January in the Rear View

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Blogging is a two fold enterprise in my mind, it’s cathartic – it helps me stay organized, it gives me space to work things out, it lets me reflect and evolve; on the otherhand, it’s also a wonderful way to keep track of the moments – small, big, earth shattering-ly large – that have made us into the people we are and have prevented us from becoming those other people.

This year, there’s a lot on my plate but it’s nothing I didn’t put there – almost like instead of getting a meal, I went for the all you can eat life buffet and I simply can’t get enough!  The limited time I have is now spent bouncing from my volunteer gig at the Kitty Bungalow, directing the social media content of Beatnet, getting my fitness on, adventuring around Los Angeles and spending quality time with good people.  I feel more than rewarded for the time and effort that I expunge upon my life and I fully believe that this year – it shows.  So take a gander at the best that January had to offer me, and cheers to a fruitful February!

I’m officially a runner now =)

…a FIT runner…

..and I’m getting faster =D

Got my House fix with Richard Vission and Donald Glaude

I submitted my DNA to 23andme and finally got some answers about my ethnic background

We got the old crew back together for some karaoke and catching up in Koreatown

…I also made some new friends and we went on an adventure to the gorgeous Getty Villa – now I can knock that off my LA Bucket List!

Attended the LA East Yelp Elite Kickoff Event only to walk away the winner of some major swag and pampering.

Saw Coachella Weekend 1 tickets come and go; but I’m okay with that since I’m not paying for my ticket this year 😉

Spent some major cuddle time at the Kitty Bungalow; since we have such a fabulously high turnover rate I’ll probably never hang out with these kittens again!

..and they have a mini-Sake!

I ate beyond well last month – it helps that I’m a sushi freak =)

I’m also addicted to the BTA Benedict at Tart

..and you can’t go wrong with Dim Sum from Bao!

The past 31 days have been beyond  crazy, wonderful and beautiful – they’ve been filled with great friends, wonderful food and fantastic memories to last a lifetime.  With January over and out and a kickass lineup for my February weekends,I’m stoked to see how the rest of my year is going to play out: bring it on!

[Self Discovery] 2013: It’s a Resolution, Bitches.

They say how you ring in the New Year is indicative of how the rest of the year will turn out –
if so, I firmly believe that we’re all in for quite a beautiful journey.

Last sunset of 2012

I was lucky enough to spend the last week surrounded by some of my closet and dearest friends, both new and old.  There was lots of love to spread around, and to boot lots of reminiscing over the events of the past year.  But that gets me to thinking – what’s in a year? What can you really accomplish in twelve months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 528,600 minutes…? Most people are fans of New Years Resolutions – but me, I belong to the camp that thinks rules, regulations, resolutions and the like were only meant to be broken.  What I do believe in, however, are Life Resolutions.

When I first moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2008, I made a ten point list of the things I wanted to tackle by the end of 2009. I had just graduated from UCSB and settling into my first apartment in the heart of Koreatown, living solo and looking for my first real job. I quickly learned that knowing that having the world is at your fingertips is one thing, but it’s of no use to us if we cannot use those same hands to shape and manifest our desires.  I had goals of every shape, sort and size on this list – nothing was too large to be conquered or too small to consider. Everything was equal; everything was beginning.  At the time, I honestly thought I could accomplish them all in a year or less. But after my first year down in LA-LA-Land, I got slightly discouraged – out of my ‘Top Ten’ list of things to accomplish I had effectively done nothing.  What I’ve realized since I made my list is that all change, especially positive change, takes time; reaching your goals does not occur in a heartbeat or a split second, and it cannot occur without persistence, dedication or hard work.  So, here we were – four and a half years later and I can proudly say that I’ve knocked a few of these bad boys down – but that can only mean that it’s time for more: more resolutions, goals, dreams, aspirations; more chances to achieve and astonish myself; more opportunities to learn, grow, love, laugh and live.

Before I get into my new resolutions, let’s spend a little time reminiscing about all the amazing things that I finally got to cross off my list!  Originally, I scribbled it on the back of my “Personal Growth and Achievement” binder in permanent marker; I’d wake up and stare at my goals, wondering where to start.  Over time my life trajectory shifted and my priorities realigned;  the goals I’d written so brazenly in bold colors had begun to fade and disappear.  What I’ve learned about words is that over time, they all fade away….but the sentiment still remains.

I hadn’t touched my binder in at least a year and a half, but the other week I went on a cleaning and purging rampage (being a pack rat, this is a necessity at least every other month).  As I was sorting my paperwork, I noticed the faded lines and remembered: once upon a time, this girl had some big dreams.I flipped through it whimsically, carefully observing this other version of myself; this younger, doe-eyed girl that to accomplish everything but in someway, shape or form lacked the mental capacity to conquer herself.

My original ten:

  1. Get weight to 140
  2. Take GRE, apply to Grad school  This was a lofty goal at the time considering the downturn of the economy and outpouring of recent college graduates; but, I tried my hardest and did the damn thing anyways.  I applied to Graduate Programs in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics around California, unfortunately I was rejected by every single one.  It was a blow to the ego but it was also eyeopening: I might not have gotten into Graduate School like I intended, but I did shock myself by snagging a 1330 with a perfect score on the math section. So sure, I’m not back in a classroom feverishly taking notes and stressing myself out about labs or tests – but I am in the top 1% of the population for intelligence and that’s something to get excited about!
  3. Travel outside the US  Back in January, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Shanghai to visit one of my best friends for the Chinese New Years.  It was one of the most humbling and eye opening experiences I’ve ever been; it’s safe to say I was bitten by the travel bug and haven’t been the same since…
  4. Find a cause worth volunteering for It’s pretty obvious that I have an affinity for adorable four legged creatures, but back in early November one of my friends shared a picture on Facebook from something called the Kitty Bungalow: Charm School for Wayward Cats. They focus on socializing feral and stray cats as well as educating the community about our feral cat problem in Los Angeles. Immediately, I was enthralled and within half an hour I had signed up for orientation.  I’ve been volunteering there for a month and a half now – there’s a calm about me that I didn’t use to have, and there’s a soft spot in my heart that’s growing.  Volunteering is as self-serving as it is altruistic; not only am I engaging the community and enriching the lives of both a cat as well as their owner, I’m engaging myself to reach out and step out of my shell….to take notice when the world doesn’t seem completely right and do what I can to change that.
  5. Hone in on skill set and dive headfirst to your field of choice Immediately after being rejected from graduate school, I received a phantom call on my phone – a recruiting agency had found my resume on Monster and wanted me to come in for a first interview….which lead to my first “bigger” kid job as a Data Analyst at Internet Brands; I learned amazing tricks of the trade that I could not only apply to my work, but also to my own blogs and websites. After nine months with the company, I had a hat trick of requests from various agencies – it was a tossup which job top take since they were all contracted positions for 6-12 months but I went with my gut: I chose Disney. Within a month, a pivotal member left the team and I was offered a permanent position within the group – to this day, that I know that was the best decision I could have made for myself.
  6. Step your social game up and meet some new friends And new friends I’ve made!  Last year around this time I was feeling antsy and couldn’t get my thoughts together straight – truth me told I was going through some shiiiit and was questioning how effective my “support” group truly was.  So…I kind of…left. I ventured off and out, trying to discover what moved me and what I can leave in my past.  I tried dating, I tried a new music scene, I started going out to shows by myself and talking to complete strangers.  And I am so proud to say that so many of those former strangers are now my close friends. I’ve always thought that when you’re on the dance floor you’re never in fact alone; now I can say for certain that I know that’s true.
  7. Keep blogs, social media, etc up to date  In the summer of 2008 when I created my list, I had a Facebook, Twitter and a Tumblr Account.  Fast forward to 2013 and this is the gamut: Klout, Foursquare, WordPress (…duh…), Influenster, Google+, Instagram, Blogspot,…the list really does go on and on.  Social Media is one of those niche fields that interests me; analyzing trends – from local to global – and meeting like-minded people are just a few of the reasons I enjoy it.  Hopefully, eventually, I’ll be able to foray my knowledge and know-how into a career.
  8. Take a new course There’s a wonderful website, Coursera, that’s teamed up with schools across the nation to produce free, online courses – I’ve signed up for quite a few and cannot wait to get into the thick of them!
  9. Learn how to use the microexpression training tool
  10. Start blogging again.

Because I’ve been lucky enough to finally cross things off my epic Life Achievement list, I finally get to tackle some new ones ♥ here are the new 7 Life Resolutions that I’ll start working towards starting right now:

Healthy living: This includes but is not limited to engaging in physical activity a few times a week (running, yoga, gym, hikes with friends, long walks alone, etc), sleeping a proper amount each night, eating healthy and right.  I think considering my propensity to party, this is actually a lot harder than it seems – which is why I’ve elevated it above all else.

★ Enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer on the daily! There are so many amazing restaurants, museums, parks and beaches that you never need to hit the same one twice – so why would you? Venture out and explore the city; the last thing I want to have happen when I leave this place is someone to ask if I’ve ever done X, Y or Z because they’re such LA Local things to do. I want to have done it all and done it right.

Learn to cook the foods I love! Eating a $7 lunch in the work commissary isn’t exactly going to break your budget, but a $4 cup of coffee in the morning sure can.  I’ve spent more than I should on my culinary creature comforts in the past year and I think it’s time to refocus my food intake.  One of my biggest problems is that I’m a picky eater….and picky is an understatement.  I’ve honed in on my culinary skills in the past year but it’s time to put it to the test – instead of eating out, I’ll learn to make my favorite meals. Sushi night, anyone?

Give more; take less.

♥ Learn to be picky with friendships; remember: you don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you

★ The sound of your own voice should inspire you, not scare you – cultivate what it is that drives you and

Take my idea for a Non-Profit organization and run like the wind with it. My genius idea came to me as I drove to work one day; and per usual, with genius ideas – the word genius doesn’t even begin to describe it.  In all honesty, I feel like I’ve found my calling and I feel like my entire life has been leading up to this. I’ve only told a handful of people (and trust me, when this hits the ground running you guys will hear all about it) but the response was beyond positive; to boot, people already want to help. They don’t even care what they do, they want a part of this and I couldn’t ask for anything more!

I hope everyone had a safe and fabulous New Years eve; cheers to 2013 and the adventures to come – thanks for taking the ride with me!

NYE in Bouncyland

All [[New Years]] We Dream – Egyptian Theater

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back

Holidays in America always seem to rub me the wrong way; the decadence and delight of celebrating and spending time with close friends and family is grossly overshadowed by corporate greed, consumerism and the want for material objects.  Not to say that I don’t love me a stellar present or two (who doesn’t love getting gifted?!) but to me the holidays are about presence – not presents.

Over the last 28 years, I’ve been given a lot of amazing gifts but the ones that stick with me are heartfelt and have nothing to do with physical, tangible things like the richness of having family time in a distant city and the comfort of their unconditional love. Unfortunately for myself – and my kitties – I rarely get to spend the holidays with them.  And of every one I deal with on a day to day basis, they give the most.  They’re around when I’ve had the best day ever and they comfort me when I’m sad; they talk to me when I’m stir crazy and working from home and cuddle me when I’m having a movie marathon.  More or less, they’re what keeps me sane and sweet day in and day out – so, this year I’ve decided to pay the love forward.  I found a great cause that I love and I cannot wait to bring some cheer to others.

“Adopt me, right meow!”

There’s a crazy statistic right now that the 8,000 or so feral cats in Los Angeles could grow to 60,000 within the next 18 months if we don’t do something about it.  The Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats is an amazing organization devoted to educating the community about the risks of feral cats, developing a stellar TrapNeuterRelease program and –my favorite– socializing feral cats to the point that they’re adoptable.

Before I left for Thanksgiving break, I had orientation with a group of fellow feline fanciers. A the beginning of the orientation there was a roundtable discussion on why we wanted to join the Bungalow and I’ll forever stick by my statement: Raising my cats has been a thrilling experience and I’m so lucky to have two loving, cuddlebugs by my side on the daily – Kitty Bungalow gives me the chance to take that love and pay it forward. And let’s get real for a second, from one crazy cat lady to her followers it’s so effing awesome being around other cat people!  Shawn, the lovely headmistress, showed us the ropes of the Bungalow and introduced us to some of the most adorable kittens I have ever seen and to boot there was one that was only 10 days old (and, as a side note, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take all my will power to not adopt more cats.)

Nothing makes me feel quite as good about receiving a present than when I’m giving back and  I think its a wonderful way to enter the holiday season. If you’re looking to get in on the volunteer action and don’t know where to start, give Volunteer Match a go – you can search metros, zip codes and keywords; perfect if you don’t know where to start!  Or, if you’d like to contribute to the kitties, the wonderful people over at GOOD are having a challenge to improve the lives of animals; our suggestion is for an animal transport and outreach vehicle, help us climb to the top of the voting charts here!