Fort Collins – Two Months In

After living here for two months, Fort Collins is starting to feel like home. 

Things we love about living here:
The youthful, energetic, entrepreniual spirit about the town. 
Being able to snowboard whenever we want. We’re making trip #3 to the mountains on Friday!
The abundance of restaurants, many being local to CO.
The closeness we are to Denver – you know I love the big city. 
The friends that we’ve made!
“Our” church, Mill City.
Being within 15 minutes of work – both of us.
All of the snow. 
More time together. 
A different kind of a microbrew at every turn.
The slower lifestyle that we’ve created.
Being able to take our dogs with us everywhere. 
Staying close to our loved ones back home despite the distance. 
Things we’re still getting used to:
All of the snow.
The price of real estate & rentals.
The high prices of gyms & what they have to offer. Wichita – You have it so good w/the YMCAs.
I really get the sense that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Have I said that before? Maybe. Probably. But it is a really happy & good feeling. 
Stay safe & warm today, on yet again, another snow day!
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Forgiveness

Everyone has someone in their life that has hurt them. Sometimes, we even have multiple someones. Just like we, ourselves have hurt one or many people over the course of our life, whether intentional or not. 
And while I think it’s important to fully process our anger, sadness and any other emotions that arise, I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves after being hurt is to forgive.
I went through a difficult time in 2010. Not only did the man who raised me as his daughter abandon me only months before my wedding, I was also dealing with the loss of my first job out of college, meeting my biological father and issue upon issue with the group of people Cory & I had called our friends since high school.
Now that three years have passed, I look back & see that this was all part of God’s plan for our life. Every single hardship Cory & I went through together that year made us stronger individuals. The problems that were in our life at that time made our marriage more solid than I could have hoped for & most importantly, gave us the courage to unapolegetically be ourselves.
What I learned from that year is that it may take years to process & forgive, and that’s okay. We may never get the apology we feel deserve, and that’s okay too. But for our souls, it’s important to forgive anyways.
A couple of months ago (gosh – maybe six now?) I heard through the grapevine about something new going on in a person’s life that had hurt me in the past. And you know what my first thought was? It was “good for her!” 
In shock, I tried to analyze why I had such a positive reaction to the good things happening in this person’s life. “Why am I happy for her?” I didn’t understand it at first because our friendship had ended & I truly was happier without her in my life. 
Then I realized that I had forgiven her. Not only that, but in my heart of hearts I wished well for her. And that felt really good.
On that note it’s important to know that just because you forgive does not mean that you are opening a door to let people who’ve hurt you back into your life. No, you’re actually doing the opposite. You’re taking a lesson from the relationship or situation & you’re moving on to be a better person, leaving your recurring thoughts of them behind.
I encourage you to try it. Forgive something that you’re holding on to and keep wittling it down until it’s gone, no matter how long it takes.  
I promise you, your life will be much fuller once you open up space by letting it go.

Chicken Noodle

Awww…the perfect meal for a perfect snow day is none other than chicken noodle soup. 
Last night we holed up for the evening in our little apartment, with snow falling all around.

And made this declicous, healthy & easy dinner. Directions below:
Step One: Cook chicken breasts.

Step Two: Chop up veggies (carrots,celery & a white onion) & throw them in a pot along with a couple shakes of garlic salt, italian seasoning, pepper (lots of it!) & 40 oz. chicken broth.

We bought this garlic salt from a local store in Old Town – such a cute little spice shop!
Step Three: Cut cooked chicken breasts & add them to the pot.
Step Four: Bring to boil & reduce to simmer & let sit until veggies are cooked (approximately 20 minutes). Add frozen noodles in according to the directions (we put ours in for about 10-15 minutes after we’ve reduced the heat to a simmer, cooking them for @ 5-10 minutes).

Step Five: Serve & Enjoy!

We enjoyed ours with a fire last night.
Do you have a chicken noodle recipe I should try? Leave it in the comments!

Life After Masectomy

For those of you following my mom’s progress, here is the latest update. 
Surgery went well. 
Recovery didn’t go as well as expected, as my mom was more in pain than she had anticiapted, but a masectomy is a pretty big deal. She took two weeks off of work after the surgery & I was able to visit her during that time. She had four tubes in for drainage purposes, and those were a bit uncomfortable, but she was a trooper. 
Occasionally she went a little stir-crazy and got out of the house, but those outings were very brief because they took a lot out of her. 
After two weeks the doctors took two of her tubs out & gave her the okay to head back to work, which proved more exhausting than she expected, as well. Luckily, she works for an awesome couple (and has been working for them most of my life) & they were very supportive of her working half days, every other day, so as not to put too much stress on her.
Two weeks later the doctors were able to take out her last two tubes, which was a relief for her because they were a major source of her pain. The spacers that she has in her chest now are uncomfortable, so she is looking forward to those being replaced by implants this spring.

I personally think she just can’t wait to have new, perky boobs to show off.
(If you know my mom –  you clearly know I am just kidding. Kind of.)

As for further recovery, we were hoping to find out yesterday if she would need radiation or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the tests came back mixed & we have to wait another two weeks to find out if we’re “in the clear.”

One thing I must mention, before I go, is how strongly my mom has felt God in this whole process. It’s the one thing she has been saying over & over & it has been amazing to see her calmness with her diagnosis & surgery. She has truly been the anchor keeping our familly together.

Thank you all so much for the prayers, food & support that you’ve given my family and please keep her in your prayers for another couple of weeks, while we wait to find out further treatment.

Bringing Summer to Winter

I bought this dress about a year ago & missed it so much over the fall, so I decided to make it work for the winter. 
Recipe
 Summer Dress + Chambray Shirt + Scarf + Boots = Winter Perfection
Dress – Rampage, Shirt – loveFIRE, Scarf – from a shop in Chelsea (NYC) & Boots – from Sheplers (Wichita, KS) 
You can keep the girl out of the country, but you can’t keep (a tiny little bit of) the country out of the girl.

Big Sky Country

We visit Montana about once a year to spend time w/Cory’s family. His grandmother lives there so we all fly in from various parts of the country, currently: Hawaii, Colorado & Florida.
This time was a bit different than usual for us, for a couple of reasons.
1. Living in CO now, we had to hire a pet sitter to stay with our pups while we were away, instead of just dropping them off w/family. We paid $220 for 4 nights & 5 days, which included an overnight stay each night, walks & mid-day potty breaks. So worth it, in my opinion.

2. For the first time, maybe ever, I packed a carry-on bag. + $50 in our pockets!

3. We had to pay for long-term parking at DIA. – $50, so the carry on kind of evened out. I felt very adult driving ourselves to the airport & leaving our car parked in long term. Living no more than 10 minutes away from the Wichita airport my whole life, we had always relied on family to drop us up & pick us up.

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As always, it was a peaceful getaway, with little internet connection or cell service. I was able to read Silver Linings Playbook, which I highly recommend, get 8 hours of sleep every night & spend some QT with my husband & in-laws.

Some highlights of our trip were:

Literally waking up to this, right outside our cabin window.

Reading by the fire. 

More gorgeous views. Montana in the winter is breathtaking. 
Celebrating Grandma’s 81st birthday with the whole family. 
We stayed at Rich Ranch this visit, which I would highly recommend. It’s the perfect place to retreat to for a quiet, long winter weekend, which is just what we had.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

I was lucky enough to wake up to my husband surprising me with flowers & french toast this morning, plus a cute wine holder he got for our future bar. Over lunch we’re going to meet to take the dogs for a walk, which will be a white one, since it started snowing this morning.Tonight I’m trying a new Pinterest pasta dish & then we’re going to see Safe Haven. 
I’m a happy lady. 
Bonus – I received flowers  at work from my dad, something that will NEVER get old. 
So here are my favorite looks for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve been obsessed with skirts lately, specifically of the tulle variety. I love the softness of this whole look.
Rachel Zoe looks stunning in pink, a surprising detour from her normal black. 
Cute & wearable date night attire. 
I’m dying for these booties. Gorg. 
And who doesn’t love some red lips for the occasion?
Enjoy this day of L-O-V-E!