About Kaitlin

Southern California born and raised. Graduated from SCU and moved out to the Big Apple to see what the east coast has to offer. Ready to conquer the world and find the best in life. Adores laughter and obsessed with food, crafts, and athletics. Do what you love and love what you do. www.californiaendlesssummer.com

From 2017 to 2018, Just Show Up

This year has been a blur in many ways.  Heck, the last four months have been a blur and it really wasn’t until Tuesday while in line at In ‘N Out that 2017 started to soak in.  Typically my strokes of brilliance strike when I’m running, in the shower, or driving for long stretches of time but I guess waiting for food works too.   First tangent (or as my Dad corrected me, “vector”…but that’s a conversation for another day and I’m going to continue to use “tangent”) is that despite being back for 4 months, this was the first time having In ‘N Out and I wasn’t super super impressed.  Does that make me a bad Californian?

Anyways, back to 2017.  I’m a very Type-A person that loves lists, but hates to assign big goals for fear that I won’t accomplish them and be considered a failure. Well, after following a few bloggers that I respect, I decided to take the plunge and list some things out.  Last year I was super inspired by this NPer’s post in 2016 and tried to mirror some of it.  Ok, some of it is directly taken from her but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

>> Focus on the present more, worry about the future less ~ make more eye contact and look at your phone less ~ chill more, stress less ~ listen more, talk less ~ accumulate less material things and take on more experiences ~ play big ~ be more YOU ~ say yes to more opportunities and worry less about outcomes << 

Then I caved and made a few concrete list items because well, Type-A:

  • Learn to run for fun (while also attempting to reduce the amount of #RBF)
  • Volunteer or spend more time with what you are passionate about
  • Work hard and stay humble
  • Run marathon #2
  • Find a new job
  • Relocate to California
  • Watch the Boston Marathon (again)
  • Travel more
  • Do the work

If I list it out by the numbers and scroll through my pictures (<< because content everything) or attempt to piece it together through my sporadic blog posts, I think the last 12 months were a smashing success.

~ November Project NYC and BRTC (bEAST river track club) workouts in rain, snow, and sunshine ~ celebrating Chinese New Year ~ snow days and almost getting stuck in a snowpocalypse (I’ve had my fill of snow for awhile…) ~ training for marathon #2 in the dead of winter ~ bagel sandwiches for days ~ Nashville for Lindsay’s birthday ~ #runtoeat and city explorations ~ quick trip to Philly for a half ~ running the streets of Paris with Maura (then making a pact we wouldn’t sign up for another for some time) ~ watching the Boston Marathon for the 2nd time in person ~

~ Gallivanting around Central Park for my 26th birthday with my favorite people and following it up with too much rose in a dog-friendly bar ~ agreeing to run 21 miles in the Cape Cod Ragnar ~ November Project Summit in Boston MA + family visit to NYC ~ Macy’s 4th of July fireworks ~ girl’s trip to the swampland of Washington D.C. ~ saying so long to the Big Apple and hello to the city of stars ~ participating in Questival (24 hour scavenger hunt) ~ long runs with Republic ~ Hiking our way through Peru ~ Watch the Dodgers get SO close to winning the World Series ~ Exploring Los Angeles and making new friends with November Project Los Angeles ~ Quick trip to San Francisco for the North Face Endurance Challenge ~

2017 By the Numbers
25 books (or 26 if I finish another one this weekend…)
8+ unique travel destinations
1 new job
8 running races (+ a couple relays)
1 fresh half marathon PR
Endless experiences

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Now for 2018.  Just Show Up. 

The phrase “Just Show Up” has a special place in my heart and life.  Sure, for those of you who have been to November Project, the phrase is practically the face of the movement.  People get scared off and think that they have to be in tip-top shape but that’s SO not the case.  It is a free fitness group that welcomes people in of all fitness levels and builds a community in a hustle and bustle world that so often leaves people isolated or high and dry.  If anything, what do you have to lose?  So just.show.up.

But beyond showing up to a workout, the phrase reminds me to show up in life.  Be the best person I can be.  Be kind.  Reach out and ask if people need help.  Ask for help when needed (something I am NOT good at).  Be present and so on.  Some of the below are recycled from 2017 but hey, if they are that good, why remove them?  Plus, I still have eons to learn.

  • Say yes to more opportunities, worry less about the outcome
  • Be bold, fear less
  • Ask for help (something I need to learn how to do)
  • Yoga + strength 1x per week
  • Eat more greens, eat less sweets
  • Channel optimism/excitement over regret/fear
  • Focus on eye contact and less on screen time
  • Travel more
  • Spend more time with people and less time on your phone
  • Explore your surroundings (#LAdventures)
  • Think outside the box #plancoolshit (pardon my French…swear less shoooould be on the list…)
  • Be unapologetically you
  • Just Show Up

Fitness wise, I’m really going to hone in on this November Project community.  Sure I want to sit down and brainstorm some goals for the Los Angeles tribe but today I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – write out my personal fitness goals for the world wide web to see.  Actually, my fellow co-leader already did that in a  goals-oriented post last week but I’ve re-written them on my race page and will probably post them for myself on the wall next to my bed.

Oh and there’s something special on the calendar for next year – the Chicago Marathon.  Even though I wasn’t lucky enough to be selected in the lottery, I had my heart on the race and opted to fundraise for a charity called Marley’s Mutts.  This is a non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates death row dogs from Kern County’s high-kill animal shelters.   I will be fundraising over the next 9 or so months and would love your support if you are so inclined to donate (Marley’s Mutt’s Chicago Team Page Here).  Additionally, if the timing with work and November Project work out, I will try to document the journey like I did with my 2016 NYCM.  Buuuut, that’s a few months away and a million memories to create in between.

So there you have it.  I kept my promise to myself to recap 2017 and set out some goals for 2018.  I’ve been riding the high of the last three months – a new job, meeting so many amazing people, exploring new locations and enjoying the daily variety of workouts.  Alright 2018, let’s make this year/life great and #JUSTSHOWUP.

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“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”  ― Eleanor Roosevelt

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A Los Angeles Fall ~ 2017

So it may not be time for the “look back at 2017 and ahead to 2018” type of post but as we edge closer to the beginning of the 12th month and the close of 2017, I thought I would look back at what I had seen, experienced, and accomplished or at least in the last few months.  (*Being type-A, “accomplished” tends to be one of my favorite words).

Moving back to California has been a phenomenal change of pace – something that isn’t always guaranteed with a big move.  I had acquired a job back in July/August-ish and had an idea of some things I wanted to do when I got back.  I wanted to move closer to the west side of LA, I wanted to see what November Project was like out here, and I wanted to join my sister’s running club.  As you can see, I still seem to work and workout so some more “fun” might need to be added in.

Los Angeles isn’t entirely new since I grew up near Pasadena but it is entirely different when you are 26 versus 10 or even 18.  My job is much better for me in terms of environment and content.  I still encounter the daily stresses but it keeps me on my toes and I have a stand-up desk so some days I literally am on my toes.  For about 6 ish weeks, I was living at home and that meant driving 80-90 minutes each way day.  Traffic – the double edge sword of living in a car congested county like this.  Anyways, there was no way I was going to plop down and sit at a computer for even more time to detail out my (what I think is boring to read) day.  So then there was the question of if I blog on weekends.  Maybe?  But over the last few months I’ve been so busy that again, sitting down to take time to blog hasn’t been the first priority.

I started this blog as a way to fill my 2012 summer if I didn’t have an internship but it slowly melded to become my travel journal and a means of keeping in touch while living across the country.  I still see it as a creative outlet but as I’ve most definitely mentioned before, I am 100% focused/addicted/interested/obsessed/addicted (yes twice for emphasis) with Instagram.  It’s a quick picture/video and a few words and boom, you’ve got widespread media that people from all over will consume.

** some pictures of November Project shot by fellow tribe members (always important to share photo creds) 

For those of you who have followed me over the last few years, you’ll know how much November Project means to me.  Well, thank goodness for tribes located around the world (44 currently to be exact) because I was able to start showing up to workouts when I touched down in LA.  It’s true that I knew a few friendly faces from when I would #justshowup during the holidays but leaders had changed, people had moved away, and it was a pretty new start for me.  Somehow I decided to start working out at the 5:27 and 6:27 group to see more faces.  As in New York, each workout has a different vibe.  Both are amazing but it’s great to see the differences and get to know so many people.  This is tough remembering names since 4 workouts means 2x the number of people but thank goodness for Facebook and the ability to just re-ask (at least once or twice).

When you move to a new place, you have the ability to re-invent yourself in a way.  You can take the parts of yourself you want to change (not like in a superficial way, but then again this is Los Angeles…) and lean into the person you want to be.  No one is forcing you to act like you did in high school or even college.  Unless you were a nice person and then don’t ever stop being a nice person.

So re-inventing yourself.  For me, I wanted to be that strong and positive person I had grown to become in New York.  When I arrived in LA, I thought hm, most of my friends back east called me Kait and there’s already a girl at NP named Katelin and I wouldn’t want to make it confusing for people.  So I introduced myself at NP and my running club as Kait.  That really threw Meghan for a loop and even confuses a few people when they are on Facebook and see “Kaitlin”.  Basically, call me anything and I’ll answer.  I have no preference and it just felt really comfortable to be known at November Project as Kait because my best NP_NYC friends called me that.

Now of course I’ve begun to type a novel when I only meant to drop a few lines.  Who knows, maybe I’ll check in a bit more frequently in December or 2018 😉

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” ― Sheryl Sandberg

Peruvian Grooving 2017

Machu Picchu may have been a tourist destination since the 80’s (or earlier) once it was noted as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it seems as though everyone and their mother has been traveling to South America recently.  Really though – my own mom and dad took the trek this past summer to this New7Wonder of the World and I have four other friends who visited in the 12 months!  Meghan and I were lucky enough to plan this trip at the beginning of the year and despite accepting a new job and moving to California, we were still able to make the trek.  Of course, when you sign up and pay for the flights/trek, it really becomes a non-negotiable, even with a new job.

We both agreed that an active vacation would do us both good as we live our work lives behind a desk.   We also agreed to minimize our time in museums as our study abroad experiences had us in and out of museums galore.  After some perusing online, we decided to sign up for the REI Inca Trail Trek, a nine day adventure covering the Sacred Valley and four days of hiking the 27 mile Inca Trail until arriving at the “Lost City of the Incas”.  Sure, it was a bit pricier than some plans online but it was absolutely worth it.  Not only that but did you know if you sign up to be a lifetime member (only $20), you get a sick discount on adventures, special offers, an annual dividend, and have access to in-store garage sales!  Ultimately the best $20 I’ve ever spent.

** This is going to be a very long post but I hope it can help future trekkers down the line, entertain current readers, and remind me in a few years what we actually did. **

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Life of Late ~ 9.15.17

In all honesty I think this should sometimes be called “Sh*t Kaitlin Says.” For example there are times when what I say I think is smart, witty, and sometimes downright hilarious. Even if I am the only one who thinks this, smashing success. Just kidding. Sort of.  {FYI today is a bit of a sassy and sarcastic post so take it all with a grain of salt.}

Then there are times when it’s like “whoa please tell me you didn’t just say that?”  Last week at Questival? I really don’t think much of what came out of my mouth should be digested or recalled – nothing terrible but more or less “insert face palm emoji” and remind myself to filter.  What I really need to do is have a tattoo on my arm with the line from Hamilton where Burr advices Hamilton to “talk less, smile more”.

You could consider this like a “last night conversation hangover”. Similar to the reflection you have after maybe making some questionable decisions after a night of no sleep or a few fun drinks. Not that I’ve ever been there…I mean deciding to jump in the Santa Clara fountain multiple times senior year? Not sure why that seemed so amazing at the time. Maybe just Miss goody two shoes living on the edge.

So I apologize for what I said with little to no sleep.

Maybe it’s a fear of silence? But then that’s not entirely true because when you find a friend that can just sit with you in silence or walk somewhere without feeling the need to bring up every piece of small talk – that’s brilliant.

Anyways, last weekend I participated in an “Amazing Race” spinoff sort of deal called Questival.  This was created and hosted by Cotopaxi, a company that creates innovative outdoors equipment and experiences.  It also has a llama as its logo so that was a hook, line, and sinker for yours truly.  (note: no clue where I picked up this obsession with llamas and alpacas).  Meghan and I joined a team from November Project Los Angeles where she is a bi-monthly participant 😉 (her words not mine but you’re welcome Meghan).  I on the other hand am hoping to go a bit more frequently, of course pending my exhaustion from Tuesday night speed work.  And it seems I’ve moved off topic again.  Back to Questival!

Our team was a group of folks who may or may not have met one another.  I had only had met 2 of the other NP_LAX folks previously (including that morning) so it was similar to this last season’s Amazing Race where teammates were brand-spanking new to one another.

The kickoff “party” was held at the Los Angeles Historic State Park, an expansive new field with some lawn games (i.e. corn hole and mega Connect 4), food trucks, swag truck (where of course I got sidetracked at), and our included Cotopaxi swagpacks or backpacks.  Unfortunately there was false advertisement that Miguel the llama would be present but when I found out this was NOT an actual llama and instead just a costumed person, my disappointment lessened. Once we were at the venue we could start checking off pre-event challenges but had to wait until 7:30 until we could submit the main challenges.   When the clock turned 7:30, we were off and running like a pack of llamas.

On Friday teams took pictures by the Broad, grabbed dinner at Philippe’s, went through Olvera Street and I did a mini rendition of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dive’s.  We split up for a bit to divide and conquer only to find out that EVERY SINGLE video must have the totem (flag) in it.  So, when the guys got back around 12:30, we re-filmed a few of the outstanding challenges that we had practiced.  Around 1:15/1:30a we called it quits and tried to rack up a few hours of sleep.  When our alarms went off at 4:30 I don’t think we were entirely ready to go (again, let’s re-review, I apologize for what may have been said while I was exhausted).

That morning we hiked in Griffith Park, attempted to see the sunrise but failed since it was foggy, Jonathan ate a beetle and we picked up a few bags of trash.  Crysti and I biked 8ish speedy miles along the LA River Trail and the guys made a few goofy videos at a local diner.  I think the best part of this team was that each of us carried a different skillset and were willing to jump in with a variety of tasks.  Eating a beetle?  Yeah, I would so NOT would have volunteered for that one.   We took a picture on the Hollywood walk of stars and wrapped up the event at the park underneath the Hollywood(land) sign by 7pm.  There really wasn’t an afterparty present and most folks were either ready for bed or to go out and hit the town.  You can probably guess which route I went.

Highlights from the day included Meghan walking around in an Olaf costume, dancing along the Venice boardwalk, tai chi on a nearby wall, and Nick eating a head of cauliflower while wearing a dino costume and getting the absolute best stares from Griffith Observatory tourists.  We also got to run through the Batman cave and spend some time in Venice Beach.  Towards the end of the day we visited the LACMA and I attempted to help complete the challenge “give a stranger flowers” by picking flowers off of a bush.  In retrospect that was not the best plan and it backfired twice.  Jonathan came it to save the day and made a new friend from Japan.

 

There were two other November Project teams running around town but it was our team that maintained our place in the top 10 throughout the entire 24 hours!  (**update, NP basically dominated because there was another team in the top 10…casual) In the end we got 6th, which was a very valiant effort for a team that didn’t know one another and forgot the totem in a few too many videos.  I definitely think our team laughed more.

Would I do it again?  Oh most definitely.  In fact, I might make my own little version to help check off the murals and hikes that we didn’t get to the first time around!  Until then, carpe diem my friends.

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“Life is short.  Break the rules, forgive quickly…laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.” Mark Twain

Cotopaxi Questival Do Good LA

So for the next 24 hours, myself, my team, and over 170 other teams will be exploring LA, completing mental and physical tasks, and having a grand ‘ol time. 


I’ll try to keep my Instagram updated with stories so follow along! You won’t want to miss out!! Recap to come at some point 😉 

“Do what you love & love what you do” 

What’s Good LA?

Hello, it’s me.  A girl trying to call herself a blogger who is also now back to her base in California and not sure what to do about a weekly post.  That’s not entirely true as I always seem to have ideas bouncing around – I even have oodles of ideas for throwback NYC posts.  I simply just don’t know when to dedicate the time to write.  It might help if I didn’t scroll on my phone at night and instead drafted up a post or two but alas, I’m only human and still breaking into a routine.

It’s only been two weeks but I’m still smiling from the love that I received my last couple of weeks in NYC.  I saw my favorite people, ran my favorite routes, ate some fun foods, and just left on good terms, which is important to me.  A lot of people asked whether I would miss New York and if I was sad to be leaving.  Well, yes I was sad to leave but I was excited to create a new life, find myself in a new role and new job, and explore the west coast.  We cross paths with people and live in places that have a profound impact on our lives but nothing lasts forever.

^^ Going to miss all of these gals + more people unpictured.  Beyond grateful for the surprise picnic or surprise guests because let’s be honest, I’m very difficult to surprise.  Somehow I’m just naturally curious and figure things out.  But I did not know that friends like Ali would show up and it meant the world to me, especially since she hasn’t been feeling super hot 😦 . Also make note of her parting gift – a stuffed animal llama who together we named Ellie Fwelling.

So what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks? Driving, driving, running, and driving 😉 I really have no room to complain because that’s LA and I agreed to this situation. Plus, it’s sort of fun to create new routines and I’ve seen so much more of the landscape by taking side roads to and from the office.

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People love to talk about their commute.  I’ve just gravitated from the subway lingo to the freeways.  For example I used to take the L to the Q to NP and then A to the L home from work. Now I just use freeways and because I’m a Southern California gal, I put THE in front of every freeway name.  My commutes have varied every single day, twice a day but so far I’ve taken the 2 to the 110 to the 5 to the 10 and I’ve taken the side streets to the 110 to the 2.  Most mornings range around 70-90 minutes (sweet spot on 80-85) and unless I’m staying late (which may be the case), evening commutes are about the same.  Wednesday was skewed since I drove 20-30 minutes to November Project and then 15 to the gym and 45 to work.  The worst part of that one was that I couldn’t find an accessible coffee shop on my side of the street.  Every time I passed a Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, there was either no parking space or it was on the other side of the street.

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^^ Long run views along the coast in Santa Barbara.  I’m blessed to have family that live in such beautiful places and now that I’m back with access to a car, you’ll find me living it up by the water or the mountains.

Podcasts – Do you ever find yourself annoyed by some voices early in the morning?  See, I have a not so “sunshine and butterflies” attitude at times 😉 Anyways, I finally discovered Mike&Mike while living in NYC.  They host from 6a-9a EST and it was perfect for walking to the gym or even the occasional solo morning run.  Well, now I discovered that their podcast is available that same day and because it’s in podcast form, it has WAY fewer ads (condensing an hour show into 36 minutes).  Winning.

I’m going to be so sad when it ends in a couple of months 😦 . It seriously makes my morning commute enjoyable and I like to think I’m gaining retaining sports knowledge.

I did test out the TODAY SHOW on SiriusXM but unfortunately for them, they will not gain a loyal member since I cannot stand the reception cutting in and out every other sentence.   So, any suggested podcasts?  I’ve gotten “The Daily” and been recommended Headspace.  I have yet to actually download/purchase those but any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Something interesting and potentially educational?  Or just entertaining.

Social Media – I used to be WAY better about responding to people via text message.  It really only has been a week or so but I’m finding that it’s a work in progress.  Anyone who has messaged me and I haven’t responded in my timely fashion, my apologies.  I’m doing my best to commute close to 2-3 hours and that means no texting.

^^ Labor Day Weekend adventures on Mount Baldy.  I’m debating a full post (<< something I say a lot) but if you want the short and sweet version, it was a great hike but actually taking the right path would have been helpful.  It took us 5 moving hours to cover 9ish miles and we definitely got lost.  The picture on the right?  We were totally not supposed to be scaling down that but had already committed.  Yolo?

Blogging – I’ve gotten a few questions about blogging in the last week or so.  I’m not sure where I stand.  I love Instagram and I really don’t want to be on my computer outside of work hours.  It’s bad enough I still sit in front of a screen for 8 or so hours and then sit in the car for upwards of 3 hours a day.  But, I do have some fun thoughts for posts and maybe when I get my personal computer back on wifi (<< another problem) I’ll throw some up there.

This weekend I signed up for a 24 hour adventure race called Questival, brought to you by Cotopaxi, an adventure gear brand with the appropriate moto “Gear For Good”.  Even better and quite possibly how I became attracted to the brand in the first place is that their logo is a LLAMA!!!  Now don’t ask me why I’m obsessed with llamas because I have no clue.  They are just so darn funny and I’m sorry if we as a society mix up alpacas with llamas.  The entire animal group is a hoot.  (Shout out to everyone who has sent me funny llama pictures and clothing ideas with the llama logo. Special shoutout to Ali who gifted me Ellie Fwuelling).

But back to this festival thing.  It looks extremely cool – you and up to 5 other teammates adventure around your city completing challenges that could include anything adventurous to philanthropic.  My only hesitation is the sleep aspect since I 1) don’t function well on little sleep and 2) know little sleep will affect me beyond Saturday and instead into the next week.  Time to live a little and suck it up and have some fun (but of course be safe!  Cotopaxi will not send out any notifications between 1a-5a but I think my sister and I will be a little generous with those hours…say 11:30p-6a?)

Other than that, I’m getting into the swing of running, making my way at the November Project LAX Tribe, and hanging onto my sister’s running club.  I’m serious when I say hanging on because a large majority of those folks are speeeedy.  Maybe if I hang on long enough, I can PR 😉

Alright, that’s all for now but I hope to put together some posts about NYC, some of my favorite food spots as well as odds and ends from California.

“Do what you love and love what you do”