Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fort Collins: Bike 'n' Beer

One thing we loved about our first Colorado winter (besides being a little over an hour's drive from mountains for snowboarding), was that surprisingly there was much less snow than expected (which wasn't hard to compare to Chicago who had their worst winter on record in 50+ years).
 
If you're followed me for any time now, you know what beer nerds we are (thanks Ben!).  A CO bucket list item was to do a tour at New Belgium Brewery, an hour from Fort Collins.  Easy enough, right? Not so fast...although the tours are free, they release tickets online typically 60-90 days in advance and they "sell out" like that. So when Ben booked us tickets in November for a tour in January, it wasn't surprising; what was, was that it turned out to be a sunny, 75-degree day!
 
One of our long time friends moved to Ft Collins a few months after we moved to Denver.  He's a biker and beer junky, so he guided us on a self-led brewery-bike tour around Fort Collins.
 
First up was Funkwerks. A chill little spot with some amazing potent beer. My fav is the Tropic King IPA.
From there, we scooted over to New Belgium for our tour time, passing Ft Collins Brewery and Odell on the way with our golden tickets.
All New Belgium Brewing (NBB) employees get a Fat Tire cruiser bike after their first anniversary (and after their 5th anniversary, they get a week-paid trip to Belgium; JEALOUS!)
 
The tour itself is comprehensive (giving some great background not only to the company but to brewing) as well as impressive. Their facility is monsterous!

I won't go all geeked out on you here, but our favorite beers are sours (yes, you read right); which typically age in barrels for a year minimum.  Therefore, this room was by far our fav!
Another great  stop on the tour was the packaging facility, where we were privy to a new canned beer, prior to it's release to the public; Snapshot, a wheat perfectly refreshing for summer.
But, the highlight of the NBB tour is the twirly-slide down into the taproom. We'd been given a heads up on this and were told but to scream, but yours truly couldn't help herself:)


From there we went back down the road to Odell; which has a beautiful facility and huge beer garden. I love their Mycenary IPA (when we can find it; the first time was Duluth!) and their Easy Street Wheat is a very drinkable summer beer.
Next on the bike de beer tour was Pateros Creek Brewery. I opted for a pumpkin beer (not on the menu) and was quite pleased; the boys were quiet pleased to find a game room; including fooseball.
We had a quick stop at Equinox Brewing before deciding we needed food; so where else to go than a craft beer bar, The Mayor of Old Town?
We night-capped with oyster-beer shots at Black Bottle Brewery.  As you can imagine, this was not a sober decision! ;) However, we had a blast throughout the day and can't wait to repeat it!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Radio Silence

...no more.
Hello there my friends.  I've taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging to try to get settled down.  I'm happy to report that I'm at a place that I feel like I can finally stop and take deep breathes without gasping for air in all of the adjustments we've had in life the past couple months.
 
So, what have I been up to you ask? Well, here's a little recap of the past three months or so...
We closed on our house in February and moved in the first week of March.  Being a homeowner of a 100+ year old brick bungalow is no joke.  We were so happy to find a home we wanted in the location we wanted that has much of what we wanted (how many "wanted"s can I include in one sentence?), but there is ALWAYS something to do; well it's scrape a popcorn ceiling (check), paint trim white (partial check, just the living room and bathroom is done), or laying sod; we're keeping on our toes!
Other than working on the house (which, don't get me wrong, I love, love, love); we've been busy with life in general.
 
It's been so nice for Oscar to have a neighborhood to walk in again.  The apartment we sublet when we first moved here was downtown, which meant no grass for the poor little fellow.  He also hated the narrow hallways with people and dogs constantly passing by. Now he has a house of his own and Ben working at home to keep him company.
And, we wouldn't be us if we hadn't been keeping up on our love of beer. We recently tallied up how many breweries we've been to in Denver proper; the count is at 22 and growing all the time.
 
If you follow me on instagram (@justcallmehaha), you could probably guess I've been having a lot of fun (although indecisive) decorating our house. We still have a long way to go, but it feels more and more like home with every addition. #hahashome on IG tracks all of my latest decisions.
We've had both of our families come out for a visit and last weekend we had our first "friend" out. It's been fun to show off the place and 'hood, but also wonderful because my father-in-law is quite the handyman!  My own dad helped us install an outdoor electrical outlet as well as fix up some odds and ends around the house.  My father-in-law was here for a week and installed a microwave, changed our garage door from manual to electric with an opener, changed out sink faucets, and the list goes on!  He's currently working on some built-in shelves for our bedroom that will be installed in August :)
At the end of April I flew home for a cousin's wedding; which was the first time since we moved that we've had my entire immediate family (sans Ben) together.
On the trip, I flew back to Denver out of Chicago and had a brief two hours in the city to meet one of my best friends for coffee.  It felt so surreal to be in a city I called home for years. It was as if I could have hopped on the brown line El train and gone back to the apartment as if everything that had happened in the last six months was a dream.
Of course we haven't been taking living surrounded by mountains for granted. Our weekly routine has become a Sunday hike.  These are the times when we climb to a summit, look out, and wonder why anyone would live anywhere else.
Yep, overall life is pretty grand right now.  We love our house,
 I love my job, and we're happy with this little life we've building together.
 
 
 
 
(PS- I finally found my DSLR battery charger; I can't wait to get out and use my real camera)







Monday, March 31, 2014

Update!

Hello loves. We're been homeowners for over a month now, and as you can tell, the blog has suffered.  It's a terrible thing because I have so much I want to share, from exploring our neighborhood, to snowboarding feats and then on to several home projects that have already taken place (mainly lots of painting: trim, ceiling, cabinets and even tile!).

I promise I'll be back to share all of the stores; but in the meantime, you can see what I'm up to on my instagram (@justcallmehaha) and figure out what I'm planning next by checking out my Pinterest!

Miss you lots!
XO

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hello There.

Give me a little more time and I'll finally have some more time to dedicate to you (and a real space to use for the computer instead of our little bistro table, yeesh!).  Yep, tomorrow is closing day. As you can imagine, we are thrilled, although it still seems unfathomable that tomorrow we officially become home owners.  All of our searching and budgeting has paid off. We found an amazing house AND will still have a comfortable savings after tomorrow's hefty check is handed over.

We lucked out and have a week overlap of owning the house (ah!) and our apartment lease; which means this weekend we'll be rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. The first major projects to tackle are the scraping of our living/dining room popcorn ceiling (after much debate about paying someone, we decided we'll take a whack at it first) and painting our woodwork trim white (I know, I know, some people, my mother-in-law included, think it's a sin. But it's our house and we'll do what we want). Wish us luck!
 
In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through you. Go out and shop these deals, will ya?
  • Banana Republic: 40% off in stores and online with code BRTUNEIN through 3/2 (2% back via ebates.com)
  • Gap:
    • 20% off women's and men's online purchases and 10% donation to your choice non-profit online with code DOGOOD
    • Semi-annual kids and baby sale; up to 40% off in store and online
    • 2% back via ebates.com
  • H&M: $4.95 sweatshirt today

  • Old Navy: 25% off women's styles online with code ONSAVENOW and up to 75% off clearance sale in stores (2% back via ebates.com)
  • Nike: Extra 20% off clearance items with code BESTINGAME through 3/6 (6% back via ebates.com)
  • Piperlime: Extra 40% off final sale items today with code FINAL (2% back via ebates.com)
  • Shutterfly: 50% off 10"x10" or larger photobooks with code BOOKSMART through 3/5
  • Starbucks: Now through 3/4, receive a bonus star for every purchase with your Starbucks card (that's 6 purchases for a free item!)
  • West Elm: Up to 70% off newly added clearance items

Monday, February 17, 2014

President's Day Deals and Steals

Good morning.  Happy President's Day! I figured with all of the sales, today is a good day to get back to my ole' deals and steals posts.  Happy shopping!
  • Barnes and Noble: 15% off one item with coupon today
  • Bloomingdales: Big Brown Bag sale ends today (3% back via ebates.com)
  • CB2: Free shipping today
  • Francescas: $25 denim and 25% off booties and bags (in store and online)
  • Kohls: 20% off with Kohls' card and code HEART20 (6% back via ebates.com)
  • H&M: 50% off select styles today
  • JCPenney: 20% off with JCP card or 15% off without; THANKS15 (6% back via  ebates.com)
  • J. Crew: extra 50% off final sale items with code EXTRA50 (3% back via  ebates.com)
  • J. Crew Factory: Up to 60% off (prices marked) and free shipping today with code HAPPYDAY (1.5% back via  ebates.com)
  • Macy's: Extra 20% off with code PRES (6% back via  ebates.com)
  • Old Navy: In store only: 50% off women's dresses; 30% off entire purchase or 35% off with store card
  • Puma: Extra 25% off sale items and free shipping (4.5% back via ebates.com)
  • Sports Authority: 15% off entire online purchase (3% back via ebates.com)
  • Victoria's Secret: 20% off a single item with code ITEM20 (2% back via ebates.com)
  • Ulta: 20% off one item through 2/22 (exclusions apply)
  • West Elm: Extra 15% off markdowns and free shipping (exclusion apply) with code FREE15 today

Friday, February 14, 2014

V-day

Hello there Valentines! Thought I forgot about'cha, did ya?  It's been a busy week with work and gathering documents for our mortgage lender...but the big news is, we have a closing date and time!  Two weeks from today, this will officially be ours (and two weeks and a day from now we'll be busting our booties to get all of this trim painting white; is that a sin?)
Given the major purchase, we agreed to forgo gifts and dinner this year.  This weekend we'll be headed up to Summit County to stay at our family friend's condo (the owner happens to be our realtor's daughter) and spend the weekend snowboarding prior to all of this homeowner business. 
 
Denver Restaurant Week is Feb 22-28; so we agreed we'll do a nice meal out (at a discounted price) as a Valentines/Home celebration. Yesterday Ben sent an email along the lines of "just checking, we're not doing gifts or cards tomorrow, right? I'll buy you some flowers once we're in the house". I agreed and low and behold this morning I woke up to this, jerk (I mean that in the most loving way).
Although...that really does say a lot! Happy Valentine's Day!
 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Belay On

Yea, so the house inspection came up with some little items and major repair items.  We heard from the seller that they were willing to fix the little items but not the large yesterday.  All afternoon I was ready to burst into tears (this is probably a good reminder why you shouldn't check personal email at work!).

The seller claimed that from the inspection report, the items deemed as needing "attention" did not warrant necessary repair or maintenance for function or safety reasons; thus, they weren't interested.  Our realtor tried to reason that these items would come up with any potential buyer and the seller came back with, that's part of the reason the house is priced what it is.

I called our inspector and walked through the list again. I was happy to learn that he truly doesn't not think the roof needs replacing, rather there are a few shingles that need repair.  The other large issue is the sewer line is close to one hundred years old and that definitely needs repair, if not replacement. But given the neighborhoods we want to be in and knowing the majority of the homes are the same age; this issue could come up anywhere. My dad has worked in the water industry for years and cautioned that yes, we need to get on that. We'll have another sewer scope done when he's out here to get more important and understanding on it's condition.

Otherwise, the last major issue is the A/C. We decided we can try living without central air and see how it goes.  There are always window units until we decide to bite the bullet. Plus, so many have reached out to us to say that they've lived in houses without central air and that summer heat here is dry; unlike the humid mess in the Midwest; so we're taking our chances.

Back to yesterday, pretty much as soon as I got in my car, the tears started flowing. I tried to place the emotion and reason for the tears, but couldn't. I couldn't decide if it was the fear of walking away or something else.  Now looking back, I think it was the fear of how much I wanted the house and worrying Ben wouldn't feel the same.

Good ole Dad called to talk through some items and the biggest one that stuck was, okay, adding on the worst-case costs for sewer, air conditioning and roof repairs, to the sale price of the house; how does that pricing compare to other listings? Thinking of it in that light, even with the add-ons (which we'll take care of as we need to and won't impact our monthly mortgage, which is comfortably what we budgeted for), the house is still a fair, if not good, price, given what the house has to offer and the location.

I was pretty shocked when I sat down on the couch and said to Ben, "so....", and he said, "well, we love it...and I think we should do it". Relief rushed over me and I was thrilled we were on the same page!

So there you have it! We ARE buying our current dream house and closing on the 28th!

Now to get onto the fun things; like decorating and I'm already on top of that (although I'll take your ideas too!)

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