My Summer Must-Haves

So summer is finally here and even though we’ve had snow in the month of June, it’s starting to finally feel like summer here in Colorado.

No summer is complete without hiking, camping, enjoying the sunshine and just being outdoors. Add in the beautiful green landscapes, BBQs, the occasional day on the water and the longer days and it’s an ideal time for family, friends and fun. I love getting out to kayak, hike and camp and even though my first camping trip of the year was foiled by snow, I’m looking forward to the rest of what the warm season has to offer.

Of course the summer also brings out many things that I can’t live without. So here are 10 of my Summer Must-Haves.

Fresh Fruit
Who doesn’t love fresh fruit? Strawberries are my favorite and in the summer there’s plenty of different recipes to try. I enjoy homemade granola, honey yogurt and sliced strawberries. My favorite homemade granola recipe is actually my college best friend’s recipe which you can find here. Strawberry Shortcake is also a summer favorite with fresh whipped cream. Strawberry banana smoothies? Definitely a morning must.

Popsicles and Ice Cream
If popsicles and ice cream aren’t a highlight of your summer, you’re doing something wrong. The hotter weather and icy treat go hand-in-hand. I really like Outshine Fruit Bars because they’re made with real ingredients and taste delicious. The creamy coconut flavor is one of my favorites followed closely by the pomegranate one. For ice cream, I’m pretty happy with anything that has chocolate. If I’m looking for a pint just for me to devour in one sitting then it’s Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food hands down.

HydroFlask Water Bottle
You definitely need a good water bottle in the summer time. You have to stay hydrated, especially in the hot summer sun and Hydroflask water bottles are ideal because of there insulation technology. I’ll fill my bottle with ice in the morning and still have over half at the end of the day. Even after filling it with more water at lunch it stays cool. I like the 21oz narrow mouth bottle with the sport cap because it’s the perfect size for a small hike, kayaking or just sitting at the office.

Neutrogena Sunscreen
Sunscreen is vital for summertime. Nobody likes to look like a lobster and it’s just plain uncomfortable to deal with sun burnt skin. I prefer Neutrogena because it’s lightweight and not oily. I tend to have oily skin and putting sunscreen on was always gross feeling but with Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch formula it feels clean. I’m also conscious about the products I put on my face and I know I can trust Neutrogena to not cause a breakout.

Osprey Packs
I love my Osprey packs. I have a few bags from Osprey that come in handy a lot during the summer. I have a 65 liter Aura AG backpacking pack that I am hoping to use at least once this summer. It’s been a while since I’ve done an overnight hiking trip but I know I’m prepared with the Aura pack. For day hikes I have the Manta AG 24 liter. It’s the perfect size for a day out on the trail and the hydration component is the best element. In addition to my hiking packs I also have a simple lifestyle pack that I used for school and a carry-on luggage piece that is perfect for a short trip.

Chaco Sandals
I practically live in Chacos during the summer and I’m not ashamed to say I strive for that summer #ChacoTan. I got my first pair of Chacos when I was in middle school and have continued wearing them ever since. The quality of Chaco products are well worth the price and they have styles that fit everyone. I’m a classic ZX or ZX/2 gal but I’ve also purchased sneakers and casual leather sandals as well. I love the products, love the quality and highly recommend them to anyone that needs a good summer sandal they can wear out on the water or on the trail.

Repel Natural Bug Repellent
The only unfortunate thing about summer is all the nasty little bugs that come with it. The area I live in is inundated with mosquitoes and in order to survive you have to use bug repellent. I prefer to use natural bug repellent instead of DEET based products only because DEET can be harmful not only to your skin, but to your clothing as well. Did you know it can actually melt certain plastics? If it can damage plastic why would you want it on your body? My product of choice is Repel’s Natural Bug Repellent that is made with lemon and eucalyptus. Though the plant-based formula isn’t as powerful as a DEET-based formula, it’s a lot better for you and it smells amazing. You just might have to apply it more often.

Oscillating Fan
It doesn’t matter where you live, summer is hot and those that don’t have a fan are just crazy. In the mountains a lot of places don’t have AC so opening windows and getting a fan going is the only way to keep the indoors cool. It sounds like such a random must-have, but it is a must for me. I don’t personally have a preference of fan brands, but something of better quality that will last more than one summer is preferred. I like the tower style that oscillates just because it gets air moving around the room the best and they’re more stylish that the classic stand fan.

Library Card
If you haven’t caught on that I’m an avid reader, I’m here to tell you I’m an avid reader and having a library card, especially in the summer is a must. Snuggling up with a book on the deck or in my hammock is one of my favorite relaxing activities. With this year’s COVID-19 regulations, I’ve taken on reading some of my own books instead of borrowing from the library. I like being able to physically browse the library and I’m sad I can’t do that this year. But, I normally hit up the library a few times a month during the summer to borrow a book or audio book.

ENO Hammock
Being able to set up a hammock wherever is really nice. ENO Hammocks are ideal for any type of adventure. They’re super lightweight, small and packable and they come in great color combinations. I typically use my hammock at home on a stand, but I have the ENO Atlas straps that work great when I’m out camping. Reading, taking a nap or just relaxing wrapped up in a hammock is truly one of my favorite summer pass times.

These ten items aren’t the only ones I would consider must-haves for the summer but they are my top picks. What are your summer must-haves?

Supporting the Small Business

I’ve always believed in supporting small, family-owned businesses and now is arguably a time where it’s even more important that those types of businesses get support.

The community I live in is composed almost entirely of family-owned businesses. The restaurants, clothing stores and personal services have the face of the family that runs it with their dedicated employees. Being in a small tight-knit area where everybody knows everybody is difficult because at this uncertain time everybody knows someone that has either lost their job or is struggling to keep their business alive. It’s heartbreaking to know so many individuals who are struggling and that’s why my family and I are trying our best to support our local businesses.

Many businesses have adapted to work with what they have and are able to do with restrictions. Restaurants are offering takeout, retail stores were able to shift to online sales before they were allowed to open again and services encouraged gift certificate purchases if they couldn’t operate within the guidelines set forth by the local government. They are offering what they can in hopes that the community can continue to support them so they are operational when the time allows them to get back to 100% operational.

For my family, some of our favorite restaurants are still open and offering take-out so we have tried to spread the wealth and ordered from a few different ones over the past two months. Others that aren’t open we hope to frequent when they are. We’ve purchased what we can from local retail stores that are open after being closed down due to Colorado executive orders instead of ordering online. We even were able to move up some work we had planned to have done on the outside of our house to help a carpenter friend whose wife isn’t able to work. But it’s not just our locals that feed our small community economy.

In our county, like many others in Colorado, several businesses don’t just rely on local support, but the support from visitors. Our economy is maintained and boosted by the tourists that frequent our area in both the winter and summer. Some businesses chose to close during the slower months simply because they do not generate enough revenue to justify being open. Usually this time is now, in the spring after the snow has melted and in the fall when the weather isn’t warm but the snow hasn’t stuck to the ground. Generally those businesses close for a month at most. As of today, it’s been almost two months for not just those business but others as well that have been forced to close.

For me personally, I know too many people that work for or own businesses that are a part of that list of temporary closures. Thankfully, with openings beginning in Colorado, some of those establishments are ready to open and welcome back their devoted customers. It’s when these places open that the community has to take action. We have to support those that are a vital part of our community.

Re-opening might not be an easy task for some businesses. It could bring a whole different challenge for some. Employees that were laid off might not be able to return. Some have had to move from the area or start a new job leaving owners short-staffed and wondering how they will conduct business like normal. It’s a challenge that many will have to face and I hope that they have the support to rebuild.

I’m lucky to have a job that was able to keep me working from the start of all this but I have always had a soft spot for a small family-run outdoor store that I have worked for off and on for five years. The family that owns the store have become a second family to me and I was worried when they were forced to close. They’re working on an addition to the building and I know it’s a large project that is taking a lot of time and energy that has been delayed. Thankfully, they have a great local group of faithful customers that are happy to make purchases regularly. Plus, they always look out and genuinely care for their staff which keeps team members happy and ready to work.

With Memorial Day weekend already here we know there will be a surge of tourists looking to escape to the mountains. I hope that the surge helps local businesses, but I also hope that those coming to our community take precautions and understand we want to keep everyone who calls this place home safe and healthy.

If you have an opportunity to support your locally-owned businesses I know they’ll greatly appreciate it. Here are five ways you can support a local family owned business:

  1. Make a purchase.
  2. Plan services for the future.
  3. Buy a gift card/certificate to gift or use later.
  4. Write a positive review online.
  5. Follow the business’s social media accounts.

It’s a challenging time no matter where you live or what you do for a living. I hope that everyone is staying safe and being cautious and keeping the well-being of everyone in mind.

30 Days of Being Grateful

Self-isolation started for me on March 23rd. Because the state of the entire world is shrouded in chaos at the moment I wanted to stay positive and think about the things I’m grateful for during this uncertain time. Here are those thirty things that I thought about for the past 30 days.

Monday, March 23rd: First day working from home. Today I am grateful for fast internet.

Tuesday, March 24th: Today I am grateful for still living with my mom. If I was living alone (like some of my close friends are) I’m not sure how I would be handling this.

Wednesday, March 25th: Today I’m grateful for long phone calls and Facetime sessions. Connecting with my friends in this time is important for me to keep my sanity. I also love being able to talk to and see my friends that are in a completely different state.

Thursday, March 26th: Today I’m grateful for a large house. Even if I’m sharing it with my wonderful mom and her supportive boyfriend, an energetic ball-crazy dog and a sleepy kitty.

Friday, March 27th: Today I’m grateful for having a job that is able to keep me employed during these uncertain times.

Saturday, March 28th: All three of us are staying home on the weekends for the foreseeable future. Today I’m grateful for streaming services and many, many movies that we can watch as a family.

Sunday, March 29th: Today I’m grateful that I have a large book collection.

Monday, March 30th: Week two of work-from-home begins. I’m grateful that my superiors understand I’m here to help and that I’m able to help take something small off their very full plates.

Tuesday, March 31st: I would have been leaving for South Lake Tahoe today for a work trip if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t come to it’s peak here in the US. Today I’m grateful that Southwest has a flexible booking policy. I have credit for when things calm down and I’m able to travel for work, and leisure, again.

Wednesday, April 1st: Today I’m grateful that people are able to keep humor and lightheartedness in this time of melancholy but also know the boundaries of what’s humorous and what’s crossing the line.

Thursday, April 2nd: Today I’m grateful for our local grocery store staying as stocked as they can and working hard in these crazy times. Everyone just needs to stop panic buying.

Friday, April 3rd: Today I’m grateful for Fridays. I am usually always grateful for Fridays, but now even more so.

Saturday, April 4th: Today I’m grateful that we have a nice backyard and that spring is definitely here.

Sunday, April 5th: Today I’m grateful for my mom and how she has taught me how to cook, enjoy reading and to keep a clean home.

Monday, April 6th: Beginning week three of work-from-home. Today I’m grateful for Nash, our family dog. He is keeping things positive for all of us.

Tuesday, April 7th: Today I’m grateful for Gordan Ramsay. The many shows he has available through streaming services is making time go by faster.

Wednesday, April 8th: Today I actually left the house for a short amount of time. For not leaving in the past two and half weeks, it was nice to get out and just drive for a little bit. I’m grateful for living in the mountains where the air is fresh and there’s rarely any traffic.

Thursday, April 9th: I’m grateful for social media. It might be a hindrance sometimes but most of the time it’s there to keep me connected to the rest of the world and the friends that I don’t get to see.

Friday, April 10th: Today I’m grateful for sweatpants and long sleeve t-shirts. And I’m even more grateful for the fact that I have enough to wear everyday of the week.

Saturday, April 11th: I’m grateful for weekends. Who isn’t though?

Sunday, April 12th: Today I’m grateful for having the freedom to believe in what I chose to believe in.

Monday, April 13th: Today I’m grateful for being out of school. I know that sounds so selfish but I can’t imagine how I’d be handling this if I was still in school, high school or college. I give lots of kudos to the students that are working through this, especially you seniors. Hang in there.

Tuesday, April 14th: I’m so so so grateful for my cat. She’s been a mega cuddlebug and I love love love it.

Wednesday, April 15th: I’m grateful for it staying lighter longer. I missed it and it is making me optimistic for summer.

Thursday, April 16th: Today I’m grateful for the support system that is in place for the company that I work for. Our executives genuinely care about what is happening in our various locations across the US and we all know we are here for each other.

Friday, April 17th: Today I’m grateful for the three other people that work in my office. We video chatted today for about an hour and it was exactly what we all needed. There was a little business but mostly laughs and lots of chats about what we are all doing to stay sane.

Saturday, April 18th: I’m grateful for really lazy days where I can just relax, lay in bed and not care at all about being productive. I think everyone needs lazy days and today is my day.

Sunday, April 19th: Today I’m extra grateful for having the ability to cook and make some decent meals.

Monday, April 20th: Today I’m grateful for having a second family. My second family lives really close and I occasionally dog sit/house sit for them. So right now I’m lounging in their living room with a pup at my feet and the other on the dog bed behind the couch. There’s also chicks in the bathtub so that’s fun.

Tuesday, April 21st: Today I am grateful for having this blog. I know not many people read it, but it’s a fun and creative outlet for myself and sometimes I just really need it. Thank you to those that do read, I hope you enjoy it.

I hope you can all find something to be grateful for in these uncertain and anxiety inducing times. I think finding the positive in any situation can mentally help a lot. Stay sane and stay healthy, but more importantly stay safe everyone.

Day 5 of 5 Days of Love

“We just need to be kinder to ourselves. If we treated ourselves the way we treated our best friend, can you imagine how much better off we would be?”

Meghan Markle

I Love Me

I think one of the biggest problems in the world today is that nobody loves themselves as much as they should. We spend hours every day worrying about other people and making sure everyone else is okay, but we seem to forget about ourselves. And I’m definitely one of those people, but I’m going to start loving myself more, taking care of myself before others because there’s only one me in this world.

I love me. I love that I’m hyper-organized and plan everything to the finest detail. I love that I can cook and bake and that I get excited about trying a new recipe. I love that I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I love that I can justify buying pretty much anything and I love that I probably budgeted for it. I love a lot of things about myself and sure, I don’t love everything, but that’s okay. Flaws aren’t permanent, they can be changed or I can find a way to love them and that’s okay too.

Self-love doesn’t come easy and if someone says differently they are trying to sell you something. In my experience the first step to loving yourself is to accept yourself exactly how you are. Now this might sound difficult, but it’s the best way to start because then you’ll have a foundation to build on. Start accepting your crooked toes, your high-pitched sneezes or the way you organize your bathroom. It’s how you operate and who you are and you should accept that. If it’s something that you can change, like the way you organize your bathroom, then change it until you like it, and then accept it. Be confident in you.

Think about your dreams and aspirations and find elements of those dreams and aspirations that you love and go with it. To love yourself you should do things that you love to do and commit to them long term. Then you have stop complaining about everything you don’t love in the world. Leave the negative out of your life, it helps a lot. Promise yourself that you’re going to do that thing and stop doing that other thing. Find a balance in your life that works.

Loving yourself starts with the way that you live your life. If you don’t like certain elements of your life, then you’re not going to be happy and being unhappy will make it harder to love yourself. You’re your first priority, make sure it stays that way.

I’m still working on all this myself, but believe me when you step back and take an objective look at your life and what makes you happy and what you love about you, it vastly improves your self-love.

“Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.”

Beyoncé

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Day 4 of 5 Days of Love

Have you ever taken the 5 Love Languages quiz?

I Love Quality Time

I took the quiz back in college when the guy I was dating at the time asked me what my ranking of the five love languages was. I had no idea what that meant so he showed me the quiz and I took it. I found the screenshot I took of the results just the other day and it still rings true today.

  1. Quality Time
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Words of Affirmation
  5. Receiving Gifts

Though I love to give gifts myself, I actually feel weird receiving them. I also feel super awkward when someone compliments me so it makes sense that ‘Words of Affirmation’ and ‘Receiving Gifts’ is lower on my list. ‘Physical Touch’ is also something that I sometimes feel odd about but I do like. I mean who doesn’t like a good cuddle? ‘Acts of Service’ is my number two because I generally like when someone offers to wash the dishes or help me clean the bathroom. But my top love language is definitely ‘Quality Time’.

‘Quality Time’ means the world to me, especially in a romantic relationship. It’s also important to me in all my normal, close relationships. I could care less what we are doing, just that we are spending time together. I love just being with the people I care about because you never know how much time you’re going to get with someone.

Want to spend a day just watching movies and eating junk food? Sounds amazing. How about a day hike? Yes. Running errands, getting groceries, washing the car? Would love to. Quality time to me means that we are together and it really doesn’t matter what we are doing. It could be seeing each other for just an hour or for a full weekend, quality time is quality time and I love it.

Stay tuned for the last day of love!

Day 3 of 5 Days of Love

Who doesn’t love being in nature?

I Love The Mountains

I always thought I was going to be a city girl and when I left for college I was excited to live somewhere “city-like” and away from the mountains but that excitement didn’t last long. I really thought that I’d like the city more because I was going to be closer to more things, but after spending less than a year in a city I realized I didn’t really like it. I liked being near stores and having access to items instantly, but I missed the quiet, the trees, the fresh air and even the snow.

There’s just something about being right in the mountains where wildlife is abundant and you can get lost driving just 10 minutes away from your house. I also love all the activities that come with having the mountains in your backyard. Hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, you name it, I probably love it.

Now don’t get me wrong, living in the mountains has its challenges, but sometimes they are worth it. I love being up here but it is a bit harder of a life to live. As someone my age, unless you work at a ski resort, it’s hard to make friends and if I need that one item from Target I have to wait till my next trip to Denver. I love being up here but in the near future I am going to move away, but not too far away. I want to stay close enough to be able to escape to the mountains for the weekend because you can’t be too far away from something you love.

Stay tuned for the next two days of love!

Day 2 of 5 Days of Love

In case you didn’t already know from reading this blog, I love getting cozy with a book and getting lost in another world.

I Love Reading

I love reading and in the past year I’ve even expanded my reading repertoire and have been using Goodreads like a social media platform. I grew up without internet until I was in high school so instead of surfing the web or playing games, I read. My mom always had a book on her nightstand and when I was old enough to read chapter books on my own she made sure I did too.

I was one of those kids that got super excited when the Scholastic Book Fair came to my school and I’d gather up all my savings just so I could buy all the books I wanted. I also borrowed books from my school’s library when I could and when I got the chance to go to the next town over where there was a public library, my mom made sure I was able to get what I wanted. I would definitely say that my love of reading came from her and I’m so thankful for that.

Reading is far different from watching a TV show or movie and I think teaching kids early that reading is fun and not just something you have to do for school is important. The accessibility to books is astonishing and I personally think that everyone should take advantage of that accessibility. When I was in middle school I babysat all summer for a family that didn’t have TV or internet in their house so I spent a lot of my Friday afternoons grabbing as many books as I could at the library so I had something to do the next week. If it wasn’t for that easy access I don’t know what I would have done for those eight hour days.

Reading for me means constantly learning and keeping my creativity alive. I love getting settled with a book that I can read for hours and get lost in the story. I don’t just read novels either, I’ve become more interested in books of poetry, graphic novels and educational books. I just finished a book on how to get organized in every room of your house and I loved it! Right now, I’m rereading the Harry Potter series because why not?

Reading is what you make of it and I know some people don’t read at all and that’s okay, but I don’t think I could ever be that type of person. I hope to read as much as I can for as long as I can because it’s part of my lifestyle and I absolutely love doing it. AND I’m always open to book suggestions so if you have any drop them in the comments below.

Stay tuned for the next three days of love!

Day 1 of 5 Days of Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Friday, I wanted to share five things over the course of the next five days that I absolutely love, love, love. I’ve always believed that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples, it’s for expressing your love even more for those you truly care about. I also think it’s great to get discounted chocolate the day after which brings me to Day One.

I Love Chocolate

I really love chocolate. Any type, form, with nuts, with caramel, all of it. Chocolate is my favorite sweet and I almost always have it on hand in my house, and in my desk at work (for emergencies of course). It’s my comfort food, my happy food, my I’m too sad to function food, you name it. If I have any choice of dessert, it’s probably going to have chocolate in it. Here are just a few of my favorite forms of chocolate:

  • My all-time favorite kind is the Lindt Lindor milk chocolate truffles. Literally the way to my heart is chocolate coated chocolate.
  • My favorite cookie is the classic Oreo. No double stuffed nonsense.
  • Candy bar: KitKat.
  • My favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: chocolate, caramel and marshmallow perfection.
  • Cake form? Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting all the way
  • I love hot chocolate with a bit of whipped cream too.

Stay tuned for the next four days of love!

Why I Only Use One Make-Up Product

Unlike several women of my age that I’ve met, gone to school with or worked with, I choose to wear only one make-up product on a daily basis. I use mascara for my eyelashes and that’s it.

I don’t believe in caking on the makeup to cover up flaws or make myself look like the women in magazines. I like the way I look and god forbid I show that I have blemishes like a normal human being every once in a while.

I use mascara on a daily basis because as a natural blonde, my eyelashes are extremely light and practically unnoticeable. So I add some mascara to show I actually have eyelashes.

My mascara of choice has been Cover Girl’s Lash Blast Volume Mascara in Waterproof ‘Very Black’ for many years now. I wear contacts and I’ve found that waterproof mascara is the best because it won’t run into your eyes and it won’t flake off and stick to contacts.

I found that just adding mascara is all that I need to feel comfortable and even then, if I’m staying at home or running minimal errands I won’t put any on. Generally on the weekends if I don’t have plans I’ll leave the mascara off to give my lashes a break and let the last of the waterproof mascara come off.

Of course I don’t stick to just mascara 100% of the time. In college I experimented a couple times with a full face of makeup (courtesy of my makeup goddess of a roommate). I don’t know anything about applying makeup so I let her take the reins and paint my face. Once she had applied eyebrow filler, done wings and eyeshadow, added some highlighter and who knows what else when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself.

I liked it for that night out, but I would never be able to transform my face like that every single day. I wouldn’t know how to apply it in the first place and frankly spending hundreds of dollars on makeup seems a bit ridiculous to me. I never really hit the makeup phase when I was younger and I think that’s why now as an adult I don’t care for it.

I’d say that I was lucky to have never fallen into the makeup scene in high school because I was blessed with clear skin and never felt the need to cover up my teenage acne. I knew many girls in school that chose to apply makeup to cover their acne and I don’t blame them at all. I think there is something to say about putting chemicals on your skin and how it reacts with your skin’s natural oils though. Is it really helping your agitated skin to put something on top of it? I do have to say that a lot has been done to make makeup more safe and less harsh for the environment and I think it’s a lot safer and cleaner than it once was.

And I’m definitely not a makeup hater I occasionally do add more to my makeup routine but usually only for special occasions. I do have concealer in my very small makeup bag and usually use it for the large dark circles that are always popping up under my eyes. I also have eyebrow filler because like my eyelashes I have very light eyebrows that in the summer practically disappear all together. Other than that I have a small palette or two of eye-shadow and some black eyeliner.

I know my opinion about makeup may change depending on where I go in my life: career or location. I think many people that apply makeup daily do it because they like the way they look with makeup and it makes them feel happy. I’m just not that type of person right now. And I certainly don’t judge people on their makeup habits, that’d just be rude. I actually follow a couple makeup connoisseurs on social media because I find it fascinating what you can create. It’s definitely an art form and people that are able to do it everyday should consider themselves artists.

Even though I’m personally not a makeup wearer, I think everyone that wants to express themselves with makeup absolutely should.

Thinking of Paris

The historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was engulfed in flames a week ago. I’ve thought throughout the week about my personal experience in France and reflected on what social media has produced about the tragedy.

When I was in high school I was fortunate enough to travel to France for a school immersion trip. On that trip, I saw many beautiful things and made memories that I will always cherish. I got to experience Notre Dame and all its beauty and history.

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France has such a rich cultural history and architectural beauties that people from all over the world come to marvel at. The Notre Dame Cathedral is certainly one of them. In the wake of the fire, a great outburst of sympathetic travelers from across the globe posted photos, videos and memories of their time in the presence of the over 800-year-old structure.

I thought about how I was fortunate enough to see the cathedral before this incident and how the original spire and internal structure seemed so wonderful at the time. It will always be a great memory heading up to the top and looking out on Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

“Throughout our history, we have built towns, ports, churches. Many have been burnt due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind’s mistakes. Each time we have rebuilt them.” – French President Emmanuel Macron

It only took a few hours after the flames were stifled for billionaires everywhere to start donating money to restore Notre Dame. The French President vowed to rebuild and many people got behind him and the nation to help.

At first, I thought about donating myself but when more and more people pledged millions of dollars for the project, I realized that there was no need for me to give my money. I’d rather donate to the thousands of other organizations that desperately need funds to make the world a better place. And I wasn’t the only one thinking that. Social media again exploded with questions and comments about the sudden wave of donations.

Why should I donate to a church across the world when there are starving children in my own country? Why donate when I can aid another human in need of basic necessities? So if I’m thinking this, why are all those generous wealthy people donating to the cathedral not thinking it?

It appears that there is in fact money out there to help so many causes that have been in need of donations for decades, so why is a cathedral so important?

Though I am not a religious being in any shape or form I do understand the need to worship and have a basis of faith. I certainly understand the importance of Notre Dame and what it means to people across the world. What I don’t understand is why those that pray for peace and health and positivity, can’t help those in need, but they can rebuild a structure to pray more about those in need.

I do find the fire at the cathedral a tragedy and I do hope that the historic building can be rebuilt for future generations to enjoy. I also implore those coming forward to donate to the rebuild to seek other entities that are in need. Instead of pledging three million to Notre Dame, pledge one million to hunger relief, one million to incurable disease research and still donate that last million to Paris because it is important to preserve our history.

I value a lot in my life and those values won’t be the same for everyone. I value the history of my nation as well as the history of the world that we all share. I also value equality and helping those in need when I can help myself. I value individual beliefs and preserving those beliefs in the face of diversity.

I hope you carry your beliefs with you and always stand by them.

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Information from:

All images are my own.

Happy Earth Day!

Today is a day to celebrate the beautiful Earth that we live on and focus on ways to keep it healthy for centuries to come.

Happy Earth Day

I have always tried to do my part to help the environment whether that be recycling, helping clean up local trails and recreation sites, or helping educate others on how they can minimize their impact. This year’s theme is ‘Protecting Our Species’. Protecting our plants and animals from extinction is becoming more difficult but there are ways we can help.

In the past, I’ve been able to donate my time to water sampling to ensure my local lakes are healthy. I’ve been able to head out into a park and clean up invasive species. I’ve been able to teach local high school students about the importance of cleaning up micro-trash along the Colorado River. I’ve been fortunate enough to do these things and more and I hope to continue that work for years to come, as long as I’m able.

I love and firmly believe in the saying to take only pictures and leave only footprints. Leaving no trace is what allows so many people to experience any given area. In Colorado, there are several programs in place to educate people on how to minimize their impact in the wilderness and I hope that everyone that either lives in the area, or are just visiting take into account the simple steps it takes to enjoy yourself and have fun, but not impact the earth while doing so. This video on leaving no trace is a perfect example of how easy it is.

There are of course so many things that you can do to help other than leaving no trace. Pollution of many forms is becoming more and more detrimental to our environment on the planet that we all call home. Simply cleaning up can make a world of difference. There are several organized cleanups every year worldwide for Earth Day, but also many that happen regularly. Get involved and find a cleanup in your area. If there isn’t one, create one.

Being aware of what is happening to our earth is crucial to making a change for the future. There are several international and national organizations that are set in place to safeguard our future and combat the destruction occurring every day.  Not only is the earth itself suffering, but the creatures living on it are as well, we included.

For Earth Day this year, I am setting up a monthly donation to The Nature Conservancy.  Even though I can’t make a large donation, I know that a little can go a long way. Five dollars today could go towards providing sustainable food and water sources that could aid an entire community. Five dollars could be that final bit to protect a water source or a piece of land.

Every little thing that we can do as humans will add up and make an impact on our future generations. Volunteer or donate today to make a difference in your community.

 

Wilderness Writings

In honor of spring and simply enjoying nature, I’ve written a couple wilderness writings/poems/what have you.

It Heals
I strongly believe that simply being in nature is healing.
It heals your tired eyes from the hours behind a computer.
It heals your aching feet from wandering on concrete sidewalks.
It heals your tense shoulders from long to do lists.
It heals your mind from daily stress.
It heals your soul.
The Flow of the River
Have you ever watched a river flow?

Watched its untamed movement,
its swift coursing evolution.
Have you ever felt a river flow?
Felt its push and pull,
its hungry grasp for the earth around it.
Have you ever heard a river flow?
Heard its drops and splashes,
its rushing melody.
Have you ever experienced a river flow?
It’s magical.
River
When you touch the cool water,
feel the waves come and go,
hear the ebb and flow against the shore,
you become one with the river.
Home
Nature is like being at home.
You know the sound of the wind in the trees,
the water rushing down the river,
the birds chirping above.
The feel of dirt beneath your shoes is familiar,
each step is delicate and deliberate.
Your soul is at peace.