Where I Have Been

Oh hey there.  Looks like it’s been a hot minute since I’ve dropped in and I swore I would never be that person to just “check in” buuuuuut here I am.  Where have I been?  Location wise it’s stayed the same – New York/East Coast.  There was an itty bitty trip to California last weekend – my first in 6 months – but more on that later.  The point is that I haven’t been very present on the blog and I’m trying to work out what that means for me.  My job is one of the many million in the world that requires me at a desk underneath fluorescent lights.  While it’s a good environment, it means that I don’t always have the drive to come home and plop down to sit in front of another screen.  I know that I don’t have to apologize for not posting but it was really making me feel guilty.  So, this is me posting to tell myself it’s ok not to post all the time.  🙂

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Year 3 In New York City

Another post that’s better late than never.  The past year was spent traveling, running, and exploring all of New York – sounds a lot like year #1 and #2, right?  To be honest, there wasn’t too much change.  I continued to work for an awesome company, expanded my friendships within November Project, and squeezed as much out of my free time as possible.  As I mentioned on the 31st, I learned a little bit more about myself, appreciated my body thanks to the I Run This Body movement, and learned when to let go.  This last bit was tough in the sense of FOMO and friendships, but I realized (through many discussions and Elite Daily articles) that we can’t do it all and there comes a time in our lives that makes us realize what and who is important.

But here’s a look at what made my third year in New York City so wonderful and memorable.

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Happy Centennial to the National Parks Service!

Hip hip hooray because it’s the National Parks Service BIRTHDAY!  Whether you realize it or not, national parks come in all shapes and sizes and today is the day that this grand organization turns a whooping 100 years old.  Growing up I was fortunate enough to spend time in the great outdoors from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite and even Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach, all of which I greatly miss while living back east.

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breakfast at habitat, los angeles

recap for the week – sunday night red eye and rest of the week attempting to stay awake aka not too much happened this week.  so when in doubt, throw it back.  also I don’t feel like writing with capital letters today. sorry mom.

just over a month ago I flew home for a couple of friend’s wedding.  they have been dating since high school and are simply perfect for one another.  just too darn cute.  anyways, a trip home meant a trip to november project los angeles and since madre (what my sister and I like to call her) was taking the day off, it meant a trip to a new coffee joint. 🙂

IMG_3305we met up with the group at baxter street hill and ooooooo my, it was a doozy.  but check out that view. maybe not as good as the views in san fran, or so I see on social media, but it’ll do.  one of these days I’ll have to check sf out for myself. (funny because I was so darn close to sf all throughout college and of course the sf tribe started just as I left the bay in ’13)

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next up, cawfee.

habitat coffee
3708 N Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90065
~ la eater ~ facebook ~ time out ~

IMG_3351 welcome to los angeles, the land of hipster coffee spots

IMG_3353IMG_3355 IMG_3354 why yes, that’s my favorite number.  it must have been my lucky day.

IMG_3357 IMG_3356hi mom! look at you in your november project shirt and santa clara hat  🙂

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^^ more of an up and close view of the muesli because why not.  silly me thought that all muesli was the same and I was imagining the milk (more likely cream) soaked oats from zinc down in corona del mar.  no, these were served high and dry with just a dollop of almond milk.  I ended up going to the coffee station and dowsing it in milk, which made it a tad bit better.  I also think it could have improved with a hefty portion of berries rather than orange and green apple pairing.

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IMG_3359 ^^ the true winner that morning was my mom’s quiche.  just look at the layers of savory goodness. breathtaking with a spot of burnt cheese on top and enough protein to take on the day.

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do good l.a. do good

Life of Late ~ 11.27.15

For some of you, Black Friday has already been a shopping success.  Bless the souls who have been up and at ’em, fighting the sales and fighting the lines.  I made that mistake once and realized crowds were not my thing.  Funny since I maneuver the subway crowds on a daily basis.

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Anyways, after rolling out of bed – with a stomach still full from last night – my sister, her friend Laura, and I headed out to Runyon Canyon for a little hill workout with NP Los Angeles.  Having grown up in Southern California, I really hadn’t spent much time exploring the local hot spots.  Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park are both known for their hiking trails and so it was neat to see what L.A. has to offer.

IMG_3709^^ Always fun to have a friend with me from my NP_NYC family.  Of course I may be biased but I love the New York tribe so much.

Let’s work in a little bit of reverse manner.  Throwing it back a week, I drove down to visit Meghan in her college habitat and completely forgot about this little thing called traffic.  It took me a good 90 minutes to drive down when it only should have taken 30.  Good job.  Some might think it strange for someone to want to go back and stay in the dorm overnight but that just meant free breakfast and boy do they have an excellent spread.  Putting that college tuition at work. We met up for dinner at Eureka! Burger, grabbed some frozen yogurt from the Southern California famous 21 Choices, and then finished the weekend with a nice hike.

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^^ What we call Instagram vs. Reality.  I love those posts where bloggers share a picture from their social media account and actually explain the level of difficulty it took to get that perfect, swoon or drool worthy shot.  Yes, Meghan does deal with my foodie photography but usually gives me a hard time along the way.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing golf, prepping for the week, and helping the parents cook a good dinner.  On Monday I took an early Equinox spin class, thinking that waking up early would help me beat the LA traffic.  Nope, apparently all of Los Angeles is also up at the crack of dawn and it still took me 80 minutes to travel 22 miles to the LA office, which certainly raised my blood pressure.  Later on in the day I picked up a friend from Santa Monica and we braved the two hour commute back home.  I’m glad we had the time to catch up but I swear, that traffic is just a depressant. If I decide to move back to Southern California, I would try my best to live and work as close together as possible because if I had to drive that commute 1x or 2x per day, I may very well go insane.

Monday was actually my only day of work since I had coordinated my vacation time to align with the holidays…hello extra long weekend!

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^^ Tuesday was filled with all sorts of doctors appointments and lunch with a friend from high school.  We had originally targeted Tender Greens for a nice sandwich but when we saw the line around the corner, we opted for Pasadena’s newest addition – Urth Caffe – instead.  While I usually go for the Spanish Latte or Spanish Granita, I was feeling more of the green tea boba combo.

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Bored Panda ~ “18 Real-Life Locations That Inspired Disney” ~ So you know those times where you walk around a foreign city and you feel like it’s right out of a movie?  Well, turns out these gorgeous locations were the creative inspirations FOR various Disney movies.

I’m full of good clips today.  Sit back and relax 🙂

Ok, I may be a new Bieber fan and James Corden fan.  Watching James drive through Los Angeles with various fans had me cracking up.

The Healthy Maven ~ “Life Without Labels” ~ Another great one.

IMG_3637 ^^ I was finally able to get my friend Laura to test out the free fitness movement with me and on Wednesday we ran NP_LAX’s PR Day, which meant zig-zagging the four levels of the Hollywood Bowl twice, enough to feel the burn in both our legs and throats.  Now I just have to make my way to SF to visit her and test out the SF tribe.  #traaaaaaverbal 😉

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^^ Pasadena’s temperatures were well into the 50’s but one should never turn down a trip to the Ice Cream Lab.

IMG_3647 ^^ For the past two years, I have spent Thanksgiving across the coast in the chilly Northeast.  While it was a great experience to be away from home, build a little character, I really missed some of those traditions.  My favorite? The morning ritual of running around town, burning up an appetite for that afternoon.  Since I decided to warm up with my sister and her friend (both college athetles), this was destined to be my view.

IMG_3651 ^^ They were nice enough to humor me and agree to a picture.  Because if there wasn’t a picture, it didn’t happen.  Right?  I tried my best to keep up with them but that was a very long shot for three miles.  Still, I wasn’t too bummed with my effort, a 7:22 average for 3 miles and a total of 5 or so miles for the day with the warmup, cool-down and various gallivanting.

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^^ Connecting with a couple of Thetas.  Siissssssters 😉  (cue jokes from both my mother and sister, I’m sure)

Breakfast (pumpkin waffles made by Meghan and batter by Trader Joes) + Thanksgiving Day Parade + lounging around + food prep and next thing you know, it’s time for TURKEY!

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^^ stuffed for days but possibly ready for round two tonight {coconut sugar cranberry sauce, broiled carrots, rolls, mashers, brown butter sweet potato mash, brussels sprouts w/ pancetta, turkey, gravy, and sourdough stuffing}

IMG_3674 ^^ If we weren’t full enough, we had three pies for 9 people.  My favorite was the chocolate pecan but since it was Thanksgiving, I was obligated to eat some of the pumpkin pie.  Ok, maybe the pumpkin pie was tied for my favorite.  Or the Talenti pumpkin gelato.  Or all of the above.  With full stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of the first Star Wars movie and there you go, back to the beginning.

Boy, it was great to be home for Thanksgiving.

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A Few of My Favorite Travel Things

Think back and recall one of the best vacations that you have ever had.  Have one in mind?  Wonderful.  Did you happen to consider the type of accommodations that you stayed in during that trip?  Maybe it was a hotel or maybe it was a hostel.  In today’s world with endless opportunities of places to stay, it could have very well been an AirBNB.

Luckily for me, I’ve been to all of the above.  Do note that this isn’t an “entitled” statement, I’m just saying that my family has been able to save up and expose my sister and I to a wide range of vacation spots.  True, most of the places that were “grungy” and a little suspicious were when I was in charge of selecting the booking.  But, that aside, we’ve see everything from the Motel 6/Hostel where you aren’t sure if they ever change the comforter or clean the carpet, to some much much nicer digs where you are greeted with a complimentary drink and warm towel.

I do have to say, the latter are much more enjoyable.  There are even a few locations my mom and I still dream about them at night.  One such location – the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui – helps us fall right to sleep.  Ahhhh, when we find ourselves stressed or trying to find sleep, so long fluffy sheep, we start to imagine we are walking around those high arched ceilings, listening to the sound of the waves on the beach, and subtle Polynesian music throughout the lobby.

Fairmont Hotels recently reached out to inquire about my travel essentials and what I might like to see at hotels when I stay.  Sure, every hotel should be equipped with a nice soaps and lotions, fluffy towels, and charging outlets.  But it’s certain amenities that make you just wish you could extend your trip a little longer.  Who needs work anyways?  Oh yeah, so you can actually pay for said trip…good point.

So, from my world traveling ways (or coast to coast jaunts), here are my thoughts:

Go-To & Must-Have Travel Essentials

  • Phone charger – This goes hand in hand with my iPhone, which I could have listed as a must-have item, but I practically treat it as a third hand or another part of my body.  I never go anywhere without it.  So, call me Linus and it’s my security blanket.  Notes, photos, videos, Instagram – I use it all.  And then my battery dies as soon as you can say viola.

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  • Snacks (usually in the form of energy bars) because hanger is overrated and I should not unleash the “not really enthused with you because I’m hungry” Kaitlin.
  • A book (either the physical thing or electronic via my Kindle Fire) – My mom taught me at a young age, always have a book on your person because you never know how long those doctor appointments (or you know flights, bus rides, etc) may last.
  • Hand sanitizer –  Trust me.  I live in New York City.

Accommodation Amenities

So, it’s oh so true that everyone travels differently and the way that certain hotels and accommodations greet their guests varies from spot to spot.  Since I’m a California girl born and raised (#westcoastbestcoast…sorry my New York friends), I wanted to take a look at the west coast hospitality.

Looking at some of the fabulous Fairmont locations here in our great state, I thought it would be neat to think about what a few could offer guests upon arrival or during their stay.  Most of these locations would be well suited for a little bike ride along the water front or towns nearby, so offering beach cruisers would be a swell idea.  Also, as a general request for all hotels, not all of us enjoy the firm pillows, so providing a couple options (cushy + firm) would be ever so kind and appreciated.  But now it’s time to get creative.

  • Newport Beach – Yes, traveling to the nearby Balboa is a must, so obviously being greeted with a frozen chocolate banana would be ideal but that’s not entirely plausible.  Something about bananas being an acquired taste (cough cough Meghan).  So, instead, let’s include a nautical candle or succulent plant.
  • San Diego – A beach towel and bucket of goodies (sunblock, magazines, and maybe a shovel or two…who said only kids get to have fun building sand castles?)

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  • San Francisco (2 >> Claremont & SF itself) – A nice loaf of Boudin sourdough and a bar of Ghirardelli chocolate to soak in that San Francisco flavor. (or Bi-Rite ice cream! noms…)
  • San Jose – Ah, the land of Silicon Valley.  So I doubt anyone would have a personal computer waiting for you, but arriving to some notepads from Google, roses as seen on Santa Clara’s gorgeous campus or San Jose Rose Garden, or maybe garlic goodies from Gilroy gives you a sense of what potential this area holds. (*fun fact, I had a senior year graduation party here. yep, good story.)

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  • Santa Monica – One of the “coolest” places of LA, filled with shopping, workout spots (hello Santa Monica Stairs) and so many hipster coffee shops.  Access to daily acai bowls or simply some beach goodies and shades will help you fit right in.
  • Seattle – Possibly a bag of Seattle’s coffee and some homemade scones to accompany the brew.  Pike Place sure does have a lovely selection.
  • Sonoma – A bottle of locally made wine, perfect for a hors-d’oeuvre platter in the afternoon or maybe to bring home for another time.  Either way, this could give you some ideas of where (or which wineries) you might want to explore while there.  If wine isn’t your thing, how about some really good juice?

What are your thoughts on hotels?  Anything you would like to see upon your arrival or in a Fairmont location?

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*Please note that all opinions are that of my own and I was not compensated for this post. This was shared out of my true love for Fairmont Hotels.