I am the master of my fate.

kauai

2014. What a year.

Each January I like to sit down and reflect on the past year and think about how I’ve grown, the lessons I’ve learned, the goals I’ve met and everything that took place in the last twelve months.  Life has a way of just passing before your eyes, and as weeks cycle by and you wonder how it’s already September (and you swear you it was just April…?), I think it’s important to have a moment to evaluate where you are, think about where you want to be and prepare for another year of self growth, discovery and new experiences.

In the past, I used to feel anxiety at the close of every year.  For the last several years I wasn’t really sure what my path would be or what I wanted out of life — I only knew what I was supposed to do and knowing that didn’t make me feel excited about my future…and that left me feeling incomplete, unfulfilled and without a sense of purpose.

2014 was the year I decided to change that; change the way I thought about my life, re-prioritize my time and efforts to do only what is important to me and seek to live a more inspired life, driven by my passions and what makes me truly happy.

My purpose in 2014 was to find myself and get excited for all the different ways I am going to grow into who I am and fulfill this vision I had for myself.  I am a firm believer that your life should and CAN BE absolutely what you want it to be.  We only have one life to live so stop allowing fear to dictate and control the path of your life.  Muster the courage to live your life the way you envision in your mind.

Last November, I had the opportunity to attend Oprah’s workshop and it was an amazing experience that I needed to breathe life back into my days and to get motivated.  I left with a sense of excitement and veritable confidence that my life and everything I want out of it is mine for the taking.  2014 was more about forging a new life approach – one that will help me with staying inspired, being more creative, and focusing on giving myself as many new experiences as possible.

Working full time for the first time in my life pulled me into a seemingly unbreakable rut, where I felt unmotivated, unhappy and bored. And for a while, I didn’t feel like myself and lost my hunger for learning and personal growth.  And that’s not who I am at all.

Create the highest, grandest vision for your life. Then let every step move you in that direction // Oprah

There’s a real disconnect and heartbreak that is felt when you aren’t who YOU KNOW YOU CAN BE, and I’ve struggled with that for a long time, simply because I was always too tired, too busy, too scared or “not good enough”.

“Not good enough.” STOP THAT. Stop doubting yourself and stop worrying about whether or not you’re good at something. JUST START. I am firm believer that hard work and real passion accomplishes amazing things, and if you let your fear steer the direction of your life, you will soon realize that you’re living everyone else’s life based on that collective fear.  Excuses are really just fear disguised.

2014 was a great year for me, I’ve grown more than I ever have and for the first time in my life, I didn’t dread the end of the year.  I was excited for all the new possibilities of 2015 and my life ahead.  That, in and of itself, was a real testament that I had achieved what I set out to do for 2014.  To forge a new way of thinking about my life, to be in control of it and to begin living the way I wanted.

This has been a really emotional January for me so far, and has been a beautiful mix of happy and sad, with feelings of excitement but also a gnawing sense of nostalgia.

With the start of the new year, I closed a huge chapter of my life and am moving on to a new job with new coworkers.  Though I am really excited by the new possibilities and learning this new opportunity will bring, I am sad to be leaving everyone I have been working with in the last few years.  Though we didn’t talk everyday, just working alongside them and seeing them more than I see my family has, in a strange way, made me see them as family.  Change is a requisite for personal growth but it’s always been something that has made me anxious and afraid.  But, in the true spirit of me, I take a deep breath, smile and focus on the positive.  I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned so far, the people I have met and the connections I’ve shared.  Here’s to new beginnings and major life changes :)!

So, what was the purpose of this (I am realizing now….the longest post ever)?

2015 is a year to stay inspired, to learn as much as possible, to share and be open as much as possible and to stay faithful to your life’s vision and doing everything you can to meet and create that vision.

And with that, there’s a parting quote I wish for everyone to keep in mind this year:

Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be.  Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here.

Create it.

Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Get excited, feel hopeful, be grateful for all experiences and emotions, and stay creative.

Last sunset I took of 2014.
Last sunset I took of 2014.

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The Comfort Of Relatedness

We’ve all been there. Google can be your best and worst friend (in life and work- hay young internet marketing professionals, I’m looking at you), especially when it comes to googling weird bodily symptoms that you wouldn’t otherwise be comfortable sharing with any of your friends (but here I am broadcasting it to the world, ironically). Unless you’re lucky enough to have a cousin like mine with whom I share everything (yeah I feel bad for her too).

Still, I like to Google everything (I like to be thorough!), but often times, that ends up conjuring the hypochondriac in me, which admittedly, is dangerous. Like googling “weird rash under armpit” and then clicking on ‘Images’ dangerous. Don’t do it.

Despite the horror I’ve encountered many times when turning to Google for medical advice (rather than say…oh a real doctor?) I can’t help but come back to Google each and every time.  It’s funny though, because although most times my Google searches will end in a permanent fixed gaze of terror, they usually will begin with anxious anticipation followed by a brief sense of relief when I’m greeted by the auto suggest of the query I intended on searching.  Thanks everyone for experiencing the same things I have and subsequently googling it.  You have provided me with a few (albeit shameful) seconds of comfort…then onto the pictures.  [All hope is lost now.]

BTW, my all-natural deodorant Lavanila which I have loved up until 2 weeks ago, has inexplicably turned on my body. Just in case you were wondering about the aforementioned.  I swear I don’t have cooties. I’m just highly allergic to everything.

Big Sur

Big Sur is such a magical place and being able to drive up and down the CA-1 a few weekends ago has left me in complete awe of California beauty.  Having grown up here, I’ve always taken for granted the beautiful things you can see in this state.  I’d definitely say that Big Sur is the most gorgeous place in California.  Words can’t describe the emotions I felt seeing the vast ocean meeting the rugged coastline–and driving along this windy highway..the views just kept getting better and better.  The best way to put it is that I almost forgot to breathe at times.

Super clear day.
Just after crossing the Bixby Bridge, you can see it in the distance.
Always stopping.
Always stopping. I love the ocean.
Last Panoramic Shot.
Vast blue.

By far the best drive in the world. I can’t wait to return when the cliffs are all green.  After making our way into the woods, we stopped at Big Sur Bakery, a charming little bakery + restaurant tucked away off the 1.

Rustic charm.
Charming rustic bakery.
Bakery view outside.
Our view outside while we enjoy our afternoon snacks.
Pain au chocolat, Quiche & Earl Grey Chocolate Cake were our choices.
Pain au chocolat, Quiche & Earl Grey Chocolate Cake were our choices.
Sunny outdoor patio.
Sunny outdoor patio.
Adventure fuel.
Adventure fuel.

After breakfast, we headed for the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see McWay Falls.  Super easy hike, beautiful cove.

Turquoise water.
Turquoise water.
Panoramic shot.
Paradise.

Continue reading “Big Sur”

Point Lobos & Sierra Mar

About two weeks ago I was able to plan a quick getaway for some much needed R&R.  I’d always heard people talk about how beautiful the CA-1 & Big Sur was so we booked a last minute stay on Airbnb and packed our bags! I was surprised at how close of a drive it was..living in the Bay Area, it was only an hour and 30 minutes since we were staying in Carmel, just off the 1.  We had lunch at Carmel Belle – a place I’d definitely come back to again! I loved the casual open environment and extensive menu of freshly prepared items (simple food and a good cappuccino has been an irresistible pairing of mine lately).  Cozy place to grab a quick bite to eat before stopping at Point Lobos for some hiking!

Neat Tide Pool!
Neat Tide Pool!

Point Lobos is a great park to walk along the California coastline.  A lot of the park isn’t that accessible by driving, so I wish we got here a little bit earlier so we could see more on foot.  We got to sneak a short peek at China Cove before having to leave – wish I got a picture of this as the cove is one of the prettiest in the entire park.

For dinner, we jumped on the 1 and headed for Post Ranch Inn.  This hotel is SUPER swanky.  I wish I was raking in the hay to be able to stay here..one night will cost you a pretty penny, but I hope to come back soon as a guest in the near future.  Sierra Mar was the next best thing, the onsite restaurant that’s perched along the coastline, 1100 feet above the Pacific Ocean.  Yes, it was as beautiful as it sounds:

Dining in the sky, literally.
Dining in the sky, literally.
The setting sun.
The setting sun over Big Sur.
Almost gone..
Almost gone..
Lingering colors.
Lingering colors.

This was an amazing dining experience..the food was good but the view and ambiance was phenomenal.  We were worried because when we first arrived at 5:30, the entire cliff was encased in a cloud.  Our view was stark white and we weren’t sure if we’d be able to see the sunset, but soon enough, the clouds began to move over the ocean and it made for a breathtakingly (slightly eerie) beautiful view.

Watching the clouds pass through the setting sun was a sight to see, especially with the changing colors.  I’d say it was one of the prettiest things I had ever seen…and I see a lot of sunsets!  Definitely a treat to spend a few hours in such a unique place.  At the end of dinner, we grabbed drinks at the bar and moved out to their terrace patio to find someone setting up a telescope the hotel just bought for guest viewing.  We were able to see the moon and Venus that night – definitely the cherry on top for us!  Sierra Mar is a very special place and I plan to be back very soon.

New Things

Like, my blog!

For the last few months I’ve been pondering the thought of starting a blog to keep track of my weekend eats, recent hobbies and occasional travels.  I was initially reluctant because, like many things in my life, I’m zealous when first starting but after a few weeks in I end up falling off the wagon.  Shrugs. I’m human!

Well, despite that, here we are.  My weeks were just flying by and now we’re in October and just two and a half months shy of 2014.  Lately, I’ve been feeling uneasy about the months just disappearing since I’ve started working full time (for a year and a half now! I’m proud. SEE ALSO: surprised).  I think documenting my life (boring or not), thoughts and inspirations will be a good way for me to strike a better balance between work and everything else.

Here’s to life and celebrating your own!  This particular image is a recent one I just took during my weekend in Big Sur.  Sierra Mar at the beautiful Post Ranch Inn is one of the most unique restaurants I’ve ever been to, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that every table has a view that makes you forget you’re even there to eat. Can’t wait to go back.

The setting sun from our dinner table.
The setting sun above the Pacific Ocean – from our dinner table.