California Camping Road Trip

One of the trips that was canceled as a result of the pandemic was my ex’s lifelong dream of camping her way up to the Redwood Forrest. After reading The Legacy of Luna as a kid, Vanessa has wanted to see the Redwood trees for herself ever since. She had tried to plan the trip in 2019, we tried twice to make this happen in 2020, but it wasn’t until this April of 2021 that we were able to make her dream a reality. People probably don’t understand how ex’s can go on a trip together – especially since I’m in a relationship with someone else – but this felt absolutely normal to us and I didn’t want to miss out.

The trip was AMAZING! California is such a beautiful state, and I loved (almost) all of the campgrounds we stayed in. Vanessa actually cried when she saw the huge Redwood trees – multiple times, actually! We’ve got camping down to a routine, and it was great to have so much time off to just explore and enjoy. My favorite part of the entire trip was the 45 minutes we spent on this random beach we found on our drive – about 30 minutes south of where we stayed in the Redwood National Forrest. We got to run around with the dogs, had a ton of laughs, and it was completely serendipitous.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we were able to safely travel all over the state of California after a year of this pandemic. I’m thankful that I harvest healthy relationships in my life that lead to genuine long-term friendships. I’m thankful that the dogs are great travelers who make the trip extra fun. I’m thankful for the amazing and understanding girlfriend that I got to come home to. And I’m thankful that Vanessa still wanted to include me on this incredible adventure.

Here’s the rough breakdown of our trip followed by my video and some awesome pictures:

Day One: 6.5 hour drive from Tucson to Barton Flats Campground in San Bernardino National Forrest
Day Two: 9 hour drive to Kelsey Creek Campground in Clear Lake State Park
Day Three: 4.5 hour drive to Elk Prairie Campground in Redwood State and National Forrest
Day Four: 4.5 hour drive to Wildcat Campground in Hendy Woods State Park
Day Five: No driving! Another day in Hendy Woods
Day Six: 2 hour drive to Bodega Dunes Campground in Sonoma Coast State Park
Day Seven: 8.5 hour drive to Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park
Day Eight: 6.5 hour drive home to Tucson

This was honestly a once in a lifetime kind of trip, and I am so lucky to have gotten to experience this adventure this year.

Thanks for reading!

Shopping Online

The more shopping that I do online, the more success I have with getting everything that I ordered to fit me properly. I have a couple of tips and tricks of the trade, and since shopping online has basically become the norm, I thought I would share. (Just as a disclaimer – I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m not someone who gets paid or promoted to use or wear brands, I’m not an influencer, etc. I’m just a body positive girl who has some super simple tricks to share on how to wear the most of your orders.)

There’s three main tips that I have:

1. When possible, try to shop somewhere consistently. If you already know the brand, you’ll have a better understanding of the materials you’re about to purchase and their durability and wear. There are several shopping apps that even have many brands included in their list of products, so you can still have versatility in your wardrobe. Shopping on the same app/website also allows for you to gain points and get coupons for return business. (Pro Tip: Take pics of yourself in each garment when your clothing arrives for potential extra review/rewards points.)

2. DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIZE. I cannot stress this enough so I am going to say it again. Do not pay attention to the size. Sizing is not universal, even within a brand’s collection. INSTEAD: Pay attention to the measurements. By looking at measurements over sizing, I have a wardrobe that fits me accurately but ranges from size Small to XXXXL. That is not an exaggeration. Also, by paying attention to measurements, you can ensure the item will have the fit that you are looking for. To know your measurements initially, you can either manually measure yourself or look up the measurements of something that you already own and like that you bought online (or can look up). I usually compare items I’m shopping to things I already have ordered – which helps even more if it is from the same site. I know that anything that’s 19 to 28 inches in the shoulder will fit more on the looser side, where as anything smaller is going to be a bit more fitted. Something 23 inches in length is usually longer with my high-waisted pants, where as 19 inches or less is more crop-top length. (And so on…) By knowing my range, I can better ensure I’ll be able to wear everything I order comfortably.

3. Place your order with enough time to ensure you can find a backup if things do not fit. There’s always a chance that you don’t bat 100 with your order, and if you are planning for something specific, you don’t want to put yourself in a bind. If your order is for an event, make sure you plan ahead. (Side note: When things don’t fit, don’t procrastinate on your return process. If you end up with items that can’t be returned, you can always try to resell through apps or second-hand stores, re-gift the items, or donate to charity.)

I recently went to the mall to do some shopping in-person since I have some upcoming trips planned, but the dressing rooms are still not open due to the pandemic. As a result, this makes in-person shopping just as much of a gamble as online shopping. Yes, you can see the garments in your hands. This does help to ensure the material is what you are looking for. But not being able to try things on does not allow you to know how it would truly fit. Personally, since I was not able to compare the items with the measurements, I only had a 50%ish success rate in things that fit perfectly. The other 50% fit *~okay~* and might fit better when I lose a little weight or style it differently. Even still, without the benefit of trying things on, shopping in person or shopping online are close to the same.

Best of luck!

Thanks for reading.

27th Birthday

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My birthday was October 1st, so I am officially 27!It’s really crazy to think about where my life was at even just a year ago. A LOT of things have changed for me – for the better! I’ve been reflecting on how¬†different my life is and all the progress I’ve made to be living the happiest life possible.

Throughout all of my twenties, I definitely had a good sense of who I was. I’ve always been myself. but¬†there was definitely a period of¬†IMG-6240time where I was making some questionable decisions. I was trying to figure some things out for myself in my adult life, and I was exploring what it is that makes me happy. As a result of looking for certain answers, I found myself in several different situations and relationships that were not the healthiest.

This time last year, I had just gotten out of a very unhealthy relationship. I felt as though I had someone else’s world on¬†IMG-6571my¬†shoulders, and I was ten feet under water and drowning fast. I felt responsible for this person, but it was affecting my ability to be happy¬†in so many areas of my life. Even though I was able to end this relationship this time last year, there was still a falling out after, which led to a difficult start to my 26th year. Sometimes, you have to learn that certain things truly belong in the past in order for you to move on and into a healthy head-space. (Support from family and friends definitely helps as well.)

I was also trying, at this time last year, to figure out how to be more open about my sexuality, which was very hindering when I was in a¬†heterosexual relationship. I wanted to live authentically, but I felt held back in so many ways.¬†I have been open¬†IMG-7740with myself about my sexuality as well as those very close to me for many years, but this time last year I was not fully “out” to everyone in my life. I was able to find a way to really date the way I want to during my 26th year, and to create healthy dynamics from the beginning with anyone I spent time with.¬†I was reminded that you can set your own parameters and create a positive space and mindset for yourself in really anything that you do.¬†This journey to openness also included coming out to my family, which truthfully didn’t exactly go the way I really wanted it to in retrospect. But regardless of how I got here, I can now be completely living my truth at this point and not filtering my life for those around me. And that’s huge.¬†

Looking back at what my life was like over a year ago, I was being held back from all aspects – including my career. I had been considering transferring to a new office across¬†IMG-5795the country since I¬†had started this new job at the age of 25, but the idea originally put a lot of guilt on my shoulders.¬†Once I was out of that relationship, I was able to see more clearly that I wasn’t physically in the place that I wanted to be. Around the new year, just three months into my 26th year, I started to put my plan into place. I talked to my work and my family about the move¬†and by the end of June, I was in my new apartment and new office in Tucson. I really did love the time I spent in Allentown, but I felt that I had already gotten everything there that I needed to. I knew there was so much more out there for me than what I was surrounding myself with. Knowing there were things out there waiting for me, I got my ass out to Arizona.

As I started thinking about getting out of PA, there was so much toxic energy that I realized I would be leaving behind me. It felt good to move¬†on from all the strange¬†cactus picdynamics, situations, and toxicity that I hadn’t even realized was overwhelming me. I was involved in friendships and relationships that were not the healthiest for anyone involved, and the best thing I could do for everyone was leave it all behind and start new. And truthfully, it felt amazing!¬† There were things I was still holding onto, holding out for, dealing with, holding onto hope for, or even just involved in that weren’t good for me. It wasn’t making me happy in a good way, and it was nice to know I was putting a lot of that behind me with this move and allowing myself to actually grow without confines.

Coming to Arizona, I really felt that I was in a good mindset and free of things that had vanessapreviously held me down. I’m in a relationship now¬†that’s been so amazing and I’ve been really enjoying our time together. I feel confident in what we have as a result of who we are at this point in our lives, and I take Vanessa for who she is and what she gives to me. It’s amazing to be in a healthy relationship where we have mutual respect and love and so much support for each other. It’s also been absolutely wonderful to openly date a woman for the first time. It’s not just something my friends know about – I can post on social media and refer to her as my “girlfriend” and it’s been a really incredible feeling. I feel very free, open, and authentically myself.¬†

Going into year 27, I feel more who I want to be, and less who I used to be, or who I thought I was supposed to be. I’m realizing that all of my experiences are pieces of my identity, but I have¬†skythe ability to create myself and who I am today.¬† Even if you’ve been doing something every single day for years, you have the control to say ‘ya know what, that’s going to be who I was and no longer who I am.’ You can say ‘I used to do this, and now I don’t.’¬† People can change. I used to live in PA, and now I don’t. I used to get involved in unhealthy relationships with men, and now I don’t. I used to hide certain parts of myself, and now I don’t.¬†That’s something I’ve really realized in moving to AZ; starting anew allowed me to have complete control over what I surrounded myself with and how I spend my time. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been, it matters who you are. You can always create your own narrative.

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Being in this new place, I feel so good. I feel more confident in my everyday life, more successful at work, and more comfortable in my relationship than I ever have before. It’s really wild for me to see the progress I made within the past year. Going into year 27, EVERYTHING is different. For so long, I felt like I was trying to get out or get away from something, and I finally feel like now, I can just LIVE.

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Be aware of who you are versus who you’ve been. Reflect on what you have versus what you’ve had. Know what you want versus what you’ve wanted. This helps you to create the best version of yourself possible, right now, today.

“If you don’t like your life, then you should go and change it.” – The Dirty Heads, Vacation

Thanks for reading!

More Yoga

IMG-2550It’s very natural for things to get busy and life to get in the way of certain activities that we enjoy. For me, I’ve really let yoga fall to the wayside. I used to go to a local studio to practice meditation and yoga on a weekly basis, but the class schedule has changed and no longer allows me to comfortably fit this into my normal week.

Since then, I’ve been trying to find some time to fit yoga in on my own. Lucky for me, I have a beautiful office with enough space to pull a mat out during my lunch break and plenty of space at home on my kitchen floor as well. Taking the time for yourself, in whatever way possible, is extremely important. Even fitting in 20-30 minutes somewhere in your day – 10 if you have to – to do something that makes you happy or rejuvenates you internally can have a major impact on your well-being.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of my home/office yoga activities:

Thanks for reading.