2017 Gift Guide! ūüéĄūüéĀ

Can you believe it’s going to be Thanksgiving this week?!

Excuse me? Has anyone seen 2017?

Anyways, it’s that time of the year when gift giving is a majority of our thoughts and it can be so stressful to find gifts that are meaningful, personal, unique, and of course affordable. Enter this blog post! I thought I could help get some ideas flowing for you gift list and hopefully make it a more fun gifting experience versus the mad dash for gifts that you aren’t very excited to give.¬† This is the time of the year that we can give thanks to those we know and to those in need and it should be inspiring!

Handmade crochet goodies from Frankly Hooked! 

Tannith makes the cutest crochet hats, blankets, cowls, and custom order items! Check out her IG to see more of the custom dreams she’s made come true!

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Custom + Gorgeous jewelry by VagabondSupplyCo

I have so many rings from Julie and I have to say, they are amazing. Everyone compliments them!  Beautiful jewelry with incredible quality.

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ReZip Eco-Friendly Bags

I love these ReZip bags!  I have been making a conscious effort to use less plastic and these have helped so much.  The bags are made out of food safe materials with NO BPA or harsh chemicals waiting to leech into your food.  They come in so many sizes and are durable, dishwasher safe, and really are an amazing gift.  Something people will never know they need but LOVE that you introduced them!

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dŇćTERRA wellness

Essential oils are such a great gift to give someone!¬† They are personal, meaningful, and so POWERFUL! dŇćTERRA is not only an amazing company, but provides certified pure therapeutic grade oils and supplements to unlock lives!¬† dŇćTERRA has radically changed my life and I’d love to help you see that power unlocked for yourself or a loved one or friend! With any purchase you get an hour session with me to maximize essential oils in your life!

You can find out more about essential oils here. You can also read more in depth about essential oils here! If you’re ready to buy, let me know or use my dŇćTERRA website!

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Lightbox with letters!

I love this little thing! It’s just so cute, would be perfect for anyone’s office, home, or dorm! Available here at Target.¬†

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Candylab Wooden Cars

Lois got me a Candylab wooden station wagon and trailer last month and I LOVE IT. It’s so adorable, super fun, and just so dang cute!¬† This would be a perfect gift from a child to adult and looks stylish and innovative!

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Well I hope those ideas get your brain churning with some new ideas! Comment below with what gifts you’ll be making or giving this year!

xxx

GFK

Zippy Bags!

I decided to make some fun little zippy bags to sell in shopghostfaceknitter.com Рthey feature three internal zip pockets and three larger spaces.  Perfect for notions, pens/pencils, makeup, jewelry, anything you want to stow away in style.

These will be available in person on October 12th at Tooeys Off Colfax’s Hellbound Hucksters! And available online November 1st!

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Mesa Verde!

Since it is the 100 year celebration of the National Parks we’ve really been hitting the parks this summer and came to Mesa Verde in late June. This is our second park this summer and our 3rd this year (Carlsbad 7/15, Sand Dunes 5/16).

It was a really magical place. ¬†Ancestral Puebloans lived in this area for several hundred years on top of the mesa before spending the last 80 years in the area in the cliffs – due to horrific ‘drouth’ (poetic form of drought lol) theAncestral Puebloans left the area for good to relocate to modern New Mexico and Arizona. I was surprised at how ‘active’ the park was. ¬†Generally, you think of parks as being look/no touching and well if you aren’t into outdoors stuff you can ride the tram/elevator/moving escalator or just sit in the visitors center. ¬†This park was still no-touch, but ALL of the activities were strenuous and physically demanding. ¬†Plus, even when you are in shape – it’s not like I practice climbing ladders – it was hard.

We hit up the Balcony House (SUPER TOUGH), Long House (THE BEST), and Cliff Palace (The most popular).

Cliff Palace was the 101 of Cliff Dwellings – nice way to dip your feet into the cliff dwellings and had the least physically demanding route/layout.

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View from the start of the tour
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View from the side entrance
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Park Ranger telling us all about a kiva Рor spiritual room 

Balcony House – this was the most physically challenging cliff dwelling. We had to climb one 30 ft ladder, multiple 10ft ladders, crawl thru a 18 inch x 18 inch tunnel, and climb up the side of a boulder holding on to steel chains. It was quite the experience and I couldn’t imagine living in a place that required so much entry/exit dramatics. Seeing their little foot and hand notches all over the rocks was insane. I mean, the dude gives me shit when I try to take all the groceries from the car to the house in one trip, imagine trying to carry all your harvest stuff down with you…. I would have died. Of course, I think the name Balcony House comes from the fact that they built a little retaining wall to keep from falling off the side…. ‘balcony’.

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view from Balcony House
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the 32 ft ladder РAlisha is excited. 
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that black stuff on the ceiling is smoke from 800 year old fires!

And now everyone’s favorite the Long House – this required a little less than a mile walk into the dwelling. ¬†It was really hot on the mesa but thankfully there was a lovely breeze as we embarked on the hike.

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the hike into the dwelling
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gorgeous view

 

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partners in crime
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notice the hand print on the center top…. it’s 800 years old.¬†

It was just a beautiful place.  So much to see. I would love to go back in the cooler months and be able to do more hiking around the area.

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Gator Farm – Sand Dunes 2016

I mentioned in my other Sand Dunes post that we went to the Alligator Farm located about 15 minutes away.  The history of this place revolves around the hot springs that are present and capable of supporting this sort of gator-friendly environment.  They have over 300 gators there and lots of rescued reptiles that live happy lives.

One of the most hysterical things we learned is that earlier on the day we visited, the farm had run out of bananas. ¬†Apparently, the turtles were rioting in anger since they didn’t have any bananas to eat. It was hysterical – who knew little turtles had such big attitudes. The running joke for the rest of our visit was – ‘DO YOU ¬†HAVE AN UPDATE ON THE BANANAS?’ It was a great place and we got to see a lot of very amazing reptiles in the San Luis Valley!

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they look like they are telling each other jokes.
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albino gator
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come on! come stand by us!
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i’m gonna save this for our engagement announcements if the day ever comes (haha!)
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there was a clear sign that said ‘don’t put your finger in i bite!’ but the bird looked so friendly…..
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this way to gator town!

Here is the full history from Colorado Gator Farm:

Erwin and Lynne Young moved from Post, Texas to Alamosa, Colorado in September, 1974 with their four children, Mark, Mike, Sherri, and Jay.  Erwin learned of the geothermal water resources available in the Valley and wanted to grow Tilapia, an African perch that requires warm water and is very good to eat.

In 1977 they purchased the 80 acre farm that is now Colorado Gators Reptile Park.  It wasn’t until 1987 that they purchased 100 baby alligators to dispose of dead fish and the remains of filleted fish.

Those baby gators grew quickly in the warm geothermal water (87¬į F) and the locals wanted to see them, so we opened to the public in 1990. ¬†Soon we were in the spotlight of many media programs and articles. ¬†Individuals with overgrown alligators and other reptiles such as large pythons, tortoises, iguanas, and more started dropping them off with us.

We have become a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets and we care for them as best we can.  We display them for the public to understand the dangers in owning these pets and we take them to schools for educational programs.

 

Alien Sightings at the Dunes

About 20 minutes from the Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley, sits a UFO observatory deck. There have been 111 UFO sightings since the official UFO observation deck has been installed and there are references to UFO sightings in the area as far back as the 1600s. ¬†I certainly don’t think we are the only beings in the universe – but it’s always interested me that the little green dudes love desert areas in CO and NM. You’ll remember our trip to Roswell last year¬†– the dude is a huge alien fan so we naturally had to stop here.

The owner was a very nice gal and explained to us all the interesting things about the property and some unusual activity and notable sightings. If anything they had one of the best views of the mountains in all of the valley. No wonder the green men love it there.

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amazing view from the observatory deck
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the vortex garden where people leave trinkets for energy (the dude is eating gator jerky – no respect for the vortex)
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babes and aliens Рno big deal. 
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the dude and his people. 

The Great Sand Dunes

This weekend we kicked off the camping season at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.¬† It’s only a 4 hour drive from Denver and has great campground accommodations. Although the wind was pretty brutal from 10am-8pm we were able to secure or tents and venture off to do some fun stuff.¬† We visited the Colorado Alligator Farm and a UFO observation point. It was a great weekend and I am very excited for the 3 other trips we have planned throughout the summer!

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the dude and i on top the dunes
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he hiked barefoot!
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none of us wore shoes
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a view from the top
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enjoying the view with some coffee
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roasting wieners
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dusk campsite
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roasting dinner

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J Cole at Red Rocks 

Last night I got to check out J Cole at Red Rocks. The venue is of course one of the best in the world, but J Cole was actually a top notch performer. He said his goal was to make Red Rocks feel intimate and somehow he was able to do that with witty storytelling and great songs to perform for us. He played his entire 2014 Forest Drive album and one or two older songs ‘from day one.’ Apparently that is a huge statement in hip hop ‘from day one’… BUT it seriously was a great show I had a blast.


  
  

Tour de Cure – Colorado August 2015

A few months ago, I decided to ride in the Tour de Cure, a bike event for the American Diabetes Association.  I wished my grandfather who loved riding and also had diabetes knew about this cause when he was alive because I would have LOVED to ride with him.

At first, I signed up for the 100 mile century ride. I started training doing several 30 mile rides and about a month before the event I decided I had no interested in riding 100 miles. I felt kind of like a weenie for backing down, but I’m privileged enough to work with Iron Man competitors, marathon crazies and overall excessive exercise folks. ¬†They were instrumental in me realizing that I have no desire to go that far- I don’t want nor do I need a geared bike (which I would have for this ride), I didn’t have the time to train properly and safely – it just isn’t the time in my life for this distance. ¬†Also training for and riding the 100 miles alone just didn’t really seem like something I was looking forward to. ¬†I planned at first to train and ride with some friends, but life is busy so the training never happened together and to be honest I lost my mojo in pursuing this solo.


So I backed off the mileage to the easy 50¬†ride. It took place today and boy was it the right choice to ride 50km. I didn’t wear any special gear, no padded pants, no clips/shoes, no gears! I happily rode my favorite bike ever – Yoshi the KHS single speed I bought last year. ¬†I’m so happy I rode for me and for the cause. Plus I rode 34 miles in 2:04! I was really happy with that. Plus I had lots of encouragement from other riders (as I passed them!) because they were blown away that I rode the ride with no gears!

I raised $620 – blowing my $200 goal out of the water! ¬†So so happy with everyone’s generosity and kindness. Anyways, next year I think I’ll organize a group to join that are riding and training together, since it would have been even more fun to ride with some homies.

The Pursuit of Balance

The past 6 months of my life have been a whirlwind. I have moved back to Colorado, found an awesome job (with no time off at all), accepted the bad news about Vladimir being close to the end, moved into our new apartment, hustled hard enough to get a team lead position at work, and just finally now in August feel somewhat settled in a ‘routine.’

With settling in, I can finally take a deep breath and realize that I’m completely unbalanced in some aspects of my life right now. Perhaps, it has been this way for some time, but now that the excitement and stimulation is dwindling, I have the time to observe and reflect that I don’t really feel like I’m living my best effective life. I’m not unhappy by any means, I am very privileged to have this life and been having a great time. I’ve made a lot of changes and progressed so much, I’m very proud of myself. But, what I am saying is that I haven’t knit, crocheted, or crafted regularly for 8 months now. My diet and exercise habits have been out of whack – too much working out is not beneficial for my body (and I would argue most everyone’s also). And I feel like I have pushed energy and attention into people and things that well, quite frankly, don’t even care that I engage with them.

It’s time for a reset. What does this mean? Well I’m taking it back to the fundamentals. I’m kicking off a 90 day health and fitness challenge on Monday. I’m getting back on my bike for short fun rides. I’m starting to sew, knit, crochet, and craft just for myself. No more custom orders this season. I’m making time for the people that I love, the folks I moved back to Colorado for and the people I love that live elsewhere that deserve my energy. I’m reflecting on the things I could improve upon, like my codependency and my tolerance for people who make me feel uncomfortable. It is the season for improvement.

This late summer and fall is the perfect time for a transition inward. By focusing on myself and balancing my life I will be more effective as a friend, family member, and partner. It is time to radiate from within.

I’m on the pursuit of balance.

Waterton Canyon Half Marathon 

Sunday me and my favorite tattooer Alisha Rice decided we should go for a hike. After looking at her hike book we both agreed on doing a 7.4 mile hike that neither of us had ever done. This one actually ended up taking us to the dam where all of Denver’s drinking water comes from! The dude and Alisha’s rad little boy joined in and off we hiked.  At about mile 5 we realized that we were indeed en route to hike a half marathon. Accidental awesome achievement – that’s how we roll.