Cross Country Move: FL to AZ

I lived in Florida for thirty-five years and therefore never had to experience a move more than 25 miles within my own state.  I was a little anxious over all the things that “could” go wrong during my move like flat tires, getting robbed, getting into an accident, etc. But my cross-country move from FL to AZ really could not have gone much better than it did and I’m truly thankful for that blessing.

On September 27, Chayet and I packed up a Penske truck and car trailer and started loading up our minimal belongings for out trip out West!

Penkse Penkse  Penkse Penkse Penkse

Penkse Penkse

We packed up and loaded the car on a trailer and said one last goodbye to his mom, my parents and my fur baby, Pearl.

Saying goodbye Saying goodbye Saying goodbye kif & lyd FL to AZ  FL to AZ safety first

I had already made peace with my departure and although I knew I was going to miss my family and friends, I was so excited for this next phase of my life, that tears did not come. If you know me, you know that is rare since I cry about EVERYTHING.  We got on the road by noon, leaving our ghetto apartment at Lake Magdalene cleaner than when we moved in, and happier than ever to be heading out on this monumental life change (for me) together.  Moving around is nothing for Chayet.  He has lived in many states and even another country, but for me, this 35-year-old that has lived in Florida her whole life, well this was a big deal for me.

Heading West

I have never truly been on a road trip.  I took a trip from Florida to North Carolina so I guess that counts as a road trip, but that was a trip on a tight timeframe, getting there by a certain time for an event and no stopping along the way.  So this cross-country trip was very exciting for me.  We planned on taking our time, stopping so I could get pictures with each of the state signs we passed (that was very important to me), stopping if something looked fun or interesting, spending some time in a few cities along the way, etc.  There was no agenda.

Alabama Mississippi Louisiana Texas New Mexico Arizona

We had 7 days with that truck and planned on a stress free journey.  That being said, we were really excited to get to Arizona and move into our new apartment and let’s me honest, no one wants to be in a truck for more than you have to!  By the last day, we were over sitting in the truck and just wanted to be there already!

FL to AZ

We only got a hotel one night and spent the night in the car on the trailer the rest of the time.  It was fun…sort of.  I’m kind of chicken and for some reason constantly think someone is going to rob me, kill me or rape me so sleeping in the car at a rest area and behind a dark closed gas station in the Middle of No Where, TX was a test for me.  I think I passed with flying colors because I actually slept!

Sleeping in the car Rest stops

We stopped at several neat places along the way and I wanted to share a few with you.  The first was Derailed Diner in Robertsdale, AL.  Seriously, it’s a kids dream and since Chayet and I are practically kids ourselves, it was right up our ally.

Derailed Diner Derailed DinerDerailed Diner Derailed Diner Derailed Diner Derailed Diner

And check out this little saddle!!! I know I can’t have kids but that thing made me drop some serious eggs – I couldn’t take thinking of a little one sitting astride a pony on that little saddle!

Derailed Diner Derailed Diner

Hitting Texas was fun, and I have to say it was the biggest “Hey, welcome to our state” attraction than all the others.  Most just had a small sign, or even a small visitor center.  Not Texas – nope, they did it big.


One thing that also sped up our journey was gas – holy moly filling up that truck hurt!  We really tried our best to keep our speed low, most often going a good 10 mph UNDER the posted speed limit.  But that truck was a gas hog and even though we planned and saved for months for the cost of the truck and gas, it still hurt every time we had to fill it up and see those savings dwindle!

Gas'n the Penske

We planned on spending the most “down time” on the journey in Austin, Texas.  We arrived late and got a hotel since we knew we would be spending the majority of the next day there and both were in desperate need of a shower!  Getting in a bed felt so good!!!

Texas hotel

While in Austin we paid a visit to the headquarters for one of our favorite companies, Onnit.  Let me tell you, we loved the company and their products before, but after our visit, we love them even more.  From the moment we walked in, we were greeted with friendly smiles and helpful attitudes.  We were even given a tour of the facility, which was totally unexpected but totally awesome.  Everyone we met was friendly and helpful and you could tell they truly loved their jobs and loved the company they worked for.  Chayet even got a special treat.  After we had left, we realized we didn’t get our receipt so we pulled back around and he ran in real quick to get it.  Well it took him longer than it should have and when he came out, grinning like a fool, he informed me that he got to meet the owner and founder of the company, Aubrey Marcus! He had just arrived to do his podcast for the day and Chayet got to meet him and get a picture with him! Let me tell you – it made Chayet’s day!

Onnit Onnit Onnit Onnit Onnit Onnit

We left there so excited and ready for our next planned venture in Austin – Mellow Johnny’s.  Mellow Johnny’s is Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in Austin.  Chayet has been an avid cyclist for years and a huge Lance supporter so we had to make a trip to the shop while there.  It’s a great shop but one of the most amazing things I learned was that the entire staff is extremely knowledgeable.  Most have years and years of cycling experience and knowledge.  In fact, the guy who helped us raced professionally for over 25 years before one too many concussions forced him to retire professionally.  He and Chayet enjoyed bantering about technical things cycling related that I know nothing of, and in the end, I walked out of there with a steal on a brand new Masi single speed.  I think Chayet was more excited about my new bike than I was purely because it was purchased at that shop!

Mellow Johnny's Mellow Johnny's Mellow Johnny's

We also grabbed a drink from the coffee shop attached to the bike shop called Juan Pelota Cafe – if you don’t know what that means, look it up.  Pretty clever name!

Based on where we were and how far we still had to go, we realized that we were not going to make our intended move in date, which was no big deal.  It was only frustrating because we only missed it by about 20 minutes.  The ladies at our new complex couldn’t stay late and we still needed to get a cashier’s check from our bank, so we ditched that plan and hopped on to find a room for the night once we arrived in Phoenix.  What started off as frustrating, turned into a wonderful experience.

We found a great rate online for the Saguaro in Scottsdale and after parking the Penske at our apartment complex, we headed over to check in.  The lobby alone was amazing.  It was very modern and artsy and super colorful.  After such a long road trip. all the colors seemed to revive me and make me smile.  We got to our room and were yet again greeted by COLOR and that color was PINK!!!

Saguaro Scottsdale Saguaro Saguaro Kif & lyd

We rushed out to grab some dinner and then back to the hotel for showers and bed.  We were exhausted and just ready to sleep in a nice, comfy bed.  The next morning we took our time and explored the hotel grounds and amenities and had a wonderful breakfast outside.  We both wished we had more time to truly enjoy all that the hotel had to offer because it was a truly lovely place.  Here are some photos we took while wandering around.

Saguaro Scottsdale

As you can see, they really like color!  We made a deal that we would go back sometime, maybe for our anniversary, and really enjoy all they had to offer.  We were just ready to get moved into our apartment so we checked out and headed to the bank for a cashier’s check and then finally, to our new home in Arizona!

Not sure if you can tell or not but I’m kind of in love with the views already!


So there you have it – my road trip out West! This Florida girl is settling in nicely and really enjoying getting to know my new state.  I’m also excited for all the adventures to come! Stay tuned!

@wildlyd on Masi single speed climbing hills in Phx, AZ

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I owe so many posts right now, from my cross country move, to my new state, to my trip to California (with a quick day trip into Mexico), and now my trip to Colorado.  I know I am slacking on the posts but hopefully you are following along on Instagram and have seen some of the fun I have been up to!  Here are a few fun pics from my recent travels!

Pikes Peak Fun Pikes Peak fun Colorado - Grandy Pikes Peak Pikes Peak Pikes Peak FunBe back soon with some REAL posts.

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Active Lifestyle: Phoenix Living

As my move from Florida to Arizona got closer and closer, I became extremely busy with all the details of moving, packing, saying goodbye to friends and family and wrapping things up at my job. I tried to stay active but it was very difficult and my fitness level really suffered.  I was only doing crossfit here and there, running was out of the question (from lingering injuries to my ankle and knee) so the most I was getting was biking here and there.  Now that I am settled in Phoenix, things have changed drastically!  I thought I would give you a summary of my activities since my move.  I’m not sure if Chayet is trying to kill me or what, but he needs to try harder if he is because I’m loving this and my mind, body and soul are responding beautifully to my new life here.

Here is a summary of what I’m been up to since my move:

  • October 1 – move in day! That was a workout itself but Chayet and I did it alone and got it all done in a few hours.
  • October 2 – biked 20 miles around town
  • October 3 – biked 27 miles around town
  • October 4 – rest day
  • October 5 – biked a mile, walked a half mile
  • October 6 – biked 5 miles, hiked first part of Camelback Mountain (easy part)

Camelback Mountain

  • October 7 – rest day
  • October 8 – Crossfit
  • October 9 – Crossfit
  • October 10 – biked 14 miles
  • October 11 – rest day
  • October 12 – Explored the city on the motorcycle (South Mountain, Squaw Peak and Dreamy Draw).
  • October 13 – hiked Squaw Peak

Squaw Peak Squaw Peak Squaw Peak

  • October 14 – biked 3 miles, Crossfit
  • October 15 – rest day – Trip to California (this trip deserves a post by itself)
  • October 16 – rest day – Trip to California
  • October 17 – rest day – Trip to California
  • October 18 – rest day/travel day – Trip to California (sick)
  • October 19 – sick (flu bug)
  • October 20 – recovering from being sick (flu bug)
  • October 21 – biked 3 miles
  • October 22 – ran 1.9 miles (19:04)
  • October 23 – Biked 20 miles, hiked 1.5 miles.  Crossfit. Strength: front squat. WOD: 5 rnds for time of 7 burpees, 21 DU’s, 7 box jumps, 14 OH squats (used 10 lbs – called for 25 for women but I’m still taking it easy).

Papago Park

  • October 24 – Biked 2 miles to Crossfit: worked on hitting some strength numbers (press, push press, jerk, clean and deadlift).  I didn’t hit any PR’s but was happy with most of my numbers.

So as you can see, I’ve been extremely active since arriving here and steadily my body is responding.  I’ve lost weight and inches and I feel amazing.  I’m gaining confidence on my new single speed and sharing the road with cars.  I’m gaining confidence on our hikes but am still very cautious.  Chayet is like a little mountain goat ninja all over these mountains and I’m allowing him to push me and force me to trust my legs and trust myself but at the same time, this Florida girl is a big chicken and falling to my death off a mountain is the last thing I want to do.  I’m sufficiently confident to tell him when something is out of my comfort zone and if I’m just not ready to try something.  I have been pleased each time I trust him and try something though.  For example, he taught me how to jump down off the curb on my bike and to hop over small curbs.  I’ve got the bruises to show for my efforts and plenty of mishaps, but I finally got it.  I’m totally confident with the down, and working more and more on the getting over obstacles.  It seems like such a silly thing, but for someone who has never done things like that, it feels huge to me.

Testing my limits at Papago Park

I wanted to mention that I bought a new single speed bike when we stopped over in Austin, Texas during our trek out here.  We went to Mellow Johnny’s in Austin, mainly because it’s Lance Armstrong’s bike shop.  But also because I did need a single speed and we thought it would be pretty cool to get one from there if we could find something nice and reasonably priced.  The bike shop is amazing and we had a great time wandering around and checking everything out.  Every bike that is on display (not for sale) is owned by Lance himself and there are some funny stories to go along with some of the bikes.  One of them he won in a bidding war against Robin Williams.  They said whenever Robin would come through Austin, he would come into the shop and look at that bike with disappointment (in good humor) over having lost the bidding war.  The other thing I loved about the bike shop was how knowledgeable the staff were.  The guy who helped us was awesome and really knew his stuff.  If you are ever in Austin, swing by the shop and check it out.  You can also visit the coffee shop attached called Juan Pelota Cafe (awesome name).  I ended up getting a Masi single speed and have really been loving it.  I also loved that it was on sale!

My new single speed and Camelback Mountain in the distance.

My new single speed and Camelback Mountain in the distance.

I’m really loving my new city and really loving this new active lifestyle!

We have also committed to eating clean.  Sure, we are indulging here and there and checking out some great places to dine but sharing meals and limiting sugar and crap. Our goal is to eat clean and healthy and make the majority of our meals and so far, we’ve done really well.  I think that is contributing to my weight loss more than just all the activity!

I’m off to enjoy the weekend and hike Camelback Mountain!

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My new life and lessons in progress

I had grand plans of posting along the way and keeping the blog updated as I traveled 2200 miles across the country but instead, I just let go of the blog for a little while and LIVED, and enjoyed the ride.  Let me tell you, it was marvelous.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my little blog (and the 3 people who still read it) but it was nice to not think about writing content, or taking time away from living to sit at the computer.  I believe I will be doing that more and more.  I’ll still update and I’ll always write, because let’s face it, I love it.  It will just be when I have time and on no specific schedule and that is okay.

I’m learning so much about myself and the person I still want to become.  I’m learning the art of saying “no” because let’s face it, every time you say “yes” to something, you give up minutes, hours, even days of your life.  You don’t get those back.  So, I’m learning to make every yes count, and every time I say no to something, I make room for an all important yes somewhere else.  I’m learning that sometimes you have to say no to things that could be fun and exciting so that you can always say yes to what is most important.  The great thing is that each of us gets to decide what is most important and worthy of that yes.

I am learning that busy does not equal productive.  I’m learning that silence is good and being alone is awesome.  I’m also learning that communication is key and companionship is precious.  I’m learning to love more freely and accept more openly.  I’m learning that a smile and a kind word go a long way.  I’m learning to stop and smell the roses and to slow down and enjoy every minute of every day.  I’m learning that I have so much to give and that everyone and everything has value.  I’m learning to truly live and love.  I’m learning to slow my pace and be more aware.  I’m learning that everyone has a past and we all deserve a bright future.  I’m learning to embrace my past and accept my mistakes and to truly learn from them.  I’m learning that when you start making changes in your life, you will upset others in the process.  I’m learning that you cannot allow the opinions of others to dictate how you live your life.  Most importantly,

I’m learning to love me.

When you make some of the decisions that I have made in the past year and change your life so drastically, you have to expect a lot of backlash.  In the past year, I have had more major changes than you can imagine. You may have already read a few others from early 2013 like my pregnancy and miscarriage. But here are a few more for the past year:

Quit drinking.  After years of battling with myself over this, I finally quit drinking.  I started going to AA and that program helped me change my life.  My faith was huge in the process as well, but following the steps in AA really made me get honest with myself and that was something I had been avoiding for years.  Getting honest with myself also led me to the next big decision.

Got divorced from the man I had started dating when I was 18, and married at 22.  After nearly 13 years of marriage and 16 years together, we called it quits.  I will never use this blog to discuss any details of the why and will only say that it was my decision and I caused my ex an enormous amount of pain and humiliation with how I handled things.  That being said, it was the best decision and the right decision and I only wish him the best.  He was and is an amazing man and I know he will go on to find the perfect woman for him. One that will be all the things he needs and wants and one far better than I ever was.  That is all I will ever say of that – PERIOD.

Made the decision to leave Florida and start a new life in Arizona with my boyfriend.  After living in the same state for my entire life, 35 years, the state where almost all of my family and friends live, making the decision to move was not one I took lightly.  Moving across the country with a new boyfriend, after having just divorced, well I’m not stupid, I know how it looks.  That being said, it was the best decision I could have made and I did so with a true peace in my heart.

Quit the job I had been at for 8 years in order to move across the country.  I truly had it made at work.  I worked for an attorney that had been in practice for over 30 years and decided he wanted to go off on his own and start his own firm and I’m grateful that he asked me to come along.  I had only worked for him for a couple months when that decision was made and less than a year from my start date, he opened his own firm.  Working for someone for that amount of time brings a closeness and a bond and he was a good man.  The firm was small – just he and I.  He was the most honest attorney you will ever meet.  Brilliant and witty, understanding and generous.  I was blessed with that amazing job and it was a torturous decision to quit to move to Arizona.  I know I made the right decision but will miss my attorney, that job and will forever be grateful for what he taught me in those 8 years.  Lessons that will carry me far in life.

So you see, I sort of made some radical changes in the past year.  I’m now living in Arizona, 2200 miles away from friends and family, in a State where I have only my boyfriend and his friends to surround myself with.  I came here not really knowing anyone – except a few of his friends I had gotten to know “through Facebook” – if that counts.  I don’t yet have friends here – not in the true sense of the word since no one knows me yet. I have no family here.  I have a job lined up but have not started yet.  My life has changed directions drastically, dramatically and seemingly in an instant.  But instead of being scared and sad, I’m excited and happier than I have ever been.  Please don’t take that as me saying I don’t miss my friends and family.  That is not the case.  I miss them very much.  But as a 35-year-old woman, I have finally decided to live my life FOR ME.  I prayed about my decision and I have a peace about where I am, who I am with and this journey that I am on.  I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m in a relationship with someone who I never thought was possible.  I’m with someone who truly lets me be me – 100%.  I’m with someone who shares and communicates with me and loves me with a fierceness that seems almost tangible.  I’m with someone who challenges me and encourages me.  I’m with someone who knows all my flaws, all my sins, all my shortcomings and failures.  He knows all the dirty secrets of my marriage and the person I was and had been.  He knows about my drinking and all the stupid and reckless things I have done in my past because of drinking.  And yet he still loves me, still chose me, still admires and respects me.  That kind of honesty in a relationship is amazing, a true gift.  To know that you can tell the person you are with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and work through it all – well I just can’t describe how awesome that is for me.

I’ve lost friendships and family relationships over my decisions.  That part hurts.  But change scares people.  Sometimes by making a change in your own life, you make someone else examine their life and what they see may scare them.  I’m taking control of my life and I think it scares people.  But I can’t allow the feelings of someone else to dictate my life.  Just like I can’t tell someone else how they should live their life and what is right for them. The flip side to that is that I have had many come to me and tell me they admire and respect my decisions.  So many have said they are too scared or too weak to make necessary changes in their own lives.  Whether its addressing a drinking problem or a marital issue or a dead-end job – too many people are scared to take control.  The right decision is not always the easy decision.  Making the right decision is always right though.

This turned into a much deeper post than it was intended so if you made it this far, I applaud you.  I’ll try to wrap this up with a pretty bow and move on.  With all of these changes in my life, expect a different tone to my blog, expect new adventures and life lessons and expect honesty as I start over in a new place, with a new man and start loving myself again.  I plan on living life to the fullest out here.  I plan on getting stronger, and healthier, physically, emotionally and spiritually and I plan to grow as a person in every way that I can.  I’ve lived in an unhappy place for too long, and now is the time for me to truly live and be free and happy!

I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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Arizona Living

I know I owe you a post on my cross country move to Arizona and I promise I will get to it but for now, I am getting settled in and having some fun. I just wanted to a least share a few pictures!





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Moving Day!

After 35 years in the great State of Florida, it is finally time to say goodbye. This will always be where I am from, but I am on to make my home somewhere else.


See you in a few days…in a brand new state!

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Becoming a Minimalist vs. Minimizing My Life

Becoming a minimalist vs. Minimizing my life

I doubt I could tell you the first time I ever heard the word “minimalist” or that when I did hear it, I gave it much thought.  I’m sure I thought it was some strange hippie thing and didn’t give it another thought.  The reason for that may or may not surprise you. You see I was a HUGE over consumer a/k/a shopaholic a/k/a spent money I didn’t have on things I didn’t need.  I can fully admit that I was a binge shopper.  You know what a binge eater is, right? Well, I was a binge shopper.  Upset, depressed, sad, bored – I would go shopping.

I LOVE pretty things.  Purses, jewelry, stationery, shoes (oh Lord, the shoes…), trinkets and knick knacks – I love it all.  I had every “space-saving” device known to man.  My plant shelves were straight out of Kirklands or Home Goods.  Target was my playground and don’t even get me started on DSW, Ross, TJMaxx, etc.  Ulta, CVS or Walgreens? I could go a year without buying hair, make up or skin car products with the amount of items under my sink.  I was always out for a good deal, and believe me, I found AMAZING deals.

But at what cost?  How many shoes does one person REALLY need?  How about flip-flops?  How many is too many?  I was the girl who had the same shirt in 8 colors and 15 pair of flip-flops – 4 of which might be black but different so it was ok.  How many purses can one person realistically use?  I think you get my point here.

The past few years have been difficult for me and I have done a lot of soul-searching and learning about myself and truly getting honest with myself in a ton of areas.  Part of my “come to Jesus” moment with spending was having to file bankruptcy in 2012.  I prided myself on having good credit, paying my bills on time, maintaining a well-paying job and having nice things, etc., so it was very humiliating to have to admit how far I had let things go with my spending.  I have held great jobs over the past 16 years.  Even as a 20-year-old working customer service for Capital One, I made great money.  But even with the good, steady income, I let my over consumption of stuff become a huge setback and stumbling block in my life.  We live in a consumption-based society and I was joining in big time.  And I wasn’t just spending on me. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays – I splurged on everyone!  Sure, there were some extenuating circumstances that helped push me to bankruptcy, but ultimately, I have myself to blame.

In August of last year, I decided I had to stop drinking.  I fully admitted that I was powerless over alcohol at that point in my life and had been for a very long time and that I needed to do something about it.  Did I WANT to quit drinking? No.  Did I realize my NEED to quit drinking? Yes, thankfully I did. You see God gave me ONE FINAL chance.  He gave me a moment where it was obvious that He was saying, “you either stop drinking and get it together, or you are going to kill yourself or someone else”. August 18, 2013 is my sobriety date and the beginning of a journey that has changed the course of my life.

AA is an amazing program.  I started going to AA the week I decided to get sober and I didn’t miss a meeting for 5 months.  But something happened to me when I started working the steps and really working the program.  You see part of AA is being real with yourself.  Brutally honest.  There are no more excuses, no more hiding the truth. You either embrace the program and work the steps, or you fail.  I refuse to fail, so I jumped all in, and what I had to do was face a lot of stuff I never wanted to have to face.

I will spare you my list of sins because it is long and ugly, but my point here is that although AA helped me get sober (and continue to stay sober a full year later), it also made me get real with myself in every other area of my life.  I was hiding from a ton of demons and my life was spiraling in ways I never wanted to admit.  I was queen of brushing things under the rug.  The drinking was just a small (but serious) part of the problem.  I had been running from so many things for so many years and getting honest with myself was exactly what my life needed. Drinking was just a small part of the problem.  Getting honest about the drinking made me get honest about other areas that needed work in my life and I can truly say it saved my life.  I hated the person I was before and no one knew.  I had hidden it for so long and I finally had to work on me.

Enter minimalism.  I don’t think people understand minimalism at all, and it’s frustrating at times.  Not because I want to change the world and make everyone a minimalist, but because others don’t understand it, they make assumptions about it and most of them time, they could not be further from the truth.  Getting honest about all my demons made me get honest about my over consumption and my frivolous spending habits that were not only dumb, but harmful to my financial freedom and well-being and just downright idiotic at times.  What I have finally realized at 35, is that I don’t need all the “stuff” to be happy and fulfilled. In fact, all of the stuff is a distraction to what is really important.

I was really introduced to my first minimalist when I met my boyfriend, but let me back up a tad on that.  My boyfriend has been a minimalist for almost 15 years.  That is not to say he does not have nice things, valuable things or things that hold sentimental meaning to him.  What it means is that everything he owns has a function, a purpose and fulfills a need and is useful in his life.  It also means everything he owns can fit inside his small Toyota Corolla, and then he owns a bike and motorcycle.  I’ve known my boyfriend’s mother for much longer than I have known him.  One of the first times she talked about him to me, she explained in passing that he was a minimalist.  I admit that the small bit she told me, had me thinking it was strange because I didn’t understand it at all. But then, about a year later, I met him and had the opportunity to get to know him and really see what minimalism is TO HIM.

You see minimalism is not the same for everyone.  Am I a minimalist? No.  Will I be someday? Yes, I probably will.  The journey I am on right now, is so different though.  I really love the blog Becoming Minimalist and I get so much out of Joshua’s site.  One post he wrote was about finding a rational minimalism that works for you.

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” —Joshua Becker

He does a much better job at truly explaining the concept behind minimalism and its so powerful to me, especially where I have come from with over consumption and the journey I am on right now.  You should really go read his post, all of them actually (subscribe for that matter) and I think you may get a better understanding of the concept.

I guess what I want people to understand when they hear that I am on a journey toward minimalism is that it’s MY journey, and will be defined by what minimizing my life looks like.  I also want people to know that I am not trying to pass judgment on them for their consumption needs and desires.  My life is going to look different from your life in that we all have different goals and dreams and desires.  And it’s going to be constantly evolving as we humble ourselves and grow and mature.

For me, as I look back on the past 16 years, I see a girl who has always made a great living, had nice cars, nice houses and lots of nice pretty things.  But I also see a girl trying to fill a void with stuff.  I see a girl who has nothing to show for all the hard work she put into working full-time since graduating high school.  I see a girl who has worked to pay for a car she was never going to own, only use for a few years and then roll into another one she would never own, and so on. Same thing goes for the house I had to have. One that I just sold in a short sale and that was really too much house for my needs.  What do they say now? Look for the house that fits your needs and you can afford, not the most expensive one you qualified for…something like that.  I see all the purses and shoes and clothes and knick knacks and accessories that I have sold for dirt cheap at garage sales or given away and I think of the money wasted on that STUFF. That is what pushes me to analyze my possessions, to analyze my purchases and to prioritize my time.  You see, the over consumption leads to less time for what is important.  We have to work harder to pay for the toys we have, or pay for the ones we bought on credit.  If you do buy it on credit, you end up paying more because of the interest.  That “great deal” you just got, isn’t a great deal at all if you buy it with a card that you will then have to pay interest on.  We work so hard to pay for the stuff we just had to have, but yet can’t enjoy since we have no time.  As we remove the unneeded items from our life, it should free up time for what is truly important.

Again, I want to stress that this is a personal journey for me.  If you like purses and shoes and clothes and nice cars and big houses – that is fine.  I like those things too. But at this point in my life, and the journey that I am on, I see where my priorities have been so clouded for too long.  I have missed the rainbow for the clouds, if you will.  I have missed living and giving back in my pursuit of happiness with a full cart of junk from Target.   I have been a slave to my job, sometimes a second job, in order to keep the cycle going and I’m done. I want to fill my time with experiences and living instead of filling my house and closet with useless material possessions.  I want to have time to give back, to volunteer, to work on ME, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I used to have a huge walk in closet and it was full.  I owned more than 100 pair of shoes (flip-flops, heels, boots, sneakers, etc.).  I had well over 40 purses, 15 wallets, 40 scarves, 20 belts.  I had enough shirts to probably wear a different one every day and not have to repeat for over six months. Beach towels? I had 15.  Regular towels? Enough for a household of 10.  Cups, plates, silverware, utensils, kitchen gadgets – I FILLED every space and there were just two of us and over half of it was NEVER USED. THAT is over consumption.

Here are some tips to help you minimize and simplify!

1)  If you have not worn it or used it in 6 months, get rid of it.

2) If it holds no purpose or sentimental value, get rid of it.

3) Does it add value to your life or bring enjoyment, if not, get rid of it.

I’ve been living in a small, transitional apartment for the past 6 months.  I knew I was moving to Arizona when I got that apartment.  The goal in living in such a small space (389 sq. ft.) was to save money and learn to live with less.  In that, I have learned what I really NEED, what I really USE, and what I have not touched since I moved in six months ago.  Things that I HAD TO KEEP six months ago, and that made the transition into my tiny apartment with me, are now moving to the donate/trash pile.  If I have not used it or needed it in the past six months, I doubt it needs to make the 2,200 mile trek to Arizona with me.

One other thing I wanted to touch on regarding this subject.  My blog has been my accountability for health and fitness for almost three years now (this one and my previous blog).  I have really been trying to educate myself more on what I put in my body and how I fuel and maintain my health and fitness.  I am learning so much about GMO’s, Monsanto, chemicals and dangerous ingredients hidden in so many of the products I have used and loved and the foods I consume.  I’m even finding that some of the most trusted “clean” products are sometimes full of hidden dangers.

Part of my minimizing has been eliminating all of the excess products I was hanging on to that contain these dangerous chemicals and ingredients.  I easily had a years worth of lotion, shampoo & conditioner, make up, hair products, etc. all hanging out under my sink and in the linen closet. When I went through and looked at the ingredients in so many of them, it was scary what I have been putting in and on my body for too many years.  You may think that I have become a hippie (maybe I have – I promise I shower Haley) but I have seen drastic improvements in my skin and how I feel since eliminating harmful chemicals and ingredients from my beauty regiment.  One example, I have rosacea.  Chayet commented early on, that it always seemed more agitated AFTER using one of my nice, expensive moisturizer or soaps.  I decided to experiment with it and was amazed that switching to just coconut oil for my moisturizer drastically improved my skin and my rosacea is all but gone.  I also have stopped wearing make up.  I wear no foundation, no powder or blush and only eyeliner, mascara and lip moisturizer.  My face and skin have not looked this good in years and I sometimes feel it looks even better than it ever did WITH the makeup!  Maybe its my mindset – whatever it is, I like it.  Don’t ask me to get rid of my mascara though – I’m so NOT THERE yet. =)

So this was a really long, wordy post and I apologize for that.  If you made it to the end, thank you and congratulations.  I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone, but I think we can all learn from taking a serious look at our material possessions and what we hold important.  I know the Lord has convicted me of “storing treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19-20) and I’m hoping that with fewer distractions and stuff, I can focus again on storing up treasures in heaven.

I hope this post was informative and gives you a little glimpse into what I am trying to accomplish in my life and opens your eyes a little as to what minimalism really is all about.

My dream is to someday own and live in my very own Tiny House so I have a long way to go toward that dream, but at least I’m heading in the right direction!

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More of my Arizona Vacation

You know I couldn’t leave it with just one post about my vacation! I fully intended to get these posts up quickly but coming back from vacation, from such an amazing place, knowing I only had 3 weeks of work left….well, let’s just say there is a ton going on right now and a blog post is the last thing on my mind!  That being said, I do want it documented and want to share, so better late than never, right?! Here is a little more of my Arizona Vacation!

I left off after our amazing hike up Camelback on Friday.  Since we got such an early start, we were done with the hike by lunchtime and had the rest of the day to play.  We hit up Rubio’s for lunch (which was so fresh and delicious) and then spent the rest of the day and evening wandering around Old Town Scottsdale and checking out the shops.  We ended the evening at RA Sushi, which was so good.  It was nice to not have an agenda, to just pop into any little shop we wanted and browse around, chill in the grass and do hand stands (it’s kind of our thing), take pictures with the LOVE sign and play with the ducks.  Being with Chayet is such a wonderful change of pace and a welcome change.  I truly feel like I am free to be myself for the first time in too many years!  It’s a wonderful feeling! He’s my best friend and truly gets me which is so refreshing! It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s HOT!

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE - LOVE signhandstands in the park - Old Town Scottsdale Relaxin with TheCharilla- scottsdale

It really was a fantastic day and we still had THREE MORE DAYS! It was amazing to me how long the trip felt! I felt like we were there for a month instead of 6 days because we did so much!

Saturday we got up and went to East Valley Crossfit for a fundraiser event, WOD for Dogs benefiting Wallace the Pit Bull and Pittie Me Rescue.  It was a fun event, even though Chayet and I just went to watch.  It was so nice meeting everyone, especially people who have known Chayet for years.  Great group of people and East Valley Crossfit is a top-notch place with excellent coaches!  I was also able to meet a bunch of his friends from Crossfit FullStrength – also great people and great coaches.  Be on the lookout for their brand new location coming soon!

EVCR WOD for Dogs

From here we decided to spend the day sightseeing and just being together.  I experienced In-N-Out Burger for the first time, met up with old friends at Core Crossfit, had a fantastic pastry from an authentic German bakery, ate lunch at Wildflower Bread Company and then went back to the hotel to shower and relax before we hit up Rush Club at The Duce.  I wish we had gotten there earlier so we could have seen more – it was such a cool event!  From there we headed to Squid Ink for dinner.

 wildflower meal german pastry

Date night chayet and i

event squid ink

Sunday was all about sleeping in and sightseeing.  We started off at Regio’s for huevos ranchero – and it was my favorite!


We spent the rest of the day shopping and sightseeing.  It was fun to hit up a few places we had not tried yet – one of them being Bikini Beans Espresso.  Super sweet girls, gorgeous too and the peach tea was super yum!  Something funny about that tea – it sat in the car for several hours (3 1/2) and was still cold in 113 degree heat!!! Crazy!

113 degrees - still ice

A few more pictures from out day!  We did Scottsdale, Hole in the Rock, Botanical Gardens, Stax – it was a great day.

ribbon artchayet at park in grassBotanical Gardens chayet in hole in rock me in hole in rock Park after Stax  Stax Us in hole in the rock Us in hole in the rock2

 We ended the evening at Westgate Mall to see the fountain light display and enjoy the post haboob weather.  I got to see my first mini dust storm!

haboob, Phoenix, AZGlendale, AZ

On Monday, we had to turn our rental in by 10 AM but our flight home was not until 11 PM.  Chayet decided last-minute that we could not waste the day being car-less, so we rented another car and headed to Sedona for the day!  I can’t even put into words how beautiful Sedona is and it was such a perfect way to end our trip.  We spent the day checking out shops, driving up into the mountains and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Here is your obligatory picture dump!

Sedona, AZSedona view sedona drive view Sedona and bell rockbell rock2Chayet - squating on barrier - SedonaChayet - lunch in Sedona@thecharilla@thecharillaSedonaSedona

As you can see, I HATED Sedona.  I wish we had more time and it’s certainly top of my list to return when the weather gets cooler.  I can’t believe I will be living there in a month.  I will be able to take a quick drive up to see that whenever I want.  It will be as close as shooting over to Orlando is now – crazy!

Chayet and I had an amazing trip and are so excited to start this next phase of our lives together in a new (to me) place.  I can’t wait to share all the new and exciting things we will be up to in the coming months!!

Lovers kiss Us in Sedona - at lunch balcony

See you soon AZ!

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Arizona Vacation

Arizona Vacation

I’m not really sure how to sum up my vacation to Phoenix in just one post but I know you don’t want to read 10 posts about my trip so I will try my best to keep it kind of short and sweet.  That being said, there is a LOT to show and tell so if you want to see a ton of pictures about Phoenix, then you won’t be disappointed.

I feel like this was truly my first “adult” vacation – one that I planned and executed and one full of all the things I chose to fill it with.  It could not have been better – truly an amazing trip!!  If you followed along through pictures on Instagram, then you were able to see a glimpse into my trip already (or you got annoyed with all the pictures and had to unfollow, but I hope not…).

This trip was a two-part mission.  The first was to secure housing for when we move to Phoenix at the end of September.  The second was to have some fun in my new state. When I say things could not have gone more smoothly, I am not blowing smoke and just showing you my “A” roll in life.  This trip was perfect, but it was not without its frustrations and obstacles, that is for sure.  I am not afraid to tell it like it is and there was some moments – trust on that! Even with those moments though, this was the best vacation I have ever had, and it truly made me fall in love with Phoenix, with the mountains and with all of the possibilities it holds for my future.

The day we flew in to Phoenix was all about having a little fun and checking into our hotel. Day 2 was going to be devoted to apartment hunting, and into day 3 if we were not successful by the end of day 2.  Well – our hotel turned out to be in way the wrong part of town and all rooms smelled like smoke.  We canceled immediately and decided to wing it!  We figured we would just go day by day unless we found an awesome deal.  As a “planner” that was hard for me but I decided to let it go and just live in the moment and it turned out just fine!

After landing, our first order of business was going to Los Cerritos.  My boyfriend has raved about this place (among others) so we went there first for a carne asada burrito and a horchata.  The place doesn’t look like anything special but the food and horchata were awesome! From there we headed to Papago Park to play a little. I was able to get my first taste of climbing and catch some amazing views! It was a quick visit and I’m still nursing a bum knee so I didn’t do anything special, but I can already tell I’m going to LOVE trail running!!!

Papago Park - @wildlyd @thecharilla & @wildlyd Papago Park - @thecharilla & @wildlyd Papago Park - @wildlyd

Papago Park - @wildlyd

We got a cheap hotel close to Papago and then grabbed dinner at another favorite, Rice Paper.  I’ll have to do a separate post on all my favorites because there are too many to list right now!  Pho Tai soup and spring rolls made the perfect light dinner shared outside under the mist.  Then we headed over to “A” Mountain in Tempe and took in the lights of Tempe Town.  What a fun climb….in the dark!  Chayet tells me some day I will do 400 m sprints up A Mountain with him.  After climbing it in flip-flops – I’m not so sure!

Tempe Town lakes from top of A Moountain On top of A mountain

Day 2 was all about apartment hunting.  We saw so many places that day.  I had a list of “musts” and then we stopped at more along the way that caught our eye.  There were many on the list that were “possibles” and a few “fall back on” but none that were just “this is it”.  We took a break late afternoon and wondered a mall in a really nice area and it was nice to just step aside from the apartment hunting for a moment.  It’s just what we needed too because we got in the car, realized there was one on my list that was right around the corner and figured we had one more in us for the day.  God works in mysterious ways because that was THE PLACE.  We fell in love instantly, they had an opening for our move in date, it has all we wanted and more and is in a perfect location for us.  I was so thankful to get it done and not have to spend another day looking too! Thank you Lord for directing us to where we needed to be!

Our apartment is REALLY close to Camelback and so we drove over to get a quick look after we left the apartment.  I was in flip-flops but that didn’t stop us from climbing the first section to get a little taste.  I knew that the next day we would be climbing to the top so getting a little taste of it was fun!

Camelback Mountain

Camelback at sunset

Day 3 was all about Camelback Mountain.  We got up early and hit up LGO for a good breakfast and then went straight to Camelback.  We knew that we would be taking this hike slow since it was my first time and I’m not in shape and my boyfriend claims to not be in shape for it either (insert HUGE eye roll here). Our goal was to take it slow, take a ton of pictures and have a blast.  I had a few other small goals in mind too – don’t fall and don’t die – NBD.  My boyfriend has been on that mountain more times than I can count and has run up it and in places I will probably never venture too.  In fact, one such area is so steep, if you slip and fall, you will more than likely fall to your death.  Just looking at it from far away, and then up close gave me the willies and thinking about him RUNNING up it? NOPE – never gonna see me do it (famous last words of someone who later tries it…I know).  I won’t kill you with pictures but I have to share a few from the trek up.

@thecharilla and @wildlyd on Camelback Mountain Hole in Camelback @wildlyd climbing Camelback @wildlyd beginning of camelback Camelback Camelback @wildlyd on camelback @wildlyd camelback @wildlyd handstand camelback camelback - @wildlyd @wildlyd silliness

I will admit that I did way better than I expected.  There were parts that were a little scary but for the most part, I felt completely in control and had faith in myself and what I was doing.  I will also admit that we took a lot of breaks for pictures and to just chill and take it all in so had we been pushing the pace, things may have felt different for me.  There was a lady out there that was OWNING that mountain and boy did she inspire me….every time she RAN up and by me or down and by me.  And I say every time because in the time I was out there (3 1/2 hours) she ran by me several times.  We finally asked her how many times she had gone up and down and she said she was on her last trip at NUMBER 5!  Girl had a body to die for and the grace of a gazelle and sure-footed like a mountain goat.  It was amazing to watch her and inspiring too.  It was also amazing to see how comfortable Chayet was on the mountain and how “in his element” he was.

Chayet in hole on Camelback Chayet being silly

I have to share a funny story here.  I left my ego at home for this trip and especially for the hike up Camelback.  I am fairly competitive and I like to push myself and I like to excel at things.  BUT, having never climbed like this, I wanted to leave all that ego and competitive nature at home and just live in the moment and take it all in.  That is exactly what I did for the entire climb.  I kid you not, I took some risks but they were calculated, I took the easy route in some places if I felt the opposite was too much for me at this time, I stood back and took my time and enjoyed every second of my time on that mountain.  It was amazing.  And then, once we were done with the “climbing” and just finishing out the last few hundred feet to get back to the parking area, I did something silly.  Chayet and I were talking about that amazing woman we watched run all over the mountain.  I was talking about how inspiring it was to watch her and how someday I would love to have that kind of grace and athleticism to conquer the mountain like that….and the next instant I slipped and was on my butt in the gravel!  I had been doing some pretty gnarly climbing ALL DAY and never once fell or even slipped down, and the moment I let my guard down, and let a “thought” of being better or good enter my mind, I was humbled.  It was really no big deal, I slipped on some loose gravel and was in the middle of the trail – it was nothing (but really funny).  I wasn’t even saying I wanted to be better than her, or claiming I would someday be a bad ass on that mountain, more just admiration for that woman and hoping to someday have half her ability on that mountain.  But, it was a reminder, in that moment, to always check your ego, and it made for a great laugh for Chayet and me.  The ego is a dangerous thing.  It can get you in trouble by taking a stupid risk, it can get in the way of relationships and friendships and can cause irrevocable harm.  I’m glad I was given an opportunity to be reminded of that with a lesson in humility.

Being on the top of Camelback just made me so thankful for the experience, the ability to climb up there and wonder at God’s handiwork.  I had to stop several times and just thank Him for the opportunity and ability.

Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Bottom of Camelback

I think you get the idea – no need for any more pictures, right? Can you tell I had a good time?  I cannot wait to get back and explore those mountains more, and explore the area and visit more of the surrounding states!  It opened my eyes to just how small I am and just how big our world is! I can’t wait to LIVE there and experience more!

There is still so much about my trip I want to share, but this has gotten pretty long so I’ll save it for another post.  I also want to share more about that amazing man in my life – but that is a separate post all by itself.  He must be properly introduced and that is coming soon!  For now, I’ll leave you with this:

pushing rock

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Next Stop: Arizona


If you want to follow along on all the fun that will be going on – be sure to follow me on Instagram.

I’m about to experience a lot of “firsts” and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Charilla and Wildlyd


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