HI.

I’m alive.

I promise.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this. If you don’t, I apologize for slightly falling off the face of the planet. I’ve been busy adulting… and it’s kind of kept me pretty busy.

So, life updates!

The biggest is probably that I got a car.

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World, meet Tessie the Toyota! Ignore my scrubby face… this whole thing was a bit of a whirlwind. I went, alongside my partner-in-crime Kacie, to go test drive Tessie because, well, apparently that’s a thing you do when you’re looking for cars. And, no, I did not buy the car on the spot. I went home, called my parents (because #adult), and then I bought the car.

So now, I’m incredibly, officially adult with a car payment and everything.

Now that I’ve written that out, I realize that it’s my only update. In fact, I’ve been happily settling into routine… and loving it.

I realize that probably sounds weird. Sometimes, I think that I’m supposed to be living some crazy, ridiculous, twenty-something life. Sometimes, I want that. Sometimes, I do that.

But a lot of times, I like my pace of life. I like getting up early, going to the gym, spending the day at work, coming home, cuddling with the cat, and falling asleep with my library book early.

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I like exploring new lunch spots and coming home to cook my own dinner.

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I like forgoing going out to drink rose and watch Gilmore girls with my friends, I like exploring my style, I like growing my little life.

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I’m learning to be alone, I’m happy, and I like it.

And that’s really all I have to say right now.

OH, except for… HAPPY OCTOBER! There’s only 11 more Monday’s until Christmas!

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So far, my September plans have not gone… well, as planned.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that there’s no point in being upset about that.

Life happens. Things change. Relationships come and go, friendships ebb and flow (that unintentionally rhymed). Ultimately, what matters is how we look at the changes and the curveballs that are slung at us, and how we respond to these unexpected twists in our journey that matters.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “the path.” Now, if you’re my family, you’ll laugh at that. If you’re not my family, you’ll give me a quizzical eyebrow raise and ask what sort of new-age tangent I’m about to go on. (Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with new-age beliefs. Anyways.)

I was watching Serendipity the other night. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, despite its horrendously rom-com attributes, and in many ways because of its total rom-com-ness. I can’t help it; there’s something about a love story set primarily in New York City, focusing on the chance meetings and encounters that life brings along that is just captivating. I don’t care how predictable or cheesy the film is. Serendipity will always be one of my favorites. Plus, John Cusack is in it. You have to love it, simply for that reason.

While I was curled up on my couch with the kitty on my lap, watching Sara (no H) and Jonathan try to navigate the web of the world and find each other again, I couldn’t help but think – maybe we should all be a little more serendipitous in our daily lives.

We try, so hard, to plan life. We set goals, we work hard to reach our goals, and when we are going along that “path,” everything feels like it’s right on track.

And then, something happens.

And suddenly, we feel a little bit – or, if you’re me, a lot a bit – off track.

But why?

Because we’re so focused on following the plan that we don’t even take the time to see the possibility… and potentially, the benefits… of jumping off the path, even temporarily.

Life isn’t meant to be planned out. It’s as simple as that. Everybody says it, and everybody is romanticized by this idea of chance… but not enough of us live by it.

So what’s the point in being so intoxicated by it, if we aren’t actually going to let ourselves believe a little bit in it?

I am wildly aware of how terrifying it is to trust in chance. However, I have also been lucky enough to experience how rewarding letting fate take its course can be. I stumbled across an internship about a year and a half ago… it has now blossomed into (what I hope is) a promising career that I absolutely love. But I wouldn’t have ended up here, thriving and excited to go to work every day, if I hadn’t trusted in the random opportunity that happened to fall into my lap.

Sometimes, living serendipitously doesn’t have the happiest results. Sometimes, like John and Sara, it separates us from our “true love” for years – to the point where we’re engaged to others and they are too. Sometimes, all serendipity means is a life lesson.

But that is okay.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy to decipher, and it isn’t always meant to be planned out.

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Sometimes, we just have to throw our hands up, let the plan fly away into the wind, and scream out, que sera sera.

Whatever will be, will be.

Guys.

August was rough. I hate to say that. It’s typically my third-favorite month. It comes after December (because Christmas, duh), and November (because Thanksgiving, double duh). Normally, I relish when the calendar turns to August because it means that the best month of the summer has arrived. It’s both my birthday month and typically includes Tahoe Time, and I usually get a trip to the Bay Area in, too. All of these things typically add up to equal one stellar month.

This year, it was a bit different.

Yes, I still got to go to Tahoe. Yes, I still had a birthday… those clearly don’t change. I didn’t get my Bay Area fix, but I got it in May, and I had just returned from some quality Nelson time in July. None of these things were what was wrong with August.

It was just… rough.

You know those months (or those days, those weeks, those years) that just seem to draaaaag by? That was this one. It just seemed that, despite the good things that happened, there was always a larger, heavier one following. I felt a large portion of this month feeling like I was barely keeping my head above water and that’s just not a fun feeling.

And so, I am really not all that bummed to say goodbye to August 2016.

September will bring changes. In my experience, it always does. Some are great, some are bad, and most of them are unpredictable. But this morning, I got my first Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee of the season (for which I must make a general shout out to the barista’s at my Starbucks, who fully understand my own ex-barista ways and who indulge them accordingly). My best friend flies in for the three day weekend tomorrow afternoon. Next week, the weather will be in the upper 90s.

Fall is coming. Change is near.

I can say goodbye to this rough, life-altering, welcome-to-adulthood-let’s-let-it-kick-you-where-it-counts summer.

And I can say, happily and healthily… hello, September.

If you know me personally (and, for some of you, even if you don’t), you know that my family has been going through a bittersweet transition. We’ve had a place at Lake Tahoe for nearly 50 years, and it has come to the point to make the decision to sell the condo.

My mom and I went into our visit this past weekend with a positive mindset. Partly because, you can’t not be excited to go to Tahoe. And partly because, well, realistically, Tahoe isn’t going anywhere. The lake is large, gorgeous, and people are making a constant and consistent effort to Keep Tahoe Blue. We have the condo for two weeks at Christmas, and our family has plenty of friends that have – incredibly kindly – offered to let us stay, whenever we want.

I’m grateful for that.

And this weekend was absolutely lovely. It always is. The Lake is our “happy place” and it is virtually impossible not to enjoy yourself while you’re there.

I mean, just look at it. It’s breathtaking.

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And Tahoe has given me, and my family, so much.

From Wet Woody’s on the deck at Gar Woods…

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To learning (at a very late age) how to (pathetically) build a snowman…

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(Hey, I live in the desert. Give me a break. )

To bonding over, and devouring, the best dessert known to man. (If you’re ever at Jake’s/Kimo’s/Dukes, get the Hula Pie. You won’t regret it.)

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The family acquired a taste for wine at an early age at canoeing at a more appropriate one…

My aunt and uncle met on the beach there…

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I got carded by the waitress who has known me since before I was born…

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And no matter what happens between our visits, Tahoe never changes. (Well, the shoreline occasionally does. And sometimes, you know, there’s snow.)

But ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns a condo or where we end up staying. It doesn’t even really matter if we make it back again – although, of course, that’s blasphemy. The Arute blood can’t stay away from those crystal waters too long.

Sure, the beauty of Tahoe is certainly something. There is an air of magic about the place. And that is definitely a tantalizing quality.

But the most magical part of the whole place?

It’s where our memories were made. And our memories aren’t going anywhere… and beyond that, there’s a plethora of future memories waiting to be experienced.

Again.

Tahoe isn’t going anywhere. So thanks, Tahoe, for everything we’ve gotten from you and everything we’ll continue to get.

(But I would appreciate if the pier would reopen.)

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People keep telling me the same thing. “You’ve got it all figured out – and you’re so young!”

Disclaimer: I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s wildly comforting, assuring, and flattering to have this consistently thrown at me. I am proud of myself, and I am extremely and eternally grateful for the opportunities and support system that have allowed me to be in this position at, yes, an admittedly young age.

But, again. I don’t have “it all figured out.” I couldn’t possibly, because I’m only human. Even the oldest and wisest of us will never, truly have “it all figured out.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of guidance. I definitely have some aspects of my life that could use “figuring out” – as does everyone. And some of these things are minor, and have pretty obvious solutions: my knee will be healed by listening to the doctors’ instructions, taking the medicine they give me, and doing the physical therapy they recommend. The doctors are guiding me in that respect. I’ve got direction.

But some things, particularly those inward-focused parts of life, don’t have such clear instructions. They’re a bit more muddled, and extremely emotional.

How do we find guidance through that?

This is where many of my friends and a few of my family members might expect me to get, as I call it, preachy. And, yes, that is my obvious – and chosen – answer. I’ve been repeating Jeremiah 29:11 over and over and over again in my brain, and telling myself that God has a plan, and when He is ready for me to take control of it, He will let me know.

But that’s just me.

And, to be honest, sometimes I struggle with relinquishing that control.

I keep feeling like there has to be something else that I could do, like this waiting game isn’t necessarily because there’s a sign I’m supposed to be on the lookout for, but because there already were a few that I may have missed.

I keep wondering what it would be like if I didn’t have the assurance and faith that I have. Well, actually, that’s not true. I know what it would be like. I spent a large chunk of my life realizing what that lack of faith brings me: it also brings me lack of control.

You see, when I don’t give in to my faith and trust God to be in control of the things I can’t control myself, I get a little crazy. I try to keep everything in my grasp and inevitably, things slip. And when they do, I freak out. I didn’t have the best coping mechanisms in high school, and while that’s hardly something I’m going to delve into here and now, it’s something I have come to accept as a life lesson.

As a result of the high school struggles, I’ve given up trying to control everything, because it never works and is, ultimately, not my job. And even if you aren’t a Christian like me, I think this same message is always resounding. I think the entire world has been built to show us that we, as humans, simply cannot control everything. It’s not in our nature, and we need to stop trying so hard to force it to be.

All we can really do, then, is find guidance. Whether that is in the church, or in your best friend, or in a book you’re reading, or in the melodies of your favorite song, or in the wholeness of meditation – whatever it is, find guidance. We’re always looking for it, I’ve realized. It’s inherently part of being the social beings that we are.

Sometimes, whatever the guidance is, may not be the best or happiest advice. Sometimes, the direction that you find you are led is dark and unclear and potentially a bit stormy. But that is, ultimately, okay. And in some cases, that’s even the point. It goes back to that whole idea of “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Sometimes, the guiding light in our lives is just trying to strengthen us, and sometimes, though scary, we have to let them.

I owe all of you the biggest of apologies.

I’ve been completely and totally slacking on this whole blogging thing, and for that, I sincerely apologize.

The past month or so has just been jam-packed with activities. Literally. I’ve gone from work to some sort of social event practically every day, and while I love being surrounded by the amazing people in my life, it all gets the best of me sometimes and as such, the blog falls to the wayside.

I originally planned to write a whole spiel on some of the things that have happened in the past few months – I went to Sunriver for a few days with the family, my best friend showed up out of the blue for a surprise weekend home, I rang in 22 with some great friends and awful cornhole, and then I rang it in again with the family and carne asada tacos. And who knows, maybe I will eventually get around to those posts… or maybe I won’t.

For now, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks on how I’ve been staying sane through all this madness – and trust me, at times that’s been a little tough! Am I the only one who gets so caught up in all the excitement of everything else that they forget to take a second and collect themselves? I hope not (and I don’t think so.)

I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful support system that occasionally reminds me to take my “me time.” I’ve been trying to incorporate it more lately, especially as adulthood winds up and finally hits me full-swing. And I’m not one for meditation, but I do believe in the power of it; I also believe that there are many ways to meditate. Some sit on a yoga mat and find their inner balance. Others, like me, sit on their couch with a glass of Chardonnay and Gilmore girls.

So I’ve rounded up some of my favorite mindfulness tips and tricks, and little things that help me stay stable when things are going a bit crazy.

  • Netflix and chill… and not in that way! Okay, okay, so that phrase is a bit provocative now (shout out to the pastor at my church who had to explain it to the unwilling and unimpressed audience one Sunday). But, really, there is so much to be said for a night on the couch with your favorite TV show or movie. And even if you’re not one for wine, treat yourself with something special – whether that’s your favorite chocolate bar, a big bowl of popcorn, whatever. You do you… with you.
  • 30 minutes to unwind. Even if your evening plans don’t call for a night on the couch, don’t forget to give yourself a little bit of time to unwind. I have gotten in the habit of not making any plans for at least half an hour after I get off work. That gives me thirty whole minutes to “decompress” and go from work mode to social mode. Otherwise, I’d be thinking about all those things I didn’t get done that day.
  • Exercise. I know, I know, everyone says that. But let me tell ya – as a relatively regular runner, being unable to do so properly these past few weeks has really taken its toll. I have had to lower the intensity of my workouts thanks to the meniscus tear in my left knee, and while I’ve been able to walk or lightly ride the stationary bike (no incline, no resistance), it’s just not the same as getting a really good heart-pumping cardio sesh in. It might sound weird, but I’d kill for a 30 minute HIIT workout right about now.
  • Let someone take care of you. This sounds silly, especially in a post about how to use your “me time.” But, let’s be real, sometimes that’s just not in the cards. Admittedly, letting people take care of me has never been my strong suit. But with the way things have gone lately, I’m trying to relinquish some of my façade and admit to my best friend when I need a vent session. The little things really are nice sometimes, and letting yourself be spoiled for a moment or two is not the worst thing.
  • SLEEP. Again, throw this in there with the state-the-obvious bullets. But, honestly. I know how easy and tempting it can be to give up your 8 hours in favor of a reverse happy hour with that bestie from high school you haven’t seen in forever. And, alright, maybe it is important to see that bestie, too. But maybe let your hair go natural in the morning and save yourself the extra half hour of sleep to make up for it. And there’s nothing wrong with skipping a weekly get together in favor of an early night – you’ll see all those awesome people the next Wednesday, too.
  • Find friends. This one’s tricky, because it definitely doesn’t fall into the category of “me time.” And yet, at the same time, it sort of does… because, ultimately, friendship is a key to well being. I’m learning, as I start to navigate these waters of adulthood, that it’s a lot harder to just find friends than it was in college. It’s a big of a cliché, maybe, but at least at school you had the forced fun aspect of all living in one massive dorm room, or being crammed into the same edit bays till the wee hours of the night. Once you’re out of that bubble, you learn that not everybody is always crammed into the same spaces for 8+ hours a day – and the people who are there (aka, coworkers) often have their own lives. The solution I’ve found is to find myself other groups of people who are willingly throwing themselves into social situations. I joined my local networking chapter, and a small group at my church – and I’ve met some really cool people as a result. Even if you don’t hang out with them outside of those activities – having those events is something to look forward to on a semi-regular basis.

All of these things have at least helped me feel a little more grounded when things are going a bit haywire. I like having things I can control, and these are aspects of my life that I am learning that I can.

Granted, I can also control how often I blog but, clearly, that one’s been a bit harder to make myself do. Let’s chalk it up to writer’s block?

I’m going to be more consistent about these posts again – I promise. But until then, I’m going to make sure I have time for Chardonnay and Gilmore girls.

I figured I should probably get around to getting part 3 up considering

a) the month of July is almost over
b) I’ve had a trip since going to Denver and
c) my Denverinian best friend (yes, it’s a word) just came down to P-town for a visit.

I’ve got a lot I should get writing about, so I should probs fill everyone in on that third and final aspect of my amazing trip to the Rockies.

First of all, take a look at this shot of Lex, Jen and me. This was from the first day, dancing around downtown Denver, and it’s a pretty accurate representation of what we look like on a daily basis. In fact, I wore that t shirt dress from Target like three times that week (I washed it, I promise). We like our sunglasses and we like our lipstick.

And, we like country music.

So when Jen scored free tickets to see Chris Jansen play at the Greeley Stampede, we figured it would be riiiiiight up our alley. I mean, we listen to country radio. We know everything from the top 40 to the good nineties country. We got this.

… or maybe we don’t got this.

To steal Jen’s Instagram caption, we thought we were country… and then we went to Greeley.

Don’t get me wrong, Greeley seems like it could be a cool place and I am by no means knocking the entire town, or even the little bit of it that we saw. I know there’s a college there and I’m sure downtown has more than the fields we saw, but we managed to bypass that because, well, no one should ever let me be in charge of directions.

So by the time we made it to the Greeley Stampede, all we had seen were a whole lot of cowboys and some fields. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things, but three girls who essentially grew up in mid- to large-sized cities were a little shaken by the true country-ness of Greeley.

The concert was legitimately at a rodeo, in the actual place where I assume the actual rodeo-ing takes place (I realize how horrifically uneducated about rodeos that sentence made me sound). And, yes, that is a flag that says “yee yee” in the audience.

In Phoenix, it’s acceptable to wear dresses and sandals to a country concert. You’ll fit right in.

In Greeley, we definitely should have stuck to jeans and flannels, and probably should have tried to buy a cowboy hat.

It was, needless to say, so much fun.

Getting out of your comfort zone can be exhilarating sometimes, especially when there’s good music, good friends and good (and cheap!) beer to go along with it. It may have opened our eyes to exactly how uncountry we are sometimes, but it was the absolute perfect ending to an overall wonderful trip.

Til next time, Colorado.