long weekend recap

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Happy Wednesday!

How is everyone’s week going? This week is particularly short for me due to the MLK holiday a few days ago. I actually wanted to recap my long weekend because even though I had to study and get a few assignments done, I did have a lot of free time.

I kicked off my Friday night with my good friend Chloe where we went out for drinks. It was super low-key and a great way to start the weekend.

The next morning, I got coffee with an old blogger friend of mine that y’all might remember, Grace from A Tiny Cup of Cake! I met her halfway through my freshman year of college and since she graduated soon after, I hadn’t seen her in what felt like forever! It was definitely a long time coming, but we finally set up a date and coffee shop to catch up at. We chose Mr. West Cafe + Bar, which I had never been to.

One thing to note about Mr. West Cafe + Bar: it’s a sit-down coffeeshop! I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be so nice but they serve breakfast and – it’s in the name – but drinks for post-work festivities. I loved it! I just ordered a latte.

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Later that night, I headed to my friend’s house since they were hosting a bonfire! Seattle was dry over the weekend (thank goodness) so it was perfect. One of the girls at the house lent me The Moth Presents: All these Wonders, which is a collection of short stories that all surround a common theme. It’s an intriguing concept, and there are Moth podcasts as well. I can’t wait to dig in soon, since I just finished reading Little Fires Everywhere.

I’m always surprised when I force myself to go socialize on a Saturday night: I came home with a pleasant, satisfied feeling. Having met new people, spent time with familiar faces and coming home with a hint of bonfire smoke in my clothes, it’s good. I retain that feeling for next time I’m not in the mood to go out and socialize.

The next day, I headed to one of my favorite coffeeshops in Capitol Hill and got some homework done. I also got to sit down and read and relax this weekend, which was my idea of the perfect long weekend. I hit up Storyville Coffee in Pike Place and found some cute walls in the area.

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I’d love to know what you did this long weekend – as always, thanks for reading!

Jen

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5 books to pick up in 2018

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How is everyone’s week going? Wednesdays are hard, but you’re halfway through the week. My first week of school last week was pretty good, but I can already feel that things are ramping up.

Last week, I shared my goals for 2018. My friends always tell me they want to read more, but a lot of the time, they don’t know where to start or don’t have time. I wanted to round up my top five favorite reads of 2017; even though I’ve never read so little in a year (a meager 20 books in 2017, nine of which were completed over winter break, ha), 2017 was my most diverse reading year yet. If you need a great read to help kick off the year, I hope y’all pick up one of these!

ADULT FICTION: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I’ve mentioned this one a few times on my blog already, but I have to mention it again. The Hating Game was undoubtedly my favorite read of 2017. I devoured this one and literally couldn’t put it down (I read it on my flight to Greece!). It’s about these two co-workers at a publishing company who absolutely despise each other to no end. This book definitely has a lot of romance if you need your fix, but I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the banter between the two main characters. Sally Thorne captured their relationship perfectly.

ADULT FICTION: The Martian by Andy Weir

Most of you have probably already heard of this one (it’s a movie starring Matt Damon), but I finally got around to it in 2017 and highly, highly enjoyed it. I don’t naturally gravitate toward science fiction, but this one was immensely engaging and Andy Weir’s writing style is probably one of the most distinct and hilarious. Un-put-downable and incredibly detailed, The Martian is not only thrilling but also impressive.

ADULT NON-FICTION: Quiet by Susan Cain

As an introvert myself, I knew I had to pick up Quiet. Funnily enough, I used some research that was in this book as part of my English paper freshman year, and after reading a few excerpts, I knew I needed to read the entire thing. I related to this book so well and it helped explain a lot of my tendencies and what I can do in the future as an introvert, and why it’s not bad to be introverted.

ADULT NON-FICTION: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

I actually listened to this one on audio in preparation for my trip to Rome last year and thought it was the perfect introduction/way to get a little taste of what Rome is like from someone who lived there for a full year (my my, that would be a dream!). Doerr’s other work, All the Light We Cannot See, is one of my favorite books of all time, so you can imagine how much I loved his autobiography about all things Italian.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I loved Morgan Matson’s debut novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and her writing style ever since I was introduced in 2011 (gulp, that was like six years ago!!). I don’t know why it took so long for me to pick this one up! It’s about a girl whose best friend suddenly disappears but leaves a bucket list for her to complete. It’s not a mystery – far from it, actually – but a cute, summer-y contemporary story with tons of character growth and self-discovery. It put me in the best mood – highly recommend.

There you have it! My favorite books of 2017 and ones that I think you need to pick up. Thanks for reading!

Jen xx

2018 Goals

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Hello, hi!

My first official post of 2018! I hope everyone had a splendid NYE – I had a wonderful time with my family back at home, but today is my first day back to school, eep! Winter break was great, but I’m actually glad mine is only two weeks; I don’t know how much more laying in bed watching Parks and Rec I can take (Type A personality problems)!

If you read my last post, you know I did some reflecting on 2017 and things I want to keep thinking about in 2018. While I don’t making “resolutions”, I do like to make goals. I feel like resolutions are just so New Years-y and they have a high rate of failure, whereas goals are more likely to be checked on throughout the year, at least for me personally.

The past couple of years, I’ve used a word/theme to head into the new year with, and I intend to do the same for 2018. For 2018, I want to:

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Simple as that.

To get into more quantifiable or “SMART” goals, I’ve broken down specifically a few things I want to achieve this year. I like to share with y’all to hopefully inspire some of you but to also hold myself accountable. I’ve organized my goals into “personal” and “professional” goals for clarity, and obviously, I have a lot more personal goals I want to accomplish. Here they are:

PERSONAL: Set aside two hours every week to R&R //

I can’t stress enough how important relax & rewind time is as I head into this year. I really just want more time for myself, which probably means going to coffeeshops and reading for pleasure. I’ve already scheduled recurring events of two-hours in my week to R&R, so that’s a good start.

PERSONAL: Read at least 35 books //

In years past, I’ve been able to read 100+ books, but with classes and more obligations, I only hit 20 books in 2017 (crying!!). In 2018, I definitely want to make more time for myself to read more books, which I know I’ll be able to do because I’ll have loads of time to do so in the summer.

PERSONAL: Write a blog post every week // 

I truly truly truly love blogging. Those of you who are bloggers, I’m sure you understand how therapeutic it feels! This year, I want to focus more on my blog and not go weeks without posting something. I’m sure it’ll be much easier for me to accomplish this in the summer just because travel recap posts are pretty easy, but during the school year it’s definitely trickier because of time and lack of content/things happening in my life other than school.

PERSONAL: Workout/exercise 4-6 times a week //

I’ve been pretty consistent about working out frequently during the week, and I definitely want to keep it up. I think it’s so important for people to understand that when one exercises, it doesn’t have to be an hour long of grueling torture! I keep my workouts short, just something that gets my blood pumping and muscles sore for the next day; most of the time, I keep it under one hour so I can go about my day. It’s so much more achievable when you think about it as a minimal task to accomplish daily, just like brushing your teeth or showering.

PERSONAL: Volunteer somewhere //

This one is one of my least quantifiable goals since I’m still figuring out when I can fit it into my hectic schedule, and where I want to volunteer. In high school, I volunteered every week at my local library (I will surround myself in the presence of books any chance I can get!), so I’m thinking about volunteering at my local Seattle branch. I’ll keep y’all posted.

PERSONAL: Get to 1,000 Instagram followers //

Y’all, a few months ago I started experimenting with Instagram stories (I know, I’m so behind on the game), but they are so fun. I also recently changed my Instagram account to a business account for this blog, so we’ll see how that goes. I overall want to engage with my followers and people I follow more. 1,000 followers would be so cool, wouldn’t it?

PERSONAL: Keep dancing //

As most of y’all know, I’m a Dance minor, and I’ve been taking a dance class pretty much every quarter. However, this winter quarter, I couldn’t fit it into my class schedule. BUT I do want to keep dancing, so I’m rejoining a dance group I was part of my freshman year – so exciting! It can be as simple as choreographing something, etc. For example, over winter break, I was really obsessed with Charlie Puth’s “How Long”, and found this routine on Youtube and managed to self-learn and teach myself the choreography. It took a couple of hours in my garage, but it was so fun. I want to do more things like that!

PROFESSIONAL: Get to 500+ LinkedIn connections // 

This has been an ongoing goal of mine since I made a LinkedIn account. However, my perspective on LinkedIn has shifted a lot in my time in college: it’s not really about the number of connections but the quality. I’ve truly enjoyed reaching out to more people in the Seattle area, and while this means getting to 500, I want those remaining 100 or so to be genuine connections.

PROFESSIONAL: Get coffee with at least one professional every month //

This ties along quite nicely with my LinkedIn goal, and it’s something I’ve pretty much been doing since early sophomore year, so this goal should be pretty attainable. I love constantly learning from people, especially those who have been in the workplace for awhile.

PROFESSIONAL: Land an internship for 2019! //

I know it’s crazy to start thinking about 2019 internships already, but with accounting, a lot of students are able to know by the end of the summer to see if they get an internship for summer 2019. I hope I’m in that pool of students! Ideally, I’ll also have figured out if I want to go the audit or tax route in public accounting. Fingers crossed!

So that’s it for my 2018 goals; I’ll be sure to reference this list as frequently as possible. Eyes on the prize, people! What are your goals for 2018?

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

holding on & letting go: 2017 to 2018

I’m not too sure where to start with this reflection; as of right now, I’m just astounded that 2017 has already came and went. All I remember is that I was getting ready to go abroad, then I was abroad, and the next thing I know, I’m back home for winter break.

I went into 2017 knowing that it was going to be a big year for me. I was ready to go abroad and see the world, have the study abroad experience “change” me for the better. It’s so cliché, but it’s truly what I was looking for. I’m not sure if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I really do feel like a different person now at the end of the year. My close friends and family haven’t explicitly said, “you’ve changed”, and I haven’t asked. But I feel it. I don’t need a confirmation – it’s enough that I know it for myself. I think about different things now. I’m braver. I’m more intentional. Maybe that’s just the progression of life and “personal growth”, but 2017 was a reflective year for me.

I guess I want to break it down to two simple things: what I want to keep from 2017, and what I want to let go of.

Earlier this fall, when my friend was driving us back home for Thanksgiving Break, we sat in the car for a total of nearly ten hours to and from. We spent a lot of time together, and while I wanted to listen to an audiobook for the trip, she preferred that we just catchup and talk, which was fine by me, too. So instead of just chatting, I Googled “questions to get to know someone”. I clicked on the first link, which was a 200-question version. There’s the standard “36 questions to fall in love” or something like that, but we had so many hours, so we went for the massive one. Our time spent together answering those questions turned out to be more fulfilling than I had expected it to be. Now I want to ask these 200 questions with everyone I meet and all the people I already know. It’s crazy to think that every single person on this planet is just as complex as you are.

What does this have to do with what I want to keep or let go from this year? If you read my last post, you’ll know that I’ve been more intentional about the people I want to spend my time with, and I think this questionnaire is exemplary of exactly that. There are so many times in college where I just find myself surrounded by people I don’t care about. How did I get here? Call me brash or pessimistic to admit this, but why should I spend time with people who will not, or don’t want, to add value to my life? Time goes by way too fast, and if I’m not intentional about who I spend my time with, I’ll run out of those opportunities before I know it. I want to keep being intentional in 2018. I like being efficient with my time and energy, and the best way to go about doing that is to check-in with myself and ask, “do I really want to be doing this right now?”.

I had multiple conversations with a student who was on my study abroad program this summer, and the topics we discussed together still stick with me; they’re things I think about almost every day. I don’t think this peer realized what impact he had on me, but it’s definitely something I want to keep thinking about in 2018. Tying into the prior question of “do I really want to be doing this right now?”, I want to also ask myself that exact question, but big-picture, rather than just situationally. Thinking of this question on a macro scale is going to be challenging and overwhelming, but it has to be done. I don’t want to become complacent, and I fear that I’m already headed down that road. Is my future plan that’s pretty much set-in-stone, really what I want to do? What impact do I want to leave behind in this world, if anything?

As sad as it is to admit this, in 2017, I got a little taste of self-care, and this is exactly what I want to leave behind in 2018: ignoring my self-care. In 2017, everything was just go-go-go, and I hardly had any “R&R” – relax and rewind – time for myself. I burnt out pretty quickly. I was involved in way too many things, and a lot of it really started to feel like busy work. I love being busy, but I really think I need to chill. I’ve started to take things off my plate, and it feels good. I’ve had more time for myself. I want to bring that into the new year. I’ve joked with my friends that I’m going to find a period of time in 2018 where I won’t check my Google Calendar for a whole week; of course, it’ll have to be a week that I have zero obligations, but I’ll be ~chill Jen~. We’ll see how that goes. But I really do want to see what’ll be like to have more fun.

I’m not too sure what 2018 will bring. There aren’t any “big events” that I know of yet. I don’t want to expect anything. I want to just… let it happen. I’ll be starting my last year of undergrad in 2018, and I want to savor it. I want to meet more people that will make me think about things I’ve never thought of before, but also hone in on who I like to best surround myself with. I have all these “wants” in mind, but it can’t be forced: it’ll come naturally.

Here’s to 2018 – holding on and letting go.

 

 

navy in the pearl

Hello hello!

For all my readers who celebrate, I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. I myself spent my Christmas Eve sleeping in until noon and finishing my favorite book of all time, Anna and the French Kiss. My older sister came home for Christmas so we were all able to open presents together and watch Christmas movies – it was a lovely time.

Last week, my good friend Maggie from my sorority and I spent a fun day together in the Pearl District of Portland. A year ago, we went to Tea Bar, so we vowed to do the same again this holiday break. Funnily enough, you can read my post from exactly one year ago here.

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For those who don’t know, Tea Bar is a wonderfully delicious tea place, serving yummy pastries and bubble tea. My go-to is the Lavender Bubble Milk Tea and the rose croissant. It’s not cheap though, be warned! Definitely a splurge treat.

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Maggie and I weren’t the only ones having a photoshoot inside Tea Bar: practically every customer who came in had a DSLR strapped around their neck. It’s a pretty aesthetic place, I have to admit. I always joke that Tea Bar doesn’t need a social media marketing team, because their customers do the job.

After, Maggie and I walked around Portland to shoot some outfit pictures! The Pearl District is really beautiful and clean. It was freezing, but bloggers gotta blog.

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I am positively obsessed with this ruffle-sleeve top. It’s from Banana Republic, and I just feel super cheery when I put it on. I had to pair it with my white jeans because regular jeans or black ones would be way too dark. And of course, a pair of slate grey booties!

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After walking around the district, we decided to try going on a rooftop for a different perspective. We found a parking garage and went to the very top. The view was gorgeous!

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And that’s a wrap! Have you been to Tea Bar? What pieces have you been donning this holiday break?

Thanks for reading, y’all. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for my 2017 wrap up!

Jen xx