An update from the 6:30 train

An update from the 6:30 train

Hey! Do you remember me? I’m the girl who used to blog frequently about hiking trips and Alaskan winter struggles and the moving and job searching debacle that was my life for months on end.

Where have I been?

Oh just putting in long days in downtown Seattle at a marketing firm, loving on my cute husband when he’s around, entertaining a plentiful amount of guests, and hanging with my bestie who I now call roomie. I try to squeeze working out in at 4:50 am on weekdays when my eyelids aren’t glued shut and leftovers in at 7pm when I roll in the door. Most weekends I spend one day doing extensive amounts of laundry, cleaning, and errand running and then the other day I’m usually exploring this beautiful place I call home.

Welcome to the chaos that is my life.

Oh and those 80 minutes I’m on a train every day? Well that’s been devoted to zoning out on social media, catching up on the news, and reading fiction books that get me out of reality. By the way, has anyone read The 5th Wave? So damn good! I am such a sucker for young adult fiction. I’m forever and always a sassy teenager at heart, just with better skin.

I don’t mind the craziness. Some days I feel like a bit of a failure when I can’t fit a workout in, but others I feel so proud I’m not spending hours watching Netflix like I did in Alaska. Give and take, I guess?

There are so many things I want to share. From little day trips and hiking excursions, to the best bars and restaurants I’ve tried in Seattle, to tips on how I’m not gaining a hundred pounds when I never have time to work out.

I also want to blog about the real things going on in the world: the presidential election, Paris, women’s rights, organized religion, homelessness, etc. My head is spinning with things I want to say about all these issues, but I never feel like I have enough time to educate myself fully to formulate a post.My blog is usually light and fun, but sometimes I think it’s important to get real. Having to dodge tents and garbage on my walk to work on a public sidewalk in downtown Seattle each and every day when it’s 40 degrees outside and I know people are sleeping inside of those makeshift homes – that’s real.

I obviously haven’t been writing enough since this post is all kinds of getting sidetracked.

My point? I’m trying to make it a priority to update this space since it’s always been such a fun, relaxing part of my life. I know my frequent readers are a small group, but I truly appreciate each and every one of you who have stuck by since first subscribing (even if half of you are related).

Living in Washington has been an exciting, crazy adventure. I want to share all the wild bits of it whenever I can. Even the rough stuff every now and then (as mentioned above) so I keep it real. For example, I’m writing this from the very last train out of Seattle back to the little town we live because I was working for 10 hours straight. I ate my lunch in-between key strokes and spent the last couple hours fixing mistakes I created and waiting on client calls. It’s not always glamorous. Hell, sometimes it’s hard. But tonight on my walk to the train I reminded myself to look UP from my e-mails and from my rush to get home.

And I’m thankful I did.

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Don’t mind the poor quality, I grabbed this shot on Snapchat while saying a silent “thank you” for how lucky I am to live this life I do.

I think I’ll smile at a stranger before I get off this train, hug my husband a little closer when I get home, have more patience for my clients at work tomorrow, and savor that last sip of wine a little more.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
– John F. Kennedy

 

Travel Tuesday: Surfing on Long Beach, WA

Travel Tuesday: Surfing on Long Beach, WA

Last Sunday October 4th, we woke up to the most sunny and beautiful forecast. From where we live east of the Puget Sound all the way to the Pacific coast. Knowing that 70 degrees and sunshine is not typical October weather, we loaded into my Rav4 and made the 2 hour and 40 minute drive to the coastal city of Long Beach to…

SURF!

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The waves were smaller and the ocean was chilly since it was the Washington coast on a calm, clear day. But 70 degrees and sun + our wet suits actually made the Pacific Ocean fairly toasty once my feet went numb (HA).  I get so much anxiety when I do new activities like this, or even when it’s not a new activity but I’m doing it in a new location (skiing in Alaska for the first time, etc.). But I have a set of words that always calm me right down, – “I know it’s scary, but do it anyway.”

I looked at the ocean, I felt the panic rising in my chest, and then I whispered those words to myself. Sure it’s scary. I can’t see the bottom and there could be crabs, or jellies, or sharks lurking but life is short. Do it anyway.

So I did.

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It was a fantastic day. We surfed for 5+ hours with a few breaks to hydrate and eat in between surfing sessions.

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It was SO much fun. From the very first wave I attempted to ride and was plowed over somersaulting in the salty water, I came up for air laughing. Despite being terrible for 4 hours, I enjoyed every second. FINALLY, in the last hour I was able to stand up and ride two waves to completion. Again, small waves. But I still maintain I surfed!

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It was a fantastic day.

I’ll keep this post short and sweet since I am suffering from a wedding hangover and my delivery sushi is on its way (& I wonder why I weigh more now than in college – lol). But if I’m being honest I rather be on the beach this weekend and next weekend and EVERY weekend. No matter how many mountains I climb and cities I explore, my hair/skin/heart love the ocean and the sand.

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.

– Isak Dinesen

Planned Parenthood, and standing up for women’s lives

Planned Parenthood, and standing up for women’s lives

Congress’ pending decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood has been weighing heavy on my heart lately. I know far too many individuals that have been helped by their services, and it’s an issue that hits too close to home as a woman to remain silent.

I am a very political active person, but I try my best to keep my opinions and beliefs to myself on social media and the internet sphere. I have amazing family members and friends whose views differ, and I would be annoyed if they shoved their beliefs down my throat so I try to live by the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

Yes, you’ll note that comes from the bible. I grew up with the bible so I know a thing or to about what it teaches. I also grew up in a Catholic home. Though I am no longer Catholic or religious, I still try to live by that Golden Rule regardless of my changed beliefs. I actually still live by a handful of the verses I learned as a child, because they are unifying words to live by regardless of religion or background.

Words such as, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

So when I think about the fact that Congress and so many “Christian” Americans want to stop funding affordable, accessible healthcare options for women – I am appalled. I am sad. And I am pissed off.

That’s not love. That’s not treating others as you’d like to be treated. That is spiteful, and only hurts the 1 in 5 women in this country who have used Planned Parenthood.

These groups would argue, “But abortions?!”

I say – do your research. 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. 3%. THREE PERCENT. 

Here’s a graph to help make it clear:

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97% of healthcare services performed at Planned Parenthood are not abortions. They are, instead, services affecting the lives of the women AND MEN who seek their help.

Things like:

  • Breast cancer screenings
  • STD testing
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Prenatal services
  • Adoption referrals
  • And (drum roll please) BIRTH CONTROL TO PREVENT PREGNANCY

Here is what the New England Journal of Medicine (among the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world) had to say about Planned Parenthood and the government’s recent actions:

Argument

For the Christian Americans still mad about the 3% of abortions and ignoring all the efforts Planned Parenthood takes in preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place…

The federal dollars that help fund Planned Parenthood come from Title X and Medicaid. Essentially none of that federal funding goes towards the “choice to abort”, and instead only apply to very restricted cases:

“Title X does not allow federal funds to be used for abortions. Medicaid, however, does allow government money to be spent on them — in very restricted cases.

The 1977 Hyde Amendment dictated that federal Medicaid funds could only be used to fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. However, some states have expanded cases in which they will provide funds. Currently, 17 states allow funds to be used for “medically necessary” abortions. In those cases that these states count as medically necessary but that are not permitted by the federal guidelines, states cover the cost alone.” – NPR’s Fact Check

Finally I have to ask these Christian Americans, “What would your Jesus do?”

The Jesus I was raised with loved everyone, believed in free will, and did not say GET IN EVERYONE’S BUSINESS AND MAKE SURE THEIR LIFE CHOICES ARE THE SAME AS YOURS!

No he said love and support one another. Love your fellow WOMAN and MAN. Even if those people happen to receive Planned Parenthood services because they are unable to afford or utilize private healthcare options. Pro-life? Be pro-women’s lives. Support a woman’s right to affordable healthcare and support her difficult healthcare choices. Support the men who stand alongside their women in making these choices.

Be a person who realizes this nation is a melting pot of different religious ideologies, and cultures, and circumstances. Be a person who recognizes not everyone has the financial or emotional support that you may have. Access to healthcare should not be voted on or decided on by archaic interpretations of a few select religious scriptures. It’s 2015, and we’re a nation of equality. Healthcare should be accessible and equal for all who need it.

And as an exasperated 24-year old married, working, feminist who who wants to be able to make any healthcare decision I need to at any point in my life (yes, even an abortion if medically necessary):

Please keep your religious beliefs out of my uterus.

#IStandWithPP

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Travel Tuesday: Bumbershoot Music Festival

Travel Tuesday: Bumbershoot Music Festival

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Labor Day Weekend was my 24th birthday weekend, and all I wanted for my birthday (as professed to the husband last spring) was to cross one giant item off my bucket list: attend a music festival.

You can check out all my MUST DO bucket list items on my List of Lists tab.

The festival started on Saturday, September 5th and lasted three full days through Labor Day Weekend. It takes place in Seattle Center, and despite our home’s proximity to the event, we decided to get a hotel so we didn’t have to battle traffic and parking every day. The Quality Inn and Suites just blocks from Seattle Center comes highly recommended after this weekend! They allowed my husband and I to check in nearly four hours early and gave us a parking pass right away. Excellent continental breakfasts each morning, a pool we unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to use, friendly staff, and best of all – after we’d checked out Monday morning we were allowed to leave our vehicle in the parking garage through the entire final day. It is your basic chain hotel, so don’t be surprised by simple amenities. It was perfect for a couple hardly spending any time in the hotel the entire weekend.

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Festival gates opened at 1:30 and the first day lines were insanity. It easily took 45 minutes to get in the gate. Once inside we hit the beer/wine tents to secure our wristbands for the day and then it was concerts all day for us. Bumbershoot is known for its comedy and lectures and although I’m sure it’s excellent, my intent was to come for the music.  First day lineup was Atmosphere, Cake, the Weeknd, and Lindsey Stirling. We caught a few others by coincidence, but all four of the acts we came to see were a lot of fun! Saturday also happened to be my birthday, so one too many Johnny Appleseed Ciders were also consumed (SEE ABOVE).

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After water, Tylenol, electrolytes, and a “no more alcohol for me” mantra we hit up Day 2. This was the day we knew the least amount of acts. We saw bits of The Melvins, Social Distortion, and Brand New. None I was seriously interested in until we got to the Key Arena that night and saw Flosstramadous and Zedd. Incredible shows! I would consider them either Trap or EDM, but I’m not a music expert and I won’t try to be. Basically if you like to dance and appreciate a good bass drop, two awesome acts!

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Finally was Day 3 of Bumbershoot. This day I had a list of artists and forced my poor husband to tag along to see every single one. Big Data, Robert Delong, Hozier (OMG!!!!), and Ellie Goulding. My favorite day by far because I was able to see Hozier live in concert and knew every word to almost every song. I was fan girling so hard, and I was standing next to this girl who was doing the same and the pair of us had so many OH MY GOD moments. I felt like such a sixteen year old. I am sure my husband had a blast attending that one….

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The Queen, Ellie closed the night. She was the perfect way to end the weekend.

Feel free to check out music from all the artists I saw (and many others  present last weekend) on my Bumbershoot Spotify playlist:

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    • If you want to get a good spot in Memorial Stadium or Key Arena at Bumbershoot, a nice long wait is required. I am not a bleachers kind of girl. If I got to a concert, I want to be in the thick of it dancing and shouting the lyrics right along with the artist. If you want to have an awesome spot – be patient.
    • Get your alcohol wristband early even if you don’t want to start drinking early because the later in the evening you wait, the longer the lines were
    • Bring a water with you always, but sip don’t chug. We were lined up for Hozier about 45 minutes before he started and stayed through Ellie (almost 3 full hours). Staying hydrated is important, but so is not losing your spot!
    • Don’t be the asshole that tries to push your way in through the crowd just before a concert starts or during the performance when all those people around you have been waiting. Everyone will hate you.
    •  IT WILL PROBABLY RAIN. This is Seattle, friends. Bring an umbrella/rain coat or be one of those high school girls in crop tops and short shorts soaking wet and freezing to death. Your call.
    • A backpack with empty water bottles, a rain coat for each of us, deodorant, band aids, lip balm, wallet, sun glasses, and mints was an excellent choice. I thought I’d regret bringing a backpack but we both shared carrying it, and it was so nice to have everything we needed on hand whenever.
  • Stay in Seattle!!! We both agreed the best choice we made was getting a hotel and getting to experience the full festival until as late as we wanted, plus getting to explore Seattle as early as we wanted. Traffic blows here. Don’t let it bring down your fun!

Overall, an awesome festival! But holy crapppppp, it was so nice to stay home and recover this weekend.

Camille Mae (2)

Marriage Wisdom (from whatever step comes after newlyweds)

Marriage Wisdom (from whatever step comes after newlyweds)

I realize it’s a bit premature for me to provide true “wisdom” about marriage. With only two years and three months of wedded bliss under my belt I don’t pretend to know the key to a successful marriage. But I know what’s worked for my marriage as a 20-something in our current society, and maybe that’s enough?

This blog post stems from three really good friends who have all recently become engaged. The most recent of which called me to share the news and teased me about, “Sharing my wisdom”. Her words got me thinking about what advice I would share with friends who are about to embark on this journey.

What would I truly want to tell my friends about marriage?

Well…

  1. You are going to continue to grow and change, but when you’re married you do it together. 

At 21 everyone warned me that I wouldn’t be the same person then that I would be at 25 and 30 and 40 so “BE SURE about marrying that person because YOU COULD CHANGE”. Well they were right, I’m not even the same person now at 24. But neither is he. We both changed. The notions I had about life at 21 are completely different now. But they’re different for him, too. If anything we’re more in sync now. Don’t worry about changing and growing. It’s so fun to do it with someone by your side. For the people passing up a great partner because of the fear you “may change”, you better never get married. I hear we keep changing/growing until we die.

2. Keep it light. Keep it silly. Keep laughing. 

Work is serious. School is serious. Bills are serious. Marriage is a serious decision, but it shouldn’t be serious. Laugh. Act like kids. Be spontaneous. Talk in accents when you go through the drive through. Have embarrassingly adorable lingo that you use when you’re alone. Dance while you make dinner. Hold hands and run down the street screaming when you drink. Don’t take marriage too seriously. The certificate didn’t mean we had to trade in being kids at heart.

3. You have two brains, not one.

It’s okay to have different hobbies, friends, political beliefs (make sure the big ones align…), ideas, favorite colors, etc. Marriage makes us a united front, but I didn’t marry myself? It’s easy to get flustered if I don’t agree about a political issue, or if only one of us likes a new set of couple friends, or if one of us prefers to do a specific hobby alone. All of that is 100% okay. Embrace the differences. We agree on the important issues that affect our lives and we have a handful of hobbies we do together. Everything else makes us individuals.

4. If you start to get into a routine, take an adventure

It doesn’t have to be a backpacking trip across Europe or moving to a new place (although that would do). Plan a Saturday trip to a hiking spot you’ve never been. Take a mini one night camping trip. Get a hotel in the city you live. Have a picnic in your backyard. Plan a date night roller skating and going to a drive in movie. Anything that disrupts the routine of daily life works. I’ll let a quote sum up this piece of advice up best,

“Marriage must fight constantly against a monster which devours everything: routine.”
Honoré de Balzac

5. Communicate

Ask about each other’s days. Eat dinner without phones. Keep the TV out of the bedroom. Turn the radio down every now and then. Have a sincere interest in each other’s lives even when feeling tired and self absorbed. Think of each other at free moments during the day. Getting or sending a simple “Miss you” text speaks volumes. Being able to say how I feel and what I need whether it’s regarding goals, work, arguments, plans, or our relationship is vital. Keep talking. Every day.

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“When I am with you, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. And I am a person who always wants to be somewhere else.”

— David Leviathan

Washington So Far

Washington So Far

WASHINGTON IS SO GOOD.

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So Pacific Northwest, I know

I will admit, finally starting a job has made it easier for me to be positive but I have been in love since we arrived. It is as if all my favorite things from Minneapolis and all my favorite things from Alaska have joined together and become one in Washington.

I am at peace, and here’s why:

  1. THEY RECYCLE HERE. We get our own recycling container that is emptied at the end of our driveway every two weeks. It’s a beautiful thing.
  2. The weather is amazing (okay I complained ONCE because we have no A/C and it was a solid 85 in our room a few nights in a row) but overall it’s 70’s and 80’s during the day and 50’s and 60’s at night. Sunny. Dry. Completely contrasting the “RAIN FOR MONTHS” warning everyone gave me. Joke’s on you guys. The weather here in the summer is Washington’s best kept secret.
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    Does this look like miserable rain to you? NOPE!
  3. There are mountains out my bedroom window, but urban sprawl just a short drive away.
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    Still not over this view of Rainier right out our window!
  4. Our town is adorable. Little restaurants we can walk to and antique shops and hipster coffee shops and a farmer’s market and weekly concerts in the park. It’s eye roll worthy and adore it. I have learned I don’t need a massive city out my door, but I do need things. Things within walking distance that we can do whenever we get the notion.
  5. We can go hiking or visit the Puget Sound within one hour from our front door, and hit the Pacific Ocean and bigger hikes just a little farther than that.

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  6. There’s a running trail along the Puyallup River just .5 miles from our house. I love running trails so I don’t have to constantly fight with traffic lights or cars not noticing me.
  7. Ferry boats. My Grey’s Anatomy fans, need I say more?
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  8. EVERYTHING CAN BE DELIVERED. At least in Seattle. Every type of food imaginable. Groceries. Clothes. Cupcakes. Alcohol. Friends, they’ll deliver a bottle of wine or scotch to your office. I have witnessed this.
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    IN CASE YOU DON’T WANT TO WALK TO THE CORNER DRUG STORE?
  9. Fresh, beautiful produce. Plus our landlords told us we can pretty much plant anything in the garden beds we have, and it’ll grow.

    (I was going to add a picture of our garden, but it’s really sad right now. It needs weeding but my long days and our busy weekends have made that impossible. Next weekend mom, I promise!)

  10. It’s home. My first big move to Alaska was such a gradual transition to feeling like my “home”. Fairbanks was smaller than where I was living before and I struggled to adjust to the weather and isolation. Washington (again, once I secured a house and a job) feels so natural to call home. I am so thankful I get to spend any amount of time here. My husband’s career is so impermanent it’s unlikely this is our “forever home”, but wow does it feel like a good fit.

11. But my two favorite things so far? Our very first rental home (all rental apartments before!) and the view out my cubicle window.

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“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”
C. JoyBell C.

Food & Fitness Friday: This Is Why

Food & Fitness Friday: This Is Why

I fell off the healthy living horse.

I fell hard and I have been avoiding getting back on again. It has been a chaotic few months prepping for the move, actually moving, and then getting settled back in with a new house and job. Those are all excuses, I know. I am sure plenty of people keeping working out and eating right through all these trials, but I was not one of those people.

When I have anxiety I go through waves of not eating and then eating too much. At 19, those waves left me too skinny. At 23, those waves are leaving me too soft.

Damn my cocky little college aged self who believed I had avoided the Freshman 15. The real life 15 has hit me with a vengeance. Bulking last summer from Crossfit and then having to quit due to injuries also didn’t help. I was left with too much muscle that wasn’t being worked on or worked off consistently, and then with a poor diet this summer it’s been a train wreck.

But I’m not posting an update because I’m STILL keeping unhealthy habits. I’m posting because when I got back home from a trip to Minnesota last week I decided enough was enough.

Healthy eating and consistent fitness are back in my life. And so are Food & Fitness Fridays!

This week?

“This Is Why I Can’t Lose Weight”

 This saying started as a joke with a coworker at my last job and ended up teaching me the first steps to take to lose weight.

The two of us would eat SUPER healthy at work. Salads for lunch. Fruits and veggies for snacks. Then at nights and during the weekends? We’d eat like shit. Wine. Beer. Pizza. Ice cream. Fast food. Big dinners at nice restaurants. We’d always take pics of our food or gush to each other about what we ate and come to the conclusion – Yep, this is why.

So when I decided that I was sick of this slowly creeping weight and what I saw in the mirror, I started with the “This Is Why” culprits.

  1. Alcohol. Alcohol makes you fat. It’s not a question of if, but when. I found a passionate love for wine post college. I’m paying for it. My first change was to limit the alcohol consumption to a couple glasses on weekends ONLY.
  2. Sweets. Ugh. I love sweets. Doughnuts and s’mores and cookies and blizzards and gummy candies. I have NEVER been able to quit sugar. The few times I’ve tried I end up binging. This time around I am ridding the house of the above and only keeping dark chocolate and skinny cow treats available. I have also enlisted the husband’s help to ignore me when I say aloud, “I wish I had a blizzard right now…”
  3. Portions. When you gain weight, your body keeps your hungry enough to maintain that weight. To lose weight? I have to cut down portions. I am hungry enough for the whole meal every time we go out to eat, but I don’t need it. I am getting enough nutrients with half. This change is to ask for a to go box to start and split meals in half.
  4. Fast Food. BYE. I have all my kitchen supplies and I am not in limbo between moving out or in or living out of hotels. Fast food is unnecessary and not worth it. If I want to use calories on food going out, I want it to be at a nice restaurant. No more drive thru.
  5. Water. Remember when you were in Crossfit and drank liters? Try that again. I avoided water during the road trip and when commuting to job interviews so I didn’t have to pee in inconvenient places. It’s time to nix that habit. I plan to have water with me at all times. When I’m watching TV for something to do with my hands instead of putting food in my mouth. When it’s mid-morning at my new job and I think I’m hungry but really I’m just trying to distract myself from work. Water. Flavored water. Fizzy water. Whatever does the trick. Drink more water.
  1. Finally, be aware and forgive myself. I know going out to brunch with a new friend will cause me to eat more calories than if I was at home and just had an egg and some fruit. But if I’m aware how much I’m eating and I try my best to make good decisions, it’s OKAY. Passing up all socializing to lose weight isn’t healthy. Eating terrible isn’t healthy. Finding a balance, being aware of everything I consume, and cutting myself some slack when I mess up – that’s healthy.

And here’s just a little bit of proof that I’m serious about this!

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Baked salmon & broccoli for multiple lunches this past week + no-sugar whole wheat banana and farmer’s market blueberry muffins for a light snack (about 175 calories each)

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Baked egg & avocado topped with pepper & parmesan for breakfast!

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I am so serious about getting my body back on track both internally and externally. I feel so vulnerable sharing posts like this with the world, but I truly believe it helps me stay on track. It is so easy to become unhealthy in the culture of consumption we live in. Sometimes just a little inspiration and encouragement is all we need.

“The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.”
A.J. Jacobs, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

Camille Mae (2)

A Monday Move Update (plus tips to stay sane)

A Monday Move Update (plus tips to stay sane)

I realized yesterday whilst unpacking groceries, planning out dinner and washing off the counter now occupied by my toaster, fruit basket, coffee maker, and various other personal items – I have finally reached a state of contentment. It is as if I had made it to the crest of chaos mountain and I have been on my way back down to routine and calm. I just hadn’t realized my strides were getting easier and more enjoyable.

Having all our personal items in our home – especially our big, comfy non air mattress bed – has been life changing. I no longer feel like I am a guest in someone’s abandon house. My house is becoming a home.

I have also had the opportunity to explore our neighborhood and I ADORE it. I am about a 10 minute walk from the most adorable downtown filled with shops and restaurants and bars and parks. I already have a cute little frozen yogurt place I frequent. I’ve also been to Dairy Queen three times in 3 weeks but that’s unrelated.

My body and mind can definitely tell I am in a better place. My skin has cleared from the ferocious breakout the road trip and living in a hotel had caused. My weight has dropped a couple pounds since I have been able to eat GREEN THINGS and run or walk nearly every day. My chest no longer feels like it is caving in on itself from anxiety regarding money and uncertainty.

Besides big things coming together, there having been a lot of little things keeping me sane. Moving? Experiencing some other big, life-shaking change? Here’s a list of things to help you and I remain calm:

  1. Homemade dinners. Don’t underestimate the power of a dinner you make from scratch and consume instead of fatty, carbohydrate filled take out. This killer Riccota Stuffed Chicken was fun to make and (mostly) healthy to eat. These Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites were equally fantastic to make/eat.IMG_2156
  2. The new views. Not just the quaint little street we live on or the downtown just a short walk away, but the view right out our bedroom window. I walk over to this spot a few times a day to remind myself we finally live where we’ve been dreaming of and even the low points I should be thankful for.IMG_2100
  3. Dinner with a friend I’ve known for years and had yet to meet in person, drinks with a cousin I’d lost touch with since middle school, or even a DQ date with my husband after dinner. Even when money is tight, make time to treat yo’ self.

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4. Inspiring words from Pinterest or Tumblr. I have internally recited this quote at least 100 times since leaving Fairbanks:

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6. Inexpensive interior decorating
7. Phone calls with my mom and sisters
8. Time spent in the sunshine
9. Running and/or long walks
10. Blogging

Getting a new routine in a new place is always hard. My freshman year of college I coped with partying, in Alaska I coped with a healthy mix of tears and humor, and this time around I have this tried and true list. Moving is messy. I’m thankful to (mostly) be on the other side of the mess today.

Camille Mae (2)

Travel Tuesday: Upper Crystal Lake

Travel Tuesday: Upper Crystal Lake

Today marks two weeks since we drove into the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The day we drove in it was above 80 degrees and all the vegetation was dry and yellowing. Not quite what we had pictured. Apparently the area around I5 has been experiencing some abnormally high temperatures and abnormally low amounts of rain. Luckily we received a taste of the true Washington this weekend on our first hike in Mt. Rainier National Park.

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The number of hiking opportunities within driving distance is now overwhelming. Since this was our first hike and we are trying to budget, we picked one of the closest hikes we could find. The Sunset entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park is just over an hour from our home and this hike is less than 5 miles from the park entrance.

The Crystal Lakes trail leads to Crystal Lake Peak and then both upper and lower Crystal lakes. It was incredibly rainy so we only hiked the 3 miles in to Upper Crystal lake and the 3 miles back out (6 miles round trip). Had it been a nicer day with less clouds we definitely would have attempted the peak for the view of Rainier.

We didn’t mind the rain too much. More on that later. The views were still picturesque.

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It was a fairly steep trail that ascended about 2300 ft in the 3 mile hike to the lake. We are both a bit out of practice so that may have contributed, but we were definitely breathing hard throughout most of the ascension. One water break was very necessary.

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Toward the end of the trail, it finally opened up to fields and the outline of mountains in the distance. On a clear day it was probably a sight to be seen, but for us it was an eerily quiet view.

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I mostly enjoyed the drizzling rain, despite it putting a damper on how far we could see. The fog rolling in and out of the trees and mountains and the feeling of hiking through the clouds was unreal.

The best part of the hike was feeling like we were alone. We passed maybe five small groups on the trail but for the majority it was just us. Since arriving in the Tacoma area I feel like we have been surrounded by people every single second. Escaping to nature was much needed.

Yes, that’s right Alaska. You have ruined me. This girl now cherishes her away from humans.

After about 2 hours, we finally reached the lake:

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To say I was in love with be an understatement. The water was completely see through and the green of the surrounding vegetation was so vibrant.

When looking out across the water and eating our sandwiches I realized for the first time since I’d arrived I wasn’t stressed about finding a house, or a job, or wondering where our household goods were. The only thought in my head was honestly – “Wow.”

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Aftermath? Me legitimately looking like I fell in a river.

The rain soaking us clear through all of our clothing was new. Even my poor rain jacket didn’t fair well and allowed my flannel to get damp. Experienced hikers, any tips? The North Face jacket was supposed to be “water proof”…

Overall, a hell of a hike.

In the wise words of red-headed Annie, “I think I’m gonna like it hereeeee!”

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
John Muir

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

Moving 2,300 miles across two countries in a packed to the ceiling Toyota Rav4 with my iPhone and my husband. That is where I have been.

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So for starters, APOLOGIES!

I miss my Travel Tuesdays and Food & Fitness Fridays. I miss writing. I miss this beautiful blog of mine, and all of the lovely readers who have kept up with my sporadic writing the past few months.

Did you know moving across the country (and by “across” I mean from Alaska to the continental United States by way of Canada) is an intense amount of work? I glamorized the hell out of the move. I will be the first to admit it. Beautiful Washington with its ocean sides and mountain views and urban living. Siiiighhhhhhhh. I was smitten.

I was sure everything would be as dreamy as this view in British Columbia
I was sure everything would be as dreamy as this view in British Columbia

Then the actual moving part came.

In a car for 44 hours over the course of 4 days, and then in various hotels for a week while searching for housing, and then sitting on the cold, hard floor of what is supposed to be the living room typing out a blog post at noon on a Thursday because I currently have no furniture and no job.

I can hear my parents now, “This is a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never forget!”. I will never forget these past few couple weeks. That is for damn sure.

Thank God for my husband. I mostly bring money and sass to this relationship, and so currently just the latter. He is the most optimistic, upbeat, adventurous guy. Every little trial has been like a Sudoku puzzle he is excited to solve. Marry your opposite. He makes me laugh in the moments I want to cry. So important.

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Realistically, we’ve been crazy lucky. Our car had ZERO issues driving all 2,300 miles. We got into a house exactly one week after we arrived in Washington. I have had a couple staffing agency interviews and have been applying to only positions I truly want thanks to the generous amount of saving we’ve done the past few months. Husband man doesn’t want me to settle for anything I don’t want just as much as I don’t.

Being unemployed is the worst though.

Moment of silence for all of us currently job searching.

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I wish I could be one of those Type-B people who gets all pumped about it and sleeps til noon and lives on Taco Bell or the dollar menu and embraces days of Netflix but NOPE, I’m the Type-A girl. I get anxious and nervous and wake up at 5 am wired and wanting to apply to more jobs and clean every inch of the house and go for another walk and try to be as productive as humanly possible while simultaneously stressing myself out so much I can barely eat or enjoy the “little things”.

For mental health, I’ve been batting a zero since we left Fairbanks. For physical health, I ate surprisingly well for the entire road trip. It was when we entered the land of every-single-fast-food-we’ve-been-deprived-of-for-two-years and stuck in a hotel that it went downhill. But we’re in a house with a refrigerator (luckily that’s not stuck in a moving truck with everything else) now and so we’ve been shifting back to eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, and healthy protein options for dinner.

I intend to do a couple blog posts on PCSing from Alaska because we learned A LOT from this trip. From staying healthy and fit, to staying clean and organized, to finding hotels, houses, and even jobs. I intend to share what you should do and what you shouldn’t based on our trial and error. Hopefully my wisdom can be useful for others relocating across the country (or countries).

Well friends, I am off to apply to more jobs and make real food for lunch. Can’t wait to get back to consistently posting and sharing all the crazy happenings in my life.

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Camille Mae (2)

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