My Trip to Denver

I took my first-ever trip to Denver a few weeks ago to visit friends. What a beautiful city! Why had I never been there sooner?! That’s all I can ask myself. The views from every single direction are absolutely stunning, and the weather (when I was there at least) was awesome. I’m also not the skiing type, and was pleasantly surprised to learn how many things there are to do beyond hitting the slopes.

Denver collage 5-9-2014 We started the weekend at a Kentucky Derby party — the “Denver Derby.” Fitting name, eh? Everyone was fully decked out in Derby apparel. I wore a “fascinator,” aka hair clip, that I found on Etsy. This is the one I bought, and I was really happy with how it turned out!

I’d love to go to the actual Derby someday. So many hats, so little time….

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Another highlight from my weekend — the Rockies game! I’ve been to a LOT of baseball stadiums in my life. Coors Field has the best views by far! You can see the mountains in the background! How cool is that?!

Coors Field

Coors Field

I can’t wait to go back to Colorado sometime! Maybe I’ll actually go skiing… or hiking at the very least. :-D

Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit

Say hello to one of my favorite ice cream addictions — Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit! I cannot begin to explain my obsession with this stuff. It’s not exactly ice cream — it’s a combination of three ingredients: fruit, water and cane sugar. Super refreshing! They sell a bunch of different flavors, like strawberry, mango, pineapple and my two favorites: dark chocolate and banana.  There are also toppings like pretzels, marshmallows and coconut. When I visited last week, I opted for a twist of dark chocolate and banana topped with dark chocolate chips. Yummm! If you’re ever in the Union Square area, I definitely recommend stopping by. It’s one of my go-to summer treats. Plus, it’s made from fruit, so it has to be healthy, right? ;-)

Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit

Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co on Urbanspoon

Dominique Ansel’s Cookie Shot!

At last! I finally tried Dominique Ansel‘s famous cookie shot. (I still have yet to try his even-more-famous Cronut. Someday… when the lines die down!) I waited in a short and fairly painless line for the cookie shot, which the bakery starts selling at 3:00 p.m. The staff formed a separate “cookie shot” line for customers outside. For those purchasing other bakery items, there was a general line kept inside the store. Sounds crazy, but it actually works pretty efficiently. I arrived around 2:40 p.m. and stepped in line outside. I was probably 6th or 7th in line… not too shabby!

Dominique Ansel Cookie Shot

Once inside — a little after 3:00 p.m., I ordered my cookie shot, which came served with ice cold vanilla bean-infused milk. I honestly kept my expectations low. I thought the cookie would be dry — but it blew my mind! You know those super soft, gooey, heavenly chocolate chip cookies you had growing up? They just tasted so sweet and chewy, but now are so hard to replicate when baking on your own? That’s how the cookie shot tasted. I don’t even know what it was — could it have been the butter content, sugar, number of chocolate chips? No idea. But it just WORKS. I drank the milk right away. If you don’t, the cookie will start leaking from the bottom! Mine was almost getting close to that point.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Here’s a shot post-milk swigging… after a few bites. At this point it was almost like a cookie taco or mini burrito. Yum!

Dominique Ansel Cookie Shot

Dominique Ansel Cookie Shot

Dominique Ansel Bakery on Urbanspoon

Froyo at The Plaza Food Hall’s YoArt

With the warmer temps lately, I’ve been craving froyo more and more! It never fails to hit the spot. A few weeks ago, my co-worker and I stepped out at lunch to treat ourselves at the Plaza Food Hall’s YoArt. I’d never been! My usual go-to place is 16 Handles — they’re everywhere. But I loved this place! It’s a tad on the pricier side, but the place is super clean, not too crowded and they have TONS of amazing toppings. My order: Milk & Cookies froyo (similar to cookies ‘n creme — but way better) topped with pink sprinkles, gummy bears, cookie dough bits and mini peanut butter cups. It definitely won two thumbs up from me. But next time, I’m going sans-gummy bears — they froze and became rock solid! (Seems obvious that they would, but I never even thought about it!) Still delicious though… :-D

Froyo at YoArt Froyo at YoArt

YoArt at The Plaza Food Hall on Urbanspoon

Graduation Weekend in Madison

Congratulations to my brother, who just graduated from UW-Madison last weekend! I flew into town to take part in the festivities. All I can say is I feel OLD. I only graduated (from Madison) two years ago — but going back, it feels so much longer! Either way, it was so nice to be back for a few days to see all my family and friends. :-D

5-25-2014 Graduation Weekend

The whole weekend pretty much consisted of various celebrations — parties, dinners and of course, the ceremony itself. The first night, we went to dinner at Brickhouse BBQ with a huge group of his fraternity friends.

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Later on, we went out for drinks, and I got to meet up with a bunch of my college friends! I haven’t seen some of them for over a year. Here’s a shot of a bunch of the siblings… me and my brother on the left!

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Saturday was graduation time! For the first time in 25 years, the ceremony was held at Camp Randall (the football stadium). To be honest, I was a little concerned about the weather. But it turned out to be just fine — in the 60’s and sunny! Apparently, about 6,000 kids attended the ceremony!

UW-Madison Graduation 2014 at Camp Randall

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We stopped at the Union after the ceremony to take some pics (my brother’s favorite part! NOT…).

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Turned out to be a beautiful day!

UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace

Then, onnnn to dinner #2. On Saturday, we had dinner with my dad’s side of the family at the Madison Club. I ordered scallops (not pictured), but obviously I got a shot of the most important part: dessert! This was the chocolate torte — garnished with raspberries, a chocolate-dipped cookie and the prettiest edible chocolate design I’ve ever seen!

Chocolate Torte

Chocolate Torte

Another photo opp! This time, a cousin pic.

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And a big group shot! For some reason, my cousin and I ended up in the front. Don’t ask me why it worked out this way, but the positioning of everyone in the pic actually worked out well in the end!

IMG_4926 Capitol in Madison

On Sunday, we had the last and final dinner for my brother with my mom’s family. The highlight: red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert — my fave! :-D (Not going to lie, I did have some influence over this pick… muahaha). Isn’t it pretty?

Graduation Cake