Year of Self

The night before 2017, I laid in bed and made my resolutions. They included getting an internship or job, making my magazine a bigger priority, and improving my health, among other things. The overarching theme was that this was going to be a year of self.

For the past few years, it felt like everything I did was because of some outside influence, my own desires funneled through and leaving nothing of excitment on the other side. I wanted to let myself do whatever I felt like at the moment in hopes I might find some sort of passion or interest I could latch on to, and learn a little more about myself.

So far, I haven’t found any hobby or activity that I can call my ‘passion’, but I’ve grown and nurtured myself in a surprising, but inevitable fashion. I took the time to get my wardrobe in order and while style is forever a journey, progress has been made. My skin is taken care of, and at some point, we’ll get to hair.

Feeling better on the inside has left me focus inwards. I surround myself with the people and things I love, and try to distance myself from those I don’t. Events and communities that I’ve always been curious about have finally made their way onto my calendar, from small festivals to international conferences.

As school starts later this afternoon, summer continues on in a way. With less classes senior year, I still have control over my time to work and play. Now, these next few months will be a lot more of one over the other, but it’s still in my hands to take care of myself and keep growing. I don’t know who I’ll be once my sweet bubble of summer vacation pops, but I think it’ll be ok.



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In the second week of April, I get to fly over to the east coast to tour schools. Hopefully, it will distract me from the two emails I will get in those seven days, either with acceptance or rejection.

This is nowhere near the level of anticipation I’ll feel when college acceptance comes around at the end of the year. But, both open the door to things I really want: one that gets a tedious task out of the way and another that will be an incredible experience. A week later, I’ll get another email with another acceptance or rejection.

Oddly, this period of waiting coincides with the months in which “time is a construct” rings loudest. Look forward, and the days seem so distant and progress in a lie you tell yourself. Look back, and I can barely remember the week that just passed me by. And right at this moment? It feels like there’s water on all sides and I can’t tell where my destination is. I’m not drowning, just floating. Everywhere the sea looks the same, the way my days spill into each other like I’m in a time loop movie.

Time is the dimension we can’t control our movement in. So I’ll keep waiting.


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In the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of the refreshing community that lies in the adjacent possible. A few posts ago, I shared my realization and declaration to return to the world of designing, blogging, and creative business that I had steered away from for the past two or so years. Part of this involved jumping back into Twitter, my favorite platform at the time to connect with bloggers back in the day.

Not only am I following some cool people now, I’m also making new connections (and finding old ones!). While I was going through my feed, I stumbled across this career/business site that was having events across the country and my usually-excluded Seattle was on the list!

That brought me back to Facebook. Oh, how I remember the time I would put into participating in Facebook groups and trading comments with other bloggers. So much work was but into this blog! But, my point here is that I found two new groups filled with people that fit the community I’m looking for right now, and finally in my city too. They’re creatives, hard workers, and entrepreneurs who I’d love to talk to! (though, we’ll have to see how poorly my attempts at “networking” go ;))

1. Rising Tide Society

I’ve been following Rising Tide on Instagram for the longest time and only just realized that they were this whole group of creative entrepreneurs, and in Seattle too! They do monthly meetings on different topics and the one for March was financial freedom. It’s not like those other blogging groups where it’s all about growing your following and engagement; Rising Tide is a lot about learning and building that community! I was worried when I requested to join since my Facebook is of a high school girl but they let me in (!!) and I’m looking forward to the April meeting. 🙂

2. Local Levo

Levo has been around for a while (at least to me) and only now have I found out about their Local division: groups that hosts networking events as well as let you know about cool events around town. This group is a lot less structured than Rising Tide but has a lot more events with a variety of topics (Networkouts, brunches, etc.) Since it’s part of Levo, you also get to have your resume and experience already in the system and easily get in!

Now that I’ve joined these groups, it’s up to me to make the most of it and maybe actually attend one of their events! I’ll tell you how it goes, of course. 🙂


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Work life balance. It’s a buzzword these days. Like self-care, it’s a concept that’s gained extra popularity lately as people start condemning the “hustle” in favor of taking breaks and shortening the to-do list.

The changing way the world views productivity just shows how precarious this “balance” is. One second we need to work harder, and the next, it’s all about stopping and resting. Both are incredibly important and getting enough is always a challenge. Lately, I’ve been playing around with this idea, trying to tip each side to find the equilibrium.

After February, many of the activities that consumed my time since September had ended for the school year. My afternoons were clear for the first time. Last year, I filled the first week of free time with a sport. It took up six days out of the week and in those three months, my life was running and school.

It was what I needed at the time. My life felt balance, though still struggling. When I started the sports season again this past week, it was stressful, and almost dreadful. School was getting harder and I wanted more time to dedicate to it.

So, I backed out. It’s not something I wanted to do, but a sport hurt my already difficult balance. Yet, without it, my week was all free again. The thought occurred to me that maybe I’ll get bored. That’s no good either, especially during the six consecutive weeks of school we call the Death March.

How do I fill my time then? The dream would be to do something productive, not too stressful, and was something I enjoyed. At the same time, I would also like to do more for school everyday and get back ahead of the game. I could make more art, write more posts, do more for Comeback.

None of those alone will make me feel better, though. It’s this balance that I need but my needs keep changing. I guess we’ll have to explore and test out the many permutations. As of now, my afternoons are empty and my options are hanging out with friends and going to the gym. We’ll see how this goes.


D E T O U R de D E S I G N

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I come to you, face washed, laying in bed. These thoughts have been around for a while now. I thought I’d share them with you. (remember when there was a you to talk to?)

When I entered freshmen year of high school, there was something that told me that it was time to get serious, start something new. Somehow, I made the mistake of hearing it as a signal to stop posting on my blog.

Through transitions from domains to designs, this life of planning, writing, and posting became lost. I replaced my time with new activities in school where I was a beginner in everything I tried. I learned that I love being a beginner; it makes failing a little easier and fosters my need to explore new things. But, the things I chose to do, while they were explorations, weren’t centered on what I wanted to do. The glow of ‘beginner’ lured me into these activities and before I knew it, I couldn’t turn back. That’s not to say I regret ever trying or joining these activities: high school is all about growth and the new friends and knowledge I gained deeply influenced how my year went.

Today, however, middle of junior year, I still don’t understand what made me quit posting and living in the blogging world. Maybe it was because I was raised to never believe blogging/designing/creativity could be a future unless I was extraordinary. Just two years ago, being internet famous enough to pay your bills was still a crazy and rare occurrence. Now, if you look around on YouTube or Instagram, everyone is documenting their lives in case they blow up.

Then again, maybe I didn’t think it was a real hobby/activity. It was just a way to fill my summers, I thought, it’s low priority.

The world is so different now compared to just a few years ago. I’ve witnessed the change and honestly, I wish I had never let go of the foothold I had on blogging. I wish I still had an audience to share with, internet/blogging friends to talk to, and a place to look through. Today, the saturation of content makes it ever harder to rebuild this studio apartment that this blog was to me. With this new format, attached to my portfolio/main site, there’s even less of a chance this will make it out there.

For 2017, I wanted to spend more time following whims, drawing, and designing. Lots of changes happened last year and I was ready to return from a detour I didn’t realize I was on. I won’t return to where I was, but it will be a little further down the same path.

This goal turned out to be more relevant that expected. On this day, I spent a few hours designing the pages for my magazine, Comeback. It’s the most prominent remanent of a content-producing, designing, and writing life. I realized, slowly, that designing those pages was the only thing I truly enjoyed. The emails, the social media, everything relating to the business/marketing major I had shifted into, were just tasks that made me feel productive. The few days I play with photo and text layouts, colors and textures, are the days where I feel like I could do this for many more days. Other than time with people I love, there’s pretty much nothing else I could say that about.

Returning to art seems not only a good idea now, it also seems incredibly important. But, I made my commitments freshmen year. I made decisions to start and quit and fourteen-year-old me was not the one to trust. To return would need experience, something I gave up when I stopped posting. So, how do we return? How do we go back? At the same time, how do we get back on the path without returning to the exact same point?

These questions are what we’re going to explore, but how much can we trust 17 year old Iris anyways? 🙂


In my last post, I talked about how one of my goals for the year was to post weekly. Let’s talk more.

Routine. It’s honestly not fun.

There was a moment a few weeks ago when I noticed my day was the exact same as the one I had before.

I redid my room, just a new shelf, but it made the whole place feel like I place I wanted to be. Got work done early and have time to do my wants.

There’s a loosened grip. Whatever happens happens and I hope I learn from it.

Last year, I learned a lot about myself, and I spent a lot of time trying to fit what I learned into the framework I had built up until then. It only made things so much harder. 2017 is the end of junior year and the start of my senior/gap-ish year. It seems fitting that I don’t measure my freedom to closely, or hold on to each moment too tightly. Maybe it’ll make things a little more enjoyable.

This ‘letting go’ comes in small choices, like putting time + money into art supplies when I want them, without talking myself out of it. It comes in redecorating my room or getting new clothes. It comes in getting my work done early so I can focus on my real work (that doesn’t drain me like school work). It comes in exercising, and exercising more patience.

It’s a reminder to not think too much and maybe if I follow my gut, it’ll take me somewhere good. 🙂

N E W / Y E A R

My new year starts in February. Chinese New Years, new semester, and birthday. I’ve always taken the first month to figure out my plans for the year and get that energy back ✨

One of my goals for the year is to get back to weekly posts (daily is too much, y’all know) and that includes travel, currentlies, and behind the scenes of editing, designing, and publishing Comeback.

I wanna talk to all of you about your plans for the future. What’s your process like? Do you have a season where you feel rejuvionated? Tweet me, comment, just let me know 🙂