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

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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”

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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LA Eats: The Village Bakery and Cafe

Though I am from Southern California, I have spent very little time outside the realm of Pasadena.  No exploring of the hipster coffee shops, countless hiking trails, and nifty hole in the wall treasures.  Well, now that I’ve made that my life out in New York (exploring as MUCH as possible), I figured I would give California a chance to shine through, even in the unfamiliar territory across town.

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When I was home over the summer, I took my mom to the Wednesday November Project – Los Angeles workout at the Hollywood Bowl.  I was able to work via my cellphone (woohoo technology) and my mom was off for the summer, so we decided to splurge and find a breakfast treat nearby.

IMG_1026 ^^ Obsession with tiles much?  But really, these stones remind me of the architecture style you see all throughout Santa Barbara.  Something about that mission style and flair.

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^^ My mom had taken my grandma to this village bakery & cafe and thought I would love it just as much.  How can you not fall in love with the exterior and bright colors?

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Inside you will find an extensive menu and bakery items.  The menu is perfect for breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner.  I was even eyeing some of the sweet treats for later, because #willrunforsugar. 

IMG_1037 ^^ Like I said, how can you not fall in love with this vast array of pastries?  Usually I pass up on some of the muffins and breads, but with an array like this, I could have sampled each and every one.

Some of the favorites include the maple bacon scone, olive oil cake, and various bars. Don’t they just look divine?

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^^ Even the interior has a certain charm with the communal tables, bright paintings, and iron-like chairs. In some ways, I want to say “it’s so L.A.”, but I’ll have to spend some time figuring out exactly what that means 😉

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^^ My mom stuck to a simple scone and latte, while I sampled the granola, fruit, and yogurt combo – filling and oh so satisfactory.

And of course it wouldn’t have been right to leave without sampling something extra buttery and delicious.  We did workout after all 😉 #s’moresbarearned

IMG_1043Village Bakery & Cafe
3119 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
M-F: 8am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 8am-4pm

*Make sure you check the streets for information on street cleaning! You don’t want to find yourself with a parking ticket!

There’s No Place Like Home

Home.  What in the world does that even mean?  Where you grew up? Where you live now? Does it have to be a full-on brick and mortar house with a yard?  Are you a roaming nomad?  For those of you who have graduated from high school and entered into the college or adult world, I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about.  We all reach a point (usually that big 1-8 birthday where you are legally considered an adult) where it’s time to live our own life.  You probably have left the nest and created a world of your own – you call the shots on when to go out, when to go to bed, what to eat, and how often you change your sheets.  Ok, that last one might be a little gross but it’s all about learning to live on your own.

When I went to college, I left a little piece of me back in Southern California.  I thought it was a given that I would move back to LA.  It’s where I grew up, where my family is, etc.  It was home.  I didn’t really give Santa Clara a chance and instead spent too much time worrying about classes and if I was involved enough or ready for the outside world.  I would just dip my toes in the Silicon Valley, never letting myself admit that I could adapt to Northern California ways.  I spent too much time looking back rather than in the moment.  But then something happened.  When I went home for the holidays, it no longer felt normal.  People had moved away, stores had changed and I didn’t know where I was supposed to fit into all of that. For some reason I thought that nothing would change, no one would grow older, and it would all stay the same.

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When senior year started, I decided I needed to change things up.  I wanted another shot at what my dad called “reinventing myself” or really just letting my true personality shine – no holding back and no worries if some people couldn’t relate. I decided to move to New York and there is where things fell into place.  I stopped worrying what people thought about me, I started focusing on the things I like to do – like exploring and working out – and started to make some really good friends.  I let people get to know the real me and stopped presenting a version of who I thought I should be.  It started to feel like home.  Every time I left to visit my family or explore another part of the east coast, I would get excited to see the NYC skyline or the tall skyscrapers from a distance.

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Living in New York has been one of the best decisions I have made.  I love the fast paced life style, the diversity of people, and the wide range of opportunities available.

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^^ It took me almost a year to find out about November Project but I am 100% certain it has contributed to my happiness here.

11221751_948895365133721_90525601569340533_o ^^ Then there are these people.  My np_nyc tribe.  I’m sorry but the np_lax just didn’t feel like home.  I’m sure I would fit right in after a few weeks of workouts and hardcore dedication – that’s after all how I started to make NYC feel like home – but I just missed my friends and the other familiar faces

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^^ So maybe my life is built up by working out and November Project.  That’s not too much a problem though since we are the work hard & play hard types of people.  I think life can be about finding people with common interests and making the most out of those relationships.  If it means you see them once or twice a week or maybe daily, then so be it.  But we shouldn’t force ourselves into situations that constantly make us unhappy or uncomfortable.  Even though I’m only 24, I feel as though I’ve experienced enough of that.  I’m done with feeling insecure and the odd man out.

Then I flew back to Southern California for the 4th of July.  I saw family, I went to the mountains, I went to the beach, and I saw friends who had just moved out to the west side of Los Angeles.

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Sure there was traffic, but there were views like this ^^.  We went running on trails and then had breakfast in a popular coffee spot (Urth Cafe – Spanish latte or Spanish granita – get it and you will not be sorry) by the beach.   Life was somehow easier in a way but more difficult in other ways.  My brain started to become muddled with what to do.

IMG_1025^^  Yes, this happens but then so does this:

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^^ For goodness sake I’m only 24 but I feel like the weight of the future is resting heavily on my shoulders right now.  There are people going to med school and getting engaged and even married with kids!  I know this feeling of confusion is going to be a long one – that’s why there are articles out there like Though Catalog’s “The Hardest Things People Had To Learn in Their 20’s“.  Yes, I admit, a lot of this is #firstworldproblems so I apologize if this seems trivial.  Let’s just say being back in California for an extended period of time was odd and I felt like I was in limbo.  No doubt I would like to move back there some day, but when?  The answer is I don’t know right now.  Maybe it’s a year or maybe it’s longer.

IMG_1022^^ Maybe the real decision should be based upon the wide variety of acai bowls offered?  I may have selected Santa Clara as my college of choice because they offered a “make-your-own-parfait” on the weekends. True story.

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I know that I like being close to my family – being able to golf or go for a hike or go out to dinner.  I know that I like having my own schedule and having a constant list of places to explore here in Manhattan.  I wish that Los Angeles didn’t rely so much on driving and the west side was closer together (wishful thinking).  I wish that New York was cleaner and that it was easier to escape the island and explore the coast (problem – I need a car/place to stay that’s relatively cheap…recent graduate problems).

I write for fun and to connect with people.  I read blogs to feel a commonality and have made some excellent friends through it.  I read blogs like Ali’s to feel validated in showing my quirky personality and that things work out, and I read posts like Sarah’s to know that we are all thriving and struggling at the same time.  We have become friends outside of the blogging world and are usually two peas in a pod.  (or insert dancing emoji) 😉

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^^ View from my run over the Manhattan bridge (accidentally on the biking-designated side) to NP in Brooklyn last Friday.

I’m fully aware that I don’t have to have my 5-10-15 year plan figured out right now.  I know that things change and the next year(s) will be life lessons in themselves.  I could learn to love the city and east coast even more or another winter could do me in.  Who knows?  For now, I’m happy in this crazy place I call home, at least for now.  I know my mom has heard this discussion too many times to count, so sorry mom.  Now that it has been written and published for the world wide web, I will let it drop and just go out there and carpe diem.  Let’s live it up for the moment, sound good?

Does anyone else feel the pull between comfort (often w/ family) and adventure (and growth)?  Does there have to be such a divide?