Day 3: Minnesota is my favorite color.

This 4:50 a.m. sunrise gives me life. I left the screen door to the patio open last night in the cute little hotel I stayed in so I could fall asleep to Lake Superiors waves and wake up to the chirps of Tofte’s birds. If you ever find yourself in the area, Cliff Dweller Hotel on Lake Superior is top notch rustic, serene, and locally owned by the sweetest people.

Gondala Ride @ Lutsen Mountains. This was the coolest thing ever. I wish I could have just rode back and forth all day. It was so quiet. So full of peace. So breathtaking.

I kept singing ‘Chateau’ by @bear in my head while I was visiting Lutsen today all to find out this was a chalet and not a chateau. Oh well, both are fancier than I’ll ever be. BUT THAT VIEW looking over Lake Superior THO! Is this real life?

The water is so crystal clear in Grand Marais. This has been one of my favorite areas to explore since this trip started. I hiked up through Artists Point (where the trees are) and then back behind these views to the Lighthouse. I found myself hopping from rocky surface to rocky surface finally settling at an edge point and reading a book for a couple hours on one of the many glacial ice drag remnants in this area. My SPF may have let me down but I’m so glad to have sat in such quiet for that time undisturbed by busyness and surrounded by nature.

To close this post.. I have zero words; hats off to you, Grand Marais, Minn. If you know me, AT ALL, you’ll know that water gives me life, that sailboats and lighthouses are my dream homes, and that Minnesota is my favorite color. You’re welcome for this visual experience. P.S. I hope that my future husband is cool with moving here because it’s a deal breaker if he’s not.


This is as far north as I go. I’ll be slowly but surely making my way home tomorrow with adventures along the way, I hope. I don’t know what the rest of my vacation looks like but I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity and means to do this. I can honestly say, I don’t know how I would have survived if I hadn’t.

Day 3: If you ever have the chance, always choose the scenic route.

Back at it again in the Coconio National Forest. We ventured south and slightly west from Flagstaff to Sedona today and then on to Mesa. Remember a couple days ago when I said I need to enhance my personal dictionary? Yeah, I’m having those same feels again today. I’m a rural Minnesota girl. I grew up surrounded by trees and summers fishing off the dock in my grandma’s back yard. I know pretty when I see it. Granted, it’s not difficult to impress me in that capacity but consider me overwhelmed in all the best ways today.

There are two main ways to get yourself from Flagstaff, which is basically a retirement community, to Sedona. You can be a Meh Mary by taking I-17 and then some crossroad highway like some kind of non-adventurer OR you can take the scenic route along 89A which is approximately 50 miles or for us, nearly 3 hours. #notevenbeingdramatic #wowafterwow #icannotbelievethis #notgoinghome

You guys. Not to take a single descriptive sentence away from the Grand Canyon’s glory that I witnessed yesterday but I can’t even begin to explain the trek to Sedona this morning. After yesterday, the rest of our trip was very loosely planned. We wanted to see the GC and we wanted to relax a bit poolside, back in Mesa. We expected to take our time today and see what Sedona had to offer but had very little info about what was up from here to there and all that lies in between.

We began our descent on SR 89A through Oak Creek Canyon right after checking out of our hotel. I’ve never ever been on a descent like this. The road was thin, I suspect semi-trucks aren’t allowed to travel this route. The pine tree forests were the skyscrapers of our day and jagged rocks hugged the not-actually-there shoulder of the road on both sides. Thankfully, there were pull-offs all along the road so I could get out, gaze up and then down, until my neck ached. As the driver, I was both white-knuckling my steering wheel and looking as far up as I possibly could to take in what we were seeing and what was to come below us. Thank you Jesus for our angels today guiding us along that road. There were more hairpin turns than I could count twisting us in circles and the tree lines were so dramatic, I wish you could have seen them.

While briefly scanning the wold wide web this morning, I came across a blog post that said you have to go up and then down SR 89-A so that each person can get a chance to see the drive and remain in awe the entire time. Now that I’m writing this, I can’t seem to track that post down but if I come back across it, I’ll be sure to share. From the natural springs to the wildlife and rock formations; there isn’t a single second you could possibly lose interest along this route. It’s simply incredible from top to bottom.

There were a handful of trails along today’s route that we could have, should have, stopped at. A walk to explore would have been nice. We didn’t realize it until after we passed, but within Coconio National Forest, along this road, lies Slide Rock State Park. By the time we realized the sign and entrance, we were just passed it and were in the lead of what seemed like a million cars. I wish there had been a secondary entrance or a sign 1/4 mile back for us to know what was coming up.

Along one of the places we pulled off on, was Midgley Bridge. I stopped there just to take in the sites. The closer we got to Sedona, the more and more red rocks we saw. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this region of the United States is severely underrated. I’ve always thought of Arizona as a place that people head to when they are retired. That snow bird life and all. All of our grandparents have been hiding this sacred gem of a state from us. How dare they! Also, maybe AZ tourism needs to up their game. Holla at your girl and I’ll help you out!


We didn’t explore the city of Sedona much. We actually had planned to get pedicures but that fell through. I had wanted to visit the Holy Cross Church. This ended up just being a drive by for us. Everyone and their brother had the same idea I did. It would have been neat to find our way into the church built into the side of a rock but we’ll survive.

If the trip to Sedona wasn’t already a highlight to the day, our stop at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park definitely was. Before the last couple of days, I’d never heard of a stupa. By definition, a stupa is: a monumental pile of earth or other material, in memory of Buddha or a Buddhist saint, and commemorating some event or marking a sacred spot. We parked in a small lot at the base of this area, there were only a couple of vehicles besides ours there. This peace park brought us up a twisty dirt path towards the stupa and a few other spiritual artifacts. Along the way were benches and prayer flags in trees lining the path.

This area has been marked holy by those native to Sedona and is thought to bring healing and transformation to those that visit. The stupa itself has a square sidewalk around the parameter. You’re encouraged to walk around it three times, silently and slowly, in meditation; focusing on your prayers or wishes for peace in the world and in your life. The stupa is filled with millions and millions of prayers and blessings.

I lost count the number of times I walked around this stupa. It was so peaceful. Rarely do I allow myself the gift of meditating and taking the opportunity to disconnect completely from technology and the bustling world. As we spent time here, more people came but everyone was respectful and quiet; taking in the presence of peace and prayer as they walked around. This park and the area around is known for being a spiritual vortex; full of transformative and healing energy. If you find yourself in Sedona, which I hope you do, I urge you to stop at this remote and beautiful spot. There are nearly 14 acres to this park and we only explored a fraction of it. I hope to come back and spend more time here someday.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite (it was hard to narrow down) Buddhist quotes:

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. -Buddha


There is so much more I’d like to elaborate on in regards to Buddhism. I’ll try to make time for that in a later post. I named my cat Bodhi (age 2) which is a Buddhist term for the knowledge of wisdom or awakened intellect. I have many Buddha’s in my home and find myself drawn towards the wisdom and calm that they bring to me. Stay tuned.

Day 2: It’s as if we were all just trying to slow down, let nature in, and quiet our restless minds.

If any a day to accomplish a whole lot of everything, today was it. Now, I usually post photos at the very end of a post but I have to break that self-made rule because today’s 5:15 a.m. wake time was motivated by the view below. This is Mather Point at the Grand Canyon. It was freezing. Like, right at or around freezing for realz. BUT so. freaking. worth. it.

To say the Grand Canyon is beautiful is an understatement. I really need to freshen up on my personal dictionary. No wonder this place has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. I have to be honest, while Arizona and more specifically, the Grand Canyon were on my bucket list of places to see, I had loads and loads more places on that list ahead of this trip. After today, I don’t know why. I genuinely believe that Arizona is one of the most underrated and breathtaking places I’ve ever been to (literally and visually). Everywhere I’ve been blessed with having the opportunity to go to, has been gorgeous; I can find beauty nearly every place I’ve been but holy shit to the GC. I had no idea.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, who knows? Am I THAT naive or can I blame a handful of cruddy geography and history teachers along my path of brain growth? I’ll play it safe and sit in the middle on that debate.

I’m going to keep today’s post as short as I possibly can because we covered A LOT of ground today. With that being said, we all know this is going to be long AF because YA GORL cannot condense anything. #teamlongstorylong

So, along with tons of other official natural wonders or not, the tourist scene is wildly organized at the Grand Canyon. There are three shuttle lines within the park (orange blue, and red). There’s actually a fourth line (purple) but that goes to and from Tusayan. We didn’t opt to do that. The cool thing about the shuttles is that you can hop on and off any of them. They each have their specific routes but there are a few opportunities to jump off one bus and onto another. They run pretty frequently too; anywhere from 10-15 minutes.

We first took the shuttle from Yavapai Lodge to Mather Point (where we saw that bomb ass sunrise). Then we took the shuttle from there all the way up to Hermit’s Rest. That’s the furthest west point on the South Rim. BTW, we were in the South Rim the entire time. There is a North Rim portion but that would have been a couple more hours to drive last night. From my research, the southern rim is the more touristy of the two.

From Mather Point, there were so many stops. We tried to plan our day out strategically based on reviews I’d read about but there was no way we’d get through the entire rim in the day. We took the good ol’ trolley through Market Plaza and the Village without getting off. If there was time later, we would. We did stop at a handful of places along the route up to Hermits Rest though. Hopi Point, Mohave Point, and Pima Point were my favorites. A couple of stops are super close together so you can walk from one to the other. At the end of this post, I’ll likely share a stupid amount of photos that may all look the same to you but they definitely aren’t.

What the photos don’t show or tell is how vast the GC really is. The day was a perfect 58 degrees. The skies, a sweet #5EADE5 blue. I’ve never been anywhere where there were so many people throughout but so little sound. It’s as if we were all just trying to slow down, let nature in, and quiet our restless minds. While it looked like an off-brown ball point pen line drawn into the canyons, it was so quiet that we could hear the Colorado River (can you spot it below?). My mom even dared to say that the Grand Canyon was more captivating than the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

One thing I haven’t mentioned but I did read about while researching, was the air to lung ratio, or lack there of. I had briefly read that those interested in hiking down and back up (those people are crazy and also my wanna-be spirit animals) should be warned of the altitude variations especially to those traveling from an altitude much different than here. And holy crap could we feel it. Even during the drive from Mesa north, we started to notice the change in altitude. The thinner air really did make it much harder to breathe. This effected my mom quite a bit more than me but we did make a point of taking our time and pacing ourselves throughout the day. I don’t know what kind of made-of-steal lungs hikers have but I want a sip of that medicine. The views we witnessed today were worth every single second of the 7000+ feet above sea level hikes we took today.

Once we picked up our jaws from the views along Hermits Rest, we hopped back aboard the red shuttle due east. We found ourselves a taco food truck in the Visitor Center Area and hung out enjoying the cool-to-everyone but warm-to-us weather. Did I mention our winter was brutal? 58 degrees felt like 90 but a good 90.

We finished up our day at Yaki Point and then decided to head back to the Yavapai Lodge area to make our way back south and over to Flagstaff. The only chunk of the South Rim that we didn’t get a chance to venture towards was Desert View. There is a watchtower up there that I would have loved to climb. Honestly, I don’t know if I’d have been able to because of the oxygen fun we were having but I’ll be making it a priority next time I visit.


I had no plans to see anything exciting once we left the Grand Canyon today. Really, can the GC be beat? We just needed to get to our hotel in Flagstaff but we managed to find some really REALLY cool pit-stops along the way. The trek from the south entrance area of the GC to Flagstaff is only about 90 minutes but it took us well over two hours. This seems to be a recurring theme for this trip. On our way, we found Yabba Dabba Doo Fintstones Bedrock City! Who would have thunk? It didn’t appear to be in working order anymore which really is a tragedy but a few cool photo ops were necessary.

Cue Williams, AZ. I’ve had so many “when I grow up” dreams, I could fill a book. Anywhere from a yellow brick road trail through the woods to secret garden as dreamy as the book I read until the pages were lose and watched in movie form back when VHS tapes were still cool. Today, I found another dream I didn’t even know I had and it currently resides in Williams. I hope my ‘somewhere in the future’ babies want a tipi in the backyard instead of a playhouse. The tipi below was a part of a little village touristy shop on the side of the road. I instantly thought of my niece Emma and how she’d love to have this all to herself in the back of my parents yard. I can’t wait to tell her all about it when I get home.

Lastly, before arriving in Flagstaff, we stumbled upon the sweetest little slanted church in the middle of the Coconino National Forest near the base of the San Francisco Peaks. At the enterance of this quaint and mostly deserted church, I had to duck to get in. As I walked around to the other side of the small building, I was greeted by an entire wall filled with glass. This place was remarkable. Could you imagine getting married here?! I would LOVE it! I couldn’t wait to read up more about this place once we arrived at the hotel tonight. Here’s an excerpt I found:

Chapel of the Holy Dove: In the summer of 1961, with the help of his sons and some hired hands, the 41 year-old Watson Lacy, with no experience as a builder, used explosives to create holes in the rock beneath the Chapel to secure and position the large Ponderosa Pine logs which comprised the original A-shaped structure framing the San Francisco Peaks. Local volcanic rock and petrified wood was used to build the supporting stone walls. The Chapel was completed in 1962. The beauty of the Peaks affirmed the goodness and majesty of God. They wanted to give travelers the opportunity to share it. –Ghost Town AZ

For anyone still with me, if time permits, I would definitely plan for a full two days at the Grand Canyon alone. I’ve shared more photos at the end of this post and I hope you love them as much as I cherish them. Our trip to AZ is a short one. Since we had such a ways to drive from start to finish, we wanted to make sure to see a few places on the way so we opted to cut our time at the GC short in order to enjoy the ride back to Flagstaff and tomorrow, Mesa. While it’s a bummer we didn’t get to spend more time further north, I’m glad we left when we did or we wouldn’t have been able to capture the awe these few stops along the way brought us. I don’t know where the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, or Arizona for that matter but I would encourage you to move it up. Like way TF up. We have two more days in this lush state and I can’t hardly wait!

Day 1: Star Light, Star Bright

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I had embarked on a new adventure. Wait, it was just six months ago! If you live anywhere near where I’m currently living (NoDak), you’ll understand when I say this winter was LONG AF. Just about as soon as I landed stateside again in September, I began dreaming of my next adventure. I desperately need to go back to Europe but I’ll leave that for another day to ramble on about.

About half way through this winter, my mom asked if I wanted to get away and out of the cold. And YA GURL was like “yep.” Without thinking much about it, one of us suggested Arizona and we were both on board. This winter, really, has been draining. Not only have the snow storms put an emphasis on seasonal depressive moods but I busted up my knee twice in the last couple of months. Officially tearing my ACL and my meniscus in two places at the end of January. I have currently managed to forgo surgery for a multitude of reason and have thankfully gotten by with some PT and lots of rest. My knee is no where near 100%, maybe 60% on a good day? We’ll get there.

Enough about that. You’re here for an adventure and I’m about to deliver!

Day 1 is about as routine as day 1’s go, I think. Finishing up packing, because I’ve been a major procrastinator lately and stressing a bit about “did I plan this enough?” were the recurring themes of the days leading up to our trip. I’ve been on a continuous stress-boat of anxiety for a few months due to some work-flow changes in my job and it rarely lets up enough for me to indulge in a life outside of work. Which I know, is incredibly unhealthy, but I’m working on it.

For the first time ever today, I flew out of my local airport, Hector International. Also, for the first time ever today, every inch of my body was patted TF down like I was some sort of criminal. I thought I had this travel thing down. I’m extra cautious with the items I bring on board, my flying attire is basically PJ chic (yogas, sports bra, shirt, slides) and I still was patted down. I don’t know if it was a random spot check but it was weird. Up until today, I was almost weirded out about how “easy” it’d been to stroll through security checkpoints like it was nothin’ because it really was. I had nothing to hide and it’d always been a breeze. Now I know, the pat-down happens. You’ve been warned.

I’m tired and today wasn’t extra eventful aside from the frisk so I may jump around a little bit.

Actually, I’m going to bullet this shit out so I can get to sleep.

  • The people of Alamo as in the car rental service, are jerks. Don’t rent a vehicle from them. We stood in line for well over 30 minutes waiting for a vehicle I reserved. Once I got to the front counter, I was notified that there were no vehicles available. So like, wtf? I ended up dinking around at another rental car place but guess what? They didn’t have any vehicles either and so, head hung low, I returned back to Alamo with the intention of giving them a piece of my mind. Obviously with my mom’s help because lets be honest, she’s the confrontational one between the two of us when it’s go time. We ended up with a vehicle, not the one we paid for and one that will end up costing us more in gas than we had budgeted but it’s better than nothing. I guess.
  • The four and half hour drive (or so) north from Mesa was a beautiful one and filled with angels watching over us. Not only were the roads full of bizarre speed limit changes but we curved around one rock formation after another all the way up. The scary part about this is, I drove. If you know anything about me, two of them should be: 1. I’m a shit driver. And 2. I’m a shit driver because I love looking at all the things. I’m grateful my dad wasn’t with us. We’d surely have driven over cliff because he would have flipped at how distracted I was.
  • We arrived at the Grand Canyon and Yavapai Lodge well past sunset. (I just realized that I hadn’t told you where exactly in AZ we were headed. Surprise!) I was hoping to get a few glimpses of the canyons tonight but we’re preparing for an early rise in the morning so stay tuned. I didn’t know this until I arrived, but Arizona has more certified “International Dark Sky” places in the United States than any other state. This made it a bit difficult to find our actual lodge without streetlights to guide us but we managed. Believe it or not, I do remember the days of finding a place on a map without Siri directing me where to go. I have lived in a city for quite some time so I don’t get to observe the stars as often as I would like. It’s really one of my favorite things in this world. Tonight, I was able to do that for a brief time and am so happy I did. Obviously cameras never quite capture the night sky the way we see it but if you look close enough, you’ll see the Big Dipper in one of my photos below.

That about sums up our day. I feel so lucky to have my mom as my travel partner. Traveling isn’t always rainbows and sunshine but having someone along that can take the good with the bad really makes all the difference when it comes to enjoying the greatest treasures in life.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to our Guardian Angels today for keeping us safe as I drove around admiring this lovely state. The land that is Arizona is truly a beauté so far.

Day 7: The poetry of earth is never dead.. -John Keats

Today was breathtaking. We spent the majority of our day at two of the most beautiful and untouched places in Ireland; the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. If you ever find yourself in Ireland, which I hope you will, put these two places at the top of your list.

It’s difficult to compare each day we’ve had on our trip. Every day is better than the last but at the same time, nothing can compare to the day prior. With that being said, both the Ring of Kerry (yesterday) and today’s trip were worth every single step and ounce of tired in our bodies. The views were spectacular. The ocean’s wild waves smashing into the side of the rocks and hitting us was refreshing. The wind, both literally and figuratively, took my breath away. Even with all of the people and the noise (of the people), I was still able to just be there and soak it all in for as long as I possibly could.

And with that, I can’t say anything more but to show you what I saw. Bucket list item, check.

Day 1: What about a bog? Say that 3 times fast.

Operation world traveler wannabe to will be is about to begin! Some of you may or may not know that I have a binder full of our to-do’s while on vacation. I’m an ultra-planner by nature and my mom, not so much.

Our first trip was planned out to a T. It eased my stress to know what we were going to do when but it did have downfalls, of course. Being so attached to my “plan” made it difficult to stray from it and there were a couple of activities or days where we would have loved and preferred to stay awhile longer.

Trip two, I tried to be a bit more loose with our plans. I still had our time away organized as shit but I had a lot more “ehh, we can decide when we get there” pockets and days. This trip made me a lot more of a stress ball and I feel like we had wasted time that we could have used a bit more wisely had I made some decisions ahead of time.

Present day, I’m trusting in the motto “third times a charm.” Our days are planned out via day trips around the Emerald Isle and Scotland and our evenings are free for adventure and spontaneity.

Before we left for Minneapolis, we met up with Bodhi’s godparents, Nick and Katie to go over my helicopter cat-mom of a list and visit a bit. They’ll be taking care of Lil’ Boat and my apartment while I’m away. (THANK YOU!) Then, funny enough, my dad was also in town so we all hit up Qdoba (otherwise known as Kubota, thanks to Dad) for lunch before leaving.

We stopped in Albert(s)ville for a minute or 30, Wiki’d all the different types and true definitions of bodies of water, stopped at Minnehaha Falls for a break from the humidity and ended the night walking on the very dimly lit Stone Arch Bridge.

‘Twas a great first day to the start of our vaca. Even if Mom compared the heat to St. Louis!

What I Learned

We’re three days post-trip and I thought it’d be a great time to reflect on our vaca.. The last two days of our vacation really made me feel crappy about how the last part of our vacation went and on our way home I reflected rather poorly on the trip as a whole when I shouldn’t have.

I purposefully hadn’t planned a lot for the last couple of days because we were going to wing it a little. Turns out, I’m not the best at winging it. I feel like our moods had slowly but surely went downhill throughout the duration of our trip and it bummed me out. A lot. Mostly because I couldn’t fix it.

My mom’s always taught me that it’s a choice to be happy. You choose to wake up on the right side of the bed. I’ve agreed with that most of my life. But some days, optimism apparently is a fight for the fittest. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was good. I was surprised that Omaha was my favorite city and I want to return there to see more attractions that we didn’t get a chance to explore. I liked Kansas City too but I don’t think there is anything there calling my name.

Honestly, I probably had a rather negative outlook on the trip as a whole prior to even venturing that way. When I think of the mid-west (middle of the country), I don’t think of anything. I don’t think of water or mountains or beaches or buildings or beauty. I think of nothing, like actually nothing. Not in an “I hate America” type of way, just as a “No one has ever bragged about doing anything so how would I know what there is to do?” type of way. And the internet wasn’t much help.

There were loads of things to do all along our trip but most of them consisted of museums or events happening on days before or after we were there. You can only see so many museums before you get museumed out. Ya’ know?

Parasailing was very fun. I was so SO worried that I’d fall to my death not because I was scared of the adventure but because of my weight. And guess what? I didn’t. The harness held me and for that I’m elated. I did have a bit of an emotional breakdown after though. Although it was fun and I cannot wait to go parasailing again, I hated on myself so hard about the entire experience. I got winded going down and up the 65 steps there and back. The life-jacket was so small and tight on me that I felt as if I looked like a balloon being squeezed in the middle. I also wish I could have rode tandem. The typical way to go parasailing is two people at a time, side by side. Due to my weight, that wasn’t an option. I had so many emotions going through me by the time I got back to the car that I couldn’t even talk. I wanted to cry and scream and yell and shake myself thin. I’m so beyond grateful that I had the option to go parasailing when my weight often limits the things I can do. I only hope that the way I beat myself up that day helps me to find the motivation needed to make some serious changes.

Reflecting on the rest of the trip was rather bland. St. Louis was physically draining because of all the walking and the heat. It wasn’t much warmer in Missouri as it is in Minnesota but we spent a lot more time outside than we would on a typical 90 degree day up north and that took it’s toll on us.

For the most part, I’d like to think that we had fully intended on our trip being in high spirits the entire way and there were a lot of great moments, beautiful views, interesting things.. But it seemed to be overshadowed by the heat and tiredness and frustration.

What I learned throughout this trip though, is that my mom is still my bestie. We had moments that we just needed a minute but it was okay and we made it. I learned that I have energy to keep going even when I didn’t think it was possible. I learned that my thoughts about middle America are pretty much true.

I also learned that the only thing holding me back from being the adventurous self I know I am is my weight. There are so many things I’ve never ever done because I exceed the limit or am afraid I’ll break whatever it is. This is something I’ve been learning all my life and I really truly need to find the power within myself to overcome this.

And lastly, I learned that the words I type don’t 100% reflect how I felt about every single moment on our trip. Showing Channing all the photos I took and the souvenirs I got made me feel good. I was so excited to tell him all the things we did and where we went along with the ups and downs alike. It was a good trip even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

Most of all, I’m so very grateful to have my mom with me and in my life. I don’t know how I could possibly live my life as well as I do without her there with me every step of the way. So, if you’re reading this mom, thank you and I love you. ❤

Days 6 & 7: The Journey Home

Day 6 was supposed to be our “spa” day but it didn’t happen quite as planned. Initially we were going to book massages and pedi’s but we decided a few days ago we’d be okay with passing on the massages this time around. No real reason, just weren’t into it.

So we figured we’d go swimming. I found a pond/swimming hole in Rochester online and it looked pretty nice so that’s where we were headed. We got a little sidetracked early on wanting to get blow up floaty things so we could just veg out on the water. Turns out the swimming hole was literally a gravel pit of a hole. It was a dud and it was dirty. Not like Detroit Lake dirty but like goose poop and seaweed clumps dirty. We were in and out in 10 minutes or less\. It took us longer to change into our swimwear than we were actually there. We didn’t even stick around to lounge on the beach.

We got to the hotel about an hour or so later and did go swimming in the pool at the hotel. It was okay.

On our last and final day we headed home. We stopped in Alexandria for lunch and it was delicious and then got pedicures at a nail spa in Fargo. Much needed.

Day 5: A Sailboat, A Ship, A Hound, and A Blimp.

Today marked the 2nd leg of our trip. Starting the day out, we were just a little over the halfway point miles wise. The rest of our trip including today was very loosely planned. I had some trouble being excited about planning a trip in the middle of the country so the next few days may be a boring read haha.

Our first stop was Springfield, IL, home of the one and only Honest Abe. Well, adult home. He was born in a log cabin somewhere else, they say. We went on a free tour and ERRMEGERD was the tour ranger a dull dog on cough syrup. B-O-R-I-N-G. He talked as if he memorized his tour speech word for word 65 years ago. His mouth droopy and his eyes mostly closed. Every room we went through in ol’ Abe’s house we were told that “..one boy died young. The family had planned to come back to their Springfield home after President Lincoln’s term in the office but he was assassinated and one of the sons died in the White House so they never did come back..” Word. For. Word. Over. And. Over. We couldn’t get out faster if we had tried.

We made another pit stop in Le Claire, IA where the American Pickers got their start. We visited the business hound while checking out the Antique Archeology shop(s). I was surprised at the small scale of stuff they had for how huge they’ve become. I’m wondering if their Nashville location is larger or maybe they sell as quick as they pick? It was neat anyway.

We also received word from the locals that Columbus’ Nina and Pinta replica ships were in town just down the road in Davenport. Turns out, they were! And in the very same place the Sailing Club was doing it’s thing! What! Wait, there’s more.. A Metlife sponsored blimp was flying around in the sky. So many things all in one place. It was visually refreshing.

We ended out our kind of odd day dining at the World’s Largest Truckstop on I-80 in Iowa and checking into our motel in Cedar Rapids awhile later. I came across the perfect quote to sum up today’s adventures:

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

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Day 4: I didn’t see Nelly in St. Louie

Hello Heat Stroke! We woke up in quaint Pontoon Beach, IL right by the local fair or carnival.. Whatever you want to call it. Our agenda included the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, City Museum and the St. Louis Arch (obvs). I should preface the rest of this post before we get to it.. I’m writing today having had a few days pass. The night in question ended with me not wanting to move because I felt dog sick all over. #dehydrated

Our first stop for day 4 was the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. I’m not a beer connoisseur or even alcohol in general for that matter but the ABB was on TripAdvisor’s top places to see while in St. Louis so I figured we should give it a go. After today’s events, this was probably the best part of today. For me anyway.

We went on a complimentary Brewery Tour that included a trip through the Brewery grounds, a peek at the Clydesdale’s, and a walk-through their mashing and milling buildings. I’m just guessing those are the names of the buildings. One word while walking through this architectural beauty of a village.. Wow! Everything was dressed to the nines. The Clydesdale’s live more lavishly than I could ever dream of. We went into what I would call the “Beer Making Plant” and THAT was decked out too. Ivory and gold colored finishings and chandeliers.. The stair railings and the walls, the floor and the elevator.. Everything was created with design and elegance in mind. Remember, we’re in a brewery so this was odd to me. I had imagined us walking into a box of a production plant with slate colored concrete above, below, and beside us. Boy was I wrong.

If you’re a beer drinker you’d love that we received a free 8 oz beer at the beginning of our tour and another free 16 oz at the end of the tour. I was parched and don’t like the B so I got Mountain Dew at the Brewery. #Merica? The only thing that could have made this tour better is if we’d gotten to pet the Clydesdale’s.

We also hit up the City Museum. What. The. Fuck. There is no real way to explain this place. You just have to go but at the same time, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. Ugh. The best way I can describe it is like this: The City Museum is every fantasy a child could possibly have come true while at the very same time every nightmare a parent could imagine. There were kids coming out of the walls and floors and ceilings. There are 5 or 6 floors I think. Trees, caves, slides, ropes, stairs. A school bus, ferris wheel, and airplane ON TOP of the roof that were all accessible. It’s a designing wonder of the modern world but holy for scary if you’re a parent to a child. There are little nooks and cranny’s that parents definitely cannot fit through and everything just..keeps..going.

Last but definitely not least was the Gateway to the West, the St. Louis Arch. We paid $20 (gross) to park and then had to walk what seemed like eternity finally getting to the Riverboat Cruise. It wasn’t worth it. Maybe if we weren’t dying from the humidity? I dunno. The Arch itself was cool. The little egg shaped pod you go up in  was bigger than I imagined. Going to the top and seeing the city laid out was beautiful. I think the best time would have been in the evening after the sun had set but it was still pretty cool

I don’t know what it was about day 4. We were both so hot. My mom more so than I but it took a real toll on us. Over the last few days, we had walked more than we had anticipated. This was a lot of work and a big achievement for us super fit chicks. I really think the heat killed our moods even though we did try to be optimistic about the day. I don’t feel like it was any warmer than “home” a few weeks ago when it reached the mid-90’s but it just felt way more deadly. I suppose we were outside all day in comparison to working in an A/C building 8-5.

Overall, St. Louis was okay but I really don’t think I’d purposefully come back. I’d probably go to the Brewery again if Channing was along and the Arch because it’s the Arch but everything was under construction in and around the Arch. It wasn’t pretty and it was the same price as if it were all open. It wasn’t easily accessible and we had to climb a lot more than we felt was necessary. Being hot and tired takes a lot away from the fun and adventure. I suppose realists would tell us to get in shape then. Yeah, whatever.

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Day 3: We went parasailing!

I’m currently chilling at a Best Western somewhere in Illinois watching the Olympics Beach Volleyball event. (Wang and Yue vs. Walsh Jennings and Ross.) What stupid outfits. Do these women not have butt cracks? #lowridersforreal

We hit up three states today. At first I sat there thinking that Missouri isn’t anything to be excited about but then we arrived in the Ozarks area. We had planned to go parasailing at 10:30 this morning but it was postponed until 1 due to weather. My coworkers would be surprised to find out that I had no back up plan for this tragedy. #saywhat

We had lunch at a dimly lit tavern and strolled the Crayola colored buildings on the Bagnell Dam strip today. Grandpa’s Ice Cream shop was pretty good and I thought about getting Grandma’s fudge but didn’t.

We hiked down and then up again to go parasailing. It was both the highlight of the day and a nagging reminder that I can overcome my weight insecurities. I’ll have to post photos and video once we get home from our trip. I had a GoPro cam with me and one of the crew guys took pictures of our adventure. I guess my phone doesn’t have a spot to insert a mini SD card. (Laaaame.) I did leave the smiley face parachute with a battle wound though. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can’t balance worth shit. I totally biffed it getting off the parasail boat onto the weird bubble raft thing in the middle of the lake. For how much I’ve tripped this summer, I’m surprised my knee still works.

Anyway, I’m nearing the end of this ramble.. My advice to everyone reading is to go parasailing and wear sun screen even when it’s cloudy. Oh, and get a henna tattoo. I didn’t get a chance to get one but shoulda, coulda, woulda.

I hope to visit the Lake of the Ozarks region again. We only explored a sliver of this peace, love and definitely marijuana infused area somewhere in the middle of Missouri. Didn’t know the southern midwest could be so chill and support The Donald at the same time. Literally Trump cutouts and Vote For Trump buttons were everywhere.

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Day 2: Badminton Anyone?

My feet hurt because I’m a lazy pants most of the days of my life. And I’m tired. We were up and out by 6 this morning. “Uffda” as my grandma would say.

Today’s post is short. We spent the day in Kansas City, MO. I took a bunch of pictures I’ll probably never print like usual. Most of them are posted below but you can check me out on the Insta to see the rest @orianoelle.

P.S. I’m further south then yesterday. Already broke my own record. Boo ya.

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Day 1: My mom thinks she’s more adventurous than me.

Today officially marks an annual adventure.. A yearly trip with my mum. (I figure that’s what the English guy at our table tonight would have called his mother.) Last year we cut ground on our inaugural trip. My mom turned 50 in 20-15 and her resolution or goal of sorts was to see all 50 states before she dies at the minimum old age of 100. #gobigorgohome

Challenge accepted.

I linked last year’s blog series to my Facebook page yesterday if you’re interested in what we did or where we went. I’m tip top typing away on my phone tonight so I won’t be helpfully linking you to it.

Anyway, today we booked it out of Fargo bright and sunshine-y early. We made a pit stop in Sioux Falls to check out Falls Park. My mom had never been before and I love anything having to do with water.. so yeah.

Next up was Omaha. Attention folks, I am officially further south then I’ve ever been! Smack dab in the midwest. Go me, woo! I do seriously feel cool about that though so I gave myself a pat on my sheltered life of a back.

We attended a dinner theater of sorts tonight. It was okay. I’d totally go to one again but I, for some reason, just couldn’t follow. Maybe I was over thinking the scenario or it just wasn’t what I was expecting? I loved that they had audience participation though, it made it exciting.

We also checked out Heartland of America Park. We wanted to go there to ride in a gondola thingamajig but ended up taking a stroll instead. This was probably the highlight of day one for me. Omaha has an enormous and beautiful riverfront, it just keeps going. Hearts on hearts, yes please. And apparently so do the Pokémon Go-ers. They. Were. Everywhere.

I can’t wait to come here again. We’ve been told by locals and visitors that we need to check out the Zoo. Apparently it’s been voted the best in the world or so the English guy at our table says.. We didn’t have time for it this time around but I’ll be back. Promise.

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Year 2: The Hub, Boston.

Well! I’m so excited to finally say this…we’re going to Boston! I think we’re about 89% certain that it’s this year’s destination. Last year, my mom and I embarked on our inaugural mother-daughter vacation. We drove down to Madison and Chicago and then back up and around through Holland, Mackinaw City, Ashland, and Duluth.

It was so much fun and such an amazing experience. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my mom but we did things that neither of us had ever done. And most importantly, we started our journey of traveling. A dream we’ve both dreamt of for so long.

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Why Boston?
Well, we decided that now’s a better time than never to fly on an airplane. Something neither of us have ever done. My two reservations for never traveling via flight are my physical size and not knowing the process. One of which is probably a dumb reason. I feel like there are so many restrictions when flying and I never really have all the answers. I’m a super-planner. I need to know everything and when it’s not readily available, I have a mini-panic attack. What can we pack? What can’t we? Is luggage extra? What’s a carry-on? How much is that? What if I don’t fit in the seat? Do I have to buy two seats? What if the seat belt extender still isn’t big enough? Can I have a nail-clipper in my purse? What if my luggage is lost? Ect. Ridiculous, I know. But I’ve never been anywhere. Seriously.

Although last years trip was so worth while and totally amazing, we did do a lot of driving. Like 1800+ miles of driving. We’d be totally up for another long drive but we have been playing around with flying for awhile. It may cost more, transportation wise, but we wouldn’t have to be in a vehicle not experiencing the world for such a long duration.

After asking a few friends questions, doing a little research, and calling a couple of airlines – we decided amongst advice from our peers that a nonstop flight would be best for newbies like us. Fargo and Grand Forks don’t have a lot of destinations to choose from for a summer trip and we really want to go big or go home. So, why not look at MSP? There are a handful of nonstop destinations departing from MSP. One of the reasons we decided on Boston is because realistically, we know our spouses have no desire to ever tour the east coast/New England area. (Yet anyway.)

“Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.” -Marcus Valerius Martialis

So, we’re in the very early stages of planning this trip. We’re going to head east early to mid August of this year. Tourist information and travel brochures have been ordered! I’ve reached out to a few more people asking about their experience on sites like Expedia and Trivago. To anyone reading this that has been to Boston and the surrounding area, I’d love to hear what the best things to do are. The must-see’s, the go-to’s. Best modes of transportation, coolest unknowns. Are you overweight? We’d love to hear what your take on sizes, seats, seat belts are when flying. To anyone, what has your experience been with airfare and hotel packages on popular travel sites?

Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to start yet another year of sightseeing and living out my dreams!

To read about our 2015 trip, click here!

I’m 26 Now, You Know

This is about a month delayed but it’s actually given me a hot minute to reflect. In case you couldn’t tell, the theme as of late is reflection.

I’ve officially entered the scary pre-midlife crisis of the late-20’s. Welp! A crossroads where excuses of immaturity aren’t accepted anymore and you are either married with kids or still chasing your hangovers at the bar every night.

I am neither.

I’m happily chillin’ with my cat Frank by my side, boyfriend watching the History Channel in the other room and the dishwasher just clicked off. Silence. I’m a homebody that looks forward to PJ’s and TV at the end of a day.

I’ve felt “stuck” for quite some time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that I (we) have just been chasing so many meaningless things for so long that life passed by quicker than we expected.

At 26, I don’t have anything to show for my life. Really. In a non-pity party matter of speaking. I don’t have anything. I haven’t traveled the ocean blue. Well, except for my first big trip ever this year but that’s all part of what this next year will bring. I don’t have a family of my own yet or a ring on my finger. I don’t have a home or new furniture. I don’t have the successful weightloss story I thought I’d have by now. My job is just fine but it’s not what I’d always dreamt about.

But this is different than posts past. Remember, it’s about reflection. I’m content where I am. Too many years too late maybe, but I’ve finally accepted the past and the present. I’m okay with where my life is at. My health is something that I’ll have to continually work towards. Babies will come when it’s their and our time. A proposal will come when it’s right. Jobs, income, finances, homes, they’ll sort themselves out and I’m finally okay with it.

I didn’t have a light bulb moment. I was just tired of dwelling on the past. Thinking of all these “mistakes” I’d made in my short adult life. Going to college instead of making memories with my senior class, putting up with Channing’s shit, ditching friends, moving and moving and moving again, quitting and accepting jobs. For so long, I wondered “what if?” And honestly, I always will. I’m always going to be wondering “what if” but I’ve come to terms with the paths I’ve taken.

If everything hadn’t happened exactly as it had over the course of the last 26 years, I might not be as close as I am with my mom. I might not know a love as deep as the one I have. I might not be as accomplished as I am in my position at work or heck, I might not have developed the work ethic that I have. If the negatives that I worry about so much hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be who I am.

Who am I? I’m bright and thoughtful. I listen and I care. I am trustworthy and opinionated. I’m a realist and a tweeting millennial. I’m not interested in going out or having tons of friends. I know that I’m smarter than half the people that spent $35K on college. I’m a cat mom, a paperback book reader, a board game lover and a Minnesotan North Dakotan. I’m me and I’m okay with that.

I know that all of the things I want in my life will happen. The worst part about being the kind of person that makes a plan to make a plan is not being able to make a plan for life. Life happens the way it wants to happen, you can’t force it.

My Life In Segments: The Last 7 Years

I don’t know what it is, maybe it was turning another year older but lately I’ve been reflecting on the last 7 years. I dwell a lot on the past and I’ve never really put it down on paper. I’m hoping that this will help me move on from things that have been holding me down. Accept the paths I’ve gone down and focus on the present and future rather than on things that I cannot change.

So, why the last 7 years? Well, it seems like I break my life up into segments. I think everyone does. Within each segment are more segments but the biggest segments from my life starting with the earliest are as follows:

Kindergarten: For some reason I don’t have memories from before Kindergarten. I remember getting in trouble kissing a boy and I remember reading time in Mrs. Guy’s class. Kindergarten through early elementary is the first segment of my life.

4th – 6th Grade: I’d been teased starting in 2nd grade. Well, that’s the first time I remember anyway. Grades 4-6 were the worst. Those were the years I faced the biggest, meanest assholes of my entire life. Those are the people who I’ve honestly never forgiven and it’s the part of me that I hate the most because every time I see them on FB or in person, I want to see their faces smashed into the cement. Even after all these years, I can’t get over it.

7th – 9th Grade: These were some of the best years with some of the best people I’d ever known.

9th Grade: I moved. This was hard for many reasons and 10th grade is a blur.

11th – 12th Grade: 11th was probably the best year of my life. Honestly. I know that sounds lame. High school? I had great friends, I met so many people, I had so much fun and did so many things. I loved it and I loved me. 12th grade, I enrolled in college so I was at NCTC instead of H.S. with my classmates. It was different but it was okay. I have regrets about my choice but at the same time, I had a lot of fun and met new people.

7/11/2008: The day I met Channing. This is the last big segment so far. I don’t think I’ll have another segment until I have a child.


With all that being said..back to reflection on the last 7 years. I’ve never fully reflected on this before but I think it’s time. Like I said, there are a lot of mini-segments in between and there isn’t enough room in the internet for me to write down everything that I’m thinking. This is an overview, I think. Here it goes..

My relationship has defined my entire adult life. Because of the choices I made and the paths I’ve taken, I’m not who I thought I’d ever be or where I thought I’d ever be.

Before I met Channing, I loved the world. I had dreams and aspirations to travel, to get out of here. I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was going to do next. I didn’t know if I was going to continue school or what I wanted to be when I grew up but I was open and outgoing. I was carefree and had friends.

But it all ended within a couple of years after our relationship began. This is going to sound like a song cliché but I’m a lover. I’m a lover and a forgiver. I’m not a fighter and I’m not mean. When I entered our relationship, my heart was wide open. I loved harder and deeper than I’ll ever love again. I loved him more ignorantly and careless as I am even capable of loving him or anyone else now.

Thinking about it, a lot of the pain that cycloned in our relationship was due to his depression and upbringing mixed with my insistence on making him better. Over the course of 4 years, he broke my heart. Slow enough for me to stay but fast enough that I couldn’t leave.

But, eventually I did. Honestly, I didn’t have a choice. My mom and brother moved me out. I was an emotional wreck leading up to and after that day and didn’t understand what was happening in my life. I was broken. Looking back at it over the years, it was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship.

After a few months of back and forth, we did get back together. I don’t know if we ever really broke up but we were back together. Things had changed, he had changed. It wasn’t easy, it’s never been easy. But once we got back together, parts of the old him were gone which was good. If the old him would have stayed, there would be no us.

That was a little over 3 years ago now. The year and a half following us getting back together was heart-crushingly painful for him. There were some things that happened during the lowest moments of his life that were irreversible.

We celebrated 7 years together in July of this year. Each year has gotten better. We love each other on a mutual standing. We listen and communicate, we argue, we cry and we laugh. Our life together isn’t toxic like it once was and I am proud of that but because of the last 7 years, my life and outlook on life has changed.

I know it would have changed regardless but I can’t help but wonder who I would have been if I wouldn’t have met him at the fair that day. Would my heart have been hurt so badly? Would I have ever grown a backbone? How would I view the world? Would I have loved so deeply and fought so hard? Would I have found someone else, gotten married, had children, and bought a house?

I think that’s why I always ask those questions because my life was so planned out before I met him and for so long, I put him 100% before myself. I love Channing. Looking at everything that has happened good and bad; I’m glad that he was the constant in my life. I’m glad that I’m not damaged goods and had to go through all these ups, downs, and starting overs with someone else. I’m glad that all of the memories from the last 7 years have him in them and we can walk down memory lane together.

We have a rare story. Most people would have stayed gone. Most people would have left long before. Most people wouldn’t have and honestly, shouldn’t have fought for “love.” But for some reason we did and it was worth it.

I guess I don’t know how to say what I intended on saying in this post. I want to clarify for anyone other than my mom reading this. (Because she knows most of the story.) The turmoil and stress and life we lived then wasn’t and didn’t have to do with physical abuse. I fully believe that it takes two to tango but I think a lot of our early years together had to do with me wanting to help him. To fix him. To make him feel loved when he didn’t want it. I fought so long because I could see what he was capable of being. I could see that he was a great person, a great man, a great companion. He just couldn’t see it himself. He endured a different life than I had. A life that, in my opinion, didn’t always have open and loving arms like I was raised with. Again, he never hurt me but mentally, emotionally, my heart was taped together for a long long time.

My mom has always made comment that you can’t fix a person. She’s been saying this long before I even knew what love is. I think I was in denial that this is what I was trying to do for so long but she was absolutely right. The only reason, I think, that we are okay, that we moved on, that we are together, that Channing is a great man today is because he wanted to change himself. He wanted a better future than past and he was willing to allow himself that gift.

I’ve wanted to log this down for a long time but never knew how. Re-reading through it, I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say because I don’t have words for it. The last 7 years were sad and I pray that my future children never have to put up with what I did. I forced myself to be stronger than I knew I was capable of and allowed myself to be unloved as a side effect. Even with that being said, I’m so thankful and grateful for who I have as my partner and in my future. Channing is the worst and greatest thing that has ever happened to me. And I, of course, am the best thing that ever happened to him. 🙂

I’m sure you’re not, but if you are, I love you and am very proud of who you have become as a man, as a partner, as an uncle. You are capable of moving mountains, your dreams matter, and I am so happy to know that you will be by my side no matter what the next path or curve or day brings.

It’s been 36 days..

Woah? It’s been a quick minute, huh? The last time I made my way to posting something was …. October 28th. Really? It’s December now. Where’d the best month of the year go?

A lot has happened. Well actually, not really. I live a blandish life so nothing really has happened. More of a reflection on things has happened if that makes sense. For the first time in seriously 2 or 3 months, I have no plans this weekend and it’s staying that way. I plan to catch up on my favorite TV shows, pick up a book, and get in some good ol’ fashioned writing. I do have to make 11 dozen cookies for a goodie exchange that I shouldn’t have agreed to but I shouldn’t have to leave my apartment all weekend. I’m. Staying. Put.

Some stuff that has gone down over the last 36 days are listed below. I have a few things up my sleeve that I’ll save for another post sometime over the weekend..

KevinBirthday
I turned 26 on the 9th of November. Welp! Have a I really entered my late-20’s? I’m not ready for this. I’ll dive into some 26 and the year to come stuff in another post but my birthday was okay. I took the day off from work to do some adult things like grocery shopping, scoping out Christmas gifts for my family, and hitting up the doctor for a checkup. 26 is going to be good.

New Job
Hold your horses. I’m still with the same company I’ve been with for the last few years but I switched positions again. A good again. I was stressed out and frustrated for a number of reasons in the position that I had held. Luckily, I was offered a great opportunity and accepted my newest position. Some ignorant folk think of it as a demotion but I think of it as a “I don’t have to be in your negative energy filled space anymore.” Win-win for me.

girltimeGirlTime Getaways
After my mom and I had attended this, I fully intended on writing a big long post about it but time has passed and now I don’t feel like it. Our experience with GirlTime Getaways was kind of a bummer. We got to do a lot of things and it was all inclusive. Overall, the money that we spent was probably financially worth it as it included snacks, souvenirs, lunch, hotel, and transportation. But the time wasn’t worth the money for me. I believe they squeezed in 12-15 stops in less than 48 hours…it wasn’t relaxing at all and far from enjoyable. Some of the stops were interesting, some a waste of time, and some just plain frustrating. Add 40 or so drunk obnoxious women to the mix? Uh, no.

2nd Job
Something I’ll dig into a little further in this post but I acquired a 2nd job that begins in January. I needed to do this for a few different reasons. I’m excited to earn some extra money for a few months next year. I hope to make a friend or two along the way. That’d be coo.

Proximity Salon
I recently paired up with my aunt to help promote her business and bring in more locals to Halstad. I volunteered to help where I could to get my foot in the door more in the terms of the marketing world. The struggles we face are finances. There is no room for advertising right now so it’s all good ol’ fashioned word of mouth and Facebook. I’m both excited and exhausted thinking about it. I really want to see her business flourish but I should have thought about it more before I offered to take on such a big commitment. With a new job, a 2nd job, Christmas, personal life, and everything else; I don’t feel like I have much time to really devote to it. I think I’ve made it clear that I’ll do what I can as this is being done in my free time and free of charge. It’s hard for clients to remember that though.

Finances
frankMoney, honey or lack there of it. Channing and I have had a few set backs over the last year. Many of which are our own fault. Over the last 12 months, we’ve moved twice. That means 2 U-Haul charges, 2 rent deposits, 2 first month’s rents. That also means new out of state license plates and new drivers licenses. We also had a traumatic experience with our dearest kitty Frankie that caused us to fork out nearly $700 that we didn’t have. We’ve gone home a lot more than usual. Now Christmas is almost here. I planned on being “cheap” spending $250 max on my family, friends, co-workers but now that I’m nearly done I’ve racked up over $430 worth of gifts under that tree. I’ll be buying the ham for Christmas and bringing things for the rest of the meal. I’ll also be hosting a baby shower in January for my brother and his girlfriend which we all know is going to cost a pretty penny. I know it’s life and I know everyone struggles but I need a financial break. How are we supposed to live our lives to the fullest if every penny earned is spent on things that don’t bring us joy?

ThanksgivingThanksgiving
Turkey Day was nice. This was the first year that it was just our immediate family. No uncles, aunts or cousins. It was peaceful. I love them dearly but it was nice not to get into one of those political, we disagree because of religious reasons, arguments. Or whatever. Someone always gets offended. This year, for the most part I think, was pretty low-key and enjoyable.

Well, if you made it through, thanks. I just wanted to highlight a few things over the last month or so. We didn’t do anything for Halloween. Christmas decorations are up. I’m still working on my health. I’ve been a lot more positive over the last few weeks (another post) and I’m pretty excited for what the next month and year brings.

Morning Mediation

The last few weeks and maybe even the last month or two; I’ve been feeling awfully sluggish and very negative towards myself and others. A couple of weeks ago my mom mentioned a book she’d been reading: The Secret

I believe it focuses on getting what you want in life. If you say you want something or say you’re going to get something; it’ll happen. Think along the lines of “I will get lose weight.” “I will find the good in things.” “I will buy a house.” “I will be happy.”

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I took her advice and have been using it as a form of meditation each morning this week. I’ve been going into our spare room which is clean and quiet. Channing is busy getting ready for work and I’m free from the Franks needy meows. I just take 2-5 minutes and sit there (or lay on the floor) and close my eyes.  A few deep breaths in and out, and tell myself that I’m going to have a good day. I’m going to get healthy to both feel good and to have children one day, I’m going to be kind, and I’m going to get my finances in order so that I can buy the house of my dreams in the next couple of years.

I think of it as an informal prayer. I pray often and usually at night or on my way to work but this is something a little different. More like an affirmation to myself. To tell myself that “I got this!”

Obviously, this is new for me and everything that I will do or will achieve comes with me actually taking the steps to achieve those things. I know they aren’t going to happen just like that. I need to work towards the things I want. But taking just a few minutes in the morning to remind myself of the things I want makes my day just a bit brighter. I want to keep my needs/wants at the top of my priority list.

So, thanks mom. 🙂

Hello – Adele

I’ve been on repeat a lot lately in case you haven’t noticed. Both in my blog and in my ears. Today’s ballad is Adele’s new single “Hello.” She dropped it today. It’s the first single off of her new album out on November 20th. I already know I’ll love this one just as much as her past albums. Give it a listen.

When I was 7, I wanted to be 8. When I was 8, I wanted to be 12. When I turned 12, I just wanted to be 18. Then after that I stopped wanting to be older. Now I’m ticking 16-24 boxes just to see if I can blag it! I feel like I’ve spent my whole life so far wishing it all away. Always wishing I was older, wishing I was somewhere else, wishing I could remember and I wishing I could forget too. Wishing I hadn’t ruined so many good things because I was scared or bored. Wishing I wasn’t so matter of fact all the time. Wishing I’d gotten to know my great grandmother more, and wishing I didn’t know myself so well, because it means I always know what’s going to happen in the end. Wishing I hadn’t cut my hair off, wishing I was 5’7”. Wishing I’d waited and wishing I’d hurried up as well.

My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. But I haven’t got time to hold on to the crumbs of my past like I used to. What’s done is done. Turning 25 was a turning point for me, slap bang in the middle of my 20s. Teetering on the edge of being an old adolescent and a fully-fledged adult, I made the decision to go into becoming who I’m going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk. I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back. When I was in it, I wanted out! So typical. I’m on about being a teenager, sitting around and chatting sh— and not caring about the future because it didn’t matter like it does now. The ability to be flippant about everything and there be no consequences Even following and breaking rules… is better than making the rules.

25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. And I’m sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.

Love, Adele

I’m Tired

I’ve never been one to zone out but it’s the only thing that’s been getting me through these long and lonely days. Earbuds in all day with music going doesn’t make the days go by quite as fast as I wished they would. Is this what depression feels like?

I’ve always hated the word and the stigma that surrounds depression. I can’t stand the pity me bullshit blasted on social media. Everyone and their sister whining because of whatever crap happened to them this week. From baby daddy drama to no friends to being broke. It’s life, sweetie.

And now I’m here in this stupid spot of what the fuck am I feeling?

Call it ignorance but to those that go out seeking attention on social media (Facebook especially) looking for attention and people to feel bad for them; waiting for someone to just tell them that so and so is in the wrong, blah blah blah. I don’t buy it. I wouldn’t consider that depression. You’re just looking for attention.

Real depression. I know it’s sad and it’s personal. I feel like people who are truly depressed hold on to it as hard as they can. I feel like they keep it inside as long and as much as possible. How do I know that? Because I’m afraid that’s what’s happening to me.

I’m not suicidal. I don’t hate my life. I have a wonderful family. It’s none of that. Actually I talk about my feelings all the time. I vent to my mom, tell my boyfriend about my days, talk to our kitty, Frank. But this is something else. No matter how much I bitch or complain or look for the light at the end of the tunnel; I never find comfort.

It’s like a tired of everything feeling. I’m tired of work and the people at work. I’m tired of the small talk and the fakeness that everyone seems to carry so high in the air. I’m tired of driving and I’m tired of cooking supper. I’m tired of being the one that cares about everyone and the one that has it all together. I’m tired of having no friends and I’m tired of not wanting friends. I’m tired of how I look and my weight. I’m just exhausted. I want to stop everything. Stop working, stop paying bills, stop eating, stop talking. All I want to do is lay in bed and watch sad movies. I want to listen to music that makes me cry. All I want to do is for someone to hug me hard and tell me that it’ll be okay.

What will be okay? I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong.

VP Biden Not Running For Prez

Can we say “finally?” Jeez, talk about an annoying wait for nothing. I’m not going to get into political stances today but I just want to point out that this weird suspense leading up to if/when the VP was going to announce running was silliness to the extreme.

Did anyone really think he was going to run? I didn’t. I’ve been saying for months that dragging it out is just for publicity. What kind of publicity? I don’t know and I don’t really care. I didn’t even like or dislike the guy to begin with but putting on this long dramatic preview for a show that isn’t coming out makes me dislike him a little more than I already hadn’t.

Why are we still doing this as a country? Every news outlet hypes up the most annoying bologna every SINGLE day. If it’s not a hurricane for 3 weeks, it’s a murder suspect in Arkansas. And if it’s not that it’s about the big D. Trump and what he said last night. The country fixates on one thing at a time. It’s got to be nauseating to the rest of the world.

Anyways, I hope Biden does whatever VP’s do after being done in D.C. – Live life frivolously?article-2119941-1253464D000005DC-514_634x344

Anti-Social Pessimist

Truth. This is how I’ve felt lately. I can’t get out of this obnoxious funk. I’ve heard the song below a few times but on my way to work this morning; I actually listened to the words. I’m still working on this positivity concept my mom has been telling me about but check out this song. If you’re a lyric nerd like myself, click here for the rhymes.

Saying Goodbye to Bad Feels.

I was going to write about my feelings again. My angry feels but I decided to delete that and just arrange a list of words to describe one particular thing in my life that I feel I cannot change. The list is in no particular order and is as follows: Anger. Taunt. Strangle. Mannerisms. Overwhelming. Stalking. Irritation. Hate. Know-It-All. Arrogance. Annoyance. Resentment. Suffocating. Trouble. Failure. Smothering.

These all describe a happening in my life that gives me daily stress. I can’t change it. Although, I suppose if I try, I could suppress it but I feel like that’s detrimental to the brain. I just wish I could express how I truly feel without appearing as if I’ve totally gone off the deep end. But this is the last post (hopefully) that I vent about it.

To compensate for this negativity; I’ve taken a little advice from my mom. Kinda. She suggested to sweat out some of this negative through activity. Most of this week, I’ve gotten in more activity than I have in quite some time and I feel great about it.

It doesn’t necessarily eliminate this spot of blackness in my day but it pushes it to the side a little. I’ve decided that the frustration and stress that I’ve been allowing myself to feel isn’t worth it and the person making feel this way doesn’t deserve my time or energy. And karmas supposedly a bitch so what goes around will come around. Which goes both ways, my negative feelings aren’t helping my karma auras any.

This week I’ve been making a point to steer clear of the individual in question and only listening slash providing feedback when necessary. Any kind of communication otherwise goes in one ear and out the other. Hopefully they’ll get the hint and go away.

Ohm.

It’s Time To Collect Myself

As a self-proclaimed organizing genius, I can’t seem to get my own life in order. My core revolves around organization. At work, I’m the go-to for sorting out the mess. I make a point of cleaning up the trash someone created and putting things in order when they aren’t. I create and update notes, spreadsheets, slideshows so that they make the most sense logically and provide an extreme effort of efficiency.

CR0AqReUsAAHDpGThis is the same for planning outside of work. I make a plan to make a plan, if that makes sense. I create lists, eye-dizzying spreadsheets with formulas, and put everything together in a nice and perfect organized bunch. I have a certain way that I clean and pick up the house. I organize my bills, paychecks, and receipts. Everything I do involves organizing.

Except for myself.

I can’t organize myself or my overall life. I feel like paint splattered on a canvas but it’s not just on the canvas. It’s on the walls, the floor, the ceiling. I’m on high alert to organize everyone and everything that I can get my hands on but I have this blocker – a wall – not allowing me to organize myself.

Now that I’ve just written that, that actually might be the root to all of my “problems.” I’ve been constantly moving, running from something for years and recently, I seem to have developed a lack of patience for absolutely everything. It often has morphed into hatred and a short temper. Maybe I need to really put time and effort into organizing my life and what I need in it.

Realistically, of course.

Cool, dude.

I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. Before this (my WP blog), I had a Blogger blog. I would sometimes reference it or link it to this blog. I left B and joined WP almost two years ago but it always bothered me that I had two separate personal blogs out there. Why couldn’t they just merge together? Guess what, they can! (LIGHTBULB!) I’m sure it’s been an option forever but for some reason I just found out about it now. It’s probably due to my laziness in figuring it out.

Anyway, so long old blog. Everything I’ve written since January 2012 is now in this blog with the exception of I ‘Ate My Life but that is a topic specific WP blog and it’s tied to this one. I am looking into starting a photography blog to be linked here as well but haven’t figured out if I have time to dedicate to that yet. My main problemo was that I had two different dashboards and it drove me bananas. (B-A-N-A-N-A-S)