Thursday, April 27, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park...

Well, my friends, this was meant to be a #WanderlustWednesday post, but it is currently 2100 on Thursday in my corner of the world and I'm just now sitting to write, so clearly, you can get a sense of what kind of week I'm having.  Also, I'm supposed to be working on an IEP right now, but well... my priorities are what they are! :) 

I was super lucky about a month ago to have my mommy traveling near Palm Springs, CA.  About a week before she flew out, she called to say that I should really consider driving out to spend the weekend with her.  Since I'd finally lost some of my fear of long-distance and highway driving, I thought "Sure!  I'll give myself a mental health day and spend some much-needed mommy time," totally overpacked a suitcase, wrote some amazing sub plans and was on my way.  It was a super quick trip and I never actually made it in to Palm Springs proper, but I did stay in the Coachella Valley and drove through Indio (where the Coachella music festival is held... and was being held 2 weeks after my visit) and it worked wonders on my mental state, so it was totally worth it! 

I woke up early on Friday, drove through the desert and by lunch time, I was stationed by the pool on a lounge chair with my mom at my side.  On Saturday, she gave me the option of going hiking or going in to Palm Springs.  Clearly, I chose hiking and I'm glad I did, though I must say that I wish we'd done a bit more planning. 

My mom is an uber planner, but her main focus on this adventure was to pick out the sites and trails within the park that we wanted to see.  We chose: Hidden Valley, Keys View (with scenic views of the San Andreas Fault), the Cholla Garden, Skull Rock, and the Barker Dam Trail.  They were all absolutely fantastic, accessible, and I highly recommend that you put them on your to-see list for the park.  I especially enjoyed the drive between the Barker Dam Trail and the Cholla Garden.  There were cactus in bloom all over the place and it has set off a serious cactus obsession.  I now own 2 cacti of my own and am attempting to grow saguaros.  

I digress.  

In other National Parks that I've visited, there have been hotels, bathrooms, restaurants, and shops placed strategically where the more popular tourist attractions are found and so that's kind of what I expected at Joshua Tree NP.  However, this was one of those assumptions that really made me look silly.  There are shops before you go through one entrance of the park and again once you've exited the park on the other side.  There is literally nothing within the park, but some pit toilets.   Between my mom, step-dad and me, we'd packed 4 normal-sized bottles of water, some almonds, a banana, a bag of peanut M&Ms, and a few individual-sized snack packs of crackers and let me tell you:  we were crazy hungry and thirsty.  Part of this is because we'd only planned on spending 3 hours, tops, in the park, but it was SO darn cool, we just had to see more.  But really, we were not prepared.  By the time we left the park almost 6 hours after entering it, you'd better believe that we were delirious with joy to drive straight into Indio for a Starbucks!  

Here are my top tips for Joshua Tree National Park: 

: Pack a cooler full of snacks
: Bring at least a gallon of water per person
: Apply sunscreen... liberally
: Dress in layers
: Wear comfy shoes
: Make sure your camera has a full battery
: Arrive early!  The line to get in to the park was crazy long!
: Stop in town at the visitor's center before entering the park.  You can pay the park entrance fee there (which will get you through the line at the gate faster), get a map, and chat with the park rangers about the top things to do and see.
: Take a zillion pictures!  This park was amazing! 

As I said before: Hidden Valley, Keys View, the Cholla Garden, Skull Rock, and the Barker Dam trail were scenic, accessible, and awesome things to see in the park.  Here are a few snaps from our day!  Enjoy! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

An ode to an old pair of boots...

Once upon a time, more specifically February of 2001, my mommy and I made our first trip to REI.  You see, we were getting ready to go to Colorado and I was about to take my very first ski lessons.  Obviously, that meant that we needed to be properly attired.  Not having had much need for ski clothes in the past, I got a new ski jacket and pants (which I still have and wear to this day), goggles (which I also still have and use), and other cold weather gear.  However, the most versatile addition to my wardrobe on this shopping excursion was a pair of hiking boots.  

In the 16 subsequent years to making this purchase my hiking boots have accompanied me all over the world.  Domestically, they've hiked in Montana, North and South Dakota and Alaska.  They've made numerous ski trips in Colorado.  They've kept my feet warm and dry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin winters.  Abroad, they've served me well on weekend walks in Germany.  They carried me to Giant's Causeway in Ireland and even kept me dry on my hunt for Nessie at Loch Ness!  They've been to Stonehenge, walked over bridges in Hungary and have even partied in Mexico a few times! 

Yes, these boots have been all over the place.  

And now I'm a bit sad.  You see, a few weekends ago SB and I made a trip to one of our favourite local Vegas hiking spots, Mt. Charleston.  Down where we live, the temperatures were in the 80s, but up on the mountain, we ended up hiking up a ravine through almost a foot of snow!  After our hike, while stretching out before hopping back into the car to head home, I discovered that one of my boots was quite literally falling apart.  It had become detached from its sole which prompted near-immediate application of gorilla glue, to no avail.  I tried everything I could think of to get my boot stuck back together, but after 16 years of loyal service to me, I am sad to say that they are dead.

The minimalist in me is having a tough time letting them go.  Even though I have since replaced them (with some really super amazing boots that I have totally run through the gamut over the last few weeks... stay tuned), I have so many epic memories attached to my sad, dead boots that I'm not quite ready to say goodbye just yet.  

Has this ever happened to you?  Do you have that one thing in your wardrobe that has been rendered useless, but you just can't let it go?   

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#SustainableSunday... Jack the Fifth paper shoes...

Jack the Fifth paper shoes, Paisley + Sparrow Soresa earrings, Kameleonz sunglasses, Luna Avalon jasper and turquoise bracelet, casual outfit, spring outfit

Ladies and gentlemen, I am everso happy to be back on the #SustainableSunday bandwagon because I can't keep quiet any longer about Jack the Fifth!  I found this Redondo Beach-based company on an Instagram binge and I am so glad that I did.  "Why?" you ask.  Because Jack the Fifth is a brand that is all about saving the world!  

They make shoes, and not just any shoes.  They make shoes that are made out of 100% recycled materials.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Every part of their shoes has been recycled and given new life.  The slip ons I'm sporting here are made of recycled paper, rubber, and twine and let me tell  you... every time I wear them to work everyone (students and fellow teachers) wants to touch them when I proudly announce that they've been made from paper!  They are comfy and I feel really good about wearing shoes that have been made of materials that have been given a new life!  

They are the coolest!  Jack the Fifth also offers a rewards club that allows you to send back shoes that you've grown tired of to be recycled and then you can get a new pair at a significant discount.  Pretty fabulous, eh? 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the shoes are made from 100% recycled materials
: the top was thrifted
: the earrings are fair trade and handmade
: all other jewelry is handmade


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A challenge...

Peach & Pepper kimono, Skar Designs present moon necklace, Jessica Ricci Buddha amulet ring, AMI Clubwear sandals, casual outfit, spring outfit, sustainable outfit

Do you know what I've always wanted to try, but just haven't had the guts to take a stab at?  

Creating a capsule wardrobe.  

The more I learn about minimalism and the more I think about sustainability, the more a capsule wardrobe makes sense to me.  

But I just can't seem to take the plunge yet.  I don't know if it's because I have fashion ADD and am constantly swapping styles or if I just love searching through thrift stores too much, but I have this epic mental block when it comes to narrowing my wardrobe down to a capsule.  I've done challenges in the past where I've had to go a month without buying anything new.  I've done challenges where I take what I have and have tried to replicate celebrity style.  I'm wondering if, perhaps, my next challenge is to choose 30 items (including shoes and jewelry) and go 30 days with just those items.  

If I did, this tank and these jeans would definitely make the cut!  I seem to find myself in them at least once a week!  

Have you ever tried a 30-piece challenge?  Do you have a capsule wardrobe?  Give me tips!  As the summer draws closer, I'm thinking I might have to have a go at it! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 
: the kimono is handmade
: the necklace is handmade
: the bracelet is handmade and fair trade
: the earrings are handmade and fair trade
: the ring is handmade

Monday, April 17, 2017


Minted Magpie mala beads, MudLOVE be still band, Song Yee Designs turquoise berry ring, floral joggers, casual outfit, spring outfit

In my recent quest to simplify my life, minimalism has played a major role.  I've been trying to break away from my regular mindset: i.e. See something I like?  Buy it.  Let it sit around for ages.  Do nothing about it.  To this effect, I've been going through my belongings and have tried to sell or give away everything that I haven't used in at least 6 months.  In this cleanout, though, I ended up rediscovering something that I'd planned to get rid of years ago: these floral trousers.  

If you've been following : the daily savant : for a while now, you may remember that years ago, I made these trousers, put together an outfit with them and won a screening party of the movie "Epic" because my nature-inspired outfit was so fabulous! 

In Germany, I stashed them away in my scrap fabric pile and promptly forgot about them, but as I dug through my scrap fabric pile a few weeks ago (because, obviously, the minimalist in me just wants to make/sell stuff with the scraps and be done with it!) I found them again!  Fun!  Now... to keep them or to cut them up again? 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 

: the shirt is second-hand
: the trousers were handmade
: the jewelry is all handmade


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hello again...

Goldie's ikat mini dress, Kisii Ethiopian prayer bead bracelets, Amy Waltz Designs stacking rings, AMI Clubwear fringe boots, boho outfit, spring outfit

Hello, again, great, wonderful blog world!  Thank you so much for allowing me the 5 weeks away from the blogosphere.  

When I last signed off, I didn't leave much reasoning for why I needed a break and where I was going and you know what... that's ok!  As I've written here before, my move to Las Vegas was rough, my job was (and remains to be) quite difficult and I was struggling under the weight of it all.  While, I absolutely would have preferred to continue blogging and focus on what may turn into another side business soon (stay tuned), I needed to eliminate excess from my life to focus on the most important thing: my physical and mental health. 

During that time, I discovered a lot of strength that I didn't know I had.  I found quite a bit of independence and faced some fears that I really didn't ever expect myself to face during this lifetime. I've been busy traveling all over the place, spent a ton of time in nature and found a love of plants and I can't wait to share it all with you!  

I may still be tweaking (oh, geeze... I accidentally misspelled "tweaking" and it autocorrected to "twerking."  Glad I caught that one!) the layout here within the next few weeks, but I have all sorts of new content (i.e. travel guides) and I can't wait to get back to work with it!  Thanks again for allowing me the time off that I so desperately needed! 

What's sustainable about this outfit? 
: the dress was purchased locally
: the leggings are hand-me-downs
: the earrings are fair trade
: the necklace was purchased at a chain store, but has broken and been repaired (with a paperclip) instead of being thrown away


Monday, March 6, 2017

Taking a break...

My dear friends, I will be taking a short break from blogging to tend to some health/life issues.  During this break, I will continue to discover and connect with sustainable brands, brainstorm new ways to live sustainably and intentionally and I will continue to post periodically on Instagram.  I would love if you would stick around and wait this time out for me.  

When we start up again, things will be better than ever!