As we get ready to start 2022 I have reflected back on all of the lessons, accomplishments and also things I’m incredibly grateful for in 2021.
I know that times have been challenging collectively. 2020 was incredibly hard for me, much harder than 2021 thankfully. While we are still struggling with the pandemic, working from home, mask mandates and travel restrictions, 2021 was an incredible year of growth and expansion.
We got engaged! I know this isn’t an “accomplishment” because marriage is not something that should be viewed as a checkbox, but it’s something that John and I have discussed for a while and the time felt right. It was definitely my highlight of 2021! While the idea of us getting married (hey we’ve been together 8 years!) wasn’t surprising, in the exact moment it was! I love him very much and am happy for our wedding in June 2022.
My biggest accomplishment is creating my morning meditation, journal, and walking routine that I still practice 365 days later. I can not stress this enough – if you don’t meditate or journal / reflect on your life daily- you should start! I never had time to do this before because I was always rushing off to take public transit to work and never gave myself the space, before or after work, to make this habit. I plan on keeping up this habit because I’ve noticed a big difference in my mental health and mood throughout the day. Something I want to focus on in 2022 is to incorporate this habit, even if it’s short and brief, when I am traveling.
In addition to meditating regularly, I took several mindset + manifestation courses that have really helped change how I think, how I react, and what I focus on. This was incredibly eye opening for me and a powerful way to take control over my mind. I felt so burnt out and stressed from the drama of 2020 (traveling internationally during the beginning of the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic in general, losing my job, moving across country, gaining weight, etc) that I really came into my own this past year. I know that no matter whatever happens to me I will always be ok. I am going to continue this practice through various workshops, podcasts, books, and rituals.
I launched my t-shirt shop! Something I have wanted to do for years finally happened this last January. It’s so much scarier in your mind when you overthink but if you just take the plunge it’s sort of a relief to see what happens next. I am happy with my sales but of course would love to increase them this next year. My goal in 2022 is to focus on designing more products and growing my audience.
I also put up my art and photography prints on Society6 and have sold quite a few things this year! While I dedicated more of my time to meditation, mindset, and my tshirts, I feel that I was less creative with painting and photography this year. I would love to have a dedicated painting/photography day each week or several times a month in 2022. I am planning on reading The Artist’s Way in January and spark my creative artist.
I was published in a travel magazine this past spring! Several photos from our trip to Big Bend were featured in Southern Styles magazine, due to an old college friend reaching out to me based on what she saw on my instagram. I would love to be published in additional resources or sell more photos online in 2022.
I learned to embrace walking. For the last 20 years I really and truly believed that in order for me to maintain my weight and stay trim was to be a runner. I ran so many miles last year, more than ever in my life (even when I trained for half marathons) and I was the biggest I’ve ever been. It didn’t help I was so stressed from everything going on in 2020 that adding running on top of that, no wonder my body felt incredibly stressed out and my hormones were off. If you are always stressed you can never lose weight. Instead of thinking about how many miles I ran, I switched to caring about always walking a minimum of 10K steps a day (on top of doing yoga and low intensity pilates). I feel a difference and plan on taking this through into 2022.
I started learning more about my finances, saving, investing and what my best interests are for my financial plans (wedding, honeymoon and beyond!). While this is something I am going to majorly focus on in 2022, you have to start somewhere! I am in a much better place than I was 6 months ago and happy to be making progress.
I am learning graphic design! It’s something I’ve always wanted to know more about and this past fall semester I took the pre-req class at UT and am registering for the certificate program this spring. I know this is an area of BIG focus in 2022. I want to create digital art and also scoop up some freelance design work.
I learned to speak up, trust my intuition, and stay strong in my boundaries. I had to let some friends go that weren’t vibing with my new path of life. And that’s ok! Maybe we will cross paths again someday or maybe not, but for now I am focusing on what feels good for myself and mental health.
I realized that how people react, what they say or do has nothing to do with me and is a reflection of the person. It’s incredibly refreshing to not take things personally. Also, when someone is judgemental about something or someone it says more about them than whatever they are judging. We all have shadow sides that need love and incorporation so lean into why you are feeling the way you are and what the lesson is.
You can have a wedding and not break the bank! It’s possible. More on this later in 2022.
Thank you 2021 for an expansive year of life changing events and deeper self awareness. In 2022, I choose to be more present and in the moment, focusing on what feels good for my body, leaning into financial planning, learning design skills and creating more art, having the best wedding we can in the current circumstances, and feeling free and authentic to my true self.
I started off 2021 with extreme focus and dedication towards creating a lasting morning routine and healthy habits. After years of feeling burnt out with my intense jobs and lively social life in San Francisco, on top of COVID and moving across country, I was looking for more self care and me time to actually think about what I was feeling and reflect. I know that I probably sound like a huge square right now, but January is my favorite month of the year because I love the motivation behind resolutions and goals. Something about this Capricorn energy really super motivates me to try new things and be the best me. And I’m so excited it’s here again for 2022!
I started this year off with something that people had suggested to me many times over the years and I also found excuses to not do it – meditation. Every morning I jumped out of bed, lit candles and incense, meditated for anywhere between 5-15 minutes and then journaled for about 5 minutes. I reflected on things like how I wanted my day to go, short term or long term goals, or big creative ideas that I had. They say it takes 28 days to form a habit and I’m proud to say nearly one year later and I still do this *almost* every day. (Hey I’m not perfect and I don’t always do this when I’m traveling – though that is something I want to focus on next year) I’ve since followed my morning ritual with my morning walk and I am so much happier as a person. It’s probably also worth mentioning that my company is California based and 2 hours behind me, so I am lucky to be able to have a little more time to myself in the morning that I never had before.
Living in SF I would sleep in as late as possible, get ready and head out quickly to catch the bus downtown, rushing to make it in on time. I always felt very rushed in the morning and that did not bode well for my aura over the day. By focusing time purely to yourself, to your thoughts, to setting your mood for the day FIRST thing in the morning – you are in the act of setting yourself up for success.
I’ve read many books this year that have helped me with this journey of habits, thought patterns, mindset – and I wanted to share for those interested in self discovery this January 2022.
In random order, here are the books that helped me this past year:
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself – This was my first time reading Dr Joe Dispenza and I can’t wait to dive into his other books. Similar but more thorough look at taking control of your thoughts.
Girl On Fire – This is more girl-boss business oriented, but a lot of confidence and motivation around listening to yourself, letting yourself be seen and heard, and being your own authentic boss in business.
Discover Your Dharma – I listen to Sahara Rose’s podcast Higher Self and naturally read her book when it dropped. I’m captivated by her and could listen to her talk about your life’s purpose for hours. The book comes with journal prompts and workbooks to help you discover what it truly is that inspires you.
Dear Universe – This is a book I use almost every morning, it’s short meditations based on how you are feeling or how you want to feel (abundant, energized, playful, etc). After I mediate I pick a word that speaks to me and read the mini meditation outloud.
Creative Visualization – This is an old classic around visualization and manifestation. While the concept is not new to me this is a great book to get your feet wet on the concept of the law of attraction.
A Manual For Manifesting Your Dream Life – I came across this mini book on TikTok and really enjoyed it. It’s a super quick motivating read that’s perfect for a flight or rainy day, to remind yourself just how awesome you are.
Raise Your Vibration – This is a 111 step by step daily spiritual practice on things you can do to raise your energy. While at times it felt a little tooo spiritual for me (hey I’m spiritual! Just not, IN YOUR FACE about it) I did enjoy the daily practice.
The Burnout Manifesto – I took a manifestation and mindset workshop where I crossed paths with Eve the author and read this early on in the year. It’s about being a high achiever in life and realizing you are more than what you feel you are supposed to achieve, which I really resonate with.
On our 8th anniversary of our first date, John and I got engaged!
I sorta had a feeling something was different when John decided to plan a weekend getaway for our anniversary, the weekend after we came home from New Orleans. I am the planner in this household – not because I have control issues, but John doesn’t really have strong opinions about where we stay or what we do, he’s so open and go with the flow. Someone has to plan! And it *normally* ain’t him… 😉
He booked us this beautiful remote cabin in the countryside of Wimberley, TX. If you aren’t familiar, Wimberley is a very cute artsy small town between Austin and New Braunfels located on the river with the most gorgeous scenery. A lot of people get married here or come for the big flea markets or antique shopping or craft fairs. It’s a sweetie place and super unique.
The first night we decided to head down to Gruene for dinner and drinks at Gruene Hall. This was the first place I took John to when he came to Texas to meet my family way back in 2014, we floated the river here, and we have fond memories. We initially talked about floating the river that weekend but we had so much rain that I didn’t feel safe (and it was overcast the entire time!).
After wining and dining in Gruene and shopping at the general store (where we got THEE CUTEST ornament of Gruene Hall – yes I am obsessed with Christmas tree ornaments) we opted to head home to enjoy our cabin. It was already getting late and more rain was en route. I had Google maps take us the most direct way back through the back roads which was entirely pitch black! If you are familiar with the weather in Texas you know that it can flash flood at a moments notice. We were about 5 minutes from the house and our last crossing was “Slime Bridge” – and we couldn’t cross at all! After getting out of the car to look at the water directly in front of our car (which I can see how other cars can get swept away!) we decided to turn around and head back a different way – which was another 40 minutes! On the flip side, John became obsessed with this bridge and loved that we crossed paths, who names a bridge “Slime Bridge”?!
After safely returning to our cabin, we enjoyed some wine in the hot tub before watching a documentary on Roku about pasta. Named, The Shape of Pasta, Chef Evan Funke visits small towns in Italy and receives training from Nonnas on how to create the town pasta shape. He provides a thorough history lesson into each shape and brings them all back to his award winning restaurant, Felix, in Los Angeles. I love pasta so much I was purely fascinated by this! (AND – the next time I’m in LA I am eating at Felix!!!)
The next morning, we enjoyed our coffee in the hot tub, got ready for our day, and headed out for lunch when…John proposed! He tricked me into thinking that we were taking a timed selfie under the Live Oak tree, when he set it up as a video. So here I am, posing, asking how many seconds we have until the timer goes off….when John got down on one knee. While the video is ours and we are not making it public (not even with our family), I will share he did say that he loved me an incredible amount and couldn’t imagine life without me. It was very sweet and totally caught me off guard in the moment.
The ring is custom made from Avant Garde. John brought them his family diamonds, passed down from his mom (jewels from his Grandmother’s side of the family, some as old as the late 1800’s!). I love that it is a modern take on a vintage look. It’s totally me!
It felt like an out of body experience! We didn’t know what to do but we were hungry, so we went over to Creekside Cookers for BBQ and beers to celebrate. Afterwards, we went back to the cabin to drink champagne on the wrap around porch that John was saving. It was so sweet and special. We decided immediately that we didn’t want to tell anyone or talk to family for a full 24 hours so we could be with each other and soak it all in. Ahhh take me back…
After basking in each other’s love and arms for the afternoon, we got dolled up and headed to Trattoria Lisina for drinks and pasta. I felt so beautiful! We had so much fun at this cutesy spot. And we decided we would get very small matching pasta tattoos! And that we wanted to visit Italy during our honeymoon (at least part of it 🙂 )
Our final day together before we broke the news to our family and friends was spent in downtown Wimberley walking along the river, having brunch at Ino’z, and doing some shopping.
We literally stared at the cabin with precious memories in our hearts, kissed, and parted ways to tell our families the news! John shared with me that he actually called my dad before our trip to ask his permission, which of course he said yes, and then told him not to share with anyone else. So when we called all of my sisters – they 100% had no idea and were all shocked! Everyone was thrilled for us, and in just a few short weeks we would be in California to celebrate with John’s family and our friends in SF! While I am not a super traditional person, my entire family is so it was nice to see that John talked to my dad beforehand.
A few days later my parents came into town to take us to dinner at Eberly and gave us beautiful crystal champagne flutes. We had champagne FOR DAYSSSS ❤
John and I were never in a rush to get married but we always knew it would happen for us someday. We are not having our own children. We plan on being together as a couple and should years down the road we want to adopt, we will cross that path. I have never felt that biological clock ticking and do not feel the pressure that I know so many of my friends have in regards to having kids before a certain age. Because of this, we were always happy being together no matter what “status” we were. Honestly we are sorta married in a way because we are already registered domestic partners in the state of California (this happened last year, when I lost my job due to COVID and got on John’s insurance). We are just happy to have found each other – where we can completely be ourselves. There’s never been any games or drama, we just are who we are. I am so happy to have met John, he is the perfect yin to my yang and we make a good team! I can’t wait to see what adventures life brings us together.
We are currently planning our wedding for next summer in Carmel Valley, CA. We are excited! And enjoying every moment.
I did it y’all, I launched my own t-shirt shop. After many years of saying things like “that would be a funny t-shirt” I have made my vision a reality. Introducing Retro Dollhouse.
Since college I’ve always thought about how funny it would be to make this or that, being drawn to puns and unique humor. While I’ve had many ideas on what would be funny or cool to make or wear, it never occurred to me to make it come true…not until Covid hit. When I lost my job and had more time on my hands to actually think about what I enjoy, I started taking more classes around design and investing in my photoshop skills. Something just clicked in me, I wanted to make this into a reality.
My thoughts were that there are tons of 70s rock band tees, but nothing from when I was in college and really connected with music. So I started there with creating a few shirts inspired by artists I loved (LCD Soundsystem, The Killers). Then I thought about my love for Saturday Night Live and how niche of an audience that is that would love to wear a bizarre one-liner from their favorite skit. I obviously needed a Seinfeld reference and included John Malkovich because I think he’s fucking hilarious. Then I added a few modern day memes and boom – I came up with my Spring 2021 collection!
I have no idea where this will go and how successful it will be – but I just knew I needed to create. My hope is that I can build RH as I grow more comfortable in the retail business, creating more designs and unique products and also eventually breaking into being a full on boutique where I can curate items from other artists. And SOMEDAY making my own fashion line. But for now I’m starting small – so here’s to the dreamers out there. If you are thinking about it – been thinking about it (for a while now or even if it’s just a new idea) – DO IT!!! The world needs our creative energy especially now more than ever. You will feel such a release through the process of making your idea happen it will make you more excited to create and you will burst with additional new ideas.
I love creating!
I hope you feel inspired. And I hope you buy a t-shirt 🙂 (but srsly). New designs will be updated monthly but expect them to live in the same realm as the current catalog. Follow @retrodollhouse on instagram to stay up to date!
For a long time I’ve waited to pursue creative endeavors until I thought I had things pretty much 100% ironed out. But that will never be the case, and if that’s what I’m waiting on – I won’t ever really pursue anything that is outside of my comfort zone. So in 2021, this is my goal: to throw myself into anything and everything I’ve ever wanted to do and create, despite if I know what I’m doing. Eeeeee – pretty terrifying.
My goal someday is to fully manage the process of how my art is made and distributed. I launched an Etsy store over the summer with digital downloads, but the thing is, people want real art they can hang in their homes. They don’t want to download it, print it out, and do everything themselves (unless you really enjoy that thing, then by all means BUY SOME OF MY DIGITAL DOWNLOADS!). And while I do think there is a place for me in the Etsy community once I have a better idea for how to make and distribute my creations, for now experimenting with a community like Society6 is the perfect launching pad. I can learn more about what I like, don’t like, and what I feel compelled to create. This is really exciting to me!
You upload your files and pick the items you want to promote and BAM! It’s live. You can basically create anything from art and framed prints, to canvas and metal prints, to throw pillows, cutting boards, waterbottles, even MASKS! It’s amazing the amount of products one can produce. I hope you enjoy my creations!
In the near future I’ll be launching another creative side venture of mine, so follow along and stay tuned! And wish me luck.
2021 is starting off with a bang for me! Here’s hoping the momentum, energy, and vibe keep up 🙂
We knew we wanted to ship about 60% of our stuff, specific furniture that we loved that had sentimental value, all of our art (we own TONS of nicely framed unique artwork), clothes (again, MANY boxes were comprised of clothes, shoes, and jackets alone), and random nick-knacks and things we couldn’t part with. We also knew that we didn’t personally want to drive our stuff across multiple states via U-haul. While we wanted to do a cross country drive with our cat Beatrix, the pressure and stress of tugging our stuff was not appealing and we quickly decided on a pod type move. I made a few calls and got quotes, both from PODS and UPack, and we decided to use UPack because they were a bit cheaper and quicker. While on the phone to both companies, representatives at each place told me that this was the last reservation available for 6 weeks out and that the #1 place they were moving people to was…Austin. Interesting! My intuition was correct. Folks were leaving SF by the droves and also heading to Texas.
After we sold off the stuff we could and gave the rest away to Goodwill, we packed our things very tightly, literally putting EVERYTHING in bubble-wrap. You see, UPack is just a storage container-shipping service, so packing is completely left to you (and you can’t claim breakage if you packed poorly). You also have to hire movers separately if you need and because our SF apartment was on the 2nd floor with a winding staircase, we opted to pay movers to help lug our stuff down into the containers. Boy were they especially quick and experienced! The next day, UPack came to pick up our stuff and it was en route to Texas, we would see it in about 7-10 business days. The rest of the week we slept on an air mattress and worked from our folding camping chairs, and stayed a few nights with friends.
The morning of our big departure we walked through Alamo Square for the last time. The air was thick and foggy, and also incredibly smokey from the wildfires – making it hard to breathe. I cried and felt incredibly grateful for my time here and very hopeful for our future. But I also had so much adrenaline to get going – and get to Texas! We threw our last remaining items out, tidied up the apartment, got our rental car, and packed up with Bea and were off!
We chose a one-way car rental from SFO airport to the Austin airport over about 5 days. We already had plans to buy our friend’s car in Texas, so this was the most efficient way for us to move across country. Our car was packed with a few suitcases of clothes, our computers and camera, a handful of items we wanted to personally hang onto (like paperwork and family heirlooms) and of course our baby cat. The plan was to drive down the 5 to Bakersfield and hit Las Vegas, then through Utah to stay in Moab, cross into Colorado and stay in Denver, drive down through Colorado Springs, cross New Mexico and into Texas to stay in Amarillo the final night, with the last day driving through until we reached Austin. We did this route because both of us recently spent time in New Mexico (and I in Arizona) and neither of us have really explored Utah or Colorado – so we wanted to go where we could explore more things, even if it did take a little longer.
I didn’t book us any hotels in advance. And luckily, we drove through states where they weren’t implementing quarantine for COVID (another reason we didn’t stay in New Mexico, they were more strict in the pandemic). We took turns driving our fun Hyundai Sante Fe mid-size SUV which was perfect for us. Keep in mind, I haven’t owned a car in 12 years and I didn’t drive much in California, so I wanted something that I felt comfortable in and this car was amazing. We agreed in the future if we ever saw a good deal on this vehicle we would get it! So smooth and safe. Two thumbs up from us!
The first day of the trip was the WORST. I knew it was going to suck hard, not only because of being emotional saying goodbye, but it was the longest drive of the whole trip, it was hot en route to Bakersfield which also isn’t a super interesting landscape, and we knew Bea was going to have a really hard time. For about 2 months before we left, John practiced taking Beatrix for drives around the city, although in shorter spurts of 30 minutes. It got a lot easier for her after a few times, but that was no where close to being in the car for 8 hours or so. We had a flexible cat carrier and I put a sweater of mine down that she loves to sleep on, and brought toys and treats. We had a travel liter box as well and kept her in a cat harness the whole time she was in the car. Initially we wanted to keep her in the middle seat, but she cried way too much and I put her on my lap. It was a LONG drive. We passed through burn scars from the fires on the 5, only 2 days after it was put out! It was a chaotic time to leave and the energy was crazy. Bea wouldn’t stop crying and once we made it to Bakersfield, we decided to stop to let her walk outside in the park on her leash – she did NOT like this at all and immediately ran back into her cat carrier, and we didn’t hear a peep from her the rest of the drive.
We finally made it to Vegas. I booked us a room at the La Quinta over by Red Rock Canyon because they are pet friendly with no additional charges (other hotels wanted anywhere from $20-$100 extra and half of the hotels didn’t even allow animals). The first night I really questioned our driving plan. I seriously thought about just going through Arizona and NM and getting to Austin ASAP because Bea had such a hard time and I was worried about her. John assured me everything was going to be ok, and once I had a good night of rest I would want to proceed with our plans. Boy was he right! The next morning, we left Bea in the hotel so we could go explore Red Rock Canyon on our own and enjoy what we could while she felt safe. It was so beautiful! It took about 45 minutes for us to do the scenic drive and we were only about 5 minutes from our hotel. We decided to keep this strategy for the rest of the trip: pick a place we want to explore in our destination, find a La Quinta nearby that location, leave Bea in the room and go explore in the morning, checkout by noon, and onward to the next location. This was AMAZING for us and worked well. And Beatrix was in much better spirits on the second day, she loved exploring the hotel room.
I really wanted to see the Hoover Dam while we left Vegas but it was closed due to COVID. I looked up if we could see anything driving by, but others had attempted the same thing on TripAdvisor and confirmed no dice. So I just drove us straight out of Vegas, through the corner of Arizona (for about 30 minutes, hey at least we saw the backside of the Grand Canyon!) and into Utah. I visited Salt Lake City in high school once but never spent time in southern Utah. Man, it was GORGEOUS! Wow. We stopped almost every 30 minutes to take pictures because the geology was so unique and constantly changing. It was the best part of our drive, the most mesmerizing and gorgeous.
We made our way to Moab and checked in to La Quinta, dropped off Bea, and went to a lovely dinner on an Italian patio on the main strip. The food was good but the atmosphere of Moab was amazing. What a cute place!
While Bea was curled up by the window, we spent the next morning at the Arches National Park, just a 10 minute drive from our hotel! If you are ever in Utah, this is a MUST DO! It was INCREDIBLE. Words can’t describe being surrounded by the beautiful GINORMOUS red rocks. You stayed in the car (hey, a great COVID activity!) and drove to each point of interest where you could get out for photos. It was one of our favorite things we have ever done together. It really felt like Land Before Time.
After the park we grabbed some delish quesadillas and did a little shopping on the main street for some cute Moab shirts, souvenirs for family, and an ornament before packing up and making our way to Denver. We also saw that there were fires in western Utah and eastern CO, so they were basically everywhere this point in the summer (hey climate change is real)! We left behind red rocks and arches for trees and mountains, and lots of super windy roads.
An old college roommate of mine lives in Denver and we made plans to meet up for a beer at the local brewery, so we opted to stay at the La Quinta in Lakewood. It was great to see Jessica and her beautiful family! And the beer was as good as they say it is in Denver. 🙂
The next morning we explored downtown and Sloan’s Lake. We got coffee and vegan donuts and walked around Confluence Park and saw the city before making our way to the peaceful lake. This was the only time we were able to see views of downtown and they were really nice. I also felt a bit out of place because I was dressed up a bit in boots and a skirt, while literally everyone around me wore workout clothes by North Face or Patagonia, LMAO.
We packed up Denver and made our way to Colorado Springs for a picnic lunch in the park and some boutique shopping. I always heard the best things about Colorado Springs and it didn’t disappoint – I actually liked the vibe more than Denver, personally. The shops were adorable and I scored a few things like a crystal candle, moon earrings, and a tie dye scrunchie. And just look at our adventure cat enjoying the town square!
I drove the next stretch down southern Colorado, across New Mexico and into Texas. It was extremely flat in the panhandle and I had never seen that part of Texas before! Crossing the state line made it the more real that yes, we are Texans now.
We were on a mission to get to Amarillo (by mornin’…) to check into our final La Quinta and grab a chicken fried steak. And FANTASTIC chicken fried steak we had! Bea even got accustomed to hotel living, she was a real great indoor house cat on our journey.
Our last night was spent on the west side, 10 minutes away from Cadillac Ranch. John brought his own spray paint just so we could tag the cars. I had no idea how many people actually tagged this art installation every day! Less than 2 weeks before we went, Rhianna was there and left a tag that said “Fuck Trump” and put a picture of it on her Instagram. All of the local Trump supporters immediately went and painted all the cars red with pro Trump slogans. By the time we got there, everything was completely covered with various tags – you would have no idea that this even happened. (also SO MANY spray paint cans on the ground which I wasn’t a fan of, we took ours with us)
After breakfast we loaded up and began our journey to Austin. We had to stop in Lubbock though because John’s dad has a romanticized view of Lubbock from previous work history and we needed to send him photos. I went to Lubbock only two times before, once for a UT football game where I got hit in the head with a dried up tortilla (yes, Texas Tech does this and it makes no sense) and the other time was to visit a friend after college. John’s reaction was “that’s Lubbock?” – LOL.
The last day was another hard one for Bea. At this point in the trip she was over the car. And we were about 7 hours away from Austin so it was almost as bad as day 1. But we persevered! I had never driven through that part of Texas before and wasn’t used to the rolling hills. That’s not the Texas that I am familiar with, but it was cool to see! What WASN’T cool to see were the buttload of Trump signs. But as we got closer to Austin those became less frequent. Our last pit stop was in the town of Ballenger where I grabbed us amazing Mexican food to go, and we ate in the town gazebo with Bea. (man I SO WISH I got a picture of this moment!) Our new home was so close!
Five days and 7 states later, we arrived! We dropped off our things at our new house, returned the rental car, and stayed the next few days with our friends Jen and Ian until our stuff arrived from UPack. What an incredible journey! Looking back, I can’t believe how quickly we made everything happen. And Bea loves the new place! She has more rooms to explore, more windows, and more sunlight (which she LOVES to bathe in and never really got to do much in SF as we didn’t have much natural light in our place). She watches the grackles chirp each and everyday from her cat tower and the back kitchen door, peering into our backyard. Being in the car for multiple days in a row is a very distant memory for her.
There will be more posts from my new perspective in Texas in the coming months. I loved our time across country and will cherish those memories forever. But to be back, see family, and have new energy and state of mind is such a great feeling! It was DEF the right move. Texas, Texas…yeehaw!
I moved to San Francisco in 2008, shortly after my 23rd birthday. I only visited once and decided then and there I was moving, and three months later I arrived. I had only intended on living in the Bay for 2 years. I assumed I would have my fun (with a time limit) and then come back to Austin. Boy, was I way wrong!
In California I really came into my own. The longer time went on, the more extroverted I became. The more I found myself confident in my opinions, speaking up when I could. My style was OFF THE HOOK (I take pride in this!!). I made the best friends! Ones I know that I will be in touch with forever. I developed amazing skills and tried new hobbies – hello DJ world, improv performing community, hiking and watercolor times! I fell in LOVE. I found myself. So why decide to leave?
Truth by told, as much as I love San Francisco and cherished my time in the Bay, I had been feeling for a few years that I was ready for a new adventure somewhere else. John and I had been talking about trying something new together for a while and couldn’t ever really decide. When I started working in marketing for the Curran theater, I knew that I would be tied to SF as long as I had this job. I grew my skill-set so much! I planned so many amazing parties, red carpet events, after parties and beyond. I was an avid part of the VIBE of the city. (I want to address my career separately, so am only touching on it here). But when COVID first came around I lost my job pretty immediately, and all of entertainment went cold, I felt the time came to make a big change.
I know I am a super intuitive person. I was the first person in our group of family and friends that realized, very early on, how big of a deal COVID would be. I envisioned losing my job immediately, industries shutting down, flocks of people moving out of cities – things closing for months on end. Despite feeling this way, I persevered. Everyone was let go, letting go of more people, and places were on hiring freezes. Businesses were closing left and right. It felt hopeless. I tried everything I could everyday to get a new job. I brushed up on my skills and got 3 additional marketing certifications. I didn’t feel confident that the job market had my back in SF, with remote work blooming everywhere and everything described above. John’s work was always remote, so we decided it was time. From a career perspective, Austin felt right because I knew companies would be moving work with all of the tax breaks and cheaper cost of living, so all of the opportunities I once had in SF were now relocated as well.
I ended up going back to work for a previous employer, remotely, and an old amazing (and very chill) boss who confirmed I could move anywhere I wanted. This was so exciting because I knew what I was getting into when all of the rest of the world felt scary. I was going to have a reliable source of income with great work-life balance, and could live anywhere I wanted…
You see, John wants to go to grad school….in Edinburgh! He likes the program at the university and has connections through his work. It would be a 1 year plan and we intend to go in a year from now, when vaccines are administered to everyone and travel is opened up. So in the meantime, we decided, it was the time to be closer to my family. Hence, preparations for Texas were en route.
Telling our family and friends was the hardest part, but for the most part everyone was pretty supportive and excited for us. Austin is a really rad town, it was where I went to college 15 years ago and the first city I fell in love with. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I spent the last 12 years building myself up to be this person, a West Coast performer who loves nature and the great outdoors – how could this person exist in Texas? Where it’s HOT and the views don’t always align with my own?
I grieved. A LOT. I cried. EVEN MORE. But after everything is said and done, I knew deep down this was what we were supposed to do. My parents are in their 70s and I’ve been gone a long time. If anything, COVID has taught us that we are not promised tomorrow. So make memories while you can, NOW.
I loved my apartment on Alamo Square so much. I lived there for 10 years, and the park was on my front doorstep! It did me well, and later on, John moved in and it did him well too 🙂 . I am forever grateful for the memories we created with our friends and families who visited us and spent time in our home. The backyard BBQs, charades, dance parties to records in the living room, Tuesday Night Dinner club, and more! While I knew I could stay there as long as I wanted, I was ready to grow and that entailed being uncomfortable.
We packed our belongings, sent them off to Texas, and said our final goodbyes with tears in our eyes. It was very painful leaving, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I feel so connected to California. We want to move back and settle down when we are ready to do so – but we have more adventures ahead (in Texas and Edinburgh and maybe somewhere else along the way).
We drove across country with Beatrix in tow and stopped at some unique places along the way (I’ll write about that as a separate post). After navigating Las Vegas, Moab Utah, Denver Colorado, Amarillo and New Mexico, we eventually made our way to our new home in Austin. We have been here a few short months and it finally feels like we’ve settled into our new surroundings. And merging old Texas Emily with current California Emily is a lot easier than I thought. I am the best version of me yet! I am so excited for what is in store this coming year – I feel very grounded and have had lots of time to reflect and plan goals.
Throughout everything, John and I are lucky and happy to have each other in this crazy time. We both have steady remote jobs that allow us the flexibility to explore our surroundings. We have our cute cat who snuggles us everyday. We have close friends down the street, who also moved from SF just 6 months prior to us! My family is only a 2 hour drive away. And we frequently zoom and facetime with his family and our friends back home. Who knows where our future will take us, but for now – we are taking it one step at a time.
Happy 2021, may it bring you health, wealth, and happiness!
Life is crazy. It takes us on paths that we never thought we would travel. The last two and half years have been such an insane rollercoaster for me, I barely had time to hear myself think – let alone time to blog.
But now I’m in a much different space, and I’ve missed it. And since 2020 has basically gone bust, now is the perfect time to reconnect and recount all of the good memories I’ve experienced over the last few years that I didn’t get around to writing about here.
So over the next few weeks and months I’ll recap those exciting adventures with you. Things might get deep or more substantial than I’ve conveyed in the past, but I am different. I am stronger and wiser and more open to being myself online. And I want to look back at these moments and remember how they made me feel. So let’s get going!
I hope you enjoy learning more about my adventures and myself ❤
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEE ❤ . Last Friday I turned 33 years old and had a big ole Olympic themed birthday extravaganza to celebrate. It was a special birthday and the vibrations were high on life! Maybe because of the energy of the Olympics, since it comes every 4 years, but things felt great and now I’m even older than I was before.
I’m aging like a fine wine and some things that I’ve really started to love in my 30s are:
Staying in to cuddle / play with my cat. Yes I am a cat lady and have always been. But I didn’t get Beatrix until about 3-4 years ago. My 20s were all about exploring events, meeting new people, finding things outside of my home to occupy my time. I wanted to have my own cat for many years before I finally did it, and I’m glad I waited because I don’t think I would have had the full 20s social experience that was mine here in one of the biggest cities in the country. Plus my cat rules so hanging out with her is always a win in my book! I think it makes me MORE creative…
Habitually reading before bed / going to bed at a reasonable hour / getting up earlier in the day. YES. I know. I am NOT a morning person by any means. However getting up around 8am on a Saturday morning to make tea and head to an early yoga or boot-camp class…SIGN ME UP. I love being productive earlier in the day and relaxing at night. And the crazy books I’ve been getting into lately….MORE PLEASE!
Realizing that food / drinking / lack of sleep affects my body differently now. You have to change your habits from your 20s because they make you feel like ass in your 30s. It might sound sad to you if you are in your twenties now, but believe me it’s not sad at all. In the last few months I’ve realized a LOT about my health and patterns that I needed to change, and honestly I LOVE FEELING PHYSICALLY good!
Personal / life reflection. I’ve been really introspective in the last year. 32 was a super challenging year for me emotionally, realizing things about myself that I wasn’t very aware of in the past. I believe it’s always good to be open and honest about who you are and where you want to go. Sometimes you can’t get there without letting go of some baggage.
Wanting more podcasts and documentaries. YES. I never thought I would not listen to music regularly or want to watch something scripted, but LEARNING is where it’s at in your 30s my friends. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF REAL LIFE STORIES!
I can haz Rick & Morty?!
We are all unique individuals who live on this rotating planet, on the third rock from the sun (anyone else here grow up watching that gem??) and it’s a pleasure that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I MADE IT ANOTHER YEAR! I get to learn even more crazy things I like about myself and evolve! Here’s to many new adventures in 33 🙂
It’s Groundhog’s Day and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier this morning. What a strange tradition we have, waking this little guy up consistently at dawn every February 2nd and have him predict the weather. Why him? WHY NOT A GIRL GROUNDHOG? 6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER?! All that really means for the Bay is more rain, but the next two weeks are completely clear and sunny for us soooo maybe Phil isn’t a genius? I kid I kid…I love that we have this weird annual ordeal (and it IS AN ORDEAL people! Have you ever watched it on TV?! I wanna go!!) and I will also not pass up an opportunity to watch Ground Hog’s Day starring THE BEST comedic actor of our time – Mr. Bill Murray!
Anyways – February is one of my favorite months. I would say it’s a toss up with October, but I love Halloween so much that it usually wins. But the energy in February is where it’s at. January is pretty slow, a time to reflect and start new habits and take it easy from the busy holiday period. January is awesome if you are an introvert, or an introverted extrovert, but February is when people start coming out of their cocoons and you’re like WHO DIS? ❤
Best things about February:
Groundhog’s Day, DUH
It’s my birth month! And John’s! And my nephews! And my sister’s! And like 100 of my friends and like MILLIONS of other people! (seriously, EVERYONE has birthdays in February and I share my actual birthday with my nephew, and have same birth week as my sis, so I never felt like it was MY BIRTHDAY growing up. That whole, THIS IS MY BIRTH WEEK thing? NOPE. Do y’all have a lot of Febby babies in your lives too or is that just me?)
My love-hate relationship for Valentine’s Day! Seriously, I like the idea of Valentine’s Day, but I HATE the marketing around it. And I hated the way Valentine’s Day made me feel when I was single, like I was supposed to be on some cosmic date that SHOULD have been the best night of my lifeeee. But in reality I would go to the movies alone and LOVE every minute of it or I would meet up for dinner with another single gal pal. I also hate the restaurant culture of Valentine’s Day, with the special pre-fix menu BS. They hike up the prices and the wait times are like 1000x longer than normal for a table and it’s so annoying because MARKETING TOLD US TO DO THIS Y’ALL! Buttt at the end of the day, I know I’m lucky for my main squeeze and don’t need Valentine’s Day to remind me of how we should be treating each other. We always opt for making dinner together, usually some sort of pasta dish, and snuggle while watching some crazy movie marathon or something with our cat. Awwww. I will say though, the BEST part of Valentine’s Day are the cute red and pink dresses for sale – I would love to have that year round!
My love-love relationship for Galentine’s Day! YAS QUEEN! Celebrate those badass female friendships in your life all while nodding your praise for Parks and Rec – I’m all about that! ❤
Black History Month – there are so many awesome documentaries are out there and I am always eager to learn more.
President’s Day Weekend – BUILT IN LONG WEEKEND PERFECT FOR A RANDOM TRIP, sign me up!
Spring clothes start to come out to all of the stores and the days get longer! (time change is around the corner I can feeeeel it!)