I ain’t great, but I got g(r)it. How I overcome self-doubt as a Developer.

*I’ve written the following post with a soft reference to the version control system, git.

I’m now going into week 8 of the Web Development Immersive Bootcamp at Juno College. In that timespan, we’ve covered HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and Git. My classmates and I have done 2 tests, and submitted 5 projects overall. In such a short timeframe, I’ve been able to improve on my skills and learn new concepts. We’re now starting to work on our resumes and cover letters in preparation on entering the job market.

I wanted to talk about a little mishap I had during Week 7.

In Week 6, we started to learn React, a JavaScript library widely used in Web Development. With the introduction of React and the new concepts it presented— it’s an understatement to say React was difficult to understand.

Up until that point in the bootcamp, I had great momentum. I understood the concepts in CSS and JavaScript— I was going full throttle. When React came along, it seemed like I hit a flat tire.

g(r)it init

Start with the problem in front of you
# Create a new git repository for project 5
g[r]it init ~/project-five/

# Checkout branch for Project-5
g[r]it checkout -b project-five

Last week, we were assigned Project 5— to build a web application built primarily on React. We were given 7 days to work on it and it was due on Thursday 9:00AM the following week.

Not a lot of time to build a web application.

I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to build an application I’ve been passionate about a while back, but I didn’t think I had the right tools or experience to get started.

At that point I said to myself – “Why Not?” and “It’ll be fine”

I wanted to build my own personal Travel Diary where one can capture their travel memories.

Only issue was I had to build it on React!

I created a detailed plan for that week, breaking down the project to smaller tasks and assigning each task a day to work on it. The schedule was very calculative and precise. Any slippage in the plan would certainly miss the submission date. 

g(r)it status

Evaluate where you are & understand the problem
# Get status of project5 branch
g[r]it status

I remember the Monday prior to the Thursday submission day, I couldn’t get the code to work and I started to panic.

I started to question if I knew React well enough.

These negative thoughts started to spiral.

I started to think if I even belonged in the Bootcamp and if I even should be a developer. 

My mind started to ramble even further and thoughts of unworthiness started to pile on:

“I don’t have a university degree”“I’m not a great student”

I started to question my self-confidence:

“I need to be more social” and “I’m too anxious”.

I spent the next 8 HOURS debugging until I fortunately found the issue (I wrote my setState incorrectly in my Parent Component, which caused the whole application to break) 

Now it was really crunch time. I still had a long list of tasks to complete before needing to submit my project. My code was barely working and my once-calculated and precise plan to get my project completed was now impractical.

Things were not going so well, and I started to think I bit off more than I can chew and I started to feel more discouraged and anxious than before. 

I felt like the universe was against me and I had no clear direction to a solution. 

g(r)it add

Remind yourself on your passion and couple it with perseverance
# Add passion and perseverance to project-5 branch
g[r]it add passion.txt perseverance.txt

I remember a TedTalk I watched by Angela Lee Duckworth. The video is very short to most Ted Talks, but I’ll share a few snippets from her talk that stuck with me. 

Angela was a former Management Consultant turned psychologist, in New York City. She wanted to determine what were the characteristics that differentiated successful individuals from the less successful ones.

She conducted some research by doing some of the following:

  1. She studied students participating in the National Spelling Bee and tried to predict the ones who would go the furthest in the competition.
  2. She studied rookie teachers who were working in tough neighborhoods. She tried to predict which teachers would stick around for the rest of the year, and which ones didn’t.
  3. She partnered with companies and evaluated which salespeople were going to earn the most money and which ones were going to be let go due to not meeting their sales quota.

To her findings, it wasn’t intelligence… good looks…physical health… and neither was it IQ that defined the successful individuals. 

It was GRIT.

She defines Grit as the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Two very important words— passion and perseverance.

She goes on to talk about a study she did in the Chicago Public school system. She asked thousands of high school juniors to take grit questionnaires, and then waited around more than a year to see who would graduate.

She discovered that the grittier kids would be more likely to graduate, even when she matched them on every characteristic she could measure, things like family income, standardized achievement test scores, even how safe kids felt when they were at school. 

The most resonating thing she said was this:

talent doesn’t make you gritty. Our data shows very clearly that there are many talented individuals who simply do not follow through on their commitments. In fact, in our data, grit is usually unrelated or even inversely related to measures of talent

Angela Lee Duckworth

I reflect on what Angela said in her talk.

All those negative thoughts I had— Not having a university degree… Not being the most out-going person… and Not having the most talent in the group— started not to matter.

It was encouraging to hear that successful people are the way they are— not so much on merits and achievement or intelligence, but more so on their level of grit.

Because on top of all this, having passion for coding, and the drive and perseverance to be the best coder I can be is what measures a great coder.

g(r)it commit

Apply any changes to your goals and execute on them
# Apply adjustments to project 5 plan
g[r]it commit -m "Adjusted plans and continue to NOT give up!"

If I can measure my Grit by my level of passion and perseverance, I’d say I got plenty of it.

I had to level-set why I’m learning to code and realize why I’m in bootcamp in the first place. I needed to mindfully remind myself about that passion for coding and start from there. I removed any self-doubt and negative thoughts I had and re-adjusted my mindset.

Then it was time to get gritty.

Back to Project 5, time was running out.

Although my project plan fell apart, I made some adjustments, re-prioritized and found the determination to keep going and battle thru.

Loaded up on some coffee from Starbucks (thanks to Uber Eats for home delivery).

3:00 AM became the new bedtime for the next couple of nights. On the last night before submission day, I stayed up until 4:30 AM. Also I woke up at 8:00 AM to make some finishing touches and submitted my project at 8:50 AM. 

I was tired, but it was worth it.

I did need to take a quick nap during lunch break on Thursday to catch up on some lost sleep.

I look back at the project and I’m extremely proud of the results. It’s very much in alpha, and I’d like to make some improvements on it in the future. Nonetheless, it’s something I can be proud of.

Project Five. Can be viewed here

This is not a call-to-action to sacrifice sleep to get the job done, or to overwhelm yourself to the point where it starts to jeopardize your mental health. (Mental Health is a priority, take care of that first!) 

I wanted to highlight that there will be obstacles, and if you tackle them straight on and continue to tackle them, you will overcome them and see results. No where in this process does it require you have some level of IQ or talent. All you need is straight up GRIT.

g(r)it push

Apply this in your long-term goals
8# Sets the new remote
g[r]it remote add origin https://www.Jenny.Dinh

# Verifies the new remote URL
g[r]it remove -v

# Pushes the changes in your local repository up to the remote repository 
g[r]it push origin project-five

I don’t know if I’m the most intelligent person, or the most sociable person in the room, or if I possess any much of the other characteristics society might classify a successful person might have.

But I can definitely control how much Grit I have.

If I could share a simple takeaway to fellow developers entering the field, or if you’re in the field and wanting to improve on your skills, it’s this:

Forget all the little doubts you may have, don’t compare yourself to others. Just remind yourself about your passion and persevere to be the best person you can be in regards to that passion… the rest will fall into place.

I initially had my doubts if I bit off more than I can chew. But if you work hard, even if it’s in small increments… the universe will reward you.


That same Thursday morning I submitted Project Five, at 9:48 AM, the universe decided to do just that.

I shared my project on Twitter, and a seasoned developer saw my project and messaged me with the following:

It’s not a job… it’s not even an interview… It’s just a small token of appreciation the universe decided to send me in response for my grit.

Hope this inspires you to work hard(er) and remove any self-doubt you may have.

# Pushes the changes to the remote repository 
g[r]it push origin jenny-dinh-professional-web-developer

xx Jenny

How Kaizen is making me a better Developer

It’s the end of the 3rd week of coding bootcamp at Juno College. Time flies when you’re learning a lot and learning fast. There’s so much information to digest— old concepts I’m re-learning and expanding on, and new concepts I’m learning fresh. Classes run from Monday to Friday and we start at 9:00am and finish at 5:00pm.

But coding bootcamp doesn’t stop there. We spend hours outside class to practice the concepts and lessons. It’s one thing to read and consume the lessons in a classroom format, but to truly understand these concepts— you need to practice. 

I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing a lot of developers in the Juno community get from where I am now, to being highly skilled and working full-time in the tech space.

It’s sometimes daunting to think about the steps to get to that position… the amount of time and work put into honing your skills and building your portfolio. I sometimes fear I’m not understanding the lessons or I’m not studying hard enough.

I ask myself, how do I get there?

How do I become a better developer without  falling under the weight of stress and the anxiety of failing?



What is Kaizen?

A few years ago, I came across a business philosophy called Kaizen. 

The literal meaning for of the Japanese Kaizen can be broken down into 2 parts “kai” and “zen”—meaning change and good, respectively.

Kaizen Definition leansmarts.com https://leansmarts.com/lean-101/kaizen/ [1]

Kaizen teaches the principles of continuous improvement.

The idea of achieving small, maybe sometimes unnoticeable wins, to achieving a larger win in the long-term.

Kaizen also teaches you not to look for the big and quick improvement, but to set small, successful and achievable improvements for the eventual big gain.

When researching the topic, I discovered many derivatives of Kaizen that have been applied in other industries like technology, manufacturing, and even athletics[2]. There is even the Kaizen Institute, whose mission is to increase enablement of the Kaizen Way[3] to their clients.




What attracted me to Kaizen?

I’m not an expert practitioner of Kaizen, but let me talk about my favorite part about Kaizen that had me buy into this philosophy.

It’s clear with Kaizen, that with every continuous increment, we aim for small successes. But what about if we run into small failures?

You Ready?

Unlike the way small successful improvements lead to long term success. Small failed improvements do not lead to long term failure.

Take a look at the following visual: (Beware: a little bit of math coming)

The Power of Tiny Gains, “Continuous Improvement:
How It Works and How to Master It” by James Clear (https://jamesclear.com/continuous-improvement)[4]

If you get better at something at a rate of 1% everyday for the next 365 days, you will have increased your skillset at at magnitude 37.78 times over.

But, if you have small failures at 1% everyday for the next 365 days, you’d only have decreased your skillset by a magnitude of 0.03 times over.

James Clear, author of the Atomic Habits says it best:

If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.

James Clear




How am I adopting Kaizen to be a better Developer?

I try to practice Kaizen in my journey to becoming a better developer. It’s important to set the right expectations and to gradually chip away on how I can be a better developer

Here are small things that I do to accomplish this:

1. Code a little bit everyday. 

Learn a new concept everyday by practicing. If it’s a new concept, I try to practice and code it quickly on my computer.  Keep it simple and keep it modular. A tool that helps me to practice code quickly is codepen.io. Its freemium version offers a HTML, CSS, and JavaScript panel that allows you to build quick code snippets without the hassle of setting up dependencies and an IDE.

2. When to say it’s enough. 

Remember to study and code a little everyday, but also realize when to call it quits. I need to realize when it’s enough; conserve my physical and mental energy for the next day. Even though it may not seem noticeable with the small incremental accomplishments you have, I set the expectation that long term returns are on the horizon.

3. Seek help. 

It’s about small wins, but also small improvements. I try to seek assistance from the multitude of resources I have available to me. In Juno’s bootcamp program, we have a Slack channel I sometimes post my questions there. There is a regular question period in the bootcamp called HelpCue, where a mentor can answer your questions and troubleshoot code with you. I post my questions to the instructors here for assistance on lessons and projects.

4. Accepting that small failures are okay 

Be kind to yourself.

Not every incremental change will merit success. It’s okay to run into hurdles. If there is something I’m working on and I’m struggling with it, I try to be more kind to myself, take this struggle and aim to improve on it the next day. Remembering that small incremental failures are okay in the long scheme of incremental improvement.


Keep Improving

Just having a little fun…

let weeks = 7;

function kaizen(days){

  return 1.01**days;
  
}

As I reflect on how fast the last 3 weeks have flown by. I’d like to say I am kaizen(3*weeks) …times a better developer than I was when I started coding bootcamp.

As I sit here and sip on my hot cup of tea, I can truly begin to understand the philosophy of Kaizen and why it works for me. It helps me build the confidence and inner peace needed to becoming a better developer. It also helps me build healthy habits and allows me to work on having a steady progress towards my goal. 

The Kaizen approach to personal development is a lot more enjoyable and rewarding than beating yourself up over all your imperfections.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to give Kaizen a try?

xx Jenny







References:

  1. Lean Smarts (www.leansmarts.com)
  2. Cooper, Marta. “Britain’s world-beating cycling team owes its success to a World War Two management technique that helped rebuild Japan“, August 23, 2016. Quartz.com (www.qz.com)
  3. Kaizen Institute, (www.kaizen.com)
  4. Clear, James. Atomic Habits, New York, Penguin Random House, 2018 (www.jamesclear.com)

Coding: the invisible Superpower in an Evolving World

coding1-jenny

“… code is a superpower …Understanding that code is the underlying framework of tech means that we do not have to be passive bystanders in our ever-changing digital world.” – Karlie Kloss

 

 

It was back in Summer 2018, my Mom was driving my fiancé and I to the airport where she was dropping us off for our 5-week trip to Europe. The three of us were talking about what languages we should teach our future kids aside from English.
My Mom wanted to have her grandkids learn Vietnamese. I think my answer was French or Spanish… I can’t remember.

When it was my fiancé’s turn to speak, he said something my Mom and I didn’t expect. He said he would like our kids to learn C++, or any Programming Language. My mom and I were both puzzled and brushed him off.

Once we arrived at the airport, my mom asked if we arrived early enough to check-in at the counter, but we replied saying we already checked-in online and already had our boarding passes on our Smartphones.

I’ll always remember her reaction when we told her this. She was astounded by how convenient the check-in process was and how it has changed over time. It was almost like her reaction was more indicative of how times have evolved.

It dawned on me just how much our current generation relies on the various devices and technologies that we have available to us. Whether it would be the internet to do an online check-in, or a smartphone app to host our electronic boarding passes.

If I look back in human history, a lot of it can be categorized by main technological differentiators of a particular era. Some examples are the Stone age… the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

I believe we are living in what many call the Information age. Some have called it the Digital age… the New Media age … the Electronic age…and a few others. But whatever name you give it, it’s clear we live in a defined and distinct era.

Just imagine living a few days without a lot of the devices and technologies that our generation has deemed vital. I know I would have a hard time doing this, but in contrast, our parents lived perfectly normal lives without them. It’s a testament of how much our lives have evolved in the last few decades and how it still continues to evolve.

I stumbled on a quote from Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.
She said,

“Coding is like writing, and we live in a time of the new industrial revolution. What’s happened is that maybe everybody knows how to use computers, like they know how to read, but they don’t know how to write.”

What Susan said resonated with me.

Our parents and our educators put us through school so that we can be educated and contributing members of society. A lot of that schooling was teaching us how to be literate— learning to Read and Write. These were seen as essential skills.

But we don’t adapt this same mindset for instilling essential skills for our current and future generations, especially skills required for today’s society. We need to be teaching our society a skill for the Information age— Coding.

Reflecting on this thought, this sparked an inept desire to be more engaged with society and thus drove me to learn how-to-code.

So, I decided to take the plunge and submerged myself into the Programming and Web Development world. There was just a plethora of information I needed to make sense of. Reading and writing lines of codes made no sense to me at the beginning. It really was like looking at a different language.

I turned to online resources so I can learn basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript. It was difficult to grasp the concepts at first, but I discovered a growing satisfaction when I built a simple web application or debugged several issues in my code.

As I immersed deeper into Code and Development, my desire grew and it turned into a passion. This passion steered me into the direction of wanting to join the technology industry.

I read a quote by Karlie Kloss, Fashion Model and Founder of the Kode with Klossy Scholarship.

She said,

“I quickly came to understand that code is a superpower every young woman should be able to access. Understanding that code is the underlying (and invisible) framework of tech means that we do not have to be passive bystanders in our ever-changing digital world.”

Learning to code is a skill—a Superpower—that some people overlook.

My passion to learn how-to-code only grew. So I decided to take an Introduction to Web Development part-time at Juno College (Formerly HackerYou). After 8 weeks of learning, I was able to build a Responsive Website. I knew that this was the career path I wanted to embark on.

A few weeks later, I applied for Juno College’s 9-week Immersive bootcamp, and after going through the admissions process, I was admitted into their Spring 1 Cohort.

I just completed a great Week 1 and I’m excited to start Week 2 of the bootcamp. I see this bootcamp as another chapter in developing my Programming and Development skills. I look forward to what this journey has in store for me and I’m determined to continue learning and challenging myself.

So… here’s to a little virtual toast to my fellow classmates of #Cohort27, and any other how-to-coders as we make this transition to Technology…

-To enabling and challenging ourselves with our new Superpower, in this forever evolving world.-

xx Jenny

Finding a way to let go + Tips to a better digestion <3

It’d be two months in a couple of days, since my departure from Vancouver.

Time really flies by. Never have I thought about leaving the place I called home. A place I built friendships, relationships, and a place that held all my unforgettable memories.

It wasn’t easy stepping on that airplane and saying goodbye to everybody I love, but it happened. Do I miss Vancouver, you may ask? Of course I do! Every single damn day!

Do I regret the choices I made? Of course not!

I believe everything happens for a reason, even if the outcome isn’t exactly how you pictured it to be. That’s the beauty of life. Life itself is unpredictable and you just have to charge on with a positive mind, knowing that everything will be amazing if you work hard and be kind.

This was the choice I made.

I chose to leave everything I had back in Vancouver. It’s painful, but somehow pain helps you learn the beauty of love and what really matters to you. What matters the most to me is learning to love myself and investing in myself to become a better version than I was yesterday. Everyday, is another chance for you to do something meaningful and finding that passion that brings you happiness.

12041718_10153223073747843_1991381406_n 12081324_10153223073642843_310512863_n

Vancouver will always have a place in my heart, but I’m here now in Toronto! I am making the best of every situation and tackling the day with perseverance! Life is too short to wonder about what-if or what-will. Enjoy the present and don’t worry too much about the future. Let it be and appreciate the moment right now.

“One day you’ll make peace with your demons, and the chaos in your heart will settle flat. and maybe for the first time in your life, life will smile right back at you and welcome you home” – rm drake

Alright, It’s time for me to share what I’ve learned so far in school!

Your body works hard every single day! It helps you digest the food, absorb all the nutrients and eliminate the toxins from your body! Treat it with respect and nourish it with wholesome food!

It all starts with digestion!

If your body cannot digest the food properly, the nutrients isn’t being absorb and there will be a build up of toxins in your body because it can’t eliminate it. Here are some tips for a better digestion.

  1. Chew your food/eat slower – digestion actually happens in your mouth! The more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in the stomach which leads to fewer digestive problems.
  2. Relax – Why stress out when you eat? Food is supposed to heal and nourish the body. When you’re stressed out, it shuts down your digestive system and therefore leads to constipation and/or diarrhea! When you eat, you should eat! Don’t think about what you should do next. Focus on the food in front of you and salvage every bite.
  3. Be mindful of what you eating – If you put crap into your body, your body will feel like crap. It’s simple. Eat natural and whole foods that will benefit you in many ways.
  4. Don’t drink with meals – You’re probably like what? That’s crazy! But it’s not. Liquid actually dilutes our stomach acids that aids in digestion. It’s better to drink water in between meals/throughout the day. If not, try to limit the amount of liquid intakes you have during your meal.
  5. Avoid eating 3 hours before bed – Sleeping will actually slow down the digestive system, so having a heavy meal before bed can cause you to feel bloated, uncomfortable and full the next day. If you’re hungry before going to bed, try to eat something small but high in protein. That way it will help you keep your blood sugar stable plus feeling content.

Bonus: Drink hot water with lemon after you wake up! Lemons helps stimulate stomach acid production, therefore leading to a better digestion and it can also help eliminate bad toxins from your body.

Hope this helps you all and have a happy digestive system =)

Love, Jenny ❤

Embracing the new journey + 3 Healthy delicious smoothies recipes

As some of you might know, I recently took a big jump and moved to Toronto. Being in a bigger and busier city scares the shit outta me. I’m so used to seeing the mountains and hearing the ocean.

But now, all I see is bright buildings and cars honking. It’s definitely a change in my life. I’m super excited to be spending some time with my dear mother who I haven’t seen in the last 5 years. It’s awesome to have her by my side, minus the constant nagging.

But what I’m super excited about is starting a new chapter. I will be attending CSNN (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition), studying to be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Yup, me back in school. Gotta love learning! I’m really pumped for this new journey and can’t wait to see what’s in store. All my life, I have been battling with my weight and having a love/hate relationship with food. One day I’ll starve myself and the other day I’ll sit in a corner and binge until my gut is ready to explode. My source of exercise was sitting on my couch and waiting for the pounds to magically melt off.

I hated my body.

Sweat pants and long sleeves were my best friends. It wasn’t until almost 3 years ago that I discovered blogilates and other beauty gurus on youtubes. They motivated me everyday to become the best version of myself.

In the past 3 years, I slowly started to heal from the inside and out. I still eat a slice of pizza here and there, but now I’m more aware of what I put into my body. I want to let food be my main source of nutrients, because it has such amazing healing properties.

FOOD IS YOUR FRIEND, NOT YOUR ENEMY!

In addition to embracing this new chapter, I have 3 delicious smoothies recipes that I would love to share with you all! It’s delicious, and in my opinion, refreshing and healthy!

The first smoothie is something I pretty much live off of! It’s my go to breakfast. Whenever I am in a rush, I’ll blend it up and I’m good to go. This one is called: Crazy about dates

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ice
  • 10 dates
  • 2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweetner of choice (I use coconut sugar)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1-1.5 cup choice of milk (I recommend using almond milk)

Blend everything up and you’re good to go!

Coco on the go 

Ingredient

  • 2 cup ice
  • 2 tsp caoco powder
  • 2 shots of espresso
  • handful of toasted shredded coconut
  • 1 cup choice of milk
  • 1 scoop of protein powder

Blend everything up and you’re good to go!

The next one is a very refreshing detox drink!

Sucker for lemons

Ingredient

  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/2 cup beet juice
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp of grated ginger

Blend it up and you’re good to go!

If you do try out these smoothies, please let me know and your feedback is greatly appreciated =)

Love, Jenny ❤

Welcome to New York City; last two days.

Waking up each day in New York felt amazing. Maybe it was the environment or just a moment of escaping reality, but it felt good.

My sister and I woke up that morning feeling SUPER hungry. And what’s the best way to satisfy our hunger? You guessed it … PIZZA.

Before I entered New York, I’ve heard of Joe’s Pizza through Shay Mitchell’s instagram, and right away I knew Joe’s Pizza is a must.

Seriously, Shay is such an inspiration to me and I trust her taste 100%.

She didn’t let me down, because that slice of pizza was thin, crispy and delicious. The tomato sauce was not over powering, and of course the cheese was just right. It was the prefect breakfast that morning.

IMG-20150814-WA0005

For $2.75, this slice of pizza was worth every bite! Of course, you can get the fancy toppings but I stuck to the original mozzarella and I don’t regret it.

We had big things to do today. VERY BIG THINGS!

mhmm I wonder what she is talking about? I’m talking about the most touristy thing you can think of … Central Park and the Metropolitan museum.

Forget the subway station, we walked from East Village to Central Park, and honestly it wasn’t bad. Being on vacation I didn’t really plan on working out, so walking NYC was my workout. If I had to walk eight hours a day, I would do it.

I know some of you might say, “You’re wasting a lot of time by walking!” But to be positive about this whole situation, I’m getting a good sweat in and it’s the perfect way to know my way around New York and witness all the beautiful architecture that New York has to offer.

IMG-20150814-WA0017IMG-20150814-WA0009IMG-20150814-WA0002

I love nature and everything that involves being outdoors. Something about trees, sunlight and the crisp fresh air really gets me thinking and appreciating what I have. The walk around Central Park was long, but gorgeous. We definitely didn’t walk the entire park but enough for me to enjoy what Central Park had to offer. Every step I took in that park, my mind felt empty and relax. If you are ever stressed out, I really recommend taking a stroll somewhere to reflect upon the situation. I’ve learned that negativity will not get you anywhere.

To continue on with the day, we walked down to the MET (Metropolitan)d museum. I usually don’t go to a lot of museums or art galleries, but if you are ever in New York, you should check it out.

Admission by donations!

My sister and I mainly stayed in the Asia gallery side, because that’s where our interest was. We spent a good 3 hours in that one section. All the masterpieces were unique and inspirational. My favorite pieces had to be from China.

IMG-20150814-WA0045 IMG-20150814-WA0044

IMG-20150814-WA0039 IMG-20150814-WA0038

How pretty are these dresses? They’re very modern but with a twist of history and ancient materials. I fell in love with the golden dress! If I were to have a wedding dress, I would want something similar to it.

After the MET museum, we took a walk down to Serendipity 3 on 60th and 3rd. I’ve heard a lot about it so it was something that had to be done! We came around the time that they were busy. It took 30-40 minutes for a seat. Since we were there, we had to order their famous frozen hot chocolate. It was gigantic! More than enough for the both of us. We got the Frozen Mint Hot Chocolate and their Cheesecake.

IMG-20150814-WA0041 IMG-20150814-WA0040

My critique on these two delicate desserts? The mint frozen hot chocolate is a must get! Of course they had different flavors but mint was our choice. You can actually taste the fresh mint in the drink. The chocolate was not too sweet and the whip cream was super fluffy and done perfectly. Now, the cheesecake on the other hand was good, but I had better. It could have been more dense and the crust could have had more flavor and texture to it. Overall, it was good, but really, if you’re there… get a frozen hot chocolate drink. You will not regret it.

To end this adventurous day, I spent a little quality time with my best friend. We got a bottle of wine and sat on top of her rooftop and just caught up on what we have been missing out on in each other’s lives. It’s really nice to reconnect with old friends and just to know that our friendship is still there. Best friends are hard to find and if you find somebody that you can trust your life with, keep them close to you.

Alright, I am going to mash two days into one post! My last day in New York City and what did I get to do? Spent some time with my best friend. We took the subway station down to The Cloisters. It is another park/museum and you must go! The view is absolutely breathe-taking. And if you are more into medieval history/art, than this place is perfect for you! This trip took the entire day! Lot’s of walking and exploring every inch of the park.

IMG-20150815-WA0020 IMG-20150815-WA0018 IMG-20150815-WA0017

To sum up New York, it was the best trip I’ve taken this year! This city took my breathe away. I felt like a local, I reconnected with my friend and most importantly it was a great experience.

These four days in New York helped me realize a part of myself that I never knew existed. It gave me time to think and reflect upon what I’ve been through and where I want to go to next. Life is too short to ponder on useless things and bringing yourself down by saying “I can’t”. You never know unless you try. If you fail, that’s okay, get up and keep on trying. If it’s meant to be, it will eventually happen! To those who are reading this blog, I challenge you to do something that scares the shit out of you. I believe it’s time to get out of our comfort zone and do things that we are passionate about.

New York, you were amazing! Until next time ❤

With Love, Jenny D.

Welcome to New York City; Part Two

Let’s take on New York Day 2!

We had a whole day ahead of us and it didn’t include the subway station. It involved our legs, the heat and lots of water. You might be thinking, what is she talking about? .. I’m talking about walking the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oh my, New York was exploding with heat that day! The moment I stepped out of the apartment, I was sweating! It was hot. Enough about my sweaty problems, let’s enjoy what New York had to offer.

First stop, we needed breakfast asap! These hungry girls needed food and food is what we got. We didn’t know exactly where we were going for breakfast, but a surprise is always nice. We ended up at Sugar Cafe thinking we were going to get a decent meal but we got a well balanced, filling and delicious breakfast. My sister got a 2 eggs platter, while I got a plain bagel with scallion cream cheese. What’s the best way to be a NYC local than to eat a bagel? Of course coffee was necessary to our daily life… so two ice coffees with milk please!

IMG-20150813-WA0060IMG-20150813-WA0061

Now that our stomach were filled, it was time to tackle on the day … a very long day! But every step was worth it. Reading reviews and hearing people’s stories, Brooklyn Bridge was a must to go, but since I’m in New York why not have a taste of both Bridges and experience the beauty of Brooklyn and Manhattan? Walking on the Manhattan Bridge was not crowded at all. It was a nice walk under the shade and looking at the other side, I was able to see the Brooklyn bridge and the city of Manhattan.

It took my breathe away.

IMG-20150813-WA0037IMG-20150813-WA0036IMG-20150813-WA0038IMG-20150813-WA0048

Ever hear that saying “There’s a bridge, get over it”? I took a moment to think about what it means to me. For a moment all my sadness and troubles went away. Everybody is dealing with a situation that brings them down emotionally and mentally. But it’s all up to you whether or not you want to pick yourself up and start anew.

You’re on a bridge at this very moment. Are you going to stop and cause traffic behind you? Absolutely not! Regardless if you’re walking SUPER SLOW, keep moving and eventually you’ll be at the end of the bridge. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t stop moving, appreciate all the steps your taking and enjoy the journey.

Moving on, we finally made it to Brooklyn! We didn’t do a lot of research on the hit-and-misses of Brooklyn, so why not just walk and keep walking until we find something interesting? I heard Brooklyn had amazing pizza, so I did do a little research on that. I wanted to try out Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, but the line was way too long. So why not have Ice cream for lunch! I heard great things about Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Since we were close by, we had to try it. I’m an ice cream girl so I’m always craving something creamy, milky, with a punch of flavor in my ice cream.

This place delivers it.

Of course, my favorite ice cream parlor is still Earnest Ice Cream in Vancouver.

This one was close. The only critique I would say is that it didn’t have a lot of flavors to choose from.

IMG-20150813-WA0012 (Vanilla Chocolate)

Ice cream filled us up, so why not take a little break down the Brooklyn Pier and enjoy the spectacular view of Manhattan.

IMG-20150813-WA0064IMG-20150813-WA0063

How beautiful is the sky in this picture? Nature really gives a sensational feeling of comfort, warmth and love. Take a moment and breathe in the air and be grateful that you made it this far.

IMG-20150813-WA0023

As tired as we were, our goal was to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. As much as our feet were hurting, we sucked it up and it was worth every ounce of pain. Who could honestly say they walked over both bridges and explore Brooklyn all in one day, without using the subway station?

I could! And I am proud of every step I took.

IMG-20150813-WA0010IMG-20150813-WA0018

What a wonderful experience to encounter!

Since we were already walking so much, why not walk down wall street to the World Trade Centre and take a water taxi to Jersey City.

So we did!

Call us Insane but being able to walk the whole city was magical.

IMG-20150813-WA0007

How beautiful is New York from New Jersey? To be able to see that view with my own eyes is a blessing. One thing I took away from this day is the world is huge and every person that I saw that day is looking at life in different perspectives. Also, being able to stay positive is hard, but very doable. I commend those who stay strong under rough circumstances.

This ends part two of my trip to NYC! Keep a look out for the final post, hopefully this week!

Lots of love, Jenny

Welcome to New York City; Part One

Couple of days ago, I made a trip to New York City to visit an old friend of mine from high school. Not only was I able to reconnect with her, I was also able to explore and discover the beauty of New York City. I also discovered something about myself I never realized I could do and that was to let go. If I was to describe NYC in three simple words, it would be astonishing, energetic, and convenient. Let’s take a look at what the beautiful city had to offer.

I took the long way to New York. It definitely saved me money and it was an experience to remember. How did I get to New York you may ask? I took the red-eye Greyhound bus. That ride was cold, painful and tiring. But it also felt soothing and peaceful. I was glad I wore jeans and a long sleeves shirt or else that ride would’ve been super cold …

Let’s fast forward 12 hours later! My sister and I finally arrived to New York at 7:50am. I never seen so many taxis in my entire life. Coming from Vancouver, I’ve never experienced any city that was this busy. My friend had to get to work asap so we didn’t subway to her place, we took the cab. Our cab driver was very friendly and he got us to where we needed to be; East Village.

I never get tired.

I was ready to go and see what New York was all about. First on the list was to tackle Time Square, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden! We were looking at the map of New York and came to realize .. everything was so close to each other and so we decided to just walk there.

YUP… we walked and it felt great! New York was easy to map out and people were somewhat friendly when we asked for directions. First stop: Grand Central Station. I felt like Serena from Gossip Girl standing at the top and looking down. Never had I seen such an enormous station filled with people trying to get to their destination. Looking down, I wondered what their plans  where and where are they were headed to? So many people in this world that are constantly on the go and sometimes life moves really fast. Don’t you think maybe, just maybe, we should slow down and think about the steps we are taking in life and the effects it will have on us?

Anyways, I had a recommendation from a friend to try Magnolia Bakery and I did. It was good, but didn’t live up to my expectations in terms of deliciousness. My sister and I tried the red velvet cupcake and the frosting was too sweet and fluffy. The batter was good, but it could’ve been more moist. Maybe their other pastry would’ve been better, but the red velvet cupcake was mediocre at best.

Oh, before the day began, we made a pit stop at Birch Coffee house for obviously coffee! It’s a must try! Their coffee was smooth and wasn’t burnt. I’ve had coffee that tasted burnt and it wasn’t pleasant to drink. So if you’re ever in New York… try Birch Coffee!!

IMG-20150812-WA0019 IMG-20150812-WA0008 IMG-20150812-WA0002 IMG-20150812-WA0052

Okay let’s move on! After exploring Grand Central Station, our next stop was Time Square. I guess if you’ve been to New York, Time Square is a must go, but somehow it didn’t capture my eye as much as I thought it would. I mean the street was huge and crowded with tons of people. I would go back there if there was an event, but Time Square was a crowded place full of advertisements and billboards. My sister and I got hungry after walking for quite sometime. We decided to stop by Korea Town before hitting the Empire State Building. After filling our stomach with food, we had to get some bubble tea. I’ve heard great things about Gong Cha! Of course we had to stop and grab some. It’s really cool in New York how you were able to choose the percentage of sugar and ice inside your bubble tea. We were able to choose between 100%, 50%, 30% and unsweetened. Maybe they do it in other places, but not Vancouver. That was pretty cool. I really enjoyed my Earl Grey Milk Tea. It actually has a strong tea taste that I very much enjoyed. If you’re there, check out Gong Cha!

IMG-20150812-WA0017 IMG-20150812-WA0016

Finally, we made it to the Empire State Building! Being on a budget for this trip, we didn’t go up to the top. It must be stunning to be on top and look at New York from a different perspective. But for now, I’m just appreciating how beautiful the building was and that one day I’ll be able to see New York from there. Same goes for Madison Square Garden. When I have a bit more money, I’ll definitely be able to go inside and catch a game or maybe a show.

IMG-20150812-WA0035 IMG-20150812-WA0023 IMG-20150812-WA0022

Before heading back to East Village, we made a pit stop at Madison Square Park to relax and enjoy ourselves for a bit.

IMG-20150812-WA0045 IMG-20150812-WA0044 IMG-20150812-WA0039 IMG-20150812-WA0036

Alright enough with the selfies .. time to freshen up and EAT! I had another recommendation to try out Bauhaus in NYC. So we did. My sister got the pork belly and I had the fried chicken. We wanted to try the taro fries, but unfortunately, they didn’t have it. So we settled for the fried buns with pandan sauce. Honestly, it was such a disappointment. I wish the portions were a bit bigger and the dish had more flavor.

To end Day One of New York City, we took a walk on the High Line and the Pier. It was gorgeous! Very calming and motivating to see so many people working out and getting their sweat on.

T’was a nice way to end the night!

xx Jenny