2018 Goals


A month or so into 2018, and I’ve settled on my goals for the year. Last year, my 7 goals for 2017 focused exclusively on outdoors and active pursuits. As I mentioned in my 2017 review, I had some great goals, but I neglected to include the rest of my life, mostly work/grad school. So with that in mind, here are my goals for 2018.  Continue reading “2018 Goals”


2017 Year Review

No doubt about it, 2017 was a tough one. Grad school was completely bananas, Tyler worked on the other side of the country for 3 months, we moved house, my mountain bike was stolen, I’ve been sick more often than not since October, ect. ect. ect. There were plenty of good things too! But, man am I exhausted.

At the beginning of 2017, I wrote about my goals for the year: 7 Goals for 2017. This was the first year I can remember setting goals, thanks to the influence of the Tough Girl Podcast and Tough Girl Tribe! I completed some of my goals, sort of completed a couple, and totally fell flat on a few of them. Here are my results, in the order as they appeared on my original blog post. Continue reading “2017 Year Review”

Florida Trip 2016: Dehydrating Dinners


As I alluded in the post about converting our Honda Fit to a campervan, I dehydrated a couple of dinners for our trip to Florida. When we went on our road trip this past summer, Tyler and I mostly cooked our dinners. Which means that we brought all of the cooking equipment along with us. There was one night while we were at Grayson Highlands, where we opted for dehydrated Mountain House meals. We were hungry after a long day of hiking, and we needed to drive into town that evening so I could send a mandatory work email.

Continue reading “Florida Trip 2016: Dehydrating Dinners”

Fit Conversion and the Beginning of Our Florida Trip


As a graduate student, I don’t get much time off. I distinctly remember the horrified faces of undergraduates when I tell them “no, I don’t get fall/winter/spring/summer break off. I still have to do research.”

Grad school, at least getting a Ph.D. in a natural science, is this odd combination of work and school. Technically, I’m a student. I am working towards a degree. But I don’t get school holidays, I’m not actually taking any classes, and I’m getting paid. Much more like a job, if I’m honest.

Continue reading “Fit Conversion and the Beginning of Our Florida Trip”

ABCs of Thanksgiving

Dad and I hiked Springer Mountain during Thanksgiving weekend.

A is for apples, quite possibly my favorite fruit

B is for biking, one of my favorite outdoor activities.

C is for chemistry, a passion of mine and my livelihood.

D is for Dad, who takes me on all sorts of biking adventures.

E is for electricity. I use it everyday.

F is for family. I love mine very much!

G is for Gauss, my goofball dog who loves to accompany me wherever he is allowed.

H is for hiking! A walk in the woods soothes my soul.

I is for the internet, without it my life would be so different.

J is for journal, which keeps my life organized.

K is for kindred spirits. It is nice to have someone to share the things you love.

L is for labmates. We support each other through thick and thin.

M is for Mom, who takes me out for lunch and shopping.

N is for Nancy, one of my very best friends and who introduced me to Thanksgiving ABCs.

O is for outside, my favorite playground.

P is for philanthropic people. Their generosity has made such a difference in my life.

Q is for questions, the basis of science. I am a very curious person.

R is for rock climbing. There is no better way to quickly tire me out!

S is for siblings, my older sister and younger brother.

T is for Tyler, my wonderful husband.

U is for ungulates, cows in particular. I am an avid consumer of dairy products.

V is for the Vaughns, my second family.

W is for waterfalls, such fantastic places to explore.

X is for xenon arc lamps, which I use for my research.

Y is for youngsters, like my baby nephew. He is such a cutie!

Z is for zucchini, quite possibly my favorite vegetable.

Recently, Non-Outdoor Adventures

A picture of Goose! Because who doesn’t like pictures of puppy-dogs curled into a little ball sleeping?

Usually, I blog about my outdoor exploits, but adventure isn’t just for the outdoor realm. Sometimes an adventure is exploring a new part of town, trying a new restaurant, or visiting with family.

Work has really picked up for Tyler, which is great! However, it means that my use of the car is somewhat restricted. Instead of my usual outdoor activities, I’ve been adventuring in other ways.

One day when I didn’t have a car, my mom came down to visit. We went out to eat at a local restaurant that I have never been to: Highland Tap . There I ate a delicious salmon BLT. I got their mix of fries and onion rings as a side. While those were still good, I wish I had opted for a side of brussel sprouts. That’s what Mom got. Luckily, she is nice and shared them with me. After lunch, Mom and I went shopping for some new tops to go with my new tights. We found several shirts for me. Success!

Continue reading “Recently, Non-Outdoor Adventures”

Roadtrip 2016 Day Eight: Nashville, our last day

Ashley eating a sushi burrito at the Tomato Arts Festival.

This is the last blog post in the roadtrip series. If you missed any of the previous posts, no worries! Click here for a complete list. 

Ashley woke early, early to get ready for the 5k race, but I didn’t even notice. Ashley’s bed was wonderfully comfy. She even had blackout curtains, so I slept far later than any other day. I was just stirring when Tyler got a phone call from Ashley. She was finished with the race and was stopping at the bakery. Did we want anything?

Continue reading “Roadtrip 2016 Day Eight: Nashville, our last day”

Roadtrip 2016 Day Two: Shenandoah National Park

Missed the first post? Click here for a list of all the blog posts in the series. 

One of my favorite pictures from Shenandoah National Park.

If you recall, Tyler and I feel asleep under the air conditioning window unit in Nancy’s living room. The air conditioning was fantastic. Despite the warm sticky air outside, we were quite comfortable. The window unit itself was a bit less fantastic.

It had two modes, quiet and loud. Either mode was perfectly fine. It created white noise which Tyler and I prefer for sleep anyways. The issue is the fact that there were two modes. You see, I would be used to the quiet mode. Then, the window unit would kick into loud mode and startle me awake. After a little while, I’d become accustomed to the louder noise, fall asleep, only to be startled awake during the next cycle. Still, I much preferred sleeping in the living room with the air conditioning and ceiling fan than in the basement.

That morning, Nancy came down the stairs to wake us up. I was cozy in my sleeping bag snuggled up with Tyler, but I knew we had to hop to. Nancy and I made lunches while Tyler packed away our nest. Before long and mostly on time, we hit the road. We made a quick stop at a local cafe for freshly baked pretzels. I got a pretzel slider, which is an egg, cheese, and bacon breakfast sandwich on a small round “everything” bagel. It was so tasty!

Continue reading “Roadtrip 2016 Day Two: Shenandoah National Park”

Roadtrip 2016 Day One: Onward to Washington D.C.


8:00 AM – Tyler and I pulled out of the parking lot of our apartment.

I was impressed. You see, Tyler and I are somewhat notorious for not leaving on time. On our own, we can usually get to where we are going just fine. But put us together? We are going to be atleast 15 minutes later than intended. This morning though, we did well. Our original plan was to be up at seven and leave shortly thereafter with the ultimate goal of leaving by eight at the absolute latest.

Continue reading “Roadtrip 2016 Day One: Onward to Washington D.C.”