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??

Memorial Day Weekend Things

Be still my heart… I LOVE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

This morning, as we were driving into work, we stopped at a red light and Joey very nearly turned the car off before I looked at him like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” and he realized he was maybe a little out of it still.  But if Oreo crumbles on your kitchen floor, sore legs, tired eyes, a fridge full of BBQ leftovers and forgetting what to do at a red light are all signs of an amazing (albeit exhausting) weekend, then I think it’s safe to say we had the best Memorial Day Weekend.

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Way back on Friday — it feels soooo long ago! — we headed to the Rockies game.  I wore two pairs of socks and still couldn’t feel my feet by the end of the night, but we won so I guess I can’t complain too much.  Cold or not, that blue sky sure looks dreamy!  Post-game, we went home and threw on 10 Things I Hate About You and ohmygosh, how perfect is that movie?  I think I could watch Heath Ledger dance around in the bleachers on loop for the rest of forever.

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Had aspirations to have a really relaxing Saturday, and it definitely started out that way with pancakes and iced coffee in the backyard, but then Joey and I got so excited about the idea of building garden boxes that we jumped straight into that project.  In other news, Saturday breakfast has me SO EXCITED for lots of al fresco dining this summer.

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We went to Lowe’s together and gathered all the supplies, then Joey spent the rest of the day working on our garden box.  Meanwhile, I threw all the windows and doors in the house open, cleaned the house and started some cold brew coffee.  As much as I love sunshine and warm weather and summertime, I’m kind of a domestic being.  But!  As long as I can invite some of that sunshine in and Joey and I can do our own thing but still only be a shout away, then I feel fulfilled and happy at the end of the day.

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Later on, we cleaned ourselves up and walked to dinner with my family.  Avanti was packed with Denverites itching to enjoy some patio weather, so we ended up sitting inside but all the windows were open and the sunlight was streaming in so whatever.  Bamboo Sushi just opened inside and I couldn’t wait to get a steamed bun and what turned out to be the best damn veggie sushi I’ve ever eaten.  More please!

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Look, I know an every weekend ice cream treat might not be #1 on the guide to getting a summer beach body, but Little Man was just a few block away, it was a nice night and no one could (or wanted) to resist.  I debated getting a scoop but then chocolate chip cookie dough was on the menu and I’ve been chasing that flavor for years (it’s seriously never on the menu when I go) so I HAD TO.  It was gooood, but Joey’s blackberry ice cream with brownie chunks and MARSHMALLOW CREAM won, hands down.

All ice cream euphoria aside, walking through our neighborhood, pointing out the prettiest gardens and cutest houses with my family in tow made my heart so so happy.

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Sunday started with breakfast at Bacon.  Service was such a miss, but our food was phenomenal so I’ll try to move past the fact that our server was moving so slowly.  I saw a table of four behind us get two plates of food then wait 10 minutes for the other two plates, so I guess things could have been worse.  I’ll root for any restaurant in our neighborhood and I love the atmosphere and menu at this place, but let’s get it together service-wise, shall we?  Especially because I’d like to enjoy that crab cake benedict again!

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After breakfast, I hit the grocery store, then got food together for Saturday/Sunday BBQs while Joey finished our GORGEOUS garden box and I’m seriously in love with it!  He did SUCH a good job.  Between building that box and the fence you can make out behind it this week, I think he wins the Best Husband award.  I’m so nervous/excited to plant to veggies in that thing!  Is there any fail-proof produce you’d suggest?  Please say kale 🙂

We spent the evening BBQ hopping — one with friends, one with family — and I was like THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT.  Bring on all the summer BBQs please!

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Memorial Day morning we were off bright and early for my favorite 10K, the Bolder Boulder, and the sky was so blue and the mountains were so stunning and CU Campus was so beautiful, that I could hardly believe I was lucky enough to go to school there.  I know I’m biased, but I can hardly imagine a college campus being more lovely.  The race was a blast (per usual!) and we put together an epic SnapChat story of all the fun things along the course.  Shout out to the lady running in front of us who was taking jello shots and doing cartwheels!  I aspire.

Last year, I was hell-bent on breaking 60 minutes and crushed it by coming in two minutes faster than that.  This year, I didn’t have any timing goals in mind and despite running at a casual pace, we managed to come in at just 60 minutes 39 seconds!  Slip n Slide participating, bacon eating and marshmallow catching included (for Joey, at least…).

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The rest of the day involved a hammock nap (MUCH NEEDED), BBQ prep, lawn mowing, beer stocking, ALL THE GUAC, grilling up some chicken thighs and enjoying some backyard time with my family.  Actually, it was basically snowing cotton during the beginning of the BBQ and started raining just as everyone was sitting down to eat but after the storm blew threw, we enjoyed some perfect “Walking Race” weather.  I was in a happy food and family coma afterwards and Joey straight up fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 so I think it was a successful BBQ.

Last week, my TimeHop had been showing snippets of Memorial Day Weekends past and I realized just how much fun they always are and how much I look forward to this “Unofficial Kickoff to Summer” every year, but I have a bad habit of setting my expectations too high and ending up disappointed when things aren’t “just as perfect as last year,” so I just let go and let this weekend happen without putting too much thought into it and the result was another PERFECT holiday weekend.  Today, I am feeling tired and insanely happy in the way only summer can make you feel and for that, I am grateful.

What did you do this weekend?!