Do not get stuck on a to-do list

Grab a horchata latte and relax with me. I’ve been on a horchata latte kick lately because it’s so good. Horchata latte is espresso and the Mexican rice drink, horchata. Usually I am not a horchata fan because a lot of the time I find it diluted. Maybe it’s better to attempt horchata myself — this horchata recipe looks so good!

Speaking of kick, I’ve been reading a few good graphic novels which has gotten me back on my reading groove.

Horchata latte

Career break week

This week was my week off before I start my new job. Though I had a list of things I’d like to do during my career break week, I did not accomplish any of them but it was still a very productive week. I’ve learned early in my life to not get stuck on a to-do list. On Monday, I visited the three daycares I narrowed down after a 2-3 weeks of research. On Tuesday, I made a decision on which daycare to enroll Lna and paid the deposit. Thursday was her first day there. We did half-days on Thursday and Friday. When I picked her up at noon, it was so weird to think that I’m only four miles away from my house, not 25 miles. I had the rest of the day to continue running errands or driving home for nap time.

I spent my week putting together a dressier wardrobe for work. It’s business casual, how it has been with my other previous jobs. I got away with slacks and sneakers since I did a lot of walking around the hospital. But this employer prefers “a suit jacket over a dress or dress shirt/slacks.” I decided to go in a greener direction by looking into neighborhood no-buys on Facebook and thrift stores. I also had some clothes that needed some fixing so I sent it over to an alteration place.

My mom gifted me tomato plants last weekend. I had to get supplies for the tomato plant such as a large terracotta plant, plate, soil, and the tomato cage. It was very hard to find a large terracotta plant. I went to a few stores and finally found one.

Also, I got a chance to meet with my cousin and her husband for dinner. It’s hard to meet up with them since they both work weekends. She’s a flight attendant and he’s nurse. I guess looking back, though I did not accomplish anything on my list, it was overall a good week off. I even worked on a few posts that have been in the draft backburner for so long.

The Next 30 days

…will be interesting. It’s too long to share, but… I would not be surprised if at some point one of the BILs will call their mom over. MIL will come to our house and ask my husband, “why are you pushing your brothers to get jobs and be more productive? Why are you scaring them with an eviction?”

Tags: #WeekendCoffeeShare

Door number 1, 2, and 3

** Warning: Long Post **

I just see a person

On Saturday my husband is off to a robotics competition. He’s a coach/mentor for a local high school. BIL #1 and BIL #2 are going to see their mom since it is her birthday. They offered to bring Lana because it would be nice for her to see her grandmother and it would free me up, but I told them she had dance classes and we had other plans. Honestly, I am less enthused about Lana going to MIL’s birthday because I am still bitter about that one spontaneous visit where she compared her with her cousins. But that was only part of it.

Continue reading Door number 1, 2, and 3

Holiday planning

Here are all the things I meant to include in the previous weekends’ coffee share. Sit back and enjoy some milk tea and some snacks.

So we decided it was best to not go anywhere for this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ever since we moved to LA back in 2012, we have been splitting our time during November and December between LA and San Diego. One year, we’ll spend Thanksgiving weekend in San Diego and Christmas in LA. For the following year, we switch the visits. I’m not going to lie, it can be quite stressful for my husband and me because we’re the ones who make the drive while the San Diego family does not. I recalled from one Christmas in San Diego my husband asked me, “can you remind me why do we switch between SD and LA? It’s not like on years when we decide to stay in LA for Christmas they come over here.” My answer was, “it’s (your) family. I treat your family like I treat mine.” At that time we left in a rush after his sister soured Christmas morning with a family fight with her brothers and mom. At this point, he felt we were just going to San Diego just for the act of showing up for family.

Continue reading Holiday planning

Exhausted and disillusioned

I finally made it to the end of the week and why did its arrival feel so freaking slow?! It’s been quite a week and I could not wait for it end! Well as of last Friday, my husband was off for two weeks for military training. Over that past weekend, I was working on Lana’s room — decluttering and reorganizing. Then…well let’s break this week past week down:

Continue reading Exhausted and disillusioned

I hate the “P” word

As promised I will write about Asian American identity and the ways it has affected my life and how I’ve come to acknowledge my privilege.

The “P” word I am referring to is “privilege.” It started as this incredibly long post, but I decided to cut this up. I wanted to posit the question, what should one do when they’re told to “check their privilege?”

I have noticed throughout my 20s and 30s, I’ve been told to “check my privilege.” This feedback has been more frequent the older I got, even over the more “simple” things like me being comically frugal is considered a privilege. When people tell me to “check at my privilege,” I’m not quite sure what to do other than say “okay” and shrug it off. Should I also give you money and my degrees? Should I feel awful about myself every time I go into my office job that pays the bills? Should I feel bad about making healthier lifestyle choices (i.e. exercising, eating fruits and veggies, etc) because it’s an “expensive lifestyle?”

I am very well aware of my privilege and I want to use it to make the world a better place. I work in a large public hospital where we provide healthcare whether or not these patients carry insurance. We are also a hub where we do a bi-monthly food pantry feeding patients and community members experiencing food insecurity. At my work, I use it as an opportunity to teach aspiring healthcare workers the importance of patient advocacy. Care does not only happen within the four walls of a clinic, they should care about what happens to them outside too. Do these patients have access to hygiene products, affordable housing, healthy food, etc.?

I left my last job because I did not feel we did enough for the older adults living in affordable housing. We did a lot more for the older adults living in market rate housing and I found it incredibly frustrating because it conflicted with the organization’s mission.

Telling me to “check my privilege” is hardly, if at all, an action. I never understood it. Are they coming from a place where they want help or are they just being mean-spirited?

Working on my daily three

Happy weekend coffee share! So I wanted to do a recap of how my three tasks a day experiment has been going so far. The practice is pretty simple: I write no more than three tasks per day on my work planner for work-related tasks and I do the same on my day planner for my non-work related items. If you see my work planner before, you would find a ridiculously long tasks lists containing mix of high- and low-priority items. On my day planner, my task lists were starting to look more like wish lists of things I wanted to do.

Here is what I learned so far:

It’s not about doing less and being lazy, it’s about setting boundaries — especially at work.

Listing three high priority work items sets intention for my work day. But there are days when something happens that calls my attention (per my supervisor) and all of the sudden there’s about an hour left in the work day. From there, I want to take a brief moment to breathe…. and then a volunteer stands by my door asking if I’m busy. I take another breath and I look at my list shocked by how I did not make any effort to do anything on my daily three. I look at the volunteer profusely apologizing for not being able to help her right now but she could send me an e-mail. Thankfully, she was very understanding because there have been some who would NOT take that as an acceptable answer.

It’s ok to have recurring tasks even if they’ve been there daily for the last several weeks because they’re clearly very important

Everyday for the past several weeks on my work planner I listed “write letter of recommendation.” This will continue up until the beginning of November because I have MANY volunteers who are applying to medical school, P.A. school, nursing school, graduate school, undergraduate, etc. It’s in my daily three because I would HATE to miss a deadline for something so important to them.

Other recurring tasks were around events and projects I managed. For example, this past Thursday, I had this large event. A month leading up to this event, I wrote on my work planner the name of that event everyday up to the day of. I wanted to make sure I still had it on my mind to finalize the details, confirm RVSPs, etc. I knew this event would have gotten lost in the shuffle of other things and suddenly re-emerge itself the week of if I did not write it down on my daily three everyday this month.

For home, I write exercise on my daily three everyday because I know I forget to exercise on most days. It’s clearly important to me since I spend a lot of my time sitting on a desk. Other recurring tasks I’ve had at some point was watering my newly installed plants daily for the first several weeks until established.

Spreads my to-dos throughout the week.

Maybe this is more beneficial for my home life. Why do I let myself believe I can do a million tasks in a day when I can just spread it throughout the week in groups of three? The daily three makes each day more digestible.

It looks like my daily three for work and for home will be here to stay!


How do you manage your tasks at work and at home? Comment below!

It’s Saturday before 9:30 AM and I am already tired

Another weekend coffee share. It’s not even 9:30 am and I am already wiped out. This weekend my husband and I are watching our friend’s one year old beagle, Kolohe. She’s been here for less than 24 hours and I am EXHAUSTED! We are watching Kolohe because my friend finds her to be a handful. We’ll probably go to the dog park a little later to expend their energies. When I say “later” I mean like after 3PM. I woke up before 7 am to feed Lana and change her and entertain her. I also fed all three dogs and made them play in backyard before the gardeners arrived to install the jasmines. The hard part was getting Kolohe back in the house when the gardeners arrived. My husband does not want Kolohe in our room, but I already gave up. I am already so pre-occupied with everything else. My goal for the weekend to not have Kolohe bolt through the neighborhood and that is enough. By the way, I did not have any coffee yet.

My three tasks a day experiment is going well so far. It does not mean I do my three tasks and I won’t do anything for the rest of the day, I put three things to set myself some intention in my day. I already know I’ll get some interruptions throughout the day — I can’t predict what. The other day at work, a volunteer stopped my office asking me if I was busy. I was in the middle of something and I glanced at my task list. I had about 30 minutes left before I had to leave the office and I only completed one thing out of my three for the day. There was this major project that was been eating up a lot of my time and I was still working on this project. I had to tell her I was busy, but she could reach out to me via e-mail. If it was not for my three tasks experiment, I would have said “yes” to the inquiry and let that eat all my time and left the office later. I really need to take care of myself.

What else is in the plans for the rest of the weekend? I brought up some weekend ideas to my husband the other day. I wanted to go on an easy hiking trail (my husband hurt his knee), walk around a local garden, or go produce picking at a local farm. These are fairly low impact activities. But I am already tired. Maybe a trip to the dog park is a better idea. But I’d rather wait until the afternoon. Maybe once my daughter naps, I’ll take a nap too.

EDIT: my daughter napped for an hour. I did not. I spent that hour giving my spent coffee beans a second life in the front yard. Oh yeah I had my coffee too. I also practiced my Spanish and did some power hour tasks. A lot can be done in an hour.

Apple tart and coffee (from some cafe in Angers, France last year)

#weekendcoffeeshare: The art of vegging out

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans?  Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

Oh wow, what a week! I am not referring to certain external events. As of today, will heading towards my final week of maternity leave. This week has been pretty busy I went out of the house everyday of the week to run a few errands, attend a doctor appointment, attend a dentist appointment, and I even went to my work to do daycare orientation for Lana. Since I was already at work, I thought I might as well complete my annual health clearance at the Employee Health office. I may have fooled some people thinking I returned from maternity leave two weeks early.

Everyday this week I woke up anywhere between the hours of 4:30 AM to 5:30 AM. Today I decided to sleep in and woke up at 6:45 AM. I did not feel like doing my daily exercise. I tried “vegging out” but I guess my version of “vegging out” is going through coffee table books like Lonely Planet’s The Cities Book dreaming of future international trips (if we ever do them again) and researching recipes while the news is playing in the background. I also did laundry and folded clothes. That was my “lazy” morning.

Note to self: maybe I should not just go, go, go. Looking through my planner for next week, I do not have any appointments. I promise in my final week of maternity leave I should just enjoy it in the extent that I can.

On a serious note, this week the number of COVID cases have spiked and those are people within my family on both my side and my husband’s side. I do not want to divulge too much on the details right now. One of the first things I’ll do when I go back to work is to get the COVID vaccine. I’ll be the only person in my family who’ll get the COVID vaccine since I am a healthcare worker. I am excited and I am hopeful, but it does not mean I should go out and about. My husband and many of our family members who are not healthcare workers cannot get the vaccine yet. Hopefully distribution picks up soon.

Best of 2020 according my photos

I barely posted in 2020 but I did take plenty of photos throughout the year worth their own post in the future. To make it easy, I’ll review my year based on the photos that are currently in media library otherwise, it would be me spending many hours going through my hard drive.

In late January to February, we travelled to Italy, France, and Germany. Who knew that returning to the U.S. we would have an epidemic that quickly turned into a pandemic. Who knew that it was going to be our last big trip for the rest of the year? I realized on my media gallery I only posted some food photos of the trip — I promise I’ll get around to posting the travel photos in a future post. Maybe I’ll bring back Travel Tuesday?

With the pandemic came the stay-at-home order at California. I also found out I was pregnant. To reduce my risk, I had to stop taking public transit to work and started driving. I’ll admit, it was nice getting to work faster than usual. I also used that opportunity to explore usually crowded places like Santa Monica. One weekend I wanted to go to Santa Monica Promenade to go to one of my favorite bakeries. When I got there, I was bummed to find it was temporarily closed — as was other businesses on the Promenade. It was surreal to find these usually touristy places completely empty on a Saturday.

At work we received an overwhelming amount of donations from the community ranging from cards, care packages, and meals. It was a nice morale booster that carried the hospital through the year.

Then I gave birth to my first baby. I kept my pregnancy quiet on social media. I am so glad I did. I already knew we were not going to have a baby shower, I was not expecting gifts. Instead I wanted to focus on taking care of myself throughout my pregnancy. I only announced her arrival.

I spent December experimenting with different cookie recipes for the first cookie swap with friends. It was a lot of fun trying out different cookie recipes. After giving birth, I felt like I was in a slump; I spent my days changing diapers, feeding Lana, cleaning the house, walking the dogs, and exercise. I think researching recipes, making, and tasting the cookies revived my creativity.

Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favorite Images of 2020

Muse Catalog, 3/23/2020

We are never finished with grief. It is part of the fabric of living. It is always waiting to happen. Love makes memories and life precious; the grief that comes to us is proportionate to that love and is inescapable.

V. S. Naipaul

The COVID-19 journal: Keeping your spirits up

Yesterday, there were currently 94 cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles. Today, there are currently 144. There are still no cases admitted to our hospital. The medical school pulled the students from doing their residency. I find it kind of weird because where else would they go? Gladly, these students are coming back on their own volition to volunteer their time at the hospital. Hearing that lifted my spirits.

Today at my department we did a team huddle about every one to two hours. It was like breaking news to discuss what temporary change has unfolded or perform a quick report within the next hour to send to the big boss. There was even a possibility of our department closing during the outbreak. I was not sure what it would entail. Would it mean we disperse to support other departments? Or does it mean we get furloughed without pay? The latter is something I cannot afford.

We host many events at the hospital inviting the community throughout the year, but they have all been cancelled or postponed. When things get cancelled and everything pulls you in every which direction, it can be hard to keep your spirits up.

How do you cope with dealing with COVID-19?

For me, I found at work, it helps to:

  • Keep a sense of humor
  • E-mail your coworkers a list of link of good news — everyone could use some good news.
  • Enjoy my drive from home to downtown LA. My average time is 30 minutes each way.
  • Since my drive is short, I can sleep in. I can have productive mornings exercising and pack my lunch.
  • I prefer to sit outside during my lunch breaks, but because it’s been raining for the last few days, I get cooped up in the cafeteria. I instead go back to the office to nap or read. Maybe I’ll try some office exercise.

At home:

  • Enjoy the sun. This morning the sun was out and there was no rain for a few hours. I finally took my dogs out for a walk.
  • Journaling my observations about how people behave around COVID-19. The hospital is fairly serene compared to going to the grocery store. On Saturday, I went to ALDI for a few groceries. When I arrived around 5 PM, they closed. The posted closing time is 9 PM but because they ran out of a lot of food, they closed early.

20 for (20)20

I was listening to my favorite podcast, “Happier.” by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft going over their 19 for (20)19. I usually love making lists of things to do, but for the last few years my head was in a fog, and I never got around to writing them. I am sure my list that exists in my head is infinite, but yet I want to get around doing it now. Listening to this episode reinvigorated me to write my 20 in (20)20 list to make my new year fun.

Since I did not create a 19 for 20(19) list, I think I’ll create a reverse 19 for 20(19)  to reflect on the 19 things I did.

Anyways, here is my 20 in 20(20) list.

  1. Visit 20 different museums, landmarks, or national parks. 
  2. Try 20 different restaurants. This includes dessert places, food stands, and food trucks. Since I am going to be out of the country in February, for the sake of fairness, I’ll keep it local — within Los Angeles County.
  3. Try 30 new recipes. Since I finished school, I’ve got more time to be creative.
  4. Do a 1-second video every day and stitch it into a short video. I heard about the 1 Second Everyday App on the podcast. It reminds me of the one photo a day challenge. We will see how I keep up
  5. Read and complete 20 different books. I’ve got plenty of books I’ve started and have not yet completed.
  6. Take 750 classes Pure Barre classes. Stretch goal: Reach to 1000 classes. When we had to stay elsewhere during the home remodel, my barre attendance plummeted. Now since we moved back, I am slowly building back to a regular schedule.
  7. Add a chalkboard to the pantry door. I am not sure if we should paint the door with chalkboard paint and put a frame on it ala “Friends” or make an actual chalkboard.
  8. Create an artistic display of our postcards. We get postcards from friends, family, and Postcrossing. I collect postcards too. They are stored in a box, and they deserve to be out.
  9. Get up to 6 months of living expenses in our emergency fund. Self-explanatory. A lot of our savings went to our home remodel. It is better to have a definitive emergency fund goal, rather than just save for the sake of savings. There were times where I felt tethered. We exceeded our savings goal, and we never bit the bullet for almost anything. People have a funny interaction with money. Which leads me to my next point, we need to have a definition of what constitutes an “emergency.”
  10. To not buy any clothes and accessories for the year. The only clothing items I would buy are underwear, socks, shoes, and workout clothes. I have a small shoe collection which consists of walking shoes, one pair of fashion boots, two professional shoes which I keep in the office, one pair of sandals, and two pairs of hiking boots. I walk on average 10,000-12,000 steps a day. I have a fair wardrobe of workout wear, and I wear them until they’re worn out.
  11. Complete a perfect push-up.
  12. Plant a tree for the front yard. Don’t forget, keep it alive too.
  13. Clean and dress up the parking strip.
  14. Plant three herbs for the entryway.
  15. Make a wreath for the front door.
  16. Do a power hour once per week. I am obsessed with the idea of power hour. It’s an hour where I tackle all the non-routine things I’ve been meaning to do such as organizing the cabinets, doing our finances, cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, etc. I had a hard time doing a power hour in my previous job because I was working all the time. On my days off, my power hour was more like a power nap.
  17. Bite the bullet and buy a domain for my blog.
  18. Get a new FitBit — My Charge 2 is at the end of its life. The heart rate monitor feature no longer works. I can’t believe I’ve had it for four years!
  19. Host three get-togethers with friends. Maybe we will even get to host Friendsgiving this year.
  20. Send postcards to friends when I travel. Bonus: Send holiday greeting cards in December.

What is your 20 in (20)20?