The Quest for New Air

Montana clouds

Home is where the heart is. Or so they say.

Yet, sometimes, the heart yearns for new horizons. New places that sing to the soul, chiming into some deep channel of a life past lived and reconnecting to journeys that began many centuries ago.

I must admit, I’m envious of people who are able to spend their entire existence in one spot. And remain content. How they do it, I’ll never know, yet, envious I remain for the “sameness gene” that clearly skipped over me at birth.

From the time I was about 16 years old, I was desperate for a new horizon. I craved it. I felt like my little hometown was squeezing the life out of me – making it impossible to breath. I’ve already breathed all the Sonoma County air. I was in search of new air. Air that had never entered my lungs and propelled my soul into the next level of contentment.

There were so many new roads to take, views to witness, places to experience first-hand. New air to breathe. I wanted to experience them all.

{To this day, I am gently reminded that when I finally took my first globe-trotting steps – in search of new air – just shy of my 19th year, I departed on Mother’s Day. I don’t think she ever forgave me, nor fully understood my addiction for varied landscapes. And the air, oh the air…}

That first day was my Golden Birthday, wrapped in Halloween, with a side of Thanksgiving and topped with Christmas. And I never looked back.

I only remember my heart was singing as loudly as it could, and my lungs were gasping gulps of freedom! Oh, how sweet it tasted. I felt like a helium balloon, drifting higher and higher as each mile carried me further and further from any recognizable ground.

Since that first outward-bound leap, my lungs have had their fill of locales – the Queens borough of New York, the Beaches of Redondo, and for the past 11 years, the twin lobes have been filled to the brim with the purest Big Sky air that God had the forethought to concoct.

Big Sky air is lighter than most, requiring more gulps to gain fulfillment. And, it’s also colder. Much colder than I’ve ever experienced.  For eight months or more in any given year, these bronchial tubes constricted tighter than a square knot when the Mercury dipped below any normal functioning degree.

Then, my respiratory rate altered. What happens when you’re not consciously thinking about respiration? Breaths grow shallow. Tired. Feels like life is being sucked out of you, slowly. Painfully.

Contentment stales to restlessness. Where is the new, fresh air?

After much contemplation, it has been determined, we are trading cold air for warm air. For the next track of our lives, we will allow ourselves to fill up on some of the most beautiful air available.

Gulf air.

The Florida kind.

That thought alone not only initiates an automatic response, but literally I am able to inhale and exhale to my full extent: relaxing the external intercostal muscles and diaphragm, to a most peace-filled resting position. Air is fully exhaled.

All I need…is the air that I breathe…and a new place to call home…


Note: I would be remiss to not give proper love, adoration, virtual hugs and a giant shout-out to all the wonderful Treasure State gems with whom we’ve shared air.

These are quality people – salt-of-the-earth types who welcomed us with open arms, despite the air we breathed previous to landing in the Bo-Zone.

My wish is that should any of you ever find yourself in the Sunshine State enjoying our sunny, humid air, that you’ll knock upon our door so we can once again, share some air. Warm air. The kind that renews your spirit and satisfies your thirst for contentment.

 KW AAL Logo

Bathing Beauty

Editor’s Note: Boy, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted within this white space. It feels good to be back. Where did I go? Nowhere special. Just enjoying my days in a Willy-Nilly sort of fashion. I’ve been without full time work since January – but rather have been doing freelance and contract work, but all the while, keeping an eye out for the next fabulous full-time opportunity. The break in schedule has offered an ample chance for self-reflection and ponderous life-enhancing goal-setting.

Now, finding myself in the middle of summer, I browsed several past posts and discovered this gem. It was from a Girls’ Weekend when we rented a lovely home in Sonoma via VRBO. This place was amazing, and made us feel as though we were in the hills of Tuscany, enjoying lazy afternoons filled with many lovely varietals of wine.

The main point of this post was beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or the camera gal, which was me. My friend wasn’t thrilled with the photos, only as she fails to see her effervescent beauty.

I trust you are all enjoying your summer and recognizing the everyday beauty that surrounds you at every turn. Cheers.  

We are funny creatures.

We are unique.

We are each beautiful in the way that makes us “us” yet, when others stop to observe our unique beauty – we squawk. We say, “Don’t use that photo! Look at my fat this or my funky that.”

You know why we are so funny?

Because that funkiness is what makes us so awesome!

(Side note – as owner of this blog, I can spout off about this subject, yet have been known to delete a photo from time to time  – to time – of myself where I find nary a wrinkle, flap of skin or otherwise gross imperfection that I will be damned to expose to the world at large. But, that’s the point of being the OWNER of this blog. I can say or show whatever I want – or don’t want – within this white space. And you can’t stop me!)

I was so excited to take some candid, poolside photos, yet everyone (and admittedly, myself included) gets goosey about photos in a swim suit. But how can you not see the unrivaled, raw, loveliness of the following photos (of which my friend didn’t appreciate nearly as much as I did.)

In my book, a body that has birthed double-sets of twins deserves some kudos.

And a spotlight.

And a tiara.

This is my most favorite shot from the entire weekend.

I love the colors and mix of patterns.

I love the serenity.

And most importantly, I love the model – {both inside and out!}


Editor’s Note: It’s graduation week, a few days before guests arrive, and tassels dance from one side of the mortar board to the other. I’m already exhausted, and not feeling 100%. (Went to see the doc, and there is nothing “wrong” with me, other than perhaps I have a severe case of “Senioritis!”) As I contemplate all that this week means, I cannot help but daydream about vacations, beaches, fancy drinks and much needed R & R – after all, this week has been 18 years in the making!

Later this summer, Sexy Hubby and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in our favorite spot – the Gulf Coast of Florida. And I had such a hankering for sand this morning, I dug through the archives to locate this blog post.

Happy Tuesday, my gentle readers. 

Boys are off fishing this morning, which leaves me alone to walk on the beach, shop, read – all the lovely pieces and parts of vacation.

You don’t want to hear me blather, when I can show you this…


Only a few more days of paradise.

And I promise to use them to the best of my beachy ability!

Dream List 2013 = Blog Post #700

Welcome 2013 

2013 – I’m happy to meet you, and hope we have a wonderful 365 days together. I aim to make the most of the days, living them happily and with vigor and appreciation. (And to welcome the new year, this marks An Authentic Life’s 700th blog post!)

Day #1 of 2013 and big changes have already begun. Prior to the sun making her first appearance of the new year, I kissed Sexy Hubby good-bye as he makes his way to the Mile High City to begin his new journey as National Safety Manager Western United States. That leaves me and Rocco to fend for ourselves (oh, and the Senior as well, but he barely shows himself before noon on weekends or holidays.)

Rather than impose any lofty resolutions on a brand new year, I’m opting instead for places I plan to visit – my Dream List – within the next 12 months.

Take a ride along with me. Maybe it will inspire YOU to find new corners of the globe to greet in 2013. Here are a few of the highlights on the docket for the new year:

January 2013

Atlanta's Top Restaurants

January will put me in Atlanta for work, and while there I hope to find some noteworthy restaurants. Got ideas? Please let me know what’s NOT to miss.

April 2013


I’m most excited to return to a city I love – and one I haven’t seen in person for quite some time. Again, this will be a work trip, but I’m sure there will be some fancy food, drinks, and or old faces to visit along the way!




May 2013

I’m hoping May will find me and Sexy Hubby (and ???) sharing a weekend here – away from the snow in Montana – the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.









 June 2013

This will be a first for me – NASHVILLE! I can’t hardly wait to discover this fine country city. And of course, I’m hoping to run directly into my favorite country crooner – Gary Allan!!


Gary Allan










August 2013

Probably the most anticipated of the year – August – will find Sexy Hubby and myself on a second honeymoon as we celebrate our 2oth Wedding Anniversary!

In honor of same, we plan to enjoy time on the beach of Florida’s Sanibel Island.


…and if we have a really good (read=SAFE) year, then next New Year’s Eve, I hope to be here – celebrating…

turks and caicos

What’s on your dream list for 2013?

Happy New Year to all my Gentle Readers!



Puppy’s Day Out

Today was a lovely winter day in Southwest Montana (and Eastern Idaho) – and it was our puppy’s first big day out.

Not only was it Rocco’s first long car ride, first trip to the edge of Yellowstone National Park, and his first time in the fine state of Idaho – but he also met friends visiting from Healdsburg, California and Salt Lake City.

Road to Big Sky Montana

Edge of Yellowstone National Park

View from Rear View Mirro

winter view from the rear view mirro

Even though I continually complain when the mercury drops below “reasonable,” this part of the country has some of the most incredible winter scenery – and for that, I am glad for the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

walking in a winter wonderland

Joe walking in snow with Rocco

Isn’t he the most darling little muffin you’ve ever seen??

Yorkie puppy in the snow Rocco

Is it any coincidence that he’s the shape of a heart?

I love my Yorkie Puppy Rocco

Yorkie puppy walking in the snow Rocco

Katie and Rocco in snow

katie and rocco yorkie puppy love

Sexy Hubby, who??

Seems I have a new love – a puppy love!!!


Lovely Boutique in Salt Lake City

Editor’s Note: I’ve gotten to a stage where peeps I’ve blogged about in the past, are now asking me to do it again, or update information, links or promote an upcoming event. 
I take that as a huge compliment. 
The fine folks at Bohme Boutique in Salt Lake City recently did the same thing. So here is the blog with an updated link to their fine establishment. If you are in the area, I highly recommend paying them a visit!
I am a sucker for a beautiful store.
I found this gem at a mall in Salt Lake City. It had it all – lovely fixtures, beautiful decor, and of course, couture and fashion – and for a really good price!
As soon as I walked into Bohme Boutique, I knew I was going to blog about it.
I walked around the store several times – allowing my senses wash over me. As much as the Internet is trying to compete for my shopping dollars, I am a marketing person. I love to see, touch and experience life inside the store. It’s all about design, product placement, displays – the ethereal experience of shopping that you just don’t get from a keyboard!
I love stores that makes sense. Bohme understands how women like to shop. Take the jeans, for instance. No hangers, just folded for easy access to sizing, and style. It was easy to see everything in this store = key to selling!

More views of Bohme Boutique…

Where was Sexy Hubby this entire time, you ask?
At the Cabela’s Super Store…about 15 minutes away. While I was in my own shopping bliss, he was in his! Isn’t love grand?

I simply couldn’t resist all the sparkling baubles in this store (I went home with a few pieces!)

This was the darling sales gal who rang up my boutique purchase. She even matched the decor! She was funny – and wouldn’t “pose” for me, but smiled none-the-less!

Au Revoir Bohme. Until we meet again.

Life’s A Beach


What a weekend.

Today, I’m in restore mode – which is a perfect time to share. Prior to arriving in Southern California, I had a few visions in my mind of beach shots I wanted to capture.

Take a look. They turned out splendidly.


This is my favorite shot! Lucky for me, my model is multi-talented. Not to mention flexible.

Connor couldn’t wait to get into the action. This shot reminds me of break-dancing in the air.

…and this was only the first afternoon.

I’ll share more. After a nap.

Separate but Equal

Marriage and togetherness is a wonderful combination. Sharing every waking moment with the one you love. Every moment in each other’s company is akin to falling deeper into the abyss of oneness. Life (and love) just doesn’t get any better. Right?

Not necessarily…

Perhaps newly married peeps cannot fathom separate anything. Yet, as a happily married person for going on two decades, I can affirmatively say, separate on occasion is what makes all the togetherness remotely tolerable.

Case in point – separate but equal vacations.

Next week, Sexy Hubby will be out searching the whiles of Montana with like-minded individuals who would spend their last dollar to attain trophy antlers.

His idea of a perfect (separate but equal) vacation:


And while he is there, sleeping in a wall tent, riding a quad all over the wilderness in search of the mighty elk, not showering and peeing in the woods (a place I never want to be. Ever.)

I’ll be here, with a few of my life-long besties…



…and lounging poolside with a drink in hand…

I am positive I don’t need further proof to support the hypothesis that separate but equal vacations are indeed the KEY to a successful and life-long marriage.

I am living proof.

View I NEED today…

Ever get the suffocating feeling that only a vacation can cure? Oh, do I ever have it now, and we don’t have a real vacation on the books until mid-2013. Wonder if I’ll make it that long? 

In the meantime, I’m taking a look back to a trip to Maui – granted it was a work trip, but with this view, and the feel of the ocean breeze…ahhhh….I’m nearly relaxed at the mere thought…

Today, I’m going back to the Fall of 2010. Back to Maui.

Enjoy, gentle readers…


Sitting at my “desk” I could see the sun beginning to set on the horizon. I grabbed the trusty Canon (my new best friend) and began to run. Literally.

The thing about the Grand Wailea – although it’s the most super-fabulous resort – it’s much like a House of Mirrors – you SEE where you want to go, but cannot get there. Knowing my time was very limited, I was attempting to find the most direct line to the water. I began on the nearest walkway, heading west, and ended at an elevator. I took the elevator down to the 1st floor.

Wrong floor.

Punch the button.


Back into the elevator, this time to Level “G” – ground.

I popped out of that elevator, to the nearest pathway, again racing toward the impending sunset. God bless the elderly couple in front of me, out for an evening stroll. I ducked around them, politely of course, and began trotting…

Trotting, loping, trying not to sprint and looking like a total freak. But, time was ticking.

When I finally rounded the corner, the sight was well worth the hassel.

Stunning, I know
Lovely beyond words

If I were to marry again (only you, Sexy Hubby) or have a grand party, this would be the location I would pick.

It simply took my breath away (which reminds me of something my son said when he was small. We were visiting the Grand Tetons for the first time, and I kept repeating, “It just takes my breath away” and he said later, “Mommy, it makes me not breathe.” Priceless moments.)

Molokini Gardens – Grand Wailea – Maui

And the night ended in the open-air lobby with a Lava Flow…

What The Heck is a Chokecherry??

Prior to moving to Montana, I clearly admit, I’d never even heard of a chokecherry. What the …? Why would you want to ingest something that includes the word “choke” in the title?

What is a chokecherry, you ask?

choke·cher·ry/ˈCHōkˌCHerē/ – a North American cherry (Prunus virginiana) with an edible astringent fruit that is more palatable when cooked.

Apparently this sour, little fruit is so popular, a town in central Montana plans an entire festival around the odd-named berry – The Chokecherry Festival is held annually in Lewistown, Montana.

The festival also includes the infamous “pit spit” – to determine who can spit a chokecherry pit the farthest (although, we didn’t stay for that part of the show – gives us a reason to return next year…)

We visited Lewistown yesterday – on our way to tour “What the Hay” hay bale display (which I’ll share later in the week). Not only was it a most lovely, late summer day, but we were met with friendly folks, food vendors and many crafty-kin alike.

Can you believe the depth of  the “Big Sky” blue? (Photo NOT color enhanced!!)

Main Street U.S.A – Lewistown, Montana

Love the old-fashioned style of this old-timer, feathers and all.

Yep, I was shocked by the size of these “big girl panties” and apparently so was the on-looker (on the left!)

Interesting “Yard Art” made from ancient, recycled treasures!

“Funky Chicken” photo – appears to be at a stand-off with a Chokecherry Festival attendee…(I love the magic of capturing a simple photo when it transforms into modern art!)

Antique art, when you least expect it, on the streets of Lewistown, Montana.

Local “beanie” vendor.

Loved this bag – called “The Montana.” {Note, had a funny exchange with the owner of the booth. Apparently “The Rebel” makes people nervous, and I was asked if these images were for “my private use.” Immediately I presented a business card, revealing the blog, and it seemed to smooth things over. The proprietor was concerned I was going to “steal her designs” – which is a huge compliment, but obviously, she has no clue regarding my non-existent sewing-felting ability.}

For more information on Barefoot Beading and Bags, contact

Another lovely booth – and super creative ideas – The Little Podunk Store. My favorite find here, not only the items for sale – The Redneck Wine Glass (shown in photo – a ball jar on a pedestal with lid and straw) – but the lovely pieces of display art (which are sadly, not for sale!) Proprietor – Charity Beaman – is a charming, creative gal after my own heart, who shared with me, when building the displays she tries to “keep the fixtures intact.” *LOVE*

Follow the arrow to the “Red Neck Big Gulp!” So fun!!!!

…next stop…”What The Hay” in quaint Hobson, Montana…

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