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As we all have experienced in life, if we’ve ever been in relationships, is that dating is weird.

You start fresh with each new love interest. Finding that you discover a new part of yourself that this individual brings out in you.

It’s exciting, nerve wracking and leaves you vulnerable for rejection. Giving you all the feels. Slipping back and forth between feeling like you’re Beyonce with unexpected boosts of Kanye confidence to giving you whiplash, reverting back to your twelve your old self in middle school with wild insecurities. Some overanalyze the text messages, the emoji’s used, or lack thereof, others deciphering if those likes and comments on another beautiful person’s Instagram pic means they’re totally doing it or if they’re not even the slightest bit interested in being in a monogamous relationship.

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And with the use of Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and all these other dating apps, it makes it so easy to find someone new if a potential relationship starts to show signs of flopping.

However, as of lately, my biggest problem when it comes to dating, isn’t so much the nerves or doubt in the beginning phases, but in the fixed biological state of someone’s time here on earth. Yes, I am talking about age.

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Have you ever noticed that whenever men date younger women, it doesn’t seem to make a ripple of shock or disbelief in society? However, when a woman dates a younger man, they are considered to be a cougar or “robbing the cradle.”

For me, my rule was that I would never date someone my sisters ages or younger. I am the oldest of five girls and if a boy was in the same grade as my younger sisters or the same age as them, I simply couldn’t stomach it. Well, no one has the control to choose their age. So is it worth it to give these younger men a shot?

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Well, with this ‘experiment,’ I allowed myself to innocently date a few guys younger than me. [Disclaimer: I am 25 years old, and younger to me is anything above 18.]

Let me briefly tell you my experience.

| Coworker Crush |

At one my jobs (I won’t reveal which one), I found myself crushing on a younger guy. I told my roomie about him briefly, and he looked at me and laughed, saying how unfair it was that I would consider not dating someone based off of their age. He was 22 and my younger sister is about to be 24. No thanks. However, I think most can attest to this, that no matter where you work, there is always a spark of interest for someone, even if only briefly. It happens when you’re around them in the workplace and you get to know their personalities on an entirely different level. Or maybe it’s the rebellious nature of the “don’t date your coworkers,” the unspoken rule, that makes it alluring.

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Months later and I agreed to go on a super innocent date, walked around the city, got a few drinks and talked about our future dreams and aspirations. Afterwards, he hoped to have a future date and I reluctantly agreed. Not because I didn’t have a great time, but because I wasn’t sure about getting involved with a coworker, and I didn’t really know if I liked him or if it was merely the idea of him. I had recently gotten out of a very interesting relationship and I wasn’t trying to dive back into one.

A few days later, I found that he had a girlfriend.

Thank God nothing happened, but still, what was going through this kids mind?

| Coco Lover |

Imagine; tall dark and handsome. Great hair, teeth and arms out of a Nike magazine. Skin the color of a tropical tan, naturally. He was only a year and a half younger than me, so I thought… Why not. He’s handsome and acts mature enough. This fling lasted a few months and honestly was a great time, but there were a few red flags I should have noticed. And maybe I did notice them, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a long term thing, so I blindly accepted them for what they were.

I invited my sister out, she was visiting from Wisconsin and I wanted to take her out with Coco Lover and myself. We went to a few clubs downtown and soon enough Coco Lover and I were separated, first asking me if I cared if he did a bit of cocaine. I looked at him, not really sure why he was asking for my permission, and said ‘You do you boo’. My sister looked at me wide eyed and said, I know he’s really cute but I feel more mature than him.

My sister and I took advantage of our time together and made our way to the dance floor with our newly introduced friends. My sister went to grab a drink and I stayed, dancing to Rhianna’s song probably exactly like this;

On her way to the bar my sister runs into Coco Lover and says, “Hey, why aren’t you dancing with my sister?” He responded by saying “Oh, I want her to get to know my friends”. She looked at him and said “I get that, but I’m sure she’d love to dance with you too”.

He went on to explain to her that he has a five and two rule. He will hangout with a girl for five days straight and then leave the remaining two days to go their separate ways. But, that I was “hot enough” and that he was going to give me another chance. I wish I could’ve seen the look on my sisters face. She responded by saying “yeah.. she’s pretty..” and he interrupted her saying “no, she’s hot. I think by then she responded with an open mouth gesture and walked away.

My sister found me a few minutes later and told me the conversation that just took place. I was half mortified, half entertained that this guy actually thinks he can put me, or any other girl into a category such as that shallow one. I grabbed Coco Lovers hand and told him to go ahead and take a seat next to me. He looked a bit confused but I was giggling so hard on the inside seeing this ‘confident’ boy squirm.

“I see you had the chance to talk to my sister”, he responded “Oh.. yeah, did she tell you about my rule?” I played dumb of course, and told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He continued to explain his adorable dating game and I sat there nodding, noticing his confidence quickly drift out to sea.

At the end, I told him not to get cocky and how did he know I wasn’t a “Five and two girl.” I don’t think he knew how to respond to this, and shortly after we parted and I left without another word.

| Aussie Summertime Sadness |

I met a brilliantly handsome guy while living in Australia. And then I found out he was 21. At the time, I would’ve been 23, so it wasn’t a detrimental situation, but it wasn’t ideal. He was an Olympic swimmer and the connections he had with my Ironman host dad was not optimal either. We went on a few dates, one included walking by Cronulla beach during the summer, stars overhead and salty air surrounding us. It was what every American girl dreams of. It was fun and easy. Someone interesting to talk to and easy to admire with his baby blue eyes.

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A few weeks later, a few Au Pair friends and I went out to a local bar/club on the beach in Cronulla just across the street from the ocean. It was a Sunday arvo, the most popular days at the infamous Northies Hotel. We all grabbed a few drinks and headed to the dance floor. Keep in mind, Aussie swimmer and I were only IRL friends (in real life) and we hadn’t made the step to be friends on any social media… that means, no Facebook, no Insta, only the inevitable Snapchat of course.

Seconds later on the dance floor and I spotted Aussie swimmer and his GIRLFRIEND pashing in the middle of the floor (passionately making out). Well now.

I would like to blame it on the age, but realistically, he was just a cheating muppet.

Is it the lack of experience that tricks their molding minds into thinking they can juggle different women simultaneously? Could it be because they feel they are too young to conjecture being tied down?

There are heaps of stories of successful relationships regardless of age differences. However, unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing such love yet.

My personal belief is that boys are typically less mature than woman, and in the end it depends on life experiences, empathy, honesty, and compatibility. And even though I’m basing these stories on age, it varies from each individual and each partnership.

Ultimately, if you find love with a man 30 years older, 15 years younger, or days from your Birthdate, you do you boo. As long as it’s legal and consensual, then you’re the only one who can determine what makes you happy.

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Are there any stories out there that have proved to work with a substantial age gap or with someone younger? I’d love to hear them!

xx

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“A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found the average user checks their phone nearer to 150 times per day. In its annual Internet Trends report, carried out in May this year, found that people check their phones, on average, 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for voice calls and 18 times to get the time.”

I want to commence my own experiment.

Nearing to year 2016, the rate at which technology is booming and relevant/dependent to nearly every person older than 12 months old, astounds me. I’ve mentioned it before, the liking on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Instagram hearts, the favoriting of tweets on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, the Tumblrs, blogs, anything social media-dipped has become arguably more real and common than the seemingly medieval face to face interaction.

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For example, I made a list of the things I use my iPhone for and I surprised myself with how dependent I have become on my phone.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Camera
  • Alarm clock
  • Calendar
  • Communication (family, friends, boss, coworkers)
  • Music (iTunes, SoundCloud, Youtube, Pandora, Spotify, Shazam)
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Blog
  • Nike running app
  • Flights
  • Dropbox
  • WordPress
  • Snapchat
  • Notes
  • Bank account app
  • Texting
  • Calling
  • Pinterest
  • Emails
  • Maps (GPS saves me more than anything)
  • Weather
  • Calculator
  • Mobile Skype
  • FaceTime

There are billions I could list that people use their iPhones for. The options are endless with an app hungry world. Information at our fingertips, answers to questions we might type furiously into google for an answer.

I was thinking about how many times a day I touch my phone. And I realized, I don’t even want to know.

It’s almost embarrassing how long we can stay away from our phones without checking them. Go into a restaurant and see which ones have their phones out.

At concerts;

This one was Justin Bieber in Sydney when I took my 9 year old I used to nanny to his show, look at the sea of phones.

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Now look closer;

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Glance outside and see who’s on their phones walking.

Notice drivers with a phone in their hands, texting or talking on their phones.

Watch when two people part and how instinctively each grab their phones as if they cannot be alone for more than 2 seconds.

Months ago, when I decided I wanted to do an experiment on my own, I decided on a 3 day cleanse without my phone. I was going to go cold turkey without social media and peel myself away from using the internet on my computer as well. Turn it off for 3 days, or for the sake of needing it for an alarm clock, merely turning it onto airplane mode and see how life went.

Well, as life would have it… My phone decided to take a dive into the ocean while on vacation, so before I could choose when to start the experiment, mother nature had another plan for me. Since I was in a different country, the absence of my phone was not the biggest ordeal. When on vacation, there is no set time to wake up, no meetings to attend, no communication needed between coworkers or emails to ardently respond to. Life is never real on vacation.

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Fast forward 4 days and I land in New York, phone-less.

I have no way to communicate with the outer world, I have no alarm clock or even a work schedule that was waiting for me diligently in my calendar… on my phone. No phone numbers, no cellular connection to post my beautiful pictures from Bermuda. I just sat there and watched my family around me get lost in their technological worlds while I sat and observed, empty handed. Was this device becoming a basic need to function? Such as food, water, shelter and love? I bet I just got matched with a potential love of my life on Tinder! And I will never see it to know.

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I arrive in Portland, Oregon at midnight from NYC, feeling akin to a middle schooler trying to find an alarm clock to wake my useless body up to in my local Walmart. How else was I going to wake up in time for work? If I was even scheduled.

Turns out, I missed my 5am shift at my first job and made it on time to my second job just in time to turn around and go back home since the world seemed to be moving underneath me as if I was still on the boat in Bermuda. I guess the color of my face sent me home packing.

A few panic attacks later and some self exploring, I realized the things that I imagined being so vital and important to my life right now, are mostly distractions.

After the initial shock and frustrations of being phone-less, I noticed my stress levels drop dramatically. I was no longer concerned about checking my phone or replying to texts (when I already struggle with the crazy fast response, or 5 days later syndrome).

I was forced to live in the moment, the here and now. Finding a way to tap into mindfulness and focus. It caused me to plan ahead, to cease the endless scrolling from one app to another. In fact, the feeling of being divorced from my phone was freeing. No one could get a hold of me and I could take those few days (before I got a new phone) to compartmentalize what was important for my life right now, and plan for the next important move to guide myself to a brighter future.

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Clearly these days without a phone didn’t change my views on owning a one. I think we’d genuinely be lost without these devices, what did we do before?

Losing my phone had me reflect and organize in a way I don’t think I could have without this heartbreaking experience.

Without breaking your phone, perhaps put yours on airplane mode for 3 days (instead of two weeks like me) and see what happens. Humor me, I dare you.

Let me know how it goes.

xx

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The necklace, ring and earrings were absolutely perfect for my getaway to Bermuda.

Ring: a.v. max Caged Ring in Gold

Necklace: Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace in Black Opaque Glass

Earrings: Trina Turk Pyramid Stick Stud

To get your free box of unlimited designer brand jewelry for one full month, go to Rocksbox.com and sign up with my code below to get something beautiful from your wish list. Honestly I’m a bit obsessed and already made a purchase. There’s no commitment to keep anything, send them back to receive more or, if you fall in love like I did, keep one (or more) for a special price.

Enter: bwilcox3xoxo 

xx

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Stress is caused by being here, but wanting to be there.

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See ya later America! Depart from New York tomorrow morning and will be without cell service for 10 days.

Offline is the new luxury.

xx

We can kick it and just listen to some music with a message, like we usually do

and we’ll discuss our big dreams how we plan to take over the planet.

xx

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To visit a city that never sleeps and simultaneously attend a 3 day music festival with a friend who lives in Manhattan, is a dream I never imagined living.

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For those who don’t know me well, my soul is captivated by new music and is infatuated with artists, dj’s, unique talents and new tunes whenever I have the chance to get my hands on new material. A 3 day music festival in NYC was just the package of excitement to last me months of bliss.

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The lineup for the Governors Ball Festival was beautiful

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And every artist lived up to my expectations, if not, even better.

Unfortunately, my phone died a few times throughout the 3 days and I wasn’t able to get pictures/videos, so below are compiled images from the Governors Ball website and from my own iPhone gallery.

And because that there were so many performances, I will only be sharing my favorite one’s or the one’s I have recordings of.

Enjoy!

Drake

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Need I say more about this performance? With about 50,000 people watching his show, AND being somewhat close to the stage, Drake was one I will never forget. I have always been a bit obsessed with Drake since he was in that wheel chair in Degrassi. And he did not fail to impress. 5 stars in my book.

Full song

Florence + The Machine

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UNREAL. With the new album How Big, how Blue, how Beautiful just reaching number one on the Billboard chart according to New York Times, you can imagine how BEAUTIFUL the British rock group was! Playing some of their biggest hits, Dogs Days are Over, Shake It Out, You’ve Got The Love, What Kind Of Man, Sweet Nothing & more, I was in a trance. Standing ovation for Florence + The Machine!

Charli XCX

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While getting stuck in a hip hop/rap artist Future at one stage, Charlie XCX was rocking out at another. My friend and I just barely saw her perform her last song Boom Clap, and based off that one performance we were more than content!

ODESZA

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ODESZA had everyone feelin’ themselves at the Gov Ball. They were undoubtedly under one of the most crowded stage areas, but worth every push and shove that came along with seeing this duo. Better live than I imagined. Huge fan.

Rudimental

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Rudimental were energetic, fun, lively and worth every second. Such a fun set!

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MØ was a crowd surfing, crazy dancing, brilliant machine.

I liked her before, and I love her even more now. My favorite songs she performed was her remix of the Spice Girls

Gorgon City 

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So SO so good! I’ve been playing this duo in my headphones since I discovered them while living in Australia. They were great live and I would 100% be keen to see them again!

Rae Sreummurd

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This performance was no joke. It was all fun and games until Slim Jimmy fell off the stage and cut his leg open. I kid you not, I won’t post the picture here because it is disgustingly gruesome, but if you check out their instagram page @raesremmurd and scroll down a bit, you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Apparently he slipped off the speakers and fell into a glass spotlight front stage. Immediately, we see him being led off by a big security guy back stage and Swae Lee had to continue the show without him. I was impressed at how well they did considering what happened, the crowd loved it and everyone hopes Slim Jimmy recovers soon!

Deadmau5

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Deadmau5 performed last on Saturday night, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The set started off really well and then it all fell apart. No sound. No nothing. Soon enough, the mouse head came off, and it was clear this was not apart of the performance. People started to leave and it was sad to witness. In the end, it all came together and the crowd was happy again. All in all, I’m sure it was a good performance, but we left early to catch the ferry back to Manhattan to beat the crowd.

Björk

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You think Lady Gaga is weird? Björk might just be far more intriguing. Selling over 20 million albums worldwide, she is known for her unique voice, deep lyrics and innovating ways of creating music.

Want to see her in all her eccentricity? View here:

Flume

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One of my favorite aussie DJ’s, Flume was great! I think I may have been more excited than most of the crowd, but I have been an avid fan of his since discovering him in Aus. More than happy with his performance!

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Logic

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A Maryland rapper with more talent than he knows what to do with, astounded me. Only video’s will show a small snippet of what he is capable of, I think he may be one of my top 5 favorite rappers now. And trust me, my list does not budge so easily.

Already having headlined 3 national tours and released 3 mixtapes before his UNDER PRESSURE mixtape, this 25 year old has only just begun.

Marina & The Diamonds

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Words cannot express the pure joy I had when seeing this woman perform. This British babe outdid herself. She was even better live than listening to her on iTunes. I swear on it. She’s a natural entertainer and lyrically talented, writing about love, life, boys and real life situations that nearly everyone can relate to. I will no doubt see her again.

Primadonna girl was amazing!

Lana Del Ray

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This woman is everything.

There were some technical difficulties with the sound, but the crowd was in a trance. I had a religious experience (having to leave for the restroom and getting separated from my group). So there I was, standing with a group of strangers, listening to one of the most influential musicians that has my whole heart. She swayed back and forth while she sang, making her way towards the crowd a few times and everyone was singing to her lyrics.

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I didn’t include everyone, due to length of this post, but the line up for Governors Ball 2015 was amazing and to be in the middle of New York City to experience it was worth every penny.

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I will be updating my personal playlists on SoundCloud and Spotify here soon and will update if anyone’s interested :)

xx

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It’s nearly Friday. You want to unwind, or better… clear your muddled brain from the work week by letting your inhibitions run wild. Maybe you’re the type that goes all out and desires the club scene, drinks, dancing, and staying out until the bars close, the bouncers nearly forcing you out. Or maybe you’re the kind that wants absolute, pure silence. The only noise to enter your eardrums will be Netflix spilling out of your tv speakers coupled with a bottle of wine.

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It’s your best friends birthday, where do you start? Pregaming with beers, cocktail drinks, or a giant tub of jungle juice before exploring what the bars have to offer.

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Perhaps you are going on a first date… “Would you like to get a few drinks over happy hour?”

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A work party is coming up… employees bond over a bottle of champagne, beers or cocktails.

A friend gets married, toast with champagne!

Family from out of town come to visit, crack open a bottle of wine!

Your favorite football, basketball, soccer, Super Bowl game is on… Beers!

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You graduated from college.. how do you celebrate? Local bar, house party, drinks!

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And Concerts? Here comes the alcohol induced dancing and jumping like a goon

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21st Birthday? Biggest celebration of a young adults life!

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4th of July.. Celebrate Americas freedom with jello shots!

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Vacation? Cocktails, beers, wine, Piña coladas, margaritas, Pacificos!

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No wonder we tend to crave drinks in virtually every social situation. I mean honestly… when has anyone said;

“Hey, we should grab some appetizers sometime!”

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“Last night was so crazy, I had a few too many salads and I’m paying for it today!”

That sentence has never been uttered. We have all of these fun celebrations in life, and alcohol seems to be the center of them all.

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Now don’t get me wrong here… I am in no way saying alcohol is a product of the devil himself. I quite enjoy having a few drinks, (responsibly) and having a great time with friends. My question is, do you think that we are so accustomed to drinking when socializing that we associate drinking with having a crazy, good time?

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Let me tell you, 10 months into the no-alcohol scene, and I’ve been opened up to an entirely different side to the consumption and the effects of alcohol. What I’ve noticed being sober when everyone else is intoxicated is:

  • I am the official go-to DD (designated driver)
  • I’ve noticed at an increasingly fast rate how well people can, or cannot hold their liquor
  • Decisions are in fact, clouded
  • Liquid confidence is a real thing
  • Everyone is friends with everyone OR alternatively, fights with everyone
  • You can immediately tell the social drinkers and the ones who use it as a crutch (more on this later)
  • I’ve saved heaps of money and empty calories
  • The longer I go without it, the less I feel like I want it
  • Mistakes are still made, even without alcohol
  • Less greasy hangover food
  • No hangovers, ever
  • You remember everything. No ‘blackout’, hard to retrieve, alcohol induced memory

If we look at all of the alluring media images of alcohol, there is no surprise to why we want it. We all crave a good time, and that’s what alcohol sells. Cool, fun, sexy, crazy, good times. And as mentioned before… Liquid confidence.

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I dated a guy briefly who told me he felt he couldn’t go out without drinking, that he was naturally shy and that alcohol was the cure to becoming a fun, outgoing, carefree guy. And he’s not the only one, it’s easy to see why alcohol seems to be a source of comfort and enjoyment. Everyone else is drinking around you, and it is an easy agent to blame your ‘not-so-smooth’ personality from the night before; “I was so drunk, I don’t know what happened.”

It’s a scapegoat for nearly everything that didn’t work in your favor.

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Shwoops.

We have become so desensitized to the cheeky liquid, that it took me 10 months of not drinking to realize the effect it had on me and my social life. Being in my 20’s and trying to find new friends and potential dates in a new city without alcohol has made me feel a bit antisocial and frankly, similar to a prude 20 year old. Watching everyone else around me enjoy a delicious looking cocktail, cider or beer while I sip on my water has been interesting to say the least.

“I’ve come to realize alcohol is a social glue that binds us together, regardless of age, class, race, sex, beliefs or occupation, because most of us enjoy drinking. Offering someone a drink when they visit your home is not only welcoming, but also considered polite.”

On a positive note, I have been able to make friends solely off my personality and silly/stupid sense of humor. This past year has made me realize that I can go without drinking, and I’ve become aware of how the phenomenon of not drinking is mostly frowned upon by others, coupled with concerning faces from bartenders and friends when I say “Oh, I can’t drink right now.”

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Many think it’s because I’m clearly a recovering alcoholic or that I have strict religious beliefs. But often I’ve gotten empathetic understandings of “I’m on year fill in the blank of sobriety” and I smile and congratulate them, even if my reasonings are not the same.

I have 16 more days until my best friend and I can have our first drinks together, celebrating her 100 days of being Leukemia FREE!

One more time… CANCER FREE! (insert smiling and clapping emoji’s)

I encourage my readers to try to go a full 3 weeks without having a drop of alcohol, see how your body reacts without it and begin to notice how prevalent alcohol truly is in our world. Notice it, be aware of it, and determine which has more control, your mind, the bottle, or pressure from society/friends around you. Go for that appetizer instead!!!

I’m excited to have my first drink again, but I will 100% remember how I feel without it. I have proven to myself that in fact, I don’t need it to be social, outgoing, fun and silly.

If I’ve learned anything from this experiment, it has been to remain confident, regardless if I am the only sober one in the room, and that unsubscribing from a prominent social life that I have always enjoyed participating in, is possible when it’s not about yourself. I will never understand what it feels like to go through rounds and rounds of chemo, to be poked and prodded with needles, experience a bone marrow transplant or to lose my hair. To be able to join my friend in giving up something we both enjoyed through this exhausting process for her (even if it has been as simple as alcohol), it is beyond worth it!

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Cheers (literally) to my friend Megan and her surviving this journey. Love you Meg, I am so overwhelmingly proud of you!

xx

1. Abiqua Falls | Scotts Mills, Oregon

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If you’re looking for a place to escape, with no cell reception, a quick 2 and half mile hike, and formations that could only be made from mother nature herself… Abiqua Falls is the place for you. A 92 foot fall, secluded and tucked away for only the adventurous. Pack a lunch, blanket, water, a book, a swimsuit (depending on the time of year) and a camera. You will not regret it.

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Disclaimer; this is not an easy place to find, with virtually no road markers and an extremely rough terrain to drive over, I recommend a truck/car with 4 wheel drive. 100% worth it. ALSO: Please do not start a fire. My sister and I stumbled upon this one already lit and simply enjoyed it for what it was. Never leave a human trace when exploring and admiring Oregon’s beauty.

2. Smith Rock | Terrebonne, Oregon

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If you haven’t seen the movie Wild yet with Reese Witherspoon, then you probably have no idea that this breathtakingly beautiful hike is used in the background during a scene in the movie. It comes as no surprise to me, being my all time second favorite hike in Oregon, located just 20 miles from Bend. I recommend starting early and completing the Misery Ridge Loop Hike. This hike is not meant for the weak, if explored during the summer, pack plenty of water and get a head start before the crowds come. Glorious views at the top, nothing short of a workout, with rewarding sights at the top. Many take their dogs and a partner to enjoy this journey with.

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3. Silver Creek Falls | Silverton, Oregon

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With 10 waterfalls and more than 24 miles of walking trails, this hike might just have it all. Located just outside of Salem, Oregon, this state park is the largest in Oregon. Welcoming all people from beginners to advanced hikers. The South falls is the most visited out of them all. If you have the time, I highly recommend this hike for anyone ages 1-90. Chances are, if you go at a time where it’s not flooded with hikers, you may see deer, bats (at night) and spectacular waterfalls that you can enjoy all to yourself.

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4. Angels Rest | Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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Anywhere you may explore on the Gorge, I can promise you, will be a beautiful one. The Gorge is the hotspot for hikes bordering Washington and Oregon, ranging from the simplest of ones… to the tougher, mostly uphill challenges that will even leave the ‘strong and fit’ out of breath. I recently hiked Angels Rest for the first time last weekend with my sisters and even though it was fairly short (at around 5 miles in total, averaging about an hour and 20 up and back) it was harder than I had expected! It all depends on ones pace, but I was in no mood to slowly stroll along, I wanted to reach the top and soak in the views.

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I would check the forecast before embarking on this hike. The view gazes over the Columbia River Gorge, and to fully experience the sights, it’s best to go on a clear, sunny day. Although, for amazing photographs, some would argue that it’s more ideal to go on a day with clouds and rain to get stunning pictures of Oregon’s spectacular beauty.

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There were a ton of people at the top this sunny weekend, so plan accordingly if you want more seclusion. Regardless, sitting at number 4 for my favorite spring hike!

5. Opal Creek | Lyons, Oregon

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This magical hike, just off of North Fork Rd, is a one worth checking out. The waters as blue and icy as New Zealand’s, and the air as crisp as Oregon trees and rivers constantly provide. This could easily be in my top 3 favorite hikes. There are simply too many amazing ones to correctly order! This hike is in a remote location, so it is wise to plan accordingly with food, drinks and a compass/map if you plan on doing the entire 7 mile, since cell service will likely not help you in terms of GPS availability. It is $5 for a day pass and I suggest leaving early (as you should in most all hikes). The trail is very simple, not much elevation and has a lot of history with abandoned sheds, old mining equipment and waterfalls and creeks in between. Such a gratifying hike!

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6. Butte Creek Falls | Scotts Mills, Oregon

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Not far from Abiqua Falls, lies a super charming, easy trail with a waterfall at the top and another promised at the bottom with a spectacular view of the autumn leaves if you go just shortly before winter kidnaps the full bodied full trees. A simple trail in only 2 miles in all it’s glory. I hiked this one alone and found it to be very relaxing and passed only two hikers on my way there and back. Definitely recommend it for a short, fun, effortless hike for countless opportunities for beautiful shots.

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7. Triple Falls, Horsetail falls, Oneonta & Ponytail Falls | Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington

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I count these four as one since they are practically in the same trail if you continue on the Horsetail falls journey. It is an intermediate hike, can be as hard or easy as you want to depending on your stamina and pace. I chose this as my number 7 because it is located in the beautiful Gorge and is unlike anything I have experienced here in Oregon thus far.

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8. Drift Creek Falls | Lincoln City, Oregon

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With a 240 foot suspension bridge overlooking the falls, this short hike is definitely worth visiting. Just south of Lincoln City, this is a great, easy hike for all ages. At the very bottom of the hike, you can be feet away from the falls and feel the mist from the falls leave droplets on your face. Dog friendly and only 3 miles in duration, take advantage of a sunny day and bring a friend for this breezy one.

9. Mill Creek Falls | Prospect, Oregon

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Found by accident, on a mission to see Crater Lake (failed because of the heavy snowfall), we found Mill Creek Falls along the Rogue river. Only about a half mile down from the trail, you will hear the falls and see thousands of trees and rocks surrounding a 173-foot waterfall in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. Beautiful at nearly anytime of the year, close to the falls you will find an area with “giant boulders” and fresh blue rapids that will clear any mind from daily stressors. I plan on going back on my next mission to Crater Lake with a packed lunch and new tunes paired with a swimsuit and towel.

10. Spencer Butte | Eugene, Oregon

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Last but not least, I have to mention my favorite college hike, Spencer Butte. The view is the tallest point visible from downtown Eugene. About 5 miles round trip, this one is easy to hike with friends, family or even alone. You can spend anywhere from an hour to 6, depending on your urgency.  This hike brings back beautiful memories and offers a view of a flat, treeless, huge, lovely butte! And because I simply can’t resist, being in Eugene;

Go Ducks!!

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These are my top spring hikes, I am adamantly searching for more hikes I have never explored, and with my new move to Portland, I couldn’t be more excited! If anyone needs further information on any of the hikes/trails/waterfalls, comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

And of course, if there are any I missed (because there are heaps in Oregon) I would love suggestions! Next on my list are one’s near the coast and waterfalls near Central Oregon.

Happy weekend and cheers to the beautiful state we reside in!

xx

rose colored glasses

When the connection is so powerful, the red flags fall by the wayside

“Never question my commitment for you, and I will be nothing but loyal to you, always.”

Have you ever fallen for someone, only later to look back at the relationship and wonder how it even worked in the first place? How do we allow our nonsensical hearts to have reign over our minds, allowing our hearts to swim effortlessly into the state of oblivion, accepting the flaws, the instinctual nudges that your partners traits may not fit so favorably into your jigsaw puzzled life?

At the ripened age of 25, smack dab in the middle of the confusing twenties, you would think I would have a tighter grip on my dating life and find a human who is deemed respectable, tasteful and fruitful for my bright future.

False.

When I fall for someone, I don’t just gracefully walk into the deep end. I confidently make my way towards the high diving board and trip, belly first, into the deep end of the pool, collecting the most euphoric of scratches, pain and infatuation on the way down.

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I can’t help but laugh at myself, after a relationship fall out. There are always signs and intuitive stabs when someone is simply just not right for you. Nevertheless, once the crippling, terrifying yet indescribable, beautiful, alluring chemistry begins to spread throughout your bloodstream and into your nonsensical heart, forcing you to disregard the rest of your life worries and sometimes, even your most desired, sought after aspirations, those “deal breakers,” “red flags, and (usually) common sense “no’s”, seem to get pushed away without a second thought.

How can our hearts lead us to such a deceptive delusion?

This crazy occurrence causes the biggest miscalculation in terms of finding a compatible, harmonious relationship. The physical newness of another, who feels the same towards you (the connection), combined with their skin, their breath, their eyes, their touch, their smile, embrace and loving projection towards you and the intellectual level in which you connect feels so rare, that the desire is so substantial and undeniable it almost outweighs the logical portion of our squishy, irrational brains that often warns us “wait… even with this undeniable, brilliant connection, this person isn’t a good fit for me, nor makes sense for what I want for my future life.” Yet, we often go for it anyway.

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Then why is there such a hold on our emotions, producing these dark, deep emotions, causing some to feel physically ill, lose sleep, gain or lose weight, become increasingly numb or sensitive when these relationships come to an end? Are we heartbroken from the rejection, feeling as though we are not good enough for the other, or are we mourning something that was truly, genuinely wonderful, yet the other person simply wasn’t on the same relationship wavelength?

Why do we view these people who disregard us as though they are comparatively superhuman?

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Making these realizations about these delusional thought processes that many experience during heartbreak, when I had such a loving, passionate connection with this human (when we live in two entirely different worlds), is an enormous step for me. I would be lying if I said I was fully healed and unaffected by my last relationship, however, I am not going to bang my head on the wall, hoping for the wall to break down and give me comfort. I am simply hurting myself by holding on to these one sided emotions.

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I am mourning a beautiful relationship that didn’t have the full opportunity to bloom, with a limited future with our clashing mindsets, and our unknown futures. I care about that human so much and wish him nothing but success, happiness and love, but here’s the catch;

Humans are innately selfish, if we want something or someone bad enough, we will do everything in our power to obtain it. That applies for everything in life.

And I am not one to make excuses for this one.

“We survive the hardest things, or what we think is hard and we grow from it… but we survive. I think God wanted to show you what a good guy is like but has someone better in store.” (Thank you for this dear, anonymous friend).

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be comforted by words from an infatuated partner. But their actions. And vice versa, it would be so incredibly easy to lash out and try to explain yourself, scramble to piece together scraps of closure and ultimately lash out in anger and frustration for allowing them to make you feel vulnerable and experience a heart dipped in distress and dejection.

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Ultimately, I want to thank every person who has ever caused my heart (and/or mind) pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, sadness or confusion. For what blooms from these emotions are creativity, growth, and a deeper understanding of one’s self. These rose colored glasses I seldom wear, allow me to see the world in such a beautiful light, and I never want to lose that.

There is so much power in being vulnerable and allowing yourself to give and receive love. Even though these rose colored glasses prevents us from seeing the true, raw version of the object of our affection right away, being aware of this phenomenon helps me realize that connection isn’t everything, though I don’t want comfortable either, I never want to settle. I simply want to start using my brain before I fully give my heart, without losing my vulnerability and tenderness. 

Life is too short but to allow yourself to feel everything you do. The world is yours to feel what you need. I promise you, being vulnerable and real in a world where emotions are mostly hushed, you are already that much closer to finding yourself, and someone who is going to be a beautiful addition to your jigsaw puzzle.

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So, don’t let heartbreak make you bitter, simply realize the capacity in how much you have to give,

and that in itself, is beautiful.

xx

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I full heartedly believe in the power of transition. It doesn’t matter if that means from your physical state, i.e. pulling yourself from the couch to engage in some quality cardio time, you, your shoes and the pavement, to making the mental choice to no longer entertain those negative energy suckers in life. From food, relationships to mindfulness habits. These take tremendous amounts of willpower to make the conscious effort to change.

However, what I struggle with, is the exterior opinions and assessments of what seems to be pertinent and acceptable in today’s society in regards to ‘successful living.’

What does success look like to the average American, post college person?

  • A college degree
  • A well paying job that supports your independent living/flourishing lifestyle
  • Beginning & regulation of debt payments (to those who are not as fortunate with scholarships or outside financial help)
  • Steady relationship, leading to a more serious future with idea’s of future grandchildren from the parents
  • Control over diet and exercise to prevent the ever-so-creeping slowing of the metabolism after age 25
  • Marriage, house, kids
  • And ultimately, happiness (aka success)

Sound about right?

As a waitress, you have no idea how many times I have had to validate my reason for entertaining this particular type of employment. I have heard “So.. what is a pretty lady like yourself doing working here?” “Are you going to school while you waitress?”

My common response is to immediately validate my reasons for being a waitress at the age of 24 years old.”I lived in Australia for nearly two years and traveled around their beautiful country, traveled around Asia, moved back in with my dad to save money while applying for graduate schools to further my education in Psychology. I am currently working towards getting my masters and have a passion for research, writing and helping people.”

Sure, that’s my alluring, ambitious goal. And most approve, if not, applaud my future plans.

But when did being a server or working in the customer service field become viewed as a negative place of employment? And most importantly, why did I start becoming increasingly defensive and feel the need to validate myself to these strangers?

Hate to break it to you, but America just wouldn’t spin if we didn’t have customer service for restaurants, cell phone providers, health clinics, beauticians, sales people, plumbers, baristas, aspiring writers, actors, models, filmmakers, nurses, assistants and fast food attendants. It simply wouldn’t.

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Why do we do it then? Judge and question strangers in these professions? To make small talk? Subconsciously try to compare each other’s lives with our own to validate our own personal life success?

We should be for each other, always.

All of these occupations are beautiful and needed. No job is better or worse than another if it’s what you love.

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So maybe, instead of assuming a job is a stepping stone to another “more glamorous, society approved occupation,” make your current small talk with an open mind. Not so much a passing of judgement, assuming one is working towards another, higher more fulfilled goal. Perhaps it’s their DESIRE to be a janitor, a gas attendant, a nanny, a construction worker… There is no harm in doing what you love, and loving what you do.

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“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelis

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again;

Less judgey, more lovey.

xx