17 Things I Learned in 2017

17 Things I Learned in 2017

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.The-Cross-Country-Millennial-How-to-Make-an-Egg-Sandwich
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

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Ktown Hidden Gems #4: Holy Roly Ice Cream

Ktown Hidden Gems #4: Holy Roly Ice Cream

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In this edition of Ktown Hidden Gems, I talk about my experience at Holy Roly Ice Cream. One of my friends, her husband, and I like to get dessert and explore Ktown; we’ve explored a few new dessert places, and so far they’ve all been great! Keep on Reading!

2017 Goals: Fall Update

2017 Goals: Fall Update

Okay, I’ve been bad at keeping you guys updated on how my goals for 2017 are going, so here’s the latest update.

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

I’ve definitely been achieving this goal. I still exercise 3-5 times a week, and I’ve transitioned more into jogging vs. powerwalking. I’ve been proud of my accomplishments and the changes I’ve seen in my body. Trying to get things back to my pre-boot self has been difficult, and I still get pain in my foot sometimes; however, I will show up to class and I try my hardest.

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One of my accomplishments was that I got my highest amount of splat points ever- 15!!! I usually am in the 0-4 range- low resting heart rate problems :/ I am constantly inspired to do better in class by the other members and the coaches. This inspiration manifested itself into me setting another goal of running 2 miles in the 30-minute Cardio portion of class. Now I know 2 miles in 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment, but trust me, as someone who couldn’t do the 20-minute mile in gym class during middle school- this is a HUGE goal! The thing that was funny about setting and accomplishing this goal was that I did it within a 3-week time period. Seriously, one day I decided it was happening and then I just constantly pushed myself for the next 3 weeks until I accomplished it. This showed me that with focus and determination, you can rise to the occasion and achieve your goals.

Despite this inspiration, I still find that it can be really hard to get myself in the mood to attend class- sometimes I am truly fried from the day, but I always leave class feeling better. I think that having a consistent workout routine has saved me numerous times mentally from the frustration I’ve been experiencing in different aspects of my life.

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

This goal has been put on pause a bit, because I did a lot of traveling within a short period of time- I think it made me not want to get on another plane. I can say that I have 11 or 12 states left, and I definitely think my goal is feasible. I’m starting to think about planning trips for 2018 with some friends that I don’t get to see. I am however working on writing posts about some of my past trips, so for 2018 I can start posting in as close to real time as possible.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with this goal. I’ve noticed that when things get really hectic in my life, that I just forget completely about having a budget or paying attention to my finances. This is a really bad habit, and I’ve been working hard to break it. I’ve been utilizing the Mint app more, and I think it’s really helping. I am still using Ebates, Ibotta, and ThreadUp to earn money in more practical ways.

If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link 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 genuinely think they’re great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make. If you’re interested in trying ThreadUp, here’s a link to get $10: http://www.thredup.com/r/C0GZL0

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This goal is still one I’ve been working on trying to figure out how to achieve. I’ve tried to read different sites to understand what is going on in the country, and supporting candidates that I agree with. I would like to volunteer for a political campaign because that was something I really enjoyed in high school, but I haven’t been around any elections. I think right now the best I can do is be knowledgeable about the issues I care about and having discussions with friends about how to get more engaged. I saw that there is another Women’s March planned for January, and I think I will participate in that.

*Goal 5: Schedule Time for Self-Care

I would honestly say that this is the goal that I’ve been the worst at accomplishing this year. I keep doing too much, and then I get overwhelmed, and then I practice a lot of self-care to feel better, and then the cycle keeps going. I started getting regular massages because my body started having pain in places that I know act up when I am stressed out. Listening to my body forced me to take time for myself, but it still doesn’t address the overall issue of me not taking enough time for myself. I honestly think that I need to start putting self-care into my calendar more, and not just taking an exercise class a few times a week, but really taking some time to decompress a few days a week. I know that I am really good at following my calendars, so this is a better way to hold myself accountable.

Anyways, this is how things have been going for me and I hope you learned something that can help you! I’m starting to think about new goals for the next year and how to carry these goals over- if you have any ideas, please comment below!

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

I’ve always had two philosophies in life 1) age is just a number and 2) you can learn something from everyone you meet. I chose to participate in the Bridging the Gap campaign with this mentality, but I was hesitant that I wouldn’t be able to relate to my partner. What would I truly have in common with someone double my age, and who’s lived in countries I’ve never been to? However, once I started talking with Renata, founder of Fashionably Fab Fashion Tips, I realized that we had so much more in common than I initially imagined.

Renata was born and raised in Australia, but she followed her dreams and at age 50 she moved to France. She has a son, and she is getting married to an Italian man in November. Now, age 52, she has traveled to over 40 cities in Europe – something I aspire to do some day. Some of her favorite places are: Antwerp, Paris, the countryside in England, Austria, and Switzerland.

Renata started her blog because she thinks “it’s important to just see people for who and what they are regardless of age, height or shape. People have a hard time nowadays to see people without labels or status.” You feel this intention when reading her blog; the wisdom woven into posts from her personal life and fashion communicates everything at a humanistic level and it feels refreshing. Everything she writes is authentic, and it’s noticeable. This tone makes sense because Renata is an artist with words – she’s written a book (again another life goal of mine).

I learned from our conversations that we both share passions for traveling, food, helping others and the relationships we have with family and friends. Renata is an expert in European cities; she can tell you where to eat, sites to see and the value of traveling to each country. I think she would write an awesome travel book about European cities. I hope to have this much knowledge about places within the United States. Renata and I both believe that traveling is awesome and that it forces you to truly live life. She says it best, “experience is life,” and I completely agree. Paired with traveling, is her passion for good food. Whether it’s a home cooked meal by her future spouse or dishes she’s discovered while traveling around Europe – she loves it all.

After talking with Renata, I realized that our values, passions and desires are the same; no matter your age. Two lessons I took away from our conversations are that you need to live in the now and make sure to become your best friend. I also hope that one day I have the wisdom and willingness to live my dreams despite my fears. Remember that beauty is ageless, and age is just a number. Renata and I bridged the gap, and I hope that we can meet in person – maybe I’ll travel to Europe!

To check out the other posts, click here!

Beginner’s Guide to Boston

Beginner’s Guide to Boston

One of my favorite regions of the United States is New England. I love the history, seasons (Yes, I said seasons. Growing up with them and then living in LA is weird!), and the food! I ventured across the U.S. to visit various friends from college and my friend Sarah aka the 207 Foodie came down from Maine.

Day One

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Well I landed in the afternoon, so the first task on hand was to find food! My friend and I went to Shabu Zen in Chinatown, and the food was delicious. It was the right balance of meat, veggies, and soup. Then we ventured over to Boston Common and got to see the Massachusetts State House all lit up. Then we decided to head over to Fenway Park- this was a bucket list item for me. Even though it wasn’t baseball season, I just wanted to see the historic park (if you can’t tell, baseball is my favorite sport). From the outside Fenway looked magical, and sometime I need to head back so I can go to an actual game.

The next stop on our evening tour of the city was Mike’s Pastry in Cambridge, which is phenomenal! I am not a huge dessert person, and even I could appreciate a delicious cannoli. We explored Cambridge a little, and I got to see some of Harvard’s campus.

Day Two

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The best way to start your day is with a good cup of coffee and an East Coast bagel. To me, there is nothing better. But the real adventure of the day was leaving Boston, and heading to Salem, MA. While psychics and witches are not really something I’m interested in, I can appreciate the history of the town. One of my favorite books in school was the Scarlet Letter, so I thought it was really cool to see where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born and grew up.

There are a lot of really interesting sculptures and art pieces around the town, and they reflect the history of the city. We also went to the Salem Witch Museum– a must go when in Salem. After exploring the town all day, it was time for a snack, and we choose macaroons at Caramel. We got a variety of flavors and they were all delicious. We made a detour up to New Hampshire so we could do some exploring, and so I could mark it off my list of states to visit. Next stop was dinner at Legal on the Mystic, where I tried Clam Chowder for the first time (another must do when in New England). We also got Oysters to share and I loved the Mignonette Sauce- seriously amazing!

Day Three

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There’s nothing better than being in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day, so we headed to The Bell in Hand Tavern to celebrate. The Bell in Hand Tavern is the oldest tavern in the United States- it opened in 1795. We spent the day here just hanging out and enjoying ourselves.

Day Four

We started the day off by walking around Boston, and we stumbled upon the memorial for Paul Revere and where he’s buried. Since Boston is filled with American history, it’s easy to stumble upon it everywhere you go. The next stop on our walk was the Boston Public Garden, so I could see the Make Way for Ducklings statues. I thought this was the coolest thing ever, because I was obsessed with the books growing up.

This was absolutely one of the best trips out East that I’ve ever had. It was a perfect balance of history, relaxation, and hanging out with good friends. Everyone needs a trip like this.

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Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

As I mentioned in my post about my experience at Egg Slut, I am on a mission to figure out how to make the best egg sandwich at home. After I went to Egg Slut, I figured out the missing ingredient- avocado!

Cook and Prep time: 10 minutes

What You’ll Need:

1 or 2 eggs

1 Tbsp. of garlic olive oil (I use the Trader Joe’s version)

1 or ½ an avocado

2 slices of Gouda cheese

1 English muffin or roll (I like the Euro Classic Hamburger rolls)

Single Egg Pan

I like to start by prepping the bread, so that way once the egg is cooked I can just put it on the sandwich and it’s ready to eat. Here are the steps:

  • Lay out both halves of the bread
  • Slice up the avocado and put it on both sides of the bread, so the sandwich is balanced.

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  • Put the two slices of Gouda on top of the avocado- this way they melt once you put the freshly cooked egg between them!

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Now that the rest of the sandwich is ready, then I start with the tasks related to cooking the egg(s). Here’s what I do:

  • Put a little bit (about 1 Tbsp.) of the garlic olive oil in the single egg pan- I like to put enough that I know the egg won’t stick to the pan, but not too much where it will spit back out at me while hot.

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  • Crack the egg into the pan- I like to cook it sunny side up

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  • Once the egg whites look cooked, then I like to flip it

When you think, the egg is done, take it off the stove and quickly get it onto the prepared sandwich. Once you put both halves together, it will melt the cheese.

I hope that you enjoy my super easy and healthy egg sandwich recipe! Comment below with any recipes that you’ve created and feel like sharing 🙂

 

 

An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

One of my favorite things to do is explore parts of Los Angeles with my friends, and of course, try new restaurants. I think that one of the most underrated places to eat in Los Angeles, is Grand Central Market; however, within Grand Central Market there are a lot of amazing and diverse eateries. I love the produce shops, coffee shops, bread stores, and all the eateries and stores in this iconic location; one of my favorites is Eggslut.

I’m currently trying to make the best egg sandwich when I cook at home, so I’m trying different egg sandwiches around Los Angeles for inspiration. The menu is fairly limited to just egg sandwiches, but they do have an option that’s gluten free and comes with a salad. A friend and I both got the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sandwich (mine with avocado, because it was national avocado day) and my other friend got a Slut with a side salad. They honestly know how to make the best egg sandwich at Eggslut and I need to know how they do it! I loved the crunchiness of the bacon, and how the cheese melted on the egg. The avocado topped off the sandwich.

One downside of Eggslut is that it is a small restaurant, so there usually is a crazy long line. However, this gives you the opportunity to take turns waiting in line with your friends while letting one explore Grand Central Market. It also allows you to socialize before ordering, so that way you can enjoy your amazing sandwich.  🙂

Eggslut is a great breakfast option, and being in Grand Central Market makes it even more enjoyable. Look out for a future post about my adventures trying to make the best egg sandwich at home. Happy Eating!

Food Guide: Portland, ME

Food Guide: Portland, ME

One of my favorite things to do is visit my friends in the cities they now reside in. My very best friend, 207 Foodie, resides in Portland, ME and I thought that the winter time was the perfect time to escape Los Angeles. To start off my trip, she had an ugly sweater party, so obviously, I had to scour Amazon for the perfect ugly sweater.

Day Two

The next day, we decided to walk to brunch in downtown Portland. We went to brunch at Sur Lie, and it was delicious. We had mimosas, the Golden Potato Hash Brown, Croquettes, the Fat Boy Breakfast, and Apple Cider Donuts- all were heavenly. The next time I’m in Portland, I must eat at Sur Lie again*.

One of my bucket list Portland destinations was L.L. Bean. I mean as someone that loves outdoor gear, L.L. Bean is like heaven. While at L.L. Bean you must take an obligatory picture with the boot outside the store- if you didn’t’ take a picture, did you really go?

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Another bucket list item was getting an authentic lobster roll. I know that winter isn’t the best season for lobster, but the lobster roll I had at Linda Beans was still delicious. I decided to get a cold lobster roll because I’ve only ever had a hot lobster roll; so, in Portland, I decided to try something new!

After spending the day at L.L. Bean and eating lobster rolls, we went on to have a quintessential New England evening at an outdoor ice skating rink, called The Rink at Thompson’s Point. It was a nice rink with a bar inside. They also had a food truck called PB&ME, that served fried cookies, so I got the fried chocolate chip cookies. They were the perfect addition to outdoor ice skating, beer, and good friends.

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Day Three

The next day we wandered down to the Old Port downtown to try an amazing sushi restaurant called Miyake. I got the pork belly, chef’s pick bento box, and chocolate cake with miso caramel sauce and it was great. Some of the items in the bento box I definitely wouldn’t have ordered on my own, but that’s the joy of the chef picking your menu- you get to try new things. The food was super fresh, and I loved the sushi. My friend and I also split the chocolate cake, and it was heavenly. After this delectable lunch, we walked to a different part of the city and went to Shipyard Brewing Co. We learned about the different beers and got to try a few. To finish a great day, we ended up at happy hour at Bar of Chocolate, and we got the Chocolate Martini and Hot Chocolate.

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Day Four

One of the things I hoped would happen while I was in Portland was that it would snow, and I got exactly that. There was enough snow that I was nervous that I might not be able to leave the next day, but luckily it stopped. Once it stopped snowing, we went to lunch at Pai Men Miyake, which is owned by the same people who own Miyake.  We split the pork buns and tuna and salmon rolls, and I got the Ramen as my main course. To finish off the day, we went to trivia at a local restaurant, and I got Beer BBQ wings.

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Day Five

To round off the trip, we went to lunch at a great place called Little Tap House, and I got the Beer for Breakfast Sandwich; the sandwich is comprised of two fried eggs, bacon, beer cheese fondue, grilled bun, and house chips. Then I was on my way back to Chicago. One thing that I’ve learned since graduating college is that visiting your friends is one of the best ways to relax and just allow yourself to be carefree. Being Bicoastal Besties can be hard, but trips together make it seem like time has never passed. Also, I definitely want to visit Portland during the Fall or Summer, so I can try different foods in the correct season!

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Comment below with your favorite trip you’ve taken with friends!

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*Unfortunately, they no longer do brunch 🙁

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

 

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As I mentioned in Ktown Hidden Gems #1, one of my favorite things about Koreatown is that just by walking around you discover so many different places and learn so many different things about where you live. Recently, I discovered CottonHi, which is an organic cotton candy and soft serve dessert place a few blocks away from where I live. The dessert is amazing, and what adult doesn’t love cotton candy?! Seriously- it instantly makes my day better. I’ve had the Tiramisu and Rock’n Pop soft serve cups with coffee flavor cotton candy (it really does taste like coffee). All of the soft serve desserts are under $5; I love an affordable and delicious dessert. CottonHi is always busy when I’ve gone, but the wait is short and you can always get a seat.

If you’re ever in Koreatown in Los Angeles and you’re looking for a unique dessert place, you definitely need to check out CottonHi!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is a day to reflect upon the importance of women. Despite not being treated equally in numerous ways, we continue to persevere; we work in fields that aren’t compensating us appropriately for the work we do and we continue to put our hearts into them. Today is a day to think about how we contribute to society and the importance of treating everyone the way you want to be treated. If you can’t skip work today, make sure to wear red to show your support of all women. Below is an inspiring speech by Hillary Clinton, and I think it is extremely applicable to the theme of today. I hope that today inspires thousands, and that we continue to focus on improving the future for women around the world. Happy International Women’s Day!