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??

Weekend Things

I have an excess of photos and an excess of words from this weekend, so apologies in advance but it’s just that this weekend involved all the things that make me happiest in life: Rockies games, nay — Rockies WINS, beers and dinner at the Milk Market, Saturday morning running, a massage, a few errands/chores (Joey cleaned our entire house and I’ve never been happier!), backyard movie night ♥, breakfast at the Farmers’ Market, fresh flowers, lunch prep, biking to the game and last but certainly not least, RIBS!!!!!

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Private Autograph Session with… Kyle Freeland!  I was like “can this guy look up already?!” but then he made such deep eye contact with me when he handed back the signed ball and he was very cute.  Joey immediately reminded me that I’m 4 years OLDER than him.

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The Denver Milk Market was BUS-Y and loud and had limited seating and I’m not quite sold on it, BUT on a visual level, it is just SO COOL.  Back at Coors Field, the Rockies gave us a win!

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  Sunday is usually my day to slack on pictures but, SURPRISE, it was Saturday this week 😛  Pre-toast, I went for a lovely early(ish) morning run, post-toast I went into Louisville to see my mom for a massage then went home and made lunch using the cucumber one of her clients grew.  Also grocery shopped, baked some ribs and made Kale Caesars for dinner.  Then we got our TV/hammock set up and watched The Truman Show outside.  Felt so wonderful to soak up more of those summer moments in this last full month of the season ♥

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Hadn’t been to the Farmers’ Market at Highlands Square in a few YEARS so we headed over as soon as it started to grab coffees and breakfast then nabbed some beautiful flowers from a cute lil truck and headed out.  Biked to the game and traded our usual seats for shade and how bout a walkoff walk?!

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And now, for a serious note on Summer 2018.  At the very beginning of it, I told Joey, “I just want to make ribs!” and it took us till August, but we finally did it and without sounding too dramatic, THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS WE’VE EVER COOKED!  And they were actually so easy.  We used this Bon Appetit recipe for Best Ever Barbecued Ribs and they weren’t kidding with that title!  We baked them Saturday for three hours on 350° then let them cool and popped them in the fridge to firm up and all we had to do come dinner time on Sunday was mix together a BBQ sauce marinade and blast them on the grill for 10ish minutes.  WE WERE BLOWN AWAY BY HOW GOOD THEY WERE!

Also, mixed up a half-batch of the very best cornbread and baked them in a muffin tin for 20 minutes, plus grilled some green beans to go along with the ribs (and our beer!) and I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier than I was while eating that meal.  Joey and I were like “who else can we make these for?!”  So if we’ve got any takers… 🙂

What did you do this weekend?