Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fog people & sun people

Who are you today? A fog person or a sun person? Choose to be a sun person. (The high for today is 78 degrees, it shouldn't be too hard!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Into the Wild [Round 2]

I'm back from my second round of camping, and the only reason I'm happy to be back is because I desperately needed a shower. The best parts of fall camping are definitely the view (vista) and weather. I was chilly the first night of sleep, but quickly learned that a few more layers and covering my entire face would do the trick. The second morning I woke up toasty and happy.

The weekend was amazing because it was filled with friends, family, exercise, trying new things, and finding optimism. 

On Friday we met up with the boyf’s friends from Duluth at Fitger’s Brewhouse, one of my favorite establishments.

We also met up with the brother-in-law’s brother at the Brewhouse.
The other days we met up with the boyf’s brother, whom we don’t get to see very often.
Plus, the whole weekend was with sister and brother-in-law too.

On Saturday we went for a 7-mile hike that was easy in some parts and a little bit scary in others, with heart-pumping hill climbs. The scenes and sights were beautiful though.
On Sunday we went for a 2.5-mile kayak excursion in tandem kayaks. It was really fun and the view from the lake was much different than the view from the forest. It was nice to get to see both. (Kayaking is more work than it appears to be!)

Trying new things:
I’ve never kayaked before and although it has always sounded fun to me, it has also sounded a bit scary. Being that close to the water, in a very cold, big, deep lake, freaked me out a bit.

Finding optimism:
7 miles can be grueling after a few hours of hiking up and down on raised roots and rocks and steep hills. Having new hiking shoes also intensifies the foot pain associated with a long hike, so I had to think happy thoughts and remind myself that there are a lot of people who aren’t physically able to hike like this. So I was lucky.

{Fall Colors}

{So addicted to cribbage}

{I was searching for Candy Mountain, but this will do}

{Odd growths}

{A cute little fisher; unless you can better identify it}

{Flowers at Lutsen Resort}

Monday, September 26, 2011

Merry Monday (Elements Edition)

Last night I got home so late from being up North* that I didn't even have time to experience my usual 'Sunday Blues.' (Yay to that!) Instead I ate my really late dinner and watched the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy that I missed last week. Then I stayed up too late. Then I woke up too late. Then I didn't feel like being at work and attributed it to the fact that it's a Monday (and not to the fact that I stayed up late).

I stay cheerful by thinking of:
  1. Earth. I mean this in the dirt/ground sort of way. Hiking through the woods allowed me to see various trees with roots that tangled through the ground. It was also splendid to see the moss and mushrooms and everything thriving in the forest. It felt a little bit like a Disney movie.
  2. Water. Drinking it, kayaking in it, watching it flow, and being surrounded by it. Water is mysterious and magical and I’m not even kidding when I say that. (Lake Superior is SO COOL).
  3. Fire. With it being so cold this weekend, the fire kept us warm and happy. It’s pretty astonishing how it fades and grows with slight adjustments, and how it allows us to cook food and boil water too.

I feel as though having a great weekend makes the most out of the time off of work, but it also makes the return to work that much harder. Oh well. Work hard, play hard. 

*Trip details to follow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Things fall apart...

Everywhere I turn, it feels like a relationship is crumbling into pieces. I've recently heard of a marriage ending after 19 years, another one after five, another one before it begins. (Not to mention the various other relationships that are seemingly in shambles…)

It’s incredibly sad to me when things don’t go the way you plan them to, mostly because I’m a planner and “this is how it was supposed to be.” When couples part ways, it’s not just that they are breaking up from a single person, but everything they are attached to: families, mutual friends, and in some cases pets and homes and even businesses. It’s obviously not something taken lightly; they’ve tried and they’ve tried and exhausted all of their supplies and are ready to close that chapter and look to a brighter future.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It’s pretty difficult to understand just what that reason is right away, but it comes. I know of a couple who are so good together and marriage is on their near-horizon. The woman in the relationship was once engaged, and looking back, she is glad that it was called off. If her engagement didn’t “crumble,” then she would probably not be in the great relationship she is part of now (and I would not have met her). More personally, I’ve been involved in more relationships than I care to admit, and I am almost thankful that each one of them ended. At the time, I thought the world was over and there was no reason to go on. Seriously...they marked some of my lower points in life. I was going to miss their families and everything we did together. And I did. I missed them a lot. Occasionally a thought of them comes to mind, but it is fleeting. In hindsight, these were just small pieces of my past that I needed to have in order to create the bigger picture.

Mason Jennings captures it perfectly: "The past is beautiful, like the darkness between the fireflies."

I hope each and every one of these people find their way to the fireflies. I know they will.

Although it seems like these heartbreaks are around each and every corner, they are in fact, few and far between. Many people I know are happily married. One of my best friends just got married and is currently still on her honeymoon. Another is having her engagement party this weekend.

Indeed, things do fall apart. So better things can fall together.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Merry Monday

Today is much different than last Monday! I love how things can turn around and be totally different from one day to another. (As long as it’s for the better). Since today is actually a merry Monday, it’s easy for me to take a minute to appreciate a few things.

Here they are:
1. Pho. My mom made homemade Pho, which is Vietnamese noodle soup for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying it. It’s particularly good to have when the weather is cold. It’s a little harder to eat when you’re in Vietnam in 90 degree weather with intense humidity, but still good. 
2. TV Shows. TV is back! Thank goodness for sitcoms and dramas and fewer reality TV shows. I love when all of my favorite shows come back for the fall. Situations have changed, characters and their hairstyles have morphed (eew Parenthood what were you thinking?), and it’s the beginning of a 20-something run of new episodes. I don’t mind being rather consumed by tv. (Oh and the Emmys were on last night to celebrate TV too).
3. The Fall. I can’t get over how much I love this season and everything about it. Yesterday I went with my mom and nephew to the Moon Festival at the Landmark Center which celebrates the autumn and Asian culture. It was rainy and cloudy out and to me, perfect!

What are you enjoying this Monday morning?

Friday, September 16, 2011

10 Thoughts on Whole Living

Whole Living (the magazine) seems to know me personally. The articles focus on healthy food, healthy practices, outdoor adventures, design, fashion, dogs, beauty, and oddly enough, whole living. Here are September's 10 Thoughts on Whole Living:

1. You won't know how fast you can go until you try.
2. Changing the way you eat may be the most transformative action you can take.
3. When you fully inhabit the moment, inspiration is likely to join you there.
4. Nature can only work its healing magic if you immerse yourself in it.
5. Blaming never fixes what you think it will.
6. Don't confuse what you think with who you are.
7. Flowers, herbs, oil: beauty begins with the simplest elements.
8. The first step to good health care is making yourself heard.
9. Financial ease comes from understand what your money is doing for you-as well as to you.
10. When you're overloaded, fight the urge to work harder. Instead, slow down and reflect on what matters most. 

I don't have a response to each of these since they don't all resonate with me right now; but numbers 2, 3, 6 and 10 are shouting at me. Candy gives me headaches (yet I still eat it), inspiration comes when I'm immersed in something, I do confuse it, annnnd I'm always overloaded, almost every day.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Bluesday

Yesterday was definitely MONDAY. So much a Monday that I couldn’t even bring myself to the computer. Usually I get a little mopey on Sunday nights because the whole weekend is over and it’s time to hunker down. I also get mopey after being part of a wedding. When you’re part of a wedding, you get to attend the rehearsal dinner, be part of final preparations, get ready for the wedding, stand up in the ceremony, have fun at the dinner, and go crazy after dinner. Then you spend even more time with everyone when you go to the gift opening the next day. After that, the couple flies off to their honeymoon, the out-of-towners head home, and you’re left feeling mopey and you miss the big group you’ve been a part of for the last three days in a row. So that is where I am right now.

Plus it seems that everywhere I turn, I hear of a relationship crumbling. So that has added to the feeling of absolute ick.

But some things keep me afloat:
1.     Mason Jennings. Sunday night I attended his in-store performance at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis. While I was not that close to the stage, it made it so I was first in line for the meet and greet. I had a little conversation with him, shook his hand, got an autograph and photo, not to mention his new album Minnesota that dropped today. He is amazing.
2.     Book club. I really missed the mark on this one. I forgot I had a book club book to read this month (maybe I’ll attribute it to the fact I was busy with wedding stuff). Yet, it was still nice to spend time with friends after a long day at work.
3.     Healing. Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. It’s hard to watch all of the footage again and to hear stories of loss, but it’s uplifting (and heartbreaking) to hear the stories of healing and moving forward. What gives me hope is when people come together and are there for each other. I can’t imagine what it would be like to know or be someone so directly affected by it all; I feel lucky to have been where I was and to be a part of this country. I really do love the US.

So even though I’m still moping around I know it’s not not what I should be doing, these things give my mood a little boost.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I thought I should tell you...

I've been on hiatus since Monday for several reasons:

  • Preparing for my friend's wedding (I made a cute basket for the programs! Crafting makes me happy! I will show you a picture when I post about her wedding).
  • Being obsessed with NY Fashion Week and Fashion's Night Out and a blogging conference.
  • Working at my real job. So many demands! Arg.
  • Crying about not going to Bon Iver. Rejoicing about going to Noah and the Whale and Bush.

I promise to return at the weekend's end to report on the following (well not all of them right away):
  • My friend's wedding
  • Thoughts on the 9-11 tenth anniversary
  • Mason Jennings' in-store performance at Electric Fetus

Happy Friday!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Merry Monday - Labor Day Edition

Being that today is a holiday, this version of Merry Monday isn't as legitimate. I slept nine hours last night, I don't have to go to work today, the sun is shining, the weather is cool, and my only obligation is a Twins game in this gorgeous weather.

Still, there are a few things that make today one of the best:
1. Sleeping in. Almost everyone I know has a routine of when they go to bed and when they wake up. Mine is pretty erratic but the one thing that is somewhat regular is that I sleep fewer hours than I think I should. So when I don't really have to pay attention to any alarm clocks, external or internal, it's bliss.
2. Drinking coffee through a straw. Even though it's about 60 degrees outside (yeay!), I'm still enjoying iced coffee...through a straw.
3. Easy communication. Text messages rule.

That's it for today. Here's a little lyric from Vampire Weekend in spirit of labor:

"We only work to live. Until we live to work." I hope you have some kind of happy medium in your life.

Enjoy your labor day and celebrate what it means to you. Whether it's all of the people who have come before us who worked hard to provide infrastructure, freedoms, and convenience, or if it's about the end of summer, the start of something new, or the last day of the State Fair - celebrate it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

This is a motto that I seriously need to incorporate into my lifestyle. I have a strong overbuying tendency - I never want to be caught off-guard without something I need. As soon as I feel the mascara tube getting lighter, I buy a new one. As my perfume wanes, it’s time to stock up. Can’t find any socks because the sock monster ate exactly ½ of each pair? Buy new ones!

The problem with this way of living is:
  • I overspend.
  • I end up with expired items or things I never get to using because I have too much of it.
  • I create more waste that will eventually be stuck in a landfill.
  • I overspend.

Something that further troubles me is the creation of deals through sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Crowd Cut, Daily Deals, etc. I am not really “saving” anything, but who can turn down a deal? I am going to make a commitment to reduce waste and as Gretchen Rubin puts it, “spend out.” So here is my list of stuff to use up before I can procure any more of it. Perhaps by making it public, I can feel a little ridiculous for having all of these certificates in queue, and motivate myself to spend them.

  • Dry cleaning certificates (yes, two)
  • Certificate to Scusi restaurant
  • Certificate for in-home dog training
  • 5 sessions at Heat Yoga
  • 23 sessions at Core Power Yoga (twenty-three! Gah!)
  • Certificate to Spalon Montage
  • Certificate to Jordan A Salon
  • Certificate for DSW
  • Certificate to Knockout Bodies
  • Unused monthly sessions at Massage Envy
  • Unused gym membership at Lifetime Fitness (in my defense, it’s too beautiful out to be cooped up in a gym)

So my version might not entail hundred-dolla bills.

I think that’s it. Some of them were gifts that I’ve had for over a year. Lucky for me, those gift certificates can’t expire. It’s my goal to spend out and use these things up so I’m not throwing money in a black hole. Then, I’ll try to ignore some of the emails I get and decide that I really do not need to spend $20 on $40 worth at a store I’ve never heard of and might not like.

Are you a certificate hoarder?