Sushi + Sax

sushi in boulder

sushi in boulder

sushi in boulder

What, the sushi chef at your favorite spot doesn’t randomly play the saxophone during dinner service? I know. Weird, right? But here is the funny thing — once you get over the shock that the entire sushi chef counter now has sunglasses on and are playing a variety of instruments — you start bobbing your head and singing along.

Yet another strangely entertaining and odd experience in Boulder.



Finny and I met up last week for our annual girl’s adventure. This year, we tackled Austin, Texas. And oh — the shenanigans:





Chicken shack

Electric Cock


The Electric Cock

Colorado River

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Finny and Donk





Albino Dog

We rented bikes from Barton Springs Bike Rental (A+), where the shop dog — Bubs — is a deaf, albino Australian Shepherd. We almost didn’t want to go ride, we were so in love. And the owners have incorporated the sweet dog in their logo and neon sign outside. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a town more in love with dogs.

Riding bikes along the Colorado River was like a giant Nike ad. Healthy people everywhere, doing their thing, many with dogs in tow:


Austin is a teacup of a town; you can rent a bike and see the majority of it within a few hours, including the great stretches along the shady river. If I lived here, I’d be on these trails all the time. It was nice to have a bit of exercise thrown into a trip that traditionally only makes us work up a sweat from lifting tequila to our lips. This year? Much tamer. Still great food, the best company and a lot of fun wandering — but we behaved.

Lockhart Black\'s BBQ

Black\'s BBQ


Snack Shack


Snack Shack

Bless our Texan bbq loving hearts, we may be growing up:

Finny and Donk

Love that girl.


Fashionistas: Runway Edition

Sweet Kara,

Friend, I am tired. This post is more than a week late because I’ve spent more time at Denver International than my own home in the last two months. And let’s be honest: I’m a homebody. Sitting in my adirondack in the backyard watching the bees fly in and out of their tree hive? Seeing the hydrangea bush bloom? Smelling the lilacs — out in full purple force? All better than being waiting in another TSA line. (Although I’ve started looking forward to the pat-downs. Yet another sign I’m not spending enough time at home with the Mr.)

silver bullet, big

So! This Runway edition of our monthly fashion blog is not based on Milan, Paris or New York fashion week walkways, but those of Charles De Gaulle. JFK. DIA.

Tarmac, baby.

And thank you dearly for playing along. I’ve been traveling a lot for work (Texas, Arkansas) and some for pleasure (California, Texas, Indiana.) I am typically not a fan of checking luggage. I like being a minimalist and carrying on simply makes sense. That said, this latest adventure to Austin with Finny resulted in pulling out the Silver Bullet — the giant luggage. Because with Finny, you just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we swim. Sometimes we go to dinner at fancy restaurants, or burrito huts. With bike rides. And museums. And CHEESE AND RICE the costume changes are endless.


Hence, the Silver Bullet. A few glimpses from the latest packing adventure:

clean/dirty underthing bags

A friend gave me these bags when I was traveling in the Philippines some ten years ago. I still use them for nearly every trip as a way to organize undergarments and swimming suits.


Stacks of clothing. For less than 3 days worth of vacation, I’m pretty sure I brought 50 possible mix and match options. What? A girl has to plan.


Ready to rock and roll.

Runway fashion

And my new standard traveling outfit: as much comfort as possible without looking like a slob. I like an ironed blouse, linen jacket, dark jeans and my Cole Haan Nike Air flats that will allow me to get through that TSA line with minimal headache and maximum cushion. Also, lots of beaded hippie jewelry. Because you can take the girl out of Colorado, but … so it goes.

hippie jewelry

Now, hit me — show me your best travel fashion! Let’s see you work the runway!

Much love from the mountains,


*click on the photos for more details.


{My fifth and final example of why the Indiana State Tourism board should hire me.}


One of my personality quirks is deep, unbridled nervousness at the absolute worst time. It is a cunning emotion that runs me over. One moment, I’m fine. The next, I’m hiding in the guest room — sweaty with my heart racing.

I can speak publicly no problem. My palms sweat a bit. I can handle a first date like a champ. I talk too much. To often I am the unfortunate center of attention at parties, sharing loud, obnoxious stories. Again, I talk too much.



It wasn’t until 7 pm or so when the first book club members started trickling in that I got nervous. Palms sweaty, biting my lip, belly flip flopping, nervous. I texted Mini a handful of times, who told me under no uncertain terms I had both put myself in this situation, and it was a damn fine place to be.

Calm. Down.

She was right, of course. After shaking a few hands and seeing what a nice group it was, my nerves did settle. Here is the thing with writing: it is personal. If I had a dollar for every person who said, “You can’t take it personally…” before giving me a critique, I’d be Midas rich. It makes me so angry to hear those words: “Don’t take it personally.” Show me an entertaining novelist who isn’t eating, dreaming, and breathing their book and I’ll show you a fake. Writing great fiction is personal.


While in some ways it gets easier — you won’t be the first or last to love or hate my novels — in others, it is isn’t. Last week I received a rejection for a writing opportunity I was convinced would fall in my favor. And it stung. I sat before the email, view blurred,  bobbing my head back and forth so the tears dripping off my chin would miss the keyboard.

“Don’t take it personally.” This was a criticism of my storytelling, style, way of communicating.

I took it personally.


I received little criticism at the book club meeting. I think those from Indiana are just too kind, or too mild mannered to be rude in front of the author. Their compliments filled my sails and helped ease a bit of the pain from the week prior.

I love writing. It is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, without question. I recognize a significant aspect of the art is sharing your work with others, knowing it will sink or sail depending on the reader. As this craft gets stronger and confidence in my abilities increases with each page — I’ll be able to distinguish those critiques that matter.

Until then, let these nervous butterflies fuel dreams of being back in Indy next April to discuss a completed and published novel 2.  (I have a lot of work to do.)

Thank you again to all my new Indy friends!



I’m not exactly a sports fan these days. I very vaguely keep my eye on golf, the Broncos and Olympic swimming. So I wasn’t exactly as in the know about touring Butler University.


{where Hoosiers was filmed. who knew?}

Come to find out, the way to sell me on a sports team is to tell me how they have been the underdog (no barky pun intended) for years and yet continue to make it to the final four. Or that they have the “Butler Way”of putting community and education before baskets. Or, just have me walk around the campus for an hour and meet a handful of the most polite students I’ve ever encountered.

I’m starting to think Indiana is the home of good manners. Have I mentioned lately I love Indiana?



Plus — their newest mascot is super cute, with birth announcements hanging around campus:


Awww. Go bulldoggies!






Eli Lilly is huge in Indiana. Their name is everywhere you turn, including the Lilly house, as seen on the grounds of the Indy Museum of Art:









Easiest way to tell I’m still a desert girl at heart? I fall all over myself taking photos of lush, green gardens. It felt a bit like a fairy tale to take our time wandering through a handful of shaded paths. Around each bend seemed to be another piece of art, a handful of bright flowers, a tree that looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.










Add this to your Indy tourism list.





How’s that for a segway?


Lisa arranged a Segway tour of Indianapolis not 48 hours after I’d joked with Adam how lame I thought people looked with helmets scooting around town on those silly things. Of course, I was far too polite to tell my lovely hosts that I was embarrassed to climb on a glorified lawn mower. (That’s what a blog is for!) Instead, I did what I do in awkward social situations: I shut up and wished I had a glass of wine in my hand. And did by best mall cop impersonation.


Of course, by the end I was begging for more. Because this is yet another case of me being very, very wrong and judgy. The tour was the perfect way to see a city. We saw some of the 46 different murals painted for the recent Super Bowl. We went along the White River. We scooted around the canal. We even saw the city’s 9-11 memorial, where I promptly cried all over my little mower. Riding a segway is a lot like riding a hoverboard. If you would like to give a hoverboard a try for yourself, take a look at this Guide for Best hoverboard 2019!





We started barely able to keep our balance and finished going the full 10-miles-an-hour feeling like transportation rockstars of the future.

Point being: if you get a chance to take a Segway tour of a new town? Take it. Also? Thanks Dan and Lisa!


What Had Happened Was…

I’m dedicating the next week’s worth of posts to my new favorite state in the union: Indiana.

That’s right, Indiana. Home of the Hoosers, the Butler Bulldogs and the best book club I know.



Have you ever been? If so, you know Indianapolis is a surprising delight. Clean, with huge monuments, lots of trees and flowers, locally owned shops and great restaurants. And the people? Well. They are the nicest I’ve ever encountered.


How did I find myself in Indianapolis for three days this week? Well. Brit, a girlfriend from Phoenix, read Under the Same Moon and  gave it to her best friend Lisa in Indy. Lisa, in turn, bought the book for the entire club and made it her selection for the month of April. Brit and Lisa sent an email — would I be willing to fly out for the meeting? Brit would come from Arizona too, of course.



This happened in November and I was beyond flattered. A book club was reading my work and wanted me to come to their group. How could I say no? I immediately bought a ticket, threw it on my calendar and tried not to think about it. I mentioned it to a few friends here and there but it wasn’t until Brit sent an email saying she couldn’t attend that I started to get nervous.

This left me flying across the country to stay with folks I’ve never met for, oh, just three days. Lisa, of course, played it cool by email. She explained she’d be there at the airport to pick me up and she and her lovely boyfriend Dan were so happy to host me. Their gorgeous home and four cats awaited my arrival.


I’m not going to say it was love at first sight with Lisa because I was just too nervous walking out of an airport TO GO HOME WITH SOMEONE I’D NEVER MET. (This trip violated every stranger danger rule I’ve ever learned.) But it was darn close to love at first sight. She was so friendly and made me immediately feel at home. And I did. By the end of the three days I was truly sad to be leaving.

Lisa and Dan are unbelievably kind, warm and generous. They didn’t just welcome me into their home, host a party in my honor and let me take a tour of their wine cellar (Hello, Cellar. We are going to be great friends…), but they also arranged a Segway tour of Indianapolis, took me to Butler University and a walk through the natural history museum, and bent over backward every moment of my visit.


They’ve redefined hospitality. And I can’t wait for them to come stay in Colorado so I can return some of the love.

What did it feel like to have 16 people over for dinner to talk about my book? SHEER TERROR AND COMPLETE EGOTISTICAL DELIGHT. But I’ll leave that to the next post.


*the title of this post is a shout out to Joe, one of the attendees of the book club. He regularly starts stories with this colloquialism, “What had happened was…” By the end of the trip, I was saying it too.

Silver Lining

Villa Montez

If you ever happen to find yourself in Tyler, Texas — might I recommend one of the city’s best restaurants: Villa Montez. Located in an old mansion on a hill, surrounded by incredible gardens, I watched the sun set over the city from a large patio. The wind blew through large oak trees overhead. Small white lights strung along the patio twinkled as dusk fell.

And let’s be honest: the guacamole was excellent and my colleague thoroughly enjoyed the salty margaritas.

Villa Montez

Villa Montez

And! The owner has a quirky sense of aesthetics. Apparently he takes it upon himself to paint gardening/animal watering bins with car paint. These bins are scattered around the gardens, full of tomatoes, onions and flowers.

Villa Montez

Villa Montez

My new colleague in Tyler said she knew the owner and would work on having one sent to my new home in Golden. Woo!

I can’t believe how much I fell in love with this little town. The people are exceptionally nice, it is small enough to feel quaint and the weather was delightful. I even enjoyed the 2 hour drive from Dallas through flat, green land full of long-horn cattle, grazing away.

I am really going to enjoy traveling there to work every couple of months.