Wrap Up: November 2017

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart

I can’t believe I’ve been back in California for over a month already. It has gone by super fast, probably because my schedule has been filled with plenty of work, family time, and catching up with my closest friends who live in the Bay.

I tested out doing a sober month in November for the first time ever (at least since I’ve been drinking alcohol, obviously), and it was actually really nice to take a break from drinking.

I only broke it for one weekend when I had a fun couple of nights out with some friends in San Francisco – but even still, that whole weekend I only had one beer and two glasses of champagne. So all in all, my first sober month went pretty well.

However, it was definitely nice to have a wine weekend with one of my best friends the first weekend after my sober month. Suffice it to say, we had a lot of fun in Mendocino and she inspired my recent healthy obsession for Miguel.

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart
Wine weekend with one of my best friends in northern California.

A highlight to November was spending Thanksgiving at home this year. Last year around this time, I was still Taiwan and it’s just never the same spending the holidays abroad. Especially a very American holiday like Thanksgiving.

I stayed local this month, splitting my time between Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

This is what else I got up to!


Santa Cruz | I spent a lot of time in Santa Cruz this month, hanging out with my mom, catching gorgeous sunsets at the beach, and making a lot of upcoming travel plans. I’ve already bought flights for my January and February travels, and I have a good outline of where I want to in 2018 now.

How to Spend a Day (or Two) in Santa Cruz, California - From a Local

I also got back into hot yoga (and even convinced my mom to come with me), and I’ve been focusing on eating healthy and getting my energy at peak levels for the holidays and the upcoming year. I’m pretty excited about 2018.

San Jose | I made a quick trip to San Jose at the start of the month for my brother’s surprise 30th birthday party. It was the first time I had seen my brother in over a year, and it was fun to be able to surprise him alongside all of his other friends.

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart
My brother’s 30th birthday in San Jose.

We celebrated at Paper Planes which is a cool little bar in downtown San Jose with a great craft beer selection. I was sipping on my ginger beer for the night since it was the start of my sober month, but I’d love to go back to have a proper pint at some point.

San Francisco | I’ve been going up to spend a lot of my weekends in San Francisco, having lunch dates with my sister, going to the movies, and fitting in some favorite SF sites here and there (i.e. the beautiful Baker Beach at sunset, with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge – yes please!).

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart
Baker Beach at sunset, San Francisco.

San Francisco is f***ing expensive, but it is such a wonderful foodie city with a great bar scene, I always forget how much I miss the city when I leave it.

I plan to spend even more time in the Bay in December, I’m especially looking forward to SantaCon. A pub crawl through the city where everyone dresses up like Santa. Yes, I’m so happy this exists too – 8,000+ Santas in one place!! How magical is that?


I read two books in November. The first was a nonfiction ‘girl power’ kind of book called Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba.

I thought I would like it more than I did because it’s meant to be an inspirational book for female entrepreneurs.

However, I found her writing to be full of a lot of cliches, and a lot ‘you go girl’ type statements, without actually giving the reader any actionable takeaways that would be helpful to use in business. It wasn’t anything that I hadn’t read before, I guess is how I would put it.

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart

The second was a book I borrowed from my sister, JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. It’s a novel set in small town England, and about the local politics and drama that comes with people being so involved in each other’s lives.

I personally liked it because JK Rowling is such a talented writer. The story itself wasn’t anything to write home about. I didn’t actually find any of the characters likable, but the writing was still phenomenal.

It was interesting in the sense that the story is told from about 10 or so different perspectives, so you really get a good look at the depravity of certain small minded people.


I’ll be laying low in December, mainly staying in the Bay Area to celebrate more holidays, quality family/friend time, and enjoying casually dating a few chill guys.

I’m also volunteering at my local animal shelter this month, I just went to my first orientation yesterday! I’m excited to cuddle some animals and go on doggy beach field trips soon.

This month started with an epic wine weekend up north, and I have a feeling that only set the tone for a really good upcoming last month of 2017.

I was originally planning on spending NYE at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival, but I realized when I was still in Ireland how much I just wanted to ring in the new year surrounded by people I love.

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart
Ready to ring in 2018!

So, that’s why I changed my plans and decided to stay in the US for a few extra months. I’ll be ringing in the New Year in San Francisco, and I’m looking forward to starting 2018 with some of my favorite people.

The good news about this is that I have a lot of posts coming your way soon, because I actually have time to write them. Woot!

Until next month!

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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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