It’s Fall, Y’all!

Well, it’s kind of fall. Technically, October has arrived – but the weather hasn’t exactly gotten it together in Texas. I might’ve unpacked my sweaters, but I’m still wearing short-sleeved shirts the majority of the time. However, that wasn’t going to stop me from visiting a pumpkin patch!

Our first attempt was rained out (and our second too, almost) but finally my friend Jenna and I were able to make it out to the middle of nowhere Texas – Gunter – to enjoy some good ol’ fall activities! We got there on a Saturday morning and realized this farm was mainly for families with small children, but we decided to just embrace it!

First stop: petting zoo! There were a bunch of stables filled with goats, sheep, cattle, and chickens. With our entry we were given a cup of feed to coerce them into coming closer. Full disclosure – I’ve pet a few goats over the past year and this livestock was pretty dirty. It was fun to feed them, but I was not about to touch them. Also let’s just say this portion of the day was done when I saw a cow’s tongue reaching for me (or me holding out food).

Near these stables was the corn maze! I’d never done one of these before so I was kind of excited. It was a bit small, but completely empty except for one (very lost) lady – haha. I will say I’d love to do one of these kind of mazes as a haunted attraction – finding my way in the dark with people popping out at me sounds like such a good time.

After exiting the maze – it took us a total of four minutes – we spotted the hay ride. Jenna’s dog, Florence, took a lot of our attention (and taking some photos) since we were pretty much just sitting there, but it was a nice little ride around a small pond. It was hot though, proving even though I was having a fall day, it was summer weather.

The pumpkin selection was pretty sparse to be honest, but it was fun seeing all the different kinds. I’d never really looked into pumpkins, usually just buying the grocery store ones, but there are actually a lot of different varieties and colors! My secret is that we didn’t end up buying at the farm because we’d both seen them for cheaper at Trader Joe’s. I’m living on a budget!

When we got home, I cracked some cider (because you got to) but then our weekend day got away from us. Between friends coming over and state fair plans, we decided to get our pumpkins and decorate another time. So because weekdays are slow, we stopped by Trader Joe’s on a Monday to continue living like it was fall.

We hadn’t even thought about carving tools until we’d purchased our pumpkins, so we hit up Dollar Tree for some cheap knives. (Being a terrible cook, I own one very small knife – haha!) Cutting the top of my pumpkin proved to be difficult for me. I just couldn’t get it to come out easily, but luckily the rest of the carving went pretty well. I searched some simple faces on Pinterest, and realized no matter what kind of face you decide on, they all look good. I went forward with that encouragement!

One of my bucket list items has been rewatching season one of American Horror Story, and funnily enough when we put it on it was time for the Halloween episodes! They were carving pumpkins just as we were! (Except like, they’re carving a macabre Marie Antoinette and I’m carving googly eyes.) Sure enough, after a bit of carving, cleaning out, and popping in a flameless candle – they turned out great!

Next was painting a quick ghost pumpkin! I think I love painting pumpkins so much more because it’s easier to get something cute. I did these little guys in about five minutes – the effect is so easy. By the end of all my pumpkin decorating, I was surprised how much more I enjoyed carving this year than painting – probably because I liked the challenging activity more! I’ll have to start making a point to carve a pumpkin each year.

Seeking New Ways to Be Active, Trial Workout Classes

It all started with an interest in trying Kickboxing. My friend Giselle and I have known each other for a long, long time, and for at least a decade have talked about doing a kickboxing class together. After finally going after the things I’d only spoken about doing, I knew it was time to make it happen. I got a Groupon for both of us to experience three classes at iLoveKickboxing.com.

I think both of us were pretty nervous stepping into the little gym. We’d been given big boxing gloves and got a peek at the big padded punching bags we’d be punching. But the staff there was so great with us! Usually they want you to do a one-on-one before your first class so they can show you the proper way to hit, but they were nice enough to let us do a two-on-one so we could learn together.

After this little learning session, our first class began but our “private” instructor stayed with us to watch our form and answer any questions. We started with some fun, heart-pounding cardio and then it was time to put on our gloves. Punching and kicking as a workout was so fun! The class seemed to fly by, just like our next two would as well.

When deciding if we were going to continue kickboxing past this, we both wanted to, but we also were eager to try new workout classes now that we’d gotten a taste for a new way to make exercise fun. Giselle and I decided we’d try all the classes we’d heard about or ever wanted to try!

Next we got a Groupon for five barre classes. Having a small dance background (if I can even really claim it), I’d been excited to try barre. This workout used a lot of “ballerina” exercises, which strengthens your whole body by continuous trained movement of certain limbs. Also, after hearing how much my friend Tracy loved it I was beyond ready to try it for myself!

I was not disappointed. It was a very “easy” workout considering it’s one of the few workout classes that has zero cardio. But having a whole hour devoted to strength training was just what I’d been looking for. Two other pluses: working out in a near dark room and having a bunch of mirrors to watch your form (and your face haha).

I run on my own when I can, usually in the months of October to April because of the Texas heat, so I feel fine on cardio. But this is a class I definitely would love to do again when I can find a budget for it. I’ve learned through these special Groupon and trial class periods how expensive an actual membership is to these specialized classes. I’ll be back for you one day, barre class!

For now though, it was time to move on to our most exciting (and scary?) class yet – an unlimited month of dance classes at the Dallas School of Burlesque! (We got these passes as a super good deal on the Wine Walk!) Our first class was a hip hop class, which turned out to be pretty hard. Even as two coordinated people, the fast pace of this class was honestly a bit embarrassing. At least we had each other to laugh with!

We tried a couple of their other classes, but of course the highlight was the burlesque class! It was so fun getting out of my comfort zone, basically just walking slowly and doing subtle moves to show off my curves. The class was more about confidence and fun than a workout, but I could see how some of those hip shakes at a faster tempo could make you break a sweat!

I can’t wait to see what we try next! Keeping workouts interesting is so important to motivating me. Hiking and running is something I enjoy on a mental level because I always have a lot of good ideas, but these special classes train my body in new ways. I’ll be ready for any adventure!

Wear With Alicia

After my trip to Jefferson, Texas, I rediscovered my love of thrifting and by this point it’s steamrolled into a big obsession. Originally when I started traveling, I gave up a lot of my shopping because I had to redistribute my money. So when the bargain hunting at thrift stores came back into my life… it maybe completely took over. Haha!

Besides it being a current obsession, I was looking for a way to share more of my “regular day life” to show I’m not just non-stop traveling. (I wish!) I love taking pictures, obviously, but taking a picture of an item of clothing isn’t very fun, so I started making videos of my thrift journeys. I kept getting asked how I thrift and what I found, so deciding to share in a video format on Instagram has been surprisingly fun. Though I’ll admit, I’m still a bit awkward in front of the camera!

I’ve previously shared some of my go-to thrifting tips (Inspired to Thrift) but I want to share why I thrift. Definitely to save money of course, but also because I get sick of my closet quickly and this way I can afford more of a “revolving” clothing option. Not only that, but recycling clothes in this way is good for the earth! We throw away so many clothes all the time, and because companies are able to make clothes cheaper than ever before, more and more are coming out in stores. We are a society that has a big trash problem.

Part of this recycling of clothes that thrifting allows means I can give away old clothes to friends, sell, or donate. I never throw something away if I can help it. I’ll even repair clothes past their prime in some cases, especially because if it’s starting to show wear, I clearly love it – haha!

So I’m going to start doing regular videos of my thrifting adventures, which can be found on my Instagram (either in my story or on IGTV). Every time I go, there’s always something new to see! I hope you enjoy them and go ahead and send me questions you may have about thrifting tips or why you love/hate thriting.

My initial video is up and an “intro” video is coming later today! So far these thrifting videos have been a fun side project, so I hope you enjoy.

Blogiversary: Two Sides of the Gemini

This blog is one year old today!! So I don’t truly believe in horoscopes, but sometimes it’s fun to look at them after the day has passed. I officially started this blog on this date, exactly a year ago. Before taking time to think about how far I’ve come (a lot!), I wanted to share my horoscope of that -this- day, 2017.

“A critical turning point arrives in your life today via the full moon in Pisces, dear Gemini. You need to find a better balance between your personal and your public lives.”

How funny, as a pretty private person, that day would be the one I would start sharing my journey on the internet. So why did I start a blog? Mainly because I love writing, always have. Secondly because I was excited to be actively pursuing adventure instead of just dreaming about it.

Once I started traveling and having new experiences, I realized how easy it is to do! If you make it a priority, if you chase your interests, it’ll happen. So now not only do I hold myself accountable by blogging twice weekly, I try to encourage readers to get out and and explore also! Sometimes it seems we’re just afraid to take that first step.

I’ve started my mission to collect all of the National Parks stamps – I’ll even be done with the entire Southwest Region by the end of this year!

I made it my mission to travel internationally at least once a year – after booking impromptu trips this and the previous summer to Belize and Tulum, respectively.

I made it a goal to be a tourist in my hometown, Dallas, so I could experience all the hot spots as well as find new local things to do.

I’ve prioritized hiking, by trying to make it to every trail and park in my area. I wanted to prove to myself I could find amazing nature in the backyard of a big city.

And finally, I’ve strived to say yes more and more. When a friend invites me to a sage-making class, when my dad invites me to learn a new sport – I go!

So yeah, I’ve shared a lot with all of you. On my Instagram, I try to post daily to keep myself active in adventure. But I’m still pretty private, and that’s good. I’m very protective of my relationship, I try not to be too obnoxious with picture-taking, and I totally understand when a friend doesn’t want to be mentioned in a blog.

I’ve learned a lot about balancing! For me that mainly means pursuing what makes me happy and being so, so grateful for everyone in my life. It would’ve been much harder on this journey alone (i.e. impossible). So thanks everyone for a fantastic, unimaginable first year!

How I Travel on an Admin’s Salary

Let’s get real. I do not work remotely. I do not make more than 50k a year. I pay all my own bills. Yet I’m able to travel an average of one or two trips a month. How do I do it? To be completely honest, the main thing is priorities. I had to choose to make traveling one of the top things on my list.

I don’t usually get to have the glamorous vacation some Instagrams will show off, nor do I get to go to the top destinations all over the world. Luckily for me, every where is on my bucket list. And luckily for me, nature is pretty cheap. Still, there’s a couple of choices I’m making constantly to save money for travel!

Thrifting
I used to have such a shopping addiction. I mean, I guess I still do – but I switched over to thrifting instead of paying full price. The same amount that used to buy me one new top now buys me two whole outfits. I love resale and consignment shops because not only is it better for the environment, it also lets me keep my shopping habit!

Poshmark & thredUP
Those same shops I buy at don’t always have the best deal when I want to sell to them, so I’m glad I’ve discovered a couple of apps that get me a better profit. Poshmark is good for selling items at a higher value- you list the price and get to work with your customers on haggling, so expect your income to take a little longer than other resale spots. thredUP is good for getting you a fair price while cleaning out a lot at once. I do this when I’ve been holding on to too much for a while, but I still know I can get money from it.

Sell books
I buy a lot of books, mostly at library sales, garage sales, and Half-Price Books. All of this saves me money, but I also can turn right back around and sell at HPBooks. I only sell what I would never lend to a friend, so this is good for when I go overboard buying second hand. I don’t want to hold on to any books that didn’t give me a good time (a good philosophy to live by for anything)!

Second Job (Postmates)
At the beginning of deciding to travel, I had a second job as a part-time barista at Starbucks. I always think about going back – thinking at the moment if I’m being honest – but there’s other small ways I can earn money. One of these is Postmates, a food delivery service. It was so easy to sign up, and I work a few hours a month for some extra traveling cash. No strangers get in my car, and I find a lot of great new food spots this way!

Eating In
Speaking of new food spots, I have to admit I try to only do this once or twice a week. My boyfriend and I hold each other accountable by only buying a meal out once a week. Any time I want to eat out (because I’m a terrible cook), he reminds me of our deal. I’ve discovered you don’t have to be fancy, most of the time when I eat in I just make a Caesar salad and I’m never upset!

Buy What You Need
The main way I save a lot of money is any time I’m about to buy something I ask myself, “Do I need this?” I find myself constantly cleaning out my home and having to donate and throw away so much stuff I didn’t actually need. As a modern society, it seems we all collect junk we loved for less than a month. Now when I’m eyeing some new throw blanket, I compare it to what that money could be getting me. That blanket or a tank of gas to my next adventure?

These are just some tips, and I’ll admit I’m not always perfect. (Just this week I bought an extra pair of sunglasses instead of just the one.) But I try! It’s all about priorities and if you ask me, experiences will outweigh any material object every time.

Mamma Mia Match & Tea Day

I want to say it started with the new movie Mamma Mia 2 coming out, but it probably started with the pants. A while ago, I was helping my mom shop at one of her favorite stores and couldn’t keep my eyes off a certain pair of fun, vibrant pants. After trying them on, I realized my mom had also spotted them. We both loved these pants.

Is it okay to buy the same pants as your mom? My mom has always been young at heart, but had my style officially aged a couple decades? Were we both going to buy and wear the same pants? Spoiler alert, yes! Not only that, hell, we were going to both wear them on a mother-daughter day outing. And what else is there to do but go see the new Mamma Mia sequel that’s all about these mom-daughter relationships! Why not, we’re both just crazy enough to do it.

So this isn’t a film review, but the movie is pretty great – better than I expected. My parents, both theater majors, raised me to love musicals. I don’t think you have to love musicals to like this movie – the cast is great, it’s all Abba songs, which are great, and it’s just a lot of fun!

After the movie, I took my mom to a tea shop in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, called Potpourri of Silk. I knew my mom would love it, and it was really nice! We shared a pot of hibiscus green tea and caught each other up on all the gossip in our lives.

Since we were in the area, we decided to walk around the area to explore all the shops. Bishop Arts seems to have something new every time I’m out there! They have a new adventure store, AJ Vagabonds that I fell in love with, as well as another new coffee stop, Serve.

Of course, with the Texas heat, we didn’t stay out too long but it was a great afternoon! We got a couple of looks in our matching outfits, but that kind of just made it better. As I grow older, I’m realizing I have no shame – thanks, mom!

Rest, Remember, Relax, Reflect

As I approach my blog’s one year anniversary, I’ve decided to take a week-long break from blogging, social media, and even -gasp- adventure. I think R&R is super important, and I think R&R&R&R is something I’m in very much need of. I want to take this break for the classic rest and relaxation, but I also want to spend much of it reflecting and remembering my previous year of experiences.

A lot of the time, I find myself thinking of the future. Planning and researching and wondering, “What next?” It’s been so much fun tackling things on my bucket list and making new goals. But I also think I haven’t had too much time for a breath and I definitely haven’t taken an entire week off!

As I’m about to take my first week off (I’ll miss you guys!), I’ll tell you five ways I’ll be spending it. Instead of the planning, scheduling, list-making, writing, picture-taking, etc, here are my main goals for this upcoming break:

  1. Being Lazy in Bed
    I’m not super into TV, but there are a couple of shows I love keeping up with. I don’t like having the pressure of a weekly show, but I know there’s a couple of seasons on Netflix I’ve been meaning to mindlessly binge.
    There’s also definitely some reading I need to catch up on! I’ve been so busy this year I had to adjust my yearly goal from fifty to thirty, but I’m excited to lounge around and enjoy one of my favorite hobbies that doesn’t make me go, go, go.
  2. Cleaning, Tidying
    I just did a huge clean-out of everything in my house, which was a major two-week undertaking, so I’m glad I can spend some time in my space doing the smaller chores I enjoy. I’m talking a couple of dishes here, a load of laundry there, maybe even some light sweeping.
    I really love cleaning, but also just the simple tidying up (like making the bed). Having a clean home puts my mind at ease. And when I need to meditate on things, I find this easiest to do when my hands are mindlessly busy.
  3. Doing “Nothing” with Those I Care About
    As a pretty social creature, I don’t want to completely shut myself off from those I care about. I just think I want to spend time doing more of “nothing” than having a real activity. I’m always interested in trying new things or creating unique get-togethers, but for this week I want to try and not chase having the new experience.
    They can join me on my couch! Or we can have a meal at a dumb chain restuarant – haha! Board games are always a classic. Anything that’s old and familiar and doesn’t require any plan.
  4. Projects that Have Been on Hold
    I am so big into DIYing and making stuff, but I have put a lot of stuff on hold recently. My creative endeavors list is massive as other projects take my interest or traveling has taken my time. I have at least three items on this list that I’ve promised to make for other people – haha!
    I’m so excited to get a chance to be creative in this hands-on way. Art has always meant a lot to me, so I’m ready to get my watercolors out, get the supplies I’ve bought months ago for certain projects, and spend some time making stuff.
  5. Hiking just for Me
    Recently a lot of my local hikes have been at new places so I can explore new trails. Don’t get me wrong, this has been such a fun experience and it’s great discovering new places to love. But because I’ve been pushing myself to find the new and share it with an audience, I haven’t been able to make it to my favorite local trails. I can’t promise I won’t take any pictures while on these hikes – I just love nature and photography – but I’m going only for me this time and that’s what makes the difference. I can’t wait to see my old favorites!
  • See you guys in a week!