The Summer Reset – 11 Mile Canyon

I picked up fly fishing this year with a hand me down rod from B, and some learner’s camaraderie from Rachael. I’ve been out fishing about 10 times now, and I have yet to catch a single fish. Obviously I still have a lot to learn – maybe my knots are too big, maybe my line is too short, maybe my cast is too rough, or just maybe, fish are too damn smart to be fooled by my tricks. Regardless of my luck/lack of skill, it’s darn lovely to be out in the middle of a river, relatively alone, and listening to the sound of water. Even more exciting are the small little adrenaline rushes you get when you see fish smell your fly only to promptly ignore it and eat a bug mere inches away from your fly. One day, fishies, one day.

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A couple weeks ago, Rachael and I took a quick little one nighter camping trip to 11 Mile Canyon with the intent to catch heaps of fish to cook over the camp fire. But then, there was a fire ban in effect. And then, it rained on us almost all evening and night. At one point, huddled under a tree in our raincoats, we debated giving up and driving the 2 hours back to Denver. Thankfully the rain let up long enough for us to cook a meal, drink some beers, and play a few rounds of Bananagrams. Lastly, neither of us caught a fish. Rachael got 2 hits though, so there’s that. It was still an enjoyable 2 days, and we got some lovely views even at the crowded campground.

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IMG_6117Until next time, fishies….

We’re Doing a Thing!

We are doing a thing – B and I are getting married! This post is a long time coming, since the news is over a month old, and I already have a tan line on my finger. It’s still kind of exciting to think about though. After 6 years we’re going to do the thing I (we) knew we would do eventually – that is, make it so that I can get on B’s incredible health insurance (kidding, but not kidding – DPS offers us the worst health care coverage plans I’ve ever seen). Jokes aside, I’m pretty excited about his next thing we’re doing!

Our engagement story: we don’t have one. Like any self-respecting social media addict, I Instagramed the good news to friends (I at least face-timed family). The next day at school, I told my classes the cool news and they all wanted to know “the story” of how it happened. So after being built up with 15 years worth of prom-posals and Taylor Swift videos, I think my non-story ruined a few storybook expectations of real life marriage proposals. So instead, our story is the whole story – we met, we meshed well, we did things, now we’re doing another thing. This clip sums it up pretty well, I think.

B and I met on the internets in 2011. Those were the okCupid days in San Francisco, and I was in the midst of a dating streak – about 2 dates a week for a couple months. I had a solid system down of a few email exchanges, then meet up for a drink. None of these dudes worked out, and it was feeling like a part time job. Then B messaged me one evening (while out on a work trip in Portland), and we met for drinks a week later. I told my friend Aimee about this guy I was meeting, and how he is 6’4″ and Australian. She said, “well, you might as well just throw your panties at him!”

I went into our first date apprehensive with low expectations. The moment I walked into that little wine bar though, B got up out of his seat and stretched out his arms to give me a hug. I remember thinking, “What. The. Hell. Weirdo. Who hugs on the first drink date? What do I do? Do I hug back? Do I offer a handshake instead? OMG, this is so weird!” And that’s how we met. The rest is pretty standard. We hit it off, we talked for hours, we played the internet dating game for about a week, and then went on our second date. For literally our third date, I brought him on a Russian River weekend trip with my girl friends, and on the drive home, we planned our first vacation together to New York the next month. We’ve spent almost every day together since. Needless to say, we moved a little fast at the start. Friends were skeptical – especially when we simultaneously decided to move in together and move to Brooklyn a year later. But there were no red-flags, timing was right, B is super fun, personable, smart, outgoing, and I felt like I could be 100% myself, 100% of the time. It was a no-brainer.

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Since 2011, I’ve started this blog, we’ve moved to two different cities in two different states, taken three international trips, bought a house, started a garden, and amassed a collection of 6 different and fully functional shovels. At the start of May, we went to our neighborhood brewery Spangalang, for their release of our favorite summer beer, a cucumber gose that is essentially a very, very, tasty pickle-y beer (sounds gross, but it is amaze, trust me). I don’t remember how the conversation started, but it drifted into B and I talking about what we had in mind for a “wedding” type thing, which morphed into an initial invite list, and ended with “well I guess I should get you a ring then to make it official. Didn’t you have something on your Pinterest board?” Why, yes, I do. Here’s a good website. I let him pick out the ring, and the FedEx truck dropped it off later on in the week.

That Thursday, I taught my classes, and went to Costco, and came home to a giddy B urging me to go see what was in the dining room. We toasted each other, and I put the ring on my own finger. Then we FaceTimed our moms (mums) and drank a bottle of white bubbly in our garden. I stuck the ring on a baby spinach plant, and sent the news out into the internets. The end. For now.

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Hello 2017!

Another day, another year! 2016 was pretty amazing (deaths and politics aside) – B and I planned and grew our first vegetable garden, we traveled all through Australia, climbed three 14ers, took a canoe camping trip, and my sister had twins! Last new years, I made a small bucket list and I got through every item except for one – the hike from Aspen to Crested Butte. That hike is definitely going to happen this year, no excuses. This year’s bucket list is also going to include a trip to Paris and London, more planning and growing (we’ve tripled the growing area this year) vegetables, climbing four more 14ers, going fly-fishing a lot (and actually catching a fish on my own), visiting/camping in every national park in Colorado (there are four), snowboard Vail and Whistler, and getting more comfortable snowboarding through trees. Also, I’m turning 37 this year – hello middle age! If I could afford it, I’d add, buy a motorcycle, to my bucket list but let’s be real – I’m working with a teacher’s salary here.

B and I threw another New Years Eve party this year and it was so much fun, I think it’s going to be a regular thing from now on. It was a small but close group, and the shenanigans went into the wee hours of the night. I picked up a vintage punch bowl at the thrift store a few days ago, and we mixed a double batch of very, very potent Rabbit Punch for the party. That punch fueled a lively game of catch-phrase, B showed off his favorite Christmas present (a Silky Saw), and I managed to get some fabulous photos of everyone. Most of my friends are/were teachers, and we all know how to have fun!

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Happy New Year everyone!

Break Time

I’m on day three of Winter Break today, and it feels so glorious to be able to sleep in, drink coffee in bed, and take leisurely strolls around the neighborhood. These first few days of break are always filled with hard core lounging, so here’s a quick wrap up of the key chill action that took place last night and today.

Last night, B and I joind our friends Bear and Mallory at a cute little speakeasy style bar in Golden, Colorado callled Golden Moon Speakeasy. This place is so awesome, any feeble attemps to describe it just won’t do it justice. The drinks are named after Lord of the Rings phrases, such as What Has It Got in It’s Pocketses, and they distil their own spirits at a separate locationn nearby. B got a flight of their spirits, and my favorite was the Violette, which is a beautiful lilac colored liquor that is sweet and florally but with a healthy kick (a bottle of it will be in my stocking tomorrow morning, becuase B is a nice guy). I ended up trying out a couple of their cocktails, the “An Unexpected Party” and the “Cloud City”.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning, B and I lounged till late morning, then took a stroll with Bambi over to the Denver Central Market which is a warehouse type market with high end food stalls – similar to the Ferry Building in SF and th Chelsea Markets in NY.  Every major city has at least one of these now. I obviously love them, and I love that this one is within walking distance from our house. Also, the bakery in the market has pudding crossants. I sat outside admireing the street art with the dog while B went in and got our treats.

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I made B play photographer on the way over. He was not happy and moaned/groaned the whole time. He does not make a good Instagram Husband at all. Nothing new with the outfit, just a recycle from this day. The bag on the otherhand, is a recent present to myself.  I’m not a bag lady by any means, and most of the time I just put what I need in my coat pockets. Having a little purse like this can be handy though, when the coats can be left at home. It’s the middle of December today (Xmas Eve), and it is 52˚F out right now! Happy holidays everyone!

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sunnies: rayban – cardigan and jeans: uniqlo – t shirt and belt: urban outfitters – shoes: adidas – bag: minor history – bracelets: madewell

14ers

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B and I hiked another two 14ers last weekend. After our first one, we got the itch, so we squeezed a double whammy in before the weather turns for Fall. Gray’s Peak and Torrey’s Peak are right next to each other and are usually climbed as a two-for deal. I’m not going to lie though, this one was tough. It was only a little more mileage and elevation climb than Mt. Bierstadt, but for some reason this one felt harder. I started to feel pretty loopy in the head (lack of oxygen) about 3/4 of the way up the first peak, Gray’s. I pushed through though, and boy, was it worth it. The view at the top was breathtaking, literally and figuratively. It feels amazing to be on top of the Rocky Mountains. The second peak on the other hand, became a trudge-fest. I made it though, and felt pretty darn proud of myself. I’m not the fittest person ever, but darn it I can climb a mountain!

I started this week with a new top from Anthropologie. I think I have a pretty good pirate costume piece here, all I will have to do is engineer myself a peg-leg and find an eyepatch! It’s a darn comfy and cute top, but I paid a relatively hefty price for it, even on sale. I just have to remind myself “cost-per-wear”.

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glasses: warby parker – top: anthropologie – jeans: mother denim – shoes: mia

Last days of Summer

The classic end of summer weekend has come and gone. By now everyone is back in school and anticipating the weather change. Today I overheard a couple girls talking about the imminent return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Apparently that means winter is coming. Good thing I managed to check off my last 2 summer time goals this past 3 day weekend. B and I climbed a 14er, and I went fly-fishing!

A 14er is essentially a mountain that is over 14,000 ft, and there are 96 of them in the US. 53 of these 14ers are in Colorado, so summiting them is a bit of a thing here. It seems that just about every Colorado resident has “bagged” at least one 14er. So we climbed the easiest one, Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 ft) this past weekend. Man, breathing is no joke at 12,000 ft and above. I survived though with heaps of breaks on the way up. I think I’ve got the 14er bug, so now I’m chomping at the bit to scale a few more of these peaks. Gray’s and Torrey’s Peak will be next!

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I managed to squeeze in a little shopping trip yesterday before I met up with a friend to go fly-fishing. Picked up this dress from Forever 21, which of course, on me it’s a shirt. I really like these “dresses” because it guarantees that I’ll never have to worry about bending over or squatting down to pick up a pencil in the classroom. I have a super long torso, so even with high-waisted jeans, the danger of an accidental butt crack slip is always a concern. Please ignore the wrinkles, I’m not an iron or steam type of person. Even with wrinkles, this top is neutral, comfortable, and professional looking enough for the classroom.  Winning. Also, these jeans (and a black pair) are the only pants I’ve been wearing lately, because they’re the only ones that fit me right now. Thanks, summer!

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glasses: warby parker – top: f21 – jacket: h&m – jeans: mother denim – shoes: mia

Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi -Part 4

Part One – Melbourne, Part Two – Queensland, Part Three – Perth

I’ve been back in the states for a bit over a month, and part 4 of my Aussie trip is finally up! The last stop on our great Aussie Adventure was Sydney. B’s brother lives in Sydney, and we had planned to spend a few days with the new Mr and Mrs. Lebens on the way back to the States. Timing got in the way though, and ironically the whole time we were in Sydney, they were in the States off on their honeymoon to Los Angeles and New York. All was well though, Kai and Jill graciously opened up their Chippendale (centrally located!) apartment for us to crash in while they were gone.

Sydney was a nice round up to our Aussie trip. Sydney is the big metropolitan city, while Melbourne is the cultural center. Sydney is to Melbourne as New York is to San Francisco, and Perth is Denver (minus the strict social rules). I did some of my shopping here, making stops at Aesop (cheaper with the exchange rate), COS (only store in the US is in NY), Priceline (more Lucas’s Paw Paw), and a shop called MDRanking, that sells Korean and Japanese skincare brands.

The food in Melbourne and Sydney were amazing AF. Name any kind of Asian cuisine you want and you can find it done well in Sydney. The best ever was a small alley called Spice Alley, were there is a long strip of individual stalls that sell Asian street food. Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese, Singaporean, and Thai styles are represented with their own stall. This alley was so good, we tried them all over three separate visits – I insisted.

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Sydney is absolutely beautiful, and each suburb (neighborhood) has a different vibe. We spent time in Glebe (my favorite), Chippendale, Bondi, Manly, and the CBD area. We could have done and seen more, but we were nearing the end of our trip, so we dragged our feet a bit in the mornings and wasted a lot of time just hanging about.

Day two, B and I took the train (fantastic public transit system!) out to Bondi Junction, did a bit of shopping (hello Cheap Monday store!), then walked down to Bondi Beach. It felt like were were in a totally different city the moment we got off the train. The Bondi suburb seemed more like a sleepy beach/surf town far away from the hustle and bustle of a city. Granted, we were there in the middle of winter, so I bet it gets a bit crazy during the peak months. The homes on the cliffs reminded me of San Francisco, and the street art was pretty cool (Melbourne takes the cake though). I love the smell of the ocean, so hanging out in Bondi really hit the spot and made me miss SF so much.

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Our last full day in Australia, B and I took the train all the way out to the Blue Mountains National Park. This place is absolutely breath taking. The Blue Mountains isn’t actually a bunch of mountains – it actually a large vast canyon, kind of like the Grand Canyon in the States. The canyon is deep and lush with hiking trails that snake all along the edge. B and I booked tickets on an Explorer Bus to shuttle us to the various lookout points, but we ended up just hiking the whole way. By the end of the day, we hiked a total of 11 miles and saw 5 ridiculously beautiful waterfalls. By the end of the day we were practically sprinting through the bush to catch the last bus to take us back to the train station.

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Now that our big Aussie Adventure is over, I’m setting my sights on moving to Australia eventually. Right now it would not be very reasonable, since B travels so much for work within the US. In addition, Bambi would not enjoy a 6 month quarantine period, so we’d have to wait till she “moves on”. Lastly, moving to a different continent would be a huge undertaking with acquiring a working visa (B is a dual citizen, so at least he’s got is easy), selling all our things and our house, and juggling Stateside/Australian assets and taxes (headache!). When I think about it logically, it doesn’t make any sense for us to move to Aus. But I still really want to one day just chuck it all and go live on a boat somewhere in Australia. Seriously.