The Source Hotel + Market Hall and a Bacchanal Celebration of All Things New Orleans

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Happy Monday, friends! This past weekend I was hosted by The Source Hotel + Market Hall, where I got to stay in a King suite (and soak in the glorious tub), shop at Market Hall, eat at their different restaurants and attend Bacchanal, a New Orleans-style wine, food and music festival that was held in the parking lot of The Source. Besides the fact that having a full weekend in a hotel all by myself was glorious (love you Chris & kids!), it was also a great opportunity to see all the ways that this particular Denver neighborhood — called RiNo — is really developing.

To start, the modern-style King suites came stocked with a living area, shower and glorious tub (just look at that glorious tub!) and my corner room had some pretty cool views of the Denver skyline and the mountains in the distance.

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After checking in on Friday, I headed down to the second floor to check out the stores that are part of Market Hall. There was an artists’ installation, a flower shop, the Israeli-focused restaurant Safta, barbecue restaurant Smok, New Belgium Brewing’s inaugural Denver brewery and some pop-up bespoke stalls.

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Dinner and drinks on Friday were at The Woods, the rooftop restaurant of the hotel. The views were gorgeous, the drinks tasty and the sweet soy cauliflower appetizers were a must-try.

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^^ Morning Denver views from my room.

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^^ Breakfast on Saturday morning was a pastry from the Reunion Bread Company, juice from Isabel and a latte from Caffe Figurati.

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The hotel is also a block away from Zeppelin Station, which features a rotating retail space called Made in a City. “Made in Mexico City” was the current experience for the weekend I was there, and there were shops and restaurants that featured Mexico City-based experiences. I had a beet veggie salad and a ceviche tostada from Campobaja, which were both really delightful.

IMG_6100IMG_6101IMG_6102After Zeppelin Station, I met up with a colleague at Safta to grab some food before heading over to the Bacchanal event. Safta specializes in Israeli cuisine, and their mushroom hummus was without a doubt some of the best hummus I’ve ever had (sorry Hummus Place in NYC — you’ve got competition!)

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After our quick bite it was off to Bacchanal! Here’s where I admit something silly — I’ve actually been to the real-life Bacchanal in New Orleans (blogged about here), but didn’t remember until about halfway through the event Saturday night. Once I did remember, though, the whole event snapped into focus for me. Bacchanal in New Orleans is basically one big outdoor house party — it’s a very laid-back scene with amazing food plates and buckets of wine that you stand in line to order. There are colorful string lights, picnic tables in the yard and fantastic, live music. So that was what the Bacchanal team was attempting to recreate in the parking lot of The Source on Saturday and Sunday, and they did a pretty great job. They even managed to bring over two of the original Bacchanal bands from New Orleans to perform, too.

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The team has actually been bringing this event around the country for a while now — they’ve been in LA twice and in Chicago, and a few others, as well — and I think it’s such a great idea. For people who have never been to New Orleans, getting a chance to partake in some of the culture is a great way to entice them to take a trip, and for people who have been, it’s a lovely reminder of what makes New Orleans so special.

On Sunday we all got to test out the new brunch menu at Safta before heading out. Here’s where I tell you that, if you enjoy eating Israeli-based foods as much as I do (I have never met a hummus flavor I didn’t love), then this brunch is for you. I mean there is so much more than hummus (just look at those pictures!), and they even bring in Rosenberg’s bagels which, I just learned on this trip, adjusts the pH level of the water they use to create the bagels so that they closely match what you’ll find in NYC.

Ah-mazing.

IMG_6140IMG_6141IMG_6142IMG_6143IMG_6144IMG_6145IMG_6146Safta, we learned, means grandmother in Hebrew, and so the restaurant is meant to evoke homestyle feelings of being back at your grandmother’s house eating a big ole’ Sunday meal. Quaint and cozy with a dash of elegance … and all the tasty treats you could possibly ask for.

And that was my weekend in a nutshell, friends. I really enjoyed my relaxing time at The Source Hotel, and I’m so glad I was able to attend the Bacchanal celebration and find a new amazing eatery, too. It was an area I will definitely be heading back to.

Bis bald!

The Rustic Wedding of Every Instagram Account’s Dream

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Happy Monday, friends! We spent the weekend in the Albany area for my cousin’s wedding, and it was, without a doubt, the most gorgeous wedding I have ever attended. The M&D Farm describes itself as a rustic chic farm for barn and garden weddings, and every one of those words describes the exact atmosphere of Alyssa’s stunning day. Although it poured right before the ceremony and they had to move that part inside, the rain stopped just in time for cocktail hour and for the rest of the night, so we could wander around and check out the grounds. We also rented a house in a town near the ceremony that had a pool and lake and lots of land for the girls to run around on, so all-in-all it was a pretty successful and fun weekend.

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^^ My cousin also invited us to the rehearsal dinner Friday night, which was at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany. My scallops were so tasty and, as an added bonus, it was nice to be out without the girls for a night (and then a second night on Saturday for the wedding) 😉

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^^ Look at this gorgeous couple <3

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^^ We stopped at the cutest little diner for breakfast on the way out of town on Sunday.

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And that was our wedding weekend in a nutshell, friends. I have to throw in some photos of the little outing my sister put together for Lotte last Thursday to celebrate her birthday — we did Build-a-Bear (how cute is it there?!) and then went bowling for the first time with the girls. G was upset she couldn’t pick up every single heavy ball she saw, but Lotte really had a ton of fun, including all the fried food and ice cream that came with it 😉

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And that brings us to the end of our trip, friends. As you read this, we are probably on our flight back to Denver. We have been in New York for 13 days, and to be honest, I’m ready to get back to my own bed and our normal routine and all that jazz. I’m so glad we were able to make this trip happen, though, and I will have these memories — so many memories — to tide me over for a long time to come.

That and the fact that my sister and brother-in-law and niece baby will be out to see us in a couple weeks, too 😉

Bis bald, friends!

Central Park and the Upper East Side With Littles in Tow

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Happy Thursday, friends! Our New York adventures continued yesterday with a trip into the Big Apple. Lotte had been once before when she was about four months old, but this was Grace’s first time, and I think we packed in just about as much fun as a 3-year-old and 19-month-old can handle for a day 😉 My stepdad drove in with us, which was lovely, and we met Chris in the UES, since he was coming back from a work trip in San Francisco on the red eye.

The adventure started with a walk down Fifth Ave., checking out the Metropolitan Museum of Art (from the outside — checking out the inside will come when the girls are a tad older), and grabbing bagels from our old bagel joint in our old neighborhood to have near the Alice in Wonderland statue and the Conservatory Water.

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I ditched the family for a little bit to grab coffee with an old magazine editor of mine near the park, but Lotte and G continued their adventures with Dad and Grandpa, checking out and riding the Central Park Carousel, seeing the Bethesda Fountain and the John Lennon Imagine memorial, as well as taking in all of the performers (they were particular enthralled by a bubble artist!).

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After a full morning we headed over to the Central Park Zoo. I had been to the zoo a couple times before, but this was my first time checking out the adjacent Tisch Children’s Zoo, which was so adorable. There were a ton of animals the kids could feed and touch, as well as a bunch of mazes and climbing structures for them to get their wiggles out.

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Even after all of that, perhaps my favorite part of the day was bringing the girls to check out our actual old neighborhood. We stopped by our old stoop to take a family photo, and even grabbed lunch at our old neighborhood pizza joint, the best there is, Zesty’s.  As if my heart hadn’t had enough for the day, the guys who work behind the counter even remembered us from back in the day.

Le sigh. Oh, New York. You will always have a piece of my heart.

IMG_5455IMG_5453IMG_5454IMG_5456And that was our jam-packed city day, friends! I hope you’re all braving this weather (it was stinkin’ hot in the city yesterday!) and having the best summers. We’re off to Albany tomorrow for my cousin’s wedding, and I can’t wait. The farmhouse we rented has a pool and a lake and tons of space for the girls to run around and play – it should be a good time.

Bis bald, friends!

Fields of Lavender and a Festival Not to Be Missed at Chatfield Farms

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Happy Monday, friends — I hope you all had fabulous weekends! The fam and I made a new tradition on Saturday by hitting up the Lavender Festival at the Chatfield Farms branch of the Denver Botanic Gardens. We had been here once before (for their Christmas celebration last year), and we were super impressed then, but that event was a night so we didn’t get to fully partake in the glory that is Chatfield Farms.

And let me tell you – it’s glorious, friends.

We didn’t know that this lavender festival was something we needed in our lives, but I promise you that we will be trying to make it every year from now on. There were all sorts of lavender products (not to mention the beautiful lavender fields to walk through), as well as pony rides (Lotte had her first!), face painting, train and tractor rides, live music, an awesome playground, lavender demonstrations and so much more. We just had the best time. If you do decide to ever hit up this festival if you happen to be in the area, my suggestion is to go as soon as it opens. It opened at 9 a.m. on Saturday and when we arrived a little before 9, we were already being directed to the second overflow parking lot because it was so busy. (Which Lotte didn’t mind one bit, because they had tractors available to ride people over to the festival site!)

Tickets were $7 per adult and free for kids under 14, so that was an amazing deal, and by getting there early we avoided the hottest part of the day, not to mention the huge lines that formed for the pony rides, face painting, etc. We were first in line for all those fun things and we ticked ’em off as soon as we entered, which meant we could spend the rest of the time meandering, exploring, and grabbing food at two of the tasty food trucks (fish/chicken/shrimp tacos and mac and cheese for the win!) before having a quick little picnic and heading out by 11:30.

It was just the best way to spend a Saturday.

We’re off to New York on Wednesday for our jam-packed 13-day trip filled with rehearsal dinners and weddings, farm stays, a visit to New York City and, oh yeah no big deal … MY BABY TURNING THREE! I cannot. We’ll be celebrating in style with an astronaut/space-themed party upstate, though, so that should be a blast. Bis bald, friends! Hope you’re staying cool in this heat!

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Lair o’ the Bear on a Glorious Thursday Morning

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Happy Thursday, friends! So my research for a fun new client continued today with a visit by myself and the girls to Lair o’ the Bear Park. We had actually tried to do this hike a couple months back, but by the time we got there, the parking lot was completely full and there were tons of cars waiting, and with two antsy little girls in the back seat, it didn’t make sense to wait it out.

Today, I had a plan.

Besides the fact that it was a Thursday morning and not a weekend, I also had lunches done and the car packed before the girls even finished breakfast, so that we could be out the door in no time. We actually made it to the parking lot at about 8:45 a.m., and it was only about half full. Besides getting a parking spot (under a shaded tree, no less), today tapped out at 97 degrees (seriously, it felt gross just typing that), so I wanted to make sure our hike was done well before the real heat started.

Anyway, the hike — it is beyond amazing. I had the double stroller with me and although there were a couple spots where I struggled over bumps, for the most part it was easy. It was totally flat, and mostly along  a babbling creek, which was so serene. Plus, at certain points, Lotte could go down into the creek and dip her feet in. There was a big tree to climb, a “tunnel” that was actually an old water well building that the girls were obsessed with, tons of spots to eat outside (which of course we did), and lots of additional activity to take in, like mountain bikers and fly fishers. It was just such a great day, topped off with ice cream from The Cow Eatery in Morrison on our way back home.

This is what summer is all about, my friends.

Bis bald!

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Your 2019 Colorado Summer Bucket List

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I mean … G is barely even in this photo, but you get the gist — Colorado is amazing in the summer, and summer is right around the corner! I mean, it’s pretty amazing all of the time, but the summer is a great time to check out the mountains, lakes, hikes, breweries … and everything in between.

To help you out if you happen to be in the hood, here are a few of our fave hangouts when the weather gets warmer:

Ice cream at Little ManGetting your first ice cream of the summer at Little Man is almost more about the experience itself than the ice cream … although the ice cream is pretty darn fantastic, as well. Lotte had her first taste of ice cream here, and it was one of the first spots we visited when we were testing the area out to see if we actually wanted to move here. If you can rent a bike and stop here on your way to touring other spots of Denver, you’ll make the whole experience even more quintessentially Denver-esque.

Every single thing Golden related: Check out the quaint old Main Street, grab a beer at Golden City Brewery, tour Coors Brewery, drive up the scenic overlook pass and take a peek at Buffalo Bill’s grave … all in gorgeous Golden.

Hikes, hikes and more hikes: Hiking in Colorado is basically an essential, but fear not, there is a trail for every level. Some of our favorites have included Hanging Lake, St. Mary’s Glacier, Gem Lake and the Flat Irons.

Check out a 14er: Okay, okay, to be fair I’ve only actually done one 14er, and it was a drive-up one, but still, it was glorious and I would highly recommend it! The mountain was Pikes Peak, and it was well worth the altitude. 

Visit the mountains: Mountains are a-plenty here in Colorado (duh), but the summer is the perfect time to visit. Glorious hiking, delicious drinks and food, hot tubs and pools and hanging out in the warm summer sun — there’s just nothing like it. Some of our favorite summertime mountain adventures have included camping in Boreas Pass, visiting Telluride for Easter (not technically summer, but always gorgeous), Beaver Creek for a getaway before G was born and checking out the Maroon Bells in Aspen.

Head to a National Park: The National Parks in Colorado are not to be missed, even if they may be a bit off the beaten path. Be sure to check out Rocky Mountain National Park (which is easily combined with a trip to Boulder), and if you have time/happen to be in the area, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a place you won’t want to miss.

Find the rock formations: By which, of course, I mean visit Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks, two must-not-be-missed spots in this great state called Colorado. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a concert at Red Rocks and/or get to take a morning yoga class. Both are pure magic.

Besides those big-ticket items, there are unlimited places to find great brews and get great food. Living in Colorado has been such an adventure, and I’m so grateful for all of the amazing things we’ve been able to see and do. So, without further adieu ‚ bis bald, friends — and I hope you all have a fantastic summer ahead!

The Perfect Mountain Retreat in Massanutten

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Happy new week, friends! I just returned from a wonderful press trip to Massanutten Resort in Virginia, which is about a 20 minute drive from where I went to college at James Madison. This trip was so much fun, not only because the resort itself is full of any and every activity you could ever want (more on that later), but also because I got to meet up with my dearest girlie bestie for it, and we were able to take a pit stop at JMU on the way to Massanutten, as well. Top on our list of places to hit for our quick college reunion were our old Mexican food fave, El Charro, as well as ice cream at Kline’s and a quick walk by the quad to visit the James Madison statue and the offices of our old college paper, The BreezeLisa and I could not stop talking about how our love for journalism began in those tiny Breeze offices … as well as our love for each other 😉

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^^ This campus sure is glorious. I’m just sayin’, if either of my girls wanted to go to school here, I wouldn’t be too sad …

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After our JMU visit it was on to Massanutten, where we were lucky enough to be put up in a Regal Vistas townhome for our three-night stay. The homes were so quaint and cozy, with electric garages, porches, full kitchens, fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs (you know I was all up in that), and a private pool and fitness center just for Regal Vistas guests.

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We had quite the packed itinerary for this trip that included all the adventure you could want, topped off with a Signature Massage at their spa on Saturday before heading back to the airport.

I’ll get more into the amazing food and activities in a sec, but first I want to say a little something about Massanutten in general. I live in Colorado where the mountains are a plenty, right? But here’s thing thing — Colorado is an arid, desert climate, and the mountains, while glorious, sure, are rarely green.

Massanutten, however …. well it doesn’t get more gloriously green than those Massanutten mountains. Plus they aren’t as high as Colorado, so altitude wasn’t really an issue for me, either. The whole week just felt like the perfect mix of outdoor adventure and nature coupled with challenging activities, as well as the opportunity for relaxing respites and catch-ups with Lisa.

What I’m essentially saying is, I’m so sad I never knew this little oasis was only 20 minutes away when I went to school at JMU. They’ve actually added a lot on since I graduated, though, and the resort staff should be super proud of what they bring to the area, which includes:

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^^ Amazing meals. During our stay we ate at Campfire Grill and Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co., as well as had a barbecue prepared for us by the chef and staff and had a private dinner with wine/beer/liquor pairings on our final night. The ceviche on our final night was probably my favorite seafood dish I’ve had in a long time, but really, everything was stellar.

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^^ All the adventure. Our Thursday started with a trip to the Family Adventure Park right down the road, where we went summer tubing down the mountain, climbed rock walls and took a chance on the Mega Zip line. It was the. most. fun.

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Our afternoon on Thursday consisted of a tour of some of the newly renovated facilities in other parts of the resort, as well as a trip up the mountain to see the views and mine and Lisa’s first ever experience with an escape room and virtual reality games (again … so. much. fun!) at Real Escapes, followed by ice cream at Fun Factory next door.

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On Friday we got to check out three other huge draws in the area — the Water Park (I’m pretty great a lazy tubing, if you really want to know) with private cabanas, the petting farm and then mountain biking in the afternoon.

To be honest, Lisa and I didn’t really know we would be mountain biking when we went in for the activity. We were originally mean to be trying out their new e-bikes, but when one got a flat tire we were happy to use regular bikes. It didn’t occur to us that the regular bikes were mountain bikes and that we would be mountain biking up and down a hill.

But you know what … we ROCKED that mountain biking! It was definitely a little scary at first, but I gotta say, once you get the hang of it, I could totally see how that activity would be addicting.

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^^ I mean … how can you not love him?!

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^^Our private lunch back at the water park included the most amazing drinks, and even better tuna tacos. Tuna in tacos … who knew?!

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^^ Big smiles because this was after our big mountain biking excursion, and we had made it out alive!

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Our final dinner of the trip was a private event with the chef and some of the staff, and it was absolutely amazing. The bar tender served up some tasty drinks, and everything was just so delish.

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And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. I have to truly thank the fine folks at Massanutten for sponsoring this trip and really pulling out all the stops to make it as incredible as it was. If you’re ever in the area, I can honestly say that it doesn’t get much prettier than the Shenandoah area, and Massanutten has an activity for every level and age. It’s a no-brainer to stop here when you’re rolling through.

Our next trip will be the whole fam of four and it’s back to New York for a bunch of events — Lotte’s birthday, my cousin’s wedding, G’s first foray into New York City … it should be a pretty great time. But until then … bis bald, friends!

Making Memories on Memorial Day in Upstate New York

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If you are looking at that above picture and thinking, “Stop it. Just ding dang stop it right now,” then you know how I feel about my new adorable niece.

Before I get any further, let me start this post by stating that I have a fabulous husband. As a surprise birthday treat, he booked a little New York getaway just for me — sans children! — for this past Memorial Day weekend. I flew in on Friday and got to spend a glorious three and 1/2 days with Steph and Ro and Brian (and a whole cast of other amazing people, as well), before flying back (and landing at 3 a.m. – thank you hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and hail … oh my) on Tuesday.

Having those three full days was so nice because we really got to space out our activities and combine some chill time with some other fun things, as well. We got to visit my Grandmother on Saturday morning, and then Steph and I got drinks and appetizers at the most adorable little spot in New Hampton called Mason’s Marketplace. On Sunday we visited the Warwick Foot Spa & Tea Bar for a little relaxation and reflexology before heading over to the Gardiner Brewing Company, which is really and truly a fun little gem, and I’m not just saying that because Brian’s sister Meg was integral in setting it up and works there (even though, you know, seeing her cute face does help – hi Meg!). We met up with Brian’s parents there, as well, and a high school friend of mine, before heading over to my Aunt and Uncle’s place on Memorial Day Monday to hang with them and my cousins and my cousins daughter. Then my stepdad stopped by Steph’s place on Tuesday before I flew out.

Even though I got to pack in time with so many different people, because they were all spaced out it didn’t feel overwhelming like it sometimes can. Plus, with the girls not there, I got to actually focus on my conversations without any distractions.

Besides Rosalie, obviously. Her constant cuteness is always a distraction to me 😉

I did miss the girls, obviously, but honestly, sometimes it’s just so nice to have a little one-on-one time. You Moms get me.

I would be remiss if I ended this post without mentioning the amazing woman who sat in my aisle on my flight back. Apparently a hail storm in Denver two days earlier had grounded 29 Southwest planes with damage, so the airline has really been struggling to play catchup ever since. My flight was originally supposed to leave at 6:20 p.m NY time on Tuesday, and after being delayed two hours, being rerouted through Canada (which would have been an extra 1.5 hours of flying time) to avoid weather, then sitting on the tarmac for three hours, unloading back into the airport, then loading up again … we ended up finally leaving around 11 p.m. NY time. By the time I got my luggage, found the car (shout-out to Manny the Matrix for avoiding any hail damage in the airport parking lot!) and drove home, I wasn’t in bed until 3:30 a.m.

Tired doesn’t begin to cover it.

But anyway, about my seat-mate. She was about 75-years-old, has five grown children (one of whom is a pilot with Southwest), had lost her husband when her second child was just graduating high school, was a nurse, worked in Saudi Arabia and now spends her time traveling the globe. She was just coming back from Spain on Tuesday and was supposed to catch a connection in Denver to Phoenix, which obviously didn’t happen. When we departed at the airport at around 2:30 a.m, she was just waiting for her luggage so she could go find an open restaurant in the airport to eat something before heading to her next destination. With luggage in hand, she decided to skip Phoenix altogether and simply continue her adventure. She thought maybe Vegas sounded good.

I mean, she was basically my hero, wrapped in a tiny little 75-year-old woman’s body. Traveling the world by herself. Unfussed by the insanity that traveling can sometimes present. At one point when she was first explaining how she had just come from Spain and had been traveling all day I said, “Oh wow! I shouldn’t be complaining then!” to which she laughingly replied, “No, you shouldn’t!”

I love her, is all I can say.

Anyway, I hope you guys all had nice holiday weekends, as well!
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A Girls’ Weekend in Nashville

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That right there is most certainly the picture of two very happy mamas. Why? Well because, as I’ve come to discover, finding the time to hang with your girlfriends — just you and your girlfriends — is just as important after you have babies (maybe even more so?) as it was before.

I say this as someone who waited almost three full years after becoming a mom to do so.

Carla and I began planning for this past weekend’s trip to Nashville in February, and it was everything I could have dreamed of and more. Besides the fact that Nashville itself is adorable (which pretty much everyone knows by now, but I had never been before), I got to remember what it was like to travel on my own (no screaming babies!), to sleep through the night, to have an uninterrupted conversations, to dress up and do my hair and stay out past 7 p.m.

Listen — it’s not that you can’t do those things as a mom as well, it’s just that they are harder, oh so much harder. This trip was such a nice reminder that I can have my separate life as a friend and leave my babies for a couple days, then come back home and slide right back into our life and everything is totally okay.

Chris had a great time on his own with the girls, as well. So you know, it was basically a win-win!

Lucky for me, Carla is an amazing travel planner (we were roommates in college our freshman year, but we also traveled abroad to Germany and Salzburg together, so I already knew we were a good travel match), and she sent me an email about a week before we met up with a tentative itinerary, complete with reservations she had made and tickets for a show that she had already purchased. The thing is, she was also way flexible if I wanted to make any changes to her proposed plan, but why would I when I knew that whatever she suggested was bound to be great? Plus, it was super lucky that she had made reservations at the places she knew we might want to hit up since, low-and-behold, not only was it the Nashville Marathon on the same weekend, but the NFL draft, as well, which brought 200,000 people to downtown Nashville.

I was expecting this revelation — which I only found out about three days before leaving — to put a real damper on the trip, but honestly, it had little to no impact. Where we stayed (the Kimpton at first, then, after Carla left, the Hyatt House) wasn’t anywhere near the main drag where the draft was taking place, so we were never bothered.

Instead, we planned our days around food, pool hangs, drinks and live music … and it was a splendid experience.

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^^ Our first stop on Friday night was The Mockingbird, where we drank rum and punch in a bag, sat outside, watched allllll the bachelorette buses go by and caught up for a couple hours.

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We didn’t stay out too late Friday, since Saturday was a busy one, starting with coffee by the hotel pool and brunch at Husk, which included shrimp and grits (the JMU college girl inside of me was so happy they had that on the menu!), biscuits and bloody mary’s.

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After Husk we walked down the main drag where the draft was happening and the marathon was finishing up. It was early enough that it wasn’t too crowded yet, and it was actually fun to take part in something that so many people were so excited about. We walked around and soaked it all in, then did a little bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel.

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^^ How I refrained from buying these for Lotte, I’ll never know.

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After some more lounging by the pool (and an afternoon snack and coffee at Caviar & Bananas) we headed off to dinner at Rolf & Daughters. I knew I would love it there when the evening started with a drink menu theme of ‘things you would say after you won the lottery’. The drink I picked (you love me, you really love me) was good, but the food was even better.

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You might think that by this point I’d be getting full, but really, I’m pretty good at eating 😉 Especially when it comes to pasta, I can really dig in for quite a while before I need to slow down. It’s something to see.

After dinner we headed to The Listening Room Cafe  to watch three performers. The three guys sat on stage with their guitars and belted out everything from country to hip hop to rap to R&B. And they were really good, but at one point they brought a college girl up on the stage to perform just one song, and she just blew everyone away. Seriously, it was a standing ovation for this girl, which made me so happy for her.

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Carla left Nashville on Sunday, but not before breakfast at The Row Kitchen & Pub. Although it was too early for me to order a bloody mary (stupid laws), the beignets and breakfast were fantastic.

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After Carla left, I walked over to my new (cheaper!) hotel, had a little rest and then hit up 12South, a sweet little section of Nashville that has tons of restaurants and shops (including Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James) and, of course, murals. All the murals.

I didn’t know much about the murals before going to Nashville, but it’s a thing. People will stand in line for an hour to take a selfie at the mural that Taylor Swift commissioned. Luckily I didn’t have to wait in any lines. People were taking photos of these murals, but they must not have been the really popular ones, because for the most part, I could walk right up and shoot.

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Lunch on Sunday was at Taqueria del Sol, where I ordered a marguerita, the trio of salsas, a fish taco and a veggie one, and sat outside on their deck watching all the people go by. The weather was gorgeous, and I so rarely get alone time these days, I didn’t even mind having lunch to myself which, I’ll admit, would normally make me feel somewhat self-conscious.

Back at the hotel, I called it an early night with a glass of wine and cable (which we don’t have). My flight left around 2 on Monday, but I had time to walk to Hillsboro Village and get breakfast and coffee at Fido first.

In the end, this trip had it all. Catching up with an old friend. Good food and drink and music. Down time. Pool time. Fantastic weather. And even some alone time tacked on at the end, too. I came home yesterday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to join back up with these amazing peeps of mine …

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The heart just melts, am I right? Because being away helps us realize all that we have right at home.

And for me, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

Bis bald, friends.

Day Dates in Evergreen

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Happy Monday, friends! This past Sunday, my sister-in-law and I decided to try our hand at a day date in the tiny mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado. Evergreen is about 40 minutes away from us, and we pass the exit every time we head to the mountains. I’ve been wanting to check the area out pretty much ever since we moved here, and Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Kate and I started the day by hiking in Elk Meadow, which was really beautiful and just the right level of difficulty (which is to say not much) that we were looking for. There are a few different loops that make up this hike, so if you’re doing it, it’s best to figure out the trail you want to follow ahead of time. We did not do this, of course, but we did run into some very nice fellow hikers along the way, who were more than happy to let us know we were on the right path back to the parking lot. All-in-all we hiked about three miles and got some glorious views of the meadow in all its snowy glory.

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After the hike we headed into the tiny and adorable town to have lunch (and humongous margaritas because hey, we earned it!) at Maya’s Cantina & Grill. Fish tacos and veggie fajitas were just the thing we needed before heading off to our final activity of the day — ice skating (one of my all-time favorites!) at the Evergreen Lake House.

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^^ Chris bought me these ice skates about nine years ago when my obsession with ice skating at Bryant Park was an all-time high. It’s been a while since I’ve used them, but it sure was nice to dust ’em off and take ’em for a spin!

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And that was our girlfriends’ day date in Evergreen in a nutshell, my friends. It was exactly the break I needed, and I’m so glad we got the chance to make it happen!

Next week we’re off to New York to MEET MY SISTER’S NEW BABY! I’m excited, in case you can’t tell. Then another friend and I are heading to Nashville for a little Momma’s getaway (who am I, anyway?!) at the end of April. So far 2019 has been filled with lots of fun and family and travel and festivities, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.

For that, I am incredibly grateful.

Bis bald, friends!

A Solo Mom-Daughter Trip to New York With Grace

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Grace and I returned yesterday from our first-ever solo mom-daughter trip, and we had a blast! I’ve taken Lotte out to New York by myself twice in the past, and although it’s always a ton of work (major shout-out to all the single parents out there … oh my gosh is it exhausting!), I always have the best time bonding one-on-one with the girls individually.

This time Grace and I flew out to New York so that we could attend my sister’s two baby showers, one of which was actually in Pennsylvania. We got to hang with so much family, and Grace got to be the sole recipient of so many cuddles and kisses … plus she didn’t have to share her toys with anyone, which was a huge plus in her book! My sister had Monday off last week anyway, but then she ended up having snow days on both Tuesday and Thursday and she got out early on Wednesday, so all-in-all it was a great week to be visiting.

As much fun as I had with G — and I did! — it was definitely hard to be away from Lotte for that long (10 full days!). I knew she was going to have a blast back home with Chris and Auntie Kate, and I had written her notes for each night I was gone, and left stickers, and we facetimed a whole bunch, but really, there’s no substitute for being in person. Honestly, coming home and seeing how excited she was to see both myself and Grace was just the best ending to an awesome trip that I possibly could have hoped for.

Here are some photos from my first-ever solo trip with Grace! I hope I always get to have solo adventures with my girls … it’s just the best way to bond!

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^^ We scored a seat for G on the flight out to New York, which honestly is a game changer! On the way home we weren’t quite so lucky, and she had to sit on my lap the entire time, but we made it through and that’s all that matters!

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^^ My baby sister is having a baby! I honestly still can’t believe it! We can’t wait to meet you in late Feb/early March, baby Rosalie!

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^^ I always love when my girls get to hang with their PA cousins. Little Molly is 7 months old, so it was adorable to see how she and G interacted with each other.

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^^ Baby Shower No. 1 in PA was a success!

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^^ Steph’s baby will be cousin No. 6 for this side of the family, and we honestly cannot wait!

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^^ Cutest couple ever alert 😉

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^^ Back at Aunt Stephie’s, G had the best time ever with Linus Puppy, as we have affectionately named him.

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^^ Plus we got to see Moe, one of my oldest and dearest besties!

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^^ My brother-in-law’s family had a dinner for us last Wednesday so that his mom, sister and I could go over the final details for our own shower, and Grace soaked up every last bit of her solo baby time there!

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^^ G also obliged Aunt Stephie by trying out all her new nursery things <3

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