Rural Living

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I have spent about five weeks visiting my aunts’ cabin in the mountains of Montana. Their cabin is off the grid on 150 acres surrounded by Forest Service land on three sides. It’s very isolated and I really like it. I’m naturally introverted and a total homebody.

My_Aunts_Cabin
My aunt’s off-grid cabin powered by wind and solar power. I love the corners on the porch.

It’s been really sunny and warm here lately. The sun feels great and the sky is bright blue. When I take landscape photos, I’ll look at them on the screen and it totally looks like I over filtered the clouds or something. I guess this is what the sky looks like without smog?

I’ve learned a lot about off-grid living:

  • Checking the water levels at the pump and what to do when it’s low
  • Putting oil in the generator
  • Using the washer and dryer when the little homestead is primarily powered by solar and wind
  • Warming up leftovers on the stove
  • Optimal wood chopping and fire building technique

It’s been fun being here and working hard. My aunt and I also resided the barn and now I’m in the midst of painting primer on it.

I’m using my phone as a wifi hotspot to get internet access and occasionally I’ll go into town to monopolize the wifi at the local bistro or library to download bigger files. I haven’t watch Netflix in over a month and that feels weird.

Overall, I’m really enjoying my time here but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to civilization.

Book Club Evening

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Most people in my life know this but it adds important context to this post: I love public transit. I like that I can people watch. I like that I’m surrounded by people but don’t have to talk to them. I like that it requires me to walk and be active. I like getting somewhere without using a single-occupancy vehicle. I like the challenge of figuring out how to get somewhere; sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard.

gift wrapped book
My chosen book covered in frog paper on the gift wrapping table at the Boulder Book Store.

One of the book clubs that I belong to met this past Thursday evening. We had a belated white elephant book exchange (used or new) for Christmas. I didn’t have a book that I wanted to bring and had no idea what book I should get. I made a last minute trip to the Boulder Book Store which is a long-standing Boulder institution. They definitely did not disappoint. In my quest to find the perfect book, I discovered Nothing Daunted, about two society women from New York deciding to leave it all behind in 1916 to brave the pioneer life as schoolteachers in northwestern Colorado. (I definitely look forward to reading it myself; this mix of adventure, local context, and strong female protagonists sounds like a winning combination.) I was hoping the bookstore offered wrapping for a small fee for my last minute gift but they did even better – free self-service gift wrapping. The Boulder Book Store is here to meet all of your last minute book gift-giving needs.

Once I finished up at the book store I had about 30 minutes until I needed to catch the bus to head up to the book club so I went to the public library to hang out and get some work done. I love libraries and the Boulder Public Library especially. It is right on the Boulder Creek and has gorgeous views and unique architecture.

After a few minutes at the library, I proceeded to the bus stop to catch the bus I needed to get to the host’s home. By the time I got off it was quite dark and a little chilly. As I deboarded the bus, there were quite a few people around despite the darkness and the cold; someone boarding the bus, a couple seemingly walking home from the grocery store. The thing about Boulder is that despite being quite suburban, many people use alternative modes of transportation — walking, biking, public transit, etc. I don’t know why it still surprises me to see people using alternative modes even in inclement weather but sometimes it does.

Light from NCAR
A soft pink light glowing from NCAR above

Despite having a large proportion of alternative mode users (at least comparative to other suburban cities), Boulder doesn’t have robust infrastructure supporting alternative mode users, especially in less dense residential areas. As I was walking from the bus stop to the intersection of Lehigh St & Table Mesa Dr, I realized that the intersection was not well-lit at all; the nearest street lamp was quite far and someone would likely not be able to see me in the dark. Cars speeding through the right turn lane crosswalk as I stood next to it waiting to cross confirmed this suspicion (and induced visions in my head of me getting hit by a car going 35 mph – not pleasant).

As I was walking past Bear Creek Elementary I noticed a soft pink light emanating from NCAR on the hill above. It was really pretty and my low-quality iPhone photo does not do it justice. (iPhone cameras do not do very well in low light.) I paused to take said low-quality photo and to appreciate that walking places allows me to slow down and notice the beauty of random things around me.

Overall, the night was quite fun. I enjoyed visiting with people I hadn’t seen in a while, adding books to my ever growing list of books to read, and taking the trip there and the trip home.

Color Inspiration

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About a year ago I found the Design Seeds website and was instantly enchanted with all of the color palette possibilities. I love scrolling through the website and looking at all of the stunning colors. It has provided immense inspiration for the websites that I’ve created, helping me craft color palettes that reflect the mood and tone I want the site to convey.

Below are two of my recent favorites:

today's inspiration image for { color seasons } is by @_kate_lewis … thank you, Kate, for another *incredible* #SeedsColor image share!

A photo posted by Jessica Colaluca, Design Seeds (@designseeds) on

today's inspiration image for { color world } is by @kamalantravels … thank you, Kamalan Travels, for your inspiring #SeedsColor image share!

A photo posted by Jessica Colaluca, Design Seeds (@designseeds) on