Sunday, March 31, 2013



Snapshots from this week:
1 // I conquered my fear of heights to walk across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, number four on my New Mexico bucket list.
2 // Coffee & chai from World Cup Taos; it's strange to finally visit places I've heard about for two years.
3 // Indian taco from Michael's Kitchen. I will never tire of Mexican food.
4 // Afternoon drinks at Evangelo's in Santa Fe. I couldn't help but laugh at this sign.

Favorite posts this week: 
Staying Motivated to Blog - Delightfully Tacky
My Girl - Kelli Murray
Where the Wild Things Go - Valentina Duracinsky
puppies on film - Deer Circus
Bloggers You Don’t Want to Be, Part 1 - Katelyn Brooke

This week I'm...

Planning my blogging calendar for the month of April! Right now, I am planning to start two new features. One will highlight books that I have read and my opinion of them. The second will be a series of posts on gluten free eating - not only recipes but lifestyle and shopping tips, explanations and features on my favorite products. Are there any topics you would like to see covered in April? More photos? More recipes? Leave a comment and let me know!

Catching up on photo editing and disk making. Can you believe I just now put these photos from September onto a disk for Steph? Worst. Friend. Ever.

Looking for the perfect maxi skirt. Long. Black. Cotton? Jersey? Help a girl out.

Nervous about starting a new job this week! On Friday I accepted a position with a Santa Fe animal hospital. As you know, that is completely out of my scope of knowledge. I've spent the weekend learning medical terminology and emergency call procedures.

Loving New Mexico! Really. I didn't think I could love a place so quickly but I now understood why everyone kept saying "welcome home". I can't wait to share our new little house and home with you, I think you're going to love it. Check back later this week for photos of yesterday's trip to Taos!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Four Things with Valentina

Today marks the last post in this little series! I sincerely hope you enjoyed getting to know a few lovely ladies from across the blogosphere. Perhaps you were even able to add a few new items to your own Spring wishlist, I know I have. 

Today's guest blogger is Valentina, who you may recognize from my sidebar this month. This pretty lady is a musican, song-writer, traveler and a great blogger that you should you know. You can find her on her blog and on Facebook. When I asked Valentina to tell us a little bit about herself, this is what she had to say:

I'm Valentina Duracinsky. I write songs. I play instruments. I'm sarcastic. A bit crazy. I wish I was Irish. I travel. It's all good.

These are the four items on her Spring wish list:

1 // One thing I want is an accordion.

2 // One thing I need is to sign a deal with an independent record label.

3 // One thing to wear would be this Leah Goren cat dress.

4 // One thing to read would be Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

So tell me, can you play any instruments? Which ones? I've always wished for musical talent but it has always escaped me. I tried the flute in elementary school with no success, and then picked up the guitar for a few  years in high school.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Four Things with Hannah

You might recognize today's guest blogger, Hannah, from the giveaway that I recently hosted. Hannah is an alumni of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Though now a graduate, Hannah still lives in Greensboro where she works as a marketing assistant by day. At night, Hannah is an artist and blogger. Her blog is full of inspiration and stories of her cat, Einstein. You can find out more at Hannah's blog, Thirsty World Designs. 

When I asked Hannah to share her four things for Spring, these items made her list: 

1 // One thing I want is this organic mint lip balm. Yum!

2 // One thing I need is Lavendar Sage Tea from Teavana.

3 // One thing to wear would be a long maxi skirt, like this gray one from Nordstrom.

4 // One thing to read would be Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.

So tell me, are you planning to wear maxi skirts this Spring and Summer? I'm looking for the perfect cotton or jersey black maxi skirt. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Four Things with Megan

Today's post is coming from a new blog friend, Megan, who writes at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life - a blog that appeals to my book-reading, travel-loving heart. I stumbled upon Megan's blog while looking for New Mexican bloggers through the Better Blogger Network and immediately fell in love. My favorite thing about Megan is that, like us, she is a bit nomadic! She's lived in the south, the Midwest, the Southwest and on both the East and West Coasts. On top of that, she is always traveling for her job as a leadership consultant for her sorority, a job which entails visiting universities across the U.S. and Canada to work with the sorority's collegiate chapters. Are you jealous yet?

You can find out more about Megan and her adventures here.

When I asked Megan if she would participate in this series, she was not only happy to play along but even made her own fantastic collage. These are the items that made her Spring wishlist:

One thing I want is a new bracelet from Alex & Ani. Since I started traveling on the east coast, all I want to buy is Alex & Ani bangles! I already have the "M" and Alpha Delta Pi bangles, but I'd love to add this Claddagh bracelet or four-leaf clover to my arm.

One thing I need is a new bag! I'm currently planning a six-week backpacking trip in Europe for this summer, and I really need a decent-sized crossbody bag to carry my wallet, Kindle, some snacks and a notebook during our long walking days.

One thing to wear would be this skirt from Francesca's. Currently, I travel with a few pencil skirts, and though I do love them, I really want to build up my wardrobe with some flowy, more comfortable skirts to wear as the weather improves. This chiffon skirt would be a great addition to my suitcase!

One thing to read would be The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was so hard to pick just one book to read this spring, but The Fault in Our Stars is definitely at the top of my list. I have heard nothing but good things about this novel.

So tell me, would you love or hate a job with lots of travel? I am definitely jealous of Megan's unique and seemingly adventurous job! I would love to see the country, and even the world, through work but only if I didn't have to leave Trevor and Buddy behind. A girl can dream, I suppose.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Four Things with Marisa

Today's post comes from a long-time friend and one of my favorite bloggers, Marisa. I've written a guest post or two for her and I'm so glad to get to feature her here on Live Beautifully! If you didn't already know, Marisa is a food blogger at The College Cuisiner. Our whole lives, she has been quite the cook - I owe my love of chinese food, Edy's Strawberry Fruit Bars, and perhaps my whole passion for the culinary world to this girl. I was basically dying over her wish list because she has the best taste, and not just in food. When I asked Marisa to play along with this little series, this is what she said: 

This isn't my first collaboration with Jenn. In fact, she was fantastic when I was away from my blog in July of 2012. Jenn will be the first to tell you how i introduced her to some of her favorite food items but Jenn has helped me with just as much! Her contributions to me over the years include some seriously good looking Xanga profiles and personal gifts. She's so thoughtful as you can tell from this week's guest posts!

My four things include some practical things that I need/love but also some fun things for a beautiful, bright Spring!

Here's what made the list:

1 // One thing I want is this Kitchen Aid mixer in Tangerine for all of my baking needs. It is even has a pasta-maker attachment! Totally practical and already on my bridal registry. I love the bright color, because it is just more fun to use!

2 // One thing I need is a new heavy-duty performance camera like this Canon T3 12.2MP Digital SLR with Double Zoom Lens Kit. I’ve had my eye on a new camera for a long time for better in depth recipe-shooting. But it is more likely someone will buy me that mixer first!

3 // One thing to wear is this popover from J. Crew! I know, how revolutionary, white for Spring. But, hey, it’s all over the Spring 2013 runways, and nothing looks more crisp and fashion forward than a popover like this color-flecked one from J.Crew with a white or navy pencil skirt. I love this look for my Bridal Shower coming up in May—classy, but still modern.

4 // One thing to read is A Good Year by Peter Mayle. One of my favorite novels, it takes place in France with an English lead character. So of course I love it! A very good movie adaption was made a few years back with Russell Crow but I love this book whenever I want to take a vacation to the French countryside without paying for the plane ticket! Warning: This book makes you hungry and want to drink French wine.

So tell me, what color Kitchen Aid mixer is on your wish list? Or do you already have one in a fun color? I love this tangerine one! I keep telling Trevor that we simply have to get married so someone will buy it for me! Trevor being the logical one points out that buying a mixer for myself would be a lot cheaper than a wedding. Oh, my sensible other half.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Snapshots from this week:
1 // My boys.
2 // First meal in New Mexico: shrimp tacos!
3 // Buddy loved the car ride.
4 // Our home. I can't wait to share more. I'm in love, people.
5 // Lots of hot air balloons above Rio Rancho this morning.

Favorite posts this week:
A Review of A Few Blog Readers - Moorea Seal
Just a little reminder that you can follow Live Beautifully on Bloglovin'. 
Let It Be The Weekend - Joy the Baker
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites. - How Sweet It Is
springtime detox bath - Katie's Pencil Box
Painted Jewelry Branch - Kelli Trontel

This week I'm... 

Sitting at Starbucks to bring you this post! We aren't having internet installed until Tuesday but I didn't want to miss a week in this little series. After all, it's bad enough that I missed the very first week of the year.

Interviewing for four different jobs at four very different companies. Wish me luck?

Eating lots of guacamole and green chile, on everything. Mexican food is a long standing favorite for me and nothing thrills me more than seeing a big glob of guacamole piled on top of my breakfast, tacos, or burger. Yum.

Unpacking! I suppose that should be enough said about that. We've managed to unpack and organize the whole house aside from one room. Our new house is lacking in the shelf department so unfortunately, that room is piled full of books, office supplies, and everything else you can imagine.

Looking forward to seeing Santa Fe! It's funny to be in New Mexico, not only "being in" but "living in", after two years of listening to Trevor talk about nowhere but. At this point, we've only seen the Northwestern corner of the state and our little city of Rio Rancho but I can hardly wait to visit Albuquerque and Santa Fe tomorrow.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Four Things with Maren

Though we are on our way to New Mexico as you read this, I couldn't help but to ask another Montana blogger I admire, Maren, to join this little series. Here's what she had to share: 

To be happy in life, it is thought that people should work to live and not live to work. But I feel lucky that I not only live a full life, but also love my job. My blog bureaucrachic showcases how I get through the 9-5 office life of my first full-time professional job, while also providing a glimpse of small-town living in Montana after spending nearly a decade in Seattle and Portland. I have a masters degree in urban and regional planning, and am proud to work for the State of Montana helping to protect and conserve our natural, cultural, and recreational resources. I'm a big outdoors advocate, but also have an insatiable shoe obsession that has developed into a healthy fashion interest. One of my goals in the office and in life is to be respected for my sense of style and for an even stronger work ethic. That balance is my happy place. And to get me there, here a four things that are on my mind lately:

1 // One thing I want is a great investment leather skirt. I love the look of leather, but it's not very work-appropriate as leather pants. I can get away with a leather jacket to and from the office, but a soft and luscious leather skirt like this one from Temperley London would strike the perfect balance to achieving the sleek and edgy leather look while keeping it feminine and chic.

2 // One thing I need is a Google Nexus. We currently don't have a great office set-up in our house, as we are still settling in from purchasing it in September. A Google Nexus would provide more freedom and comfort for web browsing, and allow me to update my blog on-the-go. I was up in Whitefish for work last week, and wanted to post outfits as I was there. A Nexus would be the perfect companion for travel posts! I am digging the Nexus 7 for its compact size and big function.

3 // One thing to wear is anything mint this season! I love this color, and am finding it to be a major weak spot in my shopping budget. A lovely pair of mint flats like these from Ivanka Trump (who knew?!) would be heaven.

4 // One thing to read is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I am about halfway through the book right now, and it's hard not to want to pack up my backpack and hit the trail! I'm looking forward to getting out this summer and exploring more of Montana.

So tell me, what is your Spring "it" color? Like Maren, I have a major crush on mint this season! I'm also loving emerald green, after all, it is Pantone's color of the year.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Mexico Bound

As you read this, we are New Mexico Bound!
The trailer is loaded full of furniture, Buddy is snuggled into the backseat, and we are settling in for a seventeen hour drive.

I've gotten lots of texts, e-mails, and Facebook messages asking why, when and where we were moving - after countless replies, I thought that perhaps I should share the details with all of you! I mentioned on Sunday that Trevor was able to sign the lease for our cute new home while he was away and I'm happy to say that we will be living in Rio Rancho while I attend the University of New Mexico.

After receiving admissions offers from schools across the country (and even the opportunity to begin my PhD with full funding!), I was a little overwhelmed with choices. At first I thought that I wanted to be back on the East Coast, then I considered staying  in Montana, but eventually it was decided that New Mexico would be the best situation for our little family. That being said, I will be starting my Master's of Business Administration at UNM this August, with a dual concentration in Marketing and Operations Management. What a mouth full.

As for short term plans, we will be arriving in Rio Rancho late tomorrow with plans to unpack and get settled in on Sunday before starting job interviews on Monday! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

While we're moving, unpacking and getting settled, I have a few other ladies stopping in to share their four things for Spring! I'm hoping to stop in Sunday with a weekly wrap-up post for you but if you're interested in following along with our latest adventure, you can find me on both Twitter and Instagram.

Wish us luck!

Four Things with Jackie Jade

Today's post comes from a fairly-new-to me but great blog, Jackie Jade. As I get ready to decorate a house of my own, I have been so inspired my Jackie's House Tour and decor tips! I also can't help but adore the fact that Jackie is also from Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh to be exact. When I asked her to contribute to this little series, this is what she said: 

I'm excited to be guest blogging for Jennifer while she is busy with her big move. I love the idea of doing a quick little spring wishlist of 4 things. I hope you'll come visit my blog, Jackie Jade, where I blog about decorating/updating a house from the 1940s, talk about my life (including some wedding planning soon) and post a ton of photos of my sweet little pugs.

1 // One thing I really want is a better camera. I have read good things about the Canon Rebel SLR. I've been saving up my money and can hopefully buy it soon.

2 // One thing I need is a pair of new pumps. I haven't bought any new pumps or work shoes in probably over a year. These are affordable and would be a great addition to my shoe collection.

3 // One thing to wear would be this necklace - I probably don't need a fancy necklace, but I would love to wear one of the big sparkly necklaces from J. Crew - amazing!

4 // One thing to read would be Blog Inc. I won a copy of this book from a recent blog giveaway. I can't wait to get it and read up on how to improve my blog.

Hope you enjoyed reading my 4 things and please stop by my blog and say hello!

So tell me, what is your favorite resource for blogging advice? A forum? A blog? A book? I'd love to do some of my own learning!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Four Things with Sabrina

Today's post comes from cattails & cardigans, a fun lifestyle blog written by Sabrina, a 20 year old Illinois native. Sabrina and I get along perfectly because she's also a lover of crafts, photography, and sweet tea. Just this week, Sabrina started a powerful new series on her blog called Paralyzed Diaries where she shares her first hand experiences after being involved in a serious car accident that broke her back and damaged her spinal cord. While I love Sabrina's blog for so many reasons, I can't help but admire her badass can-do attitude despite the challenges she's faced. I'm so excited to share her Four Things on my blog today and I hope you take the time to check her out.

These are four things that Sabrina is craving this Spring:

1 // One thing I want would be this awesome shirt. I really really would like to have it, after all, I love my cat so much and this shirt fits me perfectly.

2 // One thing I need is more bubble baths in my life.  I haven't had a bubble bath in months, way before my car wreck. I know I would enjoy it.

3 // One thing to wear would be a new pair of TOMS.  I want these floral ones so badly. I have one pair of TOMS that I wear on the regular but they got all tore up in my car wreck, so I need to replace them.

4 // One thing to read would be Fifty Shades of Grey. I've never been a reader, but honestly, I want to give it a try. What do you guys think about it?

So tell me, have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? I read a chapter of it it over the shoulder of middle-aged woman in the middle of a flight once. Not my writing style but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Four Things with Jessica

Today I'm excited to share with you another aspiring photographer, Jessica from Little Maple Leaf. While we've gotten the chance to talk photography, my "amen sista" moment was after our discussion on the outrageous fashion competition that we call the gym.  Jess is funny, passionate, resourceful, and I just adore her blog. When I asked her to contribute to this little series, this is what she said:

Hello, Live Beautifully readers! My name is Jessica and I blog over at Little Maple Leaf :) I take photos of nature, people, objects, food, my cat... anything that interests me at the time. The goal one day is to become professional enough to earn a living.

Picture taking aside, Jen asked me to contribute some things that I want, need, wear & read. As soon as she asked I couldn't wait to start coming up with things to share with all of you! Hope you enjoy:

1 // One thing I want is a new camera. I swoon over a beautiful DSLR camera and a macro lens (also wide angle & portrait)! As soon as I can buy myself one of these babies, it will be the next step in my photography career. Right now, I use a high quality Nikon point & shoot with manual settings. I always underestimate the power of this camera because it's not a "DSLR" but in all reality, it allows me to work that much harder to capture a gorgeous photo (because it's a lot harder to use the manual settings). So for now while I'm just starting out, this camera is perfect for me. Still doesn't mean I don't want a better one though, ha!

2 // One thing I need is a vacation!!!!  Hawaii would be beautiful, but at this point anywhere will do! New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Dominican, Jamaica, a trip to the lake... Gosh. I just really need a vacation. I have a serious case of cabin fever. It's worse because I live in a basement. Figures.

3 // One thing to wear would be new work out clothes! Every time I go on the Victoria's Secret VSX Sport section on their website, I die a little. Their fitness clothing is so gorgeous and would allow me to look (keyword: look) like I totally mean business at the gym. In all seriousness, I've recently been super into fitness & exercise and this outfit would be perfect for a run outside (when it's warmer) or on the treadmill. All my workout clothes are from when I hated moving in general and barely ever went but now I go 3-4 times a week so I actually need better gear. Hmm, maybe this should be in the need section? We'll go with it.

3 // One thing to read would be Eat, Pray, Love. I'd be lying if I said this section was easy. I LOOOOOOVE to read. So when I saw this question, what was I to do? How could I pick just one book? I die over Harry Potter (typical), I'm loving the Game of Thrones series (inappropriate), and I also enjoy me some Something Borrowed & Something Blue (chick-lit). I wanted to pick something that was meaningful! So folks, I give you Eat, Pray Love. I'm sure most of you have read it, and if you have, let's talk. If you haven't read it, please, please, PUH-LEEEEASE, pick it up! Especially if you're looking to lighten up your life, find more happiness, get in touch with your spirituality, or swoon over a tall dark & handsome man.. this is SOOO your book. It actually took me so long to finish but that was because I tended to only pick it up when I was feeling sad or down. It always lifted my spirits and made me approach life so differently. I'm not lying when I say this book seriously changed my world for the better.

So tell me, do you see girls in crazy put together outfits at the gym, too? Where is your favorite place to buy new workout gear? I'm all for working out but can't help but feel out of place when a group of girls walks in wearing coordinating sneakers, leggings and a printed top.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ten on Tuesday | Road Trip Must-Haves

I am in no way, no shape, no form, a road warrior. When we moved to Montana, I wanted nothing more than to bring my furniture but couldn't imagine the thought of driving for thirty-two hours. As we debated plans for relocating to New Mexico, I cringed every time Trevor mentioned that the drive would take seventeen hours. Especially when, at that point, I was actually going to be driving the. entire. time.

The longest that I have ever driven is four hours - a trip to the beach, a trip to Pittsburgh. I had ridden to Missouri and back (without air conditioning) but even that didn't seem like adequate preparation for driving seventeen hours. Imagine my relief when we decided that Trevor would leave two weeks early, in my car, and would fly home to drive back to New Mexico with me.

As we get ready to leave early Friday, I am finalizing the details of packing the house but also packing for the road. After plenty of trips short and long, mostly as a passenger, I have a list of items that I think are must-haves for any road trip. All the items mentioned in my Travel Essentials post still apply but this list goes above and beyond to cover specific car travel needs.

1 // While this one seems like common sense, in 2013, having a GPS is a necessity for any road trip. I often try to imagine what it would be like to travel cross country with only a map.

2 // This little gadget is something that Trevor introduced to me. This power inverter can be plugged into your cigarette lighter in order to plug in not only USB devices but regular electronics (ie. your laptop) as well. Then there is no need to worry about alternating having a charged cell phone, GPS, iPod and computer - they can all be plugged in at once. Genius.

3 // Good music is usually at the top of road trip lists. There is nothing I love better than making a specific playlist for a specific trip but , a seventeen hour trip is a little too long for that. Thankfully Trevor and I both have our own iPod Classic with over 15,000 songs - and that means not hearing the same thing twice.

4 // I hate trying to guess where and when to eat while traveling. You may pass a plaza of McDonalds and Subway, only to realize it's dinnertime and the next restaurant isn't for an hour. I love using the Urbanspoon App for my iPhone to find food options.

5 // Staying hydrated is important when traveling and while we often stop for drinks, I tend to find myself wanting more. I've made it a habit to not only buy a drink at stops but to also fill my water bottle for the next few hours.

6 // Being gluten free makes traveling much harder. I make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks whether traveling my road or air. KIND makes these Mini Bars which are perfectly filling and easy to pack.

7 // You may feel well protected under a car roof but research has shown that deadly skin cancers are more likely to occur on the left side of the body - the side exposed to the sun while driving. Having a good sunscreen is important for long hours on the road. This sunscreen from Eco is made of all natural ingredients and was rated as "very good" by Consumer Reports.

8 // If you're lucky enough to be a passenger for a long car ride, movies (especially funny movies) are a necessity. No matter how many times I see 21 Jump Street, I laugh just as hard.

9 // In the past few weeks I have fallen in love with my Kindle. I used to pack multiple books and magazines, only to find that I hadn't packed quite enough. Having a Kindle with 3G solved that problem because books can be downloaded at any time without needing WiFi access.

10 // While you obviously need gasoline for any road trip, I threw this in to symbolize having a roadside assistance plan. I really can't think of  anything worse than ending up locked out of your car or with a flat tire especially when alone or in an unfamiliar area. While AAA is a classic, I have roadside assistance through my AT&T cellphone plan. At less than $3 per month, it's great for peace of mind when traveling!

So tell me, what are your road trip must-haves? What else should I add to my packing list?

Monday, March 18, 2013


Snapshots from this week: 
1 // Late night baking, a great way to clear out our pantry before the big move.
2 // Someone misses his dad.
3 // Our friend Pat insisted on texting Trevor a photo of my Saint Patricks Day wears.
4 // Thai Chicken Curry for many dinners this week, yum.

I've been just awful on instagram lately, I'm hoping that a change of scenery will change that.

Favorite posts this week: 
Elements of My Workspace - Moorea Seal
My New Living Room - designlovefest
Can I just say that this would be my dream home? So bright and colorful, love it.
J'adore Paris - Jazzpad
What I wouldn't do to live a hop skip and jump from Paris.
The Top 10 Books on my Spring TBR List - Semi-Charmed Kind of Life
moving pavement - Pastor's Girl's Ponderings

This week I'm... 

Anxiously waiting for Trevor to come home! He has been away for eleven days and while he got much accomplished - including signing the lease on our new home - we have missed him. His flight comes in late tomorrow night and I'm not sure who is more excited, me or Buddy.

Exhausted from packing. Being sick took away a whole weekend of packing and that meant this weekend was filled to the brim with boxes. At this point, only a box or two of kitchen gadgets remain to be packed.

Confused by all the anger and fear over Google Friend Connect disappearing. While a final date of July has been officially announced, Google had announced its intentions months ago. I use GFC for the sake of giveaways and having a backup of my blog feed but I have always found Bloglovin' much easier to use, especially since I read most of my blogs via iPhone.

Excited about winning this giveaway over on Moorea Seal. I can't wait to tell you more about the jewelry maker, Megan, and her shop, New Eve Jewelry.

Loving this fun little "Four Things" mini-series. I have quite a few more posts to share with you over the next week or so. What do you think so far?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Town | Saint Patricks Day

Since the day we arrived in Anaconda, we have been warned about Saint Patricks Day and the passion that the Irish population here has for drinking, celebrating and well, being Irish. After attending two events, working in Butte before the big day, and driving through the streets of our town late last night, I can say that the warning was justified.

It is said that Butte and Anaconda have more Irish per capita than any other place in the country. I would believe it.

The celebration began last weekend with a race to benefit the Ancient Order of the Hibernians - the oldest and large Irish-Catholic Organization in the United States. With over seven hundred runners and plenty of spectators, it seemed as if the entire town had donned green tutus, shamrocks, and running shoes to start the early celebrating of Saint Patrick's Day. And, despite the early time and open container law, many runners donned a can or two or beer along the way.

The streets were full of serious runners, moms with strollers, teenagers in kilts, and a handful of children in their best green apparel. For many, this race marked the start of the running season, the first thaw with Spring approaching. For our friend Michelle, the six mile run marked another step in training for the Seattle Half Marathon.

Throughout the week, members stopped in to the credit union to talk about the upcoming weekend - knowing that I wasn't a native to the area, and honestly, not a bit Irish. I learned about snakes in Ireland, and the proper ingredients for a Blarney Stone and cursed myself for being clueless about each and every one of these Saint Patrick's Day traditions.

Yesterday, the town continued to show its Irish pride with a small parade through the center of town. This time, even more spectators gathered - many wearing beads, shamrock headbands, and more green than I had ever since in one crowd.

I managed to find a shamrock adorned bow, green knee high socks and an appropriate emerald green top before the parade. At the last second, I even put green eyeliner on - the color aptly named "Dublin." Before leaving the house, I texted friends, "you better have green on! I look like a leprechaun!". Sure enough, I did look like a leprechaun but thankfully, most of town had found more green to wear than I had.

As I am to be packing our things to move to New Mexico, I sit here feeling sentimental and thankful for the town that we live in. While I know that amazing opportunities await us in Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, my heart can't help but to ache for the town that we are leaving behind. I feel blessed for the months that we got to spend here in this community, a community full of pride, love, and family. Not only will I miss the beautiful snowy mountains when we leave, but the people that have made our time here so rich.

Oh, Montana.