Sticking to 2018: January

In really trying to keep up with my goals for the year I wanted to do a check in post where I review my goals and talk about how I can improve my routine in order to set myself up for success in fulfilling my goals this year.

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It is funny because lately I have been feeling so great about my daily routines and practices/habits I am getting into, however, looking back at my goals for this year, they don’t all necessarily have to do with a specific goals. For example, I have been eating super healthy and I am really happy about that but that wasn’t really a goal. Also, journaling has become a favorite of mine this month and it was not part of my goals either. Just as a side note, I found a January journal guide type thing that gives you something to write about each day and it has made journaling so fun for me. I have changed the topics quite a bit in order for the entries to benefit me a little more, but it has been such an exciting way to journal. One of my favorite prompts so far was ‘write six words that describe your style.’ I loved this because I am really trying hard to define who I am a little better and why I really want to be keeping up with this blog. That entry has actually taken me on quite a journey which I will continue to talk about in some future posts. I also did an entry where I choose ten words to describe my day and it while I thought it would be so easy, it actually was quite difficult and stretched me a lot in a really good way.

Anyways, my first big goal was to incorporate fitness into my life in a more manageable way. I wanted to do this by moving every single day. It did not have to be through high-intensity workouts. I would say that while I have done a lot better than the past several months, I have a ways to go with this one. My schedule is so flexible which has made it hard to make some things more routine, including working out. That is not an excuse though and I really need to do better. I have been working outside at least several days a week doing something physical which is great. I also have done some sort of yoga or workout several times a week with a couple good walks thrown in. Despite my schedule I need to work on this as something that I naturally work into my schedule. I have definitely missed days and I am still committee to this goal for this year.

The second goal I set for myself was to work toward finding a job a really love. I am proud to say that I feel like this month was a great one for me in this respect. I re-did my CV and am working on creating several different resumes that are tailored to specific types of jobs that I am interested in. I also finished my StrengthsFinder which I am so happy about and feel like I learned so much about myself from. I have schedule a meeting with my dad this week to talk about our results further and interpret them better. I really feel like I have been focused on finding what I enjoy and taking steps to get there. I also returned to the job I am currently in this month and have really liked be back.

Thirdly are my travel goals for the year. This month was actually pretty travel filled with an amazing ski vacation with my family in Steamboat Springs. I also travelled back to Indiana to finished up some work. Writing this post also has reminded me to schedule some planning time into next month. I really want to take a mini-weekend vacation in February even as well if it is just to visit a friend. So I definitely think this was not a priority for me this month but if I want to achieve a goal like this I have to be on top of things like planning, saving and flights. One thing that is kind of part of this is that I have stopped spending money (aside from the essentials) and I plan on keep saving until at least the end of February.

My final goal had to do with my friendships. This was actually the goal that inspired this post. I was listening to a new podcast last night and found a post on friendships and how to be a good friend. Aiden and I are also watching The Good Place (literally my new favorite show) and it definitely got me thinking about what it means to be good and what it means to be a good friend. While I have tried to schedule things in and talk to friends a lot I still think I can do way better. My goal for the month of February is to do something for (or talk to/get together with) one friend and one family member every single day. I am not including Aiden in this for February because we have been spending a lot of time together and I feel like that relationship is going really well.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on 2018 goals/resolutions and how this year has been going for you. Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful Tuesday.

Erin

Why I Love to Backpack

This is most definitely a very different post than any other I have done, however this part of me is so important that I decided I want to include more of it in my travel posts. Some may not take me for the type of person to pack up the essentials, throw it on my back and head into the great wilderness. The outdoorsy side of me is a major part of who I am and it is why I grew and changed in the ways I did. I think it is so important to have something that let’s you forget about our society for a brief period of time. Here I will share why I love to backpack so much:

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It allows me to clear my mind and free myself from consumerism for a bit: Don’t get me wrong I love to shop, the hunt for my favorite items of clothing and decor is way I do love to spend my time. However, I think it is important to find that place, activity etc… where everything else goes out the window and you can truly be yourself. No one judges and no one is watching. It is my way of unplugging from all of the noise for a bit in order to re-organize my thoughts and stay in touch with myself. So after my first backpacking trip 7 years ago I realized how free I feel when I am out there just with a few friends wandering the mountains. I have everything I need with me so all I have to worry about is slowly making my way to the final destination.

I gain lots of perspective: A part of what I gain on each and every backpacking trip is perspective on so many different aspects of life. Most of all though is perspective on myself relative to the rest of the world, how small I am in such a great world, how small humans are. There are so many other living things in the world and it does me lots of good to be reminded of how we as humans are not the only ones. It also reminds me to be grateful for everything I have. The wilderness can be a very humbling place as you can surround yourself with the sublimity of nature.

It is a relatively cheap way to travel: So there is a lot of gear involved in planning and implementing a large scale backpacking trip but there are lots of ways to do it on the cheap. Also, once you do have gear it is a very cheap way to travel. Over the years I have collected various pieces of backpacking equipment however there are ways to find things or rent for cheaper. Many colleges and universities have rental systems. Definitely not all places but those that have outdoor programs are sure to have a center which will rent to students and employees. Many also rent to community members. This is a great option if you have never been before and are not sure you will like it. Make sure, however, that you learn how to use equipment prior to going into the field. The Sierra Trading Post is a great place to find deals on gear as well as the REI garage sales. Clothing items (quick dry, fleece etc.) are things that can fairly easily be found in thrift stores. I may do a longer post on this in the future but in summary backpacking can be a great way to travel and see beautiful places without breaking the bank.

There is so much time to really get to know people: Backpacking trips have been the best way to truly get to know a person. There is so much time and space to talk and there is nothing to hide behind. I have made some of my best friends in having experiences like this, it really takes a friendship to an entirely new level. Going by yourself can be rewarding as well but I love backpacking with other people. It brings another aspect to the experiences and you can learn so much about the people you are with.

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Erin

Around the Web

Happy Monday! The weather is finally supposed to cool down by the end of this week and I am really looking forward to it. This week has been all over the place but there were a couple things that I was intrigued by, like this blog I linked, and several things that I think will be super useful, like the tips and tricks in this travel hack video. Here are my findings from around the internet!

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Travel Hacks Video: I don’t usually watch a ton of YouTube but I have found myself on there quite a bit more recently and this video popped up for me. It was actually incredibly useful, I am sure I will be using some of these hacks next time I travel. It definitely inspired me and I went straight to Skyscanner to check out flights around the world. I am really wanting to travel more right now but I am definitely on a budget since I just graduated from college.

Town & Country’s Fall Movies: So one of my goals for the month of October is to watch lots of halloween movies, or halloween related movies which would included anything autumn. I know of a few greats that I watch almost every year but my hope is that by making this a goal I will find some movies I’ve never seen before. This list was a great addition for me because I had not thought of any of them and I decided that really including anything fall is a great way to go.

Penny Loafers: Watching Nancy Drew again really sparked my love of penny loafers again. I linked the Everlane website because I just love so many of their shoes but there are lots of great options out there. I recently bought ones from Nordstrom which I will be sharing in a post later this week but I also am loving these Talbots loafers (they also have the cutest equestrian embellished flats). The amazing thing about loafers is that they look so classy but are very comfortable and great for walking around.

A Clothes Horse: I found this blog while just browsing on Bloglovin and I was struck by the gorgeous photographs. I just love the colors and vibe. It is the essence of fall and I can’t wait to read more of her posts.

iNaturalist: This website has been around for a little while but I recently discovered it and it is a pretty cool resource. If you are going on a trip or spot some creature and would like to know what it is this website is a great way to find out. It crowd sources species identification and lets you contribute to science. I would definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you are going somewhere you know you will see lots of wildlife.

Erin

Maine Travel Diary

Day 1: This first day was mostly just driving up to Ellsworth, ME from North Dartmouth, Rhode Island. We stayed in Dartmouth to make the drive a little bit easier. There was quite a bit of traffic so it took us five to six hours to drive there. After getting dinner we drove the 30 minutes to Beech Hill Pond where the house we rented was. The lake was so beautiful and pretty much all of the houses on the water have docks where was great because we were able to swim a bunch. A couple people ran into town to get some grocery’s and other necessary items.

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Day 2: So for the second day we took it easy and got settled in. There was a great wrap around porch so after breakfast outside we blew up the tubes we bought in town and hopped in the water.

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Day 3: This day was probably my highlight of the entire summer. We spent the day in Acadia National Park and it was absolutely beautiful. There are so many amazing trails with beaches, mountains and wild blueberries! We did a shorter hike called Gorham Mountain Trail which wound up one of the smaller mountains and provided some incredible coastal views. I would highly recommend visiting the park in the off season however because it was very crowded. Parking was so crazy that we decided to take the shuttle which was a good move (although in peak season the shuttle even gets full). It was just such a beautiful park and I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit. After our day hiking we headed to Bar Harbor to walk the town and enjoy some delicious food. The town is very tourist so it was also very crowded but it is so cute with amazing restaurants, ice cream parlors and artesian shops.  We went to Geddy’s for lobster dinners and to Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium for dessert (there as so many options though!).

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Day 4: This was the most foggy and drizzly day we had. It is actually a beautiful way to experience Maine though because the harbors are so beautiful and peaceful in the fog. We went to Schoodic Point and drove around the beautiful coast. We made a point of visiting all of the artesian shops we could find. There were some amazing pottery studios and one right on the water. We walked around the tide pools after observing the artist’s work. We also went to a studio which made big granite sculpture out of the rock right there on the property. For lunch we ate some fried lobster, scallops and smoked salmon at a great little dinner on the coast.

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Day 5: Yesterdays tide pools inspired us to find some more the next day. We went to Mccellan State Park first to visit the tide pools. It is such a pretty area and we even met some researchers doing work on bird diet in tidal areas. Next we went to an area referred to as the reverse falls. It is an area where the river creates some rapids but they switch direction with the change in tide. It was pretty interesting and there is a great coast line there. We had burritos for lunch at a delicious Mexican restaurant. Next we drove to the Maine Sea Salt company and took a tour of their facility which was incredibly interesting. We also got to try out all their different salts (there were surprising numbers of different flavors). My personal favorite was the herb salt. They have several different smoked varieties as well, where they use different types of wood to infuse different flavors during the smoking process. Our final stop was Pebble Beach just further than the sea salt company. It is an amazing beach because it is made entirely of these smooth pebbles and the sound they make when the waves crash into them is one of a kind (so hard to even describe!).

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Day 6: Most of this day we spent just hanging out on the lake. We did some more swimming in the cool fresh water and explored the area. For dinner we went to a Lobster Pound in Trenton. It was so delicious and quite the experience for me since I had never been to one before! We got some firewood on the way back and made s’mores. The evening was finished with some star gazing over the lake. It was a perfectly clear night so we were graced with an amazing view and lots of shooting stars.

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Day 7: Our final day a rainy one but we made it out into town regardless. First we played mini golf outside Ellsworth (I lost but it was still a blast). We then drove around some more finding other art studios. We even met an artist couple who went to the same college at me! I had my last fix of lobster for the summer in the form of a lobster roll. We ended the day at the L.L. Bean outlet in Ellsworth where I bought a sweater and some cozy socks for fall.

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Top American Eagle, Trench ASOS, Mules Nordstrom, Bag Nordstrom

Day 8: It was such a sad day to be driving back because the weather was so beautiful. We got a late start so I got to enjoy one last morning breakfast on the lake before packing up and heading out. The drive back to New Jersey took nearly the whole day. We did stop in Portland though for some lunch!

I truly cannot wait to go back to Maine. It has quickly become on of my favorite places with its gorgeous landscapes, cool weather and abundance of seafood. I highly recommend this trip. I do warn you however one week is definitely not enough time to see all of Maine. I could have stayed the whole summer!

Erin

A Day in Newport

Newport is one of the most picturesque and classic towns in all of Rhode Island. I mention in an earlier post our day trip to Newport’s Bowen’s Warf but I wanted to dedicate a whole post to what we did and what there is to do in Newport since it is such an amazing place that often finds its way onto many travel bucket lists. I have been multiple times before, mostly to visit the mansions and enjoy the beautiful flower shows. This time my sister and I left in the morning and shopped the boutique’s on the warf. We stopped for lunch at Gary’s Handy Lunch which was is cheap and quick diner food that was great for us since we had to meet our cousin shortly after. However, the dining opportunities are definitely ones to take advantage of here. The seafood is incredible and there are so many seaside views, it can definitely get expensive though. I would save for a few really nice delicious meals and find the cheaper places or grocery shop for the rest.

We found some great shops including the KJP store on Bowen’s Warf, Island Outfitters, Coast to Country and Vintage to Vogue. There are so many other great shops and prices definitely vary so check it out if you see something you like (you never know). Some shops like KJP have such beautiful decorations that it is fun to just have a look around and get some inspiration.

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In the later afternoon we met up with Aiden and his family to do the Cliff Walk along the coast. It is beautiful because you get the amazing ocean views with gorgeous mansions on the other side. I highly recommend this and other than parking it is completely free (parking isn’t too bad). Along those same lines, visiting any of the mansions is a great experience. The Breakers is the most famous and has a great walk through tour available. I have done several in the past and I learned some interesting history for sure.

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There are definitely many other things to do if you are doing a longer stay (which I highly recommend). There are sailing tours and boat rides along with many other fun water activities. Hitting the beach is also a must if you are there for a few days, it is beautiful!

Erin

Milkshakes in Spring Lake

Last week we drove to the coast for a day to grab our favorite milkshakes at Hoffman’s and walk the boardwalk in Spring Lake for Aiden’s birthday. We got down just in time to enjoy the ocean and eat sandwiches at Tom Bailey’s Market (seriously an amazing deli). The rain started just as a were leaving, making our timing impeccable because it didn’t just rain, it was a torrential downpour. Spring Lake is such a cute little town with some huge beautiful houses. I love just walking the streets and looking at the architecture and gorgeous gardens.

Spring Lake is a great alternative to the popular Ocean City on the New Jersey coast. There are great shops, rental houses and a beautiful beach. I have only ever eaten at Tom Bailey’s but I have heard great things about the pizza place and other restaurants in the town. Hoffman’s milkshakes are amazing but it does get so crowded. Try to go earlier, like take a break from the beach, because it is insane and very difficult to park starting around 3:00pm.

I seem to be drawn to blue and white right now. Almost all of my outfits have been some variant of blue with white. It is definitely a great combination for beach towns though! This dress is pretty old but so comfortable and great for almost any activity.

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Dress old (I’ve been looking for the vendor and will update), Basket bag Longaberger, Sandals American Eagle

Erin

Cambridge City

This past weekend brought many adventures, one of which was a trip to one of the antiquing capitals of the US. We drove through several towns along highway 40 to get the the small but rather well known Cambridge City. There is an abundance of antique shops lining the main streets. Our first stop was  the one little shop that sells ice cream, fudge and other delicious treats. Main Street Sweets is so picturesque and you can even get lunch! We got ice cream since it was so hot out. After enjoying this adorable little shop we moved on through the antique shops lining Main Street. Almost every shop sold antiques and multiple vendors were housed in each shop.

I am not really in a place to be buying big things but this is such a worth it place to visit to find those decor gems. I bought two little vintage bird cards but had my eye on so many things! There were some great old hat boxes, clutches and pins that caught my eye and I am sure I will be back for another visit. I highly recommend checking it out if you are driving along I-70. Centerville is just ten minutes down the road and also has quite the number of antique shops and a few worth it restaurants.

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Dress Ralph Lauren Denim and Supply for Macy’s (on sale!), Sandals American Eagle, Bag Longaberger

It is such a cute little town where you can definitely find some hidden gems. There were some great pieces of furniture, stunning jewelry and the occasional basket bag.

Erin