Maroon Bells in the Spring

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You remember when I went (or attempted to go to) Maroon Bells in January? Let me refresh for you- there’s so much snow that you can’t drive up to the summertime parking lot in the winter, but you can ski or snowmobile. We went up to Aspen again in May, and this time the snow had melted, spring was peeking out amongst the winter brown, and things were generally gaw-gous, dahhhrling, allowing us to make it all the way up the road.

Mud season is a good time to be in the mountains. I mean, really any time is a good time to be in the mountains, but mud season is great because there are no tourists but there is usually sufficient snowmelt to hike and any mountain town exploration you were looking to get done can occur. We spent one day wandering the streets of Aspen and Carbondale in addition to a little hiking in the valley. If you’re ever up that way, you have to get barbecue at Hickory House- their food is fabulous.

The Bells are really close to Aspen- just a 20 minute drive or so by my estimations and well worth the fee to drive up to the parking lot. Once we got there we walked around a bit (there are some hiking trails that leave from the area, but we weren’t looking for a big hike-commitment, as it were) and on our way down we played spot the marmot, which I have to admit was probably one of the more distracting games I have ever played in a car. We attempted to pull over several times for marmot pictures before we finally spotted one with enough advance notice to get a good shot. Sorry Emily! :)

Music Mondays: Let Go by RAC, Kele, MNDR

There’s this awesome wooded path near my house that I’ve gone on a couple of runs on now. In an attempt to make running less of a chore and more of a highlight of my day, I tried listening to a playlist of more random and less upbeat music. It really helped me to relax when I wasn’t listening to hyper-upbeat pop! This is one of the songs from the Spotify playlist I’m using (called Upbeat + Summer Sun, if anyone is interested). Happy Monday!

Late Spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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The second to last day on the road to Chapel Hill for graduation was our Blue Ridge Parkway day. On the recommendation of our friendly (and rather old-ish) innkeepers in Virginia we opted to skip a chunk of the parkway via the interstate and got on at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. If you haven’t been to the thrilling town of Blowing Rock, I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you- the average age of anyone walking down the street is probably about 60. After some very unsuccessful boring shop browsing and one pretty tasty break for lunch, we stopped in the tourist office to get exact directions onto the parkway from Main Street. There, the guy sitting at the front desk in the building that was otherwise entirely devoid of other people said what everyone else was already thinking- “You guys are like 50 years too young to be hanging out in this town!” After a little more ribbing, he gave us quick directions and a short hike recommendation, which brought us to the sprawling granite vista pictured above.

The Parkway itself was actually quite stunning. It takes a lot to impress a Coloradoan mountain-wise, and the Appalachians along this chunk of the drive definitely exceeded my expectations. Since we went in the off season- there was neither extensive fall foliage nor blooming rhododendrons while were there (unfortunately for us on that last one- they’re supposed to be beautiful!) we pretty much had the place to ourselves and next to no traffic until we were within just a few miles of Asheville. I haven’t said before that I’ve really enjoyed a drive, but the gentle curves and scenery along the parkway made the actual act of driving the road a pleasure. It would be great to get up there with a really nice car.

By the time dinnertime rolled around we had just arrived in Asheville- the little stretch of the parkway we did was just enough scenic driving for us and both Katelyn and I were glad we hadn’t done much more. We finished off the evening with wandering around Asheville, visiting the Screen Door (an antiques store) and Tupelo Honey Cafe for dinner. Overall, I’d say it was a successful day :)

The State of the District, or my first week in Washington

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“Decide what to be, and go be it.” – The Avett Brothers

“Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t.” -Bill Nye

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott – Ali Butler

“If you always do what interests you at least one person is pleased.” -Katherine Hepburn

“Can I get this to-go?” -Guy at a neighboring table at brunch yesterday

Well, it’s been a whirlwind first week. I guess I will just jump in to how things are going:

The job hunt is crazy. I think that finding a job is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (boo-hoo Heidi, get it together) and I really need to kick it up a notch to be successful here. To that end, my mornings are generally filled with applications and emails and word docs galore, while I generally venture out of the house in the afternoons for various meetings with friends and some unfamiliar faces too. I get the feeling that to get a job I want I really need to stick to my guns and know what I want, and so far I’ve been doing a good job (har-har) of that.

The weather has been unusually stunning for DC this time of year- there’s been almost no humidity the entire time I’ve been here, but this week should change that and I am bracing myself for the return of the heat.

It feels surreal to actually BE where all the cool things are happening- on my walks around the city I more often than not spot an office or building for organizations that I previously knew only by way of the news or through school. Maybe it’s just the honeymoon phase, but there is something inspiring about catching a flash of the White House or the Washington Monument through the streets as I ride the bus. I lost my fitbit on a roller-coaster (of course) right before I came here, and I’m disappointed not to be getting step counts for all these long days of walking.

I’m feeling more settled than I felt while writing my thesis, but big pieces of the puzzle are still missing- employment and permanent housing, most significantly. Hopefully those will fall into place with time, good old fashioned hard work, and keeping my job-hunting spirits up.

Music Mondays: Lost Stars by Adam Levine


I went to see Begin Again last week with Susanna and Emily, and the soundtrack is delightful! I have been listening to it on repeat ever since. I would estimate that I’m about 60% of the way to sick of the songs, but I will certainly still enjoy them for the upcoming 40%! I don’t usually like Maroon 5, but Adam Levine was actually quite good as both an actor and singer. Heading to DC tomorrow…. catch you on the east (flip?) coast (side?)!

The Bean in Millenium Park.

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A long time ago now, I had a friend who wrote songs, and one of his songs was about the bean in Millennium Park. It was such a pretty song, and, as it turns out, Millennium Park is such a pretty place. It’s funny how you see pictures of things that don’t tell you the whole story- a photo of the bean doesn’t show you how it suddenly emerges when you walk up, and how dynamic of a sculpture it is. We spent a solid 20 minutes marveling at the thing from every angle, enjoying not only the bright Chicago sunshine but each other’s company as well. I will definitely return next time I’m in Chicago.

Today I am working on packing up for a big move- to Washington, DC! I’m really excited for what the District might hold, but not looking forward to the oppressive humidity as much. For now, I’m back to collecting all my suits and printing off copies of my resume. Until next time! :)

CHI-TOWN.

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I have a lot of friends from the midwest. That whole part of the country- the flyover states, hometown USA, whatever you want to call it- isn’t just a region. It’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle I enjoy relentlessly (and lovingly, don’t worry midwesterners!) mocking in a terrible Minnesota accent when given the opportunity. Chicago plays a big role in the whole midwestern psyche (you love it, you hate it, and either way there’s some point where you resent it) and this was my first time in the windy city.

Andrew is working in Chi-town right now, so we had a delightful tour guide for the day. We walked all over town, saw lots of cool architecture, went to the Art Institute, and went up the John Hancock building. I enjoyed all of it! The great lakes are strange- I have never been a lake person, so to see an entire city based on the edge of a giant one was unique to say the least. I was surprised by all the beautiful old buildings- it’s interesting to see a city that is in between the “new” towns of the true west (like Denver) and the much older colonial stuff scattered along the east coast.

We also ate deep dish pizza for dinner- it was my first experience with it, and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was different than I expected. And took a long time to bake- almost an hour! I am going to diplomatically say I enjoyed it, but it is unlike regular thin crust pizza, and the difference is great enough that I would consider deep dish to be a separate food entirely.

Up next- the bean and Millennium Park.

Music Mondays: This Is The Last Time by the National

If it ever really rained in Colorado (I mean, for more than 30 minutes some afternoons) I would probably listen to the National while staring pensively off into the middle distance in some coffee shop. Alas, it’s pretty sunny here, but I’m still enjoying their songs. Have you seen their tiny desk concert? It’s AWESOME.

Oh, when I lift you up
You feel like a hundred times yourself
I wish everybody knew
What’s so great about you…

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

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This whole job hunting thing is exhausting. It’s got me a little down, not gonna lie. What didn’t help matters was this past weekend’s activity- going to see the Fault in Our Stars. I read it the day we were going to see the movie and cried, then went to see the movie and cried. How could you John Green?! Talk about the saddest possible story you could think of! Bleh! It was an emotional roller coaster that only went down, let me tell you. Good thing pictures of flowers, and flowers themselves, exist to cheer us up.

In case you weren’t already aware, I am totally into botanical gardens. It’s my old person interest, alongside my other old person interests like sewing and knitting and going to bed early and also alongside my young person interests like traveling the world and instagram. The San Francisco ones were a welcome foray into spring and native plants of the west, most of which are dazzling. It was a great way to spend the morning, and if you’re a SF resident it’s free! What a great place to go read and lounge for a while. If you’re looking for lesser-visited things to do in the city, I would recommend checking these gardens out.

Tomorrow I am leaving for Germany- crazy, oder?! The transient summer begins…. hopefully to conclude with employment.

Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco

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Tartine is this awesome, hyped-up-for-a-reason bakery in the Mission, very close to Dolores Park. Laura and I went in one morning for breakfast and ended up getting a ton of different pastries- we couldn’t just get two! Although breakfast was a little pricey for my taste- almost $25 for two people’s pastries and coffee- it was obvious that all the baked goods we had were made with some seriously high-quality ingredients. I particularly liked the lemon tart that Laura got- we barely finished it between the two of us, it was so rich! There’s nothing better than a good pastry, a good coffee, and sitting outside. :)

If you go….

Tartine Bakery and Cafe
600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110