Responsible Pet Parenting

Many pet parents have their views and ways of proper pet parenting. And, I’m not one to impose my views on others. However, I do find two things of utmost importance, and I  hope you do too!

  1. Always pick up your dog’s poop. No matter what!  I’ve used plastic bags, sandwich bags, and other items to pick up Brutus’ poop. Once, I walked up to a complete stranger and asked for a doggy bag. He gladly handed me one.
  2. Commitment. Having a pet, like a child, comes with great responsibility. It takes time, money, effort, and lots of patience. At one point, Winfred and I decided to end our lease early and move out of our place because our previous landlord gave us an ultimatum to either get rid of our dog or leave. We, of course, chose the latter. And, during that time, Winfred and I went through one of the most stressful episodes in our lives because we had to find a new place fast and lose such a bargain for our apartment.  However, it was unimaginable for us to abandon or put our dog up for adoption for the sake of pleasing her; even though we were greatly mislead. Anyways, with that being said, it is VERY important to know beforehand whether you can own a pet, and if so, if there are any weight restrictions or breed restrictions at your current place. Knowing these things will help you in becoming the committed and responsible pet parent that you possibly could be.
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Guam to California. Lesson #3: Bánh mì

Have you ever had a Bánh mì? What is it, you might ask? Well, I never had one until I moved to California. Basically, it’s a sandwich, but not just any sandwich. Let me explain…Its a Vietnamese sandwich made with a baguette and NO cheese. (Side noteThe baguette was introduced by the French during the colonial period in Vietnam.) Inside comes many other ingredients such as: Vietnamese ham, grilled pork, grilled chicken, steamed or roasted pork belly, tofu, fried egg, pâté, cucumbers, pickled carrots, cilantro, and mayo.

The varieties are many. And, there’s usually something for everyone. There are restaurant chains that offer Bánh mì, such as Lee’s Sandwiches, but I prefer the mom and pop shops. They are affordable, filling, and a great meal! If you haven’t tried one yet, I definitely recommend that you do.

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Happy Decade!

Last month, I officially lived a whole ten years off the little rock I once called home. This little rock was the island of Guam. I remember vividly my aspirations of being able to live somewhere far away, on my own, and achieving my goals. I didn’t think I was going to be away this long…yet, it went by so quickly!

I graduated and earned my bachelor’s. I married a good man. I actually like my job and enjoy going to work every day. I can honestly say that I’ve achieved my goals.

The first year was admittedly the toughest. I had no friends. I didn’t know how to take care of my skin. I broke out so bad because I didn’t know how much I needed to moisturize during the dry and cold winter months. I didn’t like my job, but I did it anyways. I had no idea how to dress in cold weather, so I always looked awkward and would either be too cold or too hot.

Over the years, I met people who filled the void that I once felt as a newcomer. I made close and lasting friendships. I sought the help of a dermatologist to help me get my skin back to the way it was. And, I started browsing Japanese fashion magazines and watching Youtube for Winter Fashion ideas…that really helped! It made me realize that my cowboy boots had to go as they were not winter fashion friendly, as I thought they were (Imagine…I  wore those to field service and meetings!)

As a former newcomer, these are things that helped me plant roots in a new place:

Make new friends. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people. Spend time with those whom you gravitate to the most and have common interest with.  Invest time and feelings. If you do so, you will make friendships that will prove its strength through good and bad times.

Try a new job. I always worked in Hospitality when I was in Guam and never thought I’d go into a different industry. When I moved to California, I went straight into Banking. Later, I realized it wasn’t what I was looking for and found a decent job in a whole different industry.

Explore your city. I found all my local favorites in the area. My favorite Persian restaurant, my favorite Crepe place, my favorite Nail Salon, etc. Also, check out the local hiking trails and any outdoor activities your area offers. You’ll be sure to have a good time!

What are things that you did to make you feel more at home in a new place?

Getting Rid of Things Pt.1: Garage Sale

On today’s blog post, I wanted to share one way I was able to minimize some of my clothing, shoes, and accessories. This is thru a garage sale. My friend Cynthia lives in a prime location, meaning visible to many passerby’s and cars. She had been wanting to host a garage sale for many months now… and we finally decided on a date.

Prior to the date, we were slowly putting things away in boxes and doing research on how to have a successful garage sale. Granted, this was our first garage sale EVER. I wanted to share some of the tips we learned thru research and from the experience we had.

Tip 1: Advertise your upcoming garage sale on Facebook, Craigslist, etc.

Tip 2: Organize your inventory. For example, have dresses hanging in one rack, mens shirts in another, accessories all in one table, and so on. This makes it easier for the shopper to browse and to know where things are at.

Tip 3: Clothing racks are very useful, however, if you use hangers…make sure they are the cheap kinds (for example: wire hangers from the dry cleaners) because some of the customers WILL walk away with your hangers.

Tip 4: Talk ahead of time with your friend, or whoever is selling with you in the garage sale, on price points. Are they selling to get back what they spent? Or are they selling just to get rid of items? The answer to these questions will help on how to price items. I was just selling to get rid of items, so I was pricing dresses and skirts at $2 or $3/piece.

Tip 5: Mark your items with price tags or have a sign on the table or rack with the prices of the items. Cynthia had bought stickers with prices on them..and we stuck these stickers on each item.

Tip 6: Have change with you. At least, $15 in one dollar bills.

Tip 7: Have a small pouch on you at all times. Keep your cash there with a small calculator. My friend Mau, on our second garage sale, brought  waist aprons that we can tie on and keep change and other little items within our reach. That was super helpful!

Tip 8: Hydrate and take breaks. Standing and talking to people all morning is hard work. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, eat, and sit down for a few minutes.

Tip 9: Wear a hat! On our second garage sale…I got burnt! I bought a hat from one of the item’s my friend was selling but my arms, chest, and legs got burnt. With that you should also wear sunblock. You definitely need the sun protection, especially during the hot summer months.

Tip 10: Don’t be afraid to sell those oddball items! The things we thought would least likely be bought, were the first ones to sell. For example, my Yelp Life gloves that had cut-off finger tips, which I got for free at a Yelp event…those sold for a dollar! One dolla…Make me holla!!!

I hope you find these tips helpful and may we continue to minimize our belongings.

 

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitchelevator speech or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value proposition.[1]

The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes and is widely credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso (while he was editor for Vanity Fair) for its origin.[2][3] The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_pitch)

 

I’ve heard of this long before..but never-ever thought of formulating one. And, as I contemplate about it, an elevator pitch is useful for everyday life. For instance, in a group setting…where random people are just talking about themselves and what they’ve accomplished…where you’d like to leave a mark or somewhat a memorable impression of yourself…its good to have a well-prepared, compelling, yet brief commentary. Something that will linger in their minds…and leave a pleasant memory of you and the words you just spoke.

Or When you get that chance encounter with that guy or gal you’ve been crushing on…what do you say?

Or when you meet that famous person…do you just shriek and ask, “can I take a picture?” or would you rather have something to say that has more meaning? I would choose the latter.

Here are some pitches I’ve conjured up:

If I somehow ran into Casey Neistat (one famous dude and entrepreneur), I would say: “Hi! I’m Sharon. Good to see you in person than thru a screen. My first vid of yours is ‘Free Business Class Upgrade, everytime.’ But since you’ve been vlogging daily you have definitely increased my vocabulary. I learn new words from you regularly…most recently the word ‘amiable.’ Tell Candice she rocks and hugs to Owen and Francine.”

If I were in a forum and I had to introduce myself…it would sound something like this: “Hi! I’m Sharon and i’ve done many scary things in my life.. like jumping out of a plane or traversing a foreign country on my own…but, somehow, this moment right here…talking to all of you, is also quite scary. However, the importance is to conquer that fear…just do it and don’t think too much about it …and ride it like a bull.”

What’s your elevator pitch? I’d like to know.

Travel Apps Part 2: Traversing Around Town

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Alas, here is part two of the travel apps series. Today, I will be sharing with you what apps I’ve used in the past to get around a certain city. Granted, most of these apps require data, so I will be sharing how to access data while traveling abroad, on another blog post. So, let’s get started!

Google Maps (requires data). I loved using this app in our recent travel to Tokyo. We commuted mostly by train and it tells you what line to get on and if there are any transfers. Most of the time, it also gives you the platform number, to help you while you are transferring between two different train lines. Another nice feature is knowing how much to pay. It tells you exactly the cost of getting to your destination.

I have CityMapper (requires data) too, which is a lot like Google Maps, but I didn’t use it as much during this past trip. But, you can definitely download and see which you like better. You might actually like both.

All Subway (no data required). This app helps you look at the Subway Route Maps in the city you are visiting. It has ALOT of cities… but I’m pretty sure not all. It has Manila, Melbourne, Milan, Miami, Copenhagen, Bangkok, etc. So, if your city is on there, it’s a good download before you leave.

Yelp (requires data). Yelp has been around for a long time in the United States, and is recently going Global. I used it a bit in Italy back in 2012, but didn’t find a lot of reviews in certain places. This year, I used it in Tokyo and found a few gems that were recommended by Yelp reviewers! I love to use Yelp to find highly recommended cafe, restaurants, and breweries. It saves me from having to go through a horrible experience!

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Please note though, that these apps are not foolproof. You still may get lost, get off a wrong stop, or have a bad experience at a restaurant. Sometimes, you just can’t help it. However, these apps may help lessen the painful ordeal of a highly stressful situation. A few other tips I can suggest, if you are staying at a hotel, gather suggestions from the front desk staff or concierge (no data required). Ask them:

  • Is this the right route to take to get from point A to point B?
  • What is a good sushi place (pasta place, cafe, etc.) nearby?
  • What are some activities to do around town?

Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions or for help. Asking for help is half the battle. 😉

Happy Travel Friends!

Travel Apps Part 1: Preparing for the Travel

For any minor or major traveling, there is always researching and planning to be done. I do research on my laptop and on my iPhone. This blog will have a two-part series of apps that I use for traveling. The first part will be preparing for the travel and the second part will be regarding the apps that I use while I’m at my destination.

I use several apps to prepare for my travel. A large part of it are airline apps. I downloaded apps of airlines that I either A) am a frequent flyer of or B) an airline I flew on and really loved. So for airline apps I have: United, JetBlue, and Southwest. The United app also allows me to watch movies directly from my iPad or to check email while in flight.

However, aside from the airline apps, I also fancy using Kayak. I actually prefer the app rather than going online and visiting their website. I find their app to be user-friendly and free of clutter. It also helps me find the cheapest airfare, regardless of what airline I choose to use. Another nice feature of Kayak is the price alerts. It alerts you when an air ticket at a chosen destination is within the price range you selected. For example, if you are looking for a $300 ticket to Hawaii from San Francisco. You can put those choices on price alert and you will receive a notification if there are any airlines offering that fare, or lower, to your chosen destination. Nice, right?!

After booking a flight,  a hotel, and perhaps a car rental, it would be nice to have all confirmation details in one central location. For that, I use World Mate. You can see all your upcoming trips, but also your past trips. It helps you book a hotel from the app directly, or to make a limo reservation. The free version of the app is supposedly going to expire soon, so I downloaded the paid version. I don’t find myself using this app often, but I like how I can keep tabs on my past trips. It always brings a smile to my face when I think back of those past trips.

I also check on the exchange rate of the foreign currency in the country I’ll be visiting versus the almighty U.S. dollar. I travel with a tiny bit of cash for small shops and for tip money, but I prefer to pay with a Visa that has no foreign transaction fees tied into it. And, it’s always nice to know what you’re going against. So for that, I have a Currency app.

I also do research on hotels, activities, and restaurants. For that kind of inquiry, I use Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor is like the Yelp for travelers. Reviews and ratings from other fellow travelers to help narrow done the best hotels, activities, and restaurants within your budget at your future destination.

Last but not least, traveling wouldn’t be as fun without the local interaction you’ll be making. So, I find it useful to learn a few words or phrases in their language. A Translator app is crucial when traveling to a foreign country to say a greeting or to ask for something in their local tongue. I highly recommend a Translator app in addition to your pocket-book of phrases or your cd/podcast of the language you are trying desperately to learn.

So, this is what’s in my arsenal of travel apps. I hope you found this helpful, and if there are any other apps I’m missing out on…do share about them.