SkillsUSA Nationals- LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

 

JUNE 19th-26th: National SkillsUSA Leadership Conference

 

I had an amazing time at SkillsUSA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. There were a lot of airport shenanigans as well as hotel fun.
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Lots of cute snaps on the airplane and at the airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13717942_10205000014559608_172541488_oI spent a majority of my time setting up and presenting my project with two other people. We had lots of fun meeting new people and spent so much time together that we ended up getting on each others nerves. In the end, I was pretty happy with how our project turned out. However, we were pretty exhausted by the end of the week.

Thankfully, we had the best Krispy Kreme donuts to save the day!

 

 

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Models of Excellence Dinner

We had a lot of good food at the Models of Excellence Dinner at the Kentucky Derby. It was one of the main highlights of my trip!

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I also had a lot of fun hanging out with the Texas delegation and voting with them on the last day of NSLC. Even though I was coerced into waking up early to help be a replacement for a delegate.

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This was the Texas Delegation marching around before the Awards Ceremony. Also, we got to rep our state with stereotypical Texas cowboy hats.

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So incredibly proud of our chapter for winning the Models of Excellence Award which is one of the highest honors that SkillsUSA chapter can receive.  There was a lot of hard work involved to achieve this award. 13502984_10157025826940591_2337684219526336238_o

We ended with a silver win, which we were slightly disappointed about but cheered nonetheless.

Our trip home was bittersweet. I had a blast at my last NLSC and I have to say that I owe a lot to SkillsUSA. Nevertheless, I was glad to be home.

xoxo,

Ellen Signature

 

But All Lives Matter, Right?

All Lives Matter.

Before you even read the rest of the post, there are going to be people out there who immediately have these two assumptions about me: “oh… she’s one of those bigoted bloggers blasting their opinions out on the internet” and/or “she’s one of those ‘anti- black lives matter’ people.” Both of these statements I can understand; however, I don’t believe myself to be either of those two things. When I first saw the whole “Black lives matter” movement going around social media, to be completely honest, the first thought I had was “but, don’t all lives matter?” This was before I even heard about the ongoing controversy between ‘all lives matter’ and ‘Black lives matter.’

Recently, there have been a lot of analogies to explain why the ‘all lives matter’ response is not the right one towards the ‘Black lives matter’ movement. I hope even those who completely do not agree with ‘Black lives matter’ can at least be somewhat open-minded on why people are unhappy about the current situation. When one group is facing extreme hardship, it seems like the immediate response now is to undermine their hardship rather than draw support for them.

Another major issue  appears to be what ‘all lives matter’ seem to represent to people. There’s the idea that supporting equality all around is trying to deny black justice; however, that is not what ‘all lives matter’ means to me or at least what I believe it should mean. ‘All lives matter’ needs to gain a new connotation– it needs to be representative of the community coming together to support everyone. I’ve heard of several instances where people advocating for ‘all lives matter’ didn’t even realize that it has slowly become an anti-blacks message. On the other hand, these people also need to recognize that ‘Black lives matter’ does not mean that Blacks are trying to say they matter more, but rather that during such a difficult time with many black losses, people are using this phrase to highlight their struggle as well as utilize this message in their fight for injustice.

As someone who is very close to the Asian American community, I’ve heard countless arguments against ‘Black lives matter.’ There have been and still are many injustices towards the Asian American community, and the new idea in this community seems to be that advocating for ‘Black lives matter’ is putting justice for Blacks to be of far more importance than justice for any other minority. I completely  sympathize with the Asian community on this issue. We don’t go around seeing ‘Asian lives matter’ or ‘Hispanic lives matter’ written in bold letters across posters for protest. And, I even initially did feel that ‘Black lives matter’ was a polarizing statement as if to say Black equality is what’s more important than any other race equality. HOWEVER, there are many things that Blacks face each day that many other minority groups do not. There have not been as many deaths that are so closely race-related. As a community, we need to come to an understanding about ‘Black lives matter’– from what I’ve gathered, this statement is not meant to make others feel like their fight is lesser. The Black community just wants people to stand with them. Asian American community, if we hope to change the issues with our own inequality in America, then we must also learn to stand by others in their struggle.

With more and more deaths and shootings, we begin to forget about people as individuals. It seems like everyone is becoming more distracted with the battle between ‘all lives matter’ and ‘Black lives matter’ where we fail to remember that in each death there’s a person that a family has lost– a person with hopes and dreams just like the ones that you and I have for the future. A person’s life that has been cut short unjustly. In fact, every life that has been cut short is a tragedy that we should be mourning for regardless of race, gender, sexuality or anything.

I’m not really sure what world-changing ideas that an eighteen year-old girl (who is a fairly privileged Asian American female that has only experienced a surface-level amount of inequality, injustice and racism) can share to resolve an issue like black injustice but what I do know is that this is not the way.

New Additions to the Blog

The new Fashion section will be posts of my occasional OOTDs or something along those lines.. (very tumblr-y.. I feel)

There’s now an Opinions section which will be focused on….. my opinions, obviously. There should be a new post in this section coming very soon.

I have a Reviews section where I will give my person in-depth review on a new product or thing that I’ve tried out.

I now have a Travel section which will be journal-like with lots of pictures to follow each of my new trips. This probably will not be updated very frequently since I don’t particularly love traveling and I don’t travel very much. I may update you on a Seattle trip that I had a couple of weeks ago. I may also post my trip to Louisville, Kentucky which I will leave for in a couple of weeks. Around mid-August, I will be going to Hawaii. Thus, there are several posts that you can still look forward to.

 

Farewell, Consol

It just seems suitable to write a final post to my wonderful school. However, more so, I have begun to realize that it hasn’t been just the old building that is Consol that has affected my life, but rather the people that make up this school. I don’t think my times of high school would have been nearly so happy if I had gone to CSHS.

Jill Faith, Bart Taylor, Matt Young: Thank you guys for being amazing teachers. You guys have continuously supported me in every endeavor. I’m not going to say much here because I’m still working on your letters and I hope to get them to you guys soon.

Lindner, thank you for being my English teacher. You’ve taught me how to write rhetorical analysis as well as things that I need to know for life in general. This blog owes it all to you as well. At times, your mandatory prompts were the only thing keeping this blog alive.

Stephanie Palazzolo: My little Chicago bean, I’m going to miss you dearly. You’ve been my best friend since forever ago when we were awkward little prepubescent teens all the way to now where we are still awkward high school graduates. Thank you for being there when times are tough and thank you for putting up with me. Most importantly, thanks for all the fun times at Consol.

Administrators: I’m not going to lie… sometimes you guys really frustrated me. It felt like a lot of times you guys cared more about implementing the rules than the logical decisions for your students. However, nevertheless, thanks for keeping Consol running and thanks for trying to keep our school as safe as possible (even though academic success really was a waste of time for a lot of us)

Lunch Ladies & Janitors: Thank you guys for always providing for us and always cleaning up after us. I can’t imagine the struggles of having to deal with so many rowdy high schoolers. In fact, I know many of these high schoolers haven’t always shown the respect that you guys deserve. I hope you know how much we all appreciate your hard work.

Consol, thank you for being my school for the past four years. I’ve had the best of times and worst of times at this school. Farewell, Consol…

 

And, Commence…

Think back to when you first entered the doors of Consol… maybe you were a scared young freshman or you were confident and careless. Three years later, you’re probably now a more confident older senior or maybe you’re now a less confident more worried senior. Nevertheless, you all are still here sitting before me, and you must have done something right to get here. It could be that you finally decided that.. “yeahhh, you should probably turn in that final thesis despite not having read a single one of the English novels in the past three years”or maybe “you’ve haven’t slept in the past three years with the idea that that’s what was necessary to get to this place.” Obviously, we’re all here, and it doesn’t matter how we got here, but that we are.

We’re all about to embark into an adult life journey–another step into the future.  For some that may mean you’re going to keep doing what you’ve been doing. For other people, you’re about to enter a whole new world that you’ve never even imagined of. What I say today may mean nothing to you, but I was forced to write this so here we go. As we continue the journey of our lives, changes are going to occur no matter what. How we deal with changes shows who we really are as people.

The continuing theme for the 2016 graduating class has been the word “Legendary.” With this word in mind, as we leave high school, we need to continue to instill this idea into our lives. We have the power to be something and to be someone. From here, we need to go into the world with the mindset that we will make an impact each and every day

Recently, I wrote a letter to my past self with some advice about entering freshman year in high school. Here are some of the thoughts that I had written:

You’re going to receive a lot of rejection in the next couple of years. Failure and rejection doesn’t define who you are. Your grades and your extracurricular activities don’t define who you are. Even your friends don’t define who you are. You’re going to make new friends and you’re going to lose friendships. I’m sorry to say, but people are going to backstab you. Accept it, move on, and don’t become a bitter person. The things worth keeping will always find their way back to you, and what is cut out wasn’t meant to be a part of your life anymore. That is okay. Once again, some people are not meant to be a part of your life. You may not recognize it then, but the realization will come to you sooner or later.

Your parents love you. They may show it in different ways, but they always mean well. Listen to their advice! I know you’re probably thinking that you can figure things out the way you always do, and you’re right… you can. But, it’ll save you a whole lot of trouble if you follow your parents’ advice from the start because you’re more than likely to backtrack at some point.

Please continue to be that loving and cheery person that you are. Don’t change who are as a result of other people’s inability to understand you. You’re a sweet soul at the end of the day. Once again, please don’t ever change that. Believe in yourself. What other people think isn’t going to change who you are. Try to make new friends, to take new adventures, to worry less and share the person that you are to others. Continue to bring laughter into people’s lives.

I know you’re the type of person that hates holding regret, and there will be many regrets made in high school. Continue the mindset of letting your regrets go, and recognizing that there’s no use in dwelling on what you cannot change. You’re going to get a whole heck-ton amount of advice from a lot of people, but listen to your heart and mind.

These same ideas should be taken into consideration as we embark on our journey after high school. Wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, keep in mind that your life is worth something and you’ve obviously made it this far with this accomplishment. In conclusion, I just want to say, “Congratulations to us all!” Good night.

You’re Not a “Plan B” Kind of Girl

ASHLIN HORNE

You deserve better than someone who is afraid to commit to you. It may seem like enough for now. You’re just taking things slow. Oh, how I know those little phrases of “one day” and we just need time.

You believe them.
And I’ve believed them.

But you’re not a “Plan B” kind of girl.

You need to know that you’re not the invisible one standing in the back who gets chosen last.

You’re the girl who the team captain will be frantically hoping doesn’t get picked by someone else before he gets a turn. You’re a first-pick kind of girl. And no one worth having sits back and lets those girls wait around.

‘Cause every good man knows that the good ones get gone fast.

He should be jumping out of his skin in anticipation to call out your name and say “I pick you.”

“But he’s…

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Bubbilacious

Bubbilacious: Laughing so hard your stomach begins to hurt, tears start to stream down your face and you have to make sure you don’t wet yourself.

This word applies to that feeling you get when you’re hanging out with your friends and someone says something funny, everyone begins to laugh and pretty soon you get the bubbilacious feeling. After spending time with a bunch of my friends this weekend, I thought it was pretty fitting.

Here’s a picture of my best friend and I at prom. This picture doesn’t exactly exemplify the bubbilacious feeling, but it’s pretty close. (It was a candid of me saying.. “There’s a bug flying up my nose”)

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Here’s a video that gives me the bubbilacious feeling:

Honestly, bubbilaciousness depends on you. The description may make it out to be an awful thing, but it’s actually something that I believe every individual should experience. Basically, it’s laughing and happiness combined to the extreme. Don’t ask me how I came up with this word… it’s 2 in the morning at After Prom Bash and that’s one of the first things that popped in my sleep-deprived brain. Also, don’t ask me why I’m doing this at After Prom Bash… perhaps, pure dedication or I just stink at Black Jack & rock climbing.

Letter to the Past: Dear Ellen…

Dear High School Freshman Ellen,

You’ve been through a lot to reach the place that you’re at, and you’re going to go through much more before you get to where you’re going. Here’s some thoughts that you should consider:

Freshman year is going to be a blast. It’ll probably be one of the easiest years in high school, and you should learn to enjoy it more. Appreciate this time of high school since it’ll be comparatively less stressful. I know you’re going to try to plan out everything in your life, but it’s okay to be spontaneous and do something out of the ordinary. Stop looking left and right at what other people are doing. I know you’re not the type of person to hop onto the bandwagon, but you are going to be thinking to yourself about all the things you need to work on, and what other people do shouldn’t be the cause of your worry.  Their accomplishments don’t mean you need to work hard to be better. Their accomplishments mean they’re amazing individuals just as you are one too.

In the next couple of years, you’re going to develop different relationships with various people. Don’t work yourself over trying to change people’s lives. It’s not going to happen… You put everything into something when you set your mind to it (that’s something that hasn’t changed), but other people don’t work with that same mentality. You need to realize that it’s okay to put yourself first. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with yourself so be happy with what you’ve been able to do. And, it’s okay to work on yourself more than other people– becoming a better you is not selfish. Furthermore, it’s okay to let go. You try so hard to make everything work out… for yourself and most importantly, other people. In life, failure is inevitable and you’ll need to learn to accept that in terms of academics as well as life.

You’re going to receive a lot of rejection in the next couple of years. Failure and rejection doesn’t define who you are. Your grades and your extracurricular activities don’t define who you are. Even your friends don’t define who you are. You’re going to make new friends and you’re going to lose friendships. I’m sorry to say, but people are going to backstab you. Accept it, move on, and don’t become a bitter person. The things worth keeping will always find their way back to you, and what is cut out wasn’t meant to be a part of your life anymore. That is okay. Once again, some people are not meant to be a part of your life. You may not recognize it then, but the realization will come to you sooner or later.

Your parents love you. They may show it in different ways, but they always mean well. Listen to their advice! I know you’re probably thinking that you can figure things out the way you always do, and you’re right… you can. But, it’ll save you a whole lot of trouble if you follow your parents’ advice from the start because you’re more than likely to backtrack at some point.

Please continue to be that loving and cheery person that you are. Don’t change who are as a result of other people’s inability to understand you. You’re a sweet soul at the end of the day. Once again, please don’t ever change that. Believe in yourself. What other people think isn’t going to change who you are. Try to make new friends, to take new adventures, to worry less and share the person that you are to others. Continue to bring laughter into people’s lives.

I know you’re the type of person that hates holding regret, and there will be many regrets made in high school. Continue the mindset of letting your regrets go, and recognizing that there’s no use in dwelling on what you cannot change. You’re going to get a whole heck-ton amount of advice from a lot of people, but listen to your heart and mind.

Freshman Ellen, you may be scared to venture the new halls of Consol, but this will be your home for the next couple of years. There will be teachers at this school who will change your life. There will also be people here who will hurt you, and people to bring you back up. I know trusting people isn’t always your thing, but have confidence in yourself. Confidence may be believing in yourself. Confidence may be trusting yourself. Confidence may be recognizing your strengths. Try to find all three of these things for yourself. Most importantly, love yourself– love yourself, love others, and love God. The next four years aren’t going to be easy, but if there’s anything that you can take from this it’s that you need to learn to love yourself.

With Love,                                                                                                                                                                       Sincerely Yours,

Ellen Signature                                                                                                                                                                   Ellen Li, High School Senior

Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist”

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I’m in a poetry-writing mood. Thus, I thought I would tell this story through a poem. Hopefully, that’s okay.

blue by: ellen li

sometimes I can’t help but feel blue

I sink into the feeling of blue

elongated arms and feet swept beneath,

sadness is not a feeling that can be seen

expressed only through the color of blue.

 

I’ve come a long way to get to here

and my heavy guilt-ridden arms can’t even move

my mere fingertips strum a chord or two

and I sit here every day after my walk through the woods

in my solace of blue

 

A traveller once said to me,

“why do you do what you do?”

I barely tilt my head over to whisper

my sweet little melancholy tune,

“It’s not like me to not be so very…

so very very blue. It’s who I am

for it wants me to stay true.” 

 

Today, I return to this point of blue

my thin waxy skin sheds blue

under the cast of a shadow, blue forms

And from here, I have not yet moved.

 

I can only bring myself to clutch my guitar in-hand.

I can only breathe through my blue.

only my guitar brings a color to my life.

this is not how I really am

this is not how I really look

this is exactly what it seems to be

how I feel.

depression is the color of blue.