It’s Been a Good Year…

As my Facebook kindly reminded me this morning, I officially said goodbye to Arizona and moved back to California one year ago today. I know I seem to say it a lot in my posts, but this last year has probably been one of the best.

I was not happy in Arizona. I had a couple good friends (hi Tricia and Jolene!) but aside from that, I had no roots there.  I was there for six years and never really let myself establish anything because I knew I didn’t want to be there forever. My life there was really lonely– my family was in California, my boyfriend was across the country in Connecticut, and my best friends were either back home or in other states (this I am used to though!) I told my mom, time and time again, that I felt like life was just passing me by. I saw everyone moving forward in jobs, relationships, and just life in general, and I was still not even living where I wanted to. Everyone’s life seemed to be in this straight, easy path and mine had zigzagged all over, leaving me still somewhere I wasn’t happy to be.

 

I’ve spent the last year exactly where I want to be and with the people I longed to be with the most (minus some people are still in other states 😉 ). That zigzagging road finally took me right to where I wanted it to! Enjoy the picture overload of some of my favorite things from the past year.

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Life Lately

Happy Sunday! Hope y’all had a relaxing weekend and are ready for the week ahead. I used to dread Sunday SO much because it meant one more sleep until I had to do the whole repeat of the work week. I don’t dread it so so much anymore but am definitely already counting down again til Friday. Here are some of the highlights from the last week or so:

Meet Henry!

Last weekend, the family gained a new member! Henry is an 8-week old Jack Russell and he is THE CUTEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! He and Pippy are becoming fast BFFs which I love the most. She is so gentle with him and he follows her around everywhere. I think my family’s text thread is all dog pictures at this point and I am definitely okay with it. Unfortunately I won’t have the same amount of baby Henry time as I did with Pippa but you can definitely bet that I will be visiting whenever I can to get my dose of puppy!

Summer plans…

My summer is definitely filling up quickly! With the four weeks of summer school and professional development I’ll be doing, it leaves only 3 weeks of actual vacation. And those three weeks are fully booked, too. Michael and I will be in Washington D.C. for a week for his sister’s wedding, Whitney has her flight booked to visit me, and this past week I booked a flight to visit her in Boise at the end of July. Phew! Busy, busy, busy.  Oh, and a friend and I bought tickets to see Justin Bieber at the Rose Bowl in August! 😉 Summer, you’re going to be FUN!

Snowden

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Michael and I rented “Snowden” on Friday night and it was super good! It was slow to start and I was initially really confused with all the technology/government jargon but I’m glad we held out and finished it. I didn’t really play close attention when the documents were leaked a couple years ago but have been reading up on it a ton today. I’m torn with my thoughts on it… obviously it was classified information and he deserves some consequences for exposing it. I know I’m willing to lose some privacy in order for my government to keep me safe. But there is also a line to that and I think he thought it had been crossed and he was standing up for what he believed in. That’s my very surface level thought on the issue 🙂 But anyways, definitely check it out! And put a sticker on your computer camera since you’re being watched…

Teacher Appreciation Week

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week and boy, did I feel appreciated. My students, their parents, and my school’s admin and operations team kept the surprises coming all week. We had a lunch theme everyday that kept us well fed and my kids spoiled me with gifts. My favorite were the cards and I will forever cherish them. Teaching is not an easy gig. Some days I have absolutely no patience, other days I question my abilities to help my kids grow as learners, but most days I am fairly certain I have the best job in the world.

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Those were the highlights of this past week! Hope y’all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

City Views

In my year of living in Los Angeles, I’ve been on more “hikes” (I say this with quotes because I don’t use a walking stick and don’t carry a backpack that could sustain me for days, but I still think climbing up a hill on a dirt path qualifies as a hike…) than I ever did during my six years in Arizona. One reason why is because the weather here allows for more outdoor time. But the main reason I’ve come to enjoy hiking so much is because of the views. I’m not a desert landscape type of gal. Give me a city-scape though? Yes, please! Here are some of my favorite places to hike in the area.

Griffith Park

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Ernest E. Debs Regional Park

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Eaton Canyon 

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Stough Canyon

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And these next two aren’t hikes, but two of my other favorite spots to wog (walk/jog, remember?) because the views are great, too.

Vista Hermosa 

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Orange Grove, Pasadena

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What’s Up Wednesday

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I am linking up again with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately so this post falls at a perfect time to cover all the bases of what I’ve been up to.

What I’m eating this week:

I am never eating anything too special. I don’t really cook full-on meals because of my current kitchen situation. Let’s just say that I am excited for a new apartment in July. Until then, it’s pretty easy meals. I did want to share two of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants so if you’re in the area, check them out!

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Home: There are two locations but I prefer the one in Los Feliz simply because of the outside seating area. It’s whimsical! I’ve only eaten here for brunch and but they have lunch/dinner options, too. Come early because it gets crowded!

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Panini Cafe: This is Michael’s favorite (thanks Kelley for the recommendation) and I’ve started to love it too for their breakfast options. I always get a breakfast wrap with fruit. Very filling and very yummy! The patio area at all locations are great for people watching, too.

What I’m reminiscing about:

It’s weird to think that I’ve almost been back in California for a year. I don’t know at what point I’ll stop describing me living here as being “back.” This time last year though I was finishing up the school year and packing up my apartment. I hate to admit that I was mentally checked out at work, but I definitely was. I was just counting down the days until I was done with my old school and was back home. Fast forward about 365 days later, and I am oh so much happier in every single way.

What I’m loving:

I am loving the spring weather! I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Michael and I went hiking last weekend and checked out the LA Times Festival of Books at USC, where we ate lunch and read outside for a bit. My new school is all indoors so I don’t get to enjoy the weather during the day, but make sure to do a wog (walk/jog because let’s be honest, I don’t run) a few days a week after work. The picture below is the view on one of my walks this week. I love finding hidden gems like this one. The time change also helps and I love that it stays lighter later. Ask me in about 3 months if I’m loving the weather and I’ll probably say it’s too hot. I am enjoying it for now though!

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What I’ve been up to:

Most days seem like Groundhogs Day: wake up, traffic, work, traffic, work out, make dinner, watch tv, read, sleep, and repeat. With the events (aka stress) of the last month or so though, I will take Groundhogs Day!

What I’m dreading:

I don’t really think there is anything that I’m really dreading at the moment.

What I’m working on:

I am working on some (potential) travel plans! I have a few trips coming up (roomies, we need to start planning for our next Roomie Weekend) and I think I can talk Michael into a weekend trip to somewhere like Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’m also hoping to take a bigger trip over Winter Break. I have three weeks off so it would be the perfect time. I am throwing out ideas to Michael and the latest thought was Costa Rica. I went in high school and loved it. I remember it being really affordable too, and I’m not against traveling to places I’ve already been. I’ll probably look into some other Central/South America destinations. Europe is at the very top of my list, but I’ll save that until I have plentyyyy of time to see it all.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! With Spring Break behind me, I am now looking forward to summer. We have 7 weeks off, but I will be doing summer school for a majority of it so 7 weeks off turns into 3 weeks off. I know I shouldn’t complain; teachers get time off/holidays off/breaks during the year, but teaching is a hard gig and I look forward to my time off! But I also can’t complain about summer school either– I basically make a full days pay for only half a days work. My three weeks off will be spent relaxing, traveling to Washington D.C., and hanging with my bestie when she visits. Whitney hasn’t booked her flight yet, but it’s been discussed so I am counting it as a done deal 🙂

What I’m watching/reading:

I am, of course, watching my usual shows. Pretty Little Liars started back up again and I am anxious to see how it ends. Married at First Sight is back on and The Bachelorette is also back next month! And not long after that, Bachelor in Paradise!

During break, I binged on 13 Reasons Why. I thought it was really well done and definitely worth a watch. It’s way heavier than I thought it would be though. I read the book years ago and definitely didn’t remember most of what happened. Some of the scenes are really graphic and I wanted it to have a happy ending (spoiler: it doesn’t) but still enjoyed it and found myself rooting for (some of) the characters even though I knew how it would end. If you need a new show, check it out. And then find something happy to watch after!

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As for reading, I am currently one book 9 for April with Cancel the Wedding. Not sure if I will be done with it by the time by April Book Review post is up, but at the speed I read, it’s pretty likely.

What I’m listening to:

I heard two really good songs while watching 13 Reasons Why:

The Only Boy Awake by Meadows

The Night We Met by Lord Huron

And I also heard this one during the movie, Gifted (highly recommend!). I know it’s old but I’d never heard it before:

The Wind by Cat Stevens (the video I found for this one is super weird…)

What I’m wearing:

If you are a reader like me and want to share your love of books, check out these t-shirts from Book Shelf Tees. I found the online store via Instagram and fell in love with the adorable prints. I’ve ordered one shirt and have sent another as a gift. And you’re in luck because right now, everything in the shop is 20% off with the code MOTHERSDAY.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I will be enjoying an after-work hike and happy hour with co-workers on Friday followed by spin class the next morning. On Sunday, Michael and I will go out to Corona for a birthday lunch for my grandma and to meet a new member of the family (stay tuned for that post soon!). I’m not sure what the plans are for Saturday. We haven’t been to Disneyland for awhile so that will probably happen soon and we also have a Groupon for The Museum of Tolerance that we need to use at some point. And of course, some work because lesson plans and grading never seem to end.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

There are no special plans for May yet, but it’s just that much closer to summer!

What else is new:

That’s about it!

Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day! If you know me in real life or have just been reading my blog, it should come as no secret that I love to read. When someone asks me what my hobbies are, reading is always the first response. It’s always been like this. I remember in high school, freshman year, a new friend was walking with me to class and asked what I did for fun. My response? I like to read. Right after I said it I realized it probably made me sound like the biggest nerd and thought maybe I should have come up with a better answer. Fifteen years later, I’m no longer concerned with being a book-nerd.

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I think I love reading so much because of all the people you get to meet and the places you get to go, too. I realize it sounds really cheesy but characters as people I get to meet. I connect with some, don’t connect with others, experience happiness, tragedy, and all other things with them. And the settings of each of these books are places that I get to travel to and live in for hours, days, weeks… however long I am with these characters. I never understood when people say that they don’t like to read. It makes me sad that they are missing out on meeting so many wonderful (or maybe horrible) people and experiencing life in all kids of settings.

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Yesterday, Michael and I spent the afternoon at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was different than what I expected, but still really cool to see hundreds (I am bad at estimating) of booths and thousands of people there with one thing in common– books!

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If this wasn’t $15, it would have come home with me!

 

 

And now its Sunday afternoon and the work week is looming. It was a really low-key and enjoyable weekend… we caught up on Survivor, I read a whole lot, we both did work, and today was spent outside again, hiking to Griffith Observatory. Hope y’all have a wonderful week and the countdown towards next weekend starts… now!

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My Favorite Roomie!

Going away to college can be pretty scary. I was homesick a good portion of freshman (and even in to sophomore) year because Spokane, Washington is very different than Southern California. I hated the gloom, hated the rain, and definitely hated the snow. During the days when I was homesick, what made it all bearable were my friends and roommates. I can now look back on my time at Gonzaga fondly because I loved the professors, my classes, Spokane (I can say that now), the experiences I had, but mostly because of the people I met. I’m very fortunate to still call some of them friends today, too. And I am even luckier to have been paired up randomly with a girl from Idaho as freshman roomies who is still my best friend today, 11 years later.

Below, you will meet my freshman roomie/college bestie, Whitney! In order to properly introduce you to her, I thought it would be fun to answer some questions about each other.

Here are my answers about her!:

When, where, and how did you meet?

I met Whitney during move-in day freshman year. I think we had found each other on Facebook before school started, too (this was when Facebook was super new!). Move-in day was the weekend of August 28, 2005. We were assigned to Goller which had 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, and a shared common room in an apartment-like set-up. I still think I was incredibly lucky because you can literally be paired with anyone. And I got her!

What are your favorite memories with her?

Oh boy, I know if I share one particular memory, I’ll end up remember something else right when I’m done typing because there are so many!

  1. Travel buddy: We’ve gone to a lot of places together! Boise (times a ton!), Seattle, Portland, LA (times a ton!), Phoenix (times a ton!), San Fran, Zambia, London, Canada (Nelson, it’s a tiny little city). She is a great travel buddy… perfect amount of exploring and relaxation!
  2. TV buddy: Looking back, I have no idea when we studied. We seemed to spend a lot of college watching TV and introducing others to our fave shows (ahem, Steph). There was even one day when (stop reading mom and dad) we were so into a show that we skipped class to keep watching. No DVR yet, what else we were supposed to do?! And our fave TV snack? Pop Tarts and milk.
  3. Just college in general: Open closet policy, AIM convos while being in the same room, Battle of the Blocks (she was my perch!), decorating Campion for Mardis Gras, listening to Whitney’s usual answer “I don’t knowwwww” when discussing boys, The Grind, Wendy’s after basketball games when we got free cheeseburgers, Didiers for fro yo on Tuesdays, Dawgs After Dark where we lied on the survey, basketball games, baseball games, etc, etc, etc!

What quality do you admire most about her?

I’ve always admired Whitney’s confidence. She may not agree with me on this one, but she’s always exuded a self-confidence that I wish I had! She can talk to anyone and is always just comfortable in her own skin.

What three things does she always carry with her?

I am going to go with: phone, chapstick, and sunglasses. I know these are pretty standard but I’m sure if I dumped out her purse everyday, these items would fall out. We text pretty consistently every single day so duh, she has her phone. I always see her putting on chapstick, so that’s a must. And she is always prepared with her sunnies!

What item would you love to steal from her closet?

We were perfect roomies because our clothes sizes are similar enough to raid each other’s closets. I would steal any of her jackets. She has a bunch of cute ones and I refuse to buy new outerwear because I can’t justify the cost of most when I only need it for about a month or two. She also has this adorable animal print scarf that I would love to have! Whit, never give it away when purging your closet. Send it my way!

If you were ordering a pizza for her, what toppings would you get?

We are pizza soul mates because I’d order Whitney my favorite kind of pizza because it’s her favorite, too– Canadian bacon and pineapple!

Pose a question, turn your music to random, and answer the question with the song that comes up after 7 skips: (We did this “game” all the time in college!)

Will Whitney ever move to California? “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Ha! So I’m going to take this as it’s a possibility! Plus, this is “The Hills” theme song so that basically means she will since that was in LA! YAY!


And here are the same questions that she answered about me!:

When, where, and how did you meet?

End of August 2005 during move in week at Gonzaga, we lived in the same suite.

What are your favorite memories with her?

So many!!!  Our last two years at Gonzaga we lived in the same apartment.  Looking back now, I think one of my favorite things is that we would text, or talk through AIM (because we are old enough AIM was popular then!!), and convince the other person to take a study break for One Tree Hill, Guitar Hero, Sonic, or anything else we could think of to get out of studying.

One we still talk about…. the trip to the San Diego Zoo!  It. was. AWFUL!!  It had to be over 100 and I think every exhibit we wanted to see was on the other side of the park from our current location.  We had such poor planning, it was miserable.

What three things does she always carry with her?

Phone, sunglasses, and some kind of sweater/light jacket.

What quality do you admire most about her?

Her modesty in selfless acts.  Sarah is so giving to charities and does a lot of extra things to help improve others’ lives.  She doesn’t do it in a showy way, or looking for recognition or praise, it’s just done because she has a good heart and wants to help support those who have less.

 What item would you steal from her closet?

Pretty much any one of her Rebecca Minkoff or Kate Spade purses…. I miss being roommates so I had two closets to choose from!

If you were ordering a pizza for her, what toppings would you get?

Canadian Bacon with pineapple, but she’ll probably pick off some, if not all, of the pineapple so there is “just the flavor.”

Pose a question….

What best summarizes the theme to Sarah’s upcoming summer break?

“U Can’t Touch This” M.C. Hammer…I’m sorry, but the song game is the boss!…

 

As Seen in LA

I grew up about 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles and until I moved here last May, I could count on two hands the number of times I had actually visited LA. Those visits were typically just for concerts or baseball games so the city was a whole new place to me when I moved here. I’ve had so much fun exploring the different areas and I have a feeling that there will always be new things to see. One of my favorite things so far about Los Angeles is finding random good words/quotes/murals/things (I don’t have a better description!) in the most random places:

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There is art on a lot of the utility boxes. This one is Downtown.

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This mural is in a restaurant Downtown. I do agree that Los Angeles has better weather than pretty much everywhere (ever).

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I’ve followed WRDSMTH on Instagram for awhile and was super excited the first time I spotted one of his things (still don’t know what to call them!) in LA. This one was after the finish line of a race my mom and I did.

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This Free Little Library is in the front yard of a house in South Pasadena. SO CUTE!

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I spotted these good words outside of a restaurant in Los Feliz.

What’s your favorite thing about the city you live in?