Rangiroa 2016 Part I

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Two flights later and a gazillion hours, or so it seemed, we landed in Papeete! I was surprised at how hot and humid it was..and  even more surprised was I that I didn’t mind it…at all.

Completely dark at 0430, the airport was small and sleepy yet we were still greeted to the customs entry with live musical and dance entertainment ..Sidetrack moment as I remember back to the flight..the flight attendant brought round customs forms and asked that we complete these before we land. I asked, “Do you have a pen or little pencil”? She replied, “No” and kept walking. Now I know I should be a responsible adult and carry a pen with me at all times but…I am not and apparently nor is the husband because he didn’t have a writing utensil either. Am I wrong to think Air Tahiti Nui should supply us with tiny little lottery pencils to complete our customs documents?

Ok, my opinion over on that topic. 🙂

When I was on the phone booking our travel arrangements with Costco Travel, the agent and I both thought it would be a great idea to book our flights so that we would have a great amount of time to explore the island of Papeete before flying off to our final destination, Rangiroa.

I regret that decision, well ok maybe not so much regret the decision but lesson learned.

As I mentioned, we arrived at 0430..our flight out of Papeete was to leave a 1030. We had SIX hours to wait.  The Costco travel greeter met us, gave us pretty flower necklaces and walked us around the tiny little airport to show us where to go for our next departure. Not necessary but a little comforting. Three hours left before we can even check into our next flight, we sat down and people watched.

Many locals just hanging out at the airport, barefoot. Outside there were roosters cock -a – doodle dooing, I spotted a random homeless dog trotting through airport traffic, pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal as well (not judging..just observing and reporting). Pretty fascinating,  the airport of Papeete.

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The currency exchange booth opened not so promptly at 0815, we had some coffee and finally it was time to board the plane to paradise!
Papeete to Rangiroa, the flight was only about an hour. When the captain announced our plan to descend, I looked out the window and saw our destination from above…So gorgeous.

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Arrived to the Rangiroa Airport, we were greeted with more flower necklaces and smiles from the staff of the Hotel Kia Ora. They grabbed our bags, loaded them up and we were on our way. The island is only six kilometers long so it was a matter of a five-minute drive to the hotel. We were greeted with fresh juice and more smiles at the hotel entrance, more forms to complete and then we loaded up on the golf cart as they took us to our room…bags already at the front door. It’s a little thing but it sure was nice not having to tote our luggage around. 🙂

Home sweet home for 5 nights!

Here we enjoyed a celebratory whiskey drink 🙂 We brought two 750mL bottles from home…smart tip from some friends who had been to the French Polynesian Islands, to them I say… thank you! Too bad for Jason, the ice machine was broken..Me? I don’t care for ice so I was content! We splashed in the water for a bit and was glad to find the temperature was PERFECT.

We didn’t know what time it was and we didn’t care but we were hungry..sadly, the staff keeps time and the kitchen was closed for lunch so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Jambon Buerre’s (just a ham and cheese sandwich really) and beer, we chatted with the staff about their stories of life on the island.  Soon thereafter, it was nap time!  By the time nap was over it was time for dinner..swim, sleep, eat, drink..repeat? I just knew this was going to be a great week.

I had it in mind to make sure to only eat fish for dinner the entire stay. First night, I had seared tuna with a mixed vegetable salad. I only wish I had made not of what was in the salad because it was truly delicious..I remember there were red peppers and cucumber, absolutely no fluff (by fluff I mean lettuce..not lettuce of any type..strictly vegetables). To wash it down I had to try a glass of the local wine (Rose Nacarat from Vin De Tahiti), this quickly became my favorite.

The ambience of the restaurant in the evening for dinner was so cozy. Calm and quiet but you could hear the water lapping onto the shore from your table which only intensified the pure chillness. No pictures, I didn’t want to be rude or take away from being in the moment. I hope I will always be able to remember.

Needless to say day one was a day of much-needed relaxation. Forewarning, you will see this word…relaxation..quite a bit in this post. 🙂

Day two: The sun woke us up at 0530, the only reason I looked at the clock was because we had plans for an excursion on this day. We woke up with three and a half hours to spare. On the patio, we could hear the waves from the Pacific Ocean side of the island so of course we had to check that scene out!

This early in the morning the tide was quite low. We were the only two on the beach at this time, most likely the only two awake on the island. There was a random dog sitting on the beach watching the waves. He spotted me and started barking so as to say, “get off my beach” and then he ran away.

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We spent the next hour here, enjoying the sounds and views until it was time to eat! Breakfast buffet is served from 0700-0900 ~ quite a spread actually. Every hotel I have ever stayed in that states “buffet” I think of cold cereal, boiled eggs, nasty pastries from a cellophane wrapper and sub par coffee. Not here, There was bacon, sausage, has browns, all sorts of meats and cheese and croissants and fruits, fresh milk, juices and fresh breads.

The buffet is served in the same space as dinner so you have a gorgeous view of the lagoon area and the negative edge pool. Sadly, I never did make the time to take a dip. I wanted to, just for the novelty but really….salt water ocean and lagoon swimming or a swimming pool..natural water is my preference!

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We met our guides and two other couples at he dock at 0900 to board and head out to the Blue Lagoon for the day! We only took video and a few pictures on this day. Apologies but WordPress won’t let me upload video without upgrading ..pshht.

First thing that made me giggle was this fish! This was to be part of our lunch..just out there in the open trying thaw out before it was cooked.

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The boat ride was an hour-long but it didn’t feel so because the ride was so much fun and we soaked up, in amazement at how very far we were from anything else in the world. Surrounded only by mass amounts of water. When we arrived to the spot to drop anchor I realized we were going to have to walk about a 3/4 of a mile to the island through shark infested waters. Ok, Ok..they are docile black tip reef sharks but still..wild sharks none the less..you never know when a shark is going to back shit crazy and bite your legs off…right?

Luckily…the sharks were very well-behaved and only followed us to our little island.

The island had a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables and a make-shift barbecue grill. Side note..I just recalled, walking to the island, Jason insisted on helping the tour guide with the coolers filled with food and water and the guy actually seemed a little put off but allowed Jason to help anyway.

Once settled, we were told to go have fun and meet back in an hour and a half for lunch.

Off we went to snorkel and swim, the hotel had provided us (at no additional cost) with snorkel gear we could keep for the duration of our stay! They came in handy and I was glad we opted not to bring our own which would have taken up a bunch of space in our already booze packed luggage!

In our island walk about, I came across this angry little crab..he wanted to pinch my face off but he was too little so I just laughed at him. 🙂

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I learned, I suck at swimming and I can’t keep water out of my mask. I learned, Jason is a water bug and is amazing at swimming and snorkeling. He pushed me past my limit and made me less afraid of getting eaten by the unknown.

We built up a great appetite and ventured back to the hut. The delicious smell  that is all things barbecue  hit us immediately. Our guides used dried coconut, prawn leaves and pineapple skin to fuel the fire. More sharks were lurking around the shore close to the picnic area..I am certain the sharks are trained pretty well, like any animal, they know..when the humans come and start the fire…they’re getting some treats!  Sure enough, we caught the guides tossing fish and chicken bits to the sharks, they were happy little fishes! We all sat down to a table of surgeon fish, chicken, couscous and fresh pineapple. There were two other super friendly couples there, young newly weds on their honeymoon from LA, a couple from France celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and  us, celebrating life together for twenty-eight years. I am glad we were able to show the newly weds..adventures could and should continue throughout the years.

Another hour went by for exploring and then we were called to start heading back to the boat. Time to swim with the sharks! All of the sharks that were parked near the shoreline followed us back into the deeper waters to meet their many many many friends. I was surprised at myself at how calm I was, I was totally OK with swimming with these guys.

Nearer the boat, in deeper waters, just snorkeling around in amazement..Jason pointed in a direction alerting me to LOOK! There was a lemon shark, this guy was huge! Those black tip reef sharks had nothing on this guy..this guy was probably ten feet long and THAT..made me a little nervous. He was all by himself in a sea of us and the black tips. I (kind of frantically) swam backwards to get to the boat..I was out 😉 Not long after so was everyone else. Safe inside the boat the guide took the remaining fish bits and started slapping the sharks with it trying to rile them up, he was also trying to get the big lemon shark up and out of the water for the big prize. Then he says, “ready to go back and swim with them, hahahahaha” obviously he was kidding and obviously..we all said, “NO”.

The ride back was faster than the ride in and we thought we were done but the driver brought us to an area known as the aquarium. screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-20-24-pm

THOUSANDS of fish. I did NOT want to jump in, I am completely OK with swimming with the sharks but not schools of fish. They nibble, I don’t like their scales and there was just so..many..of.. them.

The French couple dove right in, the new groom and Jason dove right in. The new bride and me? Sat there for a few saying, “I’m not going in there”. I was happy she was going to stay on the boat with me. Until she didn’t. :/

It’s worth mentioning…. the guides thought it to be hilarious to throw chunks of bread into the water near a person so the ALL of the gazillion fish would charge at the person. Bride and I were not thrilled about that. The French folks didn’t seem to even notice. Jason and the groom…LOVED it, thought it was so cool.

I jumped in. It was beautiful and I’m glad I did. No foul..no harm. Not saying I wasn’t freaked out but I floated and snorkeled and I loved it.

Our guides were having so much fun with us they decided to give us yet another treat. We boated off to the Tiputa Pass. This is a passageway where the ocean meets and mingles with the open ocean. The waves were fantastic in the late afternoon watched dolphins have such a blast playing in the rough waters!

Screen shots from video. ^^

We said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts for such a great day and headed back to our room.

This is what we came back to 🙂 From the good people of Hotel Kia Ora.

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Such an unexpected kind gesture! The next couple hours or so were spent enjoying this bottle and recapping our amazing adventures from the day.

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The Plan

A couple of months ago the plan was to bring in the new year with our closest friends and family in the desert..camping. It all sounded great until a few days ago when the plan started to sound…let’s say…mentally challenged.

Winter decided to make an appearance in Arizona!   We haven’t seen any snow in the suburbs outside of Phoenix but it rained all day yesterday and it was less than 30 Fahrenheit for the low. We would have died in our sleep. No doubt about it.

Jason and I thought it would be a better idea to have the celebration at our place. Have a nice cozy fire in the backyard (yep, on a NO BURN DAY, we would’ve totally done it) with our friends and our dogs and our drinks. That plan was perfect and the best thing about it? We wouldn’t have to drive anywhere…

For the most part, everyone was all in but…there’s always a but…they all have children under twelve. Of course the children would have been welcome BUT.. we have nothing entertaining at all for children to do in our house. They would have been bored to crazy.

Plan C…get our daughter to drive us to our friends house and then we could take a taxi home! Brilliant! 🙂 But…she left and went up north with her friends AND..that would mean we would be leaving our fur babies at home..alone…scared..to deal with the loud firecracker noises.

In the end, we decided to stay home with our fur babies and power through episode after episode of Orange is the New Black season two. In between we ate a delicious Jager Schnitzel with hunter sauce, beets and mashed potatoes courtesy of chef Jason. There was also whiskey and wine..of course.

Happy New Year people! In my heart of hearts I wish nothing but peace, love and prosperity to er’yone! 🙂

Beerfest 2014 ~ 10 Year Anniversary

The first weekend of August, for the past seven or eight years (I can’t remember which), Jason, me, the dogs and our daughter head up the hill to the Mogollon Rim with oh about 100 of our “closest” friends to participate in the annual event which is names…Backwoods Beerfest.

Beerfest was started by a close friend of ours ten years ago this year… we missed out on the first two or three but have not missed one since.

If you live or have heard of the hellish hotness that is the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area) you can bet your life we all become super excited to beat the heat, lose touch with the modern world, drink, connect with friends and become one with Mother Nature herself.

Weather wise..we never know what we are going to get..some years it is in the 80’s, dry and hot and some years it’s nothing but torrential rains..this year..we we lucky to get the best of both worlds.

My friend and I sent our other halves up the hill a day early so they could grab a sweet spot and set up camp. We would have loved to go up with them but we had to work…BOOO…who am I kidding 😉 it was the BEST rolling into camp with everything set up already!

This was home for three days and two nights. The mister is so good at making sure everything is as perfect as can be for his lady..his mutts and his self.

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I really should not have allowed an entire week to go by before I told you my story because I’ll be honest..I don’t remember much 😉 It is after all…BEERFEST *should be deemed…drunkfest!*

Thinking about it now..I know we arrived around 4 in the afternoon on Friday the 31st..That’s all I remember from that night..not because I was wasted but I think the events of Saturday completely overshadowed my first night in the woods. Holy crap..honestly..there is nothing significant that I remember from Friday..it’s like it didn’t even happen. I do know..it was lovely to be there..the weather was perfect and I behaved myself…as much as this kid can…

The next morning was full of relaxation..

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Even the mister enjoy the most comfy spot in the house..

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There were more than a few “nature walks” ~ My major complaint of Beerfest…It is neat that a bunch of people come together BUT..that also means I have to walk like 1/4 mile just to pee……I know..I know..they have private toilets available for camping but I’m sorry..to me? That’s just gross..

 

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This year, someone bought a live pig, raised it, slaughtered it and brought it to camp for a pig roast.

* Side note: what is a better word for slaughter? The person(s) who raised this pig and “sacrificed” it for the sake of our tummies treated this little guy so much..I mean SO MUCH..better than ANY animal we could ever buy at the meat counter in our grocery stores..to use the word slaughter or sacrifice seems inappropriate. *

Anyway, here is the little guy who served us so selflessly

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They started Mr. Piggy around 0530 because he needed to roast for like 8 to 10 hours.. I had coffee and continued my stent in the hammock until my friends woke up and made me a bloody mary. So good..the perfect amount of horseradish and olives and vodka and mary mix and whatever else goes into the making of this morning treat! Another one of our camp mates had made a bloody maria..I am not a big fan of those. I had one sip and didn’t like it. I will give it just one more “shot” but it will have to be a different tequila..Jose..is NOT a friend of mine..I am pretty sure the end result will be the same. Mary will win over Maria.

Sometime in the day the rain came in and was more than welcome..her timing was perfect too, rain for a few hours, stopped in time for all of us to gather around the beer tables for the annual tasting! Let the fun begin!

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Yup, someone brought these flamingos and I LOVE this idea 🙂 NOTHING screams “I am a redneck” more than pink flamingos in your front yard and a rebel flag hah!

There was, of course, even event security 😉

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I mean really..with all of these people here combined with all the beer..you would think it was needed ** Luckily..all was good and I think the shirts were just for fun **

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Shortly after, the rain started again and we all ventured to the pig for some delicious snack time.

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Yup! Red solo wine cup and BBQ topped with cole slaw. We know how to camp. 🙂

Sadly, No more pictures of this day… it’s just as well though because had I been running around the forest with my camera..it would not have survived..at least I had enough sense to put it away during the torrential down pour.

That was the beginning of the end for me woooo partay time! Box o’ wine was flowing, red and white. I am pretty sure I made it to all the campsites to spread my joyful cheer until I was poured into my tent for the night. I did not even care that my sleeping bag was soaked along with my pillow and the rest of my clothes. Did you know that when you buy a tent it does not already come waterproof?? That is the goofiest thing ever. A tent is to protect you from the elements..you would think one of those elements would include RAIN..nope.. you buy a tent..you have to water proof it. Apparently the mister knew of this because he said he has a spray that seals the tent..but for whatever reason..didnt do it. Word to the wise..

The next morning we took our sweet time, packed up, said our goodbyes and headed down the hill.

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Until next year Rim….photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look out weekend..Here I come!

Last weekend, I stuffed my overnight bag into the trunk of my car, strapped myself in and headed to work a half day. Around lunch time I scooted out of there as fast as I could and headed down the highway…

West Coast Snyder family here I come! I was off for my first visit to our long time friends in Southern California. I cannot believe I have let so much time go between visits…no worries, I will be back on schedule ASAP!

The ride there …always sucks. It’s brown, flat and HOT. I do have Satellite radio to help ease the pain but honestly…I almost turned around because I didn’t want to be in the car anymore. I pushed through and rolled into town around dinner time.

I made a bad decision and stopped into the Target in El Cajon to pickup a little goodie gift bag for the preschooler in the family. I’m pretty sure that location is either closing down or their purchaser should be fired because normally…Target has a pretty decent selection for little ones..Not this one. Don’t go… I piddled around there for a good thirty minutes before I finally came to the conclusion..Nothing new is going to magically appear, jump in my basket and scream, “pick me, pick me”!

I settled for a little multipurpose Hello Kitty bag, stuffed it with sidewalk chalk and some bubbles. Not too long after I was parked in the front and being greeted by a super sweet smile from a super sweet little preschooler. 🙂 This little one has a really excellent memory or her mama does an amazing job at keeping close friends and family fresh in K’s mind because she seemed to remember me and even happy to see me. Either way, it was so good to see her little face in person again!

Hugs and hellos were had and I was settled in. And I got to meet the babay!!! 😀

For such a struggle in utero, trying get out too early and all, and a difficult few days of life in NICU, it made my heart happy to see such peace on her tiny tiny face. In my mind she was much bigger..while I was holding her I was mentally kicking myself for not grabbing the newborn cutey pattootey outfit I was going to get for her. Anyhooo…

Into the evening we, adults, enjoyed patio time, conversation and vino.

Cut to MORNING! 🙂

Thump, thump, thump, thump…no gentle pitter patter of little feet here..Little K makes her presence well known with the thump of her little feet bright and early on a Saturday morning. Thankfully..we all fell asleep at a decent hour so I was more than happy to be awoken in such a manner….Again..with the super sweet smile but this time with super sweet major bead head! 😀

Snuggles in the morning before she headed out to Sea World with Grandma and Grandpa while Mommy, Daddy, Uncle B and I took a little day trip to Ramona..La region vinicola del sur California.

First winery stop was to the summer release celebration at Milagro Farm

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My favorites here were the 2013 Pinot Gris and the 2012 Barbera. I had to bring the Gris home with me though because I knew I was saving my wine allowance for our last stop.

Second stop was the wide open space of Edwards Vineyard & Cellars

A comfortable patio for tasting and enjoying company, perfect weather and the gorgeous view.

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* Disclaimer..I did not steal this grape..it was placed in my hand from an unnamed source * 😀

Colorful, aromatic soaps are made and sold here.

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Big lazy German Shepard’s lounge here.

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Some outdoor decor is staged appropriately here.

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I forgot to mention…Baby A (and when I say baby..I mean like she was 9 days old..baby) all the while this little miss was the PERFECT A*N*G*E*L

She snoozed quietly, awoke quietly and just enjoyed being in this world, our environment, with her mommy and her daddy..pure sweetness 🙂

I’m a little upset with myself for not getting more pictures of her for myself but we did have Uncle B there taking photos so I thought it would be a bit much to be all up in her business right behind the other paparazzi 🙂 I’ll be quicker with the camera on my next visit!

OH! I almost forgot…my favorite taste here was the 2009 Syrah. Again, I was still saving my wine allowance for our last stop. *sigh* Next time..next time..

Not too far away was our final stop, the one I had been waiting for, the ever quaint, ever friendly, ever delicious…Chuparosa Vineyards.

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Darn it..I just realized (while uploading the above photos) I didn’t even get pictures of the new indoor tasting area. They really did a great job on this structure..comfortable seating, air conditioning (by this time it was starting to get a teeny bit warm), views of the vineyard and tables for our cheese, bread and cracker spread. Oh mylanta we (and by we..I mean I) ate entirely too much bread and cheese. It was all so yummy..too much to pass up.

My favorites this go round were the 2009 Sangiovese and the 2009 Zinfandel. I spent the remainder of my wine allowance and made them my own. 😀

We said our goodbyes, thanked the people of Chupa, piled into the car to headed back to the house.

I wish I could remember what we had for dinner but by the time we got home, I had had a long day of wine tasting :/ I do know there was burrata involved and it was delicious. I’m pretty sure all I did the rest of the night is eat and drink. Between Uncle B and the Mr. of the house…my glass was ALWAYS full of some sort of tasty wine.

There is a vision in my head of the neighbors coming over and we played Cards Against Humanity. Which by the way…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (maybe not in any blogs but I’ve said it..trust me) everyone must own a box of Cards Against Humanity ..seriously one of the best games I’ve played in years. Totally foul and inappropriate fun for friends for hours.

The night ended, I don’t remember how but I woke up Sunday morning in a terrible terrible way. Sadly I rolled around the house for a few hours, eventually had to pack up and head out. I was so bad off I didn’t even get to have a snuggle moment with the teeny baby A 😦 I missed out..Again I have to say..next time.

It was hard to walk out the door but I know I’ll be back soon (because I will make time to do so)!

The ride to the beach was painless, I found a good spot, walked along the beach for about twenty minutes before I found my perfect chill station. Threw the towel down, laid back, closed my eyes and just listened to the sounds of the waves, the children playing and the seagulls squawking..squawking is probably not the best word to use.. it sounds like a bad noise but it wasn’t. It was relaxing. I found myself taking in super deep breathes, the smell of the salty air mades my brain happy.

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I wasn’t able to stay too long but the sun helps all and my horrible hangover state was just about non existent by the time I left!

Thank you friends, Thank you San Diego! 😉 I will be back!


It’s a Girls Day Out…

Crap, I was supposed to wake up, at the latest, 0700. The plan was to hit the 0915 Power Yoga class at Sutra Midtown ~ the drive is a little over 15 miles.

Yea, well Kiah didn’t wake me up until after 0800..no way were we going to make it.. Instead we figured we could make it to the Basic Yoga class at 1045, be done in time for lunch! Perfecto!

We left in a timely manner but stupid construction put us a little bit behind schedule..that and the weirdos on the road doing like five miles UNDER the speed limit..Honestly..I really don’t understand..

I wanted to take some pictures of the place for the you all but we got there just in time to toss our belongings into a cubby and head to class!

From the spacious front room – decorated with super cute yoga apparel along with walls clad with amazing local art – the front desk attendant walked us through the clean hall and into the “dungeoneaque” practice space. The entry door was really neat..it was made of iron and had welding marks.. like it was a bunch of little iron piece welded together..and it was a sliding door.

The room was dimly lit and was full of aspiring yogis in savasana setting all intentions. Kiah and I followed suit.

Just like myself..my yoga practice has been random and inconsistent. With that said..My skill level is somewhere between a beginner and the intermediate level. These past few months have set me back so my STRENGTH is totally at a beginner level.. This class actually worked out pretty well.

The instructor reminded me of Seth Meyers a little (1st impression) as the class (slowly) progressed..I was beginning to work deeper into going back to the basics. Damn…that was tough. I forgot how much hard work it is to build strength. I was surprised my legs were so weak, my wrists had a hard time holding on and that I actually broke a sweat. 😉 Mr instructor did such a great job at reminding us to root ourselves and to keep breathing. Those who don’t yoga..yes…we doing yoga…must sometimes be reminded to BREATHE 😉

Although I would have much preferred an intermediate class (they flow faster and require less strength..in my opinion) it was great to get back to the basics and the instructor did a wonderful job at reeling me back in. I will definitely be back to see what else Midtown Sutra has to offer!

And…next time I go back…I will take pictures..the vibe of the place is excellent..you have to see it..

After class, we jumped into the ridiculously HOT car (thank you to the brilliant man who invented window coverings for cars!!!) and drove downtown for a little lunch.

Again..traffic was HORRIBLE..guess who forgot this weekend was Phoenix COMICON.?? Yep..me..bad decision but we stuck it out. I am pretty sure we drove around for like 25 minutes trying to fight traffic and figure out how to get to the restaurant before finding the parking garage adjacent to out destination.

Walking to the Pizzaria Bianco was like walking in an oven..People..it’s friggin HOT here.

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I have been obsessing about this place for months having heard it was one of the best pizzas in the nation..naturally I was curious!  Surprisingly, the wait was not too long and we were seated within two minutes of arriving. The inside is super small, the tables too close together and the acoustics are not that great..it was loud. We opted to dine outside. Thankfully, there was a little bit of a breeze, some shading and we had cold cold drinks..I prefer dining outdoors so I was completely OK with it.

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The staff was wonderful. So attentive but not annoyingly so…and the lady who brought us our AH MA ZING pizza margarita even entertained us and took a picture of me and my lovely when I asked her to. 😉 Thanks lady!!

Now..check out the goods:

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Thin crust with just the right amount of crunch with every bite. The freshness of the tomatoes and sauce is well worth the 15.00 we paid for this little pizza. The mozzarella cheese was perfect and the basil…mon amie…I am not a pizza expert and have no idea what constitutes the best pizza in the nation but I would imagine this place deserves big props for what they create.

Here’s a tip thoug…if you are dining with a male…you’ll need to order  two pizzas…Kiah and I could have probably eaten one per.. we are thanking ourselves for not because that would have been glutenous of us but..we totally could have..

We tossed around the idea of checking the menu again for maybe some dessert or a salad..luckily we just paid the check and left.

Half way home Kiah spotted a little cupcake shop she’s been wanting to try out so I swung around and we went in.

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The Treehouse Bakery is a vegan bakery..

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The selection was not big but they did have the vanilla, chocolate and an interesting combo of strawberry basil..I am curious about that one so I just might have to go back for that one.

The lady behind the counter amused me when I asked her to find the biggest one because Kiah and wanted to share one 🙂 and then she offered to us this  cappuccino hazelnut delight!

I am not sure how, without butter, she made the frosting taste so buttery but it was super good!! Glad we stopped. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day for the Dogs

I love my dogs. They are like my youngest children. We have twins (half Beagle and half Australian Shepherds..don’t ask how that happened..I don’t know and I don’t want to know). 

** Side bar..we also have Larry..who is an almost angel. He is not featured in todays post ** 😉 

These mutts are terrible terrible dogs who are terribly terribly spoiled.Image

Little girl on the left is Ollie – she has more Beagle looks and attitude. Her regal sister on the right is Bollie – she has more Aussie looks and attitude. 

These pups are our babies and are way more spoiled than any other dog I know…on the planet. 

Naturally, when the opportunity arose for me to stay home with the dogs whilst I worked and waited on the HVAC guy to fix our A/C unit…I JUMPED at the chance! 🙂 

By the end of the day..I realized.. I am sooooo thankful Jason and I only had one child. Seriously..dogs are way more difficult to deal with than children. All day I felt like I had four three year olds running a muck around the house. 

Baby gate was put up so the girls wouldn’t get all up in the AC guys business barking mad at him all the live long day. I also had a chair strategically placed over the doggie door so they could not get in the back yard. 

Ollie tried as hard as she could to find a way out. I kept having to say, “No, Ollie..go lay down. Ollie, come on..go lay down. Ollie, no..you can’t go outside.” Weaving to and fro, in and out of the chair legs. She was not going to give up and pretended to she could not hear me.

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She did eventually get out. The HVAC guy happened to be out there. I don’t know if you have ever seen a beagle passionately howl at something or someone but it’s pretty comical.

It goes a teeny bit something like this:

She peeked around the corner (I know because I followed her, I knew she would not harm our guest however she is an animal and you can never be too careful…animals can change mood modes in the blink of an eye), spotted the unwanted (in her eyes) guest, stood firm on her hind legs, threw her head back and howled like no ones business. It took a bit (a tap on the butt) to get her attention and I directed her back inside. No harm no foul. 

Her sister, Bollie, did not dare go outside. She is certainly not brave enough to check out the scene. She would much rather sit inside and bark her head off.. or hide under the dining table. Either way..I had two nutgalls to deal with and I think I would much rather have three three year old humans. Until my friend pointed out…How much more expensive they are hah! 

 

Next time…I’m going to the office and will let someone else stay home with the terrorists. 😉 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Down the Mountain We Went…

Tent –  tarp = waking up with the sun..which is O.K by me!

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I mean..who wants to waste a perfectly gorgeous day in nature…sleeping it away?? Not this lady! 

Darn, I just realized..I completely forgot to take a snapshot of the mess I woke up to. When I sat up for the first time I peeked out the mesh of the tent and spotted a H.U.G.E crow wondering around our campsite. He picked up, what looked to be, a piece of bread and fluttered himself up onto the bench of the picnic table. This guy was extremely “healthy”. Now I’m really bummed I didn’t get a photo of him, I just tried to Google “fat crow” and “huge crow” and NOTHING came up as big as the crow I saw… and no one else was awake to verify my story….oh well just believe it..

I crawled out of the tent and all three of the bags Jason had put in the tree the previous night were on the ground riddled with beak holes. Buns, chips, bottles, packaging for the meat were strewn all over our camp area. That bird ate, four hamburgers, three hotdogs, like eight slices of pepper-jack cheese, a bunch of buns and some chips. As much as I don’t like birds (aka rats with wings), I certainly hope that creature is OK. :/ That pepper jack cheese could NOT have been good for him…eeeek.. I would hate to be walking along minding my own business while he was flying over head when that cheese kicked in!! WOOOO 

 Pretty much as soon as I finished cleaning up the birds party mess up..everyone woke up and we all started packing up to head down the mountain. 

But first! We had to stop at the Watch Tower:

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We climbed up and up and up and up, I have no idea how many flights of stairs but it felt like it was never ending. Totally worth it..the view was amazing and the inside with the drawings (not sure if they are original or if they were drawn on as an added effect) were super neat as well. Gahhh…another missed photo opportunity.. when we reached the top there was yet another flight of stairs that was roped off with a really tempting note that said something along the lines of: “Do not climb these stairs that lead to the top of the tower”.. haha surprisingly, as much as we all wanted to, we did not disobey their request. 🙂

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Thoroughly at peace and happy with our intake of the Grand Canyon, we strolled on over to the trading post for a quick bite and a to-go of java. Both of which were completely sub par..the best part of the teeny burrito Jason and I shared was the jalapeño hot sauce we doused it in and I’m pretty sure the coffee was Folgers..made with too much water and not enough grounds.. By the way..normally Jason and I don’t share plates but we wanted to save our appetites for lunch at the famous Rock Springs Cafe on the way home. 

With some fuel in our bellies we were ready to roll! 

Jason brilliantly suggested we take the back route and hit Slide Rock on our way home. Taking the scenic 89A route from Flagstaff to Slide Rock is a MUST. The geological transformation from the forests of Flagstaff into the red rocks of Sedona is an amazing display of Mother Natures pure awesomeness. Breath it, live it, feel it and go hug a tree! 😉 

The last time I went to Slide Rock, parking was along the one lane two way highway..dangerous and it was pretty hard to come by a spot!

Since then, a parking lot has been built and now for a small fee of 10.00 you can park and have great fun at the park until they close if you like. 

A little walk

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A little hike

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And just a little further is a peaceful oasis that in the summer time might be the perfect swimming hole! 

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Unless your Jason..it’s perfect now!! NUTBALL! That water was like 50 Fahrenheit!! 

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Going in for round two!

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Sandro was VERY much tossing around the idea of free falling 

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While Carmen and I sat back and watched the show 🙂

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I can’t even imagine how PACKED this place must be in the dead of summer?? Shoes and jackets came off as the heat set in a bit so we could put our toes in the water to cool off. Jason won the badge of bravery for the day! 🙂 

No doubt we could have all spent the night in that very spot but with lunch to eat, showers to take and friends to meet..We had to go.

We pit stopped at the famous Rock Springs Cafe for lunch and pie, sped home (as safely as possible of course), showered, rested and readied ourselves for guests!  ** Click on Rock Springs Cafe..this little place deserves a blog all its own. Super friendly people, excellent food, out of this world pies and old saloon type decor. My subliminal message to you is…You must go !! ** 

No pictures from here on out because by lunch time Kristi Kodak was closed for business. 🙂 Trust me when I tell you we had more great food, great drinks and great friends! We didn’t over do it because the next day ..there were plans of more shenanigans!