I’m about a month and a half late in doing this, but better late than never, right?

I started out my 26th year with 26 goals. How well did I do? Guess you’ll have to read to find out!

BEHOLD: Pictorial proof that I accomplished 15 of the 26. Ones in bold are ones that did not get accomplished.

1. Hike a 14er – my friend who said she’d take me didn’t… so hopefully this summer

2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir – Colorado is in the middle of a major drought. I don’t have pictures but I probably could have walked around in the water of Dillon Reservoir it was that shallow. So no canoeing for this girl.
3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival – I talked about going with The Lawyer, but then both of us got a significant other, so it was forgotten.
4. Snowshoe in RMNP – I did this TWICE! And to the exact same trail… the park is 415 square miles and I went to the same trail twice in a week… clearly I need to get better about planning this stuff.

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5. Fall in love – This is worthy of its own post, and was technically a month late of the one-year goal, but it happened 🙂

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6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter – When I started my job, I thought it would be more about my work and productivity, so this was important. Little did I realize that it had everything to do with the guys in the field and how well they did that would determine the outcome of my bonuses. But I got to go to the field twice, which was always a treat– including having to wear a men’s size large of coveralls. (I don’t have permission to post pics of my coworkers, so please ignore the blacked-out faces)

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7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo – The Roommate and I went here after we accomplished #8. What a fun zoo and experience!
8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore – I don’t know if I can fully describe just how over-priced that brunch was, but at least I had a fun companion and ate till I felt I was about to burst since it was a buffet and I insisted I get my money’s worth!
9. Grow a lush garden – I don’t know if I can eat store-bought lettuce ever again! We did have a broccoli plant that we neglected and went to seed. It was actually quite beautiful, but got really top-heavy and fell over and uprooted itself… oops! I didn’t get any pictures of the end result, so you’ll recognize the pictures from this post:

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10. Learn to roast a chicken – Didn’t do this… I find chicken boring so being motivated to roast it didn’t happen. But I love the roasted chicken from Costco, so I want to at least try it once to see if it’s worth doing it myself or keep only spending $5 to get it.
11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport – This didn’t happen, but I DID go to four states, so it half-counts since I accomplished #12 four times! I’m going to two countries this year (maybe more if timing works right for my trip to France in the fall), so I’m making up for it this year.
12. Travel somewhere outside of the state – Balboa Island in California, Chicago, Orlando, and New York City– and they all happened in the last half of the year.

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Balboa Island, California

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Top of the Hitchcock Building, Chicago

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Who’s ready to see Micky and Minnie?

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Central Park, New York

13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag – I didn’t keep good notes on this, but it was always in the back of my mind… I’m pretty sure I did this. I even made baba ganoush with the eggplants we got!
14. Learn to grill the perfect steak – Thanks to reading a lot of grilling books, watching Americas Test Kitchen, and getting some pointers from The Roommate’s dad, I can say I now know how to cook a perfect steak, on the grill or on the stove/broiler
15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month – If I missed a month, then the next month had more than one party, so it made up for it!

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16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s – Wicked with the girls, TJ’s wedding, and dinner at The London by Gordon Ramsey with Company Ink in New York (so I actually wore one of them twice… I still count it as three!)

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Girls night out to see “Wicked”

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TJ’s wedding with my sister!

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After the most delicious dinner of my life in New York!

17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike – As mentioned in #2, Colorado was in a drought. So to find a time that it had just snowed, hadn’t warmed up enough to melt it all, AND be a full moon was pretty near-impossible. Maybe next season…
18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work – I never did an actual shopping spree, but whenever I found a piece of clothing I liked, I would buy it. I’m not good about treating myself to things like that, so I count it as a win!
19. Go to at least one concert – LMFAO for a friend’s birthday, Gotye (where we sat in the 3rd row!) with my sister and her BFF, and Aimee Mann with my mom:

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20. See fireworks in DC – They did fireworks at the City and County Building in downtown Denver, but not in Glendale where they have the best ones. I also saw the fireworks at Disney, which I was slightly disappointed in, but I should be happy I got to see any at all… but for the record, Glendale’s fireworks are the BEST!

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21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer – My mom has 3 jobs, so hiking rarely happened. But I did go hiking with the guy I went on the blind date with. So I’m counting it as a win!

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22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves – The leaves on my tree are lame for jumping in, and Company Ink took his away to add to mulch piles before I could jump in his… and everyone else I know lives in an apartment so they don’t have trees to rake because of. Major fail 😦
23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer – I need a new bike. And a better system of getting out of the near-impossible garage that we park our bikes in. So I only rode a few times. Once I get a lighter bike (seriously, my current one weighs about as much as I do!), I will definitely ride more. Plus, I might have more riding buddies this year, so that always helps.
24. Make limoncello –  I looked up a recipe and video on how to make it… does that count? I will make it soon and have it in time for summer and sitting on our porch and looking at our great view of the mountains!
25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball) – As of last night, I actually succeeded in going to a Nuggets game! Boy can Company Ink be persuasive! But I did go to a Broncos game twice– once with my family and once with work people, a Rockies game with The Lawyer, and an Avalanche game with Company Ink. It sure does help that our company pays for a box so we always have tickets available for the Avs!

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26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November – This was covered in this post. But 2013 will see the awesome comeback of me as a novelist!

Even though I only accomplished 58% of my goal list, here are some other things I did:

Met famous people:

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Angelo from Top Chef

Went to Wicked twice:

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

We totally won the Best Dressed award!

Danced in the Denver Pride Parade with Colorado AIDS Project, the organization I volunteer for:

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Rode in the Denver Cruiser Duct Tape and Cardboard night:

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Chopped my hair off:

photoMade home-made sushi with The Roommate and Company Ink:

photo (2)And saw a ton of elk while driving through Estes Park and driving across Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park:

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And lots of other things that I didn’t get a picture of 🙂

Hopefully I’ll make a new list for this year. But seeing how long it took me to write this post, don’t hold your breath!

Zak graciously let me steal this idea from him, and I wanted to share it with you all. I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, because they all seem cliche and I forget all about them in about 3 days. However, when it comes to my birthday, I seem to have no trouble contemplating my future.

I want this next year, my 26th year, to be one of the best ever! I want to do and see things that either A) I’ve never done before or B) should do more often. I live in one of the best outdoor-activity states and I rarely take advantage of having the mountains less than 30 minutes from my house.

So, without further ado, here are my 26 to-do’s for my 26th year:

  1. Hike a 14er
  2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir
  3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival
  4. Snowshoe in RMNP
  5. Fall in love
  6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter
  7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo
  8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore
  9. Grow a lush garden
  10. Learn to roast a chicken
  11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport
  12. Travel somewhere outside of the state
  13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag
  14. Learn to grill the perfect steak
  15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month
  16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s
  17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike
  18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work
  19. Go to at least one concert
  20. See fireworks in DC
  21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer
  22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves
  23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer
  24. Make limoncello
  25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball)
  26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November

Come February 28 (ONE WEEK!!!), let the games begin 🙂 I’d love it if I could cross off every single one of these– wish me luck!

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time! I went with my sister, The Roommate, and another friend of ours to the mountains for the weekend. It’s weekends like this one that remind me why living in Denver is the best place in the world to live– 30 minutes you’re in the mountains and only an hour more and you’re in the some of the most beautiful mountain towns in the world!

Three of the four of us signed up for the Warrior Dash that was held at Copper Mountain. I’ve never run a race in my life. I’ve done the Race for the Cure, but I walked/sauntered that, so it doesn’t count.

We went to Kelly Liken’s restaurant (remember her from Top Chef? Yeah, her) for dinner the night before and spent way too much money, but thankfully the food was well worth it!

We got up early the next day and all put on our matching outfits. My sister was our sole cheerleader, and designated purse-and-all-other-random-crap holder for the morning.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned on here that I hate running. I’ve gotten (slightly) more into it because The Roommate is an avid runner so it gave me the motivation to try it out when I started living with her. You know, that whole peer pressure thing, it’s a b*tch! I then was talked into signing up for the Warrior Dash because it’s only 3 miles and it’s just a giant obstacle course! Since I’m easily persuaded, I signed up, paid my money, and anticipated August 21 like it was the end of the world.

The funny thing is that we all signed up months ago, and I told myself that it was perfect because I would have that time to start running more and “train.” Sometimes I forget just how naive I can be… Summer hit, which is bike-to-work time of the year for me, and it also became it’s-too-damn-hot-out-to-run time… I signed up for the Dash and ran maaaaybe twice since then…

So when we drove up to Vail, I started feeling anxious about the fact that, although I’d been riding my bike pretty consistently, I was not at all in running shape. I have yet to run a full 2.5 miles without stopping (in all fairness, my knee goes all wonky and hurts like hell after about 2 miles). So this looming 3 mile “race” at over 9,000 feet started to weigh on me.

But race-day came, The Roommate got us all pumped up, and right before the fire told us to “go” (no, there was no gun– there were flames!), I had to remind The Roommate that neither me nor our friend are marathon runners and she’s welcome to run as fast as she can, but she’ll be running alone. Thankfully we all kept a similar pace– whether walking or running– throughout the whole race.

The obstacles, overall, were not that difficult. However, I have to admit that more than once I had the thought “if I were to slip and fall, I would probably crack my skull open…”

But the worst obstacle– the least physically difficult of them all– was the most difficult psychologically. THE MUD PIT. The Roommate and I had been equally dreading the experience of running through the mud since we looked up the event 6 months ago.

Mud.

On our hands.

In our faces.

On our clothes.

I don’t tend to think of myself as a girly-girl, but when it came to this, let the stereotypes fly! Ewwww! I was going to get dirty! I’m a bit ashamed to admit my resistance to the idea of being covered from head to toe in mud, but it’s true. I could barely stand the thought, let alone actually go through with the race.

So as we ran, we had that obstacle to look forward to. And as we came around a bend, we saw it. A big, giant mud pool. Not just a pit. No, no. It was a pool. Mud water. And we had to SWIM through it. There was no gingerly stepping through it or walking along the edges to get the least amount on us. There was barbed wire across the top, so you had to submerge your body in the mud and swim yourself across.

I’ve never been more grossed out in my life.

We then had to spend the remaining 2 miles covered in mud, trying to get our clothes to dry at least a little, and make it to the finish line. It then added a bit more difficulty and suspense because now, not only were you thinking about not losing your balance and cracking your skull, you had the risk of your shoes or hands slipping and falling to your death. Good times!

But I have to say, leaping over two back-to-back fire pits and sprinting towards the finish line (because The Roommate could not tolerate running at a moderate speed any longer) was extremely satisfying. If nothing else, I knew there were showers just around the corner to rinse all the disgusting mud off, and that’s what pulled me towards the finish line.

Thankfully my sister was right there at the finish line to get a superb picture of the three of us, our pink zebra-print shorts now a uniformed color of brown, holding hands across the finish line!

I probably wont be signing up for any more races or marathons any time soon, but for my first race ever, it was a pretty fun, albeit dirty, experience!

And my apologies to the cleaning crew at our hotel… the mud should come out!

AFTER

BEFORE

When the crush on A started, I realized it was a mutual attraction (it doesn’t hurt that guys don’t tend to be very hard to read…). He was always so attentive when I came over, even if Mr. Dad was there, and would always put on my favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Never heard of them? Oh my gosh, check them out! He was always complimenting me and engaging me in conversation. Even the texts I would send him when I got home safely from Cruisers would result in about a half-dozen texts back and forth saying goodnight…

After I broke things off with Mr. Dad, I had the awkward task of trying to maneuver a friendship with A and him potentially having to stick to the “Bro-Code” and have nothing to do with me. I didn’t want to blow my chances with A, but I also wanted to respect the fact that Mr. Dad and A have been friends for 20 years.

Thankfully I realized my anxiety was unfounded when I got a text from A to come pick up my bike so I wouldn’t have to ride it home by myself after Denver Cruisers that night. He showed up at my house to pick up my bike, and even in his ratty shorts and a t-shirt, I wanted to pounce him. But I refrained… barely….

I then drove to his house and met up with him and his friends. We all went to Cruisers, me being the only female in a group of 5 guys. We had a blast and when we got to The Circle of Death (yes, it’s that awesome!), A and I went to find some food. As we were walking, I told him about ending it with Mr. Dad. He told me he wasn’t surprised but reiterated that Mr. Dad was a great guy (not that I ever said he wasn’t). I was just thankful he didn’t respond with any sort of “well, we can’t hang out any more,” or “Mr. Dad asked that I not see you any more,” which is what I was afraid of.

After a while, the crowd started to break up and head to the final bar of the night. The guys, now well on their way to being drunk, convinced me to call in sick and come out with them. Because I was feeling so ill (*wink*), I decided that was a fun idea.

I rode with them to the bar where A and I started flirting hard-core. He finally professed his attraction to me, but he was feeling reluctant to do anything because of his friendship with Mr. Dad.

After a few minutes, he leaned over and kissed me! It was a small, short kiss, but enough to give my adrenaline a jolt.

He sure got over that reluctance pretty quickly…

We then spent the rest of the evening flirting, kissing, and being nauseatingly PDA-ful. Thankfully his friends were too drunk to care one way or the other.

It’s been heartbreaking how many guys are atrociously terrible at kissing, but that was not the case with A. A’s kisses were perfect. As I kissed him, I couldn’t get enough of him. I didn’t want them to stop!

I mentioned before that I haven’t dated guys who are my “type.” While kissing A, I realized just how stupid that was. Until that moment, I never realized how important it is to be completely attracted to the person you are with. It adds another layer to the attraction that cannot be contrived or even faked. I wanted to wring my fingers through his curly hair and never let go. I didn’t want the night to end. I’ve never felt that level of attraction before!

We all finally rode back to A’s house where I didn’t get to sleep until 4am… because I was so sick, of course 😉

The final installment and how I spent the day recovering coming up…