Wrap Up: January 2019

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

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2019 started off at a full sprint. From ringing in my brother’s wedding on NYE, to my first trip of the year to Colorado, and leaning more into my love for all things San Francisco (even with the recent frigid Bay Area temperatures). I already have a good feeling about 2019.

This year has already thrown me a handful of challenges, reminding me to not get too comfortable in my new fixed life because there is still a whole lot of work to do in my business, my relationships, and my personal development. There is always room to grow, which I look forward to continuing to do throughout 2019.

On the first day of 2019, the winter sun came out so I went ice skating dressed in onesies with my boyfriend in Union Square. We later went to a fancy waterfront restaurant in Sausalito, still dressed in onesies, and weren’t turned away. The staff didn’t even mention our attire, which just shows me that I’ve made the right choice in where I want to live right now. Anything goes in the Bay Area.

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco Ice Skating
Ice skating in onesies in Union Square on the 1st day of the year.

I also got to briefly see my dad in the first few days of January since he was in town for my brother’s wedding. It had been about a year since I’d seen him last, and many more years since he’d been back in California after moving away while I was finishing up college, so the reunion was much appreciated.

Other highlights of this month included a trip to Colorado to see one of my closest friends from college, going to a few inspiring events at my coworking space, and hiring another new part time employee for my business (I’m up to three now)!

This was my January in a nutshell!


San Francisco | I spent most of January in San Francisco, and was very tempted to buy a flight to the Caribbean more than a few times.

I’ve spent most of the last few years in warmer climates – Portugal, Greece, Thailand – so it’s going to take some time getting used to the colder climate of San Francisco and the Bay Area as a whole, especially in winter. (I can feel my friends who actually live in cold climates in Europe and Canada rolling their eyes right now).

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco

Most of my weeks in San Francisco were spent working and going to female-forward events at my coworking space (The Wing SF), as well as fitting in quite a few date nights and trivia nights. I haven’t had a chance to get out and go hiking or on other trips outside the city because it has been raining most weekends and/or I’ve very much been into the lazy weekends this January.

A few new restaurants I tried out in January included Bar Bocce (in Sausalito, where we went in our onesies), Paprika in the Mission, Mehfil Indian Cuisine, and Bacon Bacon for brunch.

I also went on another Dylan’s Tours experience with my friend Valerie from Valerie & Valise and my sister. This time I did the tuk tuk city tour and got to see a few sights I’d never been to before in San Francisco – including Crissy Field, Fort Point, and a tour of some of the most expensive houses around Pac Heights.

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco

Wrap Up: January 2019 | Dylan's Tours San Francisco
Taking a tuk tuk around San Francisco for another Dylan’s Tour.

And lastly, I went to go support one of my friends who tried stand up comedy for the first time at Brava Theater Center (she did fantastic), and by the very end of the month went to a glittery Gatsby-themed party that my boyfriend was DJing at The Grand.

Colorado | I’d been wanting to visit Colorado for years, to not only see one of my closest friends from college who lives there, but to also explore a new state. I finally made it happen this winter, and although the trip didn’t exactly go as planned I’m glad I still fit in a small trip this month.

Part of the problem was that I only gave myself a few days, which was definitely not enough time for everything I tried to fit into my trip. I based myself in Denver, rented a car, and didn’t take into consideration that there might be a freak storm that would create icy conditions and prevent me from getting around easily.

Wrap Up: January 2019 | Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado
Made it to a new national park in January – Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado!

I actually ended up getting stuck up on the mountain when I was coming back down from Leadville and Copper Mountain Resort. It was by far the scariest drive I’ve ever experienced, and it didn’t help that I was driving on my own on a one lane highway surrounded by SUVs in my little mid-sized-not-made-for-icy-roads rental.

I ended up having to pull off in the tiny town of Fairplay as it was starting to get dark, and book a room at the first place that was recommended to me. But my exciting journey didn’t end there. I found out right before bed that the hotel was supposedly one of the most haunted places in Colorado, so it goes without saying that I didn’t get a great night’s sleep.

Wrap Up: January 2019 | Leadville Colorado
Leadville – the last town I visited before getting stuck up on the mountain for a night in Fairplay.
Wrap Up: January 2019 | Red Rocks Colorado
Seeing the Red Rocks Amphitheater was a highlight to my time in Colorado.

At one point, I actually thought I was going to have to get towed back to Denver from the mountain because the roads didn’t seem to be clearing up at all the next day. Luckily, as if the universe was letting me off with a warning, the roads and sky cleared as soon as I called the tow company.

I was able to cancel the tow truck and keep my dignity and the $400 to get towed back to Denver. I carefully drove myself back to the city in the late afternoon.

But hey, at least it was a good story, right?!

Other highlights of my trip to Colorado included, of course, seeing my college friend Kathryn in Boulder, going tubing and riding a roller coaster above the slopes at Copper Mountain, briefly stopping in at Rocky Mountain National Park, and seeing the beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater.

I didn’t actually get to see much of Denver, because I was meant to explore the city on my last day when I was still stuck up on the mountain, but it just gives me an excuse to give the state another try in the future (just next time it’ll probably be in the summer).

Another silver lining to my trip was finally meeting Edna from Expat Edna, a fellow blogger who I’ve been following for years (and who also lived in Wellington for a year), and who recently moved to Colorado.


I got through three books in January and I’m committed to making reading more of a priority again this year. I know I kind of dropped the ball on my reading goals when I was in the midst of moving to San Francisco and finishing up 2018, but I’m back to having a routine and working new books into my schedule.

In January, I read This is Just my Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe, Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas, and From Excuses to Excursions by Gloria Atanmo, aka the blogger behind The Blog Abroad.

I love a good memoir, and Sidibe’s This is Just My Face was a look at a childhood growing up in New York without much money, as a woman of color, and as someone who doesn’t meet traditional beauty standards. This is the actor who starred in Precious (a movie I still have to see)! She has also been in Empire and American Horror Story.

Her story starts with memories of growing up with an immigrant father and American mother, and continues through her journey of dropping out of college due to depression, working as a phone sex operator, and eventually being discovered for the starring role of Precious. Her story is definitely an interesting and honest one to read.

Wrap Up: January 2019 - Reads

The second book I read in January, Girls Who Travel, was not great if I’m being completely honest. From the writing, to the plot, to the fact that the main protagonist seemed more concerned about her love triangle with an Irishman and an Englishman than her love for travel, there were a lot of cringe-worthy aspects to the novel.

With that said, it’s a good beach reach (it’s just too bad I didn’t have a beach to read it on), because there are a few good parts that make it hard to put down, just don’t expect anything groundbreaking or lacking in cliches.

And finally, I finished my blogger friend Gloria’s book, From Excuses to Excursions. The book was part real-talk, part business and travel advice, and had a whole lot of personality to it (which isn’t surprising since that represents Glo well).

I loved reading a book that was written by someone I actually know, about a subject matter I could completely get on board with (to stop making excuses and just travel and/or do what you want to do with your life).

It gave me inspiration since I’ve been wanting to write my own book for a couple of years, but don’t even know where to start sometimes. Glo is an inspiring person for a lot of people in the travel industry, and this book was no exception in terms of creativity and good advice.


January has been great for getting in shape, although my group fitness classes have been more full than usual, probably because everyone else has the same idea about working out right now #nyresolutions. Most of my weeks have been spent going to different yoga, barre, and kickboxing classes around the city.

I also found a new donation-based yoga studio in the Mission called Yoga to the People that is awesome, and a good alternative for someone who doesn’t want to pay a ton for a yoga membership or ClassPass in San Francisco.

I also started intramural co-ed basketball this month, and I’m loving being back on the court and remembering just how much of a good workout basketball can be (and how much I still love the game). It has also been a great way to meet more people in the city.


February is going to be busy with travel and work – I’m leaving for Paris on Sunday! I’ll be gone for 10 days to see Luxembourg and spend a week in Paris with some of my besties for a Galentines day inspired trip. It’ll be my first international trip of 2019 and I couldn’t be more excited.

Wrap Up: January 2019 | San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

We already have plans for a three course dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower, and I’m looking forward to finally seeing a few sights that I never got to in my past two visits to Paris, such as the Catacombs and Versailles.

Other than that, February will very much be a head down kind of month in terms of work. I’m still in the midst of redesigning my whole brand and website, and working on some new cornerstone blog content that will better reflect my new fixed life in California.

Until next month, friends! x

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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