imageimageimageApologies for not posting for a while and for this ultra-long post, but my past week has been crazy. If you watched my latest vlog you would know that last Tuesday two of my best friends from college, Neil and Sharna (from Pittsburgh and Dallas respectively) came to visit Kyle and I in the Bay Area! Kyle and I had created a super packed itinerary to fit everything the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer in less than a week, which resulted in a tiring but amazing couple of days. The first few days we explored Palo Alto (Oren’s Hummus Shop, of course) and took them to Sunset Beach in Santa Cruz. It ended up being really cold towards the afternoon but we still had a good time, and even got to see tons of dolphins swimming close to shore.                              imageimageimageOur Thursday was busy with being in San Francisco the whole day. We started off having brunch at Dottie’s (it was on Diners, Dive-ins, and Drives) in the Mission District and it was amazing. Kyle and Neil started a new tradition of leaving each other’s numbers for the waiter, which in this case was a very flamboyant and heavily tatooed man. Unfortunately neither of them ever received a text from him. Afterwards we explored Lombard Street, Pier 39, Ghirardelli, and Union Square before joining Misty, Rhea, and Caren for dinner at Lers Ros Thai in the city. For anyone looking for a nice place that’s not too expensive- check it out! It was delicious. It was also interesting to see how much we needed Uber and Lyft over the trip, and how convenient they are! I am personally a bigger fan of Uber because of a couple mishaps with Lyft, but they both are pretty innovative and helpful concepts. After dinner Kyle took us to an amazing viewpoint where we got to see the Golden Gate Bridge at night. Fun fact- I walked 27,000+ steps that day (I normally do about 10,000).      imageMy personal favorite day of the trip was Outside Lands, an indie music festival in Golden Gate Park. I got to see Greensky Bluegrass, Chromeo, Grouplove, Phosphorescent, the Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West, and a bunch others. My personal favorite was the Disclosure set, where Sharna and I squeezed up towards the front and just enjoyed ourselves amongst all the people singing and dancing. Music festivals are just an amazing experience- so many people, sounds, and cute outfits! Lucky for us Kyle’s dad scored us VIP tickets, which just made the experience better. It was also pretty exciting to see how many vendors were using PayPal :). The bummer of the night was when we got back to the car, only to see it was towed…that led to an unhappy group of broke teenagers.                         imageimageAfter a Saturday lunch in Santana Row, we had to squeeze in some of the natural beauty of California into the trip, so a bunch of us drove up to Mt. Madonna for a camping trip. Being the last minute planner I am, we ended up pick up In-N-Out for dinner (the true California experience) but still made s’mores and garlic bread on the fire at the campsite. It was funny because the girls (Sharna, Anu, and I) were the ones who set up the tent and most of the stuff while the guys kicked back and sat in MY chairs (typical), which only shows how great girls can be.                                       imageI was sad to see my friends leave, especially considering how well they had integrated into my home friend group (worlds colliding), but lucky for me I’ll see them when I get back to school next week. It was amazing to show them my home and what I like to do for fun, but some of my favorite moments were just catching up with them. My 3 am talks with Sharna and early morning coffee runs with Neil just reminded me how much I missed them over the past 3 months and how excited I am to start my sophomore year. 

Check out the vlog of my friends’ visit to the Bay Area (photos and details to come later). Hope you had a great time Neil and Sharna!

The Jain Party

imageimageI spent the last 4 days/ 3 nights camping at Donner Lake, in the south of Lake Tahoe. If you’re not familiar with this historic location, it’s where the Donner Party attempted to cross into California in the 1800’s. Unfortunately for them, they were stranded in a cold winter and resorted to cannibalism to survive (lovely). Lucky for me, my family’s favorite thing to do when going camping is elaborate eating, so I was spared from eating my brother. You seriously can’t imagine how much 4 families can eat in 4 days. Though we spent a lot of time hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and chilling at the campsite, I obviously decided to focus this post on the food (my favorite part of camping).           imageimageEach of the meals had to be cooked by a different group of people, and a couple of my family friends my age and I were in charge of Mexican night. I made my world famous guacamole (seriously, I make amazing guac), and we had an elaborate spread of veggies, salsas, and other ingredients. I don’t think I eat this elaborately when I cook at home.                           imageimageimageOther nights we barbecued veggies, made burgers, and of course s’mores!! My friend Pooja has the idea to melt peanut butter and add bananas to our s’mores and it was delicious. Lucky for me I’m going camping again next week with 10+ of my friends- so s’mores round 2! Also in less than 24 hours I’ll be reunited with two of my best friends from college- Neil and Sharna- and I can barely contain my excitement (i’ve pretty much told all of my coworkers and friends). Their week long trip will be filled with Bay Area adventures, and more importantly, FOOD!!, so look out for that.

It’s Going Down, I’m Yelling Tinder


In the beginning of summer, I decided to download Tinder. My friends in college used it, but there’s always a hesitation to put yourself out there where you’re judged based solely on a couple pictures you choose. But one night when I was bored I decided to see what all the hype was about and convinced Rhea to get one to, and we embarked on a journey that honestly has kept my summer so entertaining. I’ve had plenty of messages from creepy and over-eager guys, but that’s not really what keeps it interesting…I was joking with a friend today that if I was to write a book about my summer, it would be called “The Summer of Awkward Interactions with Guys I Matched on Tinder.” So I thought I’d explain some of these anecdotes:

- Silicon Valley is the CMU of the Summer: Because the Bay Area is full of tech companies that hire CS interns every summer, the entire upperclassmen male population of Carnegie Mellon is in the Bay Area. And on Tinder. I was seeing the description “Carnegie Mellon student, interning at Google/Facebook/eBay” so often that I was starting to worry. My description also says I go to CMU, so what’s the etiquette on this? Do I have to swipe right on you because we go to the same school? Are there rules for this? I eventually started swiping left on most of these CMU guys in fear of having run-ins on campus with them in the Fall.

- Tinder in India Makes You Question Everything You Believe In: I spent a couple weeks in India this summer, and obviously decided to checkout the Tinder scene there. SOS. Young Indian men have a questionable way of typing- I was getting a lot of messages saying things like “wanna make friendship?” “you want to tango baby?” and “where frm u.” If a guy seemed kind of cute from his pictures, I was turned off by their description that normally said something like “♬ the stars shine for u…we will live forever…sweet dreamz.” Seriously who teaches these guys how to flirt? This guy seemed to be doing a little extra soul searching #pensive:                       image

- Shit…I Know You from Somewhere: I’m working at PayPal this summer, and there are tons of other college-age interns there too. I was going to an intern event earlier this summer with my friend Puja, and she vaguely introduced me to some of the people walking with us. Later that week when I was killing time on Tinder I saw a guy who looked familiar and his description said he was working at PayPal. We matched and started messaging, and talked about our projects, colleges, etc. but nothing came of it. I’m pretty sure he unmatched me, so last week when Puja informed me he was coming to lunch with us I was thrown into panic. Like actually hyperventilating. To make matters worse everyone on the table except us got up at the same time to get food, so we were the only ones left sitting there. Plot twist: he shook my hand and said “Hey, I don’t think we’ve met,” and introduced himself. How….gentlemanly? We ended up having a similar conversation to the one we had on Tinder, and I’m still wondering if he recognized me or not.

- Tinder Etiquette: If anyone knows what the rules are about swiping right on people you know, please let me know ASAP. I see people that I used to pass the halls of my high school, boys who dated my family friends, and sometimes my closest friends from high school. It’s always funny when I come across people I hang out with, but I think it’s kind of a standard thing to match with someone you know. So i’ve matched with guys from my friend group, the other intern on my team, and my even friend’s older brother. Three of my closest high school guy friends:                                   image

- Running into my Tinder Match…Literally: The point when I realized how ridiculous Tinder is was last night (not sure how I didn’t realize that one earlier), when I came across the profile of a guy who sits two desks away from me at work. We see each other every day, hear each other’s conversations, but refuse to acknowledge each other’s presence. Imagine how shocked I was when I saw him last night on Tinder, and we matched. Did he recognize me (SOS)??? When I got to work this morning I pretty much ran past his desk in fear. I avoided eye contact all day until later when I was walking out of the elevator, engrossed in conversation, when I ran into him full on. I head butted him and (very, very unfortunately) made eye contact. We stared at each other for a second with a dear-in-headlights look before I escaped to the end of the hall in a blink of an eye; later I noticed he unmatched me, though unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to make it any less awkward tomorrow.

I’m not expecting to make any relationships from Tinder (shocker), it’s a stupid but hilarious way to keep busy when I’m waiting for my train or bored. I probably won’t use it when I go back to school considering there will be too many guys that I see often on there, but I’m glad I had some random encounters this summer to keep my life sufficiently awkward. And considering my mom always says I’ll have to turn to online dating if I can’t find a husband in college, I think I’ll keep the app around for a bit.

A Tale of Two Unis

imageimageimageimageMy weekend was pretty much a gigantic high school reunion— I spent my Saturday in Berkeley and my Sunday at Stanford. There was a Real Madrid vs. Milan soccer game at Cal yesterday (I guess that’s a big deal?) which meant a bunch of my high school friends were driving up to Berkeley. Shannon and I got there in the afternoon so the traffic was horrible; we had to park a mile away from Caren’s apartment and jog there (SOS). As usual it was a day of running into people I’ve been dying to meet, like Rhea’s best friend’s Mario and Jessica, and hanging out with old friends. I feel like half of my reunions these days happen from people commenting on my Instagram posts that they are near me…oh the power of social media. As usual I got to eat at some of my favorite places in Berkeley (the food scene there is insane) and we had dinner in Asian Ghetto, which is an amalgam of cheap Asian restaurants.imageimageCoincidentally I spent my entire day today at Stanford (Berkeley’s rival since the beginning of time) judging debates at the Stanford National Forensics Institute. Pretty awesome to get paid for something I was so involved with in high school, and I spent my day listening to debates regarding an individual’s moral responsibility to take action in the face of injustice (riveting, I know). I also ran into Caitlyn who I hadn’t seen in almost a year, and in moments we were laughing and catching up on college stories. As I say in every single post, I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE THE BAY!! I’m dreading the humidity that will welcome me in Pittsburgh. I also don’t want to leave my job at PayPal which is the best part of summer, but the hardest thing to part with will be (of course) the food.

eating for two

imageimageimageLast week my friend Mariam texted me about getting dinner, and after she told me she likes going places with good salads, naturally I suggested Mongolian BBQ (ha-ha). Truth is I was going through a huge Asian food/tofu withdrawal (just had pho two days ago, oh well) and I’ve been dying to go to MBBQ for a while. We invited Reeti to come with us to New Mongolian BBQ on Castro where the concept is simple: you pay a flat rate to fill as many bowls as you want with meats, veggies, sauces, and tofu and they grill it for you on a huge wok. It’s so filling and worth it that at the end of dinner Mariam said she needed to unbutton her pants. A note about Mariam and Reeti- their sarcasm is hilarious. They successfully convinced me that Mariam (a sophomore in college) was pregnant and my heart actually skipped a beat. The people sitting next to us seemed so uncomfortable by our conversations the whole time were visibly cringing.imageAfter dinner we sat outside on Castro and caught up on ridiculous college stories. Castro is full of young Silicon Valley business people on Friday nights, and it just reminds me of how much I’m going to miss the Bay Area when I’m sitting on a plane back to the ‘Burgh in 3 weeks. The weather was perfect, and there were tons of people sitting outside enjoying their dinner or dessert. And the most random part of the night was when a drunk guy actually tried to sit on my lap, I was so shocked but it was hilarious.

hummuside detectives

imageimageNot sure if the ancient Middle Easterners predicted that hummus would be such a trendy food, but boy am I grateful to them. My recent favorite restaurant is Oren’s Hummus Shop, and I pretty much screamed with joy last week when I found out they were opening a location in downtown Mountain View, right by my house. It’s pretty much the first place I recommend to anyone asking where they should go to eat, and Emily, Shannon, and I decided to checkout the new location yesterday. Because it was a Monday the place wasn’t too crowded (compared to the one in Palo Alto where the wait is at least 40 mins at any time of the day), and we caught up over hummus (duh), pita, and other treats. I was kind of bummed because the menu was pretty limited, and they didn’t have many skewers or dinner style dishes like the Palo Alto one does. I ended up ordering a couple sides, which were as tasty as I hoped.imageimageimageWe went to Gelato Classico for dessert, which is super popular and probably one of my favorite ice cream places in the Bay Area. We also walked around the little boutiques and Shannon bought her dad this hilarious birthday card (the inside says “I Hope You Have a Happy bleep Birthday”). I hadn’t seen Emily in forever so it was nice to catch up, and of course, eat hummus.

Work Week

imageimageimageThis was my first full week back from vacation, and gone were the days where I would spend half my days sleeping and the other half watching TV. I resumed my summer internship at PayPal, which is an amazing experience, but beyond tiring. I get to work between 9:00 and 9:30, and by the time I’m done with the day, gym, and train home, it’s 7:30 p.m. I normally come home and fall asleep, but my best friend Shannon came home from her summer orientation job at UT Austin, so I’ve spent the past couple days hanging out with her as much as possible. I have to center my plans around my work schedule, so Shannon and I went to Thai Orchid (which is by PayPal) for lunch on Thursday.imageimageKyle picked me up from work on Thursday evening and we met up with his RA from last year, who’s working at Google this summer! We took Francisco to Curry Up Now in Palo Alto Downtown, which has a super trendy ambience and serves fusion Indian-Mexican food (I had the paneer tikka burrito).imageimageBecause Shannon is leaving for Europe tomorrow, she’s been trying to see everyone quickly. We had dinner at The Counter last night with Isabelle and Caren, and drove up to Berkeley today to hang out with Tanay and Rhea. Whenever Shannon’s in the Bay Area I know I’ll have plans, so these past 3 days have been a blessing. It’s so temping to lay in bed after getting home from work, but I only have a few weeks let before going back to school so I hope I can see everyone before leaving!

frisko, frisko

imageimageLast Sunday I took the train to San Francisco to meet up with Rhea, who’s living in Berkeley this summer. We didn’t really have a plan for the day— there are infinite things to do in the city and we normally do all the touristy stuff- so we let Google Maps, Yelp, and some texts from friends who are San Franciscan natives be our guides for the day. We first ate at Super Duper Burger on Market Street, which you guessed it…was super duper! It was so cheap ($6 for a veggie burger!) but also trendy, and Rhea and I caught up while splitting a shake. We then wanted to go to the SF Museum of Modern Art but couldn’t figure out the entrance, so we gave up and took a bus to the Mission District.imageimageimageimageAfter getting off the bus the area seemed shady and we were nervous, but a block down we reached Valencia Street which was full of people, trendy stores, and restaurants. Once in the Mission District, we hit some vintage stores and boutiques and walked around for a couple hours. The final match of the soccer world cup was happening, and bars were packed with people watching the game, wearing jerseys, and sporting face paint. We also came across a little alley where the walls were painted head to toe in different murals! The weather was extremely warm for (usually chilly) San Francisco so we decided to stop at Bi-Rite Creamery, a famous ice cream place in the city. The 20 minute line was worth it— this is probably the 4th gourmet ice cream place I’ve been to this summer so I guess it’s the latest trend. It was nice to spend time in the city with no plan, and in a less touristy area. Rhea and I agreed that this was one of our better trips there, and I can’t wait to check out more places in San Francisco that I haven’t ventured to yet!

Vlog of my 6 day family reunion trip to the Himalayan region of Ladakh, where we camped, enjoyed gorgeous scenery, and had quality family bonding time.
All videos taken with my iPhone 5.

© ohmockingjay