Internship Opportunity

We’re looking for a Sales & Marketing Intern in Denver, CO. The ideal candidate would be someone about to complete an undergraduate marketing or business degree. Twelve to sixteen weeks for approximately 20 hours a week @ $15 per hour. 2017 Intern Job Description (PDF).

Summary of Position:

The Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) provides e-Government solutions to more than 400 state and local governments across the state of Colorado. SIPA is seeking a creative, detail-oriented Intern who is dedicated to high standards and achieving excellence in customer support, client relations and client care. This is a great opportunity for an individual who enjoys a small-company-feel, who is adept at building relationships. Outstanding communication skills are essential for this role. The Sales & Marketing Intern will support the activities of the Sales and Marketing Manager and help customers in a courteous, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested manner. The Sales & Marketing Intern will survey existing customers and convene a customer service feedback panel of current customers to review and improve SIPA’s customer service.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Assist the Sales and Marketing Manager with:

+ Customer Outreach/Customer Surveys

  • Schedule Customer visits & calls
  • Survey Existing Customers (phone, email, in person)
  • Log and Report on Survey Results
  • Obtain Customer testimonials
  • Prioritize Customers for follow-up with the Sales & Marketing Manager
  • Ensure Customer records are up-to-date in SIPA’s CRM system

+ Customer Service Feedback Panel

  • Organize a panel of current customers to review and improve SIPA’s customer service
  • Support Customer Service Panel with scheduling, travel plans and other tasks as needed
  • Prepare meeting materials for on-site and external meetings
  • Setup and tear down meeting rooms and facilities as needed

+ Other duties as assigned

Exemplify the SIPA Culture

  • Internalize the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the organization.
  • Understand the policies and procedures of the organization.
  • Be respectful of all SIPA staff, Board members, customers, colleagues, and strategic partners.
  • Maintain working hours consistent with normal business hours Monday through Friday.
  • Maintain working relationships with everyone necessary to advance SIPA’s mission and objectives.
  • Demonstrate a high level of ethical standards at all times.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work:

This is a part-time professional position for 16 to 20 hours per week during normal SIPA office hours. SIPA operates 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m between Monday through Friday.

This position is based in Denver, CO and may require up to 15 percent travel throughout Colorado, primarily in the Denver metropolitan region. Access to a vehicle and a clean driving record preferred.

Skills/Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree earned or expected by 2018
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
  • Positive attitude, creative, conscientious and reliable team member
  • Experience with Gmail, Google Drive, & Google Docs is preferred
  • Experience with Salesforce.com CRM tool is preferred.

Salary Range: $15 per hour

How to Apply: Complete our online application at http://www.tfaforms.com/374489

You will need to submit a resume and cover letter outlining your qualifications for the position.

A pre-employment criminal background check will be conducted as part of the selection process. Felony convictions, conviction of crimes of moral turpitude, or convictions of misdemeanors related to job duties may disqualify you from being considered for this position.

Contact catherine@cosipa.gov with any questions.

 

Posted in Opportunities

Go Code Colorado Needs Your Help

One of the most fun things that I do for my job is serve on the Advisory Council for the Colorado Business Intelligence Center (pdf) that among other things runs the annual Go Code Colorado challenge which awards cash prizes to award winning business ideas and applications using public data.

Go Code Colorado kicks off on February 1, 2017 at Galvanize in Denver. This year the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is seeking public input for how government data can create business insights. You can submit your idea online. You don’t need to have the answer or a plan to implement it, just an idea. Even if you are not in Colorado, many states are implementing plans to put more government data online. How would you use it to make businesses more successful? Please let us know.

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Opportunities

Remembrance

A friend recently reminded me of my post from 2013 – Caught between Pandering and Bridge Burning – and it made me wish that I wrote more, even if I could not remember the specific memory that triggered it. It was clearly very important in that moment.

I have a few favorite blogs, that I am late to discover:

Mr. Money Mustache – he’s here in Colorado. After a brief post-PhD stint with debt beyond my comprehension (in the 1990s), I have been a saver. He’s upped my game and given me new targets. But I’m not giving up my automobile for a bicycle in winter. There are limits. Also I did not retire in my 30s, so maybe I am just stubborn.

But he’s also pointed out the Wealthy Accountant who generally writes about things that don’t pertain to people in my tax bracket. But his holiday post, Silent Night, was raw, real, heartbreaking. And if he’s like me, in a few years he won’t remember what triggered the words but they will still have power.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Personal Development

A Review of 2016

I started my annual holiday card with “2016 was much like 2015 – same job, same man, same house. Dare I say stable?”

And while I like being on a schedule, this sounded boring even to me. So I dug through my calendar to figure out, beyond heading to the office, how I spent my time this year. There were several major themes: Fitness, Education, Entrepreneurship & Travel.

Christmas Card

Fitness

Each year, I set health & fitness goals. I started a year of Precision Nutrition Coaching at the end of July. As part of that program, I started lifting weights, in addition to walking, running and going to hot yoga.

2016 by the numbers:

  • Distance Walked and Run: 3,630,642 steps or 1,617.24 miles. Average: 4.4 miles per day.
  • Hot Yoga Classes at Tula Hot Yoga Denver:  157 classes (235.5 hours!). Average about 3x a week.
  • Weight Lifting Sessions (since August 2016): 80. Average about 3x a week.
  • Inches Lost: 8.25
  • Pounds Lost: 8.8

Education

I like learning new things. And some of the certificates I’ve picked up require extensive continuing education.

  • Precision Nutrition Certification:  January – PN Certification
  • Kauffman Venture Deals Course: April to June – Certificate
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): I completed my 60 hours of continuing education to renew my PMP Certification through April of 2019.
  • Certified Salesforce Administrator. Every new release there is an exam. This year I’ve completed:
    • Salesforce Certified Administrator – Winter ’16 Release Exam (May)
    • Salesforce Certified Administrator – Spring ’16 Release Exam (September)
    • Salesforce Certified Administrator – Summer ’16 Release Exam (September)
    • I may just knock out the Winter ’17 Release Exam before the new year.

Entrepreneurship

I’ve become pretty disconnected from the local entrepreneurial community, but I still got invited to do some fun things.

  • The University of Denver MBA program launched a new course where the students were building business plans. I was invited to serve on a panel reviewing their pitches along the way (October & November). Great fun.
  • I also reviewed Cade Museum Prize Applications (February). I love this Florida based competition that awards $50,000 each year to emerging innovations and inventions. It’s a great opportunity for early stage companies, and I love seeing what is submitted.

Random

  • June: I attended my first Rockies game. They lost.

    At a Rockies Game with the office

  • October: I went back to the University of Denver for the Grand Opening of the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging. My former post-doc mentor, David Patterson, has a new laboratory in the institute and was just made a fellow of AAAS. There were at least 3 poster presentations from his laboratory. The one he’s standing with was crowd-funded by families interested in his specific research. Awesome!

    The research in this poster was crowd-funded!

Travel

I set travel goals each year. Typically my goals are (1) to keep my United Mileage Plus Silver benefit which generally means that my carry-on bag will have a space on the plane, and (2) to plan one big trip to someplace I’ve never been. This year was New Zealand.

Work Travel

San Francisco, California

  • April – DocuSign Advisory Council, DocuSign Momentum, even a VIP event at CEO’s home! I still don’t know how I made that invitation list.
  • October – Dreamforce & DocuSign Advisory Council Meeting
April 2016 San Francisco

I never get tired of this view

San Diego, California

  • June – Esri User Conference. Fantastic conference, in a terrific location. I it was great to catch up with some friends such as Irene Morton and her husband Michael; my old college study buddy Brad Cohen & his wife Robyn. Great to reconnect.

Pueblo, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado

  • October – Board Retreat

Fun Travel

Los Angeles, California

400 Year Anniversary Sake

At Totoraku

Camden & Bar Harbor, Maine

Camden, Maine

  • August – Dinner with friends, looked at some boats. This was my first time in Maine, and everything, except for abysmal cell phone connectivity was exactly as I imaged it. Pretty place.

New Zealand

Queenstown

Essex, Connecticut

  • December – to check on a boat, a Hallberg-Rassy 31 that’s getting some work done.  Not mine. But she is pretty and I hope I get invited to sail on her one day. Even in small towns, a great wine bar can be found, in this case at the Griswold Inn where a 1998 Chateau Mouton Rothschild was enjoyed. They also have amazing truffle fries. This was not a Precision Nutrition approved outing!

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1998

Atlanta, Georgia

  • December – 25 Year Anniversary Celebration of the Discovery of Fragile X Syndrome (link to PDF original article). This was a last-minute event to honor my Ph.D. thesis advisor Stephen T. Warren. A former post-doc of his (now faculty at Emory), and some of his staff arranged for all of us who were in the lab in 1991, along with many of his life long collaborators, to come to Emory for a celebration & day of science. I was 20 when I first met Steve Warren, and there are few people who’ve had more impact on the type of person I grew up to be, the type of scientist I became. I affectionately refer to him as my “scientific father” – but never to his face! We hadn’t spoken in more than a decade, the last time one of his staff sprung a reunion on him, but his influence is still huge.

  • It was great to reconnect with people I had not seen in 20+ years. A big scientific family reunion. I was only in Atlanta for about 24 hours; I wish I’d planned more time. A big thank you to Peng Jin and Janelle Clark and others for making this happen. I was so happy to see Jane (my former roommate) and Heiner her husband, and so many others! I could double the size of this post gushing about the people, where they are now, etc. But I won’t. It was a spectacular way to close out 2016.

From Left to Right: David Nelson, Heinrich Iber, Harry Orr, Jim Sutcliffe, Janelle Clark, Yue Feng, Terry Hassold, Fuping Zhang, Tom Glover, Catherine Kunst, Steve Warren, Karen Warren, Tom Warren, Tom’s Girlfriend (?), Stephanie Sherman, Chris Gunter, Greg Riggins, Jane Chastain Iber, Peng Jin

  • I was also able to reconnect with my friends Ken Walker and his former assistant Brian (Toby) Hage (now a big time consultant). It was good to catch up with them. Ken is an incredible person, still practicing medicine at 80, and working tirelessly to revamp medical education in Soviet Georgia. Emory put together a great short video of the history of his career (below). Inimitable.

Lunch with Ken Walker & Brian (Toby) Hage.

While it’s not quite finished, 2016 was a good year.

Not so boring after all!

 

 

Posted in Education, Entrepreneurship, Extraordinary People, Personal Development, Science, Travel

New Zealand – Days 8 to 14

South Island – Days 8 to 14, Queenstown, Arrowtown, Te Anua

Travel: Flew New Zealand Airlines from Wellington to Queenstown

Initially my South Island tour was to include a few nights in Marlborough, and stops in Christchurch & Dunedin before making my way to Queenstown. Because of the earthquake, I rerouted, and headed directly to Queenstown.

Lodging: Doubletree Hilton, where I would spend the next four nights, is part of a brand new Hilton complex on the Kelvin Heights Peninsula  – separated from the airport and the main part of Queenstown by a single lane bridge. Apparently the bridge used to be a dam, became a bridge, and they are finally constructing a new bridge with 2 lanes. For now, traffic jams are common as this bridge is the primary route from Queenstown to Milford Sound and the Remarkables Ski area. Continuing with the New Zealand hotel theme, my room had a separate kitchen and living room. The property had every flavor of Hilton from the Doubletree, to high end hotel & separate Hilton apartments. There were at least four restaurants that were part of the campus. I ate at Me & Mee, traditional Chinese menu, on my arrival. Good not great. It’s also the only place I’ve ever been where the wine glasses had a line demarking where the pour should stop.

Touristy things:

  • Queenstown Gondola. On my first day, I drove to downtown Queenstown (the Hilton had a free shuttle which I should have used). There was crazy traffic like a Colorado mountain town in high season, complete with expensive parking garage. I took the gondola tour. Half the people were doing tours and half the people were lugging mountain bikes up to race down.
    Queenstown Gondola Post Card

    Queenstown Gondola Post Card

    Great Views

View from the top

View from the top

  • Arrowtown. I thought I’d escape the humanity by driving to Arrowtown, which was recommended by the hotel concierge in Hawkes Bay, and most tour books. It was a tourist adventure complete with expensive shops, crowded parking and historic sites. I am fascinated by the garments made locally from merino wool, silk, and possum fur but otherwise this was a short visit.
  • Lake Wakatipu. I loved staying on Lake Wakatipu  with the trails that go around it. It’s quieter on the Kelvin Peninsula side. I could walk an hour plus and the trails just kept going.
    Kelvin Peninsula Trail

    Kelvin Peninsula Trail

    Mansions in the hillsides overlooked the water, and their boat docks.

    Spring in Queenstown

    Spring in Queenstown

    Flowers were blooming everywhere. Spring is pretty in New Zealand, even if it rains most days.

    Wildflowers everywhere

    Wildflowers everywhere

  • Glacier Helicopter Tour. I used one sunny day to take a glacier tour by helicopter. It was too windy to land on the glacier proper but we got close.
    Alpine Landing

    Alpine Landing

    View from the sky - perfect clear day

    View from the sky – perfect clear day

  • Spa! My days at the Hilton were spent quietly – cooking in, sleeping lots, making use of the very good fitness center, walking the trails on the peninsula, even taking advantage of the spa summer special at the Eforea spa – a full body exfoliation, massage & facial. The spa was one of the best I’ve been to. Side note: this hotel had the worst internet of the entire trip – (3kb upload & download speeds were frequent – yes kb). Upside – I mostly disconnected for these four days.
  • Te Anau. One very rainy day, I drove to Te Anau. I started heading that way because there is a glowworm cave that’s promoted, but I didn’t make it there. As it kept raining harder, I really didn’t want to get out of the car. I also did not make it to Milford Sound. New Zealand traffic is a strange thing. Most roads at best are one way each direction. There are frequent signs that encourage slow drivers to allow those cars stuck behind them to pass, but most drivers don’t allow it. And there are very few real passing lanes – occasionally on long hills. The maximum speed I saw was 100 kph (about 62 mph), and in general people seem to target the speed limit or just below. On this rainy day I got caught behind many drivers who maxed out at 65 kph (about 40 mph) in a 100 kph zone which, when you have planned a few hundred kilometers to drive (each way), makes for a very long day. The lone ultra-aggressive driver that caught my attention this trip was pulled over by police not long after passing me.

    Even Rainy Days are Spectacular - Devils Staircase

    Even Rainy Days are Spectacular – Devils Staircase (near Queenstown)

So much like driving the North Island, South Island has many sheep, goats, cows, green pastures, rolling hills. But they also have fields of deer (fenced), and nice alpine peaks. Apparently there are no natural predators in New Zealand (no snakes, wolves, lions, tigers, bears, crocodiles, etc.) except man – so they cull the wild deer by helicopter hunting.

Lodging: St. Moritz. I spent my last two nights at the St. Moritz this was a beautiful, more historic hotel, in Queenstown proper. I dropped the car with the valet and didn’t need it until I left for the airport. This was a very comfortable hotel – dark woods, rich tones, fireplaces. Good fitness center. Full suite – kitchen, living, dining, bedroom. Compared to the Hilton, the internet was zooming. Good onsite restaurant, the Lombardi, (pdf menu). I liked it so much, especially the views, I ate there twice.

Lombardi Restaurant View

Lombardi Restaurant View

More Touristy things: 

  • Window Shopping. I did some proper tourist window shopping and almost succumbed to some beautiful blue pearl & diamond earrings. Apparently blue pearls are unique to New Zealand. This one jewelry shop, Waka Gallery, made everything onsite. They had beautiful, one of a kind designs.  But  after 14 days of indulging, I just couldn’t justify it.

New Zealand Days 1 & 2

New Zealand Days 3 & 4

New Zealand Days 5 to 7

Posted in Travel

A quick Precision Nutrition Coaching Update

Today, Precision Nutrition posted links to the presale lists for women’s and men’s coaching (if you sign up for the presale you can get a discount; and these sell out). I think the next cycle starts in January. My cohort started in July and we have an opportunity to speak with the women in the January group in early December.

So we’re 18 weeks into my year long experiment. The hard data: I was down 10 pounds and 7.75 inches before my New Zealand Adventure started. I haven’t had access to a scale but I brought a tape measure and the loss of inches seems to be holding up. Hooray!

Note: I care much more about inches and body fat percentage vs. the number on the scale. My goal for this holiday. Don’t lose ground.

Precision Nutrition Progress - 18 weeks

Precision Nutrition Progress – 18 weeks

You weigh & measure every 2 weeks. You take photos every 4 weeks. And yes, if the progress keeps up like this, I’ll share the before and week 52 photos. I may just have defined abs before I turn 50! Re: speed of program, this is a marathon not a sprint. It’s a slog. And it’s forever. Make better choices 90% of the time. Simple. Some of the women in my group (we have a private facebook group as well) were/are really frustrated by this. I was normal weight to start with, but wanted to lose body fat. For my height I have about 10 more pounds to work with before becoming clinically under weight, which seems pretty laughable but that’s the math. So I’m more focused on body composition. How can I improve muscle tone, leanness?  There were a lot of questionnaires early on that determined what workouts I receive each day. I don’t know all that goes into them, I’m just DOING them and since progress is happening (slowly), I’m sticking with it. I’m the tortoise not the hare in this experiment.

They have also gamified program compliance by awarding “badges” for lessons done, habits (new every 2 weeks) done, & workouts done. Basically if you do 5 each week in a category you get a badge. I’m showing you “habits” since I do not always succeed there. Sometimes these are easy – did I eat protein with every meal, you bet I did. Ooh did I eat until 80% full? Ha ha ha ha. Did I eat slowly? Why no, I did not. I don’t remember what week 12 was, but clearly I could not do it, at all. I don’t really care about the “badges” but you do need to check in each day – did you workout? did you do your habit? did you do the lesson? I think the accountability helps, at least me.

Precision Nutrition Habits

Precision Nutrition Habits

And I’m keeping up with the workouts as the hotel gyms permit. And yes, I traveled with fitness bands, just in case. And have used them. I have these – bargain (I left the yellow and green bands at home). Reality, I could have left them at home, but it comforted me to have a back up plan.

So here’s the real question…do you need to sign up? As far as I can tell, and I’ve done the certification program, 100% of the program info is available free online in the blog posts and infographics. Or you could buy the binder and do the program solo for 1/20 of the cost. I think the real value add is the pacing of the roll out so it’s achievable and the built in accountability system. If you can do all that solo, you’re good to go.

I like that the workout of the day is assigned so I just need to do it and not think about it. I like that the workout density increases gradually so I never have that workout where I can’t move for the next 3 days and just stop altogether. I like that there is a coach checking in with me regularly to get at a my real fitness issues (e.g. it’s the Pinot Noir this holiday) and who will give me workout strategies while traveling. But that’s me. I still appreciate the science behind the program. That’s what sucked me in initially and keeps me at it, day by day.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Development

New Zealand – Days 5 to 7

North Island Days 5 – 7, Hawkes Bay & Wellington

Travel: Drive 2 hours – Huka Falls to Napier (Hawkes Bay)

Rainbow over Hawkes Bay

Rainbow over Hawkes Bay – view from my hotel room

More rain, cows, sheep, goats, rolling hills, roundabouts, & lush green pastures.

Lodging: Pebble Beach Motor Inn. Good location, great views, friendly staff, clean, full kitchen in room, enormous Jacuzzi spa in the bedroom, free parking, strong free wifi, and the most rock hard bed I’ve ever slept in.

Pebble Beach Motor Inn - Yes the Jacuzzi is almost as large as the king sized bed.

Pebble Beach Motor Inn – Yes the Jacuzzi is almost as large as the king sized bed.

I hit the grocery – most meals were roasted chicken & rocket (arugula) +/- a corn tortilla +/- some cheese. Almost everything in the supermarket was free range and/or organic. Country of origin was noted on most meat, fish and produce.

There were extensive foot paths with fitness stations interspersed along Hawkes Bay. These seem to go on for miles and miles. Napier was sunnier and warmer than my first two stops. It was great to walk around in just jeans and a t-shirt.

imag1111

Touristy things:

  • Wine Tour: The clerk at the hotel recommended a multi hour drive and about a dozen vineyards worth stopping at. I did the drive but only stopped at Craggy Range for a wine tasting. Good choice. One bottle procured. I’ve been sticking to the Central Otago Pinot Noirs.

    Craggy Range Pinot Noir

    Craggy Range Pinot Noir

  • Ocean Spa: I stopped at Ocean spa as it’s in all of the guidebooks. It’s a big indoor water park. I was more interested in their fitness center, but access to fitness equipment was expensive, especially with the trails, and fitness stations available for free. If you have kids that like water activities this seems to be the place to go.

Travel: Drive 3  hours – Napier to Martinborough

The drive was like the others with more cows, sheep, goats, rolling hills, lush green pastures, and rain.

Lunch in Martinborough: Café Medici – Asian Slaw with Grilled Calamari & an espresso. Good food. It was a very nice place to stop driving. Apparently there was a wine festival starting that evening.

Travel: Drive 1  hours – Martinborough to Wellington

The drive started the same with more cows, sheep, goats, rolling hills, lush green pastures, rain, and there was a new twist – literally – crazy twisting roadways up and down a hillside cliff. You know those roads that motorcyclists love to lean into the turns on? Well these had signs warning motorcyclists that the road was too dangerous! So pretty.

Lodging in Wellington: Bolton Hotel – Nice place, not part of a chain. I booked it using Chase Sapphire points, like they do on those TV commercials. I had a suite, with multiple rooms including a full eat-in kitchen, living room, bedroom, & bath. Good fitness center. Good location with an easy walk to museums, a major shopping area & the water front.

Wellington was the first place I saw earthquake damage. Wellington was hit fairly hard with damage to numerous buildings, several newly constructed after the last big earthquake. There were many news headlines about the new buildings, which should have been able to hold up to this earthquake, failing to perform as expected. Construction & detours were extensive. Many areas were cordoned off.

Dinner: Artisan Restaurant  (at the Bolton) – Market fish, pan fried on saffron risotto with chorizo stuffed baby squid and piquant sauce; roasted beetroot with balsamic, almonds, feta and rocket, & a glass of Wooing Tree Pinot Noir (Central Otago Region of course). It seemed like they were trying too hard to be creative with this mix of textures and flavors on the entree. The salad was very good, the fish fresh was perfectly cooked, but the rest was a bit strange as combined.

Breakfast: Astoria –  I walked around Lambton Quay looking for a restaurant that had a big queue of people. This was the only one I could find that had a wait. The food wasn’t fancy, but the portions were generous and satisfying – scrambled eggs, bacon, gluten free toast, & thick coffee. They call it a “tall dark” here – I am not sure about the tall, as all coffees are small or smaller, but they are strong. Side note: the bacon in New Zealand is amazing. Thick cut, lots of lean. I’ve been eating bacon almost every day.

After this brief visit in Wellington it was time to head to the airport to return the rental car, and fly to Queenstown.

End of North Island tour. Heading south, but now skipping Marlborough, Christchurch & Dunedin due to earthquake damage.

New Zealand Days 1 & 2

New Zealand Days 3 & 4

Posted in Travel

New Zealand – Days 3 & 4

North Island – Days 3 & 4

Travel: Drive 4 hours – Auckland to Lake Taupo, Huka Falls area

New Zealand is filled with cows, sheep, goats, rolling hills, lush green pastures, lakes and streams. The highways twist and turn. There is minimal signage to verify that you’ve stayed on the correct highway at any given round-about; I am sick of round-abouts. You don’t “yield” you “give way.” There seem to be no street lights (or stop lights) except in cities or for single land bridges. I’m glad I only planned for day time drives.

Side note: Natural Disasters happen. A major (7.8) earthquake hit New Zealand the day before. Earthquakes are common here. There is a website that tracks those > 1.5 of which there have been 101 in the last 30 days.  I’d planned a tour of South Island including a few days in Marlborough (wine country), Christchurch, Dunedin and then finally to Queenstown. The road I’d planned to drive, route 1 along the eastern coast, was heavily damaged and mostly closed. Locals were predicting it would be months before it was fully repaired and passable. I changed my internal flight. Air New Zealand was amazing and let people change internal destinations at no cost, even if the new route was more expensive. All of the hotels except one were willing to refund my prepaid stays. That one hurt since it was to be another one with a 5 course wine dinner (also prepaid). Ouch.

Lodging: Huka Lodge.

Exhale. I never know I’m holding my breath until I walk into a place like Huka Lodge and let it go.

Huka Lodge

Huka Lodge

While early into my New Zealand Adventure, Huka Lodge was planned as the pinnacle. It’s one of only six destinations in New Zealand in the Relais & Chateaux family.

Huka Lodge embodies peacefulness. Everything moves in an unhurried fashion. Check in, such that it is, confirmed my name, and my beverage of choice – champagne? Perhaps a glass of wine? Why don’t I sit by the crackling fire and the manager will give me a tour in a few moments. Would I like to freshen up with a visit to the cloak room? Huka Lodge reservations require prepayment in full, but still, they don’t swipe a credit card on arrival for incidentals, all of that will be handled later, discreetly, upon departure.

The tour – and seriously who still plays croquet? – ends at my “room” – my bungalow, complete with wet bar/kitchenette, walk in closet, veranda (I can’t call it a porch), amazing bath with heated floors and of course towel warmers. Gluten free cookies (homemade) were on prominent display as they’d inquired re: food restrictions many months ago.

Touristy things: Several muddy hikes in the rain. Walk to Huka Falls.

Walk the trail from Huka Falls to Spa Park.

The falls are not tall but they are powerful, and apparently power several hydroelectric plants further down stream.

Food & Wine: Stays at Huka Lodge include breakfast, cocktails and 5 course dinners.

So my fitness coach (I’m 4 months into a year-long Precision Nutrition Coaching program) does not understand why I love this kind of thing or would not be willing to give it up to hit/retain my fitness goals. Mostly I don’t think she understands that while there might be 5 or even 11 courses of food at one of these places, you’re still likely to leave somewhat hungry. Each course is a bite, maybe two, but it’s a rare combination of tastes and textures. Worth every calorie.

Each day I was presented with a menu – all gluten free – was the menu to my liking or did I need changes? I kept them as is, though on the second day I asked them to double up the protein on some of the courses, at the recommendation of another guest who mentioned doing the same.

I added a bottle of Dry River 2011 Pinot Noir – split between both nights. I am sticking to New Zealand wines this trip.

Huka Lodge Menu Monday, 14th November 2016

  • Kingfish, Lightly smoked, with coconut, poppy seeds & passionfruit
  • Bill’s Green Asparagus “Salad” with cream of macadamia, Italian salami & verjus dressing
  • Nelson Crayfish, pan fried, with orange juice caramelized heirloom carrots  & citrus sauce
  • Ben’s Organic Free Range Chicken, Marinated & roasted, with braised Savoy cabbage, Pine nuts & Raisins
  • Strawberries & Rhubarb, Jasmine rice ice cream, sake gel & dill
Huka Lodge Dinner #1

Huka Lodge Dinner #1

Huka Lodge, Monday, 15th November 2016

  • Taupo Beef, tartare, with white anchovy, horseradish & gherkin, bone marrow cream & crisy onions
  • Manurau Farms Quail, roasted breast & leg in pate, charred endive & mulled wine sauce
  • Ora King Salmon, poached in olive oil, with Swiss chard, Agria potato & Buddha’s hand
  • Eastherbrook Farms Duck, roasted in fragrant spices, with smoked beetroot, fresh raspberry, black olive & merlot vinegar jus
  • Fix & Fogg Peanut Butter, manjari 64%, granola & milk, “Inspired by breakfast”

Breakfasts were simple & hearty – pretty much whatever you desire – until you stop asking for more.

Random conversations: I met a celebrity, and his wife: George Brett (yes he has a wikipedia page) and his wife Leslie. I don’t follow professional sports so I only knew this after the fact.  Leslie runs the Little Flower Shop in Kansas City. Lovely people who invited me to join them at dinner one night. One meal not solo this trip. Thank you. Not shown in the menu above were some specially prepared sashimi amuse bouches from fish they caught that day.

Day 1 & 2 – Auckland

 

Posted in Fitness, Travel

New Zealand – Days 1 & 2

North Island – Days 1 & 2

Travel: Denver to San Francisco; San Francisco to Auckland; uneventful flights, early arrival.

United wanted to move me to a less desirable seat to accommodate a couple who wanted to sit together. I said no. Everything they offered was not great, and I’d picked my seat 6 months earlier. I felt like a bad person for saying no, but it was going to be a very long flight. After boarding I didn’t feel bad anymore. The United gate person had tried to convince me Economy Plus was full, so that even if I didn’t move, I’d have a person near me. Liar! The seat directly next to me was empty, for all 12+ hours. I watched 3 movies and read a novel. I wish I could sleep sitting up.

Slow customs process in Auckland airport. They are diligent about ensuring that contraband food and plants are not brought into the country.

I rented a car. Driving on the left is OK. I’ve done that visiting my now deceased uncle in St. Croix, USVI. The steering wheel on the right is very odd. I keep turning on the windshield wipers trying to use the blinker. Visual cues are off. Drivers seem to go the speed limit or under which is all very strange. Max speed seems to be 100 km per hour which is very slow vs. USA.

First stop: Auckland – the largest city in New Zealand

Lodging: Sky City Grand – Harbor View – 20th floor

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View from Sky City Hotel Room

Weather: drizzle, clouds, 50’s at night, 60’s in the day. It’s springtime, so rain seems to be the theme for this trip.

First of all, the hotel was great and centrally located, very walkable with easy harbor access. Apparently they had a casino on site and even gave me some casino money to go gamble with but I didn’t. The room was excellent – quiet, clean, spacious, fantastic views, high quality bath amenities, comfortable bed. The fitness center was well equipped and never got crowded.

I slept for 12.5 glorious hours after checking in. This might be my new jetlag remedy. Do not sleep on the plane. Sleep for 8+ hours at destination and wake in the local morning time, work out, eat, explore. I felt fantastic on day two.

Auckland is booming. Cranes and construction abound. Former industrial zones are getting turned into posh mixed use neighborhoods. The Park Hyatt will open on the water in 2018 near the Sofitel. Women in pretty summer dresses were gathering at fancy boutique restaurants and wine bars even though the weather was windy and brisk. I was wearing all 3 jackets that I brought for the trip.

Touristy things:

  • Auckland Maritime Museum. Model boat makers had a field day making exhibits for this museum. But interspersed with all of the collectibles, where interesting historical tours on how New Zealand was populated, mostly in the last 150 years, with several exhibits on Maori traditional boat making and of course some World Cup winning boat exhibits.

  • Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari. You will see dolphins and whales guaranteed, or you’ll get a voucher to come back again. You will take a very long boat ride – on a quest for gannets (birds) – because where the birds are crazily dive bombing the water and this bit was spectacular – mirabile visu – just amazing –there are dolphins and whales nearby. Apparently the whales hear the bird cries and swim to where they are fishing. The dolphins just play in and about the birds and whales. They played a video for us of the gannets hitting the water at 100 mph, and then swimming 80 to 100 feet down to catch their prey – among the whales and sharks and dolphins. This outing was worth every single penny.

Food & Wine:

Two average meals:

One excellent meal:

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

Checking in

The Venture Deals Class ended. Certificate Earned. I am meeting an online teammate in person later this week, as she’ll be in Denver pitching her company. The virtual made real. I love this.

Kauffman Venture Deals Certification

They extended some deadlines at the end, and lowered some performance thresholds, but overall a great experience. There is an updated version of the book (Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist) coming out December 2016.

Earlier this year, I earned my Precision Nutrition Certification. This week, I  started a year of Precision Nutrition Coaching. Yes, it sold out. And partly it’s ridiculous, can’t I coach myself? But there seems to be a disconnect between my knowledge and action. I am hoping that my “coach” will kick my ass when I make excuses. Mostly I’m hooked on Precision Nutrition Infographics – e.g. the Cost of Getting Lean. I’ve been holding 22-24% body fat for the last few years. I’d like to get to  that 16-19% section on the chart.

Cost of Getting Lean

Cost of Getting Lean – from Precision Nutrition

Hard. Or at least hard, solo, for me. I’ll check back in about this at 3, 6, 9 or 12 months to share how it’s going. Apparently we take “before” photo’s this weekend. While I shared these in 2004, unless I’m up for an award next year, you won’t be seeing them. I met some amazing people in person who were online then (and now) – @IreneRuns, Kyra, @CausticMuse, @SoulCruzer– these days are different now.

I am celebrating my 3 year anniversary at Colorado’s Statewide Internet Portal Authority. It was and remains my almost dream job.

I cried my eyes out last night. One of my guilty pleasures is dance movies (I blame Flashdance & Dirty Dancing & Simply Ballroom, etc.) – but I love them all – Step Up (all of them, bad acting whatever….), Dance Academy (Australian High School Dance TV show) – but for the last few months, Amazon was pitching me Mao’s Last Dancer:  Autobiographical, historically accurate, heavy, internationally acclaimed. And I kept ignoring it. I generally choose dance fluff – Pretty. Shiny, like the sequins on the costumes. Mao’s Last Dancer was amazing, heart breaking, inspirational. Also pretty. But true story, poignant,  real, hard to watch at times. Amazingly it had almost a Sound of Music ending to it. Awesome. Currently available free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Posted in Books, Entrepreneurship, Fitness, Miscellaneous, Personal Development