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

Nashville ~ The City of Music & Murals

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Another trip in the books and what an adventure to the south it was!  I had actually visited Tennessee once before {girl’s trip to Graceland and the Peabody w/ my grandma, mom, and sister} but that was all the way across the state in  Memphis.  Nashville had been on my “to-do” list for some time and since Lindsay was dying to escape the cold for her birthday, off to “Nash-Vegas” we went for a good time.

We flew out Thursday and it was possibly the worst flight I’ve ever had.  I had a drunk passenger who wanted to have a life chat and then get touchy feely.  In retrospect I really should have said something to the flight attendant rather than suffer the two hours of firmly telling him to stop and keep to himself.  Mostly I was worried they would turn the plane around and just wanted to get to Nashville.  I know this might be more on the personal side for the blog but I want to remind women that they need to speak up, especially if they feel uncomfortable.

We finally arrived to our Airbnb around midnight and it was off to bed.  Our home base was named the Cleveland Cottage and was quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.  As a matter of fact, when I saw it, I was inspired to look into design classes and set the seed for my own organization side project.

I think the entire recent southern charm/Pinterest/hipster movement was encompassed in that cottage.  We had a loft, a record player with plenty of country and hits from the prime record days, a range of books for display and reading pleasure, and a faux fireplace that would turn off and on with the swipe of your hand.  If you are looking for a place to stay, DEFINITELY check this place out!  Oh, it’s also a mile or so from one of the tastiest Mexican restaurants called Mas Tacos.  What more reason do you need?

We had a slow start to day 1, allowing ourselves to sleep in (jokes on me there…my body won’t sleep in), attempting an ab workout, getting ready, and transporting ourselves (via  Uber) to breakfast at Biscuit Love located in the Gulch.  Even though it was a Friday, there was already a line to get into breakfast.  As Lindsay waited in line, Annelise and I grabbed some coffee across the street from Kellebrew.  HANDS DOWN BEST VANILLA ICED LATTE! The reason?  Who knows but I have a feeling it comes from that homemade syrups.  I also snapped a photo of the delicious looking cinnamon rolls but restrained from purchasing since it’s a no-sweets zone for me right now.

Luckily for us, the line moved quickly and we soon were eyeing all of the wonderful southern soul food options.  Rumor is the bonuts (biscuit donuts) are a hot commodity but again, Annelise and I were out of sweets commission this weekend.  Guess I’ll have to go back!  Each of us ended up with some form of biscuit – fried chicken for Lindsay, gravy for Annelise and grits + eggs/bacon for me.  All in all the biscuits were alright – not the best I’ve had but certainly not the worst. Tip: The grits are where it’s at.

After breakfast Annelise headed back to the Airbnb since she had to work 😦  Lindsay and I took our time walking towards Vanderbilt and soaking in the sunshine.  I’m 99% sure Lindsay saw Hunter Hayes coming off of Music Mile but can’t confirm since I had my head in the clouds.  We also ended up in Centennial Park where the only authentic replica of the Parthenon is located.

From the grounds of Vanderbilt to the Frothy Monkey for a quick latte (seriously best turmeric latte to date) and then a walk down 12th Ave to Draper James.  If you haven’t heard of Draper James, it’s a lifestyle brand created by Reese Witherspoon and talk about Southern style and charm.  It also happened to be located near some of the murals Lindsay had on list!  Unfortunately Lindsay was in a boot so we couldn’t walk too much but I would recommend creating your own walking tour in Nashville to see all of the sights and sites!

After a short stop and rest at the Airbnb, it was time for a NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN! For those of you who know me, I don’t usually go out and when I do, it’s once in a blue moon.  But in Nashville, you suck it up and dance!  We started the night at Acme Feed + Seed where there was live country music on the first floor and a packed house.  Dinner was in order and after getting our respective BBQ platters, we headed to the roof to sit.  Guess what?  I had another stupid drunk guy encounter.  This time, one guy from a bachelor party decided to walk over and start eating our fries.  No pickup line, no flirting, no questions.  We were not impressed and those sweet potato fries were the best part of the meal! Yep, the ribs and brisket were a bit of a disappointment so my recommendation would be to go for sides.

BBQ: ACME Feed & Seed ~ Martin’s ~ Monell’s (Germantown w/ family style food)  ~ Rippy’s ~ Edley’s (bonus: it’s near Jeni’s ice cream!) ~ Hattie B’s (hot chicken and considered by a lot of critics to be the best fried chicken in the country)

We stayed around for some staged music and live music and then walked down the strip to HonkeyTonk Central.  This hot spot has three different floors with bars and bands on every floor!  If we had played a betting game (dare I say drinking game) with every bachelor and bachelorette parties that we passed, we would either be rich (or very very sick).

BARS/SOCIAL SCENE: Patterson House (speakeasy style w/ great drinks) ~ Winner’s, Loser’s ~ Rebar ~ Tootsie’s ~ Paradise Park ~ Tin Roof ~ Honkeytonk Central ~ Crazy Town ~ ACME

By the time we got around to Tootsie’s (one of the most popular and well-known) it was almost midnight and we were ready to call it a night. Not to mention the length of the line outside the popular honky-tonk had us a little deterred.  So while we didn’t actually go into Tootsie’s, the picture counts, right?  One of our uber drivers told us that some people spend upwards of 4+ hours in that joint so maybe it is worth taking another trip down south one day.

Day 2 also started off to a slow start and despite the late night, I woke up too early and so I set out for a run.  It was refreshing to get out and stretch my legs and (attempt to) work off the late night garlic rolls.  We headed out to brunch around 10:45 and soon found ourselves faced with a very long line at Pancake Pantry.  My hanger was starting to emerge and so we walked to Fido and waited for about 20 or so minutes for food. Fun fact – EVERYONE brunches.

Post brunch, we walked and shopped – I spent more than I needed to – and we took a trip down to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.  This is a definite must do when in Nashville because it provides you with a full perspective of country music from start to finish and hey, it’s Nashville, the city of music!  Also, I would hope that you actually like country music if you are in Nashville…otherwise that’s a you problem. 😉

After a couple of hours of wandering through the museum, we adventured off to another part of town to walk and shop (something new and different…mostly window shopping this time).  We picked up another cup of coffee and then called it an afternoon around 4:30.  All of us needed a nap or chill session before one last night in Nashville.  Around 6 we met up with a couple of my friends who happen to be in town!!  One is an old family friend (Mia) and another is a friend’s sister (Lauren) from home.  Turned out they became great friends while working at Vanderbilt last year and all because I was a mutual connection on Facebook!

We met up at Mas Tacos, a quasi hole in the wall restaurant that was absolutely DELISH!  One can never go wrong with Mexican food – that is for darn sure.  I ordered elote (Mexian street corn), horchata, plantains, and a pulled pork taco.  Other solid recs include the chicken tortilla soup and chicken carne tacos.  Heads up – it’s cash only but have no fear, there is an ATM!

After partying ways with Mia and Lauren, we watched UNC beat Duke at a local sports bar and then headed home to pack.  It was in bed by 10 making it a successful night and a fabulous trip!

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“Country music is the people’s music. It just speaks about real life and about truth and it tells things how they really are.” – Faith Hill

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster

Preface: The past two weeks have certainly shook our nation and world to the core.  I am still working to educate myself on the issues and how to get more involved.  Because I am not the most knowledgeable on all subjects, I plan to keep politics out of this blog.  I will continue to post updates on my life in the city and yes, I may include some pictures of protests that I have attended, but these more light hearted posts do not mean that I am oblivious to what is going on.

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