Minnesota Bound

Sometimes my heart is in constant battle between wanting to explore more places in the U.S. and wanting to live in Minnesota close to my Dad, Schmoo, and good friends.  I was so excited to get to Minnesota in July.  E wasn't able to travel with me so Loaf and I set out to conquer the road together.

I allotted 3.5 days for travel time.  I left at 10am BM time and arrived at my Dad's house at 5pm the next day- yup I was pumped to get home.  My week and a half home was busy- I had family to see, friends to catch up with and Dad's money to help spend.

I checked out the new splash pad in Cottage Grove with Felter and our Schmoo babies.  She also has two schmoos a baby niece and a 3-year old nephew.  We went to Dairy Queen after for ice cream and her nephew was yelling at the wind because it made his ice cream drip.  Made me laugh but glad that my Schmoo is over that stage because there was a day when he was like 2 and a half where I spent an extra 45 minutes in the Maplewood Mall parking lot trying to calm him down. I told him a little fib so he wouldn't spaz about leaving the candy machines.  He really thought he was driving us home because I gave him my keys : ) These two below melt my heart. We stopped at my favorite store to pick them up new shades at...TARGET!  Don't they look like cool dudes?

So I have these 2 cousins who have literally been my forever friends.  One of them happened to find herself a beau while I was gone and I had the opportunity to meet him while I was home.  He gets my vote, he drives a truck, enjoys hunting, likes being on the water and treats my Lou like she deserves.  We had a delicious dinner at Chili's which always seems to be the go to place these days (I'm craving their chips and salsa as I type).

Ever since we were little I've always loved getting their hand-me-downs.  They seem to have better fashion sense than me. Lou cleaned house and I snatched up what I wanted!  Thanks Lou!

They make a good couple as they are both beautiful people.  Oh and she's a cougar...but you'd never be able to tell because she still looks 18  :)

Since E and I moved out west its seems as though some of our friends were busy making babies.  Mike and Amber had Baby J about a week or two after we skipped town last year-so I had to wait 9 whole months to see his handsome face!  For real though...isn't he adorbs?  Good Work Mike and Amber!

One of my longest friends...Mr. Sean Garrity and his gorgeous wife Maria had a baby girl shortly before I left town but it didnt' work out that I was able to meet up with them.  I have you know she's a virgo and virgo babies are the best.  

We went out to breakfast at 4 Seasons in Mahtomedi...I thought I'd never been there but I'd been there. Baby G was so well behaved, well except for flirting with the older man in the booth behind us.  I love seeing people I've known for many years do awesome things with their lives.  Catching up on each other's life, sharing laughs about yesteryear and learning about their plans for a Baby G number 2 made my heart smile!  I couldn't be more proud of Gator- he's a great friend, good husband to his amazing wife, and looks like he's excelling in his new role as a daddy!

After breakfast I followed them back to their place for the grand tour.  Gator has turned out to be quite the handyman and Maria has fabulous taste in decor, I spotted a few DIY Pinterest projects around the house and they have amazing gardens (note plural) in their backyard (can you see the corn in the picture below?).  I'm a bit jealous of their green thumbs to be honest!

Baby G was more into wanting to play with the camera than get her picture taken, as you can tell in the picture below.  I am so glad that I finally had the opportunity to met the doll and that Sean and his beautiful family are in my life.

LaNaMae and I have been friends since the fourth grade if you can believe it and Bill has been my buddy since ninth grade.  They are some of my favorite people so I was sure to make plans with them.  It just wouldn't be right to stay in North Saint Paul and not go to Roddy's.  Leave it to Bill to arrange to meet there.  From Roddy's we went to Bleecher's, a very classy establishment, to say hi to Patrice -LaNa's Mom. From Bleecher's we went to The Loop in Minneapolis to visit my cousin MJO and fill up on my favorite Soho Pizza and chocolate chip dessert.  It was a fabulous yet responsible night out on the town- LaNa thanks for driving.

Grandma Alice is precious to my heart!  She is my BFF's grandmother.  I am by no means a cosmetologist but give occasional manicures to special people- Grandma Alice is definitely a favorite client.  She knows how to make a girl feel special.  She's in a special season in her life, where her thoughts and memories escape her.  Her spirit is strong, her faith is solid, she still has a lot of spunk, and she shows no mercy in solitaire.  I am so grateful for the being able to hang out with Alice while I was home in July.

Dad and I spent a lot of time together while I was home.  It was fabulous- I don't know what was wrong with me as a teenager (if I even tried to figure it out-I bet the number of characters would exceed the maximum character's allowed for a post) but I wish I would have put more energy and time into hanging out with him.  I was able to make dinner a couple nights, we went out to Chipotle, and I helped him drop money on technology.  He's finally caught up with the 21st century- he is the proud owner of a laptop and HDTV, plus all the fun gadgets to go with it.  Admittedly, he's making fabulous progress figuring out the internet and troubleshooting.  I should have put a little more thought into the fact he would call me thinking that I am qualified to provide technical support 1600 miles away.  The arrangement has worked out well though, and we've only been extremely frustrated with each other a few times.

He sent me home with a few kitchen gadgets, a sewing machine (that is still in cellophane wrap from the transport) and my first set of matching dishes (yeah I'm on the backside of 25 its probably about time I get it together).  I shed a few tears pulling out of his driveway but am so happy that we have a healthy relationship these days.  He's amazing and I'm so lucky to be his daughter.

I pulled out of Minnesota with what I went there for...my Schmoo baby!  The next post will chronicle our road-trip and his time in Nevada.

Until then my friends-



June Road Trip

Sometimes life gives you a break when you most need it!  E was able to take a week off and we were able to spend a week on the road; meeting up with family, staying with friends, experiencing new places and enjoying a wonderful wedding!

E & I had not really explored Nevada to the extent that we wanted to so when we were planning our road trip to Denver for a wedding, we decided to make a few stops before our final destination.

First Order of Business- Middle of Nowhere, Nevada

Toquima Campground in Toiyabe National Forest
I enjoyed stopping at this campground and exploring a short trail to the Toquima Caves.  Check out this blogger's post about the caves.  The cave was fenced off but I still managed to get a nice picture of the pictographs (judge for yourself in the slideshow below). On our way back to the truck we took a different route and found a rock cairn on a picnic table securing a funeral program that celebrated a rather young woman's life.  She had chosen a career in conservation and wildlife biology and enjoyed visits to the Toiyabe range.  Death is one of those inevitable things that seems so surreal.  I don't mean the mention of this to be grim just that E & I always talk about making the most out of our lives, enjoying quality time together, being the forever couple, and discussing who gets to die first.  We're hoping we go out Notebook style- together.  Any who- this gal's legacy was that of a nature woman who took advantage of opportunity and here we were on a road trip, with a tight budget- trying to make the most of life.  

Diana's Punch Bowl
I think I have shared this before- E is the tree of random knowledge.  I don't know how he finds out or decides to retain such information but it makes my life much more interesting!  Diana's Punch bowl is super hidden and if you were not intentionally going there- you'd never know 1.) how to find it or 2.) that it was even out there.  The same blogger from above also has a post about the punch bowl.  It made my tummy nervous to be at the edge.  E however was fine and scooted his butt literally- right to the edge.

Pine Creek Campground, Mount Jefferson
There are not many places in Northern/Central Nevada that are worth returning to in my opinion.  Someone from BM will shoot me for saying this but truly everything is so far away with nothing in between.  Pine Creek Campground however was a rare gem that we happened to find on this road trip.  If I didn't know any better I would have thought I was in Minnesota!  There were trees and water- Can you believe it?  We camped by the creek, had a campfire and in the morning took a short hike on a trail that leads to Mount Jefferson.  It was beautiful, super warm but the trees provided enough cover that we weren't miserable.  This is one place I hope we visit again.

Belmont, Nevada- Ghost Town
E pretty much used the google to find anything and everything between Battle Mountain and Rachel, Nevada.  Belmont happened to also be on the list.  The town has a lot of history and is quite inhabited for a ghost town.  We grabbed the brochure from the historic courthouse and did the walking tour.  The bar was closed so we couldn't grab ourselves a cold Cola but we did peek in the windows and it is rather cute.  

Lunar Crater Back Country Byway
Lunar Crater is a BLM site so obviously we had to check it out!  The one super cool thing about the site is that it was once used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a training ground for Apollo astronauts.  Basically it's one big hole in the desert- I feel awful for explaining it that way but I don't know how else to describe it.  We can say we've been there and I can appreciate it that much.

Rachel, Nevada was our destination as we were meeting my cousin and her gf's.  My cousin's BFF was turning the dirty 30 so she surprised her with a vacation.  They've done Vegas a trillion times so she wanted to throw something a little special in there.  Rachel, Nevada is special indeed.  Before meeting up with my Cousin we did hike up a mountain to get a better view. I'm gonna let E tell the Rachel stories because quite frankly he's funnier than I- And I know this because MJo has told me so....

One doesn't dare make a journey into Lincoln County without trying to gain an understanding of the vortex that is occurring. There aren't too many parts of this country left were ones eyes strain looking at the horizon and still the vast open spaces can't be comprehended. It is often said that a tourist just sees, while a traveler does. Stepping out of the comfort zone must take place before being a traveler. One does that by sleeping up high in the Tempiute Mountains where every howl of the wind could be mistaken for an intruder. The vortex is confusing because it lures travelers into thinking that they can see familiar sights by just climbing up the mountain, only to be thrust into more open space.  Venturing into town is the only option left to try and break the code and unlock the mystery, but after talking with the locals all that's left is more confusion. 

It's always a shame to see pretty gals come into a town like this and think that they won't be affected by the uncontrollable forces. A pretty gal named J couldn't bear to watch what was going to happen to 4 Minnesota gals that rolled into town in their rental car. All she could do to escape was to run and hide in the bathroom of the Little A' Le' Inn. She knew what these gals would soon be facing with all their lap sitting and picture snapping. Of course they wanted all that fancy shopping but all that was to be had was Pam's thrift store were a gal could fill a bag for a buck. These girls were looking for a thrill, and it was only a matter of time before they wanted to venture past the gate of no return. They were lucky this time, one false step past that line and they would have entered an unfathomable world without make-up and shopping bags. Fortunately they had enough and there was only time for one last stop- the mail box of the unknown recipient. They peered and they stood atop but still it left no clue, of the mysterious open space that lies between me and you. Each of us were only left with more questions than answers. It was determined that this place better be left alone before the wrong stone was unturned. So off we all rode staring down that down that old dusty road, puzzled by the mystery of Lincoln County, still untold... 

Here are the fun pictures from Rachel with the birthday girl!

Our Short Stay in Utah
Southern Utah is beautiful.  We drove through southern Utah near Zion and then out through the Moab area.  E & I have decided that because NPS sites are not very dog friendly- we do the more adventurous stuff now and leave NPS for when we're old, Loaf is in dog heaven and our bodies don't cooperate as much.  We found a campground tucked on the side of the road, enjoyed a campfire and got our beauty rest.  These pictures are in the first slide show- please see E modeling his new North Face from the Rachel, NV thrift shop... the little things that make that guy smile- make me laugh.

Getting High with the Metcalfe's

J and I were thrilled that we had the opportunity to meet up with Rich and Kathy on our journey through Colorado. Rich and Kathy are amazing people that we came to know while working at Voyageurs National Park, and who were also fabulous love shack neighbors.   The Great Places & Awesome People blog post made mention of them last July. They offered to host us if we were ever nearby, and we decided to take them up on their offer. After many hours of driving through the beautiful country that they call home, we finally arrived in the quaint town of Westcliffe. Rich and Kathy were troopers, and met us at a late hour to lead us back to their humble abode. We felt grateful because the accommodations that they provided were awesome, and are usually what people pay for when they travel. I was excited because Kathy had baked a cake for my upcoming birthday, and they gave me a Westcliffe shirt as a present that I proudly wear all the time (thanks so much guys!-J drinks from her Westcliffe coffee mug every morning too). After Rich laid out the options for the next days' adventure, we chose option C. It would entail an uphill hike to high altitude lakes in the Sangre De Christo mountains, 10+ miles roundtrip. It was just what we needed to stretch out our legs.   Rich had told me about the cutthroat trout that resided in these lakes, and I was eager to lure them in.  The Metcalfe's really ought to become outfitters- the day even came with Kathy's amazing homemade granola bars.   On the hike out Kathy was leading and was startled by a black bear on the trail, I scooped Loaf up to ensure he wouldn't be a bear snack.

All that can be said is, that it was one of the most memorable times of our lives. Awesome friends, great scenery, and trout that were more than willing to bite- in all three lakes I might add. We now have a new favorite home-away-from-home, and we can't wait to return. Even though our time there was short, our memories of that stay will last forever! 

Wedding Bells

My girl Nik is a married woman ya'll!  She tied the knot on June 22nd and I had the honor of being her MOH.  She is a beautiful person inside and out- see for yourself below.

Her and her beau know how to throw a party!  The wedding was fabulous; a flash mob, mojito as the couple's signature drink, and her Dad even made beer and wine for the festivities.  Nik and I were college roommates, we didn't go to the same college but we crossed paths working at Outback together.  She may have found herself a forever roommate but she will be my forever friend.  Below is an excerpt from my MOH speech:

"I'm sure he realizes today as we celebrate their love but I'd just like to remind Derek of what a lucky guy he is to get Nik as a forever roommate.
  • She makes the best waffles and pancakes.  I don't know if they tasted amazing because I was tired and exhausted or hungover.  Either way- Derek you get to enjoy her delicious breakfasts for the next…hopefully 5+ decades.  And I know you'll be enjoying some amazing waffles because you guys were sure to add the deluxe waffle maker to your registry.
  •  Nicole doesn't really get "mad,"  she expresses her aggression in non-assertive ways. So rather than confrontation, you'll get subtle little hints that say "Hey you irritate me when…" For example: I'm a habitual snooze button pusher.  So when I'd have class earlier than her and she was supposed to be able to sleep in, my alarm would go off every 10 minutes for an hour or so, and  she'd sometimes call out from her room to shut it off or get my out of bed.  Well, one year I received an alarm clock on wheels for Christmas.  You know the ones that go off and start rolling all over the room so you literally have to get up and chase it to turn it off.  Hmmmm….I wonder what she meant by that? I think that shows just how patient she is, a quality that I struggle with on a daily basis and one I truly admire in her.  As her now husband, you are a very lucky lucky man to have found such a patient wife.
  • Nik has a fun adventurous spirit.  Not only have we jumped out of a plane together, but she conned me into buying skis before I ever even went skiing and she'll come up with these fabulous plans and then make you do the work.  For example: she thought that an afternoon of canoeing on a very hot and humid Minnesota summer day was a good idea.  Of course she thought it was a good idea…because she played photographer and I was the lucky one who got to paddle the 2.5-3.0 hours down the river.  She's game to try new things and I know she'll encourage you to do the same.  And that in itself is healthy for any relationship.
  • Nicole has a fabulous sense of humor.  I love to laugh, and I feel I do it easily and often which is another reason I've enjoyed having Nicole in my life.  And when I said easily- it's often at my own expense because I am so gullible.  One time Nicole and I were grocery shopping and we had avocados on the list.  At that time I was the farthest thing from domestic, so I had no idea how to tell if they were ripe.  She said just knock them together and listen for a hollow sound.  So there I was knocking avocados together in the middle of the grocery store like a fool. I turn to look at Nicole and she's hysterical.  I hope you can laugh at yourself, because I know Nicole will laugh at you every chance she gets."
That's just a sampling from the speech- but I think explains what a wonderful friend she is and fabulous wife she will become.

All in all E & I had a great time in June.  The road trip came a fabulous time for us both to getaway, enjoy each other's company, catch up with friends and reenergize for life.


Life Happens. And Happens. And Happens.

It's been awhile since our last post, it seems life happens- and keeps happening...again and again. Please be patient as I try to put to the keyboard the joys of our last 4 months.

E's childhood friend, Cody, married a pretty gal in May.  We spent a long weekend in California with his sister- who is so hospitable it makes our trips even more enjoyable. We had to make a few stops along the way to stretch our legs, take Loaf for a potty break, and take in the incredible scenery.  

I love little dudes.  E's nephew Austin is a future MLB-er.  I was so impressed by his team- all of them hit well, they could throw a ball with precision and had such a competitive spirit.  I know some of you reading this will say they are young and that shouldn't matter.  But I truly believe that having a friendly competitive spirit is healthy.  I don't think it's healthy that every kid makes the team these days, if you suck, try harder the next time, improve yourself. I think to some level this is part of the toxicity of the entitlement epidemic. 
Back to the MVP player though- Austin is a rockstar and I thoroughly enjoyed getting an opportunity to watch him play ball.  It was even more happy that his team won and that we were able to see Austin play catcher a few innings.

My handsome Love & I getting all fancy for Cody's celebration of love to his Mrs. Forever!  I look tan must have been those California rays.

We looked good that night, but not as good as the bride and groom.  They looked absolutely stunning....

What bride do you know has the guts to make her own cake?  And then to have it turn out this beautiful?  Yup...Cody is a very lucky man- this beautiful cake was made by the bride herself and just as a side note she makes killer hot cocoa to boot!

That same weekend also happened to be Mother's Day so we made plans to go fishing with his sister and Austin.  It was a fun day in the sun but no such luck fishing.  It may have all to do with the pesky jet skis and nothing to do with the guys fishing techniques!  Regardless, it was a fun morning spent outdoors with family we don't see all that often.

Before we skipped town we also headed to his mama's house to stop in and say hello.  I am disappointed to share that I didn't take any pictures of Miss Barbara.  It must be noted that she had the opportunity to step inside a Costco for the very first time!  Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not sure what she'd say, I introduced her to pretzel buns- the most delicious carb on earth!


100% Chance of Shower in Denver

As I shared in March's post my college roommate and one of my best gals is getting MARRIED in June. E & I headed to Denver to attend the coed wedding shower.

We left on Thursday after E got off work and had planned to stay at Jordanelle State Park in Utah.  What we didn't take into consideration was the time change..oops!  So once we hit Wendover we had to devise a contingency plan which was to sleep in the truck bed under the stars in the Uinta National Forests' Center Canyon.  It turned out to be one free, two a bit cold, and three beautiful.  It was dark when we arrived so we awoke to a little spot tucked in the canyon with a gorgeous stream.  It was right off the highway so it was easy to get back on the road. 

E and I love checking out anything and everything that seems even remotely interesting. We drove right by Dinosaur National Monument, so of course we had to stop and get our NPS Passport stamped! We both were as excited as a couple second graders on a field trip to the zoo (E probably more than me). According to Ranger Barbara we lucked out, the actual dinosaur fossil exhibit was closed for 5 years for repairs and just opened last October. So to keep a long story short, millions of years ago as dinosaurs crossed an ancient river some died on the way, and their bones sank to the bottom of the river bed. After the ground started to up-heave the fossils became buried in mounds and are almost in a vertical position today. On an expedition donkey's years ago, a gentleman from the Carnegie Museum came across a portion of a fossil sticking out of the ground. After much excavation, a large portion of the fossils were left exposed in the rock and are available for your viewing pleasure. Check it out!

After all the excitement, we continued on our journey down highway 40. On the way we were able to spot groups of North America's fastest land mammal, the pronghorn of course! After a quick stop in Steamboat Springs, CO we started our uphill battle to conquer the Continental Divide. The views from the top were amazing and there was plenty of snow on the ground. Once we reached Kremmling, we turned south on Colorado State Highway 9, on that stretch there were plenty of elk and beautiful scenery to enjoy. After merging onto Interstate 70 it was one last glimpse of wildlife with a couple of bighorn sheep standing on the cliffs. We took the plunge from Rocky Mountain high, streaking towards the valley floor and on into Denver.

Our Dinosaur National Monument stop put us a little behind schedule because since we were already there we had to take the quarry tour.  One of my favorite couples ever in life...Jessica and Michael were very flexible and agreed to meet us for a late dinner. Originally planned for Linger, that place D took me back in February, but it was packed so plan B was La Loma, a delicious Mexican joint.  The food was great but what was even better was the conversation and the opportunity to catch up with ol' friends.  Jess is amazing, she's about to graduate law school in less than a week and she'll rock the bar exam soon after that.  Mike works for a company that helps restaurants save $ by streamlining their supply chain (I hope I got that right).  He is equally as awesome and they both just have good energy.  The kind of energy that makes you want to be a better person and kick butt at life.  They just celebrated their 4 year wedding anniversary- so a big congratulations to them!!!

We had already made reservations at Cherry Creek State Park but thought the gates closed at 10pm so we hauled butt across town.  Turns out we didn't need to get there with such urgency but we set up our tent and cleaned up. The park has fabulous facilities I might add,  yes- they have quarter showers but I'll pay a $1.25 for a 7 minute HOT shower any day!

On Saturday E woke up early to go fishing- go figure.  He wasn't as successful as he had hoped but it was windier than he expected.  I took my sweet time getting up and showering then we drove all over Denver's southeast metro area looking for every candy bar imaginable for a shower game.  Nikki and Derek met us for dinner at Ya Ya's, and there in the parking lot Loaf was able to reunite with Mama Nik for the first time in like 5 years.
After Dinner E & I headed to Comedy Works South to enjoy my very first show after interning what seems and feels like forever ago.  I must say that I love the space, but a comedy show is a comedy show and your experience is more about the act than anything else.  John Heffron was hilarious- I am so glad that our trip overlapped with his performance.  His humor was clean nothing raunchy and it was just up E's alley.

Nik and Derek's wedding shower was on Sunday, it was a co-ed and bring your pet kinda shower.  There were so many dogs there including Loaf, a lot of little sweeties.  The shower was at Derek's parents' house, his mom definitely has the gift of hospitality.  I only had to contribute 3 games and the prizes at the shower- easy peasey lemon squeezey!  They are such romantic softies it makes me want to puke, but I'm able to hold back knowing she's my hopeless romantic friend who found her knight in shining armor.  Looking forward to their big day in June!

Sunday night after the shower I was able to reunite with the one and only Mr. Matt Smith, and his fabulous wife Molly.  To give you a little background on Matt, he is the man who sucked the evil corporate wannabe out of me and much like the wizard gave the tin man a heart, Matt (and Kellie Mieremet) gave me a heart.  A heart to want to volunteer, become a contributing member of a community, and want more out of life than money.  Most traditional college students have this really delusional vision of their future....Matt helped kick mine back into reality.  He was my big boss man at the Community Leadership Institute when I worked there while attending Johnson & Wales University. 

Any who....he's in an entirely different role working for The A Game, but still encouraging and instilling good work ethics in people. Molly started a relatively new gig with the University of Denver and is gearing up to start her doctorate (which she will dominate).  In addition to their professional lives, he and his wife are also rockstar triathletes.  To sum it up...they are pretty much amazing, they don't have kids, they are beautiful people inside and out, extremely intelligent....the kinda people E & I would like to model our relationship and lives after. 

The trip was a short trip that felt entirely too long for just a weekend.  Driving over 800 miles on Monday was a little much but we made it!  We stopped at a few different spots to stretch.  The Continental Divide being one and Steamboat Springs being the other.  Jess the pic of E below is for you....E in his very first pearl snap shirt!
Needless to say I loved going back to Denver...some of my best and definately most productive years were in Denver- so going back refueled my motivation and put a little more pep in my step.

We're heading to California next month for a wedding and it overlaps with Mother's Day so we'll get to spend time with Barbara too!

Until then- XOXO,
E, J & Loaf


Life Lately

Life has been a little more exciting since the last post.

Battle Mountain now has a MAVERIK!  Can you believe it?  We're doing it big here in Northern Nevada, I mean a Maverik, a Family Dollar, McDonald's, Wells Fargo....and a delicious Mexican restaurant.

E was very excited about the grand opening of the Maverik.  He was about to set up a tent and wait at the door!  It didn't get that carried away but we were in fact present at the grand opening- free samples galore- I didn't even have to cook dinner!

We volunteered to plant sagebrush seedlings to improve the winter habitat for mule deer and other species in a burn area- the BLM, Elko District partnered with Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and Nevada Muley’s for this initiative.  Click here to read the press release about all our good work.

I loved it- we were able to take in a new area, enjoy the fresh air, and met some new people. During the lunch break E & I explored a bit, as we were in a new area.  Much to my excitement I found my very first shed- it wasn't a monster, just a forker but exciting none the less.
Because I was so excited to find that shed- E&I decided that we ought to check out a new area in hopes of finding sheds the following weekend.  The Fish Creek Range was not so good to us when it came to sheds, in fact we didn't see much deer sign at all.  However, the eagles were out and gave us quite the show!!!! Golden Eagles are different than Bald Eagles but my summer at Voyageurs taught me that eagles do the whole courtship thing mid-air by locking talons and that's just what these crazy eagles did.  Speaking of eagles, there are 72 bald eagles in Voyageurs National Park this year....I encourage all my MN friends to check it out!  Make the drive- they are spectacular to watch!
As we were glassing the foothills, I spotted two masses that were pretty big but didn't fit the shape of a cow or deer- I did a double take and much to my surprise, I spotted two wild horses.  Very exciting...my first wild horse experience ever!  They must of separated from the herd because we were in a herd mgmt. area.  Wild horses are a pretty controversial issue around here. Click here to read an old article that shares a bit about the controversy.  The wild horses were pretty cool though, E thought it would be a good idea to get closer for a picture. Ummm....NO!  He about gave me an anxiety attack....I for real thought they were about to get up and trample him!  The one on the right looked a little homely, the ears look a bit off, and they both were super skinny...tear.  What's even worse is about a week later we actually ate horse and I actually like it!  Friend's of ours had us over for dinner and games and it's what was for dinner!  Pulled pony sandwiches....they even sent us home with some, hopefully I can hold myself together when I prepare it!
E had to check out Squaw Tit after the wild horse fiasco.  I was so over it by that time I hiked half way up and took a picture of E. 
Another fabulous part of living in Battle Mountain is the domestic goddess in me is coming out in full force!  I've always been pretty good about keeping a clean house (I still struggle with laundry- the whole start to finish thing-ugh).  But I am actually cooking edible deliciousness!  I must give my new very special friend, Mandi, the credit though because she shares her tried and true recipes with me!  So I've made homemade chicken pot pie which wasn't all salty & goo like the store bought ones, carrot & cucumber soup, a delicious Waldorf salad, strawberry chicken poppy seed salads, pork roast & pork tenderloin which is becoming a specialty, Greek salads, pulled chicken fajitas & tacos...the list is getting longer too.  E is pretty proud and surprised by my new found skills.  The fact that he is former military does work in my favor though...whatever is a bit bland or a complete failure he will politely ask for more condiments.  Throw a little ketchup or BBQ sauce and he's content!

I am saddened to share that www.picnik.com has closed up shop and has integrated itself with google+, super lame. I apologize for all of the individual pictures, the new photo editor I found does not offer collages quite yet, put is pretty easy to navigate, www.picmonkey.com.

Stay tuned for our next post about our Denver trip!


Playing Ketchup

Okay...Okay...I am horrible at keeping up with this blog.  So I am playing ketchup! Life just doesn't seem that exciting since our move to a stationary LOVE SHACK. However, I haven't updated the blog since January so there are a few things to note.

First off- we love Battle Mountain.  I'll be the first to admit I was skeptical about moving to Battle Mountain- seeing it was dubbed "the armpit of America."  Even when we first arrived I may have had a few tears well up but I'm so glad I'm open minded about most things.   We have fallen for this town- it's not a place I want to live and die but I'll be just fine here for the next 5 years or so.  We've met and made great friends already and I know that when it comes time to leave it will be hard.

Thinking back to our exciting lives in February....

It REALLY snowed here, like actually accumulated so that we could make snow sculptures.  We decided a traditional snowman was a little elementary for us, so we went for the peace sign.  How did we do?

I also took the Greyhound to Denver.  It wasn't that bad, but definitely not my preferable mode of transportation.  My girl Nik is getting married in June and I'm the Maid of Honor...how special is that? I made the trek to Denver to do one of my favorite things ever....get fitted!!!! Ish....but the dress is HOT and very forgiving- so I am thankful for that!

I had never met Derek (her fiance) before so it was nice spending time with them and finally meeting him.  It also happened to be her brother, Taylor's, girlfriend's birthday while I was in town and her family invited me to attend.  The part-ay was at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar.  The menu was unique and Derek feasted on bone marrow- you know I had nothing to do with that...ish!  She seriously has such a fabulous family!  Her brother Lee was my stand-in date, he just didn't know it until he got there, good thing he was a good sport!

I also had the opportunity to reconnect with my JWU loves!  Dennis Taylor is such an amazing friend! He drove clear across Denver to pick me up and take me to one of the new hot spots in Denver, lingers.  We didn't have reservations, the place was packed, but D knows people.  The food was delicious - we had duck, lamb, scallops, and poppers that were served with cheese curds.  If you ever get to Denver- you have to check this place out there are fabulous views of the Denver skyline!  D is fabulous though- truly a great friend with a huge heart! (I want to kick myself for not taking one stinking picture with D.  Below is a picture from my graduation)

It's a picture of a picture...But you get how handsome he is!
I also checked out The Berkshire for Brunch with a few of my favorite dudes; Joshua, John and Wes.  They are super fun, motivated, smart dudes.  It was great to ketchup with them and hear how they're kicking butt at life. (I didn't take a picture at brunch either-I am awful! So I stole this from FB)

JWU Represent
I stopped in at Comedy Works to see my ol' pal Jay.  It was actually my first time seeing the club complete!  I was there when the building was first constructed and the concrete had just been poured but this was way cool.  Jay was my internship supervisor and mentor.  I helped him write the business plan to secure the loan to open the second location.  The best part about visiting was remembering all the schematics of the restaurant, lounge, and showroom areas and finally seeing them in the flesh.  

Denver was fabulous!  It also snowed over a foot while I was there!  No big deal Nik and I shoveled the driveway, took walks with her pups, and enjoyed the hot tub!  I had a great time hanging out with Nik, talking about her lovely wedding plans, and playing ketchup with old friends.

About a week after I got back E had training in Salt Lake City so of course Loaf and I tagged along!

Since we were in SLC, we had to check out the Mormon temple square.  It was interesting to say the least.  The visitor's center was very well done, the interpretive displays were short, to the point, and engaging.  I was surprised by how many people were out on a Thursday to take in the tabernacle choir.  Not being Mormons ourselves we of course do not get to go in the temple- alright by me I think we spent way too much time there.

We enjoy our little breaks to civilization- the convenience of everything is nice!  We walked all over downtown and enjoyed a fabulous place called Red Rocks (twice), they brew their own beer, and have delicious food!  I strongly recommend the Prosciutto Wrapped Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella.

We turned his 2-day training into a 5-day stay, using the long President's Day weekend for ourselves.  E picked out a hotel in Lehi for the 3-day personal stay.  Guess why he picked Lehi....that's where the Cabela's is located.  Yet another Cabela's checked off the list and our least favorite store to date.

Another fabulous plus to our SLC visit was having breakfast with the one and only Kellie Mieremet.  Another one of my JWU peeps who I had the pleasure of working with while I was at the Community Leadership Institute in Denver.  She has such good energy- I just love being around her.  I miss working with her-she is an awesome mentor and fabulous friend. (Of course i didn't think to snap a picture here either)

We try to plan an "outdoor" day when we go on our little trips these days.  While in Salt Lake we checked out the Uinta National Forest.  The city itself is not for me- I have never seen so many Costco's in a 30 mile radius- crazy!  But the place is beautiful, the mountains are phenomenal and I would love to go back specifically for the outdoor scene.  It had snowed throughout the night and into the morning but by the time we were done with breakfast the weather made for beautiful day. 

Loaf loves to go but his feet get too cold after awhile

We had the perfect view of Mt. Timpanogos the entire hike.  The beauty of the place was magical.  Look at my handsome love looking all GQ on our hike!

We had such a great time in the mountains.  And hopefully we'll be back during the summer season to get another stamp in our NPS passport at Timpanogos Cave.

I think that's about all I had to Ketchup on....

Until next time,

E, J & Loaf