Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hutch & Spoon - our new Denver discovery!

Firstly, I can't tell you how nice it was to not have to go to derby practice last night.  Not that practice is awful or anything - I <3 Derby!!  It was just nice to start my 2-month-long-leave-of-absence with a Monday evening to myself.  

I made dinner*, watched a couple of episodes of "Ghost Hunters", went for my first walk/jog of the Couch to 5K plan, painted my nails & toenails, watched a couple of episodes of "Friends", and read a bunch of my book.  It was so nice & relaxing - just great to have a change, you know? 

*this is what I made for dinner.  Homemade mashed potatoes, beet chard steamed with low-sodium veggie broth, and my favorite, a Morningstar BBQ "Riblet".  It was DELISH!

This morning I got up early and went to Yoga with my friend Stacey.  Our usual yoga studio moved to a new location, just down the street from where I'll be living with John very soon!  What's even better about that is it's right next door to a wonderful lil' place called Hutch & Spoon

How CUTE is this place??  What a lovely little gem, nestled on a little corner in Denver.  I just got coffee (Stacey was sweet enough to buy me a cup), but the food looks AMAZING.  Beet salad with bleu cheese & roasted walnuts?  Uhm, yes please!!  Bagels with cream cheese & orange marmalade?  YUM!

I'm definitely going to have to come back here when I move closer to the area.  Or just go after yoga all the time. ;)  They use a lot of local ingredients for their food, and it looks as though a lot of their furniture / cups / light fixtures / chairs / etc are re-used and re-furbished.  My kind of place! 

What was great too was that I was up early enough to do this yoga class (6:30am), hang out with Stacey for some coffee (until 8:15am), and read my book* (until 9:15am) before heading into work!  WOW!  I really wish I could start every day this way... If I could only avoid the snooze button.... 

Stacey & I (pre-makeup, mind you) enjoying our coffee after yoga! :)

*The book I'm reading (before I start my book club book) is Catching Fire - the 2nd book in the Hunger Game series.  If you haven't read these books yet, you TOTALLY should.  I am really enjoying them!  What's hilarious is that my mom bought the copy that I'm reading in New Zealand when she was vacationing there because she couldn't wait until she got back to the States to continue the series.  Unfortunately, books are a lot more expensive there, so she paid $23.00 for a paperback book that would have cost her $9 here!  Haha! 

Anyway, so far the books have been exciting, scary, touching, empowering - really really wonderful.  I adore the characters too.  It looks like they're going to start banking on films of these sometime next year, so you'd better read 'em before the movies come out!  :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

What a lovely weekend!

This past weekend was really lovely!!  

I got to spend Saturday morning with my mom, which is always great.  We rode our bikes to the Farmer's Market, and picked up tons of fresh fruits & vegetables.  We were both smitten with these flowers, so my mom had to buy a couple of bunches of them! 

Aren't they just gorgeous??  I have no idea what kind they are, but we just loved them.  Since we were on our bikes it was hard figuring out how we were going to get everything home (without squishing it all), but my mom just let the flowers stick out the top of her backpack.  It worked just fine! 

After that we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Denver; Watercourse.  We met up with our friend Deb, and one of her friends that is visiting from out of town.  It was DEEELICIOUS! 

That night I skated in the Gays VS Straights bout as a fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.  It was a super duper fun bout, and I had a blast.  I wish that I could go into every bout feeling that relaxed & easygoing!  We played great, and my team (the Gays - aka "Taco Belles") won in the end.  I felt exhilarated - it was a great way to start my break from Derby. 

Sunday I got up and made myself a big beautiful breakfast with some of the stuff we got at the Farmer's Market... 

I know.  It was just as tasty as it looks. :) 

Then I headed out to help a couple of friends move.  After that I got some cleaning done at home, and even packed up 2 boxes of stuff to go to John's place (holy crap am I on top of my game or what!?)!  Yah, I know I'm not technically moving out until late July, but whatevz.  Better to start early than late!  

Then I went to see the Cherry Poppin' Daddies play a show at an event downtown for free - we danced our assess off, and it was an absolute blast.  I haven't seen those guys play since 1998.  Whoa. 

After that I went over to Civic Center Park to watch a free screening of "Field of Dreams" with friends - which I've never seen before.  It was a lovely story, and I enjoyed it very much. 

All-in-all, it was a great weekend.  I'm hoping for even more relaxing / sleep-in time this weekend, especially since it's a long one!  I love the 4th of July!! :)

OH, and did I mention that I only spent about $20 total the entire weekend?  Yeah, I was pretty excited about that.  Amazing how much fun you can have for free, huh? :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Katy's Bridal Shower

Last weekend was Katy's bridal shower.  We all gathered at her parent's house, played games, drank champagne & punch, ate delicious food, and opened gifts.  It was a super fun day!

We started with a game of "Make a bridal gown out of nothing but toilet paper"!  We divided into teams, and here are the 4 styles we came up with...

Sasha - looking like a flapper in the 20's.... in toilet paper. 

Becca (the star of my team) wearing a modern-type dress...

Geneva in her wrapped / braided dress....

And Kat (the winning group) with the knotted braids!

Don't they all look so lovely? :)

Don't worry - we composted the toilet paper afterward.  I was very dissapointed with the fact that we were playing a game that was SO not "green" though! ;)

Katy - isn't she lovely?  I'm so excited for her wedding - it's coming up SO soon!!

The winning team with Kat!

Beth & Beth.  This is how Beth would look like with Beth's hair though. :)

Yah, I can rock a T.P. braid like no other.

I think those are supposed to go on UNDERNEATH your clothes.... well, actually, I don't think they're supposed to go underneath anything at all.  Hmm....

Paper bouquet!  Geneva is quite the artist.

Ladies loungin'!
Silly faces!

It was a lovely day all around - and Katy's mom (and friends) made each of us a customized painted glass with each of our names on it.  How sweet! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why your library ROCKS

Since I've been trying to save money (uhm, basically since I've been receiving a paycheck), I've tried to cut back on unnecessary luxuries.  Cable is not necessary in life, and I've learned that living without it is pretty darn easy.  I loved living at my parent's house and watching hour after hour of The Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters episodes. 

But alas, when I moved into my own place, I knew I couldn't afford even the most basic service.  So I didn't get it, and I learned to live with the 6 channels that my antennae pulled in.  My love of movies and TV shows never stopped though, and I needed to fill my craving.  But a $5 rental at Blockbuster for each?  I don't think so.  A $20 monthly payment for Netflix?  Ugh - really?  

Then I realized the wonder that is the Denver Public Library. 

I don't think a lot of people know what their local library can provide.  It's magical.  Believe it or not, they are NOT ancient things of the past, they have grown and adapted to the needs of the public.  They have an interactive website now!  HOLY SHIT!  Amazing.  You can log in with your library card, search for movies, books, your favorite musician / band, TV shows - put a hold on the item you want, then have them sent to the branch that is closest to you.  Then they send you an email to let you know it has arrived and is ready to be picked up - AND they'll email you when it's close to being due, or when it's overdue!  It's really pretty darn awesome. 

I haven't paid to rent a movie, or bought a book or CD in a very long time.  Maybe that's wrong for me to not be supporting those industries, but you know what?  I'm broke.  Let the rich people buy stuff for now.  Sometimes you have to wait a while for something to come in, that's true.  But what a lovely surprise when you've waited 3 months for the latest movie release, or Adele's newest album - then suddenly BAM!!  You receive an email saying it has arrived.  It's like Christmas!

Do you think that's all?  NOPE - you're WRONG! 

They provide tons of other free stuff.  Cooking demos where they give you recipes, and free samples.  Local bands playing acoustic sessions.  Classic movie nights.  Social clubs.  Dance classes.  Craft classes.  ALL. FOR. FREE.  The Denver library does all of this through Fresh City Life.  I love love love that they offer these things, and so many people don't even know it exists! 

So if you don't have a library card, go and get one.  Explore your local library, and their website.  You'd be amazed what they can offer you!

They ain't just about books anymore! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And then she SAVED!

My friend Geneva just sent me a link to this blog, and I'm totally and utterly inspired.

Read about her year-long Spending Fast here!  She paid off ALL of her debt just by being frugal, and only spending on exactly what she needed.  I'm crazy about this idea.

It's so strange that I've never thought of this myself.  When I first opened a checking account when I was younger, I was diligent about tracking every cost.  I wrote down everything in my checkbook, and balanced it with every statement.  I was a good banker.

Then I got a credit card, and my balancing went out the window.  Why track?  You can just pay it back later!  Then I got into trouble... quite a few times.

When I finally dug myself out of my hole, I moved out of my parents house (again), and started over... And got myself right back into debt again!

It has been a vicious cycle.

I know that the only way for me to get back on my feet again (without having to move back into my parents house) is to do something drastic.  I know that I could probably work to find a new job where I make more money, but if I don't change my habits now, the same thing will keep happening.  Sure, I'll be making more money, but that also means I'll be spending more!  Smart people have proven this in studies.  I promise.

It's not just about getting out of debt though.  It's about being a consumer.  Why do we feel the need to buy, buy, buy, ALL the time?  Because that's what our society teaches us.  Buy the newest thing!  The latest style!  Ignore everything that you have that's perfectly good, or just in need of repair!  Throw it away and BUY BUY BUY!  I don't like being that person, and I don't want to be in debt anymore because of it!

Here's a link to her Spending Diet too - for more tips & such.  This whole thing is a great resource, and I love her perspective on it.  I've never been good with budgeting.  Nor have I been good with dieting.  I feel the same way about budgeting as I do about counting calories.  It's tedious, with a very slow payoff.  However, if I know what I should be eating and what I should be avoiding, it makes the process a lot easier.  You say "no" to these foods, and "yes" to these foods, and just don't think about it.  All of a sudden you're 10 pounds lighter without even blinking.  Wha?  YES!  I feel like this plan is kind of the same way.

I've compiled a list of NEEDS & WANTS - using her list as a basis.  Some things are similar, but I've just catered them to me. 



UTILITIES – keep lights and water off as much as possible; keeping the thermostat at 68 and wearing a hat and long johns inside, if needed.


FOOD - store bought, in-season fruits and veggies and only when I run out of stuff in cupboards.  It's very important to me to still stay healthy though, so if I need to buy less to get better quality (ie - organic), then I will do so.

DERBY DUES ($40) or gym membership

HEALTH INSURANCE / doctor co-pays / medicine (when needed)


GAS (as little as possible – bike / scoot / walk / carpool whenever you can)

TOILETRIES (minimal) – toilet paper, paper towels, boxed hair dye, cotton balls, q-tips, razors, body lotion.  Only the bare minimum, generic brands, and what I absolutely need.


Gifts (sorry friends and family... homemade crafts or re-gifting will be happening)

Coffee at coffee shops (sad face)

Clothes (remember: "Make Do & Mend!") and Shoes

Trinkets / Jewlery

New make-up

Eating out (this is a big one!)


Furniture (NO Ikea!  I DON’T NEED YOU!)

Decorative house stuff

Haircuts (I can probably keep up on these myself with trims)


Alcohol (this is a luxury, not a necessity)

I am going to start tracking spending on my debit card in my checkbook again (I actually put my card in my check register - what a concept), so that I can be good about that.  I am also going to allow myself $80 / month to use however I want, but when it's gone it's gone.  If I want to go to a concert, have a drink at happy hour, go out to dinner or breakfast, etc - I'll have to dip into this amount.

Holy crap, this is going to be hard!  Wow.  I'm usually pretty creative when it comes to ways of spending time with people without spending money, but I know that there will be some things I'll have to turn down in order to stick to the plan.  I'm going to try and blog along the way too (maybe I'll create a separate one), and I'll most likely just start here.  Tracking everything has really helped me with my eating right / working out with the TBT, so hopefully this will keep me on track too!

Any thoughts / suggestions?  What are the ways you're making extra money this summer?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Super 8 is TOTALLY SUPER!!!

I know, that was lame.  It's Friday - gimme a break. :)

A couple of weekends ago, John, Denny, Megalops & I went to see "Super 8" - a new film by J.J. Abrams, produced by Steven Spielberg.  A lot of people I mentioned it to haven't even heard of the movie, but it has created a heck of a lot of hype, and I think it's destined to be a classic!!  

I absolutely LOVED it!  It was a great story, with wonderful characters.  It reminded me a little bit of Goonies and E.T. - the innocence of childhood, mixed with a wild and crazy adventure.  There were plenty of funny moments mixed in with all of the excitement, and I left the theater feeling elated!  I would highly recommend seeing it in the theater too, just to get the whole experience.  

Here's the new trailer:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jeff & Tina's Wedding

A couple of weekends ago we went down to Colorado Springs for Jeff & Tina's wedding.  It was a super fun weekend with lots of friends, food, drinking, dancing, and celebrating!  We had an amazing time.  Here are some pictures... 

 If you look closely you can see Pike's Peak in the background!  Pretty rad! :)

Aww our little motel!  It was the Silver Saddle, and had one heck of a view.  I loved the old-timey signs on all of the motels in the area too - they were straight out of the 50's, and fantastic.

 After the ceremony we had some time to hang by the pool before heading to the reception.  A lot of us didn't want to get ready all over again, so we just hung out & gabbed!  It was fun. :)

My tootsies!  I love this nailpolish.  It's one from the OPI line that they made for "Burlesque" when that movie came out.  It's bright pink & super sparkly and I LOVE IT!

 My fella - being lurkey?  Lurking like a shark?  Something like that.

 Katy is totally one of the most fabulous people I know.  I love that she wore this headband that I got her as a gift too - that girl loves the color turquoise more than anyone I've ever known! ;)

 I love this photo!  It was right outside of where the reception was held.  I told everyone "FREEZE!  I wanna take a picture!" and they all stopped and turned to me just like that.  I could not stop laughing - it was perfect!

 Ah yes, the romping we did in the little field... you'd think we were drunk already!

 Me & Katy-poo.  Love that girl!

 More romping!
 I can't believe Andy caught this moment.  I was in awe of this awesome stick we found - it was twirly and looked like a magic wand!  I may have been a little TOO excited, but it still came out as a pretty hilarious shot!

 And cake-cutting!

 My friends are goofballs - why I love them!!

 One of the guys at our table showed us how to make a "bra" out of our napkins.  Well, we decided that they looked more than kitty ears, and then it just got outta control...

See what I mean? ;) 

I thought this was SUCH a cool idea!  Tina took this crazy amazing photo of a tornado (Jeff is a storm chaser), and they auctioned it off!  I think they raised almost $500 from their family members!  WOW!

 And then, came the dancing...
 ...and the dancing....

 Love this one!!

 Bouquet toss!!


 John teaching Bill how it's done...

 My sunglasses certainly got around that night!

 I LOVE taking pictures like this!


Oh, you thought the party was over after we left the reception hall?  Well, you'd be wrong!

Sigh, I love all these crazy kids.  What a fun wedding weekend!!! :)