Tag Archives: ucla

Anteater to Toro to Tar Heel?

For the past few weeks I’ve been sick with a sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, and etc. I thought I would make progress on my graduate school decisions while I was laying in bed. Please don’t ask why I thought it was a good idea. It could have to do with all the medication I’ve been taking. I came up with a list of four possible schools I want to apply for. #1 is USC. They have the subconcentration of working with military families and veterans services and that falls right into place with what I want to do. Down side is that tuition for a year is 91,000+. #2 is UNC Chapel Hill. They have a community and non-profit services leadership concentration which would be excellent for my goals to run a non-profit organization. The down side is that it’s on the other side of the country. Am I really THAT independent? I have no clue. #3 is UCLA. They have a non-profit sector concentration which is similar to UNC CH. They also have Operation Mend which would an amazing opportunity. Down side is it’s super hard to get in. It is UCLA after all. #4 is University of Chicago. They have a community, administrative, leadership concentration. It’s very broad which I love and hate at the same time. It’s ranked as the best program out of the four. The down side is the tuition and rent would leave me in debt forever and it’s far away from home.

I’m the type of person that would always chose to live by sand and water if I had to pick. I don’t know if I’ll survive the winters of Chicago or Chapel Hill. Right now I’m leaning towards Chapel Hill because it’ll give me an opportunity to grow as a person and be independent, learn about different cultures, and it’s way cheaper than the other three. The only dilemma I have is that there’s no specific sub concentration like SC has. Ugh! It’s driving me crazy right now. I cannot decide where to go. Oh and the anteater is the mascot from UCI (my alumni). The toro is the mascot from CSU Dominguez Hills which is also my alumni. Anyone have any input? I’ve officially declared that I am the most indecisive person ever.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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Jordan Farmar

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One of my biggest goals for the summer was to volunteer. I wanted to do something that I would enjoy and something that I felt passionate about so I decided to volunteer for Hoop Farm. Basketball and kids, what’s not to love? Jordan Farmar happens to be my favorite basketball player so it’s a win win situation. Hoop Farm is a summer basketball camp held in the Pauley Pavilion at UCLA. It’s a four day camp for boys and girls ages 7-16. They do yoga, basketball drills, basketball games, and etc. Lunch is also provided. Tomorrow is the last day of camp but definitely look into it next year.
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My older sister was a freshman when Jordan was a sophomore so I’ve been following him for awhile. I was super excited that he played for the Lakers after he declared for the NBA. I’m even happier that he’s a Laker again. Trying to convince myself to be a Nets fan was brutal. Gotta root for the home team right? LA all the way 🙂 I don’t follow many professional athletes. In fact I think Jordan is the only one I follow consistently because of all the great things that he’s accomplished aside from his basketball career. All the things he does with his foundation and spending time with kids at Mattel’s Children’s Hospital really sets him apart from other athletes. At least in my eyes it does. It’s cool to see a professional athlete using his stardom to help the community he grew up in. People laugh at me when I say it but it doesn’t matter if he scores 30 points or 0 points. He’ll still be my favorite because he’s an inspiration.
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I don’t know him personally but I can definitely say Jordan is a down to earth and humble kind of guy. He’s incredibly nice and polite. Probably one of the sweetest people I’ve met. Just the way he carries himself inspires people. You know how you idolize someone and you want to be exactly like them? Some people have their dreams crushed because the person they idolized wasn’t what they lived them up to be. Jordan is exactly what I thought he would be like. He inspires me with all the great work he’s doing with his foundation. When I first started following his foundation, I thought to myself that if I was given the opportunity to do great things like that I would do the same thing. So why not start volunteering? He’s truly inspirational. Not a lot of people would spend approximately six hours at a gym with over 100 kids trying to teach them the fundamentals of basketball for four days. Keep in mind there are kids who are 7 years old.

The experience was amazing. The other volunteers were really nice and I got to know them pretty well in the two days that I volunteered. The coaches were hilarious. It was great to see that many of the coaches and volunteers are friends with Jordan. It gave the camp a family atmosphere and that is a hard thing to accomplish. I also met his mom and his daughter which was really awesome. My favorite memory of camp was watching the drills sessions on my second day. A young boy was struggling during a drill where you have to bounce a basketball with each hand from the starting line to the other side and back. Jordan was watching him and saw that he was struggling so he asked the boy for the basketballs and when the boy gave them to him, he showed him how to do the drill and gave him pointers. I thought it was cool because the boy was grinning from ear to ear afterwards. It’s moments like that that definitely make the volunteer experience worth it. I asked him if I could take a picture with him and he said sure. I was laughing afterwards when I was talking to the other volunteers because he probably thought why is that crazy Asian girl ambushing me right when I first get here? Sorry Jordan! 🙂 It’s an awesome picture even though Jason photo bombed it. He’s hilarious too. I swear he was eating every time I saw him.
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Hopefully his foundation hosts other events because I’d definitely volunteer. Everyone was friendly and chill. It’s a great opportunity to volunteer. There were kids from all sorts of backgrounds. Some of the kids from the Department of Child and Family Services were really taking to the coaches. I saw a boy cling onto a coaches arm and another one rest his head on their shoulders. Some of the younger boys were trying to teach me secret handshakes while others were trying to impress me with hand stands. Overall, I had a lot of fun. I was the official Gatorade mixer during day two. I have to say, my Gatorade mixing skills are legit. The kids said it taste better the second day than the first day. It’s hilarious to watch the kids eyes light up when they know Jordan’s watching. I wish I got to volunteer all four days to get the full experience but two days was still awesome. I’d definitely do it again. YAY LAKERS 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

5 favorite places

Sorry for not blogging! I feel like life is kicking my butt right now. I’m constantly drained at work and it’s been so hectic I haven’t found time to blog. I made mini cheesecakes last week that I will have to blog about because they’re delicious 🙂 I wanted to shine some light on some of my favorite places in California. It really has no particular order.

1. Westwood Village
2. Carlsbad Flower Fields
3. Laguna Beach
4. Tanaka Farms
5. Oldtown Pasadena

It’s funny how my sister calls me a traitor because I went to UCI but I love Westwood. My sister is a UCLA alum and while I was still in high school, I always came to visit her. At first I was sad that she left and I didn’t have anyone to bug or chat with. Then I was mad because she had all this freedom and well, I didn’t have much. I always had to make a trip to Westwood Village for Pinkberrys and Diddy Riese. Diddy Riese makes the best darn chocolate chip cookies EVER. They also sell it super cheap which is a win win situation when you’re a college student. There’s tons of great restaurants and shops in the area. I always walk because parking over there is kinda insane.

I love scenery. I’ve gotten pretty good at taking still life photos. I love taking pictures of flowers. It’s probably one of my favorite things to photograph. The Carlsbad Flower Fields is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve laid my eyes on. It’s gorgeous fields of colorful flowers. It’s the perfect spot for photography lessons or a photoshoot.

Laguna Beach is my favorite beach in California. It even truimphs Malibu. My heart belongs to Orange County. It’s by far the cleanest beach I’ve been to. It’s absolutely gorgeous on a summer day. The sand and waves over there mesh together so perfectly. It’s my sanctuary.

Because I went to UCI, I have a soft spot for Tanaka Farms. I’m a big farmers market fanatic so I was pumped to find a farm so close to my apartment when I was in college. They have really fresh vegetables and they make bomb banana bread. They sell a variety of vegetables, fruits, and baked goodies. Their farm has a corn maze, pumpkin match, and strawberry field. The tour itself is a bit pricy but I’ve only been on it once. They have excellent CSA shares.

Oldtown Pasadena is one of my favorite spots. The parking is a little crazy but there’s literally streets and streets of restaurants. There are a ton of froyo places which is awesome because I love the stuff. There’s also a ton of stores to shop at. My favorite two places in Oldtown would be the huge Forever21 and Dots Cupcakes. Dots makes the best chocolate cupcake.

That’s it for now 🙂 Hopefully I’ll have time to update my blog. By now I probably sound like a broken record. I feel as if I say that every time I blog but I genuinely mean it. Thanks for reading!

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Occupation

I’ve been pondering this question since I’ve graduated college. What do I want to do? You see..as a psychology major, the jobs are very limited without higher education. I only have a Bachelors and decent paying jobs usually require a MA, MFT, or higher. I’ve been stuck at a crossroad because I don’t know what I want to specialize in if I decide to go to grad school.

Sometimes I get insanely jealous at the people who know where they’re going and how to get there. I’m currently working at a non-public school for kids with developmental disabilities. I did an internship with a preschool while I was still completely my undergrad work. So the answer should be simple right? I want to work with kids. Or at least that’s what I figured I wanted to do since everything I’m doing seems to involve kids. Somehow, everything is very complicated in my mushy brain.

When I first decided to be a psychology major, I was very driven and passionate about what I was going to be. I was blunt and determined to become a clinical psychologist so I could work with veterans for the Veterans Affairs. My mind has since wandered elsewhere. I like to stick with what I plan to do but at the same time, I don’t want to be unhappy later on. I can’t decide if I want to pursue an MFT and work as a therapist for children or if I want to pursue a PhD and work as a clinical psychologist for veterans. I’ve also thought about working with children who come from military families.

I feel like I’m in la la land most of the time because I can’t figure out what I want to do. My sister says that sometimes it just takes time and I should keep doing what I’m doing because it’ll help me gain experience. To be honest, I only applied for the job I currently hold because I figured it would help me decide if I want to work with kids or adults. My mind has not changed a bit since working there. I’m still in limbo. Some days I feel like the world will show me a sign and tell me I should go down one path. I know for a fact I don’t plan on being a teacher’s aide for a career. I know I’m going to grad school. I just can’t decide which career path to pursue. I figured I wouldn’t look into grad schools unless I know which career path to follow. My dream school is riding on UCLA. I guess I’m a wanna be bruin at heart. My sister graduated from UCLA 🙂

Has anyone done one or the other? Any advice? Pros? Cons? If you wouldn’t mind telling me your experience..it would help a great deal! 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

chocolate chip cookies

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These are the best chocolate chip cookies!! I have to say, follow the directions please. I usually try to substitute ingredients if I can get them cheaper but these babies need the real deal. I have made these cookies using margarine because it was what I had on hand and it’s a lot cheaper than butter. Use butter! Margarine has a water substance which makes the cookies spread like no other when they are baking. These cookies hardly spread at all when they are baking. The only issue I had is with adding the chocolate chips. When you add the chips, make sure to use a spatula. You’re definitely going to need to use some muscle to get all the chips incorporated with the dough. I got the recipe off allrecipes.com! This recipe has over 4,000 views so yeah, it’s good.

Here’s the recipe..
Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from allrecipes.com)
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
2 eggs
2 sticks of butter soften
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips (I used Nestle’s dark chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using a stand mixer, mix butter with both sugars until fluffy.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each egg.
4. Add in vanilla extract and mix again.
5. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda with the hot water and add that to the dough.
6. Add salt and mix.
7. Finally add the flour. I usually DON’T mix after every cup of flour because I find it overmixed as a result. So add all the flour to the mixer before mixing it together.
8. Make a hole in the dough with a spatula and add in the chocolate chips. Be sure to mix them well or else you’ll have dough without any chips. And that’s never good!
9. Bake at 350 for about 13 minutes. It really depends on your oven. Mine took about 13 but yours could take 10.
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As you can see, my cookies don’t have a smooth top. Personally, I hate smooth top cookies UNLESS they come from Diddy Riese which is a cookie shop out of Westwood Village near UCLA. They’re famous for their cheap but DELICIOUS cookies and ice cream sandwiches. I love the crinkle look in chocolate chip cookies because I feel as though they are more authentic. I love this recipe because it gives a chewy inside with a crispy outside. If you live in Southern California but have not been to Diddy Riese, you’re missing out. My older sister is a UCLA alumni so I made regular trips to their fab cookie shop every time I went to visit her. I went to visit her quite frequently. I even requested that she bring me home cookies when I couldn’t go visit her 🙂 DIDDY RIESE! You’re not a UCLA alumni until you’ve had Diddy Riese. UCI doesn’t really have any good cookie shops around. I’m not sure what makes a UCI alumni. I guess if you haven’t been to Berkeley Dog or Cha For Tea. Or if you haven’t been in line at Starbucks for over an hour. This isn’t during the rush by the way. Starbucks at UCI = second most busiest in the industry with the one in New York City being the first. We love Starbucks at UCI! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina