Moving to SF (tips + resources)

I recently moved to SF, and I want to share with you semi-struggles I encountered along the way. I hope this will help make life a little easier for those who are moving to the city. I started looking at listings on multiple websites two months before my move-in date. Apparently, that is not necessary. The best bet is to check listings one week before your move-in with your roommate. Some agencies require "all" roommates or people who are planning to live in the unit. Plan ahead and plan to meet at the same location. Coordinate!

Just a note, I already had a roommate and was looking for a two bedroom, one bath roommate apartment. I am not sure whether that is important or not in this post.

Based on my experience, these are the places that update quite frequently.

Check if you are interested in a specific area in the city and crime areas.
Crime Neighborhood Scout
SF Gate
San Francisco Days

Always be alert for scams. Here are a few tips to double check.

1. Know Who You Are Speaking With
When looking online, be aware of spams. Be careful! I came across two while looking. They tend to ask for your payment to hold a spot rather than asking you to view the area first (they don't have the keys, silly, and quite obvious). Just google the person's name, do the basics social media search (LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, etc). If you come across something similar online (which I did), reconfirm by emailing the real estate.

Here are two examples I encountered. It looks legit but notice the last two paragraphs and their email addresses.

Always double check where or not a listing is real with another agent in charge of the units. It doesn't hurt to ask! It will save you a lot of trouble. Note you see the BRE # which I will explain next.

2. Check For Their License
Make sure they are licensed if they aren't the owners. Look for BRE#; this is their real estate license. They usually provide at the end of the descriptions in most listings. You can get check if they are qualified as real estate agent in California here. 

3. Confirm Whether It Is A Real or Fake Company
Try to find out if the company is registered or renewed. Go to Business Search provided by California Secretary of State. Look for the business owners and do some more basics searches.

Stay alert, look for clues. I hope this short read will help anyone looking for housing and good luck!

PitchPal Logo Design

I have been working PitchPal's logo from beginning to now. It's interesting to look back these past 5 months and see how much it has evolved. Playing with the different colors, fonts, symbols, icons, and making sure it represent what we do. 

"Overcome your fear of public speaking and deliver your pitch with confidence."

I want to share with you the process and evolution over the 24 hours of designing and the redesigning phase.

 First Version, September 2015

For more information about the PitchPal designs visit my portfolio post here.

Check out the links below for PitchPal's social sites.

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin

The Plastic Fork

Once upon a time, there was a white plastic fork.

I have this weird emotional relationship with this fork the two weeks I returned to Oxford, OH. I would pass by it every time I had to go the main office to pick up my mail or use the fitness center. I took the same path every time regardless if it was sunny or raining out.

I didn’t pick it up because I was rushing and thinking someone would pick it up. Apparently, no one would pick it up. I wondered. It wouldn’t go away; the wind didn’t take it, either. Though, it did seem cleaner every time.

Every time I met plastic fork, I thought of the following things.
Where did you are from? What happened? Who left you? What will happen when similar things like your multipliers?

It made me think; you don’t know what someone is going through just by their appearances. Their experiences, memories, thoughts, and something you can read.

Second, things don’t happen alone. Don’t assume, it work out or someone else to solve it. Take action. You know something will happen when you take the initiative with your hands.

Reflection of Martian Chronicles

Staged Play at Miami University

Where do I begin? I wasn’t sure where I was standing is appropriate before the play started. I felt there was still a distance between the performer and me, even though, we were fairly close to them. When one of them looked into my eyes, I didn’t feel pulled into their story because I didn’t understand their gestures and behavior. Questions came up. Maybe because I was missing some background information? Later, I was lead to the performance and wasn’t sure what to expect. This performance was definitely unlike any other stage performances I went where I sat and watched from afar. I was able to see closely at their expressions and lightly participate.

My most memorable part of the scene was when one Earthian and Martian met at one place at a point in time. My first thought was they are connected through time. One living in the future and the other in the past. They both existed in their present. I find this interesting because the past doesn’t move because one can say it disappears when a new action arises. Somehow, they were able to meet at one point in time. Is time how we think it is? Can we only go forward and not backward?

Near the end of the play, an Earthian mentioned they have arrived on Mars. The daughter complained about when they can go back home. I suddenly thought, wait, home. Right! The Earth is our home. Why does it make it our home? Yes, it is where we live, but most importantly, it contains our past. It’s a place with our past met our daily activities, places we encounter, and people we engaged with. After watching this play, I realize home is not only where we are contained within and where the self looks for the familiarity. It also resembles of our past as well as how we imagine our future to be. It’s how we feel acquainted with our identity. We have established our routines around our environment. This environment is a whole system that we have built over the course of generations.

This performance was definitely unlike any other stage performances I went where I sat and watched from afar. I am impressed and amazed. At times, it reminded me we are bits and pieces of the Earth.


I must document this because this my fifth hackathon, first official win, and my third time hacking with the @ZhifanLi and first with @EmilyChao. It’s pretty memorial to me.

The idea all started with this article Emily read while she was on the bus. We learned their was a struggle for ex-felons to reorient themselves into the society today. They weren’t use to the routine, a new environment, and the list of challenges go on.

Though it may be mind-boggling, we managed to have our tuned concert at our table and did our inspirational walks. We brainstormed our ideas, researched, and thought of the possibilities to complete the app. We wanted to concentrate on the user and what it was like to be in their shoes and what resources were available to them.

We created a web application with the following features.

  • a SMS service that will send randomized tips, meal reminders because research shows prisoners are called to all 3 meals. When they are released, they usually forget to have them.
  • a page of resources filtered by categories that will help them find employment, prepare for their job interviews, registering for driver licenses, obtaining social security benefits, and much more
  • a timeline where users can input the year they incarcerated and learn about the events they missed

Everyone had the opportunity to pitch their application to three judges within two minutes. This was the most challenge part because we had so much to share. Talk about getting to the point!

During the final judging stage, everyone waited for their team to be called to present. There was an interesting number of ideas and application made. A team created an app called “Pants or No Pants” where it analyzes the users trends and recommends whether they should wear pants. Another team came up with an app that checks whether the text is gears toward feminine and masculine words. It provides a rating and give you recommended words to use.

Near the end, we were surprised that our name was called and made it to the final judging pitch! I am very proud of my team!

Truly thankful for this experience @Linkedin have given us, hosting this hackathon, and be part of all this action that is happening.

Thank you!

Life After Prison helps reorient ex-felons to society today through a customizable self-help text message system.

Links to our creation!ChallengePost

LinkedIn Blog

#linkedinhackday #linkedinterns #intuitintern15 #wintogether #deliverawesome #bebold #bepassionate #bedecisive #learnfast #intuitvalues #mountainview #hackathon #siliconvalley #tech #changetheworld

My Portfolio Archive

A List of Websites

I recently saw a site called UX Archive and I thought it would be interesting to have my own portfolio archive. But, only as a blog post!

As a designer, I have a website of all my work. Over the recent years, I have used different third party website builders to help me showcase my work to the world. The list below is mainly for my own reference. For each of the website I created, I dedicated a lot of time and I didn’t feel like deleting it. Deleting doesn’t get rid of it on the net..

Some of the projects were removed but the layout retains its form!

The very first place, I think I ever uploaded my work.

As I built my undergraduate portfolio, I used Cargo Collective.

Filter: View All | Branding | Typography | Symbology | Publication | Security | Infographic | Packaging | Illustration…

I created another after I graduated to apply for jobs and graduate school.


and my recent one below…

I rarely stayed more than a year with a company.

A list of web resources other people use.
WordPress, Weebly, Behance Prosite