2022 - The Life You Love

A Weekend in Santa Fe

Welcome to the worst travel guide for Santa Fe. Well, maybe not, but definitely not the most thorough. We were in Santa Fe for less than 48 hours and drove 4.5 hours each way so we only experienced one full day and then a few hours the next day. Here’s how we made the most of our trip (but organized by area and with a couple suggestions that we unfortunately didn’t get to experience).

Day One

Check out the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. The farmer’s market at the Santa Fe Railyard was awesome, even in early spring when people were just starting to harvest their crops. Tons of fresh produce and eggs, but there were also tables for sage, juices, baked goods, sauces, herbal remedies, and even cookbooks from a local photographer that focused on seasonal recipes inspired by locals. While you’re there, you can go check out some of the trains and grab some photos of those as well.

Grab lunch and coffee at Opuntia Cafe. This is a great place to enjoy local foods while surrounded by plants (that you can also take home with you). I had their breakfast hash and it was delicious. The sweet potato and kale had a bit of heat that balanced out all of the flavors and the lavender jam was to die for. I always appreciate a restaurant that can take a simple meal like a breakfast hash and turn it into a memorable dish. Their emphasis on local seasonal foods makes all the difference. I wish I grabbed a tea for the road while we were there.

Stop by Altar Spirits for a drink. There’s a relatively new distillery right by the Farmer’s Market and Opuntia. I fell in love with Altar’s decor and drinks. There’s an obvious homage to the mystical and metaphysical, with their spirits being named Altar and Sigil, as well as their slightly witchy decor. If I could hire them to decorate my apartment, I would. The drinks were delicious as well! The spring sour on was my favorite, but everything I tasted was great.

Immerse yourself in the fever dream that is Meow Wolf. Every time I try to explain Meow Wolf to someone, I just stumble over the phrase “immersive art exhibit, but weird” while I pull up their Instagram. I’ve wanted to visit this place for years and I was so excited to finally check it out! Unfortunately, we went over Easter weekend and it was way too busy to actually immerse myself in the exhibits and thoroughly explore every inch, but it was still a really unique experience full of art that will make you laugh, gasp, wonder, and admire. It’s an amazing place to visit and it makes me want to visit their other locations as well.

Refuel at Paloma. This is something we did NOT get to do so I can’t comment on how good it was, but if the day had been ideal, we would have visited Paloma for dinner. There are great reviews on Google and their Mexican-inspired menu looks delicious. 

Day Two

Start your day at Cafe Pasqual’s. It’s a small cafe and there’s probably going to be a wait, but you’ll see why. The outside is unassuming and blends into the nearby shops, but when you stop inside, you’re surrounded by festivity and art. We went for brunch and it was delicious. When you go, make sure you order something with salsa and get the Xmas salsa so you can try the red and green salsas. I ordered an omelette full of fresh local ingredients and topped with Xmas salsa. Delicious!

Wander through the shops. There are quite a few stores in the area where Cafe Pasqual’s is located. We stopped in a chili shop, a mineral shop, and a vinegar and olive oil shop. The chili shop had some basics, like chili powder, but also had quite a few chili-based souvenirs and unique chili-infused products (like popcorn and chocolate). The mineral shop had some of the most beautiful crystals and fossils I’ve seen. The owner is clearly very knowledgeable and passionate. The olive oil and vinegar shop was really interesting because you could try any of their products. I’m not one to take shots of olive oil, but it was cool that you could taste before you purchased.

There are TONS of other places to visit and restaurants to try while you’re in Santa Fe. If we had more time, there were breweries, cave dwellings, bars, and more restaurants we would have loved to try. And so many art galleries, museums, and exhibits! I would definitely go back to Altar Spirits and Meow Wolf. If you’ve ever been to Santa Fe, let me know your recommendations in case we get a chance to go back!


El Paso Coffee Shops

After about a month in El Paso, I figured it’s about time I document some of my coffee shop visits. I’ve only been to a few so far, but they’ve all been great and make me feel excited to try more. Side note: I got a new coffee maker when I moved here and I love it! It’s a Ninja 10-Cup Specialty Coffee Maker and I’m able to make homemade lattes with ground coffee. It has several options for cup sizes and it also has a frother on the side.

Rally Point Coffee | A female and veteran owned coffee shop in the Northeast side of El Paso, the Rally Point was the first coffee shop I visited here and for that reason, it’ll always have a place in my heart. I’ve only been a couple times so far, but I know I’ll end up being a regular. The service is always so delightful and personable and my order, iced brown sugar latte with oat milk, is always well made. Perfect for grabbing a quick coffee while running errands.

Hillside Coffee & Donut Co. | Let me just say that I have to go back and try their donuts because I didn’t try one on my first visit, but they look decadent. I tried one of their signature iced lattes, the white chocolate hazelnut, with oat milk. It was super creamy and the latte itself felt as decadent as the donuts looked. The location itself is cute and has space to enjoy your order while you study, work, chat, or just relax.

Summer Moon Coffee | A Texas chain that has even made it’s way into states like Wisconsin, Summer Moon’s coffee is made unique by combining  oak-roasted coffee and moon milk, their own version of sweet cream. You can choose your level of sweetness based on what you order and I decided to try the Winter Moon latte to try the full sweetness. It was a little too sweet to really enjoy the flavor of the coffee, but it was the creamiest latte I’ve ever had. I also tried one of their Artisan Pop Tarts and it was delicious. A yummy flaky pastry with sweet icing, sprinkles, and apple filling. Plenty of space to enjoy your goodies!

Can’t wait to try even more coffee shops and share them with y’all! In the mean time, let me know your go to coffee order. Mine is an iced brown sugar latte with oat milk, of course.

Loving Where You Live

In my childhood, I lived in 5 different states and 9 different houses. As an adult, I stayed in the same state but still lived in 5 different homes. And now I’m 26 hours away from where I consider home and living in not just a new state, but a totally new environment. To say I was nervous to move would be an understatement. I was terrified. As somebody with pretty intense anxiety and a wildly negative imagination, I was able to come up with a ton of reasons why I would hate El Paso and why the move wouldn’t work out. When I got here, all of those feelings just kind of melted away. Not because El Paso was perfect, but because I realized how damn dramatic I was being. Life didn’t end because I moved. It just changed.

Now that I’m a couple weeks into living here, I’ve started to work on loving where I live. I read a book about this exact topic and it helped me to realize I was already doing a lot of what the book suggested. I started looking into what makes people love their cities and found ways that I could start loving this one. Apparently getting out there and experiencing local businesses, historical and cultural sites, and the natural beauties in your city is a great way to fall in love. Who would have thought? During the week, I’ve chosen to do this by visiting local coffee shops. On weekends, my boyfriend and I like to explore new parts of the city for food, drinks, shopping, and photo ops.

Another suggestion I have is to really get into self-development. When you move, your routine and habits are disrupted for at least a few days. Sure, at first you’re probably picking up habits like eating out 3 times a day and re-wearing the same 4 outfits that you didn’t pack up, but after that you’ve got a clean slate. It’s the perfect time to replace your old habits with new habits that better serve you. Figure out who you want to be and really work to become that person. And make sure it’s stuff that will make you happy! People who are happier in general tend to better like where they live. 

The dry Texan weather helped me decide I really want to be better about taking care of my hair, skin, and nails. Within a day of being here, my skin was cracking and hurt. My nails had all broken off. And I don’t even want to talk about my hair. I’m still working on my nails and hair, but my skin is feeling a lot better. I used to see skincare as something I could put off, but now it’s my favorite part of my routine and I look forward to it each night. Followed by a cup of tea because I’m a tea person now. This is one of the little things that make me happy.

Okay, one more suggestion before I stop rambling. Treat every outing and every moment like something you want to remember. Get dressed up. Take photos. Write about it. Leave reviews. Really take in every detail. Every time I move, I regret that I didn’t do more and take more photos. Not this time.

If you have any advice for falling in love with where you live, even if it’s somewhere you’ve lived for a while, let me know! I want to really make the most of these couple of years we’re in El Paso. So far, I love all the coffee shops and I’ll never get tired of seeing the mountains. What do you love about where you live?

best apps to reach your self-care goals

Kind of wild that we even survived 2021 and that I keep thinking "last year" was 2019, but here we are. I've always been a fan of new beginnings, whether symbolic or literal. They're a great time for reflecting on what you've been doing and what you want to keep or change. This year, I've decided that my intention for the year is to connect. With others and with myself. What better way to do that than with self-care? Remember, self-care may look totally different for you than it does for anyone else. Honestly, it will probably look different for you at different points in your life, year, or even day. Don't get frustrated with yourself as it ebbs and flows. Instead, take that as a moment to check in and see what you need.

I'm the kind of person who needs quite a bit of support to take care of myself, whether it's support from others or myself. I've found that apps are one of my favorite ways to support myself, track my progress, and reflect. Here are some of my favorite apps and how I use them to take care of myself. Keep in mind that many of these have paid options, but I currently use the free version of all of them. I've linked both the iOS and Android versions (if available) in case you want to check them out!

If you want to create a new routine... try Routinery (iOS/Android) Using the Routinery app, you're able to set up your ideal routines and include how much time you want to spend on each step. If you're finding you're spending too much time on your phone before bed or dread waking up, this is a great place to start. Make sure you add steps you're already doing and add on 1-2 steps at a time so you don't overwhelm yourself.

If you want to build new habits... try Streaks (iOS) The colorful appearance of the Streaks app and how easy it is to use makes it an app you'll actually want to use every day. Set up your goals or habits, edit the frequency, and then simply hold down to mark it as accomplished. It automatically counts your streaks so you'll be able to quickly see how far you've come! Remember, we all have down days. If you miss a day or two, that's okay. Just pick back up when you're able.

If you want to journal... try Day One (iOS/Android) There are tons of apps for journaling, but I've always come back to Day One. I think it's simple and easy to use with just enough features. I prefer journaling with a pen and paper, but I'm working on spending less and wasting less when it comes to office supplies.

If you want to make more memories...  try 1 Second Everyday (iOS/Android) I've seen this app shared a few years now and I've been dying to try it. Each day, you record or upload a 1 second video and at the end of the year, you have a recap of your year. I love how easy it is to do and how it encourages people to include the mundane and the big life events. They all matter. They all deserve your recognition.

If you want to track your moods... try Sanvello (iOS/Android) Sanvello has tons of amazing qualities. Coping skills, discussions, meditations, etc., but I use it for the mood tracking capabilities. I like that it's so easy to use and I can be really specific about what I'm feeling and what's going on.

If you want to think more positively... try I Am (iOS/Android) If you don't try any other apps, at least try I Am. I've recommended it to several people and they've noticed a difference in how they think about themselves and the world, as well as how they feel. I noticed a difference in maybe a couple days and I look forward to getting a new affirmation every hour or so.

If you want to improve your mindfulness and meditation... try Insight Timer (iOS/Android) If you're new to mindfulness or meditation, I can't recommend Insight Timer enough. It has thousands and thousands of free guided meditations, courses, and soundscapes. You can search by time or by topic. Start off with a 1 minute guided meditation and see how you like it! Remember, mindfulness and meditation are skills and you'll get better with practice.

If you want to read more... try Goodreads (iOS/Android) Reading is one of my favorite self-care activities, whether I'm reading a horror novel or a personal development book. I'm making more effort this year to read more and track what I've been reading to help me keep it up. I like that I can add friends and see what they're reading to cheer them on and find new books to read.

There you have it! Some of the self-care apps I use on a daily or almost daily basis. If you've tried these or any other apps you enjoy, let me know! I'm on my phone a lot anyways, so might as well be productive while I'm on there.