california dreaming

travel

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The last time I was in LA, it was winter of 2011 with my family for Christmas break. I seriously can’t believe it took six years to come back and visit. I missed the dry air, perfect sunny rays, the salty ocean air on the Santa Monica boardwalk and just the lifestyle there. 

My brother and sister-in-law recently moved here this past summer, so we were able to find some time to visit them. And fortunately, it lined up with some of my other sibling’s work schedules and it became a family weekend trip. As we’ve grown older, we have all separated into different cities and honestly, it’s tough really budgeting time to pull off something like this. So truly, I tried my best absorb every moment of this trip. I’m crossing my fingers that we get more weekends like this! ** 

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Daikokuya – Little Tokyo

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September Refresh

lifestyle

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There’s something about September that makes me feel so re-energized. It’s the mid-year month for everyone to recollect themselves. A time to self-refine. Maybe it’s all the “going back to school” posts on social media. The feeling of mentally preparing yourself for a whole new semester and absorbing all of the positive vibes you can inhale to last you through these last four months. (It’s crazy how much longer the last four months of the year actually feel!) One thing I really enjoyed about college during this time was the feeling of buying new stationary, pens and pencils. I don’t know what it is, but having nice stationary just gets me so excited! It seriously encourages me to create lists with weekly tasks or monthly goals to help organize myself. Plus, my handwriting looks like chicken scratches anyway, so it forces me to attempt to “write” better and nicer on each page.

I’ve been spending these first few days of September with myself and doing some self-reflecting. I’ve been thinking about old and new goals, how to prioritize them and most importantly, how to keep the will of fire going without getting lazy and stopping again. That is probably my biggest challenge because it’s always easy giving yourself excuses to not do something. And I guess in some ways, I’m tired of disappointing myself with the progress I could’ve made within those weeks or months.

So! I have set a few small goals for myself for the remainder of this year. I hope that writing it down here will push me to hold myself more accountable on keeping them alive and steady. 

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1. Continue eating 3-4 vegetarian meals per week. For the past month or so, David and I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our lifestyle. I would call it a diet, but then I know that I’d end up looking at it like it was a temporary thing. My long-term goal would actually be a full vegetarian by the age of 40-45. I’m really happy that we’re both in it together and decided to start the slow transition early on. 

2. Post more frequently! I want to write and create more content throughout the month. I’ve noticed that I only post once or twice a month and I want to push my creative limits more. I always tell myself “ugh, work was tough today and I’m too tired..” or “I’m not sure if I’d have anything interesting to write on that topic or idea..” I need to find more confidence in myself and put out content that makes me happy. 

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3. Stay organized. In all honesty, I am one of those people who’d be able to find an item in a pile of mess rather than a super clean room. I don’t know, something about the way my brain works that makes it that way. Lately though, I’m realizing that I have less levels of stress when things are more organized around the house – and even my work cube! It allows me to think clearly and be more focused on my task at hand. 

4. Find a family doctor. Oh, the joys of adulting! Now, I’m feeling extremely thankful for my parents on finding us such great doctors and dentists when we were kids. Searching for either one is like finding a good friend. I want to find someone who actually cares for our well-being and building some kind of relationship with us during those visits. I don’t want to be just another patient. So, with medical insurance fully aligned, I’m hoping we find our “right fit” by the end of the year.

5. Please… please just work out. Have you ever reached one of those grooves where you just feel like crap? And then suddenly, a surge of motivation pushes through and you’re working out and eating healthy for like two weeks, feel better about yourself and then stop? Yeah…. that’s me. I wish that I could go on that two week workout streak and just stay on it. Even if it’s not a hardcore workout, just getting in 30 minutes a day at least. These years are not moving any slower with the older I get, so I want to strive on keeping my health and fitness up for myself and my family. 

IMG_5362I just caught up with all the seasons in the Game of Thrones within 2-3 weeks… so as you can tell, I’m still having some GoT withdrawals…

And that is it folks! I hope to find some success with these goals at the end of the year. I’m going to gather all the strength that I can to make it! In my darkest hours though, I know that I can usually count on a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. #daREALMVP – What are some of the ways you find motivation through your toughest days? I’d really love to read your thoughts on this! Feel free to post them in the comments below with some of your own personal goals. 

Thanks and see you soon!

Always,

Emily

Weekend Runaway: Houston

food, Texas Ventures, travel

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So lately, it feels like everyone has been traveling and getting in their beach time this summer. Everyone except for us, lol. So we decided to drive down to Houston and get in some sun at Stewart Park Beach in Galveston. Besides his ball, I think that the beach is the second thing that Arty loves most! He loves getting in the water and sunbathing in the sand. He was scared of the waves at first, but eventually learned how to jump over the little waves. It was seriously the cutest thing ever! This small getaway was a very much needed trip for all of us and we had the greatest time.

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Cooking Fresh From the Garden

food, travel

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Happy Friday!! Hello to you and the start of our weekend! *cheers* I recently took a trip back home to Arkansas with David to visit his parents and the farm. They have three acres of land filled with rows and rows of produce, which are sold at the farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday. We went with my father-in-law to the Tulsa Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to help him sell at his stand. I was going to take a few photos there, but the rain decided to take a three hour visit… so that was that. There was still a pretty good crowd though! People usually like to come by to grab their weekly veggies and see what produce are in, but during the summer season, they come for one thing.. and one thing only — tomatoes. 

And I really can’t blame them because *goodness!* these homegrown tomatoes are, literally, everything! Sometimes when you buy tomatoes from the store to cook, some are hard and taste kind of like water and nothing. But these homegrown tomatoes are filled with so much juiciness and flavor, you just want to take a bite out of it right after picking it!

I took a stroll around the garden with my mil (mother-in-law) in her van to pick out some veggies to bring back home to Dallas. We used to just pack a ton of random veggies home and sometimes they would go to waste in our fridge, so I told her that I wanted to select just a few that I know we would be able to cook within the week. And of course, all I needed was a good bundle of fresh basil to make some homemade pesto and some green, red and cherry tomatoes. And let me tell ya … I put these babies to some good use! 

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The Struggles of Living From Afar

Dallas, TX

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Happy July!!! I hope that summer has been treating you well! July has been an amazing month so far for me! Not only because it’s my birthday month *woot! woot!* but I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of family and friends within the last few weeks and have been feeling extremely grateful.

We traveled to Minnesota during July Fourth weekend for David’s family reunion, and I got to celebrate my birthday with some of the dearest people. I truly had the best time, but sadly, these types of weekends just never last long enough! It makes you feel so homesick on the road back home. It’s a little bit easier to deal with now, but it was definitely tough during our first year in Dallas.


Moving to a new city can bring all kinds of emotions to the mind and body. The feeling of excitement, hope, motivation, sadness and fear… it all sits there tumbling inside of your mind and stomach in the back seat with your packed boxes.

My brain laid numb, taken over by the rush of wonder.


Coming to Dallas was the second biggest move in my life since moving to Arkansas. It was an exciting time for the both of us and we were so in love with this city – and still are! – but times also got quite lonely. I mean, we moved from a place where we grew from teens into adults, and built a strong foundation with people we admire, love and grew so comfortable with. So for me, moving to a city and knowing only a hand full of people (literally) was tough. I had to start all over again. And to be quite honest, as an adult, it was socially harder for me than it was when I was a teen, but that’s a whole other topic of its own.

Weekends just weren’t the same. There was always a yearning for home and being where your comfort lived and wanted to be. I missed our family and friends and the weekly hangouts we all had. I missed people who were already far but were now even farther since we moved further south. Plenty of times during my first couple of months, I pondered about the moments and inside jokes I’d miss out on – causing major FOMO (the fear of missing out). Desperately wanting to live in that moment with your loved ones, attending all of their life changing events and only getting to imagine what it might be like. I always just wanted to be where I couldn’t be.

Though I felt like this most of our first year here, we were so fortunate to have visitors almost every month! All the visits made us feel so much more at “home,” and were the cure to our most lonely days. So thank you.. thank you to all of you.

For those of you who are curious, thinking about it or ready to make the big move, don’t let my thoughts and emotions scare you off. I’m honestly just a sensitive and emotional person. (I can cry for no reason when I listen to a sad song, lol… so that says a lot.) But I think that at some point, everyones goes through these wave of emotions and you know what? It is totally normal and okay. You learn from them, grow and learn how to adapt without ever truly losing the connections you want to keep. I’ve been here for almost two and half years and don’t plan on leaving any time soon.

p.s. these are candy cigs that we bought from an old school candy shop in Deep Ellum

I experienced the loneliness, but I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting new people, creating more friendships and building stronger bonds with the people we already knew here. ‘The more the merrier!’ is what I like to say. Living in a new city with David has also molded our relationship in so many ways. It didn’t necessarily force us to be together more, but it taught us how to truly enjoy each other’s company. We were so used to group gatherings so it just felt a little different when it became just the two of us. It was a good learning curve and I feel that we’ve really found fulfillment within ourselves.  

So never be fearful, my friend. We live this life only once. Go and fulfill your heart’s wildest dreams! The people who love us will never truly be that far away. 

Always,

Emily

 

 

A U S T I N

Texas Ventures

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For me and David’s twelve year “dating” anniversary, we decided to drive back to one of our favorite cities – AUSTIN! We haven’t been there for about a year, so truly, it was hard to try new places since we had a few spots on our mind since our last visit. (which means we just need to make another trip out here sooner!) We also got to bring along our little dog child, Arty, this time — big thanks to La Quinta!! They’re one of the hotels listed that allows dogs to stay there.

When we first got to our room, I think he was a little unsure of what he could and couldn’t do. He sat on the small lounge chair with a towel under him and then after an hour of getting cozy he finally brought himself to find a good spot on the bed. He tucked himself right in the middle and we found him in the same spot when we got back from Sixth Street. So overall, I think one would say that he had a pre–tty good staycation there.

We hit the hiking trail right when we got into Austin on Saturday morning. We really, really wanted to go check out the Hamilton Pool Reserve, but since it’s been gaining so much attention on social media, tickets are booked until the end of August. I’m hoping to come back in September to finally see it. So we settled on hiking at McKinney Falls State Park.

May I remind you that we are extremely fearful and scared of snakes, lol. So going hiking there during the summer time was a big leap for the both of us. When we pulled in to pay to enter the park, I asked the ranger if there were a lot of snakes there. He kinda chuckled at us and mentioned that there weren’t too many but they do see snakes cross the trail from time to time. They had a lot of signs that said “Please Stay on the Trail” … so for the first hour, I literally turned on my inner snake radar and turned my head left to right every second. I did manage to get over the fear after the hour and focused on self-meditation while hiking. At then end we stopped at the waterfall for Mr. Arty to cool down.