Monday, August 31, 2015

NaBloPoMo: goodbye.

Happy August 31st!!!

Happy end of National Blog Post Month--which, as I pointed out on day one, is every month if you want it to be.

First, the real talk: this was really exhausting. I had work! I did a lot of traveling! I had a lot of meetings! I wanted to sleep in on weekends! And yet, I was at my computer typing away--and yes! I did write every day. I only pre-scheduled one post because I was in DC without an internet-abled computer, but every post I either wrote the day of publishing, or I started writing the night before and finished it the next day when I published.

Or I woke up really fucking early (I'm talking 3 a.m.) to write. It was stressful. I mean...writing once a week is hard enough--not that I ever kept that schedule. If you know me and this blog (I write this as if I have all these avid readers and loyal fans, which isn't true so sorry for the weird sense of self-importance LOL), you know that I don't publish on a normal schedule.

But as exhausting as this whole thing was, it brings to my second point: I'm really glad I did this.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

leftovers: August. [NaBloPoMo 30]

I know, I know--August isn't exactly over yet. But two things: 1) I need a break after NaBloPoMo is over, and 2) this is the last month of "leftovers" before we hit repeat months! My first "leftovers" post was September 2014. So what happens after that? I don't know--I'll keep doing "leftovers" posts probably, but will now have to change the headlines to add years.

Anyways. Onto August! Here's what I'll say about August: August was exhausting. Because of these blogs--and I'll get to more of that in my "goodbye" post tomorrow. (Not that I didn't enjoy blogging every day...but, damn.)

This summer has felt very travel-heavy, which I think is actually pretty accurate. I posted a lot of photos from August on my social networks, so I don't have tons of leftovers--and there are tons of photos that others took of me (at AAJA, for instance) that I haven't seen yet, so I didn't even take that many photos on my own. Also, I've already posted photos for yesterday's post filled with #AnnaAndElsa I'm just rambling now. So here we go:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

the adventures of #AnnaAndElsa. [NaBloPoMo 29]

"Do you want to build a snowman?" ("But it's the summer!")
I was at the Hallmark store a few weeks ago buying cards when I noticed their Itty Bitty collection of Disney characters. Among the adorable sets: Anna and Elsa from Frozen. If you've seen the film, you'll understand why it was widely cheered as a story of sisterhood--and why I had to buy a set for my sister and me!

Because we live across the country from one another, we barely see each other. This year, though, we've seen each other quite often--and the last week and a half is the most time I think we've spent together in awhile!

After a week and a half of photographing our adventures from San Francisco to New York to DC, here's a quick snapshot of the fun we had (in video format so as not to overload the page with photos). There were some photos I left out (both Na and I were posting quite a few to our social media networks throughout the week already) because it's already a long video, but I'll probably upload the rest to Facebook at another time...

Shoutout to all the people who stared awkwardly at Na and me while we took these photos! The zoo was particularly entertaining as we made our way up to the front of Tian Tian's enclosure for our dolls.

See you again in a week, Na/Elsa!

Friday, August 28, 2015

measuring by moments. [NaBloPoMo 28]

Last year on my 25th birthday, I asked friends and family members to send me thoughts about turning/being 25, and what they would've liked to have known when reaching that milestone. That "quarter-life crisis," as it's known.

I took some quotes and thoughts from those letters and added them on a bulletin board in my room. Earlier this week, after a particularly crappy day, I went home after work and crawled into bed and was listening to a podcast when I looked up and focused in on this:

"There's no such thing as a quarter-life crisis. Just everyday life. We're always going to go through changes. We just believe this is our last chance to be the superstar we were always meant to be."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TBT: survey says... [NaBloPoMo 27]

I deleted my Myspace years ago, but the memory of "all things Myspace" remain very much alive in my (and, let's face it, all of our) brain(s), from "Top 8" boxes to default songs. Thinking back to Myspace, the strangest thing was that massive message board/mailbox that let you shoot bulletins out to the world. I guess it was an early form of Facebook's news feed, but weird because it was formatted like an inbox and you had to click into posts to actually see them, which feels a little more personal than scrolling and occasionally pausing.

Those were the "early days" of oversharing, I suppose. Well--those and old email chain letters. Remember those in all their Comic Sans glory? The evolution of how we share things always fascinates me.

So in honor of Thursday and "throwback Thursday," I found an old Myspace survey online and decided to fill it out with answers from today:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

guest post: the lost art of following. [NaBloPoMo 26]

This is the second guest post on my blog...we're on a roll! I've known Cortney for about 12 years now and have had the pleasure of experiencing so many ups, downs, and in betweens with her since we met--from breakups to road trips to Shakespeare adventures and more. She's one of those people I could talk to every day for a week and not get tired of our conversations, or go a month without talking to her and then we'll end up on the phone talking about how social media can change the world and it will feel totally normal.

Cortney is also one of the most thoughtful, wonder-filled, and eloquent writers I know, so it's an honor to include her words on my blog. Take it away, Cortney...!

* * * * *

People tend to think of me as a bold and independent type. I ride horses, I dance on stage, I travel. I try new things with minimal hesitation and am not afraid to pick up and move across the country with a couple weeks’ notice, my pair of ex-racehorses in tow.

The thing is, none of the defining experiences or decisions in my life have ever been my own idea. Every “cool” thing I’ve done, every place I’ve been, every career interest and hobby and what-have-you that makes me me, down to the music I like, is something I picked up from someone else. My identity is a mish-mash resulting from the fact that I am always willing to entertain somebody else’s suggestion.

In other words, I am a follower.

In a society where we glorify the driven visionary, the true identity, the courage to stand by what you believe and relentlessly pursue your dreams, this realization was at first a shameful one. Be a leader, they say, not a follower. If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?

Maybe I would. Maybe they know something I don’t know.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Worst Case Scenario Girl. [NaBloPoMo 25]

I just read this lovely little book by Andrew Kaufman called All My Friends Are Superheroes. It's a world where everyone has a superpower (except for the protagonist, Tom) and are known by their superhero/heroine personas--and not all of them are exactly positive: there's The Sloth, who sits on his couch, "paralyzed by all the things he wasn't taking care of," and there's The Stress Bunny, who absorbs everyone's stress (which is why she's always invited to parties).

Or there are the superpowers you think might be great, like how The Seeker can find his way anywhere, even if he's never been there before. "But since this is his superpower and he defines himself through it, the Seeker gets quite upset and fidgety whenever he reaches a destination. He has to immediately turn around and head somewhere else."

Having a superpower, in Kaufman's book, isn't exactly about saving the world. I think if I had a superhero name, I'd be Worst Cast Scenario Girl.

Monday, August 24, 2015

memories. [NaBloPoMo 24]

Facebook's "On This Day" feature has provided both entertainment and a sharp sting. A bit of nostalgia to start each day can be OK, but there are some reminders that I'm not sure I care to see--that post from an ex-friend/boyfriend, that reminder of an event I pretended to enjoy, those statuses that make me cringe (remember when you had to complete the "[name] is..." format?).

Looking back on these posts, I can't help but think: if someone were to reconstruct a timeline of my life, would they base their assumptions on my Facebook timeline? Because...that would be somewhat worrisome. Take today, for instance:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

coffee shops. [NaBloPoMo 23]

I have half an hour to write. Probably less. That's how long the free wifi I'm using right now has given me because I forgot to get a two-hour wifi code from the coffee shop register and now the line is too long to make my way back. 

I could just be writing back in my apartment, which is literally across the street, but my room is a mess and there's laundry and dishes to do, and I prefer to write in coffee shops--hence the name of the blog. People have asked me regularly why my blog is called "notes from a coffee shop." I wish I had a more clever and meaningful answer aside from: I needed a blog name. I like writing in coffee shops.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

'slow down.' [NaBloPoMo 22]

There's this episode of Pepper Ann where she imagines the inside of her brain to be filled with mini Pepper Anns who all work different jobs: someone's a front desk secretary, others are workers filing papers away into folders and boxes. When she's stressed, it's chaos because all of the little Pepper Anns have become overworked and are just exhausted and burnt out.

That's how I think about my brain sometime: with tons of little worker bees racing around to make things work. Thinking about that helps remind me occasionally to allow myself to take a break. Because it isn't just me who's becoming exhausted; it's every part of my brain that controls my actions, thoughts, etc. Jason always used to tell me to "slow down" because I was trying to do too much all at once. I used to think, "I can slow down later! I need to work hard NOW!"

But there's value in slowing down--and it doesn't need to be such a negative thing, you know? "Slow down" doesn't mean "stop working" or "stop achieving." It means refreshing yourself. "Recharging your batteries," as the saying goes.

In college, I would "slow down" by doing my nails--a process I would drag out for an hour or more. When you are painting your nails, you literally cannot do much else but sit and wait for your nails to dry. It gave me the opportunity to watch a movie or show, or Skype with a friend I'd been meaning to catch up with. It was always nice, and I think that's when I started to realize that "slowing down" only had benefits: I was making time for myself. It's so easy these days to forget to do that.

Whether it's a home manicure or running or folding laundry, I think there's something we all can find that can help us "slow down" while still feeling productive and ultimately good about ourselves. That's a win-win, and I think the little versions of you running around your head will be thankful for it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

guest post: what they don’t tell you about Fuck Boys. [NaBloPoMo 21]

Today's NaBloPoMo post is a guest post by my friend Kristen! Kristen is fierce and one of the most interesting people I know. We share a love of food, writing, and Taylor Swift--among many other things. She's the person I trust to give advice to me straight and to not bullshit around the hard stuff. She also understands when I want to stay in on a Friday night, order takeout, and watch Netflix because there's a 90% chance she'll be doing the same. 

I'm lucky to have friends who are insightful, witty, and just damn good at putting words onto paper. So without further ado, the first guest post in this month's NaBloPoMo (and first guest post on my blog ever!)

* * * * *

In the age of dating apps like Tinder, we have become all too familiar with the term "Fuck Boy." For those of you who have opened another tab to Urban Dictionary it, let me save you the trouble by summarizing it for you like this: Fuck Boys are guys who seek relationships purely for self-gain and show no remorse for the trail of broken hearts they leave behind them. I wish I could sit here and ramble on about my past relationships (all two of them) and wow you with funny stories and infinite words of wisdom of having to deal with these types, but I can’t. It’s pretty dang hard to point them out sometimes. Like Taylor Swift said, “You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he's not easy to spot; he's really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair.”

Even at 25, I can still relate to wisdom imparted from 20sih-year-old Taylor Swift, which just goes to show you how dang confusing dating and relationships are. 40-year-olds can be as fickle as 15-year-olds. You might meet the one at 27, or you might meet them at 16 and have to wait a couple years. It’s all a great big beautiful mess.

So readers of TGL’s blog, I present to you what I believe to be the situations in which it is hardest to spot a Fuck Boy:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

step by step, stomp by stomp. [NaBloPoMo 20]

In New York City, you have to walk with purpose. Know where you're going, and head toward it with confidence--or at least be good at faking it. (Whenever I think about navigating the streets, I hear Miss Jay Alexander's voice in my head telling me to "stomp it out.")

Someone last week asked me how I was so sure of myself. I let her in on a not-so-secret secret: I'm not all that sure. Like any good millennial, I waver between confidence and anxiety. I slap myself on the wrist when I make mistakes. I feel guilty all too often when I theoretically have nothing to feel guilty about at all.

But sometimes I worry that saying all of that is a way of shrinking behind other taller violets because I don't feel like I quite measure up. Or perhaps you all think I'm fishing for compliments. I'm not. Just ask my closest friends and they'll tell you how often I stress out about...well, everything.

That doesn't mean I know I haven't worked hard. I know that it wasn't just luck that brought me where I am. But that also doesn't mean I don't question whether I'm heading (stomping?) in the right direction from time to time.

Again--no resolution here. I feel like these daily blog posts, while difficult, have been cathartic in some way for me to unleash all of my anxieties and freak outs so that when the autumn rolls around, I'll feel refreshed.

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

LOOK UP! [NaBloPoMo 19]

The headline of this post isn't even meant as a metaphor for missing the world if you're not careful of it passing you by. I mean it quite literally, and I mean it for a specific group of people: those who text while walking.

The other day, I was on a narrow sidewalk and saw a Walking Texter coming right toward me. In order to avoid a collision, I had to step to the side and wait for her to pass. She barely looked up to acknowledge the inconvenience.

Belle would totally be a Walking Texter
And then in the same day, another Walking Texter barreled right into me despite my attempts to serpentine to avoid a crash. He snarled at me, "Watch it" and kept going.

So I'm strongly considering printing out this message below to hand to those who text while walking because I am sick of all of you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

'squeaky wheel gets the oil.' [NaBloPoMo 18]

Serious question: how do you handle people in close quarters who are disrespectful? Whenever I hear someone talk down to someone else, it makes me uncomfortable--particularly when it's a man speaking down to a woman using vulgar language. Call me the "PC police," if you want, but I don't think a consistent stream of "fuck you" being muttered at anyone is really all that acceptable.

But I could be wrong.

Of the many discussions I participated in with colleagues and friends last week, I was most struck by the conversations around gender and race in the work environment, and the existence of privilege in some of the most basic workplace negotiations: in promotions, in raises, in generally having your voice heard.

And that's something I don't think is unique for many women in the workplace: do we ask to have our voice heard? Or do we demand? And if we demand, as we see others do so, will we be perceived negatively?

There are no concrete answers to any of these questions, but I still think the conversations are worth having. We need more environments where people can feel comfortable airing their grievances and sharing their experiences, and we need more allies who can help change the status quo.

Monday, August 17, 2015

'happiness can be cultivated.' [NaBloPoMo 17]

Dr. Vivek Murthy at Saturday's AAJA gala
I was really struck by something the Surgeon General spoke about at the AAJA gala Saturday night: "Happiness can be cultivated."

I won't lie and say I'm always a positive person. In fact, just ask me how I feel about the New York subway system, and I'll talk your ear off with complaints for an hour.

But something I've always believed is that happiness should not be tied to your circumstances. Because, often, external factors are just out of your control. Your work environment is terrible? Your living situation isn't ideal? If you let every little gust of wind shake your world and destroy your happiness, then you'll never really be happy. I say this having an avalanche of shit that's come my way over the years--disease, financial struggles, deaths.

But being a negative person only hurts you, after all, and just drives others from wanting to be around you.

It's a struggle to try and practice what's preached. I have trouble remembering this at least half a dozen times a day. The habits associated with having a quick temper don't disappear right away.

But I strongly believe what Dr. Murthy said on Saturday--that happiness is tied to longevity and health. I think about some of the perpetually negative people I know, and they always seem to be battling an illness of some sort or complaining about an oncoming illness. Don't we all need to find a way to balance out the negative energy? Life is already hard enough.

A final note before I get off my Soapbox of Ranting: embracing happiness is a choice. Have the agency and the bravery to commit to it.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

walk tall. [NaBloPoMo 16]

We all have a side of us reserved for the public. For me, and for those moments when I'm very much in public, the version of "Traci" that comes out is one who makes lots of hand gestures and uses bigger or buzzier words. I don't think it's deliberate--it's just something I'm used to doing when trying to present myself as an adult or as a professional.

And now I've gone and given away my secret! But have I ever pretended to 100% know what I'm talking about? I think I can speak confidently about certain things, but I'm always happy to be told if I'm not accurate in an assumption.

Which brings me to the past few days: I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with so many people that I was starting to get intimidated at one point! To sit on a panel with colleagues I've admired for years, and to meet fellow journalists who are all incredibly talented and intelligent was daunting, and all I could hope was that I came off as someone worth listening and/or talking to.

It was a lot of fun meeting new people and seeing old friends, but I could feel my feet and voice starting to get tired halfway through day two. It's always an honor to realize that the people lining up around you are actually all people who want to talk to you. And I'll be honest: it's very strange and surreal. That's not even a humblebrag. It's a genuine: what do I do with myself while you talk to me??

That having been said: I'm humbled and flattered and will only keep trying to do my best to talk with as many of you as I can while out in the public eye. Thank you to everyone for their kind words over the last few days, and I hope you don't unfollow me on Twitter once you realize how not-very-interesting I am!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

halfway there. [NaBloPoMo 15]

We made it, everyone! At least I (kind of) did. This is the halfway point for #NaBloPoMo, and so far, it's been successful--if not stressful, too.

As I started blogging earlier this month, I realized I wasn't following those prompts that BlogHer suggests in case you have writer's block. Not that I haven't had writer's block, because I definitely have...but I think I'm liking the challenge of having nothing but me, myself, and I to rely on when it comes to pouring out words onto this blog.

For so long with this blog, and even still to this day, I worry a lot about the idea of an "audience." Who's reading this? What if I say too much? What if what I say isn't "worth" anyone's time?

But the answer to all of that should be: who cares?

Friday, August 14, 2015

getting personal. [NaBloPoMo 14]

Between watching one-too-many rom-coms, reading Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance, and talking with my best girlfriends, I've come to the conclusion that I've never been on a proper date. As in: Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl on date. Boy plans more than just, "Let's meet up at happy hour."

Or however that's supposed to go.

But in all honesty--and this is going to be half-embarrassing to admit and mostly amusing--I think I can only pinpoint one "date" that ever felt truly planned, and I'm not sure it entirely counted because it was with an ex-boyfriend and it was an anniversary.

Well, there's another "date" a few years ago that might count, but it ended with me discovering he was kind of racist and then having to lie about having a boyfriend to stop him from stalking me around coffee shops.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

express yourself. [NaBloPoMo 13]

I used to be terrible with expressing my opinions. I originally wrote "I used to be terrible with having opinions," but that isn't true at all. I have opinions. I always have. But I was never too good at saying what they were, especially when I had the less popular opinion of a group. Like how people think vanilla is a boring ice cream flavor, but I actually really like vanilla. (Also, as Mallory and I learned on my last trip to DC, there's apparently a bajillion different kinds of vanilla in the freezer section.)

One of the many things I learned from being friends with Mengfei in college was learning how to speak my mind without being argumentative. It's not something I'm particularly great at, but it's something I've been working on. As long as my opinion isn't guided by factually incorrect information, why shouldn't I want to say what's on my mind?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

my first New York. [NaBloPoMo 12]

I literally waited 10 minutes for the train yesterday, only to take it one stop and realize I'd gone the wrong way. Which is something that's been happening more often than usual lately. I can't figure out if I'm not being very attentive, or if I'm just forgetful and can't remember where I'm going.

I remember the very first time I visited New York (it was at the end of 2011, a month before I moved here), all I could think to myself was "How do people get around??" There were so many subways and platform levels and everyone moved so fast, so confidently. There was almost no way I would be able to keep up if I lived here.

And then I moved here and had no choice but to figure it out. I was desperately terrified of getting lost or getting on the wrong line. The day I took the bus to New York felt like the fastest bus ride. I was dropped off at Port Authority with a suitcase and a backpack and got stuck in an elevator with a homeless man who asked me if his sign was spelled correctly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

much ado about to-do lists. [NaBloPoMo 11]

I like making to-do lists. In college, Amanda and I used to tape paper to the wall and write out our individual lists: essays, editing, dishes, etc. It was satisfying crossing things off the list and seeing that we've accomplished something.

These days, my to-do lists tend to be on screens. I set reminders for myself on my phone and use my unread emails in my inbox as a way of saying, "Hey, Traci, don't forget about that!" But there something isn't as satisfying about digital to-do lists as there was about taping paper onto a wall and writing on it in brightly colored ink.

Perhaps it's because I spent my entire day staring at screens that the easiest way of reminding myself to do something is through technology. Or maybe I misplace paper more often these days. Does anyone still write physical to-do lists? I'm genuinely curious.

Monday, August 10, 2015

525,600 minutes. [NaBloPoMo 10]

There's a line from Rent at Angel's funeral where Maureen is giving her eulogy and she says, "You always used to say how lucky we were that we were friends, but it was us, baby, who were the lucky ones."

I've been thinking lately about the legacies we leave. What will people remember about me? I know what I wouldn't want them to say, but I think a lot about the footprints I'm making in the metaphorical beach of life. I'm not looking for immortality, but rather for significance--that I made a profound impact somewhere in the world. Isn't that all any of us want?

And yet that thought itself feels a little selfish. Who cares what people say about me when I'm gone? I won't be here to care.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

favorite feelings. [NaBloPoMo 9]

Inspired by this Hank Green vlog on "favorite feelings," I decided to really think about 15 of my favorite feelings...So, not an original concept for a blog, but original thoughts--by meeee--nonetheless...and in no particular order:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

'two kinds of ice cream.' [NaBloPoMo 8]

Sometimes when I'm down, I think about that "Happiness" song from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! that we learned in choir one year in grade school:

It's a simple song meant to encourage children to appreciate the little things in life: finding a pencil, two kinds of ice cream, five different crayons. Whether you find these things very happy or not is up for debate, but I like the reminder that small moments used to make us all smile as children.

Although--ice cream and pencils still make me happy, let's be honest. I don't think there's anything silly or immature about finding happiness in some of the things that made you happy as a kid. It doesn't mean you haven't grown up or you're in denial of the realities of life that can weigh you down.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

thank you for being a friend. [NaBloPoMo 7]

Hey dude. This feels weird writing something long to you because we were always rapid-fire texters/Gchatters/emailers/etc-ers. But I'm gonna try right now because I've got a lot in my heart and on my mind. I know I won't be able to get it all out, and there's a lot I'll probably forget, but it's not like this is the last time I'll ever get the chance to say something to you. I know we'll hang out again someday.

2010 New U banquet. You and Mengfei taught me how to class it up.

get ready with me! [NaBloPoMo 6]

Last year, I wrote a blog post in which I briefly discussed my personal issues with my face. You can read that here before continuing on...

As I was writing that, I was slowly building up points on my Sephora account to figure out what makeup could do for me. I used to equate a large makeup box with insecurities, but I've been learning that wearing makeup isn't about hiding who you are, but about bringing out your features (at least, when used correctly!)

Call it vain, if you will, but this is my blog so you're already in my head. (Welcome!)

Who said National Blog Post Month couldn't include videos too? :)

Also, if anyone can teach me how to use an eyelash curler, that'd be great. Thanks to a new medication I've been on, I've had the privilege to regain eyelashes and eyebrows, but because I've gone the last two decades of my life without these things, I don't know what to do about them. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

ambiverted. [NaBloPoMo 5]

I've always considered myself an introvert, although when I say that to people, they immediately push back. "I find that really hard to believe!" someone said to me recently. And while the intention was well-meaning, I can't help but wonder why people think it's not an entirely positive thing to be an introvert.

via The Oatmeal
Or perhaps no one really thinks that, but they assume me saying I'm an introvert is some way of putting myself down. Which isn't true--I think there are wonderful things about introverts and extroverts!

But recently I stumbled upon the term "ambivert," and I found myself drawn to its definition more and more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

on joy and sadness. [NaBloPoMo 4]

I've been trying to understand this concept of "joy" for awhile now. I think my definition of "joy" for a long time was the same as superficial happiness. To be a joyful person, I believed, was to be optimistic and smiling and upbeat and "in love" with love life. For those of you've who've seen Inside Out, my definition of "joy" was literally character of Joy for the first half of the film.

But over the course of the last year or so, that shifted.

Warning: if you haven't seen Inside Out yet, you may not want to keep reading...

Monday, August 3, 2015

that ring of fire. [NaBloPoMo 3]

There's this scene from Walk the Line where Reese Witherspoon as June Carter has just emotionlessly told Johnny she flushed his pills, and she's in her car driving home when she stops and starts crying. "It burns," she cries softly to herself. "It burns."

I wonder how many people we sit next to each day on the subway in New York who feel defeated on the inside, yet remain stoic on the outside. How many of us feel our hearts breaking or our souls burning over the many million emotions that hit us with every turn. I'd be lying if I told you I never cried on the subway, and I've definitely handed a tissue to someone else crying on the subway too. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

leftovers: July. [NaBloPoMo 2]

It felt like I spent a lot of time on planes and trains in July. Most of my memory of the month comes from the start of it because that trip to California was too lovely to forget. Honestly, most of the photos on my phone this month were from that trip, and I already posted those on this blog.

Life felt like it sort of slowed down a lot halfway through the month. More on that later as I blog my way through August, but for now, enjoy the photos...