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Monday, July 21, 2014

Leo Carrillo State Beach, California with

The sun, sand and sea are rare for me and my tots. We spend our days in the cool mountains of Utah most of the time, but once a year I find myself craving the sound of waves hitting the beach, salty sea air on my face and a long stretch of sand for me and my kids to play in.
And no summer vacation would be complete without friends to share it with. On this excursion to Leo Carrillo State Beach in California I met up with Jennifer Fontaine, blogger and editor at and her lovely daughter, V.  I'm a fan of her blog, a follower of hers on twitter and facebook, but actually meeting face to face - chasing our kids in the water and looking for hermit crabs - helped me realize that all those words on a screen actually came from a human being, a great one at that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Glassblowing at Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah

I wrote the following blog post for Sundance Mountain Resort about their awesome glass blowing program. If you ever have a chance to check these artists out, DO IT!

This article originally appeared at

Sundance's Recycling Glass Program by Susan Strayer

Beautiful colors mix in a molten sphere as artisans create fragile treasures to inspire and admire.Sundance Mountain Resort boasts one of the nation's only recycled glass workshops, where Mexican artisans Gustavo Calderón Sr. and Octavio Fidencio Flores mold and shape old bottles into new beautiful creations. This past week I spent some time chatting with them while admiring their work.
 Glassblowers 2
Speaking in their native Spanish, Gustavo explained how the furnace functioned. “We have three ovens here, one melts down old bottles at 2,000 to 2,300 degrees Farenheit. The finishing oven is used to heat the project while we work it, to keep its shape. The final electric oven finishes the glass, lowering the temperature slowly so the piece doesn't break.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Better than the Aquarium: Tide Pools at Carpinteria State Beach, CA

I have a thing for starfish. I find them beautiful and fascinating, even more so when I can see them in their natural environment. One of the coolest, mind-blowing experiences I've had this year was watching sea life in the tide pools at Carpinteria State Beach in Southern California. 

Maybe I find these animals so amazing because they are not part of my daily life. As a mountain mom, I grow tired of seeing deer, wild turkeys, blue jays and hummingbirds. They're always around. But sea stars, anemones, crabs and harbor seals? That's something to see.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun in the Sun and Trying New Things, Carpinteria State Beach, California

What I love most about traveling is experiencing the newness of it. Vacations are powerful parts of life because we get out of our everyday stresses and routines and open ourselves up to experiencing life a little differently.

My kids may get to learn and grow in new ways daily but for me, it takes breaking free from the daily pressures of life to try new things. On our beach trip to California, while the Big E and little g dug, swam, splashed and ran I tried a few new things of my own.

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