Homesick

If you had told me just a year, or even a few months ago, that I would miss Colorado, I would have laughed in your face. I was SO over the April blizzards, the generally bipolar weather, the seemingly-annual summer wildfires and the lack of certain things (ahem, lots of vegan restaurants, and up til recently, Trader Joe’s).

I spent most of my life in the Centennial State. I was born in Arizona, and while it still has part of my heart, all of my memories were made in Colorado. I started (and finished) school there, I made all of my friends there, some of my favorite vacations were spent there and I had the best years of my life there, in a town just a couple hours north of my ‘hometown’.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

One of my favorite spots in the world.

But when I graduated from college in December, I was excited for what the next chapter of my life would bring. I was ready to move up and out. I think I applied to a grand total of 3 jobs in Colorado, and 2 of those were in a town on the opposite side of the state, with a totally different vibe. I kept daydreaming about what my new life in a new state might be like, and I wanted it sooner rather than later.

Well…I got my wish. I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in early April. I’ve been working for just over a month now, and while that has had its ups and downs, I’m growing acclimated to my new city. I can say I actually do like it. The weather has been mostly fantastic — a lot less humid than I was expecting, and a heck of a lot warmer than back home. There are plenty of things here that remind me of home, like Whole Foods/Sprouts, lots of thunderstorms, a pretty active lifestyle.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

Still getting used to seeing the waterfront on a daily basis.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Colorado. I honestly thought once I moved away, I’d never want to move back, but part of me does. I miss the mountains so much, the dry air, the people I’ve left behind, the places I still remember with a little bit of a twinge in my heart. I’ve stumbled across a few blogs written by women living in Colorado, and it reminds me of what I’ve left behind. As much as I cursed every single snow storm and hated feeling like I’d never leave, now that I have left, it’s a little bittersweet.

Part of it is being hundreds of miles away from all my people. Most of my friends are graduating this week, and part of me feels like I should be there with them, celebrating with a fancy cocktail in Old Town, picking up my cap and gown and packing up my apartment to move back home. But I’ve already done that — that chapter of my life is over.

My sister is also graduating from high school next week, and it kills me to not be able to see her walk across the stage and get her diploma. After all, she’s been there with me for most of my life — attending both of my graduations and always having my back. To not be there for my bestie and little sister is hard. And it’s harder knowing that some of my extended family will be there too, people I see at the most once a year. Being so far away from that hurts.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

TBT to last summer with my gorg sissy.

Most days, I don’t miss Colorado. Not when they’re getting dumped on with snow in May and I’m running the river trail in 90 degree weather. I like Tulsa. It’s got a great big city vibe without being too big. I could see myself living here for the next year (hopefully moving after that for job-related reasons) and being happy most of the time. And I’m also looking to the future, and planning where I’d love to live in the next few years, and hoping that can happen. I’m not someone who can stay in one place for too long without getting restless.

But then I see friends posting that they got jobs in Denver or Boulder or whatever, and I really miss Colorado. Sometimes I even miss my ‘hometown’ (even though the general vibe is opposite of me for the most part). I definitely miss the mountains and my college town.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

Miss you, FoCo, and the lovely Horsetooth Reservoir.

So here’s to the place that will always have part of my heart, no matter where I roam. Your beauty is unmatched, and even though you’re a little bit crazy sometimes, I’ll always miss you a little bit as long as I’m away. And even if I never move back, I want you to know that I’ll always remember you as home.

Do you ever get ‘homesick’ for a certain place? 

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From Texas to Tulsa

Thursday is the big day. AKA I pack up my life in Colorado and move 600+ miles away to Tulsa, OK. I also start my first real girl job in less than a week, so all that adds up to one stressed chica. I’m just trying to take things one day and one box at a time and enjoy the time I have left as an unemployed Colorado girl 😉

But enough moving and life change talk, let’s talk about spring break instead. Specifically my spring break. I spent most of it in Houston, TX at my aunt and uncle’s house and then a couple days at their lake house a few hours away (along with a side trip to Tulsa the weekend before to find me an apartment and furniture). This was possibly my last family vacation ever and even though it wasn’t always perfect, I tried to soak up every minute (even our way-too-long 18 hour drive home on Saturday) of the trip.

car snacks

Prepping road trip snacks.

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

Lunch at Whole Foods after a morning of apartment hunting in Tulsa. This WFM was huge, had a great salad bar selection and is a 7 minute drive from my new place!

lizard

A cute li’l lizard I found (you can barely see it, but it’s in the middle, on the fence) when I was laying out by the pool.

I could get used to this #poollyfe

I could get used to this #poollyfe

Galveston day trip.

Galveston day trip.

I love my sissy!

I love my sissy!

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

They had the most colorful parrots at the Moody Gardens rainforest.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

I dressed up for a day that was mostly spent driving to the lake house.

Rain on the window.

Rain on the window.

Doesn't this look so real? It was actual a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Doesn’t this look so real? It was actually a fake turtle in an exhibit at a national park visitor center.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

Easy and healthy road trip snacks in the car on the way back home. Grapes, carrots and one-ingredient PB.

I didn't know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I didn’t know the TX panhandle had so many mesas! I absolutely love desert-like terrain.

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

I love vacations, but it feels great to be back in my own bed!

This vacation really challenged me A LOT! I had to deal with 4 really long drives (CO to Tulsa, Tulsa to Houston, Houston to the lake house, the lake house to home) where I was eating on the road (either Chipotle salads or healthy road trip snacks like Larabars and kale chips and carrots) and not getting much movement (I HATE sitting for long periods of time), as well as eating meals at weird times (my aunt and uncle love eating dinner late, so every night we ate after 8:30 pm!) and sometimes skipping meals because I wasn’t hungry, and also not getting any real exercise other than some walking. There were times on the trip I was miserable, because the humidity was messing with my hair and skin and I felt downright ugly and fat. But honestly, it was a nice trip, even though it wasn’t necessarily very relaxing. And when I got home, I was surprised to notice that my body didn’t really change at all during a week of no formal exercise and mostly eating snacks and not a ton of veggies. Of course, it felt great to get back into my daily workout routine and eating normal meals/snacks at regular times but this vacation taught me that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Flexibility is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, a part I’ve been mostly neglecting. Yes, regular exercise and balanced eating are incredibly good for you, but eating at Chipotle twice in one week or taking a break from working out on vacation is normal sometimes, and there’s no reason to beat ourselves up about it. This is hopefully something I can carry into my new life, because there may not always be time for 2 workouts a day or homemade salads for lunch, but I can still be healthy, and that’s what matters.

Do you prefer road trips or flying? How do you fit flexibility into a healthy lifestyle? 

Perfectly Imperfect

This weekend was one of those weekends that I never wanted to end. Don’t get me wrong–it wasn’t the perfect weekend in every way. But perfection is boring! My weekend was perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I finally got my hair re-done.

It was time for a change and I’m so glad I made one. I got about 5-6 inches off the length (big for me since my hair’s been this long since 9th grade!) and got it colored darker. I’m in love with the results though–but of course, hair is never as amazing as it is right after getting it done.

I'm a brunette again!

I’m a brunette again!

I was a little worried when I went out with my mom later on Friday on a few errands because it was raining & snowing and I didn’t want my new hair getting ruined. Fortunately, it stayed pretty dry and I was able to score a new bikini from Target thanks to my lovely mom. Trying on swimsuits is still an anxiety-provoking thing for me but I was able to get over my body hang-ups and find a cute suit that I love!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

I can't wait to wear this...hopefully soon!

I can’t wait to wear this…hopefully soon!

  • I went hiking with my parents. 

After crappy weather on Friday and some cold (in the 40s) sunshine on Saturday, I was more than ready for some springlike weather like we had on Thursday. Sunday delivered on that, so my parents and I laced up our hiking boots (okay, I just wore some tennis shoes) and hit the trails at a state park in the foothills on the south side of town. The weather was perfect–in the 70s with gorgeous blue skies. I was excited to fit in some exercise out in the fresh air. Everything was great…until we ran into some mud on the trails. And by mud, I mean several inches of sloppy, gooey fresh mud. Not so ideal, especially with the shoes I was wearing but with a little help from my dad, I was able to survive the muddy trails. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re hiking, and that’s what I love. Sure, it wasn’t quite the perfect conditions but we made the best of it and now we have a great story to tell 😉

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar!

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar for an almost-perfect picnic lunch.

Isn't this view just gorgeous? I'm so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

Isn’t this view just gorgeous? I’m so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

A photobombed selfie on the trail.

A photobombed selfie on the trail. I love my mom!

  • I got my grocery shopping done for the week. 

I’m being serious when I say that grocery shopping is one of my highlights of the week. I love browsing the aisles for new products and being able to pick out my produce and other food for the week. I get a little upset, though, when I have to push back my grocery trip because of my mom or dad’s schedule. Mostly because I go through my groceries by the time the weekend rolls around, and being low on my favorite foods is a little annoying. But I’m learning to be patient, and just to appreciate the fact that right now, my parents are paying for my (slightly expensive) groceries.

My dad and I didn’t get to the store until 5 pm on Sunday because of our hiking escapades earlier in the day, but I really enjoyed the time I spent with him at Sprouts and Whole Foods. We ran into my internship supervisor from last summer–he’s always been so nice and funny and supportive, so we talked a little about my possible upcoming job. My dad and I share a love for fruit, so we went a little crazy in the Sprouts produce area. At Whole Foods, I wasn’t able to buy everything I had on my list (no spinach, boo!) because things weren’t stocked or they were a bit too expensive but I’m just so grateful that my dad spent the time and money to take me to my favorite store. And now I’m all stocked up for the week and ready to try out some new recipes!

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

So yeah, my weekend wasn’t perfect. My nail polish chipped right after I painted them, I had some anxieties over my workouts, I ate too many Larabars (I’ve had 1 per day since Thursday even though I meant to save them…oops!), I was disappointed by this week’s SNL, I didn’t drink enough water, I got a not-so-great voice mail from my doctor’s office and I struggled with some lingering cold symptoms. But you know what? My weekend was perfectly imperfect. I enjoyed plenty of family time, I ate some amazing pizza (of the homemade, grain free variety), I helped my sister with a baking project, I slept in and stayed up late and I just lived. Not every weekend or every day will be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, the imperfect days are the best!

What were some highlights of your weekend?

 

Happiness

What is happiness? I think it means different things for everyone, but there are some universal things that make most of us happy in some way or another. With that, I’m sharing a fun little list Emily posted the other day…feel free to repost with your own answers!

8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have 

  • A go-to drink: For me, it’s sangrias (love the white wine versions especially), cider on the rocks (I had a really good one a few weeks ago) and homemade margs. And for daily drinks, water always.
  • A go-to karaoke song: Anything Lady Gaga. Her songs just pump me up like no other.
  • A uniform: colored skinny jeans (especially burgundy), faux leather jacket, riding boots, statement necklace or loop scarf
  • A hair stylist they love: I’ve switched stylists a lot over the years, so I’m going to change this one to hair style. I love my hair in big curls with full bangs.
  • An exercise routine: At home workouts 7 days per week, with some walking thrown in as well.
  • A hobby: Grocery/clothes shopping, blogging, yoga, cooking.
  • A best friend: my sister, always and forever. And at the moment, a really close friend I’ve made through working together and having classes together. I’m going to miss her a LOT when I graduate but we’re hoping someday we end up at the same TV station!
  • A healthy sense of self: I feel like I’ve really grown a lot in the past year. Maybe it’s partly because I’m almost a college grad (scary!) but I’ve been maturing and becoming more independent and focusing less on things I used to freak out about. I can’t say I don’t worry about things anymore, but I’m trying to let life happen and just being okay with whatever comes my way. And I’m excited for the future.
Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

Selfies make me feel good, too #noshame.

What makes YOU happy? 

Life Lately+Big Decisions

Hey guys! I’m back a little sooner than I expected…mostly because I just found out the other day that school actually starts a week later than I thought it did. Best surprise ever, right? Apparently I had a bit of a blonde moment thinking school started this coming Monday but luckily I checked my university’s website and confirmed that I actually start on the 26th. Yay to having an extra week of summer break though!

Anyways, my vacation went well and I want to share a few recap photos but I mostly want to talk about some big decisions I’ve been making lately–some about the blog.

So I’m starting my senior year–make that senior semester–on the 26th and I’m taking 17 credits, which is more than I’ve taken in my entire time in college. I’m basically taking on a full course load, along with returning to my position as weather anchor at the campus TV station. Add to that some job hunting and you’ve got one stressed chica. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited for this upcoming semester and even more so for graduation and getting my first job out of college, but I also have a lot on my plate. I need to buckle down and really focus on making my last semester the best ever, which also includes being more social/spontaneous, so blogging will definitely be taking a backseat.

Not only that, but I feel like I need to move on from this blog. I’ve been keeping it up for 2+ years and while it’s been great, I want to take a different focus for my blog. That being said, I’ve started blogging over at a new blog, Real.Food.Girl. and while I’ll generally be talking about similar topics, I’d like to focus more on healthy recipes, and the quirky parts of my life as a twenty-something starting my adult life on my own. I want this new blog to be more fun, more honest but less about the hangups I still have about food, fitness and my body. I’m moving further and further away from my struggles with those things so I think starting a new blog will be kind of a clean slate for me in that aspect. I hope you continue to follow me over at my new blog and I will definitely be keeping up with reading all of your posts because I love that part of blogging! I may not post as often (I’ll be trying for once or twice per week) but I hope the posts will be more meaningful.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the fun part–the vacation recap. I don’t want to bore y’all with the details of the 8 day trip but I do want to share some photos with you guys. This vacation was unexpectedly amazing, yet sad at the same time. I visited extended family out in Wisconsin, and though in some ways it was similar to previous visits, it was quite different as well. For one thing, it was the first time we went back in 4 years, and a lot has changed since then. Mostly that my grandpa on my dad’s side is not doing well at all, and had just moved into assisted living before we got there. It was really hard to see him so frail and unable to walk on his own. Even though staying at his cottage wasn’t the same without him there, he really enjoyed our daily visits and hopefully they improved his spirits. Other than that, the trip was fun and it was great to catch up with extended family we hadn’t seen in a few years. We spent half the time with one set of grandparents at their house and camper and the other half at my grandpa’s lake cottage in the Northwoods. I’ve always enjoyed the time I’ve spent on the lake and I hope I can return again next summer because I really missed it.

Gotta love Sky Mall's silly products.

Gotta love Sky Mall’s silly products.

On the 'ducks' on the Wisconsin River.

On the ‘ducks’ on the Wisconsin River.

The fun lake at the campground.

The fun lake at the campground.

Qdoba salad on the road.

Qdoba salad on the road.

Heading up north!

Heading up north!

Snacks in the car.

Snacks in the car.

Lake Pokegama at sunset.

Lake Pokegama at sunset.

The pontoon boat.

The pontoon boat.

Lake view. Gorgeous.

Lake view.

Sissy on the pier.

Sissy on the pier.

Looking off the pier.

Looking off the pier.

I love the lake!

I love the lake!

Stairs of doom...just kidding! Super steep though.

Stairs of doom…just kidding! Super steep though.

Me on the paddle boat. My workout of choice while at the lake.

Me on the paddle boat. My workout of choice while at the lake.

Me and my sissy.

Me and my sissy.

Flying back home on Southwest Airlines.

Flying back home on Southwest Airlines.

I came back with TONS of pictures (80+!), more mosquito bites than I’d like and lots of memories. I really miss being there, but I’m glad to be back so I could get back into my normal routine–I didn’t get in any formal workouts while in WI other than paddleboating and walking around, my acne really flared up in the humidity and I missed having a Whole Foods 10 minutes away (though my parents were great and stopped at the WF in Milwaukee after landing to stock up on groceries for the week). I don’t always love where I live, but this trip made me thankful for some things I take for granted being here, and it made it a little easier to get back to my normal life. But nothing beats vacation time! I especially liked that we flew out instead of driving–I love airports and flying, and I haven’t flown in 3 years so I really missed it. Call me weird, but I just love to fly.

What was your most recent vacation destination? Do you like to fly?

WIAW: Flooding, Fedoras and Fun

Sometimes, you can’t do much better than the classic alliterative title! And with that, here’s another WIAW…

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

Flash flood aftermath, day 2.

My city is just getting hit hard with natural disasters, after last summer’s fire, this summer’s fire (which hit even closer to home for me and my family) and now flash flooding on the southwest side of town. We all knew it would happen eventually with the burn scar in the foothills meaning no vegetation to slow down rainfall, but no one imagined it would happen after just half an inch of rain fell in half an hour! Luckily, they were able to clean up the streets and businesses that were affected very quickly and by the time I made it over there on Tuesday, it looked normal, aside from tons of mud near the creek. The perks of being in TV news is that you’re always the first to know about things, and you can always get a close look at whatever happened, which is good for a nosy person like me!

I wanna be a localvore!

I wanna be a localvore!

I really love this new campaign Whole Foods has going about focusing on local food. I’ve become passionate about buying local, and even though it’s hard to get really good local produce in CO, Whole Foods does stock local produce when its available and a lot of the products I love to buy, like Larabars and raw kimchi, are produced in my state! Once I move to a better produce state (ahem, CA!) I hope to exclusively buy locally-grown produce.

Ah-mazing stuff.

Ah-mazing stuff.

And speaking of local, I happened across this gem on a random trip to the Whole Foods I rarely frequent. It’s smaller than the one I prefer and farther from where I live but I wanted to see if they had anything different. I’m so glad I did, because I have yet to see this new brand at the WF I usually go to. I spotted the “I’m a local” tag and the awesome flavor combos and was instantly intrigued. I mean, what other brand has cherry vanilla almond butter, or blueberry cinnamon walnut butter? I decided to get the dark chocolate coconut one since I knew I’d like it, but now I wish I’d gotten the espresso hazelnut one too! The best part is, there’s no added sugar aside from dates and the only added oil is organic coconut oil, which is the healthiest kind. I’ve never been a fan of the flavored nut butters that have added sugars and gross oils that some bloggers like, but now that I have a cleaner, more natural flavored nut butter option I don’t have to go without!

A good look for me?

A good look for me?

If you think this hat looks too small for me, that’s because it is. It was technically found in the little boys’ section at Target, but lets be honest, I rock it better than any little boy would 😉 Ok, maybe not, but my sister and I had way too much fun at Target the other night. Insider’s tip: if you ever want to joke around in Target and generally just act immature, the best time to go is after 7 pm. Fewer people are there so you can be obnoxious and take silly photos without anyone caring.

The new Starbucks Refresher!

The new Starbucks Refresher!

I took advantage of the half off Refreshers deal at Starbucks last weekend and tried the new Valencia orange flavor. Not bad, it reminded me of Sunny D actually, but it wasn’t my favorite (I prefer the lime). I’d love to mix this with vodka or something for a citrus-y cocktail though 😀

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

WF salad bar for the millionth time.

After going without it for 3 weeks, I caved and got some Whole Foods salad bar…twice in one weekend. I know I have problems, but I wanted a break from it for awhile to see if they started rotating in new things and they did! I’m now in love with these homemade bread-and-butter pickles they have (they’re obviously fresh!) and their addictive curry roasted nut mix. Obviously, I got some greenage in the form of romaine lettuce, and I got my favorite curried tofu salad because Whole Foods does tofu right and I realized I’ll never be able to make it as good so I gave up on buying it. Oh, and get this: one of the nights I got the salad bar was with my sister (before said Target outing). The weird thing is, she loves the salad bar as much as I do, but for very different reasons–the macaroni and cheese, and the Caesar salad. Sometimes, I think we come from two different families 😉 Just kidding, but we eat completely differently, which is funny that we both have a place we love.

Random taco salad for dinner.

Random taco salad for dinner.

After being busy at my internship, I haven’t felt much like throwing anything together that takes more than 5 minutes. I’ve also been craving salads, because all I have time to scarf at my internship is a Larabar, some berries/grapes and baby carrots. I’ve still been sticking to mostly raw, but I threw in some navy beans mixed with nooch and garlic gomasio (basically garlic, sea salt and sesame seeds–soooooo addictive!) and called it a well-balanced dinner…with some water and watermelon on the side.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

My favorite right now. I could eat this. all. day. long.

Speaking of watermelon, it’s my favorite fruit at the moment. It’s just the best when it’s straight from the fridge, especially on a hot day. I hope summer never ends, so I can eat watermelon forever.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Silly seesta time at Target.

Sometimes, it’s good to be spontaneous and just enjoy life. I love spending time with my sister because she brings out the best in me. We always have fun together and I’m gonna miss her to pieces when I graduate in the fall. Only we could have fun wearing kids hats and taking embarrassing pics of us wearing bras over our clothes (don’t ask)!

For those of you who live in Canada, I hope you had a nice Canada Day on Monday and for my fellow American readers, I hope you enjoy Independence Day tomorrow! My plans for the day are going to a parade and having water balloon fights with my family…fun stuff!

What have you been up to lately? What have you been eating?