All posts in: Life

04 Apr 2020

This Weekend:

As I’m catching up with my friends this week, I’m noticing that we’re all asking each other similar questions. “What are you watching?” “Any good books lately?” “What are people cooking these days?” There’s a lot of time to spend on things that we might not normally prioritize. More than ever, I’m noticing that I’m seeking recommendations from those in my network for things I might not gravitate towards. This could change week-by-week and we may not be able to post one of these every weekend, but I thought it would be nice to capture what I’m doing now.

What we’re watching: Crash Landing on You (Netflix)

OK, so this is another excuse to post a picture of these two! Korean dramas aren’t normally in my wheelhouse, but when I was suggested to give Crash Landing on You a try from two close friends, I figured I couldn’t make up an excuse. After all, what could I say? I don’t have the time? What I love about this series is that there’s something for everyone. There’s a little comedy, romance, action, thrill, and mystery. It’s actually the 2nd highest rated drama in Korean TV history, which means it’s more than worth checking out. I’ve been watching the show for about a week now and even caught myself going through three episodes in a day. Each episode is about 90 minutes a way. Part way through, I decided to savor the series taking my time because I don’t want it to end!

What we’re wearing: [TNA Leggings]

You would think that since I dress up for work every day normally that I’d do the same at home. In fact, it has been quite the opposite! Getting showered and dressed every morning is still part of the routine, but I also want to be at my most comfortable. I have six pairs of these leggings that I just rotate through and am still probably looking to add more to my collection. Since they are affordable, it’s easy not to feel bad about making a purchase.

What I’m Reading: Chanel Miller’s “Know My Name”

I’ve had this book since December and I’m taking my time with it. As many of you know, this hasn’t been an easy read. I also don’t normally read books these days on a regular basis often opting for shorter pieces online. However, I continue to just be in awe of Chanel – her writing, her presence, and her strength throughout this entire ordeal. Despite how challenging of a read it is for me, I know we’ll all be better for it on the other side and I’m hoping to finish before shelter-in-place ends.

What we’re supporting: local restaurants

There’s no shortage of organizations that we all could be donating to right now. I live near a neighborhood that I spend much of my time in when not shelter-in-place. Many restaurants here are greatly being impacted and one that stands out in giving back to the community right now is [Che Fico.] They are currently selling family-style meals at $50 that include bread, salad, an entree, and dessert which can feed 2-3 people. For those that can’t afford this, students, those impacted by shelter-in-place, you can sign up for a free meal. The restaurant already is contributing 250 meals a night through this program. And for those that can help, you can also donate to this program to help keep it going. As much as possible, I’m spending more time preparing my meals at home, but to have some sort of normalcy, we are getting takeout 1-2 times a week.

What we’re eating: Garlic Noodles

My excuse for never cooking at home is always time. I’m at work late or I have social activities afterwards that prevent me from doing so. Without this excuse, I was able to use my extra time to make a delicious meal for myself. I’ve actually never made garlic noodles before, but Jean Wang of [Extra Petite] had a fairly simple recipe to follow with most of the ingredients already being in my pantry. We tried to capture me in the process of cooking this for my Instagram, but it was harder than it looks! Whatever the case, it was a recipe that we could continue perfecting, but I’ll keep this in my back pocket for now.

04 Apr 2020

Celebrating A Birthday in Quarantine

In February, one of my stressors was deciding how I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday. I was deciding between a get together at a brewery nearby or at a park – both of which included McDonalds. That train of thought feels so long ago even though it was just a little over a month. As for what occupies my mind on a daily basis now, that feels so minuscule and distant.

The date was picked and the invites were out, but the day I landed back in San Francisco from Thailand it took me less than 24 hours to cancel. I love gathering all of my favorite people together, but a group from all different circles and sharing food didn’t seem like the safest decision. With everything going on and the number of cases rising, I personally didn’t feel good about hosting a celebration.

Instead, I settled for a birthday in quarantine (like we had a choice!) It was a work day like any other, but I felt the love from my network from all over. Coworkers delivered a Panda Express lunch to my doorstep. My two girlfriends ordered McDonalds for dinner and we ate it over a virtual hangout. To my surprise the day felt excessive!

It reminded me of a Berenstain Bears book I read when I was little called, “Too Much Birthday.” I’ve always loved my birthday celebrations, but there are some memories of my previous birthdays that I have buried deep. I’m reminded of the birthdays where I end up in tears. And it wasn’t just me – growing up, friends of mine in elementary school also ended up in tears. I read a [post] recently from The Cut that sums this up perfectly.

This isn’t an emotion that’s often spoken about, so into my adult life, I still describe the feeling as having “too much birthday.” It’s the sensation of feeling so much joy at once that you almost feel lonely, or like you can’t really enjoy the happiness surrounding you.

This year’s “too much birthday” symbolism came in a couple ways. The physical was a nasty stomach ache from all the fast food. Emotionally, it was how annoyed I felt when asked “how I was celebrating that day.” This would have been a perfectly normal question any other time. However, that frustration was met with my internal response of “don’t you know what I’m doing? Staying inside of course!” At the end of the day, I’m lucky to have polite friends who will ask even if it’s merely to extend the conversation beyond “happy birthday.” Mentally, I was equal parts scattered and lonely.

One thing is for certain. It’s a birthday that I won’t ever forget – one in isolation, but still celebrated despite distance.

29 Mar 2020

Skateboarding In A Global Pandemic

It’s interesting to be living through this time right now. I rarely leave my house these days unless it’s to go to the local market or to grab a quick coffee and even then, I return right home. Someone that I follow on Instagram has been venturing around different neighborhoods in New York City to capture the emptiness. I think about this a lot too and in a way, want to be able to take these shots of the most quiet San Francisco has ever been. While I may be a bit, risk averse, I am glad to know that others are capturing these moments so that we can always look back on them.

This video, taken in Los Angeles, was actually made in 2014 and is not current.

27 Mar 2020

Checking In: The End of Week Two

We made it through two full weeks of working from home with shelter-in-place. It also happens to be the amount of time I would’ve been in self-quarantine regardless after getting back from Thailand. There is still a long road ahead of us. Throughout the two weeks, friends have been checking in with me constantly. Because of my living situation, it was assumed that I’d be lonely or stir-crazy. In reality though, we’ve sort of been built for this.

In the days leading up to today, I noticed a change in myself. The jet lag has come and gone so I knew it wasn’t that. I found that my productivity was dropping. I could get through an hour-long meeting, but find that I needed a break right afterwards. In a normal work day at the office, I could have back-to-back meetings with almost no breaks from start to finish and move to my evening plans with ease. These days, I’m exhausted for no good reason. I should be getting the best sleep of my life at this point now, but I’m not. A few friends described it to me recently: you feel this overwhelming sensation of dread, confusion, sadness, exhaustion, but you don’t know where it comes from and it’s not impacting you directly. You read the news, but it changes constantly and your mind is consumed with information.

It’s unexplainable, but I know this to be true. These aren’t normal work from home days. We are working around a pandemic and yes, in some cases we are lucky… privileged to be able to work from home, have a job, have a home, etc. But our minds go elsewhere.

This morning, I woke up to my Twitter feed as I usually do and I caught this segment of Hoda Kotb on Today. I didn’t even catch the whole segment, just this clip. Upon watching it, I found myself in tears as well. What she expressed on the air is exactly how many of us feel inside. I haven’t cried in weeks, but I recognized that same feeling almost immediately.

There are many long days ahead of us. We are three months in, but already this is the longest year. I hope that all of you can be safe during this time, but to take care of your families and more importantly yourself.

27 Mar 2020

Blog Roundup

  • The Women of Instagram [The Everygirl]
  • Scotland is the first country to make pads and tampons free [Today]
  • Netflix Introduces Daily Top 10 Lists [High Snobiety]
  • Here’s What Happens When Guy Fieri Visits A Restaurant [Thrillist]
  • Kanye, Out West [New York Times]
  • Sound and Vision: Paid Family Rocking [KEXP]
  • McDonald’s Introduces New Big Macs [Cool Material]
  • I Think About This A Lot: Jack and Meg White Pretending to be Brother and Sister [The Cut]
  • 7 Delicious, Creative Ways to Eat Eggs That Don’t Involve Scrambles [Well + Good]
  • How Coronavirus is Destroying the Livelihood of Music’s Behind-the-Scenes Workforce [Rolling Stone]
  • The 11 Rules Every Man Should Heed to Tidy Up His Closet [Inside Hook]
  • Why We Can’t Stop Looking at Photos of Empty Cities [Fast Company]
  • The No Equipment Home Workout [Valet Mag]
  • You Can Now Download Free Coloring Pages From Over 100 Museums and Libraries [Hypebeast]
  • These Famous Logos Have Been Remade for the Coronavirus Age [Ad Age]
  • What It’s Like to Self-Quarantine With a Michelin-Starred Chef [Grub Street]
23 Mar 2020

How We’re Working From Home

For every freelancer or remote worker, working from home has always been the norm. However, for those of us who are used to being in the office daily, this is an adjustment. I remembered seeing a number of articles last week that provided advice on how to work from home. In my head, I thought “what’s the big deal?” Turns out, it’s harder than it looks. To make things even more complicated, we’re dealing with a pandemic which means that it’s easy to lose focus during times like these.

I’m now in my second week of what I think will be many weeks working from home, but here’s what I have found to be helpful.

Set an alarm

If possible, you should try to keep as much of your usual routine. I envy those that can wake up at the same time every day without an alarm, but that’s not something I’m capable of. Since I’m not commuting at the moment, I can buy myself a little extra time! Instead of waking up at 6:45AM, I’m now waking up at 8AM, but still going to sleep at my usual time.

Have breakfast

This is tough for me because I’ll admit, on a normal work day I don’t always eat breakfast. Some of you may know this, but my “breakfast” is a cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks every. single. day. With Shelter-in-Place, it’s not reasonable for me to get my usual caffeine fix in the morning and I’m definitely feeling the impact. To supplement, I’ve got have a bite in the morning even if it’s small – a piece of toast, a chia seed pudding, two eggs, etc.

Get dressed

I can’t even begin to tell you how easy it is to settle into my sweats and leggings during this time. I’m doing everything in my power to resist that urge. Even though I’m getting dressed up to go nowhere, it impacts how I tackle my day. After all, I still have to “show” up to my Google Hangouts and be presentable. Taking a shower in the morning and getting dressed gives me the boost of energy I need. When the end of the day hits, that’s when it’s time to transition back to the comfy clothes.

Choose your working space wisely

Even though I’m lucky to have a desk at home, it’s not always the most comfortable spot to work at. For the last week, I’ve been working from my couch surrounded by blankets and my space heater. It’s not the best choice, but it’s also 10x better than working from my bed! It’s easy to lose productivity if you’re not considering where you’re working from. Your energy levels can shift and maybe your posture can suffer. Though my space is small, I’m trying to get creative in working from a number of places in my home throughout the day.

Give yourself a lunch break

It’s easy to completely lose track of time while working at home. The upside is that you might be at your most productive. The downside is that you forget to take care of yourself! Even though I don’t need to eat lunch for an hour, I still use that time for eating and whatever else I need to take care of during that time. Sometimes it’s also nice to just give yourself a mental break.

Keep connections strong

It’s unclear how long we’ll be in this period of shelter-in-place, but while we can’t see anyone in person, it’s important to make time for virtual hangouts. Every day I have at least one phone call, face time, or a video hangout with either one friend or a group of friends to get my social intake.

Establish a log off time

During my first few days of working from home, I found myself working later into the evenings. When you’re in the office, it’s clearer when there is a stopping point. You either have plans or you need to catch your ride home. At home when you’ve been doing the same thing nonstop, you almost don’t want to break your focus. It’s important for me to keep my routines though so while I may start at 9AM, I try to be diligent about stopping at 5PM.

23 Mar 2020

Wedding Mondays

We’re headed into what I already know is going to be a difficult week. San Francisco’s gloom has rolled in, but that dark cloud of COVID-19 is still hanging over us. As much as possible, I want to try and spread some joy on Yow Yow! so we’ll do our best to keep it up with the positivity here. I randomly caught this wedding video recently while I was in Thailand. Without knowing anything about the couple at all, I still felt touched by it and wanted to share here.

One thing that has hit hard with COVID-19 is that because of the measures we are taking to protect ourselves, we can’t celebrate. Two of my close friends have had to put their wedding on hold. Under the celebration umbrella, funerals and birthdays are also stalled. I know this isn’t easy for anyone and it’s going to be hard for a long time, but we have to do this together.


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