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

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Banana bread: a Departure From My Usual Content 


So you know how this is primarily a travel blog? Well, I’ve got something else to talk about. In my previous post, I mentioned cooking. I have been putting so much energy into cooking, considerably more than I have my entire life. I’m getting to the point where I can attempt difficult recipes because I finally have the cooking confidence I have been chasing since I was 16.

I know this is not my usual post, but stay with me while I digress. Can we hang, Bloggerverse?

Want to know a secret about making banana bread in Colorado? If you want your loaf to be swolloable, do not use whole wheat flour. That’s what I get for trying to make banana bread healthier. To make your bread, ugh I hate this word, moist, add a half a cup sour cream. Most recipes that I’ve found tell you to use a stand mixer or hand mixer at some point, but this recipe doesn’t call for that. I’ve made it both ways, and I can’t tell a difference. Save yourself some time and dishes, and skip that step. Also, feel free to replace the butter with coconut oil. It works just as well but is so much healthier. Without further ado, here’s my perfected banana bread recipe that I’ve been working on for the past month:

1/2 melted butter

1 1/4 cup flour (not whole wheat)

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( if you don’t have any on hand, the same amount of maple syrup works too.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 medium bananas sliced and mashed (you can do this with a fork)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with coconut oil or any oil/cooking spray you have on hand.

2. In a large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugar.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

4. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Then stir it into the butter-sugar mixture until smooth.

5. Fold in sour cream, mashed bananas, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

6. Spread evenly into the loaf pan.

7. Bake it for 60 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

8. Let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.

What are your secrets for the best banana bread? I’d love to try them all!

Newly converted banana bread enthusiast,

Maegan

Currently Loving:

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Long, lazy summer days- It’s been unusually hot around here for the past few weeks, so it’s hard to want to go hiking or be active outside. I’ve spent a lot of time lately just laying in the grass, looking at the clouds floating above the mountains.

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New summer blooms- Rent houses’ landscaping often ranges from sparse patches of grass to lush grass and colorful blooms. We’re currently renting a new house, and I’m finding that this house is one of those rentals with carefully preened vegetation and flowers. I love seeing what new blossoms pop up every couple of weeks.

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Late evening walks around the our neighborhood- We moved to  a house that’s located about four blocks away from this beautiful park and lake. We’ve been taking advantage of this gorgeous scenery every chance we get. It’s also a Pokemon Go hotspot, so there have been several, several people strolling around the lake in the past few weeks.

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Weekend hikes- Though it’s hard to force myself to get out during the heat of the day, every now and then my coffee fueled energy gets the best of me and my staying inside sensibilities. This was taken on a Saturday afternoon hike in 95 degree weather. We were awarded with clear views of the mountains and a bit of a sunburn.

Warmly,

Maegan

A Night in Roswell

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One of the many gift shops in Roswell

My first solo sojourn after my surgery and my long recovery period, both physically and mentally, was to Roswell, New Mexico. I am endlessly enthralled with the wide range of beliefs and experiences with extraterrestrials that permeate our culture. (Side note, ever heard Fermi’s paradox? SO FASCINATING! Seriously, Google it.) I live only six hours away from Roswell, so one hot June afternoon I set off in search of alien culture. What I found was nothing short of magical, but in a surprisingly goofy way.

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Found on the back of a building

I knew that I was in the right place when I saw alien paintings, logos, and diners lining the small streets. The whole city has a very small town feel to it which I generally enjoy because the pace of those cities allows for me to converse with locals. I always love asking people why they live in the area. Are they going to stay? Why?

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Alien landing

I spoke to a woman who owned a downtown antique store, on the main drag of Roswell. She told me that she lives in Roswell because her whole family lives there and it’s always been her home. Sure, she’s visited some “far out” places, but she feels that she belongs in Roswell.

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Evidence at the International UFO Museum

After visiting Whataburger for the third time since arriving the day before (we don’t have it in Colorado. Have you had their spicy ketchup?! ), I set off to explore the International UFO Museum. Because of the “Museum” in its title, I assumed it would be like any other museum, with artifacts and actual facts. Instead, what I found was an enchanting amalgam of reports and suspected alien encounters, landings, and abductions. Peppered throughout the museum are alien autopsy reenactments, life size alien statues with which patrons can pose, and even a full fledged landing site recreation. Though I’m not sure if I learned any hard facts, the evidence presented, though some of it cheesy and kid-oriented, made me question what we know about aliens on the entire drive back.

-Maegan

5 Solo Travel Destinations in 2015

Though I moved to a completely new city and state in 2014, I did not travel much, solo or otherwise. I have been busy exploring the areas and people around me in my new environment. Instead of making travel a New Year’s Resolution (I have never kept ANY of my New Year’s Resolutions past March), I made a promise to myself. I made a promise that I would reconnect with the bigger world around me by exploring by myself as much as my vacation days allow. Here are the five places where I want to do some solo traveling this year:

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1. San Diego
The last time I went to the beach, I drove upwards of 18 straight hours to get to the beach on Tybee Island. I did more driving than I did laying on the beach getting sunburnt. I’ve been having dreams about digging my toes into the wet sand on the San Diego beach for a year now. I think it’s time I find out why it seems to be calling to me.

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2. Utah
I have never been to Utah, but I have seen some pictures that radiate with the rusty reds and rich purples of the desert. I think it might be time for a tour of the southwest. This is one I’ll have to time when it’s not 300 degrees outside– my poor car can only take so much.

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3.Yellow Stone National Park
I have a Couch Surfing friend who camped in Yellow Stone by herself. There, she met a gorgeous man with whom she started a beautiful love affair set in the sprawling expanse of Yellow Stone with Old Faithful geysing (not a real word) in the background. How magical is that?

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4. Mesa Verde
I read about Mesa Verde State Park in Colorado in a travel blogger’s post. Until then, rock formations didn’t really excite me. But the more I read about it, the more fascinated I became. 600 cliff dwellings of the Pueblo from almost one thousand years ago: how could I not be interested in that? There are several guided hikes you can take for all experience levels. I just need to purchase a pair of reliable hiking shoes, and I’m set.

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5. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon because duh, it’s only one of the most touristey sites in America. I met a young woman from France while I was staying with a friend in Seattle, and the only places she’d been in America were Seattle and the Grand Canyon. I’ve lived in the U.S. of A my entire life, and she had beat me to seeing the Grand Canyon. That’s when I knew I should probably see that while I’m living in this region.

Budapest, Vienna, Prague

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In mid-February, I will be exploring Budapest, Vienna, and Prague for ten days. I have never been to eastern Europe, so I am thrilled to travel to that part of the world.

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I’m also excited to be taking a train from Budapest to Vienna and then from Vienna to Prague. I love traveling by train because you get a great view of the countryside. And it makes me feel like I’m on the Hogwarts Express.

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I don’t have much of an itinerary so far (see my previous post), but my intuition tells me this is going to be a wonderful and chilly trip.