With Gratitude…

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I’ve been feeling out of sorts as of late and though I’m pretty aware of the reasons for it, I’m also trying to remember that it goes with the ebb and flow of life. It’s only natural, apart of the ride. Much of what’s contributing to this feeling I realize is a signal that it’s time for a change. I’m trying to work out what I feel the next steps should be to bring me into better alignment with “what next?” but it’s producing a range of emotions that is another story altogether. Rather than dwell on it too much, I know the best way to deal with a flux in your mood as you work through anything in life is to continue to live in gratitude. It’s when you focus on the good, what brings you joy, however big or small, that makes the journey all the more meaningful…and a little easier.

I try to live by the philosophy of keeping your spirits in the right perspective, even as you progress through a range of emotions. Of course, this is a constant conversation I have to have with myself when dealing with the unknown. The interesting thing is that oftentimes whatever is nagging you tends to works itself out, or the right guidance will come just when you need it to. So though I’ve been in a pretty blah mood this week, I’m with gratitude for the small things, waiting until that ah-ha moment comes and I find my next step. These 11 come to mind:

  • As the weather continues to cool in LA (finally!) and it actually starts to feel like fall (finally!), my (very girly) addiction to candles is alive and well again. Nothing beats the warm glow and the heavenly scent that makes home feel all the more like my special refuge.
  • 7 words: Gilmore. Girls. Is. Now. Streaming. On. Netflix. (Amid the glow of those aforementioned candles, will be much “ass on couch time” re-living one of my favorite shows as a teen.)
  • I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Belgian Butter Almond Thins and I can already tell this is going to a be problem. I can’t put them down. Yum!
  • The one thing I never take for granted: being in good health.
  • The other thing I never take for granted: a good job and a paycheck.
  • The other, other thing I never take for granted: a warm place to sleep at night.
  • Iced vanilla lattes.
  • My Stinker – who makes me breakfast every weekend…and readily helps in my coffee addiction.
  • Along with the switch in seasons means (finally!) getting to rock scarves – the ultimate fall staple.
  • Birchbox makes me happy.
  • The smell of a Stargazer lily, arguably my favorite flower if I had to pick one.

I’m with gratitude…

What are you grateful for?

Happy hump day to you! x

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Making Progress: A Graffiti Coffee Update

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To all my decaf-soy-2 shot-vanilla-mocha-frappuccino-no whip-latte lovin’ readers:

Ask and you shall receive! I won’t take full credit for this, but apparently the right people over at Graffiti  read my post last August (and probably all of the complaints feedback on Yelp) and made some major improvements to how they do things. I stopped in for a pre-Superbowl party caffeine fix this past Sunday and was pleasantly surprised when I was….

1) …asked for my milk choice!?! And not just your typical 1% or 2% options, they even offered me almond milk (which I jumped on and thoroughly enjoyed)!

2) That cash only nonsense? Gone. They take debit, baby! Something that shouldn’t have ever been an issue in the first place and I knew wouldn’t last long anyway.

3) I’ve been here a handful of times in recent months and the very unnecessary valet parking service is seemingly kaput. Thank goodness. I’m all for high glam, but there is a fine line and this totally pushed it.

4) It also looks like we’ve hired an interior decorator, somewhat. It’s still very much a completely stark white and black palette with a minimalist flair; but I had to admit, I loved the new addition to a wall that just needed something. It’s become my new personal motto:

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Graffiti went from a B- to a B+ in my book thanks to the improvements, but because 1) I don’t get the really random, huge, and completely misplaced painted portrait of Anne Hathaway on the wall; and 2) I’m noticing in the attire section on Yelp, apparently Graffiti has gone formal and a jacket is required? I’m assuming this is a joke, but if it’s not it’s a step back. Even the baristas are in jeans. Come on.

Now if I can just get them to re-think the name or work with it in a more concrete way – you can’t have a business called “Graffiti” with not one iota of color in the place besides the pastry case.

We’re making progress, people. But as they say, there’s always room for improvement. I’ll keep you guys posted (as I’m finishing my no fuss decaf vanilla latte from Coffee Bean).

Highlights: Carmel

After a very happy Christmas Day and once I had gotten over the initial shock of such a thoughtful and extravagant gift, we headed out to enjoy the surprise Christmas trip from my boyfriend, a 3 (that turned into 4 – long story) night stay in Carmel!

I had never been to Carmel-by-the-Sea (which I learned is the city’s official full name), and honestly, had only heard of it because of Clint Eastwood. (How cultured of me, I know). As a lover of travel, good hotels, dining out, and sight seeing, I knew I was in for a real treat. Better yet, I was going to get 4 full uninterrupted days of adventure with my favorite person! 🙂

It was the prefect mixture of relaxation (i.e. spending lots of time lounging in our hotel room watching Saturday Night Live re-runs on VH1) and exploration (i.e. getting to know the city of Carmel).

Random fact: I just visited the city’s Wikipedia page and apparently there’s a law that prohibits the use of high heels without a permit due to uneven pavement throughout the town. Thank god I wore my Converse and didn’t get rock my 4 inch heels – it seems that would’ve been illegal!

Here are a few highlights from our Carmel-by-the-Sea adventure:

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{Our hotel, Carmel Mission Inn.}

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{Loved the beach-y inspired flair to the room with this cool electric blue lighting over the bed!}

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{Nothing like starting the day with room service.}

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{Exploring The Crossroads shops across the street from our hotel on a beautiful rainy day.}

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{This is by far the coolest way I’ve ever been served a vanilla latte! Nothing but nice things to say about our breakfast experience at “From Scratch Restaurant.”}

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{Exploring the shopping and dining places on the other side of our hotel, The Barnyard.}

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{View from our 4th floor hotel room. I loved all the trees, so much greenery.}

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{Roaming Downtown Carmel. Very quaint. Very expensive.}

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{400 Degrees Gourmet Burgers & Fries. This place was super cool! You placed and paid for your custom made burger order on the device at your table and your hot food came directly to you when ready. I predict we’ll be seeing this in L.A. very soon.}

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{Finally, I made a wish and threw a penny into this fountain in a park in Downtown Carmel. Here’s to hoping it comes true.}