West Coast Bound

Bye bye Boston

Finally back in Cali as of last night. It was an extremely long day of traveling. I was so tired when I got home and started feeling really sick. All I wanted to do as soon as I got home was to unpack, shower and go to sleep. Luckily I did my laundry before I left my parent’s house, which saves me the time from doing it back in Cali. I quickly unpacked and put everything in its place so I didn’t have to deal with it today when I get home from work. Smart move on my end. I woke up feeling sick but told myself I have to drag my ass out of bed and into the office. If I worked from home I’d probably be all mopey and sad about being homesick.

Saturday night I had a really hard time sleeping that when I woke up Sunday morning to get ready for my flight I felt like crap. There was a really strange mood around the house as I was getting ready Sunday morning. My dad was really unhappy as well as my mom, but I think my dad took it harder. I remember Saturday night when he sat there watching tv, he stared aimlessly at the tv telling me his chest really hurts because I’m leaving. I felt horrible when he said that to me. I just put on that tough front and told him he’ll be okay and I tried joking around with him. But even then I’m pretty sure he caught on that I was having a hard time hearing those words. On Sunday morning when my parents were driving me to the bus station, it was a very silent car ride. I sat in the back seat noticing my dad’s eyes getting red and watery. He then told me he felt like crying and once again I put on that tough front. I tried not to look into that mirror where I could see his eyes. I either was looking down at my phone or out the window. I tried my hardest to not cry and to continue being strong.

Soon we arrived to the bus station where my parents sat with me waiting for my bus to arrive which was to bring me to the airport. I tried to strike a much more optimistic conversation to lighten up the mood and that helped a bit. Once my bus arrived, I gave my parents a hug and walked onto the bus. I opted for a seat by the window that wasn’t facing them so they wouldn’t see me crying. As soon as I got on the bus I stared out the window silently crying wishing that I didn’t have to go back to Cali. I felt horrible to go back to Cali making my parents feel sad. I know it’s not really my fault, but I can’t help but feel guilty. Throughout my entire trip home I cried silently. I remember every moment at the airport in Boston I felt so unhappy and emotional. The moment the plane took off I felt so heartbroken to leave my home again. The closer I got to Cali I felt worst. I had a stop in Milwaukee, Phoenix and then finally San Jose. When we landed in San Jose I felt the sadness kick into overdrive. I felt so uncomfortable around the surroundings I’ve grown accustomed to during the past year I’ve lived here. I hated everything; from the streets to the people. It was and will never be anything like Boston.

Today is my first day back in the office. I feel okay again to be around my coworkers who welcomed me with opened arms. I guess my work is my safety net out here. That is essentially why I’m even in Cali. This morning when I woke up I felt like I woke up from a long dream of being in Boston. It doesn’t even feel like I ever went back. It’s so strange. I felt so happy again to see my coworkers. Yet once I’m out of the office and back to my place, my mood changes to hating everything again. I become so hateful of everything because of the malicious people I’ve crossed paths with out here. I blame them for making me feel this way and making me fear to come back to this shit hole west coast. One day I’ll go back home for good. For now I have to continue doing what I’m doing. Like my friends have been saying to me, just do what you have to do and then come back.

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Company Off Site

Yesterday was my company’s off site. It was taking place down in Monterey, which is an hour south of San Jose. I’ve always heard great things about Monterey, but since it’s a beachy/touristy town it definitely reminded me a lot of Cape Cod back on the east coast. Drove down yesterday morning with one of my colleagues so it was a fun little road trip together. Checked into the hotel to drop off my bag. I was surprised how nice my room was especially with the view it came with. I miss it so much!! After I dropped off my stuff I met up with the rest of my colleagues there and had lunch before we got split up into these Thinking Teams. The whole point of this off site was to bring the company together and have our voices heard as to how we can improve ourselves and the company itself. There were a total of four teams: Communications, Processing, Career Development, and Culture.

I was on the Culture team. Everyone got split into their designated groups and we collaborated with other employees of the company to discuss what’s working and not working so well at our company culture wise. It was a great discussion and a relief to know that us UX team weren’t the only ones that felt that way. But also my team has already paved a path to improve the culture not only for within our team, but to hopefully influence the other teams in our company. I met two great ladies that was at my table and I spoke passionately about the type of things our team does to collaborate and to interact with each other. For example, I mentioned how we have UX Happy Hour to discuss certain topics where we have drinks and to share ideas with each other. Other people are invited to these happy hour’s so we’re very welcoming in that sense. Yet people don’t really know about these sessions that we have, but my team tries our best to spread the word.

After I shared that example as well as a few others with the two ladies in my group, one of them was going to be a speaker to share with the entire company of what our thoughts were. We were the last Thinking Team to present and for a second I was cringing hoping that L wouldn’t call out for me. I totally jinxed myself haha. She got into mentioning how a member from the UX team shared these examples with her. I was thinking ‘dammit not me!’ but it was haha. I had a mic passed to me and I spoke so confidently to a room full of nearly 300 employees waiting to hear what I had to say. I was being pretty goofy when I was speaking and my boss and colleague was cracking up from what I had said in response to someone’s question to me lol. One person asked if we can do the UX Happy Hour any earlier and all I heard was “early” so I replied with “breakfast? mimosas” haha. The whole room laughed from my silliness, but I really had no idea what that lady said haha.

When that entire session was done and we were regrouping with my colleagues, my boss complimented me that I spoke well and drew a lot of attention to our team (in a good way). I got compliments from the rest of my team as well. It was just an awesome feeling. I felt very proud and just even happier to have the job that I have. I felt very grateful to work with my team of smart and talented people. It was a total confident booster.

After all the discussion and what not, it was time to unwind and have some fun. We started drinking at 6PM until 2AM haha. It was open bar and the food was great. My team was definitely the loudest ones during dinner haha. My boss made two great speeches and we kept clinking our glasses. Then we got obnoxious and kept toasting to whoever walked through the door hahaha. It was really funny. Then we decided that we needed to do a collaborative dance off with the rest of the company haha. We were the first ones on the dance floor and screaming “UX” hahaha. That’s how hard we were representing for our team. It was so much fun dancing with my team and boss. Later that night after the music ended and open bar was closed, we migrated to a colleague’s room to hang out. We were goofing around and just having a great time. After all the fun, I returned to my room to take a late night bubble bath. My current place only has a shower so of course I took advantage of this great, free room. It was very relaxing and something that I definitely needed. So many funny things happened in Monterey, but I guess whatever happens in Monterey stays in Monterey haha.

I really love my company, team and job. I’m one very lucky girl. 🙂

Treasure Island Music Festival 2014

This year was my first time attending the Treasure Island Music Festival, which is a 2 day music festival on Treasure Island in San Francisco. I’ve only gone to Treasure Island mainly for the monthly flea markets, which I enjoy going to. But when I heard about the music festival and the lineup I knew I had to go. There were a few people in the lineup that I recognized and liked, but there was a lot more that I’ve never heard of. Well there was some bands I heard of their songs, but never knew their name. I was very open to checking out this festival so I can broaden my musical interests. Luckily the “concert friends” that I hang out once in awhile were planning on going so it was nice that I wasn’t going to have to go by myself. After I found out they’re going, I figured the bands that I didn’t know and that they loved couldn’t be bad. I’ve heard the music that my concert friends love and I enjoy it as well. It was just a good way to expose myself to more music since I’m not as active with keeping up with trendy music and whatnot. One of the concert friends has gone to this event for the past 5 years and he shared his stories of his experience with this event, which made me really excited for it. So there’s 3 stages set up, well mainly 2. The Bridge Stage was the main stage, the Tunnel Stage was the secondary stage, and the sudo third stage was in “the Cove” called Silent Disco. Silent Disco is where you can listen to DJs playing with headphones. They had these huge headphones that you can wear and just chill or dance around in that area. I didn’t bother with it, but perhaps next year I’ll check it out.

Here’s the lineup for both days:

During day 1, I honestly didn’t know what to expect when we first got there. Surprisingly no crazy traffic when we arrived onto the island, which was a relief. It was oddly super hot in SF that day, so wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a jacket didn’t cut it. Usually it’s super windy and cold on the island, but not that day. We pretty much got to see a lot of people perform minus maybe 3 bands. I was really excited to see Janelle Monáe, Zedd and Outkast perform. I got to see Janelle Monáe perform my favorite song called “Prime Time”. I was singing along so loud to it and was dancing around. Concert friends laughed at me but I didn’t care lol. I was kidding when I told them that was my jam! Haha. I felt bad for when she first came on because she had some technical difficulties. So I didn’t hear the first two songs she sang. Zedd had really cool visuals. Highlight of the night was Outkast. They were awesome!! They played a lot of their classic old songs. Even though at this point I was extremely exhausted from standing up and walking around, I got so hyped up when they performed. I would love to see them perform again!

The next day when I woke up to get ready for day 2 of this festival, I was dreading it. I was extremely exhausted and just wanted to sleep. My whole body especially my feet was aching. I felt like such a grandma. Luckily the music lineup for day 2 was much more chill and laid back. I don’t think I could handle another day of dancing around all day long haha. I noticed some people brought their DSLRs the day before so I brought mines. I got crap for it at the entrance, but I didn’t give a fuck and kept walking into the festival because I thought it was bullshit that I couldn’t have mines since there was probably 200 other people with theirs. Hence the pictures I have posted in this entry. We first went up the art car which was a ship that’s usually at Burning Man to chill and listen to music. It was such a perfect spot to enjoy the view that afternoon and listen to music. It was really cool to see the massive crowd of people migrate from one stage to another after a band was done performing. I really wanted to stay up there all day but there was a line of people waiting to come up and I couldn’t be greedy.

I hung out with concert friends during a few bands playing then I wandered off to wait in line for the ferris wheel, take photos and to get some food. I didn’t really care for a couple of bands that were playing after the Growlers. I waited in line for an hour for that ferris wheel by myself. I didn’t want to drag concert friends away from the performances and I thought maybe I should man up and get over my fear of heights and go alone. That kinda failed because the couple in front of me that I was chatting with was really nice and invited me to join them on the ride. I felt like such a third wheel lol. In return I took a photo for them and handed the woman my business card to contact me for the photo. Fair trade off. The view of the festival and the skyline was so beautiful. They need to place a permanent ferris wheel on that island lol.

After I got off I lingered around some more to take photos. At one point I sat on the grass eating my food, going through my camera of the photos I took and made a new friend doing all of this haha. This girl sitting next to me started talking to me and we got into this really great conversation. Turns out she lives in SJ and is also an East Coast transplant like myself. Well Toronto if that kinda counts haha. She was really nice and also we’re both techie people so we got into discussing about tech stuff and whatnot. Concert friends texted me to meet up with them for the major performances before the night ended. I handed her my business card and told her to hit me up to chill some time. It was refreshing to talk to someone from the East Coast and for her to understand yet poke fun at Californians like how I do haha.

As exhausting as this event was, it was an amazing time. I’m glad I went. It was nice to just dance around and not give a fuck. It was a great stress reliever and I felt happy again just enjoying myself. It felt great to be able to temporarily put aside my sadness. I really needed this. Would I go again next year? Maybe depending on the lineup. Would I go both days again? Maybe lol. It was just so tiring. I’m such a grandma now ever since I moved to Cali. I really can’t hang like I used to and I’ve grown accustomed to extremely low key weekends. But if you’ve never gone before, it’s definitely an event to check out. It was such a great experience with such awesome music and beautiful art all over. I’d love to go with my friends from Boston next year though!

Here were my favorites from the festival:

  • Painted Palms
  • Tobacco
  • Ratking
  • XXYYXX
  • Jungle – absolutely love them!
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Janelle Monáe
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Classixx – absolutely love them!
  • Zedd
  • Outkast
  • Ásgeir
  • Banks
  • The Growlers
  • Chet Faker
  • Alt-J – love him too
  • Washed Out – awesome!
  • Massive Attack – love them too!

Hope that list of my favorite bands is helpful if you’re looking for new music to listen and is openminded about music like myself. Enjoy the photos! 🙂

http://treasureislandfestival.com/2014/

Another Great Day in the Bay

After our cruising along Highway 1 adventure with my friends that were in town visiting, we did even more touristy stuff in SF the next day haha. Once again I was glad to have done all of this with friends that’s never gone to these places before. These places were on my list for quite some time, but like I mentioned it’s more enjoyable with company especially if they have a DSLR, too. I’ve heard great things about a lot of these places and one I’ve been to quite often which is Treasure Island. Here’s a list of the places we stopped for our photo adventure:

– Japantown

– Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies aka Full House

– Drove down the Divisadero which is one really steep street in SF haha

– Drove down Lombard. Unfortunately weren’t able to get out of the car to take pics of it and was only to take pics from driving down the curvy street.

– Treasure Island: it happened to be Fleet Week in SF so it was the perfect spot to catch the Blue Angels air show!

– Twin Peaks

– Marin Headlands for a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge and to see the sunset

Back in January 25, 2014 I wrote an entry that had some pictures of San Francisco when I had some close friends from home visiting. We did a photo adventure, but it definitely can’t match up to the one I went on with other friends visiting last weekend. It almost makes me want to go back to retake some of these photos but also I think in some way my photography skills has improved. I was rusty earlier in the year since I wasn’t as active with my camera.

Here’s the link to that old entry if you want to view the photos of where I went during that time: click here

 

Hope you enjoyed the photos! That should be all of the touristy things for now! Wish I had my friends here so we can go on photo adventures often. For now I’m stuck on these adventures alone until any of my friends decides to visit Cali. I still have yet gone to a few museums and certain tourist attractions, but that shall be saved for anyone else that decides to visit me. 🙂

Highway 1

Ever since I moved to California, I’ve been told many great things for what’s along Highway 1 especially Big Sur. Never wanted to really do the drive alone since it’s definitely a drive I’d prefer to have some company with. Luckily I had friends from Boston visiting last weekend which commenced for a photo adventure. Definitely didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to experience the amazing views. Each stop was gradually breath taking. I suggest anyone to take a day to drive along Highway 1 to really experience the scenic views. Don’t forget to bring some beer, too! We had a beer before we ventured off to enjoy our last stop during this drive. Here’s a list of where we stopped:

– Pescadero State Beach

– Pebble Beach to see the Lone Cypress Tree

– Point Lobos

– Bixby Bridge

– Pfeiffer Falls

My favorite spots were Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Falls. I wouldn’t mind going back to Point Lobos one of these weekends to hike. There was something so calming about this place for me. Luckily we were able to make it to Pfeiffer Falls right in time before the sun set. It was beautiful. I was surprised to see a bridal party just leaving Pfeiffer Falls after their ceremony ended as we were walking onto the trail. Pretty cool idea.

IMG_3871

Thanks again to my friend JP for driving! Of course when we arrived back to San Jose we had to have all you can eat Korean BBQ as well as lots of beer and soju at YakiniQ. Yay! Perfect way to end a great day. Got lots of great pics but still really need to get a better lens!! Had time to make change my wallpaper with all the photos I’ve taken!

Working from home :)

It was a really great time and I was glad to share this experience with friends that’s never gone before. 🙂

Wedding Shoot

Last Friday I got to be a part of something so beautiful and sweet. A friend of mines from middle school who now resides in Socal contacted me that she was going to go to San Francisco City Hall to get her marriage certificate. She was in need of a photographer so I took up that task. I didn’t charge her anything since I’m not a professional nor am I a freelance photographer. I’ve mainly done product shoots and some photography for my own design work. But I primarily do it as a hobby than as a business. I was excited yet nervous about taking on this task. I wanted it to be perfect since this was a very important day to her and her fiancé.

I picked them up and off to city hall we went. Luckily the weather was pretty nice in SF that day because the day before it had rained. As soon as we arrived inside of city hall I was amazed at how beautiful the interior of it was. Now I really understood why she came up to Norcal to get this done here. I’ve only taken one shot of the exterior before and never been inside. It’s definitely a place you have to visit. There were lots of other couples waiting to get married, checking in and getting their photos taken. I didn’t realize the people working there were all volunteers. I thought that was a really great thing to do on their end.

While we were waiting during the whole check in process, I took some photos for them. L (the bride to be) was pretty much directing me, which was fine by me. I had no idea what to tell her to do so I told her to just do whatever she wants. After taking a few photos L and I got to chat for a bit and it was great catching up with her. It was really refreshing to see a friend from home. I think the last time I had seen her was on her birthday back in Boston 2 years ago. To see her again on her wedding day was so crazy, but I am extremely happy for her. It was my first time meeting her fiancé and they were so cute and sweet together. Finally it was their turn for the ceremony. During this whole process, I tried so hard not to cry as I’m taking the photos. It was one of the sweetest moments I got to witness in my life. You just see how their relationship is so sweet and genuine. I told her she was the luckiest girl in the world to have such a good man in her life.

We took some more photos before we left. Luckily a lot of people were leaving city hall so there weren’t as many people in the photos I took. I got done editing her photos last night and e-mailed them to her. I felt extremely relieved that she loved the photos. I was scared I didn’t take enough or they weren’t up to par. Glad they exceeded her expectations for the most part. I got kinda teary eyed when I was editing the photos of them exchanging their vows and what not. It was so sweet.

Anyways, I came to a realization I need a better lens since I just have the standard 18-135mm lens for my Canon 60D. Going to start browsing for a better lens whenever I have the chance. Suggestions are welcomed!

Hope you enjoy a few of the photos I posted! 🙂

Haight Street Block Party

This past Sunday I went to SF to check out this event my coworker told me about. It was the 1st Annual Haight Street Music & Merchants Street Festival. It was pretty much a block party in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in SF. The headliners of this free event was Erykah Badu (DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown) and Talib Kweli. There were various performers as well, but not sure of their names since I didn’t see an online flyer with their names. I was all for checking out this event since I didn’t get to see Erykah Badu back in February/March when I went to a concert in SF. She had changed line ups with someone else and came on last and that concert went on until 3AM and I was exhausted. I was always bummed out that I never got to see her. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity again. I decided to bring my DSLR with me and just check out the event by myself. I know my friends back at home would’ve loved this event since they like hip hop.

I got really lucky with parking when I got into SF. I parked down the street from the second stage that was being set up. I walked around since it was the other end of Haight St. that I’ve never been on. I’ve mainly been around Lower Haight before. The event was from 12-6PM, so after I parked it was 1PM. I decided to just go into this one restaurant that I was in front of to get some food and a few beers before it got crowded. I got a perfect window seat where I could see the stage. The windows at the restaurant were opened so I was just chillen there with a beer and enjoying the good music. Had my legs rested on the ledge of the window and it was very relaxing. Got to do a lot of people watching, which was pretty entertaining haha.

Talked to a few random people while waiting around for Erykah Badu. Eventually I got up and went outside to dance around to the music. It was fun dancing around with strangers. I felt so care free and pretty much everyone there didn’t give a fuck about anything. It was really awesome to be around that since it reminded me of the fun I used to have back at home with friends or even meeting strangers whenever I was out. Everyone was really nice and we all came to this event just to enjoy ourselves. Finally Erykah Badu came on and I stayed til almost the end. Too bad I didn’t get to see Talib Kweli. I’m only assuming he was at the other stage at the other end of the block. I was not going to try to even talk through that crowd to see him haha. I wasn’t even too far from the end of the block I was at and it took me forever to just walk a few steps to get out so I can walk back to my car. Overall, it was a really fun event and hopefully they have it again next year. It definitely would’ve been more fun to have some company, but nonetheless it was still a ton of fun! The whole purpose of this event is to supposedly bring the neighborhood together, which is really great thing. I really wouldn’t even mind living in that neighborhood, but SF is too damn expensive for my bank account haha.

Here’s a link to much better photos than what I took: click here and here