Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Magee year in review

Every year Christmas sneaks up on me and this year was no exception. After Thanksgiving it seems like life had a fast forward button and before I knew it here I was facing the end of the year. The end of the year is always a time of reflection for me to see how much I achieved and if I obtained the goals I set out to accomplish. So it is the Magee year in review-

1. Received another stamp in my passport: this is important for me to do every year because it is the only thing that makes my job worth it. This year we traveled to the Bahamas for a friends wedding. While the Bahamas isn't exactly top on my destination list (due to the fact it is touristy and expensive) we throughly enjoyed the Atlantis. From the pina coladas to the casino and water park, the Atlantis had it all and was a wonderful spot to watch two of my favorite people get hitched. It was also the place I rang in my 30th birthday which is not a bad destination to do this. I try to be out of the country every year on my birthday so I killed two birds with one stone on this goal.

2. Hike 20 14ers: Ok so I didn't quite get 20 in as I had planned this year. In fact I only got in 6 (I had done 14 last year so 20 seemed a doable goal). There are 54 in Colorado so hiking 20 would have put me at almost the halfway point. The trouble was that there was so much snow we couldn't really begin to hike until the end of June and then the snow came early which ended the season around September. The other issue I failed to face was that last year I hiked most all of the mountains that were close to Denver which forced me to drive farther into the wilderness. Not an issue if you have a hiking partner but a bit of a hindrance in hiking alone. I am still proud of myself for hiking 6 but I hope to tackle more next year so that I can finish my list and see more of the beautiful state I live in.

(missouri mtn)

(mt massive)

(la plata)



3. Become yoga teacher certified:This is partially the reason why I did not get to hike as much as I would have liked. I started my yoga teacher training last January and it has been an adventure ever since. I finished my actual training in April and then began teaching 6 friends and family classes for my service project. Teaching was terrifying and humbling and exciting and it showed me just how much my friends support me. I had friends come take a yoga class that never had before and some friends that came every week. Without them I would not be where I am today. After my seva project I began teaching for my internship which meant I was on the schedule at my gym to teach 10 classes to the general public. These people had no idea I was new or not getting paid and it was up to me to make a good impression. Almost a year later here I am with two classes on the schedule, making a little extra money and a lot of memories. I have made connections with people from my classes and not only that my husband has become hooked on working out. Now we go to the gym together and he takes my class and gives me feedback to help me grow. This goal took up the majority of my year, time and money but it was so worth it.

4. White water raft: I cannot believe I have lived in Colorado 6 years before doing this but it has been on my horizon for as long as I can remember. My in-laws took us all on a mountain vacation in Crested Butte and booked us a white water rafting trip on the Taylor River. There is nothing like paddling through fast moving water and maneuvering a boat through rocks to bring a family together. I also went from being scared and sitting in the back of the boat to being in the front and wanting to get in on all the action. A must do next year.

5. Run an adventure race: I am by no means a runner but when one of my friends and teachers at the gym mentioned the Warrior Dash I knew I had to jump in and try. The Warrior Dash is a 5k adventure race and it was held at one of th ski resorts in Colorado. While you may be running you don't ever feel bored because there is mud to crawl through, walls to climb over and fire to jump. I had such a wonderful time I signed us up for the Rugged Maniac this past October which was another adventure race (although not nearly as challenging I thought). The best part of both races were the costumes and coming together with my friends and getting to know them all better through the weekend.

6. Girls trip: I think it had probably been since my wedding that I had a chance to see my favorite twin sisters and so along with my sister we planned a girls trip to Myrtle Beach. This was my first time to experience Myrtle Beach and I have to say the water was perfect and the sand was hot. We went in September so there was hardly anyone there which made flights easy for me. There are parts of Myrtle Beach that are filled with tacky souviner shops and giant buffets but we spent most of our time at a rented condo. I have to give my sister and friend all the credit for planning the trip and reserving the condo and overall giving us a wonderful weekend getaway. We do not see each other nearly enough so it was great to get together on the coast again.

7. Celebrated two years of marriage: I cannot believe it has been two years since saying "I do" and in January it will be 6 years of being together. While our relationship still has it's ups and downs like any other I can say that my husband and I have grown up and together through the years. We are more compassionate towards one another, listen more and support each other to no end. Chad has come to every one of my yoga classes from the start and he has supported my growth as a teacher. For our anniversary we wanted to spend it at Walloon Lake but since we couldn't make it to Michigan we camped and hike Tabeguache and Mt. Shavano, two of Colorado's 14ers. I thought it only appropriate to hike two mountains for two years. This also marked completing my 17th and 18th 14ers which was fitting because we got married on the 18th. It was a wonderful anniversary because, to me hiking is symbolic of a marriage. It can start out easy, it can grow tedious and hard after awhile, but we were in it together and finished with smiles on our faces. Not even dark looming clouds could dampen our day.

8. Learn to knit: I know this makes me sound like I am 105 but I really wanted to learn how to knit this year. I spent every Friday and some Sundays in November going to my friend Stephanie's house to learn how to knit and work on projects. The result was a new skill and some fabulous Christmas presents that I hope my family will love - or at least know how much time I put into them. I was determined to learn this skill and while I am by no means perfect I am grateful to have a friend who could teach me something that will stay with me my whole life.

These are just a few highlights of a year in the life of a Magee. I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to accomplish next year as I would rather set goals than resolutions for the new year. Of course I want to continue with my yoga education and get another stamp in my passport which will both be completed thanks to a level two yoga teaching retreat in Costa Rica. I want to celebrate my marriage again in another unique and special way as well as run a few more adventure races and improve my time. I am considering running a marathon or at least a half after watching "The Biggest Loser" and seeing those people complete one (in a desert no less!). And I would love to do a handstand unassisted in the middle of the room. I hope to continue to inspire people through teaching yoga and make new friends. I have gotten rid of the negative people in my life and for that I feel 100% more positive and fulfilled. I have no time for flakes anymore. I hope to grow my list of 14er hikes and visit Nepal at some point to see my future goal of Everest. Most of all I want to continue to grow as a person and fill my life with all the experiences I can. I had no idea what this past year would bring but I knew the direction I wanted to go in and as long as I can learn to keep an open mind I think that 2012 will bring great things as well.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Facebook Hiatus

I'm always one who is up for a challenge so when I was on a late night walk with my husband and dog a few weeks ago and my husband bet me I couldn't go a week without facebook...well I had to take him up on the challenge. The stakes were high- a $100 lululemon shopping trip if I could live without it for exactly one week. In order to truly be fair I had to deactivate my account. As anyone knows who has a facebook account, as long as your account is active alerts will come to your email and phone and I wanted to be off the grid. So Sunday the 20th I let Chad hit delete and I was officially off the radar.

To understand why this bet took place you have to understand why my husband wagered it in the first place.

My name is Natalie and I'm addicted to facebook.

It's the first thing I do in the morning before I even get out of bed, and the last thing I do before I go to sleep. I have been on it since my friend from FSU told me I should join 6 years ago. I had to use my sister's college email address (since I had already graduated school) just to get an account. Back in those days you only had one profile picture at a time and the main form of communication was writing on the wall and poking. I have watched it change over time from photo albums that allowed 60 pictures to 200, email alerts sent to the phone, newsfeeds and everything in-between. Since I fly half the week it is my lifeline to the outside world. It's a source of joy an stress for me and annoyance for those around me. I have a love hate relationship with facebook and here I was giving it up and testing myself.

I decided to chronicle it here day by day:

Sunday night - officially deactivated my account. Feeling slight moment of panic until I get an email from facebook saying I can come back any time. Have deleted the app from my phone so I won't be tempted. Go to bed early since I have nothing to look at.

Monday- wake up early and head to the gym with my husband, realize I don't have facebook so I can't "check in." How will people know where I am? See friends at the gym and have an awkward moment - do they know I'm off facebook? Do they think I've deleted and blocked them? Feel I must share with everyone that I did not in fact delete and block them. One bonus I get to find out from a friend in person that she got engaged instead of hearing third hand from the internet. Start day one of my three day trip. Rely on the kindle and knitting to get me through the night. Spend a lot of time making a play list for my weekend yoga classes.

Tuesday - Must internalize my complaining as I have no outlet to vent now. Feeling cut off from the world until I realize that I can still text and call people. What a genius idea! Start texting my friends when I get bored and am entertained briefly. My phone is pretty much useless now I have decided. Keep checking email to find nothing interesting. Think internet would be a fun distraction but realize it's full of pages that have links to facebook on them so feel it's best to avoid all electronics.

Wednesday - Husband calls and leaves voicemail saying he's wondering when I am coming home from my trip. Says he misses me and doesn't know what I've been up too since I'm not on facebook. Find friends texting me more because there is no other way besides email to get in touch with me. Call my sister who sounds actually happy to hear from me for once and delve into family issues that I once would have broadcast online but now have to keep private. As it should be. Still find myself checking phone but leaving it farther away than arms reach. Come home to in-laws and roommate and enjoy their company distracted. Knitting more - wine helps.

Thursday THANKSGIVING! - wake up and find myself wondering what's going on in the world of facebook. What are people eating and what are they thankful for? Start my day with spin yoga at the spinning yogi where my friend Jessica teaches. After class I send her personal text to say thank you when normally I would have done it on facebook. Send texts to friends to tell them happy day and call my family. Finding my life is becoming more personal where my contacts are involved. My world is becoming smaller because it only involves those I immediately talk too. Find myself so busy with family on thanksgiving day and so undistributed by the internet that I don't even miss a thing as the day goes on. Really enjoy everyone's company and all the facetime. Have too much wine and sleep horrible.

Friday - Have no way to advertise my facebook class so I just have to show up downtown and hope for the best. Have the most students I ever had and really enjoy the energy especially since Chad and my mother in-law are there. After class feeling wonderful and head home for more family time before heading out again for my Friday knitting date with my friend Stephanie. We have nicknamed November "Knitvember" because she taught me how to knit and we are making Christmas presents. Knitting is saving my life because it's keeping my hands busy and I can do it while watching tv. After knitting date head over to yoga studio to teach my second class of the day. Focus has been on heart openers and it wasn't until this class that I actually began to feel my heart open too. At the end of class a student came up to talk to me - he had a beautiful practice and we were chatting a bit. He offered me this crystal he had which he said he used for healing energy purposes and he told me to hold it for a brief moment which I did. We talked some more then both parted ways. On the way home I was so happy I felt my heart might burst out of my chest. Realized that in the past I had shared so much on facebook that I'd given not just the bad emotions away but the good as well. With no place to share this happiness and feeling I only had to keep it in my heart and let it grow. Listened to the Ben Harper song I played for my class and feel incredible happiness:

'We stood in the dark
With our hands over each other's heart
We didn't waste a word
Grace is love undeserved
I've give up
I've give in
I've give out
And back again
Now that we're in from the cold
Our days are made of gold
What has been lived
Can't be changed
But what we have lost
Can still be reclaimed
And I won't let you down
When you feel love
You remind me I can feel love
We sleep and share the same dream love
When we feel love'

Saturday: Leave in the morning to teach my yoga class - have settled in to the fact that I have nowhere to "check in" too. Find myself less distracted overall thus leaving more time for family conversations, knitting and working out. Really glad I don't have facebook today so I can't see everyone rooting for Alabama online and my auburn alumni being upset at losing. Chad and I attend an afternoon yoga class and afterwards have dinner at Fat Sulley's. Realization sinks in that no one knows where I am or what I'm doing and I kind of like it. At home settle in with a glass of wine and turn on tv to watch free movies on Starz channel. Are you serious, "The Social Network" is on. Facebook is mocking me in my final hours of the hiatus. Want to call up Mark Zuckerberg and cuss him out for making such an addictive social networking site. He is the cause of all this and I'm slightly annoyed at him right now. Resort to making tutus, drinking more wine and calling it a night. One thing about my lack of facebooking is I definitely go to bed earlier.

Sunday: The bet is over and I've made it a week. Can log on anytime now to facebook but find myself not wanting too. It was the same feeling I had when Chad and I got engaged and only we knew and no one else yet. That feeling of having something I wanted to keep for myself and even knowing I eventually would share it - just savoring the moment for myself. I could get back on facebook but it was like stepping back into an old habit when you know you've done so well without it. This must be what smoker's feel like when they quit but then get drunk and pick it up again. You know you shouldn't because you can live without it...and yet...

and yet....facebook for all that it's worth is, I have to admit a part of my life. It has been for the past 6-7 years and old habits die hard.

But here are some things I learned while on my hiatus:

-I noticed things more. The little kid with a mohawk in front of me at the grocery store. The smile on the guy at the gas station's face. The conversation going on behind me in line to try on clothing, the sunrise while driving, how content my cat is when I pet him (ditto for the dog). In short I became more aware of my surroundings when I wasn't buried in a phone

-How useless an Iphone really is without the facebook app.

-Life became slightly less complicated and a little more drama free. I no longer felt the daily annoyance, anger or whatever happened because I wasn't wrapped in other people's bullshit. I also realized how vocal I became to those around me about life's trials and tribulations because I had no where else to vent or share.

-Facebook is great for keeping up with casual friendships. I didn't miss the people close to me because they were just a text or phone call away, but I did miss those I spend the majority of my time interacting online with. I don't know if they realized I was away or not but I had this fear that they thought I had abandoned them. Like they went to search for me and I was gone. It's similar to dropping off the face of the earth if you leave facebook. What about my happy hour book club and 14er hike club? Was it still there or had it vanished with me? I had no idea.

Overall the most important thing I learned is that something that consumes me so much is something I don't really need at all. I don't need it to have friends, or to tell someone happy thanksgiving. I don't need it to have a full yoga class or spread a positive message. I don't need it to see what my husband and family are up too and I don't need it to keep from being bored. My life in fact, became more whole and complete because the things that moved me and my emotions remained inside. I had been giving so much of myself away I never stopped to think what that had done to me. I became a happier person because I wasn't obsessed with checking my phone or "checking in." I never realized the opposite happened that when I "checked in" I really "checked out." I think I personally used facebook as an escape to lead a life that was a little less ordinary but in the process contained more drama. There's a price for everything. And by leaving facebook I saw how rich my life really was and my life was even more my life because it was my own and not the whole social networks. Of course I'll be back on facebook now and of course I'll enjoy it...but just like mastering a complicated yoga pose...once something magical happens you can never go back to your same viewpoint. What was once hard is now easy. Like doing a master cleanse and now I am starting with a clean slate.

And oh yes I won my $100 shopping trip I'm happy to say.

Monday, October 31, 2011

80s ski party, Pumpkin carving and Halloween Extravaganza

The Magee's have been quite busy the past few weekends and in the spirit of Halloween, dressing up has been involved. Last weekend we celebrated my friend Margaret's birthday at the 80s ski party. You might remember my post from last year involving my attendance at this E.P.I.C. event. Well it just so happened that this year the party fell on my friend Margaret's birthday and she decided it would be a great way to celebrate. All the proceeds from the event go to First Descents and last year they raised enough money to sponsor a whole summer camp.

This year's ski party was much better than the last I thought. Tickets were $45 but Chad and I were able to snag a deal of Zowzee so we only had to pay $25 each. Once again there was an open bar but this year's event was sponsored by Bud Light and Pucker so there was an assortment of beers from shock top to (my personal favorite) Landshark as well as a shot ski and ice luge.

They had flip cup tables set up and a lot more food than last year from local organic vendors with everything from sandwiches to pizza.

There was a live band called, That 80s band that sounded so amazing you thought it was a dj playing the actual 80s song and not the cover band. Best of all were the costumes and they did not disappoint. As usual the men were better dressed than the women as some of the women missed the "ski" part and dressed in just 80s aerobic ski apparel.

There was lots of neon:

And lots of people partying:

The Magee's were stylin':

And did I mention there was a photobooth?

Saturday night was our second annual pumpkin carving extravaganza party. I kept the party small this year intentionally because honestly having people carve pumpkins in your house is quite a mess...but it was awesome. We skyped with Kelsey's family and judged their pumpkins and they judged ours. No costumes were involved but lots of creativity and of course holiday themed food.

let the carving begin:

the finished product!

With pumpkins carved and one round of dressing up complete there was only one event left to celebrate...Halloween!

Since Halloween is on a monday this year we of course celebrated Saturday night. Last year was kind of a disaster since we had no plans and bar hopped all night so this year we decided to buy tickets to the Exotic Ball at Casselman's sponsored by Alice 105.9. The venue was decorated with pirate ships and skulls everywhere and there were enough bars set up that you never had to wait for a drink. I had never been to Casselman's before but I enjoyed how large the bar was so that you never felt too cramped. We actually got a hotel downtown for the night so that we didn't have to worry about driving and my best friend Lyndee and her husband got a hotel as well. So we met at their hotel once they got downtown to pre-drink and get ready and of course take some photos!

Me as...

The black swan!

Wednesday Adams and the black swan:

Chad and I:

Can you guess what he is?

We didn't want to be the first people at Casselman's so we went to the Matchbox beforehand for some drinks:

Then it was finally time for the real party. My favorite part of Halloween is seeing what everyone is dressed as and you know when you are going to an event where the grand prize is $2500 for best costume you won't be disappointed.

Lyndee and Medusa - she won second place

They took first place:

Lyndee and skeleboner

oh yeeahh

shots shots and more shots!

Lyndee and our awesome bartender:

If you don't watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force you probably have no idea who this is but I love master shake:



Getting a hotel downtown was a smart idea and allowed us all to have some fun responsible partying. Of course not driving leads to being over served but hey when you are an adult it's "Liquor Treat" not "trick or treat" right?

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rugged Maniac 5k and rugged hiking

It was an absolutely beautiful October weekend for a 5k adventure race and some back country hiking. Saturday my friends Lyndee, Mark, Meaghan, James and Margaret, Chad and I all ran the Rugged Maniac 5k which was held at the Thunder Valley Motorcross track. We were team gold bandits:Link

and yes we did run with beers in our hands

there was quite a bit of cheek showing as we ran

you need muscles like these to run in a leotard

the guys loved their gold shorts

post-race and meaghan and I forgot pants to change in too....that was quite the mistake.

Drinking at a bar looking like homeless people...mud in hair and all.

Then today (Sunday) Chad and I took a hike along part of the historic Colorado trail. The plan was to head to Estes Park but after the fun we had Saturday night, getting up at 5am was not reality. So we enjoyed the beautiful weather and the fall colors changing:

Here's a good look at The Castle from Wellington Lake. It's such a challenging climb it only sees 2-3 ascents a year. There are so many beautiful rock formations in the Lost Creek Wilderness area.

All in all a fabulous weekend with some amazing people. I couldn't ask for a better kick off to one of my favorite months out of the year.