Thursday, October 4, 2018

Throwback Travel Thursday | Utah National Parks

In August 1999, my family planned weekend trip to Southern Utah to explore a few national beauties. My parents took me and my two oldest sisters and packed up the car before we left on our summer road trip. At that point, all of us were professional road trippers. I remember my Dad hooking up our little T.V. to the car for our entertainment and each sister got to grab a few favorite VCRs for the drive. I would always pack books, notebooks, pens or colored pencils and usually my toy of choice at the time. 

On our trip we made a number of pit stops. One of them was Bryce Canyon, the park that is best known for it's unusual geology and unique landscapes. I remember reaching this overlook that put on display the vibrant orange colors. I remember thinking how beautiful it was. I couldn't get over the fact that I felt like we were on top of the world out here, but I knew I had to make sure to be safe around the wooden barrier. 

We also spent a day with our cousins hiking to Calf Creek Falls.  It's about a 5 miles hike there and back which couldn't have been that difficult right? I remember hiking and walking and feeling so tired without really understanding why were doing this? My questions were quickly answered when the waterfall came into view. I was captivated at the rushing water plummeting down into the small pool below, generating a soft mist around the border. I remember playing with cousins in the water and thinking how cool it would be to live there. 

One day I'll have to go back to this place and recreate this memory. My parents always made sure to take good care of us and gave us new opportunities to explore and discover. It was days like that that made my childhood rad, and I am so grateful to my parents for giving us everything that did.

Thanks for Reading
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Love, Nick

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

30 Days without Social Media

Does Twitter, Facebook or Instagram dictate our lives more than we think? Does it really have that much control over the decisions we make? Once I came to the honest realization that I spend an obscene amount of time scrolling through pointless Facebook feeds and Instagram stories, I began comparing myself to everybody I was following. I was envious of someone's adventures to new countries, I was in awe of someone's workout regiment and toned physique, and I admired the perfect profile photo with the wittiest captions and killer filter choice. I began feeling like  my life was boring, lifeless and bland with no purpose.

I have to admit though, I have a love hate relationship with social media. I get that there is a lot of good that can come from it. It's kind of like modern day scrap booking. You get to share the highlights of your life with friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. You have the opportunity to reconnect with old classmates from your childhood and catch up on what's been going on the past 10 years. We have to remember that people's profiles are strictly highlight reels with only the best they have to offer. Who wouldn't want to remember the greatest memories from our lives? But, when does that pose or place or person, all become a facade, a mask that we hide behind. I was determined to take a break, to remember what it was like to be disconnected. 

I decided to start my "cleanse" from social media the day after my birthday. I was excited to take a much needed break from that weird feeling of having to double check everything when it came to Facebook or Instagram. I'm much more of an social observer than a poster anyway, but I still felt the unexplainable attachment to checking feeds was very apparent.

The first things I began to notice is that my days became longer. I wasn't wasting nearly as much time on the couch mindlessly scrolling through photos and videos. I would get bored of the T.V. pretty quickly and either start cleaning and straightening up. I would also started more side projects like organizing my office and cleaning out the garage. I realized I started to get to bed sooner. I wasn't sitting up in the middle of the night watching make up tutorials or cute animal videos. I just went to bed when I felt tired and fell right asleep! On nights that I would go out with friends, I felt so much more present! I enjoyed the drinks, the food and even the conversations seemed more interactive. I even felt like my memory improved a little because I couldn't rely on notifications from social media to keep me in the loop. 

About half way through the experiment is when I actually began to "miss" social media. I probably heard, "Well didn't you see her snap chat last night?" over 50 times. This reaction would often lead to feelings of being left out of particular conversations whenever friends posted something supposedly monumental. I had no idea what she was talking about so obviously I asked her what her post was about. As if it were off putting to make her explain something that she already posted for everyone! Needless to say I dropped the topic quickly and commented on something else.

Whenever I came home from a long day of work, I didn't want to do anything. I wanted to be lazy and take a break, which made it pretty hard to not to get on social media. I had to occupy my mind with something else. I then began to think of my to do list. I would ask myself, what's something I could get done today that I've needed to do for a while?  It wouldn't take long for me to get going which made my days become more valuable. I was able to keep track of time better and accomplished the little things that tend to pile up!

In Conclusion, everyone needs to to take an honest break from social media every so often. You don't realize how much it affects you until it's gone. I'm considering for another experiment, I could see how long I go without it to see what that would feel like!

Thank you for reading!
What other kind of "social experiments" should I try?
Love, Nick

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!