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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

Favorite Photos of 2014

This week, for most bloggers, has been about reflecting on the past year. I am definitely no exception! 2014 proved to be a much bigger year than I expected, and while there have been many bumps along the way, I’m glad to see where it ended!

Let’s take a look back at some of my favorite photos of 2014!

January:

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February:

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March:

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April:

Day 11

May:

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June:

Day 44

July:

Day 75

August:

Day 83

September:

Really loving the room with a view. :-) #seattle

October:

#100happydays Day 100: Finally ending my challenge (many more than 100 days later). Spent #day100 treating myself to an afternoon at the @pike_place market an their amazing $5 bouquets! It's been a long journey, and I can't wait to see what's next!

November:

Off to go pick up D in Omaha, then doing the cross-country road trip 2.0! #seattle #roadtrip

December:

Got a beautiful surprise from my parents today! They smell amazing!

100 Happy Days Challenge: Days 51-60

Welcome back to another edition of the 100 Happy Days Challenge! So far, the second half of the challenge has gone a lot more quickly – and it’s full of tons of great food, sights, and other random stuff.

Enjoy!

Days 51-54

Day 51: Baked cookies for a class project on descriptive writing. Students of any age can appreciate a good chocolate chip cookie, but I definitely make them work for it! They described the cookie using the five senses (taste, of course, being the last) for almost 20 minutes before being allowed to eat them. I’m cruel…but it gets the point across.

Day 52: I saw someone drinking one of these on YouTube recently (Jonathan Joly, perhaps?), and since I love all things blood orange, I decided to try one. They’re dangerously good, and should be reserved only for special occasions…like a hot, sunny afternoon of working.

Day 53: While shopping around for a gift, I ended up in my local nursery, totally enamored with the whole row of hibiscus bushes. They’re my favorite flower, and it’s always nice to see them in Ohio (since they don’t grow here naturally).

Day 54: I know getting an oil change sounds like the worst way to spend an evening, but this falls under the “happy” category because while getting an oil change and other work done, the mechanic let me hang out in the AC while I waited. It was amazing, especially given the temperature hit in the 90s that day!

Days 55-58

Day 55: Decided to take an afternoon off from grading papers to read some magazines and freshen up my manicure. I can’t for the life of me remember the shade I used, but it came out uneven and cotton-candy pink. Not sure I’ll use it again, since it took 3-4 coats to get it right – though I did get a lot of compliments on it…

Day 56: While cleaning out my purse to find a lip gloss I wanted/needed, I found eight more – none of which were the one I was looking for. I believe Jenna Marbles calls this “goo hoarding.” I have a problem.

Day 57: It’s strawberry season, and I’ve been taking full advantage!

Day 58: Finally managed to get out for a hike! It has been storming here the past couple weeks, and it always seems to get bad on days I have time to head outside. While it was raining a little bit, I went out anyway for a nice hike in the woods.

Days 59-60

Day 59: I’ve been doing a lot of baking in June, between birthdays, cookies for school, and just for fun. This is a coffee cake I made last week – and before you get on my case about how bad it is for me, rest assured that I froze half of it for some other time (or for when I pawn it off on my brother in law). It was amazing, and paired well with a small scoop of cappuccino-flavored ice cream. July needs to be a healthier month for sure!

Day 60: Before putting myself on a spending hiatus, I hit up Old Navy to use a coupon I had lying around. I came home with a few new tanks, and a pair of black skinny jeans I desperately needed. That’s right – needed. 🙂

Hope those of you doing the #100happydays challenge are keeping up with it better than I am, and that you’re having a great time, as always!

Spring Hiking: New Places

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A few weeks ago, I hit the pavement I usually only use for bike rides. My bicycle isn’t the easiest thing to lug with me from work to where I ride, and I think it needs a tune up anyway. Since the sun was shining, and I wasn’t in the mood for my usual hike, I took a 4-mile walk/jog on the bike trail.

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It was a great deviation from my usual routine, and I even ran into a friendly (but suspiciously quiet) deer. The flowers were bright, and the sun was a great way to ring in the late springtime heat.

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One attraction I often fly by on my bike is the Women’s Park. It was built by women in the community, and maintained solely with donations from individuals and businesses in town. It’s a nice, short detour on my walk, and one I’m glad I didn’t miss. On my bike, it’s a big blur that indicates to me that I’m almost back to my car – but this time, I got to walk through and enjoy the hard work.

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I’ve gone on a few walks this way since, and it’s a great change of pace. It even got me running a bit, since hitting the flat, safe pavement is a bit easier than running on the hiking trails.

Now, all I need is for it to stop raining this week so I can get back out there!

ps – Happy Friday the 13th!

 

Fall is Coming

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Slowly but surely, fall is making its way here. I could see it creeping in during my hike on Tuesday morning. The leaves are starting to change, and the park is full of berries and other fall flowers in deep oranges and mustard yellows.

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I love to go to this park in the morning because you can get some great photos with all the shadows still hanging around. The morning sun peeking through the trees highlights everything in the most amazing ways.

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Once the sun fully came out, it almost looked like spring again in some parts of the park. the flowers were pale purple, bright yellow, and mixed in were tons of white. It’s strange to see all these pastels mixed in with the muted neutral leaves of fall, but it was a nice way to start my morning.

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Even though this park is now a 30-minute drive away from my new home, I think it’s worth the drive to come out here and walk around. I was determined to find something like this in my area so I wouldn’t have to drive so far, but it just isn’t going to happen. I live in a city now – one that doesn’t have this kind of quiet area to hike or bike. So for now, I am going to just suck it up and make the drive. I love it there, and I didn’t realize how much I truly missed it until I went back. Sure, it’s going to cost me a bit in gas money to make that trip a few times a week, but I think it’s well worth it if it will help me stay a healthy and happy person.

Besides, the town it’s in has some of the most amazing cafes and restaurants. I can always take my work with me and make a day of it. 🙂

Summer’s Ending

IMG_2697Last week, before the insanity of school began, I took off for my favorite bike trail. I’m hoping it’s not the last time I get to ride there, but living 30 minutes away now, I may not get out there as often as I’d like to.

So before summer ends, I decided to take an afternoon to take it all in. This summer hasn’t been particularly good, but I’m trying to make the most of what’s left.

The flowers were blooming bright, and of course all I could think about was how to incorporate these late summer/early fall colors into my wardrobe.

That’s how I roll – even in the thick of nature, I was obsessing over the rich mustard yellows, bright greens, and deep magentas mixed in with miles and miles of off-white Queen Anne’s Lace (which I didn’t get a picture of because the bees were too aggressive). IMG_2699

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IMG_2706Of course, to signify the ending of my summer, I stopped by work on the way home to pick up this: IMG_2709Good riddance, summer…hello giant boxes of schoolwork to be organized, filed away, and readied for another year of school.

Spring is Here!

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I was so excited that the weather was nice yesterday, so I took a hike at my usual park. It’s been a while since I was there last, and it was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon! There were so many flowers, and everything was so green…it make sweating through the 80-degree, humid weather totally worth it.

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I’m hoping to get back out a few more times this week to enjoy the rest of the park (it was stupid busy at 4pm when I went!). With exams starting today, I’m not sure how much I can get outside and away from things…but we’ll see.

Hope you’re all enjoying the nice weather if you have it!