Travel to Claremont

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I often say a day off from work is like fine gold, the value is greater than a normal weekend. Something fun must be done with the time.  Staying home and relaxing would be like missing an opportunity to invest in a great stock.

In California the biggest drawback is traffic, so what ever is done has to be done early in the day otherwise you’ll get stuck in traffic as if you did go to work. Christina text me in the morning and we made the decision not to go to LA due to traffic, but she remembered a great little city on the way to LA called Claremont.

Just like traveling in a foreign city you really don’t know what to do, there is no plan just the time to discover something new. To my surprise, my favorite coffee Augie’s, has a new location in Clermont. We grabbed a coffee and explored the bookstore next store.

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I told Christian the story of Gus and I looking for a record shop and ended up at a private home studio. Of course we didn’t knock but the adventure to find this address was pretty funny. I looked up local record shops, and to my surprise there are a few in the area. It was great to learn Claremont’s downtown was becoming another cool places to hang out in.

I enjoy visiting new places to get me out of my comfort zone. It gives me a chance to see people who are different to me. I often look for the same places to visit but it’s the walk to A to B that I enjoy most, the conversation with a friend or the people watching I do along the way. The Record stores, coffee shops and bookstores are usually excuses to get out and experience what I’m looking for; life happening.

California Travels

California Travels

Growing up my family didn’t do much traveling. My parents never really cared for seeing the world, me on the other hand, the moment I would see an airplane in the air I would stop and give attention. I would daydream of all the lives that were on the plane, I wish to be where they were going and joint them on the adventure of seeing something new.

In my twenties, I had the opportunity to travel and see many new places. I still have a long list of desinations (Iceland, Germany, Italy)  but now in my thirties, it’s the season of being responsible and paying off my debts.

Until I am debt free, travel has been postponed. It took me a while to accept this truth, but living in California I know there is still lots to see, and I can make the most of it. It’s a beautiful state with so many small pockets of great cities.

La Jolla Beach is a small part of San Diego, near Sea World. I had never been to this location before but saw a friend on Instragram share their trip. I saved the photo for the next time I had a day off with Gus.

It was our three year anniversary, and Gus said I can pick anywhere to go. We head towards La Jolla to spend the day at the beach. When we walked towards the seashore, I was amazing to see wild sea lions hanging out near the water. I even saw some scuba divers in the water.

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Just a walk away there are fancy shops and places to eat. :) We ate at a great Mexican restaurant that had great fish tacos called Alfonso. I couldn’t believe I had never been here before, it was so beautiful and close by, it was like discovering one of California’s greatest secrets.

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After lunch, we visited the Aquarium and it had the most fascinating sea life.

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By the end of the day, I walked away with a fresh sense of life. Travel is so important to me as a creative person. I have to leave my life every once in a while to get a fresh perspective. Even if you can’t travel to far, try to find something new to do and create some fresh memories.

Blog #1 of my California travels.

Half Way to Somewhere

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Have ever had that lost feeling, where you stop in the mist of a busy day and you wonder where the heck are you going? Yes, I’m going to get my car washed but where am I going in life? This was me a few days ago.

Some call it a midlife crisis but because I plan to live longer than 62, I’ll call it a deep day. The days where thoughts seem to have a life of its own and it seems like nothing makes sense. Once I started to ask my self questions like, “What is your target? What are your goals? Are you doing all you can do for humanity?” I start to feel guilty that I could be doing more. The more I thought about it, the more I began to downplay my life purpose.

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I heard this podcast about thoughts, psychiatrists say thoughts can play like a slideshow, you can let them pass or start to ponder on them – some being thoughts that just aren’t true. You are taking your thoughts way to seriously, they say.

Another book I am reading about thoughts say it’s the devils fault. I’m sure that can be true with serious negative thoughts of harm but what about my unsure thoughts, what are they trying to tell me.

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The next day a friend invited me for a hike. This was the perfect opportunity to clear my head. We did the hike and after breaking a sweat and losing my breath I made it to the top. I asked my friend to snap a photo of me looking at the mountains. When I looked at it, life suddenly became clear. I didn’t see a girl who was worried about the future and how everything will work out, in fact I saw a girl looking towards the future of possibilities. It was as if I was seeing what God was seeing. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We often start off strong, but during the journey, we doubt and wonder if we are going the right way, if we choose the right path. During the hike I had to keep asking, how much longer, my friend would say, “It’s just around the riverbed.” Which I knew was from Pocahontas – but it worked.

I am 31 and in the middle of wherever I am going, the half way point, yes things aren’t clear, still a lot of unanswered questions, but I know God has called me to be faithful where I am at, and endure to the end – the end of whatever, season, journey, life. haha. I can’t figure it all out, but what I can do is be prepared for what’s ups ahead.

Here is a classic life lesson. I got lost while driving, and turned one street early. We often do that, just when we are almost there, we panic and make a move too fast.

I’ve read many blogs, and most of them hold the answers, the keys to success. Here are the keys I learned last weekend – endure. keep hope. anything is possible.

My target is God . Where He takes me, I have no idea. Ohhh. this is Faith. It’s time I expand my faith. That’s the goal.

Here is a great podcast to listen to. Limitless Pt 1 

More than One Noun

dearLast night I watched the movie, “Dear White People”.  I found it enjoyable to watch young black students who weren’t the typical stereotypes we often see in films. Instead, each character felt like a real person who I would come across in ordinary life. The movie touched on a topic deeper than race but identity which is something we all face no matter which tribe we are from. We often go towards those who are like us but what if we feel like we identify with no one. The reason we get upset at labels are the limitations they can put on us.

Should we pretend we are or aren’t the labels? It can feel like a betrayal against our ancestors or even our close family. For myself, I am told to mark Mexican on forms even though I’ve only been to Mexico three times in my life, but when I travel, I am American. I use to call myself, Mexican-American-Australian because I connected with the Australian culture so much when I lived there in college.

There has been more culturally diverse entertainment released, “Fresh Off the Boat” about an Asian family, “The Mindy Project” with Mindy portraying herself, and Jane the Virgin, about a Mexican family. It’s been great watching these new types of stories and insight into different cultures but some of them still make the white person the evil antagonist.

Every human, no matter our color, have different types of antagonist through out our life. Most of the time its ourself.

When I was 8 years old, I had a best friend come over to play. When she met my cousins, she realized I was Mexican. When she asked me, “Are you Mexican?” Her question made me feel like it was wrong to be Mexican. After that day, our innocent color blind friendship was never the same. For years, I thought she pulled away from me because of my race but when I discovered she married into a family that wasn’t white, I realized it was I who pulled away. That day, she made me see my label, and it wasn’t until college I found a new tribe to belong to – the tv and media geeks tribe.

Today we see the wars, and riots that are taking places because of our differences. Labels of any kind, true or not true, can put us in a circle of limitations and we can also put those limitations on others. We are more than one noun but are indeed complex with many stories.

What are your thoughts about the new wave of diverse entertainment, do you feel the depictions are true?

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Design’s Best Friend – Font

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What is it about book covers that draws us in closer to open up to the first page – and even causes us to buy? As I walked around the book store I noticed fiction book’s had the most creative and engaging covers. I began to look around to see which books grabbed my attention most, then asking myself why?

As I snapped some photos of the books that I was drawn to, I noticed the font choice. They were very clean, easy to read, some font’s were entertaining, or the very opposite – plain. For me – I am attracted to mysterious covers that don’t say much but are visually interesting.

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It’s known that the prelude to a film sets up the tone – same can go for the font used in design. Just like the title is a critical part to the book, so is the font choice you make for your videos. It becomes the eyes to the soul. Your font is your element that requires eye contact. 

As I’ve worked with more volunteers who come in the office to learn video editing, I am discovering knowing how to design is very important to the creation of videos. You want to connect with the viewers to watch and be engaged in what your video is saying. Design might seem like a whole different subject from editing footage and creating a story. But just like a book, the cover gets the reader to read the story inside.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThis recent year, I’ve been more strategic with my font collection. I created a personal archive on flickr of screen shots I’ve taken when I come across font’s that attract me. I also organized my font book to hold my favorite fonts, making it easier to find what I am looking for when I am designing a new video.

I would encourage you to develop your own style by discovering your style – what attracts you and why. Some create Pinterest boards but I found if everyone is pulling from the same source of inspiration – everything begins to look the same. I follow different typography artist on different platforms to keep good smart design in front of me always.

Also, take the same to learn the foundations about typography; sans serif,  serif, modern, leading, tracking, kerning, basically space and weight in and in-between letters. There are many books, on-line videos and blog post about this subject. Grow in your deep understanding about fonts and it will help you design with a purpose. Here’s a youtube video I found that gives a good understanding about the history of fonts.

A great talk about typefaces –

Some Instragram’s to follow & so many more these artist will lead you to.

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Book: Coaching Employees from Harvard Business 

The latest book, Coaching Employees from Harvard Business, was given to me by one of my team mates. I’ve been the video department director, for the past three years. I’ll be the first to admit, my first year was overwhelming. I was a struggling Rookie Manager.  I was having a hard time connecting with my team, delegating, addressing conflict and personal insecurities – being a woman leading a team of men was one of them. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Working at a church one would think there would be no problems, but issues will always arise when people are involved. There would be times something would go wrong, I would handle the situation but at the end of it, I knew I could have done it better. I came out of a position of great personal achievement and now the key to success was in the growth of my team.

For the first few weeks my new job looked the same as my old job, it took months and issues to pop up to make me realize when I wasn’t standing at my new post. Coaching Employees touches on so many of these issues. What I liked about it most, was that it was encouraging.

“Being coached helped me understand that I could make the biggest difference as a leader not by doing more than everyone else but by empowering other people to do more and motivating them to do their best.”

“As their manager, you set overall direction for them – but you let them figure out how best to get there.”

“You may feel reluctant to surrender control or to give people room to make mistakes, and you’ll almost certainly be tempted to jump in with solutions when they’re struggling with a problem. But those challenges get easier the more you coach, and the payoff is enormous: You’ll tap your employees’ full potential while learning more strategically.”

The newest podcast, Invisibilia shared a story about a blind man learning how to ride a bike as a child. His mom allowed him to have a normal childhood of climbing trees, and scraping his knees as a child. When he grew up, he began to teach other blind children how to get around. He shared the story of training a small child how to walk around the park. The child’s godmother was with them during the training. As he took the boy around the park, they came to the street, the boy’s godmother stepped in out of fear and grabbed the child. The teacher told her its those moments that he needed to learn, she robe him of that teachable moments by stepping in and saving him.

After hearing that story, I began to see that’s what I’ve been doing the past three years for my team. I became the one with all the answers and in return failed to allow others to learn how to problem solve and come up with solutions on their own.

“…prompting them with questions to solve problems in creative new ways rather than simply telling them..”

“If you keep providing all the answers, people will keep lining up at your door looking for them.”

“…be honest about the performance you expect and where your employee stands..”

“The brain is remarkably plastic: It grows and adapts throughout life. That means you’re never stuck with who you are or who your employees are.”

I’ve been putting to practice a lot of the principle shared and already I notice more harmony on my team. We still have struggles every now and then, but at least we all know together we can do a great job at building the house of God.

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FAQ: What Camera Should I Buy?

Thinking about buying a camera is like wondering who your one true soul mate is. You can dream of all the adventures you two will have one day, and image the memories you’ll capture together but just like romance, the fantasy can blind you into making the wrong choice.

Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.

The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?

The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous if not done with careful planning to pay for it. You can start telling yourself “I need this” when you don’t really.

You can skip to your answer if you’ll like – Why do you want a camera? 

Answer: I wanna have fun taking photos.

I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which can be very complicated. Once I figured out how to put the film in and get it out, taking the photos added to the memories captured.

Look out: Do some test shots before you get your hopes up, and read some articles on how to better use the camera settings.

Cost: $100

Answer: I wanna start learning photography.

I love my camera

You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.


Lie: Only as great as your equipment. Not true.

Cost: $30-$100 or ask around to see if someone no longer uses theirs.


Answer #2: I want a camera to take with me while I travel. 

We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.

When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.

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Look out: A digital zoom is different than a lens zooming in. Don’t fall for the extra cost of a “digital” zoom. Its basically cropping and zooming in to the pixel of the same photo, giving it what feels like a closer shot and adjusting the quality.

Cost: $350


Answer: I wanna capture video

When I was younger, all I wanted for Christmas was a video camera. Back in the early 90’s, they were REALLY expensive. This Christmas, my wish camera true. I was fed up with capturing video on my phone or even my nikon, it seemed to kill the battery and took up a lot of space. I first had the sony camcorder but traded it in for the canon camcorder. The sony compressed the files to very low mp4’s, while the canon gave rich color mp4. It was more expensive than the sony, but I didn’t want to watch 10 years from now kick myself for being so cheap. This camera capture hours of footage (depending on your memory card – 16gb) and the battery lasted me all day at Disneyland. You can also snap photos which aren’t the best but very particle.

Look out: Don’t bother with cameras with software that only allows you to access your files, be sure you can grab files straight from the memory card. Software cameras create strange file types.

Cost: $250

Answer: I want to start filming/shooting professionally. 

If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.

Look out: Don’t bother with camera packages, the lens those packages come with are usually crappy plastic lens and high adapter. The photos come out cheap looking. First starter lens: 50mm that goes for $100.

Cost: $700 to $2000

Answer: I wanna start a filming production.

Since you will be making money, investing in a pro-camera will pay off. Here there are so many cameras to choose from with price range from affordable to expensive. This type of investment requires research with tech details to follow. The easy answer is be sure it can record audio an input for XLR cables and manual exposer. Don’t bother with DV models anymore, digital files are best for quality and work flow. I’ve used Sony and Canon in the past, both great to work with. 

Cost: $1000+

Feel free to leave a comment with questions.