April 30, 2013

reading list recap: April

Overall: *****

Summary: Hadley Richardson  recalls her passionate, tumultuous, exhilarating, devastating life as the wife of Ernest Hemingway in 1920's Paris. 
(seriously, what else do I need to say?)

What I Loved: This is not simply a great novel, this is a story that will bore into your soul, making you wish you were there and tempt you to sell everything you own and board the next flight (back in time) to France. I craved wine and cheese as much as I craved each chapter and the characters, language, and settings made me fall hopelessly in love with every word. 

Not so much: My incessant, impulsive thoughts about plane tickets and expensive bottles of wine and lack of ability to afford either at this time.

Overall: *****

Summary: A big, beautiful "coffee-table" book that feels as much like a piece of decorative art as an intimate biography of one of the most incredible women in history. Featuring stunning photos and text about Georgia O'Keefe's life in New Mexico and the homes she envisioned and built from scratch. Her simple style, holistic approach to both life and art, and incredibly passionate personality are captured on every page.

What I Loved: I bought this book at her gallery in Santa Fe and have paged through it several times over the past few weeks. I know I will come back to this book every time I need a reminder of how to live with only what I love and how to love everything I live with. 

Not So Much: I only wish I had pockets big enough for this 5lb beauty... or a small version to carry with me every where I go. 


April 29, 2013

peace of my heart

tide pools, laguna beach

Exactly a month ago we packed up our car with suitcases, an air mattress, and the odds and ends that didn't make it on to the moving truck, locked up our Denver home for the last time, and drove away... without turning back once. At the time, we were so exhausted from packing and cleaning, and so anxious to start our drive to Santa Fe, we didn't think about glancing back at the place we called home for four years. At the time, we were so excited about the next chapter of our lives, we didn't feel the need to look back on the last one. And at the time, we felt peace in our hearts about the long goodbyes we said to the friends and familiar places that filled our lives in Colorado. We were at peace with, and truly in awe of, the changes we were making and the perfect timing of a plan greater than we could have ever imagined. 

Now, a month later, we are just starting to accept that same peace as a cornerstone of our new lives in California. After six years of seemingly constant physical, emotional, and mental chaos, the peace that surrounds us now is strange and surreal. I have struggled to find the right words to describe how this change feels and have come to the conclusion that I may not have any yet, if they even exist. It's a delicate task, describing something new and refreshing, without sounding bitter towards the past. Sometimes things aren't better, just different... and sometimes, they truly, simply, are better and that is where the tricky part begins. 

Life in Colorado never came easy for us, but commitments and schedules kept us there and kept us struggling to make the most of every day. We pushed ourselves to constantly try new things, to be perpetually busy, to maintain an interesting, urban lifestyle that at least made us appear "Facebook-cool".  On the outside, we lived in one of the most desirable destinations and pulled off the "dink" thing flawlessly. On the inside, we were hollow, tired, fragile, and angry at ourselves for not finding happiness despite all we had. Although we both knew what we had been through (and how minuscule the statistic is for marital survival) and the ups-and-downs of taking risks, moving to a new place, and uprooting and re-building (...and re-building...) our entire lives from scratch, we didn't feel we had a good enough excuse to justify our discontent.

While we always knew we wanted a change, and as the years passed it seemed inevitable,  it didn't seem plausible or practical with our abundance of  long-term obligations and debt. Houses are hard to sell, good jobs are nearly impossible to find, moves are expensive, rental options are obscure, and a small caravan of critters didn't make any of these  changes any easier.  There were a dozen reasons why we didn't think "now" was the right time for any of this, and yet here we are, staring out the window of our new home, inhaling foggy ocean air, soaking up every second of the sunset over the hills, in absolute awe of our new lives we never could have pictured just weeks ago. 


April 19, 2013

how to feel rich and famous (for 36 hours)

We spent the second half of our road trip to California at the breathtaking Montelucia resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the best 36 hour vacation we could have imagined and had an amazing time relaxing at the spa (best ever!), laying by the pool, and indulging in delicious food. While we definitely splurged, we knew that we won't be taking any sort of "real"vacation any time soon so we made the most of the quick stay. Everything about this place is over-the-top-beautiful and man, did they ever spoil us (cupcakes & champagne in the room! champagne at the spa! two desserts at dinner!) all weekend and everyone on staff knew our names! And all because I took my own advice and simply mentioned that we were celebrating our belated birthdays and our cross-region move back to California while making our reservations over the phone! We love you, Montelucia, thanks for being all sorts of special. 

We totally felt like royalty, even if it was only for only a few hours... and even if we are only about 1/800th as rich... or famous. 

April 13, 2013

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?

Our two-night stay in Santa Fe was short but sweet (and spicy and salty and all things satisfying!). We made the breathtaking drive from Denver in about eight hours, including the stops we made at the Garden of the Gods and in Taos for dinner. We stayed at the beautiful Loretto Inn & Spa in the heart of the historic district and spent a full day walking around the plaza and visiting museums (Georgia O' Keefe!!), with a quick margarita  lunch break in between. The weather was perfect and our winterized skin soaked up every second in the warm sunshine. We spent the evening curled up on a deep leather couch in the hotel lounge, listening to a local musician and sipping serrano-pepper infused cocktails. Sadly I didn't take any photos of our actual room, but friends- it had a real adobe fireplace in it! At night we would light candles and look up at the stars from our little balcony. We made the most of our short stay but we were so excited to finally get to experience Santa Fe, instead of simply driving through. 

~ thank you Santa Fe for a beautiful stay ~


April 10, 2013

a quick hello!

Hi friends! I am rushing around trying to get a little post in but my arms and legs seem to be swinging in opposite directions and my mind is racing a mile a minute, but I wanted to stop by and say hello! 

Today marked our first full week in California and so far it has seriously been amazing! We are still pinching ourselves daily that our dream of moving back has come true and that it's better than we could have ever imagined. Sure, the moving process was exhausting and stressful, and a few firm phone calls had to be made to a certain moving company, but otherwise we are truly blown away by how blessed we have been over the past few months. 

Dan and I both started our new jobs on Monday (love!) and are getting settled into our new routines. Our house is coming together one empty box at a time, and our yard-sale stash is growing daily. It feels so good to start fresh in a new space and finally get back to the basics. Right now our basics consist of lawn chairs, margaritas, and watching the sunset over the hills in our back yard, so unfortunately unpacking and cleaning have slipped away from us. I'm sure the perfect weather, incredible views, and beach will get old eventually.... ha! 

While our week has been great so far, I am so looking forward to a few days of rest and rejuvenation over the weekend... and more significant blog posts of course. Thank you for stopping by! 

be back soon!


April 07, 2013

{ Thirty Things } The Grand Finale!

Hi Friends!!
What in the world are you still doing here?! Were you worried about me?! I promise all is well, just a severe case of moving-across-the-country-and-temporarily-losing-all-contact-with-the-outside-world-itis. In short, we have moved and are getting happily settled into our new place! In long, our road trip was amazing and I will have some photos and details to share soon.. also, we are in love with our new home and "new" lives back home in California. This may be  a pathetic attempt at stalling, but I have a very late, yet final, installment to our Thirty Things list to share with you. Please accept my humble offering and know that I have every good intention of filling you in and up with all sorts of sweet and juicy details very soon... but alas, mountains of boxes of mystery contents beckon and I must get back to the land of bubble wrap, also known as our entire house at the moment.
The Thirty Things, Grand Finally Update Extravaganza:
1. Visit Keystone, build a fire and play in the snow 
2. Walk to Pinche Tacos happy hour
3. See a movie at the Denver Film Center down the street
...didn't happen. I looked at the schedule and we just couldn't make any showtimes that worked for our crazy hours during our last week. We loved this theater the few times we went though, so if you're ever in Denver, make it a must-do!

4. See a concert or live show at a local venue
5. Happy hour margaritas on a rooftop in Boulder 
6. See the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the Denver Art Museum
7. Return books to the library, pay fines one last time

8. Dinner at the Rio downtown
We  met up with some great friends for a delicious meal and good margaritas as the perfect mid-packing break!
Plus the waiter recognized me from that time I ate there on Halloween, dressed as a margarita.
Predictable? Only if you know me, I suppose.
9. Visit Breckenridge & Frisco
10. Have brunch at the Greenbriar Inn where we had our reception

11. Hapa Sushi happy hour
Even with the amazing {yet extended} help from some sweet friends, we still didn't get the moving truck loaded until around 9pm... and despite our exhaustion, or lack of bathing, we decided to head out to celebrate with a fabulous Hapa feast! Oh how I will miss those spicy tuna nachos and kinky-named sushi rolls.
12. Take the New Belgium Brewery tour in Fort Collins
This is another great stop we simply didn't have time for but we will just as soon stock up on some Fat Tire or Somersault Ale when we are at the store. We enjoy you, New Belgium, keeping doing great things.

13. Have a dirty vanilla Russian chai from Dazbog around the corner
Packing up our coffee maker made for the perfect excuse to walk over to Dazbog for a little extra morning-motivation. I ordered up my dirty chai and Dan opted for a latte, both of which were almost entirely consumed on the short walk back to the house.
14. Meet Dan in Boulder for lunch
15. Visit Pearl Street and cute shops

16. Go to the Garden of the gods
Although we were late getting on the road on the day we officially locked up our place, we were able to make a detour to see this beautiful park. I snapped a few unworthy phone pics, but nothing compares to seeing it in person if you're ever passing by.
17. Try to find original 1896 blue prints of our house

18. Find a coffee shop with live music
We kind of cheated on this one since we didn't actually see any live music in Denver, but we did get to watch an insanely talented man perform in the incredible lobby of our Santa Fe hotel. The fire was roaring, the drinks were pouring, and we were entertained from the comfort of a well-worn leather couch. A-plus in my book. 
19. Walk around Cheesman Park

20. Try the new Udi's cafe down the street
See #3, as they are next door to each other... which didn't help us during our crazy packing week, but will help you if you are in need of a fun Denver date night idea. You're welcome.

21. Celebrate our birthday's!
22. Do bad karaoke at a dive bar

23. Drive up to RedRocks, stand on the stage
We didn't make this happen either... at least this month. But after seeing a dozen shows and movies at Red Rocks we feel as though we thoroughly enjoyed this incredible venue and can't wait to see a concert there again next time we visit!

24. Walk around City Park
25. Pizza at the Atomic Cowboy

26. Visit 3 microbreweries around the city
If I changed the rules to buy-three-six-packs-from-local-breweries, then Yes! We completed this with flying colors, but as far as attending in person, no, we didn't get around to it. Maybe due to the six-packs, maybe due to insane amounts of packing six-packs all our belongings. 

27. Get ice cream at Little Man

28. Play pool at Wynkoop downtown
Negative. This would have been a nice joint-acheivement with #26 but alas, we skipped out on most of the fun for the last week in Colorado as our priority-schmiority was carefully wrapping every ounce of personal property in equal parts bubble wrap and packing tape. So what if everything arrived unharmed at our new property, we missed out on some quality downtown pool playing! 
Save us a spot Wynkoop, we'll be back for you.

29. Sell our house, celebrate with dinner at Fruition
On our second anniversary my parents surprised us with reservations as this tiny restaurant in the next neighborhood over from us. The chef owns his own farm up north and the menu is seasonally inspired, but seating is very limited. Ever since that first visit, we made it a point to go back at least once a year for special occasions. We couldn't think of a better "last supper" in Denver, so we made late-night reservations and shared another incredible experience, amazing meal, and bottle of fabulous Fruet, made in none other than Orange County, CA. 
30. Have a party!!
Overall, I felt we were 90% successful... which is also mathematically accurate. Then again, I have a Fine Arts degree, so don't take my word for any of it. Except the parts involving eating, drinking, or generally merriment... those I will take full credit for.
Alas, it's nearly midnight and my sleeping husband is using the cat as a comforter as some of our bedding is still packed away, but with one day left before we start work, I am fully confident in our abilities to unpack and settle in completely, right on schedule.
Then again, I have a fine arts degree.
Oh, and did I mention I am SO in love with being home in CA? I'll be sure to tell you more about all o' that very soon. Thank you for still being here for me... I can't tell you how much it means to me...
but I'll still try.
ps. I still owe you a story about Tiramisu.