:: August was outstanding!::

With the arrival of a new month, I’ve spent much of the morning reflecting on August and all that I was able to experience and accomplish. Over the course of those 31 days, I didn’t realize how much fun and magic I was packing into it!

On a blog I previously published (www.wasntjustthewinetalking.com, which is still active but irrelevant since I’ve shifted my focus from running and no longer drink, FYI), one of my favorite features was my month in review. The practice of acknowledging these little details is such a great way for me to express gratitude and marvel at how awesome this life of mine is.

I’ve struggled hard to keep any sort of regularity with my postings here but I’d love to return to the habit of sharing my monthly reflection and review for the sake of the practice.

August was an outstanding month!

➼ Started the month of August in Oregon and spent a total of 13 days there.

➼ Closed on the sale of our home in Oregon of 18 years.

➼ Celebrated our daughter’s 20th birthday.

➼ Spent some quality 1:1 time with my mister in Cali.

➼ Awesome road trip with my mister stopping in Guerneville, CA, and Ashland, OR, on the way to our destination and Dunsmuir, CA, on our return trip home.

➼ Visiting Autocamp Russian River – an Airstream and luxury tent hotel – and roasting dinner over the fire pit, stargazing, and soaking up time among trees with my mister was a huge highlight!

➼ Spent a lot of time with my daughter, parents/in-laws, family, and good friends.

➼ Witnessed the totality of the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse and saw a handful of shooting stars.

➼ Attended 21 CrossFit classes. (I’m completely obsessed and hooked!)

➼ Ran 16.25 miles and walked or hiked another (approximately) 24 miles.

➼ Attended one yoga class.

➼ Completed 14 writing projects for clients.

➼ Finished reading two books.

➼ Completed writing a chapter for my novel.

➼ Reached 239 days of sobriety.

Happy September!


::Backpacking the Sierra Nevada Backcountry::

Summary of my weekend in the backcountry: a sunburn on my shoulders, two blisters, five bruises, six (minor) lacerations, 18 sore muscles, 482 mosquito bites, and a spirit that has been washed clean.

For the second time this year, my brother and I ventured out into the wilderness to explore some California backcountry; this time heading to the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s northeast of Fresno. The original plan was a four-day backpack but due to a variety of obligations and such, we decided to cut one night and pack as much as we could into three epic days. It did not disappoint!

(You can find my brother’s recount of the trip, along with his stunning sunset photos, HERE.)

Day One – 8.75 Miles

Accessing the Sierra Nevada’s from southern California, where we both reside, is a minimum five-hour drive depending on the final destination. My brother, who’d flown back to San Diego the night before –landing around 10 PM – after a short business trip, was at my place in Los Angeles by 7:30 AM. After a quick coffee stop first thing, we hit the road before making two more brief stops outside of Fresno for last-minute essentials, gas, and our permit.

After we arrived at the trailhead, located at Wishon Reservoir, we loaded our bags and began our trek a few minutes past 2 PM. The plan included stops at a few lakes; depending on conditions in the higher elevations, we’d either be making some sort of a loop or doing an out-and-back.

Backcountry Meadow

This view sucks. Said no one ever!

The goal for the first night was Halfmoon Lake. However, the climb proved to be pretty challenging and we wanted to get settled before dark so we decided to head toward the nearest lake, just three-quarters of a mile off the trail on our way to Halfmoon.

We continued to make our way up the trail, surpassing what we guessed had been the three-quarters of a mile that would have gotten us to our destination. My brother, who is a very seasoned backpacker (he, his wife, and a college buddy spent six months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail back in 2007) consulted the map a number of times and speculated that we’d taken a different trail by mistake. The good news was that he believed we were still heading in the direction of the alternate lake we’d chosen to camp.

At this point however, we were both feeling the effects of the elevation and didn’t know how many miles we had to go to reach our target. I was feeling extremely thirsty despite drinking several liters of water and had developed a mild headache and some light nausea.

Challenges in the backcountry.

Challenges on the trail. (Photo credit: drempd.com)

Finally, just after 8 PM, we arrived at Woodchuck Lake and quickly pitched the tent. Neither one of us felt hungry enough to eat dinner but forced a small snack and electrolytes before climbing in the tent and crashing out about 9 PM.

Day Two – 11 Miles

I never sleep well when I camp and compounded with the fact that I’ve been having difficulty sleeping anyway due to a pinched nerve, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’d actually slept pretty well (thanks in part to Advil PM). We did wake to rain around 3 AM but fortunately by morning, it had passed.

Woodchuck Lake Backcountry

Morning tea and reflection at Woodchuck Lake. (Photo credit: drempd.com)

We were both still feeling the effects of the elevation but eager to get started. After a few minutes enjoying my tea while deep in thought, we picked up camp and had a light breakfast before setting off toward our next destination.

Woodchuck Lake Backcounrty

Leaving Woodchuck Lake.

It turned out to be a beautiful, overcast morning. We stopped for a snack break short of reaching Crown Pass, perched above Crown Lake, before making the descent down to Halfmoon Lake. Once there, we rested for about an hour while watching the fish swim near the shore and ate lunch.

The next section of the trail, leading us up to Portal Lake, was the hardest portion of the entire journey. Due to the higher than average snowfall during the winter, there was a lot of runoff which had accumulated in sections on the trail along with downed trees and debris. It made for some interesting maneuvering and slowed our pace considerably but we had plenty of daylight and made the best of it.

Backcountry stream

This is not the trail. However, many spots on the trail looked like this!

After arriving at a gorgeous clearing with a small lake being fed by a river from above, we lost the trail but ended up forging our own way up along the river. The final push to the top, along with a few curse words (from me) as we scurried up granite boulders, was well worth the effort. Portal Lake was stunning!

Backcountry climb

Cursing this little climb. (Photo credit: drempd.com)

Our late afternoon arrival allowed us some down time to rest in preparation for our hike out, which would be an accumulation of the mileage from the first two days. We read, enjoyed dinner, and watch the sunset before getting settled into our mummy bags and calling it a day.

Day Three – 18.25 Miles

We knew it would be a huge mileage day and though we didn’t know exactly, my brother was pretty spot-on with his estimate of 18 miles. We set an alarm for 6 AM but were both awake before 5:45 AM. I didn’t sleep as well as I had the first night but was still raring to go. Camp was quickly packed while we fueled up and by 7 AM, we were making our way back toward civilization.

Saying it was a long day is an understatement. The first few legs passed pretty fast. We stopped in the same spot at Halfmoon Lake for an early lunch break before climbing back up the pass. A minor detour when we missed a trail split added about 15 minutes to our day but fortunately, the error was caught early.

Halfmoon Lake Backcountry

Lunch stop at Halfmoon Lake.

We had been making good time until that point but then the afternoon started to drag. And drag. And drag. And… you get the idea. We had hoped to be back at the trailhead before dark and we seemed to be on target but it was still slow going and plagued by blisters and increasing joint soreness from the descent. We had broken each leg into roughly three miles so we knew where we’d stop to rest. Every time we took a break, I was counting down how many more times I’d have to put the pack back on before being able to take it off one final time.


Crossing the creek like a boss. (Photo credit: drempd.com)

Our last stop, three miles or so from the car, was after a river crossing. My brother, the fearless log crosser, beat me to the other side while I changed from my hiking shoes into sandals to wade across. The water felt so refreshing and paired with a snack, my spirits were restored. The last few miles flew by and we arrived back at the trailhead at 5:40 PM. We were both exhausted but elated to have completed our journey, having packed 38 miles into our three-day trip.

Lessons from the Backcountry

We talked a lot over the course of the three days in the backcountry about how vital it is to make time for adventures – in whatever fashion adventure speaks to you. This is especially true when you think you don’t have the time or shouldn’t take time away from other obligations or commitments. In these cases, the break you get from the hustle – even if only just a few days – is enough so that you return to your work and family life recharged and ready to dive back in with a renewed desire for what moves you. This quote, to me, pretty much sums it all up:

“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~ John Muir


Self portrait. Clean spirit.

::Coming Out Sober::

Today marks my fifth month of sobriety. It’s also the day I’ve decided to come out sober, if you will.

Trying to explain why I’ve chosen this path is not something that I can answer with a simple, poignant blog post. There are many layers and facets to the complexity that is sobriety and it’s different for each and every person.

It has been one of the most profound, radical choices I’ve made for myself and the deepest act of self-love I’ve ever administered.

The primary reason I’ve decided to begin sharing this is that I full-heartedly believe in transparency to foster connection. Allow me to explain that first. I had held off in going public for a couple of reasons. For one thing, certainty about anything can be tricky for me; indecisive might as well be my middle name. (Defiant is a close runner up!) I tend to bounce back and forth on things, weighing my options before settling on a final choice. I wanted to be absolutely, 100% sure I was sure before sharing. I also wanted to take plenty of time to process this transition before I had to try to articulate answers to questions that are going to be hard to explain. Finally, I felt the need to make sure that my closest family and friends knew before I blew it up online.

Here’s the funny thing about me and indecision: when I do make a choice, I’m ALL in. So that said, yes, I’m absolutely sure.

To be honest, it’s been a little lonely and I’m craving connection to others who are on this path. I’ve considered a few different options in terms of support but feel that I’m being led to a holistic approach. I’d rather not remain silent and lurk in the shadows of sobriety. Instead, I’m exposing my vulnerability to achieve something greater.

Coming out sober

I guess the bigger question I need to answer is why I decided to quit in the first place. The very best, coherent answer I can supply is that alcohol became a weed.

Weeds are defined as unwanted plants or vegetation, right? Well, have you ever seen a garden bed full of flowers or shrubs that someone painstakingly planted only to become overrun with weeds? These noxious species rob the desired plants of nutrients and sunlight, causing them to struggle for survival. Weeds are not necessarily even ugly or awful to look at. An out-of-place rose bush, even with its fragrant blooms and delicate petals, can be a weed if it is causing damage to the surrounding vegetation.

So as it were, drinking became an unwelcome weed disguised as a rose. It was crowding out my ability to focus on my passions and goals. It was stealing vital nutrients and wreaking havoc on my body that I’ve worked so hard to keep “healthy” despite the toxins I was drinking on a regular basis.

There is more and I will offer it when I’m ready. Writing about my experience has been therapeutic and as I peel back the layers, I will continue to journal my thoughts and feelings as a means to process it all. It has been one of the most profound, radical choices I’ve made for myself and the deepest act of self-love I’ve ever administered. I’m incredibly proud of my choice and feel empowered by my decision.

I would like to add that if you are reading this and find yourself identifying with what I’ve shared, please know that you’re certainly not alone and I hope you’ll reach out to me or someone you trust if you need support. There are a lot of misconceptions and labeling surrounding normal (whatever that means) alcohol use, abuse, and addiction. They are not all the same and that’s why I feel that it is important for more of us to share our stories to expand the sober community.


P.S. Here are a few links to resources that I’ve found valuable if you’re curious.

Hip Sobriety

Laura McKowen

HOME Podcast

Sober Evolution

Aidan Donnelley Rowley

::June Blog Special::

Analytics have proven that businesses with blogs have increased web traffic and more leads than businesses that don’t.

Writing a blog and consistently posting relevant content can be a challenge for small businesses. That’s where I can help.

If you’ve been curious about whether or not a blog would be beneficial to your business, consider this:

  • 81% of U.S. online customers trust information and advice from blogs.
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A blog allows you to easily share news about your business, inform clients about your products and services, educate readers about your industry or entertain them with stories from the trenches.

Writing a blog and consistently posting relevant content can be a challenge for small businesses. That’s where I can help. Together, we can collaborate to brainstorm a list of topics and then create a schedule for each post. I pride myself on crafting well-written content that reflects the voice of your business or brand.

If you’re ready to explore how a blog can help your business bloom, I’m available to chat by phone or email. I’m also offering a June blog special! Get 10% off all blog services throughout the month of June.

So what are you waiting for?

June Blog Speical

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of my June blog special and start sharing impactful content with your clients! Email me at hyla@hylaridenour.com or contact me by phone at 503.410.1457.

Source: https://writtent.com/blog/top-blogging-statistics-45-reasons-to-blog/


::A Curation of Obsessions 5/26::

Picking up where I left off… since I bailed last week and didn’t post my weekly list… I’ve got a few fun obsessions to share!


I just bought a new pair of Birkenstock‘s as a little reward for a few personal achievements and I’m over the moon! In fact, they’re only the second pair I’ve owned. The first pair I got in high school – my junior year if my memory serves me. I loved them and wore them to death. Literally. I had them for at least 10 years before they were no longer fit to wear. I’ve been wanting a replacement forever. There are a few styles I’ve been eyeing but I went with the Mayari in Black.

Silver Hair

The backstory: I started sprouting silver strands of tinsel from the top of my head at least three years ago. Probably longer. I’d been coloring my hair since high school so I’m not certain when I started the transition. Anyway, a couple of years ago I decided to “ditch the dye” as they say and quit coloring my hair. The experiment ended after 7 months when I cut my hair super short to rid the ends of the old dye job. It was the shortest haircut I’ve ever had and I hated it. I couldn’t have both a haircut I hated AND grey hair. One box of hair color from the pharmacy later and I had black hair. Black.
Another year and a half passed before I decided to, again, try to embrace my natural hair color. I last dyed my hair at the beginning of September 2015, by attempting to add highlights that would match my natural hair color as closely as possible. I haven’t looked back. (Though I will note that just two months ago I dyed some of my ends purple because I needed to do something FUN!)
Anyway, I really like my hair but sometimes I still need to feel inspired to stick with it. A few years ago I started a Pinterest board specifically to save images of beautiful grey goddesses. It’s my favorite board and it gets more traffic on my Pinterest account than any of my other boards. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to blaze your own silver path or just curious, you can find my board HERE.
Chicks who Make Cool Shit from Wood
I love hand-crafted furniture and art made from natural and reclaimed wood. I recently discovered a couple of chicks that are making cool shit with wood. I’ve spent waaaay too much time scrolling through their Instagram feeds. One day, I’d love to own something like this… perhaps even make it myself!

curation of obsession woodworking


curation of obsession woodworking


::Help with Writing for Business Owners::

If you’re a business owner, chances are you have a website to market your products and services. In the era of technology, it’s nearly impossible to operate without an online presence regardless of your size. Consumers demand that websites contain the information they need and want whether they are trying to learn how to mulch around a tree or looking for a hardwood flooring sealant that is low in VOC’s.

Take a moment to think about the current state of your website. First, what are potential customers searching for? Second, will they find accurate, up-to-date information when they visit? Will visitors learn about the new line of low VOC sealant you’re selling or that you’re offering a discount during the month of June on all mulching services?

Help With Writing

Unfortunately, these types of valuable updates get overlooked due to the lack of having a dedicated copywriter on staff who can provide help with writing the content you need to keep consumers informed.

That’s where I can help. As a freelance writer, I offer a number of writing services that will convey the messages you wish to share with your clients and website visitors. Affordable help with writing is a great investment in your business and brand. Flexible packages and competitive rates allow you to design a plan that best meets your needs.

If you’re a business owner that needs help with writing engaging copy or content to promote your products or service, please don’t hesitate to reach out via my contact form!

::Writing Life Update::

Little by little, I’m writing a book. Currently, I’m about halfway through chapter five. I’ve written 80 pages totaling 21,275 words. The target is approximately 21 chapter so roughly *only* 73,225 more words to go.

I’m embracing the process for the lessons and not for what I hope the final outcome will be. While I’ve tried, on many occasions, to set a consistent writing schedule driven by my goals, the main one being a finished draft by my 40th birthday in early October, I easily get derailed by paid writing work, the part-time job that provides a steady paycheck, and, well, life.

Up to this point, I’ve avoided editing my previous chapters, only looking back through the pages when I need a reminder about a specific detail. I find that when I do, I begin to criticize and censor myself which is highly unproductive. However, on the few rare occasions I do scan through the unrefined pages, sometimes a gem pops out. Maybe a sentence or paragraph that grabs my attention; a diamond in the rough with promise. Here is one such excerpt:

For any occasion deemed special enough, and sometimes just because it was Tuesday, Catherine’s father would scrounge up enough coins so that he could stop at the Patisserie de la Fleur to buy a slice of Mille-feuille on his way home. He would carefully tuck the fragile sliver of dessert wrapped in opaque paper inside his knapsack. Extracting it out of his bag after he arrived home was executed with steady hands and devout concentration although the excitement of Catherine and her siblings would try to steal his attention as they giggled with anticipation. Once displayed on the table in front of them, her father would carefully carve off small pieces of the layered treat and give each child a forkful before taking a bite for himself. He’d lean back in his chair and let it dissolve on his tongue, savoring the explosion of creamy sweetness; contentment evident on his aging face. Finally, he’d begin to repeat the process, offering each of his four children another sample before scraping every last remnant from the paper and licking the fork clean.


The only thing I’ve been obsessing over this week is my business. That’s not entirely honest but I’ve had very little free time to indulge in my favorite pastime of perusing the internet for the purpose of mindless entertainment. I’ve hardly been on Instagram this week either. Gasp!

I’ve had a few things stirring in my mind though so I’ll share those for my curated obsessions this week.

The Deschutes River

Um, yeah. I live in Southern California. The Deschutes River is located in Central Oregon. Specifically, the portion of the river that I love the most is about 800 miles away. But I’m craving the smell of the juniper and ponderosa pine trees and mountain air, feeling the desert heat soak into my core, the sound of the rushing water through the canyons created by centuries old lava flows… be still my heart. Those places that make you feel alive and free and soothe your soul in ways that words cannot do justice… where you long to be… go there.

Abstinence or Moderation

This one is a tough one. I recently learned that there are two types of people when it comes to behaviors: abstainers and moderators. People who can moderate their behavior set limits while abstainers cannot. It’s all or nothing for the abstinence type folks.
For this example, I’ll use coffee consumption because that is where I’m heading with this anyway. For a full month, I completely abstained from coffee. I didn’t love the idea of giving up coffee but I had tried to cut back to a single cup each morning and the occasional latte. No go. Without batting an eye, I’d be onto cup number two before I’d realized what I’d done and grabbing a latte a few hours later. The ticket for me is to not have any at all. It sucks, yes. But I love tea and my matcha lattes too so the month without coffee wasn’t the worst thing ever. At the end of the trial period, I tried the moderation route again. Guess what? I’m still not a moderator. (Hangs head in shame.) So, for now, coffee is back in a big way. At least until my adrenal glands freak out again. (This means I’ll probably quit again next week. UGG!)
Anyway, the link above is a good blog post from Peanut Butter Fingers on the subject that covers a variety of things that one might find themselves trying to abstain from or do/consume in moderation.


I’ve been a fan of Free and Native for a few years. It’s been my go-to website for studying manifestation, among other things like holistic living. Yes, you read that right. I’m a big believer in the idea that we are responsible for manifesting the things that we want and that we have the ability to bring our desires into our lives with the power of mindset. Just this past week I found myself in a frustrating situation that almost caused me to surrender to someone else’s needs which were unrealistic for me to do. However, I stood in my power. Had I caved, it would have been a declaration that I’m not worthy of my own needs. Worse, it would have sent an invitation out into the universe to allow others to take advantage of me in the same way. In the end, I stood my ground out of respect for myself. And you know what? Everything worked out fine. It was a good lesson and reminder that I (we) have the power to generate what we want.

Before I jet off for another full day, I just sent out my May Newsletter with a special offer to new subscribers. If you’re interested, you can read it here: MAY NEWLETTER


Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It’s been another wild week behind-the-scenes around here! I’m extremely grateful for each and every opportunity I’ve received to follow my passion and grow my business. My vision is starting to become my reality and there is something so satisfying about seeing your hard work pay off!

But enough about business. I’m not an “all work and no play kinda gal!” I’ve curated a list of my current obsessions for your amusement so read on and have a fantastic and safe weekend!


I’ve been mildly obsessed with Sophia Amorusa for a while. When I first jumped into the realm of freelancing and owning and operating my small freelance business, I was looking for inspiration. One such form came from the book #Girlboss. I bought it as an audiobook and listened to it each morning while commuting to my “real” job. While I’ve never been fond of the clothing brand, Nasty Gal, that Sophia started as an eBay shop when she was 22 years old and grew into a multi-million dollar company (which also just recently filed for bankruptcy), I admire her ambition and drive. Despite the company’s financial woes, she has rebranded herself and her #Girlboss trademark. In fact, there is a new Netflix series “loosely” based on her life and the start of Nasty Gal.

Lauren Fleshman and the 5k

Another mild obsession I have is with Lauren Fleshman. She’s an all-around cool chick and role model for female athletes. I recently listened to an interview in which she talked about an article that she wrote for Runner’s World regarding why she thinks the 5k is so “freaking” awesome. The opening of the article sets the stage with a funny story about a conversation with a guy on a plane about running, who wasn’t impressed with her status as “just” a 5k runner. Anyway, her argument is that 5k’s aren’t just a stepping stone to longer distances. As I analyze my relationship with running, and particularly with long distances, it was refreshing to find reassurance that shorter distances matter. Not only that, you can train and race for a 5k without burning yourself out or induce an injury, especially if you’re already prone.


It’s my guilty pleasure. Mostly, I follow people, organizations, and companies that inspire me so I like a pretty eclectic assortment of accounts. Currently, though, I’m dreaming of adventures… so these are a few feeds that I’m drooling over.

And for fun, a couple of photos from my most recent outing; an overnight backpacking trip with my brother.

::A curation of obsessions – 4/28::

Where do I begin? This week has been nuts! But in a super good way, because as some like to say, myself included, I’m living the dream! Ha! (And also the reason why I’m posting this on Saturday instead of Friday, as intended.)

At any given moment I’ve had at least 800 tabs open in my head if you know what I mean. I haven’t had a lot of space between tasks to curate my obsession list this week (In fact, nearly every little gap of time I’ve had has been filled in with another task, such as this blog post. I’m never not writing!) but even with little free time, there’s always something to be obsessing over. And I found my title!

This is what got my attention this week:


I’ve become slightly obsessed with the life of an author who recently published her first book. She was featured on the site and since then, I’ve sought out the profiles of some of the other women they’ve showcased; an assortment of creative types. (I romanticize the writer’s life but let the record reflect that it is hard-ass work. In fact, my ass literally hurts from sitting in a hard wooden chair for hours on end in hopes that something magical will manifest from my brain, travel through my fingers onto my keyboard, and launch me into author stardom. A girl can dream, right?)

Brooks Peacock Line

Peacocks are such beautiful, regal birds. I’ve admired them for a long time (before they were “trendy” even) and was stoked to see that Brooks has launched a new design for the Pure line that has a peacock feather print. They offer two colors for the PureFlow 6, which is what I wear, and they’re awesome! (I will have to add a savings goal to my budget to snag a pair – see below.) A fresh pair of running shoes would, I’m certain, help me set some new running goals!


Budgeting… er, trying to budget, is something I’ve been pretty much working on my entire adult life. Admittedly, I have a long history of hang-ups about money… earning money, spending money, saving money… fear that there is never enough to do everything that I need and want to do… stuff like that. Honestly, it’s something I really detest about myself and I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to improve my relationship with my finances. What I like specifically about Mint is the ability to create saving plans for a number of goals such as an emergency fund, travel fund, car down payment fund, laptop fund, etc., that you can customize. It also tracks how and where you are spending money which is a huge eye opener! (I should probably cut down on my kombucha consumption.)

What obsessions have you been curating lately? I’d love to know what you’re into! If you feel compelled to share, please comment below.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. One more day to take advantage of discounted services!!!