Friday, October 19, 2012

Freelance Life

Working freelance isn't as easy as most people think it is. Sure, I get to sleep in if I feel like it although I don't because I wake up and go to the gym first thing in the morning. I really don't "have" to work if I am not in the mood, but I really do need to work as much as possible, because freelance isn't the most profitable business to be in, at least not yet.

People think I do nothing all day long, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, I can sit around in yoga pants with my hair in a bun, but I am always working on multiple projects at once. Even though freelance writing and gym time are the only two basic things on my schedule for a day, I do have to schedule the writing time. Most projects have deadlines, and it's important that I don't mix them up.

Here's an example from this week:

1. Rewrite a 500-word article that another writer published on bankruptcy and medical bills.
2. Write a 600-word article on new bankruptcy laws and eligibility.
3. Write an article for a scrapbooking magazine.
4. Write 13 instruction guides for creating birthday and holiday cards for a scrapbooking magazine.
5. Write website content for a local law firm. (home page, services, about us)
6. Write 30+ blogs and articles for a marketing company every day.
7. Create content for a website business I'm starting with one of my good friends. Write up business plan and service details.
8. Edit excerpts from Justin's manuscript. Yes, I'm editing a book for an LDS writer!

See? I'm busy. Plus, I've also been doing a coach training academy for my Beachbody business, learning all about how to be a better coach and how to get more people invested in their health and fitness. I also met with a personal trainer this week to figure out how to kick start my own fitness to get me past this plateau. And I've been doing the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, which is a 21-day reset and detox nutrition plan. So lots of cooking and planning out recipes and supplements.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


There are few things more beautiful than sitting alone in a house, after everyone else is asleep, sipping tea, listening to relaxing music, and burning a candle that smells like Christmas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Live Your Way to Answers

"I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking It All In -The Ups and Downs

In many ways, I am living the life. I quit my job to travel the world, and left everything I knew behind to step into the unknown. It's had some pretty severe ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I know this is all a learning experience, and I know that I am being refined in ways I can't even see yet.
From the outsider's perspective, it may look like my life is easy. Write from home when I feel like it, go on road trips or other vacations whenever I want to. Hiking, camping, rafting. But amidst all the adventures and trips, I'm also on the brink of disaster at any given second, and I'm in the center of a midlife crisis. So while I am having the time of my life, and having more fun than I ever have before, the lows are just as deep as the highs are high.

Making the decision to live an adventurous life was the best decision I've ever made. I've learned and seen more in this past six months than in several years, and I love it. Yesterday I found a poem I wrote a year ago, at the end of an uneventful summer that I spent in an office, sitting at a desk. Here's an excerpt:

"I see a V of 22 ducks flying in a row in the sky
and their freedom of flight makes me want to cry.
Birds are so free
and then there is me
at a desk as my life passes me by."

Clearly, summer of 2011 was not a great one for me. Now it's mid-September 2012, and I can't even believe all the things I've seen and done this year. I'm dealing with some pretty hard stuff right now, but looking back at this makes me grateful. I'm dealing with life changes, some of them not so pleasant, but at least that means I am progressing! Last year I felt like my life was passing me by and I was stuck where I was at. Today I feel like my life is changing so quickly I can hardly keep up with it. Some days are unbearably hard to deal with, but I'd take too much change over no change, any day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My International Travel Map

So far, these are the places I've been outside the country. I can't wait to add more.

Monday, June 18, 2012

European Cities in Collage Form

We took over 2,000 pictures on this trip, so there's no way I am going to post them all. Instead, I've chosen a few of my favorites from each city and made collages of them.







It was, by far, the best trip of my life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Post-Europe Reflections

I'll never be able to put into words what my trip to Europe did for me. I will never be able to recount all the times I laughed until I cried, and all the times I cried until I laughed hysterically. I wrote in a journal every day and wrote down all the details I could remember, but there is no way to relive a trip that is this huge, this transformative. People have been asking me the past five weeks how my trip was, and I have a different answer every single time. This adventure was crazy, terrifying, insane, fun, exciting, and a million other adjectives. But above all else, I tell people that it was life-changing, transformative, and the bravest thing I have ever done. When I left for the trip, I had one word I was hoping I would experience. I was hoping that above all the fun, all the adventure, all the hardship, and all the insanity of it all, I would feel like the trip was refining.

And now that I've had 5 weeks to come back to the shambles of my old life, start up avenues of a new one, and analyze myself after this trip, I am happy to say that refinement was exactly what I got.

We all have parts of ourselves that we do not like, are uncomfortable with, or do not know how to deal with. For me, that was my anxiety. Unless you have anxiety, there is no way for you to understand just how hard it is to deal with, or how broken-hearted it feels to let it control your life. I can't count how many times I had let my anxiety get the best of me before this trip. There are so many things I've missed out on because I was afraid, but not anymore.

I have always considered myself to be an adventurous person. My innate personality longs to travel, to see the world, to meet new people, and to have as many adventures as I possibly can. My laugh is contagious, and I love to have fun. I always knew that adventure was a part of me, but there was this huge obstacle in the way, keeping me from seeing and experiencing that side of myself. I wanted to be adventurous, and somewhere inside me, I knew I was meant to live an adventuresome life. But anxiety wasn't just this external obstacle I could move out of the way; it was a part of ME.

Getting rid of a dominant part of a personality is difficult. I'd let fear and anxiety run my life for so long that I almost lost sight of that wild, adventurous, world traveler I wanted to be. It was such a huge part of me that I thought I could never get rid of it. I figured that travel was for people who are braver than me, people with more experience than me, people who could fly on a plane from Arizona to Utah without blacking out in flight. And none of those described me. I was intensely drawn to people who were more adventurous than I was, and all of my favorite quotes are about adventure and exploration. I couldn't understand why God would give me this innate wanderlust and soul-bending need to explore and discover, but also curse me with this crippling fear and anxiety of travel, flying, and the unknown.

I'm sure there will be a lot of trials in my life, but I think the one main one was fear and anxiety. I had to first accept that they were a part of me, no matter how much I hated them. Then I had to master coping techniques and learn how to live with them. Once I was solid in my coping skills, I had to sneak up on my fears (and therefore myself) and do the very thing that scared me the most, and I couldn't think about it for one second before I took the leap. That's what Europe was. I quit my job, packed a suitcase, boarded a plane, and flew across the myself. And didn't look back once.

And that was just the beginning of the hard parts. I thought that once I took the leap, the rest would be easy. As it turns out, showing up in another hemisphere with absolutely no agenda, no schedule, no plans, and no reservations isn't easy. I was stretched past every capacity and comfort zone I had ever known. I lost sight of who I was and what I was doing many times, but I knew I'd hate myself if I came home early, so I persisted. I now know that the reason I lost sight of my goals for the trip and of myself was because I was changing. I asked for refinement, and that is exactly what I got.

I'm now braver than I ever thought I could be. I mean, I flew across the world by myself and spent five weeks in Europe, completely unplanned. There were a few nights when we didn't know where we were going to sleep. I wandered around foreign cities, lost, with no map. I learned to accept, expect, and even love the unknown. I was transformed, and I was refined. It's an adventure I will remember the rest of my life, because it was the trip that broke me from the chains of fear and anxiety that held me back for so many years. Now that I've done this, I can do anything. Watch out, world!

"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." - M.a. Radmacher

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Transformation, at Last!


I've read more inspirational quotes in the past month or two than my entire life combined. Most of them are about overcoming fears, taking leaps of faith, and adventure. I read them before I came on this trip to get me psyched to come, and I have lovely family and friends who keep sending them to me and posting them on my Facebook to keep me motivated while I'm gone, and I'm loving it. It feels good to have so much support from friends and family at home. There are a lot of people who thought I could do this even when I didn't, and they're the ones who are still encouraging me.

Madrid has changed this trip, and I can officially say that I'm in love with this adventure! I've taken on a "come what may" attitude, because I realize that this is an adventure, so it won't be perfectly smooth or what I expected. My friend Kellie Turley posted this quote for Diana and I the other day:

" can't get lost on an adventure."

And I love it. All my favorite quotes are about adventure, letting go of safety nets and comfort zones, and exploring the world. Who am I to quote Tennyson when he said "Come, my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world" or the entire concept of Richard Bach's book "Running From Safety" if I don't live it?

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Sometimes you have to let everything go. Sometimes it's just you, a suitcase, a prayer, and an open world. Sometimes quitting your job and leaving everything behind for the unknown brings more clarity than you've ever known. I've struggled with choosing between what's good, what's better, and what's best for a while. Right now, staying in Utah and working full time at the job I love would be good. Working that job plus going to grad school this fall would be better. And forgetting about both of those to travel and see the world for a while was best.

This is my new friend Phil from British Columbia. We met him at the train station in Paris at 5:30am.

Leaving behind my life where I'm completely content and in my comfort zone was exactly what I needed. Leaving everything I know to experience everything I don't is changing me. I've already been stretched further than I ever have, spiritually and emotionally, and I know I'll just get stretched further. All my comfort zones are shattered. My repetitive daily schedule that I love is shattered, and I never know what time or day it is. It's a very new but surprisingly cool feeling.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." -Lao Tzu

I'm not the same person I was 2 1/2 weeks ago. I wasn't the same person when I boarded that plane in Detroit or when I got off it in London. I'm a brave world traveler now! My fears and anxiety fought back for the first part of the trip, and I know they'll continue to sometimes during the whole thing. The problem was that I was still telling myself that I couldn't do it and that I wasn't strong enough, even when I WAS ALREADY DOING IT. Hopefully the hardest part of this trip is overwith now, and I can just have fun. The past few days have been really rad and fun, so hopefully it just gets to be more fun along the way.

Check me out, learning life lessons from another hemisphere!

Diana and I touring the Cathedral and the Palace in Madrid yesterday in the rain!

Friday, April 13, 2012


Seriously, I'm the worst blogger ever. That's ironic since I edit and write blogs for a living. We are in Spain now! We were in London about a week, then we took the Chunnel, which is an underground train tunnel that goes beneath the English channel from London to Paris and other places. I didn't even know it existed. We rode the train through it to Paris, where we spent two days. We saw the Eiffel Tower, which is way cooler in real life than it is in pictures. I was surprised at how rad Paris actually was. It was dirty and smelly, but I think most major European cities are. We walked for like 9 hours on the day we decided to see all the tourist attractions. We walked up the hill to a famous basilica that's the highest point in Paris, then down to Moulin Rouge just for a picture, then to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and more. We were touring on Easter day so not much was open, but it was rad to see the outsides of the famous buildings anyway. After Paris, we went to Barcelona, where we stayed in RamCat Hostel. It's right by La Rambla, which is a famous street of shopping and people watching that leads out to the beach and a famous statue of Christopher Columbus. We did a lot of walking in Barcelona too, but the weather was perfectly warm so it was great! We didn't get in any beach time because it was raining before we left, so we'll have to soak up extra sun in the other beach cities we go to on this trip. We saw La Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Cathedral, Park Guell, and a ton of famous art by Antonio Gaudi. That guy was amazing. Now we're in Madrid. I spent a month here in August 2010, so I feel right at home. I know my way around the city, vaguely, so I feel more comfortable here than I have in the other places that were brand new to me. I'm excited to be here again. It's a rad city. Today we walked for like 8 hours (so far) and wandered around town, admired the Metropolis, which is my favorite building, and explored the Retiro Park. While we were there, a guy came up and asked us if we were there to buy weed. Europe.... he was surprised to learn that we were just there to admire the trees and fountains and people. This trip is getting much better. I had a really rough start in London, but I'm getting into the swing of living out of a suitcase and having my schedule thrown off every day. Traveling is a lot of work, but it's worth it to see the rad stuff I'm seeing. I know I'm lucky to be on this trip, so I'm going to at least enjoy it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm in LONDON!!!

I know I swore I'd write a blog every day, but today was my fourth day and the first time I've felt stable enough to write a blog post or to do anything, essentially. Today is the first day I feel happy to be here and I don't feel anxiety every second. It's the first day I started to remember the reasons I came here, and remembered that this is the trip of a lifetime, or can be, if I let it be. So here it goes.

I was expecting it to be easy when I got here. I went to Spain with my mom a year and a half ago, so I thought the main problem was going to be getting across "the pond" by myself. To be honest, I didn't put much thought into this trip. If I thought about it, I wouldn't have come. I would have convinced myself of a million reasons why it couldn't or shouldn't work, so now that I am here, I'm realizing what a huge thing it is.

Because I was such a mess the past few days, I'll skip those parts and just give you highlights. So far I haven't done many touristy things here because it was General Conference weekend. Diana has been going to the ward here, so she made some young adult friends, who I met on my first night here. I don't remember much, but I'm being tagged in pictures so apparently I was around people.

We watched 3 of the sessions of conference that were broadcast here. We took 2 buses to the church and walked a few blocks. One of the times we got a free watter bottle and egg salad/salmon/cracker bites from some guys on the street. They were selling insurance? Homes? Not sure.

The young adults here rock. Seriously. I am sure there are stuffy British people here somewhere, but every single person I have met is absolutely friendly and nicer than most Americans I know. This morning when we were leaving Oiying's house permanently, one of her neighbors, John, was outside in his yard getting the mail or something. He greeted us cheerfully and asked us where we were going and how we enjoyed our stay in the neighborhood and in London. He was seriously ecstatic to see us. Quite a jolly fellow.

For my first 3 nights here, we stayed with a 63 year old Malasian woman named Oiying. Diana talked to her at church once and I had never met her, but she was nice enough to open her home and let us sleep on the floor of a spare bedroom. We wore slippers inside her house and ate a couple of meals with her and got to know about her culture. She was adorable in every possible way. Pictures to come later.

Now we're at Diana's friend Naomi's house. She'd been staying here for a few weeks but wanted to give her a weekend of solitude, so that's why we ended up with Oiying. We'll be here for 2 nights, then off to France.

Today we toured the Tower of London and saw the Tower Bridge. It was quite an interesting tour and we learned about English royalty and a lot of history that I've read about in all my literature. I really liked going into the city finally. Tomorrow we're doing an open-top red bus tour just so we can get all the tourist sights in before I leave. I'm excited for that. Keeping me busy is a good way to avoid anxiety.

Now I'm off to the land of dreams.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Jet-Lagged Hag

This is what I looked like when the jetlag finally hit me, at 2:30am, London time, on my third night here. Wide awake.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Travel Planning Makes me Feel Bipolar

I can't wait to just BE IN EUROPE. I still have anxiety when I reach my destination when traveling, but it's much less severe than the planning/getting there anxiety. I'm exhausted and I still have a few days to go. I've been waking up at all times of the night, being wide awake and ready for the day at 5:30am, and going to bed at 2, with waking up every hour in between. And it's not the normally pleasant wake up at 4am, look at my clock and realize I still have 3 hours to sleep happiness. Instead, I wake up panicked, wishing I was asleep so I wouldn't have to think about all the things that could go wrong or what I'm going to forget. This week I feel completely bipolar. One minute I'm happy, confident, and brave, and then the next second I'm in tears laying on the floor in my room or leaning over a shopping cart trying not to black out at Walmart. Yes, anxiety sometimes equals dizziness and fainting. I feel like I'm crazy. Last night I watched The Santa Clause 3 1/2 times, half because I was too lazy to get up and turn something else on, half because everything Christmas helps me calm down. Plus, who doesn't love Tim Allen? haha. Let's get this party started so I can stop feeling bipolar.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Anxiety at its Finest

If you've never had to deal with anxiety, there's really no way for you to understand just how much it sucks. Unlike most other human emotions, anxiety can't really be "cured". You can learn coping techniques and have therapy, but it doesn't ever completely go least for me.

Tonight was my first real anxiety attack pre-Europe trip. This is about how it looked:

5:30am: I wake up, panicked, my heart beating fast. I realize it's dark outside and don't even want to know what time it is. It's 5:30, and my anxious mind and body are up for the day. I lay in bed and watch movies for 5 hours until someone else wakes up.

12:35pm: Some nice girls at church befriended me when Chani was working and I had to go alone.

12:40pm: We're singing the hymn and these lines came up in the song I Know that My Redeemer Lives:

"He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart." And I almost lose it in the middle of the meeting. I've been distracting myself and just not thinking about this trip at all. I guess I suddenly realized I needed all of those things.

4:30pm: I'm home alone, look at my already packed suitcase and my eyes fill with tears. I've got a real problem with suitcases. I watch Seinfeld and take a nap to distract myself.

Then I spent the evening with my amazingly supportive family. I think there were 24 Nixons gathered for dinner, and it was nice to be distracted and to have so many people who love and support me so close. They are all surprised that I'm actually embarking on this adventure, but they're all super supportive.

9:30pm: On the way home from dinner at grandma's, I completely lose it. I happen to be driving past the temple, which I've visited several times since I bought my plane tickets. It was already closed so I sat in my car and cried/freaked out/prayed for half an hour. When I got there I felt defeated and weak, and when I left I felt confident that I can do this. But I was still crying. Once the waterworks start, it's like a ruptured dam behind these eyeballs of mine.

10:00pm: I listened to church music in my car on the way home.

10:15pm: I made mate' and took 2 melatonin pills...there's no way I'm waking up at 5:30am again.

10:40pm: I'm still waiting for the melatonin to kick in. I have lavendar oil on my wrists and neck, and I'm watching The Santa Clause. I plan to listen to my anxiety CD of whales singing while I fall asleep.

See what I mean? Coping skills. Lavendar. Mate'. Singing whales. Temple. Church music. I know this trip is supposed to happen and I know it will, but it will take a lot for me to get there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rejections, Revisions and Rejuvenations

Apparently graduate schools don't even send rejection LETTERS anymore; they send rejection EMAILS for you to open by surprise at work on a Monday morning. Keeping it classy, Utah.

While I'm not at all surprised, I'm more upset about it than I thought I would be. I am not surprised because I did my applications last-minute and my statements of intent weren't fantastic because other than just loving school, I really don't have another reason to go to grad school this year. I had nothing else major planned for my life, so I figured graduate school was the next step.

Now that I know grad school is not a possibility for me this year, it's time to really kick it into high gear and make something happen. I've done enough planning; now it's time to GO. I cannot and will not let this year be as lame as last year was.

First up, EUROPE!!! Diana will be there for at least the next 6 months, and Kylie will be in France until June and Brittney will be in Germany until June as well. I have to go visit both of them while they are there!

I'm making some revisions on my goals for this year, as I'm constantly re-writing my own future and my own goals. When you are faced with rejection, the best thing you can do is re-write your own story and your own future.

Today's somewhat disappointing emails from grad schools solidified what I think I already knew: grad school isn't happening for me this year. While I'm sort of disappointed, I think it scared me more than anything, because now I know that this crazy, adventurous, brave, terrifying, mind-boggling year I'm planning for myself is happening!!! It's yet another sign and arrow pointing me toward the brink of this adventure I'm taking myself on.

I've felt sluggish and a little defeated in my plan-making the past few days; for some reason I let that negative, anxious, scared part of myself think that this adventure wasn't going to happen. These rejection letters emails have just rejuvenated my goals and plans for myself.

Delicous Pesto Green Pizza

Taken from HERE

1 pound prepared pizza dough, preferably whole-wheat
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/4 cup water
5 ounces arugula, any tough stems removed, chopped (about 6 cups)
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Position oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook broccoli and water in a large skillet over medium heat, covered, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in arugula and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread pesto evenly over the crust, top with the broccoli mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
I use a pre-made gluten-free pizza crust, which is about the size and consistency of pita bread.
I like spinach much more than arugula, so I use that instead. I also make my own pesto because it's better and cheaper this way.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Favorite Poem Ever Written

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known---cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all---
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle---
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me---
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

There are several places I am determined to see before I die. Here's the list that I'm sure I will update frequently.

1. Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia
2. North Cascades National Park, Washington, US
3. Yungang Grottoes, Datong, China
4. Phi Phi Island, Thailand, Loi Krathong Light Festival, Thailand

Thursday, February 16, 2012


In reading Chalene Johnson's new book titled "PUSH" this month, I've been quite focused on priorities and goals. She says the best goals come when you come up with them with this thought in mind: "WOULDN'T IT BE CRAZY COOL IF...?" So instead of regular goals like being able to run 5 miles without stopping or the ever-so-popular "lose 20 pounds" this year, I'm making real goals. The more you write them down and tell people about them, the more likely they are to come true. My first set of goals included things like trying a new recipe every week, opening an IRA, and completing the TurboFire home workout program. I'm on Day 25 of TurboFire right now and it's been much easier than I thought it would be, so that goal isn't super hard. Opening an IRA takes about ten minutes online and maybe a phone call and a check. I've already got the extra money sitting in a separate savings account waiting for me to do that. I've been trying out new recipes and reading recipe blogs. So...why don't I set goals for myself that aren't so easy to attain? Those ones require only a small amount of effort. REAL results and the life-changing transformations don't happen with easy goals; they happen with the big, scary ones you may not even believe are possible.
So here it is. WOUDLN'T IT BE CRAZY COOL IF I QUIT MY JOB TO GO TO EUROPE FOR 2 1/2 MONTHS?!?! Because I'm going to! I leave for London March 28th or 29th, depending on when I get on a plane becuase I'm flying standby. So far, the tentative plan is to fly into London to meet my bff Diana there, spend a few days touring the city and visiting some places of mass importance (like to visit Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Westminster Abbey). Then we'll fly together to Spain, get rail passes, and spend the next couple of months traveling all over Europe. OH.MY.GOSH.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweat is Sexy

In case my imaginary readers are unaware, I've become quite the gym rat the past year or two. The first time I moved to Provo it was in May, so I spent every single day outside, hiking alone in the beautiful mountains that surround this little city. The second time I moved here was in January, in the dead of winter. I didn't own one pair of socks. I didn't have a coat and I had never worn any type of boots in my life. Because it was too cold and I was too unprepared to become a master at any winter sport, I needed a different outlet. That's when I discovered 24 Hour Fitness. This place has become my home away from home, my cure for winter depression, and the source of countless new friends. I may not LOOK like I exercise 12-15 hours a week, but I do. I've never had a perfect body, and thankfully, I've never really cared. Sure, everyone wants to look lean and fit, but to me, feeling and being healthy is more important than looking it. I know sometime my hard work will pay off and I'll have a rockin bod, but until then, the endorphins, the sweat, the laughter, the fun music and the friends are enough to keep me going to the gym.
Sweat is the body's proof that it's working hard. Sweating releases toxins in the body: both physical and emotional toxins. No matter what emotion I'm feeling, exercise can improve it. Here are my outlets that actually work and always leave me feeling better with a new mood and perspective. For anxiety, I do yoga. Just closing my eyes and balancing my body helps balance the mind and spirit too. For sadness, I lift weights. When I'm sad I feel defeated, and lifting weights helps me feel strong. For anger and confusion, I do Zumba. It's absolutely impossible to scowl or be angry when you're jumping around, flailing your arms and legs through the air, all while listening to Ricky Martin. For laziness, indifference, and all other emotions, doing any exercise makes me feel motivated, positive and energized.

Friday, February 10, 2012


How many of us ever stop to watch clouds? I feel like cloud-watching was a popular hobby of our grandparents and great grandparents' generations, back before they ever had screens of any kind to look at. Back then, the sky was their Google image search, rivers and creeks were their wallpaper, and the sound of waves rustling through pine trees was their iPod or Pandora.
Here's me on a river trip.

We live in a world with so much noise. One of my soul mate workouts is Yoga, and one of the reasons I love it so much is because it is silent. I don't think most of us take the time to recognize silence, to practice it, or to listen to it enough. Silence and solitude have always been important to me, and I have disliked the "background noise" of a running computer, tv, or music for as long as I can remember. They make me feel anxious and claustrophobic. I'd much rather be alone with a pen and a journal or a book. My cabin and the Colorado River are two of my favorite places on Earth, and part of the reason for loving them is because they are silent places. "River Therapy" as experienced guides and rafters lovingly call it, is a time when there's nothing but you, your thoughts, and the water.


I admire clouds because they get this kind of introspective solitude all the time. They just sit up there, observing the fast-paced world go by. They move too, but at a much slower rate than all of us do. They see the world with a bigger picture and they depend on only the wind to move them and the sun to warm them. I'd love to be a cloud for just one day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

When Your Plans Don't Work Out, Make BETTER ONES!

Sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted or expected them to, and that's okay.

For the past two years since I graduated, I've assumed I was going to go to grad school to get a Masters degree. The first year flew past and I was enjoying my time away from homework too much to apply to school. The second year came quickly and I thought grad school was what I wanted. I took the GRE and applied to a couple of programs at the last minute. My statements of intent were the hardest part of the application process, because writing "because I have nothing better to do" isn't really an acceptable response to "why do you want to join our program?"...and that's the only reason I had.

When it started to be clear that grad school wasn't in my 2012 horizon, I started to ponder what else this year could bring for me. 2010 was the most adventurous, fear-bending year of my life, and 2011 was probably the least eventful of my almsot 25 years. I wanted 2012 to be amazing and incredible, but without grad school, how could it be? So I turned my focus to work. "This year I'll get a promotion. This will be the year I get a raise and a salary and benefits."

Last week proved that this plan wasn't meant to be either. My best friend got the only promotion I could have possibly been up for, and I was devastated. I must say though, that somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was coming, despite all the secrecy and lies that floated around the office the past several weeks and months. I'm happy for her, because if anybody deserves a promotion, it's her. I was less happy about the sneaky way they went about it, and the secrets have made working the past week undeniably awkward. Moving on...

Now that I am confident the 2 grad schools I applied to will laugh at my application and my company isn't going to promote me, it's onto plan C. In my opinion, it's the best plan of all. It's much more exciting and life-changing than grad school or a promotion would be. I have my entire life to go back to school and to get promoted at work. This is the only year my best friend Diana will ever go to Spain and Europe for a 6-month adventure where I can join her.

I want to travel and I have the funds to do it, but most of my friends are married or poor, or both. This opportunity will never come again; Diana won't be in the same place, and neither will I. I may never have the chance to walk the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James pilgrimage, ever again.

Plan C is to spend 2-3 months of this year in another hemisphere, experiencing new cultures, speaking a foreign language, overcoming fears, and laughing harder than I have ever laughed in my life.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I've prayed about grad school and received indifferent responses. I figure the Man Upstairs is thinking the same thing as I am: "You can go, but you can always go to grad school. Why not try something more exciting?" I will learn more by speaking a foreign language and looking into the eyes of strangers than I ever would in a classroom.

So there it is. 2012 is the year of LIVING my dreams and not just dreaming about them.