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Joshua Tree

It’s been one year since I explored this lovely national park. Boy, do I miss it! I’ve also been in a bit of a hiking slump (I think it’s probably the winter weather?), so I thought I would share some pictures of this trip to inspire me, and inspire you to get out and explore!

First off, we went during my spring break vacation. This turned out okay, but it was so crowded that we almost didn’t find a campsite! Next time I go, I’m definitely booking a campsite or staying in backcountry. IMG_1803

Once we found a campsite, we immediately started exploring! I fell in love with the desert landscape. It was weird to me at first, just because I love the forest, but the desert is beautiful in its own way. My favorite part was the sharp contrast of the deep blue sky with the tan rocks. Pictures do not do it justice!

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We were so excited to be done with the six hour drive and hike all around. We could not get over the beautiful views and all of the rocks! This is truly a beautiful park.

There are so many areas to explore in this park. One thing to point out is that is extremely accommodating to all levels of outdoorsy folks — there’s something for everyone! We were surprised to see day trippers in fashionable footwear instead of hiking boots; but then we would see tons of rock climbers and backpackers.

And then it didn’t even matter if you wanted to hike, camp, climb, or just sit around. The views were still incredible.

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Hopefully that got you inspired to go outside!!

From our week camping out in the desert, I wanted to give some helpful hints. Honestly, we barely researched before going and we still made it out alive. So it’s fine if you want to do your own thing because you will still survive, but there’s some things I wish I knew about desert camping.

Joshua Tree had different weather than I was expecting. Because we went in spring, it wasn’t 90 degrees everyday, but it still go up to about 75 or 80. At night, though, it got cold and windy! I definitely didn’t bring enough layers for some nights and ended up freezing. Also, because we went during spring break, we weren’t able to get firewood because it sold out! So I would recommend bringing firewood before you get to the nearest town because there’s a chance it will be sold out.

Now, onto what I learned from this trip.

First off, a no-brainer, but water is your literal friend. Joshua Tree recommends 2 gallons of water per person per day that you’re there. Do not discount this. We probably chugged about 2 gallons of water a day with all of the activities we were doing. Even though it was spring time and not incredibly hot, it was still warm enough. Water is your friend!

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Second, choose a pair of shoes you feel comfortable enough in. We were averaging about 12 miles a day. If I was walking in just athletic shoes, my feet would have been covered in blisters. My hiking boots saved my feet. One thing I didn’t do, and wish I did, is buy a couple of pairs of hiking socks. By the end of the day, my feet were always tired. My friend’s feet, who had hiking socks, did not have the same reaction. Hiking socks sometimes seem overrated, but trust me, they are not. After this trip, I bought a pair of socks, and I will never go back.

Third, leave room for playing on the rocks! For some reason, whenever I see rocks I just want to climb them. Joshua Tree is known for world class rock climbing for a reason. It was honestly so much fun to just see how far I could get up before actually needing gear. No matter how old you are, just climb the damn rocks. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Plus you get amazing views!

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Lastly, go with people you love. The desert has no cell reception, no wifi, and you’re at least 8 miles away from civilization. If you don’t like the people you’re with, you will not be able to escape them. So go with people that you love to talk to and that share similar interests as you.

I went with my best friend from my hometown that I rarely see. So this trip was perfect for catching up. We hiked the whole time, explored everything that we could, and ate like 12 cookies a day. It was the best week.

So, if you have time to go to Joshua Tree, don’t hesitate. Just go!

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Horses, Uncategorized

Interested in 3-Day Eventing?

 

 

Oh my, where to start. This sport has so much to talk about!

Eventing is not for the faint of heart. While eventing is ridiculously fun, it is also takes a ton of discipline and learning. I miss it, and after you’re done reading this post, you’ll understand why everyone is addicted to it as I am.

3 day eventing incorporates 3 phases – dressage, show jumping, and cross country – over a course of 3 days with at least one phase each day. During the show, you are mentally and physically tested, and it’s the most rewarding experience. One of the best parts of eventing is that all equestrians can do it. The energy and people behind eventing is  very inclusive. This is what makes the sport truly enjoyable, the feeling that everyone is connected and spirited about the same thing.

Before I get all kumbaya on you, I wanted to briefly explain each phase.

Dressage is what I always call the building blocks of eventing. If your horse can’t respond to the simplest of commands in dressage, you will not excel in the other two phases. Here, you ride a test, depending on your level, to display the horse’s responsiveness to cues. Don’t worry about the fancy moves — worry more about suppleness, rhythm, and your geometry. The judge will score you on how accurately you do the test, but also these qualities.

Now on to stadium jumping. This was my trainer’s favorite phase, and I never understood why until now. Stadium jumping is very technical because you need all the same qualities as dressage while navigating a course. Your horse must be willing to give you their head, adjust their stride, and pick up their feet! You’re being judged on how quickly you go through the course, so purely time, but you get a better score if you don’t knock any poles or have any refusals. Your course will also have a higher quality ride if you have a responsive horse, like I mentioned, allowing you to have a faster time.

Next is my favorite, cross country. Here is where your horse’s bravery, and your’s, is tested. You are literally galloping and jumping over natural obstacles for about 10 minutes straight. If you are an adrenaline junky, this phase is for you! Anything can happen while out on this course, making it the most dangerous out of all of the phases – and the most controversial. The USEF, USEA, and other organizations are working to make this safer for horses and riders, but don’t let that interfere with your interest for this sport. If you are safe, aware, and responsible when you ride, you should love it!

All three phases make up this beautiful sport, but there is so much more to it! The eventing community is one of the nicest I have ever been a part of. This sport also exposes you to multiple disciplines, allowing you to deviate or move between different areas and try something new.

There are lots of reasons to try eventing. But the best reason of them all is that you develop one of the strongest bonds with your horse. I know Raven will have my back every time we’re on the cross country course. I know she’s going to stay collected and focused through every dressage test. And lastly, I know she’s enjoying her ride as much as I am.

If you have any questions, want to know more about the sport, or just want to talk, feel free to contact me! You can also read more about it on the USEA website, Eventing Nation, or contact some eventing trainers in your area. Now get out there and kick some butt!

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Life, Uncategorized

Enhancing Productivity

 

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To-do list. The first “to-do” of productivity (sorry, I can’t help it) is to compose lists of everything that needs to be done. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around the amount of work I have to do if I write it out. These lists can include everything from what needs to be finished in a day to a ten-year plan.

To-do lists also help break big tasks into smaller components. If you had a huge project due at the end of the quarter, lists can help you establish a timeline to finish the project early and definitely help you not lose motivation.

You can also prioritize your list of things that need to get done. I have to see Raven every. single. day. So that definitely goes on my high priority task list. But buying those cute boots I see at the boutique across the street isn’t really necessary, so I can put that on a low priority. And I should probably but saving money for said boots at medium priority, too.

Plus, it’s ridiculously rewarding to cross items off of your to-do list.

Organize. I LOVE organization. My idea of a fun Sunday morning activity is cleaning out my closet and tidying up my house. Organizing your purse, your life, your house, heck, even your kitchen, can not only help you keep from procrastinating, but can also relieve anxiety about a dirty house or even just make you feel more put-together. I always sense a bit of accomplishment and motivation whenever I have a tidy living room or a clean kitchen. Then I want to organize my task list my tackling it.

Take breaks. The number one killer of motivation is burn out. If you don’t allow your body and mind to refresh every few hours, you will quickly reduce your concentration, and therefore, productivity.

The tricky thing I’ve experienced with taking breaks is rather simple. Avoid Netflix. Seriously, Netflix sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve watched 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and your final is in two days and you haven’t studied a lick. Instead, take ‘productive’ breaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a chance to relax, but it actually works!

Let’s say that you have allocated 10 hours for studying over two days, or about 5 hours a day. If you take a break every hour or so (or whenever you feel yourself slipping in concentration), take 10 minutes to go make tea, coffee, doodle in a notebook, call your mom, eat some almonds, literally anything that gets you off of social media and gives your brain a rest. You can even switch activities for an hour and go do something else on your task list. Simply taking a break from anything using critical thinking skills will benefit your work.

Establish a (healthy) morning routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think everyone has heard this. But I still think it’s important to mention, because I notice that variations in my morning routine can affect my productivity. Take Saturdays for example. If I lay in bed later, checking Instagram, and not working out until later in the day, I tend to not get anything done. But during my week, I wake up every morning at the same time, walk my dog at the same time, and continue on with my morning routine of making breakfast, getting ready for school, and I cannot forget coffee.

This routine allows me to budget my time out, but also reduces my laziness. Have somewhat of a plan for the mornings allows me to create more time in my day for activities.

Eat and drink well. Eat a vegetable. Have water. Simple as that! Give your brain healthy food to feel productive, increase concentration, and feel better. No one wants to work when their body feels like shit.

Leave room for fun! While productivity can seem like your sacrificing spontaneity, I would argue just the opposite. If you write down everything you have to do in a day, you should have a rough estimate of how much time you need. So for the other spare hours you have, go do something adventurous! Hang out with friends, let your mind relax. This is where you can watch the 1o episodes of Westworld all at once because you can’t just not.

 

So there you have it. These are rules I follow to increase my productivity. I love staying organized, having task lists, staying healthy, this all leads to a better lifestyle. While changing things in your routine are hard at first, they soon become second nature, and you’ll forget what it’s like to have Instagram open all of the time.

 

Uncategorized

What’s on my Mind

Let me tell you about my day today. If you don’t want to read about how irritating people are, feel free to skip this post!

However, I really need to rant about how annoying humanity is at the moment. I know that it’s incorrect to lump everyone into one category. I know that people aren’t going to fit the portrait I’m going to describe, so to speak, but a great deal of people will. And that bothers me.

Basically, a lot of people need to stop being so self-centered and immature and remember that there are more people on this Earth than just themselves. Honestly, my faith in humanity dwindles when people are too afraid to voice their opinion because all they get will be backlash. Everyone needs to be more respectful. And that includes more respectful of others opinions.

Now, I understand people could have different views on things, and those views might be negative and potentially detrimental, but there is absolutely no need to say that what they think is completely wrong and how messed up they are because of it. Let people be who they want to be!!

And it’s not just with opinions, I also see a lot of unnecessary judgement of people. I feel like people would feel more secure in who they are as a person if people just started accepting people. Honestly, everyone is beautiful and unique. Humanity needs to start focusing on the positive.

I know it’s hard. Sometimes I can’t seem to find one positive thing about my day. I think we at least need  to try and that will be a fantastic start.

Anyways, that was my rant. Have a great rest of the day! And try to remember, try to be more mindful of others. They might return the favor and make your day!

Horses, Uncategorized

Show Time!

I’m about to head out to the Santa Barbara jumper show! I’ve never competed in a sole jumper show. My past showing experience has been primarily eventing, so this will be a new and fun experience!img_3640_26976171045_o

One thing that I think everyone can relate with me on is that packing for shows is a process. Not only do you have to pack for yourself, but you need to pack for your horse, get everything clean, make sure you have everything, and give your horse a bath. All in a day’s work! It can be frustrating, but over the years I have learned a couple things that really help.

First of all, spacing tasks out really helps! I often forget a lot of things and often times end up buying new stuff or just forgetting crucial things, like a whip or a lunge line or something like that. I’ve found that packing over a couple of days really helps because you can think of everything you need and make sure you don’t forget anything.

Another helpful tip is remember to bring a sharpie, duct tape, and ziploc bags! For some reason, these essentials are necessary at shows and can never be found when you really need them.

It also helps to clean your tack before the show so you can have the day before to prepare for other things. I always get so busy the day before trying to get everything set up that cleaning my tack is the least of my worries. Having everything spotless before hand makes it easier to do spot treatments on the big day! The Effax Combi comes in handy for those finishing touches. It’s really convenient to use as you don’t need any water!

Try not to over pack. I know this is hard to do because there are so many “what if?” situations. Just remember that your other teammates will be around, as well as other trainers and barns. People will have extra things if you forget them! Everyone at the show is a horse person and will be more than willing to help if you forget some treats or a bell boot.

Take a deep breath and get excited!!! You’re about to show off your beastly abilities at whatever you excel in! I know how stressful shows can be, but you will rock it. Just have faith and have a good ride!

Life, Uncategorized

Favorite Things Thursday

I was sitting around my house today and thought I would share some of my favorite things at the moment. These items aren’t just inspirations, some of them I just really like right now or I am just really proud of. Without further ado, I think we should start this list 🙂

1. Flowers in a mason jar.

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These flowers were given to me by my boyfriend yesterday. I just love how simplistic and green they are! I live in California with the biggest drought of all droughts, so it’s nice to see something alive. Since I am a college student (this is like the best excuse ever), I don’t own any grown-up vases. Who knew a granola container could make a cute vase? Also, how are you supposed to pronounce vase?

2. My favorite pair of sunglasses.

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I bought these glasses on a whim from Target since my favorite pair of aviators were stepped on at a concert (cue the violins). I usually get glasses that are either wayfarers or aviators, so this shape is a little out of my comfort zone. However, these glasses are amazing! They have somehow held up through my klutzy tendencies and look super cute on! After my experience with these cute little frames, I am definitely going to listen to my gut and go with the crazy sunglasses next time.
P.S. Don’t you love my “shooting area”? Apparently, free coffee tables have multiple uses, not just for dancing on.

3. My inspirational phrase and cute red clock.

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I am a BIG fan of Pinterest. The main reason I love this website is because they have the best quotes and phrases! When I moved into my current house, I knew that I had to put up a phrase on the wall so that I could always remember to stay positive in life and be the best I could be. Naturally, I chose this quote! I used washi tape for this (my landlords advise against painting) and figured a cute red clock would go nicely. My roommate also added “Drink O’Clock” for her 21st birthday party. It’s fitting as we love to enjoy our Friday nights!

4. This weird painting I made for no apparent reason.

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One day, when I was trying to figure out something to do with free time, I decided that I wanted to be an artist and try my luck at painting. I’ve always thought mandalas were pretty and majestic af. So, naturally, that’s what I chose. Halfway through, I realized that painting is not my strong suit, but I still tried my best. This painting isn’t the bee’s knees, but I love it! It’s what I call my Gay Pride Mandala Look-Alike.

5. Last, but not least, my girly station.

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I love this area of my room! My mom got me this mirrored tray a couple months ago and it makes me think of The Parent Trap when they are in the mom’s room and she has all the perfume and jewelry. It makes me feel so girly and cute! I love all the perfume, rings, sunglasses, and necklaces that I get to put on display.

So there you have it. There’s some of the things that I am currently enjoying this fine Thursday afternoon. It’s funny to think that random things like a pair of sunglasses or a vase of flowers will instantly brighten your day. What brightens your day?

Whatever it is that helps you get through the day, make sure you hold onto that. Remember that life can get rocky at times. Having something that helps you stay positive is good to have!

And remember to take everything a stride at a time ~