A Snowboard Summer Camp for Adults

Whistler_5Hi Guys!

So welcome to my sneaky guest post for my snowboard camp that Cheryl mentioned last week.

My adventure all started with this excellent snowboard tutorial site, Snowboard Addiction. If you ever need any tips for progressing your riding, you should 100% check them out, no matter your level — their videos taught me a ton.

Anyway, back in January I got an email from Snowboard Addiction about this snowboarding summer camp in Whistler at Treeline Camps. This snowboard summer camp is held in late June, yes, but as it is located on the Horstman Glacier at the top of Whistler/Blackcomb, there’s snow year round.

To be honest, the thought had never even crossed my mind that something like this would exist, so naturally, when it hit my inbox, I got a little excited. Getting to snowboard in summer would be amazing, and getting taught how to snowboard better by some of best coaches in the world – holy moly!

So after a chat with Cheryl (and a lucky tax return), I signed up and booked my flight to Whistler for the 3-day (half length) adult snowboard camp.

To say it was worth it would be an under statement — what a good time! My only regret was that I didn’t do the full camp. The camp directors, Lisa and Luke, were so incredible, and Lisa even lent me a piece of her bindings when one of my screws fell out, which let me finish my last day of riding on a huge high note vs. a massive bummer.

The coaches were equally awesome: Nev Lapwood (founder of Snowboard Addiction) and Duncan Mainland (a coach that regularly appears in Nev’s videos) had such an excellent way of teaching and instructing … as well as being hilarious.

After three days I certainly saw a lot of progression in my riding, but I also took away a lot of specific things to work on, as well.  This is actually one of the key reasons I thought three days wasn’t quite enough — I didn’t really want to spend the time working on the areas that frustrated me, I mainly wanted to focus on having as much fun as possible, as my time was so short.

I’ll admit this was not the worst problem to have.

Some highlights:

  •  Bears!!! There were literally black bears everywhere.
  • The drive from Vancouver to Whistler = so beautiful!
  • The people. Getting to ride with some people who are as passionate, if not more passionate, than me about snowboarding was so much fun.
  • The Peak to Peak Gondola (and drinking a beer on said gondola) from Blackcomb to Whistler was an amazing ride.

Whistler_1

Whistler_2

Whistler_3

Whistler_4

Whistler_6

Whistler_7

Whistler_8

There is a ton of other stuff I could mention as well, but I think this guest post is definitely long enough. So in the words of my lovely wife … Bis Bald Friends!

The 52 Project: June 29, 2015

Cherry_Festival

^^ So we’re two days away from … July?! Can that even be right? Sheesh time flies. I’m gearing up to fly back east this Thursday for a couple weeks to attend some weddings and get some stuff together for my sister’s showers and wedding and to celebrate my mom’s 60th with her … just a whole lot of stuff coming up in the next few months, friends! The photo above was from the Cherry Blossom Festival Chris and I attended with some friends on Saturday. The festival celebrates Japanese culture in Denver, and it took place right outside our building, since the Denver Buddhist Center is right across the street. They had a drum display (above), tons of vendors and great food (yum sushi!). Anyway, hope everyone’s celebrating summer in the most fun and amazing ways. Bis bald, friends!

52-250px

Gizmos and Goodies: Travel Wiser This Year

Travel_Wise

Ah, travel. The thought of upcoming trips can always bring a smile to my face. Chris and I have dubbed this our U.S. travel year, since by the end of 2015 we will have added Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Louisiana to our list of been-there states. (This is, of course, in no small part due to our partial cross-country drive out to Denver at the beginning of the year.)

In addition to that, we’ll be traveling to Japan in February of 2016 for Chris to complete his sixth and final race in the 6 World Marathon Majors.

Travel is, obviously, an important thing for us. And while I love collecting travel books, and I tend to keep most maps, tickets and other paraphernalia that we collect while we’re actually on these trips, I’d be lying if I said that technology wasn’t a huge help these days when it comes to traveling. So in honor of all you Weary Wanderers out there, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tech gizmos and goodies that make the road less traveled just a little bit easier.

Here goes nothing.

GasBuddy
I’ve had this app for a while now, but since Chris and I just moved to a place where we needed a car at the beginning of this year, I haven’t had a ton of chances to use it yet. Still, I’m excited to use the app when we hit the road for our Wyoming/Montana trip in September. Just type in your zip code on the website or hit the ‘Find Gas Near Me’ button on the app and let the magic of GasBuddy do the legwork to find the cheapest gas wherever you are.

onTime and MyTix
While I probably won’t have a ton of use for these two apps anymore, when I was a New York City dweller, I basically lived by them to get home to visit family. The free onTime app from Metro North Rail provides real-time updates on train departures and arrivals, along with track information, for any route you plunk into its database, while New Jersey Transit’s MyTix allows you to actually purchase, activate and use tickets directly through your smartphone (finally!).

Foursquare
Cool or creepy: Sometimes when I’m just walking around Denver, I’ll hear a little ‘ding’ from deep down in my purse, and I’ll pull out my phone to find that Foursquare is recommending a restaurant (or even a specific dish!) near where I’m standing. Okay, so maybe that’s a little creepy, but you actually don’t have to allow the location access on Foursquare to use it when you’re out and about to search for awesome restaurants, bars and shops near where you are.

Roadtrippers
Ah, road trips — the staple of American travel, am I right? As I mentioned before, Chris and I only recently needed a car in our lives, but I’ll tell you right now that pretty much nothing about having a car excited me, except for grocery shopping and, of course, road trips! So of course I love the idea behind Roadtrippers and plan to use it a ton for upcoming trips. Plan out an amazing road trip by inputting your start location/end location and start date/end date, and asking the app/site to provide you with information regarding hotels, attraction, natural wonders and/or weird stuff. For example, when I use the app to set me up with a route from Denver to Glacier National Park, I’m told the trip will cost about $157 in gas, should take about 16 hours total and covers approximately 916 miles. Set your destinations, then click the little location icon off to the bottom left of your screen and select what you’d like to find (accommodations/attractions & culture/camping & rv/entertainment & nightlife/food & drink/outdoors & recreation/etc.), and the app will automatically pull up the best options on your drive. For example, on the way out to Glacier National Park Chris and I might stop at Bighorn National Forest, Teapot Rock, Yellowstone Art Museum or the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, among many others.

PackPoint Packing List Travel Companion
If packing for a big trip stresses you out because you fear you may forget something super important, that’s where PackPoint can help. Download the app and start by picking if you’re a gal or guy. Then input where you’re going and when, then the number of nights you’ll be staying and the type of trip you’ll be having (business or leisure) and activities you plan to do (swimming, snow sports, working, camping, gym, photography, international, beach and baby are just a few of your options, and you can customize activities if you upgrade to the $2 app version, as well). Hit ‘repeat basics’ or ‘laundry’ if you’ll be able to do that on your trip, and the app will generate a suggested packing list for you. You can check off items as you pack and swipe to remove stuff you don’t need. For example, on my trip to Glacier National Park — where I plan to hike, take photos and do lots of walking — my packing list includes things like camera bag, memory cards, battery and my camera, as well as maybe a handheld GPS, water bottle, bug spray and sunscreen. I find the obvious reminders (things like chapstick, pain reliever pills, wallet, house key and reading glasses to be particularly helpful because, let’s be honest, if I’m going to forget something, it won’t be my camera!)

If you’re a person who prefers checking things off on an actual, tangible list, rather than an electronic one (which sometimes I am), try printing this super cute one (in black & white or color) from a pair & a spare. (Her 5,4,3,2,1 packing guide might be helpful, too!)

Bis bald, friends — and happy travels!

Whistler Summer Snowboard Camp — Complete!

Chris_Whistler

Hi friends!

So I picked Chris up from the airport last night after his 5-day summer snowboard camp in Whistler, and I think it’s safe to say he had an amazing time (and may have even actually learned a pretty cool trick or two).

Chris will be back hopefully early next week with his own very special guest post on the experience, but until then, enjoy the view above ;)

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: June 22, 2015

IMG_7361^^ Umm — can you say delicious? I attended a street fair in the Highlands with some friends this past weekend (and a crawfish boil afterwards in the outdoor beer garden area of Local 46, so fun!), and these ridiculous Rice Krispie treats the size of my head were for sale at one of the tables. The people I was with promised they would have a bite if I bought one, but I didn’t believe them, so I abstained. Man, I wish I hadn’t. Bis bald, friends!

52-250px

Denver’s The Kitchen Is Great for Dates

Hey friends,

So last Friday Chris and I kept up a promise we’ve made to each other to try a new place in Denver at least once a month by having dinner at The Kitchen, which is conveniently located right on the 16th St. Mall. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I didn’t know too much about the place other than that friends had said it was good, but we were not disappointed. I may even go so far as to say that it’s one of my favorite places to eat in Denver now, and it’s definitely a great place to bring a date.

Here’s what we had …

01Kitchen_Muscles^^ Appetizers started out with organic mushrooms on toast, Maine mussels with grilled bread and the goat gouda gougère (basically a tasty fried cheese puff), pictured below.

02Kitchen_Cheese
03Kitchen_Drinks^^ And of course we had drinks. I decided to stick with white wine and Chris had — can you guess? — a Manhattan! Surprise, surprise.

04Kitchen_Menu

05Kitchen_Pasta^^ This picture simply does not do my house made capellini with ramps, house ricotta & micro basil any justice, friends, because it was, in all honesty, some of the best pasta I’ve had. Ever. And I’ve had pasta in Italy. The ricotta was the perfect compliment to the capellini, and the basil was so fresh, I felt like they had just gone out back and picked it before they put it on my plate.

06Kitchen_Dessert^^ Dessert was cappuccino and the sticky toffee pudding.

I love the feel of community that’s so important in this restaurant, too. In fact, The Kitchen restaurants all donate a percentage of sales to help plant Learning Gardens (which are actual gardens created in schools across America to help teach kids about the importance of real food) in their local communities.

So basically — hit it up, friends! Good food. A good cause. What’s not to love?

Bis bald!

The 52 Project: June 15, 2015

City_Park^^ Happy Monday, friends! So I know I blogged about City Park already from when Lisa and I visited last week, but Chris and I went back this weekend and I took out a City Bike while he ran, and we did two full loops of the park and saw some pretty incredible vistas that Lisa and I missed because we just took a paddle boat out on the lake. This is a must-not-miss park, friends. The Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are both here, as well as a public golf course, acres and acres of green grass and soccer nets, plus the lake where you can take out paddle boats and kayaks and other fun stuff. It’s pretty awesome. Chris and I also hit up a new restaurant this weekend — The Kitchen — but I’ll be back later in the week to blog about that. Bis bald, friends!

52-250px

When Friends Come to Visit — Part II

Hi all,

I’m back today with the final two days of Lisa’s visits, which were filled with quintessentially amazing Coloradoan vistas, Bloody Marys and, of course, more Mexican food.

Here’s what we got up to:

Monday:
The start of Monday saw us heading to The Delectable Egg, which has slowly become one of my favorite breakfast places in Denver. Afterwards we headed out to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, and then into Manitou Springs — the cute little old-fashioned town right outside of the Garden of the Gods park — for a Mexican lunch at The Loop Restaurant, which happens to sit at the foot of Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is a 14,115 ft fourteener—”fourteener” being the nickname given to mountains exceeding 14,000 ft above sea level in the area.


21Garden of Gods

22Garden of Gods

23Loop Restaurant

Tuesday:
Since Tuesday would be Lisa’s last full day, I had tried to find something fun that we could do around Denver that would be somewhat different. In the past, it has sort of become a tradition for Lisa and I to find a spot to kayak on trips we’ve taken together, and I wanted this trip to be the same. Unfortunately the past months’-worth of rainy days made it dangerous to do so in an actual lake, and when we finally did arrive at City Park (the alternative I came up with), we decided to rent paddle boats from Wheel Fun Rentals, instead.  The park turned out to be very nice, actually (I had never been before) and the paddle boating was super fun! There was even a patch of land in the middle of the lake with tons of birds, most of whom were nesting or had just had their babies, so that was fun to see, as well.

We started the day with Bloody Marys at Terminal Bar  in Union Station (naturally), and went for lunch at Acorn in The Source after paddle boating, as well. I’d never been to The Source or Acorn before, either, and I’m glad we made it here because it had been on my list of places I really wanted to show Lisa, and it turned out to be just as cute as I’ve heard. (Beer and fried pickles helped make it worth the visit, as well.)


24Terminal Bar

25 Terminal Bar^^ Post Bloody Marys.

26City Park

27City Park

28City Park^^ Look at these ladies … they sure do love an adventure ;)

29City Park
30City Park
31TheSource
32The Source^^
The Source is an artisan food market that occupies a former 1880’s brick foundry building in Denver’s River North District. Vendors include Acorn, Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe (pictured above), Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Crooked Stave brewery and The Proper Pour, among others. I like to think of it as Denver’s Chelsea Market, except much smaller.

33The Source
34aThe Source
34The Source
35Acorn

36Acorn^^ Ahh … beer and fried pickles. Is there anything better?

Dinner Tuesday night was — can you guess it? — Rio for Mexican again, of course! What can I say, we are creatures of habit.

Anyway, friends, that was Lisa’s trip in a nutshell. I had an amazing time with her here, and I really think I’m starting to get it down in terms of showing people around this town. There’s no end to the number of things you can do with people here, whether it’s food, drinking, hiking, walking, snowboarding or skiing — there’s pretty much something for everyone in good ole’ Denver.

Bis bald, friends! See you soon …

When Friends Come to Visit — Part I

Happy hump day, friends.

So I just dropped Lisa off at the airport. Gosh golly I hate good-byes! We had a ton of fun while she was here, though, and I’m eternally grateful for that. I actually ended up doing a whole bunch of new stuff while she was in town, as well, which I wasn’t expecting, and that was a nice little added bonus.

I figure I’ll break her visit up into two posts, since we did so much, and I’ll cover things that were new to me more in depth than those things I’ve already talked about here.

So buckle up, friends — you’re in for quite the ride.

Lisa arrived late on Thursday, so we basically chilled for most of the afternoon, and then headed to Rio for dinner that night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if you’re in Denver and you like Mexican, Rio is a must-hit.

Friday:
On Friday we headed to Red Rocks in the morning (which is always an amazing time), and then drove the short distance from Red Rocks to Golden, a small, cute little Colorado town where the Coors Factory lives. They give free tours there during the day, but the wait was about an hour and we thought our time would be better used by exploring the town a bit via car, which turned out to be pretty stinkin’ cute. I’ll come back for ya, Coors tour! We ate lunch at the Old Capitol Grill, too, and the waitress assuaged our fears of the tornadoes that were touching down in towns all around both Golden and Denver. (They ended up heading out East, so both Golden and Denver were spared.)

01Golden

03Golden

04Golden

We had Slice Works pizza and garlic knots for dinner that night, which is always a hit.

Saturday:
Saturday turned out to be a day filled with new adventures. Lisa had discovered that one of her favorite brunch places from Louisville, Kentucky— Wild Eggs — also has a restaurant in Denver, so we hit that up for breakfast, and then while driving Lisa through the Capital Hill neighborhood and Cheesman Park, we drove right by the Botanic Gardens and decided to just stop on in. It was a gorgeous day, and Chris and I had never been to the Gardens before, but it turns out this little piece of heaven is quite the quiet sanctuary, and I think it’s safe to say I’ll be back.

05Wild Eggs^^ My Bennies Gone Wild with wild mushrooms and a side of biscuits. Yum.

06Botanic Gardens
07Botanic Gardens

08Botanic Gardens

09Botanic Gardens

10Botanic Gardens

11Botanic Gardens

Sunday:
Sunday morning found us walking along the Platte River (at least the areas where we could, since sheesh she was raging with wild waters!), checking out Union Station and then Tattered Cover Book Store, and then heading out for a little Wynkoop Brewery time before walking over to the Highlands neighborhood for some Little Man Ice Cream, followed by our Paint n’ Sip class and dinner at The Truffle Table — a wine & cheese bar — afterwards.

12Wynkoop^^ We celebrated combined missed birthdays with beer and birthday hats at Wynkoop. There’s nothing even remotely silly about this photo, right?

13Little Man
14Little Man

15Little Man

16Little Man

17Paint n Sip^^ Our paintings came out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself …

18Truffle Table

19 Truffle Table

20Truffle Table^^ For our cheese plate at The Truffle Table we ordered Avalanche Goat Cheddar from Basalt, Colorado; Brillat Savarin from Normandy France (a cow’s milk cheese); Tete du Moine from Switzerland (another cow’s milk cheese); Cana de Oveja from Spain (a sheep’s milk cheese); and Quatizo Gouda (a water buffalo and mixed milk cheese). Of course we had no idea what any of these cheese meant, but our waitress was fantastically knowledgeable and we were all extremely happy with what she thought we might like.

And that, my friends, is where I’m going to leave you regarding this visit, for now. I’ll be back later this week with our shenanigans for Monday and Tuesday, Lisa’s final days in Denver.

Bis bald, friends!

Check Out These Amazing Flight Deals … But Do It Soon!

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 8.04.12 AM

Hey friends,

So I’m a bit late to the bandwagon, but I figure since you still have a day or so left, it’s worth mentioning. As fate would have it, yesterday the stars aligned so that three big U.S. carriers launched mega-awesome sales on the same day … and some of what they’re offering is pretty great.

Here are your options:

Southwest: Book with this sale by tomorrow for flights starting at $49, $99, $129 and $149 one way. You must fly between August 25 and December 16, 2015, and blackout dates (like Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving, Friday & Sunday flights) apply. Still, some of what they’re offering is great. In fact, Chris and I decided to go ahead and book a sneaky 5-day trip to New Orleans in November for less than $400 roundtrip for the both of us. Like I said — amazing!

Virgin America: Another one that ends on 6/4, the Virgin Sale is offering a smattering of discounts on flights starting at around $39 one way for some. Virgin doesn’t seem to be having quite as many deals as the Southwest offer, but some of their prices are way low you guys. Of course restrictions apply here as well, like the fact that travel must occur between June 23, 2015 and August 4, 2015. These are the other restrictions.

JetBlue: You must book these deals by the end of today! There are probably over 100 discounts happening over here, running the gamut from $44 one to to about $250. You must fly between July 7 and September 30, 2015, and the trip has to take place on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Other restrictions may apply.

So what do ya say, friends? You up for some last-minute, spontaneous travel … !

Sipping and Painting in the Highlands

Hi friends,

This past weekend I participated in an activity that has pretty much taken over my Instagram feed in the past few months — a wine and painting class. I’ve been seeing these everywhere, and I was intrigued, so I was pretty excited when a Denver friend invited me to come along with another friend of hers to their very own Sip & Paint experience.

I know the experience can be different depending on where you live — a friend in D.C., for example, said that hers was held at a bar and an artist simply came to the bar to give them classes. Ours, however, took place in an adorable little paint studio in the Highlands, one of my all-time favorite hoods in Denver. The company — Sipping N’ Painting — hosts one to three classes a day, and you can pick which photo you want to paint from their online calendar. (Meaning the day you pick corresponds to a specific photo — everyone in the class paints the same thing, which the artist takes you through step-by-step to create.)

We decided to paint a hot air balloon scene, and even though I’m no Picasso, I’m pretty stoked at how my photo came out …

Painting_1^^ Who doesn’t love a blank canvas and all it represents? You get one free drink with the class, and you can pay for additional drinks, or even a bottle of wine. They have snacks, too, which let’s be honest, was more important to me than the drinks.

Painting_2^^ Some of the options you can pick from to paint.

Painting_3

Painting_4

Painting_5^^ The beginnings of a skyline.

Painting_6^^ My sister called my sky “ominous” when I sent her a photo of it … ignore her.

Painting_7^^ The final product!

The studio is directly across the street from The Truffle Table — Denver’s wine & cheese bar. I have every intention of bringing my bestie (who is coming into town on Thursday for a week – squee!) back here to paint, followed by some deliciousness at The Truffle Table.

Does that not sound like the most perfect day?

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: June 1, 2015

Urban_Winery^^ Well, welcome to June, my friends! At the end of this month we will be half way through this year, and I simply cannot believe that. Am I doing everything I want to be doing this year? I’m not sure. My main goal, I know, was to get acclimated to Denver, and I do think we’ve been doing a lot around here to try to make that happen. Take, for example, Friday night. We started at The Infinite Monkey Theorem, where the wine is made in stainless steel tanks right in their back yard. We went with some friends, and afterwards we headed to Park Burger, which had one of the tastier veggie burgers I’ve had in Denver. These days, the sign of a good night includes good friends and discovering something new about this new town of ours, so I think it’s safe to say Friday was a hit. Bis bald, friends!

52-250px

Moab Camping … Put This Place On Your Bucket List

Hi friends,

Last Friday Chris took a half day from work and we took off in our little Matrix hatchback filled with camping gear to cover the approximately 5-hour trip from Denver to Moab, Utah. We would be camping with three other (way more experienced than we are, thank goodness!) couples, and they had all headed up the day or so before to grab us what turned out to be an amazing camp site in some backwoods area off the beaten trail.

So I wish I had been able to take some decent photos of the car ride out to Utah, because I think it’s safe to say the gorgeous scenery starts pretty much as soon as you hit the mountains on the way out, and only gets prettier and prettier. The five hours seriously flew by, since we were down in the depths of canyons, passing through arid desert, traipsing through small mountain towns …. basically it’s a breathtaking and incredibly entertaining ride the whole way.

But wahoe, my friends! It only gets prettier the second (and I do mean second) you enter Moab territory. Red rock canyons for as far as the eye can see. After about 10 miles of hairpin turns and rocky climbing which I wasn’t totally convinced Manny the Matrix could handle (and which she did, with aplomb), we made it to our camp site.

Behold our home for the four-day camping trip:

_DSC0973

_DSC0989^^ Meet the Avocado, the adorable little camper one of our camping companions purchased a few years back for $4 grand and remodeled into an adorable little compact camping van. Doesn’t she just seem like she belongs out there?

_DSC1072

_DSC1073^^ That’s our little Manny, next to the tent we had to borrow from my sister’s sister-in-law, since we currently have no camping gear to call our own. Thanks, Rachel!

_DSC1074

_DSC1076

Tent_View^^ The view from our tent every morning. Le sigh.

Smores^^ Enjoying smores by the camp fire.

_DSC1080^^ Sunsets each night produced this halo effect on the surrounding canyons, making it appear as if they were lit on fire from some unknown, hidden source. Breathtaking.

_DSC1082^^ See!

_DSC1122

_DSC1128^^ On our last night we hiked up onto one of the closer canyons near our campground and had a fabulous 360-degree view of our campground and all of the surrounding area.

Campsite_Hike

_DSC1138^^ Gloriousness all around!

So now comes the adventure part of our little trip. I’ve learned a lesson here, my friends, and it’s this: When you’re traveling with friends who are all marathon runners, take whatever fitness level they tell you the upcoming hike you’re about to partake in will be and multiply it by 10, and you’ll start to come a bit closer to what an average person would call the strenuousness of said hike.

That’s not to say that had they accurately described any of the hikes, that I wouldn’t have gone on them, but it’s just something good to be aware of, going into such physical activities.

For our first hike on Saturday, I’d call it a moderately strenuous rock climb. The first portion (and therefore last as well) consisted entirely of climbing up pretty vertical rocks, which I actually don’t mind doing, believe it or not. The views, of course, were unparalleled. Here are photos from that first hike, called the Hunter Canyon Rim Trail.

_DSC0990

_DSC0992^^ Cactus makes sense in the desert, but we were even more surprised by some of the random trees and wildflowers that grew out from the rock, clay and dirt. How do they even manage to live there? Nature is amazing.

_DSC0995

_DSC0998^^ Spectacular canyon views.

_DSC1007

_DSC1039^^ Feelin’ pretty happy with myself, if I’m being honest ;)

_DSC1060

_DSC1069

After our three-hour hike we headed into the town (which, by the way, is totally adorable) and had lunch at The Spoke on Center Restaurant. My house-made veggie burger was something spectacular (although to be honest, at that point I was so hungry I probably would have eaten dirt), and they’ve got lots of local beers on tap, too.

Here’s actually a nice place to segue into some of the craziness of Utah. In a state whose population consists of many, many Mormons, it only makes sense that some of these laws would involve drinking. (Take, for example, the fact that beers are not allowed to be poured in front of the general restaurant — all of that has to be done in a kitchen, away from the eyes of the people eating.) In addition to the drinking rules, though, come some doozies like the fact that husbands are responsible for the criminal acts that wives commit in their presence, it’s a felony to persistently walk on the cracks between paving stones on the sidewalk, and women are not allowed to swear in Logan, Utah.

Oh, and dancing is illegal in Saint George, Utah, as well.

Sheesh. There’s too much to love about the outdoors in Utah to care about their crazy rules, though, so moving on …

On Sunday we hiked what’s known as the Top of the World Trail — a consistently uphill 4-mile (although this link says 5, so guess somewhere in between) trek to some of the most spectacular views you’ll find anywhere, ever, in your life. Be warned, though …. this hike isn’t for the faint of heart. The entire time it took us to hike it (about 3.5 hours up and back), we never came across any other hikers. Everyone else was riding up on either 4-wheelers or in their Jeeps or such, although we did see a few mountain bikers who I think were just about as crazy as we were.

This hike is also not for those afraid of heights. I mean I guess it’s okay to do the hike, but you definitely shouldn’t look at the end view if you’re afraid of heights, and if you can’t do that, well let’s be honest, what’s the point. From the Top of the World you can see Titan Tower and Fisher Towers, as well as a whole big huge portion of Utah in all of its splendor. We had picked up some bagel sandwiches from The Red Rock Bakery & Net Cafe in town before heading out, so we housed those in about 10 seconds flat, took in the amazing scenery, and then made our way back down.

This was our reward after all that crazy hiking (which, I cannot lie, may have caused me to shed a tear or two in leg pain anxiety … totally worth it!):

_DSC1085

Chris_V_World

_DSC1089

Top_Of_World

_DSC1103

_DSC1107

_DSC1116

World_Hike

The next day we were up early to head out to Arches National Park. Since it was Memorial Day and we had been told this was one of the busier ones that people in town had ever seen, we were a bit worried that we might have to wait in line quite a while to get in, but lucky for us, the wait was only about 10 minutes before we could ride right in.

You can choose to drive all the way around the park, if you want, and you can even see Balanced Rock this way (pictured below), but the best thing to do is drive some and get out and hike a bit. You’ll have to hike about 3-miles roundtrip (which includes some pretty hefty uphill rock face climbing on the way there) if you want to see the Delicate Arch, but I would highly recommend doing this — it’s more than worth the leg pain …

_DSC1167^^ Balanced Rock from the road.

_DSC1190^^ And the big kahuna — Delicate Arch. See what I mean — how amazing?!

_DSC1192

_DSC1197

_DSC1204

_DSC1206^^ Be sure to take the short trail off the Delicate Arch path to see the Moab Indian Rock Art that dates back to the late 1800s. It’s amazingly cool.

And that was about it, my friends! A short but totally jam-packed and beyond amazing camping trip. We have to really, truly thank our friends from NY for inviting us and showing us the ropes. Moab is huge and intimidating and extremely free-form … and Chris and I both agree that we probably would have wasted a lot of time trying to find our way around a map on our first trip out had it not been for our friends. So thanks guys — and please feel free to invite us back on your yearly Moab camping trips any time!

Bis bald, my friends!

The 52 Project: May 26, 2015

Top_Of_The_World
^^ Happy Tuesday, friends. Aren’t long weekends the absolute best, when you wake up to your first day of work for the week and you’re like, “Ugh, Mondays.” And then you remember it’s Tuesday and it’s like par-tay! Anyway, all of this is to say, it’s Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, and Chris and I spent the entire long weekend camping in Moab, Utah, with some friends. There will be much more to come on our little camping adventure later in the week, but for now, feast your eyes on the photo above from the end-view of our 8-mile hike to something called the Top of the World. Those three tiny figures on top of that rock are me, Chris and one of our friends. Amazing. Hope everyone had wonderful holiday weekends, and I’ll be back soon!

52-250px

Moab Here We Come!

Moab_Views
Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! I hope everyone has awesome plans! While I must admit that the above photo is stolen from a friend’s Facebook page (thanks Joe!), Chris and I will soon be heading to Moab, Utah, to meet up with said friend, and a few others, for a long weekend of camping.

I haven’t been camping since … oh … I think maybe the summer before my senior year of college? Sheesh. Wish us luck, friends! I’ll be back Tuesday with a 52 Project Photo of Moab, I’m sure, and then a longer post on the trip later.

Bis bald, ya’ll!

Sun Valley Joins the Mountain Collective for 2015-16 Season

SVR.TopofBaldMountain

Hi friends!

So I know you’re all: “Hey man, it’s May. And you’re over here talking about snow and ski passes and stuff. What’s up with that?”

Or some form of the above.

As any die-hard skier/snowboarder will know, season passes for places go on sale wicked early (as in I’ve been getting emails regarding my Epic Local Pass for over a month now, and I’ve already missed the deadline to sign up and receive 6 buddy passes along with it. Oops.) Anyway, the point is, the early bird catches the worm when it comes to ski passes, and this season there’s a whole lot more to love with the Mountain Collective 2015/16 pass, now that Sun Valley, Idaho and Thredbo, Australia have joined the fray.

If you live in the Mountain West — or even just plan to be in any of their six awesome locations for more than 3 or 4 days — this pass is absolutely worth it. Included with the $379 purchase are access to nine leading ski destinations, including Sun Valley, Idaho, Thredbo, Australia, Banff, Alberta, Whistler, BC, Aspen, Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, AltaSnowbird, Utah, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, California and Mammoth Mountain in California.

That’s a whole lotta great places to ski or snowboard, my friends.

Included in this deal are two days of skiing or riding at each of the nine destinations, plus a 50 percent discount on all additional days with no blackout dates. Pricing for the kids’ pass (ages 12 and under) is just $99 for the 2015-16 season.

Get your passes here before it’s too late! Hope to see you on the mountains ….

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: May 18, 2015

Balcony_Views^^ Hey friends. So after a busy couple days with my parents in town, the end of the week into the weekend was pretty chill. It was a lot of catching up on sleep, cleaning and cooking — you know, all that domestic stuff you don’t get around to when you have visitors ;) Anyway, we’re off to Moab at the end of this week to go camping, so wish us luck on that! (P.S. This photo was taken from our balcony last night while Chris cooked inside. Ahhh Sundays, how I love your simple pleasures.) 
Bis bald, friends!

52-250px

A Whirlwind Trip With Parents …

Hey friends,

So we just bid adieu to my Mom and stepdad who were here visiting for the past couple of days. Despite weather that begged us to just stay inside and hibernate (and cancelled our baseball game — thanks freakin’ springtime snow!), we managed to fit in quite a bit of activity.

Here’s a bit of what we did …

01_Jagged_Mountain
^^ Friday night night after they arrived we hit up Jagged Mountain Brewery across the street and had dinner at the food truck that was parked outside that night, Scratch Comfort Food.

02_Molly_Brown
^^ When cold, rain and snow forced us to change our (outdoor) plans for Saturday, we headed to the Molly Brown House Museum first, and then …

03_Rio_Mexican
^^ … to Rio Grande for some delish Mexican and marguerites, yo!

04_Kimmy_Schmidt
^^ Our baseball game was cancelled on Saturday night, so we decided to go see The Avengers at the United Artists Denver Pavillions Stadium 15, and holy crap guys, they have leather seats that electronically recline allllll the way back so you’re basically laying down in the comfort of a leather chair watching a movie. Amazing! Almost amazing enough to make up for the fact that the power blacked out 15 minutes before the movie ended and we had to wait 20 minutes for it to come back on. Oh well, you know what they say, when it rains it …

05_Snowy_Denver
^^ Snows! Only in Denver could a freak snowstorm occur in the middle of May. Well okay, probably not only in Denver, but on Saturday night it sure felt that way!

06_5280_Burger
^^ After the movie we hit up 5280 Burger Bar, which, I imagine, would be a meat-lovers dream come true …
07_Bacon_Burger
^^ See what I mean? Blech! (This was Chris’s, by the way, obviously not mine!)

08_5280_Sundae
^^ The ice cream sundaes, however, I can definitely get on board with!

09_Denver_Mall
10_Stadium_View
^^ Things were looking up on Sunday, which was Mother’s Day.

11_Union_Station

^^ I took the rents for a stroll to Union Station so they could check it out, and we of course had to grab some ice cream from the Milkbox Ice Creamery, which serves Little Man ice cream.

12_Green_Russell
^^ That night we headed to the Green Russell for drinks before dinner at Osteria Marco in Larimer Square. This time we all chatted with the bar tender about our drink likes and dislikes, and had him custom-make some concoctions for us, which did not disappoint!

13_Red_Rocks
^^ Finally, finally, the sun came out on Monday! So we took advantage and hopped in the car and headed out to Red Rocks.

14_Tiny_Mom

15_Robert_RedRocks

16_Mom_Cheryl

17_Rocks_View
^^ I think it’s safe to say they liked it here ;)

18_Tea_Service
^^ Monday afternoon I had booked us for the high tea service at The Brown Palace Hotel, which is the oldest (and by far the fanciest!) hotel in Denver. This was so much fun, friends. We got all dressed up and there was a live piano player. We each ordered one type of tea (mine Chai, of course), and were served in our own little pots. The service came with two types of scones (regular and chocolate chip) served with Devonshire butter and jam, as well as three different types of finger sandwiches and four different mini-desserts. I’ve never felt so fancy!

19_Tea_Cookies
^^ How adorable are these desserts!?

20_Tea_Treats

21_Chai_Tea

22_Tea_Pot

23_Piano_Man

24_Coors_Field
^^ Even though our baseball game was cancelled I still got to walk my parents by the stadium, and Robert even went back and took a tour the day they left. It was $10 and he said it was definitely worth it. They walked the field, saw where the players get ready, sat in the dugout … seems like a dream for baseball fans!

25_Outside_UnionStation

 ^^ Me & Mom outside Union Station.

26_PearlSt_Flower

^^ On Tuesday we were back in the car and headed to South Pearl Street in Boulder to check out the shops.

27_PearlSt_Candy

^^ The old-timey Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop was definitely one of our favorite stops.

28_Soda_Museum

29_Meand_Mom

And that was about it, my friends. They left on Wednesday after checking out Chris’s office and having lunch at Backcountry Deli. Not too shabby for a quick five-day trip, huh?

This weekend we’re heading to A-Basin for some springtime snowboarding, and then next weekend, my friends, we’re heading out to Moab, Utah, to go camping with our friends. This, my dear friends, is why I was so excited to move out here in the first place. Our first real road trip! Wish us luck …

Bis bald!

The 52 Project: May 11, 2015

Molly_Brown_House

^^ Happy day after Mother’s Day, y’all! So my mom happens to be here right now (with my stepdad, as well), and we’ve been doing the best we can to tour around town in snow, rain and 30-degree weather. Boooo. Our baseball game was even cancelled because of the snow, so that was a bummer. But we did get a chance to check out the Molly Brown House, which was pretty awesome. I’ll have more later on about what we did throughout the days they were here, but for now — bis bald, friends!

52-250px

The 52 Project: May 4, 2015

Oyster_Treats^^ This weekend was pretty fun, friends. For starters, Chris and I tried out a new amazing restaurant — Stoic and Genuine — on Friday  (see the delicious oysters above as proof … yum!), Chris tried out A-Basin for the first time on Saturday to snowboard and on Sunday we headed to Colorado Springs to check out the Garden of the Gods national park. I’ll be blogging more about everything tomorrow, but for now, feast your eyes on the seafood above and, if you live in Denver, make a reservation ASAP to head over to Stoic and Genuine! You seriously won’t regret it!

52-250px

A Weekend of Seafood, Snowboarding and Sightseeing

01Stoic_GenuineHey friends,

So this week started out pretty rough for us, to say the least, but we’re looking forward to some fun times (and hopefully better weather!) when my mom and stepdad come to town tomorrow. Before that happens, though, I wanted to go ahead and post a bit more info about our hangings-out from last weekend. As you can see from the photo above, one of our first stops was an amazing seafood restaurants that specializes in seafood, and specifically oysters. Ooh lala ;)

The restaurant is called Stoic and Genuine, and it’s in Union Station, which makes it all the more fun. Here’s what we tried (and we shared everything, which turned out to be just the right amount of food for two):

Appetizers:
Big Eye Tuna Tartare 
pumpernickel crumb, lemon, tarragon, buttered radish
George’s Bank Scallop 
coconut-lemongrass panna cotta, Thai curry and kaffir lime vinaigrette, plantain crisps, pineapple compote
Octopus dill pistachio pesto, pickled onion, candied lemon

Oysters (2 of each of the following):
Stoic plump, briny, vegetal flavor, large from Long Island
Genuine rich, briny, medium from Totten, WA
Oakland Bay luscious fruity flavor, small from S. Puget Sound, WA

Dinner:
Fried Oyster Sandwich 
smoked oyster gribiche, potato bun, lettuce, pickleSides:
Grits and Crawdads mascarpone grits, creole butter, grilled ramps
Dessert:
German Chocolate Pie-in-a-Jar
Can you say yum??


02Take_a_Hike_Drink
^^ This was my drink, the Take a Hike with Mell vodka, Pimms, lemon, mint simple and cucumber-tarragon granita. To. Die. For.

03Fried_Oyster_Sandwich
^^ Our fried oyster sandwich. After everything we had for appetizers, splitting this bad boy was the right decision!
04German_Chocolate_Pie_in_a_Jar
^^ Of course there’s always room for dessert.

If you like seafood, I would highly recommend hitting up this place — it’s a Denver must-do. Saturday Chris headed to A-Basin for the first time to snowboard, and he said it was pretty much one big party, with music playing everywhere and a really relaxed, friendly environment. We’ll be back the weekend after this one for a birthday party, so I’ll finally get to experience this ‘spring skiing’ I keep hearing him talk about ;)

Sunday was another day of exploration for us, as we headed to Colorado Springs to check out Garden of the Gods and have breakfast at Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, which is about a 10 minute drive from Garden of the Gods. If you’re heading to Garden of the Gods anyway, I would highly recommend checking out Manitou Springs, since it’s so close. It’s this small, funky little town (which actually reminded me a bit of Phoenicia, if you’ll recall when Chris took me there for a short day visit) with a gorgeous, mountainous backdrop, and if you happen to find yourself at Adam’s Mountain Cafe, as well, the homemade cinnamon bun is a must!


05Adams_Mountain_Cafe

^^ See what I mean ?!

So a little bit about Garden of the Gods. Basically the park is made up of red rock formations that were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. According to archeologists, evidence of prehistoric people visiting this area dates back to about 1330 BC. At first the area was called Red Rock Corral (makes sense), but in August of 1859, two surveyors who were helping to set up Colorado City came upon the site and one, M.S. Beach, said that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” The other, Rufus Cable, allegedly replied: “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”

Charles Elliott Perkins purchased 480 acres of land in 1879, a portion of which included the Garden of the Gods. When he died, his family gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs, with the stipulation that Garden of the Gods forever and always remain a free park open to the public.

And so it is to this day, my friends.


06Balanced_Rock
07Garden_of_the_Gods
08Garden_View
09Garden_Sign
^^ You can’t tell from this photo, but that plaque basically explains why the park will always be open and free to the public (thanks Charles Elliott Perkins!).
10Chris_Gardens
^^ You can really get lost hiking around this place! The visitor center has maps that I highly recommend taking (plus the visitor’s center is just cool to check out, as well), and you can rock climb, too!

11Garden_Mountain_Views
12Garden_Steps
13Overview
14Garden_Rains

We had a good two hours at the park before it started raining, so I think we got a good idea of what it’s all about. Of course we’ll definitely go back some day and hike around a bit more, but for now it was a nice little introduction.

And that was our weekend, friends. We’ve got lots planned for when my mom and stepdad are here the next few days — so please just say a prayer for us that the weather holds out, because why come to Colorado if you can’t go outside!

Bis bald, friends.

** This post is dedicated to my brave little bun bun, Nugget, who Chris and I lost this past Monday. He was the strongest little four-pound creature I’ve ever known, and we will miss him terribly forever and always.

The Liebster Awards

liebster-award1Hi friends,

So the lovely Grainne over at An Irish Girl in Korea was kind enough to nominate little ole’ Weary Wanderer for a Liebster Award — which is an award given and received by bloggers to help grow awareness of all the awesome and amazing people out there who are blogging about awesome and amazing things.

The rules are:

1. Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you (thanks again Grainne!)
2. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers who you think deserve this award and link their blogs.
3. Answer 11 questions posted by the blogger who nominated you and also ask 11 new questions for your nominees to answer.
4. Notify your nominees.

So, without further ado, here are my answers to the questions Grainne asked me:

1. If you could choose one country to visit where would you choose and why? Well, I’m lucky enough to be able to say that my husband and I visited my No. 1 bucket list place — the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador — late last year. Since that’s now ticked off, I’d have to say the place I have my sights set on next is New Zealand. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it over there during a trip to see Chris’s family in Australia some time.

2. What is the first thing that you do in the morning? It’s sad but true — I think I’d have to say check my phone for emails! Then gym, meditate, breakfast (for both myself and our pets), coffee and to my desk!

3. Why did you start blogging? I wanted to have an easy way to look back on all the amazing places we were visiting, and then it evolved into something so much more. I started chronicling our lives in New York City, as well, which is something I’ll always cherish now that we no longer live there, and it’s been a great way to keep Chris’s family in Australia up-to-date on what’s going on with us over on the other side of the world, too.

4. How has blogging affected your life in a positive way? It allows me a creative outlet to write whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m a writer by profession, but so much of that is writing to a specific audience or for what an editor wants you to say. This is all mine, forever and always, and I love every second of it!

5. If you could be any animal what would it be? Probably a koala, but more specifically Shawn the Koala, the heroine in the children’s book series I’m trying to get off the ground ;)

6. How would you describe yourself in three words? Passionate. Stubborn. Loyal.

7. Where do you see yourself in ten years time? I’m not sure where we’ll be living, because I hope my life continues to be an amazing adventure. Having said that, I hope we’re still traveling a ton (potentially with a couple kids in tow!), and that Weary Wanderer continues to grow so that I can do less of my day job and focus primarily on this (and Shawn the Koala, of course!).

8. The mountains or the sea, which would you choose? Ooooooph. Toughie. We just left the east coast for the mountains of Colorado, and to be honest, I’d have to say that so far I’d have to pick the sea. The mountains are great — and I love snowboarding — but I don’t know. There’s just something about water …

9. Do you like or dislike meeting new people? Why? Both. I admit that it’s hard for me to approach new people because I can be a bit guarded, but I think once a person opens up to me, I’m more than willing to go that extra mile to stay in touch and/or get closer.

10. What do you value most in life? Love. (aka my friends and family and pets)

11If you were a character from a movie or a different world (e.g. from Space), who or what would you be, and what would your story be? Well not to give too much away, but again, I would be Shawn the Koala from my (soon to be best selling) children’s book. I can’t tell you the story, though … you’ll just have to read that when it comes out ;)

Okay, so now my nominees are:

1. skyward eyes
2. Deciding Denver
3. Incurable Wanderlust
4. That Dang Farang
5. Julie Journeys
6. Stretching It to Travel
7. 365 Day Explorer
8. More Days Off
9. Amarylio & Eloise
10. Family Boating & Camping
11. To the Capital Region and Beyond!

And here are the questions I’d love to see you guys answer:

1. What is the most frustrating thing to you about blogging?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What’s the one place you’ve traveled to that you would never go back?
4. Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
5. What’s the most important thing you bring with you when you pack for a trip?
6. Do you like to fly?
7. Which one: Road trip or plane ride?
8. What’s the longest you’ve traveled for?
9. What do you miss most when you travel?
10. What’s your favorite travel memory?
11. What’s your favorite travel photo?

Looking forward to reading all the responses — bis bald, everyone!

The 52 Project: April 27, 2015


Final_April
^^ Well friends, we seem to be closing out April with rain showers pretty much every single day. This past week was pretty relaxing. I’m working on my first story for 5280: Denver’s Magazine, which is exciting, and I attended an essential oils party yesterday, which was something I had never done before. (Do any of you believe in that stuff? Do you use it? What for?) We also booked our flights and the Airbnb apartment for our trip to Japan next February for Chris to run his 6th and final World Marathon — wahoo!!! We’re super excited about this trip, and plan to travel around a bit while we’re there, as well … but more on that to come later. For now I’m looking forward to visits from my mom and stepdad over Mother’s day weekend, my best friend in early June and a group trip out to Moab at the end of May. Here’s to happier weather in May, my friend! Bis bald! (Oh and p.s. The above photo was taken on my walk back from the eye doctor — I just love the area near Union Station. It’s so quaint and historic …

52-250px