Celebrating My Birthday.

Cake

Thus far, June had its ups and downs. With the re-opening of the economy I’m in no hurry to get back to the “new normal” life. California supposedly had an increase in COVID19 cases due to more tests being done but, I don’t know what’s true these days. I’ve continued to stay home, keep my distance and limit the amount of people I socialize with (if, at all). In addition, my work has allowed me to continue working remotely from home and that’s been working out pretty well for all of us.

Besides the on-going Corona crisis, I turned a year older a few days ago. It was a sad moment waking up in the morning and being reminded of how I am older and in no way close to where I want to be at the age I am now. Honestly, if I had a forward button I’d probably would’ve done it. Anyway, I turned my sorrow instead to focusing on work followed by challenging myself to bake a vegan cake. My bf and I took turns figuring out the ingredients of the cake and even though baking this cake took forever it definitely lifted my mood. The cake was a success and given the situation of celebrating my birthday during COVID19 era, not being able to travel and turning older, I’d say it was a productive day.

Vegan Cake

First Thing I Will Do After the COVID-19 Crisis Ends.

selfie_losangeles | astintabroad

I’m sitting here letting the title of this post marinate for a little bit. I feel that we’re far from the crisis ending anytime soon but, I am hopeful. One day, when this ends and I am sure it will, I want to be ready for the things that I missed doing or took for granted before the crisis started. These are in no way in any particular order.

  • Make Travel Plans
  • Re-start my social life and make plans to attend events
  • Dine in and have a good meal
  • Go swimming or sit in a Jacuzzi
  • Go on a long hike
  • Go to a movie theater
  • Smile at strangers
  • Smile when I see the grocery stores well stocked again
  • Buy toilet paper and hand-sanitizer (since I’m now running low)
  • Continue my blog

On to you.

Helpful article: https://medium.com/mind-cafe/5-steps-to-take-now-so-you-can-thrive-in-the-post-coronavirus-world-e2f63fedc1d6

Coping During My 2nd Week of “Stay At Home” Order.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, life is pretty grim around here in Orange County, California. People are being “furlough” left to right, hiring freeze is abundant, grocery stores rarely has any food in stock and the list goes on and on. When will it stop? Nobody knows, at least until we start seeing the number of people infected start dropping then things will hopefully ease up.

For now, I’m at home working on my laptop. Work, on the contrary, is the consistent thing in my life that’s “normal”. I’m focused, busy and on track with my usual routine prior to COVID-19 crisis. I’d say I’m pretty lucky in a sense that there’s nothing out of the ordinary with my day to day routine. I’ve adapted quite well working remotely from home as I’ve been doing that on and off in the last year. The only thing different for me is keeping my distance from strangers and going to the grocery stores to find most things out of stock.


The other day I went for a run around my neighborhood and I’ve never come across people dodging each other as far away as crossing the street the minute they’re about to cross paths. It felt weird because nobody ever did that prior to the crisis. On one hand, it’s good that people are respecting the rules but, there’s also the feeling like this could become the new reality indefinitely. For me, the thought of never talking to strangers at all is weird. Let’s say I’m lost and didn’t have access to any phones. How would I get help if, nobody will want to talk to me? I know, I’m talking nonsense and don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be safe keeping my distance than be sorry; but, admitting this is our current reality of facing the unknown is an adjustment to say the least.

Despite the changes that has happened after the crisis started, I do like seeing a lot more people going out for a walk or running outside (while keeping social distancing in mind). Personally, I’m happy that I’m given this time to FaceTime with friends and family from all over the world, re-connecting through social media, taking online courses, blog, binge watch movies or shows, reading articles, organizing, purging old files and preparing to donate a few items. In retrospect, I try to keep it positive by doing the things I like to do on a daily basis, get a good sleep, eat as healthy as possible and survive.

How are you coping lately?

Read my post on helping you stay occupied: https://astintabroad.com/2020/03/19/good-reads-links-to-help-you-stay-occupied/

MLK 3-Day Weekend. What Are You Up To?

How’s your first month of this year going so far? It seems for me it’s been on a roller coaster ride juggling between work and trying to fit in that travel life. I’m feeling like there never seem to be enough time which is why I’m looking forward to a much needed 3-Day weekend to hopefully, slow down and relax.

Tomorrow we start off with a bang by heading down to Anaheim for a work related event. There’ll be games, food, artists and much more. If you’re in town make sure to check it out.

Following the event mayhem, we’re also going away for the weekend and heading out somewhere away from the city where it’s a bit more remote. I’ll talk about it a bit more later but, if you want to find out earlier check out my instagram stories for live updates.

Have a great weekend!

Setting the New Year with Travel Plans.

Soooo, we all made it through the holidays. I know you’re thinking, it’s 2020, a new decade, new goals, new hopes and aspirations blah blah blah. Honestly, I don’t believe in writing down my ‘new years resolution’ because I never follow them but, rather follow through what’s on my mind.

Here’s where my hunch tell me to go this year.

Singapore: It’s been said that Singapore is one of the safest, cleanest and ‘world’s fastest growing economies‘ in the world. It’s hard to pass this country with all of the interesting sights to see.

South Korea: A place that I know nothing about. Although, I’ve met and know a couple of people that have made me think twice in coming here. Some are very good friends of mine and others were acquaintances that have given me a snapshot of what the culture is like. I was intrigued.

Portugal: I’ve been doing a lot of research on Portugal and the Algarve region appealed to my California beach senses making me want to go right this minute.

France: Colmar, Strasbourg or Province are among the prettiest towns that were on my list to see while I was studying abroad a few years ago but, never got a chance to go. To this day it’s still in the back of my mind.

Other places on my mind are Prague, Vienna, Italy: Sicily and the Almafi Coast and Dubai. So many places to see and so little time. Let’s hope work will allow me to go to at least one of them this year.

Online Safety

Is there such a thing anymore? Last year, several of my social media and bank accounts were part of a company system being hacked. This resulted in compromising my information, one that I am not happy about. I’m sure many of you can relate and if not, you are one lucky person. The question at hand is how do you keep your information safe when your job requires being online 24/7?

Recently, I was online looking for remote jobs and got a response from a company stating that I had an interview with them. The recruiter, after googling, was legit. She existed, per LinkedIn profile and a company information. I was very much interested in the company so, you can imagine how excited I was for the interview.

During the interview, everything went smoothly and at the end, I was hired on the spot. There was nothing that seemed off or questionable throughout the whole process. The recruiter had requested for my basic information and I provided my ID card as it is a standard process in the U.S. when going through the on-boarding. The only part that threw me off was at the end when the recruiter said the company would pay for equipments for me to use and that they will send me a check in the next few days. In my mind, I was thinking wow, is this something new that companies are doing now or am I imaging it? I figured, what do I have to loose if they send me a check? It doesn’t mean I need to take it. Therefore, I agreed for them to send me one.

Two days later, the check arrived. I opened the Fedex mail and was stunned when I found out that the check was 6 grand. I knew right away that there was something very wrong with this picture. On top of that, the check had a name of a gentleman located in my area, mind you the company was located in another state. Right.

I confronted the recruiter/scammer and demanded a written letter from the company with a signature stating that this is, indeed, a real check and not fraud. No answer. The next day, the scammer responded that it is a legit check but, failed over and over again to provide the necessary documents I requested. I’ll spare you the details but, the conversation ended with me threatening to report them to the police. It didn’t help one bit. I suppose these scam artists are desperate for money and they will do what it takes for you to fall for their schemes. I signed off.

I was angry and frustrated, mostly angry towards myself for falling to their tricks. I decided to reach out to the recruiter on LinkedIn, which I should’ve done to begin with and asked her to confirm whether she had been the one I’ve been talking to online. She responded no. It turns out, several people have reached out to her a few times claiming that someone else is using her name to scam them. Unbelievable!

The end to the story is that I did report this to the police. I found out from them that this is a common scam story that they hear about all the time…..apparently, I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo.

How do you keep your information safe online? Any tips/suggestions?

Birthday brunch at Orange Hill Restaurant.

There’s no denying that birthdays is a special day. I think most people will want to do something nice to celebrate on the day that they are born or not (whichever one prefers). It could be a simple staying at home or in my case, going out for brunch.

Last weekend, my roommate introduced me to a restaurant that she believed I would enjoy. We had a few minutes of discussion about what this place had to offer and I was convinced it was the right place to spend my birthday. It turned out, she was right. Continue reading “Birthday brunch at Orange Hill Restaurant.”

Why Digital Transformation Matters for the U.S.

U.S. Customs has gone digital. For years, I think the Immigration process was a hassle for anyone. In example, filling out the Declaration Form itself was one hot mess. I remembered, on several of my flights having to scramble in my bag to find a pen. That, alone was a problem. Sometimes, I didn’t have a pen with me therefore, I would have to ask a flight attendant to borrow one or embarrassingly ask my seat neighbor. If, that’s not enough, there’s also the point of having to take out my passport, find my flight itinerary and finally, actually filling out the form. Then, all of those items would have to be put back in my bag. In addition, there was also standing in line at customs, waiting longer than necessary to be called and be interviewed about my whereabouts. All in all, the whole thing was an ordeal and thankfully, someone decided it was finally enough. Upon my arrival on my recent trip from Mexico, I was surprised by the new changes of the U.S. Customs’ Immigration process. They’ve streamlined the process now from the minute your plane lands to exiting the airport. This was explained on the television while my plane was descending in the air. Apparently, there are two different sections of navigating incoming traffic at the airport (nothing new) for International flight arrivals. You either fall under APC (new) or the Global Entry (new). Here are the differences:

Continue reading “Why Digital Transformation Matters for the U.S.”

Top 5 Feelings I Experienced When I Got Back from Vacation.

  1. I need another vacation.
    santorini-7089
  2. On cloud nine. I’ve been day dreaming about last week’s time spent wondering around town or the joy of drinking red wine at sunset. I’m still trying to hold on to those happy memories. When can I do that again?
  3. Sharing is caring. I found myself wanting to talk about my vacation. What I saw, the adventures I took and what happened; even though nobody really understands nor care for it. lolboat-6600
  4. Feeling Empowered. All of sudden new ideas comes to life. You start trying to make things happen in hopes of ultimately become a full-time remote employee. One day, it’ll happen OK!http://youngheart0.tumblr.com/
  5. …And on to the next adventure. If you can’t fly far, go somewhere closer.
    IMG_7403-min

How to remove cactus spines.

astintabroad | joshuatree

I was walking down the beach a couple of days ago, when I stepped on a prickly thing on the ground. OUCH! I looked down to see what I had stepped on and saw a plant that had spines similar to a cactus. The damn thing hung on to the bottom of my feet and it was ridiculously painful. I pulled it off my feet right away, leaving me effing my way back to the house.

Continue reading “How to remove cactus spines.”

How to Make Your Swimsuit Last Longer.

astintabroad_sanjosedelcabo_2018

For some reason I’ve never thought about how to properly wash a swimsuit. I’ve been rinsing them quickly and then drying them in the sun. Little did I know, there’s a proper process to it and it explains a lot, why some of my favorite bathing suits have lost its elasticity. Only if I had known about this before, it would’ve saved me a lot of money.
Continue reading “How to Make Your Swimsuit Last Longer.”