Let it Ink in

Let it Ink in

Before I dive into this post, I’d like to do the age-old “Wow, life happened and that’s why I haven’t posted in a while” spiel. So thank you in advance for indulging me.

Oh hello there 2020! It feels like I stumbled into the new decade carrying the clutter of my mind that I was hoping to leave in 2019.  I’ve had a whirlwind of a start to the year and somehow I’ve arrived at the tail-end of February 2020 (as I’m writing this). It sort of feels like I’m on a treadmill, months behind, trying to catch up to the marathon that is this new decade. But here I am, trudging through as always. I’m more grateful than ever to be healthy, to have chosen and be a part of a support system that has carried me through more than they even know, and to be here to embark on this new year.

IMG_8883Speaking of running metaphors, I’ve started running again. Why you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you. The simple answer is that I signed up for a half marathon in April. Consequently, out of sheer fear of being unprepared for what will be my second half marathon, I’m training. The complicated answer, yet still pretty simple in my opinion, is that I think I needed a literal kick in the ass. To say the least, I’ve had a ROUGH past six months mentally and emotionally, but I think I needed a physical manifestation of pain and therefore growth. Oh…you thought that masochistic Melissa was left in 2019? Nope, she’s still here, alive and well. But let me explain so I don’t come off as a complete psychopath.

After running my first half marathon back in 2017, I remember telling myself, “Cool. That’s over, that was kind of horrible, I don’t think I’ll do that again.” But on a whim back in November, I decided to sign up for a half marathon to force myself out of a comfort zone that I’ve made for myself. I don’t consider myself a runner because frankly, I’m not really good at it. I’m slow, I somehow end up in pain most times and I wouldn’t say I have great endurance. Did I mention I’m slow? Anyways, thus far, I have definitely been reminded of how humbling navigating physical pain is, how encouraging it feels to work on overcoming it and how empowering it is to notice growth. So that’s why I’m doing it. I also felt like I needed to be outside more. S.A.D. got me good this winter.

Anyways, that was my not-so-short update on life since my last post. Now onto the real reason why I’m here. I got my first tattoo! Hence the cheesy post title *shrugs*. I wanted to document the origin of the idea and why it means so much to me. I originally meant to write and publish this post before the end of December, but like I mentioned, life happened, I took time to let myself process and I’m glad I waited to be in a lighter headspace. I’m hoping it’s helped me better articulate what you are about to read.


Taboo

I grew up in a culture and environment that considers tattoos taboo. It’s never been addressed directly, but the implication is there. The reaction I received (or lack there of) from my parents upon showing them my tattoo reinforces the taboo. There is a misunderstanding as to why I would even want a tattoo and no desire to want to know more about it. But it’s alright though, I’ve long since accepted my place as the family black sheep and this little tattoo is just buying into the branding. LOL. I know they still love me. Plus, if they really wanted to know what the tattoo means to me, this post will be here for them.


The Catalyst

I wanted a tattoo for a number of years and always seemed to find an excuse as to why I shouldn’t get one. All throughout college I wanted one, played with some design ideas, but never followed through. I thought that maybe I was just going through a delayed rebellious phase. LOL. I was scared that it would hurt. Well, it did hurt. But honestly, I’ve gone through emotional and mental strife worse than the physical pain of getting a tattoo…TMI? Sorry not sorry. I will also add that this is a pretty small and fine-lined tattoo. So I feel like I was spared a lot of pain.

A lot of my hesitation was also based on what others thought or may think about me. What would my parents think? What would future me think? I was told by some to really think about what I wanted and if in two years I still wanted it, then get it. Others questioned: How would I know I’ll like that (referring to the intended artwork) later in life? Well, I let a lot of time pass and here I was, heading towards 2020, a chameleon to what others thought on the matter. Why did I care so much about the hypothetical opinions about something as inconsequential as a freakin’ tattoo?! It was insanity. So that was the catalyst. The idea that I allowed myself to be a bystander in my own life scared me more than the potential thoughts my parents (or anyone really) would have, the pain I would “endure” to get the tattoo and the potential that my future-self would loathe my present-self for getting it. HOW INSANE IS THAT?? I’m trying to live my life in reality, not in hypotheticals people.


Symbolism

IMG_7339I’ve always feared and admired the commitment required when getting a tattoo. People decide to get tattoos for a plethora of reasons. Whether it’s to commemorate a loved one or important date in one’s life, or purely out of love of the craft and art. I love that a tattoo can be so many things for people. My body’s a temple right? Why not place some really beautiful pieces of art in that temple 🙂

This first tattoo means so many different things to me. So let’s break it down:

  1. The symbol – An ampersand. I’ve always loved how the symbol looked. I’ve seen it in so many pieces of literature, written so many different ways.  The flowing lines and the way it has been adapted throughout the years is amazing. An ampersand is a logogram representing the phrase “and, per se, and” AKA “and.” For me, it’s symbolizes continuation. There is more to me than what I allow most people to see; there is more to be experienced in the story that is my life; there are many more seasons of growth ahead of me; beyond the pain there are many more lessons to be learned; there are so many things and people to be grateful for in my life. This symbol encapsulates abundance and appreciation of myself and the life I have. My life is abundant. During some of my darker times, I need that reminder. Now I won’t forget.
  2. Position and Direction – The tattoo is on my inner left wrist, facing me. I wanted it to be seen and read by me before anyone else. It’s on my left arm because I’m left-handed and I wanted it placed there as a visual reminder that while I exist in a world tailored for the opposite of who I am: left-handed, woman, woman of color, etc. I find strength in those unique qualities. That is what makes me, me.
  3. Nature – Intertwined branches, leaves, flowers both as buds and fully bloomed illustrate the happenings of life. It’s an oxymoron, but the way the fine lines intertwine with each other is delicate. But in the same way, the intertwining of branches create strength that hold up the leaves and the flowers that come and go. As seasons pass, we grow new branches, those branches grow buds, those buds bloom into beautiful flowers, and then back to branches we go. It’s a constant cycle. Seeing the tattoo is a daily reminder to express gratitude for the delicate life I get to experience through it’s ups and downs; and the strength I’ve developed and will continue to develop along the way.

Onto the Next

I got this tattoo back in November 2019. I kept it to myself, close friends and family for these four months and I’m glad I did. It allowed me time to let it heal, get it re-touched, let it heal again, let myself get used to it, and really appreciate it. The first few weeks I actually freaked out and regretted getting it done (I didn’t tell anyone this though…I figured saying it out loud would make the regret true, so I didn’t). I found myself hiding it underneath sweaters and long sleeves, being hyper aware that my tattoo was underneath. But what I found comforting was that it was winter, so long sleeves and sweaters didn’t seem out of the ordinary. After those few weeks of doubt, I find myself literally stopping in the middle of my day, seeing it and mouthing the words “omg it’s so cute.” 🙂

I love what this cute little first tattoo of mine means to me. It’s part of my story and I am proud of it…and yes, you read it right. I did say first. I already have tattoos two and three brewing in my head. I’m also working on seeing who from my cousins would be down to go in on some ink with me. FAM TATTOO!! No real takers yet…but I totally get it. Maybe they’ll come around one day.

Big shout out to Wilber at Baron Art Tattoo! He adapted a sketch a friend of mine made into the final artwork. Their artists are all so talented and specialize in different types of tattoo art. Highly recommend, 10/10. Check them out if you are in the market for some ink. I went to their second location in Long Beach…so dangerously close to where I live lol.

Anyways, if you read this far, wow. Thank you for taking the time to share in this joy with me. Onto the next!

Hmm…is this going to turn into a tattoo blog now? *contemplates life choices* 😛

Sincerely,

Melissa ❤

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A Weekend in Mendocino, CA

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Now that July (AKA the best month of the year) is a wrap, I officially feel that I have accepted being 27. This is the year that I am officially okay with being in my late-twenties. I don’t know what this feeling officially is…but after giving it some thought, I don’t think I was ever fully jiving with being 26. I think it partly has to do with the anxiety that is a result of the arbitrary goals our younger selves put on our future selves. I figured at around 10 years old, the idea of turning 25 is OFFICIALLY OLD and that life should be figured out by then. But I’ll tell 10-year old Melissa right now that it seems that LIFE NEVER GETS “FIGURED OUT.” There’s no official formula…and that’s the fun part. Regardless, here I was,  all of a sudden 26.

Granted, I am in no way dismissing the things I have achieved thus far. I am grateful for the steps that have led me to being able to purchase a car with the amenities I wanted, help support my parents, pay down my student loans, still have some to save and maintain the lifestyle that I do. But, the grass is always greener right? There will always be more that I thought I would have achieved by “this time.” But don’t fret 10-year old Melissa…we’ll get there.

I think part of navigating my 26th year has been realizing that the hustle-till-you-drop game is a double-edged sword. Being goal-oriented is perfectly fine. Surrounding myself with other goal-oriented and motivated people inspires me to do better.  But I’m so done with the imbalance that is being hyper-focused on career/life goals that you forget to enjoy the process. I’ve come to realize that the truest achievement is getting through all of it, while maintaining a level head on your shoulders. I’ve let go of so much unnecessary stress by simply processing that work is work and that it will be there tomorrow regardless of how I feel about it. There is no reason why I should be coming home from work everyday crying and losing sleep over it. That’s ridiculous. There are so many other issues and projects that warrant my stress and tears more than work. However, that sentiment comes from my specific experience and perspective. I’m fortunate enough to even have the brain space to explore that concept. Some people are out there hustling day-in and day-out to simply survive – and that’s their story to own.

Wow. Okay…Anyways, this is supposed to be a post about the wonderful end-cap weekend to my birthday month. I just wanted to preface it with some tidbits of perspective and growth that have led me to this point. I love my life for all of its oddities and I’m excited for the year of 27.


Why Mendocino?

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One of the ways I stay motivated is to plan things that I can look forward to and break me out of my routine. As a birthday treat to myself, I wanted to escape Los Angeles for a weekend to a place that was not a major city and had healthy access to nature. I simply wanted fresh air and different scenery…so Mendocino seemed to fit the criteria.

Mendocino County is known for it’s variety in landscape. The coastal cliffside views, the estuaries (learned what those were that weekend), the redwood forests not too far up the mountainside, the meadows in-between. The commute included a short flight into San Francisco and a mini three-hour road trip further north, with amazing views along the way.  I was also very spoiled and did not drive once that weekend, so I was able to fully take a nap (lol) and fully take in the views…thanks MB2 ❤

Pro tip for my motion sickness-inclined friends: bring Dramamine. Windy roads ahead.


The Hideaway Cottage

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There is a healthy amount of bed and breakfasts, seaside inns and boutique hotels in the area. However, I opted for an AirBnb. I wanted to have the freedom of ample space and a full-sized kitchen to cook. I also think this decision stemmed from the fact that I’m an introvert, so I crave space and value my privacy. Yes to less human interaction LOL. I chose a spot that was a short drive from Mendocino’s downtown area (which is more of a quirky, quaint town) and a 5-10 minute drive from their well-known State Parks (Russian Gulch and Van Damme).

I loved everything about this house in the woods! The large windows that let in the sunlight that filtered through the surrounding redwood trees; the high-vaulted ceilings; the natural wood finishes; the fully-stocked kitchen where we cooked dinner on Friday night; the front deck and table where we enjoyed Saturday morning breakfast; the comfy couch in the living area where we watched a movie, enjoyed dessert and sipped on wine; the claw-foot tub where I enjoyed a nice bath (I never take baths!) while sipping on more wine. All of it contributed to the pure disconnection I was craving and it was glorious.

If you are interested in staying at this exact AirBnb, see the official posting here: Mendocino Hideaway Cottage. Thank you Bill and Marilyn!


Wine to Unwind

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Apparently, Highway 128 is also known as “Wine Road.” On the way into Mendocino, we passed a number of vineyards and wineries. If you aren’t set on an itinerary, I think it would be a fun way to spend the day: pulling off the road to enjoy a tasting at one of the wineries and then jumping to another after that. But of course…drive safely my friends.

We spent the afternoon at Pacific Star Winery in Fort Bragg, about 15-20 minutes north of Mendocino. After an intriguing California wine history-filled tasting (shout out Don, fellow SoCal native turned NorCal transplant), we bought two reasonably priced bottles (one for now, one for later) and headed to one of the many available seating areas that overlooked the seaside cliffs. The property grounds are fairly large, so where we decided to stake our wine bottle felt like our own little spot. We were able to enjoy the scenery and talk without disturbing or overhearing others. I don’t think I’m capable of accurately describing just how surreal the view was. The sound of the ocean crashing against the rocky shoreline, whale watching in the distance, the hum of the bumblebees doing their day’s work on the native brush that lined the cliffside. I also can’t accurately describe just how healing wine, sunshine, a coastal breeze and great company is. TAKE ME BACK.


Adventures Outdoors

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After our wine session, we headed back down towards Mendocino, but stopped over at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. I looked at so many gorgeous pictures of the colorful sea glass during my research, and set that as my only real must-do during the trip. I think the history of the beach is actually quite beautiful. Up until 1967 it was once a designated dump site, but after its closing, many cleanup programs to reverse the damage and years of the waves crashing and tumbling the glass and pottery pieces to make colorful sea glass, it became known as Glass Beach. But, I’ll be honest and say that I was slightly disappointed when I saw it. I’m convinced that the rise of the beach’s popularity may be the culprit of the lack of sea glass that I actually saw when I went. After some deeper research, I found several other reviews noting the same thing: little-to-no sea glass. 😦

Regardless, it was still a nice pit stop before heading back to Mendocino for a late afternoon hike. Except that we made another pit stop at the AirBnb and I knocked OUT for a few hours. I blame the sun and wine. Anyways, after my semi-unexpected slumber, we went for a quick evening exploration of Russian Gulch and enjoyed a mixture of crisp evening forest air and sweeping coastal cliffside views. Golden hour was gorgeous. I highly recommend not being like sleepy and wine saturated me and take advantage of the full hike. If I hadn’t slept we probably could have made it to the waterfall. But, we didn’t want to risk being in the forest when the sun went down. NO MA’AM.

We also went into Van Damme to see the pygmy forest on Sunday morning before we headed back on the road to San Francisco. What’s a pygmy forest you say? It’s a forest of really old trees, but instead of towering high above you, because of the nutrient-deficient soil, their growth was stunted. Interesting history once again! We cheated by skipping the hike and driving directly to the entrance of the pygmy forest. But, we were on a tight schedule, so we did what we needed to not miss out on it. I would think it would be an awesome morning hike.


Eats

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I don’t really have photo evidence of the wonderful eating we did in Mendocino – except for what we did eat at the AirBnb. But before I get into my thoughts on the restaurants we visited, I will say this: it’s worth it to go into their local grocery shop in town to do some of your own cooking; granted you are staying in a space that has a capable kitchen. We did that for Friday night, which was perfect after our day of traveling. We wanted to have some time to settle into the AirBnb, unwind and rest up for the full day of activities ahead of us. So a night in was a good call. We ended up cooking up some veggies and rib eye on the iron skillet…and we of course brought back some local wine to accompany it all.

On Saturday night we went to Trillium Cafe, located in their little downtown. I read a number of great reviews during my research and it really did live up to them. While the food and drink were on the upscale end, the restaurant itself felt cozy and unpretentious. I think it has to do with the fact that the restaurant is operated in tandem to an inn of the same name. The space definitely felt as if it was formerly a house – think The Attic in Long Beach, except more intimate, a small seaside-facing deck and way better/non-gimmicky food (Ooh, the SHADE). We were seated at a corner table inside and my view was of the colorful flowers and little bits of sunlight that were left, filtering through the window frames. It was fully night time when we finished, and the short walk back to the car under the starry night sky (sans light pollution) was an idyllic way to close out the evening. EXCEPT – we set ourselves up for even more success by copying the couple next to us and ordered a dessert to-go. We got the peach tart with sweet cream ice cream and enjoyed it while watching a movie back at the AirBnb. We ended the night with a wine cap of course. WIN.

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On Sunday morning, we went for breakfast at Circa ’62, located in Little River, before officially hitting the road. The restaurant is also adjacent to an inn called: Inn at Schoolhouse Creek & Spa. Views overlook – you guessed it – the ocean. I will never get over how picturesque everything we did that weekend was. I recommend trying their huevos rancheros and what they call their “slow death on a raft.” You’ll thank me later.

After that, we departed on our drive back to the hustle-and-bustle of San Francisco. Such a stark difference in just pace alone. Then it was back to reality. I am grateful to have spent a weekend to recharge for the busy months ahead and end my birthday month on a high note.

It was my kind of perfect ❤


BONUS: Check out the short collage of clips I put together from the weekend!

Sincerely,

Melissa

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Contentment v. Complacency

Contentment v. complacency

I’ve been trying to develop a blog post on the concept of complacency versus contentment for the past month. Initially, I thought it would be an easy enough analysis. Just like any stream of consciousness blog I’ve written, it should be simple right?

  • Step one: look up the official definitions of both words
  • Step two: take definitions and provide insight using personal experiences
  • Step three: conclude with at least one take away…hopefully

But the more I thought about it, the more the lines of both concepts continued to blur. Probably the most challenging part of this analysis for me is the current relevance it has in my life. Any analysis I do will always have some sort of personal connection and with that, comes many variables to unpack lol. To self-reflect is one thing, to effectively articulate that self-reflection is another. So, after sitting on this topic for a while, I decided to just let the post unfold however it unfolds. Whether there will be a clear point at the end, the world may never know…and with that, I will definitely be categorizing this post under “rambles” lol.

The definition of these two words are similar, both having to do with being in a state of satisfaction. The difference seems to be with the underlying attitude that accompanies the sense of satisfaction. Where complacency lacks motivation and the desire for growth, contentment typically utilizes gratitude as a vehicle for continued growth.

Contentment: noun. A state of happiness and satisfaction.

I was raised in an environment that values gratitude: being thankful for what one has at all stages in life. Which I still live by. Practicing gratitude is a helpful reminder of the progress we have made, however large or small. It is also a great reminder of the positive internal and external influences that have contributed to our progress.

There has been a self-care trend that I’ve noticed throughout the year called “gratitude journaling.” From what I understand, the concept is to develop a habit of gratitude through the creation of a daily list of people, things, circumstances, etc. The idea is to shift perspective in a positive direction by identifying, whether big or small, things in ones life to be grateful for. I love this idea. If anything, flipping back through such a comprehensive list is a reminder of how full one’s life can be. That’s always nice.

So, is contentment the appreciation of your current life circumstances, the recognition that it’s ever-changing and the acceptance that everything that comes with it is okay? My second question is: does contentment impede or foster growth? I would think that depends on the person. Thirdly, does contentment sans motivation plus time lead to complacency? These are the questions of life HAHA.

Maybe I have yet to experience what it means to be content because so far in my life I have always existed in some varying degree of fearing stagnation.

Complacency: noun. Showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

*cue Satisfied from Tony Award winning Broadway production Hamilton*

I suppose the most daunting part of complacency is the possibility of not knowing you are currently existing in it. Complacency to me means acceptance of one’s current circumstances and a lack of motivation for better. I think fear is a huge contributor to this. Fear of change, fear of failure, or even fear of success. Instead of facing fear, a complacent individual comes to terms with their current situation.

So, are you content or complacent? I don’t think it’s that simple.

Personally, I wouldn’t say I’m completely complacent because…again my constant fear of stagnation that has resulted in my continued vision for things bigger than even myself lol…Or maybe I have yet to experience enough life to jade me to the point of complacency…yikes.

Maybe we all ebb and flow between contentment and complacency…and it’s ultimately on ourselves to decide when to keep moving forward, when to take a pause and if so, how long to take a pause.

On that note, this stream of consciousness seems to have once again boiled down to balance. Like everything in life, balance is key. It’s okay to feel content; I would think it’s great actually! To be proud of the achievements you’ve accomplished without regret of any part of the process, that’s amazing. It’s even more amazing to use that feeling as fuel to do even more positive things in your life. I also think it’s okay to be complacent…for a short period of time. Sometimes we need the time to brood, compare and ultimately motivate ourselves to restart that engine of motivation. That’s why regardless of what state of being we are in our life, it’s also good to build an army of people around you that will slap you right in the face, whether figuratively or literally (I mean…different people need different things? haha), to remind you exactly what you need to be reminded of.

What are your thoughts on contentment and complacency? 🙂

Side note: The exploration of these two concepts may have stemmed from the fact that I’m currently reading The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Yes, I know I’m late for the game. But for those that don’t know, or for those who read the book ages ago, the heart of the story is recognizing one’s aspirations and making the decision to chase abstract dreams and transform them into a tangible reality. The story is also a navigation through the idea of whether life happenings are obstacles to overcome, stepping stones or both? lol. I realize that description may sound like the plot of maybe every Disney movie out there, but trust me, The Alchemist has thought-provoking perspective that is worth the read. It’s a book that can be interpreted in many ways.  ❤

Here’s to a happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

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I’m Taking a Mental Health Day

 

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), October 10 is World Mental Health Day. WHO observes this day annually with the objective of raising awareness about the multitude of worldwide mental health issues and the importance of allocating resources in support of mental health. This year’s theme is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.

WHO is focusing on the need for comprehensive mental health programs targeted specifically toward the younger generation, which I think is great. Unfortunately, the reality we exist in tends to approach mental health in a reactive manner: mental health issues are treatable. But very scarcely are we exposed to resources that teach us about preventative measures…methods that can be utilized to address potential issues before they have a chance to escalate.

WHO speaks of young people in a “changing world.” This era of young people: Millennials (myself included) and members of Generation Z, are coming of age in a technological environment that continues to expand at an exponential rate. With that, comes bounds of information at our fingertips, making the big ‘ol world seem a lot smaller…a lot faster.

From my own personal experience, remembering a portion of life sans Internet and growing up alongside its development, definitely helped shape how I view the world. For me, technology has given me instant access to a variety of cultures and perspectives; and it has helped me develop a strong sense of awe and empathy for others…something I don’t think would’ve been possible prior without literally traveling.

I gratefully exist in an increasingly sensitive, open-minded and fluid generation. I love it. Social boundaries are being broken, bent and re-construed in beautiful ways. However, traditional social structures label sensitivity as a negative; open-mindedness and exploration as a privilege (which is true, but it is seen through a negative lens). These filters lead to generalizations that Millennials and members of Generation Z are entitled, narcissistic and individualistic. What I’m getting at here is that while I see this “changing world” as an overall positive…it is accompanied by new, complex sociological and mental challenges.

Myself and most of my peers are at points in our lives where the terms “burnt out” or “overwhelmed” are common phrases used in conversation regarding well-being. We are the generation that went straight to college, racked up loans, jumped on that stable job to start paying those loans with a quickness…fast forward to 3-4 years in the workforce, grinding day-in and day-out. (ooooh I can already imagine how far back the eyes of Generation X and the Baby Boomers are rolling right now) We are the generation of dreamers: pursuing side hustles, fostering passion projects and/or creating our own jobs, with plans to break free from the traditional structures that we originated from.

Unlike generations before us, we are inundated with access to so much at all times that the stakes are constantly being raised, standards are increasingly higher, expectations are continually (and seemingly) unattainable, and our perception of our own potential for success is constantly being challenged through wide-casted comparisons to others. These technology-stemmed social pressures support a culture of overworking, overwhelming and overexerting ourselves…spreading ourselves too thin.


Stress Knows Not What Age Is

In the end, while the causes of previous generations’ development of mental health problems differ from that of today’s generation, they have similar origins. From my own observations of myself and those in my circle of family and friends, unaddressed stressors and their triggers are what lead to the development of anxieties, and frustrations. Regardless of one’s generation, it all seems to boil down to two things:

  1. a lack of self reflection – people are so busy with their lives hustling, stuck in routine, fixated on a goal (or multiple). It’s important for my sanity to step back on a regular basis to reflect on my intentions behind my actions, evaluate if those have changed and recalibrate if necessary. “Adjust accordingly” has been one of my mottos for a number of years now. It essentially reminds me to have a plan, know that the plan will be deviated and that the multiple deviations do not take away from the value of the original plan. If anything, deviations add to its charm.
  2. a lack of self care – Again…people are so busy living their lives that they forget to take care of themselves. Whether it’s something as simple as getting my nails done once in a while, making time for a hobby that I enjoy or sticking to a gym schedule…it all adds up. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes! We need to be happy with ourselves (or even just my day…I’ll take what I can get lol) in order to purely provide happiness for others…in my opinion. How can we take care of others effectively and wholeheartedly if we don’t take care of ourselves first?

It’s Okay

This past year has been one of constant self reflection. Not that I haven’t already been doing that, but this year I have actively chosen to take a more mindful approach to my mental health. Finding a balance between when to say yes or no to things, experiences and people I come across. Learning to identify the little things that bring me happiness and the bad habits I need to work my way out of.

Perspective is everything. I’ve always been one to give people the benefit of the doubt, to imagine myself in another’s shoes. It helps me empathize with others and their unique circumstances that I may not understand. However, it’s only recently that I started utilizing the concept of perspective on myself and my well-being. After many talks with friends and family, many moments of reflection, here is what I’ve learned in the past year and a half:

  1. It’s okay to say no – Humans are social beings. We want to be accepted by others. Typically the word “no” isn’t the path toward acceptance/blending in. But it’s okay to say no to a night out in exchange for a solo night in from time to time. It’s okay to say no to more work projects if it’s going to negatively affect my other projects and more importantly, my ability to work on them effectively.
  2. It’s okay to ask for help – I find solace in having control over a situation or project. But control doesn’t mean I need to do everything myself. I had to learn that asking for help does not mean I am incompetent. If anything it makes me a more competent human being to admit when I can’t handle something and to appropriately delegate.
  3. It’s okay to say “I don’t know” – There’s a saying that goes something like, play to your strengths and hire others to fill your weaknesses? I don’t know (lol no pun intended) what it is exactly and frankly, I’m too lazy to look it up…but the point is that it’s not the end of the world to not know something. That’s what Google is for.
  4. It’s okay to be scared – Fear is a lot of people’s reasons for not doing certain things. I continue to fight this fight. Isn’t there another saying that speaks to finding comfort in being uncomfortable? Well, there’s something to that. Doing something I am afraid of teaches me a lot of things about myself and my capabilities. I don’t consider myself a good public speaker and I never enjoyed public speaking. But my job requires it on a regular basis and even though it’s not my favorite thing in the world, I can see myself skills improve every time.

Good Mental Habits = Good Mental Health

When discussing goals, a lot of the time people are looking to break bad habits…what if we shift perspective and look at it as developing good habits? If we continue to build more good habits in our lives, won’t they eventually outweigh the bad habits? We all have our vices, but as long as we live an 80/20 lifestyle, I think we are good. That’s a B+ lol. We can’t all be A+ students.

Here are some things I try to incorporate into my day in order to give myself a mental break and decompress: 

At Work

  1. Take your designated breaks – I admit I’m really, really bad at this. Yes I had to add an extra “really.” But I am constantly trying to get better at this. I am entitled to my breaks and work will always be there waiting for me when I get back. It’s easy to get caught up in the work, but removing myself for even just 10 minutes gives my brain a much needed rest.
  2. Utilize the Pomodoro method – My brother introduced this workflow method to me and I try to use it as much as I can. It consists of 25 minutes of uninterrupted, focused work, followed by a 5 minute short break. Repeat. It’s kind of like a game and it helps me increase my productivity 🙂 I use tomato-timer.com. You should try it out!
  3. Stretch periodically – While using the Pomodoro method, stretch during breaks. It promotes blood flow and good posture…and who doesn’t want good posture!
  4. Stay comfy – We are at work for a huge chunk of our day. Why should we be uncomfortable? Take advantage of ergonomic evaluations and accommodations if available and make your workspace as comfortable as possible. I have house slippers at my desk because I see no point in wearing real shoes unless I’m in meetings or walking outside. My co-worker runs cold, so she has a blanket at her desk. Why suffer through cold for 8 hours a day? No need.

At Home (Not at Work)

  1. Find a physical activity that you enjoy – not everyone is a gym rat, but physical health is undeniably tied to mental health. So whether its going for a daily walk, jumping rope, rock climbing or Zumba, find something that doesn’t feel like a workout. I’m still figuring this one out…
  2. Read a book – o0o novel idea there! (no pun intended…or maybe it was) It’s sad how refreshing it is to detach from a screen and read an actual book. Remember those? They still exist lol. But seriously, I forget how much I enjoy reading  a good book until I carve out time to do it. Plus, while reading a book you are guaranteed no encounters or interactions with Internet trolls. SO GREAT.
  3. Do nothing for at least 15 minutes – Why are we constantly moving from one thing to the next? Wake up, work, come home, do errands, etc. Call it what you’d like: meditating, self-reflection, zen time. I think it’s important to actually be still and be okay with being still at least for 15 minutes. Try it, it’s kind of difficult at first, but it’s possible to build up to it. I like using the Headspace app.

On Vacation

  1. Stop and smell the roses! – I’m not one to stuff my itinerary with activities when I’m on vacation. It stresses me out trying to stay on schedule…while on vacation. It’s counterintuitive! For me, the act of wandering is an essential part of vacation to me. It’s not a vacation if I don’t take my time to immerse myself in the new environment around me.
  2. Exercise – I always feel extra good about myself when I sneak a workout in during a vacation. Vacations tend to be filled with good food and a lot of lounging, only to get back home feeling like a lump of lard. No bueno. Take advantage of that underutilized hotel gym…you can fist bump the one other person in there and it’ll be a cool moment lol. Or you can go for a morning/evening run or walk. It’s a great way to see a new city! Be safe of course.

Happy World Mental Health Day

I know we live in tumultuous times and there is a constant stream of bad news infiltrating our feeds. It’s overwhelming and exhausting fighting the good fight day in and day out. That’s why I think it’s more important than ever to make sure we are taking care of all aspects of ourselves: physically, spiritually and mentally. Hopefully this day is a reminder that your mental well-being is worth prioritizing. Cheers to your peace of mind ❤

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

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5 Things You Must Do in Chicago // Spring & Summer Edition

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Chi-Town, Chi-City, the Windy City. It’s the midwest, it’s young and restless. LOL. Actually, it’s not so young. It’s a city known for it’s historic and innovative architecture, shady political climate and it’s predictably unpredictable weather. You are probably like what? How can weather be predictably unpredictable? Well, during the four days I was there recently in June, it was 90 degrees one day, 50 degrees and raining the next . I was sunburnt and freezing in a span of 14 hours. Nevertheless, Chicago is a city that I continue to love!

I never really had any reason to visit Chicago until my cousin moved out there for medical school 5-6 years ago. A few years later, one of my childhood friends would also move out there to attend the same medical school. Shout out to Rosalind Franklin University and Chicago Medical School! 😉 Since then, I’ve visited a total of four times, including my most recent trip in June 2018. This trip was extra special because my family and I witnessed my cousin and her fiancé officially become freakin’ doctors ❤

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Spring-almost-summer is a great time to visit Chicago let. me. tell. you. Even with the random rain and wind chill we experienced, it was significantly easier to explore the city. I’ve been to Chicago during a “mild winter” (average temperature of 12 – 20 degrees) and it is NO BUENO.  I mean, I’m sure it’s beautiful in more open areas, but dirty ice along the streets, pot holes galore and signs warning you about falling icicles aren’t really the most appealing things to see. How do you prepare yourself to dodge an icicle anyways? Also, if you were ever wondering what it’s like to freeze and sweat at the same time, bike through the streets of Chicago with a full down coat on. LOL.

In no way am I Chicago expert, but since I have a few visits under my belt, I thought I would share some of my favorite things to do in the windy city during the spring/summer months:

1. Bike Your Way Through the City

I’ve rented bikes two out of the four times I’ve been to Chi-Town and it’s been one of my favorite ways to “see as the locals do.” There’s something satisfying about feeling the wind on your face and literally navigating yourself through huge intersections of an unfamiliar city that you don’t get when you jump in a Lyft or Uber.

I’m sure there are a variety of bike rental options out there, but both times I used Divvy bikes since their pick-up/drop-off stations are numerous and scattered throughout the city.  Biking is not only a good way to incorporate a workout into your weekend of deep dish pizza indulgence, but it’s also a liberating way to experience the city.

We rode our bikes throughout Millennium Park, along the lakefront all the way to the Shedd Aquarium and along the river. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but long as you stick to the bike lanes, stay alert and are mindful of the rules, I think it’s definitely worth it.

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Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, Grant Park

2. Kayak Through the Chicago River

Chicago is known for its unique architectural styles, ranging from towering steel skyscrapers to beautiful brick-laden buildings sprinkled throughout the city. The formation of the city’s beautiful skyline is full of such eye-opening history…and you can learn all the interesting details while kayaking through the river! What better way to see the city than to paddle your way through the river that winds through it? (and you best believe I sang “Just Around the Riverbend”)

I’ve taken the architecture tour twice with Wateriders, and both times were amazing. I had “Joel The Tour Guide” both times I’ve gone, and each time he manages to memorize the names of everyone in the group. Joel and his staff are personable, accommodating and entertaining. Wateriders also offer a variety of other tours including a Ghosts and Gangsters tour and a Moonlight Paddle. Of course these tours are only hosted during the Spring/Summer months, so I suggest you take advantage of that. You won’t regret it! (Just remember to wear sunscreen…and not a jean jacket…like I did)


3. Purchase a CityPASS

The official Chicago CityPASS is a convenient way to see the popular tourist spots on your list. For $106 (adult pricing) you can gain priority entrance to the following attractions:

It’s definitely worth it, especially during peak tourist hours (aka weekends). As long as you hit up at least four of the available attractions, you get your money’s worth.


4. Take Public Transportation

Skip trying to find parking in the city and buy a Ventra card! Prices vary depending on your preference. It’s as simple as pressing a few buttons on one of the automatic kiosks at each train station. Once you buy the card, you can either add a certain sum of money to it, or buy a pass for a certain number of days. Since my recent trip was four days, I ended up buying a 7-day pass. It gave me access to the above ground train, subway and the bus system. Public transit is an immersive way of learning about a new city and allows for more exploration, because you’ll need to navigate from station to station. Super convenient and more affordable than renting a car!

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5. Visit Maggie Daley Park

Your kids…or your own inner kid will thank you for visiting this amazing park! Maggie Daley Park, along with the famous Millennium Park, is another free (for the more part) attraction to take advantage of within The Loop. Once you are done taking your “Bean” photos at Millennium Park, take a short stroll over the picturesque BP Pedestrian Bridge to Maggie Daley Park.

The park’s attractions are tucked between nooks of tree groves and features: the below pictured fantastical rope bridge at their Play Garden, a freakin’ rock climbing wall, many places to lay down a picnic blanket, an ice skating ribbon (forget your boring rink!) during the colder months, and more! For a full list of the park’s attractions, visit their website 🙂

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Obviously there are hundreds of other things to do in Chi-town (I didn’t even get into all the food I ate), but I thought I’d share some of my favorites 🙂 Hopefully that was helpful! Let me know what your favorite things about Chicago are if you’ve visited before.

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

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5 Badass Womyn I Admire

To all my fellow women out there, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEYN’S DAY! Throughout history, this day has been used as a platform for many causes including: protesting war, promoting women’s rights, and of course, celebrating the accomplishments of women. I am fortunate to live my life standing on a foundation built by many resilient, strong and intelligent women from history. Their work and the support of their allies has granted my generation a number of basic human rights. Basic rights like education and the ability to vote have allowed women today to excel in their chosen craft/work, have confidence in the complex goals they reach for, the access to tools help accomplish these goals and the poised strength to continuously battle sexism in all forms.

Yet, there is still much work to be done. Women, we must continue to celebrate one another and be grateful for those before us, because without their spirit and determination, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  It’s one thing to demand respect from men, but it’s another to give respect to other women. That’s why I love this new wave of movements focusing on viewing one another as teammates as opposed to the competition: #girllove, #girlboss, #thefutureisfemale, etc. It’s up to us to use our privileges to lift other women and their communities up together. We can all lift each other up and as a collective, reach higher places!

Anyways, that is my long-winded way of getting to the point of my post. I want to take the time to celebrate a few women I admire. Specifically, entrepreneurial women. These are women that have taken their struggles, privileges and unique qualities to make a life that is meaningful for themselves and others. Their authenticity and passion are inspiring. So with that, let’s get straight to my woman crushes.

Joanna Gaines

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Co-Owner, Co-Founder & Lead Designer, Magnolia Homes

It’s no secret that the only TV I actually watch is HGTV. I discovered Joanna Gaines like millions of others, through the show Fixer Upper. I gravitated to her design style and the charming working dynamic she has with her husband Chip. They are the perfect duo: designer  and contractor/real estate agent. Her design aesthetic has permeated the mass market and has been taking over Pinterest boards everywhere since the first season of their show aired five years ago. I’m pretty sure most people only know what shiplap or what a farmhouse sink is because of her design choices on Fixer Upper. Who wanted barn doors in their home prior to Fixer Upper? I’m pretty sure no one. lol.

With her husband as her partner in crime, she has taken what she loves: home + design and created a legacy for her family. The brand Magnolia has expanded from a home-flipping renovation service, to a home decor line now available at Target and to a literal marketplace/event space in her home town. Her passion and success has also contributed to the growth and recognition of Waco, Texas.


Lauren Conrad

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Co-Founder, The Little Market

Maybe this newer generation wouldn’t know, but definitely my generation knows Lauren Conrad from her days as a reality TV star on Laguna Beach and The Hills. In junior high I followed her life via these reality shows and always appreciated her authenticity. I admire her to this day for using her privilege and platform to give back to women in communities who don’t have the same access to resources as she does. This is how she came to co-found a non-profit called The Little Market with her friend Hannah Skvarla. The online shop features fair trade products created by women in other countries who don’t have access to a marketplace to sell their goods. The duo travels the world to to find communities in need, develop partnerships, provide guidance and in the end provide a platform to showcase the work of these women artisans, enabling them to make a decent wages in return.


Ayesha Curry

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All Things Kitchen Entrepreneur

Ayesha Curry is a mommy-turned entrepreneur, combining her love of food and quality family time into multiple business ventures. I discovered her through her husband, Stephen Curry and quickly learned how much of a badass she is.  She currently has a cookware line available at Target, a home cooked-style meal delivery service company,  is the author of a New York Times best-selling cookbook, is a co-founder of a paper plate line with a mission to end childhood hunger, has her own Food Network show, and is a co-founder of a BBQ restaurant in San Francisco with plans to expand to other states. I admire her wit and ability to balance being an involved mom, wife and multi-business entrepreneur. I love most of all that doesn’t let her husband’s occupation define who she is.


Zoe Sugg

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Blogger & YouTuber

I love that she knew that she didn’t want to work for anyone else and made it happen. With a lot of hard work she created a living for herself in an industry that didn’t exist at the time.  Zoe Sugg is a UK-based lifestyle blogger and YouTuber known as @Zoella, with an audience base of about 17 million subscribers. She currently has a lifestyle range  that features stationary, home decor, candles and more. She also has a beauty range that features bath bombs, shower gels and fragrances. Zoe shares her life with her audience on YouTube, both the happy and the not-so-happy. She is known for her openness about living with anxiety. I think her level of honesty about the struggles she faces with anxiety is refreshing. She is a fitting advocate for removing the stigma surrounding mental health. Her transparency inspires me because if she can run a multi-faceted brand while dealing with anxious tendencies, then I can too.


Elizabeth De La Piedra

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Photographer & Creative Director

Elizabeth De La Piedra’s level of authenticity is what I love about her. She is herself 110% of the time. She is a photographer and creative director based out of Chicago. Elizabeth was born in Peru, raised in Australia and studied fine arts in the U.S. She flaunts what she has and does not apologize for it. She owns being a mommy of two boys and is her DJ husband’s #1 cheerleader. She has a unique style that is once again, unapologetic. I appreciate that her work focuses on capturing women at their essence that tends to invoke conversations of inclusion, encourages self-love and fosters a supportive and open-minded community.


….and that’s a wrap. If you haven’t noticed already, the common theme about these women is their passion for the work that they do. They all come from different backgrounds and situations and have created their own path for themselves. With that, Happy International Women’s Day ❤  Let’s continue to surround ourselves with and lift up strong, independent, goal-oriented women. These are the women who will help inspire us to do and be better.

Who do you admire?

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

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Milk and Eggs – Food Art Installation Event

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Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a food and art installation/exhibition event in Los Angeles’ Art District hosted by Milk and Eggs. What’s Milk and Eggs? If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know either until this event came along. Milk and Eggs is a grocery delivery service that values fresh and locally sourced food. Customers can place one time orders or subscribe to certain products to be delivered on a regular schedule. It’s a useful platform to find healthy options, allergy-friendly alternatives and unique snacks! As I was browsing through their site (very user-friendly btw and great food pics. I appreciate them lol), I found items that aren’t typically found at your local grocery store (Well, mine at least). What I also find great is that their delivery system is centered on producing a minimal carbon foot print. I actually really love that idea. Not many people are aware of how much the country’s traditional food production and delivery systems contribute to greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere.  So good on you Milk and Eggs!

The event was fun! It took place at The Container Yard in Los Angeles, which was a uniquely beautiful backdrop to this foodie event. Upon entering, you were greeted with a cute little gift bag containing:

  • $50 gift card to Milk & Eggs
  • A sample of Unisoy Vegan Jerky
  • A coupon for Navitas Naturals Superfood+ Bar
  • A coupon for Harmless Harvest’s Harmless Coconut Water (my fave!)
  • Milk & Eggs branded goodies: mini chip clip & fridge magnet grocery list

Just past the entrance, was a bar making a number of complimentary specialty cocktails, courtesy of Barlingual and sponsored by Ventura Spirits. It was pretty interesting to see a hot drink option, complete with marshmallow garnish!

I apologize for the minimal food photos…my brother and I purposefully didn’t eat lunch in preparation for this event. So, my brain skipped over taking foodie pics and went straight for shoveling everything down.

Food and drink were provided by a number of vendors including:

  • Abbots Butcher
  • Boxed Water
  • TheBu Kombucha
  • Domenico’s Pasta
  • Forager
  • Harmless Coconut Water
  • Kite Hill
  • Barely Bread
  • Laura Ann’s Jams
  • Petit Pot
  • Unisory Vegan Jerky
  • Stumpton Coffee

I attended the event with my brother and my two co-workers, so I didn’t get a chance to try absolutely everything in between the mingling and photo-ops. But, from what I did try, my favorite was the ravioli from Domenico’s Pasta. I liked it so much, I had multiple servings 😛 I also tried tofu chorizo tacos and fried adobo-inspired chicken which were both pretty good. I wasn’t able to get to the toast bar that featured multiple spreads and jams. But, lucky for me, all of the items showcased at the event are available for purchase on the Milk & Eggs website. I definitely plan to take advantage of that with my $50 gift card.

All-in-all, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Arts District. It’s already a win when you can park somewhere obscure in LA and not come back to a ticket or worse…your car gone lol. Thanks for having me Milk & Eggs, hopefully I get to go again next year! 🙂

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

New Year, New Perspective.

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Happy 2018! For many, including myself, 2017 was a difficult one. But then again, doesn’t every year bring some form of struggle? I recently heard the phrase “things happen FOR you, not to you.” I thought it was a fresh reminder that what you can control in life is your perception. When you see life through the lens of continual growth, what seems to be difficult times turn into perfect opportunities for development. The last two weeks of 2017 were filled with complications that have actually contributed to the formation of my goals for 2018. Ah, the beauty of perspective.

I have deemed 2018 as the year of “Melissa, The Grown Up.” Sounds pretty cheesy typing that out and I definitely have mixed feelings about it, but it really is a goal of mine this year. 2017 was the year of learning more about myself and exploring my interests. 2018 is going to be a year of focusing on strengthening my foundation as a young adult in as many ways as I can. To some, it may sound like boring “adulting” stuff, but I’ve realized that in order for me to achieve my ideal lifestyle, this is part of process (and maybe it can be fun). This means taking full advantage of the benefits my job offers, developing an investment portfolio, continuing to prioritize and pay off my student loans, and so much more! With all of that i mind, I want to approach these goals with an air of balance. I’m going in with a plan and aiming to maintain flexibility through it all.

What are some of your favorite self-help quotes, books, podcasts that have benefited you recently?


New Year, New Car

Excuse my feverish, puffy face. On top of everything that happened, I was also battling the flu.

One of the first forced steps into this new year of “adulting” was having to deal with experiencing my first major car accident last month. Long story short, I was rear ended on the 405 freeway, which then forced my car into the one in front of mine. My car was deemed totaled and I defined this situation as the universe’s way of telling me to stop putting off a much needed purchase: a reliable car.

This experience, although through non-ideal circumstances, catapulted me into the process of insurance settlements, CHP reports…and of course, buying a new car. It has been a great learning experience for me. A stressful, but helpful learning experience.  All of this has been a whirlwind, dealing with multiple insurance carriers, the DMV and car shopping. As I’m writing this, I’m still working on closing on a settlement agreement with the responsible party’s insurance carrier. On top of that, I got a case of the flu that knocked me out for three days just after the accident . In this time, I’ve had to discover and sharpen a number of skills in order to get things done in as timely as a manner as possible. The universe putting me through the ringer. I had to earn my way to 2018! lol.

Here are 5 mini lessons I encountered from this experience:

  • Do your research – Go in knowing what you want and armed with specific tactics to ensure you achieve that
  • Get your finances right – Prioritize saving in case of emergencies. You never know what will happen! It’s good that I had already been saving for a while. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to independently buy myself a car, let alone the one I wanted.
  • Ask as many questions as needed – You can’t make educated decisions without information. Ask until a concept is clear and understood. The worst answer you can hear is no, but at least you can say you asked.
  • Take your time -There’s no harm in starting again from the beginning if it’s going to lead to a better overall decision. My dad reminded me that ultimately, I can say no if there is anything about a deal that I’m not happy with.
  • Keep accurate records – Organization of important documents as they come will help avoid unnecessary stress when the time comes to dig them up.

New Year, New Clarity

After having some time to recover from post-accident madness and a bad case of the flu, I was able to properly ring in the New Year and take much needed time to reflect. I took a mini retreat to the Huntington Library in San Marino with my older brother and cousin this past weekend. We walked through a few gardens and eventually found a spot to sit and journal. But of course, we couldn’t leave without taking a few pictures 🙂

It was refreshing to step away from familiar surroundings, dedicate quality time to discuss how the past year went and what we are looking forward to achieving in 2018. The day left me with a wave of gratitude for my family’s support and their trust in my opinions. It makes me happy to know that we are each other’s forever team. I forget how good it feels to be surrounded by people that are rooting for each other’s success.

I’ll wrap this up with my hopes that you’ve entered this new year with a clear mind, a sense of adventure and the determination to make change in your life for the better. Let me know what your goals for 2018 are!

Sincerely,

Melissa Beee

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‘Tis the Season for a Tea Party

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Happy Holidays! I hope your December has been as festive as can be and much less of a struggle as mine has been so far. As I’m writing this, I’ll be wrapping up on day 4 of being horribly ill in bed with a fever. It’ll also mark a week since getting into a pretty bad car accident on the freeway. This past week I missed two days of work due to the car accident, left work early on Wednesday because I wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t go in on Thursday because I was battling relentless fever. Needless to say, it has been an awfully tough week for me. The universe wasn’t gonna let me off easy. I have to earn my way to 2018! But on a more positive note, I am in once piece and my fever has finally broke. Just in time for Christmas 🙂

I’m glad to be well enough to finally write this post about my time at McKenna’s Tea Cottage and exploring Old Town Seal Beach, CA.

Birthday Tea

Whenever we can, the girl cousins in my family try to organize what we call a “Girls Day” to put some time aside to spend with each other. With our family, it’s rare that we get exclusive girl time, so it’s always a treat on “Girls Day.”

This year, thanks to my cousin Val (pictured below on the left), we found ourselves with our pinkies up, hats in play, making our tea party dreams come true at McKenna’s Tea Cottage! It was a really cute way to celebrate my cousin Emma’s 13th birthday (pictured below in the middle) and I think she had a great time 🙂

We had our choice of tea and selected a number of yummy pastries/desserts to enjoy as we sipped and chatted. It’s such a unique way to celebrate a variety of occasions: birthdays (of all ages), friendmas’, girls day (or boys day), etc.

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Giving serious tea time looks.

Exploring Seal Beach

The tea cottage is located in a quaint part of town, so after our Girls Day/Birthday tea party, we decided to stroll through some of the cute shops in Old Town Seal Beach. If you’re looking for quirky/homemade gifts, there are a number of vintage shops, family owned stores and nurseries to peruse. Definitely worth checking out!

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Gone exploring in a nursery. Looked like someone’s backyard!
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The nursery of course had the cutest Christmas trees!

Well, I’m going to cut it there. Just thought I’d share some quick thoughts on this cute little adventure I went on with my cousins during this Holiday season. By the time you are reading this, it’s Christmas Day (or even after that), so I hope it was something special! Here’s to festive feelings all year round and a goal fulfilling new year!

Sincerely,

Melissa

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Palm Springs, CA // Desert Weekend Getaway

Palm Springs, CA // Desert Weekend Getaway

How is it already Fall?! Summer 2017 flew by with a quickness. Between balancing event planning at work and eventful weekends with family and friends this summer, my poor travel photos and video footage quickly got buried. So, consider this post as my attempt to dig them up and make treasure out of the ones I captured in Palm Springs, CA. There’s definitely more adventure-type posts coming soon. So look forward to those 6 months from now…LOL. Just kidding. Maybe.


 Check out my little Palm Springs travel video here:


I thought about it, and I want to say that Palm Springs is one of my favorite mini getaway destinations. I’ve been almost a handful to times and there hasn’t been a time when I didn’t enjoy it. Whether it was with my friend’s family or with my friends, there was always something enjoyable about it.

Everyone has a different definition for “staycation,” but for me, anything slightly beyond the outskirts of the county line qualifies as one. It’s approximately 2 hours away, yet it seems like a completely different atmosphere. Maybe it has something to do with Palm Spring’s proximity to LA. It’s comfortably close and far enough. Isn’t it amazing how you can drive two hours in any direction from LA (…assuming little traffic) and find yourself in completely different terrain? I would say Palm Springs is two things the heart of LA isn’t: serene and spacious.

So what’s the deal about Palm Springs? It used to be known as the wild spring break destination for college students, but what’s so cool about it now? Maybe a better question to ask is: What’s always been so cool about it?  It may have fallen from the top college spring breaking spot, but I think that’s part of its charm. While everyone else is hopping on planes or driving off to Vegas, Palm Springs sits quietly along the 10 freeway, a sparkling desert oasis in the distance, an underrated destination to sneak away to. If you are into mid-century modern architecture, quirky art, mountainscapes (not sure if that’s a real word), cute brunch spots, poolside chilling and vintage shopping…Palm Springs, CA is definitely for you. By the way, if you plan a visit in the summer…you also have to be okay with melting into the ground in triple digit heat. No joke.

Here are a few “10 outta 10, would recommend” tidbits I came across during my recent trip to this desert oasis:

Food // Drink

The summer heat is no joke, so if you are planning on walking the streets of downtown, be sure to take a pit stop at these places to stay hydrated & fueled up:

  • For Coffee // Koffi – There are three locations to choose from, so whether you are staying in North Palm Springs, South Palm Springs or just outside of town in Rancho Mirage, you’ll have one near by. They carry staple coffee favorites and pastries to pair. From the couple of times I’ve been there, it seems like a spot revered by locals and tourists.
  • For Breakfast & Brunch // Farm – Southern French-inspired breakfast and brunch. What more can I say? Nothing really. I will mention this though, if you can bear the heat, or if you are visiting during their non-sweltering season, I highly recommend sitting in their patio area. The aesthetic removes you from Palm Springs itself (except for the heat) and creates the illusion of being in a countryside backyard enjoying your French Aunt’s cooking. Okay, that’s all about that.
  • For Ice Cream // Ice Cream & Shop(pe) – Attached to Arrive Hotel on Palm Canyon Dr., it’s a quirky gift shop and gourmet ice cream stop all-in-one. Their rotating list of homemade ice creams and sorbets has many flavors to choose from. It’s a great balance between classics (with a twist) and completely unique flavors. We stumbled upon it after having dinner at Reservoir, a restaurant also adjacent to the hotel. Grab dinner, grab a drink, hang out in their pool lounge area, then grab some ice cream before you leave. Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Sites // Activities

Definitely check out a few sites while you are in the area. I’m kind of a closeted interior design/architecture fangirl. So Palm Springs was a fitting place to indulge in tile work, woodwork, coffee tables and more! Here’s where I visited:

  • Parker Palm Springs – The photos above are just their lobby area…so that gives you a small peek into how the rest of the hotel’s design standards are. Hotel guests can roam the grounds and lounge around on their hammocks and abundant lawn seating. Their patio brunch restaurant, Norma’s (pictured above in the food & drink section), offers a mid-50s vibe with it’s olive green, orange creamsicle and muted teal color scheme.
  • That Pink Door – Apparently there is an official Palm Springs door tour, which is interesting. It’s an open invitation to stalk people’s houses to admire their eclectic front doors and aesthetically pleasing landscaping. But because of the heat, we ended up just visiting the coveted Pink Door, took pics and ran back inside the air-conditioned car. Definitely an Instagram-friendly spot. I would’ve wanted to do the whole tour if we had the time.
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – Not pictured, but during a past visit to Palm Springs, I’ve taken this amazing/scary, rotating tram ride up the Chino Canyon mountainside in San Jacinto National Park. No explanation needed other than it’s worth it to witness beautiful, scenic views 8,516 feet above the valley. There are two observation decks, two restaurants, a number of hiking trails and a museum. It’s also much cooler up there!

Fun Facts

Did you know that the summer time in Palm Springs is their off-season? I didn’t either until one of our Lyft drivers told us when we were wondering why half of the restaurants we wanted to go to weren’t open and noticed there weren’t many people walking around town. Apparently after festival season (Coachella & Stage Coach), tourist activity winds down as the desert gets even hotter, so a number of business owners find it better to close up shop on a few strategic, slow summer weeks. Who would’ve known? Not me apparently!


Girls Weekend

My recent trip to Palm Springs was one I’ll always remember because it’s the girls weekend that transformed us from childhood best friends into a “bridal gang.” It’s the weekend that Lauren asked us to be her bridesmaids!! ❤ What an official door-opening into the chapter of young adulthood it was.

My heart is warm knowing that we can still make it a priority to remove ourselves from our busy schedules once in a while to reconnect with one another. I love and appreciate these girls more than they probably know and this trip was was much needed. Check them out below 😉 Anyways, cheers to more girls weekends and sharing life’s milestones with one another! xx

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Sincerely,

Melissa Beee.