Fridays are Meant for Favorites

Oh happy day, it’s Friday Favorites!  Which in essence means it’s Friday, and therefore implies it is practically the weekend!  So let’s talk favorites.

  1.  Sparkly Soul Headbands

I discovered Sparkly Soul headbands while working my way through the enormity that is the Run Disney Expo.  I found their booth, and immediately saw two things that grabbed my attention: headbands and sparkles.  Long ago I admitted my love for headbands and my saddening realization that they would not be a staple in my wardrobe in Colorado.  These running headbands are awesome – they don’t slip and slide, they don’t cause headaches, and they add a little je ne sais quoi!  I have worn them during multiple races and cannot get enough.  I ordered their red, white and blue stars version for the Liberty Run 4 Miler on the 4th of July!  Now through the 4th you can receive 25% off any headband with the words Red, White and/or Blue in the description with coupon code “USA”.  Enjoy!

My "crowning" glory, if you will, for the Liberty Run 4-Miler!

My “crowning” glory, if you will, for the Liberty Run 4-Miler! Source

  1. StrideBox!

My friend and fellow blogger, the Bake N’ Burn Bombshell, introduced me to the concept in April and I received my first box this month!  If you’ve seen ads for the BarkBox, a monthly box of goodies for dogs, this is essentially the same thing for runners!  Brilliant!  For about $15 a month, it introduces you to new products, allows you to explore different accessories and companies, and helps you find other options for fuel, apparel, training sessions and workouts.  This month’s box came with a number of great goodies, including a chocolate peanut butter PureFit bar (which I ate before LACYFit yesterday), Muscle Milk Energy Chews (which I plan to try this weekend on my long run), Water Sensations water infusions, and Paper Shower body wipes (I think these will be awesome to save for post-Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon!).  Each month provides something different, and so far, I am pumped and can’t wait for July’s delivery!

Loving my monthly delivery of StrideBox goodies!

Loving my monthly delivery of StrideBox goodies!

  1. Chap Ice Revo

I admit, I am super late to the chapstick sphere club, but after getting a free Chap Ice Revo ball from CU Denver, I am obsessed!  This minty, moisturizing ball of awesome is constantly in my purse and is so refreshing.  Let’s be honest, the sphere is just too fun.  I will branch out to eos soon, but I am also a plane old chaptstick kind of girl sometimes.  It’s hard to go wrong.

I have the mint version, which is so refreshing and tingly on my lips!

I have the mint version, which is so refreshing and tingly on my lips!

  1. Benefit Chacha Tint

I am one of those women who wears “race makeup.”  I protect my face with SPF BB Cream, throw on some waterproof mascara, obviously apply some handy Chap Ice Revo, and finish with Benefit Chacha Cheek Tint.  This tint can be used for both lips and cheeks (I just use it for cheeks), and it the absolute perfect sunny glow.  I started wearing it on a daily basis, and not only does it last, but it looks so natural.  I was not blessed with a natural flush, so I have always relied on blushes.  This blush is by far my favorite.  Especially once I get to my full summer tan, it still pops, but in a subtle, natural, just back-from-the-beach kind of way.

I may need to invest in the chacha balm too!

I may need to invest in the chacha balm too!

  1.  Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance Bronze

I’ve been on a new makeup trying kick of late, and am all about samples to find new products to purchase (who doesn’t love the Sephora samples?).  I discovered this product in this very way, and now have no idea what I did before it.  This makeup primer does double duty: it keeps your makeup in place and lasting from day to night, and it also provides a touch of bronzey glow to amp up your summertime look.  What more could you ask for?  I have been attempting a looks-like-less is more routine, starting with this primer, applying some SPF CC cream, then the Benefit Chacha Tint, along with summery eyeshadow and some plumping mascara.  Beachy and casual, but still polished.

Amazing addition to my daily makeup routine!

Amazing addition to my daily makeup routine!

I hope you enjoy these favorites and give some of them a try (if you haven’t already!).  This weekend I am due for a long run with the hubby, a delectable anniversary dinner at Flagstaff House in Boulder (the best views in town!), and some serious pool time.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Have you tried any of these products or companies – what did you think?  Any fun plans for the weekend?  Please tell me I am not the only one with raceday makeup routines, right?

 

How I Almost Died and a Celebratory Weekend

Last week I decided to try out my friend Amy’s fitness class, LacyFit!  I know, two Amys in one space can get rather confusing, but she is a fabulous representation of the name, in my opinion.  I didn’t quite know what I was in for, but had heard about the class from my dear friend Danielle.  I have been wanting to incorporate more full-body workouts into my routine, particularly to focus on my core and my arms.  My legs get plenty of attention between running and the elliptical, but I very often neglect my arms.  In reading the class description on the LacyFit website, it didn’t sound too daunting…

“The toning circuits focus on a specific muscle group: arms, legs & abs. Light weights are used in the toning circuits to achieve high repetition, so your muscles become long and lean, rather than bulky. After each toning circuit, there is a cardio burst which is what keeps your heart rate elevated for the entire workout, getting you into the fat burning zone. The cardio bursts are intense, but short, so you can get thought it!”

Amy, our fearless leader (shown with the braids), is an incredibly inspiring instructor!

Amy, our fearless leader (shown with the braids), is an incredibly inspiring instructor! Source

The class incorporates barre, boot camp, pilates and a whole lot of fun (and shared groans and laughter), which is just what I had been looking for.  I thought I was in pretty good shape, definitely the best shape I have ever been in.  I was wrong, terribly wrong.

The class I attended took place in Denver’s Washington Park, more commonly referred to as Wash Park.  We began the class with a four minute warm-up run around a portion of the park.  No problem, I thought to myself, I can totally handle this.  We followed-up the run with barre-style leg circuits.  I wasn’t too worried about that, and although tough on the thighs, I can handle a little extra leg strengthening.  After the first circuit we did modified mountain climbers for 30 seconds followed by a one minute sprint.  Easy peasy.

The next circuit continued leg work, with a cardio burst of actual mountain climbers and another sprint.  Next we focused on our arms, using 3 pound hand weights, while engaging our core during some exercises.  I really enjoyed this section, as it’s an area I’ve wanted to improve.  Although I didn’t master the push up, I felt pretty confident with the rest of the exercises.  After the next cardio burst we began our abs circuit.  I thought I was going to die, and that I was indeed the weakest human being on the planet.  I have never had much issue with my core, and didn’t think much of my abs.  While I am not toned beyond belief with chiseled abs, I have always been pretty satisfied with my core.  In other words, I don’t have a 6-pack but I am comfortable in a bikini.  However, I apparently have no strength in my core and struggled through the last two circuits.  And I mean I really struggled…

All I want are some B Spears abs... I will have to work for it.

All I want are some B Spears abs… I will have to work for it. Source

I made it through, and I am definitely motivated to keep going.  Amy did an amazing job pushing us on, pumping us up, and making sure we knew why we were doing each exercise.  She explained the benefit of this workout format, how each movement contributed to our strength and our muscles, and made sure we had fun all the way through.  I cannot wait to go again this Thursday.  As she mentioned, each class is different, so you never get into a “routine.”  My goal is to be able to complete the core circuits easily (maybe not perfectly, but easily) by the time this summer is over.

To say that I could still feel my abs through the weekend would be putting it lightly.  It hurt to laugh.  Getting out of bed in the morning was an actual struggle, and not just because I was sleepy.  Hats off to fitness instructors – I dream to have your core strength one day.  And to not feel pressure every time I give a good chuckle.

Fabulously girly dinner for Danielle's birthday!

Fabulously girly dinner for Danielle’s birthday!

This weekend was all about celebrations!  Friday night I spent the evening with some amazing ladies celebrating my friend Danielle’s birthday.  We went to the 9th Door in Denver, a fancy tapas restaurant with a chic, mysterious vibe.  We all had a great time over tapas and drinks.  Danielle’s weekend was full of surprises, as planned by her boyfriend Scott (our Foodie Friday pals!).  She and Scott spent the day up in Boulder, doing all of her favorite things.  The day was topped off with AN ENGAGEMENT!!!  I am so incredibly excited for them both and can’t wait to celebrate with them soon.

Saturday, the longest day of the year, was my grandmother’s 92nd birthday.  She is one tough lady, and I only wish I could have been home to celebrate it with her.  On Sunday my parents celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary in New York City.  I know they’re having a blast, and can’t wait to hear all about it.  Tomorrow will be another big day: the hubs and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary.  How time flies!  I cannot believe it’s been three years already, and that come July, we’ll have lived in Colorado that

Happy anniversary to my amazing parents!

Happy anniversary to my amazing parents!

long.  It’s been an incredibly beautiful whirlwind of a journey together, and I am so eternally grateful for all the blessings I’ve experienced in my life.  Have a great week everybody!

 

Have you ever taken a boot camp style class?  What do you think about them?  Any big celebrations in store this week?  Is anyone else bummed that our days are now getting shorter? #summersolsticeproblems

 

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Denver Father’s Day 10K Recap

This past weekend I convinced my hubby to run another 10K with me, just a few short weeks after the BolderBOULDER.  I am one lucky duck because he lovingly agreed without any begging on my part.  The race took place on Father’s Day, and was therefore appropriately named the Denver Father’s Day 5/10K.  The hubs and I wanted to get him a qualifying time for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November, and because we didn’t run the BolderBOULDER for speed, this was a great opportunity.

I knew the race would be small, given that this was the inaugural race and the route was located in a section of Denver not often used for races.  Stapleton is a newly developed area of Denver that was built over the old Denver Stapleton Airport.  While the airport no longer exists, the control tower still stands, and newly built homes, townhouses, apartments, and parks have taken its place.   The race began in the middle of Central Park along Martin Luther King Boulevard and Central Park Boulevard.  The 5K course ran entirely through the park, while the 10K course veered off onto the Westerly Creek Trail.

People-watching while waiting for the race to start!

People-watching while waiting for the race to start!

The race didn’t start until 9:00am, which is surprisingly late for a starting time, so we leisurely woke at 7:00am, changed into our race-day attire, ate some breakfast, and were out the door by 7:45am.  We were picking up our race packets at the event, and I was worried the line for packet pick-up would be similar to that at Lucky Laces (some folks missed the start because the line for packet pick-up was so long).  However, given the small size of the race, we didn’t have to wait at all.  In fact, we were able to park in the lot just beyond the race-day tents, walk right up, get our bibs, and still had 40 minutes to spare.  We watched the kid’s fun run take off and made note of the speedy 8 year old at the front of the pack.  Afterwards we wandered around and commented on the participants of the ugliest tie contest.  There were some incredibly ugly ties, I am sure it was a close call.

Finally we lined up to get ready for the race to start and noted how few people there were.

My obligatory pre-race photo op.

My obligatory pre-race photo op.

Little did I realize that these small races are breeding grounds for speed.  Local athletes use these races as opportunities to place, focus on their time, and just be downright impressive.  The hubs and I were a little out of our league, but we were there to enjoy ourselves regardless.  Finally we set off and worked our way around the park.  Just over two miles into the run, the 10K group veered off out of the park onto a gravel trail to complete the additional four miles.  The trail took us east onto some questionable terrain.  Portions of the gravel trail were washed away by rain and a nearby creek, leaving large cracks in the earth.  Another section had some construction going on around it, which left large muddy tire tracks in the ground.

Great views of the mountains and the old Stapleton Airport control tower to the west.

Great views of the mountains and the old Stapleton Airport control tower to the west.

Finally, this trail hooked up with the paved Westerly Creek trail, which, one would hope, follows Westerly Creek.  The scenery was lovely, the views of the mountains were awesome, but the entire race was void of shade.  Given that the day was very sunny, and the temps were already warm around 9:00am, it was a bit on the toasty side.  Truly I can’t complain too much, given the whole lack of humidity thing, but I haven’t come across many courses without a spec of shade.  Thankfully there were two aid/water/Gatorade stations along the course: one around two miles, and one just after four miles.  The race volunteers were amazing, signage was excellent, and the event itself was incredibly enjoyable.

Just keep running, just keep running!

Just keep running, just keep running!

Sweet taste of completion!

Sweet taste of completion!

Upon reaching the finish line (obviously hand-in-hand yet again), we knew we were among some of the last to finish.  At that point we were so happy to be done, get a qualifying time for the hubs, and grab some Naked Juice and burritos before heading home.  When you run with the pros, you just can’t worry about being left behind.  Overall it was a good local event with awesome race volunteers and workers, a quiet laid-back atmosphere, and a whole lot of impressive people.  I would probably do the race again, although an earlier start may be worthwhile.

Up next I will be participating in the Liberty Run 4 Miler in Washington Park, a nice easy drive from my house.  The Run/Walk takes place on the 4th of July at 8:30am and includes a competitive race walk.  I didn’t know this was a thing until recently reading The T-Rex Runner’s blog post on the sport.  I am pretty excited to see this first hand.  While I personally plan on running it, I am intrigued!  You can be sure that I will be decked out in something obnoxiously Patriotic – Americuh!

 

Something legendary, perhaps?

Something legendary, perhaps? Source

Hey Barney, I can be legendary too!

Hey Barney, I can be legendary too!

How was your Father’s Day?  Did you have any races this weekend?  What are your thoughts on small, local races?

Another awesome year running the BolderBOULDER!

Runbelievable BolderBOULDER and Jam-Packed Weekend

Well I feel ashamed I have not yet recounted the results of the BolderBOULDER yet.  It’s been nearly three weeks… but a fun and crazy three weeks it’s been.  After Samantha, aka Miss Bakenburn, and her hubby departed Colorado, the hubs and I hosted another guest, had an amazing weekend trip to Vegas, and continued preparing for another 10K.  I’ve decided our home is much more like a bed and breakfast than a home, which is perfect because I love being the hostess with mostest!

But back to the BolderBOULDER… I am easily distracted on Fridays.  This is honestly one of my favorite running events.  It is so much more

We were looking rather Patriotic ourselves!

We were looking rather Patriotic ourselves!

than just a race.  The BolderBOULDER, or BB for short, is a massive celebration for Memorial Day.  It honors our nation’s Veterans with ROTC running units, military personnel parachuting into the CU Boulder stadium, and an incredible tribute at the very end.  Even if you don’t run the race, watching the excitement and participating in the spectacle are well worth it.  50,000 people participate each year, so it’s a pretty big event!

Our day began at 6:00am, when we left for Boulder.  Typically it is a 45 minute drive from my home south of Denver to Boulder.  Given the enormity of the BB, I gave myself plenty of time.  We hit some unnecessary traffic due to a cop car on the side of the highway, but made it to the parking garage on CU Boulder’s campus by 7:30am.  Our wave, FL (one of nearly 100 waves), was set to depart at 7:39:50am, but after the walk to the start line and stop at the bathroom, we arrived 5 minutes late.  Luckily you can always start in a later wave than your assigned one, and so we were off with group GA!

Before starting the BolderBOULDER, on the way to our start wave!

Before starting the BolderBOULDER, on the way to our start wave!

We found the start line- ready to go!

We found the start line- ready to go!

We started the race at a good, easy pace, taking in the sights and sounds.  There are bands and performers located all throughout the course.  Seriously though, there are 36 groups performing over 6.2 miles – that’s pretty amazing!  Each kilometer and mile are marked, including the highest point of the race, Casey Hill, at 5,391 feet located just after mile marker 4.  We ran fairly steady with our friends until just about mile 3.  Elevation can be a beast when you aren’t used to it, and because you can’t “see” elevation, you don’t really think about it until it is hard to breath.  On a vacation to Colorado before moving here, I experienced elevation sickness, and I felt absolutely horrid.  We didn’t want them to go through that mid-race.  At that point the hubs and I went on ahead so our friends could get into a comfortable rhythm and ease their pace a bit.

We really enjoyed the race this year!  We had a bit more practice this time around!

We really enjoyed the race this year! We had a bit more practice this time around!

Aren't our ensembles super cute?

Aren’t our ensembles super cute?

The hubs and I ran all the way through to the finish, constantly commenting on how much easier it was this year.  Last year’s BB was our very

You definitely feel like a rockstar crossing the finish line!

You definitely feel like a rockstar crossing the finish line!

first race, after only discovering running 3 months prior (and starting a running career at altitude no less)!  While we had a blast, it wasn’t easy.  This year, however, was a breeze.  We were able to enjoy the belly dancers, local bands, Irish Step Dancers, the group of fiddlers, the cupcake break, doritos, and slip-n-slides so much more.

By far, the best part of the race is the end.  You run up Folsom Road into the side entrance of the CU Boulder stadium, then loop ¾ of the way around the stadium with spectators and completed runners cheering you on.  It’s a barrage of sound, excitement, and glory.  In that moment, you feel like a pro!  Needless to say, the hubs and I locked hands and sprinted through the finish line.  After crossing, you work your way through perfectly calculated post-race check-points: first timing tag removal and finisher photos, then Gatorade and water, and finally lunches in bright green lunch bags and beers for those of age.  You emerge from the stadium into an impressive post-race expo with local and big-name vendors scattering the campus.

Yeah, we were that couple - holding hands through the finish line!

Yeah, we were that couple – holding hands through the finish line!

After meeting up with Samantha and her hubby, we wandered the Expo for a bit and then decided to head back to Denver for a delicious barbeque and cocktails.  Ultimately it was the perfect Memorial Day weekend, and I cannot wait to run it again next year!

What an awesome accomplishment!!

What an awesome accomplishment!!

As I mentioned, the very next week one of my hubby’s dearest friends from high school and college came to stay for a few days before throwing his other friend’s camping bachelor party.  It was a great visit, and was the perfect way to kick off my birthday week!  He arrived on that Wednesday and we went to Barolo Grill, an incredible Italian restaurant nestled in the Cherry Creek district of Denver.  What makes this restaurant so phenomenal is the dedicated wait staff.  Each year, the restaurant sends its staff, and of course chefs and line cooks, to Italy to learn more about the cuisine, the wine, and the culture of food in Tuscany (makes me want to be a waitress again!).  The service is excellent, the food divine, and I got an amazing little treat for my birthday.  What can I say?  I don’t celebrate the day, I celebrate the month!  The next month we went to my favorite steak house of all time, Del Frisco’s, home of the best filet Oscar and the VIP – Svedka Clementine Vodka infused with fresh Hawaiian pineapple. INCREDIBLE.  May and June are turning into some amazing months for friends, fun and food!

This weekend marks 2 big things: Father’s Day and the US Open (golf of course people).  The hubs began watching the first round yesterday, and is so thrilled for the weekend.  I see gin and tonics in our future… But besides that, the hubs and I are running the Denver Father’s Day 10K this weekend!  We wanted to get a 10K in the books together, and as it is also puppy daddy day, we thought it’d be fun to do something together that we both enjoy.  This race will take us through north Denver, in the Stapleton area.  It’s looking like it’ll be a perfect weather day – mid-80’s, partly cloudy, and a light breeze!

Any plans for the weekend and Father’s Day?  Have you ever run the BolderBoulder – what did you think?  Are you going to watch the US Open?  Any predictions on the victor?

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How to Have the Best Birthday in Vegas

This summer is shaping up to be my best one yet in Colorado!  Wonderful hubby, great home, awesome visits from friends, incredible getaways

Yup, that's right, we WON in Vegas!  All thanks to the Walking Dead slot machines.

Yup, that’s right, we WON in Vegas! All thanks to the Walking Dead slot machines.

and adventures, all topped off with a job I love and a city to call my own.  This past weekend was my birthday weekend, and I requested one thing from the hubs: a trip to Las Vegas.  Given its proximity to Denver, unending food options (I am a foodie, that often plays a part in my decision making), plethora of shops, non-stop shows and performances, and as my coworker put it, a chance to be glamorous, I knew it’d be the absolute perfect weekend getaway.  So the hubs took my lead and made all of the plans, from the hotel, to the shows and restaurants.  He planned the best birthday vacay possible – boy am I one lucky lady.  And to top it off, we actually won money (yes, that’s right, we left Vegas in the positive monetary direction).

Birthday Chai!  Best boss ever.

Birthday Chai! Best boss ever.

Given that my university hosts New Student Orientation each Friday during June and July, I wasn’t able to take off work that day.  So instead, we planned to leave late Friday evening, at 9:05pm.  I arrived to work in a daydream of the weekend to come, but was pleasantly, nay delightfully surprised by the incredible outpouring of birthday surprises from my coworkers.  My boss brought me a birthday chai latte from Starbucks (she and I share a love of chai), while my coworker picked up Denver’s famous Duffeyrolls (light, fluffy, perfect cinnamon rolls – you simply must try them).  Finally, my boss’ boss arrived later that morning with a lavender plant in hand.  I adore lavender, as does Robbie, for a number of reasons.  Lavender lemonade may be the best invention ever, but lavender itself, I think, smells so wonderful and herby.  It was simply the best pre-birthday birthday celebration ever.  Orientation went smoothly and the duration of the day flew by.

What great coworkers I have!

What great coworkers I have! You must try Duffeyrolls – too delicious!

I foresee this lavender ending up in beverages... mmm...

I foresee this lavender ending up in beverages… mmm…

The hubs picked me up from work and we went straight to the airport.  Typically traffic on a Friday at 5:00pm is positively horrendous.  The stars aligned, however, and we arrived quickly, parked our car, and were through security with hours to spare.  We found Mesa Grill on the top floor of Terminal A, order margaritas and dinner, and enjoyed the ease of evening.  A few hours later, we boarded the plane and had a smooth flight to Vegas.

We decided to stay in City Center for our trip.  Our last adventure in Vegas was our mini-moon, shortly after moving to Colorado.  This was the

Pre-birthday drinks at the lobby bar, combined with epic people-watching.

Pre-birthday drinks at the lobby bar, combined with epic people-watching.

first time we’d experienced City Center, which is comprised of the Aria, Vdara and Cosmopolitan.  All modern, luxurious-looking hotels with great amenities, close to the Bellagio and Mandarin Oriental, as well as Crystals, the shiny new shopping center.  The Aria is an awesome resort, with a series of fantastic pools, good spa and salon, fun bars, and all styles of restaurants.  I personally love the innovative air filtration system – you can barely smell smoke, even if the person is next to you (I am picky like that).

The first night there we grabbed a drink at the Lobby Bar and people-watched like crazy before calling it a night and heading back to our room.  The next morning, we got Starbucks and headed to the pool.  Keep in mind that the temperature that day reached 102º.  We spent some time lounging, but the rest of the time directly in the pool.  After about 3 hours, we

Catching some rays at the Aria pool! Shortly before submerging myself in the delightfully cold water.

Catching some rays at the Aria pool! Shortly before submerging myself in the delightfully cold water.

headed to the gym and spa before getting ready for the evening.  We had reservations at CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s unique steakhouse in the Palazzo.  We arrived early so stopped into dbBrasserie at the Venetian.  We have already decided to dine there the next time we visit, based upon the cocktails alone.  Once the hubs saw they had quite the selection of champagne, he knew it’d be up my alley.  I ordered a flight of incredibly delicious, unique champagne cocktails and sipped them in utter delight.  Afterwards we had our delectable dinner at CUT, which started with phenomenal steak tartar, followed by a perfectly cooked filet (for me) and amazing macaroni and cheese, and ended with the most perfect jelly filled donuts and crème fraiche ice cream.  Whoa.  So good.  We followed up dinner with a short walk over to the Mirage to see Kevin James’ standup.  He was spot-on and so funny.  It was later that we found out that Billy Joel was performing at the MGM that night that we kicked ourselves a bit, but still a great evening overall.

Best pre-birthday dinner drinks ever.  I will be trying these at home.

Best pre-birthday dinner drinks ever. I will be trying these at home.

The desserts on this trip were legendary.

The desserts on this trip were legendary.

The next day we started our morning with some epic shopping back at the Palazzo and Venetian.  I promise that I single-handedly helped stimulate the economy this weekend.  I was most thrilled about the Kate Spade store, given that the closest one to me is in Aspen.  We decided

Lunchtime champagne cocktail - what could be better?

Lunchtime champagne cocktail – what could be better?

to grab lunch at dbBrasserie (it was really that good, I cannot wait to go back for dinner), with another champagne cocktail of course (honestly named “The Perfect Champagne Cocktail”).  We headed back to the Aria for more pool time, again followed by the gym (we are trying to be good, even on vacay), and prep for another amazing dinner and a show.  That night we headed to the MGM Grand for dinner at L’Atelier.  It was fabulous.  The dining experience is much like eating at a sushi bar, watching the prep in the kitchen which is entirely open to the restaurant.  Everything was so delicious.  And rather than one dessert, we got three!  Gosh I love my birthday…  We ended the evening with my all-time favorite Cirque du Soleil show, Love.  The entire show is set to songs from the Beatles, and therefore has a very British storyline.  Many of the songs begin with in-studio recordings of the band telling jokes, working on songs and lyrics, and silly renditions of their greatest hits.  It’s spectacular and I recommend it to anyone who loves the Beatles.  This was my second time seeing it, and it still wowed me all the way through.

Three desserts, not just one!  All amazing, especially the Green Chartreuse Souffle!

Three desserts, not just one! All amazing, especially the Green Chartreuse Souffle!

The next morning we had an 11am flight back to Denver, so we leisurely woke and packed before heading to the airport.  The only downside was having to leave our puppy for the weekend, but luckily my hubby’s folks and their pet Chihuahua were a great substitute family in our absence.  I wish we could have had one extra day, but something tells me I may be going back again soon… Although it’s good we left when we did.  An excessive heat warning was issued Monday morning.  Temperatures exceeded 111º… Yikes!

What a great hubby I have!

What a great hubby I have!

What did you do this weekend?  Where’s the one place you love going to for long weekend getaways?  What’s your favorite thing to do, see or eat in Vegas?

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

It’s crazy to think how last week and this week flew by.  My birthday is this Saturday and I don’t even know what happened to the month of May!  Two Thursdays ago I flew home from Jackson Hole, WY and shortly afterwards our friends Samantha and her hubby arrived in Denver for a long weekend stay.  It was a much needed respite from work, and a welcome visit from some of our favorite people.

The first time Samantha and her hubs came to Colorado, we were living in Boulder, and had only been in residence for about 6 months.  Colorado was still very new to us, but we were able to showcase some of our favorite things, including Snooze.  My sister and brother-in-law introduced us to the restaurant a few years before moving there.  Snooze is an AM Eatery, with an old school diner vibe infused with unique flavor combinations.  My all-time go-to, hands down best order?  Red velvet pancakes.  No lie.  To be sure, our friends fell just as in love with Snooze as we did.  The first order of their second trip to Colorado?  Snooze, duh!

Delightful Snooze beverages!

Delightful Snooze beverages!

We went to Snooze Friday morning, and only waited about 40 minutes (there are no reservations, and people will line up outside to wait, so anything less than an hour is a blessing).  Thankfully they were still on East Coast time, so it was easy to rally early and head out for a delightful breaky.  I ordered their epic breakfast burrito smothered in green chili.  If you aren’t from Colorado or New Mexico, proper green chili sauce is hard to come by.  Having fresh roasted hatch green chilies makes all the difference in the world.  YUM!  I was tempted, however, by a new pancake on the menu: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie pancakes.  Needless to say, we got one to share for the table.

After gorging ourselves with Snoozey goodness, the boys went off to play some golf while Samantha and I went shopping.  Our first stop was the Run Colorado store in Greenwood Village.  I absolutely love the Run Colorado store.  Their Nike pullovers and running tanks, with great Colorado logos, make my day every time.  I bought some items for my friend Christine’s birthday, but knew that Samantha would love this store too.  To say we did some damage would be fairly accurate.

After hitting a few more stores, I took Samantha to Lark Burger for a small lunch.  She’d been hearing about Lark Burger for some time, and I often rave about it.  We each got a Little Lark and split a side of their legendary Parmesan Truffle Fries!  So fabulous… I am pretty much always sold when it comes to truffle anything.  We jetted home and met up with the boys before going downtown for drinks at Peak’s Lounge and dinner at Osteria Marco on Larimer Square.

The next morning we woke early and readied ourselves for a hike.  The last time Samantha and Michael came to visit was during the month of

This is the map of Castlewood Canyon State Park - beautiful views of Pike's Peak!

This is the map of Castlewood Canyon State Park – beautiful views of Pike’s Peak! Source

January – not prime hiking season.  But we obliged anyway!  By the end we were practically scooting on our rears all the way down due to slick, steep ice and packed snow.  This time was significantly better.  We headed southeast to Castlewood Canyon State Park, south of Castle Rock, CO.  We parked on the east side of the park, started on the Lake Gulch trail, connected with the Rim Rock trail, taking us along the top of the canyon, and then continued on the Creek bottom trail before hooking back up with the Lake Gulch to head back to the car.  In total, the entire hike was about 6 miles and we made great time.  We tired out Samantha and Michael by the end but they were in great spirits.  Samantha and I spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool, strawberry mojitos in hand, and had a nice easy evening.

Yay hiking selfies!  And photobombing!

Yay hiking selfies! And photobombing!

Yup! That's Pike's Peak behind the adorable couple!

Yup! That’s Pike’s Peak behind the adorable couple!

Don't jump Samantha!

Don’t jump Samantha!

Gorgeous day in Garden of the Gods!

Gorgeous day in Garden of the Gods!

The following day we went to Whole Foods in the morning to prepare for the evening’s meal (light protein and carbs in preparation for Monday’s race) and our Memorial Day barbeque (Robbie’s famous burgers!).  Afterwards we drove south to Colorado Springs, meandered through Garden of the Gods, and then hopped on the Cog Railway train in Manitou Springs to head up Pike’s Peak!  The train was packed, but we made the most of it.  We made it to the top this time, although it was surrounded in clouds, and just as we were departing the clouds broke for a few moments, and the rest of the world (it seemed) lay below.  You could see all the way to the state of Kansas, so that in itself was pretty awesome.

The top of Pike's Peak!

The top of Pike’s Peak!

With the BolderBOULDER the next morning, we prepared fish and sausage on the grill with a side of purple rice.  Monday morning we were ready to leave by 6am.  We got to Boulder around 7:15am, parked at CU, and walked to the starting line.  We missed our corral by about 5 minutes, but given that there are nearly 100 start waves, it wasn’t an issue.  We started the race in red, white and blue style!  Samantha bought us all patriotic sunglasses to wear during the run and they were so fun!  Robbie wore a Captain America shirt, Michael had Superman, and Samantha and I decked out accordingly.  We ran the first three miles with Michael and Samantha, but separated after that point so they could take a bit more time due to the altitude.  The hubs and I ran straight through to the end, noticing how much easier it was this year versus last year.  We are a bit more in practice this time around!  Shortly after finishing, Samantha and her hubby joined us and we wandered through the after-race expo.  The crowds were pretty enormous, so we grabbed a few things here and there, and then headed home.

BolderBOULDER awesomeness.  I love coordinating outfits and Patriotic sunglasses!

BolderBOULDER awesomeness. I love coordinating outfits and Patriotic sunglasses!

Another awesome year running the BolderBOULDER!

Another awesome year running the BolderBOULDER!

That afternoon was spent on our back patio, eating hatchamole (guacamole with hatch green chilies!) and chips, mixing up delicious cocktails, and dining on my hubby’s homemade burgers (hello pretzel buns!).  It was the perfect Memorial Day weekend celebration.  I couldn’t have asked for a better visit!

We celebrate in delicious style.  Strawberry and blueberry mojitos and watermelon slices!

We celebrate in delicious style. Strawberry and blueberry mojitos and watermelon slices!

My boys chillin' outside - still rockin' the shades.

My boys chillin’ outside – still rockin’ the shades.

I worried Samantha and Michael would try to take Rocco with them...

I worried Samantha and Michael would try to take Rocco with them…

Perfect weekend!

Perfect weekend!

How was the start of your summer (okay so technically it starts on June 21st, but it’s the symbolic start to summer, right?)?  What are your go-to’s when friends come to visit?  Don’t you just love our Patriotic ensembles?

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

What a hiatus! Last week, through this past Monday, was just an incredible culmination of fantastic moments and awesome memories.  I was lucky enough to spend Monday through Thursday exploring beautiful Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.  Sadly Yellowstone was a bit too far to fit into our schedule, but my coworkers and I made the most of our time in Jackson.  As previously mentioned, we ventured through Teton National Park, particularly around Jenny Lake and hiking up to Taggart Lake.  To say it is stunningly beautiful would be an understatement to end all understatements.  Ah – mazing.

Just to recap: one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to!

Just to recap: one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to!

The following two days in Jackson were spent primarily in some awesome sessions for the conference I was attending.  We met great people

This section is called the "Sleeping Indian," not so politically correct, but there you have it.

This section is called the “Sleeping Indian,” not so politically correct, but there you have it.

from around the region with good ideas we hope to incorporate into our current work structure.  I was able to go for a 5 and a half mile run on Wednesday between conference sessions and dinner.  From our hotel, which was located at the very southeast corner of Jackson, right up next to Snow King Mountain (I use the word “mountain” liberally, but apparently it is the steepest north facing ski slope in the US).  I followed Snow King Road west until I could hook up with the main road in and out of town, Cache.  I ran down this stretch until I was clear out of town, about a mile and a half.  Once you emerge from Jackson Hole and are heading north, you run right into the National Elk Refuge, which parallels much of Teton National Park.  During the winter months, the locals host actual sleigh rides which allow you to get right up to herds of elk, while explaining the history of the refuge and more about the animals themselves.  While that sounds awesome, for that day, running alongside it, without snow and ice, was fine with me!

There’s a fairly new, and outstanding, bike path that follows the edge of the refuge.  Now I was not up for renting a bike, so I decided to risk it and run along the path for a while.  Some of the views were breathtaking.  At this point you are shielded from the Tetons, but on the eastern range are some awesome mountains and formations.  The day was perfect, the sky was blue, and it was like being in a world of my own.

Honestly, the perfect day, and ideally located bike trail, for an afternoon run.

Honestly, the perfect day, and ideally located bike trail, for an afternoon run.

Perfect views of the Tetons from atop Snow King Mountain!

Perfect views of the Tetons from atop Snow King Mountain! Sleepy Jackson Hole just below.

The next and last day of the conference, I woke up at 5:50am and jetted out of the hotel to hike up Snow King Mountain.  I will give Jacksonians credit: it is steep.  I took the Summit Trail three-quarters of the way up (I had to watch my time since I needed to be ready for the morning by 8am), and from there, the views were phenomenal.  Suddenly the Teton Range comes into view above the ridge surrounding Jackson Hole.  The entire valley invades your view, and it’s like the entire world is resting below your feet.  I have gone on plenty of hikes in Colorado, but this vista was particularly enthralling.

My coworkers and I left that afternoon (after a two hour delay spent in the airport – time wasted when we could have done another hike!), and within a few hours our friends Samantha (the lovely Miss BakeNBurn) and her hubby arrived for the most wonderful long weekend ever.  Wow, did they spoil us.  Our hubbies got to play golf, we basked by the pool, there was some excellent shopping, we went hiking through Castlewood Canyon State Park, we took the cog railway up Pike’s Peak (and made it to the [cloud-covered] top!), we wandered through Garden of the Gods, and topped it all off with their first high-altitude race – my favorite – the BolderBOULDER (I may have already signed up for next year…)!  I’ll get into all that later, but the past two weeks have been a reminder of how fun life can be, what great friends I have, and how many amazing places I have yet to explore!

BolderBOULDER awesomeness.  Yeah we were all in red, white and blue (Go America!). I miss them already! Come back!

BolderBOULDER awesomeness. Yeah we were all in red, white and blue (Go America!). I miss them already! Come back!

Are you like me – do you take advantage of every moment you have when exploring a new place?  What is one place you’ve been to that has just taken your breath away?  What did you do for Memorial Day Weekend?