stop feeling guilty for doing something for you.

I wasn’t feeling it yesterday. I wasn’t feeling it the day before either. Sometimes I’m just not feeling things and I always feel like shit about it. I should be an awesome person today and I’m not, what’s wrong with me?

Last night I had some alone time and decided to take advantage of it. Although I promised myself this quiet and relaxing time I still felt guilty. I felt lazy because I wasn’t doing something productive. I could have been writing a new blog, working on my paper due next Sunday, starting a new project… absolutely anything would be better than what I was doing.

When I started to really feel guilty I took out my laptop and started to write a post for my blog that didn’t even matter to me just for the sake of getting something up on the blog. How silly is that? I then shut my laptop and made a goal. I got really enthusiastic about this goal.  “I’m going to binge-watch the entire season of my show tonight and nothing is going to stop me!” I whipped up some Mexican hot chocolate, grabbed a cookie, snuggled in my bed and pressed play. I was finished with my series by 10pm and went to sleep.

This morning I woke up feeling enthusiastic to write to you and tell you that I think you should make it a goal within the next week to binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix with hot chocolate so you can wake up the next day and be a badass.

Stay Merry and Bright!

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I’m pretty cool but I cry a lot

I often get asked how I’m so happy and positive all the time and I have a little secret I’d like to share with you, I cry a lot. My crying doesn’t always come from being sad either. I’m not secretly a sad person. I cry when I’m angry, lost, embarrassed and overwhelmed. Crying keeps me calm and might be a good reason why nobody sees me angry.

This morning, I had heavy feelings in my mind and chest and just wanted to cry but kept it in and I was starting to get in a bad mood. When I’m in a bad mood I cannot focus on anything. I couldn’t even tell you why I was upset. Finally, I cried and I cried for a few solid minutes. After I was finished crying I made the realization that my chest no longer felt heavy and my thoughts were collected again.  I actually thought “Wait…that’s it?” I then proceeded to clean my face and move on with my day.

“Stay strong…don’t cry” these words are not meant to be in the same sentence. Just because you cry doesn’t mean you’re weak. You’re strong for understanding your feelings and actually being comfortable for showing emotions. When you confront your feelings you can have more peace to move on with your day.

If you’re having a bad day, just cry, confront those emotions and move on. We have far too much shit to do to be weighted down by bad emotions.

Crying feels damn good.

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Moments in black & white

Currently, I am on a month long trip between Eastern Idaho & Western Oregon.

During this trip I have not only been able to experience beautiful places but most importantly connect with friends that inspire me. I often find myself in a rut of guilt when I’m not always updating others on social media, keeping up with Instagram posts and a camera around my neck while traveling. Although I have had my camera with me most of the time and taking photographs, I do not take near as many as I used to in the past and especially while traveling. I have been trying my hardest to take in moments rather than capture them all. Feed my soul with memories and experiences that don’t necessarily need to be recorded onto a memory card and stored into my hard drive. I have been inspired with not only what’s been around me but the connections and conversations I have had with friends who inspire me with new light and ideas.

I have seen waterfalls and rainbows that have been unphotographed because I simply want to take it in for myself, selfishly, without sharing it with others.

I got to a point in my life where I was shooting much less because I was honestly getting bored of what I was photographing & needed a new boost of inspiration. I started to get sad and anxious about it not because I thought I was losing my passion but because others were noticing and questioning my passion for photography. However, stepping back from the camera has helped me tremendously. Now that I have spent sometime traveling without my camera always around my neck I have found some new light and have built some new concepts which I’m excited to experiment with.

Black and white images have stepped into my life recently with a newer meaning than they have before. I used to focus on black and white just as a artistic element to my photographs. Today I have found that black and white really enhances the moments rather than the colors. We always look at how beautiful the colors are in art and images but take little time to appreciate the light, texture and details of objects. Here are a few black and white details of my trip.

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Photograph taken of me by my friend Jayde Silbernagel for our personal photography project of running wild, free and nude along the wildflowers in Tetonia, Idaho.
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Owls at Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, Utah
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I ate this wildflower in Tetonia.

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At the top of our mountain hike watching the storm quickly approaching us.

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Here’s why it’s important to get the hell out of your hometown.

It isn’t easy but it’s worth it.

Since graduating high school from St. George, Utah in 2010 I have moved around a lot and currently planning another move. Although I have lived in St. G a few times as “pitstops” I have lived in Portland, Oregon…San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico…Denver, Colorado….Burlington, Vermont….San Felipe, Mexico….and currently planning my move to Grand Junction, Colorado!

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I always felt lucky to how strict my Mother was to make sure I left the state after high school, not because I was a pain in her ass (okay, maybe a little) but because she wanted me to experience more than Utah. She refused to help pay for my college and living at all right after high school if I stayed in Utah. Go, Mom! (Hi, Mom! I love you)

Why do I still do this after college? It keeps life interesting! People ask what keeps me moving around and it has been a variety of things such as school, work, family, and even relationships.

I have always found it extremely important to not only leave your hometown but also the state and take a chance to move somewhere new, even if it’s for a year or two. Your hometown will always be there. However, take a leap and leave for once.

Here’s why you should live in new places and get the hell out of your hometown.

You’re a local and not just a tourist • One of the main reasons why I love to live places for months at a time rather than just fly and visit is because you become a local instead of a tourist which means you are actually living the culture rather then wandering too all of the basic tourist locations and taking the same photos as every other tourist. When you live somewhere you discover something new everyday & you can be the one helping all of the lost tourists.

Experience culture shock • Culture shock does not only come from country to country but also state to state in the US. My culture shock didn’t come from living in Mexico but actually living in New England. The attitude and environment is much different in New England than the western states. The “New England attitude” is a real thing and something a sweet Utah girl was not ready for.

Become more openminded • When you live in other places you experience people that are not only different from you but different from everyone you grew up around. There is a difference from politics, religion, and lifestyle. You quickly figure out that there is good in people who are different from you and you might end up becoming very good friends despite your differences.

Create your identity • The thought of “Go out and find yourself” sounds incredibly cliche but it’s very important and something I think can only truly be done if you leave what you’re used to. You might discover new passions and hobbies, a new religious path or even just grow yourself as an individual by interacting in a new place with new people. I have changed & grown a lot since high school and in ways I knew I wouldn’t have if I didn’t leave.

Make friends for life • I think when you live somewhere and meet people, that’s when you can make friends for life instead of just a new Facebook friend. Because I move so much I have friends all over the country. I know some of the most amazing people from all different backgrounds who have helped me shape into the person I am today.

Experience homesickness & appreciation • When you become homesick you actually find a lot more appreciation to your home and the place you grew up in then you ever would have before. For me, my homesickness was not only my physical home where my family was but the dry heat and surrounding red rocks. I never had appreciation for it until I left the nest.

Here are a few things you will quickly learn leaving the place you grew up in

  • There’s more to life than hometown gossip. Who’s doing what and who’s doing who. Who Cares?
  • Your past doesn’t matter anymore, your mistakes are miles and miles away now and currently disintegrating.
  • You’ll get a boost of confidence because let’s face it – you’re a badass for taking this big step in your life!
  • You’ll be more inspired and creative.
  • You learn who your real friends are back home – miles away won’t change your friendship and love for each other.
  • There are so many opportunities in this world and it’s very exciting.

Leaving your hometown is not easy and moving in general takes a lot of work. What happens if it doesn’t work out though and you feel like you’ve made a terrible mistake? Mistakes are okay. Understand the comfort that your hometown will always be there and it was a good life lesson in the long run. Besides, comfort zones are made to be broken.

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Life as of late.

Sometimes there are some things in my life that I would like to share with you all but that I wouldn’t necessarily share with you in a single post. So here is a post about life lately and my latest gossip.

One) I took a new self portrait for the new year. Hazah!

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Two) We took a run out to the desert on some Baja buggies to an interesting little hut this man owns and sells beer from in the middle of the desert. He also has some beautiful dogs and there was also a dead cow at our destination which was a really great photo opportunity. My camera needs a major cleaning now with all of the dirt and dust.

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Three) Speaking of dead things…a friend and I went out looking for bones on the beach and there was an interesting dead fish. Why are dead things interesting to photograph? Is it normal to have this fascination?

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Four) No, still no boyfriend.

Five) I downloaded some new Lightroom presets and have been totally geeking out about. You can find these free presents from NickCam and Sleeklens. It’s always fun to try some new editing styles and techniques.

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Six) I had a cavity which caused a quarter of my tooth to crack and break off. I went to the dentist and it only cost me $40 to fill…yes friends, $40 to fill a massive hole in my tooth. Did I mention it was totally painless? No, no drugs needed either.

Seven) I have officially started my Master’s degree online. OPA!

Eight) We are running out of gasoline in Mexico. Seriously….they are increasing gas prices but not increasing the pay of the truckers. So, the truckers are protesting by not bringing gasoline and other goods across the border. Time to whip out the bikes!

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Two thousand sixteen.

I for some reason have had the most difficult time writing this post. Mostly because I’m not sure what my goal or objective is post. Do I talk about my trials and tribulations of 2016? What I accomplished and what I wish worked out for me? Do cry over my presidential candidate not getting into office? Discuss the extreme violence we have seen this year? Getting through a broken heart and finding myself? Places I’ve traveled to? How do I even begin to wrap up 2016 without writing you an entire novel? There’s so many different ways I could approach this seemingly obligatory New Years post.

The beginning of 2016 I found myself with wild anxiety that was unfortunately turning into depression in Vermont. Although I was in a good relationship, had a steady job, and was living in a beautiful place I knew there was something that had to change and I had to find Mariah again…but to my surprise I never lost sight of who I was at all, I was just still trying to find who I was completely.

I packed up my car with my life in the backseat and moved across the country by myself back home to St. George, Utah. This alone was quite the adventure and helped me learn and gain a strong sense of independence. After working and running around the red rocks of Southern Utah for a few months I moved my way to Mexico where I am currently enjoying life of sunshine, tacos, and culture.

This year has been filled with travel which was my ultimate goal. I have traveled around to some incredible places and so grateful and blessed for all of the experiences. Aside from passing 7 new states on my move I have traveled and visited Providence, Rhoda Island…Portland, Oregon…Bryce Canyon and Moab, Utah…Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Disneyland, California…and of course San Felipe, Mexico.

In 2016 I stepped into the dating world which made me realize I’m completely okay being single and independent for a while. I have found some new favorite places and discovered some new passions which turned into beautiful new projects. I gained friendships and grew current relationships. I have learned so much about myself and what I’m really looking for in both my career and personal life.

You actually did really well, 2016, I am not disappointed.

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Is this water sanitary?

Yesterday about 15 minutes before leaving on a desert adventure and trip to the waterfalls here in Mexico I got sick. When I say I got sick I mean sitting in the bathroom puking my guts out until I was in tears. THE WORST. So, this canceled my trip for an adventure that day. The greatest adventure I had was laying like a slug in bed all day with ginger ale, munching on crackers, and Netflix. Which, I hope you are all happy to know that Catfish is on Netflix, my personal guilty pleasure.

Come to find out I got sick from the water. We went out to dinner a couple of days before and a few of us had iced tea, those of us who did are all ill, and assuming that the water the iced tea was made from was not clean and purified. How do we know it was from the water and not the food? Food poisoning kicks in right away most of the time…when it’s water it takes a little longer. For us it was between 36-48 hours to kick in.

When others joke to me saying “Don’t drink the water in Mexico” It’s a serious thing, I cannot drink the water unless it has been purified and/or boiled. The reason for bad water in Mexico has a lot to do with the pipes. The water pipes are old and rusted which causes impurities in the water.

Today, I woke up feeling brand new! Although I won’t be running a half marathon today, I can at least get a few things accomplished. You don’t realize how good it feels to be healthy after you’ve had a day from hell.

This actually reminds me of my favorite scene from Disney’s Tarzan. Little Tantor is seriously adorable.

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On a very serious note, today I am feeling blessed for clean water! I live in a place where we have many outlets and access to clean water but unfortunately, there are many areas in our world that do not come close to having access to clean water. Bad water is very critical to your health and can cause many waterborne illnesses and diseases much worse then what happened to me, even death. Not only is clean water critical to your health but also increases access to food and also education!  A charity group that I found myself looking and researching a lot about has been Charity Water. Please take a look at this video! It’s a really great video that gives you a better understand of how clean water can change everything.

 

Count your blessings and stay sunny!

The Wonder Seeker

 

 

 

 

 

Festival del Camarón

I still feel like a shrimp after this past Saturday evening at the shrimp fest. The shrimp festival in San Felipe has booths of art, treats, and of course shrimp all the way down the Malecon. I told myself that I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted that day without feeling bad about myself in the end. My stomach was getting very full half way down the Malecon but I was staying strong for more.

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This first stop had to have been my favorite. Combo plate of a coconut shrimp, mango and whiskey salsa, and cream of green pepper. The coconut shrimp from here was actually my favorite through the entire evening. I loved the cream sauce on top of it!

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Right: Chocolate clams stuffed with the clam, shrimp, cheese, and other goods. You cannot forget the lime. Left: Shrimp and chips, battered and fried shrimp with some ranch as a dripping sauce.

Not only did I munch my way down the Malecon on shrimp but I also found someone who was selling horchata! I have been in search of horchata since I’ve been here but apparently it’s not as common as I thought it was or “out of season.” When I saw that he was selling it I literally squealed “Horchata!”  My heart was very happy.

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Also…drumroll please….I ate a cricket! It was a little spontaneous. There was a lady selling small bags of them and I asked if she had a sample. It took me a little bit to get the courage to pop that sucker in my mouth. It was really humorous to see everyone watching me try to eat it, because they knew it was something very different for an American girl to do. It was extremely salty and the texture was a little grainy. It wasn’t terrible but I don’t think it will be my choice of snack.

Did I mention the candy carts and candy stand? I left with a bag full of goodies! A coconut macaroon, fudge, watermelon gummies covered with chili sauce, and cotton candy!

 

Time to go on a diet now!

The Wonder Seeker

 

Hola from Mexico!

Well, we made it to San Felipe! We drove in on Sunday early afternoon and everything went surprisingly smoothly. I was expecting delays getting into the boarder, multiple questions, troubles getting visas, etc. The greatest part was arriving in Calexico and the GPS said we were an HOUR away from Mexicali and the boarder but 5 minutes later we started crossing the boarder. I was a little frightened that maybe I wasn’t going the way I was supposed to and remember asking “Where are we?! Are we in Mexicali?!” The man at the boarder looked at me like I had lost my mind. My mind was blown. We pulled in, got our visas, and we were off! Easy breezy. The last time I was in Mexicali I felt like it was so busy and a little terrifying to drive through and I was only the passenger then so I was prepared to drive through it myself. Fortunately though it wasn’t that busy and I managed to get through it all without panicking. They didn’t even check my car at the military check point and just waved me on by to enter, hooray!

The drive from St. George to San Felipe drastically changed from Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening we stayed din Blythe California and the drive was just dry desert land. Blythe to Mexicali was actually pretty neat with more mountains. We even ran into Glamis Sand Dunes, I don’t think I’ve never been to sand dunes like that and it was so cool to see!  Mexicali to San Felipe is very interesting of course because you are in an entire new country now and there’s actually quite a bit of mountains which I think is absolutely fantastic. It took awhile for us to figure out though if we could see the sea or a mirage.

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This first week is full of socializing and tourist attractions while my Aunt is in town.

Monday we spent the morning at the pool where I played water volleyball. Water Volleyball is like a religion in San Felipe and people GET INTO IT. I actually wasn’t terrible either and even scored a point.

After getting a great sunburn we went back to the house where we had visitors drop in and visit. In Mexico when you say to someone “Stop by anytime” they totally mean it. When I mean drop in I mean someone actually knocks on your door to see if your home or literally walks in your door, it’s normal. There’s a great value of friends, family, and relationships in Mexico.

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Yesterday we spent the early afternoon in downtown San Felipe where we went to The Taco Factory. It was also national We Love Tacos day, perfect day to have amazing authentic tacos. I had two pulpo tacos, which is octopus and oh my heavens is it the most amazing thing ever. Also, let’s admire the crema. mmmmmm crema.

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There was also a stray kitten with no tail running around that I so badly wanted to put in my backpack and take home with me. After lunch we walked around and did some shopping and walked by the sea.

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More adventures to come!

xoxo,

The Wonder Seeker