vitadventure

Vitality, Adventure, Yoga and Fun!


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Blogger Fail

Blogger Fail.

That is all.

It has been two weeks since my last confession post.

Oh boy, still can’t get the Catholic guilt out of the girl.

WTF happened to Vitadventure? I have asked myself that numerous times over the last two weeks. I had been going strong. I was all about my cleanse, I had some momentum going…. and then….nothing.

Well, I’ve decided to catch you all up in pictures.

After two weeks out of my three week cleanse, this happened on a Friday night:

I'm human. I like wine.

I’m human. I like wine.

I made it a full 12 out of 21 days on my cleanse before I succumbed to this perfection in a glass. Was it worth it? Yes. I guess you could say I slipped. I didn’t officially “finish” my cleanse, because after that glass of wine, the rest of the weekend and the remaining last week of cleansing entailed some food truck festival and camping fun.

Love Denver Festivals!

Love Denver Festivals!

Boys will be boys

Boys will be boys

Said weekend also involved biking to City Park Jazz in Denver… while I stayed gluten-free and vegan, there was wine…and biking…well, not at the same time.

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After my weekend of non-cleanse worthy fun, I hit the reset button for another 5 days- this meant green juice, vegan and plant-based deliciousness, seltzer instead of wine, lots of yoga, dry brushing, neti-potting and meditating. I didn’t beat myself up too much about my “lapse of judgement”. Because as Kris Carr states in her plant-powered cookbook “Crazy Sexy Kitchen“:

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If the worst thing I did during my cleanse was drink some wine and have one latte (which, actually, the latte made me feel worse than the wine did! Score!), then I can easily forgive myself and get back on the train. I pretty much ended my cleanse early and took some valuable lessons from it… which I will share in another post to come soon.

So- that said, where else have I been- when I haven’t been reading or cleansing? Well, after my 21 12 day cleanse, the husband and I went camping for a weekend. We did a deliciously challenging 5 mile hike with Gus to start the trip off.

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Campsite

Campsite

Too much hiking for Gus

Too much hiking for Gus

Sage Brush Field next to the Campsite

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Yoga Time-

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Lovebirds

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Campsite Serenity

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Yes, while I brought some wine camping, I also brought a shit-ton of kale

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I was pretty proud of my vegan, plant powered campsite dinner. All you need is a camp stove and some veggies and pasta and you’ve got yourself a date with nature.

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So that’s where I’ve been the last two weeks. Camping, (semi-)cleansing, reading, hiking, planning our October trip to Italy (OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG! more to come on that too!!!), taking an Italian class, yoga-ing like crazy, teaching yoga (I had 17 students in my last class- people, this is a huge deal!)… oh, and my full time job… whaaaa? Oh, and in between it all, figuring out what the hell to do with all of the veggies that my lovely neighbor has been leaving us…

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I’ll give you one guess- most of this shit has ended up in my juicer. I’m an addict.

So that’s the LONG story in one post. This week, I plan to give you all my thoughts on my Adventure Cleanse, what I’d like to take from it, and what I’d like to leave behind… as well as some other interesting musings on current events…so stay tuned… I promise, there’s more to come- and it will happen in less than two weeks….

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Sun Valley Fun Part 1

OK people- I’m on Day Four of the Adventure Cleanse- so far, so good! Yesterday was a little rocky, the first real cravings I had for a latte, a glass of red wine and a cupcake (which was random, since cupcakes aren’t a usual for me, but whatever)- yesterday was also the day that I had some fatigue, headaches and brain fog, but when I checked my Crazy Sexy Cleanse “handbook”, that was normal and expected for Day Three. But honestly, it was nothing too unbearable and overall, I’m feeling pretty good. More to come on that soon!

So- as promised- a recap of our trip to Sun Valley last weekend for our friends Allison and Phil’s wedding. After Tim, my friend Ashley and I all flew into Boise and made the LOOONNNG drive to Sun Valley (OK, it was only 2.5 hours, but there wasn’t much to look at during that drive…Case in point:

Ah, Idaho

Ah, Idaho

Also, here was a screen pic of the random Internet searches arising from random Idaho road trip conversations. Again, there wasn’t much to talk about and we were pretty desperate.

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But we finally made it to our first destination, Craters of the Moon National Park. Some friends had recommended we go there, and it was supposed to be a pretty amazing topography from ancient volcanic activity….But alas, yeah, we weren’t too overly impressed.

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My husband being a dork

My husband being a dork

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We did get to check out some pretty cool caves in the park, and I had to take the opportunity to bust out some side crow.

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We spent about an hour in the park and that was enough to have our fill. We headed to Sun Valley immediately, checked into our hotel and set out to explore town and have a nice dinner. We loved walking around Sun Valley, your typical western Mountain town.

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There were so many lovely restaurants with enticing menus to choose from, but we ended up at Cava Cava. It was a gorgeous little Italian restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed our meals and the ambience.

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Rose and sunflowers- do you need anything else?

Rose and sunflowers- do you need anything else?

Avocado and watermelon gazpacho- looks like pea soup, but was insanely delicious

Avocado and watermelon gazpacho- looks like pea soup, but was insanely delicious

Veggie pizza sans cheese

Veggie pizza sans cheese

I love arugula on pizza!

I love arugula on pizza!

We may have enjoyed a few more cocktails Friday evening, and then hit the hay. We awoke Saturday morning and decided to rent bikes and check out the bike path in Sun Valley. In other random Idaho trip events, we ran into Arnold Schwazenegger at the same bike shop doing the exact same thing. Weird. He took off his sunglasses and I said to Ashley, “Is that Arnold?”. Yes, it was. Sorry folks, no photo opportunity.

No Arnold- just bikes

No Arnold- just bikes

Bikes with beer and wine carriers

Bikes with beer and wine carriers

Me wanty

Me wanty

We did a lovely 12 mile ride and enjoyed the scenery.

Sun Valley Bike Path Beauty

Sun Valley Bike Path Beauty

Random art along the bike path

Random art along the bike path

By the time we got back from our ride, it was time to get ready for the wedding….. pics and a recap coming soon!

Happy Almost Friday!


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Steamboat Fun Part 2

Alright- picking up from where we left off….

After a morning of hiking in Steamboat and lunch at Sweet Pea’s, we walked around town for awhile and did some shopping.

One of my favorite bookstores of all time!

One of my favorite bookstores of all time!

I encountered the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant.

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Ok, I don’t know if it is the World’s Largest Hydrant, I’m sure it’s not, but I was impressed!

After some money was sufficiently spent, we headed to our hotel on the mountain, The Steamboat Grand.

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Frankly, I’m not including a link here because I didn’t think it was all that “grand” and I wouldn’t waste your money. We’ve stayed at the Sheraton Steamboat before which is across the street and lovelier (in my opinion).

Overall I thought the Grand was a pretty expensive hotel for being the off-season and I found it pretty outdated- but luckily, we didn’t spend too much time there. We did pay for location, however, so I guess I can rationalize that.

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After checking in, we promptly went to the pool for some R&R.

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Catching up on my mags

Catching up on my mags

Unfortunately, the pool area was swarming with screaming jovial children- swarming to the point where it was extremely difficult to relax or hear each other- and every ounce of my being was cringing (hey, not all women yoga teachers love children, but that’s another post for another day)- my husband and I don’t have kids and aren’t used to being around them, so we decided to move on to a Happy Hour snack at the hotel bar.

Roasted chick peas with cayenne, lime and sea salt

Roasted chick peas with cayenne, lime and sea salt

The Steamboat Grand does get an A+ for having vegetarian-friendly bar apps!

Later in the afternoon, we took another stroll around the ski village before getting ready for dinner.

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Now dinner was a whole other story. We had dinner reservations at Cafe Diva (www.cafediva.com) We hadn’t been there in over 7 years, since our last trip to Steamboat, but I remembered it being elegant, unique and vegetarian-friendly.

Well, I shall make this short. It was, by far, the best meal I have EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. In fact, there are NO pictures of this experience because Tim and I were both enjoying ourselves SO MUCH that I couldn’t be bothered to take out my phone and snap away. It was THAT GOOD. You know it’s a grand meal when you don’t want any distractions from your taste buds.

We had exceptional service, exceptional Pinot Noir, and exceptional food from their summer menu. At Cafe Diva, they start you with some exceptional french bread, warm extra virgin olive oil with herbs, and Spanish olives. Usually all three of those in high-quality form is enough to make me happy. We also noshed on the corn falafel pockets, avocado watermelon green gazpacho and a Fattoush salad. I thought it was a bit risky, choosing the Fattoush salad, seeing as I’m Lebanese and a bit biased, but turns out the chef also comes from a Lebanese salad and let me just say, she NAILED IT. Even my grandmother would have been impressed. Tim also got the duck which was “oooohhhhhmmmmmmgggooooodd” (his words).

Overall, if you are ever in Steamboat Springs, you must call Cafe Diva, make a reservation and treat yourselves. You cannot go wrong.

The next day, we woke up STILL talking about the previous evening’s dinner and decided to hit the Yampa Core Bike Trail to work off the glorious indulgences of yesterday.

The Yampa Core Bike Trail is pretty much a 7 mile bike trail (one way, we doubled back to add more mileage) along the Yampa River. It’s an easy, relaxing ride and a popular route without too many hills, so it’s perfect for a Sunday “tootle”.

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The paved trail crosses over bridges, where you can get a view of the tubers going down the river, and past the botanical gardens before bringing you into downtown- where, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that we ended up back at Sweet Pea for one last lunch before hitting the road back to Denver.

Overall, it was a glorious weekend in Steamboat that included all our requirements for weekend/vacation fun: good food, great activities, and just a bit of R&R. Of course, we did hit some gnarly weather on the drive back, as well as horrific traffic, but hey, it was worth it.

Hail!

Hail!


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Steamboat Fun Part 1

Hey there and happy Sunday.
Oh lordy, where do I begin? I have an hour to kill before the season premiere of “Dexter” (any other Dexter fans out there?) so truly, where do I begin?

We are back from our fantastic adventure in Steamboat Springs. We hadn’t been to Steamboat in over 7 years so it was a long overdue trip.

We left early Saturday morning and it took us about 2.5 hours to get there ( it should take 3 minimum if there’s no traffic, but I was driving and eh, I’m a bit of a heavy foot). We rolled into town greeted by this lovely view.

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Not bad.

We drove immediately to the trailhead of Fish Creek Falls, a popular Steamboat destination. There is a short 1/4 mile hike down to the falls that is pretty much a tourist attraction (and therefore, usually would be a deterrent for us, as we prefer things off the beaten path)- HOWEVER, I had done some research and knew that there was another hike just past the lower falls that climbs 2,000 feet in elevation to the Upper Fish Creek Falls and knew that it would not be busy due to the difficulty of the hike. So we pushed past the crowds and began our ascent.

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Lower Fish Creek Falls

Lower Fish Creek Falls

After a nice photo op at Lower Fish Creek Falls, we began a pretty strenuous 2 mile ascent up. We were, however, rewarded for our efforts with glorious shade for most of the hike, wildflowers and a stunning view from the top.

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Almost to the top

Almost to the top

Wildflowers Galore

Wildflowers Galore

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Finally, about an hour into the hike, we made it!

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Glorious views from the top

Glorious views from the top

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Cooling Off with the waterfall spray

Cooling Off with the waterfall spray

We spent about 10 minutes at the top just enjoying the views before we headed back down- oh, glorious DOWN!

All in all, the hike was around 5 miles and we did it under two hours- pretty average when you include stops, elevation gain, and the heat. Of course, we were starving when we reached the car and immediately headed into downtown Steamboat Springs for lunch at Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant.

I had found Sweet Pea after doing a Yelp search for “Steamboat Vegetarian” (what did we do without Yelp?) and I’m glad I didn’t let a few of the “poor service” reviews deter me. Yes, they were busy and yes, service was a little slow, but I’d gladly wait for the deliciousness that was Sweet Pea.

At first, glance, it looks like a little market with some locally grown produce, honey, lavender and other herbs.

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Combining beer advertising and basil- LOVE

Combining beer advertising and basil- LOVE

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Such Farmer’s Market Fun! But an even better surprise happened when we walked around the corner and found a back patio on the Yampa River with beautiful outdoor dining.

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We grabbed a table in the shade and reviewed the menu. I was in heaven looking at the salad entrees.

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What to choose? I ended up with the Trifecta salad- basically I opted for a sampling of all three- I ordered the kale and quinoa, snap pea and the olive and cucumber with local feta and yogurt dressing.

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It. Was. Divine.

Tim opted for the Brie and Bacon on whole grain with a side of garlic fries (of which I helped myself to!)

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We toasted to our hard hike with some champagne, noshed on our lunch and watched people tubing down the river. It was absolutely lovely….

And this seems a perfect place to end tonight’s post…. With a full belly and aching quads…. More to come on the rest of our trip tomorrow!


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Weekend in Pics

First of all, Happy Father’s Day!

Dad and I on the Cape of Good Hope- South Africa- 2012

Dad and I on the Cape of Good Hope- South Africa- 2012

Today we celebrated our dads. My Dad, in fact, kicks some serious ass. He’s a brilliant horticulturalist who has taught me, from day one of my life, to follow my passion and follow my bliss. If you look up “passion-follower” in the dictionary (does that word even exist?), you’ll see this man:

Dad and I in the early 80s- he hasn't changed a bit- but I (and my teeth and hair color) have!

Dad and I in the early 80s- he hasn’t changed a bit- but I (and my teeth and hair color) have!

My father is passionate about nature, about botany, about vegetable gardening and fruit trees. He has embodied the very essence of the life I would like to cultivate for myself- a life based on what makes me tick. My father has taught me that life is too important to just walk through it without direction or purpose- that we all need to find what feeds our interest, our souls, and go forth and leap into that. And for that I am forever grateful to him.

Of course, my father is halfway across the country in western Massachusetts, and I am here in Denver. So alas, while I would have loved to celebrate with him this weekend, I had to make do with my husband and dog. Le sigh. T’was a difficult weekend…..

Saturday we drove north to Fort Collins and hit up a beautiful 13 mile bike ride along the Poudre River. We do this ride once a year and it’s always a winner.

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Along with our annual bike ride tradition, we also follow up said ride with a stop at Coopersmith’s Pub. I got the garden salad, which is more than a typical “garden salad” of boring iceberg lettuce and croutons. This bad boy has mixed greens, sprouts, garbanzo beans, red onion, cucumber and carrots. I always ask them to hold the hard boiled eggs- growing up on a farm with my mom’s chickens has made me a complete snob- in fact, I rarely eat eggs- maybe once or twice a year, and only if I’m back home on the farm.

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In other weekend news, my hair was a COMPLETE mess after wearing a bike helmet in hot weather for an hour and a half. I happened to get bored creative on the drive home and decided to give myself a comical mohawk. At first it was just a joke. Then I was like, “wait, this isn’t that funny, I kinda like this.” And then I thought again and reminded myself I’m 33, not 23. Thoughts?

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We wrapped up Saturday with an evening grilling pizza and playing bocce with some friends. Score!

On Sunday, I hit up a Yoga Sculpt class (our teacher Ben had made an entire playlist by the Rolling Stones in honor of his late father- also awesome!) and we did some necessary household chores. We wrapped up the day with (vegan) sushi and another round of bocce with our friend Dave.

Gus loves Bocce

Gus loves Bocce

We also enjoyed a lovely tour of our new next door neighbor’s vegetable garden. It was a good call moving next door to a vegetable gardener. Once a week, I come home to a bag of homegrown greens on my doorstep. And tonight, we reaped the benefits of his labor.

Home grown radishes!

Home grown radishes!

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. High five to all the Dads out there- you’re awesome!


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Yoga Update: aka “Meh….Yoga”

I hope you all had a great weekend. We wrapped up our Sunday by attending City Park Jazz. Every Sunday night in Denver, there is a free jazz concert in City Park. Granted, this was A LOT more fun 10 years ago when I was young and could handle multiple bottles of wine, dancing, picnicing and overall Sunday merriment. I find that now I’m the ripe ol’ age of 33, I usually need my Sunday nights to chill out before the beginning of the work week. It’s either “too hot”, “too far” (not- it is literally a 20 minute bike ride away), “too crowded”, or I’m “too tired”.

Seriously? “Too crowded”? When did I get THAT old? But that said, I sucked it up yesterday and Tim and I biked over with some Pinot Noir and Whole Foods sandwiches strapped to our bikes and enjoyed a nice picnic with some friends. Of course, in typical Old Married Couple style, we only stayed for an hour before we deemed it “too hot” and ourselves “too tired”. But it was a lovely hour, so A for Effort.

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In other news, I thought I’d share an update on what’s happening in my yoga world.

I am teaching yoga at work on Fridays, which I can say I am LOVING. Now that the pressure of teacher training and HAVING to teach is worn off, I can just enjoy teaching for the sake of sharing yoga with our patients. I am actually having FUN teaching them, and I find it interesting that while I was in YTT, I didn’t actually look forward to teaching, nor did I actually ENJOY teaching. I’m not sure if that was just a result of the stress of feeling that I “had to” or what…. but regardless, it’s nice to do it for the sheer fun and enjoyment of sharing the benefits of yoga with our patients.

Unfortunately, at the same time, I’ve felt a little lackluster (ie: “meh”) about my own asana practice. This is a bizarre feeling- I have been a rabid yogini with a ferocious appetite for yoga for years- practicing daily and getting bitchy when I don’t get my asana in. However, upon completion of YTT, I was just a bit sick of yoga. I needed a yoga break. I didn’t want to do one more freakin sun salutation. I was over it.

That was just over a month ago, and I’m still feeling pretty “meh” about my own practice. I actually cancelled my monthly membership to my yoga studio because I just wasn’t going all that often. #yogiguilt

I am hoping that some of this “meh” can be attributed to the arrival of summer. I’d simply prefer to be outside- walking, running, hiking, biking, etc and enjoying all the outdoor beauty that Colorado has to offer. It’s a hard time of year to stay inside, especially in Denver.

They say (not sure who “they” are, but they apparently do say) that if you’re feeling uninspired with your yoga practice, switch things up. So I’ve been connecting more with a personal home practice. After a morning jog or afternoon bike ride, I enjoy a more yin-like 30 minute home practice to stretch and balance my more vigorous cardio exercise. I’m also going to give a few Yoga Sculpt classes a shot. I went to one on Sunday morning and was pleasantly surprised. I’m not usually a “yoga sculpt kind-of girl”, as it reminds me too much of the gym- but this particular teacher and this particular class was just enough of a combo of a great workout with a “yoga benefit” that I think I’ll give it a whirl.

So I’m struggling a bit with feeling like a yoga teacher fail. I’m supposed to be hopelessly devoted to my yoga practice, right? How can I be a yoga teacher when I don’t really want to practice 7 days a week, for 90 minutes? At least, that is what I thought I’d be doing post-training.

Then again, after everything I’ve learned from YTT, asana is just one small part of yoga. And right now, in the spirit of listening to my body, I’m honoring what it needs- a break, and a temporary change of pace.


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Birthday Fun

Oh Dear.
It’s been too long again. Over a full two weeks since my last post.

I can’t help it- I’ve just been too darn busy having fun. Well, that’s not entirely true- work has made me a stressed-out hot mess, but when I haven’t been working, I’m just having too much darn fun to take the time to post.

But I’m back and I’m making a commitment to get back on a regular posting schedule. You have my word, Vitadventure, you have my word.

So to catch up on the happenings in my world, last weekend I celebrated my 33 birthday. I feel like I should make some joke about, “Oh, look, I turned 25 again!” but frankly, I am loving my life right now and embracing the 30s. You couldn’t pay me to go back to my 20s. Someone once told me that the 30s were the time when all the insecurities of your 20s are gone and you just ARE who you ARE and it’s fabulous…. and so far, I agree.

Last weekend, my cousin Amanda came to Denver from Cape Cod to visit me for all the birthday festivities. Amanda is like a sister to me, and it was super special that she took time away from her two children and husband to hang out in Colorado for the weekend.

I tried to squeeze in as much “Typical Denver” as I could for her visit. I wanted her to experience what we usually do on weekends, so our days were pretty jam packed.

WE ATE:

I took her to True Food Kitchen, because you all know how much I love that place, and we noshed on some INSANE edamame dumplings.

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We also biked to Watercourse Foods for lunch one day. I figured a trip to Denver wasn’t complete without a visit to this vegetarian/vegan cafe. I got my usual, a frisee and grapefruit salad with herbed seitan, arugula, carrots and red onion- and, as usual, it was divine.

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We also took her to Margs Taco Bistro in Cherry Creek. What I love about Margs is that it’s pretty friendly to all types of eaters. I can order tofu tacos and a huge arugula salad, and my compadres can order their own gluten-free, paleo, omnivorish concotion as well. Add tequila and everyone is happy!

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In other food news, we hosted a birthday BBQ one night.

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We grilled out, played bocce and had a grand old time. I made this vegetarian, gluten-free sweet potato salad, which was a hit and a breeze to make. I also served up Angela’s vegan, gluten free, no bake chocolate torte for dessert.

People, do yourselves a favor. Run, don’t walk, to the grocery store to get the ingredients and make this piece of HEAVEN. It was to die for and frankly, may become a weekly staple in my house.

And when we weren’t eating….
WE MOVED:

We took Amanda up to Evergreen, Colorado, about 40 minutes west of Denver, for one of our favorite hikes called Three Sisters. It’s a lovely series of trails that you can customize to meet whatever hiking desire you have at the time. I think we rolled in a good 3.2 miles, so it was a decent workout with great views.

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Of course, the entire weekend made me realize that I am no longer 22. I was completely exhausted after I dropped her off at the airport and any plans we made to go to City Park Jazz that Sunday evening (which is a summer staple for us- more to come on that later) were replaced by this:

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An evening at home on the patio with my husband, Gus and a glass of wine.

It was the perfect weekend to celebrate another year around the sun!

I feel like I have so much other stuff to catch up on, but that’s another post for tomorrow- yup, I’m setting my intention- another post for tomorrow!

Happy Saturday!