Eldora strikes again

This is another Spotlife, so you can steam with jealousy over our wonderfully adventurous lives!

**Warning, long post ahead.  Might want to grab some coffee to get you through this.

Last time we trucked it up to Eldora for some snowy fun, we were slapped in the face with brutal conditions.  It sucked and made our hearts sad.  But since we have season passes there, we knew we’d be back again. Much to our delight, we got pounded with snow the first weekend of February. Gleefully we made plans, along with the rest of Colorado, to get out and enjoy it!

We rose early, packed up all of our gear and Hubs went to work on scraping the car.

Our hearts were singing with excitement.  As it would be, we had a little trouble getting out but with some patience and shoveling – we were on our way!  That’s when Hubs noticed I had ran the car low on gas.  No big deal, we swung by the gas station to fill up and grab a creamy cappuccino to put in our rockstar thermos.

We each took a swig and just as we were to set sail to the mountains loaded with fresh powder, Hubs got a text that one of his servers was down.  We hustled back home so he could work his computer magic, counting our blessings that we weren’t half way to Eldora just to turn around!

Our somewhat frustrating day quickly declined from this moment on.

Hub’s usual magic tricks didn’t work and we had to wait until the server company got their very uncool issues sorted out.  In the meantime, while Hubs was feverishly working, our neighbor pounded on the door.  When I opened up to greet her, she chewed my head off with such vile and spite, it actually scared me.  You see, even though we don’t have assigned parking spots, she had worked to clear one out, marked it as “hers” with her shovel and then left for a errand.  Unbeknown to us, we had pulled into “her” spot when we dashed home to fix the server.  It’s all very silly and petty of her but I snapped into action and moved our car to the next spot over, while she glared at me with her arms crossed.

Hubs server finally came back up (hoooray!) and we popped in the car, more anxious than ever to get to the mountain.

Well, in my haste to appease the neighbor, I did an improper job of parking in the next spot over.  And we got stuck.  Really, really, really stuck.  We took turns shoveling, pushing, spinning the tires, and rocking the car back and forth trying to nudge it onto a surface it could grip to.  This went on for a long while.  Thankfully, one of our other neighbors noticed our futile efforts and filled up a bucket of hot water for us to pour it down by the tires.  It did the trick and we were on our way, yaaaaaaay.  Finally.

We didn’t get far up the canyon pass before we were greeted with a wall to wall traffic jam, both ways.  *sigh*  We just couldn’t win, could we?

We figured there must be something blocking the pass on the way up and that’s why so many people were heading away from Eldora.  Disheartened, we waited in line for forever until we were able to turn around, like everyone else, and head back to Boulder.

*A moment of hindsight:  Turns out, it was a unique situation where Eldora got pounded with new snow but the other larger mountains didn’t get any.  So, practically everyone in the state chased the snow to Eldora, causing this local rinky dink mountain resort to be way over capacity and they were forced to turn the people away.*

Grumbling and bickering, we decided to drive to Chatauqua and hike around, mostly to let off steam because we were not happy campers. Chatauqua did a good job of upgrading our pissy moods; it was utterly gorgeous with the new snow.

Love me those Flatirons. We clomped around for a few hours chatting, taking pictures and soaking up this not so bad day.

We even stopped for a mini picnic to enjoy our cappuccino and the sandwich Hubs had packed us.  The new snow was fluffy and deep, so we frolicked.

What a sweet way to cap off a really crappy start to our day.  All was good in the hood again.

Eldora, you may have won the fight, but you haven’t won the war.  Surely, we’ll be back!!

 

Sunday Spunk

I was a bad blogger lady and only posted two times last week.  Normally I have grand excuses to mask my lackluster ways, but last week I didn’t have enough energy to even pretend I was super busy and special and booked with phenomenally fantastic life adventures.

So, sorry about that.  Maybe I’ll try to make it up by doing a four post week to surprise y’all.  The likelihood of that actually happening and even more importantly, the likelihood of you caring is somewhat dismal but I thought I’d throw out some farfetched promises in hopes that one might stick.

I haven’t done a Spotlife in a while and since our Sunday was unusually nice, I’ll share.

Every Sunday, at 9.29am, the local lululemon offers a FREE yoga class.  If you attend 9 *free* classes, you get a *free* yoga mat.  If you attend 29 *free* classes, you get a *free* tank top.  Now, for those of you that don’t know, lululemon is like the Mercedes Benz of adorable workout clothes.  It’ll cost you your 401k but they are sooo cute, it just might be worth it.

Hubs and I have been attending every class since the new year (we are over half way to our new mats!) and last Sunday was no exception.  To risk sounding cheesy, it’s a beautiful way to start a Sunday.  I have no pictures because I was busy simultaneously channeling my chi and craving bagels.  Forgive me.

After class, we bustled over to Starbucks (with a giftcard) and had them make a delightful white chocolate mocha for our thermos.  Side note:  I’m sure you are all aware, but you get a discount if you bring in your own cup and plus it’s a real sweet deal for Mother Earth.

Then, we headed to the foothills to meet with friends for a hike up Mount Sanitas.

This is actually the first hike we ever did when we moved to here, way back in July.

Then:

Now:

Group shot, sippin’ our white chocolate mocha.

A subset of our hiking pals:

And Connor, perched:

After we made it back down, we parted ways.  Hubs and I headed straight to Lark Burger and maxed out on parmesan garlic fries.  Holy hell were they good and bad breath inducing.

The remainder of our Sunday was low key.  I dabbled in laundry, computer time, pretend cleaning (thinking about it but facebooking instead).  It sure was a nice day.

Betsy takes Btown.

In mid-November, we got another visitor.  My MIL, Betsy.

I know what y’all are thinking, most people fill with dread at the thought of spending a weekend with their mother-in-laws.  I promise I’m shooting straight with you, I like mine.  She’s a Kindle-toting liberal, with a penchant for heavy cream, Target and cashmere.  Seriously, what’s not to like?!

When she first arrived, we made nice for a while…then we got down to business.  Burger business.

Hub’s burger:

Betsy’s burger:

And mine, alllll mine:

It was insanity.

Afterward, we waddled around downtown getting our shop on, and finding ourselves in the middle of a CU Buffaloes Football parade!  Also, Hub’s friendly way always seems attracts a few new friends:

Meet Bagel:

And Cloud:

It just so happened to be Betsy’s birthday the week prior, so I had whipped up a homemade chocolate cake in her honor.

She kindly told me it looked amazing, but we both knew I had done some chocolate cake skin grafting (when the bugger wouldn’t come out of the bundt pan properly) and bandaged it with loads of ganache.  We tried to muster up a taste, but we were so stuffed from dinner that it was a shameful attempt according to my chocolate admiring standards.

The next morning, still full from the day before, Hubs made us a huge breakfast.  Then, we piled into the car, headed for a little mountain town called Nederland.  Since we had been boasting of Colorado’s beautiful weather, of course Nederland tried to crush our souls with 100 mph winds (no, for real!) and bitter snow.

Don’t fret though, we warmed up with some cajun cooking and a nap by the fire.

(Ok, ok.  I admit, only I napped.)

The next day, we set out to hike Chautauqua’s Enchanted Mesa Trail (we’re nothing if not predictable)

and Betsy turned out to be quite the strong hiker!

She couldn’t help but snatch up a few mementos as a reminder of the rockin’ good time she was having in Boulder.

Don’t worry, after the hike, we did a lot more eating (nomnomnom), crafting (I’ll share soon!), shopping and napping.

(Ok, ok.  Only I napped!)

The last day of her trip, we slathered on some eye wrinkle cream and slinked over to campus, hoping to blend in with the young educated folk.  We spent the morning chatting, touring, drinking coffee, and taking pictures.

And just like that, her trip was over.  We gave her a kiss

and she sailed off in her ride (which was a bus to the Denver airport).  I mourned her absence by eating the leftover chocolate cake with my morning coffee for three straight days.  Love you, MIL, come back soon!

Bros, Buns, Boulder and Blossom

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-laws (Gabriel and Tony) swung through for a short trip to see our new town.  Of course, we got pounded with our second snow storm of the year the minute we told them to “dress in layers; it’s gorgeous during the day but can get chilly in the evening.”

Good thing they paid no mind to us and brought their jackets and gloves like good Minnesotans.

We took them out to Chautauqua to go on a hike because it’s just too beautiful not to take all of our visitors to see this place.

The fresh snow, piled heavily on the surprised trees (many had not yet lost their leaves), quickly began to melt and big clumps would drop off like cannonballs.  It’s was pretty and magical and

cold.  But, we kept on keeping on because we weren’t going to let a little cold (and wet socks) keep us from getting to the Royal Arch.

Here’s proof that we made it to the “Royal Arch” and didn’t EVEN CONSIDER turning back early, even after an hour of clambering and slipping our way up the ascent, even though our tootsies were that icky wet-cold (you know the kind) and didn’t EVEN WAVER with the thought that an incredible lunch awaited us if we just turned back early…

We are hard core!

After a lunch of delicious Ruebens, we ducked into the adorable shops on Pearl (and Hubs flirted shamelessly with a new lady friend named Blossom):

A close up because her puffer vest was too cute to handle.

We caught up on what we’ve been missing over coffee:

We chummed around until it was time to eat again (I love it when that happens), and we decided to eat at the best pasta place on earth: Pasta Jays.

For many hours afterward, we were reminded of the best pasta place on earth because our tiny apartment reeked like we’d put in a Garlic Glade.

We cracked open the next morning with some sticky buns (teehee), a recipe I plundered from Pinterest and of course promise to blog about as if it were my own creation.  We then said our goodbyes after breakfast and they were on their way, off to visit more family.

We miss them already.

Minnesnowta

Hubs and I packed up our wrinkly knee caps and headed to our old stomping post, Minnesota.  It wasn’t snowing.  In fact, the weather was yummy, like September always is, and we blessed boat loads of people with our presence.

The main reason we hauled home was for this pretty lady:

Doesn’t she look amazing!?

But, let me back up to the beginning of that special day.  The first stop was the beauty salon to get our makeup and hair done.  Here are the bride and bridesmaids, all fancy:

You didn’t know my forehead was that big, did you?  Frankly, neither did I.

The wedding party was a bit rushed for time, which didn’t allow for my normal picture taking antics.  So, I don’t have any pictures of us girls all dolled up in our matching dresses.  But, here’s one shot of a few maids cleaning up moments before the ceremony:

Don’t panic, there was just enough time for two wonderful people to get married and seal it with a smooch:

It was then that I was able to meet up with my better half and I asked him what he thought of my hair and makeup getup.  He said that I “looked nice” but that he preferred the more “natural” look.  I don’t really understand why, it’s not like I looked like I was on day 4 of a meth binge or anything:

Do you see what I’m saying about the endless prairie land that is my forehead?

Anyway, with the ceremony over, it was time to let loose and warm up the dance floor.  There was a choo choo train and I had no choice but to “Come and ride it”:

Much much more dancing, to Hubs dismay, followed.

It was the perfect night to celebrate the perfect couple: Tiffany and Travis.

(ooohlala!)

Take it from me kids, being married is so totally awesome.

Free S(peach)

Hubs heard about a Peach Festival that was going on in Lafayette and casually mentioned it to me (because I am completely unaware of life outside my bubble).  Maybe it’s the gluten free carb yearning that is weakening my spirit, but I started to conjure up visions of peach cobbler, peachy smoothies, peach pies, deep fat fried cinnamon sugar peaches, peach muffins, the juicy fruit themselves, or least ones in a can that were put there by a man in a factory downtown.  Needless to say, I was ALL ABOUT IT.  I mean, Colorado is known for their peaches, right?!

Excitedly, I dug out the only peach colored top I own and we skipped on over to the festivities.

We did what you’d expect at any respectable Peach Festival and enjoyed some jambalaya:

Jambalaya?  Yeah.

As well as (gluten and just regular) free cotton candy, courtesy of some churchy folks:

In addition to those delicacies and opposite of what my title implies, the peaches did in fact cost money-

…a lot of money and if I’m being honest, they were as hard as gallstones.

If that weren’t disappointing enough, there were way more homemade jewelry stands than peachy fun.  Does that make sense to anyone??

A random side note:  The Clompy McClomperton Crew moved into the apartment above us.  They are athletes from China and there seems to be a lot of them, although we can’t keep track since they are always coming and going.  We assume they are here to squeeze in some serious altitude training.  While I appreciate their svelte bodies and gutsy drive and determination, the reverberating sound of their of indoor calisthenics and stair clomping is starting to royally tick me off.  Can someone important, like Obama or JWOW, send for our old neighbors from Chicago?  We need them back, stat.

A Sunday Surprise

I know this is completely unprecedented, but I decided to do a surprise Sunday post.  See, I’ve been blogging three times a week since I started this internet masterpiece and so I felt like I couldn’t let this week slip away with just a two-fer.  It’s ok if you didn’t even notice.

This a SpotLife of sorts.  Behold readers, our Saturday.  We snarfed down some oatmeal, hopped on our bikes and headed to the foothills.  Today, we were going to tackle the Gregory Canyon trail!

You guys.  Not sure you caught that.  We *biked* to the foothills, just to get off and go hiking for a few hours.  Shouldn’t I get free ice cream for being so hard core?

Anyway.

We hiked a beautiful trail and took stupid pictures:

It was rigorous terrain (but apparently no big deal for another hiker and her pet YORKIE.  No, for realsies.):

And there was danger:

But I comforted the Hubs by listing all of the things I’d like to buy from Forever21.com:

And after coming out on the other end (?) and sweating off all of our sunscreen, we biked back into town to eat at Illegal Pete’s.  We ate beans and rice and salsa.  It wasn’t that exciting but I never promised it would be.

Then, we biked home.

I finished the afternoon off with a nap (which was rudely disrupted by a not so considerate DRUMMING neighbor) while Hubs worked and then we had dinner at 5pm like old people.  Most likely, if we weren’t blogging about this day, we would have considered staying home to peruse the grocery flier for coupons and maybe ventured out for our weekly curry.  So, thanks for forcing us to interact with the outside world.

Before I sign off, there are the cutest little herds of prairie dogs out here.  They sure make a mess of the fields they live in, but it’s hilarious when the whole batch stand guard over their dusty mound kingdoms and stare blankly at you.  Here, a video:

 

Hey, it was the best we could do.  Happy Sunday, people.

Getting Cozy in CO

We’ve been living in Colorado (whoa, that was a weird realization) for a little over two weeks now.  We work during the weekdays from home but are taking advantage of the weekends to get acquainted with this very sexy state.  Wanna know more?  Kinda on the fence?  It’s alright, I get that.

1. We biked to the Saturday morning Farmers Market.  Its backdrop is a gorgeous pathway along a feisty creek and abuts *insert junior high joke here* an ornate Japanese tea house.  The location alone is charming, not to mention all of the produce, homemade goods, music and food stands which made my eyes bulge (and conversely, Hubs wallet shrink.).  We picked up some mixed greens, colorful carrots, avocado-jalapeno-hummus, and some nummy nuts as a gift for our brother back home.

We also noticed the Farmers Market is a zero waste market.  All of the food vendors serve on recyclable or compostable wares, everyone brings their reusable bags, and there are these stations all around to help keep everything eco-riffic.  My heart smiled, I’m not going to lie.

2.  We hiked a local spot close to home called Mount Sanitas.  It took about an hour to reach the summit and we had perfectly sunny weather for the climb (ie: pasty Candace smothered herself in sunscreen).  We saw lots of folks on the mountain, including our neighbors from our apartment complex (how random is that?), people with babies in packs and their dogs – off their leashes, just scaling the rocky paths with no problem!

Unfortunately, we did bump into one mountain lion, but she had a friendly way about her.

3.  We’ve been biking often to the main drag, Pearl Street, which is flanked with lovely (ahem, expensive) boutiques and fabulous restaurants.  I’ve included a picture that has absolutely nothing to do with Pearl Street, but if I may, I’d like to mention I scored those skinny jeans from Target for $4.98.  Applause is unnecessary but nobody in their right mind would turn it down, now would they?

4.  We drove to the outskirts of a tiny mountain town called Nederland to hike a beautiful trail up to an incredibly scenic lake, nestled all cozy in the arms of the mountains.  It’s gorgeous…at least that’s what we hear, because we never did make it up to that apparently amazing/breath taking/life changing trail to Blue Lake.  Dark clouds, cold rain, bellowing thunder, swamped out trails and snowy impasses bullied us until we got half way up and decided to call it quits.  Surely, my outfit choice of a tank top and shorts in the SNOW CAPPED mountains didn’t help motivate us to forge forth.  It was, my friends, a Blue Lake Hiking Fail. Fear not, we will try again!  Probably.

5.  Lastly, we’ve spent a few sunny afternoons at our apartment’s pool but you don’t need to see pictures of me in a terribly lumpy swimsuit and Hub’s bare startup shoulders.  It just wouldn’t be right.

Eating Ourselves Stupid: A Quickie Tour of Colorado

When Hubs and I skipped over the prairies and headed to mountain country, we had a loose agenda.  This cut and paste will jog your memory (whether you’ve tried to forget or not):

  • Visit friends.
  • Pet the mountains.
  • Eat outrageous amounts of food.

But you can’t skip around town without a rental car.  So we “picked” one out.  Raise your hand if you think it looks like a booger.

At least it was easy to find in the parking lot.  Can you spot it??

Anyway, back to our agenda.

Visit friends.

I have this gorgeous red-headed friend that moved away from me (a concerning common occurrence) and so we set out to see her face again.  We sweet talked her into making us a grand homemade meal in exchange for keeping her company and ‘entertaining’ her with boring stories of our lives.  Can you believe she fell for it?  Oh, I forgot to mention, she’s taking cooking classes in her spare time and wanted to show off her newly honed fancy skills.  Yes, please!

Pet the mountains.

Surely we petted!  See?

And more petting.

And, finally…

Eat outrageous amounts of food.

Stop.  You’d better grab that month old granola bar squished at the bottom of your purse and snarf it down, because you will be hungry (and irritable) if you keep going.

Once we got our snot rocket, we drove straight to a little diner (Jimmy & Drews) for lunch.  We enjoyed the Jimmy’s Favorite, which we heard about while watching the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate.  What perfect timing for our trip!  It was goooood.  Wanna know what it was made of?  It was a potato latke (potato pancakes) Reuben sandwich that housed loads of corned beef, Thousand Island, sauerkraut and melted Swiss (I got mine switched to Provolone).  My crazy eyes say it all.

That night, for dinner, we were wined and dined by Kari (The Friend That Moved Away, see above).  She whipped us up some foodie magic.  Here was the menu:

A real gin martini!, mixed green salad, steamed broccoli, chicken masala, and frozen chocolate coconut milk mousse on an almond meringue crust.  It was divine.  I spent all of my time eating instead taking any pictures, my bad.

The next morning, we hit up The Laughing Goat Coffee House where we split a veggie breakfast bagel (an Asiago bagel with red onion, avocado, veggie cream cheese, cucumber, and tomato) and apple coffee cake.  Hubs sipped on some black coffee (eew) and my caffeinated masterpiece was a thumbs up:

Much to my delight, lunch came a few hours later (it’s always pretty predictable like that in my world) and we hit up this gem:

Falafel King served us up some amazing gyros and, not to disappoint, a basket of Falafel.   We are very loyal subjects!

I don’t think it was a total coincidence that Ben & Jerry’s decided to host “Free Cone Day” while we were there.  Ben, Jerry and I go way back to my intern days in Vermont (Ben and Jerry’s birthplace) so I’m pretty sure Free Cone Day was in celebration of me.  Check out my form and I doubt you’d disagree.

Hubs slurped on Bonnaroo Buzz (coffee & malt ice creams with toffee chunks & a whiskey caramel swirl) while I chose the Late Night Snack with Jimmy Fallon (vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl & fudge covered potato chip clusters).

Don’t worry, mine was the best one.

For dinner, after our afternoon of shopping (more on that some other time), we kicked it old pub style.  It was called Southern Sun Pub and Brewery but they don’t understand the Internet and have no web page.  Hubs picked out an espresso infused (!!) beer, which was served in a classy wine glass.  Then, we split the Date Night Burger, a juicy burger with a special twist:  date puree, goat cheese, bacon, and roasted poplano peppers (served with phenomenal hand cut french fries).  Holler.

Are you hungry yet?  We’re not done so hang on.

For breakfast on our last day, we settled in at The Southside Walnut Cafe (cute name, no?) and shared french toast, the yummy loaded omelette (the Southside Special), a BLUEBERRY cornbread muffin and a side of their lukewarm breakfast potatoes (I was not a fan).  Hubs ordered coffee and every once in a while I’d take a teeny tiny sip.  Also, the waitress would check back with us every once in a while and somehow my sipping and her checking were on the exact same schedule.  I know secretly she suppressed the urge to write on the bill to BUY YOUR OWN DANG CUP OF COFFEE INSTEAD OF MOOCHING OFF THE FREE REFILLS, MISS EL CHEAPO.  But, I digress.

We squeezed in our last meal before heading back to the airport to catch our flight home.  We ordered the Spicy Baja Burger and Smash Fries (they have rosemary on them, how fancy!) from Smash Burger and it hit the spot.

*Updated with photo because I’m an idiot and forgot the first time around.

We hearted it.

The greatest thing of all is that I’m like a lot of your elderly friends and family because I prefer to eat all of my meals early.  And THAT means, no waiting in line!  Ever!  I’m awesome.  Hubs thinks so too, kinda.

Now, we are back to reality.  Which means we are back to the dreaded Salad Challenge.  Wish me luck.

A respite from being Boring

Hello friends!  The Hubs and I jetted off on a little vacation away from our regular lives.  It’s a spring break of sorts because we needed to do something to crack my shameful reality TV addiction.

Can you guess where we are?

We journeyed westward to Colorado!

Here is our loose agenda:

  • Visit friends.
  • Pet the mountains.
  • Eat outrageous amounts of food.

So far, so good…  I’ll have to bore you with the details when I get home.

Until then, happy trails.