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

It was a weekend of finales — we watched the final season of Veep, I woke up from a nap to hear Joey watching the final scene of Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones, of course — and a weekend of me saying I was going to do stuff and then… not doing that stuff — going out to dinner, running 5 miles, buying a dress for a wedding — but I also got to watch Joey accept an award and finish a half marathon and we finally planted our garden!

Also, SPOILER WARNING because I’m definitely talking finales of all sorts in this post.

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Friday, after work, we headed to Mile High (or whatever it’s called now) to pick up Joey’s race packet and despite how OVERJOYED he was at getting bib number 303, no one else commented on it 😛  We went home afterward to walk and feed Andi then spent way too long trying to decide if/where to go out to dinner then ended up staying in.  We’re the most fun!  But actually, putting on my pajamas, eating leftover enchilada casserole and watching the final season of Veep felt 100% right.

I set my alarm to run Saturday morning and then asked myself if I really wanted to do that or make pancakes and guess what the answer was!  We used our leftover ricotta to make these and wow, I forgot how good they are!  Afterward, we headed to Paulino Gardens and it was A) packed and B) pretty picked over.  I don’t know if it was because it’s already mid-May or because they’re closing at the end of this season but it was sort of nuts in there.  We managed to leave with most of what we needed but we’re still at a loss for what to plant in the shady part of our yard.  Also, Joey stood in line for something like 40 minutes while I stayed warm in the car and ordered us lunch delivery 🙂

I fully planned on heading to the mall afterward but it was already past 1 PM, we had somewhere to be at 6 PM and I still needed to shower and go to the grocery so dress shopping got the ax.  We spent the evening at a work-related gala where we were fed a family style meal of not nearly enough food (my top concern, obviously), but our company won an award, so I guess that’s cool!  Back at home, we watched a few minutes of SNL (oooh, another finale!) then went to bed because Joey had a race in the morning and I was dropping him off.

First time at the Colfax Half Marathon and the parking/traffic situation actually wasn’t bad.  Joey’s race started at 6:45 AM which seemed really early to us (the marathon started at 6!!!) so I dropped him off around 6:15 then headed back home to make myself some coffee before Lori picked me back up.  I think we took a really long route to the finish line, but Max seemed content in his stroller ♥  Joey cruised in at 1:37:59 which is a new PR for him and I was so proud!!!  He and I had a celebratory breakfast at Onefold afterward and then I went home and took a nap.  Wait, did I actually run the half marathon??

Post nap, we regrouped outside and did some planting.  I thought of my mom the whole time I assembled my planter pots since she bought them for me and is such a gardener at heart ♥  We also got our garden seeds in, plus these shishito plants that I am legitimately SO EXCITED about.  Fingers crossed!  We lost our garden bed when we built our new garage but then they left us that little strip of dirt and it looked perfect for a row of flowers.  I took myself to yoga afterward and Joey kept on working like he hadn’t run 13.1 miles very early that morning!

Came home to make salads for the week, finish up Veep, eat dinner and watch Game of Thrones.  Before I get to GOT, can we give it up for Veep?!  What an incredible, hilarious, vulgar, expertly crafted show.  Everyone gives an amazing performance but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is just PHENOMENAL.  What an all-time character!  We are so lucky to have her comedy genius in this world.

Guys, I was so ready but also not at all ready for the finale of Game of Thrones.  This season has been so strange and rushed and up and down.  I don’t think it’s any great secret that the show runners couldn’t quite get it right without the books as source material, plus this is a show built on long term development being condensed into six episodes and that just doesn’t work.  I won’t say I hated all of this season because the visuals are still (mostly) amazing and I thought this season had some nice acting and moments that I really felt in my heart but it also had far too many unanswered questions, logistics that just didn’t make sense, important scenes left unshown and character arcs that felt unsatisfying or worse, unnatural.  I feel real sad about some of it (Dany), real annoyed by some of it (Bran??) and real thrilled about some of it (QUEEN IN THE NORTH, BABY!).  I’m sure I’ll spend the rest of the week processing it all, but what a ride it’s been!  What are we all watching together now??

How was your weekend?