Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canvas and Cocktails

Last week I enjoyed a fun Thursday night out with the girls at "Canvas and Cocktails."  We had so much fun, and I'm already checking their calendar to see what picture we should do next!  Such a fun idea- and I'm learning that it's so popular in Denver, with many similar place popping up across the city.

Cherry Blossoms
I'm definitely not an artist, but it's still fun to pretend.

In other news, just found out that IKEA Denver is opening two months early!!!!!  July 27th! My prayers have been answered, can't wait!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Catching up

So much fun stuff has happened since my last post.  And you will all be proud of my new habit of taking pictures to capture these exciting moments.

We continued to celebrate my big 2-7

Birthday dinner out with me and my Hubby
Adam and I out to Sushi Den with friends for my Birthday Weekend celebration :)

All our friends that joined us for the Birthday festivities.

And I have to share these pictures because I just think they capture a funny part of the night perfectly (thanks Candi).  So as a preface...everyone felt that since it was my birthday I needed to do a Sake bomb, mostly because I'd never done one before.  I should have just left that tidbit out for the group and maybe they would have not been so adamant.  Anyway, I was completely not interested in it and used the excuse that I was getting to old for this....again that didn't help, but this is what followed:

"Do I really have to do this? Candi maybe you should do it instead."
Me: "Did I put this together right?"
Adam and Mandy: "HAHAHAHAHAHA you really don't know how to but it together?"
Me: "Duh, I've never done it before people!"
Adam demonstrating the fist pounding.
Adam continuing with the instructions.."Pound your fists three times (as he proceeded to count it for us) and then we all take the shot"
Me looking totally not excited.
And my favorite of them all...after all Adam's instructions, he hit the table too early and his shot glass fell in too early.  I, on the other hand, listened carefully and followed instructions.  So me and Mandy are laughing our butts off at him.

So you all know, I did take the shot...but that's a boring picture so I won't post it.  Just thought we got some good expressions in these pictures.

Outside of the week of Birthday celebrations, we finished up spring cleaning for the most part and FINALLY hung some of that wall art I talked about before.  Here's how they turned out.

The big empty space on our wall finally has some color.  I decided to use the stencil on a few tall canvases so it would take up a good chunk of the bare space.  For paint, I just use wall samples from the local paint store, that way I have tons to choose form and their only $3 a bottle. So it took $9 for the paint on this project.
Love waking up to some color finally.  According to my recent Real Simple magazine, seeing bright colors in the morning helps you wake up quicker.  I don't think it's helped either of us yet, but I can only hope it will soon.
And here is the new framed art in the dining room.  I found a gold linen fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought a sample bottle of a purply-gray Benjamin Moore wall paint, and this is what we got.

I also found some very cute Spring plates from Crate and Barrel and hung them above our laundry room doors.  The plan is to change out the plates every season....I have some great new Xmas plates that will fit in perfectly!
 And over the weekend we welcomed a new garage guest:
Adam's canoe.  I'm suprised he even found space for it.  Our garage is still on our Spring Cleaning to do list.  It seems like a never ending process.  But, back to the canoe.  Adam's been secretly planning to get one for longer than I think I even realize.  He made me go out and sit in it with him to "try it out" in the backyard, while he swore to me that our dog, Charlotte, could ride with us.  But, based on her track record with bikes and feeling the need to jump out of her basket mid-ride....I'm not quite sure bringing a 12lb dog that's never been dropped into open water before on a canoe trip.  Plus, it's not like she'll sit quietly as we glide along.  She'll be jumping around, trying to look over the sides and I'll be nervous the whole time that she'll dive out.  Anyway, this is the new adventure for us this year, canoe rides on the weekends.

The wine class continues.  The last two weeks we tasted wines from Argentina/ Chile and Australia/ Tasmania.  I didn't take pictures, so I'll just recap what we tasted:
-A Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
- A Sancerre (French Sauv Blanc for comparison)
- A Carmenere from Chile
- A Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
- A Torrontes from Argentina
- A Malbec from Argentina

This region is probably most well known for it's Malbec, a wine that's gained a lot of popularity in the last few years.  And I do enjoy a glass of this wine, but honestly I enjoyed the Torrontes in this class.  It's  a white wine that is considered Argentina's flagship white wine.  It's very aromatic and has a high alcohol content.

- A Riesling from the Eden or Clare Valley
- A Semillon or Semillon blend
- An oaked Chardonnay from any region (we chose California)
- A Shiraz from Western Australia
- A Rhone Valley Syrah
-A Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawara

Before these classes began, Australian Shiraz was always my go to wine.  Until I got to this lesson I didn't realize how big, juicy and inky this wine is.  Honestly, I preferred the Rhone Syrah over the Australian Shiraz- to me it just had a more calm, balance taste to it, not quite as overpowering as the Shiraz.  It's still something that you should all try, actually the majority of our group preferred the Austrailian Shiraz.  Outside of that, I really liked the Riesling.  It's surprisingly not really sweet.  It reminded me more of a Sauv Blanc.  But it's very aromatic and fruity.

Tomorrow we will be wrapping up our final three classes- that's right 3 in one night!  Luckily only 2 of them require wine, and there are going to be 10 of us.  We'll be tasting New Zealand and South African wine, as well as learning more about pairing wines with food- what we've all been waiting for!  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baby Nesting Cubes

I wanted to share pictures of the baby nesting cubes I made for one of our friends.  They were so fun to make.  I loved finding all the colorful, patterned fabric for baby.


Thanks to everyone for all the Birthday wishes that came my way today through phone call, text, Facebook,  email, card...whatever way they came to me, I feel so blessed to have such amazing family and friends!  This has been such a great year, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

I'll warn you, this by no means was a well documented year.  I've never been the girl to bring her camera in her purse everywhere and snap pictures left and right, heck I didn't even have a small enough camera until a few weeks ago.  So, my hope is that next year will be one full of fun pictures to prove that I actually did all these great things, but for now I may have to fudge and insert other pictures that give you the idea! :)

Adam and I celebrated our 2nd Anniversary at our traditional Anniversary getaway spot- Glenwood Springs, CO.  This year we stayed at a B&B, sat in the steam caves and took Mineral Baths at the spa.  

Had all kinds of visitors.  My Dad, Stepmom and Brother, Slater, all made it out to see our new house and we made a trip together up to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Adam's parents came and stayed nearby in Evergreen, CO for almost a month!  And of course my Mom and family came out in July for a wedding/ family reunion (below).

My Cousin Whitney got married!  It was a gorgeous wedding on the CSU campus in Fort Collins, CO.  And nearly the whole family made it out to celebrate!  This is a pretty big deal when you have 8 aunts and uncles just on one side of your family, along with lots of cousins!
Now, can you really blame me for not taking a lot of pictures when we were tearing up the dancefloor all night?!

We traveled to Minneapolis (my first time) for Adam's friend,  Alex's, wedding.  It was such a fun weekend in downtown Minneapolis, and we're looking forward to returning this fall AND next spring for two more weddings!

We designed and remodeled our first kitchen!
Brunette Besties Reunion in Chicago!  Jessica finally returned from Japan and we all met up for a girls weekend in Chicago!  I <3 the Brunette Trifecta!  And this picture is from before Adam and I even got married......see I'm really bad.
We took our first Spring Trip since College!  And my first trip back to my Grandparents house in FL since High School!  We also both changed jobs this year.  My new job at The Denver Foundation allows me to do work I'm really interested in and have a much better work/life balance.
Did my first cleanse!
Took a wine class and drank LOTS of new wines!
Celebrated by "Dogter's" 3rd Birthday in December...that's 21 in dog years people!  She's gonna be older than me by year end!

And of course we traveled home to celebrate Christmas with our Family's in MO...but again no pictures.  

It's been a year for the record books, and I'm so glad I've been able to share it with all my family and friends- new or old.  We are so blessed to have found such great new friends here in our new Denver home. (Another thing that deserves pictures, but I'm trying to wrap this up to get out of here for my Birthday dinner)  Thanks to everyone who helped this year be such a great one!  Love you all!  XOXOXO

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

California, Washington and Oregon Wine Classes

This weekend we doubled up on wine classes, and tasted wines from Cali, Washington and Oregon.
I've decided that I'm more of a fan of New World wines than Old World.  These were my favorites yet.

This is most of the wines we tried.  There were four more that didn't make the picture.

We tried:

Cali Merlot
Sonoma Pinot Noir
Cali Red Zinfandel
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Left Bank Bordeaux (French Cab used to compare)
Cali Chardonnay
Oregon Pinot Gris
Italian Pinot Grigio
Oregon Pinot Noir
Washington Merlot
Washington Syrah

The Washington Syrah was my favorite, but I'm a Syrah girl and it's hard for me not to like any Syrah I try.  The Zinfandel was also great, I love the juicy, and simple flavor.  Washington is known mostly for their Merlot, and although I'm not a big Merlot fan, this one was great- far better than Cali's in my opinion.  

Our wonderful hosts had so much great food for us.  I hovered over this table a lot.

And this cake!  Candi just whipped this up before we all arrived.  She put Adam and I's wine night snacks to shame. 

An good movie to watch for those of you interested in the history of winemaking in California- which only began 35 years ago- you should check out "Bottle Shock."  This movie by no means deserves any awards, the acting is nothing to write home about, but it tells a great story.

Hello April!

One of my favorite months!  I think it's the switch to warmer weather and seeing all the flowers bloom, or maybe it's just because it's my Birthday month.  Either, way I'm so glad it's here.

Adam and I have been busy lately and have so much to share.

FLORIDA: Our long weekend to Florida to visit my grandparents was absolutely perfect.  We had time to relax, enjoy the wonderful weather (no rain while we were there) and eats LOTS of great seafood.  Adam was able to fish, golf and hit the beach; and I was able to read, relax and catch up with my Grandma.

My Grandpa kept up with us the whole time, as usual.  We helped him buy a camera and taught him how to use it with his computer.  He's taking computer classes now, and talked about them the whole time- how cute is that? 

We were able to go out on my Grandparent's friends Troller our last day there.  It was so relaxing and a gorgeous day to be on the water.

Such a great trip and we're so lucky to have family that lives in such a great vacation spot.

Our Backyard:  Landscaping is our big project this summer.  Last night it looked like this:

And when I got home from work, it looked like this:

FINALLY, we were able to open up the yard by removing a tree that took up good space, and now it will be more open and grass will grow MUCH better.  Stump to be removed tomorrow.

 Adam was so worried they would cut the wrong one down.

I don't think Charlotte noticed the change, but she did enjoy playing in the left over woodchips.

So far April's been a great month!