About to launch a new site

Location | New York City

Here's a lovely photo of Yuki and me.

So I went a bit crazy and I’m about to launch a brand new blog. I’ve decided to switch hosts, so I’m slowly migrating/transferring everything over. I’m discovering just how easy it is to migrate WordPress when you actually know what you’re doing (versus about 4 hours ago when I was acting like a manic trying to figure things out). Here are the details:

  • New layout!
  • My personal blog will be www.joannie.net
  • I will be removing the original blog on joannaleelin.com
  • The explore! blog will go away and just be www.joannie.net (I will keep it was a redirect)
  • I will be going through my old blogger account, The Wasteland (with posts dating back to 2002), and deleting useless posts and curating them as fit to migrate over to the new blog.
  • New features: fashion, photography (better photos, I promise!)
  • A lot of food features – including reviews, I swear
  • More travel – let’s hope!
  • General thoughts and ideas about life.

Let’s hope that I’m as interesting as I’d like to be. I will go back and edit/curate my old entries as well (which does indeed make me crazy).

Love it!





05 2011

Christmas in South Carolina

Location | Bluffton, South Carolina

This year I decided to spend my mom’s birthday, December 23rd, until January 2nd in South Carolina. My parents live in Bluffton, right outside of Hilton Head Island, so besides being in a resort area, it’s warm during the winters… well, except for this year. Not only was it cold, but it also SNOWED. Ok, I went down south to escape the cold weather, but unfortunately, it followed me.

Cousins digging into the food

First we had a really great Christmas dinner. My cousins had all come down from Michigan, Taiwan and California. They had gone to Disneyworld the week before, and then drove up to my parent’s house. We had a traditional Thanksgiving!? meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams and various other dishes. I love Thanksgiving food!

Cooking crab. He look so sad.

The last day of 2010, my parents and I went to a seafood purveyor and got a dozen blue crabs and a lot of shrimp. We brought them home and steamed the crap out of everything. Above is the sad crab.

My dad pulling stubborn crabs out of the bag.

The crab’s claws weren’t tied together, so they were really stubborn when we tried to pull them out of the bag. We required my dad’s assistance in getting them into the pot.

Steamed Shrimp.

The final dish was the steamed shrimp. Doesn’t it all look good?

[Flickr Set]


01 2011

Big Bambu at the Met

Location | New York, NY

Jiye and I wanted to catch Big Bambu at the Met before it ends this week

The big mess of Big Bambu

So we headed up to the rooftop and it was a really crazy exhibit. It was amazing to see how far they had come after many months of working on this thing. Bamboo was everywhere, was were the ropes to tie the pieces together.

View from the rooftop

We stayed on the rooftop for a bit. The view of the city and Central Park is really nice and well worth a visit if you just want to chill. There’s a cash bar on the rooftop too, so good for a chill get together if they have a nice exhibit.

Flickr Set.


10 2010

A Philadelphia Story

Location | New York, NY

Every time I think of Philadelphia, I always get the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air stuck in my head – anyone else? Then I have to sing the whole song in my head before I can continue. This entry is going to take FOREVER.

Temple, recreated.

Well, I went to Philly to hang out with my friend Amy. She’s one of my very best friends and I love hanging out with her. We had noodles, then ate Vietnamese, but most importantly, we went to The Philadelphia Museum of Art


Japanese village, recreated.

There were a lot of great exhibits and we just slowly made our way through them. It’s actually not a very large museum, but it’s impressive. They had temples and village re-created inside. I thought those were just as good as the ones at the Met in NYC.

Outside the museum

We even took a (short) walk outside. It was a little cold, so we hurried back to the car before Amy took me to check out UPenn (and go find a Wawa to get a hoagie). Christine kept on saying how good the hoagies were, so I made Amy take me – ha. It was actually not bad, but I prefer Potbellys!

Flickr Set.


10 2010

If I Developed a Job Applicant Website

Location | New York

I am 100% positive that everyone has gone through the job search and felt that frustration that everyone gets with terrible job application systems. If I developed a Job Applicant Website, it’d feature the following:

Main Features

  • Candidate Profile (with generic resume and generic cover letter)
  • Search Openings
  • Saved Searches
  • Submitted Jobs (with status of Submitted, Under Review, Not Seeking Candidacy + date and update statuses)
  • Job Cart

Special Features

  • Each job would allow a new version of a resume and cover letter (No limits)
  • If a position has been filled, HR must close out the job description and send out an email (even if computer generated) to all applicants
  • Essential Questionnaire for hiring managers “Rank your Excel Skills from 1-10” with scale

I just wish that the HR business would actually evolve into something better. I haven’t seen any change since I first started applying for jobs.

If only things were that easy.



10 2010

What I’ve Learned

Location | New York

What I’ve learned in the past few months have been invaluable. I’ve discovered a lot about who I am and what I want to do and who I want to become. I’ve received advice from all walks of life and have just learned that I have to be really ready to go through what I went through again. Here are a few quips from what I’ve learned:

  • I have to work terribly hard at having any sort of patience (trust me, I’m working harder than an Olympian rower in the final seconds of the race)
  • “Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst” has become a “mantra”
  • Work as hard outside of your job as you do during your job

There’s plenty more, but I’ll add them as I think of them.



10 2010

How Dem Apples?

Location | New York, NY

(Almost) every year, I go apple picking. I think in the past 10 or so years, I’ve only not gone once or twice. Well, this year was excellent, for the most part.

I woke up via alarm, but guess what… I was sick from alcohol. I had gone to a “crazy” party the night before (ie: 30 people, 29 gay men, 1 straight girl). How did I end up there? I blame Kelvin. I blame my hangover on him too.

Well, I ended up not feeling well the whole ride up to the apple orchards. Let alone, Kelvin was also there – and also hungover – and another mutual friend – Tae was there – also hungover too. I had the worst of it…

Kelvin and Jiye eat.

Anyway, we went apple picking at Lawrence Farms in upstate New York. Jiye and Kelvin spent most of their time picking and eating veggies, versus actually planning to purchase anything (ha). Christine and I got a lot of apples and vegetables that we planned on cooking up.

Up close and personal

We even had a cute little wagon that Christine pulled everywhere.

Christine and our wagon.

I think the best part of the whole exploration of the orchard was the corn. Mind you, I’ve been to Lawrence Farms twice before, so being the third time, you’d think we’d seen everything. Nope, we missed the corn. This time we climbed into the stalks and pulled out  lot of beautiful corn!

Something isn't right here...

After our trip, I drove back and we ended up at Costco where we enjoyed it a little too much. The worst was getting back to the city. Tae had to be at culinary school and the traffic was atrocious. We ended up making everything work, but what a rush. Next time – full day rental!

Flickr Set.



09 2010

Magnolia Plantation

Location | Charleston, SC

Today we decided to go to the oldest plantation in the Charleston area – Magnolia Plantation.

Old Slave Quarters

We took a tour by tram that basically took us through A LOT of swamp, but what used to be rice fields.

Do you see the ducks?

We also walked around their garden path – it’s the oldest garden in America. Um, it wasn’t very impressive, but nonetheless, it was relatively enjoyable.

Boat for pretty photos

I'm not really smiling, oh well.

Pretty bridge

It was an expensive tour, but it gave me and my mom something to do. Plus I got to take photos – always a bonus.

Flickr set.


09 2010

Missing in Action

Location | East Village, NYC

So I had made up my mind that I’d write a ton of blog entries for my personal blog, but instead I end up on my Tumblr or Twitter. So many pieces of sharing my life to keep track of! I had a discussion yesterday about being an “open book” and I do realize that I am completely an open book. I will blog, tweet, or blatantly announce anything as long as I feel if it’s worthy to be shared (which is almost everything, because in case you haven’t heard, I’m kind of a big deal).

Well, since I left Time Inc, devoting my time to the full-time job search has been both disheartening and exhilarating. While I am hearing a lot about many different companies, I am also disappointing in waiting for any leads to turn out. I know that I would make a fabulous marketing manager in the digital arena, but proving it has been quite a challenge.

So here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks:

  • Catching up on Google Reader
  • Updating my Tumblr
  • Tweeting
  • Eating my way through the city
  • Drinking a whole lot of iced tea (now I’m originally from the south, so I ADORE sweet tea. If I drink too much I think I’m going to have diabetes, this needs to stop!)
  • Being glued to my blackberry
  • Finishing off some books (just completed Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – now to finish Eat Pray Love before the movie comes out!)

Overall, it’s been an up and down past month and a half, but nonetheless, it’s the next chapter of my life and I’m so excited to share it all with you!



08 2010

Company Culture

Location | Birch Coffee, 27th Street, New York City

One of the most important things that I look for in my permanent working place is the company culture.

It’s an alluring word, and can mean so many things. Whether it’s the benefits & perks or the people, the right combination is very important. The first company – an actual corporation! – that I worked for had amazing company culture. They were the only company listed on the 100 Best Companies to Work For for 6 years running (right up until they had a merger and didn’t qualify that year). They had fantastic amenities, great people to work with, and the fact that the CEO was extremely accessible made everyone feel like they were a part of something bigger.

No matter what your work is, the people that you work with will be a determining factor in your reason to stay in the long term. The moment you hit that wall where you don’t feel comfortable anymore, it’s time to move on.

Truth? Be honest with yourself, would you rather stick around for the pay and be miserable or would you rather work with amazing people who are passionate about what they do, even if it does pay a little less?


06 2010