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! 

Revelations Aren’t Always Easy

And when it happens, it can be sometimes hard to swallow. Like learning little things about yourself that is a bit uncomfortable. Now it doesn’t have to be the drama-life-altering-kind of revelation. Oh no.  In my opinion, it’s all the teeny, tiny revelations that can pile up into one big aha moment. 


I took myself out to a country bar in Katy, TX , called MO’s Place. It’s a little early, only 9pm. But if I stayed in the hotel room any longer I would have just crawled into bed and called it a night. Which I tend to do – a lot. But sometimes I think it’s important to remember I’m single and it’s Saturday night and I need to get out once in awhile. 
But it’s tougher here since I don’t have any going-out-kinda-friends and I’m not exactly  comfortable walking into a bar in Houston on my own. I know – the revelation has me confused too. 

I’m a seasoned traveler. I’ve stepped into foreign pubs, Vegas night clubs, and hole in the wall gems without much thought. And here I am triple thinking my decision to come out to listen to some live music and watch dancers circle the floor at a popular country bar. 

There’s something different from visiting a place to knowing that I now live here. I’m a little more cautious. It’s as if I’m skirting around the edges of the city, dipping a toe into its waters, uncertain which way the tide is flowing. Is it safe? Am I doing the right thing? It’s a dangerous city (don’t watch the news here!). I’m alone. I’m always alone. 

But the night is young. I step into the cavernous dance hall, pay the cover and find a seat at the end of the bar near the stage. I’m sipping a club soda, watching the place fill up with pretty young things in sparkling jeans and preening young men in cowboy hats.  The mating rituals have begun. It makes me smile. I feel extremely ancient. 

I can do this.  The knot in my stomach won’t relax. 

The band is about to start. An hour. I’ll give myself an hour.  

A man asks me to dance. It’s a simple two step. 

It’s time to adult. 

Let’s do this. 

Cheers

❤️
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The Daily Post: Discover Challenge “Speak Out”

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill

I have no idea who drew this image. If you know please let me know so I can add the credit and link. My girlfriend asked me to post it on the blog…she sent it to me and asked me to write about it. Reading the statements were heart breaking…and thought provoking. I’m pretty sure the following isn’t quite what she expected.

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She Persisted

What I’m about to write may be seen as controversial. It may not be seen as mainstream and it might trigger you. All I ask is for responses to be kind. 

Ready?

Deep breath.

I believe in EQUAL Opportunities for ALL. I believe EFFORT and CONFIDENCE begins with us.

I want to change the script running in our minds, on the streets and in our world. I want to promote kindness.

It’s simple.

What’s not simple is how do we get there and what does that look like?

Laws can be passed. Protest can rage. Rallies and marches can explode.

I respect the passion. Without it, throughout the history of America, we would not have the freedoms we do today.

But I have a question; doesn’t change reside inside each of us and doesn’t it start at home? With ourselves? With our children?

I am standing on a teeter totter balancing my weight between pros and cons in this crazy world. YES, I want equal pay for all. YES, I want equal treatment for everyone. YES, I firmly believe we should all receive EQUAL Opportunity. But that doesn’t mean we get a FREE RIDE.

Equality isn’t a blanket pass for misbehaved people to cry fowl because of gender, race, religion or whatever the popular rallying cry of the day might be. Stop burning down neighborhoods and start building schools! Be Kind! Effort equates results. 

Start at home. Start at school.

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What we teach and mirror to our children, in my opinion, is the foundation of what we want to see in the world. I’m a huge advocate of Head Start. INVEST in our children!

“Relationships are the Foundation” 

“Infants and toddlers develop within the context of relationships with the adults in their lives. Relationships provide the security to explore, play, and learn. These experiences set a secure foundation for later school success.”

Do you want to see more women CEOs?

Teach our children, boys and girls, the qualities it takes to lead.

Do you want more tolerance in the world for our LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 bothers and sisters?

Teach our children LOVE and Kindness.

Confidence

Ladies, let’s build each other up. Let’s raise our daughters to do the same.

Dove has brilliant ad campaigns targeting self esteem for women and girls. I especially found this video especially insightful “a girls confidence starts with you.”

Gentlemen, build our young men up. There are so many lost boys that need male role models to flourish (yes, girls need you too!). This quiet epidemic is written about in an Esquire Magazine article Manifesto of the New Fatherhood; Why fathers matter now more than ever before by Stephen Marche.

“The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child puts the strength of early impressions on a biological level: “We have long known that interactions with parents, caregivers, and other adults are important in a child’s life, but new evidence shows that these relationships actually shape brain circuits and lay the foundation for later developmental outcomes, from academic performance to mental health and interpersonal skills.” The presence of a father affects a kid on the level of brain chemistry.”

Gentlemen, support the ladies. Ladies, support the guys. People we need to work together to make a difference. 

Michel Kimmel writes about this in his article on Huffington Post:

“How can we further the campaign for women’s equality? How can we help women get there?

By helping men. Particularly, we need to help men decouple those aspects of masculinity that hold men — and women — back from living the lives they say they want.

So women and men want the same thing: good careers, loving relationships and happy families. Women are advised to lean in or to opt out — as if they can do it alone. But women can’t have the lives they want without some support from men. Men: We need to listen up.”

Ladies and Gentlemen – Be there for our kids. Role model accountability. Build confidence. Spread LOVE.

INVEST IN OUR FUTURE.

INVEST IN OUR CHILDREN.

INVEST IN US.

Cheers!

💕

 

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A Stylish Destination and A Helping Hand @ LOFT


Do you want to look great, feel like a million bucks and, best of all, feel confident wearing comfy clothes? Of  course you do! I’ll let you on a not so little secret…wait for it…one of the best stylist is at LOFT!

BEAU CARTER

Call. You wont regret it.

I KNOW –  he’s a hidden gem! But seriously, someone you should get to know if you are remotely interested in looking great in clothes that are stylish and perfect – for you! Even if you aren’t local to Des Moines, Iowa, he can hook a lady up virtually. Trust me. The most compliments I have ever received is typically wearing pieces that he recommended. He has an eye for fit and what’s right for you.


If you aren’t familiar with LOFT its time to take a look. The Loft is geared towards providing fashion from every day essentials to head turning trends – at fantastic prices! LOFT has one goal; to make a woman look and feel confident no matter where the day takes them. And with one of the best stylist that I know hidden in the  Des Moines store you are well ahead of  the curve.

One of my favorite lines is Lou & Grey. I was in the New York store last weekend and fell in love with the casual line. Trust me, the pieces will make you feel like its the weekend everyday. Who doesn’t like that? Ultra comfy and ultra stylish at the same time…yes, its possible. MMMM makes me happy just thinking about it!


As always, let me  know how it goes. I’m sure you will just love Beau. Almost as much as I do.

Cheers!