Fresh on the mind: How we love to Eat, Drink and be Merry

Lauren enjoying her birthday cake slice at PF Chang’s at Park Meadows!
Winnie and I in Westport, Ireland at Sheebeen’s for hot spiced whiskey and dinner.
Mark and Preston at One Barrel in Englewood for dinner.
Mom showing me how to use chopsticks at PF Changes in Lone Tree.
Girlfriends, Beth and Heather joining me for Al Fresco dinner on my back porch.
Here’s the spread on this particular evening. My go to dinner on many evenings.
My friend, Wendy choosing her favorites.
Cheese and crackers ready to go out to the patio.
Kasey at her birthday lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Park Meadows.
Fried Tomato Caprese appetizer at Acres Restaurant in Englewood. So good!
Homemade Granola.
Ready to mix in the dressing…
And bake. This is a good recipe! My breakfast, most mornings!
Happy Hour in Gunnison at Susie and Mark’s house overlooking the Gunnison Airport.
Laughter, snacks and stories…
Fun to be with family!
Brown Bread and chowder at Ashford Castle in Ireland.
Late dinner in NYC after traveling. I’m checking out the scene as I eat.
While walking around NYC, we found this cute outdoor block of restaurants with shared seating. It was 1 block from our hotel.
Finally, after a day of sightseeing, we take a break!
Ready to grill Salmon on cedar planks with Caprese appetizer.
Sitting by the Gunnison River at Garlic Mike’s before a fundraiser starts.
Like any good fundraiser, they give you plenty of time to drink wine and cocktails before the auction.
I found a chair near the river and stayed put until the auction started.
Angel hair Pomodoro at Garlic Mike’s.
We bid on and won a 2 night stay at a private cabin in Tincup. Here we are enjoying happy hour by the fire before dinner. Rocco is wrapped up in the Red blanket.
The offerings are different in Ireland. We ate lots of scones, Irish soda bread, coffee …
This is rashers, similar to bacon.
And this is a traditional Irish breakfast.
Susie, lounging on the boat in Blue Mesa. Rocco is keeping an eye on the food!
Susie and Ryan sampling a feast at a fabulous restaurant in Telluride.
Winnie is planning her approach to the lovely slice of cake before her.
Happy hour, overlooking Central Park. This was fantastic!
Another late dinner in NYC.
Gavin’s in Westport, Ireland. This place became my favorite spot in town for a light lunch or snack.
And who doesn’t love ice cream! This is a “99”; cone with a flake of chocolate in it.
Outside Gavin’s with Maureen in the afternoon for tea.
Checking my email before digging into my panini at the Beehive Restaurant in Achil Island, Keel Beach, Ireland.
They served sugar in these crystal lumps, which remind me of uncut jewels.
Ryan and Preston sharing an Al Fresco dinner on the patio at Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction.
Greek style salad with Quinoa and pickled beets dinner.
Thanksgiving table set for many at Susie’s house in Gunnison! So pretty!
Ready for tea at Kylemore Abbey in Ireland. Quiche and soup and Brown Bread, of course.
Asian salad. Fresh and crispy!
Breakfast at Mom and Dad’s house for Michael’s family, several years ago!
Sitting on the Thames in London, enjoying the evening with a glass of wine on the patio.
London skyline, Chardonnay and Irish Coffee.
Winnie getting serious about her Shepherds pie dinner.
Mark and Preston assessing their funnel cake at a Rockies game.
Fresh snack, quinoa, feta, olives, banana pepper, red pepper, asparagus.
Fresh produce from my garden in 2016.
My herb garden; Chives, Rosemary, Cilantro, Sage, Garlic and Dill
How I should, and do eat after a fantastic week of drinking and dining out with family in town!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” -Leonardo da Vinci

When I was little, I did what my parents told me to do. Then I went to school and did what the teachers told me told do. I got a job and did what my boss told me to do. Today, I do what I want to do and I love it!

This miniature Rose was given to me by Susie, in April. It was beautiful but very quickly dropped all it’s leaves and looked dead. I put it in my bone yard with the rest of my pots.
A week later, I start to see new growth! So, I planted it in one of my gardens to see if it would come back.
Look at it today! Blooming in it’s new place!
Do you know Dragonflies eat mosquitos? This one is feasting on Aphids!
I found this mirror in storage. I like it, but it’s dark and heavy looking. I got inspiration from a pic I saw online and decided to paint and distress it.
First coat of paint. I used an off White chalk spray paint.
This ornamental mirror was also being stored and feels outdated with the Cherry colored stain.
Deciding on what color to paint over the Cherry stain. I went with the darker one.
First coat of Turquoise spray paint.
Being single, I generally eat Al Fresco. And when I do entertain, I like to offer a selection of tapas or finger foods so guests can make a meal of flavors they like. I try to stick with healthy menu items and have been able to redirect me attention to cooking more since I’m home more. I definitely eat better!
My niece Lauren, came over to do some cooking this week. We’re assembling some vegetarian salads for lunch and learning how to do some basics.
Another light evening meal.
Simple is better. I spent many years building my life. More money, more stuff, more stress. Once I achieved what I thought was “success”, I started to get rid of all the stuff I surrounded myself with. Now, I love knowing I don’t need stuff to be happy. In fact, the more stuff I get rid of, the lighter and freer I feel.

“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pass time, if we live simply and wisely” 
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Growing Old Gracefully, With a Little Imagination

In 2008, young and energetic, toward the beginning of my career.

Some days, it’s tough feeling like I’ve gone past my prime and can see the changes to my face and body. I have a new appreciation for young people, being so fresh and beautiful and full of energy and anticipation of life to come. And I’m learning how to also appreciate the experiences in my own life, which have made me wise, patient and accepting of other people and myself. Today, I’m sharing some of my thoughts and decisions as I wander down the road of aging, excited to see what happens in the last half of my life.

As a working girl my hair was curled, I wore a full face of professional makeup, business clothes and kept my overall look polished. I stayed professional, not wanting to look too trendy or flirty.
Hair styles.

I got up 2 hours before I was expected in my office and my routine was basically, shower at night and wet my hair in the morning, blow it dry and curl it. Over time, I got comfortable being casual on some days, letting my hair dry naturally into a curly bob. This felt like I was stepping out of the box!

After I left my job, I still tried to keep up what I thought was the most flattering hairstyle, blown out and curled. But my outfits started to be more comfortable and flowing instead of tailored and fitted. Over time, I began to wear my hair naturally curly in a low maintenance bob.
Within 1 year of leaving my career, I blew that all out of the water and got hair extensions, finding a whole new look I could play with. I love having long hair, instantly! And I can change it up often. Now that I wasn’t in a professional career, I felt I could have more fun with my style.
This pic looks like a romance novel cover, with me being the main character. Nice one!
Extensions are fun and somewhat versatile, changing my whole look. It’s fun and flirty, to be sure! Finally, I could just relax and play with my style instead of using it as a uniform.
Here, I am wearing my extensions in pig tail braids.
This curl is closer to my natural hair curl.

You may have heard that hair extensions are hard on your hair. It’s true! They are fun, but I caution anyone who wears them to do so judiciously. It’s a good idea to not use them constantly, but give your natural hair a break from them regularly. Then when you wear them you feel spectacular!

Skin tone and texture.

My skin @ 47 years old, started to show damage from sun and lifestyle. I did my research, asked some friends and decided on a CO2 laser treatment for my face with the promise to erase all those years of damage to my skin.

Just leaving the CO2 treatment, getting ready to drive home. This is nothing, wait until the next morning! For the first week, I have to sleep sitting up and propped against some pillows to reduce swelling. I don’t really sleep, mostly nap in between pillow adjustments all night long.
Holy Crap! Is my face falling off? Besides some oozing, (which is disgusting and looks like hamburger, on my face!) I also have some swelling, especially noticeable around my eyes and nose bridge. The dark damaged skin cells are starting to lift and it looks like a splotchy shadow across my face. Sun damage be gone!
I’ll be honest, the first time I had this done, I got queasy when I saw how I looked like the next morning. I’ll share with you that this procedure looks horrible, but is not really that uncomfortable. The worst part is during the laser process which simply feels hot. It takes about 45 minutes, but she does use a numbing cream for a hour before and you hold a hose shooting out cold air onto the spots she is treating. Within 5 minutes of being done, the heat dissipates and you can’t feel any pain. I feels like a sunburn. And the results!
3 days later, no makeup. This treatment addresses sun damage, firms and tightens the skin and create healthier skin by resetting your cells to produce more collagen. The cell renewal process takes about 3 weeks before you see the actual results when your new skin cells begin to surface. Once I got through the first treatment, I was convinced of the benefits!
Eyebrows are the frame of the face.

My mom always had beautiful natural dark, arched eyebrows. Mine needed assistance. I have a chicken pox scar in my left brow and sparse eyebrow hair growing naturally in either brow. So, I’ve penciled in my brows for years and decided to see if I could find a more permanent (natural) solution.
Here in 2013, drawn in eyebrows.

I found Microblading, a semi permanent tattooing procedure for cosmetic purposes. The first time I had the procedure, I believe the brow specialist used a heavy hand, making the procedure almost unbearably painful. Even after using the numbing cream for a hour, I felt her “strokes” cutting into my skin. And the sound of it is sorta scratchy. Hard to describe until you’ve had it done.
However, I really like having my brows dark and filled in to create a fuller look. So, I found a new technician to do the same procedure in a following year. She used a lighter touch and it was a much more comfortable procedure. This pic is the same day of the procedure. It takes a week or two for the tiny scratches in my skin to heal, peel and fade to a more natural shade.
I’ve slowly changed my style to reflect a more casual and natural look. Which is funny, because it’s not natural, but makes me feel like I look more natural by using less makeup everyday.
And Grey Hair.

It’s been coming in for many years and I’ve stayed with my dark Brown hair color, which I’ve done myself with a grocery store hair color. Recently the hair color product I’ve used for 20+ years has been discontinued. So, I’m thinking this is a sign to take the plunge and let my Grey grow out! I like the Grey, but I’m struggling with the fading residual, now Gold-ish hair color on the bottom half of my hair with the Grey and natural dark Brown growing from the roots. This is 3 toned color blocked hair! Not ombre’, not natural or pretty, in my opinion.

Luckily, I’ve been working with my hairstylist (bless this woman!) to find a solution to the color blocked hair. She tried a few things and we ended up finding a subtle solution of using a permanent transparent ash color wash to take down the Gold and brighten the Grey.
And it worked! This is after the appointment with clean hair. The transition of color is gone! Thank you Andrea!

BTW, I’ve been polling my friends about letting Grey hair grow in. It’s been an interesting discussion with a common response of “I’m waiting until I retire to let my Grey hair grow in”. And I understand their anxiety. It’s interesting that women consistently feel that we need to keep coloring our hair while we’re professional, but can let it grow out naturally after we leave the work force. Do men have the same concerns? I’m not sure, but maybe I’ll poll some men to get their take on going Grey.

With wet hair, you can see the Grey is more striking, giving my hair a focal point. As the Grey grows in more, I’m crossing my fingers to have a cool Grey streak in the front, giving my hairstyle a fun and edgy vibe for a middle aged woman who has always thought of herself as somewhat stylish! We’ll see how this goes!
And my body!

I discovered at 14 years old, that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’ve tried to stay physical and active for most of my life. At 52, I feel more aches and pains, have less flexibility, don’t feel as strong, feel more jiggly, blah, blah, blah. I think many of you know how I feel.

I got a flash of inspiration in March and started to attend Water Fitness at my local Rec Center. I did not expect to love it as much as I do. I had silly notions that I wasn’t comfortable in a swimming suit in public, I didn’t want to get my hair wet, I’m not an old lady, etc…

But I went, and after 4 months, I love going to class 3 times per week and seeing my new friends in the pool.

We use a variety of pool equipment, but just being in the pool feels so amazing! I feel like a kid when I slide down into the cool water and the buoyancy picks up my tired and sore body so I can actually get a good workout against the resistance of the water.

If we’re lucky, we get the opportunity to have these thoughts and concerns as we age. It’s a vulnerable feeling sharing these inside views of my personal beauty choices with you all! Some people will see this post and decide all this stuff is not necessary or expensive or just vain. Others will see it as no big deal and may have done even more extreme things to themselves as they age or just because it makes them feel good. But I support people doing anything that does no harm and makes them feel confident and beautiful. The most important thing I try to remember is to make decisions that are healthy for me and to stay focused on balancing my physical, mental and emotional health. I hope these insights are entertaining at least, or helpful- even better, as you find yourself thinking about how to age gracefully! We are all beautiful just as we are, but a little lipstick never hurt anyone!