Why Chinese New Year is One of My Favorite Holidays

By far, Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays.

You may be thinking that Chinese New Year is only one of my favorite holidays because I receive a good amount of red envelopes that have money inside of them, but no, that is not the reason behind why I love CNY, though a very small percentage of that can and does play a role into my reasoning behind all of this.

For starters, no matter what day of the week Chinese New Year falls on, Dad takes off! Coming from a family with a small business owner as a father, I appreciate and try to take advantage of the small number of days that my dad takes vacation days because there are only a few of them.

Secondly, this is probably the main reason why I love CNY. I love CNY because my whole family (that’s in America) from Dad’s side gathers together at my fourth uncle’s house. This includes my grandma, all my uncles, aunts and cousins. Throughout the year I don’t see them much so it’s so nice being able to sit and pig out together and catch up on life. Family means a lot to me because at the end of the day, family is blood and family will always be there for you.

Besides seeing my family by blood, we also celebrate with our God family. My God family includes one of my childhood best friends, my God brother, and their parents (my parents are my God siblings’ parents). Last night we broke bread over a ten course meal and it’s always so nice to sit and chat because we don’t really see them too often either.

Also, this year is the year of the Rooster. I was actually born in the year of the Rooster (you can check what year you were born in by googling your year of birth), and to be honest, as much as I don’t believe in luck or anything because I believe everything happens for a reason, I can already tell this is going to be a great year.

Good health and prosperity to you all, and Happy Chinese New Year!

Speak soon.

Best,

Brett

The Grass IS Greener On The Other Side

For the longest time, I felt an empty void, I felt lost. Was it my depression speaking? Was it because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life? I’ve always felt like something was missing, like I was a small fish in a big pond. This is especially to be true when I dive deep into a depressive state, or when I’m confused about what God wants me to be in life (because there is so much that I want to accomplish.)

Why is it that us millennials always feel the NEED to know what we want to do, who we want to be? The age old question was and is, “what do you want to be/do in life?” We’ve been taught to answer this always. And if you didn’t have an answer, you were already deemed unsuccessful.

What about for those who have mental illnesses? People similar to me with anxiety and bipolar disorder? Has anyone ever thought to listen to what we have to say, and how hard it is for us to live a “normal” day-to-day life? This is not to say that my life is so difficult in any way more than yours, but sometimes it can be a little challenging.

After researching my mental illnesses, I can now say that I believe that I have lived with anxiety my whole life. I’m not sure if I’ve been bipolar my whole life, but I know for a fact that I had a real manic episode back in April of 2016 when I was working my first full time job, which also then led to me having another manic episode this December.

Anxiety.

I think anxiety is oftentimes overlooked as a mental illness because people think that being “anxious” means that you’re extremely “shy” and “awkward.” But anxiety really is an uneasy, apprehensive feeling. To me, anxiety is living and breathing in your own head, overanalyzing every situation. My anxiety oftentimes prevents me from performing well and thinking straight, because too much is going on and I cannot focus because of my heightened senses. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks previously before (and in those moments, I didn’t even know they were attacks) – my whole body begins to overheat, I feel like I can’t breathe with shortness of breaths, and my mind just overflows with so many thoughts and I feel like I cannot function.

Bipolar disorder.

As stated above, it is safe to say that I’ve had two manic episodes. One back in April and one this December. A lot of things trigger me – everyone and everything can trigger me. Certain people trigger me, colors trigger me, sounds trigger me, the dark triggers me. It’s definitely all a form of PTSD (I wrote about this before). Going from depression to recovering from depression to being manic to recovering again is so exhausting to be honest. This is what happened this time – I was recovering from depression then I became manic again because of certain events. That is why I checked myself into the ER, that is why I felt the need to go to the hospital. I wanted answers. I wanted help. I needed help. I still need help.

Underneath it all, though, I am a fighter and I am a survivor. I will not let my anxiety and my bipolar-ness define me.

The grass IS greener on the other side, sometimes you just have to keep fighting the fight and keep walking down this road we call life. Things may surprise you. I will continue to be the individual I was raised to be. I will continue to be as honest and as transparent as I can be.

I think it’s normal for us millennials to NEED to know what we should be in life. But it’s also okay to not know, too. We’re so young and there are so many years ahead for us to LIVE. Why don’t we just start living in the now? Why don’t we start being comfortable in our own skin? I, for one, am so blessed to have such beautiful people surrounding me, who are always constantly give me great advice, great memories, great conversations – these are the people that I live for each and every day. With that, I am so thankful and I am so privileged to live a beautiful life.

That’s all for now, folks.

Till next time.

– B.

Fight For What’s Right

This was an interesting weekend, wasn’t it?

With the inauguration of our “forty-fifth president” on Friday and the Women’s March which followed the day after, I feel the need to write a post about my views. I feel the need to write a post in which speaks of my morals and values. I feel the need to write in order to be heard.

I am the third child of two Chinese-Vietnamese individuals. Both my parents are Chinese but Mom was born and raised in Vietnam whereas Dad was born in Cambodia and raised in Vietnam. My siblings and I were born and raised in America – New York to be exact. I guess this makes us Chinese-Vietnamese Americans, based upon the previous statements (I’ve always been confused with my heritage till now haha.) Anyway, let me keep going with this.

There have been times in my life where I felt like I didn’t matter. There have been times where I was not heard. There have been times where I’ve said “no” and the other party on the other side of things still felt to ignore my words. There have been times where I didn’t want to be who I am because of my heritage and background. There have been times where I felt that being a boy would make things so much easier.

Why is that? It baffles me that we currently live in the year 2017, and women STILL have to fight the fight in order to break barriers, chains, and ceilings. How is it that we STILL feel that we are not heard? Why are there STILL double standards?

I still get cat-called at once in a while. I still get made fun of because of my ethnicity sometimes. I still feel belittled in a room full of White supremacists sometimes. I still feel like I don’t matter because I am a woman sometimes.

My name is Brettany (hear me roar bc I am now willing to speak up) and I am an Asian American woman who has been diagnosed with mental illnesses. With that, I feel that it is my duty to continue to be strong for my gender, my race, my ethnicity and my community.

If only we could go back into time and physically see what awesome women like Joan of Arc, Queen Isabella, Queen Elizabeth I, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, etc. have done in order to pave a path for us. If. Only. Here, I’ll provide a link where you can read up about all the strong female characters within history – READ ME.

Don’t people realize who even gave birth to them? Need I spell the word out for you? You came from a w-o-m-a-n. Your m-o-t-h-e-r gave birth to you, whether you choose to believe that or not.

Women’s rights are human rights. We are all equals. Both men AND women have done so much for our country (and the world). Let us recognize that. Men can be feminists too – it’s called being a nice person who believes in equal rights.

We as women SHALL be heard. We as women WILL be heard. We as women CAN be heard.

Let us continue to fight the fight. Let us continue to be survivors.

Let us be the bigger people and love others unconditionally like we always have.

After all, love TRUMPS all, am I right?

Deuces,

B2

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

We’ve been taught this saying since we were little. What does this even mean? Who came up with this saying?

I can’t answer the second question but I can definitely answer the first question. To me, “don’t judge a book by its cover” means that we should not judge others by what they look like, by what they say, by what they choose to dress like, etc. I say this because a lot of times I tend to judge people immediately by what they say and how they act, and that’s wrong. In a conversation, in the workplace, at church, at home, in a relationship, whereever you may be where it involves more than one party, I think we should always consider both (or more) sides of the equation instead of jumping to conclusion so quickly.

I say this because I’ve been in sticky situations quite recently and I may have quickly jumped to conclusions too soon (before gathering any information).

Who am I to even judge others, though? What right do I have to say something about someone else when I’m not them? I think a lot of the times, we tend to jump the gun. We tend to forget that others are actually quite similar to ourselves. We are all perfectly imperfect.

You never know what people are going through till you walk in their shoes. You never know what’s going on at home, you never know if someone is truly depressed because they could be hiding it.

This is a friendly reminder for myself to be kind to others always no matter the circumstance. This is a reminder for me to stay positive and negate all negative thoughts. Like the yellow rose in the image above, there is still beauty in the world – sometimes you just gotta look over your shoulder.

Stay humble and hungry.

Best,

Brettany

My First Blog Post was for “Coolest Handmade Costumes”

My first ever blogging experience was for the website, www.coolest-handmade-costumes.com. My “cool” costume was a couple costume idea that I had executed for Kevin and I during my sophomore year of college, his junior year of college.

I loved this costume because it was so easy to make! We dressed up as Popeye and Olive Oyl and I just remember having a blast getting into character and taking pictures with one another and our friends.

For my junior year and super senior (my ninth semester bc I graduated a semester late) year of college, I also DIY-ed mine and Kevin’s costumes! My junior year we were Wenda and Waldo, and in October 2015, we were Wonder Woman and Clark Kent. Pictures also found below:



I really like Halloween because you’re able to dress up as a character or a jubilee of characters (if you’re doing a group costume). I know, I know. A lot of Christians don’t like Halloween because of the story behind it and what it represents, which I get and I respect. But underneath it all, besides the negatives, I think Halloween can be celebrated (to a certain extent and these are just my personal views) if you turn to the positives of the holiday. In high school actually, my favorite group costumes were with my five close girlfriends. In total, there were six of us. We called ourselves AS6 (short for Asian Sisters 6) and we always handmade our costumes as well. Our junior year of high school, we dressed up as soda cans which was awesome. Then during our senior year, we dressed as the cast from the Pixar movie, UP. That was one of my favorites as well.  Pictures can be found right below:



And just for ish and giggles, here’s me and my siblings with my stylish looking mother back when  I was in pre-school and they were in elementary school:

Anyway, the link to my blog post for the Popeye and Olive Oyl couple costumes on www.coolest-handmade-costumes.com can be found here. Hope you enjoy! And please let me know if you ever get to use this for next Halloween!

See ya later, alligators.

Blessings on blessings,

Brettany

Inequity in many Aspects

equality-vs-equity

With the inauguration coming up, this is a touchy subject to write about. This is a subject I sometimes fear to raise my voice and stand up to be heard about.

Inequity in many aspects meaning women’s rights, human rights, civil rights, racism, etc. The list can and DOES go on.

I am an Asian American woman who was born and raised in a small town in New York  who has been medically diagnosed with a few mental illnesses. My whole life I felt that I was treated differently by my peers, my teachers, the media (which ranges from magazines, books, television, you name it), etc. You would think that living in the twenty-first century that people would learn to treat others equally because at the end of the day we’re all human, right? But no. Sadly enough, there are still horrible people out there and coming from a person who is so idealistic, it is oftentimes horrifyingly heart-wrenching to have these ideals to be broken. It pains me to know that children of color who are born into this world in 2017 can still be viewed differently just because they may look “different” than what the media portrays “normal” to be.

Why is racism still a thing? Why are women still treated unfairly? Why do women have to fight harder to break glass ceilings? Why do people of color get treated unfairly when it comes to trials in a court of law? Why is there always politics everywhere, no matter where you go?

Police brutality. Catcalling. Cat-phishing. Domestic abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Physical abuse. Social security. Cyber-bullying. Cyber-stalking. Fraud.

These are just a few things that make me angry. These are just a few things that need to be abolished.

Who can we depend on to change these negatives into positives?

I’m no politician but I have a voice. YOU have a voice. We all have voices. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up even if you’re in a crowded place and when it may seem like the whole world is against you. Stand firm in what you believe in and go for what you want.

When I was in the psychiatric ward at Gracie Square Hospital, I learned a lot about different cultures because I was able to talk to older individuals with much more experience than I had. People who knew what they did wrong in their lives to get to where they were and they knew exactly why they were in the psych ward. But my favorite part of being in the psych ward was that I was able to create conversation and just learn and listen to people who had so much to say.

I was telling Sharing this today actually. One of my favorite individuals from the psych ward was Greek and he was teaching me about the Grecian government back in the day (not sure if they still do this and if you’re Greek and what I’m saying is completely wrong, please correct me). We were talking about politics and he taught me that in the old days they would pick six (give or take, this number may be incorrect) completely average people at random to rule the cities and they would rotate just to see what each person had to give and just to see how each person thought. If they liked an idea, they would stick with it. If they didn’t, they’d change something about it. I thought this was genius because since they were just average people, they didn’t really have a big name to themselves and they didn’t let the power get to them.

Gandhi once said “be the change you want to see in the world.” I am a firm believer in this. I may not be able to move mountains, but what I can do is change the way that I treat people. I can and I will continue to outwardly love as much as I possibly can, even if it sounds super idealistic. I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of and I know that if God is for me, who shall be against me? I know not everyone holds the same spiritual thoughts as I but I firmly believe that the positives will always negate the negatives.

Little by little, step by step, I have hope for 2017.

And I will continue to hold onto this sliver of hope. We will make it, fam. We will make it. Just hold on, we’re going home (love you, Drake).

P.S. I’m very open to discussion. Please comment or email if there’s anything you’d like to talk about!

Speak soon.

– B.T.


January 9, 2016

I watched Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes last night and I could not agree more with what she said. While what I mentioned in the above about the Grecian government is still something I think could work, I do agree that people with power can still be awesome influencers for this country and the world.

Meryl Streep’s speech was amazing. First and foremost, she received a standing ovation but she told the audience to “please sit down” repeatedly. She then began by listing out famous actors and actresses and where they came from, born in America or not. Her exact words were, “so Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners.” The speech continues and she then says “and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not of the arts.”

Anyways, before I spoil the whole speech for you, let me link it for you so that you can watch it for yourself and feel all the magic that was within her whiling giving the speech. You can watch the whole speech here.

I’m out for now! I’m trying this thing where I try to write a post every day to let me relax my mind and so that I have someplace to put my thoughts.

Always,

Brett

Gluten-Free Chicken Lettuce Boats

I recently discovered that I have a sensitivity towards gluten, so much of my diet needs to be changed. Today I had a therapy appointment and right after on the way home, I was thinking of what I should eat for lunch. My mom and I went to King Kullen and I immediately saw packages of hearts of romaine so I immediately thought of making chicken lettuce boats. These are definitely gluten free because I am substituting bread with the lettuce! Below you can follow my step by step instructions so that you, too, can make them yourself at your own free will. Trust me, you’ll want to make these. They’re fresh, crunchy, tasty, and extremely healthy all at the same time. Lettuce jump right into it.

The ingredients I purchased for this recipe can be seen above. To list what I bought: organic packaged hearts of romaine, baby carrot sticks, chicken tender strips, broccoli slaw, boathouse yogurt and cucumber dill dressing, basil, and mild salsa. I bought the salsa just to have at home, and I had carrots on the side of my lettuce boats. You’ll see what I did with them below. Moving on.

Here, I began to cook the raw chicken tender strips. I first turned the stove on medium heat, poured some grapeseed oil (my mom loves cooking with this kind of oil) and I placed all of the chicken into the pan one by one. Spices used include salt, cilantro, garlic powder and lemon pepper. Pretty simple and light. I was debating if I should use the wet basil paste but I decided to use that later on instead. You’ll see.

After all the chicken was cooked, I used a scissor to cut it all up into small chunks. I prepared two packs of chicken tender strips – mainly because I know I can use the chicken for other recipes as well. Anyway, here I began prepping all of the other raw ingredients. I washed my hearts of lettuce (I ate three total), and I prepared the broccoli slaw by portioning it into a bowl of the amount that I wanted for this recipe.


Almost there! As you can see in the top right corner, I added a good amount of chicken into the same bowl that I had the broccoli slaw. I then put some of the yogurt & cucumber dill dressing in the bowl, along with the wet basil paste. After that, I took some baby carrots out and put it into a small dish so I can have them as a side to my chicken lettuce boats.


And that’s a wrap! The rest is pretty self explanatory – I used a fork to put a good amount of the chicken/slaw/dressing into the lettuce boats and I ate them just like that. You can see that I put some additional yogurt dressing on the side for my baby carrots. Also, I poured myself some water.

Cost of all ingredients: $33
Taste: 8/10

The cost may seem a little high but you can definitely split this up into three or four more meals. This recipe came out to be very delicious and tasteful. Though it seems very minimalistic with the ingredients, it still tasted great. The textures and the taste profiles of the spices along with the dressing and the paste formed a beautiful marriage that made my stomach happy.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to lose fat and weight, 80% is diet and 20% of it is exercising.

I’m not a professional or anything, but this tip comes from experience. You are what you eat, right? That’s what they say at least.

Till next time. Enjoy!

– B. T.