The other day, after I finished shooting in Central Park, instead of opting to pack up my things right away and head back home to edit, I decided I'd rather sit under a big cherry blossom tree and rest. Admittedly, it's not something I allow myself to do very often, especially when I'm working on a deadline, like I was that day. But something inside me tugged me to do it. So I cozied up at the base of a wide, fluffy blossom tree and I actually closed my eyes for a good few minutes, listening to the sound of bicyclists breeze past, children laughing near Bethesda Fountain and the faint humming of someone's portable stereo in the distance. It's an amazing thing — to just rest in nature, isn't it? Your body absorbs so much just by being in it. When I opened my eyes, the breeze had kissed off many of the cherry blossom petals, which were now falling all around me like a delicate April snow fall. And I felt the warm urge to sit longer because New York in the spring is just too pretty to ignore.
I know the world feels unbearably heavy right now — my heart has been weighing a lot lately with the news cycle these days, as I'm sure is the case for a lot of you, as well. I hope you can find some rest and solace this weekend with whatever you're passionate about. Close friends in your quarantine pod, a good book, a long walk, something creative that gets you out of your own head or even a nap under a big, favorite tree. Sending you all a big hug and all my love.
All payment handles noted in the post above have been coordinated directly with Chyna for her and Daunte Jr. only. These needs and cash tags have been confirmed and told by Chyna herself and any other information on HER behalf should be questioned. Nicolette has also compiled a list of action items here on ways we can help the Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center communities.
A very kind reader left me a comment saying that my posts allow them to "experience New York in such a way that is both exciting and invigorating — as if it's this new, unexplored, uncharted land." And that really struck me as perhaps the highest compliment I've ever received. You see, no matter where you live in the world and no matter how familiar it may feel, if I can in some small way encourage you all to seek with fresh eyes, to marvel with renewed wonder, to explore with unbridled curiosity, well then, I'll feel like my online "influence" (whatever that means) will have been put to good use. Of course, this isn't to say every moment of every day will feel like uncharted territory, far from it I'm sure, but when it does strike, when it does tap you on the shoulder to beckon you to follow, you'll never regret running after it. I promise.
Of course, this got me thinking — I'd love to hear the best compliment anyone has ever given you? Was it something a stranger said while you were walking down the sidewalk? Or perhaps a really heartfelt thought from a friend or family member? More importantly, how did it make you feel? I'd love to hear, especially since I think we're all inclined to not talk about compliments out of fear of sounding vain — when really, I think that only makes us deflect them in the end. Or worse yet, we stop ourselves before giving them to other people.
And I, for one, will hopefully be one of them! I loved this excerpt:
"Americans are good at lots of different things, but going on vacation is not one of them. Every year in parts of Europe, summer turns into a mini-sabbatical. In Norway, during the tradition of fellesferie, the nation simply shuts down for a few weeks of July fun. In Italy, so many people take the last two weeks of August off that Rome’s transit system runs on a reduced “festivi” schedule. Meanwhile, guess which industrialized country is the only one that doesn’t guarantee time off to its workers? Guess which country left 768 million vacation days on the table in 2018? Guess which country … arghhhhhhhh."
Do you have any kindred spirits in your life? People who, in some inexplicable way, resonate at the same frequency as you, the same energy — I like to think of them as a phrase in the same paragraph as me, perhaps even the same sentence. Usually they share common interests, values and world views — and sometimes, if you're lucky, there's an unshakable feeling of déjà vu when you meet them, a fleeting memory from a past life of yours and theirs.
Of course, kindred spirits by design don't come around often (that's what makes them so special!) and if you happen to throw a global pandemic into the mix, the odds of meeting them certainly don't roll out in your favor either. But! Oh the operative but! When they do come around — it's magical! And Léanne is most certainly one of those friends for me — I could tell the moment we started walking around the Frick together, making up fanciful narratives for all the paintings and statues we passed.
You see, Léanne is a fellow old soul. One who loves history, art, cinema, storytelling and any and every excuse to dress up like she’s in a period drama just as much as I do — all of which I say to remind whoever may need to hear it today, that making new friends is certainly never easy. As someone with introverted tendencies, I know that. Moreover, it can be downright daunting the older we get and the more set in our ways we become. But (there's that operative but again!), every once in a while, the universe gives us little nudges that I've come to learn we shouldn't ignore, because they usually lead us somewhere amazing. In case there's a person you've been meaning to reach out to lately, to strike up or perhaps even rekindle a friendship with (safely mind you, given that social gatherings look vastly different these days), I hope this caption is the nudge you needed from the universe to do so.
After watching that horrific video of a 65 year-old woman being beaten in broad daylight here in NYC earlier this week, I'm beyond disheartened. I found this article to be very insightful with six Asian American women who are leaders in their fields sharing the solutions they believe will help stop Asian hate.
Have you been watching the trial this week? Even if you're not, I think this op-ed piece is terribly poignant to read — a reminder of the stakes, so to speak. Here's an excerpt that punched me in the stomach when I read it:
"As we settle into this trial, Black America is forced to watch — and rewatch — the slow-motion murder of yet another innocent Black person as the prosecution works to show just how depraved Chauvin’s actions were on May 25, 2020. It’s beyond challenging and painful to relive this day as an onlooker with no personal connection to Floyd, but an intimate understanding, nonetheless. Floyd begged for his life 27 times. Twenty-seven times. He begged until he had no breath left with which to speak, and even still, as his body lay drained of its life, Chauvin’s knee remained. I can think of no better metaphor for what it is like to live and die while Black in America — under the weight of White supremacy — than this one."
After a lot of online hunting and finger crossing, I was able to land a COVID vaccination appointment slot for Monday. While each state and city is run quite differently, I would recommend all my New Yorkers to check the CVS website between midnight and 1am to refresh for any new appointment slots that might pop up. Don't give up, just keep refreshing! It's also worthwhile checking these sites often, usually on the hour and every quarter hour interval, i.e. 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, 1:45.
What will life look like after all this? I don't know about you, but this question has been on my mind a lot lately. I've been pushing it back, trying to distract myself with other things, other tasks to get done and yet, it always returns. And you know what also returns with it? This strange combination of optimism and trepidation. The former because I'm so heartbroken by the devastation this pandemic has left in its wake and the latter, because I think I've finally found a rhythm in life that suits me. That doesn't drain me.
OK, I know that's strange to say — especially given how much I do miss my family and my friends and good God, what I wouldn't do to hop on a flight out of town— trust me, I want life to return to some semblance of it's normal pace. But there's also quite a bit about my newfound patterns and routines that make me happy. Like waking up early and going to bed early. No big evening plans, with back to back brand events that derail my downtime. The need to get creative at home with my own camera. Long talks while making dinner at home with my boyfriend. The welcome solitude of a neighborhood walk.
In a lot of ways, throughout the hardships of this past year, I've created a cocoon for myself— mainly out of necessity, sure, but now that I'm here in it, it's hard to feel excited about breaking out of it just yet. I feel safe and balanced in it. Can anyone else relate?
Whenever I think about the debate of gun control in this country, I think about this PBS Town Hall with then President Obama, where he quite pragmatically outlines how and why we need common sense gun control laws in less than 5 minutes. The fact that I can vividly remember when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999 (a kid not much younger than those involved) and can recall, in a hazy blur mind you, all the mass shootings that have occurred since, with zero progress made on gun control, well, that's just horrifyingly tragic.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song and Grammy performance mirrors how millennial Black women are challenging respectability politics, says hip-hop scholar Aria S. Halliday. A great read anddddd you will get 'WAP' stuck in your head. Sorry, not sorry.
Why does the gender wage gap still exist? And what can be done to close it? This article unpacks the issue, in light of March 24th just passing— the date that marks just how far most women in America need to work into the new year in order to match their male counterpart's pay. And that date varies on race.
"You tell yourself that the world cannot be filled with this much hate, hoping that one day these thoughts will erase the pain and that compassion will somehow manifest itself into every being - but the reality is, there is so much hate. In fact, you don’t need to travel far to witness it because sometimes, it will walk through your front door to let itself in. America has failed us as a community. Not only did the former administration fuel anti-Asian sentiment, but this nation has failed us from the beginning - from the Chinese Exclusion Act to utilizing Asians as the model minority to justify racist anti-Blackness ideals - America has always had a racist history of vilifying minorities in a time of crisis, while allowing white supremacy to roam its streets.
The senseless shooting in Atlanta yesterday is just more reason why we must all rise up to not only #StopAsianHate, but to proactively protect Asian communities. They were our women and they did not deserve this fate. They were daughters, mothers, sister, wives. As Asian women, we are often taught to stay silent and compliant, not to draw attention to the problem with the possibility of creating more problems, but this will no longer be. To my AAPI brothers and sisters, I hope we can use this anger, fear, sadness to root out hate. To our allies, please do what you can, not just as a display of solidarity, but participate in a more active role to uplift our community - we are not the virus."
I shared a few resources in yesterday's blog post but this guide is an extremely comprehensive starting point for allyship resources, key organizations to donate to and current stats and legislation measures.
Sometimes, the smallest details distract me in the biggest way. Yesterday for instance, the afternoon sunshine poured in through our living room windows, creating the most beautiful shadows across our coffee table. I immediately stopped writing the email I was mid-typing and grabbed my camera. Ten minutes later, I was dipping this vintage Chanel bottle into its own mini private pool, pearls and all, thinking almost out loud to myself how divine a bath of Chanel No. 5 would feel.
Then, I started to notice all the imperfections on the bottle itself. Little scratches here and there, fading in the ink on the label, small patches of age discoloration — and it made me love it even more. So much charm and character packed into one small bottle that I was just now getting to fully appreciate, magnified underwater.
Where am I going with all this? No where really, other than to remind you to celebrate and honor the small details. No matter how fleeting, whenever and however you can. Even if it’s just the afternoon sun, reminding you to look up from your laptop every once and a while.
As we find ourselves at the one year anniversary of a chapter that has changed all our lives in big and small ways, I hope you can remember to take joy in details — at least for me, they've made all the difference these past 365 days.
My friends at Farfetch asked me to join a tribute they were putting together for International Women's Day earlier this week and I'm so honored to be featured alongside so many amazing women, whose platforms I truly admire in this space. We were asked to emulate a favorite female icon and I made a younger Krystal proud by selecting Amelia Earhart, an aviation pioneer who I dressed up as when I was younger for a school project. Love when things come full circle like that.
I know this isn't the sexiest thing in our list today but trust me, you should be getting a jump start on your taxes now — there are a lot of changes this year that could cut your bill or even generate extra refunds.
If you're still thinking about last Sunday's Oprah interview — I'm in the same boat. This essay on colorism is a great, succinct read — here's an excerpt that stood out to me:
"Is “light-skin privilege” a thing? Yes. It is, and I say this as a Black woman with lighter skin. I do not take pleasure in recognizing that I have experienced a certain level of privilege due to my skin tone at some point in my life. But just as heterosexuals must acknowledge their privilege and as Whites must acknowledge theirs, I have to recognize that in the U.S., Black folks who have lighter skin often experience preferential treatment. If this weren’t the case, colorism would not exist."
4minute read4minute read "I think when you begin to think of yourself as having achieved something, then there's nothing left for you to work towards. I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it." ~ Cicely Tyson
Earlier this summer, I was introduced to Clive Christian — a brand with deeply rooted British heritage, with none other than Queen Victoria herself as perhaps their first true ambassador (her crown-likeness sits atop each bottle, in fact!).
Their scents — drawing from the ethereally light and floral to the heady and rich, have quickly become some of my favorites; delicious notes that have undeniably punctuated a strange, and at times, blurry year. But that's the thing about memories, isn't it? We spend so much effort romanticizing the good times — crystalizing them in our minds — that we forget the harder ones can be just as pivotal, just as sweet, just as worthy of remembrance. A reminder of what we overcame and how we forged ahead.
A few weeks ago, their team sent me their latest fragrance — Crab Apple Blossom — and I was immediately taken by the blend. Top notes infused with marine bergamot, bitter yuzu, lemon tree and citruswood, balanced with softer, quieter heart notes of neroli and water lily, grounded with just a touch of sandalwood and moss. It's an elusive mix of opposites that I think serves as a fitting ending tribute to this whirlwind of a year. A blend that balances extremes in a beautiful way — the whimsical with the grounded. The bitter with the sweet. The ingénue with the femme fatale. The out of focus with sharp clarity. Take the crab apple itself for instance, arguably one of the most sour apple types around and rarely eaten straight off the tree — but when prepared the right way and paired lovingly with the right ingredients, its counterparts? It sings. Oh, it sings.
Anddddd on the flip side, when too much positivity becomes a negative thing -- I found this article to be quite interesting. Here's a succinct pull quote:
"When people use or demand positive emotions or optimism in a way that causes people to feel oppressed or disregarded, that's toxic positivity,” Stephanie Preston, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Michigan explains. “It ranges from people actively trying to maintain their own spirits or sticking their heads in the sand, to forcefully preventing others from voicing uncomfortable concerns.” No matter how well meaning, such blind positivity can feel “repressive or invalidating to others,” Preston adds.
3minute read3minute read "If you live in New York long enough — and it doesn’t have to be very long — it gradually becomes unrecognizable. And maybe, you begin to realize, it’s for someone else entirely, someone new or from somewhere else, someone perhaps with more money, more energy: someone circumstantially or possibly constitutionally ignorant of what you took to be authentic about this place when it felt like it was yours. (Nothing makes you feel old like listening to someone talk about what you know to be an upstart as iconic.) It’s too big a city to live in all of it, so you find your corners, your go-tos. Sometimes they are long-running, but mostly they come and they go. It’s part of the Darwinian, self-alienating thrill of the place: More often than not, you outlive your landmarks."
3minute read3minute read "America was built by people like them. America was built by John Lewises. He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And someday when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America."