2019 was a great year for me socially. I’ve met new people and made new friends. I’ve reconnected with others. I’ve strengthened relationships. And the common denominator? Getting out of the house.
Well fuck. I wrote that segment like 4 months ago and oh have things escalated! Of course leave it to me to procrastinate once again, but seriously, I had this whole blog planned out to encourage people to be open, leave their houses, and go on more Airbnb trips. Which is what you should NOT be doing right now FYI. Please practice social distancing y’all! I don’t like playing bad cop but this is serious. We must be kind to one another and NOT accidentally murder people who may not be as healthy as us. We must do our part and help the selfless healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line to give us back ours.
Anyways, this blog isn’t supposed to be a downer. I wanted to use this opportunity to thank the people who keep me sane AKA my friends. Sure we’re physically apart right now but I thank my lucky stars for having people to interact with, despite being virtual. We’re blessed with technology that can keep us connected and this quarantine is only temporary. The virus’ resulting effects may not be, but I’m confident that we can get our shit together and overcome these low times. Of course, I need to acknowledge that I am lucky and privileged enough where the main conflict for me is my social life. There are millions of people out there who have way worse things to think about and we need to be mindful of that. There will be better days if we all do our part and support one another. So please support local businesses, check up on your friends and family, and give back in any way you can if you have the bandwidth to do so.
Even though 2020 has been shit, it’s nice to look back at the moments before this whole fiasco that shaped us. I’ve been getting mad anxiety lately and it’s really hard to not feel fear. I try to stay strong and confident for others but I’m truly terrified of the unknown. What helps me during stressful situations is being grateful for the things that I already have and the things that I do know, and I’m thinking of my relationships with others a little more these days. Optimism goes a long way and I’m taking time to reflect on some of the brighter days. I highly encourage y’all to do the same and hopefully it’ll help get us through this strange and difficult time.
Alright folks! Buckle up, it’s time to let the good times roll ✨
February 2019: Winter Getaway to Yosemite
Near the beginning of 2019, some of my college buddies wanted to do a winter retreat and they invited me and Chris along. This trip was super memorable to me because it was my first time going on a trip with some new folks who ended up being some of my closest friends today. It also happened to be my first time seeing this much powdery white snow in like…ever? Upon arriving, we were greeted by the protectors of our fortress:
After the GOAT squad, we headed up towards the sketchy hill where our cute lil hideaway was perched on. We didn’t have snow chains for my car and it got stuck on the way up from groceries one of the days. I remember this vividly because most of us had to go and salt the driveway, while Pancake sat inside by himself and ate Cassie’s cheeseburger. The weather was crazy and the storm knocked the power out for a good 3-4 hours. We low-key thought we were going to die maybe 2 times on the trip, but it was still beautiful nonetheless. Some of my favorite highlights included building a snowman, the incredible view of tiny cottages and frost-covered redwood trees in the distance, and the huge hot tub we definitely took advantage of. Counting down the days ’til when this all blows over so we can go out and enjoy nature together again.
Thanks to Chris, Brian, Michelle, Cassie, Jenny, Tiff, Sean, Marianna, and Justin.
July 2019: Hawaiian Summer
This trip was extremely memorable for me and possibly one of the best weeks of my life. I had just accepted my offer for Google Developer Studio a few days prior to it, so I was riding this new job glow. Besides, it’s hard to resist them island vibes. Hawaii is literally one of my favorite places to go (basic, I know) and having these friends along only made it better. I’ve only been to Oahu with family, so it was nice going with friends for a change. After a week of spending every minute together, you can say we got pretty close. I still hang out with most of these folks on the reg (pre-quarantine) and I’m stoked for future travels.
We did a lot of cool shit in Hawaii and ate tons of good food. Helloooo garlic shrimp, fresh poke, and refreshing açaí bowls 🤤. But the best? Definitely the thick juicy pork katsu from Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin.
In no particular order, some of my fave highlights included:
- Zip lining through a lush forest
- Sunset sail on a catamaran for Chris’ birthday surprise
- Relaxing on the beautiful beaches
- Strolling through the busy streets
- Morning 7-11 trips to get coffee and breakfast musubis
- Getting deep and playing hot seat
- The view from our AirBnB penthouse
- Eating way too many mochi donuts
- Formal dinner where we did this:
Mahalo to Chris, Marco, Tiff, Viv, Dione, Kevin, and Philip.
July 2019: A Very Vegas 23rd Birthday
Okay so this birthday trip happened literally a week after Hawaii. BEST TWO WEEKS EVER. I’ve been on a good amount of Vegas trips from my time in college, but this was my first time going on an all girl’s trip period. So you can say I had a blast! I love my dude friends but it’s really nice having a bunch of amazing ladies to connect with and share common interests. Like now I have peeps to gossip and watch reality TV shows with and I’m so here for it 🙌. The craziest part is how it all fell into place so seamlessly. I got closer to a good amount of these girls my last quarter of college and met the rest naturally. This trip was also a good opportunity to introduce one of my best friends to the other girls. We’ve been friends for over a decade, so it was extra fun partying together in Vegas and introducing her to all my college friends!
The whole weekend was a blur of getting ready, rallying, and dancing our booties off – but my favorite part? The chicken tenders from KAOS day club (RIP). We only did day club and night swim this time around, but it was perfect due to the crazy heat! I’m eager to go back for our annual hot girl summer trip, so fingers crossed that we’ll be able to by July.
Thanks to Sharon, Michelle, Tiff, Danie, Cindy, Cassie, Jenny, Jen, Aly, Lin, Malia, and Tabby.
September 2019: Weekend in Paso Robles
Something about September. Maybe it was the post-summer blues, but everyone seemed to want to get out of the house this month. Chris and I deal with serious FOMO so we ended up attending two back-to-back AirBnb trips with different groups of friends. Although we were definitely tired by the end of it, there were no regrets and we had a great time on each trip.
Our first trip was to Paso Robles, California – which wasn’t too far from South San Jose. It was less than a 3 hour drive and it was a great middle point for our SoCal and NorCal pals. I’ve never been to Paso Robles before but apparently they’re known for their wines! We didn’t take too many pictures this trip but just enjoyed each other’s companies. We didn’t even make it out of the house either honestly. Just a good old house retreat with tons of partying and lots of TV marathons (where my Love Island stans at).
I don’t have any photos of the house but it was well decorated and comfortable. Chris and I got there first to work from home and I was amazed at the decor and furnishes. There was this chic western theme going on with the faux skull heads, full sized bullhead painting, and ashy wooden pieces. My favorite piece was this horizontal wooden mirror bolted to the wall because it looked rustic and aesthetic, while being super functional. It allowed 6+ girls to do their hair and makeup at once, so I’ll let you do the math on how amazing it was. This interior design fulfilled my West Elm dreams and the exterior was just as well kept. The house sat on top of a hill, overlooking the horizon. It was furnished with large outdoor umbrellas and comfortable seating areas. There was a grill for barbecuing and a corn hole set. The weather was gorgeous all weekend so we definitely utilized this space. Sunset hit the house beautifully every evening and we were able to witness the peachy hues that blended into the sky.
A simple trip like this is nice to throw in between action-packed weekends. There are no frills. No itineraries. Just a group of bored millennials getting together and having a huge sleepover.
Chris had a business trip to Malaysia (literally across the world) for 5 days before our next trip, so we busted a mission to get back to the bay around 4-5AM. What a trooper! He pulled through (despite jet lag) and was able to go on another trip by the next weekend.
Thanks to Chris, Brian, Michelle, Vince, Cassie, Jenny, Bryan, Ilyne, Ylan, Stephen, Katrina, and Jonathan.
September 2019: Cruisin’ Through Cazadero
Less than 5 days later, Chris and I embarked on another trip. This time, we reunited with our Hawaii squad (after serious vacation withdrawals) to head to Cazadero – known for the Russian River and delicious Pliny the Elder beer. I rode with Marco and Tiff and we had a fun adventure with tunes to jam out to, seltzers on deck, and a Costco trip that felt like forever.
We rented a literal cabin in the woods with a picture-perfect back patio, complete with a hot tub facing the green canopies. Morning coffee breaks in this space was a dream and we used the picnic table every day for our meals. During the day, we headed to the Russian River with out floaties to drift down nature’s lazy river. Our inflatable floats had cup holders which was perfect for our hard seltzers. We wanted to stay together so we tied all our vehicles together into one island. This sounds cool in theory but all hell broke loose every time we drifted towards sharp hanging tree branches. But alas, good vibes still all around.
One of the main things I love about this group is how open and comfortable we are with one another. We have lots of deep conversations every time we get together and game nights turn into therapeutic sessions. They made me realize the importance of having a strong support network and how you don’t have to carry the burdens of life on your own. Most of us have stressors in life we like to internalize, but it’s nice to be vulnerable now and then with the people you trust. Happy to have so many people in my life that I trust.
Thanks to Chris, Marco, Tiff, Kevin, and Viv.
December 2019: Dancing in a Winter Wonderland
Never underestimate the power of FOMO. It was what brought this giant group together for Snow Globe in Tahoe. Shout out to Vincent for rallying the troops! We were able to convince our close group of friends to come with as well.
As we all get older, going to festivals seems more and more draining. You still have a great time when you’re there, but you definitely learn when to pick your battles. A good amount of us have never been to a festival in the snow before, so it was a pretty breath-taking experience. Not to mention, the lineup was stacked and I got to see one of my faves – Zhu! He was phenomenal as usual, but the snow falling softly as his musicians played live instruments on stage made the whole experience way more magical. It was surreal listening to a set in a forest with frost-covered trees in the back, and the way the lights reflected on the natural snow made an interesting juxtaposition. The festival was 3 days long, but it always ended early (around 10PM, besides NYE). My god, this is amazing when you’re old and feel all your joints creaking after a night of dancing. Especially in 30-40 degree weather. Shout out to hand warmers forreal! Besides, the real fun happens at home when you get away from the obnoxious crowds, take a hot shower, and change into your comfy sweats to drink more alcohol!
The Airbnb itself was a spacious 2-story cabin with a beautiful hot tub. Our group did a late White Elephant gift exchange on the first night and it was pretty wholesome just hanging out in a cabin in the snow. I loved watching TV and getting ready with the girls. Cooking meals before heading out to the festival was memorable too. There was always activities to do in the house and people to hang out with. I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to spend New Year’s than in a great environment with even better company.
This was a fat list but I genuinely had a great time with everyone here so here goes:
Thanks to Chris, Marco, Tiff, Kevin, Sam, Spencer, Cassie, Vincent, Brian, Michelle, Jenny x2, Karen, Nat, Stacy, Jaron, Ylan, Stephen, Ilyne, Bryan, Wyatt, James, Kakeru, Demi, and Koji.
January 2020: Catching Up With The Cousins
I grew up as an only child but I never really felt lonely, thanks to my huge family. I may not have siblings but I have 10+ cousins in varying ages that I’m pretty close to. Most of us are between the ages of 19-30 with some exceptions, and it got easier to hang out with each other once the younger ones got older. Every time I visit my family in Sacramento, there’s always game nights and tons of cocktails. They taught me how to play Catan and how to handle my alcohol. They take me to the best brunch spots and coffee places in Sac.
I got a lot of love for my family and I’m happy that we’re a lot closer now than before. We have the same interests and are pretty flexible when it comes to plans. It’s kinda crazy when you realize how certain quirks and characteristics can be genetic.
I’m looking forward to when this all passes and I get to visit my family again. I’ve been missing everyone a little extra lately, including my loud aunties.
Thanks to Mary, Michelle, Yun, Yen, and Stephane. But also shout out to my other cousins as well who are not pictured – Ken, Tina, Bonnie, Kevin, Tiffany, Trang x2, and Thanh!
February 2020: Hanging with Long-time Friends
There’s this notion that people tend to not stay in contact with their high school friends. While I agree that it becomes harder to make plans, I still love my long-term friends and try to make an effort to hang out with them every now and then. Sure we all have our own friend groups now – who we are probably closer to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make time for each other. I think we’re all mature enough to understand that we’re different people and have things going on that make it hard to meet up at times. It’s nothing personal at all. I respect the fact that we can go months without seeing each other but once we get together, it feels like no time has passed. The banter is good. The vibes are there. The nostalgia seeps out.
Our go-to spot is Downtown San Jose and I don’t recall an instance where I haven’t gotten blasted when I’m out with these folks. It’s a great feeling to still be in touch with my friends who I hung out with almost everyday before, during, and after school. It’s an even better feeling to see how each are growing and glowing on their respective paths.
If we were friends before, chances are – I still see you as my friend now (no matter how often we speak).
Thanks to Sharon, Hannah, Byron, Zair, Leon, Taylor, Michael, and so many more folks.
February 2020: Google Video Summit in L.A.
This trip to Los Angeles was one of my favorite trips this year. It was a strangely monumental and emotional time for me. I hadn’t been to LA since graduating college and coming back, with a new-found confidence and sense of purpose, felt liberating. The last time I was in LA, I was stressed and scared. Graduating with no passion for what you’re about to do in the real world is truly depressing. I felt stuck during a time where I should be celebrating my achievements. But achievements don’t feel right when they’re not the ones you want.
On my first day there, I set off to work from the historic hangar building that Google converted into a gorgeous office space in Playa Vista. I had a tight feeling in my chest all day and felt nervous, but in a good way? I was alone all day just walking around and exploring, all up in my feelings. I found my career calling in social media and I’m still so grateful. After a very enlightening day, my manager hit me up out of the blue. She let me know that I had gotten a raise and I broke down crying. This was the first raise ever and it just came at the most perfect moment. There will be greater milestones in the future, but this first one really touched me and motivates me to this day. I’m working hard for this feeling.
Chris and I drove to Los Angeles the weekend before my work event to visit our SoCal friends from college (thanks Brian and Michelle for housing us). This inspired more friends to come along, and we had a mini reunion with old friends and new ones – where we attempted to become TikTok stars:
It was nice being able to hit our fave restaurants (Tsujita 🍜) and bars all together again, and this ended up being the last time we all saw each other in person.
The following week, I attended the Google Video Summit that my department hosted. It was a great time and I got to learn from industry pros, network and meet new folks, and bond with my team.
Some of my favorite highlights include:
- Spa day with the ladies from work – where I got my first lash lift (life-changing!)
- Delicious BBQ dinner from Maple Block Meat Co.
- Getting my first professional headshot taken
- Walking along Venice Beach with my coworkers
- Bomb food and open bar at the After Party, hosted at The Bungalow (aka old college stomping grounds)
- Fun workshops + fresh coconuts at the Venice office
- Chilling with my coworkers at the hotel
I haven’t been back to the office since getting back from this trip. Literally a week after this amazing one, the virus was declared a pandemic and shelter in place was announced. I’m thankful that I got to experience an eventful week spent with quality people, before all of this happened. Wishing everyone the best during this time and hope to see your bright faces soon.
Thanks to literally all of my co-workers. Love my work fam!
Wow! That was a long one but that’s what I get for procrastinating on writing. I’m fucking stoked for all the people in my life and I hope y’all know that. Please note that this isn’t limited to only people mentioned or pictured. I have more special people in my life and other events I could highlight, but that would take me forever to list! I mainly prioritized big events that stuck out to me in the past year. Just know that I fucks with you even if you weren’t mentioned 🙂
I hope everyone is doing well (however “well” is defined for you). I really do. My DM’s are open if anyone wants to chat or catch up! This quarantine may be hard to deal with, but it’s a good time to get a lot of pushed-off work done (if you’re able to do so, of course). But make sure you set aside time to practice self-care and chill out. Apart from work, I’ve been writing more, reading more, and I even finished my digital marketing course. But once the clock strikes 5PM, you can catch me on Animal Crossing playing for 6 hours straight. My life belongs to a capitalistic raccoon at the moment, and that’s okay with me.
🍃Add me: SW-3338-1602-6903
Good luck everyone and stay safe! 💫