Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear diary...

Dear diary...

I mean blog! Wow I have missed you...

If you ask me was I sad or scared when I moved to Texas, I would say no. I had no room for fear or any emotion but to stay focused to find a job. I was in survival mode literally sleeping on the ground, eating fast food and frantically job searching at Starbucks (I had no internet in the apt I subleased when I moved here). Then I found a job. And a boyfriend. I was on cloud 9. And then it all came crashing down. I would wake up at night with anxiety attacks 3 months into living in Dallas. What was I doing here? Who is this boyfriend of mine? Friends who I became friends with here started crackling. Not cracking, but just started to lose its luster and momentum. I started to miss my friends and family back home.

Now that I have just celebrated my 6 month anniversary here in Texas, I look back at my transition in my life- the tears, the joy, the beginning of my new life here. Looking back, I was on shaky ground. I hung on to every new friend, new compliment, new adventure, and to new love like white on rice. I was vulnerable. I was easily impressed upon. Within the 3-4 months being here, I fell in love. He told me he wanted to marry me. He told me, yes ladies, "I love you" first. He told his family about me and was ready to move in. And then he disappeared. Houdini act. Cold feet? PTSD (he was in the war for 4 yrs in infantry)? I will never know. One day I found myself on the floor in my apartment crying as I have never have before.

Not only did I go through a broken heart in such a short amount of time, I delved into new friendships that didn't fulfill my integrity and value system. Looking back it's all a blur. Who was I? But I don't regret a thing.

When people say moving to a new city is hard and it takes about a year to feel normal, they are not kidding. My first few months here was emotionally draining. But I was strong, I was lonely, I was open. Today I am so happy and very lucky. In only 6 months, I am starting to make quality friendships, I joined a church (I figured if you can't beat them, join them- after all I am in the bible belt), I am me again. I am finally making my apartment my home with used mid-century furniture. I am 34 and I finally got the Ikea kick out!

Maybe people are probably wondering what happened to my boyfriend Ryan. I truly believe people come in your life to learn a lesson. He is an amazing man and he was an amazing boyfriend. I do not regret a thing except I really was not in the place or right piece of mind to accept him fully. I am as much to blame for us not working out. Though it was short, him and I shared a very special bond. I have not heard from him but a short text response on my birthday.

Today, I am happily living my new chapter of my life here in Dallas, TX. Doing my usual thing- dancing a storm, daily meditations, food and street fair explorations, making connections and appreciating serendipitous moments.

For more info on my church:

Sending everyone light and love.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"I fell in love in Texas"…is that a country song?

“I might have to wait. I will never give up. I guess it’s half timing, and the other half’s luck. Wherever you are, whenever its right, out of nowhere you will come into my life.”- Michael Buble

I am from California, and Ryan is from Maine and together we met in the middle, in Dallas-Forth Worth. Yes everyone I fell in love. And even before Ryan, I have to say dating in the south has been fun. Maybe it’s because I am not from here and I can use the cheeky line “I just moved here from California, will you show me around?”, or maybe because I had nothing to lose but with only a fresh perspective in hand- my openness was met with amazing, sweet, gentlemen everywhere (ok maybe I am trying to sell Dallas to all my single girlfriends in Cali so you can move here to be with me ;)). I wasn’t always so receptive, in fact I was pretty jaded when I was dating in LA and even on a recent trip to Vegas with some Dallas gals- they convinced me that this town was not any better. It’s safe to say for many girls being 30-something and still single, you begin to lose hope and faith and fast. And like Carrie and her girls in “Sex and the City”, I was beginning to think I should start considering my girlfriends as my soul mates and that men, were just icing on top. And so I came to Dallas, with very little expectations, trying to have a little fun and maybe, just maybe even a little hope for some romance…

Probably the week before I met Ryan, I truly believed and even said it out loud, that I believed in love for other people- be it in fairy tales or my friends, but not for me. I had anxiety about my failures in life especially in the love department. How many broken hearts I have witnessed firsthand, felt, nights where I thought I would never love again? How many weddings have I gone solo, with no date to only weep in the bathroom wondering if I would ever wed myself? How many bad relationships where I was confident that it would work out and didn’t? To be honest, after so many failed relationships, I began to just be embarrassed. When I look at successful couples, I honestly asked myself what do they have that I don’t? And after a lot of self work and soul searching and learning to love yourself, you realize the only thing they have that I didn’t was luck.

At 33, I finally became comfortable being single. Loving my life, my friends and cherishing the meaning of what my home would be even without a mate or children. And even though I didn’t believe in love anymore, I always knew I would never give up trying to find it. And at the end of the day, at least I knew I put myself out there. And the second I did, my attitude changed and I had fun with it. Life can be shitty, so embrace it and when you can, have fun with it. It is a numbers game and luck, but if you can find the right attitude, I have no doubt have in front of me the man I have manifested, chiseled in my dreams and my life experience, no one better fits this more than Ryan. As my dad says, sometimes you run out of bad luck and you only have good luck around the corner.

And that is what I did. I got laid off, I moved to Dallas and I started taking life in my own hands. I met Ryan and we knew instantly there was a connection that was undeniable. In a very short amount time (you are welcome to ask me how amazing and how fast our love developed), I am proud to be Ryan’s girlfriend and partner in life. We often talk about the future and though I would rather not have another failure, I realize I need to live in the moment and in today. Today, I am happy and want to be the best friend and girlfriend I can be to Ryan. In the future, who knows? All I know people die, divorces happen, things change all the time. As morbid as it may sound, I can’t let that stop me from believing. Life has become a game of acceptance and trust and I can only follow in its course.

So my advice if you too are looking for love, don’t be afraid to fall in love. Don’t be afraid to get your heart broken. To love and to live has become a cornucopia of feelings for me and without contrast or knowing pain and sadness, I would have never been able to appreciate the grandeur of gratitude on the other side. Life is short, and however temporal or dreamy my situation is, pinch me, because no matter what these feelings are real.

On a side note, back to basics with my blog:

Top 5 Things I love about Dallas

1. 3 hours away from Austin

I love Austin and I can see why most Californians love it too. From the quintessential vintage stores (found the best ones there- if you have never been go to Cream Vintage), hipster shops and bars and the mobile food stops (think Kogi trucks and the like from LA), this is a definite Berkeley of the South. From the live music, I heart Austin. But for me, Dallas is where my home is and the possibilities are limitless from my new friends, the cultural Mecca of museums, zoos and the such. Most of all I love Dallas because I have made it my home, it’s a foodie town, it’s easy and affordable (no worries about traffic in comparison to LA) and did I say it’s easy? I met a girl recently who lives in LA and from Dallas, we both agreed there is something about Dallas that is just easy living. And if I run into too many rednecks (none so far), I can always escape to Austin for the weekend.

2. Nature

When I visited DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) a couple of months back, I was in awe when out of the blue a herd of crows came flying out of nowhere. Gasping, I thought I was in a Hitchhock movie. Since then I notice birds everywhere and there is something about the warmth, the humidity and the animals that make it feel retardly and redundantly at peace. I see squirrels almost every day, and already twice I have seen bright green lizards right outside my apartment, you never see that in LA.

3. Go Texan and food

Though produce here sucks (trust me one of the things I miss the most is the farmers markets in California), there are a lot of pride in artisan farmers. Check out Lucky Layla yogurts when you are here or Texas olive oil. Stay away from Texan wines- good cooking wine though wine tasting in Grapevine can be a fun experience. Anyways I joined Go Texan on facebook to keep track of local Texan food, chefs and the like.

4. Young Professional

If you are single, Dallas makes it easy for you. The rumor has it, everyone that gets married and has kids moves away from the hub of the town in order to have more affordable housing and better schools- think suburban dreams. From Plano to Fort Worth, these towns are slower and still shine with the shopping and eats. But for the trendy hipster or the young professionals, almost everyone lives in the hub (downtown, deep ellum, oak lawn, uptown or where I live, lower Greenville). I can walk downstairs and grab a drink at the local pub and feel at ease. It’s nice to have a local bar, with very reasonable prices and feel at home.

5. Economy and Affordability

It’s affordable here. Repeat. LA is beautiful, full of beautiful people, art, and fashion. But it’s also expensive and I always wonder how people can afford to live there. All I do instead is take the style and taste I have acquired in California and brought it here. I am still a California girl at heart, shopping at small boutiques to find a nice vintage find or eating out with a nice cold glass of a triple Belgium ale, Fin du Monde. And when I miss the ocean, I go sit by the lake with a cold beer in hand and munch on some fried shrimp. J

Friday, May 28, 2010

Part Southern Belle, Part California Sunshine...

But really just me...

This blog is all about the lessons learned I have had here. Would love to get your feedback.


I have always been super driven and passionate about every endeavor I take on. When I moved to Dallas I made every effort to make friends and network. I soon tired myself out. They always say it's harder to make friends as you get older. I have been super lucky that with some southern hospitality and a little effort on my part to make new friends- I have some amazing people here to help me move as well as give me hugs when I am sick. But it's clear with charm and similar interests how some friendships have the potential for more, and how others just fall at the waist side. Since I follow law of attraction, I overheard a conversation at a coffee shop of a woman who just moved here from LA and after approaching her, we still hang out almost every day looking for jobs together (go Nancy!). Cool eh? I have been lucky to find so many wonderful people in this town so far and as for my friends from back home, I think of you guys often. After all old friends will always be special, new friends will take time.


Someone owed me money, and though it's not a huge fuss, being laid off I have become very sensitive about every nickel and dime I spend. It got to the point I was losing sleep over it. Finally after much advice from my dad and friends, I let it go saying it was up to God, the universe or whomever to trust I would somehow get my money. The second I did let go, I finally got it. As my mom says, your health is more important than anything and the stress over money is not worth it. In the meantime, I have also turned down many job opportunities which required 100% travel and even one offering up to 120k/yr because I know why I moved here, to slow down and yes, to even take a huge pay cut. Trust me money is tempting especially when you are running out of time and money and all the commotion about the rocky economy. I continue to stick to my guns, trying to be courageous and hold on to my values (as newly defined as ever) and for dear life as I might add.


By the way, this has been one of the toughest things I have ever gone through. As my friend Claudia says its not like we are starving in Africa. Or as my friend Rich says we have a rich man's problem. But moving here, selling everything, leaving everything I know behind has been eye opening. I have couch surfed, lived out of a suitcase, had my car vandalized, was 30 ft away from a neighbor's suicide, I felt like I was living a life void of true enjoyment. Though not a financial emergency as yet, I am learning to live life with a little bit more dignity. For those who don't know I have left the Stardust apts in Dallas for a little nicer apartment, where I am enjoying it profusely and cooking up a storm (a joy in life is being to have my own place and able to cook again). I am getting my "mojo" back and savoring every moment. I don't regret being laid off- I think everyone should experience it. You learn to be grateful for the littlest things in life. I cry as much as I laugh. To feel, is amazing- as painful as it is.


I will save this topic for another blog post. ;)


I recently asked a waiter who lived in LA for several years, why the food tastes better here. He said because people enjoy life here, slow down, they really take care and pride in cooking. Instead of worrying about high priced rent in California, restaurateurs here enjoy food and making their customers happy. I am excited to try the local butcher, grow some okra and peaches (it is the south after all), and keep getting free drinks from the bartenders (yes people are that friendly here). By the way I am official Yelp Elite member now and a VIP in the eating world in Dallas. Woohoo!


Looking for a job has been a soul searching experience. As I have done many things in my previous life in the career world ( a consultant wears many hats) this is the first time to take a hard look at what I want- even in a bad economy. One as said before, money isn't everything especially when I want to focus on my health. Two, the bottom line there are many things I can do- I have seen and done many things. Ultimately I want to find a job where I get paid enough to pay my bills, but more importantly an environment that is stable, creative and with people who work hard and care. Simple isn't it? Culture to me is everything. That is why if you look at all the companies I have worked for in the past, they have always been voted as one of the top companies to work for. Enough said. I am one lucky girl.


My religion is kindness- plain and simple (and that I believe we are connected in some way). Though I have always been spiritual (never grew up under a formal religion even though my grandparents I assume are Buddhist and I went to a Catholic High School), moving to Dallas and being laid off meant being put in a situation where I needed a huge support system. I have never been a church goer, and though I still meditate without fail, I found this amazing liberal church to call home :) Oh and I do follow full moons and the mercury retrograde as well. ;)


Most of my life I have been selfish with my time- if I am not working, I am with my friends and enjoying life. For the first time, I am able to give back to the community. Since I have a love of kids and dancing, I have been volunteering kids at a local public school how to dance as part of their after school program. It's been a great love to be around kids, to dance and to learn about myself through the process. But I am not getting paid. If you would like to donate money to help me do this better (iTunes cards for music, Justin Bieber CD- they love him!, etc.- right now we are just using the radio) please donate at under If you write me I can tell you where your money is going and how it goes directly to the kids. Anything helps!

Sending you all love from Dallas, Texas.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

From Cookie Cutter to Culture

Hello from Texas!

I have been delaying this post for a while, I was on quite a roll for a while- brimming with enthusiasm to share my adventure. Not to sound anti-climactic but I am often numb these days, not in a bad way. This journey is only beginning and in so many way I feel like I am in a cocoon phase- growing, re-defining myself, and slowing down...stay tuned.

This post starts off talking about my road trip and my initial thoughts on Dallas:

Months before I decided to move, I had a feeling (or maybe a self fulfilling prophecy) that I would be doing the dreaded drive from California to Texas. People who know me well know that I have limited attention span but worst of all, after over 7 years on the road for work, I learned to fall asleep easily in the motion of moving vehicles be it train, plane or car. I was worried that I would not only be bored, I would fall asleep at the wheel. I remember one time it got so bad, I opened my laptop and watched a movie while I drove. If you think that is dangerous, it was a life saver in terms of better than falling asleep at the wheel. Long story short, would I ever do it again? No. But it was an amazing opportunity to spend time with my dad (he did the first leg with me). Overall, most of the time I was a zombie (as my friend calls long distance driving by yourself a meditation on a roll). My sleeping patterns at night were restless (stopped in Phoenix, El Paso and Odessa) let alone stopping to meditate in the car in the heat was also not really an option. The last 2 hours of my drive, I was at wit's end as if my body knew I was almost there. During this time it rained A LOT. So much so, I really though this was how it was going to end. Everyone was driving 80 mph and every time a truck (pickup, big rig, or otherwise) passed by I lost all visibility and was driving on fate. The most rewarding part of the trip is arriving into Dallas and as if the rain was a sign of clarity, Dallas just showed up like it was next door. Long road trips in my opinion serves only one purpose to realize how far you have gone, that your new home is really within reach and that our world is very, very small. Tips? Drink lots of water (forces you to stop and take breaks, stretch, etc.), eat light, satellite radio, and pray.

When I got here, it was emotionally overwhelming. Thanks to my sister who helped me move in and also bring a piece of familiarity to a new world. Day after day, I meet people and find new things to do in Dallas that I find so delightful and I want to share some of it with you. You might wonder how I am able to discover all these things- through actively networking (looking for both jobs and new friends which as Rich would say, they will find you), keeping an open mind and just doing what I like best- being an anthropologist to understand what Dallas is, the people, and how I will fit in. Most of all, I wanted to share my change of heart. In 2008, I worked in Dallas for about a month. I never wanted to come back. Dallas to me was just highways, fast food places along the way and a place that lacked luster when it comes to culture, liberation, or otherwise. I could be further from the truth (with my free time, I realized from writing this blog, I want to write a book about the transformation of thoughts as I have moved from California to Texas so stay tuned- encouragements welcome). It probably helps that I found the cutest little neighborhoods...Here are some random things I have found to use as a resource if you visit:

I have yet to check it out, by nice to see a local farmers market...

People in Texas are proud and loyal folks. What better way to encourage growth than from within. Here is a group I volunteer with

Yoga, meditation? LA eat your heart out here...

Plug for El Paso: If you ever get the chance, El Paso was a hidden gem. There is not much to do there but the cultural irony in this town is fascinating and in so many ways reminds me of the Hispanic integration in Miami. It is a meeting place between Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona. Food wise, the Mexican food is authentic and tells such a rich story of people, survival and love...Ask me about it sometime. Check out Crisotomo and

ps I realize though I have a love for food, I didn't want this blog to turn into just a food blog but more of a way for my friends and family back home to keep track of my progression. If you want more info about my food adventures, ask me about my Yelps.

Next post will be about what I do with my free time (besides job searching)- volunteering, giving back to the community and dancing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dust to Stars...

Last week I flew to Dallas to look for an apartment. If there was an exit strategy, I missed it. The night before I left I seriously contemplated my options once again. What was I doing moving without a job first in hand? Is it too late to change my mind? I have never been a spiritual person that ran her life based on intuition or faith. Writing this blog you will see how I was able to turn some dust into stars...

I went to Dallas last week for 2 main reasons to make sure I liked it (again with no exit strategy in mind) and to find a place called home. After couch surfing for over a month, I had to believe there was a resting place for me. After some research on Craigslist, I narrowed it down to the following requirements- cheap (well cheaper than California, the whole reason I am leaving is to find a better quality of life), hardwood floors, lots of sunlight and a walking neighborhood. I am a lucky girl now I am about to sub-lease an apartment (pictures included), that is in walking distance to coffee, yoga, Whole Foods and a mile from a beautiful lake (

Places to eat/try when in Dallas that I discovered on this trip:

1. The Boiling Crab
"Make a cow happy, eat seafood", I think they stole this tagline idea from Chik-fil-A. It's not clear if this place is run by Asians as many of the locations happen to be in Asian communities- the word on the street it is over an hour wait in locations in California. The one in Dallas was an easy in- I suggest ordering the crawfish boil.
2. Babes Chicken
My friends recommended this, for those in LA- this place has nothing on Roscoe's. It's a good deal for some ten bucks (everything really is bigger in Texas including food portions). A bit salty, I personally prefer Honey Kettle in Culver City.
3. Deep Ellum Art Festival
For Austin lovers, I heard this is as close it gets to indy music and hipster crowds in Dallas.
4. Temple Grandin
Though this is not a Dallas specific movie, I was sitting in my hotel room watching planes take off at DFW and asked myself what I was doing with my life. I stumbled upon this on TV, and fell in love with it. With many, many tears down my face, I am excited to continue finding my calling or my "dharma" in Texas. :) If you can, please watch this movie, it changed my life.
5. Prada in Texas?
Last but not least, I leave for my road trip to Dallas in a few days. Do you think it's worthwhile to take a 2 hour detour to visit Prada? I would like to hear your thoughts, post a comment.

Special thanks to Cynthia+Glaser, Anita+Torey, Albert, Erika, Ashley, the North Highland Dallas office and Nick for your friendly help during this trip.

ps My friend Julie sent me this beautiful article with this quote:

Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness” says that research shows that, contrary to popular belief,having more options generally decreases happiness because we get stuck in second-guessing all our choices. All these options can cause us to keep looking outside of ourselves for the next trend and lead us to lose touch with that part of ourselves that knows what we uniquely desire and value, and that’s when the internal conflict sets in.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My first personal blog post! Yippee!

My first post is dedicated to all my human angels- to my friends and family that have supported me through this decision...

At first, when anyone asks why I decided to move to Texas, my thoughts would rush through my head trying to sound convincing to my audience, and in a convoluted manner my voice would crack to disguise the shakiness. You have to remember I am not just a California girl, I grew in Berkeley with Francophile parents. Being worldy was not only a virtue but a stamp of great achievement and pride. After four years in Los Angeles, I did what any preppy Bohemian Peter Pan loving person would do at 33- got a masters from USC, learned how to meditate (thanks to the Vedic meditation community) and danced up to 30 hours a week where I found my sweat, my tears, and my breath.

Today, I am still shaky but not of uncertainty but vulnerability to tell you why I am moving. I first made my decision to live a better quality of life and to listen to my body to slow down. Austin was my choice, and even though I had never been there, it called to me in the advertising of friends and strangers as if it were a mecca for the lost souls of Los Angeles. I knew then I was following other people's dreams and not mine.

My decision is not perfect and I don't have a perfect answer. I just know when I finally made up my mind, I never felt better. I remember telling people after getting mono in 2008, I said I am not sure when I will get better. It wasn't until I decided to move, until I felt whole again. Today I overcome each day of fear and uncertainty with giddiness. I am moving to spread love, and yes a little Lau Lau or lala into a state most Californians despise...

Get ready to read more about my journey around food, friendship, reaching out into a new community with light and love.