Aging with Gusto! My Travel Blog!

Been completely gluten-free for 12 days now. I feel much better in myself, but I’m not sure gluten is main issue. Oh well, you have to try! I’ll keep up the gluten-free diet, just because it makes ME feel better. I wondered if I was allergic to dairy, then I tried making a cappuccino with almond milk……not going to happen again!

Anyway, on to brighter subjects!

Aging  certainly isn’t for wimps so as I struggle uphill with the big 60 just over a year ahead of me, I plan my future with gusto! (and three trips in the pipeline)

Hey everyone needs a week in Mexico in March. Our body craves sunshine, so lets talk Mexico today! My first trip to Mexico was 2009. I’d always avoided it because I’d heard stories! 

My first trip was to the Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta. One trip and I was hooked. I nearly didn’t make it. 2009 was the year the company I used to work for (but no more thank heavens), laid off half of its staff. (I survived that ugly environment for another five years). It was also the year of Swine Flu, which delayed our trip for a couple of months, when I finally made it, this is what greeted me.

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Been back to this resort twice since then. It never disappoints.

I still have an awful lot of exploring to do in Mexico as I’ve only visited Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Thankfully it’s not a very long flight from Colorado. Yes, I’m lucky enough to call Colorado my home.


Colors of October


Love the morning sky in October.

Hooked on Sunsets – Nuevo Vallarta Mexico – 2009

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Minolta DSC

I visited Mexico for the very first time in 2009, and wondered why I’d left it for so long! This sunset was taken from the beautiful resort “Grand Velas” in Nuevo Vallarta. It’s the best resort I’ve stayed in so far. Their three gourmet restaurants are unbeatable. I went back in 2012 and it was just as good, if not better.

A period of Calm


Minolta DSCThis photo was taken in July 2009 in Nuevo Vallarta Mexico. 2009 was a tough year. The company I worked for laid off half of its staff. Bad times! I had a trip to Mexico planned for March, but had to postpone it because of the travel complications caused by the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. I badly needed a vacation, but we got there in the end. The resort was peaceful because July isn’t the busiest time to visit Mexico. Many people were still afraid to travel because of H1N1.

I took this photograph on the first evening of my trip. Isn’t it beautiful? For the first time in about six month I felt calm and relaxed. Although I’m not in Mexico now, I do feel relaxed for the first time in four months. I’ve been job hunting and doubting my abilities after being laid off from that same company I survived in 2009.

I was bitter and hurt when they let me go. Seriously, after sixteen years, who wouldn’t feel that way? It’s behind me now though and pretty soon I’ll be starting in a new and exciting position with a new company. My commute is less and my paycheck better. Some things are just meant to be. Yes, I’m a little nervous starting somewhere new after sixteen years, but I’m excited too.

What’s even more exciting is that in less than four months I’m flying to Italy for a three-week vacation with family and friends. I think I’m going to like 2015 very much. Out with the old and in with the new! Happy New Year at last!

If you are looking at my photograph and want to try this breath-taking ‘all inclusive resort’ yourself. It is the exquisite Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Truly the most relaxing and welcoming place I have ever stayed. Grand Velas – Nuevo Vallarta


Playa (not so) Grande in Cabo San Lucas

I am currently staying at the Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas.

I would upload a photograph of the place, but the expensive wifi is abysmal. I would say this is probably the most disappointing Mexican hotel I have ever stayed in. It is noisy and has absolutely no character.

The staff is pleasant, the food is acceptable, (but not great). The lobby bar plays the music so loud it is painful.

So glad I didn’t take the all-inclusive package here.

The beach is nice and the sunsets are pretty.

The rooms are clean and well maintained, but it lacks character. There are no outstanding features to speak of. It’s like a permanent spring break for badly behaved adults. Back in the seventies, this is what Benidorm was like (maybe it still is).

This is my fourth trip to Mexico and second to Cabo San Lucas. When I last stayed here (in 2009), I stayed in the Hacienda Del Mar, which was a beautiful resort.

Best hotel I’ve stayed at in Mexico? Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta! Beautifully maintained, incredible staff, gourmet restaurants.

If I were grading the hotels out of ten it would go like this.

Playa Grande – 3

Hacienda Del Mar – 5

Grand Velas – a perfect 10.

I’ll try once again to utilize the expensively useless wifi……..NOPE……what did I get for my money? Disappointment.

I know wifi isn’t the most important feature of my vacation, but if I pay for it, I should get it!

Avoid this hotel like the plague, it’s a HUGE RIP OFF!


Back to Cabo San Lucas

CIMG0478The last four years have literally flown, I can’t believe it’s already October 2013.

Where have I been what have I done? There have been good times and bad times since my last visit to Cabo San Lucas in December 2009, but I choose to just remember the good.

In August of 2010 we went to Rome. I have had a love affair with Italy since I was five and tasted my first Italian Ice Cream.  After many trips to various places in that magical romantic country, I still want more.

So the Spanish Steps get a little crowded sometimes, who cares, the atmosphere is unbeatable.

In 2011 we took a trip back to England, first time in quite a while. We visited old friends and old haunts.  I’d forgotten how green and beautiful it was. The poppies growing in the grounds at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire were gorgeous.


Where was my next photo opportunity? I believe it was Thanksgiving in Vail in 2011.


Whats this? Why a frozen fountain of course, its Vail, things like that happen.

In May 2012 we made a return trip to the gorgeous Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, where we were treated like royalty.  It is one of my favorite hotels.


2012 was a good year, we also went to Steamboat Springs. Once in August and once in November. What a delightful mountain town.




2013 has been busy, but we enjoyed a couple of days in Keystone.


A long weekend in San Francisco

And now, unexpectedly, I am going to relax for a week in Cabo San Lucas. I hope it’s as beautiful as i remember it.

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Dead of July (Small)

Random People


Siesta time at Via Condotti

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Exhausted after a day on the beach in Nuevo Vallarta

Some vacation memories are not of the scenery and history, but of the people we see along the way.

October – where did it go?







Every Sunday I spend 30 minutes (or longer) sitting on my deck, sipping a glass of wine and reflecting. It’s a great way to put one week to bed and think about the one ahead. Is occurred to me as I sipped my Shiraz, that this is the last weekend in October. Where did it go?


It seems like only yesterday it was September and I was blogging about my daughter’s 28th birthday, now it is almost Halloween, Thanksgiving is on the way, with Christmas snapping at its heels. The year has flown, but I have accomplished a great deal.


I finished writing my novel ‘Dead of July’ this year (Preview) Dead of July. I found a brilliant editor called Amy Eye, who is helping me perfect this book ready for public consumption. I am hoping to publish my book in March.

I am having my two published short stories re-edited and re-published:

Girl on the Beach (UK)

Girl on the Beach (US)

Guy at the Bar Amazon

Guy at the Bar Amazon UK

I returned to the beautiful resort of ‘Grand Velas’ in Nuevo Vallarta Mexico and had a wonderful time. Total relaxation in beautiful surroundings. I met some really nice people there too. I wish I had asked them for their contact info.


I visited ‘Steamboat Springs’ Colorado for the first time and hiked up Werner Mountain. We liked it so much we are going back for Thanksgiving. We may even visit the Cafe Diva again. It was a gormet delight.


My lovely daughter started horse riding again, oh the memories came flooding back when I saw her on the back of a beautiful American Saddlebred. It’s been way too long. I think Longview Stables will see a lot more of her once she is done with Law School.

Yes so far 2012 has been a great year. I hope everyone who reads this blog stops and reflects on their year and shares their lovely memories with me.

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Grand Velas – Nuevo Vallarta – Perfect Vacation

I had to share just a few more photos with you. This beautiful resort is just too good to keep to myself.

I also want to remember the people who made it so special (bad at names but remembered a few) Karina, Alejandro and Carlos are the names I remember. Oh and Victor, who kept us all fit with water aerobics.

No more words, just photographs.

Evening walk on the beach.

Beautiful grounds.

Banderas Bay after the sun sets.

Beautiful flowers

Lying by the pool, looking up at the palm trees.

The beautiful view greeted me every morning.

No words necessary.

Happy toes.

I have to get back into my busy life now. I work full-time, write books in my spare time and manage my husband’s business, but for one week, while I was in the beautiful Grand Velas, I did nothing. Life was good. Everyone remembered my name and treated me like Royalty.




Puerto Vallarta – Mexico – Memories

A seven-day vacation is just not long enough. The time passed by too quickly. I am already missing the beautiful ‘Grand Velas’ resort on Banderas Bay in Nuevo Vallarta Mexico. It was wonderful. When we arrived we were greeted with a cold drink and cold, lemon scented face cloths to refresh us after our journey. After checking in, we were given a complimentary ‘spa moment’ shoulder massage, awesome. We hadn’t even got to our room yet.

We sat in the lobby on arrival and enjoyed a free shoulder massage.

After unpacking a few things we headed down to ‘Frida’, the Mexican restaurant, and our favorite restaurant in the resort. The mouth-watering dishes and attentive, fun-loving staff made this a great experience. This is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. It is a gourmet eating experience.

Relaxing and enjoying ‘Frida’

After eating we enjoyed a couple of drinks on the terrace.

Enjoying an ‘after dinner’ drink on the terrace.

And to top the evening off, a soak in our own private hot tub.

Our own private hot tub.

Lester played football and volleyball

I enjoyed a glass of champagne in the pool


The sunset was stunning

After the sunset the resort took on a new magic.


I took daily walks on the beach

Beautiful relaxing resort

The local wildlife

Lovely memories of a relaxing tranquil vacation. ‘Frida’ was our favorite restaurant here, but we also ate in ‘Piaf’ (French) and Lucca (Italian), which were just as delicious. The staff in ‘Frida’ are what made the difference.

We drank and had snacks by the pool. Every morning I had breakfast in ‘Azul’ and watched the ocean. The sound of the ocean and the tropical birds lulled us to sleep every night. This was just how a vacation should be. Missing it already!

Life is busy and stressful so at least once a year we should take a week away. It doesn’t have to be anywhere expensive or tropical, just a place to stay away from work, emails, the internet and the daily routine. However, if you do want tropical, I highly recommend the ‘Grand Velas’ in Nuevo Vallarta. We all need to give our body and brain a rest. If you don’t do it already, start now. Happy vacationing!


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