The Power of Intention

On New Year’s Eve last year, we sat in a coffee shop in Five Points, drafting our 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. Among twenty other things, I wrote “Hike to a hot springs”.

Summer 2017 came and went and we didn’t end up hiking to a hot springs. Another resolution, like “Continue my drama-free stint with mom” that fell under the loose-some category of you-win-some-you-loose-some.

Last month I found myself in Tofino, British Columbia, getting on a float plane with three women who had been strangers to me up until three days before to fly to a remote coastline where we would hike to a hot springs.

Intention is a powerful thing.

I’m not saying its a magic wand, that putting your hopes and dreams into words or writing will make them come true, but I really do believe that there is something to be said for putting an intention out into the universe.

One of the earliest things my step-mom taught me was the power of intention. I brushed her off, the concept too new-agey for my teenage attitude, but time and time again over the last seven years, I’ve been faced with her loving I-told-you-so look as I’ve had to admit that setting an intention really did create something.

I’ve been writing since I had access to pencils and paper and hoping to make something out of my writing since I was thirteen. I’ve been on Instagram for over five years and I’ve wistfully followed other ‘grammers who have found friendship, money and even jobs through social media. I’ve always hoped my creative outlets would turn into something, but years of writing stories, of blogging, years of posting and hash-tagging, never turned into anything.

In February, I stumbled upon @erinoutdoors on Instagram and fell in love with her inspirational words of encouragement, her beautiful pictures and her lifestyle. It just so happened that she was speaking in Boulder the next week. I did something totally unlike me, for some unknown reason, and schlepped myself up to the Madewell store at the 29th Street Mall with a friend. We sat on the floor and listened to her tell her story and I found myself inspired.

When I got home, I was determined. But more than that, I was intentional. I was going to figure it out. I was going to be a blogger, an Instagram influencer. It was going to happen. Within weeks, the opportunity to be featured on two smaller blogs came up. A small clothing brand accepted me as an ambassador and mailed me two free t-shirts. The opportunities that had never presented themselves before were now falling into my lap.

My work put on a Thrive seminar in March and we were guided in creating a purpose statement.

My purpose in life is to inspire others to get outside and experience life, while protecting the wild places we play in, through blogging, social media and other creative outlets.

My intention was in writing and I kept reminding myself of it. I took chances and reached out to companies and individuals that I never in a million years thought would respond to me. I was open, I was honest and I was blunt.

Since February, I’ve had my blog posts featured on several blogs and accepted ambassador positions with several companies.

It has absolutely been work. Work that my family looks at me like I’m crazy for doing. When 5pm rolls around, I close out my work email and open up my personal email and end up spending another few hours “working” for practically nothing. Each little win fuels me to keep going, to keep remembering that intention I set. I want to help people love the great outdoors as much as I do. I want people to stop living in fear, in stories and chase their dreams. Ultimately, I want to become a freelancer and make money off blogging and Instagram, but its about more than that.

I feel privileged when I get to lead a group of Mtn Chicks on one of my favorite hikes. I feel privileged when a brand reaches out to me and wants me to represent their product. I feel privileged when someone tells me I’ve inspired them to quit their job and pursue a life that they’re really passionate about.

Yes, it may just be six free coconut waters at my doorstep. Yes, it may just be my words on a website. Yes, it may just be a huge Instagrammer liking my photo. But the little wins are worth it.

I’ve felt the little wins slowly but surely all year, but they seriously started to feel like big wins in October.

The thing that I’ve seen happening on Instagram for years, the thing that I wanted more than sponsorships or features, was community.

In October I found myself sitting across from Kirsten of This Adventure Life and connecting over our mutual hatred of fake Instagram photos and love of exploring. I found myself boarding a plane to British Columbia to go surf with Kieren from The Lady Alliance and make friends with eighteen other women from across Canada. I’ve found a community of rad Colorado women to hike with in Mtn Chicks.

I’m terrible at making friends and so this sense of community, finding people who I can truly connect with online and creating in-real-life friendships, has been so incredible.

And, the cherry on top of a year’s worth of work – last month I signed a contract with Copper Mountain Ski Area to blog for them for the season and got a free season pass.

Am I successful? Hell, no.

I have 850 Instagram followers and my blog posts get 30 views on a good day. My total compensation so far has been three shirts, six coconut waters, several coupons and a season pass.

The goal of this story was not to catalog my journey, but to show that the power of intention is real.

Dreams do not become reality on hope alone. They require hard work and strong intention and maybe a little nudge from the universe.

A co-worker wrote to a few of us last week something that really resonated with me.

Consider this: you have been given everything you need to accomplish “it”, whatever “it” may be. So go do it.

You have what you need to start pursuing your dreams. If “it” is something that you really, truly want, stop hoping and get to work. Set an intention, share it. Breathe life into it. Back it with hard work.

And see what happens.

I promise I’ll have an I-told-you-so look ready and waiting.

Xo.

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Oh darling, let’s be adventurers!

[all photos by Coldiron Photography]

We’ve officially been engaged for over six months and the wedding date is now less than a year away. This new adventure that is our journey to marriage is well underway!

Last month we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park with Allie and Marcus Coldiron, the amazing couple that make up Coldiron Photography to have our engagement photos taken.

When I first saw Dream Lake, I knew it would be an amazing place for engagement photos. When Topher proposed and we started talking about all things wedding, Dream Lake was in the back of my mind for an engagement photo session. But then, I started to let that practical part of my brain take over. Hiking after getting your hair and makeup done isn’t practical. Balling a $100 dress that’s been immaculately hung in your closet all week into your backpack and changing in the woods isn’t practical. Hiking in the Colorado Rockies at 3pm definitely isn’t practical.

But, then again, weddings aren’t really about practical. And, more importantly, neither are we – we’re about taking the extra risk and pushing the envelope (which is called deep red and is size a7 in case you’re wondering) to chase those things we dream about.

When we pulled into the parking lot it was already spitting rain. Thunder rumbled in the distance as we started out on the trail.

Luckily, we chose the coolest photographers in the world who weren’t about to be scared off by a little rain and by the time we made it to Dream Lake and did a quick change behind some rocks, the sun had poked out from behind a cloud and was shining through the rain, resulting in the most beautiful scene I’ve seen in my trips to the lake. A rainbow popped through the clouds and then the sun set magically over Hallett Peak.

When I half-jokingly suggested that we take our shoes off and get in the lake, our photographers were all on board and Topher agreed to play along. Allie told me that they rarely get couples who are willing to take off their shoes and get in water.

Mikaela+Topher-35.jpg

To each their own, I suppose, but in my opinion, ten years from now I’m going to look back on these photos and not notice that the hem of my dress got damp or my feet got muddy or that my curls went limp. I’m going to notice that look on our faces that showed the moment of sheer shock and joy at being barefoot in a snow melt lake in formal clothing with each other.

I’m not going to lie, the main purpose of this post is to show you guys the photos I’m so in love with, but I do have an ulterior motive.

Don’t let yourself get stuck in a box. Stop worrying about whether or not something is practical or makes sense or will ruin your hair or get your clothes dirty. If you want to do something, take a deep breath and do it. The only risk you’re ever going to regret is the one you didn’t take.

Enjoy our photos and if you’re getting married anytime soon, I can’t recommend Allie and Marcus enough – visit their website to see what else they’ve been up to.

Visiting Aspen as a broke, sort of broke, or just normal human being

Aspen is undoubtedly one of my favorite places to visit, but it can also be crazy expensive. Staying, eating and recreating can quickly add up to the point that a stay-cation starts to come with a vacation price tag.

We try to visit Aspen at least once a year, if not more, so I’ve put together this guide on how not to go broke in a matter of days!

Where to stay

My favorite thing about Aspen is its insane natural beauty. There are plenty of campgrounds in the Aspen area, but my favorite place to camp in the warmer months is a dispersed camping area at the very end of Castle Creek Road. From Aspen, follow Castle Creek Road past the ghost town of Ashcroft to the very end.  Continue reading “Visiting Aspen as a broke, sort of broke, or just normal human being”

On Being Afraid & Cold Water Surfing

I’ve never liked to do things on my own.

As a child, having to leave my mom and dad terrified me so much, I’d refuse to go to Sunday School unless my mom was the teacher.

When my sister was born, she was the best gift my little being could have ever dreamed of.

She became my best friend and my constant companion. Having a partner in crime let me be brave in trying new things. Being homeschooled, I hardly ever had to go anywhere or do anything that didn’t involve my little sister.

When I started community college, my best friend Serena became my constant companion. I was the brave one, the one that signed us up for theatre auditions and drug us to parties and instigated college visit road trips, but only because she was by my side.

When I met my now fiance, Topher, he became my constant companion.

Besides random, anxiety filled, singular experiences, I never had to do life alone until I moved to Boulder and started university.

Continue reading “On Being Afraid & Cold Water Surfing”

Walls are meant for climbing.

Walls are meant for climbing.

If you haven’t seen The North Face’s new campaign, click on the link above.

“SOME PEOPLE BUILD WALLS.
OTHER PEOPLE CLIMB THEM.
WE’RE DOING BOTH.

We’ve spent 50 years searching for walls to climb because, to us, they offer both challenge and opportunity and they fan the flames of our curiosity. Climbing has taught us to trust, to work together, to create safety in partnership and meaning out of hardship. We see walls as a place to unite our community, so we’re building walls that reflect the world we want to see.”

When I saw this campaign on social media this morning, it impacted me hard enough to write a blog post for two reasons.

As I scrolled through the page dedicated to this new campaign, it struck me that no matter who we are, we have walls in our lives. Sometimes they’re little garden walls, other times they’re maximum security prison type walls, but walls of all kinds exist in our lives. These walls are built by society, by our haters and sometimes even those that love us. These walls are more often than not, built by us (or if not built entirely, then heightened, razor-wire-added as our self-doubts pile on.)

Continue reading “Walls are meant for climbing.”

A cup of camp coffee.

I love camping because it’s a lot of work.

I know that sounds crazy, but I do. Camping is life in the most basic, primitive state and there is something so simply satisfying about the work that it takes to survive.

In a world where everything we need is at our fingertips, it’s incredibly refreshing to not have every little detail of life be so easy.

Continue reading “A cup of camp coffee.”

Nobody likes you when you’re 23.

It’s my birthday week (yay!) and I stopped to think for a moment today about turning 23.

I asked my dad last week if he’d ever imagined what my sister and I would be like when we grew up when we were kids.

It occurred to me that when I was younger, I never imagined what I’d be like when I was in my twenties. I never stopped to think about what I would like to do, or who I would be as a person.

When you’re a kid, your future is defined by what you want to be when you grow up. It’s the first question adults and teachers and your friends ask you.

The answer from the time we can formulate thoughts to the time we graduate college is very much the same.

It may go from an astronaut to an aerospace engineer, but we learn early on to define our beings, our intentions, by our careers. It defines everything from the toys we choose to play with, the people we choose to hang out with and the colleges we choose to apply for.

I’m about to turn 23 and I’m still struggling with the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” question.

Continue reading “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”