loving life in the southwest

This morning I had an email in my inbox notifying me to renew my domain for this site. I can't believe it's already been a year since I started Life Enchanted. It's been a whirl wind journey settling into my new life in the Southwest.

I truly have developed a love for the culture and landscape here. I adore cacti and succulents now, can't get enough green chile, and have no qualms about it reaching 70 degrees in March. Life is different here but it's so good.

why I love valentine's day

This is my first Valentine's Day as a married lady. And even though I didn't find my valentine until I was 28 (gasp) and married him at 29 (just under the wire, I know), Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.

I know tons of people who despise the holiday because they feel it creates unrealistic expectations, is fueled only by commercialism, and draws unnecessary negative attention to those who are single. There are also plenty of people in relationships who also choose not to celebrate or recognize Valentine's Day as a holiday for the aforementioned reasons and more. I say to each his own, truly. I don't think anyone should celebrate a holiday they feel forced into or don't find enjoyable.

january discoveries

I don't know about you but January has never been my favorite time of year. Between the post-holiday blues and drab weather, it's less than inspiring. Here in New Mexico we at least don't have to deal with subzero temperatures and relentless snow. I feel for all of my friends and family who are suffering during these winter months.

Last year I did a few monthly "wish list" posts but I've decided that moving forward "discoveries" is more fitting. This way I can share more than just products or items I want but also other things I've found or used. So without further ado, here are my discoveries for this month. I hope you enjoy them!

stumbling blocks

True confession: I spent the better part of December super anxious and strung out wondering if I was pregnant or not. Long story short, I'm not pregnant and that's totally ok. We have plenty of time to make babies.

This experience caused me to reflect on the stumbling blocks that keep us from being totally present in our everyday lives. By recently identifying past and present stumbling blocks in my life, I came to the conclusion that I want to make conscience decisions to help me embrace my present rather than focusing too much on my desires for the future.

my first christmas as a wife and stepmom

Christmas this year was a different experience for me than years past. As a new wife and stepmom, my perspective changed as I planned Christmas for my own family instead of merely being a participant as a daughter and sibling. I definitely garnered a new appreciation for my mom and all the Christmas seasons she's made special for my siblings and I over the past 30 years.

It felt like I blinked and the holiday season was suddenly upon us. I guess that's what happens when you get married in November. It was fun decorating my own home for Christmas and combining Dale's decor with mine (I admittedly have too much Christmas stuff that I still need to downsize).  Decorating our new home together for the first time, I also made some compromises for the sake of simplicity and budget.

5 things I've learned from my husband

36 years ago, on a cold, snowy day in Michigan, my husband, Dale Roland Earl, was born. He loves Star Wars and prefers Captain America to all other superheroes. A wicked smart archaeologist and graduate of the University of Utah, his mind never ceases to amaze me. I love being able to talk with him about everything from bacon and donuts to politics and spiritual experiences.

Dale's sense of humor matches mine perfectly and when no one else might understand something, we just get each other. He is also a truly devoted father, a trait I find extremely attractive and endearing. I've told him a million times that it's one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

10 stocking stuffers for her (all under $15)

Truth be told, I created this post for rather selfish reasons. This is our first married Christmas and consequently, first time doing stockings for each other. Stockings have always been my favorite part of Christmas morning. So to help my darling husband out, I put this little stocking stuffers list together to give him some ideas. Hopefully you get a few ideas for yourself or others too!

I'm all about budget-friendly items so everything listed here is less than $15 with most things actually coming in at under $10. That way you can actually afford to fill a stocking and still get quality presents.