Waldo Canyon Fire distraction

The past few days I've been glued to my computer and iPhone for news of the fire in Colorado Springs. I lived there for nine months leading up to and during the Beijing Olympics, so it holds a special place in my heart.

And the pictures and updates have been stressful and devastating--yesterday, in particular. The only good news is that there have been no reports of casualties so far.

But the weather has not been cooperative so it's hard to know what will happen in the days to come. That weather, along with the ridiculously high heat, has made me pretty thankful for our overcast, rainy days recently.

Today is actually gorgeous. Right around 70 and sunny. I even took the bus a few extra blocks so I could grab an ice tea and walk home.

Even though I should be outside right now, I'm laying on the couch and considering taking a nap. I'm don't really nap, but today it sounds tempting.

At the very least, though, I should get some reading done for class tomorrow.

For now, though, I'm going to refresh some news stories and check on things in the Springs. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with everyone there right now.

Have you seen the pictures out of CO? What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?


Puppies, Videos, and more

I am back up at my parents' house, getting to know their puppy (!!!) and catching up a little bit after 5 full days of class.

 Meet Kincade (Cade for short). Seriously adorable.

I took a video storytelling class that was great. I learned a ton and even made a little video of my own. I'm not quite ready to share it yet, but I will soon. As long as your promise not to laugh at my video skills.

I have exciting news as well. I was selected to be one of two editors for Flip the Media, my program's student-run blog. It's been taking up a lot of my energy as well, and will continue to until my co-editor and I get a handle on things. I'm pretty excited about it though.

In other very exciting news, my Finnish relatives arrive for a visit on Thursday. I won't get to pick them up from the airport because I have class that night, but I get to head up north and hang out with them through the 4th of July. I'm really looking forward to some good quality time, delicious food, and some fun adventures.


Awkward and Awesome:

Happy Thursday! That means it's almost the weekend. Did you know this is actually my favorite day of the week? Except for this week. Just refer to the first bullet under awkward to see why.

I'm keeping my list of awkward and awesome moments for the week short and sweet. Again see the first bullet.

- I'm on campus almost 14 hours today. Try to hold back all your jealousy. Please.
- I didn't have any caffeine before class this morning. Trying to keep my eyes open.
- Not being able to fall asleep when you really need to. Is there anything worse?
- Paying for and downloading the Windows version of software. I use a Mac. High five!
- The amount of food I cooked last night. For one person. Needless to say, I'm going to be eating chicken with quinoa and veggies for the next week or two. If only I were exaggerating. Okay, maybe I am just a bit.
- Having the apartment to myself. I mean, it's nice. Except for the fact I have to fight talking to myself. All. The. Time.
- The frustration that is iMovie. Probably because I don't have a clue what I'm doing. Grrr.

- A new computer!!! I've been thinking about it for a while and finally pulled the trigger this week (with a little encouragement from my dad). I'm the proud owner of a MacBook Pro. Just in time for a video storytelling class I'm taking.
- The NBA Finals being on a channel that I get. The first few rounds of the playoffs were a little difficult to watch.
- A really great trip to see my cousin in Boise. We had so much fun. At least I think so! Plus, the flight was quick and easy. I'll definitely be back there.
- Summer produce. I just spent $18 at the produce stand and go so much good stuff!
- Real live books. Okay, they aren't alive. But seriously, my kindle just doesn't quite compete.


Visiting Boise

My cousin, S, moved to Boise last December and I finally had a chance to go visit. We crammed a lot into a few days and really enjoyed our time together.

Plus, it's actually summer there and was even, dare I say it, a little too hot. Sunday was over 90 degrees and made our walk with the dogs a little warmer than necessary.

I landed in Boise on Thursday afternoon and we headed to Barbacoa for happy hour and dinner, along with my cousin's neighbor. They had just opened up their roof terrace, so we enjoyed sunshine, beverages, and made-table-side guacamole. I celebrated with my favorite summer drink--a mojito.

We left Barbacoa, went back home to pick up the dogs and headed up to Table Rock for a great view of the city as the sun set. It was really stunning.

Friday we started our day with some coffee, muffins, shopping, and pedicures. It was incredibly relaxing and a great chance to catch up on everything that's been going on for both of us. We spent the afternoon watching napping through a movie.

That night we headed out to the Cherry Festival in Emmett. There was a fair, booths, cherries, and a concert featuring the Lost Trailers. The concert atmosphere wasn't exactly rocking (which I blame on the fact that it was a family venue and open to the public) so we left for the local non-smoking bar, where we people watched the night away. And boy was it entertaining.

We actually didn't get home until 3:30am or so, which is way later than either of us expected, so we let ourselves "sleep in" until 9:30am (a.k.a. not even a full night's sleep).  We cooked breakfast and headed to downtown Boise with the dogs.

We had plans to visit the Farmer's Market and walk the Greenbelt before heading to the horse races. Our walk was a little longer than planned, but pretty enjoyable. The races were fun, except for the crash.

Sunday was a lazy, at-home day. We made breakfast, took the dogs for a long walk, cleaned up the garden, watched a movie, and barbecued. Then it was time for me to head home.

Pretty wonderful weekend with my cousin! I can't wait to go back.


Influenster Box

A while ago (you know, last month) I received a Spring Beauty Vox Box from Influenster. It was filled with some beauty goodies for me to try out and I wanted to share the good and not so good.

The loot.

Things I liked:
- Dr. Scholls for Her: Who doesn't like a little extra cushion for their heels?! The extra padding was great and allowed me to wear heels longer than would normally be comfortable.
- Chapstick Lip Shield: Loved the SPF and feel. Unsurprisingly, I've already lost it. (Is anyone able to hang on to chapstick for long periods of time? What is your secret?)
- Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Frock Star: really fun and easy to apply. I hate taking off glitter polish of any kind, but I would be interested to try a different option to see how easy/hard it is to take off.
- Sheer Cover Duo Concealer (light/medium): easy to carry around, the color matched my skin tone, and worked well with my somewhat dry skin. However, it was a little on the runny/liquidy side.
- Bath & Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist in Paris Amour: Nice scent, even if it was different than what I normally go for. Not too heavy. Really good sized bottle (a.k.a. I will never use this up.)

Things I wasn't as excited about:
- SoyJoy strawberry bar: the taste and texture were not my favorite.
- Aveeno body wash: the scent reminded me of play-doh, which is not really something I want to smell like after showering. Otherwise, I thought it was smooth and moisturizing.

Overall, I am most likely to purchase the Dr. Scholl's, Chapstick, or Sally Hansen products again. The other ones either didn't appeal or aren't something I use very often.

Do any of these products appeal to you? Have you used them before?

Disclaimer: I received each product complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.  


Weekly Intentions #3

I'm back! Did you miss me? I meant to at least post last Thursday, but traveling got in the way.

It was so worth it.

I'll be back with a weekend round up and other stuff, but first, my weekly intentions.

Let's see how I did last week.

What I did accomplish: drink water every day, paint my nails, figure out financial aid, turn off electronics before midnight, use my big camera at least once, and pack ahead of time for my flight.

What I didn't do as well: exercise, make a summer playlist (this is going to happen), update my LinkedIn profile, dance for the heck of it.

So, on to this week. Obviously I'm recycling some, but my focus is changing a little with the quarter starting back up.

This week:
  1. Get 8 hours of sleep every night. 
  3. Dance for the fun of it.
  4. Give the apartment a good cleaning.
  5. Update my LinkedIn profile and portfolio website.
  6. Make it to the gym three times.
  7. Go grocery shopping.
  8. Come up with a to do list for the Finnish relatives' visit.
  9. Let myself sleep in until I wake up tomorrow.
  10. Get my new computer set up!!! :)
What are you hoping to accomplish this week?


Staycation Picture Round Up

I'm back home for a brief few hours and wanted to share the past few days with you all. My sister and I relaxed with my mom at the beach just north of her house.

 A dog that loves to play in the water.

 A quick walk for some ice cream.

 Amazing sunset!!

Fro-yo and my favorite maxi dress. 

 Homemade ice cream. Best. Thing. Ever.

 Jumping for joy.

 Seriously loving this view.

 Sisters being silly!

 Baby geese. Fluffy and cute.
 "Boom goes the dynamite."

 The making of a totem pole.

 A large rocking reindeer. Maybe.

We fit in a lot in just a few days, as you can tell. There were day trips, hot tubbing, errands, and (mostly) a lot of ice cream. And there was one really, really gorgeous sunset.

Pictured with me, my gorgeous sister. As literal roommates, we just don't spend enough time together.

Tomorrow I'm headed off to visit my cousin for the weekend. Then it will be full steam ahead with summer quarter.


Yep, I'm Weird

A few weeks ago, my blog friend Krysten tagged me in her "I'm Weird" post, a weekly feature that talks about why she is weird and names a few of her other favorite "weirdos." At least, I'm pretty sure that's what it's about.

I definitely qualify as weird. Or so I've been told. Here are a few reasons why:

  • I really just need to be organized in my life (i.e. to do lists, lots of folders on my computer, and a closet organized by color). The movies where I stayed with my mom and sister were in no particular order (how can they not be alphabetized?!) and it just made me itch. 
  • I am irrationally fearful of earthquakes, usually it comes out while driving in tunnels or over bridges. Mostly I try keep it to myself. I also used to be freaked out by the dark at night--no joke--I can let those old fears bubble to the surface if I let myself.
  • I never brush my hair. I've probably shared this before, but it's still true. I don't even own a brush.
  • I am a total sports nerd and cannot wait for the Olympics this summer. I can talk basketball, football, some hockey, baseball, and golf, and love college level sports. But the Summer Olympics are my absolute favorite. You better believe I'll be living in front of my TV for a couple weeks, unless I'm in class.
  • I have never really been able to nap, like since I was a baby. Just ask my poor mother. And I hate that I can't now. There are so many times I'd just like to get a little rest and know it won't happen.
I'm stopping the list there, because five seems like a nice number, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my weirdness. And I've probably shared some of these before, but I can't really remember so enjoy them again!

What makes you weird? Or are you just shaking your head at me? :)


Weekly Intentions: Take Two

Last week I shared things I wanted to do for the next week. It's a fun way to try to keep myself motivated in doing things I've wanted to for a while. I thought I'd recap how I did and share what I have planned for this week.

I also wanted to give a shout out to the bloggers that joined in! Lea posted a list last week and Sarah joined in this week. Thanks for playing along, ladies!

After looking at last week's list, I realized I had mixed results. Some things I did without a problem (start a new book, go to bed before midnight at least once, cleaning the apartment), somethings I did partially (make it to the gym five times, cook three times), and some things I completely missed the mark on (turn off my phone at night, make a fun summer playlist).

Part of that, I think, is that I didn't actually keep the list somewhere I would see it--it just lived on the blog. I had no reminder of what I wanted to accomplish. That is definitely changing this week. I'm not actually going to be home much (less than 24 hours total), but I think I'll put it in my phone somewhere that's easy to find.

(I should probably just add that to my list for this week.)

This week's intentions:

  1. Exercise at least four times.
  2. Drink water every day.
  3. Paint my fingernails and toe nails.
  4. Figure out what I need for financial aid for the summer and fall.
  5. Turn off electronics before midnight every night.
  6. Use my big camera at least one time instead of my cell phone.
  7. Actually make that fun summer playlist.
  8. Pack Wednesday night for my flight on Thursday.
  9. Update my LinkedIn profile.
  10. Dance just for fun at least once with the music cranked up.
I'm actually out of town pretty much all week this week, so I don't know how successful I'll really be. Right now I'm on a little staycation with my mom and sister. Thursday I'm flying to hang out with my cousin. I can't wait!

So, what are you hoping to accomplish this week that's fun, challenging, or otherwise?


Awkward and Awesome: Money Problems

I'm off to hike in the rain and do dinner with a friend. I'll let you know how awesome that is later.

For now, here is how the rest of my week has gone.

- Having my hairband snap while pulling my hair back up at a restaurant--it went flying. For all I know the band could have ended up in someone's food and I was left with slightly out-of-control hair.
- My rent check for May getting lost in the mail.
- Not being contacted by my landlord that it wasn't received.
- Having to pay $10 to cancel the check.
- The University hasn't released financial aid information for the summer. Class starts in 10 days. That should go well. I obviously have an extra $5,000+ laying around.
- The amount of hard alcohol in our apartment right now. The bottles are plentiful but we haven't paid for all it. So there's that.

- Road trippin'.
- White water rafting. I'm ready to go again. In fact, I think that might be my birthday outing this year.
- End of the quarter fun! Get togethers, parties, happy hours, and an evening cruise.
- Fun mini getaways planned for my week off between quarters. One close, one a little further away.
- Mixing whipped cream vodka with orange juice = creamsicle. So yummy! (But also kind of dangerous.)
- Two trips to the gym in one day. I really wanted to watch the basketball game so I lifted and did abs in the morning, and then went back for cardio that night.

What's been awkward or awesome thus week for you?


Trip Recap: 1,800+ Miles

I wanted to do a quick recap of my trip this past week. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably caught some of it, but just in case you missed something really important...here we go!

(Prepare yourself for a very picture heavy post.)

Wednesday night I had a class presentation and then caught a flight out of Seattle to Minneapolis. Luckily it was a direct flight. Unluckily, it was only 3 hours long and 3 hours does not a full night of sleep make.

awesome pool, tons of tootsie pops, a growler of coffee, and a buffalo skull

I was able to sleep a couple more hours at the hotel in MN while the rest of the team did an interview, then we hit the open road.

The Mitchell Corn Palace, completely decorated in agricultural products

After a stop along the way, for lunch, we made it to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. It was a pretty impressive structure with the entire exterior decorated in corn products. We checked out photos of all the iterations of the building and watched a video on its history.

our cute little cabin

Our goal after the Corn Palace was to make it to the Badlands for sunset. Sadly, we ran out of light. Instead we found cute little cabins to stay the night.

South Dakota Badlands

We woke up early to catch the morning light in the Badlands. The scenery was stunning and the wildlife was plentiful. We saw antelope, a buffalo, and visited a prairie dog city.

a buffalo wanders the Badlands

Next up was a stop at Wall Drug, which is pretty much the only place to see in Wall, SD. I enjoyed a delicious homemade donut in honor of National Donut Day and picked up a commemorative cup to enjoy my growler of cold pressed coffee that I had picked up the first day.

decorated boots on sale at Wall Drug

Following our visit to Wall Drug, we hit the road for Mt. Rushmore. There we saw the impressive monument and watched a video about the vision and process of its creation. Sadly, we didn't have time to check out the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is in progress, but it looks to be even more magnificent than Mt. Rushmore.

flags fly at Mt. Rushmore

Instead, we headed northwest for Little Big Horn. The park rangers there give talks about the battle and we had hoped to make the last one.

Little Big Horn memorial

I had actually been on the Crow Indian Reservation when I was in high school so it was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. It was also very interesting to hear the story of the battle, and sad to be reminded of what the Native Americans went through.

Little Big Horn memorial

We left Little Big Horn for dinner in Billings and spent the night in Bozeman. It was nice to have an earlier evening without too early of a start in the morning so we could rest up for the day ahead---white water rafting!!!

We went out on the Gallatin River with Geyser Expeditions. The guides were incredibly experienced, the river was running fast, and no one fell in the water. It was awesome! We even got to raft in the same raft as Michelle Obama, FLOTUS! As political reporters, we were pretty stoked.

rafts loaded and set to take on the Gallatin River

We left the river behind amidst a major thunderstorm, but weather while on the water had been perfect, sunny and blue skies.

storm clouds gather in the mountains

We made it to Missoula in time to catch some NBA basketball and have some delicious barbecue.

texas barbecue

The last day of the trip was mostly driving. We covered a lot of territory and made it home in time for me to take a trip to the gym and get to bed early.

windmills line the skyline

driving through the mountains in Montana

1,885 miles, six days, and four days later, I made it home.


Weekly Intentions: Inaugural Event

I saw a list of weekly intentions as part of a post over at Enjoying the Small Things a few weeks ago and loved the idea of it. What a great way to set reasonable short-term goals (the former leadership student in me remembers the concept well).

I thought I'd give it a spin.  Here's my weekly 10.

1. Turn off my phone every night.
2. Work out 5 times.
3. Make a fun summer playlist.
4. Spend at one hour every day completely unplugged.
5. Give the apartment a thorough cleaning--kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.
6. Cook three days, making at least one new dish.
7. Pamper myself: paint my nails, do a face mask, relax and listen to music.
8. Start a new book. (Any recommendations??)
9. Come up with fun things to do on my mini-getaway with my mom and sister.
10. Go to bed before midnight more than once (harder than it should be!).

So, that's what I hope to do with my week. Does anyone else want to join in? Leave me a link and I'll check out your list!

P.S. I left my phone in the car tonight so I'll be back with an actual round up from my list on Tuesday when I have pictures to accompany it. I know how much the anticipation is building.