20 Summer Goals | Watercolor Wonders

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Okay, yes, summer has come and gone, and while I did fulfill many of those goals that I shared with all of you in my earlier post, I just didn’t seem to capture them all and share them with you. So for one last time this year, I wanted to share one more of my Summer Goals with you.

This one may have been my favorite. I’ve always loved art. Growing up all I wanted to do was color, paint, and create. Maybe that’s why I’ve fallen so in love with writing. It’s my way of creating something and sharing it with people. But I fell into that trap of thinking that “I’m just not good at art doing art”. I think a lot of people think of creating things or being artistic as some sort of competition. Like you have to be amazing at it to do it, and if you aren’t, then you shouldn’t even try to create things. Or thinking that because someone else is better than you are, that you shouldn’t even try to create things. But through this little water color journey of mine, I’ve realized (although, this is something I’ve understood for a while) that it doesn’t take skill or a special talent to create. All it takes is you. And your imagination. Being creative is a part of life that everyone should partake in. Its not a competition, its not just for the wildly talented. Creativity is a right that no one can take away. Creativity is about passion, and happiness. Creativity is about letting your mind and your thoughts do what they want to do, rather than always thinking it through to every last little detail. Creativity is an essential part of life.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.Albert Einstein 

When I first started in with watercolor painting, I tried to really learn it. Learn the techniques, the skills, the whole process. But I quickly learned that I didn’t fully enjoy it that way. I created many beautiful paintings, from lighthouses, to beaches, to flower arrangements, but through out those projects, it all felt like work. I had to pay attention to what I was doing, I had to focus, and I had to try incredibly hard. It was easy to see that it wasn’t my thing.

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Eventually, I put away the YouTube tutorials, sat down outside in my backyard, and just painted. I didn’t realize how much I could love just sitting down with my paint brushes just splattering paint around on paper. No thoughts about what I would be painting, or what techniques needed to be used to achieve it. I don’t enjoy making those things, as much as I enjoy these little pages full of messy patches of color.

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Now, after making dozens of these colorful, blob filled creations, I had to figure out if anything could be done with them. As much as I enjoy them, and enjoy the process of making them, they aren’t exactly “frame worthy”. But as I was walking through the card aisle of Target, I realized that I had a use for all of them, one that would add an extra personal touch to everything that I do. If this were a cartoon, the little light bulb would have lit up on top of my head. Cards. I could make cards out of these silly little paintings and add an extra personal touch to all the little things that I like to do.

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I love to give cards for all sorts of occasions. When someone is sick, when someone’s birthday rolls around, etc,. But one thing I always do, is send Thank You cards. So that’s what I made for this post. This little thank you card is for all of you reading this, and for all my internet friends that follow this blog and send me emails checking on how I’m doing and just generally chatting with me. It has been so fun starting this blog, just the enjoyment that I’ve gotten out of writing alone would have made it the best thing I’ve done all year, but the friendships I’ve made, and the support I’ve gotten, have all made this into something that I don’t want to give up. So thank you, you lovely people you.

I hope all of you can find some way to be creative, even if you’re not great at it, as long as you’re doing it, that’s all that matters. There is no wrong way to be creative.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Somehow I fell off the blogging bandwagon. I have many things to blame for my lapse in posts; full-time course load, full-time work load, quarter-life crisis, etc,. The list could go on and on, as it could for everyone I suppose. But I wanted to get back into things. This is almost therapeutic for me. Writing down my thoughts, sharing them with all of you. Its nice. So I’m going to do my best to regain that spark, if you don’t mind of course, and what better to start with than another Summer Goals post? Although this is the final Summer Goals post of the year, I can assure you, that I have some things in-store for this blog that I am truly excited about, so I hope you come along with me on the continuation of my little blogging journey. ❤

Take Me Away | Krabi

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Next up, Krabi, Thailand. This is one of many areas in Thailand worth visiting in my opinion. As a place full of culture and customs far different from what I’m used to, it has always been high on my list, and the image above is just a taste of the beauty you will experience while there. Located in Southern Thailand, visiting the town of Krabi gives you the opportunity to see limestone cliffs, stunning and lush jungle areas, little islands floating off the shore in the Andaman Sea, and infinitely more. Prepare for the heat, pack your hiking boots and swimwear, and get ready to go on the adventure of a life time. I for one, can’t wait till the day I get the chance to jump on a plane with my backpack and my camera, ready to explore the beauty and life in Krabi.

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I hope this first place on my list captures your attention and helps to show you the sheer serene beauty that Thailand has to offer. Just imagine yourself here, on Railay Beach,  listening to the people and children playing in the water, while the hot Thailand sun beats down on you. Picture the sun slowly setting, the sound of the waves rolling onto the shore; can’t you see yourself laying on the beach, watching the sun setting steadily, with the islands and the cliff sides as the most amazing of frames? I’ve been able to picture myself in this scenario for the longest time, and am more than prepared for the day that I get to experience it for myself. Railay Beach is only accessible by boat, due to the towering cliff sides that surround it, but once you’re there, you will never have a moment of boredom. Aside from being a beach bum, you can always swim, go rock climbing, or even just go for a walk to explore the island. If the photos above haven’t convinced you to put Krabi on your list, I’m not sure what will.

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Next on my list is actually a mixture of two things; food and people. Thailand has a diverse array of both that I want to learn about and understand. I feel like exploring the local markets is one way to do both. Immersing yourself into the life of the place you are going is key when you truly want to learn about it. There’s only so much you can get from reading a book about something; to truly understand it, you must live it. My goal with travel is and always has been to learn about and understand the places that I am going. The food and the people are some of the most important things you can learn about in a country. I want to sit down, and have a conversation with someone. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone to translate for me, or maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to learn enough Thai to partake in a conversation on my own. One thing I am sure I can learn about is the food. There are endless markets and cooking classes available for people visiting Krabi, and Thailand in general. You’ll have the chance to learn how to make traditional Thai dishes, and you may even get the chance to learn about the people of Thailand in the process.

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Next up, is another spot of pure beauty, the Phi Phi Islands. This spot is most definitely a tourist destination, but it’s worth it. It takes approximately an hour by speed boat to arrive here, and there are numerous Thai Island tours that you can take to see the stunning views here, but I strongly suggest that you don’t pass it up. Most Phi Phi Island trips, at least the ones I would personally be interested in, are snorkeling trips. This allows you to jump into the ocean and explore what lies beneath along with the amazing Island tours and views that you will have. You can have the chance to explore places like Bamboo Island, Hin Klang, Maya Bay, Lohsamah Bay, Phi Phi Don, Hiking Cave (stunning, trust me), and Monkey Bay, just to name a few.

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This next one isn’t for the faint of heart. Wat Tahm Seua, or Tiger Cave Temple, is a Buddhist Temple that holds an intricate bunch of natural caves and an overgrown jungle at the top. It is a beautiful place, and if you can make it there, is a very spiritual and soulful place to experience. I say “if you can make it there” because to do so, requires you to climb 1,237 steep stairs of varying sizes and shapes up a mountain side in most likely the hottest and most humid weather you will ever experience. Don’t let that deter you, I know I won’t! You can always climb some stairs, and take a break. Take a few minutes to take in the views, to soak in your surroundings. Watch the monkeys wandering around you, hoping for some food from the various tourists that arrive each day (don’t get too close to them of course, they are still wild animals after all). One thing I can’t stress enough is don’t show up in a beach cover-up and flip flops and expect things to go smoothly, because they most assuredly will not. Bring plenty of water, a towel for the buckets of sweat that will come from places you didn’t even know could sweat, and your most comfortable and supportive pair of tennis shoes (or trainers, if that’s what they’re referred to as where you are from). It is said that a Buddhist monk by the name of Jumnean Seelasettho wanted to meditate in the caves on the mountain, and discovered tigers roaming the various twists and turns that are inside them, hence the name “Tiger Cave”, and it is well known for the tiger paw prints throughout the caves for you to see as you explore. If you choose to make the trek, as I surely will, you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing views, the chance to explore and view a Buddhist temple and memorial, see incredible 1,000 year old trees, and various Buddhist statues and shrines. I hope I will have the will power and the courage to make this daunting trip when I arrive in Krabi someday.

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There is so much more in Krabi that I want to see and experience; Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, Ao Thalane, Amari Vogue, the Emerald Pool, go kayaking and scuba diving, simply exploring the area with no destination in mind, and so much more. These “take me away” posts mean so much more to me than you may realize. They help me to visualize what I am working for, to put my dreams and goals into words and images, and they allow me to be my own inspiration. Too often I let myself be filled with self doubt and negative thoughts, but these posts help me find that positivity again, and help give me the right attitude towards life. If you have the wrong attitude in life, nothing will be able to help you achieve your dreams and goals. You have to stay inspired, stay determined, and stay motivated to continue on your journey in life, and these posts are helping me do that, I only hope they can do the same for a few of you.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Skagen

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The next place on my list is Skagen, Denmark. This absolutely enchanting seaside town is nearly the northernmost point in Denmark, so it fits beautifully into the mold of the perfect chilly seaside retreat for me. Being of half Danish descent (the other half is Italian, but I’ll get into that another time), I’ve always been determined to learn as much as possible about Denmark, and the beautiful towns and sights inside it’s borders. Skagen is the first of many Danish cities that I dream of exploring, and I’m sure I will post about many more here on this blog, but Skagen is where this look into adventuring in Denmark is going to begin.

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The first thing I dream of seeing in Skagen (pronounced Skay-en, in case you were wondering) is Grenen. Grenen is a long sandbar, located north of the actual town of Skagen. At first glance, this place may just seem like your average beach, but that is far from the truth. Grenen is actually the point where the North Sea, specifically the strait of Skagerrak, and the Kattegat sea meet. The currents of the two seas are traveling in different directions, towards each other in fact, and when they meet, the collide with each other directly at the tip of Grenen. The contrasting colors of the two seas is stunning as well. The idea of walking out onto the sandbar, and placing my feet at the spot where two massive and powerful bodies of water are crashing together, meeting at one point and almost refusing to come together, is an astounding one indeed. There are endless other things to see and do here as well, from being regarded as the best place to view birds of prey during their migrations in spring, to viewing sea mammals and seals, to visiting the nature center; you will never have a moment of boredom when visiting Grenen.

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The next thing on my list is the Den Tilsandede Kirke, or The Buried Church. Being built between 1355 and 1387, it is one of the oldest buildings in Skagen. The name may sound a bit odd, I mean, why would it be called The Buried Church? But during the last part of the 18th century, the church was just that; buried. Nearby sand dunes consistently ended up burying the church, and the congregation struggled with the task of clearing the sand out until 1795 according to google, when they threw in the towel and abandoned the building. After this, most of the church was demolished, leaving us with only this tower to serve as a memory of the original structure that once stood. As many of you know by now, I love history, and flock to the most historical and old sites of every place I visit, so I would never pass up the chance to walk around and view this church. Thinking about how hard it must have been for the congregation to try and clear all of the blown sand off of the old structure over and over, and how amazing it is that this piece of it is still here after all this time and so many things working against it is incredible to me. If you are near Skagen, I highly recommend checking this out, I know I will when I have the opportunity.

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This next place is merely one of the five historic lighthouses that grace the coastline in Skagen. This one in particular is known as The Grey Lighthouse, or Det Grå Fyr, and was built in 1858, and is still very much in use today. I am one of those people that are obsessed with lighthouses. A beacon of light emanating from the coast, keeping ships passing in the night safe from sailing into land; what a beautiful thing. This one in paricular is 151 feet tall, and absolutely beautiful with the stunning blue Skagerrak as it’s back drop.

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Skagen is simply one beautiful place that I have always wanted to go. I’m not sure that I’ve done it justice in this post, but that doesn’t change the fact that I dream of seeing it for myself. If you haven’t been able to tell from my other posts, I have quite a love for the sea. I feel completely relaxed and serene when staring off into the ocean. The beauty of it, the sound of the crashing waves, the sea breeze brushing across my skin; it all just puts me in the happiest of moods. If I could, I’d pop a little cottage right by the seaside, in a country with a nice cool climate, and spend my days writing novels and daydreaming for a living. What a beautiful life that would be, and Skagen fits the bill for a nice chilly seaside retreat almost perfectly.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Ancora Imparo

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I went out today to grab some tea and a little lunch after leaving work early, and stumbled upon a little cafe that I hadn’t been to yet, which is rare in this city. I ordered my lunch and sat down at a little table near a group of men and women that didn’t look too far off from my age, maybe a touch older, and couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation a bit. They were talking about life in a very general sense for a while, but then they came upon a topic that is very important to me, one that I feel should be important to everyone; Learning.

One of the men sitting nearest to me said something a bit shocking. He said quite causally, “I really feel like I’ve learned all I need to know in life”. His friends nodded and agreed with his sentiments, adding things like “yeah, I feel the same way” or “exactly, what else is there that we really have to learn?” I sat at my little table, sipping on my cup of Earl Grey, completely confused by the whole thing; how could there possibly be nothing left for them to learn? Have they explored every country? Read every book? Heard every song? Learned every language? How could they possibly have learned and absorbed all of this information, all of this knowledge, in the short few decades that they’ve been alive?

The short answer to those questions that raced through my mind is that they haven’t, and they never will. Not with that attitude and thought process. At no point in anyone’s life will there be nothing left to learn. Knowledge is infinite, and there will always be something new out there in the world that you have yet to experience, or even hear about. There are tribes in Africa with customs that we know nothing about. There are new scientific breakthroughs happening every single day that have yet to be published. There is new technology being thought of every second that has yet to be completed. There are new lives entering the world at every moment, that you may never have the chance to learn about. Even Johann Goethe, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci left the world before they had the chance to learn everything, and just imagine how much more there would be for them to learn if they were to come back into the world today.

Learning is something that is immeasurably important to me. It is the thing that keeps me going every day. I hope to learn as much as possible about the world. I want to travel and see as much of it as I can in my lifetime. I want to sit down with people from different walks of life and hear their stories. I want to write my own stories, to add to the material out there for people to consume. I want to learn. For the rest of my life, the thing I want to do most is to learn.

Ancora imparo. These were the words I wanted to say to those people sitting next to me, the ones that thought they knew everything, but really knew nothing. Ancora imparo. The words uttered by Michelangelo at the age of 87. Translated from Italian, it simply means “I am still learning”. Even one of the greatest minds, the sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, knew that he still had so much left to learn.

With that, this post of ramblings and thoughts is over. If there’s one thing you take from this, I hope it is that you can never be done learning. There will never be a moment when there is nothing left in the world for you to learn and explore.
Ancora imparo.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx