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Friday Favorites + Welcome to September!

Friday favorites

(From my mini-adventure in Seattle: Pike Place Market / Lamplighter Books / Storyville Coffee / Left Bank Bookstore)

Happy Friday + Welcome to September!

As always, it’s been a busy week. However, I did escape to downtown Seattle on Wednesday for a little mini-adventure. While D. was busy with a work outing, I spent the afternoon chilling on my own. I checked out a few bookstores, grabbed a latte, and went to the Olympic Sculpture Park. I met up with D. later for dinner and (a few too many) drinks. It was a wonderful day, and we’re going to definitely do that more often!

Without further ado, here are my Friday favorites from this past week:

  • I’m not a big smoothie fan, but I am looking for a more protein-packed, easy breakfast (I’m so lazy). The Chalkboard Mag has a few recipes I can’t wait to try – especially the carrot cake smoothie/shake!
  • Aimee Song from Song of Style is in the middle of remodeling her new home, and has a drool-worthy list of small items to add to any home. I kinda want all of it.¬†
  • I’m always looking to clean up and simplify my beauty routine, and Into The Gloss has a great list of beauty products with the fewest ingredients. My life goal is to smell like a beautiful hippie, can you tell? ūüėČ
  • It’s been hot as balls here lately, which makes it so hard to cook (or better yet,¬†want¬†to cook). If we get another 90+ degree day, I’m gonna give this recipe for¬†One Pot Summertime Pasta¬†from Camille Styles a try!
  • Now that fall is finally on its way, I’m looking into upping my shoe game. First up – a pair of green suede flats that don’t match anything I own, but will look killer anyway.

I’m off to keep working on some editing work, then hopefully spending the weekend relaxing and reading. I picked up Rebecca Solnit’s book The Mother Of All Questions at the library, and I think I could easily get through it this weekend while relaxing at the beach!

What are you up to this weekend?

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)!

One Year in Washington!

One Year in Washington!

August 17, 2014: Leaving Ohio…

I know it sounds cliche, but it’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Washington for a year now.

Parts of this year flew by quickly, while others have crawled along slowly. My first few months here were a flurry of changes, from a new apartment, new job, and new city to navigate. It was also the only time in our 10 year relationship that my husband and I spent any real time apart. The time spent alone, getting to know my new surroundings, was both scary and liberating. This past year showed me that I am capable of doing a lot more on my own than I ever thought, and that it’s important for my well being to keep pushing myself to do things for myself.

One Year in Washington!

(Clockwise from top left) Bellevue Strawberry Festival / Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room / On Pine St. in front of the Pike Place Market…and some amazing flowers / View from my old job’s parking lot

One of the main reasons I wanted to move here was that I kept hearing how beautiful it is – and¬†so far, Washington has lived up to the hype. I’ve spent more time outside here than I ever did in Ohio, thanks to the better-than-normal weather and an amazing parks system. I’ve found mountains to hike, beaches to lie on, and a hiking trail right outside my back door. There are hundreds of parks in the area to explore, and I’m looking forward to branching out to see more in the next year.

One Year in Washington! (Clockwise from top left) Newport Beach Park / Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park / Lake Sammamish State Park / Newport Beach Park..I go there a lot

The past year hasn’t all been a positive experience, though. Losing my job early on was a huge disappointment, and being led on by my former employer for months made finding a new job much¬†harder. I said goodbye to teaching for the time being, which was tough. It has been insanely stressful to not know where my career is headed, but I’m hopeful that it’ll lead somewhere great. Whenever I start feeling down, I go back to my old blog to remind that while life is much harder now in some ways, I’m more confident, resilient, and happier than I was. In the meantime, I’m spending time applying for jobs in new career fields, going outside as much as possible, and building this blog. It hasn’t been a perfect year, but compared to where I was before, it’s a hell of a lot better. ūüôā Here’s to another amazing year!

Travel Bucket List

One thing I wish I did more in life was travel. Working as a teacher made this damn near impossible for years, given I was stuck working year-round (yes, even in the summer), and if you know anything about what teachers get paid…you’ll know why I haven’t made it to any of these places yet! Sure, I’ve seen some great places in the U.S. over the past few years – but it just makes me want to venture outside of it even more. There are also a lot of places within the U.S. I haven’t been to yet, if you can believe it!

I’ve been building my travel bucket list for years, and as I get older, it continues to grow. Some of these places are trips that I’ll hopefully¬†do in the near future, but some are going to take a bit more travel experience before I even think about it. This isn’t even close to the complete list, but a few of the big ones I hope to hit in my lifetime.

1. Australia

Travel Bucket List

I’ve had Australia on my travel wish list for a long time. My biggest regret in college was not doing my student teaching internship there, since my college had an exchange program with a university¬†in Melbourne. I’ll get there eventually, even if it is only for a short vacation instead of a semester abroad!

2. London, England

Travel Bucket List

This is a trip I’d love to do with my sister, since she’s been there a couple times and loved it. I could see the two of us goofing off in museums, shopping, and doing our best not to get hit by cars while crossing the street. I also hear it’s a magical place to visit around the holidays!

3. Bruges, Belgium

Travel Bucket List

I was sold on visiting Bruges after watching the movie In Bruges. It looks like the perfectly laid back, museum-filled vacation that’s perfect for the autumn or winter months. I’m pretty sure my husband would¬†enjoy it for the pubs if nothing else!

4. Montauk, NY

Travel Bucket List

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few places within the U.S. that I haven’t been to yet, and this is for sure on the list! Spending part of the summer in the Hamptons is about the most Americana thing I can think of to do with my summer. I haven’t really traveled much along the east coast, and this would be a great place to start. I think this would be a great trip to do with friends, lounging around by the pool or on the beach with a bonfire and some great lobster rolls!

5. Vietnam

Travel Bucket List

I can blame Anthony Bourdain entirely for this pick. It looks like the most beautiful place to visit, and from what Bourdain says, it has some of the best food in the world. I enjoy challenging myself, and I think this would be the perfect trip to do alone. It wouldn’t be easy, and it’s going to take me some time to build up to going here (especially on my own), but I really want to get there someday.

 

For now,¬†I am making the best of living in a new city, and finding great places to visit that are a short drive away. Hopefully my husband and I can make it to places on the west coast while we’re here, and maybe someday soon we can venture further out!

Life on Instagram: July 2015

Image

(Clockwise from top-left) July started with a crazy heat wave, so I spent a lot of time at the beach and pool! / I also managed to check out a few new parks in July – this one was by far the most challenging. I was sore for days after. / Of course, the first time I take my husband to the beach, it’s cold and cloudy! It was nice to chill out and read, though. / Just noticed my pink sneakers are looking a bit worn out. Time for a good washing! Image Since we’re wrapping up the first month of Afternoon Glow, I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts!

Summer Skincare: (Mostly) Drugstore Edition I’ve gotten so much use out of everything on this post so far this summer! Now that the temperatures are cooler (for now), I’m missing my beach time!

Road Trip Tips I’m still itching to get out on the road and travel somewhere, but it’s not looking like I will for a while. I still can’t believe I made that cross-country trip almost a year ago – where does the time go?

Easy Green The succulent is doing well – the other plant is already failing on me. We haven’t had a lot of sunshine lately, and I’m starting to see that’s going to be a problem for me trying to grow anything here. Maybe someday I’ll live in an apartment that isn’t a dark cave!

Homemade Granola Bars I just remembered that I need to make more of these today – we’re almost out again! I still need to try making these with ingredients I’d like more…maybe next time….

Road Trip Tips

Road Trip Tips

While I didn’t always enjoy going on road trips as a kid, I’ve grown to love them as an adult. Now that we live in a place that’s full of amazing parks, mountains, beaches, and historical sites, I’m looking forward to the weather cooling down so I can hit the road again.

Whether heading out for a day trip, or crossing the country, there are some things I’ve learned along the way that make life so much easier, so I thought I’d share!

Road Trip Tips!

1. While your cell phone can be a great asset, don’t rely on it for everything!

Road Trip TipsIf you’re planning a long road trip, I recommend using the Roadtrippers website and app. It’s a great website that can help you plan your trip, including where to stay, where to eat, and sites to see along the way.¬†I used it to plan my cross-country move last year, and it came in handy whenever I was ahead of schedule and wanted to fit in some unplanned sightseeing. I would often coordinate my stops throughout the day so I could visit parks, monuments, and quirky stuff like the Mitchell Corn Palace¬†in Mitchell, South Dakota. This made the 4-day trip far less grueling!

While using apps to help you find your way, if you’re going to make a long trip (anything over a day), I suggest printing out your directions. You never know where you’ll get (or lose) a cell phone signal, so it’s a good idea to have that backup in case your phone or car’s GPS stops working.

2. Accept that fast food is going to happen, and make the best choices you can.

Road Trip Tips If you’re taking a short day trip, you can certainly plan ahead and take healthy snacks with you to get you to your destination. However, on a longer trip, you may just have to live with stopping for the occasional fast food meal.

To balance out the fast food, I made sure the rest of my meals each day were as normal as possible. Since I stayed at hotels each night, I ate my normal breakfast of coffee and oatmeal, or eggs with toast, instead of diving into doughnuts or sugary cereal. Throughout the day, I made sure to drink plenty of water and snacked on granola bars, crackers, and other things I could easily take in the car.

Halfway through my cross-country trip, I treated myself to a nice steak and giant glass of red wine one night – and after a couple days of granola bars, chicken fingers, and Red Bull, it was so needed!

3. Make time to exercise!

Road Trip Tips

Regardless of how long or short your road trip will be, don’t forget to take breaks. Sitting in the car all day can be incredibly draining, and will wreak havoc on your back, hips, legs, and neck!

If you’re at a road stop during a short trip, get out and walk around for a few minutes, and do some light stretching. If you’re on a long trip, find time to work out in the morning, and do some yoga or stretching in the evening.

I find that on long trips, it’s good to find sightseeing locations that require me to do some walking or hiking, like I did at the Mt. Moriah Cemetary in Deadwood, South Dakota. It was the perfect way to start the day, and kept me energized through the rest of the day in the car.

4. Stick to your regular sleeping schedule as much as possible

Road Trip Tips

I know this can be easier said than done, especially if you don’t like sleeping in strange places – but do your best to get to bed and wake up at regular times.

If you’re driving through multiple time zones, sticking to your regular sleep and wake times will help you adjust more easily. For my cross-country trip, I always woke up at 7am, and went to bed at 11pm, regardless of what time zone I was in (and what time my body felt it was).

I know it can be tempting to wake up super early, or drive late into the night, but I find that keeping to regular hours is less taxing. It’s also much safer if you’re traveling alone to avoid driving late at night.

I also highly recommend using a sleeping app, like Sleep Genius, which I’ve been using over the past couple years. It takes a little getting used to, but I’ve used it in my quiet home and loud hotel rooms with great success. If I need a little extra boost, I take melatonin before bed – just make sure to try using it before going on a trip, as it affects people differently!

5.¬†Take twice as much music (maybe more) than you think you’ll need! ¬†

Road Trip Tips

I’ve learned this one the hard way over the years! No matter how many CD mixes I make, it’s never enough. This is another area where I’ll say not to entirely rely on your cell phone – especially if you rely on apps like Spotify, which require you to have a cell signal.

If you have a CD player, burn some discs of your favorite music, and when you think you’ve got all the music you’ll want…burn a few more! I guarantee you that, whether your trip is short or long, it’s never a good idea¬†expect your phone to work, or radio stations to come in clearly (especially if you’re driving in remote areas or mountains). Another great idea when traveling with friends is to ask each one to bring their own mixes to share, that way everyone gets to listen to things they like, and you might get hooked on new bands too!