#ForestFriday - New Mexico!

One of my favorite places to escape to on a quick weekend journey is the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. There are endless campgrounds and plenty of good views to go around. The trees are tall, the air is a little thinner, and the skies are GORGEOUS in any weather. I’m thankful to have such beautiful places within 9 hours of my house. I’ll drive all night to get to camp in the SFNF for an evening because it is just that wonderful. Where do you like to escape for the weekend?

 Sunset in the Santa Fe National Forest

Sunset in the Santa Fe National Forest

Bright morning hike in the Santa Fe National Forest

Rain on the horizon in the Santa Fe National Forest

#WayBackWednesday - Grand Rapids, Michigan

It was ArtPrize 2010, a city wide art festival, and my dear friend Ashley and I had made the rounds. These are some photos from the afternoon/evening in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I lived in Grand Rapids from 2003 to 2011 and I genuinely miss the city. These photos take me back and make me think of all of the good times, as well as all of the learning experiences, I had while moving from adolescence to adulthood. Do you have a city or hometown you miss? Would you ever move back? I’d move back to Grand Rapids in a heartbeat, if the situation was right. If you ever get a chance to go to Michigan, I highly suggest hitting up the great food and brews/wines in Grand Rapids.

#ForestFriday - Exit Glacier Trail

Kenai Fjords National Park is somewhere I’d like to revisit for a bit longer than we did. I loved hiking up to see the glacier, but I’d like to spend more time there and see even more. Beyond that, I remember the trail to the glacier and the little bit of forest it went through. There were creek crossings, glacier runoff creeks, and tons of greenery. Enjoy a couple of photos from the forest on the way to the glacier. Happy Forest Friday!

#WayBackWednesday - Tahquamenon Falls (#WaterfallWednesday)

It was the winter of 2015 and I had some time on my hands. We had already visited Alaska for Thanksgiving and though why not run through Michigan and Minnesota around Christmas. We visited my family in Rogers City and then up through the Upper Peninsula. One of the best places we stopped was Tahquamenon Falls on the east end of the peninsula. The path was snowy and icicles were prominent, making it all even more beautiful. Enjoy a few photos and escape into the winter wonderland that is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

#MondayMotivation - December is here!

December is easily my favorite month. From my birthday, to winter, to the various holidays, and the best weather here in Texas. I’ve been a slacker, been really struggling to get out and stay motivated. Here are some December goals: 

  • get a good walk with the dog every day 
  • hike at least 5 times
  • eat out less and at home more
  • do a winter cleaning on the apartment before heading to Alaska for the holidays
  • read 5 books
  • listen to NPR more often
  • get into weekly routines that help keep me motivated and happy (hiking, walking the dog longer, cleaning, cooking) 

What are your goals this month!? Any fun travel plans? Let me know in the comments or start a conversation! Happy December! 

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#WayBackWednesday - My first time in Alaska

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Three years ago, for Thanksgiving, I went to Alaska to celebrate turkey day with my other half’s family. I was recently laid off from my job, had no prospects, and thought it was a good time to make a trip. I had never been that far from “home” and I was completely excited. I had no expectations for the trip - but was hoping for snow. We arrived to a cold, wintry scene in Anchorage and it only got prettier each day.

As we prepare to head back up there in December, I’m hopeful for more snowy adventures. Enjoy some photos form my first time in Alaska.

Tuesday Thoughts

I’ve been in a funk. Not a “hide in a dark room” kind of funk, but in one nonetheless. I’ve been buying useless shit to feel joy instead of doing things to bring me joy. I’ve been avoiding the outdoors and finding any excuse to stay in bed all morning instead of soaking up the good weather. I recently suffered from a stomach bug, which brought all of this up to the surface.

I had to spend 3-4 days in bed and resting to realize things aren’t great in my head.  I’ve had no urge to do anything, haven’t felt good about my body, and certainly haven’t felt productive. My weekly blogs have suffered, but I’ve lacked creativity anyway. I feel this year has been a series of these bad spells, worse than many of the years before. Thinking back, it’s pronab much like 2005 which was easily one of the worst years on memory. When I think about, 2014 wasn’t great either because years like 2006 and 2015 exist where I look back and seem like I was living out of body and out of sorts. It was kind of a depression hangover fueled by selfishness and crazy decisions about life. So many parallels between those years. I am much more level headed these days, so hopefully the rebound is more level also. I’m hopeful I’ll rebound into nature and good choices again.

I am working on a plan to “get to my happy place” over the next few days. I need to exercise, for both physical and mental health. I need to eat a little better, so my clothes fit again. I need to stop spending and work out a strict budget. I need to figure out 2019 and what we have to save and prioritize for thought the year. I have a lot to figure out, but I know building a routine will help my brain and I look forward to regular, thoughtful posts. 

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#MondayMotivation - the joy of sleeping til 6!

I had all sorts of anxiety about work this week. It’s my second week at a new job, and it was an information overload during week one. I wasn’t totally freaking out or anything, but I wasn’t jumping out of bed with excitement to go in to the office. I heard some of the guys come in around 7am so I thought I’d shoot for 730 to test the water so to speak. Simply waking up at 6 has me less anxious, despite the uncertainty about the new job. I slept better, even after getting to bed late. While I lose the half day Friday I once had, I often just drank the afternoon away and ended up feeling gross. I’m looking forward to more sleep, a steady routine, and still having fun. Yeah, I won’t be able to fly out at 1pm anymore, but I will likely be more well rested to maximize the hours I do have.

I'm still going to spend my weekends the same way, I’ll just have to fly/drive through the night on Fridays again to make it happen. The beauty is, I can fly in Monday mornings and just come in later if necessary as work allows. Here’s to flexibility and maybe getting enough sleep!

What would you do with an extra hour of sleep? Are you a weekend warrior? If so, what are your tricks?

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#MondayMotivation - Try something new

Being an adult was not explained to me, and I’m sure it wasn’t explained to you. Choosing a job, or career path, was something that was sensationalized and it’s not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be as a kid. There is a certain joy in finding something you love, though, and I think I’m getting closer to it as I make my way through life. Here’s to the changes, having the luxury to change, and having the support to change. I’ve never really left a decent job because I wanted to try something new, but when the opportunity presented itself I though I’d try. It may work out, it may not. I have good feelings about it all, really, but I’m no fortune teller. There’s always give and take when it comes to life, and I’ll be sacrificing some aspects for others, but I think it’ll be alright. I want to learn more and do more, so as I age I’m continuously employable. I didn’t always have the ability, skills, or luxury to change jobs to gain more experience. I’m grateful for the privilege. Not everything works out and not every bit of hard work is rewarded, but it’s the positive experiences that keep us all going forward. Happy Monday!

#MondayMotivation - Life Goals

My “little sister” and I were texting today about a family friend who makes her own schedule and is living the life we want for ourselves someday. I got to thinking, this could be my reality after a few more years of whatever it is I’m doing. Get a little bit further down the road, work towards finding that sweet spot, and eventually have the ability to work and do what I want. Even if it doesn’t work out that way, the goal is there and the motivation is real. Working from home, from the road, from anywhere is appealing to me and I’m officially taking steps to make it happen.

What are you doing to achieve your goals? What will it take for you to get there?

#ForestFriday - Where the trees are skyscrapers and life is simpler

Today we go to the Northwestern part of this great land to a place called the Olympic Peninsula. These particular photos are from the trail to Pony Bridge from Graves Creek Campground. I recently did Hike 29 out there and, as usual, can’t stop thinking about going back. Enjoy the escape to the forest and have a great weekend if you can!

#WayBackWednesday - Caprock Canyons State Park

We’re going back to Caprock Canyons State Park last year at the end of September. This was a quick weekend camping trip that included a hike to Fern Canyon (a must-see if you’re at Caprock) and some other adventures with bison and spiders. Camping varies there, but there I’d recommend anywhere but near the lake as you’ll have more space between spots. Primitive looked best, but we just car camped at one of the tent only areas. Enjoy some photos!

#MondayMotivation - After a day off...

I can find myself slipping into the negative “UGH, it’s Monday” routine. I’m fortunate, I get two days off in a row every week which means I can plan my life around a schedule. Some people, however, don’t have that luxury and get sporadic days off or no days off if they have to work several jobs. I sit here, thinking, thank goodness I have job and thank goodness I had two days off. Yeah, going back to work can be a drag after two days off, but Mondays (or whatever your Monday is) is just a buffer zone for the rest of the week. Think of it as the first time you do something, it starts off a little rocky but smooths out eventually. Some weeks never smooth out, I know, but without Monday, Tuesday would suck just as hard. It’s all about perspective. Getting through Monday gets me one day closer to my next set of days off. I’m not saying I’m cheerful and grateful all the time, but I’m really trying today by putting these positive thoughts out to y’all. Have a great week and find something about it you love!

A Healthier Mike - 10/23/2018

Day 5-8 - October 19-22, 2018

It wasn’t a great few days for food, but it was good for exercise. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I did plenty of walking and hiking. I had some beers, some burgers, some bad foods, but nothing too excessive over the weekend. I had an inspirational weekend to hopefully push me back outdoors, foot health pending. I think it’s plantar fasciitis, but I can’t be sure. I’m going to work with recommended treatments and compression socks to see if it helps.

I did not avoid snacking at work on Monday, but will today. I did take the free breakfast today, but will likely avoid a heavy lunch in lieu of it. I will try to take the dog for a longer walk tonight, though my knee and foot are KILLING ME with pain and swelling, so we’ll see. I’m generally upset, too, because the weather is finally lovely. Yesterday I did not do anything but eat poorly and sleep after work, so I’ll work harder on those too. I’m re-reading a book now, so I’ll hopefully hit that “read a chapter” daily goal as well.

I feel inspired and motivated to be better, even if in just small increments. Every little bit helps.

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • I had one of the most amazing weekends of my life. I was inspired, awakened, and enlightened. My heart warmed a little with new friends, and I have so much gratitude I can’t even stand it. I am thankful for new friends, old friends, family, and everyone doing nice things for people. I’m just so happy and distracted by the fact that there are GOOD people out there and I had the pleasure of meeting some recently.

  • I’m going to continue my work on being happier, ditching the stress, and working harder at being a better friend and partner.

  • Letting shit out is the best. Whether it’s to a willing listener, an empty notebook, or a digital space anonymously… it feels great to get the thoughts (good, bad, indifferent) out. Clear your space and make room for the positive energy.

#MondayMotivation - Find your mountain

I want to backpack in or around Mount Rainier National Park the next time I go there. So, until solid goals are set, the motivation for any exercise or healthy habits is this photo:

Find your motivation and get to it. I really needed this little adventure to kick my ass into gear. I feel alive again, truly! I am thankful to have people in my life that were willing to show me these places that keep me wanting to be better as a human.

A Healthier Mike - 10/19/2018

Day 4 - October 18, 2018

Yesterday was… bad for health, good for flavor. I didn’t avoid free breakfast, I didn’t make a healthy dinner, I didn’t run or walk, I didn’t track, and I didn’t walk at lunch. I had beers and bad food at a movie but I had a decent lunch and I’ll have a decent lunch today too. I’m about to fly out this afternoon and I’ll be on the go, so food will be limited as I’ll end up in the middle of nowhere. I’ll be exercising daily, though, so there is that!

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • I was in a much better mood today, if not a little flighty. I’m completely ready for the weekend and my lack of sleep really highlights that.

  • I’m already looking forward to scattered cell signal, fresh air, and GREEN trees.

A Healthier Mike - 10/18/2018

Day 3 - October 18, 2018

Yesterday ended up being a shit show of a day for food. I had good intentions, but gave in too easily to my Chipotle bad habits. I had a big lunch, didn’t track my food beyond that, fast food for dinner, pizza for a snack, and didn’t exercise. I did close the rings on my Apple Watch, but I did not stay anywhere near my calorie goal.

I was an animal and I lost control, as I often do. I get lazy, I fall victim to laziness, and I am easily swayed into bad decisions. I got a bad haircut and It sent me in a spiral all evening, I was super tired by 9 pm so I just cashed in after eating too much. My sleep quality, probably due to having to get up to pee and having WAY too much salt all day, was very poor. The poorest all week.

I brought some squash and ground turkey today for lunch, but already had two small pieces of pizza for breakfast that I keep forgetting to log. I did avoid snacking at work yesterday, I did not make a healthy dinner, I did not walk or run, I did not track my food, and I didn’t really walk at lunch. I’m 1/5 for yesterday. Today will not be much better. Here’s to fresh air and hiking this weekend. Please gods I hope it resets me.

Daily Goals:

  1. Avoid snacking at work (this includes any free breakfast)

  2. Make a healthy dinner

  3. Walk or run outside if weather and time allows

  4. Track my food intake

  5. Walk a little at lunch

Additional Daily Goals:

  1. Close all rings on Apple Watch

  2. Read a chapter

Mental Notes

  • Today has started off poorly already, I woke up grumpy and had a shitty drive into work. Stressful and annoying. Trying to turn it around

  • I’m trying to be positive and thankful and happy about leaving tomorrow, but I’m just not quite there… hopefully by morning.