Tropical Tuesday

Trey Behind After Surfing Trey Catching Wave Trey Paddling 1 Trey Paddling 2 Trey Walking in from SurfingBeach Rocks View GoodYear Blimp

One of the main things my son and I have in common is a love for the water and outdoors so it’s always a great day when I get to sit in my happy place and watch him surf.

Vitilago Hurts

Vitilago Hand on Mouth Vitilago Flat Hands Vitilago Hands Up

Vitilago is a condition that causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. Basically, it causes random white spots on parts of your body and the darker your skin the more evident.

I found the first spots on my body about six years ago in my underarm area. A bit panicked by what I saw and having no idea what it could be, I made an appointment with my doctor right away. After a biopsy was done, it was quickly confirmed that I had the first signs of vitilago. I wasn’t happy about this diagnosis but wasn’t necessarily too concerned at that point since it was only in my underarms.

Then it happened. New spots appeared on my body. It moved to my face then to my hands and then to my feet. The hands and feet are bad enough, but having vitilago on your face is the worst. I suffered with it on my face for years but thank God, many of the vitilago spots on my face filled back in with pigmentation. My hands and feet are a totally different story. The vitilago in these areas are spreading like crazy.

I always felt very blessed to have an olive complexion. I can wear 100 SPF sunscreen and tan straight through it. This type of complexion is something that many women would die for. I used to love it but not so much anymore. The darker I get, the more my vitilago shows. As many of you know I love the beach and love being outside, but because of the vitilago, I find myself avoiding the things I love the most. It sucks!

Vitilago hurts; not in the physically painful sense but in the emotional, life altering sense. It’s a huge blow to your self esteem. I’m constantly trying to darken the vitilago spots or trying to cover up the rest of my body to avoid getting any darker.  Doctor’s have found no proven cure except for prolonged light therapy.  This type of treatment is expensive and insurance will not cover it. Their reasoning for not covering this treatment? They claim it’s because vitilago is only a cosmetic issue and from my personal experience, they are incredibly wrong! People with vitilago are hurting and our lives are being altered by this disease.

Colorado :: Day Four

ATV Path Bend ATV Path Straight Coffee Shop Deero Path ATV View Steve Driving ATV Wagon Wheel
We Become What We Think VW Van

This was the fourth day and the last day of our fun adventure in Colorado. I booked the red eye so we could spend the entire day playing.

After packing up and leaving our little apartment in Boulder, I went across the street to a local coffee shop. Since Boulder was full of local spots all offering gluten-free options, I don’t know why I was so surprised that this local coffee spot had gluten-free coffee cake. I have been gluten-free for six years now. So, I literally haven’t had a coffee cake in over six years.

My face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when I saw that gluten-free caramel coffee cake looking at me through the glass counter. I immediately told the barista that I’d like one coffee cake to go. I grabbed my cake and latte and headed for the apartment to have one last meal on the patio. I ate that coffee cake savoring each bite like it was the last one on earth while enjoying the cool Colorado morning.

On our last day in Colorado, Steve wanted to go white water rafting most of all but we missed the season for it. So, instead he decided we would rent an ATV and ride trails in the Rockies. We drove though big trails, small trails, dirt trails and very rocky trails all while taking in the beauty of the changing leaves and wildlife. It was a blast even when the temperature dropped to 40 degrees and it started raining. Well, maybe it wasn’t a blast at that point but still fun. We did turn the ATV in early at the point that our hands were completely numb.

Colorado you were awesome! Your beauty amazed me at every turn. It was a great celebration. Happy 40th once again to my wonderful husband. I can’t wait to spend many more celebrations with you.

Colorado :: Day Three

Nell and Steve Overlook Nell at Overlook Nell Balancing on Rock at Creek Nell in Rain Over Waterfall Nell Large Rock Overlook Nell on Trail Nell Over Boulder Nell Sitting on Rock at Creek 2 Nell Sitting on Rock at Creek Nell Sitting on Very Large Rock Nell Standing on Very Large Rock Overlook Panorama Overlook Steve at the Creek Steve on a Bench Steve on Rock at Creek Steve on the Trail Steve Overlook Trail Mtn View Creek Flatirons Florida Hikers

This was by far the best picture day of all.  The views we saw were epic.

We went to Eldorado Canyon right outside of Boulder. After we got there, I realized that I didn’t do enough research (which is very unlike me).  I assumed that we would drive through the sightseeing area just as we’d done the day before in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  That was definitely not the case. Steve was wearing flip flops and I was wearing sandals, but we didn’t let that stop us.  We figured that we could bring a little Florida to Colorado.  We hiked the trail and climbed the rocks all without losing our shoes.

We’d also planned to go see the Flatirons, which are massive rock formations that look like slanted slabs.  We followed the directions but wound up winding up a tiny road to the top of a mountain.  When we stopped, we were completely amazed.  I felt like we were on top of the world and at that location, I guess we were; on top of all the other surrounding mountains at least (check out the first pic).  The views were breathtaking.  I certainly had never experienced anything like it before.  We walked out onto the overlook rock formation and just looked at the views for the longest time.  I simply could not get enough.  Honestly, I really wanted to stay longer.  I could have easily stayed until the sun went down.  Looking back, Steve and I both regretted not staying to watch the sunset.  Oh, well.  It will be on our list for next time.  After winding back down the mountain, we realized that we had driven right past the Flatirons.  We stopped to take one quick pic.  After seeing the spectacular views from the top of the mountain, the Flatirons just didn’t look all that fascinating.  Plus, we were exhausted.

Whew, what a day!  Colorado, you are amazing!

DIY Half Apron

Apron On Apron Hanging 2 Apron Side View

I own only one apron and I find myself always folding it and using it as a half apron.  I had a good bit of light weight denim and canvas fabric so I thought I would use it to make a true half apron.  It turned out even cuter than I expected. Here are step by step instructions. Enjoy!

Materials:
30″ x 36″ base material (I used denim)
5″ x 72″ contrasting material (I used canvas)
Pocket from old pair of jeans
Heavy weight white thread (if you’re sewing with denim or canvas)
Size 18 needle

Instructions:

  1. Cut your base material and contrasting material to the measurements above.
  2. Do a double fold and iron one long side and the two short sides of the base fabric.
  3. Sew the three ironed sides.
  4. Double fold the other long side to create a 3″ fold.
  5. Sew the long side.
  6. Fold the contrasting material in half long ways and iron.
  7. Sew the material along the cut edge.
  8. Attach a safety pin to one end of contrasting material (tie) and pull through to turn right side out.
  9. Double fold, iron and sew each end of the tie.
  10. Feed the tie through the 3″ sew long edge of your apron.
  11. Pick a spot of the pocket and pin into place.
  12. Sew the pocket on all three edges.

Colorado :: Day Two

Nell Walking through Grass RMNP Panorama RMNP Sign Nell on top of the Rock Nell Sitting on Wall Over Mtns Green Mountain Side Mountians with Multiple Lakes Nell Climbing Down Rocks Nell on Small Rock Nell on top of Mtn Estes Park Sign Estes Park Sign Nell Elk Elevation 11K Colorful Trees Rocky Mtn Road View Rocky Mtn View 2 Rocky Mtn View Stairs at Shining Hotel Steve and Nell on Wall over Rockies The Shining Hotel Steve Walking to Big Rock Steve the Thinker Steve on Top of the Rock Steve on top of Mtn

Day two was spent exploring Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. In the national park we were wowed and amazed by the beautiful views at every turn. I took picture after picture but just kept saying to Steve, “there’s no way we will be able to capture the vastness of these mountains in a picture.” Now looking back at my pictures I can say that I was right. These pictures are beautiful but do the Rocky Mountains no justice. Taking turn after turn being surrounded by huge mountains, I couldn’t help but feel like an ant. With the mountains all around; so big and so vast, I felt extremely tiny.

We traveled up to nearly 12,000 feet. Since I had been sick the day before due to the change in altitude, I was a bit nervous about going up to the peak. I felt pressure on my head and could definitely feel the lack of oxygen, but thank goodness there was no sickness involved.

We ended the day at Estes Park. Estes Park is a little town right at the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a small and quaint little mountain town perfect for walking and sightseeing. One of the coolest stops we made in Estes Park was to see the Stanley Hotel. If you’re not familiar with the name you’ll know it from the movie The Shining. It’s the isolated hotel where Jack Nicholson goes to write. It was a little but creepy but very cool.

Colorado :: Day One

Boulder Apt View Nell and Steve Creek Selfie Nell Looking at Creek 2 Nell Looking at Creek Nell on a Rock Pearl Street View Steve Looking at Creek 2 Steve Looking at Creek 3 Steve Looking at Creek Steve Testing Waters Steve Walking Down Pearl Street

The first day of the trip was spent getting settled into our Airbnb rental apartment in Boulder. We chose a cozy little place on the west end of Pearl Street. Since biking is huge in Boulder, and most all of Colorado, we decided to rent a couple of bikes and tour around town. We biked down Pearl Street, went through the college area of town and did Boulder Creek Path.

The one thing that I noticed right away was the great selection of gluten-free food options. It is very rare for me to go to a sandwich shop and eat a sandwich much less going to a coffee shop and being able to eat a coffee cake. I was able to do both of these things and as silly as that sounds, it was extremely exciting. I had a coffee cake for the first time in over six years. I guess it really is all about the little things right?

You hear so much about how difficult it is to adjust to the Colorado altitude especially when doing activities. I found out really quick what that was like especially when biking through the hills in Boulder. In no time, I was gasping for air with a massive headache settling in and feeling exhausted and dizzy. Of course Steve was totally fine. I pushed through and went to bed early hoping that I would feel much better the next day because we had big plans of going to Estes Park and into the Rocky Mountain National Park up to the peak at over 12,000 feet.

Vacation Location

Beach-Mountains

When I think of vacation spots, usually two types come to mind; beach and mountains. At the core, I am a beach person. I have lived near the water almost my entire life and grew up on boats. It was our Sunday family tradition to go to church then pack up the boat and head out on the water the rest of the day. I love the water especially the beach. I have always considered the beach my one true happy place. Nothing else can melt away the stress for me like the beach does.

On the flip side, I am a nature and scenery addict. I would live outside if I could. I simply cannot get enough beautiful landscape views in my life. I like the mountains but really haven’t spent much time in any mountain locations. My parents lived in the Tennessee Smokey Mountains for many years after I moved away from home so most of my mountain experiences have come from there.

Steve and I will be leaving in a couple of days to celebrate his 40th birthday in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I’ve been told that the Rocky Mountains is the Smokies on steroids. I cannot wait! As I sit on this side of our adventure, I wonder if this mountain experience will change my one true love of the beach. I really do believe that I will always love the beach. It is simply who I am, but the older I get  the more I see that pendulum swing further to the other side of the spectrum. Age certainly changes your likes, dislikes and tastes. Don’t you just love that? It enables you to try new things and have great new life experiences. I cannot wait to see how this mountain experience changes me.

Let’s be honest the only real issue with the mountains is the cold weather.

Long Hair Care

New Hair Head ShotNew Hair Full Body 2

I absolutely love my long hair, but because I have the type of hair that can handle going a year without being cut, my laziness causes me to end up with a mop on my head. It usually takes me getting to a breaking point before I actually decide to cut it. This is exactly where I ended up yesterday. My hairdresser was gracious enough to see me same day. I walked in exasperated saying, “help”. She worked her layer cutting magic and voila! I love her! A fresh cut works wonders.

The Big 4-0 Surprise

beach-chair-thumbs-up

Steve turns the big 4-0 this coming Saturday. I couldn’t let this monumental birthday pass without doing something. Let’s just say I went big for this one. I began planning a couple of months ago and it was intended to be a complete surprise until this week. Well, it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Ever since putting this big surprise together, I meticulously went directly home everyday before the hubs and checked the mail. I didn’t want to take any chances that he would see anything pertaining to the big gift. Then there was the one day that I couldn’t go directly home. We had visitors in at work and went out to dinner. As I’m sitting at my work dinner, I get a text that says, “please tell me that you didn’t buy two plane tickets and an Airbnb reservation for my birthday”. Yep, the one day I didn’t go directly home, he checked the mail and the entire bill was there. What else could I say but, “SURPRISE! I’m taking you to Colorado!”

After getting over the shock, he was very excited. He has wanted to go back to Colorado ever since he was a teenager. So this Friday, this hot weather Florida beach couple is off to the chilly Rocky Mountains sans kids. Let the big celebration begin. Be sure to check back for pics!

P.S. I’ve never been to Colorado and am crazy excited!