Wait, what?!

Tomorrow is the big day! I can’t believe it’s finally here. This entire summer I feel like “I’m going to Madrid August 31st so I still have a lot of time,” has become my catchphrase. Well, guess what? August 31st has arrived and I will be on a plane to Frankfurt, Germany in 24 hours… This leaves me just enough time to run, go to My Favorite Muffin, pack my toiletries, go to Karl’s Deli, and get to the airport! I feel ready but still don’t feel like it’s actually happening. I think it will hit me the moment the plane takes off.

My bags are stuffed. I really could not imagine fitting one more item in any of them so I hope things go smoothly tomorrow and re-arranging is not in store because we could have many problems.

Like I’ve said before, I am going to try to post as often as possible so stay tuned and please leave me comments with updates on your lives as well because I am ever-curious! For now, I’m gonna get some sleep so I can be on top of my game tomorrow and make sure I do not forget anything!

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FINALLY FOURTEEN!

So I made a “To-do before summer ends” list at the beginning of the summer (3 months ago. Where has time gone?!) Unfortunately, I have not made too much progress but did manage to check one thing off today… Climbing a 14er! And technically I can check it off twice because we conquered two, Grays Peak and Torreys Peak!

Grays Peak is on the left, Torreys on the right!

Grays Peak is on the left, Torreys on the right!

I was so excited when my roomie invited me to go with her and her friends because every time I have tried this summer, plans have fell through! So I got up at the awful hour of 5 am (Did you know it is dark enough to still see stars at that hour?!) and headed to meet up with the crew!

The hike in total was 9 miles long, it was so steep, and more difficult than I anticipated! Thankfully, my body was up for the challenge and we made it up and down in a little less than six hours! We had plenty of stops and snacks on the way and I am so happy we did it!

All of us at the top of Grays!

All of us at the top of Grays!

After, we stopped by Lollicup on the way home for a victory present to ourselves. A Strawberry Peach Slush was the perfect rejuvenator after such a long and tiring hike! I’m so ecstatic I finally made it to the top of one and can’t wait to do another one again! Views like this is definitely one of the things I will miss the most about Colorado (and the USA for that matter) next semester in Madrid!

Heaven on earth.

Heaven on earth.

Making progress!

So I ended up having a very nice weekend that confirmed one thing that I have always known: I am not a camper. While the stars were pretty and it was nice to get away, I would much rather stay in a nice insulated house in the mountains than sleep in a tent and wake up smelling like burnt campfire. But overall, I am glad I went and can check it off my Summer To-Do list.

Yesterday my grandma and uncle (with his wife and brood of four) came over for a dinner party (apparently it was in my honor since I am leaving soon for Spain? I was unaware). Either way, I got roped into dishing up some food since my mom was at work. I started out by making this green bean and yellow pepper salad. It was really easy to make and with just with just olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, yellow peppers, and green beans, healthy. The beans were from the farmer’s market Saturday and all I had to do was cut them and boil them for a little bit. Through making this I also learned what chopping a red onion thinly meant (thanks to my papa!)

The finished product!

The finished product!

Next on the list were twice baked potatoes! Potatoes used to be my absolute favorite food. I love them a lot still but wow… was I obsessed. Anyways. My mom and gma always made really good ones so I was excited to finally learn how to make them! Basically it just took baking the potatoes, scooping out the insides, adding sour cream, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, seasoning, and stuffing the potatoes again to bake! They turned out muy delicioso (even if this implies otherwise).

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So there ya go. I was proud of my domestic enterprises yesterday. I even watched my aunt make her famous mojitos (my favorite cocktail) and am hoping that I can make them for myself soon! It seems easy enough (sugar water, club soda, lime, mint, rum, and ice) but it is the blend that truly makes it outstanding. I guess I can make the hard sacrifice and start experimenting soon!

Salsaritaaa

So for those of you who don’t know, my grandma is Mexican and that means that me and the fam eat a lot of Mexican food! It’s probably my favorite out of any type of ethnic food (right up there with Ethiopian!) Needless to say, it’s all authentic from the enchiladas to chili rellenos to guacamole! My grandma is an amazing cook and thankfully, my mom is not too bad either.

Then there’s me. Who can barely make mac and cheese without messing it up. But I made a recent goal to learn how to make all these family staples before it’s too late… and one of them is a simple salsa!

I went to the Farmer’s Market again today with my best friend after running through Washington Park. We wanted to grab some breakfast and my mom wanted me to grab some vegetables (to make salsa!) I realized that today would be a perfect day to figure out how exactly she makes the stuff that I eat practically every day. Turns out it is really easy!

I started out with one Colorado tomato (from the farmer’s market) that I cut up into big chunks, followed by half of an onion. I put that in the food processor first!

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Then I took some of the fresh cilantro and Medium (on the hotness scale) roasted chiles that I also got today. They were roasting them fresh by their tent and the aroma was circulating throughout the entire lot! I had to peel away the roasted skin of the chiles to get to the realpart. Turns out, most of the, were  closer to the mild side and we like our salsa spicy… so we added more chile until it got a little kick!

Mmm I love the smell of cilantro!

Mmm I love the smell of cilantro!

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Bag o' chile!

Next, I added a the juice of half a lime, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a little less than a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a little bit of freshly ground pepper! Then it was time to mix!

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After adding a little bit extra salt here, and cilantro there we finally got a flavor we liked!

And the finished product….

Success!!!

Success!!!

So there it is! I learned how to make my first family recipe and I can’t wait to share it with my friends when we’re camping tonight. What’s even cooler is I can say that I made it all by myself.

I can’t wait to learn more. My grandma is heading here tomorrow so maybe I’ll have another cooking adventure!

Does your family have any “secret” recipes you wanna learn too?

Summer Bookie

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So while last year was The Summer of the Great Thirst, this summer turned out to be the Summer of Reading (and Movies… and Savings) according to mis amigos. My paid job required mainly sitting by the pool for eight hours at a time, occasionally bringing someone a drink or cheeseburger. Oh and watching women float around on noodles while singing after doing water aerobics. (Seriously, just watch).

So what did I do in my free time? READ. Which was nice because at school I always find it hard to read books outside of my texts for class. So a lot of my friends keep asking what books I read are actually worth reading. Since summer is coming to a close, here is a list of my Top 5 books that I read and why I like them!

1. Audition by Barbara Walters My suitemate from school is OBSESSED with Barbara Walters. Like insane. I always knew who she was from The View but never really knew her. So I found this on the bookshelves in the library at work and decided to take on the nearly 600 page book (with fairly small writing). Needless to say, this was the longest book I read this summer but so worth it. As someone who is aspiring to work in the news field, it was remarkable to read about how big of an impact this woman made on the industry and how she got there. She also delved into a lot of her personal life that you would never know from watching her on her TV set. I also learned so much about poignant historical events, elections, politicians, celebrities, etc., and it was so interesting to read about what was going on behind the scenes at all the different networks. After reading it, I definitely understood how my crazy roomie could idolize someone so much!

2. Supergirls Speak Out by Liz Funk After reading a review for this book in my local newspaper, I knew I had to read it. As they were describing this so-called “Supergirl,” I felt like they were describing my life. Basically, Supergirls are girls who are driven by accomplishment, almost to the point of being dangerous. They are validated by what they achieve and strive for more and more. Most of my best friends are “supergirls” and I think this is just an important book for girls to read (from middle school to post-grad). It really gives you an inside look at this type of psyche and makes you question whether you are doing what you’re doing for yourself (and to bring you happiness) or just for others.

3. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger Lots of movies that came out this summer were books beforehand and I wanted to read each book before I saw the movie. Now this movie comes out this Friday and I am so excited! Mainly because I loved the book. It is a bit lengthy and can be slow at times. Not to mention, it takes a  couple chapters before you really get the whole hang of the time situation, but once you do, it makes for a compelling and interesting read of romance and growth.

4. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell A lot of people have seen this movie by  now, and I was impressed by how well the movie reflected her actual life. Besides that, Julie Powell is such an entertaining writer. She had me laughing out loud and amused the entire time. Afterwards, I even jumped online to read snippets from her blog. If you are a foodie, blogger, or just plain woman, I would suggest reading this! (And seeing the movie, Meryl is simply classic…)

5. Bookends by Jane Green I read a lot of “chick lit” too. These books are easy to read and a lot of times would only take one day! Jane Green is one of my favorite “chick lit” authors. But interestingly enough, I met her this summer at the Tattered Cover and she talked about her dislike of the phrase “chick lit” because she feels like her stories are deeper than that, and I agree. I have read most of her books and this was one of her firsts. She talked about how it had her favorite characters of all time in them so I felt like I had to read it! This was probably my favorite beach read-esque book of the summer!

So there ya go! What about you? Found any time to read good books this summer?

P.S. Ever feel like you spend so much money on books that you read in less than a week? This summer I have learned the power of a) trading books with friends and b) trading out books in the library! I cannot tell you how happy I am I saved hundreds of dollars this summer on not buying a $20 book every time I wanted to read a new story!

TIME out!

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There’s been a lot of uproar about the recent Time Magazine article talking about “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.” After it was published, it was unavoidable! From the web to my morning talk shows people were chatting about this concept. I just wanted to voice off in a VERY quick post. While exercise will not “make you thin,” it definitely helps in weight loss! We all know weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take-in and the way to burn more calories is through exercise! After reading the article, it’s clear that the main point they’re making is that lots of people use exercise as an excuse to eat more and, therefore, do not lose weight. So overall, the message is not wrong but I found myself getting annoyed by the fact that people were just reading the headline but not very much after that.

Weight loss aside… I find it hard to go a day or more without exercise just because I don’t feel good. Exercise keeps me refreshed, alert, and feeling good.

What about you? What drives you to exercise?

Farmer’s Market Fresh

So this summer I had a choice of working on either Saturdays or Sundays. My love of weekly Sunday brunch (not a joke…) and pilates sesh made me choose Saturdays to work. Today I had a change in the internship schedule and had to go into the station on Saturday morning. Instead of working the other job right after, I decided to take the afternoon off and go in on Sunday instead. Having the afternoon free also meant the opportunity to finally go to the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market!!!

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I always loved the farmer’s market since the first time I went, and today just reaffirmed my love for the tent filled parking lot. Here are some of my favorite finds of the day:

1. Wee Bites– Chicken Curry Puff equals to diiiiie for.

2. Waffle Brothers– the sweetest, dough-iest waffle I have had in a long while. The kiosk is located at Skyline Park downtown and now I’m really wanting to go there.

3. Colorado Honey Company– picked me up some tasty Pink Lemonade honey sticks… yum!

4. Udi’s– grabbed a Bluberry Scone that I can’t wait to eat for breakfast tomorrow!

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5. Vuka– a new type of natural energy drink, I really liked the Workout and Awaken kinds… Only downside? $3.50 a bottle 😦

This list could go on and on and on… Basically I was in heaven and am so happy I finally had a chance to go! The best part? Free samples. I probably made four rounds before going home, everything was too tasty to pass up and I got to try new bites from all around Colorado! I tried tamales, cream puffs, raspberry cider, caramel covered cinnamon rolls, raw cheesecake (yes… raw), sweet potato cookies, salsas, bread dips, and fruit!

Basically, if you haven’t been, you’r missing out! And there’s more all over Colorado on other days than Saturday.

So what are you waiting for?