On Not Being There, So I Can Be Here

It has been widely proven that social media and the compulsion to stare at phones and not faces is a leading cause of depression and anxiety for most modern humans. In my humble opinion, I think it will ultimately lead to the downfall of humanity, but I digress.

I think most people are aware of this fact (it’s fucking everywhere), but are faced with the conundrum of how to “stay in touch” while intentionally disconnecting. But here’s the ultimate irony. When you’re “connected” on social media you’re disconnected in reality. If you’re someone who would prefer living in reality rather than a Black Mirror episode, then this matters.

A couple of weeks ago while talking to my mom, she asked about an old friend from elementary school. I immediately replied, “oh yea, we keep in touch,” which is totally not fucking true.at.all. The only way I know anything about her is from stalking the fuck out of her on Instagram (she’s a babe). So, basically while scrolling through the inferno of Instagram, I have been telling myself that I am “keeping in touch” with people that I had actually not communicated with decades. This delusional sense of connection is what disturbed me the most.

I don’t want to live my life and maintain my relationships through a screen. To do so is far easier, but also less rewarding. Having both real and “virtual” relationships is possible, they are not mutually exclusive, but if given the chance to interact with real people in real time, why would you do anything else?

So, I deleted my personal Instagram account to force myself to actually call/text/email people that I thought about. I know, it sounds basic, but I have successfully reached out to more people since being off it than I have in years. That said, I have never really been a big use of social media in my personal life since I do it as a profession and at the end of the day – I want nothing less than to look at a screen.

Ultimately, I decided to keep @ColoradoWhiteGirl profile because it’s the only way to find this blog – but also because most of my following are strangers who I don’t give a shit about (I’m sure the feeling is mutual). Therefore, I simply post and then forget it. Hopefully, someone gets a chuckle or a “hmm” – that’s good enough.

I tend to do things to the extreme, but I don’t think that’s the only solution. But, if you think about your favorite people to stalk on Instagram (omit the famous ones unless you actually know them), think about the last time you actually talked to them.

Does your time on Instagram make you happy or cause you stress? If you feel like it’s all detracting/distracting from real life or from being fully present, consider if the trade off is worth it. What are you giving, versus what are you receiving.

You can’t be here and also there. That is mutually exclusive.

Can’t We All Just Relax?

A couple of weekends ago, I attended the first-ever Habit Hackers Summit in Denver. The idea and the people behind it were totally awesome. A full day of inspirational speakers from financial advisors and health coaches to a former NFL player, and tech entrepreneurs – all sharing how they have hacked their life to maximize their potential.

About halfway through the day, I took a quick “safety meeting”(aka hit my vape pen) and was chilling on a lovely floor cushion in the corner of the room – when I got hit with a warm wave and a whole new perspective. (I promise, it was less weird than it sounds – there was a lounge area for people who hate traditional chairs – like me).

I contribute this warm wave not only to the lovely toke session, but also to my literal position in the room. Ground level.

With this new perspective, I saw the situation is a totally new light. As I admired all the pink faces in the room, I realized that I was surrounded by type A, perfectionist, over-achievers who might have benefited more from a conference on how to just chill the fuck out.

And…I am totally one of them.

Not only do I shamelessly admit that I’m one of them, but I find that I am drawn to these similar personality types. The type who sets intense daily routines, compulsively makes to-do lists, keeps daily journals, dives head and heart first into Tim Ferris books, obsessively monitors their finances, experiments with cleanses and micro-dosing, takes long trips abroad, and of course… has an “epic” meditation practice. (Read that in your douchiest voice).

None of these are bad things, in fact all of them, no doubt, lead to personal growth. But they are also all often done in an effort to do more shit, more efficiently with the hope that one can maximize life’s potential. But, at what point are we doing wayyyyyy too much shit, too quickly and coincidentally missing out on life’s details in the process?

For me, it is all too often.

So, in a twist of coincidence, the biggest lesson I learned from paying $150 to listen to perfectionists tell me how to do more, better – was that I want to do less, more often and slower.

I also do not want to spend my life thinking of only myself. Modern day self-help practices often verge on self-obsession. In fact, I sincerely think one of the reasons a lot of people obsess over improvement is that they are seeking something that they will not find at a conference or in a book. They’re often seeking purpose which humans derive from giving back and being compassionate with one another.

Bottom line? Let’s all live life to the fullest, think more about other people than ourselves and just chill-the-fuck-out.

Where to Eat, Drink, Ski and Chill in Aspen

If you love great food, swanky wine bars, world-class skiing, and oodles of beautiful places to smoke – Aspen is your jam. During a recent four-night trip there, Wyatt & I made an unspoken, but unanimous decision to eat, drink, ski and do all of the things we possibly could. After all was said, done, drank and ate – here are my personal faves.

Ski Snowmass

Here’s the deal, every Colorado white person loves to talk about how they skied Breckenridge, A-Basin, Keystone and all the others. But, if you haven’t skied Snowmass after a huge snow storm, you’ve simply never skied at all. I know that sounds elitist (welcome to the ski world), but I promise you its the truth.

Snowmass is simply a different world of snow and ski. The runs are long, the tree terrain is beautiful and the best part…it’s practically empty.

I highly recommend Going in February, since it is typically Colorado’s snowiest month. Not to mention, Wyatt and I happened to find some incredible little smoke huts off the beaten bath in the trees. I would tell you where they were but I would have to kill you. I also don’t remember. You’ll just have to ski off into the trees (don’t pull a Sonny Bono) and find them yourself!

Après Ski Hang at St. Regis Spa

First things first, you do not have to be Oprah to go to the St. Regis Spa, but I guarantee that afterwards, you will feel like Oprah. You also do not have to purchase an over-priced service to feel like Oprah. A little known secret? You can get a day pass for $75 and then loiter there foreverrrrrrr.

But, before you go MUST get high. I’m talking like either hot box your car with a sativa hybrid joint (Flo), high school style high, or eat some edibles. I would strongly suggest Stratos time-released THC capsules for an insanely relaxing time.

So here’s the deal, put in a full day of skiing an then head over to the spa at around 3 to soak your freezing cold, sore lifeless body and just relax. I promise you, it will be worth every dollar.

The St. Julian is rated one of the nicest hotels in the world, so being anywhere in the building is extravagant and the people watching is off.the.charts.awesome. Not surprisingly, the spa is gorgeous. There is a hot tub, cold plunge, warm pool with waterfalls, steam room infused with eucalyptus oil, a “relaxation room” filled with comfy couches, cozy blankets healthy snacks, tea and fruit infused water. Then there is the oxygen room.

At first glance it will seem weird (it kinda is). In a dimly lit, cozy room, there are a series of chaise lounge chairs around a fireplace… with people hooked up to oxygen tanks. Initially, I was creeped out to see everyone in total zombie mode, but then I laid down and never wanted to move my body again. It turns out having oxygen pumped into your body at 8,000 feet above sea level feels incredible.

This time, I balled out and got a facial and as a bonus, they let Wyatt in for free. (Or they forgot to charge him, but either way it was a win).

Dinner at White House Tavern

We ate at nearly every restaurant in town and the White House Tavern was by far our favorite. The ambiance is cozy chic, the menu was exactly what you want after a long, cold day of skiing and the prices were reasonable. We got the Macho Salad and the French Dip Au Jus and they were absolutely perfect. As a bonus, they don’t take reservations, but were very quick to seat us for a Saturday night.

Après-Ski at Meat & Cheese

Before you get dinner, but after you get off the slopes, you must head down to the Meat & Cheese Restaurant. From 3-5 PM they have their version of Aspen happy hour, après-ski. As you could imagine it means nothing about discounted fare or drinks, just another reason to eat and drink. We got the Thai Coconut Soup and Roasted Brussel Sprouts which were on point and their house red wine was my favorite.

We also got to sit at the table by the window, so we had the most epic people watching perch of all time. To be honest, that might have been the icing on the proverbial cake.

Drinks at J-Bar in Hotel Jerome

If you’re looking to check out a fascinating piece of Aspen history, while getting kind of wine drunk, check out the J-Bar at Hotel Jerome. Founded in 1889, Hotel Jerome has been a social hub for Aspen. As is typical for this era of Colorado hotels, the interior looks like the Titanic’s and I’m sure if walls could talk, they would scream all kinds of weird shit. But, I digress.

There are at least three bars in the hotel and we frequented them all, but J-Bar takes the cake. It was super packed the night we went, but well worth the 20 minute wait. For a cool, quaint, cozy, spot to sip on red wine and feel like you’re in a time capsule, be sure to check it out.


How to Pack Less As A Lady

Wyatt and I are taking off for a long weekend skiing in Aspen (I know, so white). Since I’m expecting a full blown snowmageddon up there (they’re getting two feet as I write), I have to pack as if I’m going to a stylistically savvy, posh as fuck arctic tundra. Every time I pack for a trip, I try to be as efficient as possible. Most of the time, I totally fail.

That’s because I am not naturally one of those minimalist people (I’m a Taurus, we like our stuff). But, it is truly one of my missions in life to improve the way I pack because I think it is representative of a simpler, more focused state of mind. Plus, the more shit you have when you travel, the more shit you have to haul around with you. Plus, the more shit you have the more decisions you have to make. Anyways, you get it, less is always more.

I have read countless blogs about how to pack like a minimalist or at least someone who is relatively reasonable. I am almost positive none of them have been written by women. Women just have a lot of extra things that we “need.” I say that jokingly, but also seriously. We just need more shit, I don’t know why, it’s just the way it goes.

But, if you’re like me and want to have your proverbial cake and eat it too when it comes to packing, check out these tips.

Toiletries

I used to pack so many toiletries that I purchased a Patagonia toiletry bag that could fit a newborn baby (not that I’ve tried). Of course, I need to bring a full-sized thing of facial scrub, four different kinds of moisturizers, sunscreen, hand cream, a hundred tampons (just in case), eye make-up remover, cotton swabs, electric toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner and leave-in conditioner.

I wish I could tell you I have found the magic elixir to not packing so many toiletries, but I really haven’t. The only thing I’ve done is cut down on the quantity of each item I brought (ie tampons), bringing travel sized everything and using packing cubes. I know, it’s not rocket science, but packing cubes are a game changer since they compress and organize everything inside my infant sized toiletry case.

Clothing & Underwear

Watching Wyatt pack his clothing is almost more infuriating than watching him pack his (three) toiletries. He literally threw some socks, boxers and pants in a bag and called it a day. FML.

Meanwhile, I’m losing my mind thinking about all of my options and then of course, there’s the underwear that has to go with it all. But, after all was said and done and packed and repacked and packed, I think I kept it simple enough after all.

Shoes!

Every lady knows how hard it is to be reasonable about the amount of shoes you pack for a trip. I always stress out about how to avoid bringing at least five pairs on every trip. What if it’s cold? Or if it rains? I want to be comfortable, but stylish. What if I want to dress up? What if these give me blisters? All of these stupid thoughts. All the damn time.

This time around…I had all of those thoughts, but ultimately chose well. I successfully only brought three pairs (ski boots don’t count).

  • UGG booties – the pair I have are discontinued which sucks because I’m pretty sure they are the only functionally cute shoes UGG has ever made.
  • LL Bean Wicked Good Moccs – ’nuff said, am I right? These babies are perfect for après ski chill sessions.
  • Korkease booties – for the fancier evenings out, but still incredibly comfortable. I have multiple pairs of this brand bootie and they never fail to amaze me.

Post Trip Packing Reflections

Reflecting on your trip is almost as important as preparing for it. When I return from Aspen, I’ll go through everything I brought versus what I wore and take note. Typically that helps me to decide what to bring next time.

Another tip: don’t watch your boyfriend pack. Ever. It will drive you insane.


How to Be More Present

I firmly believe that I had a greater attention span when I was twelve. The only digital technologies that were possible distractions at that time were AOL Instant Messenger and Frogger on my parent’s original green Apple iMac. I wasn’t allowed to do either often and my parents forbade most TV. Friday nights was special – it was TGIF with Family Matters, Full House and Dinosaurs!

Nowadays, as a 31 year old, I find myself having to force my brain to focus on one thing at a time, all the time. I open my laptop at work in the morning and find myself trying to do ten things at once immediately. Or I’m at my local ski mountain, Eldora and I find myself thinking about filing my taxes while this is in front of my face. (Yes, that’s Wyatt having a private moment, now made public).

That said, I do not want to be someone who is always on my phone, distracted by everything around me, focused on nothing at all. Time passes too quickly. To try to practice more focus, mindfulness or whatever you want to call it, I started doing the following everyday.

Meditate Every Morning

Meditating is something everyone knows they should do, but actually doing it is a very different story. The big game changer for me in the actual successful practice of meditation was downloading the app “Waking Up” with Sam Harris. The app is free, as are the first week of meditation lessons. I find that the lessons are short enough to be practical (max 3 minutes) and very relaxing. It also helps set me up for the rest of my day. If I can focus first thing on a Monday morning when I have a million things to do or think about, anything is possible.

Then, whenever I’m feeling stressed or distracted throughout the day, I try to take deep breaths, close my eyes and think of the image that brings me peace. The ocean tide going in and out. The ocean feels like being warm, care-free, and small.

Read For At Least One Hour A Day

By “read” I don’t mean stare at the words thinking they might magically communicate to your brain (without you) what they mean. By “read” I also don’t mean owning books so that they can collect dust next to your bedside (guilty). I mean actually sit for an extended period of time or a short period of focused reading time. Really consume the words so that if someone was to quiz you right after you read a page, you might pass.

The part of your brain that allows you to concentrate is a muscle. It needs to be worked otherwise it gets smooshy. No one wants a smooshy anything. Every evening before I go to bed, I read for an hour to relax me to sleep, but also to give my prefrontal cortex a good little jog.

Coincidentally (or not), I’m reading “Focus” by Daniel Goleman and it is blowing my mind. I am intentionally reading it slowly so that I absorb every morsel of content and because I’m in no rush.

Intentionally Forget Your Phone

This is not a drill. I started doing this a couple of weekends ago and it has been a game changer for so many reasons. The most recent time I intentionally left my phone at home, I went out with Wyatt to play ping pong (I know, so white). Even though this move was totally conscious, I still checked my pocket for my phone about ten times that night. However, I did not actually need it a single time. I just wanted to look at it it’s stupid face.

Because I did not have my phone, I also did not have a stupid time-kill distraction in moments of silence or boredom. You know what I did instead? I actually talked to the humans around me! I know, crazy.

I didn’t turn my phone on again until the next morning and alas, the world was as I left it. Full of stupid distractions and notifications that really do not matter.

I dare you to try it. This weekend when you go out with friends (assuming you’re safe and can get home without your phone) leave it. You’ll have so much more space for the humans around you that actually matter. Plus, you’ll find yourself relieved to not have to constantly tend to the master that is your phone. You can be present, in the moment with you and the people you love around you.

Life Lessons from Bumble

Before I met Wyatt, I was Bumbling hard for about a year. It was exhausting, interesting, depressing, exciting, but most of all hilarious. For all the single ladies out there Bumbling hard, just know that what could seem like horrible experiences, can sometimes be softened by these two thoughts: when you’re 80, you’ll reflect on this time and think, “Those were the days…” and this, like everything in life, is temporary. Might as well laugh about it while you can. Here are some of my favorite journal entries about my Bumble experiences.

How to Spot Red Flags on a First Date

I’m eating sushi with an unmemorable guy. I tell him that sushi is my favorite food. Despite the fact that he took me to sushi, he says he actually hates it. He then says “all meat tastes the same to me.” Cool.

How to Hack Bumble Dating Code

Normally, none of the following questions suck. For some reason, in the seemingly scripted land of Bumble all of them are cringe worthy.

“What do you do for fun?”

“How long have you been in Colorado?”

“Do you ski or board?”

How many fourteeners have you climbed?

How to Avoid “Cross-Pollinating”

Me to my girlfriend.

Me: “I met this guy, an engineer from Michigan.”

Friend: “Oh yeah? What’s his name?”

Me: “Matt.”

Friend: “Hmm…what’s his last name?”

Since he’s one of six “Matt Bumble” in your phone and getting last names is strictly forbidden, you compare phone numbers. It is indeed, the same “Matt Bumble.”

Moral of the story, if you live within five miles of your best friend and her Bumble radius is the same as yours, you can guarantee that your Bumble game is overlapping. Just how much is what really matters.

How to Spot Guys Named Chad

When you walk into a bar in Denver looking for a tall, bearded white guy who tells you he’s “wearing a plaid button down” and you walk up to at least two other people.

“Chad?”

“No, sorry, not Chad.”

Walk away, think to yourself, “Hopefully that was the last time I ever have to ask a random lumbersexual if his name in Chad.”

In a world full of Chads, I’m just looking for the Waldo.

Bumble Life Lessons

Believe it or not, this story ends less depressing than you might think.

After very apathetically dating a Bumble dude for a couple of months, I was on the brink of total psychological, romantic, and emotional exhaustion. I knew this guy was not “the one” and all of my friends told me so very candidly (thanks, Casey).

One night one on what I told myself would be our last date, we went out to sushi with his friends. Wyatt sat directly across from me. We talked about real estate (hot, I know).

I approached that night like I was meeting a friend of a friend of a guy I was planning on never seeing again. Nothing to win, nothing to lose.

Three months after I broke it off with Bumble dude, Wyatt and I both got back on Bumble for one last shot.

Now I’m just trying to be more open knowing that monumental moments (good band name) can happen anytime.

How to Keep Your Skin Hydrated in Colorado

If I added up how much money I’ve spent trying not to have my face dry out like the desert I (choose) to inhabit, I would probably cry. Most hydrating face creams claim to make you look younger. Fuck that, I’m just trying to look my age. But, the good news is at least I would not be crying alone. Thousands of other women and men also blow their proverbial wads on moisturizing elixirs from farmer’s markets made of baby tears, whole milk and organic yak spit (obviously).

Until recently, I thought there was no real solution or at least nothing that I could afford without getting with Jeff Bezos (gross). BUT, I have good news, even better than the fact that I am not with Jeff Bezos. Hydrated, healthy Colorado skin is possible if you can nail the right products and habits.

Drink Water – A Lot of It

Depending on how long you’ve lived in Colorado, it’s probably become pretty apparent that it is the high desert and it is dry as fuck. Carrying at least a 21 ounce water bottle with you at all times is akin to having your wallet, keys, cellphone and…pants. We go everywhere with our beloved Kleen Kanteen, Hydroflask or Nalgene. We love our water bottles so much that we decorate them with stickers of every single brand that gives us a free sticker. We don’t even care if we like the brand. Got a cool sticker? It’s going on my water bottle. Haven’t washed your water bottle in weeks or even months? Doesn’t matter. At least you won’t die if you get stuck in I-70 ski traffic – just don’t go sharing it with anyone (you know who you are).

In any other state if you brought a water bottle to an office meeting it would be considered tacky. Not in Colorado. If you’re the one without your water bottle, you’re the asshole. But I digress. According to the “experts” an average adult woman should drink about 2.7 liters of water per day. This is about 4.3 bottles in your 21 ounce Nalgene. Yeah, it’s basically a part-time job that if you don’t show up, you get chronic migraines, fatigue and possibly death. NBD. I like to follow the rule of thumb, if I’m not drinking water right this minute, I probably should be.

Wash Your Face Sans Face Wash

I know, I know, but you have this brand of face wash you love that gets your face as clean as a baby’s arse. But, unless you’re a lady farmer in Greeley, your face is probably not that dirty. If you are a lady farmer in Greeley, that’s super dope, you can do whatever you want cause you’re way cooler than me. A lot of face washes have alcohol in them. which is a big no-no if you’ve already got dry skin or you live in the high desert.

The best face wash for dry skin is…water! You got it, it comes from your faucet and is here to wash the makeup off your face… for free. If you want to get rid of the horror show eye make up look after you wash your face, take a little shea butter on a cotton swab. Gotta lubricate dem eyelashes anyway

Apply Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

You can get this stuff at your local Whole Foods (shocker) or even better on Amazon for around $20. After washing your face, squirt a few squirtlets in your palm and prepare to get wet. But really, rub it into your skin in circular motions and you can actually feel it seeping into your pores. The magic elixir of this stuff is the hyaluronic acid which I have been told by “experts” is the only thing that really seeps into your pores to provide moisture from the inside out. This product is also super dope because there are only four ingredients, all of whom you can pronounce without a PhD in chemistry.

Lather Mimosa Blossom Dream Cream

This is not the name of a Phish song or the name of your super heady friend’s first born. It is perhaps the most overlooked product in the Whole Foods skin care section. It might be it’s very inconspicuous label or the fact that it’s called “Mimosa Blossom Dream Cream” and everyone who passes it by thinks, “how high were they?” I’m here to tell you that they must have been pretty stoned, but this shit is unreal. It’s hands-down the most hydrating salve I’ve ever found and is only $18 for 6 ounces. Why do we assume if things are cheap they’re suspicious? Why do we assume that if it has a label that looks like it was the cat’s meow in 1992 that it can’t be incredible? Put your assumptions away my friend and dive into the Mimosa Blossom Dream Cream face first.

Plus, the first of about fifteen lovely ingredients is…wait for it…”purified mountain rain water.” How could you go wrong?

Tinted Elta MD Sunscreen

I know what you’re thinking…but, it’s winter why do I need sunscreen. If you live in Colorado you need to wear sunscreen all the time. It doesn’t matter that you won’t be outside today, if you are near a window and it’s the day time, you’ll need protection. Living at altitude literally means living closer to the sun, that is real shit. Not only do we live closer to the sun, there is more of it – nearly 365 days of the year. Just make sunscreen part of your daily morning routine and your crowsfeet will thank you later.

This stuff was recommended to me by a dermatologist, so I snagged some on Amazon and I have been in love ever since. It’s SPF 40 and made for broad spectrum exposure (read all the spectrums of the sun) which is perfect for mountain dwelling. Plus, the slight tint makes you look a little bit less like a pasty ghost in the winter.

100% Raw Shea Butter

This is not a drill. If you feel like you’ve reached critical mass with not being able to hydrate, just grab a glob of raw shea butter and get to rubbing. This stuff is especially amazing as an additional layer to the Blossom Dream Cream, but I wouldn’t recommend putting make up on over it. It will probably slide right off your face. I’ve been buying the Shea Moisture brand at Target for about $10, but any 100% raw fair trade shea butter should do. I also find it to be the best for dry cuticles, hands and wait for it…nipples. You read that right, your nipps are probably dry and you should rub this all over them.