1.22.2018

Adventure | San Luis Obispo Mini Getaway

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The day after my birthday a couple weeks ago, we decided to keep the celebrating going and head down to the little town of San Luis Obispo for a short weekend adventure. We took the day (Friday) off of work and hopped in the car for the 3 hour drive down south.
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That area of California has quite a few wineries, so naturally we had to check a couple of them out while we were there. One of my good friends is a member at Baileyana and recommended that we stop by for a tasting. It is such a cute place! It was originally a school house, but they turned it into a tasting room. The people who worked here were very welcoming and friendly!SLO-9
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After we were done there, we headed to a different winery that I had found a Groupon for called Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards. When we arrived, I was surprised to see a peacock wandering around...and then I saw another...and another...and another. I kid you not, there were about 30 peacocks just hanging out on the front lawn of the family's house at this vineyard! I asked about the peacocks before we left and was told that they were all wild, but hung out there at the winery because the family feeds them everyday. It was definitely a unique feature! Anyway, we really enjoyed our tasting there and the farm-like, family atmosphere made it especially nice.
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After we had our fill of wine for the day, we checked into our hotel and decided what to do for the evening. We ended up going to downtown San Luis Obispo to get dinner and walk around. By the end of the night, we were pretty tired and finished off the evening with watching the last episode of Ozark on Netflix (we LOVE it!).

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and headed straight for a local coffee shop I found online. We couldn't go to a new place without finding a coffee shop to check out! 
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SLO-22\I fell in love with Scout Coffee during our short visit there! My vanilla latte was delicious, the cinnamon honey scone I had was amazing, and the decor and overall atmosphere was simply perfect (pretty much the deciding factor for me when it comes to coffee shops!). I wanted to stay there all day, but Dai finally made me leave ;)SLO-19
SLO-18SLO-24After we devoured these goodies, we walked around the area a bit more and later got some lunch at a really good Greek restaurant. We finished off the visit with a hike before making the drive home.

San Luis Obispo was such a nice, short getaway not too far from the Bay Area! I would definitely like to visit again sometime soon, maybe when the weather is a bit sunnier. I'm really glad we were able to make this little trip happen, even if it was only for one night :)

Do you like road trips or do you prefer to fly places? Have you ever been to San Luis Obispo? Tell me, friends!


1.09.2018

2018 Goals

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Happy New Year! We are officially a week into the new year and now all the holiday festivities (including my birthday week!) are really over... I figured it was time to sit down to reflect on 2017 and think about where I want to go in 2018.

2017 was a really wonderful, difficult, and amazing year for me. I experienced so many challenges and opportunities for growth. It was a year of travel, time spent with people I love, and new experiences. It will always be a year filled with fond memories that I will hold close.

Before we move on to 2018, let's review the goals I had set for 2017...

Personal:
+ Graduate from college! YEP! I did it! Feels so great.
+ Photograph a wedding | Couldn't make this happen in 2017 (I really did try!), but it is still something I'd love to do!
+ Go to Japan again This happened right after graduation at the end of May! We had a great time and hopefully I will get around to sharing photos soon.
+ Read 15 books | Didn't quite meet this goal... I think I read about 4 books total. Giving this another shot this year!
+ Minimize belongings and buy/keep only things that bring me joy | I made a few trips to Goodwill to donate things, but I still feel overwhelmed by my belongings sometimes. I'd definitely like to keep trying to cut down on the junk I have that I don't really need.
+ Have another internship and/or start working a full time job (!!!) DONE! I returned to the same company that I did my summer internship at in 2016 for another summer and then I started a full time job as a designer at a different company once my internship was over!
+ Go camping somewhere new | We didn't fit any camping trips in this year, which was a bummer! Hopefully we can plan something for 2018.
+ Make a better morning routine to start my days off with Nope. I have a routine, but is it better? It would be nice to not always be rushing out the door every morning!
+ Visit Big Sur, Texas, and Portland I didn't make it to Big Sur or Texas in 2017, but I did get to cross Portland off my list! I also went to Palm Springs, Japan, and Mexico, so I think I did alright in the travel department ;)
+ Continue to pursue photography for fun and as income I did a little bit of both! Got to shoot some photos of loved ones and also had a paid photography gig. Would be great to do more of each this year!
+ Spend more time with my family While I would always happily take more time with my family, I did get to spend more time with them in 2017 than I did in 2016, so I call it a win! We had some great family time over the summer and holidays :)
+ Build savings and pay off all credit cards (and maybe even start to pay off student loans?) In the last months of the year, I did get to start finally saving money which felt nice! Still have a long way to go though so I will keep working on this.

Wellness:
+ Find a healthy lifestyle that works for me | I did another round of Whole30 and experimented with Keto a little bit, but I still have a lot of work to do in this department.
+ Implement a good skin care routine I read articles and watched beauty videos, and purchased items to create a new skincare routine that I am pretty happy with. I will be sharing about this eventually for those interested :)
+ Exercise regularly and try fun new things | Nope. Aside from going to yoga a handful of times and going to the gym here and there, I didn't focus on this nearly as much as I would have liked to.
+ Practice self care by taking time to spend alone, having coffee dates with myself, getting my hair or nails done, reading, walking my dog, etc. 

Blogging:
+ Blog consistently and keep it fun | 2017 was the quietest year here on the blog. I'd like to change that this year!
+ Make new friendships with fellow bloggers and connect more with others | Can't really do this if you don't blog!

My 2018 goals...

+ Make new friends
+ Get healthy and fit for myself
+ Make at least one photo book or scrapbook
+ Do freelance design work to keep building my portfolio and generate extra income
+ Read 18 books
+ Pay 5k off of student loans
+ Finish putting together travel videos from our past trips and keep up with the future ones better
+ Go camping at least once
+ Join a book club
+ Entertain friends and family more at my apartment
+ Don't waste food that I buy
+ Go to bed earlier and get up earlier so I don't have to rush so much in the morning
+ Visit Hawaii, Texas, and Chicago
+ Make money from my photography and finally shoot another wedding
+ Play a sport for fun regularly
+ Save money and pay off all credit cards
+ Buy less things I don't actually need

I really enjoy writing down my goals for the year in a blog post like I have done since probably 2013, but sometimes it can be discouraging to see the same ones carried over from year to year, over and over again. I guess that's just life though and we are constantly a work in progress, you know?

This year I am hoping will be a little different. It will be my first year out of college and therefore I will have more time and more income to work with. I am really looking forward to actually having free time! Instead of going to school, then work, then home to do homework and having to do schoolwork on the weekends, I will actually have time to do things that I want to do! Like read books, create things for fun, exercise, and take care of myself. College is like constant survival mode! I am so happy to be on the other side of that. It is a tough life and I am going to enjoy every moment that I can now that all of my hard work has paid off.

What are your goals for 2018? Did you set any goals in 2017?


10.14.2017

Palm Springs

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In August, Dai and I visited Palm Springs for the very first time. We decided to spend this little weekend away relaxing in the desert to celebrate his 30th birthday (and our 6th anniversary that was a few days later!). Palm Springs has been on my list of places to visit for a few years now and it amazes me that we didn't make it until this summer. It is in California after all, and only about an hour from my dad's house!

As you may know, I have this sliiiiight obsession with cute houses and all things mid-century modern. For someone like me, Palm Springs is pretty much paradise.
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We opted to stay at the Marriott Desert Springs Villas in Palm Desert rather than directly in Palm Springs and absolutely loved it! While one day I would love to stay at a cool, retro hotel in the heart of Palm Springs, this resort was a relaxing oasis for us, which was exactly what we needed on this trip.IMG_7725 copy
We stayed for two nights and spent our one full day lounging in the pool (because there is no lounging by the pool when it's 110 degrees out!), sipping on drinks, and laughing together. We went out to Babe's BBQ for a special birthday dinner, which was so very yummy!
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We spent our evening drinking Moscow mules in the coper mugs I got Dai for his birthday and watching Master Chef on my laptop, which really is our kind of low key night. On our way out of town, we also stopped at a coffee shop in downtown Palm Springs, because how could I go somewhere new and not find a coffee shop to try?
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This desert sunset was unlike any I had ever seen before. There is just something special about all of the open space, mountains, and palm tree silhouettes.
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All of the awesome, unique houses made my heart so happy. I truly felt like a kid in a candy store! Thankfully Dai was pretty patient with me and let me drive around the neighborhoods and hop out every time I saw a house that I just had to have a photo of (which was like every few feet haha).IMG_7826 copy
This was definitely such a nice little trip for us and we are already dreaming of going back next spring or summer. It was a weekend of pure relaxation, which we totally need sometimes! Our trips are usually packed with activities and things to see, but this was different and a welcomed change. We both felt so refreshed after these couple days in the desert.

Can't wait for our next visit!


9.07.2017

Labor Day Weekend Getaway

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The week before Labor Day, Dai casually suggested that we drive down to LA to see his sister and nephew for the holiday weekend. After gushing over recent photos of his 2-year-old nephew floating around in the family group text, Dai was really itching to see that boy. We didn't have any plans for the weekend and neither of us mind the 6 hour drive too much, so I said why not? Plus, I know what it is like to miss my nephews and always feel like they are growing up so fast, so I want to support every opportunity for Dai to bond with his own nephew :)

Friday was the last day of my internship (bittersweet, but more on that later...) and I immediately went home to pack for our weekend road trip. We hit the road later that evening and arrived tired at Dai's sister's doorstep at 2am.
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We mostly did just normal, low-key things like go to the farmer's market, hit up the gluten-free bakery we love, check out a coffee shop, go to the biggest Whole Foods we have ever seen, eat lunch at Porto's (a local fave!), go to the beach for a swim, take Marly to the dog park, and make a Costco run. Dai and I also had dinner with two of his childhood friends who live in LA, so that was pretty special too!
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The one thing I was not too fond of was how HOT it was alllllll weekend. A major heat wave swept the Bay Area this past weekend, but I was not expecting it to be so grossly hot and humid LA since the weather leading up to that weekend had looked pretty moderate. Anyway, Marly was not the biggest fan haha. Any chance he got, he would just lay on his side, preferably on the bed in front of the two tiny fans I was using to desperately try to make sleeping not so uncomfortable (no AC!!).
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One night while we were there, Dai and I went to the beach to catch the sunset. We sat in the sand together, watching the waves roll in and be sucked back out to sea, and talked about life as it is right now. Honestly, it was simple and it was wonderful. I feel so lucky to have this man by my side as I face all that life has to offer.IMG_9448-edit
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I had no idea that seeing him with a stroller would be so attractive ;) Oh man, talk about baby fever! Don't worry, I will resist for several more years haha.
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While we were there, Dai took me to this cute little nursery that he had seen during his last solo trip to visit his sister. He saw succulents and knew I would obviously love it (I mean, have you seen my Instagram??) I got to do a bit of browsing (read: giddily taking photos with my iPhone) and picked a new pot to plant the succulents I recently got from the farmer's market while I was visiting my family in San Diego last month. I also got a new little succulent friend because I just couldn't resist and they were super reasonably priced!
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And of course I had to include the neighbor's cute pack of dogs that I met. They just happily chill out here in the front yard and greet everyone that goes by. I love it.

We were prepared for the worst holiday traffic heading back home, but we got lucky and didn't hit any traffic at all! We had already accepted our fate of traffic and that was the only part of this trip that we weren't looking forward to. I guess we were being rewarded for our spontaneity!

This was the perfect little weekend trip and has made me want to say yes to more adventures because why not?

How was your holiday weekend?

7.12.2017

Hey, Remember Me?

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Well, it has been nearly six months since my last post. I am not really sure how that happened. This year has been pretty hectic, yet also really good so far.

Some highlights...
+ I hustled hard this past semester and finished with stellar grades
School swallows up most of my time and this past semester was particularly busy. I did my best to stay focused and organized though, and ended up with my best grades yet since transferring from community college. It felt really good to finish on a high note!

+ I stopped nannying
This is sort of something that just happened and not something that I was planning on (not yet anyway). Back in March, I lost my job with a family I had been nannying for over a year. I really liked them and was planning on working with them until at least the end of the school year, but one weekend they called me and said they didn't need my help anymore since the dad had been laid off of his job. That was it. I saw them again when I dropped off their key and haven't spoken to them or heard anything from them since. I had a really difficult time with it because I couldn't believe that they could just drop me so fast and I had built a very close relationship with their little girl in particular. I was definitely blind sided by this, but I learned a lot from the experience and am happy to be moving on towards a career in my field.

+ I graduated from college!
After 5 years of college, I finally did it! Sometimes it truly felt like I would never graduate. I always did my best through school, but it just seemed to take so long and to be so stressful and grueling... It was a wonderful, perfect day that I will always cherish the memory of! I will share more about my graduation soon :)

+ Dai and I went to Japan!
A few days after my graduation, Dai and I headed to Japan for two whole weeks. If you recall, we went to Japan back in 2014 and ever since, Dai has been begging for us to visit again. It is hard to tell a Japanese boy 'no' when it comes to visiting his home country ;) We had a really great time and I have lots of photos to share soon!

+ I started a design internship
When we got back from Japan, I started an internship at the company I interned at last summer. Last summer, I interned on a marketing team though and this year I am on the creative team, which is my field. It feels good to finally get some experience in a design team! This internship will be through the end of August, so I am also looking for my next opportunity.

It is kind of a long story, but I also got a new roommate and that has been an interesting transition. She just moved here to California from Texas and I am hopeful that we will be a good roommate match! I am really happy to have resigned my lease and to not be moving yet again. I love my apartment and it really feels like home to me. Maybe I will finally get around to giving you all a little tour...

I've really been enjoying this summer and have been trying to soak up all of the things I love about this season. So far I have spent many days by the pool, have hung out with friends, and have developed a nice tan. We even made some travel plans for next month to celebrate Dai's 30th birthday (!!!) and our 6th anniversary (!!).

As far as blogging goes, I'm not really sure what my place is in the blogging world anymore, but now that I am not bogged down with school assignments, something inside me wants to write in this space. I can't say that I will be writing here regularly again, however I feel that you may see more from me. The blogging world has changed so much since I first started off in it back in 2012, and truthfully some of those changes have made me sad and not really interested in being part of it. It seems that so many people have abandoned their blogs or have only sponsored posts or "fluff" post after fluff post like "5 Tips for               ".  I feel like a lot of the authenticity is sadly gone.

When/if I do end up writing regularly again, I am definitely going to have a much more relaxed approach to it. This is a hobby for me and not something I am trying to make my full time job. I enjoy working with brands and growing my audience, but I care most about authenticity and being myself. I want to be able to share what's on my mind or what is going on in my life and not be worried that it doesn't fit my "niche" or "vibe."

So that's pretty much all that I have been up to lately and all I have to say for now... You'll be seeing more of me around here :)

xoxo
Jess

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