5 Weekend Highlights

This weekend started off well because a few dresses I ordered from Lulu*s came. I love this site. They have absolutely adorable clothes and the prices are reasonable. Of course, I will have to plan a Vegas trip now because these dresses are a bit too short for anywhere in Denver!

On Sunday afternoon, Luke and I drove down to Colorado Springs to the Broadmoor for lunch. The hotel is gorgeous and so much fun to walk around, and our lunch was delicious. I’m always surprised at how quick the drive to Colorado Springs is. Hopefully we’ll be visiting again soon because there are so many sites to see down there.

On Sunday night we had my uncle over for dinner, and I made this pear, bleu cheese, walnut salad, this pork tenderloin and mashed potatoes. I also made my super easy bruschetta recipe, which I will have to post sometime. Everything turned out pretty well, especially the special Easter themed dessert I made, which I will share soon.

I spent some time downloading new music from iTunes to help me get back into my workout routine. Excited to begin that tomorrow.

Also on the subject of music, Luke and I have been wanting to go to a concert for a while. I saw that Drake is coming to town in May, and we’ve decided to buy tickets to see him. I haven’t been to a concert in years, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Our Chrismas

This Christmas will be the 5th that Luke and I are together for… or I suppose I should say, in a relationship for. You see, in 5 years, we have never spent Christmas Day together. People have always thought this was kind of weird, and maybe it is, but to me it’s a testament to how dedicated we each are to our own families… and what we will eventually bring together to make our family someday. We both come from families with very time-honored traditions. Neither of us grew up going to Cabo one year, staying home the next, visiting family in Chicago another, we always had Christmas at home with our entire families, doing the same things each year. So, neither of us feels quite ready to sacrifice that special time, yet.

To make up for being apart for the big holiday, which is difficult, though we both know we are where we should be, we have a tradition of having our own Christmas before we part. And tonight, we are celebrating it before Luke flies home to California tomorrow. I make a big, fancy dinner, we open our gifts, and then eat dessert while watching a Christmas movie. It’s become something very special to us.

Tonight I will be making pork tenderloin in a pear cream sauce, risotto and a caesar salad. Depending on how they turn out, I will be sure to share the recipe. Also, if you know of any good cocktails requiring peach schnapps, let me know. I had to buy a whole bottle (isn’t it pretty?) and will only use a little bit tonight.

Updating Traditions

Every year during Christmas time, Luke and I would drive down to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and spend a day Christmas shopping. We would shop for our families and friends, as well as pick out gifts for each other. It became a fun tradition, and was nice because as I so cornily say, it’s about the memories, not just the gifts. Amid our crazy day of shopping, we would also visit Lawry’s Carvery for a decadent lunch with wine.

Now that we live in Denver, it’s time to make a new, similar tradition. So today, after brunch at my parents’ home, we’re driving down to Cherry Creek Mall to select our gifts for each other and finish our shopping and have a delicious late lunch at the Cherry Creek Grill (where I will still be able to get my traditional Christmas shopping lunch, a Prime Rib Sandwich). Now if only I could decide what I want this year…

Luke enjoying the wine and waiting for our lunch

I Did it Again…

With all of the business of the start of the holiday season, and some major procrastination, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on.

Thanksgiving: Even when I was in school, I never appreciated how great of a holiday Thanksgiving is. Purely from a “real world” perspective, it’s great because you get an automatic 4-day weekend, unlike any of the other holidays. Having 4 days off from work and staying in one place, rather than traveling, was just what I needed this year. I got to see my friends who came to town, spend a lot of time with family, relax with Luke and just decompress before the craziness that will be the next 24 days.

Tree Cutting: Every year my family goes up to the mountains to cut down our trees for Christmas. Over the years our group has altered and changed based on traveling and other plans, but some group of us goes up the Friday after Thanksgiving. This marked Luke’s first tree cutting experience, and we had a great time. We were able to find full(ish) trees for everyone, had a nice time walking around in the woods and then had a good lunch. Luke was worried about what kind of tree we would find for our place (he’s used to perfect tree lot trees) but after some searching we found ours.

Nebraska: Earlier this week I went on a whirlwind 22 hour trip to Lincoln for the Wake Forest/Nebraska game. My cousin Dan is an assistant coach at Wake, and when I heard he was playing a game west of the Mississippi, I knew I had to go. My mom, dad, uncle and I flew out to Omaha and drove to Lincoln and had a great time at the game — they won! — and got to spend a bit of time with Dan. I’m hoping to make it out to Winston-Salem for a home game in January.

December: I am so stoked for this month! There are a lot of exciting things going on, in addition to the usual Christmas festivities, and I am so excited for it all.


I always look forward to having people visit us in Denver, especially people who have never been before or haven’t spent much time here. Luke’s sister is coming to visit this weekend, and I’m excited for her to see our place and to show her around. We don’t have anything specific planned (very unlike me) but will go with the flow and see what kinds of things she wants to do.

One place that’s definitely on the list? My uncle’s restaurant.

Exploring Colorado: Hike to Hanging Lake

On a trip to Glenwood Springs for my 25th birthday, Luke and I hiked to Hanging Lake to see one of the most well-known spots in Colorado. We had to wait for about 10 minutes after exiting the highway for a parking spot, but once we got on the trail it wasn’t too congested. The hike was a bit challenging, but the end result was definitely worth it!


Visit allaspen.com for a helpful resource on hiking to Hanging Lake.




A lot has been going on lately, so I figured I would do one long post with quick info about everything.

9/11: Still can’t believe this year marked the 10th anniversary. I remember that day and the following weeks so well. As he does every year, my uncle had a donation only day at his restaurant. I volunteered all day and it was such a great experience. We raised over $100,000 this year, all going to the non-profit he created for my aunt, the JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation.


Missoni for Target: As I blogged about here, Target debuted their Missoni line last Tuesday. I woke up a bit earlier than usual and arrived at Target at about 7:50. I was the first one there, but at about 5 ’til, other cars pulled up. When the doors opened at 8am, we went in and it was all pretty civilized. I picked up everything I liked and made my way through all of the various departments.

My mom came to meet me at about 8:30 and helped me go through the things I’d selected. I tried not to hoard and put things back on the shelf as soon as I knew I didn’t want them. I was lucky, and ended up getting everything I had my eye on expect for the bikini (online only and the website crashed) and the clutch, because they didn’t have it at my store. I got a few clothing items but mostly decor for the apartment. There was a woman who I was walking around with for a while who had two carts. The guy at the checkout told me that her total came to $2600. Unreal.


A new tradition: Luke and I have started a new thing, and we’ve done it the past 3 out of 4 weeks. On Saturdays we go to 5:30 Mass and then out to dinner. It has kind of turned into our “date night.” Might sound like something we’d do in our 50’s, not our 20’s, but we both really enjoy it and I think it’s bringing us closer.


A perfect day: Last Sunday was as near to a perfect day as I’ve had lately. We woke up and had breakfast and watched some of our favorite shows on Hulu. Then we left to drive down to the Rockies game, where we were planning to buy really cheap tickets. As we’re downtown looking for parking, my uncle calls and says that he has two awesome tickets for us behind the dugout. Since we were already tbere, we had to turn him down, which was a shame. As we were at the ticket window discussing what to do, a young couple comes up and offers us their two extra tickets FREE! We were so excited, the tickets were awesome for being free, 28 rows behind the opposing dugout, and were in the shade.

When we sat down and thanked the couple again, they said they were just glad to give the tickets to Rockies fans (I was wearing my Todd Helton t-shirt). Of course, we didn’t tell them that Luke is in fact a Giants fan, and he kept his cheering to a minimum! After the game, we stopped at Jackson’s to have a drink and watch the end of the Bronco game before heading back to the car. On our way home we stopped at Pinkberry, which I haven’t had since my LA trip in May, and at the grocery store. For dinner I made this delicious Goat Cheese Risotto recipe. Quite a nice and relaxing Sunday!


Next trip: I’ve been suffering from a bit of insomnia as I have fully started planning the next big trip that Luke and I will be taking. Once I began researching and pricing out itineraries, I wanted to do all of it and spent quite a bit of time pouring over brochures, websites and travel boards. I think this trip will be awesome! I’m hoping that we will book in the next week or two!

Ready for our next adventure!


Mexico 2012: When she was home this past weekend, my friend Katie brought up our annual spring trip to Mexico! Yay! I looked into flights just for the heck of it, and they are around $500, 6 months ahead of departure! What is up with that? Here’s hoping they go lower, because I can’t imagine missing out on this:

The Big 2-5

I turned 25 two weeks ago and wanted to make it a great birthday so that I wouldn’t be too upset about the getting older part. It went really well, and ended being one of my best birthdays yet!

Luke and I hiked to Hanging Lake (more about this later!)

We spent a night at the world-famous Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs (we also went white-water rafting the next day, but I don’t have a pic)

Went for a late-night swim in the Glenwood Hot Springs after a great dinner in town

Arrived home to find birthday gifts from my mom

Celebrated at a wonderful seafood dinner with the fam

Met up with a bunch of good friends at the Tavern!

Such a great weekend! And now I’m excited for what 25 will bring!

Exploring Colorado: Lake Isabelle

Denver’s premier magazine 5280 did a great story in their June issue highlighting some of Colorado’s gorgeous alpine lakes. Some are remote or a far drive, but one Sunday in late July Luke and I decided to venture to one of the closer ones, Lake Isabelle, which is located in the Indian Peaks trailhead area of the Roosevelt National Forest. The hike was relatively easy until the last 1/4 mile or so, and we both agreed that time and effort was worth it once we reached the lake.

Long Lake, at the base of the Lake Isabelle trail

Gorgeous Lake Isabelle

It was really neat seeing snow in the summer, especially after nearly 8 years of living in California. Last weekend we crossed another lake off the list, Hanging Lake, and over time we hope to hike to all seven on the lakes mentioned in the article.