Create the Life You Want

While I had my pique with post-grad life earlier this season, I've come to see this period for its hidden beauty. I was rushing to fall into a career that came with the picture perfect vision of climbing the ropes and being there for years. I thought I was ready to find a place to settle and make a life but instead, I found that I want to give myself the satisfaction of exploring my passion instead of what feels safe. 

Life after graduation is honestly a cluster of emotion and no one really tells you that part until it's happening. However, you should also remind yourself that this is the time to build the foundation of who you want to be five, ten, twenty years from now. When you find yourself working in a job that doesn't align with your goals and passions, it can feel daunting and almost worrisome. Is this all my life is supposed to be? Am I not as special as I thought? When this happens, check yourself fast. You're the only one who has the power to make these changes and create the life you want. 

Nonetheless, a job is a job and the main priority is having your belly full and your bills paid. The fun part begins when you realize you have nothing tying you down. Your early 20s aren't supposed to be comfortable. It's about the hustle and being in conditions that force you to level up in preparation for the man or woman you're supposed to be. 

Eat shit for 24 months & eat caviar for the rest of your life.
— Gary Vaynerchuk

 

 

If you have a million and one entrepreneurial ideas but can't afford to not work, make your dreams happen after typical work hours. You're spending forty hours of your week doing something you don't love but what about the other 128 hours? I've come to learn that I have time to sit and build someone else's dream but no one is going to build mine unless I put the work in. Embrace the period of transition. Stack your money then work on you. 

As scary as it sounds, the best part of post-grad life is being free from what you have to do. We HAVE to go through middle school and high school then society says get a college degree. At this point, you're done being controlled by outside forces. It's scary at first. No one's holding your hand and the people around you are all in very different stages. You have friends getting engaged, friends moving across the country, some going back to school. Your options are apparently limitless. The hard part is knowing what's the right choice for you and sticking to it even when your heart is speaking a different language than everyone else's.

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And most importantly, do things on your own time. I was working on other people's clocks when it came time to find a new job because my text inbox is filled with "hows the job hunt going" and "did you leave (insert company) yet?"I still haven't figured out if they're asking for me or for themselves. What I have figured out is that success is subjective. What someone may consider "doing well" for themselves may be the opposite of the standards I have for myself and vice versa. 

While uncertainty can be uncomfortable, having the freedom to create the life you want is a luxury. Embrace it.  

 

California Love, 7 Days in Los Angeles: Part 1

As an end-of-summer treat to myself, I booked a flight to see my best friend and college roomie in LA. The post-grad blues were hitting us both pretty strong and being together for a week was what both of us needed to get back to normal. 

I booked my flight through United. I went with basic economy and I probably won't ever do that again unless the price difference is drastic. I got lucky with having a Mileage plus card, I was able to get my first checked bag free and a full size carry on. The usual basic economy rules don't allow you to choose your seats, sit with your group, travel with a full sized-carry on, or change your flight. 

I thought I was all good with that until I got seated in the last row, right by the bathrooms. Some people think this is the safest seat on the plane but as someone whose easily triggered by turbulence, middle seats work best. I managed to get my seat changed last minute. Shout out to the wonderful lady at the gate. 

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Day 1

After I got off the plane and claimed my bag, Samhitha and Laxy picked me up from the airport and we headed right to brunch. We ate at The Butcher's Daughter, a vegetarian/vegan friendly cafe filled with plants and natural lighting. I got a breakfast burrito that had eggs, cheese, tomato, and avocado. They also served golden lattes which was surprising (well not really, it is Cali) since I've only ever made them at home. A golden latte is almond milk base with turmeric and additional spices. This one had cayenne which I normally don't add when I make mine. It's a great digestion aid but the taste wasn't one I'd go back for. I'd opt for more of a honey + cinnamon taste. 

After brunch, we checked out Venice Beach. I'm a big Gilmore Girls fan and remembered the area from season 3 when Jess leaves Stars Hollow to visit his dad. 

I saw Teyana Taylor on the boardwalk- the beginning of my path to Hollywood fame. 

Day 2

Our Cali plan turned into Cali + Vegas since half of our squad hadn't been been before. We decided to keep day 2 simple so we could prepare for the four hour drive to Sin City. 

We had lunch at Tender Greens, did some last minute Vegas shopping, then met up with some friends for happy hour in Hermosa. 

Day 3 

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After checking in to the hotel and changing out of workout clothes, we hit the strip in search of margaritas. We debated between Senor Frogs and a smaller no-name place but went to SF. I'm not sure if it was a better deal but we got two yard pitchers for about $48, buy one get one free.

After drinks, we found a great happy hour deal inside The Veneitian and stopped in since we had an hour to kill before dinner. 

Dinner was my favorite part of Vegas. I know, who am I? We definitely did this totally wrong because we were so stuffed when it came time to head to the clubs. I still think about the fried chicken and collard greens. 

We napped then headed out to see what Vegas nightlife had to offer. 

Day 4

We spent day 4 in the pool at Wet Republic. I forgot to get a waterproof case so we kept our phones away for majority of the day. If only we were interesting enough to say there are no pics 'cause what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip to the West Coast.

Spoiler alert: it includes a trip to the mega Taco Bell in Vegas.

 

Foodie Adventure: La Valentina, Long Branch, NJ

Today, my best friend and I planned to spend the day at the beach and happened to pass four or five Mexican restaurants on our way down. I'd been craving tacos for the past few days so I was down to check one out and naturally, so was Laura. We found the perfect meal that catered to our budget so I knew I had to share it with you guys.

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Before I let you all in on my top notch taco spot, I wanna share how today was the kind of day I didn't expect to be the cure I was longing for. For the past couple weeks, I've been experiencing the Feedback Loop From Hell. If you're not familiar with the term, I first discovered it while reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**** by Mark Manson. I'm only a couple chapters in but so far, it's validated all the feelings I thought were trivial or irrelevant so shouts to Mark Manson. He describes this feedback loop as:

" You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety. Quick, where’s the whiskey?" (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***)

For me, it's been an overwhelming series of feeling sad about something minuscule, questioning myself about why I even feel sad, getting upset about the fact that I'm upset then crawling into bed to nap, hoping my thoughts sort themselves out. It's exhausting. So far, the book has been my gentle reminder that I'm not insane and that I'm not the only person feeling this way. Today's foodie adventure/beach day was also a gentle reminder that it get's better. I know a major part of this funk is due to not hearing back from the jobs I really want and getting rejected by the ones I kinda want so I'm adapting a new positive outlook and trying to remind myself that what's meant for me will be for me.

OKAY BACK TO TACOS!!

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Finding the restaurant was a little difficult because we're airheads the restaurant shares a space with a supermarket. We looked in  and saw shelves of groceries and thought we were in the wrong place. We then realized the supermarket was in the front and the tacos we're being held hostage in the back.

What we ordered:

Laura got an order of al pastor tacos and I was basic and ordered chicken. I was lowkey on a pescatarian/ no red meat diet the past two weeks but honestly, life's too short to not eat the things you enjoy. We did a taco swap and even though watching "What the Health" made all types of meat feel disgusting to me- THE AL PASTOR WAS FIIIIIRE. Literally, the meat was so well marinated and all the flavor popped when you topped it with some lime and verde sauce. I definitely recommend. I usually find ordering chicken to be a 50/50 risk but I was so pleased with my order. The chicken had a nice little smokey flavor without being oversalted. I would've liked something creamy to complement the sharper flavors, like some crema or a chipotle mayo but these tacos were so authentic I felt like I had to enjoy them as is.

Drinks:

BYOB! We found this out in one of the Yelp reviews so we stopped at a liquor store three minutes away. Since we couldn't get legit margaritas we made do with Limearitas and a 24 oz of Redd's mango hard ale. Maybe I was just really thirsty but I chugged it like juice, it was so good!

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Price:

Our final bill came down to $14.90. At almost $7 a meal, it doesn't get much better than that. Add a few bucks for the drinks and it's still an amazing deal!

Service:

Well, they didn't have guac so points deducted automatically. Our server was fine, she was the only one covering all the tables so we were understanding of that. The food came out quickly, chips and salsa were served complementary, and the ambiance was chill. No one bought our check out automatically but I'm gonna assume it's cause they didn't want to interrupt our conversation.

Overall, If I'm in the area, I am definitely going back. I'd debate bringing my own avocado and throwing  a slice or two on top of my taco.

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Bottom line: Great, authentic food for such a low price deserves a second trip.

Address: 186 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740