Adventures below zero

Instead of traveling across country for a stressful trip we didn’t really want to take, my husband opted for a staycation the week of Thanksgiving. The temps happened to drop at the same time, but we didn’t let it slow us down. We started our staycation off with a beer tasting at The UAF Pub Annual 40 Below Beer Tasting. Most people know we have also been casually house shopping, since it’s winter and the market is not really ‘hopping.’ But surprisingly, we came across a house we decided to look at with our realtor that we loved.

Mid staycation, we took a couple of days and ventured off to try some of our wedding presents out, which included some great camping gear. I also got a great Osprey backpack at an REI garage sale that needed testing. So the 3.3 mile trek to the Angel Creek Lower Cabin was the perfect opportunity. We left the trailhead at a hovering 0 F and arrived at the cabin at -18 F. The cabin was 0 inside and we finally got the wood stove to warm us up to well into the 80s.

We tested out of camping meals, ate snacks, drank cocoa, and played games. I taught my husband how to play rummy and by the end of the night, he had beat me at my own game. The clear skies showed us no aurora, sadly, but there were more stars than I can even describe. I can tell you, we slept like crap on the platforms and I blame my toss and turn husband for that.

We awoke and make pancakes on the wood stove, enjoys eggs out of a bag, and tea in our camp cups. We packed out bags, refilled the wood box, and played a game of rummy before hitting the trail to trek out. As we headed out, we took in the crisp and quiet air while peering across the frozen creek. We set up the camera to snap a photo of us – our first cabin trip together. Somehow we managed to layer just right and stay warm the whole time. The trails were in good shape for needing only hiking boots, but weren’t ski ready yet – which would have allowed us to pull more gear behind us and less backpack on us. We enjoyed the sun peering onto Angel Rocks as we headed back. The trees and dead plants have frozen crystals and snow that had remained untouched. Over two days, the cold air kept away any signs of wildlife – not even a bird. We reached the trail head excited to enjoy our sandwiches for lunch. Much a great way to spend two days of our staycation!

spent a relaxing Thanksgiving making one dish to take over to a friends house and had a true Friends-giving, as they call it. We were, however, truly thankful for the friendships. We enjoyed great food, and pie (which of course is its own category), wine, and games before retiring for the night.

As staycation came to an end, we ended up making an offer on the house we looked at and fell in love with. We are now in escrow! Look at us – adulting and shit. Had we not opted for a staycation, we may not have found our soon to be home!


A Journey to Self-Discovery: Part IV

Well, well, well. Happy New Year!

Here we are, part four of my journey to self-discovery. So, how did I get here? Well, being unemployed since the end of October, I’m happy to say I have accepted a job offer (woohoo!). This piece is really a reflection on my past few months digging through the trenches of myself and figuring out what is important and what my goals are. I saw a great post on Instagram where someone had brilliantly split up their goals in such a simple way that I had to follow suit.

Goal categories:

  1. Home 
  2. Health
  3. Wealth

Home: What do you want this year at home? This can include your relationships with friends and family, larger projects around your home that you want to complete, etc.

Health: How are you going to take care of yourself this year? Your fitness, eating habits, self-care, etc.

Wealth: This doesn’t mean “how do you want to get rich?” Goals like buying a home or a new car, saying more money each month, starting your retirement fund or life insurance, paying off this bill or that loan, exploring a new career, etc.

So, this is how I’m moving along on my journey to self-discovery. Next up, what goals did I come up with and what’s next? Stay tuned! Don’t forget to follow my blog. 🙂

What are your 2016 goals, wishes and wants? 

Run for a Reason – Drumstick Dash 5k


As soon as my bestie found out I was coming home, she immediately recruited me for a 5k. I, of course, accepted. Although to be honest, this year has been a rough one in the way of running. It’s been nearly 10 months since I tore my quad and quite the year of recovery. In general, I am looking forward to a fresh 2016. It’s taken me the longest to get back to running, and most days out I feel like I have never run a day in my life. Honestly, this 5k wasn’t much different. But I went out with a goal of running it in under 34 minutes. Slow, slow, I know. I usually feel like molasses running nowadays, especially when a year ago, I was in the best shape of my life – having finished out the year doing several 5ks, relays, 10ks, bike tours, and triathlons and finished the year with a 50 mile bike ride in Hawaii. But, the doc tell me to take it easy nowadays and keep a nice pace – focus on building strength and pretend that I’m starting as a fresh, new runner. Bummer. But its working, slowly but surely.

So I finished the race in 33:57 (3 seconds under my goal!), and was pretty proud of myself. A mile or so into the race, I realized it was the first race I have ever done outside of Alaska. On top of that, the Roanoke Drumstick Dash 5k raises money for the Roanoke Mission, providing services and food for those who are homeless in the Roanoke Valley.

It’s a nice race to end the year with. What will you be running for this season?

Self-Discovery in Practice: Self-Care


Spending time on the east coast with my friends – and at Thanksgiving next week, my family – has been refreshing. I’ve worked on finding a balance between keeping myself busy and sleeping in until noon just because I can. It’s great to be able to relax and still work on the to-do list I would have even if I were home, and it’s rewarding to help out friends here and to help out at the local shelter here where I started my career in social work.

Driving through my undergrad college town of Radford, Virginia brings back fond memories for me and when I lived here – it seems like such a lifetime ago. I was such a different person then, exploring and learning about life and who I wanted to be. Being active and outdoorsy was not me and was not part of my self-care. Now as I am here enjoying the fall weather instead of the negative temps and snow that we have back home in Fairbanks right now, I am longing for my road bike and wishing I had packed her up and brought her along (anyone have a road bike I can borrow while i’m here?!). I get to enjoy trails here like I never did before – running and listening to the rhythm of my breathing, the light breeze blowing and the creek flowing. Stopping by the river to watch the leaves fall off the trees as they hit the river and float away.

I get to find new Crossfit boxes to call my “go-to” boxes when I’m visiting home. Here, I have Crossfit Radford and when I stay with my Dad, I have South Riding Crossfit. When you move away from a place that always has a piece of your heart, you find new ways to love and appreciate it when you get to come back.

So as I am ever so much watching the sun shine outside and craving my road bike (btw, it rained yesterday – take that winter in Alaska), I am getting out and running. Enjoying the fall drenched trails and getting a few more miles on my feet to run a 5k with one of my closest friends next week, which is exciting and special to me as together yet 5,000 miles apart, the two of us have struggled through our individual journeys in running. Now, we finally get to run a race together.


Take care of yourself, friends. It’s so important.

17 Things You’ll Always Miss About Your Ex-Best Friend

This brought back fond memories of my best friend in high school and my early 20’s. It’s amazing the journey that life takes us on. There are people meant to be here for a little while, a long while, and forever. Sometimes, it is hard to accept when it is not meant to be forever, but to instead embrace the memories and lessons they gave you.

Thought Catalog


1. All the promises you made together. The roadtrip you said you’d take someday. The celebratory shopping trip you’d take together after scoring your dream job. In the back of your head you still think about the things you said you’d do together someday and wonder how things would have turned out with your old partner in crime by your side.

2. Texting them when something major happens or you run into someone unexpected. Your sister does something totally ridiculous or you bump into an ex-boyfriend at the bar and the first impulse you have is to text your old best friend and be like, “OMG, you’re not going to believe who the hell I just ran into.”

3. Hearing all the details about their love life. The screenshots of tacky OK Cupid messages from random guys, the latest crush they were harboring serious feelings for, the guy they thought…

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