I’ve talked about the strong willed, hard working traits that I’ve inherited from my mom- but that’s not to say I haven’t learned from my dad as well. My patience, my love of finding joy in the little things, and my will to help others, are all derived from following in my dad’s footsteps.
My dad is the glue to our family, holding us together with his caring personality. From fixing up minor breakages in our home, to cooking the occasional fancy meal, to even initiating our weekly family face masks sessions, my dad is a reliable, trustworthy man everyone can depend on. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had people tell me that he’s a man of wonders. I always proudly think to myself, “Oh, you bet he is.”
It’s true when they say not all heroes wear capes. My father may not be an invincible Superman who can fly, but he is definitely one of my biggest heroes. I hope to carry the valuable traits he’s exemplified throughout all my life, and to make the world a little bit brighter through his influence.
Happy Father’s Day!
Content Strategy Intern
The root of my success and my confidence is education, and I owe it all to my father. My father believed that education would bring economic prosperity and a better understanding of world affairs. In order to ensure his children had access to education, my father decided to emigrate from Burma to the US, and he faced many hardships by starting over his life in a new country and new culture in his mid-forties. As fate would later show, that single decision changed the course of my life.
In 1988, right in the middle of my most critical formative years, the military government of Burma closed all schools and universities to control the 8888 Uprising and crushed the voice of opposition. Had we stayed in Burma, access to education would have ended for me.
Just as my father played a huge role in my education, my goal has been to pay forward to the next generation what I have learned. I co-founded Jezuba as a way to mentor the next generation, and as a working mother of two daughters, I have learned that I cannot get everything done by myself. My husband is the central figure in my daughters’ education. From actively discussing their school projects to planning out their course load, my husband patiently and actively guides my daughters’ education.
For my daughters, my influence, as their mother, is essential, but it is their father’s influence that continues to inspire and provide guidance and engagement. Just as my father was a key figure in my life, I see the same as true for my daughters and their dad.
It takes a village to raise a child, and fathers are essential voices in that village. For this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate and thank our dads for their sacrifice, encouragement, and empowerment.
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba
My mother's hands are small, but strong. They make my favorite meals when I'm back home- and I know they will always taste better because she made them. They give me relief when my legs are injured and in pain. My mother's hands are full of gifts. They deftly play Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy on the grand piano. They are gentle and comforting around mine when we are both crying over the same Pixar movie.
My mother's words are fierce, but kind. She tells me that I need to find a man, to get married soon, to have children (while I roll my eyes). She reprimands me when she knows I can do better. But she tells me that she's proud of me when I feel like I've failed myself. She tells me she loves me in English, in Mandarin, and through the copious use of LINE emojis.
My mother's heart is just a human heart, but its capacity to love knows no bounds. Her generosity and self-sacrifice are ever prevailing- often times, to her own detriment. Her patience with me is limitless, though I am often impatient with her. She would give everything to me, and expect nothing in return.
Happy Mother's Day to my mother, my rock, my guiding star.
Iris Hsu, Co-founder
Patient, hardworking, and selfless, are just a few words that describe my mother. With humble roots, my mother grew up in a small village in Vietnam and only finished most of junior high. She took several odd jobs to support her siblings, from being a street vendor to working in vineyards as a grape-picker. When our family moved to the U.S., my mother had to start all over again from scratch. Yet after all these years, she made it from living in a small apartment to owning her own house. My mom is a truly the biggest role model in my life.
My mother was the only person that was able to witness every step in my life, from my first word as a baby to my first step into college. My earliest memories of her go back to when we were still living in that small village, still clear as day. During a particularly harsh flood season, my mother stayed behind while the rescue boats took me and my siblings to safety. Her self-sacrifice for her children has always shown through as one of her greatest traits. Now that I’m older (and a bit more mature), I do my best to give back as much as I can to her. Every Mother’s Day, I show my gratitude with a hand made card or a nice lunch date.
I hope everyone is able to show thanks to their mothers this upcoming Mother’s Day!
Content Strategy Intern
With group projects, essays, and finals all piling up this month, I had almost forgotten that Mother’s Day is just around the corner. But this special day comes only once a year, and to me, my mother is the kind of special that no one else could ever top. She’s special because of her one-of-a-kind cooking; all the times she drove me and my brother to our extracurriculars; her edifying lectures; and her sense of responsibility as not only the eldest daughter in her family, but also as a wife to a wonderful husband and a hard-working mother of two young adults. She will always be one of my greatest heroes.
As I experienced more and more of the world, my mother’s life lessons also grew clearer to me. A part of me regrets that at times, I wasn’t always the most understanding, but the other part of me is hopeful that I will continue to blossom into the supportive daughter my mother deserves.
The strong willed, passionate, and hardworking young woman I am today would not have been possible without my mother’s loving support and guidance. I hope to carry the valuable skills and traits she has given me, as well as to continue looking to her as an inspiration for making the world a little brighter.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Content Strategy Intern
As a mother to two girls, I’ve come to appreciate Mother’s Day from a very special position both as a mom and a daughter. I’d always cherished the handmade gifts my girls prepared carefully under their preschool teachers’ guidance. But witnessing their pride and excitement after finally being able to share their gifts with me on Mother’s Day was truly the most fulfilling part.
As a daughter, I have also grown to fully appreciate and recognize my mom for everything she’s given me throughout my life. Today I’d like to share something my mom has given me for many, many years: her handmade, versatile heat packs. My mom’s heat packs have provided me relief and comfort for all sort of aches in the twenty years I’ve been using them. Through her ingenious creativity and hard work, we’re able to offer these heat packs to you as well. 100% of the proceeds will go towards providing solar LED lamps to an off-grid community in Myanmar (Burma).
A few years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, which progressed to Wet Macular Degeneration this past year and impacted the loss of her central vision in one eye. Yet, with her strong perseverance, she still made these heat packs by hand. At times it was frustrating as she had trouble simply threading the needle, but we took these challenges as an opportunity for my daughter to help her grandmother with the sewing. This seemingly insurmountable challenge had become an opportunity for all three generations in our household to work together. To keep costs down so more profits can go towards solar LED lamps, my mom utilized her network to obtain 100% of the raw materials as donations. I’m proud to say that the best Mother’s Day gift is witnessing my mom’s pride and excitement, the same feeling I had sensed in my daughters, as she handed me the finished heat packs to sell on Jezuba.
Eric Rondolat’s article,“1.1 billion reasons why light poverty must be eradicated,” states that light poverty negatively impacts 1.1 billion people world-wide. That means one in every seven people do not have access to electric light, instead resorting to primitive light sources, such as candles, kerosene lamps, and fires. In his article, Mr. Rondolat stated: “These primitive light sources have claim the lives of 1.5 million people every year through fires and respiratory illnesses – the same number killed annually by HIV related illnesses.”
Our goal at Jezuba is to raise enough money to provide solar LED lamps to an underserved community in Myanmar (Burma). My mom’s donated time and materials will help their light poverty issue by replacing candles and kerosene lamps with clean solar LED technology. My lifelong dream of making our world a little brighter by combining entrepreneurial skills with charitable thinking has taken a big step towards becoming a reality.
We hope these heat packs bring you the same comfort and relief as they have for me, as well as the comfort in knowing that each purchase from Jezuba gives you the opportunity to contribute to a possible solution to a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba
Many things comes to mind when we think about what Sundays bring: running errands, Sunday Scaries, Game of Thrones... but what we look forward to the most is the weekly farmers market. Known for helping local farmers directly sell their products to consumers, farmers markets bring a variety of fresh produce, ranging from fruits and vegetables to jars of honey and colorful floral bouquets. Most significantly, they bring together the community.
Last Sunday, Jezuba had the wonderful opportunity of displaying our products last week at the Evergreen’s Farmers Market in San Jose, marking our first major publicity event! I had the huge pleasure of meeting locals and sharing Jezuba's mission with those who expressed interest in not only our handmade products, but also our cause.
That day marked the beginning of more exciting events to come. We're grateful to everyone who stopped by our table to help support our mission!
Content Strategy Intern, Jezuba
Jezuba wishes to continue honoring influential figures as our way of spreading awareness and inspiring others, therefore today I would like to share my story.
Back when YouTube was on the rise, I remember stumbling across multiple channels that caught my eye: KevJumba, Nigahiga, and WongFu Productions, to name a few. But the YouTuber who made the biggest impression on seventh grade me was Bubzbeauty. I was a young girl with typical teenage insecurities and a shy personality, but after watching her talk videos on self-confidence, true happiness, and friendship, I was instantly inspired by her radiance and positivity. I grew only more intrigued as I dug deeper into her makeup, hair and fashion tutorials. Needless to say, Bubzbeauty was the biggest inspiration to becoming the person I am today.
Lindy Tsang (better known as Bubzbeauty) has influenced people across the world with her kindness and wisdom. Since launching her Youtube platform in 2009, she’s taken her viewers on her journey of young adulthood to now motherhood. Many people recognize her as a popular Youtuber in the makeup and fashion community, but she’s also well known for her commitment to social impact. Lindy digs deep into true beauty, emphasizing that it comes from a kind and compassionate heart.
This recurring concept of true beauty appears in her book, A Beautiful Mind, A Beautiful Life: The Bubz Guide to Being Unstoppable. It was through reading this book that fans like myself were able to delve into the reality of her life and hardships she had overcome. Each time she talked about the lessons she learned and gave heartfelt advice for those who may be going through a tough time, I was wowed. I found it difficult to put down the book, and even after finishing I reread it several times. There were many takeaways, but the one that stuck out to me the most are these words:
“The more you give, the more you receive. When you are able to step outside of yourself to help others, that will give you the most meaning. True fulfillment comes from being part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”
These magical words resonated with me and aligns with what we at Jezuba wish to accomplish. We're an organization dedicated to not only making a social and economical impact, but also to empowering young individuals to give back to their community. Jezuba is raising funds to help mercy villages in Burma, similar to how Bubzbeauty launched multiple campaigns to raise funds for Pencils of Promise (a non-profit organization that builds schools and provide education for young children in underserved communities). With the help of the Bubzbeauty community, Bubzbeauty has helped build two schools in Laos and three in Ghana with the profits made from the sale of sweaters, t-shirts, and lip kits. Jezuba looks to Bubzbeauty as a source of inspiration with the profits made from our lovely selection of artisans’ goods and greeting cards.
I can go on all day about how much I love Bubzbeauty, but she is something to see for yourself. I hope you find inspiration from Bubzbeauty the way I did, and support us at Jezuba on our journey to making the world a kinder place.
Content Strategy Intern, Jezuba
Pictures from Bubzbeauty's Facebook
For women's history month, I want to talk about not just one woman, but a group of women, who've inspired me this March.
I don't give much too much thought about my period on a day to day basis. I talk about it with my girlfriends (and to only my girlfriends), and those moments primarily consist of complaints about desperate chocolate cravings and how I burst into tears 10 times while watching How to Train Your Dragon. I'm privileged enough that my office provides free tampons and pads so I don't need to fret over bloody surprises at work. And even if I had to, I could run to the nearest pharmacy or discreetly ask a female friend if she could spare an extra.
But this isn't the reality for many girls in the world. For many women, menstruation is a taboo which imposes adverse effects on their everyday lives.
The Pad Project, a club at Oakwood School based in North Hollywood, was launched in 2016 by a student who decided to take action after learning about the struggles of these girls and women. The school club raised enough money to send a low-tech pad-making machine to a rural village in New Delhi, where stigma around menstruation is pervasive. The women have virtually no access to sanitary napkins, resorting to unhealthy alternatives such as dirty rags or leaves and risking themselves to infection. Many girls are forced to drop out of school when they reach puberty. The tension and discomfort in the room are palpable whenever the topic of periods is brought up.
But with the machine, women can use local raw materials to produce biodegradable and affordable sanitary napkins. The Oakwood students also raised enough money to bring on a director to document the aftermath; born was the Netflix documentary that won an Oscar for best short film, Period. End of a Sentence. In the film, we follow the women as they begin selling their homemade pads, turning into entrepreneurs and for some, making their own income for the first time. Gradually, the tension around periods eases in the community. One woman even remarked that her husband respects her more now that she brings home money for the family.
After finishing Period. End of a Sentence, I couldn't contain my excitement and enthusiastically encouraged my peers to watch it as well. In this post, I had no problem expressing how revolutionary both economically and socially the pad-making machine had become for those women. But to be entirely truthful, I feel a twinge of discomfort and awkwardness as I write about my own experience with menstruation. About how one embarassing time in high school, a girlfriend discreetly helped me clean up when my period leaked onto my seat and provided me with an extra pad (and girl, if you're reading this, I'm still eternally grateful for you). About how one time at the mall, my cramps hurt so badly I could barely walk, yet I still desperately needed to find another tampon (alas, to no avail). About how a previous boyfriend shamed me into feeling that I had "ruined the intimacy" when I told him I was looking for a diva cup so I could go swimming on my period.
But I am inspired by these women to begin teaching myself to stop feeling ashamed about my period. In writing this post, I hope to also take a small step towards breaking the stigma around menstruation. In opening up about my body, I hope to empower other women not to feel like our periods diminish our value. This phenomenon is no longer a burden we must bear alone.
With that, I'd like to conclude with some inspiring words from Lupita Nyong'o:
"Shaming the cycle of a woman leads to a cycle of shame. When a woman is not permitted to accept her body, how can we expect her to stand up for her body when it's being abused? It's important for us—men and women—to respect our bodies. End of sentence."
I had the fortune of attending the 2019 Watermark Conference with my co-workers from WePay (a JPMC company). It was an empowering day thinking of what is possible! I was inspired by Dr. Brene Brown's opening remarks. There is no courage without vulnerability, and as storytellers, we can own our story.
As a working mom of two teenagers, I’m always juggling competing demands. As such, I think of shortcuts and ways to hack the system. Dr. Brene Brown’s talk showed that our brain makes up stories to cope, but if we train our brain to create stories filled with curiosity and engagement, in turn, those stories will temper our fear and generate encouragement and empowerment.
Check out WePay’s blog where all of us who attended shared our thoughts and learnings from the day – WePay Watermark blog.
Maya Angelou captured what is possible: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.”
May we achieve more and solve deep-rooted issues together instead of being divided by our tribal tendencies.
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba