V is for Victory, of course!

Y’all. I got to visit the Victory Ranch. Ok, great, Andrea. You went somewhere and probably already told me about it on Facebook. But wait! Lemme tell ya about this little gem of a place. I bet you can’t guess what’s there. Here’s a hint: not chickens. No friends, the Victory Ranch is not a chicken place. It’s about alpacas! Lots of alpacas. 200 alpacas, a few horses, and big dogs. Did I geek out? Of course.

You know how some people are put in your path at the right time? Well, that’s how I feel about Carol Weisner. She’s the owner of Victory Ranch and, with her two amazing staff members (alpaca wranglers? alpranglers? wranglepacas?) run the 1,000 acre ranch providing tours to the public every Friday through Monday.  Not only that, Carol invited my family to the ranch on their day off. I’m not that popular but I’d like to think it helped. Just kidding, it didn’t.

Let me start from the beginning…

Remember when I got those alpacas and had no idea what to do with them besides what the books said? Well, I realized I needed in-person help and wasn’t afraid to ask for it. I found Victory Ranch online and sent a quick email. Boy, am I glad she answered! After a few quick conversations on the phone, it was settled. We could come down on a Tuesday and check out what alpacas “should” look like. See, my boys are cute and cuddly but they need their nails trimmed, their teeth ground down, and next spring will be in dire need of a shearing.

So Carol invited us with open arms and we took the invite with open minds! Within an hour, I made 3 new friends, my daughter fell in love with Rosie the Great Pyrenees, and I got some amazingly soft socks and gloves. I also learned stuff, too. Like how alpaca fiber (it’s not wool, it’s fiber) doesn’t contain lanolin; that lanolin can be an irritant for people with sensitive skin. No worries with alpaca fiber because they don’t have lanolin! It’s not itchy.  And it’s warm. Sooooooo warm. I saw what raw fiber looks like, what finished products look and feel like, what alpacas look like after a shearing. I saw healthy nails, ground teeth, happy alpacas look like! We got to feed some and halter one. They’re just freaking cool.

And then there’s the shop. O to the M to the G. So many beautiful things to touch and buy! I ended up with some dryer balls. Ya know how everyone is going the green route? Well, out here we still don’t have recycling but I at least don’t have to use dryer sheets or fabric softener. So far, so good. Not good. Fantastic. It’s one less thing I have to spend money on and dryer balls can last for at least a year or more. Plus, no chemicals, no worries you’ll run out. And they reduce energy consumption. Go get some.

I’m gonna plug the hell out of this place because it’s that amazing. When Carol and her husband opened up this farm 25 years ago, it was because they wanted to live out their dreams. While her husband has since passed, she continues to dream big. You can’t help but respect and love her for that. Seriously, if you aren’t near the Mora/Las Vegas, New Mexico area, you need to find an alpaca farm close by and check it out. Alpaca Farm Days are coming up and a lot of places will be open next weekend for the event. It’s a cool little day trip, you’re around cute fluffiness, so why not? Plus, you might make new friends along the way.

Something else to consider: buy something while you’re there. Supporting these small farms and small ranchers (like us!) means you support a local business and a family investment. You know I’m all about helping out my friends. A lot of small places like this only survive when you, the visitor, bust out your wallet. They don’t have big name supporters or sponsors. There isn’t a government subsidy that will bail them out if things get tough (and they are!). They have you. If you can, get something for yourself and a gift for a friend. Sure, it might be a little out of your budget but it might mean they get to dream big another day.

Here’s another plug for ya. Just down the road from Victory Ranch is the Salman Raspberry Farm. It’s recently been sold but things will hopefully stay the same. You can pick your own raspberries or buy some prepackaged in the store. Have a quick lunch at the cafe and enjoy the scenery. It’s really gorgeous and I have to admit, I’ve never been back there but always wondered where that road next to the big red barn on I-25 would take me. Turns out, it took me to a happy place.

Here’s a list of links you should check out:

Victory Ranch Facebook Page – like and follow their page. If you are thinking about adding alpacas to your place, they have some for sale!

Shop the Victory Ranch store online here!!! PS – there’s a gorgeous orange coat in the far back of the shop. My birthday is December 27. Just sayin’….

Salman Raspberry Ranch – I got a wildflower seed mix that I can’t wait to sow!


Super Stars!

This is a shout out to all my friends who are in business for themselves. Between kids, games, school, life, these ladies are taking the world by storm because they are passionate, empowering, and inspiring. You rock! Here are their sites and info on what they sell. Go ahead, peruse, love, shop, and tell them I sent ya.


Thirty-One Gifts: Amanda Tuthill. Basically, the best bags for every day and every situation. I have a canvas tote for the summer, a huge tote for storage (perfect for pool days, carrying props, extra toys, etc), a few smaller ones for my daughter to store her crayons and Shopkins in one place, and my favorite: the gym bag that is monogrammed with my last name on it. I LOVE THIRTY ONE!!!! https://www.mythirtyone.com/209119/?verify=true

doTerra Essential Oils: Becky Hernandez. How many times have you wished for something that would help you sleep? Lavender. Or help your body naturally combat seasonal allergies? TriEase softgels. Maybe you just need a little pick me up? Wild Orange. Whatever your issue, there’s an oil for that! http://www.mydoterra.com/beckyhernandez3

Rodan + Fields: Laura Justus. Remember when we all used Proactiv in our teens and early 20’s? Well, some of us still have acne and some of us now are wishing we didn’t sit in the sun so much in our youth. I may or may not be talking about me, but I do know the Unblemish regimen is part of my routine. Sunspots, wrinkles, dark circles, acne….R+F can help you with all of it! https://laurajustus.myrandf.biz/

LipSense: Me! Lemme tell ya, I love having lip color. My face just looks happier. I’ve been blessed with Resting Witch Face – replace that W with a B. Lip color just enhances my happiness and tends to make me look less like a mean girl. Or tired mom. Or both. I’m a huge fan of the reds and nudes but can help you find the color of your dreams. Kiss proof, smudge proof, water proof wear for 4-12 hours. A girl can’t have enough lipstick. Or shoes. https://www.senegence.com/SeneSite/Home.aspx

Cake in a Crate: Andy and Asha. You love dessert. But you’re gluten sensitive. Or vegan. Or just like good food. Or you just don’t like the boxed stuff. Whatever your drive, you’ve GOT to try their kits! All the ingredients are pre-measured, directions are included, and the whole shebang is delivered to your door. Lucky you, I’m a test baker, so don’t be surprised if you see something amazingly delicious on here. Make it for a special occasion or just because. Order early so you don’t miss out! http://www.cakeinacrate.com/

AJ Photography: Amanda Jaramillo. Let’s talk about how Amanda did our first family photo shoot! My kid was 4. Don’t judge. And let’s talk about how AMAZEBALLS she is at taking photos that make me smile every time! If you’re in the Las Cruces area, do not miss out on getting a shoot in with Amanda. She’s busy but extremely well priced and the bomb dot com in my book.  http://ajphotography.zenfolio.com

Younique: *UPDATE* Michelle is online – woo hoo!!! Find her page here and get your lash on! https://www.youniqueproducts.com/MichellePonce

This is where I get those 3D lashes. I have two “lash ladies” but neither of them have an active site! GRRRR!!! So how do we fix that? Well, if you know Maria M. or Michelle P., get a hold of them and order. Or just message me and we can talk.

Grant’s Cause: So, I have another amazing friend, Kalyn, who has an amazing military family of 3 boys and her husband who works hard to protect us all (Thanks, Stephen!). Her youngest, Grant, is the cutest, sweetest little guy in the world!!! He also happens to have Spina Bifida. If you don’t know what that is, you need to check out his site. Kalyn raises awareness every year with a 5K in her hometown of Missouri and those of us who can’t join in person can run a virtual race. Sign up, learn more, or donate here: http://www.grantscause.com

AdvoCare: Ok, this is me again. Lemme explain. 3 years ago I signed up for my first half marathon. I was edging up on 200lbs and had no focus. I used products from this company to help me lose weight, gain energy, and just kinda give myself a health makeover. 3 Half Marathons, a career as a fitness instructor, and a Super Sprint Triathlon later, I still use Spark and Rehydrate regularly. Check it out if you need the same kind of jumpstart. http://www.advocare.com/13094578


(Featured Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)