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!
  • Hosting Shark Week

    Welcome to Shark Week!

    Let me start by saying, obviously, I love sharks. Like most kids, I was terrified of them when I was little – I even used to be scared a shark would somehow make it through the facet into my bathtub (haha). But somewhere along the way, I started learning about them and now I’m pretty much just awestruck by them.

    One of the items on my bucket list is to host Shark Week with one of my best friends Giselle, so I figured why wait for Discovery Channel to ask me, I’ll just do it on my own. (Side note: this year Shark Week is celebrating the Dirty 30!) My Instagram has been taken over this week to help me host, so make sure you don’t miss all the hosting details!

    To start things off right, we decided to join sharks in their natural habitat – water! Living in Dallas means we are not near an ocean, but we couldn’t let that stop us. While swimming in the pool, I thought about the way a shark swims. Most propel themselves through the water with their tail, using their fins for balance only. This method does not work as well for humans.

    Next, we wanted to discover a shark’s eating habits, so we went fishing! For the most part, sharks are “opportunistic” hunters, meaning they take what they can get. Some sharks (tiger sharks) are known to eat anything, but for the most part sharks are looking for marine life to munch on. We used a fishing pole instead of our jaws, obviously!

    Sharks also take what is known as an exploratory bite. This bite means sharks take a quick test bite to check on what they’re trying to eat. Sometimes surfers can look like seals to a shark, so they’ll take a bite to see if they’ve found the prey they want. Listen, sharks do not want humans; it’s just that sometimes their solitary bite is big enough to do serious damage.

    Does anyone remember taking a “keyboard” class in school? It was required when I was a kid so we could learn typing. Basically it was playing a whole lot of a game called Typershark. (You type the words on the sharks’ bodies so they don’t attack your diver.) It was so fun! Also made me realize my current computer isn’t that great. I need a new processor and my U key sticks – that’s what I’m blaming for my low WPM anyway (ha)!

    In the ocean, sharks are typically ten times faster than humans. When hunting, they can show bursts of speed of up to 40 mph! This speed isn’t necessary for trying to attack divers; it enables them to travel the entire ocean. They may have their favorite spots, but sharks can swim from the Atlantic to the Pacific and still be “home.”

    Luckily, host Giselle works in the medical profession so our next activity was easy to accomplish – donating blood! Sharks and blood are synonymous – we may all have heard at some point that sharks can smell one drop of blood in an olympic swimming pool.

    But even better than blood – sharks can smell and interpret chemicals. They can literally smell fear because of the chemical process that releases glucose into your bloodstream when you’re afraid. That’s freaking awesome!

    I hope we all learned new great things about sharks! And go ahead and try some of these shark “activities” and let me know how it goes. Shark week has only just begun, so until next time!

    Inspired to Thrift

    My visit to the small town of Jefferson, TX inspired an addictive habit to pop back up: my need to shop. Luckily now my shopaholic syndrome is balanced by a head for budgeting and a mantra of spending on experiences – but thrifting let’s me get away with everthing.

    I never spend a lot of money and the hunt for treasures is always a good time.

    The last couple of years, I’ve been very into thrifting for homewares and furniture. Ever since I started traveling, I’m all about thrifting clothes. I want to go a lot of different places and not have on the same outfit (like some weird cartoon character). I also want to be able to say I got my whole outfit for under twenty bucks. Ah, the pride of a bargain.

    While in Jefferson, I was on the lookout for a simple vase, but of course I came away with some clothes instead. One of the shops had a special rack sale where everything was fifty cents. I got two floral tops and some jeans I’m working on DIYing. The thrifting in Jefferson was pretty great!

    That is the other thing – thrifting offers you an opportunity to try some DIY projects. I’ve been able to accomplish top trends just by making it myself with a cheap foundation. Vintage denim is perfect for making into high-waisted shorts and you can add embroidery to almost any plain shirt for a cool effect.

    I could go on and on, but here’s some quick tips to end it.

    1. Look through everything! Especially the men’s section, where some might stay away – lots of great denim, coats, and graphic tees to be found.
    2. Have some general ideas or inspo before you go so you can have a keener eye on what you’re looking for. (But don’t get set on something too specific!)
    3. Be patient. Sometimes when I’m in too much of a rush, I get frustrated. There will be days when you look for an hour and find nothing. Luckily, just looking can be fun for me!
    4. Bring hand sanitizer. Sometimes things feel pretty grimy, and a lot of the home goods haven’t been touched in ages.

    Sweet Tooth Hotel

    There’s a new trend in pop art that promotes interaction and temporary installations – that will then last forever through social media. These pop-ups are appearing allover. The main purpose? Get people to take pictures in the art and then post it to their followers.

    Dallas is following this trend by opening the “Sweet Tooth Hotel,” an art installation that will only be up and running a few months – so get get your pictures while you still can! This “hotel” features six rooms inspired by candy (ringpops, macroons, etc) and created by local Dallas artists (Built by Bender, Shamsy, etc).

    After a brief introduction about what you could touch – everything pretty much – they encourage you to explore. Mainly, you’re encouraged to take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. It’s basically a creative space filled with bright color imagery and fun props to serve as the perfect setting for a sweet photo shoot. It’s kind of genius in an age where social media is an engine for self-promotion.

    My own experience visiting this art installation was a lot of fun. You pay for an hour of time to snap as many photos as you can in all the rooms, getting as creative as you can – and for me, trying not to feel awkward as other guests wait for their own turn. You’re climbing in a bathtub, lounging on the bed, stepping out from a fridge, spinning next to neon signs, and trying to make sure no one’s in your mirror shot.

    The time went quick, but it was kind of exhilarating. There’s something about a timed “museum” that makes you capture as many photos and poses as you possibly can. You don’t know what you’ll end up using, but the need to hold on to the temporary imagery is important. This art won’t last forever – except for those pictures you keep.

    What you post then becomes part of the art too. Even me writing this blog and sharing it to Instagram – it’s all become art in a completely new way. Modern art is becoming more and more interactive. I hope it’s still making people think. Then again, maybe I’m thinking too much about it. Ha!

    All in all, me and my friend Jenna had lot of fun seeing the candy-inspired art and getting a few great profile pics!