udon

One of my friends loves saying “#udou,” which I often read it as “udon,” hence the title of this post. For those who don’t know, “you do you” is “the act of doing the things that you normally do. Nothing more, nothing less. Just being yourself and showing everyone who’s boss around here” (source: urbandictionary).

The other day I was out with some friends who are my juniors (i.e. they’re still in high school or college). I haven’t seen some of them in a while, so we jump right into pleasantries like “how are you” or “what’s been going on in your life.” Then this conversation proceeded…

Friend A: Did you graduate yet, Marisa?
Me: Yeah, I did.
Friend A: Finally… took you long enough

What. Did my ears hear correctly? Now, text is pretty hard to convey mockery, but it sounded like I was being judged for taking six years to graduate. I let it slide but it did remind me of times when an acquaintance often joked that I was never going to graduate.

Yes, it took me six years, but I proudly wear that fact like a medal because it could have been longer due to budget cuts. I am fortunate enough to even have studied in higher education, something my mom didn’t have the opportunity to do. So what if it did take me an extra two years than the norm? I am doing things my way, just like you’re doing things your way. Everyone’s moving along at their own pace. Is that so wrong?

I hope I don’t sound passive aggressive because that isn’t the intent. I think as long as you have a goal in mind and you’re enjoying the journey towards that goal, then it’s okay to move through life at the pace you want to go.

#udou

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Indian Garden

My friends and I ventured out to Indian Garden in Pleasanton. The restaurant was very quaint, and the staff was very attentive.

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Paneer Tikka Masala ($12.99) and Plain Naan ($1.99)

I ordered Paneer Tikka Masala and Plain Naan. I asked for medium spiciness, which to my surprise, wasn’t too spicy. I take it as a sign my mouth can finally handle spicy food! Success!

Anyway, the Paneer Tikka Masala is rich in flavor and the spices did not assault my palate. I liked the paneer’s texture because it was firm like a fried tofu. I’ve had some experiences with crumbly paneer, and I wasn’t too fond of that texture. The naan is incredibly moist and it complemented the sauce. I think there was some oil drizzled on it to add flavor, but I’m not sure what kind of oil they used. I was tempted to order another batch to-go and munch on it without anything.

I want to go back and try a different spiciness level and samosas. I definitely recommend going if you ever in the area and craving some Indian food.

When a Wolf Falls in Love With a Sheep

b3ekax61_a9d7b0_c2xTitle: 南方小羊牧場 (When a Wolf Falls in Love With a Sheep)
Type: movie – Taiwanese
Director: Chi-Jan Hou
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Coming-of-age

Summary: “Life is tough in a big city. Especially for a young Taiwanese photocopy clerk, whose recent breakup haunts him day in and day out. But like all urban romance he soon meets the eccentric manic pixie of his dream. And together they struggle to get their lives back on track.” (source: imdb.com)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Continue reading When a Wolf Falls in Love With a Sheep

What’s next?

For twenty years, I have been in school. I’m sure others spend more or less time than I have, but we all probably have the same question running through our minds after graduation: What now? What’s next?

A few weeks ago I graduated from university. I spent six years pursuing a higher education and earning my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Linguistics. Throughout those six years, I knew my end goal and I knew what I needed to do to achieve that goal. Here I am, beginning a new chapter in my life. It’s daunting yet exhilarating not knowing what lies in store. However, I feel like a lost animal aimlessly wandering because I don’t know what my new goal is.

Find a job? Cold. Find a job that pays the bills? Warm. Find a job that values you? Definitely hot… but also, I believe, a bit difficult to come by.

In the last semester of school, we had many alumni from the graphic design program come to our class to give us advice on scoring interviews, making the transition from school to work, and building our portfolios. One guest speaker left some valuable nuggets that have been running through my head as of late:

  • “Know what you want”
  • “Know your worth”
  • “Your most valuable asset is you”

These words of wisdom ring loudly as I enter this new chapter. Keeping them in mind really shifts my focus from simply finding a job to finding a job that values me. I admit, I’m neither outspoken nor assertive, and I struggle in voicing my needs and wants. I frequently find myself justifying why my job treats me the way they do. Don’t get me wrong, my jobs, past and current, have treated me alright. However, every time I take a step back and reflect, I realize that I frequently overlook the obstacles I’ve overcame and the skills I’ve gained. As a result, I fail to realize that I frequently downplay my worth. At the end of the day, I think it doesn’t matter how much you get paid because if your job values you, it’ll reflect in how they treat you and you will be justly rewarded.

My advice: don’t be like me. Know that your experiences and opinions are just as valid as anyone else in your work environment. Sure, you still have a lot of learn, but you still bring insight that maybe your coworkers haven’t thought of. Your personal journey is unique and valuable and important. “Your most valuable asset is you.”

Dreaming Cow Yogurt

Honey Pear & Vanilla Agave
Honey Pear & Vanilla Agave
Maple Ginger & Dark Cherry Chai
Maple Ginger & Dark Cherry Chai

I can never refuse cute packaging; I literally gravitate towards it. Although Dreaming Cow yogurt’s consistency is runny, I didn’t think it ruins the taste. I bought them at a local Safeway, which only carries four flavors. I recommend trying three of the four flavors (see below). Visit dreaming cow website for more info 🙂 I hope they sell the other flavors soon!

Honey Pear: Subtle pear flavor that is overpowered by honey flavor. Honey balances out the tartness of yogurt.

Vanilla Agave: The flavor is neither bland nor too tarty. If you want to try something safe and nothing too exotic, I recommend trying this flavor.

Maple Ginger: I wish I could add more maple syrup, but I didn’t have any at home. I wish I could finish it like the others, but I couldn’t. I was never fond ginger, and I was expecting the yogurt to have more of a maple taste with literally a day of ginger. Nope. If you’re a fan of ginger, then this flavor is for you. Otherwise, stay far away from it.

Dark Cherry Chai: Hints of spice complements cherry flavor. It doesn’t taste like the cherry flavor you find in medicine either.

A Day in SF – Play Artfully

Wow, it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated my youtube channel. I’m amazed how people find the time to edit their footages, and in such a way that’s engaging and entertaining. Seriously, mad respect to filmmakers, vloggers, and basically anyone who has experienced editing videos. Anyway, this vlog is a bit old but I didn’t get around to editing it until now. It’s a snippet of a day in SF with some of my awesome design buds 🙂

Doppio Zero Pizzeria Napoletana

Doppio Zero Pizzeria is located at the edge of Mountain View’s Castro Street. My Italian friend recommended this place for dinner as it’s as close to authentic Italian pizza as one can get in this area. We arrived around 5:30pm and immediately there were a lot of people eating outside. That, I felt, was a good sign that Doppio Zero is legit.

Patatina ($17)
Patatina ($17)

There are so many tempting choices, but I ordered the Patatina because it has french fries as one of its toppings. I felt so fat and unhealthy when our server placed the pizza in front of me, but I could not deny the utter harmony of flavors when I took a bite of the first slice. The fries have a crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. The mozzarella and sauce balances out the saltiness of the sausage. The thin crust has a decent coating of olive oil underneath and it’s neither too chewy or too crispy. I recommend eating the pizza with fork and knife because the crust is very thin.

Panna Cotta ($7)
Panna Cotta ($7)

For dessert, I ordered the Panna Cotta since my Italian friend said that it’s one of the more authentic desserts on the menu. It’s incredibly creamy and not too sweet. I could not taste the berry flavor unless I scooped a bit of panna cotta with the berry sauce. The strawberries are absolutely sweet and delicious.

Watch me gain 20 pounds because I’m definitely planning to return to Doppio Zero and eat everything on the menu.

Boiling Point

such hipster wall
such hipster wall

What does the family do whenever the coolest person that is my brother comes home to visit? Experience a restaurant, of course!

Boiling Point, located in Fremont, is a Taiwanese hot pot restaurant. Upon entering Boiling Point, you are welcomed with an absolutely wonderful aroma that is reminiscent of the streets of Taiwan. By wonderful, I mean absolutely pungent smell that is stinky tofu (aka fermented tofu). The wait to eat at Boiling Point ranges from 30 minutes to 2 hours, according to friends and Yelp, but fortunately, we were immediately ushered to our seats.

We ordered a plate of stinky tofu, and each of us ordered a hot soup.

Stinky Tofu
Stinky Tofu

Eating stinky tofu was an interesting experience. The first bite was like eating a typical fried tofu, and then a strong fermented aftertaste knocks the wind out of you. Thankfully the sauce masked the aroma and fermented taste, so by the last tofu on the plate, it was palatable. Apparently this stinky tofu pales in comparison to the ones sold in Taiwanese night markets.

Unfortunately for all those who are allergic to seafood, your choices of hot soup are limited to two out of ten. If you’re like me who is also allergic to nuts, your choice is one: Tomato Veggie Hot Soup, which is still delicious nonetheless. I think the hot pot is large enough for two people, and I would recommend buying just one to share so you have some space for dessert. Honestly, my family was struggling trying to finish our own individual hot pots.

Tomato Veggie Hot Soup
Tomato Veggie Hot Soup

As the name suggests, Tomato Veggie Hot Soup has a decent amount of vegetables. I was pleasantly surprised when I found a large stash of meat hidden under all the veggies. I knew there was pork since the menu lists all the ingredients in the hot pot, but I did not expect a generous amount. I definitely recommend adding some of their sauce to make the hot pot tastier. They even serve a bowl of rice with the hot soup. We couldn’t exchange rice for vermicelli noodles because it was soft opening, but the rice with the hot soup was still good.

I definitely recommend going if you want to try (almost) authentic Taiwanese hot pot. I would definitely go back for the sauce; it’s that darn delicious!