2011: A Retrospective

I must say, 2011 was a fantastic year for me! 2009 and 2010 were not my favorite years of all time but 2011 more than made up for it.

Here are some highlights:

In 2011 I hung out with blog friends. I like my blog friends numerous reasons. We had hikes, picnics, dinner parties, went to Lady Face and they taught me to love and appreciate beer.

2011 will always be the year I learned to love beer.

In 2011 I shaved 9 minutes off my half marathon PR in San Diego. I loved everything about this race, but I especially loved staying at the Coronado with my Dad.

In 2011 I bonded more with my law school friends. They are some of my favorite people ever and I cannot wait for second semester 3L with them.

In 2011 I went to Boston and saw one of my favorite people get married!

Shahrin was a stunning bride and I had so much fun at her wedding. Two other friends got engaged over the holidays. Yay for awesome things happening for my friends!

I also got to see other friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

In 2011 I had a job that I loved over the summer. My co-interns were so much fun to work with and I felt like I finally found a balance of law and client contact that felt fulfilling.

In 2011 I moved to a new apartment closer to Susie Cakes! I love my new apartment. I need to put the finishing touches on it still but I love my new place.

In 2011 I ran my first marathon. I also shared my running story. I still can’t believe I did this.

Running a marathon feels kind of like a dream now. I loved every step of that race. I stayed really mentally tough during the race. I never wanted to quit and I did a great job of motivating myself. Hopefully I can bring that energy into bar exam studying in 2012.

In 2011 I took my first trip to San Francisco. I stayed with my law school friend Chrissy and together we pillaged the ferry building and the farmers market.

Carolyn was also in SF and we dominated the treat situation together, as per the usual.

In 2011 I worked really hard on my JD and now only have 12 measly credits to worry about in my last semester. Huzzah! It was so worth it to load up last semester, even though it resulted in lackluster blogging.

In 2011 I practiced yoga weekly ALL YEAR. I am so proud of myself for sticking with yoga all year. It has helped me mellow out and stay focused. I also fell in love with zumba in 2011.

So how did I do on my goals for 2011?

1. Continue living my healthy lifestyle: I continued healthy living by running a marathon, practicing weekly yoga and trying zumba. I also ate healthfully. Healthy living is a day to day thing. Some days are better than others but overall I did a good job sticking to my lifestyle.

2. Floss more: Whoops. I did not floss more. The only goal that I didn’t achieve this year. Oh well, can’t win them all.

3. Run a marathon: 2011 will always be the year I ran my first marathon. Did it and loved it.

4. Explore my home state: In 2011 I went to San Francisco and San Diego. There are still many CA destinations I want to check out but I was so glad I finally made it to Nor Cal.

5. Continue blogging and refine the focus of my blog: I continued blogging. As you may have noticed, I’m updating less but with longer, more content heavy posts when I do. Expect more of this in 2012.

6. Be more mindful of the energy I put into the universe: This was my favorite goal and regular yoga practice certainly helped me out on this one. This year I was very mindful of the energy I put into the universe and I got positive energy back. I didn’t let little things bog me down and I tried to go into things with a positive mindset. I’ve seen the change in outcomes in my daily life and this practice is likely responsible for how positive my mindset has been all year. Not everything that happened this year was perfect or positive or exactly what I wanted or how I envisioned it, but I kept my positive mindset and that made all the difference. As Abraham Lincoln said: “You are as happy as you make your mind up to be”.  

I’ll be back tomorrow with my goals for 2012! Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!


Christmas in Chicago

Well, it’s all over. I spent around 9 days in Chicago in the last two weeks and it was a trip to remember. It didn’t snow and stayed above 30 degrees! I decided to enjoy my break and I took limited pictures but here are a few highlights.

I arrived in Chicago a few days before Christmas. The first few days were filled with errand running (the orthodontist, because I’m secretly 13 years old), helping my Dad shop for my Mom (her big gift was a charitable donation but I helped with some smaller things and was happy to accompany him), and catching up with my friends.

My oldest friends and I had a “throwback” night: we went to one of our favorite restaurants from high school and then we bar hopped. The bar hopping wasn’t something we did in high school. I promise Mom.

You might remember Claire and Brenna from the marathon and Katherine came in town too. It was great to be back with my old crew. We had a lot to celebrate and, as usual, we had an awesome time.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were pretty typical of my family. What I Wore, Christmas Edition… for those of you who like to see my mother’s flawless decorations in the background (please ignore my disorganized clutter).

Black turtle neck from H&M, J Crew a-line red and white skirt with buttons, black patent leather heels and black gulp spanx. My mother let me borrow her spanx. I have been skeptical of spanx in the past. As a 24 year old size 4 I didn’t really see the need for it but I have to give it to these spanx. I was totally sucked in and it allowed me to button my skirt after my insanely indulgent meal.

Speaking of the meal, Christmas Eve consisted of an EPIC meal: prosciutto pizza, duck confeit with quince jam, filet minion with mushrooms and a twice baked potato and date cake. I actually had to unbutton my skirt in the car on the way to church #Don’tJudge. After dinner we went to church.

Christmas morning was mellow. We slept in, ate a fantastic French toast recipe that my Mom got from a friend who reads my blog (it was delicious!), amazing bacon and a blood orange salad. We also walked to Starbucks, watched Season 1 of Dallas with Dad (I’m hooked!) and had Barefoot’s Veggie provincial soup.

We also gave Wally, our golden retriever, his Christmas present: a gingerbread house.

It was total domination.

Then we went to my Grammy’s house for ham sandwiches, beans, a fantastic slaw my Mom made and vino- my selection was Layer Cake Malbec, one of my all time favorites. My cousins from Denver came into town on Christmas night and it was great catching up with them.

The rest of the trip was a total whirlwind! We went to Second City with my cousins, I went shopping and scored some major deals with my friend Hayley (who is a 1L! Yay law school students), participated in a family bocce ball tournament, had dinner in the city with a great friend (recap coming), and had breakfast with my god father! I feel like the second half of my trip went by in a minute.

I came back to the land of flip flops and palm trees yesterday afternoon and I was greeted with sunshine and 75 degree temperatures. It made me want to give Los Angeles a big hug. School doesn’t start for another 10 days and I plan of keeping it very chill. I’m still exhausted from traveling and I just want to read books & the New York Times, see movies, catch up on TV (I’ve become hopelessly addicted to Revenge), drink coffee, follow Iowa caucus coverage, cook, workout and blog. I have already roasted an eggplant over an open flame and bought a $15 piece of fish. Oh yes there are some amazing posts to come!

How was your Christmas?

Treat yo self.

One of the bizarre side effects of finals and living in LA is that December doesn’t feel like December.

This year I’ve totally neglected to put out any decorations, hang my holiday wreath, bake Christmas cookies or buy Christmas presents before a week before Christmas. I also haven’t listened to Christmas music. I did watch both Love, Actually (I love this article about it) and Family Stone but other than that, I haven’t watched any Christmas movies. Whoops. Holiday season fail.

One thing, however, I will never fail at, is treating myself. Let’s just say, I’m kinda expert at self care. Especially during finals I make sure I treat myself runs, yoga, cupcakes and fine leather goods.

OK, kidding about the fine leather goods. But I am 100% serious about the running, yoga, and cupcakes.

Today I figured out a way to be holiday festive AND treat myself.

Seriously, if you are in LA and can get to Tavern you should treat yourself to this cupcake. I walked in to Tavern to get a hostess present for my family. I’m not kidding. My “bedroom” was transformed into a guest room a few years ago. Nothing from my youth is there BUT I now get fancy bottled water when I go home so I’m not going to complain. Plus, I love any excuse to go to Tavern. I saw this cupcake and I just had to have it. I swear, I’m a compulsive cupcake buyer/eater.

This cupcake is chocolate with marshmallow frosting (hence the height) and coconut. In addition to being adorable he was tasty. I don’t know how I decided this cupcake is male.

Man Eater.

The cupcake was good. I love the chocolate cake at Tavern because it isn’t too rich. This is probably a weird thing to say about cake, but it tasted expensive because it wasn’t too rich. I liked the marshmallow instead of a traditional frosting and coconut. My favorite!

For some reason, eating a snowman cupcake made me feel the holiday spirit. Tomorrow I head to Chicago and it’s probably going to start feeling more like Christmas what with the cold weather. I have to say, I’m at a bit of a loss on what to wear. I can’t wear my Toms, so clearly I’m totally lost. It only took 2 winters in LA for me to totally lose my ability to deal with temps below 50 degrees.

How do you get in the holiday spirit?

I’m Back.

I bet you thought I was gone for good. Nope! You can’t get rid of me. Sorry for pulling a disappearing act on all of you for the past three weeks or so. Finals got a little bit crazy. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have time to blog while I was preparing for finals.

I may have overcommitted slightly last semester. Nothing pulls me in like a social justicey class with an amazing faculty. That is why I think I ended up with 4 exams and a paper due within a two week span. I was very prepared going into exams but things around here got a little bit crazy. I decided it would be better not to worry about blogging for a while so I could focus on school. I’m glad I took a mini break but it’s good to be back!

So what have I been up to for the several weeks? Well my eating has been totally blah. I did a lot of snacking instead of eating a regular lunch and got a ton of takeout for dinner. Living a block from Whole Foods is the best decision I ever made. I also went to zumba and yoga diligently but didn’t really do too much running. I took many breaks where I walked to Farm Shop or Café Luxxe for lattes. Few things in life are better than a latte from Farm Shop or Café Luxxe.

Other highlights include:

Last day of class manicures. Normally I get light pink but I decided I wanted to mix it up a bit. I really love this grey color and I’m going to get it again for sure.

The day before Thanksgiving I went to the Santa Monica Farmers Market to collect ingredients for the dishes I was preparing (recipes coming soon!) While there I found this amazing thing “Buddah Head Lemon”. I didn’t buy one but I couldn’t resist taking a picture. Has anyone ever seen this before?

My wonderful Mother sent me no fewer than 2 packages and an encouraging note with a Starbucks card during finals. One of the packages included ginger raisin cookies and these chocolate peppermint things. They were gone in a matter of days. I am so excited to have the rest of her fantastic Christmas cookies when I go home next week. No one bakes like mom bakes.

Here is a reminder of why I moved to LA. The days after Thanksgiving were very warm, like 80 degrees. I revived my tan and put my toes in the sand. There is no better way to review for community property.

My friend Danielle and I took a makeup lesson from our friend Amanda. As you may or may not be able to tell, I’m pretty low maintenance. I own barely any makeup and have no clue how to apply it to my face in an attractive fashion. Hench, the makeup lesson. Amanda was awesome, taught me some new skills and clued me in as to how to take care of my skin. I’ve been diligently applying what I’ve learned since and have even gotten a couple of compliments! So glad to have upgraded my “lady skills”.

Speaking of wearing makeup I went to this awesome person’s birthday last weekend. Happy 26th Kaitlin, I had a blast!

Finals can be kind of an anti social time. Sure, I see my classmates but normally only in the context of studying for class or having a quick bite to eat and we’re all so stressed out that we can’t really focus on anything other than exams. It was so nice to do my hair and go out. So thank you Kaitlin for being a December baby and throwing a fancy party.

And finally, exams wrapped up on Thursday. The deadline for my paper (which ended up being 41 pages *dusts off shoulders*) was actually Friday but I got in my zone Wednesday and worked for 4 hours literally without moving and finished it up. Finishing was such a relief and it allowed me to say I was finished around 1 on Thursday. I immediately met a friend for lunch at The Counter. I had a burger with fried avocado (!), beer, and those luscious pam fries photographed above. Then I went tipsy shopping at J Crew. Just how I wanted to start my vacation.

I’ll be in LA for a few more days and then I’m relocating to Chicago to visit family for a week or so. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t snow and that the temps stay about 40 because I am totally unprepared for any kind of real weather. I have a couple food posts in the hopper for you to enjoy.

During finals I totally neglected blog reading: What posts should I check out? Leave a comment with a link!