Currently Loving:

1. Stuff you Missed in History Class: This is one of my favorite podcasts of all time. Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey explore people, places, or events that are either fudged over or bypassed altogether in history books. One of my favorite episodes is “The Tuskagee Syphillis Study” in which the hosts outline one of the most recent and egregious unethical practices in medical history that resounds with the current Black Lives Matter movement. Give it a listen!

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2. Magic hour hikes with Attie: I came home from work the other night feeling          desperately in need of getting some outdoor time. Attie and I set out on a long hike that ended on a grassy hill at sunset. We had a perfect view of the mountains. It was so rejuvenating and refreshing though Atticus lost patience with my selfies 🙂 He’d rather chase some squirrels.
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3. LGBTIQA+ Equality March: last weekend I got a text about an equality march happening in my town. I had no idea it was a thing, even though I work in the LGBTIQA+ community. I quickly rushed to the nearest Walgreens to buy some poster board. My experience with my last march taught me that I need good shoes, sunscreen, lots of water, and a clever sign. My plan was to draw the Babadook with the caption, “Let’s Get Babashook” because apparently in some weird twist of Netflix fate, the Babadook is now a gay icon. Alas, I chose brunch over my poster. There was a modest turn out, but it was so empowering to stand with my friends to remind our community that we’re here and we’re queer 🙂 We only got two naysayers which is a win in our small, mostly conservative community.

I hope your week is going as well as mine!

All my love,

Maegan

On Redefining Life

Alright, team. I’ve had a few people ask if I was going to write about my recent life experiences and unexpected travel stories on my blog. My mind screamed, NO WAY!, but I responded with a “Maybe one day”. However, I recently started reading Brené Brown’s I Thought It Was Just Me (But it Isn’t), Making the Journey from “What Will People Think” to “I Am Enough”. This book is already changing my life and I’m on chapter 2. In the book, Brown defines shame, explains how it’s intricately interwoven into our society, how it effects us as women, and how we can build “shame resilience”.

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One of the biggest steps to building shame resilience is speaking your shame. I have been feeling an acute sense of shame in the past month because of the unexpected things that have happened in my life. Without putting anyone’s shit on blast, I’ve decided to speak my shame. I only hope my story can be met with empathy and not sympathy (not looking for a pity party) or judgement. Alright, here goes:

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Isn’t this view gorgeous? This was supposed to be my view for the next year. I prepared to move to Seattle though I didn’t yet have a job there. I had a few promising prospects in Seattle proper, so this apartment was located in the middle of Seattle and Tacoma. All of my things were shipped to Seattle, and I loaded up my car, complete with four animals, and began the long journey to Seattle.

Somewhere in the middle of Utah, I got a text message that pulled the rug out from under me. I realized I was unable to continue driving to Seattle. I was unable to fulfill my dream of moving to the West Coast, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and redefining my life, career, and future in Seattle. I turned around and drove back to Colorado, crying the whole way. I called everyone I knew because I had no idea what to do. I was completely lost and crushed. I am beyond fortunate and endlessly grateful for my friends who offered to let me stay with them, store what little I did have in their garage, called and found a hotel for me to stay in that night that was pet friendly, and offered not only moral support, but a glimpse of a direction for my life. Because of my friends and family, I realized that I was not alone.

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Though my life was essentially crumbling before my eyes, I looked at the last moments of sun reflecting off the deep orange and rusty red plateaus of Utah, and I knew I would be okay. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve had the unique opportunity to redefine my life — sometimes by choice, sometimes not. This time was not my choice, however, I soon realized that I have complete freedom to move anywhere, do anything to make money, and be whomever I choose. Of course, I didn’t see that until a few weeks later.

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To compound feeling utterly lost, I had to make an unexpected trip to Amarillo Texas for a family emergency the day after I returned from my failed journey to the West Coast. One of my closest relatives was hospitalized, and I had to be there. I packed up my car again, after just having unpacked it, and set off towards Amarillo. I stayed in a hotel room for a week eating as much Braum’s and Whataburger as I could. Though I was completely emotionally drained, I used some of that time to explore Amarillo and to reflect and rejuvenate in between visits to the hospital.

I am now back in Colorado Springs job hunting and apartment hunting. It hasn’t been easy thus far. But each day I’m becoming less and less heartbroken and more and more thrilled at the prospect of redefining my life. As I wrote this, I got an email saying that someone wants to interview me tomorrow.

Redefining my life has been and is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do. But I am overjoyed to be able to redefine what I want at this point in my life, where I want to be, and who I want to be. Here’s to positive growth and change!

Warmly,

Maegan

Six Things I Learned in 2016

I know this is four months into 2017, but it took me a long time to write this because I really tried to reflect and process. For so many people, 2016 was a tough year filled with unexpected challenges and hard lessons. In the way of self-discovery and personal growth, my year was just as arduous. But it was also a wonderful opportunity to get to know myself a bit better. I read a quote somewhere on the internet that resonated with me as I reflect on my past year of growth: you have not met all of yourself yet. Amazing and frightening all at the same time. Here are a few things I learned in 2016:

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  1. When moving, I need to set up my house within the first month of moving in, or I won’t ever finish. We moved into this house in May of 2016 and there are STILL boxes that aren’t unpacked and rooms that serve no purpose other than being a place for those boxes. I lost energy about three weeks into getting the house in order. Now I know that if I can’t conjure up some natural energy, I can always make lots and lots of coffee!
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  2. Small dogs are the hardest to house train, so you have to start early and be very consistent. Yeah, didn’t know that until we adopted a mini Aussie in August. He still has trouble. He’s lucky he’s so damn cute.

    img_0039Photography basics: I purchased my first DSLR in 2016, and I knew NOTHING about my camera when I bought it. Over the past year, I’ve done some travel photography, landscape photography, and I’m currently working on my portraits. K taught me some basics, and I learned some things online. My next step is to take a photography class which is one of my goals for early 2017.

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  3. You absolutely need waterproof and tall boots when traveling to Canada in the winter. This may seem obvious, but the last time I was in Canada in the winter, it wasn’t all that cold. When we went to ring in the new year, the snow was up to my waist in some parts. We all had to make a trip to the underground mall to purchase waterproof boots. I finally bought the cranberry docs that I had lusted over for about a year. If I could go back and do it again, I would have chosen taller boots. I can chalk that one up as a rookie mistake for sure.

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  4. Don’t sweep relationship issues under the rug. Even if you talk about them with your partner, I learned that trying to share my feelings all the time isn’t the way to really listen, understand, and empathize. I’ve always heard that communication is key. I thought I was communicating well because I can talk about my feelings all day every day. Apparently there’s more to it than just expressing feelings 🙂 It also takes effort every day to effectively listen and understand. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it’s easy to slip into the hum drum of every day life and forget what’s really important.

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  5. The perfect taco is pretty hard to find, but I discovered I can come pretty close to making it at home. My friend and I had embarked on a quest to find the perfect taco in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. We found several new places, one of which I was obsessed with for about two months. I ate there three or four times in the first week I knew about it. Tlaquepaque, (pronounced T-lock-uh-pock-ee) you have my heart. But when I couldn’t get to Tlaquepaque, I tried perfecting my recipe at home, and I am SO pleased with the outcome. Maybe I’ll share that recipe soon! I’m especially proud because I made it myself! Food blogging, here I come (eh… maybe.)

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  6. How to make friends as an adult: This is often so hard for me. To me making new friends was like embarking on a delicate platonic courtship. I used to be very rigid about my friend standards– I only spent time with people with whom I vibed 100%. This year I have learned how to reach out to friends for casual hang outs, I’ve learned how to be comfortable in a casual get together at our house where we order pizza and drink cheap and craft beer, and I’ve learned to relax my structured thinking about with whom I spend time. This has all allowed me to realize that I actually like hosting, cooking, decorating, cleaning, and prepping for hangouts in general. I’ve also realized that being around people that vibe with me on all wavelengths is wonderful, but that also creates an echo chamber of the things that I already value and believe. I’ve discovered that being around people with very different view points allows me to open up my mind and empathize with certain view points, especially politically, that I would not have otherwise. A lot of this I attribute to learning from K and his naturally calm, relaxed, and open demeanor. It also helps to make ridiculous faces. That’s how you can tell who’s part of your tribe 🙂

Thanks for letting me share! I know there are a lot of sad things happening around the world that hurt my heart, but I’m still holding out hope for the rest of 2017.

Kindly,
Maegan

Photo Friday 

I love everything about this sign, especially that it rotates. I found it walking around downtown  Seattle on a cold, rainy day. There were a lot of rookie mistakes that happened later that night that I’ll share in another post. Despite that, it was a wonderful adventure.

Maegan

P.S. I posted this on Instagram and A Beautiful Mess liked it! Guys, they are my blog idols. I’ve been a reader since 2011. If you haven’t read their blog, go check it out!

New Beginnings

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View of the Sound from Tiger Mountain

Hello, friends! I have an exciting announcement–no, I’m not pregnant–but I am relocating to an area just south of Seattle, Washington. My three years in Colorado Springs have been challenging, heart wrenching, beautiful, inspiring, motivating, and I could go on. So many things have happened in the last three years. I value the people I’ve met in Colorado Springs and Denver, and I’m so honored to have the privilege of being part of the community.

Now this blogger goes West again! Stay tuned for new life experiences and inspiration.

Sending out so much love and light,

Maegan

P.S. I’m in Seattle presenting at the National CASA conference. I am so inspired by all the connections that I’ve made here. I also became galvanized to actually sit down and write the book that I’ve been writing in my head for years. On a particularly rainy day in Seattle, I dreamed up my first chapters over a burger and fries in a downtown bar in grill. If anyone has any knowledge about publishing, I would love to learn from you!

Valentine’s Day Bath Bombs

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I love making fun little crafts for Valentine’s day! I have recently been exploring the wonders of baths, bath salts, oils, and bath bombs, so for a recent craft night, I decided to make Valentine’s themed bath bombs for my coworkers. I found this recipe here .

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Instead of regular bath salts, I used eucalyptus scented salts. I also used about four drops of peppermint essential oil. I had this heart silicon mold that I bought from Target a few years ago. I also used an ice cube tray to mix up the shapes. I didn’t have any rose petals, so I did without them. Instead of letting these sit for 24 hours, I allowed them to sit for 48 hours, just to be sure. I was convinced that there was no way they would stay together once they came out of the molds. But I was wrong! Success!

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Next time, I will use more red food coloring than yellow. They turned out pinkish/orange instead of the soft pink or red I was hoping for. But with a little red tissue paper and some gold ribbon, these little guys are perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift. I highly recommend making them! This craft was definitely NOT a Pinterest fail like so many of my other crafts have been.

Try it and let me know how it goes!

Warmly,

Maegan

Currently Making Me Happy

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{My newest plant babies getting some snowy light}

GUYS! I haven’t shared what I’ve been up to in a long time. I had many, many pictures since Christmas that I needed to edit. Here are some of my favorites that are currently making me happy. In high school I used to write happy lists in order to refocus on gratitude. I recently started writing those again, and all of these pictures document some of the things on those lists. It’s truly made me feel like a happier person in general. I would recommend it.

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I chose these colors in honor of Valentine’s Day. I don’t much care for the holiday, other than having a great excuse to decorate with all sorts of pink, purple, gold, and hearts. Magical!

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Confession: I WAY overwatered my Snake baby (also humorously called Mother’s In-Law’s Tongue). There was standing water in the bottom for about three days. The leaves started drooping, so I replanted the whole thing. Fingers crossed that it can still survive.

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{My bestie at a new brewery in Texas}

Spending time with my friend, Breann over Christmas lifted my spirits more than I can say. We met at this brewery that gave us free food and free glasses. The service is warm, and the beer is delicious. If you go, get the Armadillo Ale Works. It’s a crisp blond ale. Take it from this Colorado beer snob, it’s the real deal.

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{Women’s March in Denver, Colorado}

I was privileged and honored to take part in the Women’s March in Denver. This is one of the many, many pictures I took. I’ll share more about that in a future post. The gist is that I talked myself out of climbing a tree and I couldn’t stop crying. The two were unrelated.

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James and Knox being willing participants in my photography experiments. As long as they get to take one picture each with my camera, they’re happy. I’m going to miss seeing these guys learn and grow.

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I am so fortunate to have spent Christmas Eve with my family at my grandmother’s house. I have learned so much from her and everyone that was there. Thanks for letting me take endless pictures after dinner 🙂

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I thought this sunset shot was going to be one of the worst that I took, but now I think it’s the best by far. Funny how that works.

Thank you for letting me share with you!

Warmly,

Maegan

 

Dreaming of the Beach

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Every now and then I have dreams of sticking my toes in the sand on a deserted beach. I look down to see the sand folding over my toes and everything feels right. I love the mountains, but there’s just something about the beach that beckons me. Would I want to be a sailor? Not a chance. Do I actually like being in the ocean? I feel like I’m going to die every time I get past my hips. But the calming ebb and flow of the waves is comforting and somehow reminds me of who I am when I feel lost.

Forever a beach baby,

Maegan