JUNIOR YEAR RECAP:


3 down, 1 more to go


What.the.heck...happened this past school year? I seriously cannot accept the fact that I am now officially entering my last year of college. My goodness...

Junior year was probably the toughest year I've experience thus far. However, I'd like to start with an incredible blessing and opportunity I had which was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. To look back on those four months feels like I'm day-dreaming. I made such amazing friends, ate tons of delicious food, and travelled to my heart's (and wallet's) content. It was truly an experience like no other and I can't imagine how different school would've been without those few months abroad. (Check out my recap about it HERE and watch my vlogs abroad HERE). 

Coming back to UCSD was a different story. At first, the transition was O.K. I got to meet all my friends again and I got started right away with school and org business. Then things got a little to busy on my plate and I got caught in a whirlwind of work and lacked time and energy and enthusiasm in reaching out to the relationships that I should've held in higher regard. I started losing a lot of hair  and I felt the loneliest I'd ever been at one point. What was worse was my lack of ability to be vulnerable with even my closest friends which made me stuck in this emotional/mental despair. It wasn't until I finally cracked and broke down to one of my friends that I realized "oh snap" it's O.K. if I'm not 100% there and that friends are friends for a reason: they're there to listen and to encourage and support you. 

After I stopped stressing and feeling all sorts of bad, things picked up. I asked God to hold my hand and walk me through the tough times and I felt a big weight off my chest knowing that my friends were thinking about me and always available whenever needed. It was nice knowing that I could also do the same for them. I was able to be a better person to those I interacted with whether it was my co-workers, my magazine staff, or my precious small group girls. The latter, really helped me to grow as a leader and as a friend. These four different, but equally unique ladies taught me that being perfect is impossible and as long as you're patient and open-hearted, you will always be welcome and appreciated. 

This past school year was a real growing process for me and for that I am thankful. I got to learn a lot about myself and how important investing in just a few relationships that matter really is. Love languages are powerful sources of information that can help nurture friendships and taking a step back to always appreciate what you have is something I need to do more of. 

Oh, and before I forget, I had a little spark of inspiration the other day a.k.a. I think I know which direction I want to head for my future career (omg, it's finally become that time to get serious about this). I'm currently heavily involved with social media (I've got this blog, a YouTube channel, etc) and I'm interning at an advertising/PR company representing big film studios in entertainment such as Disney, Warner Bros, and Universal. It's come to my attention that it would be awesome if I worked in this industry of production and film (the entertainment industry in general) and even more specifically, within the growing Asian-American community. Productions like Wong Fu, ISAtv, Jubilee Project are all great outlets that not only showcase the skills Asian-Americans possess, but also how those skills are being put to good use that positively effects society. I just had a "why not?" kind of moment since this is something I'm passionate about and that my experience could be put to good use in. Of course, this is just one direction that I'm simply going to go in. I know I'll get inspired by other things and I'm not limiting myself to just the entertainment/film industry. But hey, it's a start!

So, I look forward to my last year at UCSD and how much more I'll grow and mature. It's an exciting, but scary thought that I know will push me to become a stronger and better person that can have a positive influence in other people's lives. I'll have friends and family to keep me accountable and I know that God will help me the entire way. 

Talk to you later, 

Rachel

P.S.-I'll be trying to post a lot more consistently on my YouTube channel this summer! It's a goal I've made for myself so keep me accountable and show support by subscribing and checking out my content! Click HERE to see <3

FAUXCHELLA

What's currently on repeat



The next (most obtainable) thing on my bucket list is to attend a music festival. Whether it's Coachella or Outsidelands, I am determined to save up and hit the road to take in what the hype is all about. The line up, the atmosphere, and the stylish people are all so inspiring and the fact that there's now what's considered a "music festival season" speaks to how much influence and popularity these events have gained.

Since the lineup of a music festival is so pivotal in determining whether or not a person takes interest, I began to think of what my ultimate lineup would be if I ever had the opportunity to plan one. To be quite honest, I listen to practically every genre. Right now, I've been huge fan of R&B and hip-hop. I took some inspiration from my iTunes playlists and TickPick to create this perfect music festival for ya'll! As a disclaimer: this is what I am currently jamming out to. I'm always open to new music and have never failed to go back to forever faves like John Mayer (woot woot!).

This dream line up is a reflection of what I'm digging now and how each artist would transition well with the other. IT WAS SO HARD TO NARROW IT DOWN YA'LL. I have way way too many faves but below I've given a few reasons as to why I like listening to a particular artist and have also included a couple songs I think you would enjoy!

DEAN
I've been following this Korean artist since his humble beginnings working as a producer and collaborating with well-known American artists/producers such as Anderson .Paak and Eric Bellinger (also he used to have blonde hair wuuut?). He recently started hitting the charts with his 1st EP [130 mood: TRBL] and has gained quite an audience in both the States and South Korea! His style is a bit of R&B, hip-hop, chill trap, and basically everything I look for in music right now. GO LISTEN NOW GO GO GO!
Recommend: 

CHANCE THE RAPPER
My first exposure to Chance's music was in high school by my friends who started listening to him while he was still underground. His style and voice is definitely unique, but his raps are extremely catchy and something you'll want to repeat over and over again. By the way, he just dropped a new album, Coloring Book, and holy guacamole is it amazing!!! It has gospel songs, I repeat GOSPEL SONGS~
Recommend: 

FRANK OCEAN
WHERE ARE YOU FRANK? The whole world and my grandma is waiting for a comeback!!! But on a serious note, if you've seen those memes/posts asking where the heck this artist is, know that it is with great merit those are online. Ocean's voice is ever-so-soothing and it's something you can play while you study, drive, and everything in between. He's a true storyteller and his last album is a testament to that.  
Recommend:

FLUME
Ah, my first taste of electronic music when I entered upon the world that is college. His style of producing music is something I can listen to all day. It's not as loud and consuming as EDM and his remixes are sometimes, dare I say, better than the original? ALSO, I'm going to see him LIVE this summer and I seriously might cry I'm so excited!!!
RECOMMEND:

GWEN STEFANI
Growing up listening to Gwen Stefani was probably the best idea little Rachel ever made. From her No Doubt days to going solo, I've been an avid fan of Gwen and meeting her clandestinely a couple years ago at the California Science Center propelled my love for her all the more. She's cool, hot, and c'mon, who else can pull of platinum blonde hair for that long??
RECOMMEND:

CRUSH
~I got a crush on youuu~ Crush is a South Korean producer/artist whose soothing voice and knack for good beats is sure to land a spot in your music playlist. I've been a huge fan since his debut as a singer and he actually recently came out with a new album that's a bit more hip-hop/rap than his previous. Also, can I just say his personality so freakin' hilarious--take a look at this news article and you'll see why. 
RECOMMEND:

MUSIQ SOULCHILD
The OG man right here. His, excuse the pun, soulful melodies and downright groovy beats is the kind of music I'll be swaying my head to. Whenever his songs come on my playlist I instantly feel relaxed. I'll be walking dancing across school with Musiq Soulchild on all day errday. 
RECOMMEND:

SHANE & SHANE
A couple months ago, I saw this duo perform live and O.M.G. was I blown awaaay. When two talented people come together to sing praises and gospels to God nothing is impossible. The vocal range of these singers is insane and I got goosebumps literally the entire concert. Oh, and their names are indeed Shane and Shane. 
RECOMMEND:

TORI KELLY
Started from the bottom and now she is here! I've been following Tori's passion and dreams grow from her days on YouTube to performing at music award shows and I am SO.DARN.PROUD. I remember singing along to her covers and now I'm singing along to her own original songs and it just makes me so happy being able to see all the recognition she's finally getting for her amazing talent. YOU GO TORI YOU GO GURL!
RECOMMEND:

ANDERSON .PAAK
I first heard about Anderson .Paak when DEAN put out a song with him last year and I was instantly hooked. His voice is incredibly unique and his latest album Malibu has songs that are straight fireeee. He performed at my school a couple months ago (that I UNFORTUNATELY could not attend T__T) and graced the stage at Coachella so keep a look out for more of his work! It's worth a listen ya'll.
RECOMMEND:
Bonus: DAPPER

GALLANT
One word: falsetto. Just by looking at this gif you can tell he's hitting those notes like the musically-gifted artist he is. He's recently been trending among my group of friends and good gravy can he sing. I want you to go look up his new album, Ology, and thank me later ;)
RECOMMEND:

A HUGE thank you to TickPick for the amazing graphic used in this post! Be sure to visit the site to find tickets for all your concerts, NFL games, and more~

Happy listening, 

Rachel

P.S.-if I could pull off a hologram performance (like Coachella did for Tupac), my first choice would most definitely be Michael Jackson.

*FTC: photos/gifs above are not mine unless stated otherwise

AN EARLY CELEBRATION


Here's to a happy 21st birthday you two


Jenny and Serena turn 21! Both of my lady friends are of the final legal age this month (with birthdays just days apart from each other) so we decided to host a birthday party at live253.

The ladies of live253 sure know how to do event planning--I even told them they should start their own business! The theme was wine and cheese (it made me reminisce of the good ol' days in Italy) and we had plenty of different cheese, wine, meat, and crackers to choose from. After a good amount of food and games, we decided to take photos in front of the cute makeshift backdrop on the wall to make the memories last.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU TWO!

Be sure to check out Ashley's blog post about the event--she's got plenty more details if you're interested in hosting your own wine and cheese taste party!

Cheers, 

Rachel


SPRING BREAK 2016


Here's a peek into my past spring break















Unlike most of my friends, I had virtually nothing planned for spring break this year. Partly because I spent waaaay to much already while studying abroad and partly because I wanted to catch up on all the films I haven't watched since...5 years ago??? 

Much to my surprise, I had all but one day spent outside the house and I'm so thankful for the people whom I got to share the precious moments with! From taking copious amounts of photos to discovering new eateries in the area, this break was definitely one that I was able to get plenty of R&R.

Here's a list some of the places I got to visit this time around:

The Broad 
Make sure you either have a reservation OR come about an hour before the museum opens to avoid long lines. Tickets for the famous Infinity Room is in a separate line in the museum (unfortunately, I was not able to get in *sad face*). Museum is closed Mondays. In my opinion, this museum definitely lives up to the hype! Check my INSTAGRAM for more photos.

JiST Cafe
This place just became a new favorite! The banana and chocolate pancakes are TO DIE FOR--the right amount of fluff and sweetness (what Japanese bread is famous for!). Filled with all types of Japanese fusion brunch food that's available all day/night. Their savory dishes, such as the Chashu Hash Skillet, is definitely worth a try. 

Los Angeles Arts District
I visited this area once before but another visit opened my eyes to a whole new world of art! Take a stroll around the area (and stop by the neighboring Little Tokyo for food) and you'll find a myriad of beautiful street art and exhibitions for your viewing pleasure. If you're into coffee, contemporary art, and cute cafes, this is the place for you.

I also got to take another trip to Six Flags and visit Manhattan Beach during the break as well! Stay tuned for a spring break 2k16 vlog to see more action~

Always thankful, 

Rachel

P.S.-I think I watched over 25 films this break.

EDIT: Check out my vlog from spring break...now live on my YOUTUBE channel!

BACK FROM MY HIATUS


Sometimes, you just have to force yourself to be inspired












...and I mean that in the best way possible. 

The last time I uploaded a post on this blog, I was still somewhere having the time of my life in Europe. I returned from my trip studying abroad in Rome on Christmas Eve. After 4 days of not eating shortly thereafter (due to a nasty, NASTY illness) I kind of lost motivation for all the creative aspects of life. Basically, I was overwhelmed by the amount of editing and photographing and videotaping and instagramming (you get it) that I had done in Europe and I really just wanted a break.

Boy, was it ever so difficult to get my head out of that break. It took me a whole month and a half to push myself to becoming a more creative thinker. I had forgotten how passionate I had once been and how much I really enjoyed creating new and exciting content. It wasn't after a sermon I heard one Sunday about God allowing us to have not only good work, but also good rest that it clicked. He meant for us to use the talents He gave us and that it is truly good to embark in those activities. For me, that entails going out on adventures and capturing precious moments on my camera. It means that I can take time to write out my thoughts and share it on the web. I can actually learn to enjoy the countless hours spent editing videos and photos to post for others to enjoy. 

So here's the beginning of a "re-vamp" in my creative life! 

These photos were captured President's Day--we had a mini photo-turned-food adventure in San Diego on a blistering hot day. Good food, good photos, and good company!

Talk to ya'll very soon, 

Rachel

P.S.-Check out my latest video on you YouTube channel!
P.P.S.-I've also updated my Flickr with more HQ photos!
P.P.P.S-The Rachel Studio is up and back in business! Contact my email for appointments/inquiries!

CATCHING UP


Long time no talk friends...

It's been over a month now that I've been living in one of my dream cities: Rome, Italy. This whole experience is surreal and every day feels like a blessing. I had always wanted to study abroad ever since middle school (shout-out to Ms. Whitmore for inspiring me!) and to think that I am finally doing what's been on my bucket list is truly amazing. Speaking of bucket lists, I've been checking things off one-by-one and apparently, my list keeps also keeps getting longer and longer. There is so much to do here in Rome that I don't even think I can explore it all in the few months I am here. 

Studying abroad is everything I expected and more. The first few days were difficult. I had a hard time adjusting to all the new faces and culturally, Italy is a very "in-your-face" type of place. I honestly cannot remember the last time I breathed in air without the smell of cigarettes (lol). I got homesick...really homesick. I still do feel a longing for home, with all my friends and family and food, but the simple fact that I am here living out my dream keeps me from getting to a depressing state. 

Learning the italian language has been quite difficile. I had never learned a new language until this trip so it's been quite a challenge; however, being a student (not a tourist) in this city has helped a lot in my progress as I'm forced to speak the native tongue whenever I'm out and about.

Here's a few things I've noticed about Rome so far:
-smoking is very prevalent; teenagers and old folks alike do it...and they do it everywhere
-yes, there are fiats, smart cars, and vespas everywhere just as you'd imagine
-in regards to the previous post: italians drive crazy and park crazy
-you can cross the street whenever you'd like but only at your own risk
-public display of affection (aka PDA) is REAL 
-pasta is a staple and I've been eating it almost everyday...literally.every.day.
-italians are all about that civile lifestyle (google it and you'll see what I'm saying)
-taking the bus/tram takes about the same time as it does walking
-breakfast here consists of a caffe and a pastry (also, one should never order any with a latte aka milk after 11AMish)
-grocery shopping is cheap and must be done pretty much bi-weekly 
-italians are all about freshness especially when it comes to food
-there is no such thing as personal space 
Bonus: they do indeed dress well here (I'm currently diggin' the men who wear these really nice dark navy suits + dress shoes + sunglasses + riding away on their vespas...mi piace molto)

So there's a little catching up with me. Of course, the things I've listed above do not include everything (but I can have another post for that if you'd like). I've got weekends booked for places to visit both in Italy and outside. I'm flying out to Spain-Portugal-Paris-Brussels for our fall break next week! Also, I'm currently babysitting on the side to help bring in that extra cash. I'll probably be broke as heck when I get back to the states but hey! Still blessed to be here and I pinch myself everyday to make sure I'm not daydreaming. 

Make sure you're watching my vlogs! Click HERE to subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Oh, and follow me on instagram HERE for more updates (I broke my iphone T.T so I've been using my roomie's phone to upload lol). 

And here's a unedited selfie of me in Firenze...don't mind my swollen eyes, I got bit on the eyelid by mosquitos:



Ciao i miei amici, 

Rachel

SOPHOMORE YEAR RECAP


And there goes another year...











I find it incredibly hard to believe that my sophomore year of college is already over. It honestly feels like just yesterday I was greeting new friends in dorm rooms and freaking out about finding classes. Now here I am--an upperclassman with just two more years of undergraduate schooling. Talk about crazy!

This past year has definitely one of the most busy and difficult years of my life so far. When they say that the transition from freshman year to sophomore year of college is hard they really weren't kidding. I put a lot on my plate (which I miraculously managed to balance throughout the school year) and this pushed me to manage my time wisely and be more intentional with the relationships that I have. From rooming with my very first friend (whom I met during orientation!) to serving in KCM and everything in between, I had my fair share of hardships and blessings. I am so utterly grateful for the amount of love I've received from my peers and I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends than the ones I have now. With the growth of my blog and various internships including the one with CollegeFashionista, I have refined my writing abilities and have also learned the usefulness of social media and networking. 

I'm also very excited to see the amount of support for my new photography business, The Rachel Studio! What started as a simple hobby of mine, The Rachel Studio has grown into a great passion and to be able to use God's gift to raise funds for my missions trip to the Philippines and South Korea (going this July) is an amazing blessing. I just wanted to thank everyone who has been a part of my sophomore year whether at UCSD or back home. 

Special shoutouts to:
Olive--the best roommate a girl could ask for
KCM--this ministry has helped me rediscover my love for God and how much the campus needs Him!
Redeemer--for holding me accountable and blessing me with brothers and sisters who have a passion for Him 
Graduating Seniors--CONGRATULATIONS! Feels so weird knowing I won't be able to see you all at school as often but good luck to the future and don't forget about me! (I'm going to miss you all so much omg)

And of course the list could go on and on...

Thank you for reading and staying faithful to the updates on this blog! Keep in tune for more content and look forward to more vlogs! 

Also check out my social media for more mini updates on my life this summer:
Instagram: HERE
Twitter: HERE
Pinterest: HERE
Tumblr: HERE

Have a happy summer, 

Rachel