• October 2017
    M T W T F S S
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Just a small personal update on everything that’s been going this past month!

As I’ve mentioned before, econ PhD programs require students to pass these comprehensive, qualifying exams (at UCLA, we call them “comps”). Comps are pretty much the bane of any first year PhD student’s existence. These four-hour exams determine your fate and whether you get to stay in the program or not. You only have so many chances to re-take the exams to get that coveted PhD-level pass. In my program, it’s two strikes & you’re out. There are three subjects we have to test at a PhD-proficiency level - microeconomics, macroeconomics, and quantitative analysis (statistics and econometrics). I failed to attain a PhD-level pass for all three exams my first time around.

You can imagine how nerve-wrecking the second half of my summer was after I found out my exam results. I could have left with a Master’s degree, which isn’t bad by any means - especially at 22 years old. But I knew I wanted to get a PhD eventually - having a PhD is really the only way that I can do my own original research and study the topics I’m most interested in. So after putting in the work at UCLA, I really just wanted things to pay off so I could continue my degree and take advantage of the opportunity I had been given to study at a great school. I told myself that if I didn’t pass my exams at UCLA, it would just be a sign that I wasn’t meant to finish my PhD here. I would work, then return to school a few years later.

All of August, I studied extremely hard - basically 24/7. I took the last of my exams in early September. Sadly, I think I cried after every exam, just doubting myself and questioning if my abilities were enough. Then followed a gut-wrenching week of waiting for my results. When that fateful Friday came around, I was almost too scared to check my email. Luckily when I did, I got great news: I had passed all three exams at the PhD level!! I was so ecstatic that I cried a little bit. Then I called my parents, sister, and grandparents to let them know the good news and thank them for their support and prayers.

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(So thankful for them :) we went to Yosemite National Park after my first round of exams to relax and have some family time. It’s getting more and more rare now that both my sister and I have been out of the house for a while.)

Anyway, ever since then, I have been in such a happier state than I was this entire last year. Now that I’ve started the new school year, I am finally taking my field courses, attending seminars, and teaching UCLA undergrads :P ! I’m busier than ever, but at least I’m happy and having fun with it. Now, my homework consists of reading papers and learning techniques to help me do the research I’m actually interested in. I finally feel comfortable with my program and like I’m working towards the career I want to have in research. And honestly, it’s the best feeling.

So that about wraps up my personal update. I also wanted to just talk a little about this advice my grandma gave me the other day. She told me that when good things happen to us, it’s important to give to someone else - to pay your good luck forward. Like karma, I guess. It made me wonder if some of the blessings I have experienced in life are a result of good karma. Either way, I thought it was a nice idea and wanted to share. I think it’s important to always do your best to help others, whether you are struggling yourself or feel on top of the world.

On that note, I’ve been learning a lot about how valuable improvements to health are - especially in developing countries. UNICEF works hard to help end the preventable deaths of children. Please consider learning more about how important this work is and how you can make a difference:

Becker, Philipson, & Soares:“The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality”
Learn more about UNICEF
Donate to UNICEF USA

Hola! Today I went to my first churrascaria (Brazilian AYCE steakhouse), Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills. Swanky place, definitely better for lunch than dinner in terms of price. I enjoyed some pretty nom nom cuts of meat! Loved the rib-eye, picanha, and garlic steak. They had some pretty good baby back ribs & cuts of lamb as well.

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Green means go!
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What: HM neon pink printed blouse, Zara white jeggings, Ami sand suedette pumps, J. Crew orange and gold bangle, Vietnamese 24K gold bangle gifted from my mother (close up)
Where: lunch at Fogo de Chao

Hello!

It’s World Humanitarian Day and in honor of that, I’m asking for your guys’s help. Some of you might remember I did my honors thesis at Cal on HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda. One of the people who helped me the most with my project was this man Moses Kigozi. He is from Masaka, Uganda and coordinates all the HIV/AIDS programs in his district through a center called MADNASO. He recently founded a non-profit CHEDRA to help women and children affected and left vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

I emailed him recently to see how he is doing and he asked for my help. He has the kindest heart and I want to do everything possible to help him and his non-profit because I truly believe in them. CHEDRA is locally-founded and locally-run, so I think it’s very important to help support them - it’s goes beyond just giving outside aid. Here are people from their own community helping one another - I find it truly inspiring and as a development-economist-in-training, I think it’s very important to help these community-based non-profits thrive.

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Moses needs our help publicizing CHEDRA and securing donations so that they can earn a permanent place on the Global Giving website. Global Giving is an online marketplace that connects donors with grassroots projects in the developing world - they will give CHEDRA more exposure to potential donors and a way for potential donors to give monetary support securely online (you can pay by credit card, PayPal, check, and even stock transfer).

I ask of you just two things:

(1) Please visit the website, read more about their cause, and click the Facebook share button. The project that gets the most shares on Facebook will receive a $300 bonus from Global Giving - that’s enough to send THREE orphans to school. Who would have thought social networking sites could actually make an impact like that!
Here is the link to the website: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-and-education-for-500-hiv-victims-in-uganda/

(2) Please at least consider giving up something small to donate - make a PB&J sandwich for lunch instead of eating out, walk to the store instead of driving, etc. - even the smallest donation will make a difference. So far, they only have two donors: myself, and my friend Moses. They need at least 48 more donors to raise $3,540 to earn a permanent place on Global Giving. I know that it is difficult to give when you don’t have a lot - believe me, I just checked my bank account and I am in the double digits…(I know =/). But even if it’s just $5 or $10, it will make a difference.

Also please feel free to forward this email to others and help publicize in any way that you can - Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Thank you guys so much for reading this and helping me. It really means a lot.

xoxo
Amanda

Hi! Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in forever… I took a long vacation after I finished my exams and now I am back at school again. So busy! But I wanted to write a quick blog entry in hopes that someone will read this and decide to help. I promise I’ll update again later with some more personal news!

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before - I used to work very closely with UNICEF when I was an undergraduate. UNICEF is still an organization that is very dear to my heart. I truly believe in the work that they do.

As you may know, there is an emergency situation currently going on in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti). Over 2 million lives of children are at risk due to drought (the worst Somalia has experienced in 50 years), rising food prices, and armed conflict. These children are severely malnourished and left vulnerable to violence and disease. It has gotten so bad that in the UN-declared famine zones of Somalia, almost 10% of ALL children under 5 die EVERY three months. Ten percent of all children under 5 dying from preventable causes. It is truly heartbreaking.

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A child who has arrived at the refugee camp in Kenya, after walking for 17 days.

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A severely malnourished child - the circumference of her arm is only 9.6 centimeters.

And it is only going to get worse if we don’t do everything we can to help. Here is an excerpt from UNICEF’s full humanitarian action report:

UNICEF’s work is a race against time. The United Nations has warned that if immediate action is not taken, famine could spread to all eight southern regions of Somalia in two months. Across the Horn, the magnitude of the suffering and loss is tremendous in this ”children’s famine.” Life-saving actions from UNICEF and its partners are urgently needed to prevent the deaths of an estimated 480,000 severely malnourished children and to help an additional 1,649,000 who are moderately malnourished. Over 10 million people are threatened by the drought and the resulting food insecurity as circumstances have triggered enormous refugee outflows to Kenya and Ethiopia, thus amplifying an already severe humanitarian crisis.

I know that when it comes to charitable giving, people often think, “What difference am I going to make? I’m sure someone else will donate the money.” As someone who has experience fundraising for a humanitarian organization, who has worked very closely with UNICEF, and who is studying to be a development economist, I can only say this: even the smallest act of kindness makes a difference.

Thanks to many generous donations, as of July 21, UNICEF has raised over $85.6 million for the Horn of Africa Crisis. However, there is still a funding gap. UNICEF estimates a total need of $300 million through 2011, in order to accommodate the influx of Somalian refugees who need food, shelter, and medical care.

Just $10 will feed a child for ten days. The main reason I love UNICEF so much is that their humanitarian efforts are smart, cost-efficient, and well-researched. If you want to learn more about how UNICEF helps, please check out their website here for a wealth of information. You can also read the full humanitarian action report here.

Please consider learning more about the famine crisis and how you can help. I understand that most of us are not rich and it is not always so easy to give. Believe me, I am living day-to-day on a grad student’s budget. But please, just consider giving up something small - try making a PB&J sandwich instead of eating out for lunch and donate that $10 to help save a child’s life.

You can text FOOD to UNICEF to donate $10, or go to their website here (and as always, donations are also tax-deductible - woo hoo!)

For those of you who took the time to read this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I wouldn’t call myself a sneakerhead because (THANKFULLY) I don’t have the uncontrollable impulse to buy new shoe releases on Saturdays. This is also aided by the fact that the female sneakerhead shoe game is much less prolific, and I’m not into boy shoes lol. Yes, I have a bit of a problem because I keep buying Jordans even though I have accumulated an unpractically large sneaker collection. Yes, I hate to admit that I have a pair of UNWORN AJ1’s very similar in color to this pair… but they are completely different materials, so it’s OK. I am running out of closet space though (made worse by the fact that I HAVE to keep my shoe boxes too)…

I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that I wear my shoes; it’s like I’m not a collector so I buy less and wait for sales… and yet at the same time, since I wear them, I can’t re-sell either. Anyway, here some pictures of my new AJ1s that just came in the mail. I got them on sale from Karmaloop - scoreeeeee.

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Ugh. I love them so much. Honestly, the only reason why I don’t wear my sneakers as much as I want is because I get lazy about putting on socks. Like, really. I guess when you’re used to wearing flip flops all the time, you notice the extra effort LOL.

Random side note, I can’t wait for summer and next year when I finally get to bring my car up to school (living in LA really BLOWS when you don’t have a car).

Reason #1 is for food - I can finally drive out of the Westwood area to go eat at all the places I’ve been meaning to try. I also want to be able to drive down to OC for Vietnamese food - I’m having serious withdrawals here in west LA :(

Reason #2 is for shopping - when I was at Berkeley for undergrad, I used to just hop on BART all the time to go shopping in SF on Powell St. and Union Square (where they have a 3-story Forever 21, 2-story H&M, and a Sanrio store. GAH I MISS THE BAY). Like a true Hello Kitty head, I really miss going to the Sanrio store… LOL. I just really want to to drive down to Japantown, where I can eat ramen, mochi, and shop at Mitsuwa and the Sanrio store ^_^ hehe. There are also some really dope sneaker stores in LA that I’ve been wanting to check out. So far, the best place I’ve been to was Blends in OC (read my Yelp review here), and I think they have a DTLA location.

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now! I’m still in the middle of my comprehensive exams :( but I’m just ten days away from FREEDOM! :D

So here are some pictures of the manicure I just did; I really like it :) I got the idea from Lauren Conrad’s beauty blog (LOL I know…I read about it on a different blog, okay).

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Ombre nails using (from L-R): Sephora by OPI “Ms. Can’t Be Wrong”; Sephora by OPI “Access 24/7″; Hello Kitty for Mac “Something About Pink”; Sephora by OPI “Techno Girl”; and Essie “Adore-A-Ball” (bottle shown)

I got all of the Sephora by OPI nail polishes in a holiday set my sister gave me for Christmas! It’s actually pretty difficult to find a good gradient of polishes in the same color family AND with the same tone, i.e. warm vs. cool. Pinks are probably the easiest to find; next I want to try purples or maybe grays.

By the way, I also just got China Glaze “For Audrey” and I LOVE IT. It is such a cute color for summer, and if you can guess by the name - a perfect Tiffany’s blue. I have it on my toes right now; it kind of photographs weird so I’ll just include a promotional photo:

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I loveeee it! I got mine off of Amazon; I’m not sure if they still carry the color in beauty supply stores but it wasn’t too expensive online. Random side note, next beauty purchase I’m planning is electric blue mascara. I’m either going to get Femme Couture’s electric blue mascara or just pay extra for the DiorShow in Azure Blue. I want it sooo badly right now, but I can’t afford to pay for shipping, so I just have to wait until next time I am home with my car or at a Sephora store. Ayy! I need money!! :(

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What: Plaid dress from Nordstrom
Where: Econometrics final

Next up… Hello Kitty Vans!

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Cute shoe box
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Too excited to lace them up
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What: Lanvin x HM scarf, Barbara Hulanicki for Top Shop shirt, American Apparel leggings, and of course… my new Hello Kitty Vans!
Where: sushi restaurant for dinner with my parents!

Lastly, wanted to share my new Nike purchase that should be coming in the mail any minute now…

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Nike Air Jordan 1 Anodized GS in Voltage Cherry

Cheee! Way excited to get these :)

Ahhh, I am seriously such a sucker for anything with Hello Kitty on it!! I want everything in almost every collaboration Sanrio does, and I will shell out the $$$$$ (ugh, what I would do for an iPad so I could get this). Case in point: I almost considered buying Hello Kitty Doc Martens, even though that’s not even my style. I also found myself wanting a Hello Kitty humidifier… I haven’t EVER used a humidifier (but maybe it’s time to start using one…it’s Hello Kitty! No?)

It’s a sickness. A horrible, cute sickness. So anyway, I had found out about the Hello Kitty x Vans collection a while ago and I even put it in my calendar that the collection was launching in June. I actually like Vans, well more than Doc Martens (and btw, if Hello Kitty ever does an official collaboration with Nike, it is OVER, I am buying the entire collection).

I happened to browse the website last night and found the collection had already launched (yes, I browse Sanrio.com sometimes… don’t judge me). Those sneaky people over at Vans and Sanrio knew that many adult Hello Kitty fans are petite ladies with small feet… and so they only carry girls sizing up to size 4 (just shy of my 5.5!). Thus, I had to pay $15 extra dollars for my shoes :(

But anyway! Here are some pictures of the style I picked out - pink Hello Kitty print lace-ups, $50. I’ll post more pictures once I receive them!

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(All pictures are from Sanrio.com, where you can buy the shoes). I got mine from the Vans website here, since shipping is a few bucks cheaper.

So, on a different note… I have no money!! I can’t believe I just spent $50 I don’t have!! So I thought I’d also try to publicize this item I’m trying to sell on eBay… if you or someone you know would be interested in purchasing a sold-out, rare Lanvin x HM dress, please take a look here! (If you go back in my blog, this is the capsule collection I camped out overnight for. I bought an extra for a friend who didn’t end up needing it, so I am selling it on eBay)

Here are some pictures of the dress I’m selling:

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The actual dress I’m selling, size 6 (EU 36)
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This is the dress that I own (same style)

Sorry I’ve been so MIA… school’s been killing me. Let’s just say I have six weeks of six exams - one exam per week. Three finals (3 hours each) and three comprehensive exams (4 hours each) that cover the entire year. I’m planning to blog something a little more personal and interesting than outfits and makeup, but for now I just wanted to share these pictures and swatches I took.

First, outfit of the day! Except I wore this maybe two weeks ago… lol.

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What: striped button down - Forever 21; white jeggings - Zara; sandals - Steve Madden
Where: school, what else…

Next up: Hello Kitty x Sephora’s new eyeshadow and blush palette, “Memoirs of a Kitty”. I was MUCH more excited about this palette than the other two that launched with the original collection. They replaced the lip glosses with two blushes, made the packaging 10x cuter and more unique.

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Cute packaging!
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Super kawaii cherry blossom print on the compact
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First tier of the compact: mirror + four eyeshadows (hehe you can see me in the mirror… wearing a Hello Kitty tank top of course :P)
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Second tier: peach and pink blushes!
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Close up of the blushes. They are pretty matte for the most part, though there is a tiny bit of shimmer/glitter, but it’s very subtle. Actually, I really love these blushes

I actually really love these blushes; they are very pigmented, soft, and blendable. I find myself using these blushes more now than I did my NARS Orgasm blush! It’s a nice flush of color without very much shimmer.

Overall, I really LOVE this palette. It is SOOOOO ADORABLE! Not to mention the product quality is great. I use the blushes a lot, and the eyeshadows are also very nice (though not the most unique colors). Still, it’s just so cute…

You can purchase it in Sephora stores or online here for $35.

Anyway, that’s it for now! Promise I’ll update with something a little more substantial once I find time!

I’m hungry and need to make dinner, so this will be short and sweet.

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What (top to bottom): JCrew dress, origami earrings from street vendor in Berkeley, sandals from street vendor in Hong Kong; checkered dress from Forever 21 (bought this for a Taylor Swift concert haha); Hello Kitty sweater dress from HM
Where: School, school, and more school.

That’s all for now. School is crazy busy right now (have comprehensive exams coming up, which is the end-all be-all event in my program…literally), so I haven’t had the energy to really blog about anything other than clothes and makeup and other silly stuff :P

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