The Winds of Change

img_5654Holy mackerel, how time flies. Happy New Year to all! Lots has happened since I last wrote (as always.) The biggest piece of news it that Chuck and I are leaving California this summer. While I knew that was a possibility, especially given his pending promotion, I still found it difficult to digest that we would cut our SoCal tour short by a full year. Although I’ve struggled to find myself professionally in the way that I’d hoped, I seriously love everything about my life here. My house, my yard, my friends. My grocery store, my vet, my hair salon, my favorite restaurant and favorite bar. Even on the job front, I had learned and networked enough to shake up my approach and find success a different way.

But there’s not much you can do to tame the Marine Corps’s inevitable winds of change. So, we are off to Virginia in June, and I am finding reasons to get excited.

But for now, I want to embrace what little time I have left in my rose-gold, California Girl life.   Here are some of the highlights since I last updated in… wait for it… SEPTEMBER 2018! Continue reading

Endless Summer

Although this summer has been far too hot for my Coastal California girl sensibilities (you try 90 degrees with no AC!), I am still not quite ready for it to end. I’ve had a great time exploring the area, connecting with friends old and new, and – as always – enjoying the scenery from my own backyard. Two recent highlights were my visit to a Temecula winery and my very first music festival!

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The Small Things

I have written about my zen California life before, and expressed my appreciation for the little things in life, too. As I learn to take more in stride and put less pressure on myself, I’m seizing every moment to appreciate the small joys all around me… and I simply wanted to revisit that for a moment 🙂

Take, for starters, my glorious Pink House, and sunny California afternoons and sunsets. I’ll admit that it’s been a little too hot lately to spend much time in my shade-less back yard, but the temps are just starting to cool enough in the late afternoon to allow for a glass (or three) of crisp rosé, accompanied by fresh peaches and vegan cheese on my Brooklyn slate cheese board.

 

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Cute Cali Crannies

IMG_2715Over the past couple of weeks, I have explored some new nooks n’ crannies here in Southern California. Specifically, I saw Potato Chip Rock and San Juan Capistrano!

I experienced the former because I had friends visiting from Nebraska. You would think that visitors from the landlocked Midwest would want to see the beach in the dead of summer, but no! These athletic types wanted a hike..and a challenging hike, to boot. I had long wondered about Potato Chip Rock, but I will admit that I had no idea how strenuous it was actually going to be. Let’s just say that climbing 1100 feet into the air (and 2 miles of actual feet on the ground) was more than I bargained for, particularly under a full sun bearing down at 90 degrees. Continue reading

Back on the Bandwagon

IMG_0023I have been so delinquent in writing, and boy have I missed it. I hate that my first post back after so many months was a sad one about the loss of my beloved rescue kitty, Tetsu. Beyond that tragedy, I have so much to say and to share. I only work part-time, so I truly have no good excuse to have deviated from my Gypsy Kitty Diaries. But you know, it is what it is.

Chuck deployed back in April, and won’t be back until October. While it’s true that deployments are never fun, this one is sure as heck less stressful in many ways than the last two. I mean, Australia beats Afghanistan any day of the week and twice on Sundays! (Where did that expression even come from, by the way?!) As far as I can tell, he’s been productive but also having a blast. I actually went to visit him a couple of weeks ago – more on that later. Continue reading

Local Nooks: Revolution Roasters

I found myself a happy, colorful little nook here in Oceanside. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been hankering to try the lavender honey latte at a nearby coffee shop called Revolution Roasters. I finally made it happen!  While I was at it, I splurged on avocado toast and a sort of grapefruit pound cake. And when I say “splurged,” I am not kidding. That “light lunch” cost me about $18 (not including tip!)

Shop local they said… it will be fun, they said.

I am joking. I do love shopping local, and gosh darn it – I was hungry. I also made a new friend and sat next to an adorable golden retriever. Totally worth it!

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Yum! And you can order just about anything gluten-free!

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Darling little boutique next to Revolution Roasters

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My kind of wall art!

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Colorful array of shops and yoga studios, next to the decidedly hipster Revolution Roasters

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Took a slight detour on my way home to my favorite perch overlooking the Pacific

New Year Stumbles & Oops

IMG_1278I don’t typically believe in New Year resolutions. I think they tend to set us up for failure, and (as a risk-averse individual) I generally try to avoid such situations.  I prefer smaller, bite-size endeavors, knowing that only some may stick – and that’s okay!

For instance, I wanted to take just the month of January to detox in a handful of ways: no drinking, more plant-based food, more exercise, a tighter budget, less time on social media, and a re-strategized job search (although I am working part-time now.)

This is fairly standard stuff after the holidays, which are saturated with rich party food, alcohol, excessive spending, and social, yet sedentary, activity.  Given that the months leading up to December were also full of the eating out, drinking, and dismissal of routine exercise that comes with hosting guests and trips to Vegas, I’ve been needing that detox for a while now!

But, 2018 has had other plans so far. Continue reading

California Zen: Life in the Pink House

When I think about the past four-and-half months, my head spins! Since late May, I lived in a Magician’s Mansion (with a 120-lb tortoise named Henry), bounced East to DC to visit friends and family, moved into La Casa Rosada (the Pink House), and hosted an ongoing carousel of visitors. Throw in a side trip to Santa Monica, a highly anticipated Himalayan salt lamp, goat yoga, and a refrigerator full of kombucha, and you have yourselves a fully christened California Girl 🙂

Each of those random things hosts a story all its own, but I have been negligent in tending to my little online garden. Mostly, this means that my life has been busy and full. And it’s true! I adore my little Pink House. In fact, I probably love it a little bit too much. We did not buy it  (we are simply renting) but it’s the first house that Chuck and I found and chose together, and the first time in quite a while that we haven’t been forced to live in something we didn’t want. After 3 years of involuntary, military base housing, I was ready to regain some control and make ourselves a little home.

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Gypsy Kitty: My New Look

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Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Every time I move, or experience a transition, I tend to rebrand myself and my little corner of the internet. When I got married and moved to North Carolina, I went from DC party girl “Bad Kitty” to “Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake,” documenting my attempts at domesticity and “blooming where I’m planted” as a new military spouse.

When I moved from Georgia (yet another “keep calm” sort of location) to Okinawa, Japan, I still felt the need to keep calm and bloom, but decided to revamp my blog to suit the Asian adventure upon which I was about to embark: lotus flowers, better photography, menu items, a new template. Mostly, Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake became a travelogue.

Now, I am living in Southern California, and it is time for a change!

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Taipei, Taiwan

My experience in Asia taught me to explore anything and everything. I had taken DC for granted in my youth, mostly staying within my comfort zone and only occasionally venturing beyond what I knew. Of course, much of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a lot of disposable income with which to have such adventures. Still, there was plenty in my own backyard that I failed to become acquainted with, because I was too busy with work, family obligations… and being a Bad Kitty.

With Asia – and with growth – came a greater understanding and appreciation for the nooks and crannies all around. Sometimes that was an exciting new country, and other times, it was a particular corner of a particular street in the village outside my gate. With all of my transience, I’ve learned to make the time to explore the world around me, whether it’s a foreign country, a different state, a new city, or even my own backyard. (Not to mention my own state of mind!)

At the same time, I continued to explore the nooks and crannies of my own life  – learning from others, as well as myself. Now that I am starting over yet again, I’m ready to blend that curiosity and wanderlust with the fun girl that loves to dance, sparkle, and drink wine with her cats. A Gyspy Kitty, if you will! Purrfect. For now 🙂

As always, this blog keeps me connected, introspective, and contemplative as my definitions of home and self continue to evolve. I’m surely enjoying the ride!

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La Jolla, California