Sam's Ramblings

I've been dating since June of this year and there have been a lot of first times for me that I figured I should share. It's importa...

I've been dating since June of this year and there have been a lot of first times for me that I figured I should share. It's important to share findings and stories so we can all feel a sense of community. Also, I can't be the only one running into these  situations so here we go.

1. Dating Multiple People at The Same Time - I've never really been one to date loads of people and see where it goes. I dated three guys at the same time which was a first. Sadly, none of them were a fit but it was interesting trying to juggle names, back stories and such. For those who normally date multiple people at the same time, you are really cool and I salute you because it's exhausting and slightly stressful.

2. Using Dating Apps Consistently - I've never actually stuck to any dating app or website until this past summer. Granted, due to personal choices, I have slowed down the usage, but I did faithfully use them from June through the beginning of September. I went on several dates and dated two guys consistently before it not really working out. 

3. Sleeping Over on the First Date- I normally don't sleep with or near someone on the first date because I really need to be comfortable with someone to actually sleep. Case in point, I slept over the guy's house and slept maybe 30 minutes. I "woke up" exhausted and cranky. It proved that I should listen to myself and not do it. 

4. Having Better Chemistry with a Friend - I was dating this guy and met one of his friend's at his house party. Safe to say his friend totally charmed me and I had a little zing when he touched me. The friend and I had undeniable chemistry. I ended up going on a date and sleeping with said friend, after the guy and I parted ways. 

5. Mixing Up Back Stories - During the time when I was dating three guys at once, I mixed up back stories on two of them. The positive is the guy took it well and laughed because he said he never told me if he had siblings or not so it's not a big deal. You need to keep like a notebook when you're dating multiple people, I swear. 

I have to start out by saying I LOVE Taiwan. I'm definitely planning on returning within the next few years. The culture, food, peo...

I have to start out by saying I LOVE Taiwan. I'm definitely planning on returning within the next few years. The culture, food, people and shopping were all amazing. If Taipei isn't on your list, you're missing out on a great city and some really awesome food. The night markets are well worth attending between the food and the items shown. Personally, I acme back with a quarter of my suitcase filled with souvenirs, clothing, beauty products and snacks. I decided to compile this list so hopefully it piques your interest in Taipei, Taiwan. All these photographs are mine. I took them while in Taiwan earlier this year. 

1. Taipei 101 - This structure is like the Empire State Building of Taiwan. It's known for having the fastest elevator in the world and is a beautiful modern building with hints of its Asian roots in design. It also boasts restaurants, an observatory for a fantastic view over the City and shopping.

2. Moon Bus - This is a total tourist trap/Instagram trap but it's cute and right across the street from Taipei 101. I think the best time to see it and take photos inside of it is after 10 pm at night. 

3. Shongshan Ciyou Temple - One simply does not go to Taiwan and not see a temple, or four. This is one of the most famous temples in Taipei which means it is almost always extremely crowded. It's near Rahoe Night Market so make sure to go to this temple midday or so to stay for the opening of the night market. 

4. Chih Nan Temple (Zhinan Temple) - I walked so many steps to get to this temple but every step was worth it for the magnificent view and the interesting stories about the temple immortal mixed with the temple itself. 

5. Lin Family Mansion and Garden - This tends to be very crowded but it was very pretty with true Chinese architecture very obvious within the buildings and the layout. 

6. Ximending - Think a calm, clean and less expensive Times Square and you get Ximending. This is where I purchased the most stuff from socks to souvenirs for family and friends. It's totally worth it and if you can't find it in Ximending, it probably doesn't exist!

7. Raohe Night Market - Here is where I tried deep fried soft shelled crab! It was delicious, in case you were wondering. This is a famous night market and is very crowded but very interesting. There's a lot to see, buy and eat. Definitely worth the crowd! 

8. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall - First, this has an incredible view of Taipei 101 behind it (reference the above photo). Second, there's so much in this area to see and read and know. Very interesting and easily accessible in the Xinyi District, a 20-ish minute walk from Taipei 101. 

9. Lungshan Temple - This temple is always VERY crowded and one of the busiest temples around. It's not only beautiful but also very humbling. The earlier you go, the better! 

10. Tonghua Night Market - This night market was literally a two minute walk from where I was staying so I ended up in it several times for dinner and to buy things such as fruits and souvenirs. It is a bit more local and less touristy which I loved but it's still pretty packed during the "peak" hours. 

Netflix has been stepping up to the plate and has added loads of Korean and Chinese Dramas to the fold, some are also Taiwanese, Japanese a...

Netflix has been stepping up to the plate and has added loads of Korean and Chinese Dramas to the fold, some are also Taiwanese, Japanese and Thai. Coupled with that, in order to jump on the wave, Netflix has produced its own Korean and Chinese Dramas, I believe there is a Thai remake of a Korean Drama, too. This makes me a happy camper since DramaFever was cut only a few months ago leaving me with Viki, which I love, but sometimes it doesn't hold everything I want to see. So if you love Asian Dramas or never watched one, this list is for everyone! 

1. Ashes of Love (Chinese) - This Drama is a 2018 Chinese Fantasy and Romance show. I watched it as it was on air in China through Viki and fell in love. It's so detailed and beautiful from the story to the costumes and settings, you'll be captivated. I cried a bit, not even going to lie. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Hidden away by her mother, the Floral Goddess, the naïve Jinmi is drawn to Xufeng, the Heavenly Emperor's son, yet forces conspire against them."

2. Lion Pride (Taiwanese) - This is a 2018 Taiwanese show set in modern day Taipei. It was interesting, clever and wasn't all about romance so if you're not a big romance person, you might still want to watch this one. I enjoyed it and it only further pushed me to want to go to Taipei.

The short synopsis reads as such:"Two teachers, with opposite viewpoints, must work together to solve a crime."

3. Something in the Rain (Korean) - This is a modern-day Korean Drama focusing on the struggles of dating a younger guy, family expectations and career aspirations. I really enjoyed this one because it was very raw and real feeling. It wasn't overly happy to where you realize it's fake and that made me connect with it. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "When a single career woman reunites with her best friend's younger brother after he returns from three years of working abroad, their efforts to reconnect grow into romance."

4. Meteor Garden (Chinese) - This is a modern day Chinese remake of Boys Over Flowers and I have to admit I preferred this. It's super romantic but messed up and will really grate on your nerves but also pull at your heart strings. I loved this one and think it's something any romance lover should see.

The short synopsis reads as such:"Dong Shancai is determined to excel at her dream university, where she encounters an elite clique of dashing, popular high-achievers--and finds love."

5. Here to Heart (Chinese) - This is a modern-day Chinese Drama with a lot of twists and stress. I really enjoyed it and have to admit that I was even shocked at the level of devotion between the two, it's a second chance romance. 

The short synopsis reads as such:"After 10 years of separation, a man and a woman struggle to rebuild their relationship." 

6. Accidentally in Love (Chinese) - This is a young adult type modern-day drama. It's funny, a bit ridiculous and totally within the style of the Drama world. Personally, I didn't enjoy it but I forced myself to watch the show to the end. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Chen Qing Qing is the daughter of a rich household desperately wanting to avoid an arranged marriage and find love on her own terms." 

7. Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (Chinese) - This is a fantasy Drama with a love of moving parts. The story line focuses on two Gods and their evolution as well as the evolution of their relationship. It's extremely fascinating and the costumes are beautiful. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "The love between Deities Bai Qian and Ye Hua stands the test of three lifetimes." 

8. The Rise of Phoenixes (Chinese) - This is a very complicated and sometimes inconsistent Historical Chinese Drama. The costumes and acting were incredible but, at many times, the plot line left for something to be desired. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Feng Zhi Wei is the unfavored illegitimate daughter of the Qiu family, who is banished from the clan after falsely accused of a crime. Zhi Wei cross-dresses as a man to attend the prestigious Qingming Academy and stuns the world with her talent and knowledge." 

9. Love 020 (Chinese ) -  A modern-day University Drama that incorporates gamers, love and college days. It's sweet, fun and pretty much a feel good show. It introduced me to Yang Yang (actor who portrays the make lead)  and I'm in love. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Xiao Nai is a gaming expert who, courtesy of his basketball skills, academic excellence, swimming talent and game company presidency, also happens to be the most popular student on campus. When he first comes across the gorgeous computer science major Bei Wei Wei, the infinitely talented wunderkind immediately falls in love." 

10. Pretty Man (Chinese) - This modern-day Chinese Drama is all about misunderstandings, love, responsibility and happiness. The three main characters have a triangle of complication, if you will, along with the pushing of misunderstandings due to lack of communication and parental expectations. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "What could possibly go wrong with a fake relationship? Qiao An Hao and Lu Jin Nian have a history together. They were very much in love in high school  but misunderstandings kept the two apart. More than a decade later, Jin Nia has become a successful CEO of an entertainment company and An Hao is trying to make it into the business as an actress." 

11. A Love so Beautiful (Chinese) - This is a modern-day Drama that will really make you want to believe in love again and cheer on the female lead. You might tear up or straight up cry at points because the acting and feelings are that powerful but it's sweet and has a solid ending. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "The ups and downs of school, family and growing up test the affection between a budding artist and her handsome but indifferent classmate and neighbor." 

12. My Only Love Song (Korean) - This is a time travel Drama. The female lead gets sent back in time. She doesn't get sent back alone and, due to her personality, it's a very comical show. The episodes are rather quick but I think it's a fun watch.

The short synopsis reads as such: "When things don't go her way during the shooting of her new show, a top actress runs away in an old van that guides her on a time-traveling journey." 

13. Ice Fantasy (Chinese) - This Chinese Drama is a mix of fantasy and historical. There are multiple realms, including the human one. The show focuses on the Ice tribe's heir and his younger brother that he always favored. It has romantic elements but has a lot of action, fantastical elements and great acting.

The short synopsis reads as such: "Ka Suo, the Ice Tribe prince, makes the journey to the magical holy shrine with his entourage in order to vanquish evil, but ends up in a war with the Fire Tribe and his long-lost brother." 

14. Diamond Lover (Chinese) - This Drama only has the condensed version of the show which can lead to some confusion when watching it. Overall, I think it was meant to be cute but I found it annoying and kind of pitiful. There was a major undertone of fat-shaming going on so that will really bother some. It's meant to be like a second chance at life and a chance at love Drama but it fell flat for me. I only really watched it for the stars in it. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "After an accident leads to a great loss of weight, Mi Duo starts a new life working for her secret crush, Xiao Liang, CEO of a diamond company."

15. Fall in Love with Me (Taiwanese) - This is another Drama where Aaron Yan is the male lead. He seems to have a thing for creative agencies and roles. This is a modern-day Drama where Yan portrays an Advertising genius who is burned out and decides to take time off. This show is very unrealistic at certain points and realistic at others. It's a feel good Drama that is on the romantic comedy spectrum. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Le Si battles to protect her brother's agency but instead falls in love with Tian Xings disguise, Xiao Lu."

16. Just You (Taiwanese ) - This is a funny and sweet modern-day Taiwanese Drama set in Taipei. This is the Drama that introduced me to Aaron Yan, a famous Taiwanese Actor who was part of boy group Fahrenheit. The plot is easy to follow but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "Liang-liang is on a mission to get her new, strict boss and landlord to mellow out, after the imposition of a strict policy forbidding office romance." 

17. Boys Over Flowers (Korean) - This is a remake of the Taiwanese and Japanese shows and where Meteor Garden got its concept from. It's an extremely popular Korean Drama, pretty much considered a staple Drama to watch. It's about school time love, the life of wealthy elites and the clashing of love when two people from different backgrounds come together. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "The story of Geum Jan-di, a normal girl who finds herself attending a prestigious private school after saving a student's life."

18. Hymn of Death (Korean) - Hymn of Death is a Historical Korean Drama that is very, very deep. If you don't like sad endings, this is definitely one to skip. The weight of this show is very heavy as it touches upon the strains of life with regards to personal relationships, society and family. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "During the Japanese colonial period, married playwright Kim U-jin falls in love with soprano Yun Sim-deok, one of Korea's notable New Women."

19. Mr. Sunshine (Korean) - This is another Historical Drama which has the male lead as a Korean American, living in American from a young child as he fled from Korea. The female lead is a privileged Korean young woman who wants to make a difference in her nation. This is set during the Japanese occupation of Korea. It's really heavy with cute and funny moments sprinkled out. It shows a lot of blemishes of the Korean society structure, too. I found it to be one of the most interesting things I've ever watched. 

The short synopsis reads as such: "A Korean boy from a poor family who ends up in the United States after the 1871 Shinmiyangyo incident returns to his homeland during a historical turning point. Now an office with the American military, Eugene falls in love with Ae-sin, an aristocrat's daughter, and discovers a dark scheme to colonize the country from which he once fled. Ae-sin tries to figure out if Eugene is a friend as they wonder what the English word 'love' means." 

Any flight over eight hours is going to be uncomfortable. My 16 hours aboard a direct flight to Taipei, Taiwan has taught me this in a very ...

Any flight over eight hours is going to be uncomfortable. My 16 hours aboard a direct flight to Taipei, Taiwan has taught me this in a very real way. The good news is I have some tips to make the long flights just a little bit more pleasant. 

1. Pack personal items in your carryon - Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, intimate wipes, face wash/face wipes and/or baby wipes. You buy travel sized items that are allowed in your carryon with regards to toothpaste and mouth wash. You can either buy, if available, travel sized face wash or put some into a ziplock bag. The intimate and baby wipes are to make yourself feel cleaner because, at least for me, you can feel absolutely gross after a long flight. 

2. Don't sleep much the day before - Before my flight to Taiwan, I slept maybe four hours and hen worked all day and stayed up until 1:30 am my local time before finally falling asleep on the plane. Forcing yourself to be exhausted will make it easier to sleep the plane ride away, even if it isn't the most comfortable. 

3. Headphones and electronics are absolute musts - In your carryon, keep your laptop, tablet, phone, headphones and chargers. I find it's easier to block out all the sounds in the plane when I fall asleep with my headphones in. If you can't sleep, watch something on either the screen the plane has or something you have on your phone or other device. The chargers are pretty explanatory. 

4. Wear comfortable clothes - It's so interesting to see people boarding a 10 plus hour flight in dress clothes or stiff clothing items. That makes it even harder to sleep or be comfortable so why would you do that to yourself? Personally, I wear workout clothes. 

5. Have blankets, hoodies or jackets - Planes tend to get very cold and just the thin blankets some airlines provide doesn't cut it. I personally wear hoodies or sweaters aboard a plane, regardless of the season. I don't like to be cold when I know I won't be moving much. 

6. Get up and stretch - Using the restroom and just getting up to walk around a bit when the fasten seatbelt sign is not on, even if it's for a few seconds, is a smart idea. You can get stiff if you are in one spot for too long.

1. "Ghosting" - Technology is the greatest thing but with the greatness comes awfulness. I swear people under 30, a decent por...

1. "Ghosting" - Technology is the greatest thing but with the greatness comes awfulness. I swear people under 30, a decent portion, struggle to deal with issues head on and also struggle to communicate well in person and via phone. The "ghosting" crap comes from people not wanting to just say, "Hey, I'm not interested" or some variation of that and instead avoids communication hoping the "problem" will go away. Grow up and let someone know because it's immature, pitiful and spineless to just ignore someone instead of communicating your lack of interest. 

2. "Netflix and Chill" - Whenever I hear this I cringe because it's the lazy person's way out of a date but also code for someone plans to get laid. If a comfortable night in is what you're looking for, I'm all for it, I'm just not all for someone putting in minimal effort and expecting something. What happened to wanting to go out, get to know a person and enjoy someone's company before automatically trying to get them into bed? 

3. "Keeping Options Open" - The people who string along others drive me nuts. Seriously, let someone know you're dating multiple people or aren't looking for anything serious so people can manage their own expectations and see if even dealing with you is worth their time. For two seconds, stop being self-absorbed and respect other people's feelings and time. Good karma and all that, yeah? 

4. Use of Dating Apps for Hookups - The applications are called dating applications for a freaking reason, people! Stop using them to easily access someone to warm your bed with minimal effort. If you're looking for an easy lay, take your lazy self out to a bar or lounge and look for someone interested in a one-night stand. Dating, getting to know someone and figuring out if you can have a relationship with someone is not something to be played with, used or mocked. I'm so tired of the commitment phobic sentiments in a large portion of people under 30. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but there's also a lot of trash. Stop being trash. 

Two Saturdays ago, I went out to The Rustic Brush. What is The Rustic Brush? Well, it's a place where you can make wood wall art. You wi...

Two Saturdays ago, I went out to The Rustic Brush. What is The Rustic Brush? Well, it's a place where you can make wood wall art. You will need about two to three hours (the class is structured for three hours) to complete everything depending upon size of your item and how fast you work. 

Booking Details/Pricing

You need to book at least two days in advance via the online website here-you must be a legal adult to attend the class due to alcohol being in the area (18). The Rustic Brush is currently in four states-Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Florida. Texas is the only place currently with multiple locations. Pricing ranges between $50.00 to $200.00 depending on the selection made. You make your selection when you book your class and pay up front so make sure you get to the class.  


I'm sure each location will be slightly different but I don't think it will be much off from my experience. I went to the Pearland location which is in Texas. There was music playing in the background with staff around to help guide you every step of the way. If you select open class like I did you will be with whoever you go with personally as well as strangers. Most strangers are super friendly, as I've experienced. It's a very chill and collaborated atmosphere. 

Overall Thoughts 

I found the experience to be really fun. You can bring your own booze and snacks. The staff walk you through each step of the process to ensure you get the best results possible, which I appreciated because I never used a power tool in my life. 

You get a stencil for your wood piece in order to paint onto the wood. You selected this when you booked the class. Depending on what you choose, there could be multiple pieces of wood or just one. You will sand the edges to smooth them out, put the wood pieces together if you have multiple pieces, stain your wood and paint your stencil on. It's very hands-on which I found to be really cool. 

Mix your hands-on experience with good conversation with whoever you bring with you, alcohol and snacks and I think it's a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. It can be used for Girls Night Out or Date Night. I think it works for either, honestly. For me, it was a Girls Night Out. I would absolutely go back and make something else. I'm planning another Girls Night Out with other friends at the moment so hopefully I'll be back soon. 

This year I'm 28 so I figured it would be fun to share 28 things about me. Maybe we will share things in common, this will make you laug...

This year I'm 28 so I figured it would be fun to share 28 things about me. Maybe we will share things in common, this will make you laugh or this will make you shake your head. It's always nice to learn about others and find similarities, isn't it? 

1. My birthday is February 8th. 
2. I don't wear dark lipstick often.
3. I want to go back to school to get my MBA/JD but don't like the effort school will take so haven't even applied. 
4. I got my first personal animal at 28, a Pomeranian.
5. I don't like avocados. 
6. I love brussels sprouts. 
7. I have traveled solo.
8. I usually am not photogenic.
9. I don't like the sound of German or Norwegian. 
10. I think "ya'll" sounds annoying when said.
11. I pronounce water as "wah" "ter." 
12. I strongly dislike, borderline hate, President Trump.
13. I am on birth control.
14. I've lived in three different states before the age of 27. 
15. I want to learn to speak Korean and Mandarin.
16. I don't think French is as romantic sounding as the world makes it out to be.
17. I think Toyotas are uncomfortable to drive. 

18. My favorite city in Italy is Venice. 
19. My comfort foods are macaroni and cheese, chocolate croissants, pancakes and soup.
20. I almost never buy anything from Zara because the fashion doesn't suit me.
21. Most of my work clothes come from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor or The Loft by Ann Taylor. 
22. Going into Marshals, TJ Maxx or any store of the sort makes me uncomfortable because they are so messy and in disarray. 
23. I live on my own.
24. I don't have cable and only watch Netflix, Hulu and other streaming applications on my Smart TV.

25. I look over 80% like my mother.
26. I spent my 28th birthday in Taipei, Taiwan.
27. I buy most of my groceries from Trader Joe's.
28. I purchased two cars on my own before the age of 22. 

Today is the last day of 2018 and all I really have to say is what the ever loving fuck was that? Between politics, personal relationshi...

Today is the last day of 2018 and all I really have to say is what the ever loving fuck was that? Between politics, personal relationships and career struggles, I don't think I've ever had such a stressful or weird year in my 27 years of life. I'm glad this year is coming to an end so the only way is forward, yeah? 

While many people are making their "New Year's Resolution" or their list of resolutions, I've decided to change that thought. I don't want a "resolution" but instead I'm going to set goals for this year that I will check in on another post in the beginning of July, halfway through the year. So cheers to goals and hopefully you'll make goals instead of resolutions with me. 

1. Lose Weight - This might be controversial but to me this is important. I gained about 7-8 pounds just in the two and change weeks I was in Italy because of the constant drinking and intake of carbs (pasta, pizza, bread.....). When I came back from Italy it was just a snowball of constantly running when it came to work stuff and moving into my own apartment so my gym time dwindled and my motivation to go to the gym was pretty much nonexistent. Safe to say, I would like to be down 25 pounds by the end of the year which I think is very doable. In theory, I can achieve this by July or thereabout. I don't just want to the scale to move down, though, I also want to be a comfortable size 8 in pants. I teeter between 10 and 12 right now depending on the maker/style. 

(Italy, June 2018; Photo featured on my Instagram)

2. Travel Often - Since I'm unattached, single and have no children, I want to see the world, literally. I already have Taiwan paid off and booked as my birthday gift to myself. I'm so excited to see Lunar New Year in Taiwan in February. Puerto Rico and Spain are also on the calendar for July and June respectively. If I could, I would like to go at least three other places, two Domestically and one Internationally. My preference for Domestic travel would be Chicago and Los Angeles. I go home quite often (NYC) so I don't count that as actual traveling since I'm from there but I'll be there at least twice or thrice this year. My international addition would be preference to either Dominican Republic, I love it there, Cuba or somewhere in Canada (maybe Toronto or Quebec). Please note, any work travel I don't count as actual travel because I rarely get to do anything fun when I travel for work. 

3. Buy a New SUV/Car - The goal is to buy this by the end of January, actually. I need a new car for how much I drive and I have earned one, as well. Currently, I'm looking between a Mazda CX3 (crossover SUV) and an Acura ILX. I have to enjoy what I drive which is why I'm so picky. 

(December 2017)

4. Get a Dog - As many of you may recall, I had to put my dog to sleep not even a week ago. It's been a real struggle for not only me, but also my mom. My precious little Pomeranian was such a good dog, I want another one. I want one that is shades of grey, white and black preferably. Also, I want a male. I tend to bond best with male animals is what I've noticed. My goal is to meet with breeders and find one that bonds to me by March or April. I can hear everyone shouting about adopting BUT I will tell you why I do not want to. I want a purebred Pomeranian puppy which is almost nonexistent in any shelter or rehoming organization. I want this for very specific reasons including health (Pomeranians as they age tend to have trachea issues (windpipe which is what my dog suffered from) and hind leg issues. Additionally, I want the dog to bond to me, as well as my family and so forth, and be around for more than a few years. I'm a very emotional human so only having something for two years or so will ruin me, literally. 

5. Pay Off a Credit Card/Student Loan - This year I paid off one of my student loans. I was so proud of myself. In 2019, I would like to pay off one of my credit cards (I have four and only one is really high, the others have decent balances to keep my credit score in check) and one of my other student loans. This means I'll need to close several contracts but I think I can do it. I want to be student debt free by the time I'm 32 which I think is achievable.