Monday, September 29, 2014

my bike group is more awesome than your bike group [12 days of summer edition 5]

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 Well the day has finally arrived, I'm clipped in my shoes are attached to my in I have way more power and way more incidents of falling over. which really happens by the way......TIMBER!

Every Tuesday is a group ride. They are really nice and let me ride with them even though I'm way slower than they are, but I'm getting better. There is usually always good food, good conversation and a few adult beverages after the ride. Definitely the best night of the week!

Doin' the Joler pose
And the serious pose.....well most of us

Friday, September 26, 2014

this is jennifer, she's the single one [12 days of summer edition 4]

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 Yup, that really happened, that is how I was introduced at my cousin's wedding. I'm that girl. the single one. in a super awesome dress (I added that last part, it wasn't part of the introduction). So anyway, back to my cousin's wedding. It was held at a beautiful botanical gardens in Berthoud and there were lots of my favorite family people there. The weather held and the ceremony was gorgeous. They had a wonderful reception right there with music and dancing, food and fun.

Missing the other sister
Hands down best thing at the wedding.....a photo booth! Which we managed to drag both Mike AND the Big E into. against their will I might add, but the end product was some pictures that I'll cherish forever!

Congratulations Landon and Kristen!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

flat stanley

Preface: I have actually considered having my own kid for the sole perk of Elf on A Shelf....then my wits came back to me and decided that maybe I should just borrow one for a few weeks of the year, might fit my current life stage better. As in better for me and WAY better for said kid.

Current: I got the following letter from Jacob in Tennessee.  
Dear Jennifer,
In school we read a book about a boy who got flattened by a bulletin board. His name was Stanley, now is Flat Stanley. He wanted to go on a trip, so his family folded him up and mailed him to California.

I am mailing my Flat Stanley to you. Please take him somewhere and write me back telling me about his adventures. if you have pictures, postcards or brochures, please send them back with him.  I will share his adventures with my classmates and this will help my classmates and I learn more about other places in the world.

Thanks for helping me with this project. I wish I could fold myself up and visit you.

Love, Jacob

WHAT! This might be better than Elf on A Shelf....or at least a tie. At the very least a tie. Yep, I'm 30....ish. So I promptly posted my picture on Facebook with Flat Stanley and started planning some activities for us. I may or may not have kept Stanley for a little longer than I was supposed to, but I sure showed him a good time! Nashville (as in TV show) concert at Deer Valley Ski Resort,

hiking in Mill Creek, Utah,

horse racing at Sweetwater Downs (my hometown), AND we won $21 bucks! Horse racing is always fun, but its super fun when you get to "cash in" tickets!

buying a new mountain bike in Wilson, WY,

golfing in Pinedale

and out to an area ranch where we did country things.

Stanley: Jen helped me write a letter back to Mrs Dial's third grade class and even printed pictures of our adventures for me to take back to Tennessee with me to tell the class about Wyoming (and Utah). I am excited to go back home and share what a wonderful state Wyoming is! I had a blast!

Monday, September 22, 2014

when country comes to town [12 days of summer edition 3]

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 Rock Springs is the host of the National High School Finals Rodeo for the past 2 years and 3 more. I am lucky enough to have some cool friends that work for Resistol, Cactus, NRS etc....and they descend upon Rock Springs each year for the trade show at the NHSFR.

Now you all know that I have a raging social life so I'm really excited to have some folks to go out to dinner with, drink an more than one adult beverages with, sit in the shade of a really fancy NRS horse trailer,

 go golfing

and the annual grill party at my house!

Plus they gather attention everywhere because they drink Coors Light and wear cowboy hats.....its like being famous in this town I think.

Its always good to see them and catch up. I think they look forward to it as much as I do!

Friday, September 19, 2014

gettin' my fix (not on Route 66)

I checked the mailbox on Saturday (I confess, twice) hoping for my second Stitch Fix, no cigar. So I just knew it would be here on Monday and whatda ya know.....there is was! I was so excited to open this little baby up and see what my stylist had for me. Boy, oh boy, a fall fanatic's dream laid inside this box.......the only problem was mainly my size. Enter all my doubts about shopping....once again. Shoot.

While I pretty much loved everything in this box, but I'll be keeping only one item.

 LOVE this shirt! maybe my favorite thing in the box, but at the end of the day, I just can't bring myself to spend $78 on a shirt (especially when I'm trying to get back on my budget).

 These Papermoon folks got it figured out, minus the whole handwash thing. I mean let's be honest doesn't handwash really mean, wear a tank underneath so that you can wear it more than once before washing it? I kept it anyway, so if you see me wearing it and I'm the smelly kid in class, tell me to go handwash my shirt.

And the "losers" that I loved. Earrings** super cute, but $48 bucks, refer to the saving money wagon I'm climbing back on. Terry jacket** If this hadn't looked like it came from Baby Gap, it would reside in my closet. Jeans** slim fit ain't in my vocabulary, maybe someday, but its pretty doubtful.

I hate shopping, but at least this time I could cry when nothing fit in the privacy of my own home. Can't wait to see what is in my next fix! Let me know if you need a referral code, I've got a deal for you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

a big win for pretty much everyone

I get a little angry when people talk about the "wild horse" herds that are roaming around my area and how the ranchers are simply trying to keep all the grass for their livestock in order become extremely wealthy on the back of America.

But today was a real win for a lot of folks....of both the 2 legged and 4 legged kind. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court upheld earlier court's decision to manage wild horse herds in southwest Wyoming. Yes, this was brought about by a lawsuit originally filed by the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA). RSGA is a large private landowner in an area known as the "the checkerboard" which is alternating sections of deeded and federal lands, most of which is unfenced and managed by the BLM. RSGA won this lawsuit and BLM was ordered to remove horses from the range, due to an emergency injunction filed by wild horse advocates the gathers were brought to a halt.

The way has now been cleared for BLM to remove approximately 800 horses from multiple herd management areas. How quickly they will begin? Should be this week.

Is this good for the horses? Yes. Unmanaged horse populations can grow at a rate of 20% per year, with no real natural predators this is devastating on herd health, on animal health, on water resources, on wildlife populations, on ranching operations and on range health. Managed horse herds are more viable, more attractive to the public who likes to view them out on the range because managed horse herds are healthy.

Is this good for wildlife? Yes. Overpopulated herds are devastating on forage and water sources, leaving very little in their wake. This causes starvation in wildlife populations.

Is this good for livestock? Yes. For the exact same reasons that its good for the horses and for wildlife.

Is this good for people? Yes. If horse populations are kept in check the range will be healthier and can support populations from all the categories mentioned above. There will be room for seeing "wild" horses, wildlife, range livestock, 4-wheeling, hunting, the sky, the grass, water sources.

Is this good for wild horse advocates? Yes. Although I know that they do not believe me, or the ranchers, or the BLM, or the court system, or anyone else for that matter. If they truely do love these animals, then they would know (or at least try to learn more about) proper, responsible management is the humane, responsible, just thing to do. And while I agree that where these animals go when taken off the range isn't ideal because it simply costs you and me, taxpayers, too much money. Engaging in responsible range management of both public and private lands is the first step.

Properly mananged populations.....all populations.....on multi-use public lands is a GOOD thing!

Monday, September 15, 2014

senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose

so before you think I'm a terrible person I'll just say I love the movie Dumb and Dumber and since I'll be writing about senior citizens today and didn't have a great title, I though Lloyd Christmas would be appropriately not appropriate.

I'm scared to death of nursing homes. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say, where to sit...nothing. I'm a fish out of water. My co-workers mother had to be put in the nursing home and she faithfully goes up each day at lunch to sit with her while she eats. And if you remember here, we have another special man to visit in the nursing home.

I'll admit that I hadn't been up to see him lately and Bonnie told me several days that he asked where I was, so I made time, put the important things first and up to the nursing home I went. I sat at a table of mostly wonderful old guys for lunch. I cut slathered baked potatoes in butter and sour cream, I cut up pork loin, I poured water, I handed out napkins, I told the happenings of McKinnon, WY, I listened about the old days and water on Cedar Mountain, I learned about the pipefitters union and how Roger's son "stole his new Nikes" when his legs were amputated due to diabetes and yes I even got told that "No, you don't need to cut my meat up, I can't eat it anyway...I don't have any teeth!" from Everett, with a grin of course.

Smiles spread across their faces as I said my goodbyes and told them that I was glad that I got to sit with them during lunch.

So many neat folks are put in nursing homes and often times forgotten. While its not comfortable for me to go there, its something I want to do (with Bonnie's help of course). It makes their day for sure and might even be the highlight of their week.

I walked out of the nursing home that day.....wanting to leave with 3 new "grandpas".

Friday, September 12, 2014

some of the best things are free [12 days of summer edition 2]

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"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday"

This quote is at the bottom of every single email I send while I'm at work. And I'm at work alot, 8, 9, 10, 12 hours a day. Yet it still escapes me how true these words ring.

A while back I posted this picture on Facebook with the title "Do something awesome....donate blood"

And there were comments about how my friends and family....MINE were still with us today, thanks to blood donation. Wow, now that'll hit ya right in the forehead.  It took an hour of my time and I saved someone's life, actually probably 3 lives. That makes me a hero to someone. And that made my day.

Please, please, please give blood donation some thought. Ask yourself if you can take an hour of your time and give life to someone else. You'll be their hero.

I was going to promise that this would be my last blood donation post, but that is probably a lie.

And see those legs in the back ground of the picture? Those belong to my friend Jake, who I met while sitting in this very chair about a year ago. We are most definitely on the same schedule because we always seem to end up in the double reds chairs together and we don't' even plan it! 

See give blood, save lives, meet friends, everybody wins!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

it's my goin' out t-shirt

T-shirt and jeans that pretty much made up my wardrobe for the first 30 years of my life, except for that small stint in college where it was t-shirt and sweats or basketball shorts. I'm fancy like that.

I can distinctly remember one of my roommates telling me "Jen you should dress up when you go out, I bet you'd get a boyfriend then" and I replied "I am dressed up, this is my goin' out t-shirt", figuring if I had to dress up to get a boyfriend, then maybe I didn't need one that bad. I'm starting to rethink my logic. That is probably a lie to some extent.

My 'Goin Out T-shirt'

Anyway, Football Fan turned me on to Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is where you answer a bunch of questions about yourself and what you like in fashion trends, don't worry they show you pictures so you don't even have to know what you like until you see it! Then you signup, pay $20 per fix and a personal stylist sends you stuff they think you will like. If you like it, you keep it and your $20 goes towards the purchase price (you answer questions about how much you'd like to spend too). What you don't like, you drop in the prepaid envelope and send 'er back! easy peasy.

Now, my first Stitch Fix was supposed to be my reward for losing 40 lbs, but I got impatient and ordered it before I got there. celebrate early, eat dessert first....that kind of thing. So what did I get in my first Stitch Fix? let's take a peek! and excuse the super cute golf hair, it was an emergency take some time off work to go golfing kinda day.

What do you think I kept or should have kept?

Monday, September 8, 2014

the daddy of 'em all [12 days of summer edition 1]

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Since I'm from Wyoming I bet you think this post will be about Cheyenne Frontier Days, but its not. I haven't been to CFD for ages. This post is about big ole' huge mountains and crazy folks who think they should hike up them.

No, I did not take this picture
Yes boys and girls, we hiked up that big ole' mountain and I crossed off a Dirty 30 bucket list item.

We started at 6600 feet at 4:00 am, gaining 7300 vertical feet over 12.6 miles and in just 9 hours we were standing at the top.
We managed to muster up one last smile for the victory shot!
It was a brutal hike, but I had some good hiking buddies. Military Friend and her brother-in-law, Assistant Pack Leader and Spin Class Stephen and I set out on this great adventure. Check out our route!

And while I may hike another 14'er, it sure won't be this one. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me, plus I don't think my ego can handle being passed by an 80 year old man who is running up the dang thing again!
Hike a 14'er....check!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Product Review: Chalean Extreme

I'll start off by saying, I'm scared sh*tless right now to put these pictures out here in blogland, on the interweb, where the world can see them. But I know a good thing when I see it and I see what a change like exercise and diet can make in a person's life. I want to encourage anyone who is struggling to #pushplay.

I could never find anything that I could stick with long enough to make a difference, then I found Chalean Johnson and Chalean Extreme. Short workouts, weight training mixed with cardio and a Beachbody coach and fitness group that held me accountable and helped me look forward to working out.

I can't recommend Chalean Extreme enough to anyone, it is an awesome program with great results. Although I'm no longer doing this program (I'm now doing PiYo with Chalean), I will be going back to it this fall when the cold Wyoming weather forces me back inside.

My stats from Chalean Extreme (I did it twice, first time very dedicated, second time a little less dedicated)
**I was doing some high intensity cardio (spin class) mixed in with the videos**

Inches lost (chest, left and right arm, waist, hips, left and right thigh): 27.5 inches
Pounds lost: 32.6 pounds
Body Fat % lost: (on scale, not most accurate measurement):11.2%

#pushplay and get out there and live the life you were meant to!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

back by popular demand

I've had TWO requests to come back to blogging, citing that they missed what I had to say....WHAT! I'm on top of the world! So despite the craziness that I'm currently calling life, I'm committed to coming back, not in full force, but hopefully 2-3 times per week.

I'm going to see if I can talk Music Man into coming out of retirement and get some new tunes for you readers out there. Which I was successful! Here's a little note from Music Man. And I was super glad that the new EYB song made the list because I'm pretty much LOVIN' it!

Welcome back, Almost Gypsy Soul, we missed you! And, welcome back to you, constant listener/reader. This summer has been a bit crazy, and I spent a lot, I mean, a lot of time behind the wheel this summer, and my satellite radio is gone… suck! So, I had to listen to local radio and the same 10 songs over and over and over again. But, out of that comes a new list. This is some of the new music I had the privilege of listening to all summer. I want to know if these pass the test.

Cole Swindell, Hope You Get Lonely Tonight
Eli Young Band, Dust
Eric Church, Cold One
Florida Georgia Line, Dirt
Maddie & Tae, Girl in a Country Song

While I've spent a fair amount of my summer bellied up to my computer at work, I managed to sneak away for a few adventures, which I hope you will be excited to read about. So keep an eye out for the 12 Days of Summer coming your way!