Accountability 5.0

In this post, I wrote about several goals I’d like to accomplish by July. It’s now July and 2 month mark has passed. Let’s see how I fared:

  • Revamp my portfolio to showcase both photography & graphic design works. 
    • Completed. However, I still feel it needs a better layout. I just don’t have the time to make the layout prettier, so I need to live with what it is right now.
      Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 11.44.11 PM
  • Settle on a personal brand (establish a logo and brand name). I do not want to be yet another “(Name) Photography” site.
    • Completed
      Lilo-Factor-Blog-Logo
    • Last check up, I was toying with using “Lilo” on the blog’s title. There’s a lot of grey area here, so for now I’ll just leave the blog title off the table. Besides, I think people read because of my name.  
  • Stop reading about how to start creating and just do it. 
    • Still on track! 
  • Stop comparing my site to others. 
    • Still on track! While there are some bouts of jealousy when I got to other sites, it’s definitely less debilitating than it was before.
  • Write and post whatever the heck I want/feel about on any given day. Editorial calendar be damned.
    • Still on track! 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am beyond proud of myself for achieving these goals and staying on track with them. It’s even better that each has become “automatic”, meaning I now do them without having to remember that I have to do them.

I do have more goals that I’m working on at the moment. I haven’t had the chance to post them yet. Soon.

 

 

Accountability 4.0

It’s MID YEAR. How did this happen? Time flies when you’re having TOO.MUCH.FUN.

How did the first half of your year go? Go anywhere? Accomplished anything? Ate something AMAZING?

Here’s mine so far:

  1. Spent the New Year in NYC.
  2. Got a new job
  3. Discovered by Chloe (their Caesar salad is AMAZZZZINNG).
  4. Had surf and turf (lobster & steak) for my 31st birthday.
  5. Watched the last Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie – Logan. EPIC.
  6. Went to the Philippines for a week.
  7. Met my brand new nephew, Jac.
  8. Met my best friend’s son, Joe.
  9. Had a legitimate black out in front of friends and family. My eldest niece never let me hear the end of it. (In my defense, I can remember bits and pieces, but somehow can’t remember the times I cursed).
  10. Saw the Whitney Museum’s Biennale exhibit. EPIC.

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    Biennale 2017
  11. Photographed another sweet 16 birthday.
  12. Became friends with Adobe Illustrator
  13. Attended way too many sample sales. Here’s a recap of one.
  14. Discovered couple of Filipino restaurants that serve isaw (thank you Promdi and House of Inasal).
  15. Went to Grand Bazaar in Upper West Side
  16. Went to PH 808 for first rooftop drinks of the summer during Memorial Day Weekend.
  17. Met one of my oldest friend in New York for drinks.
  18. Watched Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot = my newest woman crush.
  19. Tried a new restaurant, had a bad experience, and wrote about it.
  20. Had beer while chilling at the beach.

Whew! There’s a lot more, but figured 20 is enough to keep you going.

For the second half of the year, I’d like to focus. New York, while amazing, provides a ton of stimulation for any human being. Let’s face it, it’s pretty stressful to live in the city that never sleeps. Too many things to do, too little money to do it. However, New York also offers opportunities that any one can avail, if they only focus on what truly gets them going everyday.

So, my game changer for the back half of the year would be to focus on things that really matter to me (as seen in my Mid-Year Passion Planner game changer page). I know this is just words right now, but I’m holding myself accountable to this. I hope plan to provide concrete results when this year ends.

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Astoria Seafood Review Part 2: Dessert Course

I’d like to preface that I rarely give bad reviews or get irate in public. However, I think this needs to be said to anyone who is interested in dining at Astoria Seafood. 

The main take away from this review is this:  “don’t ever assume anything“.

This is Part 2 of my two-part review of Astoria Seafood. Click here to read Part 1: Main course – restaurant review.


It took me some time to post my review of Astoria Seafood because I wanted to ensure it is as rational and truthful as it can be. I also took the time to think through the experience to extract anything constructive I can learn from it.

This post goes into a more constructive, “what can I and Astoria Seafood learn from this experience” route.

Lessons for me and Astoria Seafood

What I should do next time

When I try a new restaurant that has a different concept from the traditional ones, I usually ask the staff how it works and what I should expect. Unfortunately, this time I only chose to follow what the Yelp reviews and tips said about the restaurant. Next time, I will do both. This will minimize any headache and frustration on my part.

What Astoria Seafood could do next time

I strongly believe the staff needs to evaluate their service system. Perhaps something like this:

  1. Hostess greets you as you enter. This doesn’t even have to be so formal, they can give a shout to the people coming in i.e. say “who hasn’t picked and paid for their seafood?”. This step can thin out the herd from first timers to regulars. Hostess can tell the regulars to do their thing and first timers can get a quick 101 of how it works.
  2. After paying, cashier gives customers copy of their order receipt, directs them to go back to the hostess who will find a table for them and tells them to keep their receipt until they are seated.
  3. Hostess tells clients to keep receipt on table to show what they paid for so the waitress in charge of table can use it as reference.

These steps minimizes any headaches especially if you need to sit people, community style, during busy hours. It also gives first timers who don’t think to ask how it works or don’t read restaurant reviews a fighting chance. Being in the service industry, a restaurant’s responsibility is to educate and create good experiences for people.

Lastly, avoid this at all cost: tell or imply to the customer it’s their fault for not saying anything if they felt there was an issue. You will get customers that are from different spectrums of personality, do not fault them for that because it’s your job to accommodate accordingly. You are after all in the customer service industry. Bottomline, the phrase “don’t ever assume anything” plays a big role here.

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Photo by Jill Conyers; Quote by Don Miguel Ruiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astoria Seafood Review Part 1: Main Course

I’d like to preface that I rarely give bad reviews or get irate in public. However, I think this needs to be said to anyone who is interested in dining at Astoria Seafood. 

The main take away from this entire story is this:  “don’t ever assume anything“.

Since this is a long post, I decided to break this up to a two-part story:

This post is Part 1: Main course – restaurant review. Click here to read Part 2: Dessert course – take-away lessons from my experience.

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Let me start by bottom-lining my review. If you’re interested in dining at Astoria Seafood, then go at your own risk. Be as prepared as possible. Ask questions if you feel unsure. Learn from my experience.

I typically go on Yelp to read people’s reviews before I try a new restaurant. While I know Yelp reviews are subjective, they give me the opportunity to see the good, bad and ugly of a restaurant. Reviews don’t usually deter me from trying unless the pictures I see are rather appalling.

Astoria Seafood got rave reviews in Yelp, Google, and Foursquare. Queens’ foodie residents also raved about the place and considered it as their top go-to seafood restaurant. I’ve always wanted to go to Astoria Seafood, but didn’t take the plunge until last Saturday.

The Concept

The restaurant’s schtick:

  1. You pick your choice of fresh seafood. They have a variety of choices (lobster, scallops, mussels, king crab, snapper, bass, etc.).
  2. You pay for what you pick. They charge by the pound and depends on what type. After you pay, you tell them how you want it cooked (grilled, baked, or fried).
  3. After you pay, you go back to the front, tell the hostess your name and show your receipt.
  4. Hostess writes down your name and # of people.
  5. You wait your turn to be called.
  6. Hostess calls you and once seated, they then start cooking your food. I learned/experienced this step the hard way…

Before I move on, I’d like to preface that Astoria Seafood was VERY busy when we got there. I expected this because of the Yelp reviews and tips I got from a Queens foodie I follow on Instagram.

The Wait Times

Paying

After picking the food, there was a short line to the cashier. There were 2 cashiers at that time, so it’s not a lengthy wait. Basically, they tally the weight of each seafood you got, total up your final cost, ask how you want it cooked, and you pay.

Getting a table

After hostess took our names, we waited between 20-30 minutes before we got seated. The hostess was quite entertaining to watch because she would call people as she was smoking her cig. When she called to seat people and no one came to her, she would say “ok, forgot about them, don’t care about them” and would proceed to call the next one on her list. When it was our turn, she was calling “Lina” first, I asked her do you mean “Liane”? She said, “yes that’s what I said, I clearly can’t say your name right”, in a joking way. Laughs all around.

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We’re called the same time as another group. The hostess seemed to have decided to do community style seating with my group and this other group without inquiring if it was OK with us. I didn’t complain because they were VERY busy and the other group didn’t seem to mind as well. One thing I noticed before we’re even shown to our seats, was the hostess and waitress got into a little spat with one each other. Waitress was complaining about the hostess’ system of sitting people to their manager. Hostess is a little sassy one, talked back. They seemed to be fighting about the hostess’ deciding to sit 2 groups in a table for 6 and waitress wasn’t too happy about that (side note: We think this is what made them so confused about our group, which you’ll later read how it unfolded). Now was this a way to act in front of customers? If I still have your attention, you be the judge and read on.

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Continue reading “Astoria Seafood Review Part 1: Main Course”

Accountability 3.0

I want to hold myself accountable (yes, eerily similar intro to the previous post)….

I want to talk about being a detail oriented person. I tout myself as being one of those people who can easily spot a tiny detail from a mile away.

So, why am I holding myself accountable for this? Well, let’s see, it’s easy to become way over your head when you keep touting yourself as one. Why? Because you start slipping and start missing those tiny details when you’re not paying close attention (or when you multi-task, or when you’re not mindful about the situation on hand, or when you’re just tired).

It’s easy to miss those details if you’re not laser focused on the task at hand. It’s even easier to miss if you’re body AND mind is not 100% in the game.

What’s the moral of the story here?

  1. Sleep at a reasonable time. Screw House of Cards or Orange is the New Black binge watching. Those shows will always be available, your thinking cap will not.
  2. Leave the task you’ve been laser focused on for more than an hour. Come back to it after an hour or two. Chances are you’ll see details you’ve missed and you can correct before showing it to others.
  3. Do not multitask especially if you’re doing something time and brain consuming.
  4. Be mindful. Easy to say but hard to do, but always practice mindfulness everyday. Meditate, think happy thoughts, think how much you’ve accomplished before the week even ended.

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Accountability 2.0

I want to hold myself accountable.

I recently passed on an opportunity to write for another blog. It was actually more like avoiding dealing with the responsibility of ending it before starting. I said ‘yes’ to being interested 2x, not completely thinking it through. In the end, they passed on me. 

I thought about why I went about it this way. Was it because..

  • I didn’t care because it wasn’t a personal/ in real life connection?
  • I didn’t have the balls to end it before it started?

Either way, its not OK. I want to acknowledge that.

Moral of the story: Take some time to think before you say yes. Do not take on too much. Prioritize and be good at one thing. Once you are, then you can move on to the next big thing. 

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Scuola del Cuoio

Tuesday Travels to Bologna

I miss Bologna (Bo-lo-nya). My second home away from home.

I learned a lot living in this quaint little city. I explored every nook there is, though I know I missed some hidden treasures. 

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Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, Italy

Here are the top 3 lessons it taught me:

1. Independence

I became self-sufficient. Though in some respect I had help. My sister’s high school friend and her family helped me navigate the city. She took me under her wing as part of her family. My Italian roommate helped me through the apartment renting process. It was tedious and frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the language. I dealt with the bank on my own (thanks to my Italian lessons, I was able to brokenly speak with the tellers). 

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drinking caffe
2. Patience

Bologna taught me patience. It almost bypassed me because I was a stubborn Americanized person who didn’t know any better. I missed integrating myself into the culture of ‘dolce far niente’ (sweetness of doing nothing).  I took years off my life by stressing out about how I only got internet service 4 months before I left the country. In the end, what I got is a slap in the face “it doesn’t effin matter, you’re in Italy for pete’s sake”. 

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dolce far niente

3. Discovery

For the most part, I uncovered the city on my own. I went to places that only locals went to. Shopped at markets for fresh and local ingredients to cook at home. Frequented makeup and skincare indie shops – I literally became obsessed with beauty when I lived in Italy. 

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bologna, italy

Ah Bologna, mi manchi tanto. 

Accountability

In this post, I wrote about several goals I’d like to accomplish in the next 2 months. It’s almost the 1 month mark (have one more week left), but let’s dive in on what I have accomplished so far.

  • Revamp my portfolio to showcase both photography & graphic design works. 
    • On track! I don’t know if “revamp” is the right word to use here, but I uploaded most of my photos and design works in my portfolio. I still have to learn how to correctly organize it. The blog’s theme isn’t exactly user friendly.
      Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 11.44.11 PM
  • Settle on a personal brand (establish a logo and brand name). I do not want to be yet another “(Name) Photography” site.
    • Logo is completed.
      Lilo-Factor-Blog-Logo
    • Still toying with what exactly I should call it. I keep using “lilo (type of photo)” on my Instagram hashtags because I keep thinking I should stick to “Lilo Factor” as the name. However, my logical brain is thinking, “you’re going to get sued by the movie people for using “Lilo”. Work in progress as you can read. 
  • Stop reading about how to start creating and just do it. 
    • Can’t remember when I last read an article about “creating”, so on track!
  • Stop comparing my site to others. 
    • On track! I’ve stopped caring about when I should post. I stopped caring about my stats. 
  • Write and post whatever the heck I want/feel about on any given day. Editorial calendar be damned.
    • On track! See previous goal update. 🙂 

Overall, it looks like I’m on track with these goals. I feel like I should add more to this, but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself? Baby steps?

NAHHHH… 

I do have some ideas in mind on the next actions to pursue, but still firming it up offline.

I have to say, I’m loving this putting my goals online and holding myself accountable to them (ugh, can this sentence be any more passive???).

 

Shoulder Shrug by Mr. Hart

Sometimes when life throws you a curveball you gotta just give it a shoulder shrug or make fun of it.

At least that’s what I got from Kevin Hart’s new book, I Can’t Make This Up.

Though sometimes it is hard to just shoulder shrug it, especially if you’re the type of person who don’t seem to understand why certain things happen.

Anyway, I prefer the shoulder shrug. It amounts to less stress and worry.

All for now.

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Memorial Day Weekend in New York City

Summer’s official welcome weekend is finally here. What are your weekend plans? It’s been a while since we had a 3 Day weekend like this, so let’s do a run through of what we can do, shall we?

PROJECTS/ERRANDS

Remember those projects/errands you’ve been putting off since winter? Well, time to man up and do them! Mine are the following:

  1. Sell s*** I no longer/have no use for.
  2. Marie Kondo the heck out of my closet

EAT

I am slowly succumbing to the notion that I may never cook a full meal again as I’ve found myself eating out more often. While I know this is not the most healthy, physically and financially, I seriously can’t help myself (oh god, am I addicted to eating out?). Anyway, I thought about it and decided that it may be better for my wallet in the meantime because whenever I buy veggies or fruits from the market, I end up throwing them out. More wasteful ‘no? I do still cook at home once in a while. I subscribed to Hello Fresh recently and while the concept is great, it’s not the cheapest at $59/week for 3x 2 person meals.

That said, here’s something I plan on doing in the next month. Eat at new places. I find myself eating at my go to restaurants that it’s starting to get too monotonous and expensive. There’s over a million restaurants in this city (ok that’s an exaggeration, but if you live here you know what I mean), so me thinks it’s time to discover. This weekend, I plan on dining in at least one of the following:

Astoria Seafood

Not a novel concept for me, but eating in a restaurant where you choose fresh seafood and then give it to the chef to cook? PRICELESS.

ophoto from yelp

Nai Tapas

I’ve wanted to come here since 2 years ago, perhaps my wish will come true this weekend.

NiaOutphoto from eatery row

SHOP

Memorial Day Weekend Sales are probably the best time to buy a new mattress. I bought one 4 years ago during Memorial Day weekend at Macy’s and then promptly returned it before it was delivered because I found a cheaper one 1 week after. My picks:

Gap – up to 50% off + 20% purchase using code MORE. Gap has been killing the wardrobe game lately.

The Real Real – 20% purchase using code REAL. Good deal for snatching that gently used designer piece you’ve been eyeing.

Old Navy – 50% Tees, Shorts, Tanks and Swimwear. 20% regular priced items. Some dresses are on sale too.

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If all else, you can catch up on some zzz’s, exercise to get *some* form on your abs, and do your regular weekend routine like as if it’s not a 3 day weekend.

The one take away? Don’t waste the weekend away on doing mindless tasks, like scrolling through your social media pages (ahem, listen to your own advice, Liane).

Happy Weekend everyone!

feature image by giphy