All posts in: Life

07 Apr 2018

A Week For Us

I refuse to accept that gun violence on what feels like a daily/weekly basis is the new normal. I haven’t said much recently, but I have reflected on it here in the past. I continue to be impressed by the Parkland students who are rallying their voices together for good and making quite the impact. At 17 or 18, I might not have had that same amount of bravery that they exude today. With each shooting incident that takes place, it continues to feel closer to home.

This week, my colleagues and I sat on edge hearing the news about the shooter at YouTube’s headquarters. When this happens, I wonder how I would react being in a situation like that and I think about how we will all get to safety if it were us. I wonder how employees will be able to bounce back from incidents like these and have the support they need internally to get past this. Two days later, another threat came through and our building was on lockdown. All of us leave the office on a daily basis whether it’s for coffee runs, 1:1 chats, to grab a bite for lunch or even to run quick errands. To think about being outside during an incident and not being able to get to shelter or safety is terrifying. I’m grateful that my company gave us regular updates on the situation and took the threat seriously. All of us were urged to take a Lyft/Uber home and it would be expensed by the company. Additionally, because the person making the threat hadn’t been caught at the time, we were instructed to work from home the next day to avoid being near the office. These incidents have given me pause this week and while everyone was able to work quickly to come to a decision that would keep us safe, I wonder how we could be better equipped in the future in thinking about plans like these. This isn’t the new normal, but it is reality and we all should be thinking about how we can better protect ourselves and others in situations that we won’t always be able to control.

02 Apr 2018

What You Can’t Explain

Every time I think of crying in front of strangers, I think of that one episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Robin talks about crying on the subway and not giving a damn. This has only happened to me once before. I was in Salt Lake City for a weekend. My two friends had just been with me at the airport, but they were at another gate headed to another flight on their way back home to Seattle. We had flown to the hometown of our other friend to say goodbye to him along with his other friends and family. The weekend went by and I couldn’t bring myself to cry once. It wasn’t until I got to my own gate and had called a friend that I was starting to go through that grieving process. Every moment from the weekend replayed in my head and there I was, at a full gate, crying and not giving a damn. I was 23 and attending my first funeral for my friend. I think about this moment often because it’s one that I don’t ever feel like I can explain. Is there a name for this kind of crying? Why does crying in front of strangers feel so much worse than crying in front of those that know you?

The second time this ever happened to me happened this week. I am still processing it and I definitely didn’t think I would write about this in a post. I had signed up for a volunteer opportunity and in the middle of an exercise I found myself in tears standing in front of nearly 75 people currently incarcerated. Going into the exercise, I wasn’t expecting to cry and then in an instant, I felt overwhelmed and a wave of anxiety coming over me. As much as I tried to stop it or hide it, I couldn’t. I even physically tried to hide behind my friend Pat, but couldn’t avoid how exposed I felt. I couldn’t name those feelings that I felt when I cried in front of strangers that first time, but this time it was embarrassment and guilt. What I didn’t expect to happen afterwards was that those who had seen me in this moment thanked me for my honesty and vulnerability. I didn’t know how to acknowledge it or maybe I didn’t want to because that would mean I was admitting that I was so visibly crying, but it happened anyways and I was painfully awkward.

In a few weeks, I’ll share more thoughts on the experience I had and a little about the “why,” but for now will just leave you with this. At the end of the day, I am okay. And even well into my adult life, I still can’t speak to my emotions as clearly as I thought I would be able to.

23 Mar 2018

To Take a Personal Day

A few years ago, I had questions about my productivity. I was coming into work every day for months straight and without much of break like a vacation or a 3-day weekend. That period of time weighed heavily on me and I expressed that to my manager to which she responded, “What if you took one day a month and worked from home? Or, you just took at least one day off a month and gave yourself that 3-day weekend?”

Personal days are so crucial. It’s something that I think gets lost in my generation sometimes because we are programmed to work, work, and work so that we can get farther ahead, succeed faster, and earn more money than we’re supposed to for our age. It’s a kind of pressure that most people can’t live up to. It also isn’t very sustainable. Because some weekends just aren’t enough to wind down, I decided to gift myself with not only a long weekend, but a personal day (today) where I only focus on Yow Yow! and nothing else. Other non-Yow Yow personal days have been for fulling errands or getting all of my health needs in orders – appointments for all of my doctors.

You may have noticed that things have been quiet on here lately. The first time I mentioned this, it was because I was still figuring out the kinks in my new provider and because figuring it out took time and I didn’t want to put time into it, I put it off. I couldn’t bring myself to write for weeks and instead just threw myself into work to stay productive. Today, we’re going to change that. The whole point of upgrading the blog was so that I could better balance this along with work. There’s a lot on my mind and ideas that I need to move forward a little farther and having that time and space away from work is going to allow me to do that.

 

11 Feb 2018

Happy Birthday Yow Yow!

A few days ago, I turned Yow Yow! off to give it a bit of a face lift. I didn’t think anyone would notice since we’ve been a relatively quiet blog for the last few years. The blog was down for less than a week and even though we’ve been gone for much longer periods of time, it was still a weird feeling. I would come home after work and all I could do was just consume content. I didn’t have a place to share it and I didn’t want to mess with the migration that was being done so I just stayed quiet. There was a part of this process that was so freeing. What if I just didn’t have Yow Yow! and I had a normal life where this wasn’t sometimes my hobby or “double life?” I think about this retiring moment often and obviously, this isn’t it today, but I often think about how hard it will be to let go.

Read more “Happy Birthday Yow Yow!”

27 Jan 2018

When Your Home Is Everything

Whenever I visit my best friend back home, she is constantly home improving her house. I see her roughly every six months and each visit more and more projects have been completed and there is always at least one project in process. Even though we are in different stages of ours lives – her with owning a house and me still renting, we’re not that much different! Since I moved to San Francisco, I’ve been noticing that I’ve loved spending time at home more than anywhere else I’ve lived. Decorating was the first part of the process after moving in. These days, I’m spending more time on maintaining – “swiffering,” looking at different plants, purchasing candles, and discovering new ways to bring more of my own personality into my home with decor.

My friends make fun of me because I’m always telling them how much I LOVE my home. It’s my sanctuary. It gives me a place to escape when I want to get away from work. It sparks my creativity when I want to focus on my blog or side project. It brings me peace when I need a quiet moment. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I’m not continuously working on my home and making it better, but I don’t mind that it’s my personal ongoing project.

What are your favorite things about your home and how do you make it your own?

25 Jan 2018

The Color Factory

By now, just about everyone has heard The Color Factory in San Francisco. It’s like the Museum of Ice Cream here, but this one came first! When the pop-up first arrived, not too many people had heard about it. I had a little bit of knowledge because the creators came from Oh Happy Day a blog and team that I had been following for years. I luckily was able to snag tickets for my friends and I the first day it opened – which is honestly the best because you get to experience it all before everyone else. 

By the time word had got around and the first day had taken off, they were completely sold out for next month. Interestingly enough, they only planned to be open for one month, but decided to extend through January and February of this year, but is also still sold out at this point. The collaborators put so much work into it and it’s beautiful. People of all ages will love it. In a way it’s sort of like a giant playground for adults. In this day and age though, anything that provides you with Instagram backdrops is going to sell. Like the Museum of Ice Cream, The Color Factory is just as fun. It’s fun to be a kid again and take photos, but I did notice that even for myself, it was at times, hard for me to enjoy it because I was constantly thinking about my next photo. It was a lot of pressure!

After attending the pop-up, here are the things I loved and some things that maybe could have gone better through my observations:

Here’s what I love about it:

  • When you get tickets, you select a designated time and you need to arrive within 30 minutes of your window in order to get in. This really stressed me out because it was the first day and trying to rush there in San Francisco traffic, I wasn’t confident if I could make it. It ended up working out and the reason why they do this probably is to control the crowds. During each half hour, they know how many people are actually going through the pop-up. The best part is that it never got too crowded! I could get the pictures that I wanted and I didn’t feel rushed. I could just go at my own pace.
  • It can be educational. Each piece has a little description and a note about the artist so that you can learn as you go along.
  • It’s interactive! There’s a lot that you can see, but you’re also taking part as the creator too.
  • Going through the pop-up takes about an hour, which I think is pretty decent for the ticket price.
  • Everyone is so friendly! The staff was so incredibly nice and you can just tell that they’re having a great time with you. There’s a lot of love and passion that went into making this for the people of San Francisco.
  • There are designated areas within the pop-up that allow you to take photos hands-free! All you have to do is get a photo card when you arrive and program it with your name and email address and then at these spots, you would scan your card and then a timer will count down until it takes your photo. It’s great because you don’t have to take a bunch of selfies and you can do group photos altogether. The area where they can improve is probably being a little bit more clear about where to stand in the photo so as to not include other people or be off center.

Things that could be better:

  • The snacks throughout are a nice touch, but it’s not a lot. It’s no Museum of Ice Cream. You’re not really going for the food anyways.
  • It can be pricey! It’s a fun experience for sure, but ticket prices are higher than what I thought they’d be.
  • When I said earlier that it’s a giant playground, I really meant it. As cool as this pop-up is, I imagine that there’s a lot of germs around because you’re touching so many things, you’re even doing a scratch and sniff and there’s a ball pit. Maybe… take a shower when you get home.

20 Jan 2018

My Visit to Weddington Way

When Ashley asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding this up coming year, I was elated. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do more at that point. It’s obviously no secret that we love weddings here at Yow Yow! so this should be no surprise. My appointment at Weddington Way was a brief one because I already knew the dress that Ashley had picked out for us. However, this was a first time for me! I wanted to take my time a little bit so naturally, I had to try on three other gowns in three different colors just for… research?

The dress that I’m wearing above isn’t the one that I’m wearing for Ashley’s wedding, but I have been loving this burgundy color lately and when the woman helping me pick out all these dresses saw this one, she knew I would like it. She wasn’t wrong. You can’t see it, but the back detailing is spectacular with little ruched flowers right above the waist.

Half the women in my life have expressed displeasure in bridesmaid dresses while the other half love them. I took mine to get tailored the other day and even though it wasn’t a wedding gown, I still felt like a mini princess. It’s a beautiful gown and I can’t wait to stand next to Ashley on her big day. Weddington Way is a brand out of San Francisco now under the Gap Inc. umbrella and located within Banana Republic. Here are a few of my favorite gowns from them in case any of you are looking for some inspiration!

Read more “My Visit to Weddington Way”

13 Jan 2018

How to Start 2018

Declaring your New Year’s resolutions to the world (or even just this small group of subscribers) is not something I look forward to every year. I realize this is something that I could stop doing. I continue to write about them or talk about them out loud to others because it’s the best way I know to try and hold myself accountable. What good is it to say you have New Year’s resolutions and then never look at them again until the end of the year?

I’m not going to write them in the same format that I have for the last couple of years – example here – but I did reference these before I wrote this post and found it to be quite funny. Trying to get to 1,000 followers on Instagram is so embarrassing! *face palm*

If I’ve learned anything from being in the working world, it’s that every goal that you make for yourself needs to be SMART.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely (a year in this case)

My previous resolutions didn’t follow this path and in reviewing my past ones, I maybe have had too many. In my last post about resolutions written very recently, I had mentioned that I had two in mind that I had been thinking of since before New Year’s. These two are my priorities and while they do follow the “SMART” path, I’m not going to outline all of the details out for you just for the sake of having some privacy. In 2018, I want to focus on this broader theme of wellness – more specifically around health, mental, and financial.

  • Health – For most of my life, I’ve gotten by without having to pay much attention to this and have been alright. Even though some may say that I still have time to figure this out, in my head I feel like it’s catching up to me! I want to make sure that my body feels like it is being taken care of and for me that means regularly exercising, getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and drinking enough water. Today, I had the opportunity to pick up some of my favorite things from fast food restaurants while I was at home and I had to exercise complete willpower to not do that. The thing is…I wasn’t hungry at all. I didn’t need it and I just made myself believe that I did because it was convenient for me. More often times than not, you don’t need the food, you’re just dehydrated and having a glass of water instead will actually satisfy you more than you realize. I’m not ready to sign up for a regular gym membership either, but what I can do and have been doing is making sure I go to bed at a reasonable time, waking up early and starting my exercise routines before getting ready for the day and heading into work. Gym memberships can be pricey. Watching YouTube videos and downloading apps to your phone that provide exercises to you are free.
  • Mental – I sort of hate that this is a topic that people avoid talking about. It makes me appreciate even more that I have a group of friends that are actually very comfortable talking about how they attend therapy and other resources they may turn to when things get tough. I know I used to say that your 20’s can be challenging, but life in general, is challenging for any age. 2017 really tested my abilities to push through some obstacles. I’m not saying that 2018 won’t be difficult, but I hope that whatever life throws my way, that I’m able to handle it in a better manner than I have before. I want to continue doing things that make me happy. A previous resolution I had was to “say yes to everything!” This year, I actually want to start saying “no” to more things. Saying yes to everything is not always beneficial to you. Sometimes you say yes because you don’t want to disappoint anyone, but that in turn is a sacrifice to your own happiness. Additionally, I want to be able to take compliments better. Something that I’ve noticed about myself in the last year is that whenever someone gives a compliment, I’m quick to turn it down because for some reason, I feel uncomfortable or that I need to give rationale or reasons for it. Less is more in this scenario and instead I’d like to practice taking the less self-deprecating route.
  • Financial – Saving it for last because it’s my least favorite thing to write about! It isn’t cheap living in San Francisco and this year when I moved homes and switched jobs, it threw my budgeting all out of whack. I’d like to get myself back on track again by getting my finances in order. This year, I want to pay off the debt on something that I’ve been harboring for some time. I’d also like to straighten out my 401K and investments while learning more about the different shortcuts I can take to save money. I recently started listening to Suchin Pak’s podcast “Open Account” in which she interviews different individuals on their experiences with money and how to be inspired with it and think creatively. I’m just starting out, but I think even if i could make this into a regular routine of listening to this podcast, that I’d be able to take away some useful tips.

I know that these sound like great big themes to tackle in 2018 – almost too big. But the best part about these is that I’m going to remember them. It’s something that will impact me on a daily basis and it’s something that I can actively make moves towards regularly. How do all of you think about these themes? What are your resolutions? If you want to get in on the conversation, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

11 Jan 2018

Overcoming My Travel Anxiety

I know I’m supposed to be the girl that loves airports, but I’ve also been known to have my fair share of panic attacks while also at the airport. Traveling used to be a breeze, until… it wasn’t. Fall 2016 was the first time that I was traveling back and forth for three months pretty much non-stop. I’m not sure how people do it because though the idea of traveling seems easy, it can really wear you down. It’s also not the place you want to be when you don’t have your shit together.

The stage in the airport that stresses me out the most: going through security.

I know I look cool, calm, and collected, but in my head, I’m constantly questioning how many buckets I’m going to need for myself, how early I need to take off my shoes, wondering if my cardigan “actually” needs to be taken off, and if the person in front of me would stop putting their fingers in front of my buckets so that I don’t accidentally smash them. Because I’m going through security with all of these questions in my head, I often leave the area feeling more flustered than necessary. This has resulted in me leaving behind my actual luggage on the belt. Twice.

It has led me to frantically retrace all of my steps and one time I accidentally mistook another person’s luggage as my own while waiting at a restaurant before realizing it wasn’t mine and being “THAT” person. That was my breaking point and that was the moment I realized that something needed to change. Since I’m headed into a big traveling period for myself for the next three months, I thought it might be fitting to share that story and share my tips for those that might feel the same way as I do.

  1. List it Out – If you’re nervous that you forgot to pack something, write a list of everything you need and where you’re packing it. Will it be in your luggage? Your personal item? Or on you? I know this sounds a bit extreme, but for note takers, this can be really helpful. I am constantly writing notes in my phone so the night before, I write down what I’m likely to forget and haven’t packed already so that before I’m taking off I can double check / triple check that list before I leave.
  2. Stay hydrated – A lot of my friends like to have a water bottle along with them for the flight. Having water can calm your nerves and it’s also just good to have since flying can be quite draining. If you have a reusable water bottle, take it with you, but to avoid some anxiety, arrive to the airport with it empty. If you don’t have one that’s reusable, remind yourself to buy one right after you get out of security.
  3. Get pre-check – Worried about getting to the airport on time? Hate waiting in lines? Every friend that I have that has ever had pre-check has never had a bad thing to say about it. I don’t even have it, but know that this would probably ease a lot of my own anxieties if I had it! Getting pre-check costs $122. 25, but you’ll have a 5-year membership. There’s a whole process involved with it, but it’s honestly something that I’ve been considering for a couple of years now too.
  4. Take care of yourself – Give your body what it needs. If you’re worried about getting hungry on the plane or don’t want to purchase a snack or meal from the plane, get something in your stomach beforehand. Get to the airport a little bit early so that you can collect your thoughts and sit down at a restaurant if that’s what does it for you. Plenty of people also pick up items on the go. For myself, no matter what – without fail, I always need to grab a latte of some kind before I get on a flight. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, it’s the part of my routine that stays consistent and eases my nerves.
  5. Get your playlist ready – I must have close to 30 playlists on my Spotify, but only my favorites ones get downloaded on my phone – the one that has the most recent songs that I’m listening to and the three playlists that never let me down – “Best of 2017,” “90’s R&B Hip Hop,” and “Whole albums that I don’t hate.” I get stressed out when I’m listening to a playlist that I don’t love and have to constantly swipe away to get to a song that I actually do like. When you’ve found the playlist for your flight, download it onto your phone so that you don’t run into data issues and zone out.

Airport experiences can be a hit or miss. More often than not, you don’t want to end up with a bad experience if you can control it. Hopefully my tips are as helpful as they have been for me.

07 Jan 2018

The Beauty Products We Couldn’t Live Without in 2017

2017 felt like the year that I was not only collecting products, but educating myself on them more than average. I was constantly talking with my friends about what they were using and getting feedback via Instagram and Instagram Stories on what was working and what wasn’t. In 2018, my hope is that I do the opposite. I learn to live with less! How can I become more creative and resourceful with what I already have to avoid spending more money – another New Year’s resolution that we’ll get to soon. One thing that I learned about myself this year is that I no longer need to have a facial once a season. I used to convince myself that this was what I needed because seasons in the Bay Area were so harsh on my skin and so different that I needed to restart and refresh my routine with a facial. Turns out, I was lying to myself and didn’t need it and making excuses. You can create your own facials at home and you can moisturize and exfoliate your skin without breaking the bank. My favorite products in 2017 did JUST that. They looked like they could’ve been more high-end, but were actually affordable and did the job and more.

Glossier Boy Brow – $16

2017 was the year that I discovered that I could do something with my eyebrows! I don’t know what took us so long, but just like everyone says, Boy Brow really is a game changer. A few swipes of these across my brows keeps everything together and more importantly, natural looking. I also learned how to fill in my own eyebrows this year as well, but it’s not something that I feel like I can pull off as an everyday look rather than more of a day to night. Boy Brow gives me that everyday feel, but also cuts down on my getting ready time. For $16, you’ll be happy with this purchase, I promise.

Read more “The Beauty Products We Couldn’t Live Without in 2017”

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