2013 Resolutions: The Final Weigh-in

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Greetings from a wintery Cape Cod. As you know I make a huge resolution list, and in 2013 it was no exception. HERE‘s my initial 2013 list. HERE is when I checked-in and took stock of my progress in July. And now here we are, on the last day of 2013 and it’s time I see how successful I was.

Resolutions for 2013:
– “SAVE SAVE SAVE!” – Check! In 2013 I knocked off 1 of 2 student loans and got rid of all my high interest loans. I’m hugely proud of myself for this because otherwise I’d still be paying off these loans at 50 years old. Just a little more to go.
– Go Cross Country skiing for the first time! – it didn’t happen in 2013.. maybe 2014?
– White water rafting. – I didn’t get to go in 2013, but hopefully next summer.
– Go kayaking – Check! I went in Cape Cod in the fall.
– Walk 5 times a week at least (mornings + nights!) – Check! I was pretty good about walking and added the Silver Lake Reservoir to my regular walks.
– Do a Monster Walk! – Nope, but I still did plenty of walking in 2013.
– Do more hikes from my hike book – Nope, in 2014 I need to hike more.
– More camping! – I hope to do a lot more in 2014 and I’m aching for it!
– Run a race! 5k and work up to 10k? – It’s about time I trained again.
– Whiten Teeth – Check!
– Do a secret stair walk with the facebook group and meet other stair walkers. – I still need to do this. It will happen in 2014.
-Do taxes in January (to get money back sooner!) -Check!
– Take an art class – Check!
– Do more artwork. I have the supplies, so no excuses! – Double Check!!
– Learn French I- Rosetta Stone – Check!
– Learn how to sew – Check!
– Learn how to knit – I still need to do this.
– Take vitamin b – I’m bad about doing this every day, but I’ll work on it in 2014.
– Keep up water intake! – Check!
– Clean bathroom drawer + cabinet – Check!
– Do projects from the Young, House Love book – Check!
– See a dermatologist – I’ve put this off for years now. It’s time.
– Read typography book I got for Christmas – Check! I’ve also read a handful of books in 2013, which is the thing I have the most trouble making time for.
– Clean out closet again this year- Check!
– Clean garage and organize with plastic bins – Done, but I wonder if I should do this again.
– Clean out wallet – Check!
– Clean out all emails – Check! But this is a life project and will have to happen again.
– Clean out computer and back up files – Check! But this is another thing that is a constant issue.
– Get a new cell phone – Check!
– Keep going out during the week -I’m always up for week night fun, I’ll sleep when Im dead – Check!
– Do more running outside – Check! But I still hope to do this more.
– Living on my own?? – Not this year, but it’s another year of saving for something better in 2014.
Improve my blog! Change is a good thing! – Check! I redid the header and I’ve been working away on my shop site.
Keep saying yes.. to everything! Yes to life! YES!
GROW A PAIR!

Trip Ideas:
O Visit 2 presidential libraries – Went to the Nixon Library, still need to see the Reagan Library.
O Take the train somewhere for a day trip outside LA -I haven’t taken the train, but I’ve been north and south for day trips outside of LA in 2013.
O Chicago again? -We shall see
O Beach camping up the coast?
O San Fran? more north? Portland? -I decided to skip this and some of the expensive travel items because I went to Israel and Istanbul with my sister and uncle in November. When I made this list last year I had no clue this was doable, and we made it real!

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Well everyone, thanks for reading in 2013! Tomorrow I’ll be posting my 2014 New Years resolutions and in January my Israel + Istanbul travel posts will begin. I can’t wait to share all of this with you, as well as all the excitement that 2014 is going to bring. My horoscope has been saying for years that 2014 is going to be a big year of change for me, and I’m really looking forward to the needed change!

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A Cape Cod Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of communication, but I’ve been hiatusing out on Cape Cod with limited internet access and plenty of cold but beautiful weather. I love Cape Cod in the winter. It’s way less crowded, expensive stores are having wild sales (yes, I will buy this at 50% off), and the colors are so unique. Desaturated winter colors are just as gorgeous to me as bright colors. Just see for yourself. The blue sky, soft clouds and golden dried grasses are some of my favorite color combinations that are worth exploring even in the frigid cold.

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Lighthouse Beach, Chatham MA

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Chatham, MA Fish Pier

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Salt Pond, Orleans MA

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Overlooking Nauset Marsh, Orleans MA

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Also overlooking Nauset Marsh in Orleans. This was more about our three shadows.

I’ll check in tomorrow and do a round up of 2013 resolutions (I don’t think I did so hot), and figure out a plan for 2014!

Bringing Israel + Istanbul to Los Angeles

Every time I travel anywhere from home for a New England weekend or a month in Spain (which I don’t get to do either often), I like to bring back some aspect of that lifestyle. This can be a smell, a plant, type of food, or activity. Like after a visit to Cape Cod I’ll buy hydrangeas, cook more seafood, and take time to go to the beach. After spending two weeks in Israel and Istanbul, I’m noticing a lot has come back with me.

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1: Dreams- I can tell every night since I’ve been home, I’ve been dreaming that I’m still abroad. In my dreams people have heavy accents, and I wake up feeling like I spent all night visiting religious sites and walking the narrow cobble stone streets. Every morning I’ve woken up to the thought “where am I?” It’s disorienting, but a relief that in my brain I’m still on an adventure exploring the other side of the world.

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2: Walking- I always love walking, but when I walk it’s often to do a loop for exercise (or secret stairs) and not about walking due to necessity. In Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Istanbul, walking is an essential part of every day. In Jerusalem, it’s nearly impossible to drive in the Old City so you see people (usually women) with their rolling carts for groceries they’re buying from the stalls. Lettuce from one vendor, meat from another, dessert from another. Tel Aviv and Istanbul both have similar markets (the Grand Bazar) where people buy their goods. Today was a rare drizzly LA morning and it was a delight to walk from my home to complete all my errands and shop local at the farmers market. It reminded me that I may be in a very modern city, but by walking it made me feel very connected to the past.

80016dbe584c11e39bef0e0423ac1ff3_7 (Photo courtesy of @asherworldturns) I’m the bottom left.

3: The Spa Lifestyle- I have to thank Brian for this phrase. While in Istanbul we all were brainstorming about hospitality needs and Brain said he’s decided to live the “spa lifestyle” and the phrase has stuck with me. I also equate this phrase with Israel because of the Dead Sea. I brought back some Dead Sea salt (Ahava) and just took a soaking bath. Amazing. There’s something really special about that salt. I also brought back some dried olive oil based soap (a Turkish specialty) which made the bath extra fun. The Middle East knows how to do baths right. It’s made me think about redecorating my long neglected bathroom, as baths are calming and stress releasing which is key to happiness. It’s time I also embraced the spa lifestyle.

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(Photo courtesy of @asherworldturns) This (minus the chicken) was amazing. Hummus!

4: Food- Where to start with this one… I love hummus which was so readily available in Israel. It is common to order hummus as a meal. Just a plate of hummus with some pita. It’s all anyone needs in life. And mezze’s are what all meals should be: many tiny plates of food. In Israel it’s common to eat mezze’s before you even order any food, although by the time you eat the mezze’s you’re often too full for the dish you ordered. An example of mezze’s would be many small plates filled with mashed eggplant, hummus, olives, diced cucumber, plates of cheeses, guacamole (their equivalent), felafel, and so many more that are continuously refilled. Did I mention Israel makes great wine?

I think all travel is invaluable and you can’t put a price on these life experiences that end up changing parts of your everyday routine. It’s fun to travel and to see what everyday life is like for people in other places and absorb some of their ways. This trip has made me see how small this world is which puts things in perspective.

My Quick Voyage East

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Over Memorial Day weekend I was lucky enough to make a quick trip home to see my parents on the East Coast. Unfortunately I found myself in a tough spot with an unruly (aka super drunk) passenger sitting behind me. As much as I wanted to get to the East Coast as  fast as possible, I’m grateful that the pilot decided it was unsafe in the plane and we made an emergency landing where this passenger was arrested. I was one of two victims in this situations, and it truly was my first time feeling like a victim. It’s not fun. Even thinking about it now is upsetting and I’m doing my best to block it out. It’s never good feeling violated and trapped in the sky. But, that is behind me and my weekend continued once I finally made it out to Cape Cod. 

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This whole ordeal cost me most of Friday (out of a 3 day trip) giving me late Friday night, Saturday and Sunday to be with my family. I did my best to put the days events out of my mind and really enjoy my trip. It started with a delicious belated birthday dinner for me at Marshside in Dennis, MA. Followed by a homemade cake made by my mother with love, and a night of boardgames!  

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On Saturday, I awoke to partly cloudy skies, but it didn’t ruin the day! My mom and I made a visit to the beach and in the afternoon my dad and I took a nice ride on the bike path. 

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It was so pretty, even with the gray sky. 

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The bike ride was followed by a big family meal out with my Aunt Chris, Uncle Doug and cousins Julie and David. It’s been so long since we’ve been all together and it was such a fun time. 

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Sunday morning was rainy, which delayed our kayaking plans, but it allowed for awesome reading nook time! There’s nothing like doing the crossword, sipping coffee and watching nature outside the window. It’s how I want to start all of my days. 

My good friend Henry (you might remember from HERE) made a long trip out to Cape Cod to share lunch with me and my parents. What a fun reunion. I think it even had to do with the clouds lifting, which made for excellent afternoon kayaking weather.

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We headed to Bell’s Neck/West Reservoir where my Dad and I kayaked around the lake while my mom did a loop on the walking path. 

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Dork. 

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I’m not a birder. At all. But you have to appreciate that while kayaking around you’re seeing rare looking birds flying/perched all around you. My dad is a birder, so he was in heaven.

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“THIS ONE’S SO RARE!” 

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After doing a loop, we decided it was time to head home to get ready for my last meal on the Cape. My parents love to do dinner on the beach, since one of the local beaches doesn’t close until very late (midnight?). They suggested we get fresh fish from Seafood Sam’s to-go and take it with us picnic style. 

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Sorry for the bad image, but isn’t this set-up awesome?! Oysters, scallops, and onion rings with a view of the ocean and lit by candle (well electric candle anyway). What a treat! Once the sun set, people started shooting fireworks off down the beach, so we even got a show. The clouds subsided and once the stars came out it was perfect for star gazing and we even had reclining beach chairs. Images couldn’t capture how calm, beautiful and relaxed the whole night was. I wish I could bottle that up, It made me think of how little I see stars, which is so sad.

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Monday morning it was time to get up early and begin my trek home. After my bus arrived at Logan airport and hour+ behind schedule, I found out my plane was also very delayed. The one positive is that I got to see Fred Armisen also heading to NYC after spending the weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for Seth Meyer’s wedding. After a lot of prayer and running, I ended up making my layover despite all the delays. 

 

Cape Cod in the Winter

Over the holiday’s I was on the East Coast visiting with friends and family and doing my best to stay warm. A couple days after Christmas I drove from Connecticut to spend the next week with my family in Cape Cod.

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The above photo was taken mid route between Providence and Cape Cod (at Fall River). Don’t worry, I was in the passenger seat.

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This photo was taken going over the Bourne Bridge at Sunset. The drive out to Cape Cod is very beautiful.

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There’s really nothing like an East Coast Christmas. Cape Cod is such a beautiful place, even in the (extreme) cold.

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The above four photos were taken at Harding Beach in Chatham. It was a very cold and windy beach walk, but it makes for a fun adventure.

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The above four photos were taken at the Chatham Fish Pier, which is a great seal/shark lookout place in the summer and is also next to a tasty fish market. It’s a fun place to go and watch the fishing boats come in with their daily take. The fish attract the seals, and the seals attract the sharks.. circle of life.

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The above two photos are from Chatham Lighthouse and the beach accompanying it.

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The last stop at sunset was Cold Storage Beach in Dennis. If it weren’t so frigid and windy, this is a great walking beach to explore in the summer time. You can see these beach photos have WAY less snow, since this is the bay-side.

Every year people flock to Cape Cod in the summer time, and yet everything shuts down in the winter. I find the quite and stillness mixed with the snowy landscape just so beautiful in winter. If you have the chance to experience Cape Cod in the winter, it’s worth your time.

2012 Resolution Recap

It’s that time! Time to see what I was able to get done over the last 365 days. I’ll start by going through my 2012 New Year Resolution List. (Sorry for another pictureless post)

Life Absorbed’s 2012 Resolution List

– Complete all 42 walks in “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA”
I wasn’t able to finish the entire book due to some health issues, but I certainly did 80% and now I have the pleasure of enjoying the walks as I complete the rest in 2013.

– Go rock climbing! I got to go indoor rock climbing with Amber, Lindsey and Adam thanks to a groupon to Hangar 18. Despite my crazy fear of hieghts, I was actually pretty good and got into it. I’m no pro, but I would gladly go again.

– Do at least one “monster” walk in 2012. Use my new “Car-Free LA” book to find a good really long walk and make a day of it. This didn’t get to happen. I’ve done monster walks alone, but they are more fun with a friend and my walking buddy Michelle had a wild year of getting pregnant and giving birth to lovely Cole. This goal will have to pushed to my 2013 resolution list.

– Resume hikes from my hiking book! Give those new hike boots a work out. I wasn’t too successful completing a ton of new hikes from my hike book, although I did complete a handful from the book in 2012. Bigger than that, I hiked Mount Whitney! That’s a pretty big goal for 2012, in fact I was so concerned I wouldn’t follow through with it, I didn’t add it to my resolution list from 2012. And I did it! 

– Go camping! Camping happened for a few days around Mt. Whitney as well as on The Channel Islands and when I went tubing the Kern River. 

– Hike (or ski) Mt. Baldy. I got to complete this with weights as I was training for Mount Whitney. I actually found this to be more of a challenge. 

– Go back to Catalina! When my parents came to town in September, we got to take them to Catalina and took them parasailing. My sister and I had so much fun doing it last year, that when another groupon deal came up, we bought enough for all of us to go as an anniversary gift to them. 

– Keep filling my nights and weekends with fun activities, even if it means being tired the next day. It’s worth it! This is of course hard to gauge, but I think I did a really good job at going out a lot after work and on weekends. In fact I went out so much didn’t get a ton of my night walks in. It’s about finding a balance and I have to be better about that in 2013. 

– Visit Hearst Castle. Check! I got to go when my parents came to visit and loved it. As a family we took a weekend trip up there and drove back along the coast stopping at the small beach towns. 

– Go cross-country skiing for the first time. I wasn’t able to complete this (due to lack of snow last winter) but the groupon was extended into 2013 which means I’ll be going this winter and already Big Bear has gotten some great snow. 

– Go white-water rafting. Another side-effect of no snow in the winter, is that the run-off over the summer is so depleted that there’s not enough water to make it “white water”. But in place of rafting, we got to enjoy tubing down the Kern. I’m looking forward to white water rafting in the summer of 2013!

– Go kayaking. I got to do this during my weekend excursion to the Channel Islands as well as doing it about 3 times when I was visiting my parents in Cape Cod this past summer. I love it.

– Try yoga. Did it repeatedly! I love the Core Power Yoga free Sunday noon class. Although I didn’t realize you needed to pay to borrow the mats, so I didn’t realize I was stealing every time I went. But now that I’ve realized it I will be investing in a yoga mat in 2013 🙂

– Try spinning. I did not do that this year, although I really need to. I ended up canceling my gym membership this year, so now I’ll have to pay to go to a class but I still want to do this. The only reason I didn’t complete this goal was because I was busy, and frankly I forgot about it. This is why it’s good to do midyear resolution recaps, to remind myself what I still need to complete. 

– Make new recipes to last during the week. This I did only a few times. It’s hard to make meals for one. Also my job often provides meals that are around dinner time, so it’s nice to save money by eating that food and leave the cooking to the professionals. 

– Go to Chicago to visit my good friends and see a new city. CHECK! This was a really fun resolution. I got to lump a short stopover in Chicago onto my summer trip to Cape Cod. I had such a great time visiting friends and seeing the tourist sights (the FLW House!). 

– Keep up my nightly walks. An hour a day does so much. As I explained above, I did this but not as regular as I used to (since my walking buddy was busy having babies and I started doing more event stuff at night). But in 2013 I’m going to go back to doing this a solid 5 times a week, if not more. 

– Try new bars, restaurants and museums from my “L.A. Bizarro” book. (As Amber pointed out to me, we don’t have to see any of the porn-esque stuff and that is agreed). I got to do a bunch of these with Amber earlier in the year, although they did take a back seat to all of my other goals as the year went on. It’s worth digging this book out again and going more in 2013. 

– If someone says, “try this hike with me” or “lets do this sport” or any other physical activity, say yes! So far so good. Saying yes to life has only meant good things.

– “Grow a Pair!” In 2012 I need to face the little fears. I successfully faced giant fears in 2011, so this should be easy right? I’m always working on that, and that’ll continue into 2013. 

– As a part of “Growing A Pair”, I’m going to go on dates in 2011. It’s something Ive been putting off because I hate doing it, but why not? If it’s the worst, then oh well. If it’s great then maybe I get a new friend out of the deal. I’ve jumped out of a plane, I think I can handle a silly little date. So send your single, outdoorsy, male friends my way. This remains true in 2013. Also, I’ve decided that “date” is too scary a word, and only call them “friend meetups” in an attempt to making dating less scary. 

– And of course I will work hard to maintain you, Life Absorbed. I wish I had started you last Jan. 1st, so now I must make up for lost time. I feel like in one year I did a lot to improve the blog. I tried (and I’m always trying) to come up with new features like Font Friday and Do This Today. I try to blog 1 or 2 times daily midweek and once on the weekends. I also designed a business card for the blog and changed the layout a bit. The “Life Absorbed” logo photo shoots where fun, and I hope to do more in 2013. Now all my photos have watermarks and I really work hard to make improvements as I get feedback. I’ve gotten retweeted by Scott Aukerman this year. I’ve gotten “shared” on facebook by some of my favorite comedians and even CBS included me in an article about the Secret Stairs of LA. It’s been good progress and I’m looking forward to more improvements in 2013!

This completes my resolution list for 2012. I can honestly say I gave it 110% and filled my time to capacity. There’s only so much time to get things done and I have no regrets with how my time was spent in 2012. I also want to share some things I did that weren’t on my 2012 resolution list:

A big Hawaii trip that included zip-lining, snorkeling, and hiking around an active volcano. Visiting the Queen Mary with my parents. Sitting in the UCB green room with Doug Benson and Zach Galifinakis (thanks Gabe!). The 1 million comedy shows I saw this year (I’m only exaggerating a little). Finally seeing David Cross do stand up! A fun weekend getaway to Palm Springs. My first hospital visit (not a good situation, but it could have been so much worse). Running the Denver Turkey Trot and getting to enjoy Denver fun. Getting to be Shari Lewis for the day. Doing all my DIY projects. Brunches with the girls. Visiting the JPL and going to about 5 neighborhood festivals. Doing the Color Run with Lindsey. Having my celebrity crush, Harris Wittels, comment on my blog. Tubing Mt. Baldy with Michelle and Lindsey. A weekend getaway to Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. Visiting the horse racing park for Tom’s birthday. Going to a Beer Collaboration event. Magic Castle with the girls. Celebrating Chinese New Year in Chinatown. Gosh, this has been a busy year!