summer

Summer of Chill 2016

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I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! It seems the blogosphere is determined to cut mine short by posting about shopping for fall already… Stahp it! I have summer weather until Halloween in California, let me live in denial that it will ever be over, just a little longer!

I have had a great summer so far. Nothing crazy, no elaborate travel plans or long getaways – just a mellow summer mostly at home. But this summer is different. I needed this summer to be something special. I have decided that this summer is….

Stephanie’s Summer of Chill, 2016.

Imagine that in lights on a marquee, announced by a guy with a moustache over a loudspeaker or something. Because that’s how baller it is.

I went into this summer needing a break. Just in general. Anthony finished his PhD in March, then graduated in June when we threw a big party, and it the midst of it all he was trying to find jobs. It was pretty stressful. Really stressful, actually. The months leading up to summer were just intense.

So intense things were happening, but also I had gotten into this intense productive mode where I was doing all this shit to like, become a put-together person. It was probably a coping thing – trying to make sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all i’s so I could feel better about what felt to me like a pretty chaotic couple of months. Here are some examples:

  • I was tracking how many drinks I had, how I ate, how much I exercised, etc. – every day, using this app
  • I was feeling guilty for not blogging enough
  • I was posting things like this, and trying to find magic ways to get my shit together around the house
  • I was posting things like this, feeling like I needed to lose weight but also resenting that idea (and trying to laugh about it while I figured it out)
  • I was feeling guilty about not working out enough
  • I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t saving enough money, and that I was spending too much

So there was a lot that I felt like I needed to improve, or tackle, or manage, or advance about myself. And I had a day where I realized how insane my brain was getting – it would go round and round, trying to find something to fix, trying to find something wrong, so I could pounce on it and fix it. It was like this Pinterest mentality of hyper vigilance I had established over my life. I finally realized what a weirdo I was being – Why, Steph?! Fucking chill. out.

That’s when I decided – we are taking a break. A BREAK. From all of it. Here are all the things I decided to get rid of for the summer:

  • Guilt, about anything
  • Self-improvement projects
  • Exercise routines that aren’t fun
  • Tracking of anything not fun or that produces guilt (see above)
  • Negative thoughts about my body

And I just, let go. I focused on doing things that were fun. We made a summer bucket list (which I am shooting to post about soon, but if not, no guilt). I did more stuff outside after work. I didn’t think about how much beer I had that week, or if I was getting enough cardio. I stopped caring how clean my house was, or how my belly looked in that top.

I don’t know, my head was just in the right place to just stop fucking caring about that shit. And it worked.

Why just the summer, you may ask? Why isn’t this just your new life?

Well, telling myself that it was just for the summer to start was a way to really let go of the guilt completely, because things like finding ways to save money are things I will need to get around to eventually, but not necessarily now. So I thought, okay – I can really just forget about it for a while, and I’ll pick it up in the fall, if I want to. But the idea was, if I could just get in the right mindset, hopefully this will be the new state of things.

And it has been an amazing, stress-free summer. It really was so great, you guys. I just lived my life. Now it’s August, and I still have so many fun things I still want to do while the weather is still warm – but I am also learning to prioritize fun things all year round. I established great healthy habits while I was in my intense phase over the winter months, that have stuck throughout the summer, but without the guilt and fastidious tracking. And some new productive habits have just naturally emerged – Anthony and I have worked on cooking at home a lot more, which is saving us money and allowing us to eat healthier. I realized I didn’t have to have the intense attitude to make improvements like that – and, more importantly, guilt doesn’t have to be a part of it.

As I mentioned, the rest of the world is getting ready for fall, and work is starting to get busy again (work has been so slow for the summer, which helped a lot with the carefree attitude) – so I can feel some of the old ways creeping back in. I’m extra tired and stressed this week, so I have less energy to go do fun stuff after I get home – but I’ll adjust. I just need to keep the spirit of chill alive through fall, too.

What has helped center me back to that mindset is asking myself this question, that I kept thinking when our friend was visiting a few weeks back…

What would I do today if I were on vacation?

I love playing tourist in my own city, and just because I worked that day doesn’t mean I can’t take dinner up to the mission and have a picnic, or grab a beer at a new restaurant in town, or walk down to thrift shop after I get home. Sometimes I save all the fun for the weekend, and do all the boring stuff after work – working out, cleaning, catching up on shows. I realized I need more balance, so I don’t get so bummed when Monday rolls around. My life can happen in between Fridays! I need to get off the couch more and treat my life like one big summer vacation, work or no work.

 

I’m into it, guys. I’ll let you know if I can keep the spirit alive as we get closer to fall! What have you done to de-stress lately and enjoy summer?

 

 

 

Twenty Seven

On Sunday I turned twenty seven. It sounds very grown up. Anthony made me dinner on Friday night and we went out drinking – Saturday we had a party at our house with a bunch of friends, a lot who I see rarely or who came in from out of town. Sunday my sister came into town for brunch, shopping, a movie, and dinner. She took this snapshot of us, which was such a perfect slice of my life right now to remember this year by:

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Photo by Two Happy Lambs Photography

Some things that I wanted to remember about my life when I turned 27:

  • I just bought a new car, for the first time ever. A 2013 Toyota Corolla named Yoncé. Anthony calls her Mrs. CARter. I feel very grown up after doing that. Automatic locks, windows, keyless entry, talking on my phone THROUGH my car – it’s all very fancy and new to me.
  • I’ve been at my job for over a year, and I’ve had a pay raise and a fun business trip this year. I love it and I’m hoping to stay for a long time. I’m so ready for a real career that I am challenged by and makes the days go by fast. I feel appreciated and fulfilled, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Anthony and I have been living together for over a year now. It has flown by, and is the easiest, most enjoyable, fun thing ever. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and pay way too much rent, but we live near downtown and in walking distance from our favorite place. It has been extra hot this summer with no AC, we are doing laundry at my sister’s house every chance we get, and we really want a dog but aren’t allowed…but other than that we love our apartment to death. We do “urban hikes” through the neighborhoods in the mountains above the Santa Barbara mission on the weekends and I love the view of the mountains from our lawn. I don’t know how long we’ll stay, but it’s looking like quite a while, if we can.
  • When I turned 26, I started working out consistently for the first time ever. Now I go to the gym twice a week, and I’m trying to get it up to three. But I achieved my goal of getting to a point where I wanted to work out twice a week and making it part of my routine. I can feel the positive effects it has on my mood and how my body feels – I’m hoping to fine-tune my workout to maximize its effect and get more confident with trying new things in the gym.
  • This year I also took over the blog on my own! I love this blog, not only because I can use it as a creative outlet, but it is also a substitute for the journaling I used to do when I was younger. I am thrilled that people are reading and absolutely LOVE when people mention that they are a reader – it usually completely surprises me. Can’t wait to see where it takes me this coming year!

<3

 

 

 

Vacation Snapshots

Hello all! I’ve missed you – I hope you missed me.

I have been MIA for the last few weeks, travelling to Arizona and then Washington state. Anthony and I went to visit his family in Phoenix for a week and then I went with my sister and her family to visit my aunt and uncle in a little town called Winthrop, WA – 4 hours east of Seattle.

It was so beautiful in Washington! I live for forest and rivers. If you follow me on Instagram, you were spammed with me gushing about trees and water (we’re in a drought where I live – I’m desperate). Here’s a peek into what I was up to so you can live vicariously. Apologies for car photos and unedited snapshots – but I had to share!

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If you ever get a chance to drive over the pass through the Cascades, DO IT. It has become the part of the vacation that I look most forward to, driving right next to epic mountains and hearing waterfalls rush down the rocks as you drive by.

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We stopped by the cutest little ice cream stand on the way.

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This is what I was greeted with when I arrived:

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…which is why this is my kind of vacation.

Check out the little town of Winthrop:

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IMG_6445 IMG_6443 My niece and nephew are the cutest.

We had to go and at least put our feet in the river (it was hot as hell outside, but the water was ice cold). This checked off my main summer bucket list item: sitting in a river with my feet in the water and a beer in my hand. I didn’t have a beer at that very moment, but it worked.


IMG_6433 IMG_6448 IMG_6447 Their property is to die for.

IMG_6459 IMG_6449 IMG_6452 IMG_6471 IMG_6478 IMG_6483 Here’s where I stayed! I want one so bad – you can unzip all the windows and feel the breeze come through while you sleep. So comfy though!

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We stayed with my dad’s sister and her husband – here we are back in the day:

IMG_6535 We ended our stay with a slip n slide. It was awesome. Another summer bucket list item I didn’t even know I had.

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On the way back we spontaneously decided to stop at this amazing swimming hole we saw on the drive back to Seattle. The water looked like we were in Hawaii, but was ice cold. It still felt amazing with the 90+ degree heat.

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I was in heaven.

 

Where are you planning to travel this summer? What amazing places have you already seen?

 

 

 

Summer Nights, Summer Shades

Summer nights are. the. best.

Every year it surprises us how late the sun stays out during summer. Our summer nights are all about happy hours that turn into dance parties, going to the beach after work, and watching the sun set while still in shorts and a tank top.

We had a fun night out in our respective cities the other night to take advantage of the longest days of the year. We wanted to share our favorite going out outfits, plus the new Warby Parker collection that comes out today. We immediately chose our favorites, and it was easy to envision throwing these on as we run out the door for another summer night adventure.

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The new Beacon Collection is described as “inspired by impromptu, can’t duplicate them all-nighters” with frames that make a “fine companion to late night dates, rooftop sunrises, and everything in between”.

We couldn’t agree more.

Summer seems to create the perfect environment for spontaneity – the plans made at sunset turn into something completely different by the time the stars are out. When we both went to Vegas for the first time together, there was a spontaneous night that resulted in watching the sunrise as we held hands and walked down the strip. That is definitely one of our favorite memories together!

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We hope you like our picks! Check out the rest of their sunglasses here.

We also wanted to give a shout out to Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. Did you know that just having access to glasses can increase someone’s income by 20%? We love supporting brands that work with non-profits to help people in need around the world. Learn more here.

What is the craziest summer night you have ever had?

 

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