Weekend Things: Family Time in Estes Park

This weekend was just so so good.  When it comes to vacationing, I find I always have my sights set on far off locations and forget about the places, like Estes Park, that are only a few hours drive away, in our very own state.  And I always forget just how refreshing and re-energizing that fresh mountain air and time spent with loved ones can be!

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We stopped in Lyons to grab a beer at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew and look, I thought I didn’t like Oskar Blues beers, but then I had the Nooice Saison and loved it so much.  So I guess I don’t know who I am or what I like 🙂  They have an old school video game arcade that Joey and Adam were pretty into but my childhood mainly consisted of Mario Party on Nintendo 64 so I guess the nostalgia was kind of lost on me.

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Once in Estes (we saw three elk on our way!), we checked into our BEAUTIFUL condo, maybe locked ourselves out within three minutes of being there — four adults should be smarter than this, right? — made a very important beer run then had dinner at Tavern 1929, because when the lodge you’re staying at has its own restaurant and 18 microbrews, you obviously make a reservation.  We all dubbed Joey’s elk chops the best dish of the night and considered ordering dessert but then decided to retire to our condo for some hot tub/puzzle/sad sad Rockies game time.

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Saturday morning waffles for all!  Remember how I mentioned Joey made a bunch of buttermilk waffles last weekend?  Purposely, because we froze the extras then packed them up and just popped them in the toaster for everyone on Saturday morning.  I’d never tried this re-toast and revive method but they were great!  Plus, drinking coffee outside in the crisp mountain air is MY FAVORITE.  And I never pass up a coffee-mug-with-the-mountains-in-the-background picture 🙂

At 10, we made our way into town for the event of the weekend: The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival!  I didn’t even know A) Joey’s family had Scandinavian roots or B) that those painted horses are called Dala Horses and are a Swedish thing!  We totally had one of those in our house, growing up.  In all seriousness, the weather was beautiful, the festival was packed and it was cool to see all the Scandinavian culture.  We had lunch, made a stop at the taffy store and grabbed ice cream in town before heading back to our condo to rest up before dinner.

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We had a bit of a dinner party at our place later on.  Everyone came over with food and Joey and I cooked salmon with a recipe we’d never used at a size we’d never cooked but it all went swimmingly (sorry, had to make a fish pun) and this beet salad always impresses.  And I learned what potato bologna was and even got to try it for myself.  Had many Swedish learning experiences this weekend, guys!

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Okay, all I have are food photos from the beginning and the end of Sunday, but in between was a bunch of good stuff, like a quick and painless drive back from Estes, lunch at BriDer, couch lounging, garden surveying (my parents watered for us while we were gone and I love them for it ♥), running (amen for a quick weekend cool off in Denver), kombucha brewing and dinner cooking.  It felt like there were 10 extra hours in the day and I was not mad about it!  Joey made garlic scape pesto with scapes from the farmers’ market and, get this, chard from our garden.  Yes!  It was so good and we used it in some pasta for dinner and all was right in the world.  Except the Rockies… WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE SUCH PAIN??

Please tell me what you did this weekend, I’d love to hear!

5 Ways I’m Making Winter Workouts Easier on Myself

Oh no, I just said the W word, but seriously, winter is coming.  

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been straight dreading the return to they gym — though I’ve actually already been three times already and it wasn’t even bad — so I thought really hard about how to go about this gym season thing in a way that I won’t hate.

#1 Build a better playlist

The “Girl Power” playlist I built this summer is great for office listening but turns out Adele isn’t exactly “pump me up!” music.  Sorry, Adele.

#2 Really try for only one morning workout a week

Truth be told, I’m a morning workout person — or just a morning person in general — so I can tolerate getting up in the dark and driving myself to the dreadmill once a week, but it starts to feel like actual torture if I do it more than once.

#3 Go to yoga WAY more

I always wonder what life would be like if I gave up running for the entire winter in lieu of yoga, then I remember running is free and yoga is not, but I think mixing it up is going to be key this winter.

#4 Build dinner plans around workouts

As in, it TOTALLY STRESSES ME OUT, when I get to the gym at 5:30 PM and have to wait for a treadmill to open up and all I’m thinking about is how this workout delay is cutting further and further into my dinner cooking time.  Need to coordinate leftovers night to go along with gym night.

#5 Stress less

I KNOW working out is good for you, but at the end of the day, stressing out about when to fit in a trip to the gym probably negates any positive effects it has on me.  New plan involves going when I can, hitting snooze when sleep feels more important and not overthinking whether or not I WANT to workout.

Are you a winter gym go-er?  Do you love it, hate it, land somewhere in between?