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The Favorites of 2023 and Welcome 2024!

Hello! 2023 is done and I for one could not be happier! I am ready to embrace what 2024 has to offer as 2023 was rough. I mean really rough. Emotionally and menntally I think it may have been the toughest year. So much so that i finally decided to utilize my resources and now have someone to speak to. Truthfully I think coming to that realization was turning point of the year for me and Q4 was a fun one! Now I can reflect on the positives that 2023 brought forth so let's talk!


Favorite New Experiences


It is a tie! In 2023, I walked in two fashion hows for Xtyle It. If you are not familiar, Xtyle It is an adorable boutique located at Steel Craft Garden Grove. I have had the pleasure of interacting with Marcie and Itzel as a customer (you know I like to shop) and upon learning they were putting on a fashion show in May, I threw my name into the ring in case they were looking for models. For some reason, they said yes and after that experience, they asked me back for the show in December. Putting myself out there was incredibly scary especially as I am still getting comfortable in my skin and so many eyes looking at me. However, I had amazing support from my friends at both shows and I just had fun with it and both shows are definitely a highlight of the year for me. Not sure if I will be walking in 2024 but I would welcome the experience.

One of the constants in 2023 despite everything that was going on, I maintained my workout schedule! There was definitely more pole as I tried new studios so the other favorite experience for me was my very first pole photo shoot! Backstory, I have been seeing Knocking Bird Creative on my feed for a couple of years now and I know some that have shot with Knock and their images are always amazingly beautiful. I wanted to do a shoot in which I felt that way as well. I love doing pole as it is the perfect balance of strength, grace, and sexiness. All feelings that I did not feel in my twenties but have been stepping into in my thirties. I decided this was the perfect time to celebrate my journey and this was something else to push me out of my comfort zone as hello, clothing is minimal. The shoot itself went by so fast yet somehow I managed to pinch a nerve in my shoulder so I can't say I felt beautiful but once I got the images I was pleasantly surprised that it was me that was looking so strong and gorgeous. Mission accomplished with this shoot!


I should mention that both of these experiences took place on December 16th so basically little ol me got to play model for the day!


Favorite Books


Non-fiction: I read several non-fiction books this year such as Ikigai and Ichigo Ichie, both of whom I loved and reinforced appreciating the current moment and mindfulness. That said, there was one book that blew me away... You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. My gosh, that book blew me away that I was telling all of my friends about it. It provided great insights and also just motivated me to get serious about my goals, both professional and romantic, and showed me that not only are they attainable but I am deserving. I will share my newest goal: Coco's Coffee and Cocktails. So excited to put in work toward this goal so more to come!

Fiction: The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren. This book was so nice, I read it twice! Seriously. I read it when it was released in June and then spent a Saturday again reading it in December. Fizzy is the main character that is a romance novelist but is jaded on love and doesn't believe it is going to happen for her and she meets a producer that creates a bachelorette style show around her and also utilizing a dating app. I just saw a lot of myself in Fizzy and her feelings towards relationships and seeing how she met this guy and they gradually fell in love was just so delightful to read. I am keeping hope alive over here lol.


Favorite New Coffee Shop


Lastly, I have to tell y'all about my two favorite coffee shops this year. We have Burnt Umber which is a gothic themed shop that makes a delicious latte. I am partial to the Dorian Grey which is an earl grey infused coffee latte and they always have an amazing seasonal. For Christmas, they had an apple latte that came with a fresh slice of apple and it was one of the best apple lattes this season. It is family run and the entire team is incredibly sweet. They all call me Nikki and seriously, I could just hug them but for now I just go get a latte once a week.

The other shop is Ape Coffee in Orange. First and foremost, the staff is so incredibly sweet! Every single person I have encountered has been friendly and helpful which makes sense as the owner of the shop, Chad, is both friendly, welcoming and appreciative and you can tell he imparts that culture onto his team. I have had several different drinks there and my favorite so far is the Snow Monkey. Brown sugar baby, I just don't know how to behave (thank you for that line D'Angelo). If you have a chance to check it out, please do so!


Every year brings something new so I am very excited to see what newness will come along in 2024. What brought you joy in 2023 and what are you looking forward to in 2024?

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