rise & shine

June 30, 2015

Let me start this post by saying that it is almost impossible to get a good screenshot from a live shot. This laugh was chosen only because it was better than looking like I was shouting or chewing (none of which have happened on air, promise!)… but it’s probably an appropriate pick because this morning, I did a solid amount of laughing. My photojournalist and I reported on fun stories (and some serious ones), and reunited after not working together for over a year!

Morning reporting was my first gig in Albuquerque, and I loved it. I’ve loved dayside and nightside shifts too, but every show is different, and there are special things about each one. I haven’t reported for the morning show in a long while now, and I’m happy to get some time to do so! The stories we work on are focused on getting people ready for their day, and waking up with them- it’s a different style, and one that we can have a little more fun with.

So… what does reporting for a morning show mean? It means a 3 a-m wakeup call, a couple cups of joe, and a lot of planning ahead. It also means lots of little adventures, and some lifestyle changes, too… I can’t wait to share it all!

But first… for my *afternoon* cup of coffee! 😉

dad’s day weekend

June 23, 2015


Brutal temperatures have finally hit New Mexico and the past few days have hovered between 95 and a-hundred-something. Sunday morning treated us to a little break, which we took advantage of with a trip to the Rio Grande Nature Center. We’ve been wanting to take Shaun’s son for awhile because he loves the outdoors and hiking and we knew he’d have a lot of fun at the river- but never realized that there are actually a ton of great activities for kids there! I’ll probably bring my camera and do a full post on the center in the near future (our weekend was very spontaneous so I stuck with my iPhone), but basically there’s a fun, family-friendly visitor’s center in the middle of a gorgeous bed of trails and river crossings.


If you live in the Southwest you know how precious water is. And since there are times when even the Rio Grande is just a canal of mud, we’re really grateful when it’s fully flowing. We took an easy trail to the edge of the river and Shaun and his son made little boats out of leaves and twigs to set off to sail. For whatever reason, the trails weren’t busy (rare for a weekend) so it was peaceful and we had a lot of room to explore. We worked up an appetite afterwards and got barbecue at our favorite spot, Rudy’s.


Father’s Day has always been special to me because my dad is one of the most thoughtful, caring, kind people in the entire world and it’s been a chance to reflect on that and thank him for it. Now, I’m celebrating two really spectacular dads, and it was special to spend the day watching Shaun with his son. He loves him more than anything in the world and would do anything for him, and that’s one of the reasons I love and appreciate him.


While we’re on the topic of dads- I should point out that I missed mine like crazy but still took a good amount of time to tell him how appreciated he is… and to think about how much he’s done for me and continues to do for me. He’s a good man, and he’s showed me through his actions what good men are and should be. Thanks for everything, dad. I love you!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

albuquerque rose garden

June 17, 2015

roses 074
roses 085
roses 057

There’s little I love more than rows and rows of gorgeous flowers. This spring and summer especially, I’ve tried to take advantage of the prettiest places in Albuquerque. There’s a lot of natural beauty, but I also love carefully curated displays and have tried to check to-do’s off of a list of must-sees. I’m a big fan of the Albuquerque BioPark Botanical Garden, but recently stumbled on a a slightly more secret spot.

roses 041
roses 086
roses 026

The Albuquerque Rose Society tends to a gorgeous little garden surrounding a local library. It’s a fragrant oasis tucked in between businesses, busy streets and normal city life. And as it turns out, it’s about five minutes from home. Shaun, his three-year-old son and I picked up donuts and made a pit stop there on the way to the park. Of course the baseball and bat came with, and the boys turned the morning walk into an impromptu practice time.

roses 069
roses 020
roses 027

According to the Albuquerque Rose Society, the garden has featured more than 1100 roses that grow well in New Mexico. It’s located at the Tony Hillerman Library at 8205 Apache NE.

reporter’s notebook: a changing industry

June 16, 2015

(Me before the shot panned down to a soon-to-be-defunct newspaper vending box….view video below!)

It’s no secret that the way people consume news is changing. When I studied convergence journalism at the University of Missouri, media outlets were still navigating through how to best serve online news consumers. We were just hitting the tip of the “social” iceberg and “mobile” was a buzzword. Not even a decade later, almost every newsroom places priority on online updates and viewers/readers/listeners have their pick when it comes to how they want to get their news. It’s an exciting time to be a journalist, but there are moments that are bittersweet. I read newspapers on my tablet now, but it was the feeling of crisp pages spread out on the kitchen table that got me into the field. Now, taking the time to do that with a big cup of coffee is a treat.

So this week when I was assigned a television news story about the local newspaper getting rid of what was once how a good number of people got their window to the world- I felt my heart flutter a little bit. I’ll be honest- I’ve only bought a newspaper from one of those metal quarter racks maybe three times, ever… but talking with people on the street about it, heard them say a lot of the things I’ve started to feel when my favorite magazines release mobile issues before the glossy ones on newsstands, or when people turn down the chance to watch a visual, moving television story because they’ve already gotten the basics through Twitter.

In the end, I think this specific development- reported with the context that the paper has increased in overall readership when counting digital subscriptions- shows that people simply have more options now. We pay for speed and convenience. And when done right, these options are a good thing. They have the potential to create a more informed electorate and more compassionate community. But in an age where word has never traveled faster, we must be discerning about what we read…and we have to be able to trust the sources of our news. The stakes are high, but it’s an interesting time, and an exciting one.

(By the way, the irony of a television story waxing nostalgia about a newspaper tradition was not lost on me. But I think we’ve gotten to a point where TV news viewers and newspaper readers know they’re getting something very different from each medium…and I think there’s value in that!)

chicago trip

June 15, 2015


I always say that after growing up in four different states, studying in a fifth and working in two more, “everywhere feels like home.” But since I spent the largest number of years in Illinois and, more significantly, part of my family still lives there, the Land of Lincoln is where I get the warmest feelings when my plane lands and where I have the most memories. I went home for my youngest brother’s graduation party and made a week-long trip out of it — and while it was a blast, it was also bittersweet.


There were reunions with relatives I hadn’t seen in awhile, walks along Lake Michigan, deep-dish pizza and graduation cake. But there was also a lot of change. Good change, for the most part- normal change- but changes that tug at your heartstrings, make you remember and make you wonder what else the future holds. This summer, two of my brothers graduated from college, landed jobs and are moving off to different states. My youngest brother is headed to school in the city, and my parents are making changes in their lives, too.

As I went to bed in what’s now the guest room but was once my bedroom through high school, charmingly repainted but still arranged the same way, I heard kids laughing outside and looked out the window to see scooters rolling down the sidewalk, signs of summer nights in the suburbs. It made me smile. That home made me who I am, and it made my brothers who they are- and though I’ll miss going home and knowing everyone will be there, I’m so proud of who they’ve become and where they’re going. Seeing everyone grow up is emotional- I remember when, my youngest brother especially, were still just little guys- but now, they aren’t just my little brothers. They’re my friends.


It was an emotional trip- but also a chance to recharge and reset. Being out of the loop of work and New Mexico life for a week has me refreshed- and ready to take on the changes that are soon to come here!

summer vibes

April 22, 2015


There’s a joke that if you don’t like the rain outside your window in New Mexico, you can just wait five minutes and the sky will be clear and sunny again. Spring here is notoriously unpredictable, but lately we’ve been getting some gorgeous days that have felt much more like summer. Shaun and I took advantage of that by taking his son to the ABQ BioPark Zoo (I’ve been there for stories, but this was my first time going for fun!) and eating ice cream outside.


I’ve also been sipping lots of iced coffee and sleeping with the windows open- enjoying every reminder that long summer days, evenings eating dinner on the patio and windows down while driving are almost here to stay. I already have a to-do-list for the months to come- filled with mini road trips, gorgeous trails to hike and ways to take advantage of the reliably sunny days Albuquerque always delivers!


abq biopark botanical garden

April 9, 2015


It’s hard to believe I was kicking my way through snow just weeks ago! Spring is now in full bloom, with warm but breezy afternoons and almost balmy evenings. I’ve been wanting to spend every moment outside, and today took advantage of an unexpected day off work with a trip to the ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden.


The garden features seasonal displays (this month featured pastel blooms in the atrium) in addition to the regular landscapes. There were lily ponds, a butterfly garden and railroad miniatures, as well as a farm exhibit with berry patches and rustic barns. But what I loved the most were the endless rows of flowers, all with vibrant colors and whimsical designs. I’d absolutely recommend it.

garden4 <

carlito springs

March 31, 2015


In most places I’ve lived, people took water- both the water we use and big bodies of water- for granted. But New Mexico is in a well-known long-term state of drought- meaning any time it rains, we celebrate… and any time people hear about a new spot to get to water (a river path, a spring), it’s time for a road trip.


This week at work, one of my co-workers (our fabulous meteorologist & environmental reporter) did a story about Carlito Springs– a newly opened trail on the southeast face of the Sandia Mountains. Immediately after seeing the story, Shaun and I decided we needed to make a weekend trip…and it turned out a lot of people had the same idea! (The upside and downside to sharing gems like this one on the news!)


The trail was easy enough for me, Shaun, his mom, his sister and his three year old son to do in about half an hour (maybe even less). After a pretty easy trek through trees, cacti and yucca (with some spectacular views of homes in the foothills) we made it to the springs themselves, surrounded with places to sit, bathrooms (sounds like no big deal but if you hike a lot it is a big deal), little gardens and some spectacular views. There were also some old cabins that added a little extra charm.




We had a great time- the perfect little morning trip- but I could tell the area must be even more gorgeous as spring goes on or, better yet, in the fall. We’ll definitely be back. One of the best parts was that it only took us maybe 20 minutes to get from our house, down the highway, off the exit and up to the parking lot at the trailhead! Other highlights of the weekend included donuts and a TV show marathon…the perfect way to ease back into the work week.


snow patrol

March 19, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.06.46 PM
As a general assignment reporter, every day is different. Sometimes I’m covering upsetting crimes; other times, a heartbreaking tragedy; some days, a dramatic court hearing or city council face-off. But there are some days when the stars (and cold fronts) align and we reporters are gifted the loveliest low-hanging fruit there is: snow coverage.

Of course there is an important viewer-benefit element to coverage… tracking road conditions, watching how and when and where the largest amounts of snow are coming down and making sure people are okay… but the last snowstorms of the season treated me to some pretty calm coverage, focused more on beautiful landscapes than icy road closures and structural damage.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.08.42 PM
For a few days, a photojournalist and I were sent up to beautiful Chama, New Mexico. I snapped the photo above behind one of the charming bed and breakfasts that sprinkle the main road into town. The not-so-pretty story behind it is that it had been snowing on and off for about a week so everyone in town had been working hard to keep up with it…. but let me tell you, driving around town with the clean blankets of perfect snow- nearly burying the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad and then warming up by a fire with coffee in hand (and, okay, a few too many plates of carne adovada nachos) felt a whole lot more like fun than work.

On some stories, stopping people on the street and asking to talk with them can be tough. If it’s a touchy or controversial issue, it can be nervewracking. If it’s something obscure, it can feel like you’re annoying people and sucking up their time. But weather’s basically universal, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation when your opening line is, “wow, look at all this!” Trips out of town for snow coverage are a chance to meet new and different people and see new places — my two favorite things about my job, hands down.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.08.17 PM

If Chama was charming, Las Vegas was lovely… and delicious. I know there’s probably lots of good food in town, but Charlie’s Spic & Span was amazing– comfort food at it’s finest! It was obviously a cold (but beautiful) day, so that could have been part of it… but homemade bread is one of my weaknesses and the giant grilled cheese (simple choice) I inhaled after we were done working but before we hit the road back to Albuquerque was likely the best I’ve ever had. Their donuts were also fabulous- they weren’t that sugary, like the Rebel Donuts I rave about… instead they were chewy and flavorful and different. They were also gigantic- the kind where you only take half…but then eat the other half… and maybe two more. :)

The trips out of town were a blast- I liked the work I produced, my photojournalist and I had a fun time and we got to meet lots of great people. But it was nice to come home to cozy couch time… complete with some sweet cinnamon rolls, straight from the oven.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.07.54 PM

how to throw the easiest big birthday party ever

February 25, 2015


This weekend, we hosted a big birthday party at our house. It was the first time we’ve had more than a few people over in the new place (we’ve only been here about a month), so I wanted the house to look cute and the party to be fun and I have to admit that for a second there, I was a little nervous. It was a big extended-family-and-friends party, but for a three year old’s birthday… which meant making things cozy for the grownups, fun for the older kids and memorable for the little ones. Luckily, there is a simple solution that I would recommend to absolutely everyone in this situation and that I will have to restrain myself from doing for every single party for every single occasion here on out…

bday9 (1)

…and that solution is the Bouncy House. For obvious reasons. It was uncharacteristically cold and windy for Albuquerque on Sunday, so we butted the bouncey up to our house and kids just ran in and out and in and out. It kept everyone occupied and let the grown-ups talk. We got an amazing deal and got one for basically the entire day for $70- totally worth it. Plus, they threw in a cotton candy machine, as pictured above. Which brings me to my next point…


Sugar. So much sugar, all of the sugar, and sugar to the point where you know every kid in your house is going to be bouncing off the walls and you are ready to embrace it, as opposed to bracing for it. If there’s anything I learned from a lifetime of giant Italian family parties, it’s that you should just get over “keeping your house cute” from the start and just let. it. ride. Yes, we put up a basketball hoop in the living room. Yes, we threw boxes and bins of toys everywhere and just let the kids go at it. Yes, we let things spill everywhere without flinching and were totally OK with finger paints getting used on our beautiful hardwood floors…it’s a party! And with kids, the point is for them to have fun. And they did.

(A couple other quick-tips: order pizza. No one notices your fancy homemade food when they’re chasing around their own toddler. Also, I got a giant party tray of mini donuts from the best donut place ever and those were a huge hit. Finally- fun plastic tablecloths- it made clean up soooo easy. Quick wrap ups and some sweeping- took us 30 minutes tops!)

It was the perfect first big party in our new home. The birthday boy had a blast, and we have some special memories. Also, leftover pizza. (But definitely no leftover mini donuts.)