The World’s Shortest Adventure (and some conference pics!)

One of my favorite movies of the last few years is La La Land. It might even make it on my list of my favorite movies of all time (it’s always changing with a few exceptions), and one of my favorite scenes from the movie takes place in the Griffith Observatory. It’s such a magical scene with great music and dancing and imagination, and when I found out I’d be going on a work trip to Los Angeles, I made sure to find some time to visit this great spot!

Because of when I got into town and the fact that I was supposed to meet up with my coworkers that evening, I didn’t have much time to poke around the observatory. If I had all the time in the world, I would have hiked around Griffith Park, taken my time looking at all the things inside the observatory, and waited in line to look into the giant telescope once it got dark enough. So while I didn’t get to do ALL of that, I still did get to walk around the property, see the things inside, and look at the telescope on the roof. (It wasn’t quite dark enough to look into yet, but I still got to look at it from the inside – it was HUGE!)

I loved looking at the park around the observatory! I love the fact that you can see the Hollywood sign in the distance from the observatory property. It made it really feel like I was finally in Los Angeles!

I definitely need to plan another trip to go back to LA – there are so many things I want to do and see and eat and I’m going to need a few days to go back and have some fun! And even though I only had about an hour of “free” time during this trip, the work portion of the week was actually really fun and really great! I attended the Adobe MAX conference and whoa- it was huge. There were over 14,000 people there! (Yet I managed to run into and catch up with someone I went to college with there – small world!)

The conference showcased new improvements to existing creative software, had some great speakers, and a bunch of informative breakout sessions and learning labs to attend. The highlights were definitely some of the speakers – we got to hear from Questlove, Tiffany Haddish, and Ron Howard!!! I learned a lot – especially in the learning labs – and am feeling so inspired to go back to the office and take my work to the next level! There were just so many creative people there and now I want to do ALL the creative things! I’d need to do some more learning for that, so I’d better get started!


Five for Friday #45

Happy Friday, friends! I am soaking up the last little bit of calm today before I start a few days of crazy travel! It will be fun, but I have a feeling that this time next week I will be VERY tired. Tomorrow morning my mom and I are going to the airport SUPER EARLY (like 5am and my dad is driving us there so we will be even earlier than necessary, most likely) to fly to Georgia to go to a cousin’s wedding! I don’t get to see this side of the family as often as I’d like (because Georgia) so I’m super excited to see everyone and hug everyone and hopefully have some really good cake. Then on Sunday, my mom will fly back to Dallas and I’ll fly off to Los Angeles! I’m going to California to attend a conference for work and I am SO PUMPED! I suggested this awesome conference that I really wanted to attend kind of jokingly to my boss because I didn’t think we’d actually get to go… but we get to go! I can’t wait to hang out with my coworkers and attend sessions and learn lots of great things! I won’t get home till Thursday evening, so it will be a busy week!

But for now, I just need to get through work, finish packing, and get to sleep early! Oh and share the 5 best things that have been on my radar this week!

ONE || If you know me at all, you know that I am pretty much OBSESSED with all things related to the State Fair of Texas. I look forward to it all year long and love learning as many fun facts and trivia as I can! On their website, they have the history of Big Tex, the mascot of the fair, his stats, and more! It’s pretty neat to learn a little more about this gigantic cowboy – check it out!

TWO || SNL has been coming out with a lot of behind the scenes videos about pictures, hair, sets, etc. and this one about wardrobe is just as fascinating as the others. There’s just so much that goes into this weekly show – so much more than I would have ever thought about!

THREE || Since I’m going to LA for a work conference, I won’t really have much free time to go out and explore… but I will have a few free hours on my first day there and I’m going to try and go to the Griffith Observatory! It was where the Planetarium song was during La La Land, and it is pretty close to where we’re staying, and I can’t wait to check it out! I looked up a list of other filming locations from the movie, and someday I’ll have to go back and find the rest!

FOUR || I really need to do some de-cluttering in my apartment, and so I’ve started watching videos on minimalism. I don’t think I will be able to go full-on with this way of living (because I’m just being realistic with myself here) but there’s so much to think about and I’m going to try an incorporate a few of the things I’ve been learning about.

FIVE || Oh my goodness. This is the best one ever. I just had to share that I got these super cute booties at Old Navy and I don’t know how but they rang up as $1.97! They were the last pair on the shelf and didn’t have a price tag, and somehow I got the world’s biggest bargain and I have been telling as many people as possible about this amazing deal!

Recent Reads

It took most of the summer, but I finally feel like I’m back in a good groove when it comes to reading. I needed to get some good, fun books under my belt to truly feel back in the reading swing of things, and I think I’ve finally done it. I’ve been so pumped to start (and finish) new books lately, that I somehow managed to finish 5 over the last month! And just like last time, they all ended up being in different genres, which definitely helped me not get bored reading the same type of book over and over again.

A Simple Favor

I REALLY wanted to read this one before the movie came to theaters, and I finished it JUST in time! Which I guess didn’t really matter since I haven’t seen the movie yet… but now I can! I knew this one was supposed to be a thriller and the trailer made the story seem very suspenseful, so I definitely wanted to know the plot and how the story ended before seeing it played out. So I read A Simple Favor. And it was… interesting. Here’s a quick overview:

“It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time. 

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.”

So I’m not going to lie… I expected this to be a little… more intense than it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was still crazy and had some plot twists I didn’t see coming, but also it was just… not as crazy as I expected it to be. Everyone kept comparing it to Gone Girl, so I went into it thinking WHOA THIS IS GOING TO BE NUTS and I had so many possible theories floating around in my head while I was reading. And honestly, I think one of my theories would have made it a bigger “what?!!?” moment at the end, but oh well. I definitely pictured Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick the whole time I was reading which was kind of fun, and overall the story wasn’t terrible. I do really love when a story jumps around with multiple narrators (some being unreliable even) so that made me want to not put the book down! I’ll probably wait and watch the movie once I can get it from a Redbox, though.

It’s Your Ship

It’s Your Ship would not have been a usual book choice for me (in fact I didn’t choose it at all, it was chosen for me) but I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The CEO of my company got this book for all the directors and VPs and managers to read and discuss, and I definitely don’t fall into any of those categories. But the VP of my department thought that this had a lot of good things inside, and that our department might benefit from reading it and having a little book club discussion. But then some scheduling things got in the way and so the big book club ended up being a very small book discussion at my small team meeting led by my manager. But either way, a book about leadership was still pretty interesting, thought-provoking, and wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read! A lot of the things in this were pretty common sense, but it was still good reminders on how to be a good leader, how to work under a good leader, and just how to be a good person, with a lot of good military anecdotes thrown in to get his point across.

The Ensemble

Full disclosure – I chose this book 100% because of the cover. LOOK AT IT! It’s so bright and happy and beautiful! And in no way lets you know what The Ensemble will actually be about! Which it turns out is about a quartet of musicians and the story follows the four of them throughout their lives and their musical careers while they play together! Neat! Here’s a better description for you.

“Jana. Brit. Daniel. Henry. They would never have been friends if they hadn’t needed each other. They would never have found each other except for the art which drew them together. They would never have become family without their love for the music, for each other.

Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; on the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest and an angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group’s youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other – by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry, by choosing each other over and over again.

Following these four unforgettable characters, Aja Gabel’s debut novel gives a riveting look into the high-stakes, cutthroat world of musicians, and of lives made in concert. The story of Brit and Henry and Daniel and Jana, The Ensemble is a heart-skipping portrait of ambition, friendship, and the tenderness of youth.”

This was one of those books where you get to the end and you’ve really enjoyed it but you also have to ask yourself, did anything actually happen? You read and follow the lives of these four people, but like… did anything actually happen? So much stuff happened, yes… but do you know what I mean? I actually really enjoy books like that from time to time, and this one came at a perfect time. Besides liking the characters a lot, I thought that this book was really well written and the way that the author phrased things was absolutely beautiful. Plus, it skipped around between four (and a bonus) narrator, so you know I loved that, too.

How to Walk Away

I just finished How to Walk Away two days ago and I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked it!! Definitely my favorite from this bunch. It wasn’t what I was expecting… and that’s probably because I tend to do this thing where I only really half read the plots for books before deciding that I want to read them, and so when the story went the way that the story went I was NOT expecting it (and it happens in the first few chapters, haha) but this story was just so good! Here’s the description (and maybe you should actually read all of it. Do as I say, not as I do.)

“Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.”

I think the thing I loved most about this story was the characters. I really felt like I was right there in the hospital with Margaret, fighting with my sister, trying to figure out what’s going on with my fiance, realizing I might have a crush on this physical therapist of mine… I was so enthralled by the plot and that made the book go by way too quickly! Plain and simple, this book made me really happy and if you need a quick, light, and fun read that will make you happy too, then I think you should make this the one.

Girl, Wash Your Face

So…. I really wanted to love this book. I liked it, but I really wanted to LOVE it. And I just didn’t. There were a lot of things that I thought it got right. It was encouraging. It was uplifting. It was inspiring. It was funny at times. But there were also a lot of things that I thought it got not-as-right (not totally wrong, just not totally right.) Like I felt that everything she wrote was just kind of common sense. It was a good reminder of being yourself and loving yourself and going after your goals and dreams, but I guess I just kind of expected to read something new, and I didn’t. I felt that for being offered as a Christian book, it didn’t really mention Christ that much. And maybe that was part of what she was going for – make it more accessible to the masses to covertly spread a watered-down gospel message to people who don’t go to church, but like… did she even do that at all? And I don’t know what it was, but something just felt… off to me while reading it. It seemed genuine, it seemed like she was passionate about the words she was writing but something just seemed… off.

So again, I did actually like this book, but I didn’t actually love it. I would still recommend it, just go in knowing that it’s not going to change your life.

Have you read any of these books yet, or are any of them on your list now? Have you seen A Simple Favor yet, and did you like it? I’ve heard mixed reviews, and now that I know the story I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you have any business/leadership books you’ve loved and would recommend? Is there a really great fiction book you’ve loved and think everyone else should read, too? I have all the questions today, apparently! 🙂

There’s Still Time!

Let me echo every other person in your life by saying WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?!?!?! I swear, it was March like, 3 days ago. Did June actually happen? Do I even remember August? September lasted approximately 4 years for me… but here we are in October and I just can’t believe it! Since we’re now down to the last quarter of the year, I thought now would be a great time to talk about… our new year’s resolutions.

Yes, those little things that we were so eager and excited to make back in December and January and then promptly forgot about by January 14th. Or at least I did. Was that just me? Please tell me it wasn’t just me! So did I actually accomplish any of the resolutions I set out to? Ummm…. no not really…

When I really think about it, I think I can pinpoint one of the main reasons I haven’t kept with a lot of my resolutions. One thing I have come to know about myself, is that I am great at procrastinating, and I relate this to time A LOT.

“I told myself I would start studying at 7:30, but now it’s 7:36… guess I’ll just wait to start studying till 8:00.”

“I was going to start that jogging schedule on Monday but I skipped a day… guess I’ll just stop and start over next Monday.”

“I was doing the whole30 but I had some birthday cake yesterday… guess I’ll just wait till the 1st of next month and start over.”

“I was going to read the entire bible in one year, but it’s month 3 and I’m already so far behind… guess I’ll just read randomly here and there and start again next January.”

“I was trying to accomplish XYZ but I haven’t started yet… guess I’ll wait till 2019.”

Does this sound familiar? Call it laziness or fear or whatever you want, it’s all too common and it’s so not a great mindset! When you really think about it and type it out, it just doesn’t make any sense! Start studying now!! Go for a jog now!! Do the whole30 now!! Read the bible now!! ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING YOU WANT NOW!! But gosh, it is just so easy to push things off. To say that you’ll totally do it… just not this second. To wait till “later” which in all honestly, will probably not happen. And then you’ll find yourself in the last quarter of the year realizing you haven’t been making your bed every day, you haven’t trained for that 5k like you wanted, you haven’t gotten better at that hobby and opened up an Etsy shop, or you name it. It hasn’t happened.

But. Guess what?


Let’s change our mindset and instead of waiting three months for a new year and a new set of resolutions, let’s pick ours back up and CRUSH THEM for the last 3 months of the year! What do you say?!? It’ll be easy – let’s do it together!

I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and I’ve come up with a game plan for how we can stop waiting, stop procrastinating, and revive and ACHIEVE our new year’s resolutions.

Step 1: Revisit Your Resolutions

This should be obvious. You can’t plan for success if you don’t know the things you want to succeed at! Go find the list you made at the beginning of the year (or think of and write down some of the resolutions you can remember) and take a good hard look at that list. If you’re like me, you maybe had a LOT of lofty goals for your year (and maybe you’re feeling a little bad/guilty/embarrassed at just how many things you abandoned – but don’t because you’re totally not alone!) so now that it’s crunch time, we need to look over our once-important goals and see which ones we want to focus on for the remainder of 2018.

Step 2: Write Out Your Goals (Again)

Having your list from the beginning of the year really isn’t going to do us any good, right? It’s just going to remind us of the fact that oops we spent 9 months not doing all the things that we hoped and dreamed we would. And I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life! So now that we’ve picked out the goals we want to focus on for the next quarter, it’s time to write them down nice and fresh. You can do this however you’d like – just make sure it’s in a way that will keep you inspired for the next few months!

Step 3: Make A Game Plan

This is the MOST IMPORTANT STEP! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail, so it’s time to plan out how we’re going to take our goals and resolutions and make them actually attainable and achievable. I think one of the most important things here is to remember to stay realistic and even revise your goal if necessary. If your original goal was to run a 5k without stopping to walk (aka one of the things that was on my resolutions list) but you want to keep that goal as something to focus on, maybe it just needs to be changed a little bit to run a mile without stopping or jog X miles before the end of 2018.

Back to making a plan. Here is when we decide how to keep track of our goals for the next three months. Will that be a daily calendar that you can mark off days for completing a task? Will that be writing out your goal in GIGANTIC LETTERS and putting it someplace you’ll see every day? Will it be setting aside some time each weekend to work toward getting something done? There are so many options!

Step 4: Follow Up With Yourself

It’s one thing to just have a goal and make a plan… but that doesn’t mean that anything will actually happen. I think one of the reasons that I didn’t accomplish my resolutions to the level that I had hoped was that I wasn’t checking back on them regularly. I made my (gigantic) list, got all excited for the awesome new life I was going to live in the new year, and then put that list away and literally never looked at it again. What?!?! This step goes hand-in-hand with the one above. If we’re going to make a plan, we have to follow up on it! There are many ways to do this as well, and it does depend on what kind of goal you want to accomplish, but I’m going to set an alarm on my phone to go off every Sunday so I can “check in” and see how my progress is going. That will also ensure that I’m thinking about my goals and looking at the game plan I made at least once a week!

Step 5: Evaluate

The very last step! This one gets saved for the veeeeeeeeery end, aka when the year is over, aka when hopefully all of our goals have been completed! Evaluating how we did (celebrating victories and not being too hard on ourselves if it didn’t go as well as planned) will be helpful we make resolutions while going into 2019. What worked? What didn’t? Did you stick to your plan? Why or why not?

I’m going back through my 2018 resolutions right now, and I think I’m going to pick out 3 to focus on over the next few months. I’ll be making my game plan tonight and I’m actually really excited to accomplish some of the things I set out to as the new year began! I’m definitely going to keep myself accountable and I’ll be evaluating how I did at the end of the year. So now let’s go and finally crush some resolutions!

A Few San Diego Favorites (And Places I Still Want to Visit)

Man, I just won’t stop talking about my trip to San Diego, huh?!?! This will be it, I promise! As I mentioned in my last post, I spend most of my work trip up in the La Jolla area, but I did get to do a little bit of exploring outside of that area while I was there and let me tell you… I really liked what I saw! No wonder people love living in San Diego so much and never want to leave – it was great!! The few places I went were too great not to share.

So this restaurant was definitely not my choice, but man was it SO GOOD. I went here with a few coworkers and had the best pizza of my entire life. The restaurant itself, Cucina Enoteca, was up in Del Mar, but I’m still counting it on my San Diego list, anyway. But back to the important stuff, aka the pizza. Look at it. LOOK AT IT AGAIN. Oh, you’re confused because it looks kind of strange and you don’t actually know what is on it? Ok let me tell you! It had dates. Ricotta. Bacon. Smoked almonds. Arugula. Parmesan. Balsamic. WHOA BEST PIZZA EVER. And trust me, I know it sounds kinda wacky but it’s been almost 4 months and I still think about it. A lot. We also tried a few appetizers and desserts and drinks (and basically shared all of them but not the drinks because that seems grosser than sharing a little plate with coworkers you met for the first time the day before…) and everything was delicious!

Hah. Ok. So let me tell you a little bit about the Ocean Beach Pier. Actually first let me tell you about how I ended up at the Ocean Beach Pier. I’m in a Facebook group created by one of my favorite bloggers and one of the things I love about it is that you can ask for recommendations for things and people will CRUSH IT with suggestions! I’ve asked for the best place to buy non-see-through jeans (Vineyard Vines – crushed it) and I asked for recommendations for what to do on a free afternoon in Orlando and they crushed it by telling me to go to Winter Park! So when I asked for San Diego recommendations for places and restaurants, I trusted these lovely ladies who had never let me down before! A few ladies suggested that this pier was a great place to watch the sunset because it goes so far out in the water, so I headed there one day after work.

And I got there. And now, there’s nothing wrong with this if this is the way you want to live your life and spend your time and your money, but personally I do not smoke anything of any kind. And I think I was the ONLY person at this beach that was not smoking a very specific thing. On the entire beach/pier. Like, you know how when you get close to the ocean, you can smell the salty air and the sand and it takes over your senses? Well not at this beach!! I was standing 3 feet from the ocean and COULD NOT SMELL THE OCEAN due to the overwhelming smell coming from one particular other very strong odor. And yes the sunset was lovely and the water was gorgeous and the view was phenomenal, but the crowd did seem a little bit sketchy and again, you can’t smell the ocean due to other special smells.

Also there was a lot of fishing going on all over the pier and I’m not a fan of seeing fish flopping around me so that was also unpleasant. That is all.

Saving the best for last, even though it was the very first thing I did in San Diego! My mom told me that I HAD to find my way to Coronado Island when I was in San Diego, and I’m so glad I did! I literally only saw the Hotel Del, but that was good enough for me. The hotel was huge and gorgeous and I took so many pictures just because I loved it so much! I walked out to the beach behind it and just kind of sat and enjoyed the water for a while. It was nice to just sit and take in my surroundings and not look at my phone for a while. I wish I had more time to explore Coronado, but I had to get ready for my week at work and was trying to be responsible or whatever. Lame.

I told you I didn’t get to do very much exploring outside of La Jolla! But it was just enough to really get me itching to go back and check out all the things I didn’t get to see on that trip. I’ve been keeping a running list of places to go and things to do – let me know if there are any big ones I’m missing that I should add!!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
See the Navy Seals at Coronado
Liberty Public Market
Balboa Park
Old Town
Gas Lamp area