Author: leslieschipper

Goals On the Rocks : Jacki Carr

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“I want to live in a World where people get possible. Let’s get up to it. Goals Coach. Adventures. Writer. Hiker. Rock Your Bliss.”

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You can’t sum up the human spirit in a sentence. Words we use to describe ourselves will continuously fall short in capturing our essence and full potential. With that in mind, Rock Your Bliss co-founder and Goal Coach Jacki Carr does a seriously great job at condensing her lively and vibrating energy into a few words that express her best.  Confident, level-headed and humble as can be, it was pure joy chatting with Jacki about her story and the legacy she intends on leaving in this world.

The epitome of authentic living, Carr’s found her purpose in connecting, inspiring and creating with others through goal coaching and public speaking.

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Beautiful Abundance + Human Interaction

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Finding lululemon athletica and mentor Susanne Conrad at the “most radical time”, Jacki spent six years growing (both personally and professionally) with the company and shadowing Conrad at leadership and community events.  Working with a culture of like-minded goal crushers, her vision began to unfold organically and lead her to take an intensive training directly with Conrad, certifying her as an igolu (pronounced i-goal-you) leader <a body of innovative communication, vision, goal-setting and leadership training work that she certifies others to lead.>

With training under her belt and the intuition that this was something she could offer to the world, she set off to finding her voice and creating a vibration of leadership and intention. OH and then a little thing called “Rock Your Bliss” became a reality. Sitting on the beach with best friend and game-changer Mary-Beth, their idea of transformation through the power of yoga, coaching and community aligned like magic and the fun began.

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So what IS Bliss exactly? To Jacki,  “Bliss is that sweaty hug after yoga, that high five after crossing a finish line, that moment you start to feel tears well in the corner of your eyes from sheer joy, the heart flutter where you question if your heart is an actual muscle or a radical butterfly, for real?  Bliss is you being you at your most powerful vibration, me being me in my most connected space, and us, being the World, creating magic through human connection and living bigger because we are rocking the bliss. BOOM.” 

As I sit and write this in the Northwest cold, the Rock Your Bliss crew is down in Sayulita, Mexico soaking up the sun and moving from one enjoyable activity to the next.  Yoga, goal coaching, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, meditating and surfing are just a few things on the menu while the actual meal menus are created from scratch using only the freshest ingredients.

My new goal? Register for their next retreat!

Keep up with Jacki & the Bliss crafters movement

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Twitter, Facebook, instagram

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(All photos compliments of Jacki Carr)

Jewelry Design // Prism & Sol

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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt 

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Designs inspired by the elements: Earth, Sun, Sky & Ocean 

Communication with Linda, the creative behind Prism & Sol began when I was one week out from leaving Hawaii and she was already 7 months into her road trip on the mainland. After ten years on Maui, Linda and her fiancé decided to switch gears and left the islands in search of mountain towns, cold rivers, road trips, backpacking adventures, and a new perspective.  Starting their trip in San Francisco (with their 80 lb pup in tow), the three of them ventured down California, through the souther states and back up the Atlantic Coast, finally taking some respite in Vermont.  A conversation that began with questions regarding her stunning  jewelry line quickly flowed and weaved into more personal discussion on everything from moving, faith, transitions and living in the present.

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Let’s rewind a few years back… finding a muddy box full of beading materials underneath her porch, Linda began creating jewelry for herself and eventually took classes to further her craft.  Receiving encouraging feedback on her choice of hobby, she started selling her gems in the bikini shop she was managing and  shifting more energy into production.  Fast forward to launching her first collection in spring of April 2013, Linda has watched Prism & Sol transform from a small grassroots idea , to being featured in popular fashion blogs and receiving shout outs from talented well known designers.

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instagram: PRISMANDSOL

I hope I don’t make it sound like she fell asleep one night and woke up to success, because it hasn’t come without sacrifice and stepping out of her comfort zone (hence the 8 month road trip!) And while the adventure began as part of a search to the question of where to settle down, the trip encompassed more lessons than Linda could have imagined, and did eventually answer their question (Linda and her fiancé are now back in Maui.) While the trip didn’t lead to a permanent switch in location, Linda is thankful for the temporary change of scenery and learned to embrace and not resist change.  Taking residence in a quintessential cabin in an isolated mountain area, the quiet time allowed her to set up a home studio and put more energy into creating.  Happy to be pouring her passion into Prism & Sol, she advises fellow female entrepreneuers to get clear about their own visions and dreams. Ask yourself, “What does it look like coming into fruition?”  Then start moving, taking little and realistic steps to get there.  Moreover, BELIEVE in your ability to fulfill those dreams.  Putting yourself out there to the world is scary, but take that leap of faith and walk self-assured.

Moving forward, Linda is most excited about re-grounding in Maui, getting back to the surf, and seeing how Prism & Sol evolves.  I personally love seeing the prosperity of Linda and Prism because of the undeniable affection and work that goes into everything she creates. [She confessed she falls in love with every piece she makes] which makes owning one of her creations even that more special. Be on the lookout for Prism & Sol’s second collection coming soon!

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[“Prism + Sol jewelry is our passion project; created out of love and designed with nature in mind.  We hand craft each piece in our little jungle studio on the North shore of Maui.  Silver + gold, gemstones + crystals, seashells + beach glass combine to create feminine and simple, yet bold and eye-catching designs.  Drawing from the ocean, the jungle, and our adventures on the road, we have created a versatile collection – appealing to beach+babes, gypsies, and free spirits alike.”]

Sound like you? Follow & stay connected via…

Website

Facebook

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<<All photos courtesy of Prism & Sol>>

Outdoor Magazine : Whitney James

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Nothing makes me happier than being outdoors.  Since starting Modern Muse, I’ve found myself gravitating towards females who feel the same; who speak my language when it comes to being in nature. Through social media and blogging, I’ve met a handful of rad gals who prefer craft beer over cosmos and camping over 5 star hotels.  One of these ladies is Whitney James.  Hailling from the great state of Washington but finding home in Colorado, James recently scored her dream job at Outside Magazine after “stalking” the publication for over 3 years. I actually just missed her when I made the move to Washington and she made her move to New Mexico to start her new job! I have faith that one of these days our paths will cross in real life, but for now read a little bit more about her initiation to the outdoors (huge thanks to her parents) and the best adventures she’s ever had.

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How did you become such an outdoor enthusiast? 

I like to tell people I spent my entire childhood outdoors. Since I was only allowed to watch an hour of TV each week, this is pretty accurate. Camping trips, skiing, hiking and biking were a regular occurrence, thanks to my Dad. Except back then, I didn’t thank him. I think I wanted to watch more TV.

Why do you think it’s important to stay connected to the Outdoors?

People no longer live in spaces that are real. Between social media and your inbox, everything is two feet away from your face on a digital screen. Unplugging is absolutely crucial if you want to wake up five years from now and wonder what you’ve done with your life. Real experiences – the ones you remember – happen outdoors. 

How did you land your gig at Outdoor Magazine?

I’d been stalking Outside Magazine for over three years – ever since I picked it off my then-boyfriend’s coffee table. It was love at first sight, and I sent in pitches, stalked editors on Twitter, and applied for every opening. Finally, I threw my hands in the air and sent my résumé to a friend of a friend as a last chance. Three months later, I got an e-mail that my résumé had made it, and I had a job offer. I was packing my bags for Santa Fe before I hung up the phone!

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What is your role there?

I was hired to put together the Summer Buyer’s Guide, the twice-yearly roundup of the best new products in the outdoor industry. The whole thing consisted of wrangling over 500 pieces of gear and fact checking every word in the issue. It hits stands late April. My next move is as digital marketing manager at Outside GO, the newly partnered adventure-travel company. 

Where were you born and where do you live?

I was born in Issaquah, Washington, outside of Seattle. I found Boulder, Colorado after college and will never leave. When I drove into town the first time, I actually rear-ended someone because I couldn’t take my eyes off the mountains.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Wake up, eat a donut, head to work. I get my miles in afterwards on my mountain bike or the running trails around town. I try to catch every sunset I can, so I’m typically outside until it’s dark – year round, if possible.

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When do you feel most alive? 

Writing. After that, running. 

What did you want to be growing up?

When I was five, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. Since then, I’ve wanted to be a writer. But I’d also like a very expensive cabin in the mountains – so I’m going to combine my love of storytelling with the outdoor industry in any way I can, whether that means through online advertising or writing feature stories.

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What has your path looked like to achieve your goals?

It’s been sporadic, but a steady march. I wrangled horses on a ranch after college before becoming part of a two-person marketing team at a now very successful robotics start-up. Surprisingly, I learned lessons and skills at both jobs that I’m able to shape to my advantage now.

What does your goals list look like now? 

That’s the thing no one talks about – what happens when you achieve your goals. Because I wanted to work for Outside Magazine for so long, I’m facing a goal deficit. You first have to know what you want, then work on achieving it. I’m trying to figure that out again.

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What is your fav thing to do when you’re not working?

Work out. I’m a constant beginner, whether it’s running, climbing, fishing or mountain biking, so I always have something to work on. It’s an endless challenge, and I reward myself with a lot of craft-brewed beer.

What is one of the best adventures you’ve ever had? 

The most memorable was an impromptu camping trip my best friend and I took last summer up to Stehekin at the top of Lake Chelan in Washington State. We hitchhiked by boat to the remote campsite with nothing more than a two-person hammock and a loaf of banana bread, and ended up nearly dead from dehydration, West Nile virus, and sun burns. It was the best overnighter, ever!

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What supplies you with STOKE?

Working hard and having it pay off. Whether it’s nailing a descent I’ve been trying to ride for weeks or seeing my name in an issue of Outside Magazine, nothing beats the feeling of well-earned accomplishment. That and fish tacos.  

Best advice for novice females looking to get into outdoor pursuits?

It does not matter if you’re a beginner. The best thing you can do is set your mind to a small goal – like finding a group of people who want to play outside – and go full steam ahead from there. The only thing you need is a good attitude. You’re going to fail, and it’s probably going to bruise, but that’s part of the fun.

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Words you live by?

Things don’t just happen for a reason. They happen because you make them.

Any upcoming projects you’re excited about? 

I’ve never been so excited about my future career. I can’t wait to dive into work for Outside GO and see where we end up. Five years from now, I’m fully expecting to think, “Wow, that was the beginning of the best time of my life.” 

5 things you can’t live without? 

I’d love to say something poetic like my leather Moleskine, but let’s get real. My F150, my Canon DSLR, and my iPhone. Then my mountain bike and my Tom Ford sunglasses.

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Make sure to follow Whitney at her site Handwritten, where “everything posted came to life scribbled on the back of a map, a napkin, or in a notebook.”  🙂

twitter: @whitneyljames

*all photos compliments of Whitney James

Photographer Ashley Camper

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I stand by my last blog post that boasts LOVE brings sunshine to any season and warmth in any temperature.   But I’m pretty sure the universe saw this as an open invitation to test my statement by significantly dropping the temperatures. The past couple of days in Seattle have been literally FREEZING. I ran around Greenlake this morning and sections of the lake were actually frozen.  It was somewhere around 20 degrees (high of 32 today!) and just half an hour earlier, I was waking from a very real dream of surfing in Hawaii.  Sometimes it’s hard to catch up with friends or check social media knowing what I’m going to see. I admit, it’s hard to see pictures of Hawaii nei when I have to put on 5 layers before I step outside.  However one account I will faithfully follow, regardless if it makes me homesick is photographer (*and my first Modern Muse*) Ashley Camper. <<@ashleycamper>> Many mahalos to Camper for chatting with me and sharing her story so I could in turn, share with you. 😀Enjoy!

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A temporary move to Maui in 2006 proved to be fateful  for photographer Ashley Camper as, seven years later, she’s still dwelling on the Valley Isle. [Disclaimer: The islands will do that to you.] The move came after college when jumbled life plans and the inevitable question of “what next?” dances through mosts graduates, minds. Majoring in photojournalism, Camper’s style works extremely well in Hawaii but stays consistent no matter where she travels. . Organic, youthful and fun are a few obvious adjectives used to describe her free-spirited lifestyle photography.  Below Camper talks more about her style, her inspiration and a few simple words to live by.

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all images provided by Ashley Camper

How long have you been into photography?

I’ve always been into art; drawing mostly and started taking more and more photography classes in high school and it stayed a hobby until my second year in college that I realized it could be a career.  I switched my major from Speech Pathology (after being told numerous times I mumble 😉 to Photojournalism and went from there.
Was it a talent that came naturally or did you have to study//work @ it?
I believe the eye for art comes naturally but no matter what your craft I feel you always have to work at it…and improve yourself.  I defiantly had to work at it (and still do)… evolving your work is key.
How would you describe your photos?
It’s hard describing your own work but I’d say organic, fun and in the moment
What supplies you with STOKE?
Shooting for one and seeing a project that I’ve been working on finally come full circle in the camera…when a vision comes to light.
Do you have a favorite theme//genre to shoot?
People.. People doing cool stuff.  I have that documentary background and i feel I still use it in everything I shoot.  I want people to look at one of my photos and say “I want to be there…”
Do you have a favorite shoot/client you’ve worked with?
I’ve been super lucky to have great friends that I’ve collaborated with and that have really helped shape my style..I love all my clients.  One of my favorites is the Life on the Lakes story I did with Jill Livingston for Kinfolk.  There was a lot of planning, prep and coordination that went into it but the day of (at 4 am) everyone was happy to be hanging out and eating great food.  I have a soft spot for lakes and Minnesota.
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A Weekend Worth Repeating

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Formal Request! I want every weekend to include the elements of this past weekend.

Nature / Friends / Coffee / Quiet Time

The two sacred days held a little bit of everything.

We kicked off the weekend with a climb up Mt. Dickerman.

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With 360 views of beauty at the top, the 4.3 mile climb is 100 % worth it. If you’re hiking on a weekend, get started early. It’s one of the more popular hikes in the North Cascades and over a dozen people were making there way up as we descended down around 11am. With an elevation gain of almost 1,000 ft per mile, your heart will be pumping and lungs expanding in no time. One of my favorite things about this hike was the diversity it provided in the short few miles to the 5723-foot summit. You begin in a dark canopy of forest and a little after half way, hit this open field that had me reminiscing on scenes from the Sound of Music! Blueberry plants line the trail (and thankfully I didn’t notice till the way down, otherwise I would have been stopping every other minute) and wildflowers were plentiful. It’s here you get a glimpse of what you’re in for if you just keeping moving forward. The views at that point were great, but another mile up and they would get unreal.

North, East, South and West my eyes didn’t know where to look! To the north, Baker and White Chuck. Glance East, it’s Sloan and Glacier. Turn South and Rainier (on a clear day) begs to be seen.  And finally west, Pilchuck and Three Fingers stand tall.

Vance Creek Bridge Closure // RIP #thatnwbridge

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Social media blew up this week as Vance Creek Bridge, popularly known as “that NW bridge”, closed after being deemed unfit for public access.  I learned of the closure from the (absurd) amount of Northwest photographers I follow, who all began posting throwback photos and stories of trips to the iconic structure. Soaring 347 feet about a thick forest valley and river in Washington States Olympic Peninsula, it is the second highest railway arch bridge ever built in the US, originally constructed in 1929 for logging purposes. It was eventually abandoned in the 1950’s and now rests on private property…. which didn’t dissuade people from trespassing and hiking the short distance to the breathtaking destination. This was the case for me and my friend Abbie as we left Seattle mid morning a few months back to finally check the hype of the bridge. With easy to grab directions from blogs, we road tripped south for the promise of adventure and heart stopping heights.  We ran into a handful of other day trippers, all of us reaching for our cameras, eyes on the views as much as on our precious footing. With a huge drop off on both sides and large gaps in between each steps, the 800 ft walk on this rickety railroad is no leisurely stroll.  The closure is a bummer for anyone who wasn’t able to experience it’s beauty, but I am deeply grateful we made it in time to spend a warm summer day on that Northwest bridge.

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Living Groundless + Pursuing Passion

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There are a million ways to live this life, billions of decisions we make from the time we are born to the time we die that shape our world and reality.  If we only have one shot at it, I constantly ask myself, am I making the most of it? How am I choosing to live this one unique and exceptional life?  I’ve always been an advocate for following dreams and pursuing passions over adopting the traditional socially accepted life. Then I suddenly found myself caught up in it. Forcing myself to believe that this was the time in my life to get “serious”, I talked myself into thinking that responsibility meant an 8-5 and putting my appetite for creative living aside. I watched myself warp into a new and unfamiliar world, appreciating the perks of steadiness, routine and schedule but watching my work life balance suffer and energy deplete. Yoga, my anchor and truest connection to myself, was practically non-existent. I went from practicing 5 days a week and teaching to a weekend practitioner whose body was sore after a Hatha class. My mind-body intelligence began to deteriorate. My connection to intuition was still pulsing lightly but I didn’t have the energy to listen to it. Most days I felt just enough stamina at the end of the day to get something active in, eat dinner and go to sleep. As much as I love and thrive off community, I found myself with little to contribute and more eager to spend my time alone.

Plain and simple I was tired.

Tired of fighting the idea that I needed to grow up and out of my ideas of what adult life should look like. Tired of thinking there was only a few routes to take and that I needed to be on one of them. Tired of not following my path when I know damn well what fuels and inspires me.

I was exhausted from feeling inauthentic to my needs.  So I gave in and leaned into trust.

And here’s the thing I’ve realized… we believe we have tomorrow. We assure ourselves that eventually, we will be in the position to attain what we really want. We feel secure in our jobs, relationships, mortgages and material possession.  We find comfort in the fact that our bank account reads sufficient, we have a great looking resume and a place to rest our head at night.  We feel sheltered and shielded from the harsh realities other people face, but lack the ideation that it could just as easily be us.

We are groundless and we need to start living like it. Nothing in this world can cease suffering. Nothing will block aging (sorry botox) and sickness and death.  Nothing will give us security no matter how hard we try. If we all realized how utterly precious this gift called LIFE is,  maybe we wouldn’t be so hesitant to act on our dreams? Maybe our individual human story would read a little differently? Sure, maybe you can act tomorrow. But maybe you can’t.

Do it now.

Howard Thurman, an influential philosopher, educator and civil rights leader said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  His famous words are a mantra to my next chapter and I hope a source of inspiration that move you closer towards living groundless, present and in full gratitude. – mahalo nui xo

Escape to the North Cascades // A Return to Reality

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This photo describes my mentality this past 4th of July weekend.  This was the bridge between civilization and wilderness. While most were planning parties centered around beer, food and fireworks, I wanted to say ‘peace out’ to society and get lost in the grandeur of the mountains.  My wish was granted as Thursday after work, I immediately turned my phone off and relaxed in the passenger seat as Jared and I drove north towards to the Cascades.

What followed was three days of no scheduled bliss. We were on nature’s agenda,  relinquishing the thought that anything needed to get accomplished.   In that space of stepping away from expectations and culture, I took a step back into myself.  With no real contact to the outside world, no social media to share photos, no distractions really of any kind, I had a beautiful opportunity to be present, which I find increasingly difficult in our fast paced, overly connected world.

It’s been a difficult transition back to reality and responsibility even if I only “checked out” for 72 hours. Maybe because in the vastness of the great outdoors, I started asking myself bigger and boundless questions.

Stepping deep into nature, I am not crowded with preceptions of how life should be lived.  I’m not bombarded with conflicting ideas and not concerned with society standards.  I don’t care how I am perceived (obviously after spending 3 days of not showering/shaving my legs) and my overactive judgmental brain turns off while my creative musings turn on. I am stimulated by the richness of the greenery, the innate knowledge of creation and the lack of haste from the plants to the animals.  There is space for me to just be. Space for my ego to drop and the capacity to be vulnerable and sit with the considerable questions that I don’t have the answers to.

Back in the city, my fresh renewed mind becomes mobbed and diluted with noise that I can’t seem to shut out.  I am at a loss for time. As much as I try to contain that peaceful easy feeling during my escape, it’s slipping through my fingers and I can only clutch on to moments.  How do I hold on to that rooted sense of peace that was so tangible mere days ago?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

Aloha Friday + Daily Gratitude

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It’s time for a gratitude list. Gratitude is a value I hold highly and it’s been teetering on the extremes. I am either fully enveloped in it, drowning in acknowledgment of life’s gifts- or commiserating in my quesitons and feeling helpless to situations. The easiest thing to do to gain perspective?  Write down a thank you list. 🙂 So here is mine, to lift spirits and remind me that I should be exhaulting in thanks every single day. Share what’s on your list!

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1.) Fresh Produce straight from the garden! While it is still one of my resolutions to have my own full on garden, until then I will gladly pick my veggies from the Carvitto family’s backyard.  There’s something about getting your hands dirty for food that satisfies your soul and your stomach.

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2.) One place I continue to have unwavering gratitude is for this man. I’m smitten kitten and so happy to be living in the same place, going on adventures like this one! A beautiful hike to Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth. (And yes this was taken just a few weeks ago. I never would have thought I would see snow in June?)

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3.) Daisy – I can’t underestimate the joy and happiness she brings into people’s lives. I’m not just talking about the people who are taking rides in her either. When we’re driving, it’s not uncommon to see heaps of smiles and people pumping their fist in approval from the sidewalks and other cars. One can’t help but appreciate the good vibes this big green bus gives.

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4.) New Experiences + Pushing Boundaries : I rocked climbed for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve never been scared of heights and always down for a challenge, but it provoked different emotions than I would have ever guessed. While I trusted my belayer below me, I got stuck a few times in trusting myself to make the next move. I got so near the top with one HUGE (at least it looked huge) obstacle above me and I remember thinking, muscles shaking, I can’t do this. I voiced my surrender to the group below and was assured immediately that I could. And I did. With a lot of help! Standing at the top, I was literally almost in tears because I was so happy. Teamwork + Trust = Success.

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5.) Finding my favorite flowers (that I didn’t even plant) growing outside in my front yard. The PNW is rich with diverse and sweet smelling blossoms. Walking around my neighborhood I am literally hit with nectarous scents. That combined with the pops of color instantly put me in a peaceful and happy mood.

What’s on your gratitude list? What provides you with an instant lift?

Motivation Monday: Give Thanks // Get Moving

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unnamed1 (1)Yesterday morning I woke up, threw on my running shoes and was about to walk out the door with my headphones on when I stopped and listened to the quiet. It had been a while since I went on a pure run with no Spotify playlist to keep me going, without a watch or timer in hand and without knowing exactly where I was headed and when it would be over.   I set my phone down and started towards the mountains. (Yes those mountains in the picture.)

Summer is officially upon us and the sun is beckoning more moments in it’s presence.  More heat = less clothing and for females around the world – swimsuit season.  I didn’t think about it much while living in Hawaii because everyday was bikini day but there is a legimate fear around the summer season and being “beach ready.”

I get it.  Winter this year meant layers, warm heavier foods and a strange detachment from my paler than normal body. My main concern was just surviving the winter and keeping blood circulating to my fingers and toes. With the transition of the season and the freeing of my down jackets, I am so ready to get moving and get tan.

I hear so many complaints about working out and the groans of having to do double days at the gym. I got to thinking, what if we didn’t look at “working out” as work? What if we stopped looking at it as a way to fit into our skinny jeans and instead, a way to enjoy movement and keep our bodies healthy? Next time you have a negative thought about getting your sweat on, think about how you would feel if the luxury was taken away from you? We take this form for granted and forget that we are lucky to have healthy functioning bodies that WANT to move and bend and stretch and work. We have a heart that wants to beat faster and louder and pump stronger.  Our bodies perform all these amazing functions every second without two thoughts and we often fall short of thanking them in a rightful manner.

If you hate the gym, don’t go. Find an alternative activity that you are stoked to do. Run, swim, rock climb, do yoga, paddle, play tennis, dance in your living room, ride your bike, kick box or go to cross fit. EXPLORE options. Ask friends to go to class with you. Schedule in a time to give back to you body. Just keep moving. Just keeping giving thanks to the powerful and capable shape you’ve been given. What are your favorite ways to sweat?

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