Sunday, November 22, 2020

Random Roadside Gems...

 If you're on a road trip with me and I happen to see something random on the side of the road, prepare to turn around to check it out.  That's the type of impromptu traveler I am in this wonderful journey of life!  It's not always about the final destination but also about the journey along the way.  A quick little side story...

Last year while visiting Colorado for a few weeks, I was on this dating app called Bumble.  A friend at the time had recommended it to me as a way to check out the "dating material" in the state of Colorado.  One thing I did not know is that while you're traveling, the app tells anyone in your selected/desired "hive" your location.  I was confused at first while, because I was getting messages from guys in SC: "Hey, you're at Denver International Airport!"  "Hey, what are you doing in Boulder?"  Since, I have deleted my membership to this app, as that cannot be safe for any woman in this day in age.  I was told that the function helps reduce catfishing (where, for example, a person in Nigeria, could be posing as being a resident of Colorado).  Still, very unsafe, in my opinion.  Anyways, while traveling back from Aspen, a resident there, after learning that I was out adventuring, recommended this place on my way journey back to Ft. Collins called the "Valley of the Naked Dolls."  I found the place, and as I rolled up this dirt path in my rental car, I got some serious "House of 1,000 Corpses" vibes.  Literally the creepy looking "compound" and parking lot looked like the set out of that horror flick.  Trusting my intuition as one of those really strong stabs in my stomach, I threw my Yaris in reverse, and high-tailed it on out of there.  However, upon Googling this hidden "gem," it's so very RANDOM and I could see why this guy recommended it to me.

Okay, side story back to the regularly scheduled program:

Recently, I was traveling through Walsenburg, Colorado when I saw something peculiar out of left side peripheral vision while driving down the road.  I turned around to find this neat little gem called the "Virgin Mary Grotto"...(LOCATION: North on US-160, just past Highway 351...near the roadside for "Spanish Peaks")

So this is a natural rock formation/alcove that was transformed into a shrine for Mary.  Here people give offerings to include: belts, key rings, strands of hair, ballcaps, crosses, gloves, belts, socks, and t-shirts.  The many offerings are a symbol of both faith and humility.

Here are some more shots of this roadside gem:

Thanks so much for visiting!  May your journey have some random and unplanned little side adventures.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week ahead! 



Costco Beauty Finds I Tried and Really Love...

I love Costco.  Yes, I do support small business, but there are just some things I'd rather buy in bulk (water, coffee, and toilet paper, to name a few), you can't beat their tires (prices), and Costco carries certain products that you just can't find elsewhere.  So, yea, I'm a proud member of Costco.  Little known fact:  Costco's top selling product is their bulk packaged toilet paper.  And, I'll be the first to say, Kirkland (Costco's signature label/brand) has a great premium wine from prestigious vintners at a great price point!  Lastly the gas seems to be the cheapest in town.

My gangster pose after buying the 24 roll pack of Charmin.
Calculating in my fiber intake and water consumption, 
I shouldn't need toilet paper for a while!

I just found out recently there is a proposed plan to bring Costco to my town, saving me a trip to the closest Costco, near Denver.  From what I can tell, the final approval is still pending.  In my opinion, if you allowed two Wal-marts already, you should absolutely allow Costco.  Costco brings so many jobs to the community, AND they pay well offering well above minimum wage (unlike Wal-Mart) and treat their employees great (offering health insurance and other necessary benefits.)  Costco boasts only a 6% turnover per year, so their employees are very happy.

I digress...

This will be my first full winter in Colorado.  I've already got the humidifier running all night long (which seems to have helped alleviate the feeling of dryness in my nostrils and the feeling of an impending nose bleed).  I'm chugging down the water and averaging a gallon a day to combat the arid air.  And, just a friendly reminder that just because the weather is cooling doesn't mean you skimp on your SPF.  I know there are a lot of people out there who are anti-sunscreen people, and that's fine.  But, clearly you can look to someone who wears it religiously and someone who doesn't to find your answer.  I always encourage people to research and think for yourselves.  I wear it religiously and have most my life.  The products I've been wearing on my face, ears and neck this winter (as I toggle back and forth) are ROC Retinol Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer w/ Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and Neutrogena Sports Face oil-free sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70+ (the latter I wear on my hikes, EVEN with a hat and sunglasses.  Yes, dude, I'm super serious about skin protection, BUT I'm a redhead living super close to the sun and super prone to melanoma)...

Pretty sure you can purchase ROC products at Costco

Back to Costco...

One of my favorite sections of Costco has become the health and beauty section.  Here are a few things I picked up on my last Costco run that I've really enjoyed...(and, if you're one of those highly organized people who do not procrastinate, these make great stocking stuffers)

Costco Beauty Find #1 I LOVE:  Deep Cleansing Oil

This product requires absolutely no water (unless you wish to wipe off with a damp cloth, otherwise you can just tissue off.)  So, it's also great for camping trips!  It absolutely melts the mascara off your lashes, which is so awesome!  And, because it's an oil, it leaves your skin so supple and hydrated.  All it takes is 2-3 pumps all over your face, a quick wipe, and WHALA you're done and ready for your serum and night cream.  I really love how my skin feels after I've used this cleansing oil!  

Costco Beauty Find # 2 I LOVE: Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum

I TOTALLY see the brightening effect of this product almost immediately.  I wear very little base because #1 I take care of my skin and don't really want to cover that up and #2 I have freckles and don't like a lot of coverage (just enough to even my tone and redness).  Plus, I just went to the salon and transitioned from an auburn redhead to a copper redhead last night (eeeeeee!) and I seem to be showing the glow even more.  You really can't go wrong with any product with Vitamin C BUT know that Vitamin C can tend to have a drying effect, which takes me into the next product...

Costco Beauty Find #3 I LOVE: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

First, this product has hyaluronic acid, which is the new buzz word is anti-aging.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this water gel!  It's not sticky and it dries/sinks in pretty quickly so I can start applying my make-up for the workday.  Also, it just feels so super refreshing on my freshly cleansed skin.  I haven't battled any dry skin and it works really well under my make-up (so far so good!)

Costco Beauty Find #4 I LOVE: Kirkland Professional Salon Formula Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

First, any shampoo and conditioner with a pump is crazy cool to me already already!  Next, I heard about this product from a stylist in Memphis who has been in the industry for decades.  The secret here is these products are made by...(drumroll please)...PUREOLOGY!  They left my hair feeling so healthy, soft and the most manageable it's been since relocating to Colorado!  I can't recommend these products enough.  And, the price point is so on point, too (especially compared to Pureology products).  So, thanks, Pureology, for bringing an affordable product to Costco!  The shampoo and condition are each under ten bucks!  I'm not sure about you, but the smell of a product means a lot to me...especially if I'm putting it in my hair.  I go to an Aveda salon, but I don't purchase Aveda products because they are a little "too earthy" for my liking.  These products smell so yummy...I love, love, love!!!!!

Costco Beauty Find #5 I LOVE: Youtheory Collagen Skin, Hair, and Nail Formula Enhanced with Vitamin C

Okay, yea, so Vitamin C again here.  BONUS, because one serving supplies the recommended dosage per day to aid in normal collagen formation and boost your antioxidant protection!  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body.  And, we naturally stop producing collagen as we age which leads to thinning hair, brittle nails and weak joints.  I've been taking this product for a few years now and have noticed healthier hair, nails and skin.  The great thing, too, is if you're active this supplement supports healthy tendons and ligaments!

Costco Club foreva!  Don't forget to stock up 
on their street corn on your next Costco run!

Thanks for stopping in, friends!  And, if you are traveling this week, I hope you have a wonderful safe trip!  And, if you're staying home, I hope you enjoy a warm and blessed week ahead!  I hope to get another blog post in before the holiday.  I'm blessed to be spending the week with my wonderful family AND I get to see Bella and get a healthy dosing of puppy lovins!  (Eeeeeeeeeeeee)



Saturday, November 14, 2020

CK Finally Made it to Red Rocks...

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Red Rocks (originally called the "Garden of the Angels"), an iconic and historic concert amphitheater venue right outside of Denver, Colorado (one of two Denver National Historical Landmarks).  Even though the venue is in technically in Morrison, it's owned by the City of Denver. 

The visit was bittersweet, because, prior to relocating to Colorado, I pulled the 2020 Summer concert list and highlighted several shows I planned to see.  I had even started making plans with my friend in San Clemente, CA to come visit me for a Pink Floyd cover band show.  I kept high hopes, and he warned me that the "two weeks" to lower the curve was just the beginning.  Turns out, he was right.  Denver cancelled all concerts at Red Rocks for the summer of 2020.  Silver lining: I am really glad I didn't purchase my tickets in advance!   

Alas, I finally made it out to Red Rocks on a beautiful autumn day to see the venue for myself.  For a Friday afternoon (right before sunset), I was surprised by the number of visitors walking the park.  I'll start by saying, I had no idea the amount of steps you have to climb to reach the amphitheater!  Wow, what a thigh burner!

(Heavy panting)

(Heavy Panting - Part Deux) 

(The stage at sunset)

(The sunshine over Denver)

Also, here are some cool tidbits and facts about Red Rocks, 
(compliments of my Google research skills...)

  • Red Rocks was discovered in 1820 during an Army expedition.  It took the Civilian Conservation Corp 12 years to complete Red Rocks after dynamiting through the massive rocks to create the seating area.  It's hard to imagine, but Red Rocks used to be an ocean floor.  And, the rock formations are from an sediment spreading alluvial fan.
  • The theater was modeled after the Theater of Dionysus in Athens, Greece.
  • From the top row vantage point, you can see all the way to Denver International Airport, which is 26 miles away.  Sitting on the top row, a spectator is at the elevation of 6,435 feet above sea level.
  • Red Rocks has two massive monoliths called "Creation Rock" and "Ship Rock."  These are 300 feet tall and rival London's "Big Ben."
  • Every headliner gets a piece of the sandstone rock with their name carved into it.  The hallway leading backstage is lined with signatures of band members who have played at the venue.
  • There is an Urban Legend circulating about a ghost called "The Headless Hatchet Lady."  According to legend, she preys on amorous teens.
  • The venue was purchased in 1927 for $54,133 (inflation would make this equivalent to $744,362 today).  The venue was first purchased in 1872 has changed ownership 22 times since then.
  • Red Rocks gets its color from iron oxide which is the same component that gives blood and rust its unique color.

  • Red Rocks is over 200 million years of rock formation!
  • Approximately 750,000 non-concert goers visit Red Rocks each year.
  • There are 8700 seats at Red rocks, give or take.  If you line the seats side by side they would span 2.5 miles.  This makes Red Rocks a great destination for runners and fitness enthusiast (as it's a great training center...from the stage to the top row is 100 foot elevation difference.)
  • The grounds are considered sacred by 32 Native American Indian tribes.  The area used to be inhabited by the Utes.
  • Movie goers can come to Red Rocks for big screen showings.  The first movie shown at Red Rocks was in 2000 and it was Coppola's "The Godfather."  Also, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performed.
  • Breaking the record for most consecutive shows in a row at Red Rocks?  Huey Lewis and the News
  • Widespread Panic holds the current record for the most performances at Red Rocks.  The first rock concert at Red Rocks was in 1959 featuring singer-songwriter Ricky Nelson.
  • Red Rocks hosts Yoga on the Rocks.  I definitely have this on my bucket list for 2021.
  • Red Rocks also hosts Sunrise Service for Easter...another bucket list item.  Easter Sunrise Service was actually the first ever event held at Red Rocks on April 6, 1947.

This guy seriously sounded like a full blow locomotion train
with his breathing pattern.  Great interval training.

Some crazy stuff that's gone down at Red Rocks:

  • I couldn't verify this through an online sources; however a friend of mine who grew up in Boulder and visited Red Rocks multiple times told this story: A hippie girl climbed one of the monoliths during a Grateful Dead show, took some acid, thought the crowd was a swimming pool to dive into,  and did a swan dive into the crowd.  Ouch!
  • After some pretty naughty behavior at the Ray Charles (1962) and Peter, Paul and Mary (1964) shows, the City banned alcohol (the venue was previously BYOB) at Red Rocks.  It was later brought back in the 90s and concert goers could purchase alcohol at in-house concessions at the venue.
  • During a Schoolboy Q concert in 2014, three people were shot.
  • The Beatles 1964 show on their first American tour DID NOT sell out at Red Rocks.  What's up, Colorado?!?  Let me repeat, this was their only American show that did not sell out.
  • At a Jethro Tull concert (1971) fans stormed the gates and a riot broke out.  Law enforcement used tear gas on the crowd while the band continued to perform.  Denver cancelled all remaining concerts for that month.  The Denver Mayor (reminiscent of "Footloose" banned rock music at Red Rocks.  However, famed concert promoter Barry Fey helped lift the ban 5 years later.
Feeding time at the Red Rocks "zoo"...saw these guys 
on the drive out of the park.

These last two shots are not my pictures.  I actually downloaded it offline.
But, since I could not produce an actual concert picture from this Summer
I wanted to show what Red Rocks looks like during a show.

Thanks for visiting, friends, and have a wonderful rest of your weekend!


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Downsizing Your Life...

Hello and Happy Election Day (and happy be-lated November)!

I read recently, "Happy NO-vember...a time to start saying 'no' to people, places, and things that drain your energy."  Wow, what a great concept when you understand how powerful energy exchanges are in your day to day life.

My story is: Post 40, I downsized my entire life and drove cross-country with what I could fit in my Subaru.  I had always heard about people making a fresh start and making moves like this.  But, I honestly never saw myself doing it, and there was a time that the very thought of doing that would have absolutely terrified me.  At one point in my life I furnished a two bedroom house with a screened in porch (complete with my southern white wicker furniture and floral padded cushions).

Turns out, my downsizing and relocation was one of those experiences I needed, because it make me ask: "What REALLY truly matters in life?  Kimmie, are you owning your stuff or is your stuff owning you?"  The experience taught me lessons in "what to say no to" in terms of the phsical things I owned.  But, most recently, I have begun the reflection of my metaphysical life can tend to get cluttered too.

The following is a quick list of decluttering I'm personally working on in my own life:

Hoarding and Buying Things You Don't Need

Have you ever shopped with someone who loves a good sale?  Sales racks can be great, especially if it gives the illusion you're saving 50% off.  But, a great rule of thumb I adopted is: "If I wouldn't buy it at full price, then I don't need it at the sales price."  In other words, if you don't see the value of the product, don't fall for the illusion of the savings.  

Whether this is shoes, clothing, jewelry, I go by the simple motto (similar to the KonMari Method): "If it doesn't inspire, spark joy, or create beauty, then declutter it."  I remember back when my closet was jam packed full of clothes, I felt like I never had anything to wear.  Yet, when I downsized my closet, I always quickly found an outfit (because I only kept my "uniforms"...those things that looked great, complimented my figure, and sparked joy when I put them on!  Currently in my life, I find myself hoarding sunglasses and hats of all kinds.  As a redhead and more prone to melanoma than your average bear, I consider these accessory articles part of my skin care routine.  However, I've put a strong hault on purchasing any more to my collection.

Decluttering and downsizing happens in stages.  Don't feel like this happens overnight.  You've probably heard this strategy, but each time you do it, have three bags/boxes: TRASH, DONATE (SELL), KEEP.  No matter what room or closet you hit, make sure you have this system, because it works so well.

Aside from your local charities and donations, Poshmark offers a great way to make a little side income off your name brand or designer clothing, shoes or handbags.  Poshmark does take a percentage of your earnings, but they provide a great national platform of buyers.  I'm not very tech savvy, but it's so easy to use.  You just download the app and start posting your articles for sale (describing the article, the size and the price).  When a buyer purchases, you just print off the label, pop the purchase in a priority envelope or box and drop it the local post office.  You get the direct deposit in your bank account in a few days.  I'm sure there are other platforms for selling clothing, shoes, and jewelry, but this one has worked best for me.  I've generated a couple thousand in income and I barely put any time into it.  

People Pleasing

No matter how to dice, slice, smother or cover it, you will NEVER please everyone.  Read that as many times as you need to.  Understanding this and truly living by it takes so much practice.  But, a simple motto I've learned to live by is: "If it's not a heck yes, then it's a no."  I no longer wish to agree to do something unless it's a heck yes for me, too.  No more half assing to please everyone.

Learning to say no without an explaination is a huge one, too!  By explaining why you can't do something, you're essentially teaching others that they are entitled to know everything about you.  And, nobody is entitled to know everything about your personal life.  Learn to say no.  And, "Thanks so much for thinking of me, but I'll have to take a pass this time."

Social Media

Social media can be a really great thing!  It can be used for connecting, sharing funny insites and even sharing knowledge.  A lot of people use it as a vision board, posting uplifting and inspiring posts.  One way to look at your social media is: If it's not inspiring you, it's caging you.  Don't allow social media to be your personal prison.  Say no to anything that is hurting your mental health.  

Making Excuses for People

When someone shows you who they are, believe them (and hopefully, you learn the first time).  Maya Angelou said first.  This reality of life is sad but true, but the more chances you give someone, the more they will disrespect you.  Ultimately what you are teaching them (along with disrespecting yourself) is that no matter what they do, you will always give them another chance.  Recently, I gave someone three chances to make it super clear to me who they really were, and each time the disrespect got progressively worse.  It won't get better, I can promise you that.  I can't remember where I heard this but it made so much sense: Consider how hard it is for you to make changes in your own life; now consider how hard it is to change others.  Recognize people for who they are now (in the present) and say no to seeing people for some future potential.  

Speaking from personal experience, setting hard boundaries like walking away can be so hard to do!  But, what you'll gain from walking away will be so worthwhile.  I've learned that by letting go, you communicate your standards to the Universe and much better comes into your life.  I've done it, I've seen it, and I believe it.  Follow your gut and intuition.  If something seems "off" or not right, don't stick around to see what it is.  

The best advice I can offer (that I'm learning to take myself): Learn to recognize when you start making excuses for people's behavior and learn to stop it immediately.  Would you want to see your mom or sister or best friend treated like that?  Then, why are you allowing yourself to be treated like that?  The best way to live is to make clear goals and standards for the types of people you want in your life.  You ultimately become your surroundings.  So, choose your fellow characters in your story wisely and learn to say no to anyone who should be "written out" of the story.  The most successful people in life have learned healthy boundaries and how to say no.

Straying from Your Life Goals (Taking Wrong Turns)

You are human and allowed to make mistakes.  The great thing is, you can always find your way back.  Are you setting clear goals and expectations in life?  I'm not talking about just gigantic life goals.  This can be as simple as changing a daily routine.  The best thing I ever heard is: Decide what you want in life and learn to say "no" to everything that doesn't fit that goal.  Learn to say no.

Negative Self Talk 

Wow, this one is a hard one to break, no?  Especially when we can find ourselves on a downward spiral of negativity, because nothing seems to be going well for us?  Everyone has bad days, bad weeks, a bad cycle that is teaching us something.  

I don't know about you, but I cringe when I'm around someone who chronically talks bad about themselves.  First, these people sadly project their own low self esteem on to others around them. 

Also self awareness includes: once you become more aware when the spiral happens, you can fix it!  Studies find that positive self talk is one of the greatest tools towards success.  So, the best way to break the habit is: next time you catch yourself being Negative Nelly, stop, and say three positive things about yourself!

Happy Hours

Recently, my community hosted a Happy Hour with free snacks and adult beverages.  While free food and booze is tempting, I just said no.  I used the time to do yoga and cook a delicious dinner and work on some projects.  Not all invites to be social have to be taken.  It's okay to turn them down and use the time for self-love and working on yourself.  Learn to say no.  

Television Watching

Speaking from personal experience, once I quit spending time watching tv, I started writing, creating apple butters, sugar scrubs, reading more, and creating art.  I've even created some supplemental income on the side.  My laundry is caught up, I stay on top of my house cleaning, I'm cooking more, planning more adventures, meditating, and playing music/guitar, 

And, I'm engaging in more self love such as more yoga/stretching, exercising or reading a good book in the bath tub.  When you change just one habit in your daily routine, it can be magical to your lifestyle.  Learn to say no.

Holding Grudges

This is never a good thing ever!  When someone does something to hurt you, there is something wrong with them, not you.  No normally functioning adult goes around trying to destroy other people.  But, forgiveness does not mean reconnection.  Recently, I had someone tell me that because I believe in forgiveness, I should accept certain behavoirs.  And, that could not be further from the truth.  You can forgive a person's actions WITHOUT accepting the behavior.  These are two entirely different things.

Feel the pain.  Sit with it.  And, then release it.  Learn to say no to holding on to anything that no longer serves you.

Cheap Toilet Paper

One time I bought a quad roll of toilet paper at the Dollar Tree and I still haven't forgiven myself.  No grudges, just won't ever forget I did that.  There are areas you can definitely skimp on when times get rough, but toilet paper isn't one of them.  And neither are shoes!  Be good to your feet...and butt.  Learn to say no.

Thanks for stopping in today.  I hope you have a terrific rest of the week.  If you try some of these downsizing methods or you have any that have worked in your life, let me know in a comment!  Be well, and don't forget to drink plenty of water this week!  



The Sworn Enemy of Lying, Pomposity, Smugness, and Groupthink

My dad recommended this book to me and I could barely put it down at the airport!  It’s called “Tucker” by Chadwick Moore.  The subject of t...