018 .

I had the pleasure of receiving a wonderful gift from my boyfriend Vincent for our two year anniversary, a bottle of my favorite perfume: Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. This is the Eay De Parfum Intense spray. I received a sample of this perfume a few months ago when Vincent got me a lovely red lipstick by Chanel. He chose this sample, along with a sample of their mascara. I quickly became obsessed with the scent and tried to conserve the tiny sample I'd received. I mentioned, while video chatting with Vincent one night, that I loved the smell of it. 

To my dismay, he told me the sticker price for 3.4 fl oz, to which I quickly said 'Never mind!'. 

My love for the perfume stayed in his mind, and he gave me this box days after our anniversary had passed. The shipping was slower than he'd expected, so it became an after anniversary surprise.



In the package came this little card. I think it's a very cute touch to add this little note. The actual packaging it came in looked very unassuming. It was wrapped in grey plastic and the sender's address was just a bunch of numbers. I think they did this to make the package look inconspicuous when being sent, which is a smart idea. 

Other than looking pretty, this card has no purpose. I think I'll save it for my friend Amanda to paste in her journal.


This is the box opened up! The paper inside the box is sealed with a Chanel 'wax seal', which sadly is not an actual wax seal but a thin sticker. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't an actual wax seal, considering how high-end Chanel is. Included in the box was my perfume, another mascara sample and a sample of Chanel No.5. Vincent selected these samples himself!


Here is the perfume and the box! The perfume is a lovely rose gold shade. I have the 1.7 oz bottle, which retails at around $110. 

Chanel describes this scent as: 'An extreme, luminous and deep concentration of Patchouli infuses COCO MADEMOISELLE EAU DE PARFUM INTENSE with a voluptuous dimension. The warm, soft and feminine Amber accord — an intoxicating blend of Tonka Bean and Vanilla from Madagascar — wraps the scent in sensuality.'


I have to agree! This scent comes off as very youthful, with a hint of nostalgia. 

When I was younger, an aunt of my purchased Princess by Vera Wang as one of my birthday gifts. I used the entire bottle in under a year because I was so obsessed with how flirty it smelled. I get a bit of nostalgia when I smell Coco Mademoiselle because they both share strong notes of mandarin and vanilla. 

Coco Mademoiselle gives the essence of the fun, flirty young woman on the run. It feels like a perfume I should wear while walking down the streets of new york in a flowing white top and cigarette pants. This is the perfume for the modern girl whos discovering her style day by day. 

I really enjoy the intensity of this perfume. It may come off as a bit heavy for some but I love to have a signature scent waft into the room with me as I step in. I'm hoping this perfume can become my next signature scent, so I've been wearing it every day. I spritz a small amount of my left wrist and a small amount of the base of my neck. 

A lot of reviews I read said they think this perfume is long lasting, and Vincent agrees! While I've become a bit used to the scent as the days go on, Vincent says he's been 'smelling it for days'. For me, this is a huge plus because this means other people smell it as well! I don't think there's anything wrong with a powerful smell, as long as it's a good one!

I hope you enjoyed my little review, and I encourage you to get a sample size of Coco Mademoiselle if you can!