May 21st

Monday, May 21st, 2018

Does anyone else experience chaos while packing for vacation?

I mean, it’s like our closets exploded all over our living room and dining room. On top of that, our dining room table is full of sunscreen, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, hair binders, sunglasses, hats, miscellaneous camera equipment, etc. etc.

It’s a little intimidating.

Although, Paul did tell me we could wait and buy that all when we got there, but I insisted on doing it now, and not spending our time in Honolulu shopping for basic necessities.

Sorry, Paul. You have permission to say “I told you so” when you get home 😉

 

December 4th

Monday, December 4th, 2017

It’s NFR week!!

The Superbowl of rodeo, National Finals Rodeo (NFR), starts this Thursday and goes through Saturday the 16th.

Ten days of performances with the best cowboys and cowgirls, nightly concerts, viewing parties, and an insane amount of shopping. Venues upon venues of booths. (The pictured jacket is one of my favorites – my find from last year.)

To say we’re excited is an understatement!

Last year was our first year going, and it was meant to be a bucket list trip for me and my childhood friend Kya, along with Paul and Kya’s fiancé Tim. And then we went and had such an incredibly good time that we’ve decided to make it a yearly trip.

This year we’ll be staying on the strip, so we’ll be a lot closer to the action. Through attending last year, we also go into this year knowing how things work. Where each arena is, how to get there, where all of the shopping venues are, what viewing parties are the best. We’re attempting to use the monorail this year, so we’ll see if that is helpful to get to where we need to be.

We also planned ahead enough that we will be checking an empty bag out there to pack all of our shopping scores to bring home – last year we were those people who abused the carry on policy coming home 😬

September 30th

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

Seriously, where has September gone?

The pumpkin patch officially opened today, and I forget what it’s like to have people just randomly show up at your house to buy pumpkins. Every time I look out the window a new vehicle is outside and people and frolicking in our field. It’s awesome, but always takes a few days for me to get accustomed.

Anyway, jumping back into vacation talk for this post.

Every time Paul and I take a substantial vacation somewhere, we like to buy a significant keepsake from our trip. We’re not into shot glasses, postcards, or trinkets – we like big things. For example, on our honeymoon to Yellowstone, we purchased a Limited Edition 2014 Yellowstone Pendleton blanket. We have always loved Pendleton, but when we saw they offered a Yellowstone specific one, we knew that would be our keepsake.

This trip was a painting.

We walked into the Red Cliffs Lodge lobby, and there were beautiful (and I mean beautiful) paintings hanging on every wall. They stopped both Paul and me in our tracks. The painter, Don Wells, is a great friend of the ranch’s owner, and many of the paintings were painting from reference photographs from the ranch itself. Many of the Wranglers who work with the horses are the subjects in the images.

Now let me say, Paul has learned a lot about art and art appreciation just by virtue of living with me, but he’s not one to just buy any art off the wall. But we were both captivated by them. It took us all three days at the ranch to narrow down to what one we wanted. If we had the finances, multiple would have come home with us.

It made it home safely in our checked bag, and so today we took it out and framed it, and onto the fireplace it went. At 24×36″ its a perfect fit – we just have to put hanging hardware on to get it up on the wall.

We are so in love!

September 28th

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Our meal views this trip have been the best we’ve ever had.

Lunch on the river deck, supper looking out at the red rock, breakfast looking out over the peacocks, goats, and cattle. Desert under a star-spattered sky. Today’s lunch view was no exception.

We stayed overnight in St George last night, and after our breakfast, we hit the road. Our lunches throughout the trip had primarily been Subway sandwiches, as they’re easy to pack, and that’s what was on the menu for today as well. After hiking in Pioneer Park a bit, we drove up Red Cliffs Blvd, and this is where is led us: To this gorgeous overlook.

We back up to the edge, put down the tailgate and enjoyed the view along with our sandwiches. Even in the middle of the city the views are spectacular.

We’re waiting to get on our flight now, which we’ll have no problem getting on. We get in late, but we’ll wake up to a new day at home tomorrow.

Until next time, Utah.

September 27th

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

It’s pack up and head back day, and I am so sad about that.

Seven days in Utah, but it just doesn’t feel like enough. We could have easily been here for days more and had plenty to do. That just means we’ll have to plan another trip back out here right?

Loads don’t look great for this evening, which is when we’d hoped to fly out. However, a flight tomorrow late afternoon has 75 open seats so instead of fighting the loads, we’re going to sit it out in St George overnight and head down to Vegas in the morning. Break up our drive into two chunks.

So once we established that, we decided to take our time in leaving the ranch this morning. We got up, made coffee, went up for breakfast, and decided to make our way back to the corrals to check it out. More on the backside of the ranch, it was a small bit of a walk to get there. Once we did, we saw that they were loading up a group to take on the normal ride, so we sat and watched.

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They moved out and we found ourselves standing at the arena fence enjoying the view. One of the Wranglers walked up to us, introduced himself, and started talking with us. We mentioned that we had gone on the outback ride the day before, and there was an instant change in his demeanor. Evidently, that was all he needed to confirm our knowledge of horses.

He invited us back into to barn/corral/arena area and at one point even told us that we should come by that night and have a beer with everybody (sounded like so much fun gol darn it!), and that was when I told Paul that I was headed back to the room to grab my camera bag.

I hustled, but it still probably took me about 7-8 minutes round trip, and when I got back I couldn’t find Paul. Cory, the Wrangler, was moving hay in the arena for the steers, so I worked my way that direction. That’s when I saw that Paul was also in the arena, and was roping on a dummy. I was gone for maaaaybe 10 minutes, and he’s already in the arena roping with the guy running gates for him!

Figures.

That face was his “is this actually happening, this is awesome” face haha.

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While Paul was being social butterfly Paul, I went to meet the horses.

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With 30 head of horses, they rotate through them, so a few are left back at the barn during each ride. I made good friends with the “big bay” who came to the fence while these two sweeties groomed each other non-stop.

On our way out, we passed by the tack room and the light was too pretty to pass up. When you have a lot of horses, you have a lot of tack.

September 25th

Monday, September 25th, 2017

You guys, this day was wonderful.

Paul and I made the trek up to Moab today, to stay at a working ranch for a couple of nights. The entire place is beautiful, but the view from our room is breathtaking. This image was taken on the patio of our room, overlooking the river. The flow from the ranch lit up the red rock through this long exposure, and I even caught a falling star!! Can you find it?

Our drive along the interstate brought us through the mountains and it was wonderful. We even found some fall color off of a ranch road we pulled onto to explore.

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This view could never get old.

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Paul and I are doing an outback horseback ride in the morning! A wrangler will trailer us out off the ranch for a ride more suited for guests with horseback riding experience. We can’t wait!

September 24th

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Zion day!

What a change it is to have to ride a shuttle with the masses. While I loved the park, the shuttle really took the intimacy out of it. Have you been to Zion? What did you think?

We rode the shuttle all the way to the end of the road to the Riverwalk hike. It was a beautiful trail along the Virgin River that brought you to the beginning of the Narrows hike. This image was actually taken mid-day in the shade of some trees. The sunset colors came from the reflection off of the red canyon walls and green trees.

Another one of our favorite hikes was to Weeping Rock.

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It was a steep hike at first up to the rock face, but it was so worth it. This lovely drizzle of water quite literally weeped out of the rock, making it feel quite magical. To look through it out into the canyon was phenomenal.

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On our way back, we saw a herd of buffalo and pulled over. Paul has been shooting video while I’ve been photographing, so I had to snap some of him in action.

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September 23rd

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

It was Bryce Canyon day today!

But first, look at what we woke up to! PEACOCKS! We opened out blinds this morning to a flock of at least 15 outside of our window! They were stunning, and let me photograph them. If you’re ever in the Glendale, UT area, make sure to look up Golden Haven Ranch!

 

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Then on our way down Highway 89, we saw countless herds of cattle and horses. This beauty was out by himself, and I made Paul turn around and pull over for me to photograph him.

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Anyway, onto Bryce. The high today? 49 – with snow! We were completely ill-prepared, but it was so beautiful to watch the flakes fall around the big red rock in the desert.

As such, we didn’t do much hiking due to us not having a decent jacket, but the views and wildlife was stunning. This Mule Deer doe knew her good side.

Also, check out this guy! My forever adventure sidekick.

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September 22nd

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Oh, you guys. This day was a long one.

First, my lens never came yesterday (UPS lost it, no joke). Second, Paul’s phone was hacked and he was locked out. Third, evidently it’s the “I Heart Music” Awards in Vegas, meaning flights were oversold all day.

All was not lost, however. Paul finally did get back into his phone after and hour and a half on the phone with Apple, and we flew into LA instead and drove the extra 5 hours to Vegas. The bonus in all of this was that we were late to pick up our rental car at McCarren, and when we arrived they didn’t have any SUV’s left. After some deliberation, they upgraded us to a Ford F150 for no extra charge (Paul was PUMPED).

We started the day at 3am (Central Time), and finally arrived at our AirBNB at 11:30pm (Mountain Time).

But remember how I said before that night photography was the one thing I wanted to try while on vacation? Well, look at that gorgeous view!

This was taken right outside of the front door of our AirBNB – this long day, all of the extra driving…It was 100% worth it. So incredibly beautiful.

September 21st

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Vacation starts tomorrow!

Paul and I are house bound today until my lens arrives, and I can’t wait!

If it comes soon enough, we’re going to try and get on the latest flight to Vegas tonight, giving us plenty of time tomorrow to make our way up to Utah.

As we were sitting here waiting, I looked down at my ring and got excited all over again. Paul recently bought this for me, and we consider it our “adventure” ring. I found myself removing my wedding ring quite often this summer, as I didn’t want to lose it in the water at the cabin, or lose a stone while down in the barn. So Paul went to Amazon and bought an inexpensive “adventure” ring; a ring I can wear anytime without concern of losing it or breaking it.

So when we went to pack for vacation, I asked Paul which I should bring. His reply was “we’re going on an adventure, aren’t we?”

September 20th

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Packing is one of my least favorite things.

Especially when I’ll be flying standby on an airplane. Carry ons are packed to their most efficient state. Especially with camera equipment.

That always adds to my anxiety when flying standby. There is no way my camera gear is getting checked. And being the last folks on the airplane means you deal with the space that’s left in the overhead bins.

Deep breath.

Hoping this bag will fit under the seat in front of me!

Gear wise, I’m super pumped to be bringing my spinner with me! I have at least ten rolls of film packed, so bring on the spinners!!

Can’t wait to share them with you all!