Why I Blog: The Effects of Internalized Oppression on Style Choices

Musings

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A close friend of mine posted this story on Facebook yesterday, and it’s one of those things that you’ve thought about before, but never really thought about it.  After reading this story, it just reconfirms why I wanted to start this blog in the first place.  I don’t necessarily wear crazy prints and colors like Lauren Stardust, but that just means I haven’t freed myself from the very thing Lauren is talking about.  My own internalized misogyny (which Lauren describes as an “”involuntary internalization by women of the sexist messages that are present in their societies and culture”) is completely intertwined with my internalized prejudice.  In fact, I would say it might even be stronger than my internalized misogyny.

Again, it just validates the whole reason I started this blog.  It’s no mystery who some of the more famous non-white bloggers are, but for years I’ve felt like they never casually talked about how being a POC influenced their lives – and more specifically style choices, the very thing they’re famous for.  And maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it doesn’t. But for me, being a POC influences so much of my life. Both good and bad of course. Bad: I try to steer clear of flouncy fit and flare dresses to avoid looking too doll-ish.  As a Chinese American female, “doll-ish” is something I’ve actively avoided my whole adult life in order to be taken seriously.  Good: A lot of times people thing I’m innocent because “hey, I’m a small Asian girl and what harm could I do?” Really plays in my favor whenever I want to be a little mischievous.😈

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Being Asian American…love it and hate the internalized oppression.

Other than giving myself the space to create, I also wanted to use this blog as a platform to talk about how internalized misogyny and prejudice really does affect my style choices and influence how I perceive and navigate the world.  And I really applaud Lauren for being able to confront those internalized oppressions head on.  I have yet to get that far.  But maybe, that journey is about to be written right before your eyes.  Now wouldn’t that be something?😏

ABW

Styling the Beastie: Layers and Boots

Disney Style, Musings, Style

dsc06104The countdown has begun!  Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast will be in theaters in next month and I’m excited to finally see Emma Watson don those iconic Belle outfits.

To celebrate the film’s release, a lot of brands have been producing tons of Beauty and the Beast merch, including Danielle Nicole Handbags.  Early last year, I picked up their Beast clutch, BUT when a friend told me about the Beast backpack they released a couple months ago, all reasoning went out the window.  So yes, now I have 2 Beast bags in my closet.😅

And I’m not gonna lie, a good number of times, I buy these quirky, yet amazing bags and then just set it on a shelf to admire it for days without ever really using it. So this is going to be just like trying to get back to the gym post holiday season😪…I’m going to document different outfits in order to keep myself accountable.😌  Sounds like a solid plan, right?👍🏼  On to the outfit!

dsc06077Beastie: Danielle Nicole, Dress: Free People, Denim jacket: Gap, Top: American Apparel, Boots: souvenir from Stockholm, Sunglasses: Quay, Watch: Michael Kors

The Beastie (oh, that’s my nickname for him btw) is surprisingly roomie. I could fit my camera, fat wallet, 2 phones, and car keys in there and still have room to spare. So when my sister asked me to help her take some photos around Japantown a couple weeks ago, it was the perfect carry-all bag. I wore it with an olive green dress that’s complimentary to Beastie’s tan colors and layered on a denim jacket, which if you look, closely picks up on his blue eyes.👀 It was also a little sprinkly in the city that day, so I wore some tan knee high boots that matched Beastie’s fringe.dsc06088

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Even if I didn’t need to bring my camera with me, this is still a perfect outfit for exploring Japantown. There are SO many places to eat or grab your favorite Asian snacks. One of my childhood favorites are Taiyaki red bean fishes! And there are a couple Asian beauty shops that I love perusing whenever I’m in the area. But most importantly, DAISO!! And look at that, you have a roomy backpack to bring back all those small trinkets and sundries that you didn’t really need, but kinda do at the same time.

Anyways, Japantown will always have a special place in my heart.  The community has pretty much been a part of my life in one way or another growing up. As toddlers, my siblings and I went to preschool there.  When we were tweeners, summer camp. And from the age of 5 to 18, I played in an Asian basketball league that was based out of Japantown’s Buddhist church.  It really felt like we grew up with the community.  I think I will always value and feel connected to the Japantown community.  And, to reiterate, they also have delicious snacks.

ABW

 

 

Pastel Pink Outfits for Valentine’s Day

Style
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Will you be my Valentine, Kalbi?

Valentine’s Day isn’t usually my thing, but it’s kind of amazing how much pastel pink stuff I’ve bought recently.  Maybe I’m subconsciously prepping for the occasion?🤔  But since I’ve been in a long distance relationship for almost 10 years now, I try not to put too much pressure on myself to celebrate the holiday since more often then not, I’m in a different city than the SO.  But I can’t have all these pink clothes go to waste now can I?😏

 

dsc06174Sweater: Sears, Shirt: Urban Outfitters, Leggings: Forever 21, Socks: Cotton On, Mug: VooDoo Doughnut

With the inception of Netflix and chill (like actual chill, not “chill”), it’s sociably acceptable now more than ever to spend a cozy night in.  Crowds and expensive fancy food is overrated anyways.  Well, crowds are at least.  And I usually prefer to be surrounded by huge piles of blankets instead of a tall wall of people. Please don’t elbow me in the face accidentally…🤕

Anyways, cozy and cute are not mutually exclusive.  Picked up this light pink knit sweater and it’s the perfect long cardigan to snuggle up in. Pair with stretchy leggings and fuzzy socks and you’re ready to binge watch Friends for the millionth time.  Bonus: You get 2 pigs as friends.🐷🐷

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And let’s say by some miracle, I actually end up going out for Valentine’s Day. Maybe during Valentine’s Day weekend I’ll go to an art gallery or do dinner and a movie with some friends.  Either way, might as well dress it up a smidge to show how special it is to actually have me out and about.😬

While in Hawaii, I picked up this faux leather shift dress from the Zara sale.  I love that even though it’s pink, it still reads a little tough because of the texture. And to not make everything too sweet, decided to pair it with a bomber and booties.  Substituted my warm blanket for a turtle neck and added matching pastel accessories to complete the look.

dsc06239Dress: Zara, Jacket: Members Only via Wasteland, Shoes: Sam Edelman, Short Sleeve Turtleneck: American Apparel, Clutch: Marshalls, Sunglasses:Quay, Bracelet: Kate Spade, Earrings: Old Navy

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I’ll be honest, I felt a little bit like a Pink Lady that day.💁🏻😎

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Go out and fill the world with pastel pink-ness!💕

ABW

Rock the Dots

Disney Style, Food, Style

dsc05877Since January is usually a birthday month in my books😉, I always tend to forget that it’s also a very special month for one of the top fashion icons – Minnie Mouse!  Throughout the month of January, Disney fans everywhere are encouraged to #RockTheDots to show off their own #MinnieStyle and Disney Style.

Rock the dots also purposely coincides with National Polka Dot day.  So a couple weeks ago, I brought out my dots!  I’ve had this American Apparel dot blouse for a few years now and I love it to death.  It always adds the perfect amount of whimsy to any outfit.  But with my round Asian face and short stature, going full on whimsy can tend to make me look a little tooo doll-ish.  And if you haven’t guessed already, I ain’t always a doll.😏

So I paired my shirt with sleeker items like a polished faux suede moto jacket and slick skinny jeans with a distressed knee, which helps give the whole look a little extra edge.  And to really #RockTheDots, I paired my dotted shirt with studded dot ballet flats.  Another great example of something sweet, yet polished with some edge.  And of course, I had to top it all off with my favorite Mickey bag.🐭

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Shirt: American Apparel, Jacket: Kohl’s LC Lauren Conrad, Jeans: Carmar, Shoes: Sam Edelman, Bag: Disney x Coach, Watch: Micheal Kors, Sunglasses: Quay

And since National Polka Dot day was on a Sunday, we of course had to go out for brunch.  So we stopped by The Palm House.  Got myself the spam and eggs benedict, which was much more filling than I was expecting it to be.  But the brown hash brown looking thing on the bottom…it’s actually a rice “hash brown” if you will.  Genius.  And the eggs… perfectlypoached.  Yolk splits that were food porn worthy.  And the spam wasn’t actual spam. Instead☝️, gourmet braised pork shoulder.  Yes, I may have had to wipe some drool off my face as I write this post.😛

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And aside from the food, the restaurant itself is adorable.  Is city beach house chic a decor term?  Lots of blue with palm green accents.  And if you’re sad about having to eat brunch instead of watching your favorite team play, fret not!  But come on, who actually says no to brunch?!  But if you insist on watching the game, there is a bar area with TVs and you can happily scarf down your jerk chicken tacos or huevos rancheros while watching people professionally tackle each other.  I, personally, prefer to enjoy a hot cup of tea.☕️

ABW

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Je Ne Sais Quoi

Disney Style, Food, Style, Travel

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There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the French expression je ne sais quoi, don’t you think?

Found that gem on google.  Did it make me sound posh and fancy?💁🏻 Unlike the cut off denim shorts I lived in while visiting Honolulu.  And even though many tourists and locals alike can enjoy all the luxurious things the city has to offer, my sister and I usually like to pretend we’re kama’aina.  For us, that means lots of shopping and eating.

To fuel up for our shopping pilgrimage, we stopped by Koko Head Cafe.  Opened by Chef Lee Anne Wong, a finalist on Top Chef, Koko Head Cafe serves up hefty dumplings and brunch-style Asian comfort food.   The cafe also captures that hometown diner feel with surf town decor and Wong’s framed personal photos.  And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Wong’s book Dumplings All Day Wong!  If you ask nicely, you can even leaf through it while you wait for deliciousness to be served.

After stuffing out faces, we needed to walk it all off…before heading to dinner of course.😅 So we stopped by Ward Village South Shore Market.  It actually underwent a huge re-model and I was excited to finally see it.  South Shore Market is comprised of 18 local merchants to showcase and cultivate Hawaii’s creative scene.  Shopping small couldn’t be any easier.  Walking through the stores, I also realized that many of the shop owners are probably POC.  Since Hawaii’s population is almost 40% Asian, it’s also likely that many of these creatives were Asian American.  So not only are you supporting small businesses, but you’re also supporting businesses owned by POC.  So. Much. YES.👏

Do you see that suitcase?  It’s filled with watercolor cards of creatures from Fantastic Beasts.  Yeah, ah-ma-zing!

And speaking of amazing, I also picked up these sparkle heel Zara boots the day before.  They were the last pair left and in my size, so you know…had to get ’em.  Don’t worry, they were on sale.😉  And one of the many apples of my eye, my Disney x Coach red cross body.  The perfect size for your phone and credit cards and comes with the cutest little Mickey hand charm.  It just has a certain je ne sais quoi, non??😏

ABW

dsc05573Shirt: Sincerely Jules, Crossbody: Disney x Coach, Shoes: Zara, Sunglasses: Free People, Shorts: Vintage

San Francisco Women’s March

Musings, Style
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Go get yourself a copy of Bad Girls Throughout History STAT.

Around this time last year, I was in Hawaii frolicking around Aulani Disney Resort with close friends.  We were enjoying a nice meal and of course started talking about the potential election candidates.  I remember I started to cry because it was just unfathomable to me that people were even considering Trump.  After feeling defeated for the past few months, I knew that it was imperative, now more than ever, to do what I could to show my support.* Support for women and feminists.  Support for POC.  Support for LGBTQIA.  Support for choice. Support for the underserved.  Support for the underrepresented.

I’m not usually a rally kind of person.  The introvert in me always tries to figure out if there’s anything that I could do within my four cozy walls to use my voice instead of having to venture to the outside world.  Sometimes I think I’m a cold-blooded reptile since I get so cold so easily outside.  But today was quite the exception.  Earlier in the week I decided to attend the San Francisco Women’s March and meet up with some old co-workers from my non-profit days. Backstory: We all worked together at a non-profit Chinese American Historical museum in Chinatown (check it ➡️ CHSA).  I probably still would have gone to the march, but knowing that I was going to meet up with these amazing women made me that much more excited.  One of them even printed and laminated these perfect Leia rebellion posters.  I, of course, had to sport my “Rebel” Star Wars cap. 👌

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Poster design from Ladies Who Design.  Download it for free and donate to designer Hayley Gilmore!

I actually had to run off for my family’s Chinese New Year’s dinner that evening, so I really only got to stay for the speeches and saw bits of the march on my way out.  A great lineup of speakers and performers, but I choked up the most listening to San Francisco supervisor, Jane Kim.

“My name is Jane Kim…and I am a nasty woman.” ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻   

She went on to explain how she hired an all female, all mothers, WOC legislative team at City Hall and how they’re “getting the job done!”  Are you crying tears of empowerment yet?  And then when she talked about how San Francisco is one of the cities pioneering for social change, I just couldn’t hold it in.  It makes me so proud to be a San Franciscan.

“We have a legacy of being bold.  We were one of the first cities to marry gay couples.  We are one of the first cities to provide single parent universal healthcare.  We are the first city to bring minimum wage to $15 an hour – and most of those workers are women. So let’s march.” – Jane Kim

img_1892My eggs, my choice.🍳🍳🍳 I like them over easy.😜

As mentioned, I pretty much had to make my way over to Chinatown after the speeches, but did get a chance to snap a few photos of the parade and some fun signs.  Apologizing now for the poor photo quality.  It was pretty gloomy.  And by the time the march started, it was raining and dark.  I’m sure the earth was upset that Trump and most, if not all, of his cabinet doesn’t believe in climate change. 😑

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Of course the city showed its support in lighting up City Hall with pink lights.  But I’m sure it’ll change back to blue and gold once the Warriors play again.  I’ll just have to be my own reminder to make my voice heard and support those who need it most.  And I urge you to help us fight.  Rebel against normalizing patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, and bullying.  Rebel against believing that you have no voice.  Rebel against silence.  And for everything that you’ve done so far, thank you. 💗

ABW

OOTD/N:womens-marchRebel hat, Mulan pin: Disney, Glasses: Warby Parker, Girls flag pin: Tuesday Bassen, Egg socks: ikspiari (Japan), Leather jacket: LF, Black skinny jeans: Sears

*UPDATE: I just realized that I did not point out the privilege I have for not feeling the need to go out and march until now.  More specifically, I did not participate in any Black Lives Matter marches or events. That just speaks to the privilege I hold. I was always an ally, re-posting and reading what I could.  But I never felt the need to march.  I never felt in danger because of my race or the language I speak.  I haven’t felt too threatened up until now.  Even though I am a POC, I am not as much a target as, for example, a black male.  And I just wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge that.

Dinner & a Movie: Hidden Figures

Dinner & a Movie, Food, Musings, Travel
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When I’m hungry and you tell me we’re going out for dinner…(Photo from Fox Movies.)

Obviously you know what movie I saw, so we’ll circle back to that in a moment. I promise no spoilers!  First, let’s talk about food.

Last weekend I got to visit my sister for my birthday.  She’s about 2,400 miles away from San Francisco – and traveling that far can make a girl hungry. Yup, we flew to Honolulu, HI.  And whenever my mom and I visit my sister, we usually do a lot of eating and try a good handful of new places.  This time, we ate at Piggy Smalls.
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Opened by the same masterminds behind The Pig & the Lady, I knew Piggy Smalls was going to be fantastic.  Expect unexpected asian fusion combos galore here.  My personal favorite was the hurricane creamed corn.  For those that aren’t familiar with hurricane popcorn, it’s popcorn that has furikake seasoning and japanese rice crackers mixed in.  It’s another name for addictive deliciousness.  So hurricane creamed corn is creamed corn with furikake, rice crackers, and popcorn bits on top.  I’m sure there’s much more cooking involved than just throwing furikake on top, but I’m no chef, so I’m not even going to try to explain to you why this creamed corn was the best creamed corn I ever ate.  Other winners were the Laotian fried chicken and the fish of the day.  And bonus points because the whole place is sprinkled with pig memorabilia.  Please note the small Pua figurine to the far left in the photo below.  Piggy Smalls, it calls me!

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Now on to Hidden Figures.  It was incredible.  I’m sure like many people, I never knew about these amazing WOC.  On the way out, even my sister said, “That’s crazy we never learned about people like that in history classes!”  And she’s right.  We should already know about these incredible women.  But what I love about this movie is that it shows how race, class, gender, and family values play a role in how these women live their lives.  It influences how they approach relationships, navigate the workplace, and ultimately, how they feel about themselves.   In the end, it’s what makes them stronger and smarter.  I also appreciate that the movie wasn’t an outright drama movie.  I’m not a huge fan of watching dramas in theaters since they tend to feel a little tooo heavy.   But Hidden Figures excellently addressed the impact of identity, while still retaining an element of fun and humor.

And with a full pig belly, I still decided to eat some real hurricane popcorn at the theaters.  And reclining seats?!  Yes, please.  I had to celebrate my birthday in style.💁🏻

I think I’d like to make this into a mini-series.  Every month or so, go out for dinner and a movie, then write up my thoughts.  We’ll see how I hold up.  Ok fine, it’s probably an excuse for me to go out for dinner and see a movie once in a while.  Can you blame a girl?! 🙂

ABW

OOTN:dsc05793Dress: Free People, Shirt: Homecoming, Shoes: ZOU XOU, Angry Pig King Logo: Piggy Smalls

 

Hi, I’m A Bit Wong!

Musings

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Hello, people of the internet!  My name is Alisa and you’ve stumbled upon A Bit Wong.

First things first, not only am I declaring today as A Bit Wong‘s birthday, it’s also my own birthday!  Please deliver all birthday cakes to San Francisco. 🙂  But I digress…

So about a week ago, I was rummaging though some junk and found my journal I kept in college.  While reading through it, I realized how often I wrote about my experiences as an Asian American female.  And to my surprise, it actually felt really validating.  These days, being a 3rd generation Chinese American affects almost every aspect of my life.  Not necessarily through huge, swift “acts of God,” but through smaller everyday interactions and my continuous inner monologue.  Aka microaggressions. Ok, getting a little too heavy now.

Anywho, after consistently scribbling in that journal for 2 years, the entries just stopped.  It was like reading an addicting young adult novel and suddenly nothing. Yes, I’m definitely well above the young adult age range – but I’m a sucker for easy reading.  The point is, A Bit Wong will be my epilogue to the Alisa Diaries: College Edition.  I want to use this as a place to write about my experiences through the lens of fashion, travel, and life.  And we’ll throw food in there for good measure.  I’m not saying every post will talk to one of my identities, but since I live and breathe it everyday, don’t be surprised if it sneaks in once in a while. 😉

If you made it this far, congratulations!  You’ve survived your first A Bit Wong musing.  And I can’t wait to have you back for more.

ABW