Taking the Scenic Route

Picnic White Sands National Monument

 

Over the past few years as I’ve been getting to know my husband I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about myself and how I want to be. I was thinking about all of the things he’s taught me while we headed out and about the other evening.

You see, I am a control freak who loves to pack as much into one trip as humanly possible. I am the person you’ll find with arms full of crap hauling more than I should to make less trips. I love to find the most efficient way of doing things and in the quickest amount of time. Some call it a sickness, I call it a gift.

This particular evening his idea was to sweeten our time together with a trip to our amazing local ice cream shop. True to form, I threw in an added step of taking our dogs to the newly opened dog park. As he often does with my scheming, he agreed with effortless calm. And, off we went.

While we were driving away from the ice cream shop (he had an Oreo or cookie dough shake – I can’t remember which and I had huckleberry ice cream) I started wondering, as I often do, why he wasn’t taking the most direct and quickest route to the new dog park. It wasn’t just indirect; we were headed in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to go.

He must be developing a spidey sense of what I’m thinking because he’s getting better and better at anticipating my comments, questions or remarks. Within an instant of me swallowing my bite of ice cream in preparation to ask “Where are we going?” he turned to me and said “I’m taking the scenic route.” It impressed me that he headed me off on the topic at my thought process and knew exactly what I wanted to hear. I mean, who does that?

I spent the next several minutes becoming annoyed with the inefficiency of our route and the amount of time we would waste taking it. Then, it hit me. Who freaking cares? Why was I in such a hurry to spend quality time with my family in a different way than I had previously planned in my head? Did it matter that we spent more time together in the car taking a scenic drive? Does it matter where and how you get your quality time in? The answer, in case you haven’t figured it out yet is: No. It does not.

I shamed myself a bit over my initial reaction. I have always reacted this way when someone isn’t doing exactly what I thought the “best” way. It’s stupid and selfish, I know. Then I decided that there’s a reason why we surround ourselves with others. It isn’t to have people that think and act exactly as we do, it’s to have influences to help us continue growing and learning. Enter my husband stage right.

He teaches me patience, calmness, forgiveness, kindness and most importantly on this night, he taught me to enjoy the scenic route. After I accepted his proposal to wander off my almighty course I relaxed and settled in. As he drove, I watched the sun kiss and hug its way through the buildings and the trees. I watched the people we passed. I noticed the homes we drove by and beheld their exterior design. I enjoyed my aimless meandering in my own mind. In the end, I enjoyed every single second of my renewed perspective on our current path.

I’ve thought about that night for several days now. It makes me wonder what other paths I put myself on that should have been scenic routes instead. It’s something I will try to keep in mind as I move forward with all decisions in life. Since it is against my nature I know I will struggle. Luckily, I have a wonderful partner who compliments my personality with his. Lead on my handsome wanderer…lead on.

xoxo,

Christi

  • I had THE best southwest chicken salad for lunch. Yum!
  • I’m throwing a friend an 80’s bachelorette party on Saturday. I’m dreaming of all the makeup looks I can put together. 🙂
  • For Labor Day we’re going out to the lake with my mom’s side of the family. I’m so excited to spend the day with them. I’m very ready for a long weekend!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Actively Enduring

IMG_2026

 

I’ve been unsettled the last few months.  I’ve started a new job, moved into a new house, got married and had a few other major challenges.  None of those are bad; they just have me feeling quite out of a routine lately.  Do you ever have that?

I can’t seem to get a new rhythm into my life.  I keep trying to make sure I get all of my tasks or to-dos done each week but I seem to still remain unbalanced.

A new job is always an adjustment but especially in a new industry.  I have switched from healthcare technology to energy and although the work and tasks are largely the same I am learning new terminology, new methods and techniques as well as new people.  Add that to the fact that I’m back in an office environment after having worked at home for the last 7 years and its easy to see why the transition has left me in a fog.

Denali (our boy dog) had TPLO surgery on his rear left knee to correct a torn ACL.  This has been a challenge of it’s own.  He has had several complications and only recently did we learn that it’s all stemming from a staph. infection that has carried over from his surgery.

Married life to the man of my dreams and my absolute best friend is more amazing that I could have ever dreamed.  With any new phase to a relationship there are changes and discussions to help us get on the same page.  In addition to the relationship growing pains there are also adjustments at home.  Chris moved in very shortly before we were married to help with Denali’s surgery recovery.  I don’t care if it’s the best person in the entire world, a friend or a random roommate…learning someone else’s living style and meshing yours with theirs always takes some work and time.

I’ve been wondering why I haven’t blogged or put up a YouTube video in a while.  A lot of it has to do with the demands on my time but it also has to do with not feeling completely settled with all of my new recent changes.  Although most of them are so spectacularly wonderful, I am still foggy.  As I slowly get into my new routine I am excited to navigate through all the nuances in my days.

My pastor said a few weeks ago that “Perseverance is not passive waiting but an active endurance.”  I took that very much to heart.  Things take time.  There is constant growth.  There is always something to learn.  And with that I will continue to navigate the place I have in all of the new magical and wonderful chaos.

xoxo,

Christi

  • Our town has a wonderful music festival every summer.  I was out there most of the day yesterday enjoying friends, family, sun and music .
  • I’m addicted to “London Fog” tea lattes.  If you like chai tea you should check them out.
  • I’m on a fashion and lifestyle refresh cycle.  I’m looking at clothes, make-up and home decor in a more refined way.  Maybe there will be some of that coming soon to the blog and to Youtube.  😉
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Resources

IMG_0333

 

Today I wanted to take an opportunity and list some of the RA resources I find most helpful and encouraging.  I tend to like communities that encourage and try to uplift each other in contrast to those that create an environment of negativity.  Please don’t misunderstand me…sometimes it is hard for me to remain positive about my diagnosis, how I’m feeling or the prospects of what its doing to my life.  I do think it’s important to have a community that supports you when you need to air those frustrations.  I also believe that its important for my mental health to surround myself with a team of forward-thinking individuals.

Furthermore, I am a fan of true and accurate facts.  You’ll notice that I have very few medical references for RA because I feel medical advice and data should be presented only from a reputable and peer-reviewed source.

I hope you find some of these resources helpful if you’ve found me but are having trouble navigating the waters of internet information and communities.  As with any type of health related information it is always most important to speak to your health care team about symptoms, possible diagnosis and treatment options.

National Health/Arthritis Organizations

Blogs I Enjoy

  • All Flared Up:  An Arthritis Blog
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy
    • He provides a very honest look at RA and I enjoy hearing from a male perspective too.  It helps me remember that we’re all in this together regardless of gender or specific ailments.
  • RA Warrior
    • Kelly is very knowledgable and has a proven track record for advocating and learning all she can about RA.  There is a lot of information available through her site.

I have long searched for YouTube channels that would provide a face to a name or a face to associate with someone else who was suffering or had questions about RA just like me.  I haven’t found one that is specifically dedicated to Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is primarily why I started my own channel.  I have found another girl out there who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder and RA and she has the best outlook on how to handle the highs and the lows.  I am a lover of make-up and beauty products which she covers as well but many of her videos log the day-to-day struggles of someone dealing with chronic illness.  Coupling that with her fun personality I will forever recommend her to anyone looking for a face to connect with in the virtual world.

 YouTube Channel

As always check in your local community as well for local chapters or resources that may be able to help you get in touch with others in your area.  Don’t be afraid to reach out on social media as well.  Search hashtags; search Pinterest; keep searching until you find a place for your heavy and questioning heart to land.

I wish you happy searching.  Until you find your happy place I’ll be right here for you.  🙂

xo,

Christi

  • I’m getting so excited for our wedding day.  I’m mostly excited that I get to live with the man of my dreams starting that day.
  • We had Dickey’s BBQ for dinner tonight.  It’s rather new to our community.  Do you have one where you live?
  • I was able to touch base with several of my girlfriends throughout the day today.  I am so blessed to have such incredible women in my life.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

IMG_0898

I took the dogs for a walk the other day at a local park.  It had been foggy the night before so the overnight freezing temperatures coated everything in a beautiful frost.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.

IMG_0913

IMG_0925

IMG_0943

IMG_0951

 

While we walked I saw Violet itching to break out into a full sprint and play until she dropped.  She’s always been the more active pup of the two.  This year, however its been a bit different.  Denali has a confirmed tear in his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his back left knee.  He’s been hobbling around for a while but the vet confirmed the tear last week.  He will need surgery and 12 weeks of recovery to get back to a working knee.

As we walked at the park that day I saw him happy but working hard for each stride and step.  I could see Violet’s excitement to play with her brother and run and eat snow…but Denali couldn’t keep up.  He knew he was limited and needed to take it easy.

It made me think about how many times I’ve been with others who wanted to run ahead and put in a full force effort and I just wasn’t able to.  I flashed back to being with Chris in Alaska and trying to climb a trail and having a very hard time.  You know what though?  He waited.  Every.  Time.  He took care of me.  He asked if I needed breaks.  Although I encouraged him to go ahead without me he said no.  He told me he’d rather wait with me than be hiking up without me.

For some reason that day Violet seemed to finally understand that Denali couldn’t run and play with her.  So, she walked with him.  Sure she’d run ahead just a bit but she always came back to check on him.

In this season of holidays I find myself ever more thankful for all of those who stand by my side and support me when I can’t keep up or when I’m down on my luck.  Without them stopping to take breaks and take care of me I’d be a lot worse off.  I know I’m lucky and blessed.  I want you to know I’m also so incredibly thankful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xo,

Christi

  • There’s a killer storm trying to roll in.  The wind is just blowing like crazy out there.
  • I’m preparing to host for Christmas.  My favorite part is preparing to host for my furry guests too.  🙂
  • I think it’s time for something warm to drink.  That wind is making me feel cold even though I’m inside!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Vinyl Obsessed

IMG_0384

My vinyl obsession continues.  Yes those are Christmas albums you see here.  What?!  I am preparing for the holidays.  🙂

Truly, though…my grandparents called me one summer evening this year and asked if I would like a box of older vinyl records from my great aunt’s house.  I immediately said yes without knowing what was included in the inventory.  My parents then brought them back  after a trip to see Grandma & Grandpa.  When I picked them up I was so excited to go through and see what treasures had just been gifted to me.  Among the many I found around 8-9 Christmas albums and a Soundtrack of Oklahoma!

So, you see, I’ve been waiting all summer and fall to play these Christmas records to see if they’re any good or if I need to get rid of them or turn them into crafts.  So far they have all been amazing!  It’s like listening to your favorite Christmas song on an old victrola.  Somehow I’m transported back to being 10 years old and listening to Christmas music in my pi’s and socks.

I had purchased a few inexpensive Christmas albums also from my local Hasting’s store.  They carry drawers and drawers of used vinyl records.  You have to spend some time but you’ll find some treasures buried among the crud.

I don’t yet know which one my favorite is but I’m hoping by the end of the Christmas season to know for certain.  I guess I’ll have to keep playing them until I have a definitive winner.

Here are a few of my favorite album covers:

IMG_0387

I love this one that looks like a cross stitch piece.  How telling of the time to make it look like a popular crafting technique.

IMG_0388

 

I also really like this one with the reindeer.  Anyone who knows me well might guess that I like it because of the stars that are incorporated into the design.  They may be right.  I think I also just like reindeer at Christmastime.

In addition to the holiday music I’ve been listening to I finally got a chance to listen to two very special records that I found a few months ago at an antique store close to my hometown.  My mom, sis and I went for the day to a neighboring town to visit a few of our favorite shops.  When I came across these fun albums my mind immediately entered a daydream of sitting in front of the record player with my future kids while they listened intently to the story being told.  (Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a daydreamer?)

Drumroll please….I bought The Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan albums that day.  They both had the vinyl included.  Each of them have a story book within them, however both are missing pages.  I was hopeful the record would make up the deficit and I wasn’t disappointed!

IMG_0389

IMG_0390

IMG_0391

IMG_0392

 

By the time I finished listening to both of these records I was transported back to being a kid again.  It must be something about this time of year that does that to me.  🙂

xoxo,

Christi

  • Tonight my Dad is taking me to see the comedian Paula Poundstone.  I’m very excited!  I listen to her often on my favorite radio show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.
  • I’m trying out a new purple lipstick.  I’m loving it worn a bit sheered out.  It is a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless.
  • It’s been in the negative temperatures here for many days in a row.  I finally broke the pups out of this house and let them run around at the park.  They loved it!
  • Our engagement picture session is tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to start this process with my main squeeze.  So in love…
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Not So Lovely Lady Bumps

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.57.20 AM

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock you’ve probably heard the song “My Humps” by the Blackeyed Peas.  She sings about her lovely lady lumps and bumps and I’ll be the first to admit it is quite catchy.

Today I’m sharing a product with you that is helping with  my not so catchy or lovely lady bumps that are caused by Keratosis Pilaris or KP.  This is a medical condition that can cause red, raised and sometimes itchy bumps on the surface of your skin.  Some think they are ingrown hairs and some people think they are freckles.  I wish it were just freckles… Those who say its an ingrown hair problem are quite close but not exactly head on.  KP is caused when a protein in the skin plugs the follicles and causes them some problems.  The protein that plugs them up is keratin.  Thus, Keratosis Pilaris or KP.

Having these little raised bumps on your arms as a kid is quite embarrassing.  Other kids would point it out and make fun of me for looking a bit different.  I hated them and they often itched so being a kid I picked at them until I could clear them all of their “white heads” even though they weren’t acne pimples.  By picking at them I ended up with a lot of scarring on my arms which now often look like freckles from a distance but almost like chicken skin up close.

As I’ve grown older I found more and more patches of KP occurring all over my body and the battle was on to find the perfect product.  Having passed through many lotions, body scrubs and the like I finally stumbled upon Dermadoctor’s KP Duty while at Ulta.  The sales specialist really helped explain what she knew about the products and I was ready to try the next item in the line of products to try.

Check out my review video below on the video page!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and to my YouTube channel.  Make sure you never miss a video or update!

As with any item I post be sure to consult with your medical team before trying any products as I am not a trained medical professional.

xoxo,

Christi

  • Lunch today will be leftover homemade pizza!  Yummo!!
  • We walked around one of our city parks this morning.  For once I didn’t have earphones in but I loved listening to the wind rattle the reeds by the lake and to hear the sound of our feet as we shuffled through the freshly fallen leaves.
  • Tonight is home date night with my man.  We’re thinking movies and cuddling.  What could be more perfect?
  • We picked out our wedding bands yesterday.  OMG you guys….WAIT until you see how beautiful mine is!  Spoiler Alert:  Yellow Diamonds.  🙂
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

Now Presenting: My Backyard

I currently rent property that backs up to a wonderfully typical Wyoming field.  The field even includes cows that come to visit on occasion.  As I sat outside drinking my coffee and enjoying the view one morning I thought about those time-lapse videos that show us the changing landscape of a particular location.  It sparked me to wonder how many things we pass by in our every day lives that are the same view but aren’t really the same after all.

I present to you: my backyard series.  I am going to keep capturing the same view of my backyard with its changing landscape and present them here.  Because although it may be the same angle it’s never truly the same out there.  The leaves are different.  The sky is changing.  The weather is doing whatever it feels like (trust me, when you live in Wyoming you don’t count on any type of weather forecasting).

I live in a beautiful state and I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to have an un-obstructed view just steps away from my coffee machine.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Keep an eye on the things you think are constant because as we know from our junior high science classes…nothing is at rest.

IMG_1251

IMG_1274

IMG_1278

xoxo,

Christi

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather

He loves me. He loves me not.

IMG_1295

Like many others I would pick wildflowers as a girl (mostly dandelions) and take one petal off the flower at a time reciting the old “He loves me.  He loves me not.” chant.   As a lover of data to prove trends and conduct trend analysis I wish I would have taken notes on how many times I ended on “He loves me.” and how many times I ended on “He loves me not.”  It would have helped so much along the way.  I kid…I kid…

I typically include up to $20 in my grocery budget to buy fresh flowers for my house.  I like almost all flowers that are available at my local supermarket so it’s not hard for me to find something beautiful when I shop.  I find that having something living and freshly changed in my environment really helps my mood.  Every time I wake to a beautiful arrangement on my nightstand or walk by a vase filled with amazing flowers I find myself smiling.

You would think that having fresh flowers all of the time is an expensive thing.  For some $20 might be steep.  You can get a bundle of flowers at my local supermarket for as low as $4 or $5 and it’s completely worth it.  The trick is to start playing with bundles of flowers on your own from a  cheap supplier (supermarket, flower vendor, farmer’s market vendor) and create your own beautiful arrangements for your home or even gifts for others.

I am not a florist by trade, chance or by any other means.  I just keep playing with colors and arrangements until I come up with something that I love.  I keep vases that flower deliveries come in so that I have vases for my weekly/bi-weekly fresh flowers.  Think of other vessels that will work too:  mason jars, cute coffee mugs, old planters, cleaned out old candle containers  (my favorites are the Bath & Body Works containers), glasses from your kitchen…the possibilities are endless and not expensive at all.

The arrangement pictured here is made from a bundle of $10 roses and $4 daisies.  I arranged them in a square vase I received with birthday or Valentine’s Day flowers this last year.  I trimmed all of the rose stems to the same length and I trimmed the ends on an angle.  I have always heard that trimming flowers on an angle helps them last longer.  I have no idea if that is true but I do it because it can’t hurt, right?  Since the roses didn’t fill the entire vessel I used a small bundle of dyed daisies (I originally purchased them to be in their own vase) and used them to fill the middle of my arrangement.  Most bundles of flowers come with a plant food mixture. I use this food for my arrangements and find my flowers lasting a week or more.

IMG_1294

These beautiful little treats around the house can make such a difference.  If you can’t afford bundles of flowers to make your own arrangements consider picking wildflowers for your house.  If you want something year round consider asking someone for an indoor flowering plant for your Christmas or birthday present this year.  Outdoor plants are a great option as well if you have a long growing season.  If you’re allergic to most flowers or plants consider silk flower arrangements.  Silk flowers have come along way in the last few decades and some are simply beautiful.  Try to keep them dusted and tidy.  Nothing says old silk flowers like, well…old silk dusty flowers.

Just remember to think creatively and give yourself little gifts of life, beauty and hope in any way you can.

IMG_1292

xoxo,

Christi

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestby feather