Amanda’s Journal: Getting great news

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Dear Journal,

I’ve been riding a wave of euphoria since Sunday night at 8 PM. I can’t stop smiling, I am filled with happiness. I received news from a woman who knows my biological mom down in Brazil. She said my mom is doing well despite having had a stroke and is currently living with my older sister. She sent me a recent picture of my mother and as I stared at her lovely face, I was filled with love and pure joy. In the picture, my mom has the biggest smile and looks like she is about to break out in a huge laugh-it’s fantastic! She has more grey hair since I last saw her, but still retains that very youthful look. My mom (my adoptive mom who raised me) said out of all my sisters, I look the most like my biological mom. So, now that we have a middle woman between us, I can get her address and be more in contact with her. I had lost contact with her, so I wasn’t sure if she was still alive or not. I’m happy as a clam right now! Knowing she is alive and well makes me want to do the best in everything I do; I want her to be proud of me.

So that’s my great news!

As a way to show how news can affect how great news like this affects a blogger as myself, I thought it was the perfect time to change my blog name from JavaGirl’s Life to Amanda’s Camelot. I have my google alerts set for my own blog name and there are some other JavaGirl(s) with questionable intentions that I didn’t want to be associated with. I had wanted to change my blog name since last year anyways, I just didn’t know to what or when. Amanda is my middle name which I love very much. I chose using my middle name because I have a very unique first name and as far as I know I am the only one in the State of Colorado who has this name and one of 6 people in the entire USA who shares this name. So, for privacy reasons, I wanted to use my middle name. Camelot comes from the second definition of the word in the Webster dictionary: a time, place, or atmosphere of idyllic happiness. I like the name camelot because I have a romantic view of life. I love all things royal, castles, old world love and art. Colorado is my camelot. I love this place! I love the mountains, the wild flowers, the air and it truly represents where I live right now. It’s my camelot; where my dreams will come true whatever they may be. Everyday will not be perfect, but they will be better and easier.

Oh and I just got myself a new business partner or is it the other way around? We’re at the beginning phase, but things will move along fast because most of the research and bare bones of the website/store is already laid out.

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Sunday with my bestfriend….

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This past Sunday took my bestfriend and I to explore Breckenridge and Frisco (Colorado). The trip took two hours to get to Breckenridge from Colorado Springs, but on our way there, we ran into three storms. During one of those storm breaks, we stopped at a place where you could see miles and miles of land before you. I mean, it was one of those moments that takes your breath away. As far as the eye could see, you saw mountains and a big valley below. There was this skinny road that passed through the valley and I asked my bestfriend, “Is that the road we’ll be taking which leads straight into those big mountains?”. In my mind, I felt like I was heading into some Lord of the Rings journey.

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The answer was yes. The ledge where we were standing was full of wild flowers and you know how crazy I get about wild flowers. If there is one thing on my bucket list that I really want to do is to lay in a huge field of wild flowers. I’ve never done that. Not just any field of wild flowers, but a mountain field of wild flowers. Well, here, there were wild flowers, but not enough.

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We passed through South Park. Yeah, that South Park in Colorado. I’ve never been here before and it was interesting to see what it was like. For starters, it seemed to be a town where time stood still. The town seemed quiet and unassuming. There seemed to be just one main road there as most mountain town have in Colorado.

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Once in Breckenridge, we stopped and had lunch. I had made a nice picnic and we munched on our sandwiches as we took in the beauty of the town. Most of the day was cloudy, so I’m sorry if the pictures seem dull. There weren’t many blue skies the day we went. It didn’t stop the towns from looking beautiful though. Breckenridge is a ski resort town, so you could see all the ski trails up in the mountains.

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We were surrounded by these flowers as we ate our lunch. So pretty…

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Gondolas! They looked so peaceful as they made their way up the mountain. Then this is what followed my thoughts.
Bestfriend: But do you see how high they go?
Me: No.
Me: They seem to go over a certain point and then you can’t see how high they go.
Me: (After much thought and self control of excitement) Will you please, please go on it with me?
Bestfriend: What? Are you kidding me? That looks scary! I’m not going on that thing, nuh uh!
Me: Aw, come on!
Bestfriend: No way. (Their face appeared determined to not go)
Me: Come on! We’ll have fun! I promise not to rock the gondola.
Bestfriend: Look how they sway! Is that normal? They are swaying too much! No way am I going on that!
Me: Uhhh. Maybe the people are rocking it on purpose. I highly doubt it would be the gondola itself.

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A miracle happened that day. I was able to convince my bestfriend to come with me to find out how high it went from the ticket booth guy. Luckily, it was a free 12 minute ride and it only went to a certain point. That’s good. We could survive that. I was so proud of my bestfriend because they agreed to get on. I was beyond excited! It was a nice ride and I got some good shots. I video taped most of the ride, but the windows were scratched up, so I only used a few clips that didn’t show the scratches.

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We finally arrived in Frisco and checked out the marina. The first time I came here back in October, it was night and I wasn’t able to see all the mountains. Frisco Bay is a place where I want to come back and kayak, but today we were just exploring it.

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Some may already know I love marinas! I love any form of water be it lakes, rivers, waterfalls, oceans or even small streams. I love being out in the water and feeling the wind in my face as I ride sailboats, boats or even kayaks. There is something so pure and natural to be so close to water. I just feel so at home by water. I’m working on getting my Safety Boating Certificate so I can legally operate a boat out in the lakes. Maybe one day I’ll get my own boat.

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I love using the tilt shift on my camera. It makes the boats look miniature.

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This dog was so cute! His owners were throwing a stick for him to go after and he seemed so happy just to be running around.

Here is the video of our day. Unfortunately, my Windows Movie Maker was not working tonight, so I had to use YouTube for my editing. Hope you like the video! Until next time!

Beautiful garden of a haunted castle

Well hello there my loves!

So a few days ago I went again to a haunted castle called Miramont Castle Museum here in Manitou Springs. Now, Manitou Springs is a cool and funky little mountain town that we go to often. There is tons to see and do here and you’ll always find me here most weekends. Anyways, so the first time we went there was to go on the self tour of the castle and during our tour we took over a hundred pictures and some videos. We were all excited with our photographs and what a great day we had when we came home. Unfortunately, for some reason all of our pictures on both cameras were mysteriously deleted during the uploading process. There was no explanation for it either. Someone or something in that haunted castle did not want to be seen. Being totally undeterred and relentless about this and highly disappointed by all this, I figured we will go again and retake all the garden shots. I must say, uploading these pictures took me 4 hours. I had computer problems and I never had such problems with my photographs. They are mostly of flowers, but it’s a cute magical little garden and one to get truly inspired by. It’s like a fairy tale garden of sorts.

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The left side of the castle.

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The mid section of the castle. A priest lived here and he built this home for himself and his mother. July112015MarimontCastleColoradoSpringsCOJavaGirlsLifeBlog

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Being greeted by a lovely sign in case you forgot where you were at or entering.

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The picture above is the only picture that survived from inside the castle. I took it with my phone and had posted it on twitter. This staircase was beautiful. It’s almost like the castle beckons you to walk up the stairs to explore all the rooms. Some may find this creepy, mysterious or just another museum. I didn’t find it creepy at all. There were some very dark staircases that lead to unknown rooms, but they were closed off. This castle must look absolutely gorgeous during Christmas time all decorated. I must return then again. There was a couple in front of us, so I waited until they were out of the way to take this picture. Once up the stairs, you go up another flight of stairs to see an art room, solarium, bedrooms etc. A pregnant nun hung herself in the solarium, but I didn’t find anything scary about that room. My hairstylist, who told me to come here, said she felt strange in the room and she and her brother ran out of the room because they just felt frightened. I felt the room to be quite nice and lovely. The sun was pouring through the room. It felt still though….

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A gorgeous fountain. The sound was even lovelier.

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If there ever was a time I captured flowers looking like they were singing, it would be this one. How cute are these flowers? With their little petals turning up to the sky! They are not perfect with their petals, but they sure reflect personality.

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I need some of these in my garden!

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The view from the garden overlooking the foothills. So beautiful.

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The gate entrance had these leaves hanging all over the fence.

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What is it about pink flowers? Love them.

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I had to use a flash for this picture. Without a flash, the rose looked black because the sun was behind it.

If you are interested in learning more about the haunted castle museum, check out the website. Type in Miramont Castle Museum in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

I’ll be heading to Breckenridge and Frisco this weekend and I’m so excited! I’ll be taking loads of pictures once again. It will be a lovely car ride. My bestfriend will be driving, so I’ll just be relaxing and enjoying the view.

Stormy skies on a mountain

These pictures were taken Sunday June 28, 2015 at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. We had gone to an area to watch the cars race by, but it was interrupted by stormy clouds coming over the mountain. We were not at the very top, but it was high enough to see all the trees below and feel high enough to be close to “America’s Mountain” at 14,000 feet above sea level. Anyways, so as people were packing up to go home, we hung around instead and hoped for the best not to be hit by lightening. I saw an opportunity for some photos as I saw people walk back and forth on a hill. Here are some shots I took.

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This man made a make shift cover for where he was sitting. The poles appeared to be regular branches he might have found on the ground. It looked pretty cool.

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I like this photo a lot and the mood it represents. It almost looks otherworldly because the clouds can also look like far away canyons in a different world or a big ocean with huge waves.

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This guy kept staring down at me as I snapped pictures. I later realized I was using my flash on my camera, so it was dead giveaway of what I was doing. I thought I was being sneaky, but I was caught red handed. I wasn’t taking his photo because of him, but because he was a subject matter in my photo I was trying to convey, he just happened to walk by.

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Just people walking about. This was fun, I have to do this type of photography again.

More on the storm on the mountain. I’ve never experienced a bonafide mountain storm in Colorado and I’m sure it won’t be my last! Being a total newbie to how unpredictable and volatile storms can be up in a mountain, I was a little ill prepared. I should have worn a hat and a waterproof jacket with a hoodie. We forgot the main lunch sandwiches in the car and ended up only eating the snacks we brought along with the water. As we headed for cover, it started to pour rain and the winds picked up. At one point, I looked up at the sky and could have sworn I saw a tornado form. I saw some clouds start to swirl in a circle and I almost started to run for my life. To the hot chocolate stand, of course. Then hail started and we ran even faster to the main starting point of the event. We found a tent and stood under it with 30 people or so as we watched the rain come down. In front of us were the cars under their covers as they were lined up to take their turns to race up the mountains. We were all cold and shivering. My hair was soaked and I was hungry. Despite that, I was still having fun because this was new to me. I love everything about Colorado, but I’m not crazy about the hail storms since moving here, but it’s ok. I just have to carry my umbrella more often when I know it will hail storm and then I won’t feel the marble like pelting from it. More on this later as I edit my photos and video.

Blogger’s Note: I’m working on some pictures and a video of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past Sunday that we went to. It was my first time seeing cars, trucks and motorcycles race and I had a lot of fun!

My summer song for 2015

Hey everybody!

I know I’ve been MIA, but I’ve actually been quietly enjoying my life here in Colorado the past months. My car has been showing its elderly age, so I’ve had to stay close to home until things are fixed and the unpredictable weather hasn’t been cooperative on the weekends either to be able to go out. I’ll be out and about hopefully soon with new videos and pictures. Believe me! I know what I’m doing for my birthday, so hopefully that will fall into place next month. I’m so happy about it I can’t contain my excitement! If you follow my twitter page, you might have seen a clue I posted on there of what I’d like to do for my birthday.

Every year around this time I choose a song that I think may capture my summer adventures and this time, I chose a song. It is called “Heart & Soul” by Built By Titan. Fun little song and just hearing it makes me very excited for my first summer here in Colorado. This place is gorgeous and so much to explore for someone like myself. Everyday I can’t believe I’m so lucky to live here and the Pikes Peak mountain so close to home is like living in a postcard. I can’t wait to start showing my friends around here who live out of State. I’m slowly making new friends here and they are so sweet and kind. Perhaps they’ll show up in future blogs and videos. We shall see.

If you are curious, my summer song for last year for 2014 was “The World” by Sean Tyas feat. Lo-Fi Sugar. I chose that song because we went on a 4 country cruise to Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Saint Maarten, St. Martin and Haiti that summer. There was a lot of dancing during that vacation, so this song fit it perfectly.

A huge welcome to all my new subscribers since the last time I blogged! I’ll be making my rounds of people who have stopped by my page, I haven’t had the time and my email alerts are sending all my blogs I follow into my spam folder, so I never end up seeing any new posts from you guys. WP glitch? Anyone else having that problem?

Have a great weekend and be safe! I’ll be back soon! Remember the true meaning of Memorial Day this weekend. I salute all that serve and have served this country.

We’ll be shining, we’ll be shining, we’ll be shining tonight!”

I am because we are….

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Fascinating story and one I saw on Facebook by my friend who posted it. I love how these children look out for one another, are selfless and know the meaning of unity. In a society where there is an insane amount of things to fill our every need, it’s great to see these children learn at such a young age that when you do things together, there is a greater leverage of happiness to be shared.

I love sharing. If I find something interesting or read about an interesting place, I have to share it on my blog. This also occurs in my real life too. I absolutely love sharing things with people. It’s fun and there is that moment of bonding over it. Why keep it to myself for my own satisfaction? I want others to see it too and if it made me smile or happy, then of course, I want everyone else to share in that happiness too. That’s the main reason I started this blog. I wanted to share and I will continue to share.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

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I got this Mayan calendar at Old Colorado City. Remember how I wrote the first one crashed the first night I brought it home? Well, this is the second one I bought and it’s been behaving on the wall and not broken into pieces. I like decorating my home with small eclectic things and I found this piece to be one that starts conversations. Or so I hope because the dude sticking out his tongue is just too funny to me because that’s pretty much what I do when I eat asparagus and lima beans!

JavaGirl’s Craft of the Month

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– 20-60 clothes pin for 3 plant or candle holders.

– A small plant.

-Wood Stainer color of your choice.

– A tuna or cat food can.

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It takes about 20 clothes pin to complete a cat food can.

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Insert the small plant inside the can and viola, you’ve got the cutest little plant holder on the block!

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Or you may want to just use them (au natural without the wood stainer) as so and put two small tea candles inside instead.

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Like so and you’ve got a romantic candle holder for the table or wherever you want a small glow.

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If you want variety with a plant and candle, here ya go!

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I went even further and stained the holders with a red mahogany wood stain to go with my dining room table and added a sophisticated orchid for a touch of elegance.

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You can do so much with this craft idea. For kids, you could even paint the clothes pin with a variety of colors or just a solid color for plant holders. I would highly caution to not use any flammable wood stain or paint to use for the candle holders. Safety first!

Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

This past Saturday was spent at the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun up in the Cheyenne Mountains. Originally, we were supposed to go elsewhere much higher, but we missed our train! I’ve wanted to come here for a long time anyways, so it wasn’t a major disappointment. Will Rogers Shrine was quite delightful and very peaceful. If there ever was a place that I’ve ever been to that made me feel like a princess overlooking my kingdom down below, it’s this place. I can only imagine a fantastic and beautiful wedding photograph up in the balcony. It does look like a castle, no? The day was windy yet sunny, but the lens flares were all over the places. Sorry about that.

In order to get up to this beautiful place, you must pay the zoo entrance fee and get specific instructions by someone by the gate to drive up there. The ride is about 10 minutes long and the road snakes up the mountain. From below, you wonder how you could possibly get up there without rock climbing, but once you drive, you realize that the roads have several hairpin turns with dizzying views below of how high you actually are from the zoo. Once you arrive, there is a nice parking area where you can also have a picnic at. The shady walkway leading up the shrine is gorgeous and to hear nature all around you is just so relaxing.

You may notice in the video I was zooming in the lakes a lot, that is only because it was my first time up there and I didn’t realize how many small lakes there were in Colorado Springs. You might have thought I never saw a lake before in my life, but I just got carried away-as usual. I’m always interested in discovering lakes were we can picnic and relax by, so this gave me an idea of where the lakes were. Most of them were on golf courses and hotel areas.

There are several security cameras all around and a nice older man who will answer any questions you may have regarding the shrine. Inside the shrine, there are floors with rooms that have pictures of Will Rogers. It is believed that some of his remains are buried there. I missed the chapel, but I’ll take a picture of that next time I go up there. It’s only a few miles away from where I live anyways so coming back is just a short car ride down the highway.

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One more thing I wanted to add about the music. The two songs I used were put in my video for specific reasons. The first song is called “Romantic Love” and I thought I’d add it because it’s one of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard and this place, the shrine, is pretty romantic. I wasn’t on a date with anyone, but I can imagine how special it would have been if I was on one up here, hence the song. The second song is more about the mood of the place and how special it is. I take a long time choosing the right songs for each of my videos because I want to reflect in the video what I’m also feeling about where I’m at.

Hope you like the video! Just showing interesting places of my new home. Have a great day everyone!

Blogger’s Note: You can find more information here: Information of Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

Will Roger’s Shrine of the Sun from JavaGirl on Vimeo.