Sunday, March 3, 2019

Taste Life Celebration 2019

This year, Shari and I decided to explore the food scene in Dallas for our annual trip.  We flail back and forth on what type of spiritual journey we should be on and always return to the same thing--it centers on food.  It is not traditional in the sense of a spiritual journey.  It has evolved over time. I think we are more comfortable saying it is mostly about the food.  Food, does, in fact, unite us all.
Our trip started in Lower Greenville with a quick stop to Velvet Tacos.  I was excited about their options.  In hindsight, I should have looked more into it.  We walked in to the establishment and saw that it was more casual than I had imagined. I am fine with counter service but I would have liked a bar area to sit at.  We made it work and ordered a beef taco and a lettuce wrapped tuna taco.  We sampled some of the elote and had a margarita.  It was okay but I was looking forward to finding other spots with more options and better fare.  I did enjoy the lettuce wrap.  I can definitely appreciate some greens and less tortillas.
That evening, we took a car to Plano to meet Hailey for dinner.  I had selected a wine driven spot where we could share food.  I wanted it to be convenient for her to meet us and have some interesting food options as well.  The restaurant, Sixty Vines, was huge.  A lot of space to fill and it was decent.  The service was not spectacular but we had a lovely conversation catching up on life and celebrating.  I did enjoy their meatballs and brussel sprouts.  They did have a succotash side that looked good.  We were consumed with conversation.  I had asked for a bottle of bubbly that they did not have (at first) and then my second bottle of wine was also not available. I had sampled a bottle of Rotie Syrah while in Walla Walla last July.  It is a lovely bottle of wine and I was insistent that Hailey and Shari try it. Of course, they did not have it available and so we sampled some juice from Paso Robles.
The next morning, I forced Shari to attend a yoga class with me.  This, too, has become part of our annual trips--the yoga class factor.  In the past, we have done yoga in Denver, L.A., Austin, Santa Fe and Nashville to name a few.  And, this was the best class of all of them.  My mentor teaches at this studio, occasionally, and told me that I would enjoy the Rockin Yoga class.  It was amazing. Quick paced, super flowy, and great music.  I loved the music!  And the flow inspired me.  I cannot wait to try out some of the flows with Liisa over the next few weeks.
I have been on a ramen kick the last few months.  I have a healthy respect for that food and wanted to share it with Shari. I had wanted to go to a ramen spot downtown but then re-thought it.  We could walk to a place in Lower Greenville and from there walk to White Rock Lake.  This is another aspect of our trips.  Walkabouts and getting lost.  I am quite good at that.
The ramen was delicious.  The bartender was knowledgeable and had a great vibe.  I really enjoyed the entire experience.  I will conclude this for now.  There is more to share but I need to greet the day!  Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

reflections

I feel like being a troublemaker....this photo definitely sums it up.  And the wine is delicious, too, if you are seeking a big jammy wine.  
One day, I went hiking with Shari at Matthew Winters Park and we carried in this bottle of wine.  We wanted to visit Brian and see the beauty in life.  We hiked in and enjoyed this wine from red plastic cups.  I think this time of year, I always become more nostalgic.  I will be meeting Shari in Dallas this year to celebrate Brian's life.  I have figured out the majority of our meals and am now focusing on the pedestrian factor.  Typically, we incorporate a long walkabout through the city at some point.  I think we will check out the Botanic Gardens or Lake nearby.  Supposedly, it is a 13 mile pedestrian friendly walk.  Or we could explore Deep Ellum and Greenville.  
There is a body scrub scheduled and a rockin yoga class.  I am interested in the scene in Dallas.  I wasn't in love with the yoga in Austin when we explored that city a few years ago.  I think Shari has resigned herself to the fact that yoga is a must during these trips. The cadence has evolved from food and wine to including yoga, massage or this year, the body scrub.  I discovered it last year while checking out a new spa in Denver.  I love the body scrub!  And have noticed a difference in my skin and how exfoliated it is.  I am excited to share this service with Shari.  
Thankfully, we will be meeting up with Hailey on Tuesday night.  I have known Hailey since we were 10 years old.  She and her husband relocated to Dallas in 99 and have been there ever since.  We are meeting at a wine driven restaurant with shareable plates.  I would have preferred a tapas place but my palette is pretty diverse.  I have been exposed to many, many great foods and I enjoy exploring restaurants.  Not everyone is as adventurous as me.
So I will tone down my troublemaker status.  I can reflect on that beautiful day and memory.  I can consider what Dallas has to offer and how it is the ideal place to celebrate this year.  Life is grand!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

reading, planning and resting

I need a new podcast to binge listen.  Recently, I have been committed to reading and or listening to podcasts as opposed to watching tv. It is a time suck.  A convenient time suck.  But, what exactly does it achieve outside of wasting time?  I have been better about not watching tv.
I have a few books on hold at the library. I am moving up the list but is still a lengthy wait with some of the more popular books.  Potentially, I should find additional books to discover.  I have been unmotivated to research.  I just want a book to land in my lap that is inspiring and that I am unable to put down.  I'll admit.  I have a found a few of those in the last month--Taco USA, Property a tale of Two Novellas and I can always re-read Dogs of Babel.  There are some books that truly draw me in.  I want another one of those today!
My friends keep asking me to choose a girls' trip location.  I think I hesitate since there is so much uncertainty with the when, how, and what.  I have been on several trips with Sara Jo, Shari and the Goddess.  They are known entities and understand how I like to travel.  Day drinking, exploring the food factor and perhaps a fitness class or two.
My current friends that are asking me are a little more specific about food needs.  I dined with Roxie last night and she is a vegetarian with some food mixed in.  We dined at a tapas restaurant last night and it was challenging to decide on food to enjoy together.  Of course, if I was eating cheese it would be easier for both of us.  I wanted to try the octopus, shrimp or mussels.  None of which are things that she enjoys.  Thankfully, Roxie does like to enjoy wine and beer so that wouldn't be an issue.  We definitely understand exploring cities in that realm.  And, I teach her yoga sometimes so I think I could convince her to attend a class.  I have been to Las Vegas with Jenn and there are similarities in how we travel.  With her, I am a little more willing to go off grid than she is. She prefers structured locations.
Still, it could be done if we could agree on a where or a when.  We all have conflicting schedules and they travel frequently as well.  I guess that is the major hesitation from my part.  I want to travel on my days off.  It keeps me grounded and centered.
I feel there should be a fitness driven trip in the mix.  I could benefit, greatly, from spending a weekend with Paige in Santa Fe or a return trip to Phoenix.  I am always inspired when I practice in those cities.
I am about to greet the day.  I need to get a haircut and I am meeting Brie later for happy hour.  It is a wonderful day off and I am very thankful to be able to enjoy it. Also, thankful for movement.  I am healthy and happy!
Cheers to your Tuesday.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

First trip completed

Started 2019 with a road trip down to Santa Fe.  Initially, I had considered flying to the Valley of the Sun to spend a few days with Jan and Cody.  Of course, the Mexican food is off the hook in Phoenix.  I love the yoga and it's been a while since I have visited.  I called Jan and she mentioned that it would not be a good time to visit.  Impulsively, driving to Santa Fe made the most sense.  I could arrange an Airbnb and cancel it if need be.  I communicated with a few of my friends and began planning a loose itinerary.  I could see Melody, Lawrence, take a TRX strap class and see Libby.  In addition, I would meet Jennifer at Ojo Caliente and see another friend for lunch on Monday.  Everything seemed legit.
I woke up, Monday, and attended yoga.  I have been trying to make more of an effort to attend classes at my home gym.  I have struggled with the yoga classes offered and sometimes find they are in sync.  There is one instructor who is consistent to a certain degree.  Then, I attend too many classes in a row and get frustrated by his lack of sequencing.  Monday was a reminder of that.  I bolted, early, from the class.  Irritated.  It was a waste of my time.
Afterwards, I packed up my car and headed to get coffee.  I didn't want to get to Santa Fe too early so I sort of lollygagged my way out of Denver.  In hindsight, I should have left earlier.  There was a wind advisory the entire southern part of Colorado.  It was challenging to drive through and I was on edge the entire drive.  It is a whole different level of frustrating to drive in high winds.  The minute I crossed into New Mexico it lessened, thankfully.  I drove straight to La Choza and ordered a silver coin.  Bliss!  I had a cup of pozole and had margaritas with a friend of mine.  I had planned on meeting Melody for dinner that night.  Instead, it sort of derailed.  I took an extended nap and woke up to her calling me and telling me that she was ordering take out.  I hired a car and headed over to her location only to find that she had departed.  I did feel bad. Maybe that additional margarita had been a bad idea.  Or the stressful drive down contributed to my overall lackluster energy.  Ironically, the place she chose employs the girl that teaches TRX class that I adore.  However, this girl does not enjoy bartending.  This was my second encounter of having her wait on me.  I ordered ramen, paid the tab and returned to my Airbnb.  Did I mention how amazing the bed was?  It was super comfy and inviting.  I could have slept for twelve hours.
Anyways, I skipped my TRX class the following morning. I was afraid that I would make some sort of comment to this girl's absolute dislike of bartending. She is an awesome fitness instructor but her service industry days are over it seems.  This is only my perspective based on my feelings and observations.  Maybe I caught her on a bad night, again.
I didn't want to say something that I couldn't take back.  So, I canceled my class.  I flailed between going and enjoying or forcing myself to go as I had earlier in the week with yoga.  The conclusion was that it, too, would be a waste of time.  On Tuesday, it was snowing in Santa Fe.  I was irritated but managed to drive to Ojo Caliente without incident.  Soaking was essential to the trip and a great way to decompress.  Jennifer and I had lunch at the Loyal Hound which I always enjoy.  I tried their Cubano sandwich without cheese.  It was delicious.
Tuesday night concluded with me meeting Melody for a quick bite and beer.  I wanted to see her since I was visiting and apologize for missing her the previous night.  Again, I think it was a combination of factors--stressful drive down, lack of sleep concluding my work week and the most comfortable bed to sleep in.  Thankfully, she met me after finishing work on Tuesday.
Wednesday morning I packed up the rental and returned to La Choza for more green chile.  I dined with Libby and her son, Wess.  It was a lovely way to conclude my first trip of 2019.  Sure, I  skipped the fitness factor but I did indulge on well-being.  Soaking at Ojo ensured that and I had quality time with multiple friends.  I feel blessed!
Considering my next trip which will be at the end of February.  I cannot wait!  And there might be another road trip in the works, mid March.  We shall see.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HNY

Happy New Year's!  Finally the beginning of 2019 and what it could bring.  Oh the excitement.  Yesterday, I slept, watched movies and ordered take-out.  It was perfect and exactly what I needed.  It's been a long holiday season and sleep is my new best friend.  Due to all of the sleep, I had multiple dreams.  I woke up and remembered that I had decided that I wanted to move to another city.  But where would I go?
I even had the dilemma in my dreams.  I could go to Seattle, Portland, L.A....I am attracted to western cities and that was made apparent in my dream.  Eventually, I had reasons why I wouldn't want to move to any of those cities.  Seattle is rainy.  Portland is smaller than I want to live and L.A. is gigantic and finding a good job could be challenging.  Honestly, I love living in the southwest.  I kept considering western cities and in my dream, I even gave my rental up and my amazing job.  I had no plan of where I would go except that I would go to Ojo Caliente and head west from there. I didn't want to return to Phoenix or Santa Fe and I didn't even remotely consider ABQ.  Somehow, I felt that SLC would be a good option.
Where did that come from?  I am still confused by how that ended up in my dream.  I have never visited and so I have no connection to it.  I woke up and kept thinking about how much I enjoy being in Denver and why would I think about relocating elsewhere?  I think I have been thinking about Sara Jo and her relocating back to Florida.  She has been in the Palm Springs area for the last three months but will begin her journey east in a week.  I believe this had been on my mind.  And when she left Denver, she packed her car and drove down to Santa Fe with me where we did soak at Ojo Caliente.  So there was some truth to the dream sequence.
I do know that I am happy here in Denver.  I love living here and I really am happy with my current job.  I have been increasing my teaching yoga and hope to continue to do that.  And, it has been a few years since I have gotten a passport stamp.  It's overdue and always in the back of my mind.
I am going to sit down in the next few days and organize my travel board.  I will finish my loosely planned trips for 2019.  I need an outline!
I am meeting Jenn and Rob for brunch this morning.  I am ready for a retox after my night of sleep.  It's sunny outside and I am ready to greet the day.
So, new year and endless opportunities.  Make it great!

Monday, December 31, 2018

final thoughts of 2018

I forgot that I had been to Las Vegas, too.  How did I do that?  Well, it was an impulsive trip and I stayed with a friend on the Strip.  And, I ate phenomenal food.  Of course, I had to mention my trip to Vegas.
It is snowing in Denver today.  I think I am staying inside, all day. I am not working and I am unmotivated to get up, put on my contacts and greet the world.  I am already planning lunch and take out.  Who can deliver to my house?  I had lunch plans with Roxie but the snow has discouraged my going outside.  I need to go to the library to collect my books and I should pay rent.  How inspired am I to go outside?  Not very.  We shall see.
I do want to get my books from the library.  It would be worthwhile to have those in my possession to kick start 2019 in the best possible way.  I want to  incorporate more reading into my livelihood.  I should limit my streaming to encourage more reading, learning, getting outside.  I met a girl last night that wants to bring people outside to hike to deal with a way to de-stress and not take medications.  It is important to experience nature and feel the sun.  I enjoyed chatting with her and hope that she is able to get her business plan off and running.
What else do I hope to achieve this upcoming year?  What do you hope to achieve?  As mentioned, I do want to read more.  Of course, travel is on my radar (as always).  I told Michaela that I would visit her in Oregon.  I am still trying to make that happen.  I would prefer a Monday-Wednesday type of trip and meeting in Portland.  It will be a push to make that happen.  My sister is more of a homebody and would prefer that I fly into Eugene.  It is challenging in that time frame to maximize time with her due to connections.  Also, she would have to take time off from work which she will also not like.  I don't know how else to do it though.
I had talked to Sara Jo about maybe meeting in NOLA on her journey back to Florida.  It isn't going to happen due to a change of plans.  Her mom is meeting her in Dallas and driving back with her to Florida.  I think, financially, it is probably for my benefit.  Last time we were in NOLA, I went a little out of control on the food and wine factor.  It was stellar!
Everything will work out the way it is supposed to.  I am confident of that and excited for this upcoming year. Celebrate, enjoy and taste life!  Cheers to 2019 and all that it has to offer. As much as I want to hibernate all day, I am going to venture outside.  I am more motivated to get my books, lol

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 year of travel

Every year, I enjoy looking back on where I have traveled, eaten and created memories.  This year, I relied on my Airbnb receipts to figure out where I had traveled.  Ironically, after writing down the places, it looked a little light.  I had to remember that there were places I visited where I stayed with friends and family and so no Airbnb was necessary.
Here is the breakdown--
Santa Fe (six times)
Nashville  (first time)
Rincon, Puerto Rico (first time but will definitely return to visit friends)
Minneapolis (first time in years)
Palm Springs (second time in two years)
Walla Walla, Washington (second time in 8 years)
Kansas (family)
Washington D.C. (3rd time in my life)
Not bad, I think.  In retrospect, maybe I could have shifted a trip to Santa Fe and headed to Pagosa Springs or Aspen.  Both of these towns elude me.  I will have to change this in 2019. And, let's be honest, I love Santa Fe.  I love visiting friends, soaking at Ojo Caliente and of course, the food factor.  I think I may be able to arrange a quick trip down in January.  And, in February, I have bought tickets to go to Dallas.  That is the destination for this year's trip with Shari.  I have my eye on a body scrub at a Korean spa and will start investigating the restaurant scene.
Back to my year of travel, 2018.  Yes, multiple trips to Santa Fe.  I toured wine country in Washington State with my friend, Jean.  We found the best food truck across the border in Oregon--Bomb Tacos.  Wine was delicious and the food factor was pretty great, too.
D.C. encouraged a mini reunion of sorts.  I met up with my friend, Jennifer, from middle school.  Over the years, Jenn and I have met in Las Vegas, Denver, ABQ and now D.C.  She took six months off to hike the AT and I met her in D.C. for a city break.  There was never a mention of me hiking with her and for a minute, I was semi-offended.  I am healthy.  Why wouldn't she want me to experience some of the beauty of the AT?  The more I thought about it, though, I knew we had made the right decision.  I am a great guide in most cities. I enjoy finding restaurants and bars.  And D.C. does not disappoint.  We dined at Bad Saint and Tail Up Goat in addition to a few other spots.  Both are amazing and I am so thankful to have found them.  We met up with classmates--Mitch and John for dinner and drinks.  That was great to reconnect and chat about life.  Also, I introduced Jennifer to my friends, Megan and Marc.  They were my neighbors from my rental on Logan Street in Denver.  Megan has always enjoyed cooking and we had a chill night with them and their kids.
Minneapolis and Kansas were inspired by family trips.  My mom turned 65 in August and my aunt and I surprised her with a quick visit to Kansas.  Also, I treated my mom to her first ever pedicure and she loved it.  I couldn't believe it!  65 years and no pedicure.
I adored Minneapolis.  The yoga scene was off the hook and I enjoyed day drinking and finding new restaurants to dine at.  My aunt was a gracious hostess and I enjoyed spending time with her.  We did some thrift store shopping in EDINA and spent the majority of time in Uptown.
Nashville was fantastic.  We chose that location for our anniversary trip and Sara Jo joined us.  Four days to eat Hot Chicken, explore music and the city.  I had a great time and would love to return at a later date to see more of the city.  We packed in as much as we could and there was still so much more to do.  Palm Springs was a little laid back.  Spent time with Sara Jo and my friend, Marc.  Hiked at Joshua Tree and checked out the high desert.
I conclude my year of reflection with Puerto Rico.  My friends, Tiffany and Dan, had planned a relocation there for a few years.  They had everything planned and then the hurricane happened.  Still, they were determined to move there and so they waited for a bit.  They didn't want to go there and take away from people that already were experiencing difficulty with resources.  I commended them on their foresight and compassion.  They invited me to their wedding in March and it was lovely.  Spending time and seeing how resilient Puerto Ricans are.  And, I do love the ocean.
Quick recap of my year.  I am thankful for all of the time spent traveling, drinking wine and seeing friends--creating memories.  I look forward to this upcoming year and think of where I will go.  What does 2019 hold for me?
We shall see.  Til then, cheers and enjoy your Saturday!