Bucket List Item #26: Practice Calligraphy
One of my best friends Chelsea has always had beautiful penmanship and practiced calligraphy years ago. She’d send mail with the fanciest addresses on them and it was a skill I admired.
When we were doing some of the DIY decor for our wedding in the summer of 2021, Chelsea drove up from Salt Lake City to hang out for the weekend. While she was here, I asked if she would write on name on all of our party favors. I tried to recreate her pretty letters myself but they just looked so amateur in comparison. Calligraphy is definitely a skill that takes some practice!
Last year, Zeb bought me some Calligraphy workbooks and pens so that I could have some guided practice. Since I had these new fun and beautiful resources, I wanted to make sure they had a place on my bucket list so that I made sure to use them!
Switching gears – though I promise I will relate these two topics soon – last September, I joined a “mom group” called MOPs. It’s an international organization with chapters all over, and my local Boise chapter has 100 women with a waiting list for more. MOPs stands for Moms of Preschoolers, though you can join as soon as you are expecting and stay until your last child turns 5 years old. I joined because my good friend Hayley speaks really highly of it and has met almost all of her friends through the program. As someone who is always looking for other girls to connect with, I was happy to see what it had to offer and meet other local moms around my age. :)
Many of the moms in my chapter have several kids and have been in the program for years. They provide an incredible brunch spread of homemade dishes on our biweekly Friday meetings, from quiches to crockpot oatmeals, banana breads, fruit salads, and even mini avocado toasts. You are assigned a “table” that you sit with for the entire year; so even though there are 99 other women, you always sit with the same 9. That way you can get to know each other and continue to build relationships and trust and conversation.
Since it’s all been my first time experiencing this program, I did not even think to bring a little Christmas gift for my table when our December meeting came around. I felt super lame arriving empty-handed when I saw my fellow table-mates bring cute little baked goods, homemade crafts and other sweet little gifts. I made a mental note to bring something for everyone on the next holiday – Valentine’s Day!
Here’s where my two topics combine :) I used my “Practice Calligraphy” task to write out little Valentine tags for every mom at my table to attach with their little Valentine’s Day gift.
I found these really cute earring sets online and got a pack of girlie stickers. I cut out some tags, one for each friend. I tried out different calligraphy fonts from my workbook for their names. I did have to throw away a handful of tags because the letters looked too funky or they just didn’t end up in a straight line. I have a newfound respect for calligraphers because it’s not as easy as it looks!
When I had a tag for everyone that I felt looked decent enough, I used a hole punch and then threaded a ribbon through the tag as well as the earring cardboard. I added a valentine sticker to the back and curled the ribbon tails. Voila! A cute little table gift and a perfect excuse to try my hand (haha pun intended) at calligraphy ;) It was a fun little activity while my daughter was taking her afternoon nap, and I’ll need to make sure I breakout the pen set for all my future gifts, cards, and tags!
I’m really impressed with how well-organized the MOPs program is. The schedule and email communications are always timely, professional, but personable. There is FREE childcare for babies through 5-year-olds. Each table takes turns providing a giant brunch and coffee spread for the group. There are scheduled Mom’s Nights Out and Play Dates every month. There is a “giving table” to bring in any children’s clothing and toys you want to donate; fellow attendees have first dibs to take anything they want from the giving table, and everything else is taken to a donation facility. MOPs headquarters also has a really well put-together magazine that is automatically sent to members, as well as a podcast with all kinds of topics from budgeting, marriage, decluttering, and discipline. It is a Christian-based organization and I’m very open about the fact that I am not a religious person and I do not attend church; I respect people’s faith and beliefs but I am primarily involved with this group for connection to other women in my community that are also wives and moms to young babes.
My calligraphy is not professional looking, but I got in a little practice and I’ll keep working at it.
Time to get to bed because I have a BIG day tomorrow that I will share with you!
Valentine’s Day Hiking Adventure
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
“True. Too bad I’m in the freakin’ desert.”
HAPPY BELATED VALENTINE’S DAY! I hope you felt some love :) I got the most adorable care-package from home with a new stuffed elephant (& an elephant book mark which is currently placed in the novel Paper Towns.)
Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday which also happened to be the best weather we’ve seen all year. My best friend and I are both *happily* single. (Apparently we suck at fishing.) Meaning our Friday was wide open for a day trip down to my latest obsession: Sedona.
First stop: Sprout’s. Apples, Bananas, Protein Bars, Pistachios. Check!
Down the mountain we goooooo!
Second Stop: Sedona Chamber of Commerce for my parking pass. $5 for the day or $20 for the year? Seeing as how I’ve been here 3 times in the past 12 days, I got the 12-month pass.
Third Stop: Bell Rock.
Kerri and I rode along highway 179 just appreciating the red rock mountains and gorgeous views. It was a beautiful day. One of the things I love about my best friend is the fact that we can spend a solid 48 hours together and never run out of things to talk about or get sick of each other. We both are equally in love with health & fitness, couldn’t have asked for a better hiking buddy :)
You can’t understand how thrilled we were just to be in 75 degree sunshine. February in Flagstaff is typically freezing. But today, the sun shined its little rays on top of our mountain and we stripped off the winter coats for t-shirts and shorts. HALLELUJAH! My legs can see the light again!
The base of Bell Rock had a dirt trail clearly marked. However as we reached a few forks in the road, several trail markers distinguished separate trails. We followed “Bell Rock Pathway.” I can’t complain because it was a pretty route. But we never actually ascended Bell Rock, just basically walked the perimeter. We were expecting to climb to the TOP of Bell Rock. That didn’t happen. We noticed one of the trail markers on the way back pointing to “Bell Rock Climb.“
-_- Well good thing I have a year pass and so we can try, try again! Still, it was just under 4.5 miles and full of awe-inspiring views.
***Yes we had to settle for a lot of SELFIES to document our hike…. surprisingly not a whole lot of fellow hikers out for a Valentine’s adventure. (Kerri & I both agreed that an outdoor adventure date would be preferable to a romantic dinner date any day.)***
We got back into my car and headed straight over to
Fourth Stop: Cathedral Rock.
When we asked for a steeper hike, WE GOT IT. Cathedral Rock is one of the most photographed mountains in the Sedona Area, understandably so. It’s incredibly impressive. The word “trail” is loosely interpreted in this sense, because the hike is basically a 45 degree traverse straight up the side of the rock. No dirt/paved trail. We were literally on our hands and knees.
Kerri’s hands were red from the dirt and I joked, “Stop playing in the sand!” She quickly corrected me. THEY’RE MINERALS. ;) *Breaking Bad reference* Seriously though, there could be a market for Sedona Sand “All Natural” Tanning solution….look at Kerri’s calves.
We stood on top of Cathedral Rock and pictures really cannot do the view justice. You can see miles out to other red peaks and thousands of trees. The hike is worth the view, I promise! We definitely want to go back and hike it again. We were on a bit of a time crunch because we wanted to get back to Flagstaff before dark. But we were also stalling because we weren’t entirely sure how we would get back down…
It was a treacherous descent!
Kerri was literally hugging the side of the mountain at one point. 22 minutes later we made it down without any twisted ankles!
Fifth Stop: Pink Java Cafe. The day would not be complete without coffee. A Valentine’s Special “Honey Latte” for the road!
I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day no matter what you did. It’s up to us to make the most of our days :) Until my Mr. Fish comes along, I’m glad I had my best friend to spend this LOVEly day with!