The Three Accomplishments I'm Most Proud Of in 2017

We get it. We all thought 2017 was a flaming pile of garbage.  But there had to have been some good times right? I came across this tweet during my daily scroll of Twitter and, like many others, thought it was a great idea. I think it's especially helpful for people to focus on the positive parts of the year instead of the myriad ways that our president has ruined our country/lives.

I had a hard time thinking about 3 accomplishments, which is sad. Only one stands out to me, and only because it just happened in the last month. I had to do some deep self-reflection to realize what else I could be proud of this year. 

Best White Elephant Gifts (for the office)

I just started a new job this December, and was quickly thrust into the annual holiday party, which included a white elephant gift exchange. Having not attended the firm’s previous white elephant exchanges, I was unfamiliar with the type of vibe the gifts would take, whether it would be a bunch of good gifts or actual white elephant type gifts that burden the person who dared open it up. Our office manager set the following rules:  a $25 “minimum spend” and a suggestion to be more creative and not just to get gift cards and alcohol.

In an effort to assist others with their office white elephant gifts, I've reviewed what I thought were the best or most clever gifts.

Why do I Carry SO MUCH to Work?

Alternatively, why do we always bring so much stuff everywhere? It’s as though we want to always be prepared at the expense of our shoulders and back.

Another Monday, another commute. I’ve been taking the ferry to work instead of driving. As such, I can’t hoard things in my car for use before or after work. Here is what I have been hauling with me on my commute every day.

In my Backpack (Fjallraven Kanken or Lululemon)
12 inch MacBook and thin case
Coach Rexy clutch: holds card case and extra cards
Moleskine dotted medium notebook
Iridescent pouch: holds headphones, pens, gum, lactaid, balm dot com, Hi Chew
Canvas bag 
APLs in a shoe bag
Gym clothes and extra socks
Gym pouch: wet brush, travel comb, jewelry case, deodorant, moisturizer
FBG workout folder
Celine sunglasses + case

In my hands and coat
Lunch bag
Tech gloves
Commuter pass case
Thermos for tea

I decided to analyze the utility of all this stuff in determining whether or not it deserves to travel with me to work.

The 7 Best Snacks to Hoard in Your Desk

I, like I’m sure many others, like to eat when I’m bored. This therefore necessitates that I hoard several snacks in my desk in my office at work. As I’m just starting at a new job and a new desk, I had to go out and stock up my desk drawers with my favorite snacks. After working full-time for over a year now, I have come to realize what works best for me. I think my snacks are healthy but still yummy and give me enough energy to get through long hours of document review.  Most importantly, these snacks stop me from popping over across the street to spend $4 on a defrosted pastry at Starbucks.

1. Just a Handful of Roasted Unsalted Almonds
These were my LIFE when I was on Whole30. They are JUST ALMONDS which means no sugar or whatever. I asked my mom to buy me “dry roasted almonds” because I thought that would mean the same thing outside of Trader Joe’s, but you can imagine my surprise when I opened a pack of the “dry roasted” almonds and realized they were covered in seasoning including ONION POWDER. WHAT? The roasted unsalted almonds are literally just almonds. But they have a better texture than the “raw” almonds. Even though those are supposed to be healthier. TJ’s sells these “just a handful” which means they are in individually wrapped packets, which I technically don’t need as I am not going to be taking them around anywhere. But I have an issue with portion control so the wrapped packets are what work best for me.

2. Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn
Ok, this is a messy one, but it’s so tasty. When I used to eat it at my desk in LA, the janitor would often shade me and move my garbage can right under my desk as a subtle indication that I was dropping too many crumbs like a toddler. Popcorn is such a great snack because it’s so light and fills your need to be chewing on something and you can do so for a long time because it won’t fill you up right away. Great for boredom, is what I’m saying.

3. Just Dried Mango
I also discovered this while on Whole30. It’s dried mango with no sugar, so it’s not like the Philippine dried mangoes you might get at Costco.  Since it’s preserved without sugar, it’s “healthier” but it is also very tough. The first time I bit into one I was actually shocked. But, it grows on you. It almost becomes a game to find the best way to chomp a bit off and chew it. Also, because it’s so tough, you don’t stuff your face with them as quickly. It doesn’t sound great, but I’m just trying to lower your expectations. Buy these instead of fruit snacks.

4. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I can’t go back to regular Reese’s after this, which is sad because those used to be my favorite chocolates. Isn’t it funny how I’m such a snob to Halloween candy now? I made Andrew buy me a Twix bar a few weeks ago though and it was still really good. The thought of Halloween candy right now though sounds disgusting. These mini PB cups are the perfect pick me up when I’m feeling like I need a pick me up. They are the perfect amount of chocolate to give me an energy boost in desperate times.

5. Speculoos/Biscoff Cookies
Two a day, with my morning coffee. That’s all.

6. Power Crunch protein energy bars
OK, so I’ve actually been taking these with me after work to eat after the gym, because protein, but they would be good work snacks too because they are like crackers! They are protein “wafers” that are covered in fudge-like material.  They provide the lightness and crunchiness (like you get from popcorn) that one wants in a snack.  It’s also nice to think that you’re being healthy buy eating something with “protein” but when you actually look at the ingredients it’s a little unsettling. I’m going to try some more bars, but I really like the texture of this one.

7. Apple Tea (Apple Cinnamon, Apple Cinnamon(?) Ginger, Apple Cranberry)
As I’m typing this I realize that I should probably stock up on these teas because they stop stocking them after winter. Apple tea is really a fall tea, which I don’t get because it is good year-round. Apple tea makes me feel sooooooo cozy and puts me in a good mood. I like other teas too but this one is really my favorite.

Of course, I have been bringing lunch to work and also bringing fresh fruits for snacks. I just don’t hoard them in my desk so I didn’t include them here. I’m always looking for new things to snack on so I’m very curious as to what other people keep in their desks. Besides nuts.  We get it, that’s a work snack. Live a little!

I Bought This: Bay Club Membership

This post started as a “Should I Buy This?” but the membership coordinator who I was working with at the Bay Club suckered me in with the discounted initiation fee as “ending at 6pm tonight” so since this post is going up tomorrow, the whole post has to change.  Because I bought it!!! Now is the time to convince myself whether or not I made the right decision!

My Equinox membership at the Westwood club expires on 12/18. Not that it matters, considering I’ve already moved back to the Bay Area and won’t be back to LA until the end of the month. I contemplated joining the Equinox in the Marina in SF, but it’s still a 30-minute walk from my office, in the opposite direction of the ferry, and it costs over $200 a month. That’s a lot of cons. Plus I am not that into the Marina crowd.

All About the SF Bay Ferry

I’m typing this as I watch the sunrise over some Bay Area hills on the SF Bay Ferry. The sky is pink and lilac, or should I say rose quartz and serenity (the colors of the year for 2016). How fitting. I’ve been getting up before the crack of dawn every day to commute to my new job in San Francisco. It's been one week, so I think I'm an expert now. I’ve also seen the sunrise more times last week than I ever have in my life so I clearly really know what I'm talking about.

That being said, the commute is actually pretty relaxing and pleasant.  After my body gets used to waking up at 5:45, it might even become enjoyable.  It’s absolutely better than driving for two hours in traffic to get to the same destination. Although I don't want my 7am ferry to get overcrowded, I've prepared a pros and cons list and a step-by-step guide to assist anyone in their decision to take the ferry.

Why Am I Obsessed with Wall Decor?

More than any other home accessory, nothing captures my attention quite like a good art print, photograph, or canvas. I am in constant need of collecting things I like to put them up on my walls when I quite clearly don't have enough wall space to house them all. Now that I am downgrading from an apartment with 3 different rooms (kitchen, living room, bedroom) with enough walls to house SEVERAL pieces of wall decor, to ONE (1) bedroom in my parents house with precisely 4 walls in which to cover with my wall art, important decisions are going to have to be made.

I have always been obsessed with decorating.  I also love a good tchotchke, but I think my mom has scolded me enough times about them that I feel safest purchasing and collecting wall art. Not to say she hasn't scolded me about the wall art as well, but I seem to feel more passionate about "needing" every piece of wall art I continue to buy.  Plus, living in an apartment by myself made me feel the need to fill up every inch of white wall space with things that I loved.

In the 2+ years I lived in my LA apartment, I went through several holes in the walls to carry my various gallery wall iterations.

Should You Download This? HQ Trivia Review

If you come into contact with me at 12pm noon or 6pm in the evening, chances are I will be ignoring you and trying to win money on this live iPhone game show. I first heard about it via a ManRepeller tweet, as I believe the game was at first only big in NYC. Back then, there were only about 14k people playing at a time and the big prize was $250. The last game I watched, at 6pm last night, had around 250k people playing for the chance to split $1000, the typical weekday prize at this point.

The game has been LAGGING a lot lately, as you would be able to tell if you keep the chat messages on screen. I think the increasing popularity has been hard for their servers to handle or something. I really don’t know, I’m not a tech person. It’s funny to see thousands of people chatting in “LAG” or some sort of iteration of the word.

I played last night while walking on Market to do some Christmas shopping downtown. I sort of expected to see a lot of other SF commuters playing it on their phones, but I don’t think it’s really taken off here the way it has in NYC.  It’s easy to play while mobile, as long as you have headphones in.

It also seems like this game is mostly growing through word of mouth, which is pretty cool. I started following @hqtrivia on twitter but they haven’t really done any big advertising push to get their numbers up. I can definitely appreciate that. The growth is organic and really cool to see! With over 250k people playing at a time, and the prize only at $1000 to be shared by any people that get all 12 questions right, I can see why people are skeptics. I don’t know why they don’t listen to me though because I’m the first to see through a scam. This game is pure fun. It doesn’t cost anything to play and you can win money! I guess in 2017 that could easily be too good to be true.

Anyway, here’s my pitch for the game that I’ve been telling almost everyone I come into contact with...

What to Wear and Bring on Your First Day of Work

Starting a new job is tough. New people to meet which means names to remember, quirks to uncover, and a spoken/unspoken dress code to follow.

My new firm told me that they dress very casual because "litigation is stressful."  When I visited the office during an interview, the partner I interviewed with was wearing a plaid button up tucked into jeans.  Two associates I met with were wearing jeans and a sweater, and jeans and a blouse.  I noticed one of the assistants wearing Roshes. I unfortunately did not remember what type of shoes the female associates were wearing...

I would always think that on your first day you should dress more formally than you expect to dress the rest of the time, just so you don't feel underdressed. I took this advice for the most part but also have some regrets.

How to Drive from LA to the Bay

This past weekend, Andrew had the pleasure of accompanying me on my drive home from Los Angeles. Here's a step-by-step guide of how to best structure your drive from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.

Step 1: Intend to go to brunch before your journey at 8.

Step 2: Go to brunch at 9 at a restaurant that isn't even off of any freeway that you will be using on your drive up.

Step 3: Eat bananas flambe pancakes at brunch.

Step 4: After brunch, buy snacks at Whole Foods, specifically sweet potato chips and Annie's fruit snacks, in an attempt to kill time until 10 when the CD store next to the brunch restaurant opens.

Step 5: Go to the CD store when it opens and pick out at least 5 CDs to listen to in the car on your drive up.

Step 6: Say goodbye to your best friend who is the only reason you went to brunch at that place and cry a little bit.

Step 7: Start driving on the 405 to the 5.

Step 8: Exit at Tejon Ranch (Laval Rd West) to fill up your tank to last for the rest of the journey.

Step 9: Suddenly stop at the Tejon Outlets on the other side of the freeway.

Step 10: Buy a pair of shoes at the Nike outlet because they are on sale.

Step 11: Get back on the road.

Step 12: Stop at Kettleman City ( Hwy 41) to pee and get some more coffee for the drive.

Step 13: Pump yourself up while driving by listening to musical soundtracks, none of which are the 5 CDs you bought earlier.

Step 14: Don't yell at Andrew until the last hour of your trip.

Step 15: Make it home.

A Review of November 2017

November has never seemed like such an eventful month, but this month it was! I was barely in LA again, and now I'm moving out. How did it all happen so fast? I also managed to squeeze in a visit from Brandon, two trips home and a trip to Vegas this month, while also quitting my job, moving everything out of my apartment, and preparing for a job in San Francisco.


Now that I've semi-posted my blog onto my personal instagram, for those of you who actually clicked the #linkinbio, this is my monthly review of the photos on my camera roll.