Book Review: WILD

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this blog post, however I did receive a free copy of WILD in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sometimes we don’t need a ton of experience or a pocket full of cash to achieve our goals. Sometimes, we just need determination, strength and courage…

Book Review, Cheryl Strayed, WILD, Hiking

Within WILD, Cheryl Strayed proves just that. After losing her mother, becoming distant with her siblings and a failed marriage, Cheryl decided to find herself. Where she found herself was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail walking over a thousand miles from California to the Bridge of the Gods on the Oregon/Washington state border. Along the way, she created bonds with strangers, overcame fears and obstacles of every sort. More importantly, she found her true strength and herself as well as the greater gift of healing.

I think we can all relate to Cheryl in some way, shape or fashion. Whether it’s an experience we overcame years ago or something we are currently enduring, she lets us know we’re not alone. She also encourages us to follow our passion, our dream, no matter how far fetched they may seem. It’s determination, encouragement and sheer will.

I would encourage you to go pick up or download a copy of WILD. For extra encouragement, WILD will be on the big screen this fall staring Reese Witherspoon. (The book is always a favorite over the movie!) I can’t wait to see how the movie is compared to the book. It may inspire you to put on some hiking shoes and hit the trail yourself!

Have you read WILD? Is it on your reading list?

Picking the Perfect LOWA Hiking Boots

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this blog post, however I did receive a free pair of LOWA Renegade GTX Hiking Boots from in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own., LOWA, Hiking Boots

It’s hard to believe but fall is right around the corner. With the cooler air and changing of the leaves we’ll soon find ourselves outside enjoying the foliage via the roadways, waterways or even hiking on the trails. Now is the perfect time to become prepared and find those perfect pair of hiking boots to enjoy it as much as we can.

It’s always important to take note what we’re putting on our feet, especially if we’re going to be challenging ourselves with a good hike. I’m a fan of day hikes and there’s no telling what kind of terrain I’ll be covering (dry, wet, rocky or just dirt) depending on if I’m in Texas or Vermont. My needs require light weight, versatility and definitely waterproofing. Lucky for me, these LOWA boots were perfect!, LOWA, Hiking Boots

LOWA Renegade GTX is the “most award winning boot” designed by LOWA. Nubuk leather, waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX, climate controlled footbed (no blisters!) and incredibly light weight. So lightweight that I forget that I had hiking boots on my feet. The best part – there isn’t a break in period. Put them on and go! The style is perfect and this color leather was my favorite choice., LOWA, Hiking Boots

Tips for picking out hiking boots:

  • Match your goals. Choose a boots that’s particular to your ambitions – day hiking, long trek, etc.
  • Length: Toes should wiggle. Pay particular attention to the length of the boot.
  • Width: Your foot should not move from side to side although it should not be tight or compressed from the sides. Comfort is key.
  • Key: On a flat surface, thumbs width at your toes, room to slip one finger in behind heel.
  • Try to avoid cotton socks as these will absorb sweat/moisture and in turn cause blisters. Try on with appropriate socks.
  • Research boot cut, boot materials and sole content to ensure the boot picked is appropriate for your ambitions. There’s a ton of sites online that will assist with this step., LOWA, Hiking Boots

Be sure to swing by to find your perfect hiking boot with tons of styles, colors and designs to fit your needs.

“The Best Chicken Fried Steak In Texas”

Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking

If you know me, it’s no secret that I’ll find any excuse to go on a drive and explore something new. Chicken Fried Steak on the other hand, that’s just an extra incentive! For the past couple years, I’ve been hearing that the BEST chicken fried steak can be found at Mary’s Cafe in Strawn, Texas. It was about time that I checked this one out!

Chicken Fried Steak (in Texas) is a big deal. Honestly, I had no idea what it was before I moved to the South and then my life changed forever. A thin steak, coated in fried chicken batter, cooked to a crisp and smothered with white gravy. The batter is usually flavorful, with a kick of seasoning. The gravy allows the steak to simply melt in your mouth. Yum! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking

Upon finding Mary’s, we soon realized that this was the most popular place in town. Upon entering, everyone was so incredibly friendly and gracious – our waitress was the best. The menu was pretty amazing as well. I was there for the chicken fried steak but this caught Sy’s eye…

Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking

We like to watch out waistlines in Texas!

Don’t let your eyes or stomach fool you – you get what you pay for and more. The portions are pretty large and the prices are reasonable. The chicken fried steak is pretty huge, meaning as big as your plate. They come in three sizes (small, medium, large) – I ordered a medium. Wrong choice. I needed help.

Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking

I’m not exactly sure where the proclamation of the “Best Chicken Fried Steak in Texas” came from but Mary’s is holding it’s own. It’s different than many other chicken fried steaks that I’ve had in the past – the batter not as thick and flaky, however very flavorful. The mashed potatoes were delicious! Let’s just say, I could’ve eaten them all day!

Mary’s Cafe has to be the biggest deal in this tiny town. I’m pretty certain it is as people come from miles and miles away to have a famous chicken fried steak. What’s the verdict? It’s pretty darn good!

Once you go – you can check this one off your Texas Bucket List!

Strawn, Texas, Chicken Fried Steak, Food, Southern Cooking

Have you ever been to Mary’s Cafe?


Mary’s Cafe
119 Grant Ave
Strawn, TX 76475
(254) 672-5741