Monday, June 26, 2017

Taos Week Three

Greetings faithful blog readers!

Taos is one amazing place. I've fallen in love with it completely. And though I know we have to eventually leave, this view from the kitchen window here makes me never want to go.

Last Sunday, before calling our dads to say happy Father's day, Brendan and I ventured to hike the Rio Grande Gorge. Brendan guesses we hiked about five miles. Despite our best efforts, he got some bug bites, and I got a patch of sunburn to prove it. The views were worth it though. We enjoyed a picnic and bought a cold drink afterwards from a little cafe set up inside of an old school bus in the parking lot. 

That night, we were too exhausted to cook, so we enjoyed dinner at Pizanos. I call this photo "Storms a coming, grab your pizza!" 

The next night, we put our farmer's market produce to good use and made a delicious pasta with shallot, beets, basil, black beans, and sugar snap peas. I also made a farmer's market salad with berries, cucumber, radishes, and goat cheese. 

Thanks to our lovely Airbnb owner, David, we had the opportunity to meet with a local (and nationally renowned) environmental and human rights activist, Joe Cisneros. You can watch an interview with him here

That night, we checked out Parcht, which I had been very excited to try. It's a wine shop with elaborate "create your own" cheese/meat boards. We also ordered the bleu cheese with pear and honey as a dessert (not pictured). Everything was delicious. We took our time eating and just enjoyed talking to each other about our writing. We work for most of the day and cook or eat out at night. These nightly conversations are some of my best motivators for writing the next day. Sometimes, Brendan will just say something that clicks in my brain, and I figure out how to solve a problem. 

Wednesday after yoga, I had lunch with a new friend, Valerie, one of the owners of the Taos Cooking Studio that put on Friday night's secret supper. It was awesome to make a new friend and get some recommendations from a local. That night, we enjoyed live music and a screening of Finding Dory at Kit Carson park. Taos is a small town (about 5,000 people), but there is such a lovely community here. 

Thursday, we finally got a slice of key lime pie at La Cueva (tip: phone ahead and ask them to save you a piece!) and then we enjoyed wine at Black Mesa Winery right down the street. I even bought a bottle of Chocolate dessert wine to take home (and I deeply wish my mother-in-law was here to share it because I'm not sure there's anyone that could appreciate it as much as I know she would!) 

Friday, we spent seven hours in the car driving the high road to Santa Fe. We explored old churches and scenic spots and even bought some weaving and pottery. We also stopped for a great lunch at Ranchos De Chimayo. 

While my writing greatly slowed in week three (averaging about five pages a day), I made some significant revisions and also went through the manuscript to fix issues. All in all, I still feel it was a very successful week writing wise. 

Saturday began our fourth and final week in Taos, but I'll save that for a future post! 

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start! 

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 
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