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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Life of Late ~ 5.15.15

Spring, spring, spring.  One of the loveliest and often shortest seasons around the city.  I honestly am in love with the fact that when I wake up and walk out the door to work out, the sun is already starting to wake up the east coast.  Sure, it was great to see those picturesque sunrises at November Project but longer days are fine by me.

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Warm spring weekends call for walks through the city and stopping by one of my favorite locations – Union Square.  I probably meander through this area at least 4-5 times a week, mostly because it’s near my apartment and a very central subway station.  The farmer’s markets are clutch – at least for people watching, free samples here and there, and unique seasonal items.

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^^ getting ready for Advertising Sales “Upfront” week.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with “Upfronts”, it’s where advertising agencies and clients are briefed on publisher properties and why they should commit to a certain amount of money at the beginning of the year (different calendar time period).

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Most meetings start with a big presentation – ours was at Madison Square Garden.  Definitely the best part of the show was listening to the “Inside the NBA” cast {host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal}.  That or the [adultswim] sizzle reel.  Their bumps (end cards that act as transitions) and humor were on point.

While big wigs usually show up to the meetings (I was just about star-struck after seeing Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Conan O’Brien and Billy from Billy on the Street), it’s all about the after party.

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^^ Yes, Miley Cyrus was our form of entertainment at the [adultswim] party.  She even decided to light up so needless to say it was an intriguing event and comparison to her former Disney Hannah Montana persona.  Huuuuuuuge change, but you already knew that.

~ Random Reads ~

  • Interesting self-love tip from a trainer.  Think positive about your body.
  • Split Story” – Too often we get caught up in how everyone’s lives appear 10x better than our own via social media.  But remember the old saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”.  We make too many snap judgement about people, but rarely dive into deep relationships to understand why people act in certain ways or what makes them tick.  Take a moment to appreciate your life, your body, and the people around you.

But, on that last bullet, you know that whole concept of sleep as it relates to weight loss/maintenance, workouts, attitude, concentration, and well life?  True stuff.  I can noticeably see how getting such little sleep affects my day and pretty much all that was listed above.  On average I get about 7 hours (if I’m lucky) simply by going to bed between 10 and 10:30 and waking up between 5:30 and 6.  On the nights where I can’t make the 7 hours, next-day Kaitlin is not impressed.

Example from Wednesday night when I went to the [adultswim] upfront party and truTV after party and stayed out until 2 (waaaaay past my bedtime), Thursday was rough.  Sure, since I didn’t drink, I was fairing a LOT better than my colleagues.  I still managed to wake up, swim a little at the gym AND make it in a full hour before everyone (that last part was by accident), but my eating choices were way sub par.  The 5 hours of sleep led me to believe that chocolate-drizzled kettle corn + salted nut variety pack + green juice was an adequate snack/early lunch.  At least I had the green juice in there right?  I may have had to dump the rest of the kettle corn in the trash to avoid mindless munching.

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^^ Back on track for running along the east river.  I can’t believe it’s been almost four months since I last ran along this path.  I’ve been caught up in spinning, NP, and the lovely Central Park but forgot how clutch of a run this is, especially since it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from my apartment.

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^^ The course for Memorial Day weekend!!  People keep asking if I am running the Brooklyn Half Marathon (which is tomorrow) and while I’m bummed that I cannot partake in the NYRR fun and Coney Island festivities, I’m super excited to experience Sweden and its race course!

With all that being said, off to Denmark I go to explore with Megnan!  I’ll be back for a full photo dump and recap in a couple weeks and in the meantime, enjoy this glorious spring weather 🙂

How has your spring been?  Anything fun planned for the weekend?  What’s the farthest you have traveled for a race?

A Storm Named Juno: The Blizzard that Wasn’t

For a solid 12+ hours on Monday, news channels were blasting reports of a massive storm that was supposedly heading our way.  Subways announced closures, flights and trains were cancelled, and people went ravaging through the grocery stores for every last bit of food as though it were an impending apocalypse.  I never knew the importance of a peanut butter and loaves of bread, until it was swept off the shelves.

I received countless texts and phone calls from friends and family asking about our safety and whether we had food on hand.  I do appreciate all the concern, but honestly was a little skeptical of the weather and if anything would actually happen.  Maybe I’m naive and the next storm is going to slap me in the face.  (But let’s hope not)

Well, it turns out that in Manhattan, storm Juno didn’t live up to all the hype.  Sure, having a no-travel order did help the snow plows.  Sure, putting the subway cars away over night probably avoided them being snowed in.

But, the slow start to the morning left me a tad bit antsy and left me wondering what to do about work.  Let me rephrase that, how to go about my work.  Maybe I’m a bit of a go-getter (or goody-two-shoes), I don’t care.  I’m a type A individual and I love my schedule (maybe too much).  I love having a workout to go to in the morning and set of things to do at my desk in my office.  I love being able to work with people and grab a cup of coffee when we have a spare minute.  Being able to work remotely was pretty much a self-imposed challenge.  I really don’t know what to do with a slower schedule/free-time.

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This is what I woke up to.  Not nearly the footage I had expected from the weather reports but somehow Lindsay and I predicted that it wouldn’t be too bad.  We had skiied in white-outs worse than the weather Manhattan experienced. 

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There were a few fleeting moments where I debated walking the 40+ blocks and avenues to work.  But by the time I got there, who knows if the office would be open or if there would be thaaaaat many emails to answer.  After polling a few of my coworkers and manager, this seemed like a stupid idea.  During my lunch break, I walked over to a local bar where some November Project people were supposed to meet.  Of course it would happen that I was the first and only person to arrive (for three or so hours…again, my luck), so I walked to a local cafe to attempt some reports until my computer died.

I have since decided that the snow and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.  It’s fine when I’m working in my office all day and have the ability to run at the gym.  (I understand – first world problems) so I guess I was hoping for something a little bit more dramatic (not wishing any danger or misfortune upon anyone!).  Actually, I’m always pretty skeptical about this concept of snow-day.  Probably because in elementary and high school, we thought some power outage would gift us a day off and free pass.  But, miraculously, the district would pull it together and have some backup generator armed and ready.

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Well, it looks like snow-days are infinitely better when you are a kid, right?  No emails or excel charts to worry about 🙂 

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I ended up taking my “lunch” break later in the afternoon and let’s just say, I should have started the day with a run.  Just being able to break free of my self-imposed stress was glorious.  I ran into a woman dancing along the path, telling everyone who would listen, that it was the most beautiful sunset.  You know, I stopped, took a few pictures, and thought, she is so darn right.  Why do I stress so much about the little things?  Enjoy life a little more.

All in all, I am very glad that no one was hurt or stranded, and there was no extreme damage from Blizzard Juno.  It was a unique opportunity to work from home and I definitely learned a little more about myself.  This includes the need to put a schedule together, the need to work out in the morning so that I’m not going stir-crazy, and the need to hide any nut butter jar or snacks because if they are around, I will eat them in the name of anxiety/boredom.  When in doubt, just avoid snowstorms. 😉  Good plan.

So here’s to the first mega snowfall of 2015.

Friday Favorites – December Edition

Cleaning up a local park with fellow November Project peeps.  Who knew that digging and mulching would be so exhausting?

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As I was cleaning out my room this weekend, I stumbled upon a few gems.  First up, a Fabletics coupon from the Blend Retreat back in May.  Fabletics is an online subscription program that sells women’s athletic gear and accessories.  The outfits mimic Lululemon and Athleta with lots of tank tops, comfort-fitting sports bras, and yoga pants galore.  They even have you answer a questionnaire about the types of workouts you participate in most or lifestyle habits and offer personalized outfits based on this information.  Becoming a VIP member also has its perks –> 1) personalized activewear, 2) up to 40% off complete looks, 3) 20% off all separtes, 4) free shipping on orders over $49.95, and 5) easy returns and exchanges (always a winner).

I completely forgot about this coupon card and nearly tossed it into the trash.  How many pieces of athletic gear do I really need?  No, don’t answer that please.  One thing led to another and I was signing up for a Fabletics account and just so happened to find this beauty.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 6.29.44 PMNow I’m not sure I should be signing up for any monthly programs right now but one more pair of capris can’t hurt, right?  For a more detailed blogger review, check out A Foodie Stays Fit’s take on Fabletics fun.

IMG_7107Just helping out as a seat filler for CNN’s annual Heroes show at the Museum of Natural History.  This truly was an inspiring event.  Each year, 10 or so individuals are selected as heroes for the causes they created or support.  This year’s host (and maybe every year) was Anderson Cooper and the place was filled with oodles of other celebrities and everyday people who change the world.  Be sure to tune in on Sunday December 7th for some inspiration and as a bonus, you might spot me at one of the front tables!

IMG_7127 Of course getting tickets for the first showing of the Hunger Games.  #teamgale

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Client dinners call for one epic 20-layer cake (note, even with 12 people, this could not be finished!)

While this was chocolate and peanut butter concoction was absolutely delicious, the super rich treat my have have contributed to the poor sleep I got last Thursday.  Well, it may have been that plus the cheese + salami place, wine, and other oodles of dessert but what can you do?  Let’s just say clean eating during the week doesn’t really prep you for those splurge meals and my stomach was not too impressed.

IMG_6791(I seemed to have drafted this post a few weeks back, so the view of the park is obviously a little different…I’ll check in with an update – far fewer leaves and if we are lucky, a bit of white)

IMG_7168Spending a fun-filled Saturday with my mom and some old family friends. Nothing like spreading the holiday cheer in Rockefeller Plaza.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
– Andy Warhol

Some Perks of Work

We may not have endless massages or gourmet food on every corner, but I like to think my job has its perks.  There’s the occasional yoga, kickboxing, and pilates class.  We happen to work right outside Central Park (who could argue with this view?).  Oh, and there are tons of lunch and learns and other activities put on through our parent company, which means learning yes, but free food = better.  With the amount of money from my paycheck that goes to my rent, I live for the free, and often gourmet, lunches.

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One of my recent favorites was a end of summer grilling tutorial at Williams-Sonoma.  I still stand by the fact that summer is not over until September 28th! So, let the grilling and fruit festivities continue in full force.

When we first arrived, we were greeted with a small cup of mint-limeade granita and a slice of festive flatbread (w/ burrata & figs)

Fig Flatbread

Next up was a tutorial on how to de-backbone a chicken and use a cooking stone.  One could use a stone or brick (cleaned and covered in foil of course) or even the backside of a cast iron skillet.

Williams Sonoma CookHere we have our head chef teaching us how to take the backbone out of the chicken.  Looks fun, right?

While we were listening and learning, we were handed plates of pre-prepared chicken and roasted vegetables to munch on.  Then, a meal would not be complete without some dessert.

Williams Sonoma FoodOn the right was a mighty fine piece of lavender pound cake, topped with berries and vanilla ice cream.  I love how she brushed the cake with some olive oil and threw it on the grew for extra crunch (and flare).

After leaving with a full belly (and ever so ready for a nap…too bad we don’t have napping cubes like Google) I was inspired to check out other cooking classes offered in the city, especially if it comes with a meal as tasty as this 🙂

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients” – Julia Child

Bringing Home the Bacon

Boy I wish that was the case.  In these slow spring and soon-to-be summer days, I have no motivation to work over-time, which in my case, tends to be where the big bucks come in.  Without these extra hours, I need to start watching where my spending habits take me.  Sure, I probably should have started budgeting the minute I landed in New York, or even practiced during those years of college.  But I didn’t and now I’m here.

Like most budgets, it starts with looking at your previous spending habits.  I have to go back and think about an over/under number from month to month in terms of groceries, eating out, and other social activities.  I also need to really think about the amount I’ve spent on clothes, shoes, bags, and races. This is what I call the black hole.

Next step is to break the budget into categories.  This is a roundabout idea of what I have so far:

  • Gym $74.99
  • Aereo (my excuse for television) $8.99
  • Rent (surprisingly not as expensive as Santa Monica, CA)
  • $100 to put in saving each month – If I don’t get around to it one month, I double up the next month
  • Entertainment/Etc ~$40-$100 (fluctuates all the time and being NYC can end up on the pricey side)

NYC vs Santa Monica

Things you might want to consider (which this newbie didn’t)

  • Taxes (ah and those taxes if you live in two places…note California and then NYC)
  • Utilities (even though they are included for the most part in our rent, we do have some monthly surprises)
  • Spur of the moment social activities or apparel

Some ways to cut costs?

  • Stop buying coffee/juice/treats (ooph, maybe let’s work our way down … make it an iced coffee once a week … then only through gift cards)
  • Don’t eat out during lunch – Tough one when it has become a social event but thankfully my coworkers are getting budget conscious as well.  (I still need to figure out if buying all the ingredients to make a yummy salad is less expensive than work’s subsidized salad bar)
  • Stick to your grocery list! (Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t been lured into the ice cream aisle or fresh produce section or pretty much any section at Trader Joe’s?)

  • Ignore the telemarketers or people on the street (Even though you don’t contribute to a nature foundation every day doesn’t mean you don’t love your earth…you can factor this into your budget when it fits your schedule, not when you feel frazzled after a day of work and are en-route to the gym)
  • Delete those shopping emails – Out of sight = out of mind (I love Kate Spade just as much as the next person but those flash sales will NOT help your pocket book.)
  • Add a roommate (This summer I’ll get to share my room with a sorority sister and hopefully bring down the cost a bit.  Then the question will be to save or to spend?  Just kidding…I know it’s to save – duh, the whole point of this post)
  • Reel in the drinks – $15 for a small class of some watered down alcohol?  Yeah no.  (Not too tough for me since I’m not the biggest drinker.  Sometimes tough in the city where everyone expects young adults to be raging the night away.)
  • Look for discounts/incentive programs through work  Some companies offer to cover transportation (thank goodness for that!) or even have codes for discounted tickets, clothes, flowers, or travel packages.
  • Never Purchase on Impulse – I’m pretty sure I could give myself the nickname, Miss Impulse.  No matter what my parents are telling me to “slow down” and of course as I look back at all the mistake purchases, they were done on a whim.

Fingers crossed I’ll get around to making a budget for next month.  Also, for more budgeting tips, check out my new blend Katie’s posts here.