Exploring Eastridge Center

I took quick trip down to San Jose to meet up with a few girlfriends for last minute holiday shopping. Nerrissa, Kimberly, Abbie and I met up at Eastridge Center. We shopped until we couldn’t anymore, and picked up a few foodie faves and we went for a spin at Aloha Roller Rink.

It was my first time back to Eastridge Center since their remodel last year, and l LOVE the refreshed community-oriented vibe. On top of daily community events, they’ve added modern artistic decor that make the place feel brand new. There’s now over 20,000 square feet of instaworthy murals hugging the exterior walls. Like this cloudy-looking abstract one, by Brendan the Blob.

featuri

Here’s your fair warning-- my inner Leslie Knope is here to say a few words: It’s inspiring to see this transformation. You can tell Bay Area families and friends enjoy spending their time here. Restaurants. Games. Entertainment. It’s about gathering as much as it is shopping.  It’s got a little of everything and most importantly, it feels like a very positive uplifting space. Especially in today’s day and age, the amount of community IRL opportunities dwindles. People are shopping online. People also have their head down and subconsciously feel more comfortable interacting through social media. Especially the next generation. I get it. At least, until places like Eastridge Center bring new energy to the space. You want to be here. Then, it’s hard to resist and breaks the cycle in the best way possible. 🎉

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Aloha Roller Rink

Many bags in hand, we took a break from shopping. Nerrissa encouraged us to lace up in roller skates and go for a quick spin at Aloha Roller Rink! It was equal parts falling and laughing. I’m definitely rusty since it’s been many years. 😅

San Jose has been without there roller rink for a few years now, so it’s exciting that it’s back in action. Between the 70’s and 90’s Eastridge Center even had Aloha Ice Skating Rink, so it’s quite nostalgic for many locals. This new winter wonderland themed pop-up is an ode to both of them. I’m so thankful I got to roll by while it’s there. It’s open until January 13th!

san jose roller skating rink aloha eastridge shopping .center fun

Tea Villa Best Boba Drinks South Bay Area

Tea Villa

In between running around, I needed a sweet refresher. We picked out some really pretty (and equally delicious drinks) from Tea Villa. I got the Scoop’d O’Mango ice cream drink (left: milk icy, mango ice-cream, mango concentrate and egg pudding) and Abbie had the Rose and Guava (right). I mean look at the heart shaped jellies! I Can’t deal with the cuteness. Both were so good.

Next time I’m trying their adorable potted plant milk tea drinks with oreo crumbles. Too many options. One major sweet tooth.

Great Khans Mongolian BBQ Best Area Food

Great Khan’s

You know me, I’m one to indulge in my pleasures… especially when it comes to food. No joke, once I remembered Eastridge Center had a Great Khan’s Mongolian BBQ spot, there was no negotiation. I knew I wasn’t leaving until I got my fix. Great Khan’s is a build-your-own-bowl noodle eatery, and there used to be many locations throughout the Bay Area. Over the years, many locations closed and are harder to come by. Even though there isn’t one near me in San Francisco, the craving hits constantly. I smiled so big when I finally had it again.


ready for that 20% off everything h&m Sale.

ready for that 20% off everything h&m Sale.

H&M Style Challenge

Before calling it a day, Abbie challenged Nerrissa and I to… drumroll please… an H&M Style Challenge! It was a 20% everything sale, so we had an extra incentive to pick a few more things out.

The goal: style each other in outfits that embody our own unique personal style! I had so much fun and really learned a lot from my girl that day. I had an ah-ha moment that I can let the “all black everything” rest sometimes knowing I can actually pull off pastels now. 😉

Tune in to our IGTV video on Nerrissa’s channel  to find out how we did, and if we walked away with new outfits. There’s a couple more fun tips + tricks in there as well. You DON’T want to miss it!


Traveling across the Bay Area to shop with my friends is some of the most vivid, candid memories I hold near and dear after all these years. Whether that was in high school, or something I still do today, shopping centers continue to be a gathering place for me and my closest friends. I’m really happy to see Bay Area centers like Eastridge grow and thrive. I’ll be making another trip soon. I’m sure my Great Kahn’s cravings will kick in the next few days. 😘

So happy you’re here.

SEE YA NEXT TIME!

Sponsored by: Eastridge Center
Skating with Aloha Roller Rink
Shopping with H&M at Eastridge Center
Featuring: Bay Area Bloggers @MsNerriss, @abbie.fontanilla and @dandy.eats

kindly kimiko

#WorldMentalHealthDay

Creativity. The most fruitful part of healing throughout my life. Whether the medium is photography, styling looks, writing or crafts... I channel my intentions, honest feelings and experiences into everything I get my hands on. Being able to express myself in this capacity is as refreshing as opening a window in a stuffy tight room, and finally taking in that first fresh breath of air. It’s a home to my vulnerable emotions and allows me to let go of what no longer serves me, while also bringing me closer to souls who mirror my own.

creative direction: Maica Sta Ana x @msnerriss

creative direction: Maica Sta Ana x @msnerriss

I’ve grown up pretty aware of mental illness, both learning how to be a supportive ally to those struggling in my family, and figuring out how to navigate my own feelings of depression and anxiety. I held onto demons for far too long, and as an empath had a tendency to hold onto others’ too. Art in all it’s forms has been the release.

At least for me, content creation has always been about storytelling and creation itself. Not recognition nor reputation. It’s a personal ritual. It’s medicine. All the toxic tendencies that I encounter in the influencer/blogging world are discouraging and I always have to ground myself with why I began in the first place. To create. Sometimes you can’t escape the mud that grows around the lotus, but you can continue to grow through it.

I struggle with the ebbs and flows constantly, whether it shows publically or not. The first sign I’m going through it is when I’m introspective and extra quiet in the virtual world. Sometimes, I feel like I have to be a lover and fighter all at once.

I guess my lesson to share and note to self is this. Grow through the mud, even past the days when self-doubt, hopelessness, or anxiety start to peak through. Catch yourself before you spiral and step back. And on the same note, take your time and cherish the present. Don’t rush the process, just give your personal best. Sometimes you’ll feel like you can take the world while other days, your best is just putting one foot in front of the other and it’s absolutely okay.

No matter what it is that brings you down, I hope you always stay rooted in what makes you feel whole. Sending you so much love.

Kindly, Kimiko

Give Back Kick Back: Volunteering and Tropical Vibes Party in the Parks

I think everyone has those few places in their city that they run to for a mini-escape, and this whole park is that and more to me. Golden Gate National Recreation Area will always feel like home. This past weekend, the Parks Conservancy, the non-profit organization supporting Golden Gate National Parks hosted their annual volunteer event at Fort Miley. Formally known as FOGG Fest, Give Back Kick Back is a tropical-inspired volunteer day party. In the morning, you volunteer in the parks. After the hard work you put in, the afternoon is full of relaxation, good food, fun, and friends. Oh and your girl got to co-host the event! Ahh. 

Many of the current donors and supporters of the Parks Conservancy tend to be the generations that came before us avocado lovin' millennials.

By all means, I know we love it too, I see so many of us enjoying places like Fort Mason, Crissy Field, and Ocean Beach every weekend.  We just need to know the how's and why's we can be a part of the change. Well, that's where the importance of these events come in. In the recent years, The Parks Conservancy has turned it up with these experiential events to spread awareness, and grow the love and support for our natural lands. The proceeds from the event tickets go straight back to supporting Golden Gate National Recreation Area and it's education and stewardship programs. Now that I've let my heart sing a bit about why it's important... let's get to the fun details.  Here's how the day went down.


golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

Part I: Give Back

Bright and early on National Trails Day, over a 150+ attendees kicked off the day and geared up with gloves and picks. We were ready to get our hands dirty for the cause. With the help of the Conservancy Stewardship Team, we divided and conquered the trails along Land's End. Another group went to paint over graffiti in the batteries.

As we pulled invasive plants out of the ground, Abbie and I uncovered wild succulents that were THRIVING. They were completely hidden by the weeds prior to that, and it felt rewarding to see how our efforts were already making a difference.  And that was just our AH-HA moment for the day... imagine the impact we made with 150+ hands on deck! 

give back kick back ggnra
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

So many volunteers put in hard work that day... it truly was a labor of love. There was a sense of unity that we were working towards a common goal and it was motivating to keep at it. Even through the work, we were having conversations with the volunteers around us, laughing and enjoying ourselves.

volunteer golden gate national parks national trail day
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

Part II: Kick Back

Giving back was already a prize on it's own, but the kick back was a treat! ;)

Part two of the day was an all-inclusive event for the volunteers at Fort Miley, with a breathless view overlooking Ocean Beach. The Aloha vibes were alive and well, and we really lucked out with the weather. This event was supposed to happen back in April but had to be rescheduled because Karl the Fog was playing us. This time around the weather was warm, yet breezy and so refreshing after a long morning in the sun. 

We walked into the event, and we were warmly greeted by Nemenzo's Te Fare dancers with happy smiles and we got lei'd!

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
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Nemenzo's Te Fare

The same dancers that greeted us walking in also kicked off the afternoon and put on a show. They performed several routines, both Hawaiian and Tahitian. In true luau nature, Nemenzo's Te Fare got all the volunteers out of their seats to join in. Anjuli and I somehow got roped into that and were brought on stage lol. 

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

THE GOOD EATS

The attendees worked up quite the appetite, and were all ready to grub. The food lineup did not disappoint. The spread was catered by ABC BBQ and included many fan favorites like Spam Musubi, Mac Salad and Kalua Pork and Pineapple Sliders. Additionally, my girls and I couldn't help but make extra trips back to the dessert bar, packed with Macadamia Nut cookies and Coconut Cupcakes. 

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

As I geared up to get on stage to co-host and announce the afternoon performances, I made sure to visit the Deep Eddy Vodka booth first. You know, just to loosen the nerves a bit.  Deep Eddy Vodka was pouring free lemonade cocktails, and was a perfect pairing to our ono Hawaiian eats. For the beer enthusiasts, Fort Point Beer was handing out some cold brews too. 

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event gabe bondoc

GOOD VIBES PROVIDED BY GABE BONDOC

The event soundtrack was full of favorites like J Boog, setting a laidback ambiance. If you saw on my IG stories, my girls and I sang our hearts out. To top it off, Gabe Bondoc came through for a live performance and headlined the event. The audience swooned. My co-host, Joyce, and I grew up listening to his music, so it was a pleasure to welcome him on stage. It was an intimate performance and I felt like we were all just hanging out rather than some concert. We listened to him sing a mix of his original songs from over the years with modern day favorites like Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You". 

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event gabe bondoc

ALL THE EXTRA FUN

If the music and good eats weren't already enough to induce your FOMO, there were even more things to keep us all on our toes! From DIY Hats by REI to Lei making, temporary tattoos to lawn games; everyone there seemed to be living their best life.

golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event
golden gate national parks trails fun volunteer event

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Park Conservancy Events will happen throughout the summer and I hope to see you there! Each month, they will be hosting themed trail mixers in different park areas. Here's the links to the tickets!

If you can't make it to the monthly events, they all lead up to the season's Grand Finale. Don't miss NightHowl: The Park Conservancy's Annual Gala After Party. It's a festival style event that supports the parks! They haven't announced the location yet, but I can tell you now... it's iconic. That's all I'll say for now. I'll get you guys more information soon. 😉

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FYI this isn't sponsored, just my nature-loving self who will always stand behind public land conservation... and of course, any good party that's worth recommending. Much love to the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service and all the event sponsors for pulling it off and putting this fun event together!

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