The Struggle is Real

If you keep up with modern culture and it’s latest phrases or words, then you’ll understand that when I say, “The struggle is real,” I mean it. Hashtag and all, #thestruggleisreal

What struggle, you might ask?

Finding balance.

I suddenly find myself balancing every day life of being with my husband, my family, starting my online BSN program, aaaaand FIIIINALLY starting a real nursing job!

Let me break it down to ya, how the last few weeks have been kind of busy/hectic/chaotic/awesome/crazy, and other choice words.

Hubs started his new job mid-May, where his new assignment has him at the station Sat-Mon (basically Tuesday am), and that’sΒ if he’s not held over. Which he has been the last few weeks and will probably continue since fire season is California started with a big bang.

Mid June I decided to go ahead and start my online bachelors program, since I hadn’t been hired yet by any hospital or anything. I decided to start it for a few reasons, the two main being 1) I needed/wanted to get it done (personal reasons and personal job gain) eventually so why not now? and 2) I had time since I didn’t have a nursing job yet.

Heh, that quickly changed. Basically the week before I started my classes, I suddenly got an interview for a blood bank and not gonna lie, it was thee best interview of my life. It was in the morning and by that afternoon I got a call-back to start my background check, physical, drug test, etc. Then the next week (after I started my class), I got my official offer and found myself starting my new job the next Monday, which was the end of June.

So. Here I am on a Monday evening at my parents, since Bub is working, on their couch feeling quite tired. and it’s only Monday.

Right now, I’m simply in training for my job but it is an early start (0700) and 5 days a week. Right now it’s Mon-Fri but once training is done, I’ll be Tues-Sat. So that basically means my days are the complete opposite of what my husbands are, if you’ve been keeping up.

2 points if you have been.

I’ve been wanting to blog and write about pretty things, but I currently have to write about nursing theories right now. I also just don’t have as much downtime like I used to. Can’t imagine why…

and if you’re wondering about my job, I did in fact say blood bank. That means I work for a company where we collect blood and blood parts from volunteer donors. The products are used for typically life-saving situations, like surgeries, traumas, blood diseases, etc. I’m basically a piece of the bridge that gaps donors to patients in need. And it’s very exciting. I’ll be at donor centers but will eventually be trained to be on the mobile blood drives, like at high schools and businesses. I’m very excited.

While this is all very sudden and like, wow! Hello, life! I’m feeling very content, in between tired and like a chicken with her head cut off. But (so far) I’m not overwhelmed and stressed. Tired with a capital T, yes. But very happy and content. It’s brought about some peace that Bub and I have been needing. It’s been a year since I passed my RN and it’s been along year not using it. I’m forever grateful to my parents who were able to have me employed at their business and while I miss working with them, I’m so happy to be using my license. And for something that is very rewarding and different.

And hey, speaking of Bub in that last paragraph… Our one year wedding anniversary is this Monday :-)

Can you believe that?

How time flies… And it’s not about to slow down, y’all…

So if you don’t hear from here for awhile, well, now you’ll know.

Thanks for sticking around and reading this different post. I appreciate each and everyONE of you!

xo, Briana

 

My Favorite Shades of Eyeshadow [With Swatches]

Being a brown eyed gal, makeup charts tell me what shades of eyeshadow will best compliment my eyes, green and purple being the popular ones. I find that when I do wear those shades, my eyes show flecks of green or gold, which is pretty.

But personally, I like the idea that a person should where whatever the hell they like and what they look the best on their own face. For myself, I prefer the coppery, orange, goldy, reddish, pinkish ones. Got it?

Something about those colors for my eyes, I don’t know. I just feel like they totally pop and really show how brown they are. I know that sounds odd, but I like my brown eyes. They’re regular ol’ brown. Not too dark but definitely brown.

The shades I’m doing to show you are mostly Mac and Makeup Geek, but there will be a few from palettes. Unfortunately I don’t have any drugstore options except for one. However, I know Maybelline has a great copper quad. All of the shadows in it though are shimmery and it’s always good to throw a good matte in there to balance it.

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L–>R ; Mac’s Antiqued, Makeup Geek (MUG) Foiled shadow in Flame Thrower, and Milani Bella Copper

p.s. Aaaallll of these shadows are way more spectacular and rich in person, especially Flame Thrower. OMG.

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L-R : from UD Vice 3 Palette Lucky, Mac Amber Lights, and from Anastasia Beverly Hills Tamanna Palette in China Rose. Both Lucky and Amber lights are very similar with Lucky just being a bit darker.

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L-R: Lorac Pro 1 in Garnet (more red in person), UD Vice 3 palette in Sonic, and Mac Coppering. The shade Coppering is the one that started it all. I told the Mac girl that I didn’t want your typical greens, bronze, or purples for my eyes so she showed me this. I fell in love.

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L-R: Mac Mythology and Mac Expensive Pink, being the newest addition. and I am loooving it!

So as you can see, I love the coppery, orange, goldy, reddish, pinky tones. Ha.

When I use these type of shades, I’ll do a matte tan or light brown transition shade, then put my selected shadow from above all over the lid, then either a satin or matte brown with a red undertone. Some of my favorites for that are MUG’s Cocoa Bear or Mac’s Saddle. And of course a highlight shade. That is my go-to method of applying shadow. Simple and effective!

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This is with China Rose all over. Again, much more vibrant in person. I hope you enjoy my high quality photos taken from the camera that faces you. Thanks iPhone!

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I actually did a wing that day! I used the KVD liner I mentioned in my last post. But the shadow I’m wearing is I believe Expensive Pink, if I remember correctly.

I hope you enjoyed this post!! Let me know what type of tones and shades you like!

xo, Briana

FTC: This is not a sponsored post.

May Favorites!

June! We’re halfway done with this year! Can you believe it?

There were a lot of favorite moments from May, which I plan to write about soon. Let’s just say someone close to myself and bub is engaged and I helped plan it… ;-)

Besides that, though! Let’s talk about some of my favorite products from May!

Last month was a kind of a blur for me, what with traveling and then staying between my house and my parents house a lot, since Bub was busy a lot with work. When it came to makeup, I wanted to make things simple and quick, whether it’s something that sets fast or I can double up on the product.

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Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Now I’ve had this for a while, thanks to a Nordstrom gift card from Christmas, but haven’t really talked about it much because I wasn’t Wowed by it and I prefer other bronzers and highlighters that I own. However, with my now more tan skin, I find it matches well. But really, my favorite way to use it? Eyeshadow!

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It’s a bit of the taupey brown side, with slight satin finish. Very slight. But as a single shadow or transition shade, I love it. On days where I use minimal makeup or anything, I find that this is great as a single shadow and a bronzer as well.

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Milani Luminoso blush. I’m sure you’ve heard of this, yes? Well, for good reason. It’s a beautiful coral peachy color that has a beautiful sheen and finish to it. For my skin tone and the eye looks I like to wear, this is a color I can wear with almost anything.

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It also easily fits in my makeup bag, as all of my other blushes are in a mac palette ;-)

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I just got this about two weeks ago because I want something light for summer but still has decent coverage. One of the bridesmaids at my cousins wedding had this and it look gorgeous on her. So I thought I’d try it for those reasons!

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And I love it! I’m in shade medium-tan. It blends so easily with a brush and fast. I do set it with a powder and setting spray, as any BB cream on me will get shiny. But this manages to last as well as a regular foundation but sits on my skin like moisturizer. It has that silicone feel though, so if you don’t like that feeling, you may want to avoid this.

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I like a brown liner on my top lid, rather than a black. I prefer a brown because it’s not as harsh as a black and just appears more natural to me. At least, as natural as liner can look. Ha.

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The tip is a brush and is so smooth on the lid without any bleeding. It sets fast and lasts for a super long time. It’s so unbelievably easy to work with. I love it!

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Speaking of Kat Von D…. Yes, I bought it. And I love it.

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Now the main reason I bought it? Those far right, warm shadows… specifically the reddish brown one. It is everything I had hoped it to be.

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And these paired with the liner? Ugh, so pretty. They’re like butter, they’re all matte, and they’re just gorgeous. I mean, really. Perfect.

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And finally, my favorite brushes of the month.

The far left is a Real Techniques blush brush that I have actually been using for bronzer! For my cheek size, I find that it’s a good size and dispenses product evenly.

The middle brush is fairly new and is actually called a sculpting brush, meant for contour. But it’s so dense, I actually like to use it for foundation or my BB cream! The shape is also great for getting along my nose and eyes.

The far right is a MAC 221. I bought this in preparation for Lindsay’s wedding, since she and I both have hooded eyes. The MAC girl that convinced me to get it also has hooded eyes and she swore it was better than the MAC 217 for getting in the crease because it’s smaller. And ooh was she right.

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You may compare the size differences. I miiiight need a second. Because it’s just that good.

Well that was all! I had a lot of other awesome things that performed great for me, but these are the things that just really stood out to me and that I used a lot. I hope you enjoyed!

xo, Briana

FTC : This is not a sponsored post.

 

10 Years of Us

So I know Bub and I are married now, which means we have a new anniversary to celebrate (less than 2 months away from the first!) but today, May 27, marks 10 years of us being a couple.

294206_10150261071653224_5021137_nCirca 2010 (I think?? ha..)

We were a funny, young couple that celebrated monthly for the first year. Then of course after that we celebrated every year.

10 years is a long time; we’ve been together for more than a third of our lives. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been worth every moment. We’ve grown from teenagers, to young adults, to the married adult couple that we are now. We’ve encouraged each other, supported each other, became a part of each others families. Our lives were separate but then slowly became meshed together. In a healthy way of course :-)

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I supported him entirely while he was in fire academy. That’s actually when I started doing his laundry! haha.

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He was a wonderful support for me in nursing school, always making sure I had space to study and always brought me food.

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So from here, let’s just post a bunch of random photos of us… I don’t remember a lot of the years, so I may not post them. And sadly, I can’t seem to find many pictures from the first three years of us dating, back when he had long hair and I never wore makeup. and if I did, it was terrible. Ha.

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And then, oh lucky me, I just found happened to find some good ol’ photos from us first dating.

Oh yes…

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This ^^ was approximately a week before “officially” started dating. I invited him to the beach with my sister and then his sister came, too. Look how cute he is with his long hair…

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Then three weeks after we became “official.” Look at that smile…

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amazing how we went from that…

…to…

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I love you sweetie, with all my heart.

Thank you for asking me to be your girlfriend on that late Friday night. I knew right away you were special and our relationship was special.

You’re my best friend, my rock, and my own personal repairman/firefighter/lawns keeper/electrician/MacGyver.

I love you. Forever and for always.

xo, Briana aka Pockets

What’s In My Gym Bag! & Hello, Life! Plus A Story About Pre-Workout…

Heya guys!

So if you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter (@tidibitsofbriana) then you’ll know that I was recently in Hawaii for a few days. My cousin got married there and lucky me, I was a bridesmaid as well as her MUA! It was a quick trip but of course fun! I missed my hubby since he couldn’t come, but it was fun to hang out with some awesome girls, all of whom I miss a lot! Then once I got home, it was time for friends and family’s graduations, as well as spending lost time with my honey.

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Wedding day!

IMG_5232My beautiful cousin who was a beautiful bride! While I would like to take some credit, since I did her makeup, she was absolutely glowing from within and her inner beauty shown through, as well as her love for her groom!

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Shore of Waikiki

Anyhow, that’s just a quick “why I haven’t blogged in two weeks!”

I started going back to the gym today and with that I thought I’d share with you what I take with me to the gym! I just got this new gym bag and I loooove it. I had a previous bag, from Target, but I wasn’t completely in love with it. But my cousin had this in Hawaii and I when I first saw it and held it, I knew I wanted one of my own.. And lucky me, it’s from Fabletics! I have been going on a Fabletics binge when it comes to capris and leggings, but now this bag…

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It’s pretty slouchy and doesn’t have much to hold it up with, but I like that I can just throw my stuff in but it’s still easy to find inside.

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The sides have buckles if you want to make your bag “bigger” in that you allow more wiggle room. Right now I keep them buckled so I don’t have that open to throw more stuff in. Haha.
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It has both an adjustable shoulder strap and double handles. The material is extremely soft on the inside, like jersey knit or something.

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It has a large front pocket that has a zip. This is where I like to keep my lock, phone, and keys.

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Open back mesh pocket, good for chap stick or something you don’t mind people seeing.

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It has a wide opening with a large zipper, making it easy to see inside.

Now let’s see what I do keep in there!

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My basic gym stuff! I use a wash cloth rather than a towel because let’s be honest… I just don’t sweat enough to require a larger towel, no matter how hard I run or how hard I workout. And if I need to wipe someone else’s sweat off a machine (ew), I get some paper towels and cleaner.

Of course I use a lock, too! Then my gloves which are nice and grippy but aren’t too stiff. I found mine for really inexpensive at Marshall’s. If I listen to music, I like my shuffle because it’s small and I can clip it to my clothes, rather than have some annoying arm band on. My watch is a Ripcurl watch that is waterproof and because of the material (rubber-like), it doesn’t slide around on my wrist.

Finally, my new favorite water bottle. Costco had a good deal on these, so hubs and I got a set of them. They’re awesome because they literally keep your drink cold for hours. Ice does NOT melt, even after like 5-6 hours. I don’t know how it works, but it does. It holds something like 20-22 oz of water, so I drink about 3 of these a day for my daily intake, sometimes more.

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Slippers if I wanna shower and of course a brush for all my hair! haha

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Everything you see here I keep in a small cosmetics bag, aside from the body. The cap on that is loose so it goes in it’s own separate pocket.

But aside from that, which I use for obvious reasons, I like to have hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, and body wash if I shower. Then some powder with a brush if I wore makeup and want a quick touch up, as well as regular ol’ chapstick. Then the usual girly things…

Finally, I like to keep gum on hand because it helps my mouth from getting dry and something about chewing gum while running or exercising is just nice.

What I forgot to include were some granola bars I might eat before or after a workout, then of course a protein powder with a blender type bottle. You know, those bottles with the metal spiral thingy that sounds so funny but makes you feel like a bartender.

Speaking of protein powder and such… I tried my first pre-workout drink today.

Never, ever again. At least not the brand I tried…

I wanted to try a pre-workout to see if I helped me work harder or anything, so I mixed the powder with my water when I left my house and drank it on my way, about a 20 minute drive. I figured that would give it time to kick in so by the time I arrived, I’d be ready to go.

On the way down, I noticed my cheeks felt warm, a little tingly and itchy. I didn’t think much of it until I got to the gym when the sensation went to my feet and even my ears, followed by my chest. My feet felt it more than any other area. I thought perhaps I might be having an allergic reaction but I didn’t have hives and my throat felt fine. The feeling slowly went away but was still there a little. I began to feel a little anxious though, almost jittery. I went inside, put my stuff in my locker then started my usual 20 minute run. Immediately the feeling came back even stronger on my chest, cheeks, ears, but especially my feet. After 5 minutes I couldn’t handle it. I slowed the treadmill, jumped off before it even stopped, and then went straight to my locker, grabbed my phone, and Googled “itchy feeling from pre workout” and found out that what I was experiencing was my capillaries and histamine reacting to the niacin and beta alanine in the pre workout.

I determined I was not having an allergic reaction (no epinephrine or benadryl required), but I was still very uncomfortable. I felt even more anxious and jittery, almost jumpy. My skin felt felt like it was crawling. I tried to continue my workout with the stair master and then some weights, but after 20 minutes I couldn’t handle it. I left and tried to just calm down with some food.

The flushed feeling and jittery-ness finally went away after 3-4 hours but ooh I hated it.

So!

That was my experience with pre workout and that’s what I take with me in my gym bag. Ha.

I hope you enjoyed the post and story!

Thanks for sticking with me guys, even though I’ve been so absent lately.

xo, Briana

FTC: This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned and/or shown were purchased with my own money.

MAC’s Cremesheen in Shanghai Spice – A Nude for Olive Tones?

So I’m going to Hawaii next week…. I’m a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding and I’m super excited for a few reasons…

1) Hawaii. Duh.

2) Mini vacation!

3) I get to do her makeup :-)

She was a bridesmaid in my own wedding and I’m so excited to be sharing this special time with her. When she asked me to do her makeup, I immediately said yes and I plan to surprise her with a few gifts for the day of. In the process of finding her a few special things, I found myself a wonderful summery nude lipstick for myself! haha.

This might be a classic for some, but for me, it’s new and I am loving it.

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In person, Shanghai Spice is a bit darker but you can definitely see the peachy tones in it. When you look at it, it’s a soft peachy nude with brown undertones as well, perfect for someone like me where most nudes tend to wash me out. But on my skin tone, it’s perfect!

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It’s peachy but on the lips it gives a good soft look without looking too pink or like you’re trying too hard to have nude lips. Like I said, it helps give me a simple, nude look without washing me out. That’s the funny thing with nudes on my skin tone. A regular nude can give me the “I’m sick” or “I’m dead” look, which is not cute.

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I’m hoping to wear this for the wedding, but my dress is a fun coral color and I might need something with a bit more depth to. Maybe a lip liner will help though, as the formula is extremely comfortable on the lips. It’s also the kind of lipstick where I don’t necessarily need a mirror to apply it.

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Yeah, I think it’ll work with a darker lip liner underneath :-)

What do my fellow tan/olive/yellow-toned girls think? Have you tried this? Or anyone really! It’s such a pretty peach…

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

Shower The People

If you’re a fan of James Taylor, then you know his beautiful song, “Shower The People”

I tend to be pretty quiet and private about certain things on social media, even in my private accounts, but I posted on my personal Facebook the other day that my family has been experiencing a lot of grief that past week or so. One of my dad’s very best friends passed away unexpectedly and it was very hard on all of us, but especially he and my mom. They are currently in Guam for the funeral, as that’s where he had been living with his family.

Besides that, though, as hard it was (and still is, of course), we got news throughout the rest of the week that other friends of ours had passed away, as well as some acquaintances. They always say that death comes in threes, but for us, it’s been more than that.

One of my very favorite bloggers (Emily Myers, aka The Freckled Fox) also recently shared that her husband was diagnosed with very aggressive stage 4 melanoma cancer. I also learned last week that a close family member of mine was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. I suppose when it rains, it pours?

I originally posted on Facebook as my own way of saying that it had been a reminder how precious life is and to tell those you love that you do love them, because you never know when life will be cut short. I got a lot of friends and family responding with sweet thoughts and prayers, which wasn’t my intention, but of course I appreciate the sentiments. It meant a lot to myself and my family.

This week has been a simple yet emotional reminder how precious life is.

When death occurs close to me, I tend to be okay. I’m a realist in those times. But when I learned that my dad’s friend, who I considered an uncle, had passed away, I began to cry. I hadn’t seen him since I was maybe 12, but he was so close to my dad. Their relationship, helped shape my childhood. Weekend BBQs, slumber parties with his step-daughters, and our families even bred our Rottweilers together for years. My sweet husband had never met him, but he knew that my uncle meant something to me. This last Monday my family and I were able to attend a memorial service here in California for him and I’m so grateful because I got to see my auntie, their daughters, and other friends I hadn’t seen since my childhood.

I posted the other day on Facebook that I planned to resume regular blogging, which I will, but it just didn’t seem to fit this week. I hope you understand. and thank you, if you do. I appreciate each and every one of you. I truly do.

I shared a few lyrics from the song and I’ll go ahead and do the same here.

I love you. Truly.

“Oh, father and mother, sister and brother, if it feels nice, don’t think twice,
just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will do as I say, just
shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.” – James Taylor

xo, Briana

 

Day 7 & 8 // Spartans, Vegas, a Boat & a Summary

Click Here for my previous post on Days 5 & 6, which will also have links to previous posts.Β 

Ahh… The last post in my husband’s and my awesome road trip adventures.

We woke up early Saturday morning to head to Las Vegas where I mentioned in my last post my SIL (Bub’s twin sister) and her boyfriend were doing the Spartan Super race. We arrived in good time but they had already started. With the crowds and the fact that you had to pay to get in…

Well, we knew we had a few hours to spare so we headed to the local casino since the race was a few miles south of the actual city. We stayed there a little bit to cool off (we forgot what hot dry air felt like) and maybe play a few slot machines where we both came out a head by like $10 ($13, me!).

We went back to the venue where you could actually watch the final obstacle without going past the lines or anything. It was an interesting obstacle to watch… The racers have to basically do a Tarzan by holding onto a rope as they swing over water. Sounds simple enough. But after watching for two hours we decided that about 90% of the people did it wrong because to get the rope to you, there is a string attached so you could pull it in.

However, that string stays attached and as each person swings across, the rope and string combo typically went between their legs… making it interesting (and mostly painful) when they attempted to jump off only to find that a rope and string yanked on their crotch… and if you didn’t get it in the crotch, you typically fell from the rope straight into the water. Most people fell in the water but the few that made it across with the rope between their legs got a quick wake up call. Then the very few that put it to the side successfully made it across, but then might get a leg cramp as well.

It was all amusing.

Some men walked away head held high but some also limped. Heh. A lot of people also got leg cramps.

We finally saw our team come through, though! They both landed in the water, with the strings to the side. Haha.

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Regardless, they finished proud! 9 miles and 27 obstacles later!

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and then getting ready for a nice dinner with our aunt and uncle, who we stayed with since they live in Las Vegas.

Then the four of us crazy party animals walked the strip of Vegas for maybe an hour, watched the Bellagio water show, then went home to bed. We all drank lots of water. haha.

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Hubs has a thing with taking pictures of fire hydrants now.

The next day our uncle took us to Lake Mead for a day on his boat. He’s so proud of his boat. It’s adorable.

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We all grew up going to these awesome desert lakes and rivers in the summer time. It brought back a lot of special memories for all of us.

Fun fact : My sister and bub’s middle sister were best friends in elementary school and as such, she went on a river trip or two with their family. Ha.

Coming back, we were all nicely burned, but cooled off by the river. It was a great way to end our trip.

We left soon after getting back but the drive home was a great welcome back to California, as we hit horrible traffic just from everyone leaving Vegas to get back home on a Sunday evening. When it should take 3 1/2 hours, it took nearly 5. Welcome home! Haha.

That concluded our trip, though.

We arrived home around 11:30 pm after 2,355 miles.

Our trip went as follows :

Home –> Mammoth Mountain –> Death Valley National Park –> Zion National Park –> Bryce Canyon National Park –> Capitol Reef National Park –> Arches National Park –> Moab –> Canyonlands National Park –> Monument Valley –> Zion National Park –> Las Vegas –> Home

Overall, we drove through 4 states, 6 national parks (don’t forget Death Valley!), 18 different highways, ate out only 4 times the whole week, did multiple hiking trails, drove on random off roads with the possibilities of falling off sheer cliffs more than once, got sun burned, hiked a wicked yet angelic (haha) trail, had lots of PB&J and turkey sandwiches, hit sleet, got rained on, got sand blasted, and talked to people from all over the country and even the world.

It was a great trip.

If you had to ask what places or parks we might go back to, I’m positive we would go back Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches. Those three offered the most in regards to our wants and needs, from off road adventures to a variety of hiking trails. They were also the prettiest, with large canyons, structures, and monuments. Just breathtaking really. Moab is also another place on our to-do list as we really want to explore that area so much more.

If you plan to go to any of these places, most of the parks, if not all, have reserve only campsites so call or check their websites for availability. These are good options for families or for anyone who wants a “proper” campsite with a fire pit and running water :-) Bub and I don’t mind roughing it out a little bit, so the BLM option worked out for us. Also be aware of the weather. In my experience of traveling through Utah at different times, rain and inclement weather can happen at any time. It can be sunny one minute and then the next, monsoon weather. Which is typical of any desert really. But it just adds to the beauty; if you’re prepared of course :-)

I hope you enjoyed this series on the Mighty Five. I enjoyed writing about it, but of course I certainly enjoyed experiencing even more. I hope you have the chance to do the same, whether it’s the Mighty Five or some other exciting adventure.

To finish off, here are a few of my favorite John Muir quotes, a man who knew the value of nature and life.

The mountains are calling, and I must go…

Of all the paths you take, make sure a few of them are dirt.

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 5 & 6 // Back to Zion We Go!

Click Here for Day 4 of our trip! There will be links for the previous days in that post as well :-)

We woke up with the sun Thursday morning and headed out before anyone noticed us in the parking lot in Page… Haha. Our goal was to arrive early enough in Zion so that we could find a camping spot.

We got back onto the 89 then hit the 9W again where we entered Zion National Park again, this time from the east entrance. We decided in the beginning of the week that just one night and one morning in Zion was not enough. It’s a lot like Yosemite National Park in that it’s a big park that has a lot to offer, from hikes to scenery.

When we arrived at the only first come, first serve camp in the park, we managed to find a great camping spot. We snagged it up and made it our spot for the next two nights.

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We wanted to be able to do a lot our first day back to Zion but the wind picked up again and it was a little chilly. It seems like the storms were following us. Since it was a little cold, we decided to take an easy hike and go to the beginnings of the Narrows. You can get to them on a nicely paved hike but we also would walk right alongside the river bank.

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This leads into the narrows, where you are definitely going to get wet. We have done this hike before but in the middle of August, when the cool water felt good. But in the middle of April, it’s a bit chilly. Most people hiking it wear waders and water proof shoes. We simply enjoyed the view and the river then walked back to camp where we could find refuge in our truck when it got too cold.

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Everything was so green. It was so pretty.

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On the way back, I was greeted by a very persistent squirrel who wanted to see if my bracelet was edible.

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He was supremely disappointed. It’s actually a violation to feed the wildlife and you could even be fined up to $100 if found feeding them.

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Back at camp we made some chili and just enjoyed our campfire. We went to bed early, which is typical when camping. Pouring rain woke us up in the middle of the night but we were prepared by having covered our stuff with an Eno canopy over the picnic table. Not too sure how every one else in the camp fared but we were ready.

The next day (Friday) was a bit warmer but the wind still had a chill in the air. We went ahead and decided to hike to Emerald Pools. There are 3 pools you can hike to, the lowers, middle, and upper. We went ahead and went as far as the uppers, which aren’t long hikes but they’re decent. Kids are able to do the hike no problem.

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Those are the lower pools, which are surrounded by huge rocks and at times even have water falls flowing. You continue up the path and find other pools.

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These pools are actually bigger than they appear in the photo, but the rock formations are impressive.

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Hiking back down it got a little warmer so that we actually had to take off our jackets.

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Heading back down…

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We decided to go off the beaten path from Emerald Pools and go along a horse trail and try to follow the river. We had to find away to cross the river at some point and while we tried to get a loose log to go across, the river took it away. I finally suggested we just walk across, even though neither of us wanted to get our feet wet because the water was pretty cold. But we did it anyway. It took all of 15 seconds to cross.

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Getting my shoes back on!

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We continued to just walk alongside the river until we got to the museum in the park. It was a nice relaxing day for us.

After getting back to camp, we thought it would be a good idea to find a shower in town, where we found a place that offers 7 minute showers for $5. The camps inside the park don’t have showers, although they have running toilets, sinks, etc. So in 7 minutes time I found out I could fully wash my hair, my body, and shave my legs (which were neglected for a week. sorry babe) with about a minute to spare and enjoy the wonderful hot water.

Showers are awesome.

Afterwards we looked at a few shops in the very small but cute town of Springdale and then had dinner at the Bit & Spur Saloon, which was a recommendation from a few friends. Everything is homemade, even the ice cream they serve. It was nice to have food other than cereal, sandwiches, and chili. Not to mention it as tasty Mexican food. For us Californian’s, it was a nice treat.

We knew this was our last night of camping and we wanted to make sure it was a memorable one so we drove through their mile long tunnel (built in the late 1920’s) and hiked a half mile to the canyon overlook where we witnessed a spectacular sunset.

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On the drive back, the colors mixed with the sun rays created an amazing view.

But before driving back to camp we spotted a very narrow canyon below the bridge leading out of the tunnel and we decided to go check it out and see if it was something we could hike next time to go to Zion.

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It goes on like this for maybe a quarter mile and then turns left into another canyon area that we didn’t get to see. The sun was setting fast and we didn’t want to get caught in the dark or anything.

That concluded our last evening in Zion. We packed up what we could and called it a night.

The next morning we had to get to Las Vegas to meet my SIL and her boyfriend, who were running the Spartan Super Race.

But that’ll be the next post :-)

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.

The Mighty Five : Day 4 // Off-Roading & Monuments

Click Here and Here for Days 1&2, and Day 3 in case you missed them :-)

Wednesday morning of our trip, we woke up to blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It was chilly (really chilly) and a bit windy (really windy). We decided to make our way to Canyonlands National Park by way of an off-road trail that a ranger told us about the day before.

The nice thing about the trail is that it’s relatively easy to find and it also follows the Colorado River for quite a ways so you have gorgeous views a lot of the time. And if you’re not following the river, you’re right along side huge red cliffs and gorgeous structures.

To find the road in Moab you follow the 191N onto the 279 which becomes Potash Road which then becomes Shafer Trail, which eventually ends up in the national park itself.

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On the beginning of the drive you see signs for petroglyphs and even dinosaur tracks. We decided to check out the dinosaur tracks. All two of’em.

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Hubs was kid of skeptical. I myself am not too sure what to think of them. Haha.

Back to the pretty drive though!

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Mobbing Moab! That was my husband’s chant all morning. He loved it (the phrase and mobbing). Our Tacoma is 4×4 but you don’t necessarily need one for this road, unless the weather is wet and the road a bit slick, then I would recommend a 4×4. Moab itself is known for it’s off road trails and Jeeping. There are tons of places to rent such vehicles in town.

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This is one my favorite National Park pictures because it’s on a trail that not many can go on and it’s the adventure of getting there that makes it more special.

This part of the trail is where it got sketchy as you start your ascent up the cliffs and into the canyon more. You literally drive back and forth on switch backs that have sheer drop offs. I’m not one to get nervous when we off road because I fully trust my husbands capabilities of driving as well as the truck. But this trail towards the end was a bit of an adrenaline rush.

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This was making our way into the canyon more and heading on up the mountains.

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You can see the trail we came on!

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The trail continues to follow the side of the mountain. When the roads were made, they weren’t made into the mountain like most roads, but rather with the mountain so it follows the natural curves and outlines of it.

It was a very exciting drive to say the least. It took us maybe an hour and a half to complete about 30 miles? I think… Ha. It was around there.

Once inside the park, you’re on top of mesas and plateaus that allow you a view of the canyons, which gives the park it’s name. We didn’t linger too long, however. Just long enough to make sandwiches and decide to head out when we realized there was a forecast of snow for the night. No thank you!

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We found another off road trail that got us out of the park and back on the main highway.

From there we headed south from the 191S to the 163S that led us into Monument Valley. Leaving Canyonlands meant we did all 5 parks in just 4 days. But really, we were able to focus on the parks we really wanted to (Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands). It was a bit rushed, but that also left us with a few days to spare where we could play around some more.

Back on the road we go, headed back to Zion we decided, via Monument Valley and northern Arizona.

Before we got there we stopped and saw Mexican Hat, an interesting rock balance in the middle of the desert.

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Getting to Monument Valley! We didn’t linger here, but just drove through and only stopped once for a few pictures.

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We continued onto the 163S which hits the 160W and then finally the 98W where we ended up in Page, AZ. Page is known for Lake Powell by the way.

Our goal was to go back to Zion that night but it was getting late and the chances of getting a camping spot in Zion were really low. We couldn’t find camping in Page or even on BLM land since there was a creepy van parked where we might have camped but decided we wanted to live.

So we parked in a hotel parking lot and made “camp” there instead. Everything got thrown into the cab while we made our beds as usual in the back! Only problem the whole night was getting hit by sprinklers.

To be continued :-)

xo, Briana

This is not a sponsored post.