May 27, 2015

Does This Make Me a Trail Runner?

So, I'm trying to work running back into my life (my DC PT said I could!), and to help me get started, I went running shoe shopping this weekend! I may have gone a tad overboard....

running shoes!

But it's OK, because I'm only keeping the bottom two pairs!

Since I live in SLC now (hmmm... I really have some blog layout updates to make don't I?), I decided to keep a pair of trail running shoes (carpe diem!) and a pair of street running shoes (that I can also wear as regular shoes? ha!). Practical, right?

And I took the trail running shoes for an inaugural run yesterday after work! The whole time, I kept singing to myself, "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me." Because it is beautiful, and I am glad. :)

IMG_0596 SLC trail running Utah wildflowers

And oh, MY, was I blown away by how pretty Utah is! Can you believe all this is just a few miles from my house/work??

I was also surprised by the wide array of wildflowers I saw. If this were Texas, I could probably tell you the names of all of these, but alas, that's not how we roll here in Utah. But look how pretty!

IMG_0594 IMG_0608 IMG_0605 IMG_0602 IMG_0603 IMG_0601

I even found a flower (bottom right) that matched my shoes.

One thing that did surprise me was how few people were up there. We've gotten some rain recently, so the trails were really muddy, which may have been a contributing factor. But since it was so deserted, I took advantage of the peace and quiet.

Last fall, my church congregation did a weekend retreat up near Gettysburg, PA. Our bishop challenged us to find a quiet spot in nature where we could go to pray out loud. I never got around to it in DC, on account of it got cold right after that, there was snow, then I moved, etc., but seeing no one anywhere around me, I made time for some peaceful, quiet moments. I don't typically pray out loud (maybe I should?), but I had a really lovely experience communing with God in nature. The evening was rejuvenating to my body and my soul. :)

I wanted to keep running, because there is SO much I could have still explored, but I was afraid it'd get dark and/or start raining again, so I headed back down.

This was the view as I got closer to my car:

Salt Lake Valley

I definitely plan to spend more time exploring the trails this summer! Let me know if you're in SLC and ever want to join me! (Or if you have any trail running tips, because the downhill killed me! :-/)

May 21, 2015

Reading Now: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

OK, this is not an Austin, Part 2 post (but don't worry; I haven't forgotten!). It is a post about the book I'm reading right now.

KonMari method
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I've heard a lot about this book, and since I'm in the process of organizing my apartment right now, I figured it was a perfect time to read it. I'm about half-way done, and I've already started KonMari-ing my stuff! (The KonMari method is the name of the method/lifestyle Marie Kondo teaches in this book.) The basic premise is to only keep things that "spark joy," and it's been kind of fun to look at my belongings and find an emotional connection with them. For the items you decide not to keep, you're supposed to thank each of them for serving you well, and then you're free to send them on their way, either to be donated or chucked. I know it sounds super dorky, but I like it! And "thanking" each item kind of makes it easier to part ways. It's also nice that the only rule for deciding what to keep is that it "sparks joy." I've always wanted a closet where I absolutely LOVE and feel confident wearing every single piece, and I'm sure having my entire home feel this way would be amazing! Plus, as an INFJ, I can appreciate making decisions emotionally, so maybe that's why this is working well for me. :)

Though, OK, sometimes the practical side of me struggles. For example, on Monday, I KonMari'd my way through my dresses/work tops, and there was one particular dress... I left it in my closet, because it's cute, it's in good condition, it has pockets, it fits me well... But it didn't spark joy. Even still, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it, because I actually need (OK, want) more work dresses. I went through a pencil skirts + blouses phase a few years ago, but right now, I'm really into dresses. You put on ONE thing, and you're done! No need to mix and match and coordinate tops and bottoms. One and done! Genius! 

Back to the dress... I left it in my closet, but it's been nagging me all week. I think at some point during the work day yesterday, I thought to myself, "That green dress doesn't spark joy." So when I got home last night, I put it in my donation pile.

I only wish I'd read this book sooner, because I've already filled up TWO big Ikea tote bags (clothing swap, anyone?), and I'm not even done organizing my clothes yet! (I thought I had PURGED my belongings before I left DC, but if I had Kon-Mari'd then, maybe I would've had more room in the UHaul for some of the furniture I left behind... :( sniff...) Who knows how much I'll get rid of by the time I finish the rest of my house! 

Wish me luck with the rest of the book/KonMari-ing! Here's hoping I don't end up with only three things to wear all summer! ­čś│

May 18, 2015

#ATXyall (Part 1) + I found an apartment!

Helllllo, blogging world! I'm popping in tonight from the comfort of my very own.... apartment!! That's right; my OWN apartment! It's my first time having an apartment all to myself (the tiny private room + bathroom I had as an RA in college doesn't count!), and I couldn't be more excited about it. (Though it was kind of sad this morning when I was getting ready for church and had no one to consult about which heels I should wear? But overall, it's been great!)

There's not much to see yet, but... in time! :)

so many boxes!

I also wanted to take a moment to preserve for time and all posterity the photos from my recent trip to Austin! My friend Jordan was planning a trip home (she's a bona fide Austinite!) and invited a few of us to join her. The group consisted of Jordan, Maddy, Addison (another Austinite), and moi; I couldn't have asked for better travel companions!

travel buddies!

I booked this trip after I'd accepted my new job in Utah, but before I actually left DC, because A- I've been wanting to go to Austin for foreverrrr, B- I was afraid I'd be experiencing DC withdrawals a month into my new life in Utah, and I wanted to make sure I had something to look forward to in case things weren't going so smoothly. Plus, honestly, I was worried I'd feel claustrophobic and landlocked. One of the BEST things about the East Coast is it's SO incredibly easy (and relatively cheap) to travel, whereas in Utah, you can drive for FIVE HOURS and still be in the same state. I'm going to sound super yuppie and spoiled, but I became accustomed to traveling at least once a month, either for work or for pleasure, and I definitely already miss it! Though, actually, between Arizona (a post for another day) and Texas, I've managed to maintain my one trip a month quota thus far! :)

OK, so the most important thing to know about this trip is we essentially ATE our way through the city of Austin, with a few activities squeezed in between meals. (Gotta work up an appetite somehow, right??)

We started our trip off right ... by eating at every breakfast taco place within a few miles of Jordan's house. Let the record show that the BEST of the tacos was The Democrat from Shaky's.

breakfast tacos!

Next, we explored a bit of our Mormon heritage at scenic Mt. Bonnell. ;)

Mt. Bonnell IMG_0037 Mt. Bonnell
Mt. Bonnell #samegender

Aside from the amazing view of Austin and the water, Addison's hair in that last photo was a highlight. ;)

Then, we were off to Barton Springs!

But first, a quick pitstop with some Texas wildflowers! Little did I know at this point that this would be my only wildflower photo of the trip. *sniff*

Texas wildflowers

OK, back to the story. Barton Springs is a set of, well, natural springs (ha) that has sort of been partially turned into a pool. The coolest part about this place was how perfectly clear the water was. As you all may know, I'm VERY much afraid of water, but it was just so pretty, even I ventured in! (Not to swim – let's not get crazy here – but just to say I at least went in the water.) Maddy lent moral support while Jordan and Addison were catching some rays (and some zzz's). :)

Barton Springs Barton Springs Maddy & Yándary at Barton Springs! Bathing beauty at Barton Springs

After a healthy lunch of Amy's Ice Cream, we went home to clean up and change in preparation for the most luxurious dining experience at Paul Qui's new restaurant, Qui! It was voted GQ's Most Outstanding Restaurant of 2014. Jordan's generous parents joined us – and then treated ALL of us to – this amaaaaayzing dining experience! Maddy and I ordered the vegetable option (I'm so glad I did, because several of the courses were seafood, and I don't particularly care for seafood. Mostly because of the smell... Have I mentioned here yet that I'm a very smell-oriented person? I once went out with someone whose cologne I didn't like; things did not work out.), and the others ordered the regular menu. We all just ended up sharing, but ALL of my courses were amazing! If you're ever in Austin and feel like spending $55-70 on dinner, try Qui!

Qui Austin IMG_0095 Ladies at Qui Austin Chicas at Qui Austin

After dinner, we killed some time at THE original Whole Foods, and thennnnnn we went to...

IMG_0077 Whole Foods HQ


Of ALL the incredible places we ate during this trip, this one was my FAVORITE. I'm super picky with sweets, but the donuts here were to DIE for! I will DEFINITELY be returning to Austin, if only to eat the Glory Daze donut (+ vanilla ice cream) one more time.

Gourdough's Public House = Best. Donuts. Ever!

And guys! This was JUST the first day!! I now realize I took WAY too many photos to share this entire trip in one post, soooo.... Stay tuned for Day 2 with these crazy kids probably later this week! :)

crazies in Austin