September 26, 2015


3,512 miles was the total over the last 10 days. That's how many miles it took to drive CO-->NE-->IA-->IL-->IN-->OH-->KY-->TN-->-->KY-->IL-->MO-->KS-->CO Phew!

David has wanted to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for years and after finding out he had a business conference in Lexington, we thought it made pretty good sense to just stay a little longer and explore all that Kentucky has to offer! I really wanted to bless David with this trip...he's done so much for me over the last year. I wanted him to have a vacation he'd love and I'm pretty sure he loved every second! :)

I am not ready to fly again (it's going to be awhile before I subject myself to that experience again! Brain surgery + pressurized airplanes = no bueno) and I had a funeral in IL to attend, so I combined the funeral with driving to Kentucky. It all lined up really well! I drove to Chicago last Tuesday,14.5 hours in one straight shot! I spent a few days in Chicago with family before heading out for a short little 6 hour drive to Lexington, where we started our Bourbon Trail experience.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a really fantastic thing. It's a combo of brilliant marketing and lots of great distilleries dotted throughout the state. You get a "passport" with all the distilleries in it. Basically, you visit all the different distilleries, collecting stamps from each distillery and at the end of your trail, you can submit your completed passport for a t-shirt. Not a bad deal! It's a great way to see some really cool bourbon distilleries and also some beautiful parts of the state! 

Our tour was pretty inefficient in terms of driving route, but it kind of had to be that way due to starting in Lexington, hotel availability and working around distillery hours. There was some backtracking, but we got to take some scenic routes and see parts of the state we would have otherwise missed.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Day 1
We started out in Lexington, where David had his conference. We left in the morning and headed towards Louisville and visited Evan Williams and Bulliet. Evan Williams was really neat, they had a great interactive tour and put a big emphasis on the history of the area and distilling. We got caught up in a tour full of Clemson football fans, we were the only ones not wearing orange haha!

 Bulleit was not my was in a weird industrial part of town and I kinda didn't want to get out of my car. We didn't do a tour here, just wandered around the grounds, gift shop and took some photos.
Then we headed over to our final tour for the day, which was at Woodford Reserve. We almost missed our tour due to construction traffic, but we discovered a one-lane backroad (one of many that we drove on in Kentucky haha!) and got there just in time. Woodford was reaaaaaally busy! They have gorgeous property and seem to gear their marketing to a higher-end clientele, so the entire place was full of golfers and fancy ladies, not what you'd typically picture for a bourbon crowd!
We stayed at a really cool inn called the Woodford Inn in Versailles, KY. It is an historic inn that also has a restaurant attached. We had a great meal and a wonderful night's sleep. The neighborhood nearby was having a "block party" which we explored after dinner. You haven't lived unless you've been to a Kentucky block party, let me tell you :)

Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Day 2
We deviated off of the trail in the morning to hit up one of David's favorite places, Buffalo Trace. We got there early in the morning and did the first tour of the day. We both agreed this was our favorite tour. It was super informative, our tour guide was awesome and they did a great tasting after (can I just say it's weird to be tasting bourbon at 10am?).

I'm not a big fan of straight bourbon, but Buffalo Trace makes this delicious stuff called Bourbon Cream, which is just bourbon mixed with cream. They combined some with root beer and it was SO good. I had to buy some since you can't find it out in Colorado. 
Buffalo Trace's beautiful grounds
 We did a quick visit to Wild Turkey and Four Roses before heading over to Maker's Mark. Maker's Mark is another one of David's favorites, so we spent a lot of time exploring and doing a tour of the distillery. They have some really beautiful areas!
 They let you dip your own bottle in red wax to seal it at Maker's Mark. David did a great job, he's a total pro! After the tour, we drove to Bardstown, KY to stay in an adorable cottage we rented for 2 nights. The Kentucky Bourbon Fesitval was going on in town, so every single hotel was booked for the weekend. This was the only place available and we were so lucky that it turned out to be fabulous! When I booked, there were no photos of the cottage so we walked into this one totally blind and just hoped for the best. Lucky us, it was perfect!

 They even included breakfast at the cottage. It came pre-stocked with fruit, pastries, juice, yogurt and other breakfast goodies. And if that wasn't enough, there was an amazing bakery just across the street. Perfect! We visited the Kentucky Bourbon Festival while staying in Bardstown. It was quite the experience!

Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Day 3
We enjoyed some bourbon coffee (yes, it's a real thing!) on our front porch before heading out for our third day on the trail! We started with a craft distillery, which was a really nice change! Most of the distilleries we visited were massive and had enormous productions. Craft distilleries do small batches, sometimes less than 5 barrels. They do interesting flavors and unique techniques that the larger distilleries just can't do. Willett is just a stone's throw away from several large distilleries. We had a great tour at Willett, they really took their time explaining their process and allowing you to explore.
(Why do I look so creepy in this picture?!)They let you taste the mash as it's cooking! It's like a weird sour porridge made of corn, barley and wheat or malt. Not very good. It's amazing that they can take a bunch of this stuff and turn it into a $70 bottle of liquor. 

We went from this tiny craft distillery to the 2 biggest distilleries in Kentucky, Heaven Hill and Jim Beam. We did a "connoisseur experience" tour at Heaven Hill, where we got to sample 4 of their most expensive bourbons, including a 23 year Elija Craig that sells for $300! I don't have enough knowledge or a mature palette for bourbon, so I took a little sip of each and then passed my sample along to David who could actually appreciate what he was tasting haha! 
Jim Beam had some truly beautiful grounds. I loved visiting here! They also had a really cool tasting system, with little machines that dispensed your samples out. They have a lot of history on their property, from the Beam's first farmhouse to their first still. It was beautiful to walk through. 

Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Day 4
Day four was a little less about bourbon and a little more about sightseeing and nature walking. A nice break :) We headed into the Daniel Boone National Forest and Red River Gorge area, which I had read was a "must-see" when visiting Kentucky. We did 2 hikes in the morning, one to Sky Bridge and one to Rock Bridge. Sky Bridge was cool because it was a natural arch that you could walk on top of and under! 
David bought me a new camera backpack for my birthday last November. It is the only backpack built specifically for female photographers! It was in production all year and it finally shipped to me at the end of August, just in time for me to try it out on our trip! LOVE it! :)

Sky Bridge
Rock Bridge. This was really cool! Somehow the water from the river cut through this rock, making a bridge out of the rock. I've seen plenty of rock arches before, but non with water flowing underneath them!
 David grabbed a candid of me taking photos of a waterfall. Here's the photo that I took:
The colors were just starting to turn. I really want to go back sometime when it's in full swing, I'm sure it's just beautiful! After the Red River Gorge area, we drove down south through some winding country roads until we reached Cumberland Falls. I originally wasn't sure if we were going to be able to make this stop, but I am SO glad we did! The falls were breathtakingly beautiful and we had the entire state park to ourselves, there was absolutely no one there!
That night we stayed in the most amazing place. When I thought about visiting Kentucky, I always had a vision of staying in a little country cabin with a wrap-around porch. I searched and searched and finally found this little cabin. The pictures were blurry and terrible, but I had a hunch it was going to be a great place! As luck would have it, the property owner let us stay for free in exchange for some good photos of her place. Yay! How cute is this little place?!

Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Day 5-8 
We left the cabin in the woods and began our trek towards Nashville so that we could visit David's grandmother who lives there. We went through Bowling Green, stopped at another craft distillery called Cosair, ate lunch at an awesome place called Moriah's and then came into Nashville. Nashville seemed so congested and crazy compared to the open country in Kentucky! We did a quick 24 hour visit in Nashville before heading back towards CO. We stopped back in Kentucky and visited another craft distillery called MB Rolland. This place was literally in the in the middle of a corn field! They made more moonshine than bourbon, but we still enjoyed our time there. I found a pink lemonade moonshine that is yummmmy!
I'm wearing the t-shirt we got after turning in our completed passports, I think it's pretty cool! A stopover in Kansas City (with a delicious dinner at Jack Stack BBQ!) and then a 9.5 hour drive back to CO and we were home! 3,512 miles, 7 days, 12 distilleries, 16 bottles of bourbon, 80+ different tastings and we made it back happier than when we left! We had a wonderful time exploring Kentucky, getting to experience the food, culture, people and natural beauty of this area. I'm certain we'll be back again one day...

September 11, 2015


In the last few weeks I have met some very interesting characters. I could write a book on them. But I thought I'd write a blog post instead.

I met a man who looks like Santa Claus but acts like Scrooge. He was a paramedic for 35 years and now the bitterness resulting from sustained illness has caused him to bemoan every aspect of his life from his smelly apartment to his old dog with failing teeth. He hates our beautiful town almost as much as he hates the government and his "feeble-minded" doctors who will never ever listen to him.

I met a woman who has bone cancer, but you'd never know it by looking at her. She was the picture of joy and strength as she floated into her chemo clinic with a laughter that was infectious. "Did I mention that I broke my shoulder this weekend? I've got an MRI after chemo," she said with a deep sigh and a wink.

I met a lady named Nina who had 7 children, but only 3 are living now. They all had varying forms of addiction and she couldn't quite get them to stay on the straight path. Sadly, it got passed into the next generation and she was leaving the next day for a funeral so she could burry one of her grandsons who got caught up in a gang and drug related shooting.

Then I met a woman named Cindy whose magenta pink lipstick matches her magenta pink track suit. She can drink a whole suitcase of Bud Light in one weekend!

I met a man named Robert today who is clinging to his very last thread of independence. He probably shouldn't be walking, but he knows the second he is completely wheelchair-bound, everything will change. He'll wind up in a state-run facility where your days are scheduled and access to the outside world feels limited. He struggles up the 2 steps into his home and I imagine he struggles even more up the 15 steps to his bedroom. He tripped over trash on the floor and cursed it, all the while knowing he can't bend over to pick it up. A bowl full of cigarettes sat next to a very well-worn easy chair in his living room, hinting at how he spends most of his days. His 5-day old stubble and stains on his shirt suggest that just getting ready for a trip to the grocery store is a lot of energy, energy that he'd rather save for the produce department.

These are just a few of the people I've met in the past few weeks since I started volunteering for a local organization that provides free rides to elderly and disabled people. Most of them go to doctor appointments, hospitals, dialysis and chemo. But some of them like Robert just need a ride to the grocery store that is 4 blocks away. My job is to show up with a smile on my face and take them to their destination.

One of my favorite things is just asking them questions as we drive along. I'm not afraid to ask about their illness or disability. That's one thing I wished (or perhaps, still wish for?) I had more of throughout my SCDS journey. Many people with chronic illness, disability or pain actually need to talk about it, process it and share. It helps them to feel understood, validated, heard. When you have a chronic medical problem, you live with it every hour of every day. And you get to talk about it very infrequently to people who are quick to change the topic of conversation and remain unengaged. I experienced that more than I care to admit in the last year.

Every person who has sat in my backseat gushes out answers a geyser when I ask even one little probing question. They want to tell me how hard it's been, how frustrating blood draws are, how their medications are causing weird side effects. They go into a doctor's office and they have exactly 5 minutes to explain things before the doctor cuts them off, writes a lab order and is on to the next patient. I get it. I get it so much. It's good to have a listening ear sometimes. I'm glad I can be that ear.

The job is easy enough. I love to drive and I love to help people. It's a winning combination.

The difficult part is hearing the stories, seeing the struggle and feeling the swells of empathy roll through my gut. Part of me wanted to stay the whole day with Robert instead of just setting his groceries on the kitchen counter. I wanted to clean, make lunch and talk more with him. I also couldn't wait to leave, because the sadness pierced my heart so deeply, I was afraid I might burst into tears right in front of him.

I get these little glimpses of what life is like....without health, without hope, without Christ. And it's almost too much for me to bear. Almost.

I will continue because I know it's just as good for me as it is for them. I've gained a lifetime's worth of perspective in just a few short weeks. I have more face-to-the-ground gratitude in my heart than I ever have before. My heart is overflowing. God has brought me a sense of joy, strength and spiritual fruit that I can only hope to overflow back into their lives through the love of Christ.

August 22, 2015

This + That: Beauty Edition

YAY for beauty products and happy bunnies! I've had lots of opportunities to try new cruelty-free products that are amaaaaaazing! I'm so excited that there are so many wonderful options out there for those of us who are looking for cruelty-free beauty products!

  • Acure Organics. Oh man, this stuff! It has officially become my new skincare routine, especially now that it is sold at Target (yay!). I originally tried it after sadly finding out my old skincare brand (Algenst) began animal testing. I started out with their Argan Oil (mixed with Frankincense and Helichrysum essential oil) for my nighttime moisture. Then I added their Brightening Scrub which is packed with sea kelp and French green clay for my weekly exfoliation. It smells kinda gross but it is an amazing exfoliating scrub! Then I added their Superfruit cleanser. The cleanser is great if you need to wash away layers of sunscreen, primers, makeup, setting spray etc., but I have found it to be a little drying to use every single day. 
  • Alba Organics Good & Clean. Since the Acure Organics Superfruit cleaner is pretty intense and would be a bit much for me to use every day, I turned to Alba Organics. This cream cleanser is heavenly! The smell alone (pineapple + vanilla + grapefruit) is worth it to me. I love how it washes away clean without a residue and it actually does a great job cleansing. I think a lot of cream cleansers don't really do much, but this stuff rocks. I'll never use another cleanser for daily use, it's that good!
  • Lush Cosmetics: Feeling Younger Skin Tint. This has been my favorite summer make-up addition. It's a beautiful, creamy highlighting cream that gives a dewy glow without a glitter explosion all over your face. You can mix it with your moisturizer under makeup, mix it with your foundation, wear it alone or use it simply as a highlighter on cheekbones, brow bones etc. 

  •  R + Co. Blow Out Balm. There's a reason it was named Allure magazine's Best of Beauty award. This stuff is aweeeesome! It's a straightening cream that tames frizz, holds your style, gives a little lift and doesn't weigh your hair down or feel gunky. It's light, smells great and makes your hair feel like you just walked out of a salon.
  • Wet n' Wild: Take On the Day Eye Primer. I don't think I've worn Wet n' Wild since I was in like 7th grade, but when I heard about this primer, I had to try it for myself. This stuff actually scares me. It makes your eye shadow and liner stay on so well, that if you mess something up....well, good luck. You can't get this stuff off for the first few hours. I put this on once and then I sneezed with wet mascara on (gah!). I could NOT get the mascara off of my brow bone. My best make-up remover struggles against this primer. Soap and water do nothing. It's like liquid cement on your eyes. But that's a very very good thing if you want your eye make-up to last for hours on a hot summer day. Just consider yourself warned :)
  • IBD Gel Polish: Flowerful. When I was in CA, my sister and I went in for manicures the night before my surgery (hey, if I'm going to be laid up in a hospital, I wanted pretty nails to look at!). Jenny found this incredible color that neither of us had ever seen before despite frequenting nail salons for years. It was a beautiful creamy pale coral color. She had at least 3 people come up to her in the salon and ask what color it was because it was so unique and pretty! I was straight up obsessed with her nails the entire time we were in CA. I knew I had to have it! After intense research, I discovered IBD was owned by cruelty-free parent company, hence no animal testing. Hooray! It's officially my favorite gel color. Ever.
  • ColourPop Cosmetics. Maybe it's the fact that it's made less than a mile from where we "lived" in California. Maybe it's the pretty colors. Maybe it's their clever branding and reasonable prices ($5 for a high quality lip stick? Yes please, I'll take 7). But I'm obsessed with ColourPop. I am systematically ditching all of my lip glosses and sticks in favor of their Lippie Stix. They come in Sheer, Satin, Creme, Hyper-Glossy and Matte finishes. But they all come in the adorable tubes you see in the picture below. I'm so sick and tired of trying to put on gloss with my finger or wand applicator. So I love that you can get a gloss finish out of a tube. Yeah! Plus, you get a hand written thank you note with your purchase, how wonderful is that? :)

August 17, 2015

Wonderful Wyoming

I love Colorado, I really do. But so does everyone else in America and they all love to travel here and clog up my roads and scenic places, especially in the summer. It kind of drives me bonkers. By August, I feel like I'm suffocating in a sea of tourists. It's usually about this time that we'll head north. We live pretty close the Wyoming border, which I am thankful for for many reasons. I love everything about Wyoming (except for the wind!) and feel very blessed to be so close to such vast, empty, open beauty.

David and I headed to the Snowy Range, which is ridiculously close to us, all things considered. We wanted a long weekend away to camp and hang out in the mountains and that is exactly what we got. This place is so gorgeous, I'm amazed it isn't a National Park, it really should be!

 David has this awesome boat that he takes out on lakes to fish with. He caught 30 fish! 

 We had sustained wind for 2 of our 3 days, but the 3rd day was so peaceful and calm. The lake in front of our campsite was so still, the reflection was incredible!
This was my favorite place of all. While David fished for an afternoon, I went nature walking and stumbled upon this gorgeous scene. The trailhead was decently crowded, but the weather was scaring people away, so while everyone was walking back to their cars, I discovered the Klondike Lakes all by myself. I had to scramble up some rocks to get this vantage point...something I could not have done 6 weeks ago, 6 months ago, 9 months ago...but now I can! Yay for healing!

Still working on those Milky Way shots. We lucked out with no moon, relatively clear skies and almost no light pollution at all. I even got a shooting star in this one (center of the photo, just below the Milky Way, you can see a straight line that goes up and down). Lucky shot!

About Me

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Hi friends, my name is Becky. I am a follower of Christ, wife, sister and friend. I own a photography business based in beautiful Colorado. I am an adventurer at heart and an explorer of God's creation. I'm obsessed with beauty products, simple living, traveling, hiking, camping and all things outdoors. I am learning more about myself, God, healing and my faith as I navigate the aftermath of 5+ years of infertility. I'm glad you're here, I'd love to connect with you! :)



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