On The Great Minnesota Get Together

Last year, the husband and I decided to skip Minnesota’s state fair and actually check out Colorado’s. It … was disappointing, to say the least. So, this year, we went back out to Minnesota. Much better.

It was actually a fairly simple trip, as far as fair visits go. Didn’t really try much new (except the apple version of the Minneapple pie), but enjoyed our favorites.

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Love the pepper building … even if I’ve never tried their food.

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Never ever knew the Fair had a grocery store, but it is a cool little place.

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I love cheese curds, but even I don’t think I could eat a family-size bucket of them … *urp*

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Scarecrow as part of an exhibit in the Agriculture building.

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Agreed.

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The fair had these guys around the fairgrounds to take selfies with. We did not.

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Because it’s not a fair trip without chickens.

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Mmmm, dough-sant.

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Tried a smoothie. It was okay. B might be switching up his corn dogs …

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Not a bucket, but a boat of curds.

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Realized I needed a photo halfway through snarfing these.

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Because french fries and chocolate shakes are a fantastic pairing.

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Our deep-fried pumpkin and apple pies. I loved the pumpkin last time, but having the two together made me like the apple way better.

Pro Bull Riding 2015

Since we so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at PBR at the Stock Show last year, we decided to go again this year. I also learned the lessons of last year and bought better seats.

Continuing on with the “learning from history” theme, we also chose NOT to eat at the Stock Show itself, choosing instead to go to the Stockyard Saloon, which is basically on the grounds, but outside the paid admission area. The place is fairly old school – our beers were in cans! – but it wasn’t bad. We both had salads, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Brandon had a steak sandwich. The only thing that truly disappointed both of us was that the cheese on the cheese fries? Melted cheddar grossness. Like cheddar sauce, not actual shredded and THEN melted cheese. Some people like that … not me. I like my cheese not in liquid form.

After dinner, we headed into the Stock Show itself for a few moments. We were considering going to a PBR 101 thing, but ended up not quite having enough time. As a lot of the stuff is the same year after year (and Brandon’s foot was killing him), we mostly just hung out near the horses and talked to them before heading over to the Denver Coliseum

The bull riding itself (as well as team penning – got to see that again this year!) was awesome and the new seats weren’t bad. I think if we want truly good seats, we’ve got to hop on them as soon as they go on sale …

(Also: I need a better camera or figure out a better way with my point-and-shoot to get action shots …)

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Yes, the bull is bucking even though it doesn’t look like it here.

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Team penning.

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On 2015

I did the goals post over at the tri blog, so I figured I may as well do that over here, too …

When it comes down to it, I have one major goal this year:

Embrace my inner awesome.

Simple, but oh so complex at the same time. For the triathlon-side of my life, that means a whole hell of a lot of training (and racing, but mostly training as that’s what I’m focusing on this year).

For this side of my life (so everything else), it means attempting to embrace positivity. It means de-cluttering my life, both figuratively and literally. It means attempting to tap back into my creative side. I painted again recently for the first time in a few years and it felt awesome. I also sewed something (that wasn’t mending); I made Brandon a pillow and I forgot how simple, easy and awesome they are to make.

It also means attempting to blog more here. Get my voice out. Maybe if I do that, I’ll get out of the job rut that I’ve been in for years.

In general, it means fully living life, embracing my fears and realizing that I am worth more than a lot of people think.

That I am worth more than what I even think sometimes.

I’ve never believed my own hype, the compliments from others. I’ve always downplayed them. I don’t want to go 180 degrees and be a cocky douchenozzle, but if I can get to the point where I can simply say, “thank you, I appreciate it,” I’d be content.

Holidays 2014

I’m trying to keep current with this thing for once in my life!

This time of year has been strange ever since I started working (what is essentially) retail. Christmas comes in mid-November and it doesn’t leave until early January. That combined with the fact that I’m the “help” and am not actually a real person in many customers’ eyes … really makes me kind of hate this time of year.

Still doesn’t keep Christmas from coming. If the Grinch can’t steal Christmas, neither can I.

Being an adult doesn’t help either. I’ve heard over the years that Christmas is for kids, and the older I get, the more I start to realize that’s actually pretty true. I realized that even clearer at the family Christmas Eve celebration as my niece (at 16 months) is starting to kind of grasp how this stuff goes.

For the family 24th celebration, we had to bring dessert. I brought my thumbprint cookies, because duh, but I also needed to bring either cake or pie. We’re a bit sick of pie in Casa Dino, so I decided to research Christmas cakes. Not much came up (yes, fruitcake is obvious, but I was NOT making a damn fruitcake) except for a buche de noel, a traditional French log cake. I found a super simple version (one that didn’t require me to make sugar mushrooms) and it actually turned out pretty well:

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Time with family is, well, time with family. We were supposed to go to my parents’, but my mom broke her arm on the 23rd, so everything got shifted to my brother’s place. He and Nicole stepped up and did a great job.

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Brandon in his AWESOME dinosaur sweater.

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The table.

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Swinging Amelia in my arms.

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Caprese salad. Actually really good.

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The feast.

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Amelia walking with Uncle Brandon.

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First present she goes to was actually hers (from us).

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With her Santa gift. I don’t think she quite understood it.

Christmas morning was rushed with us; Brandon had to go back to work so we had a half hour together, just enough time to make him breakfast. As a result, our present opening got delayed until the 27th. Such is life with two people who work unconventional jobs …

On Miner’s Maze Adventureland

Like I so often do on here, I get so behind in posting. I have been busy this summer and I will do my best to get caught up here in the next few weeks before I make new adventures.

Earlier in the year, I saw a LivingSocial deal for Miner’s Maze Adventureland, a mini-amusement park within Heritage Square in Golden, Colo. It looked like the kind of fun thing that would be a perfect excuse for a date with the hubby, so I bought it.

It ended up being a great deal – I paid $18 and it got us four attractions (a 2-for-1 deal if you buy the pass, or a $72 value if we had paid for each thing separately).

We did the Miner’s Maze itself (beat the clock in finding random things in the maze) as well as the Rocky Mtn. Ropes Course:

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(Did not grab a shot while on course. Would have been a bad idea.)

The maze was “meh” while the ropes course was fun. Definitely tested balance, strength and agility.

After that, we channeled our inner hamsters by trying the Water Walkerz – a LOT harder than it looked.

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Brandon getting zipped up.

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Brandon falling after attempting to walk.

Good to try, but after a while, I really wanted out of that ball. Probably will never do that again.

The final activity we tried was the Silver Spring Bungee – get strapped in, hop on a trampoline and flip if you want to.

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Brandon flipping.

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Me bounding (it took a while before I felt comfortable enough to flip. I miss my youth where I would flip with abandon …).

All in all, a good deal and a fun date. Probably better if you know, actually have kids.

National Western Stock Show and PBR

If you recall from last year, we went to the National Western Stock Show last January. This year, however, we decided to go on a night that Pro Bull Riding was in town so I could FINALLY see it live. Brandon was okay with this not only because I really wanted to go, but also because he apparently watched a lot of PBR in college.

I worked that morning; I got off, we went for a quick run, showered and headed up to the NWSS complex. Our first stop was for food; we didn’t like the Feedlot buffet much last year, so this year we decided to try one of the other in-house restaurants.

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It was okay. I had a mediocre burger and Brandon had pulled pork. It was food, which was all we REALLY wanted.

After we got some food in our bellies, we wandered around a bit at all the exhibits. We went on one of the first days so not everything was there yet – we missed the main poultry, unfortunately – but it was still fun seeing all the animals.

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Sheep.

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Cows with downtown Denver in the background.

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Happy goat.

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Longhorn.

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Brandon and a horse.

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Brandon, turkey whisperer.

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Cow sculpture and I.

Soon enough, it was time to head over to the Denver Coliseum for the main reason of the night – PBR! I think next time I’ll definitely splurge on better seats – the seats we had weren’t bad, per se, but we were quite far away from the chutes. In any case, it was a ton of fun. We also highly enjoyed the team penning event they had at one of the “intermissions” – that alone was almost worth the price of admission. I am glad we finally decided to do this, though – we both had a ton of fun.

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Fire logo in the dirt.

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Miss Rodeo Colorado and all the cowboys at attention for the National Anthem.

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Roping a rogue steer.

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Rodeo clown.

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Ride that bull!

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Team penning finals.

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Wells Fargo stagecoach.

Holidays 2013

This holiday season was a weird one – Brandon flew on Christmas and we had the hardest time ever getting into the holiday spirit. Decorations were up for … maybe three weeks? and we didn’t even bother with lights this year. That being said, we still had a bit of fun – mostly thanks to events Run Colorado, our running store, held.

Before Christmas, they held an ugly sweater party and a cookie swap party. I used Pinterest to create my fabulous sweater/outfit, but I lost by one measly vote to the eventual winner. Which is okay for two reasons:
1.) I voted for her; and
2.) Winner got two entries into the Ugly Sweater 5K, and I wasn’t really running at the time, so the entries would have been wasted on me anyway.
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Kristen, our winner. Fruit cake guarantees hideousness.

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Leanne, essentially third.

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Yours truly, T the Christmas Tree (complete with tree skirt … skirt)(and second place). Inspiration taken from here and here.

We also had a cookie swap party – we brought sugar cookies (Brandon made, I decorated) and two versions of my thumbprints – the regular, and a gluten free version. These have officially become our cookies – I’ll share the recipe soon.

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Thumbprints seen; decorated sugar cookies in background also ours.

Brandon missed out on my family’s annual Christmas Eve dinner, unfortunately, but I dragged the skirt back out and got to see my niece … who was kind of cranky that night.

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We got her into pj’s soon after that and she was a lot less cranky.

Brandon was gone because he was in Washington D.C. for work. He’s a sneaky one and worked it out with my manager to not work the 26th so I could see him on his long layover. It was awesome not only because I got to see him, but also because one of my old college roommates, Amy, lives just south of D.C. in Virginia and so she and her husband (who I hadn’t met yet) were able to drive up and join us for breakfast the 26th, which was awesome.

After breakfast, we went into the city to see the National Christmas tree.

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Brandon and the Minnesota tree.

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The actual National tree. We were underwhelmed. Maybe it’s better lit up?

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Colorado tree.

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Oh hey look, White House.

Once Brandon was home again a few days later, we did our actual Christmas in terms of opening presents and stuff.

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Presents.

We didn’t do anything really for New Year’s Eve this year except make dinner, but that morning we did go to Run CO’s annual NYE morning run … and got to play with the cutest bulldog puppy, Kona.

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SO CUTE.

Maybe next year we’ll be more excited for the holidays … but looking back at this, it doesn’t seem like it was so bad.

Meet Amelia Alice

A few weeks ago – August 7, to be exact – I became an aunt. As you may recall from my previous post on style, I went to my sister-in-law’s baby shower. Obviously baby showers mean that a baby is on the way, and the end result was Amelia Alice. Born six weeks early, she spent a few weeks in the NICU, although she’s home now, but still on oxygen to be safe.

Due to being so early, we first saw her under a heat lamp and thought she looked like a baked potato – thus our nickname for her is “Potato.” Which works out well, weirdly, as Stefan and Nicole have taken to calling her Ams so we can easily turn that into Yams.

On a side note, it’s sad that a newborn preemie has better fingernails than I do.

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My brother.

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Me.

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Holding on to Brandon’s finger.

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Feeding time with Dad as Mom watches on.

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The dinosaurs meet their “cousin” for the first time.

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Tummy time with Aunt T and dinosaurs.

Nicole and Angela’s Wedding

In June, Brandon and I went to the wedding of one of my old assistant managers. As it happened to be, it was a same-sex wedding – first I’ve been to, first I’ve been invited to. Brandon was a bit iffy – he was fine going to the wedding, as we were both friends with Nicole and her fiancée, Angela, is awesome (and has the cutest smile), but he was still unsure about the whole gay marriage thing.

But, going to the wedding, he changed his mind. It was a wedding, just like any other, except both parties were wearing dresses. There were still vows, there was still (some form of) cake, there were favors, there was alcohol, there was dancing … and most importantly, there was love.

Here are my pictures from that day.

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Favors.

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Chairlift at Granby Ranch to the wedding site.

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Columbine up near the site.

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View from the top.

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Brandon and I up at the site.

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Ceremony.

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Married!

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Couple. (Nicole on the left, Angela on the right)

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Photographer attempting to get a shot of those assembled … and I do mean attempting.

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A former coworker, Nicole, with her fiancé Chris and their son Breck.

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Sign up at the top of the mountain.

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Bow on the present we brought.

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Cake pops.

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Nicole’s bouquet.

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Angela’s bouquet.

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Cupcakes.

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Unity sand they made with their families.

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The brides are announced into the room.

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Dinner from the buffet.

On the National Western Stock Show

Every year in January, the National Western Stock Show, (NWSS) known as the “Super Bowl of livestock shows,” comes to Denver. This year was the 107th year and, strangely enough, my first. I’m a native Coloradoan (and Denverite … or at least suburban Denverite) and I’ve been wanting to go for years, but somehow, it just never worked out.

A few years ago, I got hooked on watching Pro Bull Riding (PBR) on TV at the gym – it was great to zone out on a treadmill watching it – and while I don’t seek it out specifically to watch anymore, I’d still love to see it live. The PBR tour is part of the NWSS and since I initially wanted to go mainly for that, the timing just never worked out for me.

This year, Brandon agreed to go with me and even though we weren’t able to make one of the PBR events (or afford it), we decided to go anyway and check it out.

It was a lot of fun. It was a crazy mix of everyday Joe’s and industry people and tons of livestock and stuff for sale and everything. Brandon enjoyed the animals – he likes those areas at the Minnesota State Fair, too – and we both enjoyed the spectacle. We decided we do want to go again next year – and probably see one of the shows (PBR if I get my way).

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Cow.
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Turkey.
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Longhorn.
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Awesome lamp.
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Cucumbers are quite possibly one of my favorite foods, so I found this cool.
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I’m a potato!
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Where we ate. I wouldn’t recommend it.