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This past week has left me feeling like I’m coming out of a fog. The past couple months have been tough, and while things haven’t gotten any better on the job front, I’m not as depressed about it. I imagine the nice weather has helped with that – nothing like waking up to rain to kill any motivation to do anything.

I’ve also gotten out twice this week to go hiking – both times were so well needed. Being home so much is weird, and while I know that I should take advantage of the time to get outside, write more, and sleep in, I feel guilty whenever I do. I constantly have to remind myself that taking care of my body takes care of my mind, too.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I’ll leave you with some more beautiful photos from my hike on Monday!

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Oh, and one from yesterday – the cottonwood is so bad here that in some places, it looks like it’s snowing!

There was so much cottonwood on the trails today it looked like snow. #allergies #hiking

Beach Hunter

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While Seattle didn’t have much of a winter, I can definitely tell that spring is definitely here! I decided to take a short break from job applications to find a park in my new neighborhood. I’ve been craving some beach time, and even though it’s not beach weather yet, it was nice to get out by the water. This one is only a few minutes away from home, and when the sun is shining, it’s a great way to kill some time in the afternoon.

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I ran across these two ducks while on a short hike around the park. They were a little too friendly – you could tell they are fed by park-goers all the time. Thankfully, they kept their distance and let me take a few photos before heading on my way!

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By the time I was done with my short hike, the sun had faded away and storm clouds rolled in. I made a quick beeline for the car, and barely made it home before it started storming! Normally I don’t mind a little rain, but I had my camera with me and nowhere to hide it if it started pouring, so I had to cut my trip a little short. I can’t wait to head back there soon, hopefully with D, for a nice picnic or afternoon on the beach when it gets a little warmer outside.

I can’t wait to find more great parks in the area. This was a great place to start, though!

Life on Instagram

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(Clockwise from top-left)

Starting off the day by cleaning up my desk area and getting organized / Took a trip to the local library to find some new recipes / First attempt at buckwheat galettes with eggs (didn’t care for them) / Spent my only afternoon home alone in over a month cleaning up and decorating

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The amazing view from a nearby park where I went hiking for the first time since I moved here / Started a new book the other day, and I’m starting to get my love of reading back / Seven-layer dip for dinner Wednesday night, and it was just what the doctor ordered! / Spent most of Thursday job hunting, and trying to make the place feel a bit more like home (even if it may no longer be in a couple months!)

I hope everyone had a great week, and that those of you out east are staying warm as always!

Have an amazing weekend, and I’ll see you all back on Monday!

Finding a New (Hiking) Path

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Hiking is something I haven’t done much of since I moved here, partly because when I was working I did enough walking to compensate for it. My first few months here were also rough because I felt like I could never find anything. Venturing out to find a new park to go hiking in seemed too daunting when I could barely find a grocery store. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’m trying to head back out more.

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On Tuesday afternoon, I laced up my sneakers and went out to a park not far from home. While it was definitely too small to do any good hiking (especially since most of the park was closed for construction), it was a nice chance to be near the water and chill out for a little while. I didn’t get much hiking done at all, but it was a nice change of pace from sitting at home filling out job applications until my eyes go wonky.

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Being from Ohio, it’s not often that I got to spend time near the water, so for me living here has been a bit of a treat. While there are things about living here I don’t like so far, this has to be the biggest upside. It’s still a little weird for me to see places like this and remember that I live here, but it’s a good kind of weird. 🙂

I hope you are all having a good week, and are staying safe if you’re stuck in the snow!

Life on Instagram: January 2015

Every other Friday, I will post an update of my favorite Instagram photos from the past 2 weeks. For this first post, however, we’re going to stick with the entire month of Janaury, since I got off to a slow start this month!

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Started off the year by following the Blogilates beginner’s workout calendar / After an indulgent holiday season, I’m getting back into eating healthy (most of the time) / Also getting back into the swing of boring chores, like laundry / It’s great to see my little house plant growing wildly! It’s getting so big!

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Anyone who has gone through job hunting recently knows how rough it can be. Why not do it somewhere relaxing and comfortable? / My office nook is coming together finally. Can’t wait to actually use it, though! / A clean house is a happy house (and a rare thing indeed) / Was craving Girl Scout cookies and ice cream, so I went all out and had both!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

100 Happy Days Challenge: Days 71-80

I can’t believe I made it this far with this challenge – but now, I feel like I’m in the home stretch!

This past 10 days have been difficult to document (hence why it took almost a month to get done). A lot has happened over the last month, and while some of it was sad, most of it has been just plain busy!

Here’s a look at days 71-80! Days 71-74

Day 71: I got a special package in the mail from Girls Who Code – a 3D printed bracelet that I made myself…with code…on their website! This is such a great initiative to get young girls interested in computer science, which is something I wish had been around when I was younger. I was a rather early adopter when it came to computers, but there wasn’t much out there in terms of education programs – especially ones that appealed to young girls. This is a great group doing great things, so if you have time definitely check them out!

Day 72: This had to be one of the coldest summer days this year. I ended up busting out a sweater, skinny jeans, and of course some red shoes!

Day 73: I officially started packing up around this time, and my room has been a disaster ever since! Things are starting to come together more now, but that first big purge of stuff was hard. I’m only taking with me what will fit in my car, so it has been a major undertaking to whittle down my life to what’s truly important, and get rid of things I don’t need or love.

Day 74: After watching a ton of YouTube videos about healthy shakes and protein drinks, I bought a few samples to try. This one tasted like cake batter, which is dangerous. However, I also found out that my stomach can’t handle whey protein anymore (since swearing off most dairy). If you can handle dairy, this is a great shake to try – it was yummy!

Days 75-78

Day 75: I spent most of this day wrapping up loose ends with both of my jobs, and saying goodbye to everyone. While it wasn’t the happiest of days, and I spent a good chunk of it crying like an idiot, it was nice to get to say one last goodbye to the two campuses who helped me get my career started. 🙂

Day 76: After a long, rough day the day before, I decided to treat myself to a long hike in Yellow Springs, and lunch courtesy of the food vendors outside the local BP. The pulled port sandwich was amazing, and the beans and rice were great too – though I couldn’t even come close to finishing them (D ended up finishing it for dinner). Such a great way to end a long, sweaty hike!

Day 77: This was actually taken the day before D’s birthday. He was planning to stay home from work on his birthday, so the only chance I had to surprise him was the day before! He’s not a cake person, so instead I made cookies (one of his favorites), got him some of his favorite candy, and the large gold box in the background is a (very, very, very expensive) bottle of whiskey. I also decorated the house with balloons and streamers, but forgot to take pics of it! He was both surprised and very happy!

Day 78: Summer finally showed up around here! It took a long time for the weather to warm up, but it’s finally feeling like summer around here (just in time for it to end soon…gotta love Ohio).

Days 79-80

Day 79: I found the perfect notebook to take with me on my journey to Seattle!

Day 80: To prepare for my road trip, of course I had to do a little shopping! I’ll probably show off what I got over the next week or so, when I finally get prepped for my big move out west!

Hope you enjoyed! Now I’m off to go donate my body weight in clothes and books!

Taking It In

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Before I make the long journey to Seattle, I’ve been making sure that I find time to enjoy the things I love about living in Ohio. Granted, there aren’t too many things I’m going to miss (besides people, of course), but my newfound love of hiking in our state parks is going to be one of them. There aren’t many places to go around here that offer a view of something other than corn and bean farmland, but the trails we do have are pretty amazing!

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My favorite park so far has been the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It’s a relatively small park, but it packs a lot of amazing views into such a compact area. I love going here because I can get in a pretty good workout in less than an hour, or I can take my time and enjoy the waterfalls and springs. It’s also attached to the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which is where I usually go biking, so if I want to, I can switch things up by doing a bit of both on longer workout days.

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It has been looking a little worse for wear lately because the park has been hit by some pretty big storms this spring and summer. However, it’s still a great place to get away from city life and spend some time in nature. The park is always full of families, hikers, kids on field trips, and teenagers hanging out after school – and every one of them is super friendly.

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I know that there will be dozens of new parks for me to explore when I get to Seattle in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the new scenery. However, since I didn’t grow up in Dayton, and my family isn’t here, this may be one of the last times I get to visit Yellow Springs…possibly ever. I hope that I get to come back someday, especially since this is the town D and I got married in. For now, though – it’s going to be one of my tougher goodbyes.

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Hopefully you have enjoyed my sharing this park with you over the years! It has been a great sanctuary for me whenever I had a bad day and needed to relax, or run out my frustration until my lungs ached. I can’t wait to move on to bigger and better things…but today, I want to give a big thanks to the little park that made life a little bit sweeter.

Oh, and another awesome thing about Yellow Springs? One of the gas stations in town allows people to set up food tents in their parking lot every weekend, so after a long, sweaty, tough hike, you can pig out on some of the best pulled pork sandwiches and beans and rice you’ve ever had:

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Seriously – this stuff is dangerously good. 🙂