4th of July & a Birthday Staycation

We have been off from work since 3:45 PM on Thursday and I am definitely experiencing “WHAT DAY IS IT??” syndrome.  Feels as if a whole lifetime — a lifetime that included a hail storm, a grill feast, the wonderful third season of Stranger Things, a morning coffee shop trip, a delivery of wood for our deck, a manicure, dinner at The Preservery, breakfast and the Farmers’ Market, a 7-minute ride on the light rail, a full day of acting like a tourist in our own city (more on that soon) and that Sunday night feeling of going to bed with a heart full of gratitude.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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Got our firework fix at the Rockies game on Wednesday night

Maybe you’re one of those people that can’t fathom the idea of working on the 4th of July or maybe you’re like me and would rather have the 5th of July off and get an extra long weekend.  So we worked Thursday, but skipped out a bit early, hit up Home Depot for flowers, got home to plant them and then watched them get beat up in a totally weird hail storm??  Oh well, they looked pretty for a minute there!

We had to wait out the rain before we could grill dinner and then it had to be an indoor Independence Day Feast but it was okay because our lamb was amazing — let’s forget the moments of terror as we cooked these over an unusually flame-y grill — and also because I maybe wanted to watch Stranger Things anyway 😛

Andi didn’t seem to mind the fireworks last year but our neighbors were setting off some extra noisy ones that kept occasionally flying into our yard and our pup was not exactly having it.  We caved and let him sleep in our bed with us!

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Feta Yogurt Dip with watermelon (that I didn’t know was yellow until I cut into it!)

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Armenian Lamb and Grilled Vegetables with pita

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We had a plan to start our day off on the rooftop at Blue Sparrow and it was momentarily wonderful but we had to rush out when our Lowe’s delivery showed up with a bundle of wood for the deck Joey is building us.  Please give me full credit for helping move all the wood into our garage.  We probably could have been productive afterward but instead… more Stranger Things!  I did eventually have to make it to a manicure appointment though and get this, on my walk over to Base Coat, an older man in a convertible pulled up beside me and said “need a ride?”  Are you serious??

Anyway, after my color changing polish mani, we took our pup over to my parents’ then took ourselves to dinner at The Preservery.  I’d maybe been saying I wanted to go there since it opened… three years ago.  It was GREAT!  Back at home, we watched all but the final episode of Stranger Things which, in retrospect sounds insane, but I was definitely going to fall asleep during the finale if we continued on.

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A Saturday Staycation!  Look, I know some people like to go big for their 30th birthday, but that ain’t me.  I was more into the idea of a weekend trip, but then I remembered how much time it takes to travel and decided a staycation sounded best!  We looked into a handful of Denver hotels and landed on The Maven because we thought it would be cool to have a balcony overlooking downtown Denver, be within walking distance of Union Station and the MCA, and have so many good food options right at our fingertips.  I think it was the perfect choice!

First things first, though.  We biked over to the Farmers’ Market per usual but then did the unusual and had breakfast at Mercantile.  Turns out they have a pretty great little menu and it’s a casual order-at-the-counter-and-seat-yourself set up so we got to enjoy our food out on their patio.  Joey complained that it’s NOT a calzone unless it’s all closed up but looked pretty good to me, plus my ricotta pancakes were delicious!  Most importantly, peaches have arrived at the FM and I am so happy!!!

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Back at home, we quickly packed up and took the 7-minute light rail ride back to Union Station, then walked over to the Dairy Block to leave our bags and do a short walk through of the shops before heading to the Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was penny day!  So for 2 cents, we got to spend a little over an hour perusing the art then chilling on the rooftop patio (still one of my favorite Denver secrets ♥) before heading out to find lunch.  We maybe checked the menu at three other places before making it all the way to Hearth & Dram to find it closed for lunch.  But, conveniently, there were a bunch of scooters out front so we each hopped on one and rode toward the 16th Street Mall and had a lovely patio lunch at The Kitchen.  It didn’t even rain!

We walked the mall after lunch and it had been a while since either of us had done that.  It was, uh… interesting.  If you come in from out of town, my advice to you is just don’t go to the 16th Street Mall.  It’s just chain restaurants and questionable happenings.  Joey continues to refer to this walk as his favorite part of the day just to annoy me…

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By this point we were able to check into our hotel room, where we spent some time relaxing.  Our patio had a great view of none other than Coors Field!  Plus an airsteam trailer in the lobby serving up one complimentary drink per person 🙂  Most importantly though, we bit the bullet and finally booked flights to Italy for this October.  I am beyond excited and only a little bit nervous about that long flight and finding hotels ASAP.

Around 8, we made our way back over to Union Station for dinner at Ultreia, which turned out to be just okay.  I wasn’t impressed by my drink and the food was pretty lackluster overall, but we did grab Little Man ice cream at Milkbox afterward so it wasn’t a total loss.  Watched like 20 minutes of Wildlife in bed before we realized we were exhausted and went to bed.  A truly amazing day!

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Sunday morning, Joey ran downstairs to grab us complimentary coffees from Huckleberry (how perfect that our favorite coffee roaster has a location inside The Maven!), plus toast for me and a breakfast burrito for him and we ate both on our little patio.  Denver was much quieter (but no less beautiful) in the morning ♥  We checked ourselves out shortly before 11 AM, took the light rail (only a four minute ride on the way back!) home then picked up our little pup.  All in all, just a truly wonderful little weekend “trip” that I feel so happy to have experienced.  P.S. We watched that final episode of Stranger Things and my heart could hardly handle it.  “Please make this scene end!” is a real thing I said, while fighting back tears.  Also, Scoops Troop Forever!

And as if that wasn’t a good enough end to my 20s, my mom showed up at my office today with a red velvet cake!  How did I get so lucky??

Recommitment & Weekend Things

Hi!  How was your weekend?  Honestly, mine was pretty fabulous.  Especially since my work week was only 3 days long, sandwiched between our vacation and the weekend, so it really flew by.

On Friday, we hit up the Denver Rock n Roll race expo.  I always love going to that expo because there are a bunch of normal looking people there who turn out to be marathoners!  And of course, when I’m there I’m always like “what the hell, I’ll just sign up for next year’s marathon!”  Thank god I don’t actually let that thought go any further than that.  I think my favorite expo tent was this one where they were cooking mini protein pancakes.

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Afterwards we spent some much needed time at home.  The other day I jokingly said, “I’m so glad we bought this house in Denver considering we’re never home!!!”  It feels like we’ve barely had any time to just be home and get anything done here, so like I said, a much needed night at home.  Building Ikea furniture!… I also ate a dinner of several different restaurant leftovers because we’ve forgotten what the grocery store is and how to cook anything other than toast.

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Be honest, is this wardrobe way too big for our room?  Actually, don’t answer that because we already spent an entire night building it (and new nightstands) and it’s too late now.  Anyways, we had lunch near the 16th Street Mall on Saturday afternoon — it was thee most beautiful fall day in Denver! — and Joey is a bad influence and made me want a mid-day beer.  Also, there was a Zombie Crawl that day and downtown was rampant with zombies of all ages, costumes and degrees of bloodiness.  I think I liked the one one gnawing on a fake brain best.

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Today, right now, I am cuddling up in my bed trying to regain body heat in my feet after running the mini marathon this morning.  And yeah, that was four hours ago so you can say it’s chilly in Colorado today.  Despite the cold, I loved the mini marathon (3.7 miles).  Apparently I missed the mile markers because I somehow came across the 3 mile mark and was totally shocked to almost be done.  They didn’t give us mini runners a timing chip (majorly lame!) and I totally forgot to stop my watch at the finish line so I have no idea how fast I did it but I felt like I did it pretty fast and I made sure to sprint to the finish.  Afterwards, I walked down the mall, grabbed a hot coffee and walked to the half marathon finish line to watch Joey cross.  About 15 minutes later we both watched the full marathoner cross the finish line.  I cannot even fathom 5:30 miles for 26.2 miles!  That is insane.

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On to the topic of recommitment.  Maybe it’s being back from vacation or the changing of the seasons or the headache I’ve had for literally two and a half weeks but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about recommitting to some healthier habits.  I’ve felt all over the place for the last few months.  There’s been a lot going on and I’ve felt busy both physically and mentally, so the routine of things that make me feel sane have totally fallen by the wayside.  I haven’t been reading, writing, sleeping, exercising or eating like I normally do and it’s really making me feel out of whack.  I’m making this an open declaration to recommit to all those things.  I think 8 hours of sleep, an awesome race and a day spent relaxing with a hot cup of tea is a good place to start 🙂

Happy Sunday to you all!