Let’s get dirty

I’m relieved for the break in regularly scheduled adventure posting to get that beaver nonsense off my chest. Because if you’re going to get to know me, you should really know me.

The good, the bad, and the mortally embarrassing.

Amiright?!

But let’s get back to it.

The dirty business of getting out and having yourself and honest-to-goodness adventure.

Muddy boots
The muddiest of adventures! 33 miles over 19 hours and at least a thousand mud puddles

Don’t let this scare you from strapping on a pair of sneaks, filling up your water bottle, throwing on that sweat stained ballcap you keep finding buried under junk in the garage meant for the dump that your significant other swears they know nothing of how it got there, and heading out for super fun time.

Because as they say, God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.

Clean!…but soggy, oof!

It can be a nuisance, though, especially for those clean-conscious. I am that tribe, friends. I know the anguish of planting a hand on a log while hoisting the body up and over a protrusion only to find said hand covered in sap, and eventually every particle that wafts by.

But you must know: if you’re dirty, you’re doing it right.

You’re getting down and really in it. Literally, in the weeds.

You’re invested and making those damn memories.

Resign yourself at the very beginning to stepping in mud at some point, or scraping a knee, or sweating through your clothes. Tell yourself that this is your day, as Mark tells me every single time we stare down a real monster of a hike or training run. Your day is going to be full of unexpected good, bad and uglies.

Hurray!

Mid-half marathon; before death set in at mile 8

This is my own on-going journey since I first wrangled my man and we became adventure buddies. Because of said cleanliness-focus, I am constantly aware of…my state, and so I’m constantly reminding myself that my dirt is like a completion patch so many of us hikers covet. It’s my badge that I earned, and that I wear and share with others.

You smell me coming?

Well yeah I just ran 26.2 miles, what did YOU do today?

Like I said, a journey.

Early on, though, I was not so proud of my badges.

Years ago, while still baby hikers, Mark decided we were ready for back-to-back hikes over one weekend; 13 miles one day and 12 the next.

Sure!

Sounds GREAT!

Great Range Traverse, Adirondacks
…and it WAS great! Look at those Adirondacks

But, um, what do we do after the first hike? Like, what do we do with all the sweat and sunscreen and bug spray?

Lucky for us, there is a lodge used for campers and hikers; they offer info and pay-by-the-minute showers!

Unlucky for us, the lodge was in the middle of construction on this very weekend and the showers were closed. Not just closed, removed. Forever and EVER.

Sleep dirty? CANNOT do it.

Cannot. Will not.

I can hike for miles and miles, I can run for miles and miles, but at the end of the day there is usually promise of a hot soak and fresh clothes. On this day there was no respite from the stink. I saw my tired self crawling into my sleeping bag and utterly corrupting it. And I broke down.

I cried and yelled.

I yelled and Mark saw my head spin.

I became irrational and tried to ”bathe” in a Stewart’s bathroom; foot in sink, zero shame, zero dignity.

(Out-of-towners picture gas station/convenience store bathroom.)

Needless to say, It did not work. I was not going to effect the kind of clean my standards demanded. Mark was not surprised, he offered another option: beach bathrooms, maybe they have showers?

They did.

A completely wide-open-to-anyone-walking-in-to-do-their-business shower.

Oh…..

HAPPY DAY!!!

Inside, I was deliriously happy. Outside, I stripped down and washed my day of fun and adventure and dirt and smells down the drain. Later, in my sleeping bag, I dreamed the dreams of a delicate princess who rests atop the mushroom clouds of Fairyland.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Bring cleaning implements. NOW, we fill up a pesticide sprayer with water and ”hose down” at the end of a particularly messy day. It works on sandy feet, it works on muddy boots, and it works on sticky peanut butter and jelly hands. It takes up little space and holds plenty of water.
  2. Sometimes hostels offer up their showers, and just their showers, for a small fee. We found out too late that the hostel across the street from where we ended this fateful hike would have rented us a shower for $5/each.

And that’s all. That’s all I learned.

No self improvement, no growth or realization of my short-comings.

Just how to clean myself when I am dirtiest.

And for that I say, ”you’re welcome.”

The April Fool is me

This is an embarrassing moment for me.

I’m going to be open and exposed.

Raw and SEEN.

This is a story I can tell now that there are at least a dozen years behind me and a most unfortunate situation. But it still makes me cringe a thousand cringes. And ask myself, ”Stace, did you really??”

”I mean, REALLY??”

Long ago and far away in 2006, little baby Stacie was in a vulnerable place.

New job, new town, new STATE. I had moved to New York at the end of 2004 after graduating from college in Indiana and was completely unfamiliar with my surroundings. My first year and half involved bouncing from job to job to find the one.

In February of ’06 I found a job, I didn’t know yet that it was the one, and set to work (no pun intended) getting to know my role and my coworkers. It was my first foray in politics; I worked for a New York State Senator who would grow to prominence in our corner of the state.

In this new town, there was a local weekly publication called The Chronicle; it was a no-spin newspaper that covered exactly what I wanted to know about this whole new world in front of me. The Chronicle told me who was buying the empty building downtown and when the local hockey team was playing next.

And I really felt like I could trust what I read.

Until April 1st.

That very first April 1st.

The Chronicle publishes an April Fools edition of their paper that, on the front page only, brings the most nearly-possible, yet totally absurd ideas to life with pictures and ”interviews” and thorough reporting. Because it is a weekly paper published on Thursdays only, the April Fools edition didn’t always fall on April 1st. On March 31st you could find yourself with a fresh-off-the-press copy, completely unaware.

An old, 2014 front page

Enter Stace.

Literally. Let’s watch as she enters her regular coffee shop down the street from the office. Watch as she orders her drink and peruses the front page of the most recent Chronicle. It’s around April 1st, but Stacie is a grown-ass-adult and no longer on the lookout for pranksters and bullies itchin’ for a good gag.

A title catches her eye.

DEC to let beavers rebuild Hadlock Dam

Well, that’s interesting. She thinks.

Not that long ago the Hadlock Dam in a neighboring town broke down and drained Hadlock Pond. The pond is in her boss’s district and an issue she knew her coworkers were heavily involved in.

I mean, we’re talking files inches thick of correspondence.

(Side note: DEC is the Department of Environmental Conservation.)

A pressing, timely issue.

One she was sure her coworkers would be interested to know if there were alternative proposals floating around out there!

She reads.

“Beavers are nature’s engineers.”

Of course they are!

”The plan would allow the beavers to naturally build their own timber dam… crews would fill in cracks with cement…check for structural soundness…”

Ok. Brilliant.

Friends, I ran. Not walked. Ran. To my office.

I burst in the door.

I yelled to my co-workers, ”THEY’RE GOING TO LET BEAVERS REBUILD THE DAM!!”

“BEAVERS!”

Ala: “THEY’VE LANDED ON THE MOON!!”

I was full of awe and excitement! I explained the complexities, the engineering involved.

I rationalized the plan. Out loud.

The plan to let beavers build a fully functional dam that livelihoods depended on.

And then….

I heard nothing.

Not a peep.

**Cringe**

No excitement, no questions, no response.

I thought nothing of it, until One. Year. Later. when I read the 2007 April Fools edition. Me, not-so-new to this world, recognized the absurdity and then…

Extreme camera zoom. Record screech. Eyes. Wide. Open in realization.

First realization: I believed a state agency that is full of highly qualified professionals was going to let beavers, BEAVERS, rebuild a dam. A DAM for crying out loud!

Second realization: I shouted this, SHOUTED, from the freakin’ rooftops to people I barely knew.

**Long pause while I just crawl under this table here**

I’m glad I can’t actually see you roll your eyes.

Enjoy my pain, ya sickos.

Thinkin’ spring, but it’s still so cold!

My first memories of spring were of flowers and sunshine and walking barefoot in my backyard.

Sundresses and strappy sandals.

My sisters flanking me in our (always) matching Easter dresses

It was spring before it was officially spring.

That’s because I grew up in Southern California. Life may not have been carefree or safe, but it was WARM.

Cousins! Probably December, j/k

Those days are lonnnnnng behind me and so so far away, literally. Now in the upperright, opposite coast we see spring on the calendar and then count two more months before the ground thaws enough to dig in our gardens.

My first spring away from the West Coast I didn’t understand why it wasn’t warm during my ”spring” break. ”But….it’s SPRING.” I could not wrap my baby brain around the calendar not matching the weather.

And now my middle-ish aged brain still struggles as we watch the daylight grow longer while the snow falls harder. But…it’s SPRING!

BUT…

It’s SPRING!! Which means day by day we get closer to those first daffodils poking through. Closer to the first buds on trees and shrubs. Closer to green grass and baby birds!

My dad said the same thing every winter after we left California.

He’d say, ”remember when all of this was GREEN?!” And we’d laugh because of course we did and if we didn’t laugh we’d cry the frozen little tears of southerners whose blood was too thin.

One summer he said, “remember when all of this was WHITE?!” and then we killed him.

I kid. We loved the winter in those early years. It brought snow days and snow men and sledding and snowball fights and those perfect naps of exhausted babes freshly warmed by dry clothes.

But there is just something so encouraging about the growth and rebirth of spring. Even in California we watched the old die and the new grow in it’s place. Now the effect is so much BIGGER as it’s a much BIGGER extreme from the below zero temps in winter to a perfect 60 degree spring day. But it’s also a BIGGER struggle as we anticipate the coming of those warmer days.

Hence this post. I’m reminding myself that Spring. Will. Come.

It always does, Stace.

And in the meantime, switch out those winter decorations for spring. Shop for the flower seeds you want to plant in May.

Maybe pick out a bright pink yarn for that spring sweater you’ve wanted to knit for yourself. You know, because even when it’s warm out here it’s never really WARM.

Lol.

Extreme Sledding

**Warning, controversy alert.

We are going to cover a topic that on mountain forums is hotly debated.

And no, for anyone with a single minute of winter hiking experience, I am not talking about the “P” word.

Me: looks around nervously.

Absolutely no one:

Post-holing, I mean I’m not talking about post-holing. For now at least. That’s an argument that deserves a good amount of rest before tackling.

Vague much?

Today we cover EXTREME SLEDDING! Also known as hiking up a mountain and instead of trudging down, weary and cold, sliding down…on your butt!

WOOSH! WOOSH!!

Start ’em young!

For me, this is the number one reason to hike in the winter.

Maybe tied for first. The views are spec-tac-u-lar.

The quietness and serenity: also grand.

So one of the TOP THREE reasons to hike: sledding.

The controversy comes in when you find a group of purists who believe you walk up a mountain and then walk down, as nature intends for you to travel. You leave the trail in pristine condition, and anything other than a snowshoe track is an affront to the mountain and to your fellow man.

Please. People who are more knowledgeable: educate me. Because after years of sliding on my backside down trails of all conditions, after climbing up trails after someone has previously slid down, I cannot find a way that this practice is a no-no.

In light of no contradictory information, let’s talk about BUTT-SLEDDING!

I always end up carrying the baboon-butt-sleds up; small price to pay.

STEP ONE

Get yourself a real sled. You are not going to be able to fashion something small and sturdy enough on your own with everyday household items.

Like dollar store plastic placemats and twine.

Like cardboard and duct tape.

Like grocery bags.

Like your plain ’ol snow-panted butt.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

THIS (pictured above) is the sled that we use. Inexpensive and sturdy. Came quick and the whole family has gotten many fast and furious miles of enjoyment out of them.

STEP TWO

Find your climb.

In THIS POST I directed you to our favorite hiking implement, the AllTrails GPS hiking app. In addition to keeping you from wandering blind and lost through the wilderness and the inevitable death by hypothermia, AllTrails also tells you the grade of your hike! A 20% grade is great for meandering up to the top. A 20% grade is not going to be steep enough to make a grand descent.

We’ve found that sweet spot around 35%.

Of course that depends on the condition of the trail and weather. Is it a warm, above freezing day? Great! But the snow is going to be mushy and bunch up under your sled. Look for trails with a steeper grade. Is it cold? Cloudy? Icy? Hang on to your butts because you are in for a teeth-rattling ride at any grade.

STEP THREE

Go. Hike. That. Mountain!

Scout out the sweet spots for sliding on your way up. Take note of any rocks, downed trees or other impalement hazards.

For the 40ish-and-over club, mentally prepare yourself for the eventual bruising and soreness to come because you are not made for this. I spent the winter of 2020 with bruises on my thighs the size of my face from bouncing off boulders and trees AND YET: totally worth it.

TIPS

Let’s talk safety.

First, you’re hiking a mountain in the winter, remember, so plan accordingly:

  • Warm clothes, socks and mittens
  • Insulated boots
  • Spikes and snowshoes
  • Water (remember, DLIFS: don’t let it freeze, stupid)
  • AllTrails App

And second, on your way down:

DO look ahead at the trail you’re planning to sled down. Are you near a cliff? Maybe DON’T sled there.

DO watch for hikers on their way up. DON’T run them over, plz.

DO use your spikes as breaks.

DO shriek with wild abandon.

DO freakin’ enjoy yourself, you wild and crazy kid.

Vacay in the ADKs

When they go low, we go high…in altitude!

While most kids head down south to warmer weather and sandy beaches for their mid-winter school break, for the past two years we’ve headed north with the 12-year-old to drag her up and down mountains in near zero temps.

Child abuse?

We prefer to call it ”character building.”

She loves it.

Golden hour on a picture-perfect day 😍

On deck for this year’s break were just two mountains, one super easy warm up, the other a bit of a ball-buster. (Down from two ball-busters because someone wanted to have a life and, like, go home early to make it to a sleep over birthday party, or whatever.)

(And with that I’m done saying ”balls” because I know it’s making my mom uncomfortable.)

The first day of our mini-break provided clear blue skies, views for miles and smiles, lots and lots of smiles. We have been climbing the firetowers in the Adirondack Park lately, and this one was short and sweet. A quick two miles, hard packed snow and only 200 feet of elevation gain.

A quick walk up to this lil’ guy

We didn’t even earn the mac ’n cheese skillets we devoured back at our hotel later on.

The second day brought a winter storm. One that dumped half a foot of snow before we even got to the mountain, and another half a foot while we were out trudging to the top. The kind of storm that weather guys and gals recommend you stay inside for.

It was miserable.

All ”smiles” on day two

Mark and I were miserable, and the poor kid was miserable.

The climb was hard on its own. Elevation gain from the very first step. The driving snow that filled in our tracks with every step and soaked into our clothes only made the hard stuff harder.

Snowshoes, a winter must-have for this very reason!

Every ten yards we stopped to breathe, and every hundred yards we stopped to remind the kid that we can turn around if she doesn’t think she can make it.

She made it.

This picture spells r-e-l-i-e-f.

Of course she did. Girlfriend is tough as nails. Despite all that pre-teen angst, she pushed through with strength and determination she might not have known was even there. But she knows now. And I’m so excited to see what she does with it.

(The pizza and ice cream promised at the finish was probably a bit of a motivator too, but let’s say it was a solid 90% strength and determination that got her there.)

Snowy tower

Take the mountains home with you!

Did you know…

…that I am now selling canvas prints from Mark’s and my hiking trips?!

You can find these prints in my Etsy store!

Just a little memento for YOU!

Now. These prints are not to adorn your walls in place of your own adventure mementos. These prints are to encourage you to find your own views!

And to add to your decor because that’s what photography is also for. Obviously.

The fog on Haystack Mountain, in my Etsy store!

Every one of these prints has a special story. This one is from a 15+ mile day in 2018. We had our eyes on this three-peak hike for some time, saving it for near the end of a 46 mountain hiking challenge because of the breathtaking views from the top and the difficulty of getting there (Saddleback Mountain cliffs, cringe).

But as we set out the rain started. Knowing we’d be hiking from sun up to sun down, this was devastating. Even more devastating given we had just hiked 16 miles in non-stop downpour over three peaks not long before this day.

We set out anyway; as Mark always says, ”this is just what we’re doing today.”

Then the rain cleared.

We were treated to a breathtaking cloud show from the bottom of the mountain all the way to the top.

Mark is there on the right, I promise.

I threw in a little bonus with just this one print.

Mark and his bright orange pack cover is in the picture!

Do you see him??

He’s there, I promise!

Guess you’ll have to buy the canvas to see for yourself…

J/k, he’s on the wrapped edge 🙂

But I do hope you bring one of these prints into your home and enjoy them as much as we enjoyed capturing them!

You can find my store here: http://www.fineandfir.Etsy.com.

Love them dogs!

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me or has spent even 15 seconds with me: I. Love. Dogs.

“More than people?” I’ve been asked.

Yep.

Definitely.

I work in politics, so most especially.

My coat is covered in dog hair, as is my pillow, my food, my kids, anything that comes into my home.

Max, the Chocolate Dood.

I didn’t choose the dog life, the constant barrage of negativity and ugliness in politics chose the dog life for me.

I kid. Sorta.

In 8th grade my BFF and I had the brilliant idea to adopt sister dogs. We were a deliriously happy pair of weirdos whose parents made the mistake of leaving us alone with our unchecked creativity. We spent hours researching the best breeds (which at that time meant libraries and card catalogues and rides from parents), we researched what supplies we’d need and what kind of time/energy commitment our puppies would need.

Finally, we wrapped all of this knowledge up, and presented the idea to our parents. Keep in mind, this is also the pre-powerpoint era so my presentation included hand drawn posters of me and my little pumpkin. Many posters. If I wasn’t going to win my parents over with the things I was promising, dammit I was going to get them with sheer perseverance.

Not sure which it was, but I got the dog. So did my friend. We had Golden Retriever sisters and named them Lucy and Kestra. We took them hiking and joined the 4H dog club. I took care of my little Lucy just like I promised my parents I would.

Dax the hungry hungry lab

My little awkward self was hooked. I’ve always had a dog since then. Indy then Oliver then Arnie.

Now I have Max and Dax; two fellas who needed good homes, and who got that and so much more.

The Mountains Called

Sometimes we hike, and then sometimes we don’t. It’s no big deal, but sometimes it is.

Got it?

When Mark and I first started dating, and through our engagement years later, we hit those Adirondack Mountains hard. Every other weekend, packing up our gear, prepping snacks, strategizing where we’ll shower after one hike before crashing in the back of the car to hike again the next day.

(A post for another day: the time I broke down while trying unsuccessfully to bathe in a gas station bathroom.)

We didn’t treat it ”like it was our job” because who actually puts that much effort into their job. Be honest, this is a safe space. No, we treated this like it was our life. The hours during the week were dedicated to figuring out where we’d go next. It was the thrill of planning and exerting and rewarding and finally crashing in bed laughing about how old and aching our stupid joints were that made us happy and alive.

But then another season ushered itself in. And that was one of house projects and new jobs and new shifts and, just, life. During ”hike life” we would run on the side, a few races here and there, but running took over more of our focus and so did training. So we shifted from one body draining activity to another.

And that was fine.

But then another season came and has lingered that has been less…fine. One of the dreaded ‘Rona which sidelined races and activities and most devastatingly our motivation. Healthy habits: gone. Desire for activity: nope. Marathon training: you gotta be kidding me.

By now I’ve realized life has been a series of seasons. Some good and some bad, but all temporary. I can’t say if these seasons are entirely my conscious choice, because I DO go to sleep every night with a plan to wake up early to (insert every potential activity that doesn’t actually happen here), but factors that feel beyond my control keep me snuggled warm in my bed with a dog under each arm until the last possible second.

Not exactly fine, but a temporary season.

It’s just our lot in life; Mark and I were made to be on a mountain, or on our way to a mountain, or planning to be on our way to a mountain. And if there isn’t a mountain in our future, we were made to do something else that pushes us to the extreme.

(Another future post idea: Mark’s competitive beer stein holding ambitions.)

So in the meantime, we carry on until the next season arrives, taking advantage of the moments of motivation here and there that still find us prepping and climbing and sometimes allowing friends to talk us into long walks.

PSA: the app that can save your hike AND save your life!

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*This post is 100% unsolicited by AllTrails.  They have no idea who I am, although I’m sure they wish they knew me because I know for a fact I drove at least two Facebook friends to buy a Shark vacuum after my numerous endorsements.

**Shark vacuums are amazing, btw.

Today I want to give you a BIG piece of advice, and by “you”, I’m talking to anyone who plans to step out-of-doors today, tomorrow or at any point in the future:

Download the AllTrails app.

Pay the man (or use the free version!).

Get movin’.

It’s just that easy–you’ve signed up for the technology magic that is GPS and saved your hike, and possibly your life.

And the best part is that you can use this app for just about ANY outdoor trail on any mountain or in any community park that has ever been trekked!

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495 trails.  I have work to do.

This is what I find when searching my location.  And when I settle on a trail the app gives me just about everything I need, even driving directions!

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If you knew better, and if you are just now starting out on any kind of outdoor adventure plan, you would profusely thank me.  I don’t even want to tell you what Mark and I went through before we found AllTrails.

But I will, because you are my friend and my embarrassing failures are your teachable moments.  My only problem now is deciding where to start; we did many dumb things.

Waste the trees to see the trees

This is probably the one I can laugh the most at, it’s the least dangerous misstep but still a very rookie move.

Mark and I started hiking with the big hikes.  We don’t do things small or gradually, so in researching our adventures we followed what a lot of other hikers were doing.  There were blogs and websites and we had to ingest all of the hints and tips and landmarks to use on our own hikes.  To keep track of all the “turn at the rusty pails” and “make sure the water is on your rights” we Printed. Everything. Out.

I cringe.

Mark carried pages and pages of blog posts and maps and pictures so that we were sure to get it all right!  We got it right, all right, but boy did we look stupid.

Picture this: you’re walking along a trail and you come to a junction with a sweaty couple, frantically flipping through pages to see if this junction was THE junction because ohmigoshwhatifwemakethewrongturnahhhhhh?!

Getting lost is serious, but this level of detail made us doubt our own sense of direction and common sense.  The map says blue trail.  Follow the blue trail.  Miss the blue trail?  Backtrack until you find the blue trail.

Less headache.  Less paper.

Don’t be like us.

Of course we got lost

(Mom, maybe you stop reading, mmmkay?)

This is a given.  Because every trail is going to have that “hmmmmm….” moment where you can’t quite tell 1) where the next marker leads, and 2) if/when/where you’re supposed to turn.

On our way down from a peak, trying to navigate the many junctions with our trusty paper map, we came to a fork in the road we weren’t expecting.  Some of the longer trails deep in the Adirondacks take several turns and some are more clearly marked on the map than others.  This particular turn we were unsure of.  Mark said “right”, I said “left”, the guy that came up on us said “left” and then whipped out his phone confirming the dot was us, the trail back to the car was in red, and it was indicating to head left.

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What sorcery?!  This was our first experience with AllTrails.  And it was when we first started noticing all of the hikes it would have come in handy, including some of the shorter hikes we were already very familiar with!

In conclusion

Friends, download AllTrails and discover what is around you!  Discover a new trail in that park you frequent.  Discover a waterfall tucked away in the woods.  Pack a bag of snacks and get out!

And AllTrails, you are as dear to me as my Shark vacuum! ❤

Pacific Northwest might be best

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Mount Olympus peaking out

But shhhhh…don’t tell the Adirondacks I said that!

The truth is, I’ve been a BIG fan of the Northwest for more than 30 years, and it’s hard to beat that kind of history.  

Back in the early 80s when I was just a wee lass of three, my aunt and uncle moved from our town in Southern California to Washington State, on the Puget Sound.  A few years later, at just six years old, I hopped on an RV and rode up the coast with family friends to spend what turned out to be about a month with my aunt and uncle at their home in Bremerton. (From where I sit at thirty-something, this still looks like an epic adventure!)

We caught crabs on the shore, hunted for clams, visited the mountains, ferried to Canada, climbed the Space Needle in Seattle. To this day (well, yesterday, actually) the friend I tagged along with and I still talk about that vacation.

Side note: this is the trip where I discovered I’m afflicted with terrible motion sickness.  Apparently, I can’t have all the luck.

My most recent jaunt to the Evergreen State in early May proved to be no less exciting, although much more condensed!  (To my Instagram friends, I sincerely apologize for the volume of stories, it was excessive.)  My aunt and uncle’s daughter, also known as my cousin, was getting married and so I flew out for a week of shenanigans.

This is going to be less of a trip recap and more of an adventure guide.  As my main, number one, ultra special goal is to help YOU enhance and enrich your lives through authentic adventures, I’m not sure going on and on and ON about how I spray painted a building is going to propel YOU into your best life.

But I will tell you about it because it’s awesome, you guys.  I tagged a building.  #SoRebel.

Just remember, memory making adventures are everywhere.  You don’t have to travel across the country to find them.

Take the road less traveled

Sometimes that means not taking a road at all!

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Seattle to Bremerton ferry

There is a perfectly maintained highway that goes from the airport in Seattle to Bremerton, our destination on the other side of the Sound.  It would have been a quick and comfortable trip.  But there’s a ferry, and guess what: in my every day life I don’t get to ride a ferry.  And guess what else: sometimes there are cafeterias on ferries.  If you are anything like me, snacks drive your decisions, so drinking a glass of wine and eating a yogurt parfait while riding to your destination majorly enhances the experience.  Never mind there’s the opportunity to see killer whales, no joke.

On my last day, my travel day, I chose the ferry again.  From where I stayed, I walked the short few blocks to hop on the boat, which took me to the port in Seattle.  I then had to walk the few short blocks to the train that would take me to the airport.  Along the way I discovered Biscuit Bitch and the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had, no joke.

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Biscuit Bitch at Pioneer Square.  Go there.

Another side note: I don’t like sausage, so that closes the biscuits and gravy door for me.  Biscuit Bitch has a vegetarian gravy that blew my world.  I mean, blew it wide open.  Go there.  Tell them the girl who precariously balanced all of her luggage on one chair sent you.

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Gritty Scrambled Cheesy Bitch, if you must know…with a side of politics.

Allow yourself to break your budget…a bit

Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to miss a mortgage payment to splurge on a gold plated memento, please don’t do that!

When you head out on a memory making adventure, you are already doing something out of the ordinary.

Every other day you forgo the extras because you are responsible human being (go YOU!), but during your time away you are not doing the every day.  So splurge… a little!

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Clams and crabs and mussels, oh my!

Get the bucket of seafood down by the sea, especially when it comes with tiny mallets and oversized bibs!  You won’t forget those times with loved ones in which you whacked a crab leg so hard you shot meat to the table beside you.

Hypothetically.

Stop and smell the roses

Everything is new and different, let yourself check out ALL the beautiful details!

Sometimes that involves pausing your morning run (because fitness doesn’t take a vacation, amiright?!) and chatting with the nice young man spray painting a wall because you just might have the opportunity to literally leave your mark on that moment.

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Jonathan, the artist who loves purple and The Avengers.

To be clear to the authorities: this is a “free wall” for local artists to “decorate.”

But also, while you’re at it, look at what’s around you.  If you’re not in your home, your neighborhood or your community, you are in a place that is different and the things you will see are worth really seeing.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

I know you have a picture in your head of how your weekend away will go.  It will involve perfect timing, blue skies, and happy children//pets//spouse.

Wake up, buttercup.

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Ah yes, six-year-olds are the BEST!

Either one, or all of these things, will go the exact opposite of your perfect plans.  But that’s ok…

Step One: breathe.

Step Two: remind yourself that disaster and chaos don’t take a vacation either.

Step Three: pivot, you’ll find an adventure and make memories somewhere else!

Above all, stay positive, friends.  Life is so good ❤

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