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January 2018

Personal

January and New Beginnings!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I hope your holidays were filled with good times, good food, and lots of rest. I had my first year of divorced holidays and split households. We got through it and are making new traditions the best we can.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been EXHAUSTED lately. The end of the year is always crazy with work deadlines, too many social events, shopping for gifts, and poor eating habits. They finally took their toll and I basically crashed. Which brings me to how I came about my goals for the coming year. I prefer to call them GOALS rather than “resolutions“.

  • Stress Less – postponing grad school, getting enough sleep, doing more yoga, reining in my inner-workaholic
  • Save more – stop mindlessly spending on Amazon. Spend money on quality food and actual needed items
  • Paleo lifestyle at least 80% of the time. My health conditions require me to be on a Paleo diet, but I have done a terrible job of sticking to this consistently. 2018 is going to be different!!
  • Keep up with the blog more. I would love to be able to monetize the blog, but that can’t happen if I am only posting ever so often.
  • Manifest more often (see below)

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about The Secret very much on here before, but if you’ve never read the book or watched the “movie” for it JUMP on that! Essentially it is about The Law of Attraction and how what you put out into the universe you will reap. For instance if you say “ugh I’m so Fat” or “I never have money” then you never will as long as you think that way. Granted, some people just stop there and think you only need to THINK positively to make what you want come true, but in reality you also need to put in the actual work to achieve your goals in addition to the positive thinking. I will admit that I also can fall into the downward spiral of negative thinking and that definitely affects my life. I need to be more aware of my thoughts and feelings in 2018.

I haven’t done it yet, but I need to make my vision board for 2018. If you’ve never made a vision board, I highly recommend it. You don’t need to make one every year, but anytime things change or your goals shift you should re-do it. Look at it all of the time and keep these things in the forefront of your mind. They don’t have to be tangible things like a car or house, but it could be a promotion at your job or a new love interest in your life. If you’r interested in doing this just youtube a how-to if you want more guidance and there are tonnsssss of videos out there about vision boarding and The Secret or The Law of Attraction (check this one out from the guy who created Chicken Soup for the Soul). I can personally say from experience that this stuff works. It sounds CRAZY. but just give it a shot with no trepidation. If you do let me know! 🙂 Some of these things will take time to come about, you have to be patient. Just keep manifesting! 🙂

Here are a few of the images going on my 2018 Vision Board:

Comment below and let me know what you think or if you’ve already tried this before!

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Travel

No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn

New York, NEW YORKKKK!

I have ALWAYS wanted to live in NYC even though I’ve only been a few times. When I was in college and working at the J. Crew call center I dreamed of working at 770 (the headquarters for J. Crew) and meeting Jenna Lyons and living a fabulous life. Life didn’t pan out that way (shocker) and instead I moved back to Dallas even though I applied for about 2500 jobs in NYC.

Fast forward, now I have a ton of friends from high school, college, and birthright that live in NYC so now I can just go visit them and experience all of the greatness that New York has to offer, without having to pay the taxes 😉 #winning

My sister and I were really wanting to go on a trip to NYC and it also happened to be one of our friend’s birthdays the weekend that we were interested in going. A college friend that lives close to the city also just had a baby and is moving out of the country so I wanted to see her before she moves away. There were just a lot of good reasons to go and I had the vacation time, so we decided to hit it upppp.

We left Dallas on a Friday afternoon and got in kinda late to a veryyyyy chilly New York. We dropped our stuff off at our AirBnB in LES (Lower East Side) and found a sushi place for a quick bite. The next day we went over to pick up my Cronut order (Julia gave me the insider tip to order ahead and not have to wait in line like a PEASANT). I had pre-ordered two cronuts two weeks in advance. The flavor for November was Banana Hazelnut, which to me didn’t sound suuuuper amazing, but lemme tell ya it was DELICIOUS. Believe the hype, get yourself a cronut from Dominique Ansel’s bakery next time you’re in town. You will not be disappointed!

After the cronuts we were in search of a warmer winter coat for Tara since homegirl only brought a light jacket to NYC when the temperature was going to be in the 40s…. We then made our way to get some knishes at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery. Several of them were vegan so Tara went to town and even got a bagel to-go as a snick snack for later. We walked all over the city just exploring and made our way to the Chelsea Market to meet my friend Patty and her husband, Michael. I hadn’t seen Patty since I was in college so it was really nice to catch up and we served as a great distraction since they were on their way to a surprise party for Michael. After hanging out with them we got MORE sushi before heading back to the AirBnB.

 

 

Saturday night was our friend Natalie’s birthday. We hadn’t seen her since the summer on birthright and one of our other birthright friends, Ben, was also in town so we were pumped for our mini-reunion. Before the party we pre-gamed at Ben’s parent’s apartment on the Upper East Side and met his sister Alex who came along with us to the party. We had such a good time catching up, drinking, and dancing the night away. Tara and I got a little turned around at the end of the night and instead of just walking across the street to our AirBnB from the last club we went to, we got a cab to it and the guy never told us it was LITERALLY right across the street. He drove us around the block AND then charged us $10!… We figured it out the next morning. #fail 

The next day we met our other college friend, Brently, for brunch at this suuuuper nice vegan place near Chealsea. We then walked the High Line and saw tons of cool buildings while chatting. He had some stuff to do so Tara and I decided to walk around Central Park. She REALLY wanted to climb a rock and got her opportunity. We enjoyed people watching for a good portion of the afternoon and looked forward to the next day.

Monday came and we had more food adventures to attend. First stop was Russ and Daughters for bagels, lox, and latkas. Then we trekked our way to Brooklyn for RAINBOW bagels from The Bagel Store and prime thrift store shopping. We took a mixture of cabs, Ubers, the subway, and our own two feet the entire trip. I was nervous about which subway stops to take, but my friend recommended using the Citymapper app to tell us EXACTLY which stops to take. It was awesome for subway stops, less awesome for walking directions, but we made it wherever we needed to go.

After Brooklyn we made our way back to Midtown to the Empire State Building! Our friend, Sahara, from high school works at a PR agency in the building and was able to get us the VIP tour past all of the lines FO FREEEEE! She really hooked it up and we were so happy to see her, even if for a short while.

After seeing the building and getting a drink with her, we headed to dinner with another college friend, Nathan! The three of us hung out a ton in college and it’s been several years since we have all been together at the same time. He filled us in on his life and job and his love for New York, all the while convincing me even more than it is my destiny to live there. He was battling a cold and had to work the next day so we didn’t stay out late, but I was really glad he took the time to see us.

The next day we were very sad as we prepared to leave and go back to our normal lives. We tried another vegan place down the street for breakfast and then found another donut place on our walk back. We headed out to the airport pretty early since we needed to vacate our AirBnB and just hung out in the American Airlines lounge for a few hours. They had a guacamole bar at this one and Tara was pretty pleased with the selection of vegan-friendly snacks. Our flight home was pretty chill and the next day we were back in the grind of normalcy. It was a short trip, but very fun and full of friends and food.

Here’s to hopefully visiting again in the near future!

-Savvy

Travel

Chicago for the Weekend

Chicago is a city with which I have an interesting past…. 

I’ve attempted to explore it multiple times always with my plans being foiled. If you’re a long time reader then you probably remember when I got stuck there for three days a few years ago on my way to Ireland. There are a handful of other times where I happened to skirt the city, never staying more than a few hours and NEVER exploring anything. Adventure in Chicago needed to happen and Julia was just the one to make that happen.

Julia and I met the summer before eleventh grade in high school. She was new to the school that I had been attending almost my whole academic career at that point and we were fast friends. She is originally from the Chicago area and attended a college not too far from the city (even though I tried to get her to join me at LU). She goes back periodically to visit friends and family and it was going to be on her birthday weekend so she invited me to go along.

We left Dallas on a Friday night and got into Chicago a little later than expected due to at delayed flight. After getting our super sweet rental car we headed to a suburb of the city where her Aunt and Uncle live with two of their three children. Their house was so cute and they also had a basement! Coming from states that can’t have basements (Texas and California) I ALWAYS forget that this is basically a staple of east coast and midwestern homes. I really wish my house had this feature, so I was pumped to stay down there. Since we got in so late we basically just went right to bed.

The next day we got up and went to Julia’s favorite apple orchard with her aunt and one cousin. I LOVE apple orchards and this one did not disappoint! They had plenty of apples ripe for the picking (and taking cute IG pics). After apples we made sure to indulge in some cider AND cider donuts. I made my own little tasting tray of hot and cold cider. Conclusion: both delicious. 🙂

After apples we headed back home with a 40 pound basket as well as some other little treats from their cash-only store at the orchard. We packed up our stuff, said goodbye to her family, and headed into the city! We had unknowingly booked the weekend of the Chicago Marathon so when I was looking for hotels the cheapest one was actually The Ritz Carlton. Julia and I were splitting it and it was only one night so we said #TreatYoSelf2017 and made that reservation.

The Ritz Carlton Chicago did not disappoint. The lobby smelled amazing, the staff was friendly and attentive, and the room was immaculate. They had robes and slippers for us, a huge bathtub along with a separate shower, a huge bed, and Netflix on TV. We could see Navy Pier from our window too which was really cool.

We checked in, hung out in the room for a little bit, then headed down to the lobby to get a snack before dinner. We had basically only eaten a lot of sugar that day so we shared some meatballs at the hotel bar. Julia doesn’t drink so she got a Cherry Coke and the bartender made sure to give her extra cherries. I got a Moscow Mule and wasn’t disappointed. We stayed there actually for quite some time since it was pouring outside and we weren’t meeting her friend for awhile.

We eventually started making our way towards Giordano’s and put our name on the list. The wait was rather lengthy so you are also able to order your pizza before you get seated which is super efficient. Her friend showed up and we had a very nice time chatting and after dinner he and Julia continued to show me the city. We were still calling this #TreatYoSelf2017 so after deep dish pizza (and salads!) we walked down the street to get ice cream at Ghirardelli’s.

We wanted to attempt to burn off dinner and the rain had subsided so we walked along the river and looked at all of the skyscrapers. I found it humerus that Trump tower had so many empty stores underneath it since no one wants to be associated with him even though that is prime retail space. I am fairly certain that I had a stress fracture in my foot from my solo hike in Dublin. It flared up so I was dragging along for a good chunk of the walk, but I still had a good time.

Eventually her friend had to leave so Julia and I went back to the room thinking we were going to stay up and watch Parks and Rec (in honor of #TreatYoSelf2017). I think I made it through one episode while Julia was getting ready for bed before I was totally knocked out. In my defense, it had been a very eventful day and was already fairly late. I usually wake up pretty early though and managed to take a lengthy bubble bath in the morning as well as get fully ready before Julia awoke.

She got ready and we lamented the fact that we only stayed one night in this super nice hotel. We vowed to be back as well as visit other Ritz Carlton locations in the future to compare them. The hotel was nice enough to hold our luggage for us after we checked out while we continued our exploration of the city. Fortunately the rain was gone and the sun was out. Unfortunately… the weather turned from a slightly chilly autumn to a fairly toasty early fall. I was ill prepared for this, but we trekked on through the city!

We got breakfast/brunch at the Nutella Cafe and while there noticed that there was a Noodles and Co across the street! Unfortunately, Texas has not jumped on this midwestern treasure so Julia graciously said we could go there for a late lunch before heading to the airport. We got our breakfast and coffee then headed to The Bean for some pics and to see the Chicago location for Julia’s company. I also saw the Chicago location for mine in a fairly prime spot and gave relocating some consideration as well. 🙂

I love being in the city and while Dallas has been very good to me, I have been plagued with car problems for several years now and dream about living in a location with reliable public transportation.  Chicago is very clean, people still have that midwestern charm, there is tons to do, lots of great restaurants, and it’s not quite as expensive as New York. If I was to get transferred/find a new job in Chi town then I wouldn’t be too upset. #JustSaying

After The Bean we made our way to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris Wheel, get some souvineers, and see the water. I was very content to sit in the sunshine on these wooden lounge chairs near the water and just relax after walking so much, but alas, we were on a time schedule.

We made our way back to the car, picked up our luggage, and started heading to O’Hare. We returned the car, got through security fairly quickly, then made sure to pick up some Garrett’s Popcorn to bring back to our respective families. We got split up on the plane ride home and I got stuck in the front of coach so I didn’t have a tray table. FORTUNATLY I had my trusty neck pillow so I tried to check out for a little bit on that. When that failed I listened in on Julia’s conversation with her seat mate and read over the shoulder of the guy next to me on his iPad. He was not as fast as me and for whatever reason after EVERY page he would flip back like two or three pages then back to his previous spot before moving forward to the new page. It was driving me a little crazy, butttt I also was being a super creeper and co-reading a stranger’s book so obviously I can’t say anything like GET IT TOGETHER AND PAY ATTENTION!

We have an uneventful landing and just like that our weekend was over. I had taken that next day off in preparation for the Texas Star Fair, but it was also the day that all schools were scheduled to go so my mom and I made the trek to Waco for her first time at The Magnolia Silos. It was a nice day and nice way to end the weekend before having to go back to work and my continuing car issues.

Side note: if anyone wants to gift me a new car I would seriously be eternally grateful. My 2007 Rav 4 apparently hates me just about as much as I hate it and refuses to cooperate no matter how much money I throw at it. When your car has almost 200k miles on it and you don’t know how to fix anything it shows that you need to make a change in your life (and that doesn’t mean learning the fine art of auto mechanics).

Happy Reading!

-Savvy