Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

In my nearly 10 years in Los Angeles so far, I’ve seen and done quite a bit, but there are definitely lots more places to check out. Here’s an aggregation of Los Angeles’ “best/hottest/top sites/places/things to see/visit/do,” largely courtesy of one of my favorite sites, Lists of my top picks and places not on the following lists that I want to check out will come in another post.

Things to Do in LA Before You Die

  1. Doo Dah Parade
  2. Museum of Jurassic Technology
  3. Getty Center
  4. Runyon Canyon
  5. Lakers playoff game
  6. Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium
  7. Secret restaurants (see list below)
  8. East LA taco crawl
  9. Daikokuya
  10. Pink’s
  11. Magic Castle
  12. Huntington Gardens
  13. Los Angeles Theater, Million Dollar Theater
  14. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  15. Mullholland Drive/Highway
  16. Free bands on Mondays in Silver Lake/Echo Park
  17. LACMA
  18. MOCA
  19. Muscle Beach
  20. The Price is Right
  21. High at the Hotel Erwin
  22. Walt Disney Concert Hall
  23. Dresden
  24. Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
  25. Griffith Observatory
  26. Las Perlas
  27. Cole’s
  28. The Association
  29. Hollywood Bowl
  30. Greenbar distillery
  31. Malibu Seafood
  32. Venice weed doctor
  33. Lucha VaVoom
  34. Maude
  35. Jumbo’s Clown Room
  36. Catalina Island
  37. LA River

LA’s 9 Secretest Supper Clubs

  1. BRK
  2. Chicks with Knives
  3. Taste of Pace
  4. Truffl
  5. Kali Dining
  6. Gastronauts
  7. The Whaling Club
  8. Wolvesmouth
  9. Totoraku

7 Under-the-Radar Spots You Need to Know About on the Eastside

  1. The Echo Park Time Travel Mart
  2. El Prado
  3. Origami Vinyl
  4. 1642
  5. The Machine Project
  6. Allumette
  7. No-Name Taco Trucks

Los Angeles Secrets You Didn’t Know Existed

  1. Most amazing views atop the West Hollywood Park Tennis Courts
  2. Magic at Brookledge
  3. Kyoto Garden atop the DoubleTree Hilton Downtown
  4. Berlin Wall outside the Variety Building
  5. Healing waters under Bresee Community Center, Bimini Slough Ecology Park
  6. Prohibition-era tunnels (under Hall of Records, King Eddy Saloon, Stanley Mosk Courthouse)
  7. Murphy’s Ranch abandoned Nazi compound
  8. Beverly Center (former amusement park)

The LA Secret Bar Primer

  1. Blind Barber
  2. Lock and Key
  3. Seventy7 Lounge
  4. The Red Door
  5. Bar Jackalope
  6. The Writer’s Room
  7. La Descarga
  8. The Varnish
  9. R Bar
  10. No Vacancy
  11. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s

LA’s Best New Bars of 2014

  1. The Chesnut Club
  2. Genesis
  3. Tunnel Bar
  4. The Secret Club on Fairfax
  5. Harlowe
  6. Power House
  7. EightyTwo
  8. Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel
  9. Grandpa Johnson’s

Badass Summer Day Trips Near LA

  1. Skydiving in Perris
  2. Channel Islands
  3. Bike the Ojai Valley Trail
  4. Hiking in Antelope Valley
  5. The Cat House
  6. Whale watching in Dana Point
  7. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
  8. Bungee jump off the Bridge to Nowhere
  9. Newport Beach Harbor Cruise
  10. Original Frozen Banana Stand on Balboa Island
  11. OC brewery tour
  12. Vasquez Rocks

The 25 Hottest Restaurants in LA Right Now

  1. Redbird
  2. Love & Salt
  3. Butchers & Barbers
  4. Ramen Champ
  5. Odys & Penelope
  6. Birch
  7. Steak & Whisky
  8. Ox & Son
  9. Gjusta
  10. All’Acqua
  11. Baltaire
  12. Simmzy’s
  13. Aestus
  14. The Independence
  15. Augustine Wine Bar
  16. Knuckle & Claw
  17. Bettolino Kitchen
  18. The Lost Knight
  19. El Cristalazo
  20. A-Frame
  21. Belcampo Meat Co.
  22. Ingo’s Tasty Diner
  23. Jon & Vinny’s
  24. SMYC
  25. BS Taqueria

My trip to Africa has been incredible, but those stories will have to wait for other posts. Instead, I want to share the Swahili I’ve been learning. I’ve been trying to speak it as much as possible to the people we encounter every day – from our taxi drivers and safari guide to coastal fisherman and Maasai warriors – but just be warned, najua Swahili kidogo kidogo (I know very little Swahili).

Jambo: hello
Habari: how are you?
Mzuri sana: I’m very good
Asanti/shukran: thank you
Asanti sana: thank you very much
Karibu: welcome/you’re welcome
Kwaheri: bye
Hakuna matata/hakuna shida: no worries/no problem
Kabisa: totally
Pole: sorry
Tafadali: please
Sawa: ok
Eco sawa: it’s ok
Tuco sawa: we’re ok
Nakupenda: I love you
Safari: adventure
Mzungu: white person
Rafiki: friend
Dada: brother
Dada mdogo: sister
Maji: water
Simba: lion
Nze: fly
Kifaru: rhino
Twiga: giraffe
Tembo: elephant
Punda: donkey
Punda malia: zebra
Zamaki: fish
Papa: shark
Mamba: crocodile/alligator
Teksi: taxi
Gari: car
Betri: battery
Taka taka: trash/garbage
Kidogo: little
Kubwa: big
Baridi: cold
Mingi: many
Pole, pole: slowly/slow
Nweze: can I have…
Kwa nini: why?
Twende: let’s go
Kupanda: climb
Hapa: here
Hapo: there

2013 Goals

Posted: 9.30.2011 in Goals

I’m off to a better start this year, posting my goals in the first week of January (instead of March, like last year). My friend asked me to sum up 2012 in one word. At first I said accomplished, thinking of the bigger things that occurred – becoming a manager, 30th birthday, traveling to Australia – but then I looked at my 2012 goals. Not much is crossed off, so accomplished might not be the best word.

Of what I did accomplish… I finally found a kickball league to join. In fact, I started off by captaining a team with one of my best guy friends. We didn’t do so great, but it definitely gave me the kickball bug again. That team went defunct, but fortunately I got asked to join a different team, Holy Balsak. Everyone on the team is awesome and we’re a lot better on the field. I’m actually starting my second season with them in just a couple weeks.

I also ran another half marathon – Denver Rock ‘n’ Run – started giving blood again and went to a new music festival – Outside Lands in San Francisco. Going to Australia was the bucket list item I was able to cross off, thanks to my employer, who sent me there to train a new editorial manager.

Also thanks to my employer, I was given the opportunity to get CPR certified in the company’s dime. But I didn’t make time to take the online course, so it’ll have to be one of 2013’s goals. Here are the rest:

  • Don’t be two-faced
  • Devote myself to the genuine, positive people in my life
  • Call my mom more
  • Get CPR certified  (I’m already registered, so I just need to make time for the class)
  • Get professional photos taken
  • Find and try out a new bar/restaurant/lounge each month
  • Stop biting my nails
  • Snowboard somewhere new (Vail in January!)
  • Travel somewhere new
  • Be more punctual to work (i.e. 8:55, not 9:05)
  • Lose weight
  • Make smarter food and eating choices
  • Try surfing again
  • Try skateboarding again
  • Get out of debt (again)
  • Check off at least one item on my bucket list
  • Start playing the guitar again (at least twice a month)
  • Run another half marathon
  • Stop hitting snooze
  • Master the crow pose
  • Give up alcohol for Lent

I recently had the amazing opportunity of visiting Australia for two weeks (I can cross that one off my bucket list). Although a majority of my trip was spent working out of my company’s Melbourne office, hanging with Aussies and doing things locals do, I definitely stuck out as an American.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #1: The first thing you ask when you get off the plane is where you can pet a koala and kangaroo.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #2: You get excited when you see a Starbucks.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #3: You walk and run on the right-hand side of the path.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #4: You question their peculiar terminology, like rubbish instead of trashpetrol instead of gasbuggard instead of exhausted, jumper instead of sweaterentree instead of appetizer, partner instead of husband or girlfriend  and singlet instead of tank top.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #5: You crack up every time the laser-machine gun signals for you to cross the street.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #6: You check the toilet every time you flush to see if the water spins the opposite direction . . . just to see that it doesn’t actually spin at all.

You know you’re an American (girl) in Australia fact #7: You can’t tear your eyes away from the “heaps” of attractive men in one place.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #8: You think the only beer Australians drink is Foster’s.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #9: You find yourself longing for Mexican food, paper towels, restaurants with real wait staff and a stiff drink.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #10: Your souvenirs consist of boomerangs, Billabong apparel and anything with kangaroos on it.

You know you’re an American in Australia fact #11: You’re actually looking forward to paying LA prices.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m always watching my weight or attempting some sort of diet. Whether it’s the latest fad diet, like South Beach or the Master Cleanse, or eliminating certain foods, mainly sweets and candy, eating – or trying not to – is always a focus.

Soooo, it should come as no surprise that I’m trying a new diet. This one stems from watching Forks Over Knives, one of the many food-focused documentaries out there. I’ve seen a handful of them, and they can all be summed up pretty easily because they all focus on one similar theme: don’t eat . . .

  • fast food – Supersize Me
  • mass-produced foods from the industry giants – Food Inc.
  • meat or animal byproducts – Forks Over Knives

So, as you probably guessed, I’ve been inspired to follow the herbivore lifestyle Forks supports. With stats galore and numerous case studies, the film promotes the idea that people are not made to consume other animals or their byproducts, meaning: no meat, no eggs, no milk. It promotes a whole-foods, plant-based diet, meaning: natural, plant-based foods that are free of processing, preservatives, additives and genetically modified ingredients.

For someone who grew up with meat-and-potato Midwestern grandparents and a sweet tooth for all sorts of processed desserts and candy, this is going to be a significant undertaking. I’m not a big fan of veggies and only recently warmed up to some. But I’m really inspired by some of the results and findings the film shared. The whole-foods, plant-based diet significantly reduced one patient’s cholesterol and body fat levels. And it allowed him to ditch every single one of the meds he was taking daily – a number that was in the teens! Another plant-based convert was an avid runner and competitor who beat what one doctor deemed “terminal” breast cancer without meds, chemo or radiation by changing her eating habits for good.

Today marks the first day of my new diet . . . or lifestyle, rather. I’d like to see how it goes for at least two weeks, and then ideally extend it from there. So, like my journey into the Master Cleanse, I’ll be documenting my progress, sharing my struggles, exploring recipes and hopefully celebrating some positive results along the way. Wish me luck!

I had hoped to post this as an advertisement to vote for my essay in Contiki’s “Blog Your Way Down Under” contest to Australia. But, alas, I didn’t make the finally three, so now I’m just posting this for the heck of it……

I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. Sure, every entrant will probably say that. But in all honesty, I’ve dreamed of going there long before I started writing and blogging—even before I knew how to write! I remember riding to the bus stop as a kid, singing along with my We Sing Australia cassette tape. I dreamed of throwing a boomerang, learning to play a didgeridoo and seeing a kookaburra in a “gum tree, eating all the gumdrops he could see.”

I think the cassette eventually ended up in a garage sale, but the melody and dream of visiting Australia never stopped playing in my mind.

Hand in hand with the desire to visit Australia is my free, adventurous spirit. In the years after that cassette, you could find me building forts, camping with my family and exploring the woods of my aunt’s cabin. I was also fortunate enough to have parents that understood the importance of traveling and experiencing other cultures. This planted the travel-bug seed in my spirit, and I grew hungry for what adventures lie beyond the 50 United States.

Fast forward to today: I’m still that adventurous, curious traveler.  That’s why I’d be the best candidate for Contiki’s “Blog Your Way Down Under” Contest. And that’s why I’d choose Contiki’s Beaches and Reefs package. “If you love sun, water, fun and adventure, then this is the perfect trip for you,” reads the vacation snapshot. It’s as if the clever folks at Contiki created the trip just for me—or maybe they simply grew up listening to We Sing Australia, too.

Although Contiki is known for its detailed, activity-packed trips, I’m drawn to the Beaches and Reefs Australia vacation for its 18 days of unique destinations, extraordinary sights and firsthand experiences. Sure, I can hear a didgeridoo at a concert of my favorite Aussie band, John Butler Trio, but on this Contiki trip, I can hear one played by aborigines in the rainforest outside Cairns. Yeah, I’ve been white-water rafting a couple times, but this trip will introduce me to some of “Australia’s best white-water rafting” on the Tully River. And although I’ve already crossed skydiving off my bucket list, having the opportunity to skydive in Australia (visiting the country is also on my bucket list) is something I would have never imagined doing.

The same goes for my writing: I’ve done a lot, whether it’s profiling a jet-setting entrepreneur, reviewing innovative tools for business travelers or blogging about my various food quests. But getting to write while traveling abroad or blog about my adventures down under, that’s on a whole other level and something I’ve only dreamed of.

I don’t listen to that cassette anymore, but I still know all the songs. Australia remains top of mind for me, especially when I hang out with my numerous Aussie friends and go into work every day for my Australian employer. So help make that childhood dream a reality and pick me for the trip!

I haven’t written in awhile, but it’s not because I haven’t had anything to write about. I have a whole list of things that have inspired me or, conversely, riled me up enough to blog about it. I just haven’t had time. But today, when I was filling out my annual Performance Review at work, I realized a couple things. First, filling out performance review forms seems like unnecessary busy work that is keeping me from doing the tasks I’m being reviewed on. But that aside: 1) my blogging performance is quite poor, 2) I need to make time to blog, 3) reviewing my work performance is both an ego trip and a slap in the face, and 4) actually reviewing my performance in life might be kinda interesting. Put my “flaws on the wall” so to speak. So, here it goes…


  • I often bottle up my feelings
  • I’m indecisive
  • I’m selfish
  • I’m inflexible
  • I’m especially passive
  • I let people walk all over me
  • I have a hard time saying no
  • I can be shy
  • I sometimes run away from problems
  • I’m intimidated by strong people
  • I’m jealous of beautiful people
  • I’m stubborn
  • I’m critical
  • I’m a perfectionist
  • I’m a worrier
  • I get blue easily
  • I sometimes get caught up in shit-talking
  • I don’t call my friends and family enough
  • Sometimes the glass is half empty
  • Food, especially candy, Cadburry Mini Eggs, desserts, ice cream, Cheez-Its, Wheat Thins, yogurt pretzels, granola, cereal and peanut butter


  • I’m good at solving problems
  • I like helping people
  • I do what I can to help the environment
  • I work hard
  • I don’t settle
  • I can be a good listener
  • I’m rational
  • I’m friendly
  • I’m loving
  • I have a sense of humor
  • I like meeting people
  • I’m outgoing
  • I like trying new things
  • I’m creative
  • I’m independent
  • I’m thoughtful
  • I like most challenges
  • Sometimes the glass is half full
  • Sleeping
  • Snowboarding