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: SPOILER ALERT

WHAT A WEEKEND!!!  In short, we rode the G Line, saw Avengers: Endgame, had an incredible dinner, attended a performance of Cats, ran outside and watched the much anticipated third episode of Game of Thrones.  But, not in short, I have SO MUCH more to say about all of those things.  Stick around for it or don’t, but you’ve been warned 🙂

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The light rail station a mere two blocks from our house has been built for something like two years and they’ve just been testing this whole time.  I get it because safety first, but dang!  That’s a long time.  The G Line FINALLY opened Friday, it ran free all weekend AND we were headed right where it runs, so obviously we had to ride it.  We grabbed a quick casual dinner at Illegal Pete’s first, then walked (WALKED!) to the train.  As luck would have it, the wind kicked up right before our walk, so what should have been a pleasant stroll turned into an assault by tiny bits of dirt and sand.

SPOILER WARNING!!!!!!!!

BUT SERIOUSLY, SPOILER WARNING!

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Guys, I love love LOVED Avengers: Endgame!  If you’re going, please do yourself a favor and see it in a theater packed with other MCU fans, who will cheer, laugh and cry along with you.  Okay, I did not actually cry (or go to the bathroom!!!) but I don’t know the last time I felt as electrified as I did during that battle scene.  Cap wields Thor’s hammer!!!! Oh my god, I died!  And then Captain Marvel had the infinity gauntlet and all the lady warriors assembled around her and I died again.  And then for real, Iron Man died.  I maybe would have felt more sad about if I hadn’t been distracted by someone in the theater moaning “Nooo!  Nooo!  Nooo!”

In all honesty, the thing I’m most sad about is that I just got into all these films and only just discovered how fun it is to anticipate and watch these movies with everyone else and now… it’s over.  It happened too fast!  Also, shout out to how funny this movie is.  I laughed A LOT.

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I got up Saturday morning and ran 5 miles!  I try to ramp up the mileage around this time every year so I can make it through the Bolder Boulder but also because running the Cherry Creek Trail while it’s still cool (a bit too cool, if I’m being honest) and quiet in Denver gives me such joy.  And when I got back, Joey had coffee and waffles and dishes washed and now “joy” doesn’t seem strong enough a word ♥

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The rest of the day was spent doing a little bit (for me, but a lot for Joey!) of yard work, a trip to the grocery, walking our pup and then cleaning ourselves up for date night.  First, we hit up Spuntino for dinner and oh my god, why had we not been there before?!  We grabbed two seats at the bar and two VERY GOOD happy hour drinks, then feasted on warm focaccia with ricotta, fettuccine and the most beautifully striped ravioli.  I felt like we’d discovered a Denver dining secret and I can’t wait to go back!

Cats was… um, well, it was cats.  Throwing a cat ball.  In which a gumbie cat, a railway cat, a broken woman cat (???) were in attendance.  Look, the dancing is fabulous and the performance of “Memory” in the second act was PHENOMENAL — we immediately went home and listened to other versions of it and thought the one we’d heard live was by far the best — but WHAT IS THIS SHOW??  There’s basically no action, the songs are just okay and it was incredibly difficult to understand any of the words in the songs.  Which means I still have NO CLUE what a “jellical cat” is.

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Joey got up Sunday morning and ran 9 miles, so I stayed in bed to cuddle our dog and read, then when he got back, we took ourselves to Port Side for breakfast and May planning.  How is it already so booked??  I’m sort of sad April is almost over already, but I’m thinking May will be a good month 🙂  After, I made lunch salads while Joey started building us some flower boxes and then we made a trip to Mike’s Camera to order a picture we’re going to hang over our bed.  It felt so good to finally get that done!  I bottled a new batch of kombucha (Mango Cayenne!) before heading out to yoga.

GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!

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Back at home, we made Buffalo Chicken Tenders for dinner — they were good and spicy but not quite crunchy enough for me — then watched Game of Thrones and I’m sorry to be a total bummer, but I did not like that episode.  For starters, I had a REALLY hard time seeing any of the action.  I think those dragons fighting in the air was cool, but I don’t know because I could barely see!  Narratively, it was a miss for me as well.  I was excited to see a Dothraki Horde fight and then I didn’t get to.  I have no idea where Bran warged to.  I just did not care about Beric dying and felt literally zero emotion about his connection to Arya.  I did not understand how Jorah was just right there to save Dany.  I wanted so much more from Jon, who I usually love to watch fight and I felt the Night King’s demise was so anticlimactic.  I’m still working out my thoughts on Arya being the one to kill him, because yes, Arya is badass, but for some reason, this just didn’t really feel like her fight to win.  I don’t know.  I really didn’t care for the scene ending on old Melisandre.  Please tell me your thoughts and arguments, because I’d honestly love to be talked into liking this episode.  I’d prefer it to the disappointment I currently feel.

All I’m saying is, I saw two epic battles this weekend.  One was utterly thrilling and one was not.  All GOT letdown aside, this weekend was amazing!  More please!