2017 Goals: February Update

2017 Goals: February Update

So I realize this is a bit late- more like half a month (whoops!), but here are my 2017 Goals update for the month of February:

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

In the month of February, I exercised 12 times! This is by far the most I have ever exercised in one month, so yay me! Along with exercising more I definitely noticed that I’m getting better at cardio and weight training, and I’m really happy about this. I am working really hard to be present mentally and physically during the entire 60-minute class, which has been difficult after a long work day. This is probably going to be my biggest test for 2017 in terms of perseverance and working hard to achieve a goal.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

I booked my trip for state 39- HAWAII for May! I am so excited to go on this trip. I won this trip back in December 2015 and it has taken over a year to book it. I have never been to Hawaii before, and I am so excited to explore and experience it. If you have any tips or recommendations for O’ahu, please comment below with them! After May, I’ll only need 11 more states to accomplish my goal, which is crazy! I’ve really enjoyed exploring the United States and seeing all the different parts and cultures within it.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

Well I did pretty well saving money, but the whole budgeting thing failed. I am going to have to put together a new plan of attack for how to deal with this and be successful. Seriously, this is a major goal for this year and I am really working on achieving it. Two things I did learn about in February were Ebates and Ibotta. Ebates is a website and web browser plug-in that gives you cash back when you shop online at certain stores- so you’re basically getting free money while shopping! Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn money on grocery store purchases (certain items), some restaurants, and stores. If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link or button on the right and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I think they’re really great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This is a goal I need to figure out how to achieve or work on. I’ve considered volunteering for an organization or working on a political campaign, but I haven’t figured out what the most effective technique is here.

Stay tuned to see how achieving my goals is going for the rest of the year!

P.S. I promise to post March’s update on time 🙂

2017 Goals: January Update

2017 Goals: January Update

I’ve decided that instead of writing just an annual update on how I’m progressing on my goals for the year, that I would starting doing monthly ones. So here are the updates:

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

Well this is probably the goal that I have been most successful so far. Typically, I exercise twice a week, but I decided that I was going to do one of the challenges at Orangetheory. It is a 6-week weight loss challenge (I don’t think I’m losing weight, probably just gaining muscle) and you have to go 3x a week for the 6-weeks to complete the challenge. When I started the challenge I only had the 2x a week package, but since I’m trying to be more fiscally responsible I upgraded my membership to save money.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

In 2017, I have one trip a month from February-September, and two of the trips are to states I’ve never been. I’m going to Nashville, TN for my 26th birthday and Hawaii in May with my family. The other trips I have planned are for weddings and family events. Hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze in one more trip to a state I’ve never been to in 2017.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

So far I think I’m doing better at this. I’m working hard at not eating out as much, which saves money and is healthier. I’m also trying to go grocery shopping once a week so I have food in my fridge. Another thing I’m working on is not shopping online or in stores until I’ve thoroughly cleaned out my closet. I want to try to sell as much stuff as I can to ThredUp.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This has probably been the hardest goal for me to work on. I’ve found the month of January to be too emotionally draining due to the political climate, but I did participate in the Women’s March Los Angeles on January 21, 2017. It was a great way to organize and stand up for what I believe in, and I intend on participating in as many events like that as possible this year.

Finally, I am working on rebranding and writing more content for the blog. I promise I’ll write about some of my travels from 2016 in February. Also, I want to thank all of you for breaking my record for most views in a month in January. I really appreciate you reading and engaging with what I write. Let me know if there’s a topic you want me to cover!

Chef Time #2

Chef Time #2

As someone who’s trying very hard to learn to cook, I thought I would share two of my new favorite recipes.

 Tuna Fish and Noodles

I know this recipe seems a bit bland or unusual, but for me it tastes like home. It possible is my favorite dish that my mom makes.

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Ingredients
8 oz. wide or extra wide noodles
6.5 oz. tuna fish (you can use 2 small cans or 1 large can)
Cream of Mushroom soup

Steps
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring pot of water to boil; add noodles and stir.  Cook until done, drain & rinse with hot water.
Drain tuna and break chunks up.
Add ½-3/4 cup milk to soup.  (I usually put soup in 1 qt. pot over low heat and gradually stir in milk.)
Grease casserole dish with butter or margarine.
Layer noodles, tuna, soup (thin), & repeat, ending with soup.
Cook 1 hour.

*If you want to add peas or another veggie to the recipe, you definitely can!

 

 

Eggplant and Mozzerella

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Ingredients

Eggplant Recipes – use a rimmed cookie sheet for both
Eggplant Sorrento Style
2 medium to large eggplants (approx. 2 lbs. total), sliced about 1/4-inch thick
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced approx. ¼-inch thick
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
24 large basil leaves

Steps
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheets. Brush both sides with olive oil (you can use olive oil spray instead).  Bake until softened, about 10 min.  Turn & bake until almost tender throughout, about 5 min. more.  Remove from oven.  Add salt & pepper (I don’t use this). Top with 1 slice of tomato, 1 slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Bake until cheese melts (5 min. or so).  Serve immediately.

 

If you have an easy recipe you want me to try, please share it! Enjoy!

I LOVE Coffee!

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Cold brew Float

So I named my blog after my love of coffee, and I figured that it was time to share my new favorite coffee spot in Los Angeles. I recently discovered Demitasse in Mid-City after I went to the chiropractor one day, and I’ve been back three times in the last few weeks. Demitasse is a small chain in Los Angeles, and they coffee is amazing and super fresh. They try to have all local products, and all of the baristas are super friendly. I’ve tried the Iced Mint Cubano, Cold brew Float, and the Nitro ice coffee (their own type of cold brew). Each drink has been delicious, and made with fresh ingredients. If you’re ever in Los Angeles and you’re obsessed with coffee, then I strongly recommend that you stop by one of Demitasse’s locations!

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Nitro and Croissant

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Back To School!

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Ok, well it might be the second fall that I’m not going to be in school, but I still love all of the back to school sales and items that go with starting school. Here are two of my favorite things:

  1. Planners! I love agendas, they possibly could be my favorite accessory. I typically get a Lilly Pulitzer agenda, but this year I didn’t like the patterns and decided to get something new. This year I got a ban.do planner, and I am obsessed. I got the planner that says I Am Very Busy in blue. Ban.do planners are cute, simple but fun, and have motivational says on certain days. I can’t wait to start using it in August!
  2. My second favorite thing is the Nordstrom Anniversary sale! I rarely buy a lot of clothes at once, but this year I needed some new clothes for work so I decided it was worth the splurge. I got 7 items, and I love all of them. Here are the links to the items I bought:
    • The Bouclé & Knit Drape Collar Jacket is super cute, and a perfect weight for wearing in the office.

    • The Belted Short Sleeve Top is perfect for fall, and comes in lovely colors for fall. I got the shirt in the green and navy, and I can’t wait to wear it!

    • I am obsessed with the Short Sleeve Chiffon Top in Garnet. It fits perfectly and the color is amazing; just don’t wear it in the heat if you get hot easily.
    • Another item that I love is the Halogen® Kick Flare Knit Ankle Pants. They are perfect for someone who is short, and doesn’t want to alter another pair of pants. They aren’t on Nordstrom’s website anymore, but you should definitely monitor it for them!
    • I bought one pair of shoes, the Vans ‘Classic’ Slip-On Sneaker in Black Patent Leather.  I bought the shoes to wear to work because I’m recovering from a stress fracture in my foot, and I needed a pair of gym shoes that didn’t look like gym shoes.
    • The final item that I bought was the Hooded Longline Cardigan in the Trend Section of the store. It is made by BP, which is the Nordstrom juniors brand. The sweater is super comfy, and perfect for fall weather.

I hope that everyone takes advantage of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale because there are tons of good deals on high quality items! Happy Fall Shopping 🙂

Chef Time

Recently, I have been working on improving my cooking skills. In the past, they have been one of my most abysmal skills that I possess. Deciding that I was going to start attempting to cook again definitely brought up some road blocks, but I knew that I had to try. I decide to try making Lamb Chops and Pasta Salad, and both recipes came out amazing. Here are pictures and recipes:

Lamb Chops

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Recipe

Rinse & place on broiler pan; if you want, you can put a little aluminum foil under it to make cleaning easier afterwards. You can bake them at 350 degrees for 20-30 min., then turn, put some oregano on, and cook for another 20-30 min. OR you can broil them – you have to watch carefully so they don’t burn.  It’ll probably take 5-10 minutes per side.
Cooking time can vary, depending on how thick they are.

 

Pasta Salad

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Recipe

Boil a full bag of bow tie pasta. Once it’s done, you rinse the pasta in cold water, then drain it. Put pasta in large bowl so you can stir. Chop up half a cucumber and half a red pepper [I used tomatoes instead of red pepper] or other various veggies and throw into the pasta bowl. Add balsamic vinaigrette or dressing of your choice to pasta, stirring so the dressing is coating all of the pasta and veggies. Leave pasta in fridge for one day and serve next day!

To improvise I added some feta to the pasta salad 🙂

Both recipes are super easy, and taste amazing.

Bon Appétit!

I LOVE Coffee

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I named my blog But First Café, because I have a serious obsession with coffee. I love all types, flavors, and ways of making coffee. This week I saw a BuzzFeed post about the best memes related to coffee, and they are all super accurate. For everyone with a coffee addiction like mine, enjoy!

Let’s Get Carried Away

One of my all-time favorite shows is Sex and the City. I love the characters, plot, and how fashion was one of the main entities in the show. Since the show ended, Sarah Jessica Parker created her own shoe line. They are beautiful shoes, and I would die to have a pair. Recently, Sarah Jessica Parker went to Kleinfelds in New York to surprise some brides with of her shoes. I seriously wish I was one of them!

Happy 10th Birthday to the Hills!

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Today is the 10th Birthday of the only reality TV show that I like, The Hills. The Hills marked a change in TV, and created the genre called Reality TV. Since it was the first reality TV show, it was probably the most real at the beginning. There have been numerous BuzzFeed posts about The Hills, and this one is by far my favorite because it shows how real the Hills was at one point. The protagonist and my favorite person on the Hills, Lauren Conrad, has made quite a career for herself since leaving the show. This Levo post discusses some of her biggest accomplishments. But really, thank you MTV for developing the Hills and Happy 10th Birthday to the Hills!

6 LEVO Lessons

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One of my favorite companies for professional development tips is LEVO. The site allows you to create a profile, a bit like LinkedIn, but brighter, organized differently, and more interactive. They also publish a variety of articles and inspirational quotes, host webinars, and have downloadable guides all related to professional development. Here are my 6 favorite articles:

  1. 15 Things Incredibly Happy People Do

  2. 10 Ways to Psych Yourself Up About Job Hunting

  3. The Brief: 90 Percent of Women Would Rather Do This Than Be Late For Work

  4. A Millennial Life Through Taylor Swift Songs

  5. Work Smarter: The Best Times of Day to Conquer Your To-Dos

  6. 10 Productivity Hacks in 140 Characters or Less