I’ve noticed that my favorite bloggers have updates every month. I really enjoy the everyday insight into their lives and the cool things that don’t necessarily make it onto the blog. And I love the idea that I can go back and look at what I was enjoying and doing during any point in the month. So monthly recaps are here!
What I Was Up to This Month:
I spent this past month getting ready to move to DC, and then settling in to my new home! Moving was stressful. I ended up having to change my flight after I got horrendous food poisoning. But I made it in one piece!
This month I also completed dry January. No alcohol for a whole month. It was pretty hard actually. You don’t fully realize how many social settings involve drinking until you give it up! But it was a good practice in exploring other alternatives to drinking and I’m proud I made it through the month. (Although I definitely thought about caving early that last week!)
Where I Went:
Big Bend National Park
1. Spending NYE at Big Bend National Park
We’ve spent a few New Year’s at Big Bend. However, now that none of us are kids anymore, its harder to get everyone together to do our cabin and family friend tradition. I was glad we were able to fit it in this year!
I’ve been living in limbo for quite awhile. Getting my own room in DC with a closet and dresser felt amazing!!!! It was so good to unpack everything and give it a home. My books are nicely lined up. My clothes are hung up on hangers or folded nicely in a dresser. I finally feel settled.
1. Moving to DC
Moving to DC and getting into a groove has been a bit of a challenge. I’m so used to having a schedule that structuring my own time has been hard. It’s also been a bit depressing because I’m still looking for a job and making friends. I’ll get there though!
2. Food poisoning
I swear, I get sick once a month or something. I can tell from reading back on my monthly recaps. This month was very bad. I got food poisoning and puked my gut out. When my stomach was empty it was still spasming so I was just puking up stomach acid. I had a hard night. Worse, I was supposed to leave the next day for DC. But there was no way I could fly so I ended up moving my flight back 2 weeks. I won’t complain about the extra two weeks at home with Henry though.
3. Luggage stress
I’ve been waiting on my bags from Burkina Faso for four months. And since they obviously weren’t going to make it to Lubbock before I moved, I called FedEx and changed their location to DC. Alas, one was delivered to my parent’s home in Lubbock the following week. We think they probably didn’t realize there were two bags and so only changed one of the packing slips. Getting this luggage in the right place has been unneccessarily stressful.
Most Popular Post:
No Mr. Trump, Burkina Faso is NOT a Shithole Country – Wow. Trump’s remarks about shithole countries seems like a lifetime ago already. But his offensive remarks did make me write an impassioned response based on my time in the Peace Corps in Burkina.
Yelapa: Jalisco’s Hidden Beach – My favorite place we went to in Puerto Vallarta was Yelapa! I even have a picture of the beach as my screensaver. I wanted to inspire some wanderlust and help anyone going to Puerto Vallarta by turning them on to this secret beach.
A Love Letter to Hawaii Big Island – Did I fall for Hawaii Big Island or what? The Big Island was incredible. And it holds a big ole soft spot in my heart now. I would move there in an instant!
Becoming a Surf Goddess in Kauai – My dream in high school was always to be a laid-back blonde beach bum who impressed all the boys with her mad surfing skills. But when I tried surfing in Australia and subsequently, Bali, I almost drowned. Good thing I went back in Kauai and ended up finally loving the sport!
5 Hikes You Have to Complete in Big Bend National Park – Big Bend is one of the most underrated parks in the US. It’s remote location mean not many visitors get down to this awesome place. As an ode to the park and our recent trip, I wanted to share my absolute favorite hikes!
Planning Your Perfect Trip to Hawai’i Big Island – After poring over guidebooks and then spending two weeks on the Big Island, I share our itinerary for our road trip. I included things I absolutely loved doing and would recommend, beautiful beaches to hang out on, and where I thought we could have spent a little less time.
Most Popular Post on Instagram:
This is in a tie for likes with a picture of Waimea Canyon but it has more comments so I think that counts as a win! This picture is from swear-in. What a bittersweet day. But I loved the matching jumpers me and my soul sister got made.
What I Listened to This Month:
Don’t Don’t Do It!, a song by N.E.R.D, Kendrick Lamar on Spotify
Last month I was jamming to Lemon off this album. Now that’s been replaced with Don’t Don’t Do It! featuring Kendrick Lamar. The peppy upbeat song actually tells the story of police brutality and cases where police have shot unarmed black men. The specific case the song alludes to is the shooting of Keith Scott, an unarmed black man who had a Traumatic Brain Injury. (Got a TBI in the song.)
What I Watched This Month:
I’ve been binge-watching Parks and Rec because I had never seen it all the way though. It’s so freaking funny. Definitely one of my favorite shows.
I made lots of hummus this month! I adore hummus and it’s so easy and quick to whip up. Try the Greek hummus recipe. It was deelish!
What I Read This Month:
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben (2016) – A world where trees communicate, protect each other, and shape the landscape around them. It sounds like something copied from the Lord of the Rings. But as forester Peter Wohlleben reveals, it’s true of our trees today. They live. They have different means of communicating with each other. And they can keep dying trees alive for hundreds of years by sending them nutrients. This book was a magical look at trees. It was insanely cool. And it made me even more of a tree-hugger.
The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcom X, Alex Haley (1968) – Malcom X’s words jumped out of the paper at me. I felt him in the room lecturing me on African-American’s plight in the USA. And although this book is 50 years old, the words couldn’t be more relevant. This book was ultimately heart-shattering. It wasn’t the easiest read, but it was important. Especially if you’re white, read Malcom X.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (2018) – If you could know the exact date of your death, would you want to? Four siblings go to a fortune-teller and find out. The book then divides, following each sibling. This book is an exploration of the themes of destiny versus free-will. Is each individual really destined to die on these days? Or do their actions lead them to their deaths? I loved this book. It was enjoyable, original, and well-written.
Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King (2005) – In the 1800s, a ship wrecks in West Africa leading to the enslavement of all the crew in the Sahara desert. This book follows their dangerous journey into Morocco, where they are ultimately rescued. Besides being a crazy survival story, it’s real and a great historical look at the dangers of being a merchant. Most famously, Lincoln read the original book the capitan published which greatly influenced his view on slavery. It’s an easy survival tale that you won’t want to put down.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (2016) – Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine, is on a luxury cruise when she hears what she thinks was a murder. Furthermore, the woman in the cabin next to her has disappeared, along with proof that she was ever on board. Plagued with fear for her own safety, Lo digs in, trying to figure out what happened. This book reads as a psychological thriller. It would be a great beach read. It was easy, fun, and impossible to put down. Just don’t read it if you’re alone at night and adverse to getting spooked.
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (2017) – I love Rupi Kaur, no less for introducing me to modern poetry. Her poems are insanely relatable and touchingly beautiful. Can’t recommend enough this or her other collection of poems, Milk and Honey.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (2005) – Told through the stories of evangelicist Nathan Price’s wife and four daughters, Barbara Kingsolver weaves together a devestating story of the fall of the Congo, and the complicity Americans played in the demise of many African countries. This book was just wow. Kingsolver is a master story teller who manages to tap into your emotions while simultaneously raising questions of colonization. Her biblical analogies craftfully mirror the story of the biblical Fall, while still rebuking the traditional Western faith and illustrating its pitfalls. This book is stunning and absolutely worth every page.
“Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” -Malcom X