Finding Firsts Maybe Harder than I Expected…

Actually, finding time for firsts is the harder part. This is why experiencing new things are important and making a valid effort to always seek the “new” even in the old is so important to remember. I haven’t updated on my weekly progress due to the fact I haven’t done “a lot” compared to other weeks. The last three weeks have been busy; I have done a lot of great work in the lab and absolutely LOVE what I do. I come home from work and still talk about the people and the work I have, but it is because every day is exciting to me. Like today, I did an experiment for the first time and I got REALLY excited about it. This is just a specific first for my project, definitely not the first time I took the water contact angle of something… But it is those small moments that you really make memories and start living.

But, this is the summer of FIRSTS. And I will recap what I have done in the last few weeks that reminded me I am in probably the best place ever (sorry east coast, but west coast is certainly the best coast…)

The last thing I remember sharing with you all was my fourth of July experience, where I crashed and hiked and missed fireworks.

After that, I have made paper flowers (which turned out pretty fantastic if I don’t say so myself) to decorate our office at work. My friends/coworkers and I did a lot of flowers to spruce up our very bland, windowless office, and made a special cacti area for the only guy in our room.

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That week also brought about my first 12 hour day of the summer. I don’t know if that is something to rejoice in or not, but I beat that record yesterday (16 hours). However, yesterday I was able to do tests on a beam line at the Advanced Light Source (wiki it, it’s pretty great). and say I refuse to do an all nighter to my boss.

I also went to my first show in Berkeley at the Shotgun Players Theater and, man, they know how to treat a girl with a champagne ready just as you walk in. The show, Top Girls, was fantastic! Definitely different than previous shows I have seen but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Berkeley.

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That Thursday, I finally went out and did a “grown up” thing and went to the after Dark Academy of Sciences! The rainforest was AWESOME, the music was mediocre, but the drinks were delicious. SO many people were there (I was impressed we picked the happening spot to go) as well as the exhibits on whales, colors and earthquakes were incredibly interesting (and I got to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge).

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That weekend, I visited my uncle in Los Angeles, was sad to leave the Bay Area as I am in love with this place, but happy to have spent the weekend relaxing, running (yes I have been running, a first accomplishment where I ran outside!), art festivaling and cooking – A much needed weekend after a busy week.

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Last week, the week was filled with last minute Grizzly Peak runs to catch the sunset, a date with Maggie (aka my Soul Mate) who I did not see for three weeks with dinner made by me, minions and ice cream, my first ever Indian Street food, and my first hula lesson. At the Oakland Musueum of California (open late on Friday nights), it was a Hawaiian themed night and we learned a very simple hula (but if you want me to teach you, let me know).

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Last weekend also brought about my first Napa experience, where I ate too much, drank just enough, and gaucked at the beautiful area around me. It was my first, so to speak, day-drinking experience, which I will not forget (what better first to have then in wine country?). I had a lot of new first foods, like sashimi and watermelon, lavender chocolate, trout salad, gluten free rosemary donut, and much, much more. If anyone has the chance to go to Taste of Napa, do it. So worth it.

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The food did not end there, I was lucky enough to spend my National Ice Cream day at the festival in SoMa where there were Ice Cream Trucks galore. Watermelon Mint and Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip (the Elvis) were my choices of popsicles.

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This may seem like a lot or a little to some people. But I have stayed busy in the last few weeks while also doing a lot of work. Doing things you love makes life worth it. Don’t do things if you don’t want to do them just because you think you should. Have fire, passion under you, because it is contagious.

I have two weeks remaining the wonderful Bay Area. A few more blog posts to continue the journey. 8 weeks have gone by way too fast and three months have gone by even faster.

I hope you all enjoy my stories. Do something new today 🙂

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Throwback: The First week in 3 years 

Earlier this summer, my mom and I went to the Pacific Northwest. It was our first time ever being out that way, and why visit? Well I know they have food, coffee, trees, and mountains: aka Julie’s Haven.

I promised my mom this trip for our birthdays. I turned 21 and she will be turning 50 in August. It was the perfect opportunity to celebrate our milestones and finally spend time together.

This was the first time since high school (so three years) I spent this much uninterrupted time with my mom. And I’ve come to the conclusion she is and will always be “my person.” She is my best friend and to say that about ones mom knows you have an awesome mom.


We explored Portland (and its many food stands, coffee shops, donut and pastry shops). The city was unique in its lack of sky scrapers and larger forest on the outskirts of the city. The thing we enjoyed the most in Oregon was the coast. People say it’s beautiful but really, it’s breathtaking. Packing a picnic and being almost blown away was worth it to spend time with my mom in the gorgeous place.

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Things that are must dos in Portland:

1. As soon as you get off the plane go do something: Like go to the Cascade Locks and hike Multnomah Falls

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2. Drink coffee (Stumptown), Eat Donuts (Voodoo Donuts or Blue Start Donuts), and get lost in Powell’s Books.

3. Go to Cannon Beach, my favorite beach to date and smell nasty fish and get blown away about the beauty and the wind.

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But our quest did not end there! We went north to Seattle, stopping at Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Rainier on the way up. The Cascades are absolutely gorgeous and in April, we couldn’t have asked for better weather (it never even rained there!).

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The trip up to Seattle was well worth the time. Exploring the mountains for 8 hours in the car was well worth the sight. Neither of us felt tired but just embracing the beauty was enough. Enjoying nature is something my mom and I both love to do. But city life isn’t too bad either.

Seattle was definitely larger than we anticipated. We went up to the Space Needle, explored downtown, went to the Public Market, saw the Gum Alleyway, the Original Starbucks (my mom’s favorite), and to the Starbuck’s Roastery and Tasting Room. A must stop for food is Portage Bay Cafe! We had the most incredible breakfast there and we couldn’t get enough. We wish we had it back home but honestly, all the food was incredible there. We found all sorts of healthy and gluten free options VERY easily which helped us both. We can’t complain at all!
  
  

Besides these two cities, I got to share a first with my mom: The First Time to Canada!!! (as well as my mom’s first time out of the country). We drove even more north to Vancouver. My mom first was worried about driving in the car, so I had to do the miles to kilometers conversion as our car didn’t have it as well as the crazy roundabouts. But once we got into the city, we enjoyed home made ice cream at Rain or Shine, met lovely  people on 4th Street and Walked along some of the trails at Stanley Park. It  was the first time in Canada and definitely not the last for either of us. The people were friendly and the city was majestic with all the mountains in the background.

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This trip was the first “big” trip of my summer. It was a great way to start the summer as I spent it with my favorite person. We drove almost 1400 miles, saw 3 cities, and had 7 days of together time. We were able to plan things we wanted to do and enjoy each others company for once. It was our first time away from home together and it won’t be our last. 🙂

The ABCs of the last week

A lot of firsts happened the last week, so for the kids out there, let’s review some ABCs:

A. Arm knitting- I knitted my first ever scarf with my arms! It was an easy craft project and it only took 20 minutes! Search “armkntting” on youtube and you will find several informative videos (the Michael one is good), so you should give it a try. And just look how happy I was?

B- Balloons- this past weekend I went to my very first hot air balloon festival. It was at 5 am… So that was fun driving an hour to it. Unfortunately, the conditions were too bad that they couldn’t lift off. But I got some great pictures of the hot air balloons and enjoyed the trip.


C: Car driving- I conquered my fear of California driving. I drove in three different highways AND drove the Golden Gate Bridge for the very first time. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, but I probably was driving at the least busy times ever. Now rush hour and I’ll be a pro


 D: Dancing (swing)- so this isn’t the first time I went dancing this weekend at Jack London Square, but it is the first time I learned to swing dance! It was the west coast swing, a little different from the swing dancing I’m used to. But the best part of the night, one of my dreams came true: I actually got to dance the east coast swing (& didn’t look like a fool). Maggie and I have a little Latin dude that is our favorite person. He knows how to dance and lead which makes anyone look like a pro. Salsa is his and Maggie’s dance. He lead me on east coast swing and that made it an amazing weekend to begin with.

E: Emeryville- I decided after waking up SUPER early on Sunday for hot air balloons, that I was to bike to Emeryville for the first time. It is about 5 miles away each way, making a very nice, respectable 10 mile bike ride on a Sunday afternoon. Emeryville has pretty cool shops around it and it is nice organized. The Bay Trail was beautiful to bike despite the wind, so I will be going back to check out the sunset sometime soon.

F: Food trucks- The SF area has these Off The Grid Food Truck pods that move all around the Bay Area. I was told I should definitely check it out before the summer is up. So when Sarah and I were looking for dinner, we stumbled across Off the Grid by chance! The food was great, as most food trucks are, and the selection was awesome. I had my first every rice balls and then bok choy. Sarah had a chicken curry that was AMAZING 🙂


G: Gardening – This past Saturday I was able to help Garden and weed at a local non-profit ranch, Slide Ranch. I volunteered there (which was near Muir Woods and man, I need to get used to driving up steep mountains…) and was able to learn about the organization which teaches children about the environment and plants as well as milk a goat! It was an awesome time that I will definitely do again. I also got to go to Sausalito and saw the beautiful bay view of the city and the boat docks.


        H: Healthy chocolate- I made some vegan chocolate bark this week for the first time and it is super easy! Mix coconut butter (~1/3 cup melted), cocoa powder (~1/4 cup), sweetener of choice (I did maple syrup) and as much as you want of it depending on how sweet you are and add your favorite add ins (be creative) and freeze. You can use coconut oil but it melts faster (even though coconut butter melts in the sun super quickly which I learned the hard way). Easy quick snack that is delicious.


I: Inside Out- Even though I got ditched by my co-workers (okay, ditched is a harsh word, but they didn’t come), I found one of my housemates and got to enjoy Inside Out the night before the release! I highly recommend the movie for all ages, it is adorable and endearing. The references to SF were spot on as I can now say I live here. If you haven’t seen it, go!

J: June 21st – Happy Summer Solstice. I enjoyed my first ever 50-60 degree summer day (from my memory).

These are 10 ABCs that I got to enjoy for the first time. I will continue on once I have experienced the rest of the Alphabet 🙂

On Coordination and How I have none

This past weekend, I was able to put my coordination to the test on three things (two of which I have never done before)

1. Learnin   g how to Cha-Cha **NEW**

2. Playing Super Smash while slightly tipsy

3. Making sure I don’t do anything stupid in a very small sail boat **NEW**

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These three events pretty much sum up my weekend.

The wonderful thing about living in the Bay Area is there is so much to do. Just by an easy surf on the web, I was able to find a food truck picnic (delicious BBQ), Jack London Square Dancing Under the Stars, the North Shore Art Festival in SF, and Cal Sailing Club Open House. This area provides entertain, fun, and for pretty great prices (free!).

The things new I tried included learning the Cha Cha. Dancing with random people, messing up and trying to continuously lead summed up my night. But by the end of it, I met random people who were fun to dance with, had an Asian man twirl me around and actually make me believe I can dance and had an awesome time with my dear friend Maggie 🙂 Meeting people and sort-of looking like a fool is what it takes to step out of your comfort zone. And I so glad I did, I am going again to FINALLY learn swing dancing (after my many attempts to get people to go).

The other new thing was sailing. Granted, I didn’t learn how to sail, but I did get on the boat. Water has always been that fearful “thing” for me. It can encompass me so quickly and there is so much unknown but isn’t that life (good metaphor, eh? 😉 ). Going on a boat that they kept saying had a very good chance of capsizing definitely put fear in me, but I did it anyways. And I now hope to go back and perhaps learn wind surfing too!

Some other new things I did last week: had my first flight of wine tasting (which lead to the super smash brothers), first food truck of the season, and my first ever Blue Bottle Coffee, NOLA (New Orleans, LA style). Incredibly delicious on all parts.

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That was my weekend. More things new to come when I have me, myself and I (& my good old trust Jeep)