Walking Through Wanderlust

Now that the travel itch has taken over, and I have no trips currently scheduled, I figured I would start a new series called Walking Through Wanderlust. I am going to start this series by recapping all of the places I have been thus far, and hopefully I will have newer destinations to post later this year. In the mean time I have oodles of photos to post from some of my past trips, including advice on what to do and see in each place.

Today I want to focus on my most recent trip because it's still fresh in my mind.

Destination: Denver/Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Date: May 7-10 2016
Day 1 & 2

We flew into Denver and then drove half way to Glenwood Springs. I would have to say, this was one of the best choices we could have made. It was beautiful, but we ran into winter conditions just as it started to get dark, which wasn't far from where we had plans to stop for the night. Today I want to share with you day 1 which consisted of our half way point drive to Glenwood springs and what we did on day 2.

We landed later in the day in Denver and were greeted by this lovely sky. We quickly headed for the rental cars and booked it to the highway before the storm hit.

Heading into the Rockies! Wish us luck!

We drove halfway to Glenwood Springs our first night and stopped at a cute little hotel in Friscoe called The Alpine Inn. It looked very new and was very quiet. It had an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, which we took advantage of after a scary drive in the mountains. The snow was really coming down when we parked at the hotel. We enjoyed how cozy the place was!

The lobby at the Alpine Inn
We got up the next morning to make the second part of the trek to Glenwood Springs. We had really nice weather and some pretty amazing scenery!

Our view outside the Alpine Inn before we hit the road.

We made it to Glenwood Springs earlier than anticipated so we decided to take a walk and get some brunch. We ate at the Colorado Ranch House, which was serving your first mimosa free in honor of Mother's Day. It was pretty amazing along with the food. I recommend this place to anyone who is visiting the area! The outdoor patio was super cute too!

We finished up our brunch right as it started to rain, and just in time to be able to check into our hotel. We stayed at the Best Western The Antlers. It was a really cute hotel centrally located to all the attractions in the area, including the hot springs. The price was pretty great too.

We spend an hour or so in the hotel and then headed to Iron Mountain Hot Springs. This was the highlight of the trip! I had been dying to get into some hot springs and Glenwood Springs was the perfect destination for that.

We had such a good time at the springs (pictured above), we did not take our phones or cameras in. We did not want to risk getting them wet. I was glad we didn't because while enjoying the soaking tubs, a quick hail storm came over the mountains and drenched us. Let me just say, running barefoot in the ice from the hail was not fun. But, as they say in Glenwood Springs, "Welcome to Spring in the Rockies!"

We enjoyed this part of the day a lot. We got back to the hotel and showered and nearly fell asleep from all of the travelling and relaxation we experience that day. We peeled ourselves off the bed and headed out to dinner at a place called Grinder. It had really good food and the prices were decent. I am glad we had a chance to eat here. There were so many options!

This is how we spent our first full day (Day 2) in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Come back next Wednesday to see how the rest of our trip went!

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When Blogging is Awkward

If you're a blogger you've probably found yourself in some kind of awkward situation. Whether it be to get that perfect photo, or talking about a subject that makes others uncomfortable. We have all been there at least once. I thought I would start a series to share my laughable awkward moments. I hope you will follow along and share your laughable awkward moments as well!

Awkward Moment # 257

Friend 1: I have a package that got delivered to my house in your name.

Me: Well that's funny, but either way I'm glad you have it.

Friend 1: Want me to bring it over to you while you're at work?

Me: Sure!

An hour later: Friend 1 shows up with Friend 2 who is a male

Friend 1: Here is the box!

Friend 2: I hope whatever is in that box is important! She ran it right over!

Me: Oh it's just some tampons! No big deal.

Friend 2: Laughs (makes a joke kind of uncomfortable)

Me: I mean it's for blogging. I need to review them.

Friend 1 and 2: Laughs.

Me: Oh blogging! 

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Friday Ramblings

After what seemed like the longest week ever, we have FINALLY made it to Friday! I could not be more thrilled to have a weekend ahead with no plans in sight. I am closing in on all of the pre-wedding events along with other events sprinkled in, and I feel like the rest of my summer is pretty much booked.

I am getting excited for my wedding, yet feel like I have so much to still do before it happens. I am really looking forward to my bridal shower in 2 weeks. I get to see all my girls on top of family who I don't get to see as often.

Other things on my mind are photos for this blog, or lack of. I have a wonderful DSLR and I hardly ever pull it out. I feel very guilty about this. It was a joint Christmas present from my parents and R 2 years ago. I do love it, but I just can't seem to pull it out often enough. I really thought summer would force me to use it more, and here we are at the end of July and I have yet to pull it out.

I am making it a point to use it more because who doesn't want nice crisp photos for the blog? Tonight would be the perfect occasion to pull it out, as I have a work event at a winery. I'm sure there will be some pretty amazing views to catch.

Something that has really been on the mind the past few weeks is travel. I have not done enough of it lately and I really want to get something set up. I have to admit, I have never taken a trip with my girlfriends where we explore new cities and then stay up and laugh all night about our day. I am desperately seeking this type of trip, along with a possible solo trip, which I mentioned here.

I am hoping I can also take some trips with R as well. We are not 100% set on a honeymoon, but we have a few pretty amazing ideas in mind. I will share once we decide. Honestly I would be happy with either of the options. Just anxious to get going! Also another good reason to break out the good camera..

I have come to the conclusion that I am way more creative in my own head then I am actually implementing them. I have so many things I want to write about on this blog and they never seem to come to life. I am really working on making them all realities. I literally have notebook pages filled with great ideas and yet I scroll through my archives and see none of them here. Or maybe some half- assed (exused my french) starts to these ideas that never really go anywhere.

I feel like a broken record at this point. So much whining about what I haven't done. I need to take the energy I have used to complain about it and just do some of it. I am going to hopefully spend a good chunk of my weekend doing this. I must clean off my desk first and sit down. I think this will be the starting point of keeping me motivated and keeping my attention on the blog.

So after all of that, do you all have any questions for me? It has been pretty quiet around here lately. Not much interaction. Sorry if I  have scared you all away. Please come back. I promise to be a better host here. Oh and if I have to beg, I will.. please check out my post on hosting a country chic picnic on the cheap.. It is one of my favorite posts yet!

Have a great weekend folks!

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Questions about mental health in our world today

Turn on the TV, there’s been a shooting.

Turn on the TV, there’s been a kidnapping.

Turn on the TV, there’s been a bombing.

Turn on the TV, there’s been tragic accident.

Turn on the TV, there’s been a natural disaster.

Do I sound like a broken record yet?

You can’t turn on the television, radio, or log onto the internet without being bombarded with negative news. I am starting to wonder if this is on purpose. Are we supposed to live in fear? Is it somehow easier to do that? Does it make us stronger to live in such a world that broadcasting all the bad all the time helps us be prepared for the next bad thing?

My next thought is, how is everyone’s mental health as a whole? Are we all really holding it together? Are we cracking at the seams slowly?

Let me take you back to another time of fear and shock. Let me take you back to the first real attack here on US soil. Let me tell you what I witnessed as an 18 year old girl in her first month as a college student. A girl who was going out to make something of herself in this wonderful world. A girl who is now shaped differently then she originally planned. September 11, 2001 changed me.

I worked at a grocery store during my first semester of college. I woke up, reacted to the news of what had just happened just like any person would. I was curious. I was shocked. I was confused. But I went on to work because that is what I was supposed to do. 

I watched grown adults come and go all day in different forms of emotions. There were people who knew people who were in that city that day. There were people who were firefighters who were called to protect our small town during that scary day. There were veterans who have fought in many wars and couldn’t comprehend what had happened that day.

Fast forward a few months. Many of these same people I encountered were now on antidepressants and anxiety medications. They couldn’t shake what had happened and it made them uncomfortable. It should make them uncomfortable. There is evil in this world that exists. There are people in this world who want nothing more than to see people suffer. 

Now fast forward almost 15 years I ask myself, in a time that we all argue about mental health, and the lack of information and care available, if we are all taking care of ourselves. Are we getting the help we need to help us through these tough times? Are we taking time for ourselves?

The answer scares me, because I for one have come into contact with people who have told me they can’t afford mental health. They can’t afford to pay to speak to someone about their pain. They don't have time for themselves. Is this really okay?

In the world as we know it today, we are all exposed to so much negative. What we see today, everyday on the news is like reliving the pain we all experienced on that first shock of 9/11. We see it magnified daily with all forms of tragedy. We see people tearing each other down on their own beliefs when these events happen.

When can we get a break? Are we going to be forced to just stop turning on our tvs, radios, and computers? Is that the answer?

What do you think? Is mental health becoming more of an issue because of the negativity we are exposed to on a daily basis or is it something bigger than that?

I’d love to have a conversation with you about this in the comments. I really am interested to see how others view this topic.

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Country Chic on the Cheap

Summer is in full swing, and I can't imagine you haven't been to at least one BBQ or picnic. Maybe you have hosted a few of your own. I know for me personally, when I throw a party, I enjoy making the atmosphere enjoyable for my company. I love to go above and beyond without spending a lot of money. Today I want to show you how you can throw a country chic picnic without breaking the bank.

I work for a non-profit and we rely heavily on our volunteers to keep operations moving. This year we wanted to throw them all an amazing picnic, but being a non-profit we didn't have much to spend. This is where you can get creative. We threw a country chic picnic for 75 people and spend $0 on the decor.. no really, we did all of what I am about to show you without spending a dime.

So we started out with a pavillion at a park that looked like this:

We borrowed a whole bunch of table cloths from friends and family that had floral, plaid, or solid themes:

We went out and picked a whole bunch of wild flowers and then assembled them into some borrowed mason jars for some really pretty flower arrangements we used as center pieces:

We borrowed fun printed cloth napkins, white plastic square plates, and fun green plastic silverware:

We put everything together with mis-matched table cloths, napkins, pine cones, and then added the flower arrangements, and voila!...

Here is the finished product! We even hung some pretty lanterns someone donated from their wedding! It really made the difference!

It's amazing what a little borrowed and donated stuff can do for a party of 75. I can tell you this one little secret, people LOVE to show off their unused table cloths.
Especially if they are outdated and covered in flowers!

I am sure you know at least one person who is hoarding all the floral table tops. As long as you promise to take good care of them and wash them after, you should have no problem snatching up a few for your country chic backyard picnic!

If we could pull it off for 75 people, you can definetely pull it off in your backyard with a few of your closest friends!

What do you think? Could you pull this off?

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Solo Travel

As I was stopped at a stop sign on a country road heading to my parents house, I got a vision. It was me taking off on a road trip across the country. I could see myself driving off, hair blowing behind me as I went on my adventure.

It was obvious that the travel bug has bitten me. I'm itching to get up and go. My whole being aches for the refreshing cleanse that is travel. It's probably not helping to read travel blogs...

I want to be able to take an extended period of time off and travel. I want to see the world off the beaten path. I want to experience beautiful places you only dream about in magazines.

And I want to do it alone.

Yes I want to take a solo trip. I want to take myself out of my comfort zone. I want to experience a retreat for myself. Learn about myself. Learn to face my fears.

I want to be able to strap on a back pack of  only ehatbwhat I'll need and hit the road for a few weeks. Maybe just in my own country. But I know that won't be enough. I want to explore the earth we live on.

My travel list is growing and I need to share it with you. Sharing it will motivate me to make things happen.

So tell me, do you have the travel itch? Where have you traveled and where would you recommend I go?

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Making Sunshine on a Monday!

Happy Monday beautiful souls! Today I wanted to do something I have been meaning to start, but due to my intense waves of emotions the last few weeks, it just didn't happen! Today I want to announce my first Random Act of Kindness winner!

Back in May when the blog turned 2, I announced I was changing some of the structure here. I wanted to give back and help as many people as I could through this blog. Whether it be by helpful posts or showing my appreciation with a small gift.

So today I wanted to make someone's Monday by sending them a small gift just because. The very first recipient is.... Christine from Christine Everyday!

Christine is a blogger I "met" back early on in my blogging career. She has been super supportive of my blog and always knows how to cheer me up when I have a bad day. Thank you Christine for being a great person!

Now, are you wondering how to get a Random Act of Kindness from me? It's pretty easy actually. You just need to interact with me on this blog and social media. I can't see how wonderful you are if you don't make yourself known to me! You also don't have to be a blogger to be chosen!

The only thing I ask from you in return if you are chosen is, to pay it forward! Brighten someone's day somehow then tag me so I can see what you did!

As always, I appreciate each and every one of you. No matter how slow I am at getting back to people, know it's not because I don't care. I promise it's not that!

Have a great Monday!

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Someone's celebrating a birthday..

Today is a very special day! My baby kitty Grace turns 1! I am so happy to have her in my life and even more excited to know her birth date so I can celebrate it. It has been 6 wonderful months, so today I thought it would be fun to post some things about her. Celebrate her!

All About Grace:

Nicknames: Gracie, Gracelina, Grayson

Favorite toys: Bird and Squirrel (her stuffed friends) and her yoga mat! Yes she has a yoga mat and she might be getting a new one for her birthday.. (Yep I'm a crazy cat lady)

Personality: Playful, yet bossy. She loves to play, snuggle, and be silly, but once she's had enough she will give you that warning swat. 

When Grace isn't sleeping she is either meowing at every reflection on the walls or literally bouncing off the walls chasing them.

Over the past week, Grace has taken a like to new foods. She must inspect everything we have. She must feel herself getting older, so trying all the foods is on her bucket list. She has always been a picky eater and would only eat her kibble and some forms of chicken. Now she wants all the ice cream!

Grace really loves her new brother Rick. She has accepted him into our family and can be found wrestling with him or snuggling up with him at night. Two peas in a pod.

Grace loves her humans. She enjoys laying in between R and I, making sure she is touching both of us. Melts my heart every time. She loves her individual attention.

Grace has brought so much love into our home. She is the sweetest little soul. I can't imagine my life without her.

Happy Birthday my little Grace!

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Be brave

Life will anger you.

Life will excite you.

Life will chew you up and spit yout out.

Life will pick you up when you are weak.

Life will break you down.

Life will make you smile.

Life will make you hurt.

Life will bring tears of joy.

Life will make you sorry.

Life will make you thankful.

Life will make you question everything you know.

Do you accept the challenge?

All you can do is be brave.

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July Goals 2016

I am not even sure I really had any June goals at this point. If I did, I think they changed a lot. I was mourning. I was grieving. I was finding a new part of myself that needed to come forward. Because I learned a hard lesson in June, it also reminded me once again, that I need to take care of myself. I looked back at my July goals from last year and it was to have fun. I remember it not being very fun due to some, I guess drama? Things have slowly gotten to a better place, but still so much to learn. 

July’s goals are going to be half about fun and half about me. I had lunch with a friend this week who reminded me that fun can also be about us. Something we enjoy alone without others involved. I know that sounds a little off, but I think she is right. She told me she planned one thing a week for self care for herself for the whole summer. It took some time to get put together, but she said it’s worth it now that it’s all done and planned. 

Now that we have made it through the first half of the year, July feels like a turning point to me. Getting back on track for the rest of the year. I have put a lot of thought into what I want to work towards this month. Hopefully it can inspire me more. Get me out of the rut I feel like I fell back into. 

Schedule “Me” time
I really loved the idea of putting one thing a week on the books for me and self care. Because it is Summer, and life gets busy, I decided to skip the next 7 week yoga course that I have been participating in since March. At the time I thought it was a good idea. Now I am thinking it may have been a bad decision. I miss it, and it kept me motivated. I am going to spend the next few days putting stuff into my planner and getting myself back into the groove of fun for me. 

Read, Write, and Color
Back in February I challenged myself to write every day. I didn’t end up writing every day, but I came pretty close. I have fallen off that train again, so it’s time to get back on. I also want to pick up my reading, which I have done fairly well with over the past few weeks, but need to do a little better. Lastly I want to dig into some of my coloring items I got for Christmas. 

I have been working on a lot of projects outside of the blog. I want to bring some of those to life on the blog and also continue the re-vamping I had planned for June. I want to start implementing my Random Acts of Kindness series as well as my stepmom posts. I owe some giveaway prizes as well. I promise I have not forgotten.. 

Find my Tribe
I have a few blogging buddies, but to be honest, with my inconsistency I have really lost the bond I used to have. I want to strengthen that again and get back into the support group. I really enjoyed having blogger friends. I want that back. Making it a goal!

I’m really hoping to reach all of these goals this month, although some may stay ongoing, because I want to feel like this space matters again. I want to know I matter again. The first person I need to persuade is myself. 

Here’s to a month of fun and me time! What are your goals?

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