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Playroom Remodel

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And just like that, we have a two-year-old!  Ady is exploring her world, talking up a storm, gaining independence, learning new skills by the minute, and testing her boundaries.  As toys and books began to take over every room in the house, we decided it was time for Ady to have a playroom of her own.  We have a four bedroom house, so building a playroom entailed combining the guest bedroom and the office (which was no small feat in a house with minimal storage space).  To have Ady's playroom ready in time for her birthday, I decided to tackle this project in a 10-day span right after returning from a weeklong vacation (while working full time and planning a work conference simultaneously)...I may have overcommitted myself a bit that week, but I am always someone who works best with a deadline and a goal in mind, and the playroom was done in time for Ady's birthday!  





I spent a few hours each night painting the room after Ady went to sleep.  (The color is called Good Morning!) …

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

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My mom visited us in Santa Fe this past weekend and we checked off a few items on her bucket list!  We hiked at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, the home of Georgia O'Keeffe and the setting of many of her famous paintings.  We picked out Ady's Halloween pumpkin.  And the highlight of the weekend was the Balloon Fiesta, the largest international hot air balloon festival, featuring over 550 balloons from all over the world.  

The Balloon Fiesta is one of Albuquerque's most popular events of the year.  It's definitely something worth getting up early to see, and it's hard to describe the beauty and excitement of the event to people who haven't seen it in person.  The weather this time of year can be hot, windy, cold, or snowy, and the conditions can change drastically from one day to the next, so there's never a guarantee that the balloons will inflate or lift off.  We we so lucky to attend the fiesta on a day with perfect weather conditions and minimal wind.  

We set ou…

Red Wine Caramel Tart

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Every time I make homemade caramel, I think of my Grandma Bev, who is known for her decadent and irresistible caramels she makes at Christmastime.  While this recipe isn't quite as delicious as Grandma's caramels, it was fun to make and was a huge hit at my book club (paired with a juicy red blend).  I even got to use my candy thermometer and my tart pan, so I'm feeling extra fancy!  I tried to snap a picture of the exciting moment when the dissolved sugar mix turns amber-colored and transforms into caramel, but I didn't have enough hand to stir like a fiend and keep the thermometer in place while snapping photos, so you'll have to use your imagination.










Red Wine Caramel Tart
From The Boozy Baker

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

For the caramel filling:

1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespo…

Fall Feels

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Happy Fall!  The days are getting shorter, regular TV shows are starting back up, and pumpkin spice has hit the coffee shops.  This is my absolute favorite season!  I feel both invigorated and also peaceful when I start to feel the cool, brisk air in the mornings, watch the Aspen leaves turning yellow, smell the fresh-roasted green chile at the Farmer's Market, and taste the spicy and hearty flavors of the season. 

Fall is a restorative season, a time to cultivate well-being and gain strength.  Earlier this month I went to a candlelight evening yoga class.  I was hoping for a more intense workout and deeper poses in a heated room, and was somewhat disappointed by the slower pace and static holds, but afterwards I came to terms with the benefits of slowing down and embraced the opportunity for calming and centering; after all, fall is all about maintaining internal balance in the midst of movement and change. 

Fall also a time to embrace change and celebrate the start of new things. …

Happy Birthday to Me

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Cheers to 33!  Sometimes I forget how old I am because age is just a number and 30-something birthdays aren't very monumental.  Birthdays also become less meaningful when life revolves around a toddler, but I was still determined to spend my birthday weekend doing all of my favorite things.  I took Ady to gymnastics class, went out for wine with friends, had coffee and my favorite donut at the Farmer's Market, started a new book, went to a heated Vinyasa class, FaceTimed with family, opened a fancy bottle of champagne, and enjoyed family time at home.

I love the tradition of birthday yoga.  It's a time for setting intentions, for connecting my mind and body, and getting in tune with things that are affecting me.  My birthday Vinyasa class this year reminded me to do everything with purpose and intention, to not go through the motions or become habitual, to accept that where I am right now is where I'm supposed to be, to practice forgiveness for my own mistakes and those…

Bernstein's Candide at the Santa Fe Opera

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Bucket list item: Attend the Santa Fe opera... Check!  

My dad was visiting at the end of July and we got tickets to see Leonard Bernstein's Candide.  I chose this particular show because I'm familiar with the music from my high school wind ensemble days, and was also familiar with Voltaire's novella, which I studied in European history.  Leading up to the show, I became more and more excited to see the performance after reading the reviews, listening to the soundtrack, and learning more about how one of the most famous American composers and conductors happened to compose an opera based on a story from a witty French Enlightenment writer. 

"All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" is an optimistic phrase repeated throughout the story of Candide, representing the idea that nothing bad can happen in a world created by a benevolent and omnipotent God.  However, it is obvious that Voltaire thinks this is idiotic, as highlighted by the hero's encoun…

Hyde Park Circle Trail

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The Santa Fe National Forest is open to hikers once again after being closed for over a month.  We had a dry and hot month of June with high risk of forest fires, but monsoon season is now upon us.  We now face hail storms and flooding, also causing problems for homes and local organizations, but the good news is that we're finally experiencing some much-needed moisture.  Over the weekend we took Ady, Kua, and our best friends' dog, Sam, to the Hyde Park Circle Trail, a 3-4 mile loop with about a 1,000 foot elevation gain.  The views were beautiful and the dogs enjoyed getting some exercise and fresh air.  

This trail has special meaning to us because it was the first hike we did when we moved to Santa Fe, and it was also the trail where we got engaged.  We have taken several friends and family members on this hike when they visit us in Santa Fe, and while I hiked it while I was pregnant with Ady, this was her first time experiencing this hike since she's been born!  I'…