Why I Love Living in the Country

Off the Beaten Path: Living in the Country

I have lived in the country or mountains all my life. One of the smallest sizes of land we have had is our current 20 acres. I have no idea what it is like to have neighbors. I have no idea what it’s like to hear city noise. However, I do know what it’s like to connect with nature, plants, animals, and fresh air. To enjoy beautiful views, hear the crickets and toads serenade me to sleep, drive long roads over rolling hills, and to shoo a run-away cow back into its pasture.

Living in the Country is Therapy for my Soul

Currently I live on 20 acres about 12 miles from town. The dozen or so miles that separate me from civilization are long winding roads lined with mended fences, old oak trees, dilapidated barns, grazing land, and an occasional vineyard. It’s peaceful. Somehow the long day is just stripped away as I pass pastureland dotted with cows, sheep, horses, goats, and white boxy beehives. The bumper to bumper traffic, long lines, and impatient people fade away the farther I drive. I’m still taken aback when I catch a glimpse of wildlife; a turkey, a deer, or racoon. Or the beauty of nature; a roaring creek after a rainstorm, a fallen tree, or blooming wildflowers creating a blanket of color.
There’s always a curiosity about what’s around the next corner, a group of cyclists, a slow-moving tractor, or a fox darting across the road. The unpredictability is what makes the drive extraordinary. But the predictability is just as special. I know the exact stretch of road where the two pigs love to hang out. I know the precise moment when I will see the llamas with their toothy grins and adorable looks waiting to crane their necks to watch me drive by. I love to cross over the one-lane bridge that straddles the creek that looks as if it was mined a hundred years ago. I eagerly watch the massive blackberry patch coating a half mile stretch, anticipating the moment when I can pull over and snack on a few. Some might think the drive is a waste of time, for me it’s a familiar rhythm that is welcomed.
Continue Reading

Dress Up a Concert T-Shirt with a Blazer

Every time I go to a concert, I always get a shirt. For me it’s my favorite souvenir, it reminds me of being there, in the moment. It’s something that I can pull out and wear that is attached to the memory of that experience. The exclusive piece of memorabilia creates a timeline as most concert shirts are a particular year and a specific concert. Many list cities that were toured and some have unique graphics and bold artwork.
Everyone knows there’s nothing cooler than a vintage concert t-shirt. It shows you had insider status and allows you to show that you are a fan of that artist and their music. I envision myself wearing it when I’m older, it’s worn, broken in and well loved. Countless washes have faded and softened it to the point that it’s the ultimate causal shirt.
This concert tee is from Charlie Puth’s Voicenotes Tour. I saw him in South Lake Tahoe at the Harvey’s Outdoor Amphitheater with my friend Chloe, August 19, 2018. It was a blast! Charlie is an epic performer, I can’t wait to see him again when he does his next tour.
Pair your concert t-shirt with a blazer and wear it with your favorite pair of jeans and the look automatically makes a statement. It’s the perfect balance between causal and dressed-up.
Continue Reading

Shamelessly Shopping the Men’s Department

I am notorious for shamelessly shopping in the men’s section. Some of my best finds I’ve gotten in the men’s department, Levi jeans, the perfect graphic tee, but I espically love men’s button-down shirts. I don’t know why it is, but they have the best prints and designs. I like that the sleeves are always long enough and sometimes have a fun coordinating print in the inside of the cuff when you flip it up. They are better quality and construction and usually more affordable, this shirt I bought from Ross for only $9. There’s just something about that look of a slouchy men’s dress shirt paired with jeans that love.
Just like boyfriend jeans, boyfriend shirts have that casual vibe that is so easy to wear. We’ve all been guilty of wearing our boyfriends’ clothes before—espically hoodies and flannels. They are big and cozy and smell so good and are perfect for that relaxed boyfriend style.
Women’s and Men’s shirts button on the opposite side. So how do you know when you’re truly wearing a men’s shirt? Women’s buttons are on the left side, while men’s are on the right.
Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans with Patches
Continue Reading

Soothing Earth Tones for Spring Neutrals

I love head-to-toe neutrals for spring. They are simple and sophisticated and never go out of style. It’s super easy to pull clothes from your winter wardrobe and incorporate them into the new season.
Though they might seem basic, I love earth tones. They are warm, comforting and so versatile. Cream, cinnamon, and moss tones provide a fresh take on spring. Neutral accessories finish off the look for a classic take.
Continue Reading

3 Masks You Need Because Skin Care is Self-Care

I struggle with acne and I have naturally oily skin, I have found that masks really help me to get control over my skin. These are 3 masks which have different purposes and I have found using all of them has helped to clear my skin and boost my confidence. Masks are the perfect way to start getting in the habit of self-love and self-care. I’ve written a post here about how Self-Care needs to be Self-Initiated.

1. Andalou Naturals - Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask

This is a brightening mask with glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells to work magic on your skin. This mask helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, clean pores, and will soften skin. Initially the mask tingles but the tingling sensation means it’s working. Some reviews say the tingling feels like burning on very sensitive skin types but most people don’t have any problems with it. It’s recommended to leave it on for 10-20 minutes, it doesn’t tingle too much for me so I leave it on for the full 20 minutes. I use this mask once a week. For those of you who like the smell of pumpkin, honey, and warm spices, you will enjoy the scent. Personally, I like how it smells, it reminds me of pumpkin pie.

2. Freeman - Polishing Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub

This mask I have found really great for my blackheads and the little bumps that I often get on my forehead. It detoxes your pores and then the scrub softens your skin and lifts dead skin cells. It also absorbs oils which is great if you have oily skin like I do. After this mask my face will get a little red from the scrub but I make sure to get my acne prone areas really good. It’s recommended to leave it on for 5-7 minutes, I usually leave it on for 10 minutes. I try to use this mask at least twice a week. I also really enjoy the smell of this mask!

3. Pacifica - Kale Brighten Enzymatic Overhaul Mask

This mask is really great for blackheads, it detoxes your pores. This mask goes on smooth and then tightens. After it makes my face feel soft and clean. This mask can be used daily, I don’t use it daily but I try to use it as often as possible. It’s recommended to leave it on for 5-15 minutes and I usually do the full 15 minutes. This is by far the oddest smelling mask but it does wonders for my skin so the smell is easily overlooked!
Have you used any of these masks? I would love to know what your opinions on them are and if they work for you! Let me know in the comments.
Continue Reading

The Perfect Jacket for Transitioning to Spring

As we move into spring, a cozy cropped jacket is a must for the transitional weather. The weather has been crazy here in Northern California and despite it being April it doesn’t feel like spring is here yet. But it’s definitely time to put away the heavy winter coats and bring out something a little lighter. A cropped jacket is the perfect piece for the warmer weather because it doesn’t have the bulk. I love this jacket because it’s perfect for layering. The tie-waist is a great detail and you can dress it up or down.

Is There A Difference Between a Jacket and a Coat?

Yes, there is. A coat is longer than a jacket. A coat usually falls anywhere from mid-thigh to below the knee. Coats are typically warmer. Jackets are shorter and hit just below the waist. They are lighter weight, great for layering, and apt for transitional weather.
Continue Reading

Fall Asleep, Relax, Heal, and Meditate with an App

Setting aside time to relax is important and a great way to establish a healthy routine for good self-care. I talked about how Self-Care Needs to be Self-Initiated in a previous post. Meditation is one of the activities I do for self-care. I can’t say that I meditate, at least not in the traditional sense. What I practice is mindfulness meditation. A very simplistic way to explain the difference between the two are, meditation is the practice to reach a heightened level of consciousness while mindfulness meditation is relaxing and focusing on the present.
Insight Timer is the app I use for relaxing, mediating, and even to fall asleep. What I love about this app is that it is free and that it has so much to offer. It has over 15,000 free meditations. There’s bound to be something for everyone. I really enjoy the guided meditations. I find when someone is guiding me, I stay more focused and by the end I feel more relaxed and centered. You can choose the amount of time you want to meditate and there’s an array of topics. Below is a screen shot of some of the topics.
Insight Timer Topics
I’ve recently discovered the bedtime stories. Listening to a story is a great way to wind down and get ready for sleep. If you aren’t ready for sleep after a bedtime story, simply move on over to a sleep meditation and you will drift off before you know it. My quality of sleep has really improved since I’ve been using the guided sleep meditations. Harvard Medical School recently published how meditation helps fight insomnia and improved sleep. You can read about the study here.
Insight Timer Bedtime Stories
Beginning a routine can be difficult however, if you start out small, even a few minutes a day, you will see the results.
Continue Reading

Top 5 Ways to Get Through College Without Student Loans

I will graduate for the University of Sacramento in a few weeks and I will do it completely debt free. I didn’t get any financial aide because I didn’t qualify for it and I never took out a student loan. I was responsible for half of my college—tuition and books. Sacramento State is a commuter college, so my fuel costs are a lot, which I pay for. Graduating debt free was a huge goal of mine. Here are the top 5 things I did in college that saved me a lot of money. There are a lot of little things I do too, but I will save those for another post.

Live with your parents.

Living with your parents, if possible, is the best way to save through college. I don’t pay for power, water, cable, internet, or most of my food.
Butte Community College, Oroville, CA

Community College First.

Go to a community college. I attended Butte College where I received my AS-T Degree in Business Administration. Attending a community college saved me over 4 semesters at the university. That is a savings of about $25,000. Community college is also great if you don’t know what degree you want to get because you can take classes in areas which you’re interested at a much lower price than at university. Also, if you live in California all community colleges are free for the first year. I didn’t get a free first year because it became available the year I graduated. Be sure to investigate this because that’s a huge savings too.
Olli, 3D-printed, electric-powered autonomous shuttle, Sacramento State

Choose a State College.

Choose a state college. State colleges are cheaper. For clarification California State University (CSU) and State University (SU) are the same thing. I live in California and CSUs or SUs are more affordable than UCs, (University of California). At Sacramento State, there are programs to help students save and finish their undergrad quickly. There is the “Finish in Four” program for first-year students and the “Through in Two” program for transfer students, these programs provide incentives and support for students who commit to taking at least 30 units a year. 30 units a year, are the minimum units needed to complete their degrees in four years or two years, respectively. I took advantage of the Through in Two and in addition to saving on tuition I also received one of my summer courses (an $855 value) for free. Check with your college and see if they have any programs like this.

Get a job and save.

When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to go to college, and I knew that I had to find a way to pay for half of it. My parents saved for my brother and I to go to college, but they always told us that we would be responsible for half because they thought it was very important for us to invest in ourselves. My dad also would say, “I want you to have some skin in the game.” Meaning I would be more driven to apply myself, pass my classes, and graduate on time if it was my money to. Knowing that I would have to pay I began working and saving when I was in high school. I saved everything. When I received birthday money or Christmas money, I didn’t spend it, it went directly into the bank. The same with my part-time job and babysitting money.

Apply for Scholarships and contests.

I have applied for scholarships for four years straight and I only received one. But every bit helps so don’t give up. Applying for scholarships isn’t easy and it’s important to find your niche. I was able to apply for scholarships geared toward women, Native Americans, and business students. I recommend people look for scholarships in areas that apply to them. I also applied for a few contests, which I placed in. The local Chico and Oroville Optimist clubs co-sponsored the “I Have a Dream” Speech Contest as well as a writing contest. I got 2nd and 3rd place and though it wasn’t a lot of money it all adds up.
It’s hard work and sacrifice to graduate without debt but it’s so worth it.
Continue Reading

It’s Overall Season

Do you have that one outfit you can’t wait to wear when Spring finally comes? Maybe it’s a dress, a pair of cutoffs, or a romper. For me it’s my overalls! Pockets, denim, casual yet fashionable, what’s not to love? I wear them with a simple white tank top or one of my many baseball tees and occasionally I add a red plaid flannel shirt to complete my look. I have had these overalls for years and let me tell you, I love them!
Last year I miss placed them, I couldn’t find them until the season had passed. They were in a random box, so this year I will be sure they get the love they deserve. And since Spring is in full bloom, I did a little photo shoot with my mom as my photographer. 

It's All About The Pockets

The pockets are great because I can pack so many things around with me, but they haven’t always worked. Years ago, I wore my overalls to my cousins 3rd birthday party, a pool party for the kids. One of my cousins swam to the edge and called out to me, ready to recite his many tales of their swimming. And as I bent over down to his level, I completely forgot my phone was tucked in the front pocket on my chest. My cousin went silent when he noticed my look of horror as the phone made a splash and sunk to the bottom of the pool. It was retrieved, placed in a bag of rice, but my phone never turned on again…I learned two very important lessons: 1) back-up your phone, and 2) don’t put important things in the front chest pocket of your overalls.
Though, I had been frustrated with how my overalls let me down, I knew I wasn’t going to stop wearing them. I also knew I’d probably end up putting my phone in the front pocket again…which I have many times. Fortunately, I have been sure to stay away from pools since that dreaded day! So my phone simply falls on the ground when I bend over instead of into water.
Continue Reading

Summer Plans: Okinawa, Japan

This June, I leave for a two-week trip to Okinawa. I’ve never been out of the country, it’s been a lot of fun researching and planning. I’m going to meet and train with the Grand Master of my Martial Arts. Currently, I am working toward my 2nd degree black belt. I’m a little nervous about training, we train hard in America but they take it to a whole new level in Okinawa. There’s also a lot of pressure to represent my dojo and not let my teachers down. The dojos in Okinawa don’t have air conditioning or padded floors, which I have taken for granted in my dojos here. The training will be rigorous and physically testing, and hot and humid. Very exciting but also stressful.
Karate aside, I’m excited about the amazing beaches and ancient culture. I want to go to the Ocean Park Expo. The large park is home to the Churaumi Aquarium, Tropical Dream Center (botanical garden), and Native Okinawan Village. I also hear shopping in Naha, the biggest city (350,000 pop) in Okinawa is a must.
Okinawa is one of the Blue Zones. They are known for their longevity, healthy aging, and are among the longest living on Earth. The women in Okinawa live longer than any women on the planet. They rely mostly on a plant-based diet, a diet that I try to stick to. I can’t wait to try the food. This trip is going to be an adventure! Do you have any adventures you’re planning on for this Summer?
Continue Reading

End of content

No more pages to load

Close Menu