The Great Northwest: Day 3 – Glacier National Park.

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On the third day of our trip, we actually entered a national park; Glacier National Park, to be precise. I have to admit, I did not rise and shine. It was (what I considered to be) the first day of my vacation and that does mean sleeping in a little bit. Nick was up in arms about getting parking for some of the trails we wanted to hit but I was all, “it’ll be fine, we’ll make it there by the time the first wave is leaving.” I’ll save you the anticipation. He was totally right, and my theory was incredibly wrong. Who knew parking was its own sport at Glacier?

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The Great Northwest: Day 2 – Cherries and Berries.

How am I doing? We’re on Day 5 of our trip and I’m about to type up Day 2 and maybe Day 3, but no pressure. Day 2 was a big ‘ole driving day which I didn’t think would be that exciting but of course it was eventful because any day with me is. For breakfast we went to the restaurant inside of the Arctic Club. Nick had the corned beef hash, per usual and I ordered the breakfast burrito. When our food arrived, the burrito was the size of rolled up shirt that would be eligible for shooting into a sports team’s fanbase. I managed to eat two-thirds of it before raising the white flag. We called valet for our vehicle and hit the road.

Nick drove to get us out of the city and to the nearest Target in the suburbs. My packing game is not like it used to be. I forgot to pack real bras (aside from the one I wore to the airport.) What I mean when I say “real” is as opposed to “sports” bras. I packed all of my sports bras. Most of this trip is centered around comfort and performance, not form and style. What I’m trying to say is that my packing mishap is not as egregious as one might think. Anyhow, the only thing I really needed is a strapless bra for the wedding on Saturday and Target has those. I also grabbed some travel face washes, a cigarette-lighter usb thingy for charging our phones, and an aux cord so I can pump my sweet jams into the Rogue while I drive. Which is exactly what I would be doing once we left Target.

Once out of the greater metropolitan area of Seattle, the landscape becomes rather flat. On a hot day, and it was, you can’t make out a clear horizon line, which is very trippy. The rode ahead of you seems to disappear as perhaps does the rest of the world and you’re maybe driving off the edge of it. There’s not a ton to see along the road either. Mostly fields. This could help explain why, when I passed a state trooper she started pulling out from the median, I thought it maybe, could possibly, sort of be, for me. Sure enough, she put on the cherries and berries and I promptly pulled over. I was contemplating how the whole rental car situation meshes with getting pulled over and I was imagining it’s messy. Thankfully, she took mercy on us, let me off with a warning (which I heeded) and gave us an overview of what our drive would bring once we got past Washington and into Idaho and then Montana.

We stopped for lunch in Couer d’Alene in Idaho, a touristy-lake town. Overall, from our brief drive-through, the town struck me as quaint and beautiful. Lunch came from a small asian bistro where I had a salad with shrimp and Nick had tofu stir fry, and we split an Idaho-roll.

After lunch, I recall anything memorable. Nick picked up the driving again, probably to avoid any additional run-ins with the law. Idaho took a little longer than we predicted to cross. We were just cutting through the panhandle. Boy, do our states love having “panhandles.” I remember driving through “towns” listed on the Montana map and it was more like a cluster of homes with a general store and a Subway, traffic light optional. Montana is stunning though. No more losing the horizon. The mountains and greenery put me in awe.

We reached the Hampton Inn in Kalispell with no further hiccups, at least none I can recall. We checked in, dropped our stuff and walked to dinner at the Tree Frog Tavern, which was a treat. No beers on draft but some pretty good local bottles, and only one server on staff taking care of anywhere from two to twelve tables at one time. We are patient. She reminded me of how my mom probably was as a server.

We made a rough plan Monday night for our big next day at Glacier National Park and went to bed pretty early. How sitting in a car all day takes so much out of you, I’ll never know.
Once again – Disclaimer: This has NOT been edited or reviewed. I hope to revise/add pictures post-trip. Thanks in advance for not judging.

The Great Northwest: Day 1 – Pearls and Legs.

As day two of our Northwest adventure comes to a conclusion, I’m trying to convince myself to write everything down right now. In the past I’ve vowed to document whole trips at their conclusion but then life happens and precious details are lost until I’m daydreaming or something sparks the memory.

We left the house on Sunday morning, anticipating a quiet airport and we couldn’t have been more wrong. The airport was slammed and I no longer have TSA pre-check since taking my new last name. Honestly, I haven’t even looked into how to transfer it, I’m exhausted from the name-changing process. Just today I realized my last name wasn’t changed on Untapped, the beer tracking app. This realization was the underlying cause of a long, exasperated sigh from my at the dinner table, while simply trying to log my delightful pale ale. I’m getting ahead of myself.

The flight was smooth. I won a game of cribbage, we had bloody mary’s to signify the beginning of our vacation, and I nearly froze to death while listening to Fresh Air and trying to shove my toes under my backpack for warmth. The Seattle airport was nice, but I’ve been once before but didn’t remember a thing about it. We picked up our rental car and booked it to downtown Seattle for the evening.

We lodged at one of my most favorite hotels in the world, The Arctic Club. The doors are bright blue, each room has a french press, and the staff is wonderful. The complimentary caramel corn in the rooms did not go unappreciated.

Whenever I can see the ocean, I only have one thing on my mind; oysters. We found an oyster happy hour within walking distance. They were divine. The happy hour special oyster was pacific coast (of course), I’m not 100% certain on the name but perhaps Humboldt Gold. They were big, meaty, buttery. I also had a Kummamota, my pacific-coast favorite, and tried a Stingray for the first time, from Chesapeake Bay. Nick tried a Kusshi from British Columbia, the coloring was oddly white.

After three dozen or so oysters, a gin and lemonade, and a glass of chardonnay, we ubered over to Chandler’s Crab House on Lake Union. We were sat right on the glass next to the lake with a view of all the lake activity. There was your usual, paddleboarding, kayaking, and pontooning. There was also something terribly fun to watch – puddle jumpers taking off and landing. It must have been some sort of class or training. These planes could take off and land so gracefully on the water. The most wild part was this was all happening just a few yards aways from other boats and kayaks, those poor kayakers.

Our dinner did not disappoint, we split an appetizer of arctic char crudo with tzatziki sauce. It was perfectly salty and tasty. For dinner we had the crab dinner for two which included Bairdi crab cluster, King crab, and a Dungeness crab – which I’ve wanted to try for a while. Nothing feels more earned than breaking down crab meat. After just the slightest dip into butter, the taste is unlike anything else. I did like the Dungeness, it had a smokier quality to it and the meat was tender. No crab compares to the Blues in Maryland, though. Aside from being delicious, I have so many sentimental memories attached to bushells of Blue Crab; it will always be my number one. We couldn’t bear to order dessert and headed back to the hotel.

Sadly, the hotel bar is closed on Sunday. This was our favorite bar the last time we were in Seattle. It looks straight out of the 1850’s and the bartender was named Viktor and made a mean Aviator. In our room we did have provisions of our own so we poured a glass of bourbon and plotted our next day’s drive, about eight hours, to Glacier National Park area.

I’ll stop here due to time.

Disclaimer: This has NOT been edited or reviewed. I hope to revise/add pictures post trip. Thanks in advance for not judging.

Travel Warrior: The Fun Never Ends.

Toasting to a delightful wine tasting at Uptick Winery.

Now, where was I? What did I last post about? Something about my favorite TV shows? Yeesh. Katie. Of everything in the world, I chose to share such intriguing, intimate details such as the TV shows I indulge in. When did I get so interesting?!?

The past few months have been a whirlwind of traveling. The end of April was LA to San Francisco to Sonoma Valley. The following weekend was a wedding in Chicago. The following weekend was a surprise birthday trip for me to Oklahoma City (where my best bitch lives with her husband and Baby A.) The weekend after my birthday weekend, a darling friend from Cleveland spent Memorial Day weekend with me in Nashville. I had a two weekend reprieve before a Bachelorette Trip to Ft. Lauderdale (spoiler alert: I can still hang.) (Spoiler to the spoiler: After “still hanging,” it takes me about a week to recover.) After my trip to Florida, I had one weekend back home in Nashville – yes, it’s finally home! We headed up to the lake house in Illinois for a long Fourth of July weekend, which brings me to now.

The travel doesn’t stop here, folks! On Sunday, Nick and I leave for the big, wide-open Northwest. We land in Seattle and then make our way to Bozeman, Montana for one of my favorite lady’s wedding day. On the way we’ll spend a considerable amount of time at Glacier National park, you know, before it melts. Suggestions of what to do/trails/activities, are welcome. We may also make a pit stop at Yellowstone, because why not? We are road warriors.

When we arrive home from Montana, I’ll have a four-day work week before we drive, yes, seven more hours, back up to the lake house for two weekends in a row of fun with our friends. The party truly never ends with us. Despite moving to Nashville, away from the majority of my family and a good portion of our close friends, we still know life is too short not to surround yourself with those you love.

Once we’re back from two consecutive weekends on the road, I will be home for a stretch, you know, until another potential wedding in Chicago, and Labor Day in NYC to visit THE Shannon Allen. When I look ahead and think I may do something “when things settle down,” that mentality needs to die a swift, swift death. This is the new normal and any goals, any diets, any workouts, any anything, needs to make it work. There’s never going to be a perfectly boring time in my life, at least not one that I foresee, to finally clean out the guest room closet, or deep clean the master shower, these things will get done and it’s going to take some planning, and that’s okay. I don’t think I’d give up all of the travels and celebrations for the world.

Did I mention I got a job in Nashville? Bottom line – I love my role, I love the culture and values of my company, and I love the people I work with it. It’s pretty great. [Pictures Below]

Toasting to a delightful wine tasting at Uptick Winery.
Toasting to a delightful wine tasting at Uptick Winery.
Wedding in Chicagoland.
Wedding in Chicagoland.
Barrington Vineyards over Memorial Day Weekend.
Barrington Vineyards over Memorial Day Weekend.
Whale Watching in Montery
Whale Watching in Monterey

Over and out.

New Horizons: Getting Used to Them.

Beautiful Nashville from the Walking Bridge over the Cumberland river - taken on my run this morning!
Beautiful Nashville from the Walking Bridge over the Cumberland river – taken on my run this morning!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Since I’ve poured my life out on paper or in a draft to therapeutically process it. There’s a million reasons, more like excuses.

Life is too devastatingly beautiful not to be chronicled. I want to pen long essays about the most romantic day of my life. I want to document every recipe I mess up so I can properly celebrate the ones I nail. I want to be imaginarily accountable through the web to pursue my health and fitness whims. I long to ramble about the tiny ah-ha moments I have. I do.

I don’t quite know how to label the funk I’ve been in. I use the big “D” word because it best matches the non-feelings I’ve had, the emptiness I’ve been feeling. The cause is complex and it’s not just as simple as saying, “the post-wedding blues.” I think wedding planning was just keeping me sufficiently distracted from my fears of calling a new place home. I’m scared of finally losing the excuse of, “we just moved here,” to explain my anti-social behavior.

Most of my social media is Cleveland. The twitter feeds, the blogs, the instagram accounts, the sports teams, I follow – 90% Cleveland. Yet here I am, not living in Cleveland. I try desperately to remember what it was like moving back to Cleveland after college. How did I meet so many wonderful people? So quickly? I’m scared that I won’t be able to replicate that here and I just feel stunted. Paralyzed. Life is moving on back home, big picture and small. New restaurants are opening that I would love to patron. When there’s crisis in my family, I feel helpless; which is the worst kind of torture for a control freak like myself. I want to be there to fix everything, to make everything okay. But I can’t. And I feel so disconnected.

Not only have I made less than an applausable effort to join the community here, but I feel like I’m drifting further those I intend to stay in touch with because I don’t have much to say. I’ve never been less interesting. I’m not working a traditional full-time job, I’m no longer in school, the wedding/honeymoon are over, and I don’t have any meaningful hobbies. I simply don’t have anything going on worth picking up a phone to call someone and tell them about. I find myself shirking away from responding to a friendly e-mail asking, “how’s it going?” What’s “it”? I wish I knew.

The fun part is I can write this because as of about a week ago, maybe, I started to get some purpose back. Back on a workout schedule, back to attempting to make better food choices, back to losing what I gained back that I worked so hard to lose last year. I’m reading again, and by golly, I’m going to a book club on Monday and send me to the moon if I punk out and don’t go. It’s only Thursday and I’m already a quarter of the way through the book! I want to write about the books I read, wouldn’t that be lovely? And the wine I drink.

Everything is OK. I just needed to get this out of my system because the moments I’m willing to be vulnerable are few and far between but boy are they invigorating.

 

“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.”  Sylvia Plath

DIY Skin Care: How I Tame My Crazy-Ass Pores

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Slowly but surely, I am incorporating more natural elements into my lifestyle. One of the big areas for me, is skincare. It’s no secret, my skin sucks. It blows. It’s turrible – as Barkley would say. Starting in 6th grade I had terrible acne, was bullied, blah blah blah. Main point, I thought it would go away. By the time middle school ended. Or of course by the time I graduated from high school. Or definitely by the time I finished college. Nope. My acne, like a bumpy little shadow, followed me into adulthood. Cute, right?

I have spent so much time (and money) slathering salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide onto my skin that I thought it might be time to try something different. One major thing is diet, but that’s super complicated and I’m not even sure of my own perfect dietary formula yet. I’m talking topical.

Oil – friend or foe? Two years ago, I would have said foe. My skin is oily, why would I fight fire with fire? As it would turn out, oil vs. oil is a fair fight. A good one, even. My stance was first weakened at the knees when Kimberly, from Smitten in Cleveland, posts a piece on her holy grail cleansing oil, and my eyes were opened. Her first step is to wash your hands, and while while this might sound super basic for washing your face 101, it’s honestly something I had never thought about. If washing your face with oil was something she did, then it couldn’t be wrong, but I didn’t want to be right..yet…I guess.

Recently, I made my own DIY exfoliating face wash with coconut oil and quite frankly, I’m mad about it.

20150311_192031Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oils

Directions

Mix! I use this 4-5 times a week – usually in the evening. It has taken some time to get acquainted with how my skin feels a little “oily” afterward. I just wasn’t used to not completely stripping my face of oil day-in and day-out.

Inspiration: I think this was from a MindBodyGreen article, but honestly, I can’t find it!

My newest DIY face mask is so simple and involved Grapeseed Oil, which is so convenient because I just started cooking with it recently too! Grapeseed might even be able to help tighten skin and reduce the appearance of pores (which is great, because the pores on my nose are the number and size of the potholes after this winter.)

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt (seriously, as fine as possible – otherwise, it scratches!)

Directions

Mix! Glop on. Leave for 3-5 minutes then rinse! Afterwards, my skin feels a little “tight” so I use a rosewater toner on a cotton ball to calm everyone down.

Inspiration: Instructables

Do you have any favorite DIY skin care recipes?

Then and Now: A Glimpse into 2004.

December 7, 2004

An Introduction. Don’t worry, this isn’t a life story. I just think it’s only fair to give you some background. It’s hard to decide what to write though. Lately I’ve been focusing on the present and who I’m trying to become. Being stuck on my past mistakes, and my old life has been getting me no where. For that reason, I won’t introduce myself with my past or who I’ve been for that matter.

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My Catharsis.

How to lose yourself.

I’m pontificating on how I seem to have lost myself over the past few months. Moving is hard. But sure, everybody knows that. By August of 2014, I thought I could handle anything. I had tackled moving where I lived, five times in the past four years. I had finally gotten my health/weight into check. I survived a strenuous graduate school summer session where I worked full time and had class Monday through Thursday until ten at night. I persevered through selling our condo while I was still in school and working and managed to help pack us up and move into my Gram’s house for the remainder of our time in Cleveland. How hard, after all of that, could living in Nashville actually be?

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