Friday, December 31, 2010

Hikes To Date in CO

In case you haven't figured this out yet... I'm a dork. I like to track things, like where I've hiked/snowshoed and camped in Colorado. Here's my HTD (Hike To Date) map:

Click picture to enlarge...

I think the icons are pretty self-explanatory, but here's the rundown:

Hikers - Hiked
Snowflake - Snowshoed
Tent - Camped
Blue dots - peaks climbed
Red dots - 14ers climbed

I hope to add a ton more icons in 2011!

2010 Highlights

Whew. 2010 has been a whirlwind of a year, and I just know that 2011 is going to be even better! Here are some highlights from 2010, in no particular order:
  • Hiked a 14er - Mt. Bierstadt
  • Trip to Florida
  • Road trip to Santa Fe, NM
  • Trip to New Hampshire and Maine
  • Celebrated the 4th of July in Jackson Hole, WY
  • Canada Trip - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles! Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
  • Car Camping
  • Hiking!
  • Slacker Half Marathon
  • Wilderness Trekking School
  • Visiting friends and family :)
  • 4 seasons in Colorado!
  • Broke in my snowshoes
  • Having a white Christmas in Georgia, the first since 1882!

Happy New Year! 

Favorite Books Read in 2010

I thought it'd be fun to list and share the books I enjoyed reading the most in 2010:

What were your favorites? Leave your list in the comments (hint hint), or better yet, blog about it and link it here!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reading: The Host

The HostThe Host by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here is description/intro to the book:
"Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time."
I have to agree with other reviewers when they say this is Stephenie Meyer's real masterpiece. The Host is nothing like the Twilight Series (which I loved) and is better written, so people that didn't like Twilight may really like The Host. I'll be honest and say that the first 1/4 of the book bored me silly, but I do think most of it was necessary to set up the rest of the book. It was nothing like I expected, and I was surprised (like I was with Twilight) that I really enjoyed a book about aliens! There's not too much sci-fi, so you don't need to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this book.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting into the Spirit

I've been in denial about how quickly Christmas is approaching... Maybe it's because we didn't put up a tree this year since we'll be visiting family.

Koda picked her candy cane that Grandma (John's mom) gave her last Christmas out of her toy basket and went to town. It was then that it hit me... Christmas is this week!

I sent this picture to her Grandma,

I'm super excited to see my family in a couple of days. I plan to post closer to Christmas, but just in case... I want to wish you a wonderful holiday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hike: Chief Mountain

A couple of weeks ago my friend J took me on one of her favorite hikes, Chief Mountain. We were planning to go snowshoeing but unfortunately there wasn't enough snow for snowshoes. Micro-spikes would have been great to have, and I regretted that I didn't have my own pair. So... a few days later I gave REI more of my money and bought Kahtoolas which were highly recommended to me by several people. I can't wait to break them in :). 

Chief Mountain with its peak at 11,709' is a fairly easy, though steep, hike. The short distance classifies this as easy, but I'd call the trail moderate. The trail is 3 miles round trip, with a gain of 1,100' in 1.5 miles.  We were rewarded with spectacular views for being a measly foothill peak! I think this is my new favorite trail to take out of town visitors :). That is, if I can find the unmarked trail on my own. The trailhead for Chief Mountain is ~11 miles west of Bergen Park on Squaw Pass Road... there's a wide shoulder pull off across from an abandoned ski area below.

We could definitely feel the altitude but we took short breaks to catch our breath and take pictures. It was really cold and windy at the top so we didn't stay long. In fact we did an about face and immediately headed back down! Here are some pictures from our hike, it was a bummer that the clouds hid most of the peaks.

We had a great time, I know I'll be going back again and again during different parts of the year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Craft: Painting Pottery

A couple of weeks ago my friend K and I went to one of those places where you pick out a piece of pottery, paint it, and then they fire it for you. We got great coupons through Groupon, so it was a fun, cheap (after coupon) thing to do together. We had so much fun, but it was also kind of stressful for me considering I just hand drew and painted the snowman on my plate (picture below). I'm a perfectionist. I prefer a template and to paint by numbers please. I was going from an example that the store had on display... but I really wanted to ask the person who worked there if she'd draw my snowman for me but I was able to restrain myself. 

We spent 4+ hours in the studio. K was all prepared and knew she wanted a plate and even had a picture of the snowmen she wanted to paint! While I on the other hand had no ideas. I think the first hour was spent figuring out what piece of pottery we wanted, and then paint colors. Plate or mug? Platter or ornament?  The rest of the time we spent drawing out our picture first, and then painting (or rather staining)... it takes 3 coats to get a solid color so that took a while. Here's a picture of my plate after I painted everything 3 times, and then outlined in black. Augh, the outlining... I thought I would pull my hair out!

Freshly Painted
I took the above picture with my iPhone at the studio, and when I showed it to my husband when I got home it dawned on me that my snowman only has one arm! Hahahaaa! So, I'm thinking his other hand is in his pocket, or he only pulls out his arms when he needs them :). K says he's picking a wedgie... Anyway, a week later our plates were all fired and ready to be picked up from the studio. Here's a picture of our finished plates together. Sorry for the crappy picture. I love how K's turned out and all the details! She was a lot braver than me :).

Finished Plates!
I love my plate, and all its imperfections. It's a work of love. I briefly considered giving it as a gift, but I just couldn't do it. Not this one anyway. I mean, who would love my one-armed snowman as much as me?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Natural Silver Cleaner

Last week I was looking through my jewelry and got really frustrated by how my silver jewelry is so tarnished. My body does not like silver, it doesn't take long for me to tarnish it so I try to avoid it for the most part. Of course, I've collected some pieces I really like over the years. I remembered seeing a natural silver cleaner posted on Gorgeously Green's YouTube page and decided to give it a try - it's all natural and CHEAP! I had great results!

Here's how you do it:
  1. Collect your silver jewelry (or actually anything silver you want to clean)
  2. Cover a shallow dish with aluminum foil and sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda
  3. Place jewelry or whatever in the dish and sprinkle again with baking soda, here's a picture of my first batch:

  4. Pour boiling water into dish until items are covered

  5. Let sit for 15-20 minutes
  6. Remove jewelry and wipe with microfiber cloth (be careful of hot water)

Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly LifeHere's the video from Gorgeously Green. This is a YouTube channel I check regularly for ideas, from everything on how to make natural cleaners and ways to use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect my cutting boards. I also have her book which I recommend, Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Reading: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my. I just finished this book and now I want to go out and buy the second one. Now. I don't think I can wait till it comes in at the library. I couldn't put it down, and stayed up into the wee morning hours reading the past 2 nights.

I was appalled at first by the premise of the book - how the government puts on a game show where kids are chosen as tributes by drawing names out of a bowl. The tributes are then put in an arena and forced to hunt each other down and be the last survivor on live television. Honestly, I didn't think I would like it or want to finish. I loved it. I'm so glad I was curious enough to know what all the fuss was about and requested it from the library.

The Hunger Games is well written with both lovable and despicable characters. It's a story of survival, love, and friendship. I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed a book so much! I highly recommend this book, though I think it more suitable for older teens and adults. This is not a children's book!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pet Peeve: Unnecessary Packaging

I have to vent. If you don't want to hear another rant on plastic, move on. It's OK, I understand.

Last weekend I finally got a membership to Costco. I spent 3 hours on Sunday browsing the store. I was surprised by the selection of organic foods, and eco-friendly products. However, some of the packaging just killed me. Really Costco, is it necessary to package your fruits and vegetables in plastic? Seriously? I was so angry, I didn't buy apples... even though they had a great selection and good prices. Buying in bulk is a great way reduce packaging, I'm all for it... and then I see this and it makes me want to scream.

I was also disappointed that I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts, to get home and realize that each breast was individually wrapped. :(

So here I am, trying to figure out how I can convince Costco (and other retailers) that they don't need to package their apples in plastic. For now, I will just not buy them. Next time you see something ridiculously packaged, please consider a different brand, or store to purchase such items.

OK, stepping off my soap box.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Snapshot Wednesday

Things have been quiet around here... I'm in the middle of a couple of projects right now that I'd like to post about but want to wait until they're finished. So, here's some pictures I took of Koda last week with my iPhone :).

She was trying to tell me she was hungry. Hungry eyes!