Bringing in 2018: Reflections, Goals & Commitments

On the eve of the New Year, I sit here in my cozy kitchen, after a day in the backcoutry, a morning of yoga & dog-walking, and realize how full and intentional my life truly is. Every choice previously made has brought me to this beautiful point. And though this year has been full of lows, as well as mountains of highs, there isn’t anything I would alter. Looking back at my 2017 goals puts the year into perspective and allows me to reflect, readjust and re-charge. Here’s a look at the highlights (as well as the low-lights!)

  • 2017 was wrung in in the best possible way – In the mountains. We had a backcountry day with friends, followed by a ski house party. Our ski house crew killed it this past year, and amazing friendships were formed, stories were made, and good times were had. Despite a small hiccup in last years’ season (which I’ll write about next), I skied 28 times, including several days in the backcountry, a gorgeous trip to Jackson Hole (one of the coolest mountains I’ve ever skied and a blast of a town!) and I even brought my love of plants up to the mountain by food-prepping mountain fuel & ski bum bowls. The skiing sure was great this last year!

  • I had my first major surgery, which knocked me down for several months, tested my patience, willpower, and mental strength. In my beloved mountains, in the beautiful Sky Chutes, I fell and tore my ACL & meniscus. This backcountry injury ended my season and put forth a long recovery journey.  Despite the reality of the situation (surgery, no more skiing, physical therapy, weakening of my leg strength) I kept positive on the sidelines (Sunday Funday’s included cooking more instead of skiing & I even did a pre-surgery veggie challenge) and I documented leading up to the surgery,  the day of and after surgery, my progress, my challenges, and what I learned from the experience.  This really defined a large chunk of 2017, as it held me back from doing a number of things I had my mind set on (climbing 14’ers was out of the question) but really did open doors to new activities and allowed me to know my own strength and realize my own limitations. Only a month after surgery, I was well on my way to a speedy recovering, only to get the news from my surgeon I needed to slow down. The whole experience taught me a lot, about what I was capable of, what I needed to put energy into, how important consistency is with healing and recovery, and most of all, it taught me to be patient with myself.

  • Camping, biking and exploring reached new heights this year! Outdoor adventures and the exploration of this beautiful state of Colorado really kicked into high gear. Starting with a Memorial Day camping trip with friends near Leadville and trip to Salida (where Mike did a ton of biking), followed by a trip to Breckenridge for our first full stay at our Peak 7 Time-Share during Breck Bike week where I actually did a women’s bike clinic, followed by some low-key mountain biking.

The momentum continued, into July where dad came to visit for Lake Dillon boat shenanigans & biking (over 18 miles with dad over swan mountain!) then we headed with friends to Steamboat later in July for hiking and hot springs. August, we kept it going….we biked in the Butte,  mom and I hit up Leadville (exploring the old mining town from top to bottom, mining to museums, restaurants to railroads, to white water rafting!) and we wrapped up the month in Poudre Canyon, seeing my first Mishawaka show. October found us in the Royal Gorge, mountain biking the heck out of the area with a ton of friends. A classic Colorado summer (early fall) for sure!

  • Mike and I hit the 1-year wedding anniversary! The blog I wrote recaps the year since marriage beautifully and although I never finished writing our anniversary trip blog (we headed to Grand Junction for biking, brewery and National Monument fun!) we celebrated the year in the perfect fashion; taking our two fur babies on a Colorado adventure. It was so incredibly us.

 

 

  • My dear grandma and poppa died, both in their 90’s. My mom’s southern family gathered in Tennessee in late May to put my loving grandma to rest, while my dad’s side of the family gathered together in mid-September in Connecticut to celebrate the great life he lead. Both true family bonding experiences that I was grateful to be present for.

 

  • Our company, Happy Homes LTD sold a property and purchased another investment (May 2017), of which we are still underway with. The current property will be the biggest investment to date, where we’re doubling the existing footprint, popping the top, and heading into unknown territory. Both exciting and extremely frustrating….but a true learning experience!
  • I launched a Plant-Based Supper Club (Happy Kitchen Supper Club) in October, hosting the inaugural event where friends and family gathered to try 4 courses of plant-based goodness.
  • My 3rd annual plant-based soup swap was a HUGE hit, and my biggest event to date! Eight girls gathered, eight soups swapped. Lots of plant-based goodness going around!

  • We were grateful enough to spend both major holidays with family….Thanksgiving was spent with Mike’s Family in Asheville, where we explored the beautiful town, trails, and breweries. An ugly sweater party and nutcracker ballet kicked of the Christmas season, followed by a wonderful weekend filled with family gatherings (we hosted Christmas Eve!), Denver outings (we headed to union station and Boulder’s Celestial Seasonings), and tons of presents.
  • I traveled quite a bit for work, heading to Orlando for HIMSS17, Downtown Denver for our VAR conference,  San Diego for our national sales meeting, Chicago for our Large User Group Conference, SHIEC (an HIE tradeshow) in Indianapolis, San Francisco for Dream Force, and back to the corporate office in Horsham, PA in March, June and December. Wow, that’s a lot of travel!

 

Now I’m headed into 2018 with open arms, an ambitious list of goals, and a grateful heart.

Here are a few things I’m committing to and in pursuit of this year:

  • Spend more time doing and less time intending. I find myself cultivating ideas that could generate a wave of good, but seem to let the ideas hatch and fizzle before acting or truly developing them. I am committing to a monthly project or idea I actually act on, no matter how small. One person can truly make a difference, so I too must commit to doing so.

“Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.”Nelson Mandela

  • Buy a mountain house. Yup, this didn’t happen this year (due to our current investment taking a lot longer than we thought thanks to the city of Denver) but we will be poised and ready this year. Oh yes, we will be poised and ready.
  • Host Five plant-based Happy Kitchen Supper Club dinners. I’m trying to be realistic with the amount of planning, recipe testing, time spent prepping it takes to make these successful, factoring in my work schedule and planned travels. Committing to five over the next 12 months is completely doable.
  • Take a trip to Portugal! 2017 was all about exploring Colorado, a bit of the US even, and 2018 has opened the door to international exploration. I can’t wait!
  • Sell our investment property. It’s been a labor of love thus far, but mostly a labor of waiting. For permits. From Denver. For the past few months. We are ready to see the awesomeness it will become.
  • Train for Long’s Peak. I have taken a forced hiatus from hiking fourteener’s due to my surgery recovery, so this will be quite an endeavor.  I’m going to start as if I’m going to run a half a marathon….because the Long’s Route is 14 1/2 miles. Actually longer than a half a marathon.

There are many other things I want to do, want to accomplish, want to commit to this year. But, to go back to my first point of doing rather than saying….I need to put these things into action, focus on my priorities first and foremost, then can add to the list Cheers to 2018 and the many adventures that lay before me. Have a healthy, happy and adventurous New Year!

 

 

2017: Reflections, Intentions & Bucket List Items

What an amazingly busy, exhilarating, adventurous, whirlwind year 2016 has been, and as I lay in bed, next to my husband, in our seasonal ski condo, I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have had such an incredible year.

Breckenridge views

Looking back at the projects, life milestones, travel adventurous, work accomplishments….I realize what an important year this was for me. Reflecting on the goals I set at the beginning of the year reminds me of not only what I’ve crossed off my list and conquered, but the areas I still need to focus my energy, attention, and commitment (I wrote a  Goals and Intentions blog back in December of 2015 and one in December of 2014). Someone recently shared an article on Facebook that stated to be successful, you need not only add things to your list, but remove the things that block you from attaining your goals. I loved that! So, before I dive into my Goals & Intentions for 2017, here are some reflections of the past year.

  • I kicked off the New Year with the Forward21 challenge – a 21-day commitment to health, happiness, and commitment. Looking back I realize this wasn’t an attempt to jump on the impossible resolution train that the New Year stirs in us, but an effort to set long-term goals for the year, daily habits meant to set me on the healthy path right out of the gate. Early spring I held a Spring into Action 21-day challenge, hoping to kick myself in the rear
  • Mike and I got engaged. This beautiful act set the tone for 2016 – it was truly a year filled with love and partnership!
  • My commitment to cooking healthy plant-based meals & snacks was strong this year – some of my favorite dishes are highlighted in the below blogs – I had fun re-visiting:
  • I started volunteering at Metro Caring, a comprehensive hunger prevention organization that provides food, education and classes to the food insecure. I’m committed to giving back, as I have been so fortunate, and truly love the work they do there and am proud to be a part of it.
  • Inconsistency plagued my blog writing in a big way! Every year for so many years I’ve lost count, I say I will write more. Commit to a daily, weekly, or monthly blog. And every year, looking back, I fall short of that target. Am I aiming too high? Setting too lofty of goals?! No, I’m just inconsistent and don’t make time, time that I do have to commit to something that I claim is important. Looking back at the year, a blog lends itself as a diary, and the archive section acts as proof of your dedication. Yikes!
  • Mike, my mom, and I went to Belize! This trip had everything – jungle, ocean, history, adventure, leisure, family, love, and above all exploration. Every year, I like to commit to exploring the unknown (at least the unknown to me!) and head somewhere new. Belize was the perfect spot.
  • I climbed 4 14’ers! Kicking off the summer with Belford & Oxford, then followed it up with Mt. Huron, and in September officially climbed Mt. Evans.  Unfortunately, I never documented the experience with a blog, which I vow to do this year. Each mountain holds different beauty, challenges, experiences and they deserve dedicated remembrance.
  • One of the biggest happenings of 2016: Mike and I got married! Our Backyard Wedding Extravaganza was truly one of the best weekends of my life – full of family, climbing (we met up on the top of Mt. Evans for a dedication ceremony. After climbing it, of course!) and lots of Colorado shenanigans. Plus, I married my best friend, so there’s that.

Colorado Wedding

  • I hosted my 2nd annual Soup Swap, which was a bit smaller than last year, but extremely fun! There were great soups made, a new friend came with a delicious quinoa soup, and those who couldn’t make it vowed to partake in the next one.
  • We started another company with an investment partner (Happy -Go Trails, LLC), sold two investment properties and bought two investment properties. An incredible year for Mike’s company MAS construction as well!

All in all, a successful, plentiful year full of personal growth, exploration, goodness! Now, staring in the face of 2017 (I’m writing this on December 29th), I’m ready to commit myself to an even better year! Below are some of the personal goals and intentions I’m setting for myself.

 

Mt Belford

  • Climb 4 new 14er’s. I’ve done a total of 9 thus far (Quandary, Mt. Sherman, Mt. Huron, Gray’s Peak, Torrey’s Peak, Mt. Evans, Mt Belford, Mt. Oxford, Snowmass Mountain) and the beauty and sense of accomplishment that accompanies each mountain truly takes my breath away. This year, I’d love to extend the experience with camping, which I’ll most likely need to do for the farther away peaks.
  • Write one blog (at least) per month. To look back on your year via a blog, to see in black and white what you are doing, have done, or want to do puts things into perspective, makes them real. And holds me accountable. Plus, I truly enjoy writing, so need to commit time to do it.

November Project

  • Commit to the November Project. This free fitness movement was introduced to me by a buddy (thanks Russ!)- a group of people who get up early (like, way early) to work out every Wednesday & Friday, despite the weather, giving out high-fives, hugs, and encouragement, meeting all around the city, using the stairs, hills and sidewalks as their gym. It is truly something special, something I’ve embraced and need to dedicate 2 mornings to, all year round,  every week I’m in town. Period.
  • Buy a mountain house. This one is lofty, but something we’ve discussed for the past two years, something we feel adamant about, something we are 100% ready for. To make this happen, I’ll need to start saving an aggressive amount of money, but I am prepared to do so for the cause!
  • Buy and sell two more investment properties. Mike has gotten such a rhythm with knowing how to complete them in 90 days that two more would be completely do-able!
  • Get my real estate license. With Mike’s knowledge and talent, paired with the Denver market, there’s no reason why we should be using a realtor and losing 3% of the sale price! Within the first few weeks of the new year, I’m committing to researching and knowing the steps I need to take to make that happen.
  • Explore more during the week. I work east coast hours and am usually done work by 4pm est, which is plenty of time to go have a front range adventure. Here are some hikes just 15-30 miles away:
  • Stop making excuses. I read an article this past week that stated successful people realize the need to not only add things to their repertoire, but realize what they need to let go of or give up. I find myself making excuses or just blatantly not making time for things I’ve claimed to be important. I’d like to stop doing that this year; once I get my mind made set on completing something, I’d like to see it through.

These are just a few of the goals I’m setting for myself in 2017 – all attainable with consistent dedication, commitment and focus. What I need to keep in mind, is being successful doesn’t mean I need to do everything. It just means I need to make my goals a priority everyday.

Cheers to a great year coming to an end and the wide-open possibilities of 2017!

Week 2 of the #Forward21 Challenge

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to create a positive habit, but I’m not sure it’s as simple as all that. Positive habits require commitment, repetition, dedication. To package it all up in 21 days seems great, so easy, do-able. And guess what? It’s a start.

Positivity begets positivity and once we start incorporating more of it into our day to day, habits can form. I always say healthy isn’t a fad diet, it’s a lifestyle, so I try to put together challenges that emphasis that. And today we start Week 2 of the #Forward21 challenge!

photogrid_1452294339150.jpg

Monday, January 18th – Meatless Monday. Try a new meatless meal, chock full of veggies! For inspiration, try to think of a dish you love that contains meat (chili, burgers, skewers, meatloaf) and try to make it with beans, lentils, veggies – whole food! Here are a few amazing recipes I’ve tried for those meaty favorites, sans the meat:

Mushroom Stroganoff
Lentil Loaf
Crispy Orange Cauliflower

I’m going to try a new recipe & will be sure to post a video! What will you make? Post pictures, tag #Forward21!!!

Tuesday, January 19th – Take it to the mat Tuesday. Today, find time to take your troubles, your stress, your thoughts, your anxiety, to your mat. Yoga has such an amazing way of allowing yourself to melt,, going back to your breathe and simply being. Better circulation, released waste from exhaling, increased flexibility, tension and stress release are all major benefits from rolling out your mat and spending time on your health. I’m going to be doing a Yogaglo class!

Wednesday, January 20th – Workout Wednesday. Sometimes you just have to sweat it out! When we work out, endorphins are released along with a feeling of euphoria. Plus, working up a sweat, working the muscles in our body keeps our heart healthy and our weight down. Try heading outside for a jog, lifting some weights, or a circuit workout (50 jumping jacks, 50 lunges, 50 situps, 50 squats, then do it again!)

Thursday, January 21st – Thankful Thursday.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha

When is the last time you sat and gave thanks to exactly where you are? To give thanks to all you have, instead of thinking of all you want? Today, write a list of things you’re thankful for in your life. Give tribute to the abundance that surrounds you. Take notice of the simple things and suddenly gratitude fills you. When you have your list, tape it to your fridge or somewhere you will see it regularly. Remember to live with a thankful heart.

Friday, January 22nd – Feel Good Friday. It’s the end of the week, you have two days off (hopefully!) and it’s time to take that Friday feeling to the next level. Today, do the things that make your body sing, that make you feel alive, that allow you to shine. Start your day off with a wholesome breakfast, full of vitamins (a smoothie, avocado toast, chia pudding, or overnight oats). Keep positive thoughts in the forefront of all you do today, creating a positive vibe that follows you wherever you go. Avoid negativity at all costs, excusing yourself from cranky co-workers, changing the subject to uplifting thoughts with a pessimistic friend or family member and focus on your good qualities, instead of negative talk. What makes you feel good? Don’t be shy, ride that good feeling!

Saturday, January 23rd – Sample Saturday. It can be difficult to dive into something new with both feet. That being said, fear of new should never stop you from trying something and variety is the spice of life! Today is dedicated for sampling something you’ve wanted to try. Sample a zoomba or hot yoga class, try a new recipe with an ingredient you’ve never cooked or baked with, or sample a new activity with your family or friends. Sky’s the limit – what will you sample today?

Sunday, January 24th – Sunday Funday. Today’s meal prep day! I usually set aside a few hours to plan a few meals, grocery shop, then cook them. When the week gets hectic, with work, chores, errands to run, kids to cart around. A healthy, simple dinner may be the last thing on your mind (and who has the time!). Try picking out 2 recipes and prepping some vegetables to use throughout the week. Here are some posts about a few meals that keep well in the fridge or freezer: Weeknight Meals & Soups galore.

Share how your week is going on Facebook Group, follow me on Instagram for daily updates and be sure to let me know how you’re doing with the challenge!

Happy Forward21!