Crunch Time

So I'm slowly becoming a hippie.

I guess at some point it was inevitable, having grown up in Vermont and all, but for several years I thought that I had avoided it. NOPE. The granola is here, and probably here to stay. 

It started with face wash, which seemed innocent enough AT THE TIME.

This image is taken directly from Damn Good Face Wash's Etsy store. It's fantastic! Go  buy some !

This image is taken directly from Damn Good Face Wash's Etsy store. It's fantastic! Go buy some!

Despite the fact that I'm 27 years old, my face has continued to break out. But now, it's so much better! It's amazing! And suddenly, I figured the magic HAD to be in the all natural ingredients, and so I went on an all-natural tear, one household product at a time. 

The next step down the path was the Mrs. Meyer's hand soap. It just smells so good! And using it basically puts another star in your crown, right? It's almost like solving global warming because it came from the earth. Basically. 

Please ignore the black speckles on my sink. They have since been cleaned.

Please ignore the black speckles on my sink. They have since been cleaned.

The all-natural soap (bar soap, of the used-for-showering variety) was the logical subsequent addition, but I knew I had really swallowed the secret sauce the day I got an essential oil diffuser. 

Does it actually make me sleep better? Does the essential oil boost my immune system? WHO KNOWS. Does it serve as a delightfully scented humidifier when we're already facing 100% humidity? YOU BET. With this stuff, I'm practically guaranteed to live to 969 years old, like Methuselah, right?

I think I'll stop well before long-skirts-and-dreadlocks status, and next week they'll probably tell us that lavender is actually poisonous, coconut oil is linked to Alzheimers, and wheat germ is the new superfood, but for now...I should be healthier by the day.

Oh, and if my hair starts looking exceptionally greasy next week? It's because I tried an all-natural shampoo. We'll see how that goes.

A Wedding

I wasted nearly all of my available blogging time this morning reading through the ancient blog. For the most part if just confirmed that I went through a weird emo period after my senior year - all the posts became very short and were apparently focused on random things I found on the internet. Even I got bored, and past-me was the one writing it. My apologies, former blog readers.

Nevertheless, I did find some good material. Namely, I found a couple of pictures of me and Heidi (who got married last weekend) as little kids.

Those were the beautiful days full of everything that childhood should be full of. 

Heidi and I sort of fell out of contact sometime in middle school. I'm honestly not sure what happened, but I have wished ever since that I had had the presence of mind as a middle schooler to run after the good things in my life with purpose, because not doing so was a mistake. Nevetheless, we got back in touch a little bit in college, and that was wonderful. An then last weekend, she got married. 

It was the most perfect of fall days in Vermont. 

Almost cloudless, with just the right amount of chill in the air, with enough sunlight to keep everyone comfortable. The leaves were far more vibrant than the picture above would indicate. 

Heidi was beautiful, the ceremony was perfect, and everyone present was overjoyed to witness it. Phil is a lucky man.

After the ceremony we all headed down the hill to the tent for the reception. Everyone had brought food to share, which I thought was exactly the way a wedding should be. It's a celebration of a sacred event with the gathering and support of family and friends, and because it was so laid back, that's what we were all able to focus on. 

The afternoon finished with cake and toasts, as all weddings do. Such an event was a beautiful culmination of the years of childhood and growth that I'd had the privilege of witnessing growing up, and it was an honor to be present.

And so, to Heidi and Phil, I wish you the very best. May God bless your marriage through all the many years to come!

The Hike

Well, the wedding was about as glorious as could be expected. The weather completely cooperated - picture the perfect Vermont fall day, and you have it exactly right. Perfectly clear blue sky, vibrant leaves, crisp air, you name it, and it was there. I will recap it in the near future, but it won't be today! Instead, I'm going to reverse the order and talk about Sunday first.

We were heathens. We skipped church. But I might argue that once in a great while, spending your Sunday morning out in nature is just a little bit like church. 

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Since we were on a bit of a limited time budget, we decided to spend time outside with the family. Christopher, the only remaining child at home, will no longer be at home as of Wednesday as he's flying out to California to spend 10 months working with AmeriCorps. That, combined with the fact that we were visiting, gave us the perfect excuse to go for a hike and soak in the extraordinary beauty that is Vermont in the fall. 

And thus we found ourselves on our way to Sterling Pond on Sunday, following an attempt to eat breakfast that had us stop at three different places before getting a seat. Leaf peepers...they're the worst.

This particular trail leads the average-paced hiker on a 45-minute trek uphill to a pond, and if you tack on an extra five minutes you can get to the top of a ski trail with an amazing view. (We did both.) The first 10 minutes of the hike are essentially stone steps, and it is hilarious to people-watch. As my dad said, "Well...you can tell just at a glance who's going to make it to the top and who isn't!" We passed:

  • A girl wearing sparkly Ugg boots
  • A girl wearing ankle boots, a dress coat, and a scarf
  • A guy going barefoot
  • The real hikers

We can't really judge as we weren't really fully prepared either, but we at least had reasonable footwear. And I guess you can't really tell for sure, because the barefoot guy was actually heading down instead of up.

After a spell, we made it to the pond.

Despite the seeming calm of the picture, the place was actually a bit crowded, so we didn't stay there long. However, it's worth noting that a girl wearing leather riding boots had made it that far. Mad props, riding boot girl. Continuing on the extra five minutes, we made it to the top.

I call this picture "The Hair-Do, the Lack of Muscles, and Usain Bolt."

I call this picture "The Hair-Do, the Lack of Muscles, and Usain Bolt."

Behold. Pictures from the peak. 

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I expect to see this picture on my parents' Christmas card this year. #photocredits.

I expect to see this picture on my parents' Christmas card this year. #photocredits.

After having our fill of both clambering over ski lift equipment and munching some Swedish Fish I'd squirreled into my bag, we turned around and headed home.

All in all, I think it was a fitting parting adventure. On the way back to Massachusetts that evening I thought about Vermont and how lucky I was to grow up there. Being surrounded by that much beauty all the time can't help but encourage folks to get outside and explore, and having a strongly instilled longing for exploration is not a bad thing to claim as my own. I miss living there. MA does have a lot to offer in terms of pre-built attractions - I'll give it that much - but the ever-present sense of wildness at your doorstep is something that can't exist in a place where the land is mostly flat and the houses are a little more squished together. 

We're back at home now (in MA), but thinking fondly of a place where breathtaking beauty is a part of everyday life.