26 Before 27

Today marks my 26th journey around the sun. A week ago, I was bumming hard on my impending birthday – I’m officially in the second half of my twenties. Cue my existential mid-twenties crisis. While I’m not stoked about turning a year older, I am looking forward to making year 26 my bitch – starting with these new goals and fresh intentions.

01. Embrace balance.

Last year I overworked myself until my body screamed, “WTF is wrong with you! Chill B!” Seriously. I spent Thanksgiving in the ER with an angry appendicitis and was forced to finally take it easy in recovery mode. This year, I’m learning the meaning of balance and prioritizing self-care over the constant hustle and grind.

02. Take at least two adventures a month.

Planning micro- and macro-adventures each month gets Dave and me out of our usual routine, makes each month more memorable, and gives us something to look forward to.

03. Quit my toxic relationship with technology.

Staring at my phone before bed, sleeping with it close by, and checking emails / scrolling for memes as soon as the alarm goes off – these are horrible habits, I know. Time to cut it out!

04. Explore Iceland.

Okay, so maybe this one is cheating since we already booked the trip. But we’re headed off in May! I’ll have a lot more posts about Iceland soon. You’ll be thoroughly sick of waterfall photos, I promise.

05. Start making videos.

Vlogging and creating videos about photo & design has been on my mind for awhile. But I’ve been too scared of taking the plunge. My perfectionism didn’t want to get started if it wasn’t flawless right off the bat (stupid). Instagram stories have really helped break the ice and warm me up to the idea; so next: YouTube videos!

06. Sell my curios.

I’m approaching borderline hoarder status with the amount of vintage shit I’ve collected. I have dreams of setting up an online shop or a space at one of our local flea events to start selling some of the fun pieces I find (and help my husband not lose his mind over the clutter).

07. Plan something big to celebrate our 10-year.

This year marks Dave’s and my 10-year first-dateiversary after meeting on Myspace (yep).

08. Get serious about our dream home.

We’re quickly approaching the year we were planning on buying/building a house. I spend a lot of time on Zillow these days and pinning crazy big ideas to our “Dream Home” Pinterest board. But I want to make sure we’re staying on task and making the moves towards turning those dreams into reality.

09. Write a San Diego travel guide.

I have a huge list of my favorite spots I keep in a Google doc that I give to friends visiting from out of town. I’d love to finally share this publicly on this blog, along with photos and some “local secrets.”

10. See some of my favorite bands.

(Before it’s too late.) With Brand New elusively implying their 2018 expiration date, Corey Taylor saying he doesn’t know how much longer his body can handle performing in Slipknot, and a number of my old favorites reuniting for “one last tour,” I want to make sure I see some of them live one more time before they all throw in the towel.

11. Complete another Whole30.

The first time, I absolutely loved it (but I also ate sweet potatoes for every meal which kind of negates the purpose). Dave and I have gotten pretty fat and sassy after getting married, so it’d be nice to clean it up again with paleo.

12. Conquer my anxiety.

I’ve been way more candid about this lately, which I think has helped a bit. But I’m determined to conquer it completely, and at the very least, find better ways of managing it (or keep suppressing it into dark humor).

13. Develop & stick to a morning ritual.

My current morning ritual consists of staring at memes in bed and not eating breakfast because I’m too distracted by incoming emails. Not the best way to start my day (save for the memes part). I’m determined to break these bad habits and start my mornings off with intention (and better memes).

14. Visit more museums.

One of Dave’s and my favorite passtimes is exploring museums. We spent most of our honeymoon perusing through natural history and art museums. It’s something we haven’t made much time for lately and I miss it! Anyone got some awesome museum recommendations for us?

15. Go camping with Scout.

We’ve only camped with Scout once, but it was so much fun. Definitely want to do more of that this year!

16. Do more people training with Scout.

This dog is so crazy intelligent when it comes to obedience training, but she takes after my anxiety in social situations. She’s fantastic when we’re out and about in public, but our biggest challenge has been getting her to stop aggressively approaching guests when they first enter our home (cue barking and intense crotch ramming). I’m determined to see her totally broken of that behavior this year.

17. Buy my first car.

I’ve been driving a hand-me-down Lexus (pretty sweet digs for a hand-me-down) from my parents for the last couple years, but it’s getting time for us to part ways. I feel a little childish being 26 and having never bought my own car, so this’ll be a big “adulting” move for me.

18. Finally update my website with new projects.

Major procrastinator here. I have a backlog of about 20 final projects I haven’t shared. Oops!

19. Take a Skillshare class.

Sometimes I really miss school and learning new techniques I wouldn’t have otherwise explored outside class. I’ve made a list of courses I want to dive into on Skillshare, including Jon Contino’s Lettering for Package Design and Jessica Hische’s Lettering for Designers

20. Do another talk.

Last year I was invited to my first speaking gig at a designer conference Valio Con, and earlier this year I was part of a panel at a small creative meet-up Shape. Public speaking is totally outside my comfort zone, but I love sharing my knowledge and experiences, and nothing beats the rush and sense of accomplishment after a talk.

21. Get 20 (or more) rejections.

I stole this idea from Kathleen Shannon. But aiming for more “no”s forces me to put myself out there. Chances are, by opening myself up to more opportunities for rejection, I’m bound to get a few “yes”es in the process.

22. Make more art.

A big goal I’m striving for this year is to make more art that isn’t for clients.

23. Add 5 new pieces to my Society6 shop.

Going along with my “make more art” goal, I want to create more work for sale.

24. Do more photoshoots just for fun.

Again, make more photos that aren’t work or client related. I’m aiming to have, at the very least, one fun photoshoot a month and start working with some new models. So if you’re a model in San Diego, let’s shoot together! ;)

25. Get out on my own.

As someone who works from home, I rarely find the need to leave my house during an average workweek. I really only leave when I’m accompanied by others, and I think it’s contributed to my anxiety. I want to make a plan to get outside and go do something on my own at least once a week – whether it’s going to the zoo by myself, taking Scout to a trail we haven’t yet explored, or just sitting and eating lunch by myself at a restaurant (something that absolutely terrifies me by the way). I can already imagine this stretching and growing me exponentially in such a simple way.

26. Keep not giving a f*ck.

This was on my last list. But I need the constant reminder to just keep doing my thing and not give two shits about the opinions of irrelevant no ones.

Home Tour : Halloween Hearth

It’s been ages since I last shared a home tour. But now that I’ve finished up decorating around here for Halloween, I wanted to give a quick peek at our spooky living room.

Most of this stuff is up year-round, so I always find it difficult to do something different for Halloween. I spent the last couple weekends picking through estate sales, gathering up brass candle sticks and old books, brought out my bell jars, and incorporated various dried florals to give the hearth a witchy Victorian flair.

Styling Tips

✳︎ Search estate sales, thrift stores, and flea markets for brass candle sticks and old books (the more tattered, the better).
✳︎ If you can’t find beautiful antique books, upcycle any old books, tea/coffee stain, and display the pages facing out.
✳︎ Unique dried fruits and veggies (like these artichokes) make for a spooky arrangement.
✳︎ Skip the tacky Dollar Tree halloween decor and browse other aisles for creative accents (like these blood-red berries).
✳︎ Opt for ghostly green-grey pumpkins vs the standard orange ones for a more vintage look.

Steal This Look ▾

Hope this gives you a bit of inspo for your own decorating. Happy haunting!

Snowy Adventures with Scout

On New Years Day, we headed up to Mount Laguna for a walk through the forest with Scout. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than breathing in fresh mountain air with the late afternoon sun on our skin. Patches of snow clung to the shady spots in the meadow and underneath the trees. So Scout experienced her very first snow day! And let me tell you – you haven’t seen pure happiness until you’ve seen a cattle dog chasing pinecones through the snow. Not pictured are the handful of photos I took of her rolling uncontrollably and darting through the snow-covered grass, leaving flurries of ice behind her while we died laughing. If there’s one resolution I have this year, it’s to do more of this.

Click to see full photo set ▶

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim

Had so much fun at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this last Saturday! The show was sold out and packed full of fans from all generations. Obviously this year is a special time for the Star Wars universe with The Force Awakens continuing the original saga in Decemeber, so it was awesome to be a part of that excitement and energy, especially after the premiere of the new teaser on Thursday. Definitely didn’t get tired of hearing people randomly shout out “Chewie, we’re home!” throughout the day, haha.

The days leading up to Saturday, I tuned into the live stream to catch the panels from the comfort of my own home rather than waiting in long lines at the con (wish all cons did live streams like that!). We spent the majority of our SWCA experience wandering the exhibit floor, checking out fan-built droids, snapping pics of costumes and set replicas, swooning over fan art (particularly this adorable painting of a creature carousel by Christian Slade), and searching through the stores for ewok action figures and vintage Micro Machine play sets. We ended the night by watching Empire Strikes Back in a huge theater full of die-hard Star Wars fans and it was the best thing ever.

Also, if there’s not enough Star Wars things to be excited about, check out this leaked teaser for Rogue One, the first standalone film in the Anthology series. Bonus – it’ll feature a female lead. Lots of girl power coming up in the new Star Wars movies!