Friday, December 29, 2017

I look back over the last ten years and think of all of the places I have traveled--Fiji, New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Italy...amongst others.  In addition...Where are the most interesting places I have traveled?
Yes, I have been asked that question. Many times.  People seem to think Belize is the most exotic and it is exotic.  What isn't exotic about scuba diving, snorkeling, resort living?  And food?  Thankfully,  I have visited twice in my life.  Once to conclude a trip in 2008 and a return to scuba dive at Caye Caulker in 2011.
Until I tell them I have been to South Africa.  Immediately, they think, oh, safari driven venture.  Yes, I did a day trip.  And, I also checked out Camp Bay, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.  It was incredible.  I adored it and felt and feel it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I loved the music factor, too.  Check out Freshly Ground.  I have two of their cd's.
I hiked Table Mountain and stayed in a hostel on Long Street.  Reminded me of New Orleans--live music til 4 a.m.  Brief break prior to staff arriving to clean the restaurant and venue.  5:30 am, cleaning and prepping.  I would wake up and force myself to go for a run.  Back then, I was motivated to be healthy by running.
Or Colombia, 2017.  Medellin.  My favorite place.  I think of all of the connotations of Medellin--drug cartel and Escobar.  Still impactful til you visit.  Gorgeous.  Stunning.  Great food.  Clean.  Cody and I convinced our taxi driver to help us find a hotel in el Poblado.  Furthermore, we arranged a day tour with him that included a mini tour of Escobar highlights and lunch.  We wanted to see more of the barrios in Medellin.  At one point, we understood how insensitive we were being.  Take us somewhere we should not be walking around does not sound that impressive, right?  After lunch we walked around a neighborhood with local businesses, restaurants and bars. Each bar had men hanging out playing cards and drinking beers.  We chose a place that appeared welcoming and open.   Immediately these two older gentleman sent us a round of drinks and waited to make our vist more about them.  Could happen anywhere.  Politely, we finished most of second beer, left the third and said thank you.  Cartagena was a wash (terrible airbnb experience) and I had a new respect for Bogota on my return.  There is something to be said about a local guide.
Vietnam, 2016.  Why go there?  I was asked that last night.  How can I explain to someone that served in the military in the forgotten war that it was an amazing experience?
That I chose to go there?
That the people were kind, inviting and lovely?  I can't even explain the war myself.
Cuba, 2014.  Another proud moments for my parents. I am sure.
Cuba had its own essence.  And a ton of mojitos.  Obviously, too sweet and rum is not really my jam.  However, they did offer toberlone chocolate and wine was readily available.    Lots of rum and the kindest people on the planet.  Seriously. Shar and I befriended a taxi driver who took us dancing.  That was awesome!
I do have more places to reflect on and consider. I had the best day, today.  Saw my trainer and had an amazing amount of energy.  I went to lunch and ran into a customer.  He approached me and I mentioned that I didn't stop by since I didn't think he knew my name.
His response--isn't it April?
Lol....not even close.  I am still laughing thinking about that.  I returned home and slept for 2 hours.  I believe I needed it.  I know that I did.  Two days off inspired rest, relaxation, some working out and sleep.  And it feels incredible!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

10 Years of memories

 This is how it all started.  Traveling to Fiji, 2007.  I packed the majority of my belongings and left them in Phoenix along with the beloved Veronica.  (I so miss that car).  Anyways, this was me.  Ambitious to travel and see more of the world with a few books, journals, camera, rain jacket and of course, Flat Kellen.
First stop, Fiji.  Glorious.  I bought a sarong to be respectful in the temples and villages.  I still have that sarong.  Durable and useful.  It accompanies me to all of my beach vacations.  I have the hat, too.  That was one of my reminders of Brian and tasting life on this adventure.

 Bariloche, Argentina.  I still love this photo.  One of my favorites of a beautiful place.  I attended a day hike to see a black glacier and of course, the Isla de Corazon.  The tour was led in Spanish.  I understood a fair amount of it.  Struggled with responding to any questions, lol.
 Simon's Town, South Africa.  Another one of my favorite reflections from the 2007-08 trip.  Six month (almost) traveling and it was remarkable.  The food, people and places.  I still reflect on that trip and wish I had extended it.  I had the opportunity and know that I did make the right decision to return to Denver.  It led me to where I am now.
 Barefoot and classy.  Walking back to the hotel room in the MGM with love jones.  After attending my friends wedding in 2008.  I think I am waxing nostalgic on all of my Vegas trips since I spent a few days there last week.  Ironically, we did only stay within a three block radius from where we stayed and all on one side of the Strip.  We did not see a show, either, which typically I manage to do while in Sin City. I even play a few slot machines normally.  This past week, I was focused on Off Strip spas and the food factor.

 Shari and I in Napa.  Dinner at Bouchon.  One of many incredible meals at this location or the Vegas location.  2009, I believe.   Her first trip out to Napa and Sonoma.  Of course, wine tasting was involved as well as a few additional days in the city.

 Dinner at Mauka in Santa Fe with the lovely Melody.  2008 or 09.  Honestly, I cannot remember which year we dined here.  I remember I stayed near the Plaza and we had dinner here and at Max. Unfortunately, both places have since closed.  However, each chef has moved on to a new space in the city.
 Bahamas with Shar, 2010.  I met this lady while traveling in 2008 in Chile.  We spent five days traveling on the coast and reconnected in the Bahamas in 2010.  I returned in 2014 to venture to Havana with her.  I am overdue for another meet up with this beauty.
 2011, Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  Spent six weeks in Rocky Point while deciding what I wanted to do.  I ended up relocating to Phoenix and finding a niche there.  Rocky Point became my oasis and quick beach trip.

 2010, Cap Grille with Sara Jo and Lindsay in Denver.  We were celebrating confirmation of our lodging in Napa.  We treated my boss and my friend, Maghan, to lunch for helping us set it up.  I had been trying to run the Napa to Sonoma wine half marathon for some time.  We were able to register for the Healdsburg Half and I was determined to make sure it was the best trip ever.  Having accommodations arranged and squared made it much easier.
 Bangkok, Thailand, 2016.  Outside of a massage studio before flying to Hanoi.  I still had remnants of my black eye that I sustained in the loss of my car.  They had the best tea and cookies.  This was the beginning of our adventure in Southeast Asia.  Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  Absolutely amazing foodie driven celebration trip.  Shari and I have traveled together the last 11 years on the anniversary of Brian's death.  This year, we are heading to Nashville.
How this all started...with one man that changed my life.  He taught me to love, to risk, to not regret living life.  He knew he would have a short life.  An old soul.  I met him in 2002 and spent the next four years with him.  After he died, I chose to live life, fully, daily.  Travel. Celebrate.  Taste Life.
I realized while walking to work the other day, that I have had this blog for 10 years.  Wow!  10 years of memories.  Some more reflective and inspired.  Others, more quiet.
I am happy to be where I am and look forward to what 2018 has to bring.  Definitely returning to my travel roots and cultivating friendships.  I had dimmed part of both of those aspects in recent years.  I don't exactly know how or why, but it happened.  I want to return to what makes me the most happy and motivated.  Wine, travel, yoga and connecting people.  I think I can do it all.
I will have more thoughts of the last ten years.  I need to get out and enjoy part of the day.  I have a sushi happy hour with Jenn in a couple hours.

Monday, December 25, 2017

destinations I want to travel 2018

I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post about 23 lists to consider completing/making for 2018.  I love this idea and many of the lists I like.  Maybe not making a list of tv shows I would like to watch.  I don't need more crap to watch.  Believe me, I am fine with the streaming of tv.  I even watch empty, vapid, mindless reality shows.  They are, by far, the worst.  So, no, I don't think I need to be making a list about that.
Destinations I want to travel.  Yea, I can absolutely do that.  There are a few definite trips early in 2018.  Nashville.  Puerto Rico.  Nashville to celebrate Brian's anniversary.  Shari and I originally planned on Charleston.  But people kept talking about Nashville and it seemed like a better fit.  Food. Music.  Great vibe.  I mentioned it to Sara Jo and she also seemed interested in going with us to Nashville.  Her exact response was--well, Jonny crashed your trip to Austin, I can crash this one.  As well as, I enjoy traveling with you and Shari.  I bought my tickets and now need to focus on the rental and what area of town.  I have time to figure it out.
Puerto Rico is to attend Tiffany and Dan's wedding.  They postponed due to the unforeseen hurricane.  They had been planning on moving there and celebrating their love by having friends and family attend their wedding in October.  They recently relocated to Rincon and are enjoying their life there.  I am excited to do yoga on the beach, check out the wine shop she raves about and spend time with them.  Support the local and see a beautiful place.
I am thinking of a European adventure.  I have always wanted to go to Greece.  I even had tickets bought and purchased before 9/11 happened a week before my confirmed departure.  I postponed my trip initially, thinking, I would wait six months and then consider an adventure across Europe. Full of rail travel, wine and sitting in cafes.  Instead, I found myself moving to Denver.
I digress.  So, yes, a trip to Greece and Spain would be optimal.  Or a trip to India to continue my yoga education.  I have been attending more classes in Denver to see what is out there and how I could contribute to the community.  I still believe I could create a niche here and have a thriving practice.  Continuing yoga at a retreat sounds incredible.  And would complete another goal--passport stamps.  Last night this older gentleman was describing his son and how much he traveled.  I'll admit.  I was a little jealous and kept listening.  Apparently at the end of next year, this guy will have visited 42 countries.  My thought was--I can do that.  Or better yet...I should do that!
Of course there will be trips to Santa Fe.  That is a given.  Maybe even in January?  Or in April.  I am trying to figure out.  I need to get my Ojo fix as well as see friends and eat green chile.  It is enticing and too close to not try to drive down multiple times a year.
California.  This year I returned to L.A. and toured the city with Shari and Marc.  Great food and a fun time.  I feel that I should return to San Fran and give some love to Napa and Sonoma.  It has been too long since I have toured the wineries.  Moreover, I have a friend that owns a shop there that I would love to check out.  I met Jarred in 2006 when I visited Napa for the first time.
I am a little distracted it being Christmas and all.  I am thankful to be able to spend the day with friends.  I need to get up and finalize my gifts and treats and make my way over to their home.  I told Jenn I would wear my lobster pants.  I need to figure out how cold it is outside before committing to that.  Also figure out what shoes to wear.  My boots that I bought for the season hurt my feet and my older boots (think 2001 or 2002) also wear on my heels.  I could wear my sneakers but they have mesh which would get wet in the snow.  I am confused as to which ones to wear.  Oh well.
I will revisit this list in the next week.  For sure--there will be Nashville, Puerto Rico, Santa Fe, maybe Greece or India.  Texas could be a destination?  I don't know.  Maybe another trip to Argentina?  I don't know....

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

winter solstice and trying to be an adult....

Finished.  Completed.  Check it off.  Two ceremonies to the solstices of 2017.  I preferred the solo celebration I did in the summer.  It was exactly what I wanted.  I listened to music and jammed out 108 salutations--full salutations--with five breaths held in down dog before the jump forward and completion of the cycle.  I felt incredible.  Beat up and sore.  My hand pads were sore for a few days after.  I felt great that I was able to complete 108 push-ups.
Yesterday, we were arranged in the room so that we were a sun ray.  We were all facing each other and able to see each other flow through the sequence.  Two females guided us through the 108 salutations which they broke up in segments of 36 salutations.  We would further break that into twelve salutations with a break before continuing the next two blocks of sequences.  A five minute breathing exercise was incorporated between the completed thirty-six salutations.  It was definitely more spiritual and peaceful.  They explained to us that there would be three modifications that we would be available to us during the process.  The first one was the most physical of the three and it wasn't that challenging. I was expecting a chataranga.  108 of them to be exact and so when that was shut down, immediately, I was disappointed.  I wanted a physical connection to this process.  As noted, the three modifications were not that challenging.  It was an inch room out to plank, lower to belly, extend arms forward and back, press up to cobra or upward facing dog and then inch room to down dog and rise back to standing.  I wanted the jump backs with push ups and down dogs.
I did stay for the two and half hours.  I will not return to that studio to fulfill another solstice celebration.  I left, peaceful and calm, which is great.  However, not what I wanted.  I really wanted the physical to be pushed.
I rushed home, changed, and made my way downtown.  Thankfully, found parking and worked for an evening shift.  It's now Tuesday.  Although, it feels like Wednesday.  I attended a restorative yoga class which was exactly what I needed.  I fell asleep.  I think I needed that, too.  The instructor actually woke me up so that we could leave.  I was a little embarrassed.  And, it showed me, again, that yes, I really need to take better care of myself.  I wish I could sleep in.  I left work after 10 last night and went to bed around midnight.  I woke up at 5:30.  A nap was definitely in my future today.  I spent most of it running errands and seeing the dentist.  I have to be an adult sometimes.  Seeing the dentist, obgyn or eye doctor cuts into my travel plans and I consider them adult type activities and responsibilities.  I forced myself to go to the dentist this year.  It was challenging.  I postponed, procrastinated.  Even considered delaying until 2018 which wouldn't have changed the results.  I needed work done.  Postponing would have created more work.  I did ask my dentist to prioritize exactly what needed to be done in the future.  Now I can focus on getting cleanings and mix in some of the other stuff.  It can be managed.
Next year will bring on the eye doctor.  I am currently wearing my last pair of contacts which will need to be fixed.  I can only extend wearing them for so long without it affecting my eyesight.  I should probably schedule an appointment with the lady doctor, too.  Things to look forward to in the next year.
Always something.  I did attend a holiday gift extravaganza supporting local girls.  Picked up a few items and spent some time with the Goddess.  I love seeing her. We have discussed a return to running.  I see a half marathon in 2018.  Maybe two. Depends on how ambitious I feel.
Must get up and greet the day.  Cheers!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

I digress.....

I've been working, a lot.  I think most people are actually.  So it isn't unique to me.  However, what is unique is that my schedule has changed where I now only have one day off at a time instead of two in a row.  I am thankful for work, I am.  I am finding it difficult to take care of me.  On my days off, I sleep, take a nap, manage laundry (hopefully) and sleep some more.
Did I mention wine?  Of course, that is involved to a certain degree.  I should limit my intake as my immune system is already weakened due to my sleep schedule.  I felt the full effect of it last week.  I was working and suddenly my left contact rolled back.  I knew it almost immediately and so I started trying to re-center it.  I knew I was dehydrated which I tried to counter by inhaling water.  At this point, it was ineffective.  My body was unwilling to balance.  For about an hour, I struggled to see and try to right the contact.  When it finally surfaced, I explained to my co-worker that I needed to attend to it and hopefully reapply it without damage.  I felt around for it and found it.  Well, half of it that is.  It tore in my eye.  Probably due to all of my rubbing, scratching, etc...attempting to find it.  I told Michael that I would have maybe 30 minutes before I wouldn't be able to see.  From experience I know that I get a ridiculous headache from only having one contact in.  Thankfully, he understood and let me leave awhile later.
The next day, the other half of my contact surfaced.  I have been sporting glasses since then trying to rehydrate and rest my eyes.  I do not need to further irritate them.  I know if I put in my last pair of contacts I risk losing them in the same manner.  Ironically, I had arranged an annual check up with my optometrist this month.  He is semi-retired and so that has been a challenge.  Originally, I had set up an appointment on a Wednesday.  Two weeks later, they contacted me to ask for an alternate day with an earlier appointment.  I agreed.  Then, they called again to say that it wouldn't work and could I come in at 2 on Wednesday?  I called them to express what I needed and request an even later appointment.  January 12th, I think.  I hope that my one remaining pair of contacts will sustain til then.  Honestly, I have never utilized all of my contacts.  Typically, I have a surplus since I over wear them, extending their use, I suppose.  However, as my vision continues to change, I have held off seeing the optometrist hoping that I won't get a prescription that will be obsolete once I need readers.  Yes they are coming.  In the words of my eye doctor, once you turn, blank, you will need readers. Like it is something to look forward to.  Or embrace.  Gross!
So, there is that.  All do to the fact that I overindulged in wine and didn't get enough sleep.  That is the root of the issue.  I canceled my session with Courtney this week after I broke my contact.  I thought I could rally but that was is.  I pay her to train me.  Why pay her when I have no energy?  That was what it came down to for me.  I could go to a restorative yoga class, too, and still benefit from the physical movement.  And, I taught a client yesterday and focused more on core work than I normally do.  I am power based and prefer a ton of pushups to create heat in the body.  I like a physical practice.  Still, sometimes, it is better to listen.  To not push or overextend.  I am thankful that I can recognize that and adapt to what is good for me.
Today, I am attempting a greeting to the winter solstice.  108 sun salutations in a two and half hour period.  Seems excessive.  I know it can be done in an hour and a half or even two hours.  I will see how it is to be led.  For the summer solstice, I jammed out to music and attempted them on my own.  An hour and a half with all jump forwards and jump backs.  I felt so bad ass!  We will see.
This next week is busy!  Dental appointment.  Seeing my aestitician.  Trip to Vegas.  Teaching yoga and working to round it out.  Should be epic and an adventure.  Til then, cheers!

more of my trips to consider

I want to expand more on my trip to Santa Fe.  Multiple trips actually.  I always find my way there during the year.  I am already planning on venture down in January.  I think I can make it work.  Especially if the weather holds.
What isn't to like?  Food.  Silver coin margaritas.  Friends.  Oh, and Ojo Caliente--primarily the reason I go down there.  I love spending a few hours soaking there.  Afterwards, I am rejuvenated, refreshed and at peace.  Moreover they continue to improve Ojo with the addition of more soaking pools.  I love the lithium pool.  It is gorgeous, spacious and updated.  I love it!
My first trip was in March with my friend, Maghan.  I asked him to accompany me to get a few days our of Denver since I thought it would be beneficial for both of us. Time of year inspired it.  He had went with me the prior year to fetch my new Volvo and meet some of my friends.  I know that he enjoyed the food factor but we struggled staying ahead of the snow.  Multiple snow storms hit us on the way down and the return to Denver in 2016.  As such, we were unable to go to Ojo Caliente on that visit and so I offered to take him back down to Santa Fe so we could go to Ojo.  It was glorious for both of us.  We managed to walk around the historic plaza, check out some of the jewelers and find green chile at some local spots.  A successful trip.  I turned him onto my favorite breakfast burrito place in addition to spoiling him with all of the green chile.
I returned in June on a solo trip. I needed a trip to myself to reevaluate life and what I wanted from it.  I spent a few days with Melody, Lawrence and Libby.  Again, back to Ojo Caliente.  Lovely and refreshing.  I told myself that I wanted to visit to find new jewelry.  Especially after my malachite pendant broke from my bracelet.  I figured that alone inspired a trip to the city.  However, two days was insufficient time to find my guy and have the bracelet fixed, returned to me and head back to Denver.  I still wanted to visit and figured I would return at a later date to find my jeweler.  Another visit couldn't hurt, right?
I managed another trip mid August.  I was scheduled a few days off in a row and texted Melody to see if she would be able to meet up for a day to Ojo.  She would be able to.  I texted my other childhood friend, Jennifer, to see if she would be around.  She lives in ABQ and we try to meet up, annually.  I saw her in July in Kansas at a classmate's memorial.  She is like minded in travel and tasting life.  Of course, I would have loved to see her at Ojo.  It just didn't work out this year.  I made arrangements to attend a Barre class at Temple and Tribe and made lunch or dinner dates with Libby, Shana, Melody and Lawrence.  My dance card was full.
Each trip to the city brought about new dining experiences and some sort of exercise--barre, yoga or TRX driven class.  It enriched my personal practice which was in tandem with my sessions with Courtney.  Each time I ventured down there, I incorporated some sort of fitness activity to offset the eating and imbibing of silver coins.  Yes, there were many of those, too!
The airbnb's were an interesting mix of residences across the city.  Each was clean and the host was gracious.  One was on the south side which was like a whole different experience.  I told the girl I was dining at a spot and she had never heard of it.  I left, thinking, why do you live in Santa Fe?  Are you from here?  What does it elicit from you?  And, where do you dine on the south end?  I know of a few franchise places but nothing that stands out for me specifically.  Her home was clean and they told me I could eat eggs which was kind.  The majority of the spots were on the east side and one was near Canyon Road.  Probably my favorite as it was a zen getaway and I had limited access to the internet.  I would have to walk a half mile before I had service which was nice all things considered. I wish that spot had had more amenities--cutlery and such.  They did offer bath salts, candles and a very serene space.
There were two others that stood out.  One near Baca with ample parking and the other near a middle school off Zia.  Both had great parking and kind owners.  Cute additional touches that made the space very welcoming and comfortable.  I completely zoned out in the one near Baca.  I loved the book selection and dove into the books.
I had hoped to return one more time this year.  It didn't work out.  I redirected my attention to Las Vegas and a trip that I will be taking this upcoming week with another friend, Jenn.  I will reflect more on 2017.  The majority of it was positive and illustrated to me that I am wanting to teach more yoga.  I am very  much enjoying it!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

more of yesterday

It was a stunning day yesterday.  Gorgeous weather.  It inspired me to walk to work wearing shorts in December.  When I was a bit younger, I would wear shorts year round.  I figured I worked indoors and would go from my heated car to a heated restaurant that tended to be hot.  I was fine running around the restaurant in shorts.
I updated my blog in the morning and headed to a yoga class.  I like seeing what is out there and so, sometimes, I go to other studios and experience a class.  There is a donation based studio that I have frequented in the past.  They have multiple locations around the metro area which is nice and I can walk to the Capital Hill location.  It said it was a level 2 class and so I was expecting a fast moving sequence with some inversions.  I arrived about thirteen minutes early and chose my spot.  At this point, there was still ample space around the room.  I was setting up my mat when this woman creeped along the wall towards me and my mat.  I actually thought she was going to step on my mat which is cringe worthy in my book.  I do not like when people step on my space or invade it in any way shape or form.  She managed to not walk on my mat but she weirded me out.  I should have moved my mat, elsewhere, since there was space and time to do just that.  Instead I remained in the space I had created.
The woman unrolled her mat and set up shop next to me.  The class continued to fill up and it was a full room.  The instructor began speaking and I knew that it would be a more intention setting class.  It would not be quick moving or intense.  And, I was right.  The music was terrible, too.  We started in child's pose and then erupted to cat/cow and an odd calf stretch.  I might borrow that actually.  It helped to apply pressure to my calves and relieve some of the tension of the plantar fasciitis I have been battling the last few months.  Continuing on we did a toe stretch.  This took about 18 minutes.  For me, I prefer to be building heat by doing sun A and sun B's and almost to sun C twenty minutes in to a class.  She was a mindful teacher but I could tell her practice was more book based than actually doing yoga, experiencing it for herself.  The class was mislabeled and I will not make that mistake again of attending her class. I was bored and uninspired.
Back to the lady next to me...while in one of the sequences, I looked over and saw her butt crack.  I was so grossed out that she wasn't wearing panties.  I was surprised to.  Clearly she had rolled out of bed and skulked into this class to clear her energy.  I wanted no part of it, lol.
I do love the weather.  It's amazing.  I am off to work and maybe a yoga class tonight.  I can go to the other donation based studio and attend a class that I know is higher intensity.  The instructor is a friend and someone that I attend classes from often at my home studio.  Or, I could take a day for me and rest.  I think I need that!
There is more reflection of travel and food.  I merely mentioned Chicago and Santa Fe but didn't expand on the experiences.  Or Los Angeles.  Also a lovely foodie inspired trip.  I am so thankful for this year.  Spreading light and positivity and kindness.....

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Year in review....a beginning

Year in's been an interesting year for me.  For many, I would presume.  The onslaught of negativity, fear, blatant negative emotions,'s a little overwhelming.  I prefer focusing on the positive and light.
Thankfully, I made travel a priority.  In January, I explored Colombia with my friend, Cody.  I met Cody during my brief stint at Whole Foods in Phoenix.  She is like-minded.  Loves to travel, do yoga and taste life.  I had never traveled with her before and so I was a little hesitant which was unfounded.  She was a great travel partner.  Open to seeing where the road would lead.  We had a few accommodations arranged and figured out the rest.  Initially, I was not impressed by Bogota and was looking forward to exploring Cartagena and Medellin.  Of the three cities, I had the best time in Medellin and would love to return to explore more of it.  It was incredible.  Great vibe, food and people.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful it was.  Initially, I was a little scared.  The whole Pablo Escobar thing.  And, I was entranced by Narcos and of course, you hear so many things associated with the cartels and drugs.  Fear, again, trying to limit experiences.  I loved Medellin.
Cartagena was disappointing mostly due to an experience with an airbnb owner.  This man was unbelievable and soured that portion of the trip.  I'm sure that Cartagena is charming.  I only did not experience that.   We did swim in the ocean and explore the old city which was great.  I loved all of the arepas, too.  Street food was predominant and delicious.  We also saw some incredible street dancers perform for two consecutive nights.  That was amazing.  So there was some positive about Cartagena.
We returned to Bogota we did the graffiti tour which was excellent.  I would recommend it to anyone traveling to that city.  It's free, informative and visually stunning.  I loved the political murals.
Also in Bogota, we met up with some friends of my friend, Sharleen.  She connected us on social media and I was able to meet up with two of her friends that had never met.  They both were helpful and kind.  We shared a tour of the city through their eyes and had lunch.  It changed my perspective of Bogota, for sure.  It was more than just the Capitol city of Colombia.  I could reflect more on Colombia but feel I should point out other first cities for me this year.
Palm Springs and Yucca.  I find that I do love the desert.  I suppose I have always known it.  I have gravitated, geographically, to the southwest the majority of my life.  Twice in Phoenix, once in Santa Fe and again in Denver.  Yes, I do like the desert lifestyle.
I had never been to Palm Springs and jumped on the opportunity to visit Sara Jo's brother.  It was family oriented and fun.  We explored Joshua Tree--gorgeous and the Integretron.  I love adding spirituality into the mix of a trip.  It did not disappoint.  Who wouldn't enjoy a sound healing bath?  I completely zoned out and meditated.
Outside of those two trips, I returned to Santa Fe multiple times, Kansas for family and a wedding, Los Angeles for the Brian trip, and Chicago for a foodie driven venture.  It has been a grand year of food and friendship.  And taking care of me.  I chose to get a personal trainer which has been one of the best decisions I have made.  She keeps me accountable for my health and fitness choices.  I have cut out cheese from my diet.  SHOCK.  AWE.
Well, mostly.  This also includes breakfast burritos.  I know. It's insanity.  In my defense, I love drinking wine.  I will not cut that out of my diet.  So in an attempt to trim down, I have modified aspects of what I eat.  I now live on tuna and almonds.  Oh, and protein bars.  I still eat chips and salsa and guacamole. I am exaggerating a little.  I absolutely do not only live on tuna and almonds.  I just find that that is now my snack of choice as opposed to inhaling chips like I used to.  I have limited cheese.  Mostly because of how it now affects me.  I might as well be in close proximity to a porta potty if I eat the dip duo at one of my favorite spots.  That or a breakfast burrito.  I miss them but it destroys my system.  I used to think that anyone spouting off about how dairy affects your body was nuts.  Now, I feel a little differently.  I still eat it, but in small amounts and infrequently.  I think on my next trip to Santa Fe, I will try a breakfast burrito without cheese.  See how that works.
I meet with Courtney three times a month on average.  I have seen how I am benefitting from our sessions.  I can now do pushups with ease.  I will comfortable walking around the equipment and not just heading straight to the treadmill since I know how to operate that machine.  I am strengthening, overall, and I feel great.  Another added bonus of having a trainer.  The feeling great part.  I never thought I would enjoy this as much as I am.  Or that I could modify my nutrition and see immediate results.  And, I am still drinking wine, haha.
My intention is to teach more yoga which I am finally doing.  I believe that next year will present a passport stamp and a yoga retreat to continue my practice of being a student.  I like to see what is out there and continue my own journey.  I met a couple recently where I think more yoga will be in my life.  And an opportunity to inspire others.
Focusing on the positive and light.   Spreading kindness instead of fear.  We all can be more kind.  Looking forward to 2018 and the opportunities that will be presented.  I will reflect more on my year.  I am off to yoga.  I could use some inspiration.