Thinking outside the box 5/23/2013
I've been seeing Maia at Massage Boulder
for weekly body work lately and she's noticed several muscular imbalances. I've been battling a really tight right quad for some random reason and the root cause may be from other muscles not actually functioning - i.e. my butt :) I do a bit of strength work but apparently not the right stuff to get my glutes firing properly. Maia also teaches Foundation classes and suggested I give it a go since I was someone who could really benefit from it.
Foundation training is a series of exercises based on integrating the muscular chains of
the body. The exercises begin with the Posterior Chain of Muscles to
quickly stabilize your spine and core because our modern lifestyles
leave most of these muscles weak and imbalanced. I gathered a few others and we jumped into Maia's Tues evening class. Although it's only 45min with nothing other than a mat, it was extremely challenging. It took a bit to find the correct postures but eventually I was able to trigger and activate all the muscles that hadn't been working. I plan on continuing this class weekly and have confidence it will be a great asset to my overall fitness this year! Click on the logo above to learn more on Foundation Training and to see if there are classes offered in your area :)
Who says accountants can't be creative!?! 5/20/2013
Now that all athletes are tied to their electronic tracking devices of choice, several smaller companies are thriving off the various accessories needed to make these addictive computers visible and functional. There's no secret that Garmin is still the leader in cycling GPS units so most of the aftermarket accessories are only suited that brand. I haven't had any issues putting my computer on my stem but this year I'm running a +6degree rise which tilts the screen, making it difficult to read.
My friend James, tech editor for Cycling News, tested the above mount made specifically for Garmins a few weeks ago. Other than being way too expensive for what it was, there was nothing wrong with it. He already had another mount that he preferred so he said I should see what I could muster up. Since I was looking for something just like this for my Timex Cycle Trainer, I decided to pull out my creative card.
It's definitely not the fanciest alteration out there, but it's fully functional. Unless you bend over and look underneath the mount on my bike, it's completely camouflaged and works like a charm! Even Bryce, Mr. Engineer, was slightly impressed!
Welcome Bruno! 5/17/2013
What more could an empty nested momma want for Mother's Day than a brand new Bernese Mountain Dog?!? This might have been Barbara Bingham's best mother's day present to date!
It took a few days to name the little guy because they wanted to match the personality appropriately but Bruno was the winner. He's only eight weeks old and growing faster than anything I've ever seen before. He's also probably the cutest puppy I've ever seen too. Looks like the Binghams will have their hands full for the next couple months :)
New Road Bike Love! 5/14/2013
Hooray, I finally got my new Litespeed L1R road bike built up! Complete with the new Shimano 11-speed components and wheels, this thing is a climbing rocket! It's been a while since I've used mechanical shifting but the Dura Ace 9000 shifting is like butter so I can hardly tell the difference. I'm still making minor tweaks to get it totally dialed in but you better believe I'll have a full review shortly!
Definitely one happy girl :)
Hooray! Flora D is a college grad :) 5/12/2013
After several long years of balancing academics, a full time training schedule and two Olympic Games, Flora finally had the honor of walking across the stage at CU this past weekend! Her adorable parents flew out from Bermuda to help celebrate as well.
We threw her a fun party on Friday night with all of our friends and it was a total blast. She even got a gluten free chocolate cake that said 'Go Me'!
To top off an awesome weekend, she got a chance to take her new Scott Scale out for it's first ride. If Flora tries to tell you she can't mountain bike, she's full of it. That girl can ride!!! Congrats Flora, we're all so proud and happy for your great accomplishment. You have so many great endeavors ahead of you :) XOXO.
Yes, the fireplace project has come to a close. We are very happy with how it turned out and really look forward to using the new EcoFuel fireplace this fall/winter.
It's hard to imagine that this is what it looked like just a few months ago but I think we can all agree that the remodel was a big upgrade :) Now we put the house projects on hold to play on bikes and motos for the summer!
Massage Boulder 5/4/2013
I received my first massage since last summer this past week and holy moly did I need it. My body, and legs in particular, have had a serious shock since I've started doing harder than normal bike sessions recently. I've always gone to a good friend/cyclist for massage but now that he's a new daddy, his world is a bit more consumed. I didn't think twice when I needed another go to person. Maia Ignatz is not only a good friend but a phenomenal massage therapist. Her attention to detail is beyond visible in her work and the fact that she's an elite athlete makes communication and understanding of body issues seamless. If you're in the market for a good massage, definitely check out Maia at Massage Boulder
Fun in the kitchen 5/2/2013
I've been doing my best to embrace this whole 'cooking every meal at home' thing and I have to admit it's really not all that bad. Definitely time consuming but I'm trying all sorts of various GF/DF recipes and trying to replicate some of our previous favorite dishes. Pizza was the one thing we ate all the time and even though you can find gluten free dough options at many local Boulder restaurants, dairy free cheese hasn't quite made it that far. Luckily Whole Foods is a 10min walk from our house so we've got plenty of DF alternatives right at our finger tips. The two pizzas above were made with Bob's Red Mills GF pizza crust but there are several other recipes that are delicious as well. I promise they taste as good as they look :)
Allen Lim and Biju Thomas recently came out with their second cookbook! The Feed Zone was a huge hit and we still make several items out of it on a weekly basis. This new book is comprised of recipes designed to bring along as ride/training food and is my new go to for snacks on the bike.
Powerbar has been one of the best sponsors over the past 7 years but unfortunately, all of their bars have gluten and dairy in them. Their gels, fruit smoothies and gel blasts are fantastic but sometimes I just need something with more substance. The Feed Zone Portables
has numerous recipes that fit our dietary needs and are fun to make. This week we made the Blueberry/Chocolate/Coconut Rice Cakes. It's as simple as making Calrose rice, mixing in coconut milk/raw sugar/salt/lemon juice then putting blueberries and DF chocolate chips in between two layers of rice in a 9x12in pan. Cut them up, wrap 'em in foil and you have ride food for several days...it's AMAZING! Bryce made French Toast muffins over the weekend and they might be his new favorite. Check it out if you are in the market for good and wholesome goodies while working out.
Back on the home improvement front 4/29/2013
After a little hiatus from working on the fireplace, we got back on it this past weekend. Hosting Flora's graduation party on May 10th may have been a little motivation to crank it out :)
After some drywall work to cover up the gaps on the old fireplace, we covered the bottom brick with some 3x6in marble tiles.
Then we started working on the wall tile. The mosaic is definitely tricky to work with but definitely worth the extra hassle!
We still need to grout, touch up and mount the TV back up, but it's almost done! I know Bryce was a bit concerned about the mosaic but we both couldn't be happier with how it's turning out.
After seeing Bryce's Mom's placemats in Vail, I realized that was the missing piece to our new dining table. We found some square and modern ones that really accent the other colors and are pumped how they look!
A weekend with a the little bro! 4/23/2013
It's been since last summer that I've seen my little brother so we planned a little meet up in Fruita this past weekend. It worked out perfectly as Bryce had a moto race in Grand Junction on
Sunday and it was the exact middle meeting spot between Boulder and Salt
Before joining up with Jerry, his girlfriend Karen and their new pup Riley, we went for a fun MTB ride on Mary's Loop. We did the Horsethief and Steve Loops then made our way up and down the 'More Fun' trail. It was super technical but well worth it!
After meeting up with our SLC crew, we went to dinner at a cool Mexican place where inevitably we ran into a few friends from Boulder. We then headed out to the camp grounds where Jerry/Karen/Riley slept in a 2 person tent and we crashed in the van.
After making some coffee and finding a great breakfast joint, we headed out to 18 Road for a little mountain biking.
Since Karen is very new to the world of riding bicycles, she was on Jerry's old bike and used his helmet. Jerry in turn wore his skiing helmet and looked like a giant goober :)
With zero experience riding a bicycle on any form of singletrack, I couldn't have been more impressed with Karen. She is such a trooper and did awesome!
Although their new pup is a bit scared of people, she's still super cute and really fun once she warms up to you. After dinner and some bowling, we drove out to the race site to meet up with the usual suspects.
It was a bit chilly camping but the morning sunshine was warm and felt awesome. We helped Bryce get ready for his race then sent him on his way. After watching the start of the first test, Jerry and Karen took off to head back to Utah and I went for a nice jog. Bryce had a rough race but got through it safe and sound. We made a pit stop in Vail for some dinner and a much needed shower then finally made our way back to Boulder. It was so fun seeing Jerry and getting a chance to meet his adorable girlfriend and their new doggie!
Stages Power Meters 4/15/2013
It's no secret that I'm a big time numbers fan. Whether it's sorting through Quickbooks files or looking at numbers from a workout, I never get tired of looking at the information. Luckily, my coach Neal Henderson is the same way, and he loves looking at results from a good training session or race. I've always been a fan of training with power measurement tools, but until recently, it's been a challenge. Typically power meters have been in heavy wheel hubs and limit your wheel choice options at races and on training rides.
Boulder based company Stages Power
has developed one of the smartest, simplest, and economical solutions to
the power meter dilemma. Rather than measuring torque through the rear
hub, the stages meter measures strain on the crank arm through a very
compact box attached inside the left crank arm. It transmits though a
variety of wireless options, typically ANT+ or Bluetooth. After
mounting my Stages equipped XTR crank arm to my mountain bike, syncing
the power meter to my Timex Cycle Trainer
was incredibly quick and easy.
The above picture shows some of my data from my first ride with the setup. How cool is it to have power, GPS data, heart rate, and just about anything else you want with nothing more than a small box mounted inside your crank arm and compact bar mounted computer?!?! Better yet, I was able to run my lightweight 29er wheels. If I wanted to switch to something else on race day... no problem! Have a couple mountain bikes and want power on bother... just switch the left crank arm over! It's such a clean, simple solution. I love it!
It's awesome to have Stages just a couple miles from my house. Our friend Matt Pacocha is working for Stages and even hooked me up with this sweet CO themed t-shirt :) If you're in the market for a power measuring crank, Stages is definitely the answer. Give Matt a call and enjoy the new simplicity of such a powerful training tool!
Bake Off Round #2 4/9/2013
With the not-so-successful outcome of Flora's Hot Crossed Buns on Easter weekend, she was really hoping to seek redemption this past Saturday. This is quoted directly from Flora via Facebook "Bake off round #2. I lost again." - Can you guess who's cinnamon rolls belong to who?
Like the hot crossed buns, I've never attempted to make cinnamon rolls - especially not gluten and dairy free ones. However, my GF/vegan recipe using only agave as the sweetener surprisingly didn't turn out too bad. It did make a massive mess, but well worth it!
The bake off was in conjunction with some GF/DF pizza making with my friend's kids who are 4 and 7. We kept them quite entertained with Supercross and letting them judge the bake off...it was great success :) We've been using the Bob's Red Mills GF Pizza crust but I decided to try out the Gluten Free Goddess's recipe that night. It did not disappoint and highly suggest it! Check it out - http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2011/02/gluten-free-pizza-crust-my-new-recipe.html
Back to ''Training'' 4/5/2013
April 1st marked my first official day back with Coach Neal Henderson and the rest of the APEX Coaching crew. After destroying my quads on a run/hike last Sunday, I really couldn't do too much in terms of intervals and pushing myself but probably a blessing in disguise.
I'm really excited to be back on a schedule but truly looking forward to seeing progress in my fitness and mental state. I don't plan on racing until mid June so I'm taking it slow and steady. I need to keep telling myself that I don't want to be be fit and fast now, I want to crush ass and take names Sep-Jan for the CX season! In the meantime, I'll keep chipping away and continue to fuel myself with my favorite Powerbar treats. If you haven't had a chance to try out their new Energy Blend Smoothies, you need to. They have great flavor and a perfect consistency for any type of work out. Let me know if you want a sample :)
Hot Crossed Buns Bake-Off 4/1/2013
What is a Good Friday without a little Bermuda/British tradition of Hot Crossed Buns?!?
I've never had them before so Flora and I decided to have a fun bake off. We both eat gluten free so we figured it would be somewhat of an even event. Although I had to keep mine dairy free as well, I found a great recipe online. The first pic shows the buns 'rising'. Mine are on the right and Flora's on the left. The above pic is what Flora's first batch looked like. Can we say Hot Crossed Pancakes?!?!?
She did a great job attempted to decorate but I think she must have forgotten a leavening agent of some kind :) Although I couldn't try them, apparently they weren't too bad. Her second batch with added flour and Xantham Gum were pretty ridiculous too...I guess anything with a ton of frosting can't taste too bad!
With his new haircut and our friend's pug begging incessently, Bryce enjoyed a few of my Hot Crossed Buns! I think we made 10 and there are currently zero left as of this Monday morning. I guess it's okay since we rode MTB's for 4hrs Saturday then hiked and dirt biked all day on Sunday. With sunny skies and mid 60 degree temps both days, I couldn't think of a better way to spend our Easter weekend :)
Misc Happenings 3/25/2013
I acquired this ridiculous looking 'ball chair' from a client the other day, and I'm totally loving it. I don't care how ludicrous it looks, it's super comfy and will hopefully eliminate my horrible slouching habits!
New bikes are starting to roll in, yay!!! My 2013 L1R road frame arrived last week and I cannot wait to build it up. The new Shimano 11 speed components may take a bit longer to get here but I know it will be worth the wait. Stay tuned for a complete build pic and a full review later this spring/summer.
Our annual snowy March is in full effect. After getting at least 6 inches on Friday and Saturday, we decided to stay indoors and begin the fireplace project we (okay I) have been wanting to get after for a while now.
Above is the beginning of the madness. TV is off the wall and the hideous faux brick has been ripped off. We still have a lot of structural work to do in order for the eco-fuel fireplace to fit and some serious drywall cutting to hide all the television wires. As soon as the weather gets better, we'll be outside and riding so hopefully this 'slightly simple' project doesn't get pushed out too long :)
Let the Run Trainer 2.0 Clinics Begin!!! 3/23/2013
Although the Timex Run Trainer 2.0 hasn’t officially hit stores yet,
there is a lot of buzz around the new product! I know several shops in
the Boulder/Denver area that are itching to carry the new watch and many
run groups eager to have our demo fleet available at one of their
weekly runs. To kick off the 2013 ‘Clinic Season’, Tim Hola and I did a
short Timex clinic for the employees of the Sports Authority Elite shop
in Boulder yesterday morning. We talked about the various watches the store
carries but we spent most our time educating them on the new Run Trainer
and allowed them to touch/feel/play with the ones we received at camp.
The response was extremely positive and we plan on having a demo day
sometime this spring/summer. Thanks for organizing Mr. Hola!
The Gear Movement 3/20/2013
I've recently taken on another new accounting client. Ben and Jordan, good friends and owners of the The Gear Movement, contacted me several weeks ago and we've recently developed a great working relationship. If you haven't checked out their site, click on the logo above and read all about how they can help you move that old gear in your garage and make you some extra cash!
Getting Healthy 3/18/2013
I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I've updated! Things have been crazy busy with recent work changes (which I will update on later) and all the other random items in my life :) On the cooking side of my world, I've been really in to soup making these days after the purchase of a new immersion blender. Check out this site for 3 really tasty soups I've recently made and loved! Detox Soup Recipes
I also recently acquired a new toy to play with on the mountain! I have yet to build up my new Litespeed race machine, but this will serve as my fun bike to take trail riding when I'm sick of getting beat up by the hardtail! I've been riding my CX bike quite a bit and my strength and fitness is getting better each day. Really excited for the actual 'training' to begin on April 1!!!
Have I mentioned that Melanie is 18 weeks pregnant?!? Well she is and what I call 'Little Miss Huang' is due right around my birthday (Aug 22). She rocked through the first trimester and is doing great and riding strong. Love hanging out with that girl!
Help, I'm addicted to interior design!!! 3/6/2013
Maybe I should stop watching HGTV all the time then, huh? I do have to admit though, we haven't bought/remodeled anything just because...every dime spent has gone towards enhancing the overall space so that it flows better and is convenient for everyone who lives here :)
Our newest table/rug addition was something that was much needed. After rearranging to actually have a dining space in the house, we realized that a welcoming table that fit more than 4 people was much needed. Since the space between the kitchen and living room is a bit tight, we knew that a bench seat would be the key to keeping the congestion down. We pieced together this set from IKEA (of course) and really couldn't be happier. Much better than what we had before (pictured below)!
We miss CHEESE!!!! 3/4/2013
Luckily there are a few good alternatives :) We've recently discovered the vegan Parmesan (pictured above) at Whole Foods. It's a great way to give salads and GF pasta dishes a little extra flavor.
We've been using the cheddar and mozzarella Daiya shreds for a while now but just started using them on GF pizza crusts to make delicious homemade pizzas. As bad as it sounds, living gluten and dairy free isn't all THAT terrible!
Bring on the humidity! 2/25/2013
In all honesty, I never thought I would be excited to add humidity into my house! However, the dry Colorado winters are really taking a toll on us. For several years now, we wake up extremely parched and congested during the winter months - I guess the combination of constantly running heat and a dry environment will do that to ya. At any rate, we spoke with Bryce's parents who have been very happy with their humidifier purchase so we decided to get the same one. I would have much rather splurged on a $300 kitchen accessory, but I know this will be a great investment for us in the long run! To fresh, and happy breathing :)
2013 Timex Team Camp 2/17/2013
As always, our annual Team Camp at the Timex Performance Center in New York was off to a banging start this past Thursday evening! I honestly cannot believe this is my seventh season on the team and still get that butterfly excitement sensation each year. It was so exciting to see all my returning teammates as well as meet all the newbies. There are 11 new athletes this year and it's been really fun getting to know each and every one of them!
I'll be a little scattered giving updates but I wanted to share the above pic of the new Run Trainer 2.0 as quick as possible. This is Timex's newest GPS watch that I truly believe will the be hottest time/distance/HR wrist piece for 2013. Not only does it incorporate a sleek look that is extremely lightweight, it is also one of the easiest watches I have ever used. The Colorado crew is beyond excited to add it to our demo fleet and get out to the stores to show it off :)
After some great round round robins revolving around new products and another phenomenal TPC lunch, we were welcomed into the NY Giants' locker room where we received a bunch of new swag!
Last year we received bright red Thule backpacks that I bring EVERYWHERE with me and this year we were even more spoiled...custom embroidered carry-on Thule luggage filled to the brim with all sorts of gear, swag, you name it. We are seriously the most spoiled group of athletes on the planet and I know for a fact that every single one of us is beyond grateful for all of it.
After another set of sponsor meetings/clinics, we got dressed up for our 80's themed 5K run/walk. Thanks to my roommie, Flora Duffy, I was well prepared with a stellar outfit.
I've been rockin' the Timex 80 watches for a while but super stoked to add these new ones to the collection. The run might have been one of the most comical things I've witnessed to date in my 7 team Timex camps :)
Our awards dinner was over the top and the guest speakers were outstanding. I was also very honored to present the Female Amateur Athlete of the Year Award to my good friend Cindi Bannick. The microphone was having a bit of trouble staying put during my speech so a few inappropriate comments were thrown out making for some good laughs.
Keeping with the old school theme, we all received really cool sweatshirts with the vintage logo. Ya have to admit, we're definitely one good looking group of athletes :)
Saturday's agenda involved more sponsor/media presentations. Throughout the entire camp, we were able to sign up to have our Lactate Threshold tested on the bicycle or the treadmill. The Korey Stringer Institute from UCONN was back at the TPC with a full crew and ready to give us some informative training information. Unlike the usual LT tests I get back at BCSM, I actually had an IV in my arm with a little spout where you could pull my blood out then turn the nozzle to stop the flow. I'm used to the painful finger pricking but not quite sure this was better. Either way, the plan went as expected and my LT was sadly low. I have to remember that it is okay since I haven't done one hard workout since July and I don't need to be fit until September! However, it's always easier to acknowledge when you don't have physical numbers as proof to how unfit you are.
One of the stops on Saturday's schedule was receiving our new collection of watches. I have to say that this new Expedition 2 watch is my absolute favorite Timex piece, EVER!
Sunday is always a very chill day where we get our head shots and team photos taken. It's crazy how fast the 4 days fly by. Huge thanks to Keith and Tristan for putting on yet another incredible camp!
2012 RMEC Series Wrap Up 2/5/2013
It was unfortunate, but we somehow scheduled our vacation to DR on the same weekend as the Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit 2012 Banquet. We saw our good friend Clint this past weekend who gave us our awards - 1st Overall Women's Series and 2013 AA/Pro Rider (18A). I think my overall series win was particularly due to how many races I did but nonetheless, the boys are still making me move up to the Men's C Division this year! Guess we'll see how that goes considering how little I've been riding. Bryce, on the other hand, beyond deserved his AA status for 2013. After a very unlucky 2011, he is now back in the Pro ranks where he belongs! First race is a 2 day-er in Texas on Feb 23 and 24...crazy how fast time flies.
Team Timex Through the Years 2/2/2013
In just 2 short weeks, I'll be attending my 7th annual Team Timex camp! As I thought about it, I honestly couldn't believe it's already been seven years since I was asked to join the team. So then I really started thinking...what have I done during those years? Below are six highlights from my 2007-2012 experience with Team Timex!
This was my first season on the team. Our camp was at the end of March in Carlsbad, CA. I was only 22years old and pretty new to the sport of triathlon so I was totally honored to have been accepted to be on such a prestigious team. Funny to think that seven years ago Timex was on the forefront of technology with the Speed and Distance GPS Watch that included a large transmitter, a data recorder and a watch! Oh how times have changed :)
And we're ORANGE! Timex went from sporting black and yellow (before my time) to red and white, and then in 2008 we changed to the vibrant orange and white. Trek even made custom painted TT bikes for us! This was my first year racing XTERRA and it turned out to be a great change from competing on the road. I had a fantastic season wining almost every race in my age group and finished with an overall amateur win at Nationals and a World Champ jersey in Maui!
Unfortunately 2009 was the start of my health issues as an athlete. However, I had great support from the team which helped my mindset tremendously. After a fantastic 2008 season, I was awarded Timex Athlete of the year. It just reiterated how important this team was to me and how I simply couldn't imagine my world without it. While the team continued to get stronger and pull in great new sponsors, Timex was starting to release new and exciting products. After a few knee surgeries and hobbling through several XTERRA's, I decided to give cycling a go while I let my knee heal. After a few road and cyclocross races, I was hooked!
We're back in red and have a new home for team camp! Timex's partnership with the NY Giants led to the building of an amazing training facility right next to the Giants' stadium. We are so fortunate to be welcomed there each year to utilize their upscale facilities and have home cooked meals three times a day! This year marked a big bike sponsor change to Orbea and Shimano and the introduction of the Global Trainer GPS Watch. Unfortunately I was sidelined with a fractured hip and torn labrum during the beginning of the year then plagued with the dreaded Epstein Barr Virus from July on.
This marked our first year doing demo's with Timex watches. Since we needed to spread the word about the Global Trainer, we brought a fleet of watches to various shops around Colorado and allowed people to try them out during a club or shop run. It was a huge hit and I believe the brand and product got a lot of positive recognition. In my personal world and after several long months of sleeping and resting, I was finally back to form and out racing. I completed a full mountain bike season with a 3rd overall finish in the WP MTB series and was on a roll racing CX. That was until the Epstein Barr Virus came back to haunt me once again. Sadly, I was sidelined from early October until the following March.
Where to begin?!? 2012 camp far outdid any prior camp to date! With a new bike and clothing sponsor, everyone was super excited to see and learn about the new products. Also, Timex released their Run Trainer, Cycle Trainer and Marathon GPS watches which meant goodies were flying left and right :) This was great for our demo fleet as we now had a full line of product to bring to our clinics and demos. I wasn't fully back in action at camp but I was completely surprised and honored to have been inducted into the Timex Hall of Fame. Keith's speech was so kind that I couldn't stop shaking when I had to give my own. Up until that point, I had been through a lot and it means so much to be that my second family (Team Timex) will always stand behind me, no matter what. Once I was back training in mid March, I knew I was going to have a great year. I felt stronger than ever and was super pumped on my new bike setup. As predicted, the season began great but unfortunately took the same dive it had the past 2 years. I was again diagnosed with EBV and forced to the sidelines without even racing a single cyclocross race. On the bright side, my series of health issues has tought me a lot about how to be a good Timex ambassador away from the racecourse!
I know I've been saying it annually now, but 2013 is MY YEAR! With some recent food allergy findings with my Naturopath, I am on the road to recovery and will hopefully never have to deal with the EBV bug again. I've currently got great energy but waiting until April 1 to begin training. Until then, I'll exercise for fun, build up my new toys and race some dirt bikes with my hunny. I have had an ear to ear grin the past few days knowing that my four favorite days of the year (Team Camp) are just around the corner.
A 99% Complete Bathroom! 1/30/2013
I wish my photography skills were better but at least you can get an idea of what our almost finished bathroom remodel looks like. We just need a little drywall touch up and we can officially be done with our first winter house project!
The above picture is what the bathroom looked like when we purchased the house back in January 2010.
This picture shows our first attempt at making it better. Not sure what kind of crack I was on when I picked the colors but thank goodness that's something easy to change :)
It's definitely not perfect but we are super happy with how everything turned out and how it flows with the rest of the house.
Bryce's parents printed off some cool artwork that really add a great finishing touch to the whole room. Coupled with some modern IKEA furnishings, this might just be our new favorite room in the house.
My favorite part is the large raincan shower head! I haven't actually taken a shower in it yet but it looks really cool :) On to project #2 - THE FIREPLACE!!!!
A much needed vacay! 1/26/2013
Round 2 of SUP-ing went much smoother than our first attempt. Not only did we have less wind and smoother waters, our skills were starting to improve as well.
We both really enjoyed this activity and would love to give it a go back home at the Boulder Rez. It's a great workout if you want to get after it, but also extremely relaxing and enjoyable if you just want to cruise around.
Finding options for meals hasn't been too difficult as milk products are hard to come by and beans/rice is a staple food in the area. One of our favorite discoveries was the 100% Organic Dominican Cocoa. We've made hot chocolate with Almond milk and LOVE sprinkling it over fresh mango and bananas bought right in town.
We were told that if there is one thing we cannot miss on this trip, it's the 27 Waterfall Tour. We weren't interested in taking a full blown tour so we decided to drive ourselves to the destination. As we mentioned before, there are no rules in terms of driving and we were on the edge of our seat the entire time. We almost hit a chicken, a dog and even a cow! Needless to say, we made it there in one piece.
The above video is a great clip of various waterfalls you get to jump off of during the 3hr tour. You get a personal guide and hike about 45min through the jungle to the start. From there, you climb, swim, jump and maneuver your way through 27 different waterfalls. Unfortunately, we didn't have a waterproof camera but pictures just wouldn't do justice on this adventure :)
We didn't know what to expect since we didn't see any of the videos
prior but it was one hell of an experience. Papito was a great guide and we're so glad we made our
way out there to check it out!
More Cabarete Fun! 1/23/2013
One of the first things we planned for our trip was a little Stand Up Paddle Boarding. It's something both of us have wanted to try for a long time so we made it our number one activity. Walking down to the section of the beach where the water is a bit more calm takes about a half hour. We've done this walk several times and have frequently seen horses in full gallop along the beach.
It's hard to get pictures on the SUP as we did about as much swimming as we did paddling on our first try. We learned that the sport is nowhere near as easy as it looks but a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. After all that hard work, we were ready for another couple hours of lounging in the sun and playing on the beach.
The ocean water is exceptionally warm and the sand is smooth so it's very enjoyable just wading around in the surf. After another good sun absorption session, we went to an afternoon yoga class at the resort next door. The studio was in an awesome ocean front cabana and we were the only two in the class. The sound of the ocean and the whole experience was really cool.
After finding out that Iguana Mama (one of DR's top tour guide companies) had a 'Max Endurance' mountain bike adventure through the jungle, we simply couldn't pass it up.
Neither one of us had our own bike equipment or clothing attire so we were in full tourist mode. I used some yoga clothes while Bryce rocked board shorts and a tank top. We both had to use flat pedals with tennis shoes. It really makes you appreciate the amazing equipment and comfy apparel we ride in at home.
Above was my sweet Fuji bike that got me through our 4hr adventure ride. Bryce was on the same ride, just 3 sizes larger :)
Our trip began right from the main road in town. The driving style that scared us while we were in a car was 100% more terrifying on a bike. Luckily we made it off the pavement and onto the dirt fairly quick. We rode alongside the ocean for a bit then turned inland and began heading up into the Dominican mountains. Go figure, I'm the one that flats before we even hit the trails!
After a rather large climb, we made it to the Monkey Jungle facility where they have zip line tours. It was an absolutely gorgeous view.
Max, our tour guide, was an extremely fit local who has been riding mountain bikes for 15 years in the DR. He was a blast ride and hang out with for our 60km experience.
Instead of bringing energy bars and sandwiches on rides, Max eats fruit off the trees for energy. We stopped and had some delicious and sweet grapefruit that was knocked down straight from the tree!
Despite a lot of recent rain and some seriously slick clay type mud, we had a great time. Thanks again Max, we cannot wait to come back for more!!!
We have made it to DR! 1/21/2013
When my friend (and owner of Madd Gear) Brian extended an offer to let us use his beautiful condo in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, it was an easy decision for both of us! The hardest part for me is letting go of work and taking some time off. However, I haven't been on vacation since 2003 so taking this opportunity couldn't be passed up. It was something that both of us really needed to do, and after seeing pictures like these, we decided we're doing it!
There is really only one good flight to the Puerto Plata airport (which leaves Miami around noon on Saturdays). We didn't want to stay the night Miami on Friday night, so we opted for a red-eye flight which arrived in Miami early Saturday morning. I'm not very good about sleeping on planes or airports so it was a long 3.5hr flight and 6 hour layover before the second leg. We boarded the plane for DR around noon, and landed just a short 1.5 hours after. We rented a car, stopped for some groceries, and finished the sketchiest part of the trip (the scooter-dodging drive into Cabarete), just before arriving at Brian's beautiful condo.
By the time we arrived we were totally exhausted and almost felt guilty about getting into bed so early. Obviously we both needed it, as we slept about 15 hours the first night! We woke up much more refreshed and began planning our activities. We left plenty of time to walk the length of the beach, sit by the pool, check out town, and exchange some money.
After watching the kite surfers and relaxing by the beach, we went into town for a fun dinner and entertainment at LAX. It had a super relaxed vibe, modern decor, good food, and Carribean house/electronic music. We have some really fun stuff planned for the rest of the week so stay tuned!!
A gift from Bryce 1/17/2013
Bryce surprised me the other day with a personalized Road ID bracelet :) They recently came out with a super slim version and since we've been on a responsibility kick lately, he thought it would be an appropriate thing for us to have. We are out riding, running, dirt biking, etc. quite often on our own so this just brings a little piece of mind in case anything where to ever happen. For $15, it's the perfect gift for a friend or loved one!
A little furniture switcharoo 1/15/2013
After much debate, we decided to re-arrange the living room furniture so that we could bring the dining table over to the big open/living space on the main floor. Above is the new couch configuration to make things feel a little more cozy!
Before we had the larger of the two couches on the far wall by the patio slider and the loveseat off the small walled section between the kitchen and the hall.
It wasn't a bad configuration, it just didn't utilize the space very well and I always felt disconnected.
The other major annoyance was that we had a dining table crammed into the kitchen nook which just didn't work. It was too big of a table and no one ever really sat there because it was uncomfortable. We have since moved the same table we had to the living area and purchased a cool extendable lamp that acts as a chandelier.
Not the best pic to visualize the before pic of the kitchen, but you get the idea!
Our overall plan includes purchasing the same table we got from IKEA for the Winter Park condo. It fits four comfortably but includes two hidden leafs to extend the table out which makes room to fit eight!
The final piece of the re-arrangement puzzle was trying to find the right piece to fit in the kitchen nook. We lack a bit of counter and storage space so we figured something that could suit those needs would be the best option. We searched for weeks looking for the perfect sideboard/console/etc but couldn't justify spending thousands of dollars on the ones we loved. Instead, we opted for the above butcher block floating storage unit from IKEA. We wanted a darker (black) piece to match the rest of the furniture but we can paint it later if need be. For now, it's been perfect and I'm so glad we made the switcharoo!