Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My New Year's Resolutions (from 2011) - How I Did!

Last year as my New Year's post, I made a list of all of my resolutions for the new year.  Most were pretty realistic, some were challenging, and others were kind of silly - but I thought they were all great ones!  

As 2012 is quickly approaching, I thought I'd asses how I did.  And you know what?  I did pretty darn well. :)

My 2011 Resolution "Results":
- Pass my skills test, and be recruited to an RMRG team so that I can bout for REALS!  (CHECK)
- Visit my big sister in NYC (CHECK - twice this year!  Yay!)
- Go vegan (& stay there) - Fail!  Oh, well. I will always be me! :)
- Pay off a credit card (CHECK - just one, but hey, every little bit helps.)
- Discover something new about myself (YEP!  It's almost daily, really.)
- Pick up a new hobby (I'd consider picking up drawing again a hobby!)
- Create my own custom recipe book (CHECK - I actually created it for my friends Katy & George as their wedding gift, so I guess the next thing to do is make a real one!  Katy keeps telling me to do it...)
- Laugh a LOT (Always!)
- Ride my bike more (YEP - A LOT more!  Been riding my bike to work almost every day!)
- Take a vacation (or 2) (CHECK)
- Have the most amazing 30th birthday party ever (CHECK - Roller Disco?  Yep, AMAZING.)
- Learn how to tap dance (CHECK... well sort of!)
- Read a lot of books (YEP!)
- Contribute to a cause (YEP - in little ways, but yep.)
- Make my own Kombucha (YEP!!)
- See an old friend (YEP!  Katie Keyrouse - TWICE in New York!)
- Take more photos (YEP!)
- Work harder at being Green / wasting less (YEP!  Got a scooter, riding my bike more, am shutting off lights all the time, turning down the A/C & Heat, being more aware of my carbon footprint, etc)
- Get back into doing yoga regularly (WORKING ON IT - this is still a challenge for me.)
- Finish watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (Getting there! On Season 6!)
- Create more (I THINK SO!)
- Do thoughtful things for my friends (I HOPE SO)
- Remind my family how much I love them (YEP - ALWAYS)
- Get another tattoo (STARTED - just not finished!)
- Make the world a better place (even just a little better) (I HOPE SO!)

How did you do on your new year's resolutions?  I guess we still have a month to go before the year is up!   There's still time, so get crackin'!  :)  Now I need to ponder about what my resolutions will be for next year...

photo from

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Did everyone have an amazing Thanksgiving??  I sure as heckfire did! :) 

I took a couple of extra days off work, and spent time with my fella and his sister Angela (in town visiting from Oklahoma).  She's hilarious, by the way.  Her and John were cracking me up ALL weekend. 

Here's the spread from our Thanksgiving Day!  Everything turned out AMAZING, and I think I'd make every single thing again.  Here are a couple of my favorites: 

Not only was this ridiculously easy to make, but it was DELICIOUS, and made for some fantastic leftovers! 

Can you tell I like recipes from Real Simple Magazine? ;)  This was another super easy one - I just substituted vegetarian italian sausage instead of the real stuff.  It was a huge hit, and a great balance of sweet & savory.  I loved that it was unique from the usual stuffing we have.

Double-down Tofurkey
The one on the right is actually Tofurkey Wellington, but personally I think the one on the left (which is just marinated Tofurkey) was the best.  I just marinated it overnight in some soy sauce, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, crushed garlic, and hot pepper flakes.  It was very tangy!

 Oh, what a beautiful plate! :) 

Some more pictures from the dinner.... 

After we indulged in all of the yummy delicious goodness, we all headed out for our usual post-dinner walk.  I think it's a great tradition that our family has gotten into the habit of doing (and it prevents all of us from going into a complete food-coma afterward).  

Jazz hands!

 Parkour to you!

That's a snowball about to come at me!!

We are really a bunch of insane people, you know. 

As is my way, I'm going to make a little list of what I'm thankful for this year.  There may be some repeats from the last time around, but I don't really care.  I'm probably thankful for it twice. ;) 

Things I'm Thankful for (in no particular order)
- the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, the food on my plate.
- my wonderful family and friends.
- snow.
- police officers, firemen, emergency room doctors, and everyone else who works their butt off during the holidays to keep others safe.
- cookies.  all of them.
- leftovers.
- seatbelts.
- Stuff You Should Know (the podcast).
- finally living in a place that has heat.
- flowers, trees, mountains, grass, rivers, oceans.
- farmer's markets.
- my bikes.
- roller derby.
- faith.
- love.
- hugs, high-fives, and handshakes.
- milkshakes.
- wine. 
- Nikki's beautiful little boy, Nico.
- christmas lights.
- music.
- laughter.

That's all I can come up with right now, but I think that pretty much sums it up! ;) 

I truly hope you and your families had a wonderful, beautiful, delicious Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Visit to the Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO)

John and I made a trek up to Estes Park, CO - hungover and sleepy the day after our Halloween party last month. 

I'd been to the Stanley Hotel once before (probably 10+ years ago, before I moved to Colorado), but I didn't do a tour at the time, and I've always wanted to!  Especially since I saw the Ghost Hunters episode where they did an investigation there... and of course, The Shining (about a million times).

It was a pretty rad tour, and really educational!  I learned so much about the family who built it, their lifestyle, the history of the area - it was fascinating.  Oh, and of course - all of the GHOSTLY claims! 

He looks quite mischievous, doesn't he?

This is one of my favorite photos of the day - I loved the big ornate mirrors and the creepy portrait paintings in this hallway!

Close-up of us in the mirror.  I'm such a nerd. ;)

The grand staircase.  I didn't know that they filmed some of the hotel scenes from Dumb & Dumber here!  The part where Jim Carrey races the girl up the stairs - yep, that's this staircase!  I knew that when they pulled up to the hotel (in the Ferrari), and all the gift boxes fall out - that was out front of the hotel!

No, those aren't evil ghost-eyes on the right side of this picture - they're just light from an old-fashioned lamp!

John is a very scary ghost.

The infamous room 217!  This is the room where Stephen King stayed, and inspired him to write "The Shining".  Apparently he was so shocked with what happened to him while staying in this room, he pumped out the book in just a week!

According to our tour guide, a lot of activity happens on this staircase.  She said that people often lose cell reception, or their phones shut off completely.  I love this photo because of all the illuminated phones!

One of my most favorite photos of the day... I love that the people staying in the room below opened their door at just the right moment...

You may have to click on the photo above for a closer look, but it's up to you to see if I caught a ghost!!

A little prank with the doorway leading to the upstairs attic.

Going down?

Another one of my favoritest pictures of the day! :)

I LOVED this old-timey elevator handle - can you imagine this being how you got from floor to floor?

Oooooo - the basement.  Spooky!

What a gorgeous hotel, huh?  This is the main lobby.  You don't see many places this grand these days, that's for sure!  So beautiful!

What a breathtaking view!!  I can see why the built the hotel here - it's so gorgeous!

Those aren't people down there (bride & groom) - they're scarecrows in pumpkin heads gettin' married.  Ha!

Look at that!  Isn't it amazing?  I think the best word to describe it is "majestic".  Really - it's such a beautiful place.

Some elk came by to say hello to us while we were leaving!  I guess that'd be "goodbye", but whatevz.  Pretty neato! 

All-in-all I would highly recommend taking a tour.  It was such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, and the little town of Estes Park is absolutely charming!

I'm still getting caught up on all of my other pictures, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I've been a bit preoccupied!  :)  I'm out for the holiday for a good 5 days starting tomorrow (WOOHOO!!), so I hope you all have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving!! 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An English Breakfast

I've always loved the way that the British do breakfast.  Well, not with all the meat and blood sausages (*cringe*)!  But I love tea, scones, heavy cream, baked beans and toast - YUM!  

The other day I was at Cost Plus (World Market - whatever the heck they're calling it now), and I found this amazing scone mix!  It's from a company called Sticky Fingers, and it's DIVINE.  I'm normally a make-it-from-scratch kinda girl, but I thought I'd give this a try.  

I got the Lemon Poppyseed kind (pictured), and a Cranberry one.  I brought it up to the mountains with me over the weekend, and baked the Lemon Poppyseed scones for breakfast, and served them with Honey Noosa Yoghurt (my new favorite thing).  If you don't know about Noosa, here is their website - the stuff is amazing, rich, creamy, OH so good, and probably another reason why I'm fat right now. ;) 

You just add water to the scone mix, stir, bake, and enjoy.  They came out light and fluffy and gorgeous - not dry at all!  I am officially in love with this mix.  

I made the Cranberry mix for breakfast this morning, and luckily remembered to grab another container of the Honey Noosa.  I think next time I'll get a simpler flavoring for the scones, then try out the Strawberry-Rhubarb Noosa - it sounds amazing! 

Oh - OH!!  And how could I forget??  The limited edition Nutcracker Sweet tea from Celestial Seasonings is out again!!  I LOVE this stuff - it has such a wonderful flavor to it (black tea with vanilla & spices).  I can't get enough, and it went great with my scone this morning. :)