Park City, UT Vacation – Summer 2018

Hey friends!  So, this post has been a long time coming, but not near as long as some other vacation posts.  Ahem…ahem…my 2017 East Coast Road Trip post.  SMH.

This last summer, I was invited to visit my friends – the Ackermans – at their home in Deer Valley.  A chance to get out of Houston in August?  SIGN. ME. UP.  Maureen, Jeff, Jadyn, & Hudson spend their summers in Deer Valley, & then visit a few other times a year.  Lucky them, right!  Our plan was for me to fly up to SLC, spend a week vacationing, & then drive back to Houston with Maureen while Jeff was in Europe for work.

Day One

I arrived around lunchtime in Salt Lake City, UT, Maureen picked me up & we headed up the mountain to her home in Deer Valley.  We dropped off my stuff, grabbed Jeff, & headed back down to Park City (proper) to pick up Jadyn from Drama Camp.  Park City was setting up for the annual Kimball Arts Festival, so we walked around & grabbed a snack & a beer.

Day Two

Maureen, Jadyn, & I headed to Mona, UT to the Young Living Lavender Farm!  This was the one thing I asked Maureen to do.  At this point I was about 3 months in to my YL journey, so I was super excited to go here.  The drive was stunning through Midway, UT.

Funnily enough, when we made it to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, UT Maureen said she’d seen this place several times and always wanted to stop.  We are so simpatico that we both wanted to go to the same place & didn’t know it!

We got to take a tour of the distillery to see how the oils are made; Young Living is known for their Seed to Seal practice.  I didn’t take any pictures of this part, I was too busy learning.  However, after the distillery tour were we able to go on a self guided tour of the grounds.  They hold a few events here throughout the year, so it was more than what I thought a lavender farm would be…

Sunflowers will be a theme throughout this trip.

I wish I had taken a picture of the YL gift shop.  For you oily lovers out there, it is all the praise hands & fist bump emojis.  This farm convinced Maureen to sign up for her Premium Starter Kit!  Now she’s almost as obsessed as me!

We got back to Deer Valley mid afternoon.  Full disclosure, we were pretty shaken up when we got home.  En route back to Deer Valley we witnessed a really scary car accident.  We did call 911, but we quickly learned that lots of people had called it in.  Just thinking about it now still gives me the heebie jeebies.

We rested for a bit & then headed to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!  If you like big band music or jazz, they are a must!  This was such a blast!

Day Three

The next day was the last day of the Kimball Arts Festival, so we headed back into town.  You know we had to do & see all the things.  We all bought a couple pieces.

Another day, another sunflower…

Later that afternoon, we met up with one of Maureen’s long time friend, also named Casey, & her family.  It’s a good name.  They took us out on the Jordanelle Reservoir for some tubing.  I happily waved the flag when someone fell off the tube.

Day Four

We took a day to relax.  Jeff taught me how to make Matzo Ball Soup!  He makes the. best. soup.  I tried to make this when I got home & it was terrible.  Sad face.

This was our view while cooking. view

If only I could have this view all the time!

Day Five

While Jadyn was at Drama Camp, Maureen & I want on a chill 3.8 mile hike up the mountain.  No biggie.  Y’all, I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful this place is.

Our view from the top was spectacular.  The photos are a bit hazy because of the wildfires around SLC & the smoke blowing in from the California wildfires.

We rewarded ourselves by taking the chairlift back down the mountain, and with a beer, herb & Parmesan fries, & street corn guacamole at Royal Street Cafe.  Don’t mind if I do. hike 19

Day Six

The next day was another low key day.  We spent our time toodling around town while Jadyn was at Camp.  We stopped by the Farmer’s Market & a few other shops.

Can you guess my favorite flower?

Hudson enjoyed a day sunbathing. hudson

That evening we hung out with Maureen’s amazing neighbors, Rida & Sterling!

Day Seven

The next morning Maureen & I dropped Jadyn off at camp & headed to Ulinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest for a beautiful hike.  We were on a mission – To. See. A. Moose.  Y’all know that I am OBSESSED with moose.  Saying I love them is an understatement.

What do I spy in the distance…moose

I’m getting closer…moose 7

The park ranger informed us that this was Martha, the grandma moose of the Moose Family that lives in the park.  Y’all, Martha was a boss.  She swam across the lake & walked along the path with all the people, Northern Exposure style.

This was the best day EVER!

And, it only got better!  That night we headed back to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Phil Phillips & Gavin DeGraw.  I was totally unfamiliar with Phil, but he did a great cover of Wicked Game.  Gavin DeGraw was awesome!  Jeff is a huge fan of Gavin’s, so he got there early to reserve us the best spot on the hillside!  After the concert, I took Jadyn up to the stage & she got a picture with Gavin DeGraw.  She’s 12, so I thought it was time she learned how to “meet the band.”  I basically shoved her through space, where light shown through, to get closer to the front.  He sang all his classics, my personal favorites are Follow Through and In Love With a Girl.

Day Eight

We spent the majority of Friday morning packing up the house.  Around lunch time we headed to Jadyn’s play, what she had been working towards all week!  There were several scenes from several plays, with kiddos of all ages.  Jadyn’s showcase, Peter Pan, was obviously the best – she is such a great singer.  One group of kids made Hamlet hilarious.  How Hamlet is funny I don’t know, but we were dying. Jadyn got an award for her hard work for the week!  Way to go Jadyn!

Day Nine

We packed up the car and Maureen, Jadyn, Hudson, & I drove back to Texas.  Meanwhile, Jeff jetted off to The Netherlands.

It did get a little scary between Salt Lake City and Moab; there was a lot of smoke and warnings about the wildfires.  For long stretches, we were the only car going South…it made us nervous.  But, we made it to Moab. wilson arch

We stopped for lunch & did a little shopping.  Hudson especially liked the shopping.

After driving through beautiful Moab, rain, & really ugly parts of Colorado & New Mexico, we made it to Albuquerque, NM where we spent the night in a converted hospital.  Not to worry, if our room was haunted we slept through it.

The next day, we had a quick breakfast, loaded up the car, & headed off to Texas.  It was a long drive of not much to look at.

We determined that if we kept following the railroad tracks, we’d never get lost.  Once in Texas, it pretty much rained on us the whole way home.  We were so wishing that rain would make it’s way West to help out the wildfires.  We pulled into my driveway at midnight.  You forget how big Texas is, until you have to drive across it.  Needless to say, I went into work around 10a, instead of my usual 7a.

I can’t wait to get back to Park City!  My next goal is to go during a different season – I hear that the Fall foliage is stunning.  Maureen – maybe we go for your birthday this year???  Thanks so much for a fantastic trip!

Have any of you been to Park City?

Until next time…  traveling

Kiss Hug,

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It’s the Most Wonderful time of the Year!

It’s finally here…my long awaited, often promised post about Christmas decor!  I have a few hard & fast rules that I try to abide.  I’m most specific about wrapped presents, but we’ll get to that later.

Here are some tips & tricks that guide my decorating:

  1. I think it’s super cool, but expensive, to replace all your normal decor with holiday decor.  But, if you can afford it -go for it!  However, if you’re like me & on a budget – just replace a few key components with festive holiday gear.  I’m also a fan of homemade decor if you’re crafty.
  2. Find your one symbolic holiday item & go nuts!  I have a few: snowflakes, moose/reindeer/antlers, Christmas trees, & gingerbread everything.
  3. I’m a really big fan of being extra generous in any way I can this time of year.  I really try to pruchase locally made gifts or to make something myself.  I also really like to buy gifts from charities or that give back to charity, or both when you can find it!
  4. Okay, my biggest pet peeve – wrapped gifts!  Unless it’s alcohol or a super unusual shape, do NOT put the gift in a bag.  Your wrapped gifts should have crisp edges with a handmade bow (no store bought bows in my house).  If you can’t figure out how to make a bow – Google it – by a roll of pompoms & simply wrap it around the gift a few times.  Yarn is also a super inexpensive & charming alternative to a store bought bow.  Super festive, cute, & easy!
  5. I love outdoor lights, but struggle to put them up myself…shortness & laziness are big factors.  Just make sure the lights are straight.  No inflatables in the yard, please!
  6. One of my weird Casey-isms is that I am very strict about acceptable colors during the season.  Green, red, white, silver, & gold are the only colors I allow.  Very traditional.  Also anything plaid doesn’t hurt my feelings. 🙂
  7. Last but not least, all decorating should be done while listening to Christmas music or having a Hallmark movie on the TV.

Here are some pictures of my house.

The stocking in my chair is from my childhood.  Mama J tried to get rid of it when I went off to college; it was quickly saved from a certain purgatory, & now I put it out at my home even though I don’t have a fireplace.  We have another fun tradition in my family…my birthday is on December 14th, so for my birthday every year I get a Christmas ornament for my tree. 🙂  This year was a copper mama moose with her silver baby; my mom got it at The Escape in Georgetown.

This year Mama J & I will be heading to my Dad’s side of the family for Christmas Day lunch.  Then on Monday, we’ll head over to my mom’s side of the family for Christmas brunch.  Our gift exchange theme this year is “something recommended to you.”

What about y’all?  Do you have anything fun planned?

Next week will be the last Holiday playlist of the year…whah, whah.

Kiss Hug,

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