Sunday, July 14, 2024

Home Away From Home

With all of the research I've done here for my books, this amazing refuge feels like my home away from home. Thank you to all of the hard-working people who make Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge a beautiful refuge for birds, wildlife, and people!

Friday, June 7, 2024

Happy Anniversary

27 years ago, our fairytale began...

We've slayed some dragons, conquered demons, and rolled with the punches. We've gone on amazing adventures that sound made-up, laughed until tears ran down our cheeks, and experienced the joy of living every day as best friends.

And through it all, all those incredible highs and heartbreaking lows, we've stuck together. Because unconditional love is the strongest love of them all.

Today I celebrate our unwavering love and the man who literally made all of my dreams come true. Thank you for always being there for me. I love you with all of my heart and soul.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Find Your Park

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The setting of Rock and a Hard Place (written under my penname (Claire Embry) was inspired by my visits to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Coming up with names for areas in my fictional August Volcanic National Park--like Goblin Valley, Devil’s Ridge, Incubus Peak, Demon River, Mount Hellion, and Diablo Creek--was a blast!

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I'm grateful to live so close to this beautiful real-life place, especially when it's sweltering in the valley and we need to escape to the mountains for some cool, refreshing air.

What's your favorite National Park to visit?

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Friday, May 31, 2024

Ice Skates in the Wetlands? Sure, why not?!

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I still think it’s hilarious that I brought hockey skates to my local wildlife refuge to take promo pics for Wild Ice.

Luckily, we had the place to ourselves or else I’m sure we would have received some interesting looks from birders wondering what in the world we were doing with ice skates in the wetlands!!!

Monday, May 27, 2024

She Persevered

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I was leery to post this comparison photo because I'm still ashamed of how far I let myself go and how out of control my food choices were just a few short years ago. But hubby reminded me of how hard I worked to lose 95 pounds and get to where I am today--healthy, happy, and comfortable in my own skin for the very first time. And when he said, "maybe it'll inspire someone else," I knew I had to share my journey update.

It's so easy to look at a before and after and forget about the grind in the middle that I had to work my way through to get here. It wasn't easy. I struggled and I fought, but I never once gave up because I wanted it more than anything. And to have success at such a transformation after the age of 40 and while in perimenopause is even more miraculous to me. But it was a challenge I didn't back away from. But I did back away from the junk food.

And I found yoga. I did a crap-ton of HIIT workouts in the beginning because I furiously wanted the weight off as quickly as possible because I couldn't stand being so incredibly uncomfortable anymore. But yoga was the thing I kept returning to because it was so low-impact and it helped me with my anxiety like nothing else I've ever tried. There isn't a HIIT workout for anxiety, PMS, before bedtime, back pain, etc., but there is a yoga practice for all of those things. So, when you see me posting pics of me doing yoga poses out in nature and you're like we get it, she's really into yoga, it's because I'm celebrating the beautiful movement of my body that I've never known before. I'm free to take up space in a different way and it's been the most pivotal part of my journey.

I look back at photos of myself and I remember exactly what was going on in my head during each of them. Trying to pose just right to hide my double chin. Hiding underneath baggy black sweatshirts so that maybe no one would notice that I was overweight. Feeling like I was "less than" because my out-of-control relationship with food was right there, packed onto my 5'3" frame, for all of the world to see. Completely uncomfortable physically and mentally.

Now, I'm thrilled to report that I am finally comfortable with myself. I'm comfortable with my 99% vegan food plan--damn you, microwave popcorn! I look forward to practicing yoga every morning because I enjoy it. (What started out as a 30-day challenge turned into 2 years!) I'm getting better at living with the loose skin and accepting that things are saggier than they used to be. I'm comfortable being me. Gosh, it took me a long time to be able to say that.

My journey of self-love will always be an ongoing one, especially as I age, but it's such a relief to finally be at peace with so many aspects of myself. I'm not battling myself anymore. I've made friends with myself. I'm creative and generous and funny and resilient, and so was the woman on the left side of the photo. She was awesome. She proved everyone wrong. She kept going when people said it was impossible to lose weight over 40. She didn't give up when perimenopause kicked her into a hell dimension she didn't know existed. She freakin' PERSEVERED!!!

So, now that I'm all teary-eyed, I'll leave you with this...

How bad do you want it?

That's it. That's what you have to ask yourself when the going gets tough. And this applies to anything in life. Do you want it bad enough to actually succeed?

Because it's there. Just waiting for you to claim it. The light at the end of that long, dark, oppressing tunnel. The light that you're hiding in yourself because you're afraid. Get off your butt, lace up your shoes, and start making your way toward it.

And because this post went real serious real fast, I'll lighten the moment and close out with my favorite quote from Goon...

Take that special light of yours and find what works for you!


Monday, May 20, 2024

Sandy Shenanigans

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Is Avery Addison a workaholic? Of course! How else had she built a fashion empire from the ground up in one of the toughest cities in the world? When a boat ride to meet a potential client goes terribly wrong, she finds herself far from New York and stranded on a desert island in the South Pacific. But she isn’t alone...

Red Valley Ravens series, Book 6