Red Rock Canyon: Part 1

Hey guys!

A warm welcome to my new subscribers and loyal readers. Let’s talk about the hike I took with my son and his friend last week. I’ve lived here in Colorado Springs for two years now and I just got around to visiting Red Rock Canyon, which is across from Garden of the Gods. We go to Garden of the Gods a lot just to sit and enjoy the scenery, hike and I also go there often with my clients. When we went on our hike, we took the long way to get to the lake at Red Rock Canyon. Luckily, the day was nice and windy, so it wasn’t too bad. My knee continues to hurt after a month (I injured it at work), so towards the end of the hike, it was very painful to walk back to the car. Hiking in Colorado Springs is very common among the locals and we’ve come to participate in that activity as well. Back in New Jersey, you’d never see us hike like we do here. Anyways, it was lovely to just walk and enjoy the little trail, think about how nice it was to explore a new park and anticipate the view of the lake I’ve only seen via YouTube and pictures. I decided to film the hike for memories to share. Click on the video below and you can come along with us on our little hike. This is part 1. There is another trail I’m very excited to go on and I can’t wait to show you all that one because it’s pretty incredible.

Continue being amazing.

xoxo

Downtown Brazilian Olympic Party 2016

When I heard there was going to be a Brazilian themed partay downtown Colorado Springs, I knew I just had to go. One, I love me some Brazilian music (it enlivens my soul and spirit) and secondly, it sounded fun! So, we headed down around 5:35 pm and didn’t leave until 10:30 pm. Here are some things we saw while there.

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Leaving the public parking lot, we walked down this little alley way and saw this. Seeing three colors on a wall is just pure eye candy for anyone with a camera. Hence, this picture.

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I love architecture and looking up is always something I must do when walking around. This was on our way to the festival or partay as I like to say.

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There were a good 100 people already walking towards the road block and the roads weren’t quite filled yet. This was my first time walking around downtown and I’ve lived here 19 months! I live up Northeast which is a good 25 minutes away, so I hang around up there most of the time. It was nice, I should come down there more often, there are tons of cool restaurants and shops. My kind of town baby!

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The way they had it set up was kind of funny. There were several things going on, so you would hear yells, shouting and clapping from different parts of the road. There were set times for performances and dances, so people would be like herds of cattle moving from one area to the next; it just made me laugh in a weird way to see a huge crowd move like schools of fish, haha. Anyways, here were some lovely ladies performing a typical Northeastern Brazilian dance.

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This samba dancer was not only gorgeous, but she wore my favorite color and her outfit was the closest to what the samba dancers in Brazil wear. Sometimes the feathers they wear is so extravagant, it weights up to 50 pounds or more!

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Here are some players from a Boulder Samba school. They did a fantastic job and I felt right at home when they did their performance. I was impressed! They are called Bateria de Alegria.

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Oh, to be flexible like that once again. I used to be able to do that when I was in middle school taking gymnastics.

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Flowers are sprinkle around town. Nothing makes a town more attractive than gardens of flowers on the sidewalks.

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It was soon getting dark and people were watching and cheering the Olympians as they walked into the opening ceremony. The loudest cheers from the crowd that night was, of course, when the team from the USA came. Did you know there are 19 Olympians from Colorado? Pretty cool.

We had a fun night and I love crowds. I love walking around and taking in the sights and sounds. The entire time there I wanted to dance with all the Brazilian sounds and music pumping through the speakers. I haven’t had that much fun in a very long time. It was due time.

Here are some things we saw Friday night. I chose specific music to go along with the dances. The only one I wasn’t to do that was the Bateria de Alegria Samba school. I was having issues with my Windows Movie Maker and their sound got deleted. Luckily, I found a song similar to what they were playing. Enjoy the video!

7 End of the Year Questions for Amanda: Year 2015

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1. Was I happy?

Answer: Yes, but I believe I had more of a guarded happiness if that makes any sense. I moved to a new State on my own, which I’ve never done before by myself so that was a huge change. I’ve moved about 11 times in my life so I’m used to change, but moving cross country to a completely different place, was a big jump, but it was something I needed to do because I had wanted to do it for the last 10 years. Yes, I was happy this year, but I was also taking in new sights and taking in new experiences so during that moment I would say I was happy. There are still days I wake up and I can’t believe I live in Colorado-it’s so beautiful here! I am currently happy because I now realize what my purpose is now, now that I have moved here. I only discovered or was given that opportunity a few weeks ago. That is why I can not wait until 2016 starts because I am like a runner at the beginning of a race and just ready to burst out with so much energy for this coming year. I am so ready for this new year!

2. Did I live in peace?

Answer: Yes, I actually took a year off from a lot of things (work, relationships, etc) most of this year to really take time for myself and get a grip at what I needed to do next in this new phase of my life here in Colorado. In doing that, I have more peace than I have had in a long time. Sanctuary amongst the mountains and foothills. It is here I love listening to the waterfall sounds and hearing nature. Peace. I’ve always had it, I just needed to lasso it back in being in a new place. Each place I have lived has had its own unique peace about it. You can find a certain peace at the beach. You can also find a particular peace high up in the mountains. You just have to adjust to your local surroundings and find the best place to find it. Every place on earth has it. I promise you. I think with finding balance in your life as well, you also find peace.

3. Did I extend kindness?

Answer: Silly question because I normally practice this everyday. No one is perfect and I do have those days I want to just pull my hair out because people are driving me nuts, but I do like being kind to people. We live in a very selfish world where people feel entitled to how they should be treated. You open the door and they just whiz by you like a princess without a care. You offer to sit down and talk to someone who looks like they are lonely only to be rebuffed and ignored. Or you come across people who just ask so much of you because they know you are a giver (typical ENFJ downfall). They take and take from you until you suddenly realize you’re being completely taken advantage of. Oh well. Those are far and few between. Despite that, I continue on being kind to people. When people are kind to me I think, “Aww, you’re so nice!” It’s the greatest feeling.

4. Did I live in the present moment?

Answer: Yes! Since moving here, I’ve lived more in the present moment that I have in a long time. Sure I’ve shot videos and have taken pictures, but I’ve also learned to just enjoy the moment fully with every fiber of my body. The last “in the moment” I felt was climbing a rock in Garden of the Gods near my home. This place is so beautiful and we always see tourists, not so much now because it’s cold. When the tourist season is mostly gone, it’s nice to appreciate it without all the fuss. After climbing this rock, which you’ll see in the coming video in a future blog, I turned off my camera and just sat on top of the rock and took in the beauty of what was in front of me. America’s Mountain, known as Pike’s Peak, was off in the distant like a familiar friend and below the mountain you could see from that high vantage point the little town of Manitou Springs. Cars were driving along a road that snaked its way through the park and people looked like ants. It was dusk, but there was still a quiet beauty of where I was. Sometimes those off the camera moments you can only store in your heart and mind forever. No one or anything can every destroy that. I’ve experienced a lot of “Ghost Cat” moments since moving here and I know I’ll experience more. All the pictures I’ve posted on this blog, I have had experienced off camera “in the moment” feels. Every single one of them. I take pictures and videos to share with you all, but I also do it to remember it and how it made me feel those few minutes taking my eyes off the camera. I’m a collector of memories and the emotions that go with them. This scene below explains it perfectly. If you are a photographer, you’ll totally understand this scene. This is from one of my favorite movies “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and I wait the entire movie just for this scene-I love it so much because it means the world to to me on so many levels.

5. Did I take time for myself?

Answer: Yes, I would say so. A year for myself, abso freakin’ lutely.

6. Did I accomplish at least one goal?

Answer: Yes and it came within the last weeks of this year! My goal this year was to figure out my next step in life here as I started my new life in Colorado. Now that I am learning and training for my dream job (which I’m not sure I can say yet), I have accomplished my biggest goal of the year. This particular goal was going around my mind like crazy and I almost felt like I needed to hurry up and figure things out, but life as we know it, brings surprises and big opportunities when you least expect it. When it came to me, this opportunity, I ran with it and I plan to run with it until I achieve my next career goal with my dream job. I wake up now every morning knowing I am getting closer and closer to it (my dream job) and I get so excited about it. I have never been so excited about this new career change since I was in my early 20’s when I applied for a similar job to what I’m going to be doing in the future. This is my purpose. It’s not because I want to do it, it’s because I need to do it. And that my friends, is the biggest achievement I got this year in 2015.

Here’s to 2016! Let’s do this! Let’s begin a new year with new adventures, photographs and videos! Come with me and let’s live in the moment. Thanks for being part of MY 2015. Even if you subscribed today or even tomorrow, I’m so happy you’re part of my blogging life. I welcome you and I welcome my future subscribers in 2016. I can’t wait to meet you!

Much love from me to you. See you next year!

xoxo

Day 11 Writing Challenge: Write about anything that’s currently on your mind

Are you kidding me? Right now, this very second Star Wars is on my mind! This goliath of a movie release and the enormous anticipation is everywhere! Remember my post about when I went to the Great Sand Dunes here in Colorado? No? Well, for my newest subscribers, you can click and read it here: Exploring the Great Sand Dunes. One of the reasons why I wanted to go there this year was because of the new Star Wars movie coming out. Not only did I want to see these Great Sand Dunes and their beauty, but because I’m such a Star Wars nerd I wanted to see what it might have felt like running around in the sand which felt like being in the movie itself. First of all, there’s a lot of walking and you’d need a big container of water just to walk 3 hours to just get to one huge dune. Huffing and puffing, I thought, “Ok. Maybe running around in an actual planet full of sand is not as glamorous as it looks onscreen.” Ha. Anyways, seeing this video clip reminded me of my fun day out in the Great Sand Dunes and it just made my little Star Wars nerdy heart so happy! I just hope it’s as good as it looks. I loved seeing Chewy and Harrison Ford. Doesn’t Harrison look amazing? Wow. I mostly want to see the original cast members in the movie; I just think it’s so wonderful they could all be together so many years after the first Star Wars movie. It’s a great time to be alive people!! Back to how good the cast looks, look at Chewy with his fur all combed back looking debonaire and suave baby. Lol… So excited to see this film and I hope you are too!

I give you the behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Video credit: ScreenSlam

Why I wrote a poem about Tristan…

Tristan is not a person that I wrote about in my poem. In fact, Tristan is a volcanic island and what is called the remotest island in the world. The island officially is called Tristan da Cunha. I sometimes get views from a little island called “Isle of Man” on my blog so I was researching and looking at pictures of Isle of Man yesterday when I stumbled across an article about the most remote island in the world.

My fascination for remote locations around the world and the people who live there has always captured my attention since I was very young. I too feel very comfortable in isolated places such as sand dunes, beaches, isolated towns in the middle of the jungle etc. Usually in these place, you are able to let your cerebral intellect run wild whilst taking in the sounds of nature, the authenticity of old traditions of people and ability to be far away from any modern day stresses. I think that’s why I have always felt so free in such places; these places quench my spirit and allow me to purify my mind, body and soul. Let’s find out a little more about Tristan, shall we?

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Tristan is part of a group of volcanic islands, but is the main island where the citizens of Tristan live. Tristan is a British overseas territory but governed by Saint Helena.

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The view approaching Tristan from a boat. There are no airports on Tristan.

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There’s a population less than 300 people who live on the island. There are 80 families with names like Glass, Green, Swain, Lavarello, Repetto, Rogers and Hagan.

A man sets aside his best potatoes for planting.
A man sets aside his best potatoes for planting.

Currency was not available until recently. Before, potatoes were the main form of currency with the families all bartering with each other. There is a location called “The Patches” 3 miles away from town where everyone goes on the weekend to pick potatoes. In this community, if you needed flowers to put on your loved ones graves, all you would have to do is to ask your neighbors if you could pick some of their flowers in their yard. There isn’t a floral shop, people share here. If someone hunts and catches food, he will share with the community. Here, people talk to one another when they pass their neighbor; to walk by one another with an acknowledgment is considered rude. This is a very tight knit community who love the fact they are isolated from the rest of the world. Many citizens never knew what a television looked like or many of the modern day things we have today. The citizens value their way of life and want to continue with their ways with the next generation of Tristans.

Watch the video below and see if you see what I saw. I saw a group of happy, hard working and charming people who happen to live in the world’s most isolated island. This looks like an amazing place to call home. I wouldn’t mind visiting there as not having much to do than walk around, hike, explore the ponds and interacting with the people would make me just as happy. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, I love simplicity. I know in the past, the citizens of Tristan would only receive mail once a year! But the last I heard, they have internet, so I’m sure communication is much faster now.


Video credit: David MacKenzie

There is another well done documentary that I will add below.
Tristan da Cunha Part 1

Tristan da Cunha Part 2

Now, when you reread my poem about “Tristan”, you’ll understand I was talking about the island the entire time. 🙂

xoxo

The Lantern Festival 2015 Colorado

Saturday night we went to Fountain, Colorado to attend the Lantern Festival 2015. This was an event that had been planned for about 3 months and I couldn’t wait for it! I’ve always wanted to see one of these lantern festivals and didn’t really know that they had them here.

Attending a Lantern Festival is a fun yet very spiritual experience at the same time. Many people attend lantern festivals as a symbolic way of “letting go” of their past or any regrets that they may have. Many others such as myself wanted to symbolically honor our loved ones that have passed away by “letting go” of a lantern towards heaven as if sending a message of love. As some of you may know, I lost my adoptive mother on Thanksgiving Day at 11:30 am after her battle with breast cancer. I was there by her bedside when she passed away. Her birthday is the day after Christmas, so the holidays can be a little tough for me. Early October this year I also got news that my youngest sister passed away due to medical complications. I have 4 sisters so losing a sibling was new to me and only brought up sadness of losing someone special. On a good note from this news, I got in contact with my older sister in Brazil so we now write each other via Facebook. She will be raising my youngest nephew (3 months old) from my sister who passed away. I got to see new pictures of all my beautiful nieces and nephews. I think I’m also a great-aunt!

I almost got hit by unsuspecting lanterns trying to float up. One minute I’m minding my own business and the next I hear someone yelling, “Watch out!” as I turn around just in time to duck a lantern flying past me. The lantern landed a few feet away and someone picked it up and let it fly up. This was happening everywhere, not just me. Another time a lantern floated by, but not towards me. There was laughter and much chatter among everyone, the air was filled with harmony and love. I can’t pin point the feeling, but it was a positive one. Susie Brown was the guest singer and I just love that girl; she’s just one of the most talented and simply gorgeous singers out there! Her songs are great; I just wish I was closer up to the stage to see her. I may have gotten a haircut a year or so ago like hers. Check my twitter photos to find the picture. You’ll see me rockin’ the black hair and short bangs there. Anyways, check out her Twitter and Instagram profile and follow her like me!

Attending a lantern festival was on my bucket list and I’m so glad I finally went to one. If you ever get a chance, check out one out by your city. Trust me, you won’t regret it, it’s one of those moments you won’t ever forget.

Until next time my darlings. xoxo

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!

JavaGirl’s Music Pick for December: KEVIN ROSS: ” This is my Wish”

*Dedicated to every single one of my subscribers*

Hello my dear friends,

So December is definitely one of my favorite months of the year where I can give, spend time with family, celebrate the meaning of Christmas and think of how the past year has changed me in a positive way. It’s also a time when I like to choose a favorite song of the month that speaks to me deep in my soul. Kevin Ross is a classically trained musician who presented the Glade company with a demo of him singing; Glade loved it so much, they partnered up with him and hence this beautiful song is heard in almost every household in America as part of advertising Glade’s candles. Check out the video below and let it warm your heart with peace and love.

Here is a behind the scenes video of how the song came to be.

Most people don’t know that I love Motown music, so hearing Kevin Ross sing is music to my ears. There is something about Motown that brings back great memories of childhood. The funny thing is my mother rarely listened to Motown, so I chose that genre on my own from somewhere and I continue to enjoy it to this day. I know one thing though, Kevin Ross and I both love Glade candles and I can say here that Angel Whisper is my favorite. Whenever I go shopping and I need it, I buy three of them! My home always smells so nice. I have some pictures of candles in my photography and also a short video showing candles I made for a good friend, Kate, set along with music.

Don’t let anyone blow out the bright, strong and gorgeous light inside of you. Let it shine, even in the darkness.

Fireworks on an island….

Hello friends!

So, did you have a good 4th of July? We went to Sea Isle City to have a wonderful picnic and later to watch the fireworks by the ocean. Earlier in the day, we had seen a big and long boat carrying all the fireworks out in the ocean with our binoculars. For those who are unfamiliar with Sea Isle City, it is an island off the coast of New Jersey. Sea Isle City has become quite the family beach place to go. We use to have a beach house inland for 10 years or so, but sadly had to sell it. Luckily, in the contract for the new owners (who we personally know and are friends of ours), we get one week at our old beach each summer. People watching was nice on the boardwalk and smelling the salt air. I captured some photos when I could. My hand was a little shaky because I was talking and trying to hold my hand with the camera low enough and not block the view of people behind me. After the fireworks, I looked out into the ocean and saw the moon round as could be and very orange looking. It was so spectacular. You couldn’t see it on the video below, but there were other fireworks going off on the other island of Avalon. As we left to go inland, we saw three more fireworks going off. It was indeed a fun and happy day for all of us!

The video below:

FourthofJuly2012 from JavaGirl on Vimeo.