Wild Wild West: Our Utah Ski Adventure

(To note: our trip took place in late January, only a month before the Coronavirus shut down mountains, towns, many businesses and drastically changed our lives….so feel extremely lucky to have had this time!)

Living out west, deciding to head where the mountains were in reach, has been one of the best decisions we have ever made.  The joy that we both get, during all seasons, really can’t be matched and wouldn’t be possible had we not decided to take a leap of faith and pick up our life to move to Colorado. In the winter, we find ourselves giddy each time a forecast calls for the fluffy white stuff and for the past two years have bought the Ikon pass, which allows us to adventure to other mountain towns all over the state and country to explore. This year, our beloved ski crew decided to head to the mountains of Utah, where several mountains we had never experienced beckoned. We found a fabulous home at the base of Brighton ski resort to rent for the first half of our trip, where 13 of our closest friends would snuggle in to mountain living for the weekend. Mike and I had decided to extend our stay for 11 days – as I would be able to work from wherever and our Investment property was finished. During the middle of the week, I had planned to stay with a long-time friend who lived in Park City, and then a second fleet of friends would head out for another long weekend. Our mountain adventure would be epic!

Mike and I left Denver on a Thursday, early afternoon to head to Brighton, where we’d meet 13 of our closest friends. Our buddy Zach, was heading out from the east coast to ski with our crew, so we scooped him up from the airport, stayed in Salt city for the night (experiencing some of the Utah bar scene at Squatters Pub). The next morning, we had continental breakfast and fresh POW for breakfast at Alta. This mountain, with it’s jagged peaks, steep chutes, plush trees with deep, deep powder between, could not have promised more. There’s really something to experiencing a brand new mountain, one you’ve never set skis on, that amplifies your excitement, gets your adrenaline flowing. Especially with fresh snow to float around on. Our #powningtown group explored the steep, steep terrain, zigged through the trees and lapped the zero line resort all afternoon, smiles permanently fixed on our faces!

We found our way to Brighton, where our house (The Great Western) sat at the base of the mountain, for a ski in ski out treat. It wasn’t quite time to check in yet, so we headed to Molly Green’s, the Apres A-Frame mountain bar. Complete with a moose-head and waitresses with dreads, we got some beers and cheers’ed to an amazing first day. At 4pm on the dot we went over to the house to check out the digs. Literally a 30 second drive over to the house, the ski in ski out feature was super clutch! Within 30 minutes of us arriving, the rest of our Colorado crew started showing up, piling their ski gear, food and lots and lots of beer into our mountain chalet. The weekend had officially started!

That night, we feasted on a soyrizo veggie bake, got silly over a game of fishbowl & discussed which slopes we’d slay in the morning. Solitude won out and we all agreed to get up and at em’ around 8 to hit it. I had breakfast duty, so as soon as I awoke, threw in my pre-made egg bake and we hit it. The crew walked over to the Millie D lift where we were able to ski all the way from Brighton over to Solitude, where the blue bird skies and great snow kept us smiling all day. Mid-afternoon, we all met up at the lodge where snacks and beers were drank. There were 13 of us, so it was pretty impressive that for the majority of the day, we all stayed and skied together. The terrain was extremely impressive, something for everyone, and the terrain was as aggressive as you wanted it, with shoots, bumps and steeps. An awesome day had by all, with amazing weather. By early afternoon, Mike, Zach and I decided to call it and head back for some apres & hot tub goodness.

The next day we awoke early and got out in the Wasatch mountains for some back country goodness with a good friend from back east. He had lived in Utah for the past 15 years and knew the area well, plus had been a guide. Utah had very different canyons with parking lots for all the back country fanatics. We parked, booted up, and crossed the street to Mill D North Fork trail. When we got to a fork in the path, we chose to go the route less traveled and wow, it was a slick boot packed trail, that gave us a run for our money with our AT gear. Finally, we found the trail that shot up the mountain, straight up it seemed like, to extraordinary views.  The day was perfect, amazing blue-bird skies, a steep approach (about 2,000 feet of vert) and an awesome crew. In total, we got 5.35 miles in and the pow was fluffy and light. After heading back to the car, we headed to The Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant, where beers were drank and the biggest plate of nachos were eaten.

That evening we were pretty beat, so headed to the house to hot tub, headed to the Brighton Store to check out the goods, then drank a few before hitting the hay early. The next morning, we awoke to snow, so headed into Brighton where we had fresh trees all day! I had never been to Brighton and the mountain didn’t disappoint. That night we went back to the Silverfork Lodge for this first crew’s last meal together before most headed out. It was a beautiful evening, with great friends and good food!

The next day, I had to work, so we headed to Park City where we spent the next few days with a buddy of mine who I’d been friends with since middle school. That night he took us on a night skin up Deer Valley Resort, where he told us casually ‘to duck if we saw a cat’. Yeah, it was super cool! We skinned up, trying to stay close to him (he’s fast AF!) and found ourselves at a fort tucked into a tree halfway up a run. A buddy of Patterson had built it years ago, spent every Sunday there, and it was a cherished place. Patterson fired up the small stove and we cheersed to one of the coolest dinners I’ve ever had! The night got better when after dinner we skied down into a posh lodge in Deer Valley and listened to a free concert with Young the Giant. Epic night in Park City!

The next two days were uneventful for me, as I worked, while Mike skied Deer Valley – although we did have a great dinner with Patterson’s little girl. We said our goodbyes and thank yous for letting us crash and headed into Salt Lake to finish out the weekend with the second crew! We rented a house in Salt Lake, about 40 minutes from the slopes, and it was super cute with a hot tub. And the girls who drove out had brought Winnie!!

Next few days were bluebird, full of great fun (no fresh snow) and lots of laughs. I even got to see my cousin and his kids for dinner one last time.

Looking back, now in May 2020, with the ski season cut short, this trip has new meaning to me and I appreciate the time I spent in the beautiful mountains, with the best ski crew ever. Cheers to skiing in 2021!

2020: My Year of Focused Motion

 

Happy New Year! Mike and I brought in the New Year as we have the past several years: In the back-country trails of Colorado, on skiis, in the snowy quiet. Brainard Lake was the perfect skin in-skin out location, a trail that was flowy and quiet, where we both could reflect on the beauty around us and the year (and decade) coming to an end. Last year  was an epic one, in every sense, and we accomplished so much – together in our business, and personally (check out my highlights of 2019). 

Happy New Year from the Back Country

When looking back on past years, the goals I’ve made, plans I’ve set up for myself, I realized there were some fundamental faults with them. First, many of my past goals were broad statements, without deadlines or quantifiable metrics around them. (Here are my 2018 Intentions – Here are the 2017 Goals – Here are 2016 Goals) Don’t get me wrong, the previous bars I’ve set have guided me, helped steer me towards greater, albeit a lazy river kind of steering. Yes, I was still moving, but with a broad focus and not really a  sense of urgency. Now, not all of my previous goals have been so lackadaisical, in fact many have been extremely audacious and bold….and I’ve been able to accomplish them! Hell, last year’s financial goals set me on FIRE for a life I get to control, a life that will be full of meaning and purpose.

So this year, with the help of my Money Minded Mavens Financial Group, I’ve gotten very specific with my goals, the why behind them, and the metrics around completing them. I’ve focused on the important areas of my life, the areas I value the most and want to have the most movement. One of the things our group gave as ‘food for thought’ was to think about a word that would help summarize what you want to manifest in the coming year, a word that will motivate and propel. A word that would steer you forward during times of questioning or doubt or lulls, when things aren’t uber exciting.

Having gone through multiple exercises, listening to a number of podcasts around goals, I came up with the following action plan for 2020. Cheers to an amazing year!

My Word: Focused Motion 

Ok, so it’s two words…but I need them both for the big year ahead! Focused motion speaks to how I want to achieve my goals this year. I have huge goals and the only way they’ll be accomplished, is by focusing in on my priorities, high ROI goals, clearing distractions, and moving forward. Many things I want to get done this year require small amounts of planning but will require huge focus in one area. Without focused motion, my plans are just scattered dreams! Anytime I become scattered, or pulled in a different direction, or feel like I’m aimlessly drifting along, I will come back to focused motion and settle back into the rhythm of my goals. Paula Pant says that every choice that you make is a trade off against something else….your time, your energy, your money. This year I want to be extra mindful of where I’m putting my focus. 

Business 

I have three major business goals for Happy Homes, with an action plan that will help me achieve them.

    • Purchase another Rental Property by end of year (2020)
    • Get Zephyr rented by 3/1/2020 
    • Get my real estate license and start setting up my next steps by 5/2020
    • Action plan:
      • Set up a monthly business meeting, where Mike and I sit down and discuss our business, what’s working, what’s not, expenses…you know, all the good stuff.
      • Complete 3 real estate classes a week to complete the 168 hours of classes before taking the real estate exam

Financial Goals

I won’t reveal all of my financial goals (booooring) but I do have a few things I’ve been doing that I’ll carry over into 2020.

  • Continue to track expenses
  • Save an extra $100-$300 a month
  • Action plan:
    • Input spend on the 30th of each month
    • Try to drink less during the week, eat out less, be extremely mindful of where my money goes each month (especially because we have some big plans in the coming months!)

Family 

The past few years, both Mike and I have spent great amounts of time with family and I’d like to spend even more time with our family this year, be mindful of the precious time I get with them.

  • Put together a will by the end of 2020
  • See my family once a month. With my taking real estate classes, adding an extra 12-15 hours of studying to my week, this will be tough, but think it’s important

Fitness 

This area is crucial to my success as there are so many adventures I want to do in the coming years that will require strength, endurance and can-do. That means putting in the work now. Plus, being physical every day helps decompress, focus and keeps me energized.

    • Continue to strength train once a week at least and log  it in Strava 
    • Be outside, active, as much as possible – I know goals should be specific, but this one is built into my DNA, so I’ll use the metrics from last year as benchmarks.
    • Action Plan: Beat my stats from last year & schedule a strength training class once a week. 
      • Last years stats
        • Bike: 225 miles
        • Run: 22 miles 
        • Hiked 148 miles
        • Back Country Skied 30 miles 
        • Walked 123 miles

Mindfulness

Live more meaningful around that which brings me peace and calm. Being mindful of the thoughts and 

      • Do 15 min of yoga a day – track via strava 
      • Journal daily – I created a journal based off of one a girlfriend uses, that prompts questions, has weekly goals, areas to reflect on and celebrate. I started December 31st and I’ve loved it thus far. 
      • Assign a day for myself, to do something new, something that brings me mountains of joy  

Friends & Fun  

This area doesn’t need much work, as the crew I’ve found in Colorado so aligns with my soul, it’s unreal! But, I do have some goals around strengthening these relationships, as there are so many areas my friends and I see eye-to-eye on, I’d like to invite them to be accountability buddies. If you’re interested in this concept, here’s a great podcast about accountability buddies. Some of these goals will need to be implemented in the next quarter of the year, as I’m laser focused on my real estate license right now, but they are on my mind for this year.

      • Get an accountability buddy and schedule time to meet with them.(Some of these are already in place!)
        • Writing/Business work/learning – Aaron 
        • Guitar – Mark, Ryan, Matt  (1X a month) – Wednesdays 
        • Physical – Stacia/Amy – go to Motion Fitness – up my stats from last year 
        • Financial – Money Minded Mavens (1X a month)
        • Romantic – need a date night once a week – with zero tv/something new/romantic we can do together – Puzzles, Walks, make dinner together, ski day/skin, Play in Denver
      • Plan an international trip for my 40th – this is a big one, and there are a ton of places on the list! I’d like to have our plane tickets sorted by May – so the fun of planning can commence!

So, those are the big goals – when I boil them down there are 14 – too many to focus on for this first quarter of the year – so I’m focusing on my business, fitness, family, mindfulness to start the year. Michael Hyatt, a wonderful resource and thought leader around this space, states you shouldn’t have more than 10 goals at a time – it’s just not feasible to concentrate on all of them at once. His advice is to have a goal queue, that when you finish one, you can add another. I think this is a great way to outline when you’ll have the capacity to actually work on what’s most important.

Have any goals this year? Would love to hear about them – and your action plan around completing them!

Cheers to an amazing 2020!

2019: One Hell of a Year!

With little less than three weeks to go in 2019, I’ve finally carved out some time to sit and reflect on the year. Now, I’ve started the below account of each month’s comings and goings several months ago, while on planes, recounting the past 11 months. It goes by quickly, doesn’t it?

My financial group, Money Minded Mavens, just met, as we do on a monthly basis, to reflect back on the year, recall how and if we accomplished our goals, or missed the mark, what trends we saw throughout the year, and to prepare for a new set of goals for a new year. It’s a beautiful exercise for anyone: What did I accomplish this past year? Did I hit my goals? What trends did I notice…..and so on. I’ll dive into all of that in my 2020 Goals blog. But for this one, well, it’s been one hell of a year, full of adventures in foreign lands, ski trips, business lessons, work travel, mindset adjustments, mountain towns and mountain bike trails and lots of adventures in the outdoors!

January

The New Year was brought in the most spectacular way…in a mountain town, after a day of skiing the backcountry, with great friends. Mike, Dusty, Holly and I headed to Steamboat for some backcountry and resort fun, mixed in with mountain town shenanigans.

Rang in the New Year in Steamboat!

It was awesome and a great way to start the year. Money Minded Mavens had our first outing in Denver, where of course we went to happy hour. Our investment property, Chase, still hadn’t sold, so we were going back and forth between our house and that property, short term renting it.to cover holding costs. I traveled to Horsham, PA at the end of the month to meet yet another new boss, won an award for going above and beyond for the team. While in my old home state, I got the sad news my Aunt Chrisy had passed away. It was devastating news, but I had so many beautiful memories. Then I headed to Jackson Hole for an epic ski trip.

February

A new month, a new adventure! I flew into Jackson hole February 1 for a long weekend with my ski crew in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Twelve of our closest friends crammed into a ski condo in Wilson, where we apres’ed at the Mangy Moose, skied deep deep powder, and had a grand old time.

Jackson Hole Crew

A few days after J-Hole, I headed to Orlando for a healthcare conference, and cut my time there short to head to Miami for my Aunt Chrissy’s life celebration, where my aunts, sister, mom and uncles gathered for several days to bask in the memories she left us.

Remembering Aunt Chrisy

Later in February me and my girls’ headed to Eldora for a fun-filled day of downhill & bloodies and we closed the month out by jumping on a plane and heading to France.

 

 

March

March came roaring in with us jumping on a plane and heading to Lyons France for the most epic 10 day European vacation of my life!

Wine Tasting, Lyons France

Mike, Dusty, Holly and I jet-set on a plane, train and got picked up in a van to spend a few days in the French countryside eating cheese and going to wine tasting, then shot to Chamonix for an amazing ski adventure.

Chamonix France

Our friend Kieran turned 40 and we were all there to pop the huge vats of champagne.

Chamonix France Crew

Plus, while we were there, our investment property, Chase, got under contract! We returned to beautiful Colorado and dad visited for some Eldora skiing then I shot to California for a Marketing meeting.

Taos Crew

The end of March, our ski crew shot to Taos, where we climbed Kachina peak, drank big steins, and danced the night away in the St. Bernard. Another great ski trip to close out the month. And the most exciting part of the trip was going under contract on our 6th investment property. March sure went in like a lion and out like a lamb.

 

 

 

April

April brought mild weather and the close on our Chase property. Whoo Hoo! Comedy night at breweries, hikes and beers, dinner with friends and a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana to party with my high school girls. Pottsy had moved to the mid-west and when we all started chatting about a girls trip, we thought what better way to hang with each other, plus see Pottsy’s new digs.

My GIrls in Fort Wayne!

We did the town up, dinning at the finest Fort Wayne restaurants, booging down at the towns’ hot spots, and laughed our butts off. Directly after our reunion, I flew to Arizona for a Sales Meeting, then headed home to finish the month with family dinners, hikes with Winnie, ballet recitals….and ended the month at Loveland, ski resort for a pretty fun day of powder skiing and hiking to the steeps.

 

 

 

 

 

May

Garden season arrived and Mike planted lots of green goodies. I climbed on my mountain bike for a huge ride in Buff Creek, which would jump start a great mountain biking season. I spent a ton of time in the kitchen this month and was able to be the care taker for mom during her eye surgery (cataracts). She was a great patient!

Happy Mother’s Day!

The rest of the month included more hikes with beers, niece’s chorus concert, mother’s day with my momma. And on May 20 I headed out with Mike for some off-season spring uphill skiing at Loveland, where we skinned up the mountain.

This is why I love Colorado! Lots of hikes (Mt. Falcon), Frisbee Golf, and biking to Joyride Brewery for happy hour. The end of the month brought biking with our bike gang in Littleton, harvesting our Arugula and kale, and a Brewery Concert with Mary and The Weber Brothers.

June

Summer arrived, but I wasn’t ready to put my skis away. On June 2, Mike and I headed up to Mt. Bierstadt for the latest ski day and earliest 14’er climb I’ve ever done. A grueling uphill climb, with some boot pack up near the summit. The steep sections, with icy spring slush was really challenging and at one point I even had to take my skis to maneuver up.

Mt Bierstadt Views

It was a magnificent day and I was incredibly proud of myself. That same day, Mike and I headed to meet our cousin’s new baby, Harper. A big day!

Our 6th Investment Property!!!

On June 6th, we purchased our 6th investment property.  The layout, awful. The bathrooms had carpet. The attic was full to the brim of the past owner’s stuff. We couldn’t wait to dig in! Two days later, Mike headed to a bachelor party and I started demo….ripping carpet, filling dumpsters, clearing out cabinets….then headed to a street festival with the crew to listen to some live music and drink some craft beers.

Demo!!

Mid-June really brought the nice weather, so hiking and early morning mountain bike rides at Green mountain abound. Mike, Hayden and I decided to take a last minute road trip to Fruita, one of the Mountain Biking meccas.

Fruita Hills

We ended up camping at Road 18, right near amazing trails. Although it was extremely warm by mid-afternoon, the early morning rides were epic! Super flowy flows, a few steep climbs, and huge downhills (some I actually had to walk down). It was such a fun weekend, filled with great trails, beer, and Coloradical goodness. Back home, we dug deep into demoing the new investment, kept our early morning mountain bike rides up, pedaling by 6am, and I headed to Crestone with my girls, for a camping weekend full of river baths, hiking, and beautiful mountain backdrops.

Crestone Camping Gals!

Amelia, Stacia, Amy, Amy, and Aurora headed to the heady town of Crestone to camp at the base of N. Crestone Trail, a campsite right along the river. The weekend was full of lady love, champagne chilled in the river, puppy shenanigans (yes, Winnie came!) and campsite games. We even headed out into the small town of Crestone for some post-hike beers and grub at the Crestone Brewery. Stacia and I headed hiking on the way back to Denver, a beautiful trail near Salida.

Wyoming Camping Crew

End of the month, we headed to Wyoming for some Mountain Biking and camping with the crew.  We had a huge gang staying at Vedauwoo campground, which had a great trail for hiking or biking right from our camp ground.

 

 

 

 

July

July came and so did the heat. Record temperatures hit Colorado, but we kept on keeping on. Our investment property was in full swing and we worked most of the July 4th holiday weekend.

July 4th Demo!

What a way to celebrate our freedom by working on our Happy Homes business. Bike gang headed up to Granby for a weekend in July, to beat the heat and get some pedaling in. The kitchen layout was selected for our investment property and it was exciting to see the project taking shape. July’s big happening brought our South Carolina family out to the mountains, where we headed to Breckenridge for a week long family vacation.

Uncle Mike & Nora!

We swam, hiked to trolls, watched movies, rode gondolas, swam and slid down water slides, mountain biked, drank delicious beer, and rode chair lifts up to climb up Peak 8.

 

Troll Hikes!

It was a wonderful family vacation with our South Carolina family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August

August came and the investment progress continued….new windows, new drains in the backyard which lead to new landscaping and a whole lot of money! A work trip took me east, to Lewes Deleware, where I got to spend time with one of my oldest and dearest friends and her mini. I hadn’t swam in the actual ocean for quite some time, so it was a wonderful trip! Came back to work more on our Happy Homes investment property and also cooked a ton.

Next stop Lower Goose Island!
Maine Sunsets

The end of the month took us to my beloved Maine, where we’d spend a whole week enjoying Lower Goose Island. Kayaking around Casco Bay, having lobster, closing up camp for the winter, and enjoying time with family. Maine is truly the way life should be!

 

September

We celebrated our anniversary, September 4th, 3 years married, at our investment property, painting and working together. I truly have seen the way we work best and that’s when we’re both contributing to goals that move us forward.

Dudley coming together

Our investment property started coming together in big ways this month, with finishes happening, landscaping being complete and trim abound.

Dudley Investment comin’ along!

Paint, tile, more paint and lots of cleanup for me! Unfortunately, we had some vandalism happen to a window – a surface puncture and no other damage – and had to replace it. Mike headed to Wisconsin with a friend for a week long football extravaganza (horrible timing with our investment property not being done) so I hiked with friends (aimed for James’ Peak but it was uber windy, so only made it around St Mary’s Glacier) and looked after the investment, buying lighting fixtures, watering the grass, checking in on the tradesmen.

Dudley Painted!

I headed to Longmont to celebrate my mom’s birthday with some fun hiking and homemade ravioli. Mike got back and wrapped up the house (after lots of stressful moments moving in staging furniture and frantically trying to finish to get it on Dudley St. on the market!)

 

October

With our investment property finally listed, we could breathe a bit…and so we did, heavily, on bikes! A few rides in Lyons and Golden had our lungs burning this month!

Heil Bike Gang!

Our bike gang was out in full force and we hit up North Table, Heil Ranch, and Buff Creek. Quite a bit on the saddle! For an early birthday present, my mom got me a guitar, so I signed up for lessons, walked to them, and practiced quite a bit. Mike’s mom and our niece Nora came out to visit in October, right before my sister-in-law had her third baby.

Uncle Mike & Nora

Boy did we have fun exploring Arvada, having an adventure at the Children’s museum and walking miss Winnie. I had to head to Atlanta for work at the end of October, interrupting the last day with family.  A few days, a few presentations, and back home for my annual  plant-based soup swap! A fun beer tasting, then on to Moab for a gorgeous weekend to celebrate Halloween, ring in my 39th birthday, and celebrate two close friends’ 40th birthdays. And do some bad ass mountain biking!

 

 

 

 

November

I turned 39 in the beautiful dessert, surrounded by great friends. Really couldn’t have asked for a better birthday!

Moab Bike Gang!

Mike even rented me a bad ass bike, in which I felt truly invincible and was able to do some of the most confident riding of my life. We hit up the Sovereign Trails,Horse Thief, and a few of us ran Arches National Park on the last day, which was the coolest trail run I have ever done in my life!

Trail run in Arches

An amazing birthday indeed. A niece’s chorus concert, an offer on our investment property, and a trip to Orlando for my company’s user group meeting. Back home for Friendsgiving, selling a house, buying a house (on the same day!!!) and lots of demo!! Even got to ski before thanksgiving with the crew at Eldora, an adventure of a day.

Friendsgiving!

Thanksgiving brought my dad out to visit and spend the holiday, a really beautiful visit with snowy lake walks, great food, glow in the dark gulf, and lots of family time.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

December

The last month of the year has been a sad one. My Grandma passed away, a blessing really, as she had been in hospice for the past two years, and our old bulldog Haley’s health is going downhill quickly. Mike and I have made the really hard decision to schedule her time to pass on. On a fun note, we celebrated our friend’s 30th birthday by heading to Winter Park. I spent the morning today at our investment property, cleaning up debris. I love working hard on our business, putting in hours working towards goals that will eventually allow us to have passive income. It truly is a privilege to spend my weekends on these efforts.

 

With only a few weeks left, I’m continuing to reflect on the amazing, hard, adventurous year I’ve had and to prep myself for big things I have planned for 2020. I hope you’ve had an amazing year, full of meaningful things, friend and family. Cheers to next year’s bounty!