Always a California Girl

As I live on the east coast, it’s hard not to get caught up in the bright lights and the big city charm.  There is always something to do, parks to run through, people to see, museums and monuments to explore, and food to be consumed.  I would love to spend more time on the east coast exploring, but for the time, I’m also quite content in the city itself.

Every day that I live here, I meet more and more unique individuals.  People who have lived in the same building for sixty years and people who recently moved to pursue acting.  A majority of New York is made up of us transplants, people looking to accomplish something or prove something or find a better life in the concrete jungle.

It’s strange because a part of me knows that I will never truly be a New Yorker.  Since the unwritten requirement is about 7-10 years, I doubt that will ever happen.  Sure, I’ve learned how to walk the walk (no really, I walk fast and I mean business) but I like to think that I’ve still kept up the Southern California charm – say hi to people, strike up conversations, and don’t be too rude.  I’ve got 20+ years of history with that Golden State and there’s just something about talking to people about the beloved (or hated) freeway system, going from the beaches to the mountains, and 70F winters.

These are also times in our lives to push our comfort zones and adjust our expectations.  This is the time to just live.  Don’t make too many plans that you miss out on what’s around you.  Stop scrolling through Instagram to see what you are missing out on and instead, just go out and do you.  Find what makes you happy and stick with it.

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Good Online Reads of Late

About time to share some of my favorite articles of late

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“20 Resolutions for 20-Somethings” (Sometimes Always Never Blogsome of my favorites below

* Get out of bad relationships & pursue relationships that fill you up – Supposedly when you find your future spouse, you just know.  Well, finding those good friends can feel somewhat the same.  They accept your best (and maybe your not so great) qualities and embrace your quirks.

* Stop hating your body  ~ Just like life, you only have one body so treat it well.  Lots of veggies, protein, and sweet treat every now and then will do the body and soul well.

* Explore your city

* Break free of social media and be present – Facebook, email, and Instagram will be there in a couple hours.  There’s no need to have your nose buried in your phone for all hours of the day.  You may very well ruin relationships by doing this, so beware.

* Keeping Perspective with life – Check out Katie Kempner’s blog — fittingly called Perspectives with Katie — which highlights women’s path to finding balance in life.

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“What Deleting  A Person From Social Media Really Means” (Elite Daily) – Just another way of breaking free from bad relationships and living in the moment.  There will be people who come in and out of your lives but that doesn’t mean you have to let them define who you are or who you want to be.

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“Work Life Balance is Going to Be Dead” (LinkedIn)

Are you working to live or living to work?  Is there a happy medium?  Oh isn’t that the golden questions my friends.  How much of our lives are based upon what we want to do rather than what we think we should do or what we think others want us to do?

This article discusses the idea of creating a work life balance or rather work life integration.  Like many others, I would love to merge my passions in life with the work I do on a daily basis.  The problem is, how long do I have to wait to do this?  Sure, it may not be my first job out of college, or even my second.  But those jobs have helped me learn key skills and helped expose me to other jobs and opportunities.

There are days where I stay for 9 to 10 hours to finish my work.  There are days where I leave right at 5:30 in order to have dinner with my friends.  I make sure that I have enough social time to keep me motivated and happy, but enough focus at work to make a good impression and gain the respect of my peers and bosses.  If you aren’t happy with your life, don’t complain because you have just as much ability to change it as you do to sit and complain.  Remember, you have just this one life, make it count.

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Tuesday Truths – A 2015 First

Truth is that life has been a bit crazy.  I may not nose-deep in homework and I’m not running a family, but there’s a lot of life-pondering right now.  I float between thinking about the future and living in the moment.  I balance my life and my interests against those of society.  I stream through social media to see what’s going on in the world and of course pair it against my own life.  Typical 20-year old right here.

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Truth is…I’m studying book after book about fun places to explore in New York City.  I’m looking for ways to give back.  I’m looking for more ways to soak in the east coast charm.

Truth is…I don’t fill my nights with educational documentaries (except one on the Eagles band, which was AWESOME) or long novels, but rather college football (well until next year) and Netflix binges of “Heart of Dixie”.  Slightly obsessed.

IMG_7976Truth is…I miss this guy.  Who wouldn’t?

Truth is…I don’t always like staring at the computer at all at the end of the day.   My type of work requires me to be glued to the screen and sadly that’s where our industry and generations are going.  So I have to thank posts like Nutty About Health’s that remind me to get up and MOVE!

Sit Less, Stand More: Your Health Depends On It

Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation

Sitting All Day Is Really, Really Bad For You (Infographic)

Truth is…I miss blogging.  I miss the creative outlet and sharing the sights and sounds of the city.  I find myself dictating posts to myself as I run or walk to the gym.  I stumble upon an article or podcast and am hit with a wave of inspiration.  Now if I could extend the day by a few hours (and pretty much figure out how to become Superwoman)

Truth is…I do love my apartment, roommates, and location in the city.  We have finally decorated our apartment to feel like home away from home.  We usually have shows that we watch together and some nights we even make dinner together.  It’s sort of a different experience from college and is lots of fun.

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Truth is…I’m proud of myself for running in 17F this last weekend.  It was my first long run/race in a long while and I felt strong.  Maybe it wasn’t a PR but hey, it was a personal best in such frigid temperatures.  Oh, and while I took a rare selfie with earbuds, my phone died five minutes into the 10k.

IMG_8003Let me introduce the full on dairy, gluten, meat lovers post-race breakfast.  Not to mention 4 or 5 cups of diner coffee. Goes against all diets out there but well worth it. 

Truth is…I think I might start an Etsy account.  I’m working my way I make my own personal photo cards and think it might be a neat outlet.  I’m not looking to make a profit (yet) but it would be a neat outlet and good business experience.

Truth is…life isn’t that bad so get out there and seize the day!

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Burgers and Ice Cream in Old Town, Pasadena

We Californians like to say that everything is located about 15-20 minutes away (not factoring in this little thing called traffic) but it just so happens that Old Town, Pasadena truly is just 15 minutes down the road.  Old Town is usually the spot to hang out and catch up with friends.  Sometimes my mom, sister, and I go shopping, grab a bite to eat, or hang out during the New Year’s parade on Colorado Boulevard.

I practically grew up in Pasadena, yet there are a number of historical or iconic buildings and locations that I never really knew much about.  Take Old Town for example.  Apprently it is the original commercial center of Pasadena and was named the “Athens of the West”.  It plays host to Caltech, JPL, the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, and the Norton Simon Museum.  (Note: if you ever watch the Rose Parade, make sure to look out for the giant rose that is displayed on the main wall of the Norton Simon Museum like below)

Now that I live in New York, I don’t have the opportunity to visit Old Town as much.  When I do go, I’m astounded at its transformation.  Just over the last few years, Pasadena has re-arranged some of the businesses, removed some stores and added countless others.  There used to be a time, probably about 10+ years ago, when Old Town was only popular for its movie theatre and a small, but cozy restaurant called Barney’s.  Sadly enough, both are now gone, but Pasadena has done a wonderful job revamping the block and it makes for a wonderful afternoon or evening of window shopping.

There are plenty of parking garages that offer 90 minutes free but if you aren’t in the mood to battle other drivers, try taking the light rail.  Pasadena is connected to Downtown Los Angeles via the Metro Gold Line (Los Angeles’s attempt at public transportation).

When I was home over the holidays, Meghan and I managed to squeeze in a night on the town with a couple of our college friends.  We decided to dine out at Umami Burger, a semi-gourmet burger joint with funky combinations such as braised short rib and truffled aioli or sprouts and a turkey patty.  They even had jumped onto the pumpkin train and offered a beef blend with pumpkin pie spiced mascarpone, tempura Japanese kabocha, roasted garlic aioli, and a coffee infused molasses drizzle.

I’ve picked up a habit of bombarding the waiter/waitress/cashier with questions about the specials and their favorite flavors. It may be annoying but hey, they tend to know what’s up and I never really regret my selection.

DINNER TIME @ UMAMI BURGER
49 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91105

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Got to love the thematic drinks. For those who aren’t familiar with Old Town, it’s located right above the Rose Bowl, in one of the many hearts of Pasadena.

Meghan and I divided and conquered the menu with a Greenbird (Turkey patty, crushed avocado, green cheese, butter lettuce, sprouts, green goddess) and Manly Burger (Beer-cheddar, bacon lardons, smoked-salt onion strings, Umami house ketchup, mustard spread).

We also decided to skip out on the fries, simply because we HAD to check out this new ice cream shop that makes the ice cream right in front of you! Now, while I try to eat healthy 99% of the time, I sure have a mean sweet tooth. I think it’s this sweet tooth that gets the best of my healthy habits.

Ice Cream Lab
16 S Fair Oaks Ave
~ Locations ~ Menu ~ About ~

First opened in Beverly Hills, this ice cream phenomenon has come to be known as “Liqued Nitrogen Ice Cream”.  This is due to the fact that they pretty much use liquid nitrogen right in front of you to instantly freeze various ingredients into ice cream.

I have seen my fair share of cupcakeries and frozen yogurt joints (including the Southern California famous 21 Choices), and I have to say, the Ice Cream Lab has taken it to a whole new level.  The menu may be small, but the fresh and natural ingredients remove the need for artificial coloring or preservatives that are normally used in ice cream.   Not to mention, the fact that it is made right in front of you, guarantees a fresher and more flavorful treat.

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Meghan went for a salted caramel pretzel combination while I went with the cashier’s recommendation of banilla. Outcome? BEST.ICE CREAM.EVER. The combination of vanilla with the fresh banana and extra crunch of nilla wafers was pure bliss. I just was a bit bummed that I wasn’t able to make it back before my return to NYC.

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Additional Favorites

~ Umami Burger Pita Jungle21 Choices ** needs a post of its own ~ Le Pain Quitoden ~ The Ice Cream LabJake’s Billiards (I have yet to go but my cousins love it!) ~ Barney’s Beanery ~

2015 Resolutions & Some Favorites

Ah New Years.  Where really to begin? I may have missed the boat on the 2014 recap but it certainly was a year to remember.  From traveling around the country to making it my first year in the city, I really have a lot to be grateful for.   I’m making a little twist on this edition of today’s post – a few favorites and a few resolutions.  Might as well jump on the bandwagon.

>> The Tournament of Roses – Seeing as I grew up right around the Rose Bowl, it was a no brainer to celebrate the New Years with the parade and bowl game.  My dad has been a white suiter (volunteer) for over 20 years and my sister and I both volunteered at the parade as Student Ambassadors when we were seniors in high school.  These days I have the opportunity to create my own traditions, but sometimes it’s nice to stick with what’s.

Yesterday, after going for a run along the westside Highline, I worked on finances (good way to start off 2015, right?), made breakfast for the apartment, and then sat down to watch the entire Rose Parade.  Lindsay and I did some ab workouts, picked up snacks for the Rose Bowl game and sat down to watch some football.  I’m already loving 2015.

>> Frozen Frozen Everywhere – I know people are saying “let it go”, but anytime I’m feeling down, I listen to a little bit of Olaf and my day is made.

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>> The Well Traveled Wife – I cannot get over how adorable this video and recap that she put together for 2014.  Just browsing these posts inspire me to be happy and travel more.

>> November Project - Slowly but surely I am making friends at NP.   The more I attend, the more faces (and names…hopefully) I start to recognize.  Not to mention, the consistency of working out helps me stay sane at work.

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This was the BEST way to end 2014.  A workout with tons of people full of energy (despite the 20F temps)

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Definitely loved checking out the LA Tribe and taking my family along.  News flash – my dog is now a tribe member :) My mom took him to the Hollywood Bowl to run the steps.  It might not have been the ideal morning for a 10year old lab but he probably got lots of attention afterwards.  Oh, and he made the Facebook album.  Not bad.

>> Resolutions

  • Confidence – In me, in others, in the future.
  • Move MoreGet my booty up and out of my desk chair more than 2 or 3x a day. It’s scary that I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of working through lunch but this needs to change.  I only have so many years to live in New York, so I need to really soak it up.  I would never want to leave the city and regret not taking those walks through Central Park or breaks with coworkers, all in the name of getting that last e-mail sent out.
  • Budget – 2014 was a trial year.  This year is meant for traveling, friends, family, and fun.  That also means cutting a few spending habits (daily coffees, kombuchas, baking every week for the coworkers – sorry guys, it adds up!) and actually checking my mint.com account more than once a year.

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  • Running – I’ve been feeling oodles better since wearing my sexy plantar faciitis boot, but I’m in no place to go race a marathon.  Stretching, strength training, and revamping some of my eating habits will certainly help.  Of course, attending more NP workouts and races will increase my motivation.
  • Be Kind – Need I say More?

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  • Test out the Juice Cleanse – Probably only one day.  I’m somewhat serious and somewhat kidding.  Mostly an inside joke with my family.
  • Unplug and Live in the Moment – More and more I see our society drifting into a constant obsession with technology.  Sure, it’s fun to connect, to stay up to date, and document everything but did you know the average person spends 16 hours consuming some type of media?  No wonder our society is so stressed out.
  • Make/Keep Friends who Care

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  • Leave Regret & Comparison Behind –  There are only so many days and hours that we are blessed with, so why would use them up on negative activities?  We must also remember that everyone leads different lives and while their lives may seem like sunshine and daisies, everyone has their own pressures.  This year, let’s keep things “glass half full”.
  • Pursue Activities I Enjoy – Maybe it’s a new craft, hobby, or workout class.  Maybe it’s a way to make friends or be social.  Whatever it is, I want it to bring out the best of me and help me stay happy.

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~ Let’s make this year the best year yet.  Cheers to 2015 ~

Traveling Through Post Christmas Blues

Has anyone else been feeling some of the post-Christmas blues? We spend 30 days+ in anticipation of the holidays and with one 24-hour swoop, it’s over with. In hopes of avoiding these blues for a few more days, my family took a quick trip to San Diego.

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San Diego is one of those top Southern California hot spots that all the tourists flock to.  Funny enough, I have only been one or two times in my life, so it was definitely time to take another visit.  From the zoo to the beaches, the Gaslamp district to the Wild Animal Park and Legoland.

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Plenty of time for exploring and dining in the Gaslamp District on Friday night ~ Dinner at the Blind Burro and while we didn’t take a trip to the sweet Ghiradelli shop (besides a free sample), I’m a sucker for diner interiors and neat looking signage.

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On Saturday morning, we took a quick trip down to the Courtyard’s workout room before breakfast and then heading off to the zoo.

IMG_6402IMG_6403Just mom and dad making the most of the free maps. It’s almost like Disneyland; you need to strategize the park in order to see everything.

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IMG_8048IMG_6411We started with the bus tour and were able to get a full view of the park.  I highly recommend this route because you can decide which areas to hit up before all the crowds begin.

sd zoo xmas 2014How would you feel to be stared at all day every day? If only we had an animal perspective – things would get interesting for sure.

IMG_6472Sometimes I feel like we should have this written outside our office cubicles.

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That afternoon, we met up with my grandparents and made our way to Qualcomm Stadium. Normally home of the San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm was playing host to the University of Southern California and Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

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The $100/ticket picnic option ~ celebrating our nation with the American flag salute ~ probably the best marching band I know of ~ a very very close game … too close for comfort

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I have to hand it to my dad because he was quite the trooper for driving up and down the coast from Santa Barbara to the sunny, but chilly, San Diego. People always expect California to be nice and warm, but I have to say, the 40F did not prove this point.   I decided to dress as if it was 70 and sunny, so that was just some wishful thinking.

FLYING BACK TO NYC

The only thing helping me get through this flight (written a couple of days ago) is lunch from Lemonade (one of my favorite places in Pasadena), my podcast Serial, Guardians of the Galaxy, Frozen, and Trader Joe’s chai tea.

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Leaving home was tough but I know that my life and current home is back in New York. There’s oh so much to look forward to in the week and year ahead and now it’s just about making the most of the moment and enjoying what life has to offer.