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Sunday, September 26, 2010

In-Tea




“Juicy fruit or double mint?”
“Creamy or Crisp?”
“Floral or Spices?”
Answer these question and voila! In Tea, a local tea shop, in Littleton, will find the right tea for you. Brilliant. I think so. When you are looking at what seems to be a tea library, over 100 tea varieties, guidance is needed! After answering a short set of questions, a fellow tea mate will give you a few options that will most likely fit your palette. The hard part then becomes deciding. I had to choose between a sugar cookie tea, wild cherry or summer romance. They all smelled like they couldn’t wait to be drunk, but I chose the wild cherry, and made a note in my planner to come back frequently.
I do like tea. So many options and flavors to choose from. And I can actually tell a difference in the taste of tea. Unlike coffee, where someone could swap out my French Roast for an Italian Roast and I would sip on just fine! When it comes to tea, I could name Green, White, Black, Earl Gray and Oolong Teas. And I thought that was good, but turns out there is a whole other tea-riffic world to be discovered. For preview, think of Winter Mint, Pomengranite, Sea Shell Green, Butterfly Flower. Just makes you want to fly over there and see what else is brewing, huh?
And it doesn’t stop with just unique teas… I saw the menu for the Tea Cocktails. Ohya! Another day tough…it’s only ten a.m.

Tap Dogs




What all is possible with tap dance? You could tap with basketballs, on ladders, you can even tap while blazing the stage with sparks from machinery, or you could even tap upside down, while being supported with ropes.
Tap Dogs are the Top Dogs. Every successful show has their niche. The niche of this show is the combination of a story, personalities and the six tappers kicking out the sounds.
The story starts out simple, just showing the feet of the dancers, and the set gradually becomes more complex, along with the dancing. Taking place on a construction sight, with the dancers dressed in simple work clothes, there is nothing proper about this show. Tap Dogs thrives on creativity, noise and boldness. The performers tap from one scene, into the next, and make most of the set changes, while tapping. Seamless, it all fits together.
The personalities will stick with you, and make you laugh. When entering, you may wonder why the ushers had out rain coats to some people. I was one row away from getting to wear a bright yellow water guard. The front three rows are in the “Splash Zone. “ At first I thought this meant you might get some sweat sprayed on you because these tappers are working those shoes and rhythms to the max. But there is a point that a bucket of water is spilled on the stage and all the tap shoes dive right in. But the audience members don’t just get a tad sprayed with sprinkles of light water. NO. Cast members will slide across the water, and mop the heavy drops right into the laps of the audience, making sure there is a purpose for the coat.
Someone along the way had a dream that you could make a career out of tap dancing, and it can be done, and leave such an impact along the way. I grew up tap dancing, and learned a few moves. That would be the ball step, the shuffle, and I tried to travel, but didn’t get very far. These bold performers showed me they master combinations that move so fast, I couldn’t even remember the first step or the first sound by the end of the routine. This group just tapped their way right into my heart.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jazz @ Jacks



37 minutes to spare before meeting a friend, which also meant 37 minutes to explore
downtown. Walking along the 16th street mall, I knew I would find a new place I could
get to know. Jazz at Jacks it was.
There was a small crowd but the music was on beat! I couldn’t sit still. My head was
rocking, hand and feet tapping. It was school of funk night, if my school was as funky
fresh as this music, everyone would have made straight A’s. No sick days either.
V10 PowerBAND was the feature of the night! Power times ten, no doubt. Playing
everything from soul, funk and blues…but I didn’t have the blues that night. Their upbeat
music got at least 73 percent of the crowd on the dance floor when they played their
own version of the cupid shuffle. So we did our dance and let the music take control...
*To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right
To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left
Now kick, now kick, now kick, now kick
Now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself*
All of our muscles moving and before I knew it 37 minutes had passed and I was late
to sushi!
Jazz at Jacks features live music every night and Wednesdays and Saturdays
they teach Chicago Style Line Dancing. My next venture is already in the mix!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Colorado Springs Food Tour




If you are ready to check out and forget about doing dishes and cooking for a day, check into the Colorado Springs Food Tour. I think it's pretty brilliant, with a side of delicious. When I travel places there are so many restaurants I want to try, and by the time I decide on one, I am still thinking about the authentic French creperie down the street or wondering if I should have gone for authentic Mexican food, or freshly made soup across the street. So why not try some of it all and leave those curiosities trailing behind you, and get a real taste of the Springs.

We had been to six stops and had our curiosity fixed. A sampling form six different restaurants. Spices, pizza, salad with sesame dressing, onion rings, french onion soup and of course a french roll, chicken gordita, homemade chips and salsa, horchata, BBQ, and yes even that crepe. I want to tell you what comprised this desert crepe, but you will fly out of your seat, and be gone to Paris Crepes. But it's so good I have to let the crepe out of the bag. It was a blueberry cream cheese crepe that had sprinkles of Graham crackers in it.
And it was only one thirty, plenty of time to make it to the Olympic Training Center and burn it all off, if only watching an Olympic athletes had the same effect...

Tour De Fat



Tour De Fat was the tour of fun and good cheer. Around 6,000 costumed crazed people came to Denver's City Park to raise awareness of bikes and bringing back the spirit of riding on two wheels. But two wheels was not the case for everyone. There are a lot of crazy concoctions when it comes to assembling a bicycle There is not ABC method for the types of bikes you will see, more the Xtreme. Bikes stacked up on each other, single tire rides, even a bike that was more of a recliner really.
Every one's spirits are escalated. I never thought I would ride down the streets of Denver with boxer shorts I picked up on a whim in Ireland that flash "Pog Mo Thon" If you need a translation, this is something you might say to your boss if they told you you had to work on the day of Tour De Fat... "Kiss My ___"
The costumes really are anything goes. Some costumes don't even make sense, they are the farthest thing from making sense, and that's just fine with everyone. It also doesn't make sense to pedal in hot pink heels, but you can get away with it one day out the year.
New Belgium is one of those exceptional companies. Not in the ride to make a profit. There is a suggested five dollar donation to ride, and you can also buy a beer or a few for five bucks. All these proceeds go to bike and environmental charities. And the tour sets up in 13 cities, all the way from Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Tempe, Austin...and more and more.
So why not warm up and break in your Halloween costume a month early and get out and spread the good cheer?

Biking in Bocas



Time to gear up and get on with more Bocas good times. I found a place to rent a bike, a bike that is true to Bocas fashion. A little rusty around the gears and the chain fell off at one point, but the friendly Bocas people will stop to help. And besides, the seat could have fallen off with me on it and I still couldn’t have had a bad day. I was in Bocas Del Toro, a colorful island, full of character, and waiting for people to discover.
I took off with no particular destination in mind. Just to ride until my bike had to be back in three hours. I followed the signs to Bluff Beach, hoping no one would call mine and say jokes on you! After biking though sand, across smaller beaches and past wild dogs, I made it. And got to watch some surfers!
Another time I hope to ride to Boca Del Drago. I hear there is a great coral reef here and calm waters for the most part. Plus, getting there you take a cultural road. About 300 Ngobe Indians live in houses along the road from Bocas Del Toro and the beach. Schools and classrooms can be seen.

Chocolate Plantation Tour




Bumming in Bocas Del Toro with my arm all bandaged up in a skin colored ace bandage. My smile wasn’t as big usual. All the tour operators talked about “island hopping,” scuba diving, and snorkeling. My new Doc warned me to keep my arm out of the sun and especially the water.
But it turned out even better, and one reason is because I use chocolate for healing therapy. Jampan Tours took me on a trip to a chocolate plantation right across the island. Our tour guide took us through his property, showing us a variety of plants and trees. Like the “monkey no climb” tree. A touch of the sharp points growing off this bark also means “human don’t touch.”
And we were soon onto the sweeter stuff, learning how chocolate is processed. My mind was churning, waiting for the final product. But first! The cocoa bean. Our lovely guide opened up one of the green pods and let us taste the fresh beans inside. White, juicy seeds that taste just like a refreshing fruit. I couldn’t believe that these seeds turn into chocolate after being dried and processed.
The chocolate on this plantation is only used for cooking. This meant no instant gratification. I would have to take my hunk of chocolate home and find a recipe! But, good news there was a little something to get the chocolate craving kick. Cocao Nibs. New to me, but we have had many introductions since. And the experts say they are full of minerals and nutrients, magnesium and help support stable blood sugar and oxygenation. Well all the excitement of the chocolate was leaving me a little short on breath so I had to order a few bags.
A great, personal tour. The guide, also the owner, talks to you just like you are a curious friend. There are no scripts to follow. He tells you how it is. Who wants a scripted tour anyway?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Embrace!

Eat. Pray. Love. This movie really got me. I admire Elizabeth Gilbert because she drops everything, makes one of the BOLDEST moves and says goodbye to her comfort zone and buon giorno to Italia! A deep look at self discovery allows room for everyone for self reflection. Elizabeth Gilbert is different than the people who travel the world. For her, it’s about living in these places, being comfortable and becoming part of the community.
That’s what this blog is all about. Get up and try new things. EMBRACE! The world. If I had a 401K rolling up, some extra savings, I would do just what she did, and who knows maybe someday I will. And I hope you come with me!
When I travel places I look for the authenticity in the experience. I like to lose my way. . Like the time I was nearly stranded at a monastery in the South of France, and kept thinking, I might have to bunk with a monk! Getting caught up in the atmosphere, culture, people and take the roads that will lead you to the special gems is what really makes memories.
Not every experience is going to be something to write home about, or a blog about. But there is something to be taken from each. I would like to encourage everyone to try something new as these beautiful summer days get shorter. Try a new cafĂ© and read a book, go on an art walk, read an inspiring article, try a new fruit at a farmers market. You don’t have to have a pretty penny or trade in your vintage antiques. Be creative, curious, have an open mind and find out where it will lead you.
I never want to live in a strict routine. Flexibility and spontaneity can lead to some of the most daring adventures. And what is life without adventure? Nothing.

Phamaly's Beauty and the Beast





The stars were shining bright at the amphitheater of the Arvada Center, but shining brightest was the cast of Phamaly. Ready to show us what it is to be human in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The first time I saw Phamaly (The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) perform I was struck. Not just by the fact that every actor has a disability ranging from blindness, paralysis to hearing disabilities, but that you will find yourself embracing their characters, disabilities and who they are, because that’s exactly what these actors do.
Surprises always add an edge to a show. And this show was full of them. If you are familiar with “Beauty and the Beast” you must remember Chip and Mrs. Potts. Talk about transforming characters. Their paralysis was worked in by building teacups around their wheelchairs. And the creativity is as big as the ego of Gaston who was so convincing I wanted to pop out of my front row seat and rescue Maurice.
Every character hones their craft, transcending their disability. The casting of the show was spot on. Belle couldn’t have been sweeter; Lefou quirkier, Lumiere and the Feather duster more flirtatious and the Chest of drawers vainer, but you love her anyway. Every single character was in their element, drawing you closer and closer to the stage.
Disney movies always made me believe in magic as a kid. But Phamaly proves that magic is real.