Category Archives: Life

Outside the City / Inside Oakland

Top – Forever 21 / Leggings – Aritzia / Boots – J. Crew

I say this all the time, but I’m so fortunate to live in a city where it’s so easy to get to and from other places. Come September, I’ll have lived in the Bay Area for four years now! One area that I haven’t spent too much in is actually Oakland, which is very very close to me. While Ashley was visiting back in April, she happened to me over there for a conference and we took full advantage of being in the city. It started with a hotel date. It ended with 4 meals in less than a full day and an exploration of every part of the neighborhood. We felt like we had seen a lot of it, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen it all so I’m looking forward to the next time I can return and with a list of the restaurants we still have to hit up.

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The Moment I Found Out I Wasn’t White

I was advised a long time ago to keep not only my personal stories to myself, but also my views on politics to myself and away from social media. It doesn’t feel right anymore to stay silent. For months, I retweeted and quoted tweets never taking that firm of a stance on Yow Yow, but the news of the weekend has taken a toll on me. I’m distracted at work. I’m losing sleep because I am consumed by what is happening in our country. You can ignore all of this for a long time and focus just on what directly affects you, but the truth is – this affects all of us.

*****

I was 5 years old and in Kindergarten when it was pointed out to me just how different I was. My hair wasn’t brown or blonde, but black. My classmates had similar clothes to me and we were the same size. I imagined that everyone could speak two languages at home. I just didn’t know if it was the same as mine. No one had ever treated me as if I were different up to this point. You were considered the “bully” of our class. My parents told me to not engage and back then, I hadn’t discovered how confrontational I could be yet. I boarded the bus like I did every day and took a front seat because the sooner I could get off the bus, the faster I could get to my seaweed wrapped rice crackers that Grandma always put out for me as my afternoon snack.

You singled me out. Pointed to me. “Go sit in the back of the bus.” An order.

“Why?”

“You don’t belong up here.”

*****

Every day I climbed on top of the chair to talk to my mom as she prepared dinner for our family and she would ask me about my day. “Today, he told me to sit in the back of the bus. Why did he say this to me?”

What I remember is the glass shattering moment that I discovered how white I wasn’t. The part I don’t remember is the look on my mother’s face.

What I didn’t realize until I was much older was how much I tried to self-correct myself after this happened to me. For years in my childhood, I pushed myself to be athletic because I thought it was who I was supposed to be. I never liked participating in sports, but all of my caucasian friends were in cross country and track. I didn’t want to bring rice for lunch; I wanted a Lunchables. I stopped speaking Vietnamese until I forgot how to completely. Instead of embracing the culture that I grew up with, I did all that I could to be anything, but different so as to never feel as isolated as I was during that moment when I was five.

*****

I think about this story all the time, but I never thought to ask my mother about how she felt when I came to her until Sunday. I wish I had a recording of this phone call, not to share it widely, but because it was so honest and meant a lot to me to hear her own point of view. What she told me was that she never forgot that moment. Like me, she too, thinks about it. Back then, she couldn’t go too into depth about race or Rosa Parks or the kind of hatred that could live within a child without them truly understanding. I wouldn’t have understood it fully and I sure as hell could not have taken that discussion with me back to school. She admitted to me that she knew my life could be challenging and that I would have to always work harder and be smarter just to be considered equal to my peers. The expectations for me would be much higher and that I might endure more instances like this in my life in different forms. And I did.

*****

So I watched what reminded me of a witch hunt this weekend play out on Twitter. I read the articles about the young man named “Peter” who decided to March at UVA on Friday with a torch and then claim that he’s not the angry racist we see in that photo. And I wondered how a man this young could be taught to be this way – to have this kind of hatred in his heart. Who taught my 5-year-old bully to also have this same way of thinking? I’ve tried to be patient. I tried to understand and read the point of views from both sides to have this awareness, but I’m disappointed and frankly, heartbroken. I never want to have to explain this to my future son or daughter the way my own mother had to with me.

So your vote wasn’t the same as mine. It’s not about our egos and our pride, but let’s move forward. Let’s just agree that we need a better future than what is our current state right now.

And because this is an important recap from the weekend…

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Wedding Mondays

We are overdue for a Wedding Mondays post and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this one with you all this morning. I’m actually headed to a wedding this weekend – my last one of the season! – however, before we get excited about that one, I wanted to express how much it pained me to have to miss the nuptials of Alyssa and Eric. I’ve known both of them since my freshman year of college and even remember meeting Eric during my first week at orientation. They both have been great friends to me over the years so it was difficult when I learned I couldn’t make their special day.

This video was everything though. I’m elated to see how special their day was and it was nostalgic thinking about how their relationship blossomed into what is now a marriage when I look back on their years of dating in college. Alyssa was a stunning bride and I’ve never seen Eric look so handsome. These two are so perfect together <3

Thank you both for sharing some amazing photos and this video to catch me up on what I missed. I wish you two a very happy marriage and a lifetime of happiness together.

 

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Cool Carson City

I would not have ever known about Carson City if one of my friends hadn’t relocated there earlier this year. In fact, I really knew nothing about it and for some time even thought it was in the same vicinity as Lake Tahoe. Close enough, right? A few of my friends and I took the weekend off to venture over there to see her new life. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and living in Seattle, you got to be pretty close to it without having to go to far. I wouldn’t exactly say that Carson City was in our backyard though. I’ll admit, the drive was hard for (especially being the driver) and even though you’re not that far, the difference in cultural views and how you’re treated by other locals was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.

That being said, I enjoyed the time away and spending time with my favorite girlfriends.

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SF Eats: Flour + Water

Wowowow new title because we live in San Francisco now! Truth though – Flour + Water has always been in San Francisco so that hasn’t changed. The first time I ever ate at Flour + Water, my friends had made a reservation for a late Sunday evening dinner a month in advance. I’ve pretty much been an early bird all my life and on Sundays, I like to eat dinner at 4PM! Since my first instance was a reservation so far in advance, the impression I got was – wow this is some serious San Francisco restaurant. It is, but there are ways around it so that you can at the restaurant WHEN you want.

My office is nearby and by a stroke of luck, I happened to come upon the restaurant with Leslie right when it had opened on Friday at 5:30 PM. We were seated right away at a communal table. If you’re a lover of delicious pasta, you need to make your way here. I’m convinced that I’ve never had a bad dish here and you know what? I’m convinced that eating there at 5:30 PM on a Friday tastes much better than waiting a month to eat there on a Sunday at 8PM. The menu is always changing – likely by season – so it’s fun to try all of their new dishes.

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A Collection Part 48

48 posts and counting! I’m convinced that writer’s block is a thing that happens to everyone. I can still remember being in college and becoming upset at myself when I knew I had waited until the last minute to complete a paper. Typical. Writing always came easily when it wasn’t out of desperation and when it wasn’t at a time that I needed it the most. These “A Collection” posts are my favorite because they don’t ever require writing, but I like to write a little piece to go along with it anyways. It’s nice to just sift through a bunch of images and decide on the spot if I want to include them or not. I will usually know within a second and if I’m thinking about one for too long, that might also mean something too. I like to think that all of the images represent the mood that I’m in or a period in my life. I never actually write out the exact feeling at that moment and we’re completely okay with that. If you read into these a bit though, you can always sense a type of pattern.

Enjoy!

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July Favorites

Whoa! The last time we did this was in April for March – we really dropped off on this. Sorry about that.

Favorite TV Show: The Bold Type

You would think that because I’m working full-time and writing part-time on Yow Yow! that there wouldn’t be much time left over for my television. False. This is a terrible thing for me to say and my parents and my childhood self would probably be appalled by this statement, but my TV is one of the most important things in my home. It’s my constant background noise. It’s the one thing that I never get tired of and there’s always something to watch. When Kevin was in town a couple of weekends ago helping me move, we decided to upgrade my 32″ from college to a solid 49″ and it is life changing. In case you were wondering just how serious I was about my television, now you know.

Freeform (formerly ABC Family) recently debuted a new show and I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t all that convinced that this would be something I’d enjoy, but I’ve watched other shows on Freeform that I’ve liked and it deserved a fair chance. The show centers around three women working at a magazine that resembles Cosmopolitan. They each have three different roles, social media, writer, and assistant each with their fair share of issues – like the rest of us! I identify the most with Jane, who has recently been promoted to a writer and is a mid 20-something who just snagged herself the hottest boyfriend (also a writer in the same building!)

Anyways, I’ll let you check out the show for yourself, but four episodes in and I’m hooked already.

Favorite Album: SZA – CTRL

SZA is one talented individual. We actually wrote about listening to her album all weekend at the end of June – happy to announce that not much has changed and I am still very much listening to her every day.

Favorite Product – Benefit Hydra-Smooth Lip Color in Air Kiss – $19

Honestly, I haven’t bought any new products lately! I will admit that I have a lot that I hoard over the years and since I’m using all of them at the minimum, I don’t finish my products that quickly. I’m always open to trying new stuff though and I love when brands email me to see if I’d be open to sampling. The problem ends up being that I say yes very often. I’m still very new to the lipstick game and even though I bought this back in December, I’m still very much in love with it. It’s a good lipstick for “most days,” but not everyday use. I’ll only wear it if I feel like it makes sense for the outfit that I’m wearing, but more recently – I put it on before I did a fitting for my bridesmaid dress at Weddington Way just so I could look a little bit more done up.

Favorite Closet Item: Wilfred Beaune Dress – $185

This isn’t the type of dress that I would normally gravitate towards because of it’s length, but lately, I’ve been more open to this style especially for the weddings I’ve been attending. I bought a dress for Jennie’s wedding a few months ago, but I’ve had slight reservations about it – just that it wasn’t “the one.” I know, I’m kind of weird like that. I happened to be in Aritzia last weekend though for their sale and while perusing decided to just give this a shot. It fit like a glove. I felt pretty and like a little princess with the pleating! The color made my complexion feel and look warmer than it really was. I left the store that day without it because of the price, but I couldn’t stop thinking about. I published me trying it on to my Instagram stories to which 5 of my friends had responded “I hope you got it!” I texted my mom a photo of me in the dress. When I returned home that evening, I realized I had made a mistake leaving it behind and promptly ordered it the next morning. Interestingly enough, the dress on the website is selling out! Looks like we snagged it just in time. ;)

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Yow Yow! in Pescadero / Half Moon Bay

I hate the word funemployment so we’re just going to call this period of my life the time that I took off. Between securing my new job and actually starting, I didn’t have enough time to take an extravagant trip or even fly back home for a little bit. Living in California though makes it easy to get a little further out for the day. I only had two weeks before starting and every day was packed with something – errands, blogging, getting myself mentally prepared for my next job, but something that was really important to me was taking a day for myself and having a day trip. The internet gave me a lot of great ideas for day trips that I could take in my area and I picked Pescadero because it was a pretty unlikely spot that I may never have chosen on my own if not for this moment. I knew I wanted to be near the water and see some sights, but not spend all day getting there. What I didn’t know is that Pescadero’s main attractions are a couple of blocks long. Our day there ended before we really just got started! Luckily for us, Half Moon Bay wasn’t too far and it was another spot that I’d always wanted to see. The us I’m referring to is my friend Jason who was also “taking time off” at the same time I was! I could’ve done this trip alone, but it was more fun with him and he agreed to my entire agenda.

Apparently, Pie Ranch is a major attraction for Pescadero so I needed to see this in person. Honestly, I only wanted a slice, but on the day that we went, there happened to be a field trip for kids in a summer camp and they snagged all of the slices before we could grab one. Hence, why we were forced to order a whole pie. To make matters worse, there were also kids behind us and while we offered to split our whole pie with them since we only wanted a slice, kids are advised to always avoid strangers so…

If you look closely, it looks like these rocks are kind of hairy!

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Officially A San Francisco Resident

Someone asked me today how my blog was going and I actually couldn’t even remember the last time I had written a post. Don’t worry, the dashboard says July 9th. Since you last heard from me, I celebrated Jennie’s Bachelorette Party in Disney Land (more photos to come!) and officially moved myself up to San Francisco. It has been a hectic two weekends, but we made it you guys. All in one piece.

Looking back, I had predicted that my move from Seattle to the Bay Area was going to be tougher, but it was actually the move from Sunnyvale to San Francisco that turned out to be the most challenging! I’ve acquired many more things over the last four years and I hate to admit this, but I’m not very good at throwing things away though I am improving. Also moving is expensive. It was my first time hiring movers and even though you think packing as much as you can into boxes will save you time, it won’t save you THAT much time. There’s also something ridiculous in California called DDT (Double Drive Time) and it basically means that if it takes you 15 minutes to get from Point A to Point B, they’ll charge you as if it’s 30 minutes. It doesn’t make sense, but you can’t dispute it. Whatever.

The point is…I got here and with the help of my brother who has now helped me with TWO moves. I have slept here for a total of four nights so far and I’m still not used to it. The adjustment to living in the city after being in the suburbs is going smoother than expected. I’ve already had a few friends visit me, which helps me to feel more comfortable with this transition everyday, but still wondering how I’m going to spend my extra time not commuting anymore. It means I can go home and think about making dinner – keyword here is think because it’s likely I won’t cook for the first month. There’s a lot left that I need to do that involves moving so those will be my errands on the weekends. I’m also looking forward to getting to know my new neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. Should I share my favorite spots?!

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I’m Moving…Again!

Don’t worry – I’m not moving too far! Just about 45 miles north to San Francisco. I was searching through my archives to try and find the post I wrote when I left Seattle for the Bay Area and couldn’t find it, which is probably just a sign from the universe telling me that this isn’t really that big of a deal. I’ve lived in my current home for nearly four years so saying goodbye is challenging for me. On top of that, I’m not someone that loves change. When I first moved to Sunnyvale, I got really lucky with the apartment that I received. It was perfect for me in terms of location, amenities, space, etc. As long as I was working close by, I was never going to leave. However, that all changed this past spring when I took a new job in the city. For three months I convinced myself that my hour long commute each way “wasn’t so bad.” Over time, I actually got used to it! I carpooled with Elisa and when we weren’t together, I listened to my music and got myself excited for work each morning or ready to wind down in the evenings. After three months, I knew that my lease would be wrapping and that it was now a suitable time to move on from this home of mine.

People ask me all the time how I like working in the city or if I’m excited to live there. I don’t have a good response for them! I’m moving up there solely for work and as much as I enjoy SF, I would still be just as happy living in South Bay. I used to think that since I lived in downtown Seattle previously that I would never really care to live in a city again and while that sounds pretty Negative Nancy of me, I want to let you know that when I move up there, I fully intend to embrace this new lifestyle of mine. What I’m looking forward to most is a) having more time back, b) not commuting really, c) experiencing my new neighborhood and d) living very close to Mandi.

In my next post, I’ll share with you more details about my house hunting, which surprisingly wasn’t as painful as everyone says. :) I think I just got lucky!

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Perks Competing Against Perks

When it comes to Silicon Valley companies and perks and benefits offered, people don’t mess around. Nearly every company here these days will offer you your standard medical, vision, and dental benefits, and while that is fantastic for everywhere else around the world, it barely cuts it here. Instead, you have to go beyond that with catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day during the work week, onsite massages, Uber/Lyft credits, 4 months+ maternity and paternity leave, gym memberships, etc. The most extravagant perk I’ve heard about in recent months – coverage for women to freeze their eggs. That is a HUGE deal. Now, another company is getting into the mix with a unique set of perks that I’m hearing about for the first time.

The CEO of Boxed, Chieh Huang, is coming forward by announcing that employees will have their weddings paid for up to $20,000 and paying college tuition for his employees’ children. Now, amounts for the tuition weren’t disclosed and I’m still scratching my head at what that amount will be, but it’s still a very generous offering.

The idea behind the generous perks came to Huang when he visited employees in the Boxed warehouses. Some were struggling to make ends meets and to provide for their children’s future, hence the tuition program. The wedding idea came from talking to an employee named Marcel who was taking a second job because he was paying for his mother’s health care and planning a wedding. The payments are meaningful for both Huang and the employees, as you can see in a video of the moment. When asked by NBC News, Marcel explained how important it is, “You’re helping us breathe a little, looking towards the future.”

[Source]

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