(almost) caught in a hurricane

My short trip to New Orleans/the south was cut even shorter after all the weather madness. I woke up Wednesday (July 10) morning to 1) a nonstop thunderstorm with PLENTY of thunder and lightning and 2) multiple TORNADO and FLASH FLOOD warnings sent to my phone.

It was quite scary and I went to check the streets and thankfully didn’t see any flooding despite the ongoing rain. It was even a scarier sight out in the main streets. As we were driving, there were numerous abandoned cars just EVERYWHERE! It felt like I was on The Walking Dead! Many cars were parked on these middle grassy areas - I later learned these were “high ground” areas and good to park on if you found yourself caught in a storm/flash floods. But the amount of ones abandoned in the streets was an unnerving sight. I wondered where the people ran to and if they made it to their homes safely. Throughout the day, tow trucks were working around the clock.

Then out of nowhere, we learned a storm/hurricane was heading our way. OUR WAY. And then there were fears about the pumps in the city and whether the levees would hold when Barry came and really - it was a lot to deal with!

Despite the weather madness, we made the most of the days we were there - even got to road trip up to Jackson, Mississippi for a day trip. We planned on heading to Biloxi and Mobile, Alabama too, but alas, we had to get out of dodge.

The food was as yummy as we expected. The locals were kind. The architecture was amazing to see in real life. Loved all the weeping willows and Spanish moss. The heat was pretty unbearable at times, especially mixed in with the humidity (ugh) - had sweat running down my back and sideburns most days. Unfortunately, our bayou/swamp tour got canceled as the city prepped itself for Barry. We didn’t get to see any alligators, but we sure ate them!

With the trip cut so short, coming home was a major bummer. I felt like we needed more time. It didn’t feel right to come home yet. Like we abandoned something perfectly wonderful. But due to the unpredictable southern weather, I don’t think any of us plan to go back to the south any time soon. It was not something we expected and definitely not something we prepared for (and could have prepared for). I’m just glad Barry wasn’t super disastrous in the end.

Wherever my next trip will be, please no more heat waves or tropical storms!

- Krystal

Find me: monyda.com

new new new!

So I recently opened up shop (again)!: gumroad.com/krystalchuon

I’ve used all kinds of sites in the past - Big Cartel, Storenvy, Tictail… I knew of Gumroad for years, but it was still in its early stages then and it didn’t have all the features it does now. I also like their fees this time around - better than how it was before. That and the fact that I could sell digitally with ease is why I ended up re-opening with Gumroad.

It’ll be my home base for selling signed/PDF copies of my work, zines and other things I’d like to include along the way. The biggest thing I added recently was a PDF version of my book, ‘Follow the Mekong Home.’ My original files were corrupted when my old laptop malfunctioned. Thankfully, all I had to do was ask Kindle Direct Publishing (basically Amazon) if they could send me my original manuscript - and they did! I had to make some adjustments and I’m no professional, but the PDF copy looks pretty good. :P As long as it’s readable (which it is)!

I also did another big thing - finally got my book into Draft2Digital! It was on pause because I made an account around the time my laptop malfunctioned. They basically turn your Word doc into an ebook and help distribute it to other sites and even libraries! Since my ebook is already on Amazon, that was one site I didn’t need to check when going through the list.

Draft2Digital is going to start a print-on-demand service soon (hopefully sometime this year) and I’m so excited! I want to stray away from Amazon, but right now, they’re the best choice in terms of ease and costs. Barnes and Noble has their own service too, but it’s restricted to just B&N whereas at least with Amazon, I can distribute my books out and then use Draft2Digital to get a wider reach in terms of ebooks. For now, this system works for me!

As for book 2, I am making strides, but recently took a break. I look forward to publishing it, but first need to continue writing and then dive into the nitty gritty parts of editing, formatting, etc. I definitely want to publish it before the end of the year!

Lastly, I mentioned over on my personal Instagram account that I would do a review post on my zero/low waste/eco/body-friendly products. It may come this week or later in the month as I’ll be traveling soon! :)

- Krystal

Find me: monyda.com

current status

I’m thankful to have this platform to express whatever I feel like. Ever since I deleted my Tumblr account, it hasn’t been the same. Facebook is OK, but it’s not always the best option to write long, thoughtful posts. Same goes for Instagram. I tend to express more through the ‘stories’ option, but even that is not very intuitive for long form thoughts.

I’m still getting used to Substack and I don’t know what direction I want to take with it, but I gotta say, it feels good to be able to write in this way again. I was a blogger, started in my youth with sites like Xanga. It’s also what got me into graphic and web design. From there, I learned how to run my own, actual website and even host some online/offline friends. That was the good ‘ole days!

Using Substack brings back those memories, minus the comments and being able to customize the look of my page. It’s all good, I’m pretty lazy these days to edit anything besides my website, which I’ve been itching to refresh.


Speaking of ‘refresh,’ I want to freshen up my Instagram feed. Maybe be a little more eco-conscious. A little more environment focused. I don’t know. I’ve already mass deleted my pictures a couple of times. The indecisive part of me jumps out when it comes to these things.

I’m on a slow low waste quest. Although it may seem like I just started, it’s actually been ingrained in me since I was young. Growing up Asian, you just learn to reuse stuff. Old towels become makeshift floor mats. Used up bottles become bottles for other stuff like oil or vinegar. Hand me down clothing becomes mine (ugh) (lol).

And then I made the big switch to cloth pads over 5 years ago. I honestly don’t remember how I came upon it, but it immediately struck me as a cool idea. It’s a little hard when it comes to traveling as I don’t like to bring my cloth pads with me, but now there’s a variety of disposable body/eco friendly cloth pad options that I could purchase solely for trips and won’t have to feel guilty for tossing them.

Most recently, I purchased low waste beauty products because I was tired of all the plastic bottles I own (and the fact that some products I’ve had sitting there for years). I like that they’re easy to travel with and they work just as good as the stuff that comes in plastic bottles. I also purchased a bamboo utensil set that came with a bamboo straw (which I learned is better for water and teas and not so much sugary stuff). I also now own a metal straw, mainly for my boba outings. And for awhile now, I’ve been using wooden combs over plastic combs/brush - wooden combs don’t cause static and it promotes healthier hair/scalp, so that was an easy switch!

Low waste isn’t about constantly buying, but I did actually need these products and I’ve been consistently using them. There’s still some things I’d like to switch out, namely in the kitchen like ziploc bags and plastic wrap because all that plastic is really unnecessary. Anyway, this is where I’m at right now and I don’t know if I want to become a ‘branded’ Instagrammer or stick to posting whatever I want and like since there are always many things happening and on my mind, not just low waste/environmental stuff.

Maybe I will use this newsletter to also write reviews for my low waste/body friendly products. Too bad I don’t have a ‘swipe up’ option on IG to lead people directly here. :T

- Krystal

Find me: monyda.com

stuck in the middle

I had been working on my second book off and on for a few months and realized recently that I could no longer pour much heart and soul into it anymore. If it were teenager me, I would have deleted everything. But seeing its potential for the future, I’ve put off it to the side.

My second book is still in the works and I am redirecting its main content to something I feel more deeply about and want to further explore. Although, because of all this, my second book will definitely be delayed and that’s fine as I don’t want to be confined to deadlines.

So, this is where I am at in regards to all this and I am glad to say that I am looking forward to publishing my second book. :)

- Krystal

Find me: monyda.com

🦋 like a butterfly caught in a tornado 🌪️

In the midst of writing my second book, someone in my family became hurt - my dad, or, Pa.

It made me realize the importance of writing and most importantly, writing this second book in general. My second book is reliving the past, my feelings and thoughts on specific moments in time with family. And it’s these early memories that stems from my dad’s wanting to travel, whether to Golden Gate Park or as far away as Canada.

I view my writing and publishing as ways to not only preserve my memories, but to also preserve my family’s history - history of being refugees and living in a way that traveling, near and far, could bring us joy and comfort while dealing with life in America.

I want to share my stories and how I remember it. I want to share a small piece of what it was like to grow up as a second generation Khmer American in the Bay Area.

The book is coming along, in between helping care for my dad. I want to spend more time on it and “perfect” it, unlike my semi-rushed publication of “follow the mekong home.” Please look forward to it.

- Krystal

Find me: monyda.com

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