Things I Am Loving This Week

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After the holiday’s I have been a little bit of a homebody. Not sure if it was the over indulgence of the holiday’s or if it is the continued cold dark nights, but regardless I find myself nesting at home. So it was nice when an unusually warm Saturday came along and I was invited to go meet a couple of girlfriends at a new wine bar in the mission L’emigrante Wine Bar & Bistro. I had been here once before with some friends for a drink and had looked over the menu in pure lust. Alas I did not get anything to eat the first go round, so I was excited to partake this time. I have to say I was not disappointed. Nothing beats sun, good drinks, food, and amazing company!

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After a long week of work and exercise nothing feels better for the body then a massage. My favorite place in the city is Suchada Thai Massage. I have been going here for years and I have never been disappointed. Who would have thought someone walking all over you could feel so good. The other weekend I made a last minute appointment and I am so glad I did. Part of being healthy is listening to your body and knowing when it needs a little TLC.

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The one good thing about being at home more is being able to spend more time with one of the loves of my life Cooper. Its amazing how dogs know how to make you feel loved, grounded, needed, and can put a smile on your face after a long day. They are also pretty great at snuggling as well.

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It is true, I found myself at another beer bar La Trappe in the city.  Upon walking in the first thing I noticed was the instant cozy feeling this place invoked. The heart of the bar and restaurant was located down a staircase in a dark brick walled basement. It felt like a little taste of New York and Germany combined. The atmosphere just made a beer sound amazing, which their selection was pretty good. Although this place nailed it with the vibe and libations, the food was just mediocre and a little over priced. All in all I did enjoy the experience though.

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Just another day at the farmers market. This time of year the greens and root vegetables are everywhere. This stand of carrots was too beautiful to not be stopped and appreciated. I love the farmers market for the abundance of possibilities in front of you. Nothing beats grabbing a bunch of amazing produce and making it into something so much more.

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Things I am Liking This Week-Christmas Edition

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My favorite way to kick off the holidays is by getting my Christmas Tree. It does not feel like Christmas officially until the Christmas Tree is in hand, lights are on setting a comforting glow, and it is dressed up in it’s finest ornaments ready for the weeks ahead.  I had always had an artificial tree my entire life, until 4 Christmas’s ago when I met Dustin and he insisted we get a real one. That first holiday together we had big plans to go down to a tree park, walk around while sipping on hot cider or coco while picking out the perfect one for our first holiday together. In reality what happened was we got lazy and ended up going to Lowe’s, which has now become our yearly tradition. Usually we go for a much bigger tree, but this year the smaller one seemed to be giving us the eye. Her shape was perfect and when we both saw her we knew, this was our tree this year.

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I like all other 7 year old girls am in love with the movie Frozen. Is it because I am a big kid at heart or because I am engulfed with Toys all day for work? I am not sure, but either way this Elsa ornament was one of the best gifts I received this year. She was combined with Christmas yoga leggings and homemade champagne jam. How my dear Jaclyn knows me so well.

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This time of year my favorite treat in the morning is coffee. We have had an over abundance of rain this year and it has made weekend mornings more dreary then usual. I have found the best way to perk up the day is after a great sweat session making my way to a new place and ordering something in. I typically get my coffee to go, but there is something so comforting about drinking coffee from a giant mug.

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We all know I already have an obsession with shows. I don’t know what it is, but getting dressed up, going out for a nice dinner, followed by a show screams the holiday season for me. I have been blessed over the last couple of months to attend almost a dozen different shows. They have ranged from live music, to comedians, and to musical’s my all time favorite. However the highlight has to be going to see a Christmas Ballet with one of my closest girlfriends. I have a fascination with ballerina’s. Their thin, yet muscular bodies moving in beautiful patterns across the stage just memorizes me. So of course once you add in bright red costumes and the song “Santa Baby” I am in pure Christmas heaven.

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One of my favorite Christmas traditions is driving around looking at Christmas lights. It amazes me the time and energy people put into making their houses Christmas statements and bursting with light all for others to see and enjoy. This year now being blessed to live in a neighborhood where walking is my preferred means of transportation I found myself taking my beloved golden retriever on longer walks just to explore the lights. This was by far my favorite house I came across.

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This time of year my two favorite past times are reading and going to see movies. Both are so comforting and relaxing. Right now I am engulfed reading “Wild” with a goal to finish it before the movie leaves the theater. Why not combine my two favorite past times? Add in Cooper and this is a dream night.

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We all know I have an obsession with beer. Not just any beer though, really good beer. I love dark, creamy, sweet beers. Stouts, barley wines, porters, dubbels, browns, you name it. Every year the anticipation of coming home to Colorado always starts to build when I think about all of the new amazing beer I will get to try. New breweries are popping up constantly and last night I was able to try a new one in my hometown. Although none of their beer was on my drink again list, the place felt like Christmas just sitting by the fire.

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Christmas is about spending time with the people you love. I feel as we get older,  your family starts to grow and blend, Christmas becomes about carrying on your family traditions while also creating new ones. Today my longest and best friend Kristen started a new Christmas Eve morning tradition. A brunch of healthy, homemade, and delicious food paired with beer mimosas, and topped off with homemade cookies. I have to say this by far has been one of my favorite moments this holiday.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy Christmas!!!

Things I am Loving This Week

 

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One thing I love about new neighborhoods is finding new restaurants. Barrel Head Brewhouse is a restaurant/brewery I have been wanting to check out for a little while now. Dustin and I decided to go there for a late lunch/early dinner one day last week. Overall the place is awesome. Very roomy, open, casual, but still is able to maintain a hip and young vibe.  Of course I had to try the cheese plate, which usually I try to reserve for sharing with someone else, but not this day. It was all me! However I am not going to lie, I only ended up eating about half of it. Dustin ordered the burger with an egg and said it was very tasty. The only complaint I had was the beer was just ok, however I only tried a couple. I have a feeling this might be a new usual spot.

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I love a Saturday morning run when you come across something unexpected. I am obsessed with cactus and succulents. They have become a new fixture in my home for decorating. I love them for not only their beauty, but ease of care. Now if only I could bring this patch inside I would have it made.

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This week as a special treat for my parents I surprised them by taking them to go see Motown the Musical. Growing up my parents were season ticket holders to musicals in Denver, Colorado. So anytime a big musical came to the city my parents would get my brother and I tickets. I remember the excitement of getting to get all dressed up, driving up to the big city, seeing the show, and then going out to eat for dinner. All of this made the whole experience special and magical. Now as an adult one of my favorite things is going to see a musical. As for Motown, it did not disappoint! Obviously the music was amazing, the performers were fantastic, and the energy was contagious. I recommend seeing it while it is here or if it makes it to your city!

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This week with all of my cheese and bread eating, I decided a nice salad was in order. This is the tuna nicoise I ordered out for lunch at a little restaurant by the theater. It was light, delicious, and filling. I ordered it without the dressing since it was dairy based and would have added a ton of calories .Instead I put some balsamic vinegar on top and it hit the spot!

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Last night Dustin surprised me with a new pair of new running shoes since mine had started their gradual decent. I love that I find this way more romantic then jewelry or a nice dinner out. Also it is amazing how frequently I go through those suckers!  Brooks or Saucony are typically my running shoes of choice, however this pair is Mizuno. I have to say they were pretty amazing after my first run this morning.

Things I am Loving- Colorado Edition

This past week for the first time in the 8 years I have been with my company I was able to go to Denver, Colorado for a work trip! Nothing like being able to fly home for free and see friends and family. My meetings were only for 2 days, so I took a day off and had a long weekend with my family.

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My meeting’s were held at the Denver Convention center just down by 16th street mall. It was so nice to be at a hotel within walking distance of where we were meeting. I have been in a lot of convention centers over the years, but never one quite as big as this place. Also did I mention the giant bear looking in. Not something you see everyday, but I have to say it put a smile on my face every time I passed by. The highlight of the meeting was a special guest performance from Leann Rimes, which was entertaining even though she is not my favorite artist out there.

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After my first day of meetings I went to dinner with my dear friend Kerstin at a restaurant called the Squeaky Bean. We split a cheese plate, a side of brussels sprouts, and an amazing seaweed salad. Overall the food was fantastic, but more like San Francisco pricing and portions. I left still feeling like I needed a little bit more to eat. Luckily the next place we grabbed a drink had a bread basket, so I went to bed feeling full and content.

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After my meetings were complete my longest and closest friend Kristen made the hour drive up to Denver to pick me up before heading back home to Colorado Springs. We did our usual tradition of breweries and salads. On this sunny, summer afternoon we made it over to Great Divide my favorite brewery in all of Colorado, along with the Denver Beer Company. I really wanted to try the Graham Cracker Porter at the Denver Beer Company, but alas it was not on tap. This place had a great vibe and ambiance. It was just a shame their beer was lack luster.

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The following day I went to lunch with my parents at an  adorable restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs called Shuga’s. Now I am going to be honest here…….Colorado Springs food is not amazing. After living in San Francisco for so long, I have become more of a food and beverage snob. Yes I hate to admit it, but it is true. At least now being in my thirties I can accept where I have become picky. Food is one of those things, if I am going to pay to eat somewhere I am going to love it.

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With all of that said, I have to say Shuga’s is amazing! And not just for Colorado Springs. If it were in San Francisco I would say the same. Walking into the restaurant you automatically get this hip, throw back vibe. Who knew there was such a young, eclectic crowd lurking around. My mom and I split a cuban sandwich and I got a cup of the spicy brazilian coconut shrimp soup. My dad ordered the tomato soup with the Brie and Apple bruschetta toast.

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Just one bite of the cuban and my mouth immediately was enthralled by all of the different flavors. It had roasted pork, black forest ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle, garlic citrus mustard, and all of this deliciousness grilled on a french loaf bread. Lastly there was some sea salt sprinkled on top just for that extra flavor pop. This is one of the best sandwiches I have eaten in a long time. In fact I am still thinking about it and craving it.

Image-0Of course while on my trip I had my daily workout routine still in motion. One morning Kristen and I did back to back yoga classes at Core Power Yoga. We started off with an hour long yoga sculpt class where you use free weights while doing your poses and add in blasts of cardio in between sets. Think jumping jacks, burpees, and high knees. All of this is done in a hot room just in case you were not going to sweat enough as is. The class was awesome, hard, and you would have thought you had just done 2 hours of spinning after walking out. After yoga sculpt Kristen and I did an hour of regular vinyasa yoga, still challenging, but nothing compared to what we just had done. The best part is since it was my first time my classes were free and I received a week long pass. They have locations in the bay area, but nothing close to where I live so unfortunately I was not able to go again.

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All in all it was a great trip for work, friends, and family. I came home feeling re-freshed and ready to start a new week. Although I am already looking forward to my next trip home.

Cheers to National Beer Day- In Pursuit of a Yeti

When writing I usually try to diversify the topic or theme I am blogging about in order to keep interest and variety in my posts. However knowing today is National Beer Day I felt compelled to write another post related to and in celebration of beer. First you might be asking yourself why April 7th for National Beer Day? Well it all stems from a little over 80 years ago when in 1933 the  Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect, thus making alcohol legal to drink again after 13 long and dry years. Aka as we know it the end of prohibition.

The second question you might be thinking is how did National Beer Day come about? From what I found in my research 2 friends Justin Smith and Mike Connolly in 2009 started a National Beer Day Facebook page campaign to make April 7th the “un-official National Beer Day. Through their own grass roots marketing it did not take long for the idea to resonate with beer lovers across the United States and hence a holiday was born.

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In celebration of today I wanted to highlight my all time favorite brewery The Great Divide.  Great Divide is a micro-brewery located  in Denver Colorado not too far from Denver’s ballpark area. Walking into the tap room  there is always a bustle of beer enthusiasts sipping on various hand crafted selections sharing in stories and laughter.  The tap Room features 16 taps of seasonal and year-round beers which cover everything from IPA’s, Imperial Stouts, Barley Wine’s, Rye’s, Red’s, Saison’s, you name it. I have tried almost every beer on tap and I have to say hands down all of the beer is some of the best of the best. This is also very evident if you go to their website and look at the many awards their beers have earned. Great Divide is able to craft beers rich in flavor and truly unique in taste. My favorite out of all of the beers though is the Yeti Imperial Stout, shocking I know.

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Now when I say this beer is good, this is how good it is.  When going home for the holidays  I spent hours driving from one local liquor store to the next on a man hunt to find this beer. With no luck there I combed through bars and restaurants until I found it on tap. Luckily this operation ended successfully at my neighborhood Old Chicago Restaurant. Upon coming home  to the bay area I set up alerts with local beer stores in hopes of getting notified of yeti finally making it’s way to  Northern California.  After almost a year it happened, my alert went off and I learned yeti was finally being distributed in a local beer shop.   I proceeded immediately over  to Ales Unlimited and bought out almost their full shipment. I had also seen in my alert they had one of my other favorite beers from Great Divide the Collete, which is a farmhouse Saison. Of course Ales Unlimited informed me  upon arrival some other beer enthusiast had been there earlier in the week and bought their entire Collete shipment. So yes, their beer is that good.

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With that said I want to lift a pint and say cheers to all of my fellow beer enthusiasts out there! I hope everyone can find a beer that is so rewarding it will make you go to absurd measures in order to just get one taste of it. I myself had a small pint of Triple Voodoo Breweries Inception this evening. Nothing beats a cold beer on a Monday night.

A Weekend In Beer Around San Francisco

One of the things I love about being from Colorado is how I have developed a deep appreciation for good beer. Colorado is a mecca for smaller artisan micro breweries and no matter what brewery you walk into it is almost always guaranteed you are going to get poured something cold, refreshing, and delicious. I equate the brew culture in Colorado to that of the wine country in Northern California. Obviously outstanding wine is not hard to come by in the city, but when it comes to really good beer it has been more of a struggle. Then a few years ago it happened, the city started to have a beer movement. All of a sudden breweries, craft beer stores, and beer bars started popping up everywhere. You can only imagine my delight when I realized good beer could be found outside of the Rockies. Anytime a new place opens I make it a point to go and check it out. Last weekend I ended up doing what felt like my own brewery bar crawl and I thought I would re-cap for everyone some of the key players that I went to and what I liked about each place I had a pour in.

Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room

Triple Voodoo Brewery and Tap Room just opened in the Dog Patch district during San Francisco Beer Week in late February. Of course with my love of beer and with the brewery being only a hop, skip, and jump away from my apartment it obviously took less then a week from opening before I  went to check it out.  Walking into the brewery the first thing you notice is the space is large and industrial, but is also able to create an inviting atmosphere.

 

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They offer about 7 different beers on tap and have a good range of lighter Belgian beers, IPA’s, a Red Ale, and even a darker stout.  I can never make up my mind on what I want to try when I go to a brewery so I decided to go with the taster of four 4 oz beers, which I highly recommend for your first time here. Across the board all of their beers were truly fantastic! I tend to like lighter wheat style beers or heavy stout’s. My two favorites here were the Inception which is a Belgian style ale and the King’s Leopold which is a dark Belgian stout. When I was there last Friday I was lucky enough to taste part of a special batch of the King Leopold Stout infused with coffee. I can’t even describe how smooth, rich, and delicious this beer was! I am not an IPA fan, but the 8 Tentacles IPA should be on your list if IPA’s are what strike your fancy.

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The staff is friendly here and really accommodating, which has been consist with all 3 of the time’s I have been to the brewery. Overall this place is just plain awesome. I would say the only downside to Triple Voodoo is they do not offer food and there is no outdoor space to enjoy a beer in the sun. So if you are looking for more then just a drink you won’t be in luck at this place, however they are fine with you bringing in your own meals and snacks.

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Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas Brewery is located just north of San Francisco in the city of Petaluma. I ventured up there last Saturday for the first time to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I had always wanted to check out the brewery and although 45 minutes is not that far, sometimes it takes an event to finally make it happen.  We happened to go on one of those rare bay area sunny days which I think helped in making this brewery experience even better.

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We sat outside in the crowded atrium at one of the communal picnic table’s and from the moment we took a seat you could feel the relaxed and inviting vibe of the crowd. Lagunitas had a huge menu of beers. Some I have tried many times over at local bars, however they also had a great selection of beers you could only get at the brewery or seasonal brews. In my typical fashion I ordered the taster of four 4 oz beers so I could get a range of all of the different selections they had to offer. My absolute favorite beer of the day was the Hairy Eyeball. Lagunitas describes this beer as rich, thick, dangerous, and chocolaty. If those adjectives along with the name don’t sell you on the beer I don’t know what will.

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After my taster flight we went on to take the brewery tour. As for brewery tours I would say there was nothing special about this tour. If you have never gone on a brewery tour and actually walked through how beer is made then I would say it is worth your while. If brewery tours is something you have done at multiple breweries before then I would say skip it and just enjoy the music, beer, and food instead. Speaking of food I ended up ordering the special of the day which was a hummus and veggie wrap with a side salad. Surprisingly this meal was really healthy and tasted terrific. Finding a healthy food option at a brewery is not usually a simple feat, so this made me very excited.

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The trip culminated with a stroll into the gift shop where I purchased another beer t-shirt to add to my collection. I figure a girl can never have too many beer t-shirts right? I would definitely recommend taking the drive up north and checking this place out, however make sure you go on a sunny day so you can really utilize the outside area.

 

Southern Pacific Brewery

The last stop on my brewery bar crawl last weekend was the Southern Pacific Brewery which opened about 2 years ago in the mission district. I have been to this brewery on multiple occasions over the last couple of years, usually with a very large group of people for an after work happy hour or on a weekend day for some beer in the sun. Last weekend was the first time I ventured into this bar for a late night drink.  The place was absolutely packed with groups of people all jammed into the shared tables, something I had not experienced in the off hours I typically have been here at. We proceeded to the top bar area and were able to find a table to all sit at.

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Southern Pacific like Triple Voodoo has an open, modern, and industrial aesthetic. They have a large outdoor seating area, which in the city is hard to find. Along with providing their own in house beers they carry a wide range of guest beers on tap and wine for those of you who are not into beer and wan’t another option. They have a full food menu, which is nice if you are looking for a meal or snacks. In general I have not been super impressed with either their beer or food here. The beer is not awful, however it is nothing special either. As for the food it is your typical unhealthy bar grub. Although they do offer salads and have flat bread pizza’s which do come with a lot of vegetables on top. I would say this place is good for off peak hour group get together’s, but I would avoid on a Friday or Saturday night unless you want to be in a loud crowded warehouse.