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.



  • 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!
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Actively Enduring



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.



  • 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.  😉
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Land of the LIVING: 2014 Year In Review


Thanks for joining me for my year in review.  A lot has happened this year and I think it’s important to remember all of the good AND bad things from the past year and reflect on all of them.  


  1. Losing loved family and friends. 
  2. Being laid off
  3. Losing health insurance (see #2)
  4. Denali’s torn ACL


  1. Moved back to my hometown
  2. Being laid off
  3. Traveling to London, Ireland, Stonehendge, Alaska, Montana and Nashville
  4. Getting engaged <3
  5. Moving into the new house
  6. Holidays with my families
  7. New contract job opportunities
  8. Actively used my gym membership (and LOVED it!)
  9. Lived as fully as possible

The majority of my year can be summed up by referencing the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The main character, Walter, redefines himself through a series of events.  In the end, being forced to examine himself and his life outside of what he’s known for 16 plus years was the best possible thing for Walter to finally start living the life he was destined for.  Part of me loves this movie for its amazing representation of true Wanderlust.  Most of me loves this movie for helping me make the choice to take a lay-off in the early summer and return my life, actions and decisions to not only myself, but my love, my family and my friends.  Its all too easy to get busy with life that we forget how to LIVE.  I am not perfect at it yet but I know I’ve never been happier (and more poor) than I am at the end of this year.

I had the chance to take stock of what truly matters to me in this life.  I had a glimpse that few get and an opportunity to make the changes I needed to save my life for LIVING.  My goal for 2015 is to continue to take a look at the most important parts of my life and spend my energy there.

A few years ago I finally realized and understood that not everyone is granted the same amount of time on this earth.  Far too many are taken away from us too young.  I vowed then and there to not speak in vain of any birthday, revolution or milestone that I may reach or surpass.  It’s an amazing thing to feel what these words mean:  Every day is a gift.  And it truly, truly is.

May you chose to LIVE in 2015.



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Deer Me




On Saturday while chatting with my mom around the table we noticed a small pack of deer crossing the creek behind the house.  I ran into my office and grabbed the camera.  They were so beautiful against the frosty backdrop and so elegant while walking and crossing the ice.

We had a fantastic Christmas with tons of love, laughs and good times.  I am taking some time today to recuperate, however.  Even the best Christmases can be exhausting!  I hope these images help you unwind a bit in your mind too.














  • I’m not sure that yoga class has ever felt as good as the one I took this morning!  I must have needed it!
  • I was worried that my gym membership ran out at the end of December.  I found out this morning that it ends at the end of January!  Wahoo!  I love my routine these days.
  • Let me know your favorite Christmas memory.
  • We’re in another cold snap today.  With windchill it currently feels like -20 degrees.  Its only going to get colder.  Brrr.  Time to make some soup!


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Walking in a Winter Wonderland


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.






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!



  • 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!
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O Christmas Tree


Through the moves over the years, the apartment living and being single neither Chris or I had a very nice Christmas tree option.  Since we moved into the new house at the beginning of December we thought it would be nice to buy a new tree for the new house and start our own holiday traditions.  To that end, one cold dark Black Friday morning my sister and I headed to Home Depot to purchase new trees.  Our mom had seen the special on this Martha Stewart Living Tree and that it would be more than $100 off!  Since every little bit helps when you’re moving into a new home we agreed this would be the perfect tree for our new place.  My sister needed a new tree too and ended up getting the same one!  I love that.

There were several attractive features about the tree right away.  First, it comes in 3 sections.  No color-coded branches to align; no cords to plug in.  You literally stack the parts together in order, fluff the branches and plug it in.  Nice, right?!

The second cool and completely unnecessary feature was that the lights are remote controlled.  I have a few tree sensors that can time the lights to come on or help turn them on quickly but we get quite a kick out of having a remote controlled tree.

Thirdly, the lights are LED and come in white or multi-colored.  The tree itself has 3 settings:  alternating white & multicolored with flashing, all white or all multi-colored.  We have tried all three options.  I’m beginning to prefer the white lights during the day and the multicolored at night.  As you can see from the pictures the multicolored lights add so much saturated color to the room at night.  There’s even a Northern Lights affect on the ceiling!


I slowed my shutter speed on my camera, turned the tree on the white & multicolored flashing setting and captured what the tree would look like if you could turn both the white and multicolored on at the same time.



At the end of the day we are in love with the new tree.  We can’t wait to have our families over on Christmas to enjoy it with us.

I thought it would be fun to include a few of our favorite Christmas tree ornaments in this post as well.  We have more, of course, but these are just a few that we love.







We took a vacation to Maui in October 2013.  Last Christmas we bought this ornament to remember that trip.


Chris and I love going to concerts and were able to attend several in 2013.  He also plays the drums so we thought this would be fitting to remember both of those fun life events.


When Chris returned to our hometown his mom purchased this ornament for him and his little apartment tree.


When we first started dating he fell in love with my Keurig.  (You thought I was going to stay me, didn’t you?!?) 😉  One of our favorite things to do is have morning coffee and start the day together.  Since we were long distance I bought him a Keurig machine for his apartment and at the end of the year we both ended up buying this same ornament for each other.  Yes, we have two of them.  His and Hers Keurigs.   I think its adorable.


This is one of Chris’ favorite ornaments and reminds him of some times he’s spent in Vegas.


My wonderful friend Judy gave me this White House Historical Society ornament one year for Christmas.  It is such an intricate piece.  I love the history it represents.  I would like to start collecting these and have a tree full of them each year.  The create a new ornament every year and only so many are made.  Now that I think about it…maybe I shouldn’t advertise this and encourage other’s to buy a limited amount of what I want too!  Haha.



  • I can clearly see the Rocky Mountains from my office window today.  I LOVE THIS VIEW!
  • I am going shopping with my mom tonight for one last Christmas present and then I’ll be ready!  🙂
  • Christmas cards are starting to roll in. I love seeing friends and family’s special moments throughout the year!


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Veteran’s Day 2014



It’s very cold here.  1 degree Fahrenheit to be exact. My weather app tells me that with the windchill it feels like -16F outside.  The freezing temps, however didn’t matter to the brave souls who got up early on this Veteran’s honor day to place flags on the veteran crosses that are scattered around our local cemetery.  I drove around the cemetery to view the flags and honor these fallen heroes in bone-chilling windy silence for one reason:  they braved the worst of the worst for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been particularly committed to honoring our nation’s heroes in the past.  I didn’t pay attention to holidays like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  To me at the time they were just days off or excuses for time-and-a-half at a job.  I was extremely uninformed.  I started paying more attention to what these days are intended to be once I started to know more and more veterans.  Still, I didn’t understand the importance of honoring them.  Worst yet, my dad and grandpa also served but for the longest time I just didn’t get it.  They never made a big deal out of these days and I never really gave it a second thought.  I don’t believe in regret but there are so many years that I was so foolish about not acknowledging these brave souls that I do feel shame in my ignorance now.

To that end I will only add, “Thank You.”   Happy Veteran’s Day to all of the honorable men and women who served our country.






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Autumn Turns Into Winter


This past weekend a long-time friend of mine laid her father to rest.  I use the term father in the meaning that he was her dad regardless of biology.  He was the one she looked to for strength and support growing up.  I am so deeply saddened by his loss for her.  It’s later in life when you truly start to dread the hurts of those you love and care about coming true for you as well.

I don’t consider myself a morbid person but I do think about losing my parents from time to time.  I have been blessed with 4 amazing parents who have been nothing but supportive and helpful in getting me this far in life.  I tear up thinking of the day when I have to say goodbye to any of them.

I was reminded of the transitions we go through in life today with the real first winter storm blowing through our community.  Yesterday was just another fall day but today is cold and snowy with dropping temperatures promised overnight.  There are so many times in our lives we go through changes and they’re not always for the better.  Sometimes things transition and our lives are forever changed; like the loss of our parents.

I have much to be thankful for as we move into this winter season but I did want to take a moment to think about those who have loved and lost and those who have given everything for us.  Veteran’s Day is tomorrow.  As a woman in love with a Veteran I am certain that no amount of thankful praise or love will ever explain to him how deep my gratitude goes for his sacrifice and service.  It’s a debt that can never be repaid and I will forever be thankful for him and all of the millions of others.

Allow yourself to experience the transitions in life.  They are here for all of us.  All of us have a season of love, grief, happiness and sorrow.  Allow it to develop and learn how to dress for the new season.  If you need a jacket of warm hugs make sure to surround yourself with those who can provide that comfort.  If you need rejoicing time please include people who will wholeheartedly rejoice right along side you.





  • I love the change of seasons.  I love the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the mashing of two seasons together.
  • I admit it…I have Christmas music playing right now.  🙂
  • I’m so in love with my fiancé I can hardly contain my excitement to have found the partner I’ve longed for.
  • We had a date night the other night with one set of parents.  Never underestimate the fun you can have double-dating with your parents.  Love them!
  • The puppies are happy to be sleeping the days away when it gets colder.  Can’t say I blame them.  😉
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Fall Here



The other day I took the dogs on a walk around one of our favorite city parks, we tested out some new camera equipment and enjoyed the amazing fall weather.  Here in Wyoming we aren’t often privy to such a wonderfully long fall.  Typically our summer ends on a hot note in August then we experience snow or frost the weekend of Labor Day weekend in September.  Then it’s cold and the leaves change fast and fall off right away.  There’s no time for picturesque walks, no transitional Fall outfits, a shortened season of PSLs (pumpkin spiced lattes) and a too early transition to peppermint mochas. Nnnnoooooo!!!!

Fall 2014 is different, however.  We’re well into October now and only this last week the brightest of the amber leaves have started to lose their crisp color and turn into a golden brown.  We really lucked out this year and I’m taking full advantage of it!  I get to wear shorts with tights and long-sleeved shirts and dresses with boots but no tights.  Who knew the Fall transition fashion is so versatile!




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I will continue to enjoy this amazing fall weather and let the pups run around all they can.  They’re loving the cool down and as always its so much fun to photograph them with great color contrast.


Happy Fall y’all!



  • Wedding planning has commenced.  We have a lot to decide but at the end of the day I’ll be marrying my best friend and nothing is better than that!
  • I am currently surrounded by puppy snoring.  I have my two big snore hounds and my puppy nephew tonight as well. I am one happy dog-person.  🙂
  • You should now be able to subscribe to the blog directly and receive automatic updates.
  • Pumpkin chili is getting made tomorrow.  Eaten only by me but made tomorrow!  Lol.
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Walk the Line


Walking is such a great low-impact way to get some exercise, movement and de-stressing into your life.  Although I love to run I haven’t been able to in several years because I can never seem to heal from one jog to another. If you check out RA Warrior’s recent blog post on a shirt she spotted at a sporting good’s store you’ll know that we’re not alone.


It may not be RA or any kind of chronic illness that is preventing you from putting rubber to the road.  One of my best girlfriends recently powered through her emotions of being sidelined from running with a hip injury.  Knowing her and how important her running is to her and also knowing what it’s like to have that taken away from you I was so empathetic to the change this recent injury presented to her life.  She knew, however that she had to let it heal or she wouldn’t be able to return to the road.  So, she waited…and waited…and finally she was able to run again.

Some of us will never run again but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find a new way to be active.  Whatever has put you on the bench and kept you from your favorite game has to be given the respect it needs so you don’t damage yourself further.

For me, one of the things I have replaced with running is walking my dogs.  I love spending time with them anyway and I love to be outside.  And although it’s not as fast paced as running I still get MY time and the chance to decompress my mind.  I walk with earphones in listening to music that fits my current mood.  If I’m sad I work through a sad playlist.  If I’m upset about something the music is a bit heavier.  😉

The point is to find something that keeps you moving and active because RA or not..activity is good for your body, mind and soul.  Water sports, walking, biking, hiking…any activity you can do with little to no pain is the key.  Take care of yourself.  Yesterday’s body will not be here tomorrow.



  • I am making some chili tonight for dinner.  I also made a batch of Famous Dave muffins to go with.  I love those things!!
  • I just posted my video on how to make an inexpensive flower arrangement.  Check it out on my videos page.
  • The puppies are super sleepy after our walk.  Since they are so big it doesn’t take much to tucker them out.
  • I get to have lunch with my stepmom today!  What a treat.  We never get to go to lunch together!  I’m excited.  🙂
  • This has been the most beautiful fall I remember in Wyoming.  We usually go from HOT summer to FROZEN.  Hahaha.  This year we actually have a long fall and I’m soaking it up all I can.
  • Later taters!
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