Life is filled with bitter and hard things. When you extract pits, piths, and peels, fruit becomes a reliable source of pure sweetness, only softness.


Growing up in my household, meals were never delicious on purpose. They were economical, fast, and filling. If they were nutritious, great. Tasty? A miracle. But mostly, our dinners consisted of a three-ingredient stir fry flavored only with soy sauce, baked fish sticks from the freezer, and a big bowl of rice. Breakfast was off-brand cereal or — occasionally, misguidedly — Drumstick ice cream cones. Lunches were nearly always leftovers.


Once upon a time, my mother told me when I was a child, a spoiled merchant lived at the bottom of a tall mountain. The merchant had storerooms full of rice, and he didn’t notice or care that he wasted some every day. Grains of uncooked rice fell on the floor when he cooked, but he never bothered to pick them up. At the top of the mountain lived his neighbor, a monk. Every day, the monk walked down the mountain asking for alms. When he stopped at the rich merchant’s home, the monk picked up all the…


LAST UPDATED APRIL 7, 2021, 11:34 AM

When my mother’s family came to the United States in the 1970s, their experience was far from the romanticized immigrant story we’re often told in America. My mother’s classmates didn’t want to touch her or even stand next to her; they just stared at her. They talked about her features like she was an animal, giving my mother a complex about her beautiful eyes and lovely cheekbones that she still carries to this day. For my mother and her siblings and parents, “go back to China,” was a common barb. My…



It’s been three weeks since the targeted shooting in Atlanta that killed Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, and wounded Daoyou Feng. Since then, Stop AAPI Hate — an initiative initially founded last March to provide resources and information on how to support the Asian community as anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked — has morphed into a viral hashtag that brings awareness to a horrifying reality. It has spawned urgent discourse around race and gender-based violence targeting the Asian-American community, and the need for…

Ironically, it’s “model minorities” who benefit the most from calling it a myth.


Barely a month following the horrific mass shooting in Atlanta, I noticed accounts on my Twitter timeline roasting a certain op-ed. Featuring a black-and-white portrait of the Chinese-American author in a smokey eye and slicked-back hair, the title claimed that beautiful faces like hers were not going anywhere. “We’re seen as the ‘model minority’ — certainly not by choice,” she wrote. My mind flashed back to the onset of the pandemic, when Instagram was inundated by East Asian fashion influencers posting selfies tagged #modelminoritymyth to…


LAST UPDATED APRIL 22, 2021, 1:49 PM

When Kelvin Bivins and Nicole* first met on a dating app in August 2020, neither of them thought it was a perfect match. Bivins, who goes by KB, introduced himself with a non-traditional line: “I’m just sitting here eating candy with my niece.”

“I thought, That’s weird,” Nicole says now, laughing. “But let me just see where this goes. I asked him, ‘What kind of candy?’ It was something fruity.” Meanwhile, KB initially pegged Nicole as a “bad texter.” But once they met up they hit it off. On their first…



Jacqueline* felt like she was in a staring contest with her phone. And losing. She was waiting for someone she’d met on Hinge to text her back. They’d been on two in-person dates, but they’d been “talking” for longer (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), and it felt like they’d known each other for a while. But now it had been four days since their last date — a park picnic with sweet tea and charcuterie — and she hadn’t heard from him.

“I felt totally bummed and was pretty sure I was being ghosted,” the 26-year-old recalls. “And…



With an average of 3.38 million COVID-19 vaccine doses being administered per day, the shots have become a prime topic of conversation. Which COVID-19 vaccine did you get? Did you hear the news about the Johnson & Johnson one-shot? And, increasingly: Did you feel any side effects?

Because, while the two mRNA vaccines that are currently being administered in the U.S. have been shown to be safe, effective, and incredibly beneficial, they can come with some common and mild side effects. “What I tell patients is, for goodness sake, take the shot you can, when you can —…



Striving to be a better Muslim is a thought that’s on my mind a lot. It’s something I know I should be acting upon and somehow, when I look back at my religious track record, it’s like I’m stuck on replay and no real progress has been made. Like the false starts to consistently praying five times a day to previous Ramadans where it’s been tricky to get away from work to break my fast on time.

Except for this past year.

I’m still not quite a model example of a practicing Muslimah and I’m not where I’d…


“It is going to sound insane because it is insane,” Akshaya Kubiak told the 911 dispatcher. It was 10 a.m. on July 16, 2020, and Kubiak was calling from his Las Vegas condo; near him lay the dead body of a woman. “We took mushrooms together, said our prayers together, put on Avatar together,” said Kubiak. At 6’1” and 205 pounds, Kubiak was muscular and handsome; he was best known as the star of Showtime’s reality show Gigolos, where he went by the name Ash Armand. “I don’t know if you’ve ever done mushrooms before,” he said to…

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