How To Learn New Skills

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I worked out yesterday, for the first time in about two months. It felt horrible. By my second squat, I was giving myself a motivational speech in my head about how to get through the next 8 of them.

But the incredible thing about trying new tasks and skills is that you’re 100% capable of achieving them. If you dive head first with no “what ifs” left behind, you’re already one step closer to conquering that skill than you were yesterday. In my first SoulCycle class, I thought I was going to pass out and need to be dragged out the the room. And now I sit in the front row.

So you want to be a writer? Write every day. Here’s a site to help you do that. 

So you want to be a real estate agent? Take the test to get your license. 

So you want to be a baker? Pick up a part-time job at a local bakery. 

So you want to learn how to play soccer? Join a local league. 

So you want to run a marathon? Start training.

So you want to travel the world? Start saving. 

So you want to learn Chinese? Check out a Chinese language book from the library. 

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MENTAL BLOCKS

90% of the reason people fail is because they don’t start. No, you’re not as talented as you wish you were. No, you’re not going to be an expert on your first try. But, you can’t become the person you want to be by staying the person you are. And you can’t accomplish the laundry list of things you want to accomplish by doing the same thing you do every day.

LACK OF TIME

New skills take time. You can’t just decide you want to be a filmmaker, and then become a filmmaker on your first try. It takes dedicated time over a consistent period if you want to even scratch the surface. But once you scratch the surface, you make a dent, and then you make a carving, and then you become a filmmaker. Unfortunately, most people really do not have time; they have kids to take care of, school to attend, long hours at work, etc. But if you make the time, you can become anything you want to be.

LACK OF PATIENCE

Becoming the person you want to become is not easy. It’s not a walk in the park. You’re going to fail, you’re going to get mad, you’re going to take more steps back than you take forward. But if failure causes you to stop putting one foot in front of the other, then the failure has won. Every successful person has failed, but they got back up and they put one foot in front of the other.

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LYNDA – Online classes for everything from computer programming to business development

SKILLSHARE – Online creative classes taught by artists all over the world

CREATIVE LIVE – Live classes on everything from photography to creative writing

MASTERCLASS – Skills taught by experts in the field

CRAFTSY – Online craft classes

So.. what skill are YOU going to learn?

6 Pumpkin Recipes For Fall

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Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

Is it just me or do pumpkin spice lattes come back way too early each year? Living in Los Angeles is like living in a snow globe except instead of snow it’s just hot sun all year round. Geez, I miss having seasons. I’m writing this from my couch, debating on whether I should turn the \air conditioning on or not. It’s 88 degrees outside with October just a week away.

Anyways, what I’m actually here to share today is eight pumpkin recipes to bake this Fall. Pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient because pumpkin puree can basically be added to anything. They even have pumpkin face masks, which is incredible.

You can either buy a can of pumpkin puree from the grocery store for these recipes, or puree your own! Is anyone growing my own pumpkins this year? Here’s how to make your own puree.

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White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles by Sally’s Baking Addiction

These are my second favorite cookies of all time (I could never take the first place ribbon from my favorite chocolate chips cookies). They’re so easy to make, it literally will take you maybe twenty minutes to slap the ingredients together. It uses melted butter, which is A) so much faster than waiting for a stick of butter to soften, and B) makes the cookies more dense. Also, if you’ve never used a Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe before, you’re missing out. They’re honestly foolproof. 

Pumpkin Pie by Sally’s Baking Addiction

This wouldn’t be a complete list without pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie isn’t the easiest thing to make, which is why we’re going with another recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Remember, her recipes = foolproof. You have to get bake it just long enough for the filling to set, but not too long so it’s hard as a rock. And then you have to let it set for 3 hours. It’s definitely not a day-of-the-party kind of pie.

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakesby Baker By Nature

I found these on my Instagram feed and they look so delicious that I had to include them. I mean, dulce de leche stuffed inside pumpkin cupcakes? Does it get any better than that? Answer: NO.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread by What’s Gaby Cooking

The easiest way to make pumpkin bread is to buy the pumpkin bread mix at Trader Joe’s, because that stuff is INCREDIBLE, but the second easiest way to make it is to follow this recipe. Just do it, truuust me.

Pumpkin Pancakes by My Baking Addiction

Why eat regular pancakes when you can eat PUMPKIN pancakes? This is probably my favorite form of pumpkin, if I’m being honest. You can totally just add pumpkin puree and some spices to a store-bought pancake mix, but if you wanna have the full experience of pumpkin pancakes, make them from scratch!

Pumpkin Pie Bars by Joy The Baker

There’s no such this as a recipe roundup that doesn’t involve Joy The Baker. She’s the queen of baking, truly. I’m 100% making these pumpkin pie bars this Fall! They look so, sooo good.

What recipes are you gonna make this Fall?

Waimea Canyon Hike In Kauai

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Hiking isn’t the first thing you usually think of when you think of Hawaii: you think of blue ocean as far as the eye can see, bottomless piña coladas, and snorkeling. All of those activities are totally valid, but it would be a travesty to go to Kauai without experiencing the hiking trails.

The Napali Coast on the North Shore hosts some of the best hikes in the entire world, and I would 100% recommend doing a day hike there if you have the time. But if you’re staying on the South Shore and looking for a more accessible and feasible hike, I’d recommend the hiking trails in Waimea Canyon.

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My favorite hike we did was the Waimea Canyon Lookout Trail. The hike starts in Waimea Canyon State Park, up about five miles of windy roads. I’m pretty sure I got car sick every time we drove up it, tbh. The trail starts right after mile marker 14! You start the hike on a fire road and hike down to the trailhead. The hike is about 1.8 miles each way and takes about 2.5 – 3 hours roundtrip.

The hike leads you to the most incredible views of Waimea Canyon, at a clearing called the Kumuwela Lookout. I honestly had a do a double-take like ten times before I accepted that the views were real – they are INCREDIBLE.

Don’t turn around too early, because there is a trail at the end of the lookout that leads to Waipoo Falls. There’s a fork in the trail that leads you to two different sets of falls; turn to the right to go to the top of Waipoo Falls!

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Happy travels!

5 Things To Cut Out Of Your Budget

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To be completely, rip-the-bandaid-off, honest, I’ve never paid too much attention to where my money goes or how much I spend each month. My rule has just always been: “never spend more than you make.” I’ve always paid off my credit card bills each month without late fees or overage interest rates and I keep enough money in my account to pay rent on time each month, etc. Those are my basic living expenses and I have never thought to plan outside of those.

But recently while my boyfriend and I were on a long drive, he turned on a Dave Ramsey podcast and my whole world was turned upside-down. Dave was talking so bluntly about money and putting complicated processes into such simple terms. His podcast is mainly focused on debt and how to get out of debt, but at the core of it he talks about how to manage your money and how to plan for your future. *Cue the “OH RIGHT, I’M 26 AND SHOULD PROBABLY BE PLANNING FOR MY FUTURE” panic.*

So.. what’s the first step to plan out your finances? Well, it’s figuring out exactly what you’re spending money on each month. And how do you do that? Well, you literally go line-by-line through your credit card bills (A great Sunday afternoon activity!) and mark anything that was not a necessary purchase.

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When I sat down and actually looked through my credit card purchases, I saw hoards of items that could have been money going into my savings account. I was spending $12 per month on Hulu, when I couldn’t even remember the last time I watched it. (I signed up for a membership after Netflix took How I Met Your Mother off of their service. Long live Ted Mosby!) Since then, I’ve gone through a budget cleanse and made an effort to be an intentional spender.

If you’re in the same boat as me and taking the steps towards becoming more in charge of your finances, here are five things that may be weighing down your bills each month:

Subscriptions

There is a subscription for practically anything you could ever want: I have a wine subscription that delivers four new bottles of wine to my doorstep every month. But subscriptions add up fast. If you have five $10 subscriptions, that’s $50 a month. Go through your credit card statement and make sure you’re not still subscribed to something that you don’t ever use. Since they auto-renew, payments can slip under your radar if you’re not careful!

Coffee Shops

As a millennial who lives in Los Angeles, I can testify that people my age buy coffee almost every single day (or at least multiple times a week). And now that it’s pumpkin spice latte season at Starbucks, that number is probably doubling as I type this. And cashing in at $4 a cup, that credit card bill adds up fast. Coffee is such an easy thing to make at home before you leave for the day. It just takes the commitment of waking up earlier than usual to brew up your to-go cup.

Fitness Memberships

I am 150% guilty of spending too much money on fancy exercise studios. It comes with the territory when you live in the city that has the most boutique exercise studios per square mile *I literally just made that statistic up, but you get the point*. At its core, exercise is FREE: you can go for a run, walk your dog, do ten jumping jacks in front of your mirror, the possibilities are endless! If you’re running low on budget wiggle room, your fitness membership may be something you take off your plate until you’re in a more stable place to afford it.

Eating Out

There is nothing wrong with eating out – trying new restaurants is one of my favorite things to do! But eating out multiple times a week can add up, especially if you use Postmates or another service that charges delivery fees. You don’t need to cut this budget item out entirely, but maybe don’t splurge on a nice meal more than a few times a month, or actually drive to get your meal instead of ordering from an app.

Late Fees

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the worst feeling in the world is going to check the payment deadline on a bill and realizing it’s past due. Set up auto pay on all of your accounts to make sure you’re hitting deadlines and not paying any unnecessary fees. The sooner you can catch the late fees, the sooner those late fees can disappear!

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Are YOU on top of your money? Do YOU have any advice to budget better?

5 Ways To Kick-Start Exercising

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I’m writing this post mainly because this is something I’m really struggling with right now. I’m in a rut. My life has been so busy and (real talk) I’ve gained 5 pounds in the process. I’m not overweight per-say, but my physical fitness has declined.

My job is taxing. It’s exhausting, and during busy season, I barely have enough energy to make dinner for myself after work. To be blunt, getting a good night’s sleep is more important to me than waking up early to go to an exercise class. I’ve never stayed committed to a gym, so it’s hard to to find an exercise routine that I actually keep up.

When I need to start exercising again, I need to make it fresh or I’ll give up before I even finish lacing up my tennis shoes. So today I’m sharing 5 of my go-to way to start a new exercise routine.

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Soul Cycle.

Real talk, I fucking love SoulCycle. It’s a company and a fitness organization that I wholeheartedly believe in. My first class was a beginner “learn the basics” class (they used to offer those) and I was 1000% sure I wasn’t going to make it through alive about halfway through. It was tough. It challenged muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time, maybe ever. But I loved it. And I still love it.

Sign up for a running race

When you have nothing to work towards, it’s easy to give up. Running is an amazing exercise because it’s free and you can do it anywhere. Sign up for a race, set a training plan for yourself (or find one online!), and get running.

Workout DVDs

Did anybody else used to watch The Biggest Loser and cry over the contestants’ body transformations? Just me? That show was everything. And if you’ve never purchased a Bob Harper workout DVD and had Bob yell at you through an entire workout, you have not lived. This one is my favorite.

Try exercises you’ve never tried before

Before I tried a spin class, I thought I would hate it. But it turned out to be my favorite kind of exercise class. I want to start swimming again soon, which is something that I used to do growing up.

YouTube Workouts

If you’ve never been exposed to the vast world of YouTubers and the YouTube community, I can change all of that. I used to work at a YouTube management network, actually. I can give a TED Talk about YouTubers. Anyways, there’s a lot of great fitness YouTubers who post free workouts on their YouTube pages. Some popular ones are Tone It Up, Blogilates, and Love Sweat Fitness.

What are some way you kick start your exercising? Are you in a rut right now?

Easy Like Saturday Morning

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I’m trying to figure out if there’s ever such a thing as life calming down. Does that exist? Lemme know if you figure it out.. I was house-sitting for a week and a half, and then I went to Big Bear Lake for three days for the 4th of July. Now I’m back at my house, just in time for 100+ degree weather.

Here’s a roundup of articles, items, and recipes I’ve discovered this week:

This Spicy Salmon Sushi Bowl is at the top of my list to make right now.

It’s the 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot! My boyfriend and I went to an outdoor screening of it last weekend.

This heat is brutal in Southern California. Refinery29 rounded up the best no-slip foundations.

Hellooooo Root Beer Baked Beans! Thanks Joy!

Did you know that Emma Watson has a Book Club? Her newest book is Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

Two words: EGGPLANT FRIES.

Gin is my favorite liquor. And I’m about to make all 47 of these gin cocktails.

Something to ponder: Can Reading Make You Happier?

Happy weekend, friends!

 

Find Your Happy

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I want you to do something for me right now. Think about your life. Think about it as it stands right now in this very second. Who means the most to you? Do they know? Do you show it? What or where makes you happy? Do you do those things or go to those places often? Why or why not?

Hawaii is my happy place. It’s where my anxieties and struggles disappears as soon as I step off the airplane into the humid air. My eczema apparates to an alternate universe where that skin condition stresses me out. I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl and I’ve grown to adore this island paradise. I just got back from a week in Kauai and it was exactly the refresh I needed.

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WHAT I’M WEARING:

Madewell Skinny Overalls | White Shirt (Old) | Steve Madden Dina Sandal

I always take things back with me when I travel. The Nespresso machine sitting in my kitchen reminds me of Austraila. When I got home from Hawaii, I ordered the coffee maker that was in my family and I’s condo. It sounds weird, but having things like those around me bring me peace and calm in a world of chaos.

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When you’re outside of the hustle and the bustle, you see clearer. You’re not stressed out about that big project or your upcoming performance review. You remember the things you love and the people you love. A reset in your life every now and then is so important, and it’s cruel that so many people don’t have the luxury of having one.

With that being said, I want to challenge you in something. Take a step back. Look at your life. What’s in it? Is there anything unhealthy or that brings you unhappiness? Once you identify that thing (if any), is there anything you can do to change it?

You are never the victim once you recognize the road block. Once you see the ROUGH ROAD AHEAD sign, you can change your course. You’re not destined to be tied to something that makes you miserable, and you don’t owe it to anybody to keep yourself in a situation that’s not healthy for you. This is your one life. You’re never going to live this day ever again. How are you going to spend it? And what can you do today that will give you brighter days ahead?

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What’s your happy place?

My Favorite Nespresso Capsules

 

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There’s nothing quite as satisfying as pressing a button and having a cup of espresso appear before you. There’s nothing quite as rich and creamy as a Nespresso shot of espresso. And there’s nothing that reminds me more of Australia than Nespresso.

I studied abroad in Sydney during my senior year of college, and when my homestay mom got a Nespresso machine for her birthday and it was all lattes until you drop from there on out.

Nespresso reminds me of walking to the beach from my house with my friend Matty, doing the crossword puzzle with my homestay family every Saturday morning at their favorite local coffee shop, walking three miles to school every day, and of all of the beautifully kind Australians who I’m still friends with to this day. Australia has a special place in my heart (for the rest of my life) and Nespresso brings me closer to it.

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NESPRESSO ‘INISSIA’ MACHINE | ESPRESSO CUP (VINTAGE)

The best thing about Nespresso is that you can make both a shot of coffee as well as a full cup of creamy coffee to take in your to-go cup as you run out the door. Press a button, stuff your belongings into your bag and your coffee is ready to go, saving your sanity on a daily basis.

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Today I’m sharing my favorite capsules, because there’s so many and it can be overwhelming at first to pick which ones to use.  (Descriptions pulled directly from the Nespresso website)

Roma has a subtle balance between strength, finesse and fullness,  Roma  sets itself apart by its woody and roasted notes. Central and South American Arabicas combined with Robusta have been lightly roasted to preserve the delicate aroma of the blend.  Roma  is the ideal coffee for those looking for an Espresso that is both short and mild.

Arpeggio takes its distinctive character and full body from a blend of Central and South American Arabicas. The long roasting allows each aspect to develop into an intense bouquet, combining cocoa and roasted notes.

Capriccio is an Espresso with a balanced bouquet, a light acidity and a very characteristic cereal note. It is composed of Arabicas from South America including Brazil, in ideal proportions, and a touch of lightly roasted Robusta.

Livanto is a blend of Central and South American Arabicas is medium roast to bring out a round and very balanced bouquet. It evokes the scent of freshly toasted coffee escaping from the roaster: roasted and caramelised notes.

Ristretto combines the best South American Arabicas, from countries such as Colombia and Brazil, with great East African Arabicas, famous for their citrus aromas with a touch of Robusta for added zing. The slow split roasting of the beans creates a contrasting bouquet, bringing together subtle fruity and acid notes, with intensely roasted and chocolate ones.

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Have you ever tried Nespresso coffee?

Summer Bucket List

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Summer is my favorite season because it means that I can dig the rompers out of my closet and pretty much forget about pants until Fall comes around. It’s when backyard barbecues become a way of life and it’s when you know that corn dogs at the state fair are in your immediate future. Makeup doesn’t really exist because it’s going to melt off anyways, and you’re guaranteed to jump in the ocean (…if you live in California…) at least seven times. ISN’T IT THE BEST?!?!

I’m already so excited about Summer that I should probably join a support group and make t-shirts. (If you would like one, please let me know your t-shirt size and I will plan accordingly).

Today I’m sharing my bucket list, and I’d love to know what yours is! 

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1) Read the paper every Saturday: I get the Wall Street Journal delivered to my house every Saturday but they literally just stack up in my entry way because I never read them. The coffee shop I routinely went to read the paper closed down and honestly I’m still recovering from the heartbreak it caused. I mean, how could they? Did they not understand that that was the only place I could catch up on the news? And that a paper combined with a coffee in one hand and a blueberry muffin in the other hand is the only truly beautiful combination?

2) Go fishing: My coworker Melissa brought in some pocket fishing rods to the office yesterday and I got way to excited and started fake fishing in everyone’s offices. I’ve already asked my boss what a good weekend would be for me to take a three day weekend in July to go fishing. I am c-o-m-m-i-t-t-e-d.

3) Weekend in Big Bear: If you’re not from Southern California, you probably haven’t heard of Big Bear. No, it’s not a life-size Yogi Bear statue. (Nice guess tho!) It’s a lake-side town East of Los Angeles where city folk hoard to in the summers to get away from the wretched temperatures and grimy sidewalks. And do you know what Big Bear has? Fishing.

4) Camping in Yosemite: As a Northern California native, I can never forget about my one true love Yosemite. It’s the most accessible national park you’ll encounter and I’ve spent so many summer days hiking and camping in the valley.

5) Host backyard parties: Something I have come to realize this year is that I LOVE hosting people. I love planning appetizer menus and making name cards and setting up party games. It’s exhilarating to me. My backyard is a pretty good size, and I bought a barbecue on Amazon last month so basically I have everything I need to host Summer shin-digs.

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6) Travel to another state: Southwest Airlines is my best friend. Their flights are cheap, their flight attendants are the sweetest, and their in-flight magazine is better than most regular grocery story magazines. I really want to do a weekend trip to Texas this Summer. I hear Austin is amazing (hot, but amazing) and I really want to visit.

7) Complete an ocean swim: I’m just putting this on the list for the meek chance that it actually happens. My ex’s best friend did one a couple of years ago and before then I really had no idea they existed in Southern California.

8) Scuba dive in Southern California: I finally went scuba diving again after three years in Hawaii. Now that I am confident that I remember how to dive, I want to join a dive club or something of the sort. But first I gotta get my own equipment….

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WHAT I’M WEARING:

Madewell Skinny Overalls | White Shirt (Old) | Steve Madden Dina Sandal

What are your plans this Summer? Let me know!

My Current Reading List

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There was a point in my life when I wanted to write a book. A fiction (young adult) novel about a girl who moved to New York. I started writing it and got about one page in. And that was the end of my aspirations to become an author. I think books are so fascinating and authors are gifted with the incredible ability to connect with people all over the world in different ways. If you want to be a great writer, you have to know how to tap into emotions that can’t be said out loud.

My reading list lately has consisted of the Netflix home page, where I scroll to the ‘Continue Watching’ section and select Friends or Chef’s Table, which I’ve seen every episode of at least three times already.

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I’m going to do my best to be intentional about reading the following list of books in the coming months. I really need some sort of book intervention where all of my friends come over and force me to sit in a room and have uninterrupted reading time. Ya know?

  1. Little Fires Everywhere: I’ve heard so much about this book. It’s based in Ohio, which is where my brother lives. One of my favorite food bloggers did a book club about it as well. Buy it here
  2. The Great Alone: This book is based in Alaska, which is what draws me to it. If you’ve read it, please let me know what you thought! Buy it here
  3. Drums Of Autumn: This is by the same author as Outlander, so it’s basically pre-approved. Buy it here
  4. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life: David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors. His way of writing about his own life both thrills and engrosses you, and he has made personal essays one of my favorite types of books. Now that I’ve talked up his skills, I should probably let you know that this collection of essays isn’t by David, but it’s by an author named Samantha Irby. But regardless, I’m excited to read it. Buy it here
  5. By Gaslight: Victorian London is one of my favorite eras to read about, mainly because I love London so much that any book or movie or television show set there is immediately on my “must read” list. By Gaslight is a historical fiction mystery novel set in Victorian London that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Buy it here

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What book(s) are you reading right now?