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san francisco adventures: best views

A few week back, I started a mini series sharing my favorite places in San Francisco. This started with my Pinterest map, where I add pins of places I like to eat at and explore in the city. Each pin shows you a photo and the geolocation – super cool for navigating when visiting or just hitting a new neighborhood. I’ve already shared blog posts about my favorite coffee shops and brunch spots and today I’m sharing my favorite views in the city. You absolutely must visit at least of few of these!

Alta Plaza Park {one block from my apartment so if you’re here, you better come say hi!}

Battery Spencer {view of GG Bridge and San Francisco from Marin}

Billy Goat Hill {and a rope swing – pictured above!}

Corona Heights

Golden Gate Bridge {obviously!}

Lombard Street

North Beach {the ‘Little Italy’ of SF}

Ocean Beach/Outer Sunset

Palace of Fine Arts

Sutro Baths {beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, especially at sunset}

Twin Peaks

You can more of my favorite places in SF on Pinterest here and read the original blog post here. Stay tuned for more highlights from my Pinterest map soon!

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inspiring women, part 12

Hi queens! I’m super excited to share with you another interview in my Inspiring Women series. Today, I’m sharing Katie Den Ouden’s story with you. I discovered Katie’s magic originally on Twitter and I’m constantly inspired by her positive spirit and encouragement she spreads online {and no doubt in person!}. She is a Denver-based Soul & Life coach, blogger and spirit who has made it her mission to help women live their best life ever – all with a focus on joy {my favorite!}. Plus, that flower crown photo! The cutest. You can follow her blog, Twitter and Facebook for more too! I’m thankful she took the time to answer a few questions for me that hopefully inspire and encourage you today. xo!

Read more stories from inspiring women on Polish My Crown here.

What story is your life telling right now, today?

My current story of adventure: the essence of stepping into and owning my full and true womanhood. While I’m nearing the end of my 20s and a decade of so much growth, insight, and becoming…it wasn’t until very recently that the true essence of womanhood started speaking to me. Calling me. Welcoming me. (And no, I’m not pregnant nor do I have kids:)).

Since a young age I’ve experienced life events before many of my peers – parental divorce, caring for a mother with multiple sclerosis, the prospect of death several times, self-sufficiency by the age of 8 and more. Many of these may be “adult-like” in nature…but, today, right now, I am truly learning they are not real womanhood for me.

Womanhood, for me, is the path of owning my genius, gifts, strength, wisdom, wild and untamed-ness, desires, full story, contagious joy, vulnerabilities, playfulness, intuition, and power at a level that I’ve never experienced before. It is profound, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time. And, it’s through this that I am holding the space more tenderly, fiercely, and lovingly for other women to do the same. It’s an honor that I never knew I could experience.

It’s hard to describe in words…can I just let you hang out in my heart for a bit and feel it? :)

What woman inspires you and why?

Right now I’ve been mega inspired by (and girl-crushing on) Amal Alamuddin. Yes, I know that feels a little cliché to me as well since she’s engaged to Mr. George Clooney… but man, this woman is single-handedly impacting the world through her brilliance, defense of important social justice issues, and her killer beauty, poise, and style. While I’ve simply managed to conjure up an idea of who Amal is (basically what I desire at my core and impose it on her J), the inspiration to “have it all” and“change the world” calls to me. I do not desire to “have it all” based on what magazines or society tells me, but the “all” that my souls longs for…to live with purpose, presence, joy, freedom, empowerment for others and a good dose of style and true beauty.

What are three things you’re thankful for?

1) The women in my life. I am surrounded by some of the smartest, most awakened, most alive and vibrant woman who not only support me but stretch me into the highest and truest version of myself…allowing me to give my gifts and genius to the world and literally create the ripple effect of change >>> joy, freedom and truly LIVING. They know my weaknesses, secrets, AND genius and they champion me on like no other.

2) Uncovering, pursuing and living a “career” that fills my soul on a daily basis… I call it my purpose (at least for this point in my life).

3) My family. They keep me laughing, loving, and grounded.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?

We MUST embrace ownership of our lives, fully. Meaning that the entire way we feel and experience our lives is our responsibility – no one else. I call this radical responsibility and the day we acknowledge this and take action…guidance, freedom, joy, abundance and more will flow like no other. We have the power to shape our experience of life – don’t give someone else that power.

Women who allow themselves to have a direct experience with their life, who allow themselves to fully experience their feelings, sensations, moments, intuition, and desires – meaning what they desire, why they desire it, and making sure it is in alignment with their actions and values – are freaking world changers – in the best way possible. We have the opportunity to create ripple effects every day of contagious joy…it’s your choice. It’s your responsibility.

Design your life. Do not default into someone else’s desires. The world needs the true and full you. I need YOU.

Oh, and choose joy, daily. xo :)

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20 Things I Wish I'd Known In My 20s

My good friend Caitlin posted this link from Mind Body Green {20 Things I Wish I’d Known in my 20s} earlier this week and it was too good to share! Here’s a few of my favorites from the list. Definitely check out the full post to read all of them though!

P.S. Check out my friend Cait’s new blog documenting her personal journey training for her first marathon! Super inspiring and awesome. XO

2. Don’t focus so much on the future that you ignore what’s in front of you.

This applies to everything! Don’t future-trip in relationships. Don’t work so hard that you can’t enjoy the little things. Don’t spend so much time “pursuing” happiness that you forget that you have access to it at any moment you choose.

3. Courage is a decision.

It’s not an emotion, it’s a choice. Your fears can’t shape your life unless you’re happy being unhappy. You don’t need to be “ready” to make a change. You just need to acknowledge your fear and take action anyway.

4. You aren’t too old for a career change.

No matter how many degrees, time, and money you’ve put into something, it’s a sunk cost. You don’t get it back by sticking out something you don’t love. Don’t listen to your parents. (Sorry, mom!) You aren’t “playing it safe,” when you’re doing something you don’t love. You’re playing it scared. Do you really want to live with regret because you were afraid to pursue your dreams and embrace your potential?

6. Nobody’s opinion is more important than your own.

Other people’s views are not more relevant than your own. It doesn’t matter if they’re older, more successful, or better educated. Their opinion is simply that, an opinion, and nothing more. Learn to cultivate self-trust, knowing that what’s right for you is your truth, no matter who disagrees.

8. You don’t need to know what you want.

There’s so much pressure to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Most of us are in careers that have nothing to do with what we studied in school. We’re taught to pick a career and stick with it forever, but that’s an antiquated view. If what you’re doing is making your skin crawl, you probably won’t “grow into it.” Don’t commit to something just because you’re supposed to. It’s fine to play it safe as long as you’re experimenting with things that actually light you up.

10. It’s OK that you’re single.

You aren’t more valuable as a person just because you have a partner, more Facebook friends, or any other form of external validation. Until you can self-validate, you’ll always feel like you’re lacking.

11. Be aware of what you’re really upset about.

When it’s hysterical, it’s historical. If you’re going from 0-60 because they forgot to give you extra hot sauce with your order, it’s triggering an old wound that hasn’t been healed. Don’t take it out on the delivery guy.

13. Other people’s baggage is theirs to deal with.

This one is huge. You aren’t a good friend, lover, or family member by taking responsibility for other people’s problems. The goal is interdependence, not codependence. Support others in a loving way, but allow them to work things out on their own.

15. Acknowledge that this moment won’t last forever (even if it feels like it will).

Everything in my 20s felt like it lasted forever. Waiting for a guy to call me back, getting a promotion, for things to “go my way.” When I was struggling with severe depression, my best friend gave me a ring that said “gam zeh ya’avor.” Modeled after a magic ring of King Solomon’s, it translates from Hebrew as, “This too shall pass.” Whenever I was sad, I looked at it and found the strength to continue. (And I tried not to look at it when I was happy!)

17. Forgive yourself for past screw-ups.

I’ve made so many mistakes. For most of my 20s, it was the only way I learned anything. But after learning the lesson, I held onto the pain and guilt instead of surrendering and forgiving myself. Often, we focus on forgiving others instead of forgiving ourselves. And while it can be painful and challenging to have compassion for ourselves, it’s the first step to letting go of your old story and writing a new one. The truth is that you can’t go back in time, but you can focus on what you want to create in the future.

18. Find gratitude for the good, the bad and the straight up ugly.

One step of past forgiveness is gratitude. While that may sound crazy, it’s the fastest way to accept who you are and where you’ve been. It’s easy to find gratitude for the good things, but being thankful for the painful experiences allows you to embrace your growth and transformation.

20. Find your tribe.

Just because you were friends as teenagers or in college, doesn’t mean you need to stay as close. As you develop into your true self, you’ll align with people who mirror that. Transition can be lonely, but you’re more likely to find real friends if you’re your real self.

Bonus tip: Nothing good happens after 1am and nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot.

 Image via here.

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san francisco adventures: brunch

Last week, I kicked off a mini-series sharing my favorite spots in San Francisco organized by category. Last week I shared about coffee shops and today, I’m sharing about brunch spots! All of the places can be found on this interactive Pinterest map I created highlighting my favorite spots in San Francisco! All of the links below go to Pinterest so you can see quickly see where in the city each restaurant or cafe is. Enjoy!

Brunch Spots in San Francisco:

Brenda’s French Soul Food {near Civic Center}

Griddle Fresh {in Noe Valley}

Mission Beach Cafe {in The Mission on Guerrero/14th Street}

Nopa {in Nopa/Alamo Square}

Outerlands {in Outer Sunset}

Plow {in Potrero Hill – pictured above}

Sweet Maple {in Pacific Heights on Steiner/Sutter}

The Grove {multiple locations – Fillmore Street, downtown and Hayes Valley}

The Plant Organic Cafe {multiple locations in Marina, downtown or on The Embarcadero}

You can more of my favorite places in SF on Pinterest here and read the original blog post here. Stay tuned next week to see a list of my favorite views in the city!

 

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on happiness

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

 

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san francisco adventures: coffee shops

Happy Monday! A few weeks ago, I shared my interactive Pinterest map with you to make it easy to discover cool places to eat and explore in San Francisco. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorites from the map categorized based on activity. Today, I’m excited to kick things off and share a list of my favorite coffee shops in SF! This is probably the hardest category to list out because there are so many good spot

Coffee Shops in San Francisco:

B. Patisserie {pictured above, in Pacific Heights on California/Divisidero}

Blue Bottle Coffee {multiple locations, but my favorite is the one attached to Heath Ceramics}

Coffee Cultures {downtown on Sansome and Bush}

Duboce Park Cafe {in Duboce Triangle}

Four Barrel {in The Mission}

Jane {in Pacific Heights on Fillmore/California}

Mission Public {in The Mission}

Nook {in Nob Hill}

Philz Coffee {multiple locations, but I usually go to the one in the Castro}

The Mill {in Nopa on Divisidero}

Trouble Coffee {in Outer Sunset – get the toast!}

You can more of my favorite places in SF here and read the original blog post here. Stay tuned next week to see a list of my favorite brunch spots!

 

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you are significant with or without a significant other

I read this article from my favorite Shauna Niequist and immediately said YES. This was exactly what I needed to read. The article was filled with so many very important reminders that you are loved and of value, regardless of if you are single, dating or married. This is definitely something that hits home to me. While I’m dating now, I often felt “less than” compared to my friends with boyfriends. And now, I’m bombarded with wedding updates on Facebook and it often makes me question where I’m at in life. And that’s just silly. The blog post was an important reminder to accept, embrace and most of all, ENJOY the phase of life I’m in. Rather than being single and wishing to be dating/married or dating and wishing you were married, it’s important to just be present with and thankful for that stage of life.

I am valuable and significant and important and loved in the state of life I’m in. I was still valuable and significant and important and loved when I was single. I will still be valuable and loved and significant and important and loved when/if I ever get married. And so are you.

Hope you enjoy and get as much out of the article from Shauna as I did. It’s long but very, very awesome. xo!

You are significant with or without a significant other.

I say it every time because our culture is weirdly obsessed with romance and couples and being part of a matched set.
I say it every time because some of the people I love most in the world are single—either because they haven’t yet found their person, or because their marriage has ended. Honestly, I’ve reached that age when I hear more divorce announcements than wedding bells.

And sometimes I wonder if there would be fewer divorce announcements if we weren’t so hung up on marriage as a status symbol or accomplishment.

I love to tell people that it’s okay to be single because so many of my very favorite people are single. And it breaks my heart when they feel like they’re less or half or waiting around for their real lives to start. That’s garbage.

You are significant with or without a significant other. Marriage isn’t like being named prom queen. It’s a partnership, one I love being a part of. But it doesn’t make me more special. It’s not a status symbol.

For whatever set of reasons, our culture loves the Game of Life two-in-the-front-seat way of living. But that’s not the only way. And you’re not less-than for being solo in your car in this season. And I’m so sorry if sometimes you feel that. That’s awful.

Here’s the truth: some of the worst people I know are married. I don’t know how it happens. And some of the truly best people I know are single. I don’t know how that happens, either.

But what I do know is it’s not about the fundamental value of the person in question. Your value is not up for grabs, and certainly your value is not riding on a cultural obsession with romance and tulle and diamonds.

You are significant with or without a significant other.

A few thoughts for my single friends, who I just adore:

Don’t wait for marriage to start your life. Oh, man. My single friends do this so well. I love all the ways that my single friends are living well, with a great sense of adventure and purpose. They’re starting non-profits, traveling the world, creating homes with great style and creativity, contributing to their communities with so much love and honesty.

One of the very worst things about the whole wedding tradition is that we help people set up households when they get married, communicating that homes and nice things are for married people. Why should you have to be married to own a decent knife? Why do we only give married people towels and china? Shouldn’t every person, married or not, have a decent coffee pot? Isn’t that sort of a basic human right?

I remember when a single friend said, listen, I thought I’d be married by now. I thought I’d find that person and we’d buy a house together and buy furniture together. But just because that hasn’t happened, I don’t have to use an upside down milk crate for a nightstand, like I live in a dorm room, do I?

No, dear sister. Grown-ups should have good knives and nightstands and homes that have been created with love and attentiveness. You don’t have to wait for a partner to invest in your space, in yourself, in your life.

At the same time, being single is an opportunity, even if it’s not one you choose. Spend it. Singleness gives you a little more flexibility (unless you’re single parenting, which is a whole different deal, and which means I think you’re absolutely amazing.).

You might not want to be single right now. I get it. But it affords you some freedoms, and you should take them, every single one of them. I’m so proud of my single friends who are traveling like mad and living in interesting places and training for super-time-consuming races and getting fascinating graduate degrees.

Not every season affords this flexibility, and if you have it, grab it. Take it. Use it up. Please don’t wish away this season just because it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. What does singleness afford you? Time to write that book? Space to learn that skill? Flexibility to spend the summer in that dreamy place? Even if it’s not what you wanted, or not what you planned, how can you spend the opportunity you’ve been given in this season?

And while there are moments when you don’t want to be single, please do know that there are those moments when married people don’t want to be married. There are those moments when parents don’t want to be parents. It’s how life is, for all of us.

A thought for my married friends:

Don’t miss out on friendships with amazing people because they’re single and their rhythm of life is different than yours. My single friends add so much to my life. My life would be so much less rich and fun and challenging if I was only around married people. Lame.

And don’t assume that because someone’s single, they don’t want to hang out with married people, or people with kids. Our Cooking Club is a mix of married and single. Our small group is a mix of married and single. Some of the sweetest connections my kids have aren’t with my mom friends but with our single friends, and some of the most necessary and loving conversations I’ve had in recent months have been with single friends.

We all lose when we spend too much time with people right in the very same demographic. Life gets too small.

Dear, dear single friends: if I could reach through the screen, I’d put my hands on your shoulders, and I’d remind you as often as you need to hear it: you are significant with or without a significant other.

Being in a dating relationship or a marriage relationship doesn’t validate you or make you more.

You are extraordinary, enough, more than enough.

Don’t let a multi-billion dollar wedding industry tell you who you are. What do they know about your particular awesomeness?

You are significant, with or without a significant other.

{Image via here}