Monthly Archives: September 2014

Bailando!

The other night I was on the B train on my way to dinner from a happy hour charity work event. I had on my earbuds and I was listening to “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias ft Sean Paul. I had a vision of me and Ela in the middle of a dirt dance floor on a beautiful Costa Rican night dancing and laughing like we had zero cares in the world. It was so vivid. We had long flowy vibrant colored dresses and I had a red cocktail in my hand. We were dancing to Bailando and laughing at each other while others joined our infectious fun.  We were drunk and happy while the outside bar we were in was open and modest. The air was warm and the sky was dark with visible stars. It was amazing.

We all have experienced how a song can take you back in time. At this moment I was catapulted in a daydream forward in time to what I wanted this song to represent. It made me feel lighthearted and genuinely happy. My soul was smiling on that subway. Legit. True happiness.

I walked off the train smiling to myself and I caught eyes with a hottie. He smiled at me and I felt even more giddy inside as I walked off to meet Ela for dinner and tell her about our fun to come.

I live for moments like these. I strive to have those happy moments throughout my day as much as possible. They don’t have to be thoughts of vacation. They just have to be happy. It’s become my primary goal to find ways to make my soul sing and dance. Life is too short otherwise.

It looks like I may have to postpone my trip to Costa Rica/Nicaragua end of Nov/beginning Dec. I’m in denial and still trying to find a way. Good vibes I can work this daydream to fruition end of year!

Listen to this and tell me this doesn’t make you daydream and want to dance. Btw this is the first time I’ve seen this video. Let’s all go to Central American and have a dance party!

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Please donate!

I’ll get an updated post with all the recent happenings (lots of fun amazing things have been happening and will be happening!) soon but for the meantime..

This is a Public Service Announcement brought to you by myself and Cross Cultural Solutions.

Ok, here goes my shameless plug..

The thing is friends, I’ve decided to fulfill a goal I’ve had for a very long time now. I signed up for a volunteer abroad program in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Yes, Africa.I chose Africa because it’s a continent I have not yet stepped foot on and a place that has so much need for help. I will be participating in a 2 week program. I will be working with kids in some way that has not yet been defined but I’ve greatly expressed that my time be best spent with the kids. I really think I’ll be able to get the most out of the experience that way. I will be staying in a shared house with up to 40 other volunteers who will come and go at different times – some staying for a month, others for a week or weeks.
What I’m asking from you is a donation. I know a lot of you contribute to different charities and have your own favorites. I’m asking you to possibly redirect that donation this one time to assist your friend in fulfilling her life long dream while still being able to contribute in large part to the greater good of Africa’s, more specifically Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s philanthropic need.
The total cost of this life changing experience will be upwards of $5k. I’m fundraising for the actual program of 3.3 k that doesn’t include my flight of over 2k. Your money goes to the program costs of supplies, housing, workers, schools, hospitals etc.
Anything helps! Even if it’s $10. Really, anything.
To put it in perspective $10 that you spend daily at Starbucks can feed a child for 10 days in Africa. This program helps educate, provide jobs, and offer medical assistance to those in need.
Donating some money is an easy way to contribute to those less fortunate and make you feel good at the same time! PLUS, you can claim this as a tax expense at the end of the year! Charity donations are tax deductible!!!
I also ask that if you do decide to donate you check with your company to see if they provide matching to charity donations. A lot of companies include that in their benefits and it’s underutilized so please check with your HR representative to see if it’s offered.
Thank you very much to those that have already donated to the cause. Your support and dollars go a long way and I am humbled and blessed by your generosity. For those that decide not to donate at this time I appreciate your well wishes and continued support. Because of ALL of you and your love and support I am able to live out my life in a way that is aligned with my personal legend (For more on personal legends go read my favorite book The Alchemist!). For that, I will be forever grateful.
For more info on CSS:
Super Cool Informative interesting video:
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
love,
lei
For those that donate I promise to send you a postcard while volunteering abroad!

Shoe game

I’m losing this shoe game folks. It’s bad. Since I have been in NYC I have not once worn heels. In fact, I gave up most of my heels, minus a couple pairs, when I moved. Apparently I shouldn’t have.

My feet have really taken a beating since I’ve been here. Daily I walk more than 2.5 miles. A lot of days it’s upwards of over 5. I also live in a 4th floor walk up so about 4-6 times a day I go up and down the stairs. So that’s essentially 8-12 times since when I go down I have to come back up.

I’ve bought many a pair of flats to try out different things for my poor little feet. I’ve spoken to salespeople about what is most comfortable. I’ve ordered online based on comfort reviews. It’s been a huge pain in this ass; this search for the golden shoes.

I took up run/walks a few weeks to a month back. I’ve had to swap out my shoes because of pain I was feeling on the right foot below my arch. The 2nd pair of shoes I did 3 run-walks at 3 miles each. I began to feel pain on the left foot. First it was the heel then it traveled to my shins. Now both of my feet and shins are in pain. I got a golf ball to help massage each foot. I’ve tried to soak them and stretch them. It hasn’t helped. In fact since I stopped running 4-5 days ago it’s hurt more.

It looks like the verdict is Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve consulted with a number of people and all signs point to that.

Today I swapped out my running shoes for the 3rd time. I am hoping that this time is the charm. I was told that wearing flats this whole time has likely made the issue worse since there was no heel lift support. I’ve always worn heels. I always thought them to be more comfortable unless they pinch my toes or I’ve worn them over a long night out of dancing or always being on my feet.

I find it ironic that I acquiesced to having to wear flats and it’s bitten me in the ass. That’s what I get for giving up my beloved pretty heels.

Now I’m stuck with these asshole flats that are making my feet and my heart hurt.

Tomorrow I will start up the run/walks again and hope these new bad boys make my feet feel like we’re bouncing on pillowy clouds of goodness.

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F.O.M.O.

Fear Of Missing Out. For one, I am tired of all these abbreviated social media terms. But this is a good one to talk about. I am the type of person who loves to do as much as they can whenever or wherever they can. (Unless of course I’m paralyzed with a hangover. At that point all I want to do is lay in bed eat “bad” food and watch reruns of my fav tv sitcoms or rom com movies). I feel regret if I travel and don’t get to do everything that was on my wish list. That shit will haunt me. I also like to be in the know. I like getting the history or background of something. I like talking and hearing about random facts or interesting tidbits. I also like having answers if people ask questions. I want to experience most things and I want to experience them to it’s fullest potential.

People keep telling me I’ve done so much since I moved here. I have done quite a lot if I stop to think about it. But I also feel like I haven’t even cracked the surface of all that there is to experience in NYC. Most tourist things I’ve done the first time I visited NYC. Some I want to do again. A few of those things are below. Some things I’m good with never doing again. I’ll probably relay those to you in a post down the line. Some things I’ve never done and only now care to experience. I know I have some time since I live here now but then again we never really know how much time we really have so maybe I better get it movin’.

I have, in true lei fashion, comprised a list.

NYC bucket list:

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Get doughnuts from Doughnut Plant

Explore Brooklyn – go to DUMBO, Williamsburg, eat at Grimaldi’s, ferry to Red Hook and restaurant food hop, check out the flea market

Attend a live taping of a show – SNL, Inside the Actors Guild, Late show w Jimmy Fallon, Daily Show or Colbert Report

Participate in a NYC race

Have dinner at Per Se

Attend a concert at Governor’s Island

Watch the sunset at the Boat basin with Huxley in tow

Museum of Natural History

Take the free Staten Island Ferry to check out the views

Eat at Eately

Go to the Bronx Zoo

See Shakespeare in the park at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park

See a show at the Apollo Theatre

Check out the Cloisters

Reserve my recliner seats to watch a movie at the AMC here in the UWS

Eat dumplings from Vanessa’s dumplings on the Lower East Side

Have a drink at Top Of The Rock

Step on the floor piano at FAO Schwartz

See the new WTC up close and check out the museum

Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center during the holidays

Eat at Crif Dogs

Go to a game at the new Yankee stadium

Yes, a lot of the list is centered around food. We all know I got food issues.

I’m sure I’ll continue to add to my NYC bucket list. There’s just so much to do in this amazing city. For now I’m saving a lot of the super touristy things for when loved ones visit. I don’t, in any way, want to risk getting sick of the best this city has to offer, so with those things I can wait. The restaurants and food wants however, I should probably do asap. Things close so frequently here in the city and I would hate to not be able to try them. There’s that FOMO again..

Funny, I just realized none of the above has to do with alcohol. Huh. Interesting.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the perfect notebook I received today that the bestie sent me.

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Huxley’s long day

Yesterday I had an awesome productive day. It was one of those day’s that I looked at the time and thought wow, it’s still so early and I’ve done so much already. Go me! Then I kept doing more and more. I really love days like that. It’s so satisfying to feel productive. 

Huxley was almost as productive as I was. Maybe not, but he did have a very long taxing day. I was going through my paperwork and found Huxley’s adoption flyer from the Humane Society when I adopted him almost 2 years ago now. Back then he was around 4 months young and his name was Kona. I know. He is sooo not a Kona. I showed him the flyer and went on to explain how he came to be mine. He was confused at first. He’s had such a great life since then he forgot where he came from.

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After the adoption-never-forget-where-you-came-from-always-appreciate-life talk I took him to the dog park so he could have some fun. It is his happy place. When we first moved and I started taking him there he was a little apprehensive. Now whenever we go on walks he pulls me in that direction and when I unleash him and open the gate he bolts to the other dogs to play. It brings me so much joy to see him so happy and social. We stayed there for a good amount of time. (I felt guilty to what he was going to have to endure later that day).

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I get really disgusted when I think of Huxley’s cute lil paws walking on all the nastiness that are new york streets. The sidewalks smell like shit and urine. I shudder to think what and who caused it to be so foul. Huxley legit chased a rat the other night. I was mortified. MORTIFIED. Imagine how I felt a few nights later when he saw cockroaches on the sidewalk and tried to go after them too. Ugh.

Cockroaches are such a fear of mine. I remember being in the Philippines around the age of 8/9 and walking the streets at night with my cousins and I hear this distinct noise. It was of all the cockroaches having a family powwow in the middle of the street. It looked like hundreds of them in a huge circle. Not only that but they fucking were above the ground. ABOVE the fucking ground ya’ll! Those suckers can fly. Ever since then I’ve done what I could to avoid those things that fly and can survive nuclear wars. Admittedly, I may at times have dropped shit and run screaming upon coming across those critters. I can’t help it. It’s a fear. Look it up and let me know what it’s called. This is serious.

Anyways, I gave the lil shit monster a bath so that I could feel better about everything. Here he is looking sad and dejected about the whole thing. Clearly the nasty doesn’t bother him like it does his mama.

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Even later, I took him to the vet. It is a very traumatic experience for Hux and I when we go to the vet. Back in the Bay when we would drive there even before  it was in view and we hit the vet’s driveway he would begin shaking and get major anxiety. He does not do well with the vet no matter how many treats I give him and how much I try to soothe him. It usually takes the vet and a technician to hold him down for shots. He’s a fiesty lil one.

Since he’s never been to the vet here in NYC we were fine walking in the door. Once he realized the type of establishment he was in he started freaking out. Poor lil pup. Btw, it’s a 30% markup to take him for a vet exam here in NYC. The shots were also more expensive here than back home. It’s pretty awesome.

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Once he was done with his shot after the exam, they brought him out to me and he couldn’t scamper my way fast enough. He was like mom, get me the fuck outta here, for reals. i hate you for bringing me here but so happy to see you now that i’m done. get to steppin. Once we got home he got lots of play time and more treats since he had such an emotional day. He was donezo way earlier than he would normally be. Oh Huxley bear. Such a tough life you lead.

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More about the people and the places

Let’s see. What else have I been up to… Lots of fun things happened this week.

For one I got to meet up with one of New York’s other newest residents! It’s so wonderful having someone here that is from home and is going through all the same changes I am in acclimating with city life. Becca and I had a fun day exploring a bit of Chelsea, starting off at a juice bar, walking through Chelsea Market and then strolling the High Line. Chelsea Market has a bunch of restaurants, bars and cute shops. It gets very crowded. Since it was Labor Day weekend, most of New York was out of town, so we were able to really enjoy it. The High Line is a public park on a historic freight line. It goes for about 20 blocks or so. It has great views and they also have cool vendors. It’s a great place to walk, people watch and take in more beautiful views from another part of the city.

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By my apartment there’s a restaurant called ‘Sugar & Plumm’. They sell food but it’s more of a place to indulge your sweet tooth. One day Ela and I decided we really needed something ridiculously rich to gorge on with no regrets. I’ve been wanting to try this place. I always think to myself how cute it is when I walk by. After much deliberation we ordered different brownie sundaes. I had the mint chip ice cream one that included chunks of peppermint bark cookies. What?! Yup, it sure did. It was decadent and delightful. So much so I couldn’t finish it. I wish I couldn’t taken the leftovers home. Unfortch, ice cream doesn’t transport well. 

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The other night I met up with Dahlia and Ela. I scored free tickets to a Comedy Show and they came with. I love going to comedy shows and I used to go whenever I could to the ones back in the Bay. It was such a fun night. Dahlia and I met up at a restaurant in Chelsea near the venue called ‘East of Eighth’ for dinner. It was a great restaurant. The bottom floor was a bar/lounge and the top floor was the restaurant. The food was delicious and affordable and the service was great. After that Ela met up with us at Gotham Comedy Club. It was a night of various comedians, no headliner. They weren’t all great. In fact, a couple of them were terrible but it was still such a great time and we laughed a lot. It’s always nice to switch up what you do and go somewhere outside of the bars.

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Last night I went to a Jazz Event Meetup in TriBeCa. The venue was so dope! If I had a bar ‘type’ B flat would probably be it. It was a basement bar that had a speakeasy swanky feel with 1920s cocktails. The decor were framed posters of the great jazz musicians, giving laud to Coltrane and the like.  It was Japanese owned and the bartenders were all Japanese, dressed in gatsby-esque attire. Did I mention this place was so dope! I just wish it wasn’t as crowded. I can’t wait to go back to this place. 

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There’s just so much to do in this amazing city. I want to do it all. What’s great is that there are so many things you can get into that doesn’t cost a penny. It’s so great for those like me who are gainfully unemployed. My need for exploration here in NYC just might be insatiable. I hope this feeling of wonderment and delight never escape me. I never want to look at the Empire State Building and not feel a flutter inside. I am completely enamored with New York City. Head over fucking heels enamored.

 

The times and the social media

With starting this blog I’ve become more aware of social media and the role it plays in our lives. I mean, of course I haven’t been a hermit. I opened a twitter account in 2009 but only used it about a handful of times. I went through all the changes of social media web platforms from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook to Google+. Myspace was my favorite becuase you got to play around more with your page and individualize it with music and backgrounds and colors.  I did a brief stint in the blogging world on Xanga circa 2004/2005. I jumped on Instagram right away about 3 years ago before most of my friends had it, thanks to Ali. I’ve had a Skype handle since 2006. I’ve been a Yelp member since 2008. I’ve had a Goodreads account for 4.5 years. I’m super hip to meetup.com since I’ve used in in a professional environment and now utilizing it more to expand my social network personally. So I’m no stranger. I’ve been in the know and have dabbled with most popular forms of social media at one point or another.

But for me it’s been an on/off love affair. I get all curious and I’m all over it then I go through phases where I don’t check it at all and am quite subverse to it. The reason being is that it takes up a lot of your time. Time is of the essence. More importantly time is of the financial essence. That, and if you follow celebrities I feel it makes you stupider (in my world that’s a word. suck it if you disagree) and rots your brain.

I’ve become that person that is always on their phone. Checking insta, checking emails, checking fb for current events etc. Yes, it’s a wonderful way to stay connected. Yes, it’s amazing the leaps and bounds man has made to get us to where we are technically. The problem I find with it is my desire to keep things simple and to continuously enjoy those simple pleasures. 

I gave in and got a kindle recently. And I struggled with the decision to do so. I love the feel and the smell of a book. I like the act of turning pages and seeing how much of the story I’ve read and with how much I have left guessing the outcomes. I resisted for many many years in getting an e-reader. I used one for the first time when I went to Thailand & Beijing last March only because I didn’t want to weight of the books in my bags and suitcases. I’m a fast reader and on my previous vacation to Brazil before that I took 4 beach reads, finished them all quickly then left them behind because I didn’t want that weight in my baggage. I decided for my Asia trip with the long flights and wait times it would be most efficient to use a reader. It changed my life. 

I joke about how travel is the only time I really get to catch up on reading. But it truly is for me. When home you really have to carve out time in your day to read a book. There’s just so much in life you have to keep up with. When traveling and I’m on a plane or on other forms of transportation and I’m not behind the driver’s seat I utilize that time to read. With the e-reader I read 6 books when I was traveling abroad. I downloaded a bunch because it’s on a little tablet so you can and I got to choose according to my mood what I wanted to read. I wasn’t relegated to just the books I brought with me. It was great.

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Anyways, I digress. The point to the kindle example is that sometimes, even with technology and the latest going ons you need to dive head first and keep up with the masses to simplify your life. There’s a reason why these things have become so ingrained in our culture. Technology can take you anywhere. The most major plus I’m seeing is that it’s time efficient. You can reach anyone at any time with these social media outlets. Or you can gain back time from using certain products.

I started this blog so that loved ones back home can keep up to date with my new life here in New York. Instead of talking on the phone (which I don’t really enjoy doing) with each person and have the same conversations over and over, I can reach everyone at one time and can exert only x amount of energy in doing so. Talk about efficiency.

Then the most wonderful thing happened. Along the way in the process I remembered how much I love to write. It’s an outlet I stopped practicing long ago during a time that was really difficult for me. 

This move has opened my eyes to things I really didn’t even anticipate. I’m surprised by some of the things I’m finding out or remembering about myself. It feels fantastic. I feel like if I were a cartoon to depict me right now my cartoon character would stretch and all this awesomeness of revelations/ideas/happy thoughts/creativity etc fly at me at lighting speeds and when I get hit with them one by one I become a brighter character with more vibrant colors. I would become more whole in some way. Can you picture that? Cool right? 

So here I am succumbing to all that is social media in all my honest vulnerable glory. Last week I decided to make my blog public and post it on all my pages. It was tough to get there but when I did I committed 100%. I’m back on twitter. I’ve been writing on this blog daily. I’m always posting photos on instagram. I’ve started reviewing what I’ve experienced on yelp. I’m here digital world, I’m fucking here.

* This post is in no way sponsored by Kindle although it should be. I’m really loving their Kindle Paperwhite and am whoring it out to everyone. Go buy a kindle it’ll change your life.