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Utah | Touching REAL fossils and bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Are you caught up with my travel posts? Check out my full Travel Across America trip! 😊

I’ve been to tons and tons of National Parks, but this was by far one of my top 5 favorites. Dinosaur National monument was the most incredible place and I’ll forever remember this as one of the best days of this trip! Here, I was able to touch REAL dinosaur fossils, rocks that were billions of years old, and hike up a side of the mountain to see REAL dinosaur bones in the mountainside. I had a major fangirl moment for the few hours that I was there and I already want to go back. But until then, I’ll relive my trip with these photos. 🦖

utah

utah

I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of rocks. When I was little, I looked forward to driving down into the canyon because of all the changing rock colors and formations. And an embarrassing tidbit: I used to collect “egg-shaped” rocks because I thought they looked like dinosaur eggs (and I named them all Courtney). Yes, I know I was a weird child. And I’m still a weird human, but hey that’s okay. 👽

welcome to utah

welcome to utah

welcome to utah

welcome to utah

How awesome is this sign?! I’ve seen tons and tons of state signs on this trip, but none that were on this level of cool. Seriously, I want one of these to hang on a wall in my house.

dinosaur national monument

dinosaur national monument

A REAL dinosaur fossil. It’s REAL!!! How cool is this?!

dinosaur national monument

Honestly. How. AWESOME.

dinosaur national monument

This quarry wall was full of dinosaur fossils because millions and millions of years ago there was a terrible drought and they all died. Then there was a monstrous flood, which brought mud and tar and all kinds of things into the area and then they formed this wall of fossils into the side of the mountain. It was amazing standing here looking at this. I almost cried haha.

dinosaur national monument

I was obviously very happy (and embarrassing). But how often do you get to touch REAL dinosaur bones?! Total nerd moment.

utah road trip

Nothing better than an open road ahead of you, right? 😊


 

Colorado (Part 2) | Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge & soaking up the sunshine

Have you seen Part 1 of my Colorado trip? 😊

If you’ve never been to Colorado, you need to add it to your list. I only spent about two weeks there, and easily fell in love. During the second half of my trip, I stayed in Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge – both are huge ski and snowboard towns, but were surprisingly busy during the summertime as well!

colorado

How magical are butterflies? I love seeing them!

colorado

colorado hiking

colorado

colorado hot springs

Fun fact: I have a friend who actually hiked up to the Mt. Everest base camp and brought back prayer flags like these that were blessed! Super awesome guy. 👍🏼

colorado

I need real hiking boots, if you have any suggestions please leave them below! (Under $200 please!)

colorado

colorado highway

Warming a cinnamon roll on the dash is the best way to heat a cinnamon roll 👍🏼

breckenridge camp

vintage rv

How amazing is this RV?! I saw it in a thrift store parking lot and I wanted to take it with me! I wish the owner was around so I could take a peak inside, but this photo will have to do.

colorado

colorado

colorado history

colorado

colorado

johnsons corner colorado

Yes, yes I do. Always 😎

colorado desert

I absolutely LOVED my stay in Colorado. It’s one of the most beautiful states there is, and I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

Colorado (Part 1) | Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park & Garden of the Gods

Have you caught up with all my Travel America posts? ⚡️

You know when you visit a place and you can’t stop singing a certain song? (ie, “New York, New York” – Sinatra. Or “California Love” – Tupac). That’s how I felt when I was in Colorado. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver as much as I did when I was in the “Mile High City.” But hey, I’m not complaining. Denver’s one of my favorite artists of all time.

Anyway, here’s what I was up to during the first half of my stay in Colorado. 😊

garden of the gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

The first stop in Colorado was the Garden of the Gods. This natural rock park was full of these incredible formations and there were tons of hiking, biking and horseback trails. The best part? It’s free to enter AND you can even drive through the park and get up close to all the formations, if you don’t feel like walking through!

colorado highway

colorado highway

See that baby moon? One of my favorite things so far on this trip is being out in nature for all the phases of the moon. I love being able to stargaze with totally clear skies – it’s incredible! It’s also the perfect setting for writing, which I’ve been able to do a ton of!

rocky mountain national park

rocky mountain national park

rocky mountain national park

rocky mountain national park

rocky mountain national park

The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in my life – and I’ve been to some pretty incredible places. With an elevation of over 12,000 feet, hundreds of different animal species, over 150 lakes, 1.7 billion year old rocks, and a temperature range of -39F to 96F – Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most diverse and stunning parks in the U.S.

I did the driving tour, which took about an hour and a half with a lunch break at the visitor’s center (at the highest elevation!). It was beautiful, and I can’t wait to go back one day soon!

colorado sunset

One last thing, the sunsets in Colorado knocked me off my feet. If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for sunsets, and these did not disappoint!

Have you ever visited Colorado? What was your favorite part of the state? 😊


visit colorado

26 trips around the sun | 26 Things I’ve learned (so far)

I woke up this morning and circled the sun for the 26th time. When I stop and really think about that, it’s hard to believe because I feel like I’ve been here for a lifetime longer and a lifetime shorter at the same time. And so much has happened in my life in the last year alone, that I feel as though I’ve aged at least 5 years. Aging is strange. While I feel like I’ve accomplished and overcome so much at my age, I also feel like I should have accomplished so much more. But alas, here are 26 things I have learned so far, anyway. ⚡️

1. Your feelings are valid. Regardless if others have it worse. Everyone struggles, but your doubts and fears deserve to be understood too.

2. You are never too young to fail because you are never too young to learn.

3. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, ask yourself: “What could I make out of this absence? What DO I have?” And be grateful for that.

4. Even in leaving, you have to take your time. Don’t rush just because you’re uncomfortable. Take your time to breathe the air then breathe it out. Go with your first instinct, but be gentle.

5. Love in different ways. You’ll receive it back in different ways too.

6. Accept things for what they ARE, not what you think they SHOULD be.

7. Hold onto your faith for the simple fact that it makes you feel good.

8. Where you’ve been and who you’ve been does NOT equate to where you’ll go and who you’ll become.

9. Don’t take life so seriously all the time, it’s really not that serious. Just be happy.

10. There is not a single human being you wouldn’t LOVE if you knew their story. Get to know people, put yourself in their shoes, have an open mind. Love their differences.

11. You cannot change someone into being someone they are not, simply because it is what YOU want for them. Everyone is their own person. Focus on yourself.

12. Love ends sometimes. What you thought would have been forever was squeezed into a smaller infinity than you are used to – it’s as simple as that.

13. With every heartache and struggle comes a very, very, very important lesson and opportunity for growth – never take this for granted.

14. A lot of people have come into your life and a lot of people have left, and that’s okay. A close friend once told me people come into your life for 3 reasons: for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

15. Let things come and let things go. Nothing is promised to you, so stop acting like you are entitled to things and stop getting so upset when things don’t go your way. Simply appreciate what you have while you have it, and once it’s gone, let it go.

16. When no one else is there, make sure you’re the first person you turn to when you need love, encouragement, and appreciation. You’ll always have yourself.

17. Some of the happiest moments of our lives are viewed in hindsight. Try to beat this by realizing a good moment while you’re IN it. Drop everything and fully embrace being happy. A smart writer once said: “A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted – mostly because I had assumed there would be a thousand more.” Don’t be like this guy.

18. What you’re struggling with right now is molding you into a new version of yourself, and without this hardship, you’d miss this growth!

19. Life is so, so, so short. Failure will happen to you. Struggles will arise. People will leave. You will question yourself, your abilities, your faith, your surroundings – and that’s okay, that’s normal, it happens.

20. Do not stop loving. Do not stop caring.

21. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Mostly, forgive yourself because oftentimes, you are in the wrong, but have too much pride to recognize it, accept it, and change it 🙂

22. The truth hurts, but get used to it (see: above)

23. Nothing will keep you from living your best life if you believe in yourself and your abilities.

24. A job does not equate to happiness or “having it all together.” You will not find comfort or JOY in a 9-5. There is no more stability in a cushy career than there is in loving the right person and creating a home. Everyone is on their own paths, and if yours looks different than the next person, there is nothing wrong with that.

25. It’s just after your darkest hour that the sun will begin to rise. Think back to every single time you were in your darkest hours, feeling lost and broken, but decided to keep holding onto that sliver of hope. What happened? The sun rose. every. single. time. And it will continue to rise, and so will you.

26. You are never stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.


I’m grateful for another chance, another year of life, more opportunities to grow and love and live. I hope these little lessons will help you, too! What are some life lessons you’ve come to learn and love? ❤️

Christmas in July | Holiday & Christmas Photo Cards from Basic Invite

It’s the middle of summer, and you’ve probably been spending your days in the sunshine, out on the water, and BBQing with your friends and family. BUT, you should be thinking about Christmas. (I know… Jasmine… really? Yes. Really!)

Did you know that the offseason is the best time to save big on ordinary things? It’s true, and holiday business cards and Christmas photo cards are no different. My friends at Basic Invite are having a major Christmas In July sale right now, and I’ve got the hook up for you with special looks into their holiday and greeting card lines and a promo code to save you money!

The best part? When the holidays roll around, you’ll already have your holiday cards out of the way, so you can focus on being with family and enjoying yourself! 😊

Holiday & Christmas Photo Cards

christmas photo cards

christmas photo cards

christmas photo cardsWhether you need fully customizable Holiday Cards for Business or beautifully unique Christmas Photo Cards, Basic Invite has everything you need and ONLY in July, you can get 30% OFF when you use the promo code: holi30 ⚡

Top 5 reasons to trust Basic Invite with your Christmas Photo Cards:

Almost Unlimited Colors

basic invite colors

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail.

Custom Samples

basic invite custom sample

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual holiday or Christmas Photo Card so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes

basic invite envelopes

Basic Invite is just as colorful with envelopes as they are with their Christmas Photo Cards. You can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to envelopes so that you can make your greeting cards stand out even before it is opened. And, all of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Address Capturing Service

basic invite address collect

Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite also offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders!

Foil 

Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, get your holiday and Christmas Photo Cards out of the way and SAVE with Basic Invite! Don’t forget to use the promo code: HOLI30 at checkout for extra savings 👍🏼


 

This post is made in partnership with Basic Invite, however all words and opinions are my own. I will never mention a brand or product I don’t personally love or stand behind. For more info about my sponsored posts please visit my Disclaimer page. Thank you! 

New Mexico | Exploring Taos art community & driving through forest fires

I love the desert. If you followed my journey through Arizona, you’d know just how healing the desert is to me. There’s just something about the warm tones, heat, sunshine, open spaces and prickly plants that makes my heart feel complete. And when I was in New Mexico, I experienced all of those feelings all over again. I explored the city of Taos, which is a beautiful artist community and I witnessed the devastating forest fires first-hand, which was terrifying and beautiful in its own right. I loved New Mexico, here are photos from my stay there.

new mexico

new mexicoDriving through the deep forest and emerging to see rocky mountainsides and cliffs is one of my favorite things in the world. As a young girl, I remember driving into the woods with my birth father. We left the house around 4am, and I slept the whole way. When I woke, bright and beautiful rocky mountainsides would be the first thing I would see. To some, they’re just rocks, but to me, there are so many memories within nature. I hold it so near and dear to my heart.
new mexico hot air balloons

taos new mexico

taos new mexico

taos new mexicoExploring the artist community of Taos was absolutely beautiful. All the buildings in the town were historic adobe buildings, surrounded by art, flowers and delicious food on every corner. For lunch, I ate at the Alley Cantina, which is the city’s oldest building! It was built in the 16th century by the Pueblo Indians (yes, 16th century!). It was amazing. If you have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it for the great food and amazing history and culture 👍🏼
taos new mexico

new mexico

new mexico

new mexico sunsetOverall, my stay in New Mexico was full of downtime, lots of outdoor time and enjoying the sunshine. I slowed down a bit and caught up on a few books I’m reading, and thought a lot about my past, present and future. The desert always brings out the over-thinker in me, but it’s always constructive. 😊

Have you ever visited New Mexico or Taos?


new mexico trip

Texas | Exploring Cadillac Ranch & world famous Big Texan steaks

Are you caught up with all of my Road Trip America travel posts? Check them out here! 😊

I’ve always wanted to visit Texas. I’m not sure why, there’s just always been something otherworldly about it. Cowboys… ranches… country music… big open spaces… comfort food…  “y’all.” There’s nothing else quite like it!

During the 24 hours I was in Texas, I stayed in Amarillo, which is at the very top of the state. I visited the Cadillac Ranch and The Big Texan, and I highly recommend visiting both of these places! I only drove through the very top of Texas, but it left an impression on me and I know I’ll be back!

amarillo

texas

amarillo

Driving through the northern part of Texas and staying in Amarillo was beautiful. I was talking to a friend who lives in Texas and when I told him I was visiting Amarillo his response was: “Congratulations, you’re staying in the ugliest part of the state!”

But I thought it was beautiful. Granted, it was probably because I’ve never been there before and it was totally new to me, but in any event, I loved all these open spaces, golden colors and lots and lots of quiet. It reminded me a lot of Oklahoma!texas

the big texan

the big texan

the big texan

the big texan

Where I stayed in Amarillo, there was a bright yellow restaurant with huge cows out front. I thought it was just a cheesy tourist trap, but it turns out, it’s a world-famous steakhouse and major celebrities and TV shows have filmed here! The Big Texan is known for their 72 ounce steak, and if you can finish it in under a certain amount of time, it’s free! A few years ago, a lady finished not one, but THREE of these steaks in 20 minutes… how? I have no idea.

I had a small ribeye, and it was delicious but I don’t need 72 ounces of it haha! 😂  cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

“Your comfort zone will kill you”

I love this. The entire time I’ve been on this road trip, I’ve kept thinking how much easier and better it would be if I just went back to my old life, or back to the comfort of a house and job. And while it IS what I want eventually, right now it is so nice being pushed out of my comfort zone. Every day, I’m faced with new challenges and emotions and instead of hiding from them or distracting myself with a job, I’m forced to face them head first.

I can’t wait to see the strong, resilient, amazing person I’ll become after this trip is over! 🙌🏼cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

cadillac ranch

Visiting the Cadillac Ranch was incredible. I love quirky roadside attractions like these, and this one did not disappoint! Driving by, you can almost miss it. It’s just a huge empty field and out in the middle of it, is a group of Cadillacs half-buried in the dirt and covered with graffiti. The best part? It’s completely FREE! Woohoo!


What is your favorite quirky roadside attraction that I shouldn’t miss on my travels? 😊

24 hours in texas

Life Lately: One month living on the road

Remember when I first announced I was leaving my island home in Hawaii?

Remember when I said my plan was to road trip across America?

Well, it’s officially been one month since I’ve been living on the road, without a “home” and going somewhere new every day. I’ve been posting little travel diaries of each place I’ve visited so far, but here’s how life has been in general 👍🏼


I’ve been writing every day

Since I’ve been on the road, I’ve had lots and lots of time to think, think, think. This has been great, but I’ll admit it gets overwhelming at times. I went through a spell where all I thought about was my previous relationship, the ending, the goods, the bad, the pain and all the joy. This is imperative for growth and healing, but boy, is it tough to work through all those feelings.

During times like these, I reach for my phone, scrap paper, notebook or computer and proceed to word vomit. I dump it all on paper, and oftentimes, it doesn’t even make sense, but it makes me feel lighter, happier, freer.

I love writing for myself. No one ever sees the words I write in my notebooks, but I like it that way for now. Maybe one day, I’ll make sense of these words and compile them into a book that’ll be on a shelf. But for now, I’m enjoying keeping these words to myself.

Speaking of books on a shelf… I need to get back to writing mine! I finally started writing my book months ago, but stopped when life got busy (likely story). But since I have all this free time, I want to take advantage of that and get this book done. My goal was to have it finished by the beginning of next year, so fingers crossed! Maybe I should follow my own tips… 😂

I’ve been studying the Bible

For about two years now, I’ve been steadily reading the Bible every day, doing bible studies and I’ve been really involved with the church. Right now since I’m on the road, being a part of a church is near impossible, so I’m relying heavily on my own Bible study time.

In this current season of life, I’ve been finding so much truth and conviction in the devotionals and scriptures I’ve been reading.

If you’re interested in a post about the studies I’m doing, let me know! ❤

Until then, check out How to Study the Bible On Your Own and my other posts on Faith!

I’ve been healthy-ish

Before I left Hawaii, I had a steady routine of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, but since being on the road, keeping that same routine is hard. But I’ve been trying!

I still have my same oatmeal breakfast (with coconut granola, hemp, chia, flaxseed, almond milk and bananas), but other than that it’s hard to eat healthy during travel when i want to try every single local food there is 😬

If you have any tips on how to be healthy/active while traveling and living on the road, please leave them below!

I’ve been relearning myself

Over the years, I’ve forgotten who I am in someone else, in the standards of who I should be, and I’ve been overshadowed by my own insecurities and struggles.

Since being on this trip, I’m spending time relearning who I am, what I want and what’s important to me.

This is really hard work once you’ve spent so many years with another person, many years away from everything you once knew, and many years trying to live up to the standards of what a young 20-something should be.

But I’m doing it. ⚡

I’ve been in reflection

As I mentioned above, I’ve had lots of quiet time spent thinking, writing and reflecting.

Where do I want to be after this trip? What happens when all this ends? Where do I go? Who will I be? What do I want for my life? What does my future hold?

There are so many questions that lie in the unknown, but I’m thankful that I have an open road in front of me.

What’s next?

Right now, I’m writing this at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In a few days, I’m heading up to Wyoming for a week and then I’ll make my way to Oregon. After that, I’m not sure – but I’m living for the adventure of it all.


How has your life been lately? How’s the summer treating you? ☀

Oklahoma | Pioneer Woman Mercantile & surviving a real southern storm

I’ve been wanting to go to Pawhuska, Oklahoma ever since I started watching The Pioneer Woman. Fun fact: it was always her show that I’d watch when I felt low and needed a feeling of comfort. I also love recreating her recipes, which you can check out here. I was only in Oklahoma for a day and a half, but I toured the Mercantile, ate really great food and got caught in a storm. All in all, Oklahoma treated me well 👍🏼

oklahoma

oklahoma road signCrossing the border into Oklahoma felt surreal, not because it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but because I never thought I’d ever go there. So far on this adventure, visiting places I’ve never been to has been an incredible feeling and I hope everyone gets to do something like this.

oklahoma camping

oklahoma camping

oklahoma camping

oklahoma campingWhat do you think of when you think of Oklahoma? For me, I always thought of open plains, golden crops, and lots of brown. When I saw forests, rivers and hills, I was. blown. away.

downtown pawhuska

downtown pawhuska

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantileThis Cowboy Coffee was AMAZING. Get the recipe here!

pioneer woman mercantileEating at the Pioneer Woman Mercantile was a check off my bucket list! I love watching her show, and to actually visit her restaurant and shop was the BEST.

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantileSeriously, how perfect is this redhead cowgirl?! I regret not buying this…

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

pioneer woman mercantile

oklahoma storm

oklahoma stormDriving through Oklahoma was dangerous. All of a sudden, the sky turned black and it started pouring, hailing, and a tornado warning was in effect. (These photos were at 3pm!)

oklahoma sunset

oklahoma sunsetThen, almost in a matter of minutes the skies opened back up, the wind stopped howling, and the clouds painted themselves bright shades of orange, pink and violet.

Driving through that storm, I wanted SO badly to turn around and go back to where it wasn’t storming, I was scared and wanted to run away from the unknown, but I knew that storms move, and this one was certainly moving quickly. So if I just kept going, I’d soon be on the other side. This was a gentle reminder that just like in life, we’ll be faced with challenges, scary moments, and the unknown, but if we run away from these problems we’ll just be met with them again. Whereas, if we keep moving forward and work through them, we’ll be met with brighter days.


I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re currently in the midst of a storm, keep moving forward. Brighter days are ahead! ❤

perfect trip oklahoma

Arkansas | Downtown Hot Springs & enjoying the quiet beauty

When I was thinking about dream destinations and places I’ve always wanted to visit, Arkansas never made it on the list – it just never seemed like a place I wanted to go. “What’s in Arkansas, anyway?!” Boy, was I wrong. While I was only there for a day or two (they’re all blending together), I was filled to the brim with history, culture and endless beauty.

arkansas sign

downtown hot springsI stayed in Hot Springs, which is nestled in a valley. Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans and travelers settled here for the area’s natural spring water, which was thought to be healing. All throughout the area, there are natural hot springs and bath houses, it’s pretty neat!

downtown hot springs

downtown hot springs

 

downtown hot springsI was just excited to be in a small city for a while, I feel like I’ve been in the woods for a long time! Seeing concrete again was nice for a change (as strange as that may sound 😂)

downtown hot springs

hot springs bath

downtown hot springsThe whole city had an older feel, which I loved.

arkansas camp

arkansas

airstream camp

arkansas sunsetEndless beauty. Even as the sun went down, more colors came out, it was quiet, it was so peaceful. Arkansas, I only saw a piece of you, but I love you already! I will definitely have to come back for Little Rock.

Have you ever been to Arkansas? What are some things I need to come back for? 😊


guide to arkansas