Category Archives: LIFE

VIDEO: HAVE I BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW? And Other “Get to Know Me” Questions Pt 2/2

MY “GET TO KNOW ME QUESTIONS” video sessions conclude today with the following! Watch yesterday’s video answers here: HAVE I GONE SKINNY DIPPING? And Other “Get to Know Me” Questions Pt 1/2

“Lord of the Rings” or “Game of Thrones?”

Does Size Matter?

Favorite Superhero Ever and Why?

Have I Ever Been In Trouble with the Law?

Have I Ever Dated a Black Guy?

“Star Trek” or “Star Wars”?

Which Musician Do I Want to Meet the Most?

What’s the One Question I Want to Ask God Most?

What Kind of Music Do I Like?

What Would I Do if I Won the Lottery?

What is the Girliest Show I Watch?

My First Period

Where Would I Travel Anywhere in the World?

Which “The Walking Dead” Character Would I Bring Back from the Dead?

As Whom Do I Most Want to Cosplay?

Will I Return to the East Side Dave Show?


VIDEO: HAVE I GONE SKINNY DIPPING? And Other “Get to Know Me” Questions Pt 1/2


Part 2 Here: VIDEO: HAVE I BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW? And Other “Get to Know Me” Questions Pt 2/2

Favorite Athlete

Am I a Feminist?

Actor/Actress I Want to Meet the Most?

Am I a “Westworld” fan?

Would I rather have Captain America’s shield, Green Lantern’s ring, Iron Man’s suit, or Thor’s hammer?

After the Negan/Lucille premiere, is “The Walking Dead” sleeping through the season?

Do I Draw or Write?

I Wrote a Disturbing Screenplay When I was 12

Do I Have Any Unusual Talents?

Have I Played Any Sports?

Do I have Any Phobias?

Did I Have Any Childhood Nicknames?

Have I Ever Gone Skinny-Dipping?

Marvel or DC?

Sexiest Female Superhero?

Sexiest Male Superhero?

Who Would Win: Wonder Woman or Superman?

PART 2 tomorrow.


LIFE: I was Grabbed by the Pussy. Literally… and Not by a Billionaire Mogul.

I was grabbed by the pussy. For real.

It’s no secret Mainstream Media is BFFs with false outrage. Apparently, Donald Trump once said, in private, that because of his station in life, all he has to do to woo women is to “grab them by the pussy.” Now, as someone who has literally had her vagina grabbed on a sidewalk by a complete and utter stranger, all I have to say to the media hoopla over his throwaway comment was, “Soooo F-ing What?”

My story is simple and straightforward… with a touch of irony. A young Latino (the ironic part) man in a red baseball cap and hoodie walked past me on an empty main street. I thought nothing of these descriptive details of my would-be assailant on the day it happened. I was 21, feeling moody, so I thought I would soak in some summery rays by getting outside in my new floral skirt. I turned the corner onto an even quieter side street. Lost in my brooding playlist, I did not sense anything until I felt a hand from behind lift up my skirt and firmly close its grip around my vaginal area. I heard a laugh… a maniacal laugh as I turned around to face my attacker. Too late; he was already fast-running away (while still laughing). All I could do was hurl all the expletives my brain could summon in such a startled state.

I was furious, shaking, and humiliated. The only passive-aggressive victory I took away from the encounter was the knowledge that I was on a heavy-flow period that day and my attacker had grabbed a bloody vagina. Take that.

Over time, the trauma of the event dissipated on its own. I only told a handful of my friends and only when it came up in relevant conversation. I had just accepted what happened. Nothing is repressed. My anger was duly processed. Remembering the assault is like rediscovering an old Polaroid that has since faded to black-and-white.

So when I hear people cry that Trump’s words invoke “rape culture,” I only have one question in response… “WTF IS ‘RAPE CULTURE’?” The real world does not operate on terms of fancy, theoretical concepts of innuendo and implications. The real world just happens. It contains scumbags who grab your bloody vagina (and laugh as they immediately run away for fear of retaliation). You’re either raped and/or sexually molested like I was, or you’re not.

That’s it. Trump’s words have been blown out of proportion, laughably so, from where I sit. They were crude and made in very, very poor taste but I have heard much worse. More importantly, most people have experienced much worse. Real life, like it or not, is much more complicated than what the media tries to sell you in a ratings-friendly six-word headline.

This is not a pro- or anti-Trump post. My words reflect only my personal assessment of the hilarious circus the media has created around, granted, a pretty circus-inviting public figure’s words… Except real life can actually hurt you; words cannot.


Real life is much more complicated than what the media tries to sell you in a ratings-friendly six-word headline.



VIDEO: I Started Vlogging… And It All Went to S***

I HAD HOPED the first entry back from our summer hiatus would begin on a more positive note, but I can’t keep contained any longer the maelstrom of insecurities, self-hatred, and the general detriment to my mental health that I’ve been experiencing since attempting a YouTube career.

Yay I’m back! Sorry for the gripe-y tone of this post.

 What happened?

I pride myself on being an above-average writer and I will hold that conviction dearly ’til the day I die. As Lil Gripes™ flourished in theme and followership, I began hearing encouragement from trusted friends and associates that I should begin a vlog extension to the brand. So I did, as the previously blogged-about stream-of-consciousness freakout detailed).

YouTube, as with blogging, is 100% marketplace distinction. What the hell do I have to offer that others don’t already? I am the girl who loooooves fashion, beauty and art as much as I love crude humor and sci-fi/fantasy/superhero films and TV shows. I bookmark as well as

My inaugural video should combine all of those things, I figured. I wore a floral Marc by Marc Jacobs bikini top along with a pair of high-waisted leather Topshop shorts as I enthused about my expectations for the then-upcoming blockbuster, “Captain America: Civil War.” It was all done with a wink, nod, and mischievous smile.

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Not so surprisingly in hindsight, I couldn’t please them all.

There were many who watched and supported me and GOD, do I appreciate every single one of you (seriously, big smooches xx), but the whiners are always the most audible for some unholy reason. Many took to my comments section, my blog and my Twitter to complain repeatedly about how the sex appeal was too subtle, as if that was the entire point of my channel.

Just for argument’s sake, I’ll explain the point: Me + bikini was my idea of including me and all other women in on the joke that, in order to reach a male audience, you have to appease their appetite for sexuality. NO SHAME… On either side! Men are visual creatures and that’s totally fine. Women can embrace and empower themselves through their sexuality and that’s totally fine.

Le Sigh–I guess satire is world-famous for soaring over some’s heads.

When people are screaming in your face, WTF? I came to see this girl in her bikini and not babble on about superheroes [despite that being the clearly stated M.O. of my channel]” and your videos are better on mute,” you pause for a sobering self-evaluation of your vlogging capabilities. It’s funny how criticism has a way of registering way deeper than compliments do. I had prepared myself for the inevitable scrutiny projecting yourself out into the Youtube-sphere will bring but I lost more than just my confidence… Two full-time corporate gigs perfectly suited to my skill set sought me out because of my blog and I’m 99% sure they both cut me loose during the last stages of vetting due to my vlog.

I lost a step or two after that setback. I hadn’t been actively seeking any fulltime 9-to-5 jobs so it was like this great beam of hope shined on me without me even reaching for it and then it got snuffed out right between my fingers because of my stupid little channel.

On top of all the negative vibes flowing my way the past few months, it just so happens that summer is a notoriously huge lull in the superhero show/movie calendar and the well had seemingly dried of topics on that front.


Now, as I’ve cathartically purged this through my keyboard with my dog mid-snooze on my lap, I’ve realized it’s not all over. I can come back from this:

  1. Summer is still Superhero Season. Tis the season for those passionate about it comme moi to weigh in on the casting news pouring in. Marvel’s Doctor Strange just confirmed Mads Mikkelsen‘s much-anticipated villainous role, Arrow on the CW cast two exciting new supporting characters and DC’s Justice League movies have been continuously adding interesting faces to its payroll. More on these in subsequent posts…
  2. I’m a friggin’ amazing writer. I have defined myself by the title of “writer” since I was a wee tween listening to both Britney Spears and Jim Morrison religiously.
  3. Rejection always makes me push harder. I don’t know the precise fate of my YouTube channel, but the more people tell me I can’t, the harder I always push back, like it just became my sole mission in life to prove them wrong.
  4. I will prove them wrong.



VIDEO: 2 Weeks Into YouTube and I’m Freaking Out!



…is the predominant thought running off-and-on through my head the past two weeks since I’ve posted my inaugural video on


YOU SEE, I never had aspirations for myself or Li’l Gripes to be the next PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles. Making it on YouTube, given the mounds of talent (and clutter) amongst which one can easily get lost, seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood. At multiple friends’ and associates’ suggestions, however, my initial reservations about making my brand vulnerable to the indiscriminate scrutiny of a platform like YouTube mutated from “never gonna happen” to… “screw it, let’s give it the ol’ college try!” Li’l Gripes prides itself on its devotion to both geek culture and the power of aesthetics… It is difficult to make the case that it should not have a visual streaming component, as well.

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So here we are, 1.1K-and-some-change views later, and YouTube has been… stressful… hella stressful.

There is a good reason why only a select few percolate to the top of the class on the ‘Tube. The recipe for YouTube success is a complicated, layered mixture of hard work, talent and luck…Just as it is in La La Land. That hard work entails a lot (like, buttloads of “a lot”) of time spent on writing, storyboarding, and editing your material outside of the time you simply spend shooting. Every channel attracts its viewers for unique reasons but one common denominator in retaining audiences is the craftsmanship behind each video. Originality and creativity can’t be faked or copied but it also requires dogged devotion and dedication for anyone to use natural-born talents to create cohesive storytelling in a single YouTube. I.e. that translates into hours of preparation (and perspiration insert sweat emoji) and post-production for minutes of finished footage.

“Making it on YouTube seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood.”


Welp, this is all to say nothing of the internal struggles I’ve had over the past few weeks about the content I choose to release. Turning a camera lens on oneself and having the confidence-slash-hubris (is there a difference, really?) to post it with the expectation of an audience is… bold on anyone’s part.


In a way, one would have to be narcissistic and/or egomaniacal to have his or her own YouTube channel. Who am I to demand someone else’s time and attention span in such a way? What do I have to offer? How far do I have to go to make it worth everyone’s while? -WHY DOES MY HEAD HURT- Ain’t I a disappointment enough to my parents as it is? Ok, relaaaax… Wait, should I be twerking? Why am I not twerking in a bikini? Wouldn’t that only be fair? I’M HUNGRY AND I NEED INTERNS!!!

…On the plus side, I learned I do have a great/maniacal smile:

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If you enjoy Lil and/or, please subscribe and give us some calming encouragement! Our episodes will be more and more tightly edited as we continue doing what we do best: bringing sexy geekiness to your phone/tablet/computer screen.




VALENTINE’S DAY 2016 is tomorrow and Li’l Gripes just wants to remind everyone that whether you have a Valentine or not, the day can go just as bad or as good as you will it. Just like any other day.

So if you’re spending it single, allow me to inform you that last Valentine’s Day, my last boyfriend’s idea of romance was an absolute CLUNKER (I’ve found a Valentine this year who’s much sweeter, let’s say). Couples get their expectations too high and the whole day puts a lot of strain on otherwise-steady relationships.

So take it easy, single or not, this and every February 14. You have to live through it–it’s up to you whether you live it smiling or wallowing.


 You have to live through Valentine’s Day–it’s up to you whether you live it smiling or wallowing.


Lilosophies ~ Part Three

PART 3 of the ongoing Lilosophies series:

Part 1

Part 2

“If I’m older, I better be fucking wiser.”

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“When marketing, never overestimate or underestimate your consumer’s intelligence.”


“A person who takes no pride in his or her appearance may as well have no soul.”


“Creativity needs stimuli to further breed.”


“Don’t let anything but TV and magazines make you feel less than superior about yourself.”


“For my fellow perfectionists, our key mantra should be ‘Stop when it’s just enough.'”


“You’re only as good as your latest selfie.”


“Life is too short to curb your tongue.”




Lil’s Favorite Photography of 2015

THEY SAY WE ARE WHAT WE LOVE. If that’s true, these photos I cherished in 2015 comprised bits and pieces of the kind of person I was. Some of these photos I took and some are others’ depictions of empowering moments for me this past year.

Me and a mini-Predator

All are photos that inspired me, made me smile, and, not to get sassy, made me proud to own me. 2015 was one of the first years during which I have truly sensed a change for the better in myself.



My Dog and My Work Tools, © 2015 Lillian Gao

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Boyfriend-given Mickey Mouse Bandaids, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Makeup-less Adele, Photo via Rolling Stone

doll2nd Ave F train Exit Mural, © 2015 Lillian Gao

CUUgdd8VEAAbmc8Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Photo via Entertainment Weekly

IMG_7555Gwyneth Paltrow, aka “GOOP,” as a coaster, © 2015 Lillian Gao


A Predator/Yautja in the East Village, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Daisy Johnson aka “Quake” on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Photo via ABC

IMG_6322New York Street Hustle, © 2015 Lillian Gao


My 1st Encounter with a Teacup Vietnamese Potbellied Pig, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Bobbi Morse aka “Mockingbird” on Marvel’s “Agents of Shield,” Photo via Comic Book Resources

IMG_7562Mixed Media Artwork by Christopher G. Asberry, © 2015 Lillian Gao

taylorTaylor Swift’s Cat Eye-Side Eye, Photo via Variety


Stuffed Bunny Wearing a Rosary, © 2015 Lillian Gao

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The Walking Dead Season 6 Collage, Photo via AMC

There is so, so much more, but I wanted to narrow it down to just the favorite of the favorites.


HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM AND HER: day 6 – “For the Reader” edition

DAY 6 of Holiday Gift Ideas For Him and Her brings you stacks on stacks of reading porn for those in your life who haven’t completely succumbed to the culture of 140 characters or less.

Books are still a safe under-the-tree bet, even for members of Generation ADD. There is a subject for everyone and for every subject, there is aplenty attention-holding quality literature.

Look, I’m a Millennial who owns (and reads) books!


  • Biography
  • Business
  • History
  • Literature/Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Self-Help


Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, by Jon Meacham ($17.99-$37.93)



“Pulitzer Prize-winner Meacham paints a well-rounded portrait of our 41st president in this even-handed, meticulously researched biography.”


Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling ($9.31-$20.48)


Mindy Kaling, of “The Office” and “The Mindy Project,” (also author of the much-beloved New York Times bestseller Why Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) has consistently delighted us over and over again as a quirky Hollywood comedienne who somehow still relates to the Everywoman. In Why Not Me?, she continues to recount tales of being a Hollywood misfit at times, workplace romances gone crazy, and general anxieties over womanhood in a way as droll as it is personal and relatable.

Sinatra: The Chairman, by James Kaplan ($15.99-$21.45)


THE perfect holiday gift to commemorate the Chairman’s centennial.


Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies, by Charles G. Koch ($13.99-$28.33)


The inspirational and motivating story of one of the most successful companies in the world, Koch Industries, as told by Charles G. Koch himself.


Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow ($13.38-$15.99)


Pulitzer-winning writer Ron Chernow tells a galvanizing and scandalous biography of one Founding Father–the famous Federalist from the $10 bill who–fun fact–could never become President because he was born in the Virgin Islands. (My U.S. History teacher is beaming from wherever at me right now).

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates ($11.99-$14.40)



You heard Toni Morrison. Required reading.


 The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah ($9.99-$16.13)


Arguably book of the year for 2015.

For Fictional Horror:

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories, by Stephen King ($14.99-$16.18)


For Fictional Romance:

See Me, by Nicholas Sparks ($12.99-$14.56)



Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur ($8.49-$12.34)


An Introduction to Poetry (13th Edition), by X. J. Kennedy & Dana Gioia ($61.93-$91.26)



George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (Song of Ice and Fire series): A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons



Because duh. Is there anything else genre-wise?

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick ($8.73-$9.99)



Now an Amazon original series, this poignant alternate-history work portrays America in 1962. The bleak overview?

“Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.”

 The Martian, by Andy Weir ($8.99-$16.79)


Yes, it’s that Matt Damon movie. Highly well-reviewed  and entertaining book, too, though.


Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes ($12.99-$14.83)


2015’s The Secret. Basically. Can’t go wrong when you go Shonda.

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LI’L GRIPES is generally not a fan of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) gifts, regardless of the occasion. It is ridiculous to profess that purchased gifts are, by definition, less thoughtful than homemade ones. Money does not grow on trees and spending it on someone is absolutely a display of love and caring. So, it is our official opinion that, yes, you can buy love.

Now, that said, if you want to display affection through a gift crafted with your own fingers for a loved one, here is a primo suggestion apiece for him and for her, along with a completely gender-neutral gift:



A $0-gift that doesn’t basically scream “I’m either cheap or broke and/or don’t really care about you.” Make him or her a homemade documentary compiled of interviews with the giftee’s loved ones all speaking nice truths from the heart about said giftee.

*Make sure all those interviewed do not say clichéd, holiday-themed bullsh!t and that their individual messages are distinctive to their relationship with the giftee. Also, that each message lasts at least a minute.

All you need is a smartphone, if not an actual video camera and a computer video-editing program, and the iMovie app. String the interviews together with exterior shots of things the giftee loves… Cupcakes, skylines, old forests… Just make it a theme.


Leather and Gold Leaf Notebook

(for full instructions, go here)



A piece of soft leather, 8″ x 5 1/2,” about 15-20 pieces of paper, 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2,” upholstery thread, sturdy needle, scissors, pen, ruler, ModPodge, 2 small paintbrushes, gold leaf, bone folder, tweezers


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 It is ridiculous to profess that purchased gifts are, by definition, less thoughtful than homemade ones.


Raw Crystal Necklace Display

(for full instructions, go here)



Three 12″ x 4″ x ¼” pieces of craft wood, thin paintbrush, thick paintbrush, gold paint, white paint, premium construction adhesive glue, an assortment of 18 raw crystals, non-destructive wall mounts


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