Highlights of Fort Collins

As you all know I am a huge foodie and most of the times a “drinkie” as well. The main reason I love to travel is to find new palate pleasures and fun adventure. I traveled to Fort Collins and its surrounding areas with my family and stayed with my aunt so unfortunately this blog won’t suggest any hotels, but it will be full of experience.

Hike Lory State Park

We had a 10 month old with us so we could not handle the long trails. We decided on the Well Gulch self guided trail. The hike was pretty easy, gave you a great glute burn and filled with gorgeous sights. You could see the Horsetooth Reservoir  filled with boats at each cove. We also “hiked” the .1 miles to Waterfall Trail, well worth it. The water was crisp and clean. We drove the rest of the path through the park. Lory welcomes dogs, horses and bikes. Cost:$7/carIMG_8411

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

So gorgeous and I have now added “seeing a concert at Red Rocks” on my bucket list. Your legs, glutes and calves will thank you after climbing the 380+ stairs it takes to get to the top. Trust me the view is worth it. The amphitheatre was bursting with people working out and tourists taking selfies. There is plenty of parking (there is a lot up at the top if you want to skip your cardio) and a restaurant at the top. Cost: FREEIMG_8412

Breweries: Fort Collins Brewery/Odell/New Belgium

I am not a beer drinker at all but these breweries were a great place for me to taste. My favorite out of the 3 was New Belgium. I tried the La Folie Sour and the Blackberry Barley Wine. I actually semi enjoyed them (I’m a wine snob).They had a very open space with plenty of seating, games and food trucks. We ate at The Waffle Lab. We ordered the Voo Doo Monkey; waffle, peanut butter, bananas and raspberries and The Spicy Professor; waffle, jalapeños, cheese and bacon.

We went to the Fort Collins Brewery for lunch. The locally source a lot of their ingredients. I dined on the Asian duck salad. Ryan and I “shared” a flight of beer. I only enjoyed the first beer; Hefeweizen. They included their Mexican chocolate cake stout and being that I live for chocolate, I would love it…negative.IMG_8154

Our last stop was Odell. (Fort Collins brewery and Odell are about 2 blocks away) The patio was a perfect place to catch some UV rays and cool off with their many flights of beer; the Classic Tray, Pilot Tray and the Locals Tray. Each tray allowed you to try 5 different beers with a card explaining each one. We split these trays between 4 people! This non-beer chick was 3 for 15!!! My favorites were Food for Thought, Mishawaka and Bobby Kolsch.IMG_8164

Estes Park Aerial Tramway

The tram was so fun but so scary. The views you get during the ride and once you are at the top are well worth it. You can see the snow capped mountains, the adorable town below and trees, rocks and more trees.  Fun facts about the tram; it was built in 1955, the upper terminal is 8708 ft and the highest point off the ground in the tram is 200 ft! The top has a cute gift shop,coffee shop, rocks to climb and places to explore. Pack a jacket and/or scarf, it is cold and windy at the top.Cost: $12/adult

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Nuance Chocolate

This small batch bean to chocolate bar shop was one of the better chocolates I have ever had. When we traveled to the Caribbean, we learned about the cocoa bean process, but this shop explained it even further. Different cocoa-growing areas of the world have diverse soil types, temperatures, and humidity levels, further influencing taste and texture.
Chocolate made from cocoa beans of different origins can taste deliciously unique, just like red wine! No wonder I love both of those things.

They offered different taster flights ($7 each). We enjoyed the Single Origin taster; favorites were Ghana and Madagascar and the Flavored Taster flight; favorites were chili pepper and sea salt. It is a must to purchase some of their truffles as well. IMG_8147

 

Dancing Pines Distillery

I was bummed that we discovered this right before we had to get to the airport, so I was the only one that tasted. Dancing Pines uses natural and local ingredients to create small batch liquors. They offer 3 different trays to taste along with a really fun cocktail menu. I ordered the sweet tooth. I sipped on Cherry tart liquor (and purchased it), Chai liquor, Zoranj (orange and super strong) and Brûlée. Brûlée was my favorite with really sweet caramel notes but I would use Cherry more! When you purchase a bottle you are offered a free cocktail or a token for the next time you visit.

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Downtown Estes Park

Anyone from Minnesota will understand this analogy. Estes Park shops are adorable and very similar to Stillwater, MN but with better surrounding views. You will find antique shops, candy shops, ice cream parlors, places to purchase blown glass, jewelry and other souvenirs. I was on the hunt for the best taffy and old school bubble gum ice cream (the pink stuff with colored square gum pieces). My favorite Taffy was the Estes Park Taffy Company. I purchase one of every flavor that sounded good, you have around 60 flavors to choose from. As far as the ice cream, all the shops had the new “kid” friendly blue bubble gum ice cream and of course I don’t remember which parlor had the good kind. I was in ice cream heaven and completely lost to remember such an important detail.

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Stanley Hotel

I have seen 3 mins of The Shining, so this stop was a little lost on me. The hotel was stunningly beautiful but according to Ryan, very different from the movie (which keep in mind was filmed YEARS AGO). You are surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains, the gorgeous building and great landscaping. Cost:$10/car

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Blue Skies Winery

Go figure I find a winery in downtown Fort Collins and even more shocking, I brought home 2 bottles. Blue Skies had delicious reds and really yummy ports. I tasted their Sangiovese, Barbera, Malbec, Cab/Merlot blend (amazing), Raspberry Pinot Noir (great for sweet lovers) and their Under Canopy (Blackberry Port). The tasting shop was quaint and full of local artists work. They also offer chocolate from Nuance and local cheese.  Cost: $5 for a 3 wine tasting.

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Fort Collins is a wonderful part of Colorado to visit. Very different from exploring Denver and Colorado Springs, but this area is not to be missed. I am excited to go back in the winter and explore the ski slops and more restaurants.

I appreciate you!

A thank you to my clients,

               I truly appreciate every single one of you. Month after month, year after year, you continue to support my business and career. You push me to be a more passionate hairdresser. You deserve the best version of me every time you sit in my chair, and I hope you feel it.

              Thank you for being patient with my schedule this year, allowing me to travel with Ryan and take some time for me. I appreciate your flexibility and planning in advance so that we can continue to create and build our hair-relationship.  In return, some of those trips, I took the chance and invested in my career building on my color expertise at Wella in LA, grew my advanced cutting skills at Bumble and Bumble University in NYC and Oribe in Miami and was taught how to build my career on the business side at Styling your Career at Bumble and Bumble.

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             2015 gave us a lot of laughs, tears, connection, drama and great gossip. I love hearing about your families, travels, great shows and restaurants and most of all, YOU! I’m honored to be your stylist, therapist and friend. I’m excited to see what 2016 brings us.  Cheers to another year of amazing hairdressing!

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Friday Favorites!!!

Every Friday I am going to post and talk about some of my favorite things, places, food and subjects! These are all things I’m obsessed with! I guess just like Oprah and Ellen, I want to let all of you know about the things I love!

My first Favorite Friday is…

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I know its so cliche, but there is something about holding that cup and sipping on its goodness that pure bliss. I do admit I need to be better about not going almost everyday…put that CA$H in my 401k, but at the same time life is short, I work hard, so gimme that $3 cup of joy!

My favorites there are a grande americano with 2 pumps white mocha and now they offer coconut milk so add a grande coconut milk latte with 1 pump caramel to the roster! Yup, Im that picky B**ch with the crazy selective order.

I know Starbucks is a giant corporation and we should support the small coffee business and sometimes i do, but being as picky as I am, I like consistency and Starbucks offers it.

FUN FACTS:

  • 22,551 stores in 65 countries
  • First Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971
  • Starbucks has agreed to a partnership with Apple to collaborate on selling music as part of the “coffeehouse experience”.
  • In 1999, Starbucks started “Grounds for your Garden” to make their business environmentally friendlier.
  • In 2008, Starbucks was ranked No.15 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Top 25 Green Power Partners for purchases of renewable energy.
  • Offer a college achievement plan with ASU

*source: WIKIEPEDIA

“Starbucks Company Profile” (PDF) (PDF). Starbucks Coffee Company. July 2014.

Time Out (2011). Time Out Guide San Francisco. Time Out Guides. ISBN 978-1-84670-220-4. Retrieved 9 April 2013.

BIG SIS

Recently both of my younger sisters have had major events happen in their life and its just fun to reflect on your relationship with them. My sister Monica, just had her first baby 3 weeks ago and Vanessa just married the love of her life. I couldn’t be happier and more excited for them.

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As the oldest of 3 girls, you tend to take on a lot of responsibilities. You are in charge of being the leader, role model, rule breaker, protector, trend setter, ring leader and voice of reason. Your sisters are your best friends by choice and like most friendships you have your ups and downs, but you will always love and support each other.

Growing up with my sisters was a blast. I was 2 when Monica came into my life and the thumb-sucking chubby cheeked monkey wanted nothing to do with me. She was content by herself, so naturally I would pick on her just to get attention. She was so laid back and I needed to be in the spotlight, so it was the perfect balance. Then came along Vanessa. She was my human doll and did everything I told her to. Monica and I would pick of her but to Vanessa, that meant acceptance, so she just put up with it. She was a mini me! We have so many great memories and whenever we talk about it, we laugh so hard we cry. We weren’t always nice to each other. Between the 3 of us it was always 2 against 1 and just rotated. Now as adults, we always get along.

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I was and still am very protective of both of them. If anyone every tried to mess with them or talk about them, the claws came out. As a sister, you are allowed to make fun and tease your sisters but for anyone else, its off limits. Monica was always the shy, quiet sister, so it was harder to tell if something was bothering her. Yet, she is so strong and resilient that if something was on her mind, you never knew. Vanessa was a pocket size little sister and had her drama with boys, so insert crazy big sister. Vanessa had struggled with Chrones when she was younger and that was a hard on Monica and I. My parents had to focus on her health, which as kids, you feel left out. Now I see how crazy it was to think Vanessa was faking it. As a child your parents shield you from the seriousness of most things. Im glad they did and I am so happy she is in remission.

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The last few years have been crazy for all of us. We all got married with in 5 years, our parents got divorced, Monica had a miscarriage and then a new baby joined our lives! Through all of it, I felt that it was my responsibility to make sure they were ok through it all.

Monica and Vanessa’s wedding were both so fun. Watching your little sisters exchange vows with a guy you totally trust, takes a little weight off you. They were both so happy and the day was filled with smiles. These guys were in a way, taking them away from me but it was ok! My sisters have never looked more beautiful or happy. The annoying little girls that followed you around, stole your clothes and tattled on your for years are now a Mrs.294405_10150363160159839_657346955_n

Our parents divorce was hard, even though we were adults. Each of us went about the healing and dealing process in completely different ways. We each decided that no matter what our stance was, if we picked a side, or needed time to figure it out, we wouldn’t judge each other and be openminded. That day we found out was gut-wrenching and being the person that I am, I set aside my feelings to make sure my sisters didn’t feel lost, sad or alone. Since they were told separately I was able to squeeze them tight and try to take away the pain. I was a care-taker through it all. I didn’t want anyone to feel pain, so I spent all my time making sure both my parents and my sisters were ok. 4 yrs later, I am happy how I handled everything and focus on the relationships I have had with my parents. My mom is a caring, kind, fun, loving mother and my dad is a goofy, supportive, hardworking father and that is how my relationship will still be with them. Their marriage was not mine, therefore I found a way to keep the drama separate. I think this event in our lives, have shown us how to focus on ourselves and each other and that marriage is hard work for both parties. This could turn into a whole separate blog, so on to the exciting story.

3 weeks ago JELLO (nickname) entered our lives. This was such a blessing because Monica has always wanted to be a mom. when we ere little, we watched my mom breast feed Vanessa, so naturally Monica and I copied. I fed my doll and Monica breast fed her panda bear. Watching her with her baby is heart warming. I am so proud of her and excited to watch him grow. Jello has brought Monica and I closer. We never really had much in common, but now the love for this little pooping, drooling, sleeping human is what we have in common.

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Sisters. See-stars! I hope they both know that I am so proud of them, so happy for them, and cant wait to see what else awaits our futures! Love you both!

Berry cashew cocoa chips!

I LOVE chocolate! I am one of those people that craves something sweet pretty much all the time. I decided to create my own chocolate dessert that is naturally sweet with natural sugar.

Here’s what you need:

1 bag of Simply Balanced dried strawberries(Target)

1 bag of Simply Balanced dried raspberries (Target)

1/2 c unsalted roasted cashews

1c Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips

1c Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips

1 tbsp finely shredded coconut

wax paper

cookie sheet

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Steps:

1. I first cup my dried strawberries in half since they were pretty big.

2. Lay wax paper over cookie sheet. Melt the chips together in microwave. Once they are melted, mix up and start creating circles. I used a tbsp to measure and created 22 chips.

3. On each chip, I put one cashew, one strawberry and one raspberry on top. I used the finely shredded coconut for fancy sprinkles!

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Nutrition: One chip

88 cal, 5.6 g fat, 11 g carbs, 8.3 g sugar, 1.4 g protein