2014: Can't Live Without

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dropping good enough in exchange for can't live without has been the theme of 2014.  I knew this was my exhale year as my dear kindred spirit friend Alyssa referred this year as. The year I planted some roots. It was a year of less planning and more memories. It was about spontaneity and dropping checklists. I can’t say I lived it out every day, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m proud my former Type A personality has loosened up.

I explored new cities. I booked a last minute birthday trip to Seattle. I found a home Church. I started a Life Group. I cooked dinner for others. I got a gym membership. I slowly made friends. I dated. Fell in love. Got my heart broken. I gardened until my plants outgrew my windows...or died. I found out I was going to be an Aunty. I went to some farmers markets and concerts and I took random small road trips. I visited the Redwoods, swam in the ocean, and made trips to one of my three homes - Southern California. I found my values, re-prioritized my life, and I am figuring out who my Home Team is.

I explored, tried, and adventured. What more could I ask for?

Cheers to a year that has quenched my thirst for growth and steadiness. Thank you 2014, but Hello 2015! 


HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My year will always start & end with Family.


Sexual Assault and speaking out

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Where flowers bloom, so does hope." -Johnson

It was a normal weekend last year. I chose to go hiking with a friend. I was in a family park, waiting for my friend, minding my own business. In a moment, what I thought could never happen to me, did. I was sexually assaulted...in a FAMILY PARK. This man was bigger and stronger than me and I truly believe that if it weren't for me putting up the fight of my life and by the grace of God, that I wouldn't have returned home. I know that many women don't have that same blessing and I fully understand that and at moments have felt guilty for that.

As I was running away, I ran into a couple that saw I was terrified and in hysteria. They walked me to my car and said that I needed to file a report. For a moment, I was the biggest hypocrite - Always urging college students to report their assault right away, convincing them that justice could be served. I want to tell you, in my own moment, I didn't want to speak up because I thought, "They won't catch him anyway"... After an hour conversation, I agreed to follow these kind strangers to the Park Ranger station. I told my story over and over again or what I could remember. He hasn't been found and he may never be found and I have to find peace in that, somehow.

This situation has certainly altered me.
I was scared to walk to my car alone, still am.
I almost pass out if a male I don't know is walking too close behind me.
I felt/feel violated.
Me, being this extremely independent person, moving from city to city alone on the search of my next adventure...couldn't and sometimes can't do anything alone without feeling a little post traumatic stress now.

I didn't have enough time to get out mace if I had it or even a gun. All I had was my own body and my natural instincts to rely on. I could spend forever on the things I could have done...but that's not my reality.

My biggest regret isn't my own situation, it's not speaking up. For not reaching out to other women who I knew had gone through similar situations and letting them know they weren't alone. For not educating one last person that no means no.

I regret not telling anyone close to me for months. I called 2 people when it happened and that's it. I stayed quiet, didn't go to counseling, and let it harden my heart. I also regret not speaking up that my attacker thought because of my race and because of my gender I would be an easy target, things he vocalized several times as he was violating me. Two things that I cannot change about myself, things I was born with. Two things that in reflection make me angry because I can't control either.

So, don't wait.
If you see injustice, speak up and act on it.
Stand up for those underrepresented or can't speak for themselves.

Living life months and months after what has happened and dealing with the triggers, I've chosen to love anyway. I pray for the person who assaulted me. I pray for forgiveness for having a hateful heart towards him. This doesn't make me a good person. This just makes me a person who decided to speak out on a day where I felt I have hindsight, a day I knew I have made some progress.

Whatever it is that you feel is unjust. Do something about it.



Time with Gratitude

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I changed the name of my blog. It just seemed fitting.

It's easy to be thankful when things are great. When your family and friends are healthy. You have a steady income. You're comfortable and without a worry in the world. But that's not real life.

Life happens, tragedy and people shake your world and you're left feeling the way you do. But gratitude? It's still there. In the most lonely, dark, and hopeless of moments, gratitude is hiding, waiting for you to uncover it.

It's sometimes quiet and sometimes in your face. It's hidden, exposed, and everything in between. You don't have to apply for it or qualify for it, gratitude is a choice.

Gratitude is one of the least discriminate things. It's for all ages, people, and creeds. It's found in seasons, in people you love, in the homes you nest, and in the events that change your life.

Gratitude is found in the lives of parents, students, soldiers, people of every craft, third world citizens, and those who have absolutely nothing. It's in the depth of your soul and in the rumble of your laughter. It's everywhere.

So, I hope you continue to spend time with gratitude in your own life and I will try and share as much as I can about how gratitude is being uncovered in my own.

xoxo.




Harmonizing goal setting and being present

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Achieve by August 2016
I've always been an avid goal setter. I can't tell you how many goal lists I have - short term, long term, a travel bucket list, and a yearly priorities list just to name a few. I basically take a life inventory of myself. It's okay if you rolled your eyes, I did too.

In the last year and a half or so, my goal was to learn to be present. I've always admired those who could be so consistently present. Whether it be conversation or quality time, they're just there 100% of the time.

I've been more of a 60/40. 60% mentally present and 40% planning ahead or wandering elsewhere. I noticed how it was affecting my relationships and completely feeding into my already awful perfectionist habits.

So, I've in a way, taken a break from goals. I've just lived, breathed, and pretended to be spontaneous and I can't tell you how freeing that's felt. Even through photos, my face looks more peaceful and joyful than it did a few years ago.
Goal Setting in Big Sur
However, I'm bad with moderation...in just about everything. If I'm focused in on something, I can leap from one end to the other. So, I've recently been thinking, when was the last time I set personal goals? Ones outside my job?.......Yeah.......

So, I opened a notebook that I had written 20 goals to achieve in  20 years as I did a 10 goals to achieve in 10 years - and I achieved all, but 1! After crossing some off, I decided to add a few more to make it 20 again.

It boils down to this for me, there has to be a happy medium of wanting to achieve the most for myself every single moment and being present to enjoy what I've achieved and learn from what I haven't. Maybe one day I won't be so hard on myself, but I'm human and it's in my nature to want to be better and to do more.
PCH 1

San Francisco: Coit Tower & Union Square

Monday, July 21, 2014

I have a slight obsession. 
I'm in love with a city I've never lived in:
San Francisco.

I've explored this city and its neighborhoods quite a few times in the last year and I always leave wanting more.

Reasons to crush on San Francisco:
Cultured.
Beautiful.
Balance of nature + city.
Boutique galore. 
Good live music.
Coffee shops........
Incredible views.
People watching.
Food....but seriously the food...

It's a magical city. They say Los Angeles is where dreams come true, but San Francisco is where you go to create what dreams you want to come true.

Views from Coit Tower
Getting close to Union Square aka Tourist City
Cable Cars :)


Anniversaries & Nesting

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I'm not sure what it is about tonight...
Maybe it was the soothing of Jack Johnson playing in the background or hearing my family's laughter over skype. It could have been the home cooked meal that filled my stomach or maybe it was the sunlight seeping through my blinds.

But it's been lately too...
I scurry around my kitchen and it's familiar and known. I've grown to like the way my apartment smells after making my morning coffee or how the twinkle lights brighten my living room on a summer night. I enjoy seeing familiar faces and feeling fortunate to know a small sliver of who they are.

Whatever it is. Whatever it has been. It feels like home. Who knew the every day, the mundane things are what make my home, a home. It's not the adventure that I thirst or the times spent exploring a city I haven't explored. All of those things help make me feel alive and attached, but the quiet and simple things about my life the past 373 days have established this sense of home to me...and it feels good.



On July 8, I approached my 1 year work anniversary and on August 3 I approach my 3 year anniversary in California. I may have lived in 4 different cities in this beautiful state, but each with its own lesson and each have played a role in my story of becoming. 

It's just different this time around. I'm not in transition or worried about where I'll live next. My belongings aren't scattered between friend's garages, my car, and a storage unit. It's all here with me, nesting in my peaceful home. 


"That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets—this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience." - Shauna Niequist in Cold Tangerines
Shauna's books help me digest the seasons of my life and I couldn't agree more that this current pedestrian life is one of the most precious lessons I've had in my young twenty something life.

Happy Nesting!

Spending time like I do cash: Wisely (sort of)

Monday, July 14, 2014

I like to plan. I like to prepare. Not as meticulous as I used to be, but it happens. That also leaks into how I blog. I like lists, goals, and plans. I talk about them, write them, and achieve them or usually they're a work in progress. 
Instead, I tried doing something different. I was writing a post 2 months ago from today and instead of pre-determining what I wanted my summer to be, here is what it has been. 

I hope you have been enjoying your summer too!


I've spent less time...
cleaning my apartment
organizing my life
shopping for things I don't need
cussing
attached to technology
checking social media
on personal appearance
checking my work email when it's not necessary
with anxiety and its best friend stress


I've spent MORE time...
in two cities I haven't explored much
with family and friends
being spontaneous
praying
making memories
GARDENING...I know hell is cold
trying new things....like going to professional soccer games...hell is now frozen...
reading
beachin' it
connecting with God
at farmers markets
meditating
reconnecting with old friends
in solitude & silence
dating...
cooking dinner before 8pm
at concerts...ok all 2 of them, but none the less
watching sunsets

Feels good to have a well rested mind, body, and soul - In large thanks to where I've been spending my time this summer :) 

Happy Monday!

I took my student leader staff hiking one day
San Francisco
Smashmouth Concert in Santa Cruz
Carmel Beach
Lots of visitors this summer!



The Restless Sea

Monday, April 14, 2014

I apologize for falling behind. Life has caught up to me the past 2 weeks.

A scenic route that I wanted to show my mom when she was here in March was 17 mile drive. There are several beautiful points, but my favorite include the Spanish Bay, The Restless Sea, Pebble Beach, and the Lone Cypress Tree.

Travel tip: It's best to go here when it is sunny out. Take more time along the Spanish Bay. There are several picture perfect moments and when it's remotely cloudy, the wind and the cool breeze can make you freeze! Also, if you plan to hang around the Lone Cypress Tree, there is limited parking, so it is best to go as early as possible or after the 12-3pm crowd.






Traveling with friends: The basics

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We all have that favorite vacation or road trip right? The one where everything went according to plan? I'm not sure where you went, but I don't know of any perfect vacation or there wouldn't be any good stories. It is travel season and I have a bit of wanderlust in my heart lately. I haven’t traveled outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but I’d say the majority of my North American Continent trips were pre-planned with friends. So, I thought I’d put together some easy travel tips [part 1]:

Pick your company: (Assuming you've picked your destination)
Be picky - Don't underestimate the power of picking your company. I'm honest with myself. I know what I like to do on trips and if I am taking vacation time to spend money that I barely have, I am going to be picky about who I go with. Sadly, you have a few trial and errors before you can select good vacation company. 

Numbers - For me, 3 people is a good number. Which sounds odd because you'd think the 3rd person is left out, but I've found that 4 is a bit of a crowd and 2 people can sometimes be a snore. 

Roommates - Also, if you are traveling with someone you live with, keep in mind that just because you live with them doesn't mean you travel well together. You have to remember if you've never been to your destination before, the unknown can bring out some interesting qualities in people.

Communication:
The actual communication - If you are in the same area get together and talk face to face. If you're long distance, create a Google doc, calendar invite, pinterest board, email or group text messages to keep track of your skype/facetime/phone call conversations and ideas.
            Example – 2 of my best friends and I hope to go to Italy in 2015. We now have text group messages and a Pinterest board for ideas and destinations, and we’ve calendared in when we are buying tickets (10 mos before our arrival day).

Democracy counts - Be up front in what you want out of the trip and then compromise. For example, I just recently took a quick trip to Seattle for 24 hours. 10 days prior to the trip, I asked everyone what are 2 things you want to do in Seattle. Some overlapped which was great and the ones that didn't, we compromised.

Air your laundry – For instance, do you like to sleep in or get up at sunrise? Do you like back to back activities or a mix of both? Are you an introvert or extrovert? 

Budget -
Actual Costs - Set aside a budget amount for everyone, but you don't need the same amount. For example, for a recent trip, I hosted a friend for 4-5 days. I planned to spend $500 with gas, hotel, shopping, food, and attractions. However, this person really enjoys shopping and eating out, so they took $700.

Set a minimum – As a group, set a bare minimum agreement. It's not fair to ask your friends to spot you on a trip and it can be embarrassing. It can be awkward to talk about budget with people outside of your significant other, but the more up front you are with one another, the more you can relax when you’re on the actual trip.


Affordability – Personally, I rather own little and travel as much as possible even if it’s 2 times per year. So, for me, I’m comfortable if I am spending money on travel, but it's actual money - I don’t use credit, unless I can pay it off that month. Basically, don’t live beyond your means if you can’t afford a trip, it’s not worth it.

I wanted to break up the trip with my mom with some travel posts. So, I hope this was helpful as you are planning your next trip!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Setting foot in the Monterey Bay Aquarium is overwhelming as there is a lot to take in. A student leader of mine allowed my mom and I his two guest passes to see the aquarium and we were so grateful. 

My favorite area was the jellyfish walk through. However, the otter feeding and the shark show with a speaker who shared some shark facts was interesting too.

Travel tip: Going Monday-Thursday during the day is the best, but if you do go on a weekend 2-5pm is the best time frame. Less crowded and more shows of the sea animals are available.

Whale Watching Monterey Bay

Monday, March 31, 2014

I took my Mother whale watching on day II. We used Monterey Bay Whale Watching as our company. 

Travel tip: There are two voyages with this company. Go in the morning. You're more likely to see whales, dolphin, and have less wind or sea turbulence. The trip was $40 and you need to reserve online or at least 2 weeks ahead of time. These tickets sell out quickly as Monterey Bay is a major tourist area. It's also a 3 hour trip.

Personally, when I lived in Southern California, Davey's Locker Whale Watching was $17 with their online coupon. I always saw whales and dolphin, it was a shorter cruise, and everybody got to see the creatures. In comparison, I felt like I overpaid and didn't get to see the sea creatures as much.

However, we were lucky to see 2 grey whales, sea lions, and dolphin! 


Mother's Trip: The random's

Sunday, March 30, 2014

 Throughout the week, my Mother and I made random stops at some places that didn't accrue many photos, but they were all great visits!
The Garlic Shoppe is in Gilroy, California. They even have Garlic ice cream. I definitely didn't try it, but I think you should if sweets and garlic is your thing :)
Our goodbye drive through San Francisco. Probably one of my favorite cities in the U.S.
Lala's Grill in Monterey: Rosemary chicken with Crab and Gorgonzola Cheese potato.
Fish Hopper:  Smoked salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
Fish Hopper view
Point Pinos Lighthouse: Tour is $2. Well worth the money. It doesn't take more than 30 minutes to read and see everything. It's located near the Point Lovers Golf Course in Carmel, CA.
Spring is in CA!
Lovers Point Park

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