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?

48 Hours in San Francisco

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I promised to update my travels in real time, but I’ve found it difficult to do as every weekend has found me back on the road or on a plane. That little responsibility called a job has me tied down during the weekdays and the weather has been TOO BEAUTIFUL in Seattle to even think about staying inside come 5 o’clock. However, I’ve finally been able to upload my photos and reflect back on some weekend warrior trips.

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A month ago, a small group of us flew down to San Francisco to surprise Jared’s brother for his birthday.  Growing up near the Bay Area, I have spent my fair share of time in the city,  yet every trip offers new perspective, hidden gems and new neighborhoods to explore.  It would be impossible to create an extensive guide for exploring the diverse districts and the countless breweries and restaurants to try. In an effort to keep it simple, I’m giving a breakdown of the most mentionable moments of our 48 hours in the city.

 

 

 

 

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City Views from Parc 55

Stay

Parc 55 Hotel: If you are looking for something central, Parc 55 is hard to beat. Situated right in Union Square (the most visited neighborhood in SF) you’ll find Bart station, the 9-Story Westfield SF Centre and some of the cities most popular restaurants and cafes. Which leads me to…

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Eat

Dotties: Be prepared to wait in line and definitely bring a snack if you are prone to getting “hangry” (hungry + angry). We took the suggestion from a barista and waited , waited and waited for the restaurant to be able to sit our party of 6. Mistake #1, split up if you have a large party. Breakfast turned into lunch but I have to say it was worth it. We definitely ate enough for 2 meals and still had food to take home. Known for their baked goods, we succeeded in ordering 6 muffins.  With flavors like red velvet and blueberry cream cheese we had to try one of each! I would be more strategic in my approach to eating at Dotties again, but I would definitely do it (in my stretchy pants).

Drink

Rouge Ales Public House: After a longer afternoon of walking up and down San Francisco’s hilly streets, nothing satisfies thirst like a solid beer. We sat outside in the sun, toasted to Jakes birth and enjoyed the giddy feeling of beer buzz and sunlight.

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Sightglass Coffee // Ritual Coffee Roasters:  Because adventures don’t really begin without coffee.

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Andy’s Coffee Roasters was my favorite. Small and cozy, the husband and wife team working behind the counter own the quaint shop in the Sunset District. Away from the hustle and bustle of the loud city and only a few blocks from the surf, if I lived in SF you would find me here on the daily.

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Entertainment 

If you’re traveling on a budget, Fishermans Wharf provides free fun with street shows and people watching. A run through Golden Gate Park takes you away from the concrete jungle and into green, with over 1,000 acres to explore. And in true fashion of keeping close to the Sea, a stop to walk by the Ocean and pick seashells and sand dollars is a must.

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Till the next city venture, I want to know where you go in San Francisco. Tell me your favorite sites, dive bars, swanky clubs, museums, and districts. Ready, get set, GO!

Motivation Monday : Project Gratitude

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GRATITUDE

It’s one of my favorite words and a strong guiding value in my life. I don’t know how many times a day I quietly send a thank you to the creator for the AMAZINGNESS that keeps unfolding before my eyes.  With Thanksgiving around the corner, our awareness shifts to being thankful because the external world promotes Thanksgiving holiday complete with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie! ( 3 very great things to be thankful for ;) ) But what about every other day of the year? My good friend and editor of Vibrant Wellness Journal came up with “Project Gratitude”, to celebrate thanks and giving for an entire month.  If you’re feeling inspired, join me in Project Gratitude by sharing images//photos//quotes//writing about what makes you feel blessed =) Hashtag #projectgratitude and your post may end up on Vibrant Wellness Journal :)

Although the project doesn’t officially begin until November 1st, I’m bubbling with appreciation so I’m starting early!

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Today, I am thankful to have spent the weekend with my yogi community + Paul Miller Ortega as we were initiated in the practice of Neelakantha Meditation. There is too much to say and not enough I couldsay about the experience.  So instead of using my own words, which could never do justice, I will quote Paul, “Our practice of Neelakantha Meditation is an ancient, beautiful, sophisticated, and deeply refined method by means of which we come to know this transcendental, mysterious, deeply present reality of everything everywhere. The first and most important place we come to know it is within ourselves.” A lifelong journey I am more than ready to begin. :)

What are you feeling grateful for today?

Aloha Friday : Break up with Boring

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This weekend  I urge you to break up with boring.  Step away from your rituals and comfort zone.  Find an area in your life where you’ve felt less than satisfied and give it some extra love. Life is anything but boring, don’t treat it as such.  We hold the responsibility to wake up and LIVE each day to it’s maximum potential.  Don’t let everyday obligations crowd your schedule and force out the necessity for FUN.  Actually, if you’re going to add anything more to your agenda, it should be time to engage in some unexpected shenanigans.

Anyone have epic plans this weekend?! Share your ideas! Aloha nui xoxo

Dirtbag Darling spotlights || DAISY ||

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Who is Daisy? Daisy is my boyfriend’s 1979 VW bus that has been supplying the stoke to not only him and I, but friends and family since her purchase this past January.  She is a true adventuremobile, a bus who has seen more states and sights this  year than some have seen in their entire life.  I’m super blessed to have a man whose love for nature and thirst for expanding experiences reflects my own- keeping us planning for the next big trip and daydreaming about all the places that need to be explored.

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Thanks Dirtbag Darling for sharing Daisy’s story and being a source of inspiration for the ladies who love a challenge and the great outdoors!

Check out the story at Dirtbag Darling and look around to get tips on everything from climbing, hiking, traveling, gear, health and fitness.

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