Monday, November 14, 2011


Obviously many things have happened since I've been absent from my blogging...

Pippa has been growing like a weed. I attempted to introduce her to Justin's dog Buck....

Notttt too successful. She is quite the maniac lately until night time when she likes to lay across my neck like a scarf and suffocate me. Both mine and Shawn's hands are covered in scratches from her attacks. To the point where I've had multiple random people ask me if I have a cat. Luckily I can say yes, but I keep thinking about what an awkward question that would be if I didn't...

Thinking back over October and what we've been up to, I can pretty much only think of one thing: Halloween. I don't believe I've ever done so many Halloween-related activities in my life. To start, Shawn worked in a haunted house for the month of October, which involved a daily dousing of fake blood and wearing of white-out eye contacts which all began to not even strike me as unusual around Day 10. 

Then came Zombie Crawl. Thousands of people dressed as zombies rambling around the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. There were definitely some sights to see. And some sticky blood to be had, considering the fake stuff we made was mainly corn syrup. Oh yeah, that felt good :(

Sometime in the Halloween blur of October, we managed to carve what seemed like a thousand pumpkins:

Can you guess who is who?

Shawn did this one for work.

All that pumpkin meant that of course we had 2 rounds of toasted pumpkin seeds, a loaf of pumpkin bread, and are now in the process of making pumpkin soup to freeze for Thanksgiving :)

Speaking of Fall recipes.. I finally managed to make a tart with my tart pan I bought months ago... a scrumptious caramelized apple and onion tart with homemade rosemary crust. Deeelicious. I must apologize to my dear mother for hating her rosemary potatoes so much growing up because I now think it's one of my favorite flavors. Who knew?

You'd think with all this Halloween-ing we would've planned our costumes ahead of time.. but no. So basically at the last minute before we headed out to our apartment community get-together, I had the grand idea to be Goldilocks and Shawn would be a bear. Pretty much based solely on the fact that he was wearing big bear feet slippers and I have a blonde wig that I need to lower my PPW on (Price Per Wear, that is). So I whipped up this little ensemble and then got to work making Shawn into a bear.

This may have involved a brown pillowcase over his head with a cutout for his face. The two corners tied at the top to make ears. Let's just say he did not love, and thus, no pictures :( But he was a good sport and I was freezing. Very jealous of his brown snow pants and brown hoodie. The party was actually thrown by our apartment management company who owns a ton of properties around Denver. Two of our neighbor friends won $250 off rent and $500 off rent. We walked away with a $100 gift certificate. Not too shabby! For the record, it was a random drawing, not a costume contest :)

Aside from all that nonsense, I've been staying quite busy at the j-o-b's. Things are going very well at the Holiday Inn. There's been talk of putting me strictly in charge of the wedding business. Which sounds like a fantastic idea to me! I've also been working with Pink Posey here and there, which got me a little gig making a sign for a bride's ring bearer to carry down the aisle:

Still waiting to see the professional photos from that one, but I can't imagine how it was not the cutest thing ever. It also allowed me to decorate my first ice cake. Shawn actually helped with this one. The bough of flowers across the bottom was his lovely idea :)

Unfortunately, with all this working there haven't been many estate sale visits. Or perhaps it's the fact that our tiny apartment has reached capacity. This hasn't stopped Shawn from Craigslisting, however, and I am "proud" to say that we are now the "happy" owners of:

60 bottles of hot sauce from around the globe...

A cat condo larger than my own body...

A PS3 that is the reason I am undistracted enough to be writing this at the moment...

More fish and aquatic beings than I can even count...

And an iguana who basically came and went (i.e. got the boot) in one weekend. Luckily while he was here, it was necessary for us to acquire another ginormous tank so we have a home for the next "surprise" !!!

Needless to say, things are never dull. But it finally feels like we're getting into the groove of normal life for the most part, which is a nice change from the semi-chaos of the past few months. And to top it all off, there's a Jacksonville trip on the horizon! December 1-6 we'll be home to visit for the holidays. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

ultimate cuteness

I have about 5 million projects to update about and tons of estate sale/thrift store finds (finally got a paper cutter, yesssss!) But! there's a more important addition to our tiny apartment... a tiny kitten!

Meet Pippa!

She's basically the tiniest and cutest little kitten ever.. probably due to her previous Craigslist owners taking her away from her mother too soon... but she's now loving life and Shawn is probably the happiest ever in his whole life being a foster mom :)

After these pics I'm sure you will agree with me. And yes, that last one is her in a baby sling that I made out of a pashmina so I could actually get stuff done with her little mew-ing self. Love her!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

busy busy busy

Who knew that working like a normal person would make me feel like a haggard middle aged woman... So to counteract that, I've been trying to make sure I actually still do things during the week (whether going out or staying in and crafting). Doesn't exactly help that I'm still working some with the catering place and these two months are Buffy's busiest with weddings. So when I am at home, I basically want to be a lump. Shawn will not have this.

Last weekend we were both off on Sunday so we decided to see what all the fuss was about and go tubing in Boulder Creek. We borrowed Robyn and Justin's tubes to minimize expenditures and headed north. Luckily, we had been warned that this was not the type of tubing we were used to in Florida.. You know, the Lazy River kind of floating in freezing water where you have a tube designated to hold the cooler. Yeah, the only thing similar was the freezing water. And I don't know why I would expect anything different from extreme-sports-central-Colorado. So after a quick stop at Wal-Mart for some $7 Aqua Socks..don't worry, I got the gray and purple Mary Jane style so mine are totally cool... we parked somewhere along the creek and started walking upstream. Along the way I was beginning to see what types of rocks and rapids we would soon be dealing with. Yikes.

I'm not gonna lie, there were some serious wipeouts. And the fact that there are people sitting along the banks all the way down just waiting for you to dump out of your tube is a bit intimidating. I definitely got stuck in an eddy at one point and was continuously going in a circle until I could finally pull myself out into the main flow. Luckily towards the beginning of our journey down, we encountered some tubes that had been abandoned by their previous owners. Shawn risked life and limb rescuing one from the base of a small waterfall and then swam across the raging rapids for the other one. My hero <3 These tubes were larger and thus much better at keeping your rump from bashing against the numerous rocks poised treacherously just below the surface. This may all sound rather dramatic, but I'm telling you, when we got out at the end, we were both just like "Whoa." It was quite fun but also pretty exhausting getting bumped and thrown around. We were tubed out.

So the next spot we hit, it being another glorious Colorado day and all, was the Boulder Reservoir. Apparently, no one in Colorado has ever been to the beach, because if they had, they would never accept this bo-bo imitation as a sufficient substitute. Very weird. A man made lake that seems to be somewhat in a desert-like area of the mountains with roped off swimming areas and floating plastic docks. Very commercialized. $6.25 a person to get in? Wack. Of course we had to do it, just because we drove all the way there and we'd never gone before. But never again. I did get sufficiently burnt and we did meet some weird people which is always entertaining, but for the most part, I feel we were jipped.

On another note, with not a whole lot of spare time, I have for some reason decided to take on one of the biggest projects ever. Pattern-painted curtains. I've been dreaming of the perfect curtains, yet knowing full well I will never want to spend the money I'll need to spend for the fabric or even find them at a reasonable price in the store. So after a bit of Googling and a trip to the thrift store, I ended up with two panels of sheer ivory curtains for $6 and a pattern of "Imperial Trellis" the size of three sheets of paper.

Needless to say, it is an extremely tedious process of tracing. Completed only due to the fact that Shawn was working all night so I had no distractions and mayyybe a bottle of wine. And I only managed to completely trace one panel.

But out of curiosity, I tested a small bit of paint on one of the bottom corners. I've decided on a slightly metallic gold, which was of course purchased with my Joann 50% off coupon. Unfortunately I am encountering some bleeding over my beautiful crisply traced lines that does not please me...

I'm off to do a bit of experimenting to hopefully get these things done before our next out-of-town visitor arrives. Sign up below if you'd like that lucky person to be you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

oh happy day!

The most amazing and best news as of late is that I FINALLY got a job! And a real full-time, punch in, punch out, request sick days, and direct all calls to my extension job at that! To be honest, that whole last sentence kinda freaks me out, having been out of the normal working person loop for quite some time. But I am very excited to finally have a steady source of income and get back on my feet after all these moving shenanigans.

I'm the new Catering Coordinator at the Holiday Inn Select at Cherry Creek. Basically, the sales team sells events and meetings and then turns them over to me. Then I fill in every last detail from menus to room setup and timelines. So it's right up my alley. I was explaining the process to Shawn today and he said "Oh geez, you're gonna be crazy," after I told him all about the lists and calendars and agendas. Just the thing for my little OCD self :)

p.s. After I got home today, we went to Washington Park to enjoy the lovely weather and I was actually chilly on this July evening! I miss my Florida folks, but humidity, I am delighted to be so far far away from you..

Monday, July 18, 2011

a new chair

Way back when we first got to Denver, we picked up our table and two miscellaneous chairs from the Craigslist free section. One of those chairs was this one:

Since that day long ago, I have been slowly plotting and pulling together the necessary items to give it a new life. I didn't mind the color the wood was painted, but it was pretty beat up and really needed a fresh coat. And the fabric, well, that's just hideous.

Step 1 was to remove all the fabric and layers of crazy batting and cushion. My original plan was to re-use the cushion but upon seeing it, I decided some less-than-20-year-old foam might be a better choice. Also, the seat part of the chair didn't have a hard base, but instead was supported by these crazy springs that stretched from the front to the back. Shawn helped me get those off (miraculously without losing an eye) and I started brainstorming on what to use to restructure it.

Step 2 was sanding. Sanding sanding sanding. Until it looked like this:

Sometime between steps 1 and 2, we ended up at an estate sale where the man had been a furniture upholsterer. What luck! And it was half-off day so I ended up getting some fabric for $2.50. Not my absolute favorite #1 choice ever for fabric, but considering this is my first attempt, I figured it would do.

Eventually, I ended up buying some high density foam from the craft store along with some extra stuffing to fill in any gaps. Probably the most expensive part of this whole project. I decided to just do a piece of plywood across the seat to serve as the base and kept my eyes peeled in the alleys and dumpsters for a while. After weeks of no luck, I thought perhaps I should just see how much a piece might cost from Lowe's. Even their smallest piece was more than I wanted to spend, but luckily I spotted the scraps next to the giant lumber cutting machine. I pulled out a piece of thick MDF that was close enough to the size I needed and asked a friendly Lowe's guy how much they would sell it for. "You can just have it," he replied. Music to my thrifty ears :)

So the only missing piece to the chair puzzle was the paint. I was wanting a glossy mahogany but didn't have any luck finding it in a quart size or even in spray paint. On a trip to Lowe's, Shawn found a quart of "oops" paint that, priced at $2.50, was surely close enough.

Then the long, often procrastinated, process of putting all the pieces together ensued. I had kept the old pieces of fabric to use as a pattern and discovered that the bolt I had bought had literally just enough cloth to replicate the pieces. Phew! The seat was cut to size thanks to the borrowed saw from the resident construction workers (turns out they are good for something...) And a couple of coats on the wood frame  had the chair looking fresher already. The paint color did turn out a bit more orange-y than I had originally wanted, but I'm considering adding a tinted glaze on top to give it a bit more gloss. One day. I also painted the blue table legs in the same color to pull them together somewhat. An estate sale staple gun came in handy for the actual upholstering, and I'm happy to say I think it came out rather well!

I must admit that the back is not fully finished, as I'm debating if I want to do visible nailheads or use the tiny ones that disappear for the last panel. Perhaps something will pop up and inspire me!

Here's one more before and after:



I wish I could blame my absence on our first out-of-town guests, but the fact that they left over two weeks ago makes me think I've just been lazy... so now I have a ton of backlogged news and stories to share.

First I must share some rather devastating news: the mighty Lord Tennyson is no longer with us. And of course it had to happen while Jess and Jesse were here. Their lovely guest suite had been set up in the living room and Jess was not too keen on sleeping in such close proximity to a frog. We assured her that he had never escaped in the two months that we had him. One morning while Shawn was making breakfast for everyone, I casually wandered over to the tank to watch the fish. That's when I realized LT was no longer there. {Enter the FREAKOUT} I started frantically looking everywhere; behind the tank, under the couch, in every nook and cranny, wanting to find him but at the same time knowing that I didn't really want to find him. He's fully aquatic so he can't live outside of water. I knew the clock was ticking especially since we didn't know if he had escaped during the night or some time the evening before while we were out. Jesse was helping with the search, Shawn was chained to the stove lest he burn the eggs, and Jess was basically just freaking out that the frog may have hopped across her in her sleep on his way out.

I continued my search in the bedroom, looking under the bed, under the dressers, finally moving to the closet where I slightly moved the laundry bag and there he was just inside the closet door! Unmoving :( I screamed (obvs) and went running out of the room doing the scream/cry much like my sister upon seeing a spider. Shawn finally decides to step in since I have basically become useless at this point. He gets some paper towels and scoops up LT from the floor, heading towards the trash can. (Ew.) "He's alive!!" Shawn yells all of a sudden and makes a beeline for the tank. Jess and Jesse are in the path and both run straight out the front door. LT plunks down into the water and definitely appears to be shaken up but still alive.

Unfortunately it didn't last very long. He had been out of the water for too long and just couldn't recover. A couple days later I noticed some conspiring among Jesse, Jess, and Shawn and soon discovered that LT had met his end.

Monday, June 27, 2011

blue skies

I must say, the weather here is practically perfect. (Remind me of that when January comes..) Gorgeous blue skies as far as you can see. Which means we've been taking advantage of the roof deck and the many parks Denver has to offer. After a stunning rooftop victory by Shawn in Gin Rummy, we whipped up some mango jicama salsa and fajitas. So delish. And the salsa got even better the next day. Yum.

Unfortunately we didn't get this little guy until an estate sale a couple days later, but next time we're chopping up some salsa, things should move a bit more quickly.

The other day we paid a visit to the Skate Park and spectated for a couple hours. It's actually a pretty huge place. And there were definitely people of all ages. One dad was there skating with his two little boys on their razor scooters. Couple of daredevils, those two. 

After that, we met up with one of Shawn's friends and went with him to a potluck on the roof of his mom's building. It's one of those 55 and up places so we sort of stuck out like sore thumbs but it was a fun change of pace and I always love a good potluck. So many different things to sample :) Plus I got to beat Shawn again in cornhole. Heh heh.

Yesterday morning I went for a run and had to stop to take a picture of this lady's front yard. Well, to be honest, I had already stopped anyway to catch my breath for the millionth time...

The pictures don't capture it so well, but her front yard is entirely covered in rose bushes. In fact, there are tons of roses in bloom all over the city. I think it's so fun to see so many different types of plants growing than the ones I'm used to in Florida.

To top off the weekend, Shawn and I went to Jazz in the Park, which is a weekly event at City Park. Having worked a wedding the night before, I managed to score two boxed lunches that were unused vendor meals, and we had a bottle of champagne in the fridge that Shawn was given one day at Bistro. So we brought our free little picnic and stretched out under a huge shade tree in the park. Doesn't get much better than that :)

dumpster shelf

There's a space at the end of the kitchen counter that has just been begging for a shelf. And I've been begging for a place to put all my miscellaneous vases and candlesticks. As luck would have it, a quick peek by Shawn into the dumpster the other day offered the perfect solution. Well, almost perfect.

It was kind of a strange orange color but I'm thinking someone built it just for the exact spot I wanted it to go. So of course I decided to work with it. I busted out the black glossy paint and after a quick trip to Joann (not sure Shawn would call it quick, but...) we have a new (to us) and much improved shelf!

The fabric on the back is kind of a cobalt/royal purple with white flowers. Which I'm liking with my neutral-with-pops-of-color living room. This was also my first adventure with spray adhesive which worked well (not like the backs of the shelves are going to see much action) but sprayed a bit more unpredictably than I would have liked. A bit of black touch up was in order but now it's all set and stocked up with my little goodies :)

my apologies..

I guess the only way to describe my posting lately would be... nonexistent :( oops! But I've been busy working and crafting so now there's much to discuss!

Catering has been keeping me pretty busy since it's wedding season and all. The great thing about offsite catering (especially in a new city) is that you get to see all different venues and places you wouldn't normally see. I just did a wedding at Boettcher Mansion this past weekend, which is an old-house-turned-event-space up in the mountains. The weekend before that was a whirlwind with a memorial service for a woman who seemed like the coolest old lady ever (they handed out recipes for "Flossie's Carrot Soup, which I fully intend to make a batch of in the coming weeks), a dinner hosted by a group called PHAMALY that helps physically handicapped people find work, the Debutante Ball at Denver University (complete with giant white poofy dresses and waltzing), and rounded out with bartending in the VIP section at PrideFest. So definitely diverse! The PHAMALY dinner was quite entertaining, with a Broadway-like show about the workplace and headlined by Josh Blue, the comedian with cerebral palsy who won Last Comic Standing. I think we know by now that I am a sucker for a good stand-up act. I also worked a huge tent wedding the weekend before that, where unfortunately I was hired only for my serving skills and not my writing skills..

The best part was on the back where you could see they had started writing it and messed up then flipped it over to try again. It was a sweet backyard with a pool and tons of space for a wedding, but they had the strangest of decorations going on. Lots of miscellaneous tulle bows tied on things. Ew.

Other than catering, there's always the few odd jobs.. did I mention I did promo for Cacique at the Mexican National Soccer Team game...?

Which basically just meant dancing around to everyone's favorite fiesta tunes for four hours and handing out thundersticks. We were also supposed to pull people in from the audience to participate, but I kind of avoided that part, thinking how much I would hate to be pulled in if I was just an innocent bystander. Hopefully this did not ruin my Mexican promo dancing future. It was pretty fun though, just messing around with little kids. Hilariously, Shawn came home the other day and played his "new favorite song" for me, which just happened to be a techno version of one of the fiesta songs. Nooooo that beat will haunt me forever!!

I've also been doing some work with Pink Posey. We did a bridal show a couple weeks ago and definitely had the cutest booth by far. Buffy had a bunch of vintage tablecloths and did the arrangements in white milk glass. So we made sort of a shabby chic display. The pictures didn't turn out very well though, especially since the woman hosting the Passion Party booth behind us kept getting in the way in her crazy tight white jeans. So you'll have to just use your imagination. For both parts :)

I also helped Buffy with a photoshoot at Villa Parker she was doing as a collaboration with a local photographer. I'd post pictures of that, but... it's going to be on Style Me Pretty! And they strictly forbid anyone posting before they feature it. So I don't want to chance it. The crazy thing is that Buffy was wanting me to be the bridesmaid for the shoot when something fell through with the girl they had lined up. I was a little nervous about that so I decided to stay on the other side of the camera. But if I had done it, I would have been on Style Me Pretty too and that just seems crazy to me. Maybe not to you guys, since you may not be such avid followers.. but to me, crazy. Anyway, I'm super happy for Pink Posey to get some good exposure. Which will hopefully lead to more work for me!

I just realized I don't have nearly enough quarters to do all the necessary laundry today so I'm gonna have to make a run to the bank :( Are we seriously still using this old-as-the-hills method of laundry payment? Something really must be done about this.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

pure deliciousness part II

Our second evening out was veeerrry different from the first. We decided to class it up big time and Shawn treated me to a 5-star meal at the Brown Palace Hotel. We weren't eating until pretty late so when Justin called wondering what we were up to, Shawn told him to come on by. He brought with him the ingredients to make Tominis which are a cocktail he used to drink with an old salty dog he knew in Maryland who lived on his boat for a while. So obviously they were the perfect refreshing summer time drink. Gin and coconut water with a squeeze of lemon. Cocktail hour delivery service? Yes, please!

We went up on the roof and ended up meeting some neighbors. Pretty soon a game of Texas Hold 'Em was underway followed by a little Black Jack. Also, after some chatting, we found out that Rose (new neighbor friend) was moving out and temporarily moving into a place with some friends who have a German Shepherd. So she was not going to be able to bring her cat, Sam, with her for that month. Obviously we offered to cat sit since I've been dying for a cat anyway. So now we have a little furry friend who seems quite happy here with plenty of fish to watch for entertainment. He does have a habit for crying rather loudly in the morning but we're working on that.

Sam, Samuel, Samtastic, Sam Adams, Samson, Samsonite, Sammi-Sam, Samilicious

Anyway... on to the good stuff. So after a mad dash to get ready after cocktail hour ran a bit over time.. we arrived at the Brown Palace and decided to go for the tasting menu since that's what we like to do. We ordered a bottle of wine and awaited the goodies to come. After an antipasto skewer for an amuse bouche, our appetizers arrived. The sommelier came by and poured us a bit of wine that he had paired with our respective dishes. Of course his trick worked and we went ahead and asked for the wine pairings with each course.

Boy am I glad we did though. (Aside from the fact that we already had a bottle of wine on the table and a martini under our belt and had more wine coming than is even slightly normal...) But the pairing really was the best part of the meal. I mean, obviously the food was nothing to turn up your nose at, but I've eaten an awful lot of good food in my life. The way the wine went with it was amazing. My soup course was an artichoke soup with a small grilled ham and cheese in the center of the bowl. As the sommelier poured the wine, he said, "It's hard to tell where the soup ends and the wine begins.." with an air of mystery. He was right! It seriously blew my mind how good some of the pairings were. The wine with Shawn's salad tasted like someone had practically made it from the salad ingredients. And the tasting menu wasn't fixed as some of them are, so we had options for each course. Obviously we ordered all different things so we ended up getting to taste ten different dishes with wine for each. Well, okay it was only nine. I opted out of my dessert course and got coffee instead. I was seriously full. But Shawn had ordered Bananas Foster which we could both barely eat a bite of.

"You guys got a wheelbarrow back there? Somebody's gonna have to roll me outta here!"

Haha don't worry, neither of us actually said that. But I understand where those people are coming from :) All in all, a deliciously fantastic meal that was a real treat. Taking pictures didn't seem quite appropriate so you'll just have to use your imagination...

Monday, June 6, 2011

pure deliciousness part I

We actually went out to eat two different nights last week (which is rare for us with Shawn usually working at night). I must say they were two VERY diffferent experiences and yet both quite fantastic.

It was sort of last minute when we decided to eat out and so were in a rush Urban Spoonin' where we should go. There's tons of restaurants that I've been wanting to try but it was a weekday and almost 9. Not wanting to be "those people" who show up at closing time was limiting our options. Plus we weren't really sure what we were feeling like. Then we remembered seeing all these Ethiopian restaurants on East Colfax one day and wondering what the deal was. I've never seen one Ethiopian restaurant, much less six in a ten block stretch. So we decided to broaden our culinary horizons and go for it.

We ended up at Queen of Sheba a little past nine. The owner was walking some other guests out the door as we walked up and My Polite One was reassured that she was more than happy to have us and we were certainly not too late. So with that stress behind us--and when I say us, I mean mostly Shawn :) we were able to enjoy our feast. 

Looking at the menu, the obvious choice seemed to be Queen of Sheba's Dinner for Two which would give us a good sampling of this mystery cuisine. And also included two glasses of Ethiopian honey wine. The owner informed us that she makes the wine right there at the restaurant but was worried we'd think it was too sweet. So she went through the trouble of bringing us a small taste test, even though we insisted it was unnecessary. She was honestly the nicest woman and I would go back there just for her, even if the food hadn't been so fantastic. She took the time to explain everything to us about her menu and I think she was genuinely excited to be serving us our first Ethiopian meal.

We started with an appetizer that could best be described as hummus made from lentils. There are no utensils used in Ethiopian cuisine, instead everything is served with enjera, which is a type of sourdough flatbread. You rip off pieces and use that to grab the deliciously spiced and stewed meats and vegetables. Also, it's called a goorsha when you you feed the bread rolled with meat to your friend. Obviously we had to do that as well.

The food has similar flavors to Indian or Moroccan dishes I've had. A subtle spiciness and super tender meats. We had chicken, lamb, red lentils, stewed beef, cabbage and potatoes, and a hardboiled egg thrown in for good measure. The spongy bread is so perfect with the heavy flavors since it has that sort of vinegar fermented taste. Yum! We left there so full and when she brought us a little box to pack up the rest of our dish, she had already put some extra lentils and cabbage in there to enjoy with our meat. So lovely :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a birthday tribute

Today marks the 26th birthday of my dearest best friend Jess. Obviously it's a bittersweet day since it's the first birthday in four years that I haven't been there to celebrate with her. So instead I will just have to send my wishes for happiness and a fantastic year to come across the miles, knowing that her fabulous boyfriend gifted her a coupon good for one flight to Denver, and we will probably be seeing them within the next month or so!

If it wasn't for Jess...

I would have never moved to New York.

I would have never survived in New York.

I would have never known the joys of the gym.

I would have never fallen in love with tapas.

I would have never realized that I really don't like sitting through football games in the stadium :)

I would have never known someone who fell asleep while eating ice cream.

I would have never scuffed up all my dancin' shoes.

I would have never sampled all the desserts on the Vegas buffet.

I would have never had half of my Facebook photos.

I would have never learned to carry a Tide pen with me at all times.

I would have never had the peanut butter to my jelly. Literally.

I would have never known how important girl friends can be.

We have had some super fun, super stressful, super exciting times together, and it has been awesome knowing that I have a great friend by my side through the good and the bad. Love you Lil Jessie!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


After a drizzly week last week, I'm happy to say that the weather has cleared up and today is turning into an absolutely GORGEOUS day. Unfortunately I have to work a wedding tonight so I won't get to enjoy it as much as I'd like. By some weird twist of scheduling, Shawn's been off the past three days so we took advantage Thursday night and had a cookout.

Strangely enough, on Tuesday night Shawn stopped into Mellow Mushroom after work (that's definitely not the strange part..) and happened to run into a guy that he worked with on the cruise ship! Cliff was here on a short break so Shawn invited him to come over on Thursday night when we were having Robyn and Justin (and their dog Buck) over.

We had pork ribs with Shawn's Secret Recipe barbecue sauce and steak. I made veggie kabobs with onions mushrooms and brussels sprouts and Shawn made what is becoming a cookout tradition--baked macaroni made with Annie's white cheddar shells and a toasted Cheez-it topping. Only this time he added a bit of crumbled bacon and some cream cheese so it was of course even more delicious. A side note about brussels sprouts: if you've never tried them before because you once saw on a cartoon when you were a child that they were gross and have just been believing it for the past 20 years, please try them! If you cook them right and don't overcook them into slimy little balls, they can be so delicious and a good way to mix it up if you're sick of broccoli and green beans. -end brussels sprout soapbox-

Anyway, the weather was nice so we sat up on the roof deck to eat. Enjoying one of those fabulous evenings talking with friends, drinking beer and eating good food. Basically, what life was made for in my book :) I meant to take pictures but well, we were lucky to remember to even turn off the grill, so blogging was not exactly on my mind at the time..

Never one to be idle, Shawn stayed busy during his days off, surprising me by taking Civ to get detailed (she was looking a little rough since the move) and bringing home a completely scrumptious Nutella crepe that I thoroughly enjoyed. A shiny car and a delicious pastry? *swoon*

He was also able to finally get the doorknob installed on the bedroom door which has been a sore subject for quite some time now. This glass knob was another gift he had surprised me with way back in Jacksonville way back before he went to Hawaii. So it's been around a while. At the time, he had tried to install it on my bedroom door but it didn't fit with the existing hardware. Then when we got here, we discovered basically the same thing. So after two trips to the locksmith, two episodes of the knobs breaking off their base due to Shawn trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole, a failed attempt at epoxying the knobs back together, and some filing out of the doorknob hole in the door, we have a working knob! And it sure is purty :)

Our aquarium of wonders has also gained a few more residents:

Sue the bichir fish.. She has an eel-like body and just two little side fins right behind her head so her movements are usually pretty odd. But she gets along with Lord Tennyson, which is apparently a difficult thing to do. It seems like every fish we want will either eat or be eaten by him. But I caught them both together in the hiding spot in our tank, so I'd say they became fast friends. Or luvaaaas.

When we went to the fish store the other day, we saw this really cool black knife fish that we were gonna get. Then as the girl is about to scoop him out, she casually asks us if we have frozen brine shrimp, since that's all he eats. We have frozen krill, is that okay? Since that's what Sue and LT eat.. No, he really needs brine shrimp, she says, since they're much smaller. And then she says, "What I usually do is get a little of the shrimp in a dish with some water in it so that they thaw out and then I use an eyedropper and suck some of them up and reach my hand down in and just squeeze out a couple at a time right in front of him..." Me and Shawn look at each other. "Uh, can we just get a snail?"

So now we have Gary:

I was not too excited to be getting a snail since I prefer my pets to entertain me, but Gary has proven himself to be a rather adventurous snail (climbing to the tops of the trees, above) and so he's won me over.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

oh freelancing..

This past week has been an adventure in the world of barely employ-ment... Tuesday night I found myself at the Denver Merchandise Mart working for a company that puts on "Girls Night Out" events all over the country. I just had to check people in so it was not too interesting or challenging... But I did get two swag bags at the end full of girlie goodies which honestly was probably my favorite part :) They had a bottle of this crazy water called MetroMint which I keep struggling to decide if I like it or am repulsed by it. It's unsweetened, with just water, mint, and cocoa essence listed as the ingredients. The thought of drinking an Andes mint doesn't appeal to me, but when I take a sip it's so refreshing and then I think I like it. Hmm.

Thursday I went to work with Buffy at Pink Posey Design. She had a couple weddings coming up this weekend to get ready for and needed some extra help. I think I made about 15 bouts and corsages. Whoa nelly my hands were killing me from those tedious little guys. But I always enjoy being back in the flower world. And I got to take home some extras which reminded me of my old Belle Fleur Fridays when I would bring home leftover flowers and then spend an hour or two arranging them, always making myself late for my Friday night plans :) But fresh flowers in the house are just so fun!

That night I was doing my usual CraigsList-ing and ended up with a gig for the next morning working with a photography company. So Friday I headed out to Red Rocks for the Chatfield High School graduation ceremony that they were shooting. It was actually pretty interesting, since I've worked in basically all the different areas of weddings/events but never photography. So I got to learn a few new things but it was also a lot of waiting around for the ceremony to start and then the speeches and yadda yadda yadda. It did make me think of those good ole high school days though and being involved with my own graduation. It's funny how everything seems SO important at that time :)

The weather was pretty nice to start with in spite of the unpleasant drizzle that had been around the previous few days. Then of course just as they're about to start handing out the diplomas, the clouds come along with the rain. And it was quiiiite chilly. We busted out our ponchos and the whole stands were filled with colorful umbrellas. I was helping a photographer at the spot where the students take a picture with the American flag background before they walk across the stage. So luckily I was semi-covered. But it was still pretty cold and definitely windy. We had to get a teacher to hold the background up for us since it kept blowing over. I felt so bad for those people in the stands and all the grads looked freezing in the pictures with their shoulders up and teeth-chattering smiles. It was pretty crazy too, two lines for 500 graduates, so 250 times I had to tell them how to hold the diploma and where to stand on the mark. "Hold it in your left hand, across your body, stand right on the feet." And it moves REALLY fast. Also, believe it or not, high schoolers are not the most attentive so rather than any single one of them paying attention and listening to what I said to the one before them... I got to say it to each of them individually. And then watch them try to figure out which was the left hand. Oh, the youth of today... ;)

It was cool to be down on the stage at Red Rocks though and I got a mini tour of the underground while we were waiting. There's a little tunnel system underneath the stage where all the dressing rooms are. Some of the rooms have part of the rock formations protruding into them. Basically every major band has played there, hanging out in those very rooms.

Then today I was back at the florist but this time to do some organizing and cleaning at the shop while waiting on people to come by and pick up their wedding flowers. Buffy is out of town for the weekend working on this insanely huge Alice in Wonderland themed wedding with a big event production company. She was telling me something about a hedge maze into a rabbit hole, an 80 foot long dining table, giant mushrooms, a floating Cheshire cat... pretty wild.

So I've been keeping pretty busy and Shawn is enjoying being at Bistro Vendome. Always finding ways to entertain himself, he got off work one day this week and was waiting for me to be done working so he decided to stick around downtown and make some new friends. When I finally was off, I discover that he has spent the evening hawking the wares of the local hippie population. They were apparently impressed by his success (I would imagine their usual sales pitch is much less exuberant) and so he received this picture as commission for a job well done:

It's a paper collage with a bit of marker drawing on some sort of building material scrap. Kinda cool. I think I'll hang it in the bathroom.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


It's been quite chilly here this past week (freezing-rain-bouncing-off-my-windshield chilly) which inspired me to whip up some chicken soup with rice. I didn't really use a recipe but I did put to use the chicken stock we froze a while ago when we made a super big batch. Mmmm it was so good. The stock added such good flavor. I precooked the rice for a bit since brown rice takes FOREVER to cook it seems. Probably could have cooked it a bit longer, but I was too cold and hungry :)

I was laughing to myself as I was taking these pictures (especially the first one) because it's kind of weird to stop in the middle of cooking to snap some pics. But I'm always a fan of a good mise en place. Have I mentioned my addiction to thingsorganizedneatly? Full of OCD images that just make my heart happy :) 

Shawn decided to snap a picture of this pizza from the other night:

I had carefully rearranged the pepperonis and he just thought that was the most ridiculous thing. I told him that in the grand scheme of strange organize-y things I do, this one's not so weird. Who wants to eat a mouthful of pepperonis in one bite and then only cheese in the next? Not this girl. He had a lovely time eating miscellaneous slices off to ruin my symmetry while we waited for the oven to preheat.

In other food news, we finally managed to eat all the Easter ham. I had frozen it in batches since I knew we'd never eat it all in time and after the ham and bean soup, countless ham sandwiches, ham and egg scrambles, and some ham just dipped in honey mustard and dijon for good measure... it's finally gone! The ham situation was a little out of control there for a minute.

Now I'm trying to come up with creative ways to use up this giant bag of potatoes we bought before they start growing their own potato farm in the pantry. I made some super crispy spiced oven fries earlier and I think my potato and lentil soup is juuuust about done.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Since I have quite a bit of free time on my hands, I decided to make Shawn a good ole fashioned Happy Birthday banner. He's holding up his membership card for the Denver Parks and Recreation Center I got him so he can get back into boxing. He has to go get his picture taken for it but for now I drew him a fantastic likeness.

Shawn's new job was kind enough to let him off Saturday for his birthday so we took advantage of the absolutely perfect weather and went up to the mountains. A nice 80 degree cloudless day for a hike. We packed some sandwiches and a bit of trail mix and set off for Rocky Mountain National Park. We were headed for the Emerald Lake trail which was pretty far in to the park. On the way up the slow winding roads we spotted some wildlife. Actually not sure what these are... elk?

We also spotted some patches of snow along the road and I secretly plotted a snowball ambush once we got out of the car. Oh how naive the little Floridians are. Upon reaching the trailhead, we realized we were the only ones in shorts and tank tops. Everyone else was wearing boots, pants, jackets, etc. But there were no clouds in the sky! The sun was warm! We put on some long sleeves that were hanging around in the car and decided to go for it.

As we cautiously walked to the beginning of the trail, trying to avoid the massive slush puddle that had formed there, we noticed some other wary hikers talking to the ranger. He was assuring them that they should still be able to hike, but to be careful because some spots would be slippery. At that moment a couple emerged from the trail wearing snow shoes and carrying ski poles. Ruh roh.

During the first attempt at taking that picture, Shawn yelled for me to watch out and I had to dodge out of the way of some downhill skiers who were swooping through. That's normal. Notice how deep into the snow the sign is buried..

It was only 1.8 miles to the lake and by about mile .2 I was DYING. Trudging through the snow was like running on the beach, only worse since you're using every muscle in your legs to stabilize you and keep from slipping. Then we'll just throw in the part where we're almost 10,000 ft about sea level. Wow. The snow is so deep in some spots that you sink up to your knee. I was having flashbacks to all those episodes of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" that I recently watched with my dad.

Meanwhile up ahead, Sherpa Shawn was bounding along, popping up to lookouts to get some amazing views.

He was of course also offering words of encouragement, "We're almost there!" "It's just around this turn!" Blah blah blah. All of a sudden, I shriek as my foot sinks in and literally my entire right leg is buried in the snow. I am doing a vertical split into the mountain. Not comfortable. After doing some very graceful writhing around I finally manage to twist myself up and out. By then, Shawn is by my side and looks down into the hole my body has formed in the snow. "Um, I think you actually fell into a tree." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there is so much snow that I managed to walk myself right into a tree top.

After a brief rest and a good laugh about the absurdity of this whole situation, we continue on to the Emerald City Lake. We eventually reach a huge clearing that seems to in fact be a frozen lake (the lake?) but some passing hikers (outfitted in snowshoes) inform us that Emerald Lake is just a bit farther along. Trudging trudging trudging through the snow and slush. Our feet were soaked through. There miiiight have been a few episodes of me falling over into the snow and stating/whining/potentially crying that I simply could not go on. Slightly dramatic I'll admit.

I wish I could say that we finally made it to the lake and it was so glorious and beautiful that is was totally worth trudging through the frozen tundra. However we reached a point at the bottom of a basin which seemed to be a dead end. There didn't appear to be any other path from the basin except straight up where some guys had just snowboarded down. Needless to say, that wasn't happening. There were some giant boulders around that were not covered in snow and thus a perfect place to finally rest. So after some bananas and Clif bars we called it a day and trudged back. (Did I mention we got a box of Clif bars for 50 cents at an estate sale a few weeks back? Along with a can of soup and a box of cereal?) I will say the return trip was much more enjoyable since it was mostly downhill. This allowed us to practice our foot skiing which eventually turned into sledding downhill on our freezing bums. Quite fun if not a bit uncomfortable on the way home.

On the way out of the park we stopped to enjoy a little mountain stream and then headed for a pint and a snack.

All in all, a successful day. Shawn did point out that his birthdays with me so far have gotten us into some pretty interesting situations. Last year we went camping at a spring in central Florida and ended up on a day long canoe trip with about 300 of our closest spider friends. Wonder what I can cook up for next year..

We survived!