Project Aspen: The Sacrifices We Make

aspen, life, Perspective, Ski Adventures, Travel, Uncategorized

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Aspen is a town of quaint luxury located in ski bum grand central station. From the world’s wealthiest to the waitresses, ski instructors, and bartenders that keep this town shaking, Aspen is a melting pot for anyone seeking adventure and an escape from what most people consider the real world. However, do not think I am claiming that Aspen is not the real world, in fact, it most certainly is. The difference is that we made a choice to make this our real world. We decided to embrace the beauty and freedom that comes with living in Aspen. Now, not all of us have embraced a so-called real job or career, but there are some of us that have. So, what does that mean? It just means we get the best of both worlds in absolute paradise.

Paradise, of course, is an objective term. Everyone’s idea of it can and may be different, however, I would argue that few can deny the majestic spell Aspen casts among the residents and tourists alike. Protruding mountain scapes, mushrooming night life, no pun and pun intended, not to mention the beautiful people, all full of life and experiences. With all that Aspen has to offer, it is no wonder that so many make this place their home, or second home. However, with that being said, there are some sacrifices to be made.

  1. If you live here full-time, you probably are not going to work for the world’s largest companies and make hundred of thousands of dollars a year. This does not mean, you cannot meet a CEO and work remotely for them, but your options are limited.

2. Say hello to continuous online shopping. Yes, there is literally no place to go buy inexpensive clothes, makeup, house supplies, furniture, etc. Even my paper towels I have resorted to bringing in the internet to help with this mundane task. The closest town for any of this is about 45 mins away, and nobody, who works, has any real time for this trek.

3. You have no choice but to become more ‘active.’ Not that this is a sacrifice, but even the most unathletic of people need to step their game up, get up in the morning and go on a hike. We live in one of the most picturesque places in the world, if you aren’t ‘getting after it’ in some form or another, you are wasting precious space. Not to mention, everyone around you is climbing fourteeners and hiking hours to go ski untouched lines. You don’t want to feel like a complete bum now, do you?

4. You will be a topic of gossip at one point or another. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone. Regardless of your reputation, who you hang out with, or any other variables, at some point in time, your name will be in lights (some not so bright) around town. Just the nature of small town livin’.

5. You cannot leave the house without looking like a normal person. You will always run in to someone you know. Whether you are going to the post office, the market, or simply driving across town, you will absolutely run into at least one acquaintance. This town is too small, and everybody knows everybody, so keep that in mind before you leave the house in pajamas and your makeup from last night.

6. Say goodbye to ripe avocados and delicious produce all year round. This is my tragedy. Being from San Diego, I am used to beautiful ripe avocados and fresh produce literally all year long. Not only can you not get amazing produce unless you trek down to Whole Foods, 30 mins away, it’s expensive. Adios fresh farmer’s market finds.

7. Gym memberships are expensive, and there aren’t any decent ones, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Again, being from San Diego, everyone is a member at some gym. The gyms and classes are amazing and there is a whole world of fitness activities to choose from. Aspen, however has private clubs, which are amazing, but too expensive for anyone normal to buy into. Then you have your specialized yoga and other fitness studios, which are great, but also expensive and don’t offer any variety AT ALL.

8. You are on vacation almost all the time, because people always want to come and visit. Aspen is a vacation spot for most, but the few lucky enough to reside in this jewel of a town, expect all of your friends and family to show up at one point or another. There is always somebody in town, which means, as host, you need to provide the entertainment. Prepare to be exhausted everyday, for months…

9. Getting serious work done takes serious discipline. There is always something going on in this town. Whether you are heading on a hut trip, a camping trip, a show at the Belly Up, or 1/2 off at Kenichi, there is not one day or night that doesn’t tempt you to stray from your money-maker. Living in Aspen is a true test of discipline and focus.

10. It’s a pain in the arse to get in and out of this town. Denver is 4 hours away, flights in and out of this town are not only absurdly expensive, but are cancelled half of the time. So, if you are planning on visiting the Aspen bubble, understand that there is a good chance it’s going to be a hellova process.

Yes, those are all sacrifices we must make, but in my opinion you can throw them all out the window. Why? Because these are all things that make Aspen special. This secluded, yet highly sought after wonderland, is one of the best places on earth. Anyone who disagrees hasn’t visited our sacred little town.

So, to all of those dreaming of living in paradise, where there is a will, there’s a way…

 

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Is it Time to Get Serious or to Get Real?

life, Perspective

At what point in your life is it time to ‘get serious?’ This is the question I want to try to hash out an answer to…

First off, what does it mean to ‘get serious?’ The first thing that comes to my mind? You start being boring and stop living a real life. Yuck. Sounds terrifying, so why are so many people getting serious?

‘Getting serious’ doesn’t actually mean what I initially threw out there. For me, it means something a bit different. I am serious, but I am not boring. I am serious, but I do not have a ‘real job.’ I am serious, but I still drink and eat too much. I am serious, but I refuse to let work or societal expectations guide my everyday. I am serious, but I am also just, well, not. So, am I being serious or am I just being real?

I want to switch up the term ‘getting serious’ for ‘getting real.’ Why? Because ‘getting real’, to me, makes more sense than ‘getting serious.’ To get real is to show up in life, to really make things happen, and to be realistic about what you want.

I’ve always been real, but I didn’t ‘get real’ until a few months ago. I was unhappy in San Diego (God knows why), and couldn’t see a way out if I stayed. So, I got real. I got up and moved. I took control of my life and sent myself to Aspen. I wasn’t going to be a ski bum, I wasn’t going to be a party animal, I was going to get my $h!t together. That is getting real. Identifying you need a change and having the balls to make that change.

The next step in ‘getting real’ was deciding to commit to that man I want. No more wishy-washy here and theres. Let’s either do this or not. Let’s get real. We aren’t getting serious, just real.

‘Getting real’ simply means learning to be honest with yourself and your truth. ‘Getting serious’ means adhering to someone else’s idea of ‘getting real.’

So, we all have a choice in life…we can either ‘get serious’ or ‘get real.’

If you disagree – let me know. I would just love to hear what you have to say about ‘getting serious’. Because, if you disagree, it probably means your super good and getting serious.

 

Hike to Cathedral Lake with Mountain Man, Brad Unglert

Uncategorized

Our first day in Aspen and where do we go? Cathedral Lake of course. Brad, who we were were staying with, dragged us out of bed, threw us some rain jackets and stuffed us in the car. It was so worth it. Cathedral Lake was amazing. The hike was pretty steep, but not too bad. We made it in under two hours and that was coming from sea level. Go us. We met some strange dude at the top that was fishing in below freezing waters wearing sandals. Casual. Apparently he does this thing a lot. Brad wanted to jump in to get the ‘gram, but then got showed up by a chick and her dog that just dove right in. All-in-all, the hike was spectacular. The views were amazing, and it was totally majestic.

Directions to the hike

Hike to Cathedral Lake with Mountain Man, Brad Unglert

The Modern Renegade

Travel, Uncategorized


As I peruse through the timeline that is my life I realize the change, the evolution, the metamorphosis I have undergone. From the man I was with, to the boy who occupies my thoughts in this moment. From the life I thought I wanted to the life I am seeking now. I am not the same person I was. Of course, pieces of me still exist, but so much has changed. The girl I was is no longer. The girl I am today is a whole different story, and one that I can confidently say, is that person who has always lived deep within my soul. I have achieved much, yet somehow feel more childish than ever. I consider myself a woman, but with such youth, it’s almost childish.

Perhaps, I am evolved, and I aim to redefine what it is to be a woman of the modern ages. Unfortunately, it remains to be cute rather than sophisticated charm. I know the sophisticated charm lies in me because it comes out every now and again. However, the girl in me has been making an appearance more often than not, scaring the sophistication into total hibernation.

This charm, sophistication and refinement remains inside, but takes on a more juvenile persona. I kinda like it. Summer has passed, and winter is coming. I will not fully let go of the girl inside, for she inspires, excites, and electrifies me. Letting her go, would mean letting a large part of who I am drift away. I am just a little girl with big ambitions and the means to achieve. I love to play in the snow, drink too much, and frolic all day, but somehow these are deemed activities of the immature and childish. I disagree. I believe that both the child and lady in us all can coexist. Where is the expression “girls will be girls?”

Refined sophistication lies within the woman who not only speaks her mind, but makes the choice to live rather than exist within the confines of what she is expected to be. In fact, some find it daring and rather magnetic.

Although, it is time to put the summer sun behind, the little girl renegade in me is not. She remains. She always will.

As I sat with Woof, he told me that he loved the renegade in me. That we were both renegades, which was why we share what we do between us. It was in that moment that I smiled, and realized, quite right he was. I could be as successful and motivated as I wanted, but I was never going to give up my freedom, the will to explore, discover, live.

So many people lose who they were, and become so entranced in their daily lives. They can’t leave, they can’t stay, and they can’t stand it. They are too afraid to do something different for the sake of being insecure. I dare say that side of me has crept up on me more times than I would have liked, but you must harness it. The reason this fear exists is because society has blasted it upon us. For some it is enough, for others it isn’t, but the fear weighs heavily upon their shoulders. For a mere few, this confinement would be the death of them.

Naturally, I’m not saying you cannot be successful in your career, many are and many do. A successful career can play a big part in a successful life. Humans strive to achieve by nature. We are competitive. We like to be the best. Achievement stimulates fulfillment, but only if you view it so. By no means am I saying to live life off the grid, but if that would make you happy, then perhaps it’s time. Just because you choose to view the world and your life differently than others does not mean that you are a renegade of society in its true definition.

So, what then, you might ask, is my definition of a renegade? A renegade is someone who knows when to take control and when to let go. They know when to stand up and when to keep their mouth shut. They are successful, but in doing what they love most, not in what others want them to do. The choices made in life are choices that lead them to their eventual true self, someone who is free from the fear of change, of instability, or being alone. A renegade lives because they know it will be more fun than anyone could have ever imagined. This renegade does not want to become the lawyer that their parents expected and marry the person Grandmother wishes.

The freedom to drink a little too much, move to Costa Rica for a couple of months, play the part of a ski bunny for the winter is what being a renegade is all about. Just make it sustainable. In my eyes, not being able to experience the many tremendously wonderful facets of the current world that we live in is like depriving yourself of a life worth fighting for. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world? Sit atop a camel in Morocco? Ski the powder pillows in Whistler? Or Hike the Inca trail to Machu Pichu?

What works for one may not work for another, but never be too scared to take the risk to fight for the life you want. To be the renegade you want to be. If it’s in you, let it out.

En Route to Distinction: The Pursuit of Excellence

Being Fabulous, Casual Luxury, Confidence, Distinction, Jet setting, San Diego, San Francisco, Travel

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Truer words have never been spoken. Throughout my entire life, I have repeatedly pursued excellence and distinction.  Whether in my academic career or professional ambitions, reaching for the top has been at the peak of my consciousness.

My life’s journey, thus far, has been anything but customary. Having European parents and a California homestead have presented me with opportunities that have allowed me to flourish in both my personal life and professional métiers.

From the Rocky Mountain peaks of Aspen, Colorado to the bustling streets of Paris, my schooling and childhood offered me the experience and knowledge that have led me to this point in my life. A point of savoring my unequivocal thirst for travel and experience, life and love.

My love for Europe developed when I attended high school in Paris. It was an experience never to be forgotten, and one that will influence me my entire life. The people I met, and the lessons I learned, have allowed me to recognize the differences between nations. Cultures and customs, whether in business or in personal relationships vary greatly. What seems appropriate in one city, may, in fact, be quite offensive in another. The psychology behind these differences has always intrigued me, especially among different societies. I believe it was having the opportunity to travel that truly stimulated my early interest in pursuing the fabulous live I live.

SkiBoots and Stilettos was born on this very pursuit of excellence. This excellence does not always come in the form of professional superiority, but in living a life filled with distinction, refinement, and most importantly, the lust for gratifying indulgences.