Chasing Views

Chasing Views

(Clockwise from top-left: Twin Falls, Rattlesnake Ridge, Poo Poo Point, Snoqualmie Falls)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.”
~John Burroughs

Hiking lately has looked a lot different for me. Instead of heading out on the same old trails, I am exploring more challenging trips. Aside from the killer views, I learned a few things about myself along the way:

I’m slow. Like, really slow.

As a solo hiker, I thought I was an average hiker in terms of speed. As it turns out, I’m not. I’m embarrassingly slow. Sometimes I’m slow because I’m not ready to handle the trek (as was the case with Poo Poo Point), and other times it’s because I would rather stop and enjoy the view (as was the case with Twin Falls). I’m learning that racing to the top is not my style. I’d rather wander and see things than race to the top with my head down.

I’m too hard on myself.

I hiked up 3 mountains this year, yet only summited 2 – and that one I didn’t summit still pisses me off. I got a bit lost, a bit tired, and had to give up. I know that I should appreciate what I accomplish, and not focus on what I didn’t. I also know it was an important lesson to listen to my body instead of risking getting hurt or really lost. It still makes me mad that I can’t do everything I want to do, but I’m getting better about it.

Hiking is great therapy.

Whenever life sucks donkey balls, I like to head outside. It is a great way for me to get whatever is bothering me out of my system, and to physically push myself to exhaustion. It’s a great outlet when I need one. However, I worry sometimes that I’ll start associating hiking with being upset or angry because that seems to be the only times I do it now. I did that with bike riding in Ohio, and grew to dislike it somewhat. Guess that’s something I need to deal with.

Heights bother me now.

When hiking Rattlesnake Ridge with a small group recently, I discovered one reason I’m a slow hiker might be a mild case of vertigo. After about a 1,500 foot climb, I found myself dizzy, out of breath, and nauseated – which scared the crap out of me. Since then, I’ve done a few 1,000ft+ climbs and the same thing happens each time. I have done much longer hikes with shorter ascents that don’t do this to me, which is why I think it might be vertigo and not just an in/out of shape thing. Maybe this flat-land Ohio girl isn’t meant to climb mountains? If you’re a seasoned hiker and have any ideas of how to help, I’m all ears!

The views are always worth it. Always.

Even if it takes me forever, I’m angry with the world around me, and I’m dizzy as fuck, it’s always a great feeling to make it to my destination. Being rewarded with a great mountaintop view or a beautiful waterfall is worth the shit I put up with to get there. It’s also a consolation to know the trip back will be easier (and usually downhill)!

Stuck

Untitled

Today, I feel stuck.

With the senseless murders of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the (as of now) 5 police officers killed in Dallas, it’s been a tough week. We are stuck between feeling angry and disgusted with police brutality while also finding space in our hearts for the officers injured and killed in Dallas who were doing their job to give people a safe space to protest.

Let’s just get it out there – I feel stuck because I’m white.

There is nothing I can say (or not say) that won’t be met with hate and anger on some level. I can’t say that I’m angry and disappointed without being accused of seeking attention, being ignorant, or straight up lying. I also can’t stay quiet and reflect on what happened because those very same people will say that it’s because I’m a racist asshole. No matter what I do, the world thinks I’m stupid, ignorant, privileged, lacking perspective, and rude. I know that I’m not, but man does no one want to hear a white woman say that right now….

I don’t believe the people who spew this kind of hateful shit online truly mean it. We’re all angry and scared right now, and when you mix that with the internet – well, you know how people get.

If it were up to me, I’d tell everyone to take the weekend off of social media, leave the fake-ass hashtags alone, and sit with your own mind for a minute. Figure out how YOU feel about all of this – not what everyone else is telling you to feel. You might find hate and anger is just the beginning.

It’s easy to just say I’m angry. Anger is easy – it’s why we usually go there first. It’s harder to admit that these shootings make me feel embarrassed and disappointed. It makes me sad for all those families whose children have been gunned down by the very police they were raised to believe are trustworthy, respectable people who will always do the right thing. I also makes me sad for those officers who are trustworthy, respectable people who do the right thing. Odds are, you even know who those officers are – and right now, they are just as scared and frustrated as you.

I hope that with time, everyone cools off and gets back to what’s important. I hope that we can find it in our hearts and minds to grieve and protest loudly with grace and respect, rather than violence and rage. I hope that we find an officer in our community who is doing great things and tell them we appreciate what they do. I hope that we take action to write our local government to express our anger and sadness over what happened, and push for change.

I hope that even if our anger fades, we stay vigilant. It’s all we really have.

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

(Last year’s fireworks in Lake Sammamish, WA)

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is having a great day so far!

It’s a cold and cloudy day out here, so I’m not sure if we’ll make it out for fireworks tonight. If we do, it’ll be the first time I have to wear a coat to watch fireworks! Even though it’s going to be freezing, I’ll take it over the 90+ degree day we had last year!

Stay safe, have fun, and all of you sweating it out on the East Coast…drink some rosé and soak up the sun a little extra for me!

 

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Afternoon Glow’s 1 year blogiversary! I almost forgot about it completely, to be honest. I’ve been so busy lately with job hunting, blog planning, and doing about a zillion loads of laundry (does it ever end?). To celebrate the occasion, I’m sitting in my new favorite coffee shop and reflecting on the past year.

The blog started out as a space for me to share everything going on with my life. It’s included posts about cooking, home decor, beauty, hiking, and the occasional “reflective rant.” I worked with amazing brands, was featured on a few different sites, and made connections with people that will hopefully stick around for years to come. I had insanely inspiring runs mixed with weeks  of silence. There are things on here that I’m proud of, and some that I’m not. While I sit here and look back on it all, though, I’m more proud than not!

I’m looking forward to sitting down soon and narrowing down the blog’s focus, and figuring out what I want to accomplish (besides free stuff…though I’d hardly turn it down). I am inspired by my usual online haunts, and some of the amazing things they’re doing in the online and offline lives – and I want to join in the fun! This next year on Afternoon Glow is going to be a big one…I can feel it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and a safe and amazing 4th of July! I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m sure it’ll involve a trip to the beach for some fireworks!

 

Coming Back, Moving On

Twin Falls, WA

Hiking in Twin Falls, WA

Welcome back.

These past two months have been…enlightening. I should start off by saying that I had no intention of taking this long off from the blog. Time got away from me a bit.

It’s not that I haven’t been working on the blog – I’ve just been working on things that you can’t necessarily see (yet) or won’t ever see. I’m trying to figure out a blog redesign, which for my old-fart brain has been tough. Learning how to code has been the worst experience because, for some reason, I just can’t. I’ve never had a problem learning new things before, and it bothers me like crazy that no matter what I do, this shit still makes no sense to me. I could learn to speak fluent Russian faster than I could learn even the most basic html. So for now, the site will stay how it is until I can figure this shit out (or figure out a way around it, or find the money to pay someone else to do it for me…haha).

Failed Posts Collage

A lovely collage of photos I’ve taken for posts I’m never writing…

The other reason I haven’t posted for two months is that I felt incredibly uninspired to write the posts I’d been working on in April and May. I have hundreds of photos like the ones above that will probably never make it to the blog, and posts I’ve trashed after they were already done because I didn’t like how they turned out. Sometimes, you can start out with a good idea and it just doesn’t work – and for some reason, every post I worked on in May came out that way, so I scrapped them all. Having writer’s block would have been a better use of my time, to be honest.

So where do I go from here?

I’m going to let go of the 5-day posting schedule, and post whenever I feel like it. In addition to that, I want to mix in more personal posts with the usual “Top 5 Places To Drink Rosé” types of posts (note to self: write a post where I get to drink rosé in 5 different places). While I understand that might mean the blog’s focus will change a bit, I’m not happy with only writing things I think are “fluff” pieces – I have more to say than that.

I’ve also spent time lately getting more involved in the blogging community, and trying to form better connections with others in the same boat. A lot of bloggers have written about feeling stuck or uninspired lately, and sometimes it’s nice to cheer each other on for a change. There are amazing things happening out there, but sometimes it’s hard to see that when you’re stuck on your computer editing the hundredth hiking photo into submission.

I’m also considering starting a letter-writing club of some kind – like a pen pal program for bloggers. So many of us got our love for writing blogs from being pen pals as kids, and I think it would be cool to interact with other bloggers on paper, rather than always online. I miss that sometimes – and getting mail that isn’t bills is always welcome!

Anyway, before I go insane and keep writing for another hour, I should go.

I’ve got work to do.

Friday Favorites (with a twist)

Friday Favorites

It’s been a rough week.

Last week, I shared with you my feelings about the relationship between authenticity and audience as a blogger (click the link to read more). It was one of those rare moments where I finally felt comfortable with myself, and trusting of you, to share something a little more personal. After not getting the best response afterward, and add to that some major allergy headaches, it’s been a long path to get to Friday.

So instead of sharing my favorite links from the internet this week, I thought I would do something different. Today, I share with you a few quotes from some of my favorite bloggers who are fighting tooth and nail to keep things real around here:

“Shame on me for giving someone else that power. Shame on me for allowing some hypocritical jerk to make me question a decision I have not doubted for ONE SECOND since Henry was conceived…Should I stop sharing as much personal stuff to protect myself? Maybe.  But nothing truly great has ever happened from being cautious and scared off by criticism.”
~Erin Gates

“I’m the daughter of loving parents, Chris and Elaine, I’m a blogger, a Southerner, a hopeless lover of animals, patterns and anything shiny- and I’m also gay. That fact may make no difference to some of you reading, but being able to be 100% myself here means the world to me.”
~Grace Bonney

  • Whenever I think of an example of the risk of opening up to our audience, I think of Grace Bonney’s post in 2013 where she came out to her readers. It takes a lot of strength to take that leap – even more so when you realize she was potentially alienating herself from the very readers who help keep her blog (and business) up and running.

“My purpose is to share and to connect with you, those that choose to come here and read it. And damn, I’m lucky to be able to say I can do that. I would fear the day I’m not allowed to express myself the way I do now because someone told me it wasn’t “brand-friendly.” 

So, don’t conform. 
Don’t seek acceptance in the dark.
Don’t look for approval in every move you make. ”
~Christina Topacio

  • Christina, aka Profresh Style, has often written about her life unabashedly and candidly for her readers – offended be damned. Her post, “Conformity Is For The Stupid” is one I refer back to from time to time when I need a reminder of why we all got into this in the first place. That, and we share a birthday – how cool is that?

“To be honest, it’s hard to put into words; clean, sparkling words that live on blogs. Especially, especially on a style blog. I’ve wanted to share so many times but fear stops me. “Shut up and wear clothes” it says…Maybe it’s not about the clothes that bring you here (meh, or maybe it is) but maybe it’s about life. Everyone has a story and maybe you just want to hear mine.”
~Kendi Skeen 

  • Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday is one of the first bloggers I followed. I appreciate her writing about her history with anxiety and depression, and how it affects her life now. She’s also open about the struggle to be honest with readers and maintain a fashion-based blog, which are not always known for praising openness.

“…I just want to mention that in today’s final hours I’m making the choice not to label it as a “bad day”. It’s served as a reminder to accept these unexpected challenges as a motivation to keep fighting and to appreciate the encouraging people in my life who cherish my investment and never fail to give back.”
~Kayley Vandenberg

  • Kayley Vandenberg of That’s Your Gold (formerly Sidewalk Ready) is another blogger I’ve been following for years. She’s unabashedly honest about her feelings, love, and life – and has been an inspiration for me over the years to share, even when it hurts. Maybe it’s the midwestern connection (we both grew up in MI), but I’ve always come back to her blog, even after she or I have been away for a while.

I genuinely hope that whether you like the blog or not, you have a great weekend. 

I, for one, will hopefully spend my weekend outside, among the trees (if my allergies aren’t too bad), or near the water, trying to let go of the previous week while looking ahead to the next.

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to pack up the bulky fisherman knits (okay, maybe leave out a couple) and bring in some freshness to our closets! For some reason, this spring I’m more inspired to update my wardrobe – probably because spring and summer here kind of blend together, so I’m killing two birds with one shopping trip!

Anyway, here are some spring fashion trends that I’m looking forward to adding into my closet this season, and some styling ideas thanks to my Pinterest feed!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #1: Marled Knit Sweaters

I have a ton of lightweight sweaters, but I’d love to add a cozier one to the mix for chilly spring days and summer nights. Marled knit sweaters are so soft and cozy, which makes them perfect to throw on with jeans and nice flats in the spring, and toss on with shorts and sandals in the summer.

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #2: Orange

Sure, we all wear a ton of orange in the fall (due to Pumpkin Spice Fever, I assume). However, orange is such a universally flattering color that we really can rock it all year! To keep it more spring/summer ready than fall, keep the orange bright and cheery! I love that it works well with denim and other neutrals, and bright orange accessories add a nice pop to any outfit. I don’t look good wearing yellow unless I have a serious tan, but I can pull off orange any day!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #3: Soft Pinks

Soft pinks are clearly a nod to one of the Pantone colors of the year, but I have to say they should be a staple in our wardrobes for years to come. I’m not usually a fan of pink, but I love the subtly feminine twist this can have on both casual and work outfits. It’s a great change-up from the white tee, and matches damn near anything in your closet. Consider it your new neutral!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #4: White Shirt (with a twist)

White blouses have existed since the beginning of time – and this year is no exception. Spring is calling for crisp, white shirts with unique details. I have a feeling the basic white tee is going to fall out of fashion if this trend catches on. I love seeing white blouses with unique details that flatter almost any body type. As a woman who struggles to fit into blouses (thanks to my button-popping DD boobs), I love that this look is structured but not tight-fitted. For the first time in years, I might actually find a white shirt to keep for years to come!

Spring 2016 Fashion Trends

Trend #5: Flats

Flats are making a major comeback this year, in new colors, fabrics, patterns, and designs. I blame (and praise) Olivia Palermo for inspiring us all to leave the heels for date night, and elevate our everyday outfits with some seriously amazing flats. Your feet will thank you!

For more spring fashion inspiration, head on over to my Pinterest page to see more!

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Short-Distance Move

top 5 tips for surviving a short-distance move

During our most recent move, it dawned on me that this is the 21st time I’ve moved in my lifetime! After spending most of my life moving once a year from house to house, city to city, and across the country a few times, I’ve built up years of experience to make moving as painless as possible.

Our most recent move was to an apartment 3 buildings away – my shortest distance to date! Moving a short distance can be deceiving – it might seem like it’ll be a piece of cake, but they can be more difficult than you might think. So in the spirit of sharing what I’ve learned over the years, here are some ways to make your moving day (short or long) go much more smoothly!

Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Short-Distance Move

#1: Take packing seriously.

Whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, you still need to pack your things carefully. Anything that is fragile is still fragile for the short time you’re moving it, so pack those things carefully in tissue paper, bubble wrap, or whatever works best.

Also, don’t use the “empty box method” of packing – it’s a huge waste of time on moving day to keep packing and unpacking the same box. It’s also incredibly annoying for the people you get to help you move – they won’t want to wait around for you to pack/unpack (and definitely won’t want to help do either).

#2: Prepare a “new place kit” with important things.

Moving can be chaotic, and the last thing you want to do during a long day of moving is hunt through your boxes to find the toilet paper – or (gasp) discover you forgot to bring some with you. Here are some suggestions to pack in your kit:

  • Toilet paper. Don’t leave you or your helpers stranded with no t.p. – that’s the worst!
  • Paper towels (leave some in the bathroom and kitchen)
  • Hand soap (one in each bathroom)
  • Trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • First aid kit (bandages, antibacterial spray, ibuprofen, ice pack, tweezers, etc.)
  • Water bottles and easy snacks for you and your helpers (granola bars are my personal favorite)
  • Important documents for moving in or out (lease, checkbook, utilities information, etc.). If you have a purse or locked glove compartment, that’s a great place to put everything vital to getting those keys!

#3: Use your car for small stuff.

If you’re making a short trip like, you can get away with moving most stuff in your car(s). We moved almost everything in our two cars, and only rented a pickup truck for a couple hours to move furniture. It ended up being cheaper and easier to do this than renting a larger truck.

When using your car, make sure it’s ready to go the night before – fill up the tank, check tire pressure, and clean out all the junk! Also, don’t pack the car up the night before – that’s practically begging someone to break in and steal everything.

#4: Valuables stay with you – and only with you.

It’s pretty common knowledge that moving can leave you vulnerable to theft, especially if you are occupying two homes at once (like we did).

To prevent this, I have a few suggestions:

  • Leave your valuable items (computer, television, jewelry, paperwork, mementos, etc.) in the home you’ll be sleeping in each night. Burglars keep an eye out for movers who leave and don’t return in the evening!
  • Keep important documents for moving day (lease, checkbook, cashier’s checks, etc.) in a safe place. A locked glove compartment is a great suggestion if you can’t keep an eye on your purse or don’t use one.
  • Do not allow a moving company to move anything irreplaceable. There are more cases than I can count of moving companies “losing” valuable jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other expensive items – and no amount of insurance can replace having a family heirloom stolen. If you’d be heartbroken if an item got stolen, move it yourself.
  • Close all windows and blinds of the home you won’t sleep in so people can’t peek inside, and leave on a few lights around the house as well. Also, double check all doors are locked and in working order before leaving – in a new house, you’d be surprised how many people forget they have a back or side door to lock!
  • Don’t broadcast over social media that you’re moving until it’s already done. It’s not smart to tell the general public that you’re leaving your home empty for the night (or a few nights). Don’t trust that information to the general public – you never know who’s lurking around online!

#5: Don’t overdo it on moving day!

For most people, moving is one of the most physically taxing things we’ll ever do. Even if you’re in good shape, most of us don’t spend 12 hours every weekend lifting boxes and furniture up and down flights of stairs. Take care of your body with these tips to save yourself from excessive stress or potential injuries!

  • Don’t rush! Take your time moving heavy objects to avoid mistakes and injuries.
  • Take frequent breaks to rehydrate, eat, and stretch. If you need to, put a reminder on your phone to stop and rest every hour for a few minutes.
  • Be realistic about your physical limits. If you can’t lift something, ask for help. If you’re lifting something with a partner, speak up loudly if you need to stop or readjust. Don’t try to be a tough guy – that’s when injuries happen!
  • Take care of those helping you move! Make sure everyone stays safe, encourage everyone to break for water/snacks, and remember to thank them for taking the time to help.
  • Accept the day is going to come with surprises. Moving is stressful for everyone, and it always comes with complications along the way. Try to take it all in stride, and know that in the end, it’ll all be okay.
  • Once you’re done moving, REST! Don’t try to unpack the whole house in one night – go out for dinner or order in a pizza, and spend the evening recuperating. Those boxes will still be there tomorrow – and you will be much happier to tackle them after a good night’s sleep!

I’d have to say our most recent move was one of the easiest we’ve done, mostly because it was around the corner – but also because we tend to be well-prepared on moving day. It was exhausting, but thankfully I woke up the next morning ready to tackle the unpacking and decorating with more energy than I’ve ever had the day after moving.

I hope these tips help you on your next move – however far it is!

Friday Favorites

friday favorites april 8

(Finally back to work after a month of moving, unpacking, and lots of allergy meds!)

Friday Favorites

I’m not sure what my plans are for this weekend. Last weekend was a busy one, since my husband basically kicked me out of the house all day Saturday (and for a good chunk for Sunday) so he could work on some writing alone. Hopefully he won’t do that again, but if he does, I guess it’ll be a good excuse to take my laptop somewhere awesome – like the Starbucks Reserve Roastery downtown. Come to think of it, I might have just come up with some plans!

What are you doing this weekend?

Authenticity and Audience

authenticity_quote

Authenticity and Audience

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the connection between authenticity and audience in the blogging world. It’s a complicated topic for both bloggers and readers, and there is no singular answer for staying true to ourselves while keeping readers satisfied. Many others have tackled this recently, whether it means being more open with readers, reducing sponsored posts, or quitting entirely.

From my own experiences as a blogger, authenticity and audience are undeniably linked. The ability for me to be honest and open with my readers is entirely dependent on audience.

In the past, I wrote for a mostly anonymous audience. I kept my identity a secret, but the rest of my life was fair game. Those blogs were a place where I could openly share my passions, fears, dreams, and frustrations with readers who were mostly bloggers themselves. I loved being able to write when the mood hit me about any topic that was important to me at the time. It was an amazing time to be a blogger.

Now, I write for a combination of anonymous readers and people I know. The problem with knowing your reader in person is that content can easily suffer. Even posts where I feel I’m being more authentic sound like a watered-down version of my real life. My life is far from perfect, but if you read this blog you may not know that. I wish that I could share more about the things in my life that worry, frustrate, or motivate me – but fear often wins out, and I hit delete.

So from here on out, I’m making the decision to try. No one is perfect, least of all me, so I’m going to make an effort to include more posts about things that aren’t always perfectly edited to death. I need to learn how to write like I used to, and not worry so much about how people will take it. I also want to make this more of a community again – so here’s where you guys come in:

Comment!

Comment about what you read, about your own lives, questions you have, links you want to share, stories to tell, how terrible you think I am…whatever you want! I’ll even take some good-natured trolling if it means I get to read something other than the obligatory comments from my mom. She’s great and all, but I’m craving a community – not just one cheerleader who only says I’m great because she has to (she likes my sister more).