Friday, October 24, 2014

summer lovin'

I'm still digesting all of the adventures + celebrations + weekend fun that we experienced over the summer.  While this post is delayed in being published, I've been writing and assembling it for a few weeks { scratch that - a few months!  Slowest blogger award goes to... }.  It is just so hard for me to begin trying to get everything down on "paper" { blog + paper?  blogper? } without writing everything.  So I give to you, my summer as condensed as I could condense it : >


My sweetest + silliest friend and her plus one came up for a quick/long weekend for the 4th of July.  This was right around the time I was really struggling with friendships here in Steamboat, so Sara's infectious laugh, insane sense of humor and sharp honesty were just what my heart and soul needed right at that moment.  I am forever grateful for her, our memories we've made over the past 7 years and our memories we have yet to make.  I love that woman more and more while always falling short with words to communicate that to her.



My best friend of 15+ years, my soul sister and the strongest part of me got married to the love of her life in Montana.  I was a hundred different shades of proud standing up next to her as she said i do.  Hunter and I made a week long road trip out of it and the ridiculous adventures we experienced on our drive there, the week we spent in an out of this world amazing VRBO rental, the rare happenstance that lead me to get to see one of my dear Bremerton friends(!!!!), the precious time spent with my parents + the dearest of friends from high school are memories that won't leave me anytime soon.



My parents made a 2 week road trip out of Amie's wedding, so they stopped in Steamboat on their way back home!  My dad had visited Steamboat back in the 70's but it was my mom's first time in The Boat!  I loved having them here and showing off our favorite spots in Steamboat.  I am forever grateful for their love, support and the spontaneous silliness they bring to my life.



Before Lindsey decided to move to Steamboat for a month, she was in town for a long weekend { her and our friend Kristy participated in the Tour de Steamboat.  Hello, inspirational! }.  I was able to steal a few hours of their time and host a brunch at the house!  It was everything a summer morning should be built of: coffee, fresh green juice, mimosas { duh! } followed by breakfast pizza { with homemade crust!  toot toot! }, my most favorite breakfast potatoes, breakfast cookies, fresh fruit and avocado toast.  We followed it up with a few hours laying in some shade in the backyard talking about everything and nothing at the same time.  Every ounce of me was filled with love, gratitude and appreciation that morning.



Hunter, Bob, our friend Judy and I made a somewhat spontaneous trip to the always gorgeous Lake Powell!  Luck is on my side as Hunter + his brother + dad all have their pilot licenses and access to several airplanes.  A road trip from Steamboat to Lake Powell can be upwards of 8+ hours, but in an airplane it is a zippy 2 hours!  We left early on a Saturday morning and were on the water with a cold adult beverage in hand by 10am.  The weekend was spent leisurely drifting around Lake Powell while listening to story after story of trips the Maddox family took to Powell throughout the boy's childhood.  That lake.  That boat.  That spot is magic to these men and I feel beyond honored to be let in on that sacred adventure with them.



Of course my trip to Denver back in August is not to be forgotten.  Mary has always been the most gracious host and I loved our weekend together!  We did everything from a Red Rocks Concert, Yoga on the Rocks....oh ok I know you've read all about it here, but I never want to pass up an opportunity to brag up my amazing friends and family who held me up in times where I truly didn't think my legs would take another step.  I still haven't stopped carrying the love of this trip with me day after day.



My birthday!  Goodness me was I spoiled rotten this year.  My birthday breakfast was presented to me by the most booootiful waitress in all the land { Hi, Rou! } with my very favorite acai bowl and a birthday candle!  I was treated to my most favorite biscuits and gravy mid-day, an amazing lunch with a dear friend and then shot out of work { 10 pounds heavier } an hour early so Hunter and I could check into our hotel room for the night!  WHERE, my sweet friend Emma went above and beyond to upgrade our already discounted hotel room to a suite!  Hunter and I relaxed a bit with a few drinks and gifts before meeting a few really wonderful friends of ours for adult beverages + small plates.  We retired back to the hotel room a bit early where I could indulge in my ultimate indulgence which would be eating dinner in bed while watching TV.  A rather simple request, this I know.  We never ever were allowed TVs in our room growing up, so when I get a chance to relax in bed while eating, it makes for a really happy Beth.  The night ended with one of my favorite pizzas in town, a nice hot tub soak followed by a nice long bath tub soak { I'm so predictable, I know it.  What can I say?!  I know what I like. } before drifting off to sleep with my heart about to burst and a smile the size of Texas.



My birthday weekend!  There is a small chance { we are talking like 99.9% out of 100% chance } that I put the pressure on Hunter rather strong this year to have a really amazing birthday weekend trip planned. It sounds incredibly selfish, this I know.  BUT, my last two birthdays were off the charts { here and here } and I really didn't want our tradition to die this year because of silly restrictions like work schedules.  We went back and forth between deciding on a repeat trip to Lake Powell, a weekend long backpacking trip or a van + biking road trip.  In the end, the van + biking + camping road trip won and man alive am I glad it did!  Hunter planed the entire weekend with not only my favorite snacks, breakfast foods, drinks and dinners but he kept our route and final destination { Crested Butte!!! } a surprise.  I did not stop smiling the entire weekend.  The surprise of a Saturday morning soak in a small mountain town hot springs totally set the tone for the weekend followed by insanely gorgeous and secluded camping spots, leisurely visits to { two! }  breweries and a distillery.  I logged my record of 20 miles over 2 days on my mountain bike { a record for this newbie mountain biker! } and made best friends with a few dozen cows that Hunter and I still talk about to this day.  We fell in love with the town of Crested Butte and dreamed of what it would be like to relocate our lives there.  Everything about it was pure bliss and I still can't get over his creativity and how well he knows me.



Final camping trip of the summer!  Over Labor Day weekend, Hunter and I loaded the WZL up and met Lindsey for a final weekend in the great outdoors.  I remember when Hunter and I would go camping in Washington and he would say "I really can't wait to show you how easy it is to go camping in Steamboat.  You drive for an hour and when you reach your campsite you feel as though you are so far away from Steamboat." and drive for an hour and feel as though we are far far away from Steamboat is what we did!  Watching the stars sparkle in the darkness, in the comfort of quiet between best friends and a good cold beer in hand while being wrapped up in blankets and cozy sweaters { yes, plural } was a main highlight of the trip, hands down.  Another highlight for me happened while driving to our biking trailhead. I was fighting anxiety, nerves and butterflies in my stomach { embarking on a 13+ mile difficult mountain bike ride with two pros made me incredibly anxious } when out of no where Lindsay starts playing Amos Lee's Windows are Rolled Down and a swelling of love, appreciate and gratitude filled me to the brim and I shed a few tears out of pure happiness for being in that moment.  The bike ride ended up being incredible { also incredibly challenging }, but incredible nonetheless.  The views, laughs and accomplishments that we experienced are totally priceless to me.




In between these big summer moments, I had dozens of small moments worth remembering.  Likeeee, seeing 2 incredibly meaningful concerts.  Amos Lee at Red Rocks and Paper Bird in Steamboat!


{Semi permanently } Dyed my hair for the first time in 1.5 years then cut 6+ inches off.


Managed to klutz myself through the summer and wound up in an ace bandage three times.


And spent each and every Tuesday night mountain biking with a fantastic group of Steamboat women in a 2 hour long biking clinic and every Wednesday night playing softball on a team with my coworkers.  I can't hardly believe I don't have photos of either of these events, but I guess it is a testament to the amount of fun/work that was had!

PHEW.  That was an amazing summer.  I already have a few highlights from Fall that I would love to share.  Note to self, Beth: Post said events every few weeks versus every few months to avoid a blog post with 1,000 too many words and 100 too many photos.





Thursday, October 23, 2014

i made this :: PHOMG

It's no secret after this and this post that I am a phonatic.  Hunter and I found a good pho restaurant in Bremerton last summer but other than that, we kind of took some time away from the pho.  I know, I can hardly believe it as I type it either.  A few weeks ago on a rainy afternoon Hunter and I had a lunch date at Noodles and More { one of my favorite restaurants in Steamboat } and ordered tofu + veggie pho for lunch for the first time in several months.  Since that day, the pho cravings are back...and they are back in full force.


Classic Beth: I found a way to get back to Noodles at least once a week, a lot of the time, twice a week.  It quickly turned into a situation where I never even had to order with the waiter as they knew when they saw me walk in what I would be ordering.  This was really { really, really } good for my happy stomach, but really { really, really } bad for my { assumed } MSG intake and my wallet.  Like a gift from the We Want You to Keep Eating Pho but Also Want to Help You Save Money Gods, this blog post entered my life, and I knew what I had to do.

I had to make the pho at home.  I just had to.


For all intents and purposes, this recipe came together in a snap.  Hunter and I went for a hike after work last night and when we got home, I got to cookin'.  

I have this awful habit of omitting ingredients in the recipe if I don't have it, don't feel like buying it and/or don't trust their flavors.  That being said, I had a few changes to the recipe; I left out the fennel, cardamom pods and coriander seeds. The main reason for leaving these out was having just moved we had quite a few unexpected expenses in trying to build our pantry back up and the cheap Beth just didn't have it in me to spend an additional $10+ dollars on those 3 ingredients.  I'm thrilled to say that even without those flavors in soup, the broth turned out exceptionally well.  I was stunned.  Stunned!  My friend and I Phil often talk about the risk of star anise and cloves overwhelming the broth.  The first step in the broth recipe calls for dry roasting the cinnamon sticks + anise + cloves until they were aromatic.  It smelled fantastic but a little voice in the back of my head kept nagging about how this whole broth was going to end up being a clove broth and I was wasting all this time, energy and ingredients for a clove broth.  In the end, the broth was lovely and not clovey at all.



At the very end I threw in some thinly sliced carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cilantro and some roasted tofu into the broth pot to lightly steam before serving the soup over some brown rice noodles.  We topped with bean sprouts, basil and jalapeño and used hoisin sauce and sriracha to spice things up.  Being the Humble Chef I am { ha! }, all throughout  dinner I couldn't/wouldn't stop exclaiming how amazing dinner was.    It was so good that next time I think I will do without the tofu, which is basically unheard of for me.  Phil had the idea to make a huge batch of the broth to freeze in small batches to pull out for individual meals which I think is brilliant and most certainly something I will do in the near future.

I was so excited/hungry that I didn't get a close up of the bowls, but just trust that it was off the charts.  Now, all we have to do is find our pho spoons from storage and our home pho experience will be 100% complete!

I'm off to publish this post and go home to my beautiful pho leftovers.  #phobsessed






Monday, October 20, 2014

We made it!



Amazingly enough, it really only took about an hour and some change to move from Bob's house to our new house.  I can thank the fact that we only moved about 6 blocks and how over the past 3 years we are constantly donating/purging/downsizing our things so we really didn't have that much to move.  At one point I was so bold to even call us minimalists, but Hunter shot back "Do minimalists have 2 yoga mats???" Touché.  But (!!) minimalists or not, we are in our new house, about 90% unpacked and happier than a pig in shit.  We were crazy enough to host Hunter's dad and our friend Judy over for the Broncos game last night { #PFM! #510 } and found time to cook up a bunch of yummy finger foods for the game.  It was what I called a "low sodium" meal strictly because we realized halfway into cooking that we don't own any salt.  Ha!  Moving problems.  A grocery store trip is seriously in order at some point today.  

Give a ring if you want to come to our cozy cabin on the creek!  I'll keep a beer cold for you.




Thursday, October 16, 2014

//Soon.

Our move to Steamboat last December was completely unplanned and was a very quick decision.  Home rentals in Steamboat are hard to come by as it is, but moving to a ski town in the middle of the winter did not lend itself to a reasonably priced house in a good location.  We did get incredibly lucky though, as Hunter's dad lives in Steamboat and he took us in { to stay in the apartment they have built over the garage } with no questions asked. We've been living with him since and though we have our own entrance, small kitchen and bathroom with quite a bit of privacy, at the end of the day all our stuff was in storage { for 2+ years!!!! } and we were living studio apartment at Hunter's dad's house.  I will be forever grateful to Bob for taking us in as he did and being so amazing about it all, but at risk of overextending our stay....we need to find our own place.


::one//two::

Seeing how we had an amazing place to live in a prime { quiet! } location, we had the luxury to be incredibly picky about looking for a rental.  The town of Steamboat is very split from downtown living and mountain living.  Finding a condo up at the mountain to rent was no problemo at all, however we had zero interest in living up in Condo Land with all of the tourists who pour into town every week/weekend in the summer, fall and winter months.  We mentally mapped out where downtown we would be willing to to live and man oh man oh man there are/were no available houses to rent!  We would check Craigslist daily to see what new units came on the market and even with my inside scoop at the newspaper and getting tipped off with rentals before they hit the newspaper, we had little to no leads.  I would call the number listed BEFORE it was printed in the newspaper and they would already have the unit rented out.  I can't express how frustrating the whole process was and how helpless it made me feel.  I started out so hopeful but after failed call after failed call and from being disappointed by what little units we did view... it seriously felt like we'd never move out of Bob's house.


::one//two::


I always have fun coming up with names for my Pinterest boards but struggled constantly with what to name my home inspiration board.  Should I do a play on words with Home?  A popular song lyric?  Popular quote?  I landed on //Soon as I was trying to be incredibly mindful with the energy I was putting out in the world and I thought "Heck, if I label it Soon we have to find a home SOON, right?!" Well, turns out with most things in life, all good things take time.  I remember browsing Pinterest and wanting to pin things to this board and cursing with tears in my eyes the name of it.  I know this all sounds incredibly dramatic for a simple Pinterest board, but I was mindful with what I had named it and I wanted the name to prove to be right!  There were so many times I went to go rename it and had in typed in some overused like //Home is Where the Heart is but always deleted it and always stayed with //Soon.  Soon. Soon.  We had to have a place to call our own soon, right!  I would then drive myself crazy by adding up the months since Hunter and I have lived together that we had lived with his family versus living on our own.  I won't get all crazy and share those numbers - but I will tell you that I was desperate to find something.........anything!...but it had to be perfect.  Yes I'm as incredibly difficult in real life as it sounds.


::one//two::


We got dangerously close to renting a house that was bigger than we had needed and in a location we didn't love, but it was the only somewhat normal thing that had presented itself to us in 10 months of looking.  We really struggled with deciding to take it or not and at the end of the day we decided to pass on it.  I obsessed over that decision for far too long { shocking! }, but I had to trust our instinct and know that it wasn't right for us.


::one//two::


The good thing I've learned about renting in a small town is that if you plant the seed with the right people, something will present itself to you.  Something that makes you want to scream YES, WE'LL TAKE IT! the second you walk into the front door and never look back.  I am so excited to finally be able to say we've found a fantastic house, in our ideal location, in an ideal size and in our price range!  We move in this weekend and words can't express how thrilled I am.  I am so excited for this little quirky cabin to call ours for a few months, host friends over for football or a wine night.  The ability to get up on the weekends with the freedom to walk around with no bra on { oh, come on - we all do it! } and not worry about who might walk in.  I am also just so excited to continue this adventure with a man I feel so incredibly lucky to call mine.  Now, to find a new name for my Home Pinterest board...


::one//two::

Thursday, October 9, 2014

one thousand and ninety five.



----

He'll only use Burt's Bees.  She loves Chapstick.
He loves Ranch with his chicken wings.  She loves Blue Cheese.
He relaxes with music playing always.  She cherishes moments of silence.
He loves Sriracha for his added spice.  She swears by Franks Red Hot.
He takes his Coconut Water with Lime.  She takes hers straight up.
He'd rather a green smoothie for breakfast.  She prefers a green juice.
He has warm legs.  She has freezing feet.
He watches ESPN.  She, reruns of Friends/Will and Grace.

----

We both love drinking IPA, doing any and everything outside, Game of Thrones, spicy pho, the Denver Broncos, biking, homemade bread, homemade beer, making homemade bread + beer, his niece and nephew, early bedtimes, hot tea, Scrabble, hot chicken wings, not lighting camp fires,  each other.

----

I can't believe how fast this past year has gone.  We've accomplished such big and little successes both as a couple and individually.  I am proud to be his and I am so proud he is mine.  Thank you for another three hundred sixty five days, babe.  You are such a dreamy boyfriend.  Happy 3 years!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

i made this :: very veggie chili!

Homemade chili is one of my most favorite foods in all the land.  My mom's homemade chili is a meal I could eat day after day (after day after day) and never tire of it.  When I received an email at work last week announcing a chili party/competition - I knew I had to jump on board and participate.  I have hosted my fair share of craft parties/fall dinners/football parties and served my homemade chili...always with great success + chili feedback.  Soooo I will say I feel quite confident in my chili making ability.   The only catch with this competition would be serving an all veggie meatless chili to an office of all meat eaters.  Challenge accepted!

Typically when I go to make chili, I throw in whatever veggies I have in the fridge, a few cans of beans + tomatoes and my fair share of spices.  This time I opted for following an actual recipe, though one I've never made before.  I knew that I could control the spices/flavor with a few tricks up my sleeve so I decided to go for Kris Car's Crazy Sexy Bean Chili, which I renamed, Very Veggie Chili for the competition.  My only alterations to the recipe was additional potatoes for bulk, adding in a red pepper, using Meatless Crumbles instead of seitan like the recipe calls for and at the end adding in an extra can of tomatoes to fill out the crock pot that I transported my chili to work in.  I also, quite reluctantly, deseeded the jalapeño.  Hunter and I like our food hot, hot, hot - but I didn't want to scare away any of my coworkers with the type of heat in a meal that we prefer.  ( Though I will say, some time in the crock pot really did bring out the heat in the pepper so I kind of got my way after all.  Ha! )



We had 6 total entries for the competition.  A elk chili, a chicken chili, a rabbit chili, a beef chili, a combination of elk, bacon and bison chili and my very veggie chili.  Once the competition started, I was most thrilled to see people diving into a chili labeled "Very Veggie" and didn't abandon it and turn to the always popular green chicken chili.  

When it came time to announce the winners I wasn't all too surprised that the said always popular green chicken chili got first place, but I was shocked and humbled to hear that my Very Veggie got 2nd place!(!!!!)  We were very cautious to keep our entries completely anonymous (though anyone who really knows me wasn't the least bit surprised that one was mine).  



As silly as it might sound, I left work that night feeling so encouraged by the whole competition.  I will talk about why begin vegan works for me until I am blue in the face but am never one to push and pressure it on other people (I have a blog post on this that has been in draft form for oh.... 4 months now).  Knowing that my vegan chili was voted 2nd favorite in a sea of all meat chili was a massive success in my book.

So there is my first long winded chili blog entry for the fall season...and I can't promise it will be the last.  Ha!  Ok - so who is coming over for chili and football soon?!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Being happy makes me happy.

If you have a case of the Mondays, if deep down you are wishing you could rewind time 12 months and soak up the foggy + rainy mornings with your best friend.  If you wish it was possible to travel the  hundreds of miles to hug the people you know need hugs the most today.  If you long for just one more weekend afternoon spent with your better half + hot cider + miles to drive and hundreds of fall trees to ohh and ahh over.  If you are feeling slightly sad, slightly angry and slightly lost then I hope you enjoy this post with a few of my favorite things.  A few things that help me breathe a sigh of relief and for a split second help me get lost in the calm and ease of the photos.  

Happy Monday, friends.  We've got this.








All images are found on my Being happy makes me happy Pinterest board.  A little place where I collect images that for no good reason make me happy.