Thursday, September 6, 2018

My Traveling Diaries | My 25th Birthday in Zion National Park

Sunlight peaked through the open windows welcoming a cold breeze into my In-Law's camper. I opened my eyes and stretched my arms and my back. I had just woke up in Zion National Park where we planned a canyoneering trip through Pine Creek Canyon while simultaneously celebrating my 25th birthday! 

We started our mid-morning trek to the canyon. This canyon in my opinion is for intermediate/experienced climbers and hikers. Some argue that it's easy, but people were turning around at the very beginning that decided not to do it. It's a canyon that gets more intense as you go deeper inside. The easiest part is at the beginning so if it's something you don't feel comfortable doing, then you better turn around! We were sharing canyon the with multiple groups so we let the smaller groups go in front of us.

Rappelling is one of my favorite things because there is little effort that goes into it. Once you know the proper technique and rules of staying safe, then you channel your inner Tom Cruise and imagine yourself descending into the abyss while singing the Mission Impossible theme song. The water was freezing cold which was made bearable with wet suits, but that was nothing compared to the gorgeous beauty of the slot canyons! The layers of curving rock cascading high into the sky felt like something out of a desert dream.

Swimming through the canyon was wild. You can't touch the bottom and you have no idea how far down it goes. The only wild life I saw was a frog and a dead tarantula. When you're climbing, hiking or rappelling, you have a chance to forget about your problems and take a break. We all need to take moments to disconnect with everyday responsibilities and soak up the beauty of the world.

After hours of hiking and taking a dip down a natural water slide into a spring, we knew we had a long hike ahead of us back to the road. We climbed through parts of a boulder field to find the trail out the mouth of the canyon. We were so exhausted and tired but kept pushing along the path passing through aspen trees and mini cacti. The sun was beating down hard, heating up our skin. The moment that we saw the road, I took the biggest sigh of relief!

After stripping off our wet suits and putting on dry clothes, everyones bellies began to rumble. Since I was the birthday girl, I got to pick where we went to dinner. I love Italian food so I chose the Zion Pizza & Noodle Company in Springdale, Utah. We enjoyed amazing pasta and delicious pizza. Even the gluten free pizza was really good! After being on our feet for over 5 hours, it felt so good to sit down.

We drove back to the campsite to get cleaned up. We stayed inside the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. It is the perfect place for everyone coming to visit Zion. Great campsites, amenities and staff that are so kind and friendly. My Mother-In-Law baked a cake for me and I opened up a few presents. As the night went on, not even a sugar rush from cake could keep me from dozing off. It was a wonderful day with the family I love. Everyone should experience Zion at least once in their life! It's no wonder this place gets over 4 million visitors per year. It's a scenic, beautiful and an incredible place to be.

Thanks for Reading!
Have you ever been to Zion National Park?
Love, Nick

I've been keeping my eye on #61 from my bucket list for quite some time now and it only took me half a second to decide that this year I was crossing it off. For 3 weeks I saved up a budget, ordered some gear and plotted my course for exploring one of the most iconic National Parks in United States history.

I have no idea what it is about the UFC, but I can't get enough of it. I'm not sure if it just stems from the bonding time I had with my Dad over the entire Rocky series when I was younger, but wow there is something about those fights that are exhilarating! This was my first ever UFC event I've attended and I got the chance to meet one of my favorite fighters of all time!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Books I've Read | The Secret

How did you find this book?
Seth and I were meandering around a book store in my hometown a few years ago. He noticed one book in particular and grabbed it off of the shelf. He decided to buy it for me as an early Valentine's Day gift. I realized a week ago that I never ended up finishing the book, so I decided to grab it and re-read it cover to cover.

Why did you decide to read it?
It came highly recommended by my dear love; he mentioned that he agreed with a lot of the concepts and principles it provides. It;s a small enough book that I knew I could get it done fairly quickly, but I ended spending more time pondering and thinking after each chapter I read.

What is it about?
It's about the Law of Attraction. It has been a secret that has been around since the very beginning, known by scholars, inventors, artists and millionaires alike. The book gives you examples, real life stories and rules about how to use the secret to be able to manifest anything you want in this life.

Did you learn anything new?
The thing that I loved most about this book is that the last chapter or two. It is the best confidence booster I've received in a long time. One of the greatest things I learned was that every choice you make brings the outcome that you decided on. It makes you realize that you have an insane amount of power, and that if you can change the way you think and focus on only positive things, then only positive things will come to you! Along with attracting only positive thoughts, it taught that love is one of the most powerful forces out there. If you would like a full synopsis of the here.

Would you recommend it to a friend/family member?
Absolutely! This book is for anyone who has found themselves in a pit not knowing how to get out of it. This book is great for people who are looking for a boost in life, something that can help project them to success and figure out what they need to do to reach that success. It's a book that you could keep with you in a bag or backpack and reference it anytime you need a reminder of your worth and the power you have in life.

Thanks For Reading!
I'm always looking for more to read
What are some of your favorite books?
Love, Nick

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I Tried A Pole Dancing Class

Is it true that pole dancing is an actual workout that takes a lot of strength, flexibility and endurance? Have you ever wanted to know how to dance on a pole? The idea has always intrigued me and when a few girlfriends decided to book a Sunday class, I was all for it! We went to the ONYX Pole and Aerial Fitness Studio, a local hot spot that offers multiple pole, hula hoop and silk classes!

Photo Source | ONYX Studio Facebook
Our instructor Emily was full of energy, sass and excitement. We started things out with a brisk workout moving our heads, hips, arms and legs. We were moving our bodies and getting warmed up to familiar music. After stretching our legs and shaking things out, we were ready to learn a few basic moves. We learned specific grabs and positions and started piecing together combinations. 

There were about 12 other girls in the class of all shapes and sizes on completely different skill levels. The group was comprised of returning fans and curious beginners. Before getting to the studio, I started to get a little nervous. I had no idea what to expect! I didn't want to make a fool out of myself, but the truth is I never once felt insecure or embarrassed about what I was doing. In fact, our instructor was usually the one keeping everyone laughing and enjoying their workout! I was trying, slipping, sliding and re positioning a lot, but I had fun doing it! Emily would make sure to answer all the questions we had and gave visual pointers and showed the moves play by play.

I had a lot of fun spending time with friends and trying something new to get my heart rate up, but I had no idea how sore I would be the next day! It was like my body had ran a few miles the day before. I managed to find a couple bumps and bruises, but hey, that's how serious it gets on the pole! Engaging your core through every move while adding your own personal flow to each move takes a lot of strength and control. It was great to meet new people and take a moment for myself. Not only did I get a great workout, but I got to enjoy myself, feel myself and take an afternoon to try something new!

Have you ever tried pole dancing? What did you think?
Thanks for Reading!
Love, Nick

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Journal Prompt | My Favorite Year

My year as a 22 year-old, also known as "the Taylor Swift" year, was the time I had a lot of learning and growing to do as a person. This year of my life I had accomplished one of the biggest and coolest goals on my bucket list that I never knew if the opportunity would present itself or not. I was spending almost every weekend with a man I was dating over the summer months. I was crazy about him and getting nervous to leave in September. I was simultaneously preparing for one of the biggest trips of my life. I was planning on spending 3 months on an internship in the Philippines. I was absolutely terrified to go somewhere that was on the completely opposite side of the planet. I didn't know how things would be between the two of us, but in my heart I knew that whatever would happen would happen and that if we were meant to be together we would be together. 

I still remember the night before I left the country, I remember every moment so clearly from boarding the plane, landing in the Philippines and the cramped ride home in the most humid and hot air I've ever experienced.  After getting over the first initial culture shock of a foreign country, I fell in love with the Philippines. The people, the food and the all around welcoming and happy lifestyles these people had. They loved touching my face and my hair and were always willing to cook myself and the other interns food. Three months of teaching and traveling went by far too quickly. I would miss home every so often and think about the people back in the states. But I came back home with a newly discovered sense of confidence, independence and outlook on life.

It didn't take long for me to pick back up right where I left off. Who would've known that the boy I secretly loved, actually loved me back? After slightly forcing Seth to define our relationship, (which totally went in my favor), we traveled to Colorado to meet his parents. I will say I was always really good at charming Parents. This was his way of putting me through the test to see if his Mom actually approved of me or not, and luckily she's been on my side ever since! We had talked about marriage only in passing but it was only a few months later when he decided to get down on one knee in the place where it all started. I was in shock! I had no idea he felt so strongly about us, about me, but we decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. So, I would say that this year of my life came with the most changes and all of the emotions, but boy was it fun!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The 7 Roommates I Had In College

Welcome to the land where teenage angst learns about adult responsibility. A place where sleep deprived and over caffeinated students sit and scribble notes hour after hour. Navigating the quickest walking routes from building to building and class to class. Students come in many shapes and sizes, with personality quirks, study habits and strange ticks that could take some time getting used to.

If you choose to live on your own and away from your parents (first of all, good for you), you're going to encounter many different kinds of roommates. You'll have good ones, bad ones and all the passive aggressive in-betweeners. I loved living out on my own and I loved having my own space. I met a lot of new people that I wouldn't have been able too without the help of my roommates. Here are the few personalities that I lived without throughout my educational journey...

The Tomboy Cowgirl
This kind of roommate is a very simple and practical person to live with. She's really just focused on finishing up her classes so she can get back to what she cares about, so don't worry if she chooses to ignore you most of the time. You'll learn more about horses than you ever thought possible, plus she's very clean and tidy.

The Deer-In-Headlights
A normal conversation can be difficult with this one. Simple greetings like "hello" and "see you later" will be sufficient for the first couple weeks, but be wary of topics you choose and interactions you make at breakfast. Social encounters are not her strong suit. Absolutely anything could startle this roommate, causing long awkward silences and intense stare downs. If her eyes went any wider, her eyeballs would pop out of her sockets.

The Perfect Match
If you find somebody who can follow the chore chart like a champ and offers her leftovers to you, then it's going to be a good year. I was nervous to share a room with somebody, but when I met my perfect match, everything was really great. We respected each others stuff and privacy. She was kind, friendly and open to the people I brought over and was an all around fantastic roommate.

The Music & Art Junkie
She may or may not come out of her room very much, but when shes does, she will talk your ear off about anything and everything. You could stay up until 3 o'clock in the morning with her snacking and chatting about her travels, artwork, fashion, music and life. She may even be let you borrow her cute boots for an upcoming date. She'll be one of the easiest persons to get along with and become someone you aspire to be.

The Narcissist
A fantastic sleuth and gossip guzzler, she'll want to know all the juicy details of your life that you don't really care for her to know about. She'll back off once she realizes she can't get anything out of you, so she'll just start filling up the conversational void with how good the sex was with her boyfriend last night.

The Couch Queen
This is the only kind of person that is patient enough and capable of watching all 10 seasons of Friends twice in one semester. Quiet and mostly to herself, makes this roommate easy to lounge with on lazy afternoons. She'll usually bounce between shows and offer you some of her delicious chicken enchiladas or chicken alfredo that she made that night.

The Bad Ass Who Turns BFF
She'll give you all the confidence you need after a harsh break up or a bad day at work. She'll take you out swing dancing, rock climbing or go grab food with you. Even after years of living together, you'll still be able to check in with her and pick up where you left off. She's always given you sound advice and is always down to adventure. She'll even show up at your wedding!

The Psychopath
If circumstances were different, then it could've played out differently but if she decides to be defensive right off the bat, territorial, extremely judgmental and refuse to pay her portion of the utility bill...then you're going to have a hard time getting along with her.

If this is your first time moving in with strangers, don't over think it too much. In my opinion, if you just do your part in cleaning up and being respectful of space and belongings then you'll do just fine! Who knows, maybe you'll meet one of the greatest people ever and you'll bond over building blanket forts, hiking mountains and film a few funny videos together!

Are you on a budget? Do you need to save money?
Honey, you are not alone in that department. The key to successful bargain shopping is by taking advantage of the 5 golden rules. You'll be saving money in no time!

Are you planning a camping trip?
Is it your first time out in the wild? Have no fear! Check out a compilation of some of the best tips, tricks and packing lists!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My Traveling Diaries | 2018 | Boise, Idaho, USA | UFC Fight Night

I have no idea what it is about the UFC, but I can't get enough of it. I'm not sure if it just stems from the time I was bonding with my Dad over the entire Rocky series together when I was younger, but wow something about those fights are exhilarating!

We arrived in Boise around 3:00 on Saturday. We checked in at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel. We grabbed an early dinner at the Taphouse pub before heading to the fights. It was the same weekend as the Boise Comic Con, so the fact that Wookies, Storm Troopers and anime characters were walking by was pretty normal! Every now and then we would hear hoots and hollers from Boise Bike Bars, which is essentially a bar on wheels. People singing and waving to onlookers as they rode by drinking beer while pedaling a 7 man bike.

After dinner, we had made it just in time for the pre-lim fights. Everybody's eyes were glued to the cage watching every calculated move of the fighters. We waited in line to grab a few drinks and then searched for our seats. Match after match, we would pick the athlete we thought would win and decide after each round who fought better. The only downside of the night was that it was ridiculously hot with zero chance of cooling down, and yet the energy and excitement of the crowd and fighters made the entire night worth it! It was so much fun to see some favorite fighters (like Chad Mendez) bring home the win. We capped off the night with some late night Mexican food at The Matador.

The next morning we planned to grab breakfast at the Juniper on 8th, an industrial, hipster and timey kitchen and bar that serves delicious breakfast and lunch. We meandered around downtown to find the Freak Alley Gallery and look at beautiful local art painted on the sides of buildings. We walked through a few furniture stores and boutique shops selling succulents, jewelry, books and handcrafted letters.

We packed our things up back at the hotel and were getting ready for the drive back to the Utah when we ran into Urijah Faber at the hotel. Seth knows how big of a fan I am of him, and also the fact that I have a huge crush on him...he asked if I could snag a picture with him. It was so cool to meet the guy that I'll usually watch his own highlight footage of over and over!

On the drive back home we made a few scenic stops along the way. We walked along a bridge crossing Snake River and drove to Shoshone Falls which is actually 36 feet higher than Niagara Falls and is considered one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States!

Not only did I get to cross "Attend A UFC Fight" off my Bucket List, but I made some incredible memories with great friends. I really love coming to Boise, it's such a cool place that often gets overlooked. There is always so much to do there and I can't wait to get back!
By the way, did I mention I met Urijah Faber?

Thanks For Reading
Love, Nick