Thursday, December 4, 2014

my skin care journey (part 3)

If you want to read part 1 and part 2 of my skin care journey, click here and here.

I shared my history and my current skin care routine so now I'd like to share my experiencing going to the skin care clinic and my first impressions of Retin A.

Although I had just started using some new skin care(2 days before my appointment), my ultimate goal was to get recommendations on skin care products and discuss the possibility of Retin A.  I have a few co-workers that use Retin A and swear by it.  When I arrived, I started filling out my paperwork and I had to sign a bunch of different papers about the effects of filler injections.  I only tell you this because I thought it was kind of funny because I don't have any intention of using fillers.  :)

They call me back, we chat about my concerns, and discuss what products I've been using.  She then used a skin scanner(similar to this) to analyze my skin.  We reviewed and discussed my pictures, then discussed recommendations.  Wow - these pictures are eye opening.  It analyzes and grades your skin against others in your age group.  She recommended I try a small dosage of Retin A and she also recommended the Clear & Brilliant laser treatment.

I purchased the Retin A and then wanted to do a little research on the laser treatment first.  Not to mention, the laser treatment is not "cheap"(by my standards anyway) so I definitely was not going to make a decision to schedule an appointment right then.

My first impressions of Retin A:
Oddly enough, my skin was actually pretty clear when I went to the skin care clinic.  I didn't have any blemishes.  I read about different experiences with Retin A and started it the next evening.  Everyone is different so you have to follow your doctors recommendations but I started with a .025% formula and it is put on in the evening.  I wash my face & tone it, wait 20-30 minutes then apply Retin A(avoiding areas close to the eyes, corners of nose and mouth), then wait another 15 minutes and apply moisturizer.  In the morning, I wash my face, tone it, then apply my moisturizer with SPF...SPF is crucial when using Retin A(products I currently use can be found here).  I'm grateful I work from home because I don't have to apply makeup everyday.  In the first week, my face was peeling and itchy feeling.  I didn't have a breakout(which I had read happens to people sometimes in the first few days...your skin gets worse before it gets better) so I am grateful for that.  I did realize early on the importance of moisturizing.  By the end of week 2, my skin pretty much normalized except for a few flaky spots.  I find I have to dab a little moisturizer on after applying foundation to lessen the flakiness.  I probably would have increased my usage to every night except I had to stop the Retin A to prepare for the laser treatment.

So what about that Clear & Brilliant laser treatment?
I ended up deciding to go for it.  I went to the web(where all reliable info is kept :)), learned about the procedure, read a few testimonials(preferably unbiased testimonials), and I decided to try it.  Pain associated with the treatment was a concern for me because I basically have no tolerance for pain.  Supposedly there is little pain but I'll let you know if I agreed in the next post.  The thing that probably tipped me over the edge was that my skin care clinic was having a sale on single laser treatments in November.  If you decided you wanted to buy a package, you could apply what you paid for the single treatment toward the total cost of the package.

In part 4, I'll describe my Clear & Brilliant laser treatment experience and any new impressions of Retin A.

Lesson of skin care journey part 3:  No major lesson this time other than don't forget to wear SPF and drink lots of water to hydrate your skin.  :)

Just checking in: Are you protecting your skin from the sun?  Do you sense a theme here?

Monday, December 1, 2014

weekend shopping

I went a little crazy with some shopping this weekend.  Am I the only one?

Mike has been out of town for week but he splurged with online shopping too so I wasn't the only one.  
Here's what I bought online and my justification, because it always feels better when you have justification ~> :)

  • 4 swimsuits - Mike and I are going on a 14 day warm weather cruise in the near future and I have been eyeing a few suits on at Victoria's Secret.  Ok - 4 swimsuits is probably unnecessary but I wanted choices so I could return as necessary. (bonus: free shipping & a free tote bag w/ my purchase)
  • iPod nano - Mike and I got new phones recently and it's too big to wear on my arm when working out now so I decided to purchase an iPod nano.  #firstworldproblems :) (bonus: $25 iTunes gift card with purchase)
  • 3 Firedaughter Clothing shirts - Ok, so I have no justification other than I love  LOVE Firedaughter Clothing and it was on sale.  The sales sucked me in this year.  Since I live in comfy clothes or workout clothes, her tops add a little extra "style."
  • A gift - can't tell you what it is but it was for someone special. (bonus: it was $15 off)
  • A gift - can't tell you, but again, it's for someone special. (bonus: it was $20 off & free shipping)
Ok - that doesn't seem to bad, right?  Well...then I ventured away from the computer and visited TJ Maxx, Target, & Kohl's yesterday.  I did it more out of boredom because Mike is out of town and I was sick of crocheting but I found things I couldn't live without. (obviously untrue but I like to dramatize stories)

  • TJ Maxx - bought two shirts...well, just because.  I love the sale sections of TJ Maxx.  A few weeks ago, I bought a summer dress in clearance for $5.  It will also be going on the cruise with me.  I swear that NOW is the time to buy summer stuff.
  • Target - I spent a lot of time at Target and I ended up with the movie White Christmas.  I need to invest in some more Christmas movies...let's see Grinch(the Jim Carey version), Elf, The Holiday, The Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, & the cartoon classics(Rudolph, Frosty, & Grinch Stole Christmas) are all on my list.
  • Kohl's - This is another place that usually has some good clearance and sales takes time to dig through everything but I can usually find some good deals.  This time I found another summer dress for $6.80(regular price was $68<~that's 90% off folks).  They also had 40% off of toys so I got a few toys for some little kids I want to buy for.
Gotta love the hubs - after describing everything I purchased and the "deals" I got, he said "That's cool!"  Thank you for your support lover.

Am I the only one that succumbed to the deals and steals of the shopping weekend?  What'd you get?  Are you an online shopper or an in person shopper?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

my skin care journey (part 2)

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

As you know from the last post, I found this blogger write about skin care she was using so I wanted to give some of it a try.  Although, I'm not doing everything she does, I did purchase a few of the products.
* Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Facewash ~ I really love this cleanser.  It's gentle, foams up nicely, feels good on my skin, & smells lovely.
* Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel ~ I apply this after I cleanse and it also feels good and seems really gentle.
* Grape Seed Oil ~ I was very hesitant to use an oil as a moisturizer but I have been using this occasionally in the evening.  I use the Derma E product(discussed below) on other nights.
* Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Normal/Oily Skin ~ I love this and have been using it every morning.  It feel really moisturizing and has sun protection in it.  When my sample size of Derma E runs out, I may try the nighttime formula of this Boots No7 product.

A few things I'm doing different than the other blogger:
* I don't wear makeup every day so I haven't been using coconut oil for makeup removal.  I did receive a product called Cailyn Dizzolv'It Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm in a recent Birchbox.  It has the consistency of coconut oil and I rub it all over my face when I need to remove makeup and then use the Pacifica Facewash.
* I have a few eye creams but I've been using the Anew Rejuvenate 24 Hour Eye Moisturizer by Avon.  It has a night formula and a day formula with SPF.
* For the nights I use Retin A, I have been apply the Derma E Hydrating Night Creme.  I also received this in a Birchbox and it's just really luxurious, moisturizing, & smells lovely.
* I don't use the oatmeal she suggested so I wash my face morning and night with the Pacifica Facewash.
* I also still occasionally use my face wipes if it's a late night or I can't muster up the energy to do my face routine.  It's quick and easy and I say, although they aren't perfect, it's better than sleeping on a dirty face.  I use the Simple Cleansing Face Wipes brand.

I have made a huge point of doing my face routine in the evening and morning these days.  I've only missed one 'washing' in the past 2 weeks.  I don't shower every morning since I work from home(ok, sometimes I don't even shower every day - don't judge!) but I have been doing my face/neck cleansing routine every morning and night.  Honestly, it really doesn't take that long and I think I'm already seeing the benefits.

About 2 days after I started using these products, I went to a local skin care clinic for my skin care analysis where I came away with Retin A and a few other recommendations.  I'll talk about my visit and my experience with Retin A so far in my next post.

Lesson of skin care journey part 2:  Try different products until you find the products that work for you.  I've been using the above for only 2 weeks and I really like them and how they make my skin feel.  Ask me in another month and I may have a different opinion. :) Everyone's skin is different.

Just checking in: Are you protecting your skin from the sun?  I hope so!  I'm even trying to get my husband to apply an SPF moisturizer every morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

my skin care journey (part 1)

Although, this is far from a 'beauty' blog, I thought I'd chronicle my skin care journey and some recent happenings around the topic.  Let's start from the beginning(I promise I'll keep this semi-short):

I had pretty bad acne in high school.  It was the cystic acne and a lot of black heads.  At the end of high school and as I went into college, I started Accutane.  It worked really well.(aside from a side effect of depression - ugh!)  There have actually been recent studies published about the depression side effects of Accutane.  Anyway - I would still have some pretty bad cystic acne episodes but I'd get that shot directly into the cyst(is it a cortisone shot?) and it would go away in a few days.

I used Proactive for awhile which also worked really well.  As I left college, I do not remember having really bad acne issues.  As I started to get older, anti-aging was higher on my list of priorities for my skin so I started using a more gentle cleanser(less drying than proactive).  Now that I live in New Mexico, the dry air is real to keep everything extra moisturized living here.  I used an Anew skin care program by Avon for a number of years and really liked it.  My Mom actually sells Avon in case you're in the market for any products...go here if you need anything.

In the last 1.5 years or so, my skin care has been pretty random.  I have basically just been using what I have.  Also in the last 1.5 years, I have started to get breakouts...usually hormonally driven I would say.  I don't really get the cystic acne anymore but I do get the annoying white heads.  It's hard to resist popping them!  I started using the revised version of Proactive which helped with the breakouts but is really drying.  I can really only use it occasionally and would definitely not be able to use it morning and night because I would dry out and my skin would shrivel up.

In the last three months or so, I've been looking for a more natural and organic products to use on my body, hair, etc.  I do believe that many products we use have carcinogens so I've wanted to start swapping out many of the skin products I've used.(I'm not perfect but I figure swapping out some products is better than none)  I came across this blog post and decided I wanted to try some of the products she mentions.  If it works for her, maybe it would work for me.  Last week, I also decided to visit a local skin care clinic to get a free "skin care analysis."  It is very eye opening when they review the pictures they take of your skin with you and they rank you with thousands of other people in your age group.  I even found out I have melasma on my forehead.  They even removed a "thing"(no clue what she called it) that I have had at the edge of my eye brow for years.  Yay!

I left there with a .02% formula of Retin A and a recommendation to try a Clear & Brilliant laser treatment.

Lesson of skin care journey part 1:  Start taking care of your skin as early as possible, stop tanning in tanning beds, & protect yourself against the sun.  Although, I've "promoted" this the last few years,  I believe more than ever that paler is better.  I'm proud to be the palest gal on the beach these days!  :)

In the next posts, I'll talk more about the products I'm now using, my visit to the skin care clinic, my experience with Retin A so far, & more on the laser treatment recommendation.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I don't mean to rub it in but...

Today my husband cooked breakfast, lunch, & is cooking dinner as we speak.  It is expected that Mike plan and prepare dinner on Monday & Tuesday and I have dinner Wednesday-Sunday.  The past few weeks he's also been cooking breakfast and today he cooked lunch.
Although I wish Mike had Saturday and Sunday's off like a "normal" person, it's nice not to have to think about dinner preparation on Monday's and Tuesday's, especially Monday's.  There's always a silver lining(Mike cooking for me) to a situation you don't love(Mike working Saturday's & Sunday's), isn't there? :)  All I want on Monday is to have a productive day at work so the last thing I want to do is think about dinner.

We all should count our blessings, right?  Mike is a pretty swell hubby!  He does things for me that he knows will make me happy.  Honestly, it make me feel really special that he goes out of his way to do little things for me that he knows I'll appreciate.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I may be late to the game on this but have you heard of the Cartwheel app for Target?

I've seen that Walmart savings catcher app advertised on TV.  The one where you scan your Walmart receipt and if the app finds a cheaper advertised price at a different store, you get a credit for the difference to spend at Walmart.  I thought it was a cool idea and then my sister posted on Facebook that she used it and has some true savings.

Well - I don't shop at Walmart so it was not an app that I could use.

Then I was reading a blog the other day and the writer is a saver...she's very frugal.  She mentioned that she saved money at Target with her Cartwheel app.  What?!?!?  I do shop at Target so I researched the app asap.  Basically, it's an app that has various coupons, you add coupons to your list of coupons(I think you can add 10 coupons to start), then you just scan the app at checkout and it applies all your coupons.  The other cool feature is that you can scan your items with your phone in the store prior to purchase and it will tell you if there is a coupon available.  Mike and I went to Target the other day and I tried it out.  I scanned each of the items we we planning to purchase and one came up as having a coupon(our milk).  I think Mike was a little annoyed that I had to scan each of our purchases with my phone but I find great pleasure in using coupons and saving a little money so it was worth it to me.

So, I've saved a total of 18 cents with the app so far.  :)  Hey, 18 cents is 18 cents people!

In other news, Mike took the day off yesterday and made me new raised garden beds.  Yay!  They are absolutely beautiful!  They aren't totally installed yet but I love them so far.  I'll post pictures once they are done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

actually, it's Kiiirrrrsten

I've struggled my entire life with people pronouncing my name incorrectly.  Generally, I don't care that much especially if I'm meeting someone new.  I'm sure I say my name fast so they may hear Kristen or Kiersten.  Depending on the crowd, I usually emphasize the Kiirrrr part.  I also realize the spelling of my name can lead to a couple different pronunciations so I get it. 
There are a couple situation that can wear on me occasionally:

1) We are friends and you still call me be a different name.  By saying my name wrong constantly, it almost feels like you are indirectly trying to tell me I'm pronouncing my own name wrong.  Do you really not know how to pronounce it after I've corrected you numerous times?  I'm relatively certain I know how to pronounce my own name.

2) Spelling my name wrong in emails when the correct spelling is right in front of you.  This generally happens more at work.  I realize people are not doing it on purpose but my name is right there in front of you so all you have to do is copy the name. 

For the record, it's Kiiirrrsten.  It's ok if you slip up and say the wrong name occasionally or occasionally spell it wrong in an email(frankly, sometimes I even type the 'r' before the 'i' in emails) but maybe we should all take extra care and an extra second to listen to or read/write names properly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

missing my favorites

Usually around the time I've finalized my plans for a trip back to Nebraska, I start missing my Nebraska people A LOT!  I remember when we first moved away from Nebraska thinking to myself, "Well I'm going to miss my friends but I'm sure I'll find new friends to replace those relationships I'm leaving behind."  I hope you see all the issues with that thought process but that's truly what I thought.

Well, that actually doesn't happen and now I realize I don't want or need that to happen.  Let's take "family" first...well, I knew I would never replace my family but I definitely value and appreciate the time I have with my family.  I hate to brag but I have a pretty amazing family and I truly enjoy hanging out with them.  No really, I could go back to NE and only see my family and be content because they are my best friends!  We laugh, we cry, we argue but they are amazing.

Moving onto non-family friends - I have a few incredible one's in Nebraska that should not and will never be replaced.  When I moved away from Nebraska, I did eventually realize that there are some friendships could not be maintained due to proximity...and that's ok!  I slowly drifted away from those friends(or became more like acquaintances and that's also ok).  But I have a few friends that I tear up when I think about because I miss them so much.  Even being 13 hours away, they are always there for me.  We have so much fun when we're together!  I never feel judged by them and they accept everything about me...the good, the bad, & the ugly.  They make me feel like I'm a valuable friend and I hope I make them feel the same.

So - I'm over the thought process of "finding new friends to replace those relationships."  I have some lovely friends here in NM but, by design, those relationships really can't ever be the same as my NE faves. What I mean "by design" is that my local relationships don't have the history, haven't seen how I've changed and grown as a person, haven't experienced any of my milestone's as a teen/young friendships and relationships have to start from square one and build from we're building and that's cool!

Ugh - but I sure do miss my Nebraska people!!  Can't wait to see you all soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

support your National parks!

In early September, we took a trip to Moab, UT for a mountain bike trip on the White Rim trail.  You may recall that we did a similar trip in March of 2013 and you can refresh your memory by this post if you'd like.  I made it the entire 80'ish miles...and not to brag but Mike didn't even finish the last mile(which is a huge & long incline out of the canyon).  In his defense, he was having major knee issues but still, I felt like a rock star for making it the entire way!  I teared up at the end when I finished that last climb.

We drove up Sunday and spent Sunday afternoon in Arches National Park.  It was quite hot and I was astonished at how ill-prepared people were.  A 16 oz bottle of water isn't going to cut it folks.

Delicate Arch

 Windows Arch

 Double Arch

 And we descended into a rainy canyon(Canyonlands National Park) on Monday morning.

 Snack break - there were many, many snack breaks.

 The views are breath-taking!

 Suited up for a little rain.
 I mean...can you even stand this view - it's just incredible!

 We climbed down into a slot canyon from the trail and relaxed in the shade for a bit.

 Support your national parks...they are pretty amazing!

 Our tent, our view the first night!  After 3 nights of setting up and tearing down camp, I was about done with that task.  We have some incredible sleeping pads so our sleep wasn't too bad.

 God's creation.  Just spectacular!

 Mike was usually in front of me so I never got a lot of pictures of him riding - this was the last day when his knee was shot so it was more my pace. (for the record, his knee is back to normal)

 We took a break and hiked up to a historic Native American grainery.(on the left side of pic)  Again - spectacular!

That little blue dot is me climbing and climbing and climbing.  There are about 4-5 major climbs.  They are relatively short-lived but they are intense.  My tactic was to ride as far as could up the climb until I basically fell over or starting sliding, then I'd walk to spot I could get back on my bike, ride as far as I could and repeat until I collapsed at the top of the climb.

A fantastic trip!  I could do this trip every year and be happy.  It's painful at times but the rewards of scenery and accomplishment are priceless!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

a week and a half later

Well, a week and a half later and I'm blogging about how my hubs and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  Awww - isn't that sweet? :)
In all honesty, both us would agree that it feels like much longer than 5 years. (in a good way, of course...I think) ;)  We have had a lot of adjusting over the past years and have had to rely on each other a lot with all the changes we've gone through.  Let me do a quick re-cap of our relationship for you:
1) We met on September 11th, 2004 in the Bricktop bar in Lincoln after a Nebraska football game.  I remember the exact shirt I wore, although I do not have that shirt anymore.
2) We went on our first date the next evening at Heidelbergs north.  I think it was just a few drinks and a lot of talking...a lot of talking by me, of course.  If you know Mike, he can be a pretty quiet person.
3) We broke up for about 4 months in early 2006(I think).  You can ask anyone that was close to me at the was pretty devastating for me.  I assume Mike would agree that it was devastating. :)
4) Mike left for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center(FLETC) for 6 months in May 2008.
5) We got engaged on 8-8-2008 on a beach on Amelia Island, FL while I was visiting him at FLETC.  He picked out the ring(there's a funny story about the ring that maybe I'll tell at a later date) and I had no idea it was coming but both my parents did.
6) We moved to Laurel, MD in October 2008.
7) We got married September 18, 2009 in Ocean City, MD on the beach.
8) We moved to Santa Fe, NM in September 2010.
9) We celebrated 5 years of wedded craziness bliss on September 18, 2014.

Let me tell you - moving twice to places you know no one is scary and it forces you to lean on one another more than anything.  I think it's really helped us get closer in our relationship because you only have each other.  You do everything together, you make friends together, etc.

What are my words of wisdom as a wife of 5 years?
* Do things together and learn to love similar things.  Honestly, there are many things I'd never be "into" if it wasn't for Mike.  I'll try just about anything one time.  Cross country skiing though, once was definitely enough - I don't ever foresee myself doing that again.
* Be on the same page with money and spending.  Mike and I keep separate accounts and contribute a percent of our salary to our joint account each month.  This works for us and we've never ever had an argument about money and it gives us both a sense of "independence" with some of our money.
* Laugh together every darn belly laughs laughing!
* Kiss each other like you mean it!
* I'm slowly learning that things aren't always equal and fair.  We've evolved into me cooking dinner 5 nights a week and Mike cooking two nights a week.  I would argue I do dishes more often but he could argue he does the laundry and all the vacuuming.  Things aren't always equal and fair but there is "give" on both sides.
* Pick your battles.  Does it matter that I cook more meals than him?  Nope.  Does it matter that he travels a lot for his job?  Yes!  So that is battle I'm going to "fight" and discuss with him.
* Speak to each other respectfully and enthusiastically.  Don't answer the phone with "What!?!"  Don't act like you're annoyed of him/her.
* Last but not least - after you've cooked dinner and he says it's good but he goes to the cupboard to get the Garlic Salt, that generally means the recipe is not a keeper.  (this is an ongoing joke we have)

I think this picture sums up our entire relationship pretty well.  I'm usually the 'Woohoo' and he's the 'It's cool.'  We even each other out pretty well.  He talks me off the ledge sometimes and I provide the energy for him sometimes.

Whew - longest post ever...
To celebrate our 5 years of marriage together, I made a mediocre dinner on Sept. 18th.  I tried to healthivise macaroni and cheese and it wasn't the greatest.(speaking of garlic salt...)  Then we both had the 19th off and hung out together all day.  We had a fabulous dinner at Papadeaux's in Albuquerque and then attended Wicked, the musical.  Wicked was incredible!  Then Mike took off the 20th and we did a scenic railroad trip on the Cumbres and Toltec was a long day but train ride and scenery was incredibly beautiful!  Our celebration was lovely!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Leadership Santa Fe

Over the past 4 months or so, I've felt a little discouraged from a career perspective.  Although I enjoy my job, I've had a few "career-related" doors shut in my face over the past few months and let's be honest, no one likes to have a door shut on them.
Over the past month, things have taken a bit of a positive turn.  I was able to work from the Nebraska office, which is always rejuvenating, but the positivity continued with an email I received while I was on vacation last week.
I had applied for a program called Leadership Santa Fe a couple months ago but the program was full so I was put on a waiting list in case a spot opened up.  Unfortunately, the timing of not getting into the program was at the peak of 'doors being shut in my face' so I threw myself a pity party and decided I'd try again next year.  WELL...guess what...a spot opened up and I'm in!  Yay!

I'm excited to learn more about Santa Fe, be more involved in the community, meet new friends, network with local businesses, and hopefully come away with a sense on if and where I can utilize any of "my skills" in the community.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

a milestone

My student loans are paid off.  Whew!  It feels like I'm officially an adult now.  :)  For those counting, I graduated college back in December 2002 so you can do the math on how long I've been paying them off.  And a bigger milestone - we are debt free(except for our house so I guess we're debt almost-free).  Again...I'm feeling like a grown-up now.

Joking aside, it does feel good to pay things off.  I always feel like I've lost a few pounds each time something is paid off.  My student loans, however, have been the item that I've paid on the longest so I feel it's quite a milestone.

My tips for managing your hard-earned cash ~>

  • If you put it on a credit card, make sure you have the money to pay it off right away or within a few months.  People who put things are credit cards and only pay the minimum are do realize you'll basically never get it paid off, right?  And probably will pay double, triple, to quadruple what the original price is.  Mike and I put everything on a credit card(for the cash back bonus) and pay it off every month.
  • Have a direct transfer set up to your savings account.  I transfer money twice a month into my savings account and then I don't touch my savings.  
  • Speaking of savings, make sure you have at minimum 6 months to 1 year of living expenses in case you come across hard times.  This may be $20,000, $40,000, or $100,000 depending on the person/couple but make sure you are making strides to get that amount save or already have that amount saved.  Frankly, it just gives you piece of mind and allows you to not think about or stress about money.
  • Have a retirement savings plan.  Both Mike and I invest in our company retirement...I'm not sure if we have a perfect retirement 'plan' right now(other than travel the world) but we both have significant investments going toward retirement.
  • Spread out bigger expenses, if possible.  For example...Mike and I travel fairly often and we are always looking at splitting up travel expenses when we can.  We're taking a Panama Canal cruise in early 2015 and we've already purchased our plane tickets but haven't booked the cruise or any excursions.  It's nice to spread out the expenses so we aren't paying for every piece of our trip at one time.
  • I would say a budget is something you should have but honestly, we don't have a budget that we write down.  I suppose we keep an outline of our budget in our heads and know where we're spending money but we don't have anything written down. 
  • If you're tight on money, don't buy stupid stuff. (skip the Starbucks, skip the candy, skip the eating out, skip the 12-pack of beer or pop, do you really need that shirt, etc)  When I had my house in Nebraska, things were pretty tight for me.  I would walk around stores and shop but would resist buying anything because things were tight, I knew they were tight, & I knew I had to adjust my spending habits. 
  • It's ok to splurge on big purchases occasionally but make sure you have a plan for how you will pay it off and how long.  If you buy a car or a motorcycle(ahem...Mike!), don't just pay the minimum.  Always pay more than the minimum if you can ~ if it's $15 extra bucks or $500 extra bucks, I recommend always paying a little more.  It'll pay it down faster and it always makes me feel proud of myself.
  • If you have multiple loans or credit card debt, then pay down the debt with the highest interest rate.  One of the reasons my student loans took the longest was because there have been other debt's with a higher interest rate.  Once those were paid off, I started putting $1,200 a month toward my student loans and they were paid off fairly quickly after that.
Those are the tips that work for us.  
So - I'm growing up folks.  My college student loans are paid off at age's to the next chapter!  :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

my list of books on hold at the library

Does this tell you anything?  Can you tell I need a little inspiration and motivation?
Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  Do books motivate you?
I started reading I shouldn't be telling you this... but I never finished because I had to return it to the library because it was late.  Ooopsies!  I enjoyed what I read and felt like a lot of it was applicable to me.  I'm looking forward to finishing.

Here's to many hours at Starbucks or on my back porch reading all these books!

P.S. The Intuitive Eating is kind of random and obviously doesn't really fit the theme of the other books.  It's a book I've heard good things about and thought, "hey, if I'm going to the library, I may as well throw that one in too."

P.P.S.  Did you know that the Santa Fe Public Library doesn't have late fees?  Isn't that crazy?  So if you have a late book, you get a bunch of emails "reminding" you that your book is overdue but you're never charged a fee.  The first time I had a book overdue, I walked it into the library and informed the employee that I needed to pay the late fees and the lady looked at me like I was crazy and said, "What do you mean by late fees?"  I slowly walked out of the library...I thought I was being punked or something.  Turns out, it wasn't a joke, there are not late fees.  Sweet!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

how to train your husband

Did I get your attention from that title?  Ok, this certainly isn't a tutorial on how to train your husband but Mike and I had a funny situation happen the other day.

We go to the gym in the morning around the same time but he usually arrives around 30 minutes after me.  As I'm leaving, I usually go over to say bye and give him a smooch.  On this particular day, I just didn't feel too well so when I went to tell Mike goodbye, I mentioned that I didn't feel good.  Nothing is more irritating to me then a 'none response' and that is exactly what Mike did.  He just sort of looked at me and gave this half nod of acknowledgement.  I repeated that I wasn't feeling well thinking he didn't hear me and he gave me the same response.  Semi-jokingly, I rolled my eyes at him and left the gym.
Fast forward to that evening and I again, semi-jokingly said..."when I say I don't feel well, try saying something like Sorry to hear that babe or I hope you feel better."  We both laughed about it and he said something like, "how about when you want me to respond a specific way, you say I'm going to tell you I don't feel good and I would like you to tell me Sorry."  Ok, a semi-valid point actually.

Based on my experience (and the experience of many of my female friends), I have always been an advocate of telling your hubs/boyfriend exactly what you need from him.  I, personally, think it's ridiculous to give these weird, subliminal clues to your husband on how you want him to respond to you but don't actually tell him what you need.  Ladies - If you want your husband to ask how your day way, then tell him you want him to do that.  Ladies - If you want your husband to hug/hold you when you are feeling down(and not be Mr. Fix It), then tell him.  In my experience, it works quite well and men are generally pretty responsive to what you ask of him.  I'm not trying to insult a man's ability to read between the lines & play this guessing game women like to play because I know there are some men out there that probably play that game well.  Mike and I don't play that game very well so this is what works for us after 9 1/2 years together.

I remember getting into a discussion argument with Mike before we were married because he never asked me how my day was.  I asked him everyday so clearly he should know that he should ask me the same thing. (<~please tell me you know this assumption is ridiculous)  Honestly, since this discussion, I think Mike has asked me how my day was every day since.  Around that same time, I remember being at a friends house for dinner and Mike asked me how my day was.  Later on, a friend came up to me and said that she thought it was so nice that Mike asked how my day was.  Haha - I just giggled.

Does this process seem superficial?  Maybe a little bit at first because you know he's just asking how your day is because you told him too...but it actually evolves into something more meaningful and you start to learn a lot about each other.  :)

When I have friends tell me, "My husband/boyfriend doesn't do this or say that and it makes me so mad."  My first question is "Does he know you want him to do that or say that to you?"  In my experience, it really is that simple and so much less stressful and emotional then the guess why I'm upset game.

What do you think?  Does this work for you?  Do you tackle this issue a different way?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a memory

As Spring is upon us in New Mexico and we've been having the front door open more often, I keep thinking of a weather related memory from my younger days.

I went to a one room country school through 6th grade.  After I moved out of Nebraska and this fact came up in conversation, most were fascinated by the concept of attending a one room school house like I did.  Yup - I did and I would argue that half the attendees, at one point or another, were related to me(sister, brother, cousins).  It was so normal for me but I now realize how odd it probably does sound to people that did not grow up in that environment.

Anyway...back to spring and grade school.  I remember that we never wanted to wear our coats at recess so we got one time a day(I believe we could only call one a day because there was a cost) to call some weather hotline and if it was 60 degrees or higher than we could go out to recess with no coats on.

I generally don't have the best memory so someone...sister, cousin...can correct me if it was a different temperature.  So if my memory of 60 degrees is accurate, I can't help but think of these spring NM temps we are having and think, "60 degrees?"  Although it's beautiful, I think I've developed into a wimp...It's very unlikely I would leave my house now in 60 degree weather without a sweatshirt or light coat on.

Am I wimp or are kids just that tough??

(Added Bonus ~ so on that whole 'Kirsten's memory''s amazing what other's remember about our days growing up.  My friend Jen tells me things that happened in high school and I have no clue what she is talking about.  Does she have an abnormal memory by remembering such details or do I have the abnormal memory of not being able to remember such details?  Hmmmm...I wonder?!)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

interesting facts above my love bug

And I don't mean Mike, I mean my adorable love bug cute little 6 year old shih tzu named Stuart ~>

1) When he wants attention, he will crawl right up into your lap and 'paw' at your face until you give him some attention.

2) He can sit upright on his butt with his front paws up(sort of like a prairie dog) for extended amounts of time.  Another ploy to get attention.

3) When I leave the house & Mike is still home(so Stuart is not put in his crate), he'll "attack" my ankles as I'm walking out the door.  After I shut the door, he'll run back to the table or couch and if I have any article of clothing out, he'll rip it off the back of the chair.(he doesn't really rip it but he'll violently pull it down onto the ground)

4) He sleeps in our bedroom at night, usually on our bed at our feet.  We usually have a fan and a humidifier running to drown out any noises so he doesn't yap in the middle of the night.  As you can imagine...middle-of-the-night-yapping is Mike's favorite way to wake up.  (yeah right!)

5) A few years ago at Christmas at my Mom's, we had an appetizer-type meal spread out on the dining table.(we were in the living room and the food was left by itself on the dining table)  Stuart made his way onto the dining table, not once but twice, and grabbed a chicken wing right before I was able to capture him.  This is what we call the 'naughty Stuart.'  It was funny at the time(at least to me & Mike) and it still cracks me up thinking about it.  For the record, we don't "allow" Stuart on our kitchen table...he was just naughty enough to figure it out that night at my Mom's.

6) He's deathly scared of clippers.  So much so that I cut his hair myself with scissors.  And you wondered why his haircut is always just a tiny bit uneven.  :)

7) He has destroyed two of Mike's leather belts and 'injured' a pair of Mike's boots.  Stuart actually doesn't chew on much aside from dog toys but sometimes he gets a hankering for leather apparently.  I felt bad about the first belt but I say the 2nd belt is Mike's fault because he left it where Stu could get it.  Obviously, Mike disagrees with this.

8) Stuart rules the roost and makes the rules.  If he wants something from Boulevard or Ranger, they will give it to him.

9) The house is generally pretty quiet during the day when I'm working but somehow Stuart knows when Mike is home because he'll start barking at the door 5-10 seconds before Mike even touches the door.  Then chaos ensues until Stuart gets his attention from Mike.

10) I cannot stand when people let their dog sit on their lap as they are driving a car.  It totally freaks me out and I feel it's so unsafe for not only the driver but also for me as a fellow driver.  Anyway, I had to train Stuart to stay off my lap and in the passenger seat or back seat when he was younger and now he doesn't even attempt it unless we are home and parked in the garage.  Amazing what you can train stubborn dogs to do.  :)

11) When we are staying with at my Mom's, Stuart will chase my Mom's dog Molly around the house to try to hump her.  Molly usually snaps/fights back.  No means no Stuart!!

12) I adopted Stuart from the humane society and was close to taking him back because he was so impossible in the beginning.  I mean SO IMPOSSIBLE that it put me in tears a few times.  One reason why he now sleeps in our bed...he would bark all.night.long from his crate when I first got him.

13) If it's warm outside(I wouldn't even go as far as saying hot outside) and we go on walks, when he's had enough, he's been known to sit down and not go any further.  I literally have to pick him up and carry him until he's ready to walk again.  Ridiculous! (but I guess he has me trained well, huh?)

I have definitely become a dog person as I've gotten older.  Dogs are a pain in the butt sometimes but can also shower you with all the love you need.  And I won't even get into their sense of loyalty.  I would honestly have more dogs if Mike would let me, if we lived in a bigger place with more land, & if it wasn't so expensive for someone to 'handle' them when we are on vacation.  Much to Mike's dismay, shih tzu's(and many small dogs) live long lives so I think Stuart will be around with his antics for many more years.  Yay for Kirsten!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


A month ago, I published a post about various songs that resonate with me.  I have another one to share...

Brave by Sara Bareilles
click here to listen to it and then we'll discuss...crank up the volume because this is a good one!! (this is a good link because you can read the lyrics too)

Are you done?  How about now?

Ok - so the's a beautiful melody, I love her voice, etc, etc.
As far as the lyrics and message - I just love it.  I get the impression that maybe the original intention of the message was to be more geared toward standing up for yourself and being brave in a tough relationship.  I relate it more to my job and life in general.  I'm reading a "career" book right now by Kate White called I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know.  I haven't finished it yet but one thing she discusses, specifically for women, is that we are afraid to voice what we want or voice our ideas because we want everyone to "like" us.  I just feel like this song really relates to that idea...Be Brave.  "You could be the outcast or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love...or you can start speaking up..."  Not everyone is going to like what you have to say but if you deliver your idea or thought professionally and respectfully, then be brave enough to do it!

I just recently downloaded the song to my iPhone and this morning I listened to this song on repeat for the entire hour I was at the gym.  It's just so motivating and we should be brave in anything we do.  The gym can be intimidating sometimes but we can be brave and attack it!  :)

"Show me how big your BRAVE is!"

I really love Sara Bareilles -- here are a few other songs of hers I enjoy:
I Choose You - I think of Mike every time I hear this'd be a good wedding song.
King of Anything - Again, I think this one is geared more toward a troubled relationship but again the message is very universal.  Who cares if we disagree? No one should be telling you who you should be.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

there's always a silver lining

I've been saying this phrase a lot lately…well…because…it's true!  There is always a silver lining.
We are going through some changes at work right now that make me feel a little uneasy/insecure but there's always a silver lining, right?  You can always, always, always find something positive in a tough situation.  Sometimes it's difficult to find but it's there.

When Stuart is a being a brat, it's tough to find the silver lining but he does comfort me and love me even if I have to yell at him.  He's with me during the tough times that Mike is traveling so I guess he's not always a brat face.  :)
Great example, don't you think?  In all seriousness, there is always a silver lining but sometimes you have to look for it.  Sometimes it's tough to find and, frankly, sometimes you only want to see the negative.  BUT, there is always a positive!

Have a great Saturday and go bring positivity to the world!  :)
Please share you silver lining examples in the comments.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

a few highlights from our Caribbean cruise

I'll share pictures on another day but I wanted to share a few highlights from Mike's birthday trip.  My Dad always calls me after we return from vacation and the first question is always, "What was the highlight of the trip?"  Well, here are five highlights…

Highlight #1)  I think Mike and I would both agree that our stop in Roatan, Honduras was probably our best day for 'excursions.'  Oddly enough, we did separate excursions.  Haha!  Mike went diving(which I don't do…more on that in a moment) and I went to the 'Maya Key Private Island Retreat' for the day.  Doesn't it sound so exotic?  I sort of figured it really wasn't going to be a "private" island but it actually was.  It was a little windy that day so the 2nd cruise ship that was supposed to dock in Roatan didn't dock so there were about 50 people from my cruise ship on the entire island.  This island is also dedicated to rescuing animals so I got to see some cute animals and hear about their stories.  And I got to eat some local food, which was also delicious.  I relaxed, I walked, enjoyed the peace of the beach and water, I read my book…oh and also also got to hold an alligator.(picture to come later)

Highlight #2)  I am not certified to dive.  It honestly sort of freaks me out because if something goes wrong 50-75 feet under, what can you do?  Our last stop was in Costa Maya, Mexico and I decided to do a Discovery Dive, which is basically a quick course on diving and then they take you out for a shallow 25 foot dive.  The good thing about diving at 25 feet is that you can get to the surface without having to stop.  Well - I started going under the water and completely panicked.  I couldn't seem to keep my mask clear of water.  There were three of us and 2 instructors so I came up to the surface with one of the dive masters, she talked to me to calm me down and for about 5-7 minutes I just stared at her trying to relax and breath.  I was close to giving up but I knew I'd regret it.  I pulled myself together and was able to get down into the water, perform my 3 maneuvers(mask clearing, clearing my regulator, & taking the regulator out of my mouth, letting it go, & retrieving it).  Then we were off to explore.  I'm not sure if this experience convinced me to get certified or not but it was a great experience(and a challenging one) and we got to see a sea urchin, some colorful fish, a crab, & an electric stingray.

Highlight #3)  You'd never think that you could attend art auctions and buy art on a cruise ship but you can.  And they even have Picasso, Rembrandt, Yaacov Agam, Francisco Goya, Renoir, & other artists that most non-artsy people have heard of.  We attended a few auctions and ended up picking up a few pieces.  We've been on 3 cruises and every time we say we aren't going to buy more art, but we ended up buying.  I guess it's something we can leave to our…oh wait…we don't have kids.  Hopefully the nieces and nephews will appreciate it. :)  This time we picked up a Peter Max, a few Tim Yanke's, & an Emile Bellet.  We have also collected a Scott Jacobs piece and few Shan-Merry's but that was on the Alaskan cruise.  Even if you don't buy, art auctions are really fun and entertaining.  I love hearing the stories about the artists and the works of art.

Highlight #4)  David Naster was a comedian and performed twice on the cruise ship.  We laughed so-dang-hard.  His performances have really stuck with me because it wasn't just all about comedy, it was about real people dealing with difficult things and finding laughter/humor in those tough situations.  Here is a link to his teaser video for his hopefully future TV program.(<~please go watch this video because you'll better understand)  He told so many funny stories about real people finding laughter in difficult situations.  He also told stories about first-responders, law enforcement, & nurses/doctors…what they deal with and how they find humor in situations that many may deem "politically incorrect."  I could really relate to the law enforcement stories because there are so many times Mike will come home, tell me something happened that day(i.e. someone jumped off the Rio Grand Gorge bridge), and then he maybe laughs or tells me something funny about it.  I usually scold him and say, "That's so inappropriate Mike."  After listening to David, I feel like I have a better understanding of how & why Mike has to find humor in some of those tough situations.  Of course, someone committing suicide by jumping off a bridge is tragic but if Mike doesn't find a way to deal with it, then those incidents will just eat him alive.  We have to be 'ok' with finding humor in tough situations to keep our sanity.  Take a time out to laugh often, out loud, every day!

Highlight #5)  The National World War 2 museum is in New Orleans.  It is AWESOME!  I loved everything about this museum and how it was set up.  They are still developing it so I definitely want to go back when they have more done.

There's my highlights!  I'll post pictures next.  :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

music resonates with me

Vacation is over and I have intentions of doing a few blog posts on our Alaskan cruise (from last September - behind much?) and our most recent cruise to the Western Caribbean and our time in New Orleans.(we cruised out of New Orleans and stayed over for a few days after the cruise)  Maybe this weekend I'll dedicate some time to those posts.  For a few years now, we've been taking birthday trips so the Caribbean cruise was Mike's birthday trip.

Ok…now on to music…
Music is something that really resonates with me…it brings back memories, it motivates me, it makes me happy, it inspires me, I feel it can inspire change, the list can go on and one.  I was involved in band and choir when I was younger but I don't really feel like music meant to me at that time, what it does now.  I'm sure your next question is: "Can you give us some examples?"  Why, of course I can.  :)  Click on the song name and it will take you to a You Tube video of the song.(I don't necessarily love the videos of all these but I love the songs)  Grab a cup of tea because I encourage you to listen to all these songs!

I just really started listened to the words of the song Nothing More by The Alternate Routes and I love this song.  Listen to the words.  Isn't this the truth ~> "We are how we treat each other when the day is done.  We are how we treat each other and nothing more."  Can't this song teach us all of life lesson?  This song is just beautiful!

Roar by Katy Perry is a song that really motivates me when it comes to the gym or stressful times at work.  It makes me feel strong, powerful, and makes me feel like I can attack the world(in a positive way, of course).

I've talked about this one before on the blog but Thank God for Hometowns by Carrie Underwood is one that has brought me to tears many times.  As a person that moved away from their closest friends/family, this one really comforts me when I want my Nebraska peeps.  :)

The Lord Bless You and Keep You is a song from my high school days that is a song that anyone associated with my high school music program would know.  This is actually a video of a bunch of my high school alumni singing to our choir director at his last concert when he retired in 2012.  Sadly, I was not able to join this event since I live so far away but this video also makes me tear up.

Only You Can Love Me This Way by Keith Urban and My Little Girl by Tim McGraw bring me back to my wedding day.  My first dance with my husband and the father-daughter dance.

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is really a great song for this day and age, if you will.  It's probably long overdue and honestly, it amazes me how much discrimination/stereotyping still exists.  So dissappointing!  Think about this quote from Nelson Mandela ~> "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it's opposite." Stop with the "hate" of people of a different color, people of different sexual orientation, people of different religions, or people with a different background than yourself.

Those are just a few songs that have meaning to me.  How does music impact you?  Are there any songs/music that resonate with you? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

something to ponder

Keep people in your life that truly...

love you
motivate you
encourage you
inspire you
enhance you &
make you happy

If you have people that do none of the above, let them go. 

As I get older, (I said I'm getting older, not that I'm old!) :) I really have learned to appreciate and understand this concept. When I was younger, I always felt like I had to please all my friends & aquaintences and continue being friends with someone because that's "just what you do."  As I've moved away from my closest friends, I've come to realize and value those strong friendships that I have.   All relationships entail a certain level of "work" but sometimes it's not worth the effort or I have realized that some people don't seem to bring value to my life.  Or, maybe even causes an unnecessary amount of stress in my life. I have let go of some friends over the years and I've come to accept it. It's just the natural course of life, right?

What do you think about the quote?  Have you let people go from you life?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

today is the day!!

Today is the day my best friend, lover, & hubby comes home. (<~ that's all the same person by the way, in case you were curious)  YAY!!  He's been gone for two weeks and I'm super excited for him to be home.  And this is his last 2 week detail for awhile which also makes me happy…and we leave soon for vacation, which also makes me happy.

I think I've said this before but I do think having time apart is a really good thing for any relationship even though I hate it when he is gone.  It allows us to miss each other and get excited about seeing each other again.  It also helps me to appreciate him more and appreciate the things he does for me or the tasks he does around the house.  As the time of his arrival gets closer, I know I'll start to get butterflies and I'll leap into his arms when he walks through the door…well after Ranger greets me, of course.

I asked him if he wanted to be all romantic when he got home today and go out to dinner and go to a local spa but…he said the playoffs are on and the Broncos are playing so I guess we'll be watching football.  Haha!  And honestly, that's ok with me.  Mike is not a guy that is a sports junky so I think I can manage through one game so he can watch his beloved Broncos.  I'm going to try to find a chicken wing recipe and maybe some other 'football-type' food.  I think Mike knows I'll be attached to his hip once he walks through the door probably to the point of being annoying but I.Do.Not.Care!  :)

New Year's Eve

Mike has been at the AZ/Mexico border for these 2 weeks working with Border Patrol and this is one of the pics he sent me.  I kinda sorta love him in a uniform and kinda sorta love his beard when he grows it out for the winter.  :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

thankful for...

I'm back with more reflection the great things in my life:

  • Smart Phones - I was late to the game with getting  my smart phone but now that I have one, I do find it terribly convenient.  From looking up the hours of a store to finding directions when I'm lost, it's pretty darn convenient.  Not to mention, I just recently added the Kindle app so now I basically get to have the book I'm reading with me at all times.  You never know when you may need to wait for something so it's nice to have a book with me.
  • Living in a country in which I can make my own decisions and generally have control over my own life.  
  • Wine - because sometimes a glass of wine really does make things better. (one glass friends, not the bottle!)  :)
  • I can sometimes go a long length of time without talking to my close friends and family.  I'm thankful that they don't take it personally and we can pick up the conversation right where we left it the last time we spoke.  Just because I don't talk to you everyday, doesn't mean I love you less. Thanks for understanding that I dislike talking on the phone sometimes.
  • Clean water - I drink a lot of water.  I'm glad I can turn on the faucet and drink water from it.  You know, there are many places in the world that don't have this.
  • Being able to talk to my husband on the phone ~ when he travels, we typically are able to talk everyday when he is away.  Honestly, all I need is a 5 minute conversation to hear his voice and tell each other that we love the other.
There you have it.  A few more things I'm thankful for.
What are you thankful for?

Friday, January 3, 2014

counting my blessings

I do not really have any new years resolutions this year but one thing I would like to do is to take more time to appreciate and think about the blessings in my life.  You can read a little more on my thoughts on annual goals here.
Let’s be honest – I have a pretty simple and relatively easy life.  I know numerous individuals and families that are struggling with things I can’t even fathom…cancer, baby born 3 months before due date, friends/family in hospital, etc.  Honestly, I just really have no concept of struggle in my life…I’m married to a fab guy and have three entertaining pups.  I’m healthy(aside from a current self diagnosis of sciatica…and it kills! I’m giving it until Monday & then I’m going to the doctor) & so is my husband.  It only makes sense for me to take a ‘time out’ and reflect on the blessings in my life.  Let’s get started:(in no particular order)

  • Like I said above, I’m married to a pretty fab guy.  More recently, I’ve come to appreciate the times we laugh together.  Maybe one of us cracks a joke, maybe we’re making fun of Stuart, maybe we’re watching a funny show, maybe we’re teasing each other – the times we laugh together give me much pleasure and I’m thankful that laughing happens multiple times in our household.
  • I have a job…and a job I enjoy and that has afforded me numerous opportunities.  Some do not have a job, some do not have enough money to support themselves, some barely get by paycheck to paycheck.  I want to kick myself when I look back on the times I haven’t appreciated my job.
  • I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world.  For 2013, we have a Caribbean cruise planned,(Mike is officially addicted to cruising) a trip to Steamboat Springs planned, & a trip to St. Martin in the works.  I get to make amazing memories, meet people from all cultures, & enjoy the time with my husband and travel partners.
  • I’m grateful that a friend Nikki told me about  With the move to Maryland and then New Mexico , I’ve used to make new friends.  It’s not exactly easy to make new friends as an adult, in my opinion.
  • Starbucks – I know some of you probably cringe at this but I love Starbucks.  To me, it’s like happiness in a cup! 
  • Yards that have no grass – although, I secretly loved my huge yard in Nebraska , it’s nice to have a ‘rock’ yard here in NM.  Aside from picking up dog poo and pulling a few weeds, it’s such a low maintenance yard.  I have no desire to mow a lawn again.
  • My 3 love bugs – Ranger is always with Mike but I’m so thankful that I have Boulevard and Stuart.  When Mike travels for work, I get pretty sad and lonely and it’s so great to have my pup companions.  If it was just me in this house, I’d go bonkers I think.  I’m thankful that Ranger is always with Mike at work and I trust that Ranger would protect and fight to the death for my husband.

That’s my first list of blessings that I wanted to reflect on.  I’ll be back periodically to appreciate & reflect on the wonderful things in my life.