Sooo I realize that I owe all of you a life update, and I know it’s definitely overdue. If you follow me on Instagram, which you should, you might have noticed that I moved from Los Angeles back to Chicago. I got a new job, which I love, and I’m having a great time exploring a city that I’ve been away from for eight years. While my time in Los Angeles was fun, it was time to leave and start a new chapter of my life. Being back in Chicago has allowed me to be back with family and friends, explore new restaurants and just be me.
From here on out my posts will be a combination of old posts from LA and new ones from Chicago and my travels. Stay tuned for some fun places and restaurants to try!
This year I worked really hard to work on myself and I set goals that I thought would be achievable. Here’s what I’ve learned from setting my 2017 Goals:
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals actually work. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I learned this acronym in college and I applied it more to academics, but never to life. When I made my goals for 2017, I applied the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals to them because I wanted to make sure I could achieve them.
Accountability is key. I don’t think I would have maintained my exercise routine without having it in my calendar, receiving reminders, and being charged if I cancelled a class too late. Also, sharing your goals with people is a good way to be held accountable.
Traveling is a great way to learn more about yourself. Whether you want to learn more about yourself or other cultures, you will learn something new about yourself on each trip you take.
One of my big goals was to learn how to budget more and actually stick to that budget. I found that apps really didn’t help me achieve this goal, so at the beginning of the month I’ve started writing out my expenses for the month, the days I get paid, and the amount I get paid to figure out how to manage my spending for the month.
It is important to keep learning. Taking classes through UCLA Extension has been one of the best things I decided to do this year. I’ve loved what I’m learning and it’s been one of the more enjoyable things I’ve done this year.
Setting goals related to exercise should be focused on seeing what your body can do and not just weight loss. When I initially set my goal of getting better at cardio, the real goal was to lose weight. A few months into the year, I made the mental shift to focus on pushing my body more vs. focusing on weight loss, and I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I ran a mile faster than I’d ever run before- 12 minutes! Which to some is a bad time, but for me that broke a 13-year record! Due to my mental shift, I was able to accomplish my cardio goal and achieve my secondary goal of losing weight.
Your body can do more than you think. I know this is related to #6, but it’s definitely a lesson I learned. Up until this past year, I had never really lifted weights. I had used little weights in PT or a gym class, but never truly lifted weights. This year I have learned how to lift weights and I’ve increased the amount of weight I can lift throughout the year. It’s been nice to see that I’m able to do this because I’ve had shoulder and neck issues.
Cooking is a lot easier than you think. I usually get overwhelmed by cooking a meal, but recently I’ve started being creative in the kitchen and created my own recipes. I’ve actually found this process to be fun, and I’d never had that experience before. An example of this is my obsession with making a DELICIOUS egg sandwich.
Eating out or ordering in usually isn’t as good as you think it’ll be. The more I ate out this year, the less I enjoyed it. I would go to some of my favorite places and I just didn’t like it or I felt sick afterwards; which is obviously not a reaction you want to have. I definitely think there needs to be a balance between eating out/ordering in and cooking at home.
Find things that you love outside of work. This for me has been key- without this blog I wouldn’t have a creative outlet and work would be my life.
Be open to exploring new places. Whether you’re exploring a brand-new country or city or walking around where you live and you stumble upon a new place, you should be open to trying new things. This is how I created my Ktown Hidden Gems series- it simply happened because I started walking around where I live.
Stand up for what you believe in. This applies to politics, issues at work, with your friends- you get the point. This is an important skill to have and it applies to any aspect of life.
Take care of yourself. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to learn. I’ve tried really hard to take care of issues before they become bigger problems, and I think this approach is making me more aware about how my body works and reacts to things.
Go to interesting events. In 2017, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to see a lot of performers and speakers that I never thought I would see. This includes seeing Hamilton the Musical, movie screenings, the Backstreet Boys, and Dan Rather. Attending different types of interesting events makes you think differently about different aspects of life and you appreciate them. Every time an opportunity would arise, I would just ask myself, “when will I be able to do this again?” If the answer was probably never again, then I would decide to go. Taking advantage of opportunities is key.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve always had the rule that I am willing to try anything once, but sometimes fear can make that hard to follow. This year I tried to actually force myself to try things that scared me or were completely new. The major thing I tried was skiing. I had never skied before, but I had always wanted to try. So, when the opportunity arose, I said yes. Was I great at it? No. Am I willing to try it again? Yes.
Friends and family are everything. Going on all of my adventures in 2017 wouldn’t have been as memorable or enjoyable without everyone who participated in them. From Nashville, to trying new restaurants, to Hawaii, to going to concerts and speakers- these memories wouldn’t be half of what they were without the people who attended them with me. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is just a key thing to be able to do in life. Things are going to happen in life and you need to be able to be okay with it.
In my post 2016 Goals, I mentioned that I wanted to travel more. When I turned 25 in February, I set the goal of going to all 50 states before I turn 30. Growing up we did a lot of road trips, so it wasn’t a daunting goal to me. Since then, I’ve been to Maine, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Texas, and I booked a trip to Hawaii! I know that I’ve been bad and posting about my trips, and I promise that I’m going to post about my favorite things from each trip or place. If any of you have recommendations for the states that aren’t circled, please share them with me!
One of my favorite weekend pastimes is meeting friends for brunch. Last weekend I went to a place in Los Angeles called Messhall. I’ve been a few times, but this time was by far my favorite. First of all, the outdoor seating is super nice and they specifically sat us under a heating lamp to make sure we stayed warm. They also have small pit fires at some of the table to keep you warm. To start off our never ending meal, we spilt an amazing doughnut. It was fresh out of the oven, and they only made a few.
My favorite part of brunch are the beverages, seriously, I love all of the refreshing and light brunch drinks. Typically, I’ll get a mimosa, because who doesn’t love them?! However, this time I decided to expand my horizons and I got the French 75. I picked the version with Gin because that sounded more refreshing and I loved it. The French 75 has Gin or Cognac, champagne, lemon, and sugar. It paired nicely with the doughnut and my coffee. When you order a cup of hot coffee at Messhall, its Stumptown, so it has a rich strong coffee taste.
For my main course, I got the Pumpkin Pancakes. Usually, I am a plain pancake kinda girl, but since I was in the mood for trying new things, I went and tried the most basic menu item. The Pumpkin Pancakes were just as light and fluffy as their regular ones, and I love the flavor the pumpkin gave them. The pancakes come with candied pecans and marscapone whipped butter. I definitely plan on getting the Pumpkin Pancakes again!
Other perks of Messhall are the amazing staff, I haven’t had a single server or hostess who was ever rude, which I think is a great component of this restaurant. Also, the feeling of the restaurant is super relaxing, everyone from groups of friends to families dine there. The atmosphere in general is very calm, and feels a bit rustic. Finally, valet parking is only $5, which is a steal in Los Angeles! I highly recommend Messhall to anyone looking for a calm place to brunch in Los Angeles 🙂
Fun fact about me, I am a HUGE FRIENDS fan. So, obviously I like to spend my day before Thanksgiving dinner watching all of the Thanksgiving episodes, because they are they are hilarious. I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and that you laugh as much as everyone does on FRIENDS!