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My 28th Birthday

This morning, I scanned through my Facebook “On This Day” memories (I deleted Timehop from my phone months ago because of a lack of space and obnoxious number of notifications) and came across last year’s birthday post.

In it, I gushed about how awesome my life was and I linked to birthday posts from the years before: when I turned 26 and had a great weekend with my boyfriend and did a month by month recap from my amazing 26th year…or when I turned 25 and got real introspective about my self-diagnosed quarter life crisis. It’s clear to me that every year I’ve used this blog to reflect on my birthday and remember what it is I’ve accomplished and what I’ve learned after another year. Continue reading

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Birthday Week in Photos

Thank you for all your birthday wishes on my last post! I enjoyed putting it together and hope my eternal optimism and “YAY LIFE” musings weren’t too obnoxious to read 😉

Rather than posting a “Weekend in Photos” post, it seemed more appropriate to highlight my whole birthday week…because I seriously did celebrate all week long! I also need to give a specific shout out to my kick-ass boyfriend Russell, who deserves about 12 million high fives for being a champ and making sure I had the best week ever. And for making me stay up on Tuesday night to drink wine right at midnight even when I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV. 😉 I’m a lucky girl!

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New Years in Oregon

My 26th Year in Photos

Today, I turned 26. This time last year, I wrote about how I was working through what I called my “quarter life crisis”.

During most of 2013, I was deeply unsatisfied with several aspects of my life. Luckily my ongoing health issues started to clear up…But after I ended a relationship which had been unhappy for far too long, I was left facing the fact that I hated my job.

It affected every aspect of my life. I was an administrative assistant at a small, under-performing lobbying firm, and I felt underutilized, like my brain was stagnating. To make matters worse, I had a supervisor who knew I didn’t want to be there — and didn’t want me there either.

In what should have been an extremely difficult period, I spent approximately 10 weeks unemployed. But unlike my unemployed post-college phase, this was about opportunity and carving my own path. I created endless To-Do lists, interviewed for several positions, worked at Macy’s for 2 days (ha), and began training for my first half marathon.

On January 15th, I began my new job — a full-time, paid, 6-month internship at a well-respected public affairs firm. 9 months later, I have grown, gotten a contract extension, learned, failed, succeeded, and last month I was offered a full-time position with the firm. I could not be happier about where I landed.

I’m very aware of the fact that none of my successes of the last year would mean nearly as much if they didn’t happen after epic failures. Having a job I love means so much more knowing firsthand how miserable it is to dread going to work every day. Being in a healthy, functioning relationship feels so much better knowing how emotionally draining a dysfunctional one can be.

I am 100% certain that I have created my own happiness this year. And it’s all because I’ve lived by the philosophy I described in last year’s birthday post: Do what makes you happy. Don’t do what is safe. Don’t do what is expected of you. Hell, don’t even do what’s responsible. Do what will bring you satisfaction, be it temporary or long-lasting.

My original intent was to post a photo from each month of my 26th year…I narrowed it down to about 15. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Pre-Birthday Weekend in Photos

There are no words to describe the gratitude I’m feeling for my loved ones after this weekend. I think it and say it all the time, but it’s true: I’m the luckiest girl!

My 26th birthday is in a couple of days (yep I’m a baby!), and unlike last year when I had a big ol’ neon themed pub crawl to celebrate early, this year I have been a little more low key about my plans. 26 just doesn’t seem as cool as 25, right? 25 was the last milestone age — now that I can rent a car, what else is left?!

I may not have had anything big on the radar, but I quickly learned on Friday evening that there were other plans in store for my pre-birthday weekend… Continue reading

Surprise NYC Weekend in Photos

Greetings from snowy NYC!!

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Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows (and may have known for a while now) that I flew to New York City this weekend to surprise my best friend Joanna for her birthday. I got the idea back in November when tickets were really cheap, and bit the bullet & made the purchase just a week or 2 after Thanksgiving. This is the reason why there are very unspecific “travel day”s worked into my half marathon training plan…I knew this Saturday I’d be flying across the country!

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But first, I had to celebrate Valentines Day in Sacramento! Yvette and I met up with a big group of girls for sushi, but got there early and had our own private dinner date 😉 as soon as we finished our food (we were starving!) we joined the rest of the ladies. Unfortunately I didn’t stay long, cause I had a 6am flight to catch!

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And fly I did! My brother graciously picked me up at 4:30am and took me to the airport. There was snow on the ground when we connected in Chicago which I knew was a bad sign. My flight to NYC ended up delayed about an hour and a half (most of it on the runway).. THEN, the pilot announced we were in a holding pattern circling LaGuardia, and everyone on the plane started purchasing alcohol LOL- myself included. We made it eventually to NYC, where snow was in the air!

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I hightailed it to Joanna’s friend Arielle’s apartment where I could stash my stuff and get ready for the surprise party. Joanna’s roomie (and our longtime friend from middle/high school) Alex arrived and we had a photoshoot on Arielle’s amazing balcony!

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Eventually we made it to Swift, a bar in the East Village where Joanna was unassumingly led by her boyfriend. She was already crying before she was led to the corner where I was hiding and I was revealed.. It was an emotional moment when she realized I was there and not on a dodgeball pub crawl in Sacramento wondering which boy I should invite (like I told her I was 😉 )… I even sent her fake workout selfies and claimed I ran 11 miles that morning- HA!

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After drinks at Swift and dancing at Bowery Electric, I headed back downtown to Alex & Jo’s place, where I frolicked in their snowy rooftop lounge while waiting for Alex to get back and buy a pizza from 7-11. Which I proceeded to eat HALF OF. I was running on 3 hours of sleep and totally needed the fuel! Let’s just say it was glorious.

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I made up for it by having a healthy banana + coffee + kombucha recovery breakfast before high tailing it back up to midtown to get my stuff from Arielle’s apartment. Like my outfit? I call it “morning after chic” 😉

Then we took advantage of Joanna & Alex’s gym and I got in my best non-running workout in months! Made me kinda having a gym…

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Joanna headed out for her bday dinner with the BF, and Alex and I decided to walk around TriBeCa until we found a good spot to eat. Um, bad idea when it’s 25 degrees outside and feels like 18! After what felt like hours of walking, we started getting desperate and ducked into a cute little place called The Butterfly. I got bratwurst sliders and Brussels sprouts with bacon & apples and Alex got ravioli and it was all SO good! Pleasant little surprise!

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At dinner, I had the genius idea of staying in and watching the new season of House of Cards. After seeing (and posing with) an ad for it, we knew we had to do it! We stopped at Whole Foods to get a couple of fancy beers then plopped down in front of the tv for what turned into 3.5 hours of Netflix. We watched the first 4 episodes back to back… Soo good!

The weekend is far from over, as today is Joanna’s actual birthday and I’m not leaving until tomorrow. We are hopefully going for a long run this morning followed by birthday brunch, and I cannot wait! So excited to be here and celebrating with her in person! Happy birthday Joanna!!

Have you ever surprised a friend or had a surprise party thrown for you?

Have you been to NYC? How about in the dead of winter?!

Treat Yourself Tuesday – Birthday Edition

Today I am again linking up with Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday party :)

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Treat Yourself Tuesday is all about doing something nice for yourself. Last time I linked up, I talked about how my Saturday routine is my ultimate me-time, and about how I always treat myself to a pedicure after a big race. Today, I’m kind of on a different wavelength. Today I turn 25 years old, and all I can think is:

For the past few months, I have actually been deep in the midst of what I’ve been calling my quarter life crisis. For me, my “crisis” has manifested itself in the form of dissatisfaction with several big aspects of my life.

Some people may be surprised to hear this, as I am generally a pretty happy and positive person. I am often smiling and would like to think I don’t complain much. This is of course not including all of my injuries...I complained quite a bit about both of my casts, as you guys probably noticed :-)

As I may have mentioned before, I first started this blog in the fall of 2010 as a space to explore my status as a job-seeking post-grad post-recession Millennial who was pissed off that my college experience didn’t spit me out right into the workforce, working my perfect dream job in New York or San Francisco. You can actually see my very first entry in my blog when it was in that form here.

Since then, I have settled for a lot of things. I settled for an internship (which actually ended up being great), which eventually led to me settling for the first job I was offered. I was in a serious relationship for the first time – we were together for nearly 2 years, but looking back I can see that I was unhappy for much of it towards the end. I still live in the city I swore I would never come back to after college.

Soooooo you can see why I consider myself to be having a quarter life crisis.

However…This morning, I woke up early and took a little bit of time to sit on my balcony wearing my favorite over-worn UCSB sweatshirt in the brisk fall air and think about life. (sidenote: WHO AM I?!)

And you know what first came to mind?

My friends are amazing. I can’t believe how much fun we all had at my party. Plus it’s 7:30am and I’ve already gotten 5 birthday texts!

The weather is perfect today. A nice cool morning leading to an 80 degree afternoon (my ideal temperature!).

I love my blends! Who knew starting a blog would lead me to finding such great friends who would become IRL friends too?!

It was really nice to be able to sit and think and really just be happy about so many things. I think my outlook started to turn around in June when I ended my relationship and began to think about how to get myself out of my rut. I decided, maybe selfishly, that I would be putting myself first from now on.

Since then, whenever I come up with a decision to make, or two diverging paths to choose from, I only ask myself one question: what will make me happy? What will get me what I want in life, or where I want to be? No more settling.

I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that you’re in control of your own happiness. For me, I have learned to cultivate happiness in several ways (I think this is where we can tie in the treat yourself theme :) )

– fun with friends

I have gotten so much enjoyment out of being social these past few months. Staying out at the dodgeball bar till close – because why not? – may lead to a not so fun morning, but the memories of fun weekends are often what get me through rough weeks. To know that I’m taking advantage of my youth gives me deep satisfaction.

– fitness

Feeling good about yourself is only partly mental. Exercising about 3 times per week makes me feel good physically and emotionally as well. For the past year, I have been able to look at myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see. That’s something that rarely happened in the first two decades of my life. Plus, I’ve gotta cancel out the aforementioned fun somehow, right? :)

– me time

I think self reflection and time alone is also important to your overall well-being. I love my Saturday morning run + farmer’s market routine because it’s something that I can count on every week to lift my spirits. I usually have at least one evening a week alone in my apartment as well, in which I always take my time relaxing and making dinner, usually with some music or a glass of wine. Finding ways to unwind (blogging counts!) is just as important as finding ways to let loose.

– family

Staying in contact with those who have known me the longest is a huge comfort in my life. Whether it be my true family, or friends I’ve known long enough to be family, I value their presence in my life. I listen to their advice, and know they have my best interests at heart.

– do unto others

I know I said that this is about how to make yourself happy, but I believe if you treat others the way that you want to be treated, you will not only be helping them, but reinforcing your own self-respect in the process.

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Sorry to get all hippy dippy emotional on you guys. This is one of my last big birthdays to look forward to, and at such a strange place in my life I found it only necessary to step back and reflect. Hope your weeks are off to a great start! Now if you’d excuse me, I’m going to go treat myself to a banh mi for birthday lunch!!

What things make you truly most happy in life?

Have you experienced a quarter-life crisis?

25th Birthday Weekend in Photos

Hi everyone! Happy fall! Apparently yesterday was the official first day of fall? It was finally feeling like it over here this weekend when it rained all day Saturday….but don’t worry, we’re back into the 80’s again today! Just when I thought I could finally break out my boots…

Tomorrow is my birthday (LAME! Middle of the week birthdays are the worst.) so I decided to celebrate this weekend. I had an amazing time, I’m so grateful all my friends came out! Some from far away too :)

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The weekend actually started off with a different birthday celebration- Greg’s birthday was on Thursday, so in addition to liquoring him up at the dodgeball bar that night, we did what this group ALWAYS does for birthdays, which is Karaoke at the Distillery. I did two songs (see above) and had a ton of fun! Everyone else stayed and closed down the bar, but Lisa and I headed out early…I knew I’d be waking up early to run and I wanted to rest up for my party!

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What was going to be a 4-4.5 mile run turned into 5 miles! I started off at a super super slow pace, so I decided to push myself to go for distance instead of speed. I ended up speeding up anyway, haha. Afterward, my brother took me to Kaiser for a doctor’s appointment and bought me a ton of goodies afterward for my Glow in the Dark themed pub crawl!

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After praying that the rain would go away (it did!), people started coming over and the glow in the dark paint fun began. There was some seriously awesome body art going on. We actually skipped the first bar on my list because everyone was so into the glow in the dark paint I had set up at my place. I opted for a simple heart, but don’t you worry, there was also glow in the dark glitter pretty much covering my entire body 😀

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So many people came out and got into the theme! My friend Kristin crocheted a bunch of headbands for everyone, everyone was wearing glow bracelets, and most people at least attempted to wear these seizure-inducing shutter shades that Lisa bought me. I had so much fun, and I’m sure we were quite a sight at the bars!

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On Sunday morning, I woke up with a mysterious scrape on my face and have determined I sleepwalked. Or….probably more like sleep fell. After cleaning up my apartment a bit, I had a totally relaxing lazy recovery day at Roger’s- watched Star Trek: Into Darkness and snuggled with my 2 new favorite pugs, Pierre & Yoda. :-)

Insert a forgot-to-take-a-picture of sushi for dinner and that was my weekend!

Have a great week!

What’s the best theme party you’ve ever been to?

What is your karaoke go-to song?

Birthday Weekend in Photos

Today is my golden birthday. I am 24 on the 24th, as I’ve pointed out to nearly everyone I could in the past few weeks. 😛

Since my birthday fell on a Monday, I decided to do most of my celebrating this weekend. This meant spending most of Saturday with T-Man (and going to a couple of campaign events with him, because he never truly has days off anymore!), cooking a bunch, and spending time with friends. Chiggedy check it out:

T-Man helped me in the kitchen! We made Fried Green Tomato BLTs! Oh. My. Gawwwwd. Can’t wait to share this recipe!

The rest of the day was spent following around T-Man at work, and (left) fueling for the evening ahead of us! We went and saw a cover band play with a bunch of friends. Then I dragged him home so we could watch SNL. WORTH IT.

My contribution to Sunday Dinner at my place! Eggplant fries and Green Chile Veggie Enchiladas.

This morning, I received this good news:

I thought it was arriving on October 5th… Turns out my back-ordered iPhone 5 will be here on Friday! Happy birthday to me!

Mess Up Monday

Instead of the semi-usual Meatless Monday, my (belated) post today is a bit different.

Actually I was going to do a Weekend in Photos, because I had some delicious photos from a family barbecue, and of some new boots I bought (but can’t wear yet because it’s still 85 degrees here, WTF mate?) and the like, but I left my phone at home this morning. Oops, first mess up.

In fact, it was the second mess up. The mess up I’m here to tell you about (because I went home at lunch and got my phone) happened yesterday, and looked like this:

This was supposed to be a pizza with a zucchini crust. I got the idea from Lauren’s Latest, and it all started out really promising:

Bake this crust. It will make your apartment smell amazing. Zucchini, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning? Hallelujah. I actually skimped on the zucchini and it ended up tasting like quiche…but…there are worse problems to have, right?

Anyway, I baked the crust then topped it with tomato “sauce” (AKA a handful of cherry tomatoes from my parents garden blitzed in the food processor), lots of mozzarella, and some roasted red bell peppers. It was all great until I tried to take it out of the oven…

It’s really hard to get cookie sheets/pizza pans out of our oven, since the ends of our oven racks are tilted upwards. It wasn’t until last night that I realized that’s not just “how they are”…..They were definitely put in the oven backwards! D’oh. Totally fixable.

Fortunately, what was left of the “pizza” was actually still extremely delicious. I had it for dinner last night….and breakfast this morning 😉

All in all, I’m not too bummed about it…because my birthday is in one week (I’ll be 24 on the 24th!) and I got an early birthday cake at the aforementioned barbecue this weekend!

My aunt Megan bakes amazing pies, but because we were celebrating my (and hers, and my grandma’s) birthday on Saturday and she knows I love chocolate… she got this beaut to serve alongside her banana cream pie! It was an itty bitty cake with 3 layers – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. Heavenly!

Moral of the story: mess-ups happen. Keep on looking forward!