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??

Recently Consumed

A list of things consumed by my head, heart, eyes, ears and stomach lately.

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The sights, sounds and tastes of Memphis

I took a quick little work trip to Memphis last week and while it doesn’t warrant its own post (unless you really want to hear about the 2.5 hour tour I took of a steel mill?!), I wanted to share the few pictures I took and moments I spent soaking up Memphis culture.  We stayed on Beale, so we spent most of our time there, eating at Blues City Cafe, Itta Bena and Rendezvous, watching the Duck Parade at the Peabody and listening to live music but we did have just enough time to tour Graceland and have a dinner/wine flight at Flight (how cool is this restaurant concept?!) and then before we knew it, we were back home.

P.S. Apparently the sausage platter — sausage, cheese, pickles and BBQ for dipping — is a thing in Memphis.  I dig it!

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Five Foot Two, Joanne

My love for Lady Gaga was rekindled after watching this documentary of hers.  What a fierce and dedicated artist she is.  Immediately after watching this, I A) re-watched her Super Bowl performance (perfection!) and B) bought her most recent album (because why didn’t I already own that??).  If you wanna have a long passionate discussion about Lady Gaga, you know where to find me.

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Stranger Things 2

We finished the series on Monday night and remember how I wasn’t super into the first season?  Either I totally got caught up in the collective experience aspect (I mean, we were ALL home watching last weekend, right??) or I liked it more than I thought because I was pretty into this second season.  I would fully watch a third season that was just Dustin and Steve Harrington hanging out.

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The Nix

I’ve had this book on my “to read” list for something like a year but it’s over 600 pages long and I could never find “the right time” to pick it up.  Turns out “the right time” is when it’s your book club pick.  Not going to lie, I was NOT into it.  Felt like four different books rolled into one.  I just kept thinking how tangled and confusing it probably was to write/edit.  I think somewhere in there was a good 300-page novel, but we’ll never know.  I just know I was SO ready to be done with it.

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The West Wing

GUYs!  WE FINISHED THIS SERIES!  On my TimeHop this week, I saw a tweet I wrote TWO YEARS AGO saying we had just started it.  I can’t believe it took two years but at the same time, I can’t believe it was only two years because it felt like so many more!  Look, it’s a very well-done show but 7 seasons of 22 extremely fast-paced hour-long episodes is just too much.  When you factor in how much TV and they way we view it has changed since this show aired, it’s just really really hard to get through.  I honestly wouldn’t encourage anyone to take it on.

P.S. Watching this show post-election greatly depressed me.  Our current administration is NOT the administration of Jed Bartlet.

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No Knead Bread

Words cannot express how delighted I was when this little loaf came out of the oven on a snowy Monday night.  I tweaked the recipe by using active dry yeast instead of instant (I just dissolved it in water and let it sit for 10 minutes, THEN added the other ingredients) and doing two cups AP flour and one cup whole wheat.  Next time, I’ll let it bake with the lid on for an extra 10 minutes (high altitude baking, yo!) but I think this recipe is a comfort food season game changer!

In other news, it’s Friday and I’m so dang glad.  I think we are going to try and hit up a movie for Denver Film Fest and I KNOW we are going to Snooze with Hannah and Josh!  I think I’ll fill in the gaps with granola, a book and a quick outdoor run 🙂  How about you?