Let's Catch Up

My last entry was about a day-trip that happened at the end of 2016. A lot has happened since then: wrapped up my freelance business with a large project, many scattered trips (domestic and international), countless job interviews, celebrations, goodbyes, and a move across the country! Months later, the chaos of this page turn has finally started to settle.

I have so many back-dated stories planned, but I can't promise I'll ever get to them all, so here's my attempt at highlighting a few moments from the past 8 months. I'd love to hear which parts you'd like to hear more on!


Travels

The past several months zoomed by because of all the traveling I did. Combined with an insane (and unhealthy) work schedule, it all feels like a blur to me now.

Phuket ⎯ Counting Down to 2017

20161230-L1070823.jpg

My family and I took a trip to Phuket, an island in southern Thailand, to ring in the new year. It was all sorts of wonderful. A much needed escape from the city, along with some quality family time.

20161231-L1070892-2.jpg

 

D.C.

Mid-March came, the fam had an opportunity for a short reunion in Washington D.C. due to my dad's conference colliding with my brother's spring break. The highlight of this trip was our celebratory dinner (my brother's birthday + early graduation toast) at minibar by José Andrés, to which with shear luck we managed to snag a Friday night reservation only a few days ahead of time. Sneak peak of how much fun we had below.

20170318-Photo Mar 18, 20 47 08.jpg
20170318-Photo Mar 18, 21 26 36.jpg
20170318-P3180261.jpg

 

Amsterdam

Michael and I visited one of my best friends from high school in Amsterdam at the end of March. Thanks for giving us beautiful weather, Amsterdam, and thank you a million times for having us, Prim <3

20170325-P3250358-2.jpg
20170328-P3280920.jpg

 

NYC & Syracuse ⎯ Class of 2017!

The parents and I met up in New York City for a few days before joining forces with my cousins to drive over to Syracuse for my brother's graduation. Couldn't be more proud of this kid - congrats Duang!

20170514-L1120181.jpg

 

Paris & Lyon

My parents had a trip to France planned (another conference for dad extended into a mini vacation), so I took this opportunity to tag along since I had a few weeks in-between jobs.

 Favorite couple exploring Lyon &lt;3

Favorite couple exploring Lyon <3

 

Las Vegas ⎯ MIT'14 Pi Reunion

Did you know MIT has a Pi Reunion in July? This was my first time in Vegas and we had a blast! Can't say I'd want to come back again anytime soon since everything is overpriced there, but we really made the most out of it and I left feeling very satisfied. No beautiful photos from this trip: just a bunch of silly selfies, so those are private ;)


Career

This is a long one, but bear with me as I don't usually talk much about my career publicly.

In March, I wrapped up my last large project as a freelancer (or design consultant, for those who don't take freelancers seriously... but hey, you really should.) By that time, I had been freelancing for about 2 years. I learned a ton through the process and felt satisfied with the things I had set out to learn from this experience back when I quit my full-time job in 2015. My work-life balance line was also getting blurry: I found it hard to stop working, as literally the more I worked, the more I earned. Most importantly though, I had a pretty clear idea of what kind of company, team, and work I wanted in my next gig.

Several phone calls, interviews, design challenges (ugh), and flights/train rides later, I thrilled to share that I accepted Adobe's offer to work as a designer on their design system team!

I knew going into this job search that I wanted to work with a company with a sizable design team, with strong design leadership built in. Not only is this the case with Adobe, but the diversity (not in just race or gender, but age, experiences, upbringing etc.) is what really stood out to me from the rest of my interview experiences. Ultimately, however, what truly solidified my decision was the fact that I really resonate with my manager's outlook on growth, both for individual designers and Adobe Design as a whole. It's hard to believe it's been almost 3 months since I started at Adobe. Although it's been tiring, and at times overwhelming (it's a huge company after all), I couldn't be happier with the trust and support I have from my colleagues.

I am also honored and humbled to be a current Designer Fund Bridge fellow. It's been an incredible experience so far, and I'd love to share more about this special journey in a later post.


Boston → San Francisco

 Charles River. Saying goodbye to this view on my last day in Boston :')

Charles River. Saying goodbye to this view on my last day in Boston :')

I said farewell to Boston (well, Cambridge to be exact) at the end of May. It was my home for 7 years and, although I am hungry for new adventures, I know I will miss it dearly. It's walkable, relatively safe, has wonderful summers and falls, but is still a city so there's always something to do (except when you're snowed in, but that's another adventure in its self!). I'd still seriously consider coming back to live here again later on in life, if that doesn't happen, I know I'll definitely be visiting again.

My new job is located in San Francisco and, to my surprise (and luck?), I've managed to find reasonable housing with wonderful roommates even before I got here. After a month of corporate housing, some handy work with the help of the little sis, and many many boxes later, I'm finally settling in and feeling at home in my new space. I'll save some SF summer adventures for a later post, but let me know if there's anything you'd recommend me checking out! Whether that's a food place, cafe, neighborhood, or anything pretty, I'm up for exploring them all.


Now that's a wrap and you're basically (almost) caught up with my life. Ask me for a high-five if you've read it all the way here ;) I still haven't quite decided in what order I'm going to upload the next string of photos and stories in. Chronologically? Backwards? Random? I'm leaning toward alternating between current vs. past stories, but you'll just have to stay tuned to see.

As always, thanks for sticking with me!

Photos by the family and me.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Experiencing Eataly Boston

The countdown is finally ending! Eataly Boston opens its doors to us Bostonians on Nov 29th at 4PM. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to tour around the new space led by Nicola Farinetti (CEO) and Mario Batali (partner), both emphasizing how this Eataly is truly unique: apart from its layout being different, it's also filled with familiar faces like locally sourced produce, dairy, and various ingredients like oysters from Island Creek. Here's a sneak peak of what you can expect in their spacious 3-story Italian food playground.

 Eataly Boston is located in the Prudential Center on 800 Boylston St.

Eataly Boston is located in the Prudential Center on 800 Boylston St.

20161118-PB180553.jpg
20161118-PB180592.jpg
20161118-PB180614.jpg
 You can also LEARN how to make delicious Italian meals here!

You can also LEARN how to make delicious Italian meals here!

Eataly isn't just an Italian supermarket. It aims to be a place where we can EAT, SHOP, and LEARN. We will soon be able to come by for a bite, wander around the 45,000 square feet with a glass of wine in hand, and bring home the knowledge and quality ingredients to cook an authentic Italian meal in our homes.

I had a great time experiencing Eataly and will definitely be stopping by again soon once it is in its full swing. Again, doors open Nov 29th at 4PM and I hear that the first 100 lucky ones in line will receive a complimentary glass of wine!

Photos by me. (For any photography usage elsewhere, please give full credits and link back.)

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not compensated to write this post.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Joe's American Bar & Grill - Newbury St, Boston

Joe's Newbury recently refreshed their brunch menu and I had the pleasure of experiencing it while also chatting with Executive Chef Dan Billo about his background and inspiration for his work. The restaurant was already bustling when I arrived, as you'll see in the photos below, so I'd recommend making reservations ahead of time just to be on the safe side. Plus, if you do you might be able to request to sit in their nice and open cafe area right alongside Newbury Street - featuring a retractable roof - where the lighting and environment seems so lovely!

 Upper bar &amp; cafe area

Upper bar & cafe area

 Peach Bellini

Peach Bellini

 Chef Dan Billo personally serving us with a huge smile!

Chef Dan Billo personally serving us with a huge smile!

  Mojo Pork Slider. &nbsp;Citrus-marinated pork covered in rich Carolina barbecue sauce, topped with creamy coleslaw and pickles.

Mojo Pork Slider. Citrus-marinated pork covered in rich Carolina barbecue sauce, topped with creamy coleslaw and pickles.

  Ahi Tuna Tartare. &nbsp;Fresh ahi tuna with avocado, cucumber, sesame wonton chips, and a soy reduction.

Ahi Tuna Tartare. Fresh ahi tuna with avocado, cucumber, sesame wonton chips, and a soy reduction.

  Deviled Eggs. &nbsp;Four sinfully good eggs topped with maple-Cajun bacon.

Deviled Eggs. Four sinfully good eggs topped with maple-Cajun bacon.

  Crab Cake Benedict. &nbsp;Lump crab meat, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and home fries.

Crab Cake Benedict. Lump crab meat, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and home fries.

  Corned Beef Hash. &nbsp;Fried eggs, mustard cream sauce, and choice of toast. (Personal favorite!!)

Corned Beef Hash. Fried eggs, mustard cream sauce, and choice of toast. (Personal favorite!!)

  Blueberry Pancakes. &nbsp;Cream cheese frosting and wild blueberry reduction.

Blueberry Pancakes. Cream cheese frosting and wild blueberry reduction.

  Lox &amp; Bagel. &nbsp;Lox, bagel, chive cream cheese, capers, minced red onion, and confit lemon.

Lox & Bagel. Lox, bagel, chive cream cheese, capers, minced red onion, and confit lemon.

  Granola,&nbsp;Yogurt &amp; Seasonal Fruit.&nbsp; Honey-mint yogurt, seasonal fruit, and house granola.

Granola, Yogurt & Seasonal Fruit. Honey-mint yogurt, seasonal fruit, and house granola.

  Lobster Frittata. &nbsp;Fresh vegetables, Gruyère cheese, fine herbs, and petite greens.

Lobster Frittata. Fresh vegetables, Gruyère cheese, fine herbs, and petite greens.

 Chef Dan Billo talks through his inspiration for the brunch menu which came from his travels and years of experience.

Chef Dan Billo talks through his inspiration for the brunch menu which came from his travels and years of experience.

 The kitchen can be seen from the main dining area.

The kitchen can be seen from the main dining area.

My overall experience at Joe's was very heart-warming. I enjoyed the food, and so did the other bloggers who were there. I highly recommend the corned beef hash. It was definitely the star of the meal, even to those who don't usually like corned beef hash. I also got to try some of the crab cake benedict which felt a bit too dry for my taste even with all the sauce, so unless you're a die-hard crab cake fan I would go for something else (*ahem* did I mention the corned beef hash already!?) However, what stuck with me from this brunch was Joe's friendly atmosphere and staff. It was very apparent that Dan feels very at home in this restaurant and is truly passionate about his crafts. The entire restaurant staff seemed like a big happy family and it certainly shows in their service: approachable, flexible, and kind. It was very refreshing, especially on Newbury Street, to know there's a friendly and dependable spot in the midst of all the fine-dining and big chain restaurants.

You can try out Joe's new brunch menu for yourself on weekends from 11AM-3PM. They also have a special three-course thanksgiving dinner coming up. If you do check them out, please let me know in the comments - I'd love to know your thoughts!

Photos by me. (For any photography usage elsewhere, please give full credits and link back.)

In collaboration with Joe's Newbury; thoughts and opinions are my own.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Little Donkey - Central Sq, Cambridge

  Manti (Istanbul Meat Ravioli). &nbsp;Garlic‎ sour cream, red pepper butter.

Manti (Istanbul Meat Ravioli). Garlic‎ sour cream, red pepper butter.

 (Right)&nbsp; Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail. &nbsp;Avocado, cilantro, saltines.

(Right) Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail. Avocado, cilantro, saltines.

  Silver Queen Corn. &nbsp;Parmesan, bone marrow, bonito, aioli, hot sauce. (This was our favorite!&nbsp;Who knew a corn dish can be this good!?!)

Silver Queen Corn. Parmesan, bone marrow, bonito, aioli, hot sauce. (This was our favorite! Who knew a corn dish can be this good!?!)

  Burger. &nbsp;Dry aged beef, buffalo pickles, onion soup mayo, foie gras, jalapeño chips

Burger. Dry aged beef, buffalo pickles, onion soup mayo, foie gras, jalapeño chips

  Tikka Masala Fried Sole.  Curry yogurt, cilantro, chili.

Tikka Masala Fried Sole. Curry yogurt, cilantro, chili.

  Matzo Ball Ramen.&nbsp; Chicken broth, burnt onion, schmaltz tare, corn, spicy chicken. (Warning: NOT a "small plate" dish!)

Matzo Ball Ramen. Chicken broth, burnt onion, schmaltz tare, corn, spicy chicken. (Warning: NOT a "small plate" dish!)

Little Donkey, a global small plate restaurant, opened up this past summer right in Central Square - steps away from my place! It has been one of Boston's most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the year because of its two award-winning chefs: Ken Oringer & Jamie Bissonnette. We decided to finally give it a try as a little celebratory dinner for my birthday and we were not disappointed.

I'm always hesitant with tapas-style restaurants as I feel like we're often left with either an unsatisfied stomach, or an incredibly large bill. Our server recommended us to order 2-4 dishes per person, so we ended up getting 6. We were definitely stuffed by the end of our meal (even before the huge bowl of ramen came), so I would say the upper limit of the recommendation might be for those who order more of their hors d'oeuvres. The main dishes were not "small plates" - so consider yourselves warned!!

What we loved about Little Donkey was its variety. Very fitting for Central Sq's diversity, Little Donkey offers flavors from all around the globe. This made the meal exciting and unpredictable. Our favorite, surprisingly, was the spicy silver queen corn dish.

For restaurant enthusiasts, I'd highly recommend checking them out. If you're looking for an established dependable cuisine, this may not be the place for you. However, if you're up for some carefully crafted dishes with flavors from all your favorite cuisines, you're in for a treat. I believe this is something Central has been missing: not another convenient grab-and-go dinner place, but a dependably exciting treat after a long week of work. They're also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until late at night so I look forward to seeing the role they play in this neighborhood in the coming months!

Photos by me.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Forever In Our Hearts

Today marks one of the saddest days in Thailand: our King, after 70 years on the throne (the world's longest-reigning monarch) has passed away at the age of 88. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is very loved by the entire nation.

To others, this may sound like some twisted propaganda but the people's love for King Bhumibol is for several good reasons. Not only was he the figure that united the nation which has suffered through multiple political crises, he was known to be one of the most humble man. He has done more good to the country than any politician/public figure has ever talked or campaigned about. It's a shame that his most active years were times long before things like the Internet and social media became so integrated in our daily lives that several of his projects and innovations have gone under the international media's radars (while political violence, for example, is much juicier news unfortunately.) If you read more about his sacrifices and pioneering work in agriculture and education, his passion for solving environmental problems in Thailand, or his love for jazz and music composition that has inspired millions, it should come as no surprise to why this loss has shaken the entire nation.

Today I stopped by Harvard Square, home to His Majesty's birth place, to pay my respects for not just my King, but a man I truly looked up to for his keen intellect, creativity, and selflessness.

I'm truly honored to have grown up with a king that is so loved by his people for his humbled personality, hard work, and dedication. Rest in peace, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. You have been loved and will always be.

Photos by me. Please give credits if used elsewhere.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Brunches & Munches

 Brunch w/ Jade at  Sonsie . We got front-row seats! Too bad I forgot to take any photos.

Brunch w/ Jade at Sonsie. We got front-row seats! Too bad I forgot to take any photos.

 Another weekend brunch at  Brookline Lunch .

Another weekend brunch at Brookline Lunch.

 Weekday lunch featuring  The Chicken &amp; Rice Guys  at the Kendall Sq.&nbsp;Farmers Market.

Weekday lunch featuring The Chicken & Rice Guys at the Kendall Sq. Farmers Market.

 Hi there!

Hi there!

 We left the food festival feeling slightly disappointed, but  James Hook &amp; Co.  didn't let us down.

We left the food festival feeling slightly disappointed, but James Hook & Co. didn't let us down.

 Happy birthday, Tiffany! She was actually surprised :)

Happy birthday, Tiffany! She was actually surprised :)

  Life Alive  w/ Ami!

Life Alive w/ Ami!

 Cooking &amp; working night w/ Teresa and Michael.

Cooking & working night w/ Teresa and Michael.

 Brunch w/ Yinfu &amp; Ashley at  Ball Square Cafe .

Brunch w/ Yinfu & Ashley at Ball Square Cafe.

 I got the pear stuffed french toast and it was delicious! Definitely want to come back again.

I got the pear stuffed french toast and it was delicious! Definitely want to come back again.

 Strolled through this bike path to Davis Square

Strolled through this bike path to Davis Square

 Goodbye flowers :(

Goodbye flowers :(

 This was also my first day breaking out the boots!

This was also my first day breaking out the boots!

 Davis Square T stop.

Davis Square T stop.

 This has been my work scene

This has been my work scene

September came and went. For the most part, the summer-to-fall transition has been on the gloomier side this year. It's been a busy month: friends visiting to recruit at the MIT Career Fair, updated my portfolio (still a work-in-progress), and started working with a new client located in one of the most iconic Boston neighborhoods - right off of Newbury Street! The result of all this craziness is that most of my photos end up being just photos of food.

October is now here and its arrival is always a weird mix of excitement for me (it's my birthday month!) You can definitely expect to see more activity on this space! Let me know what your favorite thing about fall is in the comments. For those of you who know Back Bay well, I'd really appreciate some restaurant/cafe tips since I'd be spending even more time around there this month!

Photos by me.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin'

Summer Moments (Part II: Boston)

 Afternoon tea inside the Boston Public Library! ( The Courtyard )

Afternoon tea inside the Boston Public Library! (The Courtyard)

20160705-P7050243.jpg

Before leaving for Bangkok, I got to spend some time with my sister here in Boston. We did several things together which I didn't document, but one of my favorite moments was when we had afternoon tea at The Courtyard, located in the Boston Public Library. This wasn't because the food was fantastic (it was average, but the environment was really nice), but it was because we had really nice thought-provoking conversations about life which we don't do often enough. 

The rest of the photos here are from after I came back from Bangkok to spend the last bits of summer in Boston.

 Restaurant week brunch straight off the plane with these ladies at  Top of the Hub .

Restaurant week brunch straight off the plane with these ladies at Top of the Hub.

  Chorizo Eggs Benedict

Chorizo Eggs Benedict

 Grocery haul at the Haymarket farmers market!

Grocery haul at the Haymarket farmers market!

20160828-P8280887.jpg
 An afternoon pick-me-up at  Tosci's .

An afternoon pick-me-up at Tosci's.

 Charles River Esplanade.

Charles River Esplanade.

  Santouka , Harvard Square.

Santouka, Harvard Square.

 Baked strawberry cheesecake muffins!

Baked strawberry cheesecake muffins!

 Pre-Labor-Day fireworks dinner at  Saus .

Pre-Labor-Day fireworks dinner at Saus.

 Fireworks for Labor Day!

Fireworks for Labor Day!

 View from the Christopher Columbus park.

View from the Christopher Columbus park.

I'm back in Cambridge! Summer and fall are my favorite seasons to spend in Boston. It's particularly lively here during summer because students are out of school, and there are so many (free) outdoor events on weekends. Unfortunately, the days are now starting to get shorter and the temperature has cooled down slightly. I think it's time to bid farewell to an adventure-filled summer with this post and welcome what's hopefully another beautiful autumn.

Photos by me.

Follow