Saturday, June 17, 2017

Taos Week Two

Happy Saturday, faithful blog readers,

I hope everyone is excited for a wonderful and restful weekend.

Our second week here in Taos, NM has been fast and fantastic. We've still mainly been focused on writing: I've been doing about seven to eight pages a day, which is a little slower pace than I'd like, but I'm definitely still making progress. I also finished reading Madame Bovary (finally!) and moved on to more summer reading (more on that later).

Here's some highlights of our away from the computer time in Taos this past week.

On Sunday, we set off for a beautiful hike in the Carson National Forest. Brendan picked the trail (a 5.7 mile hike called Devisadero trail, which was uphill the first half and then (mostly) downhill the second half. We really enjoyed the spectacular views from the peak, but I'll admit the last .7 miles, my feet were really hurting. We definitely don't get to hike enough, so it's such a treat when we do get out, but it definitely engages muscles that I'm not used to relying on much.

We packed a lunch (peanut butter/honey/apple sandwiches and clementines) and had a little picnic at the top of the peak. I'd say we maybe crossed paths with twelve other hikers the whole morning, so it was pretty quiet. 

On Monday, we returned back to the Treehouse Bar & Grill to take advantage of their happy hour. They have $6 appetizers and margaritas, so we shared a cheese plate and each had a margarita before walking over to Marshall's noodles (Thai Food Cart) for dinner. 

Marshall's Noodles was really solid. The spring rolls (not pictured) were probably my favorite, but my dinner was delicious, and the leftovers made a great Tuesday lunch. 

On Wednesday, we checked out Orlando's, which was recommended to us by a friend we met at Christiana and Aaron's wedding. The avocado pie there was so delicious! 

On Thursday night, Brendan grilled some veggies, and we went out for drinks and dessert at El Meze (I think we'll be back for more of that spectacular mountain view!) 

I snapped a photo yesterday of my daily walk to the yoga studio just because it's pretty! 

Last night was one of the highlights of our trip so far. We had made arrangements to dine at the Taos Secret Supper, which is a monthly dinner prepared by Chef Chris Maher in which the location isn't announced until day of. Well, we lucked out! The location selected was at personal home with spectacular views of the mountain and the Taos Pueblo River. We dined surrounded by a lovely Koi fish pond and a full garden of gorgeous flowers. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was enjoying visiting with all of our dinner companions. The meal was five courses, and we both left completely satisfied but also not uncomfortably stuffed. My favorite dining experiences are the ones where it's about the conversation and enjoying the surroundings. This meal was so memorable.

Can you see the river? Look close! 

We are definitely falling in love with Taos. They say the mountains here are magical and that if the mountains like you, you'll be back. Let's hope the mountain is falling in love with us too.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

First Week in Taos

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Our first week in Taos has been amazing. If it weren't for the fact that it snows here all winter, I'm not sure I could ever leave! The main thing I love about Taos is that, even though our casita is on a quiet dead-end street (below is the view from the kitchen window),  a half mile walk gets us to the center of town with lots of cute restaurants and shops. I even found a yoga studio that I walk to most days (if you're ever in Taos this studio is so beautiful with wonderful and affordable classes).

Another nice thing about Taos is there are a lot of free events (think movies in the park and opera concerts) but there's also not so much going on to where we feel overwhelmed by choices. This is good because the main objective of our stay here is to write, and we've been able to do that for several hours each day. Our typical day is write in the morning, exercise in the afternoon (yoga for me and running for Brendan), write in the afternoon, go out for dinner, write at night. I try to stick to writing about ten pages a day and have been successful.

There are some exceptions to our general days. Last week, on Monday, we took a day trip to Santa Fe. This was necessary when we realized Brendan forgot his laptop at home(!) and the city of Taos doesn't sell any bluetooth keyboards that work with the ipad. Santa Fe had a Best Buy with the right keyboard, so we decided to visit Meow Wolf, which was on our must do list, while we were there.

I intentionally didn't read anything about Meow Wolf before going, but I knew there was a mystery to solve, and my friend, Drew, gave me a helpful tip to start at the mailbox. Essentially, Meow Wolf is an art installation, but it's like walking around in an extensive movie set and figuring out the plot for yourself. Clues (computer files, diaries, planners, printed Powerpoints, photos, videos) are everywhere, and you can spend hours and hours there (and we did) trying to figure out what happened. The experience is completely overstimulating like walking around in a dream. I took almost no photos and stayed as fully immersed in the experience as I could.

After Meow Wolf, we went to Dual Brewing. We enjoyed a flight of beers and a cheese plate (all delicious) before heading back to Taos.

On Thursday, Brendan met me after yoga, and we ate at this gem before spending the afternoon walking around and looking at all the shops. I have my eye on some gorgeous rugs, but so far, the only thing I've purchased is a few $1 rocks (for good luck), a Christmas ornament, and some birthday/father's day cards.

I love being surrounded by the mountains, and I love the cooler temperatures (we've had some warmer days in the 80s, but back home, it's already above 100).

Sunset from the kitchen window

On Saturday, we got up and headed to the local farmer's market. We were able to find tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, beets, swiss chard, basil, goat cheese, eggs, and lettuce. Afterwards, we enjoyed breakfast here

So far, our restaurant recommendations for Taos include Gutiz (brunch), Taos Diner II (breakfast), La Cueva (New Mexican), the Treehouse (bar above Lamberts with great cocktails and great deals on snacks/drinks during happy hour), Marshall's Great Noodles (food cart), The Burger Stand (has lots of vegetarian options), and El Gamal (delicious vegetarian Middle Eastern food). 

For now, I'll stop this post at Saturday and wish a very happy birthday to Brendan's grandfather, Boompa, before signing off. 

We love you, Boompa!

Happy Tuesday everyone :)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

At Home in Taos

Greetings faithful blog readers, 
We've made it. At the end of a crazy week (finishing our interim courses and stories), we loaded what felt like most of our belongings into my car and, yesterday, headed to Taos, New Mexico. 

The closer we got, the more beautiful the drive. 

We left home around 10:30 and arrived in Taos a little after 6:00 (we stopped for lunch in Roswell). The casita we are renting was built by our host by hand and took two years. The details are unique and beautiful. 
There's a little garden with an outdoor kitchen. 
The ceilings and cabinets are made of cedar. The owner even made the bed! 
The bathroom is my favorite part. 
And there's a little laundry room: 
We'll be calling the casita home for the next month. Our goal was to find a quiet place to write and to be able to get out in nature (it's typically in the 70s during the day and the lows at night are in the 40s). We're looking forward to exploring Taos and nearby (about 1.5 hours away) Santa Fe. If you have any recommendations, please send them our way! 

Last night, we had prosecco and snacks for dinner. 
I was so tired that I found myself asleep by 9pm (10pm our time but still). 

After a brunch at Gutiz and some errands this morning, we've had a quiet afternoon. I'm still adjusting to the altitude but hopefully will acclimate soon. 

Happy June dear readers. We hope you are having fun adventures this weekend! 
<3 S&B 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Christiana & Aaron's Wedding Weekend

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Life is a whirlwind around here! On Wednesday, we left town for Austin for the occasion of my friend Christiana's wedding to her love, Aaron. Christiana and I have been friends since we were in 6th grade. We shared the same love for theater and walking instead of running around the track in PE. We had many wonderful conversations on Murchison hill and in the bleachers, and occasionally, we still have great and long phone conversations. Christiana lives in New York City now and is a professional actress, composer, and voice teacher. I'm so proud of her, and it was amazing to be in Austin to see my friend of nearly twenty years marry the person she loves most.

Brendan and I were psyched about welcome drinks on the rooftop of the Westin. On the way there, Brendan said, "wait, do we know anyone there besides Christiana?" It occurred to me that, other than her family, we probably didn't, but we had a great time meeting her and Aaron's friends, and the time flew by.

The next day, we arrived at Scottish Rite Theatre at 4PM. The stage was set (quite literally) for a beautiful wedding. Since Aaron is a professional actor and singer, there was no place more logical for these two to tie the knot. Their ceremony was heartfelt. My favorite part was their friends that sang and played in a band during the ceremony.

Doesn't this look like the perfect play? Except it's real life. Very meta!

We walked over to the Shultz Beer Garden reception hall afterwards. It was lovely not having to move the car!

Is this wedding cake gorgeous or what? It was love at first sight and love at first bite! 

These two had so much energy. They lit up the room with their first dance (a friend sang "So This is Love" for them). 

This was a new wedding first for me: surprise bowling! After dinner, this bowling alley opened up with five lanes. Brendan met some new friends from our table and had a blast bowling. There was also a candy bar, which was throughly enjoyed by all. 

The cake was delicious too! 

It was a beautiful evening, and we know these two are having a great time in Aruba on their honeymoon. Congrats to Christi and Aaron!

Of course, I would never go to Austin without seeing my favorite cousins:

My cousin Stephen and his wife Casey went to Vegas, so Matt and Amanda and Brendan and I borrowed their kiddo and my aunt Sally (Stephen's mom) for the afternoon. This jumping thing comes from Sam's Club and is the most amazing kids toy I've ever seen.

I simply love this girl and this baby.

Coloring with Brendan :) 

It was a quick trip to Austin, but we were able to see my parents, my cousins, and be at the wedding, and I even made time to get my hair done. We came back to Midland on Sunday, and the unpacking and laundry to repack (more on that later) immediately began. Lola and Zoe are in Austin being looked after by our amazing family. I know they're in good hands, but I miss them like crazy. I've never been in this home without them, so it's super weird!

We've been frantically working to finish stories (explanation forthcoming) and grade for our interim classes. I will be able to submit final interim grades tomorrow. As usual, the interim has flown by. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to teach it, but after a full day of grading today and one coming up tomorrow, I am ready to be done (I'm sure the students are too!)

We hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.

Happy end of May (doesn't seem possible!)
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