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My Mighty {fine} Life List

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So, here's the deal: I make lists regularly. I love ticking boxes and putting lines through items I've accomplished. For some reason, however, I found it difficult to finish my Mighty {fine} Life List. Created by the amazing Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl, the lists (and the movement that surrounds them) are meant to capture 100 things you'd like to do before you go.

The premise behind the popular life lists is pretty great. You simply list out your goals - both big and small - and act upon them. The lists can change as we grow, which is key. Maybe an opportunity comes up that you could have never imagined... put it on the list and cross it off! Maybe you decide one of your goals is no longer as important as you once thought... remove it!

I started my own list years ago - long before I started blogging - and just let it sit unfinished. Well, not anymore! I finally took the time to write it all out and get it ready for public consumption. I feel like putting this out to the universe (well, at least to you lovely people who read this blog!) will help motivate me to really seek out new experiences and make sure they come to fruition.

Without further ado, I'd like to present:

My Mighty {fine} Life List

(Note: Accomplished items are in bold.)

  1. Visit all 50 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  2. Take photos of iconic bridges in all 50 states
  3. Really understand the settings on my digital camera
  4. Run (and finish) a marathon
  5. Visit all 59 National Parks in the US: Acadia, American Samoa, Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Congaree, Crater Lake, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Denali, Dry Tortugas, Everglades, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Basin, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smokey Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Isle Royale, Joshua Tree, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kings Canyon, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Lassen Volcanic, Mammoth Cave, Mesa Verde, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Petrified Forest, Pinnacles, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Saguaro, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgin Islands, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, Wrangell Saint Elias, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion
  6. Take singing lessons
  7. Get on stage and sing again (even if it’s just karaoke)
  8. Take snowboarding lessons
  9. Live in a state other than California
  10. Start practicing yoga
  11. Teach a class on any subject (or be a mentor)
  12. Meet the President of the United States (it doesn’t matter who it is at the time)
  13. Go to a concert and hang out with the band backstage
  14. Go ice fishing in Alaska
  15. Let go of the material things cluttering up my life
  16. Go snowshoeing
  17. Figure out what it takes to do voice-over work and do it
  18. Take an extended (months-long) trip to anywhere
  19. Go back to England to visit family and re-visit places important to my family history
  20. Write a book
  21. See a moose (in the wild)
  22. See a grizzly bear (also in the wild, preferably from far away!)
  23. Road trip through Canada
  24. Sing at a wedding
  25. Become a tour guide
  26. Create a photo book of all of my favorite bridges
  27. Make my health a priority
  28. Foster a puppy dog
  29. Hire a stylist to tell me – once and for all – what not to wear
  30. Join a book group
  31. Be an extra in a show/movie
  32. Attend a Beastie Boys concert (Keeping it on the list. You never know. RIP Adam Yauch)
  33. Go to a grown-up summer camp like this one
  34. Travel somewhere beautiful by train
  35. Spend an entire day reading a good book on a tropical beach (without feeling guilty…like I should be doing something)
  36. “Pay it forward” at the coffee shop by paying for a stranger’s morning fix
  37. Experience the Aurora Borealis
  38. Go back to D.C. to re-visit the monuments/museums/etc.
  39. Write an article/story for a large print publication
  40. Learn more about creating and editing beautiful videos
  41. Visit Greece
  42. Visit Croatia
  43. Go glamping in the Swiss Alps
  44. Create a road trip around the world's largest everything (see unfinished Pinterest board here). Take said road trip.
  45. Eat baklava in Turkey
  46. Spend a week in a rental house with my best friends in Cape Cod
  47. Own an Airstream (and maybe live out of it for a bit)
  48. Join a CSA
  49. Take a backpacking trip
  50. Start painting again
  51. Skinny dip
  52. Travel through the Amazon rain forest
  53. Attend an awards show (preferably the Grammys)
  54. Go to Australia
  55. Visit New York City
  56. Learn another language
  57. Take a European road trip
  58. Take a Northern California road trip to experience the super cool things I usually just drive right past
  59. Sleep in a tree house or lookout station
  60. Spend hours wandering the High Line
  61. Take a Chicago girls trip
  62. Remove all of the grass from our property and replace it with a more sustainable ground cover
  63. Go geoducking
  64. Cook through an entire cookbook
  65. Find a reason to go to Antarctica
  66. Be present when my nephews experience something incredible in nature
  67. Re-vamp my print shop business model to better showcase my photography work
  68. Star gaze in the middle of nowhere with my husband
  69. Tour the White House
  70. Take a soak in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  71. Go hot air ballooning
  72. See Machu Picchu
  73. Change out all of the boring doorknobs in my house and replace them with beautiful ones
  74. Travel on a private plane
  75. Experience Germany’s Oktoberfest at least once
  76. Take a bicycle trip through Holland (tulip fields + windmills, please!)
  77. Attend Camp Mighty
  78. Cook lobster at home
  79. Take a road trip to see the fall colors
  80. Attend Sundance Film Festival
  81. Go sailing
  82. Be brave enough to cut my hair super short
  83. Take a helicopter ride
  84. Visit the San Juan Islands
  85. Go canoeing/kayaking somewhere beautiful
  86. Be an artist in residence in a national park (like this)
  87. Successfully grow fruit trees in our backyard
  88. Live outside of the U.S., at least for a short while
  89. Renew our wedding vows
  90. Travel to Easter Island
  91. Have dinner (and dessert, of course) with Nigella Lawson
  92. Visit Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore
  93. Learn to can fruits and vegetables
  94. Go hunting with my husband
  95. Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats during Speed Week
  96. Photograph a ghost town at sunset
  97. Make pasta from scratch
  98. Feel the mist from Niagara Falls on my face
  99. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  100. Take a photo trip to the Galápagos Islands

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Anyone else have a life list they want to share? Feel free to link up in the comment section. I'd love to see how your lists are shaping up!

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Video: Yellowstone + Grand Teton National Park

I found some lost footage ya'll!

Okay, so the footage wasn't really lost, but I had forgotten about it. After Monday's post about our upcoming trip to Glacier National Park and the fantastic cabins we stayed in near Grand Teton National Park, I couldn't wait to dig through my old files to see what I might find. The video quality isn't great, but it brought back so many fond memories of that trip.

That last bit of footage of the sun setting behind the Teton Range is one of my favorite memories. Making our way back to the cabins after our final day of exploring, I captured that short video and promptly asked if we could stop at the next turnout.

We got out of the car and BAM!

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See what I mean? The place is stunning, folks. If you ever have the opportunity to go, seize it. You'll be glad you did.

Making plans, yourself? If you're heading to the U.S. Northern Rockies any time soon, be sure to check out a handy collection of my favorite spots here.

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

Friends, it has been nine months and three weeks (and about two hours, if we're really keeping track) since I last stepped foot in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S.I know I may sound a bit dramatic, but a huge part of me really misses it. I'm blaming Andrew Evans of National Geographic for basically live-tweeting his latest trip to the area and making it impossible for me to resist the lure of the mountains, the iconic parks, the people, the history... sigh...

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{Photo courtesy of Glacier NPS on Flickr

Anyway, we've had a trip to Glacier National Park in Northern Montana on our travel list for a long time and this is the year we'll be making it happen. We've been looking into cabin rentals, researching hikes and sightseeing opportunities and trying to find flight deals.

I'll, of course, keep you all posted on the fun details. Meanwhile, I wanted to take an opportunity to share my favorite find during a road trip we took to Montana and Wyoming back in 2009. It was my first trip to Wyoming and second visit to Montana and I have to say, the experience really solidified my love for the area. I've never blogged about the trip and since it was in my pre-blogging days, it has been passed over for more current adventures. Let's rectify that, shall we?

First up: our lodging near Grand Teton National Park!

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When we started planning, we knew that our lodging would be a mash-up of different things depending on the various stops we needed to make and what would be available in each town. There are so many options available in the area around Grand Teton National Park, so narrowing things down was a bit of a challenge.

We had heard great things about the town of Jackson, Wyoming (they're all true, by the way), but we wanted to stay somewhere that felt more connected to the beautiful landscape and scenery. Staying in either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park was cost-prohibitive at the time, so we started looking at vacation rentals and lodging just outside of the parks.

I can't quite remember how I landed on the Moulton Ranch Cabins website after hours of reading reviews and following links, but I'm so glad I did. You know the sound you hear when someone hits the jackpot on a slot machine? Yeah... it was like that.

The small collection of cabins is located just south of the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and about 40 miles south of Yellowstone. It's also a short drive from Jackson, which has great shops, restaurants and more. Just look how cute the cabins are!

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While we stayed in the least expensive cabin and didn't have views of the Teton Range, many of the cabins have stunning, unobstructed views:

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The cabins are located on Mormon Row, which has an incredible history.

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We even woke up to bison in the "back yard" almost every morning!

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A quick walk down the road will take you to what is thought to be the most photographed barn in America. You can see why:

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I couldn't help taking a picture of photographers taking a picture of the most photographed barn in America. :) So meta!

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Needless to say, the area in and around Grand Teton National Park captured a little piece of my heart. I haven't stopped thinking about going back since 2009 and our stay at the Moulton Ranch Cabins is a huge part of that continuous pull. I'm not sure I'd be able to stay anywhere else!

A few things to note about the cabins:

  • They are only open seasonally, May through September.
  • While the prices have increased since our 2009 stay, the Cottage is still a very affordable option in the area.
  • They book up quickly, so be prepared to snag a reservation early (they allow reservations no more than a year in advance).

The cabins are nearly booked up for this summer season, but there are a few pockets of time still available. If we were heading back this year, I know I'd snap up a few days! If you're looking for tips on the Northern Rocky Mountain region, I've collected all of my favorite spots (including the Moulton Ranch Cabins, Mormon Row, The Moulton Barn and more) in a handy app. You can download it from the App Store here!

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Anyone out there have a favorite Rocky Mountain getaway spot they'd like to share? I'm always looking to live vicariously though the travels of others, so feel free to link up in the comment section. Here's hoping we can find a place just as cozy for our trip to Glacier National Park. Wish us luck!

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Yosemite + Muir + Happy Links

Well, hello there! Things have been a bit quiet around here this week thanks to a whole host of offline business, but I wanted to be sure to introduce a new and improved version of the "A Snap + A Quote" series.I'm always stumbling across people, places and things that make me smile, so I'm adding them to the mix! Ready? Here it goes:

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

Happy Links:

  • This great post from the No More Dirty Looks gals soliciting a clean cosmetics resource list from everyone on the internet.
  • C'est Christine's lovely postcard post from the Brooklyn Bridge, which is satisfying my inner bridge nerd.
  • A wonderful collection of bear photos over on My Modern Met (and pretty much every collection of photos on My Modern Met).
  • Bloglovin' as my new blog reader. So much better than what I was using before.
  • This incredible cabin renovation over on Smitten Studio, which is really making me want a fixer cabin. Stat!

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Happy Friday, all. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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A Day Date with Myself to the Marin Headlands

I absolutely love exploring places with other people. More often than not, I'll convince my husband or call upon friends to come with me when I get the urge to just go and see and do.Not long ago, however, I discovered the complete joy of exploring places alone. As in, by myself. With no one else. Just me, myself and I. It's lovely.

That's not to say I'll ever stop exploring and traveling with others. I love that too much. Yet, I find myself drawn to the convenience of the occasional solo journey, where I can move at my own pace, have little need for compromise and can listen to whatever music I choose on the way there (and back).

Several weeks ago, I ventured out on a solo date -- a day date with myself, if you will -- to the Marin Headlands located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just north of San Francisco.

This was the same trip during which I was able to spend time admiring the Golden Gate Bridge and the day was filled with all of the things I wanted to experience.

I started at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, which I highly recommend if you've never been to the park before:

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The helpful docents told me about a few short trails and I opted for the Rodeo Lagoon Trail, which starts at the parking lot and ends at the ocean. It's a fairly easy trail and since I had my sights set on the Point Bonita Lighthouse (which I'll get to shortly) and the Golden Gate Bridge, it sounded like the perfect way to start the day.

The trail takes you through wetland areas and under fantastic tree canopies like this:

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There is also a giant tree along the trail that creaks and cracks in the breeze:

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Once you're out from under the trees, you'll start getting a glimpse of the trails' namesake lagoon and Fort Cronkhite beyond.

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Then you'll catch a breathtaking (at least to me) view of Rodeo Beach:

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I sat for a bit at the edge of the lagoon:

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Again, lovely. I took in the sites:

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Perfect. And decided to explore the beach a bit:

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The beach was blustery at best, but the sights and sounds were just what I needed.

I knew that I wanted to have plenty of time to explore the lighthouse and the bridge, so I headed back along the trail to the parking lot. Once in the car, the trail head for Point Bonita Lighthouse was a short drive up the hill. If I'm not mistaken, you can hike from Rodeo Beach to Point Bonita Lighthouse, but that wasn't in the cards during this visit.

When I reached the trail head, my first thought was, "what lighthouse?"

The tricky headlands have her hidden from view:

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You'll head down the short, steep trail and end up at the entrance to a tunnel:

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The tunnel is open only part of the day, so be sure to check the schedule at the visitor center before you head toward the lighthouse.

Once you exit the tunnel, you'll walk a skinny path that hugs a cliff. After a few bends and curves, the small lighthouse will come into view:

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While it's not a grand structure, Point Bonita Lighthouse is the only known lighthouse reachable just by suspension bridge. We all know how much I love a cool bridge, so naturally, I was impressed.

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Because of where the lighthouse is situated, it offers great views from the platform toward the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Can you imagine being a docent? Talk about a corner office!

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Back on solid ground (yes, my friends, the bridge sways in the breeze wind), you can catch a glimpse of just how amazing this structure really is. It's perched on the very last bit of land and has been in that spot since 1877.

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Amazing.

As I mentioned, I wrapped up my perfect little solo excursion with a healthy dose of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can read more about that here.

Anyone else enjoy the occasional solo adventure? What do you find rewarding about traveling, exploring or sight seeing alone?

Link up in the comment section if you'd care to share!

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Happy Tuesday, all!

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