The Kimpton Goodland

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If you are looking for quick getaway idea for the upcoming Labor Day weekend or future vacation ideas, you definitely want to visit the city of Santa Barbara at least ONCE in your lifetime! Similarly to San Diego, I absolutely enjoyed the carefree and beachy vibes that the chill town of Goleta had to offer, and it didn’t hurt that my two-night stay at the cozy Kimpton Goodland took on the form of a modern bohemian oasis away from home. In fact, I wanted to share with you guys a few photos of the property throughout my stay and a few key reasons on WHY I enjoyed my first time at Santa Barbara. If you enjoy reading hotel reviews and travel stories, keep on reading!


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  1. Convenient Location


One of the few reasons why I enjoyed our stay at The Kimpton Goodland was the fact that the location of the property was in the smack-dab center of all of the popular Santa Barbara tourist locations. In fact, we were just TWO blocks away from my favorite Blenders In The Grass and Panino (you can read my Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide here) and just less than a 10-minute drive to State Street. State Street is a popular street filled with cute boutiques, delicious restaurants, and is right next to the beach!


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2. Delicious & aesthetic outdoor patio restaurant


If you stay at The Kimpton Goodland without dining at their outdoor patio restaurant known as The Outpost, then did you really stay at The Kimpton Goodland?

The Outpost is a spacious restaurant located on the property of The Kimpton Goodland that rocks a modern, bohemian vibe. If you ask me, it is also the ideal photoshoot location for any Instagram lifestyle, food, or fashion influencers! If you are curious about the food quality and customer service, you can read my honest restaurant review of The Outpost SB here.

Note: Upon check-in, the staff will hand you a map of the entire property, which includes a few top Instagram spots that they’ve highlighted within the vicinity. If you take an Instagram photo tagging their hotel in the caption and photo, you score a $10 restaurant voucher to use at The Outpost SB.



3. Fun daily activities hosted by the hotel.


If there is one thing that I love about staying at a hotel, it includes the eventful itinerary that the hotel hosts for their guests! At The Kimpton Goodland, I recently learned that every different day introduced a different activity on their property. You can find a list of their hotel events here.

During our stay, we were able to join for their complimentary S’mores Night - besides, what’s a better way to spend an intimate night with friends toasting marshmallows on a cozy couch at one of their many firepits? We definitely fulfilled our sweet cravings that night ;)


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4. Pet-friendly


Now this one is pretty self-explanatory - any business that shows support and love for our furry friends is a business that I wholeheartedly support as well! Not gonna lie - I definitely loved all of the dog Instagram photos that I saw on their Instagram feed, LOL. Totally would have brought my little moustache dog, Muffin, along if my friend wasn’t allergic to dogs!

Regardless, it’s nice to know that this hotel is dog-friendly so you won’t have to worry about getting a dogsitter if you want to make a trip to Santa Barbara!


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Have you been to Santa Barbara before? Is there any hotspots I should check out during my next visit? ;)

Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide

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Before visiting Santa Barbara this past weekend, I realized that I haven’t traveled anywhere new since February 2019. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve come out with a restaurant guide since I’ve been focusing more on outside-the-gram tasks (full-time work, photography, videography, influencer marketing, model management) and less on traveling these days! Although I am less active on the gram, I couldn’t be happier knowing that I am utilizing all of my free time to build my photography business (and a separate business from that, heh ;) ) outside of the blogger/influencer lifestyle. Sorry for the random tangent, but I thought I’d update you guys a little bit about what was going on in my life and why I was a bit inactive from the blog before I get started with this foodie guide!

But since you’ve come to the right place for a list of bomb Santa Barbara restaurants, let’s get down to it!


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Blenders In The Grass


If you even mention the word “Blenders” to me, I will automatically picture a mouthwatering Orange Banana smoothie from Santa Barbara instead of that one electronic device that is in every American’s kitchen - sorry not sorry, but this automatic reaction to hearing the word “Blenders” is already wired into my brain. Blenders In The Grass is a smoothie place that was bookmarked on Wendy’s “to-visit” list and is now categorized under my current SB obsessions list. I love how this smoothie place offers a wide variety of smoothie flavors to choose from, and they even offer one free supplement to your drink to help boost a certain health aspect (calcium, bee pollen, chia seeds, flax seeds, energy, whey protein, etc.)

If you want to order my top favorite, be sure to go with the Orange Banana smoothie and replace the yogurt with orange sherbet - you’ll thank me later ;)

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.



Brophy Bros


I actually ended up at Brophy Bros as a belated birthday surprise gift from one of my best friends (and videographer!), Wendy. Brophy Bros is located on the Santa Barbara Pier near West Beach and lies adjacent to a bunch of other popular Santa Barbara seafood restaurants. You aren’t allowed to place a reservation (or at least for a party of 4) on weekends so we just walked in and wished for the best! Luckily, we were seated relatively quickly and the wait time for the food wasn’t too shabby either, despite the extremely crowded restaurant during the busy lunch hour.

Two must-have options you need to order include the Seafood Pasta and the Clam Chowder. Typically, I am not a HUGE fan of pasta dishes or dishes that make you feel heavy/bloated AF, but something about this specific pasta dish strongly resonated with me when I looked at multiple photos on Yelp. The scallops that come with the pasta melt in your mouth in the most satisfying way, and the flavorful pasta sauce definitely complemented the dish as a whole

Honestly, if you aren’t too hungry or have a small appetite, I recommend even sharing ONE entree between two people because the portions are quite large.

If you are a crab enthusiast, I would highly recommend ordering the crab dish just because Wendy has been to Brophy Bros more than once and did not hesitate on ordering one of the most popular seafood dishes here. Personally, I am too lazy to deshell certain seafood options, but if you have the motivation, then go for it! If Wendy wasn’t disappointed, you won’t be disappointed ;)

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.


Flir Cafe


Not gonna lie, but the funniest part about this Santa Barbara trip was the fact that Richie and Wendy happened to look up breakfast/brunch places that ended up being inside of a work building TWICE during this trip. One of them included Flir Cafe, as we never ended up finding the other restaurant after wandering around a random industrial parking lot for a bit, LOL.

Flir Cafe is a spacious cafeteria that proudly displays a Yelp sign sharing how it’s one of the top rated restaurants in Santa Barbara. After trying their Breakfast Burrito, I can definitely agree that I would come back here in a heartbeat. My friends enjoyed their Eggs Benedict and Omelette entrees as well.

Both affordable and delicious, Flir Cafe is definitely a great breakfast, brunch, or lunch option to add to your restaurant list if you’re looking for a casual bite to eat. Additionally, they whip up a variety of ethnic recipes ranging from American to Asian Fusion dishes. The best part about this cafe is that they switch up their menu daily so you can count on being spoiled by this variety if you choose to eat here more than once during your visit!

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.


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Kyle’s Kitchen


Since our hotel, the Kimpton Goodland, was just a block away from Kyle’s Kitchen, what was originally a spontaneous restaurant visit discovered through a casual Yelp search evolved into a memorable and affordable salad meal. Because I’m not huge on the burger scene, I opted for a salad and was happy that they offered more than just your standard Caesar Salad. When it came time to order, I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad - a satisfactory choice if you ask me. The portion size was plentiful, the price was surprisingly fair (since most restaurants salads are a rip-off!), and the flavor quality was great.

Also, a fun fact about the fries that come with their burger entree - they chop their fries short, so there’s more little potato strips to eat! Hooray!

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.


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McConnell’s Ice Cream


Introducing the top go-to ice cream parlor in Santa Barbara, McConnell’s Ice Cream definitely has an introduction for itself when you spot a crazy long line going out the door at MULTIPLE McConell’s locations. Talk about hot damn! As much as I agree with the hype that McConnell’s serves bomb ice cream, I personally would not wait in a long line for their delicious ice cream. If a wait time did not exist, I’d definitely recommend checking this place out, especially during this summer heat! However, I do also enjoy the fact that you can order TWO flavors in their single scoop - talk about livin’ the life!

With attentive staff members and a welcoming ambiance, McConnell’s offers a variety of ice cream flavors that range from basic AF vanilla to wildly eccentric fruit and nutty flavors. Being the basic B that I am (and proud of it!), I ordered Vanilla Bean and Sprinkle Cake and it was yums ;)

Besides the extremely long lines and expensive price tag that comes with a single scoop, I do recommend visiting McConnell’s at least ONCE during your Santa Barbara trip!

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.


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Sachi Ramen And Robata Bar


I will forever remember this as the restaurant with the funny male waiter who poked fun at the fact that I was the only Asian he ever encountered that requested a fork to eat her ramen bowl, LOL #noshame. Sachi Ramen And Robata Bar offered a variety of unique ramen options to choose from, and of course, the Duck Ramen looked irresistible! Not only did it come with tender slices of duck (who else loves duck skin?!), but the noodle texture was soft, chewy, and marinated in a delicious and flavorful mild soup broth.

Sachi Ramen and Robata Bar is definitely a great option to consider for any of you ramen-obsessed fanatics out there! Bonus points for the fact that it’s located near a Blenders AND McConnell’s ;)

See the Yelp page here.

See the menu here.


The Outpost (Kimpton Goodland)


When you score a $10 restaurant voucher from the Kimpton Goodland for posting an Instagram photo at their property, you already know that dinner is about to be REAL fun - especially when each of your friends post on Instagram and you have a whopping $40 to spend at the restaurant, heh ;) But don’t worry, we definitely ate more than $40 worth of entrees there because it’s VACATION TIME, BABY!

The Outpost definitely channels #interiorgoals and #patiogoals with its mosaic tiled floor, hanging succulent plants, and modern patio decor. And luckily for you, their restaurant is as cute as their food is scrumptious ;) Our dinner consisted of Crispy Chicken Wings, Steak Tartare, and Pork Ribs.

All you have to know from this review is….ORDER THE STEAK TARTARE!!! It was heavenly and I would definitely come back to this restaurant just for this dish!

See the Yelp page here.


Panino


I think the most hilarious part about Panino was the fact that we originally came for paninis, but ended up ordering sandwiches, LOL. Near my favorite Blenders, Panino is another Santa Barbara place that I am absolutely obsessed with - and whaddya know, they are literally across the street from each other! Winner winner, panino dinner!

I ordered the Chicken Salad Sandwich and the best part about this sandwich has to be their homemade mayonnaise with honey mustard sauce. There’s just something about this sweet, sticky sauce that makes my sandwich absolutely IRRESISTABLE.

P.S. You already know that you are a Panino lover if you order the same sandwich to-go for your work lunch the next day. #noregrets #justhappiness

See the Yelp page here.
See the menu
here.


Have you visited Santa Barbara before, or is it on your travel bucketlist? Which SB restaurants are your top faves, or are there any SB restaurants you’ve been to that didn’t make it on to my list?

Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Your Foolproof Guide To Birthday Freebies

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Want to know a fun fact about me? I pretty much lie on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to being a frugal spender or an impulsive buyer. Not only am I an avid couponer, discount code user, and Rewards Card enthusiast (and proud of it!), but I can also spontaneously purchase an item for its original price if I can’t stop obsessing over it. Because I know a bunch of you guys LOVE freebies (I mean who doesn’t?), I thought I would share one of my secrets to unlocking the ultimate birthday treat for yourself, such as scoring all of them birthday freebies during your special month!

If you really don’t want to miss out on the goods (insert suggestive emoji here), be sure to check out my foolproof guide to birthday freebies below! Additionally, I want to point out that since I grew up in the Bay Area but currently live in Orange County, this list will GENERALLY pertain to California residents. If anything, I highly recommend signing up for ALL of these brand’s newsletters and email lists no later than one month before your birthday to the beginning of your birthday month. However, the earlier, the better! In regards to expiration dates, please keep in mind that my birthday is on June 17th, so y’all can use my birthday as a general reference to assess approximately when these deals will most likely expire.

So without further ado, let’s get started! In order to redeem these amazing freebies, you either have to sign up for their email list/newsletter on their website (usually it’s either an automatic pop-up or located at the very bottom of the home page) or download the mobile app.

*NOTE: I will continue to update this birthday list every single year to keep all of these discounts/deals up-to-date, so be sure to bookmark/save this blog post and share it with your friends for future updates! :)

Last Update: June 24, 2019

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Restaurants/Cafes (Food & Drinks)


Benihana: $30 off your entire purchase (Monday - Thursday dinner only, at least one required entree purchased at your table)

BJ’s: 1 Free Birthday Pizookie

Bruegger’s Bagels: 1 Free Bagel & Cream Cheese

Bucca Di Beppo: 1 Free Burrito

Buffalo Wild Wings: 1 Free Snack Sized Wings

Ding Tea Mission Viejo: 1 Free Birthday Drink (Expires by your birthday)

Einstein Bros: 1 Free Egg Sandwich

Gong Cha: 1 Free Medium Tea (Expires by your birthday, ID required)

Gyukaku: 100 Free Points on your Birthday (on the mobile app)

Jamba Juice: 1 Free drink of your choice (Enter phone number at checkout)

Jersey Mike’s Subs: 1 Free Regular Sub + 1 Free Fountain Drink

Mangia Bene Cuisine: 1 Complimentary Dinner For Birthday Guest with a Party of 4 or more (Expires 6/30)

Nothing Bundt Cakes: 1 Free Bundtlet (Expires by 6/24)

Peet’s Coffee: 1 Free Drink of your choice

Red Robin: 1 Free Burger (Expires by 6/30)

Starbucks: 1 Free Birthday Drink of your choice (mobile app)

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes: 1 Free Meal + Your Entire Party Gets 20% Off (Expires 6/24)

Susie Cakes: 1 Free Birthday Cake Slice (On mobile app)

Tea Era: 1 Free Drink Up To $3.00 (Expires by your birthday)

The Habit Burger Grill: 1 Free Charburger with Cheese (Expires 7/10)

Togo’s: Free Regular Sandwich (Expires in 14 days, must be redeemed in restaurant)

Tom N’ Toms: 1 Free Small Beverage (Expires by your birthday)

Veggie Grill: $5.00 off your next order (Redeemable 8 days before or 7 days after your birthday, in-store or phone order, beverages excluded)


Retail


DSW: Score $5 off your entire purchase

IKEA: Score $15 off your next purchase (Expires 6/30) + 1 Free IKEA Meal with DAIM Cake or Blueberry Mousse

Kiehl’s: 1 Complimentary Lip Balm with any purchase (Expires 7/17)

Rent The Runway: Score $25 off your entire purchase (Expires by your birthday)

Sephora: 1 Free Birthday Package (Redeemable in stores)

Skinfood: 1 Free Everyday Facial Mask Sheet + $5 Off Your Purchase of $25+ (Expires by end of month)


Spas


Burke Williams Day Spa: 1 Free Enhancement with purchase of a massage

Glen Ivy Hot Springs: Free admission on your actual birthday (Cannot be any other day)


Are you a huge couponer, implusive buyer, or both? Which places that I’ve listed above have you visited before? Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Outfit Details:

Dress: VICI

Boots: ALDO


Photography By:

Munopia from @munopia

www.munopia.com


A Healthy Everyday Lifestyle Change with Swisse

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Hello everybody, and happy Monday! I know, I know - it’s been a hot minute since I’ve published a blog post addressing the topic of health, but today’s the day that I wanted to share more about this topic on the blog! For those of you who want to keep reading, I want to introduce you to one brand called Swisse that I’ve recently incorporated into my everyday lifestyle. Not only did I discover this brand through my favorite Singapore Blogger, Christabel Chua from @bellywellyjelly, but I am also a huge fan of trying out new brands that lead to a healthier lifestyle. Now, let me tell you a little bit more about Swisse and why I’ve decided to include them into my everyday routine.


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When it comes to taking vitamins and supplements, I’m going to honestly admit that I am a lazy person. In other words, I always think about taking my vitamins and supplements in the morning, but never actually go through with the act because I end up convincing myself that I’ll take it later or after my meal…which in all honesty, never happens. I mean, who wants to reach in the cabinet, take out an entire vitamins bottle, pop one pill into your hand, take the pill, and put the vitamins bottle back in the pantry? This whole vitamin-taking process sounds extremely tedious to me, and my groggy morning self never follows through with it.

However, a roundabout solution that I’ve found for my lazy self was to pre-pack vitamins into a ziploc bag so that I can take it with me on-the-go, anytime, anywhere. For a majority of my weekdays, I’m working at the office, so I honestly have no excuse as to WHY I don’t have time to take my vitamins, as I can just easily take one out of the bag as soon as I’ve finished my lunch. Personally, I find this ziploc bag method to be quite effective and to put simply, it’s the only way that I will end up taking my vitamins, LOL.

The specific product that I’ve been taking once a day is the Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails+ dietary supplement. It’s a medium-sized pill that can easily be taken with a glass of water, and this can be done in no more than just five simple seconds. These supplements are formulated with silica and Vitamin C, two main ingredients that play a significant role in collagen production. In fact, collagen production leads to “glossy hair, radiant skin, and healthy nails”. Additionally, I recently learned just how important the role of collagen plays in maintaining skin elasticity and vibrancy. From both previous media events that I’ve attended to reading online articles, studies have shown that in our mid-20s, our natural level of collagen production decreases by approximately 1-2% per year. By the age of 30, the decrease in collagen production becomes even more extreme than our mid-20s. Thus, it’s extremely important that we take proactive steps towards maintaining our collagen levels by depending on external factors, such as nutrient packed skincare products and vitamins.

Last but not least, the Vitamin C in this dietary supplement is known as an anti-inflammatory ingredient and protects against potential free radical damage.

Buy the Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails+ here.


Additionally, another ultiboost product that I lean on to increase my collagen levels includes the Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails Liquid. You can either take two teaspoons of this vegan liquid with water, juice, or a smoothie. If we’re talking about flavor, this liquid includes premium-quality ingredients such as Blood Orange Extract from Italy to give it a punch of Vitamin C (and delicious flavor!). Honestly, I prefer taking liquids over pills when it comes to dietary supplements, but with my foolproof ziploc bag idea, it’s a win-win situation ;)

Buy the Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails Liquid here.


If you’re interested in learning more about Swisse products or actually TRYING out the brand for yourself, I’m actually hosting a sweet little giveaway on my Instagram (@missmisschelle) to give away a bundle of Swisse products to TWO LUCKY WINNERS so be sure to check it out! ;) The prize haul (valued at $71) includes 1 Hair Skin Nails Tablet, 1 Hair Skin Nails Liquid, 1 Grape Seed, and 1 Liver Detox . Click here for the link to my Instagram giveaway! :)


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Do you take dietary vitamins and supplements daily? Do you prefer taking dietary supplements in a liquid or tablet form? Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Holy Matcha San Diego: Is It Worth The Visit?

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You know those Instagrammable cafes that look like all the fun and rage, but when you get to the ordering process, the must-have Iced Caramel Latte and overpriced Avocado Toast actually sucks balls? Honestly, I’ve been through my fair shares of disappointed cafe runs and let me just say, I’ve gotten better at deciphering which cafes I’ll end up enjoying versus those that I know I would never go again.

With overhyped cafes, I tend to stray away from the hipster AF ones that you see all over social media that sell overpriced coffees that only offer syrups as sweeteners - just failed experience after failed experience, I just know that these are not my cup of tea (or coffee, in this case - bahaha).

But despite what I’m saying, you never truly know what a cafe will be like unless you try it for yourself. Despite every Yelp review ever written and despite what your mother says, your only best critic is yourself.

So, that brings us to today’s question of the day - is the Instagrammable Holy Matcha in San Diego worth the visit? Yes, yes, and YES! Now, it’s time to share with you guys WHY Holy Matcha has won my interest.


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Instagram goals in every corner.


Okay, let’s be honest here - who visits a cafe with their main intention of getting an Instagram-worthy shot before you leave? Luckily for you, this mindset is pretty much the norm these days. In the past, we often looked to Yelp for trustworthy restaurant reviews and aesthetic AF entrees. Nowadays, millennials have shifted their focus towards approving what the interior of a cafe looks like before even categorizing it in their “to-visit” list of Instagrammable cafes.

Oh boy, isn’t it funny how times have changed?

So for those of you who prioritize the appearance of a cafe’s interior before actually making a trip there (cough, I’m also guilty as charged, cough), you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Holy Matcha in San Diego has incorporated aesthetic spots into every corner of their cafe. From a cute neon light sign to pink couches adjoined to leafy wallpaper to Pigment-looking hipster AF chairs that you would only find in Barbie’s mansion, you’re pretty much set for Instagram content for the next few days if you dine here.

Also, if you really wanna cross the line of #shameless and #bossassbitch, you might as well bring 2-3 outfits with you and change in the bathroom. Don’t worry, we all do it these days - no one’s judging ;)

P.S. The bathroom is probably as aesthetic as the cafe itself.



The menu carries matcha-infused entrees that actually look as good as they taste.


Fun fact - did you know that I disliked matcha for years before I actually fell in love with it? Honestly, I think matcha is one of those acquired tastes that you have to get used to, similarly to how I feel about beer (LOL).

If you look at the menu, you will notice that almost every drink, dessert, or entree has matcha incorporated into it. Their menu consists of various tea selections, desserts, lemonades, toasts, and pastries. If you’re a first time visitor looking for some decent bites, I’d highly recommend their Matcha Horchata, Avocado Toast (it comes with flowers!), and Full Waffle Bouquet. In fact, I’ve personally tried all of these menu options and loved them for their aesthetic presentation and exquisite flavors!

Also, their Full Waffle Bouquet is made using vegan and gluten-free vanilla waffles and tastes ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Not only does this menu option serve as a great dessert to split with a friend or boothang, but it’s also not too sweet or heavy on the stomach!

In regards to price point, I will be honest that Holy Matcha San Diego is pricier than your average cafe, but you’re pretty much paying for the quality of the ingredients and dope presentation of your tablespread. Trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with your order!


So, I already know that I’ll be visiting Holy Matcha San Diego soon because my best friend keeps talking about dragging me here sooner or later to fulfill her must-shoot-at-this-Instagrammable-cafe desires, LOL! Thus, we will be making a whole day trip out of this and I’ll keep you guys updated on other San Diego hotspots that we’ll be visiting soon to the gram and blog ;)

Additionally, Holy Matcha recently opened a second location in North Park - you can see more photos and read about their grand opening here.


Have you heard of Holy Matcha San Diego before? Is this a location you would add to your “to-visit” list of Instagrammable cafes? Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Outfit Details:

Top: Showpo

Necklaces: Gorjana & Shop Bexo

Jeans: Bongo

Booties: Zooshoo


Photography By:

Huyen Tran (@huyentxo) of www.huyentxo.com


What It Feels Like To Be Heartbroken & How To Get Over Heartbreak

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In the entire course of my lifetime, I’ve been truly heartbroken…three times.

Two were romantic interests, and one was a close friend.

Yes, I’ve experienced and been through a number of toxic or incompatible relationships, but I can safely say that there were only three instances where I felt so emotionally torn up inside that I couldn’t even function properly throughout my day-to-day life. And no, I am not being overdramatic. When somebody truly means THAT much to you, you can actually feel this sort of hollow emptiness inside - a gut-wrenching feeling that feels like you are lacking something (or in this case, someone) important in your life.

To me, heartbreak is an extremely painful feeling that made me feel like I reached the weakest and most vulnerable point in my life. And in all honesty, only you can fix heartbreak on your own time, and nobody else can tell you how to feel or think when you’re going through heartbreak.

As just one influencer who is saturated within this overpopulated community of Instagram, I strongly feel that it is important to address both the good and bad experiences that I go through in life. To each their own, but I personally feel that I am able to be my most authentic and happy self when I am completely honest with you all. That being said, here are my three stories of heartbreak - all unique, all raw, and all unfiltered.


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Heartbreak #1 (Romance)


My first heartbreak happened when my college boyfriend broke up with me abruptly after I got back late one night from the movies with a friend. Although the two of us had completely different personalities and lifestyles, we intriguingly fell for each other. Maybe it was our mutual positive vibes and how we always wanted to have a good time with our friends? Or, maybe it was because we shared a similar sense of humor?

You can think of him as the “bad boy influence” who drinks, raves, and flirts with a lot of women, and I was more of that innocent Asian girl who went to class, took cute Instagram photos with her friends, and trying out new brunch spots with my girls. I honestly don’t know how we ended up together - however it happened, all I know is that we made each other happy.

Whenever we got into an argument, a compromise was always reached at the end. “Sorry’s” were given when deserved, and “I love you’s” felt natural and genuine.

College rumor says that I turned this bad boy into a better person. Peers mentioned that he changed for the better and “behaved more” (LOL) because of me - and that is truly the dangerous part about who I am. When it comes to dating, I always think I can change someone to be their best self, when in reality, the only person who can choose to change is that very same individual.

However, like any other couple, we had certain fights that kept reoccurring. Then, there was one big issue that made me realize that things were headed downhill for good - to put frankly, the issue revolved around lying and dishonesty. From that point on, I knew that things in our relationship were getting shaky, but I didn’t realize that things were going to end the way that they did.

The night of our breakup, I owned a wonky phone that sometimes just lost its damn reception for no good reason at all (this is why I can’t use shitty phones anymore) and failed to receive incoming texts for at least 24 hours. We had an argument on the phone just before I hung up, and I ended up going to the movies with a friend. Throughout that hangout, I frantically kept checking my phone for incoming texts from my boyfriend - but received nothing.

“Crap”, I thought. He never ignores me like this. Well, let me just go to the movies and maybe he’ll text me back later.

Upon stepping out of 21 Jump Street (hilarious movie, btw), I received a flurry of texts from my boyfriend talking about how I wasn’t replying at all and that it gave him serious time to think that we should break up.

As pathetic as this is to admit, I begged for him back. Not just once, but multiple times. Honestly, I just couldn’t imagine my life without him. We went on a Disneyland getaway together. We ice skated with friends in the beautiful outdoors rink at the popular Union Square. We bought Super Smash Bros. for his Wii so we could kick each other’s asses. We had homecooking and movie dates. We had nights where we laid in bed side-by-side to talk about just anything. AND, we even had an interesting yet ratchet (LOL) love story on how we eventually became official. Honestly, I just didn’t want to throw away this history over a stupid cellular device problem. But despite all of these fun dates, our problems were rooted deep underground, and I just didn’t want to admit that. Eventually, I realized I needed to grow the fuck up and be an independent adult for once. Why should I have to beg or convince a significant other to stay in my life? It’s honestly not worth the effort.

Although my mind and lifestyle accepted the breakup, my heart simply just couldn’t handle it. I remember walking aimlessly to class, telling my friends jokingly (yet seriously) that I was going to die as a cat lady. I remember the day that I sacrificed a once-in-a-lifetime hyped up beach hangout with my hip hop club members to see my ex one more time, in hopes that maybe we can get back together. We didn’t.

All in all, if I can recollect my thoughts correctly, I think it took me a total of six months to get over this one-year relationship. Everybody heals and recovers at a different time, so with every individual, the breakup recovery time will vary.

But even when I thought I wouldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I eventually did. Eventually, I learned how to live my life without him. I learned how to experience happiness without a significant other. Then, the day came when I learned how to love again.



Heartbreak #2 (Friendship)


So what I recently learned about myself is the fact that I only endure genuine heartbreak when the other party turns a total 360 out of nowhere and starts to disrespect me. When somebody you love aims to tear you down on purpose, it hurts a shitload. It hurts way more than a stranger on the internet calling you “ugly”. It hurts way more than accidentally being shocked by that damn metal handlebar near the walkways while your sneakers are brushing up against the casino carpet of The Venetian at Las Vegas. Emotional pain can sometimes be more traumatic than physical pain, as the mind often plays tricks on you and can come up with an innumerable amount of excuses as to why he ghosted you after that amazing date or why she started talking shit about you behind your back to your closest friends at your own birthday party.

In all honesty, I’ve had my share of toxic friendships that I easily moved on from or didn’t get as hurt by, but I will say that one particular friendship broke my heart into many fractured pieces. Because of this one specific friend, I learned two very important lessons. When you think you know somebody, even for years, it’s very possible for that friend to change in the blink of an eye if something doesn’t go his/her way. Second of all, I learned that the more you give from your heart, the more pain you can receive as well.

Although I never labeled her as my best friend, she was pretty much a best friend, or at least one of my closest friends. We saw each other anywhere from 1 - 5 times per week, laughing over silly jokes, bonding over our love for animals, and chatting about work-related stuff. The reason we got along so well was because we shared pretty similar interests, but more specifically, we shared really similar morals/visions in both the work field and life in general.

I don’t want to go too deep into details out of respect, but all I can really say is that after we had a falling out, she completely changed the way she treated me. After three years of friendship, I didn’t realize that somebody could flip a switch and turn a total 360.

She cussed at me. She said hurtful things that aimed to make me feel like a piece of shit - in fact, she wasn’t even afraid to hold back how many hurtful things she said to me. She couldn’t look me in the eyes anymore.

Although I didn’t cry upfront and knew that dropping this person from my life would greatly improve my lifestyle, my heart felt completely empty. I felt like I had lost someone important in my life, despite the way I was verbally abused and emotionally tortured.

Honestly, I was so torn from this experience that I couldn’t even focus on work without thinking of her and the hurtful things she said to me. Whenever I tried to blog or create content, I ended up replaying the heartbreaking texts that she sent on repeat. Eventually, I told myself that enough was enough - I was suffering mentally and needed to give myself a clean break from it all. Because the damage was so bad, all I could really do was watch an Asian drama rom-com on Netflix to temporarily distract me from the heartache. Also, I always check in with one of my best friends whenever I run into a problem, and she knows just how much pain I endured from this broken friendship. As a supportive friend should, I believe she told me to just bounce back into work as soon as I was mentally ready again. I’m truly grateful to have her in my life.

Oh, but do you want to know what the funniest (yet not really funny) part about this “friendship breakup” was? I actually broke up with my boyfriend (at the time) during that SAME week, so I technically lost TWO people in my life that week. Heh, ain’t life grand (sarcasm intended). And yet, losing one of my closest friends drove me up the wall way more than losing my boyfriend (we weren’t really that compatible anyways and ended things on more mature terms) so this emotional reaction really told me just how much she meant to me.

I wish it didn’t have to end like this, but it did - and this experience taught me a lot of things. From this broken friendship, I learned that if you offer somebody your full heart to somebody with the wrong hands, he/she will do whatever they can to abuse that power. To make you feel like shit. To make you feel regretful. To make you feel hurt.

In all honesty, it sickens me when people will abuse their power when it comes to love. If I knew that somebody genuinely cared for me, even if it didn’t end on good terms, I wouldn’t go out of my way to hurt somebody. Instead, I would try to end things as civilly as possible, but this doesn’t always happen - and that’s life for ya.

All in all, it’s like I always say - you can be nice to everybody, but only trust few. Spread love, happiness, and positivity whenever you can, but keep your heart guarded until you’re absolutely sure you can let somebody in. This is something that I know I will continue to struggle with because I know that I love and trust too easily. However, I hope with time, I’ll learn to apply this learning lesson to my everyday life.


Heartbreak #3 (Romance)


Now, this is the story of a recent heartbreak that serves as the reason for my nightmares every single night for the last two weeks in a row. I figured I’d share this story with you guys in hopes that by pouring out my thoughts, I would be able to get this feeling out of my system (and most importantly, out of my goddamn dreams)! Let’s start.

My third heartbreak was from a man who ended up cutting things off with me (or you can say essentially ghosting me) spontaneously when I thought that everything was progressing forward. From going on multiple dates to meeting my closest friends to triple dates to chatting about weekend getaways, I thought I finally found a partner who had all the same interests as I did and who saw life from the same positive perspective that I saw it from.

I think the reason that I fell for him was because he was pretty much a male version of me (LOL, I know this sounds weird, but hear me out). First off, he is an entrepreneur like me. In his free time, he loves learning about anything - photography, videography, music editing, graphic design, etc. Hell, I thought that his photography was better than mine, and I’m the professional photographer here! Just the level of discipline and expertise that he had in almost every field that I loved in astounded me, and this high level of ambition reeled my interest even further.

Honestly, we didn’t date for very long, but the reason that I felt so hurt when he ended things was because he was one of the most compatible guys that I’ve dated in a long while. In the end, I think he scared himself, thinking things were getting too serious too quickly, and peaced out. Never have I once pressured him into a relationship, but he made up his mind and simply gave up without wanting to hear my opinion or thoughts. And again, this is also the type of person I shouldn’t waste my energy on - somebody who doesn’t even consider or value my feelings.

Again, like the first heartbreak, as much as I wanted to question his thoughts, I needed the help of my close friends to convince me that I was better off moving on. My closest friends have always warned me, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” but to be honest, I AM the type of person who cannot date multiple men at once and prefer to give my all in one relationship. Because of my trusting and vulnerable personality, I often end up shattered whenever I meet a potential partner who ends up changing their mind for whatever reason.

Sure, I can easily satisfy my friends by saying that I will date a bunch of people at once, but that’s just not the kind of person I am and I’ve learned to accept that. I learned that with dating, you have to be honest with yourself and that nobody can give you their two cents on what’s best for you.

But, a takeaway that I did learn with my friends is to never assume or set certain expectations while dating. Get to know each other first and go with the flow, but don’t picture a certain type of life with this person until things get more serious and you’re both on the same page. This is also something I need to work on, and hope that I can with time as well.


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So, where do I go from here?

Well, to be honest, my heart still aches to this very day. Each day does feel progressively better and better, and I don’t think of him much as I go through my work day. However, my subconscious says otherwise, as he keeps appearing in my nightmares and I wish it would stop. However, the heart wants what it wants, and I guess my heart is not fully over him yet.

However, to end this blog post on a more positive and inspirational note, my solution to getting over a heartbreak is to pour out your feelings (whether it’s to a friend, written on paper, or typed out in a blog post) and to distract yourself as much as possible. Hit the gym more often. Schedule a coffee date with somebody you haven’t seen in a while. Do more self-love and self-care activities. Keep moving, keep doing, and never look back. As soon as you get into the “I wonder why” or “what if” questionnaires, that’s dangerous territory that you want to escape as soon as possible. Instead, just accept that the breakup was just another learning chapter in your life, embrace how you are currently feeling (it’s okay to feel torn and hurt - it’s a part of life), and move on to focus on YOURSELF.

Luckily, I personally feel like I have been able to get over this guy faster than I imagined is because of the fact that I am making sure that I am using all of my work and free time as productively as possible so that there is no time to THINK about him. And to be honest, I am also addicted to productivity, hah.

At this very moment in time, I personally want to spend more time on myself these days. This means, creating more aesthetic and quality content that will help and inspire you guys. This means, focusing on my photography business and getting better at my craft - psst, be sure to follow @michellesunphotography on Instagram if you haven’t already! This means, learning more about various skincare ingredients and what products best work for my skin. This means, incorporating stretching back into my everyday routine. That means, whipping up new healthy recipes in the kitchen and sharing them with you all!

But most importantly, this means allowing myself to go with the flow of life and to not force myself to follow society’s standards of when it is the “prime time “ to move out, settle down, and/or get married.

Life is truly beautiful when you move at your own pace, so why rush? Why live your life by rules created by the norm when society has a completely different pathway and lifestyle that isn’t your own?

After all, I truly believe that if you are a good person with good intentions, life will throw you something beautiful once in a while when you least expect it. With that being said, I hope that I can find that beauty and inner peace once again as soon as my heart mends. To those who have experienced or are currently experiencing heartbreak, you’re not alone in this journey and just know that you always have the support system of your friends and family to steer you in the right direction. You can definitely count on loved ones during a time like this - that’s what loved ones are for, after all. To help you through the good and bad times in life.

And to those those who made it this far, thank you for reading this personal chapter of my life - it truly means the world when I can share my honest thoughts with the world. I love you guys so much, and hope that you can find inner peace with any previous of your heartbreaks because life is much more enjoyable when you let go of grudges and welcome acceptance with open arms.


Outfit Details:

Hat: NET Taiwan

Dress: wearNYLA

Booties: ALDO


Photography By:

Huyen Tran (@huyentxo) from www.huyentxo.com