TWENTY EIGHTEEN INTENTIONS

 
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I don't believe in resolutions because no one ever keeps them, but I do believe in setting intentions for myself. I know it's past the "new year" but it's never too late to set goals, and well, I needed more time to really know what I wanted to set out for myself. 2017 was a whirlwind - especially the second half - and quite frankly, it may have taken some years off my life... it also started to pepper my never-dyed hair ever-so-slightly. So, in 2018 I am focusing on health (both mental & physical), my career and skillsets, and my relationships.

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master my mindset.

I ended the last two months of 2017 as a newlywed living minus my husband in an old, unfamiliar, unfurnished house in a new city, practically knowing no one, in the middle of winter (where winter actually exists). It was a wake up call. Now is the time to leave baggage, bad attitudes, grudges, self-consciousness, and more, behind. I am setting the intention of taking a minimal approach to 2018, clearing my head to focus on gratitude and to master my mindset (thanks Jen Sincero). This year, I am going to do what I want and need - and I'm going to do it well. Eyes on the prize. 
Are you listening, Universe?

getting over it.

I have always been athletic. I've been running since I was 15, I was on cheer and swim team in high school, and even acheived one my life goals of running and finishing the LA Marathon in 2015... and then thought I was a badass, and ran and finished the Chicago Marathon seven months later. I was in the best shape of my life. Since then, and with the wedding and move, my weight has fluctuated. I am a self-proclaimed wine-o and I am french fries' best friend. I've had highs and lows and now I am just looking for the healthy balance. I don't need abs or thighs that don't jiggle a little bit to be happy. I just want to feel good. I began this month with setting a 100-mile running goal, and although I'm more than half way there, I've learned not to put too much stress on it, and to make it fun. So far, it seems to be working. Living a healthy lifestyle and working out shouldn't be a chore to make those pants fit. Fitness is really not everything.
I have also started being really consistent about taking vitamins every morning: a probiotic, a women's multi vitamin, B12, and D3 along with a healthy scoop of Vital Farms Collagen Peptides in my coffee every morning (also, thanks for the tip Tasty Yummies) and it has made a huge difference in my energy levels, my skin, and gut health. So, I'm going stick with that.

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dotcom & beyond.

With this mastered mindset, I plan on going after the career I want more than ever. Although I am still working out the kinks, I would like my blogging and photography to play a major role in my career. I took a leap last year and started this blog to help improve my creative writing, lifestyle photography, cooking, and to share my life and travels. This year, I would like to take my blog and photography to the next level and work on branding myself. Seems scary and overwhelming, but again, I got married, got a dog, bought a house, moved to a new city, started a new job, and made new friends all within six months. So, yeah... anything is possible. I also intend on doing some tidy-work with my site and blog, updating my portfolio, and changing my domain name since I am legally no longer a "Baker".

SQUAD!

What's the saddest thing about moving? Leaving your lifelong friends behind. And with all these new life changes, it's easy to get distracted and lose touch. I want to make a concerted effort to keep the friendships I held so dearly in Los Angeles alive even though I am now in Portland. I am also working on being open to new relationships. Relationships with other girls are always tough, especially when you're in your 30's and everybody else is also still trying to figure out their lives, or they figure it out before you, or they have kids (and you don't), or visa versa. For that reason, I'm learning to not judge and be more accepting of others, and so far, it's been working out pretty okay. I am happy to say that since the New Year, I have met and bonded with some really wonderful people here, and I can't wait to meet more.

my other half.

My husband arrived permanently last week and I could not be happier. It's been so great to have him home and start our lives here. But with our new house will come a lot of hurdles. Although it's going to be tough, along with more grey hair, I want to make sure we put our relationship first and to not let projects or renovations get in the middle of us. In the end, they are just "things" and won't matter years from now, but we will. I intend to always make time for him and to be more understanding, patient, and compassionate. After all, he is  going through a transition in a new city and a new home as well.

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let's GO!

I know this year holds a lot of house stuff, but I also intend for Danny and I to go on at least ONE adventure. Travel has been such a big part of our relationship that we shouldn't let a house get in the way. Not sure where we will end up, but I know it will be great. And dog friendly!

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TURMERIC GINGER CHICKEN SOUP

 
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Fall/Winter 2017: the worst cold season ever.
If you are like me, you caught that cold that has been "going around" for months. Maybe you even caught it twice, like me - once in LA, and once in Portland. Both sucked, but there was one difference: getting a cold in Portland, with its cooler (and damper/icier) weather conditions, makes eating recovery soup much more appealing than trying to scarf soup in LA's mid-to-upper-80s "winter" temps. 

Turmeric, ginger, and a kick of spice are the perfect combination to help kick that cold and get your immunity back up. So grab your bowl and cuddle up on the couch while you binge on Friends (or is that just me?)...

What you need:
2 shredded chicken breasts or 10oz chicken tenderloins (optional if you're vegetarian)
1 diced yellow onion
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced on the diagonal
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp ginger, minced
32oz organic, low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 bay leaf
A few handfuls of kale
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed well & de-shelled (or udon noodles)
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne
Coriander
Sliced lemon for seasoning and garnish

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Directions
Heat a large pot with a generous amount of olive oil until slightly smoking.

Add in onion and garlic, and season with a dash of salt. Sauté until onions are translucent.

Add in carrots and celery with an additional dash of salt, turmeric, ginger, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Mix well, and then sauté again for about a minute or until aromatic.

Pour in chicken broth while stirring up all the bits and pieces at the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer.

Add in cooked, shredded chicken, kale, and chickpeas. 

Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 min.

Serve with a slice of lemon and grilled bread, if desired.

Enjoy! 

Happy New Year, friends! I am glad you are here! Cheers to an even better 2018!

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THE BATHROOM : THE PLAN

 
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So we bought a house! 
In Portland, Oregon!
(oh yeah.. and we moved there.)

Danny and I made a giant leap this year and pulled the plug on moving to Portland, something we have been discussing for years. So what a better push than buying a house. We got serious about looking in August and by September 13 we put our first offer in on a 1920's bungalow located in NE Portland - sight unseen.

(Also, this is my excuse for taking six months to post about our honeymoon.)

Before we even stepped foot inside, we knew this house wasn't our style as-is. It's on the darker side, was possibly "updated" in the 80's or 90's, some walls are blue, some are purple, yada yada. But one thing we didn't know until we got there was really how much potential this home has. And THAT was exciting! We quickly started bouncing ideas off each other and for me, this really is a dream to finally be like Joanna Gaines and fix this house up! Minus the shiplap. 

So, of course, the first thing I focused on was wanting to gut the kitchen... and I wanted it done before we moved in... and I wanted it done now. But as life has it, we ended up having to move quicker than anticipated because we have to work, right? So, we accepted having to live in the house in it's current state for a while.

Now, people told me to "live in the house first" before you start any work, to really get "feel" for the home. And you know what? They were right. Because now we realize the bathroom is the first to go! So here we are.

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This bathroom... wait, let me rephrase that:  This toilet, is a nightmare. I am usually all for old things, but this pull-chain toilet has got to go - and fast! I can no longer pee in fear! I am creeped out by the older linoleum floors and counter tops, the un-centered mirror makes me cringe, the brown-blue combo is dated, and I swear the "lovely" oak vanity was made for really short folk because I am 5'4 and this thing hits the top of my legs. 

Soooo here's the plan!!

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We really want a minimal, clean, and somewhat modern bathroom, but since the house is old, we we want to restore its charm and vintage look while introducing a somewhat modern, updated style. Let's call it "vintage-modern".  

Aside from painting the walls white, we want to remove the stained glass window (and re-purpose it elsewhere) and install a casement window. We'll likely use the large round mirror we purchased from Ikea earlier this year and flank it with vintage-inspired brass sconces with matching brass fixtures (though we may stick with stainless to not be too trendy). We'd like to re-tile the shower with a matte subway tile, replace the floors with a white, hexagon tile and a light grey grout, and replace the ancient toilet with a Toto brand, because, as my Dad told me about his Toto toilet: "That mother-effer will flush anything." Lastly - and my FAVORITE part - we'll be re-purposing one of our many mid century credenzas (I don't have a problem... you have a problem) that I insisted we schlep up to Portland, transforming it into a vanity (this will be a HUGE money-saver), and placing a rectangular vessel sink on top!

If all goes as plan, I may never leave the bathroom!

 

Inspiration photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

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