Category Archives: Outdoors

Bridge Over Troubled Water


Although I had seen images of it my whole life, nothing prepared me for seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. It is massive! I guess that’s how lots of things go- pictures are just not able to do them justice. I can’t wait until the days I can finally see Macchu Picchu, the Millau Viaduct, Petra, or the Cherry Blossoms in Japan with my own two eyes and mark them off my list! Of course my long-awaited trip to California allowed me to knock a few things off that list, one of them being the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sit back and enjoy the view, but believe me when pictures can’t really do justice to this brobdingnagian bridge


First picture


Longtime chums finally at the Bridge!
For the record- the sun was blinding so our faces look rather comical.


I love sun glare photos


Lenticular art that showed the progress of the bridge through the years


Ashley and I spent a few hours taking pictures, walking nearly all the way across the bridge, and wandering around the gift shop. It was definitely a fun little half-day trip while in San Francisco, and the views were priceless!

Have you ever been to the Golden Gate Bridge? 


Friday Favorites


It’s that time again, folks. FRIDAY. And you know what that means… random links from around the globe Internet that I wanted to share! Get ready to rumble! Or rock-n-roll. Or read…

Did you know the capybara is the world’s largest rodent? Yeah, fact of the day!

I tried this Lightened Up Butternut Skillet Shells from How Sweet it is, and I am officially in love with butternut squash. Sure, peeling and cutting it was a bear, but the hearty, fall-y flavor was worth it. So good!

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak was adapted for the stage in Chicago. I read half the book a few years ago, and really enjoyed the unique point of view and storyline.

Emily Loerke from Today’s Letters posted about camping & hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome. I really want to be her friend. Looks like such fun!

I found out about Threads of Hope, whose goal is to “break the cycle of poverty through strategies that empower the economically disadvantaged.” I just love the concept of helping people in other countries! Read the rest of this entry

An NC Fall


Dearest NC Fall,

I must admit that although I am sad to see the days of shorts, tank-tops and sandals go, a North Carolina fall is my favorite. Not too warm, not too cold… just right!

The arrival of your crispy air beckons me to the mountains, where I think your beauty is most evident. Hillsides covered in shades of red, yellow, orange, are one of the things I love most about your season. Who wants to road-trip to the mountains with me soon?

Already, your vibrant, warm colors can be seen on the trees and sidewalks, Read the rest of this entry

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!!! It doesn’t feel like Friday to me… honestly it feels like next Monday!  This week has been crazy busy at work, I’ve been testing students like woah, and I’ve already worked over 40 hours. I’m not at work yet, but I plan on going in today long enough for a staff meeting, lunch, working on my timesheet, then heading out of the office around 4:30 for a run! Boom. What’s your Friday schedule looking like?

Here are a few favorites I’ve found this week that I wanted to share:

Check out these 51 creative business cards! Some of them are super cool! Have you ever created unique business cards like these?

Did ya hear about the morning-after pill becoming available for high school students in New York City?! Am I the only one who thinks that’s absolutely ridiculous? Article on USAToday here.

This lemon poppy seed zucchini bread looks amazing! Probably going to be making some loaves tonight!

I’ve played this number game on Sporcle a few times this week and still am frustrated I can’t get them all within the time limit! Read the rest of this entry

Proper Trail Running


What exactly IS proper trail running??? This is a question I have been pondering ever since I set foot on the Al Buehler trail Monday evening around 6:45. It was only my second time on the trail and my first time alone. Cue sketchy “woman alone in woods” music, right? Wrong! Ok, so I definitely had the wrong impression of the Al Buehler trail… first of all, it’s not just your average trail through the woods in Durham. Nah, it’s a cross country trail that is perfectly safe for a single gal to run/walk/jog alone! Secondly, it’s both challenging and rewarding! I felt like woah Mo Farah after finishing the trail.

With it being my first time as a solo runner/walker (because let’s face it- I couldn’t run the whole time… I maybe ran 3/4 of the way) on the trail, I felt kind of clueless about a few things…

#1 – WHICH WAY IS THE “RIGHT” DIRECTION TO RUN THE TRAIL? Read the rest of this entry

Today, I Swam


Today, I swam.

Boy oh boy did it feel good.

It’s been over a year since I have jumped in a pool and swam laps. And gosh, I’ve missed it.

I grew up swimming and had a love-hate relationship with it in high school. (I still need to blog about that) In summers past, I haven’t had opportunities or places to swim laps so I haven’t done much of that. Last summer, I swam in the channel at the beach against the current… and that’s honestly the last time I had done any intense swimming.

Until today.

I spent the entire day poolside… it was amazing. I got to relax in the sun, catch up with my aunt (who has the pool in her neighborhood), watch planes fly by overhead, and swim laps… how could it not be an amazing day?!

Seriously, today gets an A+ in my books.

SO many people there!

We got to the pool around 10:30… not another soul around. My aunt and I floated, sunbathed, and gabbed. I had every intention of swimming laps but I lounged instead.

Hours passed, sunscreen was reapplied, and water was chugged down. (I went through 5 bottles in 7 hours!)

pool & clouds in my shades

Once people started coming for a swim, I kept telling myself, “when they leave, I will swim.” People came and went. No laps were swam.

4:00 rolled around and everyone was gone. I knew it was time to swim.

You see, I was kind of nervous… a year had passed since swimming last, and I guess I was nervous I would only be able to do a few laps. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to do the different strokes. I was nervous that all my swimming skills had left me.

I grabbed my goofy Speedo goggles (seriously, who looks cute wearing goggles?!), adjusted them on my head, and took a few deep breaths.

Three… two… one…

I pushed off the wall with all my strength and butterfly kicked until I had surfaced about halfway down the pool. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breath. I had a rhythm going. I was kicking with all my might, stroking my arms as quickly as I could… sprinting as a warm-up probably wasn’t the best choice, but oh well. One lap down. One to go.

Third lap I slowed down the pace by a landslide. Trying to catch my breath back after my sprint.

The next 8 laps, I crossed my ankles together and simply relied on my upper body strength to get me from one wall to the next. Whew, talk about a workout. I would sprint one lap and slow it down the next, all the while using my arms like crazy.

I did a lap of butterfly, three of breaststroke, two backstroke, and two of freestyle to end up my little afternoon swimming endeavor.

By the time I finished, I was breathing so heavy, heart was pounding, arms and shoulders were sore from their hard work. After I had chugged down a bottle of lukewarm water, ripped off my goofy goggles, and caught my breath, I couldn’t help but smile. I felt good and tired. Although I didn’t swim nearly as many laps as I used to be able to, I was proud of the few I had accomplished. I was proud there was still a swimmer inside of me. Still living up to my “mermaid” nickname.

Today, I swam. 


Vacation & the Ocean


I leave for vacation today. Well, it’s a mini-vacation. 

Like summer, the word vacation brings so many happy memories to mind, and a smile to my face. I consider weekends a vacation from work, and oh I love weekends. Vacation, simply put, makes me high on life. Whether it’s a weekend, a spontaneous beach trip, hours spent reading in a hammock, or a drive into the mountains. I love it!

In just a few hours, I’ll be heading to the beach!

I’m not a beach bum like some people. Sure, I love to go and relax on the beach and soak up some rays… maybe even toss a frisbee around, but I hate spending hours lying in the sand. It’s just not my thing. I’d much rather be out riding the waves and losing my contacts in the salty ocean water. (has happened more times than I dare to remember!) But after the past few weeks of working, volunteering, working, errand-running, working, etc., I could definitely use a few hours spent in the hot sand & sun. In 24 hours from now, that’s exactly what I plan on doing!!!

There’s just something about the ocean that gets me. I don’t know if it’s the rhythmic slapping of the waves on the shore, the salty breeze the waves bring that makes my hair all a wreck, or if it’s the water itself. Or it could be the whole concept… the coming and going, the washing away, the newness each day, the tides caused by the gravitational forces of the Sun, Moon & Earth. There’s something so… calming, comforting, peaceful, romantic about the ocean. Every time I see it, a feeling rises up in me… I don’t really know how to explain it. But I only feel it when I’m on a beach looking at the ocean. It’s probably a mixed feeling of awe, love, and fascination.

The ocean also constantly provides a reminder of our Creator. How can you look at the beauty of the ocean and not believe that God created it all?! It baffles me. But the ocean always reminds me of how He remains constant although the wind, waves, water may not.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

To help me get through this workday (and get in the beach mood!) I thought I would share some pictures of previous beach trips.

I’m pretttttty excited about the beach now… are you?! 

Summer, Day 1


Every year, the anticipation of summer is almost palpable.

It’s seen in children’s faces, heard in excited voices talking of grand vacations, and felt in the warm touch from the sun.


Gosh, I smile just typing the word.

Summer is my favorite season for a few reasons: it means sunshine and warm weather, summer thunderstorms, my birthday, possibilities of vacation, wearing shorts every day, and doing everything possible outside. I love it!

And every summer it’s the same, I hope for the same things… lots of Durham Bulls games, trying out new restaurants, camping trips, days spent at the Eno River, a tan, going on dates, spur-of-the-moment road trips, grilling out, traveling, new friends, swimming. It seems like, before I know it, summer is gone, there’s no extra spending money, and hardly any of those things have been accomplished. Why does it always happen like that? Summer should be a fun time of year when you get to do things you love to do! (all year round should be like that, but especially summer 😉 But in the busy world we live in, it’s easy to watch days slip by without having done anything special to remember them by.

Today is the first day of summer (although it feels like North Carolina summers start in April!) , and the longest day of the year. Once again, I’ve always had grand plans for this day too… going on a spontaneous trip to a city for the day, spending the day hiking up a mountain, going rock climbing, taking a beach trip to see the sunrise and sunset, braving a river in a kayak, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Instead, I’m spending my first day of summer at work and at a meeting until late. I’ll be lucky if I make it home by 10:00pm! So I’m going to have to squeeze something special into today somewhere. I feel like today the start of summer should be marked by something unique, besides waking up at 5:15 and working all day.

What should I do today to celebrate the first day of Summer 2012?

What are you doing today to celebrate the arrival of my favorite season???

My outfit for the first day of summer: navy & hot pink dress. It’s flowy and bright (and a little short…oops) and I’m hoping the boldness of it helps me stay in a good mood today! 😉