advice

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

Since the holidays are coming up, there’s a good chance you might (hopefully) get to plan a weekend getaway. Are you wondering what you should pack for said weekend getaway? Well, you came to the right place.

As a well-experienced packer, I have made an easy to follow guide for how to achieve packing success. Just set those worries aside, take a few notes, and soon you will be on your way!

Note: these guidelines do not apply to outdoor camping, as outdoor camping should probably require you packing your entire home because you are in the wilderness and there is danger and animals and rain and also that overall damp feeling that you never get rid of, so really just pack everything or don’t camp, preferably the latter because who doesn’t love a roof?

Step 1: Bring up your need to pack for your vacation approximately six times in the week leading up to your departure, but don’t actually start packing until the night before you leave.

Step 2: Envision yourself walking in slow motion, in perfectly put together outfits, for the entirety of the vacation.

Step 3: Forget everything you envisioned and stare teary eyed at your closet, criticizing yourself for ever buying a single thing you see before you.

Step 4: Pack your favorite shirt, the one you bring on every vacation, first, then tell yourself you should branch out and take the shirt out of your suitcase.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 up to seven times.

Step 6: Remind yourself that you’re only going to be gone for two days, then pack nine shirts, three pairs of pants, those shorts you’ve never liked but always thought you should try, 17 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks, 1 pair of thick socks in case a blizzard rolls in, those shoes you’ve been meaning to replace, two bathing suits, pajamas, and a raincoat—regardless of the weather forecast.

Step 8: Imagine yourself having the desire to workout and pack workout clothes.

Step 9: Laugh, knowing there’s no way in hell you’re going to workout.

Step 10: Pack another workout shirt.

Step 11: Invent at least 5 different turns the weekend could take that might provoke the need to bring shoe options, and then pack accordingly.

Step 12: Look up the weather forecast for where you’re going and regret everything you packed.

Step 13: Step away from your closet and move into the bathroom to gather your toiletries.

Step 14: Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and makeup—even though you know you’re going to need most of it tomorrow morning before you leave.

Step 15: Pack a book, then picture yourself reading the entire book in one day and decide to pack three more.

Step 16: Pack your phone charger, then unpack it before bed to charge your phone, and then forget it all together.

Step 17: Zip up your suitcase and decide you are finished so you can go to bed because it’s almost definitely 1:00 a.m. at this point.

Step 18: Lie awake for about an hour wondering if you should pack more socks or if maybe you should bring a flashlight or goggles or an earthquake kit.

Step 19: Wake up to brush your teeth and realize you’ve already packed your toothbrush.

Step 20: Become frustrated while picking an outfit to wear because you packed everything you like, regret everything for a solid half hour, and then throw your hands in the air, zip up your suitcase and roll it out the door.

July/August Favorites

A lot has changed since we were last here! For one thing, I’m 29 now. And while I can’t list this age as a “favorite” quite yet, I do have a good feeling about it.

Speaking of good feelings, I found a bunch of things over the last couple months that gave me all the good feelings.

Wow. What a transition, am I right? Told you 29 looks good on me.

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Podcasts

I was first introduced to the Try Guys when they were part of Buzzfeed, and I’ve loved their brand ever since. At their core, they are a group of friends who simply try stuff and make you want to do the same. You can check out their videos here, but I’d also recommend their podcast, The Trypod, which is an easy, lighthearted listen. It makes you feel like you’re sitting around in your living room talking to your friends.

The Clearing is a posthumous account of the life of Edward Wayne Edwards, a serial killer and all-around terrible human whose daughter put the pieces of his crimes together and brought at least a few of his victims and their families justice. The narrator has a very monotone voice, but I think it adds to the nature of the subject. I was hooked and frustrated the entire time.

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Books

After reading a loving Rachel Hollis’ first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, I was over the moon for her second one and preordered it. But then, life caught up with me and that poor book sat on my bedside table for months before I finally opened it. Once I did however, I was IN. It’s a great book for anyone looking for some fire under their feet and it gives great advice for how you can go about making your dreams a reality.

In another example of poor planning + a chaotic schedule, I received the The Silent Patient audiobook from the library and waited too long to start it. By the time I did, my loan was ending and I was freaking out trying to finish it and when I didn’t make it, I had to wait three miserable weeks until it was available again. It follows Alicia Berenson, a woman convicted of murdering her husband and then refusing to speak in any capacity, and Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to figure out why. It takes a lot of twists and turns and I especially recommend the audiobook because the reader was great!

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TV Shows

I realize that I am WAY behind the times on this one, so I probably don’t have to do much of an introduction on what Dexter is, but I am glad I finally made the time to start it. I am officially hooked and if you need me I’ll be sitting in a state of conflict over being worried about and emotionally attached to a serial killer.

Stranger Things is another one that doesn’t need much of an introduction. I had been patiently waiting for the third season and when it finally arrived I watched it so fast I have been considering rewatching it because I think I blacked out. In a good way.

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Music

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If I’m being honest, A LOT of music has been put on the back burner since Taylor Swift released Lover in August. It is SO GOOD, y’all. So while I’d obviously recommend that first, there is a bunch of other great music that I found over the last two months.

For albums, I’d recommend Tori Kelly’s Inspired by True Events, and Machine Gun Kelly’s Hotel Diablo. They could not be more different (aside from them both having Kelly in their name) and it’s almost comical to recommend them side by side, but such is my brain. It has a lot of different moods and these two do it for me.

Then, in continuing a new tradition of recommending individual songs, here are 10 that I think you should check out:

1) I Don’t Want Your Money by Ed Sheeran (featuring H.E.R.)

2) Painkiller by Ruel

3) Put it to Bed by JHART

4) All For Us by Labrinth & Zendaya

5) What Could’ve Been by Gone West

6) Tell When it’s Over by Shery Crow & Chris Stapleton

7) Someday Soon by Wilder Woods

8) Love is Love by Grace Potter

9) Rooting for You by Alessia Cara

10) Crowded Table by The Highwomen

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This Arm/Back Workout

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I have been getting into weight training over the last couple months and so I’ve been doing research on different sequences that can work out specific parts of my body. I found this one on Pinterest and it’s been great at working out my arms and back. It makes me feel strong and, unless I’m seeing things, I actually might look stronger too. Take care with these guns, y’all.

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Low Cow Ice Cream Bars

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And last but DEFINITELY not least, these! It’s hard to be completely in love with ice cream AND want to eat healthy. So it’s safe to say that when I found these, which are low in sugar, high in protein and absolutely delicious I gave them priority status on my grocery list. My favorite flavor is the Salted Caramel, but they also offer Fudge and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

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And that just about does it for July & August!

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.

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Also, don’t forget to check out the fundraiser I’m doing in the month of September to benefit Childhood Cancer.  Anything helps! heavy-black-heart_2764

Don’t Suffer

A fun fact about me is that I’m cold—all the time.

I have two sweaters on my office chair at work and I almost never leave the house without some sort of extra layer, even in the dead of summer. My friends and family have (mostly) come to accept this—they only mock me half of the time now—and some even go out of their way to let me know when we (meaning only me) should bring a jacket to wherever we’re going.

If I were a teenager, I might try to spin this whole thing as a cute quirk. A way to get the boy to lend me his jacket because I’m just so cold teeheehee. But alas, I’m not 16, and I don’t even think it’s cute. I would love to confidently walk out the front door without wondering if I will catch hypothermia at the movies or grapple over what I should say to convince everyone to sit outside even though it’s hot and we might sweat all of our makeup off.

This past weekend a big group of my family got together at a house on the beach and the moment we pulled in I felt the ocean breeze shiver down my spine.

Shit. I thought. We just got here and I’m already cold.

I paced around a bit, trying to get my blood flowing so I didn’t have to look completely pathetic, but after a few minutes I leaned into my mom and said, “I really think I have to put my sweater on already.”

My mom nodded, nonjudgmental, then put her hand on my arm and said, “Like my yoga teacher says, ‘Don’t suffer.’”

At first I just smiled, thanking her for the words and for not, you know, pointing and laughing at me like I assume everyone should. But as I pulled on my jacket and then walked back around to the kitchen to lean back into the conversation I’d left, the real meaning of the words sunk in deep.

Don’t suffer.

It’s really simple on the surface, isn’t it? But let it sink in for a second.

Don’t suffer.

In the context of yoga, it reminds you not to stay in a pose that causes too much pain.

When you apply it to every day life—like whether or not I should be ashamed to put a sweater on at a family reunion—it acts a reminder to just let yourself be. Maybe that means saying no to party you don’t want to go to, or putting down a book you don’t have any interest in finishing, or taking a nap instead of going to the gym today, or whatever it may be.

Don’t suffer. Especially with the little things. Give yourself the freedom to be comfortable and it will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Needless to say I put the jacket it on, instantly felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, I had an amazing afternoon.

What’s the Point?

Have you ever been so caught up in the monotony of the day-to-day routines and stresses that you found yourself frustrated and exhausted and wondering what are we even doing here? Or, and not necessarily as dark as this sounds, but, what’s the point?

It’s that, is this it? feeling. Is life just alarm snoozing and work and bills and debt and general frustration?

Deep down we know it’s not. We know there’s more. We know this thing has purpose. But some days that truth is a little cloudy, and others it seems downright hidden.

But then there are days or sometimes just moments when it shines bright.

Like when you see someone do something so kind that it makes you want to cry.

Or when you see people look at each other with such unconditional love that you feel it too.

When you stay up late talking to your sister about nothing and everything at the same time.

When you watch the sunset on the beach and that warm glow makes everything slow down.

When you eat something so good it makes you (want to or actually) dance.

When you do something you never thought you could.

When you get butterflies in your stomach because someone or something is so overwhelmingly exciting.

When you tell a friend something you’re struggling with and they lift a little piece of that burden off your shoulders.

When you lose track of time laughing and then trying not to laugh and then after a while laughing just to laugh.

Among millions more.

The way I see it, life is about finding things that make it easier. Easier for you, easier for someone you love, or even easier for someone you’ve never met. It’s about finding people and places and experiences that make you take deep, purposeful breaths. And on the hard days, it’s about believing that ease exists, and working your way forward one step at a time to find it again.

Life is not meant to be easy, but it’s full of impossible ease, and you owe it to yourself to find it. So whether you’re having the best day ever or a cloudy one at best, I encourage you to seek it. Open yourself up to the good things in this life, let them give you breath and breathe breathe breathe.

Everything in Moderation

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde

 

I heard this quote for the first time recently and it really hit home.

While balance is often preached as the secret to life, sometimes it’s the balance that leaves me so worn out. Day in and day out I’m trying to make sure I find time for goal setting, self care, loving others, eating right, being productive, etc. I try to achieve that balance, but by the time I’m getting into bed each night I’m feeling more overwhelmed than I did that morning.

I end up lying there wondering what I could have done better, what I shouldn’t have done at all, and how I can improve the next day. I promise to pursue that balance, but I’m also wondering how I’ll ever be able to do it.

So maybe, that’s not the answer.

As this quote suggests, maybe it’s not about finding and maintaining that balance every. single. day. But striving for a balance—whatever that means for you. That means knowing when you need more or less of something. It means giving yourself a break when you can’t find time to do much of anything at all.

Moderation is healthy. And it’s a good standard for living, but it shouldn’t be your only standard. Be wild sometimes. Break the rules. Change the rules. Know when you need to be disciplined. Know when you need a nap or a snack—or two snacks. Respect when you need to be quiet and when you need to scream. Find your balance, and don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

BAWAGA: A New Mindset

I talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Whether it be my own ideas, lessons I’ve learned from others, or words and phrases I’ve picked up anywhere and everywhere else. I’ve talked about mantras and mottos that carry me through rougher days (i.e. It’s Not Time to Worry Yet and Just Live the Day) and I’ve talked about mindsets that motivate me to push myself forward (i.e. Shout Your Strong and Opening the BIFC Door)

Today, I bring you yet another mindset, that comes straight from the first baseline of Dodger Stadium.

It was a hot afternoon in May and a small group of us were there to see the Dodgers play the Mets. Seated in field level seats right next to the foul pole, we were very close to Dodgers’ right fielder, Cody Bellinger, who, in case you haven’t heard, is having the season of his life.

“He’s such a badass,” my sister said as he warmed up after hitting another homerun.

“You might even say he’s…a badass with a great ass.

Badass with a great ass. (BAWAGA, if you will)

Obvious thirst aside, this stuck with me. Not necessarily as a quality we should give to others (sorry, Cody), but as a mindset we should take on for ourselves.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to like—let alone love—ourselves all at once. For me personally, I have moments of love, sparks of that hey, I dig that about myself, but very rarely (if ever) am I walking around thinking, “man I love my brain and my spirit and my body, I am just the total package.”

But what if I did? What if we did?

What if we pursued that total self-acceptance on a daily basis? What if we woke up thinking and believing, I am a badass with a great ass, I can do anything and then went about our day? How would that change the way we viewed our world? How would it change the way we treated others? How would it change the way we approached obstacles?

For athletes like Cody Bellinger, they need to take the field with a BAWAGA mindset, even on days when they don’t feel like it. If they don’t, they leave room for both doubt and the confidence of all of the other players to stand in front of them. And when all of that is blurring your vision, it’s impossible to play to the best of your ability because you don’t believe it exists.

The same goes for us regular (non-professional baseball playing, MLB record breaking) humans. We all have the ability to “play” at our best ability, but first we need to believe that our best exists. We need to go into each day with positivity and motivation and we need to look in the mirror with love and admiration. We need to appreciate all sides of ourselves—including the backside ayyyy—and remind ourselves that we can do anything. Why? Because we’re badasses. And not only that, we’re badasses with great asses.

Is it corny? Yes.

Is it cringy?  A little.

But does it secretly motivate me to go out there and kick some ass? Sure does.

10 Easy Ways to Learn Something New Every Day

If you are like me, you love learning. You love dropping fun facts and (as subtly as possible) saying look what I can do! And while 12 years of grade school might have given us somewhat of a distaste for the long winded, multiple choice kind of learning, these days it doesn’t take much for us to learn something new. Oftentimes it will just find us in the middle of an average day and that little light will go on in our heads saying, hey, I didn’t know that!

Call me a nerd but that is a rush.

I love that feeling so much that I actively try to learn something new every day—as many times a day as possible. Any little tidbit of new information I can find, I grab it and hold on tight, and then wait for the perfect opportunity to say, “did you know…” to my friends and family.

So, if you can relate to any of that, or if you’re just curious what kind of information I’m consuming on a daily basis in an attempt to turn my brain into its own Mary Poppins’ bag, here are 10 easy ways to learn something new every day:

 

1) Subscribe to a podcast

I went on my podcast app and counted, I am subscribed to 32 podcasts. THIRTY-TWO. Is this extreme? Am I an addict? Don’t answer that. I love all of my podcasts and I listen to (not all of) them every day. They cover just about every topic in the book, making it easy and fun to learn about a little bit of everything. Some of my favorites include: Ear Hustle, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet, and Heavyweight

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2) Click on the Google logo

You know how Google often has those decorative versions of their logo on their homepage? Did you know that if you click on those you can learn about the historical icon or event they are honoring? Talk about easy access to fun facts.

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3) Subscribe to an e-newsletter

There is so much information on the Internet, both good and bad, so it’s nice to have someone else wade through it and give you the highlights. I’ve bounced around between newsletters, trying to find one that best fits what I’m looking for and right now my favorite is Next Draft. An email is sent every weekday after lunch and it is organized into ten bullet points of both important current information and interesting articles you might not have read otherwise.

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4) Watch a documentary (on Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube)

I know, I know, we all have good intentions when we scroll through and add documentaries to our queues, and we all promise to watch them next time because we’re just not in the mood right now. But I encourage you to take a chance on one when you’re looking for something to watch. There is so much good stuff out there! Some of my favorites include: Evil Genius on Netflix, Three Identical Strangers on Hulu, and You’re Not Allowed to Die Here on YouTube.

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5) Go outside

I know this sounds obvious, but there’s no denying it. Our houses and apartments and dorms are wonderful and cozy and safe but there is so much to see and learn when we get outside! Just the other day a group of friends and I walked out to look at the moon and someone held their hand up and said, “did you know that if you can cup the moon in your right hand it’s a waxing moon and if you can cup it with your left it’s a waning moon.” No, I did not know that. But will I now drop it in any conversation about the moon? You’re damn right I will.

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6) Look up a new recipe

One of my favorite things to do is cook, and I love looking up recipes that I can put together with things I find in my fridge. Lucky for us, the Internet is CHOCK-FULL of recipes thanks to all of the wonderful food bloggers of the world. From breakfasts to desserts to gluten free tea party recipes, there is something for every occasion, just waiting for you to dive in.

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7) Download a language learning app

Learning a new language, or at the very least becoming familiar with key words in another language can be so valuable, both in every day life and when you travel. There are tons of apps out there that can teach you practically any language you can think of. My favorite is Duolingo, because it’s free, easy, and fun to use. Plus, an adorable owl named Duo sends me cute reminders to do my daily Spanish homework and it excites me.

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8) Take a different way home

If you do a lot of driving for work, either as part of your job or just in commuting to and from, try a new route. Turn one street early, or get off on a different exit. Expand that mental map and see where different roads lead, you never know what you’ll find along the way!

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9) Ask questions

Whenever you think to yourself, “I wonder how…” or “what is that?” or “when was..” pursue those answers. I can’t tell you how often I ask a question out loud and then immediately Google it. Even if they are little, seemingly meaningless answers they are something and you never know when you might need that something in the future.

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10) Listen

This doesn’t just call for putting on your listening ears, as my mom would say. This calls for using all of your senses. Put your phone down. Pick your head up. Look around, listen up and interact with the environment around you.

Goodbye Paris, Hello World (Our European Adventure: Day 10&11)

June 22nd, 2019:

It would take a long time for me to ever get used to sleeping in, yawning and looking out the window of my hotel room to see Paris, but with the warm welcome it had given us over the last two days, I looked out at the already sunny city, tipped my imaginary, bed head filled hat, and said good morning.

There were no concrete plans on the agenda today, just nine people ready to see the city and their iPhones ready to help them do it. So we set off from our hotel and walked down the streets of our new temporary neighborhood to O Coffee.

Since the group of us was so large and the restaurant was so small, we were met outside by the kind, Australian owner, who offered to take our order and prepare it for takeaway. We got five avocado toasts, four banana breads, a few coffees, a couple orange juices, and an apple juice, and then the owner threw in some madeleines for us to try. Everything was absolutely delicious and I could not recommend this place more.

As we ate, we came up with a plan:

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Starting at the Arc de Triomphe, we would walk down the Ave de Champs Elysees to do some shopping and sightseeing, and then follow the Seine River all the way up to Notre Dame. It was a three mile walk that we figured would be more like five when we added in browsing steps, but we were ready and the day was beautiful and so we finished our last bites of breakfast—and I spilled most of my apple juice—and then we were off.

The Arc de Triomphe is probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Built to honor the lives lost in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, it is imposingly stunning. It is also the center of one of the scariest intersections I’ve ever seen in my life.

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The Champs Elysees reminded me of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. Huge designer stores lined the street and they tempted you to come in and spend money you definitely didn’t have. At one point we walked into a Sephora that made me say, “I can’t believe we haven’t reached the back yet.” On top of that, the street was freckled with beautiful greenery, including this little patch that I actually volunteered to have my picture taken in.

The Grand Palais, while we didn’t go inside, was gorgeous and made me want to go to Rome, and the Petit Palais made us all laugh because the phrase “small palace” is one that both contradicts itself and doesn’t exist in our day-to-day vocabulary. If I ever make my way back to Paris, I will go inside these beautiful museums, but for this day, we fell in love just looking at them.

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The Pont des Artes, the “bridge of arts”, is most famously known for the love locks people used to clip to its chain link. In 2015, all of the locks were removed because they were too heavy for the bridge and were causing parts of it to crumble. This however, has not stopped people from clipping locks to other bridges. On our walk, we came across a bridge named the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, which has started to collect locks of its own.

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The Louvre was something my museum loving heart was over the moon to see in person. After seeing pictures of it and hearing references to it for my entire time as an undergraduate art student, actually finding myself in front of it’s famous pyramidal structure was pretty surreal. We didn’t go inside, but only because we decided to save that for the next morning when we could buy tickets in advanced and skip the lines. But since the courtyard was so pretty and the nearby restaurant, Le Café Marly, came so highly recommended, we decided to have lunch there.

I ordered what had become a favorite of mine in French cafes, a croque-madame, which is a fried ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. I didn’t take a picture of any that I ate, but to give you an idea of this true gift to humankind, please look at this photo from this recipe on foodnetwork.com:

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IMG_7494Sainte Chapelle was one of the only places that we took the time to stand in line and go inside to see, and I’m so glad that we did. I had heard that it was a beautiful church, but nothing really prepared me for how beautiful. We walked around on the first floor thinking it was amazing, but when we climbed the stairs to the second floor the line of us gasped in a row like dominoes. I was speechless.

Notre Dame, while tragically having been damaged in a fire not long before we arrived, was still gorgeous. Even as someone who doesn’t know nearly enough about its history and the grandeur that it has held in the city for so many years, my heart ached looking at the large pieces that were missing and the construction that was going on trying to repair it.

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As a final stop to cap off our day, we walked to Berthillon ice cream. It came recommended from a friend of my aunt’s, but it was clear when we got there that this was no well-kept secret. Multiple shops holding the same name were open mere meters from each other, and all of them had lines out the door. I got one scoop of dark chocolate and one scoop of salted caramel (because #saltedcaramelforever), and while they were delicious, I was bummed by the shop’s “no free samples” policy and I still think about the fig ice cream I left behind. #I’llneverfig-etyou

Now, I understand this next part might bring shame/judgment/open mouth gapes but I’m here to say that we did it, we don’t regret it, and we would 100% do it again.

That night, after getting back to our hotel and showering, napping and freshening up, we went…back to McDonalds for dinner. I know, I know, we’re in Paris, what are we doing at McDonalds two nights in a row? And to that I say: LIVING.

I will tell you right now, Parisian McDonalds is better than American McDonalds and there is absolutely no way you can change my mind. After having an iconic egg mcmuffin the night before, my sister and I both ordered the goat cheese chicken wrap and then I ordered a Kit Kat McFlurry. I mean, how dare you, Paris. How absolutely dare you.

We then walked back to Eif and took a seat on the lawn to watch him sparkle. Because what else can you do when you’ve had a wonderful day besides end it with a dose of pure magic?

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June 23rd, 2019:

For our very last day in Paris, we woke up a little early and immediately made our way back into the city.

Since we hadn’t truly experienced a Parisian sidewalk café, we took a seat at Café de la Comedie and took in the beautiful morning. My sister and I ordered the breakfast special which was the equivalent of the petit dujour we had in Epernay and I was in absolute bliss.

From breakfast we walked over to the Louvre, where I’d purchased nine tickets online the night before. NOW, listen carefully here because apparently this is a mistake that people make all the time.

In buying nine tickets, I apparently flagged us as being a “group”—as a note, this label is given to any amount of people greater than six—and as a group we were apparently required to be assigned a guide and were supposed to meet said guide in the “group reception area”. So when we got in line and our tickets didn’t work, we were sent to this area where a man behind a desk told me there were no guides and it would be impossible to get one and I should not have bought “group tickets” if I did not want a guide. Oh, and also my tickets were non-refundable and that he couldn’t do anything to help.

First of all, no.

Second of all, if this happens all the time, don’t you think that’s an issue you should deal with, Louvre?

Third of all, we’re in Paris, I paid good money for these tickets and I WILL be going inside.

Needless to say, after walking up and down the stairs a few times and talking to four or five different people, we were eventually let inside. And was it worth it? YES.

I was floored by both the art and the museum itself. Once I was in and amongst the work, my frustration with the (clearly poorly designed) website and the (not nearly as helpful or sympathetic as they could have been) staff, melted away. I also got to say hi to Mo, though she seemed a little busy with some other fans at the time.

From the Louvre we headed to lunch at an Australian café called Café Oz and it was…well, a conundrum you might say. The menu was a hodgepodge of options including burgers, risotto, and chicken parmesan—all of which we ordered by the way—and they had a picture of the All Blacks (the New Zealand national rugby team) on the wall, which is practically a sin in an Australian themed bar. Like I said, a conundrum.

For our very last night in Paris and the very last day of our trip, we decided to go out in style. We had 8:00 p.m. reservations on a Seine River Cruise and we’d paid €5 extra for front row seats—which was totally worth it! For an hour and a half we glided along the river, seeing the sights from a whole new angle, and seeing the people of Paris enjoying their evening as much as we were.

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We saw friends chatting and laughing and comforting one another. We saw couples sharing snacks and smiling and staring off into the setting sun. We saw people walking and running and biking and salsa dancing. We’d all had a different day, and yet we were all here, in Paris, watching the same sunset, so that we could wake up again tomorrow and start over.

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As sad as we were for our trip to be over, we were happy to be going home. It was going to feel good to be back in our own world, in our own homes, in our own beds and get back on our own schedules. But as we watched the Eiffel Tower light up for the final time that night, I took note of all of the people around me. Maybe some of them would be leaving tomorrow too. Maybe others had only just got here. Maybe others just moved here and others still had lived here their whole lives.

No matter our stories, no matter our backgrounds or our likes or dislikes, we were together in that moment and we were sharing the awe of the Eiffel Tower. And even if none us would ever see each other again, there was still something special about that moment. It was our own little piece of history that we’d always share. Just like our trip will be something that the nine of us will always share. In the grand scheme of things, these 11 days will be a blip, but to us they will mean the world. And at the end of the day, it’s about remembering those moments because those moments are the world.

 

 

May/June Favorites

I just want everyone to know that as I typed this I was eating popcorn. But not just any popcorn. Microwave popcorn. But not just any microwave popcorn. A bag of PERFECTLY POPPED microwave popcorn.

That’s right folks. I have achieved perfection. I did not burn a single kernel, nor leave a single one unpopped. I have officially peaked.

So…yeah.

Anyway.

Here are some of my favorite things from May and June:

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Podcasts

I have always loved Lauren Conrad, all the way back to her days on The OC. So when I heard she was starting her own podcast, I was pretty much immediately sold, especially if it was going to include helpful tips from people she admires, because then maybe I could take those tips and use them to turn into Lauren Conrad. Not really. But kind of, you know? (find it here)

The Wild is one of the more unique podcasts I’ve found. It follows the adventures of ecologist Chris Morgan as he tracks animals and explores nature in the Pacific Northwest. It’s cool to listen to each episode and visualize the landscapes he describes all while sitting at my desk or making my morning commute. (find it here)

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Books

I want to say I was completely shocked by how much I loved Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks’ book of short stories, but, like, it’s Tom Hanks, so of course it was going to be wonderful and charming. I listened to the audiobook and it was honestly like hearing Woody tell me bedtime stories…during the day…that didn’t make me sleepy. All I’m saying is it was great. (find it here)

I’m not all that great at reading suspenseful books because I don’t have the patience to wait for the big reveal at the end. But somehow Kate M. McManus makes the surprise ending in both this book and One of Us is Lying tolerable to wait for because the characters are interesting and relatable and I can never figure out which way the twist is going to, well, twist. (find it here)

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Movies

Unicorn Store is the story of a failed artist who moves back in with her parents and takes an office job before being contacted by a man who claims to work for the “unicorn store” and offers to give her a unicorn. My summary makes it sound vaguely creepy but it’s not. I actually LOVED this movie and already know I’ll add it to my shuffle of movies I like to watch on lazy days. (find it on Netflix)

Booksmart is Olive Wilde’s directorial debut that was getting so much hype when it first hit theaters. People were calling it the new, female version of Superbad, which, after seeing it, I can understand why. I recently watched it on Netflix and not only laughed through the entire thing, but danced. This movie has a badass soundtrack, y’all! I highly recommend it for any and all of these reasons. (find it on Netflix)

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TV Shows

I have pretty much recommended The Society to anyone who will listen—mostly for selfish reasons, because I just want to have people to talk about it with. It’s an apocalyptic, Lord of the Flies-esque show that follows a group of teens who have to figure out what to do after their entire town disappears. (find it on Netflix)

Dead to Me was recommended by my roommate and though I was slow to start it, once I got going I couldn’t stop. It follows a woman whose husband is killed in a hit and run accident, and her friendship with a woman she meets in a grief support group afterwards. I laughed and gasped through the whole thing and already can’t wait until season two. (find it on Netflix)

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Music

I haven’t really been listening to specific albums over the last two months but I have been finding a lot of songs that just make me want to JAM. So, in case you’re in the market for some bops, pull these guys up on Spotify, stretch a little, and then dance your heart out.

1) Too Close by Rainsford

2) Dancing on My Own by Elle Fanning

3) Thief by Ookay

4) Walk Man by Tiny Meat Gang

5) You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

6) Truth Hurts by Lizzo

7) Look What God Gave Her by Thomas Rhett

8) To Whom it May Concern by Sam Spiegel, CeeLo Green, Theophilus London, Alex Ebert

9) Imagination by Foster the People

10) Boys by Lizzo

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Birkenstocks

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After years of thinking about purchasing a pair of these, I finally pulled the trigger at the beginning of this month and BOY WAS I WASTING TIME NOT OWNING THESE. I’ve already broken them in so they officially have that comfy footprint in the sole that is like a hug for my feet every time I put them on and did I mention you are wasting time not owning these?! They are a little on the pricey side for my usual shoe purchase but they are worth every penny. (find them here)

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Double Lacrosse Ball

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After my brother starting playing lacrosse, my family discovered the wonder of rolling out our back muscles with a lacrosse ball. So when I found this on Amazon—a double lacrosse ball that does twice the work in half the time—I knew I was on to something. If you’re someone who struggles with tension in either your back or shoulders I highly recommend one of these! Plus, they’re cheap! You get a set of two for just over ten dollars. #blessed (find them here)

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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.

Just Live the Day

A little while back I read The Grapes of Wrath, and like in many of the classics, I found a great nugget of advice. It was simple, easy advice, which to me meant it would be almost impossible to follow, but it’s stuck with me over the last few months and I wanted to share it with you.

To quote it directly from the book, I believe it is Ma who says, “Jus’ live the day. Don’ worry yaself.”

Just live the day.

As in, be here now.

Live this day. Right now.

Don’t live in the regrets of yesterday. Don’t live in the fears of tomorrow. Live this day. No matter where you are.

No matter if that means you need to go out and attack it, or if it means you need to stay home and rest.

Let this day serve you. Let it show you what it’s made of. Let it inspire you, let it heal you, let it show you joy you never imagined.

Find the wonders of this day, and don’t waste them thinking about a day you can’t get back or a day you can’t even reach yet.

This day is only going to happen once, so live in it and take it for all it’s worth.

Jus’ live the day. Don’ worry yaself.