Monthly Archives: December 2014

Highlights of 2014

As I get older I always feel like the times have a way of speeding past me and I’m left in the lurch with the dust circling around me as I wonder how the hell that shit happened so quickly.

This year I’m giving myself permission to be proud of how far I’ve come and all the cool things I’ve experienced.

Being a huge believer of lists, I, in true Leilani fashion, have outlined my past year in A Top Highlights of 2014 list thangy thang for you below. (These are not in any type of order just awesome highlights of the year):

  1. Tried skiing
  2. Traveled to Beijing and walked along The Great Wall of China
  3. Traveled to Thailand
  4. Went snorkeling – in the Andaman sea
  5. Took a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai
  6. Rode an elephant for the 2nd time in my life
  7. Tried local Thai Whiskey
  8. Was blessed different times by different Buddhist Monks
  9. Had weekly hikes with an old boss turned friend and Huxley while unemployed and still in Cali
  10. Girls trip to Savannah, Georgia – another place I’ve never been before
  11. Took a trip to NYC in May and decided then I was going to move there shortly after
  12. Took in so many beautifully amazing California sunrises and sunsets while walking my pup
  13. Negotiated leaving a company I didn’t like and was able to get more than what I wanted in the process of doing so
  14. Signed up to volunteer for 2 weeks in Tanzania, Africa
  15. Started a fundraiser
  16. Started a blog
  17. Ended a friendship that was negative and didn’t serve me
  18. Sold almost all my possessions (less some clothes, accessories and shoes)  including the new car I had for less that 14 months
  19. Had my first ever going away dinner
  20. Bought flats and stopped wearing heels so I could navigate the city by walking everywhere
  21. Developed plantar fasciitis from walking so damn much wearing only flats
  22. Flew with Huxley for the first time
  23. Flew with him again
  24. Moved to New York City!
  25. Spent a weekend in Montauk (another first place visited) celebrating a friend’s bday with Huxley in tow
  26. Found an apt and a cool roommate within a few weeks of being in New York
  27. Went on runs through central park and around the reservoir
  28. Exchanged 4 different running shoes to find the perfect pair to give up running due to plantar fasciitis and shin splints
  29. Found a job within 2.5 months of being in New York
  30. Learned how to take NYC the subway
  31. Walked 3 miles with Huxley to participate in SummerStreet
  32. Gave in and bought a kindle
  33. Witnessed a transformation of one of my best friends through his recovery of drugs and alcohol
  34. Built amazing friendships with 2 beautiful women that were introduced to me by one other amazing beautiful woman
  35. Took Huxley to Central park to have picnics with me in the summer on the grassy area next to turtle pond
  36. Watched  my local sports teams play in NYC as an NYC resident – the SF Giants at Citifield and the SF 49ers at Met Life Stadium
  37. Took the bus from Port Authority to New Jersey by myself, twice
  38. Hit the 1 year anniversary of quitting smoking
  39. Witnessed the birth of my beautiful lovable newphew bear Jaxon Ryder
  40. Met 3 other beautiful lovable little babies by my own beautiful lovable friends
  41. Helped celebrate the unions of friends’ marriages
  42. Watched movies outside while drinking wine and eating good food with hundreds of others doing the same over summer nights in NYC
  43. Bought my first pair of snow boots
  44. Bought clothes actually geared for seasons
  45. Spent Thanksgiving with my new Long Island family who adopted me with zero hesitation
  46. Watched an Off-Broadway show that still makes me cringe inside
  47. Went on my first and probably not last food tour
  48. Saw the entire NYC skyline from a Jersey pier and realized at that moment for the first time I truly lived in NYC and fulfilled a dream of mine
  49. Eat more pizza in a 6 months than i probably ever have my whole lifetime
  50. Sat on a blanket in Central Park watching and listening to the NY Philharmonic drunk while a glow stick busted open into my left eye
  51. Went to a party of my grade school friend in Brooklyn
  52. Experienced snow for the first time as a resident of NYC
  53. Watched the prep work and blowing up of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons a block away from my apt
  54. Watched the countdown and the mass amounts of people ready for the start of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade a block away from my apt
  55. Started dating again
  56. Went on some really great dates
  57. Went on some not so great dates
  58. Baked a pecan pie for the 3rd time in my life
  59. Got to experience NYC for the first time again through the eyes of a friend who had never been to NYC before
  60. Realized that no matter how much money I do or don’t have it will never be enough for living in NYC
  61. Traveled to Arizona (another first) to celebrate a friend’s birthday
  62. Volunteer at a soup kitchen for the first time
  63. Went home to the Bay Area and realized it was no longer home to me
  64. Fell in love with NYC all over again for the 2nd time

Looking back I can’t believe all this happened this year. Some of this stuff seems like a lifetime ago.  Thank you to those that have been a huge part of my journey and thank you for those that have let me in to be a part of theirs. And for those of you that want to share in adventures in the new year, let’s go!

2014 is peacin’ out. Bye Felicia! I got more shit to do, I’m ready for 2015. Bring it!


Things I’ve learned

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday (if you celebrate Christmas, of course). It’s been nice  to be home home for the holidays but I am a bit eager to be back at home in New York. I miss walking the streets with the cold brisk air hitting my face. Holidays in New York are a magical time and the kid in me squealed with delight over all the pretty lights and holiday decor. I would post pictures but unfortunately I’m having iPhoto library issues that I hope to be resolved next week when I’m back in NYC.

So for the meantime, since I’ve been a bit introspective (what’s new) I thought I would write about the things I’ve learned.

I’ve learned a lot in my 32 years of life. Not all have been good lessons or good takeaways.  I’ve also relearned a lot  that still surprises me.  As the end of each year draws to a close I  tend to get all self reflection like. It’s an emotional time for me. Goodbyes are never fun even if it’s just me saying goodbye to a year that has challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible as well as brought me profound joy. This time I will also be saying goodbye to family and friends again in knowing I probably won’t be back for a long while. Also, my father will have passed away 10 years ago come this New Years day. So much has happened within these 10 years that has defined me. Thinking on that alone blows my mind.

I’m looking back at this year and I’m taking inventory. With that said I don’t plan on making any New Year’s resolutions. Although I love new beginnings, I don’t feel that things that need to be addressed should wait until the start of a new year or a new birthday. Years ago I used to make resolutions but they ended up becoming lists of unfinished business backed by disappointment in myself. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So now I make daily life choices and have a ‘bucket list’ and make sure I cross things off asap.

Here are some things I’ve learned:

  • People are who they say they are. Believe them when they tell you about themselves. They know themselves best. If someone says this is who they are and this is what they’re capable of don’t push them to be the belief you want them to be. They already told you who they are. Accept that.
  • Closed mouths don’t get fed. Everything is negotiable. Everything. Always ask for what you want and believe you deserve it otherwise you end up coming up short. Only you are the one deciding your worth.
  • No matter what I do in life I will require help from someone else to make it happen so it’s okay to bring people in and ask for help. No man is an island. Something as small as purchasing food that another person cooked or picked in a field to as big as making a life change and asking for support or love or even money or a job. People need people and it’s ok to ask for help. People enjoy feeling needed
  • Money is just money but I  should also be smart and save for a rainy day or in case something crazy comes up. My top priorities are always experiences but if something were to go down I may not have the financial backing to help a situation. I know that when I’m laying on my deathbed I’m going to be thinking back on my life of experience and the journey I had. I’m 100% sure I will not be thinking of how much I have in your account. BUT the caveat is to make sure I’m financially stable and have a backup plan to at least get me through the next 3 months if  I lose my job or my place to live.
  • Tell the people that I love every chance I get that I love and appreciate them. I need to not  just tell them. I aim to make sure they really feel it. Life is not a guarantee and with all the crazy in this world people need to hear see and feel they are loved
  • There is no greater pleasure than giving back to humanity. Volunteer. I feel humbled when I do and I am reminded of human kindness. People need to be reminded
  • The best meal is a home cooked meal shared with friends and loved ones. I long for more of those
  • Only I have complete control over my reactions and can either see the good in a bad experience or continue to be angry
  • When I ‘Act As If’ after a while I start to really begin to believe the act is the reality and poof I’m now what I always wanted to be
  • Experiencing different cultures and ways of life truly opens my mind and makes me more well rounded and allows me to appreciate my own way of life and culture
  • There is no greater life experience than to experience a baby coming into this world. In a single moment you feel such a great feeling of universal power that is so much greater than you’ve ever known and that you have absolutely no control over
  • People appreciate and take notice of what I do and how I live my life so I should live it justly and give back to my community in which ever community I  relate to or want to be a part of. By giving a part of me I become a part of something greater than I ever thought of
  • I don’t always have to say everything I feel or think at all times although what I do say or feel or think always should be authentic and true to who I am
  • I don’t always need to pick up the tab especially when I am struggling financially and others may be in a better situation. It’s not about having good manners and not wanting a fuss and being that person; it’s more about realizing that sometimes you need to put yourself first and be responsible
  • People don’t always have the same values I have. I can’t take it personally when someone reacts or does something that I would never do or don’t believe in. People are different and what they do has nothing to do with me so I shouldn’t take things personally.
  • When you do the necessary work and really self reflect you will begin to bring in the rewards in ways more gratifying than you ever thought possible
  • I need to trust and love myself first before I’m fully able to trust and love anyone else. That includes any relationship, not just the romantic kind
  • You can’t choose your genetic blood family but you can choose family
  • Only buy things you truly love and don’t have to justify
  • Love isn’t enough sometimes and that’s ok
  • Always be passionate; passionate about my dreams, passionate about my life, passionate about love

Going going back back to Cali Cali….

Huxley and I are going home to Cali today for the holidays! It’s been another crazy busy month. There’s been some dating, lots of eating, and quite a bit of drinking. I’ve got stories to tell you people and lots of pictures to share.

But for now I’m finishing my last minute packing. I’m trying to stuff as much laundry as I can into my suitcase so I can do it at my moms. I’m trying to cut as many expenses as I can. This city is so damn expensive it’s ridiculous; it probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been home 3 times since I moved here 5.5 months ago. After this trip it’ll be a long stretch until next time I’ll be home.. Will probably be either sometime in the fall or maybe next holiday season. Only time will tell.

I’ve packed my calendar for this next week so tight that I’m sure by the end of it I’ll be so ready to come back home to New York City for a ‘breather’.

The biggest thing I’m excited about?? How Huxley is gonna flip his shit when he sees Grandma. The fact that they get to reunite will be well worth the $200 I’m spending on his roundtrip ticket to Cali. Besides, it’s way cheaper to bring him back to Cali then find him a dog sitter or pet hotel for a week and 2 days.

Get ready Yay Area, we’re a comin’ home for Christmas!!



I just struggled for a few minutes to come up with a word to define what the current stage is that I’m experiencing in my life.

I’m well into Phase 3 of my New York move. There’s a rhythm and a pace that I’ve fallen into. I’ve been at my job for a few months now. I’m deepening and building relationships with those I’m choosing are worthy of my love and energy. I’m dating (I’m defining ‘dating’ very loosely btw). I’ve decided my next career move happily and on my own and am taking steps to get to where I need to be. I’ve bought expensive clothes to help sustain me through the crazy impending winter and have already experience snow for the first time as a resident. I know how the subway system works and am no longer intimidated by it but now frustrated by certain aspects of it. I have opinions on where I want to get my bagel and how not all new york pizza is good pizza.

I have a life here.

Albeit, it’s a very different life from the one I had in the Bay. My days spent in the bay were one of complacency. I am realizing that now. I was living to live only because I was living. If that makes any sense to you. In my head it makes perfect sense. To help clarify, I mean that I was just living. I wasn’t living. I wasn’t challenging myself daily. I was yearning for something out there to help me feel more alive but I wasn’t going after it. The only times I felt alive was when I was planning for a trip or on a trip away from the Bay.

The last time I was in New York City as a visitor in May I decided that I was going to move here. In doing so, I 100% committed to a new life of discovery.

The meaning of Discovery: the act or process of sighting or learning the existence of something for the first time

Keep in mind that discovery is all encompassing. It entails analysis, changed perception, awareness, disclosure, creating, learning, sensing, revealing etc. There’s so much to ‘discovery’.

Yesterday it was my 5 monthversary (sidenote: Can people PLEASE stop saying anniversary when counting months?! Anni means year. It’s not an anniversary if it’s been a month. I’m sorry to be an asshole but I’m calling you out. Please stop or start calling it a monthversary. That is a more accurate term even though it’s a made up word. Feel free to use it. I like to share. I digress..) of me being a resident of this wonderful city. I have a life here that people back home can’t necessary relate to only because they have not seen me in it. Not that they don’t want to but that it’s far removed from their life and their every day.

The every day doesn’t just mean the happenings and the actions but I’m talking about also the observations. The thought process. My mentality has shifted here. I’m realizing now that it’s happening subtly.

Only now have I been pausing to absorb.

I am that person that gets completely thrown in a whirlwind of excitement and passion. I dive headfirst once I come to a decision. I don’t look back. Once I decided to move to New York I never once hesitated in doing so. I was completely over taken by the whole idea of it. I started to strategize on how I would do it. I talked to people. I set the tone. I sold all my shit. I bought a one way ticket for me and Huxley. I celebrated with friends. I never doubted my decision. It wasn’t hard for me. It truly wasn’t.

Sometimes I think that people have this unnecessary inner dialogue with themselves and it’s all fueled by fear. People told me later they didn’t believe I would do it. I don’t understand that. I told people my plan and they didn’t believe me. Again, that goes back to me feeling like I’m not heard and don’t have a voice. But I ignored those comments. That doubt had nothing to do with my own ability. I trust myself enough to make a decision and stick to it because only I know what I need.

I decided within the last couple of years I wasn’t going to have those conversations anymore and let this voice of fear run my life. So when I jump I jump in head and heart and with all of me. (You can use that literally and figuratively as I’ve jumped out of a plane, and off a cliff as well as into my new New York life).

This brings me back to my current state of mind. I’m now slowing down into my life. Not IN my life am I slowing down but INTO. I’m not racing to establish a home. I have an apt with a roommate I love. I’m not racing to find a job to pay my bills and afford me a fun lifestyle. I get a regular paycheck and have a job that is providing a means to a new end that’s in the works. I’m not trying to figure things out anymore. I’ve made choices and have plans and am talking all the right steps to a future I envision for myself.

I am on pause. I’m reflecting and absorbing all that I’ve done in such a short amount of time physically and emotionally. I honestly don’t know how just now I’m thinking that wow, I fucking live here in NYC. I have a life here. A legit life. I’ve been homesick only twice since I’ve moved. And I attribute that to lack of space in the city and pms. How is it that it’s been so easy for me to dive in and not look back? How is it that I don’t miss my old life like I feel I should? How is it that the only thing I am concerned about is how Huxley is going to do when the winter really hits???

All these questions I’m asking myself so that I can fully absorb all the wonderful things that have happened to me the last 5 months. I’m so grateful for my life and even more so grateful it’s a life I’ve chose for myself.




Wait what? It’s December?? I am beyond flummoxed it is now December. (Sidenote: I have always wanted to use the word flummoxed in a sentence and until now I had never done so. Go me.)

Every year at this time I look back and wonder where the fuck the year went. Someone please explain to me the concept of time because I’m still having a hard time grasping the whole idea. Please.

I’ve so much to say but instead I’ll post more photos of what happened in November. Get ready, there’s a lot. And this is the condensed version. Yay, no long reading for you. At least for now. You’re welcome.