Monthly Archives: September 2018

Bastille: Live in Concert

September 26, 2018

I saw Bastille for the first time the week before I moved to Los Angeles. They played at the Agganis Arena in Boston, a 7,200 seat arena, and I went with my friend Lauren. It was March of 2017, and I was getting ready to start a really big adventure. 

It’s been pretty much exactly 18 months since that night, and I got to see them again on Monday. (I think my previous show was on a Monday, too, and I’m sappy, but I’m not quite sappy enough to count the exact number of weeks.) Pretty much everything about my life now is different, but the show was just as good.

A list of random things I want to remember: running into my friend and his girlfriend and them offering to let me crash their date since I was alone, how the venue was set up with strange levels, how fancy the lobby was, how nice it was to find free parking, how the people in front of me were being annoying and I decided to forget about it and just enjoy the show, how I put my phone away and barely took any pictures the whole night.

I want to remember how the band brought balloons on stage for the encore and then joked that it looked terrible (it didn’t), how good it felt to just close my eyes and feel the music and dance, how Dan put on a taco hat someone threw on stage, how the singer of Walk the Moon was three inches in front of me and I didn’t know til I got home and looked on Instagram.

I want to remember how I’d had a weird day and once I let go of those feelings and decided to lose myself in the music, my whole mood lifted, how freeing and joyous and fun it is to sing Quarter Past Midnight and Happier and Pompeii with 1,800 strangers, how there were zero visuals for the show and it really didn’t matter at all because they are just that good.

My number one goal when I moved to LA was to go to more concerts. I saw NEEDTOBREATHE at the Greek Theatre two nights before this show (for $20!) and that experience showed me that I don’t need to know every song a band has ever done to have a good time at their show. For me, there’s nothing like live music.

September Goals

September 14, 2018

It feels vaguely on brand for this blog that I’m writing this post with just two weeks left to go in the month! But better late than never. Goals + planning feels like it’s fallen a bit to the wayside over these last few months and I’d like to get back to it.

I broke out my sad, lonely Powersheets (which are actually a set from 2017 that barely got used!) and dusted them off for the first time since March. As you might be able to see in the photo above, the page I wrote on is actually from August! It’s a mistake I didn’t notice until I had finished. I crossed it off and wrote September and it’s as good as new. One new thing I did this month was to photo copy my tending list from the Powersheets in a smaller size, cut it to fit my planner, and tape it in there. It helps me to keep an eye on the goals a bit more.

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish this month:

Monthly Goals

  • Read 8+ books. I should be finishing a second today (both books are 550+ pages, so it’s taken a while) and then hopefully make some progress on this goal.
  • Write 12 blog posts. That amounts to 3 a week. This post makes 6 posts in September, so I’m right on track!
  • Clean/organize dresser and underbed storage.
  • Write 5 posts for OriGenes, the site I freelance for.
  • Run the Santa Monica Classic. Done! Recap post coming next week.
  • Solo adventure. Not totally sure what this entails, but I just know I want to do some sort of outing on my own. I’m tentatively planning this for next Sunday, since I think it’s my only free day!
  • Run 15 miles total.
  • Start marathon training. It starts on the 29th!

Weekly Goals

  • Wednesday November Project. 1/2 on this thus far!
  • Connect with a friend without technology (unless it’s a phone call!)
  • Spend under $75 a week (expected bills/subscriptions don’t count).
  • Write a letter to a friend.
  • 15 job applications.

My daily goals are to get out of bed without checking my phone, take my vitamins, floss, read for 30 minutes every day, make my bed, and go to bed by 10:15 pm! Honestly, I tend to use the daily goals section of PowerSheets the least, since I have a habit tracker in my planner. 

Weekend Update 04

September 11, 2018

After having a long weekend last week, this weekend went by far too quickly. I still feel like I packed a lot into it, which was good for me. The main disappointment of the weekend is that I was supposed to do a 24 hour adventure race called Questival from Friday night to Saturday night, but I had to drop out for financial reasons. It was a bummer and it looked like my team had so much fun. I definitely hope to be able to do it next year.


So instead of spending Friday night on a scavenger hunt around LA like I planned, I spent it writing blog posts and doing freelance work. I did a very tiny bit of grocery shopping because I promised myself I’d eat some vegetables for dinner, so I stopped at Trader Joe’s for a salad. I think I probably read for a bit and then went to bed. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a little worried I can’t remember what I did? (Where is my brain?) I think this was probably the night that I finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which, spoiler, ripped my heart out for all 600 pages.


I woke up, made coffee, and then immediately got back in bed to start a new book. I’ve been trying to do this more often. My mom used to sometimes read in bed on the weekends and I never understood how nice it could be until a couple months ago. It feels very luxurious.

After that I took some blog photos and finalized the two book posts I just published (July, August). Then I felt bad about my lack of vegetables again and made some lunch! Then Bri (one of my roommates) and I walked to Starbucks to get some work done. I worked on a freelance article, scheduled some freelance social content, and saw some dogs!  That night I ate dinner, painted my nails, and got ready for a race and a very early wake up on Sunday!


I ran my first race since the LA Marathon in March! It was a 5k that finished in the same place as the marathon, so it was very cool to be back running. I’m planning to write a full race recap for my own memories/training log, but the short story is that I didn’t train ahead of time and had barely been running at all. So the race didn’t feel great and I was pretty slow, but I did beat (by approximately two whole seconds) the base goal that I set for myself.

I grocery shopped and then spent a whole bunch of hours doing meal prep. For the first time in a long time, I did breakfast, lunch, and dinner as follows:

  • Breakfast: overnight oats with applesauce, blackberries, blueberries, almond milk, and a pinch of nutmeg
  • Lunch: quinoa, corn, green pepper, beans, and chicken
  • Dinner: garlic parmesan kale pasta with chicken (from Budget Bytes!) 

After feeling like a queen for doing All. The. Meal. Prep., I met up with some friends to celebrate our friend Liz’s birthday, which was the next day. Blake brought a slice of cake to the bar they’d been at (I was late because of endless cooking!) and we sang happy birthday. Then we went to see BlacKKKlansman which was much heavier than I was anticipating (I didn’t know anything about it) and also well-worth seeing. It was a good weekend!

August 2018 Books

September 10, 2018

This was a weird month for reading! Some months I read one or two books, some months I read fifteen. I’m up to 61 out of my goal of 100 this year, as of this writing. Yet this month I didn’t pick up a book til I was more than halfway through the month!

That said, the two books I did manage to read this month I really liked!


In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

I read this for book club and I liked it! The story is pretty crazy, all things considered. It’s wild to think about how many people Holmes managed to manipulate. Because there were so many players involved and it detailed the experiences of many of them, I felt like this book was repetitive and thus a bit too long. There’s a certain point at which I get that this person was shady and manipulative; I don’t need more info to back that up! That said, I really respect that this was written by the journalist who broke the story. Just this week I heard that Theranos is dissolving as a company, so we definitely read this at the right time!

by Fredrick Backman

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

I only have big feelings about this book! It’s for sure going to be on my top 10 list at the end of the year. It’s like Friday Night Lights but with hockey and set in Sweden. If you’ve watched FNL, though, you know that it’s about so much more than football; it’s about family and love and growing up and all those crucial things that make us happy.

When I started this, I forgot that the author is Swedish and the book had been translated; it helps to remember this when they start talking about moving across the pond to Canada and playing in the NHL. That’s my American bias absolutely showing but I wanted to point it out! I definitely want to read this one again sometime.

In total this month:

Total number of books: two
Number of fiction books: one
Number of nonfiction books: one
Books by people who are not white dudes: zero
Total number of books this year: sixty

July 2018 Books

September 8, 2018

I’m wildly late with this post, but I’m writing it anyway for consistency’s sake! Here’s the books I read in July:

by Andrea Dunlop

When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before.

Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Point, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? 

I liked this book okay! I read it because I saw it on Instagram, and I’m glad that I borrowed it from the library, because I think I would have been more frustrated if I spent money on it. The cover is gorgeous, but like The Queen of Hearts, that was my favorite part of it. It was fun to step into Laila’s world, so different than mine, but it was hard for me to like any of the characters.

by Hannah Orenstein

Sasha Goldberg has a lot going for her: a recent journalism degree from NYU, an apartment with her best friend Caroline, and a relationship that would be amazing if her finance-bro boyfriend Jonathan would ever look up from his BlackBerry. But when her dream career falls through, she uses her family’s darkest secret to land a job as a matchmaker for New York City’s elite at the dating service Bliss.

Despite her inexperience, Sasha throws herself into her new career, trolling for catches on Tinder, coaching her clients through rejection, and dishing out dating advice to people twice her age. She sets up a TV exec who wanted kids five years ago, a forty-year-old baseball-loving virgin, and a consultant with a rigorous five-page checklist for her ideal match.

Sasha hopes to find her clients The One, like she did. But when Jonathan betrays her, she spirals out of control—and right into the arms of a writer with a charming Southern drawl, who she had previously set up with one of her clients. He’s strictly off-limits, but with her relationship on the rocks, all bets are off.

I wrote a full post about this one here!

by Julie Murphy

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does.

I read about this one on #bookstagram and knew I needed to check it out. I loved this story because self-proclaimed “fat girl” Willowdean has always been comfortable in her skin, even when people tell her she shouldn’t be. But then she develops a crush on a boy who somehow likes her back, and she starts to doubt herself. This features beauty pageants and new friends and old friends and, unexpectedly, Dolly Parton. I really liked it.⠀

by Becky Albertalli

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

After I watched Love, Simon (and read the book it’s based on immediately after I got home) I kept saying that I wanted to know more about Leah, Simon’s long-term best friend. Enter this sequel that’s all about Leah. Leah is bisexual and hasn’t been able to find the right way to tell her friends – not even Simon, who she knows would be cool with it. I loved this book for its portrayal of high school and feeling like there’s an invisible wall between you and other people. I think it would be a good movie. Definitely a good one to get from the library if you can (this is basically my code for “I wouldn’t spend money on it but I liked it!”).

by Sophia Amoruso

Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school—a job she’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.

Flash forward to today, and she’s the founder of Nasty Gal and the founder and CEO of Girlboss. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

I’m trying to read more biographies + memoirs, and I liked this because it was inspiring to read about how Sophia built her brand Nasty Gal from the ground up, without even really meaning to. It inspired me to work a little harder and not let failure stop me. I don’t actually know much about the brand itself apart from what I read here and the billboards I’ve seen in LA,  but this was a short read that was good for some motivation when I needed it. Definitely a good library read! 

by Jaye Robin Brown

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

This is a young adult novel about a teenage girl who’s been out as long as she can remember – until she moves to a new town and her dad asks her to pretend to be straight to fit in. It’s hard enough to move somewhere new as a teenage girl, but what if you’re asked to hide an essential part of yourself? Truthfully, it’s been a number of weeks since I read this, but I remember that I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. It was entertaining, but it dragged a bit in the middle. I liked the relationships between the characters. I still found it realistic and thought provoking.⠀

by Hannah Brencher

Life is scary. Adulting is hard. When faced with the challenges of building a life of your own, it’s all too easy to stake your hope and happiness in “someday.” But what if the dotted lines on the map at your feet today mattered just as much as the destination you dream of?

Our hyper-connected era has led us to believe life should be a highlight reel—where what matters most is perfect beauty, instant success, and ready applause. Yet, as Hannah learned, nothing about faith, relationships, or character is instant. So she took up a new mantra: be where your feet are. Give yourself a permission slip to stop chasing the next big thing, and come matter here.

I love Hannah Brencher’s writing so much. This book is exactly what I needed to read in this season of uncertainty and wanting to run away. It’s all about staying put where you are so you can grow roots and be known. Hannah’s struggle of depression is heartwrenching but also one I identify with, so at times this was a hard read. It’s important, though, and I know I’ll be rereading this one.⠀

by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard. 

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

This is an engaging memoir of a woman who didn’t go to school until she was 17. Instead she stayed home with her family, devout Mormons who attempted to homeschool their kids but really just made them work on a farm. It was so different than my upbringing and parts of it seem too crazy to be true – which means that they must be. After reading it, I found out that some of her family members are suing her for her portrayal of them in the book! It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. I definitely recommend this one.⠀

by Michelle McNamara

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’m not usually one for true crime, but I’d heard so much about this that I had to request the ebook from the library. I read it in 24 hours, starting it on a redeye flight to the east coast and finishing in the next night before I fell asleep. Finishing it at night in a strange-to-me place in the middle of the night was probably a bad idea, but regardless, I loved reading this book. It’s told in such a gripping, specific way that’s like a cross between a novel and a textbook. It was never boring and I couldn’t stop reading. I definitely recommend it!⠀

by Rumaan Alam

Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Lauren—beautiful, independent, and unpredictable—is single and working in publishing, deflecting her parents’ worries and questions about her life and future by trying not to think about it herself. Each woman envies—and is horrified by—particular aspects of the other’s life, topics of conversation they avoid with masterful linguistic pirouettes.

Once, Sarah and Lauren were inseparable; for a long a time now, they’ve been apart. Can two women who rarely see one other, selectively share secrets, and lead different lives still call themselves best friends? Is it their abiding connection—or just force of habit—that keeps them together?

While this was a great beach read that I read in two sittings, I honestly didn’t understand it. It was pretty boring, but since it was about two friends growing up and growing apart, maybe that was the point. Sometimes life is boring! I liked glimpsing their rich people lives, so different than mine, and found the friendship aspects realistic, but I’m not sure I can recommend this one.⠀

In total this month:

Total number of books: ten
Number of fiction books: six
Number of nonfiction books: four
Books by people who are not white dudes: ten
Total number of books this year: fifty eight

Currently | September 2018

September 7, 2018

the view from the getty museum last weekend! so beautiful.

I know I’m two days late with this but I wanted to write it anyway! I missed out on joining up with this linkup through Anne of In Residence in August, and I genuinely missed it, too. It’s fun to do a little catch up every month and have a record of the little things I might otherwise never write about. I think that’s part of why I love blogging: sure, there’s hundreds of photos on Instagram that give a picture of my life, but blogging has always felt different to me. It’s felt like I can be a bit more of myself here. Everyone says blogging is dying but I’m a writer at heart and I’m always going to love it.

starting | I’m starting marathon training at the end of the month! I can’t believe that it’s already time to start again. It’s true that time does really fly sometimes. I think now that I know what to expect, I’m going to write a weekly (or maybe biweekly) “Marathon Monday” series on the blog. I did that three(!!) summers ago when I was training for my first half marathon, and I really liked it. My plan would be to write out my training schedule and some thoughts about how training is going each week. 

buying | I’m buying as little as possible! I did really well with sticking to my food plan this week and didn’t impulse buy any snacks. I do need to buy access to the marathon training plan and next week my hosting for my blog renews. Anyone have a spare $200 they want to gift me?!

sharing | I’m hoping to start sharing more words here again. I’m still sharing a room with my roommate Bri. I’m sharing more of my true self with people, actual feelings rather than what I think people want to hear.

reading | Last night I finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. It was absolutely incredible and will 100% be on my top 10 list at the end of the year. It’s long (~600 pages) and heart wrenching, but so, so well-written and entirely worth it. Before that I finished Beartown by Fredrick Backman, which was also incredible. I know I still need to write my book posts for July and August, if only for consistency’s sake. Goodreads says I’m 7 books behind my goal, so I better pick up the pace a little bit!

recording | I just wrote a list of music I’m loving right now. For so long my bullet journal has been solely a planning tool, but many moons ago when I first started (about two years ago) I recorded all sorts of random lists + stories in there. I’d love to do a bit more of that again, as I think it’s so fun to look back and see things I loved. I’m itching to get back to Project Life but it’s hard as I don’t have much space to set it up, since we don’t have any real table space.

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear what you are up to too. I hate when bloggers are all “I’m sorry, I promise I’ll blog more” but what they really mean is “I know I’ve been gone for three months and I swear I’m going to blog more but you’ll actually really only see another post from me in two more months,” so I’ll just say that I have more posts in the works and hopefully you will be reading them soon!

Weekend Update 03 || Labor Day

September 4, 2018

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote anything! Life is crazy busy and lots has happened: a trip to the East Coast, a trip to Denver, the end of summer. But for now, Labor Day.

Friday evening after work I celebrated getting paid and took myself to a cafe whose sandwiches I love to get a bit of freelance work done. Then I went to bed very early.

Saturday, I went to the beach with my coworker (and inevitably got a sunburn to show for it) before going to my friend Blake’s house for a little party with some friends from my workout group. She lives really close to where I used to live, and after I left her house that night I drove past my old apartment for some nostalgia. That was a sweet apartment.

Sunday I went with my roommate Bri to get a tattoo. I thought about getting one but I don’t have the money for it right now. Then we went to the Getty Museum to look for snake rings (we’ve been inspired ever since we saw Taylor Swift in May) since we heard their Egyptian exhibit had some for sale. That turned out to not be the case (either they don’t sell them anymore or they were sold out) but we still had a great time at the museum. It’s gorgeous up there. I can’t wait to go back and then write a proper post about it. After the museum we went directly to our friend Hannah’s house for her birthday party. She did a DIY outdoor movie night and we all watched Now and Then, because it has nostalgic value for her. I’d never seen it before but it was cute.

Yesterday I ended up going to a yoga class at the new gym I joined (that makes two Mondays in a row I’ve gone to yoga now) and then camped out in Starbucks for a few hours to get some work done. My computer’s been acting up and gets frustrated if you don’t pay it attention every day, so it took a while to warm up, but I did manage to get some stuff done! I always find that at least starting things in a new location makes me more inspired to finish them later at home. From there I went to Trader Joe’s and then home to cook, do laundry, and get ready for the week!

It was a good weekend.