(Read my Yelp review here)

Then please write me a solution manual to the following exams :)


There’s more where that came from here - yippeeee

Well, I’m me. I can’t generalize about myself and how I compare to “everyone else” because I don’t know everything about everyone else. Everyone is different. What a silly question.


It’s cheesy, but music really does make me happy. It has the power to speak to your heart, or just simply to take you to another world where you feel light and happy.

Sometimes a song captures exactly what your heart is telling you.

Don’t read this post! It’s cheesy as hell.

Okay, the truth is, I pretty much know exactly what I want in a relationship… kind of like the post about my dreams/goals for the future (Day 18). The sad thing about articulating those dreams/hopes/expectations is… well, what if they don’t come into fruition? I’m pretty superstitious, so sometimes I feel like if I talk too much about wanting something badly, then it won’t happen. But whatever, I’ll answer the question anyway… just don’t judge me :P Although you’ll begin to understand why I’m so picky about guys and usually single…

My sister calls him “LA-Cal Guy” (inside joke…). Please excuse the mushy ramble I’m about to jump into…

I just want someone who is nice and has a good heart. I think I’m a fairly nice person and although I am independent, I like to be taken care of, at least emotionally, in a relationship. I like nurturing types - people who put other people first, because I feel like I’m the same way. I would do anything for my partner, and I want him to feel the same way. Of course he has to be smart and have goals. He has to be able to understand or at least be somewhat interested in what I’m doing with my life and career.

Dealbreakers: must be loyal, responsible, compassionate, tolerant and understanding. I would never stay with someone who was disloyal and betrayed someone else’s trust. I would never stay with someone who abused drugs or led an irresponsible lifestyle just because they felt like they could do it. I would never stay with someone who was racist, prejudiced, sexist, or a jerk. Lastly, I would never stay with someone who was overly-controlling. I’ve never dealt with a jealous boyfriend and I don’t ever plan on it - ew.

I like it when a guy has a distinct culture and I can relate to that culture on some level - this is probably why I like Asian-American guys. There is just a threshold of cultural understanding that has already been passed with Asian guys; usually, we share a common experience growing up. But I love learning about new cultures, so sometimes it’s fun to be with someone who is similar but not exactly the same as you.

All my friends know I have a physical thing for tall, tan Japanese and hapa guys, but those are just physical traits. If I get to know someone well enough, looks aren’t a dealbreaker. As long as I’m attracted to him, that is all that really matters. The way a person looks or dresses - those are all things that change with time anyway, so it’s the person inside that really counts.

Another random thing that I am attracted to is talent. Usually talent in the performing arts - i.e. music and dance. I’ve played the clarinet for the past thirteen years, so I can really appreciate musical talent. And all of my ex-boyfriends have been very skilled on an instrument (particularly, forms of drumming). Basically, I am very passionate about certain things in my life, and I would like to be with someone who is equally passionate about their own life.

Oh yeah, and who doesn’t want a boyfriend who thinks like Bruno Mars… hehe. I’m lucky enough to have experienced this kind of love before, so I’m not going to settle for feeling less than special :)

Anyway, those are what I like to call the resume traits that I look for in a guy - usually, things you can figure out within the first few dates. But aside from that, there are more nuanced qualities that you can only really glean from a person once you’ve known them for a while. Just a level of comfort that I’ve only really felt with a handful of guys. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to share my life with someone; not to give it up or change it for someone else, but just to share it. To come home and tell someone how my day was, and to have him listen and truly care. Someone to cheer me up when I’m having a bad day and someone to share all my happy moments. That’s all I could ever really ask for. I find it’s really hard to find that in a person…it’s also probably the reason why I’ve only had relationships with guys who were my close friends first. Because ultimately, I just want to marry my best friend.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” - Aristotle

This is my favorite song from Musiq Soulchild and pretty aptly describes that feeling I’m talking about.

Alright, I think that concludes my super cheeseball fest. And if you watch the video all the way through… my God, that picture of Musiq with the boombox is SO CHEESY…it’s the PERFECT ending to this post :)


Panda! Obviously, because it rhymes with my name. In 5th grade, my friends and I made up animal nicknames: Amanda = Apanda. Angela = Tarangela. Allison = Alliphant. So I made it into an AIM screenname and it stuck. It’s been catching on more and more now because of Christine (Tarsier) hehe.

That’s my main nickname. My sister calls me an assortment of things, most commonly Fart (so affectionate). My family calls me by a nickname for my Vietnamese name, Mai Tram. The nickname is Tram or Tram Tram, or Trammy (there’s a hat over the ‘a’ and it’s pronounced closed to ‘Chum’ phonetically). 4cks (mainly Kate) and Natalie call me Kiki.

So yup! Those are my nicknames =P !

I’m going to get your attention to read this post with a pretty picture… Hehe (from my most recent Vegas trip for my friend’s birthday)


It is seriously taking me forever to finish this survey thing hahaha. What the heck am I gonna write about after this is over?

Anyway, I already wrote pretty extensively about my plans, dreams, and goals for first post in this survey. I guess I’ll summarize. I have a clear vision of where I want my life to go. My dream is get my PhD in Economics, get a position as an assistant professor at a major research university, preferably in California. Teach and do great, meaningful research in development economics. Get tenure. Once my kids go to college and I have tenure, go on sabbatical and work short-term positions at a UN Economic Council such as the IMF and/or the World Bank. Work at the Federal Reserve Bank for a few years. Live in New York while I work at the UN, travel abroad to do field research. Retire in Hawai’i. Oh yeah, and somewhere along the way, hopefully find the right person for a lifelong relationship, get married, and have kids.

I’m happy with the career path I’ve chosen; I find it meaningful and fulfilling. Even if I don’t find romantic love in my life, I know that somehow I will find unconditional love with a family and fulfillment in pursuing a livelihood that allows me to help others. Just to make a real difference in the life of one person who genuinely needs my help - that’s all I could ever ask for. Sometimes when I feel down about school or when I’m thinking about all the things I don’t have, I feel comforted and happy to know that someday, I’ll *hopefully* be able to change someone’s life for the better through my own work.

So there are my lifetime plans/dreams/goals. *Sigh* but for now all I can think about is passing my classes and my comps! Ayiyiyi…

“By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.” - His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

This is a pretty tough question. There are a lot of people I’d like to trade lives with for one day. It’s my blog so I can pick as many people as I want, right? Lol.

I think it’d be a really good experience for me to switch lives with someone less fortunate than me - someone growing up in a third world country, or even someone like my mom as a teenager, living during the Vietnam War. I think this would help me truly appreciate the blessed life I have today. Too often, I take things for granted and even though I know this, it’s really hard to keep things in perspective when you don’t actually knows what it feels like to really have it worse.

I also would want to switch lives with my past self. As sad as it sounds, sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell myself then what I know now. I don’t necessarily have regrets, but I definitely think about certain things in the past. Also, there were some times in my life when I felt truly happy and I would love to be able to go back and enjoy those perfect days over again.

And here’s the theme song to my blog today, hahah. Such a talented and adorable kid - puts a big smile on my face!

Completely feeling this song… love the version with just Drake.

Anywho, I put off making my resolutions til a few things became clear to me… Now I feel like I know where I need to put in work & where I just need to let go and move on…

1. Make school my #1 priority

-Finish class reading before lecture
-Review class notes and slides before lecture
-Leave my room to study everyday - on campus or in my study lounge - and stay away from distractions (aka my laptop!)
-Don’t be late to class; leave my apartment by 8:30am
-Limit recreational time spent on the internet to one-hour daily maximum
-No more than one TV show per day
-Start studying for exams and making study guides earlier
-Work on comp exam questions every weekend
-Start looking at old exams at least a week before midterms and finals, so I can try them more than once and time myself
-Ask people for help when I don’t understand something; don’t be embarrassed
-And most importantly, don’t get discouraged or lose confidence!

2. Improve my physical health

-Work out a minimum of 2x a week (even when I’m busy with exams); average 3-4x in a normal week
-Pack my lunch as often as I can
-Cook dinner more often
-Control my portion sizes and try to eat more balanced meals
-Start getting ready for bed at 11pm; sleep at midnight (1am at the latest)

3. Improve my mental health

-Smile more
-Be nice and positive towards everyone (including my parents)
-Show compassion - not pre-judgment - to everyone I meet
-Think about one thing that I am thankful for before I go to sleep every night
-Try to be more positive and have more confidence in myself
-Whenever I start to miss something that’s changed, just be happy it happened and remind myself of something good that’s still in my life
-Don’t indulge myself by dwelling on the past

4. Improve my finances

-Control my credit card debt by the end of the year
-Stop spending excessive money on clothes, shoes, makeup, etc.
-Stop spending excessive money on alcohol and partying
-Stop impulse buying, online shopping, and shopping when I’m sad or upset
-Be more mindful of my budget when I go out

Just a note: the only new year’s resolution I made for 2010 I sort of kept… I had resolved to stay out of love, past and present. I kept the present part of the resolution, though the aspect of past love was a bit more questionable. But it’s sort of impossible to completely let go of a past love; that person will always have a place in your heart. So as far as how much I could have done to let that person go, I think I did a decent - not perfect - but decent job in 2010. With a little more closure in 2011, I need to continue to focus on myself, so that I can be a truly happy person when I fall in love again. Anyway, this became much more personal than I intended, so I’ll stop here. Happy new year :)

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