I’m Not High, Just Sleepy

Delicious way to start off the morning. Thanks for the recommendation Kathy! @hope4hollywood

A photo posted by Van Hoang (@iamvanhoang) on

A few months ago, I decided to give up coffee. This was a crazy idea. Anyone who knows me knows I am completely obsessed with caffeine in any form: whole beans, cold-drip, French press, pour-over. I’ve tried them all.

I only gave up on coffee because I hated the dependency. I didn’t like that the moment I woke up every morning, I had to have caffeine. I might as well have hooked an IV drip of coffee into my arm and called it a day. What really drove me to quit was that it was starting to affect my mood. I’d be grumpy without coffee, and if I didn’t have it within an hour of waking up, I’d go through withdrawals–headaches and shakes, like some sort of drug addict.

Lately, the moment I wake up, all I can think about is coffee. The good kind of course. Which probably means nothing to anyone because everyone likes their coffee a certain way. But here are some things I need to address to anyone who wants to make a decent cup.

2 Tips for making decent coffee

Make sure your coffee maker is completely clean

I know this is a weird, no-brainer tip, but some people just rinse out their carafe and consider that cleaning. But you need to wash everything, including the filter reservoir to make sure all traces of old coffee is gone. Otherwise, your new coffee comes out all sour, which you may not pick up at first, but will definitely leave an after taste.

make sure you boil your water to the correct temperature

If you’re drinking pour-over or French-press coffee, boiling water to the right temperature makes a huge difference. I personally love French press because coffee turns out really buttery and creamy and delicious. I have yet to try the butter-in-coffee trend.

And that’s my spiel for the day.


Listening to

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I don’t usually like suspense or mystery novels, but my book club chose this book, and it’s actually starting out pretty good. I can tell you that I absolutely hate the main character, but in the way that you hate yourself from time to time. She’s a flawed person that I’m disgusted by but also see myself in a little.


A memoir for my writing group that I can’t link to, but am really enjoying. It’s my first writing group/workshop shindig, and it’s nice to see other writers’ works in progress. Writing is such an isolated activity that I feel we writers need to connect with one another so that we can actually say we talked to someone today other than our imaginary friends.

Obsessed with

This chocolate mint tea from Trader Joe’s. Delicious (pictured above). Seriously. Go get it.

It’s Raining A Lot

Last year around this time, I got into one of the worst accidents I’ve ever been in. I don’t remember the crash. One moment I was driving along on a rainy, wet road going about 30 miles per hour, and the next moment, I was waking up surrounded by smoke, with a giant canvas draped around me and my glasses knocked askew.

The giant canvas turned out to be a quickly deflating airbag. If anyone knows anything about airbags, it’s that apparently they’re really, really expensive, and once your car deploys it, most likely the car

  1. Won’t work
  2. Will soon be gone forever

I still can’t decide what’s worse: being in an accident that wasn’t your fault or being in one that was.

Scratch that.

It’s definitely worse when it’s your fault. As I was to find out a few months later when my insurance rate, like, skyrocketed.

The point is. I hated the rain. A lot.

But that was a year ago. A year of driving with my eyes glued to the road, so focused I can barely talk to the person next to me. A year of gripping the steering wheel, and slamming on the brakes at the slightest change in speed. A year of heart-attack anxiety whenever I got into the driver’s seat.

And now? I guess it’s not so bad, but mostly because I get to wear boots and coats and scarves again.


Listening to

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is a wonderful read for literally everyone who is not-white, and everyone who is white, or anyone who has ever not belonged.


The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Book 1 of the Discworld Series)

As a self-proclaimed fantasy-obsessed nerd, I am ashamed that I have not read this book before.

Obsessed with

This library extension app (for Chrome)! When you’re browsing books on Amazon or Goodreads, the app will pull up a(n on-page) list of books available at your public libraries. It’s literally what I’ve been searching for most of my life. And when I say literally, I mean literally.


Actually, the 8th was my birthday but the title THREE DAYS AGO WAS MY BIRTHDAY doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Actually, my real birthday was like 3 weeks ago, but that’s a long story and if you’re Vietnamese or maybe just Asian and you were born in the countryside of the Motherland, then you might know what I’m talking about. The point is, I’m legally 28 now. Which really means nothing except I’m one day closer to 30.

I told my husband that in a forlorn sort of manner, and he was like, “You’ve been one day closer to 30 every day of your life since you were born.”

He has a point. ?

ANYWAY, most people make New Year’s Resolutions but I am way above doing that, not because I usually fail at them (which I do, but who’s counting), but because I like to make birthday resolutions! They make more sense to me, and also my birthday means more to me than the new year because life and stuff.

[fun fact: most Vietnamese people actually don’t celebrate their birthdays, but instead celebrate it on the Lunar New Year, which is why Tet is such a big deal. And also money in red & gold envelopes.]

Except I don’t actually make resolutions because they suck. Instead, I make goals! Yay me!

So here are my goals for this 28th year I’m lucky enough to be (still) alive:

!. Finish revisions on my current novel, which NEWS FLASH, received an offer of representation from an agent last month! I know! I’ve been such a bum for not posting about it, but to be fair, holidays and Christmas and vacation and things. Revisions are going at an okay pace, but right now I’m sort of stuck and the best cure for that is to do nothing. Which I love to do. That was a joke. Because if you know me at all, the one thing I suck at is relaxing.

@. Finish the second draft of my other novel. I changed the narrator perspective twice. Twice because the first time I did it, I realized it was a grave mistake, so now have to change it back. That’s what I get for not following my instincts, I guess.

#. Join a writer’s group. This one, to be exact.

4. Be the leader my book club needs! Fighting!

%. Stop making goals and make habits instead. I.E. Work on my bullet journal consistently.

And on that note, I will end this list, which is getting tedious. While I’m rambling, I’m seriously deliberating whether or not I should keep up this giving-up-coffee business as I almost fell asleep at my desk today. Again. But if you had to draw a million checkboxes without the aid of Illustrator’s guides or alignment tools, let’s see how long you stay alive.


Listening To

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quirk

The narrator sounds so much like Keira Knightley that I had to double-check it wasn’t her. Great performance, and the story is brilliantly creative. It’s been making my daily slog through rainy LA traffic much more enjoyable, which is saying something.


Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Only 30% in and not sure how I feel about this yet. At times it feels really cute and quirky, and at others a little too far-fetched, but I’m enjoying the characters and unexpected adventures. Not a boring book, for sure.

Obsessed with

This Kaweco Sport pen in mint. So lovely. Insert heart-eyes emoji here.