Vacation Throwback: Summer of ’18 in CA

*Cue Roaring 20’s and Old Fashioned by Panic! at the Disco in the background, on repeat* (meaning at least listen to the songs once, PLZ, then just listen to the rest of the album…yes I may be too much of a fan)

DISCLAIMER: All photos are mine, even the header.

This was the vacation I needed, and in the same note of I wanted it, I didn’t know I NEEDED so badly. I truly grew so much, learned so much, and explored so much, I can only hope to get some of it across through some of my social media posts, my pictures, and through posts like this.

I had 2 weeks, with flights, that was fairly busy, out in CA. I shared right before, my planning of it, go check it out! This is my aftermath vomit post. Yes, it took too long, sorry guys. Mind my last post on some reasoning (I know, no excuses! I hate it…I just was still recovering and couldn’t deal for some reason(s)…but here I am, getting back on the vibe).

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The first major thing I got to do, which was the reasoning for the whole vacation out to California anyway, was Yosemite. I enjoyed the time up, with, and back down, with my mom and her parents. It was 4 total days, 2 full days in the park, the last day in the middle of the park, and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The travel through the park, and down the Sierra Nevada’s, I’m so grateful I had the intuition and confidence to say what I would think would create some great memories and photography shots, to my grandpa (who asked me personally about how we should make our way back down to where they live).

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Yosemite couldn’t have been any more enjoyable on my end, especially as a first time visitor, with experienced visitors. When my grandma told me that my grandpa fell in love with waterfalls from their first visit at Yosemite, I can truly see why. Seeing it for myself, and seeing my grandpa, in his mid 80’s be in his element, I see it.

For some backstory: my grandpa and my dad are both photography nerds. Keep in mind, it’s my mom’s dad here, so it’s not a dad and son thing here. My late grandfather is very an “in the moment” guy, and I’ve appreciated that the more I’ve aged (which took a toll on me during this trip…the “in the moment” that Ekhart Tolle shares, especially in his book of “The Power of Now”, which has shaped me more than anything, since I read it).

I can see myself in all of them, and most so I felt that during this trip. This was my first “fun” trip since before my late grandfather passed. I had a memorable time when visiting him prior to his passing, but knowing that he was going to die is a different trip. If you’ve lost someone close, and had a weekend even with them, prior to their passing, I’m sure you know the similar feeling of what I experienced.

Since my grandfather’s passing, I’ve grown so much as a person, and even more so in the last 2 years, because I know that’s what he’d want (outside of getting over his passing). Going to Yosemite refreshed my love of nature, especially around water (lakes, waterfalls, rivers, storms), as well as photography, and being in the moment.

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Pretty much three weeks later, I’m still in shock of what I saw, and the fact that it’s now behind me. Let alone the fact that I still get mesmerized by my raw pictures that I got. I hated nearly all the pictures I was in, but the pictures I got were beyond anything.

They truly didn’t need editing. I went through about 400 pictures, and I didn’t want to edit the ones I kept. It took me forever to just “man up” and realize that I knew I didn’t have to (and didn’t want to) edit my pictures from Yosemite.

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Past Yosemite, it was some down time, a lunch with my mom, a family dinner, then to VidCon and Disneyland on my last day. This is where I grew the most. I noticed how far I had come at that point, as a person, as well as an adult. A lot can happen from 18 to 23.

Some unfortunate things happened on some plans for VidCon, and it turned into a long solo weekend. The universe knew better than I did. I broke down one night even, but I needed to experience a breakdown totally alone to become stronger.

I knew that even during the breakdown. I’m a better person from that, and because of the whole experience of the solo “weekend” if you want to call it that.

I was reminded of my strength as a person, of the fact that I’m capable of doing things on my own, and that nothing is ever as bad as what your mind tells you it is (via whatever chemical imbalances you may have, whether too much or too little of something). Something I was taught in mentor/leadership camp, I was reminded of recently: You and your body can endure so much more than you think. It’s convincing your mind of it that’s the issue.

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Vidcon was nice but isn’t worth the hype. I can’t speak for what it was (this was the first year under a new company), and although it was super interesting and neat to attend, the hype isn’t there. Which to me, makes sense. Social media and people in general hype things up so much it’s not even funny.

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VidCon made the *big* channels I tune into more personified, which is what I think is the original point of why VidCon was created. It’s sad that we need a conference to personify people that talk into a camera. But in the same way, YouTube creators are doing something the mainstream actors and news anchors aren’t: truly interacting with those who have made them who they are.

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My last big thing on this vacation was Disneyland. This was originally my only solo thing during this trip. The day there was what I needed to spark the kid in me again. I indulged in the fast pass system, and since I went alone, I only had to worry about what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and it was a great experience doing something like that alone. I talked with some pretty cool people while in the ride lines, and had a blast.

I went on about 12-15 rides, ate some dole whip to cool down, and even went up and down the Tarzan tree house, for nostalgic reasons. I had a perfect day there, and even got my first set of ears! I have them hanging on my wall now.

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This trip reminded me of who I am, and how strong I’ve become in myself, especially over the last handful of years. I am so grateful for this experience, and am so glad of the memories.

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Take Care Tuesday: How I Planned My Summer

I have one heck of a summer planned. I want to share my journey on how it came about, and how I planned (well, my end of) it all. Look below on my monthly outlook, and I’ll share month by month, what I have currently planned. I have some tentative plans, that I want to wrap up by the middle of May or so, that’s really happening during my June trip to CA.

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June is totally my busy AF month. I’m taking a 2 week vacation from work (well, my “day” job. I’ll still have stuff planned for here during that time, plus creating stuff from these 2 weeks, for content). I’m half the envy for June at work, since I’m doing a cross-country trip, let alone for 2 weeks.

Backstory: my grandparents asked me back in the fall, if I wanted to visit Yosemite with them, as I’ve hardly seen the states. They didn’t have any concrete plans outside of doing it when my mom was also off, near the summer. Of course I said yes! Awhile later, some other things fell into place, on both of ours end, and they asked how long I wanted to be out there, so they could plan out the airfare. Grandpa always finds good deals, so I told them I wanted to be out till a Monday, since I’m off Mondays and Tuesdays, and it’d make things easier.

We crafted a 14 day plan, with 2 days of flying, both on Mondays. Since then, I’ve added some stuff, and have others in mind, keeping in mind of what some other family members might want to do, which is my focus for May.

Other than the 2 days of flying, there’s 3 hard days in Yosemite, VidCon (which is always up to the day, what we do), a solo date to Kevin Hart and Disneyland, plus whatever last few things come about.

PSX_20180424_045949July mellows out, since June will take so much out of my vacation time from my “day job”, plus I have my wisdom teeth extraction set into stone now.

I have a Panic! concert that was so impromptu, it’s not even funny. And taking off for it, was so fitting for my wisdom teeth surgery. It’s a very basic month. I’ll also be trying to do something with my step-sister and dad for their birthdays.

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August is also gonna be a chill month, but come September, I’ll have some more stuff coming along.

I have a long awaited concert as well, which I planned before Panic!, which will be fun. That’s really all the plans I have. I’m sure I’ll need more me time to unwind from everything, plus the struggle of working full weeks again, off and on.

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September is my birth month, and even though I’ll be working (probs) on my birthday, I already have 2 things planned.

My dad and I have been doing Renaissance faires off and on for years now, going to the same one up until this year. This year, we’re going to the one on the other state. This year, I’m going to drag babe along again. This will be a first for all of us. My step-mom might even come along, so double date much?

Then, I have plans *hopefully* just for babe and I to do a full moon tour for a wolf reserve, a couple weeks later, for a wolf reserve an exit or two prior to where we will get off for the Renaissance Faire. It’ll be an evening tour/chill session, to hear them all howl at dusk. I’ve been having a calling to visit a reserve for awhile now, and I believe this will be a cure.

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Of course, I have to share with you, the fact that I’m marking how long till each thing happens. This is all the stuff I have planned, and as of this morning, how long it is until they happen. It’s just a free app for countdowns.

I’ll send my mom screenshots like this every so often, as she gets excited for the June trip. I haven’t seen my mom’s side of the family since 2014, and that was only my maternal grandparents and mom.

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Of course, the next most important part is, thanking those who take care of you. My grandparents paid for half of my June trip, easily. I don’t know what they spent on it, but I did spend a pretty penny on my end, and I couldn’t have done what I will do, without them. And that’s just speaking on this trip.

I’m staying with my mom for the other days I’m out there, and not somewhere, so she deserves thanks as well. I have hidden gems in these cards for them, plus wherever I can manage to spoil them during the trip, I will.

I’ll be adding thank you notes, as I finalize the rest of my plans for the summer.

So what are your plans for the summer?

Easter: A Different Perspective

If you haven’t already noticed, this is my take on Easter. To give you a little background on myself, I grew up in the church. I was baptized into the church at a young age (once as an infant, and then again in elementary school), but haven’t practiced in years. I don’t consider myself religious, or to practice, but I hold the teachings and morals close to my heart, as they are really important, and lacking in today’s society.

This year, my dad wanted to do all of the Easter “festivities” I’d guess one could call them. We were originally going to go down to DC for Easter mass, but life got in the way for my dad. So instead, we went to Pittsburgh. We went to 4 different churches, on all 4 Easter holidays (Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil). Easter Vigil was in Pittsburgh, and we stayed overnight, and went down to the strip district late this morning.

The Pittsburgh church was the largest we went to out of all 4, and the two we went to for Palm Sunday and Good Friday were close in numbers, and by far the smallest churches (for attendees) that I’ve ever been to. All were nice, gorgeous buildings, and something I’d never experienced.

As out of place as I felt, during each service, the one in Pittsburgh made me feel the best, as the energy was there, and you could tell that those who were there, were truly into it. I appreciate all of these churches for allowing my dad and I to participate.

I didn’t follow all of the rules (I ended my social media detox early, and didn’t hard core do all of the fasting when I was supposed to, but hey, I’m only human, remember?), but lent did provide me with the reflection that I needed. It also helped me manage what I need to assess, and allowed me to appreciate things that I needed to appreciate.

For my dad, the goal was to have bonding time with me, plus get back into practicing, and going to church more regularly, which he’s been wanting to do. I appreciate his honesty, and his interest into starting his journey in that, with me.

My goal, was to also have bonding time with my dad. Yet, unlike him, my other point was to learn and experience what the non-Protestant side had to offer, what it was like, and also explore the architecture and surrounding areas. Even though I didn’t get to explore DC as an adult this year, I’m still grateful for going to Pittsburgh.

Hopefully within the next handful of years, the DC version will manifest its way into becoming, with all of my aspirations of travel.