The best things I ate, saw, and did in August:1. Weekend getaway to The Garland Hotel. We—Teddy, too!—spent a night at this stylish boutique hotel in L.A.’s North Hollywood nabe this past weekend as part of a work assignment. There were so many fun design details, including this cool butterfly wall, movies played nightly at the pool, macrame decor in the restaurant, and a mini dog park for pooches. More to share on this in a few weeks.2. Bridesmaids at The Pearl Hotel. This was my second time at the retro San Diego hotel’s weekly poolside movie screenings, but this time I was with a bunch of friends watching Bridesmaids, which is really the best kind of movie to watch with a big group. All those quotable lines! On a sappy note, moving to San Diego in 2013 without knowing anyone was hard and making friends from scratch was even harder. To think I went to this with nearly a dozen people who are now such lovely friends of mine was very soul-satisfying.3. Best of San Diego party. A great memory for a few reasons. One, it’s my favorite of all of San Diego Magazine‘s events. Two, I really love that $30 Forever 21 dress. And three, Eaman and I hardly have pictures together anymore—mostly because I tend to take pictures of Teddy and overhead shots of lattes, whoops—so it was nice to get a framer with him.4. Meeting Teddy’s brother. Randomly running into Teddy’s long-lost brother while walking around North Park? AMAZING!5. Travel segment on KPBS. I’ve done radio before—I did a live play-by-play of Will and Kate’s royal nuptials for ABC back when I lived in New York—but last week’s segment on KPBS was my first radio clip in San Diego. I chatted all about last-minute Labor Day travel. You can listen to the full segment and watch a shorter TV spot here.
I’m sure many of you are either ducking out early for the long weekend or mentally checking out if you’re staying local. I’ll actually be heading out to New Orleans tomorrow, so I’m signing off a bit early this week. See you next week! xo
Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s amazing. AMAZING! Adichie is such a skilled writer who can balance pain, laughs, insight, and quick wit. (No wonder Beyonce sampled her TEDx Talk in “Flawless.”) Given how much people have hyped this book, my expectations were high, but all the praise is warranted. My copy is due back to the library this weekend, so now it’s a race to the finish the last 100 or so pages. Pretty sure I’ll be sad to be done with this one.
Traveling to:L.A. this weekend for work/play, New Orleans next week for a blog trip (!), Malibu at the end of September for a wedding, and likely Catalina in early October. After a relatively quiet August, the travel ramps up yet again. Woot!
Eating: At home more. I went through a few weeks of constantly eating out, partly because I was too tired to cook and partly because I was wholly uninspired. This Martha Stewart blistered eggplant dish was a particularly memorable meal and perfect for summer.
Watching: The Wire. One episode in, I’m not totally won over yet but am curious to see why people call it the best show in the history of television. I’m also watching my Real Housewives (of Orange County and New York) because there’s no better mindless entertainment after a long, hard day.
Exercising: Differently. As much as I loved going to a yoga studio, with the amount I eat out for work-related events and meetings, I wasn’t getting the burn I needed to balance out all the calories. It wasn’t about weight; I simply felt unhealthy and sluggish. So I joined Fit, an admittedly fancy gym that offers spinning, weight classes, yoga, barre classes, and more (I get a discount rate through work). I swore off gyms after OD-ing in New York City and also because San Diego is such an outdoor activity kind of town, but I needed efficient workouts. I like doing my weekday morning classes and then adding in long walks and hikes with Teddy on weekday evenings and weekends. #balance
Working on: Purging. It’s funny that for two years of working from home, our one-bedroom apartment (which is a decent 600 square feet) seemed like the right amount of space for me, Eaman, and Teddy. Now being home only on weekday evenings and weekends thanks to a full-time office job, I find the space totally claustrophobic. Maybe it’s because the novelty has worn off. Maybe it’s because I can finally separate work from home, and really need home to be an uncluttered sanctuary. Either way, I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of walking around the apartment and tossing (into a bag for Goodwill) items we don’t need or hardly ever use. Decluttering my space has done wonders for decluttering my mind. I also plan to check out Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Have you heard of it? It seems like a bible for minimalists and manual for hoarders.
A glimpse at the weekend that was…I headed up to L.A. with some friends for Unique LA, a pop-up market hosted by Unique USA, an organization that brings locally designed and crafted goods to various cities in the form of tradeshow-style shopping events.
But first…coffee! Though my caffeine headache was looming throughout our morning drive, I held out for quality coffee that I knew I could find in the newly happening downtown LA area, where Unique LA took place. Enter: Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters. This location was elegantly minimalist, save for the lush plant walls by the patio, and shared a space with Juice Served Here. I’m so glad I waited; the latte and croissant were certainly worth the caffeine withdrawal. read more
Yes, I’m going to Cabo tomorrow! The idea hatched just a month ago within a few days of deciding that Eaman and I really needed a vacation. It’s the quickest I’ve ever planned a trip, and I’m so, so excited.
As I mentioned here, I’ve been burned out. A new work schedule and my mom’s surgery have been recent stressors, but both events made me realize how the last 2.5 years of freelance hustling and being the supportive sounding board for a boyfriend creating a start-up had taken a toll on me, on Eaman, on our relationship, on our health, you name it. I’ve been exhausted, eating poorly, becoming increasingly forgetful, and worst of all, anxious. There were some mornings I had to turn on talk radio just so I could drown out the to-do lists running through my head or go to evening yoga because I was starting to have mini panic attacks every day at 5:30pm. And seeing my mom in the E.R., coping with a broken ankle and then surgery, made me realize that I needed to take care of my physical and mental health. I needed a vacation.
Around this time, I was also reaching out to a few girlfriends, all of whom are successful business owners. Quite simply I asked them, “How do you do it without pulling out your hair?” All of their tips had a common thread of traveling. One had just come back from a trip, another was about to leave for one, and the third travels so frequently (for fun) that she might as well be a travel writer. One of them explained that she just books a trip for the future so she’s committed. Leading up to it, she makes tweaks—maybe less shopping or less eating out—and it’s worth it because getting that change of scenery is rejuvenating. We’re all struggling, we’re all hustling, and we all don’t quite have the funds, but they all seem to make it work, so why can’t I?
For 2.5 years, I’ve been really hard on myself, whether it was talking myself out of going to the movies or getting a manicure because I thought I had to save money. Well yes, I do need to save money, but I also need to take care of myself, lest I want another epic meltdown.
Visiting family is not a vacation. Weddings are not a vacation. Press trips, while great and I know I’m lucky, are not a vacation. Two-day weekend getaways are not a vacation. I needed something longer.
So one day last month, feeling totally worn out from my anxiety, I texted Eaman that we needed to book a trip asap. To my surprise, he was 100 percent on board. (Usually one of us checks the other when it comes to finances.) And before we knew it, we decided on Mexico, then Cabo (big ups to Alaska Airlines for affordable direct flights!), then found this relatively cheap and secluded eco-resort. All of a sudden everything was booked.
I’ve packed sunscreen, my swimsuit, books, and a big floppy hat. I may or may not Instagram. I may or may not blog about it. But finally, I am doing something good for me, and it already feels right. (Cabo was under hurricane watch this past weekend—”Blanca” was the earliest-in-season tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Baja peninsula—but it was downgraded to a tropical storm yesterday and will dissipate today, so I think we’re in the clear *fingers crossed*. And more importantly, it doesn’t look like the area endured much damage.)
The blog will continue as normal on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so see you Thursday! I hope to come back a little sun-kissed, a lot relaxed, and full on tortilla chips.
It’s time to get real real. I’m juggling a whole lot on my plate right now: working at San Diego Magazine (filling in for an editor on maternity leave), freelancing, blogging, trying to stay active (it’s good for the freelance brain), and virtually checking in with my mom, who’s undergoing surgery today for a broken ankle.
I feel totally all over the place, and each week a few things fall to the wayside. Either I don’t see friends or I don’t work out or I don’t spend any time with my dog or I eat like crap. Bah! I’m going to have to make some changes, what those are I have no idea because I haven’t even had time to think about it, but one thing that will help is taking a few days off from this blog to recharge. Sometimes you need to just sit on the couch while your golden retriever sits next to you and snores ever so softly without the compulsion to cross something off your checklist.
So I need to figure out ways to allow for more of that in my life. Thanks in advance for being patient with me! As with everything in life quality > quantity.
Cosmo UK turned the tables by asking Mark Ruffalo all the sexist questions women typically hear on press junkets, while Scarlett Johansson was asked the more thoughtful questions. I like the idea, but it’s viewed as a joke when he gets asked. Women are asked those questions seriously! Blergh.
So excited try this spinoff eatery from my favorite San Diego Thai restaurant, Sab-e-Lee. It’s going to be a cloudy weekend here, and I can’t think of anything more comforting than a spicy tom yum soup. And coffee followed by a coffee nap.
Between tax deadline looming and my figuring out how to balance my new part-time gig at San Diego Magazine with freelance work and blogging, this week felt extraordinarily long. I can’t wait to sit on the couch and do nothing tonight before welcoming some New York friends to town this weekend and celebrating my big 3-0. Whee!
I’ve completely fallen off the boat with meal planning and packing my lunch for work. I need to change that quickly, and my friend Betsy’s recipe for an easy and very spring vegetarian pasta sounds divine.
Today marks the first day of spring, a new moon, a supermoon (when the moon is closest to Earth), the South Indian new year, and Persian new year. To top it off, early this morning, certain parts of the world were treated to a solar eclipse. People living in northwest Africa, most of Europe, and northern Asia saw a partial version, while those living in some of the northern stretches of Europe—think the Faroe Islands—saw the eclipse in its full glory. (The next time a spring equinox aligns with an eclipse will be 2034!)
So I’d say those are more than enough reasons to welcome change. And my spring is full of change/renewal.
In addition to the recent blog makeover and my and Eaman’s nine-year (WHAT!) dating anniversary coming up, in about a week, I’ll be starting a part-time editor gig at San Diego Magazine, filling in for one of their editors who’ll be going on maternity leave. (You may remember that I did a similar stint last year for a different editor there.) It’ll be a big change to relinquish my flexible freelancing schedule, which involves everything from mid-day yoga to grocery shopping on a Tuesday at 10 a.m., but freelancing is also incredibly hard and exhausting. Many who do it will tell you it’s virtually impossible to survive on freelancing alone. And in January I accepted the reality that a side gig was crucial for both my bills and my sanity. (Luckily, I had this editor gig already lined up.) This part-time work is going to give me some much-needed stability and will be such a good break from working at home. Maybe I can finally feel like there’s a division between work and home? Probably not, as I’ll continue to moonlight as a freelancer, but it’ll help!
I also turn 30 in a few weeks. I can’t really believe it, not because I’m hung up on the number, but because I feel like such a kid still. Sure, I have the responsibilities of rent, a car, self-employment, and other grown-up tasks, but sometimes I feel like Eaman, Teddy, and I are all just playing house in this little San Diego apartment. Maybe it stems from going backpacking for a year and then starting fresh with a new job and in a new city; it’s like the experience added a few more years to my 20’s. That said, who says you can’t be a kid in your 30’s anyway?! I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on the new decade when the time comes, but for now, I hope you all can take a few minutes today to think about what this new season brings—hopefully warmer weather for my friends on the East Coast and in the Midwest—and what you’d like to see change.
And if you’re in San Diego, I can’t think of a better place to welcome spring than in Balboa Park (above). Happy Friday!