RZR Racing in the Desert

06.02.2015

/ rzr racing in moab / observant nomad

The second half of our trip to Moab was full of thrill-seeking highs and lows. After our first couple of days we knew that we still had a lot to fit into the rest of our trip. So the next morning we immediately filled up on a tasty breakfast at the Eklecticafe and made plans on how to tackle everything we wanted to do.

The weather that morning was honestly, pretty crappy. Drizzling rain and freezing temps… odd doesn’t begin to describe the unusual behavior of the Moab desert that weekend (you’ll see why later). So we postponed a planned meet up with some of Rusty’s friends in hope that by the afternoon the weather would clear up and we could enjoy off-roading together a bit more.

Visiting Arches National Park sounded like a better plan since we didn’t have to get out of the car a bunch if we didn’t want to. So we headed into the park and drove through cloudy skies and lovely richly dark red rocks which had been soaked with rain the night before.

/ park avenue moab / observant nomad

/ rzr racing in moab / observant nomad

/ arches national park moab / observant nomad

First we stopped at the Park Avenue formation and then at Double Arch since they were both a quick jaunt from the car. When we arrived into the first pull-off, the sun started to peek out and the temps slowly rose to a mild warmth, making the view of the arches unforgettable and enjoyable enough to climb into. And yes, we did climb into them.

I never visited Double Arch the fist time I came to Moab, and honestly it was my favorite arch of this trip. The views of the actual rock face were spectacular. And laying with your back against the course rock gazing up at this immense natural formation was breathtaking.

/ double arches in moab / observant nomad

/ double arch moab / observant nomad

/ rzr racing in moab / observant nomad

As the weather got better, we decided to make one last hike to the top of Delicate Arch. Due to the steepness and for those who maybe don’t like heights, the hike to the top is a bit difficult. But really anyone (and everyone) makes it to the top with little difficulty.

It was a bit scary watching people climb all over the actual arch, not sure why but instinctually it makes my stomach do flips. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing I can do to stop someone or save someone from getting hurt up there. But if you get a moment of pause in between anxiety, this arch is probably one of the most beautiful views of the entire park.

I highly suggest going at sunrise or even a sunset. While both times attract a lot of people as well, they usually stay away from climbing all over the arch since there’s a lot of professional photographers telling them to!

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slowing summer

05.29.2015

/ slow down / observant nomad

I think it’s something that all ambitious creatives face. The endless momentum of peering ahead to our next destination. We’re continuously looking for what we need to change, evolve, shift or improve on. Which is what makes us so awesome at what we do. We take on more and more, pushing ourselves harder to live up to some kind of superhero type of persona. But the side-affect is that sometimes it’s feels nearly impossible to really focus our attention on the moment at hand.

Ever since the move my world has felt more topsy turvy than ever before. Right now, I live in an utter mess of a house. Objects and boxes are piled in corners and they slowly move from one corner to another in hopes that somehow it will go somewhere permanent soon. But as if moving wasn’t stressful enough, let’s throw some long days at work and leaving in the middle of it for Moab on top of it all! I forgot how traveling adds a whole other dimension to the craze.

And even though I say that, my trip to Moab (while maybe poorly timed) reminded me of a feeling I had lost for some time.

It all came rushing back to me in the very middle of our decent down Schafer trail. The sky was a clear bright blue, the clouds dangled low, sprinkling into view. The vast sides of the canyon walls raised up above us. The calming silence of our breathing and the small hum of the motor joined us. There wasn’t a sound outside the car. Not a bird cackling, a wild animal calling, or even the sound of wind. Nothing.

In that moment I had a similar feeling to what I experienced in Spain several years ago. The deep understanding of absolute singularity. Nothing existed outside that moment, no deadlines, no clients, no bills, no meetings, no should-do’s or need-tos. Not even the other people in the car. Just me and that moment.

It was a feeling that gave my soul the permission to slow down. It told me to stop and take note of the world around me, and ask myself, what did I really want my world to look like everyday? Did I really want to carry around the weighty sensation of continuously looking forward all the time? Was I ok with stopping and asking myself, why was I working so hard with what felt like very little reward?

Shifting focus to the present

For a long time I’ve been putting my nose to the grind. Working long hours at the agency, giving 110% to my team and finding every way I could improve the work for our clients. Piled that on top of my side hustle, where I bring the same dedication and thought to my personal clients, you can guess living this way have never been easy. But what I realized deep down, is that even though I love what I do, the way it affects every other area of my life isn’t bringing me true happiness.

I want to love the work I do every single second I do it, and not resent it from letting me live a full life. Sometimes that means allowing yourself room to let the joy in. Instead of having my eyes down 24/7, it’s equally important for me to also look up every once in a while and take measure of where I am at, how my work feels, and where I can infuse more joy into it.

What does that mean? Well all it means is that I’m starting to make changes in my day-to-day. I’m actively creating time for myself to focus on the present more than just what’s coming next. Like investing in practicing my artwork again (like the hand lettering you see), decorating my home, and enjoying a slower pace to life. I guess you could call it a start to what I’m officially marking my slow summer.

Being selective to be effective

It also means I’m going to force myself to say “no” more often. First of all, I’m so thankful I’m even in a place where I can be selective about my work, because I know it won’t (and hasn’t) always been like that. All it does mean is that I need to be more mindful and selective about what I work on. That not only involves saying no, but also means asking some hard questions to figure out what’s right for me, my brand, and what I find truly exciting to work on.

Thoughtful steps towards smaller goals

For my whole life I’ve always been a lofty goal kind of person. I tend to focus more on the mountain top than the summit still ahead of me. But after listening to the latest Being Boss podcast featuring one of my personal favs, Charlene Johnson, I knew that I might be going about this whole “goal” thing the wrong way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a big dreamer! But I find myself building goals to the point where they become too large to tackle. Eventually they end up bringing more anxiety, than optimism. So when I heard Charlene Johnson break down goals into 10 specific areas of your life, I had to give it a try. And I recommend you do too.

What I discovered was that I wanted to improve a lot of things. Which in one way could mean that I am kind of dissatisfied with a lot. And honestly, that’s not unfortunate to me, it’s actually exciting. It’s beyond liberating to be honest with myself and admit that what I’m doing, isn’t working.

Now that I’ve recognized what I need to evolve, I’m more excited than ever to start working on my goals. Instead of obsessing over the large goal ahead of me, I can focus on the moment and work steadily and deliberately towards my plans. That means more energy into the present and creating time to reflect on where I am right now, in this moment, on my journey.

So this summer, it’s time to pause, take a moment, and breathe.

_____

lettering by observant nomad studio / photograph from death to stock photo

 

canyonlands

05.21.2015

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

As you might know, this last month has been pretty heavy. Moving, working a ton at my day job, balancing a side-hustle, and getting settled in with the guy. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all, and man, have I felt that way lately. So when our pending trip to Moab was approaching I was more than ready to get out of town and enjoy some time away from the grind.

Ever since our last trip we knew we always wanted to return to Moab. The imposing arches, the colorful desert, the ever-expansive sky. Everything about the stark beauty of the area just took our breath away. So a few months ago, when we decided to take another trip to Moab and knew right away we wanted to invite some close friends, Rachel and Jeff, to experience it for themselves.

We hit the road early in the morning last Thursday, and arrived in town during the early afternoon. Once in town, we stopped for a late lunch at Moab Brewery to enjoy our first vacation beer and some filling sandwiches. Afterwards, we drove a little further down the road and checked into our adorable Moab KOA cabin, and then set out for our first off-roading trail of the weekend–Fins n’ Things.

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

After riding our adrenaline rush home, we spent the rest of the night getting settled into our surroundings. Our first evening back at camp was a simply perfect night. We grilled elk brats, drenched them in toppings, and gathered around the table over some beers.

Later that evening some of Rus’s friends, who were also in town, stopped by after dinner for some drinks. We laughed way too hard, sipped smokey scotch, and had some pretty memorable times playing charades and card games.

observant nomad / moab koa / moab, utah

observant nomad / canyonlands moab koa / moab, utah

After spending way too long trying to find the perfect camping spot on our last trip, we knew that this time, we had to avoid that with a larger group.

So we rented the cutest little cabin through Moab KOA for pretty cheap. And even though we did see a few open camping spots this time, I’m really happy we rented the cabin. We had our own grill, picnic table, porch swing, and we were even able to take semi-hot showers, and relax after long days in the dust and rain.

observant nomad / canyonlands moab koa / moab, utah

The next morning we scarfed down a delicious southwestern breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe and set out on the road. Rus had picked out our next off-roading trail, so we headed in that direction. But as always, when exploring a new place, we made a couple pit stops at some of the viewpoints and formations in the area.

And somehow on our way to the trail we went a little too far and missed the turnoff sign. But, of course, in the most serendipitous way it worked out for the best! We ended up driving the extra few miles to Canyonlands National Park.

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

observant nomad | canyonlands moab

Even though the weather was a bit temperamental (rain? In Moab?!) we actually found it be a small blessing. I have never seen the rocks so red, and the desert grass so green and tall. While it was cloudy most days, the sun would peak in and out a bit to brighten up the sky. But man, those rainy clouds were absolutely gorgeous. And sleeping to the pitter patter sound of rain on the desert sand was pretty wonderful.

observant nomad | canyonlands moab

After entering Canyonlands we were immediately faced with some of the highest views of the national park we could imagine. With names like Grand View Point and Mesa Arch, I knew these arches and vantage points were going to be spectacular. And as you can see, they were.

What I love most about unplanned adventures like this, are the nice little surprises where you get to explore a new place or visit an unexpected location. Normally I’m not a super spontaneous person, but when I turn on my adventure dial, I became a much more free-spirited person who finds joy in the smallest moments of change and uncharted roads. Which is exactly what we did on our way out of Canyonlands.

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bold modern studio

05.11.2015

bold minimal office / observant nomad

Well, hello! You might be wondering what happened to me? Or maybe not, cause you have a life and this after all is just the internet. But in case you were curious, I’ve been super slammed between work and moving. After packing, moving, unpacking, and consolidating two households, and then fixing some broken things in the new place, we’re starting to feel a bit more normal.

What’s so curious about this whole process is that while Rus has already started to feel at home, I’m still adjusting to the change. It’s kind of hilarious, but I think I figured out that I probably won’t feel 100% at home until our place is decorated and looks pretty. I blame it on being a designer, because everything’s ok when things are put away, but until I have a piece of art work on the wall, or feel inspired by beautiful textiles, I probably won’t be totally settled in. Oh well!

So I’ve quickly begun planning the decor and items on my wish list for the home. It’s a solid list, but one we’ll slowly tackle over the next several months. We have our rooms of priority, obviously the living and dining room being one. But a close runner-up is my brand new home studio space! It’s one of the largest rooms in the house, and there’s plenty of room for more than just my desk, so I’m dreaming up options like a drawing table, or a whole corner for my easel and paints.

I can’t wait to see how it evolves. But to start with here are some gorgeous basics that are inspiring me to get the studio off to a great start.

| 01 | Word Bird Today Is The Day Art Print from Urban Outfitters | 02 | Jacquard-Weave Rug from H&M | 03 | IKEA PS Cabinet in White | 04 | Copper Photo Clip Banner from Urban Outfitters | 05 | Wing Spec Office Chair in White from Dot & Bo | 06 | IKEA Alex Drawers on Casters in White | 07 | Open Face Letter Board in 12×18 from Alphabet Signs

 

those months

04.27.2015

observant nomad | moving

You know how people say moving is one of the most stressful things you can do? I’m feeling that.

We’re moving at the end of the week, and honestly I’m beyond excited to start building a home with Rus, cooking together, long movie nights, and sharing a new space all our own. But all of the energy it takes to get to that point that has made this month absolutely exhausting. No one really mentions what a blur your life becomes when you’re attempting to balance a real life, the stresses of full-time work, a side-hustle, and moving on top of that!

Sorry if this is also stressing you out reading about it, I just had to get it out there. Ya know, catharsis.

The last few weeks have been extra nail-biting. At first we found a place we absolutely loved thinking there was no way we’d get lucky enough to land it, but then a while later we found out they wanted to go with us. We were so excited!

Well, that quickly disappeared when the process was taking much longer than we thought it should. We supplied all the info and items needed, but didn’t hear back for long stretches of time, which was killing me inside. I started to become more annoyed/disappointed/stressed with the whole situation. All the way up until last week when we signed a lease. Finally.

While now I can finally rest easy knowing we have a place, my mind is still a little foggy. Like a stress hangover. Probably because this has just been one of those months. The kind where your focus is on something else at all times, and you’re never 100% present. Where I’m finding it nearly impossible to get jazzed about work, finishing a to-do list, or tackling a hard project.

The kind of month where your brain is on the fritz. It’s little things. Forgetting my laptop at home, or putting things down and losing them entirely, or when you open a bin and can’t remember what you were looking for in the first place. I think my brain is trying to tell me it’s just a bit exhausted.

Thankfully Rus has been stepping in a lot which has been such a blessing. We’ve already planned an upcoming trip with some friends to get out of town, so that should really help me decompress a bit after what’s been a whirlwind. Even so, once we move in and get unpacked, you can sure as hell bet I’m booking some spa time, take a few days off of work, and unplugging to really recharge my batteries.

In the meantime… I guess a glass of wine will have to do.