Emerline Ji

Guggenheim Friday Lego Winedown

NYC DiariesEmerline Ji

I still can't believe I spent last night in the way I did. In a good way.

Not too long ago, my CreativeMornings colleague Paul tore through a package that arrived at the office like a kid at Christmas. The package immediately created a bit of buzz in the office -- it was a special Lego set of the Guggenheim!

Yesterday, Paul and Kyle finally decided to do it for our weekly Friday Winedown activity.

Kyle and Paul went IN on the set. Paul laid out the manual while Kyle grabbed bowls and sorted the pieces by general type.


The two of them were having such a blast it cracked me up. When I finally started participating, Kyle got competitive with his "spice" talk. Something he refers to a lot regarding another one of his hobbies, bocce ball. (Basically, talking in a sassy and slightly aggressive way to agitate the opposition.)

Eventually, Kyle had to leave to go dog sitting and Tina had an appointment. So for a while, I assisted Paul in finding the right pieces for each step.

An hour or so later, some FRIENDS (DorisBobby, and Mark) from upstairs stopped by to join our Winedown. Let's just say it quickly became a collaborative team effort.

I mostly took photos and sorted the pieces by color and type.

The level of focus and sincerity that the group showed was refreshing. Even though all of us are creative professionals, it felt really good to see grown adults playing and figuring something out together - just for the heck of it.

Thanks Paul for making our Friday Winedown even more entertaining!

3 Things for Productive Flow

Work & CareerEmerline Ji

Here are a few things that have helped me stay productive and focused these days: 

Soulection Show #313

As I've mentioned before, I love listening to Soulection shows while working on projects in the office that require more than a few hours of my time and focus. I usually download the mp3 directly from their website. This helps me not have to worry about the Internet loading the hour long track and also keeps my mind off of switching playlists like I would on Spotify. 

Their latest show #313 is phenomenal. Really one of my all-time favorites I think. It's a bit on the aggressive side, but it gets my mind into war mode. Towards the end of the show, the vibe ebbs and flows down to more softer instrumentals. I got goosebumps when the host Joe Kay signs off. 


Fullscreen Split Workstations

Whenever I need to use multiple browsers or taps to get work done faster, I like to turn on the fullscreen mode if available. For example: If I have one document or webpage I need to reference for another live working screen, the dual fullscreen mode in Apple computers really comes in handy. You can do this for any desktop program that has the fullscreen capability. 

Going split fullscreen serves a two purposes: 

  • It helps block out any visual distractions on my desktop.
  • It keeps me from switching between browsers / tabs. 

What if you're having a crazy day and you're trying to make progress on multiple projects? Even though single tasking is ideal, there are definitely times where I find myself a little tight on time (aka days I might need to leave the office early). 

You can do dual full screens for each workflow or project you're doing. Using the smart swipe function on Apple computers, you can easily flow back and forth between the dual split screens.

Here's a quick look at how you can do this: 

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B&W Desktop Wallpapers

I've been into all the black and white Work Hard Anywhere Wallpapers. I like that they keep my eyes focused on single task I'm doing whenever I'm not in fullscreen mode. Too many colors in the background tend to distract me. My personal favorite is the Black Water WHA wallpaper

Down The Block

NYC DiariesEmerline Ji

The weather is back in its gloomy funk, and so I decided to shake off the grey vibes with an ice cream break. My very serious declarations of taking an ice cream break were received by my colleague Kyle (our amazing COO + creator of #writeshopweds) and desk mate. Finally at 3pm, I set off!

... Okay, I just set off down the blockhahaha. My destination is literally less than a five minute walk from the office. So here. Come down the block with me on a shop-by-shop tour!


Bergen Street

The Invisible Dog Art Center, endearingly just called the Invisible Dog, is a museum and art center established by Lucien Zayan in 2009. Lucien happened to walk out of the space just as I took the picture! Hi, Lucien!

Just next door is currently Warby Parker's only brick and mortar store in Brooklyn. It's peculiarly always buzzing with people in the middle of the day. I've never been inside yet.

Right next to that is the beautifully meticulous Aēsop. They have their popular testers outside hanging next to their shop door. I've been inside once and had a lovely time. One thing I love more about this Aēsop shop though is that the windows always seem to reflect the outside world so richly. I'm not sure why.

A door or so down, there's 61 Local! A one-stop spot for drinks, food, and coffee. It's laptop friendly and also a good spot to catch up with a friend.

Across the street, there's this Italian restaurant called Numero 28. They're pretty solid and reliable as a go-to for a lot of Boreum Hill locals. Sometimes they'll have a jazz trio jamming out while people sip their wine.

Crossing the street, I always like to look at the corner shop across the intersection. It's called Regular Visitors, and well. I'm a regular visitor. They have cheap coffee and expensive home slash gift goods.

And... here we are!

Van Leeuwen. Started in 2008, this ice cream brand has quickly become my favorite in New York. I think they've expanded to Los Angeles too. They make both regular and vegan ice creams.

A man in line chatted me up. He was very eager to talk with me about ice cream, haha. His energy rubbed off on me. Although he recommended the Strawberry Rhubarb, I went with the Blackberry with granola and coconut.

It gave me the afternoon refresh I needed on this slightly gloomy Tuesday. Ice breaks should be a thing.

Flatiron, Madison Square, & People Watching

NYC DiariesEmerline Ji
I have a thing for photos that look like a screenshot from a romantic film.

I have a thing for photos that look like a screenshot from a romantic film.

Spent Saturday afternoon relaxing in Madison Square Park. I had a nice view of the Flatiron building and all the people walking by for a few hours. It was refreshing with the nice little breeze and the sun shining at the perfect temperature. 

I was happy to have caught two little girls with their scooter, enjoying the afternoon too. My phone caught a surreal shadow of a bird. I also made a throwback edit using Sepia. I couldn't get myself to reedit this moment as anything else. A flock of birds flew by right on time.

"Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you're not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don't have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out." (Deb Caletti)

My Oasis on the Internet

ThoughtsEmerline Ji

Why do I blog? I mean, why do I still blog? 

Ah, yes. There was a time that I doubted myself and felt self conscious about having my own domain name. I tried keeping it as a portfolio, but soon felt the itch to blog again. To just write and overshare. Even after a busy year of assimilating to New York, I found myself circling back to this hobby. I began asking myself what sort of blog this would be and quickly grew annoyed at myself with having so many silly rules about what I would and wouldn't share. 

And this is what I appreciate so much about the process of finding and settling into my own type of New Yorker identity (baby, still very fresh out of the womb) all while maturing as a young adult — I don't want to care anymore. That is, I want to just do what I desire without overthinking every little thing. I share what I share, because I like what I like. 

I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by a few bloggers every day at the office space who run outrageously popular blogs. Blogs that thousands of people around the city and world read religiously. Some of these bloggers are a team, while others are just committed and faithful to their own rhythm of sharing. They blog about very different things and in very different ways.

However, they all seem to have one thing in common. They know why. I assume they all have their deep personal experiences and reasons why they continue the practice of blogging. I don't know if these reasons are glamorous at all or tied to anything grand, but I'd like to think that they all feel similarly to why I (or any random person in the world for that matter) blog.

There is joy in sharing. Great joy. 

With all the craziness going on in the news and world, well nourished and thoughtfully cultivated blogs in my book still have relevance as the little oases of the Internet. It's why the Internet will always matter to me beyond the click baits, news sites, and multimedia platforms. 

I like these unique, personalized, and intimate gardens online. They keep me sane and they keep many other modern person in touch with the web sane as well. 

This year, I'd like to focus on that idea alone. To blog for the joy of sharing and to move beyond sanity. Move towards joy and helpfulness. 

Governor's Ball NYC, Friday

NYC DiariesEmerline Ji
Me and my friend Esther (Right)

Me and my friend Esther (Right)

Being painfully tired is (in general) a feeling that's normally unwelcome and a state of being that I try to avoid at all costs. There are only two exceptions to this preference - the day after an intense workout and the day after an intensely jam packed experience.

I almost crave the feeling of soreness that comes after an intense session of taking up my workout routine up a notch. It's a pain and tiredness that reminds me that I've made progress and that my body will soon be stronger than it was before.

And while a music festival isn't categorized with a session at the gym, it might as well be. Hours of standing in the sun, running around, standing without rest, and burning lots of calories is all part of the music festival experience. It's why you'll always find festival goers prepare themselves like they're going on a hiking trip: fanny packs, Camelbaks, bandanas, and more.

So while I'm sitting here on a bench in Madison Square Park half dazed, regretting I wore heels, and extremely sore... I'm feeling pretty okay about the tiredness that's resting on my shoulders and the soreness that's wedged its way into every crevasse of muscle fibers.

Let me tell you about yesterday.


Fueling Up

On Thursday evening, Esther and I agreed to meet each other past noon the next day. So I spent the morning working remotely from Mountain Province, a little coffee shop near my apartment. I needed coffee and was craving their popular egg sandwich.

The fun part of getting my coffee for stay is that Mountain Province likes to serve some of their drinks in bowls. It makes you feel like you're being nourished with a healthy soup, but you're actually just chugging a ton of caffeine.


First Moments at Gov Ball


Governor's Ball (a.k.a. Gov Ball) has very much become a staple in the New York City music festival scene. It was started in 2011 by Founders Entertainment which also produces The Meadows Music & Arts Festival.

What did I expect from Gov Ball? You know, I'm not sure. I had never been to any American music festival! Not even the notorious Coachella. The pricing of tickets and my dislike of large annoying crowds always kept me from going. Why did I end up going this time around, in my mid twenties? One, I don't feel guilty spending my own earned salary for myself. Two, I've been so plugged into music these days that the lineup for Friday really drew me in.

My first moments and impression of Gov Ball was a bit cringeworthy, hahaha. Everything was set up precisely for photos, well-branded, and colorful. Crawling with mostly young white teens and college students with glitter and fake gems printed on their overly tanned cheeks. The hordes of people smoking vape and weed ran to the attractions like bees to flowers - ready to populate their social media feeds.

And well, I was one of them. Minus the white young college student part.

Randall's Island has a beautiful view of the city and although laced with an occasional rainy cloud, was a great place for the festival.


Breaks In Between

Trying to decide how to pose.

Trying to decide how to pose.

In between seeing Kehlani and Lorde, Esther and I enjoyed food, drinks, and mini golfing. Well, Esther was hilariously excited to mini golf. She'd seen a photo or message from a friend about an old mini golfing course located in her hometown. I guess it made her nostalgic! Her excitement rubbed off on me, and I was victorious in my buzzed state of strategic swinging. Sorry, Esther.

The odd mantra they had everywhere.

The odd mantra they had everywhere.

Tada, tacos.

Tada, tacos.


The Performances

Who were my favorites?

The three musicians I wanted to see were Kehlani, Lorde, and Chance the Rapper. This was the order of the lineup schedule, but also happened to be the order in which I listen to their music (greatest to least).

I've been listening to Kehlani more than Lorde and Chance combined. She brings the fresh sound that I love and would place in the same vein as Tamia, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill. Think Ariana Grande taking on the next wave from Mariah.

Lorde surprised me. Or should I say, delighted me. This is because I've always liked Lorde, but wouldn't have ever said she was a favorite of mine off the top of my head. She had a wonderful aura and gentle yet charismatic stage presence that I was not expecting. I think I didn't know I would feel as connected to her live performance as I did.

And what about Chance? The man is a gifted performer who knows how to entertain a crowd in a very natural and seemingly effortless way. The crowd (warning: millennial speak) was lit. I mean really lit. Lit with cigarettes, lit with energy, and lit with die hard fans.

My personal connection to the set was probably a little less than other people because I never really got hooked on his music at the level other people have. This didn't change the fact though that he's definitely worthy of all the accolades and love he's earned. Plus, he's cute. I mean, everyone was swooning at every word he'd say.

I took a few short videos for the performances, so no shots here really. P.S. Ty Dolla $ign was a guest on Chance's stage and has a beautiful singing voice.


Evening Summer Magic



The best thing about Gov Ball though had nothing to do with the festival at all. This first week of June is really gifting New York the beautiful weather it hasn't seen since last summer. As someone who never really grew up with seasons, great weather is something I always took for granted.

Good weather in New York City is really pure magic. Where you're saying, "It's so nice!" literally every five minutes.

I was telling Esther all day yesterday that I have a simple assumption about people - we think very similarly and feel similarly about more things than we'd like to admit. Meaning, we're actually not as clever or incredibly unique as we think we may be at times.

I felt the last hour of the sun setting kicked off Gov Ball with all the good vibes it needed to have for all the goers. Especially those who bought the three day pass.


Would I go again next year? Probably. It really depends on who's in the lineup and I'd still most likely pick a single day to go and not more than that.

A note: A lot of unpleasant things happened as well at the festival that I sort of expected from the type of crowds that go to something like this. I shared some of them on a short story image for Instagram, concluding the Gov Ball snapshots. It read something like this: 

"Other real thoughts on millennial music festival experience (so no one assumes my life is unrealistically perfect from these snapshots): 

  • People smoked too much. 
  • Yup, the generation after millennials is pretty bad too. 
  • I got puked on by a complete stranger. 
  • Don't do drugs irresponsibly, please. (Better if you don't do it at all)
  • A big man stepped on my foot. 
  • I stepped on some other woman's foot. 
  • People littered everywhere. 
  • 80% of the crowd seemed to not be there to genuinely enjoy the music. 
  • ... but I'd guess I go again!"

A friend of mine replied to my last snapshot outlining the unpleasant things: "We aren't true millennials without a true outdoor concert experience and a little bit of puke! :p looks fun!"

To which I say - I N D E E D.