Announcing: Data Structures and Algorithms Blog Series

Data Structures and Algorithms - Asian Barbie

When I walked into Algorithms class earlier this semester, my first thought was “Oh God.”

I had not been a fan of Discrete Mathematics, the precursor to the course, and the thought of having to learn these data structures and algorithms — and implement them programmatically — made me want to hide under a large rock and never come back out again.

Then I dove into the class, and realized that algorithms are really cool, and understood everything right away, and got a great job in Silicon Valley, and saved up money over the years and bought a nice house on the water where I lived happily ever after with my 50 cats.


Asian Barbie Version 3.0

maroon skater dress

maroon skater dress

Forever 21 sunglasses | Monteau dress | Unknown bracelet | A’gaci shoes

Taking action is always better than overthinking.

When I was first learning how to program in Java, I would spend the majority of my time reading and taking notes from the textbook assigned for the class. How did encapsulation work? What was the difference between method overriding and method overloading? And so forth. I thought that knowing everything conceptually would make me a better programmer, and it did, in a way — by the end of that semester, I had a vast theoretical understanding of Java and object-oriented programming, and could hold long conversations about their subtle nuances.  (more…)

Asian Barbie Version 2.2.0

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Forever 21 headband | Forever 21 sunglasses | Unknown bracelet c/o Vinted | Lilly Pulitzer dress | Franco Sarto shoes

This is, in some ways, a continuation of my earlier post about style blogging and why I’m doing it. Ever since I wrote that last post and promised to be more authentic about the way I approach my outfits, I’ve been looking for more intellectual ways to talk about fashion. Style blogging, to me, is so much more than posting pretty pictures of myself online, and I’m still trying to find my voice when it comes to sitting down and putting words to screen.

Everyone has a different motive for why they present the way they do when it comes to their personal style. Some use clothing to make themselves look more attractive. Others want to make it known that they belong to a certain group or culture, or to express how they were feeling when they got dressed that day. I like making subtle statements with what I wear, but I also just really like playing a more sophisticated version of dress-up. In the outfit above, I was equally inspired by sassy receptionist emoji as I was by Blair Waldorf (every time I re-watch even a little bit of Gossip Girl, my headband obsession comes back in full force). I’d much rather tell you those things than, say, what I did that day, because what I do every day is pretty much the same: wake up, eat breakfast, go to class, take pictures, eat lunch, more class, homework, gym, eat dinner, more homework … et cetera. Insert eye-roll here: even listing my routine makes me want to fall asleep. I’d rather tell you about how much I personally identify with  ?? , or how I’m really into the way Blair styles her outfits on GG.

So I will! From now on, I’ll post about things like this, effectively giving myself a way to play dress-up every day while talking about what I love the most. (Why didn’t I think of this sooner?) For example, have you ever listened to a song you were obsessed with and knew exactly how you’d make the music video to that song look like? I do all the time, and while it’s extremely expensive both money- and time-wise to actually make a music video to my favorite songs, it doesn’t take more effort than it usually would to put together an outfit, pick a location, and have a song-inspired photoshoot instead. Or, if I’m feeling particularly fond of a certain look featured in a Netflix show I was watching, I’ll replicate it and put my own spin on it (like a cover of a song, if you will — okay, I’ll stop with the music analogies now). Obviously, I’ll still be posting my usual outfits that aren’t particularly influenced by anything other than random choice, but I’ll try to make a dress-up post at least once a week. I don’t think that personal style is at all arbitrary — and I can’t wait to play around with different themes and expressions on the blog.

Check back soon to see what’s happening! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Asian Barbie Version 2.1.0

Above: About a month ago, my photographer and I had discovered a random table by some of the campus admin offices and decided to shoot me standing on it. These are some of my favorite photos that we’ve taken together.

When I was thirteen, I dragged my mom to Hollister to buy two polka-dotted skirts. They were too short and rode up unflatteringly whenever I sat down, but I didn’t mind because I’d seen one of the pretty girls in my grade rock one earlier that week. Never mind that I hated skirts. I was convinced that copying the look of someone I admired would make me as effortlessly beautiful as she was.

I’ve since then realized that emulation, while flattering to the original, isn’t exactly the best strategy to go about when you’re trying to create something of your own, whether that’s a personal style, career path, or way of running a blog. I now embrace a style that is all my own, one that is very high femme and consists of absolutely no skirts (dresses that look like a top and skirt are acceptable). I don’t know anybody else who wears party dresses to class, but when I put on a bright pink frock and six-inch heels for the day, I’m going with what I know works for me; I look good because I enjoy what I’m wearing.  

For some reason, I didn’t realize that the same logic applied to my blog. Asian Barbie was for fashion, so I’d take my photos and write my posts like every other fashion blogger I’d seen. Look back at my old blog posts or my Instagram and you’ll see what I mean. Generically, I did well, but my content sucked. Photo shoots consisted of me striking generic fashion-blogger poses in the same locations over and over. Afterward, I’d go home and agonize over what to write on the blog. Then I’d struggle with the Instagram caption.

I hated it. Blogging soon became a daily chore rather than a fun pursuit. I procrastinated, pushing my posts back to three times a week, then two, then none at all. Schoolwork got to be more intense. Weeks would go by without a single blog-related peep from me. Occasionally I’d get a burst of inspiration and set out to blog again, only to get hit with the same struggles that had kept me down before.

The hundreds of books and guides on how to create an engaging fashion blog that I devoured all said basically the same thing: have a photographer, edit your photos but not to the point where they look fake, be mindful of how all your pictures come together on your Instagram grid profile, use hashtags like #OOTD, and join a networking group. But my problem wasn’t that I had no style, or that I wasn’t trying enough. It was that I simply had nothing to say.

Publish a photo of a girl in a pretty dress accompanied by a mediocre caption and the post won’t do too badly; do that every day for a month and watch everyone–girl included–get burned out by fake-sounding, overly peppy posts about her outfits. “I love this dress! The deep blue color reminds me of the sea. :)” Can we not?

Instead of writing about what I was actually interested in, I’d made the same mistake as my thirteen-year-old self and thought that the path to blogging success was to emulate other fashion bloggers I knew. While they legitimately enjoyed writing about their outfits and personal lives, I’m not one to recount minute details of the day, and I hate posing the same way over and over again (that habit will be a little harder to break, though — I feel so awkward taking candid photos that aren’t really candid, even if they look really good in the end). I’m also pretty bad at sounding bubbly over the Internet. Like, I used to cringe in embarrassment every time I thought of someone I knew in real life reading an outfit post I made on my blog. Every word sounded so contrived and shallow and painful to read, which is what happens when writing is forced.

The thing that always gets me about fashion is its ability to make a statement. Clothes can flatter the human body, or the human body can show off a particular garment. An article of clothing can easily change perceptions about the wearer; I personally chose to start wearing dresses, heels, and other stereotypically “girly” clothes because of gender identity issues I’ve had my entire life. I could go on and on about the historical and cultural significance of Lilly Pulitzer or why I have an entire closet filled with white sundresses. I’m no anthropologist, but the impact that certain styles of dress have had on society is something I never get bored of. I didn’t realize that I could have written about all of that in my blog until last night when I had a sudden epiphany in the shower (the birthplace of all good ideas). Looking back now, I can’t believe I hadn’t been doing that all along.

That doesn’t mean I can’t start now, though. From now on, I’m going to take a more authentic approach to my posts: the reasoning behind my sartorial choices, the hipster-like irony I like to employ (you don’t think I’m wearing that shift with the pink and navy smiling whales all over it without my tongue firmly in my cheek, do you?), and the statements I make. I’ll be going with what interests me, and I hope that it’ll interest you, too.

Here’s to a fresh start,

Asian Barbie Returns






Dress | Abercrombie & Fitch

I’m back! I say that a lot, but one day I’ll post consistently. Pinkie swear.

Things I’ve done in my (unintentional) hiatus: Finally learned how to code properly in Java, taught myself the more abstract parts of discrete mathematics, stepped down from my student government position, went on several shopping sprees, developed a small Lilly Pulitzer obsession, got caught up in all of my classes, finished the first season of Scream Queens, became an officer on the Exec Board of my school’s Toastmasters club, finished the third season of House of Cards, re-discovered my love for The Fray’s first album, changed my code editor so that all my code was pink, and somehow managed to survive off of animal crackers, Coca-Cola, and frequent trips to Chipotle through this entire ordeal

I thought about being Barbie for Halloween the other day, but then I realized that I’d literally be wearing the same thing that I normally do. Nevertheless, I was inspired to don this bright pink sheath dress (it has pockets!) and enjoy a nice afternoon at the waterfront. Gotta get in some of this Florida sunshine before it gets to be too chilly to wear dresses.