2014 Favorite Things

As I unwind the most eventful year I think I have lived yet, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places, events, music and food experiences of this most epic year for me.

Aspen

Snowmass AspenMy 2013 new years eve and first day of 2014 was spent in Aspen, Colorado with a couple of close friends, my first time.  It was a memorable NYE of snowboarding at Snowmass, soaking in steamy mineral waters, eating Mexican food, drinking wine, and enjoying fireworks.  Snowmass is beautifully huge and after riding, we decided to find the Penny Hot Springs; there are a few natural hot springs in Colorado and if you can stumble upon this non advertised natural local spot between Carbondale and Aspen do it.  The stars and moon that night were memorable, as were the fireworks in Basalt and in Aspen, what a beautiful place on earth!

 

Breckenridge Ice Castles and Melt Mix

IceIn February I visited the Ice Castles in Breckenridge, Colorado with family and friends, the colorful lights and natural and man made ice formations were breath taking to wander in.  Shortly after in March, I finished a DJ mix featuring tracks that captured my emotions at that time. Listen to my 2014 Melt DJ Mix with styles of Dub, Dubstep, Electronic Bass music below or here, enjoy!

 

 

30th Birthday Week 

Colfax Marathon TeamIn May I ran a leg of the Colfax Marathon in Denver with my husband Phil, friends Lisa and Danielle and my sister Angie, my second time running that race. It was a few days before my birthday so it was wonderful to be turning 30 feeling healthy and happy with people I love.  Phil and I drove to Idaho Springs afterwards, soaked in the Indian Hot springs and went out to eat and drink in town.  On my birthday and to celebrate Phil’s too since his is the day after mine, we went to Zengo in Denver with family and friends, an Asian-Latin fusion restaurant I enjoyed and recommend, their sushi, ceviche and cocktails are delicious.

 

Barcelona, Madrid & El Tiemblo

I applied for a week-long program earlier in the year to teach conversational English to adult professionals in Spain and was accepted for late June.  I also have always wanted to go to Barcelona for the Sonar Music Festival of progressive music and multimedia arts, which was also in June.  So in mid-June I took a long flight to Barcelona, Spain and then traveled to Madrid, Spain and El Tiemblo the following week.

In Barcelona I stayed near Nova Icaria Beach so I could walk to it from my hotel and it was close to a bus and metro to go into the city center. The first day there I took an amazing tour of the city briefly viewing historic places such as the Catedral de Barcelona, the Gothic quarters, Park Guell, the Spanish Village, Montjuic Castle, La Sagrada Familia basilica and the stadiums where the 1992 Olympic games were held.  I was blown away by the architecture and free spirit of Barcelona, and I loved eating the fresh Paella!

 

Port Olympic Beachlas sagrada familiaPaellaparkguellspain3 Sonar2014MontjuicCastlespain1JamonElTiemblospain2spain4

So that week in Barcelona I went 2 days and 1 night to the Sonar Music Festival held at Fira Monjuic and Fira Gran, which was overwhelming and amazing!  My favorite acts were the Butterz crew, Matmos, Flux Pavillion and below is a video clip of Machinedrum Vapor City Live.

The following week I volunteered for VaughnTown teaching conversational English to adult professionals who lived in various places in Spain. I traveled from Barcelona to Madrid by train, and took an hour bus ride to a town called El Tiemblo and had free board and food each day.  It was a mind opening experience as much of the time was spent having free conversations and skits over walks, meals, wine and games.  I spent the last night in Madrid enjoying cuisine such as Jamon Serrano, the city sights and great company.  I got to know a bunch of wonderful strangers with many different backgrounds, eat wonderful food & drink and see exquisite architecture, nature and culture of some of the best cities in Europe so it really truly was a great experience!

The Shambhala Mountain Center

shambhala

Phil and I took a meditation class at the Shambhala center in Boulder earlier in the year and learned a lot about the sitting meditation technique and principles of the Shambhala Path.  Following this I read The Sacred Path of the Warrior and Cutting Through Material Spiritualism by Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of Shambhala, which are wonderful books. Then in August we traveled to the Shambhala Mountain Center in Northern Colorado and saw the Great Stupa of Dharmakala.  We spent the day meditating and learning about this special place on a guided tour, the peace and beauty that radiates from this unique building is very calming and everyone was so very nice, I loved it.

“Established in 1971 by Tibetan meditation master and teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala Mountain Center welcomes all people with inspiration, interest and curiosity about the nature of self and society.”

The Amann-Tafoya October Wedding

JL_AmannTafoya_Select_ScreenRes-021After over 7 years of being together I married my best friend and lover, Phil Amann on October 25, 2014 amidst close family and friends at Christies of Genesee in Golden, Colorado.  It was one if not the best day and night of my life, I was so happy. We have shared a passion for music among other things and I truly feel inspired, comforted, accepted and loved by the wonderful blessing that is my husband and am lucky to be his wife.  I am also blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to share this time with, it really was such a sunny happy day at a beautiful venue!

Honeymoon in Jamaica

JamaicaPhil and I flew to Montego Bay a day after our wedding and were greeted with offerings of Cubans, Red Stripes and Bob Marley which we took.  We then spent most of our time in Jamaica at the Grand Palladium Resort in Lucea, Jamaica, an all-inclusive place with a few restaurants, a casino, dance halls and stage, huge pools and swim up bars, and a few private beaches with water sports and activities.  Swimming, kayaking, the live Reggae bands, zip lining through the jungle in Hanover an hour drive away, and the Jamaican jerk chicken were some highlights.  It was a beautiful setting to a mostly relaxing romantic honeymoon we will always remember 😉

 

Bacon, Beer, Cannabis & Caribou

Honorable mentions for this year go to the Man Candy Bacon at Ignite restaurant in Denver, a honey drizzled spicy bacon heaven appetizer for bacon lovers.  My favorite craft beers have to go to the Poblano Stout and the Chainsaw Prince of Karate Sour Ale Dragon fruit beer at Big Choice Brewery in Broomfield, Colorado, both have distinctly unique memorable flavors.   And of course for those of you who aren’t aware, Colorado passed Amendment 64 last year, legalizing recreational marijuana.  So my favorite buds this year have to go to Purple Trainwreck, a pungent rich smelling warm heady Indica strain, and Blue Dream a light fruity pretty Sativa.  My favorite music album this year was Caribou‘s Our Love LP, a mesmerizing instrumental electronic delicious compilation with R&B inspired vocals.

baconbeerpurpletrainwreckcaribou

I should stick to poetry, I know, but I had to spill my guts about this year since it was so rad.

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