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:

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_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?

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_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!

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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!

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_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.

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_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.

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_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.

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_DSC0998^^ Spectacular canyon views.

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

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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!):

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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?!

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_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

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^^ 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!

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Moab Here We Come!

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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!

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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 …

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^^ 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 …

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

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^^ 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 …

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^^ 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!

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

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

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^^ Things were looking up on Sunday, which was Mother’s Day.

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^^ 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.

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^^ 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!

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

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

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^^ 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!

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^^ How adorable are these desserts!?

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23_Piano_Man

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^^ 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!

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 ^^ Me & Mom outside Union Station.

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

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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^^ Our fried oyster sandwich. After everything we had for appetizers, splitting this bad boy was the right decision!
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^^ 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!


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^^ 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.


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^^ 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!).
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^^ 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!

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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


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^^ 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 …

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The 52 Project: April 22, 2015

Denver_Flea^^ This weekend Chris and I attended the Denver Flea, which included tons of fun finds from local artisans, as well as free beer with our RSVP, which was pretty awesome. We also met friends at a brewery and had a barbecue back at their house on Saturday, then barbecued up on the roof ourselves last night. So all in all, not too shabby of a weekend.
Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: April 13, 2015

Roof_View^^ I actually could have picked from any number of photos to post for today’s 52 Project, since Chris and I had a pretty full week and weekend. We attended the launch of a new app competition — headed by one of Chris’s former co-workers from an agency in Manhattan — as well as two parties for the Rockie’s Home Opener on Friday. We hit up closing weekend at Keystone on Saturday (which was glorious in all of its emptiness!), and went for a run down by the Platte River last night after a day full of chores and getting stuff done. This photo, however, was taken as we relaxed on our rooftop, beers in hand, and listened to the game going on in the stadium at the end of the day. Only one other person was up there at the same time, grilling up his dinner on the communal grill as we chilled, and I thought: Huh. Now this is starting to feel like home.

Bis bald, friends!

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A First Birthday in Denver

I wanted to take some time here to mention all of the fun things we did in and around Denver for my birthday last week, since it really was such a fun week. Here’s a little bit of what we saw:

01Ting_Tings^^ Chris surprised me the night before my birthday with concert tickets to see the Ting Tings at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood. The concert was awesome, and we really loved this venue. It sort of reminded us a bit of Terminal 5 in Manhattan, which, if you’ll recall, we have found memories of ;)
02Sonic_Treat^^ On the way home from the concert we stopped off at Sonic because Chris had never tried it before and, truth be told, neither had I. The Oreo Sonic Blast is to-die-for.
03French_Toast^^ Birthday morning started out with my traditional birthday French Toast. I’m a spoiled, spoiled gal.
04_Cupcakes^^ My sister and her fiancee sent some seriously fabulous cupcakes from Happy Cakes Bakeshop.
05Violin_Lessons^^ Chris lured me out of the apartment on the pretense that we were getting lunch, and instead he took me to Von’s Violin Shop, where he rented me a violin so I could start taking lessons again. Best. Gift. Ever!
06Denver_Lights^^ I mentioned yesterday that we had dinner on the night of my birthday at Root Down in the Highlands neighborhood, which serves local, sustainable cuisine. Then Friday night we headed out on the town with my brother-in-law’s sister (you read that right) and her husband, whose birthday also happened to be April 2. On Friday we hit up Osteria Marco — an Italian eatery in the adorable Larimer Square section of town.
07Colorado_Pride^^ After dinner we headed across the street to The Green Russell, a cocktail speakeasy, where I had a traditional Whiskey Sour, made with raw egg and everything. The bartenders here are amazing. They take the time to chat with you and figure out the perfect drink for you based on your tastes … it’s a seriously fun place to hit up. Of course it’s super dark though, so I couldn’t get a good picture. Instead I’ll post another of Larimer Square because, come on … how cute?!
08Downtown_Boulder^^ On Saturday we hopped in the car and headed to Boulder to take in the Boulder Arts Week shenanigans (which to be honest we sort of flaked on after trying out one spot), and to have lunch at Salt, where I tried out my first quinoa burger.
09Boulder_View^^  Another view of the adorable Pearl Street

And that’s about it my friends. My first birthday in Denver is officially in the books and, I gotta say, it wasn’t too shabby at all. A huge shout-out to my hubs for making the week so special.

Bis bald, friends — and welcome to spring!

The 52 Project: April 6, 2015

Root_Down^^ Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Cheryl … happy birthday to me! Just kidding, that was last week, but Chris planned such a wonderful birthday week for me that I still feel like celebrating. Is that so wrong ;) Anyway, we did a lot for my birthday and we tried out a ton of new Denver places, but I’ll blog all about those later in the week. For now, the above photo is from Root Down, where we had dinner on the night of my actual birthday. I’ll tell you more about this place when I blog about the full week later, but for now I’ll just say that we sat by a corner window as the snow fell gently outside (in April! But I love snow, so I think that was all part of my present) and I drank Grandma Rachel’s Mulled Wine … a perfect evening. Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: March 30, 2015

Blue_Bear^^ This photo is exactly what it looks like … my hubs standing next to a ginormous blue bear. The bear’s name is ‘I See What You Mean’, and he’s looking into the Denver Convention Center, where the Banjo Billy Bus Tour that Chris booked for us on Saturday started. We actually had quite a full weekend this weekend, with our bus tour and a wedding for one of Chris’s colleagues and a barbecue last night. The weather was amazing, spring seems to be officially here, and it’s my birthday this week — wahoo!! So bis bald, friends – hope you all have amazing weeks planned!

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An Ode to Home …

Well friends, as I mentioned on Monday, I made a quick (surprise) trip back east last week for my nephew’s second birthday party. It was the perfect time to head home for a bit, since I’ve been feeling a bit wishy-washy about Denver. I even made it into the city one day and managed to catch up with some friends and an old boss — it was just the shot in the arm I needed to head back west and take on spring!

Here’s a bit of my trip in pictures …


1Irish_Coffees^^ Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — the day of my arrival — in the best way possible with Irish Coffees

2Times_Square^^ Glorious, glorious Times Square. This city always has a way of making me feel alive.

3Coffee_Bean^^ I hit up The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for the first time ever with a friend while I was in the city. It was pretty good, but Dunkin’ Donuts, you still have my heart …

4Central_Park^^ I had a little bit of time in between friend meet-ups, so I took a solitary stroll through Central Park. She’s a beauty. 
5Rory_Bus^^ This little guy — the whole reason for my trip. Happy 2nd birthday little man! Love you so, so much!
6Spring_Snow^^ Happy spring?! To be honest, I’m kind of glad it snowed like crazy the Friday I was home (although it did make the drive from Jersey to Pennsylvania a bit treacherous.) I’ve been watching via social media the crazy winter the east coast has been having, and I’ve been more than a little bit jealous, so this was nice.

7Rory_Counting^^ Don’t worry, we’re not upset. We’re just counting to 10 with our eyes closed while Mommy hides our toy bus. It’s a pretty fun game.

8Swim_Lessons^^ I attended Rory’s swim practice Saturday morning before his party, and it was the cutest thing. He doesn’t too much love the idea of putting his head under water yet, but he’ll get there!
9Rory_Gift^^ The aunts and uncles all put in to get Rory a bus/slide combo for his birthday present … and I think it’s safe to say he pretty much loved it.

10Bday_Cake^^ Two whole years in the books.
12Sun_Set^^ And the sun sets on my trip back home (and in my parents’ yard). Till next time, family … bis bald!

The 52 Project: March 23, 2015

Central_Park^^ Wait huh? What? That doesn’t look like Denver! This past week has been a busy one friends. I flew back to the East coast last Tuesday as a surprise for my nephew’s 2nd birthday party, which was so fun. While here I decided to take a little trip back to my old haunt … good ole’ NYC. Oh NYC — how I’ve missed you. It was a packed day of seeing as many people as I could in the few hours I was there, but I did have some time to take a quick stroll in Central Park (above) all by my lonesome, which was just what the doctor ordered. I’m headed back to Denver tomorrow, but this little getaway was definitely much needed and I’m feeling ready to take on Denver again after a little break. Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: March 16, 2015

Breck_Snow^^ Well friends, Chris and I continue to explore our new life in Denver. Last week was actually pretty busy. I had my oldest college friend in town for work, so we had dinner with her on Tuesday night at our new favorite Denver Mexican Restaurant, Illegal Pete’s. Wednesday night we attended a Happy Hour held by our building at Jagged Mountain, the brewery right in our neighborhood. Thursday we had my brother-in-law’s sister and her husband over to see our place and have some beers on the rooftop, then we headed for burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Union Station (which were amazing). Saturday night two friends flew in for a visit, and we all headed to Breckenridge yesterday for a little fun in the snow. (That’s Chris at Breck above.) I did some of the steepest hills I’ve ever done yesterday, and I definitely snowboarded for the longest I ever have. I was totally over it by the last run, but I’m still pretty proud of myself, to say the least. Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: March 9, 2015

Loveland_Pass^^ Happy Monday friends! We had a really good past week and weekend, one that started to make me feel like maybe Denver’s not so bad after all. I tried out a new wine bar with a friend, we went snowboarding at Keystone on Saturday (and took the gorgeous Loveland Pass exit this time, hence the above photo that we were able to stop for while waiting for some avalanche demolition to finish up before we could pass. These are the kinds of things that happen to you when you live in Colorado.) and we visited with family that was in town last night. All-in-all it was a very successful weekend, for sure.

Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: March 2, 2015

Chris_Flowers^^ Well friends, this weekend was … disappointing … to tell the truth. Chris and I refrained from heading to the mountains because of a big snowstorm that was meant to come and never did. Oh well — at least I had these beautiful flowers to look at at home while we hunkered down for no reason whatsoever. Lesson learned, I suppose. Bis bald, friends!

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Pizza, Beer, Bloody Mary’s and Bagels (aka Touring Around Denver With Friends)

 

This past weekend Chris and I hosted our first visitors to Denver, which was both fun and nerve-wracking, since we haven’t been here that long ourselves and definitely haven’t done as much exploring as I normally like to have done before invite people to try things.

But I guess that’s where TripAdvisor comes in handy these days, right friends?

Anyway, we had ourselves a right nice little weekend with our friends from NYC, and although I don’t have photos of everything we tried, I’d like to put a little list together here, since really I feel like we hit on some places that are sure to become our “locals”, if you will. (Of course it helps that they’re all walking distance to our apartment.)

Friday we met up at the local dive Star Bar for drinks before dinner. The menu changes every week, so it’s hard to say what they’ll have from one day to the next, but there are tons of local brews on tap, and they have live music, pool tables and skeeball, and while they don’t serve food themselves, they have menus available to order in from many of the tasty joints that are right on that block, as well.

We decided to forgo ordering food to the bar, though, in favor of heading over to Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza, which is right next door. We ordered a bunch of things to share, including the Arrosto salad, the Queens pizza and the Nutella Pizza for dessert … all of which were amazing. Plus the atmosphere was fun and festive … this would be a place we’d head back to, for sure.

Saturday we attempted to meet up with our friends for breakfast at Snooze in Union Station, but when something is rated the No. 1 place to get brunch, you better believe there will be a line, and at an hour and 45 minute wait time, we weren’t having that. So we headed on over to The Delectable Egg, instead, and had ourselves a delicious breakfast, including some of the best coffee I’ve ever had (ever), and a mouth-watering Bloody Mary.
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03Delectable_Egg^^ I had mine sans bacon — thank you very much — but it was still delicious!

After breakfast we went for a little walk by the Platte River (in winter, yes, we’re badass, what can I say?) and over to REI to show them how big and fun it is.

Then later we wandered over to the Wynkoop Brewery (during what would turn out to be our first significant snowfall since we’ve been in Denver, no less) for their free brew tour (definitely worth it), some beers and appetizers.

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Dinner was at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant (which we visited the last time we were here in April, as well), and Sunday we met up again for coffee and bagel sandwiches at Bruegger’s BagelsAnd while I have to say that nothing, and I mean nothing, beats eating an egg and cheese bagel from our favorite deli on the corner of 3rd and 89th while sitting on a bench in Central Park or taking a walk around the Reservoir, Bruegger’s is a place that I would probably be okay bringing visitors to … if I had to pick ;)

And that was it friends — our weekend of boozing and eating in a nutshell! Hopefully when the weather gets warmer we’ll be able to branch out with our guests and take them to Red Rocks, on hikes and out and about a bit more, but for now, we’re just grateful to have friends who are willing to explore a new city with us — who could ask for anything more?

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: February 23, 2015

02.23 52 Project^^ We had our first Denver visitors this past weekend, my friends. It was so great having friends visit from back east, not to mention the fact that it forced us to get out and explore a bit more. Part of that exploring included a tour of Wynkoop Brewery, which we had been to the weekend before on our Brew Tour for Valentine’s Day, but that didn’t include the actual tour of the entire brewery, which was free and totally worth checking out. I’ll be sharing more on what we did with our visitors later in the week, but for now, enjoy this photo of barley and hops, friends!

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A Brewery Tour for the Books

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Hey friends,

As I mentioned yesterday, Chris and I used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to cash in on a Christmas gift from our soon-to-be-brother-in-law and take a walking brewery tour around Denver. Since we had only been to one brewery before the tour, it really was a fun thing to do on a Saturday.

The tour started out at Rock Bottom which, as it turns out, was the very first Rock Bottom in what is now a chain of over 30 breweries around the country. Each place has its own brewmaster, though, and we started out with the Fire Chief and the Mochaholic.

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Rock_BottomAfter Rock Bottom we took a little stroll over to Wynkoop Brewing, which I think was my favorite of the four breweries that we visited. The brewery opened in 1988 and was one of the first in the area. Its success encouraged other breweries and restaurants to set up shop in downtown Denver … and the rest is brewing history.

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After Wynkoop we headed over to Falling Rock, which unfortunately I don’t have photos of — but we really enjoyed this place. It was less high-brow than the others we visited, with its dark lighting and postered walls and super tasty beer. We got pitchers of the Dry Dock Double IPA (my favorite), the Bull & Brush Brown and the Avery White Rascal. Plus this place is basically right around the corner from our apartment, so that’s always a plus!

After Falling Rock it was off to our fourth and last stop — Breckenridge Brewery — where we had the Agave Wheat and the Ophelia. We actually ended up sitting at a table with two couples who were visiting Denver for the weekend, so we all ordered some beers after the tour ended and hung out watching the rugby (yup, rugby) games for a little while.

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It was a pretty successful outing, to say the least. And now we can say that we’ve been to a couple breweries in the area which, I’m pretty sure, makes us real Denverites.

So thanks again for the awesome gift bro-in-law! We’ll have to take you on our own little brewery walking tour when you’re in town ;)

Bis bald, friends!