3-Month Wrap Up: Getting Rich In Vegas, White Water Rafting, & Committing One Act of Kindness Every Day

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I miss this place. This blog makes me feel the most me. Whenever I’ve just finished writing a post, I feel like I’m floating on a current of energy, like I’m leaning into what makes me tick.

So I’ve been looking forward to making a return to write this for a while now. I’m sitting here on the calmest afternoon I’ve experienced in a month, sipping hours-old french press coffee (and it’s important that I tell you it’s french press because I have been a lazy, trashy Keurig coffee drinker for a while now and I’m very impressed at this new development in my life), and admiring all the summer-in-Denver that is happening just outside the window.

Today feels deeply good. Life feels deeply good.

And I can’t wait to tell you all about why.

These past few months, I…

1. Left Las Vegas richer than I arrived. (#47, long-term list)

Las Vegas was not a planned thing. One day I was not going to Las Vegas and had no reason to even think about going to Las Vegas, and the next day I had a plane ticket booked up for the weekend.

So Las Vegas happened. More specifically, Las Vegas happened to me.

I knew that leaving Las Vegas richer than I arrived was on my long-term bucket list, and I really, really wanted to cross that puppy off. So amidst all the eating, Lyfting, swimming in the pool, oggling at elaborate buildings and people, and *cough* drinking *cough* that went on, I made a point to hit up a casino.

Here’s the thing. I knew I would never win big. There’s no freakin’ way. Have you seen me? I trip up stairs. I’m not someone with the kind of luck to cash out with major bucks.

My game plan was this: put in a small amount of money, play a few rounds, and the very second I came out even a little bit ahead, I was getting out of there.ย 

So I threw in five bucks. A few rounds of blackjack later, I was up 75 cents.

And I freakin. Cashed. Out.

Never mind that I lost 50 cents of that 75 playing the slot machines. I LEFT LAS VEGAS RICHER THAN I ARRIVED, MOTHA TRUCKAAAAS.

By 25 cents. Someone try and stop me. Maybe I’ll go buy a gum ball. Maybe I won’t. I’m limitless.

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My playground for the night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Headed to the rapids for some white water rafting. (#3, short-term list)

It’s not often you get the chance to throw your mortal body into some waves crashing into rocks and creating whirlpools of death just beneath the surface with only an inflatable raft (which is really just a glorified balloon, if you think about it) to protect you.

So when a group of almost 20 friends invites you along on a white water rafting trip they’ve been planning for the past year, you take the opportunity.

We drove up to Aspen and hooked up with a few guides who took us out for the ride of a lifetime. Not going to lie, there were a few times I looked at what we were about to traverse and thought there was no way I’d make it out alive.

But I did. And with nothing but pretty trees around you, a big sky above you, and good people beside you, it was a trip for the books. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.ย 

I’ve never felt more Colorado-ian than I did that day. I’m glad that places like this exist.

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The guides said we were their favorite group that summer.

3. Went camping (#6, short-term list) and soaked in some hot springs. (#7, short-term list)

For my birthday, my friend Amber took me to Strawberry Park Hot Springs.ย Everyone had been telling us that these were the best hot springs the state had to offer, so we knew we had to try it out.

It was nighttime when we arrived, so when we first got out of the car we couldn’t see a thing. But after our eyes adjusted to the darkness, the moonlight was just enough to help us guide our way into the water.

Each pool at Strawberry Park Hot Springs was a different temperature, so you could start off piping hot and move down into lukewarm waters by the end of your time there. It was so relaxing and I can see how people use it as a kind of therapy.

Afterwards, we set up camp nearby and passed out cold in our tent for the night. It wasn’t our first time camping that summer and it wasn’t even our first time camping together – Amber and I had done another trip in July that was super fun too, and I also went camping another time with a good group of folks. There’s something about waking up in the mountains that feels pretty dang cool.

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What a birthday view.

 

4. Started doing one act of kindness every day for a year. (#12, short-term list; #18, long-term list)

Since I’d finally finished on my endeavor to take a 1 second video every day for a year, I knew I was ready to start up a new daily task. This time I set out to commit one act of kindness every day for a year.

To be honest, this challenge is going to be hard for me. I started it on my birthday but then forgot to do an act of kindness a few days later, so I had to start over. It’s also been hard for me to parse out what I’m doing for the sake of the goal and what I’m just doing in my every day life that I’m attributing to the goal. Let me explain.

For example, the other day I did something I thought was nice, and I said to myself afterwards, “Hey! That will be my random act of kindness for the day.” But is that the point? Is the point to pick out what I’m already doing that’s kind? Or is it to add more kindness to my life?

I think it’s supposed to be the latter. So on days when I’m feeling lazy and I want to attribute something I did that day to the goal when in actuality I would’ve done it anyway, I need to like, not do that.

Hold me accountable, friends.

5. Started creating a community here in Denver. (#9, short-term list)

Anyone who has moved to a new city where they didn’t know anybody can probably relate to the worries that come with making a new network of friends. I’m lucky to be in a city where it feels like nearly everyone is a transplant, and everyone is looking for a new pal to add to their gang – so I feel like I’m not lacking in social contact at all. It’s also been nice to move into a house with a bunch of girls who are super sweet, funny, and real about life. That’s giving me a lot of hope for what’s ahead. I wouldn’t say I’m there yet, and I didn’t expect myself to have community by now. But the people around me these days are nice and friendly and filling me up with great things, and that makes me excited.

6. Did lots of other stuff!

In addition to what’s above, I also ate at Casa Bonita (#4, short-term list), took in the gorgeous views at Rocky Mountain National Park (#5, short-term list), and visited Garden of the Gods (#10, short-term list). But this post is already super long, so I’ll cut it off here. Ask me about those adventures sometime!

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Garden of the Gods was gorgeous.

What have you been doing lately to check items off your bucket list? What’s next on the agenda? Any advice for building community in a new place?

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I Filmed 1 Second Of My Life Every Day. Here’s What Happened.

 

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In May of 2015, I started taking a 1 second video of my life every day in the hopes that I’d do it for the whole year. It was one of my long-term bucket list goals, something I’d wanted to take on for a while after hearing about the app 1 Second Everyday and learning the founder’s story.

The biggest reason I had my heart set on doing something like this was to commemorate all the adventures I had during the year in a way that didn’t involve me taking 23423408 photos of my friends in the middle of us trying to break it down on the dance floor at our favorite spot to show off our ย sickย ย mediocre moves, The Fat Baby.

Honestly, I just wanted a way to quickly capture some of my favorite moments while not taking myself away from the life I was enjoying. Nobody likes the person glued to their camera when we’re all creating memories together.

And thus, my journey through 1 Second Everyday began.ย  Continue reading “I Filmed 1 Second Of My Life Every Day. Here’s What Happened.”

Summer 2017 Bucket List!

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LOL. Just, lol.

It’s July 19th and I am only just now creating a summer bucket list. Goooooood job, Amanda. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve never waited this long into a season to create a bucket list – normally I have it ready to go by the time the first day of whatever time of year happens to be rolling in. I think I’d typically be pretty upset at myself for letting the first month and a half of summer pass without a bucket list in order, because I know when I keep a bucket list I live life more fully and I’m more likely to take advantage of every day.ย  Continue reading “Summer 2017 Bucket List!”

Three-Month Wrap-Up: Graduations, Thailand, & Other Travel Adventures [Plus A Big Announcement!]

 

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I literally don’t even know where to begin this post. SO MUCH has happened over the past few months. My life has been wild.

So I guess I’ll just take you along on a little story ride. And at the end I have some big news to share with you!

In the past few months, I… Continue reading “Three-Month Wrap-Up: Graduations, Thailand, & Other Travel Adventures [Plus A Big Announcement!]”

I’M BACK!

IMG_0235.jpgHi friends! It’s been a while. And a lot of stuff has gone down.

I know I’ve been MIA. Honestly, life has been crazy. I haven’t really sat down to breathe since probably the beginning of May. Which isn’t really an excuse because I stopped writing in March.

Oops.

But trust me on this: I haven’t forgotten about this blog. In fact, recently when I was driving home from work (hey! I have a job now! And a car! We have so much to catch up on) I started doing some major thinking.

For reasons I won’t get into right now (but will totally get into later in another post because I still love to talk as much as ever, don’t you worry), the past two weeks have felt a little lackluster even though they have been busy as hell. And so when I was in the car the other day I asked myself a very important question posed by a very important man: Continue reading “I’M BACK!”

Training For A Half Marathon Taught Me These 3 Things About Living Fully

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My running buddy, best friend, and roomie.

One of the most significant times I ever failed at something in a way that hurt was my seniorย year of undergrad.

I’d been running for months to train for the Colonial Half Marathon, a race held annually in my college town. All the most active people who weren’t otherwise playing a varsity sport ran the Colonial Half. Lots of girls I looked up to had run it in years past, and I desperately wanted to be one of them.

Running a half marathon meant more to me than finishing the Colonial Half, though. Continue reading “Training For A Half Marathon Taught Me These 3 Things About Living Fully”

Spring 2017 Bucket List! [And Some Blog Updates]

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When I wrote my Winter 2016-2017 Bucket List, I complained that fall had seemed to fly right on by. I don’t feel that way at all about the winter.ย These past 3.5 months have crawled.

Anyone else get the sense that time is trudging ever-so-slowly when it gets cold out? Maybe it’s a psychological thing. My mood definitely drops when it gets chilly out and the sun isn’t as vibrant, so I’m really glad I was training for a half marathon this winter because exercise really keeps up my spirits.

Even though the winter seemed kinda slow and just ugh overall, that didn’t mean it was uneventful. Actually, I think I crossed more things off my long-term bucket listย this season than I did during the fall or summer. So that’s pretty cool! Continue reading “Spring 2017 Bucket List! [And Some Blog Updates]”

Two-Month Wrap-Up: Published Poems, Half Marathons, & Protests

16142247_10208647133390960_8316519731967632460_n (1)WOW. And I mean wow. It has been a while!

Hellloooo there, faithful TN7 readers! Welcome back. I went on a lil unannounced hiatus. And it was unannounced because I didn’t really plan it and didn’t really realize it was going to happen until it was already happening. Continue reading “Two-Month Wrap-Up: Published Poems, Half Marathons, & Protests”

How To Make Friends: My Post-Grad Thoughts On Relationships That Count

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I used to have 8234839234 million “friends.” And I put quotation marks around the word “friends” because I use that term so lightly.

College was a dream for me. While the school I went to wasn’t perfect, I was too enamored with it to notice it’s flaws while I was there, so I danced through those four years with a big fat smile on my face. Sure, I had plenty of tough times in college, namely some difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor of the school I went to and a couple of ugly relationships, but otherwise I was the girl who’d hijack the high schoolย guests at your dinner party to convince them to think about applying to the place I loved so much.

And one of the things that made my college experience so spectacular were all the friends I had. Don’t get me wrong – that makes me sound really popular or something, and we all know that I’m a huge dork and a really big ball of anxiety who sometimes cares way too much about what other people think. Not really a picture of “cool.”

But in college, it was way easier to make friends and maintain them. That is, if you have the definition of friendship that I did.ย  Continue reading “How To Make Friends: My Post-Grad Thoughts On Relationships That Count”

How To Make Life More Fun: Tips On Living Adventurously

How To Make Life More Exciting, How To Live More Adventurously; How To Make Life More Fun, Beat Boredom, Passion

Okay, Amanda, I thought to myself. This is like, what? Your third nightย in a row in bed?

The workday was over and I’d shut myself away with a laptop, some comfort snacks, and a seriousย determination to finish Insecureย on HBO. And I had no intention of getting up. Ever.

Which would have been fine, except that I realized this was becoming a pattern of the week.ย That bothered me.

I really would have loved to cast away all worries and anxieties about the week to the wind and binge-watched sad documentaries (now you know never to ask me for comforting movie recommendations) until it was way past my bedtime. But I also knew that I’d be really unhappy with myself if I did.

Because while one part of meย wantedย to spend my third eveningย of the week this way,ย there was another part of me that didn’t want to.

The partย of me that longed for adventure and excitement and passion in my every day life was pleading with me to get up from under the blankets and get on with living well.ย  Continue reading “How To Make Life More Fun: Tips On Living Adventurously”