Creating Shared Memories

After leaving Sunset Campout, I zoned myself out for a while. It felt like my brain shut down as soon as we left Belden Town. There were so much to process; it overwhelmed the bandwidth my brain has after three days of lack of sleep and overly stimulated creativities. So many memories created, and  I couldn't ask for any better company other than having Artemisia and Marco being the ride or die for the weekend. 

I remember being overly stressed out about the situation before driving up to Belden Town for the festival. My first time camping, my first time labeled as an artist giving an art workshop, and my first time at Sunset Campout. 

Day Zero

Before leaving for Sunset, it felt like everything that could go wrong was slowly shifting towards that direction. Arti kept telling me everything will be okay as soon as we get there. My overly OCD about making plans self knows that we're not at all well prepared enough for this. We're not sure what to expect, none of us has ever been to Sunset Campout, two of us have never camped before. 

By the time we arrived at Belden Town, it had passed the 10 pm cut off for the suggested arrival time for artists. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to contact Ursula to settle in. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. We drove our car into the campsite, found a prime spot, and with a little bit of a professional help from Issac, I set up our tent! The spot we had was a real blessing; we were right next to festival camping troopers Filipe and Anyam. Shortly after we settled, we found out that Micah and his crew were staying in the cabin right next to our tent, this turned my first camping experience into lavish glamping. (Access to private bathroom and air conditioning room which I am entirely grateful for.)

I lost my sense of time the past weekend. My phone had no reception, the only time I used my phone this past weekend was when I played Candy Crush as I was trying to fall asleep every morning. I knew the days by sunrise, the only time I paid attention about time was on Saturday when I had to present my workshop. 
After settling down on Thursday, we took a chill time hanging out in the cabin with our friends. I prepped some materials for my workshop. Then head back to our tent for a potentially good night sleep. 

Day One

Friday morning I was woken up by the heat of direct sunlight to our tent. I remember waking up in a pile of sweat, and the heat was brutal. I soon learned that this is going to be a weekend of waking up uncomfortably under the heat. We woke up got ready, grabbed our pool floats and dipped ourselves into the river where they played fantastic house tunes right by the water. After being in the water for a bit and watching an island floaty filled with humans getting washed down the rapid I decided that I wanted to go down that path with the pizza slice I brought in honor of Ari. 

Quickly I was able to recruit Anyam to join me with my crazy idea. Our game plan was to swim to the other side of the river passed the rapid, walk along the water to the start of the rapid and launch ourselves on the pizza. The game plans always sound easier than it seems and never turned out the exact way as anticipating. We ended up being washed down further from the water having to climb the rocks to go on to the other side of the river and the adventure started. The sun was shining hot and bright, the rocks were burning my bare feet, I wanted to give up, but I'm too deep in at this point I cannot look back. I stood under the shades trying to cool down my burning feet watching the water that's 100ft away from me having doubts and thoughts drifting in my mind. Next minute I was in the water cooling down my almost burnt feet waiting to ride this bad boy and having the most fun we couldn't ask for. IT WAS SO WORTH IT. For some people, this type of adventure was not that big of a deal, but for me, it was a push your self out of the fear experience, and I made it. I created a memory shared with Anang and the slice of pizza. I immediately thought of Ari and some of his crazy adventures. In my mind, I knew he'd appreciate the journey I took with the pizza I borrowed.

As the sun goes down, the adventure kept on going. After helping out wooing audiences to the Golden Gate Dolls circus show, none of us felt the connection with the music that was playing at the main stage. We decided to go on a trip into the wood for stars gazing. Four of us took a small hike deep into the woods. On our journey, we met a guide who later on fell into a shallow beach covered in water while showing us the best spot to bath under the starlights. We told her politely that we're looking for a place where we can lay down and went on our venture finding a new spot. Finally, at the end of the trail, we found a sweet spot where Artemisia, Conan, Marco and I lie down under a sky filled with shining souls. 

Day Two

I remember waking up from the heat, and I rolled out of tent feeling dehydrated from it. I felt like shit from the lack of sleep and how hot it was. The day started slow, and it was rough. I, later on, remembered that there's AC in the cabin and I dragged myself in there to recover from the heat. 
One of my favorite part of Sunset was the water. To keep my hair color as light as it is I had to be careful about what water I dip myself into. I miss my Sundays in my home town where I'd swim in the ocean and read a book on the beach. I left for the river without a floaty this time. All I wanted to do is swim freely like a fish. Saturday was HOT. I can feel my skin burning walking under the sun. I ran into Reed, Jessica and their friend as I went into a traffic of floaties in the river. I recruited them to go on a good swim break. I stayed in the water for a while swimming laps until I had to get out to prep for my workshop later in the afternoon. 

The gallery where I was supposed to give the workshop felt like a sauna steam room from the heat. I told myself that I need to look for a new spot where people can relax, not being overly heated as they're creating their galaxy. 

With all the blessing, Amanda offered the spot at EAT temple, a beautiful environment display under shades of woods, for me to host my art workshop. 5 pm hits and a handful of humans showed up at my workshop. People started to roll in slowly and joined us while we're painting under the shades. I could not ask for a better vibe or any better experience than what I received. The workshop was a success, and the 11 people who part take created an incredible memory for my life journey as an artist. I appreciate the passing through who decided to stay and join us, and the people who showed up to support me. I got the warmest hug from participants telling me how beautiful my project is. Thus I know that The Galaxy of Gratitude is on the right path to the vision I had. It was a heartfelt moment that filled my soul. I am so grateful to be given that opportunity sharing my calling at Sunset Campout. 

I passed out right after my workshop, it felt like a long day in such short period. After being well rested, I wanted to create more memories with friends that I knew and new friends that I made. It seems like the best timing to whip out the sparklers I brought to Sunset with us. I gathered all the friends we found on our way to the beach again. Bathing with music and surrounded by friends under the starlight, we created the moment of joy as we lit up our sparklers. The shared memories got me amped up dancing till the dawn. It's time to go to bed I told myself; it's time to call it a night. 

Day Three

I wasn't sure if I was well rested, but I had the longest sleep since the day I arrived at Belden town. All the art and music opened my consciousness of creativities. I wanted to make more shared memories happen. 

I joined Irie and Kyle under a teepee in EAT Temple talking about art and creation; we decided that it's the right timing for us to collaborate and make some art together. In the process of looking for canvas where we can join forces on an art piece, I recalled bringing the vest I bought on eBay with the origin of making an art piece on the back of it. This is the moment! I asked Irie and Kyle if they're willing to collaborate working on my vest with me and they agreed. 

We sat on the beach with the DJ playing disco music on the stage. Three of us painted my vest creating shared memories and a rad piece of art that I can walk around in. The lady who was sitting next to me saw us doing so asked me if I'd paint on her legging. It was the first time since I started painting that I felt like a real artist but an impostor. I spent the rest of the day painting, creating, and connecting with other artists. 

All dreams come to an end; it's finally time to head back to reality. My head started to hurt from having all the ideas flowing through my brain. I never felt as fulfilled in life as I had ever been. On our ride home I couldn't speak a word, frames of pictures were flashing in my mind just as the car pulled out of Belden Town. I looked back and said goodbye to Sunset Campout; I know that I left a part of my soul there along with my voice. Until next time I said, until next time. 

Practicing to have an Attitude of Gratitude

The most important lesson I learned in the last couple months is the importance to be grateful in life. The meaning of an attitude of gratitude is to make expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life a habit, for both the big and small things alike. 

I was keeping a journal for a couple months since last fall, every night before I head to bed I write down 3 things that I am grateful for that day. From doing this sometimes my days get turned around by identifying positivities do happen in a crappy day, I can then go to bed stressless and with a good smile. This practice has helped me form a new way of thinking and became more positive. I learned to appreciate the smallest thing in my life that brought me a smile in the day. I stopped my gratitude practice beginning of the year, I was overthrown by the stress in life. Things have gone downhill since I stopped practicing it. Beginning of March someone I really cared about moved abroad and that had a significant impact on my emotions. I started my The Galaxy of Gratitude project around the same time. 

Things started to look better as I started to do my galaxy project. It makes me feel great as I'm showing gratitude to others. I decided that I'm going to dedicate this April to practice having an attitude of gratitude. I'm also excited that I'm bring The Galaxy of Gratitude to another level, more good news to come end of the month!

Project I: The Galaxy of Gratitude

Have you ever had a day where you woke up in the morning and you just knew that this is not going to be your day? You're feeling crappy and nothing you're working hard for seems to be working out? Well I have, and it has been happening slightly more frequently than I'd like to. I knew that I'm having the feeling of frustration, and the scariest part of this is that if you don't drag yourself out of it, you're only going to get deeper into the blackhole where the frustration becomes depression. 

I woke up one morning feeling terribly and I thought what can I do to make myself feel better. I looked around my room and spotted the watercolor set I got back from my parents' house that no one has touched once since 2007. Yup, 10 years ago, when my dream was to become an artist one day. I hopped off my bed, started to Youtube videos of watercoloring, and set up my small corner of studio on my floor. Watercoloring isn't anywhere close as riding a bike, you can't pick it right back up after leaving it behind 10 years ago. 

From following Youtube videos I discovered that watercoloring galaxy really helped me hone my watercoloring skill: I got to feel how the brushes, the water and the paint flow on the paper and I was able to really learn how control my watercolor within a circled area. I posted some pictures with my first few galaxies to my friends, they loved it and asked me to make them one. The idea inspired me with The Galaxy of Gratitude project. 

I started to let my friends sign up for receiving a piece of the galaxy I drew, in the back of the galaxy art they'll receive a note of appreciation from me. Everyone needs to be reminded how awesome they are from time to time, I often like to remind my friends how much I appreciate having them in my life. In hoping to enlighten someone's day with a piece of my art, I kindly ask my friends to drop a hand written note to another friend, and let their friend know how much they appreciate him/her. 

Our world needs more love and less hate, let's roll the project out and hopefully I am able to make someone's day better. 

To see pictures and learn more about the project you can visit The Galaxy of Gratitude


Ps. If anyone's interested in working on the project too, let me know! 

Setting Goals instead of Resolutions.

I survived another year! I personally find cold turkey style resolutions very unmotivated and it's often given up by the end of February. You wake up on January 1st feeling like death from drinking way to much the night before and tell yourself that you're going to stop drinking cause it's a new year. It never works, we all know that. Quitting something without a well thought out plan has proven to fail very easily. Hence, instead of having resolutions I decided to set metric goals this year. 

The goal list started as a joke when a couple of my close friends made comments about how they're taking me camping. (People who know me well know that I have low to no desire in camping at all.) I came up with my first goal - go camping once in 2017, and start from there. I want to step out of my bubble and try new things. My plan for the list is to not only set it at the beginning of the year but set and achieve them through out 2017. 

2016 was a great year overall. I want to set goals in 2017 that is achievable and execute them with baby steps, hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a list of accomplishments. I am very excited! 

Here's the first part of the list to kick off the new year!  

1. Go camping once to challenge myself to be outside of my comfort zone

2. Find a new job: send 1-2 applications daily

3. Learn how to properly brand myself on social media by boosting my Instagram to 1K organic followers with at least 10% interaction rate. (Adding new skill set into my resume)   

4. Exercise 2x/week




I put parental control on my own phone hoping to become a responsible adult with normal sleeping schedule.


This whole idea of blocking myself out of my phone came from a friend of mine, I thought he was absolutely ridiculous when he was telling me about it. A few days after I sent him a message and ask him what’s the app he’s using, it all of sudden became a good idea. For nights of spending too much time on my phone staying awake till later than 2 am (occasionally dealing with work requests from different timezones), often lead to painful mornings

Day 1:

I went over to a friend’s place and stayed till close to midnight. Not sure what to expect from the app, I asked my friend to get me a Uber home. Clock went past midnight while I was in the ride home and all of my apps disappeared! My phone was left with 2 basic functions: Call and text, welcome back to the flip phone era. I wasn’t sure if I was knocked out at 12:30am because I had a really eventful weekend or not being able to play with my phone actually helps.

How I feel:

It felt really weird, I wonder if drug withdraw felt the same. I would pick up my phone trying to do something with it and realize that I can’t do anything with it.


Day 2:

It was just another normal day and I ended up going to bed around midnight on my own. I was so tired from work and slept for nearly 9 hours, I was almost certain that this is going to work.

How I feel:

It felt like I haven’t had a good night sleep like this for a while, though I was still having a tough time waking up in the morning.


Day 3:

I am very much convinced that weather in San Francisco is bipolar. It was unbelievably beautiful today, until it got way too hot to sleep at night. I laid in bed having trouble falling asleep cause I was too hot and I ended up texting my friends about how hot I am. Aside from all the apps being removed, I can still call and text others with my phone being on parental control. (uh-oh)

How I feel:

At this point I’m already getting used to having a flip phone after midnight, I still have fair amount of friends who will respond to my annoying text messages after midnight when I was too hot to sleep. I started to get tired around 23:30, not sure if it’s related to the time cycle though.


Day 4:

I have to be really honest that I couldn’t remember what happened tonight. I might have gotten dinner with my friends which some of them think that my idea of using parental control on myself is ridiculous. Though it was weird that my Facebook messenger wasn’t blocked tonight, along with a few other apps. Not sure if there’s a glitch, I was able to be on Facebook tonight.

How I feel:

I still think it’s a decent decision, at least I’m really starting to have a more regular sleeping schedule on school days.


Day 5:

Last day of trying this app and it’s Friday tomorrow. Same as the night before my Facebook Messenger wasn’t blocked, I honestly can’t remember what wasn’t either. I got tired again around 23:00, I laid in bed and fell asleep by midnight. I however woke up to a disaster, my organized iPhone app became unorganized spread within 6 pages, took me 30 mins to reorganize them in the morning.

How I feel:

With the unblocked FB messenger and other apps (it got more and more every night) and waking up to unorganized applications all over the place I decided that I should really take on my buddy’s suggestion to turn off my phone at midnight and get myself an alarm.


At the end of the 5 days challenge I learned my lesson —  it’s way better to self help than rely on outsource apps. While I decided to delete the app on my way to work, the app decided to kick in and immediately turned my phone into a flip phone — I almost got a heart attack. A large part of my work relies my phone being able to function properly. Lesson learned, maybe it’s time to buy an actual alarm clock and stop being so reliant on my iPhone like most other millennials.