#thirtyonederful (my life lately)

Happy belated Halloween! 🎃👻 I’ve been working on a post about our road trip to California, but it’s gotten so long that I think I’m going to have to split it into a few parts - not a bad thing, since we took a TON of pictures! Since that’s not finished yet, I thought I’d share some highlights from last weekend - including my 31st birthday!

Dinner at Cloak & Petal

My birthday was on Sunday this year (gross) so we decided to go out to dinner on Friday. We tried a spot in Little Italy called Cloak & Petal. This was a great date spot - there are huge (obviously fake) cherry blossom trees in the middle of the dining room, and they have large windows that open onto the street. It’s still a novelty to be able to enjoy nice weather in October, and since we were seated by the front windows we could watch kids walking by in their Halloween costumes! The food was very good - my favorite thing we ordered was the Cesar Chavez & Main St roll, full of spicy tuna, jalapeño & habañero. I love spicy sushi rolls and this didn’t disappoint! I ate it too fast for a photo but I have one of our oysters (also delicious) and my cocktail, the Absin-tea-ism.

We were able to try out a few other spots Friday night as well - pre-dinner beers at Bolt Brewery and a nightcap at El Camino afterwards, both just a short walk from the restaurant. I enjoyed both spots (love Bolt Brewery’s lightning logo, obviously) but especially liked the kitschy dive bar feel of El Camino.

Potato Chip Rock

On Saturday we got up early to check a San Diego bucket list hike off our list. We drove out to Ramona to hike up to this classic photo spot. We took a shorter back route up to the top, which was only about 4 miles round trip but was pretty steep. Next time I’d take the longer route from Lake Poway, which apparently has better scenery - but we still got some great views!

October 27th, 2018 - A view from near the top of the hike. So cool to live within driving distance of mountains!

October 27th, 2018 - A view from near the top of the hike. So cool to live within driving distance of mountains!

October 27th, 2018 - You can see all the way to downtown San Diego from up here (can’t tell from the picture, though).

October 27th, 2018 - You can see all the way to downtown San Diego from up here (can’t tell from the picture, though).

October 27th, 2018 - Nervous but excited to be conquering fears!

October 27th, 2018 - Nervous but excited to be conquering fears!

I was also extremely proud of myself for getting up onto Potato Chip Rock considering my fear of heights. The only way you can tell I’m super nervous is because I’m standing really far from the edge!

October 27th, 2018 - A cool sculpture in the Rashelica Winery & Art Garden

October 27th, 2018 - A cool sculpture in the Rashelica Winery & Art Garden

Afterwards we grabbed brunch in Ramona at Marinade on Main. Everyone keeps telling me that California is full of tiny, healthy portions… but the “salad” I ordered was more fried chicken & goat cheese than anything else! The portions were huge but delicious, and luckily we were super hungry after our hike! I thought I had some pictures but they seem to have disappeared, unfortunately.

On our drive back, we randomly stopped off at the Rashelica Winery & Art Garden because we were distracted by giant letters on the side of the road proclaiming ART. This place was pretty bonkers - we couldn’t even tell at first what exactly it was! A nursery? An eclectic person’s backyard? An outdoor museum? They appear to have a restaurant on site but the real highlight is definitely the enormous art garden with some truly strange sculptures, big chess set, and pretty plants. Worth a stop if you’re in the area for sure - it was free and there’s a parking lot as well.

Mac Sabbath at Casbah

Sunday was a pretty easygoing day because we had been out at a Halloween party the night before, but we made up for it on Monday night. We headed to the Casbah, an old-school rock/indie/punk venue in Little Italy. I liked it right off the bat - very divey and very small. Great place to see a show! First up was Franks & Deans, who cover Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra songs complete with a burlesque dancer (they are from Vegas, you can tell). We hadn’t really been expecting much but they were actually pretty fun to watch since I grew up listening to those songs.

But the real reason we went was to see Mac Sabbath!

This was so weird and awesome and I loved it. In case you can’t tell, they’re a McDonald’s-themed Black Sabbath cover band and they are bonkers - even their Wikipedia article is a real delight. The highlight is definitely the costumes and the stage spectacle (I wouldn’t say they’re really very good), but if you like Black Sabbath and you’re into weird stuff/Halloween/junk food, this is a blast. Definitely the most fun I’ve had on a Monday night in a while, and it was fun to check out a music venue in my new city.

Spooky Halloween Things

I did dress up for Halloween last Saturday, but because we moved recently and I’ve been a bit distracted, I wasn’t really super happy with my costume. I needed something low-cost and easy, so I ended up dressing as Mugatu. It turned out alright for a last minute job! I’m glad I got to celebrate my favorite holiday still, even though we’re not totally settled in yet!

October 27th, 2018 - the only real photo I got of my Mugatu costume :(

October 27th, 2018 - the only real photo I got of my Mugatu costume :(

We’ve also been spending most nights the last week or two watching the Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I loved it! It’s creepy-scary (not gory at all) and I regularly ended up with goosebumps, and it’s a one-season show so it’s not a huge time commitment. It’s worth a watch even though Halloween is sadly over.

I’m planning on checking out the traditional Dia de los Muertos celebrations later today - being so close to Mexico it’s no surprise that San Diego is home to some pretty spectacular-looking parades & festivals. I’m hoping to bring my camera along - if I end up with some good photos, maybe I’ll write a separate post about that!

That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to lately! I’ve been feeling inspired by some "daily life” blogs I’ve discovered lately (my favorite is Sleepy Waldo) and since I’m mostly sharing this with family & friends far away/back in Chicago, I hope to do more of these kind of posts. I’ve been trying to remember to get better about taking photos, even when they aren’t Instagram-worthy or perfect. I’m also trying out a new meal-planning service that I have loved so I’m planning on sharing a bit about that as well. Definitely have more posts coming soon - maybe I’m finally getting into the blogging groove a little bit!

hello, 2018!

September 2017 - Chicago sunrise on Lake Michigan.

September 2017 - Chicago sunrise on Lake Michigan.

I had been intending when I posted a few weeks back to try to get one blog post written per week. But life's been a little hectic lately - between last minute work trips, the holidays, and packing up to move for the first time in seven years, I've been a little overwhelmed. But rather than feel guilty that it's been nearly a month, I decided to take a few minutes during lunch today to write a little bit about some of my plans for the upcoming year. 

My motto for the year is "Perfect is the enemy of good."

It's an English variant of an old Italian proverb, and it's so applicable to me because I'm a horrible perfectionist. It's a real battle for me not to completely give up on something once I perceive that I've "messed up" somehow. Missed a run on my training plan? Better start over completely. Accidentally skipped a side quest in a video game? I'll have to just replay the whole thing. It's a terrible quality of mine that seeps into just about every aspect of my life, and it's the biggest thing I want to combat this year. To that end, I'm not really making any resolutions officially. 

2017 was also a really positive year for me personally - I feel like in many ways I really "got my shit together". I've started making some loose plans to help me continue improving in some key areas, but per my 2018 motto, I'm not going to stress if I slip up or don't execute these plans flawlessly.


This is probably the biggest area I struggled with in 2017. It was a very busy year, and while I did manage to get into the gym for workout classes fairly regularly, I also wasn't nearly as active as I was in 2016. I also developed some unhealthy eating habits - getting takeout a lot due to poor time management/sheer laziness, and eating while bored or stressed. 

  • I ran my first half marathon in 2016 with an injured foot, but I came really close to finishing under two hours anyways! This year, I want to run another one and hit that milestone.

  • I also want to get into a routine with my favorite workout classes 2x a week.

  • I'm going to be attempting a Whole30 starting the second week of January, after I move. This is definitely my most ambitious undertaking for 2018!

  • My new apartment will have a MUCH better kitchen and I got some good kitchen supplies for Christmas this year - I want to add at least 5 new go-to recipes to my repertoire and I also would like to try to bake 5 different kinds of bread now that I've got a decent oven to work with.

  • I'm a night owl and I struggle to go to bed with enough time to get a good night's sleep. Definitely something to work on this year.


Some poor habits, an extremely tight budget, and a bad relationship left me in a not so great situation a few years back. I've made loads of improvements since then, but it's still one of my weakest areas personally. I want to continue making progress in a few key areas this year.

  • One of my biggest challenges is setting and sticking to a budget. I still have a tendency left over from being broke to spend freely when I have extra money, in case it disappears suddenly.

  • Reduce reliance on credit card debt - see above point for reasoning why.

  • Build up my savings - I have had some large unexpected expenses wipe out my savings every time I make some significant progress on them (thanks a lot, unreliable car).

  • Cut some spending where possible, like eating out too frequently or making impulse purchases.


I've found that having consistent routines helps me be more productive both personally and at work. I'd been doing pretty well with this, but really fell off the last few weeks. I need to make sure I can adapt these routines even when I get super busy.

  • Since I'm not at all a morning person, I need to try to get up early enough to set aside a short amount of time to relax with a cup of coffee and a book or some of my favorite blogs. Seems counterintuitive, but those few minutes help me be more productive throughout the day.

  • In the same vein, a regular night routine helps me fall asleep more easily. This includes some self-care type stuff, like taking a few minutes to do a sheet mask.

  • Between my job, normal millennial phone usage and my video game hobby, I spend a lot of time staring at screens. I want to reduce the amount of mindless phone scrolling I do and make sure I stop using electronics right before bed (to help my sleep quality).

  • Another area I really didn't do well in during 2017 was reading. In 2016 I was a part of a few book clubs that have since fallen apart, and I fell out of the habit of reading. I've joined another book club and I want to take a few minutes a day to read before bed at the very least.

  • Writing helps calm my anxiety and brings some order to my chaotic thought processes. Whether it's blogging here or writing in my personal journal, I need to do more of it in 2018.

A bit of a long entry, but I like writing down these kind of plans! I feel like stating this stuff publicly helps me feel more accountable to my goals. If you've got your own resolutions or plans for 2018, I'd definitely love to hear about them!

some thoughts on thirty

On my 30th birthday, in the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR.

On my 30th birthday, in the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR.

Well, it's been ages since I wrote in this blog - getting close to a year now. I actually went ahead and hid all of my old posts because I'm obsessive and there's nothing I love more than a fresh start. But I'm going to approach this blog a little differently this time around. I always have had in my head an idea of what I wanted this blog to be. As a manic perfectionist, I wanted it to be... well, perfect. Instead of being about my actual life, I wanted it to show the idealistic, stylized version of my life. #millenial

The thing is, most of my twenties can only be described as tumultuous. I was mostly broke and just scraping by, I struggled with depression (and self-medicated frequently), and I eventually wound up in an abusive relationship. It took me several years to undo the havoc I wreaked on myself during that period of time. I'd never want to repeat my early twenties, and I certainly didn't want to share the sad reality on the internet for family members, strangers, and randos from high school.

That's why turning thirty was such a strange experience. 

I'm usually not a huge fan of my own birthday. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to planning parties, and that increases exponentially when it's a party for myself. And of course, I don't think many people love the experience of getting older. By the time I turned 27, I had already begun to gloomily refer to myself as "almost 30" in the same tone people use to convey news like "It's official - I can't have children.

Even worse, it seemed like other people felt that it was an event to dread. I was pretty shocked at some of the aggressive comments I received. While the attitudes behind them weren't shocking - they were pretty typical "you're running out of time, tick tock" sort of stuff - I was definitely surprised by how forthright some people were about my rapidly declining social value. 

But by the time I woke up in Portland the morning of my birthday, I realized that not only was I not dreading turning thirty, I was looking forward to it. Like I said, there's nothing I love more than a nice blank slate. And that's what my thirties are, kind of. Except instead of kicking them off with a negative bank balance and a penchant for unhealthy relationships, I'm starting with a job I love, the happiest relationship of my life, and a nice middle finger to everyone who thinks I'm a useless old prune now. I'm trying not to swear on here but it's difficult and if you know me, you'll know that my sentiments are actually quite a bit stronger than that. 

All of this is to say that for the first time since I attempted to start a blog years ago, I actually have a life I'm proud to share. So I guess I'll go ahead and share it! It feels nice to create something that has nothing to do with work, and if I'm honest I miss the early days of blogging - where people just posted whatever they wanted without trying to monetize or drive traffic or get instafamous. 

So yeah, welcome. Hopefully I'll be able to get another post up before 2019.

Ended up going back and publishing all my old posts again later in an effort to not be such a perfectionist!