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!

img_9281

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!

d2bce83d-c763-4b6e-ac0e-261b99fe66ba328c45b3-fce3-400e-a698-3c770abd45fb

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

ee5cbce8-e86e-463a-bd27-9c6fa3cd7042

Armenian Lamb and Grilled Vegetables with pita

f3973267-790e-41ac-98b1-456c73b205cb

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.

23569ad7-8708-4acc-a4eb-ddb06b759f83b490f45d-eec8-4d40-b782-1aab38c2ca3a9ea79735-bf73-4429-ad89-f9974be699a7fa88f6cd-e4da-4f1a-a258-88361f4adba7

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!!!

11d04b99-3f06-49ef-8d64-2598ab36add6

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…

img_9196img_9197465dcc61-a9e2-413f-b175-949990b130f9dc2a4621-f967-4928-89e2-8d025aeec08faf40c3fc-ecdf-4413-a827-d7dd82af4fcb94caa7c4-56ed-4e4d-a77f-aeb0982c58e6531b8b58-04f2-4896-a935-878dc223dcf1

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!

cfee7ff5-d0ed-4f71-a328-47427a7bcac534b721a1-d3a8-435a-9232-2036765029bb

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??

Weekend Things: It’s June!

We are only three days in, but… JUNE ♥

Actually, I should mention that I’m still experiencing these random itch attacks, including one at the Rockies game on Friday night, and I just don’t really know what’s causing it or how to make it stop.  I thought I’d turned a corner because I was able to make it through all of Saturday without taking Benadryl but then I had another one last night.  Ugh!

Itching aside, June is already off to a wondrous start.  The Rockies have won eight games in a row, our pup has a clean bill of health, Joey has our garage and backyard looking GREAT, garden veggies are popping up and I’ve been to the Farmers’ Market, a facial, a pedicure and yoga, so I’m feeling extra relaxed.  More June vibes, please!

It recently occurred to me that while I’ve been to Biker Jim’s a million times, I’ve only tried maybe four of their dogs, so I’m now on a mission to try them all!  I was mildly alarmed that Alaskan Reindeer was not listed on the menu as that’s my absolute favorite, but I’m hoping they were just out that day and it’s not a permanent change.  Anyway, I tried the Jack-A-Lope and it was okay but a bit too spicy and also I couldn’t stop thinking about what it was made of.  In other news, Rockies won by a lot and we got this Ryan McMahon-signed ball before the game started!

Up and at em on Saturday to take our pup to the vet.  It’s a new location and the vet we’d been seeing left, so we were all a little worried (or maybe just Andi and I were).  The way our vet works, you drop your pet off then come back to get them later and this seems weird to me.  He was ready like an hour later!  Anyway, after dropping him off, we hit up the Union Station Farmers’ Market for the first time this season!!!  Early season can be a bit boring but we left with chives, kale, tomatoes, a red onion, radishes and a little strawberry danish for my mom ♥

When we got back, I briefly helped in the garage, then we picked our pup back up and ate lunch before I headed into Louisville for a facial that I definitely fell asleep during.

We had planned to see a movie that night (The Souvenir and not Rocket Man, shockingly) but it was already 4:30, we had yet to shower or make any dinner plans, plus I looked over at the couch and Andi seemed SO out of it and was babying his right leg, where I assume they gave him his shots, so we called it quits on the movie and decided to have a leisurely night at home.  We made these stuffed poblano peppers from a recipe Wayne sent us and it was truly delicious!  And we watched Thor, which I’d never seen and found wildly entertaining.  It’s not Ragnarok funny, but it’s still pretty funny!  “This mortal form grows weak!  I need sustenance!” is definitely what I’m saying every time I’m hungry from now on.

Sunday, Sunday, so good to me.  Joey wanted waffles.  Okay!!  After lounging and watching The Kitchen for a bit, we got ourselves off the couch and I hit the grocery while Joey hit Home Depot and Lowe’s.  Andi was sad to see Joey go!  I had just enough time in between grocery shopping and lunch pick up to make some snack balls that I hope to tell you about soon.  Then I took myself to a pedicure followed by yoga.  Bliss!

When I got home, Joey had been busy busy in the garage/backyard and now we have new drip lines, a super organized pegboard and planter boxes.  How is he so amazing?!  We put together a salad dinner that was good but felt like it was missing something… meat? beans? cheese? all of the above?  And then we watched the final (or is it??) movie of the Before Trilogy.  The second and third movies just made me appreciate the first movie more but I did like this third one quite a bit.  The range of emotion felt more advanced.  Joey laughed out loud when Ethan Hawke said “are you the mayor of Crazy Town?” and I look forward to him using that line on me later…

June is off to a good (albeit itchy) start and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the month takes us!