the new year

Ah, the new year. When so many of us are compelled to create lists of resolutions, goals, and specific ways we are going to improve our lives this year. Get fit. Eat better. Write more letters. Make the bed every day. Spend less. Tangible things that can be easily added to a daily check-list, and checked off for self validation; even though we never seem to elaborate on *how* to get those things accomplished. We all know it can be challenging to stay motivated, and those specific items don't always get completed because it is easy to say, I'll just do that later. Before you know it, Christmas is here again, and we are having the same conversation.

Lately, I've become immersed in the blog, Just My Type. Its like an extra espresso shot in my morning coffee, infused with career, relationships, media, social issues. And rather than rot my brain with celeb gossip or consumerism, Amy's articles make me laugh and somehow always seem timely. She is honest, but not uncomfortably so; and she leaves you room to agree or disagree gracefully, without prejudice. 

Some of my favorites:
- How to Harness the Power of "No"
- 13 Things I Learned About Relationships
- What Do You Stand For?
- Power of Influence

Recently, she posted this entry here. Its worth reading, maybe even a few times. 

And so, in the spirit of the New Year, on the eve of 2014 {the year of the horse!}, I am going to do my best to follow Amy's example and make a contract with myself to just be a better human this year, both in my personal life and my professional one. 

In 2014, I aim to:
• Give more than I take;
• Spend less time worrying, more time creating;
• Honor my intuition;
• Make time to write and call my family and friends, more often;
• Do something each week to show appreciation for someone else;
• Carve out time everyday to feed a passion;
• Adjust my reaction when feeling impatient, angry or unsatisfied;
• Acknowledge what I am grateful for;
• Remember that the person in front of me is more important than my phone;
• Remember that empathy always wins, when feeling judgmental;
• Learn to "Harness the Power of 'No'";
• Give myself "me" time; and
• Dedicate time each month to learning something new.

And because my OCD won't allow me to create a list without having at least *one* measurable, cross-off-able item on that list:
• Learn how to fold a &*%$#-ing fitted sheet. {Anyone, aside from YouTube, want to teach me?}

To quote Amy and JMT one final time,

"…don’t be so hard on yourself. You will slip. There will be times where you’ll be lazy and lack the discipline to follow the points of this contract. Don’t self loathe when you do. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to be soft, to not know all the answers, to be vulnerable, and most importantly, to be human…"

What is everyone else focusing on in this new year?

photography: california

I have always wanted to drive the PCH. And although I've been to California many times for work in the past, I've never been with the sole intention of enjoying it. And so for two weeks back in October, that is exactly what Bryan and I did. We started in the northern part of the state, landing in San Francisco, renting a car and heading to Napa for a few days. Followed by Sausalito and Marin County, down to Laguna and Huntington Beach and wrapping up our trip in San Diego and La Jolla. We had perfect weather {literally, perfect, 75, dry and sunny}. We ate and drank too much. We explored a lot. And we enjoyed the diversity that California has to offer.


In addition to the images that serve as a wonderful reminder of our trip, I leave with you something that is quite possibly even more important: The Top 10 Places to Eat in California {as curated by us, of course}.

*Subject to your own taste buds.

10. Sausalito Cafe, Sausalito.
09. Pacifico Restaurante Mexicano, Calistoga.
08. Beaumonts, La Jolla.
07. Oxbow Public Market, Napa.
06. True Foods, Newport Beach.
05. The Naked Cafe, Solana Beach.
04. Redd Wood, Yountville.
03. Cream de la Crepe, Manhattan Beach.
02. Tony Tuttos, Mill Valley.

And #1, the very best of all: Herringbone, La Jolla. There is a live olive grove growing inside of their building. No, really. There is. The food was amazing, the ambiance even better, and it is a place we will return to, someday.

“I arrived in California with no job, no car, and no money but,
like millions of other girls, a dream.”
// Victoria Principal