weekend warrior photo journal: 1

October 26, 2014

You all cannot imagine how thrilled I am to have some regularity in my life right now. First off, this was my first weekend that I got to fully enjoy The Concrete Jungle. I am not kidding, either. It was nice not having to worry about being home at a certain hour on a Friday night due to obligations the following day.

I wanted to take advantage of my first weekends, ever and take you all for a virtual tour of my explorations. I hope you all enjoy!

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 I got to sleep in until 9AM and brainstorm for next month’s projects.

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So, NYC is huge on Brunch. I witnessed this first-hand working at my old job. I was so excited because this was my very first brunch date (and I been in New York for almost four months)! K and I had a brunch date at Spring Street Natural Restaurant in SoHo.

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Buildings will always make me stop and capture them. No matter how similar they may appear to be, there are always details I find beautiful.

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As much as I hate crowds, I always make an effort to grab produce and goodies at Chinatown. The open markets make me feel alive and not to mention: cheap ass produce. I am becoming pro at navigating around markets for inexpensive goods.

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“Can I photograph you?” I asked and he was more than happily to agree. This is the epitome of New York’s style. Black on black with different fabric textures such as leather and a color accent somewhere. Captured in SoHo.

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Because I don’t have a boyfriend who photographs me and my personal style, here are some detail shots of my outfit of the day.

Fedora: Topshop; Bag: Michael Kors; Printed Pants: Thrifted; Ankle Booties: Call It Spring

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The Strand Bookstore is a well-known bookstore in Union Square. Outside are racks on racks of used books starting at one dollar! However, I opted out for newer collections. I was browsing and came across two that interest me. Heard many ravings about Bad Feminist. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. I know nothing about, but read the backing and sound interesting so I am taking a chance on it! Books make me feel some typa way (hahahah, so nerdy).

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After a long day in the City, came home to a simple meal. Steamed broccoli, carrots with lemon-peppered tilapia. Gochujang is a Korean spicy paste that reminds me of a plum sauce. I sampled it from Wholefoods and couldn’t resist adding it into my pantry. Trying to expand my palette with non-traditional spices and sauces.

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This is me currently at my local coffee shop, Lennox Coffee with my roommate B. A warm almond chai latte while streaming CSxPD’s soundcloud. Unfortunately I did’t capture much today because all I did was run, eat and FaceTimed with my siblings. Sitting here while I am finishing up this post and an upcoming piece for FTS.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures! I am trying to take on more adventures now that I have more time, sorta and make an effort to take photos, edit and share. And for all of you who are wondering how was my first full week back to a full-time job, it was wonderful! Definitely a transition itself, but nothing I cannot handle. Have a lot to learn, but that’s like every new role.

So much to do in the next couple of weeks, though. Hope you all had an amazing warm weekend – we have been hit by rain, winds and chilly weather! Goodnight Family & Friends! Thank you for tuning in (:

so, just a reminder

October 23, 2014

You know what is one of my favorite things about the culture here? New Yorkers are heavy readers! Not saying people from back home don’t, but I do not see it frequently. Here, I see it everywhere, especially on the trains. Woo!

If we are on friends on goodreads, you’ll see that my current read is Not That Kind of Girl by the lovely Lena Dunham from Girls. 

Spoiler alert – Dunham was describing a sex encounter, and this quote came in the passage:

I always reminded myself that this wasn’t exactly where I was meant to be, but pit stops are okay on the road of life, aren’t they?

Although I am taking it out of context, I believe this very phrase is true. We get so worked up on the things we lack, what we don’t have, with our current situation and how unhappy we are about things. Dunham reminded me to shut up, and cut myself some slack. That it is okay to fail, to make stupid mistakes, to take (unintentional) breaks in-between your goals.

I know I’ve always preached about self-appreciation and loving oneself, and it is still true to this day. If you missed that post, check it here. Because, who is going to love you more than you. Your parents don’t count.

Just saying.

If you’re anything like me, you will enjoy Dunham’s book. Although she is only in her late-twenties, she has insightful words. I really felt empowered after reading one snippet regarding relationships (no surprise there). You’ll love it! I promise. Finishing up the last few chapters.

Have a wonderful evening, family & friends!

 

my first break-ish

October 20, 2014

Last night I updated my Facebook with a “Life Event.” No, no, I did not get engaged, ha. Ew.

If we are friends via social media, I happily announced that I got a full-time job! Yes! I know, is this happening? Yes, family and friends, it is. Had my interview Wednesday morning, ran to finish the last few days at the restaurant job, and had another interview after in Queens. It was one crazy, emotionally exhausting week.

To my surprise, I did not expect to start so soon. I thought I was going to start next Monday; however, here I am, writing to you from my new desk. It sounds fancy because it is fancy – sorta. I work in Midtown, literally two blocks away from Times Square on the 19th Floor that oversees Broadway, a main street.

The role I am in is not like anything I’ve done before, far from administrative, thank goodness! Finally, hands-on experience. To me, the exciting part is working with another fabulous brand and in a Showroom – a New York showroom. I cannot emphasize how this is a big deal (for me). This is me making my first footprints in the fashion industry in one of the largest fashion capitals. It only goes up from here! 

I am so thrilled and very fortunate! Words cannot express how grateful I feel inside. Funny how only last week I was so stressed about being unemployed and a matter of three days and hard hustling, I got Lucky. (See what I did there?)

What about writing? Don’t fret, no matter how far I seem to stray from writing, it is forever ingrained in me. At heart, I am born to be a writer, just have an enjoyable ‘day-job’ to get me going, that’s all (:

Verdict of my first day? I got to work with our jewelry collections and prep them onto vision boards for our market meetings in a couple weeks.

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For all of you who have been praying for me since Day Numero Uno, thank you for sticking by side and reading my countless complaints, posts of self-doubt and possible depression – just kidding about that last one. No really, thank you!

This is such a major stepping stone from any roles I have worked in Los Angeles. New York is making me play with the Big Kids. Am I ready? Who is ever, though? I’m taking the plunge. 

Have a great rest of the week !

you’re a fortune teller, baby

October 15, 2014

She says, “You can’t base your life on the past or the present.” Brandy says, “You have to tell me about your future.”

This is a line from Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters. There was something about this excerpt that captured my attention.

We often say that our past impacts our present, or maybe it was just me that clung onto that idea. I mentioned how this is an opportunity for me to re-create myself. Starting anew on a blank canvas and paint what I wish to see, and who to become.

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It is similar to practice to affirmations; “you have to tell me about your future.” For those who know me on a personal level, you all know I am a Spiritual person – and if you don’t know, now you know. As hippy as that sounds, I believe in all the things that society may coined as “crap” such as the Law of Attraction, Karma and believing in the Universe’s Powers.

So what in the hell am I talking about? We may not be where we want to be, as individuals, in our professions, or simply life in general, but this is what my interpretation of Palahniuk’s quote: tell yourself what or who you want to be. “Tell me about your future.” Once you say it out loud or throw it out in the Universe, it responds, believe it or not. Say it over and over again. Then watch your actions; after it is ingrained in your mind of who/what you want to be, and making those moves to do so, it can happen.

I only know very few people who practice affirmations, live their lives with meditation and consider themselves Spiritual, so I do not expect you all to believe me. However, based upon my experiences and for what I’ve sought, most has been in my favor.

Literally, a year ago I told myself I will move to New York, day after day. I imagined myself living in this fast-paced lifestyle. Fast forward a year, here I am, chasing my dreams, living my dreams (sorta). Family and friends, I could care less who you were yesterday, it’s irrelevant now. Tell me who you aspire to be tomorrow, and remind yourself that, too.

Signing off

Oh P.S.: I forgot to mention, I will be a regular contributor at Forever Twenty-Somethings! It’s kind of cool to say, “I’m a writer” and have the credentials to back it up. Very excited for my first published article as a new writer to the site (:

*illustration by S.

you’re miserable

October 12, 2014

I was slowly coming to terms on how things were panning out for me – or how I imagined it until the end of the year. There was a beacon of hope and happiness shed in this post. But I received a phone call that you can consider a “slap in your face” from a recruiter.

Her name is Thalia, and she works closely to my direct agent. She said, “I have an assignment that you may be fitting for.” She gave me the details and she sensed my hesitation in my voice.  “What are you doing with your time right now? What do you have going on?” she asked firmly.

I gave her the drill. Then she grilled me with, “I don’t understand, Chary. You are more than a qualified candidate, but you are sticking out with these part-time jobs in fields that don’t even interested you. Why are you wasting your time?”

Never had a recruiter or a professional in general, be that completely honest with me before. This was a first. She was so brutally honest and even mentioned, “It has nothing to do with you, but New York is competitive. This candidate could have one more skill than you did and that is why she got the offer and you didn’t.” As she is saying this, I am taking in every word and can feel my heart being pinched.

Man, she’s so right. What the hell am I even doing?

The phone call could have not been at a better time. I’ve had a shitty week at the restaurant job – you know, the one I told you guys about a couple months back. Missed that update? Read it here. Let’s just say, I got written up for a petty act and been yelled at several times the past week that involved cursing. All to which I acknowledge I deserve – to an extent.

After that whiff of reality on top of the shitty stressful week, I finally threw in the towel. Today, I finally gave my notice. As much as the job was providing an income, which I had to negotiate for initially, from the beginning I’ve been unhappy and fooling myself that I can make it work. Or words I tell myself “tough it out.”

I feel so sorry for all my friends, who have constantly heard my rants about how upset I am with life or my jobs rather, and how stagnant I feel in life. It’s an earful, and it’s redundant; hearing myself blab about irks me! J told me I am miserable.

Truth is, I am. 

 

I live by these words:

It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a lifestyle, or a job. If it doesn’t make you happy let it go.

William Chapman

But for these few months, I forgot it all; I was so wrapped up in whatever I am/was. I held onto this job because it kept me afloat. Sometimes, you need to learn to let go. And finally, after months of going back-and-forth trying to rationalize myself, I did it.

New York is a hub of opportunities, and I am an opportunists! So it fits. Enough of my continuous bitching, time to be about it.

I don’t know how I am going to survive for the next few months, but I’ll figure it out. Somehow. Well, hope your weekend went fabulous family and friends! Finally in bed at a decent hour to write. Oh, and about to begin my job hunt. Sending lots of warm hugs and love. New York is getting a tad chilly, and my Californian-bones cannot deal right now. Freaking out winter.

Like what the heck is a winter coat?! What is this you speak of?!

Alright, bye!

slammed by poetry

October 8, 2014

Every week I am going out of my comfort zone. For starters, living in a different state is already welcoming some sort of discomfort. But a part of me felt that this time was a defining moment for me.

Who likes to feel remotely insecure?

Came across Brooklyn’s Book Festival in my daily read AM New York, a free newspaper that is typically read on trains for the early risers, and I wanted to attend an event. It was a Monday night, the event was described as “Slam Poetry.”

I thought well this is cool, I live for live performances, such as my constant urge to go to see intimate concerts. I hop onto the trains and get myself to the Barcalay’s Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, formerly from New Jersey (I only know this information because my little brother is a huge fan; telling you that my family are destined for the East Coast).

I don’t know what to anticipate aside from the fact that there will be creative minds and those who interested in the writing and/or arts background. I slipped myself through the curtains.

Rows of chairs and a medium-height man on the mic in the spot light. He talks about themes and words. Alright, this is cool. Next thing you know, he passes the mic to an audience member. I freaked out, the audience has to participate?! You’re kidding. Then I began to notice that everyone who was at this event, about eight people including myself, have blue notebooks and pens before them.

Oh, I did not sign up for this I thought.

Everyone is going down reading what they wrote. All different formats to witty short stories to a simple yet raunchy haiku. After they were read and written, each writer would stand up on stage and be voted by the judges. Winners get a newly published book from the author.

Great. I have to read aloud and get on stage? This is too wonderful. Please note my sarcasm and my lack of enthusiasm in that last sentence. I just walked into a writing-prompt-slam-poetry-kind-of-thing.

Onto the next round, we all were asked to share a phrase and we all would vote which to use. We used Jenna’s “For the life of me, I can’t believe she just did that.” Timer was up: five minutes. Go.

I observed before I began to draft anything – these young writers began to write right away! Here I was, sitting and figuring how to start. Finally, the timer went up.

We all passed the mic around and read our stuff. When it was my turn – I simply asked, “Do I have to?” Already setting the tone with doubting the quality of my work and how awful I am at public speaking.

By the way, is a weakness of mine. So, if you ever thought I was good at it, well no. I hate it. I really do, even when I taken on leadership roles in high school and college.

I read out loud and I can already sense the lack of creativity and how there was no awe to my little story.

Whereas, Jenna, was praised. Not only her phrase was selected, but a loud round of applause.slam_poetryillustration

Man, I sound so immature while writing this, huh? The insecurity and jealousy rising. I felt so intimidated. Such a newb in prompt writing as well as trying to craft poetry in general.

Moving forward from being timid and doubtful, this definitely made me question myself more. It made me question: how do I expand my imagination? How do I become more creative?

It’s difficult, because if you see most of my work, it’s personal stories or article/informative style.

Sounds black and white. But these writers painted it with streaks of gold. How do I get there, I questioned myself.

Is there a lesson in all of this? Sure. Not that I already do not know this, but as writers we all do have different writing styles. I have to learn to embrace mine and improve continuously. Secondly, I been thinking about going back to school again.

I know, how dreadful, but this time, more of my complete interest: writing. Writing what about?

There are a few courses that cover article writing, food writing and creative writing, all three interest me, but I will have to find one that is more specific for me to excel in. It costs a pretty penny, so I am reevaluating my approach – meeting with other writers and editors say that I shouldn’t. Just keep practicing…

There you have it. I’m no Jenna, but I am a Chary and although I may not be poetic or freaking talented, I like to believe I have a niche, in the midst of all these posts.

Again, being doubtful will lead me nowhere, so I have to disregard those feelings and compare myself to myself yesterday, not Jenna.

*Illustration by S.

home improvement: mason jars

October 6, 2014

Sometimes, I feel my Instagram has more love than my actual writing and blog itself. Why? I update it regularly and captioning photos are my favorite! Plus, it gives you insight to my lifestyle.

Anyway, it’s Monday afternoon. I had a crazy week and today is my only day off to really catch up on sleep, errands and random projects.

For all of you who missed out on my living conditions, please click this post here. I know it’s not ideal where all my walls are white and I have amazing white and black decor, but the loft does have a lot of character. Now living here for a couple of months, I am finally accepting that I will be living here for about a year and it’s time to make it home-y. Been holding off on a lot of things to keep life minimal, but after reevaluating where my path may lead and how cost efficient my place is, I really cannot deny it! So, making it worthwhile. Immersing myself, you know?

I been tapping into creative blogs for DIY projects, simple and easy things to make the loft warming. Decided to start up a DIY/Home Improvement section on my blog, that incorporates my lifestyle other than my usual topics I dab into.

Project Uno: The Pantry. My roommates J, B and I don’t have much of a pantry. For us, food storage is crucial. Remember about buying goodies that last a couple of days? Yup.

I realized that my section was messy and lacked space due to plastic zip-lock bags my family sent from care packages, and I can’t fit my essentials. Mason jars are so “hipster,” but say what you want, I think they’re eco-friendly and effortlessly appealing.

So what did I do?

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Mason Jars bulk purchase here. Inspired by Lauren.

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Obviously, I run on caffeine, and my roommate B and I generally share our beans. Learning how to do French Press is very interesting! Our collection is growing; however, I will admit, I cheat. Opt out for instant coffee most days when I am in a rush.

Alright family and friends, I’m off to an eye doctor. For the record, I don’t wear contact or glasses, and seeing a specialist today kind of worries me. I have this weird eye thing going on, and I been so insecure about it! Ah!

Happy Monday and thanks for tuning in for a quick update! For more of my daily insights, swing by my instagram @charypie — drool over the food pictures! Ta-ta !

what pressure?

October 2, 2014

Man, everyone is getting engaged, married and/or pregnant! Apparently, I am slowly entering that age group …

Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy for my friends who are going through these great life’s milestones, but it is scary thought for me. I felt as if I was behind because you know, I am the forever-single-type. I was surrounded by so many people who are serious relationships such as my close girlfriends – every single one of them are happily taken…not complaining though, okay a little. I am happy for them, but it grosses me out that’s all.

Although it was not a direct pressure such as, “Chary, get yourself a boyfriend already,” type of ordeal, being surrounded by people who are in serious relationships made me feel as if I had this inner-clock to tell me to commit to someone already. Tick-tock.

Fortunate for me, my parents do not expect any grandkids anytime soon, or ever from me. Thank you, Mom and Dad for always being understanding even when I am irrational, like all the time.

Now that I am out of my usual environment, by that I also mean away from close friends, I don’t sense that pressure from society or anyone. New Yorkers have a different personality – everyone is looking to establish themselves professionally. My people! dil

Time is measured differently, some are pushing into their 30s and are still single. Of course, you’d come across someone who is in their early-twenties and happily married. That’s cool, too.

But you understand what I am saying, right? The only type of pressure I feel from life and from New York is creating a successful career for myself before I am thirty. I wrote about all of that, too; missed that post? Click here.

The thought of entering another year of my mid-twenties is very frightening; sure, I have a few months from now, but still. Thing is, don’t know if I have been up to par with any of ‘Life’s Standards’ or if I am on track on my timeline. But knowing me and how life unfolds – I end up doing what I want, when I want anyways.

But let’s do a quick shift back to the opener about relationships, and I wanted to be completely honest about this. As much as I did date casually and have gone through many (many) disappointments, this time I vowed to myself it will be different. Because as I continue to build myself and my life here, I do want someone to share it with. However, I am not in a rush either to find a manfriend, boyfriend or bae – whatever you call ‘em.

I want someone for the long haul, like how I am for New York. It only makes sense, to me. The dating scene is very much different here, but I will keep those stories minimal.

Happy Thursday, family and friends. Bracing myself for the cold that is slowly creeping upon us. How are YOU?

 *Illustration by S.

PS: A bartender last night said, “So you have a boyfriend or something? You look like you’re in a serious relationship.” Little did he know, the only serious relationship I have is with food, mainly with pizza.

& I hope you all caught my slight sarcasm and mockery in this post. For those who know me well enough, I typically don’t nag about being single because I don’t have an issue about it (:

city to city

September 30, 2014

I been wanting to go to Philadelphia since I moved here to New York, and heard it was only a couple hours away. A dear old friend from college, Devon, recently moved to the lowkey-city for graduate school at UPenn – so proud of him. Both new to the East Coast and hungry for new experiences and success, I decided to take a short trip to catch up and explore his new hometown.

Take a peek:

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philly_subwayDSC01134oldest_streethardrockcafesouthportmagic_gardenDSC01161It was such a strange feeling: I missed New York City as soon it hit 24-hours in Philly. The pace is different, much slower. The ambiance is much different more historical culture, if you will. Old for the lack of better terms, too. To me, there was a lack of liveliness that NYC has on a regular basis. I often saw young medical professionals and a lack of cultural diversity on the streets – something that is now new to me since I am so used to seeing a lot of different cultures. Definitely, not high in foot-traffic as well as a populated city. Whoa.

I will admit the weather is better compared to the humidity New Yorkers face. It reminded me of California, where the air was fresh and there was no pollution! My favorite sights are the first and the last photo. I asked Devon if he can model for me. They are simply beautiful; sorry, my camera and editing skills did no justice. Autumn is here for us, the leaves are changing and nights are cooler. Yay!

I am so excited to witness all four seasons. I say that now, but I have a weird feeling that when winter hits, I will be doomed and complaining how cold it is. Apparently, we are anticipating an extremely cold winter…

OH! The food, well let’s say that they have better authentic Vietnamese food for an inexpensive price compared to many places in NYC. This made me sad! Really sad. Man, I miss Asian food.

Quick recap for you all. What I got out of this trip, even if it was brief, how addicted I’ve become to the Big Apple’s energy. I thought this was interesting.

Feels like I haven’t written anything worthy to read in awhile. That is about to change, I hope. I hate just posting for the sake of posting – you know me, I like substance and quality content! ‘Nough of my inner rants, I really need to finish press clippings.

Happy Tuesday friends & family!

PS: I don’t know if you all missed my question in the last post – but I have to reiterate, what do YOU want to hear from me?

 

 

a new york moment:

September 25, 2014

Remember when I said I had to “get used to New York” and all of its jazz? A Native New Yorker said there is no such thing.

You don’t learn to adjust, you just deal with it.

I am starting to find it normal when people are preaching about God in trains, random drag performances at Union Square, and the constant cab drivers honking for every little delay. Learning to navigate through the different neighborhoods, familiar with large streets and ushering myself through massive crowds like a pro.  Last week, I was in a meeting and she said, “You seem like a seasoned New Yorker.” I was pleased to hear that! Yay!

I had a New York moment: I was getting out of the office late from Fashion Week, nearly 3AM. The team requested me to take the cab home since taking the trains would be difficult – and trust me, after hours, trains are terrible.

You think by having a large transit system would help you get to point A to point B quickly, false. You cannot fathom how much I dread traveling from the West Side to the East Side. I live near the Upper East Side, and typically the commute is not bad to work. It’s a whole other story about getting on trains on the weekends and late nights.

buttAnyway, I got off to the main street, which was Eighth Avenue and there I was, stepped off to the curb and threw my right hand in the air. Within seconds, I see a cab dashing my way. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw.

Slid myself into the cab and gave him the intersections of my home. Off we drove off! There I was, smiling in the backseat. It is like a scene from a romantic comedy movie where the camera is really close to the protagonist when she’s leaning close to the cab window, smiling by herself? Yeah, that was your girl. 

I know the act is very minimal, but to me, I hailed my first cab! Not saying I’ve never taken a cab – I am saying that I never waved one down before; usually I just walk into one when it’s available, and that’s no fun.

So proud that I can do so and that I have transitioned so well that I appeared to be a ‘seasoned New Yorker.’

Just a side note before I officially close this post: you all seem so intrigued with my dating life – according to my stats, I had more views on my first date post than the previous post.

I want to hear from you. Besides my not-so-fabulous dating stories, what do you want to hear from me? I am listening. Leave a comment, send an email, tweet me – whatever you want. I definitely want to know (:

*Illustration by S.