Tuesday, October 24

Life Lately {vol. 64}

So, it's been a while...

As you'll see, I've been really busy. As much as I love writing here and updating ya'll on what I'm sure you think are the fascinating adventures of my life, I feel like I'm just now getting the chance to fall into a steady rhythm. Let's get into these fascinating adventures, shall we?

In early September, I started working at a new firm doing contracting work! // I loved my new job, but my office was freezing - I don't own a space heater, so I ended up bringing a heating pad to work and filling my water bottle with hot water! 😂 // It felt amazing to go to work every day - even more so when I was officially offered a full-time attorney position at the firm! I thought it over that evening and accepted wholeheartedly! I love my new firm, and I'm so excited to see where we take each other.
A few days later, I flew to Portland to see my family and my little brother, who lives there // My Legolas bookmark // It was so cool to see mountain peaks from the plane!
I read about half of "Missoula" on the flight there - it definitely wasn't a light read, but it was incredible an such an important read // I loved getting to see my "little" brother! // It turns out I'm obsessed with rosemary, and this rosemary alcoholic lemonade was to-die-for!

I loved that our hotel was downtown! It was stunning and I'm such a city girl at heart // My mom and I at breakfast // A marionberry smoothie - I had to, haha
We all went to a cheese factory and got some amazing chocolate ice cream // Loved hanging out with Chase so much that week // The drive to the coast wasn't half bad either
The coast of Oregon was so beautiful - rocky, grand, and imposing. I love Colorado, but it was so cool that Oregon has mountains, cities, and ocean.

We went out to breakfast at this AMAZING place called "Jam." I'm not a huge breakfast person (figuratively and literally), but we had heard nothing but great things about it and it didn't disappoint // One of the lobby areas in our hotel was my total heaven - dusty pink and emerald green velvet?! Yessss. // Chase showed us around his office space downtown. It was so cool to see the place I've heard so much about, but also to see the inspirational posters around the office!
I couldn't stop taking pictures of the hotel! // While our parents went shopping, Chase and I goofed off // We all went to a winery for a wine tasting on our last full day in Portland. It turns out I'm a lightweight again, haha.
For dinner our last night, we headed to Departure, a fancy restaurant downtown. It was kind of Asian spaceship themed and I was totally into it. Mom pointed out that people probably assumed Chase and I were married, so I struck my most married-to-my-brother pose possible, haha. He clearly didn't think it was as funny as I did. // Flying back to Denver was a breeze and I was so happy to be home again. // James was really happy to see me home too!

I headed back to work the next day and stopped by Whole Foods for a salad. I've never gotten a to-go salad from Whole Foods before. It was a little pricier than I was anticipating, but to be fair, it was HUGE! // On the way home from work, I stopped by Whole Foods again to pick up a carrot cake for myself and J. It's one of the only deserts we can agree on, and last time I got one for us, he joked that I should have asked them to write something weird on top. This time, I couldn't think of anything, but  suggested "Sup Boi!" to the lady behind the counter and she was really into it, haha. They're allowed to write anything but swear words, by the way.
J and I headed to Target to pick up a few things and couldn't leave without putting on these insane animal heads! I want to live my life as a black cat, and he was a classic fox! // Since I'm on a normal schedule for once, I started working out habitually again. // My office at work! I got my own office right away and I love making it feel more and more like home.
Workout out again! // I came back from the gym and this is how James wanted to lay down... (If you can't see, his arms are in the top of my tank top and through the "arm," haha) // Back on the metaphorical road again! This time, to St. Paul, MN to see one of my loveliest friends get married!

Because J had to work that morning, I took the train to the airport // How dare Denver sell Takis when I'm trying to make healthy decisions?! // The wedding was such an expression of joy and love! So much beauty in one room!
I had enough points to get a first class seat on my way home and it was amazing! I've basically never been in first class before, and since I had some work to do, it was incredible to have the room to type and spread out during the flight. I wish I could afford to do this every flight! // The next day, I got my hair cut - it was much needed and I got so many compliments at work // Two days later, I was back in the airport to head to New Hampshire with J!
My sleepy hubby // The day we arrived, we did basically nothing, which was perfect. We ordered pizza, watched movies, and slept hard. The next day, our friend Tyler drove J and I to Maine to see the coast again and take in the views. It was so beautiful!

Tyler was so sweet and took a ton of pictures of J and myself - we hardly ever get pictures together! //  Our friends Abby and Andrew got a new dog! // Jay, Tyler, Abby, Andrew, J and I got together one night and ate lobster. I was craving it so bad and it's super cheap in New England!
Our handsome hosts // The next day, we headed out to go apple picking. // The leaves had just started to change in New Hampshire, but it was still gorgeous.
My very handsome husband // Love this kid so much! // Later, we headed to Quechee Gorge in Vermont for a short hike and spectacular views. I'm afraid of heights, so looking off the bridge to see this was a real mix of breathtaking and, uh, breathtaking, haha.

At the bottom of the short hike, you get down to the river. It's all jagged rock, but J got some really cute pictures of me climbing around. // That night, we had dinner at Hermanos (one of our favorite Concord restaurants) with Jay and Tyler, then met Abby and Andrew at a local theater to watch the new "Blade Runner" movie! // We spent the night at Jay and Tyler's house that evening, and the next day, Concord looked so beautiful! It had mostly been hot, muggy, and cloudy, but this is quintessential Concord. Even though our friends live in a different area of town than where we did during law school, it all felt so normal.
Jay, J and I walked around that afternooon by the school. I really wanted to go to my favorite cemetery in town, and the school was just a short walk on the way. // The cemetery was absolutely stunning - the trees had turned, and the lighting was perfect to get some cool shots of J and Jay.
We headed to Starbucks the next day after doing some grocery shopping and errands. J worked there while I was in my third year of law school, so he wanted to stop by and see if anyone he knew still worked there // The next morning, Jay, Tyler, J and I headed up north to take a short hike! It was only around 2 miles to the top and back, but we weren't even sure if we could go since it had started raining that morning. Hiking in the rain sounded terrible to me, but I was game to go either way. Thankfully, the rain stopped just as we got there and the trees protected us from any sprinkling. It ended up being such a fun morning (though I spent quite a bit of it holding my breath while J walked up to the edges of the cliff...)

On our way back into town, we stopped by Woodstock, VT for a quick lunch. At the corner store, I saw this moose head on the wall and bought myself a couple honey sticks. I know it's silly, but I love honey sticks, haha // That Sunday was J and I's first wedding anniversary - look at the card he got me!
Tuesday, we had to head back to Colorado. It was an odd mix of emotions - it felt amazing to be back with some of my best friends in the world and it definitely made me question (at least once or twice) why we had moved away... but I was also really excited to go home, see our cats, and start my new job! // I went to work officially as an attorney the next day! // J and I defrosted the top of our wedding cake and finally ate it a few days late, haha.
The cats were a handful, to say the least. They're usually pretty good when we get back from a trip, but they both had stomach issues while we were gone (I think from stress) // I gave J this poster years ago, but it's still one of my favorite ones we own // My friend Conor moved into town, so he and I headed to Ikea to get him furniture and office decorations for myself

I got a few plants at Ikea as well for my office, but had to keep them at home over the weekend. I can't wait to get something for our space - real or fake - because I love having more green in our apartment! // I did about three week's worth of laundry last weekend and managed to completely rearrange J's t-shirts. He has so many and literally half of them were balled up in a pile in his closet... // Evenings with these guys are the best.
We had picture day at work last week! The attorneys took professional shots (if you were new or wanted new ones) and casual shots. This was my "casual" outfit, though if they really wanted to see my "casual" look, it would probably consist of black leggings and a sweater, haha. // I think my allergies have been acting up, but just in case I was getting sick, I bought two wheatgrass shots at Whole Foods, along with a ginger limeade (my fav) // Date night with my husband! We never go out on the weekends because he works, but he actually had Friday and Saturday off!
We tried out a new Ramen place that was actually really close to us! It was incredible and J hasn't stopped raving about it since. // We were totally out of coffee and it was a rough day or two. Thankfully, when I saw we were getting low, I ordered more on coffeeforless.com and it finally got here! // I am HERE for all the fall colors!

In the span of about a month, I got a new job, travelled to Portland, finished work on one of my contracting jobs, travelled to St. Paul, travelled to New Hampshire, finished work on my second (and last) contracting job, and started my new job... It feels like I haven't had a chance to breathe, haha.

I'm mostly dealing with being totally exhausted from work (in a really good way) and getting into healthy habits again. I'm trying to work out every morning before work - I actually hate working out in the evening, because I feel like I lose any free time I had since I go to bed pretty early. If I stay up later, there's really no way I can wake up at 5AM to get ready to go exercise. I've been doing pretty good this last week or two, but it's definitely a struggle!

How do you balance work with healthy habits? Where's the last place you travelled? How do your pets do when you're gone on vacation?


Friday, September 22

My Fall Bucket List

Fall is my favorite season. When I was in high school, I used to say that Spring was my favorite - something pretentious having to do with "rebirth" or something. Although Fall is arguably the opposite of that (everything is literally dying), I've come to love everything about the season - the colors, the smells, the tastes, the comfort - and I couldn't be more excited about Fall in Denver this year!

So, what's on my fall bucket list?

  • Go apple picking -- I love apple picking, and I really missed it last year because I was so stressed and busy. I went picking every fall (multiple times) when I lived in New Hampshire, and I'm excited to find some orchards here in Colorado. Ya Ya Farm and Orchard looked especially good! I also anticipate going apple picking while we're in New Hampshire in early October. I will go a million times and be so so so happy. I'm also excited for apple cider and especially for apple cider donuts!
  • Go to a pumpkin patch -- It's not fall if you don't get a pumpkin, right? They're already out at Whole Foods, but I resisted getting one there because we're going to a real patch this fall! This one looked really promising. There's also a pumpkin festival happening from October 13-15!
  • Denver Oktoberfest -- It's this weekend and next, so I've gotta get a move on, here. I'm gone next weekend at a wedding, so it looks like I'll be stopping by this evening or tomorrow if I want to go. I've never been to an Oktoberfest before, and I would never say no to a German brat (not a euphemism, haha).
  • Bake -- If you know me at all, you know I love to cook and bake, though I'm much better at cooking. Baking requires precision, and I really like to improvise. Regardless, fall is the time for baking! Everything is spiced and has this amazing, warm depth to it; it's a time for eating earthy foods and wearing sweaters and drinking hot drinks. This fall, I really want to make mini apple pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and bread. I've made all of the above before, albiet probably not very well. I make a mean mini apple pie (using pre-bought dough, of course), and I want to try to make a bread that's not foccacia. I have a really hard time baking with pumpkin, so now's as good a time as any to really spice up (ha) my baking repertoire!
  • Go ghost hunting -- I will be the first to tell you that I don't believe in ghosts. I see absolutely no reason, spiritual or scientific, as to how ghosts could or should exist. Does that stop me from being obsessed with every ghost show on the Travel Channel? Decidedly not. The Stanley Hotel (the one from "The Shining") is right next to Rocky Mountain National Park and has ghost tour nights for a pretty affordable price. J and I will find a way to go!
  • Go hiking-- As I said, J and I have done a pretty terrible job at exploring this beautiful state in which we live. I want this fall to be different - I want to go to Rocky Mountain National Park with J (I've been twice now and he's never been) and I really want to find a bunch of great trails to hike in the mountains. We loved hiking in New Hampshire, and although I'm afraid of heights, I really wish we made time to go hiking here... so let's make time!
  • Watch scary movies -- To be fair, we do this all the time anyway, but there's nothing like curling up with a hot drink and blankets to watch a scary movie! I'll have J start putting together his preferred list of movies since he has so many to choose from.
  • Make mulled wine -- I got J mulled wine spices last year when I visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He loves red wine and he really loves how mulled wine makes the whole apartment smell. They're pretty cheap to get, and it's such an indescribablly delicious smell when it's been bubbling over the stove for a few hours - spicey, rich, indulgent, and somehow really traditional, even though my family didn't drink it growing up. I feel the same way when I make chicken stock over the stove - it makes the whole apartment smell warm and homey.

Other things I'm excited to do?

What are you excited about for fall? Are you planning on doing any of the things on my bucket list? Which are you most excited about?


Thursday, September 14

Life Lately {vol. 63}

We're going all the way back to the end of July, when I was still in Des Moines! I avoided doing another "Life Lately" post because it feels like... nothing's happened? Or else, it's the same thing every day, which certainly isn't thrilling to read about, haha.

As much as I'm happy to be home in Denver again, I loved getting to spend so much time in Des Moines this summer. It's a truly wonderful and special city.

There was no way I was leaving DSM without going to HyVee at least once! For those of you not from the Midwest, HyVee is a grocery store that puts other stores to shame: great organic section, lots of healthy options, AND they carry my favorite totally-unhealthy chips!

After a wonderful morning at the Des Moines' farmer's market (where I had to carry Dash most of the time because he was so scared of the other dogs), I had a bit of an accident at home... I was sitting down on the couch when Dash jumped up right where I was trying to sit. In order to avoid sitting on him, I twisted my knee which hurt so bad! I had a legit sprain, so I tried to ice it and stay off it for the rest of my trip. Walking up stairs suuucked and I was a slower walker than usual, but otherwise it wasn't too bad.

Near the end of my trip, I had to drive to Indianola, Iowa - my college town - to pick up my parents from Ragbrai, a biking trip across Iowa. I took advantage of my time in town to stop by my favorite pace on earth: my sorority house!

Before I knew it, it was time to fly back to Denver. It was really bittersweet going back; I was so excited to see Jacob and the cats again, but I really struggled with going back to my reality - which, at the time, was barely employed and feeling insecure about my skills and abilities. Part of me wanted to stay in Des Moines forever, where I felt so comfortable and at-home. The other part of me knew that I needed to face my fears.

Thankfully, the airport had a pizza place that gave me a plastic bag that I filled with ice at the pop machine. My knee was still really bothering me, so I took advantage of my time before the flight to ice my knee and rest up.

I've been doing a terrible job reading this year, but I did manage to read (and finish) this book for my 12x12 project! It was really good - strange, but good.

This is my name now, by the way.

The week I got back into town, I got my first interview since looking for full-time work again! It was a great confidence-booster, and I loved getting to explore more of the beauty of downtown Denver.

I've been trying to spend more time outside. It's hard when I'm doing contracting work, because it often feels like I'm wasting time if I'm not working. Despite that, I try to remember how important it is to be in nature. It's not a waste of time to get out of the house - if anything, it's really important for my mental health!

I managed to get a haircut that weekend as well! I'm trying so hard to grow it out. It's getting to the point where I don't feel like it's a pixie anymore. I can put most of it in a ponytail now, which has really come in handy when I've been spending so much time at the gym. It's definitely at that "awkward" mid-way pixie point, but my stylist, Layla, has been doing an amazing job making me feel beautiful!

I stopped by my favorite coffee shop a few times for morning meetings! Weathervane also has some amazing oatmeal (served in mason jars) that I can't get enough of.

I have a classic banana bread recipe from my grandma, but I altered it a bit to add cranberries and walnuts! Ever since I made "Superhero Muffins" from Run Fast, Eat Slow, I've absolutely loved the combo! This banana bread may have been the best I've ever made. J was equally obsessed with it!

Influenster sent me two samples of Quaker Oat's new Overnight Oats! I've tried making overnight oats on my own before, but they never seemed to work out right - it was either mushy, or flavorless, or not "ready," so I was really excited to try their product.

Me and my best buddy. I love that I get snuggles the moment I get home, and I especially love how much James likes to snuggle as it gets colder out.

Iced coffee after a long day of work? Yes ma'am!

My favorite flavor of the Quaker Overnight Oats was the banana-blueberry flavor! It kind of tasted like blueberry muffin mix, which is my guilty pleasure. Yum! It was definitely sweeter than I was used to - I typically make my oatmeal with just a little bit of brown sugar or syrup, and this was *almost* cloyingly sweet in comparison. I'm also not huge into sweets anyway, so if you are, this will probably be just right for you. I still have a coupon, so I'll probably stop by the grocery store and pick up this flavor again.

I recently started a half marathon training plan! As of today, I'm on week  4, but at this point, I had my first 2 mile run. I really only have two pairs of running leggings that fit perfectly. It feels like the rest of them like to slip down while I'm running, so I'm constantly pulling my pants back up and it's really distracting on a run; so I've been alternating between the two, and I'm sure someone from the gym has noticed by now, haha.

When I work from home, James sticks by my side all day. It's so precious, and occasionally hilarious when he makes weird faces like this.

I went to my friend Kaitlin's house for dinner the other night and I was really feeling my outfit. It was simple, relaxed, colorful, and totally me. I also got these slip-on shoes from H&M recently. I was looking back at photos from London, when I bought these cheap white knock-off Keds. I saw these on sale at H&M and couldn't resist - they're not Keds, but they look similar enough that the vibe works.

I was having a stressful night a few weeks back, so I went on an evening walk. As I walked across this bridge, I saw this on the side. It seemed like fate - exactly what I needed to "hear."

Can you spot the heron? I love living so close to a river!

I saw my first wild cactus on the trail near our apartment!

My bestie, Hannah, does some amazing poetry with fridge magnets. I've started making my own poems, inspired by her.

I had my first 3-mile run during my half marathon training! I was so nervous - I hadn't run 3 miles at one time since 2013, but it turned out great. Hard, but great.

J and I were supposed to go to a show in RINO, but there was a mix-up with our tickets. J was super disappointed, but I just loved getting out of the apartment and exploring a new area, even if the reason didn't work out.

A few Sundays back, I went on a massive walk around Wash Park with my friend Kaitlin and her dog. We ended up walking 6-7 miles in total!

I was picking up J the other night when I saw this next to me on the road. Creepy, right?!

Our friends Jake and Sady got married about two weeks ago in Evergreen. It was raining right before the ceremony, which resulted in a double rainbow right next to the lake - it was too perfect!

My handsome date!

Me being a goofball and moved by love. You know, the usual.

I had my first 4-mile run last week. It was the hardest run I've done so far, for a variety of reasons - I hadn't taken any pre-workout, my breathing was off, and I just wasn't feeling the run... but I did it! I was so proud of myself for struggling through it.

J and I made up a drinking game last week called the Michael FassBENDER, aka, "Fassbendernacht." Rules: You watch a movie where Michael Fassbender is a supporting actor, and drink every time he comes on screen. I lasted through "300," then had to switch to water...

I love my little family!

I love the morning light in our apartment. We're right next to a birch tree, and the sun streaming through the leaves in the morning is just magical.

My funny kid.

Ready to go on another run (WITH PUMPKIN COFFEE)! After trying to save money by making larger pots with our Keurig (and reusable filters with ground coffee), I finally gave in and bought more K-Cups online. I love flavored coffee and J hates it, so I ordered him Caribou Coffee's "Daybreak," and Green Mountain's "Pumpkin Spice" for me.

Two+ interviews in one week is exhausting, but I was really feeling my outfit!

When I first started my half maraton training plan, I asked J if my runs would ever get easier. He told me that running is just hard. There will be good days and bad days, but running itself is just a hard thing, and the trick is just learning how to deal with that difficulty. Well, most of my runs have been hard (surprise, surprise), but I finally had one that felt easy! I did 2 miles the other day, and everything just worked - I ran at a good pace, my breathing was slow and controlled, my mind was focused on other things, and before I knew it, the run was over!


I was absolutely terrified for my 5-mile run on Saturday. You can see it in my eyes, right?! Well, it went pretty great, all things considering! It was so much easier than my 4-mile run the week before. I broke it down into smaller parts: "Ok, just run 2 miles. You know you can do that! Okay, run another mile. Awesome! ONLY TWO MILES LEFT, YOU DO THAT ALL THE TIME, YOU CAN DO THIS!"

Our cute little place! I bought more leaves at Trader Joes, and I love how much character they give a room.

Leif exists, I swear! He's such a little ham.

Have you ever trained for a race? Do you have any advice? Would you play Fassbender Nacht?