30 Days of Truth: Day 3 | Something You Have To Forgive Yourself For

Take a deep breath...

^ Looking up on a cloudy day in one of my favorite places in Moscow, Idler's Rest ^

When I was in high school I was stretched thin. I was at school from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM almost every single day. I took three or four AP classes every year as well as being highly involved in two or three choirs. I was a board member for key club. I was president of my school's seminary. I played varsity lacrosse. I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep every single night and I was exhausted every single day. To top it off, I had few friends and I suffered from anxiety and depression and tried desperately to hide it from everyone. People asked me often why I didn't just quit one of my extracurriculars. I never saw that as an option. I survived.

By the time graduation came, I was so burnt out. That whole time in my life (most of my senior year of HS) is very much a blur to me now that it makes me mad sometimes. My depression was so severe that I felt numb all the time and all the days seemed the same to me. I remember crying during the graduation ceremony, with strangers all around me, not because I was sad it was over or because I was happy to be done but because I didn't feel anything and I was so afraid of what to do now.

College acceptance, the thing I had worked towards so dutifully for four years, was the furthest thing from my mind. Somehow my sister convinced me that I should move to Moscow, Idaho (where she lived) and go to the University of Idaho. Bless her, she was always trying to look out for me. I applied in the middle of July and moved the second week of August. When I was 18, I left home with a brand new bank account with no amount of money in it but promise of student loans due to a last minute decision to move north for school. I don't know what made me decide such a rash decision was a good idea. More than anything I think I wanted a way out and a clean slate.

^ The fist pictures I took at U of I, with my mom (left) and sister (right), 2009. ^

But I was naive and unaware of a lot of what being on my own would mean. I tried to learn as I went along. And I thought I did a pretty good job. I was proud of myself for being able to manage a tight budget with no previous experience. I didn't live on campus, which was another mistake, as it allowed me to continue to alienate and isolate myself.  But I loved Moscow and explored it often on my own. I hated my classes. I tried really really hard to be happy.

My biggest mistake was believing that I could move somewhere and leave all of my problems behind. Depression tagged right along with me. Sitting through boring, monotonous low level lectures, which did nothing for me intellectually, became increasingly more difficult to wake up for. I always did the assignments/homework, staying up all night to do so, just as I had learned to do. But it would take hours of working up confidence to go to campus to turn it in; sometimes I couldn't find the strength to do that. I ignored worried emails from professors. I ignored phone calls from everyone. I knew I had people who cared about me but I couldn't be honest about what I was going through and I couldn't bring myself to give half-assed excuses. I was embarrassed.

That should have been a sign to get help or make a change, but depression rarely works that way. Things only got worse for me for quite awhile. Things spiraled downward very quickly. I lived in Moscow for three, almost four years but I only like to remember the last one. I won't go into detail about everything I went through for it is far too personal and something I am not yet willing to share publicly. It is always difficult for me to talk about; I feel very vulnerable when doing so. I hope sharing at least this much helps you gain some insight into what I went through.

I have a lot to forgive myself for. I need to forgive myself for stretching myself so thin. I need to forgive myself for being so demanding of my accomplishments and my time. I need to forgive myself for not being comfortable enough to allow for failure. I need to forgive myself for not making all the right decisions. I need to forgive myself for failing. I need to forgive myself for not being perfect, for being my biggest critic. I need to forgive myself for not allowing myself to be a human being, full of faults. I need to forgive myself for all the days I lost. I need to forgive myself for the bad things I told myself. I need to forgive myself for the wounds. And I still need to heal.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, please know that there are people that care about you. Know that I understand that you may not want to hear that. I have been there. Sometimes I fall back there. I am always available to talk via email (which can be found on my contact page).

See my previous answers for 30 Days of Truth here, and the original prompts from lovely Amber here.

Serious Scarf Searching

one / two / three / four / five
Hey, I have good news everyone! Fall seems to really be here to stay and this girl who loves the cold is happy, happy, happy about it. It's been rainy and cloudy and butt cold for days which means I've been wearing turtle neck sweaters over dresses and wool socks over tights and as many layers as possible. Can I get a hallelujah?! Since pulling out my favorite cold weather clothes from the corners of my closet I have come to the realization that I only ever wear one scarf. I have a few others, granted, but they're more of the chunky, thick, will keep you warm but aren't too pretty variety. I got this scarf a few years ago at Forever 21 and I love it so much (hence why I wear it so much) so I'm not complaining. I think the color combination is perfect for my wardrobe; it goes with nearly everything I own. And, depending on how I wrap it and what other colors I wear it with, can look a variety of ways.

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But I am still looking for other options to add to my wardrobe. This time of year I rarely leave home with out a scarf and it would be nice to have something else to throw on for variety every once and awhile. And I 'll definitely be needing scarfs now that I have short hair again. There is nothing fun about having a cold neck. But I am picky, so I've been searching the internets far and wide and collecting my favorites and maybe I'll actually make a decision and order one are two. Right now I'm thinking I may go for that lovely polka dot one in the middle. What do you think?

And are you as excited about colder weather as I am?

Refreshing Things

The past few days I've been feeling rather gloomy, stressed, and overwhelmed for lots of reasons and for no reason at all. Sometimes, despite my attempts against it, I let these types of moods affect me a little more than I'd like to admit. I am a worrier and I am not as good at simply moving on from things that bother me as others may be. I've certainly been a bit reclusive lately, finding solitude alone inside with my nose in a book. But the lovely day we're having woke me up a bit and I fell as though I instantly snapped back to reality (or my regular self) when the rain began this morning. I'm feeling creative, calm, and refreshed and I thought I'd share a few ideas of what to do if you ever find yourself in a deep gloom and in need of some refreshment.

Refreshing Things

  1. Warm showers: Taking a long warm shower, and even sitting down in the shower if you'd like, is a great wakeup. Just closing your eyes and letting them warm water run over you will bring you clarity and new thoughts.  
  2. Watching the weather: Granted, this is best on a day like the one I am having. Watching rain is very relaxing. But even if it is sunny and nothing else, sitting near a window while you work will help you stay calm and improve creativity and your mood.
  3. Cooking well for yourself: I am guilty of making fast, boring lunches for myself. I usually only put great care into what I am making if someone else is eating with me. Spoil yourself with good food and take your time preparing it. Today I made garlic white cheddar pasta with mushrooms (and zucchini, red onion, artichoke, and tomato) for lunch and it was so refreshing to eat well.
  4. Journaling: Write down what is on your mind, what has been stressing you out, what you are worrying about. Putting these things down on paper and then reading them back will give you time to reevaluate and gain perspective on your problems. I always find that things that worry me are far less threatening when listed out. You can tear the piece of paper up, if you're into that sort of thing. 
  5. Yoga or meditation: Allow yourself time alone to actively try and relax. When I do yoga I enjoy pushing all other thoughts out and only allowing myself to think about my body and it's movement. It is a great opportunity to remind myself that I am entirely in charge of what thoughts I allow to rule my mind and, although it can be difficult, I can change those hurtful thoughts if I want to. 
  6. Putting on something pretty: Get out of those comfy pants you've been wearing the past 3 days (if you've been wearing pants at all) and put on something that makes you feel good about yourself. Unless those comfy pants make you feel good about yourself, then by all means wear them. My go-to is a lace dress. Do your hair and makeup, too, if you're so inclined. Getting ready for the day will encourage productivity.
If all else fails, Bon Iver.

Vegan West African Peanut Soup

Let's get cozy, shall we? It's been stormy and cool and Fall like here lately (but sadly not so much today) and I couldn't be more excited. So grab a comfy sweater and a cup of tea; it's story (and soup) time.

There is a little lovely place in Moscow, Idaho (where I lived for three years) that makes the most surprisingly delicious foods. I say surprisingly, only because the first time I passed it walking down Main Street I had no idea it was a restaurant. But thanks to the guys sipping lunchtime beers outside, I was quickly informed of Mikey's greatness. They are known far and wide for their gyros, but they have a whole array of menu items mostly featuring a greek sampling. I loved their avocado pitas, fresh warm hummus (no other hummus has yet to compare), and falafel salads. But their soups were godly. You had to get there early to even have a chance to down a bowl of whatever the were serving for soup of the day. And of all the vegetarian soups I tried from them, every single one made left me so satisfied and wanting more.

Enter their African Peanut Soup. I was walking by on my way home from class on a cold day and saw just that written on their chalk board as their soup of the day. I had never heard of peanut soup before, but there was no way I was passing up a chance to try it from the soup gods. So I ordered a bowl for lunch and my life was changed forever. It'd be funny if it wasn't true; I dreamed about how good that soup was for weeks. And unfortunately, Mikey's switches up their soups quite often (or fortunately because I got to try so many soups) and I never saw it there again. But I was determined to eat peanut soup again, and often, so I made it myself.

And I do make it all the time. Especially in the winter. It is a bowl of soup that is sure to warm you up completely from the inside out. There is something about the mix of the warm spices and the nuttiness from the peanuts that creates a rather heavenly flavor. And aroma. This will make you house smell so so good and just like Fall. My recipe is quite a bit different from that bowl I had at Mikey's years ago, and it has changed a bit over time, but it is equally delicious. Creamy and comforting, this spicy vegan soup is made from a combination of peanut butter, sweet potato, tomato, red bell pepper and sweet onion.

Peanut Soup, serves 6 

5 cups vegetable broth
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (Depending on size/preference. I always use more garlic, and then some.)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes, or two fresh garden tomatoes
3/4 cup (uncooked) brown rice
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup peanut butter (chunky and/or smooth)
1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the chopped sweet onion and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tender and onions are translucent (not browned). Add in the chopped garlic and grated ginger and cook for another minute or two while stirring.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium and pour in the vegetable broth. Add the brown rice, sweet potato, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Add the chili powder and cumin. Cover and simmer (turning the heat down to low) until brown rice and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir often. To cut down on cooking time, use brown rice cooked ahead of time.
  3. When the potatoes and brown rice are tender, uncover and turn tho heat down to the lowest possible. Stir in the peanut butter thoroughly with a spoon. Add in the nutmeg and cayenne pepper, then give it a taste test. If it tastes a little bland, add in a bit more cumin, chili powder, and peanut butter. 
  4. Cook for 5 more minutes (or longer) to let the peanut butter thoroughly incorporate into the soup. Serve warm and enjoy. This soup makes great leftovers as well!
+ I like to start the brown rice in a small pot with 1 or 2 cups of water and let it boil on high uncovered while I cut things up and start the soup. I leave it like this until I am ready to add it, pouring it all in. This way the brown rice is mostly done when I add it which cuts down the cook time significantly.
+ I prefer all the veggies chopped pretty finely in this soup. I like them to be noticeable but not too chunky, so that the texture is really smooth and creamy.
+ If you love spicy flavors like me, don’t hesitate to use liberal amounts of ginger, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. They balance nicely with the peanut butter nuttiness and the hint of nutmeg. I always add more of all the spices when the soup is done (after the peanut butter is added) and taste as I go until I feel they are nicely balanced.
+ I like to use 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter and 1/4 cup crunchy (to give it a bit of a crunch). Don't be afraid to add more peanut butter if it doesn't seem creamy/nutty enough.

Everyone I have ever made this soup for has loved it. Celebrate the start of soup season and give it a try and let me know what you think!

P.S. I'm sorry I've been a bit absent this weak. I was sick (and stressed).
P.P.S. This week marked the six month anniversary of Oh Whimsical Me! I can't believe it's been that long already. I'll have something fun and exciting soon to celebrate.
P.P.P.S. I asked a question a few days ago on the OWM facebook page and would love some input from you.

Currently Obsessed 2

weasley / marauders / potter / hufflepuff

Wishing For: If you are anywhere near the level of nerd I am, you are most likely familiar with BlackMilk Clothing. This Australian company is to die for, and they make/sew all their clothing themselves (and have a cool story too) They had already wowed everyone with their Star Wars and Middle Earth collections, but I about died when I saw they had recently released a Harry Potter collection (called Hogwarts). Fashion/clothing inspired by my favorite childhood (and still today) books?! Yes please. Some of my favorites include the Hufflepuff leggings, the Undesirable No 1 and the Weasley's Weather in a Bottle t-shirts, and the Marauder's Map dress. Ugh, they are just a little too hella expensive for me.

book + chai + apple = afternoon ritual

Reading: As you probably could have guessed, I am currently devouring A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin, the fourth novel in his series, A song of Ice and Fire. I took a bit of a break from my reading after finishing the third book to watch the third season (which covers the first half-ish of the third book) of the show (Game of Thrones). But now I am completely immersed in the stories again. This book is different from the others, in that it is only being told by a selection of the characters (there are a lot of characters). And it is driving me crazy! The third book left some huge gaping questions to be answered, and as of now, being 200 pages in, I am still rather clueless. But it is still so good, so no complaining from me. I just miss a few characters that aren't really getting the limelight right now (hehemm... Daenerys and Tyrion... hemhemhm).

Listening: Okay, so maybe I'm just always listening to Feist. I've been a fan of everything Leslie puts out for as long as she's been creating it. There is something about Feist's music that I am just really drawn to. It is music that just feels like home to me. But lately I've been listening to Feist even more than usual. Especially her most recent album Metals. It is great Fall music, I suppose. This version of the song The Bad In Each Other (that was preformed on Jools Holland two years ago) is so hauntingly beautiful. Give it a listen. And maybe watch this one too.

Today I'm Catching Up

Ready for a random post?

Last week seems like a complete blur to me; it is difficult for me to separate the days from one another in my memory. Does that ever happen to you? It does to me every so often. After spending last weekend up in the mountains, in such peace and beauty, coming home to repetitive days was difficult and melancholy. I kept pushing back things I wanted to get done and maybe making a few excuses, too. I spent most of my time reading and taking care of a sick Will. It's pretty easy to justify wearing comfy clothes all week, drinking lots of tea, and watching movies/reading in bed when it's stormy outside and your love is sick and in need of snuggles.

This weekend sure helped shake those lazy, grumpy feelings a little bit. We took it easy for the most part, mostly just spent time running errands and with Will's family. And reading (for me) and gaming (for him). But I also did something impulsive. If you follow me on instagram, you know I cut my hair on Friday afternoon. Like completely off. Sorry if I scared some of you with my impulsiveness (and with the fact that I cut my hair myself). Spontaneous hair decisions are the only hair decisions I ever make. For some reason, chopping off all that hair was like hitting a reset button. I instantly felt like myself again, and I wasn't even aware that I wasn't feeling like myself. I've always been inclined to short hair and have had a short style most of my life. After making the initial cut (I divided it in two, secured it with hair ties, and chopped it to just above my shoulders), it was as if a huge weight was lifted off of me. I feel like I had been wearing a blanket over my head for a year or two. But now I am feeling pretty and confident and those are nice things.

Sorry for the photobooth quality, I haven't taken any pictures lately...
Now I feel like I must play catch up. Just a bit, though. I have some exciting things planned for this week, but I was hoping to have them prepared already. Today and tomorrow I am going to be busy busy busy, so I can hopefully have it complete and ready for you by Wednesday (get excited). I've already got my 'get stuff done' playlist blasting.

Hoping you are all well and less behind on everything than I am :)

Sawtooth Trip Day 3: Hiking Out

Our last day was simple and maybe a bit less eventful than the other two. We woke early to another beautifully calm morning and leisurely enjoyed our last bit of time at this spot. I made us breakfast while Will threw his line in one last time. We weren't in a rush, but we wanted to leave fairly early, as it would take us a couple hours to hike out and then 3 more to drive home. We took our time packing everything up and adjusting gear. Pippin was adorable, as per usual, and stood guard of camp faithfully as we got things ready to go. I was glad to have packed my Chacos, as I ended up wearing them for the hike out (with socks). There was no way I was putting those boots on again. I want to thank high school lacrosse and cheap cleats with no arch support for teaching me how to properly wrap my feet. That SAVED me on the hike out. I think the hike out was probably 5 times faster than the hike in, thanks to my feet actually being able to function. It was perfectly cloudy and breezy and it was nice to take the same route and notice entirely different things the second time.

We're already hoping to get out and backpack again. This is the perfect time around here for it, with the summer heat slowly leaving and the real Idaho cold not yet here. And perhaps we'll even do this trail again . . . but this time in it's entirety.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2!

Backpacking Day 2: Farley Lake

We made the decision pretty early (like right when we found this spot) that we were going to camp at Farley Lake for more than one night. It was just too pretty to pass up. And it was evident that we were no going to be able to continue the loop, with not making it far enough in the first day (having only 3 days allotted for this trip). Thanks boots. Our second day in was spent relaxing and exploring. We woke early with the sunrise and Will didn't waste anytime getting a line out in the calm water while I made us breakfast. Pippin enjoyed warming up in the morning sun after a chilly night. That silly little dog slept the whole night curled up completely in my sleeping bag, all the way down by my feet. He normally can't even stand being covered by a blanket. I was so paranoid all night and kept having to check that he was breathing (because he never makes any noise).

Most of the morning and afternoon was spent simply enjoying each other's company and enjoying being out in the beautiful wilderness. We even all enjoyed a sunbathing session, though Pippin mostly lounged in the shade. It was all lovely lovely lovely.

Late in the afternoon I retreated back into the tent for a nap, having not slept well the night before thanks to Pippin paranoia and an achey body and also because I was feeling a little drained after laying in the sun (oops). While I napped Pippin got to go on a walk with Will. I was jealous. I woke feeling better and made us all peanut noodles for dinner.

Another group set up camp a little ways from us that night and they had a large dog they were letting roam all over. If you know Pippin at all, you know he isn't the friendliest to strangers, especially strange dogs. He is just shy and little and it doesn't come off well. We're working on it. He was so good, though, and didn't try to run off after it and didn't bark at all. But he was so paranoid all night. We snuggled and watched Will fish some more and that helped a little bit. The sunset this night was so breathtaking, slowly coloring the tips of the mountains pink and then the whole sky. It had been windy and cloudy during the day, but it cleared out completely as the sun set and all the stars came out for us again.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 3!

Toxaway Loop Day 1: Hiking In

I should start by saying that this trip went extremely not according to plan and that it was also perfect.

Our trip took a turn for the unexpected immediately, when we headed out late Thursday night to drive up to the trailhead. We had left the house around dinner time, with a few errands to run. It was dark by the time  we made it to Highway 55, only to soon learn that the road was closed due to a massive mudslide near Banks (right where we needed to turn onto ID 21). We were a bit grumpy, as we had wanted to camp at the trailhead that night to be able to start our trek early the next morning, but we decided to just go home and leave early in the morning (instead of drive a different route in the dark). We didn't wake up as early as hoped, though, and didn't roll out of Boise until 8:00 AM.  We weren't too upset to have to drive up all the way along Highway 21, it didn't take too much longer than the original route would have. Plus, we would have missed all that prettiness in the dark. The drive is very scenic and it is always nostalgic (for  me) driving up around Idaho City. It was a lovely, foggy morning.

We drove up to the Tin Cup campground at Pettit Lake in the Sawtooths to leave the car and start our trip along the Toxaway Loop trail. Our next unexpected turn quickly followed. It wasn't far into the trail (not even a mile) that I noticed my boots were really rubbing on the back of my heels. I immediately took them off and bandaged and wrapped my feet, as I was not going to let it stop me from continuing as planned, and I didn't want it to get any worse. Unfortunately, it didn't help much and walking soon became unbelievably painful. I was so mad, because I was keeping the pace at an unbelievably slow crawl, and because I had worn these boots many times with no issues. My feet swelled considerably and the pain got even worse. I couldn't complain too much, because the walk (though a bit unbearable) was remarkably beautiful.

We had absolutely every intention of completing, in it's entirety, the Toxaway Loop trail. It wasn't too ambitious either, it would only have required us to hike about 6 miles a day. I took me quite awhile to accept the reality of my situation and realize that our trip was going to be a lot different than I imagined. We had been planning this trip for awhile and I had been quite excited for it. But with the condition my feet were in it was evident I could not hike the whole loop. In fact, we stopped at the very next lake we encountered, Farley Lake. It sure took as long enough to get there, too, with my painfully slow crawl. But you have no idea how good that little glimpse of water through the trees was after climbing up and up all day with swollen, raw feet.

We found the perfect little spot on the lake to set up camp. We had to drop quite a ways into it, which meant it was right on the water (on two sides!) and was completely secluded from the rest of the lake and from the trail. I couldn't have dreamed of a better place to camp. We spent the next hour or two cooking, eating, and relaxing.

We ended the night by watching the sunset and drinking tea near the calm, pink water. Pippin and I could watch Will fishing for hours. So peaceful. It was a remarkably clear night and so many stars came out for us. It was so lovely to slowly fall asleep staring up at them.

Be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3!