Ponderings in the Woods

This weekend I decided to head to Red River Gorge on Sunday because the weather was unseasonably warm and I just had to spend it in one of my favorite places! Sometimes the winter months can put me in a bit of a melancholy mindset, and getting outdoors always helps to shake that off.

I loaded up my gear and the dog in the car and we headed for the Gorge. This time I decided to hike to Moonshiners Arch and a few miles along Copperas Creek. My pictures don’t do the scenery justice. The cliffs of the Gorge rose grandly above us on one side and the meandering creek was on the other side, all while being enveloped in the lush forest. Moonshiners Arch is a little off the trail, but it’s a unique treasure with a hole in the top of the arch where the sun was peaking through.

As I walked I began thinking (I think a lot on my hikes) about many of the things I have been worrying about lately. Am I where I should be in life right now with regard to relationships (meeting the right person… how do people do it?!), finances – saving for a home, not to mention the trip I’m trying to plan to Machu Picchu within the next year or so, work performance, yada yada yada…. the list just goes on and on!

At a certain point I finally stopped myself and just enjoyed the moment. I sometimes think I focus so much on my future and where I think I should be and I forget to stop and appreciate the moment. Life is so precious and beautiful, and often times the most beautiful destinations are reached on the most difficult paths, and usually on a path few have traveled. We don’t have to keep up with friends and acquaintances because they are on their own journey.

My life is currently filled with adventure, and I am on my own so I have the benefit of making my own decisions, the ability to grab my backpack at anytime and head out the door. I love having my own space, my own rules and solo adventures. The other things will fall into place when it’s time. For now I will love on my beagle pup (aka best hiking partner ever) and enjoy the space I am in now.

What are some of your goals and dreams? Do you ever find yourself worrying about the things you don’t have, instead of appreciating the things you do? How do you find balance? Let me know! ❤

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How Junior League Has Impacted My Life

Today marks the 97th Anniversary of the Junior League of Louisville, and a little over a year ago I was lucky enough to go to my first Meet & Mingle where I made the decision to become a provisional and join. When I first joined I really had no idea what to expect, or if I would even enjoy it; now looking back I can’t imagine my life in Louisville without this group of motivated, intelligent, and empowered women.

When I first moved to Louisville in September 2015, I really didn’t have many friends in Louisville. Many of the people I met were more acquaintances than actual supportive relationships. After a year went by, and desperately feeling the void of not having any strong female relationships, I decided to make the leap and see what Junior League of Louisville was all about.

I also must admit, at first I had some preconceived notions of what it meant to be a “Junior Leaguer.” I had images of white-gloved ladies gossiping, all while they sipped tea ingrained in my head. I quickly realized (within the first meeting) that this was far from the case! These women come from all backgrounds, but they all have their love for the community and their compassion in common.

Since joining JLL I have been privileged to no longer just live in Louisville, but become an active part of the community. I have gained the confidence to use my voice, because I realize now that I do have the power to make a difference. My leadership skills have improved and I trust myself more because I am given opportunities to learn new skills. I have worked with numerous non-profits, hosted wonderful events like Mother’s Day Tea at Gilda’s Club, helped mentor kids on school and career goals, all while making friendships I know will last a lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about the Junior League of Louisville, please feel free to message me, as I love meeting new potential members, or visit the Junior League website by following this link.

Volunteers of America

Volunteering has become a very important part of my life, especially since joining the Junior League of Louisville last January. For me, volunteering has provided valuable insight into the community I live in and I love having an opportunity to give back. It has certainly made Louisville feel more like home. Most of my friends know that I work with many local organizations, but I want to begin sharing some opportunities where you can become more involved.

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting and poverty simulation at the Volunteers of America facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Until last night, I had heard of this organization, but didn’t really know much about the work they do throughout the region. This organization serves as a shelter for the homeless community, but not only that, they are unique among other homeless shelters because they are able to keep entire families housed together. They also serve as a launching pad to help people overcome the challenges associated with pulling themselves out of poverty. The organization provides:

  • Addiction Recovery Services
  • Veterans Services
  • Developmental Disability Services
  • HIV Services
  • Homeless and Housing Services

The Statistics

  • 4,025 people are homeless in Kentucky (Kentucky Housing Corporation, 2017)
  • Largest percentage of homeless are in Fayette County (Kentucky Housing Corporation, 2017)
  • The fastest growing homeless population is 18-24 year olds (KET, 2017)
  • There were 1,330 overdose deaths in Kentucky in 2016; 31% were among people ages 33-44 (Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, 2016)

The best thing we can do to help our community is spread the word and step up and get involved. If you are interested in learning more about getting involved in Louisville, feel free to message me. If you would like to learn more about the work that Volunteers of America does in our community follow this link.

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Living My Best Life at 32

And no where close to where I thought I’d be.

This week I celebrated my 32nd birthday (yep… the BIG 3-2). Birthdays have always been a bit melancholy for me. I think because it is a reminder of how quickly the years are going by. Often times, I seem to catch myself focusing on the milestones and goals I haven’t yet achieved.

Honestly, if you had asked me 5-10 years ago where I would be at 32 my vision would have been very different. Back then, I felt sure that I would’ve been married with children by now. Sometimes that isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, especially as I watch my friends begin that phase of their life. It has been a challenge for me to accept that there isn’t a “right” timeframe for life.

One thing I can undoubtedly say is that I love the life I am living. It isn’t always perfect and some days are better than others. My 30’s have been amazing so far and I feel less pressure to fit in and more relaxed in my own skin. I have fun, I challenge myself and try new things. This past year I have been fortunate to make new friendships with some of the most talented, compassionate and intelligent women I have ever known.

As I reflect on the last year, it definitely had its lessons and challenges – oh did it ever! But I am grateful knowing that everyday I am becoming stronger, braver and growing closer to the woman that I would like to one day be. I am living my life for me.

Why I Hike Alone

One question I consistently get from family and friends is, “Why do you hike alone?” and “Don’t you know how dangerous that is?” and the answer is there are many reasons I do, and I am fully aware of the risks involved. Hiking alone can be dangerous and I would never suggest it for just anyone. In fact, as many of my friends know I took a little spill on the ice this week.

 

*Before and after my little accident. 

Luckily my fall wasn’t too bad since I was out alone and pretty far from my car. For me the rewards just outweigh the risks by far.

Empowerment

Being able to complete a challenging hike on my own gives me a sense of confidence like I have never know before. Learning to use a compass, map and my own sense of direction while navigating miles on my own fills me with an amazing sense of accomplishment. This is something that I would never have had the confidence to do alone a few years ago. And these empowering hikes have pushed me to see what other goals I can accomplish (hopefully one day the AT). I am woman – hear me ROAR!

Anxiety Relief

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have coped with an anxiety disorder since my early teen years. It has been one of those struggles that has at times seemed like I am in an exhausting, unending battle with my mind. One thing gives me relief more than anything else, and that is spending time alone in nature. There is something about getting back to the basics – no makeup, hair in a ponytail, no internet/cell phone and just fresh air, dirt, and me and my dog. I LOVE time with my friends and I love staying connected, but sometimes I need to just take the time to unplug and appreciate the beauty around me. I need this time to unwind and remember that tomorrow is a new day; just breathe and let things go.

Gratitude

When I am alone in the woods or in the eastern hills of Kentucky I often find myself in awe of the beauty that surrounds me. I feel so grateful for my body, my life and the experiences I have and I just feel so joyful. Joyful isn’t a word I normally use, but it seems like the only word that truly conveys the feeling of happiness that fills my heart. I sometimes even catch myself just smiling alone for no reason. Being grateful doesn’t mean everything in your life is perfect – there are so many things I could improve on – but I acknowledge what things I do have in my life instead of constantly seeking the next best thing. I am grateful.

What empowers you? What brings you joy and makes you feel grateful? I would love to hear from you.

Please note: Although I enjoy taking a hike and enjoying the solitude, I always let someone know where I am going, distance and expected completion time and I always go prepared. I have a pack filled with emergency gear, extra water and I always study my routes prior to hitting the dirt. I also know how to read a topographical map in case I get lost – pretty important before setting out alone.

 

Louisville Lady Adventures

I tend to hike alone quite a bit, I love it because it gives me time to myself to recharge. It’s been a hobby of mine for a while to spend weekends hiking and taking photos for my Instagram account. Since I started doing this on a consistent basis I always have friends who mention how much they would like to join. Since starting this blog a couple of weeks ago, it sparked an idea to create a Facebook Page just for that. A place where I can plan various meet ups and adventures with other individuals who enjoy the outdoors.

Last night I created my Facebook Page called Louisville Lady Adventures (*follow me*). I have already created my first two events. The first is a hike at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. The second planned event is a hike is one of my favorites (Hansen’s Point) at Red River Gorge. If you’re in the Louisville area and are interested, feel free to join us! I will also plan some casual meet ups and other adventures like kayaking, rock climbing, and zip lining once the warmer months get here.

Anyways, if you are interested at all follow me on Facebook at Louisville Lady Adventures and on Instagram @thelouisvillelady. Also, if you have any ideas for hikes let me know! I would LOVE to know what everyone is interested in!

 

 

Novice Runner & Yogini Begins Her Journey

A little over a month ago, I decided to get back into a solid fitness routine. I have always been very active, but I really HATE going to the gym – I mean REALLY HATE. There have been a couple things that sparked my motivation. Sometime in early November, I got a wild idea to sign up for Louisville’s Triple Crown of Running (this includes a 5k, 10k and finally a 10 miler). I also signed up for my first 502 Fit Pass in December. This has been amazing because I can schedule classes with ease and attend classes throughout the city – never bored with the same old thing. I have really focused my fitness routine on three things right now. Once I have a better habit developed, I’ll begin adding more to my repertoire but this is a good start.

Running

Well as much as I hate it, I am trying to get in at least 4 runs in a week. Lately, they’ve been on the treadmill, I know… NOT the same, but I refuse to freeze my ass off. I have never really been a runner, so completing a 10 miler this Spring is going to be a challenge that I am really going to have to work for.  Slowly, I am beginning to enjoy my runs a little more each day – despite having to get to the gym by 5:30AM to avoid the New Year’s crowd.

Yoga

Lately, I have been posting a lot of yoga pictures and that’s because I have been taking A LOT of yoga classes. My 502 Fit Pass has let me try some new studios with a variety of yoga classes including (Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram and Kundalini). I love my yoga practice because it helps me to reduce my stress level and calm down at the end of the day. I have suffered from terrible (sometimes debilitating) anxiety since my early teen years, and having a grounding yoga practice has worked wonders for my stress level.

Various Activities

I really don’t hate the gym that much, I just get really bored with it and often prefer other activities. I really enjoy going to the climbing gym near my apartment and as I am sure you know I love a good long hike with my dog (Minnie Pearl). I also like riding bikes at the park. Winter has slowed me down on a few of these things, but it is a huge part of my fitness life.

I really just enjoy staying active. I plan to add more weight training and cross training in the future, but hoping these practices will give me a strong foundation to build some positive habits. What are some of your favorite ways to keep fit? If you’re in the Louisville area, do you have any classes you would recommend?