Welcome to New York

IMG 1716

It’s a funny thing going on vacation. There are three parts, maybe four.  First, you plan and anticipate which I will argue is the point of anything really. Isn’t half the fun of doing or buying something the search of that thing?  Which is sort of why I purposefully don’t buy certain things because .. the search!  Anyways, when planning a vacation its totally the same thing, you read all the articles, you pick a place to stay and you day dream. THEN you go on said vacation and its glorious but also not so glorious at all?  Which brings us to part two of vacationing: I’ve discovered I have what I’d like to call vacation stress disorder.  Which is basically where I stress the F out because there is not enough time in the day to do all the things. This disorder was real during my last trip to New York with Kelan.  Go on, ask him.  He will tell you that he was a good sport with my irrational grumpiness about not vacationing enough on our vacation.  I know, I realize now, that none of it makes sense. The next part of vacation is the honeymoon where you are glowing from the glory of being free.  THEN there is this part that makes up the rest of life where you forget what vacation ever felt like.  So that’s where I am at.  Dreaming of the next trip when, really, I am so fortunate to have gone on two big ones in very recent history.  So here I will attempt to re-live the New York trip (the stress free parts ok?).

Kelan and I have a couple traditions that I’m pretty proud of.  Early on we both shied away from big stuffy gifts around anniversaries.  Don’t get me wrong, a girl loves flowers (hint hint), but we wanted experiences more.  I don’t think we knew it would turn into a tradition, under maybe year three.  Every year since year one, we go on a trip for our anniversary.  Sometimes small and sometimes big. Sometimes  a month late and sometimes just right on time. Either way, we aim for it.  This year Kelan picked New York.  He had some time off, I needed some time off.  It was meant to be.

We have both been infatuated with New York for a little while now.  Wondering if this great city would be like San Francisco but on steroids. We judge a place based on the question “could you live here” which leads to “which neighborhoods would you live in” which leads to “would you drop it all just to move here?”.  We pretty much played the game the entire trip.  The result: we would totally live here if someone asked us to, but maybe not go out of our way to do so? The city is big, real big, real crowded.  I also found that while there was so much more stuff and things to see and do, there was no specialty in all of it.  There was not one epic thing, but rather all things were pretty darn good.  Food was really good, people were pretty nice, the city was cleaner than expected and the sights were amazing, but was it soul searchingly good?  Not totally?  It’s hard to explain.  Either way, we loved visiting and I for one want to go back in a different season.  In fact, that is one thing I adored.  This  city transforms in different seasons.  So lets go back 3 more times shall we Kelan?

We stayed in Brooklyn which I loved.  It was a good escape from the Manhattan and gave us a better perspective on how people live there. Which is usually what we search for. We walked 10 miles a day, which is also a thing we enjoy when on vacation. You really get to see a place when you walk in it.  We saw a million sights, and ate WAY TO MUCH food.

Here is my list for the trip (it’s easier than writing about it).

Favorite activity: Walking the Chelsea Highline.  I had wanted to do this ‘no matter what’ and didn’t tell Kelan much about it.  He had no idea walking into it all and was very pleasantly surprised. This an old railroad 3 stories high that is turned into a walk way.  Great views, great landscape and GREAT water towers.

Runner up: Walking Central park and seeing Central station or maybe walking through Brooklyn.  There are so many runner ups.

Favorite neighborhood: I adored Chelsea, but also Williamsburg

Runner up: I’d love to see more of Park Slope, but also Carol Gardens where we stayed was adorable.

Favorite food: There were so many, the donuts? The pizza in Williamsburg? The chai at Joe’s? There were restaurants but I forget the names!!! That one restaurant, on that one street when we walked home?  OMG the bagels?  I had 17 and a half bagels while we were there.

Runner up: The cookie and hot chocolate at city bakery.. holy smokes

Favorite moment: The sunset on the water looking back at the city sky line in Williamsburg.  This was something I had wanted to do but didn’t know how to pull it off. BAM it just happened.

Runner up: People watching on the subway.  Walking around Coney Island in the rain and talking to a fisherman.

I’d like to go back just so I could do more normal things and not see all the sights.  We did the big items, but I feel that we missed out on the small things.  I’d like to see a few museums, go to a concert or a show, get a better feel of the neighborhoods.  All in good time I suppose.  Here is a photo bomb of our trip.

IMG 0867

This was our first ride on the Subway.  I don’t know how any one gets anywhere.  The second I go downstairs I get so confused I have to come up, take a big gulp of air and go back down.  I would not have ended up anywhere I planned if it weren’t for Kelan.

IMG 0882

IMG 0897

IMG 0919

IMG 0964

IMG 0944

The Statue of Liberty. So itty bitty.

IMG 1014

Balthazar! This place was recommended by so many people. I think we missed out because we don’t eat meat.  It was good, but I’d pass next time.

IMG 1050

#tourtists

IMG 1100

Park slope was jaw dropingly adorable

IMG 1118

IMG 1266

IMG 1156

See what I mean? Breathtaking.

IMG 1163

IMG 1189

IMG 1207

This was our subway ride home after some amazing pizza and an amazing day.

IMG 1220

IMG 1351

Everyone was right.  Go to time square, see it and then leave. It’s utter chaos.

IMG 1355

The Cunninghams!  This is my Dad’s best friend’s son. AKA: amazing tour guide.

IMG 1448

IMG 1449

IMG 1458

IMG 1479

IMG 1480

IMG 1549

water tower

IMG 1564

You can see Kelan, way on the other side, below the christmas wreath on the right, with his arms up.

IMG 1581

IMG 1596

water towers

IMG 1646

IMG 1683\

Chelsea Market was adorable but also, way too crowded.

IMG 1724

Just go here and thank me later.

IMG 1749

IMG 1754

This is our album cover.

IMG 1795

New York.  You and your water towers are dreamy.  We will hurry back now ok?

 

 

Guatemala I love you so

IMG 0059 2

It’s probably time to start discussing my Guatemala trip and throwing photos at you.  It already feels like a lifetime ago and a million miles away, well that second part is probably true.  It’s hard to remember what my expectations where before I left for Guate, but these words came to mind: unsafe, third world, dirty, colorful, busy city, and travel.  About half of those turned out to be true, but some of those words were a bit off.  The words I’d use to describe Guatemala now are, colorful, green, nice people, yummy food (NOT mexican food), adventures, green hills, volcanos, and third world/ bustling city, oh and crazy crazy drivers.

The trip was inspired by Cassie, who moved down there back in July.  She had some things planned for our trip and I couldn’t have been happier with their outcome.  First, hang out in Guatemala City which most tourists skip and I’m so glad I didn’t.  Yes it’s crazy, but also so great to see how another city functions or how their roads are totally whack or that I was definitely the only tall blonde person for miles.  Next we went to Antigua for the day/night on our way to Semuc Champey.  Antiqua is touristy, gorgeous and cobblestoney.  Yes that’s a word.  Semuc Champey was way back in the outskirts of the wilderness, an 8 hour shuttle ride, up and down a windy, wet, slippery dirt road and on a partially flat tire.  This was was Cassie best describes as “Indiana Jones” adventures. We could hear the Indian Jones theme song all day long, we road in the back of a truck with 15 people (standing), swam in bat caves, jumped off rocks, swam with a candle in hand and went as far back as we could go.  I fell at one point which really shook me up.  It made me realize that we are so vulnerable in nature and to be more cautious.  The nearest hospital was 3 hours way on a dirt road.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  And yes, I saw one bat hanging above, all snuggled in for the day.  I even saw it strreeetch it’s cute wing.  After the bat caves we dove in the river via a rope swing.  This was rad up until the point where this girl in our group almost didn’t jump off the swing and could have seriously broken her back.  We then tubed down the river and laughed at the three people from singapore who didn’t know how to swim, and then feared for their lives when they did NOTHING to try and get to shore before the waterfall around the bend.  Oy!  THEN we had lunch. After lunch, we hiked to the top of the hill, which felt much more like a mountain, and took pictures of actual Semuc Champey, which was breathtaking, hiked down and explored the river.  This was a major highlight of the trip, warm blue water, new found friends, green green hills.

IMG 0020

It was the devil’s birthday, so tradition has it that you burn a devil piñata in the street and rid your sins from the year.

IMG 0026

IMG 0068

IMG 0080

This is Antigua, see what I mean about cobblestoney?

IMG 0091

These tostadas need a whole post in themselves thats how good they were.  If I could have one thing here in the states it would be these tostadas.  Don’t be deceived, it looks plain, but good lord its a slice of heaven, or a tortilla shell of heaven.

IMG 0130

IMG 0184

Here we stayed in Semuc in a  cabina

IMG 0188

IMG 0213

Mayan tradition says you wear face paint, or the tour guide was playing a big joke on all of us.

IMG 0253

IMG 0299

IMG 0318

This picture above does not do it justice, but it really looked like heaven on hearth at this moment

IMG 0358

Totes normal.

After our trek back to the city, we drove our car up to San Pedro at Lake Atitlan.  Having a car was glorious up until we got stopped by the policia and had to pay them $200Q ($25) for driving without a license.  I had to take the wheel with my drivers license, Cassie’s passport and another person’s car registration, huh?  Anyways, San Pedro was amazing.  Quant little lake town with too much time on our hands.  We ate, we drank, made amazing friends Katie and Steph.  The highlights here are quiz night, Zoola food and hiking to the top of Indian Nose at 4am to watch an active volcano and sunrise over the lake.  Epic I tell you.  We ended up staying in San Pedro for the duration of the trip and skipping out on the beach.  We packed in a day trip to Chichicastenango, where the huge Sunday market is. Pronounced “Chia-cast-eh-nahn-go”

This is such a brief summary on such a big adventure, but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

IMG 0428

Lake Atitlan!

 

IMG 0456

IMG 0470

IMG 0485

Also, totes normal.

IMG 0488

IMG 0557

IMG 0563

Every.single.one of the tortillas in this country are hand made and I vote these tortillas for president!

IMG 0513

Real life yo.

IMG 0526

COFFEE!!

IMG 0607

These are the girls we met in San Pedro, both Australian and both amazing.

IMG 0634]

Chichicastanango!

IMG 0682

IMG 0703

This was the cemetery outside of Chichi and boy was it colorful

IMG 0725

This lady here on my right made the shirt I am wearing.

IMG 0770

We set fireworks off at the top of Indian Nose

IMG 0802

IMG 0825

IMG 0504

See on the right how it totally looks like a face in the mountains, that’s indian nose.

IMG 0886

And lastly, this guy made my shoes!!!

Let’s just take it slow and enjoy it

IMG 5286

So there we have it, 2014 is finished, completed, book closed and 2015 all shiny and bright just asking to be cracked open and devoured like an unsolved mystery.  There is something special about sitting in the middle of two borders, like when you are in Lake Tahoe and you straddle both California and it’s liberal lifestyle and Nevada and its blinking casino lights and just for that moment you are in two places at once and then you step away and it’s gone.  That’s how the first few days of January always feel.  A little whiplashed because you were not quite finished with the past year and are pretty uneasy about jumping into the next one.  2014 was really hard, but also really really good.  How am I supposed to just stuff the whole year up on the bookshelf to collect dust?  2014 was the year I searched my hardest for the perfect job.  I was beaten down at times that it wasn’t out there.  The search weighed down on everything I did and thought about.  I loved where I had worked, but a change was in order and I couldn’t go forward without it.  Lucky for me, right in the nick of time I scored what I think is the perfect fit.  Yeay! I still get excited about it.  More on that, once I dig my toes in more. 2014 I said goodbye to my best friend Cassie who moved to Guatemala, and then I said hello as I visited her down south.  Again, another post all in itself is in order for that topic.  Just as soon as I turned around and headed home, Keller and I flew across the country to New York, a complete opposite of Guatemala, but oh so good.  You guessed it, a post in and of itself. It sure was a great way to seal the deal on 2014.

Looking forward I don’t have any grandiose ideas for 2015.  I hope to discover a healthier eating habit, not a diet, but maybe a healthy appetite for home cooked goodness.  I’d also like to take more trips.  I know I know, I just got back from not one, but TWO BIG trips in December, but those trips made me realize how good it is to travel.  Looking back at my instagram feed I can see I took a ton of little trips and how good they were.  Lets do more of that shall we?  Also, maybe let the creative juices flow again.  Those are good juices I tell you!

One last thing I hope to remember more in 2015 is something K-dog said when we were walking home from breakfast at TLC on the first of the year.  We were tired from our adventures, walking towards Duboce park to watch the dogs and reluctant to greet the day and he said “I just want to take it sloooowww and enjoy it”.  Yes my deary, YES.  Let’s do just that, in fact let’s do it all year long.  Since then, this thought has been like a warm fuzzy pilly old blanket hugging me, just looking around and enjoying the moments.  Like right now, here we get sit at our most favorite coffee shop, where the barista is examining the bags of beans, and dudes sit cozy on the bench playing on their phones or hovered over their Merc-muffins, staring off into space.  Oh, or the lady who just walked in, she has the rough blonde bed head I’m also currently styling.  Or, the six people squished together at a four person table, huddled outside over their cofffees.  This is the stuff that’s good isn’t it?  The stuff that makes you think, man, how did I get do dang lucky.  Lucky to do nothing.

Let’s do nothing this year!

2014 recap!

IMG 5486

IMG 5658

IMG 5908

IMG 5982

IMG 6174

IMG 6445

 

IMG 6989

IMG 7230

IMG 7440

IMG 7579

IMG 7714

IMG 0082

IMG 8106

IMG 0427

IMG 0282

IMG 0488

IMG 0558

IMG 1657 2

 

October Challenge

Less 01

 

A one month resolution.  Not a full year, not 6 months, not even more than 31 days.  One month.  That seems to be the sweet spot.  Short enough that it’s attainable, short enough that you can plan, long enough that you really wrap your head around it and most importantly, long enough that you can initiate or reset a habit.  For our 2014 resolution, Keller and I would do one month resolutions.  January was a no TV month.  See we were not excessive by any means, but it was something that we wanted to reset, something we wanted to live without for a while. February was.. crap I can’t remember.  I know March was no bread, which turned into no gluten for me, which turned into chaos.  This was about the time we stopped.  I don’t know if it was the gluten, or something else, but this was right about the time my body went A-wall.  I stopped the challenge 2 weeks in, slowly adding in bread.  I won’t get into the details, but it was not fun.  Every time I ate, my stomach would hurt.  I could only eat at home without feeling awful.  Then summer came and resolutions were the last thing on my mind.  Here we are at fall, which is all about new beginnings for me.  Since there are no rules to this thing I call life.  The rules I set can be moved around.  So I can start a resolution up in October if I want to.

October was a no spend month.  The rules around it were hazy, but it was basically anything I could live without.  No clothes, no makeup, no office supplies, no halloween decorations (I know sad ), no halloween costumes (it gets real these resolutions), no retail therapy, and no online shopping.  A whole ton of yes to hiking, yes to taking a walk, yes to writing in this blog, yes to reading a book and yes to less clutter!

On one hand this no-spend month made one part of my life SO MUCH EASIER.  Actually, it made a few parts of my life a whole lot easier. On the other hand, I didn’t save the planet or cure cancer.  My life didn’t change in any great measurable amount, but you know it’s those little things that make up the big things.  So I will focus on the oh so important little things.

A) The decision process in shopping is rather laborious for me.  Do you feel me on this one?  I get the sense I’m not the only one with these crazy thoughts.  It’s the “is this the item I have been searching for?  That one sweater I got 4 months ago really worked out, maybe this will be just like that, or maybe it will be like that striped shirt I never wore and never will.  How will I know if this truly will be the answer I am looking for?” I take my purchases seriously can ya tell?  They hold the answers I tell you!  This inner dialogue can consume me and really stress a girl out.  By having a hard fast NO, it makes life just that much less stressful.  Here are some examples, Dilemma: Do I need to buy the gel manicure kit from target, it will be glorious I tell you! Imagine all the colors! Answer: NO, and then 5 minutes later I completely forgot about the need for anything. While I chip away at the week old polish.  Dilemma: It’s starting to get chilly out, I could use a new jacket, I really feel like I need to step up my cozy game.  Answer: NO, I have jackets, plenty of them.  I will live.  You get the idea?   So here comes the dramatic part.  It helped me to think of others that are less fortunate.  Bear with me here.  If these moms, kids, dads and families from countries that  are not doing so hot, are living life just fine with what they have.  Then so can I.  I would think of an image I had recently seen of someone in Africa, or Guatemala.  Or even someone here in America.  These people have needs and wants, and they don’t go buying gel manicure sets just because they probably can.  They buy what they need, because thats what is important.  Yes, I want to enjoy my hard work.  I also want a reality check once in a while.

B) It came to my attention how much of my day came to thinking of things I needed to buy.  Simply walking past stores, reading blogs, seeing instagrams.  It was like a whole world I no longer needed to buy into.  I started to notice so much of what we do as American’s is consumer based.  I follow a couple bloggers I adore and I soon realized that all they post about are things to buy or what they recently bought or things they want.  I don’t want to live in a world that makes me feel like I am always in need of the next best thing.  I am content with what I have.  I want to love what I have.  Its all really good stuff.

C) I focused on spending less time shopping or seeing if shopping can fill my time, I spent quality time with the people around me.

D) I actually spent less money on other things.  When I was grocery shopping for the camping trip, I went to buy the snacks, s’mores and beer.  Instead of my normal routine, buy 2 different kinds of each item because more is better!  I actually only bought what I needed, and you know what?  No one else noticed. I didn’t have a bunch of extra stuff I didn’t need.  Thats a lie, I bought too much beer and case in point (get it case? haha), I have a ton extra. (not complaining here)

E) The best part is that my budget at the mid and end of the month was so much better.  It was FUN.  I do my budget, I track every little thing I buy.  I am an accountant, it’s what I do.  Normally, it was a pain, moving money around and stressing at the end of the month because I was not within my limits.  This time around I will meet my budgets and finally have a good step going forward.

F) Lastly, Unexpected items were not so hard.  I was hit with a bill I was not expecting.  Normally this would have thrown my Misc items budget out of whack and it would stress me out a little.  This time around though, it was ok.  I had the room for it.

Results:

My goal going in:  October budget was to save some cash and see if I could really do it.

Results, I spent $1.29 on a makeup pencil sharpener (mine was left during house sitting) and Kelan bought me a planner, which was sort of not the point, but had he not been there I wouldn’t have gone for it anyway?  Not sure, again these are my rules there are no consequences.  I saved an unknown amount of money, but in the end I will admit it was not as much as I had hoped. I thought I would be swimming in money.  While I am still in my limits, I am in no way a surplus.  I will say my credit card was not touched once this month.  Now THAT is saying something.

Lesson learned: Less is more.

Points:  If 5 was winning at life.  I’d say I was at a 3.5, you know because I bought the sharpener and didn’t totally cut out on eating out.  However, that should probably be a challenge in and of itself.

November Goal:  Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

In balance

IMG 0439

 

Do you ever feel as if the world is slightly tilted to one side and you are using all this extra muscle to stay upright, but it’s not enough of a tilt that you actually realize it until your muscles get tired and you think -yeah, this has been a lot of effort lately, what’s up with that? I had been feeling this but hadn’t put much thought into it until my sister proclaimed on Facebook that her stress levels were off the chain, and my cousin Lisa commented saying that it was something in the moon and October and the star alignment. I don’t know the specifics, I’m obviously not very scientific, but I suddenly started to notice this anxiety in myself as well. Lisa then said that it should be passing soon. I sort of doubted that not thinking this little stress ball would ever leave, but then these past couple days it’s as if the world righted itself and my inner argument has finally subsided. All is in peace. Out of nowhere. Not sure if any of that makes sense. It does to me. My theory is that it’s the change in the seasons. We instinctually cling to the world we know and when the weather and daylight patterns start whipping us around, our heads start to spin. Now that I fully feel as if fall is here I just want to jump up and hug all those glorious colors. I want to skip down the street.

My other theory on feeling in balance is exercising, working hard at work- you know not feeling like a slacker, focusing on the good in people, listening to a good album and returning from a camping trip. Maybe there is truth in the work life balance. Maybe there is truth in the work hard play hard. Maybe there is truth in good music. Either way, I’m digging it. I want to keep the steady going.

Currently listening to The Paper Kites -Featherstone. My cousin Lorin made a video with that song and I can’t get it out if my head since! I made this little quote thing to go along with a lyric from the song

Birthday/Camping

Wow, this is long over due.  Here I was looking for the post I did on camping back in July.  Turns out, I didn’t post one.  To summarize, my mom came up to visit for my birthday which was just perfect.  We had a Thursday all to ourselves, walked all over the city, Mission Beach Cafe in the morning for breakfast (NO LINE!!) then we meandered down Valencia, stopped at Tartine, because there was NO LINE!! we picked up some bread pudding and this meringue thing I love so much, we walked past birite, searching for a pie needed for the family camping trip, no luck.  This brought us right past bi-rite ice cream though, and since it was my birthday I was all, who cares if we just had brunch and have bread pudding in a doggy bag we are getting ice cream yo, because again NO LINE!!.  So we walked up to the top of Dolores park, for the view.  We talked about this and that, pondering on where we would end up next when all of a sudden I said RUN, bc the J came and I knew our legs were tired and there was a pie shop with our name on it.  My mom, so proud of her, didn’t even hesitate just ran right with me.  Turns out the pie shop had the pie we needed. WIN.  After this long adventure we napped before indian food for dinner.  Family came, it was precious.  Then we went home early because we all had to get ready for camping the next day.  Which leads me into part 2, but first, a commercial break.

IMG 7504

these mimosas were huge. Just how we like ’em.

IMG 7506

IMG 7511

these ladies worked at cooks in a restaurant near by, they just happened to be on a lunch break. Loved the scene

IMG 7514

IMG 7517

 

IMG 7520

Camping was fun.  I can’t do a summary, because a) I lost my phone for 3/8ths of the visit.  I loved camping so much that I thought, eh who needs a phone.  ME, I was the one that said that.  The one who takes one bagillion photos of the same damn leaf.  This spot was so perfect, a big beautiful lake, boats to rent, islands to swim to and on the other side of the highway were pot holes to hike and swim in.  So much fun was had I can’t even get into the details.  Spending time with family while camping is now at the top of my list. Something about allowing everyone to do what they want but all be near by is so comforting.  20 people, including the dog.  There was always a nook where someone was laughing, others were screaming, others were napping.  Pure magic.  I can’t wait to do it all over again.

My cousin Lorin made this rad video.  Damn she is talented.

IMG 7543

note Jackie’s little lion chair

IMG 7551

Jackie fell back, but don’t worry nobody was harmed in the making of this picture.

IMG 7562

IMG 7563

IMG 7584

IMG 7596

IMG 7601

IMG 7613

clothes line + tent = heart eyes

IMG 7701

My canoodle partner <3

Photo Jul 27 2

Photo Jul 27 3

Photo Jul 27 4

we boated over to this private island and we declared it to be called grass island from here on and forever

Photo Jul 27 5

Photo Jul 27 6

Photo Jul 27 7

Photo Jul 27 8

Photo Jul 27

IMG 7621

IMG 7630

How adorable is the committee above.

All the rest of these were taken by Lorin

Silver lake 2014

we didn’t get the whole gang, but this was the only group shot we took.  Note Kelan’s ensemble

Silver lake 2014 2

 

Silver lake 3

Silverlake 5

Stella and bowie silver lake

10369893 10204646110411946 2549591312043543438 n

Jackie

Bowie

Silverlake 6

hooowww adorable are they?

Silverlake5

Tom in waterfall

chillin in a waterfall :)

10517706 10204646105811831 7250404221944580149 n

Silverlake7