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You Say You Want a Resolution

There’s nothing like a brand-new year to inspire you to hit refresh on your life. But where to begin?

Last year, the data-driven digital marketing company iQuanti listed the most popular 2017 resolutions based on Google searches. The top five? In order: Get healthy; get organized; live life to the fullest; learn new hobbies; and spend less/save more. Sound familiar? To help you start 2018 with a bang, we’ve tackled these goals, rounding up expert advice and great ideas on how to see them through all year long. Ready to resolve to kick things into high gear? Let's go!

Photography by Paul Miller

RESOLUTION NO. 1

GET HEALTHY

Reboot with a 7-Day Paleo-Powered Healthy Meal Plan

Too many cookies, cocktails and formal dinners these past few months? Functional nutrition therapist Andrea Laine White, who has a clinical practice in Castle Rock and serves as head nutritionist of Baby Fresh Organics (babyfreshorganics.co), a meal delivery service for kids you can order through SupperBell, designed this plan to jumpstart your energy, ignite weight loss, balance blood sugar and hormones, gently cleanse and detoxify and reset metabolism. All recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free and—yes!—delicious. Who’s in?

All recipes courtesy Andrea Laine White; brand names listed are White’s recommendations.

BEFORE YOU START

1. Get organized: Planning is key. Stock up on ingredients, prep what you can in advance and make the decision to prioritize your health.

2. Batch cook: Lunch recipes use proteins from dinner the night before, so make enough chicken, salmon, bison and tuna for the remixed lunch recipe the next day. The same can be done for veggies.

3. Save money: Many of the pantry staples can be purchased through discount health food online retailer thrivemarket.com.

My Story

From carnivore to vegan: here’s what happened when I quit eating animal products

By Elaine Goodman

Last July, after watching the Netflix documentary “What the Health,” I knew I could no longer keep my head in the sand regarding how harmful the manufacturing and consumption of animal products was for my health, for animals and for the planet. The message was so powerful to me that I decided that the very next day, my birthday, I’d start eating a plant-based vegan diet. This meant giving up meat, eggs and dairy products—the very foods I was raised on.

Initially, I challenged myself to 100 days and my husband decided to join me in this endeavor. To my surprise, the 100 days came and went and not only had I not eaten any animal products since the day I started, I had no desire to go back to my old way of eating.

The benefits? I’ve lost weight without even trying, I feel better mentally and physically and my numbers at my yearly physical were better than ever. My doctor is amazed. I’m amazed. And what’s most amazing of all is how easy it has been. There are so many online resources that provide recipes, support and advice that the transition was almost effortless.

Being vegan doesn’t mean eating salad every day. I love to cook, and all the foods I made before this change can be easily “veganized.” Also, Denver is a great city for eating plant-based food, with wonderful restaurants (I love City, O’ City and Native Foods Café), bakeries and even vegan pizza places (try Brooklyn Pizza­—so yummy). There’s really no need to go without.

When people hear that I’ve gone vegan, they always say they could never give up eggs, cheese or you-name-it—and I used to say the same thing. I never thought I could do this—it was so outside the box for me. But the longer I do it, the easier it gets, and it feels so good to know that not only am I doing something great for my health, but that what I’m eating isn’t contributing to animal cruelty or the deterioration of the planet.

Elaine Goodman lives in Denver and is a paraprofessional with Denver Public Schools. She is married with three grown daughters and a grandson. Photo: istock

PRODUCT PICKS

Smart buys to help you reach your nutrition goals

Goop Wellness vitamins

Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand has teamed with top docs to offer vitamin and supplement regimens (which come in pre-assorted daily packs filled with antioxidants, adaptogens and nutrients) for a variety of needs. Our fave: Balls in the Air for overall wellness.

Get it: $90 for 30 packets, goop.com

Black+Decker PuriFry electric air fryer

Eat those french fries, tater tots and other comfort foods guilt-free with this gizmo, which uses circulated hot air to keep food crispy without the oil. We’ve been waiting our whole lives for this one.

Get it: $99, blackandecker.com

Let’s Get Physical

Getting a great workout in doesn’t have to mean hours of commitment. Jourdan Baldwin and Sarah Fox, trainers at Pura Vida Fitness and Spa in Cherry Creek, recently launched Fresh Fitness, a free app (freshfitnessapp.com; for iPhone and Android) featuring workouts (two new routines are posted daily) that require only bodyweight or dumbbells, as well as customized plans. We asked them to create a high-intensity workout you can do at home or the gym in less than an hour. Hello, skinny jeans!

My Story

I’ve run every day for more than 850 days straight; here’s why

By John Brackney

On Thanksgiving Day of 2017, I ran for the 850th consecutive day. In other words, for more than two years, I haven’t missed a single day of running—each time outdoors, no matter the weather, and always in shorts. At a minimum, I run 1 mile, although I average around 4 ½ miles daily, and my streak is officially registered at runeveryday.com. My ultimate goal? To run 1,000 days in a row.

So what brought about this crazy idea? There seems to come a time in life when you suddenly realize you need to, want to—or just decide that you can—make a change in deeply held habits or lifestyle choices. After a decade of working too hard—and eating and drinking too much—I had ballooned to 225 pounds, about 50 more pounds than my 6-foot frame can handle gracefully. I would start sweating profusely during even modest exercise or while climbing a couple flights of stairs. So I decided to lose weight. I lost 35 pounds over the course of a year in 2013, and 15 more pounds in January of 2014. Then I decided to quit chewing tobacco after 33 years. Quitting a daily habit I had from age 16 to 49 would be formidable and I knew I would need to substitute a really good habit for this really bad one.

After three months or so, I found running was an essential part of my day, and, in all honesty, I have enjoyed every single one of those runs. Even during the four or five days I was in bed with the flu in the winter, I got up, laced my shoes and trudged out on a 1-mile loop. Those 11- to 12-minute runs (yes, they were slow) marked the only times I felt human during that week.

I’ve run regularly off and on most of my life since high school. In fact, I have run more than 100 races, including several marathons and the Pikes Peak Ascent, but I had always found that running was tiresome, difficult and awkward and therefore would often opt to skip running for weeks, months and even years straight. The book “Born to Run” and fellow “streak runners” changed my entire perception and execution of the sport.

I can now trail run for several hours in the mountains enjoyably. I feel better, mentally and emotionally. Even on bad days I still know I consistently completed a positive action that can keep me healthier longer for my loved ones and friends. I also hope to inspire others to be physically fit, healthy, friendly and kind. We each could do so much more for ourselves and others if we simply chose to listen better, express empathy and then offer assistance and motivation. And once I hit day 1,000? I hope to just keep running and helping others with their goals.

John Brackney is the director of public policy and community engagement at Webolutions, having formerly served as an Arapahoe County commissioner and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. An active member of the Colorado Masters Running Association, he also founded Webolutions Revolutions, an active outdoor adventure group, free and open to any business or community leader who wishes to engage in team outdoor trail running, hiking or climbing. Photo: istock

PRODUCT PICKS

Smart Buys to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals’

FitBit Charge 2

FitBit’s No. 1 tracker and heart rate band has some fab new features, including multi-sport modes, GPS, all-day tracking, move reminders, guided breathing sessions and smartphone notifications. In other words, it’s your new BFF.

Get it: $130, fitbit.com

D.stil Pinch + Carry water bottle

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends women drink around 90 ounces of water a day (and about 125 ounces for men). Make it easier with this cute 28-ounce stainless steel bottle.

Get it: $15, drinkdstil.com

RESOLUTION NO. 2

GET ORGANIZED

Taking Control

Overwhelmed by clutter? Get hopelessly behind in the morning? Are your resolutions forgotten as soon as you make them? Help is here!

By Alison Gwinn

This family office, designed by California Closets with Classic White and Cassini Beach finishes, includes clean, well-planned work spaces for both a mom and dad and homework/coloring spaces for the kids. Open wall shelving is a good place for items you need easy access to—but add pretty items to dress it up. California Closets advises keeping desks clutter-free by creating files for items such as bills, insurance, taxes and receipts and tucking them into file drawers. 303.754.0415, californiaclosets.com

6 WAYS TO TAME THE CHAOS AT HOME

1. Stock up on supplies. You can’t play tennis without a tennis racket—and you can’t get (and stay) organized without proper tools, such as a filing cabinet/basket, folders, containers, storage boxes and a labeler.

2. Put like with like. Whether it’s batteries, paper clips or tools, store like items together in the same storage container in one place.

3. Cinch by the inch. Break down projects into prioritized action steps and use a timer to work for short periods of time, like 10 to 20 minutes. This will shift you from feeling overwhelmed to feeling a sense of accomplishment, and soon your project will be done.

4. Do the paper chase. You don’t need to keep every piece of paper forever. At the start of each year, move your annual receipts/paid bills to a storage container, keeping personal and business receipts in different stacks. Label the year on the container, place your income tax returns on top of the respective stack and store together. In general, you should keep papers for seven years before shredding.

5. Find a common link. Link your new “stay organized” habit with an existing habit. For instance, before you prepare dinner, put away anything you brought into your house that day or isn’t where it belongs—or before you turn out a light in a room you’re leaving, put things away in that room.

6. Do it now, do it now. Remember the acronym DIN-DIN. It stands for Do It Now, Do It Now. Reduce stress and simplify your life by going through your papers now instead of letting them pile up until later. As soon as you bring mail into your house, go through it (it should take less than five minutes). And if you’re swimming in junk mail, go to ecocycle.org/junkmail for help.

Source: Cindy Rogers, All Things Organized; allthingsorganized.us; 720.539.3955

MAKE YOUR MORNINGS A BREEZE

1. Prep the night before. Dedicate at least 15 minutes each evening to getting ready for the next day. Choose your outfit from head to toe, make your lunch, prepare your bags and work materials and set them by the door.

2. Prioritize natural energy boosters. Research clearly shows that adequate sleep and exercise make a world of difference for your mood, memory, productivity and ability to focus. Go to bed early so you can squeeze in an early-morning workout routine. Your mind will be sharp and ready for any stressors.

3. Get realistic about your time. If you’re always running late, you may not be allotting enough time. Jot down everything you must do from wakeup to exit, then estimate how much time each task takes to complete. Add 15 minutes to the total. That’s your magic number.

4. Map out your day. Take a small notepad and jot down your appointments, events and top three personal or work “to-dos” (anything from an important phone call to a big errand to a 3-mile run) for the day. The act of writing solidifies memory recall while helping you focus your energy. Refer to the note throughout the day to stay on track.

5. Streamline your living space. Organize your closet, kitchen, bathroom and entryway to promote maximum efficiency. Keep items you need for daily routines (like your toothbrush, car keys and sunglasses) within close reach and put everything back in its “home” so you can always find it.

6. Create an exit checklist. Are there certain things you often forget to do or bring with you when you leave the house in a rushed, stressed state? Make a list of those things and make a habit of glancing at it before you exit the house each morning.

CREATE A SERENE BEDROOM & SLEEP ROUTINE

1. Keep electronics out of reach. Charge your phone elsewhere and try using an old-fashioned alarm clock. Bright screens, email and social media delay a restful state. Stop checking email and social media one hour before bedtime.

2. Organize your nightstand. Discard things you no longer need and add items that promote rest, such as a novel, dim-lit lamp and lavender-scented eye pillow.

3. Create a relaxing environment. Paint your room a soothing color, invest in nice bed linens and hang artwork that makes you feel at ease.

4. Don’t mix work and sleep. Set up your workspace in another part of the home to create a physical boundary. Make your bedroom a stress-free sanctuary.

5. Do a brain dump. Get the mental clutter out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Write down lingering to-do’s and upcoming stressors to calm your overactive mind.

6. Create a bedtime ritual. Write out three simple things that help you wind down (examples: take a hot bath, listen to a short-guided meditation, spray a lavender scent on your pillow). Do them in the same order every night until they are ingrained.

7. Set a consistent sleep schedule. Decide the optimal amount of sleep you need and train your body to fall asleep and wake up at the same time seven days a week.

Source: Katie Siefermann, local professional organizer and owner of Fall Into Place Organizing; fiporganizing.com; 720.593.6296; also a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, napo.net

My Story

How I discovered the incredible lightness of organizing

By Kate Kalstein

I’m a planner and always have an eye toward efficiency. As a consultant for nonprofits, I have to. But I’m also a sole practitioner, my practice is growing, and in 2017 I realized I needed help organizing my paperwork.

So I reached out to Kate Englebrecht at Call Kate (callkate.org), who told me she practices the KonMari method. She then said, “We’ll need to start with your closet.” I said, “It’s not my clothes that need help; it’s my files!” But she persuaded me to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo, and I decided to hire her.

My husband said, “You’re going to pay someone to help you organize your clothes? Your closet already looks like you’re totally Type A!” But I have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old who are active in sports, Girl Scouts and dance. My husband is a finance professional. I run the household and my own business, do shuttle driving and coordinate schedules for after-school pickup—I needed help.

In August, Kate came to my house for four hours. She was wonderful and supportive, not directive. We emptied everything out of my closet and purged pile after pile, creating bags to donate or consign. And after four hours, we’d gotten rid of about half of my things.

Kate’s process really spoke to me in terms of addressing the emotional stressors of my environment. I decided to go through the rest of the house on my own, using the tools I had learned. I went through my kids’ rooms with them, discarding the things that they had outgrown or that didn’t spark joy. I went through the kitchen and baths, and Kate and her assistant came back and we spent six hours doing the basement.

The result, for me, is a lightness and a sense of calm. I also feel gratitude for being able to share things we weren’t using with those who can benefit from them. The funny thing is, my office, which is what started the whole process, still isn’t done, but the good news is that now everything is consolidated in my desk work area; there’s no longer an overflow of papers in the china cabinet and down in the basement.

Working with Kate was part of an overall year of focusing on my wellness. I’d gone through a stressful period—my grandmother passed away, a close family member had a recurrence of cancer, my hometown flooded, my husband took a new job—this led me to find a new therapist, who helped me discover new wellness tools including acupuncture, and now I’ve found KonMari. Today, I can say I feel dramatically different: lighter, healthier and happier all around.

Kate Kalstein is the founder and principal of Kate Kalstein Consulting. She provides support to nonprofit organizations including board development, governance, strategic planning and training services. She has devoted her career to strengthening nonprofit organizations through leadership, advocacy and the law to enable them to focus on progress. Kate is an active member of the Consultants‘ Leadership Forum sponsored by The Denver Foundation and CausePlanet. Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in fall 2015, Kate proudly serves as commissioner to the State Commission on Community Service, Serve Colorado. Photo: istock

Task management apps that will help you organize and manage your busy life: WUNDERLIST: Great for creating and sharing custom shopping lists; ANY.DO: Assistant features take care of tasks for you; TICK TICK: Calendar view helps with big picture task management; SWIPES: Minimalist interface appeals to those seeking simplicity; TRELLO: Drag-and-drop boards are great for people managing multiple projects.

RESOLUTION NO. 3

LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST

Want to Live a Dream?

Kenyon Salo, founder of ‘The Bucket List of Life,’ gets you started

By Alison Gwinn

“My whole life has been about experiences,” Ken-yon Salo says. “Professional snowboarding. Skydiving. Traveling. Base jumping. Flying wingsuits. Even as a kid, I was always willing to try something new. And from the beginning, I always wanted to share the experience with others: ‘I just jumped my bike—you can do it, too! I just jumped off this train bridge into the river below—now you try it!’ But on Christmas Eve 2013, I hit a real low in my life: I had just gone through a breakup, my kids were at their mother’s house, I had no Christmas ornaments up; I knew I would wake up and it would just be like a Wednesday in July in terms of how I felt. It was so depressing. But about 2 in the morning, I woke up and asked myself: ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ And the answer was, ‘I want to do bucket list items and help others.’ And that became the driving force behind creating ‘The Bucket List Life.’ ” Today, the Colorado-based Salo gives motivational and leadership-building speeches around the country helping others live their “bucket list life.” He also is part of Team Bucket List Life, a Colorado community that helps people share new experiences, from golf to parkour, and also get together to give back to others, whether it’s a Red Cross fundraiser or a coat drive. “Experiences are what teach us to grow, to challenge ourselves, to feel alive,” Salo says.

If you ever feel stuck in life and unable to fulfill a dream, Salo offers these nine pointers:

1. Overcome your environment. “The reason most people don’t do what they want to do is that they’re scared the people in their environment—friends, families, coworkers—will try to dissuade them: ‘What do you mean you’re just going to travel? Haven’t you heard we might have a recession?’ ‘Don’t go to Italy—there was an earthquake there two months ago!’ And then they think, ‘Oh, I guess they’re right ….’ ”

2. Tell the world your dreams. “If you want to do something, announce it to the world. First, the people you tell will hold you accountable. Second, they will enroll in your vision, too: ‘Oh, you want to fly a plane? My buddy flies planes! He takes people all the time! I’ll set you up!’ Here’s a good example: Someone reached out on Facebook and said, ‘I want to see superheroes rappelling down the outside of Children’s Hospital.’ I agreed to help, even though I had no idea how we’d make it happen. But about six months later, around 60 people showed up on the helipad at the hospital along with the Aurora Swat team dressed in superhero costumes, and they rappelled off the hospital for all the kids to see. It made the national news.”

3. Don’t just say no. “Always say yes first, and let the ‘how’ figure itself out later. It’s our patterns that make us say no. If you say yes, you become committed. The hardest part of going skydiving is picking up the phone and making the reservation. After that, you drive there, get suited up, get into an airplane, get strapped up, stand at the door of the plane and then skydive. You land on the ground, all smiles. But the hardest part is picking up that phone in the first place.”

4. Take small steps. “We all love to dream big: Someone said to me, ‘I want to travel all of Europe.’ And I said, ‘Well, do you have a passport?’ No, she didn’t. ‘Well, that’s where you start.’ Two years ago, I decided to get into scuba-diving, but I kept putting it off. Then one day I just told myself, ‘You drive by a dive shop every day of the week; all you have to do is pull into the parking lot and ask how to go about doing it.’ Make a phone call, walk into a shop, look up a website—that will start things in motion. And you know that things in motion tend to stay in motion.”

5. Surround yourself with doers. “Hang around with people who are either going after life in general, or going after the same things you desire. So, if you want to lose weight, hang around with people who want to be healthy. If you want to travel, hang around with people who are always traveling.”

6. Bond with others. “It’s often not what you do but who you do it with. That’s everything in life. When people go on a journey, they find that what they are most thankful for in the end is the connection they make with people along the way who believe in the same things and have the same goals.”

7. Don’t wait until tomorrow. “It doesn’t matter whether you are jumping out of a plane or driving super, super safely to work. Every person on the planet is on a level playing field—none of us knows if we have a tomorrow. Whenever someone tells me their dream, I always say, ‘Do it in the next 12 months.’ People think they have 12 years, but they might not. We don’t get time back; it’s not a renewable resource. Every minute spent is a minute gone.”

8. Enjoy yourself! “Celebrate the small wins that allow you to get to the big wins, and that will keep you going to achieve your big goal.”

9. Finally, live more fully by helping others. “We went into a nursing home and asked 10 people between the ages of 86 and 96, ‘Name something important to you that you did when you were younger. What are you proudest of that you did in your life?’ Every single one of them said their proudest moments were when they were helping others. No person in the course of human history ever volunteered and then felt bad afterwards. No one ever gives something of themselves to another person and then says, ‘I never should have been so wonderful.’ ”

My Story

I gave up my stressful career to travel the world

By Meghan Hunt

A year ago, I was a tightly wound ball of anxiety, misery and debt. I couldn’t find my way to anything that resembled joy. Often, I couldn’t even find my way off the couch.

A year before that, I had been in an incredibly stressful job, working 70 to 80 hours a week. I was on anxiety medication and had insomnia, heart palpitations, panic attacks and stomach ulcers. I quit that job to get my health back and be more in control of my own destiny. I had always wanted to start my own business, so I spent 2016 trying to do so. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out; I realize now that I’d thought my career would make me happy.

That’s been a huge theme in my life—putting conditions on my happiness and thinking, if I just get this promotion, start this company, break off this toxic relationship or start eating better and get into shape, then I will be happy. But the second I’d reach one goal, I’d be looking for the next one, never appreciating anything along the way.

I finally realized I needed professional help, so I turned to Megan Abbott at Fruition Coaching (fruitionpersonalcoaching.com). It wasn’t easy—I had to get painfully honest with myself—but Megan made me realize I was trying to force myself into a cookie-cutter life, with a nine-to-five job and living for the weekends. She taught me to live in the present, rather than constantly planning ahead.

She also made me realize how much I wanted to travel—every session we had, I unknowingly mentioned travel repeatedly, and until she pointed it out, I didn’t realize how important it was to me. After working with her for a while, I decided to take the leap. My husband and I sold a rental triplex that had been weighing us down financially and emotionally and went to Indonesia for a month. Every day of that trip, I tried to use the tools Megan had given me: doing meditation and gratitude lists and working hard to be in the present.

After that trip, my husband and I tied up a few loose ends in Denver—like selling our cars and hiring a management company for our house—and took off traveling. In the last year, we’ve been to Germany, the Netherlands and Mexico, and we’re planning a four-month trip to South America. We try to really experience life in these places—not visit them as tourists. We live off passive rental income from our duplex in Denver; I also do travel writing, and my husband is teaching himself how to code.

When I look back at the old me, I see a shell of a person overwhelmed by every part of my day. I had become deeply negative and had lost faith that I would ever find happiness. I now have a new life filled with so much joy, gratitude and beauty. The old me was $60,000 in debt, in truly desperate straits. Now I’m debt free and traveling the world with the love of my life. We’ve never been happier, we’ve never been closer and we’ve never been more confident that this is the path for us.

Meghan Hunt is a full-time traveler and the co-founder of snmtravel.com, a site dedicated to documenting the adventures and challenges of digital nomad life. She lives and works on the road with her husband, Steve Wilson, and rescue dog, Ash. Photo: istock

RESOLUTION NO. 4

LEARN A NEW HOBBY

4 New Things to Try in 2018

We’ve gathered all you need to start four popular hobbies. Have fun!

1. DANCING

You’ll love this if: You can’t stop watching “La La Land”

What you need: Appropriate shoes and breathable workout wear

Where to take lessons: Dance2b, dance2b.com

Class to start with: Any beginner class, as long as you love the dance style, says Marguerite Endsley, instructor and owner of Denver Dance, denverdance.net.

Pro tip: “The hardest part about starting dance classes is just getting to your first class,” Endsley says. “It can be scary going to a new place with new people and trying something you have never done before. Make it to your first class and stick with it for at least a little bit so you can see how fast muscle memory and progress happen.”

2. PHOTOGRAPHY

You’ll love this if: Photos keep filling your iPhone storage

What you need: DSLR camera, standard lens and wide-to-telephoto lens, tripod, photo editing software, a flash and lens filters

Where to take lessons: Colorado Photographic Arts Center, cpacphoto.org

Subject to start with: Landscapes, says renowned Colorado photographer John Fielder. “Colorado is the most beautiful place on Earth,” he says, “so your chance of nailing an award-winning photo right off the bat is excellent!”

Fielder’s pro tips:

1. Photograph during the magic hours, one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset, when shadows are broad and create depth in the scene, and when the color of sunlight is warm yellow, orange or red.

2. Think asymmetrically. Use the rule of thirds; place dominant features one-third from the left, right, bottom or top, especially with horizons.

3. Lend depth to your scene with “lead-in” lines to create a sense of place: Start roads, trails, creeks and fences in the bottom corners to draw the viewer’s eye from the foreground to the background.

3. WRITING A BOOK

You’ll love this if: You journal every day and have a knack for wordplay

What you need: Laptop, a place to write (anywhere from the kitchen table to a coffee shop will do), regular blocks of uninterrupted time and daily goals

Where to get inspired: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, rmfw.org

Story to start with: A personal experience. “Many people feel most at ease starting with an event, character or setting from their own life or the lives of people they know,” says Andrea Dupree, program director at Lighthouse Writers Workshop program (lighthousewriters.org). “Maybe they start by describing the town they grew up in or a teacher who haunted their elementary school days. Maybe they’ll stick to what happened and how it felt, but maybe they’ll find themselves veering off into a more fictional realm. The great thing is there are no rules.”

Pro tip: “We always encourage writers, whether they’re on their first book or their fifth, to seek out community,” Dupree says. “Writing a book can be hard and, sometimes, lonely. You’ll inevitably become stalled on a chapter or feel like giving up. Spending time with other writers—whether commiserating or celebrating—can keep you on track through your first draft, revisions and beyond.”

4. COOKING

You’ll love this if: You’re a Food Network addict

What you need: A large and small cast-iron skillet, a large and small saucepan, a roasting pan, a stainless steel colander, mixing bowls, a box grater, a set of utensils, a steamer rack, a chef’s knife, a small paring knife, a cutting board and measuring utensils

Where to take lessons: Kitchen Table Cooking School, kitchentablegv.com

—Kendall Kostelic

My Story

Bitten by the Photography Bug

By Tammy Nelson

Nature is my stress reliever. And about four years ago, during a tough time at work, I found myself looking at things really closely when I went on walks around our Silverthorne and Park County houses. I noticed how much beauty there was and wanted to capture it. I also wanted to have something to help me forget about work, and photography seemed like a great distraction.

Fast-forward four years, and it’s become my passion. I’ve taken workshops with Ed MacKerrow (my first one, where I thankfully didn’t make too big of a fool of myself) and John Fielder and classes with The Great Courses, New York Institute of Photography and CreativeLive. And I’ve used the skills I’ve learned on photo trips.

I photographed this beautiful kit fox in Silverthorne.

My first trip, just after I got my first camera, was to Peru. We stayed at Inkaterra. Our guide there took me out one night with a flashlight, and I got photos of a monkey, frogs and a bunch of tarantulas—I’m afraid of spiders, but they were so cool I had to get closer. That trip got me hooked. Last year, I took our camper van to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks by myself for a week. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but it helps that my son, Jeff, is a professional photographer and has been a great mentor, always willing to help me when I need guidance or a critical eye. In fact, he gave me the best photography advice I’ve gotten so far: Learn how to shoot in manual mode first.

Now semi-retired, I hope to catch up on all the photography time I’ve missed. Luckily, living in Colorado makes finding a good photo almost too easy.

Tammy Nelson works two days a week at Whole Foods for fun. For 35 years, she worked in health care clinics and raised two children with her husband, Dave. Find her on Instagram: @tammynelson274

RESOLUTION NO. 5

SPEND LESS/SAVE MORE

10 ways to save $10K this year

Have a dream vacation in mind or a college-bound kid—and your bank account isn’t ready for either? Kim Curtis, president and CEO of Wealth Legacy Institute in Denver, gave us 10 ways to save $10,000 in 365 days. You’re going to need a bigger piggy bank.

By Kendall Kostelic

1. Appoint an accountability buddy. “Have someone who will save money with you. Money goals are kind of like fitness goals: Having someone to keep you accountable is really helpful.”

2. Use an app to track spending.Mint.com has a great app that helps with the big picture. It can show your debit card, your credit card and your school loan debt.”

3. Assess each expensed item. “With each part of your budget, ask yourself if it’s a need, a want or a wish. The needs are your fixed expenses, but the wants are variable and the wish is a dream—wipe it off! Until you are aware of where you are spending what, nothing is going to change.”

4. Create a separate savings account. “Redirect your extra money directly to that account. Ask your employer to send your paycheck to two different places, the needs and wants budget in checking and the rest in that savings account. Once you’re out of money in checking, you know you’re done until you get paid again.”

5. Prioritize one debt payment at a time. “For credit cards, prioritize the card with the highest interest rate first. Whenever that debt is paid off, take that money and put it together with the minimum you are paying on another credit card. When the second card is paid off, take the amount you paid there and apply it to the next. In general, it’s best to have a credit card you pay off monthly. The biggest mistake people make is using credit as an extension.”

6. Buy—don’t lease—cars. “There’s a rule of thumb called the 30-month rule. Buy a car that’s 30 months old with under 30,000 miles and drive it for at least 10 years. Vehicles have become an expression of wealth and they are absolutely just function. Keep in mind that with a higher car payment comes a higher insurance cost.”

7. Create a weekly meal plan. “You can easily save $25 to $50 a month by being methodical about a meal plan. When my family dines out, we never get dessert. It also helps to know specials. For instance, Pasquini’s has a kid’s day. When our kids were younger, we’d go there on that specific night.”

8. When you eat out with friends, use Venmo. “It’s a mobile payment service that lets you transfer money to and from friends and family. When you’re out with friends and people offer to pay, pay them back right there. Then you’re not saying, ‘I’ll buy this time, you get next time.’ Venmo immediately makes you even.”

9. Review insurance policies. “At quotewizard.com, you can put your information in and get independent quotes from insurance companies. You could easily save $1,000 a year with just this.”

10. Buy the kids’ sports and ski equipment secondhand. “You don’t want to spend a lot of money on that stuff at the very beginning. Go to used or retail stores or parents in the PTA who might have used equipment.”

Wealth Legacy Institute, 950 S. Cherry St., 303.753.7578, wealthlegacyinstitute.com

My Story

My Family's Priority: Hitting the road

By Sarah Stranak

We talk about the world in our house a lot. My husband, John, used to travel internationally for work and would come home with stories, pictures and souvenirs for our kids, Luke, 8, and Hayden, 11. The boys also go to a school with an International Baccalaureate program, which emphasizes a global perspective. Between the two, the kids’ curiosity to see the world was sparked. So, while planning a family trip last year, we decided to take the plunge into international waters.

It wasn’t easy making the trip work. We had to prioritize the amazing experience we would get over material things and activities here. To anything extra—from weekend trips to new landscaping—we’d say, “Wait—we’re saving for Greece.”

It was Hayden who inspired us to go to Greece. My favorite day there, we rented a car to explore Naxos, a mountainous agricultural island. We visited villages, talked to the locals and got a feel for what it’s like to live there. But our car was like a glorified golf cart and as we were trying to make it up this hill it would not go. I was about to grab the kids and bail when suddenly, my husband shifted the right way and we took off again. It was crazy!

What pleasantly surprised my husband and me was how much our boys enjoyed the trip. We still discuss Greece probably once a week in our house. All these months later, the boys love to tell stories from the trip and are still looking at the pictures. Since we’ve been back, they’ve created a bucket list of all the places they want to go, and their excitement makes the cost and time worth it. Next, we want to go to Italy.

Sarah Stranak is a stay-at-home mom of two busy boys, Luke and Hayden. Born and raised in rural Kentucky, she moved to Denver with her husband, John, in 2002. Her love of travel was inspired by her late mother, who taught her to embrace new opportunities, and her husband, whose sense of adventure is contagious. Photo: Mykonos, Greece, courtesy of Portico

TEACH YOUR KIDS TO BE MONEY-SAVVY

Colin Richards’ son, now working on his MBA, started a business in his teens. How? He followed the financial lessons taught by his dad, the president of the Highlands Ranch financial planning firm Lord and Richards. Here are Richards’ tips on teaching your own kids to be financially savvy.

Teach priorities with fingers. “Start with the thumb,” Richards says. “Once you’ve got money, you want to start with giving 10 percent. Then, you move to the index finger, which symbolizes saving. Out of that money from Grandma and Grandpa, they want to save 10 percent. Then you move to the middle finger and spending on necessities, then the ring finger and long-term investing. My daughter, for example, taught piano lessons to help save up for her college education. Last is the pinky, which symbolizes luxuries like shoes or toys.”

Play games. For ages 3 to 5, Richards suggests making a game of counting and sorting coins by value as your kids learn numbers. Have a few money-themed toys around the house, too, such as a play cash register. For elementary school ages and up, he adds, play board games that show the value and process of money, like Monopoly.

Take them to the grocery store. As you shop, talk to them about the cost of different items. “They’ll start to understand ‘this is how much I pay for a book and this is how much we pay to feed the family for a week,’” Richards says.

Have them help with necessities. “If every dollar a child spends goes towards luxuries like junk food or toys, then we haven’t taught them money values,” Richards explains. “Have teens handle meals on field trips or a ticket to an event, for example.”

Let them make mistakes. “It’s important for parents to be patient,” he says. “Say you sent a young child to school with money and they lose a $10 bill. Don’t ignore that; use it as a teaching experience.”

Lord and Richards, 1745 Shea Center Drive, 720.214.6801, lordandrichards.com

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Photography by Paul Miller

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