Bits + Bobs

Hello and happy Monday! In spite of how chaotic the holidays can sometimes be, I always choose to breathe deeply around this time of year and take some much-needed time to myself. This weekend was just that for me, spending my days nestled up on the couch with my dog and sipping on coffee while scheming up blog posts and setting goals for the upcoming year. I wanted to round up some of my favorite snapshots from the last week or so to give you a glimpse into what December has looked like for me thus far…read on!

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It has been soooo cold recently, even in California! Any excuse to cozy up on this Patagonia sweatshirt of my dreams.

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I am slowly but surely learning more about nutrition and the connection between food and overall wellbeing. This book was recommended to me and I really enjoyed it! Along with recipes, this book also covers seasonal eating and key superfoods that we should consider implementing into our diet.

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I went a little nuts at my library’s bookstore the other day. Although I like checking books out of the library, I do occasionally purchase books from the bookstore so that I can read them on my own time and not feel rushed. I was so excited to see that some new releases (and other books that I’ve had on my list for a while) were being sold at the library bookstore for just $1-$2!

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During my last trip to Kauai, I came across this paper store called Ocean Paper, which is a darling boutique located in the Warehouse 3540 near Kalaheo. My grandma very kindly purchased these art prints for me, which I’m hoping to hang in my future apartment. I love the pastel palette of the artwork and that it reminds me of some of my favorite spots in Hawaii!

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The Christmas tree at Fashion Island Shopping Center is always incredible! I walked around the mall on Saturday to see all of the pretty decorations and to pop into a few stores. I didn’t dare purchase anything though because the lines were out the door!

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Came across this stunner on a walk the other day. In love!

5 Days in Londontown

I’m back today with another travel post, this time in London! I first traveled to Europe in 9th grade for my sister’s high school graduation trip, and instantly fell in love with cities such as London, Oxford, Rome, Florence, and Paris. What draws me most to Europe is the accessibility, lifestyle, and history. I love how much of Europe is accessible via a short plane trip, and that there are an endless list of things to do in most places. I also like certain aspects of the lifestyle in major European cities such as London and Paris, where public transportation is extensive and easy to navigate, as well as the fresh, local foods that are available in restaurants and groceries across the city. I also adore the history that is evident in these magnificent cities and the mass amount of artwork/history that is available to the public. There’s just nothing like it!

Today, I want to dive a little deeper into my most recently trip to Europe, where I spent 10 days with my parents traveling through London and Edinburgh, Scotland. We went in early September and the weather was picture-perfect!

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Right off the plane and straight to the city!

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When staying in London, I would highly recommend using a rental home service, as hotels in London are incredibly pricey! Honestly, vacationing in London is going to be fairly expensive no matter what, but not going the hotel route can definitely help you to save a little. I also like the added perk of having a kitchen to make my own food.

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Hampstead Heath is my absolute favorite park in London. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in a city!

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Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath.

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One afternoon, my dad and I took the tube (subway) to Notting Hill, which is home to some of the most colorful flats in the city.

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The famous Notting Hill Bookstore that was featured in the movie, “Notting Hill.” Didn’t see Hugh Grant, though!

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Chinatown!

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I came across Petersham Nurseries on Instagram and wanted to stop by while we were in London. We visited the Covent Garden location but I really want to check out the more extensive gardens/restaurant in Richmond on my next trip.

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If you know me well, you know that I love any and all Nancy Meyers films. While strolling through South Kensington one day, I looked up the house that was filmed in “The Parent Trap”, starring Lindsay Lohan. This house wasn’t the easiest to find, but a friendly man who lived in the neighborhood could see that me and my parents were looking for this specific house and told us exactly where to go! I would gladly take a shack in South Kensington, tbh.

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Peggy Porschen is the cutest bakery….ever. I got a gluten free brownie and was really surprised by how good it was. The street where Peggy Porschen is located in Belgravia has a ton of other cute cafes, floral shops, and boutiques as well.

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A new-to-me experience during this trip was taking the London Eye one afternoon. We got really lucky with the weather in London and didn’t experience any rain during our 5 days in the city.

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We closed the London portion of our trip with a trip to Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theater to see Hamlet. Going to the Globe is always one of my favorite parts of coming to London. The acting, atmosphere, and crowd are the best!

Stay tuned for an upcoming log post all about Edinburgh!

5 Ways I’ve Been Able to Save

As an intermission to my recent travel posts, I wanted to share a more personal post about spending habits and ways in which I’ve cut down on my own expenses. While these tips may not apply to everyone, they have certainly helped me to save recently, especially since graduating from college and transitioning into this whole “adulthood” situation. Listed below are 5 habits that I have been able to break, and that have reciprocally been able to save me $$$.

  1. I no longer purchase coffee “out”. Back in college, I used to go to my local Starbucks or campus coffee shop for an early morning or mid-afternoon caffeine pick me up. Getting out of my apartment or off campus was half the fun, with the added caffeine boost being a nice perk. Last Christmas, my parents gifted me a Nespresso machine, and I haven’t looked back since! I rarely drink coffee outside of my house, unless I’m meeting up with a friend or have an intense craving for a professionally-made chai tea latte. This has helped me to save so much $$$ and also allows me to have control over what ingredients are going into my coffee.
  2. At the beginning of this year, I went through and unfollowed all retailers on Instagram, as well as unsubscribed from corresponding email lists. It’s inevitable to see advertisements online, or to see influencers/bloggers posting about brands, but at least I’ve been able to cut down on my exposure. Since doing so, I have rarely made purchasing decisions that I regret later.
  3. On a similar note to tip #2, I don’t often frequent the mall or typical retailers anymore. As someone who loves to shop, this was probably the most difficult habit to break. Over the past few years, I have built up a great wardrobe of classic, versatile pieces that have held the test of time. I have had great luck in finding wardrobe classics, as well as other fun clothing items, at consignment stores such as Crossroads. I keep a bin in my closet for items I no longer wear or things that I have outgrown, and take these items to a consignment store about once a year for store credit. Items that are not purchased by the consignment store are then taken to a donation center. I love shopping consignment stores because of the affordability and sustainability of the process, but also because I tend to find special, unique items. If I have a certain piece in mind that is from a typical retailer, I will keep it on my wishlist for about 1-2 months to decide if it’s something that I truly want to spend money on.
  4. Minimizing how often I eat out for meals/ordering take-out, has significantly impacted my spending. My family typically eats out for lunch one day each week, and then I will sometimes have a dinner or lunch planned 1-2x a month with friends. Although I don’t drink alcohol often, I will occasionally order a glass of wine with dinner, typically if it’s a special occasion. When eating out, I also like to be mindful of what food I’m ordering, and if it is something that I can easily make at home. I like to try new foods or dishes that I would not make at home, as this allows me to enjoy the experience even more.
  5. A more unconventional habit that has helped to decrease my spending is by watching less TV/online media and instead spending more time reading. When watching Netflix or another streaming service, I tend to online shop simultaneously or scroll on social media. Although there is definitely room for improvement in terms of cutting down my TV consumption, the less time I spend online, the less I’m tempted to buy something.

Do you have any tips on how to save money? I’ve found that small habits tend to add up the most…what do you think?!

3 Days in Northern China

I’ve been wanting to post my secondary China travel guide since my Shanghai post went live this summer…and I am now just getting around to it! For those of you who haven’t yet seen my Shanghai guide, (linked here!) I’ll go ahead and give a little backstory before diving in to the second part of my trip, which took us to Beijing and Dalian.

Back in the spring of 2018, I had the privilege of traveling to China with my boyfriend, Wilson, who is originally from Shanghai. We spent 10 days in China, basing ourselves our of Shanghai and making smaller trips to cities such as Suzhou, Beijing, and Dalian. We visited in March, which was just on the cusp of spring in Shanghai, so the weather was pretty chilly throughout our trip. Although the air pollution didn’t affect me in Shanghai, we unfortunately ran into a giant dust storm in Beijing, which definitely put a damper on our sight-seeing. In spite of how poor the weather was in northern China, Wilson and I still made an effort to see quite a few different attractions while in Beijing, including the Great Wall of China!

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We made reservations at the New World Hotel in Beijing and it was super comfortable and luxurious. This hotel is located just down the street from the Temple of Heaven, but is located outside of downtown Beijing. One plus of coming in the off-season to China is that we got incredible rates at the hotels that we stayed in.

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The Temple of Heaven!

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I could have spent hours longer at the Temple of Heaven, as the detail and architecture is just mind-blowing.

We woke up quite early one morning to meet one of Wilson’s friends who lives in Beijing, and who very kindly accompanied us to The Great Wall. We decided to tour Badaling, which is one of the most frequently visited sections of The Great Wall (if not the most heavily visited), and spent the day walking up and down the Wall and in the neighboring village. Although i wish that the weather had been better in Beijing, my time spent at the Great Wall remains as one of the best days of my life!

Something to keep in mind when visiting historical landmarks in China such as the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, and Tiananmen Square is that many of these places only accept cash in exchange for tickets. Before visiting China, I made sure to download the app WeChat, which is the Chinese equivalent to Instagram/Facebook/Venmo. This app was great for purchasing food across Shanghai and Beijing, but rarely could I use WeChat when buying tickets to historical spaces. I would recommend bringing along some Chinese currency while touring in the case that WeChat or credit card is not accepted.

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The chairlift that takes you to the Great Wall. You can also walk this trail, but keep in mind that it is about 1 mile long and is quite steep!

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This is the first thing you see when getting off of the chair life and ascending the Great Wall. Mind-blowing.

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I definitely put my fear of heights on hold during this trip!

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The following day, we decided to visit Tiananmen Square, which was incredibly busy but so cool to see in person!

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After 3 whirlwind days in Beijing, we made our way to Dalian, which is about a 6 hour train ride from Beijing. Wilson and I spent about 24 hours in Dalian, which is actually where he was born and raised until relocating to Shanghai as a toddler. After visiting Wilson’s extended family in Dalian, we flew back down to Shanghai and rounded out our 10-day adventure with a day trip to Suzhou.

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Suzhou Gardens are a must-see!

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All in all, I had an incredible trip to China and can’t wait to go back! I think the next time I go, I will want to spend more time exploring Shanghai, as we barely scratched the surface while there in terms of eating, seeing, and doing.

Do you have any favorites places or cities in China that I must see the next time I go? I would love to know!

Striving for Minimalism

Processed with VSCO with a1 presetAt the beginning of 2019, I found myself in the middle of a pretty minor move from one rundown college apartment to another. Although I was only moving a few blocks away, I was amazed by the amount of belongings I owned, and especially how much I had acquired throughout my three previous years in college. When the end of the quarter rolled around and it was time for me to move, my friend offered to drive me and my heaps of clothing, books, shoes, etc. to my new apartment. It wasn’t until I put everything I owned together in the hallway of my first apartment that I truly understood how much I had. What was even more shocking was that all of this stuff wasn’t even everything, as I had more belongings at my parent’s home.

Needless to say, the sheer amount of items that I had thrown into suitcases, boxes, and crates over time became overwhelming and I was beginning to see how my consumption was taking a toll on other aspects of my life. Getting dressed in the mornings took way too long because I had clothes stored in closets, drawers, boxes, etc. I also didn’t have an organized way of storing items that I wasn’t currently using (tissues, extra pillowcases, sheets, school supplies), so I would constantly purchase items that I already owned. While Marie Kondo’s Netflix debut definitely did offer inspiration in my efforts to minimize, it was more so my frustration and stress associated with belongings that triggered me to do a giant purge.

Now that 2019 is well underway (and will soon be over!), I am much happier with what I own, and have even noticed a dramatic difference in my purchasing habits.

My most significant decluttering effort was in my clothing and accessories. Turning 22 and becoming much more confident in my own skin allowed me to finally nail down my style and what types of pieces I’m drawn towards. I’ve since incorporated more classic pieces into my wardrobe, which has helped to deter me from buying into trends and seasonal pieces that don’t hold longevity in my closet. I also pared down my skincare and personal care items to things that I know actually work for me and have held the test of time.

Although I toyed around with the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a while, I decided against it because I would rather have a few key pieces that I rotate between instead of limiting myself to only certain items every few months. Striving for minimalism helped me to get much more wear out of products I already own and to only shop or seek out products when I really need them.

A big concern of mine coming out of college was that I had few professional clothing items and that depending on the type of job I had, I might need to purchase a completely different wardrobe. A wonderful solution to sourcing classic, affordable work clothes was by shopping consignment. In fact, I love shopping consignment for all types of clothes! I have been able to find so many incredible pieces at my local consignment store at great prices. When I outgrow a piece, I also turn to my consignment store to sell my old items.

I would love to dive into the topic of minimalism more on my blog, as it is a topic that I am really excited about. Although I would not consider myself to be a minimalist, I have enjoyed owning fewer things and feeling the freedom that comes along with cutting out non-necessities from my life. I love the philosophy of fewer, better things, and hope to make this a principle in my life and belongings moving forward.

I want to love each and everything I own, and to not feel as if my things own me.

Scenes From My Week

Earlier this month, I decided that the transition into the fall season was the perfect opportunity to re-focus and re-prioritize. As we embark on the last few months of the year (where the heck did 2019 go?!), I want to make the most of my time at home. I anticipate that the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 will mark some big life changes for me, so I want to take advantage of the warm SoCal weather, puppy snuggles, and cherished family time for as long as I can.

Self care recently has looked like lots of to-do lists for various things, but most notably for my wardrobe. I went through practically everything I own upon graduating from college and was shocked by how much I had accumulated over four years. I decided to minimize my wardrobe and makeup collection to just what I needed and loved. In fact, I’m hoping to write a more extensive blog post about my journeys towards minimizing what I own, so stay tuned!

With this massive purge has come lots of trips to the consignment store, which is actually where I purchase a lot of my clothes, as well as my local Goodwill. For me, I feel most in control and at peace when I have a calm and uncluttered space to live and work, and ruthlessly decluttering this aspect of my life has felt like a breath of fresh air.

Anywayyyy, I do want to share scenes from the past (few) weeks, so without further ado, you can find my life in pictures below!UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1539

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I had a quick work trip up to Seattle a few weeks back and explored some new neighborhoods with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. I was anxious to see the Ballard Farmers Market, which happens each Sunday. It did not disappoint!

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We also made a spontaneous trip out to Bob’s Corn Field & Farms in Snohomish!

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Finally tried General Porpoise Coffee and Donuts in Pioneer Square.

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Sun! In! Seattle!

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72 hours later and I was back home…Mt. Rainier was sure showing off!

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PUMPKIN EVERYTHING at Trader Joes right now! Honestly not mad about it one bit. Also pro tip – the Gluten Free pumpkin break mix at Trader Joes is the best in the game.

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Soaking in allll the afternoon light these days.

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One of the many perks of organizing your bedroom from top to bottom? Discovering old favorites! I love this Tory Burch in Color coffee table book and now have it on my nightstand for easy browsing.

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I spontaneously decided to visit family down in San Diego this past weekend and was so glad I did! You can’t beat the sunsets down there.

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I’ve been on quite the organizational kick lately. When going through my closet and deciding what to keep vs. what to pass along, I couldn’t help but notice that I have a pretty consistent color obsession…blush, navy, black and gray!

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Beauty in front of a construction zone. Forever wishing for a home one day with a giant bush of bougainvillea.

 

Tackling the Post-Grad Job Search

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I think I should probably rename this blog post to “Tackling the Post-Grad Job Search: When You Have No Idea What You Want.” Job hunting after college is difficult on its own, but what happens when you don’t even know where to begin?

I’ll be honest with you, the past few months as a post-grad navigating the real world have not been easy. Four incredible years in college made moving into the next, post-grad phase of my life very bittersweet, especially because I’m still unsure of where my interests lie in the working world. While in college, I dabbled in academic administration for a while, but never felt like this was my true calling. I also pursued internships in digital marketing and e-commerce, but didn’t love the constant need to feel connected to the digital world and social media. Back in high school, I did a lot of work in the non-profit space, but the business-driven side of my brain was never fully satisfied by these positions. Fast forward to the present, where I’m currently working in the healthcare industry and feeling even more lost as to what direction I would like to move forward in.

I’ve been on the lookout on websites such as LinkedIn and Indeed for exciting opportunities that may come about in my local area as well as in cities outside of California. What I’ve learned from the job search thus far is that you need to be patient and persistent. Searching for a new position, especially after gradating from college and having zero work experience, can be extremely intimidating. Not only are there a ton of companies out there, but there are so many different types of roles and positions that are available to us. Something that I’ve also come across quite often is an entry-level role that requires 2-4 years of previous experience, often in a very specific industry or field. How the heck does anyone expect us to have 2-4 years of work experience coming out of college? *Insert hand on face emoji here.

Although the job search can be tedious, I do have faith that my ideal position is out there somewhere, and I hope that readers who are in similar positions feel the same way. I wanted to share my top three takeaways that I’ve gained from the grueling job hunt that have given me peace of mind over the past few months.

1. Trust your gut. If you don’t feel like the position is a good fit because of the people you’ve interacted with, the work environment, or the job description, don’t take the job for the sake of taking a job. Trust your instincts and keep applying until you find something that sparks your interest and feels right. 

2. Don’t compare yourself. Obvious and cliché, I know, but so so true! Coming from a high-level and competitive school like UCLA made me feel inferior to classmates who were accepting jobs from notable companies in corporate-level positions. What I’ve discovered in my own internship and work experience is that I enjoy being challenged, working in a creative space, and being surrounded by kind, uplifting individuals. My advice is to find positions where you can work with like-minded individuals who share your same values. And another thing – corporate America isn’t the end all be all.

3. Take it easy. The job search is not a direct reflection of you or your abilities. I wish I could scream this from the rooftops for all to hear! I can’t even begin to count the number of jobs I’ve applied to or the positions that I was interviewed for that I eventually did not get. Rejection is not a great feeling, but I have learned to trust my intuition in that everything happens for a reason.

I love talking about career-related topics, especially as I’m starting to springboard my own career. Do you have any advice for post-grad job seekers and how to not feel easily discouraged? Or any other topics you would want me to discuss on here? I’m all ears!