Discover Newport Beach: McDonald’s (?)

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McDonald’s located on PCH, Newport Beach

FROM THE DESK OF:  Aiza

A few storefronts down from the Newport Beach Ferrari dealership on Pacific Coast Highway, one can find a surprisingly tasty and affordable food establishment. This particular restaurant serves breakfast (24 hours even), lunch and dinner. Children love going here. Adults likely secretly love it only because this fast food chain is not exactly known for a healthy menu. What is this magical Newport place I speak of? McDonald’s.

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Things I’ve Read While Pretending to Work

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FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

For some people November is a slow month. In my job, we have a name for it: No-Work November. There are obvious and good reasons for this: along with the non-existent workflow, there are also days off like Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving. That means November is a month with some serious downtime to spend on expanding your gut as preparation to take more food in the upcoming holidays; getting to know your coworkers better by throwing things at them when no-one is looking; and of course finding some interesting things to read. Continue reading “Things I’ve Read While Pretending to Work”

A Letter to Time

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When Time isn’t around to remind you to make dinner, you end up scraping together your own Frankenstein dinner like this one: leftover rotisserie chicken, paired with watermelon cubes and a pack of raspberries that were on sale a couple of days ago.

FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

Hi Time,

I hope this finds you well!

It’s been awhile since we last talked, and I’m not sure if you remember me… but it’s Nina, one of those kids you used to babysit a long time ago. Y’know, the one who used to nag you all the time to move faster and assume you’d always be there for me as I simultaneously matured at my own glacial pace? Yep, that one.

Well, I’m writing to tell you that I’m, uh, sorry about all of that. I was a brat for taking you for granted and shoving you to move faster. Could you please come back and hold my hand again? I promise, I’ll let you move at your own pace. Promise!

Continue reading “A Letter to Time”

TinyDeskWriters’ Guide To Selling Your Clothes in L.A.

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Vintage Stores Galore in the LA Area

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

A few weeks ago, I organized and purged my closet using the Mari Kondo method. I divided my clothes that no longer “brought me joy” into two piles: 1) for donation and 2) attempt to sell. I spent so much money on pairs of jeans 10 years ago, I swore that I could somehow today capitalize on the whole vintage/retro/throwback trend. Through my closet cleanse, I notice how I still held on to NYC and Japanese brands from back in the day. Remember Triple 5 Soul? C’mon millennials, these brands were urban before urban became such a thing! Over the years I collected everything from jackets, t-shirts and shoes that I bought at NYC Sample Sales back to current stuff that just didn’t fit right any longer. Surely, one of the LA thrift/vintage store buyers would also appreciate my Hudson Jeans circa 2006.

Continue reading “TinyDeskWriters’ Guide To Selling Your Clothes in L.A.”

Sightseeing FiDi Without Ever Stepping Outside

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Brookfield Plaza

FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

What I’m most impressed about from the completion of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub isn’t that it’s this awe-inspiring architectural wonder with a price tag of $4-billion, but that it essentially links the Financial District (FiDi) from one end to another, allowing pedestrians to walk through the width of Downtown Manhattan entirely indoors. That means that when it’s too cold, too hot, too wet, too frozen, too whatever outside—you can still sightsee (or in my case, just get to work) through Downtown without ever stepping outside. Continue reading “Sightseeing FiDi Without Ever Stepping Outside”

Leisure Reading and the Inquisitive Itch

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All three of these will be on my nightstand tonight. I may or may not read these simultaneously.

FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

There was a pretty extended period of my life, not too long ago, during which the joy of reading was completely forgotten. Probably when college hit and all of the required reading one had to do took away all of the fun of it. Curse you, Xeroxed Course Readers Stuffed With (Mostly) Super Boring Papers…

But now that I’ve been away from school for awhile, I’m beginning to get what I’d like to call the Inquisitive Itch: a yearning for learning (hah, that rhymes) and an overwhelming sense of curiosity for how the world works, what motivates its overall functioning, how humans interact, and what our purpose in life truly is.

Now, that might mean it may be time to head back to school – that’s a point of discussion for another time, I think – but in the interim, I’ve decided that picking up leisure reading again will probably be my best bet in satiating my desire to keep learning and growing my understanding of how to make the most of my life.

Here are some books I’ve picked up recently that I’m hoping will scratch that Inquisitive Itch.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

Now, I know I mentioned this one before in another post, and I admit: I still haven’t finished it yet. (Life and work gets in the way, and it never seems like there are enough hours in the day, amirite?) But every so often, when I’m not catching up on work or exhausted from the day, I’ll take a minute to read a chapter or two before bed. I’m about to start Chapter 21 of 27, and it is called “Millions of Mirrors”; looks like it’s about how the people you surround yourself with reflect your level of self-love. Whoa.

The Float Tank Cure, by Shane Stott.

Earlier this year, Deo, Aiza, and I all tried this thing called floating, which is a form of therapeutic sensory deprivation intended to enable the deepest form of relaxation. TL;DR: you step in a tank of salt water and float there in the darkness until your mind just… wanders. After my first visit, I remember feeling light, refreshed, and capable of handling whatever life threw my way. I definitely wanted to learn more about the process. So I recently picked up this book by Shane Stott, a guy who kick-started the DIY isolation tank to practice float therapy, hoping to get a better understanding of the process and its full benefits. Based on the table of contents, it looks like his book The Float Tank Cure explains a little bit more about how to utilize float therapy to reduce anxiety and depression. I’m in.

And last, but certainly not least…

The Book of Joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.

When I came across a Facebook video that Time Magazine posted of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tutu hanging out, I was like, wuuuuuuut I need to figure out what these two wise humans are talking about. Watching the video further, I found out they had written a book about their time spent together celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday and exchanging stories about their experiences discovering joy in the face of adversity. The Book of Joy recounts this incredible encounter, and I’m really excited to learn a bit more about how to shift my perspective when I’m feeling like life’s getting a little tough.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dig my head in all three of these books at once. The reading ADHD is so real.

 

Game On: Let’s Go Cubs!

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FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

After 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are finally in the World Series. More a basketball die-hard, I acknowledge I’m just a casual fan of baseball. I definitely do not have patience to watch baseball on TV (during the regular season) or worse listen to AM baseball radio. I do like attending an actual game though but specifically for the hot dogs, soda and an ice cream sundae stuffed in a mini baseball hat. What I lack in baseball knowledge, I surely make up in enthusiasm related to anything Chicago. Doesn’t matter how many years passed since my family moved to California, I remain a Chicago girl at heart. This Cubs’ World Series moment is huge for Chicago and as a Chicagoan, I’m feeling the excitement.

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Guide to Staying in On a Rainy Saturday

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not leaving here

FROM THE DESK OF: Deo

I had plans for a lunch date but it has been rain-checked. Outside, it’s cold and sad—yet I am oddly relieved. I get to do what I haven’t done in a long time: just stay inside and do nothing for the day. Here is my tiny guide to staying in bed or the couch:

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What Wise People Say, Pt. I of (Maybe) Many

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FROM THE DESK OF: Nina

When I was a kid, I thought adults had all of the answers. I thought that my childhood was the time to ask all of the questions, indulge in one’s unbridled sense of curiosity, make all of the mistakes… and then when you hit adulthood, POOF! You get married, you have kids, and then suddenly you understand everything there is to know about life.

Now that I’m hitting the upper end of my twenties, I’m starting to realize that this is most definitely, 100% not the case. Why the heck was that ever an assumption that crossed my mind?

This has been one of the most terrifying revelations I’ve had as I dig deeper into adulthood.  What do you mean grown-ups don’t know everything? They’re human beings?? Inconceivable! The fact that no one really knows what they’re doing in this life, that we’re all winging it and faking it til we make it to get by, has been one tough pill for me to swallow.

As the gravity of adulthood sinks in more and more each day, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly introspective, turning to reflection, prayer, and stillness to get me re-centered and stay calm as I possibly can in the tumultuous storm that is the act of growing up. I’ve been reading more articles and reflections a lot, too; in particular, I’ve been fascinated with studying the lives of quiet and simple, yet profound and wise, historical figures in history.

One figure I’ve been reading about a lot lately is St. Therese of Lisieux. My favorite religion teacher in high school, Fr. Vincent, used to begin each of his classes by quoting a short saying by St. Therese: all is grace. Known as The Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux explained her reason for living with these three words – words that represent simple, pure humility and a complete trust in the grace of God. Here are a few quotes of hers that help remind me that there is beauty, value, and goodness in simplicity, even if it doesn’t seem obvious at times.

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily
do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

“I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors’ defects–not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues.”

From these quotes, it seems to me that St. Therese quietly promoted a life of appreciation for the little things: recognizing the simple qualities that make one unique, expressing love through small acts of thoughtfulness, appreciating the subtle strengths of the people around us. Living a simplistic, yet sincere and faith-driven life is something that seems to become slightly more elusive as I become distracted by the chaos of adulthood, but stopping to read quotes like these seem to remind me that it’s not entirely impossible to live purposefully.

Day Trippin’: Claremont, California

FROM THE DESK OF:  Aiza

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Claremont Village.

The city of Claremont is located about 32 miles east of Downtown, Los Angeles. Personally, I always categorized Claremont as a semi- Inland Empire town, which basically means I never really gave it much credit. Let’s be real, the I.E. isn’t a top destination trip for LA folks. [For the record, I’m allowed to make such a snotty comment because my formative high school and college years were out in Riverside. Yo. I’m still reppin’ the “909”] After visiting this small city a couple times over the last weeks, I now can say that Claremont is actually a pleasant surprise!

Continue reading “Day Trippin’: Claremont, California”