Ice Castles

Last weekend my sister in law and I took BG and our nephew to visit one of Utah’s best kept secrets–the Ice Castles at Midway–and they were so amazing!  We walked in and it was like walking into a real life set of the movie Frozen.  There are icicles everywhere forming walls, tunnels and amazing formations.  The ice castle also had one fun slide that we went on a couple times before the line got too long, then the kids just went down the smaller slides.  You have to get tickets ahead of time for the ice castle and I waited until the day before when all of the evening tickets were already sold out, so we went during the day.  Although it was amazing, next year I definitely want to go at night to see the castle lit up!





Christmas in Pictures

We had a white Christmas, but it was way too cold to be outside and enjoy it. Our wood stove has been running constantly to heat our house and save on our propane.  I love the warm heat, but it’s drying out our skin and hair like crazy.  I feel like I’m constantly lotioning myself and the kids and I start every morning with a bad hair day just because it’s so dry.  Anyone with a miracle to fix that problem would be my hero, so let me know.

Anyhow, I’ve taken a million pictures over Christmas, so starting off.

Eleni wasn’t a fan of Santa.  She likes to see him in pictures, on movies or on her shirt, but seeing him in real life was terrifying.


Bentley didn’t mind.  He finally decided a week before Christmas what he was going to ask for, and that was an electric train.


Another try after she saw all of the other kids with Santa, but she still wasn’t playing.

I’m obsessed with this smocked bishop dress that I found from Carousel Wear. This is only the second smocked dress she’s had and since they aren’t very popular here in Utah everyone (my husband included) said she was wearing her polygamist dress (because of course, that is popular!).  Ugh. I know it was all jokes, but seriously, I think traditional outfits like this are so cute and wished they knew she was styling. dsc00291

Hanging out with Aunt Page at the family Christmas party.  How cute is she in her sequin pants and vest!dsc00380

Second family Christmas party with DG’s family and Santa made another appearance. Thankfully BG stuck to asking for an electric train and didn’t change it up. dsc00438

This time Grandma wasn’t even able to put Eleni on Santa’s lap and get away for a picture. The minute Santa walked in the room Eleni’s face got red and she started wringing her little hands.  It was actually quite sad to see how anxious she got!

Santa made his way through the snow to our house and brought the kids all that they wanted, and then some!

DG’s cousin was staying at our house on Christmas Eve and I told BG that as long as you have your stocking, Santa can always find you and he found cousin Jimmy.dsc00510

They seem pretty happy with what Santa delivered! BG’s train is a battery operated Polar Express by Lionel brand, which seems to be one of the more popular train sets. He also got a metal detector, Muck boots and a Mip robot.  Eleni’s teepee is from Land of Nod.  It was surprisingly easy to set up and is really sturdy.  She also got an American Girl Bitty Baby with a bag of accessories and a cheap Amazon stroller.  That was definitely the highlight of her gifts because now the baby goes everywhere with us. Her snow boots are Land’s End and perfect for getting on a little kid.

Santa also brought each of the kids a Border Collie puppy. The box between their piles had collars and a note telling them to go outside and see their special surprise present.  They were too smelly to bring inside so I’m glad Santa was smart and left them in the horse trailer.

Eleni was so precise when she opened presents. I love how BG was right there to help if she needed it. dsc00549

This is the face of pure joy. While we were in Vegas BG begged for a bucking chute. Aunt Page and Uncle Tait came through and gave it to him!dsc00557

Playing in the teepee after all the presents were opened.dsc00587

We had my family over for Christmas Eve dinner and since I was too busy playing hostess and attempting to make sure that everything was nice, I forgot to take pictures. I’m hoping my mom got some good ones that I can use for my 2016 video. I cleaned and stressed about my house being clean for days before the party. Hopefully it met expectations although the light fixtures over my bar were a little dusty when my brother checked them. The downfalls of a wood burning fireplace was my excuse and really I think it’s true because I had just barely cleaned all of the glass in the fixtures and they quickly became dusty again too. Next year though, I’ll be sure to clean them the morning of to prevent any embarrassment. It was super fun having people over to our new house though. DG and I both love our kitchen and cooking, so it was nice to have a great space.

Hope you all had a great Christmas!


Tis’ the Season

I’m loving the Christmas season at our new house! I still need to get a ton more decorations for next year, but I have this great plan of buying them on sale after the holidays. So far here are some of my favorites!


This table runner is from Pier 1 a few years ago, crystal candlestick holders, a Pier 1 wreath from this year that makes a huge glittery mess and this reindeer set is from Costco of all places.  The wreaths around their necks have little LED lights and are cute at night.

Here’s the main attraction.  I got this 12′ tree from Wayfair.  It took almost a day to put up and fluff, then another day to decorate.  I need a lot more ornaments to make it more full, but I’m struggling to find bigger ornaments to help add dimension.


I love this carved set of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.  My mom bought it for me a few years ago from a local shop.  I’d love to add more pieces to it.


The stockings are hung…below the TV with care.  I don’t dare hang the stockings on the fireplace mantle because if they hang too low and will probably catch on fire when we add wood to the stove.  Year 2 without having Eleni’s stocking embroidered with her name.  Maybe next year I will get it done.


These carved reindeer also came from the local floral shop.  They are so cute!


My newest obsession are these cone trees from Hobby Lobby.  Everywhere is selling them and I plan on adding to my collection.

Last but not least, here are this year’s gingerbread houses which decorate the kitchen counter.


Vegas 2016

Well my favorite season has come and gone all too quickly once again.  Vegas was so much fun this year!  Nine days of vacation is a really long time though and there’s definitely no place like home, even when home means piles of laundry, back to work, cooking dinner, homework and wrapping Christmas presents.  For us, the Christmas season really doesn’t start until after we get home from the NFR, and it was really nice to get home to an already decorated house this year.

DG and I went and saw George Strait the first night we arrived.  To say I was excited is an understatement!  George is the very best and I’ve never seen him so I was really looking forward to it.


I wore a black dress and a Double D Ranch fur vest with lots of jewelry.  The first night we were there was probably the warmest.


The concert was at the new T-Mobile Arena which is super nice.  I’d say that any seat in the lower bowl is really good.  I was a bit disappointed with the concert in that George played a lot of other people’s songs–Tom Petty, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, as well as was really promoting new songs his son wrote.  I went to George to hear George.  He’s the best after all!  Playing other people’s songs is something that lesser singers should do, but not him!  He’s playing a greatest hits concert in February that would probably be better so we may go back for it.


Saturday night we got to go to dinner with my friend Megan.  It was super fun!  I loved having a few rodeo-free nights so we could do things like this!  I’ve been wanting a Double D Ranch leather jacket for a few years now and kept waiting until I “got skinny” to buy one.  Obviously skinny is never going to come, so I went to Vegas with the following shopping list–Double D leather coat and Old Gringo booties.  One out of two isn’t so bad.  I actually would have bought the booties if I ever saw the specific pair that I wanted, but I think they are so new that the retailers didn’t have them yet.

Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend we shopped at Cowboy Christmas.  Like I said, I had a small shopping list.  The only thing DG wanted was a gate opener for the fence and gate he wants to build at our house, so really we didn’t care to shop too much.  We get all of BG’s cowboy clothes for the year while we’re there–this way he looks nice in new pants and shirts that fit really well, wears them for work the rest of the year, and then is ready for a new size the next year.  I made a few cute clothing purchases, but nothing too spectacular.  It was pretty nice to go down there having what I (we) needed and not feeling the pressure to buy.  Here are some shopping outfits that I wore.


No, that’s not a red carpet–just the carpet laid down in the aisle! 😉 Eleni stole the show in her super fancy Giggle Moon outfit and Tanner Mark boots. I loved wearing this skull kimono with my suede leggings.



Hotel lighting doesn’t do this outfit justice. I’m wearing dark red velvet bells. They are the most comfortable pants ever and so cute! Unfortunately the lighting makes my whole outfit look black!



This outfit was cuter in person but not too flattering. Leather leggings with a long tunic dress thing that I tied in front. I wore my Old Gringo booties that I love (and are the reason why I want another pair!).


We had rodeo tickets for Sunday-Saturday so the rest of our nights were spent doing that.  The kids went to the rodeo with my in-laws the first couple nights while DG and I went out, then they went with us the other nights minus a couple when Eleni stayed at the hotel with my MIL. BG loves the rodeo.  He has his guys he cheers for and is understanding the earnings rankings.  Eleni was harder.  She liked it, but when things got slow in the steer wrestling or roping she wanted to move around and wanted all sorts of treats and it was just kind of rough.  I felt bad for the people behind us because I’m sure she was distracting.


BG loves the flags that they hand out! We have a huge collection from previous years at our house.



Nothing like watching Mom with the camera rather than watching the rodeo show.

My BIL roped in the World Series ropings while we were in Vegas so Monday-Thursday was mostly spent at the South Point watching him.  He won some money so that was exciting!

I was wearing leather pants and the roping ended up outside in 60* weather. I was hot! Loved borrowing my SIL's boot rugs too.

I was wearing leather pants and the roping ended up outside in 60* weather. I was hot! Loved borrowing my SIL’s boot rugs too.


Eleni wanted to rope so she got a pigging string to play with. She was adorable in her tutu, vest and leopard.

Eleni wanted to rope so she got a pigging string to play with. She was adorable in her tutu, vest and leopard.

We had a couple days at the end of the trip where there wasn’t any more ropings and we didn’t want to shop at the Cowboy Christmas so we decided to be typical Vegas tourists.  We took the kids to the Bellagio to see the flowers, Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and saw the dolphins, M&M Factory and New York New York.  It was a lot of fun, but reminded me of how much I hate crowds and long lines.

This is a cute outfit I bought while NFR shopping. Suede bells with fringe on the bottom sides, silk top and black and red fur vest.

This is a cute outfit I bought while NFR shopping. Suede bells with fringe on the bottom sides, silk top and black and red fur vest.


Selfie because duh. Along with some red fur detail. I'm excited to wear this vest some more.

Selfie because duh. Along with some red fur detail. I’m excited to wear this vest some more.


Bellagio Botanical Gardens. Why is it so hard for my kids to stand up for a normal picture?

Bellagio Botanical Gardens. Why is it so hard for my kids to stand up for a normal picture?


So excited about everything she sees!

So excited about everything she sees!


Velvet duster while we were at the Mirage. Totally not a normal outfit for a day of touristing, but hey it's Vegas, and I never know if we'll go back to the room before the rodeo!

Velvet duster while we were at the Mirage. Totally not a normal outfit for a day of touristing, but hey it’s Vegas, and I never know if we’ll go back to the room before the rodeo!


I love posting NFR fashion on Instagram throughout the rodeo week.  Follow along at @angsamp if you want to see more outfit posts and the rest of our adventures.  Western style has really taken off this year.  I love how it’s a mix of so many different trends and you can basically wear anything as long as you have the confidence to own it.  Velvet was a big hit and now I’m seeing it in more mainstream stores like Banana Republic too.  Most of my outfits are way too over the top for every day workwear, but I love buying different pieces that I can mix and match and sporadically pair with my daily clothes.  Here’s to starting over and looking forward to adding new pieces in the mix for NFR 2017!  It totally takes a year of planning!


Decorating Style

Confession time: decorating my new house is hard.  I didn’t expect this.  I thought I knew my style and what I would want, but I’m so hesitant to pull the trigger on lots of purchases and don’t want to spend money on things that I’m not sure I’ll love in a few months.  I mean when I see things I love, I know and I buy them, but I have a big house that is pretty empty right now because I can’t explain what it is that I want.  My sister in law went shopping with me and got so frustrated because I didn’t know what I wanted.  She’s much more crafty and has an eye for decorating that I don’t have.  She would pick out tons of cute things, but I didn’t see them and think that they were me.  I finally have settled on the determination that my main colors and scheme are neutrals and metals–browns, bronze, gold, silver, leather, hides and furs.  So then I dug a little deeper and there’s actually a name for it–mountain rustic.  Obviously I don’t mean mountain or rustic like a log cabin with furniture or bedding that has bears printed on it, but mountain rustic is a cozy luxury mountain retreat type look.


I love this look.  I don’t think DG would go for the pink pillows, but fur, rug, animal print, leather and fabric is totally my jam.  Plus, we have our own elk heads like that so I think I can do something similar if I can just find the right pieces that fit me.  Maybe if you visit me in the next few years I’ll get there. 😉