My new home

Santa Monica palm trees

Santa Monica pier

Santa Monica ferris wheel

Santa Monica pier 2

Hello, hello! It’s past midnight on a work night, but I just wanted to check in and share some photos from my new home.

I still find it hard to believe that I live within walking distance of the beach. This is seriously a childhood dream come true! Considering that, though, I should really go there more often. I should make it a goal to go to the pier, shore and/or walk along the sand at least once a week.

Santa Monica sure is pretty! It’s very inspiring.

P.S. Speaking of goals, I’m going to get a post up soon about how I did with my 24 before 24 list. As of Groundhogs Day, I’m 24 years old and getting older all the time. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life goes pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

Claire's Co-Worker's Sichuan Chicken Wings

A few weeks ago, I was telling one of my friends that I was planning on moving in with my boyfriend and she asked me what we would eat. I’m not exactly an expert cook and neither is he. So I tried thinking of things we each knew how to make and struggled to come up with 10 things.

I know how to make pancakes and fried rice. I can do meatballs. I’ve heated up frozen food plenty of times. Well. Do those things count?

He’s better at making eggs than I am. He’s good at cooking tofu and can make a great stir fry with frozen vegetables and bottled sauce. Besides that, he makes a really good pizza dough from scratch (not frozen!).

Between the two of us,¬† I knew we could cook up with some good dishes, even with our limited experience. And we have! In the past two weeks, I’ve made some delicious dinners that I’m sure to try again. Not to brag, but I’m bragging. This way you all can try out the recipes I’ve already tested!

Some of my favorites so far:
Claire’s Co-Worker’s Sichuan Chicken Wings (pictured above) from The Portlandia Cookbook
Waldorf Salad from The Everything College Cookbook
Lemon chicken stir fry
Chicken tortilla soup – I read through this recipe from The Kitchn and improvised.
Spaghetti and meatballs
Ramen noodle upgrade

Here’s my meal plan for next week.
Sunday: Dinner out with friends
Monday: Chicken pot pie
Tuesday: Leftover chicken pot pie
Wednesday: Linguine alla carbonara with bacon
Thursday: Posole
Friday: Tofu stir fry
Saturday: Date night out for Valentine’s Day

How weird is it that it’s only Thursday and I’ve already planned out all my meals for the following week? A little weird. Also, I don’t want it to be a normal thing that we (or in this case, I) eat out twice in one week, but this is a special case. We’ve got something to celebrate.

Hats off to Kerry of Welcome To Ladyville who posted what she’s been cooking last January. I remember reading it at the time and thinking about what it would be like to plan out my meals. I’m used to seeing my mom do that but now it seems funny to be writing my own meal plan.

Do you write out meal plans too? What are your favorite easy, budget friendly meals?

2015

sunset

I wasn’t going to write anything about this past year or the year ahead. For one, 2014 was not my best year. I hated it at times. I felt like I was in a rut. But that was then and this is now. Ha!

I don’t want to dwell on the past any more. So I haven’t had a job in a while. So it took me five years to finish¬†college and I haven’t been offered a full-time job since graduating in June. So I still live at home.

Things haven’t been working out the way I dreamed they would. I wanted to get a dream job within three months of graduation, be engaged by this time and saving up money for things like furniture and a car. But that’s just life, I guess. Things don’t always work out the way you plan. You just have to keep moving forward.

I’m hoping 2015 is a lot better. Not just hoping actually. I’m ready to make good things happen. In fact, I’m starting a new internship in social media on Tuesday and I’m moving in with my boyfriend this week. That’s two big changes right there.

Thankfully, I have a loving family I don’t mind living with now and an amazing boyfriend I’m excited to move in with. We talked about each of us trying to get our own places and living separately before living together. We’ve talked about a myriad of possibilities in the three years we’ve been together. But it just so happens that he’s three years older than me, graduated a year and a half before, moved out of his parents’ house first, and has been living alone for almost a year now.

I’m so excited to be starting a new internship (although I wish it were a job) and to move all of my stuff in to Paul’s apartment.

This is going to be a good year. It just has to be. Do you feel it?

10 things I’m thankful for

It’s December already? Guess so. This year sure has gone by fast.

It’s been a week since Thanksgiving and I’ve been meaning to count my blessings. It feels good to remind myself. There are so many things to be thankful for.

1. Family
They know me like no one else.
Grandma and Eric

2. My dogs
They’re just the cutest.
brother and sister

3. Friends
It’s pretty special to have friends who care so much.
bridesmaids and Katie

the best friend and boyfriend

4. Food
Too many people go hungry around the world. I try to remember to give thanks for every meal because it is precious.
IMG_0354

5. Nature
Looking at the simple beauty around me can be quite calming.
spring

6. Cute stuff
Cute things just make me smile. See my Too Adorable Pinterest board for more.
Lost Cat

7. Music
It just soothes the soul. I’m glad I get the opportunity to see live music. Earlier in the year I got to see Solange at Coachella. Tonight I’m going to see Flight Facilities in LA.
solange

8. Media
Tv, books, newspapers, radio, blogs and the like are so necessary. My new favs include California Sunday Magazine, KCRW, The Hairpin and the Gilmore Guys podcast.
overview

9. Public transportation
As someone who doesn’t own a car, I’ve learned to appreciate it.
Union Station

10. Running water
My mom has always reminded me to be thankful we have toilets and sinks with water on tap.
Sprinkler

 

What are you feeling thankful for?

Here’s to you, dad

Playing cards with dad.JPG

Five years ago, I lost my dad after he had a massive stroke. I’ve been missing him and wanting to say something about it online. So, here’s my little tribute to my dad and me looking at the good times.

Here’s to you, dad:

You gave me a love for storytelling. I appreciate the written word and visual communication in the form of film and art because of you. You were also the best oral story teller I’ve ever known. History and your personal stories came to life from your breath.

You taught me and my siblings how to play cards, specifically Canasta. Such a great way to pass the time and have some friendly competition! I wonder which one of us remembers how to play best.

We learned compassion for animals from you. Growing up, we had dogs, cats, rats, hamsters and water frogs. That’s a whole heck of a lot! Of course, they weren’t all at the same time.

Looking back, I see how you were always happy to welcome each new addition. That time you took my sisters and I to get a cat from the shelter and you didn’t want to get out of the car because it would make you cry to see all the animals who need homes was pretty sweet.

I’m absolutely sure I’m leaving out things. But I didn’t want this to be a comprehensive list of things you were good at.

I’m grateful that I had a good dad for 18 years. We didn’t always get along, but we loved each other. That’s pretty special.