For January 2022

The sun is skimming over the surface of the mountains, just about to rise. The cat has been fed, and is sidled next to my husband in bed. After waking me up at a god awful hour, he has decided to go back to sleep. Lucky cat. I should be grateful, though. Because of him, I won’t miss this sunrise.

I have made a resolution to wake up earlier and write. It’s a homage to how important writing is for me. Unfortunately, I am five days into the New Year and this is the first time I’ve braved the cold. I have poured myself a coffee in my favorite mug and threw a blanket over my shoulders. I am making a mental note: Lay out socks and a sweater by the bed to help me get by. The rug under my feet helps, though.

The first few days of the year were spent honoring our five years of marriage. Time, it flies by so fast! I mean, didn’t I say we were already five days into the new year? It was a good reminder to not let anything go to waste. The celebration was also a practice in staying still. This time, we didn’t go anywhere, which is highly unusual. I guess these past few years have been unusual anyway.

Instead, we stayed put, at home. We idled the hours away, trading in productivity for good ole quality time. I already had the chance to practice saying no, so that I could say bigger yeses these last few days. No to work and money, yes to us and the things that matter.

We walked around the ranch and picked oranges from the trees. Then we squeezed them to make orange juice, which we sipped on for days. In the mornings, we tested our nose and palate with Le Nez du Cafe kit. In the afternoons, we sunbathed in the living room and finished reading a Drift magazine we bought last summer. We closed out our days with dips in the jaccuzzi and boardgame nights. Somewhere in there, my husband made pizza and I, bread.

I have spent the last two years waiting to get back to ‘normal’. I was expecting to start the New Year with plans to live extremely frugally with the return of student loan repayment. Only to have it extended another few months. I guess it isn’t time yet to go back to ‘normal’. But if I’m being frank…

I abhorred the normal. The normal was abnormally bad for me and my health. Before the abnormal, I didn’t make my own decisions. Instead of gratitude journaling, I prayed for change. I was lost and looking for myself under all the social expectations and pressures. Young me never had the courage to say no. Exhaustion was a daily thing, and I was so up in the clouds chasing dreams, I never had my feet on the ground. Any gust of wind could blow me away.

Today, I put myself first. My mornings are dedicated to me. Before anything and anyone else (except that darn cat!), I follow rituals that will support me. This includes making a mindful cup of coffee, having a writing session, reading books, and learning new things such as piano or how to make the perfect croissant.

On top of that, I exercise all the time, and I actually LOVE it. I look out for my body and its health. In gratitude for what my body is able to do for me throughout the day, I return the favor by eating healthy foods. These past few years have taught me how to listen to my body. When it is tired, I protect it by saying no to others. Not to be selfish, but with the understanding that little no’s can lead to very big yeses.

Golden yellow sunlight is seeping through our plantation shutters now. In a few moments, I’ll get up to throw back the curtains so that natural light can warm the home. I hear my husband’s feet shuffling in the bedroom. He’s about to get ready for his day. But before I do:

Things For January:

  • Create a dog sitting website and business cards
  • Go on a road trip up the California coast with Texino
  • Try Blood Orange Meringue Pie Recipe
  • Complete Bucket List Bake Club’s January Challenge: Milk Bar Birthday Cake
  • Learn one heritage recipe from my mom: Chicken Tinola
  • Talk to my plants, beg them to grow
  • Read the books on my queue
  • Declutter desk and filing cabinet
  • Offer kindness proactively. Pay attention to people around me and what I can do to make their lives easier.
  • Frugal Challenge: Lower the Electricity Bill
  • Install Tesla Solar Panels
  • Moisturize my feet
  • Allow for an hour of doing nothing
  • Start writing the courses I never got around to writing in 2021
  • Sign up to work at the Ranch community farm

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Last week, I posted a holiday gift guide for him. Today, I am posting one for her, with the caveat that the ‘her’ I am envisioning is a person similar to me. This may lead to disappointment, especially if you are looking to astound with diamond rings and glittery gowns, or if you are looking for the latest clothing or shoe recommendations. However, I have hope that there is something useful here for the modern femme in your life; that leading lady, boss chic, super heroine, extremely active go-getter, et cetera.

Other Gift Guides for Her

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

  • I have been dying for this digital notepad for years. The Remarkable 2.0 looks amazing. I love to write but my minimalist tendencies has gotten me to throw away countless notepads over the past few years. This notepad looks super sleek and seems to have a good paper-feel to it. I heard great things about the pen and the accuracy when translating from notepad to other devices. The slim profile looks quite modern and I can see myself writing more each day with this notepad around. It is on sale right now, for that really special someone. $300.
  • As much as I have been dying to get the Remarkable 2.0, I have made the conscious decision to buy a Surface Pro Pen to go with my Surface Pro instead. I have owned a Surface Pro for more than five years and really love it! It is a great option for minimalists who primarily use their computer for basic blogging and web-surfing. Buying a Surface Pro Pen was more cost-efficient, even though the feel is just not the same. I found I haven’t been reaching for it as much as a pen and paper, because the pen writing on the Surface pad still feels too digital. But the pen did provide me that happy medium between keeping notebooks around and buying the Remarkable 2.0. $99
  • No matter what, I keep a physical daily planner with me 100% of the time. It’s the only paper source I can’t shake. This daily planner by Unbound is the best planner I have ever used! If you have a gal who loves to plan, gift her this planner for 2022. She will love it! If you want another option, I wrote a list of Top 5 Planners here. $52
  • All of my friends have recently gotten into smart watches. This Fit Bit Inspire 2 with the white band looks so chic and does the job in a minimal way. A watch like this can really help someone hit their wellness and fitness goals. All my gal pals are stoked about their Fit Bit watches. $70
  • Alternatively, give the gift of relaxation and flexibility with this Manduka yoga strap. It takes up small real estate in the home but gets the job done. $16
  • This bag is just right for the shy vocalist in your life. Some people want to spread a message without having to get behind a speaker or mic. And why not get them the matching sock, too? $18-28
  • Give the gift of a strong boy brow. This brow stick from Glossier is my favorite make-up item in my minimalist arsenal. It was game-changer, and the perfect anti-dote to when I’m feeling glum. $16
  • Ocean lovers and cat lovers will equally love this phone case from Pela, plus other beige cases this way. $54
  • This is the perfect knife set for a gal who loves to cook. It’s minimalist, modern, and just stunning! The wood display comes in a few colors, but the trio would look just as nice on a steel magnetic plate. I am always on the lookout for simple solutions and these three are really all you need in your knife block. $125
  • And for the non-cooks, this Beast Blender is revolutionizing mornings for women everywhere. Make a healthy smoothie, throw in some collagen powder and protein, and top off with a to-go lid. (W+P Design has a few cute insulated bottles that I’ve been curious to try.) My friend got this blender and has all good things to say. Her husband is also using it on the daily now. This is the perfect no-fuss solution for those who love to sleep in a little extra, or leave home a little early. And it cleans up well! $185
  • Rather, you could just gift her the most amazing collagen ever! I love Thrive Market’s collagen. I can really feel and see the effects. I have also tried the Vital Proteins Collagen and I must say that Thrive Market’s is wayyy better. I throw this into my smoothie bowls and bone broth to keep my skin, hair and nails looking happy and healthy. $25

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

I am definitely a gift giver and there’s nothing I like more than shopping for someone else. This is especially true for my husband. I never have trouble finding gifts and I enjoy imagining what a guy would want to receive. Of course, it usually ends up being things that I want, too! Convenient, huh? Haha. Luckily, my significant other is extremely easy-going. I know that we are coming upon the holidays soon, so here is a last-minute holiday gift guide for him! Some of these items are actually on Mike’s wishlist this year. Then again, about half are things I would like for myself, as well. I also tried to include frugal alternatives to the more wildly expensive stuff. Since when did things cost so much?

Alternatively, a more simple holiday:

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

  • A water carbonator that’s easy on the eyes. Mike never drinks enough water. But water carbonators can make drinking water a real joy, rather than a chore. Help your guy create the habit of staying hydrated by sprucing up his drink. Moreover, this carbonator from Aarke is so pretty to look at, it totally solves the issue of putting it away every time versus keeping it out. Technically, this makes it a gift for me, too! Haha. There are seven colors to choose from. I personally love this beautiful ‘Sand’ color! Yuppie water, here he comes. $249
  • Of course, sometimes it’s the little things that makes all the difference. I fortified my water-drinking habit by buying one of these Ikea pitchers with a lid. I have it on my desk with a glass every day, and refill as needed. It makes water within arms reach and constantly accessible, without breaking the piggy bank. Plus, it is such a joy to pour from, and the lid keeps all the dust bunnies out! $4
  • This toaster seriously deserves all the hype. We have owned this Balmuda toaster for many months now and we use it almost daily. My husband cannot get enough bread, and Balmuda has revolutionized the way toasters reheat our gluten-full foods. We’ve been dishing out some perfect toasts and life couldn’t be any better. Just like the Aarke, it comes in multiple colors, which allows you to match your appliances (again, a pro for me!). $300
  • If you don’t want to drop $300 on the Balmuda, this beautiful toaster by Hay Design runs at a cheaper price point. It’s for toast and sliced bread only, but sometimes, that’s all your kitchen needs! $95
  • My guy is a coffee guy. Therefore, coffee gear is always being upgraded at our house. We have owned the Fellow Stagg stovetop kettle for years, but decided to upgrade to the Balmuda Electric Kettle when we upgraded our toaster and I haven’t gone back since! This kettle is petite and beautiful to hold in my tiny hands. The weight is ergonomically balanced and I don’t experience severe forward tipping like I do with the Fellow Kettle. Additionally, the indicator light at the end of the handle has a moody orange glow to it, which really makes my gloomy mornings. And it heats up way quicker than the stovetop kettles! We have this in white and use it almost daily. We are now Balmuda people, what can I say? $150
  • When Mike heard I was publishing a ‘Gift Guide for Him’ post, he told me that I needed to add Miir mugs to the list. He got a free 12 oz. camp mug from his company and uses it every day for his coffee. That surprised me because the internal is metal and ideally you want a glass vessel for coffee. But he swears by it and loves that it keeps his drink warm. So I guess there you have it! From the coffee lover, himself. $25
  • Mike and my brother have both gotten into training for marathons recently. They’ve also both gotten a watch to help improve their running. Mike got this Coros Pace 2 Watch and has been loving it! The watch is extremely light-weight and minimalist. My brother purchased a more intense Garmin watch that includes GPS tracking since he goes on multi-day hikes in national parks as well. Both have enjoyed not carrying their cell phones around when they are out in nature. Mike loves that the Coros Pace 2 has no music capabilities, which allows him to think on his long runs. I haven’t seen him enjoy a product this much in a long time. $200
  • If your guy is more like me and has no intention of running a marathon, but wants to get into shape, this Fit Bit Inspire 2 has really been inspiring me these days. And they’re going for only $65 a pop!
  • One of Mike’s best guy friends defines air-frying as cooking. I swear, everything he makes for dinner requires an air-fryer. If yours is the same, maybe getting a nice one this year would be a good idea. The best part – this one is dishwasher safe! Simplifying life in 2022, yeah? $90
  • What guy doesn’t love pizza? This Ooni pizza oven is a year-round gift, perfect for pizzas in the park, as well as cozy winter pizza parties! This has a minimal profile that would fit inside a tiny home. It is portable and having one in your friend group can be quite useful. Pool party, anyone? I would prefer one of these on our balcony over a grill. That would be a dream! $400
  • If you can’t quite stomach buying an entire oven, I’ve personally got my eyes set on this pizza stone by Emile Henry. It will work just as well in a kitchen oven! $55
  • My husband is really into the crypto-world. He had asked for, and received, a Nano Ledger last year. Now that crypto is becoming more relevant, perhaps this epic drive would be a great gift. Store coins off the web in this hard wallet. The security is well worth it at only $60.
  • This Theragun Mini is perfect for guys who like to go to the gym. Muscle relaxation is just as important as exercise! $199
  • Mikey himself opted for a cheaper alternative on his wishlist, which is a foam roller. This Lululemon roller has gotten a lot of attention for it’s dual capabilities. It is also available in a mini version, designed for people on the move! I would definitely carry this roller to the gym, yoga class, or dental office! Plus, it’s got this great marble print, making it approved to be left out in an inconspicuous corner of the living room. $58 for the regular, $38 for the mini.
  • Here is another gift on Mikey’s wishlist this year: a cocktail smoker top/smoke stack. A perfect gift for your personal mixologist, or the next Manhattan lover. $60

I really hope you found this holiday gift guide for him useful. As always, feel free to share what you got your significant other! Crowd-sourcing is the absolute best.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Gift Guide: Housewarming

In my opinion, the perfect housewarming gifts come in the form of consumables. My preferred list include a bottle of red wine or bubbly for celebrating, a bundle of palo santo for clearing the air, or a few boxes of to-go food for the movers and the newly moved. I have also baked pastries, brought candles, and gifted bath soaps and lotions. Something simple goes a long way. Suffice it to say, I bring housewarming gifts meant to be used and discarded, for fear of cluttering someone else’s new abode. I avoid burdening others with gifts that they may eventually outgrow, or worse yet, dislike from the get-go. So, I play it safe, sticking to my guns with the whole consumables thing.

But what of my own home? Well, that’s a different story. In line with the literal meaning of the word ‘housewarming’, I look for pieces that would add warmth to my space. I like tiny touches or useful gadgets that make the living-in more pleasurable. This is all aligned with my belief that things should be both functional and beautiful. I use new things to create the intentional life I envision for me and my family.

With the recent move into our new townhome, I have been sourcing a few brands that I think would really add a nice touch to our space. Below are a few items I have my eyes on.

Housewarming Gift Guide

For additional gift guides, right this way.

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Monthly Goals: November 2021

I am sitting here, amidst a row of half-packed boxes, taking a mini break I may not have the time for. I’ve pulled an espresso shot to energize me through another bout of frenzied packing. We have just returned from a short weekend getaway with a group of friends who we call our closest. As my body transitions from the slow weekend to the last home stretch, pun intended, I take a few moments to jot down my thoughts.

This morning, I lifted my head from taping cardboard to see steam floating across our kitchen window. The dryer was running on this gloomy, overcast morning. I thought to myself, “If I wasn’t packing boxes right now, I would be reclining on the sofa reading a book with a mug of coffee in hand.” I would be readying myself for my weekly chat with my sister – a chat that I have postponed until the following week in order to buy me more time. I might even be baking a handful of scones for my dental assistants to bring to work tomorrow. And with this stream of thought came memories that floated across my mind, like the steam outside the window.

I never really realized the slow-living that I had imagined for myself here. Instead, I experienced constant growth as I lived a period of my life filled with many changes. No matter how much I tried to slow my mind, pause, and be still, I couldn’t resist the fast-paced world. Perhaps that just comes with the territory of downtown living. Perhaps being in the midst of it all, surrounded by city noise, by action outside the bedroom window, I was constantly pulled forward against my own volition. Yet I am grateful for all this house gave me.

Living in this loft, we found a best-friend in our three-year-long roommate. This space housed my dream of a bakery. I taught my roommate how to bake bread, and gave my husband the basics to surpass me in pasta-making. It was here that I lived out my dog-sitting life. And lastly, this was where we brought home our toothless cat. I can still remember those October Santa Ana winds, and how I stayed up all night thinking about that stray orange tabby, shivering in the cold.

I am going to miss this place. But we are trading downtown living for a different sort of life. We are moving to a smaller townhome and have decided to be without a roommate, moving forward. We have gained the cooking skills needed to give up the fancy restaurants across the street. We can make mean-enough espressos to say goodbye to the third-wave coffee shops. We have outgrown the love for late-night street walks and weekend music events in the parking lot outside our door.

Mike considers where we are moving to “out in the boonies”. Really, though, it’s down the street from my parents’ home, my current work place, and where I grew up. It is a ranch community based on stewardship for the land and native species. Coyotes walk freely on the many walking trails, hawks and larger birds soar during the daytime and bats fly around at night. The area has three farms on which I plan to volunteer at. There is plenty of nature and open space, and the townhome is set in the backdrop of mountains. Nearby, friends I went to high-school with have settled down with their loved ones. I can’t wait to set in some new roots and build a different kind of community here.

In lieu of November goals, I just wanted to share my thoughts and write a reminder:

Perhaps here is where you are meant to be; sitting back on your heels, staring out the window.
Sometimes, life doesn’t unfold in the ways you’d expect. Nor shall you control it.
The memories will shape you, whether you know it or not.
As we move into the holidays, may you ever be present in the moment.

My November goals are to enjoy the journey, take it one step at a time, and let go with gratitude.

A Rainy Day Starter Kit

Rainy season is here and I have put together a rainy day starter kit for Fall! I absolutely love the rain. As a kid, I used to post up by the window panes and feel the thrum of raindrops as I read a book. As a teenage, I loved to hide under the blankets and listen to music or talk to my friends. Adult me is about the same. I now love drinking coffee, writing on my blog, and flitting across Pinterest on rainy days.

It may seem weird to say, but I do like to set up my surroundings on rainy days. That’s why I made this rainy day starter kit! I’ve got to create the right atmosphere before settling into the cold, gloom, and rhythmic lull. This means pillowy blankets, candles, coffeehouse music, and quiet spaces. I create forts where the cat would find me. I dim the lights and play pretend I’m in the Nordic North. My attire matches the event by wearing dark colors, and itchy socks. Together, I’ve wrangled a list of things you need to make the most of your next rainy day.

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Travel: City Guide to Phoenix Arizona

We had the pleasure of having my brother and his girlfriend as city guides on our recent travel to Phoenix, Arizona this past weekend. They live in Glendale, which is just a stone’s throw away. Our lovely weekend was spent visiting a mixture of their favorite spots and a few new ones, too. We were not disappointed with what the area had to offer. While it is fresh in my mind, here is a travel guide for a weekend getaway in Phoenix, Arizona.


♦◊◊◊
Not worth the time.

♦♦◊◊
Good, but ordinary.

♦♦♦◊
Great. Worth a visit.

♦♦♦♦
Exceptional. A must-do experience.

$
Frugal friendly

$$
Reasonable

$$$
Pricey


Fourtillfour Coffee

♦♦
7105 E 1st Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
$

Fourtillfour Coffee is a car-themed coffee shop housed in a garage space in Scottsdale, Arizona. An industrial roll-up door welcomes guests into a tiny shop housing merchandise and toy cars. Meanwhile, the coffee beans are packaged in containers that mimic vintage gas tanks, and the merchandise also imbibes a retro Grease-like vibe. Every Saturday, they host car meet-ups with different themes, which I think is pretty cool. People were gathering under the trees on tables and benches in the front lawn. I love that dogs were welcome, and there was a homey feel to the space.

Unfortunately, the coffee itself was more traditional in taste. I believe the beans were blends and not single-origin, so the drip isn’t exactly something out of this world. However, I think the traditionality of the coffee matches the vintage vibe of the shop, and I don’t necessarily consider the coffee bad. So I rate it good, but ordinary in terms of coffee. Regardless, it is still a really cool meet-up and hang-out spot, and you’re sure to see a few awesome cars parked on the street!

The Herb Box

The Herb Box Chicken Sando
The Herb Box

♦♦♦
7051 E 5th Ave J, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
$$

We had brunch at The Herb Box in Scottsdale, Arizona. The expansive patio has plenty of shaded seating. The indoor space is quite large as well. Good quality ingredients make up a wide array of brunch fare. They allowed us to bring our outside coffee in, which was pretty nice. And the service was excellent. Other than that, it was just a regular brunch on a regular Saturday.

Snakes and Lattes

♦♦♦♦
20 W 6th St, Tempe, AZ 85281
$$

We love board-games! So it may be biased to say that we loved this space. That being said, any game nerd who is going to travel to Phoenix, Arizona needs to stop at this place. Snakes and Lattes offers a great selection of food, alcohol, coffee, and coffee-alcohol (another plus). Their selection of games is incredible as well! And they have a board-game guru standing by the games, walking around, and teaching people how to play. He was great! Not all board-game cafes have a guru but now I am thinking they should.

The service was amazing and the play time is unlimited. It only costs $6 per person to play. The indoor space is large and there’s also an outdoor patio if you want to get some sun. We stayed a total of 4 hours and my brother has been there multiple times with groups as small as four people and as big as fourteen. We ordered beers and cocktails. Pro-tip: Happy Hour is from 2-4pm!

The Yard

The Yard Ping Pong Table

♦♦♦♦
5640 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014
$

In order to kill time between board-games and dinner, we swung by The Yard to grab a few beers and play ping-pong and cornhole. It has been a while since I had that much fun! The Yard is a great place to watch sports games on their many TV screens while eating eclectic bar bites and drinking cocktails or beer. It is situated in a college town, and a majority of the patrons there were in their 20’s and 30’s. There is an open space where one can play shuffleboard, ping-pong, and cornhole. It just takes an ID to rent the supplies. But don’t forget to get a stamp on your wrist if you give up your ID, so that you can still order drinks as you play. We surely worked up an appetite before going to dinner.

Ramen Dozo

Ramen Dozo

♦♦♦
Suite #107, 3415 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85282
$

‘Welcome to Ramen Dozo, where the ramen is good, the broth is traditional, and the service isn’t so great.’ That was the introduction our server gave, which wasn’t completely far from the truth. The Ramen was good, but the space wasn’t ambient and the service was a bit off-kilter. Still, I really liked our waiter. Not because we got into a long conversation about our new Bitcoin card, but because he was honest, had a sarcastic humor, and was really trying his best to serve us as quickly as possible. The poor guy looked like he was waiting all the tables in the restaurant!

However, the ramen was really good. I ordered my typical tonkotsu ramen and it came with decent pork portions. I also ordered a side of extra noodles but I think the serving was big enough that I didn’t really need to. In fact, I didn’t finish them which NEVER happens. Mike got the spicy miso ramen and really liked his ramen as well! The price was awesome, coming in at around $10 a bowl. We are used to California $15-$20 ramens, so I was super happy with this one. I gave it a frugal rating! Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. They do close early, though, so plan to eat by 7pm.

Provisions Coffee

♦♦♦♦
4501 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85018
$$

Great space to match great 3rd wave coffee! This spot is actually serving coffee by day and cocktails and beer by night! They have two bars – one lined with espresso machines and the other lined with draft beer handles. They serve bread and pastry with your coffee, as well as house a number of great coffee merch items! In the evenings, they have a pizza menu to go with your beer. I really liked this coffee spot, and my brother already has plans to return for weekend study sessions! There is ample room in the air-conditioned indoors, as well as a patio with a number of tables and benches. And it seems the dogs love it, too! PS: If you live in OC, California like I do, Bad Coffee sells Provision coffee beans. So there isn’t necessarily a need to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to try them out.

Taco Chelo

♦♦♦♦
501 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
$

If anyone ever tells you there are no good taco places in Arizona, they’d be lying. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, coming from Southern California. But the tacos at Taco Chelo really blew me away. It was after hiking Piestewa Peak and Freedom Loop Trail, a 4.5 mile endeavor in Arizona sun that had me questioning our visit. The peak portion of the trail was amazing, but by the time we started the loop, I was very tired and exhausted. Nothing that tacos can’t fix! I would highly recommend going here. The serving is decent, as I got full after two tacos and splitting an order of chips. The others ate 3-4 tacos, which was quite impressive. The green salsa that came with the chips was so delicious, I added it to everything. And the service was fast! Exactly what we needed as we were starving post-hike.

CiBo Pizzeria

♦♦♦♦
603 N 5th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
$$

They really did save the best for last, as this was my favorite spot for the entire weekend. The restaurant is actually a home with a large front yard lined by a white picket fence and covered by mature trees. String lights create the perfect ambience as we dined al fresco. A few musicians were stationed in the corner of the lawn singing and playing string instruments. The vibe was laid-back, family style, but also, romantic enough for young couples on their first date.

The wine selection was decent but the pizza was amazing! I finished an entire pizza by myself, which is a great sign. Sourdough bakers always say that a dough is made right when you can eat an entire loaf by yourself in one sitting. Same goes for pizza! I ordered the Diavola (Tomato sauce – mozzarella and spicy salame) and Mikey ordered the Dolce Vita (Burrata – spek – arugula and balsamic glaze). Don’t let the simple ingredients fool you. This is just how pizzas were meant to be. Next time we travel to Phoenix, Arizona, we will be back at this joint!

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Monthly Goals: October 2021

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October has arrived in California, marked by gloomy mornings, cool evenings, and the darkened petals of my favorite tree outside our bedroom window. It’s unmistakable, the turn of the season. Within my own body, I feel an inward shift of my mental state, as I start to yearn for the smell of comfort foods, the soft glow of reading lamps, and the softness of cozy rugs and blanket forts.

There is still a bit of left-over unrest from the summer days – pent-up energy that is manifesting as anxiety. Anxiety worth sharing, in case you feel it too – over the upcoming resumption of student loans, over the holiday season around the bend, over the general lack of progress or feeling of stagnation now that we’ve finished our international travels for the year… I chalk the blend of emotions up to the changing of seasons.

I have noticed that my goals this month are extremely ambitious, with a number of productive goals intertwined with tasks to keep me creative, learning, and relaxing too. Sometimes, it can all seem a bit much, but I do tend to shoot for the stars, so that even if I fall short, I’ll still be somewhere up there. I know that it’s dangerous to pen so many expectations, but if I don’t, I wouldn’t necessarily feel like myself. I recognize that I fall to the cadence of cycles, with periods of lull and burnout, but I’ve come to accept my ways rather than resist of be ashamed of the roller coaster ride I call life.

Here is what I’ve got to look forward to in October.

Ways to Improve the Blog

  • Apply to 20 affiliates.
  • Publish 20 blog posts.
  • Make 50 Pinterest posts.
  • Add excerpts for past posts.
  • Internally link related posts.
  • Reach out to 10 collaborations and secure a few partnerships.
  • Review Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (my favorite course).

Ways to Improve My Finances

Ways to Continue Learning

Ways to Have Fun and Relax

  • Commit to one digital sabbath a week.
  • Limit social media time to 30 minutes a day.
  • Practice turning off my phone wholly, whenever possible.
  • Enjoy our two trips this month – to Arizona and Norcal.
  • Bake a new recipe each week (four total) including participating in the PIEOMETRY challenge in our Bake Club.
  • Be more connected with Mikey by listening to the same podcasts, reading the same books, and learning new hobbies.
  • Time block relaxing activities every single day.

Ways to Stay Healthy

  • Exercise 5 days a week.
  • Less dairy, less processed foods.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep a night.

This photograph was taken by the amazing Chadwick Gantes! The scrubs are from Figs, and the shoes are from Clove.