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TL;DR: I’ve been in San Francisco for six years. It’s still cool. My friends are great. I discovered and am pursuing some of my passions. My best friend had a baby and it was amazing. I love my boyfriend. I’m ready for year seven.

Fourth of July will always be a special holiday for me. Not just because I love fireworks and BBQ and patriotic fruit cakes, but because it marks the weekend on which I moved to San Francisco. Six years ago last weekend, I made the best decision of my life (so far, at least). I packed all my belongings into a Penske and drove with my dad and my cat approximately 1,252.6 miles from Denver to San Francisco. We watched the fireworks on July 4th from a stairwell of a motel in Reno. It was beautiful and I’ll never forget that moment. My cat wouldn’t eat. Or pee. And she still loves my dad more than anyone else (most likely because he hates her). It was a relatively smooth move and my dad was there to get me set up in the perfect, little studio apartment that I found a couple weeks before with my mom. I had arrived.

Four months in, I questioned everything. I was lonely, overwhelmed, lost. I loved my job and worked hard but had no friends. I wanted to explore and eat, but I didn’t have any money — it was all going to rent (which I can laugh about now that the rent for my first apartment has almost doubled since).

But I stuck it out. I wanted nothing more than to “make it” in the city. And I thanked the heavens for the company of my cat.

As expected, I made friends. I started making more money and going out to explore and eat and drink. I made some really good friends. The kind that know you better than you know yourself (I know it’s cliche, but it’s a real thing). The kind of friends that live in your building and will come to your apartment wearing pajamas, no shoes, carrying a glass of wine. The kind of friends that you can cook with, shop with, work out with (which says a lot because that’s not a pretty sight), eat with, cry with, laugh with. Friends you can talk to, like, really really talk to when you’re in the middle of a “quarter life crisis” and you don’t know whether to quit your job and move to Tulum and become a “fitness instructor.”

Most of those friends moved. They scattered from coast to coast. But the beauty of those friends? They’re real friends. And they’re still friends. Best friends.

This year, my sixth year in SF, was the hardest year. I learned a lot about myself (and am on what feels like a never-ending journey to learn even more). Sometimes, I felt a little like I felt four months in. This feeling has taught me something: happiness is the people you surround yourself with; it’s not up to the city to make or break your happiness.

While I was working on making new friends. Real friends — not just the “going out” friends — I dove into myself. I spent a lot of time this year figuring out what I’m most passionate about. What makes me so excited I can’t sleep. What gets me up in the morning and what I want to be doing or thinking about right before I go to bed. For most of the years I’ve been in San Francisco, all I’ve been able to wake up to and think about at night is work. I love my job. I’m passionate about my job (especially my new role which I’m getting back to and I couldn’t be more excited for). But wait… there’s more! There had to be more.

Beauty. I’ve been in love with makeup, cosmetics and beauty products for as long as I can remember. I was always the girl that did everyone’s makeup for prom or for a night out on the town. I was given an opportunity by a friend and colleague to help contribute to her well-known fashion blog. So, I decided to dive in. I’ve done some work with Sephora over the past couple years and I wanted to turn it into something I could do more regularly. I added a Beauty section to TOBR and update it as regularly as I can. I am bursting with ideas — just need to get them out!

Oh, and I was in a Sephora video that got more than 200k views! WHAT?!

Food. I love to cook. Honestly, it’s my therapy. It’s the one time I can completely unplug, be entirely unaccessible. It’s just me and a recipe (or not). Cooking is magic. I’ve loved experimenting with recipes and you can ask The Boyfriend, I have wayyy too many cookbooks (some of which are his fault!). There’s something insanely romantic about cooking a delicious meal and eating it surrounded by friends. The best conversations, moments, memories, happen over a good meal. Dining out is also a way I enjoy to explore the city. I’m always wanting to try what’s new and making recommendations to friends or visitors. I’ve been here that long that I can do that now. And now, there’s a whole section on TOBR dedicated to food.

Travel. I have been fortunate enough to get to travel the world thanks to my job. I could not possibly be more grateful. But I felt I wanted to dedicate more time to reflecting on and writing down my travel experiences. So, you guessed it, I created a travel section on TOBR as well. I’ve spent a little more time adventuring outside of San Francisco (but in California) this year, too. Palm Springs. Ojai. LA. West Coast is the Best Coast.

I feel good. I feel like this year was the year of self-discovery (although I think that’s going be taking place for years and years…). I feel more balanced.

I’ve made some amazing new friends (and rekindled existing friendships). It’s hard making new friends as an adult. But, once you do, once you insert yourself into a friend group or really spend time focusing on the people you love, great friendships can develop.

I spent a weekend with my college girlfriends and it was glorious. We spent a night in San Francisco and then went up to wine country for the weekend. We tasted wine, we sat in the hot tub, we cooked, we played CAH, we talked and talked and talked. It was wonderful and really did remind me how important true friendship is.

My best friend. She deserves a whole paragraph in this year’s reflection post. I am in such awe of her, I have a hard time even bringing her up without getting a little misty-eyed. I know, stupid sappy. She came to visit me in San Francisco and brought her five-year-old daughter, Ashlynn. My niece. Some people get confused when I call her my niece, but that’s what she is and my heart melts every single time she calls me Auntie Lo. We had an incredible time exploring the kid-friendly parts of San Francisco — the museum, parks, Fairyland. Some of the most memorable times were actually at home, during tub tub time or reading to Ashlynn in bed. My heart never felt so full until I shared my San Francisco life with both of them. When my best friend came to visit, she was 7 months pregnant. Two weeks ago, I flew to Colorado to surprise my dad for Father’s Day (which went off without a hitch and was so amazing) and was actually there for the birth of her second daughter. Now, I literally have no words to explain how powerful, intense, and emotional the experience of watching your best friend give birth truly is. But I can tell you this, she’s a fucking champion. And the best friend a girl could ask for. I couldn’t be more proud of her or more in love with her family. Our family.

The Boyfriend and I have had a good year. A tough year, but a good year. Lots of talks about what’s next for us, for each other, for our careers, for the fun we want to have, for the trips we want to take. It’s our fifth year together (which just feels insane). We are each other’s support system. We’re honest and can talk about the most stupid things and the most important things. I have never been with anyone who is more supportive of me and my dreams and passions and hobbies (even if we now have to hide and store away all of the candle making supplies…) and I’m the actual luckiest. I learn more and more about him every day. Earlier this summer, we took a trip to Nashville to visit some of his family. We haven’t taken many vacations together, so this one was pretty special. We had a wonderful time sweating in the heat, line-dancing, eating fried chicken, bass fishing, having long conversations out on the porch until the early morning hours. I’ve never met a family that’s full of so much unconditional love.

Work has been great and it’s about to get even better. I’m taking on more and more responsibility and am able to get back to doing what I love. I’m incredibly lucky to have a wonderful manager who’s also a mentor (and no, he didn’t pay me say that…). He’s been so encouraging as I’ve been trying to figure out what’s next for me and he’s truly helped me see where and how I want to grow. I can’t say enough amazing things about Adobe. It truly is a wonderful place to work and I’m so very happy I have the opportunity to work with so many amazingly smart people.

I’ve picked up some contract work that makes me feel so good and happy. Remember Context Optional? Well, the co-founder’s wife, Ayesha, has started a company called REMAKE, and I’ve been helping out! It’s a company focused on improving the lives of the people who make the things we wear and touch every day. REMAKE is here to rebuild human connections between makers, shoppers and  brands. It’s a real feel-good company and I’m honored to be working with some incredibly powerful and insightful women.

I decided in January that instead of making “resolutions,” I would determine what I wanted more and less of in my life. What’s weird is that I feel like I’m following these “resolutions” much more than any other time I’ve set out what I want to accomplish in the year. I’ve read more books so far this year than I did in all of last. I’ve been great about blocking time off on my calendar to focus. I’m eating lunch in the cafeteria or outside. I’m still playing soccer at least once a week and loving it.

I’m excited for year seven in San Francisco. I’m excited for what else I’ll discover about myself, my friendships, my boyfriend, my future. This city is still magical. After six years, I’m still finding new places to explore, new things to do. Let’s do this, year seven.


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