Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Photos [8.29.14]

Here are some photos from Andy & my week:

Tuesday lunch at IKEA.

So, we bought some stuff.

I bought a big girl desk for my office. 

Hanging up my new curtains and lights in my office/guest room.

Isn't this so much more grown-up of an office space? Compare it with my former set up.

Ella likes to be able to see both her humans, when possible.

Why don't I make more root beer floats?

We were front row on the roller coaster Thursday evening!

Beers and rides. Just living the dream ;o)

Do you have any plans for the long weekend? Andy and I are hoping to buy a grill today, so I see a couple grill-outs this weekend. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hey Mom, Wanna Go To Boston? (Part 1)

"Hey Mom, wanna go to Boston?" was the question I posed to my mom in June and was happy to hear the enthusiastic "Yes!" from both my mom (on going to Boston) and my dad (on supporting the trip).

Cheers, to us in Boston.

So some back story on the trip out east. In mid-July I had work meetings out in Providence, RI for a week. I figure if I'm taking the time and energy, and my work is spending the money, to make it out east I might as well extend the trip for the weekend to see another part of the country, right? And my mom and I took a trip together out to Napa five years ago and had just a blast traveling together. Her sense of adventure and excitement to see and take-in a new city makes her one of the best travel partners. Plus, we both don't really have an off switch when it comes to exploring on vacation, so we get along pretty darn well!

Friday morning (July 18th) I hopped the Amtrack from Providence to Boston, a less than hour ride, and met my mom at the South Station downtown Boston, which she had arrived via bus from the airport, and we continued on the subway to our vacation rental. Yea, that's right. We planed, trained, bused, and subwayed our way to and around Boston!

I'm on a train!

So my brave mama agreed to try airbnb for the first time. We found this beautiful room and bathroom on the top floor of a three-story residential home north of Boston off the Porter Square subway station and one station from Harvard. The owners of the place was a lovely young family that we met for about 15 minutes before they headed out of town for the weekend. We mainly stayed up in our third floor room which, with the windows on the ceiling, light colored walls, and minimalistic decorations, made for a peaceful and welcoming place to relax. It was a great experience and an awesome location for us to anchor as we were exploring Boston.

The owner of the home is Swedish. Grandma Leona would be proud!

After settling in to our place a bit on Friday, we headed back out to enjoy our first night in the new city. We walked the shortish distance to Harvard for dinner and checking out the area, and then to explore the campus, which seemed to just go on and on! Despite school not being in session, the place was hopping. 

Seriously. Harvard doesn't mess around. This is one of the admissions offices!

We followed our self-guided campus tour with a self-guided tour of the area trying to find a subway or bus to take us to downtown. After over-shooting our bus stop downtown by about, oh one mile (sorry, Mom!), we took matters into our own hands and walked to our destination: Drinks! We went to the Prudential Tower which on the top floor has an all glass walled restaurant with just stunning views of the city. We enjoyed some cocktails at the bar and took in all the views. We even saw a (unconfirmed) celebrity! For no real particular reason, I said it was Cameron Diaz, but the waiter refused to acknowledge my questions about who on earth caused them to shut down most of the dining room to enjoy an intimate dinner (Cameron Diaz).

Let's see if we can figure out this public transportation thing.

Nailed it! We made it to the bus!

See, the fun part about getting a bit, uh, lost is that you stumble across neat things like this that you may never have found.


Saturday morning we had booked a boat tour of the harbor. Well, not any boat tour but a mimosa boat tour! To our surprise, we had chosen the tour company that uses sail boats as opposed to the small cruise ship we were expecting. But it turned out to be the best surprise as the guides were friendly and the experience was wonderful, and neither of us were wondering why they had received five stars on yelp.

Wow. That's a lot of Boston fun, right? And I'm only halfway through the vacation! Next week I'll fill you in on the second part of our Boston trip :o)


Monday, August 25, 2014

A Welcomed Summery Denver Weekend!

I love traveling, being on the go, meeting new people, seeing new places. But, man!, did it feel nice to spend this weekend in Denver! It was one of the last summery weekends of the...summer...and Andy and I soaked it up.

Friday our friends Shelly and Kevin came over for a campfire dinner in our backyard. Andy and I got a patio set (woohoo!!) literally from our neighbor across the street on Friday, so we broke that in with some beers and general Friday laziness before firing up Andy made some beer brats and we had hot dogs, veggie ones for me and to be honest they were kinda weird, and Shelly and Kevin brought over the fixins for s'mores. And, guys, can you believe that Andy had never had a s'more before?! I couldn't! I felt like a terrible girlfriend for never exposing him to the majesty of s'mores. Did he like them, you wonder? Well, let's just say he didn't stop at just one ;o)

Like a terrible hostess, I crashed pretty early Friday night, but then enjoyed a quiet Saturday morning of R&R: Reading & Relaxing. Andy and I spent much of the day cleaning the house trying rid our rooms of whatever is triggering my unrelenting allergies. Not fun, but important, Andy tells me. We cooked up a bunch of summer corn on the cob to have with dinner and to freeze for later. And I tell ya, we have not had enough corn on the cob this summer! I forget how much I love it. We had tickets to the Strand of Oaks concert that night with Shelly and Kevin. Strand of Oaks is a band Andy has loved and supported for years, and I am grateful he introduced me to their music. We've seen a handful of their shows together and I am constantly amazed at how much the band changes and grows from show to show. The first time I saw them perform, it was in a solo acoustic basement show in Madison, WI and then fast forward to this weekend and where there were four band members on stage and was a total rock show set! The lead, Tim, is such a versatile performer and is just a really good musician.

Tim is also a total softie for animals and just loves hanging out with Ella.

Now by Sunday I was itching for a hike! Andy and I got up pretty early to make breakfast for Tim and his band mates who crashed with us the night before. They had to be on the road by 7:30 to make it to their next show in Salt Lake, UT, so that gave us a head start on the day. We drove to Golden (about a 30 minute drive west of Denver) to find a quick nature hike. Our plans were a bit altered since the US Pro Challenge bike race was coming through Golden on the way to Denver and the road to our hike was closed to vehicles, but we improvised and did a walk along the road until we found a trail head. Totally worth it.

Sweet nature hike.

Alright, now this is what I'm talking about.

Someone was creating this beautiful, and terrifying, chalk art piece at the base of the foothill for the racers. How cool?!

Our friends, Kara and Chris, were visiting from Minneapolis (hooray!!) for a weekend wedding and extended their trip through Monday morning and we got them all day Sunday! They spend so much time in Denver since they have a robust group of friends and family here (this was their THIRD trip this year alone!) but are always coming for wedding-related events. So this time they requested some touristy stuff. Our original plan was so see a baseball game, but after realizing our dear Rockies are dead last, we scratched that idea and wandered downtown before heading back to our place for another bonfire. Now, Andy and I love our Kara and Chris time, but this time was even extra special since they are expecting their first baby in December and Kara is starting to show a cute lil baby bump, too :o)

Summer is winding down - fast! You know how I know? I just watched the little gals next door walk to their first day of school! Andy and I are trying our best to take in and enjoy those last summery moments. While sad for me to bid farewell to my favorite season, Ella is totally stoked to say goodbye to the summer thunderstorms! Check out where I found her at 1:30am this morning, knocking things over to make room for herself.

I hope your week is off to a better start than Ella's!