|Above: A glimmering rainbow somewhere in Utah.|
|Above: We were sad that this highly-praised small town diner was closed the day we passed through town. The expansive list of shake and malts in the window further intensified our disappointment ; )|
After an ambitious drive from Southern California to St. George, Utah on our first day (mitigated by a brief dinner stopover at PF Chang’s in Las Vegas, NV), we found ourselves driving across the vast state of Utah, which yielded hundreds of miles of pristine flatlands, immaculately-maintained small towns and skies filled with delightfully fluffy clouds.
|Above: A creative planter with bright skies and the Mormon Temple in the background.|
We spent one night in Salt Lake City, Utah and explored the famed Mormon Tabernacle…the grounds were well-manicured and featured an array of gothic architecture that posed striking contrast to the bright blue skies.
|Above: My husband and me in Salt Lake City.|
After some requisite picture taking in the gardens, hark, I spotted a Nordstrom in the distance…we ended up picking up Mocha Ice Storms at the eBar and perused the store. Miraculously, I left without purchasing a single item…I made sure to record that moment in my planner because it doesn’t happen often!
|Above: The Salt Lake City Nordstrom in the horizon.|
|Above: Crossing the state line to Idaho.|
Onward, we briefly drove through Idaho and the weather and terrain changed rather dramatically. The temperature dropped and the flatlands transformed into smaller mountains ranges and valleys, giving the land texture and character.
|Above: The Wyoming state sign was my favorite on this trip…pure Western Americana.|
Before nightfall that day, we made it to Wyoming (our farthest point in the trip). After a few days of nearly 100 degree weather, the brisk weather felt wonderful…I was actually able to put on a jacket on and the rural surroundings emanated a vibe of the real Wild West!
|Above: Side braid to save the day. I love how the clouds are reflected in my glasses in this image…the skies were utterly gorgeous in Wyoming.|
We got a restful night of sleep at our lovely hotel in Jackson Hole, WY and the next day, we headed to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Because it was quite windy, a loose side braid seemed like an apropos hairstyle for the afternoon.
|Above: One of the many geysers and geothermal pools we encountered while taking the two mile walk along the “boardwalk” at Yellowstone.|
The Grand Tetons National Park offered lush forest and meandering waterways, but Yellowstone National Park blew my mind. The geysers and geothermal pools created an amazing landscape to behold…it truly felt like we were on another planet!
|My brother and me at the geysers in Yellowstone National Park.|
|Above: The kind and knowledgeable Shayne and me in front of her beauty boutique.|
After a full day of driving and walking through Yellowstone, we opted to explore the charming city of Jackson Hole. Aside from Las Vegas, this was by far the most populous and retail-friendly city, with adorable shops and tasty restaurant options. I stumbled upon an adorable boutique called Shayne Skin Care and Cosmetics. It was like an oasis in the beauty desert that I had encountered up to that point! Stocked with independent beauty lines and skin care favorites from Decleor and Caudalie, this store keeps the fine citizens of Jackson Hole glowing!
I also was introduced to a line that was new to me called H.Wood.Beauty, which had a full offering of products and left with a lovely pinky nude lipstick called Newport (full review soon!).
|Above: The H.Wood.Beauty line and a swatch of Newport on my wrist.|
|Above: Some other spoils from Jackson Hole…husband and father trying on cowboy hats like crazy and a perfectly comfortable pair of tall, flat boots. I wore them the rest of the trip!|
|Above: Jethro and me in front of the famous antlers of Jackson Hole.|
Upon leaving Jackson Hole, we drove a dirt road eight miles (which, naturally, felt like 20) to a hot springs up in the hills. This pool of sorts has water from the hot springs pumped into it consistently…a totally strange incarnation in the middle of nowhere! The proprietor told us to make sure we don’t accidentally drink any unless we wanted amoebic dysentery. Uh…no thanks.
|Above: My brother and me post-hot springs…still alive! Oh, and my lip color is Newport ; )|
|Above: In a ponderous mood…trying to make sense of that which is the Outlaw Inn.|
Late that night, we then checked into what I might deem the hotel with the most bizarre (yet oddly alluring ) architecture I have ever encountered (and I’ve stayed at a host of hotels/motels, both large and small). The Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, Wyoming, was like a typical motor inn, except that it had a roof over the entire property, making it feel like you were outdoors while being indoors. It’s difficult to articulate to say the least. Couple that with the early 1960’s vibe and I can safely say that I won’t be forgetting this place anytime soon!
|Above: The Outlaw Inn…another view. Quick question…why are there umbrellas by the pool?|
From Rock Springs, Wyoming to Grand Junction, Colorado, we detoured to Dinosaur National Park, which boast a plethora of fossils nestled into its rocky canyons. Although we were too late for the last shuttle to view the bones themselves, we did get to see some manmade dinosaur formations at the front of the visitor center…almost the same thing, right?
|Above: Yes, that is a dinosaur behind me.|
|Above: A typical view from anyplace on Main Street in Palisade.|
We then pulled back into Utah (albeit, a different section of the state than we had been in previously) and checked into our hotel in Moab, a small town known for two national parks: Canyonlands and the Arches. The bright red rocks and giant Colorado River created a vibrant palette for eyes!
|Above: Our unreal view at dinner.|
|Above: Handling the flies like champs.|
|Above: Arches as far as the eye can see and tiny, tiny people.|
Arches National Park was strikingly beautiful…the intricate formations are true icons of the West, calling to mind God’s glory and our small stature. We braved the heat and merciless sun (thank you baseball cap and Napoleon BBB Cream for the added protection!) to walk the trails that led to intimate views of the most famous of the arches.
|Above: My lovely mom and me enjoying some temporary shade.|
|Above: My husband, Jethro and me. It’s tricky to skillfully fit all three of us into my iPhone camera window ; )|
|Above: Dual arches appropriately titled, “The Double Arch.”|
|Above: Poolside, watching the storm approach.|
After a couple of days of exploring the red canyons and fantastic formations of Moab, we decided to spend some restful time at the gorgeous pool at our hotel. It was so relaxing to soak up some sun and do a bit of reading. I’ll admit, I also took advantage of the speedy Wi-Fi to return email and prep a blog post ; ) Later in the afternoon, a wild thunderstorm rolled in; the extreme winds, rain and lighting forced us to take refuge in our rooms nearby.
|Above: The Colorado River at sunset, right before departing on our boat ride.|
|Above: The night sky above the Colorado River.|
|Above: When he’s tired, Jethro can slumber anywhere.|
After our adventures in Moab, Jethro was duly exhausted. Sometimes it is easy to forget that one step for us is many steps for his little feet!
|Above: Clouds, clouds and more clouds…just breathtaking.|
Our drive from Moab to St. George, Utah was punctuated by a bevy of clouds (that at times, produced torrential rain) and over the course of our winding route, we found ourselves bouncing between Colorado and Utah until we reached our final destination.
|Above: The Marc Jacobs Beauty line at Sephora in the Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada.|
On our last day of our travels, we reached Las Vegas by noon, which allowed for a perusal of the Sephora at the Venetian. I was excited to explore the recently released Marc Jacobs Beauty line (initially reviewed HERE) and ended up selecting a key set of items to experiment with at home.
|Above: The men sitting in “their chairs” at Sephora (needless to say, they’ve been in this position before). They are patient and supportive, which is a blessing, indeed!|
|Above: Immediately following a leisurely dinner at Canaletto.|
|Above: Jethro loves getting fresh air when driving. He truly is the best traveler!|