Friday, June 14, 2013

14er Friday

Well my friends, it's been a while since my last Colorado adventure. I've been uber busy with weddings, birthdays, applying for my next license in social work (which has been a timely, frustrating and expensive process) and just life in general. I am super excited to share my latest adventure, which took place last Friday. And oh what an adventure it was!

Had I known it would take my buddy Meg and I eight and a half hours to hike our first 14er of the season, I might have chosen a different activity that day. Nevertheless, the endless adventures in the mountains are undoubtedly my most favorite thing about living in Colorado, despite what kind tribulations they might bring. For those of you not familiar with the term "14er", it is basically any mountain over 14,000 feet. They are very popular here in Colorado. Most people hike them, crazy people run up them, ice-pick up them, and even ski up then down them! It is 14,000+ feet of pure hell in some cases as the terrain can be rocky, very steep, and the weather can change rapidly. Combine all that with the psychological effects of the altitude (dizziness, confusion, deliriousness), and you have your day cut out for you.  I believe there are 50 some 14ers in Colorado.

Thunderstorms are likely to occur in the afternoon which is why most people choose to  get an early start.  We left at 5 am and were on the trail by 7 am; however, there are those who start their hike at midnight to catch the sunrise, which I can imagine is like probably one of the coolest things one could ever do. I hope to do that one day.

Luckily, we did not get caught in a thunderstorm; however, we DID get caught in a few snowstorms! Thanks to our dear friend Lara, who was adamant in making sure we were adequately prepared for such likely weather, we had no problem getting to the top!  Honestly, I was not even thinking about a snowstorm.  If it wasn't for her I probably would have showed up in yoga pants and a sweatshirt and consequently probably would have died.  Sooo thank goodness for good friends! (Just kidding about the dying part, at the most would have been completely and utterly miserable).

Here is a little photo shoot of our little adventure:

Meg! Circa an hour into our trip.

These guys were amazing! Hiking in their ski boots with their skis attached to their backs! Not to mention the one on the right is 50+ years old and a total bad ass with his hat turned sideways. 

Team Megalicious.

So beautiful!

That's me trying to not fall over.

Potentially treacherous situation.
Here are our friends from a distance, skiing.
I saw my first avalanche (from a distance, thankfully).  SO effing COOL!

This. This little bitch of a hill in the picture below was PURE hell.  Due to the lack of visibility of the trail because of the snow, we basically just scaled the side of the mountain.  No big whoop.

Taking a break.
Oh, and this is me dying.
Me dying, again.

Took this picture while dying, most likely.

So many boulders. It looks like you are so close.  Alas, you are not.

FINALLY! Made it to the top of Gray's Peak!

Alive and well at the top of 14,278 feet!

Doing some Asian thing Meg always does wherever she goes.
 Well deserved celebratory beers:

Ugh! I freaking LOVE Colorado. Until next time my friends...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Red Rocks and Rockies!

Brace yourselves, people. I have a lot to share with you. 

For the last month, I have done a lot a lot of cool shit.  I admit, I really am struggling with this life-work-blog balance thing.  It really is HARD!  I give mad props to all the dedicated bloggers out there with full time jobs, families, and social lives  AND still have motivation to blog!  Just so you know, I am extremely envious of all of you who are able to do that.  I have come to terms with the fact that I am simply not there yet, so please bear with me as I share with you all these awesome things I have been doing for the last month.   Like many hard working Americans out there, I sit at a computer all day blasting away at the keyboard. When I get home from work, the absolute last thing I want to do is stare at my computer for another few hours.  I just don't have it in me.  Also, my brain has the tendency to shut down circa 4 pm, so any attempts of writing anything creative and punctual, like I had  imagined, would be pointless. Basically, what it comes down to is I kind of feel guilty for writing about "old news" as they say.  And I'm not really certain if writing about "old news" even applies to the blog world and perhaps nobody even cares, but just letting you know I feel weird about it so I will try a little harder to fight the battle.

Sooo...on that note...

Four weekends ago was an awesome time!

It was one of many firsts. First bootcamp session at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, first park day, first bike ride, first Rockies game of the season, and first time at the popular new rooftop bar, Viewhouse. While I do love all the winter activity, I cannot deny how ecstatic I am for the summer months to arrive! With the warm weather rolling in (minus those bushleague snowfalls we've been graced with this "spring"), nothing gets me more excited than all the outdoor activity.

Saturday morning, (that would have been Saturday, April 5th I believe) I woke up early to get to Red Rocks by 9 for an hour and a half work out. For those of you who have never been to Red Rocks or do not live in Denver, not only is it a famous outdoor amphitheater at night but it is also a popular outdoor "gym" for fitness junkies during the day due to the thousands of stairs. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, this is where you can find lots of ripped bodies (if you're into that sorta thing). After a work out here, one can usually count on sore ass muscles for several days.

My good friend Liz invited me and some others to join her work trainer's Red Rocks fitness group. For an hour and a half, we sprinted up stairs, sprinted up hills, did lots of burpees, lots of ab stuff, tricep dips, push ups, bear crawls, lots of planks, and wall climbing. I will confirm that it was difficult, yet not completely miserable the whole time like I had imagined.

I will also confirm that those Lulu Lemon pants truly are see-through. A girl in front of me was merely bending over to stretch and as I looked up...BOOM! Full on butt. Right in front of me! (Sorry, did not snap a photo of that).

Here is a picture of us:

Emily, Liz, Abby, Meg P., me, Leah, Melissa

Sunday, April 7th we ventured downtown for brunch and a Rockies game for Lindsay and Michelle's birthday.  First, we had brunch and a few beverarges at the Viewhouse downtown: 

Emily, me, Liz

Meg P. happy with her FULL mimosa!

With any grand opening of a business, there are always several kinks that need to be ironed out.  Leave it to Meg P., who was unsatisfied with the lousy pours, to iron out the insufficient mimosa kink. I'm with Meg on this one.  They filled maybe 1/4 of the glass pictured to the left.  Needless to say, a bit of loud communication toward a manager and a few bartenders (maybe a server too) can go a long way.  Meg eventually got what she asked for for the remainder of the afternoon.  Fingers crossed that they truly altered the way they pour mimosas and not just a meager effort to shut up an unsatisfied patron.  Next time you are enjoying your FULL glass (hopefully) of a bottomless mimosa at the Viewhouse, you can thank Meg P.! 

Satisfied patrons

I don't think I have ever formally introduced my dear friend Nikki on here.  Chances are, if you live in Denver you know Nikki or at the very least, recognize her face or name.  Anyone who knows her, understands why so many people gravitate toward her.  She's just awesome! It also just so happens that she has become the official Facebook checker-inner.  Anytime you see that I have checked in somewhere through your Facebook feed, nine times out of ten it's her doing.  She is a great friend and really amazing planner and basically the one responsible for organizing this amazing day:

The birthday girls, who also were lucky enough to play one of those games on the jumbo-tron:

Michelle and Lindsay

Well, I missed this...but the jumbo-tron did say "Happy Birthday Lindsay and Michelle", thanks to Shannon who was able to pull some strings:

Here is a picture of maybe 1/4 of our rather large group.  Thanks, Liz, for that truly amazing photobomb! :)

Leah, me, Liz, Meg P.

Me and Leah

 Then came this, which is undoubtedly the best picture I have EVER been a part of.  Believe me, if I ever play the starring role on a sitcom, this is going to be the intro. Playing in the background will be Fat Boy Slim's Rockafeller Skank (thanks Michelle, you really hit the nail on the head with that one!).

Post game drinks! Emily, me, Liz, Leah

April: To Be Continued....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Soup a Loop in Denver! (parte dos)

"The 20's are for having fun"- Meghan Campbell
We had quite the little day 2 Saturdays ago, let me tell ya! (reeeeeeeally need to do something about keeping my blog more updated don't I!?) We, (as in the Meghans, Kate and Leah) headed to Coral Room for a delightful brunch to start the day off.  I love this hidden little gem in my hood because the food is delicious, the ambiance rocks, and you never have to wait for a table.  In Denver, this is very rare.  All my top favorite brunch places are always packed on Saturday and Sunday with the wait time being at least an hour...which can be completely miserable.  I don't know about you, but when I wake up I am ready to eat! By the time brunch rolls around, I am absolutely starving and sitting around waiting for a table is just not acceptable. Eating a snack beforehand just completely defeats the whole purpose!  Case in point as to why we went to Coral Room. 

One thing I love about this place is they have several vegetarian options.  I wouldn't classify myself as complete vegetarian yet; however, these days I have been eating far less meat and notice that I feel a ton better.  But don't get me wrong, I do love me a few sticks of bacon or a few buffalo wings from time to time. Lately, I just haven't wanted any meat...until our server told us about this special little treat that's not on the menu.  I don't remember what it was called or if it even has a name, but it was bacon dipped in brown sugar and then fried in pancake batter and may or may not have been sprinkled with powdered sugar.   It looked like something you would eat at a fair and was just SO amazing. You should probably get that next time you're there or maybe just go there for that reason alone.
Post brunch, we wandered over to Kate's friend Lindsay's for a BBQ, where we spent the remainder of the afternoon and early evening  meeting awesome new people, sippin' back on a few cocktails, and engaging in quite the ridiculous 4 o'clock dance party.  I am pretty sure while everyone else was inside, there were about 9 girls outside double dutching with imaginary jump ropes to Rhianna and Lady Gaga. Here are a few pics from the par-tay:
My Girls!


She tried to do this to a waiter once in Thailand.


#fabfiveforlife (Meghan, Leah, Kate, me, Lindsay T.)
 Like every good basketball team, every middle school has a group of girls who refers to themselves as The Fab Five.  This is a group of carefully selected individuals that every other person outside of this unique formation loves to hate and hates to love. I can speak for myself to say that I was never part of any official Fab Five arrangement throughout my childhood.  However, 11 years into being an adult, I can now say that I am officially part of such a group (thanks to Lindsay for coining it).  I don't believe the definition from middle school exactly translates to adulthood; however, I am pretty sure that on this particular day we all believed it did!

And THEN..while the Fab Five was doing THIS:

THIS happened:

And it was just the funniest thing that could have ever been.

Later in the evening, Meghan and I met up with Rob and co. at Cervantes Masterpiece for a live 90's band, where we just rocked out all night to Nirvana, Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, STP, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime et al.  The Spice Girls were even there, in full costume.  Perhaps my only regret of the night is not capturing Rob and his friend's reaction when Mother came on the loud speakers.  It just so happens that this is the song that Rob and the same friends at the show (minus one), all get up on stage and karaoke.  So as you can imagine, it was total bro city for a hot minute there.
Pre 90's band, 90's band.

Everything about this night was amazing including this guy, who also ended up being in the band. He looks a bit terrified though, doesn't he?

You really cannot beat the 90's, I mean look at this guy!
Me, Rob, Cirino, Meg

A trend that I have noticed over the last several months is that super fun Saturdays often lead to not so fantastic Sundays.  In fact, we had SO much fun that Meghan was forced to change her 11:30 AM flight to a much later one.  It truely was touch and go there for a while Sunday morning, but we managed to peel ourselves out of bed, pick up breakfast burritos (which have saved my life a time or two or ten), and head over to Kate's so we could visit with her before taking Meghan to the airport.  Here, Meghan presented both Kate and me with candy and these very sweet, very true (still blank) Easter cards.  And this is one of the millions of reasons why we love Meghan Campbell:

Oh, and this too:

 We then headed to Sloan's Lake to take advantage of the amazing sunshine where we walked the whole perimeter without wearing any sunscreen:
Have I ever mentioned how much I love it here?!
After basking in the sun for a few hours, we took our sunburned selves to Little Man Ice Cream, the best ice cream stand in Denver!  Here, there is always at least a 20 minute line, but it is well worth it.  And because it was Easter, you had the option of receiving a complimentary Peep:
As with all of my visitors, it is always SO sad to see them go especially after such an amazingly awesome weekend.   As I sit back and re-read this post and my previous posts, it really makes me think about all the amazing people I have encountered throughout my life who will always live in my smile, even despite the geographical monster.  I feel so fortunate to be able to write about all these beautiful individuals who have enriched my life so much and have made my life! After all, that is what the 20's are for, right Meg?! Time is running out... :)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Soup a Loop in Denver! (parte uno)

Happy Hump Day fellow blog readers! I hope you all had a fabulous Easter weekend and are having a wonderful week so far! On Monday, I felt like an official blogger because while all of you guys were slaving away at work, I was home writing on my blog.  Soooo yeah...I guess you could say I was kind of legit that day even though I didn't post anything until right now...

Anyway..I had been wanting to take a personal day from work for a few weeks now- to clean, do laundry, do my taxes, grocery shop for the week, update my blog- catch up on life essentially.  However, I was waiting for the day to arrive when I just couldn't bear to peel myself out of bed and lug myself in to work.  While I love all the activity on the weekends, these life things tend to get neglected from time to time. After a super amazing weekend, I just could not fathom the peeling of the self out of bed thing, so I decided Monday was the day I was going to get my life back on track. First though, let me tell you about my little gem of a weekend..

One of my best friends, Meghan Campbell, came to visit! Meghan was my roomie in Chicago for three wonderful years and because we share the same name, our friends often referred to Meghan as "Soup" and me as "SuPasta". (Soup comes from her last name (Campbell Soup- get it!) and mine was a nickname from college that originated from an AIM screen name and continued throughout my life in Chicago and now is the title of my blog).  Needless to say, introductions were always fun and we made one fantastic dynamic duo.  Wherever Soup is, good times and laughter always follow. So as you can probably guess, it was a pretty dyn-o-mite weekend.

After a long and grueling work week, Meghan flew in Thursday evening so we could get an early start on Friday.  We woke up early Friday morning and headed to Breckenridge, for a day on the slopes.  According to the lift ticket still attached to her coat, she had not skied since our last ski trip in the U-P (circa 2008).  I must say, I was quite impressed with her skills...espcially when sking backward. Talk about a natural (ability and fashion)!


Ski Lift!


The next series of photos were when I tried to do a koala pose on her back, which to no suprise, did not turn out too well.  My vertical leap has never been stellar, so not really sure why I thought jumping in ski boots on to her back would generate successful results.  Nevertheless, we had a good laugh and I think we really entertained the photographer and the other individuals in the line that had slowly accumulated while we were having our moment.  After all that, the photographer had the nerve to ask us if we wanted anymore photos... I am 95% sure he was making fun of us..

Jump on back, take 1


" you guys want anymore photos"
 After a long day on the mountain, we decided to head into the town of Breckenridge to explore a bit.  We hit up a few local boutiques and then headed back to sunny and 60 degree Denver.   One of my favorite things about Colorado is you can be in a world of snow one minute and in warm sunshine the next. Somehow we had accumulated 905 drinking vessels as seen in the picture below:

Not sure how this happend!
 Later Friday night, Rob, Kate, Meghan and myself headed to Lola's for some tasty Mexican seafood.  Meghan, Kate, and I were all really good friends back in Chicago and it all seemed too good to be true that here we were again..just catchin' up over some margs and chips and guac- just like old times! It is kind of crazy how you can go so long without seeing a person and all of a sudden they just fit back into your life perfectly without missing a beat!

Two of my most favorite people EVER! (Meghan and Kate)

Cheers-ing our oysters.
   Then, Rob and Meghan C. headed to Highland Tap and Burger for some March Madness..........  Just kidding! We were all there, except you can't really tell based on this tricky photo:

Just creepin' in the shadows...

Stay tuned for parte dos of this fantastic weekend and other things I have yet to update!