Early October in Breckenridge, CO

Seeing fall foliage in Colorado was finally a possibility this past September/Early October 2017!  The primary goal was hiking among some of my favorite trees with their white trunks and golden leaves: the Aspens.  This year, the timing worked out just right, thankfully.  I’ve been to Denver, Colorado Springs, Morrison, Eldorado Springs and Beaver Creek but this was a first trip to Breckenridge, Colorado; I absolutely loved it and will return!

Traveling is a favorite pastime of mine so I usually put quite a bit of effort into researching places before committing to going somewhere.   Sometimes the places don’t meet expectations, but other times, they end up even better than expected. This visit was one of those times, so I’m sharing what we did and hoping it’s helpful to you in planning a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado in the near future.  The lodging and location was the only  thing I researched, but what we did while we were there, just happened along the way, after talking with people and using the All Trails and  Bands in Town Apps.  I never like to be too structured, it’s more fun to “go with the flow.”

WHERE TO STAY

We stayed at the Grand Timber Lodge and loved everything about it! The location was excellent: we were within walking distance of Downtown Breck, with shops, restaurants, and live music entertainment!  Free Shuttles were also provided to the Downtown area and several nearby attractions.  The hiking trails could also be found within walking distance from the lodge (we didn’t use the car during our stay).  Speaking of the car, it was nice having a heated underground parking garage, especially when it snowed during our stay.  There was an onsite restaurantLodgepole Bar and Grill, multiple hot tubs and pools throughout the property, an onsite spa, game room, fresh baked cookies and complimentary coffee. We loved having operable windows in the suite we had for fresh air.

ENTERTAINMENT

Shops: You will find any outdoor clothing you could possibly need at the numerous shops in Breck.  We stopped by a family owned shop called Olive Fusion, and ended up ordering various flavored olive oils, shipping them home.  It is a cute family run store with nice items for gifts.

Nearby HikeBurro Trail in the Arapahoe National Forest:  we used Google Maps to get there, but once we got to the point where we were supposed to find the trail-head, we didn’t see it!  So we asked some nearby workers and found the trail-head just on the other side of the ski lift path and it was marked, just not extremely visible.  Along the hike were streams, tall pines and patches of Aspens; it was gorgeous.  We had plans to do more hiking during this visit, but it rained one day and snowed unexpectedly and we weren’t prepared for that, so on to plan B.

Food and Drinks:  There are so many interesting restaurants to visit in downtown Breckenridge,  with beautiful scenery, we didn’t stay long enough to visit very many, but the ones we did visit we enjoyed!

The Canten-Tap House and Tavern: This was a perfect first stop for us, of course we had to order the famous Colorado Moscow Mule along with an appetizer, but we had no idea the appetizer could feed about 6 people!  The Moscow Mule was served in a canteen mug, not the usual copper mug, and one was plenty! Maybe it was the elevation, but wow!

Kenosha Steakhouse:  This place was great with its over-sized outdoor deck, excellent food and entertaining staff who let us know where the locals go for entertainment.

Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro and Sushi was an excellent choice for dinner one night.

Broken Compass Brewery:  We took the shuttle from the Grand Timber Lodge; this was a nice way to end the late afternoon after a long hike.  We decided to try the beer flight, and it was hard to choose a favorite for me.  The laid back atmosphere with the garage door opened, music playing and filled with Patrons and their dogs was so relaxing.

Breckenridge Distillery:  This was a good way to spend a rainy day, we wished we would have paid attention to the hours the restaurant was open because they are known for excellent food, but the day we visited the restaurant was closed, so we sampled their featured vodka and bourbon. We were also able to take a free shuttle to this location which was great!

Columbine Cafe was what we craved after trudging through the newly fallen deep snow: a big hearty breakfast and this food definitely hit the spot!

Nightlife: Live music was our destination, and we certainly found it…EVERYWHERE!  Sometimes it’s hard to find live music, but that was not the situation in Breckenridge; it reminded me of Nashville!

The Historic Brown is a MUST if you like live music and a place with history!

Something I don’t see all the time, but in Breckenridge you might:  Moose Crossing the street in downtown

The Motherloaded Tavern was another fun place to visit for live music.

The Gold Pan Saloon had a late night DJ; there is something about the excitement of a new place on that first night that just gives me extra energy, and we certainly used up the energy here, shutting the place down and dancing.

Blue Stag Saloon was our last night out and such a cozy Colorado venue for drinks, dinner and live music!  While we were there, we were entertained by Michael Bauer, an excellent photographer and adventure seeker, who shared a crazy rafting story; check out his work on Facebook!

This was such a fun weekend trip, I’m ready to back right now!  We started out with beautiful fall vistas and ended with snowcovered landscaping!  By the way, often we are so excited about getting to our destination that we end up passing phenomenal sites along the way.  Between the Airport and Breckenridge, here are a couple of those places (and the reason we took a red eye flight back home!):

Dillon Lake

Grand Lake Colorado

A Mountainside Drive

Train passing through the Mountains along side a scenic overlook on the highway heading back to Denver.

Breckenridge is a highly recommended fun town to visit, even during “mud season” when we were there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do in the Lou?

“The Lou” meaning: St. Louis, MO.

I’m a St. Louis native who doesn’t experience boredom because there are so may things to do!  Always having something fun on the calendar definitely keeps me motivated, so I’m continually looking for NEW things to do as well as keeping track of enjoyable annual events, and now I’m sharing them with you.  I intend to periodically update this post with Events and Activities as an evolving page, so if you check back at a later date, there will likely be new events added as time continues and I visit more places!

The types of Events and Activities you will find here are:  Comedy, Cultural Activities, Entertaining Kids, Fitness, Music, Neighborhoods, Outdoors,  Restaurants, Seasonal Events, Sports, Weekend Road Trip Ideas, Wineries based on places I’ve been, along with links to informational sites all centering around the St. Louis area.

Below each subject are website links to the venues or activities providing the most current information:

COMEDY

St. Louis Funny Bone, Playhouse @ WestportPeabody Opera House

St. Louis

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES/ART/HISTORY

Visit the Arch, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, The Muny, The Rep St. Louis, The Fox Theatre, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Lemp Mansion, Demenil Mansion, Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, Peabody Opera House

DIGITAL CAMERAENTERTAINING KIDS

Magic House, St. Louis Zoo, Grants Farm, Eckert’s, Incredible Pizza, Six Flags, St. Louis County Parks and Recreation, Purina Farms, City Museum, Ted Drewes, St. Louis Science Center, Swing Around Fun Town, Chesterfield Sports Fusion, Flying SpiderBounceU, Pole Position, Pump It UP, Skyzone, Chesterfield YMCA (summer camps), Steinberg Skating Rink,  Challenger Learning CenterGirl Scouts of Eastern MO, Shaw Nature Reserve, Dixie Stampede (Branson- 4hr drive),

FITNESS

Hiking, Battlegrounds Mud Run, Tough Mudder, Various Organized Runs, St. Patrick’s Day Run

LIVE MUSIC

Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, Tin Roof St. Louis, Sky Music Lounge, The Pageant, Delmar Hall, Scottrade Center, The Blue Note (Columbia, MO), Old Rock House, Broadway Oyster Bar, Stovall’s (country music)Peabody Opera House

NEIGHBORHOODS

Soulard, Central West End, The Hill, The Loop, Clayton

OUTDOORS

Patio DiningThe Bull Float Trip (Annual Event), Meramec Caverns, Twin Rivers Landing Campgrounds,  St. Louis County Campgrounds
CieloRESTAURANTS

Outdoor/Patio Dining, New Restaurants Italian Restaurants,  Fireplace Dining, St. Louis Food and Drink Events, St. Louis Dining (Riverfront Times)

SEASONAL EVENTS

Mardis Gras in Soulard, St. Patrick’s Day Run and Parade, Purina Farms Easter Village and Haunted Hay loft, Fourth of July or Fall at Big Cedar Lodge, Historic Kimmswick Apple Butter and Christmas Festival, Lantern Festival, Winter Wonderland at Tillis Park, Historic St. Charles Christmas

Lemp Brewery Scarefest

Busch StadiumSPORTS

St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, St. Louis Blues Hockey, St. Louis Ambush SoccerMizzou College Football, Kansas City Chiefs Football

WEEKEND ROAD TRIP IDEAS

Kansas City, MO (approx. 3.5 hrs) Silver Dollar City Theme Park (approx 4 hrs),  Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO (approx 4 hours), Lake of the Ozarks (approx 2.5 hrs) , Springfield MO (approx. 3.5 hrs), Memphis TN (slightly over 4 hours), Nashville, TN (approx 5 hours), Chicago, IL (approx 5 hours)

Cedar Lake CellarsWINERIES

St. Charles area along 94:  Augusta Winery, Montelle Winery, Mt. Pleasant Winery, Chandler Hill Winery

Cedar Lake Cellars (about 45 from St. Louis)

Herman, MO – winery town (about 1 hour from St. Louis)

I hope you find this helpful and welcome any feedback or suggestions regarding places to visit! Happy Exploring!

 

 

Lack Patience? Get it by letting go!

Have you ever heard how “The Universe keeps giving us lessons until we learn the lesson”?  Well I guess I needed a lot of lessons to develop patience, but thankfully I made progress; it just took a long time! This past year, I kept realizing what little patience I had, but wanting to become more patient.  And while I wasn’t intentionally working on becoming patient, the experiences I had throughout my life taught me to become more patient.   These are my realizations about what I learned from experiences:

Simply described, I realized that becoming patient is achieved by practicing LETTING GO! I found becoming patient requires…

…letting go of:

  1.  Forcing anything– Patience is letting things happen naturally, slowly over time; this removes stress and adds peacefulness to our lives when we realize forcing something into our ideal time frame really doesn’t work.  Sometimes it’s as simple as letting time pass;  some things naturally work out on their own over time.
  2. Mistakes:  – keep improving when we mess up or life gets messed up, hit reset…a new beginning!  It’s okay to keep starting over when something doesn’t work, it’s not permanent failure, it’s only temporary failure! Patience lets us accept our mistakes and try again.  Each time we try again, we develop our patience and have another opportunity for success.
  3. Expectations of Others – this is out of our control anyway, so practice patience with others, don’t fit them into “our box”, “our way of thinking”, “our way of acting”: everyone is different, let go of expectations and let it happen as it is (Having patience with others will bring us peacefulness: when we have no expectations; there is no let down) Others are who they are- accept them “as is” work with them as they are.
  4. The future – we are not guaranteed a future.  All we have is our time, here and now.  We need to have goals or we will never accomplish anything in life and wander aimlessly, but this is about being present in the moment doing what we need today to reach our goals, pay attention to what is happening in our lives at the moment, don’t overthink the future, we don’t know the future and can’t predict it.  Patience lets the future unfold as it is intended and the future is more greatly affected by what effort we put in today anyway.
  5. Fear taking on the next challenge, pushing ourselves to do something we never thought we would or could do. Patience is developed as we slowly see progress along the way, in overcoming fears or achieving certain goals over time; then we realize that having patience helps us accomplish things in life.
  6. Control – have faith in God providing what we need in life, not always what we expect, or on our time-frame, but what we need, letting go and letting God take over. We become patient when we believe that God will guide us and provide for us; we have no anxiety. We are not in control of what happens to us anyway, only how we react to what happens to us.
  7. Seriousness–  it’s great to laugh as often as possible; we need laughter to help get through being patient when things take time and frustrate us!
  8. ONLY celebrating first place wins, acknowledge that second place is progress, celebrating the journey and the small wins along the way keeps positive motivation flowing. Recognizing small wins develops patience and the dedication needed for the big wins.
  9. The way we think it should bechange happens and we need to adjust ourselves to address the changes we experience; there is more than one way to do things.
  10. The past – let go of the past, something that didn’t work, didn’t work out for us: never settle. Never settling requires patience because it takes awhile before we find what is best for us.

So if we want patience, focus on letting go!

Phoenix, AZ – Abundant Sunshine and Happiness!

This past Memorial Day, a trip to Phoenix, Arizona trip was planned for a couple reasons:

  • I live in the Midwest and it always seems to rain on Memorial Day weekend here (and I wanted sunshine after a long winter and rainy spring)
  • Summer is my favorite season, but in the Midwest it can be chilly, cool, chilly or extremely humid around the end of May; it’s unpredictable in the Midwest, and I wanted warm weather

So Phoenix seemed to be an excellent solution: the dessert with dry heat and sunshine, and it was!  We chose the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak for the extended holiday weekend; and it turned out to be perfect for us!  This resort is close to the airport so you don’t even need a car, we used a shuttle service  from the airport simply looking for a place to rest and relax; we didn’t intend to be sightseeing on this trip.

DAY 1 (Friday 5.26.17)

We arrived early, got settled into our room, then headed to River Ranch, the onsite water park, our view  perfect setting for R&R!  It was an early morning and we were tired so we had some BBQ at the Hole in the Wall then ended our day.

 

Day 2 (Saturday 5.27.17)

Started the day with a hike to Squaw Peak, gorgeous day and fun hike with Ken and Skylar from the resort, then relaxed pool side enjoying the lazy river, ending with a fun birthday, Italian dinner at Tutti Santi Ristorante by Nina, topped off with a shot of Sambuca with 3 espresso beans (which I was told represented the past, present and future) I recently searched and found the common representation of the 3 espresso beans is Health, Happiness and Prosperity.  Must try the family recipe for the Ravioli, it’s their signature dish!

 

 

Day 3 (Sunday 5.28.17)

We started with a Stretch and Relax Class at Tocasierra Spa in the morning with a wonderful instructor for the class; after the class, we asked her what suggestions she would have for “natural settings” and places to go for people who enjoy the outdoors, she suggested Slide Rock for the day, we also used the onsite workout facility, but unfortunately my son was too young (13 years old) to be allowed to use it so we went to the sports pool and enjoyed some volleyball and basketball!  We were so happy that we could rent a car for the day when we visited the concierge in the lobby; the car was onsite and ready to go for the next day; we decided to depart in the morning for Slide Rock State Park.   The concierge also told us about a fabulous airport restaurant in Mesa, AZ with incredible views, so we planned to visit there for lunch after Slide Rock.  The evening featured a dive in movie and the nights get cool, so we enjoyed sitting fireside and having smores to end the evening.

Day 4 (Monday 5.29.17 – Memorial Day)

Three days was enough time for all of us to enjoy poolside activities and we were ready to explore with our rental; the 3 hour drive to Sedona from Phoenix is beautiful once you hit the Red Rocks and heading to Slide Rock State Park was even more gorgeous  (click to view the trip); lunch at Mesa Grill was fabulous too!  We absolutely loved Sedona and spent time shopping at the retail there too.  By the time we got home, we didn’t have much more energy, so the next day we were treated to a Swedish Massage to end our visit, just before heading back home.

Day 5 (Tuesday 5.30.17 – Spa and Departure Day)Tocasierra Spa

We were so pleased with the resort and the staff and had a wonderful trip; it was a great long weekend visit and highly recommended.  We ran out of time to participate in the miniature golf, but night time would have been fun!

mini golf 2

Waiting

Thought and Questions on “Waiting”?

Personally, I’m not one to wait, “patience is a virtue” doesn’t  come naturally to me; I’m all about taking action. As time progresses, I’ve acquired more “tolerance”(the best descriptive word to me) for patience, even though it’s not natural for me and a continual struggle.

EXPERIENCES

Not waiting has given me some amazing opportunities: ones I wasn’t fully ready for, but worked out. On the other hand, it’s also put me in bad situations. So what is the right choice waiting or not waiting?

In 2017, I’ve made some changes, and realized that I probably need to work on patience and waiting.  For the first time ever, I searched “waiting” in the back of the Bible I bought and read the passages:

waiting-reference

 

Waiting and patience are not natural to me, so this is a change I will try.  Sometimes the application of what we read to our own lives is confusing…to me at least, but I’m trying!  I already heavily booked my weekends through mid June, so I’m going to try to hold back now and slow down.

WAITING

I can see “both sides” of this:

A) Patience and waiting can bring good things, like the examples in the Bible

however, I’m also a strong believer in:

B) If you want something, you have to get off your butt and work for it, you can’t wait for it…

So which is it?  Or does each one apply to different subjects?  Or is this taking it out of context?  Questions!!?

Pros

  • We get what we truly want; we don’t settle for something less.
  • Waiting means trusting in God’s timing; having faith…

it’s interesting that I bought this necklace awhile ago, maybe I was missing “a message” to me?

Cons

  • Experiencing patience: time feels like it’s slowed down, and not in a good way
  • Missing an opportunity (even though this is true, if we act on this, aren’t we are acting out of fear, which often leads to regret?)
  • Not taking action to achieve; Inaction – we aren’t using our time wisely if we wait? This is probably the one reason that I don’t often wait…

This past weekend’s message at The Crossing was about:  suffering > perseverance > character > hope ….maybe this thought I woke up with, on waiting, is something I need to explore more?  I don’t have the answers!

FEAR

ALLOWING FEAR = A LIFETIME OF REGRET

The next time you feel anxiety, consider this:  Fear will give you a lifetime of regret!  What do you want?  There is a certain amount of fear that protects us from harm, but we should understand that limit:  Does it mean life or death?  If it doesn’t, then get over it, or we will regret avoiding fear, maybe the rest of our lives if we don’t get that second opportunity.

Facing fear translates to growth, learning new things, improving, becoming better, and experiencing life. Avoiding fear leads to life’s regrets.

My First Fear

I remember fear from very early in my life, my first memory of fear was pre-kindergarten. My parents enrolled me in swimming lessons because my dad had a fear of the water and neither of my parents were avid swimmers, so they wanted me to learn how to swim early. I remember standing at the edge of the high dive with the instructor and a couple other people in the water telling me to jump in. I stood there with my hands crossed, shaking my head “no.” (I’ve always been a little head strong.) It wasn’t so much the water that scared me, I always loved water, but for me, it was the fear of heights.  I stood there for some time at the edge of the diving board, the ascent up the ladder wasn’t bad, but the jump scared me more than anything.  I must have delayed the instructors long enough because someone was headed up the ladder to give me a push off the dive, which I didn’t want either, so I jumped!  Splash! It wasn’t as bad as I made it in my mind.  Because I faced this fear and jumped in, years later, at 17, I became a life guard.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

Pre-Teen Fear

My family visited my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in California and I fell in love with California, deciding I wanted to go to college there after that vacation.  I loved the ocean, the hiking, Disneyland and our camping trip to Yosemite National Park.

yosemite-camping-tripOnce again, my fear of heights surfaced.  We were hiking and my adventurous Aunt planned to hike to the top of “Puppy Dome,” of course I wanted to do it too, but knew I would be scared as well.  I can remember getting to the top, my heart was racing so fast, my body was lying flat practically glued to the granite, with my hands in the crevasses as we reached the top.  I don’t think I could stand, I was too scared, but I made it, with my Aunt’s encouragement and loved that I did that. The memory has remained with me my entire life.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

So later in life when it was time for college, fear set in again.  I had a boyfriend and I was afraid to leave my home state and pursue my dream of college in California because I feared the relationship would end.  I really liked this guy and chose to stay in town, rather than go away to college.  Big mistake!  My relationship ended with that guy and I’ve always regretted my decision of not going away to college and have thought about:  What would my life have been like if I had pursued what I really wanted, instead of acting based on fear?   I let fear take over me, and I regretted it, no second chance on this one.

Adult Fear

I still challenge myself by facing fear of heights:  zip lining, jumping off elevated ledges into water, scaling walls, climbing up the ladder to the roof hatch of a commercial building roof top, and by walking a parapet catwalk during a property inspection.  The fear hasn’t gone away, but each time, I’m glad I faced the fear; I don’t have regrets, and the fear lessens.

The physical fears I seem to face willingly, but often it’s the fear involving people that I don’t, and then regret it later.  In fact, there are several times where I’ve regretted not facing a fear, later in life, involving people. Facing fear is about becoming vulnerable; and when we become vulnerable, we are not protected; so, we are fearful.  This is not the way to live though, unless we want a life of regrets.  Just as any other fear, if we face it, we become stronger.

As an adult, I had the surprise opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve in Key West with a guy I really cared about, but I had planned a party with friends at my house and had sent invitations, not knowing about the surprise trip that was planned. I didn’t want to let my friends down, but being honest I preferred and wanted to go on that trip with him.  I stayed home out of fear of disappointing my friends, and believing I should stay independent, and I regretted that decision ever since.

Fear also leads to us to “Settle” for what we wouldn’t choose normally.  We begin to justify settling, to protect ourselves, so we don’t have to face the fear.  I believe lack of self-confidence is the reason we don’t face fear involving people. People with confidence face fear; they overcome the fear and therefore become more confident people. Don’t let fear be the reason behind decisions.

Being Independent to the extreme is Acting in Fear

Fear involving people is evident in those who want to do everything for themselves and don’t ask for help. I know that because I have been that person, most of my life: independent.  I still don’t like to rely on anyone, relying on someone makes us vulnerable, and being independent protects us:  we don’t need anyone!  I’ve always admired independent people, but there should be a balance in life, nothing to the extreme ever ends up good.  (This is continuous work for me, relying on others.)  If we let fear take over, we won’t grow, we can’t follow our purpose, or develop the gift we were born with. Fear sets limits.  If we limit ourselves, we can’t possibly be all that is possible, if we had no limitations.  Letting fear take over leads us to the:  “What if….?”  (Our regrets).

FACING FEAR = REWARDS

So next time, face fear:  stand up for beliefs, suggest that new idea, take a risk, say “no,” push ourselves to the next level, act with courage, speak your mind, be authentic/be you, go for it, ask for what we need, just do it,have that conversation, follow passions, take that vacation (work will always be there), ask “Will I regret this later, if I don’t do it now?”

I’m not saying be reckless, but if we want to live life to the fullest and be the best person we can be, don’t limit ourselves, don’t let fear control our actions:  Face fear and be rewarded!