Sugar and Sass, Champagne and Class… That’s What 40 Is Made Of


Age: 480 Months

Height: 61 3/4″

Weight: Fabulous



Every girl, everywhere, listen up.

Take a page from the book of Valerie and celebrate age with enthusiasm, youthfulness and excitement.

Like fine wine, we get BETTER with age.


By 40 we’ve been through a lot, learned a lot, mourned losses, and celebrated wins.  We’ve redefined boundaries, established meaningful relationships, and evolved into our best selves.


And we are wise enough to know that we will continue to evolve and redefine who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in.


We take life seriously…


But we know how to let loose, make fun of ourselves, be eccentric, and LIVE our life for us.  And only us.


We get ONE life, and darling… 40 is another chapter in our book.  A chapter WE get to write ourselves.


Valerie, my friend.   I am not sure in what chapter we became acquainted, but I am ever so thankful we did.  Your spontaneity, humor, EXTRA AF attitude is everything.



May you never lose your light, your sparkle or your youthfulness.





(well, near 40 since you started celebrating exactly 35 days early)

looks SO good on you.



Cheers to your teens, twenties and thirties.


Watch it… She’s coming for ya.




Snow {Love} Birds

Nebraska’s most recent snow storm created the most beautiful backdrop for a Sunday morning shoot at Zorinsky lake.  Add in the warmth these two lovebirds share and we barely noticed the 28 degree temperature.


Cole’s MILLION dollar smile, Tyree’s natural beauty, and the love and affection these two share gave way to an easy, natural and relaxed morning.  My goal was to simply capture the respect and admiration these two share for one another.





Between walking through the snow capped trees and wading through ankle deep fields, we made sure to have fun and enjoy the moment in nature, which is definitely their element.




And can we just take a moment on this next one.

Simply. Stunning.


Thanks for the fun, Tyree and Cole!




Cheers to July 4th in Colorado!

Happy 2019!

It’s January 2nd (well, January 3rd as of publishing for you detail-minded folks) and I’m feeling all the New Year vibes.   Who hopped on the ever-popular resolution bandwagon?  Goals?  Give a darn’s?

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As 2018 came to a close, I reflected on the last years milestones and how they aligned to the 2018 expectations I set for myself.    My motto in 2018 was to “focus on the good stuff and let go of the rest”.

Well, actually, my motto was a little more colorful in nature

let go of the BS and focus on the good sh!t

… but whatever way you spin it, same same, eh?

I even bought the shirt:

That motto served me quite well as it allowed for growth and failures.  Wins and losses.   It was quite a year of transformation, and all because I worked on ME intellectually and emotionally.

New Years resolutions don’t have to be standard.  Often times those standard resolutions are narrow and full of false hope.  Why do that to yourself?  Each day, each month, each year is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your actions, reactions, and your relationships with those around you.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be the best I can be for myself, for my spouse, for my family and for my friends.  That goes FAR beyond what I see in a mirror each morning while I am putting my mascara on and curling my hair.

2018 was a year of monumental (and quiet) growth.  




I took a look back at what I wrote in my 2018 post and thought I’d share a few of those transformational moments.  More for me, some for you.

  • Being truly PRESENT.
    • I spent more time with my phone in my purse and present with those around me.  I was living for the experience and less for the ‘gram.
  • Being more observant in my career.
    • I redirected my career focus to incorporate long term visions.  What was once working for me, no longer did, and when I created that shift internally, a large door opened and opportunity beyond measure appeared.  I am in a new position, with a new institution and learning so much about myself as a leader, colleague, mentor, and influencer.     Growth.  Impact.  Purpose.  
  • Being MORE present for my husband and his business.
    • I help deploy month end paperwork, assist in providing a larger social media footprint, and bake weekly goodies for the crew every Sunday. 🙂  Sometimes the little things help with the big things.  It also gives me more time to engage and connect on a different level with that beautiful bald badass of mine. 
  • Allowing more time for myself to learn and grow in the areas that mean something to me, my self-awareness, personal health, well-being and my bigger purpose.
    • I found a strength and conditioning gym with coaches and peers who are driven by strength, GRIT and tenacity.  We do hard shit.  We build athletes.  We don’t give a SHIZ if you are a size 0 or 20.  We care what you increased in your bench press and back squat 1 rep max, or that you are one less band closer to strict pull-up, or that you worked through an injury and have graduated to full range push-ups rather than wall. That gym speaks my love language.  
    • I sought out new professionals who provide me internal and external wellness guidance and contribute to my desire to discuss these intricacies at a raw and intellectual level.  Game changer.
    • I have read books and researched articles on emotional intelligence’s and journaled my growths and setbacks.
    • I enrolled into a big scary program that has pushed my intellectual and emotional boundaries further than I ever knew I could go… and will continue to go for several years yet.  Bless you, Clint.  Those emotional rollercoasters this last term were intense. You rode them alongside me like a friggin’ CHAMP!

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  • Making more time for meaningful conversations with friends.
    • Girls days and nights were a-plenty and well-loved.
    • Scheduled lunch dates and afternoon cocktails with former colleagues, mentors and supervisors proved to be therapeutic and growth minded. When we said “let’s do it again sometime” I followed through.  
    • There is a group text strand amongst a few gems that literally lights up my days and provide the comic relief that finds its way in on the days its needed most.  Even the most mundane of connectivity provides a deeper emotional impact.
  • Being quiet, listening more, saying less.
    • I stepped back from being a complete open book.
    • I focused my energies on being a true Servant Leader at work.  Listen more, talk less, move forward with all ideas in mind.  It’s a daily task and I learn more about myself as a leader with every passing day and interaction.
  • Canceling out the unnecessary noise that life wraps us up in and spending more time on the quiet.
    • I let go of some of the “noises” in my life. Social media channels removed, limited time on active social, saying no to things and people that didn’t fulfill me, etc.
    • Stopped allowing myself to get worked up about what others were or weren’t doing that didn’t align with my own beliefs.  To each their own!  If it doesn’t affect me personally, I don’t waste energy on it.  
  • Being less of a copy and more on owning my original.
    • I am ME.  I would say unapologetically me, but that would be a lie.   I am just me.  I think, reflect, write, stress, internalize, second-guess, judge, rejoice, pray, believe, question, and apologize on the daily.  And when I act before I think, I reflect on how I could have handled it differently and make note to be better the next time.


So here is my very public recap of my somewhat private 2018.  It was a year of significant growth and change personally and professionally.  2019: we are coming in HOT and purpose driven and all about helping others define their purpose and being the best they can be.

Career goals will be achieved, new initiatives will be employed to allow faculty and student growth, support systems are being put in place for staff development, and challenges will be faced with grace.

Personal milestones will be achieved unscheduled and unplanned as I continue with my 2018 motto that served me quite well.

Let’s do this!

Cheers to 2019!

National Cat Day!

It’s no secret that I am a crazy cat lady.  What I don’t think you understand is what level of crazy I exist on.  I’ve got the shirts, the kitchen towels, the hat, the socks… let’s not forget the things I have for the cats.  Towers, tunnels, outdoor tent and toys on toys.

Let’s just say I need to add to my shirt collection with one that says

“I work hard so my cats can live a better life”.

Harley came along first in July of 2016.  SHE found Clint, is how he describes their meeting.  A stranded little baby lost in the cornfield out by the shop.  He adopted her and kept her “hired” as the shop cat until that November when he decided it was much too cold for a pretty girl to be left in a shop, so he brought her home.

And that is what started their daily travels back and forth between home and the shop for a few months.  Guys, what would you do if you rolled up next to a dude in a big ol work truck and saw this:

Harley and I did a few road trips of our own and she was the QUEEN of kisses on those travels.  I don’t know if it was her way of saying THANK YOU THIS IS AWESOME… or HOW MANY KISSES DO YOU NEED TO PROVE I LOVE YOU and PLEASE TAKE ME HOME!


Harley was our ornery cat who provided us our own “cat versus Christmas tree” scenarios in our very own living room.

Harley loved attention.  From snuggles:


to light paws on the face to divert your attention back to her:

or just a quick chat after a long hard day of napping…


She was the cat that got us over our heartbreak of losing Champ and Sasha.  We were dog peeps up until this crazy little nugget.

And then came Grimmy.

Named after a Gremlin… cute and cuddly and oh so sweet… but with one drop of water, that little bug turns into a lunatic and will attack the rubber-band on your arm while you sleep.

But, how can you not love that little bug when she curls up with you so sweetly?


We aquired Grimmy from my in-laws.  A stray at their house, they adopted her and brought her into their family of all dogs, but my FIL, being allergic to cats, started looking for a new home for her.  Of course I couldn’t resist and said “let’s give it a try”.

It took a while for Harley to warm up to Grimmy, which broke my heart for Harley because she was crazy pissed at us (there went the snuggles) BUT in return I got a LOT of snuggles in those early days from Grimmy.  If she could be in my arms, she was.  It was awesome.

And sometimes suffocating…

To say we are straight up obsessed with these fur balls is an understatement.  I won’t even tell you how many photos I have of them.   Trust me.  I know. There’s an album…


And remember: Adopt, don’t shop.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


I made this dessert earlier this summer and OHMYGOSH you guys.  It was insane.

Or… so I was told.  I made it for a work meeting.  All I know is it was licked clean within an hour time span.

Thanks to Vera over at Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts for the easy to follow instructions and recipe.  Springforms and I have a history of disasters, but this little raspberry crumble number redeemed our friendship.


PS. You should click on her link above for legitimate photos of the dessert.  Much more pleasing then my kitchen lighting + iPhone snaps.  Lazy at best when capturing food shots.  Whatevs.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake



  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese-softened
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup raspberries-washed and well drained
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter- softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter-chilled and cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8 or 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Filling instructions: Mix the cream cheese and sugar together on medium-low speed until creamy. Add egg white and mix on low until combined. Set aside.
  3. Cake batter instructions: Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Spread the cream cheese filling on top. Place raspberries on top of cream cheese filling.
  5. Topping instructions: Combine sugar, flour and chilled cubed butter in a bowl. Stir with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and sprinkle on top of raspberries.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack, run a thin knife around the cake and loose ring of springform pan.
  7. Store in the fridge.