Here’s to New Beginnings

Hello friends,

It sure has been a while, hasn’t it? Almost a year, in fact, since I last published a blog post. I attempted to write something a few months back but stopped after only a few sentences. It didn’t feel right at the time.

I took an unintentional break from writing from the simple fact that I was busy with my full-time job, school schedule, and just life in general. So let’s see where I was at a year ago…

Last year I was working 5-6 days a week for a blood bank over an hour away from my house; working on my bachelors of science in nursing degree, about 1/4 of the way through my program; my husband was working 3-4 days a week, staying at his station during those times, and course those looong weeks away fighting fires all the way up to October.

So what’s happening now?

I’m currently working 3 days a week at a wonderful hospital in our area 30 minutes from home. I’ve been there for almost 6 months and absolutely love it. My husband still works 3 days a week (sometimes more, but not often) and he gets to come home every single night because of the type of fire station he’s at. I finished my BSN program in August and will be walking at my commencement ceremony in less than two weeks. Go me!

In between all of that, other things have happened…

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In the spring I cut off about 12 inches of my hair. I felt like it was time for a change and I loved how healthy my hair felt after cutting it. Ugh, so nice. I’ve only trimmed my hair once since the big cut and it’s already grown quite a bit. My husband of course misses my long hair but he likes how quick I can do my hair now. Ha.

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Always traveling, of course. We went to Lake Powell in August with family and got to visit the famous Horseshoe Bend. We obviously saw this as a great opportunity for a cute picture. On this trip, it only made us love Utah even more and reconsider a move there someday.We’re also more than halfway done remodeling a cabover camper that we purchased in the spring with a Chevrolet diesel truck. We’re so excited to be one step closer to living life on the road…maybe. We’ll see. Ha!

This trip was also exciting because it was one month after I had LASIK eye surgery! If you have glasses or contacts, then you may understand the immense joy I felt of not having to worry about if I could see or not, enough contact solution, dry eyes, etc… My recovery from it was fast and the following day I was seeing 20/20. I love this new sense of freedom. It’s amazing!

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In February our sweet Chubs passed away at the age of 9 and the following month we adopted a brother/sister duo. They’re half lab and half Great Dane. This picture above was taken when they were about 4 months old. They’re now 10 months old and significantly bigger. The brindle is the cuddly Smokey Bear (male) and his sweet green eyed sister is Denali May. Smokey is much more muscular now and weighs well over 100 lbs. He could weigh more than me… Not gonna lie. My husband actually has a hard time picking him up and my husband is quite strong… Denali (or Nali, as we call her) is very slim, but like a Great Dane. I can still pick her up if I need to.

They have wonderful personalities and love everyone they meet. They could never replace our previous dogs but they helped fill a void when we brought them home. But if you’re curious about the breed, look up Labradanes šŸ™‚

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Our most recent selfie (see, my hair grows!). I just think he’s so handsome in this picture.


I’ve decided to start blogging again thanks to a coworker (love my 6300 people!). I felt inspired and so here I am. I share a passion for makeup with a few coworkers and talking to them about it only makes me feel more excited to start writing again. I also felt inspired about sharing my passions with others and am looking forward to this little space again. I personally want to thank Sheree and Genevieve for encouraging me to blog again šŸ™‚ Thank you ladies!

My new job has me surrounded with such positive people that inspire me daily. I also love doing patient care again. It’s stressful at times (mentally and emotionally) but I love what I do. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve learned so much and look forward to my time there.

At my previous job, although it was fun and I loved the people I worked with, I never felt fulfilled and was getting burned out very fast. The hours quick but the days long. As well as the drive. I could quickly see myself becoming someone I didn’t like and knew I needed to change my scenery. I miss everyone, but am much happier at my new job.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around and continues to read my blog, even though it’s been silent for so long. I look forward to writing again.

xo, Briana

FTC: This is not a sponsored post.

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We Bought A Car & Other Stuff

It’s been quite the last few months of highs and lows. As you know, if you read my last post (written over a month ago), my husband came home after 40 days of fighting fires. It was great coming home and seeing him there, with that mustache of his covering his upper lip again. Oh, how I missed him.

He came home on a Wednesday and went back to his usual schedule of Saturday-Monday, where he gets off Tuesday morning. That first evening back we planned on looking at cars, as we discussed a few months before that we needed to buy a new car for me. The Camry I had previously been using was getting up there in miles (220k+!) and the AC also happened to go out while Bub was gone. Long story short, we went to look at cars and ended up signing the papers to our new 2015 Subaru CrossTrek!

I love my car. So much. She’s so pretty.

IMG_6554Look at her! I love driving her around; she’s smooth, practical, sporty, and just so pretty. Haha.

Anyway, that following Saturday he got called away. Again. He was home for 10 days and 5 of those he was working at the station. This time he was gone for only 2.5 weeks, not 5.5. Ha, cake! 19 days are nothing compared to 40… So far this summer, he’s worked 5 fire and was gone for a total of approximately 68 days. In the span of about 78 days, he was gone for 68 of those. Yeesh.

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For those who have followed me from last year and such, you’ll remember his epic Wyatt Earp status mustache. He got that growing again but shaved it off last week. Meh. I actually like it.

Since he’s been back, we’ve been able to see a few movies with friends, spend time with our families, and even go to the beach! We both got some nice tans, considering it’s October. But that doesn’t mean anything in California. Today was approximately 100 degrees. California doesn’t care that it’s “autumn.”

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Note: I am wearing a bikini top; it’s strapless tho. So yeah. The waves were actually decent that day and I got tumbled around a bit while body surfing. I got a nice tennis ball size abrasion on the back of my hip to prove it. That sand is tough, man!

I also recently did a friend’s bridal makeup, as well as her MOH. It was fun for me and awkward for them because they’re the type of girls that really don’t wear makeup, which they don’t even need to as they’re naturally gorgeous anyway. But I loved doing their makeup and then having them tell me that I did better than the girls at Sephora… šŸ˜‰

I wore a pretty new dress. I had my mom snap a picture of it to send to Bub because he couldn’t come as he was working.

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I finished my RN training at work a few weeks ago and am now on my own! This also means I am now working in the desert, the same area where I did a lot of my nursing clinicals. My schedule is completely random and is now Tues-Sat. Some days I clock in at 0945, other days I’ll clock in at 0345. Ah, the life of a mobile RN… But I get to see beautiful sunrises again

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#nofilter

School is also moving right along. I’m in my 4th class and with that, only 8 more to go!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Life is crazy. Life is busy. But life is good.

My husband and I are slowly getting back into a schedule and rhythm again. The first week or so of him being home is always weird. A good weird, but weird nonetheless. I get used to doing certain things without him and he’s used to living out of a duffel bag. Then he comes home and we get to share a bed again, go grocery shopping, talk about bathroom rugs, and just do normal couple things. He can fix the toilet that’s been leaking and I get to do our piles of laundry, which include smokey blue pants and many sets of scrubs on my end.

Life is good.

xo, Briana

What Not To Say To A FireFighter Wife | & What You Should Say

Bub and I have been married just over a year now. He’s also been a firefighter for a few years now, starting out as a volunteer in which he did everything all the other paid FF’s did, but for free. He was was able to get extra training because of it. He eventually got into the federal forest service and is now part of a state department, broken down and managed by counties.

While we’re still new at the game called “marriage” and his career known as “firefighting,” we’re quickly learning how to balance our careers and every day life, with me being a full-time RN and back in school as well. It’s a crazy, busy life, but a good one.

I just like this picture :)

I just like this picture šŸ™‚

As you may know, or not know, in Bub’s line of working where he is managed through county and state, his job can take him away at any time and for weeks on end. I felt the need to write this because he’s been gone for 16 days now, with the possibility of maybe coming home in a few more and I got some stuff on my mind. Last year he was gone for 2 weeks, and he left not even a week after we got married. Then he was home for two more weeks, then was away for three more. It wasn’t the easiest but I managed with support. More on that in a little bit.

But I’m writing because whenever he’s at work for his regular 72 hour shift or gone like he is now, people say the darnedest things. I mentioned a few of the things in a previous post, but I’ll simply reiterate here, as well as offer a few suggestions for those of you that know other FF wives (or husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiances!), as well as newer wives like myself. We’re a special breed!

When Bub is away, either during his regular shift of 72 hours or time away like he currently is, I get some funny and interesting comments/questions. It’s kind of like a pregnant lady… People offer strange (sometimes unwanted) advice, tips, etc. or just ask weird questions.

Below I have a list of things that people say to me that might irk me. Enjoy. I’ll also add commentary for them and why they might bother me. And yes, these are the phrases that perhaps you can think about before saying, or least how you say it.

You must be so anxious
Yes, I am, but I don’t let it take over my life. I can’t allow myself to feel so anxious that it disrupts me during work or every day life. I have to let it go to a point where I am able to function.

You must not sleep at night/You must be soo lonely in bed by yourself
Yes, I am. But while this may be one of the hardest about him being gone, since I’ve gotten to used to him being there, I’ve found ways to help me sleep better at night. I’ve downloaded two meditation apps that I utilize and boy does it help.

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You’re probably really lonely/Do you miss him a lot?
Yes, of course I am lonely, and no, I am not lonely. I am lonely for him, but not without him. I have the awesome support of my family as well as his family, and course all of our friends. When he’s gone, I usually stay with my family; otherwise I stay at our place, which is on his parents property and I’m able to visit with them of course. I see my friends a lot, too. You can say I’m not a needy wife.

Aren’t you soo stressed out when he’s gone? Are you very worried?
Yes, I get worried, especially when I see pictures of the fires he is at. But I can’t allow myself to freak out and become so afraid that it causes anxiety.

When is he coming home?
I have no freaking clue. Seriously. And neither does he. A typical campaign can last up to 14 or 21 days and then they might get 2 days off. But when in a state of emergency, like we have been for a few weeks now, they might not get those 2 days. And they will continue their 24 on/24 off schedule. But I digress. During their campaigns, we never know when they’ll come home. They usually don’t even know until the night before or even the day of. And then again, it can always change…

Wow, what do you do when he’s gone?
I sit at home by myself and twiddle my thumbs. All day long. Just kidding. I go to work, focus on work, come home, do my homework and write papers, and then I finish it off by spending time with my family and friends. Retail therapy is also a good idea šŸ˜‰

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You must never see each other
Actually, we do. We manage to see each other on his days off and when I come home from work. Amazing! And when he’s away, we’re lucky to live in an age of technology and frequently send each other selfies. Sometimes we even get to FaceTime. And what time we do have together, we never take for granted and appreciate every moment together.

Oh, he’s at that fire? I heard it’s pretty bad and scary up there!
Yes, thank you for the reminder.

Using terms such as single, lonely, lonely girl, and my favorite…widow
I mentioned in my previous post about this but people openly will call me and other FF wives “single,” “lonely girl,” and a “widow.” I have heard all of these more than once. And it makes me sad, hurt, and mad. It downplays what a widow is and it also doesn’t take into account that we are very much married. We just happen to be separated by distance and sometimes lack of communication but not by our choice.

I can usually brush a lot of this off, as everyone that says it really doesn’t mean any harm by it. But when I hear it on a daily basis or when I just heard that he’s staying longer than expected, it is an unintentional hurt, but a hurt nonetheless.

And below are a list of things I tell myself, as well as what I do to help me feel better when it’s tough.

I am calm, because I have to be. For him and for me.

I am strong for the both of us, but especially for him.

I will not allow myself to feel anxious or upset.

I look at the positives in our relationship. I look forward to text messages from him that simply say, “Good morning beautiful, just finished 24 hours on the fire, I’m going to sleep now, miss you, love you”

I don’t expect him to call me every day, especially the days when he’s working 24 hours. And on his off days or when he’s at the station and I send him text messages, I don’t ever expect him to respond right away, if at all. I send him little updates of what I’m doing just so when he does check his phone, it might bring a smile to his face.

I put my focus into work and school, not on the fire that he’s fighting, although he is always in the back of my mind. I miss him every single second that he’s gone, but I know he’s working hard and I care more about if he’s eaten, had enough water, and had enough sleep, instead of him being with me. I check the status of the fire, but I don’t look at weather or the parts that might scare me. I’ll look at his personal photos when he’s back in the safety of our home.

I exert any negative energy into exercising, yoga, Netflix binges (hello, Friends!), and also meditating at night when I go to sleep. I found this helps me so much at night.

Reading positive books.

I recently bought myself and my hubby Qalo rings, which are silicone rings designed specifically for very active people i.e. firefighters, rock climbers, weight-lifters, etc. I got him an all black, as he is very simple. But I got myself the ring that is a representation for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundations and their Wives.

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I still wear my wedding rings, but I wear this on my right hand.

I recently joined an online support group of firefighter wives from all over the country and it’s been so helpful and encouraging to be in a community of women who truly understand what it’s like. We’re similar to military wives, but we’re also different. We all miss our spouses, just for varying periods of time. I have so much respect for the spouses whose other half are in other countries for months on end. I’m lucky to see my husband after a few weeks.

I also use my “independence” for doing other things I might not normally do when he’s here. Shopping trips by myself, lazy evenings of reading or binge-watching YouTube, spending extra time with friends and family, and even eating food he may not like personally but I enjoy. Just because šŸ˜‰ Mmm, garlic shrimp…

If you know someone whose spouse is a firefighter or first responder, asking things like, “how is he doing?” or “how are you doing?” is wonderful. Offering support, rather than questions, is so appreciated. Also, a lot of the time, when asked anything, the tone has a lot to it… When I’m asked these questions and you tilt your head and give me sad eyes, that’s when it hurts. I’m not alone, nor do I need sympathy. Just your support.

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Thanks for reading everyone. I hope this makes sense and you understand where I am coming from.

xo, Briana

FTC: This is not a sponsored post

I’m 26 & I’m Not Old | A Rant, Because YES

I am 26-years old, going on 27 this November. I say that with pride. But lately, when I reveal my age to some, I say it with hesitation. Sometimes I get a feeling from the person asking that they ask merely to date me, figure me out, and perhaps understand me. All based on a set of numbers that I guess is supposed to define me. I try not to reveal my age, but if I have an okay feeling with someone, I might say it, but only if they ask.

I don’t like asking someone how old they are, because I’m usually wrong if I say it before they do. I may assume older but can be wrong, but I assumed because of their maturity. And vice versa. About 90% of the time, I really think age is just a number. Looks also have a lot to do with it. Believe me… I know… If you were to guess my age without seeing it above, what would you guess? I usually get 21 or 23. Sometime I still get 18. But hardly 26 or even 25. Never have I heard 27 or above.

Now why am I venting about this?

I’ve been at my new job for 4 weeks now and many people are surprised I’m an RN, because I don’t look old enough. It’s not the patients/donors that irk me when they say it; it’s my peers and coworkers. Many people don’t mean any harm by it. But when you hear it repeatedly… It gets to you. Today, for example, a coworker (probably my age) said I looked like a schoolgirl. *Insert annoyed face emoji*

What I mentioned in my first paragraph about a feeling I get from people, it’s because I feel as if they can then use my age almost against me. And they want to. Someone will ask me.. who sings this song? If it’s from the 80s or 70s, because I obviously don’t know seeing as how I wasn’t born then.

Or perhaps I’ll say I’m sore from a workout or I didn’t sleep good the night before (something that occurs too often) and someone even just a few years older than me will say, “oh sweetie, you’re still young. You don’t even know yet.” Oh, you’re right. OBVIOUSly I don’t. ‘scuse me!

Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest by a few years, while my siblings are all one year apart, but to this day I a little annoyed when I hear, “you’re too young for…” even if it’s not directed to me. I heard that a lot growing up and now I hear “Oh, you’re probably too young to know about this or understand that…”

Take me as I am and not for my age. Damnit. I have also realized that in my short 26 years, I have more life experience than some people nearly twice my age. Just saying. I have seen more, done more, and experienced more than a lot of people may realize or ever know. I simply want validation for what I think and say based on my maturity and not my age. While this post itself may be a bit immature in it’s nature, I hope you understand why I am writing it. It’s hard being in a professional career where you’re looked up at with respect and some of it is taken away when they think you’re 21.

Now that’s just the age thing I’m annoyed with. I’m not done yet.

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I’m happily married to a wonderful firefighter, a firefighter who loves his job and is damn good at it, too. Many of you may know this, but for those of you that don’t, when he is called to a fire he can be gone for weeks on end. The first week we were married, he got called away and was gone for two weeks. The next fire he went to, less than a month after his return, he was away again for 3 weeks.

So while he’s away fighting fires exhausting himself, does that mean I’m home twiddling my thumbs or wringing my hands in severe stress over his safety? In one word, no.

Am I concerned? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to freak myself out over it. I fully trust him and his capabilities as a firefighter. I trust his intuition as well as his captains and chief’s in charge. It’s not easy, but I do my best, as does he.

Now I’m mentioning this because when he’s away for either his three-day shifts or away at fires for an unknown amount of time, some people like to ask me questions and refer to me as two things: single and my absolute favorite… a widow. Because he’s away, gone… and I’m alone. All. By. Myself.

And by favorite, I mean I internally cringe with a touch of anger and sadness when I hear the word “widow.” To me, it’s just wrong on many levels. For one, I am in NO freaking way a widow, nor single for that matter! Secondly, it downplays what a widow is. Thirdly, if he were in the military and deployed overseas, would these same people refer to me as a widow? Probably not.

I am one of many wives who wonder how our husbands are doing, how exhausted each one must be, as well as thirsty, hungry, tired, and hopefully missing their wives. When he’s away, I never expect him to reply to text, call every night, or send me a photo here and there. I expect him to rest when he can, drink and eat when he can, and hopefully take a shower here and there šŸ˜‰ Then call me. Ha. But really, if he doesn’t, it’s fine. I frequently check the status of whatever fire he is at and get an idea of any danger he might be in. But I will say he is very good at calling and texting when he can.

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So. Those are two things I have wanted to vent about for a while now. I hope you understand my thoughts and I also apologize for this not being beauty related. I’ll try to work on that soon. But oh, hey! School and work at currently consuming my life.

That is all.

Happier things shall be written soon. I hope. I think. Maybe?

xo, Briana

The Struggle is Real

If you keep up with modern culture and it’s latest phrases or words, then you’ll understand that when I say, “The struggle is real,” I mean it. Hashtag and all, #thestruggleisreal

What struggle, you might ask?

Finding balance.

I suddenly find myself balancing every day life of being with my husband, my family, starting my online BSN program, aaaaand FIIIINALLY starting a real nursing job!

Let me break it down to ya, how the last few weeks have been kind of busy/hectic/chaotic/awesome/crazy, and other choice words.

Hubs started his new job mid-May, where his new assignment has him at the station Sat-Mon (basically Tuesday am), and that’sĀ if he’s not held over. Which he has been the last few weeks and will probably continue since fire season is California started with a big bang.

Mid June I decided to go ahead and start my online bachelors program, since I hadn’t been hired yet by any hospital or anything. I decided to start it for a few reasons, the two main being 1) I needed/wanted to get it done (personal reasons and personal job gain) eventually so why not now? and 2) I had time since I didn’t have a nursing job yet.

Heh, that quickly changed. Basically the week before I started my classes, I suddenly got an interview for a blood bank and not gonna lie, it was thee best interview of my life. It was in the morning and by that afternoon I got a call-back to start my background check, physical, drug test, etc. Then the next week (after I started my class), I got my official offer and found myself starting my new job the next Monday, which was the end of June.

So. Here I am on a Monday evening at my parents, since Bub is working, on their couch feeling quite tired. and it’s only Monday.

Right now, I’m simply in training for my job but it is an early start (0700) and 5 days a week. Right now it’s Mon-Fri but once training is done, I’ll be Tues-Sat. So that basically means my days are the complete opposite of what my husbands are, if you’ve been keeping up.

2 points if you have been.

I’ve been wanting to blog and write about pretty things, but I currently have to write about nursing theories right now. I also just don’t have as much downtime like I used to. Can’t imagine why…

and if you’re wondering about my job, I did in fact say blood bank. That means I work for a company where we collect blood and blood parts from volunteer donors. The products are used for typically life-saving situations, like surgeries, traumas, blood diseases, etc. I’m basically a piece of the bridge that gaps donors to patients in need. And it’s very exciting. I’ll be at donor centers but will eventually be trained to be on the mobile blood drives, like at high schools and businesses. I’m very excited.

While this is all very sudden and like, wow! Hello, life! I’m feeling very content, in between tired and like a chicken with her head cut off. But (so far) I’m not overwhelmed and stressed. Tired with a capital T, yes. But very happy and content. It’s brought about some peace that Bub and I have been needing. It’s been a year since I passed my RN and it’s been along year not using it. I’m forever grateful to my parents who were able to have me employed at their business and while I miss working with them, I’m so happy to be using my license. And for something that is very rewarding and different.

And hey, speaking of Bub in that last paragraph… Our one year wedding anniversary is this Monday šŸ™‚

Can you believe that?

How time flies… And it’s not about to slow down, y’all…

So if you don’t hear from here for awhile, well, now you’ll know.

Thanks for sticking around and reading this different post. I appreciate each and everyONE of you!

xo, Briana

 

Shower The People

If you’re a fan of James Taylor, then you know his beautiful song, “Shower The People”

I tend to be pretty quiet and private about certain things on social media, even in my private accounts, but I posted on my personal Facebook the other day that my family has been experiencing a lot of grief that past week or so. One of my dad’s very best friends passed away unexpectedly and it was very hard on all of us, but especially he and my mom. They are currently in Guam for the funeral, as that’s where he had been living with his family.

Besides that, though, as hard it was (and still is, of course), we got news throughout the rest of the week that other friends of ours had passed away, as well as some acquaintances. They always say that death comes in threes, but for us, it’s been more than that.

One of my very favorite bloggers (Emily Myers, aka The Freckled Fox) also recently shared that her husband was diagnosed with very aggressive stage 4 melanoma cancer. I also learned last week that a close family member of mine was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. I suppose when it rains, it pours?

I originally posted on Facebook as my own way of saying that it had been a reminder how precious life is and to tell those you love that you do love them, because you never know when life will be cut short. I got a lot of friends and family responding with sweet thoughts and prayers, which wasn’t my intention, but of course I appreciate the sentiments. It meant a lot to myself and my family.

This week has been a simple yet emotional reminder how precious life is.

When death occurs close to me, I tend to be okay. I’m a realist in those times. But when I learned that my dad’s friend, who I considered an uncle, had passed away, I began to cry. I hadn’t seen him since I was maybe 12, but he was so close to my dad. Their relationship, helped shape my childhood. Weekend BBQs, slumber parties with his step-daughters, and our families even bred our Rottweilers together for years. My sweet husband had never met him, but he knew that my uncle meant something to me. This last Monday my family and I were able to attend a memorial service here in California for him and I’m so grateful because I got to see my auntie, their daughters, and other friends I hadn’t seen since my childhood.

I posted the other day on Facebook that I planned to resume regular blogging, which I will, but it just didn’t seem to fit this week. I hope you understand. and thank you, if you do. I appreciate each and every one of you. I truly do.

I shared a few lyrics from the song and I’ll go ahead and do the same here.

I love you. Truly.

“Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,
just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say, just
shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.” – James Taylor

xo, Briana

 

Day 7 & 8 // Spartans, Vegas, a Boat & a Summary

Click Here for my previous post on Days 5 & 6, which will also have links to previous posts.Ā 

Ahh… The last post in my husband’s and my awesome road trip adventures.

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to Las Vegas where I mentioned in my last post my SIL (Bub’s twin sister) and her boyfriend were doing the Spartan Super race. We arrived in good time but they had already started. With the crowds and the fact that you had to pay to get in…

Well, we knew we had a few hours to spare so we headed to the local casino since the race was a few miles south of the actual city. We stayed there a little bit to cool off (we forgot what hot dry air felt like) and maybe play a few slot machines where we both came out a head by like $10 ($13, me!).

We went back to the venue where you could actually watch the final obstacle without going past the lines or anything. It was an interesting obstacle to watch… The racers have to basically do a Tarzan by holding onto a rope as they swing over water. Sounds simple enough. But after watching for two hours we decided that about 90% of the people did it wrong because to get the rope to you, there is a string attached so you could pull it in.

However, that string stays attached and as each person swings across, the rope and string combo typically went between their legs… making it interesting (and mostly painful) when they attempted to jump off only to find that a rope and string yanked on their crotch… and if you didn’t get it in the crotch, you typically fell from the rope straight into the water. Most people fell in the water but the few that made it across with the rope between their legs got a quick wake up call. Then the very few that put it to the side successfully made it across, but then might get a leg cramp as well.

It was all amusing.

Some men walked away head held high but some also limped. Heh. A lot of people also got leg cramps.

We finally saw our team come through, though! They both landed in the water, with the strings to the side. Haha.

DCIM999GOPRO
Regardless, they finished proud! 9 miles and 27 obstacles later!

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and then getting ready for a nice dinner with our aunt and uncle, who we stayed with since they live in Las Vegas.

Then the four of us crazy party animals walked the strip of Vegas for maybe an hour, watched the Bellagio water show, then went home to bed. We all drank lots of water. haha.

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Hubs has a thing with taking pictures of fire hydrants now.

The next day our uncle took us to Lake Mead for a day on his boat. He’s so proud of his boat. It’s adorable.

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We all grew up going to these awesome desert lakes and rivers in the summer time. It brought back a lot of special memories for all of us.

Fun fact : My sister and bub’s middle sister were best friends in elementary school and as such, she went on a river trip or two with their family. Ha.

Coming back, we were all nicely burned, but cooled off by the river. It was a great way to end our trip.

We left soon after getting back but the drive home was a great welcome back to California, as we hit horrible traffic just from everyone leaving Vegas to get back home on a Sunday evening. When it should take 3 1/2 hours, it took nearly 5. Welcome home! Haha.

That concluded our trip, though.

We arrived home around 11:30 pm after 2,355 miles.

Our trip went as follows :

Home –> Mammoth Mountain –> Death Valley National Park –> Zion National Park –> Bryce Canyon National Park –> Capitol Reef National Park –> Arches National Park –> Moab –> Canyonlands National Park –> Monument Valley –> Zion National Park –> Las Vegas –> Home

Overall, we drove through 4 states, 6 national parks (don’t forget Death Valley!), 18 different highways, ate out only 4 times the whole week, did multiple hiking trails, drove on random off roads with the possibilities of falling off sheer cliffs more than once, got sun burned, hiked a wicked yet angelic (haha) trail, had lots of PB&J and turkey sandwiches, hit sleet, got rained on, got sand blasted, and talked to people from all over the country and even the world.

It was a great trip.

If you had to ask what places or parks we might go back to, I’m positive we would go back Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches. Those three offered the most in regards to our wants and needs, from off road adventures to a variety of hiking trails. They were also the prettiest, with large canyons, structures, and monuments. Just breathtaking really. Moab is also another place on our to-do list as we really want to explore that area so much more.

If you plan to go to any of these places, most of the parks, if not all, have reserve only campsites so call or check their websites for availability. These are good options for families or for anyone who wants a “proper” campsite with a fire pit and running water šŸ™‚ Bub and I don’t mind roughing it out a little bit, so the BLM option worked out for us. Also be aware of the weather. In my experience of traveling through Utah at different times, rain and inclement weather can happen at any time. It can be sunny one minute and then the next, monsoon weather. Which is typical of any desert really. But it just adds to the beauty; if you’re prepared of course šŸ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this series on the Mighty Five. I enjoyed writing about it, but of course I certainly enjoyed experiencing even more. I hope you have the chance to do the same, whether it’s the Mighty Five or some other exciting adventure.

To finish off, here are a few of my favorite John Muir quotes, a man who knew the value of nature and life.

The mountains are calling, and I must go…

Of all the paths you take, make sure a few of them are dirt.

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 5 & 6 // Back to Zion We Go!

Click Here for Day 4 of our trip! There will be links for the previous days in that post as well šŸ™‚

We woke up with the sun Thursday morning and headed out before anyone noticed us in the parking lot in Page… Haha. Our goal was to arrive early enough in Zion so that we could find a camping spot.

We got back onto the 89 then hit the 9W again where we entered Zion National Park again, this time from the east entrance. We decided in the beginning of the week that just one night and one morning in Zion was not enough. It’s a lot like Yosemite National Park in that it’s a big park that has a lot to offer, from hikes to scenery.

When we arrived at the only first come, first serve camp in the park, we managed to find a great camping spot. We snagged it up and made it our spot for the next two nights.

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We wanted to be able to do a lot our first day back to Zion but the wind picked up again and it was a little chilly. It seems like the storms were following us. Since it was a little cold, we decided to take an easy hike and go to the beginnings of the Narrows. You can get to them on a nicely paved hike but we also would walk right alongside the river bank.

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This leads into the narrows, where you are definitely going to get wet. We have done this hike before but in the middle of August, when the cool water felt good. But in the middle of April, it’s a bit chilly. Most people hiking it wear waders and water proof shoes. We simply enjoyed the view and the river then walked back to camp where we could find refuge in our truck when it got too cold.

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Everything was so green. It was so pretty.

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On the way back, I was greeted by a very persistent squirrel who wanted to see if my bracelet was edible.

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He was supremely disappointed. It’s actually a violation to feed the wildlife and you could even be fined up to $100 if found feeding them.

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Back at camp we made some chili and just enjoyed our campfire. We went to bed early, which is typical when camping. Pouring rain woke us up in the middle of the night but we were prepared by having covered our stuff with an Eno canopy over the picnic table. Not too sure how every one else in the camp fared but we were ready.

The next day (Friday) was a bit warmer but the wind still had a chill in the air. We went ahead and decided to hike to Emerald Pools. There are 3 pools you can hike to, the lowers, middle, and upper. We went ahead and went as far as the uppers, which aren’t long hikes but they’re decent. Kids are able to do the hike no problem.

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Those are the lower pools, which are surrounded by huge rocks and at times even have water falls flowing. You continue up the path and find other pools.

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These pools are actually bigger than they appear in the photo, but the rock formations are impressive.

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Hiking back down it got a little warmer so that we actually had to take off our jackets.

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Heading back down…

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We decided to go off the beaten path from Emerald Pools and go along a horse trail and try to follow the river. We had to find away to cross the river at some point and while we tried to get a loose log to go across, the river took it away. I finally suggested we just walk across, even though neither of us wanted to get our feet wet because the water was pretty cold. But we did it anyway. It took all of 15 seconds to cross.

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Getting my shoes back on!

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We continued to just walk alongside the river until we got to the museum in the park. It was a nice relaxing day for us.

After getting back to camp, we thought it would be a good idea to find a shower in town, where we found a place that offers 7 minute showers for $5. The camps inside the park don’t have showers, although they have running toilets, sinks, etc. So in 7 minutes time I found out I could fully wash my hair, my body, and shave my legs (which were neglected for a week. sorry babe) with about a minute to spare and enjoy the wonderful hot water.

Showers are awesome.

Afterwards we looked at a few shops in the very small but cute town of Springdale and then had dinner at the Bit & Spur Saloon, which was a recommendation from a few friends. Everything is homemade, even the ice cream they serve. It was nice to have food other than cereal, sandwiches, and chili. Not to mention it as tasty Mexican food. For us Californian’s, it was a nice treat.

We knew this was our last night of camping and we wanted to make sure it was a memorable one so we drove through their mile long tunnel (built in the late 1920’s) and hiked a half mile to the canyon overlook where we witnessed a spectacular sunset.

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On the drive back, the colors mixed with the sun rays created an amazing view.

But before driving back to camp we spotted a very narrow canyon below the bridge leading out of the tunnel and we decided to go check it out and see if it was something we could hike next time to go to Zion.

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It goes on like this for maybe a quarter mile and then turns left into another canyon area that we didn’t get to see. The sun was setting fast and we didn’t want to get caught in the dark or anything.

That concluded our last evening in Zion. We packed up what we could and called it a night.

The next morning we had to get to Las Vegas to meet my SIL and her boyfriend, who were running the Spartan Super Race.

But that’ll be the next post šŸ™‚

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 4 // Off-Roading & Monuments

Click Here and Here for Days 1&2, and Day 3 in case you missed them šŸ™‚

Wednesday morning of our trip, we woke up to blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It was chilly (really chilly) and a bit windy (really windy). We decided to make our way to Canyonlands National Park by way of an off-road trail that a ranger told us about the day before.

The nice thing about the trail is that it’s relatively easy to find and it also follows the Colorado River for quite a ways so you have gorgeous views a lot of the time. And if you’re not following the river, you’re right along side huge red cliffs and gorgeous structures.

To find the road in Moab you follow the 191N onto the 279 which becomes Potash Road which then becomes Shafer Trail, which eventually ends up in the national park itself.

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On the beginning of the drive you see signs for petroglyphs and even dinosaur tracks. We decided to check out the dinosaur tracks. All two of’em.

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Hubs was kid of skeptical. I myself am not too sure what to think of them. Haha.

Back to the pretty drive though!

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Mobbing Moab! That was my husband’s chant all morning. He loved it (the phrase and mobbing). Our Tacoma is 4×4 but you don’t necessarily need one for this road, unless the weather is wet and the road a bit slick, then I would recommend a 4×4. Moab itself is known for it’s off road trails and Jeeping. There are tons of places to rent such vehicles in town.

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This is one my favorite National Park pictures because it’s on a trail that not many can go on and it’s the adventure of getting there that makes it more special.

This part of the trail is where it got sketchy as you start your ascent up the cliffs and into the canyon more. You literally drive back and forth on switch backs that have sheer drop offs. I’m not one to get nervous when we off road because I fully trust my husbands capabilities of driving as well as the truck. But this trail towards the end was a bit of an adrenaline rush.

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This was making our way into the canyon more and heading on up the mountains.

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You can see the trail we came on!

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The trail continues to follow the side of the mountain. When the roads were made, they weren’t made into the mountain like most roads, but rather with the mountain so it follows the natural curves and outlines of it.

It was a very exciting drive to say the least. It took us maybe an hour and a half to complete about 30 miles? I think… Ha. It was around there.

Once inside the park, you’re on top of mesas and plateaus that allow you a view of the canyons, which gives the park it’s name. We didn’t linger too long, however. Just long enough to make sandwiches and decide to head out when we realized there was a forecast of snow for the night. No thank you!

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We found another off road trail that got us out of the park and back on the main highway.

From there we headed south from the 191S to the 163S that led us into Monument Valley. Leaving Canyonlands meant we did all 5 parks in just 4 days. But really, we were able to focus on the parks we really wanted to (Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands). It was a bit rushed, but that also left us with a few days to spare where we could play around some more.

Back on the road we go, headed back to Zion we decided, via Monument Valley and northern Arizona.

Before we got there we stopped and saw Mexican Hat, an interesting rock balance in the middle of the desert.

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Getting to Monument Valley! We didn’t linger here, but just drove through and only stopped once for a few pictures.

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We continued onto the 163S which hits the 160W and then finally the 98W where we ended up in Page, AZ. Page is known for Lake Powell by the way.

Our goal was to go back to Zion that night but it was getting late and the chances of getting a camping spot in Zion were really low. We couldn’t find camping in Page or even on BLM land since there was a creepy van parked where we might have camped but decided we wanted to live.

So we parked in a hotel parking lot and made “camp” there instead. Everything got thrown into the cab while we made our beds as usual in the back! Only problem the whole night was getting hit by sprinklers.

To be continued šŸ™‚

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 3 // Arches & Showers

In my previous post (Click Here For Days 1 & 2!), I left you off at Capitol Reef Nat’l Park, where camped on beautiful BLM land. Thank you Utah for being so awesome and offering that.

The next morning (Tuesday), after breakfast and packing up again, we drove through Capitol Reef, stopping to take a few photos.

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The Chimney.

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In Capitol Reef, it’s like Bryce in that you can drive through it and see most of what you want to see. Kind of boring for us who like to hike around and explore the in’s and out’s.

But at any rate, we drove through the park and made our away onto the 24E–>70E–>191S and headed into Arches Nat’l Park! This was a place that we were excited about; lots of hiking could be done and beautiful structures to be seen. It took us a few hours to drive here.Ā  This is also the most eastern of the parks.

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Right when you get to a plateau and really get to drive through, you already see amazing structures.

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The Three Gossips

The nice thing about this day was that it was warm although windy. And by windy, I mean really windy.

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Do you see how his hair is slicked back? haha. That wind, man!

There were various arches we could see and we made our way around the park pretty easily in the truck and also hiked and climbed through a bunch of them.

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We saw the backside of Delicate Arch, which is typically the one you see on postcards, patches, and pictures. It was a 3-mile round trip to the arch and we did a different path where you see it from a distance.

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Landscape Arch. It’s like a really big, natural bridge that no one is allowed to walk on. Ha.

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We also walked through the Devil’s Garden, which leads to Landscape arch. The wind helped push you along as you got blasted by sand.

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We saw a fun place to explore off the path and thought we would check it out.

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It was a dead end to the left so we meandered back to the trail. Haha.

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Our favorite arch to see and explore was the Double Arch, seen below.

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It’s really big and really amazing. I mean, really, really amazing.

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I don’t know if you can see how very big it is.Ā  To look up into it from the bottom almost makes you dizzy. You really get a sense of awe when you see it up close in person. It’s truly amazing.

That night we were unable to find open BLM land that had open sites and because we were also feeling a bit grungy from the lack of showers, we got a campsite that offered them. It was so refreshing. It’s amazing how hot water will make you feel after hiking, sitting near a campfire, and getting hit with sand. We also got to explore the town of Moab a little and go through the shops as well as eat at a local pizza place that serves beer brewed right there in Moab.

Moab is a great town for those that love to off-road (yes!) and also anyone who loves river rafting, mountain biking, and even sky diving. It’s a great place for any adrenaline junkie really. It sits right on the Colorado River and is a beautiful place.

To be continued… šŸ™‚

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.