Camping is not a vacation.

Camping is not a vacation.  It's deeper than that.  Different than that.

Camping is simply a time for connecting. 

I camp to connect with people, nature, and myself.

camping is not a vacation.  Lovely Matters blog by Heather Walker

When we disconnect from the modern technology-filled world and join the outside world it makes one realize how simple life really is.  Once your basic needs are met - food/water, shelter, and love - you realize how focusing on the basics makes everything else seem insignificant.  

I also appreciate how camping naturally makes us exercise.  The best type of exercise, in nature, unaware that we are even exercising our body because we are having fun.

camping is not a vacation.  lovely matters blog by Heather Walker

Problem-solving, team work, mentally present in the moment, social atmosphere, the benefits are endless - you get the idea!  

There's something about camping that makes me crave it again.  Even though I sleep miserable and miss taking a shower and don't love bugs.  I plan our next trip because I crave the closeness.  We can hear each other thinking.  There's a calmness in our souls.  There are moments while camping I think to myself "maybe this isn't for me" but then there's something much bigger than that as we sit under the stars sharing food, stories, and songs.

camping is not a vacation.  Lovely Matters blog by Heather Walker

If you aren't sure if camping is your thing just give it a try for one night somewhere nearby.  Just make sure you bring a good sleeping bag (we use two of these zippered together for additional body warmth) and a camp pad is a MUST.  Or you could go glamping in a cabin or rent an RV.  I think gifting someone with camping supplies and a scheduled date to go camping would be such a thoughtful Christmas gift idea!  And if you still need convincing here is scientific proof on the benefits of camping.  

camping is not a vacation.  Lovely Matters blog by Heather Walker
why we camp.  Lovely Matters blog by Heather Walker

how to experience Fall without living in it

a lovely lifestyle blog

Fall awakens me!  Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago the season of fall is in my DNA.  I realize that if you didn't grow up with something, you wouldn't have a reason to miss it.  I however, need to experience fall from all 5 senses in order to feel in touch with another year ending.  It was the thing I missed most after moving to the south.  I have visited Massachusetts, Washington DC, Tennessee, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, New York, and Minnesota in the fall.  Last year we went back to sweet home Chicago, and this year we took the family to the Pacific Northwest, where my hubby grew up.  My soul is filled up!  We saw, felt, smelled, tasted, and heard fall in all its beauty.  Seattle is my favorite partially because we are such water people.  And the mountains!  And the real pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Most likely if you ate an apple today it came from WA. It's as authentic as it gets.  Over 70% of the country's apples come from here.  And fall of course makes us think of hot drinks and Seattle is the mecca for adorable coffee houses.  All this equals lots of snuggling and closeness with the ones you love wearing your favorite sweater.  

traveling to find fall

Fall trips remind me every year how important it is to go back to your past senses and connect them to your present life.  Just because I don't live in a state that has the traditional fall in my eyes (I realize it's all relative), its not going to stop me from making this part of my children's DNA.  They will just have the travel and exploration part added to their fall experience.  

This trip also reminded me that if we don't like something about our lives, we need to fix it.  I'm not willing to move because I love this place we call home, but traveling is a very very happy medium of fixing the lack of fall we have in Texas.  If it wasn't for my yearning for fall, we wouldn't have been inspired to go out and find all the fall beauty and adventure this country offers.  So if you don't have this beautiful season, consider traveling to it.

After every vacation I make a simple video of little moments to help us retain our memories.  I wrote about tips on documenting with video here.  

And now that I'm home I need to make a grocery run to make one of my favorite fall meals that you can find here.

And I'm looking forward to catching up with the episodes of This is Us with hubby.  In an earlier post I was talking about all the dark television that's out there and this show is something that gives a sense of hope.  It's simple and enlightening.  Found this gem for those of you who want to relive this episode, or for those of you interested in starting a new series about life - relatable raw pure sweet life. 

I hope you find lovely in your week.

traveling to fall
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packing for vacation simplified

5 simple tips on packing simple2

Packing for a vacation really can be quite easy if you keep it simple.  Here's 5 tips on how I pack for 5 (Luckily my husband packs himself). :)  

1.  Do laundry first because naturally everyones favorites are in the laundry.  And who wants to come home to laundry?  Favorites are key on vacation.  I dump all the clean laundry where I have lots of room for sorting.  I then making 1 pile for each of us, putting together outfits as I sort through the clothes.  The rest gets thrown back in laundry basket for the kids to put away.  And then I pull the rest of what I need from our closets.  I had to do the laundry anyway so this really doesn't make the task of packing feel like much of a chore.  

2.  Focus mainly on neutral colors so it's easy to mix and match, and add in a few colors of the season.  Naturally you'll be documenting your vacation so you may want to think about a couple key colors to focus on.  Not matching, just coordinating so that one person isn't in a pastel while everyone else is dressed in fall hues.  

3. Think capsule wardrobe.  I have only used tips from this approach to help me get rid of items, but on vacation I pretend I'm living the capsule wardrobe dream.  Just one thing I love about vacations, we realize how little we really need.  I love the idea that "sometimes to figure out what matters you have to get rid of everything that doesn’t."

4.  Fold and roll.  There's no way we could fit everything without using these!  I have one labeled for each day of the week and its such a helpful tool for the kids to be independent when getting ready in the morning.  All they have to do is find the labeled day.  This organization was very helpful for our disney trips when you quickly want to get up and out and you already have an outfit in mind for each day's itinerary. 

5.  Accessorizing increases your outfit options.  A baseball cap with a shirt and jeans is a completely different outfit than wearing a scarf with the same shirt and jeans. Same with my little ones.  I tossed a burt orange belt and vest into my oldest sons bag last minute as a way to change up the same clothes.

Happy Travels!

5 simple tips on packing simple