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

1.18.2017

Las Vegas Girls Weekend

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This past weekend, I went to Las Vegas to celebrate my 23rd birthday with two of my gal pals! As you can probably guess, we had a really wonderful time! We arrived in Vegas on Thursday evening and headed to our hotel. After we got checked in, Dai called me and told me to check my email... In my inbox I found three tickets to see Cirque du Soleil that night! That guy... I tell you, he is full of surprises! It was so sweet of him to do something so thoughtful like that for us all the way from home in California. We were so excited and giddy about it as we quickly changed our clothes so we could head over to the theater to pick up our tickets before the show. It was an AMAZING show and is my most favorite thing that we did on our trip. Dai definitely scored some extra brownie points :)
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After the show, we wandered around the strip, got big adult slushy drinks, visited the Sprinkles ATM (I was so excited for this haha), sat in front of a fountain talking for a long time, and eventually even met a psychic. Yes, a psychic. That part was very, very unexpected. I don't know if it was just the magic of being on a girls trip in Vegas or our adult slushies kicking in, but it was actually a super cool experience and all felt very meant to be. I had never really given much thought about whether or not I believed in that stuff, though for now I will just say this: WOW. I might not be such a skeptic. I could actually write a whole blog post about this experience alone (let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like!) and all in all, it was really cool and I am happy to have shared it with my two friends.
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We went to bed at 4am our first night there and I can't even remember a time that I stayed up that late other than to cram for an exam the next day. Time is a strange concept in Vegas! The next day (Friday the 13th!), we enjoyed a steak & shrimp meal for $7.77 at the Hard Rock Hotel (the best and cheapest meal we had), walked the whole strip, did a bit of gambling on the slot machines and roulette, got put on the guest list for a club that night, did some shopping, went to a buffet for dinner, and then went to a club! I am not really into clubs, but we were going to get in for free and there was going to be an hour of free open bar for ladies, so we decided to give it a chance haha. We ended up staying for two hours and had a fun time enjoying our free drinks and dancing! We even met some nice girls from Chicago and enjoyed talking with them. After the club, we made the long trek to White Castle for some food even though our feet were killing us (I walked 22,000 steps each day!). We don't have White Castle here in California and after trying it all I can say is meh. I would definitely choose In-N-Out any day.
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Saturday was our last day in Vegas and after checking out of our hotel, we got some food from Gordon Ramsay's Fish & Chips and hunted down a Las Vegas Starbucks mug for me. We also took a tram to the south end of the Strip to visit the M&M and Coca-Cola stores and get lunch at Shake Shack, which is always a treat! We stopped along the way to look at shops and try our hand at the roulette machines inside the Monte Carlo.

The day flew by and then it was sadly time to catch an Uber and head to the airport! It was so fun and exciting going on a trip with my girls. I can't wait until the next time we travel together and hopefully come back to Vegas sometime! Maybe even this summer? ;)

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What was your favorite thing you did? Have you ever gone on a girls trip anywhere with your friends?

xoxo
Jess

1.12.2017

Happy List // 17

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January and winter break are flying by, so I wanted to take a moment to jot down some happy things that have happened lately...

+ Heading to Vegas with my gal pals today!

+ Catching up on This is Us. I cry every episode!

+ Trips to Ikea

+ Taking Marly with me places just for fun

+ Cleaning up all the Christmas decorations and giving the living room a fresh look

+ Finally finishing the jewelry board I have been working on since I moved into my apartment

+ Rainy days when I can sleep in

+ When Dai makes me steak for dinner

+ Slow mornings at home when I take the time to brew coffee in the Chemex

+ Planning out the pieces I want to hang on the walls in my room

+ Birthday cake for breakfast

+ When you go to Marshalls and everything is speaking to you (hello funny wine-themed items!)

+ Coffee dates with friends and their babies

+ Asking Alexa to tell you jokes. Also, asking Alexa questions and realizing she doesn't know much.

+ Playing the game Exploding Kittens with Dai and his reaction when I beat him

+ Wearing a crown on your birthday (10/10 would recommend)

+ Getting a mani-pedi by yourself on your day off just because

+ Going back to visit my high school teachers and being greeted with the warmest welcome from each of them. Also, my art teacher still having my winning photograph hanging in her classroom with the first place ribbon <3

+ When I move over in bed and Marly immediately scoots with me until his back is touching me again

What has been making you happy lately?

xoxo
Jess



1.11.2017

Reflecting on 2016 + My 2017 Goals

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There's nothing quite like a new year and the feeling of a fresh start! To some, January is a bleak month, but for me it is one of the best. I mean, what's not to love about extended winter break, my birthday, and the excuse to celebrate all month?! Like most people, I also like to use the New Year as a time to reset my focus on the things I would like to accomplish and reflect on where life is taking me.

So, before we move on to 2017, let's review the goals I had set for 2016...

Personal:
+ Keep learning about hand lettering I worked on this quite a bit and bonded with one of my classmates over this hobby too!
+ Travel! Perhaps to Utah or Chicago or Las Vegas or maybe something bigger. I'd love to go somewhere for our 5th anniversary!  I went to Chicago and Las Vegas with my dad AND I ended up going to Hawaii with Dai for our 5th anniversary!
+ Stay connected with friends and be a good friend even when things get busy. I feel like I did a pretty good job at this! While some of my blog friendships have sadly fizzled, I think that I did well at investing in my real-life friends and I feel really good about that.
+ Pursue photography as a side business (hey, I have a site now!). I didn't do as much with this as I would have liked and it is something I would like to continue to pursue.
+ Work my hardest in school! I definitely worked my booty off at this goal! The spring semester was pretty stressful, but I did my best and I totally rocked the fall semester!
+ Build my savings and pay off credit cards. The extra income from my summer internship definitely helped with this goal, but I am not totally debt-free yet since my living expenses changed quite a bit after moving into my apartment.
+ Have an internship in my field to gain more experience. I had a summer internship in marketing and while that isn't quite my field, it was a great experience and I feel really great about it!
+ FINALLY make a scrapbook. Um, still working on this!!
+ Keep working on being more responsible with some things.
+ Take time for myself to recharge, work on creative projects, or simply relax (because that's always a good goal!) I did this, but could use more of it for sure ;)

I had also set goals for wellness and blogging, but to be really honest and transparent about it, I didn't really succeed at any of them. If you've been a long-time reader of mine, you'd know that 2016 wasn't my best year for blogging and there were many months that I did not publish a single post. There were simply other things that I focused on last year and sadly blogging just wasn't one of them. Truthfully, I am actually ok with it, but I would like 2017 to be different. As for my wellness goals, I did try new things like dance and going to yoga regularly and I did another round of Whole30. I definitely have more things I would like to work on this year.

My 2017 goals...

Personal:
+ Graduate from college!
+ Photograph a wedding
+ Go to Japan again
+ Read 15 books
+ Minimize belongings and buy/keep only things that bring me joy
+ Have another internship and/or start working a full time job (!!!)
+ Go camping somewhere new
+ Make a better morning routine to start my days off with
+ Visit Big Sur, Texas, and Portland
+ Continue to pursue photography for fun and as income
+ Spend more time with my family
+ Build savings and pay off all credit cards (and maybe even start to pay off student loans?)

Wellness:
+ Find a healthy lifestyle that works for me
+ Implement a good skin care routine
+ Exercise regularly and try fun new things
+ 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
+ Make new friendships with fellow bloggers and connect more with others

I listen to a podcast called The Lady Gang and one thing that is often mentioned is a "mirror message," which is like a mantra or something motivational that you remind yourself of by writing it on your mirror or having it somewhere you can see. I have mirrored closets in my bedroom, so I have decided that each week this year I want to write down a few things to remember and focus on as a way to keep working on my goals consistently and in a manageable way :)

What are your goals for 2017? Did you set goals in 2016?

xoxo
Jess


1.05.2017

My 23rd Birthday!

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Yesterday was my 23rd birthday! I’m just going to go ahead and say it: I am the kind of person that loves their birthday. I LOVE my birthday. It is always a special day to me, as it should be. I love having the excuse to spend the day doing whatever my heart desires and I think everyone deserves to feel special on their birthday. It is just an exciting day!

The day started out with my roommate Laura making me delicious crepes for breakfast. Dai surprised me by taking the day off of work and showing up at my house at breakfast time, although I had a hunch he was taking the day off even though he kept insisting that he was going to work just like any other normal day ;) After breakfast, Dai and I went to a good local coffee shop that I really like near my house and they were so sweet to give me my latte for free since it was my birthday! Perks of being the birthday girl and wearing a birthday crown :) We then headed to the movies to La La Land. It was at this really nice theater that has reclining leather seats and since it was a rainy Wednesday at 11:30am, there weren’t many people there, which was also nice! La La Land was really good and it is now one of my favorite movies! It is so fun and just all around lovely. I highly recommend going to see it!
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After the movie, we went to lunch in downtown Palo Alto at Lemonade, which as always was really yummy. We also walked around West Elm (love everything there!) and had fun sitting on the couches. We then went to the Stanford mall and I ended up finding a beautiful dress to wear to Dai’s company holiday party later this month (yes it is in January!). After the mall, we got a milkshake and walked around Sur La Table. I knew that Dai had plans for us at 6:30pm, but I had no idea what they were. I thought maybe they were dinner reservations or something. As we were walking around Sur La Table, Dai led me towards the back of the store where he revealed that we were doing a cooking class! It was pizza making and we got to make everything from scratch! I had never done a cooking class before, but it was something I had thought would be fun to do with Dai. We had a great time and made super tasty pizza. It was a fun experience and I would love to do another class!
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To end the night, we went home to my place and had birthday cake and played the game Exploding Kittens with my roommate. One of the gifts that Dai got me was an Echo Dot, so it has been fun to play with “Alexa.” We have had her tell us jokes and she even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me several times haha technology is so fun sometimes ;)

As you can see, I had a really wonderful day! I know that I am one lucky girl to have a guy that does anything to make sure that I feel special. He is like that all year round, actually, not just on my birthday and it is one of the many things I love about him. He is always thinking up things to surprise me with and doing things to bring a smile to my face :) I am so thankful for you, Dai!

The celebrating isn’t over yet! On Friday I am meeting up with some friends for drinks and we may go bar hopping to check out a few different places. Next week I am also heading to Vegas with two of my girl friends for a couple days of fun! I am really looking forward to that as well since it will be my first real time in Vegas with friends!

I am excited for 23 and all that this year will bring. I know it will be a good one!


xoxo
Jess




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