Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Favorites

After reading Shawn & Rachel's blog about fall, I felt inspired to share some of my favorite things about fall too. If you asked me what my favorite season was when I was younger, I would answer without hesitation that it was "summer". However, now my favorite season is fall. I sometimes wonder if we lived in Michigan if fall would still be my favorite season? I really love fall for so many reasons...

Football! Need I say more? My love for football has grown over the years (sort of like my love for fall). I even passed up a chance to watch the Desperate Housewives season premiere, with no objection from Nate, because Sunday night football was on, and I wanted to see how my fantasy football players would perform. Scary... I know.

Food! Not only does the beginning of fall signal the return of pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, but it also means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Turkey day is my favorite holiday, because it allows friends and families to get together to give thanks and be happy! No presents to worry about buying, no stress over wrapping and debt, just a good old fashioned get together over food. Not to mention I like to cook, and it doesn't hurt that the Michigan/Ohio State football game falls on Thanksgiving weekend either.

Clothes! Goodbye to shorts and tank tops. Fall gives way for scarves and boots. I have really taken a liking to cooler weather clothing... it may have something to do with the fact that I'm not sporting a six pack any more, and I'm not talking beer. Does everyone grow out of loving summer at some point in their lives? There's nothing like heading outside with a cozy scarf and a pair of comfy boots. I also really enjoy waking up to weather that's crisp and cool as opposed to scorching and hot. Sweating from the moment you get up until you go to bed gets old... thank you fall for offering a break from the sweat. :)

Decorations! I love to carve pumpkins... always have, always will. Something about a flickering Jack-o-lantern in the living room or on the porch gives some "spook" to the dark fall nights. I also like placing other little fall decorations around our place each fall. Mini pumpkins and gourds... pine cones... candy corn... mmm I love fall decorations.

There are almost too many things I love about fall to mention.... like: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Halloween costumes, candy, leaves changing color, concerts in a park, cider mills, cider and donuts, crisp... clean... air... I could go on and on...

What are some of your favorite things about fall?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Greater Than Just Football

Nate and I went to the Bronco's regular season home opener yesterday, and it was an extremely hot fall day. By extremely, I mean at least 100 degrees up there in our dark blue seats directly in the sun's glare. There was not a cloud in the sky for miles and miles. Yikes... so much for nice fall football weather. That aside, the Broncos clobbered the Seagulls (I mean Seahawks), and we had a pretty great time watching!

* opening day celebration *

* Old Glory *

Of course, a fighter jet flyover signaled the beginning of the game. The excitement was enough to get anyone at least a little riled up for the day. But it was the moment of silence for American troops that really had me teary eyed before the game started. Justin... you are dearly missed and not a moment passes where someone is not thinking of you. Thanks to all of the troops for doing what you do.

* fighter jet flyover *

Nate and I normally take a picture of ourselves at each game, but our faces were melting off in the sun so we would not have been recognizable in a picture. I also think that by the end of the season we will have climbed the same height as a 14'er (that's a 14,000 foot high mountain peak). I should look into counting steps and figure that one out this season. We are grateful to have season tickets this year, and we're definitely looking forward to the Broncos kicking some butt this season. Go Broncos!

p.s. Nate and I totally kicked butt in fantasy football this weekend.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

G... A... B... F!

No... that B and F don't stand for best friend. Although, I guess if you wanted, you could think of beer and best friend as being one in the same. But no my friends... GABF = Great American Beer Festival, and great it is. This splendor takes place in Denver, CO each fall.

I copied this straight from the FAQs on the GABF website:
According to the Guinness Book of World Records®, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. The Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry’s top public tasting opportunity and competition. Tasting sessions will offer attendees the opportunity to tour America’s brewing landscape, one ounce at a time, with access to more than 2,000 different beers from more than 450 of the nation’s finest breweries. The GABF gathers practically every type of beer from all of the regions of the country, and are arranged geographically on the festival floor. The festival allows visitors to taste the largest number and the widest variety of hand-crafted products in the American beer industry.

This was mine and Nate's 3rd year attending the beer festival, and I'm pretty sure we won't get sick of it... ever. Not only did we manage to grab some fun beer "swag" while there, but we also obviously drank a bunch of great beer... and....

* We came prepared with pretzel necklaces that included some Nutter Butter cookies *

* We cheered for beer... Yay Beer! (is that Bob Ross's head?) *

* I burned some calories while pedaling my way to some pours of Sierra Nevada beer... I tried convincing the "train conductor" that we should kick that train out of neutral and pedal it around the Convention Center... they didn't go for it. Oh well, maybe next year *

* We danced at the "Silent Disco"... I don't remember what song was playing, but notice that everyone was doing the finger point in the air *

* We successfully ate away our necklaces... and did I mention drank lots of good beer *

All in all... we had a good time and can't wait for another year at the GABF!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back in Action.... Sort Of

We finally finished moving everything into our new apartment, and we had to use a shoe horn to squeeze it all into our new/smaller apartment. Holy wow. We signed a short lease in case Nate gets hired by another airline sooner rather than later. That means we're either moving again in 7 months, or it means that we will have to re-sign a lease for another short amount of time. If I never had to move again it would be too soon!

The cable/internet we had set up is another story. The installation guys gave us a bad splitter at first, and they had to come back to replace it. Later in the evening we found out that they gave us a bad ethernet cable too... so the internet wasn't working. (It still isn't really working the way it's supposed to work... because we can't figure out how to get the wireless going). I'm sitting on the living room floor typing this, because we have to be wired to the modem (which is by the television that's above the fireplace). Hopefully we'll get the wireless set up soon, and then I can sit in a chair at the desk instead of on the floor. Whew.

So let's hear it for moving! Yeeeah.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I love Red Rocks! Even more than that, I love attending concerts there. It's tough to beat a concert venue that's naturally beautiful, has a skyline view of a large city, allows you to watch the horizon light up and twinkle while the sun goes down, and seemingly make every musician's music sound just perfect. I could go on and on about why I love Red Rocks and its amphitheater.

This picture was from a visit to Colorado while I was in college... and I commented that I really wanted to make it to a concert there some day. I'm so glad that I've been fortunate to see a few concerts there.

My first concert at Red Rocks was shortly after moving to Colorado. My uncle had bought tickets to see The Fray, and my aunt willingly gave up her ticket so that I could go to the concert with my uncle and cousin. I'll be honest... that concert and the experience just about moved me to tears. Being in a new place, doing something I had wanted to do for so long, listening to an amazing band... it was all so overwhelming! Needless to say, my first concert at Red Rocks had me hooked. 

I've seen The Fray at Red Rocks twice now. Nate took me to see The Fray about 6 months after we started dating, and that had been his first time seeing a concert at Red Rocks. It was such a memorable concert for both of us. Despite being rained on almost the entire night, The Fray played one of the best concerts that I've ever seen. Torrential downpour did not keep us from having a blast while listening to some of our favorite music. It's hard not to have a good time at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. Put it on your bucket list... you won't be disappointed.
* people filling in the bleachers for a concert *

Just a couple of nights ago, Nate and I went to a concert at Red Rocks. Nate's early birthday present was tickets to see Ryan Bingham and Willie Nelson play at RR Amphitheater! No disrespect to Willie Nelson, but we actually went more to hear Ryan Bingham play... unfortunately he didn't play as long as Willie Nelson & his family did. Ryan Bingham and his band were great! We're still in awe at how he can play the guitar and harmonica simultaneously. The whole time Ryan B. played.... we had to listen to his music over chatty girls in front of us. Apparently they were only there to see Willie Nelson. Ryan Bingham's going to be big some day too!

* Willie Nelson and his son Lukas Nelson *

Even though we went more to see Ryan Bingham, Willie Nelson was just amazing! While walking to the car, we both agreed that we may never see him in on tour again. It's pretty awe-inspiring that Willie's still out there touring at the young age of 77! Wow. 

Red Rocks draws some amazing talent to its stage, and the venue always makes for a great concert. Not to mention, you're surrounded by scenery and landscape that are older than time. I've yet to see something there that I have not walked away from a different person.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What's Your Fantasy?

I'm not talking about anything naughty... or even your wildest fantasy... I'm talking Fantasy Football!

This year (surprisingly) is my first time playing FF, and I couldn't be more excited to see how it works out. Nerdy, I know. The first thing that really got me excited was taking part in a live draft to choose the players on my dream team! I watched all the rounds of the NFL draft this year... so I was itching to put some of the knowledge I gained to the test. I even created some cheat sheets to aid me in the draft. The other thing I was looking forward to was naming my team. After what seemed like hours of searching the internet and going back and forth, I settled on Cutler's a Ditka. We're not really Jay Cutler fans around here. He was sort of a whiny baby, and in football that just doesn't fly! (I hope he throws lots of INTs this season) Too bad I can't name Fantasy Football teams for a living, because coming up with a creative and funny names is too much fun. I even came up with another name for my team but did not end up using it... it seemed a little inappropriate for an all girl FF league. Nate used the name I came up with instead, and the name of his FF team is SupOrton Tebow'ner (a little play on a couple of Bronco's last names). If anything, it made me laugh. :)

After all of the fun of naming my team, naming Nate's team, drafting players, and choosing a starting roster... I just hope that the players I picked stay healthy and score points! My fantasy is winning fantasy football this fall and that my team performs, but if they don't... I'll just trade their butts. How fun is that? ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In With the New

The old book shelf is "new" again! I'm glad to have painted it before we move, because I know it probably was not going to happen after that. Not to mention... I really enjoyed painting it, and now I have the itch to paint everything I can think of that needs a little updating.  :) uh oh. I just might tackle (not literally) the shelves on our living room wall next...

Ta-da! The new book shelf

It was filled with books, baskets, and magazines before... but I sort of like it with less on it. We'll see how well that works for us. We have tons and tons and tons of books to fill it, so I'm guessing it won't look quite this neat after moving. Oh well. I'll just keep this picture as a memory of the neat-ness.

I did a little bit of distressing to the book shelf, but might have to be more aggressive... it's sort of tough to see it. You can always paint over any mistakes, right?  ;)

All in all... I think the book shelf "remodel" was pretty successful. Let's hope we don't scratch it up too badly in the move. However, I guess if we do I won't need to distress it later...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dream Houses

Even if we had the money to buy a house right now... we probably would not do it. Not because we enjoy living in apartments... nope, that's not why. The unsure nature of our life is the reason we would not buy a house right now. With Nate being a pilot and the high chance of him being hired somewhere else in the next year, it does not make much sense for us to commit to something that big (and expensive) at this time in our lives. If we did buy a house in Colorado... we would probably have to put it up for sale in the next year, and I'm pretty sure we know that would not end very well. (Have you seen the number of foreclosures and brand new/unsold houses?!) Not to mention, Nate would probably have to commute if we lived in Colorado, and I would much rather live wherever he is based.... because that means seeing him maybe a few more days each month!  :)

Since we probably won't own a house any time soon, I have been getting my house fix by visiting some of the model houses on Denver's Parade of Homes instead. I'm thinking maybe I should spend more time visiting model houses around metro Denver, because that definitely helps with my lack-of-house-to-call-our-own blues. And when you tour model homes and make discoveries like this in the basement....

... how can you be blue? I wonder if the sales person would notice if I showed up each day just to climb that rock wall?! Notice how Nate takes up the entire height of the wall, and I appear to be clinging for dear life to a cliff side (minus that smile on my face). Yeah.

I gathered some design inspiration for the dream house I've been designing since I was maybe 10 years old. Man... designing a floor plan for a lake view is tough, because I want every single room to have a great view. However, I don't want our future dream house to be 100' long and 20' wide in order to do that. I'll just have to keep growing my design idea folder for a while longer until I can figure something out. In the mean time...

Nate found an office that he wanted... I told him that some day I'll design him a sweet office with airplane props, ship steering wheels, and old automobiles in it. :)

I like the windows in this living room... funny thing is, they don't have a nice view to the outside... but the dream house I'm designing will. Our dream house will also have a nice little window seat on the stair landing perfect for reading a book while gazing at the waves... aaaahh.

I have been obsessed with houses ever since I was a little girl and grew up with a dad working construction. He always took me (with some pleading involved) to tour beautiful houses, and I've loved them ever since. One day we'll have our own house.... but until then, I think I like the freedom of being able to move where we need.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Out With the Old...

We're moving soon. Very, very soon... and no... we are not moving far. So for anyone in Colorado... we'll still be here for at least 7 more months, and for those in Michigan who would love to have us closer... sorry if I got you excited with that first sentence.

In the spirit of moving and changes in life... I decided (with some convincing) to paint over Nate's old book shelf with a lovely shade of Martha Stewart's Bayou. No longer will the book shelf be a confusing red/orange/wood color... but it will go with some of our other living room things a little bit better. To all you husbands out there, it's not that we wives don't love your stuff... it's just that we like new stuff once in a while and your *cough cough* bachelor-style black leather couch with recliners is ridiculously huge for our small apartment. And I might have something against black leather... I was born that way, okay. I recently saw something online that made me think of this situation and made me laugh.... it said that "a relationship is where one person is always right, and the other is the husband". Now I don't agree with that.... but in most cases (some dudes are incredibly stylish), I agree with that statement when it comes to designing and decorating a house. I know many men probably can't tell the difference between teal and turquoise... so men, just leave that up to your women.

Please excuse the messiness and piles of stuff, I'm already packing things up for our move. Here's a little peek at the book shelf sans paint: 

Thank goodness we have a garage with our apartment, because I'm not sure painting in the living room would have been a good idea. Things got a little messy. :) Nate and I went to Home Depot and bought some supplies, then with the help of some Martha Stewart paint, a drop cloth, and a "Purdy" new paint brush... that old book shelf was on it's way to looking new again.

I have it all painted, but it's still in the garage. Nate even said that he likes the color and thinks it looks better than what it did before. 

Victory!  :)

Will post pictures of the finished product soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh No They Didn't

Considering that I really like design, it makes sense that I would enjoy touring homes that make up the Denver Parade of Homes. Now... Nate does not like architecture and design as much as I do, but I drag him along with me anyway. (thanks for being a trooper!) Yesterday, we visited a few houses that are not too far from where we live... and my heart hurt after touring one home in particular.

* We toured this house... and it wasn't too bad... except for a shoddy paint job in the living room (I can't help but notice since I painted houses for a summer one year) and lack of trim in key places *

Sometimes I get a little... ok... a lot fired up while touring houses, because it's obvious that not much thought goes into some of the designs. I really like how some of the model houses take off doors for your convenience of touring the model... but the real reason is that the architect/designer did not leave hardly enough room for the door to swing into the space. Yikes... that really pushes my buttons! I mean, it's not really a good thing that you're trying to hide the fact that, in order to close the powder room door, I'll have to wedge myself between the wall and the crapper and repeat again after using said crapper in order to get the heck out of there. Now why don't you just put all of the doors back where they belong and not try hiding something from people who are paying so much money for a new house, okay? Thanks. :)

Don't even get me started on laundry rooms that have no shelving/cabinets/sink. Ugh!

* Loving the recycled glass tile (minus the colors) on the stair risers *

With that being said, not all of the Parade houses are entirely thoughtless. I've actually seen some really great things while visiting houses on the Parade of Homes the past few years. Recently, with the demand for "greener" houses... we saw one house incorporate a lot of recycled materials and still be aesthetically pleasing (bonus!). I am still not sure which house has been my favorite over the years. I've still yet to tour the perfect house, but in order to get the perfect house.... I'll probably have to design it. Even then, it probably still won't be perfect. Argh... we can't win!

* The scale of this bedroom is nice... plus it has a neat little built in desk in the window! I love, love, love built-ins *

Out of all the houses that Nate and I have seen at the Parade of Homes over the years, one that we looked at yesterday took the cake for worst thing we have ever seen! Talk about turning away prospective clients, because the way you staged the house is not for everyone.... it was the straw that broke the camels back for us really really disliking this house! Whoever designed this bedroom might want to think about making a few changes....

* I know it's difficult because of the orange walls and bedding, but notice the jersey on the bed *

I will give the designer a little break, because this house may have been staged before Jay "Crybaby" Cutler left the Broncos... but come on, you've had time to change it. Get yourself a new jersey for that bedroom and things might not be so bad. Now, the thing I dislike worse than tiny bathrooms and door swings that make you do the "truffle shuffle" in order to close them is Jay Cutler! Gross!