Monday, April 9

Monthly Goals - Q1 Review

In lieu of doing resolutions or goals for the year, I wanted to focus on improving my life month by month. Setting smaller things that I could accomplish each month rather than an overarching goal for the year. I figured I'd actually take time to consider these when setting them rather than just thinking about them once in January, and once again in December when it came time to review how well I did. 

Below, you can see my goals for the first quarter of the year as well as how I think I did on them. 


1. Career - Work-Life Balance - Coming off of vacation, it was easy to list work/life balance as a priority. I thought that I did alright on this goal. There were definitely a few weeks where I let work get the best of me and didn't set boundaries. But overall, I limited my work on weekends. 

2. Health - Weight Loss - December for got a little crazy for me. I had vacation in Cabo at an all-inclusive resort, then my little brother visited and we ate like crazy people. But the upside is that he also introduced me to intermittent fasting. I watched what I ate for the first few weeks in January... but ended up travelling at the end of January and ate In-N-Out, Chick-fil-a, BBQ and Steak. No counting the travel week, I think I did okay! 


1. Career Work-Life Balance - Emotionally Detach from Work - This is kinda a weird one, but I found myself caring too much about work to the point where it was negatively affecting my mood. I thought about things like if one of my staff did something wrong, they personally weren't caring enough about the job, and if I ever did something wrong, my managers would hate me for it. After I was able to identify this anxiety spiral, I was really able to quiet the voice telling me all this. I'd say this was completely successful! 

2. Health - Work on the Splits - I did a series of stretches to help me get the splits in February. At one point in my childhood, more than 20 years ago, I remember I was able to do the splits. After working on stretching for a couple of minutes a day, I was able to do it again! It is definitely harder than when I was 5, but it was awesome to see how my daily progress made an impact! 


1. Hobby - Finish editing and post China Vlog - I had wanted to finish editing the footage from my trip to China in 2016... but it STILL hasn't happened yet! Not going to give myself too hard a time over this since it's just a hobby related task - but complete fail. 

2. Health - 1 Min Plank 3x - I wanted to work on my plank and side plank in order to get a stronger core. I did this for about 2 weeks but was discouraged by a lack of progress. Halfway through, I modified my strategy a bit from holding stationary planks to using more movement to help the minute go by faster. Aiming to try this again! 
A lot of this happened over vacation.

3. Hobby - Read - I went on a mini-vacation in the end of March and borrowed a few books from the library. I figured since I was there, I'd borrow a few more books than I needed to. I don't regret my overambitious-ness here as I was able to get through all the books on vacation! Reviews coming! 

What do you aim to accomplish in April? 

Monday, January 22

2017 Resolutions Review

Say what you will about New Years Resolutions but I love setting some goals every year and reflecting on them at the end of the year. It helps me to see where I've been throughout my life journey. Here is my review of my 2017 goals.

1. Career - Set work/life balance. 

I want to be able to leave work at work and not stress about it outside. I want to be able to leave work at a set time, rather than when I physically can't work anymore. My goal is to work more when I'm at work instead of goofing off and learn to be more efficient with my time. 

Eehh. I think I always start off with the best of intentions, but when work gets busy, I just get sucked in with working, and working a lot. I will keep this goal this year, but focus on two items. 1) Efficiency. I noted on this topic last year, but I think I will truly take time for myself this year, even if it just means getting my work done at home rather than the office. 2) I will settle for mediocrity. The amount I put into work isn't worth the amount I get out... and I can put in a lot less, to get a little less out. It sounds bad, but I think it makes sense. 

2. Physical - Be mindful about health

I'd like to cut out more dairy - especially those Starbucks drinks! I'd also like to substitute more veggies for pasta and rice. Finally, I have plans to do a few "eat at home" challenges to encourage me to bring more food to work. 

I was quite successful about eating at home for about 3 months of the year. However, as soon as work starts getting busy, I stopped eating at home. The veggie and cutting out dairy functioned the same way. If I wasn't busy, I was mindful about what I was eating. If I got busy, the Starbucks run became automatic. 

This year, I want to link this in with my first goal about work life balance. If I can work from home more, I can eat at home more. And if I eat at home, I naturally have healthier foods than ordering a burger at work. Also, my little brother turned me on to intermittent fasting. I've been trying this the past few weeks, and I like it. Haven't seen any results from it though! 

3. Creative - Keep chasing beauty.  

Over the last year, I've picked up a few hobbies: calligraphy and watercoloring. I was inspired by how popular these hobbies have gotten in the blogging realm. I'm not good by any means, professional or amateur, but they bring me happiness. And if it's relaxing and makes me happy, I'll pursue it!

While I haven't water colored much this year, I've continued with planning and journaling. This includes doodling, and a bit of calligraphy. I've been having fun with it and hope to continue! 
4. Travel - Plan it, and it will happen. 

There are a few trips that I know I want to take. Portland, for one. And I want to fly to visit a friend. That's for sure. Otherwise, my plans are hazier. I'd like to do an international trip to an small island or to Australia, but that might be in the books for 2018 rather than this year. 

I was able to take my Portland trip this year and planning one for Australia this year. Looking good! 

5. Mental - Pursue knowledge. 

This year, I want to do something to encourage my learning and professional development. There are plenty of courses to take online and maybe I'll attend a lecture or two!

Total fail. I think I had the best intentions but did not try much of anything other than brushing up on Chinese through a few podcasts. I think I will try to brush up on Chinese but will leave this goal where it is. 

6. Relational - Don't be a loner. 

I started a list in my bullet journal to do one social activity a week. I'm 0/4 in January so far, but you know, it's all about improvement!

Terribly. I think the only time I spent anytime with friends was just when friends and family came from out of town to visit me. This only happened a few times, and it's crazy, because those few times were the times I remember most about this past year. I've decided - if I can't make friends in this city, I'll just travel to where my friends are! 

Monday, November 20

2016 in Review

Like in 2015, 2016 saw large stretches of time without a post. I started this post about a year ago, but blanked on what happened in December, which is why it's only going up now. I'll... start on 2017 Year in Review right now and maybe it'll go up before July 2018!

But honestly, rereading this post makes me incredibly thankful for the people I have in my life and proud that I seek out adventures that make me happy in between work and day to day drudgery. 

January Atlanta Conference
I wasn't very busy with work in January and so I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Atlanta. While the conference itself was meh, I met and got along with one of my table mates. We found ourselves chatting the entire time and spent all of our free time together as well. I haven't connected with her in a very long time... I should! 

February Chinese New Year 
Part of what I thought I did really well last year was to explore Seattle and the nature around it. As February was the CNY, my SO and I went to the International District to join in on the festivities. This trip cemented the International District (ID) as one of my favorite places to go for these activities. It's an unassuming place most of the time, but these festivals can draw out large crowds!

March Rattlesnake Ridge and Sushi Obsession
Continuing on the exploration, I went and climbed Rattlesnake Ridge. This was a very hard hike for me due to the elevation and I thought of giving up several times. But I didn't! The view at the end was very rewarding and I found my favorite sushi place after the hike! Trapper's Sushi is a very Americanized sushi joint, but the fish quality was fresh and they had an "all you can eat" menu... so what's not to love? The most special part is that this chain is only outside the Seattle city limits so it's a roadtrip treat. 

April Ballard Locks
Spring in Seattle was new to me, so I went out on a sunny day to explore the Ballard Locks. The Locks were a very interesting feat of engineering and the Ballard is just so pretty! I got to see some gorgeous flowers and walk around the neighborhood. 

May AZ Graduation and Antelope Canyon
During last May, my little brother graduated high school. I went back home to celebrate his graduation and spend some time with my parents. We ended up visiting Antelope Canyon. The pictures of this place always look shopped, but it's incredible to see this in real life. The town we were in didn't have cell reception, so I really got to spend some family time. 

June - Planner Love
Food I'll spend money on quickly. Travel experiences I know will be worthwhile. But overpriced physical items I mull over. This is why getting a planner was such a big deal for me. After coveting the planner from Kikki K from a year or so, I finally bit the bullet and purchased my baby!  

July Family Visit + Leavenworth
During July, my family visited and I loved showing them around the city. Also, I went to Leavenworth and went tubing for the first time in my life. Roadtripping is always fun and a mixup in the daily routine is always appreciated. 

August Alaska Cruise
Vacation time! After a summer of working hard, I went on a Cruise with my friend. I had been on a cruise in my teens with my family, but going with my friend was another experience all together. We ate such amazing food on the cruise and just generally played around. When just the two of us explored the cruise ship, I felt like a kid again, getting into places I shouldn't. 

September China Trip
I planned my big trips a bit close together this year. During September, I went to China. This was my first time visiting China by myself and my first time in a long time going in the fall. I had a great time and also experienced a little bit of the scary pollution there!

October - Crescent Lake
Before it got too late in the year, and too cold, I needed one more trip to explore the natural NorthWest. The Lake was already freezing, but I still enjoyed the fall leaves and beautiful views. I have been dying to go back! 

November Spontaneous Friendsgiving
During November, I was content to do nothing but chill out at home -- even during Thanksgiving. Last year, my SO and I cooked a Blue Apron for Thanksgiving and that gave us quite a little feast. This year, I was spontaneously invited to a Friendsgiving. I made sangria and a kale and apple salad. It was great to see old friends and hang out with people!

December - Home Again
I visited Phoenix again during December. it was a frozen month, but the brief stint back home made it bearable. We didn't do too much for the birthdays and holidays other than stay at home with friends and family. 

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Enjoy the company, even if it is just you. 

Monday, November 13

Lolli and Pops in Lynnwood

I must have separation anxiety or something because since I've moved here, I generally don't like going to the mall by myself. That's how this day started out special -- I was going to the mall with my partner. This was a rare occasion.

After a bit of negotiating on WHY we were really there and exactly HOW many more stores I could go to, we ended up at a busy candy shop. The employees were dressed up like old timey soda shop employees. Despite the long lines, grabby kids and lingering adults (me) they had an awesome attitude. One even did a little dance for my snapchat! (Time for the plug: follow me on Snapchat at seven-percent.) 

The candies in this shop were really something else. Overall, it was relatively high end and really specialized in gorgeous packaging. Just look at these chocolate bars ... Cookies and Cream? Strawberry Champagne? YUM.

They were pricey but absolutely worth it, especially if you were picking up a gift. I purchased (for myself) some crispy cake bundles (rice crispy cakes). While these were a little dry, I still loved the store and over all experience. 

Do you have a favorite "Candy Shop" in your area? I'd love to know!

Monday, September 25

Brunch at Skillet Diner

I love brunch. It's such a trope for girls to gather in gaggles on the weekend for a meal, but there is something I love about it. 

Perhaps it's that I love drinking in the morning (whereas at night it just leaves me with an upset stomach). 

Or perhaps it's that I love brunch drinks such as mimosas and Bloody Marys. 

Speaking of bloody marys, there used to be a time where I could not stand tomato juice. But now I really crave that savory beverage. Skillet Diner is a restaurant known for their Bloody Mary. This was savory with a nice spicy kick to it! Their Bloody Mary has been on many of Seattle's Top 10 Bloody Mary lists! 

The other item I ordered was also a menu staple -- the Serious Toast. This was a moist and fluffy piece of toast about 4 inches high topped with jam, ham, and an egg. It sounds like a strange combination, but trust me when I say it works! It was sweet (but not too sweet) and savory. The sunny side up egg was cooked just the right way to soak into the bread. It is one of the more unique breakfast foods I have had and so delicious.

While this post is about Brunch, it's probably worthwhile to mention that Brunch isn't the only thing they do. They have a great kale salad and chicken sandwich. Skillet has several locations and it's a worthwhile stopover if you're ever in Downtown Seattle, or Capital Hill or Ballard. 

Monday, August 21

Fitbit Fever

Ahhh. Owning the Fitbit. How many years has it been since these gadgets first came out?

Like most things, I'm a little late to the trend, but I've had 3 fitbits for almost 2 years now and I am absolutely loving it. 

They say that people who get devices like this usually let go of them within 6 months. I've have seen many friends do this, but I think I found a device that I truly love as I have been wearing mine for almost 2 years. 

Here's what I like and what I find useful: 

1. Sleep Tracking 

For a few months last year, I used a sleep tracking app. While the app was great, what I didn't like about it was having to place my phone on my bed. It's quite difficult to do that while sharing a bed! Overall, the Fitbit does a better job than any apps I have seen. Specifically, when I take naps on the weekends, the Fitbit captures that! I can monitor my sleep without having to remember or enter in sleep and wake times. The Fitbit also takes into account those hours when you lay in bed looking at your devices... this is my worst habit! I'll stay up for hours reading blogs after I "go to bed". 

2. Step Counting 

Step counting may be just a gimmick, but I think it's one that's working. I live on the second floor, and for the first 3 months, I've always taken the elevator. That's just what I do, you know? No matter what the floor. But with this Fitbit, I'll take extra steps and climb more floors. I'm much more willing to park a little bit further or walk a few more blocks downtown instead of wait for a time when I have my car. 

3. Competition with Friends

This is the feature that I have been using the most often. Basically, this allows you to have a 1 day, work week, or weekend competition with your friends. The people at my office have been doing a work week competition for a few weeks now... and it's a blast. It makes me go to the gym or at least walk around a bit more on days when I am perfectly content to veg out on the couch.

Do you use a fitbit? Let's connect! 
Leave a comment below if you're interested and I'll get in contact! 

Wednesday, August 2

Leadership Lessons from Captain Picard: The Emissary

I've recently been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Some episodes are better than others, but over all, it is a great show. As I watching, I have noticed that there are a ton of really insightful leadership lessons we can all learn. I'm going to gather them up as I see them in a little series called Leadership Lessons from Capital Picard. You don't need to know a lot about Star Trek to understand these situations... other than the fact that Picard is the boss and everyone else works for him! Just imagine it's a regular old office. 
picture unrelated via

The Set Up 

In episode The Emissary, Lt. Worf (pictured above) meets a flame from the past and Captain Picard assigns them to work together. Worf is uncomfortable with this idea and asks the Captain to assign someone else. 

The Captain asks "Do you have a personal reason for asking for the reassignment?" Worf says "Yes." He obviously does. 

The Captain then pauses and reframes the question. "Do you have a professional reason for asking for the reassignment?" Worf thinks about this statement and responds, "No. I withdraw my request for reassignment." 

The Lesson 

We all have personal differences with the people we work with. Not all of it will be quite as dramatic as a past flame, but the show urges us to consider only professional differences in a professional setting. 

My Addendum 

Those who think differently than you (and have different backgrounds) are sometimes the ones you learn the most from! There are some people you'll immediately click with and others that just clash with your working style, but if the setting is professional, personal objections should not matter.