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There's No Place Like Home

Well, we did it!! 31 one consecutive days of blogging! I'm pretty impressed with myself. Although, I have to admit, I was definitely getting a little burnt out by the end. This really was a challenge for me. I enjoy my weekends and some days it was hard to find the time to blog, but I am proud of myself for sticking to it and completing the challenge. A big thank you to Jenni for organizing this challenge and hosting all of us each day. It was such a joy to read the other posts and get to know so many new bloggers in the past weeks.


While I'm gallivanting around Las Vegas with my best girls, I'll leave you with this entertaining little memory!

Day 31: A vivid memory.

Just Click Your Heels Together and think, "There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home"

Are you all getting sick of my camping stories from childhood?  Not yet? Good.

When I was about 8 years old, one of our family vacations was a camping trip to Moab, Utah. Sadly, this was after the Vanagon days, and we were tent camping. My sister and I shared a pretty awesome, retro, tepee tent. It was old, and we had to bungee cord the poles at the top so it would stay upright.

Then on one fateful night, a storm came. A wind storm. And I was terrified. My sister and I laid in our tent wide awake.  Between every gust of wind, the tent would collapse on us. When the wind would pick up again, the tent would rise back up. My memory is like those dancing air figures they have at car dealerships. You know the ones I mean?

Of course, my sister thought that my melt down was rather hilarious. In the standard older sister fashion, she told me, "just click your heels together three times and say: there's no place like home, there's no place like home." At the time, I did NOT find that amusing AT ALL.

Finally, my tears led to my mom and I sleeping in the back of our SUV. And my sister ditched our collapsed tepee for my Dad's tent. For the record, it was so windy my mom even said it felt like we were sleeping on a train in the back of the car....or did I say that? What can I say? I take after my Gram, I don't like the wind!

As ridiculous (and whiny) as I sound in this story, it has become a great inside joke for my sister and I. I even incorporated it into my Maid of Honor Speech at her wedding.

I like to think I've gotten a lot braver since then, but sometimes I am still a total baby. 

I hope you all have an amazing weekend! I'll be taking the next few days off from blogging to enjoy a girls weekend with my best friends in Las Vegas! I'll see you Monday!




Letting Go

pretty flowers in my parents yard

Day 30: React to the term, Letting Go

A few of the things I am working on letting go of, to become the best version of myself:

Letting go of the past so I can live in the moment

Letting go of my insecurities

Letting go of my desire to sleep in (to get to the gym and help with the insecurities)!

Letting go of my fear of failure

Letting go of caring what other people think


After work I'm heading to Las Vegas with a few of my closest girlfriends. We'll be spending our days lounging by the pool with cocktails in hand! I can't wait. I am in serious need of some Vitamin D. I'm especially excited for the Cirque du Soleil show on Friday night! I've always wanted to go, so I'm really looking forward to it!

Don't worry, I have my post all lined up for tomorrow so I can say I successfully completed the Blog Every Day in May Challenge!

I see you all back here Monday!




O'Brien Family Soundtrack


I've always been one of those people that constantly needs music. In the car, working out, cooking dinner, cleaning house, even at work. I am a sucker for anything sentimental and nostalgic, and I love how music can take you back to an exact moment in time.

I attribute my love of music to my Dad. Growing up, we always had music playing in the house. I used to get out his records and play them, my favorite was The Monkee's "Hey Hey We're The Monkee's." But most of my memories listening to music take place in the Vanagon. I've mentioned how much time my family spent traveling and camping when I was growing up. And there was always music playing on those long drives. We had a huge basket filled with tapes on the floor board between the driver's side and passenger seats. Since my Dad was a high school teacher, we had the best mix tapes that his students would make for him. I still love, and listen to all of those songs. They always take me right back to those road trips we took growing up. And it's actually one of the first things I loved about Andrew, he and I both have the same love for Classic Rock and music of the 60's and 70's that we got from our Dad's.

For the blog challenge today I decided to make an O'Brien Family Playlist with some of my favorite songs from that old basket of tapes, a Family Soundtrack, if you will.  

O'Brien Family Soundtrack

1. America Pie, Don McLean

2. The River (live), Bruce Springsteen

3. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Crosby, Stills and Nash
(affectionately named the "Do Do Song")

4. Get Back, The Beatles
(Mom's song, because her name is Loretta)

5. Hotel California, The Eagles

6. Graceland, Paul Simon

7. Money For Nothing, Dire Straits

8. Red Red Wine, Bob Marley

9. Imagine, John Lennon

10. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac

11. We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel

12. Pinball Wizard, The Who

13. Cats in the Cradle, Cat Stevens

14. Against the Wind, Bob Seger

15. Pink Houses, John Cougar Mellencamp

16. Who'll Stop the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival

17. Forrest Gump Suite, Alan Silvestri
(Or, "The Feather Song" as we called it)

I kept wanting to add more, but I figured I should stop before I had a box set. What songs would be on your family's soundtrack? 

A fun side note: At my sister's wedding the DJ played America Pie. The four of us, my Dad, Mom, Sister and I all danced together and sang and cried for the entire song! I think it's a favorite memory for all of us.




Memorial Day Weekend

Day 28: Only Pictures. 

I'm bending the rules a little bit on this one, and writing a little bit about what we were up to this weekend since I hardly took any photos. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday weekend! Ours was pretty low key, but really nice. We started off the weekend at the Giants game Friday night. Then Saturday we met some college friends for a little hike along Crissy Field and under the Golden Gate Bridge. The wind was a little too intense so we ended our hike early and heading towards Maregno's for lunch and a few cocktails.  Our friends had planned to go home that afternoon, but decided to stay in the city with us. We went out to dinner and had some fresh squeezed boozy juice at Lion Pub, they were delicious.  

Sunday Andrew and I were pretty lazy. We went to a late brunch at Eats because we'd been wanting to try it. It did not disappoint. Thankfully we live close by, we'll definitely go back for more! I had the pulled pork hash, but I'm dying to try the lemon poppy seed pancake with ricotta! Andrew had the bacon and waffles and loved it. Later in the afternoon we decided to head over to the Patagonia store just for fun, but we didn't find anything we couldn't live without. We also decided to walk up to the famous Lombard Street, since I hadn't hit that tourist attraction since I moved to the city. I'm not sure who's brilliant idea that was on a holiday weekend. We basically ran down the stairs to get away from the crowds. But, it was still fun to see the view on a clear and sunny day. We spent the rest of evening curled up watching movies together. We finally saw Silver Linings Playbook, and both really liked it. I have a serious girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence.

Yesterday was spent running errands and doing Sunday Monday chores like laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping. You know, the fun stuff. We made pizza for dinner, which was delicious but not the best diet friendly meal for less than a week before I'll be poolside in a bikini. Then we watched a documentary on Yosemite since we'll be there later this summer. It was such a nice, low key weekend. I was not ready to get back to work today, but it's a very short week because I am off Friday for a weekend getaway in Vegas with friends!

Well this post quickly became more about words than pictures. But since I didn't do a very good job taking photos this weekend, this will have to do. I did look at camera's while we were out yesterday, so I'm one step closer to finally upgrading my poor, beat up little cannon.

I hope you all had a great long weekend!




A Letter to My Lovely Readers

 Day 28, A letter to your readers.

Dearest Readers,

I can’t begin to express my appreciation for you. It seems crazy that I’ve only been blogging for a few months, and I’ve already started building relationships with some of you. I wanted to thank you for being patient with me, as I learn more about the technical side of blogging and find my voice as a writer.

Everyday I look forward to sitting down and reading other blogs, and now that I have my own, it’s even more meaningful since I’m a part of that community I always admired. Thank you so much for all of the sweet comments and emails. I LOVE hearing from you. I still can’t believe it when I see your names in my inbox, and I get a little start struck to receive comments and tweets from the bloggers I follow and love so much. All of you mean so much to me, and I am so appreciative of each and every one of you and the support you've given me during the first few months of my blogging journey. 

I’m still surprised that it’s not only my family members reading my blog everyday. And I want you all to know just how much it means to me to know that you continue stop by my little corner of the blog world. I feel like I’ve really found a niche for myself and I am so thankful you’ve all been so welcoming to me.

With love,



Worth Reading

We’re nearing the end of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge. I’m pretty proud I’ve made it this far. But, I have to be honest; I’m looking forward to taking a little break next weekend when I’m in Las Vegas with my girlfriends. Then jumping back in with my own prompts come June.

Day 26, Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you’d like.

I decided to include a link to something I read the other day that I found interesting. I thought it was an interesting perspective on communicating in relationships, and the importance of seeing both sides and trying to understand the other person’s perspective.

I also considered these two articles as well, so I figured I would include the links in case someone else was interested in reading them.

This was the commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave in 2005 at Stanford. My Dad printed a copy and gave it to me when I was getting ready to graduate in 2007. I’ve kept it and read it again many times since then. I’m sure many of you have already read it, but for those of you who haven’t it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

I think I came across this on Pinterest. Based on the comments I think it was somewhat controversial, but I found it very interesting. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that relationships take a lot of hard work. 

I hope you’re all having a nice Memorial Day weekend.




Something My Aunt Told Me...

Today on the ChallengeSomething someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget.

As usual, I was having trouble thinking about what to write about today. Last night I went to the Giants game with my friend Erica and we took our standard picture to upload on Instagram. We were talking about getting older and how we are starting to notice wrinkles and the changes in our bodies.

And then, something my Aunt Cheri said to me popped in my head. One time, maybe in Hawaii for my sister’s wedding, she overheard my sister and I negatively talking about our bodies or how we looked. And she told us, “you’ll never look as good as you do now.” She wanted us to appreciate ourselves and see what she sees when she looks at us.

Since she told me that, I always try to remember to focus on the qualities I feel good about. As I get older, and start to notice the changes, I understand more and more what she meant when she said that. Not that we’re not as beautiful as we age, but just to appreciate each stage, instead of always wishing for something we don’t have.




Some Things I Need to Work On

It's finally Friday! This week actually went by pretty quickly (they all seem to lately) but I am really looking forward to the long weekend. We are just staying in the city, but have a few fun things planned. It's supposed to be decent weather too, not too warm but sunny at least.

Tonight we're off to the Giants game with our friends Corrie and Erica. Then tomorrow some friends from college are going to be in the city so I think we'll have brunch and go for a hike. Unless bottomless mimosas get the best of us. I'll let you know how that turns out :)
I hope you all have a great weekend planned!

Day 24 is your top three worst traits. 

This one was tricky. It's hard to look at yourself with a critical eye. There are so many things I know I need to work on. But these three stood out to me.

I tend to over think everything - I've always had a hard time with this one and I know it can be toxic  and create self doubt. I've definitely gotten better about just letting go and accepting the situation, but sometimes I find myself replaying things in my head over and over again.

I am the worst procrastinator  - I have always been bad about waiting putting things off and then rushing to get things done in time. Whether it was writing an essay in school, packing for a trip, or writing a blog post for this challenge, I always wait until the last minute. I know it just creates more stress for myself, but I can't seem to break the cycle!

I can be too sensitive - I suppose this goes hand in hand with over-thinking things, but I am a very sensitive person. I'm learning to embrace my sensitivity. I know that sometimes it can actually be one of my good qualities. But there are times when I take things too personally, and get upset about things that were not meant to be hurtful.

Enjoy the long weekend!!




Things I Didn't Learn in a Classroom

Day 23: Things you've learned that school won't teach you

There's a lot to be said for the classroom. Some of us were lucky enough to have incredible teachers, who helped shape us into the people we have become, those who stick with us long after graduation.

I was born into a family of teachers. My Dad was a high school teacher before becoming the District Superintendent, my cousin was a teacher for many years before becoming an administrator herself, and my sister is getting her teaching credential as well. I've seen firsthand the impact teachers can have on their students. However, there are many things we don't learn in school. As we go through life, our experiences and struggles help shape us, and teach us many important lessons. Things that cannot be found in a text book.

I don't think any of us ever stop learning. A new lesson can be found in every experience. My friend Jen once told me she looks for the lesson whenever life throws her a curve ball. And since, I've tried to do the same. There is a moral to every story. Something that we can take from it, to enrich our lives and become better for it. 

In my 27 years, these are some of the things I've learned so far. Some are a work in progress, and I'm sure there are many lessons I've forgotten to include.

accept yourself for who you are -  YOU are amazing just the way you are. Try to remember that. All of our unique qualities define us, and make us individuals. It's a constant struggle to embrace ourselves for who we are, and not compare ourselves to those around us. But once you can accept the qualities that set you apart, you realize how special you are and all that you have contribute.

always say I love you - Always tell the people you love how much they mean to you. In my opinion, hearing someone say they love you never gets old. You never know what could happen, and it's best to make sure that the people you love have no doubt about your feelings for them.

trust your gut-  I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again. Follow your heart and trust your instincts. They're usually right.

go see and do- Travel. Get out and see the world. The more cultures you experience and places you travel, the better understanding you'll have of this world and the people in it. Meeting new people and seeing how they live and understanding their history gives you compassion and understanding for other people.

don't settle - I've seen many people get stuck in a routine they feel safe and comfortable in, and not "break free" and push themselves to reach their full potential. I could have been one of those people. Thankfully, I worked up the courage to take a risk. And although it was hard, I am 100% happier today, and so thankful to be where I am now.

it's okay to say No sometimes ­-  I am a people pleaser through and through. I am still working on this one. But I'm learning that it is okay to say "no" sometimes. It's better to put the best version of yourself out there, then spread yourself too thin. I'm still trying to learn not to put too much on my plate. I've learned that when I focus on a few things that matter to me, I see better results and feel more fulfilled than trying to please everyone and do everything. 




Really!?! Noisy Neighbors

Day 22Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. 

I decided today would be the perfect day to vent to you all about our noisy neighbors with an early edition of the Weekend Update!

Really!?! Noisy Neighbor, you're going to rearrange the furniture every night when you get home? Really!?!

Really!?! Noisy Neighbor, you're going to BLAST your 90's jams at 3:00am? Really!?!

Really!?! Noisy Neighbor, you're going to go at it, and loudly, at 1:00am and 5:00am Every.Single.Day? I mean really, I'm glad you have a healthy relationship and all, but really!?!

Really!?! Noisy Neighbor, are you doing laps up there? It sounds like you're running in circles above our head while we're trying to go to sleep! I mean, really!?!

Really!?! Noisy Neighbor,  do you really need to have a screaming match for all the neighbors to hear? If he shouldn't be telling "that fat *&@(%! your problems" I don't think you should be telling us either! I mean, really!?!

I realize that we live in San Francisco, and old apartment buildings have minimal insulation and I'm sure the hard wood floors don't help the situation. I absolutely love our apartment, don't get me wrong. And we don't want to leave any time soon, so it's worth putting up with the noise. But, really!?!

Clearly Andrew and his love for SNL is rubbing off on me :)




A Look Back...

 Day 21 of the Challenge is a list of links to your favorite posts in your archives. 

Since I've only been blogging a few months now, it didn't take me long to go through my posts and select a few favorites. It's hard to believe I've published 65 posts on From Foothills to Fog. I've been reading blogs for so long now, I guess it was only a matter of time before I started my own. And now that I have, it's hard to remember a time before I was a blogger myself.

If you're new around here, these posts will give you more of a glimpse into who I am and what I've been up to.

Lessons Learned: Living With A Boy... - I wrote this shortly after Andrew moved up from San Diego. Needless to say, after 2 years of long distance, I was beyond excited. The last few months have been so great living together and exploring San Francisco. After spending so much of our relationship 500 miles apart, I am so thankful that I get to see him every day now.

Letters To Martha - This was the most meaningful post that I've written so far. My Gram was one of the most influential people in my life and I miss her every day. Taking the time to sit down and write about some of my memories and what I miss about her was really special.

It's All In The Details - Phillip's Baby Shower - Becoming an Aunt has been one of the greatest highlights of 2013. I was so excited for the opportunity to throw my sister's first baby shower and make it really special for her. I love planning events and had so much fun organizing the shower and putting together all the details that would make it special. I'm so happy I wrote this post so we can always come back and remember what a special day that was. I knew my sister would be an incredible mother, and it has been so fun now that Phillip is here to watch her take on that role.

Winter Pinterest Challenge: Fabric Banner - This was one of my very first posts. I was so excited to write this and participate in the link up started by Young House Love and Bower Power. Those are two of my favorite blogs, and I had read and loved the Pinterest Challenge since it started. Since I had just thrown my sister's baby shower, I knew creating the torn fabric banner would be a perfect topic since I had pulled inspiration from my Pinterest boards. I can still remember how exciting it was to see my page views soar over 100 after less than a week of blogging. It's the little things.

Vanagon Stories - This post was especially fun to write. One of the best parts, were the texts I received from my sister and parents after they read it. Apparently the mouse incident occurred on the Las Vegas strip, not in Los Angeles. And my Dad told me he actually wanted to keep the van for vacation, but my Mom thought 3 cars was just too much. And my favorite, the day they bought the van my mom told my Dad "Now I think my life is complete."

Go Climb A Rock: Tuolumne Meadows and CampingIn Tuolumne Meadows - These are two of my favorite posts because it was so fun re-living those memories. I truly love spending time in Tuolumne Meadows, it is a special place for my family. I loved sharing that with Andrew last summer and getting to rock climb with my Dad as well. We're already looking forward to our next trip later this summer!  

I hope you enjoy this look back into From Foothills to Fog. It was fun to take a look back and see how far I've come in just a few short months.




Struggling to Get to the Gym

Day 20 of Blog Every Day In May. Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

And because every post needs a picture, on my sailing trip in the Caribbean 

The gym and I aren’t on the best terms these days. I’ve really been struggling to get out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes off. But if I don’t go in the morning, I always seem to talk myself out of going after work when 5:00 o’clock rolls around.

I’ve always struggled with body image and self esteem. I know that working out regularly and getting into a routine really helps me with this. I always feel better about myself and the negative self-talk decreases. But for some reason, it isn’t enough to push me out of bed in the morning. I’ve struggled with my weight for years, and I am this close to reaching my goal. Sometimes I feel like I am subconsciously sabotaging myself, and I don’t know why. It’s really frustrating to know that I will feel better if I get up and work out, and still not be able to motivate myself to do it. I never regret going, but I always regret sleeping in.

Andrew and I both want to start going to the gym regularly in the morning so we can have our evenings to relax and spend time together. We decided to start a vacation/camera fund and if we don’t go to the gym 4 days, we owe the pot $10 for each day we miss. We’ll see how that works out! Hopefully being proactive and challenging ourselves like this will be effective. Apparently I do well with challenges, this is my 20th successful day of the blogging challenge!

So anywayyyyy, that is my current struggle. I know for my health I need to get back into my fitness routine, I’ll feel better both physically and mentally. Now it’s time follow through and take the steps necessary to get there.

Has anyone else been struggling with this recently?




The Graduate

How is it already Sunday evening? Back to work tomorrow after a fun weekend. We had Andrew’s Mom, Grandpa and family friend in town staying with us for his sisters USF Graduation.

It was a great weekend. I was excited to go to Nina’s graduation from USF because I knew my family had an altar there. We arrived early so I was able to walk around and find it before the ceremony. It was so fun to see “O’Brien” on the plaque and know that it was my family.


To celebrate Nina's graduation, we decided we’d go wine tasting for the day. We decided to start at The Buena Vista Winery. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it was the spring release party! We were able to buy a tasting that included food pairings, a live band, and even a barrel tasting. We ended up having so much fun, and stayed for a few hours.

It’s been such a busy weekend, but it was so nice to spend so much time with Andrew’s family. I especially loved getting to meet his grandpa and spend time talking with him.


For Day 19 of the Blogging Challenge, the prompt was: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them. 

I have done two similar posts recently so I decided to share a glimpse into my weekend, and link back to those posts.

I hope you all had a great weekend! I’m not ready to go back to work tomorrow…


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