2022 In Review

2022 In Review

If I could use one metaphor to describe 2022, it would be like a phoenix rising from the ashes. I got burned but came out of it stronger, more resilient, and on fire again (in a good way this time).

*cue Alicia Keys’ song, “Girl On Fire”*

I feel this glow around me. Maybe it’s the LA glow. Or the creativity spark that’s enabling the glow. Whatever it is, I’m ending the year on a high note and it’s all thanks to the lessons and growth I experienced this year.

Lesson #1 - The nomadic lifestyle is sweet and tough

Beginning August 2021, Wes and I went nomadic for twelve months and lived out of a suitcase while working remotely. We never expected it to last a whole year but as the months went by, we found ourselves extending our nomadic lifestyle and circling across California, Hawaii, Washington, and Utah. Our priorities were chasing good weather (and surf), visiting friends and family, and eating good food. The first 6 months of 2022 were full of amazing travel experiences.

It was fun while it lasted, but I started to feel exhausted (and as my friend described, “unravelling”) around month 8. The three things that I missed most were: 1) having a place to call home, 2) having access to the things I own that bring me joy - like art supplies, kitchenware, books, furniture, and 3) seeing my friends and family on the regular. Without a true home base or a long-term plan it was hard to know when I would see my friends again after each goodbye.

Finally in August 2022, Wes and I agreed to press pause on the nomadic lifestyle and found an apartment in West LA. We both went to UCLA, so after doing a long stint in the Bay Area tech scene it felt weirdly familiar/exciting/new to come back home and explore the city as an adult. Apartment furnishing and routine setting required a lot of patience, but I’m happy with our decision and enjoying this new chapter in SoCal.

Lesson #2 - Mindset is everything

In 2022 I also experienced working at a mid-sized startup for the first time. After working at Facebook for 4 years as a Design Program Manager, in November 2021 I moved to Chime and took on the challenge of being the first DPM for the Product Design team.

My hyper-optimism and naivety carried me through the first few months but I was soon faced with months of challenges navigating a new company, team, and role. There were a lot of things I underestimated (e.g. time and patience required for change management and culture development) and took for granted in my old environment (e.g. corporate structure), and the thing I struggled with most was not having control over the situation.

I was being too hard on myself for not being able to execute as smoothly as I would’ve in my previous environment. Or not having the resources to be set up for success. I spent months digging myself into a deep dark hole of self-inflicted learned helplessness and lost so much sleep, time, and joy over it.

As Wes and I started our life in LA and I regained stability in my life, I experienced a moment of clarity. I realized that the reason for my unhappiness wasn’t because of my lack of experience, drive, or competence. It was because of my negative mindset. And I can’t pinpoint what exactly changed but through a combination of rest, meditation, creative exploration, quality time with friends, and deep self work I was able to evolve that negative mindset into an open, joyful, positive one.

I recently rewatched the Pixar animated film “Inside Out”, and the way the main character Riley’s personality islands get disabled through continuous poor experiences, and eventually spoiler alert gets reactivated with her acceptance of her new life in San Francisco perfectly describes my year. (That probably explains why I cried so many times while watching the movie lol)

Lesson #3 - Don’t be afraid of color

My art experienced a lot of changes too. My lettering and illustration style was heavily influenced by my time in Hawaii. In Oahu I was surrounded by luscious Hawaiian native plants, colorful fashion, organic-shaped sea creatures, and mellow aloha vibes. I learned to appreciate the concept of island time, and let go of worries and hurries. I grew to appreciate the sunset, the rain, the swell, and all of nature. I soaked it all in and projected all of what I saw and felt through a new style that consisted of a brighter color palette, organic letterforms, and kind messages.

As a self-taught artist without traditional training, I stuck to black and white lettering for the majority of the past 8 years. But as I became more curious about incorporating illustrations and color, I started to feel comfortable letting go of my monochromatic style and having fun.

I love that my artwork is more accessible to children. I love that my creations can be appreciated by friends outside of the lettering community. When I bike around the streets of Venice and Manhattan Beach, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities of seeing my greeting cards in retail shops and my murals on the walls of local businesses.

These days my brain is buzzing with ideas and I’m stoked to see how my latest style will open up avenues for future projects.

All together now 🙌

The last 3 months were some of the best months of my life.

Funnily, this is the same statement I made at the end of my 2021 in Review post. Maybe there’s something about the last few months of the year where I’m able to reground myself and have clarity. Or it’s that I experience a lot of lessons during the first 9 months, and I somehow bring it all together in the last 3.


  • Los Angeles: I surfed, cycled, and ran all around LA and cherished quality time with friends and family.

  • Positive Mindset: I regularly practiced yoga, journaling, and exercise and made sure to be kind to myself first.

  • Color: I created a full collection of stationary goods and prints to sell in-person at local markets and online to customers around the world. I also started incorporating more color and joy into my wardrobe!

My close friends have commented on how much happier I seem these days and I agree. I’m glad to have made it to the other side of what felt like many months of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression.

If you're reading this and you're feeling any of the above, know that you're not alone and these things come in waves. It's during these times we must embrace the mess, understand that happiness also comes in waves, and remember that you're a vibrant soul and deserve all the kindness and self care.

Thanks for everything. Stay healthy and take it easy. ✌️


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