Hi there! Here you'll learn about all of my learning experiences at my internship, and my adventures in and around San Diego. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Goodbye Until Tomorrow

This post is a little delayed, considering I am already in L.A. taking a small vacation before I return to the East Coast, but I feel really proud and accomplished of what I was able to do in 8 weeks. I learned the basics of blogging and iMovie, I conducted market research projects, and I created a strong foundation for starting my senior project, which requires a lot more work than I anticipated. However, I had the incredible opportunity to live out here on the Barth Scholarship, so I am feeling a huge sense of Gratitude for all of the people at school, my friends, and my family for making all of this happen.
All of my friends out here have been asking me the next time I'm coming back, and I've been saying "As soon as possible" to everyone because the city has treated me so well! For this, I will write a thank-you letter/poem to San Diego.

Dear San Diego,
Thank you for your beaches, filled with soft and gritty sand.
Your oceans, whose waves push in and pull out as if they were breathing.
Thank you for your streets, lined with sidewalk cafés, restaurants of every kind, and skyscrapers that light up the sky, clearing the marine layer of fog that rests above the skyline.
Your beachtowns and downtown - both of which I was able to experience in a short amount of time.
Thank you for bringing me into a community of people who, at first, speak a different language.
Energy. Yoga. Speaking Your Truth. Embodiment. Manifestation.
I slowly acquired this "language" and made it a part of my everyday vocabulary, and proved to myself that a different way of thinking will permeate different aspects of my life.

This different way of thinking is as follows: Using positive energy in your life and letting people support you will feed into this energy.

The universe is on your side.

As I end my final blog post, I look forward to probably starting another one another point in time, because my experience as a blogger has encouraged me to keep it up and join the ever-expanding blogger community.
Finally...I knew what my last line of my blog would be even before I flew out here, so I will end with this:

In the words of the fine news reporter Ron Burgundy - "Stay classy, San Diego."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Final Countdown

Yes, it is the final countdown of my days left in San Diego. I have been at my new home in Banker's Hill for about a week and I've had some free time to explore Hillcrest, an adjacent neighborhood. This, along with Solana Beach is a community I could see myself living in some day - which is actually a great feeling, considering I've only been out here for less than 2 months!
Even though my time is dwindling at J4J, my work is not! I have still been busy creating content for the daily feature, which you can read here. Also, I developed a Social Media Operations Manual, which is a brief step-by-step guide on basically how I conducted the blog this summer, along with a longer , more casual essay-style guide where I disclose more or less everything that I learned about using blogs and social media effectively. Right now I am in LA staying with my girlfriend and visiting Alex, and I'll be here to stay after my last week in San Diego, which starts on Monday (eek!). When I finish, I'll be going to Vegas, doing touristy things in LA, and experiencing a small work-free summer, which will be nice - although, living/working in San Diego has basically been a working vacation (in the best way possible).
I've been getting excited for everything coming up this year, which includes singing and performing with the Clark Bars and taking on the responsibilities of Assistant Director, creating, planning, and marketing my senior project (date for now is April 13th 2013...wish me luck!), registering for 5th year courses, taking other courses that are 100% dedicated/focused to my interests/passions (hey, it's senior year) - Studio, Jazz History, either Entrepreneurship or DIY Media -, and finding a job because, of course, I must be able to live!

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the Money

Well...I'm not actually "in the money" as the title suggests, but I have moved from my spot in Solana Beach to this beautiful one-bedroom in Bankers Hill (get it? money...bank...it's a pun) which is a few blocks from Balboa Park, and I really lucked out with the location because it's also about 10 minutes from Little Italy/Downtown San Diego.
Last night, I was a part of a mastermind/focus group of professors, leaders, and activists in the movement of awareness surrounding sexual violence, and we were discussing opportunities to pursue educational curriculum targeted towards men. It was an eye-opening, engaging, and inspiring session filled with dialogue surrounding rape culture (particularly in fraternities), different marketing tactics for this curriculum, and how we might execute facilitating it in universities. I even got the contact information of a professor who teaches a pop culture course at SDSU! I had brought up media as a huge influence in rape culture and talked about how I did a final paper on hegemonic masculinity in my Cultural Discourses of Advertising course last year where I explored these cultural discourses through chronological and cross-cultural lenses.
Today, I wrote up a brief piece elaborating on J4J's model of social change: Awareness - Engagement - Transformation - Leadership - Action, and I'm really starting to feel solidified as a member of this organization and an advocate of the cause, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
The school year is nearing (exactly one numerical month) - wow! - and I have really started to get into contacting people and departments for my senior project. I'm grateful because my work and experience at J4J has let me move from a place of Awareness to a place of Engagement (according to their model of social change), which is going to help in the planning and marketing processes for my project.
Tonight, I am attending another Shabbat dinner at Moishe House San Diego, which I recently found out is part of a national organization, so I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not Another Case of the Mondays

This week, I have decided to try to wake up earlier, for a couple reasons.
1. It is my last week in Solana Beach, so I might as well make best use of the time
2. I haven't really been training at all, so I can use mornings to take a run and make up for lost runs
3. As much as I love sleeping in as late as I can before work (weekends don't count), I have always found an appreciation for getting up early. Here is to hoping that the mornings don't stay as gray!

I decided on that title because I woke up early today to eat breakfast at Cedros Café, a breakfast  place I have been curious about ever since I got here because I pass it every day on my way to work. Since I don't have any breakfast food at my house, it forced me to come here before work. Since the frittata wasn't ready, I settled for a bacon/egg/cheese on a sesame bagel, a traditional "me"sandwich. That is probably the least "socal" or "healthy" meal I've had out here, BUT I got to have fresh-squeezed orange juice, and nobody can deny that is one of the best gifts in the world.

Even though it is my last week in Solana Beach, I still have much to look forward to: My girlfriend is coming out to visit and work at J4J with me for my last week at the office, so I'm excited to show her around San Diego! I guess the "legacy" that I hope to leave at J4J is this strategy guide, and I can only hope that what I did to help re-establish and maintain J4J's online presence will remain in the coming years. But I shouldn't be talking like I'm done - I still have two weeks left!

Starting on Friday, I'll be living in Banker's Hill, a neighborhood that's much more down South. What I've seen from pictures tells me it's a swanky apartment, so I'm pretty stoked to live there for two weeks.
Also, I just realized that I'll be moving back in to Clark in a month...but who's counting?
My summer home

"It's a gray day in the neighborhood..."
But I live on a beach so it's ok.
Beach cliff-art

Friday, July 20, 2012

Raw Revolution

I finally have started learning iMovie, slowly progressing on my senior project, and have started two new projects for the internship. One of these projects is a Health Bar project, with an end-goal of writing sponsorship letters for Justice in Motion Season 4. I was given 10-12 different brands of health/energy bars and made two charts - one with their contact information and one split up into Fat, Sugar, Protein, and Fiber content. After assessing which was the overall healthiest, I listed their "taglines" and at tomorrow's run, I will be distributing them to the runners after the run at our fundraising clinic! After we decide which bars are the best, I will be crafting letters to these brands in hopes of garnering sponsorship support. One entertaining piece of this project has been looking at the brand names of these bars - Rise, Kind, Chi, Pure, Amazing Grass, Raw Revolution, Zing, and Luna.
So California.
My second project has been writing a guide for whoever is taking over the tasks that I've been handling this summer (social media, marketing, development). Other responsibilities include interviewing possible candidates and training, which is completely new for me - I've only been on the trainee side!!
It wasn't a particularly sunny day when I took these pictures,
but I feel like this shot captures the beach in a simple and natural way.

If you take a look at my photography, you'll see that I like "depth" shots...a lot.
Alas, tomorrow is another run and next week is one of my last full weeks at Jeans 4 Justice, so there will be more to tell you all!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Halfway Home

Let me start off by saying, what an amazing summer this has been.
I found out about the Barth Scholarship near the end of April, found housing two weeks before I flew out, and hit the ground running, as I said in my beginning posts.
I have been running and doing yoga, both (at least) once a week, meeting some amazing people, and discovering a new perspective on life: Everything is going to work out. When I was worried about not getting a place for the last 10 days I'm here (my current sublease ends at the end of July), my sister told me that one of her friends was planning on moving with her boyfriend so I am able to inhabit a one-bedroom apartment right near Balboa Park for my remaining days in San Diego.
The main event of this past weekend was the start of Justice in Motion Season 4. I woke up on another Super Early Saturday to get a ride to La Jolla Cove, where we would be running on the coast and the surrounding neighborhood for 40 minutes.
A little bit of context: I don't run. I've never done team sports at a school or collegiate level, so this summer was about leading a more active lifestyle.
The team, pre-Mission Moment.
On Saturday after everyone was registered, we started with a warm-up lap around the small park we were in, and then one of the coaches led us in a session of dynamic stretching, where we did things like high-knees, lunges, and other stretches that athletes do before playing (you can see I'm not up to date on sport terminology). After that, the team gathered in a circle for a Mission Moment, which you can read more about here, where I have been blogging daily for J4J. The first half of the run actually wasn't too bad, considering I had run for almost 30 minutes the weekend before. When we turned around is when I started to really feel it. One of the more experienced runners was generous and stayed with me for the last 5 minute leg. I had felt around two waves of the "runner's high," but at this point my only motivation was seeing the tent back at the park. My sister led the team in a brief post-run yoga, and the event was done. Even thought I was dead tired for the remainder of the day (and most of Sunday), I felt accomplished - only two more to go! In the meantime, my responsibility is to train, train, and...train!
I haven't been to anymore Kirtans or events of that sort, but I believe I'm going to another drum circle (which I loved back at the Eat 4 Justice event) later this week. Also, "The Dark Knight Rises" comes out this Friday so I hope I can get to see it!

Meanwhile, back at Jeans 4 Justice, I am getting much more experienced in the world of Google Docs and general operations work. Bring on the skill-set!
Unfortunately, HootSuite didn't work out in terms of posting the daily blog, but posting the blog manually to Facebook and Twitter helps with structure, which isn't so bad. On Thursday, I will be participating in a focus group. This past Spring, the organization launched a transformational campaign where they posed a challenge to the community to take on one (or more) of these challenges: Yoga, Dance, Spoken Word, Rock Climbing, and Sky-Diving. They called this the LIVE IT Campaign. It was a hugely successful program, having raised several thousands of dollars to support J4J's educational material/curriculum in local high schools and colleges. The aim of this group is to...wait for it...focus on how J4J can bring the Live It Campaign to colleges for students to use as a kind of applied-learning program in tandem with their academic courses, so I'm excited to have a voice in brainstorming ideas for the future of what I call Live It U!

I'll be back later this week with more, and some more pictures of my summer home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Meal

Hi everyone!
I've been super busy developing this new daily blog feature for the J4J website and starting the planning process for my senior project, so I wanted to wait until I would have enough content in a new post!
The Yoga-thlon was a hit! I had a great time. It was the start of several consecutive Saturday mornings which I am calling Super Early Saturdays, considering wake-up time is going to be around 7a.m. until I leave on August 10th, give or take 30 minutes. This past Saturday wasn't quite training, it was more of a kick-off for the fourth season of Justice in Motion. I was there early to set up with other volunteers, and stayed at the booth for the body sculpt. I ended up doing a 5K run and about an hour of yoga back-to-back, attended the info session immediately afterwards, and helped strike the event. I didn't get home until around 2:30 and I was tired but felt really good. If you want to know more about the event, check out this write-up I did on the blog. While you're there, take a look around and you'll be able to read the actual blog feature I've been talking about!
This week, I created a denim market research chart of about 20 designer denim companies, figured out their primary audience, brand message, and charity alignment. This project reminded me of something I would do back at school in one of my Communication & Culture courses!

Now for some food pictures!
Strawberries + Peaches.
What's more American
than that?
Ooey AND Gooey!

Just this minute, I made a dinner of roasted garlic & olive oil cous-cous, sauteed zucchini, and chili-garam masala chicken (experimenting), but for the fourth I made some mac & cheese and some cobbler sans granola!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Non-Humid, Sunny, San Diego Summer

Happy (Belated) 4th, everyone!

Although events have calmed down a bit, there is always something going on. It has almost been 2 full weeks since I launched the new blog feature on the J4J website, and I'm about to "gather" a focus group of peers (from back home) to answer some question about the website (a little community outreach). Tomorrow is the 3rd Annual Yoga-thlon, a yoga-based triathlon. The agenda for the event is a body sculpt, an ocean "fun run," and a yoga class taught in collaboration by three San Diego yoga instructors. Immediately afterwards, there will be the last pre-season Info Session for Justice in Motion, so as the marketing intern, I'm hoping that I've done a good enough job of getting people to attend! ;)

I spent the 4th of July with my friend Alex from school, who spontaneously visited for a day. We got Acai bowls in the morning and ate at a nice Italian restaurant (I know, it wasn't a burger & fries place, but it was the first menu we saw that looked reasonable). We spent the rest of the day exploring downtown. That was a win-win situation because he got to spend some time out of his internship and I got to learn more about my surroundings!

Next weekend, I'm going up to LA to visit him and I have a feeling I'm going to see some celebrities.
In addition, I will be participating in the Justice in Motion half-marathon training, but I obviously won't be running in it because the race is on November 4th. It will be a good experience to get professional training so I can hopefully continue running at school. ALSO in downtown next week, San Diego will be invaded by costumed nerds/geeks/fanatics and just regular fans of comic books, as it is Comic Con! Since I didn't buy a ticket, my plan is to sit at a coffee shop, pretend to be productive, and watch all of the weirdness and hilarity that will ensue.
Any guesses to what this is?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We Won't Stop Here

It is July 1st. This Wednesday will mark an exact month of San Diego living, and I must say - I have loved every second. From walking to work, learning so much about marketing, blogging, working in a non-profit, going to the beach, farmer's markets, musical and spiritual experiences, different kinds of food, and meeting tons of interesting and really cool people. I am currently sitting on my bed listening to Big Tree (you should check them out!), after having gone to yoga then hanging out with friends at a farmer's market. I have many things to look forward to this month, most of which I probably won't know I'm doing until it happens!
A recent salad of cucumber, red pepper,
kale, tomatoes, sun-dried tomato
vinaigrette, and a sprinkle of
black pepper.

What I do know is that I will be learning the basics of iMovie and Photoshop (mad skillz), possibly attending a conference on how organizations are using social media for social change, going to a couple concerts in San Diego and LA, starting Justice in Motion training, and seeing one of my best friends from Clark!

Nacho, my sister's roommate's cat -
because who doesn't like cats?
I pretty much said everything I've done in the past week in the last post so I don't have much to say right now. Although, I will say that I am way more used to the routine at work than I was before. We sat down and made a weekly schedule that divides different kinds of work into different days so we aren't focusing on everything at once. At a non-profit where there's usually not a huge staff, I've learned that it is really important to emphasize who does what tasks (because each employee/intern/volunteer has their own specialties), but in the end, everyone is contributing to every part of the process. You must be versatile/flexible, and able to multitask. Luckily enough, when things get stressful, we can just take a short walk outside and everything is easier to handle!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spirit Week

Please forgive my lack of posting this week - it's been a busy one!
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to a Kirtan. Coming in, I didn't know what it was, and my sister wouldn't tell me because she wanted me to find out for myself. Even though we were a little late, we still stayed for what seemed like an hour and a half. There were a few musicians playing guitars and a drum, and for a few songs they played a harmonium, an instrument used in extended chanting. I actually got to play one when I visited the Yogi Center last time I was in San Diego! It's kind of like playing an accordion that stands like a piano. Anyway, back to the Kirtan. For a while I was just taking all of the sound in, then it started coming in and out, exactly like the waves at the beach. People would sing in harmony, improvise, and crescendo/decrescendo with the sound of the music. It seemed like the songs weaved in and out of one another. Eventually, the sound became overwhelming and I responded in the most natural way I could: I meditated. This was the first experience that I would deem "overwhelming and therapeutic." The sound created was so overtaking that I only could close my eyes and breathe in the sound waves. I also felt movement, opened my eyes and saw people dancing to the music. It was a celebration of love, life, and the energy of being together. When it was over, I was disappointed I hadn't been there earlier! I've made it a point to try to learn some basic Sanskrit so I can chant along with everyone else, maybe play along! At the end of the night, I felt like my day had made a complete circle, having started off with yoga and ended with this Kirtan.

Sunday, instead of walking to the usual Solana Beach farmer's market, I hitched a ride to Leucadia for the Encinitas Farmers market. It was there that I bought this week's kale (of course), but more importantly, I spent a few hours with friends! Afterwards, I spent another few hours walking on the beach (and catching some, well... many waves) with one of those friends, and she actually lives just a walk away from my house! At the office, the week has been spent preparing for Eat 4 Justice, where J4J paired up with Healthy Top Chef Anna Allen to put on a night of great food, organic wine, live music and dancing, and great company! In a matter of just 36 hours (Tuesday to the start of the event last night), over $1700 was raised to benefit Jeans 4 Justice. The power of support and energy was so present last night. The food was hands down the best vegetarian food I've had in my life. I also got to be a server (dressed in black & white, of course), where I carried a tray of vegan paté, chips, carrots and napkins around for about 20 minutes. Even though my wrists hurt, it felt really cool to be an intimate part of the event. The next course of the menu was a "super slaw" with avocado-lemon-basil dressing. If there weren't two more courses, I would have had more than the two servings I had. It was fantastic! Next up was paella (which was incredible) and dessert was strawberry/blueberry/peach cobbler, which was a perfect ending. The amazing thing is that every course was completely gluten-free and/or dairy-free. I decided last night that I would eat that food all the time if it tasted that great.

The final part of the night was a drum circle that I didn't think I would get to be a part of, but all I had to do was get to a drum and I was at one before it started, playing along with a couple singing with a guitar. Gradually, 6 or 7 more drummers had gathered in a semi-circle. The leader stopped the spontaneous playing to give a brief introduction on the rhythm we would start off with, and the rest is history. I honestly can't tell you how long we played, but I do know that my hands were throbbing afterwards. I hadn't played like that in a very long time, and it gave me the greatest feeling. I hadn't only played a drum, either. I also had a tambourine and used one of the metal serving trays for a cowbell-type instrument (re: STOMP).

Tonight I am returning to yoga, and Friday night there's a possibility that I might attend a Shabbat dinner, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Night(s) At The Mosaic

One part of my job is to have as much exposure to J4J events and programming as possible. Therefore, I ended up going to events two nights in a row at the same place - the Mosaic Wine Bar. On Wednesday, I went around to a few places in the North Park area with flyers advertising our next JIM info session, and then that night was the first info session for Season 4. It was a great turnout, almost 15 people of all different commitment levels (a couple wives were dragging their husbands) showed up to learn more about what Justice In Motion entails. For you all reading this blog, I'll give a brief explanation. Every year, J4J holds a 16-week long half-marathon training program where participants (aka "advocates") set a goal to raise a certain amount of money by the time of the race. Every week, the team goes on two runs at different San Diego locations, and yoga, cross-training, and healthy living habits like nutrition are worked in. Every team so far has consisted of members that vary across the running spectrum from people that haven't really run before to people who run all the time. One time I was out here a couple years ago and I went on one of the training runs. I would be considered more of a "beginner," seeing as how I don't run competitively. Everyone is always encouraged to run with a partner and run at a talking pace, because when you talk with someone, it kind of makes you put the fact that you're running at the back of your head. I ran with Rahul (who later became a mentor) for about 3 miles (I had only run the high school mile) and it felt like such a great accomplishment. I was with really positive people in a supportive team, which felt more like a community.
The second event that I went to was a celebration of J4J's first "LIVE IT" campaign, in which people chose from five challenges: spoken word, rock climbing, yoga, dance, and sky-diving. Mostly everyone who participated in these challenges were going completely outside of their comfort zone, all in the name of fundraising. I got to hear some really great stories about how people overcame their fears (the stories weren't only about skydiving, either!).
Today, I started off with yoga (I'm really getting into it now), and tonight, I am attending a Kirtan in Del Mar, which I'm looking forward to, because it's another thing I've never done before! That's what this summer is about.
Post-Yoga brunch: scrambler with peppers and pre-roasted asparagus

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Living

You might be wondering why the title is more of a fragment than anything else? It is because I have been thinking about The Prophet, a collection of essays by philosopher and poet Kahlil Gebran. I had my first exposure on Sunday night, as I had been invited to a reading/discussion. It was with a small sample of this new group of friends I have gained so I made some kale chips (yea...2nd time in 3 days) as a small gesture of gratitude. When I got to my friend's house, there was already an assortment of bread & oil, hummus, and vegetables so I knew I had made the right choice by bringing something. We started by reading "On Love," a selection that was particularly moving, and one that we focused on for the remainder of the night. Everyone there (5 of us) shared about how the story connected to our own lives and it was really interesting and inspiring to hear completely different opinions and perspectives on the same content. I will definitely be ordering the book soon.
As for work, I had a quick and basic tutorial on iMovie today and I look forward to the chance to play with the program - it's actually pretty cool! In the evening, I attended the first of 5 Justice In Motion Info Sessions, and this one was at Mosaic Wine Bar. The meeting was well attended, and all training and mentorship was explained and I got some good background knowledge out of it. I'm nervously looking forward to training next month!
Although late, my dinner was delicious. It was a small pizza of roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh basil, mozzarella, and pine nuts. Next time any of you are out here, I definitely recommend this place!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Social Media 101: Crash-Course in Blogging

Kale chips!
One thing that I'm really enjoying about this internship is that I get to learn from experts. These men and women are not necessarily internationally known in their fields - they are merely in J4J's network of young entrepreneurs. On Friday I got to have separate meetings with Matt and Nicolette, two people who have tons of experience in marketing and product launches. Matt helped us put the Justice In Motion campaign in perspective and gave tips about how to use programs like HootSuite (I've heard of it but never used it) and WordPress (another blog format) in order to reach our followers and program participants in the most highly effective way. Nicolette, who is also trained in raindrop therapy, helped us brainstorm ideas about video marketing and how to use our short timeframe in the best way possible. The cool thing is that I haven't actually real-life blogged before this summer, and I get to do it in more than one way! In addition to updating this blog, I will be launching a daily Pre-Season Pump Up for Justice In Motion next week for participants of the training program. I will be using HootSuite to program in daily articles having to do with nutrition, health, fitness, inspiration/motivation, and overall wellness. In total, I will be responsible for about 6 weeks worth of material (wow), including "booking" guest contributors for the blog! The season goes until November 4th so my hope is someone will continue this blog after I leave. Another thing I have to start thinking about is my senior project. With the approval of the department, my hope is to bring a 1-2 day event to Clark based on an event that Jeans 4 Justice actually came out of. It is a combination of an art gallery, a fashion show, and hopefully a few workshops all to raise awareness for sexual assault prevention. It will take place in April and my plan is to have support of CAVE (Clark Anti-Violence Education), Humanities, and support of basically the whole campus. Definitely more to come on that in the future.
New projects keep popping up every few days so I'm looking forward to a really interesting and fulfilling experience at Jeans 4 Justice. Before I end this post, I guess I have established a pattern of talking about food in this blog. On Friday night, I checked out this pizza place, Pizza Port and got a Pizza Carlsbad, which used pesto instead of sauce, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken, and feta...more or less one of the tastiest pizzas I've ever had. Today at the farmer's market I bought fingerling potatoes (which I've had but never made), more almonds, peaches and strawberries.
On that note, Happy Father's Day!
Such a cool office.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's been, one week

 I have been here for a week and just yesterday it occurred to me how fast time is flying by. For some more perspective on how I live, I thought I would provide you with pictures.

This is how I say "good morning" every day! The first picture is what I see when I open my front door. The second picture is what I see if I turn my head to the left. Pretty different than what I would see at Clark. The third picture is of some beautiful hydrangeas Jess (my sister) and I saw when we visited Old Town on Saturday.
 The past couple days have been filled with brainstorming of different marketing ideas, learning WordPress and updating blogs/websites, getting the word out about Justice In Motion Season 4 info sessions (I think I'll be going to some), and more exploring of my town. On Tuesday night, I went to a place called Beach Grass Café with a new friend and had a pretty good dinner. It was Grilled Salmon with Cilantro Pesto, steamed vegetables, and garlic mashed potatoes. They started off the meal right with fresh rosemary bread and olive oil. I'll definitely return, but I won't get the same thing.
Last night I had another culinary adventure by visiting Sushi Solana. They have all-you-can-eat sushi but I wanted to eat at home so I took my spring roll and california roll to-go. On their menu, they had the option of having it deep-fried.
I couldn't tell if that was their way of saying the fish was cooked or what, because clearly I wasn't expecting a whole sushi roll to be deep-fried...well that's what I got.
Sushi tempura. Mind = blown.
I had already gone home before I opened the box. I usually take things literally but this time I didn't and I ended up with exactly what I had ordered, and I was only half-disappointed. I was really curious to try it but a little scared at the same time. After finishing the small but tasty spring roll with some subtly savory sesame sauce, I picked up my chopsticks and plunged into the first piece. I learned that it wasn't deep-fried, but more of a tempura batter (which, IMHO, is a better batter) because it was easier to eat and, frankly, easier to understand the concept. I only say that because - imagine deep-fried sushi...like the deep-fried you get at a carnival? Yuck.
Anyway, it was pretty good! It was an odd feeling to eat sushi that was served warmer than room temperature and I certainly won't get it again (it was by far the unhealthiest thing I've had out here and will remain that way), but it was worth it to have that experience. Tomorrow is this Food Truck Festival that I've wanted to attend so I'll need to figure out a way to get there and back (the train here is awesome).

For those of you who are working, the weekend is almost here - you can make it through!
For those of you who are not working, don't rub it in.

I'll write in a couple days!

Monday, June 11, 2012

You've Got A Friend

That song was ever present last night at a birthday party I attended. Yet it was so much more than a birthday party. It was a tight-knit group of about 20 people who love deeply and value connections and relationships like I have never experienced. There was great food and drink of course (make-your-own fish tacos), but most importantly there was great company. During dinner, my sister commissioned me to play three songs on guitar, none of which I had ever tried, and I hadn't even heard of one of them. I took about 10 minutes to practice/review "Ice Cream" by Sarah McLachlan, "Imagine" by John Lennon, and "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor. As dinner ended and the next part of the celebration started with inspirational spoken word (similar to slam poetry), I crept with the guitar onto the deck where everyone was listening. During the wild applause that followed the two speakers, I was quickly ushered into a camping chair and was told to start playing "Ice Cream" (the song I hadn't heard before). Luckily, the chords had been easy enough to practice and everyone started singing along, which was such a great thing to listen to because they had all been sent the lyrics unbeknownst to the birthday girl. However what followed was what this post is about, and what I have been thinking about since last night. This party was for one of my sister's closest friends, and she bought a book that was filled with small messages about what it means to be a friend. What I realized last night is that not only were all of these guests thoughtful and loving, but they were all grateful. They were enjoying the time they have together, celebrating these interconnected friendships, and the life experiences they all share.
All of this dawned on me today when I decided to stop by the beach on my way home from work. I stood there about 30 ft above the waves, noticing the push and pull of the water against the shore- sometimes occurring at the same time to create a crest of a wave crashing into itself only for half a second. I noticed a pile of seaweed drifting back and forth, as if it were the bandana on the invisible tug-o-war between the sand and the water. This got me thinking how grateful I am for this experience. It hasn't even been a week yet and I have been having the experience of my life. I met so may wonderful people last night and I look forward to many more great times.

Now onto what I'm doing at Jeans 4 Justice! Today was the official start of my work, but most of my day was actually researching and beginning to gain more background knowledge of the organization and the cause itself. One of my assignments was to gather a list of college-based organizations having to deal with healthy relationships, sexual violence, and leadership -all geared towards males. I have about 6 but I believe it will be an ongoing list. Another one of my assignments is to do a ton of research on the topic of sexual violence. I have several articles to read, and I'm absolutely ready to dive in. I have already started bringing up ideas as to how to market the organization differently and to make it more accessible. I believe that I will also be involved in Justice In Motion and maybe training for a half-marathon myself!

One of my goals this summer is try to buy food and cook in a more sustainable and healthy manner, which, so far, has ended up being ore delicious! I promised you that I would include food-related posts, so here's what I had for dinner tonight (it tasted much better than it looks): pasta with pesto that I bought at the farmer's market on Sunday, and sauteed peppers and tomatoes with pepper and garlic powder! I rounded off the dinner with a handful of dried mango slices that have gotten better each time I have them. I have work at 10 tomorrow so it is time to say goodnight, but for most of you, it will be the morning or afternoon when you read this, so good day to all!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Playing The Edge

I will start my second post off with song lyrics (stereotypical? nah).

"Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb"

You got it. That is an excerpt from the hit song "All Star" by Smash Mouth. I highlight "hit the ground running" because that is precisely what popped into my head earlier today. But first, a quick note about my flight here - one of the people I sat with actually grew up with the guy I'm subletting from. What are the chances?! 
I had an early wake-up at my sister's apartment (including a homemade juice with cucumber, celery, hot pepper, ginger, apple and kale), went to get some basic groceries (milk, orange, juice, eggs, cereal, etc) and quickly moved in to my new apartment! It's literally about a minute from the beach. Jealous?

I have been spending the rest of the day exploring my new home of Solana Beach. Later today I'm going to yoga (an inherent part of the San Diego experience). I believe I am hitting the ground running because I am using this summer to embrace new experiences. My sister already told me some of what I'll be doing at J4J this summer and I start Monday. My day continued with a nap, some more exploring, and an Anusara yoga class. Little did I know that it was taught by a well-respected yoga instructor, Michael Fukumura. He started it off with a chant that I didn't know, but he also talked about breathing and "playing the edge." This theme was all about not backing away, but not forcing anything. The 90 minutes of poses seemed like 2 hours and by the end of it I felt awake and replenished - the power of yoga! I got home at about 7:40 and cooked my first dinner! It consisted of brown rice and quinoa (for health food and protein) , chicken (for more protein), cheese (well..because...who doesn't like cheese?) and a little salad with tomatoes and sundried tomato vinaigrette. All of the protein made for a perfect-post yoga meal!
That was yesterday.
Today, I had my first work experience at the office (see picture below)! I made a Facebook event for Justice In Motion's 5 info sessions leading up to the beginning of Season 4. Justice In Motion is J4J's fitness branch where they train for a half-marathon for 16 weeks. All the while, members do a ton of fundraising, which goes to causes that are determined by J4J. I also had experience with a program that I've never heard of - Meetup. For those who don't know, it's basically a website where you can find out what other people are doing at any place, any time! Each listed event is based on interests, and each group that hosts these events have categories with which you can search.
That's all I have for now - have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And away I go!

As I sit at my gate quietly munching on almonds and craisins, I have about 30 minutes before I board my flight to San Diego. What better way to spend this  time than to write (or at least start) my first post! I am almost overflowing with excitement (and nervousness) at this trip, and I am absolutely ready to embark on this adventure. I arrive at about 10:15 p.m. (around 1:15 a.m. east coast time) and I will be moving in to my place the next morning. Here is a very brief description of what I'll be doing this summer: I will be interning at Jeans4Justice, a non-profit organization in San Diego, CA. Jeans4Justice (or "J4J" for short) uses art, fashion, fitness, and philanthropy to raise awareness about sexual assault prevention, engage our generation in discourse, and inspire others to become leaders for the cause. My specific position is Marketing Intern, where I'll be doing things like researching how the media is related to this cause, learning skills like video marketing, and participating in a ton of community engagement! Just at this moment, my plane shuffled in (it's now raining...oh well) so I might end this post abruptly and continue later.

This is my first blog (other than the film blog I made for a class) ever so bear with me, as my posts might become free-association rambles. I will try my best to keep them structured, but I can't promise that they'll be short or concise. This blog will include (but not limited to): things that I am involved in at work, food and/or art-related reviews, observations, musings, and of course, pictures!

Be on the lookout for more posts in the next few days!