Wild Horses.

Monday, October 27, 2014
Over the mountains
and through the woods,
to Pittsburgh, PA we go!

Mitch's goal
: See the Steelers for his first time at Heinz field.

My goal:

Document his big trip and play with pumpkins.

Also, to see the Blue Ridge Mountains in full Fall foliage force.
Say that 10X fast

The Blue Ridge Mountains always look painted on the sky.
They are stunning.
And that road you see there went straight up...I want to sit on a skateboard and slide down it so bad.

We got up early Saturday morning, grabbed our caffeine, gassed up and hit the road North!
First order of business: Grayson Highlands State Park

If there's anything you need to see at least once in your life, it's this park.

Despite being overcast and having higher wind than my wedding, it was still as picturesque as they come.

You pay $5.00 to get in to the park and drive up to the trail heads. It's actually right on the Appalachian trail so we saw a host of people making the long trek towards Georgia. Or Maine.

I could raise my hand and touch the clouds.
At one point the winds picked up to 800mph and I literally had to curl up in a ball and wait for the winds to die down before I climbed off that rock... I had to try so hard not to blow off .
Hilarious and frightening all at the same time.
Oh the things we do for a cool shot...
But then!
We ran into the main reason most people visit this park....

Wild ponies!!
Yes they are wild.
Yes they were frightened of humans.

I got close to them by moving slower than a snail and crouching low to the ground. After they realized I was not a threat they let me walk anywhere around them - still, very slow.

Side note: This one little boy got way too close way too fast and the pony kicked him with his back legs. Mitch and I laughed so hard. We're going to make great parents one day.

What a dream.

We spent the rest of our evening driving to Charleston, WV where we would stay for the night.

I don't know why, but I had this burning curiosity for West Virginia. It seems so... off the grid.
When we got close to Charleston, we were waiting to see bright city lights and tall buildings.. never happened. Lol it's a very small city but very quaint.
And I will say, West Virginia has some of the nicest people I've ever come in contact with.
Our waiter at Cracker Barrel thanked us for being polite to him.
WV I <3 You.

We also realized that West Virginia has some of the most beautiful landscape/fall foliage we've ever seen.
And that's coming from two kids raised in New England!

West Virginia, we'll be back in the Summer time.
You're beautiful.


Sunday we arrived at our final destination.
The Steel City:
Pittsburgh, PA!

I gotta hand it to PA, this city is really beautiful. It's a lot more modernized than I would have expected.

First order of business:

Heinz Field.

This is my, I-don't-even-watch-football-what-am-I-doing-here face.

Despite not being a sports fan it really was a cool experience.
And seeing how excited Mitch, a lifelong Steelers fan, was to see his team's stadium....


I loved documenting his journey to this game. I really love being behind the camera and capturing candid moments. That passion is growing every day. Speaking of which...

I got to go behind the scenes of a reality show filming in Pittsburgh!!

And I thought I lugged around a lot of camera equipment.

Look at the amazing shots he is getting with the geese and the tour boat!
If only you could see how HD his shots were too.
I was in heaven.

This moment really sparked an interest in this photography/film stuff for me. I was so inspired after talking & learning from this kind man who allowed me to intrude on his filming.
We'll see what the future holds...


Game day.
First half of the day we did this:

Pittsburgh Zoo!!

This place was one of the best zoos I've ever been to.
So clean and quiet.
They even had an aquarium complete with Polar Bears and Sharks!

What I loved most is that each exhibit featured ways to preserve the natural habitat of each animal.

Also, a dad with his two young daughters asked them:
'Girls, what do you think lions eat?'
Girls response: Grilled Cheese!

Kids are so cool.

The later half of the day Mitch and I split up.
He took a big tour bus to the game and I stayed at the hotel, ate chipotle and watched him on TV.

He returned in the wee hours of night with lots of new Steelers gear and no voice.
Safe to say he had a great time

I didn't go because I just couldn't bring myself to fork over that much money for a front row ticket.
Although I did feel a little remorse when Mitch sent me videos and THIS was blaring in the background.
I would have been on that field doing the nae-nae like it's no ones business.

Oh well, maybe next time :)

Pittsburgh, we have unfinished business.
We will definitely be back!


We woke up bright and early the next morning and made our way through wild and wonderful but cloudy & cold West Virginia to head home.

We drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains into sunny & 75 weather and it was then that I realized how much I truly love South Carolina.


In other news, I shattered my iphone, finally invested in a tripod, and:

I am jamming so hard to Blank Space right meow.

Who wants to meet up for a dance party!?

Time Zones

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
So the other day it dawned on me that for the month of September, I lived in three different time zones.

West Coast:


and now:

Not a bad way to end the Summer.

My last week in Illinois was full of long days of work.
However - Thursday night I left work to a stormy sky so you obviously know what happened next...

Chased em'.
I thrive off thunderstorms. Supercells, funnel clouds, lightening & thunder...it gets me high.

^ I took that photo laying on a dirt road getting soaked in the warm, end of Summer rain.
I didn't want it to end.

Storms are one of the main reasons why I find flat land to be more beautiful than mountains.
You can see storms coming from a mile away.
And the lightening show?
Out of this world.

Such a great way to end my stay in the Midwest!

I drove North to Chicago after work on Friday.
After a pit stop at Chipotle & 83 toll roads, I made it to the world's most crowded airport and hopped on my flight South.

I'm usually not the happiest of spirits when adventures come to an end.
However this time around I was pretty darn thrilled.
I already miss the beautiful heartland but I was so, SO excited to come home to Mitch.
Adventures just aren't the same without your better half.
Seeing his bright eyed face eating a twix in the airport waiting for me next to baggage claim will go down as one of my favorite moments ever. I was just so happy to be with my best friend again, back to our quiet, calm home routine.

Ya know....when you announce you're engaged, a lot of times people will say things like OHH taking the plunge! Putting on the ball and chain!...or my favorite: Say goodbye to freedom.

I used to let those messages resonate with me. But now that I've been married almost a year and a half, I think, what the hell are they talking about?

My life since getting married has constantly improved. I've been the happiest I've ever felt. I'm calm. I'm more confident. I'm learning so much about not only relationships but myself as well. I'm learning patience & gratitude on the regular. I even think I'm becoming slightly feminist... (how does Powers-Albro sound?)

*I say feminist because Mitch never makes me feel inferior as 'his wife'.
My husband --- he's not my world, but he's a large part of it. I feel like we're life partners - not husband & wife.
But this is a whole other blog post.
Just don't look for me picketing over the glass ceiling at the white house.


 It's been the best year and a half of my life and I feel like we're only getting started.
Hard to fathom how it get's any better than this.

After 15 long hours of much needed sleep, we woke up Saturday and began our first day together in a while. We had brunch and then picked out some fall decorations for our lil' apartment!

While running around I noticed the Greenway next door grew some beautiful Fall flowers while I was gone...

In case you were wondering if I screamed at Mitch: STOPPPP! and make a U-turn in order to get pictures of these beauties..... yes, yes I did.

And then we went back later in the evening to take some more photos with the big-girl camera.

South Carolina is full of so much natural beauty.
Don't let society trick you into thinking it's some redneck, fried food eating, uneducated state.
Train your mind to find beauty in the ordinary, to see the good in everything and accept & look past the negative.

" And above all,
watch with glimmering eyes the whole world around you,
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it "
- Roald Dahl

^ Anyone catching the eclipse tomorrow morning?
Thinking I might bribe Mitch with Starbucks to get up early & go for a walk to catch it with me

Back to my routine I go!
To long days of work.
Ended with long walks in the woods.
Taco Salads on Tuesdays
Soup on Sundays....

...And everyday snuggles with my fur babies.

Fly Over States.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
'One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”'

This week, I'm feeding the good wolf.

September has been a wild, restless month for me.
I've lived in three different time zones, started a new intense job, and I've been away from home for almost 2 weeks straight. Living out of a hotel. Battling to eat healthy while on the road.

Normally this would cause me so much anxiety. Especially my first day of work with new tasks, faces, and personalities to learn. However I noticed this time around, I wasn't nervous. I really haven't had any anxiety since I got here. And I think it's because as soon as the clock hits 5, I run off to this.....

I drive. I explore. Alone.
I turn up the music & stick my hand out the window to feel the breeze.
I take in the smell of dried up Fall corn fields...

I feed my good wolf :)

This Cherokee lesson was thrown on my path right when I arrived here in IL and it has worked wonders for my mood. Like all human beings on earth, I have my days where I want to bolt out the doors, run into the cornfields and just scream. But now, I find myself saying in my head:
'Steph, which wolf are you feeding?'
and I immediately switch up my thought process.

Give it a try, I think you'll be surprised how easy it works...


So I've been thinking. I don't know how some people can label the Midwest 'boring' or a place they have no desire to visit. Sure it may not have picturesque mountains or white sand beaches. But if you just train your mind to find joy in the ordinary, simple things....you would be pleasantly surprised by this place.

Me personally, I cannot get enough of flat land. And I've seen it all - California Redwoods to Key West beaches.

There is just something about being able to see for miles and miles that makes my heart so full.

I've already mentally planned a late Spring trip to Oklahoma/Kansas to chase storms.

So last week -- after a super long, exhausting work week -- the weekend finally rolled around and I woke up bright & early Saturday ready to FINALLY explore something other than a corporate building.

My first stop:


Kidding! This is Lake Michigan!!!
I sware.

I took this photo at the unbelievable Indiana Dunes State Park.
As I'm sure a lot of you know because I'm always boasting about it, I was born and partially raised in Southern Indiana. It's my home, it's where my roots (I just typed 'ruits' wow I need to go to bed) came to fruition and it's such a large part of who I am today. So being a tourist in my home state was really bizarre, but seeing this beautiful 'ocean' in Indiana was just mind blowing. I'm used to corn fields and the not-so-pretty Ohio River. This is crazy!

For a Saturday, this place was pretty empty. I nearly had the whole place to myself.
Perfect for photos...

Isn't that sky just wild? It looks exactly like a painting...

The sand dunes were so much fun to explore. Great workout going up and down those hills!

You know what else I couldn't wrap my head around?
GEESE. Landing in this 'ocean'

So bizarre.

As I was walking around collecting flowers and shells, I noticed limos and catering vehicles starting to show up. They were setting up for a wedding. I thought wow, what an absolutely perfect place and perfect day to get married! Although I never saw the couple, I was full of joy for them.

The sun was hot and I was getting thirsty. I decide to pack up and bid my farewell to this park when all the sudden I hear a very familiar piano note coming from the wedding area....

This song. I have been head over heels for it ever since I heard it premier on The Highway radio station in February. It came from the wedding DJ setting up shop, and he was blasting it. It sounded like a live show. It echoed throughout the beach and I just couldn't help myself....

I danced.

All by myself I spun around in the sand. Didn't take one minute to stop and think if anyone saw me. I didn't care at all; the music took over. I can't even describe to you how free and happy I felt. With the biggest smile on my face I sang every single word and danced.
Perfect song, perfect day, perfect beach.
Cloud 9... I'll truly never forget this moment.

After my impromptu dance sesh, I walked barefoot to the car and started to shake the sand out of my shoes. I glanced up one last time to take a mental snapshot of the area and this pretty little path caught my eye....

It's like those flowers were calling my name, just waiting for me.
I did what anyone cursed by Wanderlust would do.
I locked the car, threw my shoes back on and followed it.

It led to this:

A magical lagoon littered with lilly pads, willow trees, and a drawing bridge straight from a Disney movie.
I don't find these places, they find me.

Stephy in Wonderland....

As much as I wanted to stay here for...well...ever, Chipotle was calling my name.
Best day ever.


Sunday I took it easy.
I drove to Kankakee River State Park and did some light exploring.
I walked a few miles in the woods and got some 'why is she by herself' stares, snapped a few photos of black squirrels, but then I came across a barely noticeable leaf-covered path in the woods that turned out to lead to a big rock/cliff over looking the river...

It was a little slice of heaven.

You just never know what you'll find if you can muster up the courage to take the path less traveled...


The rest of the day was spent blasting music & driving the back roads of Illinois.....

I saw the most beautiful homes that were tucked away in the fields with giant backyards and cats running around freely. I saw country boys spinning up dust on gravel roads in their big trucks having a good ol' time.
Hell I even waved at some truckers on the highway and made their day.
It's the little things ya know? :-)

It's by a long shot that my most favorite part of the Midwest has been the sunsets.
Ohhh me oh my would you look at this sky....

I wish I could time warp you all out here so you could spend an evening sitting on the roof of my little rental car with me and watch this event go down. Pun intended.
I've been taking all of my photos out here with my iPhone so of course it just doesn't do this image justice.
Mainly because the sun is HUGE when you're seeing it in person.
Drops my jaw every time....


I'm having a blast out here exploring new land.
I sware it's what I was put on this earth for.
But I would totally be lying if I said I didn't miss my home.
My routine.
My cats.
Long walks in the red dirt.
Mitch too I guess.

I head home Friday evening and I can't wait. BUT you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be cruising these flat roads every evening after work catching that gorgeous sunset and soaking in every chirp from a cricket and every stalk of corn blowing in the wind....

Damn it feels so good to be a:

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design