What I’m Loving | 12/31/2017

It’s my final post of 2017!


I know I’ve already dedicated an entire post to this, but thank you again for being on this journey with me.I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration (hence the disco balls!), and here’s to 2018 and the adventures it is sure to hold.

Books :: Backlash was a dense read. It’s been a long time since I read a text that scholarly, but I’m proud to say I made it through and am the wiser for it! I’m now working on Rules of Civility and I am in love. I wanted to read something fun and this is certainly it — something set in 1937 New York City is almost an instant hit for me, and Amor Towles is so gifted with prose. I read his more recent work A Gentleman in Moscow at the beginning of the year and it was also a delight.

Listening :: Vinyl, baby! Santa left a record player for Christmas, so my 3 records have been on rotation. Louder Than Bombs and An Awesome Wave are favorites, but Lazaretto is also great once you get past all the weird quirks that Jack White embedded in the LP. After traveling home, we plan to make a day out of Berkeley’s record stores to expand the collection.

Spare Time :: Puzzles! Santa also left puzzles, and I forgot how obsessed I am. My grandmother always has a puzzle out but I’ve never had one of my own. I can’t tear myself away from them!

Style :: Anything warm. We’re home this week and the forecast includes some single-digit lows — it’s not like this in California!

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A Few of my Favorite Things (I’ve Done)

I always try to take time to reflect at the end of each year; I find that it’s a great way to stay grounded while giving me some ideas for what I want to work on in the year to come.


This was a year marked by a lot of exciting changes, hard decisions, and new experiences for me, and these are some of my favorite things about it. I think the things that define your year — whether big or small — are a great checkmark for where you’re at and where you’d like to be going.

As I was compiling this list, I realized that my most impactful things weren’t moments, but changes I’ve made to my life or habits. I still have so many things I’d like to accomplish, but I’m thrilled about where 2017 has taken me. I hope my favorite things can inspire you too!

  1. Moving. Of course, this tops my list of biggest changes, hardest decisions, and new experiences all in one. Six months into this adventure and I’m still figuring it out, but it’s been a great experience overall. I’ve never been so far out of my comfort zone, and I think it’s those kinds of experiences that really push us to grow. A cross-country move certainly isn’t best for everyone, but I will say that if you get a chance to do something you’d never dreamed of — take it.
  2. Writing. I’ve mentioned it before, but I still cannot believe where writing has taken me. I’ve always been a reader and I enjoyed college writing courses but doing it as a hobby has been a new endeavor. Through the blog, I’ve made connections with people, given myself a creative outlet, and crafted the writing samples that allow me to do freelance work — a dream of mine since childhood. For 2018 I hope that it will take me more places, both personally and professionally.
  3. Automatic cat feeder. This might seem a little trivial to be a highlight of my entire year, but this is one of my best purchases ever. If you’ve met Bird, you know that she’s obsessed with eating — we joke that she’s part raccoon because of her insistence on digging through the trash. The time change was especially hard on her (read: 3 AM howling for breakfast) so we got this automatic pet feeder. She’s still a vocal kitty, but she never pesters us for food anymore which has improved our relationship exponentially.
  4. Expanding my bookshelf. I didn’t set out with any reading goals this year, but I have read so. many. books. I’ve read at least a few pages every day, and if you’ve been following my “What I’m Loving” posts you know that I’ve sampled from quite the variety. From non-fiction to self-help to fantasy, I’ve broadened my horizons just by hanging out on my couch. Currently, I’m waiting for the best books of the year to drop in price while I make my way through (some of) the Rory Gilmore book list.
  5. Surfing. This was such a big first for me! Surfing has been on my to-do list since I was a young, dolphin-obsessed fifth grader, and I finally got the chance to take a lesson in Santa Cruz. I was terrified (and terrible) but the feeling of doing something I wanted to for so long is the greatest feeling — and it really wasn’t as scary as I expected it to be. Harley & I got matching wetsuits for Christmas, so I suspect there will be more of this in our future.
  6. Managing my anxiety. I know I’ve alluded to my anxiety on the blog before, and it’s something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. Each day fluctuates, but this year I’ve put some major effort into getting it under control. I’ve been finding healthy management methods that work for me, and while it’s something I’ll always have to live with, I feel much more control of my emotions than I’ve been before. I still don’t have all the answers, but I’ve made major strides and that’s something to be proud of!

I would love to hear some of the favorite things you’ve done — or favorite books you’ve read — in 2017!

The link for the pet feeder is an affiliate link, meaning that if you buy it I’ll receive a small commission. However, my love of the pet feeder is 100% my own.

Here’s to You!

I wanted to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming and take a moment to say thank you for reading!


When I started blogging I wanted a writing outlet — I never expected that anyone would read it. The fact that people do is amazing to me, and what better time than Christmas to give my thanks?

So whether you read every week or binge it once a month, whether this is your first post or you’ve read every one, just know that I appreciate it tremendously and I hope you’ll stick around. As always, if there’s something you’d like to see or if you just want to say hey, don’t hesitate to reach out!

I hope that everyone has the merriest holiday!

Working (From Home)

This particular post has taken many forms. When I originally thought of the idea, I was planning a how-to about working remote….but that didn’t feel quite right considering I’m still figuring out the how-to myself!


I decided the most authentic to do was just to take everyone on this journey with me — I don’t have it all figured out, but I can at least share some thoughts on why it’s working for me.

When you work where you live, you’re responsible for achieving a work/life balance as opposed to having your employer provide you with it. What that looks like for me evolves a little more each week, and I think that’s normal! I’m trying a lot of different daily schedules to see what sticks, but I’ve accepted that it’s always going to be a fluid process.

Let me start by saying that while working from home is a dream for me, I definitely think so many factors play into whether it works for you! I was homeschooled until college so being in charge of my day-to-day schedule is basically a part of my personality — but just like I wouldn’t recommend homeschooling for every kid, I wouldn’t recommend working from home for every adult.

Both for my job and any freelance writing, I mainly have long-term deadlines — meaning I’m still figuring out the best way to schedule my days. I’ve always been intrinsically-motivated, which is what makes it possible for me to do this type of work, but it also makes it way too easy for me to get my head down in something and not resurface for hours.

While I love rapidly checking off my to-do list, I’m also learning to remind myself to breathe! As a writer, I relish in uninterrupted stretches of time, but I also need to slow down and stretch my legs once in awhile. Taking meaningful breaks (aka walking around the block as opposed to refreshing Twitter) helps me not be as exhausted when I return to my work — and is way healthier than sitting for 6 hours at a time! I also take advantage of the nearby coffee shops once or twice a week, and I’ve found that the change of scenery helps me come up with new ideas if I’m feeling stuck (full disclosure: this is being written from a Starbucks!).

There’s also a lot of misconceptions about working from home — that you’re always available, that you can do whatever you want all day, or that your life is just generally more relaxed. I would say that’s equal parts true and not true. While I have more control over my schedule and my tasks, I still get the same deadlines as anyone in an office would. The difference is, instead of taking breaks to chat with coworkers, my breaks typically involve laundry or dishes — and for me, that’s a much better way to handle stress! I’m borderline-obsessed with efficiency, so being able to take breaks that still feel productive is something I’d consider a big factor in my success.

Like I said, I wouldn’t recommend this lifestyle for everyone, but with companies becoming more flex with their work from home policy now is a great time to have a dialogue with yourself about your personal working style. Knowing what works for you can do volumes for your productivity regardless of where your “office” is!

What I’m Loving | 12/17/2017

Bird has officially declared a war on Christmas cheer. Her life’s mission is to rip every bow to shreds, and the things under the tree serve as the perfect boost so she can attack more ornaments.


In addition to guarding the spirit of Christmas, it’s been a busy week as a whole. Between work and errands, I’ve felt like I was playing catch-up ever day. Working from home, it’s rare that I find myself looking forward to the weekend — but when Friday rolled around I was definitely ready to relax. As much as I love the holidays, they definitely take up a bit of extra brain space too!

Here’s what I’m loving lately:

Books :: I Am That Girl was a great, inspiring book — every girl wants to be “that girl” that’s on top of the world! I then read Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which concerns re-education during the Chinese cultural revolution. I knew nothing about that before this book, and while it isn’t an in-depth view it’s a quick read that allows you to become more familiar with the topic. I’m now reading Backlash — don’t let the picture fool you because this book is huge. I’ve barely made a dent in it, but thus far it’s giving a lot of statistical validation to some common political phenomena.

Listening :: My Top Songs playlist on Spotify is perfect this year. There have been a few times I’ve forgotten I’m listening to it and thought “wow, this playlist is great“. 😳

Spare Time :: Between buying presents, wrapping presents, working, and various errands, there hasn’t been a ton of downtime. I have been doing yoga every day though — I’m going to write an in-depth post about that in the future but as a sneak peek: it’s been great.

Style :: I ordered some clothes from American Eagle a few weeks ago, and though I didn’t love any of the sweaters I did score with this lace-shouldered winter dress. It’s so soft, but the material allows for a bit of extra warmth. Perfect!

This post contains affiliate links. All views here are my own, but if you buy something from this post I’ll receive a percentage!

Making Amends in the Digital Age

The dialogue surrounding female empowerment is prevalent now more than ever, and inspirational women are taking the world by storm. They write books, give speeches, and encourage ladies across the globe to be the strongest female community we can be.



In spite of this, woman-on-woman bullying seems to be everywhere. Every woman I know has a story about the “mean girl”, every woman I know has discovered people talking behind their backs, and every woman I know has developed a permanent insecurity over someone’s harsh words. The internet makes it easier than ever to ruin someone’s day…but it also makes it easier to make amends.

I remember the first time a girl was mean to me. I was 12 years old, and I logged into Myspace (lol) to messages from a friend-of-a-friend saying nasty things to me. Turns out, her boyfriend had broken up with her and she thought he and I were an item (we weren’t). A few weeks later, she sent me another message apologizing for her rash behavior.

Everyone migrated to Facebook shortly afterward, and at 14 an acquaintance wrongly assumed that a post I made was about her (it wasn’t) — snarky messages ensued. A few months later, she apologized.

Flash forward to high school, where at 16 a boy spread rumors when I wouldn’t date him. I logged on to a multitude of messages from girls saying the meanest things because they assumed everything to be true. These girls were several years older than me and I didn’t know them, but after taking someone’s word about a stranger they felt the need to lash out. Crazily enough, about half of those girls apologized too — despite the fact that I would likely never cross paths with them.

Of course, these aren’t the only times I’ve gotten my feelings hurt by a woman. From girls who shared my interest in a boy to girls that were mean because we had a mutual BFF to the girl at my part-time job who was mean for reasons that remain unknown, it happens.

However, after the clarification that time provides, these unresolved incidents aren’t what I remember. What I do remember is the multiple strong women who were mature enough to admit they were wrong — especially when nothing was in it for them.

Apologizing is hard. I know that because I’ve done my fair share of things that required an apology. I’m also sure I’ve done my fair share of things things that were so self-centered I haven’t realized I was in the wrong, so I sometimes send a blanket “I’m sorry” to the universe for mistakes I’ve yet to remember.

Making amends is a hard choice — but the digital age also makes it an optional one. Social media allows us to send a direct yet impersonal message and then block someone if we’d like to forget they exist. In the nature of this new reality, there’s not a pressing need to make things right.

I’ve never become close with these girls — most of them I don’t know aside from the occasional Instagram. However, because of their decision to be kind without incentive, I will remember their names. As a homeschooled kid, these girls didn’t see me in the halls every day, nor would they ever need to acknowledge me in public. Still, they apologized.

People being mean sucks. I will always remember that sinking feeling of reading harsh words on the screen. But after all this time, what I remember more is the integrity of the women who apologized when they didn’t have to, and how that changed the narrative of the story entirely.

What I’m Loving | 12/10/2017

I’ve decided that Christmas was definitely the best season to learn more about my camera. I’ve been taking so many pictures of lights/trees/decorations that I’ll likely have to save some to use next year. There’s just so many pretty things around and I want to document it all!


Chattanooga just got a dusting of snow (which is pretty rare) and it really made me miss that hoping-for-snow feeling. Snow is so rare in the south, which made it such a sweet thing when it did happen. I think no matter how much I hope it will be a lost cause here in SF — I’ll just have to wait patiently until our ski trips so I can break out the winter gear.

Here’s what I’m loving lately:

Books :: The Diary of a Young Girl was difficult to read, of course, but I’m so glad I did. The historical and social impact of having that documentation is so important and gives us a vessel to peer directly into the heart of the war. From there I moved straight into Chopin’s The Awakening, which was a bit dull but the cultural significance was interesting. Now I’m working on I Am That Girl, which was lent to me by a friend. I just ordered a big stack of books, so I’ve got work to do.

Listening :: Taylor Swift (again) because I got tickets to the Reputation tour! I wouldn’t typically pay that much money to see an artist, but for this experience, I’m making an exception. The countdown to May is on!

Spare Time :: Seeing friends! I had two friends from Chattanooga come into town on the same day, separately. I’ve never considered the statistics of that, but I’d imagine it’s pretty rare. Regardless, it was wonderful to see some old pals and catch up for a bit!

Style :: I’m rewatching Gilmore Girls (when am I not?), and Rory is at Yale which means every outfit she’s wearing is darling. She just went through a skirt phase where she wore outfits like this in every episode and I am loving it. I have a lot of A-line skirts, but now I’m on the lookout for ones with a straighter shape.