June Update: Celebrating My Birthday.

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

Mid-May Update: Entering Phase 3

It’s been a stressful month. Since my last update a lot has happened in the last 2 weeks and I mean LOTS!

Like most businesses these days, the company I worked for also felt the ripple effect from the COVID-19 situation. A week ago, I started my day business as usual when I received a message from my manager saying she’s been laid-off. I was shocked as much as she was. Then a few minutes later, my other co-worker was also let go. ****, it sounded like they were cleaning the house. You can imagine the panic I went through within those few minutes. I remembered that day how my hands were shaking, I couldn’t breathe and I was freaking the F out waiting for my turn. I probably reached out to every person I knew or anyone who was willing to listen over my panic while I waited and waited for my call. I never received a call that day.

Stressed? Overwhelmed?
Here are resources to help you.

My mind wandered all night, trying to figure out what’s next for me. On one hand, I could take the “no call” as a good sign OR potentially receive the bad news from my temp agency the next day who I am working with as a contractor for this company. In any case, I never got any sleep that night. The next day, I finally did hear from my main boss who explained the entire situation. Luckily, I was spared from this layoff for now. However, it was clear that there may or may not be another one coming (hopefully not).

Since the layoffs, I’ve come to be at peace in my mind that a layoff is out of my control and stressing over it is a waste of time. Obviously, I don’t want to be laid off but, stressing over situations I can’t control is mentally exhausting. So, I calmed the F down by staying positive and doing day to day things that I enjoy such as going outside to take a walk or run everyday (with my mask on of course). That weekend, I spent a day at the beach in San Clemente. I spent time walking through the pier and the downtown area since most things are now open to the public. There’s definitely something about being near the water that makes me feel calm.

Today, work announced that all of our employees will be returning to work in the office starting next month. I’m still unsure about going in the office but, it’s clear to me that our economy will open no matter what. Anyway, I’ve decided to take major mental recuperation and preparation for Phase 3 over Memorial Day weekend by staying offline. Whether I like it or not, we’re entering Phase 3 sooner than I expected.

Visiting Oceanside, CA

oceanside california

Another day another beach town visited. I arrived late afternoon seeking for a few hours of sunshine at a beach that’s open which I found at Oceanside, CA., a coastal city located in San Diego county. San Diego was among the first counties in California to reopen their beaches, parks, and a few businesses since the “Stay At Home” order was lifted last week. To me, seeing an open beach for the first time in a month and a half felt quite strange. There seem to be a huge unspoken uncertainty in the air as I watched a few people at the beach surfing, swimming, bodyboarding in the water and people rollerblading, jogging, walking or riding bikes with or without masks worn.

Signs about social distancing and staying home were still seen in the area. Despite the beach being open, activities were limited from tanning, bringing chairs at the beach, to anything relating to gathering of any kind. Police patrolled the scene a few times in a given hour to insure that people were following the social distancing rules. Those that didn’t were told to keep it moving.

Much of my time was spent walking around the neighborhood. There seem to be new apartment buildings built in the area with a hefty price tag attached to it. I found a few coffee and juice shops in the area. Since nothing else was open I decided to head home.

May Update: Stay at Home Order Lifted

sandiego skyline

Word around town is that today is the first day of the “Stay at Home” Order in California being lifted. We are entering Phase 2 which means a few businesses are allowed to re-open for curbside pickup such as retail. Certain guidelines are still in effect like wearing a mask when entering restaurants and social distancing. My employer also have started asking us to work in the office next Monday but, I’m still doubtful about the whole re-opening the economy considering that the virus is still around. I definitely don’t want to risk getting infected especially for someone with asthma which puts me in a “vulnerable” category.

On the contrary, a few other countries are also re-opening their economy. I thought it was nice to see people living their “new normal life” taking a walk outside, jogging, soaking in the sun and the likes. I guess time will tell how this whole thing will play out for all of us.

How do you feel about the economy re-opening at this point in time?

A few hours in beachside Carlsbad, CA.

carlsbad village

Carlsbad has been on my radar for quite some time now yet, never have I ever made it down here for many reasons until now. In just a mere of an hour (ish), I finally made it to downtown Carlsbad where I roamed the beach side to the village area fulfilling my inner Carlsbad itch.

Carlsbad Village, the city’s commercial district right off the Pacific Ocean was my favorite part. There were plenty of parking, the public restroom was decent, and I found plenty of boutique shops and eatery options during my stroll. One store in particular that caught my eye sold handmade face masks which the owner claims was the only reason they were open. Considering they were a bit pricey I ended up buying two to help support local businesses. I was pleased to finally wear a proper mask compare to my handkerchief.

As a beach city, Carlsbad’s coast line was busy with people on bikes, skateboarding, jogging and much more. It is hard not to love the view of the ocean from the sidewalk. I couldn’t help but, stare out into the horizon of the ocean as I walked along the coastline. Eventually, I decided to turn back around to the village.

Other nearby attractions in Carlsbad are:

The Flower Fields
Experience fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom at best from early March through May. One can easily spend 2 hours here so, make sure to bring plenty of water and an umbrella or a cap.

Admission $18
$1 discount on AAA

GIA Museum
If you like gems and jewelries this is a place for you. The museum holds a free self-guided tour (reservations are required) to learn more about the stones and minerals.

Premium Outlets



Highlights of Downtown Long Beach.

long beach harbor

I like my walks. I take them often usually on familiar paths but, today I decided to take a different route. A stroll in downtown Long Beach took about 2 hours long where I made my way down the boardwalk, to the lighthouse, around the harbor to the Shoreline Village, a walk through the artist town and back to my car. I was pleasantly surprised how I’ve never made it here before as downtown Long Beach offered more to see than what I knew.

What I saw:

The Shoreline Village is as colorful as they get. With shops painted in bright colors of yellow, pink and blue; you can’t miss this area as the waterfront boardwalk stands bright even from far away.

The view of the water was the focal point of my walk. There were boats parked at the harbor against the glimmering water that brought life to my walk. I sauntered my way around the village to check out what else was there waiting for me to see. I found a few shops selling ice cream, candies, knick knacks, benches placed all around the area, and a mini love lock similar to the one in Paris was stationed in a corner. It seemed this place was well equipped for tourists looking for a place to go for a day.

The Aquarium of the Pacific
On the other side of the village was the largest aquarium in Southern California. Although, the prices are a bit hefty, it is home to 11,000 animal exhibits. You can find ticket discounts here.

General Admission
Adult: $34.95
Child (3-11): $24.95
Senior (62+): $31.95

Tour the Queen Mary
From the point of the lighthouse you can actually see the Queen Mary, a famous landmark of Long Beach and a major attraction. The ship is docked near the shoreline where you can stay, eat, and participate in a ghost hunting tour. If you’ve never been I highly suggest going at least once.

The Pike Outlets Shopping Center
Across the street from the boardwalk was the Pike Outlet Mall. I walked through here and found several chain stores including Starbucks. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. However, it’s worth going if you seek for discounted prices on clothes and/or other items.

East Village Arts District
This was my favorite area of downtown Long Beach because of the art scene. I saw a few cool graffitis on the wall, loft buildings, creative agencies I’m familiar with, healthy juice stores, plenty of parking and the best part was that it’s walkable. If it wasn’t for work, I’d probably move here if given the chance.

Mid-April Update

astintabroad in paris

It’s been over a month now since we’ve been hit with the “Stay at home” order in California. I’ve lost my patience in the negativity over the news for COVID-19 and thus, have decreased my daily checking.

California stands on a soft re-opening and have opened a few beaches in my area and as far as I know, critical surgeries have resumed (not cosmetic related surgeries per se). As for activities, well, most of the hiking routes or trails I usually go on have stayed open this whole time and that has not changed at all. We’re still maintaining social distancing, the “Stay at home” order is still in effect until told otherwise and wearing masks is still mandatory in most stores. However, I have started seeing a lax in wearing masks lately in compare to the beginning of this month.

The latest update regarding COVID19 in California are strikes that’s happening in a few cities. People are getting antsy in re-opening early and start work again. It is a very tough situation we are all in because on one hand you have people dying and on the other, you have people needing work to live. I can sympathize on both ends and I’m not posting this to start a political debate whether we should re-open early or not. I am hopeful that we will return to a “new normal” soon, until then, stay positive.

Welcome April

Hello folks! How is everyone doing? I hope you’re all staying positive during these times.

As a quick update, we are now on our 3rd week of our “stay at home” order in California. My work has extended (as of yesterday) to work from home until May and our grocery stores are still having a hard time keeping up with the demand of toilet papers, hand sanitizers, hand wipes and face masks. I still wonder why people are hoarding toilet papers, however, I managed to stock up on these ‘basic essentials’ today by waking up very early in the morning and standing in line at Target before they opened. That was not fun. Let’s hope it will be the first and last time I’d have to that.

On another note, there’s been a debate unfolding regarding making it mandatory to wear face masks for all of us in the US. I’ve also started noticing a lot of people wearing them now outdoors and it got me worried. Where would I find one if it becomes mandatory? As soon as I arrived home this morning, I went online to search for the face masks. Luckily, I found a few on Etsy and bought one based on ratings. Even though I know it may take a while for it to be delivered to me, I’d assume it’ll be here (I hope) by the time the government decides it becomes mandatory.

On a lighter note, I’ve managed to update my blog since I have time to spare these days. The blog has a new design in hopes of bringing more visibility to the content (check out the updated video page). Also, I brought back the resources page and added (or moved around sections) freebies, How-To posts, information relating to COVID19, and previous popular posts (i.e. moving to Milan) that I hope will help you. These will continually be updated therefore, stay posted for new information and/or let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see.

Keep smiling and stay strong.

A Stint Abroad

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

Your One Stop COVID19 Resources


If you’re bored and in need of things to read amid quarantine. Here are a few articles or blogs to hopefully keep you occupied.


Education (Skills)

Now is a good time to brush up or learn new skills as a few online companies are waiving their standard fees.