Reconnecting In Monument 

Basking in the morning sun with glimpses of the Colorado mountain from the patio, I’m sorry to see the weekend nearing its end. Do you have a group of friends, that no matter the distance or how long apart it’s been, that once you are together it’s like no time has passed? I’m so blessed to have this in my life.  These ladies remind me who I truly am.  And that’s worth more than gold. 

This weekend was no exception. Our phenomenal hosts made the weekend even better than ever.  Thank you, M and J,  for opening your home and hearts! These flashes of reconnection are far too short. But, boy, do we know how to pack a lot of unadulterated adventure into a very short amount of time. 

Let me start by telling you a little bit about Monument, Colorado which sits a little over an hour from the airport. Monument is north of Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy, and east of the Rampart Range, which is the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains. It began as a settlement along the Rio Grande Railroad in 1872 and just happens to be a few miles from where J grew up, left, and returned a few years ago bringing M with him. A perfect spot for a Girlfriends reunion! 

Reunited and I’m So Excited 

Friday morning arrived with three of us arriving at the Denver airport. If you havent been to the Denver airport be aware that it sits out in the middle of nowhere and takes a bit to go wherever your going. The good news is that there are shuttles, for a fee, which will take you where you want to go. Just reserve one in advance and try to be on time. We missed the 10am shuttle by nine minutes. That just meant we had a few hours to kill over Bloody Mary’s at the Red Rock. 

Tip: If you are running a few minutes late call the shuttle service. They will often wait if you are running a few minutes late. Any more than that I highly recommend the Bloody Mary’s. 

After M picked us up from the Park and Ride we headed to her home to await the last member joining our party later. I know I mentioned how hard it is for everyone to get together before, and this time was no exception. Not everyone could manage the trip (you know who you are) and the group was a little smaller than in the past. But everyone was there in spirit… and a few of their stories as well. 

When B arrived, we kicked off the weekend gathering around the patio table to catch up. It was a beautiful Colorado evening made better by pizza, adult beverages and lots of smack talking over past adventures of which I’m sworn to secrecy. 

Local Farmer’s Market

The local Farmer’s Market called to us as we lingered over coffee and pastries, that J had graciously ran out to get, just for the ovarian vortex that had descended upon his quiet home with gads of giggles and  estrogen. M is so lucky to have him. 

If you get to Monument go to the Farmer’s Market. From fresh produce, local honey to fancy, long lasting lipstick you can find it here. 


Across the street from the Market is an eclectic shoppers paradise of shabby chic meet Colorado hip decor and wearables. For the shopper’s wingman there are comfortable rocking chairs beneath a shaded back porch.   Take advantage of those rockers, relaxing in the cool shadows. 

From there we headed to Bella Casa just around the corner. On a mission,  we all picked up a seasoning mix for yummy coated crackers that we had been snacking on since we had arrived. I’m going to call this mix crack-cracker-mix. Just saying it’s beyond delicious and you will want to grab lots of this mix to make at home. 


If I had a way of packing more home with me I could have done serious damage to my pocket book here.  Every nook seemed to hold something my heart desired. I’m addicted to housewheres and this little shop did not disappoint my addiction. 

Palmer Lake 

Palmer Lake sits a few miles from Monument. It’s J’s  home town plus it’s home to the worlds best ice cream at the Rock House.  Did someone say lunch!?! 

We piled out of the SUV and headed into The Rock House.  This small business hosts a case full of ice cream in an assortment of flavors, all especially made for the Rock  House, as well as some favorite lunch specials. Stop in, grab a BLT and indulge in a chocolate waffle cone with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Afterwards take a minute to find a trinket from the curio ship in back made by local artists. 

For those visiting the Tri-Lake area swing by Palmer Lake. It’s worth the stop. Visitors can enjoy a coffee, bakery, antique shopping, boutiques, and art galleries… and don’t forget the ice cream! Take a drive along Lovers Lane and if you have time get out for a hike. 

Celebration

Unbeknownst to me, my girlfriends surprised me with a birthday dinner. Not just any birthday, but the BIG 50.  Happy early Birthday to me! 

Dressed, and ready for cocktails, we headed to the Bistro on 2nd in Monument. This little Bistro has an amazing fresh take on fine dining in an upbeat, fun atmosphere. Thank goodness for that because we aren’t exactly prim and proper – quite the opposite. And the staff was ready to take us on, all good natured fun. 


From cocktails, appetizers, dinner to dessert the service was impeccable. Taylor took our high spirits in stride and played along while delivering impeccable service. 


I can’t speak highly enough of the service. And the menu is amazing! I think I could take a bath in the chocolate mousse. 


Not eager to call the evening over after dinner, we took the party outside to  the fire pit. Rick Velliquette, owner/operator/host-extraordinaire, made us right at home with a kick-ass platter filled with all the fixings for s’mores. I even indulged in a snow cone lemon drop martini – you have to try it! It was a beautiful evening, filled with good natured  fun, a few new misadventures shared, and discovering a fantastic Bistro in Monument. Too bad it’s so far away from Houston. 


Wow – what a fantastic birthday celebration – one I won’t foget. Thank you, Ladies, for loving  me and sharing my big milestone. It was a blast. 

Back to Houston

Before heading in different directions we talked about the next potential reunion. Vegas, baby! Can you feel it? I think I’ll bring my boots. 

Cheers!

❤️

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Flower 🌺 Power

“A flower does not bloom for itself, but for the world; do likewise.”
– Matshona Dhliwayo


Happy Monday, Friends!

On Sunday’s, I’ve developed a little HAPPINESS habit, I drive to Trader Joe’s and buy myself flowers (they have an awesome assortment). This week I selected a bouquet 💐 of beautiful pink and white roses. 

I place the bouquet next to my bedside lamp, letting their soft fragrance lift my spirits in the sterile hotel room that has been my home for 6 weeks now. 

What makes you happy?

Cheers!

❤️

By the way, go check out Cees Showcase of Photography for more inspiration! 

Sparkles, A Pinch of Richness and Lots of Laughter

Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne! ~ Winston Churchill, WWI

A Good Match: A Photo Challenge 

Over the years my very dear friends and I continue to celebrate with a very good match; champagne, a pinch of richness and lots of laughter.

Like all of you, everyone leads busy lives.  The years move on, many have scattered around the country, families grow and it’s not as easy to come together as we used to do.  But, near or far, our friendship continues and is typically celebrated with something sparkling paired with decadent culinary surprises.

For those interested in learning more about how to select and serve your choice of bubbly you can read more here at WikkiHow.

Looking forward to our next get together!

Cheers, Ladies!

P.S.

I reached out to my very good girlfriend for sparkly glasswhere (she always has the prettiest table settings!) and she recommended Roost Brand. She even gave me a beautiful website where you can purchase some lovely items- Scarlett Alley.  Happy Shopping! 

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” — Charles William Eliot

Answer this week’s questions and post a comment with a link to your post in Cees Share Your World 

  1. When  you cut something with scissors, do you move your jaw (as if you were about to chew)?
  2. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
  3. Are you a collector of anything? If so what?
  4. What size is your bed?
  5. Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My Answers:

When you cut something with scissors, do you move your jaw (as if you were about to chew)?

Nooo. I haven’t ever done that…at least not that I can remember.

Do you chew your pens and pencils?

Nope. The most I will do (I try not too since it’s very annoying) is click my pen in rapid succession. SIGH, full confession, I’m a pen clicker!  I learned if I’m in a meeting to just leave the pen alone. Unless I’m taking notes or, sshhh, doodling (our secret).

Are you a collector of anything? If so what?

I’m not one for clutter so I try to keep collecting anything to a minimum. That being said, books, all kinds, magically find their way into my home.  I have my children’s old story books, my mother’s ancient science fiction books (who remembers Issac Asimov?), funny books from my girlfriends and favorite reads I have fallen in love with over the years .

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What size is your bed?

I have a beautiful, antique, cast iron, full sized bed. It sits very high up, so tall you almost need a step to climb into it. I have an addiction to lovely bedding, including plush down comforters and pillows. What it lacks in size it makes up in sweet dreamy loveliness and crisp cotton sheets. My bed happens to be one of my favorite places in the world.

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Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

It continues to snow. And snow. And snow. Sunday Miss R, came over and we had a Sunday snow day. We watched movies. We made rice crispy treats. We played with her new Barbie and Monster High doll. We took bubble bath, snacked on fruits and veggies and ignored the piles of snow accumulating outside my door.  I am so blessed and eternally grateful for my wonderful granddaughter that continues to remind me how to play.

I’m open to the Universe to guide me into next week. I’m pretty sure whatever shows up will be an adventure to cherish.

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

Instructions:
Want to participate? Each Friday, we’ll provide a theme. Publish a new post with a photo interpreting the weekly theme. Create a pingback to this week’s challenge to share your post with the community. 

Pingbacks are easy! Just copy and paste the code below into the HTML tab of your post editor and you should be all set.
Please note that sometimes it takes a little while for your post to show up in our grid.

Solitude

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The mystic, the hermit, and the wander archetypes all come out to play as I breathe in the glorious colors at play. Closing my eyes I feel the colors of Fire sink into my soul. Its sherbet colored outcrops and forever blue skies centers me.

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Breathe in Love. Breathe out negativity.

Embrace the vast emptiness. Let its peace flow through you . Feel the solitude. Know in this moment you are blessed.

Valley of Fire is a short drive, less than an hour, outside the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Go. Embrace the desert’s gift of solitude. 

 

 

 

Good Morning Las Vegas!

Day 2


Hello! After my long nap – ok, all night, I was slowly waking up to a beautiful Las Vegas morning. Coffee is the  one and only thing missing in my cozy room.

Just so happens there is a diner downstairs called the Coffee Shop. It’s reminiscent of an old fashion neighborhood 24 hour diner. Think Denny’s or a Village Inn and go back a decade or two. The lady’s uniform consists of a brown dress, apron and comfy walking shoes. She serves up coffee in carafes and plates full of eggs and pancakes and bacon and, I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.

I ordered coffee and an English muffin. I can see your eyebrow raise. The matronly waitress had the same look that said “is that all?” Hey, I’m petite and not a huge eater. I was in search of coffee and a place to slowly wake to the city before I headed outside for a walk down the strip and this, in my very own good opinion, was perfect.

The Venetian

 

The Venetian is across the street from Treasure Island. It houses my favorite bakery, Bouchon. With an order of raspberry beignets and a small cup of coffee yo go, I began the familiar trek towards Bellagio.


Early mornings are absolutely the best time to take in some vitamin D and the scenery without a crush of people.The last few trips I have been blessed with beautiful weather and today was no exception.

 

 

Here’s a 15 second zen moment – don’t forget to breathe….

 

 

Once upon a time ago, like last year, there was a restaurant called Serendipity that sat out front of Caesars. I’ve had several nice brunches there over the years. Today it’s Stripside Cafe & Bar. Whatever the name, there is a great patio area with tables that is a great stop on the way to Bellagio. Take a seat and enjoy some people watching.

But before you do say a prayer at the Brahma Shrine.


I sat down to enjoy my raspberry beignets and breathe in the sunshine. Be prepared to be tickled watching the little birds prance about hunting for treats. Enjoy the comedy.


Bellagio

I love walking through the high end shops on your way into the Bellagio casino. I have a dream that someday I will be able to go shopping here. I’d stop at Fendi for a bag. Then into Tiffany’s for something shiny. And for fun I’d buy a beautiful Chanel jacket and pair it with a silk Hermes scarf. It’s a lovely dream.


But since I’m on a budget I window shop on my way to see my most favorite place in Vegas – The Bellagio’s Conservatory. It’s a stunning display of flowers and art. The theme on display in vibrant color is the Fire Rooster for the Chinese New Year. I wrote a post on this year’s New Year and just let’s say, “bring it on!”


Tip: It is FREE!

 

Valley of Fire State Park

 

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Tip: Get Off The Strip

When we were in New York a few weeks ago I mentioned that we needed to get off the beaten path and do something we had never done before. And we did.

About an hours drive out of Las Vegas sits 40,000 acres of brilliant red sandstone outcrops waiting to be explored – The Valley of Fire. Be prepared to be amazed at nature’s majestic colors.  The park offers visitors hiking trails, picnic areas and even camping opportunities. Go early in the day if you can to catch the sun. By the time we got there it was already nearing sunset and the hills were falling into shadows. But where the sun hit the sandstone it turned into the color of soft sherbet – a feast for the eyes and rest for the soul.

The beauty of being in the natural world was striking after being in the chaos of the city. It reminded me that we are so small compared to the larger world. The vast ocean of painted rock and desert resonated deep in my soul. I breathed it in and let the stress melt away. It was almost better than the massage from the day before.

 

Tip: Day use entrance fee: $10.00 per vehicle. Camping: $20.00 per night + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups.

 

Lawry’s Prime Rib Dinner

After a full day we dressed for dinner and headed to Lawry’s, a few minutes off the strip that specializes in prime rib. According to the restaurant, doggie bags and valet service originated with Lawry’s…who knew! With a flash of silver carts and spinning salad bowls, a delicious meal appeared and was un-apologetically devoured.

To be perfectly fair, this is not a budget friendly restaurant. In life and in Vegas you sometimes have to splurge a little. This was worth it and A was very happy and that’s all that counts!

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Gilley’s Saloon

Tip: FREE Line Dancing Lessons @7pm

Who loves to country dance?

We missed the free line dancing lessons. Time gets away and it’s hard to fit everything in that we want to do. We got there for the just in time for the live band so we paid the $10 cover charge. No surprise, the cover was worth it.

The band was amazing. Unfortunately I never did find out the name of the band but their performance was exactly what you come to expect from most Las Vegas entertainers – supremely talented. The lead performer was a petite young woman with a giant voice that filled the huge hall.  They seamlessly played a mix of country, tossed in some good old rock and even some pop to keep everyone happy.

Drinks flowed, delivered by beautiful cowgirls dressed in chaps. I’m sure they had every man in that place ordering non stop just to see the pretty cowgirls.

I have to share the one mischievous-late-night-saloon-thingy that A taught me. I’m a very slow learner so we started it at dinner and took half the night before I could repeat the following phrase with out stuttering or just fall out laughing:

Dirty rotten, lying, no good, son of a bitching bastard!

My mother would be so proud…LoL!

If you like good music and the opportunity to dance the night away then Gilley’s Saloon is the place to be.

 

Cheers!