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In Favor of Making the Time

Driftwood piles at the Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

There's something to be said for the hustle and bustle of each season. The go, go, go isn't always so bad. We move a little faster, are forced to make decisions with confidence (No hems. No haws.) and we often find ourselves becoming a bit more efficient.

Yet, there's still a yearning for slowness and peace. For solitude and connection. For the space to make some time. 

Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to lean in to that feeling—that need for time. As I drove away from the stress of life here, I headed there toward what can only be described as a respite. Sure, I had people to see and nephews to hug—going home around the holidays requires you to tick a few very important boxes, after all—but I also had a chance to sit. To think. To breathe. To assess. To wonder. To wander.

Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

When my dad asked what I wanted to do that Tuesday morning, I told him I wanted to say hello to the ocean. So among other visits around town (including a trip to the adorable quilt guild, of which my stepmom is co-president), we did just that. Camera in tow, we drove until we reached the dead end parking lot of the Point St. George Heritage Area. Since we had a fairly clear day, we could see the St. George Reef Lighthouse several miles offshore and had the pleasure of watching a pilot practice touch-and-goes at the adjacent airport.

St. George Reef Lighthouse off the coast of the Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Flight coming in to the Crescent City Airport //  Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA  

But most importantly, we got to spend time together in a place that holds meaning for our family. My dad used to fly those tiny airplanes and I remember my papa's huge smile after taking a quick flight up over this exact area with his son.

Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

Years later we would say our goodbyes to both my nana and papa in this place. As always with these things in life, their physical presence has since been washed away, but our memories of them have remained vivid.

Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

Upon returning home to the hustle and the bustle I realized that I could have easily canceled my trip north. I had bowed out of meetings, work piled up a bit, the holidays loomed in the distance and family commitments were patiently waiting for me here. Yet, I would have missed what I needed there had I not made the time.

Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA
Point St. George Heritage Area // Crescent City, CA

The trip was a good reminder—one I need every so often—that time matters. Time is just as important as our many, many to-do lists and ever-growing pile of gifts to be wrapped. Time spent can never be returned, exchanged or put on layaway. And thankfully, it's a gift often received with joy and graciousness by all involved.

Here's to making a little time for the good stuff as we close out the year, my friends.



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Shoulder Seasons Are the Best Seasons

As we head toward winter and get ourselves ready for the holidays, I find myself pausing to reflect on how fantastic fall has been: the colors, the temperate weather and the slow darkening of our days. It's been lovely. That said, springtime has a similar draw. Flowers begin to bloom, days brighten and there's an energy that simply cannot be matched throughout the rest of the year.

If we get right down to it, shoulder seasons -- if we define them as those few delectable months tucked on each side of long, cold winters and blistering summer days -- really are the best seasons.

Shoulder seasons are the best seasons - via @jensnyder

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Here's why:

They're a great time to travel.

Shoulder seasons have been a well-known treasure in the travel industry for many, many years. Shoulder season travel costs tend to be lower, you can often avoid peak-season crowds and most places/activities are still open for business.

They offer a chance to catch up with friends and family.

If I map out the year in quarters, I can easily attest to busy summers and downright hectic winters in my world. It always seems like spring and fall are perfect for getting together with that former co-worker I haven't seen in months or making plans to finally get the whole family together for a nice meal.

They're the best time to go outside and explore.

The weather is just about perfect during the shoulder seasons. There is no better time to head out for a walk, hike, jog or bike ride. Period.

They give us time to reassess personal and professional goals and accomplishments.

I don't know about you, but I'm always thankful for time to catch my breath -- especially during the autumn months. As we come down from the buzz of jam-packed summer schedules and gear up for the holiday rush, it's nice knowing that we have a little time to look back at where we've been and take advantage of upcoming opportunities.

They can be the perfect time to get your house in order.

Just like assessing personal and professional benchmarks, making sure your living space is up to snuff can be a lifesaver. I find that purging unnecessary items from our closets, cupboards and cabinets can make it easier to find just what we need, right when we need it. It wouldn't matter if we lived on a farm, in a studio apartment in the city or traveled full-time in a tricked out van, getting our house in order truly helps maintain a level of sanity during the busier seasons.

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So, tell me: are you a fan of shoulder seasons? What are your favorite tips to make the most of those short snippets of time?


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The Ritual of Afternoon Tea

Originally shot using Instagram.

I've been finding myself hovering over the tea kettle around 4 o'clock most days. Though caffeine in the afternoon is usually a bad move for me (and probably the cause of a few late nights recently), I can't help myself. The ritual of making a cup of black tea in the afternoon, the way my family has for decades, is comforting.  

Yesterday, somewhere between pouring the milk and the last sip, it dawned on me. I've been craving this comfort for a reason. Around this time two years ago, my family and I were all processing a pretty substantial collection of losses. The passing of my Nana had hit me particularly hard and she's been on my mind as of late.   

You see, I used to visit her as much as I could, bringing containers of food so she wouldn't have to think about dinner. We'd sit in her living room and chat well into the afternoon, covering mostly familiar ground on the conversation front. Like clockwork -- she would smile at me and say in her British accent, "You know dear, a cup of tea sounds nice." 

She was right. A cup of tea always sounds nice. For those in my family who drink the stuff, the act of boiling water, steeping the tea, adding milk and sugar (though, Nana always noted that she was already sweet enough) and sipping through the steam makes everything seem right in the world - even if just for a moment.

Rituals like this are important. It seems as though they keep us grounded in a way; connected. While I may need to switch to decaf in the afternoons, I'm finding that a nice cup of tea is a ritual worth keeping around.

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Do you all have any rituals that give you comfort or keep you grounded? 


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Road Tripping is For Lovers

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Is it, though? I mean really

Admittedly, my husband and I prefer the open road to the confines of a cramped flight, but we have been known to let our true colors shine right on through from time to time. 

We've argued over where to go, when to go, when to stop, where to stop, whether or not our GPS is correct (I swear I'm smarter than that woman. Spoiler alert: I'm not.), what music to listen to and the temperature at which air conditioning is necessary. 

That said, we love a good adventure. We'll be packing up to drive to Glacier National Park in Montana soon and I can't help but think back to our past trips together. While there's always a chance for disagreements on the road, we've truly enjoyed more hours talking, laughing, singing (me, mostly) and marveling at the sights than we've spent bickering. 

We've learned that we're both fairly opinionated (okay, we've actually known that for over 10 years) and that compromise is key. We pack snacks so I don't get hangry (shut up... it's a real thing) and we compile playlists from both of our music collections. I give fair warning well before I have to stop to use the restroom and he gets control of the GPS.

I've found that learning about one another is the best side effect of traveling as a couple. Road tripping, in particular, allows for a slower pace and more time to both listen and speak. We've chatted about things that would have never come up if we weren't traveling. It's as though the open road leads to a more open mind.

So, I say yes: road tripping is for lovers. It's for friends and family. It's for those who don't mind alternate routes and cheesy road-side attractions. It's for people who can navigate around the occasional disagreement. Best of all: it's an incredible opportunity for long chats, the sharing of ideas and a whole lot of laughter.

You can see more of our Montana road tripping adventures here and here.

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Anyone out there have a favorite road trip story to share? What about the open road makes your true colors come right on out and shine?


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If Dogs Could Speak

I just spent the good part of a day attempting to focus on work. Our young pup, Hank, is curled around the base of my office chair as if he can't quite get as close as he'd like. If I get up to top off my cup of tea, he follows.

If he could speak, I wonder if he'd confirm my suspicions that dogs feel emotions just as we feel them. Sadness, elation, joy, fear...

I wonder if he'd tell me that he really, truly misses his brother and best friend.

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Aside from the hours after we brought Hank home, he and Zen have been inseparable. Sure, there was an acclimation period, but overall they've been quite the pair over the last year and a half.

Sadly, that era has passed. We lost Zen suddenly two days ago to what we can only guess was heart failure. He was playing happily at the family ranch one minute and then, in a matter of seconds, he was gone.

He was about 10 years old.

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I wonder what he would have told us, had he been able to speak. Maybe he would have told us he wasn't feeling well. All signs pointed to him being a happy, healthy dog, but maybe there was something not even a thorough "senior dog" check up at the vet's office could tell us.

Perhaps he would have simply told us that everything would be okay and that he'd had a great life.

All I can know for sure is that we miss him. We miss his finicky eating habits and the way he'd bark at the UPS truck before it even turned the corner onto our block. I miss the way he'd nuzzle my arm with his nose so I'd pet him just a little longer...

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The blog may be a little quiet this week as I turn my attention to other things, but I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming very soon.

In the mean time, feel free to check out a few posts on Hank and Zen from happier times here, here, here and here. I know I'll be doing the same. 

Take care, friends.


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