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Monday, February 11, 2019

Red Iguana - Salt Lake City's MUST HAVE Mexican Food

A line on a Monday outside of Red Iguana 

So there's this place - this wonderful magical place full of warm tortillas, savory mole sauces, and pork products in nearly every form.  Oh and an abundance of spicy, salty margaritas.

Where is this place, you ask? It's Salt Lake City's famous Mexican restaurant, Red Iguana.  You are probably envisioning a hip and trendy taco joint smack downtown in the city.  Instead, it is literally and figuratively located on the "wrong side of the tracks" at the other end of the city, about a mile and a half from the downtown area.   All of this amazing Mexican food is contained in a basic nondescript yellow and red building with a huge lit up sign inviting you in to enjoy "Killer Mexican Food" right through the front door covered in a variety of random stickers.  To really set the ambiance, its neighbor is a rundown no-tell motel, honeymoon suite, weekly rates, and creepy gnome characters in a no longer functioning abandoned outdoor pool included.  That Travelodge sign with the creepy characters featuring "Kiddies Fairy Land"?  All real.  Let's just say you don't come here for the ambiance, you come for the mole.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Winter Weekend in Stowe

The Grandview Barn on Stowe Hollow Road

Mountains or Oceans.... the oh-so-important question asked of many outdoor enthusiasts and single folk swiping on dating profiles.  For a long time, I was a die-hard no questions asked ocean person.   But as time goes by, I can't deny that there's this magnetic pull to the mountains.  And this attraction?  It's pulling me a little harder into the woods than into the water these days.   

The more time I spent on mountains, the more I started to crave the way my calves burned on a hike, the bittersweet feeling of setting up your tent in the dark, and the absolute quiet that comes with being alone on a far away trail.  

These days, I want to be on a peak with my dog, I want to steal sweaty kisses from someone on a summit,  I want to sit on a rock and eat my smooshed sandwich and warming craft beer - items that taste so much better at elevation.   I want to see the view above the treeline and find the nearest brewery once the bags and the dog have been loaded back into the car.  

The more time I spend in the mountains, the more these scales start to shift.  Jagged peaks and densely wooded trails have become just as important to my happiness as a rugged coastline.  

Stowe Gondola, Stowe Mountain Resort

To be fair, I don't need the Rocky Mountains or 14,000 footers to find my footing -  our mountains here in New England are always beautiful, can certainly be challenging, and are often underrated.   Let me camp in the Berkshires, wander in the Whites or hike in the Greens - that always does the trick.

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Year, New York - The Adirondacks You Didn't Know About

There is this quote I think of often when I am in my "9 to 5" mode.  It's a famous saying by John Muir and when I'm stressed out at the office or packing my bag for a much-needed weekend away in the woods, it pops into my head.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.  Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.” -John Muir

Moose River Lodge

After the chaos of the holidays and the madness of those last few months of 2018 (she was a doozy) this is exactly how I was feeling.  Tired, nerve-shaken and much too over-civilized.  Cabin fever was setting in and I needed to escape my house on the shoreline for a cabin in the woods.  I get that itch, that itch to be anywhere but home, to explore somewhere new.  I need to go find those mountains, lakes, and streams.  So at the end of December, I packed my bag and the dog and headed north to spend 5 days in the Adirondacks of New York. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Year in Review - 2018

I don't believe in resolutions, in setting unrealistic goals for a new year, a "new you".   What I do believe in is reflection, in taking a minute to look back before you look ahead.  There is something magical about really sitting down to reflect on the year you've had.   This post, that goes live at the end of every December is my chance to look at all the beautiful places I've been, reflect on all the awesome people I've met, celebrate the things I accomplished and take some time to acknowledge the things I have to work on.   Year in review 2017201620152014.

My tribe at the summit of Mount Hunger

If I had to pick one word to describe this year, it's "challenge".  This year challenged me in ways I would have never imagined.  It challenged me to grow, to move, to get out of my comfort zones, to make big decisions, to challenge the way I thought and the way I acted.  Plain and simple, this year was a challenge.  Some challenges I embraced head-on, with courage and stamina.  And other challenges were spent crying into my whiskey on my couch.  I was challenged emotionally with relationships, financially with buying this house and taking over all my horses bills, and physically with diet and exercise (and a little too much beer). 

Olive and I at Mt. Moriah in the Whites on our first backpacking trip

I learned to embrace some loneliness and waking up on the holidays alone.   I learned to budget as financial burdens increased.  I learned to take my health even more seriously, and held myself accountable for my actions.  This probably isn't the happy uplifting way to start my review you were imagining but man, transparency is my new love language.  I know right now I am in the middle of it (well, end of the year) and that I am going to look back in ten years and laugh.  Laugh at how life has changed and how many new challenges I have had to overcome, maybe even challenges that will make this year look like a cake walk.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Fast Friends and Hermit Thrush Brewery - Vermont

I used to joke "I have enough friends"

At the end of the day, I thought I did.  I'm lucky to have so many amazing humans I can call on in an instant - childhood friends, scuba diving friends, horse friends, running friends, family friends.  You name em, I've got em.  I wasn't really looking for more companions as my schedule spiraled with book clubs, girls nights, scuba Wednesdays, family dinners and post work happy hours.  But sometimes, you meet someone in the strangest of circumstances and an awesome individual strolls into your life.

Sometimes you don't know you needed this type of friend until they show up and take up much-needed space.  Someone you can truly be yourself around, talking about the hard shit and the good times, the struggles with family, the perils of dating and the dangers of falling in love.   Turns out, I didn't have enough friends after all or at least not the type of friend I needed at that point in time. 

Hiking Katahdin with friends 

I met R in the funniest of circumstances.  We actually went on a few to be exact.  But let me rewind a bit.  Before we went on these seven dates, before we had even met face to face we really didn't
 hit it off.  I thought R was a jerk and his pickup lines were stupid and well, he thought I seemed like a pretentious bitch (my words, not his).  First impressions were not good and it just wasn't the start of something good, don't you agree?