I've been thinking lately. In all the whirlwind of warm festivities, arduous assignments, the draining college search, and carefree fun with friends, I've been thinking. A fierce maelstrom of whirling thoughts, all beneath a quietly contemplative exterior.

Perhaps it's the crisp winter air, emanating the spirit of change to come. Perhaps it's the turn of the year, prompting deep reflection.

I've been thinking lately, and I have some goals for this year. Mind you, I'm not one to do New Year's resolutions--they carry about them a certain negative connotation. Why not just make resolutions as they come? Use your robust tenacity to propel yourself towards your goals, not the tenuous motivation of the start of a new year. I suppose it's because they're like Uggs--we loathe em, but they're too comfortable to resist. Some of us may not like New Year's resolutions, but what better time than the start of a new year? And in my case, the end of my high school years and the beginning of my college ones.

This year will bring change for me. I know already that college will drastically transform my life. So it's fitting that my first aspiration is to arrive at whichever college with a smile and determined attitude. It may not be where I had orginally hoped, but I won't let that damper my spirits. At the same time, I plan to finish high school with a bang. No senioritis for me! I'd like to graduate with nothing below an A-. If only my teachers would update semester grades so I know this is realistic...

As I mentioned in my previous post, my next ambition is to complete an official half marathon--in under two hours. As I regain my endurance from the off-season and fully recover from my injury, I plan to adjust the time goal to something more ambitious.

Finally, more of a fashion-related goal: I am going to chop off my hair and donate it (length and charity TBD). I promised my friend that I wouldn't cut my hair until after graduation because "everyone needs to experience long hair" haha. But I've always wanted a pixie cut and I'd like to try it out. If I decide that it's unflattering and I'll look like a man, I'll opt for another shorter hairstyle.

 I like lists, so here's a list version. I will...

  1. go to whichever college with a smile and my intense drive, regardless of whether it was where I had originally hoped
  2. finish high school with nothing below an A-
  3. complete an official half marathon in under two hours
  4. chop my hair off and donate it after graduation (length and charity TBD)
Hold me to it, friends! I'm sometimes afraid to share goals because I feel like it jinxes them, but it also makes you so much more accountable.

Also, expect some changes around this ol' blog sometime soon. I plan to rename "Burst of Color" to "Imperfect Idealist." We'll detail this in the next post though. In the meantime, happy new year!

Oh, and as for the post title, "effervescent" is my favorite word. It means vivacious and enthusiastic.

Sweater, grocery store (haha yeah, I know) | Skirt, sponsored by Persunmall ($11) | Necklace, sponsored by eFoxCity ($14) | Tights, Kohl's | Boots, Mom's

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Sweater, LC Lauren Conrad | Top, Mom's | Necklace, Sparkles and Prays (won in Sensible Stylista giveaway) | Jeans, Macy's | Boots, Old Navy | Glasses, prescription RayBan | Watch, c/o Born Pretty 

It was a dreary day for photos, but stubborn-headed ol' me was determined to catch up on outfit posts. I often wear ensembles in real life but don't have the time to shoot them during the school week; before I know it, I have a massive list of outfits I want to shoot. Please excuse my bed-raggled hair--I trekked all over the neighborhood with my brother before we finally settled on our sidewalk to shoot; by that point we had weathered some nasty wind and relentless rain.

I've gotten into the collared top trend lately, and there's no stopping me now! I was most excited, however, to pull out this gorgeous statement necklace from Sparkles and Prays that I won in a giveaway. When I received it in the mail, I was delighted, but I had no idea how to style it since I had nothing to match. Luckily, a trip to mom's closet did the trick. Born Pretty also sent me this lovely watch to review, and they're offering you 10% off with the code LILYFC10. Happy shopping (:

Sigh. If only winter break and no more exams actually meant relaxing. It's been a tumultuous week, and the storm has yet to pass. I still have mountains of things to do, but also mountains of tenacity. Leggo!

My usual musings have been rather elusive lately, so I'll leave you with this poem I wrote about running a couple years ago. I signed up for my first official half marathon today, so I think it's fitting.


Tentative footsteps to confident strides,
Soul growing stronger with each passing mile.
Weathering snow, pouring rain, and the heat,
Pushing through times I feel weak and can’t breathe.

Heart leads the way and it soars as I glide
Over worn dirt paths beneath clear blue skies.
Trees are a blur as I splash through the creek,
Mud splattered legs take me far past my dreams.

Feet in the grass, bare, and chasing the wind
Constantly move to the rhythm within.
Only as far as I seek can I reach,
Shoreline to farmland, my legs will not cease.

Wet ocean sand turns to crunchy brown leaves,
Beating down sun becomes cool autumn breeze.
Brink of exhaustion, sweat drips down my face,
Passion will fuel me when mind’s lost in haze.

On the horizon the finish appears,
People are screaming—I barely can hear.
Flying across, then the dust trails behind,
Tale of a girl in a race against time.

I wish you all a lovely winter break and a wonderful holiday season!

Secret Asian

Blazer, Marshall's//Top, thifted//Shorts, Kohl's//Boots, Mom's//Necklace,Target//Sunglasses, c/o Firmoo ($39)
There's a fine line between being realistic and being negative. If you say that you don't think you'll win an election because people have voted for the funniest candidate--not the most qualified one--in past elections, is it negative or simply honest? To evaluate a goal and decide that it's too far-reaching--is it a gloomy attitude or a realistic one? To predict an unsavory outcome based on intuition and previous performance--is that pessimistic or candid?

Just a few things I've been pondering these past few days as I wait in agony for college decisions. It's exciting to be greeted by green check marks as I submit my final applications. Now, on to scholarships! (Speaking of scholarships...many scholarship deadlines didn't let me apply in the order of how much I liked each school, which is rather upsetting). I'll have to be vague about college details until I make my final decision on May 1st; I don't want any of my colleges to be offended they decide to take a peep at my blog and see that I've talked about some colleges more than others. While I will inevitably have favorites, I believe that I could be happy at all the schools I've applied to.

But back to all that long white beard philosophy stuff. I've been struggling with this lately--the fine line between being pessimistic and realistic. It's extremely similar to the one between being optimistic and delusional. I'd like to be positive and think that I'll be accepted to very selective schools, but some of my earlier applications weren't nearly as polished as I would've liked them to be. As you go through the application process, you gain experience, discover new things, and streamline/reorganize details. There are so many uncertanties to this process now.

But I guess that's what dreams are for--they're not dreams at all if they're certain to happen! It's definitely being negative if you go into chasing a goal with the attitude that you'll fall short. Thinking that way lets you be lazy. It allows you to be more emotionally detached. But if you're emotionally detached, you don't try as hard. It's a toxic sort of safety--if you fall short it's no big deal since you didn't try. But you'll never get anywhere that way!

It's a certain type of vulnerability to immerse yourself in your ambitions, to throw it all on the line, even if you may fail. To acknowledge that you tried your hardest, even if you do fall short. It's tough to let go of your pride. It's tough to be vulnerable. It's tough to leave the comforts of safety for uncertain opportunity. But it's so worth it in the end.

I'm most worried about disappointing my family--there's that whole Chinese bringing honor to your family thing. I hate letting people down. But this college search shouldn't be about prestige--while it matters in the real world, searching for a school should really be about best fit, about finding a place where you'll grow and thrive. It's a two way deal--both the applicant and the school are looking for a best fit. I've done everything I can, and now, it's all out of my hands. I think this quote says it nicely: What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us (Ralph Waldo Emerson). I'll be okay, no matter what happens.

On a lighter note, if you noticed something different about my photos, it's because I recently purchased a 50mm lens! I'm loving it so far and can't wait to head out for more photos--even in this crazy cold. I've even been asked to so some of my friends' senior pictures!

Oh, and if my outfit looks familiar, it's because it's a winter version of this one. I meant to do a "How to Transition from Summer to Fall" post but college apps took precedence. I will be rambling on about college for awhile, so I apologize in advance. It's kind of taken over every high school senior's life and we occassionally go into histrionics.

Also, Firmoo sent me a lovely pair of prescription sunglasses to review, and I couldn't help but use a pun for my post title; the first thing my brother told me when I put them on was "you look like a spy." So if you want to look like a spy too (or a secret Asian haha), check the site out! They have tons of afforable frames and even a first pair free program.

Finally, please enjoy this wonderful video that I deem relevant due to my punny post title. Nothing like a little comedy to lift your spirits. Have a beautiful week!

Trendy Tribal

Sweater, American Rag//Jeans, American Eagle//Top, American Rag//Scarf, grocery store//Boots, Old Navy//Belt, Forever 21

I'm coming to you from the wee hours of the morning because...


If there's anything to be thankful for about cold Midwest weather, it's the serendipitous snow days graciously granted just a week before exams (though I will admit that I also do appreciate the idyllic snow scenes every now and then). Don't be fooled by the sprinkling of snow on the ground in these photos--they're from last week. Today, it's basically blizzarding outside (I totally didn't just make up that verb).

I'd best keep this short, as essays, books, violin music, review guides, and their other cohorts are beckoning me. It's quite overwhelming at times, but I've learned to tackle everything one at a time. It makes things much less intimidating. Homework's really like a cross country race, you know. You don't really want to do it as you trudge seriously up to the start line--you actually quite dread it because you know some parts will be quite painful. But you push through anyways, using certain strategies to get yourself through the excruiciating 3.1 miles--I like to break the race up in pieces. Okay Lily, run to this cone. Now this cone. Now the next one. Almost there, you got it!

And the ebullience, the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is well worth the struggle. Success is much more savory after we've sweat for it, isn't it?

Have a beautiful weekend.

P.S. I've got some exciting, blog-related news I'm itching to share with you. Or perhaps I should say show you! Keep an eye out lovelies (:


Blazer, Kohl's//Top c/o Fiigirl//Skirt c/o Persunmall//Tights, Vera Wang//Shoes, thrifted//Belt, Forever 21//Bow, Rire Boutique//Ring, c/o Persunmall

Serendipity is...

Hearing your favorite song on the radio. Opening a book to the right page.  Stumbling upon something you thought you'd never see again. Running into friends at the grocery store. Finding the brown oxfords of your dreams at a thrift store. Discovering that your college interviewer pursued a career that you're interested in.

Serendipity is not: forgeting your camera battery at home on a gorgeous day and remembering it on a bone-chilling one.

My frozen fingers and quivering body adamantly protested as I shed my fuzzy gloves and indigo peacoat. I wistfully observed a lone, bundled up woman with her furry black dog as they briskly walked by.

"Are you cold?" She quipped.
I mustered a friendly laugh. "Just a little."

#fashionbloggerprobs: winter in the Midwest. But cold weather aside, I'm glad to be posting again. Sigh. The things we do for blogging. We're really crazy. But let's call it dedication (;

Back to serendipity. Other than plowing through three orchestra concerts in one week, hacking away at piles of schoolwork, easing back into running from my injury, putting finishing touches on more college apps, and catching up with friends, I also was preparing for my first college interview.

And it just so happened that the lady was a lawyer. It was almost like finding out that my group leader at cross country camp a few months ago was bound for one of my top-choice schools.

It's nice to finally know what the interview process is like. It was much more casual than I expected (though I'm sure it varies from person to person) and I like talking, so it wasn't too scary. And lucky me, I was able to learn more about pursuing law! The prospect intrigues me, but I'm still stuck in the limbo of uncertainty. Just the other day, I was thinking how nice it would be to be a teacher since they still have summer breaks and I want to travel a lot; it was a shallow reason. There's much more to a career than its breaks (or lack thereof). But I believe that as long as I study what I love (humanities, anyone?), it'll lead me to a career that I can love too.

Uncertainty is the epitome of my life right now. I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go. It's both terrifying and exciting to think that the college decisions will begin trickling out soon. I took a risk with my common app essay, and there's no turning back.

I wrote my college essay about poop. Yeah, you read that right. Okay, well not really. I mentioned poop in my essay.

It was about running thirteen miles with my running buddy at cross country camp. You remember the story if you read my posts from the summer. We were determined to go over ten miles without stopping that day for the first time, but it was just my luck that I really had to poop at mile five. I almost surrendered and planned to stop at the general store to use the bathroom, but I couldn't bring myself to give up. Long story short, it was an essay about perseverance. About my running journey--from not being able to run at all to running thirteen miles. About how I think. About my unquenchable thirst to achieve. About how my running mentality is also my approach to life.

I really hope they get the idea. It was a slightly risky essay because of one line of dialogue mentioning poop, but it was the only essay that felt right. It was unapologetically me.

I figure that when I go to college, my entire self is going to that college, so I want to be able to paint that portrait. And if they don't want me, quirks and all, then the college probably wasn't a good fit.

Even if I am rejected, perhaps it made the admissions officers laugh a little. Perhaps it brightened the long, arduous process of evaluating countless applications.

I've decided to calm down a little, because whatever is meant to be will happen. Everything is out of my hands after I click the red submit button. I'm little wary of the "oh, it just wasn't meant to be attitude" because it allows us to be lazy. Didn't get the score you wanted on that test? Oh, it just wasn't meant to be. I can stop trying. See what I mean?

There's a fine balance to walk. In some cases, perhaps it really wasn't meant to be if you gave all your effort but still fell short. And if you really did give 100%, then that is intrinsically satisfying, regardless of outcome. And you know me--if the opportunity arises, I try again, or fuel disappointment into achieving something greater. But for some things, it's best to let go. Another delicate balance.

I believe in a certain degree of fate, or what I like to call God's plan. I like to think that we steer our own ships, but each of our ships has a purpose for its existence. Tempests may throw us off course, but we'll find a way to sail smoothly towards our dreams, our purpose. It's all pretty convoluted and sometimes I don't even know what I'm thinking anymore.

Just a few thoughts. I suppose I should actually talk about fashion now haha. I finally did find the elusive perfect pair of brown oxfords I had wanted for months, and at a pretty price too!

It appears as if I'm sponsored up to my eyeballs, but in all reality, it's simply my lack of posting lately. This bright yellow skirt from Persunmall has since become one of my favorites and this colorful outfit as well. If the weather is cold, at least I can wear warm colors!

Well, I'm off to go practice some violin. Below is a guitar version of a melody from a beautiful symphony I played a couple weeks ago. I'll pay some visits to all your lovely blogs in the next few days.

Have a cozy, happy Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for all of you!


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