2017 and beyond…

Hello there. Time has been passing so quickly lately, and many things have happened. Well, not that many things, really–mainly, I got a job and moved to Orange County three months ago. And now I can go to Disneyland everyday because #annualpassholder.

My main goals for this past year were to hold a lamb, get a job, and eat more tacos. And I’m proud to share that I have met all three.

Now that I’m all moved into my apartment (shout out to Matt and Lily for letting me crash on their couch for three months!), it’s time to make space. Which is why that’s my word for 30. I’m going to be thirty years old in a little less than two weeks, and in keeping with tradition, my “theme word” for this upcoming year is Space.

I literally now have my own space, which is partly inspiration for this year’s word, but I also want to be intentional about creating space for the things I want to do. So here are this year’s goals:

  1. Read ten books this year.
  2. Become a certified foster care sitter.
  3. Stick to a budget.
  4. Go to sleep earlier at night.
  5. Run more.
  6. Blog monthly.
  7. Master the C chord on guitar.
  8. Expand my Dutch vocabulary.
  9. Adopt a dog.
  10. Take more pictures of people (myself included).

Happy New Year!

Currently

Hello there! I can’t believe it’s already September and fall is almost upon us. I’m ready for my favorite season, though it will be weird and sad not experiencing it in Boston, where the best fall is to be had. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

Reading: The Secret Life of Lobsters. When Summer and I visited Boston together back in 2013, I bought this book at the Barnes & Noble in Kendall Square and never got around to reading it. Now that I’m feeling nostalgic for New England (and let’s be real, lobster rolls!), I decided to pick this up. Hoping to finish it before summer officially ends.

Watching: Once Upon A Time. I stopped watching it years ago because I got kind of bored of it and my wifi speed was not conducive to Netflix binges, but I started watching it again and I’m quite entertained. Plus it’s basically all about Snow White, so what’s not to love?

Purging: all the books and clothes and miscellaneous things. In preparation for my cross-country move (more on that later), I went through a lot of things and sold or got rid of them. Now that I’m in settling in California, I’ve discovered that there are even more things that I don’t need or want cluttering up my life.

Listening to: Kelly Clarkson’s Love So Soft. I know that everyone has been freaking out about Taylor Swift’s new song/video, and I’m no exception, but as a long-time Kelly fan, I’m excitedly anticipating her new album.

Looking forward to: starting a new job soon. Last year, I decided to leave my job in order to pursue other career and life things. And it has all been very fun and exciting, and I’m ready re-enter the workforce, refreshed, renewed, and inspired. Accepting job offers now.

Fresh Leap

tacos racheleatstacosWhen I was turning 23, I made a list of 23 Things to do while I’m 23. I was not very good at making goals, because I only wanted to make goals if I thought I could meet them. I wanted to grow in that area though, and become OK with not always meeting my goals. I kept the habit up for 24, 25, and 26, and for 27, I made a list of ten goals (because I couldn’t come up with 27, haha).

Then, for 28, I tried something new. Inspired by my friend Rachael, who picks a “theme word” on her birthday each year, I decided that my word for 28 would be “leap.” And leap, I did. I continued to code, I quit my job, I dated someone, I travelled, I got broken up with, I travelled some more, I cooked, I ate at restaurants alone, I worked for True Vine, I babysat, I went on a road trip with my sister, I learned more about plants. It was a great year. And 2016 also happened to be a leap year, so that worked out nicely. My only two goals for the year were to get a job and hold a lamb, neither of which I did. How’s that for growing? lambThis year’s word is “fresh.” Fresh start, fresh place, fresh air. And lot’s of tacos. I carried over my “get a job” and “hold a lamb” goals from last year, and added “eat more tacos.” #racheleatstacos

So there we have it. We’re almost halfway through the year, and I finally held a lamb. I’ve eaten oh so many tacos. Now, I suppose it’s time to find a job, haha.

Hump Day Happies

Happy Hump Day! Here are some things that have been making me happy lately.

1. Green smoothiesI’ve gotten back into the habit of drinking a green smoothie everyday and it’s been great. I got a little off-track during my road trip, when my powdered-greens solution back-fired on me, but thankfully I’m back in the presence of fresh greens and a blender.

s-l2252. HummelsAmy’s mom has a bunch of these and apparently they’re a thing. This one is my favorite because duh, deer, and because look how cute it is! I almost got into a bidding war on e-bay over one, but I restrained myself.

pamplemousse_drops_ta-copy3. Grapefruit La CroixI’m not, however, restraining myself from these. I don’t really enjoy grapefruit or grapefruit-flavored things, but this has been my favorite La Croix flavor lately.

kdsd01-triple-decker-slipon-lively-floral-044. Rifle Paper KedsWhen I found out these were back on sale after being out of stock for a very long time, I couldn’t resist. What a great collaboration.

p_moana_digitalhd_b1af905c5. Moana. Moana is on Netflix now, so I got to re-watch it the other night. I definitely found a greater appreciation for it the second time around.

double-dark-chocolate_pint6. Talenti’s Double Dark ChocolateI’ve been trying to cut back on sweets, but this is my go-to when I’m craving a real treat-yourself treat.

19051359_538687106255120_2093553534665490432_n7. Lily’s apartment + patioI have yet to visit her place in person, but I love seeing pictures of my cousin’s place. When I need to feel inspired, I pop on over to her Instagram account (@lilyland).

ddiqilmvyaatvcs8. Ted Talk Gorilla. The internet is great.

originaldreamsfgiantstime20121010162003userid19099. The SF GiantsOne of the nice things about being back on the west coast is being able to catch Giants games. Oh how I’ve missed them.

10. Boba. Another nice thing about being back in the Bay Area means access to the best boba, and plenty of friends who can enjoy it with me.

España

True to form, I’m finally getting around to sharing my trip to Spain (nine months later). Last year was a busy year for travel (thanks funemployment), and I got to close out the summer and welcome the fall with a trip to Spain with my mom and our Dutch family friends.

I took a red-eye from Boston and had a layover in Madrid, so I decided to take advantage of the time to quickly see the city. My main plan was to eat some churros. I befriended a fellow traveler on the train on our way into town, and together we enjoyed churros con chocolate from Chocolatería San Gínes–as recommended by Rick Steves, and now, by me.
Once I had my fill of churros and chocolate, my friend and I parted ways, and I went on a bus tour of the city. When it was time to go back to the airport, to continue the adventure, I accidentally got on the wrong train, and ended up in another part of town. I finally made it to the airport, and waited for my connecting flight to Alícante.

After finding my family at the airport, packing up the car with all of our suitcases and bodies, and being awake for 24 hours of travel, we finally made it to our apartment in Mar de Cristal, Cartagena, Spain.

Mar de Cristal is in the province of Murcía, which is on the south-eastern mediterranean coast of Spain, so we spent many days relaxing on the beach and swimming in the bluest ocean. My personal favorite was Playa de Calblanque. We toured the cities of Alícante, Cartagena, and Lorca,  covered ourselves in mud at Las Charcas Mud Baths in San Pedro del Pinatar, visited nuns at a convent, and consumed plenty of paella, cerbeza, and sangría. 

We took a break from the beach for a few days and drove to Seville. We visited the Plaza de España and watched flamenco dancing at the Flamenco Dance Museum Back at the beach, I managed to get stung by a jelly fish, not once, not twice, but THREE times, two days in a row. Out of all the humans swimming in the sea, the dang jelly fish chose me. Maybe I should feel special.

I’ve never enjoyed a beach vacation more (despite the jelly fish stings), and reminiscing about this trip has made me even more excited for the trip to Maui that my mom, sister, and I are taking in a few weeks.

Here are my quick tips for staying sane whilst on a family summer vacation in a non-air-conditioned, internet-less, Spanish apartment:

  1. Drinks lots of water, lest you faint from dehydration in a restaurant bathroom. This may or may not have happened to me.
  2. Go to dinner alone (ESPECIALLY if you’re an introvert, like I am). There’s nothing more liberating than eating dinner alone in a foreign country for some recharging alone time. Plus, I got to eat Indian food in Spain.
  3. Be prepared to start your day much later than usual. Not only is it true that life is slower in Spain, but trying to get a group of vacationing humans out of the house will always take longer than you think.
  4. On that note, make use of the siesta!
  5. Invest in jelly fish repellent.

Until next time, Spain!