Recently Enjoyed Quotes: Fall 2018

From books, articles, podcasts, social media, and more, here are some recently enjoyed quotes:

Su Kyi was hoping he would be able to take Tin Win under his wing, too, to coax him out of the darkness that beleaguered him, to teach him what he had taught her: that life is interwoven with suffering. That in every life, without exception, illnesses are unavoidable. That we will age, and that we cannot elude death. These are the laws and conditions of human existence, U May had explained to her. Laws that apply to everyone, everywhere in the world, regardless of how dramatically times might change. There is no power that can release a person from pain or from the sadness one might feel as a result of that insight—unless it be that person himself. And in spite of it all, U May had told her again and again, life is a gift that none might disdain. Life, U May told her, is a gift of riddles in which suffering and happiness are inextricably intertwined. Any attempt to have one without the other was simply bound to fail.
— Jan-Philipp Sendker, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

If you can acknowledge your fear, wisdom will grow. If you can be with your anger, kindness may blossom.
— Bernie Clark, The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga

Reporter: Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.
— An exchange between a reporter and Mahatma Gandhi

We’re hardwired to protect what we love and I want people to fall in love with nature in order to protect it.
— Louie Schwartzberg

Compassion is not conditional.
— Jeff Weiner

People act on the outside the way they feel on the inside.
— Tracy McMillan

As long as I have my health, I have choice.
— Seal

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are headed.
— Leo Tzu

A truly empowered person does not take power from other people. They help lift other people up.
— Molly Birkholm

My Parents on 40 Years of Marriage

This October, my parents, John & Donna (O’Connell) Dzenawagis, celebrate 40 years of marriage. Since I’ve become the unofficial family historian, I thought it would be a good opportunity to document the story of how they met (they’re high-school-sweethearts), their wedding, and get their thoughts on the highs (and lows) of the 40+ years that they’ve spent together. A reminder to everyone, it is absolutely invaluable to have these stories recorded. And it was also just fun to interview my parents and ask questions I normally might not have. Happy Anniversary Mum & Dad. 💕

Danne: I've always loved the story of how you guys met, will you tell it to me again?

Dad: I believe we met at Maple Alleys which was a bowling alley in Brockton. 
Mum:
 Yes, it was Maple Alleys. People used to drink beers and party in the woods out back and there was a big rock out there. One night a bunch of us were there and I was standing up on the rock. I looked down and saw Dad at the bottom, I had never seen him before—I had heard about him though, all the girls at school were talking about him. I looked down at him and said "Catch me" and jumped...and he caught me. I don't know what I was thinking! 
Dad: (laughing) That's probably when my back problems started.
Mum: (laughing) Probably! Anyways, after that, he'd come down to Maple Alleys looking for me and we started talking more and more. Then Dad's cousin Steve asked him to find someone to go on a double date with him and that ended up being our first date. 

Danne: And then you got married 8 years later on October 7, 1978—40 years ago this year. Where was the ceremony? The reception? How many guests did you have?

Mum: Eight and a half years! Dad took his time. We got engaged on Easter Sunday at Grammy's house. Our wedding was the following fall at St. Colman's Church and we had the reception at the Walk-Over Club in Brockton...it's not there anymore, they made it into condos. It was a cool old place that looked like a castle, that's why I liked it. 
Dad: I think we had around 120-125 guests? The wedding party was about 20 counting the little kids. 

Danne: What was your favorite memory from your wedding day?

Mum: I loved taking the photos because it was fall and the foliage was gorgeous that year, it was a really nice day. Fall is my favorite season so that's why we decided to get married then.
Dad: Dancing with Mum to "Color My World" by Chicago and our wedding song, "I Only Have Eyes for You"

Danne: Does 40 years feel like a long time or did it go by in the blink of an eye?

Mum: Yes. It feels like a long time. It didn't fly by...I can look back and think of all the things that have happened over those 40 years, I remember what it was like when we first got married, before we had kids, etc. A lot has happened since then. 
Dad: Sometimes it feels long, but we still get along, we still make each other laugh. She's an incredible human being, I'm blessed. 

Danne: What would you say the happiest time in your marriage was?

Mum: The first 20 years, the beginning. The empty nest has been a little tough, it's good in some ways too, you don't have to take care of anyone. You can just focus on yourself which you haven't done for so long. But you're healthier in the beginning. Once health issues enter in it's really hard. "In sickness and in health", people just say it, but you don't realize what those words actually mean until you get older. 
Dad: I think the beginning. And then when you and your brother were born. You kids are incredible, it's been a great ride.
Mum: Yes, Dad and I look at each other sometimes and can't believe how lucky we were with you kids. You're such great children. You always helped out, we never had to raise our voices. You always remembered everything, anniversaries, birthdays. We never got a phone call from the police or had to hire a lawyer!

*Sidenote: I absolutely did not put either of them up to saying that 😉

Danne: You've been married 40 years now, but together for almost 50. What do you think the secret to a long-lasting relationship is?

Mum: You can't be selfish, you have to be a giver, you have to share. You have to really like each other and be good friends too. With my personality, it's helpful that Dad is so easy going. 😉 
Dad: It's a two-way street. You have to share with your partner, make the best of it, take one day at a time. Just be yourself, that's what I try to do.

Danne: What do you love most about each other?

Mum: Probably his personality. His optimism, he's pure. You don't find many pure people in the world anymore. Dad's the kindest and nicest person I've ever met. 
Dad: Ditto. And I love that Mum makes me laugh all the time, it's great medicine. 

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💕

Death Valley National Park (with a little bit of Las Vegas 🎲)

As someone who loves to travel, I'm fortunate that I get to travel for work from time to time for trade shows. While the typical trade show hot spots like Orlando and Las Vegas aren't necessarily my #1 choice of destination, I'm pretty good at doing a little research to see what's within a few hours of driving distance so I can extend my trip to visit someplace I actually do want to spend time. 

Back in June, I worked a show in Vegas and had my heart set on visiting Death Valley National Park afterward. Dan opted out of this trip so I asked my good friend Kim if she wanted to tag along—which, of course, she said yes to because we are both Sagittarius' who don't need to be talked into an adventure.

She flew in from New York City the night my trade show ended and we picked up our rental car the following morning and headed off into the desert. 

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Before we left, we hemmed and hawed over where to stay and we finally settled on The Oasis at Death Valley, which was 100% the right decision. There aren't a ton of lodging options in the Death Valley area but this place turned out to be amazing—it truly felt like an oasis in the middle of such a dry and vast landscape.

The grounds were immaculate (and surprisingly lush), the room was perfect, the pool felt like it was straight out of Condé Nast Traveler, and the on-site restaurant and bar were both way better than we were expecting for desert dining.  

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The day we arrived we kept it low key and sipped piña coladas by the pool, but by day two we were ready to get out an explore. It was mid-June and we knew it was going to be hot, but holy hell, it was HOT. Upwards of 114 degrees Fahrenheit, hot. So hot that there were warnings all over to not even walk around outside past 10am—and we even learned at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center that your body can lose 2 gallons of water a day just sitting in the SHADE in that kind of heat. Whoa.

While I love nothing more than taking a long hike in a National Park, hiking in extreme heat like that wasn't going to happen. Lucky for us, Death Valley is gorgeous to drive through, and we were happy to see most of the park by car, stopping off at various scenic points to (cautiously) explore. 

Death Valley In a Day: Must-Sees

  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: Kim and I are both from a beach town and at one point here we looked at each other and said: "But...where's the ocean?". Beach that goes on, and on, and on...with no water.
  • Badwater Basin: It's the lowest point in North America, cool! And the ground is literally covered in salt, that yes, you can actually eat. We did, it was wild. 
  • Artist Pallete: We were here at the wrong time of day for taking photos, but wow, it was one of the most beautiful natural wonders I've ever seen. The drive to and from is absolutely stunning. 
  • Dante's View: Truly breathtaking and the elevation is higher which means cooler temperatures for hiking around. We almost skipped this one and I'm so glad we didn't. 
  • Zabriskie Point: One of those sunsets I'll remember for the rest of my life. We brought some cans of cheap Trader Joe's rosé, camped out, and watched the colors transform the landscape before us. Not wanting the magic to end, we chased the sunset, driving through the park until after dark. After that we laid out on the deck of our hotel and looked at the stars—which are so much more vibrant in parts of the country without light pollution. They have a saying that "half of the park is after dark" in a lot of National Parks and it's so true. 💫
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But eventually we did have to make our way back to Las Vegas to fly home, so we made a few fun pit-stops along the way to try to ease the transition back to reality. Sidenote: Taking a red-eye across the country after a crazy week/weekend and going directly to work from the airport is the opposite of easing back into reality. Lesson learned. That was rough. 

Now, I love Vegas, we got married there after-all, but somehow the few times I had been before this trip, I hadn't made it to Seven Magic Mountains or The Neon Museum? Being such a big fan of kitsch, Americana, and weird contemporary art, I knew it had to happen on this trip, and I'm glad Kim was game because both were amazing. 

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And while I did a lot of traditional Vegas-ey things during the week of the trade show, I think what took the Vegas-Cake this time around was when I tagged along for a desert-drive to Mt. Charleston with a co-worker who rented a lime green Lamborghini. I never thought I cared much about exotic cars, but um, it was pretty awesome—and a Vegas-AF thing to do.

And speaking of cars, when we were planning this trip, Kim and I had a dreamy vision of renting a convertible and driving through the desert with the top down. You know, like Thelma with Louise but without the driving-off-a-cliff part. 

When it came down to it though, we ended up not getting the convertible and settled for whatever compact car Hertz had available (sometimes Kim and I make financially responsible decisions, sometimes). When we arrived to 114-degree weather and 40mph winds in Death Valley, we could not stop laughing at how stupid of an idea a convertible was. I think our skin literally would have melted to the seats and I would still have a sunburn 3 months later.

A word from the wise (read: the stupid): do not even consider renting a convertible if you're driving to Death Valley in the summertime. After baking in the sun at every stop, we were VERY happy to retreat back to our nondescript, air-conditioned Toyota sedan with a roof. Dear God...

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p.s. One of my favorite stories from this trip happened right after this photo was taken. I wanted a pic of me in the Lamborghini (because how many times was that going to happen in my life?) so I took my sandals off to stand on the seat. I may or may not have been a little hungover that day (a common side effect of Las Vegas) and didn't realize until we got back to the car rental office that I had accidentally left my sandals on the side of the road...about an hour away from where we were. Oh. What followed was an epic walk of shame through the Hard Rock Hotel to get back to my room, barefoot and filthy with gnarley wind-blown hair. Holy, Las Vegas moment.

The best part though? The next day when Kim and I were driving out to Death Valley, we serendipitously passed by the Lambo photoshoot location and I decided that we might as well stop and see if my sandals were still there. After a little searching to find the exact spot, low and behold, I actually freaking found them. Untouched and right where I had left them the day before. Yes way.  

I'll thank Lady Luck for that one 🎲 ✨ 🎰

Recently Enjoyed Quotes: Summer 2018

From books, articles, podcasts, social media, and more, here are some recently enjoyed quotes:

Vastness expands our worldview and shrinks our ego and gives us a feeling of “small self”—in a good way. Awe stirs a greater sense of oneness with others and can open a greater identification with our divine and eternal Self for the spiritually minded. Awe reminds us that we are part of a much deeper intelligence and reminds us of the insignificance of our worries. Awe keeps our egos in check. Awe helps us to move through sadness with gratitude and acceptance.
— An excerpt on “Awe” from the Radiant Life Ayurveda newsletter

Here’s a mental shift that might help: when you’re feeling hurt, sad, angry, overburdened…think of it not as a problem, but as an experience. Fully feel whatever pain or sadness or anger you’re feeling. Stop avoiding it and just feel it. Truly allow yourself to feel it. And as you feel it, don’t think of the difficult feeling as a problem you need to solve. A thing you need to get rid of. Think of it as an experience you’re having. It’s not a problem, it’s an experience.
— Leo Babauta

Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know we can do better.
— Kathryn Schulz 

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
— C. Northcote Parkinson

One of the great purposes of communication is to connect, not correct.
— Rich Roll Podcast, Episode 343

Go where peace is easy.
— Rachel Brathen

Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I’d like to see you in better living conditions
— Jack Kornfield on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday

The sea always has the last word.
— Agnes Varda

Glamping in Moab & Exploring Utah's National Parks

After we eloped in Las Vegas last year, we took what I called a "minimoon" to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. March was a little early beach-weather-wise to do our full-fledged honeymoon to Croatia, but I wanted to do something after the "wedding" itself before heading back to the dreary Michigan weather we had left behind.

As it turns out, Vegas is actually a pretty good jumping off point to get to a bunch of amazing locations—including Utah's "Mighty Five" National Parks. Because we were only able to tackle 2 of the 5 on the minimoon, when it came time to plan our first-anniversary trip, I had my sights set on hitting the ones we missed the first time around.

As an "outdoorsy-ish" person, I do enjoy camping, but if I'm being honest..."glamping" is where it's at. Our first glamping experience was at Garden Village in Slovenia last year and it was so perfect for a couple of "nature bums" like ourselves that it's become our new thing. 

Once we decided that Moab would be our central location for this trip, a little Googling led us to Under Canvas Moab. For those who follow me on IG, let me just say that my posts weren't any sort of exaggerated version of reality: this place is legit.

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Under Canvas Moab

If you haven't glamped before, the basic gist of it is that you're at a campground, in a tent, but it's a fancy tent...with a bed...and if you're lucky...a bathroom. At Under Canvas Moab our tent even had a wood-burning stove, which was amazing because in early-March the temperature dropped down to the mid-30s at night and we would have been freezing without it.

Our tent also featured a little platform porch with deck chairs that faced out to the desert and gave us a perfect view of the sunrise—which we were actually up for one morning, a first for two people who often sleep until 10 or 11 on the weekend. 😬

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Under Canvas has some great amenities too: an outdoor fire pit with s'more-making materials, a community tent with couches, complimentary coffee, tea, and water, the option to order healthy breakfasts and lunches to have delivered, and on-site staff 24/7 to help with anything that might come up. Oh, and there's also daily housekeeping (I know what you're thinking hardcore campers, don't judge). I love that they're located a little bit outside of town too so we were able to feel immersed in nature but still only have to drive 15 minutes to get to Arches. 

All in all, it was pretty awesome and we would 100% stay there again. I recommend glamping and Under Canvas in particular to anyone who likes to moderately rough-it (ha!) and experience something a little cooler than run-of-the-mill hotel chains.

They have a few locations aside from the one in Moab too (I'm coming for you Glacier and Great Smokey Mountains), check it out on their main site: Under Canvas

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Canyonlands National Park & Dead Horse Point State Park

  • About 45 minutes from Moab, I looooved Canyonlands National Park. The crowds were minimal and we were able to hike far enough in that we could actually be alone in nature in complete silence. Ahhh, the NP dream...
  • We explored the Island in the Sky area of the park (which I found to be aptly named) and my favorite trails were Grand View Point (stunning panoramic views the entire time with perfect rocks to picnic on) and Upheaval Dome (totally worth it to hike past the first overlook and onto the second. We parked it on a rock in the middle and took a nap in the sun, it was perfect).
  • Dead Horse Point State Park is right on the drive back to Moab from Canyonlands so it's definitely worth a stop. You'll probably recognize the view from Dead Horse Point Overlook, apparently it's one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world. 
  • Sidenote: The Visitor Center and facilities are way nicer at Dead Horse than at Canyonlands. The more you know 😉
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Arches National Park & Corona Arch

  • If Arches was as crowded as it was in March, I can't imagine what it's like in the summertime. There was definitely much less "alone in nature" time here, but it was stunning nonetheless. I truthfully loved driving through almost as much as hiking too, so if it's a billion degrees when you go, it's worth the entrance fee just for the scenic drive.  
  • We did a few hikes in Arches and Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch were the most memorable to me. The Delicate Arch hike was tougher than I was anticipating (uphill in direct sunlight for the majority of it) but it's pretty special when you get to the end and round the bend to see that iconic arch (it's the one on Utah's license plate) all by its lonesome with the La Sal Mountains behind it. 
  • We had wanted to hit Capitol Reef National Park on this trip too but the timing was going to be a little tight. We had time for one more quick hike though so we drove out to Corona Arch in Moab and it was great. Barely anyone else was on the trail and there were arches galore. 
  • If you're looking to take home a souvenir, the Arches NP gift shop actually has some really cool stuff. We got a t-shirt and a hat with an awesome woodblock design by a local artist.
  • Sidenote: I found out the hard way that there is indeed poison ivy in the desert. Don't touch the plants! And Google it before you go so you can identify it, they look a little different than the plants we're used to up north. 
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And if glamping isn't for you and neither are strip-mall hotels in seedy towns (sorry Moab), we spent the night of our anniversary at the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab (view from our room pictured below) and it was lovely. It's far enough out of town that it feels remote, the restaurant was actually surprisingly good with red rock views from every table and Cactustinis (🌵🍸) on the menu, and there's a winery on-site, bonus! The hot tub under the stars was necessary too after a few long days of hiking.  

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Headed out to Utah and want even more tips then I put in this blog post? Hit me up! I love nothing more than traveling...and talking about traveling...so I'm more than happy to chat 😀