vacation

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?

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Spring Road Trip to Big Sur

I met Eva when I first moved to Santa Barbara through a mutual friend. I have loved following her Instagram posts ever since – she has the best fashion sense and loves Santa Barbara as much as I do! I am so excited to have her guest post on Miss Mélange today so we can hear about her trip to Big Sur – one of my happy places. Image-1 (2) Living on the California Coast for the majority of my life, I have not become desensitized to the beauty we have here; if anything I celebrate it and try to enjoy it any chance I am given. I love Highway 1, so with a couple of days off of work, why not take a little drive up the coast? Let’s do this!

I’m so glad my good friend Rachel was up for the challenge, we had quite the adventure!

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Preparing for the trip was fun – picking out outfits at our local store, Lola, is always a good call. 

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The Drive

Drive The key to a fun road trip is enjoying the journey as much as the destination. We got out and stopped along the way and just plain enjoyed every minute of our adventure. 

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Dressing in layers is the key for the weather in Big Sur. One minute it is hot and sunny, and then a breeze comes up and it gets chilly.

EvaBigSur Places to go in Big Sur

Nepenthe is def a must do – not only is the food and service top notch, the view is unbeatable. It’s almost hard to imagine a more beautiful backdrop. Sun, water, trees and whales migrating in the background…is this really only 4 hours from where we live?!

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Big Sur River Inn is another must see spot. Where else can you put your feet in the clean, crystal clear waters while sitting in a handmade wooden chair and enjoying your favorite beverage? Sign me up – I want to go back very soon. 

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Fernwood is worth a visit just to take in the giant redwoods which are beautifully majestic in all their glory. We couldn’t help but let our inner child run free and start climbing the trees, although I wouldn’t recommend this for safety reasons. ;)

Fernwood Fernwood2 After we left Big Sur we decided to continue up the coast to Monterey where we found ourselves at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is a must see, one of the best Aquariums in the world, known for their unique approach to local wild life rescue.

Turtle Fish This was one of our favorite exhibits:

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Not to mention the octopus exhibit as well, which was one of the highlights: 

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We had some fun walking around Monterey Bay as well; eating crepes, listening to the sounds of sea life, and soaking up the sun. 

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This is a trip I would like to recreate again and again – can’t wait to venture back towards Big Sur & the Monterey Coast sometime very soon! 

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My Vacay in Photos

If you follow us on Instagram you probably noticed I was in Santa Cruz last week. I just got back yesterday, so I’m still adjusting to being back home in San Diego and getting back to real life! So please please pretty please accept my apology for missing Wedding Wednesday and enjoy some of my snap shots from last week :)

I went up for my good friend’s baby shower (she lives in Alaska and I hadn’t seen her in four years!) so it was so fun to catch up with her and see her baby bumb! Katherine is also pregnant right now, so I got to hang out with two preggos while I was home! It was completely adorable.

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We also spent the day in Monterey for my amazing grandparent’s 60th anniversary! They inspire me so much. They’re still going strong and laughing together after all this time.

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Blake and Katherine generously offered to do a maternity photo shoot for Laurel the same day they were doing Katherine’s, so I got to tag along and watch all the gorgeousness.

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The weather was perfect the entire time I was there, so my girlfriends and I took advantage of it and sat out in the sun and had some drinks. Beer Garden Collage

At Penny Ice Creamery in Capitola. The chocolate ice cream was insanely good. Ice Cream Collage IMG_4299 IMG_4291 Nolan is the coolest kid I know… IMG_4222 IMG_4198 IMG_4341 IMG_4339 IMG_4332 Breakfast on East Cliff with an old friend… IMG_4302 IMG_4305 IMG_4307 IMG_4326 My trips home to Santa Cruz are always so fun and relaxing, and this time was no different. There are so many amazing people to see and the views get me every time. I just love it. I’m already missing my hometown, but it’s nice to be with Kirby and to be getting back to our routine. I hope you guys are having a good week! Wedding Wednesday will start up again next week, promise ;)

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