Archive 2015 January

Anniversary

I logged into WordPress today with the intention of explaining my serious blogging absence in the past couple weeks (a combination of an amazing vacation and a series of unfortunate events before and after I left) only to find this notification:

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Wow. 3 years of consistently keeping up with a writing outlet. I never thought this blog would be viral or a source of income. All I wanted was a place where I could keep going back to in an effort to sort out everything in my mind and share my experiences with college, career, love, and travel as they occurred in the hopes that others might relate.

After all, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

I remember starting this blog as a sophomore in college in the eye sore of an apartment I shared in Minneapolis with four people who grew to become some of my closest friends. I was actually able to see all four of them when I was home two weeks ago and it was incredible. The joy I feel when I am with college friends is like no other.

I grew so much during my time at the U of M. And I was so unaware of the growth that was occurring. I became this person who no longer tried to be another sheep in the herd. I became me. This opinionated, sassy, strong, determined college student who wore what she wanted and did what she wanted and was confident in her relationships and her internships and took 19 credit semesters without a blink of an eye and traveled as much as my poor college budget would allow.

But at the time I was completely unaware. When I started this blog, I remember it was the beginning of my spring semester and I’d been inspired to do so because so many people in my journalism classes already had blogs of their own. I was trying to be like everyone else. I was insecure in my long distance relationship because we were still trying to figure out how dating while he lived in Arizona and I lived in Minnesota would work. I felt like nothing I wore was right and I was inadequate at my internship for KSTP Channel 5 as a Communications Intern for a political correspondent. Everyone else seemed to know so much more.

But looking back? I learned so much that semester, and the semesters that followed. I was growing and learning and experiencing and doing so amazingly well in school and my internships and I was so completely oblivious.

As I sit here in Fairbanks, Alaska on a -30 degree day doing chores I’ve neglected, exhausted from the endlessly cold temperatures and a draining first week back to work after vacation I’m trying to be thankful that my pipes are no longer frozen, and I don’t have to drive my unreliable spare car anywhere. But I’m realizing one thing.

I will look back on this as a time of growth. 

Because everything that has happened in the past month has forced me to change and adapt and to cope. Every trial that has occurred has taught me something. And maybe the lesson is so simple as remembering for the rest of my life that nothing was as hard to deal with as that January in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2015. I can handle anything that life throws at me because I made it through this.

Maybe that’s a naive thought, but I have to believe that in three years from this day I’ll look back on this time as meaningful. As necessary to get where I’m going.

All I know is I wish I would have believed in myself every single day of college, and I don’t want to have that same wish for myself three years from today.

So,

Congratulations to me, on three years of sticking with this blog and believing in the art of sharing my experiences with others. But also congratulations to me on living alone for 6 weeks in one of the coldest, most remote places on earth. For tackling all the problems that tried to knock me down, and becoming stronger and more knowledgeable in spite of them.

And cheers to me on January 31, 2018.

I bet you are one kick ass, intelligent, strong woman wherever you’re living and whatever you’re doing. But for both our sanity,I hope your days in subzero temperatures are done for good.

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Camille Mae (2)

Travel Tuesday: Carry-On Packing Tips for a Long Flight

Travel Tuesday: Carry-On Packing Tips for a Long Flight

I have flown to and from Alaska on six different occasions.

Six occasions flying either all day or all night over 3000 miles to Minnesota (on our trip to Alabama/New Orleans it was 4200!) and 3000 miles back. Although it’s not an “international” flight, 6-16 hours on flights and airports has given me some valuable insight into absolutely everything needed in the perfect carry-on.

Mostly because I’ve forgotten each and every one of these items at what point or another and it’s made for some rough flying.

On Thursday, it will mark seven long flights from Alaska. And on Thursday I intend to be prepared.

Here’s my perfect carry on for a long or red eye flight cross country (or across the world):

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1. Neck Pillow – because there’s nothing quite worse than wanting to take a snooze and having nothing but the cold hard shell of the plane, one of my neighbors, or the table in front of me to lay my head.

2. Duluth Pack Messenger Bag – I swear by this amazing company and their quality products, but any tough bag with a long strap to either hold on your shoulder or across your body will do. I prefer these over backpacks because no one can unzip a section without me noticing.

3. Cell-Phone Charger – Obvious reasons.

4. A Good Read – I prefer a fiction read I’ve already started so I know I won’t be bored. If your poison is a trash romance novel or Cosmo, go for it. Bring something that doesn’t require you to stare at a screen and give yourself a headache in the dim lighting of the cabin.

5. A Change of Clothes – If I have connections I bring a change of clothes in case my baggage is delayed. But for overnight flights like on Thursday, I bring clothes so I can freshen up at my destination when I land. Nothing worse than trying to start your vacation in musty, slept in clothes.

6. Cell Phone & Head Phones – The cellphone is obvious, but I try to never forget headphones. The airline’s headphones are usually pretty cheap and there’s something so hygienic for me about bringing my own.

7. Personal Care Products – To freshen up. If something gets in my teeth? If a long nap leaves me feeling grungy? It feels so good to have lotion*, toothpaste, and deodorant.

*After I took the picture, I noticed that lotion is too big, make sure it’s less than 3oz!

8. Sleeping Mask – Although the cabin is dimly lit on overnight flights, everyone around me could decide to read or watch a movie and suddenly my eyelids are just not doing the trick. I bring an eye mask to help block out all the chaos.

9. 100 Calorie Almond Packs – Nuts are filling and delicious. They prevent me from opting for carbohydrate-filled cookies or pretzels, and if I get the portion sized, I won’t overeat unlike a bag of dangerous trail mix.

10. Supplements/Medicine – I put them all in one baggy so I’m not patrolling around the bottom of my purse for them. I bring Airborne or Vitamin C tablets, Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol pills, and any prescriptions/supplements I take.

11. Liquids in a Quart Bag – Face wash, liquid make up, toothpaste, and this is also where I’d put the correctly sized lotion!

12. Make Up – I use mainly powder Bare Minerals, so most of my make-up can be put into it’s own bag. I don’t always bring make-up in my carry-on, but on Thursday I’m jumping right into activities and would like to be looking like I haven’t just been on flights all evening…

13. Clorox Wipes in a To-Go Pack – Last but definitely not least. I’m bringing Clorox wipes for the first time ever. I have gotten sick on 4 of 6 trips leaving Alaska. Those odds are not in my favor. I hope being the super germaphobe passenger who wipes down the table, arm rests, and head rests will prevent a cold or flu from killing my immune system. I have super cute nieces/nephews who also send me back filled with germs, but unfortunately I can’t Clorox those rugrats. 

Pick a carry-on bag that all of the items fit very comfortably into, but that you can still stow underneath your seat. I have found that it’s a hassle to have the wheeled carry-ons that must be stowed overhead. Overhead space runs out quickly now days and frankly it’s just easier to bring less stuff aboard the plane. I am even able to fit my thin Fossil purse in my Duluth Pack bag if need be. My purse I’ll note will hold non-liquid chapstick, my wallet, my retainers, my tickets, and anything else of value.

This is basically all I bring throughout the airports and on my flights.

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If I can sleep, stay healthy, and arrive at my destination looking somewhat fresh and ready to go I will deem this trip and my carry-on bags an absolute success.

Happy Travels!

Camille Mae (2)

Anxious? Here are some nice words.

Anxious? Here are some nice words.

This week has been…hard.

I would say the hardest of my life, but I’ve had one week more difficult in my recollection.We’ll just stick to this week being incredibly hard.

I can’t talk about it due to a plethora of personal reasons.

But I need to write something comforting to get me through this next week, because today is a day for self care. It’s a day for anxiety-reducing yoga, green tea, simple foods, reading, painting my nails, light cleaning, and beginning to pack for my trip.

It’s also the day for comforting quotes. So if anyone else is having a hard week, struggling with fear and anxiety, feeling scared and alone, or anything else – these are for you and me.

“You forgive yourself for every failure because you are trying to do the right thing. God knows that and you know it. Nobody else may know it.”

Maya Angelou

“Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, So what. That’s one of my favorite things to say. So what.”

– Andy Warhol

“As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does: It improves your hearing, your eyesight, lowers your blood pressure, increases pulmonary function, cardiac output, and helps wiring the musculature. So, if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So, this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh love yourself honey. This is hardcore science.”

– Dr. Christiane Northrop

Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.

-Astrid Alauda

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
– Steve Maraboli

Check out this Thought Catalog article if you’re looking for more. I’m going to try and practice these wise words actively in my life today. This chilly view with warm tea and a book seems to be a good place to start.

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Stay tuned for my Travel Tuesday post on the perfect carry-on for a red-eye flight.

Camille Mae (2)

2015 Reading List

What should you read this year? Here’s my list!

2015  Book List

1. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Just started reading this! It follows the story of a young boy named Amir in the district of Kabul in Afghanistan. Besides being a National Bestseller, the book’s plot precedes the rise of the Taliban in the country. It’s an excellent read so far.

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2. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

The subtitle summarizes the story. The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. I am very excited to read this brave girl’s story.

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3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Considered a classic for the ages. I read Pride & Prejudice in high school, and I’ve heard this Bronte novel is just as good. I won’t be deterred by the solemn-faced cover…

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4. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Ever since I saw the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I’ve been fascinated by this story and had the luck of finding it on sale at Barnes & Noble this week.

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5. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I read Flynn’s other two books. I was enamored and disturbed beyond words. I look forward to her third book being equally insane.

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6. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

Confession. I started this one in 2014, and I finished it on the 1st. SO GOOD. If you like thrillers or anything by Gillian Flynn, this book is a win.

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7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

An autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. It’s unfortunate that I waited until after her death to look into her writing as the more research I’ve done, the more I can’t wait to start this book.

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8. Less is More by Cecile Andrews & Wanda Urbanska

My dad sent this one my way because of my parent’s feelings towards minimalism. Since I’m not very materialistic, I think it could be a great read. I may even encourage my husband to read it next…

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9. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

A novel based on Kerouac & his friends’ travels across America.

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10. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

The dystopian fiction novel written long before dystopian fiction was cool. Long before as in 1931.

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11. The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R Tolkien

I loved the movies. I hate myself for not reading the books first. I hope to make up for it by reading them now.

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12. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I read the plot on Amazon and I think it sounds sweet and light. After all the classics I intend to read this year, it’ll be nice to have an easier read.

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13. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

My husband I made a deal in 2012. He reads Looking for Alaska (my favorite book of all time) and I read Ender’s Game. He read Looking for Alaska right after we made our deal.

I think it’s my turn (3 years later).

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14. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

“A dissection of American life in the 1960’s.” The plot summary sounds eerie, historically informative, and right up my alley.

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15. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

The story between the friendship two girls that unfolds over twenty years, from 12 years old to their 30th birthdays. Considering I met my best friend at 10 and we’re still close as can be, I’m hoping it’s a sweet story about life long friendship. Gina, if you’re reading this – add it to your list! Also – Judy Blume.

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16. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe

Historical fiction novels are some of my favorite, and this book was compared to Mad Men. Enough said.

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17. Unspeakable Things: Sex Lies & Revolution by Laurie Penny

The description alone has me hooked.

“Unspeakable Things is a fresh look at gender and power in the twenty-first century, which asks difficult questions about dissent and desire, money and masculinity, sexual violence, menial work, mental health, queer politics, and the Internet.”

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18. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

To increase my feminism knowledge. And because Kat Stratford is my spirit animal.

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19. The Ring & The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz

Purposefully picked because it’s described as “The easier to read Game of Thrones”. I love me some YA novels and Da La Cruz’s older series – The Au Pairs – was a guilty pleasure of mine in early high school.

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20. The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

This book was sent to me in the mail by an anonymous address in Illinois. No idea how they got my name or address, and with no name on the return address, I am intrigued. It’s not a book I would typically read but if I have the time – I’d like to try.

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I’m aiming to read 18 out of 20 since I was able to manage 17 books last year. I’ll be happy with finishing at least 15 though. Some of these reads are serious business. I mean they’re not Tolstoy, but I am trying to increase my classic literature education.

What are you you reading in 2015??

Camille Mae (2)

Food & Fitness Friday: Making Reasonable New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the 2nd, so if you’re like me your New Year’s Resolutions are already dutifully typed or written out awaiting completion (or failure) in the year ahead.

And if you’re not like me, your list is blank. Actually you don’t even have a list. Resolutions are pointless. You’re tempted to stop reading.

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Either way – hear me out!

I used to make resolutions along the lines of “lose 10 lbs” and “avoid all sugar”. I’d lose maybe 4 lbs that year and definitely eat way too much sugar feeling discouraged when the year month drew to a close. For health and fitness resolutions last year, I wrote down just one:

“Join Crossfit and try it out for at least 6 months”.

It was simple. Straight forward. Reasonable. And I made it happen. Pick a resolution that’s attainable. Making a resolution to join a fitness class near you that you’ve been too hesitant to follow through with is a great resolution. Fitness classes are a commitment; a monthly fee that you feel guilty about paying without attending. Committing to run a 10K or Half Marathon or even a 5K is another reasonable resolution. You decide, you commit, you pay for the race, and you have to do it.

Want a food resolution that isn’t “no sugar”, “eat healthy”, “eat out less”? Commit to eating out no more than twice a week. Once you hit two meals out, all other meals have to be homemade. Or commit to learn one new recipe a month. Or commit to only putting one junk food item in your grocery cart every week. Just one you have to savor all week long.

Stop telling yourself to “lose weight”, “work out”, and “eat healthy”.

This year, write down:

1. Join those barre fitness classes I keep walking by every day
2. Eat out no more than 3x / week

My own health resolutions for 2015 are:

1. Run at least 10 miles every week (cumulative)
2. Practice self control when eating socially. Pick healthy options when out with my husband or at a get together with friends. Low-cal alcohol, salads, vegetable apps, etc.

The first one is a personal challenge I know I can accomplish with a little motivation. The second resolution is incredibly difficult for me. I am awesome at eating healthy when alone or at work. It’s when I’m surrounded by loved ones I seem to indulge in cookies, pastas, sugary alcohol, and the like. When I’m in those situations in 2015, I want to at least have healthier food in front of me to absentmindedly eat.

The second resolution will seriously be put to the test on my first vacation of 2015. When in Minnesota, I intend to order salads on salads on salads. Except for breakfast. If I’m at a brunch or doughnut shop I don’t intend to mess around…

Creating specific, defined health & fitness resolutions makes it more likely we’ll follow through with them for the whole year instead of  just the first two weeks. Make reasonable resolutions this year. Resolutions you can feel good about accomplishing when 2016 rolls around.

“We are what we repeatedly do.”
–Aristotle

Camille Mae (2)

It’s 2015!!!

Cheers to a New Year! Cheers to new travels, new reads, new health goals, new blog posts, and new adventures with my husband.

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The one and only grainy, dark photo from New Year’s!

Cheers to the wonderful, sometimes challenging, mostly gratitude-filled year that was 2014. It was a calm learning experience after the eventful, insane year that was 2013.

I learned how to be on my own in a location that made me feel very alone, to find excitement in the day before me instead of events happening in the distant future, to lean on myself and my husband instead of family or friends, to grow in my career, to open sunflower seeds correctly, to shampoo a carpet, to wait to get a dog or cat, to cook some mean healthy recipes, to handle a nasty bout of sickness solo (without a mom or roommates to cook or get me anything!), to do things that terrify me because those things may just go down in history as the best moments of my life, and so much more.

It was a year of growth.

But 2015 has all the potential to be my very favorite year yet. It started off with the best looking man I know kissing me at midnight and then a ridiculously healthy omelette first thing this morning, so I’m already feeling pretty positive. I also have more wonderful plans than I can count in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

A few weeks back I blogged about all the exciting travel opportunities coming my way in 2015. Tomorrow, I’m writing about health-related resolutions and my fitness plans in the year ahead. Currently? I am loving Spotify’s Peaceful Indie Ambient playlist, guzzling water, and prepping for my first outdoor run since the snow fell.

As for resolutions?

I have many. I always do. I love writing down things to help me become a better person. I do it monthly and even weekly sometimes. Last year the biggest one was to become more optimistic. My husband agreed with me recently I have definitely been seeing the glass half full more often since this summer.

This year the big one is social media. It’s a huge part of my life because it’s a huge part of my career (and because I am addicted). But I want to make more of an effort to put the phone out of reach when spending quality time with my husband. To spend less time scrolling through feeds when I wake up first thing in the morning. To not stalk people I barely know because I’m bored (so, so guilty of this).

I simply want to make it less of a priority in my life. On my Minnesota vacation in a few weeks, I’m making it my goal to be more present. I have an amazing camera to take pictures of the moments if that’s the excuse I use. I want to stop looking down, and start looking up a bit more. Yes, it’s nice to connect. But it’s also nice to live here and now.

So that’s my 2015 resolution: Live in the moment. Put the phone down. If I want to live someone else’s life, pick up a book. 

Anyone else have that one, big New Year’s Resolution? Any other social media addicts? Any tips on how to disconnect more often and be more present?

“Cause you never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t.”

— Meredith Grey

Camille Mae (2)

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