What I’ve Been Up to Lately

Happy Groundhog Day! If you haven’t watched this classic Bill Murray / Andie McDowell rom-com, it’s a great way to experience the time loop when you cross the international dateline!

Recently, I launched a new website, Thriving Vets, to help veterans to live a fulfilling life. Our men and women make a lot of personal sacrifices in serving our country, so this site is dedicated to serving them.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Heather Morrow of Aspen Tango about the immigration crisis that started when President Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from certain countries from entering this country. One unexpected repercussion was rejecting people with valid green cards. Here’s the replay for more –

On Sunday I will be chatting with Clay Nelson of Portland Tango about why dancers return to Portland year after year like some migratory birds –

Also, I’ve started to do a vlog of sorts to talk about the realities of freelancing and working my way into the digital nomad lifestyle –

Meanwhile, I’ve posted some food recipe videos and plan to write more about this.

Recently, I started to read Eddie Huang’s biography Fresh Off the Boat. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s nothing like the television story, which was watered down quite a bit for mass audiences, of course.eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat

Some of you probably know that I’m a big fan of audio books, especially when the author is the narrator. This is no exception, as Huang tells his own story in a way that no one else can.

Even though I grew up much further north, I can definitely to the harassment and bullying that Huang faced, as well as the identity crisis. Sometimes I felt too Chinese; other times, too American. We first generation immigrants often found ourselves trying to straddle both cultural worlds.

Here’s a videos series of Eddie Huang revisiting Taiwan. You can also check out his book through the links to the Amazon page. Enjoy!

Well, this post is a bit all over the place but thought it was the best way to share some of these! How about you? What are you working on these days?

Best Restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga – Behind the Scenes

Recently, I decided to to make a short video on the best restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga. So, I asked my neighbors on Facebook what their favorites were.

After everyone gave their opinions with “Likes” and comments, I more or less added the most “votes” and compared these with Yelp reviews and comments. That gave me a working “shot list.”

Gathering a few pictures from reviews, I added some music and voila here’s the final result –

1) The Deli (16 likes + 5) – it surprised me with how much people raved about this little place. But it reminds me a bit of a hot dog shack in the New Jersey town, where I grew up. Sometimes we just have fond memories of places, and that’s that!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-deli-rancho-cucamonga

2) Fonda Don Chon (9 likes) – besides their Mexican lunch buffet they’ve got a massive molcajete that, even though I didn’t know what it was, I want to check out!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fonda-don-chon-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://fondadonchon.com/

3) Corky’s (507 reviews) Open 24/7 – they offer breakfast all-day and is known for their fresh-made food.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/corkys-kitchen-and-bakery-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.corkyskitchenandbakery.com/

4) Vince’s Spaghetti (4 likes +3-4?) – popular local favorite from the Route 66 days of the town. Do we really need to talk about what they’re known for..?
https://www.yelp.com/biz/vinces-spaghetti-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.vincesspaghettiroute66.com/

5) Red Hill Coffee Shop – (also located in Fontana) 5 likes for this establishment know for their HUGE portions. Look at the size of that pancake!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hill-coffee-shop-rancho-cucamonga

6) Ken’s Japanese ( – 273 reviews) – you wouldn’t think that an Inland Empire family restaurants would be known for fresh seafood or Japanese, but that’s what you have here.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kens-japanese-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.kensjapanese.com/

7) Salsita’s (5 likes) – if you want a BIG burrito, this is the place to get it. More sit down than fast food this Mexican restaurant has truly adult-sized portions.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/salsitas-mexican-grill-alta-loma
Their website – http://www.salsitasmexican.com/

8) China Point (3 likes?) – they have a sign that basically says “quality takes time.” Looks like that’s how they like to differentiate themselves from the typical Chinese food under heat lamps. They make your food when you order it.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/china-point-rancho-cucamonga

9) Kolya Indian Restaurant (3 Likes) – I’ve tried their lunch buffet and enjoyed it as a decent value. There’s also a new “kid in town” Rolls ‘n Wraps that opened a few months ago and now also offers a lunch buffet worth checking out.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/koyla-indian-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://koylarestaurant.com/

10) Juanita’s (4 likes +4?) – your basic “hole in the wall” Mexican fast food that has quite a following, especially for their nachos.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/juanitas-iii-rancho-cucamonga

Honorable Mention:

Wok This Way
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wok-this-way-rancho-cucamonga

Sal’s Pizza (3 Likes +3?)
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sals-pizza-alta-loma

 

Incoming search terms:

  • Juanitas in Rancho Cucamonga

Camping Along the Oregon Coast – Part 1

The woman looked on confused. Finally she asked “what are you guys doing?”

“It’s tango,” I replied, “Argentine tango.”

Molly and I had been dancing to a Calo vals (a waltzy classic) while waiting for our clothes to finish drying. Amazingly this laundry mat even had wifi so I got caught up on emails.

Because the dryers were so loud, we simply plugged ourselves into my ipod – each sharing an earbud. So it must’ve been quite an unusual sight. Two people dancing to the beat of some silent orchestra.

This was day 7 out in the “wilderness” of the Portland coast.

We’d stretched our fresh clothes as far as possible. Heck, I was proud that we’ve been surviving on cooking by camp fires and managing to entertain ourselves.

What was really nice with staying in one campsite for a few days was not needing to break down and set up camp each day. Although we’d gotten down our routine, it was still painful to go through that same routine day after day.

Probably the most unusual part was that we had barely known each other before this trip. Sure, we had seen and danced with each other at annual tango festivals in Portland but other than a few phone calls and online chats, Molly and I went from spending no time together to nearly every waking minute. Yet somehow things clicked, and it felt very natural.

Now I have to admit that other than running around with the Marines on a few field training exercises, the most time I had spent in the woods growing up was a couple of overnight canoe trips with friends. And even with the grunts we just plopped down our packs and slept in our sleeping bags on cement slabs inside a prepared tent.

So, the first day out involved quite a learning curve. I had to learn 1) how to build a fire 2) how to set up a tent.

Building a fire wasn’t too bad. We had picked up some fat wood and firewood. Because fat wood was soaked with dried sap it burned pretty quickly and pretty hot. So, you use it to get the firewood going and thus have your base.

It was already late in the day, because most of the day had been spent on getting supplies. There wasn’t much time to find a camping spot – much less to set up a tent before nature was going to turn off the lights out.. literally.

Luckily, we found a spot right across the Columbia River, and had the same thought ”hey, why don’t we stay here? It also helped that Molly was already familiar with the tent. (Talk about anti-sexism, right? I was the helpless one!) She walked me through what we needed to do, so I mostly just followed her lead.

Further reversing roles I made myself useful by preparing a Caprese salad with the tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar we picked up. Some ripe avocadoes added a nice twist to this classic.

We toasted our first night in the wilderness with a nice, crisp Riesling kept chilled in the cooler. (Hey, roughing it doesn’t mean living like savages in my book..) A bright moon covered the campsite as fell sound asleep.

camping-moonlight

The next morning we woke to passing barges in the misty morning before stopping by the office and paying for our camp spot. Soon we were off again with no idea what was next.

To read more visit Part 2 of my camping trip to Oregon.

Easy Healthy Living as a Digital Nomad

simple-healthy-living

Healthy Living Can Be Simple

We all want to live a life of freedom and passion. Sure, how we make a living and who we spend our time with are a big part of this. But first it’s important to take care of ourselves.

Without our health, there’s not much point to all the fun and adventure of the digital nomad life. It’s hard to enjoy even a good meal if you’re struggling to simply feel good.

So, this article is a little different from what I usually write about. I’m going to share some of my personal secrets to a simple but healthy lifestyle.

Rest is Essential

For me it all starts with getting enough rest. I know, this seems too simple for many reasons. There’s so much to do as an entrepreneur. And even when we’re not working, we just wanna stay up late. But getting enough sleep is just a piece of the bigger puzzle, and that is testing how things feel.

When I was a kid, I would eat and drink pretty mindlessly. Eventually, consuming junk food and sodas turned into alcohol and even cigarettes. Now I’m not going to preach about vices. Some folks may even argue that they enjoy how recreational drugs feel. No judgment here.

Check In with Yourself

All I suggest is to start gauging how what you consume feels overall. Does it make you sluggish for most of the day? Are you walking around in a cloudy haze for hours?

Don’t just go by what I’m telling you. Tune into yourself.

I like to believe that we’re here to really feel and experience things. Sure, there are parts that suck. But the point is to have clear minds and bright eyes in my book – to really experience what life has to offer.

Finding Balance & Calm in the Middle of Chaos

Recently, I came across the idea that balance is a myth. There’s probably some truth to this. Yet it doesn’t mean that we can’t find peace in the midst of everything. Taking time to reflect or meditate is just as important as doing.

When I trained for my first (and so far only) marathon, I learned that the rest days were just as important as putting in the miles. Likewise if we don’t “empty the cup,” eventually we’ll burn out – whether it’s doing work, learning or anything we want to achieve.

I share how I avoid writer’s block here.

Experiment and Explore but Keep It Simple

In general I love to try different foods. Although there are some fall back basics like pasta or soups, part of the fun is to not only eating out and trying different restaurants but learning new recipes at home (wherever home may be at the moment).

When I went camping along the coast of Oregon a couple of years ago, all we had to do was stock up on a few essentials like bread, cheese and lunch meats then buy some ingredients for interesting meals.

Fresh basil, mozzarella and tomatoes made awesome caprese salads with some virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ground salt. Easy peasy!

Before I even knew it, I had already subscribed to the Julia Child approach towards that four letter word “diet” of trying different foods. Later on, I discovered Mireille Guiliano who wrote French Women Don’t Get Fat. She also advocates the same philosophy – all things in moderation.

julia-child-food-quote

Julia Child on Diet Food


Test and Evaluate

So, that’s my overall approach to health and fitness. Try different things but constantly tune into yourself and check how they feel. I’m still learning and experimenting. More recently, I’ve been more conscious of pro-biotics after a few nasty bouts of food poisoning on set. (But that’s another story for another day..)

Please share your own ideas and tips. I’d love to learn what works for you. Let me know how this helps you, and what you’d like me to write about in more detail.