Avoidance: A Letter to My Blog

Dearest Blog, 

So it’s true. You may have noticed. I’ve been avoiding you, blog. I have few beautiful pictures to share. My camera has been sitting in a bag that is currently collecting dust in the far corner of my craft room. I haven’t been on any hikes, fun weekend trips, or scenic drives lately. It’s getting cold in Colorado, and there’s very little daylight at the end of the work day. The weekends since Halloween have all seen me in sweats, house shoes, and a book in my hand. While I haven’t taken very many photos or delved further into photography in general, as I had promised myself pre Halloween, I’ve been cooking surprisingly tasty and challenging meals, finishing old crosswords, and attempting to keep my closet organized (at which I am forever failing). 

I forget that with the time change and the colder weather, I tend to forgo my warm spontaneuos adventures and opt for finishing Netflix shows (Guys, have you seen the Crown? It’s brilliant.), crafting, or doing anything inside. Potty training Atticus has also been a time consuming priority. Why is it that people only tell you small dogs are hardest to house break after you get a small dog? Ugh. 

But hey! I’ve been focusing on going to the gym and eating healthier. But that’s just not very fun in pictures. 

I’ll attempt to do better as my energy stabilizes. I promise not to take ridiculously long naps anymore. Besides, I got napped out on Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s to moving forward and refocusing energy on what’s important. You guessed it, that’s you, blog. 

Forever yours, 

Maegan 

Halloweekend Etc.

This weekend was so wonderful. It was filled with candy, junk food, lots of friends, and lots of laughter. Now that it’s over, I feel like I’m in a Halloween hangover. I’m going to leave up my spooky decorations just a bit longer.

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We stopped at a diner after last minute costume shopping at a thrift shop. Cy’s is magical. Go if you’re ever in Colorado Springs. They have curb side service and killer burgers. Try their shakes and malts too. You can thank me later.

We then went to two costume parties. Here are some of my favorite costumes:

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Jareth, the Goblin King.

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And his little Goblin.

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A mummy complete with lots of spiders. When people asked him what he was he said, “A MOMMY!”

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The boys wanted to take pictures of me. They reminded me that it was only fair because I took pictures of them. This is the best one that James took. I should let him take over my camera more often. Also, I was wedding Jenny from Forrest Gump and K was Forrest Gump. Grayson was running Forrest, dressed in red nike shorts and a yellow t-shirt. Atticus was young Forrest, complete with a plaid baby onesie (the only thing that would fit him) and newborn khaki shorts. My biggest regret is that I didn’t get a picture of all of us.

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K and I made some delicious drinks for one of the parties. The punch on the left is four cups pineapple juice, two cans of pomegranate La Croix Sparking Water, two cans orange sparkling water, four cups vodka (lemon flavored if you fancy lemon). Garnish with oranges and raspberries. It was the favorite at the party.

The drink on the right is the one that I made in this post. I made it with vodka instead of whiskey this time, but I would strongly recommend only using whiskey. People drank it with the vodka, but it didn’t get the same reaction as when I brought the whiskey version to previous parties.

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We ended the weekend with a casual brunch at Mountain Shadows, my favorite breakfast place in town.

When Halloween finally came, it was super anticlimactic. I bought four bags of candy, and we got ZERO trick or treaters. Looks like I’ve got some candy eating to do. I guess there are worse things.

Did you guys get any trick or treaters?

Maegan

Photo Friday

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For this trip to Taos, I didn’t bring any hair product. I just put my hair in a bun after I showered. About four hours later, I took it down to see what it was doing naturally. Apparently, my natural hair looks a lot like Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds, circa seasons 2-5. I caught a glimpse of my hair plus Ray Bans in a store window, and I had to take a picture. I guess it’s an easy, go-to Halloween costume. I just need a crossbody satchel, a revolver, and some statistics about serial killers.

Maegan

Photo Friday 

I took this at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October 2015. This was the first time I was able to make it to the park in time so I didn’t have to watch the take off from the highway. There’s something magical about hot air balloons. Maybe that’s because I have no idea how they work. Which is perfect so I can stay curious.

Happy Friday, friends!

Maegan

Travel Tips: Packing Lightly

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My favorite way to travel is the cheapest. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I will sacrifice comfort for the cheapest price every time. This makes Spirit Airlines perfect for me. They get you from A to B without charging you for all the extra stuff you don’t need. How much are we really paying for that child-sized cup of Coca Cola and peanuts? These options are still available on Spirit if you’re in the mood, but I like the idea that I don’t have to pay for things that I don’t need.

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That being said, Spirit charges not only for checked bags but also for carry on items. If you’re going to have a carry on or a checked bag, don’t forget to purchase those online BEFOREHAND. If you don’t, they charge about $100 when you get there. They do allow one personal item which can be a small purse, bag, or backpack. On a recent extended weekend trip to Dallas for a friend’s wedding, I opted for the small backpack. Here’s everything that I packed into the small backpack:

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-Pair of wedding heels from Modcloth
-Winter thick green dress, also from Modcloth
-Old Navy jean jacket circa 2005
-Formal Belk dress found during my trip to be worn at a future military ball (it is thick and has a full skirt)
– Pair of black jeans
-Crossbody bag
-One thermal (which was WAY too hot in Dallas in October)
-One beanie
-Two necklaces
-Make-up bag
-Wallet
Dear Daughter paperback book
-Underwear and shapewear not pictured

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When I type it all out, I’m even impressed with my ability to get all that into one backpack. I thought several times while packing that I should just pay the $36 for another carry on. But my cheap side won out, as it always does. So how did I do it?

I’ve read many articles discussing whether the rolling or folding method works best. I’ve done both many times, and I am here to tell you that it depends on your suitcase or bag. With this backpack, I tried folding, but it didn’t give me the room that I needed. I was also looking for my bag to somewhat resemble a non-overstuffed backpack (I don’t want my luggage to alert everyone to my thriftiness), so rolling worked best for me in this instance.

First, I stacked my heels on top of each other like they come in the shoe boxes. I find that gives you maximum space. I put those on the bottom near the back to give my bag some sort of shape. In backpacks, I like to put flat things near the back so I don’t have bulges of clothes pushing on my back when I’m wearing it. I then rolled the formal dress as tight as I could without wrinkling it. I do have to wear that thing in two weeks, after all. Then I rolled things and put them in according to their bulk. I always put the bulkier things at the bottom because that looks more natural when you put on the backpack. Don’t forget to put your wallet, phone, boarding pass, chapstick, or whatever you think you will need quick access to on the top! I had to unpack the whole thing because I put my wallet with my ID and credit card on the very bottom.

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Nerdy confession: I really love packing. Packing boxes for moving, packing suitcases, packing storage items, you name it. I love it because it’s just like a puzzle. Sometimes I have to pack and repack it to get it just right, but I enjoy the challenge. As long as it’s not last minute packing, which is what I do 95% of the time. I’m also a procrastinator when it comes to packing, so it often doesn’t feel enjoyable. I’m working on it! Personal growth and development and all that.

That bag looks awfully grumpy, doesn’t it? Want to hear another confession? Because of the way the bag is made, I couldn’t actually close the bag all the way for my return trip (that dress is going to be beautiful, but it sure was a huge pain). I walked around DFW very conscious of who was standing behind me at all times because someone could have easily reached a hand in and grabbed something. I ended up putting my book on the very top so pick pocketing was a little harder. Whenever I could, I stood up against a wall or a window. My mind was torturing me with thoughts like, “Well, whatever they steal better be under $36”.

I’m happy to report that I got back with all of my items and only spending $100 on my plane ticket from Denver to DFW. Take that, expensive airlines and your “complimentary drinks”.

Thanks for letting me share!

Maegan

Photo Friday

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Found in Soho in NYC. My friend, Sophia and I were aimlessly wandering around NYC for thrift shops and vintage stores when we stumbled across this. It was right outside of one of the most kitschy and wonderful thrift stores I’ve ever found. There weren’t that many people around, so we were able to move freely about the cabin. Unexpectedly deserted streets and shops is one of my favorite things about NYC. I can only take the no respect for my personal bubble thing for so long. Empty stores and streets are a nice reprieve from the otherwise fast-paced, frenzied atmosphere in NYC.

Happy travels,
Maegan

Do or Don’t? :Thoughts on Touristy Spots

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I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not it’s worth my precious travel time to see the touristy spots and take pictures of the monuments, restaurants, movie scenes, buildings, etc. When I first started traveling, visiting tourist destinations was the only way I knew how to travel. And the only real reason anyone goes to touristy spots is to take pictures of themselves with the thing that’s been standing for hundreds of years in the background. Because my face is super important, right?

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Yikes. I have several pictures of us in front of things like the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Kilkenny castle in Ireland, and this particularly weird one of me in front of Big Ben. Kathleen is a natural 🙂 Even then, I found it awkward to have someone take pictures of me standing in front of a monument. What are you even supposed to do with your hands/arms/face/neck? Clearly I don’t know.

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Millions of people have that exact same photo although most people look decidedly less awkward than I do. My trip to Paris was largely touristy which I regret on one hand, but we had so much fun! I also learned a lot about different cultures and humanity in general. It was a wonderful experience.

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Now I’d much rather sit at a cafe and speak to the locals about why they live where they do and where would they live if they could. I’d rather talk to them about their culture, daily lives, habits, and things like that. I like to get a feel for a destination, and I certainly can’t do that when visiting touristy places. They are often watered down parts of the culture. And they feel the same everywhere I go. People trying to sell you pointless things, food and drink price gouging, people with cameras over their eyes, people without cameras in front of their eyes but right in the way of your view of the Mona Lisa, etc. Ugh.

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See what I mean about awkward? I took so many pictures on that damn boat ride in San Fran that I barely remember the experience without my phone in front of my face. It took me the ENTIRE boat trip to get a decent selfie with the Golden Gate bridge at the most artistic angle possible in the background. Out of 55 pictures, I only got one good one. And even that one reads as weird and self-absorbed. There’s a sort of beautiful, venerated, and world famous icon in the background which clearly makes my face look better.

Touristy spots while traveling is a DON’T about 95% of the time in my book.

Maegan

 

Currently Loving: Drinks on the Porch

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For the first time in my adult life, I have a front porch set up that I can be proud of. I don’t usually spend too much time or money on decorating my house. Since I graduated college, I saved all my money for travel instead. But something about the crisp autumn air galvanized me to shop for decorations AND actually put them out front. I also randomly found the perfect table at Lowe’s that was on sale for $15 dollars. After that, everything just fell into place.

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After a particularly stressful day at work, I invited my awesome friend, Jen over to enjoy some drinks on my freshly decorated patio. If you know me, you know that’s somewhat out of character for me. Unless my house has recently been cleaned, I don’t usually spontaneously invite people over. But the space that we’ve created is so wonderful that I just can’t help but share it. (It also helps that I’m super comfortable with Jen and she’s a wonderfully cool person.) By the way, if you like whiskey, you HAVE to try this recipe for these drinks from one of my all time favorite blogs. They were absolutely perfect for the occasion.

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We sat outside for about an hour and a half solving the world’s problems and getting more vitamin D than I’ve had all year. The sun lazily set behind the mountains, casting an inky purple onto the mountains. The brisk breeze blew yellow and red leaves around the neighborhood, and the dogs chased after them. Little Atticus particularly loves catching and eating the golden ones.

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Grayson is waiting ever so patiently for someone to throw a ball. Isn’t he adorable?

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Thanks for letting me share! I’m really excited about the porch, and there are even more things to come when I can figure out how to get an extension cord outside (we’re talking ghost lights and maybe even a blow up Halloween decoration!). Stay tuned 🙂

Warmly,
Maegan