Mental Health, Beer & My Brain

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week. Honestly, every week should bring awareness to an illness that so many of us struggle with.

Mental health has always been a constant battle for me, and so many others, that goes in waves (okay… sometimes huge, steep cliffs). I first struggled with mental health at age 7 when I went through a pretty major surgery; from that point on, I struggled with my dark and twisty mind- doctors who wanted to prescribe more and more drugs, therapists that were both amazing and… absolutely terrible and leading to alcohol that seemed to help me forget but also helped to provide a blanket of excuses and haze.

I’ve built my entire career and life around the beer industry since college and even moved to California to pursue an industry I thought I would live & die by. And here I sit feeling terrified, scared and lost. A passion I have chased the past few years has become detrimental to my well being, safety and… well, my sanity.

“Okay, what the f*ck is she talking about??”

Do you guys remember the article from Morning Advertiser with Shaun Hill? If you haven’t read about his take on mental health in the beer world, check it out here! The article really struck something in me; I’ve felt that for years I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

I started drinking at the age of 15 (sorry, Mom & Dad). I hung out with people way older than me that made drinking way too accessible and acceptable. It was a form of medicine for me that helped me forget about that dark cloud looming over my head and just have “fun” with my “friends” (turns out most of those people sucked so… good job Anna!!).

Over the past few years, I’ve hardly gone more than a single day  without drinking. Working at taprooms/breweries and writing about beer gave me that excuse to drink at least one beer a day. And let’s be honest… it NEVER was just one beer. Next thing I know it would the next day and I’d be feeling like a trash human. The black outs seemed to increase as my consumption became more consistent. Pretty recently, even if I drank a few beers (and didn’t get drunk) I’d wake up hardly remembering my evening. Sure, my childhood surgery had a huge impact on my memory and we have no idea how alcohol can affect brain injuries, but something just isn’t adding up. I was choosing to ignore my body and consume something that it clearly didn’t want anything to do with.

When you’re in the alcohol industry, it’s so easy to be a closet alcoholic.

No way am I saying that Every. Single. Person. In the industry is an alcoholic. I know plenty of people who don’t drink excessively or even every day, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t struggling with it. It’s so much easier to justify your drinking habits when everyone else around you is drinking the same amount.

Oh, I blacked out last night?! Well! So did all my buds so I’M FINE!!

No. I’m not fine.

I said I’ve been feeling like my relationship with alcohol has been a bit rocky for years… and I really do mean that. Any time I would do something stupid I would blame it on the alcohol, distance myself from the people I was around, beat myself up and then… DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. Seriously! I would shake my head and blame alcohol and promise to never drink that much again. But guess what? It would happen again. And again. And… probably again.

I felt like I was doing pretty damn good for moving to California just one year ago; I told myself I was happy and that the tiny road bumps weren’t anything to do with me. “These things happen to everyone” *as she grabs a beer and chugs it.*

Recently, I took it a little too far with my drinking. Without going in to too many details, I put myself in a pretty dumb situation (don’t worry you guys, everything is all good) and that shook me pretty damn good.

I’ll be four weeks alcohol-free on Sunday the 14th.

Am I done drinking forever? I couldn’t tell you that, I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea if I can ever have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I don’t know if I can ever drink socially, or feel comfortable having just ONE drink without wanting 100.

What I do know? Dealing with my loneliness, my mental health and being comfortable in my own skin is a whole lot easier without a hangover. I don’t feel the need to have a beer (but hey, I do miss my HenHouse Oatmeal Porter) nor is it uncomfortable being around friends who are enjoying an alcohol.

Now I’m almost 28 and having to learn how to have actual HOBBIES, other than weight lifting, that are… productive? Do I make birdhouses? Do I start knitting? WHAT DO SOBER PEOPLE EVEN DO?? Because I’ve been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy for the 600th time and feel like I can totally step in as Derek Shepard and perform brain surgery.

If you feel like drinking a soda water and skipping the alcohol?

Do you, boo boo.

If you feel like alcohol needs to take a backseat?

Take a second to focus on what your body really needs.

Someone pressuring you to drink or making fun of you?

Punch them in the throat, darling.

Seriously. I never thought I would be made fun of for not drinking. Uh, sorry I want all the muscles and a little more money in my pocket.

Also, pro tip: your skin looks hella better when you chuggin’ that h2o and not them booze!

Also also I got a puppy so if this isn’t a quarter life crisis I don’t know what is.

 

Cheers Xx

A Non-Beer Guide to Joshua Tree

It’s no secret I love a good beercation; regardless of where I go or the purpose I’m there, I always find a way to plan my trips relating to beer stops.

I’ll admit, it’s easy for me to get carried away when it comes to hitting up beer spots. Spending most of my trips at breweries or restaurants  (aka eating all the things too…) that serve up those tasty brews becomes a bit of an obsession… and we all know how easy it is to drink everything in sight!

Two weekends ago I made my way down to Joshua Tree (with good company) and, for the first time in a while, planned a trip around adventures… and NOT beer. I had the chance to really soak up all that beauty that’s in that ridiculously gorgeous desert, wake up not hung over and focus on being a little more present.

It’s crazy how much time we spend on social media– I’m the first to admit that I’m a little too obsessed, and how easy it is to spend your time focusing on things that aren’t even relevant to your own life! While this trip wasn’t 100% phone free, not focusing so much on beer and seeking out beer spots made it a bit easier to relax a little.

I spent one full day romping around Joshua Tree; trying to find the best *short* hikes that wouldn’t take up all our time, finding the dopest sites and trying to stay hydrated kept us constantly on the go and looking for more adventure.

Here are a few places you need to see:

Hidden Valley – Joshua Tree

This one mile loop isn’t strenuous but, trust me, it’s full of all the beautiful things you could want in Joshua Tree! This trail winds through huge boulders, joshua trees and cactus; it’s believed to be a cattle rustlers’ hideout and you can see by the surrounding boulders that it would be perfect for…. hiding cattle? I have no idea… I’m not a cattle thiefin’ maniac. But regardless, it was freakin’ hot and down right beautiful.

Barker Dam – Joshua Tree

Barker Dam is another short and relatively easy hike full of desert dreams. The hike is only 1.5 miles and is pretty flat, minus some boulder scrambling to the left of the dam. This dam was built in the 1900’s by a cattleman and helps to create a reservoir of water in the middle of the desert. It’s kind of like a mini oasis amongst the boulders and was so damn pretty!

Cholla Cactus Garden – Joshua Tree

I was honestly the most excited for the Cholla Cactus Gardens (and ended up getting zero cool pictures that weren’t showcasing beer) but this tiny loop through the cacti was beyond dreamy. I just gotta ask- why do cactus look SO inviting?! Like, I wanted to touch all of them. The Cholla Cactus is nicknamed the Teddy Bear Cactus and honestly that’s just plain rude. Driving from the North to these gardens the landscape changes from Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see, to these Cholla Cacti and mountains in the distance; this is also the point where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet… so like damn…

Keys View – Joshua Tree

The final stop in the actual park was Keys View- and probably one of the most incredible sunsets I have ever experienced. The drive to Keys View is about 20 minutes off the main road in Joshua Tree and winds through thousands of Joshua Trees and leaves you at the top of the San Bernadino Mountains looking out over Coachella Valley.

Yep, Coachella is an actually PLACE and not just a desert festival… I’m shook.

If you’re around for sunset (which you absolutely should), this spot is definitely worth your while! I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT.

Moorten Botanical Garden – Palm Springs

On our way out of Joshua Tree, we stopped in at Palm Springs to check out Moorten Botanical Gardens. If you like nature, cacti, turtles and other boujee things, this is the place for you! Well… boujee minus the turtles? It’s $5 to get in and you get to take a self-guided walk around the outdoor gardens and see all the native plants to the deserts around! Also, this place has the worlds first Cactarium. A GREEN HOUSE FULL OF THOSE LITTLE SUCKERS. I died. I wanted to just live there forever!

 

At the end of the little tour, we found a few turtles munchin’ on salad and I even got to pick out my very own cactus to purchase and take home with me! So get like me.

Okay okay.. of course I had to incorporate some beer in to the trip. I’M NOT INSANE. On the way back from the desert of all beautiful deserts, we stopped in LA to meet up with my beer friend (beerhikechill) and to check out Mumford Brewing.

Their brewery is in Skid Row (a neighborhood in LA that’s a little… sketch) but holy moly did I fall for this place! The taproom vibe was chill, the dudes behind the bar were super friendly and funny and their beer is downright delicious. We snagged a few pints, snapped some pictures and stole some beers for the road! If you’re in LA you gotta check them out!

While I love my beercations and miss them dearly, I discovered how fun ACTUAL vacations can be. Stomping around the desert and looking at all things nature really was refreshing (minus the 105 degree heat and the 45 gallons of water I drank).

Things I learned on this trip:

  • Not everything has to revolve around beer. And when it’s not all about beer, that doesn’t mean I’m losing beer focus (or constantly thinking about that devilishly tasty bev)
  • I need to GET.OFF.MY.PHONE (imagine claps where the periods are)
  • The desert is f*cking hot
  • I can go a few days WITHOUT getting sunburnt– I KNOW! I’m shocked too!!
  • Being present is more important than instagram stories
  • Boujee AirBnB’s are ALWAYS worth it (just look at these pictures!

Hopefully I didn’t lose you. And if you followed these little adventures, I hope you can soak up the majestic Joshua Tree National Park.

 

Cheers Xx

8 Pounds of Hazy

Working a Monday-Friday (mostly) schedule has made me crave the weekends and absolutely dread Sunday nights. Don’t get me wrong– I love my job. I love what I do, the people I work with (well… remotely) and the product I rep; but that doesn’t mean Sunday’s aren’t absolutely bittersweet.

This Sunday was especially that bittersweet feeling for me. After spending the weekend down in Oakland, eating way too many tasty things, drinking all the amazing beer, booch & wine and, to be honest, surrounded by some of the most amazing company, it’s making Monday seem a little too real for me.

While my job isn’t quite conventional, these past few months has taught me the importance of balance: socially, mentally, creatively (does a blog get filed under this????) and keeping myself in check with work. I’m starting to realize how important it is to get out there, adventure and soak up all the shenanigans I can get myself in to! It seems to really help my Monday and starting off the week with a little more motivation and a clear mind.

CRUSHING ALL THE GOALS?! Er, I’ll just keep telling myself that…

I’m not a huge fan of beaches; sure, I think the water is pretty and rocks are cool… but it’s full of sand, children and apparently people vaping all over the place. Rodeo Beach was exactly what the doctor ordered on Saturday though.

After killing myself and my friend Kat at the gym, we grabbed some cheese, crackers and meat, snagged a beer and headed out to find the water! Okay.. honesty time.. we actually went to go find the perfect beer picture. 

I’ve had a ton of beers from Seven Stills Brewing, some of them have been a hit and others have unfortunately been a miss… but this 8 Pounds Per BBL hazy IPA was definitely a hit!

Boasting huge aromas of all that fruity goodness, this 100% Mosaic IPA brings just enough sweetness to keep the fruit poppin’ without feeling too sugary; lots of stone fruit and grapefruit with a nice dank finish helped keep things real… and we’re not talking about that pithy grapefruit, either. Because yuck… ain’t nobody got time for that. Juicy citrus overtakes your tastebuds in a chill, spiked fruit salad kind of way and ringing in at 7% helps keep it crushable but also makes you feel like hey, yeah, I’m feelin’ GOOOOOOD! Who doesn’t want that?!

I’ve been completely over hazy IPAs lately, but this one gave me some serious feels for the style. And if it can look that damn good perched on a rock, how can you not just suck it down?! The medium mouthfeel and perfect carbonation made this 7 Stills beer the perfect companion for us on our little beach day adventure.

Westbrook Gose

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

-Ernest Hemingway

I’m not 100% sure why this quote is sticking to me and my feels lately; I have a tendency to want things to work out so quickly, that if something goes off track- even in the slightest, I start to lose my bearings. Whether it’s moving in accepting everything to work out RIGHT THIS SECOND, or moving in to a new position at work and feeling completely out of my element and thinking my life is going to be over.. definitely not dramatic.

The first draft is going to be shit. 

I’m at a place with my new life that I feel like I can finally catch my breath and really soak in everything that is around me. I’ve been living in my house for four months, finally catching on to my incredible job (okay, still feel like I have no idea what the f*ck is going on- but I’m getting there) and finding balance between work/life/friends/relationships/gym.

I find myself sabotaging my own schedule then losing my mind when I can’t figure out why I’m working eight days a week or why I can’t fit 32 hours in to a single day. Oh, right! I did this to myself! I just left my bartending job to focus not only on my career of slangin’ Booch, but to focus on my own mental health. You see, if I work 60+ hours a week, you can bet that I’m not eating healthy (or at all), I’m probably excessively drinking because, hello, we all need to drink our feelings, and I’m guessing my fitness falls off. I’ll admit… I took over a month off from the gym and you did NOT want to cross me.

Face it. It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easier to drink every night than to deal with your sad little feelings. And it’s SO easy to just eat pizza for every meal and pretend you’re wearing leggings because you WANT to, not because you can’t fit in to your jeans (almost true… but seriously leggings are just heaven. And jeans are the devil). 

Part of getting in to the groove of things here in California is learning how to not die from a heat stroke at any given moment. We’re at the peak of fire season, our house is at a nice 95 degrees (I’m just guessing here… but I literally almost burnt my legs off with this laptop) and the only thing I want to do is shovel ounces upon ounces of Gose’s in my face.

I can’t say I’ve had a lot of East Coast beers, and definitely not from any brewery in South Carolina; so when I got this Westbrook Brewing Gose in the mail I couldn’t wait to crack it open! If you aren’t familiar with the style, Gose’s are a sour-style German wheat beer that will typically be brewed with sea salt. Not only are you getting a lighter ABV beer, they tend to be packed full of flavor, offer a bit of brininess and… well, they’re just damn tasty.

This one was no exception. 

The color is that of a typical gose, but that’s not what makes this beer shine. The first sip instantly has me going back for me– hell, I’d knock it back if it weren’t mid-afternoon! Westbrook’s Gose is brewed with coriander alongside the sea salt to really bring out the citrus and floral bits of the spice. The tanginess from the salt brings a little bit of that mouth pucker without giving you warhead face and has the mouthfeel of a wheat beer. Not too tart, heavy or lacking flavor.

If this is any indication of what Westbrook Brewing has to offer, I might need the biggest care package from the east coast (Eh-hem, I’m accepting volunteers).

Whether you’re looking for a beer to help keep you cool on these blisteringly hot summer days or just want an excuse to try something new, you need to get your hands on this beer!

Now, here’s to hoping I find a little more inspiration for some writing!

Cheers Xx

Ales For ALS – Faction Brewing

I like to think I enjoy the finer things in life;

beer, craft breweries, good people and any reason to drink for a good cause! What better way than the Ales for ALS event at Faction Brewing in Alameda?

The 5th Annual Ales For ALS takes place the 21st of July from 1pm to 5pm at their
brewery down in Alameda! And if you haven’t been to this brewery, the view alone
is the perfect excuse to get your booty down there. Seriously, we’re talking about a
view of the San Francisco skyline, all the sunshine you could soak up and even better
beer!

There are over 30 breweries participating and each one has to brew a beer with a
hop blend featuring Ekuanot, Simcoe, Loral, HBC 344, 520 & 630 from Loftus
Ranches, which just so happens to be one of the oldest hop farms in Yakima Valley,
WA (shout out to my old stomping grounds!). Even more fun? The hop blend changes every single year! So not only do you get to try crazy different beers, every year the breweries are surprised with a different blend of hop goodness.

Ales for ALS has been going strong since 2013 and has raised over $1.7 million
dollars for ALS! Breweries around the world participate in this amazing cause. Not
only are amazing events like this held, $1 from every pint sold (from participating
breweries) is donated to the foundation as well! So, drink up guys!!

Claudia and Rodger, Faction’s very own beer-lovin’ leaders, started hosting their
own Ales For ALS (same foundation, just a party here in The Bay!) five years ago by
donating their space, temporarily sacrificing their own liquor license and inviting
some of the best breweries around to donate 100% of the profits to ALS-Therapy
Development Institute. In fact, their first beer they ever brewed was the Ales For
ALS! So you could say they’re pretty pumped on this event!

Not only are you getting to try uniquely brewed beers, but each ticket sale goes
directly to helping find a cure and treatment for ALS, which is a neurodegenerative
disease that effects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (curious about ALS? Read
more here).

There will also be an amazing auction where you can get some pretty epic prizes
and things, and all proceeds ALSO go to Ales For ALS. And don’t you even get me
started on the food trucks attending. Every time I visit Faction I find a new food
truck I get obsessed with so you’re not only going to drink well, your tummy will be
even more excited!

I recently got to sit down with Claudia and pick her brain about Ales For ALS and, I have to be honest, you can hear the passion in her voice and it’s nearly impossible to not mirror her excitement for this cause. Both Rodger and Claudia have had a connection to ALS, whether it’s a family friend, a brewery regular or through this event; their commitment to spread awareness, donate everything they can and help to find treatment is completely inspiring.

So what are you waiting for? Snag a ticket here! General admission is $45 and the Do-Gooder ticket, which gets you to the front of the line, is only $60. And remember, these tickets are 100% going straight to ALS-TDI!

7 Still Brewery & Distillery Take Over Nob Hill

Moving to California has been absolutely life changing; I mean, I uprooted my whole life, packed up my little nugget of a car, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. While I landed the perfect job with a company I’m far too obsessed with… things are still working themselves out.

And hey, maybe I’m still drinking about it too.

Loss is something I’m never going to be good at. I’d rather just shove my feelings down and ignore whatever voice inside my head that’s trying to tear me down. I moved to California for some really great reasons… but also for something that ended far too quickly. Moving here meant I lost a lot of friends back home; a lot of relationships that faded away and were left forgotten- but I also lost something incredible that was right here within reach.

So here we are. Seven months in to a big move and feeling like you got kicked back a few steps. As much of an introvert as I am, I still love having my people around. But it’s hard to surround yourself with people, especially in a time where my emotions are all over the place (oh- it’s fine, just random emotional breakdowns I’m fine IT’S FINE).

When I found out 7 Stills Brewery & Distillery was throwing a grand opening party for their new spot in San Francisco, I knew I needed to get there.

I mean… good beer and even better beer folks? SIGN. ME. UP.

I’m lucky enough to find some rad beer people in the area; and when I found out that my gal Milan (Fuhmonday) was also heading to the event solo, we decided to hit it up together!

7 Stills just opened a bar inside the amazing Stanford Court Hotel and they’re bringing all things brewed & distilled to the good people of Nob Hill. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect other than a space for beer and spirits to be intertwined. This hotel bar is chic, classy and everything you could ask for! With ample seating (a little hard for a grand-opening, we’ll be back once the hype simmers down a bit), a full cocktail list AND all their beers, you’re probably going to fall in love with the place. Hell, I know we did!

Aside from great cocktails, beer and whiskey, they will also be offering food and snacks to munch on! We weren’t able to get to the VIP food and drink pre-event event, but the menu will include options like steak, burgers, upscale bar food and I’m sure an ever evolving menu!

So, what are you waiting for?

Get yourself to Nob Hill, catch a ride on the cable car or trek up the hills because this spot is worth it!

 

Cheers Xx

So Is This What Hipsterish Tastes Like??

I’ve made it 6 frickin’ months in California with only a few mental breakdowns, questioning my move over 1,000 times, a handful of awesome new friends, three house changes- and, I can officially say that this is the happiest I’ve been in a really long time.

And this isn’t just momentary happiness- or even the kind of happiness that feels like an incredible high (because I’m good at that high/low stuff). No, no, no. I still have my moments of WHAT THE F*CK AM I DOING and feeling a bit (erm- very) hopeless; but overall I feel like I’m actually on to something here.

So what would a move-aversary be without a little beer?

 

There’s no doubt that when you hear Monkish Brewing, your little ears are probably going to perk up. I mean… hello, HYPE BEERS.

Okay… I’m 78% kidding.

This beer was sent to me from a fellow beer lover down in LA and… damn, is it good. What Do We Call It? Hipsterish, Or Is That Too Obvious? is a collaboration between Monkish Brewing and Evil Twin Brewing. Both these breweries are known for their hazy goodness, and this is NO exception.

This double dry hopped pale ale is packed full of Nugget, Galaxy, Citra and Cascade Hops and a healthy splash of oats to keep those flavors soft and well rounded. Hipsterish is a legit canned tropical fruit party with a heavy dose of orange, pineapple and mango flavors ending with a nice little bitter note from the Nugget hops.

I find a lot of hazy IPAs to be  too sweet, like you’re sipping on the juice from one of those Dole Fruit Cocktail Cups packed full of sweetener, or lacking a bitter backbone to balance it out; but this was exactly what I needed to celebrate my sanity here in California! Seriously, I met a hazy pale didn’t get too insane with the sugary sweetness and the soft lingering bitterness helped, and really held the hand, of the sweetness.

I’m still struggling to find my balance with beer and fitness; I find it hard to finish a whole beer without beating myself up or guilt tripping myself the next day. But when I do drink a whole beer (like this delicious little devil) I realize that all my progress doesn’t immediately dissipate. And I’m not instantly a fluff again.

While I’m trying to be better at giving myself a break, I also want to remember that this move probably wouldn’t have gone so smooth if I was drinking as much as I did before I moved here. That little drunk voice in my head can be a real @ss hole sometimes and noooobody has time for that!

So here’s to a ton more beerventures!

 

Cheers Xx

Balancing Beer

 

I’m guilty of having a one-track mind. When I have my highs, you better believe I can’t contain my excitement; but with that comes some serious lows that seem to take all my energy and might to get them to go away.

I want to talk about balance. And how you can love beer without making it your whole life AND you can have other hobbies that balance out all those beer calories.

I mean… a moment on the lips forever on the hips amiright?! I hate that saying, but hey… it has some truth behind it!

Before my love of beer really took off, I had a serious passion for fitness. Aside from wanting to be in shape and look good on the outside, it has always been something that kept my head on straight and (most of) my anxiety at bay but also allowed me to push my self physically. Plus growing up playing sports taught me two things: I’m not always a team player (why I like crossfit & weights- me vs. me!) & my body craves movement. With my one-track mind, I tend to get obsessed with one hobby and go full force, pedal to the metal crazy over it.

And that’s what happened with beer.

Do you know how easy it is to lose yourself in a passion? I’m sure at one point in your life you realized that maybe your energy was going towards one thing, or that you were ignoring other necessities in your life,  when it really should be balanced out.

That was me.

If you’ve read my last few articles, you’ll see that I’ve begun to go down the road of self-discovery- and, well, that means taking a step back from beer and really focusing on all areas that make me happy.

So beer & barbells… can that even be a thing?! You see, I need exercise to keep my mood up, my mind focused and my bouts of depression/anxiety to simmer the F out. I would hit the high of working out, eating healthy and seeing results and that get’s me frickin’ PUMPED for everything that’s coming my way… but then, almost instantly, I fall of that high horse and start to indulge in a few more beers, eat that pizza and cake I’ve been craving and then immediately start to beat myself up over it. And that toxic thinking is what has landed me here.

Reevaluating my priorities, figuring out how to balance my interests and keep up with this healthy mindset I’m so committed to may get me to where I want to be… or maybe it’s just another kick (let’s hope not).

I’ve been lucky enough to find some California friends (and still looking… wink wink) that get the balance aspect. Because honestly nothing is more annoying than someone ragging on your diet or poking at you to drink more beer with them (and never, ever drop it). BUT we’re also capable of choosing who we surround ourselves it. I’m not saying that those beer friends I’ve made back in Seattle and around are in any way shape or form bad, I’m just saying that we can choose to surround ourselves with people who support us and our interests or… we can be talked in to that second or fifth beer even if it’s not exactly what we wanted; I’m only saying that because peer pressure and I do NOT get along and my arm can be easily twisted. 

You can love beer and you can decide that it won’t consume your life. Does that mean I’m losing my tastebuds for beer? Hell no. Does that mean I might not be as much fun? Uhm, I don’t know. Maybe? Just because I’m making a conscious decision to not make beer 100% of my life doesn’t mean this beer chick is going anywhere!!

Just balance. Find your balance.

 

Cheers Xx

Moving To a New City Alone & Why It’s Okay To Not Miss Home

 

Moving to a new city basically alone has been nothing that I expected. I’m not sure what I thought it would be… but I tend to romanticize everything. So obviously I was going to move and find the perfect job that gave me boat loads of cash, an immaculate apartment and make ALL the new friends… I nailed the job situation, working on making all the friends and am basically homeless (jk- my amazing friend Nicole is letting me stay in her spare room that frickin’ angel).

Recently I spent six days back in Seattle with my family after moving away just five months ago. And. I’m going to be honest…

I don’t miss Seattle one bit. There. I said it!

Talking to people around California, most shake their head at me when they hear I moved from Seattle to Northern California. Usually a “What?! I love Seattle it’s so beautiful!!” followed by a personal story about the city, comparisons about Seattle and where I live now and blah blah blah. Sure- Seattle is a pretty beautiful place. But I also lived there (and around the city) for almost 27 years. Cities lose their charm after time. Or maybe Amazon strangling the life out of the city and raising the rent is where you draw the line (pls don’t be mad Amazon, I love 2-day shipping don’t ban me).

I absolutely love my family, and I miss them like no other. My brother is one of my best friends, and getting to spend a few days with him was exactly what I needed. But I wouldn’t go back.

Okay, of course I’ll go visit. But Seattle doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I have so many memories, both good and bad, that I’m perfectly fine leaving behind. Something happened when I moved to California and it stirred something up inside of me that was in a deep hibernation. And the guilt of that is why I’m writing this.

I feel so guilty for leaving behind my family and friends.

I feel guilty that I ‘ran’ away and started my new adventure.

And I’m pretty damn sick of feeling that way!

Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first. For so long I was just getting by, working jobs to make ends meet and making sure I balanced enough social time between friends and family WHILE pushing my anxiety and depression deep, deep down. I think that if I didn’t move I would have exploded. And instead of a mental breakdown I’m having a mental breakthrough.

I’ve talked about people calling me brave before- psst, the secrets out. I’m just as scared and afraid as I was by the idea of moving months before I packed everything up as I am right now. Sitting here in my friends apartment, because I moved with little to no plan, and knowing that I have almost no one here and just a handful of those back home… let’s just chalk it up to me being terrified.

But it’s okay to not miss home and it’s also okay to be scared (and cry a little too often) for what’s to come. But no matter how many ups and downs I go through, that regret of leaving everything behind hasn’t hit me. And I honestly don’t think it will.

Everything is temporary, and whether we choose to pursue what’s happening or change it completely just remember that this is your life and you can live it however you want. Take them reigns because you can go anywhere! Literally.

If I’ve learned anything these past few month it’s that being confident and happy in my own skin is what’s most important. I struggle almost daily with self-doubt and letting that little voice in my head take over moments of confidence. But I persist. I can do anything I set my mind to, and working towards finding my new fit is worth the fight.

Have you moved to a new city? What’re your survival tips?

 

Cheers Xx

 

 

Finding Your Path

 

One of my favorite things about beer, other than the social aspect, is being able to photograph it. I love coming up with an idea, hunting out an awesome location and snapping way too many photos.

Before I graduated high school I was completely convinced that I would be a photographer. I saved up a whole bunch of lunch money, scrapped together change and worked my first job to get my very own camera: a Nikon D50. That thing was my child and I thought I was the best damn photographer out there. I mean… for a 17 yr-old.

While my college years were full of ups and downs, 65 changes to what I wanted to major in and, ultimately, earning that expensive piece of paper, my interest in photography was always there. Sure, take a look at my instagram photos from when I first started my beer blog and you’ll probably laugh. It’s amazing to see where things have gone these past two years!

Beer brought me back to that passion. It gave me a why into what I was doing and focusing on. And what it has come down to now is being (mostly) more excited to think about a picture idea than it is to drink the beer.


California has inspired me to do so many things I lost sight of like getting out there, exploring, finding new passions and ultimately pushing myself outside of that pesky comfort zone.
I had amazing ideas for this Faith No S’mores stout from Alvarado Street Brewing. I was pumped to grab all the fixings for s’mores and seriously stuff my face (an excuse to eat everything?? SIGN. ME. UP)! NorCal had a different plan for us… Dustin and I decided to get out there and take some pictures the other day and this was one of the last beers I had in my fridge- definitely not s’mores weather… apparently California in February is 70 degrees?

Stumbling on this field of flowers was something neither of us expected, but that’s what I love about getting out there with a camera and why it’s so cool to have someone to adventure with. My goal after moving down here was getting back in to photography and pushing myself to do things I would usually be uncomfortable with. Like jumping in to the middle of a field… I’m the girl that HATES getting dirty can’t stand bugs and I don’t trust anything I can’t see.

So here I was sitting there thinking some alien monster was going to abduct me and that would be where my story ended.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m trying to find my passion and really chase it. I’m coming to a realization that the career path I’ve built my life around the last three years might not be filling me up. Remembering what I used to love and coming back to that (i.e. photography) is making it easier for me to figure out where my roots should go. I’m not saying I’m going to go be a photographer… it’s really just clearing my mind and expanding my thoughts.

We get stuck with the mentality that you go to college, you pick something you want to major in and then you get that job. Your whole life will revolve around that one decision you made when you were in your early 20’s. But that’s not what life is about and we don’t have to stick to one path forever. I’m realizing that what I thought was going to make me happy really isn’t all that I dreamt it was going to be. It’s okay to chase a dream, even if people don’t understand exactly what or why you’re doing it. This California adventure I got myself into is showing me a heck of a lot about finding those things that put a smile on your face or doing the things that might give your stomach those little butterflies.

So maybe just go find a field of flowers and plop yourself down.

Get to know yourself. Find what makes you nervous and fills you with excitement. And just. Breathe.

 

Cheers Xx