Thank you, Arizona

Top of Camelback

I spent my last day in the Valley, among other things hugging many friends and hiking Camelback Mountain.

I match the mountain

A sign I will always be Arizonan at heart? My tan officially matches the landscape.

Thank you, Arizona

The car is packed, including my bikes. I’m off to a new home in Colorado. Thank you all — near and far — for your well wishes, gifts, notes, meals and parties during this crazy month. What a month it’s been! I will miss this great desert, in great part to the many, many people of Arizona I love. I will miss you dearly.


Now, please start looking for flights to Denver. I will be preparing the homestead for your many visits, especially those with a relocation mission.



Bay of Beige


My current moving alert isn’t red. Or orange. It’s beige. I’m surrounded by beige. Boxes, boxes everywhere. It’s mayhem.



My happy spin on the current homeland Code Beige!: packing is a lot of fun for a girl who loves to organize. I currently own only socks with pairs. Only towels, pillow cases and white T-shirts without that random mascara stain. Only earrings that I’ll actually wear. Only shoes I really love. Only dishes, books, fabric, yarn, plants, and furniture that I plan on using for a very, very long time.

T-minus 56 hours left in Phoenix. Time to write a new story!

May the movers be gentle,



Posh Counter

62 Degree Egg

I would have licked the bowl at home

Mustard ice cream, filet

My friend Dan, the Relation Chef, was in town last night to whip up a special menu at Scottsdale’s Posh. I don’t typically eat such fancy meals on a Monday — or ever. For that matter, 90% of the time I stay home in my jammies comfortably curled up with my excuses, and don’t go to such dinners.

But I wanted to support Dan and I love Posh. I figured it would be a wonderful meal.

In fact, it was the best meal I’ve ever eat in a restaurant. Huge statement, right? Best. Hands down, best. That egg dish? It was called the 62 degree egg. It had these mushrooms and crispy spinach and some sort of potato layer at the bottom. It was rich, savory, salty and simply delicious. For my main dish, I had the beef wellington — which included that gorgeous tiny scoop of mustard ice cream. Mustard ice cream! Sounds ludicrous, but melting on top of hot, perfectly cooked steak? Holy heaven. A+.

Additional perk: everything was just pricey enough and just tiny enough I felt French. Sitting there sipping my giant glass barely full of chardonnay, I savored every drop and bite. It was a good reminder to eat this way more often — enjoying every sensation and not eating quickly and too much just because you can.

I am so proud of Dan and so glad I went. It is such a delight to see friends finding success with their passion. Watching him work in the kitchen last night was impressive. I hope this is the first of many “best” meals I enjoy at one of his restaurants.



My girls

Pool at the ClarendonADIOS -- Arizona, Do It our Style

This weekend was one that I will never forget. From the unique + thoughtful going away party a couple girlfriends coordinated — Adios Arizona Urban Adventure — to the Mumford + Son’s concert, with a brief foray afterward in a party bus, to Easter brunch with friends that ended in south Scottsdale far too late. Phew.

Another gorgeous Phoenix sunset

Phoenix, I just can’t quit you.

I’ve said “see you later” to so many sweet friends in the last few days. I’ve never slept less and danced more. I’ll let the photos paint the picture because I’m too tired to be clever — just as you should be on your last Monday in town.

Adios Arizona Urban Adventure:



New best friends


Mumford + Sons, Party Bus:

Cutesy boys wearing suspenders

The gang

The Wright Brothers

The party bus post-mumford



Lainey w/ a carrot from her garden

Mmm... cake

Madison and Delaney

Kim + Brian


life sized jenga

Juliann + Mariah — thank you for the best going away party. Clever, thoughtful and so much fun!

And to the Disbrows + Wrights, my many thanks as always for including me at your table.




Contemporary Easter Basket


Whiskey Tango Easter


To those who believe, a very joyous Easter to you and yours!

As a Christian, this weekend is the most holy; the resurrection of Christ is fundamental to my belief. I read this chapter — Matthew 28 — and weep with the miraculous generosity, kindness and boldness of God. Such mercy, grace and love to give his only Son!

May this season of rebirth renew and strengthen our faith. May we be touched by grace, and may our words and actions reflect our gratitude for this ultimate sacrifice.


Yes, John Denver Made the List

AZ --> CO Mix CD

Since my first recordable cassette tape player, I’ve used music mixes to communicate what I can’t.

Tomorrow night my friends are throwing me one hell of a going away party. In turn, I’m making party favors — my “Arizona –> Colorado!” two disc mix.

What I hope it says is: I love you. More than you could know, I love you, and this town and this state. I love the cactus, Camelback Mountain, always having a tan, the best Mexican food outside of, well, Mexico. I love how my friends’ parents adopted me after my parents moved to Texas. I love that I always have a place at Sunday dinner. I love my church. I love my community garden. I love the African in the guest room, even though he still doesn’t know how to run the dishwasher (or unload it) 2.5 years later. I love the schools I attended. I love the birds chirping outside as I type this, especially the baby quail.

But more than anything, I love the little ones. It’s my friends’ kids I will miss the most.

AZ --> CO Mix CD

AZ --> CO Mix CD

CD 1: Arizona

1. Windows are rolled down: Amos Lee

2. Far Away: Ingrid Michaelson

3. Dots of Maps: Say Hi

4. Summer Wind: Frank Sinatra

5. Carefree Highway: Gordon Lightfoot

6. There is no Arizona: Jamie O’Neal

7. Desert Song: Edward Sharpe + the Magnetic Zeroes

8. Draw Me a Map: Dierks Bentley

9. After the Storm: Mumford + Sons

10. Arizona: Brian Haner


Disc 2: Colorado!

1. I gotta move: Ben Kweller

2. Rocky Mountain High: John Denver

3. Colorado: Chevy Chase

4. Colorado Sunrise: 3OH!3

5. Hold you in my arms: Ray LaMontagne

6. Sn Hands: Local Natives

7. The Long Way Home: Norah Jones

8. A Change is Gonna Come: Sam Cooke

9. Don’t Fence me In: David Byrne

AZ --> CO Mix CD

And in turn, I know you love my sense of adventure and wanderlust. And my sappy mix CDs.


Moving: A Tutorial

Sunday Funday

A tongue in cheek guide to moving:

1. Visit a place you’d rather live. Or don’t. Pick a spot on a map, out of a book, do the “spin the globe and land” game.

2. Tell your friends and family, “I’m moving!”

3. Say it again for 4 years or so. Convince yourself slowly. Make yourself promises you’ll do something about it.

4. One day, actually do something about it. Start by telling your boss. Ask for a transfer.


5. In the meantime, look for jobs online. Don’t be proud. Apply for anything you think will make you happy. That’s the whole point of this little move, after all. Want to be a barista/knitting store worker/bartender/taxi cab driver/nanny? Well. Good for you! Let’s do it!

6. Send your resume to your smartest friends. Ask them to review it. Then, ask them to send it to their friends who may know someone in your new desired city.

7. Apply for more jobs.

sheila, kelli -- class five rapid

8. If you know someone in the new city, ask to crash at their house for a bit. If they are incredibly generous and wonderful people, they’ll agree. Begin sending them gifts and notes of thanks immediately. If you are making a new start without knowing a soul, God bless you. Look in the newspaper for homes available. Talk to your realtor friends about a referral in the new city. Someone will want your business. Be picky.

9. Cry. Laugh. Schedule happy hours in your home town. Give yourself whatever emotional space you need to feel whatever you need, and don’t let guilt take hold. Laugh some more. (Stop yourself on occasion to think, “HOLY SHIT I AM ACTUALLY DOING THIS!”)

Home, sweet home

10. Organize your home. If you haven’t seen or used it in a year, someone at Goodwill can. Donate generously. Give friends books. Give friends plates of cookies and pitchers of sangria and make them promise to return them to you in your new city (built in guests). Give friends anything you think they can use. Find boxes and start packing. (I started packing 2 years before I called a moving company.) Call a moving company. Have a stiff drink before they hand you the estimate.

11. Make a pledge to pack a certain number of boxes every day. My number is 5.

12. Keep applying for jobs.

13. Check out the newspaper for your new hometown and find an event you want to attend when you arrive. For me, it’s Ray LaMontagne at Red Rocks. I am dreaming of this show.

14. Pack five more boxes. Apply for more jobs. Say goodbye to those you love. Cry. Laugh. Remember not to burn any bridges, especially those that may prevent you from returning to the hometown you still very much love.

15. Rent your current home. Pray your renters aren’t really sociopaths waiting to turn your casita into a meth den.

Siblings, Grand Lake, Colorado

16. Consider what you what this new life to look like. For me, it includes dogs, chickens, babies, a big chunk of land, a dirty Outback, a messy kitchen, an all loving church, an indie bookstore, a masters swim team and many, many happy meals shared with my baby brother and Colorado family.

And with any luck, your hometown friends will throw you one heck of a going away party and have plans to come see you before you even leave.



Hiking Yoga + the Art of Procrastination

Phoenix in all her glory

I am dragging my feet this morning. I have a stack of paperwork to conquer to figure out how to get transform these lovely people legally into my lovely tenants.  Can’t I just call someone to come over and figure all of this out for me? I made a “husband on retainer” joke at brunch yesterday to hear an earful from girlfriends that their husbands would be procrastinating too and I should really reconsider my notions of marriage. Apparently, figuring out contracts and negotiating isn’t at the top of fun list for anyone.

And of course there is the packing. And the consulting gig I start this morning full time. So, logically I’m sipping coffee at a cafe, reading the news and blogging. And reviewing the photos of all the fun things I did do this weekend — like hiking yoga with the girls.

The Girls

We did this once before after purchasing a Groupon this winter. Last time we took a class at South Mountain. This weekend we hiked at Dreamy Draw. The first class was gentle, rolling hiking and yoga. Yesterday was bootcamp by comparison. Our teacher was on fire — running back and forth on the trail telling us to “swing our arms” and “push it ladies!” It was a nice change and we were a sweaty mess by the end. (What a contrast from the snowball fight the week prior.)

With Phoenix in the background

My new Monday morning routine: review weekend photos, wish I was on the trail with friends, smile at this charmed life, say a prayer of thanksgiving, pour another cup of coffee.


Clay Pigeons, Photographs + Judgmental Looks

What are, “Three things that can be shot at Ben Avery Shooting Range,” Alec.

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Correct answer.

I found myself walking a clay pigeon shooting range course with Adam and Matt yesterday. Add this to the lengthy list of “things I never thought I’d do, but actually turned out to be fairly entertaining.” I didn’t shoot a thing, other than the aforementioned photographs and judgmental looks, but I did enjoy the wildlife, time with the boys, and being fully immersed in a Wild West gun culture that I’ve otherwise successfully sheltered myself from.

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Think lots of big trucks. Big men. Huge guns. Now, also think sports cars. Tiny women. Smaller guns. Everything in between was represented at the range. And the judgment should have been on me for being so snotty about being outside of my element.

Ben Avery Shooting Range

Guns are not my cup of tea. I don’t care to ever own, shoot or have one in my house. That said, to each is own. And these boys had a blast with their target practice. I spent a bit of time in the sun, photographing flowers. Missions accomplished.

If guns are your cup of tea, you may like the articles on all things shooting and hunting related over at

Ben Avery Shooting Range


Dominos Fall

Friday, I got the sign off on a good job in Colorado. This meant happy hour at our favorite local haunt — Four Peaks.

The gang

Elaina + Alma


Julez + Jennie

My favorite photo ever of Matt


Saturday, I met the future tenants on my little home. I’m tiding up a few pieces of my life in Arizona that have remained gray far too long.  As the dominos fall, I skip, smile and then quietly cry when I can get a moment alone. As my friend Candace said, it’s a bittersweet time.

Two short weeks left in this home, that I’ve had for 8 years, and this town, that I’ve had for 31. Holy Moses.