Happy Summer! Here is my Bay Area summer guide to you:
1. Adventure Playground, Berkeley
I'll just start out with one of the best ones, Adventure Playground. Not too many people know about this and it's free. What makes it unique? Aside from it being listed as a top 10 playground in National Geographic, it allows children to safely hammer, saw, build, and paint the playground structures, all for FREE.
Learn more: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=8656
2. The Summer of Love Experience, San Francisco
Showcased at San Francisco's de Young Museum through the summer until August 20th, this exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic 60's counterculture. The exhibition is full of iconic poster, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes, and avant-garde films.
Check it out: https://deyoung.famsf.org/summer-love-art-fashion-and-rock-roll
3. Free Fireworks Show, San Jose
Don't miss out on the free fireworks show at Discovery Meadow Park in downtown San Jose on July 4th.
Learn more: http://www.sanjose.org/events/the-rotary-fireworks/
4. Free Movies on the Beach, Santa Cruz
Most of you have probably heard of this but you can't really beat this summer's line-up:
Back to the Future, Grease, Gremlins, Clueless, Shrek, Ghostbusters (the original), The Little Rascals, and The Princess Bride.
Check out the schedule: https://beachboardwalk.com/movies
5. Chili Cook Off, Palo Alto
Spend your Fourth of July in Palo Alto for their annual Chili Cook Off, running since 1985. It'll be a day of fun filled children activities, live music, tasty treats, and many vendors.
Check it out:
6. Beer Festival, Monterey
Looking to drink some craft beers this summer? You'll want to check out Monterey's Beer Festival featuring beer sampling and celebration of over 30 breweries.
Learn more: http://www.montereybeerfestival.com/
7. Menlo Summerfest, Menlo Park
Summer festivals is where it's at and that includes Menlo Park's Summerfest. Featuring 250 artists, live music, food & drinks, and a rock wall!
Check it out:
8. Orchids in the Park, San Francisco
I have to admit, I am an orchid lover and enthusiast. I own 3 orchids and have had them for 5 years! If you're also a fan, you don't want to miss SF's orchid summer show and sale.
Learn more: http://www.orchidsanfrancisco.org/orchid-events/orchids-in-the-park/
9. Evening with the Stars, Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton
View the stars through the 36 inch Great Lick Refractor, a truly rare and exciting experience.
Check it out:
10. Murder Mystery Dinner, San Jose
Are you a major nerd? Well, I am so it excites me that the Hilton in downtown San Jose will have an interactive murder mystery dinner, all while you get to devour a four plated meal.
11. Half Price Happy Hollow, San Jose
All you San Jose natives understand the joy and fun of Happy Hollow. On July 18th, enjoy rides, entertainment, and animals for only half the price.
Check it out: http://www.sanjose.org/events/happier-half-price-happy-hollow-19796/
12. Blues Festival, Redwood City
To celebrate its 12th year, the Redwood City Blues Festival will be focusing on Women in Blues by presenting an exceptional line-up of female talent.
Learn more: http://www.sanjose.org/events/2017-redwood-city-blues-festival/
13. Obon Festival, San Jose & Mountain View
San Jose's Japantown celebrates the Obon festival, a two day event filled with game booths, food booths, taiko performances, and much more. There's an Obon festival in Mountain View as well so don't miss out.
San Jose: http://www.sanjose.org/events/2017-san-jose-obon/
Mountain View: http://www.sanjose.org/events/mountain-view-obon-festival/
14. Garlic Festival, Gilroy
I couldn't leave this one off the list plus you always end up seeing someone you know. Not only are there cooking competitions but you get your pick of sausages, calamari, scampi, garlic fries, ice cream, and more. Everyone will be there, even a special appearance by Giada de Laurentiis!
Check it out: http://gilroygarlicfestival.com/
15. Free Kids 'N Fun Festival, Cupertino
If you're like me, I am always trying to find fun outdoor events for my kids. The best part about this festival is it's a multi-cultural festival so a great opportunity to expose your children to the diverse cultures of the Bay Area.
Learn more: http://www.sanjose.org/events/kids-n-fun-festival/
16. Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton
Who doesn't love a county fair? Kids are FREE every Friday and there are so many events and activities, you are sure to have a great time. Everything from concerts, petting zoos, rides, a beer & wine garden, and tons of entertainment.
Check it out: http://annual.alamedacountyfair.com/
Maybe I'll see you this summer! What are your plans?
Written by Sterp
Is it possible for a high school runaway (with a mohawk might I add) to later become successful in Silicon Valley? Is it possible to obtain career success without a Masters degree or without being an engineer in Silicon Valley?
I am here to tell you that it is and you don't have to be an exceptional Being to get it done. You do need to have a strong backbone and be willing to dedicate money and time to get where you want to go. (And yes, I was a runaway punk rocker in high school with a mohawk.)
I am no expert on the "science of success." I can only speak from my experiences. I'm sure you might be wondering who the hell am I and what is it that I actually have as a career. I am a Corporate Marketing Manager and I'm finally getting paid well doing what I actually studied in college: Film & Digital Media. I didn't always have this career and it took immense dedication and challenging experiences before I got where I am today. I can also tell you that I know I'm successful in Silicon Valley (aka I'm very well compensated but it's not just about compensation as you'll see below.)
My list is in chronological order from when I got out of college up to today (a span of 7 years) so stick around until the end because there are some interesting, more mature points.
Here are the keys to career success that worked for me (success to me = generous compensation + love what you do):
1. Take the big name internship, even if it pays nothing
I know you've heard, "It's who you know, not what you know." I wish I could tell you otherwise, but it's a popular saying for a reason. I landed an internship right out of college at NASA through a gal I knew for many years. We were in a nonprofit organization together as teenagers. Years later, she worked at Singularity University, an innovative technological program at NASA, and told me about an internship in their media department. I was paid a very small stipend that was enough to pay for gas to and from work. You better believe I took it! Having NASA on my resume, even as an internship, has contributed to my career success. It's not about instantly making money early in your career, it's about building the steps to create a staircase to the top.
2. If it doesn't feel right, move on or risk becoming complacent
Early after my NASA internship ended, I landed a job in real estate. Why did I take this job? There was potential opportunity for video work and some updating of real estate brochures. It was a small step in the right direction however the couple I worked for micromanaged me and I knew that I couldn't thrive and excel in that environment. There is no need to stay in a situation that you know you cannot do your best in. So I moved on and landed a job in Apple retail, another big name.
3. Get the experience but eventually move on to bigger and better things
Anyone who has worked in Apple retail knows it's an unforgettable experience and one of the best. Some of the most critical interpersonal skills I have, I learned from Apple. I was a software trainer and had the opportunity to teach customers design and video skills. The problem was it was still just retail and in the end it was damn hard to move up so I moved on.
4. If you change career paths, you can still go back
After Apple I decided to switch it up to the extreme. I became a first grade teacher at a private school. Why would I do this? I needed to move out of retail but on a more interesting point, my stepson was attending this expensive private school and I wanted him to attend at no cost so I sacrificed a few years to allow him to get a great education for free. The pay was saddening and the work was exhausting. It didn't matter how much I out-shined others, I never received proper recognition. I was afraid to venture on because after 3 years of teaching I knew it didn't align with the rest of my experience or dreams. Remember, you are never stuck. It just takes some investment on your end.
5. Invest the time and money
While I was a teacher I decided to create a website through Weebly and start a blog (which you're reading right now.) I pay an annual fee to host my site. I invest time in producing content, including YouTube videos, for my blog. I also pay for a Lynda.com subscription, an online learning platform that contains courses on business, marketing, technology, and design. Rather than spending all my evenings going out and wasting money away, I sit at home and teach myself more design and marketing skills to add to my current experience. You need to invest some time and money.
6. Contract positions are a stepping stone
It's simple, contract positions pay well and help you to gain experience. They are a great stepping stone to land a permanent position elsewhere and to obtain a bump in pay. Just be careful not to get stuck in contract roles for years. Check out: How I raised my salary by 35k in only 9 months!
7. Remove yourself from toxic work environments
Yep, I said it. Out of all the places I worked, only one was truly horrifying and toxic. There are just some places where success is impossible because sadly there are some people whose goal is to tear everyone down. I was bullied at the YMCA of Silicon Valley and it was the first job in my life where I had to quit on the spot. The compensation package was stellar but it wasn't worth the mental and physical distress. Check out: Bully Bosses at the YMCA Sometimes you have to get out of a situation and leave it behind. Although I cannot use this on my resume I learned some valuable lessons.
8. It's some skill but mainly attitude
I guess I made the right choice leaving the YMCA because now I am making twice as much! Over my 7 years of career advancement I have learned that skills are important but people hire you for your attitude. I have always been positive, energetic, and passionate about work. People value this because they trust that you will deliver quality work.
It took me 7 years after graduating college to become successful and the great thing about it: I know this is just the beginning of my success, not the end.
What are your tips in becoming successful?
Written by Sterp
Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/board-chalk-blackboard-success-1097118/
1. What art medium do you primarily work in?
Well, I love to use wood if I'm doing a painting. Personally I find I do better painting on wood. My Father was the same way so I probably picked up on it from seeing his work.
I've tried canvas many times only to just not feel it as when I do work on wood.
One of my Passions when doing my art is that I love taking old cigar boxes and transforming them into different theme ideas, turning them into keepsake boxes. I also use dried out eggshells for texture. I like to use mosaic tiles as well for different kinds of art. "The sky is the limit" I have used watercolors but mainly I love using acrylic paint.
I also enjoy Plaster of Paris pastels.
2. When did you start creating and why?
I raised two children who are now all grown up and gone off pursuing their own dreams. I found myself with tons of free time. I felt a need to be creative to find some joy. I was "missing something." I truly believe it was my father (who was a wonderful self taught artist) that somehow from the Heavens guided me into finding my own art. I had never picked up a brush or art tool before. I was flying into the unknown if you will. One day I just decided to start out and ordered a paint set and a few paint brushes (nothing fancy.) Next thing you know, one summers day, I was painting my first painting. The joy I felt that first time was magical; satisfying. It really started to fill in the missing pieces and I've been hooked ever since. It relaxes me and takes me to another place. I suffer from anxiety and this has really helped. It's my happy place, my safe zone.
The two paintings above are also done by Leslie's father.
3. What does your art and artistic process mean to you?
It gives me a voice (I'm not one that likes to be the center of attention, I'm a bit of a loner at times.) Art lets me be spoken. I can let it show an extension of myself. My art also shows the mystic side of me. It means the world to me.
4. Who and what inspires you when creating art?
The Dream World inspires me a lot. With certain projects, I get taken off into a bit of a fantasy world (in comes the glitter and stardust!) But mostly, without a doubt, my father (who passed on in 2003) inspires me and has since day one of this wonderful ride of Art. He became an Artist at a very early age. I really feel somewhere in heaven he knew I needed this in my own life.
5. What keeps you motivated?
I feel Art never ever lets you down - It's always going to be there for you, it's always going to offer in one's own mind something new to create. You could go without creating for many months at times but you know that you can always pick up where you left off.
6. Who are some of your favorite artists?
Besides my father; I just love the artwork of Amy Browne and Jessica Galbreth.
7. Where can people find your work?
I've had to take a bit of a break in the last year in a half due to a foot injury and the passing, sadly, of my mother. I hope to get back at it more this year. Right now I have my online store which is on a break but here is the link:
Leslie was born and raised in Detroit and now she is based in Lincoln Park, Michigan.
Written by Sterp
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My Mantra: Strive to be the best me and improve a little every day. Be compassionate, especially to those who may not practice it. Continue to learn and love. Take a moment multiple times each day to breathe. Forgive myself and forgive others. Read books. Live what I preach. Accept others. And above all, laugh every single day.