I decided to make this week’s WIR post a double feature, accounting for the past two weeks that we’ve spent at our family abode out in Utah. There seems to be some confusion about the Utah situation, so I thought I’d take a moment to clarify just in case you’re not in the know. Don’s folks built a home out here about twenty-five years ago as their family vacation spot. It’s located just outside of Park City, which is an ideal location for that true country feel with accessibility to an international airport (Salt Lake City) and some primo skiing (Deer Valley is our favorite!). My husband Don has spent Christmastime and large chunks of his summers out here ever since he was a little kid. I came out to the house for the first time the Christmas before we got married (2004) and have been enjoying a week or two stay at the holidays and in the summer for the past nine years. My in-laws, Keith & Suzanne, are extremely generous with the house, allowing me and Don to make his old childhood room suitable for two adults and encouraging us to visit whenever we can, not necessarily only when the whole family comes out. I fell in love with Utah during my first visit back in 2004 and have been making more frequent and longer trips out for the past few years. This summer I was very fortunate to be able to carve out an extended stay with Don. We can both work anywhere so long as there is internet (even with the extremely slow connection out here!), which makes the staying longer easier. We’re happy that the family has now joined us for the remainder of the trip.
The Beauty Around Us
One of the things I love most about Utah is how different the landscape is from our home base, Chicago. Don’t get me wrong, I love the midwest! Chicago definitely has a lot to offer in terms of cultural, social, and natural resources. There’s just something about being out in the country, surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch mountain range of the Rockies, that makes me feel really…grounded. The fresh air, plethora of both wild and domestic (farm) animals, and wide open spaces definitely contribute to that feeling, as well. I spend so much more time outside when I am here, even if just to sit on the porch and watch a storm roll in (another awesome benefit of those aforementioned wide open spaces) or eat dinner on the deck and then roast marshmallows over a fire with the family. Even running takes on a different feeling. Instead of passing by well groomed lawns, suburban houses and shops as I do at home, I run down country roads alongside farms of fields and animals with the gorgeous mountains as my backdrop. Plus, running at an altitude of 6,000 feet as compared to 600 at home brings its own challenges, making something that can be static suddenly new again. I’ve always felt that I’m more of a country mouse than a city mouse, but as it turns out, it’s nice to be able to experience the best of both worlds. I count my lucky stars every single day for the blessing of this opportunity.
Go Ahead, Indulge A Little
I am no stranger to enjoying the finer things in life and I make an effort to grab moments to relax and indulge whenever I can. Life is short, you know? Why not take advantage of opportunities while you can. Opportunity is fleeting and there’s no shame in enjoying what brings you pleasure so long as it’s not hurting anyone. There have been some delicious indulgences I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy these past two weeks. Being out in nature in this beautiful place at this gorgeous house with my wonderful family is top on my list. In terms of more personal pleasures, however, there are some highlights to share.
The first indulgence is the luxury of a brand new mattress. The beautiful wooden sleigh bed in our room here is actually a hand-me-down from good family friends of ours. As much as I love the bed itself, the mattress was…well, let’s just say in dire need of replacing. I am not certain, but I am estimating it was a good twenty-five years old. Considering how much time one spends sleeping and how much the quality of a mattress can affect not only your sleep, but your mood and physical well-being, I decided it was finally time to take the plunge and buy a new one. I have two words to sum up this indulgence: total bliss.
Another personal pleasure I partake in is my bath time ritual, which I do on a regular basis at home as well. As much as I prefer the actual tub in our Chicago house, the one out at our Utah house has something I cannot get at home: a stunning view. Taking a bath right around sunset is particularly enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like a good book, a cup of tea, and the glorious mountain view while soaking in the tub. Let me rephrase: total bliss.
Lastly, I tend to indulge in some quality sweets while I am out in Utah. I have a huge sweet tooth, am an admitted chocoholic, cookie monster, and cake fiend. I definitely know how to indulge in the sweeter things on a regular basis (moderation is key, though!). Chicago is known for its fine dining, local bakeries, and access to internationally renowned chocolates and candies. So what does Utah have to offer in the sweets department? 1) The best dessert buffet spread I’ve ever seen anywhere at Stein Eriksen Lodge’s Sunday brunch (see my apparent glee before diving into my dessert plate in the above photo). And 2) the best milkshakes I’ve ever had in my life found at the local legendary spot, Dairy Keen (not to be confused with Dairy Queen). These are no typical milkshakes. They’re actually more akin to a Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonald’s McFlurry, but about a thousand times better. Plus, the options for customizability make for a truly unique treat. I try to limit myself to one brunch per visit and ice cream runs just twice a week when we’re out here for the sake of moderation. There’s a balance to be found in everything, including indulgences. But awesome dessert buffets and the best ice cream ever? Say it with me: total bliss.
As you can see I very much enjoy my time spent out in Utah. I am doing my best to keep up with my work, including blogging, filming, and editing, while also allowing some time for leisurely pursuits as well as hanging out with the family. Finding the right balance is made easier when I feel grounded. Simply being here in Utah consistently provides that for me.
I hope that you are able to enjoy the beauty of nature, indulge when you can in what brings you joy, and strike a balance between work and play this summer and always. And don’t forget to grab that opportunity to enjoy total bliss whenever you can! 🙂