Utah Roadtrip Layout

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Travel themed papers and embellishments always give me a feeling of eagerness to travel.  I had been staring at this collection of roadtrip stickers for the longest time thinking about how Omar and I should really just get in the car and drive somewhere.I have MANY reasons why I love roadtrips, but here are a few:
– I always see at least 1 crazy thing
– They remind me of the vacations I took with my family when I was a young girl
– I have a perfectly valid excuse for eating as many potato chips as I want
– Two words- roadtrip playlist
– I get to split time between chatting with my hubby and reading good books
– I get to experiment with taking photos of new things
– You don’t have the same packing restrictions as with air travel
I know that life in the car can get pretty cramped, but the long drive usually doesn’t bother me as long as I have things to keep myself busy.
A couple of weeks ago we packed a bag and hit the road for a couple of days.  We went to Utah where we drove through Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  Two days was just enough time to see the sites, go on a hike, and avoid crashing into a deer in the middle of the road (true story).
Sometimes I’ll take a collection of embellishments and start using them on a mini album first, then use the leftover pieces to create some layouts.  This time around I decided to use some of my favorite pieces from the collection for a traditional 12×12 layout first.  I love that little cactus,desert flower, and map of the U.S.!
Okay folks.  Who’s ready for a roadrip now?

Utah_Zion LayoutIMG_5088**Supplies: Embellishment stickers and cutout cards are from the Crate Paper Open Road collection. The background paper is from the Amy Tangerine Plus One collection.

 

Our Trip to Canada (Part 2) : The Butchart Gardens

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Are you ready to explore my favorite place in Canada?  If you missed Part 1 of this two-part travel post, you can find some pretty pictures here.
In my last post I mentioned that my favorite spot from all the areas we visited in Canada is a place in Victoria, BC called the Butchart Gardens.  It’s truly a hidden gem that you can visit by hopping on a ferry in Canada OR Seattle- win!  A few people had recommended this spot to us, but it wasn’t until the second day of our trip that we decided we should go (yes, we really are last minute planners when we feel we can get away with it, and yes, that really is something I’m trying to stop doing!). On our last day in Canada we bought our ferry ticket and headed over to Victoria.Right as we got off the ferry I felt the small town vibes.  We didn’t stay in the charming downtown area for long since we wanted to spend as much time as we could in the gardens while there was still daylight, but we did make time to eat lunch at a little Swedish cafe where I had the best tomato bisque soup I’ve ever tried.  Great, now I’m craving tomato bisque soup . . .

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Even in December when the flowers were not in full bloom and the sky was overcast and dreary this place was still amazingly beautiful.  We knew we were visiting in the off season, but that actually worked in our favor because we had the whole garden to ourselves!  The experience of walking through the giant garden in the quiet was incredibly zen.
Another bonus of visiting in December was experiencing the 12 Days of Christmas light display.  It was so beautiful and it totally made me feel like a kid on a treasure hunt as we went searching for each display representing each day from the 12 days of Christmas.  And then there was also the experience of listening to carolers and a brass band singing/playing Christmas music while bundled up in our winter coats and enjoying a latte.  The whole experience was quite magical.  I would definitely go back, and my vote might be to visit in the Winter again!

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Welcome, Weekend! A Few Good Books

ReadingHappy Friday, Friends!This weekend I’m determined to find some quiet time for reading.  After all, weekend mornings really should be spent curled up on the sofa with some coffee and a good book, right?  I’ve recently (and by recently I mean in the last few months) finished some great books, so without further adieu . . .
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown– I’ll always have a special place in my heart (and personal library!) for motivational books. This book really spoke to the worrier and people-pleaser in me.  I love how Brown openly discusses her own experiences and imperfections.  We are all imperfect and we can’t do it all, but at the end of the day we need to find peace and acceptance when we’ve done our best and all we can.  I know . . . always easier said than done.  I can’t say this book changed my life, but whenever I read it before going to bed I really did feel more peace and the next day I would spend time digesting the information.
Something Blue by Emily Griffin– This is the followup book to “Something Borrowed” which was made into a movie.  If you hated the character of Darcy in “Something Borrowed” then you might not find much comfort in  knowing she’s the main character of this book. However, if you can find the humor in all of her crrraziness and you stick with it you’ll witness some great character changes :-) I found this book to be really funny at times and overall an enjoyable read.
Where we Belong by Emily Griffin– I had so much fun reading “Something Blue” that I decided to pick up another Emily Griffin book before our trip to Canada.  This is my favorite book of hers so far.  It’s funny at times, but also very heartfelt.  The premise revolves around a girl who seeks out her birth mother after she turns 18.  You follow their current lives, their history, and there’s also a sweet love story in there.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)– This is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile! It’s a murder mystery that centers around a detective investigating a supermodel’s death that was originally determined to be a suicide. I loved the rich character development and found the mystery aspect to be fun.  It reminded me of when I was a teenager reading Nancy Drew- ha!
I’m currently reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.  What are you reading?  Any recommendations?

Revisiting 27 Goals

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January is flying by!  Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2015?  Mine always seem to be similar generic goals: be more food conscious, be more green (use those darn reusable bags!), and drink more water. I just can’t seem to lock in specific goals for the first month of the year. Maybe I’ve been jaded over the years because I always hit burnout by March.  My enthusiasm for setting specific goals usually hits right around my birthday . .  . there’s just something about realizing that I’m a year older that gets me wanting to accomplish some big things in the next year.

Last August I set 27 goals for myself and shared them on the blog.  Now, after about 5 months of having this list, I’m ready to discuss what’s been crossed off (and reveal the things that haven’t!). Also, I should mention that this list has been so much more to me than just a handy checklist where things can get crossed off.  Truly, this list has pushed me to do things that I normally would have either put off or changed plans on.  I love having a focused list that moves me towards my goals.

1. Take a Photography Class

2. Visit a new Country: We traveled to Canada in December and had such amazing experiences!  Part 1 is here and Part 2 is coming soon.

3. Improve my wardrobe: Working on it.  In mid-October I created a capsule wardrobe (and talked about it in this post) in an effort to better define my style and invest (rather than waste) money on really good clothing that I can wear again and again.  So far I feel like I’ve been doing a really good job with this.

4. Simplify the items in my life (embrace minimalism): This is a constant effort.  For anyone interested in approaching minimalism, this blog is a fantastic resource.

5. Sign up for a kickboxing class– So far I haven’t found any classes nearby.  I might have to adopt a good workout DVD to work on this goal.

6. Practice yoga more frequently– It hasn’t become a regular thing, but I’ve definitely started doing it more frequently and found a couple of classes I really enjoy.  I’ve also determined that yoga instruction by way of DVD just doesn’t work for me.

7. Set up an Etsy Shop

8. Start Juicing

9.  Host an awesome Friendsgiving: It really was awesome, and hopefully a new tradition :-)

10.  Continue to work on Project Life Consistently: FAIL

11. Make a vacation video-Footage has been captured. The making of the video is in progress and will be shared on the blog soon.

12. Make a video tutorial

13. Make time for reading– Almost every night- even if only for 15 minutes.

14. Set large financial goals– It’s an ambitious one for sure.  Now I just need to flesh it all out.

15. Improve Snowboarding Skills– Check! Thanks to the Canadian ski slopes!

16. Weave something awesome

17. Become fluent in Spanish– This is probably my most ambitious goal.  I practice with O when we remember to do so.  Remembering seems to be the problem.

18. Learn how to drive a manual car

19. Go kayaking or canoeing

20.  Make Curry

21. Go to three concerts: One down . . . two to go!

22. Have a picnic

23. Go camping– I got as close as I’m going to get for now with a trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah.  The only thing that was missing was . . . well, the camping (ha!).  I just can’t convince the hubby that sleeping on the ground really can be fun.  I’m giving up on this battle- for now ;-)

24. Take a cooking class

25. Worry Less: This is really hard to determine, but I really like that I included it on my list.  I feel like I’m constantly reminding myself to just take things one at a time and focus on the present.  Sometimes I’m successful, and other times are just really tough.

26. Go to a comedy show: Check.  Jeff Dunham is a riot!

27. Be more kind to my body: Heck yes.  I’ve modified my workout routines to be a little less strenuous (yet still challenging), and have started to eat more healthy. This for me has been a HUGE change.  I used to think I could eat anything I wanted if I could kill my body working it off.  I’ve slowly been changing my mindset.

As you can see from my progress, I still have a ways to go.  However, this year’s progress is MAJOR compared to previous years.  Some of the above items have already been planned out while others are going to take significant effort to complete.  I’m really happy I still have 7 more months to get to work!

Our Trip to Canada (Part 1)

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There were a few things that intimidated me about traveling to Canada in December.  Get ready for some pretty lame (yet very real to me!) fears. First, I didn’t know how I was going to get along in the cold weather.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m ALWAYS cold- even in the summer when the air conditioning is hitting me too long.  Omar and I joked that I might return to California as his “wifesicle.”  Second, I knew I was going to be snowboarding. I wasn’t about to let Omar have all the fun in Whistler, but snowboarding is something that both excites and terrifies me despite the fact that I’ve practiced several times.  And thirdly, the general intimidation of traveling out of the country (a first for both of us!) . . . even if we weren’t going that far!

Once we actually got to Canada though I knew we had picked the perfect place for a winter vacation. It was a short trip (5 nights total), but that seemed like just enough time to experience all that we wanted to do.  We spent the first couple of days in Whistler- snowboarding for most of the daytime and then taking our sore bodies to wander through town in the evenings so we could look through the shops and eat some delicious food.  On the third day we packed in the snowboarding gear and headed into Vancouver.  We didn’t get to spend much time in the city, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the view from our hotel room (see the last photo below).  Our final day was spent at the Butchart Gardens, which was probably my favorite day of our trip (coming soon in Part 2!)
This trip was an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful we got to go.  In the end, the cold was more mild than I thought it was going to be, the snowboarding wasn’t so scary after I had fallen a few times and realized that I don’t break like glass, and getting that first stamp in my passport was a huge moment and something I had dreamed about for years.  We have our fingers crossed that someday we’ll get to go back.

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