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.

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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

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People of the Bay: Meet Osiris, HEAL Intern

The Bay Area is a place that will forever have my heart …but you know what makes it what it truly is? It’s people. Actually, that’s exactly what sparks my creativity. It’s others' energy. The interactions I have with those around me… especially with fellow bay natives from all walks of life.

What better way to share this story than in collaboration with Oakland Unified School District. Their student community is full of talented and creative next generation leaders, and they have given me an opportunity to connect with my new friend, Osiris.

Oakland Unified School District Youth Program HEAL Internship Healthcare

He’s a fellow foodie and current Senior at Oakland School of the Arts. Osiris is creative at heart with a soul for health care, sparked from his own personal experiences as a patient growing up. He’s finishing up the school year and heading to UC Davis this fall to study Pre-Med and Psychology. Additionally, he's a current Student Intern in Alameda Health System’s HEAL Program.

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oakland unified school district bay area youth programs HEAL internship healthcare

The HEAL Internship Program

The HEAL internship program is a partnership between Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. It was created to provide a pathway for middle school and high school students to break into the fast-growing healthcare sector. Through internships, students like Osiris gain hands-on experience in their local hospitals and shadow nurses and doctors. In addition to mentorship, the program provides the students with the skills and knowledge they need to blaze the trail in their future healthcare careers.

oakland unified school district youth programs HEAL internship healthcare

Catching Up with Osiris

Last week, I met up with Osiris for lunch in Oakland to chat and learn more about his passions, his ambitions and why the HEAL Program impacted his life. His words speak for themselves. After we finished our Chicken Tikka Masala bowls at Curry Up Now, we caught up more in-depth. Here’s a snippet from our conversation.

KD: Tell me a little bit about yourself!

OH: I’m Osiris. I’m 17. I’m someone who's really into different types of art since I was little. I used to do theater. I like to write. I like to draw. I’m also a huge reader and movie fan. I’ve got a huge range of movies I like. I grew up in Richmond, and have been going to school out here in Oakland since my mom works in the area.

KD: Very cool. I grew up in the Bay too! Sounds like you have a lot of different ways you love to be creative. If you could pick one medium for the rest of your life, what would you pick, and why?

OH: I think graphic design… because posters give an immediate reaction. Film, animation and other types of media are great too, but messages from those take a little bit longer to perceive. But with posters, you have such an immediate reaction to them and it’s so important in art...especially in political art… art that’s meant to tell stories. Graphic design does that the best and allows me to take on multiple projects at once.

KD: You were inspired by art at an early age right? Also, what are some other things that make you smile?

OH: Yeah, I grew up in an environment where art was supported and talked about a lot. Like, my uncle is 60 and still in a band. Art was always pushed as something that was good. It’s so interesting. When most people grow up and tell their parents “I want to be an Artist”, they say “No, you should become a doctor.” But my parents were the opposite. I told them, “I don’t want to be an artist, I want to be a doctor” and they were like “Whaaat?”

We laughed.

OH: Things that make me happy include spending time with my friends and family. When I’m in an environment that supports my interests, that generally makes me a happier person.

KD: My dad has told me similar things: to stay creative and never lose touch with art no matter what. That’s awesome that your family is encouraging and push you to continue doing that along the way. You’re right, it does feel empowering when you’re in a supportive environment. Now, your love for art also intersects with your passion to pursue healthcare!

bay area youth program oakland unified HEAL internship healthcare

KD: How did you hear about the HEAL Program?

OH: My mom works at Highland Hospital and she had a student come in to shadow her through the program. He was really cool. He was nice.  She knew I was interested in looking for health internships and health careers, so she told me about it. I did more research on it and talked to someone that did it. The HEAL Program has been around for a long time, they kinda revamped it. After that, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so I applied!

KD: Nice! So was the HEAL Program what inspired your deeper passion for healthcare?

OS: It was my own experiences dealing with doctors and surgeons from an early age. I had to get a couple surgeries and that was definitely was a factor. My mom is also in the health field, and I saw that. She is as a role model for someone who is in the medical field. Both of those played roles. I think that it interested me to work with pediatrics, and want to work with kids somehow.

KD: Did you have an AH-HA moment from the HEAL Program? A learning moment that made you realize you were in the right place?

OH: Yeah, definitely. I’ve done the HEAL Program for 2 years now. When I first started, I was in the Gastroenterology. That was my AH-HA moment for knowing I wanted to work in a hospital. That first department was one of my favorite departments because were so welcoming and nice. This year I’m in the OR, and I’ve been there all year. It’s so amazing.

I was able to see a neurosurgery 3-4 months ago, and got to be right next to the surgeon. He invited me back anytime I want. It was such a welcoming environment. That’s when I knew I wanted to do surgery.

KD: That’s awesome! You got to get into the scrubs and you’re already getting to see what it’s like inside an OR room. Sounds like HEAL is creating a pathway to see what it’s like, even before college. What’s your favorite part of the HEAL internship program?

OH: It’s changed. As an intern, I still get to go on rotation but I’m also a role model for the younger kids. I help teach the middle school students. That’s definitely my favorite part now, because I am a role model figure to a lot of the students and they’re all students of color. I think it’s really important. In my education system, I didn’t see a lot of black or people of color in the educational field. I think it’s important to have those role models for them.

Oakland Unified HEAL Internship Bay Area Youth Program Healthcare

KD: So we’ve touched the parts of the program you love. What about challenges? What’s a current barrier you’re going through towards success?

OH: I think the hardest part is juggling school and the program. I go three days a week, 2-6pm. I leave school early, so I’m not there for all my art time. I have to do my art assignments at home along with all my homework. I get home at 8:00pm ...so it’s a lot to manage myself. Sometimes I wake up early to get the work done. It’s hard.

KD: It is hard, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job at it! Keep it up! Can you tell me more about your dreams and ambitions?

OH: I want to go into pre-med and become a pediatric surgeon. It’s kinda changed as I’m watching more surgeries but I want to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery. There aren’t many black neurosurgeons… and it’s really interesting. After watching a few neuro surgeries I definitely want to do that but while still working with kids. I want to continue doing some kind of social justice work as well. Like those that mentored me, I can take high school and middle school students in with me to see surgeries. I want to work at a teaching hospital cause I love the aspect of teaching others and I also want to continue doing art of some sort too.

KD: It’s so great that you see a path where all your passions and interests intersect. Last but not least, who or what ultimately inspires you?

OS: Giving back to the community. My community really inspires me to continue and working with middle school students motivated me to do more. It’s the next group of students that will come after me. I want them to have better than I did, so I think that’s been a huge motivator.

bay area youth programs HEAL internship health care oakland unified

Hanging out with Osiris sparked so many realizations. First, how much it reminded me of working with youth in the parks. It's been a few years, but when I spoke with Osiris, I felt oddly familiar and brought me back to memories from a very special time in my career. It’s essential that our communities create partnerships with local organizations. By doing so, we nurture a safe space for growth and build empowering pathways to help our next generation become future leaders, no matter what field they are pursuing.

To learn more about the HEAL Program and explore the stories of his peers visit Oakland Story Youth Bank.

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Bring Joy to your Muni Commute

market street san francisco lifestyle blogger

There's two kinds of people in San Francisco. Those who choose to use MUNI and those who refuse to give it a chance. As for me, I have a personal love/hate relationship with MUNI, but I am well versed when it comes to the transit map. 

Choosing to use a form of public transit improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves energy for metropolitan areas like San Francisco. Many employers in the city even provide commuter benefits to their employees!

Beyond the eco-consicous commuting efforts, every day is an adventure to say the least ...and the stories sure come with it! Despite rush hour crowds, and other parts of the experience that may commonly bog you down, believe me, there are ways to make the most of your ride.

market street san francisco lifestyle blogger

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY MUNI COMMUTE

ALWAYS CARRY BACKUP HEADPHONES

Have you every left your headphones at home? Aren't those days the worst?! This backup pair should be headphones you have laying at home, or if you must purchase some, don't find the need to splurge on it.

Speaking of back up, it's also important to have an offline playlist ready just in case the tunnel blocks reception. 

REMEMBER THAT BOOK YOU ABSOLUTELY NEEDED TO BUY?

This is a luxury! You can't do this if you drive to work...safely at least. Remember that book you picked up and never read? Here is your chance to finally finish (or start) reading it!

PODCASTS ARE A BOSS BABE'S MUNI BFF!

This is my secret to any self-led learning! One of the things people ask me often is how I have the time to learn about social media, blogging and business entrepreneurship while working a full-time job. Well, this is my secret. Make the most of time you can't take back on your commute. Use it fill your mind with positive beneficial things that help you grow, not towards pondering random thoughts.

RELAX, DON'T MIND THE LITTLE THINGS

Don't take it so seriously! The last thing anyone in a crowded MUNI train wants to deal with, is a grumpy person spreading grumpiness to everyone around them, especially with minimal personal space. Being a grouch will not make yourself or the passengers around you any happier. Don't let the small things tick you off. Take it easy and flow with the ride. Eventually, everyone gets off at West Portal or Powell station anyways. 

market street san francisco lifestyle blogger
market street san francisco lifestyle blogger
market street san francisco lifestyle blogger
market street san francisco lifestyle blogger
market street san francisco lifestyle blogger
market street san francisco lifestyle blogger

Photography by: Rachel Radcliffe
Instagram: @rachelradcliffephotography

Outfit Details
Lightweight  Black Trench Coat: Similar Coat
"KIMIKO" Gladiator Heels: Michael Antonio at DSW
Sunnies: Quay Australia x Desi Perkins Sahara (Limited Edition) 

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU FIND JOY IN YOUR COMMUTE? COMMENT AND SHARE WITH ME BELOW! :)

kindly kimiko san francisco lifestyle blog