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well being

5 Places to Unpack Your Passion


5 Places to Unpack Your Passion

Last September, I found myself sitting in front of my computer, debating whether or not to sign up for a 3-part course called "Confident Cooking" at Sur La Table. I wanted to sign up, but I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone there and frankly, my cooking skills were severely lacking. In a moment of blind ambition, I pressed purchase.

Fast forward to the first class: I showed up early, put on my name tag and apron, then took a seat waiting to see who I’d be working with for the next 3 weeks as we conquered making chowder, biscuits, risotto, pasta, and more. I ended up getting paired with a newlywed about my age and her mother-in-law. As we talked, I discovered we had a lot in common and that they too weren’t pros in the kitchen - it was quite a relief to learn that we all had this in common.

Image Credit :  Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Over the next couple of hours, I learned how to properly use a Chef’s Knife and worked with my team to prepare a great meal. By the end of the class, we’d made a delicious salad with purple grapes and toasted walnut vinaigrette, buttermilk biscuits with maple butter, and a pot of sweet potato chowder with chicken and corn. The first class was a success: the food was delicious, I didn’t burn any food, and no injuries from the knife work. I left feeling energized, accomplished, and proud of myself for trying something new. I couldn’t wait to tell my roommates about the class and pick a night to cook for them that week. Needless to say, they were impressed by my new skills. Over the next few months I took a few more classes, cooked for more friends and along the way, I discovered a passion for cooking - one I never thought I’d have.

Image Credit : Kaboompics

Image Credit : Kaboompics

How did I end up at a cooking class?

Earlier that September I had been doing quite a bit of soul searching - I was trying to find my happiness. I asked myself a couple of hard questions: aside from continuing education for work, what have I learned for myself lately? When was the last time I tried something new?

During my search, I realized that learning makes me happy.  I missed everything from the challenge of a new activity to conversing with family about these challenges. Most of all though, I missed the fulfillment that conquering these new challenges gave me.  
Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Three hours into Knitting Boot Camp...

Realizing that the only learning I had done in the past few years was centered around work was a motivator to sign myself up for my first cooking class - and I’m extremely happy I made the decision to do so.  Since September, I’ve continued to go to new classes outside of my comfort zone. Last Saturday, I spent my day at Workshop SF learning how to knit! Not my most successful endeavor but it was a fun day meeting new people and trying something I hadn’t done before.


I’m so happy that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, and I would encourage others to do the same.

San Francisco has an abundance of places to take workshops/classes to learn or even just try something new. I invite you to get our of your comfort zone and explore interests that may bring you happiness.

Top 5 Places I Recommend:

Workshop SF: Their motto is “Drink Beer and Make Stuff.” Workshop SF offers a wide variety of classes, ranging from making leather wallets to sewing to brewing your own beer and pretty much everything in between. Check out their website to see everything they’ve got to offer.

Image Credit :  Pixabay

ODC: Located in the Mission, their facility offers traditional dance classes (tap, ballet, jazz) and even goes into an eclectic offering of Salsa, Belly Dancing, Bollywood and admittedly what sounds the most fun to me: “Vogue and Tone.”

Image Credit : Pawel Kadysz

San Francisco Outdoor Adventure Club: Full of multi-sport weekend trips, this is the one if you’re ready to brave a new physical endeavor. Their trips include weekends in Tahoe, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. If you need a getaway, consider signing up their surfing and beach vacations in Costa Rica.

Image Credit : Dino Reichmuth


Endgames Improv:  Most classes here are about 3 hours long but are fairly small, allowing for a lot of personal interaction. You can hone your skills in character or scene work, sketch writing, or musical improv. While you’re a student there, you also receive free admission to all of their shows.

Image Credit : Markus Spiske

Sur La Table: Classes include basic knife skills all the way through baking macarons and cooking various cuisines (French, Thai, Italian, etc). Classes are offered on weeknights and weekends -  they even have date night options that both friends or couples could attend together.

Image Credit : Tranmautritam


#HowIPerformForLife : Ning


#HowIPerformForLife : Ning

What motivates you? What helps you get up in the morning?

My fiance, Noah, my parents and my dreams in life motivate me and help me to get up every day.

I met Noah six years ago. He really tripped me out the night we met. I thought to myself, "WHO is this guy?" Mainly because he had (has) a spirit that made me feel like anything is possible. I've been so grateful to have him in my life all these years and he's shown me that truly, anything IS possible if you work hard and don't give up. He's a very inspiring person, not just in his accomplishments and charitable work, but also how he is as a human being - in how he treats and takes care of people in life.

In 1971, my parents left the Philippines for the United States. They gave up living in their homeland and everything and everyone they knew to build a new life for our whole family, with a savings of five hundred dollars. In the years that followed, they worked hard to bring the whole family over...both sets of my grandparents, and ten aunts and uncles. I have very fond and clear memories of going to the SF airport a lot, to welcome a new relative who would end up staying with us for a time. I was always excited about it. It became a ritual of sorts. Today, when I'm at family parties, and I see my whole family...grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids makes me smile so much, because everyone is doing well. My parents worked so hard and taught me and so much of my family what persistence, hard work and true grit is. To see all of us - a big family flourishing here in the Bay Area - is an inspiration.

I've had a lot of dreams for my life since I was a child. All kinds of dreams that span my career, travel, relationships, personal fulfillment, philanthropic work and possessions. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, those dreams seemed so far out of reach. Today, seeing that my hard work and decision-making helped me attain and accomplish a lot of my dreams, it really proves that dreams come true. It inspires me to continue to work hard and make good decisions to accomplish more of my dreams. I aspire to be the person who never retires and is continually working on being a better person and a value to our community.

When was the last time you were proud of yourself?

In September 2016, I left the company that I loved working for - to go out on my own, as a freelance consultant and artist. In truth, it wasn't just leaving this particular company, but a big step in taking a very different step in the career I'd built over twenty years. It was such a hard and heart-wrenching decision because I loved my previous company, Atlassian - and still do. But my inner voice told me that I had to take the leap - to do things I'd dreamt about since I was five years old. So, I was proud when I resigned and said to myself....this is about me and my other dreams now. So far, I feel like I'm making good progress and am proud to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zones. I've been so touched that so many friends, family members and former co-workers are encouraging. Some folks have gone so far to say that I'm an inspiration to them. That makes me super proud!

Have you had any proud moments here?

I've had many proud moments at P4L.....accomplishing a tough workout, learning new things about wellness and implementing them, pushing to accomplish exercises that Justine or Cheri have me do, giving a talk to the staff about career development and seeing friends enjoy their workouts who I referred to P4L. One of my proudest moments though was when I saw P4L win the first place on Yelp for a personal training gym - because in the first months I could see and feel that P4L was top-notch and amazing - and I wanted other people to know and experience it as well. So that win validated that it truly is a special and wonderful place that others believe in, as well. That was three years ago when I joined the P4L family and I feel even more pride today!