Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deep thought thursday...


p.s. I loved this bit on second chances and wanted to point it out to anyone who hasn't seen it. Also, this SNL skit on going home for the holidays cracks me up!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wandering Wednesday: Leila comes to Denver!

^^ those cheeks! so good! ^^
^^ miss this lady so bad ^^
^^this cousin encounter was the sweetest sight ^^
A couple months ago my sister, niece and brother-n-law came to visit me in Denver! It was super special and meant so much to me that they made the effort to get out here (with a 4 month old flying for the first time, eek!) Little Leila has grown so much since the last time I saw her and her cheeks, don't even get me started on her cheeks! We had a really casual weekend going to some of our favorite neighborhood places. Kate and Mike still have a lot of friends and family here in Colorado so it was important for them to reconnect and show everyone the baby. Sunday Mike's parents threw a 'Meet the Baby' brunch party which ended up being a perfect way to get everyone together!

I am off to Tennessee Friday for the holidays and can't wait to see these girls again, along with the rest of my family and my other adorable niece! Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wandering Wednesday: Holiday Markets, Tree Decorating and Cooking Making...

Once Thanksgiving was over I completely gave in to my domestic desires and went all-out Christmas decorating mode. It gets a little crazier every time. I have this box of ornaments in storage that keeps growing. I finally took it out last week and it was a really cool moment. A lot of the ornaments I have were made by my mother when she was my age. She is such a creative inspiration. And many of the other ornaments are ones we had on our tree growing up which makes it even more special. I am starting to understand my mom's ornament addiction more and more as I get older (she probably has around 200 no joke). So the tree is up, the village of terrarium globes I made last year, lights, candles, the works. Tasteful, but not totally modest. Once the burst of cold came through last week, I was aching for a good cup of hot chocolate and a viewing of Love Actually (this, btw, cracks me up). What can I say, I'm a total sucker for all the cheeseball holiday stuff I can get my hands on.  
Last weekend Aly and I spent a few hours at the Horseshoe Holiday Market. I had pretty much been locked in my house most of the week since the weather hadn't risen above the teens so it was good to be out and about. So, so cold though. The market was downtown this time, which was nice because I never really venture over there and it was fun to see all the lights and buildings decorated. The market was of course inside, thank goodness, and was lovely as usual. I came home with a few Christmas gifts and a little something for myself. Success. 
Sunday we baked cookies. I love, love, love baking sugar cookies. Growing up, I always looked forward to making and decorating them with my mom. She goes all out for even the smaller holidays like Easter and Valentine's Day so it's no surprise that it rubbed off on me a bit. Thanks mom. So, this year the ladies baked cookies while the boys watched the Broncos game. I hate to say that I'm totally fine with that but I am. We also chatted, drank spiked hot chocolate and listened to guilty pleasure Christmas music like Mariah Carey. Damn I love the holidays.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MAKE: Felted Acorn Ornaments

Wool Roving 
Felting Pad or Sponge
Acorn Caps
Drill and 1/8 in Drill Bit
Glue Gun and Glue

The wool roving can be found online or at your local craft and supplies store. For you Denver folk, Fancy Tiger has a lovely selection of colors. Probably the hardest thing about this project is finding the acorn caps. I looked far and wide for mine back in the fall. If you do go on the hunt here are some basic tips: there are quite a few varieties acorns but they always grow on Oak trees-- to learn more about identifying Oak trees and the types of acorns that might be falling in your area this field guide is very helpful! Or just take a might get lucky, the best time for seed collection is during the months of September and October! And of course you can buy them online too, because we have everything at our fingertips these days, but what's the fun in that?! Unless it's 5 degrees and the ground is frozen--then you have an excuse.
Start by rolling the wool roving into a ball, this should be a shape similar to the size you'd like your acorn to be but don't worry too much about this because you can reshape it once you start the felting process. Using your felting needle work into the wool until it starts to harden and form shape. This video is ever so helpful if you are not very familiar with needle felting and also does what pictures can't in terms of seeing the whole process from start to finish. Once you have your beautiful felted acorn bottom you need to find its acorn cap mate! Before assembling the acorn, drill a small hole into the top, loop a piece of string through and secure with a knot-- cut off any excess string with scissors. Push the acorn into its cap and finish shaping if necessary. Remove the cap and add a bit of glue. Done! 

I like to make several in my favorite fall colors and put them on the tree as a set. They also serve as festive decoration if you want to skip the last few steps and just sprinkle them on your Christmas table, place them in a bowl, or use them to wrap presents

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wandering Wednesday: Friendsgiving 2013

my apologies. i've been in quite the blogging funk lately. I've attempted to write about a weeks worth of half entries. all saved to my drafts, lonely and unpublished. This, though, I had to share. Because it was a total blast and also because 'tis the season for sharing :)

Last weekend we celebrated Friendsgiving. I know this is a common thing-- to get your friends together and have some sort of a festive gathering before the 'real' Thanksgiving. Your friends often feel like your family right? and for me, being the lone wolf out here in Colorado, they are my rock. So this year, we did a potluck style dinner with a little twist. Before we ate-- there were games. Really silly ones. You see, over the summer we had this idea of having a field day, like the one everyone has in elementary school (think three legged race, etc)…but we never did it. And then I was on Pinterest and found this and thought BRILLIANT! Thus the first annual Friendsgiving/Game day extravaganza was born. I realize that there aren't that many pictures of food here, but trust me we ate plenty... it's just the wine was flowing freely at that point so ya know... There was a little bit of a flaw in the whole games first, food second idea, since some of us still had to cook afterwards but nothing a little Oxiclean, and improvisation couldn't handle. I made pumpkin pie and brussels spouts, we roasted two chickens instead of doing a turkey, and I think I had the most fun rearranging and decorating our place to accommodate the festivities. So with the actual day upon us, Happy Thanksgiving friends! I am super thankful to have such a solid bunch of people surrounding me-- family and friends-- this year especially has been one for the books.

(more pics of the actual games are on my Instagram if you're interested)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Deep Thought Thursday + Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Thought I'd get back to the real world for a bit and stop posting vacation photos. So since it's halloween here's a quote from the creepiest poet, and also I must share a few costume photos from last week! Hope you have a spooooky night!

(quote via Pinterest)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sayulita, Mexico {Part Two}: People, Places and Things.

I feel like the best way to talk about this trip is through the places we visited. So this is my guide to Sayulita, Mexico based on where we ate, slept and partied. Because yes, we partied.... duh, we were in MEXICO! I would go back in a heartbeat and recommend it to anyone wanting to have a small town, more personal experience in Mexico. This is not your Cancun Spring Break folks, in the best way possible. So here it goes....


After closely inspecting many, many options for housing-- from the grand to the not-so-grand, we landed somewhere in the middle. We knew we would be spending some major time here so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of space, and also, one of our more snobby requests-- we needed a pool. I think I clocked more hours in that pool than any other room in the house. It was a necessity. Our evenings were spent laughing, talking, dancing, drinking tequila and yes, even crying in, and by, this pool. Casa Sierra was very good to us and a great choice for our home. 


Chica Locca-- Snorkeling and Boat Tour to Marietas Island
Before going on this trip we all got together and agreed that if we put our money down for one big thing, it would be a day on a boat. Now, sitting back and thinking about my favorite days on this vacation, this is way up there. Where do I start? the waterslides, cave swimming, constant drink-in-my-hand, snorkeling, dance party, broke my bikini face first, dolphins, Ooooh, what a time it was! The staff might be the best part. Also, you are on a freaking boat. 

I was a little reluctant about the whole surfing thing I must say. Mainly because by the time we got around to doing it my body was weak and sore already (see:Beaches) and also because I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to the ocean (it's so BIG! and so many THINGS! live in it). BUT I actually really liked it and was sad that we did it so late in the game because I would have probably gone a second time. Our instructors were younger than us, 18 and 20 year old kids that played Bob Marley off their cell phones on the way to the beach and recited impeccable California English. I got up THREE times and Kelsey and I even rode a wave in together, which was very epically unplanned. Sayulita is known for it's surfing so basically you just gotta do it. 

The main beach that opens up right in front of you, past the Plaza, and down the main road is not the best swimming beach. You will get hassled by people trying to sell you bracelets and other things (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). This is obviously the first beach we went to, the very first day, but we quickly learned that there are much better beaches just a short walk away that are much more beautiful and remote.

Playa de Los Muertos: The short walk to this beach is fascinating, because there is a huge, awesome cemetery on the way (ahem, hence the name) which of course makes for some really great photo ops! It is close (only about a 5 min walk) and has a lifeguard on duty at most times. Rob even did a little cliff jumping off some nearby rocks!

Playas Las Cuevas and Playa Malpasos: If you are in the adventure spirit and don't mind getting some major exercise, these beaches are worth a visit. We ventured out not sure what to expect while following some treasure map type directions across the river, through the jungle, past the cobblestone road. This one's a hike guys! You will most likely be the only people at the beach when you arrive, which gave me flashes of both 'The Beach' and 'LOST' as we were exploring-- very creepy, cool. The waves were huge the day we went, which made it ideal for boogie boarding and wave surfing and not so much swimming. I've got to say that the trek was worth it for me because it was a little rough, ya know? We came home with a few scratches and pains but most importantly, we had an adventure under our belts.


This was our go-to lunch spot. We visited at least 4 times in the week and even brought home 5 bottles of their famous salsa. The shrimp burrito is the best burrito I've ever put in my mouth, and the salsa is obviously so good we had to sneak it through customs! We got to know the owner Antonio and his son and enjoyed chatting with them during our visits.

We ate here almost every day in one form or another, whether we were just grabbing a to-go cup of coffee, or getting a hardy breakfast to start our day. The Huevos Rancheros was my favorite of everything I tried. Real good coffee too!

We had one of the best meals of the trip here and it was Italian food. I know it sounds crazy-- Italian food in Mexico?, but they literally made the dough and cranked out the pasta right in front of us and the wood fire pizzas were incredible...not to mention the homemade mozzarella in our Caprese salad and the Tiramisu....oh man....I have seriously been thinking about this meal since we left. It was out of control good.

By far the best thing about this restaurant is it's location-- it sits, well pretty much, right on the beach. There were, no joke, two crabs crawling underneath our feet during dinner. We went here one night for our 'fancy' meal choice and it totally felt like a special occasion-- the lighting, the ambiance, not to mention, the fact that we were the only table the entire time. I ordered the Mahi Mahi and it was superb. 

Looking for a different breakfast option, we tried this place towards the end of our trip. I have to say I think I liked it better than ChocoBanana. Good smoothies, great coffee, tasty food. The downside-- it's hot! Be ready to sweat, a lot!

I loved the margs here. Sit upstairs, it's feels away from the crowded plaza and the view is pretty great. Food is good.

Street Food: 
After hours....around 9 or so, you will begin to see the street vendors come out of the woodworks. I was more interested in the dessert around this time and highly recommend getting your hands on some churros. The truck wasn't out every night but when he was he was situated right across the river towards the main plaza. A few of the people in our group ate at Tacos El Ivan and thought they were good and cheap. I'd just say try what you like, it'll most likely be delicious! 


Shopping is something we did daily in little spurts. There are tons of cute places, but some really cater to the tourists, and are way overpriced. Shop around--a lot of stores sell similar things and the range in prices can be huge.

Try to break your big bills as much as possible. You will have a lot of trouble if you are carrying 200-500 peso bills on a regular basis, as most places refuse them. Make change with big purchases.

We took two different modes of airport transportation. When we landed in Puerto Vallarta, we opted for the cheaper/bumpier/longer option, the bus. It's about $2.50 to get to Sayulita which was awesome, but it takes over an hour and is very bumpy and hot. I personally liked it, because it gave us a chance to really take in Mexico right off the bat. On the way home though....we craved an easier ride and decided to arrange a cab to pick us up at our house in Sayulita and take us to the airport. That cost about $45 total, before tip-- split between four people, it ended up being worth the splurge for low stress and convenience sake. Both options are totally do-able...this is something we were very concerned about before getting there that ended up being very low stress in the end.

Make friends with the locals. They will enrich your experience.