Weekend Update

I know, I know. “Weekend Update” is already taken. I’m using it (for now, at least) to introduce my new beginning-of-the-week posts. Moving from Reflections and Intentions to something that requires me to be more thoughtful and genuine with all of you. 

What I Did

I wore this alpine meadows outfit at a wedding. Apparently I became semi-famous as “the girl in the yellow shoes.”

Speaking of the wedding, we stayed in the most beautiful hotel that had a curved, purple velvet chair. I read this book front to end in that chair (and on the plane). Adding a curved, purple velvet chair to my dream apartment list.

I began the first of several administrative updates to my blog. I am hoping to expand in many ways, including affiliate links in my holiday posts, which will help me divert more time and attention to those details. I would also like to open up The Wonder Of to guest submissions. More news to come!

What I’m Going to Do

Go on a ghost tour of Chicago with some awesome friends! Even better, we are going on Friday the 13th! I am excited for this spooky evening.

Teach guitar to middle school kids??? Keep me in your thoughts.

Pay my debts and plan for the holidays. If I get those things cleared now, I should be stress-free by December. I think. I hope. Planning to give you a peek into my holiday travel arrangements, including details on multi-city flight bookings, and a top secret update about some of TSA’s newest changes.

Related: 

Discovery

Fall Outfits in Three Moods

Four Things

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Six Things

I am so busy right now! I am in meetings all week and very busy getting myself organized when I’m not. Here are six things to give you a little midweek distraction.

 

jojotastic-my-new-favorite-graphic-tees-on-Etsy-6Love this list of quality graphic t-shirts found on Etsy.

 

Ask-MR-What-If-I-Hate-My-Job-Man-repeller-750x1125.jpgI hate my job. What should I do? Leandra Medine knew exactly what I needed to hear.

“It’s okay not to love every aspect of your job. We’re fed this messaging that work in 2017 is supposed to feel like a Caribbean vacation replete with health daiquiris and photo-taking tutorials, but I wonder if that has completely disillusioned the process of actually, you know, working.”

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Are you following the murder of Kim Wall? I found it deeply disturbing, and decided to learn a little bit more about here. Read some of her work here.

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Have you visited the American Southwest? I lived there for several months and I have vivid dreams about being there still. This travelogue makes me want to visit again.

 

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Thinking ahead to Halloween. I think this would be so fun to make for myself!!

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All of my meals have been very colorful this week! Here is a collection of my Harvest Colors.

 

Weekend Getaway

I am a teacher dreading the beginning of the school year, and am devising strategies to get me through it. The first that I am actively working on is changing my mindset. The second very important strategy is full of bribery and rewards. I am planning local getaways (camping nearby, kayaking through the city) but am also looking at sneaking in weekend trips like this one to Joshua Tree National Park.

Where: Joshua Tree National Park
When: Mid Fall
How: Cheap flights, camping as lodging
Why: To get away!
What: Camping, hiking, sightseeing, stargazing

Step 1: Cheap flights to California
Generally, flights to San Diego are cheaper than Lost Angeles or Palm Springs. If flying into one of the first two, we will also need to rent a car and drive 2-3 hours to Joshua Tree National Park, so the earlier flight the better. (These flights were under $100 yesterday !!!)

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Step 2: Rent a car, enjoy the drive
A good drive is full of good music, intelligent podcasts, planned stops in at the coast and in Palm Springs, surprise stops anywhere interesting, and great snacks.

Step 3: Make the most of the park
Say I arrive early afternoon. I will set up camp and take a short day hike before dinner dinner. Then I’ll take an evening walk, and star gaze. I’ll stay up reading in the tent, listen to music, and playing cards.

Step 4: Get outside!
The next day entails a long, strenuous day hike. After dinner, I’ll take an easy evening walk. More lounging at the tent and stargazing (glad I bought a star map in the Grand Canyon! Or are they different star hemispheres…?)

Step 5: Go home, don’t be too sad about it.
I want to wake up in the dark and take a sunrise hike. After, I’ll have some coffee, pack up camp, head out and fly back. I will likely get in late, which means before I left, I better have done laundry and washed all of the dishes and planned the rest of my week.

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5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been traveling all summer. These last few weeks have been spent in the car, which means we’ve been listening to a lot of music and a LOT of podcasts. I am sharing some of our favorite podcasts with you here.

Science is Cool
Radiolab always has a fresh take on innovative, or sometimes just plain weird, science and technology. This episode is about a meat lover who is forced to stop eating red meat because of a freak accident… one that could happen to any of us!

Learn from People Around You
This American Life looks at people and the inner-workings of our everyday world. This episode is tender when you least expect it, and highlights the importance of platonic and cross-generational friendships.

True Life Crime
Criminal is about crime and criminal activities, but approaches the criminals in the situation as people. There are surprising episodes that show people challenging the law of the time to do what they feel is intrinsically right. One episode that blew my mind was this one, about lifelong identity fraud and the least-likely suspect.

Scary Stories
Lore is a podcast about folklore and myth that lives on and continues to scare. This episode about the Chicago murder house hits close to home… it’s literally a 15 minute drive from my apartment! Yikes!

Everybody Loves Food
Gastropod is so cool. Every episode looks at a different food element through the lenses of science, history, and culture. I think just about everyone can get behind this episode about the benefits and long history of caffeine.

 

 

Check out this unexpected party playlist and my to-do list for the final days of summer!

Vacations: Good, Bad, and Beautiful

Now that we are in the height of summer and people are starting to think about back-to-school shopping, I have been finding the most amazing reflections on summer vacation! Here is my vacation round-up, for one last dose of adventure and summer freedom before we start thinking about school and fall layers.

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I have been watching for this post since the author came back from vacation. These photos from a girls backpacking trip in Alaska are so striking. I have definitely added this to the list of trips I would like to take.

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Joy shows some love to Detroit, and honestly, I’m convinced. The food looks great and it sounds like she found beautiful pockets of the rich culture and history of the city.

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The trip to Joshua Tree that went horribly wrong. I held my breath through the entire story. I can’t imagine the agony she was in.

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An old episode of This American Life all about summer camp. Warning: squeaky pre-teen boys and very loud, high-pitched screeches from the young ladies of the camp.

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Photos from the Goddard family vacation give us all that final nudge to start saving for a trip to Italy. From Rome, to Tuscany, to Venice, Joanna captures the best of each region. And there is an Uber for Vespas???

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And finally, please check out my own summer vacation experience in Alberta, Canada. We backpacked in Banff, had tea on a mountain, and hiked to glaciers and hot springs in Jasper National Park.

Monday Reflections and Intentions

What a wild summer. As soon as we got back from Canada, we washed a load of laundry, went for a great bike ride in Chicago, and turned right around and drove to New York City. I’m having a blast, but am ready to slow down. This week we are headed to southern Indiana to visit my family, and I am hoping to share some local favorites with my boyfriend while we’re there. Here are my reflections and intentions for the week. I hope your summer is action packed and sunny!

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Reflections:
-Went to the Bronx Botanical Gardens (as pictured above)
-Saw Béla Fleck and the Flecktones!
-Ate lots of NYC bagels
-Biked in Central Park
-Saw the Statue of Liberty from afar

Intentions:
-Make a playlist for my grandpa’s birthday party
-Spend quality time with my family
-Write three new music-centric blog posts
-Run! Bike! Walk! Hike!
-Visit this theme park or the Exotic Feline Rescue Center while in southern Indiana

Intended:
-Rent a bike in NYC
-Learn this song
-Pay all of my bills !!!
-Share photos of my trip to Canada

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Tanzanian Dreams

I woke up from a dream about a dream I’d had before,
Where I’d fly out to Africa to visit the Tanzanian shore,
I don’t remember buying the flight, but I know I reserved our stays,
In Tanzania, in Africa, for twelve or thirteen days.

I need to call my sister now, did I even tell her we’re going?
Waking in the night, memories quickly slowing,
I dreamt I bought these tickets, now I dreamt we must soon pack,
We need to check in for the flight in order to make it back.

In my first dream, I remember, rivers and forests at night,
My geographical knowledge is limited, but somehow I got Tanzania right.
Three great lakes of Africa here, with abundant greenery,
With beaches and plains and east African rains, Tanzania has distinctive scenery.

I imagine there are zebras and giraffes, wildebeests on the go,
Sipping the waters of Lake Victoria, or surrounding the peaks of Kilimanjaro.
When we visit Tanzania again: in my dreams, in my sleep, at night;
I’ll be sure to call my sister first, and tell her about the flight.

In the City

In the city you can get away with
Anything.

If you need to
Lie down
In the city, it’s okay; go ahead.

“Hey asshole, it’s an emergency!”
“I can’t see past the construction. Does she need help?”
“Where are the police?”
They bond by uniting against the jerk in a hurry

Because you’re in the city, we move fast enough, already.
What could be more urgent than being in the city? You’re here.
Slow down already.

Hiking in Jasper National Park

After backpacking in Banff National Park and hiking to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, we set out for Jasper National Park. Jasper was more remote than Banff, and we had more nature encounters throughout the trip.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetThis sunset happened during our first night in Jasper. We all ran up to the balcony of our chalet to watch it. Our dad ran downstairs to grab his camera and by the time he was back up… not even 60 seconds later!… the sunset was over. Luckily, my sister caught this photo.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetThere were a lot of unique water experiences in the parks of Alberta, Canada. On our first day of hiking in Jasper, we visited the Miette hot springs! The source of the springs steamed hot and stinky sulphur, but the actual lounging area wasn’t stinky at all. We especially had fun running from the 100 degree waters and jumping in the ICE cold mini-pool nearby. The next day we hiked the Valley of Five Lakes, the fifth of which is featured above. We hike the trail backwards, starting at lake 5 where we ate lunch and soaked in the views before hiking out. Each lake was a vivid and distinct shade of blue or green.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetContinuing with the tour of spectacular water attractions, we visited the Sunwapta and Athabasca waterfalls the next day. Standing near water that is moving with such force is pretty terrifying. There were effective signs posted all around warning of people who were overconfident and climbed past the fences, only to fall in.

Processed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with g3 presetThe next day was our father-daughter hike. My dad, sister, and I all drove to a beautiful and isolated section of the park, planning to take a strenuous four hour hike. It took us an hour to hike to the trailhead, where a sign was posted announcing the closure of this trail due to the spotting of a mother bear and her newly born cub. You didn’t have to tell us twice… we’ve all seen The Revenant. After hiking another hour back to the parking area, we decided on a shorter two hour hike nearby, where we visited a secluded lake that was home to a beautiful swimming loon. The water was so clear that you could see the loon through the water as he torpedoed under in search of fish.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetWe also visited this insanely mirrored lake where from a distance it looked as if people were walking on water. This lake was massive, but at no point was it ever more than ankle-deep. Some bold people had braved the frigid waters and waded across the entire lake!

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetTo break up the 6 hour drive back to Calgary, we stopped halfway to stretch our legs and hike up to a glacier. It was wild to see the markers of where the glacier used to reach before melting, and so sad to see how much was gone. This glacier won’t be there for many more years.

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 presetWhen we got back, we did a bit of urban backpacking to get from the airport to the south side of Chicago. We were quite a sight at our bus stop downtown!

Be sure to read about our backpacking trip while we were in Banff National Park, and the amazing Teahouse Hike we took!

 

More Nature Adventures:
Hiking advice from my brother and sister
What we packed
What we read
What you should read

NYC Goals

We’re headed to New York City today! Here are 5 goals for our visit.

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1. Rent a CitiBike and ride everywhere!

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2. Take an NBC studio tour and try to get standby tickets for the Tonight Show!

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3. See a free concert in the parks!

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4. Go to Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre.

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5. Hang out at the Seinfeld Diner!!!