lord love a duck | marathon monday week #14

“Lord love a duck” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings. I don’t really know what it means, except that she uses it when exasperated.

I personally think the literal interpretation of this phrase would be hilarious. I feel this way because I’ve had a recent obsession with ducks. I know, random. It started with a post on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account. For those that don’t know, it’s an account that features submissions of people being terrible airline travelers. The photo I’m talking about featured a very adorable service duck, on a plane, in BOOTIES.

See?

Guys…BOOTIES!! Obsessed.

From there, I did some research about the feasibility of owning a pet duck in Las Vegas. Guess what? It’s not feasible. On to Plan B, which entailed setting my text tone to the duck quack and going to Sunset Park to visit the ducks. I talked about my return to this sport a couple of weeks ago.

On Saturday morning, I let myself sleep in before embarking on the run of the day. The longer I sat in my chair drinking my coffee, the more time I had to attempt to talk myself out of running. But then I thought of the ducks. My ducks. I needed to go see these damn ducks. I couldn’t let them down.

To clarify, I am fully aware of the fact that I do not own these ducks. They are wild, majestic creatures that dwell in the lake at Sunset Park and I have no claim to them whatsoever. So why am I attached to them?

Maybe it’s because while I’m sitting on the side of the lake, post-run, watching them swim around doin’ their thang – I feel so peaceful. Perhaps it’s because this is the next best thing to making an irresponsible life decision to acquire one as a pet.

Either way, I learned this weekend that I LOVE the ducks. I don’t know what this has to do with running or even life for that matter. If I could pull anything from this revelation, I would say that finding a quiet moment is so important to balance out our busy, stressful lives. Discovering a place to come to peace could be a crucial step in the process that is getting through a week without threatening to murder a coworker (you know which one).

There’s a reason so many of our favorite authors went out into nature. To be a witness of such perfect stillness and beauty is nothing short of satisfying – and inspiring.

I hope you find a place of peace this week, especially if things start getting crazy. Or, like me, you are having a mild freak-out after seeing both this week’s and the preview for next week’s GAME OF THRONES. OMG.

Happy Monday!

 

 

getting there | sunday stories #2

This is the second post in a Sunday series I’m doing. I’ll be telling my adventures from my  time studying abroad during a summer in college. If this is your first time reading “sunday stories”, you can find the first post here.

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Remember that Mary Kate and Ashley movie in which they traveled to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah? That was one of my favorite of their mediocre movies – How The West Was Won was another fave or It Takes Two, but also their mystery movies. Ok, fine, they were not mediocre. Anyway, it’s also where I stole the name of today’s installment. Yolo. Memories.

Getting to your travel destination is no easy feat, especially if you have to fly…across an entire ocean. Oy.

The night before I was set to leave on my European excursion, I was packing my one, singular, UNO purple people eater, hard-side suitcase. Frantically. I was having an existential crisis over the fact that I couldn’t bring my favorite Bob Marley shirt. For real, this was 21 year-old Jess.

Long, stressful story short: Momma Bear convinced me that it wasn’t necessary to bring my beloved Bob with me. The only thing left to do was chug a weird IPA I didn’t like, set my alarm and go to bed.

Now, don’t get it twisted, I 1000% set my alarm. I set three alarms. There were witnesses.

All three alarms failed to go off, resulting in my very own “Home Alone” moment. You know that part where they have to rush to and through the airport because their alarm failed. Yeah…same. At least I wasn’t Movie #1 Kevin who got left behind. Anyway. I freaked out, naturally, since I react SO WELL to life scenarios.

It was either my roommate (who also happened to be going on the trip) or my parents (who came to take me to the airport) that woke me up. But, like I mentioned, I was not Kevin McCallister (#1 or #2). I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and I boarded the correct aircraft. Praise the Lord.

We flew from Salt Lake City into JFK in New York City. Like the asshole that I was…am, I decided this was an amazing opportunity to let the world know that I was (AM) a Red Sox fan by wearing a brand new Red Sox t-shirt. See…asshole. But a self-aware asshole. (If you don’t follow baseball or sports or just don’t care, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee rivalry is the biggest, most famous, longest-running, most taken seriously rivalry in sports. If you care for more info, google it.)

The five hours I spent in JFK were thrilling. Not really. I forced my travel companions to eat BDUBS (Buffalo Wild Wings) and drink Boston Lager with me. (My spirit animal is a middle-aged Dad with a beer gut. It’s becoming more aware to me as time goes on.)

I even witnessed a real-life couple carrying real-life SANDALS luggage. If you watch The Office, you’ll get my excitement. So naturally I had to capture the following photo, the one and only from the “getting there” portion of the excursion.

Finally, it was time to board my very first international flight to Madrid. WHEE! This was the biggest plane I have ever been on and it was quite the adventure…kinda. I quickly learned that being in the middle row of the Titanic of planes (bad reference) was squishy and you get hit with the beverage cart often. However, I also discovered they serve you free wine so that helped, but did not allow me to sleep.

So what did I do on that 7 1/2 hour flight?

1- Watched “500 Days of Summer” for the first time and had an existential crisis (this was a very unstable time in my life apparently haha.)

2- Watched my favorite Scorsese movie “The Departed” to make me feel more tough.

3- Watched a sunrise worthy of a Crayola box as we made our final descent into my homeland, España.

We made our way off the plane and toward Customs. As I proudly gave my shiny, new passport to the agent, I had the biggest smile on my face. I was FINALLY HERE! He was less than thrilled at my excitement (delusion) and barely used enough ink to produce a legible stamp in my passport. Asshole. (Takes one to know one!)

Once we were safely in the country, we gathered our bags and had to find a cab all while running on no sleep and pure adrenaline.

When you are lacking sleep, having to navigate a country you are not familiar with and attempting to speak a language you are not fluent in – your brain may shut down. Case in point, the only words I could come up with were: hola, baño, cerveza. Olé!

Luckily, one of my travel companions took charge and told the taxi driver where our hostel was located. I sat in the back of the cab overwhelmed by everything. All of it. From the architecture passing me by to the Spanish street signs. It was all so overwhelming. I was actually in the homeland!

After arriving at our hostel, the cute man at reception made a comment about my last name since, you know, my family hails from the northern part of the country I was in. He was absolutely convinced that I should know more Spanish than my sleep-derived brain did at the time. However, it was fun to be “recognized” and it only made me feel more at home.

So I’ve successfully made it to Madrid, Spain. Next Sunday, I’ll talk about the weekend we spent in the city and how I actually feel about Madrid.
Stay tuned and subscribe!

17 thoughts locals have on the strip

Once again, we find ourselves at the end of a beautiful day called Thursday. And once again, I have some snarky, Las Vegas experiences to share with y’all.

Today I present to you, some thoughts locals have on The Strip. Because we don’t all experience utter joy when a rather large, foreign tour group with a flag engulfs us while on our way to sushi.

1- Could you walk ANY. SLOWER???

2- Could you please put the selfie stick back inside of your car and actually drive to the hotel before trying to film every single inch of The Strip?? I don’t want to be a victim of your unintentional off-roading as you attempt to capture the majesty of The Bellagio Fountains.

3- I could so easily steal that wallet sticking out of your pocket and/or open purse.

4- Do you NEED to STAND in the middle of a WALKway to take that photo?

5- The Fountains erupt every 15 minutes. Please calm down. I’m not trying to block you from this rare opportunity.

6- I hope you and your obnoxious child know that cockroaches reside in the bushes in front of said fountains. (This is true, I’ve witnessed.)

7- Contrary to what your overpriced well vodka is telling you, she’s waayyy out of your league, bro.

8- Don’t even waste your time politely telling the stripper card people you don’t want one. Sometimes you cannot be polite to strangers. It’s not rude, it’s self-preservation. This isn’t Nebraska anymore.

9- Oh no, do not speak to that dirty, life-size Spongebob.

10- Well look at your dumb (drunk) ass stopping to talk to the poorly dressed showgirl and/or dirty cartoon character lurking nearby. Now you will get finagled into taking a $50 photo.

11- Yep there goes that next round of drinks.

12- GIRL. PUT YOUR SHOES BACK ON. At least make that married guy you met two hours ago in the club carry you back to his hotel room.

13- Oh honey, do not get into that limo.

14- Why do people even come to The Strip? This isn’t that cool.

15- Dammit…I live here.

16- This is fucking awesome.

17- Awee yeaahhh. I live here.

how to get out of a funk

Last week I was in a major funk. I didn’t really even feel like myself until Wednesday afternoon. I had no motivation to work on my massive to-do list and I could not focus at all. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety and/or depression, you know this is an inexplicable feeling which can leave you desperate to find a way out of it.

While this doesn’t happen to me very often anymore, it is a little unsettling when it does. Luckily, I’ve discovered some things that help me get out of that funk. Or at least make me feel a little better.

#1 Breathe & Meditate – Taking a minute to sit, close your eyes and breathe deeply can really help calm your body down. If the thought of meditation is intimidating to you, look for a guided, audio meditation. There are a ton of apps out there, but I really like listening to Gabby Bernstein’s meditations which can be found on her website.

#2 Stretch / Yoga – Sometimes my funk makes me too tired to go out and do a more intense exercise. In cases such as these, I like to stretch and do some relaxing, Yin yoga in the comfort of my own home. I like to use Yoga With Adriene’s videos on Youtube. Her voice is so soothing and her “gentle yoga” really is gentle. Here are just a few of my recs:

Yoga for Depression, Yoga for Migraines, Meditation for Anxiety

#3 Drink Some Tea While Yoga-ing – Get some caffeine-free tea to soothe and detox your body. I like the Yogi brand teas as well as Traditional Medicinals (specifically Peppermint).

#4 Eat Something – It can be really tempting to give into eating junk when in that funk, but I’ve learned that kind of food can make me feel even worse. Something light like a salad will nourish my body and not contribute to the junky feeling.

#5 Get Reallll Dorky AKA Find a Feel Good – One Spring Semester in college, I watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at least once per day during Dead and Finals Week. Why? Because it’s what I needed at the time. Then during the Fall Semester, I watched the One Direction movie at least once per day during Dead and Finals Week. Why? Same reason.

and, i mean, COME ON. it’s harry styles for goodness sake.

It doesn’t matter what brings you joy, as long as it does. Who cares if you like to watch Christmas movies during the summer or have seen every episode of Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 if it makes you feel good? Sometimes we just need a temporary escape. And if we are all responsible for our emotions and happiness anyway, then this is one form of taking control.

#6 Find A Way To Laugh At Yourself – I am a huge fan of a solo-dance party and a good “talking to myself” session. When I do absolutely ridiculous things like this in the privacy of my own home, I usually end up laughing at myself. Why take ourselves so seriously all the time?

 

I hope some of my personal remedies helped y’all. I think it’s important to remember that we all have our days, or weeks or months or even years, but we’re not alone. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.

holy shit halfway check-in | marathon monday #13

this patron prickly pear marg was muy perfecto!
i got to see the killers last week live on jimmy kimmel! AMAZE.

“Holy shit.” Yeah, those are my exact thoughts on this topic. How did we get here so fast?! In 13 weeks, the big day will be real. So I thought it was time to check-in and see what I needed to adjust during this last half of training.

I’ve come to the realization that I do need to make this a more prominent part of my life because this is where the mileage begins to increase. In the coming weeks I will start running distances I’ve never reached before. I’m not afraid to admit it – that’s intimidating!

The only thing I can do is become obsessed with my training and do everything I can to contribute to this process and set myself up for success.

This is what I see looking back on the last thirteen weeks:

– Summer has been hectic! Between traveling and moving and music festivals, sometimes it’s been difficult to get all my workouts completed. Now that my schedule is clearing up, it’s going to be a lot easier to make this marathon a bigger priority.

– SLEEP. For sure, I need more of this shit. Then again, I could always use more sleep. This scenario is a little bit out of my control (I have some WEIRD ASS sleeping issues), but I can work harder to contribute to a better night’s sleep.

– Stretching. I can tell you right now that I do not make enough time for a proper warm up or cool down stretch. All I can tell myself about this one is…just DO. IT.

The marathon is a whole new distance, one that I’ve never run before. That means I need to constantly check-in and tweak my training and my approach. Which is a thing I can do.

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I want to close my “Holy Shit Halfway” Check-In with a quote that my Mom found in her local paper yesterday:

“Too many of us mistake the edges of our comfort zone for the limits of our endurance.” – Chris Huston (Journalist)

cheers bitches!

i did a study abroad once | sunday stories #1

This is the first post in a Sunday series I’m doing. I’ll be telling my adventures from my  time studying abroad during a summer in college. Back then, I started my first blog (which has since been deleted) and it’s fair to say I didn’t post as consistently as I wanted to while in Spain. Now, I feel it’s time to bring back those vintage posts starting now!

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I’d always wanted to visit Spain. My ancestors hail from the Northeast region aka The Basque Country near San Sebastián and I was drawn to the country and the culture from a young age. When my Spanish teacher during spring semester of my fourth year in college mentioned that he led a partial summer-intensive study abroad in Northern Spain, I was instantly intrigued. He highly encouraged me to apply. So I did.

Spoiler Alert: I got into the program and was both ecstatic and nervous to be going on such a grand adventure. A group of about 30(?) students from the University of Utah (my school) were going to be traveling and studying together. This structure made me feel a LOT better. Plus, my Spanish teacher was leading the trip which also added to the comfort level of the whole excursion.

You see, at this point, the only time I had been out of the country was to go to a week-long summer camp in Canada. So Europe was a whole new world as far as I was concerned. I needed an adult who knew what they were doing to guide me (and everyone else) through said new world.

We had several pre-trip meetings so we could get to know our fellow travelers and plan flights accordingly so we wouldn’t be navigating alone. Again, more comfort before the discomfort began.

I studied in Oviedo, Spain, which is in the Northern region of the country and about a 30 minute bus ride to the northern coast. If you’ve seen “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” you might have heard of the city. Side Note: Woody Allen loves Oviedo so much they have a statue dedicated to him. True story, see below.

Though you may have never heard of this city or consider it a tourist town, it is for Spaniards. Oviedo is the capital city in the region of Asturias. From what I was told, this is the place where the Spaniards won their first battle in taking back Spain from Franco. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m going based off what my Host Grandma told me!) Hence why this is such a big attraction for Spaniards.

Oviedo is the chosen city for this particular study abroad program because Americans don’t visit, usually. AKA English isn’t widely spoken. Which means when you’re struggling to order a Spanish Tortilla (also known as the greatest thing besides wine to come out of the country), you are forced to find the words in Spanish to complete your order. This is the best way for your brain to learn and store a new language, to be thrown into the scenario and just do it. I guess this is why they call it an “intensive.”

The program was about a month and a half long, which was perfect for someone who couldn’t see themselves dedicating an entire summer to living abroad away from my friends and social life in Utah. Looking back on it now, however, I wish I would have spent more time in a study abroad program. Such is life!

Overall, you must know that this trip absolutely changed my life. I got to make some amazing friends, see a beautiful part of Spain I would have never considered visiting, travel to the small, mountainous village where my great-grandfather was born and finally have my own sort of “Midnight in Paris” adventure with my family. Most importantly, on this trip I discovered that I am a writer through and through.

I’m excited to share my adventures, thoughts and vintage blog posts with y’all over the next few weeks. The idea of revisiting them and providing fresh insight is also very exciting to me, so, stay tuned!

I also highly recommend you listen to the song “Oviedo” by Blind Pilot. While there is an Oviedo in Florida, the lyrics of this song convinced us that it was, in fact, written about Oviedo, Spain. Plus, I love it and it reminds me of my time there!

Make sure to subscribe (on the right side of this page!) to be alerted once each new post is live!

Read post #2 here!

concert diaries | one night with dead and co

Ohhhhh boy, where do I even start with this one. I get excited all over again just thinking about this show.

If you listened to Episode Six of the Pod, you heard me talk allll about seeing Dead & Company a few months ago. Now that I am an official Deadhead, I figured I needed to revisit the topic since I can’t shut up about being a Deadhead. Haha.

I knew I had to witness John Mayer and his guitar playing again, because I felt like it was such a spiritual experience the first time around. However, I didn’t really do much in terms of finding tickets for this show until, oh I don’t know, the day of the show. What can I say? I work well under pressure.

So I found these tickets, but wasn’t sure exactly where the seats were until we got there. Surprise, surprise…Jess had secured a lovely spot in the pit. That’s right, we witnessed the glory of Dead & Co with John Mayer from relatively close. Riiighttt abouuuttt hereee…

And everyone there seemed to have about 30 years on us…talk about slightly intimidating. But if we’re being honest, I would not have wanted to be inducted into the Deadhead cult in any other way. (Don’t get me wrong – I say that with great love and admiration.) Everyone was so friendly and the vibe was the closest thing I’ve found to the Bonnaroo vibe while not actually on The Farm. Plus, it’s pretty amusing to watch hundreds of people my parents’ age smoking joints so freely in public while also wearing tie dye. Just sayin’! Everyone I encountered at the show was so excited that the next generation actually knew who The Dead were and wanted to see the latest version of them live.

A little history…

I grew up listening to good music. Like reealllyyy good music (thx Mother and Patricio!) In fact, my very first memory in my life  is riding in the back of my dad’s old truck on our way to our annual family camping trip in Sun Valley and “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles is playing. That moment has shaped my entire life since.

Naturally in junior high, I went rogue and got obsessed with Lil Wayne (sorry not sorry). Then at one point in high school all I cared about was rock climbing, tie dye and old school rock music. (I feel like now I’ve found a solid balance…for the most part).

This is when my Grateful Dead listening adventure began. I specifically remember driving to a local coffee shop after school, windows down, blaring “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain” and “Casey Jones” the whole way there. At this time, I threw them in the pile of bands I could never see live along with Bob Marley and Nirvana. Regardless, I still listened and loved.

I even used the line “What a long, strange trip it’s been” in my last editorial piece in the school newspaper during my senior year.

So when Dead & Company manifested and John Mayer was invited to play, I saw the slight chance appear. But really, are there any Deadheads in Vegas? Turns out yes, yes there are.

The concert experience itself was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed outside of a festival. It was refreshing to be around people who wanted to focus on seeing and experiencing the show rather than Snapping the whole damn thing.  I was in awe to be able to see all of these legendary musicians performing in front of me. This was one of those shows where you close your eyes and literally feel the music. It was truly amazing.

I found myself swaying along as the band jammed out and led us on a journey. So far out that, at certain points, you couldn’t even remember what song they were playing. I barely touched my phone and I found myself truly lost in the music. I wasn’t ready to leave, I didn’t get impatient for the song to end and I felt so peaceful the entire time. Plus being able to see the band when I wanted was so nice. Frequent concerts when you’re 5 foot nothing means you don’t usually see any of the action. Such is my life.

After it was over, I found myself wishing I could go back again. I could see why people have literally followed this band since day one. Most importantly, I finally felt like I could call myself a true Deadhead!

I promptly went home and subscribed to Amazon Prime so I could watch “Long Strange Trip”, the six episode documentary on the history of The Grateful Dead. The doc is so carefully and deliberately done and it offers a fascinating look into The Dead and what they have meant to fans over the years. I highly recommend.

So if you can…go see Dead & Co. Watch the documentary. Both are essential if you even like one song from this band. Truly a life changing and magical experience.