They call me a Jet-Setter…

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The grass is always greener on the other side… Or so it may seem.

I travel A LOT. While most of the time it’s my choice, and lately it’s been more for pleasure than work, and it seems glamorous… It’s still exhausting. This post is coming to you from high over the skies on a flight from Phoenix to Kansas City. And this was a work trip, my last work trip. No, not last for now, my contact is up and it’s the last with this job anyway.

I appreciate the fun comments and people following my adventures because I make the most out of it all, work or not – I’m going to squeeze it out and maximize the time. I have been home about 10 days total since the end of October. I am tired.

  • October. Tampa to see family, friends, and my new hubby enjoyed some golf (more on that new development later).
  • November. We eloped on the beach in Key West and took about a week to adventure in the Keys and in Miami.
  • Then we came home for 1.5 days and headed off to Texas for Thanksgiving.
  • Then we came home and another 1.5 days later I left for El Paso to finish out my contract and say a proper goodbye to the Wild West.

Again, not a  complaint, but I am ready to crash and live in my house, with my husband, and our pets for the foreseeable future… Until the Chritmas travels begin. Super excited to unpack my toiletries, wash my clothes and camp out in sweats for a few days. I do have a on easy trip next week,but hey – a gal has to keep her A-List on Southwest. I’ve tasted the sweet life and can’t go back. One flight and $55 was all that stood between me and my status for 2018:)

Now, let’s back up a tick. I LOVE to travel and experience new cities and see what makes them unique. I want to eat their food, see their sites, and meet their people. This particular trip has been to shut down my project and walk away with a good relationship, dignity, and respect for the people I have serve on the past five years. I will always have love for UTEP, and for those I have worked with, but El Paso will always have a special place in my heart. So much of my life changed there – I met lifelong friends, earned a master’s degree, grew as a leader in my career, and while it would have been revealed to  me until many years after I moved out of the region, I met my future husband there. (Again, totally another story).

Over the past five years I have worked for UTEP, but in my unique role I worked in five states and traveled a lot. So a few years into my job I moved back to Florida to be closer to family. I traveled at a minimum of once a month, but visited as many of m sites as I cold during that time. And, after six months of long-distance dating my (now) husband, I moved to Kansas to be with him as I had this flexible job that didn’t need me in one particular physical location.

So that all brings me to today. Heading home after my last work trip – my contract ends in a few days and it’s time for the curtain call on our work over the past five years. It’s the nature of grant work, and I knew this would happen someday. no while I knew it would happen, and I knew I wanted to go out on a high note, I’m a sensitive soul and have never been good at drawing a line between work and personal life. I’m passionate about this project and never felt the need to get it out of my head. Anyway, I can’t help but be a little crestfallen – it’s the end of an era.

So on this last trip, my last travels to my beloved Wild West, I tried to take it all in. I hit some of my favorite restaurants.

Exercised at some of my favorite spots . And hugged a lot of really wonderful people that I know I’ll see again.

I am tired. I am thankful. And I am full of love for those I have been so fortunate to call co-workers and friends. Goodbye for now. Adios, El Paso.

Still on my workout program Week 3…

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I’ve gotten behind on my workout schedule. Week 3 has turned into Weeks 3&4. Now, I wasn’t skipping out, I just saw something shiny/physically challenging and gave it a try in place of my daily workout. NOW, I know consistency is key to reaching my fitness goals, so I am going to finish it out without substitutions. Which means no more shenanigans and I can finish on Saturday. Self-talk works for me…


What was yesterday’s shiny object? Well, nothing. Instead of downloading my workouts as recommended, I generally stream them… and today the internet didn’t play nice. So to get some exercise I decided to take a run. Hell, I’ve got a Santa Dash 5K coming up anyway, might as well give it a go.  So today the pup and I did 2.86 miles in 38 minutes. Great for me, maybe not so good for real runners, but we all have to start(over) somewhere.

So today’s victories are many. I didn’t let technology rule my life. The pup and I enjoyed a beautiful crisp Fall day. I burned a few calories and got my running started again. Not a bad way to improvise.


Otherwise, what’s up? We get married next week!! YAY! So trying to be the best me I can and keep this body moving.


When I wake up I can see abs! Then gravity sets in… but I’ve always said that I have got washboard abs, just have a few loads of laundry on top. 

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Until next time… Xoxo

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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Well, I hope “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” at least this week. Bradley, my Main Squeeze, is playing in his first of two national mid-amateur golf tournaments, and Yours Truly is going to caddy. Don’t worry, we’ve got our dynamic down after a few tournaments this past summer.

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As I type, we’re on a plane to Philadelphia with the final destination of Stonewall Links in Elverson, PA for the US Golf Association Mid-Amateur Tournament. We’re going to do our best to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the accomplishment of qualifying. I hope to see some family while we’re in the northeast, but I understand everyone’s busy schedules (and that while caddying, I can’t be socialJ Which is a challenge for me!).

We are going to treat this experience as a once-in-a-lifetime event, but I have a feeling he’ll continue to do great things in this sport. Qualifying is a feat in itself, so in my heart he’s already done some pretty incredible things – we’ll see how the week plays out. No pressure, of course.

We’ve rented a fun place just outside of Reading (pronounced Red-ing for all of us non-Northerners) thanks to AirBNB and look forward to enjoying what the area has to offer. While I hope we have time to explore The City of Brotherly Love, that means we’re no longer competing… so in this case, we hope we’re not playing tourist too much. But we’ll have a blast either way. img_2680

Three Cheers for Bradley!!! Hip, hip HOORAY! Play Well!

P.S. if ya’ feel like throwing out some happy thoughts, set your intentions, send good juju, or intersessions to Saint Sebastian, we  whole-heartedly thank you!

8+ Miles Down – Alive and Kicking

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I was going to play off of Eminem’s 8 Mile song here, but it was hardcore for my first-world challenges of being a novice runner…

OK, the use of the word “running” is quite liberal here. While as of late I’ve found a decent stride, I sometimes feel like I more “fall forward” or “lumber in forward motion.” I’ve never been a runner, but 8 weeks in I am starting to feel like I am part of the crowd.

Last Friday night, two friends and I set out at 7:30 PM to strategize for our first super-long run at 8.3 miles. For all of us, this was the longest run of our lives to date. First, we knew we either needed a circuit or a very long straight distance that was also safe to run in the dark, as well as in the Summer heat of Tampa Bay.

We chose to run the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail – one straight, 9-mile shot across the bay where we could stash a lunchbox of liquid refreshment at the ½ mark. We were able to park cars at either end of the route to stow belongings and additional cold drinks, as well as to give us starting and end points that would get us to the required 8.3 miles according to Olympian Jeff Galloway and his 13.1 Half Marathon Training ap.

My friends are the superior runners – each circled back to me as I lagged behind barely getting my feet off of the ground. I’ll never finish first, but I am determined to finish. They brought music and conversation, which kept me from peeking at my phone the entire time lamenting how far we’d traveled. My only distance markers were the guess at the county signs and knowing the foot of the bridge was ½ way done. Jeff (we’re on a first name basis now, it has been 8 weeks) kept encouraging me through the training ap that played on my phone as we made it across the water from Clearwater to Tampa.

It took 1:48 and we finished the longest distance of our lives. First, we finished – being the biggest victory. I was so nervous about my stamina on this run that my sister was on alert in case I collapsed or some other calamity overtook me. Second, we did it 12 minutes quicker than I thought we would. It was before 10 PM when we arrived at the car and chugged both water and Gatorade – but we made it.

Things I learned – it’s OK to drink sports drinks, but I will allow myself that ONLY on long runs. (For the regular person, go for it. For me, who’s battled weight my entire life, I am skittish about beverages that have sugar and calories – it’s engrained, leave me be.)

To start off last Friday, I had barely slept the night before as I was so nervous about the run – which is the worst way to start. I did drink water all day long, and ate oatmeal with peanut butter 2.5 hours before the run to help fuel me up. I can’t stand being hungry when working out, I get hangry real quick and everyone suffers.

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After I parked the car to start the run, I chugged the new Energize pre-workout formula from the Team Beachbody Performance Line. I believe this helped to keep me going without any surge or crash throughout my workout. I didn’t stop or quit the entire 8 miles, and Energize helped to keep me focused and motivated the entire way. (This is an informative review of my experience, but I am also a Team Beachbody Coach if you are interested.). I finished and felt better than expected at the end, again considering this was my longest run EVER!

I was a hot, sweaty mess, but I finished. I didn’t collapse, no ambulances needed (which was a real fear for me before starting), and my sister received no emergency calls. This was a victory all the way around.

By the time I got home I was thoroughly nauseated – it was the most grueling physical experience of my life. I sat in a bath of Epsom salts and watched Netflix feeling too wired to sleep, but too tired to move. I knew I was bound to wake up hungry, so I sipped my dinner of Vanilla Shakeology blended with the Recover (Speeds muscle recovery, promotes lean muscle synthesis, combats exercise-induced muscle soreness, and improves muscle strength recovery.) while trying to calm my body down.

The next day – I didn’t hurt. I was stiff, and my hips a bit sore – but that’s more from the weight I gained during the challenges of the past two years. Late in the day I suffered from a migraine, but that’s par for the course in my world. Overall, I would do it all again. Which is a good conclusion as I have 9.8 miles in two weeks! Thanks, Jeff;)

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CMA FEST 2015: Music and Food, two of my favorite things!

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A few weeks ago I got a text from a friend that she had an extra ticket to the Country Music Association Music Festival in Nashville, June 11-14. She said if I could get there, it was mine. Well, how can I turn down that fantastic offer as well as the time to spend with a bestie?! Her generosity still makes my jaw drop.

I ended up needing to be in the Wild West earlier in the week – and not a bad way to start the journey. Hot and dusty, yes, as El Paso generally is, but mix in some good friends and Mexican food. It’s a work trip but certainly a good time.

Charles Esten, from ABC's Nashville (Character Deacon Claiborne).

Charles Esten, from ABC’s Nashville (Character Deacon Claiborne).

After ending work in ELP early Thursday, I took leave Friday and Monday so I could spend the weekend with Lindsey at the #CMAFest and then have some time to recover. Bonus, I got in some time with Aubrey and Stephanie too!

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Linds picked me up at BNA on Thursday night and we headed straight to LP Field in time to see Rascal Flatts go on, followed by Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and Jason Aldean. I was most excited to see Dierks as “Drunk on a Plane” was my jilted-but-moving-on theme song for the latter part of 2015. And FL GA Line is just incredible… we’ll let them say it best.

VIDEO – DIERKS BENTLEY DRUNK ON A PLANE

FASTFORWARD: Friday we bumped around at The Mall at Green Hills. I was hoping to see Faith Hill shopping, but no such luck and no celebrity sightings. I was able to window shop in some luxurious stores that I’ll never be able to afford, which bothers me none. I enjoy browsing. Midday Lindsey kicked my arms (yes arms, not ass) at the gym… #HurtsSoGood Thankfully, Aubrey had time for dinner at Puckett’s Boathouse in Franklin before we headed out for the night. I might say that they have some of the best hot grits…ever.

Friday night, I do believe The Zac Brown Band stole the show. They were my favorite act of the night playing my favorite Chicken Fried, but also performing an electrifying version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I couldn’t even get the iPhone up to record because I was awestruck. Randy Houser, Lady Antebellum, and Luke Bryan were all very good, but ZBB – just WOW.

VIDEO – ZAC BROWN BAND

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We spent Saturday with another fabulous bestie, Stephanie, who drive over an hour to come shop, have lunch and just enjoy life. We started at Gray’s on Main. Upon entering the restaurant my sandal broke… seriously? It’s not like it was a cheap flip-flop, it was Guess, who said they should snap. So after explaining my odd situation to the hostess, she brought me scotch tape to make the attempt to give it a temporary fix. Thankfully our very friendly server overhead the mess and saw me examining my sandal, and he came to the rescue. It might have taken ½ a roll of tape, but it held all afternoon. We shopped the fabulous shops and emptied a bottle of wine before departing for the evening. #LiveAtGrays

World's best server fixing my sandal

World’s best server fixing my sandal

Sunday brunch is one of my favorite pastimes and there is no better a foodie to celebrate this fabulous meal with than my girl, fellow blogger, Aubrey, and her fiancé Dan (who has the best head of hair I’ve ever seen on a man). We hit up Biscuit Love Brunch. She explained the entire experience so delightfully that I won’t even try to top it, but just give you the link to her review. What I will share is what I ate: Bloody Mary, Bonuts, Hot Chicken, and Chronic Bacon. My favorites were the Bloody Mary – spicy and garnished with plenty of pickled goodness, and the Bonuts – cream filled biscuit bites with a berry compote. My mouth is watering just thinking of it now! Excellent choice Aubs!

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Sunday night closed out the festival with a star-STUDDED lineup: Cole Swindell, Daruis Rucker, Eric Church, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley. They were all incredible. I’ve loved Darius since his days with Hootie and the Blowfish, and I actually fell in love with Keith Urban. It was my second time seeing Brad Paisley and he put on a good show that started off with some technical difficulties, but he was Crushin’ It!

VIDEO – DARIUS RUCKER WAGON WHEEL

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Me and Lindsey on the footbridge from downtown Nashville to LP Field.

Me and Lindsey on the footbridge from downtown Nashville to LP Field.

Me on night 4!

Me on night 4!

My favorite man of the night was Eric Church. He’s much more of a rebel rocker than I expected, and he really brought it down with my new favorite song Wrecking Ball. Yes, the term has been used in many contexts in pop culture as of late, but Church’s take is just so raw that I got weak in the knees and almost needed the smelling salts… Love me baby, like a wrecking ball. Check it out for yourself below. Thank you Nashville, Good night!

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Ladies European Adventure: V1 – London

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Almost two months later, I am ready to re-cap my latest European Adventure. Let’s start at the very beginning

This was a 11 day, 7 country adventure through Europe with Cosmos Tours. Cosmos arranged everything for us from the flights, to all transfers, hotels, transportation, and optional excursions – including all breakfasts, and some dinners. I highly recommend the company, but maybe a less ambitious pace!

Saturday, March 21 6 a.m. – Arrival in London

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We arrived very early at the hotel and not all rooms were ready. So we dropped our bags and hit the road. Personally, I love traveling by rail – rarely a delay, no traffic, and I can get to and from on foot – To The TUBE!

Thankfully, we ordered our London Pass before leaving and chose the option with transportation. The pass entitled us to skip lines at many sites, included admission fees to these sites, and the optional Oyster Travelcard got us on and off the Tube all over London. Busses and river cruises were also included.

I’ve left my references and travel things in this just for fun – page numbers refer to the page in the London Pass booklet. Onto the adventure:

TUBE: Hammersmith Station (District Line – green ) to High Street Kensington

  • tour Kensington Palace (via London Pass, skip the line, page 55)

On our walk from Kensington Palace through Hyde Park we saw actor Hugh Grant as we walked towards the Notting Hill Gate – how apropos!!

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Get back to TUBE High Street Kensington (Green/District) to Westminster OR Walk through Hyde Park and Marble Arch to Buckingham.

Refer to page 26

Afternoon Tea, yes, please! We traveled back in time to the 1800’s to Mr. Fogg’s of Mayfair. Mr. Phineas J. Fogg opened his parlor for select patrons in his speak-easy tea house, reminiscent of what I’d expect a mercury-induced hallucination would be like in MadHatter style. Tipsy Tea was a Saturday option. I chose the champagne tea, and my guest chose gin. It was really a champagne cocktail in a lovely teapot served with finger sandwiches and sweets – the perfect way to end the first day in London.

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This was close to 36 hours of trans-Atlantic travel and site seeing in one of the most vibrant cities in the UK – we saw much but might have gone to bed shortly after the sun set for the night.

Sunday, March 22 – London Day 2.

TUBE: Hammersmith Station (green District line) to Westminster Station, walk to the Westminster Pier

Walk across the Westminster Bridge – page 30

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City Cruises (good for 24 hours from when we pick up the Red Rover ticket that has on/off privileges) Page 110 Sounded great – but the tide was too low to travel from the dock we were at. We could have switched piers, but the other 200+ passengers beat us to it and we didn’t want to wait longer in line. We never made it to the cruise.

Depart from Westminster Pier, get off at Tower Pier:

  • Tower of London (skip ticket office & line – page 63)
  • Tower Bridge Exhibition (open 9:30am-5:00pm)IMG_5768IMG_5754

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We did a lovely day of wandering around the city including a lunch of traditional Fish N Chips with a side of peas.

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Trafalgar Square even had a bagpiper blowing his lungs out to ACDC!

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Did a walkedIMG_5779_2-by on:

  • London’s Eye (45 minute 1x revolution; not included in the Pass)
  • Globe Theater Tour (via London Pass)

Afternoon Tea at The Rose Lounge was every bit the proper tea experience we expected. The Lounge bills it as informal, but it was very formal for us American travelers. Thank God they started with a glass of Champagne! They even had a gluten-free option for sensitive tummy’s like mine. (I could have suffered through the lovely regular version, but my 40+ travel mates we were meeting the next morning wouldn’t have liked me very much).

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My regrets for London:

  • We did not make it to a show at one of the famed Theatres of London.
  • Despite our repeated efforts, we missed out on the River Thames (“teh-ms”) cruise. Had I not stopped for the loo….
  • No time for visiting outside the city to sites such as Kew Gardens, Windsor Castle, The Churchill War Rooms, or the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour (all found on the London Pass)

Around 2000, I traveled England for 2 weeks with my beloved Grandparents. We had an apartment in Knightsbridge and really had a chance to absorb British culture, This 2-day trip was very nice, action packed, but it only whet my appetite to return.