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

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!