Mel’s Room: 90’s R&B Mixtape.

Music has always been a big part of my life since I was a little girl.

As a ’93 baby I grew up listening to R. Kelly, Whitney Houston and Destiny’s Child.

Today’s heavy hitters are: Drake, J. Cole, Rihanna and Beyoncé just to name a few but as much as I love their music, I still find myself falling back in love with my old school 90’s R&B.

If you love R&B as much as I do take a listen and enjoy some of my favorite 90’s R&B hits.

Girls, Girls, Girls: Top 10 Chick Flicks.


For those who love chick flicks as much as I love chick flicks this piece is dedicated to you. Cheers to a night of good movies, big bowls of popcorn with extra butter with chocolate covered raisins,  endless cups of red wine and gossip with the gals.

  1. Pretty Woman.

    If your favorite Disney princess was Cinderella growing up then make you sure you watch Pretty Woman, the modern day Cinderella story. The film is center around a happy go lucky Hollywood hooker, Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), who meets and is hired by Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), a wealthy businessman to be his escort for several business and social functions. Their relationship develops over the course of her week long stay with him and little does he realizes he will fall in love with her.

  2. Mean Girls.

    What is a night without a good catfight? Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), a 16 year old homeschooled girl recently relocated to the United States with her zoologist parents after living in Africa for several years. She is a hit with the A-list girl clique, The Plastics which is led by queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdam), rich gal Gretchen Wiener (Lacey Chabert) and sweetheart but airhead Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). She is taken of interest by The Plastics as well as others until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), the ex-boyfriend of alpha female Plastic Regina George.

  3. Legally Blonde.

    Wanna be a lawyer but still be famous (flips hair*) while doing so? Watch the movie Legally Blonde that follows the story of Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a blonde fashion merchandising and sorority queen chase after her Harvard Law boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis) after getting dumped by him at dinner. She attempts to win him back by getting a law degree but as she struggles to be taken more seriously by her professors, peers and colleagues she begins to realize that she has more legal savviness than she has ever imagine.

  4. A Cinderella Story.

    In the mood for a happily ever after love story? A Cinderella Story is it! Sam Montgomery (Hilary Duff) is routinely exploited by her wicked step-mother and step-sisters. She becomes internet pen pals with Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray) and the two hit it off. They decide to meet at their school’s Halloween dance and there they fall madly in love with one another but are quickly kept apart by the two different worlds in which they live in.

  5. She’s All That.

    If you like the typical old school teenage romantic comedy, you gotta see the movie She’s All That. When the dorky, unattractive art student, Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) is befriended by the most popular guy, Zack Silerat (Freddie Prinze Jr.) at Southern California High School she turns into the most popular girl at school. What starts out as a beg among two jock guys soon turns into something more.

  6. No Strings Attached.

    If you need a firm definition of what friends with benefits or a causal relationship is, take notes from Dr. Emma Kurtzman (Natalie Portman), a doctor resident in the Los Angeles area. Long time friends Emma and Adam Franklin (Ashton Kutcher) runs into each other a few times as young adults but never seem to keep in touch but after finding out that his ex-girlfriend is in a romantic relationship with his father he gets drunk and calls all the women in his phone to seek a hookup but somehow he lands on Emma’s couch, NAKED. The two have sex and makes the pact to keep their relationship strictly physical without falling in love with each other but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more.

  7. The Notebook.

    Get the tissue and carton of chocolate ice cream boxes ready ladies because watching this classic love story will have you in your feelings real quick. When a poor yet really passionate young man Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) falls in love with a rich young woman, Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) in the 1940’s. He gives her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

  8. John Tucker Must Die.

    Don’t cry over them [cheaters], let’s get even. The film follows three ex-girlfriends Carrie Schaeffer (Arielle Kebbel), Beth McIntyre (Sophia Bush) and Heather Straham (Ashanti) of a manipulative basketball star and serial cheater, John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe). They set up their former lover to fall for a new girl Kate Spencer (Brittany Snow) to watch him only get his heart broken after they learn that he has been secretly dating all three of them and pledging that each is “the one.”

  9. Brown Sugar.

    If you love old school hip-hop as much as I do and a good love story, then Brown Sugar is the film you must see. The movie tells the story of two lifelong friends, Andre Ellis (Taya Diggs) an A&R for Millennium Records and Sidney Shaw (Sanaa Lathan) a beautiful young and newly appointed editor-in-chief of one of the hottest hi-hop magazines in town. Both Ellis and Shaw have bonded together since their early childhood when they discovered hip-hop on a New York City street corner and fast forward now, 15 years later they both find themselves laying down the tracks for their future but it isn’t long until they realize that hip-hop isn’t the only thing that keeps them from coming back to each other.

  10. Love & Basketball.

    Need a movie that gets bae on the couch without any argument? You best believe to have the movie Love & Basketball on your list. The film tells the story of two next door neighbor friends, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) who are pursuing their basketball careers. They both attend the University of Southern California (USC) together where they are managing themselves as college athletes, students as well as a couple for the very first time. But as time progresses they both find themselves struggling on and off the basketball court. Faced with challenges both McCall and Wright separate but it isn’t long until they eventually end up falling for each other.

Confessions of a Mental Health Counselor in Training: 10 Things You Wouldn’t Have Known About Me Until Now.

For months I have been contemplating whether or not I should publish this piece asking myself what would I accomplish if I pushed that big blue button entitled Publish.

I started this blog just a few years ago with the encouragement of my CUNY BA (CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies), a program that allows students enrolled in a City University of New York college to create their own major in collaboration with a faculty mentor.

There I met my mentor Professor Alexa Capeloto. For those who don’t know her she is an Associate Professor at The City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice teaching journalism. She was also a former reporter and editor for The Glendale News-Press, The San Diego Union-Tribune and The Detroit Free Press. Professor Cap has always been in my corner and even though I didn’t turn out to be a graduate student at The Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY one thing is for sure that my profound love for writing and narrative journalism has not changed.

As a Mental Health Counseling graduate student, we are taught to never self-disclose to our clients with the reason being that the disclosure could trigger something in the client or it can backfire on us even with the best intentions at hand.

This post is intended to give you, my readers a moment of rawness, genuine honesty, humor and maybe a little bit of transparency in between.

But for some of you guys, this list of facts about me is a confirmation that you know me on a deeper level and not only the Asian girl from The Bronx (btw I’m from Brooklyn originally) but for others this will give you a glimpse of me and on somethings you wouldn’t have known about me until now.

  1. I can be both an introvert and an extrovert but secretly I am extremely shy.

  2. I enjoy putting sriracha hot sauce on my food whenever I get the chance to do so.

  3. My favorite and only book I have ever read entirely was Zebratown The True Story of a Black Ex-Con and a White Single Mother in Small-Town America by: Greg Donaldson. 

  4. I am a hopeless romantic but I have never been in love. 

  5. I never actually had a birthday party. 

  6. I have a total of six dimples but the one on the right side of my face is the deepest. 

  7. I absolutely love old school (specifically 90’s) R&B and Hip-Hop. 

  8. I love Law & Order SVU, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder re-runs. 

  9. I can’t swim, bike or drive. 

  10. My greatest fear is not being able to achieve true happiness.

Day 2 of 365 Days: New Year, New Me.

I use to live in the projects in a predominantly Black and Latino/a neighborhood in Gravesend, Brooklyn New York.

In school, I was bullied constantly because of my appearance as well as my cultural background but ultimately I became a target for bullying because I didn’t live up to the model minority expectations that Asians are suppose to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the average population.

I was told once in college that Asians are considered to be white and not a person of color and since we aren’t considered to be person of color we don’t actually face racism or discrimination because we have the “good stereotypes” working in our favor.

For years I internalized these emotions of sadness and resentment. I was embarrassed, scared and ashamed. I was embarrassed because I would speak to my grandparents in Cantonese rather than English. I was scared to fully embrace my beautiful heritage and I was ashamed to claim my identity as a Chinese American.

My self-esteem was shot to it’s core. I shut out any open opportunity to understand my cultural background. I therefore became uneducated and invisible to the outside world.

For some, 2016 was one of the best years and for others not so much. 2016 was a tough year for me. But not all 365 days were bad. In the last year or so I have learned to own up to my truth and that the first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one.

So here’s to a new year, a toast to healthier choices, extraordinary love and second chances.

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Photography Credit: Kennique Reynolds