Monday, July 3, 2017

Capriciousness

I am a multifaceted individual.  I am outdoorsy, bookish, intellectual, traditional, free-spirited, and adventurous.  I am authentic.  I am capricious.


The word "capricious" is an adjective that means to be prone to sudden changes of mood or behavior.  Let me explain further.  I am not bipolar.  I am not manic.  I have many different interests, and despite my libran birth, I am not all that great at balancing these interests in a way that allows me to embrace them all at once.  In a way, I am searching for that balance.  I am looking to explore the paths that can get me there.

Perhaps this is why I enjoy the arts.  By focusing on vivid imagery – whether visual or verbal – one is able to produce some sort of mood or effect.  I imagine that the mood or effect I most long to produce is one of peace and balance; but in my path to finding these things, I am sucked into different veins that lead me to extremes.  I enjoy the outdoors, so I want to enjoy them fully.  I enjoy literature, so I want to meld into that life as much as I possibly can.

The words and works of Dickinson, Austen, Carroll, Hodgson Burnett, and Rowling fuel my love of literary simplicity.  But my adoration for Muir, Strayed, and the like kindle a fire in my heart for adventure, open spaces and epic views in fresh air.  I want to ride the subway while reading a good book, go home and drink some tea and sit on a comfy sofa.  I also want to hike to some remote location, chug pure water, and sleep under the stars.  These two facets can be balanced, I'm just not sure how.

Mary Oliver is my hero.  She is bookish and literary, outdoorsy and natural.  She fuses these two worlds together with poems about nature, about birds, about dogs.  There is something magical in the way she seems to exude the life I want to live.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

My answer: everything, Mary; simply everything.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Zero Waste | GOALS

As I was journaling for the new year a lot of imagery that came up was what I wanted my home, my life, and my year to look like.  A new year is always a fresh start, but you can start fresh any time just by living in the now and being aware that whatever changes you make now will impact your life as they come and go.  When thinking of the impact my life has on this earth I imagine how humans have created an island of plastic in the ocean, how we have fields of grass where nothing can grow over sealed boxes of our ancestors, how sea turtles get plastic forks stuck in their noses, how we are so dependent on plastic, which is a byproduct of oil, this insane industrial machine.

I know, things get deep real fast with me.

From this, I made a goal to try to live a zero waste lifestyle to the best of my abilities.

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills and incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.
So I began to do some research.  The biggest names out there are Zero Waste Home (who even has a book!), and Trash is for Tossers (which is my personal favorite, and was featured on MindBodyGreen).  

How did I go from zero plastic to zero waste? 
First, I stopped buying packaged products and began bringing my own bags and jars to fill with bulk products at the supermarket. I stopped buying new clothing, and shopped only secondhand. I continued making all of my own personal care and cleaning products. I downsized significantly by selling, donating, or giving away superfluous things in my life, such as all but one of my six identical spatulas, 10 pairs of jeans that I hadn't worn since high school, and a trillion decorative items that had no significance to me at all. 
Most importantly, I started planning potentially wasteful situations; I began saying "NO" to things like straws in my cocktails at a bars, to plastic or paper bags at stores, and to receipts.
Personally,  my first steps are going to be eliminating the plastics I use and buy.  Lunches and drinks can be packaged in mason jars, glass or stainless steel water bottles, beauty products can be made at home, and most food can be bought in bulk and carried in jars or organic cotton bags.  Cold brew coffee and beer can also be bought using refillable growlers from the company or origin.  I have recently transitioned to using cloth rags instead of paper towels at home, so I just have to maintain that habit.  I've even thought of a way to reuse old clothing for fun gift wrap!

There are a few more tips for zero waste living that will save you money at this link.

Baby steps are key, but a lot of these baby steps are going to be big lifestyle changes.  I have a few more goals for life and this year that I'll be going over in the coming weeks.

Here's to now!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

FIRMOO | The Story of a Blind Girl

I first found out that I had pretty poor eyesight when I was about to join the Girl Scouts in the 4th grade.  They had me do an eye test, the standard wall eye test with letters that go from large to small as you read down, and I'm not sure how bad my sight was then, but now I can barely read that top line. 

Before taking this test and my mom finding out that I was severely in need of glasses I had some specific things happen that were huge hints to this fact.  My mom would point to a V of geese flying above us as we were driving and I would say that I couldn't see it—she wouldn't believe me.  One time, we were picking up my dad from the airport and I mistakenly thought another man was him...I'm not sure I ever fessed up to that out of embarrassment!  I was that kid who always asked to sit in the front of the classroom, especially if the teacher was using a yellow marker.  (What sort of monster uses a yellow marker on a whiteboard?!)
The first few years of wearing glasses were hard.  I not only loathed the horrible so-called "style" of eyewear at the time, but I also longed for the day when I could wear contacts.  Back in the '90s the eyeglass style of the moment were these horrible oval frames that didn't complement anyone's face shape.  They were small, giving you limited visual range, and they were just really dorky to an elementary and middle-schooler.  

It wasn't until high school when black frames made their comeback.  It began with rectangles and slowly, thanks to Weezer, wayfarers came back into style.  At this time I could also use contacts, and did so regularly, not only because of the dork-factor, but also because of the fact that I was in marching band and therefore was outside practicing most days.  Since high school, I've slowly grown accustom to wearing glasses on the daily.  The only time I really feel the need for contacts is while swimming, diving, or hiking. 
 Nowadays, I'm constantly in a search to find fun glasses to put a little bit of flare into my outfits.  I've got a general tomboy style, so finding glasses with a rad, classic style in fun colors is my sweet spot.  These so-called purple glasses from www.firmoo.com hit that sweet spot on the nose.  They've got that classic wayfarer style with a rosey, almost maroon color to them.  I love wearing them because when the light shines through it's as if I'm really seeing through rose-colored glasses.  
Shopping for glasses online is really as easy as uploading a good front-facing photo of yourself to their site, and virtually trying on different frames. If you remember the general size and shape that works on your face, it'll make picking frames that much easier. As for prescription, well, I have pretty bad vision and have to get the thinnest lenses possible. For just about $60 you can get lenses as thin and clear as you would for hundreds of dollars from your eye doctor's.

If you're interested in trying out a new online glasses company, head on over to www.firmoo.com for the latest promos and top picks. If you go to the page "Daily New" http://www.firmoo.com/new-arrivals.html you can find the frames that were added that day, and if you've never shopped with Firmoo before, head over to their 15% off page: http://www.firmoo.com/z/new-50-off.html to get a coupon code for your first pair.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

BRINGING IT BACK


There comes a time in everyone's lives when things come full circle.  In many ways, the end of this year and the whole turning 30 thing have allowed me to question who I really am and why I do the things I do.  I have worked this office job for some time now, and when I first started working here in 2008 I decided that my extra time could be used to help me expand as a blogger.  As life changed with different influences and circumstances, I lost myself in others.  The emergence of adventure blogging as a huge thing caught my curiosity and my wanderlust fell in love—the only problem, which is a pretty big problem to have, is that I have this 9-5 job still.  I finished my general education at college, decided to drop out as soon as I transferred because scary, but have since (in the span of the last year) reassessed my choices and found that in order to spark my curiosities and keep my whimsy and my creativity alive, I must continue to learn and work towards my goals.  With my (hopefully) eventual degree in Library Science I can not only become a librarian, but I can also look into being a curator at museums and all sorts of scientific libraries as well as simply my first love—books.

With this emerging thought came the fact that this is what I've always loved to do.  From a young age I loved books and bugs, rocks and plants, animals and all sorts of odd collections.  I loved playing dress-up, and with this whole adventure blogging thing, dressing up sort of isn't an option.  Here I am, now, wanting to re-embrace the skirt, the tight, the shoes!  I am ready to relearn how to do my hair and makeup and be that girl who first began to blog in the hopes of sharing a story, inspiring others, and keeping herself interested.  If you have an audience to write to, you're more likely to do things worth writing about.


I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do exactly, or write about ... but I do have a house that I'm slowly fixing up.  The photo of the cactus garden is from a recent trip to the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center which has an enormous nursery, a rad rock shop, and really awesome children's programs where they can learn how to dig up rocks, crack them open, tumble them, and identify the type of mineral it is.  Not only that, but they have some pretty cool and creepy dinosaur sculptures.  Look for the woolly mammoth on the hill north of the 60frwy near Pedly in Southern California.  The top photo was from a recent trip to Oak Glen, Southern California's local "everything apples."  For the season, they have some deer in a feeding pen, and there are stands with apple cider and all sorts of crafts lining the town.  We wandered into a little cavernous animal museum filled with bad taxidermy, live reptiles and rodents, and a few friendly parrots in the gift shop area.  These are some of the things I like to do.  I enjoy the natural world, I am amused by knickknacks, and I really dig a good road trip.

I hope you stick around for a bit to read some more of my adventures and what I've been up to.  I don't want to promise anything, but I'm sure there will be a few outfit posts in my future, some bike riding, adventuring, and hopefully a bit of fitness motivation.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 2, 2015

GRATITUDE

I love that gratitude rhymes with attitude because lately I've been all sorts of attitude, and it's exhausting.

This year has seemed like a giant pit of snakes that love breaking things, ruining plans, losing money, and all around being snarky snakes.  Except maybe the pit is filled with spiders or something a little easier to get away from, because just when we think we're out, we get bit again and fall back into that dogon pit.

It's not like this year has been all bad days.  It's just that sometimes you have one of those days where all the bad stuff seems to drown the good times that were just a part of your memory, and for some reason you can't seem to remember the good.


But this is why I'm here.  I'm sick of being down in the dumps, and I'm really ready to see what happens with this list I'm about to make.  So, here it is.  Here are the things I'm grateful for:

-I am SO grateful that the weather is finally changing and Fall is peaking its head out from behind the curtains.
-I am grateful that I have a car that works, is paid off, runs well, is reliable as all getout, and even has ac and a rad iPhone system to boot!
-I am grateful that I have a roof over my head—a home to call my own.
-I am grateful that I can afford food, clothes, and the luxuries of this first world life we lead.
-I am grateful that I am healthy and in some sort of shape.
-I am ridiculously grateful that I have an amazing husband who puts up with my mood swings, and loves going on adventures with me!
-I am grateful for my furbabies.  They keep me warm at night, cuddle me when I'm sad or cold, and love me so unconditionally.  It's really awesome.
-I am grateful that the friends I have are really rad, and even though we don't see each other as much as we did in the past, we still have a sort of familial connection that will last the ages.
-I am grateful that my parents are kind and giving, no matter how much they drive me crazy sometimes.
-I am very much honored and grateful that my mom and grandma are both such amazingly progressive and liberal ladies for their times.
-I am grateful that eye doctors can help me see all the beauty in the world that otherwise would be but a blur.
-I am grateful for my shoes, my clean underwear, shampoo, toothpaste, nail clippers, q-tips, lotion, clean water, and coffee.

Basically, not just the little things in life, but the big things, too.  Life is full of things to be grateful for, it's just a matter of recognizing these things on a daily basis, and especially when we think that there is so much getting us down.  Look up!  See the good and the great, and be grateful!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

FRIENDS | Big Sur #OurBigBigLove and San Simeon State Park


When friends get married a magical thing happens—people come together in laughter, food, drink, experience, and love.

Some good friends of ours recently got married at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on a perfect early summer day.  They were staying at the Big Sur Lodge, which is off the same road and rests, hidden, inside of the state park.  It was a small, beautiful wedding hidden in the oaks of the park near one of the many perfectly placed creeks.  All I can really say about a wedding like this is that it's like magic.

The night before, Jonathan and I drove up to San Simeon to camp at San Simeon State Park.  The campgrounds are on the other side of Highway 1, but there is a boardwalk that goes under the highway and leads to the beach, which is a few miles south of the one where the elephant seals go to to mate and molt.  We parked Ranger Russell, threw up some hammocks, roasted some killer kabobs, drank some pretty stellar Basecamp Brews from aluminum bottles designed for camping, and walked out to the beach to watch the sun set.  It was an early morning the next day, so we slept fairly early after that and decided that the next order of business for Russell is definitely curtains.  Getting ready for a wedding in a van is hard enough as it is—curtains would have helped a lot!

On our way up to Big Sur for the wedding we spotted the amazing San Simeon beach, which is a seasonal home to elephant seals.  Being on a time limit, we didn't make too many other stops, but witnesses that lovely wedding was worth the rush.  I'm so happy for the bride and groom and their amazing life together.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CAMP VIBES | Barton Flats to Tranquility Base


A few weekends ago, we headed up to the mountains with some friends for a short camping adventure.  This was our first time taking Russell (the van) out to sleep-camp, and the weather was not really what we had expected for night.  We're taking him up to Big Sur next weekend for our friend's wedding, and hopefully making curtains at some point this week to cut down on the nighttime cold.  We'll see if that helps at all because man oh man were we cold that first night in the van!

After the first night camping, we woke up to the roar of a family in fully decked out tents setting up breakfast right next to us.  They had generators, random dubstep music blasting, and electric chain saws to cut down trees for wood, which a) wouldn't work because the wood has to dry, and b) is illegal.  It was a pretty ridiculous sight and we weren't up for dealing with them for an extended weekend, so we took our party 20 minutes further into the mountains to my parent's cabin where we could camp or stay inside that night.

We set up our chairs around a portable fire pit, roasted marshmallows, and listened to the sound of coyotes in the National Forest behind us.  It was quieter, more convenient, and cheaper than moving to another campsite.  Since my parent's are in the middle of redoing their kitchen in the cabin, we used our camp stove and the grill to cook all of our food.  It's also nice to have a fence around us so the dogs can go off leash, because somehow every time we take Turbo camping he wiggles out of his harness.

The weekend ended up being a success despite our quick relocation.  We hiked in the forest behind the cabin, made plenty of camp coffee with our AeroPress, lounged in hammocks wearing our Poler Napsacks, threw throwing-knives, and got some pretty awesome star shots thanks to our new MeFOTO RoadTrip Tripod.

Thanks for stopping by!  For a deeper look into our adventures, follow me on Instagram:
+ @cassandrayost