Personal Development

Treat Yourself Like You’d Treat Your Significant Other

Valentine's Day Red Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s something important that I recently realized about self-love that’s completely changed the way I behave towards myself. These photos were taken for a friend’s Valentine’s Day event, and yup, that piece of chocolate I was holding def melted in my hand. :p

The relationship you have with yourself is like any other relationship — it must be maintained over time.

Are you in an abusive relationship with yourself? Do you make self-deprecating jokes in front of others and constantly put yourself down? Are you engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as drinking too much, barely sleeping at night, or neglecting personal commitments? Do you constantly need others to validate that you’re not a complete piece of shit? Are you afraid to be by yourself? Do intrusive thoughts take over when you’re trying to solve problems — you’re unattractive, you’re awful, you’re worthless, you don’t deserve anything you have, everyone secretly hates you and you’re going nowhere in life?

Or are you happily married to situated with yourself? Are you constantly checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling? Do you prioritize your mental and physical health? Do you make sure to put healthy food in your body, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep? When you have a shitty or “off” day, do you forgive yourself? Do affirmative thoughts occur when you’re solving problems — you’ll figure it out, you’re intelligent, you’re capable, you don’t have to go it alone, the people around you are willing to step up and help out?


How I’m Getting ALL My Sh*t Done This Semester

Forever 21 Cutout Leaf Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

This is the semester to put my productivity to the test.

I will have a working, App Store-ready app, produce a fully polished manuscript for my thesis, do well in all of my classes, be a great Software Engineering TA, and finish all four series I currently have going on in the blog by the end of the semester. I’ll publish a post, go on a photoshoot, read for pleasure, and eat healthily every day. Every weekend, I’m going to travel to cool places, make great memories with my friends, and not worry about work.

I will to do all of this and still get at least seven hours of sleep a night. And I’m going to do it while keeping my stress levels at a minimum.

Just reading that probably stressed you out a little, didn’t it? It certainly intimidated me when I first wrote it down. Done right, however, all of these things are completely possible. I’ll even go so far as to say that doing everything listed above will make me less stressed.


How to Achieve Your Goals With No Motivation Whatsoever

Wynwood Walls Black H&M Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

(Somewhat revolutionary) plot twist: You don’t need much day-to-day motivation to achieve your goals.

You do need some strong conviction behind you to set a goal, and a good amount of motivation to strategize how you’re going to make that goal into a reality. If you’ve strategized well, though, you’ll barely need any motivation when it comes to the day-to-day carrying-out of said strategy.

When I first came to college, I had that conviction: I was going to do well here, make something of myself, and use my work to open up opportunities that would never have been open to me before. That was a pretty lofty goal, considering that I had skated my way through high school and was used to doing nothing but online shopping, playing RPGs, and browsing Internet forums in my “free time.” I wasn’t used to working hard (or doing my homework ever), hadn’t so much as touched a self-improvement book, and had no idea how I was going to accomplish what I’d set out to do.


Working Hard, Playing Hard, & Designing Environments for Both

Lilly Pulitzer Athens Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

There is one crucial factor of achievement that I’ve overlooked: environment.

A plant will turn out drastically differently depending on the soil it’s growing in. Likewise, our levels of accomplishment (and whether or not we reach what we deem to be “success”) largely is the result of the environment we put ourselves in on a regular basis. Environment enables mindset, which drives quality of output.

Recently, I realized that I’ve been setting my achievement-plant in some pretty shitty soil.


The Fake & Basic Manifesto

The Fake & Basic Manifesto

Note: I use the word “manifesto” in its neutral form here, meaning “a public declaration of policy and aims.” You could probs call it an ideology if you really wanted to 👀 I mean … if bloggers have a lot of devoted followers, does that make them well-dressed cult leaders? So many questions, so few answers.

I recently listened to a bunch of marketing podcasts and wondered who my “ideal reader” even was.

The short answer? Someone like myself. Ambitious and curious, with a penchant for the ridiculous. I write as if I’m talking to them. How that translates to you, an actual reader on this actual site? I have no idea.

You’ve probably got all sorts of reasons to be here. Maybe you want to see my outfits. Maybe you want to change your mindset. Maybe you like my rants against gender roles or stumbled upon the site because you needed an algorithms resource that didn’t make you want to die. Maybe you’re secretly in love with me and want to see how I think, or really fucking hate me and want to eagerly read about all the ways I mess up. Maybe you’re a total creep who’s stalking me. Maybe you’re my professor. Maybe you’re my mom.

Whoever you are and whatever reason you have for being here, come aboard. My name is Mimi, I’m twenty-one years old, and I’ll be your pilot today. Fake & Basic is a trip through my mind and my life. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.


The 5 AM Club

Navy T-shirt and Gray Joggers // Mimi Chenyao // Fake & Basic

A challenge was posed to me about a week ago: Could I get up at 5 AM, every single day, and start being productive right off the bat?


What? No fucking way. I sometimes don’t even go to sleep until 5 AM. This “getting-up-at-freakish-hours” routine is one of those weird, dorky things that old people do.


But I do have a full-time job, and hours aren’t flexible. I’m pretty tired when I come home from work. I don’t really have the energy in me to do stuff for the blog after I’ve been programming all day. I’ve been getting up at 6 AM to write my Morning Content Challenge articles — having that much shit done that early in the day is exhilarating. 5 AM is only one hour earlier, and let’s be real, staying out every night isn’t even that great. I should give this a try.


The Secret to Knowing and Experiencing Anything

Navy and White High-Neck Dress // Fake & Basic // Mimi Chenyao

Imagine that you’re in an old-fashioned room filled with magic potions that have the power to take you wherever you want, or make you whoever you want to be.

One will make you adept at understanding yourself. Another will make you a master programmer. Yet another will make you an Instagram whiz who churns out photos that seem to magnetically draw likes to them. Feel like meeting a public figure you’ve always admired, or going on an adventure to a place far, far away from your boring surroundings? These drinks have got you. Down one and you’re set.

The potions are free of charge, but there’s a catch. If you drink one, you’ll have to give up a certain amount of your life. It’s not too bad — only a couple of hours or so. In return, you’ll be able to have skills you’ve never possessed before or experience things you’ve only daydreamed about.

Would you drink the potion?


I’m Fake & Basic, and It’s Time to Get Real

Fake & Basic // Mimi Chenyao

“Honesty fuels every relationship worth keeping, worth saving. And it’s the one quality we can’t arrive at on our own. We can’t decide to be honest.”

– Erika Napoletano

With every new environment I enter, I go through what I’ve come to think of as the Fuck-It curve.

The Fuck-It Curve // Fake & Basic // Mimi ChenyaoThis curve represents how much BS I’m willing to take from people in said new environment. My tolerance is pretty high at first. For example, if I were at a new school and someone made a comment that I disagreed with, I would politely brush them off because hey, I was new, and I didn’t want to rock the boat quite yet.

Over time, that tolerance would slowly melt away until I reached the critical point where I’d crack, say “fuck it”, and stop pretending to be “nice”. I’d be loud and outspoken about things that excited me and things I couldn’t stand. I’d confront people and keep them accountable for their actions. I’d cause scenes in public if I had to.


5 Bad Habits I’m Waving Goodbye To Forever

Lilly Pulitzer Antonia Dress in Fiesta Pink // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Dress from Lilly Pulitzer

You know those things you do that have always bothered you in the back of your mind, that you don’t really do anything about?

Things like having a messy room, and continuing to squander around in the filth rather than taking a proper hour to clean everything up. It’s almost as if there’s a little voice in the corner of your mind that’s constantly pestering you — clean up your room! Clean up your room! Clean up your room!

Every single time I ignored that little voice, I felt a tiny bit bad about myself. Sometimes, that feeling would turn into an irritated mood that lasted all day. If I continued to do nothing, the stress would build up, and eventually I’d be extremely aggravated … for seemingly no reason at all.


The 90-Day Passion Project

Black Bralette and Flowered Shorts // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

The first big challenge in my 52 Weeks of Momentum course has arrived! I have 90 days to complete a “passion project” of my choice.

One could argue that Asian Barbie is my passion project, and they would be completely right. I love this site like an entrepreneur loves her startup, and treat it as such. Thus, my 90-day passion project for the course has to do with growing an aspect of this site.

The goal of the project will be to get 2,502 daily blog readers by March 31, 2018, the official deadline for the challenge. One of my larger goals for 52 Weeks of Momentum was to gain 10k engaged readers by December 2018, and this is basically the three-month version of that goal:

10,000 readers in 1 year / 12 months per year = 834 (rounded up) readers in a month

834 readers per month * 3 (3 months for 90 day passion project) = 2,502 readers in 3 months

This means that I should be aiming to attract and retain 27.8 new readers per day. Since 0.7 of a person is … concerning, we’ll round that up to an even 28 new blog readers per day. Twenty-eight people is around the size of a large elementary-school class, or the total amount of employees at a small company. It’s a manageable number that I am confident I can achieve.