Santa Fe

santafe1

Ask anyone who has ever traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico and you’ll get the same response – It’s a dream come true.  My adventurous hubs, Clark, and I had the opportunity to travel to this lovely southwestern city in September and within hours of our arrival, it was easy to see that Santa Fe could have earned it’s state’s nickname – ‘the land of enchantment’ – all by itself.

This beautiful New Mexico city is both the oldest and highest capital city in the US. It’s  special in that the area is a gorgeous combination of both mountains and desert.  It’s population of approximately 70,000 residents, is small by comparison to other U.S. state capitals, but extremely rich in native American culture and history.

Santa Fe is known for its art scene, which is the 3rd largest in the U.S. by sales. It is home to the 20th century American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and the Georgia O’Keeffe museum where you can see her accomplished works.   You’ll find talented artists by the hundreds all around its charming downtown square, up and down the lovely boutique filled streets and especially on its famous Canyon Road which is dotted with one gallery after another.

This winsome city is nestled amidst the Sangre de Cristo mountains. This combined with the striking Adobe architecture makes for delightful and breathtaking sceneries.  It’s beauty surrounds you in every direction.

santafecollage2

With a large selection of amazing restaurants to choose from for dining, it’s no surprise that this city earns a top ranking among foodies.  Geronimo’s on Canyon Road is rated #1 among many of the locals and tourists alike as well as being named in the top 100 restaurants in the U.S.  It’s thick adobe walls, Kiva Fireplaces and wood beams which surround you make it warm and inviting. Executive Chef/Partner Eric DiStefano and Chef de Cusine Sllin Cruz create a wonderfully eclectic menu which changes seasonally.  Additionally, this Southwestern city’s food scene is probably best known for the fire-roasted green chili.  We were there at the peak of the chili season and saw it pop up on everything from your dinner rolls to the top of your cheeseburger and even on your breakfast burritos’ – a popular breakfast choice for locals.

Santa Fe’s beauty and endless list of activities makes it a top tourist destination in the U.S.  This fabulous city offers everything from hiking to museums as well as wine tours, shopping and art.  It has something for everyone and is a great destination for families.  I highly recommend that this ‘land of enchantment’ be put on everyone’s bucket list.

SantaFeCollage1.jpg

12 ways to spend your time and money at Target

Target3

 

I’m sure by now you have all heard about the massive security breach of credit and debit cards used at Target stores across America.  During the 2013 Holiday season no less.  Now, this week, we hear of another cyber attack and data breach at Home Depots from coast to coast.

I was having coffee with Clark when the story hit the news last week.  I could not believe my ears.  How can this happen twice in the span of a year, I asked him.  And, how do these cyber thief’s pull off these big scale heists?

It’s that cloud!  That cyber cloud that we’re all up in.  That’s the culprit and the source of these leaks.

 

Me: I don’t understand all of this cloud stuff.

 Clark:  *…turns to me *blank stare*

 Me: Well, do you?

 Clark:  *continued blank stare, followed by incredulous look*  pfffft, of course I do….. (insulted)

 MeWell, then what do they mean by “you’re info is stored up in the cloud?”  What cloud?  Where’s this mysterious cloud at? Is it an actual, literal, tangible location?

 Clark  *Well, they don’t tell you thattt. 

Me:   Oh, so you don’t know either. 

 

 

I thought about this for a long time.  I don’t like the fact that I don’t feel safe using my credit card at Target anymore.   Target!!   It’s my home away from home.   I’m there a lot.  It’s not the same Target from my youth.  It’s got snappy advertising now.  And, fun products.  I can get lost in there for hours.  Not to mention, it’s a great place to spend money.  What was once a store for purchasing your cleaning supplies, is now an oasis for wasting hours of time and hard earned cash.

 


 

 

target5

 

 

 Twelve ways to spend your time and money at Target

 

 

1. Circle the parking lot for 15 minutes looking for the best parking space.  If you are there during a busy season, (holiday and school supply shopping) keep your eye on the front door of the store as you enter the parking lot.  As customers walk out, gun it over to the aisle they are headed for.  Then do the slow creep two feet behind them, stalking them all the way to their spot with your car.  Wait for them to load their stuff into trunk, pull out and then….Success!

 

2. Upon entering the store, go directly to the Starbucks that is conveniently located near the entrance.  Purchase an expensive latte with extra whip topping.  You’re going to be strolling the aisles for a while.  Go for the Venti.

 

3. Head straight to the cosmetic section.  Wander through these aisles for a long time.  Purchase new makeup, makeup remover, wrinkle creams, hair shampoos & conditioners, smoothing potions, frizz sprays, gloss sprays, tanning lotions, trendy colored nail polish.  Feel satisfied and move on.

 

4. On your way to the cleaning supplies, get diverted into the clothing section.  Buy a t-shirt in every color.  You can never have enough.  Set the Latte down and browse through the work out gear.  Toss some yoga pants into your cart.  They are comfy to wear while watching TV.  Notice the new PJ sets as you pass up the intimate apparel section.  Be strong.  You don’t need new PJ’s.

 

5. Take a leisurely stroll through the housewares section.   Decide you need some new picture frames for the digital photos on your phone that you won’t end up having printed.  Purchase two.  Also, put the star shaped candy dish that caught your eye into your cart.   Smell every candle on display.  Decide you can not live without the tropical scented one.  Toss it into your cart and move on.

 

6. Feel a bit of Guilt.  Decide that you don’t really need all of the items you have in your cart.  Dig the tropical scented candle back out.  Look around to see if anyone is watching you.  Stuff it in between the two stacks of Kitchen towels you are standing in front of.

 

7. Think about purchasing those kitchen towels.  Your kitchen could use an facelift.  Toss the new towels in your cart.

 

8. Notice the absence of cleaning supplies in your cart.  Circle back around to the household aisle.  Hurray!!  Toilet Paper is on sale.  Grab the large, awkward sized 20 roll package and place it under the cart.  Grab another one since it’s on sale.  Balance it on top of cart.

 

9. Look down at phone and notice Text From Hubby  Where are you??  Are you going to be home soon?  Ignore text. Turn off phone.

 

10. Wheel over to the magazine and book racks.  Flip through your favorite decorating magazine.  And cooking.  Buy both.  Toss in this weeks People for good measure.

 

11. Head to the Checkout.  Feel a bit shocked when the cashier rings up the grand total of $187.35.  Fret over purchasing with Credit Card for fear of data getting breached.  Shrug off the worry and hand over your Master Card.  Sign on dotted line and you’re on your way.

 

12. Head for parking lot.  Look for car.  Where’s my car?  Which aisle am I parked in????

NYC or Bust

 

greetingsnyc

New York City!!  Planning a long weekend to NYC is no easy task.  Add to that the fact that you are heading off on this shindig with your sister and the task becomes an event.

I’ve always recognized the fact that the time leading up to a long weekend getaway or vacation is often just as exciting, if not more, than the actual vacation itself.  The spark is set off when the idea is first discussed ~ which is usually over cocktails or while already in the midst of a vacation!! WHOOOP!!!

I approached my sister with the idea of a weekend away in NYC.  It was long overdue.  We had never gone away together before.  Shame on us!!  We were in our 50’s.  Was this something that we seriously had never scratched off of our bucket list??  Time restraints, hectic schedules and of course, our kids, had always prevented us from just picking up and taking off for the weekend.  Well that was about to change.  NYC, here we come!!

two months before trip…..

Me:  What do you think about a trip to NYC?

Nancy:  When?

Me:  Soon, before summer and craziness.

Nancy:  I’m in!

 

Well,  that almost seemed too easy.   After many phone-calls back and forth and daily emails, we finally found ONE weekend that worked.  One weekend in the entire summer!  The dates were set.  We would go for a long weekend, Thurs – Sun.  And So, the excitement began.

6 weeks before trip….

 airplane

Me:  How do you feel about an early flight?

Nancy:  How early?

Me:  6am. That way we don’t lose the entire first day

Nancy:  I’m In!!

 

Alrighty then!!!  Flight booked.

Next up – Hotel accommodations.  Before I was married, I would stay in any old flea bag motel.  The Red Roof in on the corner was fine with me.  No room service?…No problem!  Carry my own luggage to my room?  No biggie!

Then I got married.  Clark had a different take on hotels than I did.  He liked top end accommodations. And so, I discovered Luxury Hotels. How did I ever travel before without those cushy robes and matching slippers?  The valets, the concierge service, the large marble bathrooms &  tubs.. (Thanks Clark!!)  And a Hotel Snob was born!!

 

Me:  Nancy, hotels are a bit pricey in NYC.

Nancy:  That’s fine. You’re the cruise director!!  Make all the plans and consider me along for the ride.

 

This was too good to be true!  She was, like, the best travel partner ever!!  And so, the hotel was booked.  A beautiful spot one block from the West entrance to Central Park. We were in the middle of the action!

We started planning our days out.  Since Nancy had never been to NYC before, the list of things to do were endless.  Even to seasoned travelers who had been to this huge, bustling city many times, there were endless possibilities of things to do and see.  I planned to take her to see all the usual touristy spots – Top of the Rock, Central Park, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Little Italy, SoHo, Chelsea, The Dakota, Washington Park, Wall Stree.

We bought tickets for the theater – two plays!  We had a day planned to Walk the Brooklyn Bridge (Just like Miranda & Steve did in Sex in the City!!) We bought tickets for the 9-11 Memorial which was opening to the public the week we planned on being there – Oh What great timing!!!

But wait.  We had too much to do and so little time.  I didn’t even know if we HAD enough time to do everything on our list.  I looked over our list of activities and decided there was not one single item I could delete.  Soooooo…..

 

Me:  Nancy, what do you think about going an extra few days?

Nancy:  Will we be able to change our plane reservations and get the extra days in the hotel?

Me:  Surrreee, why not??!!  (fingers crossed)

Nancy:  OK, I’m in!  But I won’t tell my hubby just yet,  I’ll spring it on him later.

Me:  Good thinking! (I would follow suit!!)

Nancy:  Oh, by the way…I went shopping on my lunch today and bought an outfit to wear on the plane!!  SO EXCITED!!

Me: O0Oh!!  Maybe I need a new outfit, too!!

 

And so, we tweaked our hotel and air reservations and the excitement began to build even more.  Our weekend away, that started off as two days, was now almost a full week!!  WHOOOP!!

The emails began to come at a rapid rate.  There was not a day that went by where we did not talk to each other or email at least 1000 times.  OK, I exaggerate.  But it was a lot!!  And the content of the emails changed.  We were now talking about the shopping we were doing in preparation for our trip.  And Nancy had started to add cute little clip art pictures to her emails.  It was all getting very fancy!!  It was all so exciting!

What had happened to me so many times before, was happening again.  I was in the pre-vaca mode. The mode where you are giddy!!  And all a flutter.  And almost more excited than when you are actually ON the vaca!!  It’s one of the highlights of going away.  Planning and looking forward to and discussing…every.last.detail.

I looked forward to waking up to Nancy’s emails every morning.  They were very lighthearted and made me chuckle.

 3 weeks before trip…

Nancy: Hellllooooooo – I went shopping (power shopping) on my lunch hour today. Went over to Sears because Hubby buys occasionally from there for auto stuff and small yard / tools etc.  When he buys we get “shop your way rewards” points.
We had enough points built up (he doesn’t know it, he never sees the emails) so I thought I needed a new, smaller wallet for N.Y. adventure. I got a new wallet for FREE.

moving

two weeks before trip…

Nancy:  My list of what I am packing is attached. I looked online to see about baggage sizes. Carry on’s 22” x 17” x 9” plus one free which could fit under seat in front of you.  So I will be taking one carry-on plus one tote (it will look nice) of some sort.

one week later….

Nancy:  Went shopping on my lunch.  My old luggage just won’t work.  Bought new, larger suitcase.  Also bought new tote.  SO EXCITED!! CAN’T WAIT!!

Ten days before our trip….

Nancy:  GETTING SO EXCITED!!!  I was going through my closet last night and definitely need to back pedal on my list of items I want to take……I would need an entire trunk if I took all I wanted to take.  I do like the idea of maxi dresses with sweater or shrug to wear to plays.  Think I will go shopping!!

Nancy:  I have bought so many things that I have not shown to Hubby yet.  Will need to sneak them to your house.

One week before trip….

ecitement

Nancy:  I am SOO excited…..I cannot wait.  I went shopping again yesterday.  I cleaned out dresser drawer yesterday and now have it filled with stuff I bought to take.  I have also started to put outfits together….I have enough to stay away for three weeks.  OH, I think I am rambling. …talk to you soon.

1/2 hour later…

Nancy:  Forgot to tell you earlier…….I also bought another pair of shoes yesterday.  I think I will need a trunk for our short vacation.

 

7 days before trip….

cardrive

Nancy:  Ohhh, I’m SO EXCITED!!!  ok, For Cash – I am planning on bringing 20’s only and not 50’s. Already thought about trying to spend too large of bills. (OH, I might have to buy a thicker wallet) I will have my credit card with me. And there is always a Chase Bank near by if I need to stop and get more $$$$$$$. Will bring extra for you “just in case”.

15 minutes later…

Nancy:  I will bring drivers license (duh!!) and I always have health I.D. and my State I.D. with me, but neither of them have pictures. Will I need I.D. with picture? Of course, I also have my AARP card…..giving away age secrets.

 

Nancy:  I can hardly sleep anymore.  I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

sleep

A long overdue and exciting girls/sisters weekend week away  – To Be Continued…..

 

mother nature

15260_574957839204872_1226442295_nIt’s been a little over a week since I’ve been sprung from my cell and allowed to once again be outdoors and among people.  I can enjoy the sunshine!   I can now start enjoying spring!  Except ~ spring is hiding. It snowed the other day.  And then we had a monsoon for about a week.  Then more snow.

I’ve noticed that the bad weather has affected people’s moods.  They walk around complaining.  They walk around with a look of aggravation and disappointment on their faces as if they had never seen a bad spring before.  It makes me wonder how their dispositions would be if they had just spent the past 2 weeks in prison, like Moi!   But I digress….

I didn’t care!  I was free!  I was going to go out and enjoy my freedom!  I talked Clark into going to the store and looking at some new patio furniture.  He reluctantly agreed.  So we grabbed our winter coats and hats and an umbrella for good measure and off we went!!

We pulled into the parking lot of the local patio furniture store.  It looked abandoned.  Where was everyone?  Didn’t they know it was spring?  We got a good parking space almost in the first spot of the row!  I took this as a good sign.  Yes, this was a good way to start my freedom!  If I closed my eyes and blocked out the fact that the snow was coming down in mid April, I could almost visualize myself sitting on my back porch on a new patio chair.  Feet propped up on an ottoman.  Waving to the neighbors!!  Maybe even with a fruity summer drink in my hand.

We walked in and headed toward our destination.  Patio conversation groups.   From across the showroom floor, there was one that immediately caught my eye.  We walked over to it.  It was perfect.  We tested it out and liked that it felt sturdy.  Clark was surprised at how quickly I picked one out.  Typically when making a big purchase, it takes me a long time to research.  I want the best deal!  We were in and out fast.  The new set would be delivered to our home the next week  Hurray!

6002253-delivery-man-or-mover-pushing-a-dolly-loaded-with-boxes-up-the-front-walkOK, confession time.  I had been secretly looking online at new sets for the past couple of months.   I had actually been doing a lot of online shopping while going through treatments and in isolation.  It was a great way to pass the time!  I had gotten used to weekly deliveries.  My ears became in-tuned to the UPS and FED EX truck barreling down the street.   From my bedroom, I could hear the sounds of the large truck rounding the corner near my house.  The sound of squeaking breaks and a large vehicle coming to a stop in front of my house was like music to my ears.

I’d wait for the doorbell to ring and moments later the engine of the truck would spark back to life and away it would go.  The delivery man was on to his next destination.  I was on my way down the stairs to open the front door.  I had the orchestration down beautifully!!   I’d open the door and drag in whatever new parcel was left for that day.  Joy!

The day the Patio set came was a particularly frigid spring day.  It was a Saturday and Bruce was home.  We opened the large box and there inside was our new set.  In about fifty pieces.  Hmmm.  OK,  an afternoon project!  This was going to require tools.  And patience.

We sat in our garage to put it together that day,  well,  because it was snowing outside.  It took most of the afternoon.  Clark and I work together like a well oiled machine.  He points to tools.  I bring them to him and every once in a while tell him what a fab job he’s doing.  He likes to put on a good show.  Straining loudly when a particular part of the assembly is challenging.  I encourage him and tell him he is brilliant!

All in all we enjoy being together and working on projects.  He always takes the part of project manager.  I am the lovely assistant.  This day was no different.  The set came together nicely.  Success!  No extra parts.  Now we just need some spring weather.

As I sit in my kitchen this morning looking out the window at the wintery~spring weather, I wonder how much longer these unseasonably cold tempts are going to last.  In the grand scheme of things, it really does not matter.  Spring will come.  Warm tempts will follow.  My new patio set will eventually make its way from our garage to its new home on the back porch.

Mother Nature has a way of keeping us all on our toes ~ of letting us know who the boss is.  And I, for one, would have it no other way.  Patience is a virtue.  The new season always eventually rolls around the corner.    That’s the beauty of living in a part of the country where the seasons change.  Just when you think you can’t take anymore, you are blessed with a spring morning that you are sure is the most gorgeous one you’ve ever seen.

And before you know it, everyone will be walking around with looks of aggravation on their faces because it’s just too hot outside to do anything.  And the cycle starts all over again.  Go Mother Nature!  Show us who’s boss!