Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Anatomy of a Good Day

source: cleo wade
A few months ago, I arrived home at the end of a long day and realized that the day had been a really good day. Not just a good day, but a very satisfying, fulfilling, joyful and good day. I pondered my activities for the day: teaching yoga, visiting with a couple different friends, making and door bell ditching some treats to people in my neighborhood, cooking a satisfying dinner…

And I understood what elements made my day so good.

The anatomy of a good day (for me): Creativity, Connection, and Movement.

I also include religious study, prayer, and general productivity (to do lists!), but those things come more naturally to me. I often have to be more intentional about creativity, connection, and movement.

For me, this looks like:

Creativity: Cooking, baking, working on projects, practicing a new skill, sewing, knitting, calligraphy, singing, playing guitar, and even practicing yoga can feel like a creative practice for me!

Connection: I feel most fulfilled with one-on-one connections. While group activities are great, I don’t always feel like that fulfills the need for connection within me. Visiting with a friend for a half hour though? Fills my soul. (I do include group activities though, as well as texts, phone calls, service, letter writing, etc.)

Movement: Running, hiking, yoga, weight lifting (doing just a bit of this, still new at it!) and more! Those are just my go-to’s.

What makes a good day for you? What aspects of your day make it really, really good? And how can you be more mindful about incorporating those things into your day?

I should note, it’s good to have options here. I don’t always feel like running. I don’t always have the opportunity to spend quality time with people I care about every day.

Last week I decided to finish up some sewing projects I had started but set aside (I think I want to enjoy sewing more than I really do). I had bought some beautiful Lotta Jansdotter fabric months ago and decided to make a dress out of it. I made a plan and got started. I made it out of muslin first, noted the changes I needed to make in sizing, then started with the Lotta Jansdotter print. I was more careful than with probably any other sewing project I had ever attempted. When I did make a mistake, I carefully took the stitches out and tried again. I decided to put some elastic in the waist and started working on that. I did it, tried it on, didn’t like how it looked and…

I lost interest.

I kept the sewing machine and dress and all of everything out for a couple more days. I felt obligated to finish this dress. I was so close! I loved the fabric! I owed it to myself to finish this single project!

But it wasn’t bringing me joy anymore. Not in the moment.

I bagged up the dress and materials, put my sewing machine back in the box, and put everything back in the closet. If it wasn’t going to bring me joy or fulfillment, that wasn’t part of my good day.

That day, cooking was part of my good day. Running was part of my good day. Going with a friend late at night to pick up Frostys from Wendy’s was part of my good day.

Maybe that dress will be part of a good day next week, but if not, it’s okay. I’ll finish it when I feel excited about it again.

Friends, I’d love to hear what makes your days good! Tell me in the comments! (Or, you can vent about that sewing project that you’re also not wanting to finish, haha! Share your stories in the comments!!)

Love, Allie

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New York with Rachel and Hannah!

Our Darlybirders Rachel and Hannah spent the weekend in New York, digging through warehouses for hidden vintage treasures (which means, new Darlybird goods coming soon!).

 Visit the Darlybird Instagram for some tidbits, and follow us on Instagram to live vicariously through Rachel on her Instagram Stories on these trips ;)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Family Friendly Utah Hike: Rock Canyon

Distance: 5.6 miles out and back (according to alltrails.com)

Elevation gain: 1768 feet (according to alltrails.com)

Terrain/Environment: Paved at the beginning, then rocks and dirt. As is common for most canyon trails, just be careful for loose rocks!

Population: There is usually quite a bit of traffic at the beginning of this trail, but it clears up the further you go.

Other: This is definitely a popular hike for families. The incline is not too extreme, at least in the beginning, and as usual, just keep an eye on your kids. There are loose rocks, but not more than any other trail in the area. Because it’s an out and back, you can head back anytime. I should also note that I did this with my pregnant cousin, and she does it regularly still.

The parking lot has bathrooms and picnic tables. It’s a well developed trailhead—Thank you, Provo City!

Rock Canyon trailhead connects to other trails such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Squaw Peak Summit, so there are a lot of places to explore. This is also a great place to rock climb and boulder, and you’ll probably see people doing this along your hike

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Our Creative Home: Allie Barnes

photo by hannah bills <3

Today for the Our Creative Home series we’re doing something a little different— I (Allie) am answering the questions! So, here we go!

Tell me about your family!

Right now it’s just me, a single woman living with roommates wherever life takes me (right now, Utah). So my family is pretty tiny ;) but I’m grateful to be surrounded by many creative individuals who help feed the fire, inspire me, and encourage my pursuits.

Professionally, I’ve bounced between helping careers and creative careers. Currently I’m a yoga instructor who writes on the side, so it’s a nice marriage of both of those passions—helping and creating. I’m also the one who does most of the writing on the Darlyblog, so you know me already!
after teaching a yoga class with BYU Women's Services, 2017

How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

I’ve always been creative, from regularly rearranging the furniture in my childhood bedroom and painting the walls whenever I needed a bit of change, to playing in folk bands as a young adult, studying writing through college, and various pursuits since then. These days when I get the creative itch, I’ll usually cook or bake something, work on music, do some writing for this blog, find ways to reach out to friends (which can be a creative endeavor in and of itself!), practice yoga, plan out some Instagram posts for my yoga business, and on the rarer occasion, sew something or practice calligraphy.

between songs, singing backing vocals for a friend's band in 2014

Do you have any creative traditions in your home? If so, what are they? How did they begin, and how do you keep the momentum going?

A while back I had a REALLY good day (after a series of rather mediocre ones), and I realized that for me, the components of a good day are: connection with others, creativity, and movement. If I’m having an “off” day, I step back and consider if I’ve had those things. In that way, I don’t necessarily have “creative traditions”, but I’ve tried to make creativity itself a tradition in my home by practicing creativity regularly, in whatever way sounds enjoyable and/or fulfilling that day.
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

Just start! There’s no one right way to be creative. If you want to learn to play the guitar, do it! Learn two or three chords and give it a go. If you want to try your hand at painting, do it! Perhaps start with Bob Ross videos on Youtube! If you want to try putting apricot jam and a fried egg on your hamburger, do it! (Seriously, do it. So good, ha!) If you want to dance in your living room to Top 40 Hits, do it! And if you have kids/a husband/boyfriend/neighbors/gal pals, invite them to dance along! For me, creativity is simply an outlet for feeling good, so find what feels good and do it.

Thanks for letting me share! Any other creative single ladies out there? What do you love to do? I’d love to hear! Share in the comments!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Family Friendly Utah Hike: Big Springs Hollow

Big Springs Hollow is one of my go-to hikes. It's well maintained, well populated, but you can still find plenty of time to be alone or try a new off shoot of the trail. Get there by going up Provo Canyon, turning at Vivian Park, and continuing up the road, past a couple of parks, until you finally see a little sign for Big Springs. The parking lot for the trailhead is at the top of the park.

Distance: 4.2 miles round trip to the “spring” (according to alltrails.com)

Elevation gain: 1177 feet (according to alltrails.com) but most of it is a pretty gradual ascent

Terrain/Environment: The main dirt trail is clear and good for families. There’s also a service road nearby if you want a straight shot up. There are some little bridges over the stream, so just be careful if you have small kids here. There is sometimes mud if it’s been rainy. But aside from that, the trail is pretty easy to hike.

Population: If it’s summertime you’ll definitely have company! When school is in session, the weekends are busy, but you can usually find times when it is less crowded, like weekday mornings. If you go off on side trails, there are usually fewer people (like the service road, the Great Western Trail, or other little offshoots).

Wildlife: I’ve done this trail COUNTLESS times-- it’s one of my go-to’s--but I usually don’t run into much wildlife (beyond butterflies, etc. which I’ve seen many a child catch then release from nets!). However, when I’ve gone on side trails where there are fewer people, I’ve seen moose and snakes. So, stay aware, but also, bring your butterfly nets! :)

Other: Okay, the trail itself doesn’t really lead to much anymore. They’ve been doing construction near the actual spring over the last couple of years and if you follow the signs to “Big Springs” you will be pretty disappointed. This is one of those “do it for the journey” hikes, not necessarily a destination hike, unless you kept going for several miles and perhaps summited a peak or something. But for families, it’s a journey hike.

I have my set turn around points: usually either at the beginning of the big field (about 1.3 miles round trip) or where the trail and service road merge (about 2.4 miles round trip, maybe? Now I'm second guessing everything). I have gone up to the spring before it was all a construction zone, and I have gone up a bit further beyond that, but I just usually plan enough time for my set turnarounds now.

If you want more of an adventure, you can definitely keep going on the trail. Give it a try, and let me know what you find!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Juiciest Peach

peach by kind of style

"You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world,
and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
—Dita Von Teese.

I’ve had this quote sitting here for days now, trying to find the words to say what I want to say. So here is a free write to say all the things I hope to say about it.

I’ve been told that I’m a sinner and that I’m a saint. I’ve been told that I’m immodest and that I’m modest. I’ve been told to cover up, and to show more skin. I’ve been told that I’m not attractive, and that I’m attractive. I’ve been loved deeply and I’ve felt the sharp pain of rejection.

Add in dating and the constant flood of both approval and disapproval, and it’s enough to make someone (think they’re) crazy. (And add in any sort of relationship—acquaintance, friend, marriage, etc. and other dynamics come into play). It’s all very exhausting and it can make a woman wonder, “Is there a deserted island I can just hang at for a while? Alone? With maybe chocolate cake and Netflix?”

A friend sent me that quote in the midst of some of this chaos. I will say, I really like peaches. I also like to believe that I see value in all people, in some way or another. I’d like to throw a peach in a smoothie for anyone who doesn’t like peaches and see what they say then, and I’d like to sit you down, dear reader, and tell you all the reasons why you have every ounce of worth in the world and are amazing and vibrant and beautiful exactly as you are.

But I don’t think that would really matter. Someone recently told me they were not attracted to me and it knocked me off my center for days. I sought validation from anyone and everyone. “I’m not ugly though, right?” “I’m attractive, right?” And yet, because this one person said it, that’s all I heard, even if every single other person could sit me down and tell me that list of why I’m amazing and vibrant and beautiful exactly as I am. And it is ridiculous that I just wouldn’t hear them!— or myself!

I’m the juiciest peach—you are the juiciest peach, WE are the juiciest peaches—and some people just don’t like peaches. But I do.

I’ve made an intention to focus on that—my own love of myself. Some days that means making sure I do something that I love, that makes me feel alive, and really savoring that. Some days that means carrying around a gratitude list in my pocket and jotting down things I’m grateful for as they come to my mind. Some days that means checking myself out in a mirror, because DANG. ;) And every day that means doing any practice or good habit that helps me feel that love and appreciation for myself, in all my juicy wonderfulness. That is the validation that means more than anyone else’s, and that is the validation that can last (with just a bit of effort so as to not forget!)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Family Friendly Utah Hike: Battle Creek Falls

Me and my dear friend Hannah + her babe at Battle Creek Falls

Hey friends! While not all the readers are local Utah folk, I am! And Darlybird is. And you may visit someday! So I give you: Family Friendly Utah Hikes! First up, Battle Creek Falls, located in Pleasant Grove, Utah. (About 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, 20 minutes north of Provo). This relatively simple hike is a favorite for families and kids. Here are the details:

Distance: 1.4 miles out and back (according to alltrails.com) (1.5 miles according to my Garmin)

Elevation gain: 636 feet (according to alltrails.com)

Terrain/Environment: Dirt, some small loose rocks (especially on the steeper incline as you near the waterfall, so kids will probably need help, or at least heavy supervision, at that point). Most of the hike to the waterfall is just at a slight incline, so it's not bad at all. Some shade on the trail and a lot of shade at the waterfall itself, but be sure to wear sunscreen, use sunglasses, etc. as a lot of the trail is exposed.

Population: In the summertime (when school is out) and on the weekends, I’ve noticed there are plenty of people on the trail. This makes it a safe trail to do alone (because you won’t really be alone!) and also proves that tons of kids can handle this trail (albeit pretty slowly at times). I recommend using a hiking pack for babies.

Wildlife: I saw one moose years ago, but it was easy enough to turn around just fine. Besides that, the wildlife has been pretty mild when I’ve been there.

Other: I’ve done this hike alone, with kids ages 0-6, and with adults. If you’re looking for a shorter hike with a satisfying ending, this hike is for you! If you’re looking for a longer, challenging hike, keep going (but maybe not with kids) and you can get away from some of the crowds, connect to Dry Canyon, hike Mt. Baldy, and probably a lot more. There are a lot of possibilities with this trail, but the most straightforward hike is, obviously, Battle Creek Falls.

Have you done this hike? Any more tidbits that you'd like to share? Comment below!