WIBDQ #2: A Blast From The Past—Analog to Digital Video Converter

I have to admit, it was difficult to transition from my hectic daily routine to having virtually no responsibilities. I quickly realized that I took the freedoms in my “normal” life for granted. As a constantly busy person, I now felt uncomfortable having all of this free time, and immediately felt the need to make a long to-do list of things to do to occupy my time.

This list was long and quite diverse. I wrote down every single task that I’ve ignored doing in the past. From deep cleaning my shoes (aka wiping the muck off from going to bars) to improving my French on Rosetta Stone (it’s free right now for K-12 and college students!), I was determined to use quarantine in the most productive way possible.

I’ve gotten through a good chunk of this list, but I’ve had my lazy days where I basically do nothing but stare at the ceiling for hours. I’ve felt guilty about being unproductive, but I quickly realized that it’s actually okay to not be productive all the time. I’ve read a bunch of articles to affirm this—we’re literally in the midst of a traumatic, global event, so it’s okay if you’re not productive all the time. Especially when you’re stuck at home.


At the beginning of quarantine, I briefly went to my mom’s apartment to collect a bunch of old stuff for my mini-projects. One daunting project that I’ve had on my list was to digitize the files on my dad’s old video camcorder from the 90s. These precious video files live on 8mm cassette tapes, and I was motivated to figure out a way to have a digital copy.

I consider myself a pretty knowledgable person when it comes to technology, but I was dealing with a video camera that was older than me. This video camera was not only ancient, but is extremely bulky, with a million cords and inputs.

This project has been on my list since day 1 of quarantine, and I just successfully accomplished it by day 34. The Elgato Video Capture – Digitize Video for Mac, PC, or iPad (USB 2.0) was extremely easy to use, and I’m looking forward to converting more old cassette tapes in the future.

SHIPPING SPEED: 4.5/5.

Amazon has slowed down their Prime shipping speed due to COVID-19. Instead, Amazon is prioritizing the delivery of the more essential goods. My video converter was considered non-essential—rightfully so—and it took weeks to come in.

When I finally received my $20 converter, it was incompatible with my Macbook, which is running on the newer Catalina software. After doing more research and returning the old converter, I caved and purchased the $90 converter that was “guaranteed” to work with my Mac.

The Elgato converter actually took a surprisingly short amount of time to come. I received it in 3-4 days, which given the current situation at hand, wasn’t too long. Because it’s a more expensive product, it has a higher priority to ship faster than other converters.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I have been trying to purchase more “ethical” and “local” products to help small businesses out during this time. Well, this goal is impossible when it comes to technology, and especially for video converters. I know that Amazon has profited billions of dollars over the past month with the rise of sales… For the sake of this post, I am going to review Elgato as the brand, rather than discuss the questionable morals of Amazon as a corporation.

I was thoroughly impressed by Elgato and how clear the instructions were for using their converter. It’s a USB converter, so anyone can use it. You also have to download their free software off the website, which again, was simple and just took a couple of minutes.

They also seem to have a great customer service platform if you have any questions. Elgato made this whole process for me extremely easy. The other video converters I was looking at were complicated and had sketchy and out-of-date websites.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 5/5.

This product was outstanding and didn’t give me a headache to figure out. You simply insert the USB into your computer, hook up the video (red) and audio (white) cables from the converter to your device, and play back the video on the software.

I rewinded my cassette to the very beginning, and there was about 31 minutes of footage on the tape. I was then able to record the video and audio as an MP4 file to my computer. It will take the same amount of time to download as footage time, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Although the product itself was expensive, these memories are priceless. It was totally worth the $90 to have this footage on a more stable and permanent viewing platform. I’m so glad I was able to convert my analog video that’s quite useless in this day and age. I have some experience in audiovisual technology from attending tradeshows with the rAVe Agency, but even if you’re a complete technology noob, I promise you can do this, too.

My father picked up this video camera around the time I was born (late 1998) and recorded my older siblings and I for a solid five years. At this time, my family resided in Southern California. Naturally, I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but it was so cool to see my parents and siblings so young.

Some precious memories recorded include: me being fed out of a baby bottle, me reaching for the Sprite can when I was just months old, me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and my ABCs when I was a toddler, and my siblings and I performing dances to songs for my parents.

This was one of my favorite quarantine-friendly activities that I’ve accomplished thus far. I realized that without this ample amount of time at home, I would have never found the time to digitize these home videos.

Overall, the Elgato video converter was a successful quarantine purchase. I have no regrets.

The setup.

WIBDQ #1: Yes, I Spent $100 at Glossier

It was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to blog more frequently.

Listen, I won’t make any excuses for not posting a single time in 2020…and now it’s mid-April. But since we’re stuck at home, and indefinitely for that matter, what better time to start blogging again than during a global pandemic?

In all seriousness, I was struggling to start writing again because I felt like I had nothing to talk about anymore. I spent so many nights during quarantine prepping myself to write just one blog—I gave up every single time.

When I started this website in my Branding of Me class, I wanted the world to know me better by sharing bits and pieces of my life. Through it all, I discovered that there was one topic that I loved writing about the most: travel.

Travel is something that I literally cannot stop talking about. And that’s exactly how I knew that I wanted to make travel into my full-time career. After graduation, I will be writing for The Points Guy, a travel blog and website with millions of followers.

While I have been mourning the trips I’ve had to cancel because of the coronavirus, I have decided to stop sulking and start writing. While the travel posts will be more infrequent because of the severe lack of trips in my life, I want to start a new spinoff series in my blog: What I Bought During Quarantine (WIBDQ).


When I’m not traveling, I love to shop. I try to spend my money wisely—emphasis on “try.” Lately, I have been prioritizing spending my money on higher quality goods that will last me longer. But of course, that comes at a higher price tag. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve had a package show up at my doorstep almost every single day for the past four weeks. I make myself feel better knowing that I am helping stimulate the economy during these difficult times, along with all the nights I order takeout to help support local restaurants…

Anyway, to kick off this series, I want to start off with some products I purchased from the lovely, Glossier.com. I’ve tried some of their products in the past. I found a few favorites (the cloud paint and boy brow? iconic), and a couple of not-so-favorites. Not every product can be perfect, of course, and there’s so much more to try. Somehow I ended up with six products in my cart, totaling $99.97.

Every WIBDQ post will have the same metrics on a scale of 1-5: shipping speed (important when you’re impatient and want your stuff ASAP), brand analysis (in my increasing efforts to support ethical/local/American-made businesses), product quality (is it worth it to drop your hard-earned cash on this stuff?), and finally, my overall thoughts. I hope you enjoy this series, and if there’s a product you think I should try next, let me know. I am way too easily convinced to buy things during quarantine.

SHIPPING SPEED: 5/5.

Standard shipping is free when you spend over $30—that’s like buying two products, which is extremely easy to do. I placed my order on a Tuesday, and UPS delivered my goods by Friday. All mail services are heavily overloaded by the rise of online shoppers currently, so I was definitely impressed with Glossier’s fast, free shipping.

BRAND ANALYSIS: 5/5.

How exactly did I justify blowing $100 on Glossier during quarantine? Simply put, Glossier is a woman-led, American-made cosmetics company with kick-ass branding. As an advertising student, I totally see how this company was able to cultivate such a cult-like following in the few years of its existence. Glossier sells all of their products online, but they also have a few brick-and-mortar stores in NYC, LA, Atlanta, and London. I visited the NYC store all the time when I lived in the city last summer. Glossier has managed to hype up the mere experience of being in the store, that there is almost always a line to get in. It’s like the Disneyworld of makeup: the branding efforts of the store are absolutely stellar, leading to its wild success on social media. Talk about top-notch experiential marketing.

Glossier sets itself apart from the thousands of cosmetics brands out there by being minimalistic yet feminine. Minimalism not just in the sense of clean packaging—the products themselves enhances and emphasizes natural beauty. You won’t find any crazy colors or full-coverage products at Glossier. Best of all, Glossier products are all hypoallergenic, vegan, ophthalmologist-tested, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free and cruelty-free. The list goes on.

Also, as an aspiring copywriter, Glossier has extremely clever copy. This is incredibly important to connect with young millennial or Gen-Z audiences.

PRODUCT QUALITY: 4.5/5

Now to the fun stuff. I bought the rose balm dotcom, generation G, lip gloss, brow flick, boy brow, and super bounce. Here are some thoughts on each product.

rose balm dotcom universal skin salve: $12. One of their most popular products. It’s a lip balm, but really can be used anywhere you have dry skin. There are eight different flavors, but I bought the rose because it’s lightly fragrant, sheerly-tinted, which is perfect for day-to-day use on my lips. And yes, this stuff really IS the BOMB DOTCOM. Unlike other chapsticks that dry your lips out, the balm dotcom keeps your lips hydrated all-day. The tint is VERY sheer, so if you are looking for more color on your lips, I’d recommend following up with the generation G.

generation G sheer matte lipstick in crush: $18. I am not a fan of lipstick, or lip products for that matter. All I really need is some good chapstick. But the generation G is a moisturizing, sheer lip product that gives your lips some LIFE. The color ‘crush’ is perfect for the spring + summer time, for that weightless, effortless look.

lip gloss in clear: $14. Again, I don’t like lip products. Who knew that I’d be buying a lip gloss at 21 years old? I think the last time I wore lip gloss was at a middle school dance. But Glossier’s lip gloss is the perfect combination of tacky while not being overly sticky, and glossy while not being overly shiny. It gives my lips a natural plumping effect.

brow flick microfine detailing pen in brown: $18. This is a revolutionary brow product. It’s super precise as you can mimic the look of individual brow hairs, all while looking natural. It is quickly becoming a staple in my everyday makeup routine. As a long time user of Anastasia brow products, I might just have to switch to this forever.

boy brow grooming pomade in brown: $16. This is my third time purchasing this product, and I have been impressed every time. This is great for a natural and effortless brow look that takes five seconds to put on in the morning. The product consistency is slightly tacky, ensuring longevity throughout the day. Because I have very sparse brows, I typically fill in my brows with a normal eyebrow pencil and follow up with the boy brow to set everything in place. My only complaint is that this product is tiny and will only last you a couple of months with consistent use.

super bounce hypaluronic acid + vitamin B5 serum: $28. This is the most expensive product of the bunch, and it’s actually the only skincare product I’ve ever bought from Glossier. I know I’ve only tried this serum for a couple of days, but I am OBSESSED! I always thought skin serums were for old ladies… but put this on after washing your face and before applying your moisturizer, and your skin will thank you. My skin has never looked so healthy and youthful. My mom always told me that taking care of your skin while young will do wonders when you’re older. And I trust her, because she’s a queen at 52 years old and has almost no wrinkles.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Glossier is an iconic brand that’s obviously doing something right.

When you’re stuck at home, it’s so important to prioritize self-care, whether that be through your skincare or makeup routine. Don’t get me wrong—I understand makeup is totally unnecessary during quarantine. But for me, putting on a few Glossier products has made me feel infinitely better about myself on the days when I’m feeling especially lazy.

Their price range is somewhat affordable, sitting in between the middle of cheap drugstore products to high-end cosmetics. However, the cost of these products can add up, so I recommend buying their sets if you want to save money. They bundle some of their most popular products together at a discount; in this particular order, I bought “The Core Lip Collection” and “Boy Brow + Brow Flick Duo,” which helped me save $9 and $4, respectively.

AND, if you want to save 10% on your order, shop through this link. You won’t regret it.

All Glossier products worn (except mascara) featured in this blog.

The Best Way to Fly Domestically? JetBlue Mint.

Low and behold the coveted throne seat.

Not only was I able to cross off tons of destinations on my bucket list this summer, but I also flew on business class for the first time in my life. It’s safe to say that it was a transformative experience. I flew on JetBlue Mint, arguably known as the “best business class in America,” by tons of airline critics and fanatics across the country. While I’ve never flown on anything but economy, and Delta’s Comfort+ if I was ever lucky to be upgraded, I instantly became certain that JetBlue Mint is the sweetest of deals out there. I was so hooked that I ended up flying Mint six times this summer! In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the Mint experience from start to finish.

JetBlue Mint route map. The Caribbean/Latin America routes are seasonal.

Before we jump right in, I wanted to give some context to the story behind Mint. Prior to 2014, JetBlue only offered its standard economy offerings, which speaks true to its humble roots of being a low-cost, high-amenities carrier. Although the airline had only been around for 15 years at this point, JetBlue shook up the industry by offering free, unlimited snacks and drinks, wifi, DIRECTV, and great legroom. By setting the bar so high, other carriers started to follow by offering some of the same amenities that JetBlue has always had. Then, CEO Dave Barger announced that he wanted to shake up the industry even more, by offering a premium flight experience on JetBlue’s longer flights, but at a fraction of the cost. For example, other major legacy carriers were charging thousands of dollars for its business class fares, but JetBlue was able to offer Mint for just $599 each way. Since then, Mint has been an extremely popular way to fly, especially from coast-to-coast.

Again, Mint is only offered on select routes, on its newer A321 aircraft. As an intern, it was difficult at first to land a coveted Mint seat. But after weeks of trying, I finally scored my first Mint seat, from New York (JFK) to San Diego (SAN). I was traveling with a couple of other intern friends, who all also landed Mint!

At the airport

Captured from my very first time flying Mint.

On the ground, having a Mint boarding pass allows you to have access to a couple of great perks. There is a separate, dedicated Mint counter, with a crewmember there to assist you with any of your needs. Additionally, this ticket automatically allows you to move through JetBlue’s “Even More Speed” line. This is a great way to start your trip, as you’ll be able to move quickly through security in busy airports such as JFK. And once the gate attendant calls for boarding, Mint and Mosaic customers always board first. There are only 16 Mint seats, so it’s pretty cool to board the plane when no one else is on it.

On the plane

The Mint cabin is at the front of the plane, where a friendly crewmember greets you and shows you to your seat. There are five rows of Mint seats total; in a 2-1-2-1-2 configuration. This means that if you’re in rows 2 or 4, you’ll have your own “throne” seat where there’s even your own door for more privacy. Out of all six times I flew on Mint, I only got the throne seat once. It doesn’t cost any more to select these seats, so if you have the chance to fly Mint, I would highly recommend picking the throne.

On each seat, there’s a plush comforter, pillow, and a welcome kit full of thoughtful goodies. My favorites include the JetBlue socks and the lip balm. The socks are so soft, and I wear them around my house all the time. The lip balm is also high-quality and is something that I carry around with me in my backpack.

As soon as you’re seated, the crewmember greets you and asks whether or not this is your first Mint experience. If this is your first time, he or she will demonstrate how to use the remote controls for the lie-flat seat, which extends to 6’8″. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of Mint, as I loved having the freedom to lay completely flat and sleep comfortably throughout the whole ride. Afterwards, the crewmember offers you a refreshing Mint cocktail, which you can get with or without vodka. All of these personal touches make for a great first impression onboard.

Another fantastic perk of JetBlue Mint is the in-flight entertainment. The screen is touch-screen and significantly larger than the screen in coach. It was the perfect size to catch up on JetBlue’s great offerings of movies and TV shows, as well as switching to the route map every so often to see how much longer in the flight was left. But let’s be honest—I never wanted the Mint experience to end.

Once in the air, the crewmember presents you with a menu, which has different offerings depending on what type of meal service is offered at that time. There are three menus: breakfast, lunch/dinner, and shut-eye (for overnight flights). I’ve had all three options, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. The lunch/dinner option was definitely more filling, in my opinion. You also have the option to choose from lots of beverages. In fact, I was able to fly my Mom on Mint four times this summer, and she raved about all of the coffee offerings, but especially the cappuccino and espresso. I, too, enjoyed their coffee, but also delved into the wide assortment of wines they had. They were all fantastic.

Each meal, however, starts with an appetizer, which could range from a croissant to a bowl of fruit. You are allowed to pick three of the entrees off the menu. Each entree is small, but just the right-size to have a few different options. And in reality, I’m sure you could pick a couple more than just three if you were really hungry. The end of the meal comes with a dessert, which ranges from a Milk Bar cookie or ice cream from a local creamery in the area you’re flying out of.

I cannot skim over how amazing the food was. I mean, really. If plane food could be this awesome, always, I would never complain again about the dry, tasteless offerings other airlines usually have. The Mint menus change every month and are curated by local chefs, so you’re really getting the real deal. The rest of the summer, some of my intern friends and I always joked around about how we could use our standby benefits to fly Mint and back somewhere, just to have a free place to sleep and eat. In reality, one of my friends and I did exactly that at the end of the summer. We flew to Seattle after work and hopped on the flight right back to New York, just because we could.

…and here’s me and my friend Reed flying Seattle and back. Just to get Mint.

Throughout the flight, the crewmembers are so friendly and helpful. I made some great personal connections with a few of them this summer. They are truly there to provide you the most elevated and luxurious service. And with so much going on, the flight feels much shorter than you want it to. You’ll wake up from your nap under your snuggly comforter never wanting to leave, thinking that maybe Mint IS the destination, after all.

Of course, I would never have been able to afford all of these flights without working for the airline and getting to experience Mint for free. However, if you’re in the mood to treat yourself and you have the option to fly Mint on your next vacation, there really is no better way to fly domestically.

All-Inclusive Cancun

JET Summer Interns forever!

The summer was coming to a close, and my intern friends and I wanted to pick one last destination to fly to. I spent my weekends spent all over the place—from Puerto Rico to San Diego, from New Mexico to St. Maarten. But as a final group trip, we really wanted to visit another tropical destination.

We chose Cancun as it was an easy, four-hour flight, and we wanted the all-inclusive experience, which I had never done before. It sounded more than ideal to pay an upfront cost and to have all meals, lodging, and amenities included. If you’re on a time crunch and on a budget, you can totally manage to enjoy the craze of Cancun in its entirety! Here is a breakdown of everything we did during our epic final adventure.


Itinerary at a glance

Saturday, August 10th

  • JFK – CUN 7:20AM-11:38AM
  • Day 1 Resort
  • Dinner at Porfirio’s

Sunday, August 11th

  • Day 2 Resort
  • CUN – JFK 1:00PM – 4:40PM

Picking an all-inclusive resort can be overwhelming, especially in a place such as Cancun that is known for its endless amenities. In fact, Cancun has (& what is formally known as) “The Hotel Zone,” which is the strip of land that spans for miles of hotels and resorts on end. Realistically, we were only going to be spending one night in a resort, so we wanted to make sure that this resort was safe and had all of the amenities we needed at a fair price. We settled on the Occidental Costa Cancun, a 4-star hotel located 30 minutes fom the airport. In the end, the rates were super fair. There were four of us on this trip, so we split a room with two double beds. Each of us paid $130, which felt extremely justified as it included unlimited meals and drinks, access to the beach and pools, entertainment, and more.

The hotel itself was very clean and had a fun, tropical vibe to it. There was a nice mix of families, couples, and young travelers, such as my group. While we opted for the cheapest room, there were definitely options to upgrade for a more luxury experience. We arrived at the Occidental a couple hours earlier than check-in, but the staff were very accommodating and allowed us to store our bags upfront until our room was ready. We visited the first bar, which was located next to the check-in counter, and celebrated with a delicious piña colada. As a general note, I would make sure to bring some sort of cash (can be USD) with you, as the employees are very friendly and deserve tips for providing excellent service!

Next, we changed into our bathing suits and spent the next couple of hours at the beach. There was a beachside bar, and plenty of chairs and towels available. The beach itself was relaxing and picturesque, with stretches of white sand and turquoise water. However, we did notice that there were patches of brown seaweed in the water. Apparently, this happens in Cancun during “sargassum season,” which runs from April to August. Depending on the type of day, the seaweed wasn’t too bothersome, as resort employees did attempt to clean it up periodically. This is just a heads up if you will be traveling to Cancun during these months! Again, I wasn’t too affected by it, but I did prefer being in the water in Puerto Rico and St. Maarten for this reason.

While our room was eventually ready, we wanted to spend as much time in the sun as possible. Once the sun started to set, we headed back to the room where we quickly showered and decided to make our next move. The dinner tonight at the resort was barbecue-style. However, one of my friends is vegetarian, and she asked if we would be willing to leave the resort and have dinner somewhere else instead. We were all down to explore more of Cancun than just the resort, so we took a very cheap Uber to the restaurant called Porfirio’s.

I assumed we were going to a no-frills Mexican restaurant with cheap eats, so my hair was still soaking wet from my shower, and I was wearing my college t-shirt and athletic shorts. When we got dropped off at the restaurant, I immediately knew that I made a mistake. The restaurant was gorgeous, with beautiful dimmed light fixtures and glass tables. We had a table outside looking over the water, which was even more stunning than the interior. There were about ten different waiters waiting to serve us. I wished that I had known how fancy the restaurant was going to be, or I wouldn’t have shown up in what I was wearing!

After living in New York City all summer, I was nervous at how expensive dinner was going to be. The menu at Porfirio’s was extremely vast and was entirely in pesos. But after doing some calculations, the dishes were surprisingly inexpensive. I ordered a margarita and a squid dish, which were delicious AND under $20 total. For how classy and elegant the restaurant was, I was more than ecstatic that we were able to dine on a budget. It was a phenomenal experience as we watched the sun set, and we had about eight waiters tend to us the entire night.

During our car ride back to the resort, we passed by a ton of nightlife and shopping areas. Although we didn’t have time to experience anything else while we were in Cancun, I could tell that these were popular areas for tourists.

Day 2 was more like a half-day, as our flight was at 1PM. We wanted to take advantage of all the resort had to offer, so we spent an early morning at the beach, eating at the restaurant at the resort and having a bite to eat later at the snack bar. The food at the resort was decent, and there were lots of great options to choose from. And soon enough, it was time to pack up all our belongings and head back to the airport.

Although our vacation was extremely short-lived, I had a great time in Cancun. I would definitely visit again, as the all-inclusive resorts made for quite an affordable tropical vacation. Next time, I would love to spend more days at the actual resort, but we were definitely able to get a quick taste of the Cancun life.

Day Trip to Boston

On a whim I decided to chop off six inches of my hair. This is usually a sign that I am ready for a change of pace. More than halfway of the semester was over, and I was already exhausted by the mundanities of my day-to-day routine.

My fool-proof solution? Get away from home, wherever that may be, and spend a day away from all of your responsibilities and social life. Be okay with being by yourself. Spend time in a place where no one may know you. Remember how it feels to be alone. It’s like that old saying—if you only had one day to live, what would you do? Well, it doesn’t have to be as morbid as that, necessarily. But in my 21 years of living on Earth, I’ve quickly learned that no matter how stressed you are, or how stuck you feel in the everyday, every single moment ahead of us is fleeting. So if you can, take some courage to escape for a little bit, ground yourself, and come back feeling charged to accomplish your goals. A day trip is not enough time to get behind on your commitments, and it is totally worth it for your mental health and sanity.

Flight itinerary for almost 12 hours in Boston!

I flew from my hometown airport (RDU) to a city over 700 miles away: Boston, Massachusetts. JetBlue had a crazy flash fare sale that had $31 fares during the week of Halloween, so I jumped on this opportunity. My options out of Raleigh were Fort Lauderdale, New York, and Boston. The last time I was in Boston was in August with a couple coworkers from my internship this summer, when we decided to fly to Boston after work just to grab some dinner and then leave. It’s such a gorgeous city, and I wish that I had more time to spend there. So, I picked Boston. By using only 2,600 of my TrueBlue points, I really only paid $11.20 for the roundtrip flight, which was simply just the domestic flight tax.

And so on a Wednesday morning, I arrived at the airport with just a purse. Having no luggage felt extremely freeing, knowing I would just return at night. The flight was just two hours long, and suddenly, I was in a new city.

Boston is a FANTASTIC place to visit if you are on a time crunch. Whether you’re wanting to spend a quick day trip there or simply just have a few hours in a layover, I would highly recommend stopping into the city. Unlike the proximity of airports in New York City for example, downtown Boston is only a 10-15 minute drive or 20-25 subway/bus ride from the airport, and the entire city is extremely walkable and easy to navigate via the public transportation system.

I took the T Silver Line bus from the airport and transferred to the Red Line at South Station Train Terminal, where I got off just two stops later at Park Street. I wanted to start my day in the Beacon Hill area, near the beautiful Boston Common park. I walked along the Freedom Trail, taking in all of the natural beauty around me. If you’ve never been to Boston before, it’s a quiet city that has beautiful historic architecture mixed with lots of green spaces. Fall was in full swing at this time of year, so I really got to appreciate the delightful weather, which was at a comfortable 60 degrees and sunny.

After walking around for a couple of miles, I wanted to stop by my favorite foodie spot, Tatte Bakery, which is where we ate for dinner last time I was in town. It’s extremely popular, and they have delicious sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, and more. I got the prosciutto and fig jam panini last time I was here—and two months later, I was STILL craving this sandwich. I ordered one with an iced latte, and spent about an hour eating and checking up on emails on my iPad.

Newbury Street

Afterwards, I spent a couple of hours walking along Newbury Street, which is most known for its many shops and restaurants. I stopped into some of my favorite stores, such as Zara and Reformation. Nearby was a really cool mall called the Prudential Center, and I stopped by in Aritzia and Lululemon there. To my surprise, I didn’t end up buying anything at all, which was great for my wallet! I still had so much fun window shopping and walking around.

It was already almost 4PM by this point, and I wanted to keep moving along. I hopped on the Orange Line to the Samuel Adams Brewery, which took about 20 minutes. Once I was there, I had to wait about 30 minutes for the next tour, which gave me time to charge my phone and rest my achy feet for a bit. I was also surprised to learn that the brewery tour was totally free, which was completely unexpected! I had only done one brewery tour in the past when I went to the Heineken Experience tour in Amsterdam, and that was a hefty 21 euros per person.

The tour guide took us through the brewery and explained the history of this beer and the exact ingredients that go into it. I’ve always loved Sam Adams beer, and I didn’t realize that it was one of the sub-brands under the Boston Beer Company, which also owns Angry Orchard and Truly. The entire audience sat down in a room where we all tried three or four different styles of Sam Adams brew, my favorite being the Oktoberfest. The portions were extremely generous, and pitchers were being passed around all of the tables. It was a great experience, especially as it was a free activity!

I was set to meet a friend for dinner around 6PM, and because it was dark and started to drizzle by this point, I decided to take a shared Lyft back to Boston. I met my friend Kevin at MIT, as he is a graduate student there. He was also an intern with me at JetBlue this summer, so I was glad to catch up with him! He showed me around MIT, which was a totally interesting and quirky place—almost all of the classes and dorm rooms were in one massive building. It felt like a confusing maze of indoor hallways. But it was so fun to tour a different school, and I could tell that the general vibe of the school was hardworking and innovative. There were endless engineering and design spaces for students to collaborate and build—it was cool to see it all in action. My favorite part about seeing MIT was one of their study spaces, which had boxes on boxes of bananas for students to take at any time. I took a baby banana as a fun souvenir.

After walking around the school, we got dinner at a Korean restaurant called Kaju. We ordered a feast—dukbokki, kalbi, and two sundubujigaes. All of these dishes are some of my favorite classic Korean dishes.

An excellent dinner at Kaju!

Soon enough, it was time to return back to the airport for my 9:30PM flight. I took one easy bus back to the airport. I was wiped by this point and fell asleep on the entire plane ride home. I had a wonderful day trip to Boston and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Besides paying for transportation and lunch and dinner, I spent almost nothing at all on this getaway.

Next time there’s another flash sale, I will definitely be booking another adventure like this.

Eight Hours in Nantucket

I flew to 12 different cities in 10 weeks…and in each trip I took this summer, I spent no longer than 48 hours in one place. Once, I flew from the East Coast to the West Coast, only to spend a grand total of 15 minutes in the airport, and then I just hopped on a plane right back home. Through these crazy experiences, I fell deeper in love with aviation and travel, quickly learning that this is absolutely the right career path for me. It’s all because I said yes to everything, living and appreciating every single moment.

While I didn’t blog this summer, I now want to use my blog as a platform to highlight each trip to show how you can maximize your travel experience in less than 48 hours.


The first trip I took to was a Sunday day trip to Nantucket. A quaint island off the coast of Massachusetts, its extremely short flight of just 40 minutes from JFK made it an extremely desirable day-trip option. Nantucket is a difficult island to get to, as it costs $400 to drive your car to the island. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Boston that takes about four hours. However, JetBlue had just expanded their seasonal summer service from JFK to Nantucket, and since it was still the beginning of the summer, there were plenty of empty seats on both routes.

Sunday, June 9

The flight was scheduled to depart bright and early at 7:10A.M. Peter and I both lived in the city, so we split a Lyft to the airport. Since it was Sunday AND not even 6A.M., we got to the airport in just 25 minutes. The city felt like a ghost town at this hour.

The plane was relatively empty, so Peter and I were able to score two ‘Even More Space’ seats together in the front. The plane, an E190, was older, but was super comfortable and provided tons of legroom. Even on such a short flight, the inflight crewmembers provided full service with our famous unlimited snacks and drinks. If you ever fly JetBlue, please try the Popcorners. I unapologetically take at least three extra bags of them on each flight.

I blinked, and somehow we had already landed. The airport was the smallest airport I had ever been to—it felt like I was in a cute beach house instead of a terminal. Peter and I took an Uber (no Lyft here) to the downtown area, which took about 15 minutes. It was only 8A.M., so there really was nothing going on in the town. We each got an Americano and just started walking around. Eventually, we found our way to one of the famous lighthouses, Brant Point Lighthouse. Built in 1746, it was small and had that old-time charm to it. We saw many boats come in and out of the port. Since it was still very early in the morning, the weather was just barely above 60 degrees. However, it felt really nice; the sun was shining down, and it was the perfect weather for just a tank top, jeans, and sandals. The beach was also quaint and beautiful.

Afterwards, we walked through the close-by neighborhood and admired the different houses. We made our way back to downtown Nantucket, where we continued to explore the area. At around 11A.M., we got brunch at this restaurant with gorgeous outdoor patio called Or, the Whale. I opted for a classic—the lobster roll with a side salad. The meal was delicious. I couldn’t leave Nantucket without trying this Northern staple.

Since it was Sunday morning, Nantucket felt slow-paced, as people were gradually rolling out of church. But I enjoyed how peaceful it was compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City. We walked through more neighborhoods, got some ice cream at Jack + Charlie’s, and just as a whole appreciated the historic feel of the buildings.

We then took an Uber back to the airport and made it to our 4:40P.M. flight home. Since the airport was so small, we boarded the aircraft while being outside on the tarmac. I snapped this picture of myself with the plane, where I was happy that my first trip was a success. I started small with Nantucket my first weekend, and it gave me the confidence to keep on using my travel benefits to the fullest for the rest of the summer.

Pre-Internship Thoughts

In about a week, I will be moving to the great city of New York to start my journey as a copywriting intern at JetBlue Airways. There are a ton of exciting changes to come–but most of all, I’m excited to fully be on my own. My move to New York for the summer is truly a dream come true.

However, this isn’t to say that I figured all of this on my own. I am extremely thankful for the UNC School of Media and Journalism, as I have encountered all the resources I need to succeed during my time at Carolina. I am proud to be a recipient of the Lookout Fellows scholarship this summer, which has provided me with the financial support, close mentorship, and confidence to take on this amazing journey to New York City.

I am also thankful for my friends and family who have supported me along this journey, who constantly pushes me to tackle my seemingly impossible dreams. I am excited to have them visit this summer to see how my internship unfolds. Hopefully by then, I’ll be a true New Yorker, and my goal is to treat them to my cool different sites and my favorite food spots.

I am especially excited to be a part of the JET summer program, which has a ton of programming and events for the summer interns. I will be able to network with my peers in different sectors of JetBlue and even be able to interact with top executives of the company. I have talked to my HR coordinator since the very beginning of this hiring process, back in the early fall when I first interviewed with her. It’s been extremely helpful to have her still be in constant contact with me and answer any questions I have regarding my internship. Additionally, I have been contacting my boss, the Senior Copywriter at JetBlue. This has helped me feel acquainted already. Although I haven’t met anyone in person yet, I can tell that I will be a great fit into the company’s culture.

While I will be working in JetBlue’s headquarters located in Long Island City, I will be living in an NYU apartment-style dorm in the East Village. This is the perfect area for me to be this summer, as I will be surrounded by thousands of other like-minded and hardworking individuals to take inspiration from. Currently, I am interested in a variety of industries, such as fashion, tourism, and multimedia. Above all, I hope to gain some clarity in the career I want to have post-graduation. My hope is to connect with alumni in the city throughout the summer, as they can share their own personal experiences and insights with me. And of course, I plan to learn as much as I can from my internship, to see if working in the aviation industry is something I want to pursue long-term.

I plan to document my experience this summer through both blogging and filming. Feel free to follow my blog with email updates or reach out if you have any questions!

Taking Advantage of Your Summer by Running

Something that is vastly underappreciated are college summers. It’s a gift to have over three months to do whatever your heart desires. Of course, most people study abroad, work, or take classes during this time to keep busy. I believe that making the most of your college summers is important for your personal growth.

During the school year, it’s extremely hard for me to motivate myself to work out on top of being stressed from classes and outside commitments. However, one of my goals last summer was to find a workout routine that I actually enjoyed. After working at my 9-5 internship everyday, needless to say, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to do anything but nap or watch reruns of my favorite shows. However, I pushed myself to exercise and keep a consistent routine. I soon learned the beauty of running, beyond the physical benefits.

By all means, I never considered myself as a runner before last summer. Growing up, I hated all things running. I despised doing the timed mile test in grade school, and by the time I was in high school, I gave up and walked over half of it. The only sport I ever played growing up was volleyball, an indoor sport that barely requires any running.

So from barely being able to run a mile to being able to run over five miles by the end of last summer, I’d say I did a pretty good job. While sweating in 90-degree weather might not sound appealing to most, I became addicted to finding new trails and truly feeling a runner’s high.

I find that running is a great free alternative to pricey gym memberships and workout classes. The only thing I spent money on was a new pair of running shoes, which I deemed to be important, as I am prone to injuries with my wide and flat feet. I already had an Apple watch, which is phenomenal for tracking my workouts.

A report of my last run. I had to take multiple walking breaks in between because of my bad knee, but I felt really accomplished to run 3+ miles on a brutally hot and sunny day!

Running can be fun if you make it fun. I enjoy running both by myself and with friends. By myself, I blast my favorite music and let myself breathe. It’s strangely meditative to power through a tough run. And with friends, you’ll have someone to push you and keep you going.

There’s no doubt that motivation is the biggest barrier to anyone’s running journey. I understand feeling anxious about running at first, but having a negative attitude and telling yourself that you won’t be able to run x-amount of miles is toxic. Chances are, you’re right, you won’t be able to run four miles off the bat. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a failure, of course. We all have to start somewhere. Even if you can only run for half a mile at first, that’s still further than if you were to walk from your bed to your fridge on repeat. You will surely build endurance if you keep it up.

There are many ways to delve into the world of running, but my best friend Emily introduced me to the Weight Loss Running by Verv app, which is completely free and available on both iOS and Android devices. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app, consisting of three runs per week that get gradually harder over a span of eight weeks. Each workout is about 45 minutes long and starts with a mix of walking, running, and sprinting. By the end of the eight weeks, you will be able to purely run and sprint for the entire 45 minutes.

The combination of cooking my own healthy meals and working out consistently helped me to be in the best shape I had ever been in my life. Above all, working on your health and fitness goals isn’t just about your physique. It’s about keeping your mental state clear and refreshed, so that you can feel energized to tackle your to-do list.

Finally, the best part of running is that it’s all a process. This school year, I have been busy, so I haven’t been able to run three times per week like I did last summer. Regardless, I still try to go on a run once a week, and I want to build my endurance up again this coming summer.

Discovering My Passion for Writing

Circa 2003

I believe that passions are fluid, meaning that they can come in and out at any point in your life. Some passions seem to come naturally, while others need to be consistently practiced.

One of my biggest passions is writing. Growing up with a single mom who would work after school and on weekends, I would have to constantly find ways to entertain myself. As a young child, this meant checking out 30+ books at a time at the library and making outfits for my stuffed animals out of old socks. I would have the craziest imagination as a kid.

In 2006, my family purchased one of those bulky desktop computers and put it in the corner of our living room. The monitor would take forever to turn on and load, and the Internet was outrageously slow. It kind of sat there, collecting dust, as we only used it to print out directions off Mapquest or send a quick email.

That summer however, I discovered Microsoft Word. Unlike other kids who were playing random computer games to waste time, I became obsessed with Word. I was just eight years old, when I started to type all of my stories on the desktop computer and have them saved to the hard drive.

I remember writing my first “novel” when I was nine years old, printing 30 pages of a single-spaced story. I unfortunately do not have a copy anymore, but it was a fiction piece about a girl and her sister getting stranded from their family after a hurricane.

And with the hours on end I would spend sitting at that desktop computer on Friday nights, I became an insanely fast typer, typing at about 130 words per minute.

I believe that passions are strengthened with positive reinforcement, and it is especially crucial when you are young. Although my mom immigrated to the United States in her mid-twenties and has trouble with her English sometimes, she encouraged me to keep writing. By the end of the third grade, I received the “Most Likely to be an Author” superlative. By the end of the fifth grade, I won $100 from an essay contest–which back then, that was a ton of money for a 10 year old. And when I got to high school, I never dreaded writing essays or making projects for my classes. Still to this day, I would prefer to write a 20-page paper for my class than take a final exam.

And now in college, I am an advertising major in the School of Media and Journalism. My assignments require creativity and writing skills, and I couldn’t be more grateful for a major that aligns perfectly with my passion. I am constantly encouraged by my brilliant faculty members to work harder, think deeply, and dream big.

Writing has also become something that is therapeutic for me. I often struggle to put my thoughts into spoken words. Meanwhile, if I start to drag my pen across a piece of paper in my journal, my thoughts flow continuously in written word. Therefore, it has become a medium where I can express myself when my spoken words fail me.

I am so glad my passion is something that I can turn into a career. I plan to go into copywriting, an important and growing part of the advertising industry. Another big dream of mine is to write an autobiography of my life, which I hope to get started on sometime soon.