Links I Love: 14

Honey bee in lemon tree

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Links I Love: 13

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Five Reasons I’m Excited about 2013 — A Mid-Year Update

Near the beginning of 2013, I wrote a post outlining the Five Reasons I’m Excited About 2013. Today, I thought I’d share a mid-year update, and let you decide if I still seem as exciting about the year.

1. I’m moving back to California come Hell or high water, earthquakes or wildfiles

Yup, I’ve done it. I packed my bags last month and moved back to California. Darren came over for two weeks to help me get set up. We choose an apartment together for the first time, bought furniture together for the first time, and officially kicked off the next chapter of our life in the US.

I’m pretty stoked about being back. The weather has been mostly good (barring a few days of rain or threats of rain!), my new community is pretty great, and life really isn’t too much different than I remembered from a few years ago. The most shocking bit about coming back was realizing how competitive the rental market has become on the Peninsula, and just how much rent prices have recovered since 2008. When I lived in Menlo Park before I moved, one-bed apartments in my complex were going for $1400 a month. Now, one beds start at $2000, but many are a few hundred over, and aren’t in the nicest areas. I feel I bagged a deal in Belmont. It’s not perfect, but for the amount of space, and the price, I’m pretty happy.

While being back in the area has been great, I’ve realized that moving back has uncovered some issues in itself. Darren will remain in the UK for the foreseeable future while his visa paperwork is processed. This could take up to 10 months, and we’ve already had one setback with the Royal Mail not selling us enough postage to get the I-130 Petition to the US Embassy in London. Fingers crossed this is the only glitch in the process, and the rest goes relatively smoothly and quickly. I don’t think I can do 10 months apart!

2. I am going to find a job/career about which I am truly passionate

Ugh. This one is difficult. I started my job hunt in earnest last week, and while I feel much more confident I will find a job I love here, it’s still a big, scary step for me.

For one, I have no idea what I want to do. Last year, a colleague recommended What Color Is Your Parachute? 2013: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers to help me figure this out. I’m still working my way through the book and the exercises, but I am hoping it could give me some insight on what I’d like to do, and what I’d actually be good at doing. I feel a bit like a lost child asking myself what I’d like to do when I grow up. I keep waffling between job ideas like financial analyst, a business analyst, a web designer, or trying to get a job as a market communications specialist/manager. To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m fully qualified for any of these, but I’ve got to start somewhere, and I’m always willing to learn new skills.

In the meantime, I’ve been focusing on going to the office most of the week (shocker!), reconnecting with colleagues, doing info interviews, and generally getting word out that I’m looking for a new opportunity. I’m lucky and grateful that my European-based manager has let me move back with my job, and has been supportive of my job search.

3. This blog is getting a makeover!

I think I nailed this one. Nailed it in that since the original post, I’ve bought a domain, redesigned the blog, and started posting more (I didn’t say regularly–just more than I did previously).

Both The Blogcademy and Blogshop were instrumental in inspiring me to work a bit harder on my blog. Yeah, I’ve been neglecting it a bit recently, but I hope you can forgive me–I have been busy moving and finding a new job, after all.

I have loads of ideas for features I’d like to introduce in the coming months, including loads more California content to inspire you to get out an enjoy the Golden State, or come visit if you’re not a local. If you have content you’d like to see, give me a shout!

4. Europe is my oyster, and I plan on seeing more of it before I leave

My expectation of the amount of time I’d have to travel, versus the actual amount of time I had to travel were vastly different. Darren and I managed a weekend trip to Dublin for my birthday which was excellent.

In May, we were going to go to Prague. We’d been busy planning my move to California, packing, and preparing. With each week that passed, we were feeling increasingly drained and things kept cropping up. Finally, during the last week of May, my best-est friend in Europe sent me an instant message asking if I was going to visit her. I really wanted to see her before I left, and she had the weekend before we were due to leave for America free. So I frantically booked tickets and we were off to Prague at the weekend.

Prague was wet–seriously wet. It rained almost the entire time we were there, and Prague experienced some of the worst flooding it had seen since the floods in 2002. Regardless, we had a brilliant time. I mostly wanted to catch up with my friend–seeing the sights was an added bonus. We did loads of walking, which really sucked in the rain, but we had a fun evening in a blues club in the center, and I really enjoyed Czech food. Eating out there reminded me of restaurants in the Midwest in the ’80s and ’90s (smoking areas included)!

There are so many places I still need to tick off my European travel list, but I’m glad I got to see Prague before I left. We’ll always have relatives in the UK, and the rest of Europe isn’t that much further away, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of trips in the future.

5. I’m going to become a “badass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody”

Not unlike point three, this one has been difficult. Now that I’m back in the US, I definitely feel more confident connecting and reconnecting with people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pretty low-key and slightly introverted, but I’m not afraid to randomly approach people and say hello anymore (I always thought this was viewed as an act of agression in Britain, so was never a thing I did).

I haven’t met up with as many friends here as I’d like, but I’ve also only been back for a month. I ended up catching a cold after moving here, and that kept me home two weekends in a row. Not to mention, I’ve been working some crazy hours, so it’s also difficult for me to meet with people after work, too.

Meeting with people in the office has been great, though. I’ve met a few new faces (turns out I’d “met” them over email previously!), and reconnected with some old people. While it’s not quite the same as connecting with friends, I really enjoy the interaction. That’s something that was really lacking when I worked in the UK. At first I thought it was because I didn’t work with anyone in person in the UK, but I don’t work directly with anyone here, and I feel much better taking the time to show up to the office. I guess it may just boil down to cultural differences, and I’m probably more American than I originally thought

In terms of overhauling my wardrobe, well, that’s a work in progress. I’ve bought a few new work outfits, but I’m trying to save my money until I have a new job and know exactly what I can afford. If I absolutely need something, I’ll buy it, otherwise, it’ll have to wait.

I think my confidence is slowly coming back, but until I feel a bit happier with my job situation, and have my husband back in the Bay, I think it will be a bit slow-going.

What were you excited about in 2013? Have you made progress on your goals for the year?

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own, and not of the company or product represented.
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Links I Love: 12

Have you found any good links this week? Share them in the comments!

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Links I Love: 11

Due to a small break in blogging duties recently, today’s Links I Love is a bit bigger than usual. Enjoy!


Some great guides to California cities have cropped up recently. Here are a few I can’t wait to try:

  • The Bold Italic’s guide to one of my favorite beach towns, Santa Cruz.
  • Oakland might have a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges, but sfgirlbybay’s guide to Oakland shows the city is on the up-and-up.
  • If the photos in this guide to San Francisco don’t entice you to visit The City, then I don’t know what will (the guide is in French and Google Translate garbles it a bit–but you can still get the gist).
  • And not to leave SoCal out, here’s a guide to San Diego.
  • If you’re looking for a bit more California inspiration, why not follow my California! board on Pinterest?

Blogging and Social Media Tips

Food and recipes

The Rest

Have a missed any super-awesome links recently? Let me know in the comments!

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Links I Love: 10

Have you found any good links this week? Share them in the comments!


Links I Love: 9

Have you found any interesting links this week? Share them in the comments below!

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Links I Love: 8

I’m a few days late with this week’s links, but there is no shortage of links I love.

Have you come across any interesting links this week? Share them in the comments!

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Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary
Photo by Mike Legg Photography.

Today Darren and I are celebrating our first anniversary! I’m so lucky to be married to my best friend, and cannot imagine being any happier with anyone else than I am with him. Happy anniversary, Darren–I’m looking forward to many more. x

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Links I Love: 7

  • I love homemade cleaning products and lavender, and I really want to try these lavender DIY laundry essentials.
  • Thinking about taking a trip to LA? Take at look at this local’s tips for a fun time.
  • If you need more inspiration for an LA trip, look at Joy’s trip to Little Tokyo. Those Japanese sweets look so tempting!
  • I enjoyed this post on love languages. I think I fall into the categories of acts of service and quality time. How about you?
  • How do you deal with negative people in your life? Maybe it’s time to chuck ’em to the curb.
  • If you’re getting started with a dSLR, here’s an article explaining the benefits of prime lenses.
  • I loved Victoria Smith’s beach inspired Thoughts for a Friday post.
  • Living the creative life isn’t easy; Lucy dishes out some harsh truths to those pursuing their dream career.
  • Planning an event big or small one? Consider these 10 tips to hosting a successful event.

Have you come across any interesting links this week? Share them in the comments!

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