Re-finding Your Happy

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 Do you ever feel like the more you tell yourself to “stay positive” or “be happy”, that some days you find it a little redundant?
    Your mind and body are like, “Yeah… we are trying here! But why don’t you help us out a little bit more than just telling us to be happy and positive?”
    I am finding that living a positive and happy life isn’t just posting on my Instagram and saying it to myself and others, but actually LIVING IT.
 
    Because, the truth is, I want to be. I want to be happy and live a positive life that others see and feel when they are around me. Do I want to pretend that life is one easy cake walk? No… because we all know it isn’t.
 
    Our hearts get broken. We find ourselves on the wrong paths. We are walking around with a mountain of debt. We lose people. Real shit happens and people who have a happy, positive outlook on life are not pretenders. We want to believe that life is truly happy and the more we tell ourselves to “be happy”, we think that one day our mind & body will connect and it will happen.
We will find our happy.
 
    I mean isn’t that what we all ultimately want out of life? To be happy? I believe that is the foundation for every person’s choice on earth. Good or bad, we just want to find what brings us pure happiness. For some, we find happiness in others. For some, we find happiness in material things or alcohol. For some, we find happiness in leaving our jobs and traveling the world to just “see what happens”. For many, we find happiness in our children.
We all want to find our happy. 
 
    Think of the last time you felt purely happy? Where were you? Who were you with? Why do you think that brought you pure joy?
    This last year has been very tough, but a few moments stick out above the rest.
    One was back in January, I was skiing. I was at the top of Snowmass Mountain and I was just blissfully skiing down a freakin’ beautiful mountain. And here’s the thing, it wasn’t the act of skiing itself that made me feel that pure happiness, but something else….   I think, for me, it was a moment that was focused solely on myself. Making my own choices of how I got down the mountain. Free from the week’s responsibilities. Free from my phone and the constant distractions. It was just a moment for me.
    A second moment happened this past week, because to be honest “finding my happy” has not been easy these past couple of months. I was writing. Like actually, for real writing! I was at the bar at the hotel I was staying at in Dallas. I had a glass of ice water and I just sat for a solid hour typing words. It was scary! I had been putting this pressure on myself to write for years now and I finally just did it. I wasn’t just writing my next blog or notes in my journal, but writing a story that I have had stuck in my head for a few years now. I felt like I was in my element and happiness was the only feeling I had through my mind & body.
    I’ve also had moments of happy with my family and friends. I love people. One of my favorite things is to meet a group of friends for a few drinks and food. I love to laugh with others and share stories. I love to have fun! I like to take my mind off “adulting” and teaching kids and just chat about how frustrated I am at the Game of Thrones Season Finale. It’s a moment of pure happiness.
    What I find all these moments have in common is that where I “find my happy” is when I am just living my life.
     Wow… Tori. All of this just to lead into such a, “Well, Duh…” statement.
    Just hear me out if I’ve lost you.
    I feel my happiest when I am not worried about my job or the future. Not when I am making choices to please others. Not when I am watching Netflix or buying myself something nice. Not when I have drank a little too much at a bar. Not when I am forcing myself to workout or eat a healthy meal.
    My happy is found when I am choosing to do what makes me truly happy.
    Though I love movies, I am not the happiest when I’m on the couch and watching Harry Potter for the millionth time. I am not the happiest when I am on my 4th Jack & Coke at some bar. I am not the happiest when I spend $200 on clothes (though, I do look good).
    I am the happiest when I am doing the things I love to do. I love being with my family. I love chatting and hanging out with friends. I love to read and write. I love food! I love to run and hike. I love to travel to new places. I love LOVE, so I read romance novels and watch Rom-Coms. I love be healthy and fit, but at my own pace.
    I know we have jobs and obligations. That is the fact. But we HAVE to allow time in our days and weeks to do what makes us happy. We can do it, but as an adult it actually takes time and scheduling things out for yourself. We shouldn’t be so focused on sitting on a couch after work and finally catching up on our shows. Believe me, I am very guilty of this. We do have to take care of our bodies as adults, because even though we love food… it does catch up to you. A healthy body makes for a happy mind.
    Re-finding my happy is my current goal, because I haven’t felt happy for a while now. The sudden loss of my father over 4 months ago, is not going to make living a positive, happy life any easier now. I am still grieving and working through this loss with my family & husband. I don’t want to sit here and type out that I am living my best life right now, because the honest answer is… that losing my dad is the biggest hit my life has taken and… it sucks.
    I am keeping my head high and a smile on my face when I can because of what my Mama has told me multiple times.
“We don’t want to waste a year of our life and Daddy would not want us to be sad, miserable people for the rest of our lives”
 
And it’s true. Of course we miss him! We will miss him every day for the rest of our lives. We are sad. But my mama, brother, & I don’t want the sadness to be the focus of our life. We still have so much to be thankful for and find happiness in. I don’t know how we are holding on so strongly, but we are.
We want to re-find our happy with each other. 
 
    Where do you find your happy? What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you think you can hold onto that happiness and bring in to every aspect of your life?
Thanks for reading!
 
XOXO
 
~ Tori

A Day in the Life of a Mountain Girl

So here I am, some girl from Texas blogging about my life in the mountains. Do you want to know the truth? I actually take it for granted. I am so used to walking outside with it smelling and sounding like the great outdoors. I get so used to seeing mountains around me that sometimes they don’t even exist anymore.

I am currently typing on my laptop with birds chirping, rain clouds rolling in over the mountains, and my puppy laying by my feet on the front porch and I am realizing how freakin cool this is. And I’m not even making it up! I still see remnants of snow on the peaks around me, though flowers are blooming right in my front yard.

I am also sipping my new beverage obsession, Waterloo Sparking Water. Remember my post about living a healthy lifestyle? Well, here we go!

My every day life really revolves around my career as a teacher, but we won’t get into that. The school year is winding down and teachers are gearing up for summer!

I currently live in the small town of Basalt, Colorado. It is tucked between Aspen and Carbondale. My husband & I found a cute townhouse across from the Roaring Fork river about 2 years ago. It has a picket fence, Aspen trees, and has a bike path not 2 minutes away. Though I don’t bike, I use this path for my weekly jogs and walks with my pup. The path is one long stretch from Glenwood Springs all the way into the town of Aspen. Basalt does have a small “downtown” which has about 3 bars, 3 restaurants, and a cafe. It looks like a mountain town out of a Hallmark movie. A river literally runs through this entire valley and it’s normal to see men fly-fishing at any time. Fly-fishing is just one of the many hobbies you can have up here in the mountain life.

I drive about 20 minutes to get to my job and on the way I see herds of elk and horses, the river that winds through the valley, and mountains literally surround me. Some days I get too caught up to really look around and appreciate where I live. But every once in a while, I will drive a little slower and be in awe of it all.

My husband & I make it fun up here. We love nights out in Aspen, though it isn’t cheap. We love waking up early on a Saturday and skiing all day. We love getting home from work, grabbing the camera, and going on a drive. Mountain life is constantly an adventure, but it’s because we make it one.

The other weekend we took a trip to Moab, Utah with my in-laws. It’s only a 3 hour drive from us! I hiked through some caverns and got to see Arches National Park again!

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Summers in the mountains are as unreal as the photos of winter. People are outside all the time. The temperatures rarely hit 90 degrees. You can choose to raft, bike, hike, swim, camp, or whatever. I plan to enjoy every minute of my summer this year. I cannot wait to share my adventures!

What is a day like where you live? Share in a message or comment below.

Live Adventurously Y’all!

 

Xoxo,

Tori

Photo Credit: @dakotamo_photography

Mama, I Wanna Be Like You

I don’t care that I’m 26 and love my mama more than anything. I will shout it from the mountains that, “MY MOM IS MY BEST FRIEND!!!!”. I will brag a little, my mom is the best. There is no one else like her, I promise. If you know Colleen, I’m sure you’re already nodding your head and smiling as you’re reading this.

Now, why should you be reading some girl’s blog post bragging about her awesome mom? Because I can bet that the amazing woman I’m about to describe will make you think of someone important in your life. If you’re as lucky as me, then you will get to think of you Mama while you’re reading this and Mother’s Day weekend is a happy time. You will post a pretty picture of you and your Mama on social media and get a lot of likes. But, I know for some, this weekend isn’t that easy.

Let’s just say, this Father’s Day will be a tough one this year for me..

My Mama is the best for a thousand reasons, but here are just a few that makes me wanna be just like her:

1. My Mama is Tough

Not only does she underestimate herself sometimes, but people underestimate her all the time. She can throw a good punch at any challenge that comes her way. She works harder than anyone I know. She owned her own apparel company for years and traveled solo to places like NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago. She’s worked hard all my life to give my brother & I a fun life growing up. She’s tough and it works for her. She’s not afraid to go after what she wants and you know what? She gets it!

2. My Mama is my Best Friend.

Even when I was younger and would pretend to not like my Mama, I loved her. She and I have always been besties. She would tell me things I didn’t think I’d wanna hear, but she was always right. She supported my choice even when it was the wrong one (and she knew it). She’s the reason, I learned that I deserve to be treated better by guys and to never settle for anything less than how my dad treats her. We love to drink champagne together and “fight” girls at bars the night before my wedding. We laugh at almost anything the other one says. We are totally obsessed with “The Bachelor” and aren’t ashamed to show it. She is the best friend I not only got in life, but the best friend I will always choose.

3. My Mama is Funny as Hell.

The night my mama pulled out a shiny, turquoise pillow from a fancy restaurant in Dallas on NYE, is just one of the many moments my Mama had me laughing my ass off. She’s told off more bar bouncers and drunk snooty girls than me and each time, had been funnier than the last. I am sure some of you are already chuckling thinking of something hilarious Colleen has done with or around you. She’s a funny chick. Now, I will be honest, in high school I really didn’t think she was that funny (sorry Mama). But when we went to college together….

I didn’t mess up typing. I will openly admit that when I went to college, my Mama was right there too. No, this isn’t that movie “Life of the Party” with Melissa McCarthy, but we had a lot of fun during my college years. When she’d come in town, we would hit up the college bars and she had no problem keeping up. She may have broken 1 or 2 phones and may have drank one too many here and there, but who didn’t in college?!

Man, she became one of the funniest people to me in college. The stories I could tell you will have you on the floor. Mama, you funny!

I will stop here because I could seriously write an entire novel about my Mama. She is a rockstar, a superhero, a comedian, a tough cookie, an awesome mom, and my best friend.

Share and comment with your best story about you Mama or a reaso why she is the best mom.

Love you Mama. XOXO

Check out some of my past posts:

All You Need is Family

Focus on the Positive

Lessons Learned

Lesson Learned. This phrase, to me, pretty much sums up your 20’s. Lessons like finally learning that drinking 4 lemon drop martinis and adding 2 rounds of shots after that, will never go well. Or that if you spend all your month’s pay on clothes and mannnyyyy Happy Hours, paying rent is going to be a gamble… and living in an apartment is kind of important.

The most frustrating part is a lot of the lessons I’ve learned in my 20’s, are things I wish I had realized when I was younger. I think about how different my high school and college experience would have been. Not that I have regrets, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had rewritten my past. But if I could instill some wisdom is young Tori, it would have been a long list.

However, I will share 3 lessons I’ve learned with you all. I think these 3 have been lessons I have held onto the most lately.

  1. Be confident with who you are. Growing up, it’s a constant worry about being different or looking different. We hold onto a world where being different is bad. I wish we didn’t grow up like that. It’s something we all have to learn as we grow up and everyone goes through it. But then you grow up. You’re in your 20’s and realize how lame it is to be like everyone else. I am learning to embrace what makes me different rather than hide it all the time. I love being a little weird and having a weird Harry Potter obsession. I love that American Idol makes me tear up. Be confident in what makes you unique, because life is way more fun when you do!
  2. It’s okay to open up. There are a lot of people in this world that have no problem opening up and I praise you for that. I wish I was better at it. I have always had a hard time opening up to people. I am not good at asking questions or answering questions. I always feel like I am prying when I ask people too many questions about themselves and I am not one to be the center of attention, so I am not big on talking about myself. As I am getting older, I am realizing how important it is to open up and get to know those around me. The more I do, the more I realize how much I have in common with people.
  3. Life doesn’t go the way you planned. I am such a planner in the choices I make. I like things for things to align and go the way I planned. I like to know what to expect and the unexpected is scary. This lesson has been the biggest one for me the past 2 months. I am living a life that is WAY different then I had planned. I am hit with the reality that life is even messier and crazier than I had though growing up. And if we focus too much on what we thought the plan was, we lose out on what life has planned for us. Life isn’t working against us and even when it feels like life is kicking the crap out of you… life has it’s own plan. It’s a lesson I am still learning, but it’s one of the most important ones.

 

What important lessons have you learned?

 

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On a different note, looks like Spring is finally here in the mountains! Snow is melting and I’m enjoying the warmer weather and beautiful sunshine. There’s nothing like enjoying Spring in the mountains. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Spring?

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Xoxo,

Tori

 

Check out two of my most recent posts:

My Top 5 Favorite Books in My 20’s

How to Handle Your Mid-20’s

 

How to Stay Motivated

In this day and age, it can be really tough to stay motivated. Jobs keep us busy. Those of us in our 20’s are still trying to climb that ladder or land that perfect job. It means going into work early and staying late or bringing work home just to keep up. I can’t imagine dating through all of that too. That’s a whole other stress.
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I live in the mountains and though it may look like a life off bliss, it’s still very hard to stay motivated. Motivated to get back to working out. Motivated to write. Motivated enough to not just get home from work and lay on the couch. So what can we do to keep ourselves motivated? What or who motivates us?
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I keep myself motivated by setting routines and making plans.
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I am currently working on staying motivated to eat healthy and drink more water. My husband & I hit up Whole Foods about twice a week now. We cleared all the junk food out and meal prep. He makes a delicious salmon and sweet potato meal. I am staying motivated to eat healthier because once I started, I realized how much better my body and mind felt. I can’t get enough of my zero calories, zero sugar, sparkling water! Still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.
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Staying motivated to write has been tougher than I’d like it to be lately. I strive myself on keeping my blog positive and light, but it’s been tough. My family and I lost my dad recently, so it’s hard to stay motivated to do anything – let alone write. Every time I write, it’s hard for me to write about the positive. But if my dad taught me anything it’s that there is always a positive in life. Always something to be grateful for. I am motivated to write because I’ve made a plan and because I know it helps me.
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But what really helps me stay motivated in my every day life? The people around me. I have a husband who works harder than anyone I know. A mom who kicks ass at everything she does and a brother who never gives up no matter what. My dad is the biggest reason I keep myself motivated every day. He taught me to work hard and to never quit. Go for whatever you want because you deserve to be happy. If you want to be motivated, you have to surround yourself with motivational people.
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So, it’s time to turn Netflix off for a while. Make some plans and set routines that will better you as a person. This isn’t a post about why you should get back to working out. Think bigger than that! What motivates you? Where do you need the most motivation? What do you want to achieve?
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Share your tips and ideas in the comments or tag me on Instagram @mountainsandmoores.
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As always, thanks for reading!
Xoxo,
Tori
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Check out some of my past posts:

My Top 5 Favorite Books in My 20’s

If I had to tell you what my superpower is, it would be reading. Not going to lie, I’m a pretty badass reader. Even in my 20’s, I read at least 5 books a year. Considering I’m a wife, teacher, and a Netflix binger… this is pretty good. I will read practically any book, but my favorite reads are romance, mystery, and dystopian fiction. I have been Nook user and lover since I was in high school. My Nook bookshelves get more and more full every month. Now, don’t hate. I still  fall in love with a bookstore and the smell of a fresh book. Reading is not only my superpower, but it’s my getaway. Believe me, in your 20’s…you need a place to getaway.
Here is a list of my 5 favorite books from my 20’s:
  1. “How to Be a Badass” by Jen Sincero. I have been obsessed with this book since I discovered it about 2 years ago. Not only is her voice as an author what I strive to sound like if I were ever to write a book like that, but she is also very funny. Her humor matches my own because she just keeps it real. I felt like a way more badass version of myself after reading her book. Next on my list is her How to Be a Badass With Money book. Every 20 year old needs to dive into some Jen Sincero.
  2. The Redemption of Callie & Kayden” by Jessica Sorensen. Now, this book goes back my Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks days. I have always been a hopeless romantic. Any book that has a great back story and character development is always a go-to. Jessica Sorensen write multiple mini-series of books about tragic, but real love stories. Another reason I enjoy this book in particular is because the majority of this read falls during college years. In college and now my 20’s, it’s sometimes hard to find books with characters who are your age. I love Callie & Kayden’s story because it’s raw, real, and dramatic. You gotta check out some Jessica Sorensen.
  3. “The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica. I bought this book after I read “Girl on the Train” because I quickly fell in love with mystery reads. I had never read mystery growing up. It was always romance and more romance. Now that I’m older, it’s pretty fun to read a book that raises a lot of questions and makes my mind think. This book truly has one of the biggest twists I have ever read in any book. I won’t dare to tell you. This book is about a women named Mia who is taken hostage by a man named Collin, but instead of following orders, Collin hides her in a secluded cabin rather than to her real hostages. You may think you know where this boom will go, but I can tell you that you are wrong.
  4. “Tell Me Lies” by Carola Lovering. There is nothing like that moment when you walk into a cute mountain book store and fall in love with a random book that you had no idea existed. I stumbled upon a very bright, pink book with a cover that instantly caught my eye. I felt like just the title spoke to me and I felt an instant connection. This book is all about Lucy Albright and follows her story over years of her first love from college. Carola Lovering does one of my favorite things as an author. She switches perspective between Lucy and her love, Stephen. Their love is not perfect by a mile. Stephen doesn’t know how to treat Lucy right and Lucy can’t stop finding her way to him.
  5. “The Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard. This is actually a 4 book series and I have been obsessed with this read for months. I fell in love with books like “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” because I love to read about dystopian adventures. The reason I really love the “Red Queen” series is because it is truly about girl power. Mare Borrow lives in a world where royals, or Silvers, and the poor, or Reds, are separated in the worst of ways. Reds are forced to fight in a war while the Silvers constantly kill or torcher those who are not in war. This book contains action through battles and different powers that characters possess. As well as, a love story between Mare and the want-to-be-king, Cal. Plus, the book has one of the best villains I have read about in a while. Reminds me of Game of Thrones sometimes too. I could go on and on about this series, but it is a wonderful and complex read. All 4 books kept my attention and I haven’t been able to put any of them down.
So, stop whatever you are doing and check out these books from my list. No matter who you are or what age you may be, these are some of the best books I have read lately. I already told you that reading is my superpower, so I know a good book when I see one.
Please share book suggestions in the comments! Always looking for new reads.
As always, thanks for reading!
Xoxo, 
Tori

Why Snowmass Will Be Your Next Destination

2EB9A2F1-7383-46F9-87ED-A6AA4DA3A9B4.jpegThere is so much talk of Aspen. It’s beauty, skiing, and glamour. Don’t get me wrong, Aspen is awesome. However, it doesn’t have the laid-back feel of Snowmass.
Snowmass is my weekly skiing spot. My husband & I pack the truck up and spend every Saturday at Snowmass. Sometimes it’s just us two, but most of the time we meet up with co-workers and friends. It’s our watering hole.
So, why am I writing this week’s blog about Snowmass? Here are 3 reasons why Snowmass will be your next destination:
  1.  The Skiing – Snowmass has way more options for any type of skier. In my opinion, it’s a great place to start skiing if you haven’t before. You can enjoy “Lunchline” all day long and still have a blast! If you’re a heavy blue skier like me, there are too many options to count. My favorite side of the mountain is Elk Camp! You get an amazing view of the Maroon Bells at the top and there’s even a mountain coaster for the fun of it. Let’s say you’re a pro or just love the backwoods skiing…Snowmass is still the place for you. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has disappeared for hours because he was out doing some crazy runs. You won’t be disappointed with the skiing at Snowmass.
  2. The Food – To be honest, Snowmass has some great food options. I love food, so any place that can provide me with a variety of eating options is my favorite. One of my personal favorites is, Venga Venga. As a Texas girl, I need a place to get a good margarita and tacos. Venga Venga provides me with that! Share a pitcher with your friends on the awesome patio while “people watching” skiers come down the mountain. There is also a delicious BBQ place called Slow Groovin BBQ where the original restaurant is actually located in Marble, CO. I personally can’t go there without one of their delicious old-fashioneds. But the place to go for a good beer and a light lunch before hitting the slopes again is New Belgium Ranger Station. New Belgium is a brewery that’s stationed in Fort Collins, CO so it’s pretty damn good. I tend to drink a Fat Tire and eat their delicious tomato soup and grilled cheese. Those are just 3 of my faves!
  3. The Laid-back Feel – If you want a nice cheese tray and drink some tasty champagne, then Aspen is perfect for you. Hey, I like to treat myself here and there! But Snowmass will be good for families or a laid-back friends trip. There is something for everyone. You want to ski all day and take a nap by 4:30 so you can catch dinner with your friends by 6:00? Snowmass is the place for you. You want to ski until noon, grab some margs, and be back in your hotel by 3:00 for some “you time”? Snowmass is the place for you. Do you and your friends want to ski and drink all day and see where the night takes you? Come to Snowmass. And let’s say you don’t want to ski at all, there is shopping, spas, and fun bars to grab a drink (or two) at. Snowmass has a more laid-back and relaxed feel the you may think.
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There are plenty of other reasons why I go to Snowmass on a weekly basis, but those are my top 3! Snowmass tends to go hand in hand with Aspen, but Snowmass is its own mountain. It lies just 10 minutes outside of Aspen and has a beautiful drive to go with it. Plus, they are adding a whole new area around the brand new Limelight Hotel. There’s ice skating, crepes, and more food choices than ever.
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Make Snowmass your next destination and tell me what you think. Are there any spots you suggest that I missed?
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As always, thanks for reading!
Xoxo,
Tori