TunesDay: Collection 28

TunesDay: Collection 28

Sorry for skipping last week.  Disappointed in myself that I did, but I think I need a break from social media for a little while.

I can only say that I am tired, of waiting for change to happen, of being scared, of being outraged over the violence that consumes us.

I’m not as hopeful as I used to be, and I can only say that what I have written on my Facebook about the happenings of this past week is what I have to say for now.

I believe that I am lucky in a way to be leaving to Costa Rica to start the Birds of La Cangreja project because it will help to clear my head and figure out what role I can and should play in social justice movements and in fighting overall as an ally and as an activist.  But, my travels also comes at a bad time because it feels like to leave is to abandon the communities that need strength here at home.

Though I am torn, maybe because I have the privilege of being able to step away, I should so that I can return and be ready to really tackle the problems that seem so daunting and hopeless.

I have no answers and no real moral to the story or uplifting note to end this on.  I am just grateful in that I know there are so many dedicated and motivated, angry, beautiful, loving activists in the struggle–in the queer, Latinx, and Muslim communities who are holding it down.  I could only hope for an ounce of the strength they have, and do my part in calling our elected officials for gun restrictions, in calling out homophobia, Islamaphobia, anti-immigrant sentiments, and the other forms of oppressive hatred that plague this country.

With this, I hope to continue on with TunesDays upon my return.  I just need some space.

Wishing you all love, healing, and more strength.

Background image comes from The Debrief.
Happy TunesDay: Collection 26

Happy TunesDay: Collection 26

This week, I’m trying to remember to be mindful of time, trying to take advantage of every moment I have and ensuring that each day is meaningful.  It’s kind of alarming when you remember how fast time can fly by.  It feels like 2016 just started, but I blinked and it’s almost halfway over.

Anyway, I’m trying to finish a bunch of home errands and organizing my physical realities before I get into my goals & aspirations.  I got a haircut yesterday and it’s interesting how something so arbitrary as your hair can weigh you down, not just physically, but mentally as well.  I feel like I am more free– to move about, pursue my real joys, and not stay stuck in my mind.  But again, I need to pace myself and take things a step at a time, something that’s very difficult for me.  Sometimes I feel like a baby kangaroo, wanting to hop about the world, but I know I’m not ready yet!

And now…to the tunes!

My tunesday picks for this week are alternative, mellow R&B/R&B-influenced vibes..  They relax me and help me reframe my brain when its moving too fast for me to keep up with.

What music helps you keep calm and gain clarity?

Background image comes from Cassie Byrnes.
Happy TunesDay: Collection 25

Happy TunesDay: Collection 25

As usual, I forgot it was Tuesday.  I need to get some kind of system that alerts me of what day it is.  Like…a calendar…on my phone…which is something I already have.  So just ignore that entire train of thought.


This week, it feels like I’m a college student cramming for finals.  I present my research on Friday for UCI’s Ethics Center.  Even though it’s pretty low-key, I am nervous because I don’t even remember the last time I spoke in public about my own work.  It’s a weird thing to be searching for academic definitions to use in my presentation when I know what the definitions are, but because I don’t have a Ph.D yet, my own definitions aren’t valid enough.

But alas, it’s part of the process and I’m just trying to go through the motions so I can prove that this work is worth it.

This week’s playlist is a mix of soothing, poppy beats to help me get through this grind.  I don’t know what genre you’d categorize it as, but I dig it.  There’s also a little bursting surprise of k-pop goodness in there.  Dedicating it to my good friend, Seonyoung who got married this past weekend to Jung in a beautiful ceremony.  Love to you both!

Tell me your thoughts!


Christina “I’m not Korean, but my Uncle told me I was so I thought I was adopted” Ong

Background image from Pinterest.



Happy TunesDay: Collection 24

Happy TunesDay: Collection 24

“Better late than never” is what they always say, right?

I really need to work on consistency and timing for my TunesDay posts, but at least I didn’t skip completely!  That’s something, at least.

This week, I compiled some of my favorite mellow & jazzy Spanish songs to keep me focused on learning Spanish and to keep me motivated before I leave to Costa Rica in June with two of my good friends, Diana and Cesar.  The tunes are from all over Latin America and the Spanish-speaking diaspora.  I included a band based in Portland, Y La Bamba.  Honestly, they’re one of my fav bands, and it totally makes sense that they’re based in Portland because their sound is so relaxed & effortless, yet incredibly funky.  For a good English song of theirs, try November.

Anyway, if you don’t know, I’ll be returning to Mastatal, Costa Rica for the third time to work on a bird preservation documentary.  Diana, Cesar, and I have all been to the community of Mastatal twice before through UCI’s Costa Rica Program, and we have the immense privilege to return and work with Marcos, the founder & owner of Finca Siempre Verde.  Once created, the film will be donated to La Cangreja National Park & given to the local primary and secondary schools as an educational resource.  We’re incredibly excited, nervous, and super ready to return to Mastatal and the community that has welcomed us so warmly time and again.

Learning a language is incredibly difficult, and I’m super grateful to my pals, Diana & Cesar, because they will have to be amazingly patient with me as I practice my Spanish in Costa Rica!  Even though I don’t have a lot of time to brush up on my Spanish, I’m confident I’ll get by…maybe.

If you have any favorite Spanish songs, please recommend them!  I’m open to all genres, but if you have any indie/pop/jazzy vibes, that would be tremendous.

pura vida y muchas gracias mi amig@s,


Happy TunesDay: Collection 22

Happy TunesDay: Collection 22

I skipped last week. I did, I’m sorry.

My excuse is good though!

I spent the past week in Boston reconnecting with some high school friends (thanks for letting my broke-ass stay in your apartment for free) and meeting some really incredible new pals at Hive.  It just reaffirmed in me the belief that good, reciprocal relationships with people are the most important things in life.  You can come from all walks of life, but when you find a real connection with someone, it’s a spark that ignites everything within.  I definitely felt a lot of warm & cuddly feelings this weekend, though I could have done without all the hugging.  And while relationships fade in and out, as they should naturally, you learn a great deal about yourself when you’re around other people.

I don’t know if I’ll maintain a lot of the connections I’ve made because life forces us to make cutbacks we don’t want to make, but the past week convinced me that I am capable of a lot more than I thought I was.  In specific social contexts, I’m usually terrified of “networking”, but it was surprisingly a lot easier than I anticipated once you strip people down from their professional titles, socioeconomic status, or whatever defining features you usually come up against when meeting new people.  I learned that first impressions, or second or third, are actually quite compelling.  To think that others who only knew me for brief moments in the totality of my life could find something worthwhile in me was uplifting in ways I didn’t expect.  So, in all, I’m grateful for the experience and will try my damnedest to keep this newfound, or maybe rejuvenated, sense of self & appreciation at the forefront of how I live my life.

Anyway, to get to the music, this week I mega-amped it up with some tunes that I’ve heard in grocery stores and at the mall, so you know it’s going to be pretty great. It’s an amalgamation of r&b, electronic, pop, and happiness all smushed into one great playlist, if I may say so myself.

This week, try to listen and let life take control.  It shouldn’t take a week-long trip to Boston to make you realize your worth and the value of actually connecting with real-life humans.  Listen, live, and listen more.  You’d be surprised at what you’ll hear.

With love and peace,


Background waves image found on Ultralinx.
Happy TunesDay: Collection 21

Happy TunesDay: Collection 21

Traveling makes me feel uneasy.  I always think I’ll forget something–often times I do.  I never think I’m prepared enough for whatever circumstances may arise.  What if I did need that extra pair of socks?  Or maybe I’ll need a hat, despite the fact that I wear hats a whopping three out of three hundred and sixty five days of the year.

But, the truth is, no matter how much we over prepare or try to think of every possible circumstance we may encounter, no one is ever 100% aware of what’s to come.  Sometimes we just have to walk into the abyss that is the unknown and believe that we are capable and strong enough to figure out life as it comes.

Even as I type this, I’m slightly skeptical of my real life problem-solving skills when in places I’m unfamiliar with.  However, this week’s TunesDay set brings me peace of mind and will help me on my travels.  Hopefully it does the same for you too.


Background abstract image comes from Brenna Giessen + Design Love Fest.


Happy TunesDay: Collection 19

Happy TunesDay: Collection 19

Once again, the close of a month!  I don’t know why I’m always surprised when these final days roll around–it happens literally every several weeks.

A short post this week, as I’m trying to catch up to the day.  Waking up late is great in theory, but in retrospect, I’m thinking of how much I time I wasted.  Let’s just blame the cute kitten who slept in my bed in the morning.  Yeah, we’ll blame her.

Have I mentioned that we’re fostering a kitten? SHE’S ADORABLE.  People say cats are weird, and they weren’t exaggerating.  Boxes, plastic bags, mirrors…everything is a toy for her.  OH, TO BE YOUNG AND EASILY ENTERTAINED.

This week’s tunes are an amalgamation of hipster-esque indie rock.  Sending productivity and youthful exuberance your way.

Cute cactus background made by Isabel Davis and found on Design Sponge.
Happy TunesDay: Collection 15

Happy TunesDay: Collection 15

Sometimes, I just want to slink away, pack a few things, and lay out under the stars in a place where I can actually see the stars, not lights from too many cars and streetlamps.

I want to drink crap coffee from a thermos and cozy up next to a campfire, be wrapped in a flannel shirt and sweatpants.

I guess I should learn how to start my own fire sans lighter first.  But, I’ll figure it out later.  No time this week!

I take the GREs tomorrow (cue gasps and mandatory wishes of luck) and I’m utterly terrified, but need to find some way to keep my resting heart rate at a relatively healthy level.

This week’s set of tunes is an alternative, indie, folksy getaway from the stresses of our everyday.  There’s some non-English surprises in the mix, so let me know how you feel about it!

Wherever you are or whatever you have on your plate this week, take some time to try and relax.  I’ll be drinking lots of coffee and pretending my apartment’s scented candles are a campfire until this week passes.

Lots of love to you all,


*Special thanks to Design Love Fest for the whimsical campfire collection background*
Happy Tunesday: Collection 10

Happy Tunesday: Collection 10

Sorry for the Tunesday delay.

Normally I like uploading my posts in the morning so we all can have fun jams for the day, but life has other plans, we don’t schedule things correctly, and we have to shuffle things around.

I spent some nice time with friends, got breakfast, and was surprised with a parking ticket. But I shouldn’t let that get me down!

Here are some fun tunes to get you through your semi-midweek slump.  It’s only 2PM and already so much to do!

I’m auditing an upper-division anthropology of development course for the next couple of months.  While I’m excited to get back into the classroom, I’m nervous about being held to higher expectations since I’m not technically a student, but still have to do the same things as my peers.  Today is my first day back in the saddle, so to speak, so wish me luck!

What are your plans for the week?  Embarking on any new adventures?  Let me know in the comments below!

TunesDay: Collection 5 – Holiday Edition

TunesDay: Collection 5 – Holiday Edition

Hip happity hooray!

The holiday season is upon us, and despite every crazy thing happening around the world, I am convinced that most people are good and that we should always try our best to love one another.

Maybe it’s the peacebuilder in me, but it’s much more difficult to embrace those different than us and to live with love and compassion in our hearts than it is to solve things with hatred.  Hopefully these hipstery holiday tunes will remind us all to live with love, however that may look like for you.

Whether you like original holiday music or modern reworkings on the classics, let me know if you have any recommendations!


Credits go to to Clementine Creative for the hip holiday background image.