How to Survive an Alison’s Adventure (Day 3&4)

Day 3

As the sun crept in the curtains for the second time, I yawned myself awake with the slightest smile. After all the buildup for this trip, I was undeniably amongst an adventure, and only my toes were wet.

In an attempt to keep hold of a little control of my responsibilities back home, I convinced my dad to get up early with me and go for a run. I was only 3 miles away from hitting the 500 mile mark of my 1000 mile goal for the year, and I figured there was no better place to do it than Hawaii. There was also no better way to celebrate than running straight into the ocean.

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We’d gone over the logistics of the day at dinner the night before, so before I made my way up for breakfast, I pulled on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and packed my backpack with a water, a sweatshirt, a pair of pants, a hat, some snacks and some sunscreen.FullSizeRender 269

Around 10 o’clock we took off for the Hawaii Volcano National Park, where we spent a few hours walking among more lava rocks.

Our group of 11 spread out, walking along, taking pictures of the—for lack of a better word—off-putting landscape. It was as if we’d landed on another planet.

Miles and miles of lava rock lay all around us. The rough surface peppered with small green sprouts trying to poke their way towards the sky.

Missing from this leaves-you-speechless-landscape? Other people.  So much so that after a while it felt like maybe we were the last ones left on earth. Which made you wonder—were they going to kill us out here?

Luckily, the answer was no, though with the surrounding sights—such as a massive pit that used to be a lava lake, or the boiling steam vents that puffed smoke from the floor—it seemed it was not for lack of trying.

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After a long, still off-putting and yet awe striking walk back, we hopped in the car and drove to the Thurston Lava Tube, where we got to walk through a tunnel like formation that made my dad remember how much he hates tunnel like formations.

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(Can’t really blame him on this one, it looked like we’re willingly walking into our own demise)

As the sun began to set, we took our places to watch the lava of the Kilauea volcano begin to glow beneath seemingly thousands of bright stars.

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Then, as one always does beside a volcano, we had an enchilada tailgate party in the parking lot. #casual

 


 

Day 4

“Okay, guys” Alison said in the kitchen to start the day. We were all standing in our traditional circle, holding hands, cracking jokes and expressing words of gratitude towards one another as we did before every meal.

“The first day was water, yesterday was earth and today is…air?

We all looked around at each other, questioning. As usual, none of us knew the plan, and Alison was not one to give up a secret.

“It’s going to be awesome!” she said, and then we broke the circle and ate.

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About an hour later, we were at the top of a hill, stepping out into a jungle-esque landscape, with the slightest bit of rain dampening our shoulders.

“Has everyone seen the Hunger Games?” Alison asked casually. She then turned it over to a man named David, who emerged from a shed holding handmade bamboo bows and plastic arrows.

I took what became “my bow” in my hands, slightly shocked I would soon be able to add “do Hawaiian jungle archery” to my list of life accomplishments, and immediately missed my recently donated long hair that would have been more than capable of a Katniss braid. My imagination peaked up at the trees and the sky, wondering what we’d be shooting at, and my anxious mind wondered if I’d somehow manage to shoot one of my new friends.

“Line up,” David said encouragingly, “now take your stance, tilt your bow, draw your arrow back to your cheek, and fire.”

We all shot at a small, circular target, most of us making less than terrible attempts at hitting it. He then led us in and around the trees, taking us deeper into the jungle, further into his handmade obstacle course.  As we walked, I felt my brain flicker in and out of a story it was making up along the way, going from logic minded competitiveness to faux survival mode desperation. I have to feed my family, my mind would whisper before every shot, they’re counting on me.

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Over the next hour, we came face to face with stuffed bears, cork pigs, and a wild boar that rolled on a zip line.

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By the end I was more than happy with my performance and felt better equipped to, well, watch archery when it comes back around in the Olympics, as I now have a whole new appreciation for the required concentration and difficulty.

Then, after sharing a delicious tailgate lunch, we made our way back to the house, where we all made the decision only a true vacation can present you: nap in your bed or tan on the beach.

My sister and I chose the beach. She snorkeled and I let myself float in the water, looking up at the sky as it turned from light blue to light purple. Just before sunset, we took our place back out on the lava rocks to wish the sun a heartfelt Mahalo. It had given us another day full of adventure, and if we were lucky, would continue to do so in the days to come. So as it made it’s descent into the ocean, we offered it gratitude and love.  Then we all walked back up to the house side by side, wishing each other the same sentiments.

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How to Survive an Alison’s Adventure (Day 1&2)

Day 1

With a bang my eyes were open, the wheels were on the ground, and the lights in the cabin were on. It was 9:15 pm on a Thursday and my dad, my sister and I had just landed in Hawaii.

We walked through the terminal, eyes red and hair knotted, looking at all the families set to board the plane we’d just exited. Their vacations were over and you could see it on their faces. Sunburned noses and ocean dipped hair; frowns for what they would miss and smiles for what they’d just experienced. In a small way I envied them, for they’d already gone on their adventure. They were long passed all the anxiety and anticipation that sat so prominent in my stomach.

I took small steps towards the parking lot where our ride awaited us. My mind flashed through everything that could go wrong while my heart reasoned everything that could go right. But as we stood on the curb and a man named Henry pulled the car around to pick us up, I reminded myself that an adventure is all about the combination of both.

 


 

Day 2

The ceiling creaked above me and I jolted awake. FullSizeRender 358 The sun was peaking in through the curtains and the tropics were alive with noise. I took in everything I could make sense of. The bed I laid in last night after arriving; the bedside table I set my phone on just before I fell asleep; the bamboo floor I was guided along by flashlight; the door that my aunt and uncle hugged me at before wishing me goodnight. Last night wasn’t just a dream, this adventure had truly begun.

The ceiling creaked again as morning conversation began to fill the floor above me. I wiggled myself out of bed, took a few necessary Snapchats, and took a good look at myself in the bamboo-framed mirror that hung in the bathroom.

“Here we go,” I said quietly, “you can do this.”

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The weeks leading up to the trip had been mostly filled with anxiety. I’m a stickler for schedules and I thrive on details and organization. I also had a lot going on; commitments and responsibilities I felt uncomfortable putting on hold. But as the trip began to take shape, quickly morphing from a dream to an idea to a reality, I realized I had to leave both quandaries behind. So, as I slipped into the flip-flops I left outside the door and made my way down the sandy path that looped around to the “lanai” or living room, I took a deep breath, knowing I was heading straight into the mouth of the unknown.

“Good morning,” I said timidly. Heads turned and smiled shyly. Some I recognized, some I didn’t. I walked with an outstretched hand around the room, officially meeting the people I’d spend the next seven days with.

“Are you ready for your first adventure?” David, Alison’s dad, said to us. We all nodded, some more confidently than others, then we retreated back to our rooms to change.

“This way,” David said when we were all ready. He led us out the front gate and down to the lava rock that lined the coast. “Watch your step.”

For the next 40 minutes or so, we made our way along the rocks. Some slippery, some dry, some soft and warm and some tough and dangerous. David explained the two different types of lava, “pahoehoe” which was smooth, and “aa” which was rough and jagged.

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“You know how aa got its name, right? It’s because when you walk on it with bare feet you go ‘ah! ah!’” (This was a joke, but it made it very easy to identify the difference between the two)

The walk was beautiful. Though I’d forgotten my camera, I took in the views with wonder and awe. A few times I had to stop and just absorb it all as I couldn’t help the overwhelming, “we are so not in Kansas anymore” moments that kept coming with every turn.

When we came to a stop, my dad immediately leaned in to me. “Oh boy,” he said, his voice laced with nerves. I looked up at him with confused eyes. “I think I know what we’re doing here,” he said with a deep breath. I shook my head, but before I could ask, Alison was standing in front of us with a bright smile.

“Alright, guys!” she said. I took a big gulp of my water and sat down to listen. “In life,” she continued, “we are often required to take risks to get what we want and to make our dreams come true. Sometimes we just have to jump.”

She gestured her head over to the cliff that lie about 50 feet from us, then waggled her eyebrows. I sat, silent and stunned, then looked over the edge.
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Yeah, no.

No. No. No.

I see what you did there, but no.

I will not be jumping off any cliffs. I will not be plummeting to my death today. I appreciate the life lesson and physical manifestation of bravery, but no. I’m going to sit right here, I’ll see you all when(/if) you get back.

“Okay, Kim, you’re next!”

“Go Kim!”

“You got this!”

The voices were coming from all around me. Some behind me, others in the water below me. I smiled shyly, politely declining…but then at some point I stood up, and at another I took off my bathing suit cover and shoes. Suddenly I was looking down at my sister in the water, my toes curled at the edge, eyes shifting in and out of focus. I had know idea how many feet lay between me and the water, the only measurement I could figure was that I was high.

I took a deep breath.

“Ready?” David said, his eye on the water, watching for the perfect moment. “Go!”

Without giving myself any more time to think, I jumped. A few seconds later, I was in the water, alive, refreshed, courageous. I looked up at the cliff, then I looked down at my tattoo and smiled. Who knew you could climb a mountain by jumping off a cliff?

After a quick climb up and a slow walk back, we took a seat on the beach, did a few “get to know you” exercises, then arrived back at the house to enjoy a nice breakfast together. Later that day we met back in the lanai to do some yoga, then walked back out along the lava rocks to watch the sunset.

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And as our first full day in Hawaii came to a close, I took a long, deep breath. For even though the nerves still sat beneath the surface of my skin, I had a new kind of bravery that was beginning to take shape. If I knew I could jump, maybe I could do anything.

Wax On, Wax Off, Be Patient

This past Mother’s Day my brother got up in front of our church to talk about a lesson he learned from a rather unlikely source. He started out by relating to all of us, asking if we’d ever felt impatient when it came to getting the things we want out of life.

“Have you ever felt like you were ready for something, but no matter how hard you tried, you saw no forward progress?”

He didn’t ask us to raise our hands, but it felt almost impossible not to. I’ve grown all too familiar with that nagging impatience, this year more than ever. There’s so much I want to do, so much I want to accomplish, so much I want to become and I keep saying, keep praying, I’m ready. I’m ready now.

It’s not an uncommon feeling, and it’s not one I’m unfamiliar with. How many times throughout our lives have we thought, “okay, I’m here in my life but I’m ready to be there, and I’m ready right now! I’m done waiting.” But then how often do we get there or somewhere else we never imagined, and realize how little we had known before, and how much further we had to go to in order to truly appreciate where we ended up?

“Think of The Karate Kid,” my brother said. “Daniel Larusso, or Daniel-san as Mr. Miyagi calls him, shows up on his first day of training and pretty much says, ‘I’m ready to be a karate master now!’ and what does Mr. Miyagi do? He gives him a sponge and tells him to wax the floor. He gives him a brush and tells him to paint the fence.”

We all nod, having probably seen the movie more times than we could count. We knew what the sponge and the brush really stood for. We knew their disguise as household chores were actually training methods of their own. I thought back to the first time I saw the movie and how my mind was blown when Daniel figured out he’d learned exactly what he’d hoped to be taught, even if he hadn’t realized he’d been taught it in the first place.

“Recently I’ve started to think about those things in my life that seem like chores, or the things that are put in front of me that seem like nothing more than a waste of time. I’m starting to think they’re not.”

I sat back in my chair, letting the wisdom of my brother’s words sink in. We are all Daniels. We are all being challenged and trained to get where we’re intended to go, even if we don’t know it yet. The lessons we are learning with each day—even if they seem unrelated to anything we’re hoping to accomplish—could be exactly what we need to accomplish something even bigger.

“So we just need to keep it up,” my brother said in closing, “wax on, wax off.”

2018 Olympics Time Capsule Blog

As I have mentioned before (possibly more times than I’ve realized), I love the Olympics.

LOVE.

So much so that once every two years I repeatedly say, “no, I can’t hang out today—or any day for the next two weeks—because I’m inside watching every single minute of Olympic coverage I can absorb.” (Undoubtedly while wearing something patriotic and tossing around the idea of body paint.) So when I realized that the 2018 Olympics are now only about 200 days away—which is considered close in my die-hard fan book—you can imagine I was more than a little excited.

As I was writing this blog post, I was constantly looking up how many hours, minutes, and seconds were left until Opening Ceremonies, and nerded out each time another minute ticked off the clock. I could picture myself there, flashing forward through all these upcoming days, to being on my couch, wearing my favorite USA hat, cheering for my fellow countrymen.

I. was. ready.

But then I started thinking.

You see, I have this thing about time. And I say thing because I’ve never really figured out another way to describe it. I just seem to notice how fast it moves. You know how parents always say, “it’ll be here before you know it?” I think about that all. the. time. Both for things I’m looking forward to, and for things I can’t wait to be over.

Just think, I’ll tell myself, before you know it, you’ll be in a different moment, passed this one, and you’ll wonder where all the time went.

And it’s always true.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’ve learned to respect time.

What does this have to do with the Olympics? Well, I figured since they are so close, yet so far, yet going to be here in a blink, I thought I’d show you just how fast time moves, in quite arguably the best way possible: A time capsule…blog! A blog time capsule! A time blog-sule! Whatever a cool word for it could be!

How will we do this, you ask? We can’t really bury a blog and then dig it up later. Are we actually going to time travel? Is this the part where Doc comes out and we all get to wear puffy red vests and Nike sneakers and defy science?

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Unfortunately, no. BUT, we are going to talk to our future selves, using the super cool *internet machine.*

You see, there is this website called FutureMe.Org, which I found a while back when I was preparing to study abroad in Australia. It allows you to write a letter to your future self, available to be received on any day you choose. Before my semester in Australia, I asked my future self questions about the trip, made predictions on how I was feeling afterwards, and told myself a really terrible joke that still made me laugh 5 months later. Cool, right?

*assumes everyone nods in amazement*

Okay, so, this is how our time blog-sule will work:

  1. Go to FutureMe.org
  2. Fill in your email address & put “2018 Olympics Time Blog-sule!” (because we don’t shy away from cheese here) as the subject line.
  3. Copy and paste the questions below into “Your Letter”
    1. What day is it?
    2. What’s the weather like outside?
    3. What did you do today?
    4. What’s your favorite song right now?
    5. What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
    6. Who did you last text and what did you say?
    7. What is your biggest goal right now?
    8. What are you most excited about?
    9. What are you most worried about?
    10. Tell yourself a really bad joke.
  4. Answer each question
  5. Set your “Deliver on” date to February 8th, 2018 (that’s the day before Opening Ceremonies)
  6. Click “Send to the Future!”

Note: It will ask you to verify your email before it “officially” sends, so after you click “Send to the Future!” go to your email and click the verification link to make sure your letter officially enters the internet machine!

Note #2: After you click that link, it will take you to a page that tries to get you to donate money. You do not have to donate money. If you want to, you can, I’m sure the lovely people at FutureMe would appreciate your generosity, but otherwise just click strategically tiny “no thanks” link right below the payment options. 

I sent in my blog-sule yesterday and honestly CANNOT wait. I am such a nerd for this kind of stuff. Just think of all the things that are going to happen that we don’t know yet! Won’t it be weird to look back knowing there was a time before they happened?

*pauses writing blog post to have a 15 minute mind blown zone out session*

Once I get my email (in the future!) I’ll write a reaction post, and hopefully get to hear about some of yours, and then we can all collectively exclamation point about how fast everything went and how everything is the same and different at the same time and oh my gosh is it the future yet?

2017 Goals Check In (#2)

The fact that we are already one week into July has me feeling a little bit like this:

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This always seems to happen. One minute you’re ringing in the New Year, the next you’re…ringing in the New Year. Everything—except lines at the DMV, clocks in an office building, and lethargic pedestrians—moves so fast! This year especially seems to be moving quick because I have so many goals I’m trying to keep track of.

Let me tell ya, if you ever want to live a year in fast forward, set a list of specific goals for yourself and watch the time fly by. Sure, it’s a little bit frightening, but it’s also exciting, because alongside all that time travel is a growing list of accomplishments.

Full disclosure: since my last goal update post I did make a spreadsheet to better aid me in my quest of tracking my progress. In other words, over the last three months I’ve leveled up in nerd. #noshame

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1) See Star Wars

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 37.50%

That’s right, I’m down to the .5%, people! You thought I was kidding about the whole spreadsheet thing, didn’t you? You should know me better than that by now. Anyways, yes, I have watched the first three Star Wars movies—and by first three I mean Episodes 4, 5 & 6, because I was told to watch them in order of release date, not episode number—and you can read all about that experience here, here, and here. Did I like them, you ask? Well, let’s just say there’s a C3P0 keychain in my Amazon cart and a Death Star waffle maker on my wish list.

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2) See 5 WLRA’s

1st Quarter Progress: 3/5 (60%)

Current Progress: 3/5 (60%)

I was pleasantly surprised by how well I attacked this quest at the beginning of the year. My sister and I actually worked two WRLA’s into our previously planned road trip earlier this year which ended up being 100% worth it. As of now, I have a few oversized sites in mind to top off this year and am currently in the process of making that happen.

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3) Try this jean rug DIY

1st Quarter Progress: 20%

Current Progress: 20%

This has been kind of a daunting task all its own because, seeing as it’s a project that involves sewing, I have to, you know, learn to sew. And while sewing has been on my to-do list for quite some time—my family was even so generous as to buy me a sewing machine for my birthday last year—I’m still rather terrified I’ll end up sewing my lip to something. HOWEVER, this shall not deter me.

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4) Run 1,000 miles

1st Quarter Progress: 233.84 miles (23%)

Current Progress: 474.1 miles (47.42%)

After taking an entire week off during my vacation in March, I arrived home to find myself terrifyingly far behind schedule. To make matters worse, in that short amount of time, I somehow managed to fall slightly out of shape, so my first run back was frustratingly hard. As a result, I spent many a late night thinking about quitting. A part of me wondered if maybe I should just call it a wash and try again another year. But the other part of me—the competitive, can’t stop, won’t stop part of me—said “hell no.” So, after gaining very little ground in April, I welcomed May with open and determined arms. I was going to catch up and I was going to start immediately. That month, I ran 22 out 31 days, totaling just under 100 miles. It was by far the hardest month so far, but at the same time, the most beneficial. I’m more motivated than ever to accomplish this crazy goal I’ve set and have found myself more courageous and daring in my running than ever before. Plus, with the 500-mile mark right around the corner, I can already taste that Heisman.

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5) Complete The Ultimate Fit Bit Week

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Yeah, nope. Still haven’t gotten around to this one.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 40%

With the arrival of summer, and the beginning of a new outreach at my church, I was able to find a couple great opportunities to volunteer over the past couple months and already have a few more penciled in for the next couple months, which makes my heart happy. I always forget how rewarding volunteering is until I get back in the groove of it, then I want to volunteer everywhere all at once! In case you’re interested, the organizations I’ve worked with so far are Children’s Hunger Fund and Food Forward. I believe Food Forward only has locations in California, but Children’s Hunger Fund has a few branches across the country, so if you can find one near you, I highly recommend looking up opportunities to volunteer. Also, if you have any places you love to volunteer, I’d love to hear about them!

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7) Go to a sporting event of “every” kind (i.e. baseball, football, hockey, basketball, & soccer)

1st Quarter Progress: 1/5 (20%)

Current Progress: 1/5 (20%)

As I stated in the first progress post, I haven’t really had the opportunity to make progress on this one because most of the sports are out of season. However, I do have a soccer game on the calendar for July and football, hockey, and basketball will all be back in the fall.

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8) Try every class at the gym

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Good news! My gym has finally resumed its workout classes. Thus, I can finally start making some progress on this goal a.k.a probably writing posts about how hard/painful the workout classes are. Stay tuned for whiny rants about how my fingers feel like they’re made of glass and how my legs have forgotten how to be legs.

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9) Do The Princess Diaries painting

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Yeah, so, another goal full of goose eggs for me here. However, while I’ve made no progress on the actual painting, I have garnered some interest from friends who want to participate. So, if you happen to see a group of people throwing darts at easels, don’t worry, it’s just me and my friends achieving.

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10) Find and try the “Best of” restaurants in LA

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Honestly, I have no explanation for why I’ve made no progress on this one. I mean, it’s a goal that involves FOOD. *shakes head in shame*

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11) Watch every film that has ever won Best Picture

1st Quarter Progress: 6/89 (6%)

Current Progress: 11/89 (12.36%)

Fun fact: Netflix DVD (who is not sponsoring me, but totally should) has pretty much every movie ever, so to make progress on this goal, I recently upgraded my subscription and it’s been great. My mailbox has been pleasantly surprised to receive little red envelopes containing musicals and romantic drama-dies from the 40s and I look forward to working my way up to present day Oscar winners.

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12) Learn to Longboard

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

The to-do list on this one remains firm:

1) Buy a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads

2) Wear aforementioned safety apparel with pride

3) Lose all inhibitions.

When I’ve managed to do all three, I’ll have some progress (and probably bruises) to update you on.

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13) Learn to do a headband braid

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 40%

I’ve watched this tutorial on YouTube a few times and have been working to improve my skills gradually. I expect it will still take me a solid while to get it, but at least I understand the concept now. I used to think it was 100% impossible unless you had three arms.

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14) Reach the 100,000-mile mark on my car

1st Quarter Progress: 99,720 miles (99%)

Current Progress: 100%

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THAT’S RIGHT! For those of you keeping track at home, you can officially check off #14. I wrote a whole post about my car, Jeffrey’s, big day which you can read here.

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15) Do a bar/pub crawl

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

There appears to be an inkling of a plan for this one to happen around my birthday. Stay tuned.

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16) Sing Karaoke

Current Progress: Complete!

Much to the surprise of my pre-2017 self, I’ve actually done karaoke 3 separate times now, all of which have been about 100 times more fun than I ever thought karaoke could be. That being said, while I’d never pressure anyone into doing something they don’t want to do, I highly recommend you give karaoke a shot. There are few things more freeing than belting out a Backstreet Boys song, knowing you’re hitting exactly zero notes, and yet not caring one bit.

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17) Complete Project Lightbulb

Current Progress: Same as Quarter One.

Due to scheduling/financial conflicts, it appears as though the trip that coincides with this project will not be able to take place until next year, thus preventing the goal in its original form from being accomplished. However, I’m planning on shifting it a bit, so as not to punish myself over unforeseen circumstances.  I figure, if we get the whole trip planned to the tee, with everything set and ready to book, if not booked for 2018, I’d call that a success in its own right.

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Adding all of that together, it comes out to about 29% complete. Which is kind of disappointing to look at, especially since it’s only 10% more than the first quarter. HOWEVER, I’ve done more planning and organizing in this second quarter than I did in the first, which has put me on a much better looking path for the second half of this year. So stay tuned folks! These next few months are going to be crazy. See you in September!

A Quick, Cheesy Metaphor About Fireworks

With yesterday being the 4th of July, I, as well as many others, found myself sitting in a lawn chair, looking up at the evening sky as it filled with fireworks. I was surrounded by my family, as well as hundreds of strangers, and we all “oohed” and “ahhed” in unison, shrieking and geeking over the mix of colors and sounds, even though we’ve all seen them many times before.

Oftentimes, in these moments of undeniable awe, my mind will wander. Searching for inspiration, wisdom or—more often than not—super cheesy metaphors. Last night, I got a heavy dose of cheese.

It was about halfway through the show, when the fireworks really started to pick up. Everywhere I looked they were booming and falling to the beat of a patriotic song. I watched as the small orange sparks snaked their way into the dark sky and then burst into magnificent displays of color and sound. Some were easy to follow from the ground up, others seemed to sneak by me, lighting up the sky in a radiant surprise.

It reminded me a lot of life. (Warning: cheese ahead!) How sometimes it can seem as though we spend forever looking up at a dark sky, waiting for something amazing to happen. Waiting, hoping, praying that any second it will come to life with all the colors we’ve worked so hard to find. And sometimes we’ll find them. Sometimes the sky will awaken in ways we never imagined and we’ll find ourselves drowning in gratitude and wonder. Other times however, the sky will stay dark. We’ll sit out there in our (now figurative) lawn chairs, waiting and waiting, and yet the colors will not come.

I’ve been there. Waiting. Craning my neck up at a dusky sky, expecting nightfall to bring something incredible. I’ve been there when there were fireworks and when there was silence. I’ve left awed and I’ve left disappointed. The important thing is to keep looking. To keep seeking. To keep parking your car over a mile away and hiking up to a spot you heard from a friend of a friend will provide a good view. Because no matter how long the sky stays dark, it will always come to life again. Sometimes in ways we expect. Sometimes in ways we don’t. Sometimes in big grand displays, sometimes in small, beautiful flashes.

Last night, after the show was over, my family and I packed up our things and made our way back down the hill and through the long crowded streets to our car. By the time we saw my mom’s Honda, we were all sweating and tired, ready for bed even though it meant the end of a long weekend. But even though our eyes grew heavy, we smiled, for the trek up and back had been worth it, as always. And as such, we knew we’d make the very same trip next year to do it all over again. In the meantime, we’ll work hard. We’ll be patient and kind and diligent as we seek other sources of color to light up our skies. Sometimes we’ll even find that we can be the long awaited color in the dark sky of another.

If we want to get really cheesy with it—which let’s face it, WE DO—we’ll say it like Katy Perry once (or perhaps 2000 times due to radio overplay) said it: baby, you’re a firework. Come on let your colors burst.

Let them light up your own sky, let them light up the sky of another. Let them remind you of the colors to be seen in the nights that follow those plagued by darkness. Because don’t you know that therrrre’s still a chance for youuuu, ‘cause there’s spark in youuu, you just gotta igniiite the lighhht and letttt it shiiine just owwnnn the niiiiight like the fourth of Julyyy, ‘cause baby you’re a—well you get it.

30 Good Things that Happened in June

I have good news and good news. I have only good news!

As mentioned in this blog post, at the end of every month I’m going to highlight all the good things that happened in that 30-day (or so) span, to give ourselves a break from the well known bad.

You can find last month’s here.

Happy June to you!

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1) The One Love Manchester concert donated all of its proceeds to the victims of the Manchester attack.

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2) This guy found out he was having a son.

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3) Wonder Woman was released!

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4) National Donut Day

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5) Jennie Finch surprised this softball player with the Gatorade player of the year award.

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6) This girl proved you should never give up on your dreams.

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7) This dentist remixed Despacito.

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8) Florence & the Machine gave the performance of a lifetime.

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9) Ben Platt gave this inspirational speech at the Tony’s.

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10) Pride!

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11) This group of friends ordered at a drive thru with a song.

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12) This couple figured out a creative way to track (and share) the growth of their baby.

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13) Gal Gadot’s husband marveled at the fact that he is married to Wonder Woman.

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14) Father’s Day

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15) This dad biked over 1,000 miles to hear his daughter’s heartbeat.

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16) This bride helped plan a surprise proposal for her best friend at her wedding.

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17) This woman disguised her hospitalized grandmother’s dog as a baby so she could sneak it in for a visit.

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18) This little girl mistook a bride for an actual princess.

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19) This guy served as “flower man” at his cousin’s wedding.

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20) Gina Rodriguez started the #iCanChallenge to inspire both herself and others to challenge themselves.

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21) Artist @MightyMooseArt created this important piece.

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22) This couple celebrated their anniversary in the best way ever.

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23) This nana showed off her flowers.

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24) Sophia Bush made this great comment about body confidence.

Sunglass Hut's Made For Summer Event Featuring Sophia Bush

“Even people who you think have perfect bodies are insecure about their bodies. We’re all in this together. If you want to have a bikini body, put on a bikini and boom! You have a bikini body! We need to let ourselves up off the mat a little bit. All bodies are beautiful. We’re all good.”

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25) Taylor James gave the speech of the year.

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26) After walking 3 miles to and from work every day, this man got the surprise of a lifetime.

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27) Shania Twain released her first song in 15 years.

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28) This dog snagged the best seat in the house.

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29) The Harry Potter series turned 20.

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30) A nonprofit showed this boy his true identity: a hero.

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what July brings!

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May/June Favorites

Everybodddayyyy

(Yeahhhh)

Rock your bodayyyy

(Yeahhh)

Everyboddayyy

Rock your bodayy right

Favorites are back ALRIGHT

So yeah, I saw the Backstreet Boys in Vegas this month, and yeah, it’s still on my mind, because yeah, it was INCREDIBLE. If there was a slot in the favorites for “favorite concert I saw that made me feel 13 again,” the BSB would definitely have nabbed that spot. Actually, let’s go ahead and make that a slot just this once. Consider yourselves “favorited” boys!

Now, on to the rest of the favorites:

Modern Love Podcast

modern love podcastSince the quest to run 1000 miles rages on, I’m always looking for new listening material, and these past two months I’ve been loving the podcast-ed version of The New York Times column “Modern Love.” Each episode contains a previously published story, read aloud by a wide variety of personalities (one of my favorites was Titus Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and accented with sound effects and music, to really bring the words to life. I consistently find myself captivated by the stories, and look forward to the new episode each week. (Find it here.)


 

Think Thin Protein Bars

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Another side effect of running is being hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Honestly, I feel like an adolescent boy, minus the growth spurts and incredible metabolism. That being said, I’ve been on the lookout for healthy(ish) snacks that can tide me over between meals so I don’t eat my way through my entire budget. Enter these protein bars, which seem to do the trick in satisfying my hunger, without providing the lasting guilt or tasting like total garbage. So far, I’ve tried the Brownie Crunch, Cinnamon Bun White Chocolate, and Cupcake Batter flavors and I’ve liked them all!

 


 

Stitch Fix

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Call me a sucker if you want, but Stitch Fix has been FLOODING my Facebook feed for months now with ads for their cute clothes, and after putting up a steady resistance, I finally caved. I clicked the link that had been shouting at me to “try now!” and I went through the comprehensive “style quiz” and I gave them all my info, then I waited pretty (im)patiently for my first box to arrive. I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty exciting when it did. Unlike the sporadic string of Amazon packages that usually grace my porch, this was a mystery box of goodness! You see, the way it works is once you go through the “style quiz”, a stylist reviews your answers and then sends you 5 handpicked items they think you’ll like. You then try them on/do a quick fashion show, etc, and decide what you want to keep and what you want to return. For the things you want to return, they send you a prepaid envelope, so all you have to do is slide the clothes/accessories in, seal it and send it back. From my first box, I kept two shirts, one of which I never would have tried on in a store and one that looks like it could have been made especially for me. (Find it here)


 

Harry Styles by Harry Styles & Evolve by Imagine Dragons

Both of these albums have had me feeling all the feels and frequently texting my sister “YES, ALL THE YES” at various times of the day. They are very different in sound but both more than worth the listen.

Let’s turn it over to iTune for bimonthly dose of adjectives:

Harry Styles by Harry Styles: “magisterial Bowie-meets-Elton calling card,” “swampy bass and carnal choruses” (Find it here)

Evolve by Imagine Dragons: “the band trades is signature angst for light rhythmic textures and fluid vocals about rebuilding.” (Find it here)

Yup, EXACTLY what I was thinking.


 

Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan & This is Really Happening by Erin Chack

download (3)Again, these two choices have vastly different vibes about them, but they are both phenomenal. I borrowed Brain on Fire from a friend and was addicted by about page 4. It’s a memoir written by a 20 something year old woman who, while living a perfectly normal, healthy life, finds herself slipping into complete psychosis for no understandable reason. I read the entire thing in one day and have recommended it to almost every human I’ve spoken to since. (Find it here)

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This is Really Happening is a collection of essays written by Buzzfeed writer, Erin Chack, who I hadn’t heard of until I saw her book announcement on Twitter. Needless to say, I fell in love with her instantly after that and put the book in my Amazon cart that afternoon. This is Really Happening is a super easy read that made me laugh and cry and want to get a book of my own on the market. So, fingers crossed you’ll find me emulated a book birth in the future. (Find it here)

 


 

Kendall Jenner Ab Workout

Who even am I, right? I know. But I can’t help it! Ever since I saw the workout in this Cosmo article online, I’ve made it a part of my gym routine. Full disclosure: It’s hard as hell. BUT doing it has made me feel much stronger, and I’m pretty sure I have, like, 1 1/2 abs now, so, watch out world!

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This Terrible Morning

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Oh, yes. This is a self plug and I’m not sorry about it. I recently announced a fun side project called “This Terrible Morning” which hopes to be a collaborative blog all about how terribly ridiculous mornings have a tendency to be. Fun fact: it officially launched TODAY! So make sure you go check out the first post. It’s a piece by me, written about the morning that gave me the idea for This Terrible Morning in the first place. Also, if you have a terrible morning you’d like to share in story/picture/poem/song/any form, please do! I’d love for you to join in on all the terrible fun. (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

Thoughts I Had While Watching Star Wars for the First Time: Episode VI

In the final installment of Part 1 (because if all goes according to plan I’ll be watching the rest of the films very soon, which should provoke a Part 2) of this series, I have A LOT of feelings. More than I was ready for. In fact, I hold everyone reading this who has seen this film and did not warn me of the emotional impact completely responsible for the mini-breakdown I had mid-movie. I also blame you for the ice cream I ate afterwards.

Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

  • Here we are. The last film of the first three-film series
  • Did they have any idea back then that there would be a ranty brunette girl watching them 30 years later, making commentary, trying to catch up before the eighth episode came out?
  • Did they have any idea they’d still be this epic?
  • Here we go.
  • Okay, I said it once and I’ll say it again, Jabba the Hutt is disgusting.
  • Can’t say I’m a fan of his comrades either.
  • I’d take Hoth over this place any day.
  • Though this place does have some tunes.
  • R2! C-3P0! My guys!
  • They have a message from Luke.
  • What is this plan, Luke?!
  • Exchange the droids for Han?
  • I don’t know if I’m behind this.
  • I mean Han’s a good guy (as it turned out) but R2-D2 and C-3P0 do not deserve to stay here in this awful place watching Jabba the Hutt slobber all over everything.
  • I’m not down with this.
  • Ah yes, here’s Han! Poor guy. Still frozen as a Disney movie.
  • But who’s this bounty hunter lurking around his frozenness?
  • She kind of looks like Leia…
  • Wait! It is Leia!
  • She’s come to give Solo a Han.
  • Okay come on that was pretty good.
  • Maybe one of my best.
  • A Han and Leia kiss!
  • I’m into it.
  • Uh oh, Leia’s captured.
  • And now sporting some sort of golden bikini.
  • Wait.
  • This is the bikini!
  • I finally get that Friends reference now!
  • Hey Chewy! Lookin’ good pal.
  • Did you grow your hair out?
  • We can talk about that later. First, we need to get out of here.
  • Oh, okay. The old, diving board loop de loop light saber shoot out move. Smooth, Luke
  • Leia: Screw you Jabba, imma murder you in this bikini
  • *looks for symbolism in Luke’s lightsaber being green now*
  • Okay, we’re free and back with Yoda.
  • Why is Yoda moving so slow?
  • No.
  • No, Master Yoda, you can’t die.
  • DOES YODA DIE?
  • NO ONE TOLD ME YODA DIES.
  • HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT YODA DIES?
  • HOW IS THIS NOT A BIGGER DEAL?!?
  • “Unexpected this is” – Yoda.
  • I’m 100% going to start saying that whenever I’m casually surprised.
  • OH MY GOSH HE’S DEAD.
  • What in all hell?!
  • THIS IS LIKE DOBBY ALL OVER AGAIN
  • THIS MOVIE PROVOKES SO MUCH CAPS LOCK
  • *Luke learns that Leia is his sister*
  • Bet you’re pretty relieved about that, eh Luke? Seeing as she’s clearly chosen your best friend and all.
  • Okay, I don’t know what an ewok even is, but I’d like one. Preferrably Wicket, here.
  • Luke’s heading to fight Darth!
  • Dear Dad, I would totally battle you in order to save you if you became Darth Brian.
  • You too, Darth Gina.
  • Also, I get the whole *power* thing, but the dark side’s biggest selling point appears to be wrinkles, black cloaks and asthma—pass.
  • Note to self: always befriend teddy bears. You never know when they might come in handy against your enemies.
  • The Emperor: are you totes mad, Luke?
  • Luke: NO
  • The Empereor: your feelings betray you!
  • I’m super glad people can’t read my mind when I’m nervous or scared. It goes weird places. Things would get awkward.
  • #DaddyDarthDiesAHero
  • Key Fact Learned from Episode VI: I’d like to move to Ewok Forest.

Thoughts I Had While Watching Star Wars for the First Time: Episode V

As stated in yesterday’s blog post, I recently watched the first three Star Wars movies, both to accomplish one of the goals I set for myself this year, and to, you know, catch up with the world.

Going into Episode V, I felt a little less like a rookie. I knew (most of) the characters and I had a better idea of who I was rooting for and who they were fighting against. Of course, this did little to quiet my mind when it came to actually watching the movie. I still had a lot to say, and most of it was on topic.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 

  • Okay, here we go.
  • Hmm, we’re somewhere very cold.
  • Hoth. I’m told we’re in Hoth.
  • And Luke is going somewhere on his own? He must know this is a bad idea.
  • What did I tell you Luke? You always have to bring a buddy. You never know when you’re going to encounter a yeti!
  • There’s Han! Still handsome.
  • Hey Han, Luke needs you.
  • Wait, you’re leaving again? Please don’t go.
  • Oh damn, Han is just leia-ing it out there from the Princess.
  • Han: you love me
  • Leia: No I don’t.
  • Han: 342cc6d14060407efd20b32714a3f1bf
  • I say you go for it, girl, he might be kind of douchey but at least he’s not your brother.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi! You’re back! At least in Luke’s fever dream you are.
  • And you’re talking about Yoda! Listen to him, Luke. I have it on good authority that Yoda’s a good dude.
  • Han found Luke! Yay! And he cut open a yeti creature thing and shoved Luke inside to keep him warm. That’s…friendship?
  • Did Leo and the crew at The Revenant see this? Is this where they got the idea about that horse?
  • “Laugh it up fuzzball” – Han.
  • If only I knew a very sassy, hairy person I could say that to.
  • I can’t decide if I’m more of a C-3P0 or an R2-D2. I’d like to think I’d translate gibberish for my friends whenever they needed me to (like C-3P0), but I also speak gibberish sometimes (like R2-D2).
  • Some days I also think I could speak strictly in yells like Chewy.
  • I’m going to say I’m a C-3P0 though. I can completely relate to his random spewing of fun facts and his constant state of anxiety. He might be my spirit animal.
  • Does no one have motion sickness in space? It seems like these ship rides are pretty rough.
  • FANGIRLING OVER YODA.
  • Oh my gosh, everything he says is iconic.
  • Yoda: *pulls ship out of space mud*
  • Luke: I don’t believe it
  • Yoda: This is why you fail
  • GOOSEBUMPS.
  • How are there not more t-shirts that say “YAASS YODA”
  • Lesson Learned from Episode V: When needing to escape an enemy, float away like space garbage.
  • NOOOOO! SEE-FREE-PEE-OHHH! My man is down. He is literally in pieces.
  • Lando = scoundrel
  • *watches Han get frozen* UM. WHAT.
  • Leia: Luke it’s a trap! Don’t come! Seriously! You’re very important, don’t come! Darth is just trying to bait you!
  • Luke: Be right there!
  • I TOLD YOU HE WAS YOUR DAD LUKE.
  • And I told you the dude was dark.
  • Okay, I know this is traumatic news, but this is seriously no time to have a complete breakdown.
  • The world is still falling apart and I need you to pull yourself together.
  • …and there goes your hand. Okay, I know this is rough, but stay strong here buddy! Think about Leia! Actually don’t, she’s kind of hitting on your friend. But that’s good because remember, you’re siblings. But don’t think about that now! Think about Obi-Wan. And Yoda. They’re good guys.
  • Well, Yoda isn’t actually a “guy” per se. I’m not sure what he is. But he’s awesome, that’s for sure!
  • That’s right! Keep fighting Luke!
  • Darth: Come to Daddy!
  • One-Handed Luke: No!
  • Did Luke just cannonball away from this duel? That’s pretty badass.
  • Hey gang, Luke’s hanging from a weather vane over here, come give him a hand! Uh…sorry. Too soon.
  • Ahh! My man C-3P0 is back. He’s not exactly in working condition. But he’s alive, that’s all that matters.
  • We’ve got Luke. We’ve got the droids. We’re back at the base. Let’s all take a deep breath.
  • Aww, look at you Luke. They were able to give you a *literal* hand. Happy for you bud.
  • Also, shout out to Lando for not being 100% awful. You can join Kenobs in the “I trust you now club.”
  • Alright peeps, next movie, we find Han!