A Day Trip to Aspen to Check out the Maroon Bells

01_RoadtoAspen^^ A little view on our way to Aspen last weekend.

Hey friends,

So this past Saturday Chris and I decided to stop off in Aspen on our way to Glenwood Springs to hike the Hanging Lake trail. Aspen’s about four hours away from us in Denver, and neither one of us had been before, but it’s only about an hour from Glenwood Springs, so we figured Saturday would make the perfect time to do a little stop off.

At first we weren’t sure what to check out since we would have limited time, but after a little research, I determined that seeing the Maroon Bells was absolutely what we needed to do. According to some sources, these mountain ranges are the most photographed mountains in all of North American — and now we know why.

During the summer the trail into the Maroon Bells site is closed to individual cars from 8 to 5 p.m. (unless you have a child under 2, or a few other contingencies), but you can catch a bus for $6 per person from Aspen Highlands, and they have free parking for Maroon Bell visitors as well. The parking lot does fill up quickly though, so you kind of need to test your luck. We did get lucky, though, because we arrived around 2 and were able to find a spot right away.

It was meant to be.

Here’s a bit of the (spectacular) views …

02_RoadtoAspen^^ This lake on the way into Aspen was too pretty not to pull off to the side of the road and photograph.

03_Aspen^^ The Aspen Highlands, where we parked and caught the bus into Maroon Bells.

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_DSC1224^^ Gorgeous mountain views.

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_DSC1257^^ So about these mountains. The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains — Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak — separated by about a third of a mile. You can hike them (they’re considered ’14ers’ — aka the name that Coloradans have given to certain mountains in the state that are above 14,000 feet), but the terrain is very difficult, so you should definitely do your research and train beforehand.

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_DSC1264^^ There is another little hike, about 3 miles, running away from the mountains, that Chris and I will definitely be back to do at some point in the near future.

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_DSC1304^^ Loved these wildflowers!

And that was Maroon Bells, kids. We spent a couple hours there, and then hopped back in the car to finish the hour drive to Glenwood Springs. I’ll be back tomorrow with more on our evening in Glenwood Springs and the Hanging Lake hike.

Until then, bis bald, friends!

Euclid Hall – A Great Place for Awesome Drinks and Appetizers in Denver

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Hey friends,

So Friday night Chris and I made good on a promise to each other to try out at least one new bar/restaurant in Denver each month by checking out Euclid Hall, right off Larimer Square. It’s been on my to-do list, and I’m really glad we got a chance to check it out, because we both agree it’s a great spot to bring visitors. Not only do you get to walk through the adorable Larimer Square (which it seems I’m destined to take pictures of every single time I’m in that area, so please don’t judge me), but they have tons of beers and they even have a speciality Seinfeld-themed cocktail menu.

Amazing.

We ordered a couple different beers and cocktails and appetizers, and the atmosphere was really fun and festive. It’s a great place to hang with some friends or have a pre-dinner drink. I would highly recommend checking it out …

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IMG_7841^^ The beer list goes on and on …

IMG_7842^^ Seinfeld-themed drinks … yesssssss!

IMG_7845^^ You just know we had to try the pickle sampler plate, right?

IMG_7847^^ Fried cheddar curds with buffalo ranch dipping sauce and white cheddar spaetzle rounded out our appetizer samples. The only other times I’ve had spaetzle were in Salzburg and Munich, so of course you know nothing can compare to eating amazing food in foreign countries — but friends, please believe me when I tell you that this spaetzle seriously gives all other spaetzles a run for their money. De. Lish.

IMG_7849^^ I tried the “They’re Real And They’re Spectacular” drink from the Seinfeld-themed menu (it was pretty awesome — a very mellow drink, if that’s what you’re after), while Chris got the Hipster Dufus.

IMG_7855^^ And, because I promise to always be predictable, the quintessential photo of Larimer Square in all of its quaint cuteness.

IMG_7856^^ It’s the twinkle lights that does it, really. I mean, come on? Throw some twinkle lights up on anything and it looks better immediately, amIright?!

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: July 27, 2015

IMG_7929^^ This weekend was a lot of fun, friends. Chris and I tried out a new neighborhood joint for drinks and appetizers on Friday called Euclid Hall, then we hopped in the car Saturday and drove to Aspen to check out Maroon Bells (above). We only stayed in Aspen for the day, though, then it was on to Glenwood Springs to hike the Hanging Lake trail. I’ll be back throughout this week to explain all of these things in further detail, but for now, go ahead and soak up the gloriousness that is the photo above. Swoon. Bis bald, friends!

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The Coors Tour, Backyard Breweries and Bird’s-eye Views in Golden, Colorado

Hi friends,

So this past Sunday, Chris and I decided to make the short drive out to Golden, Colorado. Chris had never been before, and I had only been once when Lisa was visiting, so there were still a lot of things I wanted to try out in the area.

First on that list: A Coors Brewery Tour.

These tours are free, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a fun driver like ours who takes you for a quick loop around Golden and gives you a bit of historical info about the area before heading over the factory. Lisa and I had wanted to take the tour when we were there together, but the line was over an hour to wait, and we felt we could make better use of our time. This time, though, Chris and I went in knowing we’d have a bit of a wait, and it didn’t end up being too bad (probably a little under an hour) after all. A shuttle bus picks you up from the (free) parking lot and drives you over to the factory, which is humongous. The tour is unguided, and you just pick up a headset and press corresponding numbers to display cases as you walk through yourself. I think I probably would have paid more attention had the tour actually been guided, but as it was, the tour was free and it comes with three free beers per person at the end, so really it’s worth doing if you’re trying to kill some time in Golden. (Or if you happen to love Coors beer, of course.)

01_Coors_Sign^^ Waiting in line to catch the shuttle to the factory.

02_CoorsLine_View^^ Everywhere you look in Golden you’ll see gorgeous mountains and blue skies. It’s pretty breathtaking.

03_Coors_Brewing^^ Some barrels during the tour.

03_Hops^^ Delicious beer ingredients.

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05_Coors_Drinks^^ The beers available each day are on display as you get down to the cafeteria area. Chris and I collectively tried the staple Coors Banquet, Batch 19 and the Colorado Native. Batch 19 was my favorite, while Chris was partial to the Native.

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07_Coors_Factory^^ The reservoir surrounding the factory is used to cool the machines used by the plant.

After the tour (which took us about an hour and a half), we drove over to the adorable Golden City Brewery. This brewery is essentially in a back yard, with picnic tables and wrought iron benches, flags and soft white lights hanging everywhere. The vibe here is so laid back and casual, it’s impossible to not feel like you’re just drinking some beer in your own backyard with friends. I’ve heard there’s usually a food truck parked outside, but there wasn’t one the day we were there. The brewery sells a small assortment of food (hotdogs, pretzels, a meat & cheese plate), but I would definitely recommend eating before you come if you’re hungry.

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10_Golden_Brewing^^ Nothing but blue skies, friends.

11_GoldenBrewing_OutdoorShot^^ How cute is this place?!

After the brewery we took the 15-20 drive up the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway, past Buffalo Bill’s Museum & Grave, to take in some of the breathtaking vistas.

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15_Lariat_Loop^^ We drove up the loop for quite a while, and you can see different things from different stops. That’s the city of Golden down there, and in other spots you could even see Denver in the distance.

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And that was our lovely little Sunday, friends. The Coors factory, a brewery and a scenic walk/drive? I’d say a weekend doesn’t get too much more Colorado than that ;)

Bis bald, friends!

Have a Happy Friday, Friends!

02_BrooklynDinner^^ Empanadas and fried plantains at Ideya in Brooklyn with friends before flying back to Denver earlier this week.

Happiest of happy Fridays to you, my friends! Chris and I have spent this week getting back into the groove of things (this is especially true for me, since I’d been in New York for 12 days … sheesh!), and this will be a quiet little weekend spent with some friends and checking out a brewery and beer factory (hopefully!) in a nearby town.

Bis bald, friends! Until next week …

01_Subway^^ Every time I return to New York now I end up acting like a total tourist. Our old 6-train subway line from Grand Central to the Upper East Side. Le sigh.

03_Courtney Shower^^ Celebrating a cousin’s impending (second!) baby with dinner at Homegrown Tap & Dough and dessert (ice cream, duh!) from Bonnie Brae Ice Cream, a Denver institution.

04_Penny^^ Coming home to this little lady’s not so bad.

A Sunny Day Spent at Lake Minnewaska

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Hi friends,

This past Saturday when I was still in upstate New York, I had a wedding to attend in Tarrytown that didn’t start until 7 p.m., and my sister had slept over at my mom’s the night before … so … we decided to go on a little adventure. We hopped in the car and drove about 40 minutes from Newburgh, through New Paltz, to Lake Minnewaska. Located on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge, the park has tons of hiking trails for any level hiker, waterfalls, places to have a picnic, swim, fish, or even rent kayaks or a canoe.

Steph and I decided to first hike the smaller loop around the lake (probably about two miles in total), and then hang out by the lake for a couple hours to relax.

The views are pretty spectacular, my friends …

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It really was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

That night it was on to Tarrytown for what was one of the most beautiful weddings we have ever been to at the Tappan Hill Mansion.

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Until next time — bis bald, my friends!

The 52 Project: July 13, 2015

Brooklyn_Sunset^^ I feel like this is a very fitting photo to start out this week, as my 12-day trip back to New York comes to a close. Chris and I flew back to Denver this morning after attending a (gorgeous) wedding in Tarrytown on Saturday and spending most of yesterday in the city with friends. The shot above was taken in Brooklyn as we were walking back from dinner with friends. Ah, New York. Will I ever stop missing you so? I’ll be back later this week to blog about a little day trip my sister and I took to Lake Minnewaska. Until then, bis bald, friends!

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Warwick Foot Spa and Tea Bar — Plus Some Italian Food to Top It All Off

Happy birthday, Mom!

Last night my sister and I treated our mom for her 60th birthday to the full session, 50-minute foot reflexology treatment at Warwick Foot Spa and Tea Bar, followed by dinner at Grappas Ristorante right down the road.

Full disclosure: I’d never had a reflexology treatment before. Having said that, I do think I’ll be trying to get a few more of these in from time-to-time from now on. The foot reflexology treatment is basically all of my favorite stuff about a massage, without having to actually take all my clothes off, which honestly I just can’t be bothered with. They massage your shoulders and neck, your arms and hands, feet and legs, and cover your eyes with a delicious-smelling warm towel during the whole thing.

It’s pure loveliness.

Dinner at Grappas was Italian, which is of course our favorite. Pasta. Wine. Boston Creme Pie. Grappa. What could be better?

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03TeaBar^^ You get tea before your reflexology treatment, too — so cute!

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05GrappaRestaurant^^ Whatever in the world kind of cheese this was, I would like it in my life every day, please.

06GrappaRestaurant^^ Eggplant rollatini appetizer.

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08GrappaRestaurant^^ This linguini with clams is exactly what everyone needs. Trust me.

09GrappaRestaurant^^ Complimentary shots of grappa at the end of the meal was icing on the cake, so to speak.

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It was a successful outing all the way around, my friends. I highly recommend if you’re in the Warwick area!

Chris heads into New York tomorrow (yay!), and we’re hitting up my second wedding in as many weekends on Saturday in Tarrytown.

I can’t wait.

Bis bald, my friends!

Life Recently: The Upstate New York Version

Hey friends,

So I’m back in upstate New York right now, and life has been hectic and totally laid back at the same time here … is that possible? I’m here for two weddings, to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday and to get some stuff done for my sister’s upcoming bridal shower in August, so all of that is definitely hectic. But when I’m not busy running around, I’m pretty much hanging on the back porch as much as I possible can.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

01Union_Station^^ A gorgeous Union Station the day before I left Denver.

02Grand_Central^^ And an even more gorgeous Grand Central Station the day I arrived back in New York!

03Mom_Porch^^ Views from Mom’s porch.

05Newburgh_Vintage^^ My mom and I had to make a pit stop into Newburgh Vintage Emporium for some stuff, and can I just tell you how much I’m loving this place? If you happen to be in the Hudson Valley, and you like vintage goods, this place is a must-see.

06Newburgh_Vintage2^^ More Vintage Emporium prettiness.

07Abany_Views^^ Saturday’s wedding took place on a rooftop overlooking the Albany skyline. Not too shabby for a fireworks view, eh?

08Me_Steph^^ Me and sissy.

09Steph_Brian_Sparklers^^ My sister and her fiancé — these two.

10Steph_Jenna^^ With the gorgeous bride.

11Baby_Ari^^ Meeting my cousin’s baby for the first time was definitely a highlight of this trip, as well.

12Butternut_Risotto^^ Soon-to-be bro-in-law made me a delicious butternut squash risotto for dinner one night … yum!

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15Lobster_Roll^^ Lobster and crab roll at The River Grill in Newburgh.

14Newburgh_Waterfront^^ The Newburgh Waterfront, aka the glorious Hudson River.

Still left to do? A couple bridal shower errands, mom’s 60th birthday excursion (I’ll blog about that later) and another wedding in Tarrytown on Saturday.

Bis bald friends!

The 52 Project: July 6, 2015

Fourth_Fireworks^^ Happy belated 4th of July, everyone! Sorry this photo is so blurry — apparently I am not very good at taking photos of fireworks. Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m back on the east coast through next weekend to celebrate a couple weddings, and one of those weddings took place this past Saturday on a rooftop, and it included a spectacular view of the fireworks in Albany’s downtown area. I hope everyone else had amazing fourth of July plans — bis bald, everyone!

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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.

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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

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^^ 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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.


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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.)


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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!

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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!

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