Friday, May 16, 2014

Welp, that's a wrap.

Today is my last full day in California. It feels like just yesterday when I was sitting in the airport in Austin, next to Jerrod, anxious, ready, and nervous for my next big adventure. And now I'm packing to move back to Illinois. Time goes by so fast!

I'm kind of low on time here, but I'd like to share a few things that I've learned over the past year. If I had more time, this list would be a lot longer, but here are a few takeaways from life in California:

  • Long distance relationships are hard, but my definition of hard might not be what you imagine it is. I am in a relationship with someone who supports me, who doesn't gets upset with me for not being able to talk to him 24/7, and who loves me for my desire and dedication to go back to school 2,000 miles away.
  • Living in California is really a dream come true. Sometimes, I wanted to punch this state in the face. Other times, I simply cannot believe that I have to leave.
  • Graduate school is challenging. It truly is unlike any other challenge that I have had to face. In 10 months, I took 17 classes. I learned (well, sort of learned) a new language. I experienced great classes and not-so-great classes. I spent most of my time on Google Docs (I swear every other conversation was, "So I'll start a new doc." Ugh). I gave plenty of presentations. I worked and did consulting work with clients in San Francisco, Monterey, and New Zealand and helped create and complete large projects for them, one of them being designing an outdoor leadership field camp module as well as an assessment to follow it. I filled up a planner and experienced sweet relief when I got to highlight something and be done with it. I spent a lot of time working in groups - A LOT of time. I could go on. All of this was challenging. Grad school is not easy. It is a lot of work, and it requires a lot of dedication, patience, understanding, and time. Despite its frustrations, I really am happy that I chose to go back to school at this time in my life. It was the perfect time, and it will be exciting to officially have a master's degree in December!
  • I love being near the mountains and the ocean at the same time. Highway One is the dreamiest road. I think I've mentioned this before, but I could honestly drive up and down it every single day and never tire of it. It almost puts me in a trance - the great, big ocean, the cliffs, the colors of the sky, the vibrant flowers and succulents, all of it. I'll miss being this close to such an incredible landscape. As much as I love cornfields and the peace and quiet of the Midwest, my heart is truly going to miss the ocean and the peaks. The following pictures were from last weekend's drive up and down it:

I know, I know. Highway One. UGHHH.

Other [last] full weekend adventures included:

A trip to Nepenthe for wine and lunch after a hike in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Best lunch date & best lunch spot

[photo by Drew] A giant Redwood!

A trip to Santa Cruz to spend the day with two of my favorite people, Jack and Libby. [photo by Jack]

Jack was über excited to get a corn dog. 

So of course we all had to try it. The lady in the background is a bit jealous, me thinks.

Can I admit to you now that this was my first bite of Corn Dog. Ever. I was not impressed.

The colorful boardwalk!


Gonna miss these two - so dang much.

[photo by Libby]

Now it is time for packing, brunch, and last day celebrations before I jet off to Illinois tomorrow. Is this the end of Quinn in California? Well, technically yes, but the blog? I'll have to do some thinking. We'll see where life takes me next and if I pick up blogging again (chances are, that will happen). Thank you for sticking around this year and for reading, commenting, and following along with my adventures. Have a great weekend and maybe I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

[Tuesday]: Thirteen

Hi. Happy Monday Tuesday. Here's the random scoop:

Let's Talk Jobs:
You already know my obsession with HuffPost Taste. I am li-ter-ah-ll-y obsessed. The columnists are basically me in someone else's body and life. They write how I think. They write how I want to write. They think how I think. They really need to hire me. I check their job page every so often and have yet to see a "Job for Quinn" entry. Lame. 

Here's where I introduce BuzzFeed Food & all it's glory. I've mentioned BuzzFeed on here before, but this...THIS sealed the deal as to why BuzzFeed should also hire me: 12 Donuts

I love donuts. And BuzzFeed. And a 12 donut challenge - I could totally do it.

Let's talk school:
I finished up my last two assignments! I'm DONE with homework (for now). I still don't think it's hit me though because I feel anxious. Am I forgetting something? I still have to go to five classes but no work for them. Sah-weet. It feels like just yesterday when I was walking on campus for the first time.

Let's talk summer:
Campfires, lightning bugs, ice cream cones melting in the blazing sun, the smell of sunscreen, sunset walks, burgers on the grill, tank tops, swimming pools, Summer Shandy, freshly cut grass, road trips... anything else you'd like to add to this already glorious list?

Adventures in Andrew Molera State Park

A few weekends ago, my friend Drew and I hopped on a bus that took us down Highway One. We decided to spend the afternoon in Andrew Molera State Park. It was a sunny, breezy, beautiful day for enjoying some quality time outside. We hiked on an incredible ocean-side, bluffs trail that gave us some stunning views. We saw snakes [cue girlish screams], lizards, pelicans...and even some horses (they weren't wild). It was a great day and here's a little visual recap:

The trail literally started in water - we got to cross this little stream! Shoes off & feet in the water!

The only part of this little guy that came into focus was his back & feet. He was super speedy.

We did not have a bad view.

Mhmm, yep.

I sure am going to miss the ocean.

I'll also miss adventures with this guy.

The trail - haven for snakes. [cue girlish screams]



Drew's photography. Can't even keep a straight face. 

WHYYY so beautiful

I want to blow this up and put it on my bedroom wall. Who needs paint?


An absolute winner

Hiking selfie [photo by Drew]

Crossing the stream! He didn't slip.


Stay Tuned:
Another photo blog coming toward the end of this week

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday: Twelve

Hi. Happy Monday. Here's the random let's celebrate Cinco de Mayo scoop:

Do you know why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated? I sure didn't, so I did a little search and discovered why this holiday is celebrated: History of Cinco de Mayo My mom always took Connor and I to our hometown's amazing Cinco de Mayo festival when we were growing up. A mariachi band, tacos, face painting, games...what more could a kid want? Last year, I got to participate in the festival as an adult, and I tell you what --> margaritas are the perfect start-to-summer drink (okay, they're a perfect start for any time)!

Last year's festivities - admit it, you always eat the lime I know Libby does :)

How was this a year ago? HOW? So fun.

Tequila for DAYZ:
My favorite website aka the Huff Post Taste, published this increíble article with different cocktail recipes you can create with tequila:   Huff Post Taste - MARGARITAS! Drooling over these:

The Barfly Cocktail via Verses From My Kitchen

Blackberry Lime Margarita via Gimme Some Oven

Burrito Lovin:
When I think back to senior year of college, one thing I can remember is my cross country team's obsession with Chipotle. I swear we would go there at least once a week (sometimes even twice). We would sit in a booth in the back, chow down, and laugh. It feels like forever ago, but there was some true love between us and our burritos. I couldn't help but die laughing when I found this last night:

I'm tempted to put this as the background of my computer.  It's that good.
See more here: Love & Burritos with BuzzFeed (PLEASE CLICK THIS!)

That's all I've got for today, folks. I'm headed into week one of finals. I don't have any tests but I do have presentations and papers to work on. Only six more days of classes and I'm done. Whaaat?!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday: Eleven

Hi. Happy Monday. Here's the random scoop:

Must not eat:
This is not okay. Weird. Gross. Waste of a slice of cheese and two freshly baked cookies.

Must eat:
Okay, this looks delicious.

Must go:
Umm this looks perfect and I would like to live here.

See more photos (trust me, you'll want too): Small Houses Swoon

Must buy:
Too bad it's sold out, but also good because I probably wouldn't have paid $250.

Must stuff my face:
Make these tacos (good thing Jerrod now has a crock pot...hehe)

Must listen: I am so loving this duo right now. They're fantastic.

Must create:
My own line of greeting cards to sell on Etsy. I don't have the time now, but I have some ideas forming in the back of my mind ---> someday project. I'll keep you updated.

Must do:
Power through these last 11 days of classes. 11. !!!