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My Almost Dream Job

16 11 2018

Today I posted some “Flashback Friday” photos of a position I once held and at the time it was my ideal “dream job.” It’s been on my heart for a while to write about it, and share my experience, but only now 3+ years later, am I finding that inner push to finally let it all out. I work in television. I have worked in television since going to college and studying broadcast journalism.  I don’t have a defining moment that stands out where I just knew it was the path I needed to follow, but as I like to describe myself, I am a connector. I love being in the know, providing information and sharing it with others. I pride myself in having a diverse network of friends, family and contacts from all demographics, cultures, backgrounds and industries. Nothing makes me happier than being able to connect people and feel like I’m helping out, making a difference in someone’s project, position and life.

Okay, so back to the dream job. In 2014, after several years hiatus from a contracted TV role, (I had been working steadily as a freelancer for years), I got a unique job offer to host a daily 1-hour lifestyle television show in Virginia, called the Hampton Roads Show. I was still a pretty new Mommy with 2 kids under 2, feeling intense pressure to find financial stability and provide, and I felt it was necessary for me to get back into a full time role and continue pursuing my dream of hosting a show…and so, there I was..about to live out my dream. Up to that point, I hadn’t really spent any time in Southern Virginia, but I looked at it as a place that would be a little slower paced than Miami, certainly more affordable and of course, when it comes to working in TV, the opportunities are few and far between, so you go where the job is.

It started off fine and all, everyone was very welcoming and the excitement of the newness of the job and learning all about the area consumed me. I enjoyed being on live TV everyday and immersing myself in the people and culture of the Tidewater area. I was working in the industry I wanted to work in, as a TV host, interviewing celebrities, comedians & community members, talking about new movie releases, cooking with chefs, producing feature stories and profiles, etc… all the while providing information and entertainment to the viewing audience.

However, slowly but surely…my personal circumstances surrounding my job and some of the downside that comes with the territory of working in TV, began to change my perspective and affect my outlook. After a short while, I started to think the area might not be the best for me long term. I had moved to Norfolk, Virginia after nearly a decade of living in Miami, Florida…and this was my first real experience living in the “south.” Plus, being born and raised in the Bay Area, California, let’s just say it’s a different experience. So then, I began to wonder if this was the right place for me and my kids. I’m not saying it was bad, but the bubbles I had been living in were drastically different, and I get it. The diversity and attitudes I grew up with are polar opposite to those in other parts of the country…it’s no wonder the country is so divided these days.

Nevertheless, I had signed on for 3 years and I was determined to make it work. I am BIG on commitments and delivering on what I signed up for. I am highly resourceful and always give my 100%. I rarely give up, which can be both positive and negative, because while I value integrity to the fullest, sometimes my unwillingness to throw in the towel can (literally) drive me crazy. At work, I enjoyed my duties and responsibilities. It was amazing to meet and have conversations with so many interesting people on a daily basis. The executive producer on the show is an incredibly kind person who is insanely talented, smart and creative leader who made magic happen daily. The show’s producer was also very understanding and easy to work with, she was always in my corner and very welcoming as I settled into the role. And, of course my co-host, was also absolutely supportive and helpful, easy to talk to and work with everyday. Honestly, the culture at the station was very positive and everyone there made me feel welcome.

So here’s when the “dream” part of the job wasn’t so dreamy anymore… in this age of social media, criticism is swift and can be downright ugly. Although I know  I was qualified for the position and brought so much relevant experience to the job, I was far from immune to the not nice commentary on social media. The previous host had been there from the show’s inception, so a lot of the station staff and viewing audience was very sad to see her go, and not ready for an “outsider.” I recall feeling like I just wasn’t fitting in. There were constant comments about the desire for a local host or how they missed the old one, and then other critiques of my looks, etc… but some direct personal attacks on me too. I recall one instance where I posted a short video clip of me assembling a high chair that we were including in a cool baby products round up for the show. An individual immediately attacked my intelligence and ability to adequately put it together. I responded tactfully, and the poster soon deleted the comment – wish I had screen shot it. Hey, those things shouldn’t get to you…but on top of not feeling completely accepted, I began to question if I was in the right place. However, by the numbers, the show was the #1 lifestyle show in the market and ratings grew every single quarter I was a host on the show.

At home, I had to shift into full Mommy mode everyday when I got home. At first the mommy guilt was tough to fight through, but I had to do what I had to do. My relationship had become very complicated and he made it clear he was not happy nor interested in remaining in Virginia. That eventually led to him ironically finding work on the other side of the country, in my hometown Bay Area and leaving. So, on top of then having to find daily child care while I was away at work everyday, a pipe froze and subsequently burst in the condo unit we were living in, so we had to “evacuate,” first staying in a nearby hotel, before making a temporary move to another home for the next few months, courtesy of a caring anchor at the station. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.

Luckily I found a wonderful nanny to watch after my babies, and I also had a couple mommy friends in the neighborhood who helped me stay sane. As I neared the one year mark at my job, the weight of life was squarely on my shoulders. I felt the demands of being a full-time working mom, constant financial responsibilities, a full disconnect with the father of my children and I was alone. I was living in constant conflict of fulfilling my contractual obligation to the station, or finding a way out to step back and get my life back in order. In television, a hosting job can be so elusive and you definitely don’t want to burn bridges, and I was torn between what was the right thing to do. Looking back, I somehow persevered on crazy days where snow shut down life basically, but I still had to drive and get into work…and thankfully my nanny braved it too, to get to me to watch the kids. Other days there would be so much rain, I don’t know how I navigated high water and traffic, taking back roads to make it to the studio, but I did it. I put a smile on my face and performed my job to the best of my ability day in and out, even when I froze as we did live remote shows, outside in 30 degree weather!

All this to say, it was almost my dream job. I am ever thankful for that opportunity and chance to host a daily lifestyle show…if only I could have taken that show and put it in an area that made more sense for me and my family. There was just no way to know, until I actually packed up and moved there. Eventually, I made the decision to leave my “dream job” and go home to the Bay. I was really scared and nervous about fully revealing my personal situation to my boss and my desire to be let out of my contract. Surprisingly, she was more than understanding and supportive of my decision. We came up with a plan for my exit and timeline for them to find a replacement for me, who I would train to take over, to make the transition easier for everyone. In the back of my mind I had been fearful that I would not be allowed to cut my contract short, that I would have to pay penalties, that I had let everyone down (including myself) and it was the end of my career. But, being honest and upfront about what I was going through and thankfully having understanding management, allowed me to walk away from my almost dream job.

These days I find myself at a different crossroads. Since moving back to the Bay Area, I have fully enjoyed being in close proximity to my family and friends, having their full support and exposing my children to the same bubble I have grown up in. I’m surrounded by a familiar landscape and am even fortunate to work freelance as a TV/Radio host… but my heart still wonders about my almost dream job, and if there will ever be another.

 



Disneyland Memories

25 03 2017

When I think about my early visits to Disneyland when I was a child, the Main Street Electrical Parade is one of the first things that comes to mind, after Mickey and Minnie. In fact, if I’m being honest, I never even realized it went away….there definitely was a time lapse between my childhood, to now being a parent where I hadn’t visited Disneyland in YEARS!

Last year when I took my boys to Anaheim and Disneyland for the first time, I didn’t realize the night parade was not the same one I was accustomed to seeing during my visits as a kid. And, while the parade(s) we saw were awesome in their own right, it was very exciting for me to hear that the Main Street Electrical Parade is lighting up Disneyland once again!!!

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There sure is something about it that’s very nostalgic to me, and being able to share that experience with the kids is very cool, not to mention maybe I won’t feel so “dated,” as the characters and visuals that amused me as a child will have the same effect on them today! All this being said, I got to do an interview about this excited (limited time) event at Disneyland. I spoke to Disneyland spokesman Eddy Collins and the man mouse himself, MICKEY MOUSE even dropped in on the interview I did for Bay Area LIFE. Check it out here…

If you want to see it and “relive” that childhood experience or maybe see it for the very first time, be sure to visit Disneyland Resort by June 18!!

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Repost from 53 Weeks



My Super Bowl Week in the City

9 02 2016

The Bay Area Super Bowl has come and gone…and the reality is we probably won’t see it again here anytime soon. Locals are glad the traffic is gone and city life will return to “normal.” I’m glad that it came through the Bay and I was lucky enough to attend some of the events and fanfare leading up to it. No, I didn’t go to the game, lots of people kept asking me if I was going, but I’m more of the mindset that if my team’s not in it, I’m better off watching from the convenience of my couch. I did however attend some of the preceding week’s pre-game soirees around town. I’ve posted some of my favorite snaps from my Super Bowl week in the City below…

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KaBoom! I Helped Build a Playground

3 02 2016

There are so many events happening around the Bay Area this week related to Super Bowl 50, and while I will do my part to socialize and network at the various parties around town, I also took some time out to lend a hand in a KaBoom playground build in San Jose. I got involved, since ESPN invited some of the Disney (parent company) affiliates to pitch in, including ABC7 where I work part time. Also in the mix were other local community members and members of the Raiders and 49ers organizations too.

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What brought this experience even closer to home is that fact that it was happening in my hometown San Jose. To have the opportunity to construct a playground for kids that are growing up among the same streets I did, made it all the more special. Not to mention that these days as a Mom, I spend A LOT of time hanging out at neighborhood playgrounds with my kiddos. I can’t wait to bring them by this one to show off what I did! 🙂

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At any rate, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m not particularly strong and while I was my Daddy’s little helper in construction projects growing up…my handy-ness is limited to the “basics.” Anyhow, this is how it went down, all the volunteers, showed up bright and early and we were divided into groups with a team leader. Each group was responsible for  a specific component of the playground.

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The group I was assigned to was in charge of 2 directional sign posts. We had to paint arrows and think of what we were going to write on them. We decided on one post carrying “location” tags and the other would have inspirational “directions.”

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I was fortunate not to be mixing and pouring concrete aka “getting dirty,” (although I did some, to secure our post in the ground), and other groups were assembling the play equipment, painting a mural, erecting gazebos and sitting areas, etc…

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And, I think my assignment was extra special because I got to work with some of the kids who live in the community and took the initiative to volunteer to help make it happen. I was impressed at the efforts by these young men.

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The whole playground was constructed in about 6 hours. I mean of course they will properly inspect it and make sure it is sound for youngsters to start using it, but I was truly in awe of how quickly it all came together. It was a great day of teamwork and community service.

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Frontier Flying

10 10 2015

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I flew Frontier for the first time last week on a trip with my family from San Francisco to Chicago and since it is one of those “discount” airlines that can sometimes be the “unknown,” I figured I’d share some of my takeaways from the round trip experience.

The two biggest factors that influenced why we chose to fly Frontier even though I am a proud miles collecting member on a handful of other airlines.

Pricing – The cost for my family of four to make the round trip cost us less than $1,000

Flight schedule – Even though we live much closer to Oakland, the times available for the nonstop flights worked well for us to leave out of San Francisco and land at O’Hare – even though we’d prefer Midway, and made the most sense.

Okay, so I booked our fares online and elected to forego selecting seats or paying for baggage when I initially booked the trip. Yes, this is an airline which only allows a “personal item” with you in the cabin of the plane and any carry-on bags that you’d put int he overhead bin will incur an additional cost. And, as I also alluded to in my previous statement, I didn’t pick (i.e. pay) to choose our seats. I felt a slight risk here of being separated from my family, but wasn’t too concerned…and it did work out in the end.

A couple nights before out departure date I decided to call in and ask about the random seating, since I didn’t pay “extra” to pick seats, yet with 2 and 3 year old tots in tow, it was pretty critical that a parent was seated next to each one. The four of us didn’t need to be all together, but 2 and 2 would be ideal. I mean can you image a toddler being forced to sit unattended!?!? At any rate, I was advised that since we were traveling with young children, it would be taken into consideration and I should inquire at the airport if the random seating didn’t already put us in an agreeable seating arrangement, and she noted my reservation. The other helpful tid bit she informed me of was that I would save money by selecting and paying for my baggage options online.

 

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So anyway, when I checked in..all was GOOD! We are all put in the same row 2 and 2 with the aisle between us and I paid for our 2 check-in bags online, saving $10, since it would have been $10 more if I waited to do that at the airport. I didn’t pay for any carry on bags, we each had a personal item…and the rule of thumb for your personal item is can it fit under the seat in front of you!?!?

Dropping off our bags at the airport was fine and their customer service was nice and friendly. I liked that they allowed us to pre-board since we have small kids. Every airline is different these days and many do not include people with small children in the “pre-board” category. The plane was clean and leg room was pretty good. The seats are comfy enough, but unless I just couldn’t find the button, they didn’t recline. They are also very slim seats, compared to the width of seats I’ve sat in on other planes, but it didn’t make a major difference. The tray table was also much smaller, a little silver tray that dropped down. I think water was complimentary, but anything else had a fee. By the way, I think if you are seated in the first few rows you are some kind of “VIP, special” …but I didn’t do all that! 😉

In hindsight, it was a very good experience. We had a non stop flight that was on time or early each way, we had great seat assignments (that we didn’t pay extra for), our bags made it to our destinations and it was minimal charges for our checked baggage…and let’s be honest, everyone charges for bags these days except Southwest. I can’t say I will always be flying Frontier, but if it makes sense for my future travel plans, I certainly won’t hesitate!

Photos courtesy: Frontier Airlines



Wedding Bells in Sin City

12 05 2015

I just spent an extended weekend in Las Vegas for my younger sister Adrienne’s neon-themed wedding – she the older of my 2 younger sisters! We weren’t on the strip, but in DTLV (downtown Las Vegas) and it was filled with fun festivities, true to the style of the couple we were there to celebrate. We stayed at the Downtown Grand Hotel which is a block off from Fremont Street, recently remodeled and very comfortable (and reasonably priced). We did head over to “the strip” for one night of table and bottle service partying, but everything else was within walking distance to the hotel, which was really nice. From the Container Park to Gold Spike, The Neon Museum and her post-ceremony venues of Le Thai and Commonwealth, it was the perfect wedding weekend. Many congratulations to my sister and new brother in law, may their marriage be blessed and filled with endless love.

Check out some of my favorite photos from our Sin City festivities…

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My VIP Tour of Raymond Vineyards

27 03 2015

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I recently embarked on my first ever wine-tasting outing in Northern California’s “Wine Country,” and it was so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. I went with a group of ladies, as we were all celebrating my sister Adrienne’s upcoming wedding, so it was a girls getaway bachelorette weekend of sorts. Like I said, I had never been wine tasting, so I asked around for recommendations before finally settling on a VIP Tour Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena. The contact who booked gave me a heads’s up that it was a  non-conservative and atypical of a traditional winery..whatever that is. Honestly I was just expecting a plain room in the middle of a huge field of grapes on a vine and wine barrels. I couldn’t have been more wrong in “stereotyping” a vineyard/winery. This was anything but boring, typical AND oh so perfect for our occasion!

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I instantly fell in love with our VIP host Gina, she was a complete doll! As soon as she saw our group, we got our glasses and popped the bubbly. Then she proceeded to take us for a short tour of their grounds, with beautiful gardens, farm animals and even a “Doggie Winery” if you will. She explained to us that they create their own energy and do their best to be “green.”

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From there, the party started! We went into an indoor facility where they make the wine and this place is almost indescribable, you kind of have to experience it for yourself. It has sexy mood lighting with several Vegas showgirl-like outfitted mannequins…it had a Moulin Rouge feel…lots of “French” influence! There were elaborate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and lounge music pumping through the room..and of course we were surrounded by wine!

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From there we went to another outdoor area where we had an impromptu photo shoot on picturesque white lounge furniture before being ushered in to the “JCB Lounge.” JCB standing from wine maker and owner Jean Charles Boissant. The JCB Lounge is all-gold EVERYTHING! There’s also a huge projection screen and just a very rich, very high end vibe. My first thought was this is the perfect backdrop for a hip hop video! LOL!

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Our last stop on the VIP tour was the private Red Room. Think velvet and leopard fabrics…it was out of this world, the room just sucked you in and invited you to relax. Gina was even kind enough to let my sister pic the Beyonce Pandora station to provvde our soundtrack for the room. All in all, I was blown away by this place..and I’m sure when I return there’ll be so much more to take in that I missed this time around. We may not have went to Vegas for this bachelorette, but Raymond Vineyards made us feel like that’s where we were..and the wines were amazing too! It couldn’t have been a more perfect VIP Tour of the Winery or for my sister’s special outing. We are so thankful we had the opportunity to visit it.

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I would highly recommend this as a stop for anyone’s next jaunt into wine country. It’s nothing short of amazing and didn’t disappoint..both of which I never expected to be saying about a winery.



It’s a FastBreak Reunion

25 03 2015

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One of the things that people always like to “remember” about me is that I am a former Oakland Raiderette…and I am. However, before I ever stepped foot on an NFL sideline, I had the honor of dancing among some of the most beautiful dancers I have ever shared the stage with…as a member of the Sacramento Kings FastBreak Dance Team. It was the first professional (sports) dance team I had ever been part of, and it was a very memorable experience, from the great friends I made, to the the excitement of dancing on an NBA court and being part of the Sacramento Kings community.

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Well, this past weekend we had a “reunion,” where the Kings invited back FastBreak Alumni to once again hit the hardwood and dance for the crowd during its game versus the Washington Wizards. Not all the ladies made it back, but there was about 30 alumni who were able to make it for the performance. It was such good times…a real sisterhood and pleasure for me to stand among the same beautiful dancers.

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We did a minute and a half dance routine to “Uptown Funk,” during a second quarter timeout and overall, we all still “got it!” 🙂 And — one of the things that made this extra special for me was to have my family by my side, because for me, there’s no point in doing what you love if you can’t share it with the ones you love! <3

Watch a video of our performance, and see some pictures from the event below…

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