We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Nhan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what makes you happy? Why?
There’s a lot about life that makes me happy! From little things like watching the clouds float by on a warm spring day to meaningful moments like treating a friend or family member out to their favorite food to celebrate a recent win. These snippets remind me that life can be as simple or as complex as I make it. For me, being happy means I am fulfilled. And to be fulfilled means to be secure.
I’m happy with where I am in life now. It took a lot of hard work and patience so I’m making the most of it by being grateful every day. I do my best to show appreciation for the people and things I love because they deserve nothing less!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The biggest thing that I am grateful for in life is that I have had so much freedom to decide who I want to be and how I get there. Growing up in a typical Asian American household, I was encouraged by my parents to get good grades and follow rules, but my story is different because they didn’t force me to go down a chosen path. It was probably because I’m the second youngest of 6 siblings so by the time it was my turn, they stopped putting pressure on our futures.
Despite that it means so much to me to have that power. It sounds amazing and glamorous but it wasn’t easy. It takes a really responsible adult to make their own decisions… and let me tell you, I’m still a child at heart haha. I made a lot of dumb mistakes and risky decisions, but I’ve learned from them. Actually, I am still learning from them!
With my platform, I hope to relay that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you see the lesson in them. Being accountable for your actions and working on yourself to become better are topics that I revolve my art around, because each person on the planet matters. I want to inspire others to take this moment into their own hands to live their most happiest and fullest life!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Lucky for my friend, because I live in the Bay Area (California) and there’s lots to do here! In my truest form I’m a homebody, but I’ll make an exception because I like to spoil my friends (especially ones that come to see me)! Here’s a list of things we’d see/do (in no particular order):
Yummy stops at:
Sushi House (Alameda) for chirashi bowls and sushi rolls
Rita’s Italian Ice (Castro Valley) for a sweet cool treat
The Cheese Steak Shop (Oakland) for cheesy goodness in a roll
The Sweet Booth (Oakland) for a delicious avocado shake
Santouka (San Jose) for a hot bowl of ramen
Matcha Love (San Jose) for a toasty black sesame ice cream cone
Treat ourselves at:
Encinal Nursery (Alameda) because houseplants
Daiso (Union City) because it’s the biggest one in CA
Grocery Outlet (everywhere!) because it’s fun to try new foods/brands
Field trips to:
Jack London (Oakland) to hang out at local community events
Anthony Chabot Regional Park (Oakland) to go on an adventurous hike
Laney College Flea Market (Oakland) to discover some hidden gems
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to give a gigantic shoutout to my dear friend, Nino Flores! We’ve only become friends in March of this year, but every single time that we talk, she showers me in support and love. Her positive energy and enthusiastic mindset keep me moving forward even when I feel like being a potato. When I get stuck, I know I can lean on her to get me out of my head. I’ll be forever grateful for her encouragement and support through this creative journey. I love seeing her grow and blossom into the person she was meant to be.
You meet a lot of people in life, but when you meet someone as special as her, don’t let them go! You da best, Nino!
Check out her mushroom art on IG: https://www.instagram.com/ninocflores/