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!

Buff in the Boat: A Steamboat extravaganza!

July in Colorado, especially in the Denver area, is typically dry, hot and a bit browned out. The past two weekends have been spent, in the heat, around Denver, so when I recently found this blog draft about our adventures last July, where we took to the mountains, I jumped on reliving our adventure.

Last July, we headed to Lake Dillon when my dad came to visit from Philadelphia, to play in the cooler air and boat on the lake….

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Swan Mountain, Breckenridge

Lake Dillon, Dillon Colorado

Boating on Lake Dillon!

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After our 18 mile bike ride – Broken Compass Brewery!

 

…then Crested Butte with friends, to bike and hike the heck out of this gorgeous area. I really feel we’ve made the most out of the summer months thus far, trying to experience different mountain towns and the unique beauty in all of them. The last weekend in July was meant to be spent in Salida, a beautiful town Mike and I had spent time in a few weeks prior, but rain threatened the areas in the southern mountain ranges….no bueno! When Steamboat Springs, 3 1/2 hours North West of Denver, was offered up by our crew, we immediately boarded the train to mountain town!

Our girlfriend Stacia is a teacher, so with school still out for the summer, her and two other friends set off early on Friday to set up shop on Buff pass, an area 20 minutes or so outside of Steamboat that boasted beautiful views and dispersed camping. Score!

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Buff pass, Steamboat Springs Colorado

 

Mike and I headed out on Friday, July 28th after work, pulling up to a pretty amazing view of the valley. These girls really knew how to scout a campsite! The area was crowded with campers, with cars rolling by our spot until late in the evening, so we thanked them profusely for reserving such a money location!

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Taking in the views on Buff Pass, Steamboat Colorado

 

After pitching tents and cracking beers, we decided to head into town for the free concert happening in town. The Wood Brothers were playing and we rolled into the festival after a bite to eat, ready to jam out. They were amazing, soulful and poetic with beautiful guitars that mesmerized our buddy McFadden, who had rolled into town a bit later and met us at the base of the mountain where the festival took place. It was a wonderful night!

Wood Brothers, Steamboat SpringsOur Crew at the Festival!

The rest of our crew, Nicole and Dusty, rolled up to the campsite around 10, after we had settled in from the show.  The campfire welcomed them with open arms.

The morning broke and Winnie and I were up early, wanting to explore. Ok, she wanted to explore and dragged my arse out of bed. Little Scallywag! After I made some coffee though, I was extremely pleased with the quiet morning that I was privy to, and we explored the area together, wandering through the wildflowers and down the Buff Trail. What a gift to be here in this beauty!

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Winnie and I exploring Buff Pass Trail

Wildflowers in Steamboat Colorado

The rest of the campers began to stir, so Winnie and I headed back to camp to start breakfast and decide the plan for the day. The boys (Dusty, Mike and McFadden) wanted to mountain bike, so the ladies decided to head out for a hike. But first, campfires and guitar solos…

Breakfast scramble: peppers, tofu, hashbrowns & veggie sausage!
Breakfast Scramble: Peppers, tofu, hash browns & veggie sausage!

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What a lovely, relaxed morning. Really, this is what the mornings on weekends should entail….great friends, beautiful views, exploring, soft guitar music strummed by McFadden, scrumptious breakfast!

But alas, it was time to make moves, so the guys headed out on bikes, the girls to the hills, with a plan to meet in town later. Two cars were driven down from the Buff, so guys had the luxury of taking the buff pass trail all the way into town. What service we provide!

The ladies headed to a popular spot, Fish Creek Falls, and when the parking lot was completely full, we had to make a game time decision to hike elsewhere. When in Steamboat in the summer, hike up the damn mountain!

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We parked & headed up to a glorious trail with a bit of everything: uphill climbs, aspen groves, great views and buena vistas, shots of the gondolas, shady groves to protect us from the beating sun….a great little 5 mile out and back trail that left us sweaty and satisfied.

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Hiking in Steamboat!
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Views of Steamboat
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Gondolas in Steamboat

Heading down the hill was a bit rough on my knee (since the ACL injury, I’ve had a tough time hiking, but trying to push it!) but we made it down and heard from the guys just as we got to the car. Perfect timing! They were headed into town for post post-biking beers, and our group was just as thirsty from the climb, so we headed into town.

The town of Steamboat sat right on the edge of the Yampa river, a beautiful backdrop to have lunch. The group decided on Sweet Pea Restaurant, the cutest little farm to table spot ya ever did see. Happy hour beers flowed, veggie goodness was ordered and we chowed down after a day of adventure!

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Steamboat crew!

 

Steamboats’ Strawberry hot springs were calling our name, but before we headed to steam, we popped into Sunpie’s Bistro, a super heady lunch spot right along the river. A perfect ending to our mountain activity.

Next stop: Strawberry Hot Springs! We soaked, we steamed, we waited in line quite a bit to get in and drank some tailgate beers. It was fabulous and such a relaxing afternoon. Heading back to the campsite that evening, we sang Kenny Loggins into the night.

The next day, we mountain biked our hearts out – Stacia and I heading down an easier trail, while the boys headed out for the harder one.

Flowing through aspens, gorgeous scenery, wildflowers, I had a smile plastered on my face for the whole downhill. Until I popped a tire….and didn’t have a spare tube. Huge lesson learned to never leave on a Colorado adventure without extra supplies!

A kind man and wife team stopped close to the entrance to the trail to lend me a tube, just in time to see Mike ride up from town with a fresh  tube to give back to the man.

Steamboat Gang

Kindness is all over the mountains. After a quick lunch, we headed on our way home, with lots of memories tucked away.

Adventures in France: Day Cinq in Le Brevent

Sunny, mountain views, skis unzipped from their carrying cases. It was Wednesday, Day 5,  and we were ready to ski the French Alps! After yesterday’s travel day, a great nights’ sleep, and some delicious fried eggs made by Kristi, the gang was ready to ski. Our house in Chamonix was perfectly located near the SUD (the Bus depot) but the Gondola that would take us to Le Brevent didn’t seem to be very far, so we decided to walk up.

Well, dang, it was a lot further than we thought, with the last 500 feet pretty steep.

But, we made it and it was a nice little warmup! And warm it was – spring was in the valley and we wondered what conditions at the top would be like.

The gondola shot us straight up, past the dirt patched trails, up and over the top and we finally saw snow!

At the top of the gondola, the views were spectacular and the massive Mont Blanc could be seen as clear as day. Breathtaking! We had been doing our snow dances prior to the trip, but I have to say I was incredibly grateful for the bluebird day, which allowed for the mountain views.

The afternoon was spent exploring the mountain, avoiding the European Jerry skiers (they seem to Cover the whole mountain when turning, going from one side ALL the way over to the other, so can be quite challenging to pass on cat tracks!) and frolicking off-piste.

We found stashes all over, all though the conditions were a bit varied, so I played it safe and skied in an aggressive, deliberate stance. It was an absolutely amazing day.

The mountains are extremely different in Europe, with limited boundaries, ski patrol or signs telling you where you shouldn’t be going. The resort Le Brevent had all kinds of skiers on the mountain as well – from beginners to extremists and most runs had a few of each on them. Except for the off-piste runs, where only a few brave souls would follow the ‘off-the-beaten path’ to ski the goods. These proved to be some of the best runs.

After several hours, we all agreed it was time to refresh ourselves with some lunch and beverages. Kieran left to go meet Kristi in town and Dusty, Mike, Holly and I headed to the coolest lunch spot I’ve ever been to at a mountain resort.

Le Panoramic had breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and we were happy to enjoy Apres with the views.

The day had been delicious and we decided to head down to the village to meet our group. Two other good friends, Zach and Tim, would be arriving in Chamonix, completing the Chamonix gang. We dropped our skis back at the chalet and headed to our second Apres of the day. But first, Mike stopped at a local boot shop, Sole, to get an assessment on his current set up, which was giving him quite a bit of discomfort. A London bloke hooked him up and told him to pick the boots up in 30 minutes. Gotta love a ski town!

Through the glorious town, we wandered to meet the new crew, and the night unfolded beautifully!

Drinks in back rooms filled with cozy sheepskin couches, fancy cocktails, and old Chamonix posters.

Dinner and fondue at La Moraine, a quaint French restaurant with warm ambiance and delicious cheese!

The night continued with sexy drinks at Le Cave, a nightclub under a beautiful restaurant with pulsating music and a groovy vibe. Chamonix did not disappoint us!