August 29, 2020

Weekend Recap: All Al Fresco

My weekend kicked off with a blast from the past, with an old friend visiting town. Liza and I went to college together, and also both worked at Deloitte as our first job out of undergrad (along with my good friend Kelly, who lives in Arvada and was the one to convince me to move to Colorado). This weekend, Liza and her husband Albert had gotten her parents to watch their twin girls, and were visiting to Colorado for an adult getaway, and with the possibility of potentially moving!

Kelly booked spots for us to enjoy dinner on a patio in LoDo on Friday, so I wrapped up work early and hightailed it down for our 6pm reservation. It was so much fun to catch up with Liza! We try to have a phone date a few times a year (Liza is awesome about dropping me an email whenever we’re overdue… I need to get on a system like she has), but rarely actually get to see each other in person. And her husband, Albert, is awesome – I am really hoping we did a good job selling them on moving to Colorado sooner rather than later, because it would be lovely to have them here!

Gang’s all here!

The rest of the group ordered apps to share, but I was a little nervous about sharing food and so ordered my own. I ended up being glad I did – the brussel sprouts were to die for, and I wanted every last bite! Haha.

But I had thought we’d order entrees after, whereas we ended up just grabbing the check after the apps. So that meant I had “second dinner” when I got home – probably not a bad thing, since I was ravenous all day Friday (what is it with me always being starving on rest days and not hungry when I work out a lot?) and the cauliflower gnocchi I threw together at home were a lot healthier than any restaurant entrees 😉 I have noticed my weight creeping up this summer as I’ve socialized more, and while I don’t care about the number on the scale, I am not as happy with the way I look. So far it’s only been bothersome enough for me to notice it, but not quite upsetting enough to do something about it… but I probably do need to adjust my eating habits and pay a little more attention to what I’m eating, rather than being able to ignore my diet like I could when I was just home by myself.

The next morning, though, I certainly made up for what I ate on Friday – long run day! The smoke from the fires was finally starting to clear, and I was thrilled to be able to go out for the Marshall Mesa loop that had eluded me the weekend before. The air was still hazy enough that there wasn’t much of a view (I could barely see the mountains), but I was just thrilled to be able to go for a long run.

I did get to see some “wildlife” in the form of cows grazing along the trail.

The loop was much shorter than I remembered – only 15 miles, where I thought it was 17 – and the time really flew by. After doing 10-11 hour hikes for the first few weekends in August, a 2.5 hour run felt like a warmup! 😂

Post-run, it was that weird time of day where it was a little too late for a full breakfast (since lunch was approaching), but a little too early to just wait for lunch… so I made a quick cherry-vanilla protein shake and called it good. After knocking out some Peloton weights / yoga and then having real lunch, I spent the afternoon catching up on some work emails and chores around the house. The time flew by, and while I thought I’d be able to get a lot more done, I ended up racing to meet a date downtown for outdoor dinner and drinks at Postino’s.

Postino’s used to be one of my favorite places to go in Arizona with Adam, and when they opened a location in Denver, I thought I’d be there all the time. However, I usually only actually go once or twice a year! Not sure why, though – the ambience is awesome, the wine list is varied but reasonably priced, and the bruschetta is still absolutely amazing.

Postino’s offers and awesome “board-and-bottle” special on Monday and Tuesday nights, but it’s always packed and nearly impossible to get in. So I just go on other nights and get the bruschetta board anyway. Not as much of a deal, but it’s so good it’s worth it!

The next morning, I woke up intending to get a long Peloton biking workout in, but instead started the day by heading out to the yard for some much-needed lawn mowing and tree trimming. Ah, the joys of being a homeowner! I have really neglected my yard quite a bit this summer, since I wasn’t doing anything while my new deck was being built, and then this past week, I also had my landscaper building a massive patio to go under it. I could not be more thrilled with how it came out… now I just need to go on the hunt for more patio furniture to put down there!

Realized I don’t have a picture of the final product, but here it is still in progress with the guys still working on it. It is rock solid (in spite of the shifting soil in my neighborhood) and humongous!

It took me much longer than I expected to trim the trees in the backyard (long since neglected) and also chop up the branches enough to get them into my trash cans.

This isn’t all I cut down; the branches ended up filling all three of my 96 gallon trash cans!

By the time I finished, I didn’t have time for the workout I was planning. Instead, I hustled to the grocery to pick up a few things, then came home to put together this tortellini salad for lunch – I was hosting Liza and Albert, and Kelly and her husband Den out on my new deck!

To go with the tortellini salad, Kelly was also sweet enough to bring some amazing roasted tomatoes and zucchini… which she had grown herself! So impressive.

Unfortunately, while I had thought ahead to making a cold salad for lunch on a hot day, and knew that my deck gets tons of morning sun, I hadn’t realized that the deck doesn’t start getting shaded until around 2pm… which meant we were hot sitting out in the sun starting at 12pm! This was a big part of why I had the patio built underneath – so that I could be down there where it’s cool and shaded in the morning. However, that didn’t work out so well when I didn’t yet have furniture down below, and we were all stuck up top. I need to figure out what I want and start sourcing a set of patio furniture for downstairs…

In spite of the heat, though, we had a great time catching up, and the time flew by! Before I knew it, it was 3pm, and I had to regretfully kick everyone out so I could get my workout, some chores, and some work emails in before my evening dinner plans.

I wrapped up my weekend with more time out on the deck – this time, enjoying dinner, wine, and my first night using my new firepit. It came with some ugly basic red lava rocks, but I ordered these brilliant blue fireproof beads on Amazon to replace them, and they totally upgraded the look of the whole firepit! I love them so much.

My hope is that the warmth of this firepit will allow me to keep hosting friends through at least the fall, if not the winter, since I prefer not to have anyone actually inside my house.

In spite of the hot and sunny afternoon Sunday, I’d say my new deck and patio are a success – and I’m wishing I had them done years ago! I never thought I was much of a deck-and-yard-and-garden person, but now I am really enjoying spending time in my outdoor living space. Looking forward to lots more of this going forward!


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