Monday, April 27, 2015

Relatable Characters: Alex Dunphy

I've said before that I love Modern Family. Of course Modern Family is hilarious, but what pulls it over the top is how much I can relate to Alex Dunphy because, like me, Alex is an AP kid, so all of her problems are extremely relevant.

To make things simple, I'm just gonna say THREE TIMES ALEX DUNPHY WAS #RELATABLE.

  1. Last year, when I was going through my extreme junior year stress, Alex was too. Watching her experience the same things as me really helped me put things in perspective. You know, that same old "it feels good to know that other people are going through the same thing." I specifically remember an episode ("Under Pressure" Season 5, Episode 12) where Alex sees a shrink after having a breakdown. While talking to the shrink, she mentions "the feeling of being overwhelmed, but also like you're not doing enough at the same time." When I heard this, I was like YES. That was literally exactly how I felt almost every single day leading up to the moment I got into  college. Granted, this didn't really help me in any productive way, but it felt so good to hear my confusing feelings being put into such clear words.
  2. Modern Family is now on Season 6, so Alex went through the whole college application/admission/rejection process. In "Spring Break" (Season 6, Episode 18), Alex gets rejected from Harvard. After she freaks out and has a "what's the point" moment, her older sister, Haley, tells her that this rejection is good for her because it's impossible to always get what you want, to always come in first. Not coming in first doesn't diminish your value. Maybe second place isn't what you wanted, but second place isn't first place loser. Second place is still pretty impressive. You have no idea how difficult that was for me to write. I'm the kind of person who only allows the best from herself, and if I don't end up being the best, I kind of lose my shit. Lately, my mother has really been trying to get it through my head that second--or even third or fourth--place isn't a bad thing. For some reason, hearing this on the TV really helps emphasize the point. My accomplishments can't be measured by any numbers or rankings.
  3. After Alex is accepted to Cal Tech ("Grill, Interrupted" Season 6, Episode 19), she starts feeling anxious because she fears that she will be considered inferior in a school full of geniuses. Unlike Alex, I didn't have these fears right after I was accepted into my university, but when I went to an engineering forum at the school and saw a lot of my future classmates, I got scared. Whereas I chose my major loosely on the fact that I like calculus, the people there seemed really interested in science. They intimidated me. From the conversation between Alex and her grandfather, Jay, I kind of came to the conclusion that I'm just as smart as these guys. Sure, they're computer nerds who have subscriptions to Science Weekly, but I got accepted to the same school as them, so I can't be too far behind. As long as I have confidence in myself and am ready to work hard, I'll do swimmingly. (Yes, I'm going with swimmingly.)
<Lucy Cartin

Friday, April 24, 2015

Move In Day

I have this long, flowing light pink kimono that my mother passed down to me a long while ago. I remember admiring how beautiful she looked in it when she walked around in the morning doing mom-type things. There used to be a rocking chair in my room that sat between my brother's bed and mine. My mother would wear the long pink kimono and sit in the rocking chair while she read us bed-time stories. (I know this all seems unrealistically picturesque, but that's because I'm choosing not to describe the mess in the bedroom and the chair's ugly, green upholstery. Also, after my mom gave me the kimono, I got a ketchup stain on it. Never bothered to wash it out. Still wear the kimono.)

But back to the nostalgic mood I was establishing.

Even at a really young age, thinking about the future made me anxious. Of course I loved thinking about how one day I would be a powerful, wealthy--emphasis on wealthy, and also powerful--adult. Except my thoughts weren't always daydreams. Whenever my brother and I argued, our parents told us that one day they'd be gone and that we'd only have each other. Taking this a little too far, I often thought about how hard my life would be without my parents--often to tears. Specifically, I remember lying in bed one night and thinking about me as an adult, living without my parents. I pictured myself sitting in a chair in a dark room, wearing the pink kimono, and looking down at a child (most likely mine). My eyes stung with tears as I thought about how sad and lost I would be without my parents. Let me just emphasize that I didn't have these thoughts at age thirteen or fifteen or whatever. I must have been a little less than ten years old when I first went down this path, so I was understandably afraid of being without my parents.

This September I'm going to be attending university, and I'm still scared.

Long before college was a realistic concern, I started thinking about move in day. Every time I think about leaving home with my belongings in boxes, driving to some university, and filling an empty dorm with my stuff, I get kind of anxious. Every time I think of saying goodbye to my parents and my brother and walking back to that dorm alone, I nearly start crying. Thinking about that years ago was hard--now it's just terrifying. Obviously I have to move forward--and I want to! But the fact that my life is going to change so drastically so soon is frightening. Sure, you could say it's exciting and new, but I've never been much of an optimist. Every last scrap of my optimism is currently directed towards convincing myself that I am completely capable of living on my own. Hopefully, I'm right. We'll see. Only time will tell. Too cheesy? Nah, this is a nostalgic post. It's no good if it's not a little cheesy.

<Lucy Cartin

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flower Girl

rings and hair flowers: Michael's; dress: Free People; 
tights: Target; bag: Michael Kors; shoes: LoveD

I'm really excited about these little rosettes I found at Michael's. Can I just say how much I love craft stores? Anyway, these flowers are just appliques that (I think) are for scrap-booking. They're just paper-y flowers with wires attached. The pack I bought had 25 flowers in five different colors, and I can't wait to use them all! I can kind of just arbitrarily stick them in my hair (as seen below), I can wrap them around my fingers as rings, and I can even link them together to make crowns, bracelets, arm bands, etc. Honestly, I felt like a DIY queen when I discovered these. So much proud.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Recent Obsessions 2

Time for another Recent Obsessions! Maybe this will be a segment on my blog! You can see the first one . Anyway, let's get into this!

I Didn't Do It. Somehow I became obsessed with this Disney show. Kids' shows are usually extremely lame, not to imply that this one isn't, but this one is less so than most. It has the same old overdone plots and cliche jokes, but it also has a lot of good jokes and pretty impressive character development. My obsession is somewhat driven by how much I ship Logan and Jasmine (top right and bottom left) if I'm being completely honest. All the episodes are on YouTube, so naturally, I watched every single one. Now I wait for a new episode every week. I'm probably the oldest viewer of this show, but that's okay! No shame. Well, not a lot anyway...

Rosettes., There's a post about these to come, so for now I'll just say that I love them simply because of how much I can do with them. Not to mention, they add a very spring-esque touch to any outfit.

Spotify. I recently made a Spotify account and cannot be more happy with it! I'm like the last person to get a Spotify, but now I understand why everyone uses it. Other people probably scoff at how excited I am by something so yesterday, but I don't care. I love how many playlists Spotify makes for you, and I love making my own playlists with all kinds of songs I forgot existed.

Wedges. Awhile ago, I broke the only pair of sandals I owned, and so far, I haven't bought a replacement pair. Since it's now spring, I've been craving shoes that are more sandal-y, and these are the closest things I've got! Not to mention, they're oddly my easiest shoes to put on. No laces or socks involved-- I just pull them on as I walk out the door.

@PhandomStats. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this Twitter account that tweets random statistics about danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil (YouTubers that I adore). I genuinely look forward to these tweets every time I check Twitter because they're crazy relatable, and they help me immerse myself in the phandom.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Potential Productivity

 top: Kohl's; cardigan: Cotton On; leggings: Cotton On; 
bag: Michael Kors; shoes: LoveD

I am ridiculously exhausted. It's really sad that I'm so tired after a week of spring break-- I'm kind of pathetic. Actually, I blame senioritis. Lucky for me, I haven't become lazy with my school work, but senioritis has made me extremely lethargic. Whereas in prior years I would spend my free time in a quasi productive way, now all I can do is sit around and watch YouTube. BUT! I have plans to become productive again! After the AP test weeks (which, for anyone who doesn't know, are the first two weeks of May when high school kids take tests that they've been preparing all year for), I'm going to read for fun. I'm going to go to yoga classes. I'm going to walk my dog all the time. I'm going to play piano more. I'm going to eat some freaking salads. I have aspirations! All I have to do is get through April (which is a month of intense studying for AP kids). Time to power through!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


When I was little, I always wanted to have some sort of superpower. After watching shows like Avatar the Last Airbender and Kim Possible, with characters who could take out their enemies with incredible ease, I desperately yearned for some way to defend myself. As a little girl, I was always afraid. I'm not entirely sure what I feared, but I constantly felt the need to be protected. From watching these shows, I came to admire how young people like Aang and Kim Possible managed to protect themselves from everything. No matter where they went, they were safe because in the face of danger, Aang could go all avatar state, and Kim could kick some ass. I wanted that.

I wanted to feel strong.

I didn't want to feel like I needed other people to take care of me. I wanted-- want-- to be my own superhero. There's this one song by the Cheetah Girls (I recently had a bit of a throwback Thursday, if you can't tell) called "Cinderella," and it's all about not waiting for a prince to rescue you. I never truly appreciated the value of that song until now.

Society should emphasize the importance of all people, not just girls, learning how to protect themselves-- physically, yeah, but also emotionally. Through the improvement of each citizen, society can prosper in unimaginable ways.

Okay, this was just supposed to be a cute anecdote about me wanting to be a strong young lady, but it turned into a commentary on society. What can I say? Everything's a UT. (Universal truth-- it's an AP Lit thing.)

<Lucy Cartin

Monday, April 13, 2015

University Quirk

hair clips: H&M; top (under): Love Tree; t-shirt: original by me; 
skirt: Forever 21; bag: Coach; shoes: Call It Spring

This past weekend I visited the university I will be attending next year! It was kind of weird going there as a tourist knowing that I'm going to live there next year, but the trip was still cool. I was kind of concerned, however, that I wasn't too excited. I mean, it's a gorgeous campus, and I'm glad that I'll be calling it home for the next four years, but some of the people there were crazy excited. Like, there's no way I could have matched that. They were bell-ringing excited. By which I mean the school set up a booth where students could officially commit to the school and then ring a bell, which sounds great-- especially after 8 hours. I committed at home with my mom and celebrated with a gentle woo. I also feel like I couldn't get super excited because most of the seminars discussed all the "next steps" I had to take (essentially a long to do list), and I just got so exhausted thinking about all of it. Still excited (and terrified) for university though! *sighs remembering long to do list*

Friday, April 10, 2015


My blog has been kind of a downer lately, so I decided to force some happiness into it by making a quick list of things that make me happy!

  1. Watching YouTube on the couch for hours and having no other plans
  2. Walking my dog on a really beautiful day
  3. Eating chocolate cake and drinking milk
  4. Wearing an amazing outfit and having somewhere good to wear it
  5. Listening to female pop singers and dancing in my room

<Lucy Cartin

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I am confused

top (under): Love Tree; t-shirt: original by me; 
skirt: Asos; socks: Kohl's; shoes: Guess

Currently, I am undergoing a period of confusion. I constantly tell myself that I want to change and become a better person, but I have no plan regarding my approach to that. I'm kind of like Hamlet when he's planning revenge on his uncle. Essentially, he has a goal but no game plan. All the while, he's feeling lots of feels. Wow. I never thought I would relate to Hamlet, but here I am. Since I'm taking inspiration from literature anyway, here's a poem I wrote about my internal conflict. Enjoy (that is, as much as one can enjoy internal conflict).

"I am confused" by Kuo

I am riots in the streets.

            Screams of terror and destruction.

            Acts of hatred.

I am the sound of gunfire.

            Feared by most,

            A sweet melody to a sick few.

I am black shadows in a burning red flame.

            A vague depiction of an uncontrollable pain.

Unidentified and disposable.

I am a child who lost her doll.

            Overwhelmed with desperation.

            With tragic eyes, but a hopeful heart.

I am puffy eyes and dry lips.

            The heartbroken victim of some pathetic crime.

            Hideous tears of shame.

I am an outsider to a world of laughter.

            Left in solitude.

            Ignored by the masses.

I am balled up fists and racing hearts.

            Twisted in her own mind.

            The picture of teenage angst.

I am a girl who’s afraid to speak.

            Hesitation overpowering desire.

            Falling victim to fear.

I am a wandering soul.

            Waiting for the future,

            In hopes of closure.

I am confused.

<Lucy Cartin

P.S. Sorry my blog is so angst-y lately. I'm kind of on an emotional roller coaster these days, but who isn't? I recently re-watched danisnotonfire's "Draw My Life" video, and he said something that really stuck out to me. When he started describing his high school years, he said something along the lines of "Yeah, I had problems-- just like everyone else." For me, it was a subtle reminder that it sucks that my life is kind of turbulent right now, but that doesn't mean I should be so dramatic about it. I, and every person, should be allowed to talk about my problems and express myself, but for me to think that my suffering is matched by no other is rather narrow-minded.

P.P.S. My apologies for the extensive post script.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Gorgeous trail by my house. Not related to this post.
I recently noticed a strange phenomenon among teenage girls. I'll refer to it as "the sweatpants cake-face paradigm." Basically, this refers to girls wearing pajamas or sweatsuits or slippers to school with a full face of makeup. This led me to ask a question: Why do some aspects of a look matter more than others?

Upon considering this, between passing periods, I came to the (rather vague) conclusion that this phenomenon is based on being effortless. When girls wear sweats, they seem like they don't care. They're super cool and give zero... ducks. Yet, as much as they want to seem effortless, they don't want to seem sloppy. So what do they do? They do up their faces as if they're meeting the first lady or something. Essentially, teenage girls want to be beautiful while also seeming like they don't care.

What's with that? Why is it cool to not care? Why is it lame to try?

In a society where putting in an effort is discouraged by social norms, what can we expect for the future? When people stop caring, passion dies, and society ceases to flourish. SOCIETY NEEDS TO FLOURISH.

I probably took this way too far, and I'm sure I haven't considered every aspect of "the sweatpants cake-face paradigm" because I don't wear makeup every day, so I'd love to hear other people's opinions on this!

<Lucy Cartin

Friday, April 3, 2015

Self Reflection

cardigan: Kohl's; top: Forever 21; 
dress: miscellaneous store in Taiwan; shoes: Converse

I actually spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. For some reason, I have a strange obsession with reflections. Part of it stems from this game I like to play with my reflection. I stand really still and make my reflection look like a picture. Then I make a sudden movement and amuse myself. (I know, I'm a child.) The other part comes from vanity. I would say that I'm pretty vain. Sometimes I wonder if my future roommate will think I'm weird or self-obsessed. I suppose what she will see is me-- honest Kuo, no cover-up. Theoretically, my behavior is an honest portrayal of my personality. Yet, I feel like I'm too manipulative with my behavior. I always behave in a way that is unrepresentative of my true feelings or personality. At this point, I can't tell if my behavior has become a genuine part of my character or if it's still a disguise. Even when I look in the mirror, I don't see the person who (I think) I am. All I can see is the girl who is confident and funny and doing just fine. I suppose mirrors can only provide a partial reflection. What a strange phenomenon.

<Lucy Cartin

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Unwanted Truth

*irrelevant to the post*

Not too long ago, a friend of mine interviewed me for our school's newspaper. One of the questions that she asked me really got me thinking. Not the question itself, but the way we both reacted to my answer.

She asked me how I cope with stress.

What I thought was how I burst into an angry fit of tears and curl into a tight ball of fury.

What I said was that I occasionally scream to release tension.

What she wrote down for the newspaper was that I squeeze a little stress-ball-type-thing that I keep on my desk.

I completely understand why she chose not to announce that I spontaneously screech in some sort of desperate attempt to calm myself, but this whole situation had me thinking. When I answered her saying that I yell to release stress, we both knew that she couldn't put that in the paper. People-- the student body, the general public-- don't want to hear the truth if it's not pleasant. Obviously no one likes bad news, but it seems weird that it's so natural for us to masquerade authenticity. Society trains people to recognize and conceal traits that are undesirable. This concept is not one dimensional, though.

As of recent, society has been encouraging young people to embrace their individuality and tolerate that of others. In this sense, people are becoming more comfortable with themselves and hiding less.

On the other hand, there are traits (such as short tempers) that I imagine will always be unwelcome in society. I suppose this should encourage me to work on my flaws instead of concealing them, but I'm just so tired. Even hiding my weaknesses is becoming tiresome.

Sometimes I wish I could just be completely real, but let's be honest. Not even I would want to witness that. What does that say about my character?

Just some thoughts of mine-- no conclusions. Sorry, I'm not that wise yet.

<Lucy Cartin