What I’m Loving Lately: A Summer 2020 Edition

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught me, it’s that none of the things I thought mattered actually matter. As in, I’ve survived without going to the movie theater, wearing real clothes, dining out or getting my nails done. I can still cook good food, walk my pup, visit with my immediate family and catch up on the billions of old movies I haven’t seen, so I guess I’m good! Here’s some of the things that are still bringing me joy this summer season, as weird as it may be.

FRUIT!

“What are you craving??” is possibly my least favorite pregnancy-related question because my answer is so boring: nothing really, except maybe ALL THE FRUIT. Watermelon, cherries, strawberries, grapes and most recently PEACHES!!! I asked Joey if he’d ever cried because he was so happy to be eating a peach and he said “definitely not,” so yeah, me neither…

Weekly Coffee Walk

We are so close to Tennyson Street that we can walk there! I had planned to make it a once weekly jog, but on our first outing Joey told me “you know, a long walk is fine too” and I haven’t jogged since 😂 Once we get to Tennyson, I grab us coffee at Downpours and we stroll on back. Oh and last week, we tried the donuts from Berkeley Donuts (aka Hops & Pie) and man, were they good!!! We split two and sent the rest to the office 😀

An Improved Bed Situation

I’ve hated our mattress, bed skirt, duvet cover and sheets for so long, so I vowed to upgrade once we moved. We shelled out for a Tempurpedic and I have gone from guaranteed nightly hip pain to like once or twice a week minor hip pain, so it already seems worth it to me! Plus Joey can’t feel me getting out of bed to use the bathroom, so he’s happy 😋 Also, my parents got us new linens and a quilt for my birthday and they are so so much better (and cooler) than what we had before!

Baby’s Crib!

Speaking of beds, baby’s is up! This is literally the only progress we’ve made on the nursery (waiting on some wallpaper samples before we can choose a paint color!) but I love it so much!!! I cannot leave or enter my room next door without peeking in at it first. I mean, he won’t sleep in there until at least six months after he’s born, but it’ll be ready when he is!

Dining Al Fresco

Okay, this is a summer favorite every year, but working from home means I sometimes get to sit out there for breakfast, lunch and dinner! And we have a little pergola, so there’s shade for these 95° days (THANK GOD!). Feels so good to sit out there for dinner when the heat is starting to wear off and we’re not distracted by the TV.

A Better Behaved Pup

Okay, not going to pretend Andi is a perfect angel now, but there’s much less activity going on the yards next to us than at the last house, so sometimes I can let him outside and leave him unsupervised for big blocks of time. I’ll sneak peeks at him and he’ll just be chilling in the sun. It’s the cutest! Also, I let him out when Joey tells me he’s headed home from the office twice a week and he patiently waits for his return. Now if only he would stop barking his head off at every delivery person that shows up at our house!

Please tell me what you’re loving in this unusual summer season 😊

Surprise Birthday Trip to Portland

Here are a few things you should know.  I turned 27 on Saturday.  Joey surprised me with a weekend trip to Portland.  I cried big, fat, ugly tears on our front porch when I found out.  I don’t know how I got this lucky or what I’ve done to deserve such happiness but I’m so grateful to have this wonderful, fun and caring person as my life companion.  It doesn’t even feel real, that’s how good it is.  Also, let it be known that he is alarmingly good at lying to me.

A few other things you should know… about Portland.  It’s an alternate universe version of Denver and it’s perfect and magical and green.  Every house is the cutest house.  There is good beer and the best donuts and coffee shops where the baristas are friendly and want to know where you get your coffee in Denver.  Their Farmers’ Market game is STRONG and they even sell Marionberries there.  It’s just one of my favorite places that I got to wander through with my favorite person, so really, what more can you ask for on your birthday?

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Neighbors probably saw me crying // Morning flight // Straight from the plane to COFFEE // Is Portland serious with these blue flowers?!

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Lunch at Lardo // Sandwiches for all! // Portland has Little Free Libraries just like Denver // Joey needed to do a thorough check of the books

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The best sign inside our Airbnb // Beer flight at Stormbreaker // Dinner with friends // Ice cream at Salt & Straw because I wasn’t gonna make this mistake again

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This is 27 // Iced coffee flight // Breakfast at the Farmers’ Market // DO YOU EVEN SEE THAT BACON?!

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The Portland Farmers’ Market puts all other farmers’ markets to shame

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Portland’s theater district?? // My #1 // Ira’s Fountain // Wait, is that Joey up there?!

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A French festival complete with accordion playing and Edith Piaf covers // Got roped into a brief fencing lesson // CHEESE & CRACK, FTW // Best snack plate ever!

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Birthday dinner of my dreams // Tortelli // Duck // Goat cheese // Angel food cake // Full disclosure: those photos are from the restaurant’s Facebook account

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Coffee sipping on a Sunday morning // In line at Pip’s // THE BEST DONUTS! // Portland doesn’t even need a filter on its flowers

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Went to Washington Park and it rained but we didn’t even care // Japanese Rose Gardens // Lunchtime beer is always a good idea // I can’t not order the bánh mì // Match your coffee to your shirt if possible

Where We Stayed:

Handbuilt Alberta Arts Cottage

This was my favorite Airbnb we’ve EVER stayed in.  Not only was it gorgeous and clean, but it was within walking distance of coffee shops, restaurants AND ICE CREAM.  The neighborhood was the cutest and it even had a little balcony off the bedroom where I totally sat outside and read.

Where We Ate/Drank:

Heart Roasters // The coffee is so so good (we snagged a bag to bring home) and their minimalist aesthetic really speaks to my hipster heart.

Lardo // Even though I didn’t LOVE my bánh mì, there are just too many other good things about this place.  Like a spacious patio, a cocktail menu, a good beer selection and generous portions. 

Stormbreaker Brewing // An attentive staff, interesting beers and a full food menu.  My jerk chicken wrap was SPICY but Joey’s double patty pimento cheeseburger was insanely good.

Salt & Straw // If you don’t understand why there’s a constant line out the door, let me break it down for you.  Small batch, artisanal, seasonal with a staff that embodies hospitality at its best.  Just go!

Saint Simon Coffee Co. // I really really wanted to like this place because they had an iced coffee flight (!!!) and the baristas were really nice but the coffee was so meh and the kouign amann we got to go was covered in fuzz and a piece of hair from sitting out on their counter.  A fact I realized only after biting into it…

Verde Cocina // Found this place at the Farmers’ Market, took one look at the bacon they were frying up and was sold.  And who knew scrambled eggs and sautéed veggies went so well together?

Pine State Biscuits // I didn’t actually eat here but Joey grabbed himself a plate of biscuits and gravy (plus a biscuit and jam on the side, because that’s totally normal) and was in biscuit heaven. 

Cheese & Crack Snack Shop // Okay, we both ADORED this place!  Not only was their cheese plate presentation the cutest thing ever but everything was SO GOOD.  This place needs to exist in Denver because a cheese plate + beer snack IS my happy place.

BEAST //  Here’s the deal.  A small restaurant with two dinner seatings, a six-course menu that changes every two weeks and an intimate dining experience that we’ve only ever had on our honeymoon in France.  I was mega-full by the end, but it was SO MUCH FUN. 

Extracto Coffee Roasters // They roast their own beans and make a mean almond milk latte.

Pip’s Original Doughnuts // This place was a highlight of our last trip to Portland and we were beyond excited to go back.  Totally spaced the fact that they’d probably be busy on a Sunday at 11 AM so we had to wait in line but it was so worth it because THESE ARE THE BEST DONUTS IN THE WORLD.  There, I said it. 

Pine Street Market // This is one of those upscale food court type of places (Denver has one too) so of course, we had to go!  We both ended up eating at Common Law and even though I struck out again on the bánh mì (why?!) I was in too much of a caffeine/beer/vacation-induced state of happiness that I didn’t even care.