Camping, Not Glamping

I spent my Memorial Day weekend camping at Folsom Lake with my family. We've been camping there for over a decade now, but I hadn't been able to make it to a trip for a few years. I was exceptionally happy to enjoy the holiday weekend with my family.

I took Friday off so my sister Andrea and I could get more time basking in nature. We arrived before anyone else did and expressed our excitement by instantly performing a bit about being alone in the woods. It was silly since there wasn't an audience, but totally fun.

Andrea and I felt that Friday's weather wasn't swim-worthy, so we hung out on the shore after camp was set up.

Soon enough it was dinner time and then SUNSET.

My favorite time of day, if you couldn't tell.

I wanted a simple picture of my silhouette in the sunset, so I handed Andrea my phone...and then this photo happened.

It was/is so cool, I'm still not over it.

Our underbit pup.

After sunset we gathered around the fire for some s'mores! Andrea was a marshmallow roasting queen this weekend. I'm not a big fan of marshmallows, but I'm sort of regretting not having at least one.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but this is a marshmallow smushed between two Oreos...

Or as Andrea called it, her S'moreo.

We spent all of Saturday napping in the sun and swimming. Like for real alllll day.

Even the pups were into it!

Sun napping is matched only by hammock relaxation.

Then once again, it was time for sunset!

Sunday was our last day at the lake and we enjoyed it in the same way we enjoyed the previous day.

Isn't that what vacationing is about? Doing something seemingly boring (like tanning or napping or swimming), but getting to do it in a beautiful place that isn't your couch or complex pool?

Before we left I knew I needed to try to capture a photo I'd had in my head since we arrived. I didn't intentionally wait for sunset, but in the end it worked out, because this is how the photos turned out:

I couldn't be happier.

Andrea said they sort of reminded her of the scene where Belle is singing her reprise in Beauty and the Beast (except she didn't actually use the word reprise).


I'll take it! Maybe it reminded my subconscious of Beauty and the Beast, too, and maybe that's why I went to take the photos in the first place. And maybe this movie is the true source of all of my favorite things: travel, having little pieces of hair that frame my face, sunset, running through wide open fields, France, public group singing, reading while walking, you get the picture.

We had to head out too soon for our liking. If it was up to us, we would have stayed another night, but the post-grad life comes with responsibilities, so we drove home and only slowed down once for me to take this farewell photo of our favorite lake.

See you (maybe) for the Fourth of July, Folsom!

♥  Alex


Hiking in the Park with Two Names

About a month ago Brandon and I decided we wanted to take a low key hike in the late afternoon. We decided on heading to Peña Adobe (less commonly referred to as Lagoon Valley) Park in Vacaville. Both of us grew up near the park, but I hadn't spent very much time there, so luckily it's kept its novelty.

We originally planned to climb to the highest hill and watch the sunset, but we totally overestimated how long it would take us to get up there, so we chose to take our time, enjoy our little hike and not put too much pressure on our fun.

We stopped to take a water break and soak in some of the views.

I enjoyed my view...

...while Brandon enjoyed his!

I saw this enormous oak tree and had a need to see it up close, so we ventured off the main path for a bit.

The tree and I quickly became best friends.

Brandon got in on the fun, too!

My very fancy hiking equipment.

A cool almost optical illusion photo for kicks

And a couple selfie with personality.

We walked until we didn't feel like it anymore. Then we turned around to head back home. But being me, I tried to make another friend on the way down.

I tried crouching down to get a better angle of her but she freaked out and ran away. Either she thought I was a mountain lion or she sensed my friendship with the tree. Regardless, my friendship with the cow worked out just as well as Cady Heron's first crush...which is to say it didn't (10 points if you got my obscure Mean Girls reference).

Spending the afternoon outside with my favorite person in the world was wonderful. It gave me wiiiiiings!

♥  A



I've never done one of these before, but Rachel does them every once in a while and I always enjoy them. Ready? Here we go!

DOING: acting out the choreography to I Have Confidence from The Sound of Music. I used to watch that movie with my mom all.the.time as a kid. That and Mary Poppins are the beginning and end of my love for Julie Andrews, but boy is that appreciation deep.

READINGHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I picked the book up again earlier last month to read while on my lunch break at work. I've read the series all the way through once, so I'm really enjoying picking up on little details that might mean something -- or that I might just be assigning meaning to -- now that I know the whole story.

PLANNING: a DIY to fix my TOMS. I wore them holes-and-all to the produce store (not grocery...I picked my words correctly) and realized how unused the shoes actually are. The insides still feel new! I love how comfy TOMS are but I also think it'd be wasteful to buy a brand new pair because my current ones need patching. So I'm gonna get crafty, which is not something I do often. Here's how I plan to do it.

THINKING ABOUT: how much time I spend sitting during the day. From my commute to my desk job to eating dinner to watching Veep or Friends once I get home. It's one of the reasons I semi-regularly practice yoga. I guess I'm also thinking about how I'm not practicing yoga regularly which is nuts because I legit feel better when I do. Ugh, first world adult problems, right?

LOOKING FORWARD TO: camping over Memorial Day weekend! I haven't gone camping in two or three years and I miss it! Even though Memorial Day is notoriously too cold for swimming, I'm hoping the skies will clear out and let me get an even tan. I'll be camping without my partner in crime but I'm absolutely looking forward to sharing a tent and hanging out with my sister just like the old days. I'm also excited about the new tent my parents keep talking up. Apparently it's tall enough to stand in! (it doesn't take much to get Pinedas excited)

LOVING: besides the obvious (I'm looking at you, raspberries), I'm loving my brush pens! Sacramento must be immune to calligraphy workshops because it's impossible to find one out here despite the hipsters. Either way, I'm too chicken to teach myself dip-your-oblique-thing-into-ink calligraphy, so I thought brush pens would be a fun place to start. I'm nowhere near Etsy level, but I'm learning to embrace my own writing.

-- A


Miserable Magical Monday || Music Edition

I have this tendency to listen to the same songs over and over again. They're not necessarily new songs or pop songs. In fact, they're usually songs I've found by listening to a random Spotify playlist containing the word acoustic in the title. Anyway, if you haven't heard these songs yet, you should. They're great. Especially if you dig acoustic/band based pop music as much as I do.


This video is a live performance (because I prefer acoustic live versions, just ask Brandon), but the studio version of this song is just as lovely. Lucius' vocal layering just gets me. It makes me wish I could harmonize like them...and write music...and rock a retro look. Also I say their name the way Voldemort says Lucius Malfoy's in part one of the Deathly Hallows movie. I realize that's an incredibly obscure reference, and apparently most of my references are that subtle, but if you understood what I meant, you get 75 house points. 

Just to emphasize how infatuated I am with this song, you should know I'm literally listening to it as I type this and put the final touches on this post. The obsession is really real.


This song makes me feel like I'm driving along the coast on a gorgeous spring day, perfectly content. I first heard it on one of the many Spotify generated playlists. Even though I don't know the words very well, I still love it. To clarify, yes, I've been listening to this song -- sometimes on repeat -- for months and still haven't learned the lyrics. 


I think this song is what set me on my folksy kick that only Lana del Rey and Lorde have been able to draw me out of (okay fine,Taylor's 1989 also lured me away from it). This song is from the compilation album of songs inspired by the first Hunger Games movie, and it's my go-to song when I'm having a wallowing-in-my-overwhelming-feelings moment.


In an effort to diversify the music I'm sharing, I'll also go ahead and give a shout out to the relatively new Echosmith. Remember that Cool Kids song? This is the band behind it. I'm pretty sure Bright is their latest single, but it's a perfectly good pop song. Before I type this next snobby sentence, I have to tell you that I mean this as earnestly as possible: my favorite part of the song is the personification of the planets in the lyrics. Are you gagging from how annoyingly specific that was? I almost did. But I mean it, I like picturing Jupiter as having the ability to conspire. To be fair, I also enjoyed when Lorde referred to the moon as someone she loves like a brother in Team. Who knew I was so into space imagery?

I hope you listen and find something you like! Are there any songs I should be listening to but have missed?

- Alex