Sunday, July 5, 2015

Alaska Has My Heart



This little tiny phrase has stuck with me for many moons.  Just buy the damn ticket.  Figure the rest out later.  This is exactly what went through my head when fantasizing about a trip to Alaska.  My rational mind said that I did not have the money, that I did not have the time to take off work, and that I had way too much on my plate.  But then I got drunk off of red wine on a Sunday night, and that shit went riiiiiiiggghhhhtttt out the window.  Thank God for credit cards!  Plastic is a phenomenal idea, especially the ones with travel points and interest free financing for 18 months....but that is for another day.

I have never wanted for much, material wise.  Well, except for my pickup truck, and that purchase was a little unnecessary and I'll be paying that off until I am 70.  I have always sought travel.  And look, I haven't even left this continent!  This great country we live in is pretty big, and I'm still making my way around these parts. 

With that said, Alaska is f*cking bonkers.  I have never been to a place that literally did not feel real. 


Flat Top Mountain

Flat Top Mountain

Alaska is so majestic because there are so many places that man has not yet put it's footprint on.  70% of the state is not accessible by roads.  This place kind of feels like a secret that not many know about.  And ten days was not nearly enough time to see everything the state has to offer.       

 
Gotta drink the local booze!


If you're thinking about heading that way, here's a list of the must see's/do's:

  1. Hike Flat Top Mountain in Anchorage
  2. Indulge with some champagne and oysters at The Bubbly Mermaid 
  3. Binge on steak and eggs at Snow City CafĂ© 
  4. Head north to Talkeetna for a day or two and have a cocktail at The Fairview Inn (former brothel, rooms upstairs named after women, drunk Irishmen dancing on tables, best people watching of your life.  Oh, and it's haunted.)
  5. Hike X-Y-Z Lake in Talkeetna
  6. Drive the Seward Highway.  National Geographic has named it one of the most beautiful routes in the world.
  7. Stay in a little cabin in Seward.  Bear Creek Cabins are amaze. 
  8. Stay for a few nights in the Orca Island Cabins.  THIS IS A MUST!!!!!!  Very expensive, but worth every single penny.  See pictures below. 
  9. Hike Mount Marathon and Exit Glacier in Seward   
  10. Binge again on Huevos Rancheros at The Smoke Shack
  11. Drink a local brew and eat the bacon and BBQ pizza at the Moose's Tooth   

XYZ Lakes

Bear Creek Cabin

Seward Harbor

kayaking in Humpy Cove
Insane.

View at the Orca Island Cabins


I'm so obsessed with this place that I immediately started looking at real estate in Resurrection Bay when I got home.  Plus my PED's (post event depression) were in full swing so a little day dreamin' can't hurt. 

I'm thinking about the next adventure.  Where else is amazing?!?!  And I'm looking for travel partners....any takers??

Cheers.



Sidenote:  Organoblondes is kind of a lie right now because I am currently a weird shade of brown/red/blonde.  Hooker blonde is a few months away.  Don't worry, Lauren is holding down the fort on the bleach front.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

Crack Juice (AKA vegetable juice) Is My New Best Friend

My juicer came in the mail the other day...ohhhhhhmygod.

I purchased the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juicer.  It's a middle-of-the-road juicer, coming in at about $60.00.  For a beginner like me, that will do.  Some day I'll spring for one of those fancy ones, but this will do the job for now!

I have to say, I'm officially addicted to crack juice.  Yah...that's how you'll feel after one of these bad boys.  Maybe it's all in my head, but I felt like a friggin' rockstar all day after juicing some fruits and veggies first thing in the morning.  I literally had more energy, was in a better mood, and managed to stay up past 10:00pm!  Crack juice is where it's at, ya'll!!

You'll find my recipe below.  But seriously, just buy a ton of fruits and veggies and juice that 'ish.  You'll feel amaze.


Recipe:

2 salad cucumbers
1 Fuji apple
1 red beet
2 carrots
1 handful of spinach
3-4 mint leaves
1/5 of a pineapple


A few side notes.  Try to keep sugary fruits to a minimum.  I am trying to stick with apples, lemons, limes, and small amounts of pineapple.  Surprisingly, beets and carrots add a lot of sweetness naturally, so those are great alternatives.  Secondly, juice on a empty stomach.  Absorption is best at this time and you'll avoid any heartburn that might occur when you juice after a heavy meal.   

Go on and get your juice on, peeps!   
  

 
 

 
 
Cheers!!
 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Harvest Time In This Little Town


Life really is different in the country.  Time moves slower...people move slower.  I'm convinced that the beer is colder, the grass is greener, and that life is simply better in these parts. 

I grew up a city girl with a country mentality.  My daddy raised me on country music.  I learned to drive in an old 1995 Dodge Ram.  But we always lived in the 'burbs.  I wondered what it would be like to live in the way that they sang about in those songs.  Well, now I know. 

My heart feels bigger these days.  My priorities have shifted.  My mind is at ease.  This is what it means to live.      

I'm a big believer that our current existence is simply a manifestation of our past thoughts.  Somehow the stars aligned and I was given everything I could ever want.  Jon and I share a home amidst corn and soy fields.  We hang out at The Olde Towne Tavern.  We spend our Sundays chopping wood.  This is the life I had envisioned and now I get to live it everyday.  For that, I am grateful.  Someone upstairs thought I deserved all this.  Ha!  Finders keepers!!

I'll leave you with a few fun facts about country folk that I never knew about growing up in the city.
  • Schools close for a week during deer hunting season so that kids can go hunting with their Dad's.
  • Schools close during fair week so that the kids can show their cows, pigs, horses, and chickens.
  • People use demographic landmarks like "that old burnt down barn" to explain to others where they live.
  • Friday Night Lights is NO joke.  Football is EVERYTHING and it starts in the first grade.  Seven year old boys play under the lights in the high school stadium.  There is an announcer, there are fifty cheerleaders, and there are hundreds of people in the stands.  I mean...for real?!
  • Camo...everywhere.
  • Everyone has a gun, or ten.  Everyone, including kids, knows how to use them.
  • It's dark as hell.  Literally...NO light. 
  • Everybody knows everybody.  That's a given. 
  • People hustle out here.  They work hard and they play hard.

Life is good these days...I hope it is for you all too!! 

Cheers. 

   
 
 
Our little coop.  Ain't it cute?!

 



Just got lines on the roads.  About time!





 




crazy chickies!!



 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Having The Grace To Accept That Which Is Not Meant For You

I believe in my own mind to be somewhat of a simple person.  All I've really ever wanted was a little land, a little change in my pocket, a little circle of people to love, and a little thing called purpose, the last of which has been weighing on my heart for some time now.

As most people do, we robotically wake in the morning, drink our coffee, log eight or more hours at work, go home, eat, and go to sleep.  Day in, day out.  The fashion in which we exist is systematic until 5pm hits on Friday afternoon.  How often do you hear people at work on Wednesdays complain that it isn't Friday yet?  How often are people talking about how tired they are or how slow the work day is going?  The idea that we must work an 8am-5pm job until we are 65 years old has started to give me a little anxiety. 

Don't get me wrong here.  Some people kick ass at their corporate jobs and love it.  My sister happens to sit at a desk behind a computer all day and is a legit corporate maven, badass working mom, and someone who will probably make millions before I make my first 100K, all while loving her job.  I envy people who love their jobs, because I have never felt that.  I've worked many jobs, all having taught me a thing or two, but for which I had no passion.  When I did not agree with how things were done at a specific job, I would think to myself, "I could do it better.  They're dumb".  I'm pretty sure they call that narcissism.  Oops...may want to work on that! Ha!  Nevertheless, working for "the man" bothered me.  I wanted to make my own rules, and if I failed, I would have no one else to blame.

Nutrition is my passion.  Eating what the earth made, not what some chemist made, is something I feel strongly about.  I live in the country now, so we have chickens and grow a lot of our own fruits and vegetables.  Let me tell you, it's pretty damn fulfilling to eat food you've planted, watered, and watched grow month after month.

Jon and I spend quite a bit of time talking about our goals and what we want to do in our short time on this planet.  I want my life and my career to involve my passions.  My passion is not glass claims administration or slinging drinks to drunk people (pretty much the last 10 years of my life).  My passion is food.  I'm obsessed with food.  And wine.  And good vodka.  There is a quote by John Keats which says, "Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know".  The idea of spending your life doing the things you love, whatever they may be, is something I strive to do.

Jon and I were driving through our little town about a month ago. We stopped at a red light and I looked over and saw a "For Rent" sign in a tiny little building in the Victorian downtown area.  I made him stop.  This little building was going to be mine.  I was going to quit my job and open my own nutrition store.  I called the number immediately and left a message.  I called again the next day.  I stalked these people until I got a hold of them a few days later.  We met with the owner the following morning, and signed the lease three days later, on Jon's birthday.  We sat up every night that week discussing ideas, business names, inventory costs, and loans and money needed to make this happen.  We had 350 square feet to do whatever we wanted with.  To me, it felt like 10,000 square feet.     

The building is old, probably over 150 years old.  We knew the place needed some work, and luckily Jon can fix anything.  We negotiated with the landlord to replace the flooring and paint at his cost, and we would do the labor for free.  I had no problem with that.  It would be a labor of love.  Within five minutes of getting the keys we were ripping out the old carpet.  It did not take long to figure out that the minor repairs that we thought were needed were just the tip of the iceberg.  There was black mold underneath the whole floor.  Once the carpet was removed in the bathroom, there was a hole in the floor leading to the outside of the building.  The floor was completely rotted underneath the subpaneling.  I got sick, and so did Jon. 






We had an inspector out who stated that it would cost $6,500 to fix the mold problem in the entire building.  After informing the landlord of this, he basically told us to pound salt.  We had signed a contract, he said.  He had worked in that building for 35 years and there was nothing wrong with the foundation, in his mind.  He would be calling his lawyer and proceeding with further action because we "defaced" his property.   

We are in the midst of a legal battle over what I thought was my dream.  My heart is heavy.  We hold the permits to a business that we cannot open.  I am devastated, but not defeated.  I know that there is a reason that this little store will not be mine, at least not right now, but it sure isn't very clear at the moment.

I am thankful for my parents for their guidance with this whole mess, and to Jon, who assures me that we WILL make this into a reality, one way or another.

I have never been good at letting go of what is not meant for me, whether it be a job or a relationship.  I find myself feeling as though it is a personal failure.  But I am learning to realize that those people and those things that were once in my life are no longer there so that there can be more room for the things and people that were meant to stay for the long haul.  This is just another bump in the road, and a learning experience in this thing we call life.

A few years from now, when I'm sitting in my 1000 square foot nutrition store, I will look back and be thankful for the struggle.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Cheers. 




              





 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where Is Your Heart?

I LIVE to travel.  Nothing feeds your soul like a new experience.  And nothing fills your heart more than an ocean breeze, a strong cocktail, and creating memories with dear friends.  That’s what I got to do this weekend.  Jon and I headed down to Wilmington, North Carolina to stay with our friends, Jen and Brian.

I convinced Jon to make the 10-hour road trip rather than fly down south.  My best thinking always occurs on a long trip, hence why I always drive when I visit my sister in the South.  It’s also nice that my man has a company car and gas card which paid our way.  Free gas = amazeballs.  This trip, I got to bounce all my thoughts off of him and we spent the entire trip down discussing life, what we want out of it, and where we are currently in accordance with our long term goals.  We talked about the idea of happiness and what is needed to be truly happy.  After an absolutely amazing weekend with many good friends, we picked up on the conversation on the way home.  We sat on highway 40 in North Carolina for about two hours at a standstill.  There had been a horrible accident in which two people had died.  As people started getting out of their cars to vent their frustration, I couldn’t help but think to myself…there are two people who no longer get the chance to live out their dreams. 

As we made the trek home, I turned into a hunger b*tch, so we stopped in Ripley, West Virginia for a heavy Italian meal.  Next door, there was a health food store called “To Your Health” so we decided to stop in.  Being the nosy person that I am, I started talking to the owner about her little store.  Kay, a woman of probably 70 years, had been a lifelong nurse with a passion for health and fitness.  Although she loved nursing, her dream was to open up a health food store.  14 years ago, she did just that.  And her little store has been thriving in that small town ever since. Her 101 year old mother sat in the back office to keep her company.  My heart melted.  Clearly, this is a woman who knew there is no age limit when it comes to living out your dreams.

So I ask you…what are your dreams?  Where is your heart? 

My dreams and weird and crazy.  I want a summer home in Alaska where I can fish for salmon on my back porch.  I want a few acres of land to call my own with chickens and horses and cows.  I want to work for myself.  I want to grow my own food.  A bit outlandish, I guess.  But who cares? Those are my dreams.  What are yours?  What are you doing to get there?  I decided a few years ago that I wanted to travel more, so I got a second job to feed my new habit.  Jon and I wanted to try to be a little more self-sustainable so we planted tomatoes, corn, cantaloupe, strawberries, herbs, peppers, and pumpkins.  I wanted to work for myself and make my own hours, so I’m in the process of getting my real estate license.  These are the things that make my heart happy, and I’m making my way there, even if it’s at a snail’s pace.           

When you wake up in the morning, there is one simple question to ask yourself.  Where is your heart?  Do those things, and spend time with those people that make your heart full.  Eliminate the things and people that don't.  You'll never go wrong.

Cheers!











Friday, November 1, 2013

What's Your Excuse?

Hey friends! Long time no see. I wont bore you with lamesauce excuses about my extended leave of absence from the blog. I'm just jazzed to be back! And I'm here with a topic that I really can't get off my brain.

So I'm a few weeks behind on the buzz surrounding this topic: Maria Kang, the "hot Facebook mom" who has swirled up quite a bit of controversy with this here photo:

I wanna party with the 3 year old
 
Just like the rest of America, my jaw absolutely dropped when I saw this. Is this chick for real?? How is this even humanly possible? I immediately felt pangs of jealously, and automatically started rattling off my own excuses: I have a demanding corporate career, my nights are eaten up with baby-dinner-bath-bed-chores-more work-yadda yadda. I'm not sleeping well so I'm too tired to work out. Sorry I don't have 6 hours a day to work out like you. Must be nice to be a stay-at-home mom, and do push-ups at the park while your kids play. You're probably a pretty miserable person who has no friends and B.O. Sorry that xylophone abs are not my #1 priority, but I'm just not that shallow.
 
But then I thought....
 
....why do we women do this? Why do we put other women down when we feel bad about ourselves?
 
IF I felt great about my body, we would be kindred spirits. You go girl! You earned it! Health is important for longevity, and feeling good about yourself feeds your spirit. You're taking excellent care of yourself, which is a sign of love for your family. You're giving them the best possible version of yourself, inside and out. You are investing your time in something that has measurable impact on your day-to-day life. That rocks.
 
Being in good shape (whatever that means to you) is so much more than just vanity. But for a second, lets start with vanity. Most of us can relate to this: think about how you feel in your skinny jeans. You wear them out, and you have that swagger. You smile slightly more when you talk, which (subconsciously) leads to more lively conversation. Because you feel good, you probably compliment others a bit more. The difference in your vibe may be imperceptible on the surface, but it makes a real difference in the energy around you. I may sound hokey, but Leigh and I believe that energy is everything. So looking good = feeling good, I'm not breaking new ground there...but the ripple effect is that you will probably make others feel good too, without even trying.
 
Anyone remember Miranda in her skinny jeans?
 
I'm not saying you have to look like Maria Kang. Not at all. What matters is how you FEEL, and your swagger. Someone who used to weigh 300 and now weights 220 is going to have some major swagger. You don't have to be a twig. I know women who don't have perfect bodies who are legit MAN MAGNETS because they put off that mojo.
 
So my point on all this is: if having a hot body is going to give you mojo, then sister, you must go for it. Your life will be better and the lives of those around you will be better if you feel good. And that includes the lives of your kids. Nobody benefits from a wompy mommy. I'm not saying you have to be a hardbody, but whatever it takes to get that spring in your step....GET IT! For Maria Kang, it's the xylophone abs. For me, its my skinny jeans. I'm pretty sure a day that I get to wear those is a day my husband and daughter are going to get a springy version of me. That's the payoff - the ripple effect.
 
Plus - in a world of chaos, where so much is out of our control...your fitness level is something you can take control of, and the dividends are quite high. In terms of daily happiness, what other thing can you do that will produce such a high return on your investment? If I work an extra hour a day, I'll likely feel more stressed/drained, and (in my line of work) wont see more money as a result anytime soon...low return. If I clean for an hour every day...that's a medium return. A tidy house = somewhat less stress, I suppose. If I exercise an hour a day, I physically look and feel great the other 23 hours a day. HIGH return. Plus, remember that me in a good mood puts others in a good mood. Exponential return.
 
Now, lets talk for a moment about the PR of her message. "What's Your Excuse?" I'll give you this...it's a little accusatory. I mean, she's imploring you to literally think of your excuse, and that's what's in the front of your mind. She's no dummy though - that tone is what caused it to go viral, so I'm thankful she used it to get the message out. I wish it was a tad more encouraging though. Like "This could be you!" or "It's easier than you think!" But would people have paid nearly as much attention?
 
I'd be remiss not to mention the backlash her photo generated. I don't blame people for reacting (hell, I obviously did) but consider redirecting your energy into something positive. Like getting your ass to the gym and then acting smug because you went.
 
In case you are wondering how she achieved this, her FAQ page is just awesome. She does not work out six hours a day, have a nanny, or have particularly good genes. She just makes it a priority, and I have mad respect for her unapologetic explanation of how she makes it work.
 
So, do I practice what I preach? I'm starting to! After being skinnyfat for several years, I've decided to invest in myself. I want that swagger. Though I may not be technically "overweight"...my muscles are flaccid and unused, I have a doughy new-mom bod, and feel like lethargo the clown much of the time. So, this is another full post for another time, but I'm OBSESSED with Title Boxing. And that shizzle works!! You get to hit the crap out of a giant bag while bouncing around to Luda. It's the only workout I've ever actually enjoyed. Ever. Super high return on investment.
 
Starting to get that mojo back!
  
So - how did the hot Facebook mom make you feel? What to you do to keep that mojo?
 
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birthday Blessings

Last week I celebrated 28 years on this crazy earth, and man, it was a WHOLE lot of celebrating.  Five days in a row to be exact.  Thanks friends and family for killing my liver and expanding my waistline!  Although I am fully aware of the blessings around me, it's times like these that really make me realize how lucky I am.  Every year around this time I reflect back on the blessings that have been given to me over the past 12 months and the things that I am grateful for.  Here's just a few: 

  1. I have been able to travel.  I caught a concert in West Virginia, saw my family in Charlotte, was in my best friend's wedding in Charleston, painted the town red in Nashville, and stuffed my face with cannoli's in Boston...to name a few. 
  2. I have reconnected with old friends who have been life savers over the last year.  Never turn someone down when they say, "let's catch up!".  
  3. I have a man who not only bought me a gun for my birthday (ummm...keeper!) but patched and rotated my tires with his own hands for me because I'm lazy and didn't get it done myself.  Lucky me.  
  4. My sister and I started this little blog which has brought us closer than we've ever been!
  5. I'm livin'...and that's all you can really ask for.


Lisa and I at the Rascal Flatts concert on Wednesday, compliments of J. 



My best friend Lori's collage for me.  Oh lordy! Blast from the past!


Cheers friends!

I promise, we're back on the organo train this week!