Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Castle Rock Wine Festival (and a bundle of joy!)

Over the weekend my mom and I (and some of her lady friends) went into Castle Rock (about 40 minutes South of Denver), to partake of their Wine Festival! 

27 local Colorado wineries came out to have us sample their goodies.  Although it was RIDICULOUSLY hot out (I think around 95, with no breeze, and full sun), we had a great time.  I got a little tipsy after trying everything, as most people do.  I was also ridiculously dehydrated afterwards!  We tried to drink a lot of water while we were there, but with the sun and the wine - it really wasn't enough.  

Riding the "shuttle" (school bus) to the festival!  This is Vicki - she's the one that my mom and I went to Sonoma, CA with when we did our little wine tour.  So we're pretty much wine-buddies at this point.

Me and my momma... love her! 

First taste of the day! 

This was our tasting glass.  I can't believe they gave us REAL glasses!  I just kept thinking of those little plastic glasses they give you at Beer Fest.  Of course, they hold that over a concrete floor, and most of the time everyone just goes to get hammered.  Us wine people are SO refined (says the girl who drinks straight out of the bottle when she's at a party).  

I love Vicki's expression in this one - classic!  Haha!  It's as though in the next moment she's going to say - "WELL?  How was it??"

I thought my earrings kinda looked like grapes, that's why I wore 'em. :)  Very colorful, rainbow-like grapes.  I'd drink that wine!  RAINBOW wine!

See what I mean about the sun?  This is right about when it's getting to us...

...and then we found THIS!!!  Holy cow.  We went bonkers for this stuff.  They had all different kinds of caramel dips, and chocolate dips.  They were all SO amazing and decadent!  My mom was nice enough to get me a container of this one - I was eating it with Saltine crackers last night.  Kind of an ironic way to eat such a decadent snack, but it was amazing!!  I think I tried every flavor, and they're all so scrumptious.  Check out their website here and get some for yourself: Sweet & Saucy.


That night when I got home, while nursing an early hangover - I received a text from Matt:
"And...we have a baby!"

My wonderful friend Nikki finally had her little baby boy, Nico.

Isn't he the most beautiful little thing?? 
Nikki, you amaze me. 

The proud (and very tired-looking) Papa!

My momma holding the little one... I was too scared to hold him yet - so fragile and breakable!  She had 3 of us though, so she's used to holding the little peanut.

Welcome to the light, little Nico. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cutie-Cute Girlies (Happy Friday to YOU!)

I randomly came across a section in Emma Jane Nation today where she talked about headscarves / bandanas & how they're coming back in style.  I thought the pictures of the girls were SO cute, that I started looking for pics of cute rockabilly girls!  

I've always loved the rockabilly style.  I kind of pull it off sometimes, but most of the time I just don't have the time and patience (it usually includes wearing heels a lot, dresses, and taking a lot of time with hair / makeup).  I can make the effort from time to time, but not ALL the time (and I really admire the girls that can work it 24/7.  Although maybe that's vanity, and not a good thing.  Whatever.  Not thinking about it.  Cute girls!  Yay!)

Bonus part though - if you have lazy days, you can still pull off the rockabilly look with a quick up-do and a bandanna.  Although, will someone PLEASE tell me how to get the darn thing to stay on your head and not slide back halfway through the day?  I have not figured that out yet.  Same with keeping bright red lipstick on for more than 1 hour.  Ah well. 

So enjoy all of the lovely lady pictures!!  I'll be back with my own pictures next week. :)  Maybe I'll do a cute boy rockabilly post too.  'Cause those are nice to look at too! 

 I think this one is my favorite - so cute!  I also totally own that clock in the background!

 I just love this girl's wispy bangs.

 I love love love LOVE her glasses.  I must find a pair just like them!! 

HAVE A GREAT (super cute) WEEKEND!!! :)

All photos from either Emma Jane Nation's blog, or www.weheartit.com.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Vacation when you're BROKE

Firstly, didja notice my lil' blog makeover?  Do you like it?  I think it's puuuuuurty.  My other layout wasn't nearly as purple.  I like purple. :) 

Anyhoodle, as some of you may know, I'm going to NYC again next month to visit my big sister!  I can't wait to see her and catch up and visit.  It's gonna rock.  

Something will be different this time though - I won't be using a credit card.  So I won't be able to buy nearly as much crap (or go ape-shit with buying frilly drinks, frilly food, and frilly uhm... other frilly stuff.  Whatever - you get me!). 

SO - how does one still enjoy their vacation without spending a big hunk o' dough?  Heck if I know!  I'm still trying to figure that out!  But I have some ideas I'd like to try out (and share with you while I'm at it)... 

1.) Plan ahead
I've been working hard at figuring out my plan of attack way ahead of time so that I don't go into this unprepared.  I emailed my sister and gave her a heads-up that I'll be on a budget this time around (which she was thrilled about since she's trying to save money too), I've been searching free stuff to do in NYC while I'm there (see #6), and figuring out how to mentally prepare resisting temptations.

2.) Set up an allowance
I know this sounds kind of lame, but I think it will help.  My fella, John, kind of inspired me with this one.  Whenever he goes gambling (which isn't all that often, mind you), he lets himself use a set amount of money, and when it's gone it's GONE.  I think it'll be a great way to keep myself in check.  I'm holding back on spending on things now so that I'll have more money for my trip - I might spend every dime of it while I'm there, but at least I'll know how much money I have and how much I can use!  And if I'm careful, I might even come back with a little leftover - which would be totally rad!

 Money don't grow on trees, ya know.  Although wouldn't it be kinda nice sometimes?

3.) Do a big fancy dinner... ONCE
I gotta do a nice dinner.  There's something so awesome getting everything you want - appetizers, wine, dessert - and having some nice person bring it all to you, then take all the dirty dishes away.  I think I can allow a little bit of moolah to allow for a nice little splurge... as long as we only do it once!  

4.) Sign up for Deal of the Day sights for the city you're heading to
You know what's great about Groupon / Living Social, and all of those other Deal of the Day websites?  You don't have to just sign up for your hometown - you can add any city you want, and get deals for those locations too!!  You gotta be careful with this one though.  You can't be tempted by every facial / massage / restaurant that they post.  Remember, you're only going to be there for a short amount of time, and what if you don't even get to those places?  Then you've just thrown away money!  If you definitely know you're going to want to hit up a certain restaurant or event then they're great.  But you don't NEED to get a facial.    

Love is greater than money.  Shit YEAH it is!!

5.) Bring lunch or a snack along with you wherever you go
Pretty self-explanatory.  Lunch at a restaurant can cost anywhere from $8 (if you're being cheap), and closer to $20 if you get a beer and/or appetizer, or an entree.  I'll be in NYC for 4 full days, so even if I'm going the cheap route, that'd be $32 saved - $80 if I do my usual "vacation splurge"!  I told my sis that we're going to hit up the grocery store first thing & make some sandwiches for lunches instead. 

6.) Look for free events
There is a ridiculous amount of free events going on in New York in the summertime.  But guess what - there are tons of free events happening EVERYWHERE!  You just have to look for 'em!  Do a Google search, go to the city's website.  You can find film festivals, street fairs, all kinds of events that are super fun at no cost to you.  

7.) Use cash
When John and I were watching "Romancing the Stone" the other night, Kathleen Turner says to Michael Douglas "I'll pay you in traveler's checks".  John turns to me and goes, "Do people still use traveler's checks?" to which I replied, "I have no idea!"

I know it probably sounds wrong for me to advise for you to carry a bunch of cash around with you when you're traveling.  But I think you're pretty safe in most places (as long as you're smart about it), and as long as you're not going to a place overseas that's notorious for pickpocketing.... and you're not staying in a hostel (I've heard way too many stories of people getting their things stolen from hostels)!  It's just another way for you to know how much money you're spending at a certain time.  And if you're following step #2, it might be a good idea to set up a Daily Allowance (ex: if you've saved $400 for your trip, bring $100 cash with you for each of the 4 days you're there).  I'm terrible about keeping track of credit card spending when I'm on vacation - and I always come home with a huge bill!

 I'd probably be better about hanging onto my cash if the bills looked like this.

Anyway, I'm no professional financial advisor, but that's my two cents (har har). ;)  And this is a good thing to remember at all times anyway.... 

All images from www.weheartit.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Happening

Last night I finally watched "The Happening" by M. Night Shyamalan. 

I read some reviews today, and I remember when it first came out that the film got a lot of negative feedback.  Some people even said it was "unintentionally funny", which I truly don't understand!  I didn't see any of it as funny at all - suspenseful, strange, eerie, sad - but definitely not funny. 

Personally, I thought it was really interesting!  I certainly thought that there were a few lulls in the plot and the ending wasn't as dramatic or exciting as I expected it to be (in the usual fashion of other M. Night S. films).  But in general I thought the concept was really intriguing, and it brought up something that hasn't really been brought up before.  You can look it up on Wikipedea for more depth about that, but don't check it out if you haven't seen the movie yet (it's a bit of a spoiler).  

I liked at the beginning of the movie when Mark Wahlberg's character brought up honeybees, and how they're mysteriously dissapearing.  If you look into that further it's actually a really shocking phenomenon, and people are scratching their heads trying to explain it.  The scary part is, that we NEED honeybees to survive.  Trust me - it's really amazing how important they are to the ecosystem.  I listened to a podcast about it once, and it's definitely worth looking into.  I really like how this movie followed along similar lines too - questioning how the world will survive... and what lengths plants and other species will go through to protect themselves from threats... i.e. humans. 

I also think that the terrifyingly creative ways that people found to kill themselves in the film were really scary.  And the fact that every time it happened there was a pause / hesitation, then the terrible and inevitably gruesome self-inflicted death...*shiver*.  The whole feeling of the movie was very creepy - strange and quiet, and knowing there was not much that they could do to escape their fate, and an invisible killer.  

I thought Mark Wahlberg did a really nice job, and although I LOVE Zooey Deschanel I thought her performance was boring and missing a lot.  Her character is supposed to be the type that holds in her emotions, but it just came across as bland.  

All in all, the thought I came away with after watching it was "Hmm... Interesting".  Definitely worth checking out! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hair Ideas (for Katy's Wedding)

My wonderful friend Katy is getting married in exactly 1 month - holy cow!  It's sneaking up on us pretty quickly, and her bachelorette party debauchery is scheduled for this weekend.

Gosh, it's amazing how much these wedding things cost.  I did some quick calculations last night, and including my bridesmaid dress, this whole love-celebration will probably cost me just over $300.  I'm not complaining, mind you - I want to help & make this experience as special as I can for my lovely Katers, and if dropping a little dough helps then I'm more than willing.  Also, I'm sure a lot more people (including the bride and groom!) will be spending a lot more money than that.  But that amount is with me being a cheap-ass!!  Whoa!

Will I be buying a new pair of shoes or jewelry?  Nope.  Will I be getting a mani / pedi?  Nope, I can do that myself.  Makeup?  Same right there!  Hair?  Uhm.... crap. 

I'm no hairstylist.  I have particular ways that I "style" my hair, but that usually means A) curly, or B) straight.  It has only recently gotten long enough to put in a ponytail or pigtails - but neither of those are going to cut it for a wedding that has been themed Vintage Glam! 

Here are some ideas I'm looking at for inspiration (thank you, Google image search)! 
Do you think there's a tutorial on how to think your hair longer within 1 month?  I didn't think so. 

 This one is a little over the top, but look!  It's a heart!  How CUTE is that?? 

I do have bangs, so they'll have to be used in the hairstyle in some way.... 

Oh, how I love the BUMP!  I don't know if I could make my hair do that, but hey, I'm experimenting. 

I think this one is just beautiful.  Again, I don't think my hair is nearly long enough (nor do I possess the talent to make it do that), but I think it's totally gorgeous! 

This weekend I'm going to experiment with some styles - using the photos for reference.  Lord only knows how well I'll be able to tease my hair into submission with the supplies that I have (note to self: get about a gallon of hairspray), but I'm going to give it my best practice shot.  Keeping in the back of my mind that it'll cost me about $60 at LEAST to get it done by an actual stylist - I'm going to use that as motivation. :) 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Paris on the Platte with Stacey

Friday night my friend Stacey (who I'm doing the Couch to 5k plan with) and I went to Paris on the Platte.  I haven't been there in ages - although you used to be able to find me there all the time, with a huge book, a pitcher of coffee, and an ashtray full of cigarette butts (yep, back when I smoked)!  

Stacey got a free Groupon-type-thing from a friend of hers, and decided to share it with me!!  I was thrilled, so we went nuts with ordering all kinds of goodies, and a few glasses of wine.  

The weather in Denver has been pretty weird lately - with sudden thunderstorms rolling in from out of nowhere!  They're pretty awesome, actually - I'm loving them.  I am definitely glad we snagged a seat inside though, because the people on the patio got pretty soaked! 

Stacey got a huge salad, and I got a deeeeelicious thin-crust pizza.  We also split this cheese plate with goat cheese and some kind of walnut glaze - with a side of apples and crackers (which was amazing). 

Along with the weird rainy weather, comes RAINBOWS!!  They've been everywhere lately!  I've been trying to snap pictures of them when I can.  It's hard to see the first one (I took it from outside the window of the restaurant), but the 2nd was on my drive home - much clearer. 

Even though the storms have been kind of messing up my scooter rides home from work (for some reason they only seem to be happening in the evenings), I still think they're so nice to have for a change.  John actually saw me riding my scoot home in the rain last night - and texted me to make sure I didn't get TOO wet!  Ha! At least I remembered to bring my raincoat that time. ;)