Goodbye Mervin

Tragedy has struck.

My majesty palm Mervin was diagnosed with a red spider mite infestation this morning and has found himself in the trash. I guess I wasn’t committed enough to try to save him because I just couldn’t handle all the creepy crawly bugs.

Farewell.

Maybe I’ll get another majesty palm some day.

happy Tuesday

I know, I know. I’ve been M.I.A.

Even the bus driver today asked me where I’ve been, and the easy answer is that I’ve been busy. Really busy. But also, the good kind of busy, where you sleep like a rock at the end of the day and all most items get scratched off the to-do list.

It feels good to have a solid routine worked out – even though I haven’t worked in time to write blog posts yet. I figured those would come as my week went by and things happened that I wanted to share about [It would be so much easier if my subconscious would magically write out a post while I thought about it].

Today, I offer you boots & copper string lights because these are the things that are currently bringing me peace. You see, I’ve had these lights for over a year now but when I moved I never got around to hanging them again [Mostly because I read a design article on how string lights can make a space look like it belonged in a college dorm]. I wasn’t sure how to style them without hanging them so I just left them tucked away in a corner of my closet until this weekend.

On Saturday night I was feeling inspired. I was feeling the weight of always conforming to other people’s standards and ideas of what is right/stylish. I decided that by no means do I want my decisions to be influenced by the way other’s perceive them, so I did the damn thing and hung the lights in my room.

THEN… on Sunday I went shopping for new shoes, and in the middle of the store I found myself crafting messages to my sister asking if she thought the shoes were cute, while simultaneously asking myself if I could pull them off. Asking myself if other people would think they were cool, or if I was just crazy, and this is where I stopped myself.

I realized I was completely wrapped up in how my appearance and actions would be interpreted by others at the expense of my own joy. I thought the boots were cute, so I did the damn thing and bought the boots.

What lies have you told yourself about how others see you? What can you do today to love and to be true to yourself?


 

Gratitude//Joy

2 weekends, 2 trips. With a lot of hustle in between. Wow, I’m tired.

I went to the beach at Cape San Blas [Florida] and Eden [Utah]. I saw sand dunes and mountains, changing leaves, and stars. Oh my stars.

There are few things in this world that make me gasp in wonder other than the night sky. Living in the city I don’t get the opportunity to see the stars that often. Not only is there too much light pollution, but I also don’t tend to look up. My focus concentrated on the road ahead. Stepping out of the car in both locations I couldn’t help but whisper in amazement. The stars were so clear while the milky way stretched from north – south.

I look to these natural wonders and I can’t help but be thankful for everything that’s been given to me. The majestic power of mountains and the mystery of the stars remind me to say thanks. We live extraordinary lives and most days we don’t slow down enough to express gratitude.

Brené Brown shared a powerful excerpt from Gratefullness, The Heart of Prayer by Brother David Steindl-Rast that describes the roots of joy as gratitude — “We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands. For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

With that, I want to challenge myself and others in practicing gratitude as we enter into the holiday season. I’ve collected a mason jar and slips of paper that I plan to write my thanks on throughout the month. [Here is the inspiration to my challenge – Perfect Bar’s 4 Week Guide to Gratitude] My intention is to notice the small things that make me feel grateful each day and to highlight them, because yes, I am extremely thankful for my family or the fact that I have a job, but perhaps there’s something else within the day that deserves equal appreciation.

Today is November 1st – what are you thankful for today?

 

It Was More Like an Apple Crumble

I think I’m just beginning to admit to myself that I enjoy the quiet moments on my porch with a cup of coffee as much as I enjoy taking off down the trail on the next hiking adventure. This is a new revelation for me because sitting still is really hard.

I love getting out of town and going somewhere new makes me come alive and conscious of the great world around me. It helps take my mind off the one million things going on in the city – the experiments that maybe worked or didn’t work this week, the fact that I miss my family in CO like crazy, or even the loneliness I feel. Going fills my time with planning, seeing, doing. It occupies the space in my mind that would otherwise be devoted to my worries. Rather, staying forces me to face these realities, and a weekend in the city leaves me feeling anxious.

This weekend I stayed home and made an apple pie with an almond flour crust. I was inspired by the recipe I found by a friend from high school. She has a paleo/grain free blog with lots of adorable and tasty looking dishes so I thought I would give it a shot.

On Friday I prepped the crust using my handy-dandy mixer and put it in the fridge overnight. Then on Saturday morning I sat and peeled the apples I picked up at a farm stand last weekend in North Georgia (Also, one of the only places in the world where you can get fried corn on the cob – YIKES). I thought the recipe was actually pretty easy – just peel the apples, cut, and mix with coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. The trickiest part was getting the crust to work because when I tried to shape the crust into the pan it completely fell apart.

All week I imagined a perfect pie with an adorable lattice crust on top. However, my real pie was far from perfect, it was square and there was no lattice crust. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream though…. near perfection.

So this is where I’m at – definitely nowhere near perfection. Part of me enjoyed this weekend, and part of me is bummed that I didn’t do more to make the most of it. It’s really pressure I put on myself, but it can be suffocating at times. Why is there this notion that if we aren’t constantly on the go then we aren’t truly living?

Oct. 1

Wow. I blinked and here we are – it’s October 1st.

It seems like overnight the weather has changed here in Atlanta too. We’ve finally broken through the scorching days and into the blissful season that is Fall. It’s cool in the mornings, bearable during the day (without all of the humidity), and then cool again in the evenings. Plus, all the leaves are starting to change color, and with all of the trees here in the city its almost as magical as when they started to bloom 7 months ago.

I’m excited for this changing of the seasons because it reminds me of our ability to adapt to the transitions happening around us. It reminds me of the beauty and fills me with wonder for the places we call home. You will probably never find me living in a place that doesn’t experience seasons; honestly, I can’t imagine going a whole year without snow, the fresh blooms after a cold winter, a vibrant green summer, followed by the crunchy leaves of fall.

While this time of year is bringing up feelings of joy and excitement, I’m also finding myself yearning for home. Social media has been filled with images from all of my friends/family in Colorado these past few weeks of the seasons changing. When the aspen leaves change in Colorado the hills come alive with color – a vibrant and dynamic gold. It’s absolutely breathtaking. While we have lots of leaves change here in Georgia and it’s beautiful, I think what this event makes me miss the most are the memories associated with fall. I’m missing when my friends and I would go to the Colorado football games – #GoBuffs, when we would have quiet weekends at the Titmouse house, or Saturday afternoons on some rooftop. Mostly, I’m just really missing home and all of the people that go with it.

These feelings ebb and flow with my day-to-day and I know I’m going to blink again and it will be Christmas. I’ll blink again and it will be summer, then once more and I’ll be back home. To enjoy life in the moment is the true challenge; one that requires adaptability and patience, and I suppose a little courage too.


Here are some photos of the Colorado leaves changing for you to enjoy —

 

(courtesy of the lovely Katie Mallett)

Jacks River & Other Labors

Labor Day weekend was filled all of the good kinds of labor.

  1. Hiking
  2. Cooking/Eating
  3. Relaxing
  4. Laughing x1000000000

It was the last hoorah for Leah in the city and we were lucky enough to get a visit from Anna and her boyfriend Matt on their way to the Outer Banks. A&M flew in late Friday night and flew out early Monday morning so we had 2 short days to pack all the activities in. Because I came to Atlanta with such lack-luster expectations I always feel this pressure to make sure first impressions of the city are top notch. There are so many special things about Georgia that I believe are overshadowed by other big cities. Growing up in Denver I would day dream of one day moving to Chicago, San Francisco, or New York City. I never thought in a million years that I would end up for a short time in this southern metropolis, but now that I have I’m in love. So whenever I have visitors I feel like an un-official ambassador for the city sharing the sweetness and wonder of Georgia with the world.

All that to say, we did all of the most perfect, non-touristy things. Saturday was filled with hiking in the North Georgia mountains along Jacks River. Our intention was to hike to Jacks River Falls, a waterfall just south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. From what we read online there were 2 approaches to the falls, one from Dally Gap and another from Beech Bottom. With both trails clocking in a 4.5 mile hike each way we decided to choose to start at Dally Gap since it was closer to Atlanta. This turned out to be a poor choice, we also severely misread the trail information.

The trek started along a gentle trail flanked by large green trees, green vines, and green wild rhododendrons. I’m telling you there were some large trees along the trail and the mystery has officially be solved – when a tree falls in the forest and there are four people are around to see, it makes a VERY LOUD NOISE.

Let me explain…As we were walking along, minding our own business, we heard a loud cracking sound and glanced across the valley. There, ~ 100 feet in front of us a huge tree was crashing down across the trail like a domino falling after someone gave it a light tap. Other small trees were taken down as collateral and branches and debris littered the site. All I can say is, thank the lord we weren’t standing 100 feet further up or we would have been squished like pancakes.

So, Jacks River and the namesake trail winds through the valley following each other and frequently crossing paths. At the beginning we were doing really well with staying dry. Whenever we approached a river crossing we would strategize and then leap faithfully from one balanced rock to the next until we reached the opposite bank. We hiked for 2.5 hours before beginning to question the trail information. At this point we should have reached the falls and so far we had only encountered small ripples in the river. With the afternoon passing and dinner plans in Atlanta we made the decision to stop, turn around, and head back to the car. Turns out it was actually 9 miles to Jacks River Falls from Dally gap, with 42 river crossings! Holy river crossings!

For future reference, this trail would be a fantastic overnight-er. Overall, it was more like a saga of never ending occurrences. Aside from the tree falling and river crossings:

  • We saw a giant, black snake
  • EVERYONE FELL IN THE WATER
  • I was stung by a bee
  • Anna tripped over a tree
  • Matt swung from a vine
  • Leah, Anna, and Matt went swimming
  • A threat of 30 pushups if we didn’t make it back to the car by 5 PM made us basically run the last mile
  • Google maps takes some very interesting back roads
  • No, panthers are not part of the wildlife in Georgia

The rest of the weekend we spent in the city – gorging on brunch, swinging in hammocks on my front porch, cannonballing at the pool, and feasting with a home cooked salmon dinner. My heart felt so full after my house emptied of guests on Tuesday. Even though I feel pressure to put together the perfect trip for whoever comes visit me I love the way it allows me to share my life with the people that mean the most to me. I love that Georgia has the outdoor escapes that define what Colorado is for so many people. By no means have I explored the entirety of what this peachy state has to offer, but with less than a year here I’m saying anything’s possible.

I’m ready for my next visitors.


 

A Tuesday Morning Disaster

Over the weekend I moved to a new house. Don’t worry – its still near two of my favorite places, the ATL Beltline and Trader Joe’s Piedmont Park. It’s a fabulous place with high ceilings and little bit of character. No place is truly good until it has its funky quirks and this house certainly does. For one, the washer and dryer aren’t housed side-by-side, but rather the dryer is across the room from the washer! Someday I may give you photographic evidence but for now my Tuesday morning disaster will have to suffice.

It started out just like any other day, I woke up and drank a big cup o’ coffee, cooked up some eggs over medium, and went to catch the MARTA. I live a LOT closer to the stop, but I still managed to leave with not-enough time. I was running to the stop when I watched the bus drive past, unknowing of my presence. Defeated, I turned around to go back home and wait, this time determined to make it with enough time.

My second attempt was successful until at 8th and Monroe the bus took a hard right – instead of a slight left. UH OH.

  • Lesson #1 – Apparently the stop outside my house is served by multiple bus routes and I had jumped on the wrong bus.
  • Lesson #2 – Uber is an excellent alternative to MARTA.

Wish me luck – here I go catching the MARTA this morning. It’s a new day, new disasters to keep me on my toes.

#HAGS

The ever so elegant way of telling your friends to “Have a great summer”. I wrote this in many yearbooks throughout my day mostly because when I was younger I didn’t know how to be thoughtful. I didn’t know how to make someone feel special – make them feel like I was really going to miss them or that I really did want them to have a great summer. Instead I just wrote a generic 4 letter acronym to everyone. 

(Now, I’m still working on being more thoughtful and genuine with people, but being open and vulnerable is hard! So bear with me).

I was reminded of #HAGS today as I thought about my upcoming summer. I don’t get the traditional summer that makes you want to sing, “School’s out for summa!” (welcome to adulthood they said), but I gotta tell you, I’m pretty excited for Summer 2K16. Leah Bobia, my younger sister is coming to the A. Lucky her, she gets to stay with me ALLLLL summer and be my adventure, yoga-in-the-park-going, patio sittin’, hiking, camping, and pretty much everything buddy. I also just purchased my first tent! (An REI Half Dome 2!) Aside from the full set of car tires that I bought for my Subaru at the beginning of May I consider this one of my biggest adult purchases – I’m ready to explore, world! As always, my plan is to use my blog to provide glimpses into L&M’s awesome adventures. In the mean time here are some photos from my trip to the Mile High.

 

Aside from seeing my friends and family, the highlight of the trip was the hot air balloon festival. When we first arrived at 6:15 AM there was nothing going on. The grass was damp between my toes, but the sky was clear as the sun started to climb. Trucks were parked all across the greenway and people were gathered in tight clusters waiting for a signal. I don’t know what that signal was, but all of a sudden baskets were being pulled off of trucks and hot air balloons were pulled out. We were surrounded by the vibrant colors of the balloon fabric, old school baskets, and flaming hot air as the tour companies worked to fill their balloon. It was magical to see them up close and personal and to wave them off as they lifted into the sky. You better believe that my bucket list grew that day to include –

Ride in a hot air balloon

As always, Colorado was fantastic. Until next time – #HAKAS

 

Something About Rain

One thing I like about Atlanta –

It rains.

Not like the gentle sprinkling of rain that Denver gets or the summer’s quick afternoon thunderstorms. Atlanta gets those too, but the rain all-day, wake up in the morning to rain type of storm. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

There is something soothing about hearing the water kiss the ground outside my open window on days of the week that begin with Satur- or Sun-. Or the crash of thunder in the middle of the night that startles me awake, followed by the pitter patter of raindrops like a lullaby rocking me back to sleep. It reminds me of the mornings back home when it snowed overnight without me knowing. The stillness, quiet, and then excitement as I open the blinds to unveil untouched snow resting on the ground. This to me will always be magical. It will always bring me back to my childhood. It will always bring me back home – even just for a moment, even if its just in my heart.

So I like that it rains in Atlanta because it’s the closest thing we have to snow. It’s the closest thing I have to magic.

“The earth has music for those that listen” – William Shakespeare

Birthday vs. Crockpot (Which is Better?)

Tuesday April 12th has been a kick ass day. Mostly because it’s my sister Anna’s birthday, and a little bit because I bought a crockpot. I’m currently taking suggestions for the best crockpot recipes you have because the possibilities are endless, and in case you were wondering… I’m drooling with anticipation. Most nights I don’t eat dinner until after I get home from the gym, 8 or 9 PM, so this has been a monumental purchase in my adult life – take that!

But, mostly today has been awesome because Anna is awesome. She is my big sister and the person I’ve looked up to my entire life. When we were little kids she started doing gymnastics and I loved watching her swing around on the bars so I started doing gymnastics. Anna HATED that I was doing the same thing as her so she quit and started taking ballet classes. For a while I stuck with gymnastics only, but as I got older I proceeded to follow in her footsteps and took a few dance classes.

It turned out I wasn’t much of a ballerina but preferred jazz so she lucked out there. Until, we both joined our high school dance team. Not only did we live together, but we attended practices, football games, basketball games, and all things POM together. I sort of expected that we would fight all the time – surprisingly we didn’t. If anything we grew closer together. Then when we went to college several years apart at the University of Colorado we became even closer. Now we do lots of things together – ski, hike, sing horribly, dance, cook, run, yoga, read – just to name a few. Without Anna I wouldn’t have a profound respect for a cool restaurant bathroom, or stop at as many architecturally beautiful buildings in whatever city we are visiting, but I wouldn’t have life any other way.

There’s nothing better than having sisters.

Someone who you can just look at and they know you’re asking to borrow chapstick. Someone who will laugh at your stupid jokes and puns. Someone who will always tell you the truth, no matter what. Someone who knows your deepest, darkest secrets, but still loves you anyways.

Thankfully, I have two of them and they are incredibly inspiring, hard working, generous, creative, and kind. I’m also lucky enough to have made friends in my lifetime who are my sisters in a different way. Everyday I celebrate y’all, but today I celebrate Anna. I know I’m not there in person to drink margaritas @ El Camino, but I’m there in spirit (while simultaneously trying to figure out what I’ll make in my new crockpot)

Cheers to you! Here are just a few of my favorite pics –