making history…free wired

What a week it has been for Asian-Americans to be on television! Earlier in the week, Kev Jumba (YouTube comedian/celebrity) was seen competing on The Amazing Race. Then last night, Far East Movement made their tv debut on the late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight. They were the first ever Asian-American group to perform on a talk show. That’s history right there.

But that’s not all. They’re making history left right and center now. I woke up early Wednesday morning to news that Far East Movement had hit #1 on US iTunes with their single “Like a G6”. They are the first Asian-American group to ever make it on the Billboard Hot 100; Like a G6 is currently peaking at #6. That’s an amazing achievement and I’m so happy for them!

I still remember when Like a G6 was first released on a mixtape back in November. It was busy times at work with all the craziness prepping for Xmas, and the only thing that kept me going in those early hours was FM’s super-packed-with-energy music. I was bumpin’ Like a G6 every morning while working at 6am, wondering why these guys haven’t had their big break yet. And now, nearly a year later, their song is playing everywhere! Not just in the States, but even here in Canada. That’s pretty awesome. Even though I don’t know them personally and they don’t know me, it’s still a nice feeling to know that the guys you’ve been supporting for years is finally making it. *Always repping with 3 fingers up!

wake me when september ends

September has been an eventful month, but along with it came a lot stress. When I stress I tend to think a lot, and when I think too much I like to put myself to sleep as a way of turning my mind off. Perhaps it’s good that I’m getting some rest now because October is going to be even more eventful.

First off, David Choi is starting his fall tour in October and he’s kicking it off in Toronto! Monday, October 11th @ El Mocambo. I’ve never seen him live so I’m really looking forward to it.

Next up, Far East Movement’s major-label debut album is going to be released on Tuesday, October 12th. Titled “Free Wired”, it will feature collaborations with Ryan Tedder of One Republic, Snoop Dogg, Keri Hilson, Lil Jon…to name a few. You’ve probably heard their single “Like a G6” all over the radio by now. It’s even peaked at #2 on US iTunes! That’s crazy!! I’m heading over to HMV tomorrow to pre-order a copy (or two) of Free Wired. What about you?

Just 3 days after the album is released, Far East Movement will be performing in Toronto on Friday, October 15th. They will be opening for Mike Posner in his Up in the Air Tour @ The Mod Club. That’s a whole lot of goodness in one week. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to contain all my excitement :p

If you haven’t heard their music yet, check it out below:

the winds of change

You will probably agree that our weather here in Toronto has been pretty moody lately. We went from nice, hot, summer tank tops & shorts kind of weather right into FALL. There was no transition at all; it didn’t even ease us into it. Then we had a couple warmer days where people were sporting sweaters with flip flops or tees with boots. It seems like the weather hasn’t quite made up its mind yet. Frankly, I don’t think we have either when it comes to our summer/fall wardrobes.

As quickly as our weather has changed, the “changes” for me have been just as quick. Most already know from my previous post that I transferred out of Chapters Bayview last week to a new location. Initially, I thought there would be at least 5 or 6 days between my last day at Bayview and my first day at the new store. This “transition period” I was looking forward to turned out to be all but ONE DAY. So within a 4-day period, I had celebrated my 26th birthday, left my workplace of 8 years AND started work in a new environment. For someone who doesn’t take big changes well, that was a lot to deal with in little time. We’ll talk about that a little later.

Here’s a recap of the series of events over the past week and a half:

[ Saturday, September 11, 2010 ]

Two days before my birthday, I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with Adrienne and Robin. I hadn’t seen them in almost 3 months so it was great catching up. We went to one of our favourite restaurants, Mezza Notte, for delicious pasta. I had my favourite dish from there: LINGUINE AL CARTOCCIO (see picture below). It’s linguine in a light tomato sauce with mussels, clams, shrimps and squid sautéed in white wine and baked in parchment paper, which keeps all the juices in until it’s opened right in front of you. I highly recommend it ;)

After dinner, we hopped over to Twister for karaoke since Adrienne had been wanting to go for a while. It had been SO LONG since I last went for karaoke that I had forgotten how much I love it (I used to spend a lot of time at karaoke, pool halls and arcades). We were pretty thirsty after singing for close to 3 hours so we went to the closest Timmies, and there we found a self-serve Tim Hortons! It was inside a small gas station, and basically consisted of a small counter where you would pour your own coffee/make your own tea/select your own donut (if there were any). I had never seen one like that before (fyi, we didn’t trust it enough to get anything from there). Even though we almost got hit by a car while crossing the street afterwards, it was definitely good times. Thank you so much, Adrienne & Robin, for an awesome night! :D

[ Sunday, September 12, 2010 ]

This was the night of my last changeover at Bayview. A bit sad but at least I got to spend it with some good friends at work, and they were all there to wish me happy birthday just after midnight. Anna made these yummy brownies for us, and even though they turned out a bit funky in texture, they were still delicious. Over the last 8 years, I’ve probably done over 50 changeovers at the store. Those evil Sunday nights of working until midnight are going to be history now because at the new store, they don’t do Sunday changeovers!

[ Tuesday, September 14, 2010 ]

After a nice dinner with my family and some relatives on my birthday, I went home and couldn’t sleep ALL NIGHT. I ended up working my last day at Bayview on NO SLEEP, and of course it had to be a crazy busy morning of moving/rebuilding 5 different tables. Surprisingly, I was super pumped and wasn’t frustrated like I normally would be. One of my friends even said it was strange seeing me so relaxed. I guess it was partly because I knew we were so backed up with work that it was impossible for me to do all of it in my last 5 hours AND I was trying to forget how sad I was. Luckily, all the people who worked that morning were among my closest, though it was painful knowing that I was working with my friends for the last time.

Thankfully, I had lunch plans with my bro Edison at Bayview so it kind of helped sooth the pain when he came to get me at Chapters. We had a lovely lunch at Oliver & Bonacini. I couldn’t resist trying the lychee drink with cactus pear (see above picture). It was satisfying!

The Grilled Atlantic Salmon, which consisted of artichokes, arugula, pickled mushroom & Niagara prosciutto with lemon aioli, was simple but good.

I had never had a Lamb Burger before so we had to try it. It was filled with creamy goat cheese, oven roasted tomato, lettuce, red onion, and was served with fries & coleslaw. We both gave it thumbs up.

[ Sunday, September 19, 2010 ]

After a few days of work (which included starting at the new store), it was nice to have a day off. It was the perfect day for a photo shoot downtown, so my friend Tommy and I did exactly that. I was really excited about going to Cloud Gardens because Anna had been telling me about it all summer. It was nice to finally go shoot there. I think we got some pretty good pictures this time. Tommy still has to send me the pics from our photo shoot last month so I’ll post some of them up as soon as I get all of them. After shooting for a few hours, we met up with his friends Angela and Sydney for lunch. It was really nice meeting them; they were such a nice couple. We went back to their condo afterward for a little bit before we split and went back uptown.

This week is much more mellow compared to the last. Hopefully that will give me more time to do some writing. I’ll write about my feelings about the new store in a later post. Right now, I’m going to get to bed so I can get up early for my trek downtown to work in the morning. Good night!

farewell chapters bayview

Life is full of coincidences. Some of the best experiences are not planned – they just happen. For me, these coincidences always start with people.

I can still recall what it felt like the first time I came to the store for an interview. The manager who interviewed me was a very pleasant woman. A year later, she became the general manager of the store. That perhaps was an omen. When she transfered away from our store 5 years later, she was replaced by a general manager who was once a manager at our store when I first started. I should have realized then that people were going to be the biggest players in my work life.

As a teenage girl starting her very first job, I never would have thought that it would be 8 years later before the store would see my departure. For someone who lived far away from the store, there was definitely something that kept me there. I think it was the sense of familiarity since I had spent much of my childhood at Bayview Village before moving away from the area when I was 9 years old.

In these 8 years, Chapters Bayview has become my home away from home. I feel like the store and I have grown up together. It watched me grow through both high school and college, and it always remained part of my life as I explored different types of work as an adult. Thinking back, there were many occasions where I spent more time in the Bayview Village environment than I did at home and at school. I recall the days when I would spend hours studying at Starbucks. I would arrive early in the morning on my days off and sit at my table with my tea. My co-workers at the time would join me on their breaks. Sometimes, I would still be there when their shifts ended.

The store and I experienced 3 major renovations together. The first time I stayed overnight at the store was for the 2nd renovation. A small team of us worked from the evening of one night until 5am the next morning. The 3rd major renovation saw the birth of the toy department.

The Bayview Village area has also changed drastically in these 8 years. With the opening of the Sheppard subway line, a slew of condos have spurted up in the area. The building in the picture below is perhaps one of my favourites simply because it resembles a ship – anyone who knows about my love for cruising will understand.

One of the best parts about working at Chapters Bayview is the people. It was here in this store where I met some of the most interesting personalities. It was also here that some of my best friendships were established. I have worked with close to a hundred people over the years, and many co-workers have become my friends. These friends are people who have been there for me during those tough times, both in and out of work. Friends who care about my health, share music with, go to movies and dinners with. Friends whom I can laugh together with. Some are no longer with the company. Some have moved away from the city, and a few have even moved out of the country. But there were many others whom I only saw in passing and shared a quick conversation or two. Each and every person has enriched my life in one way or another, and I am truly thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing people.

As this chapter of my life comes to an end, a new one quickly unfolds. Although I am leaving the Bayview Village environment I will still be working with the company, just at a different location. The decision to transfer stores was not easy to make. It took a lot of courage for me to leave behind the friends who I really enjoy working with. But I think this change will also bring about new challenges, and I am eagerly looking forward to it. There at the new store, I will be working with a manager whom I had worked with when I first started. He is the person who taught me everything I know about merchandising. Like I said at the beginning, life is full of coincidences and they always start with people.

Though my undying love for merchandising sees me taking the skills I have gained throughout the years to a new environment, Chapters Bayview will always have a place in my heart.

goodbye summer 2k10

There’s something that I’ve always loved about September, strange as it may seem. Even though it’s the month to head “back to school” (another reminder that summer is over) and my birthday is in September (which means I’m getting older and closer to the ’30’ mark), I’ve always looked forward to the arrival of this month.

When I used to be in school, going back to school meant I could have a fresh start. It didn’t matter how well or poorly I did the year before; it all started over when the new school year began. The end of the summer season also means I get to put away my summer wardrobe and start shopping for fall clothes (just ANOTHER reason to shop, of course). And when my birthday comes around, I tend to take the opportunity to make changes and to set goals for myself in the last quarter of the year. I like the feeling of being able to start over again.

This September is going to be…interesting. The change I’ve been talking about in my previous posts is probably going to happen later in the month, and although the work itself really isn’t a HUGE change, the work environment that I’ve grown very comfortable with is definitely changing. Inevitably that makes me feel a little nervous. But like a wise person once told me, I will eventually adapt. Just like how September can seem daunting because it marks the end of summer, I remind myself that change also signifies a new start and if I can embrace it, it will bring about new opportunities.

On a slightly different note, there’s ONE pretty big thing that I’m looking forward to this fall. Far East Movement officially announced during their Cherrybomb Party Mix on Saturday night that their new album, “Free Wired”, is going to be released on Tuesday, October 12th!!! It means we’ll be able to buy it here in Canada. That’s huge news to anyone who has followed FM over the years. I am SO EXCITED for them! :D Let the count down begin. And if you haven’t heard their music yet, you should definitely check them out now.

Leaving you all with the tunes on my “End of Summer” playlist as we bid farewell to the summer of 2k10. Enjoy!

let’s just take it easy, shall we…

I woke up to this morning and was pleasantly surprised. Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” was #9 on iTunes Canada! It’s pretty impressive that they’ve made it into top 10 here. Their song is getting a lot of radio play now, even though their first major label album isn’t even out yet. Dropping later this fall, the album is going to be “free wired”.

So after about 2 weeks of suffering from on and off stomach pains and nauseousness, I think my body is finally starting to get back to normal. For a while my body hasn’t been functioning properly and I was worried that something had gone awfully wrong inside. I admit this is the first time since my eye crisis earlier this year that I’ve felt THIS afraid of possibly having a health condition that could kill me. Luckily, things have started to get better and I can reassure myself that it was really nothing but stress.

I honestly didn’t think it was stress that caused my body to react this way. I’ve stressed quite a bit in the past. There have been many times where I really stretched myself thin and have stressed much more than this. But I think my mom’s right. For the past two weeks, I’ve been subconsciously stressed over the upcoming change/transition. It’s not so much the transition itself that I’m worried about; it’s the feeling of being left up in the air. Until I get the exact date of when this transition will happen, I think it’s going to be something that will keep stressing me subconsciously. All I can do is try my best to take it easy, not think too much about it and hope that everything works out soon.

Speaking of taking it easy, I had a lovely afternoon last Tuesday over at Kat’s. Aaron and I went over to her place after work and it was a beautiful afternoon for a bbq. There were grilled zucchini, really yummy veggie wraps, and homemade burgers that were delish. After a late lunch in her backyard, we went back inside and Kat made me my favourite tea from her collection. Then we just spent like 3 hours sitting and ranting about work lol Good times! It’s always nice hanging out at Kat’s. She is such a great hostess…thanks for having us!

Funny story: I was sitting in the living room talking to Kat who was in the kitchen when I noticed a red stocking hanging in there. I looked at it for a while wondering why she had a stocking up when it’s not even Christmas yet, never mind it being in her kitchen out of all places. After a while, I finally realized it WASN’T a stocking…it was an OVEN MITT!! Now that makes total sense! LOL

Before I go, I just have to share this video with you guys. My co-worker showed it to me this morning and I couldn’t stop laughing over it. Remember, don’t argue with an ibex.