Friday, October 31, 2014

beast + bottle | denver, colorado

Whilst on my ever enchanting grand adventure, I made a stop in Denver for some majorly overdue quality time with my best gal, Hannah. We always have a blast together and this visit, of course, was no different. We also always eat really well while we're together. 

It's of utmost importance to surround yourself with people who appreciate the same things as you. We appreciate food. (...and Jesus, and nature, and good conversation, and adventures, and exploring, but those are ALLLLL separate stories in and of themselves... all for another day... or post, whichever comes first!)

One of the many amazing stops we made was at beast + bottle. Hannah had been wanting to try it out and we were in the area already so I could get some fun postcards.

Hannah being beautiful while my bloody mary takes the edge off the exceptionally warm day!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. When I left home, it was chilly and wet. Naturally, that's then how I packed... In all honesty, most of my time in Denver, it was freakin' hot. 

Someday I'll learn.

I hope.

Every once in a while, I get these weird cravings. They mostly come in the form of bacon, buffalo chicken dip, lentils, and maple donuts (not at the same time, but those are the top four culprits) -- this was one of those difficult days where I was just really craving a good bloody mary... 

...and bacon. 

Preferably together.

I sometimes find myself a little hesitant to branch out and try things that are unfamiliar and different... especially if it's something I'm paying for and there's a sure, tried and true version out there I could opt for instead. I decided to be brave (thanks to the wonderful waitress' coaxing and incredible description of their options) and tried the mesquite bourbon bloody mary. I'm not typically a bourbon girl, but this was delicious. Seriously, when you next are in Denver and visit beast + bottle, this is something you'll write home about. So good.

This summer was kind of interesting at home, notably mild. My dad has an incredible green thumb and typically grows TONS of big, bright red tomatoes right off their deck, but this summer was so slow to warm up that there were quite a few that stayed green all summer until, finally, it did end up freezing. :( 

Part of me was hoping they wouldn't ever turn and I had really good intentions of frying those lovely green tomaters, but alas, never got around to it... thankfully it was an option at beast + bottle too! Their homemade goat ranch was out of this world! 

Fried pickles and in-house goat milk ranch dressing, of course.

Breakfast perfection, don't mess.

My most favored breakfast go-to is always the classic: eggs, bacon, and toast (and hashbrowns, if I'm lucky!) This is one of those things that when you know it's good, you just don't mess with it. Leading up to my departure, I had so many breakfasts and dinners with dear friends for good-bye's sake, that I don't think a day went by that I didn't have bacon. Denver was no different. I hadn't had any this day and I needed my bacon fix. Delicious, local, homegrown, happy eggs, bacon, and sourdough bread. Easy to mess up, but so worth it when you get it right. :)

Go to beast + bottle, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

life in the FAST LANE

Today is day 3 of my (hopefully) 10 day adventure heading west... days 1 and 2 were a little rocky, as I should have expected. I have so much love for my family and dear friends at home that it hurts a lot to leave. 

Driving down to Des Moines with raindrops to match my tears.
On day 1 I drove through weather that perfectly reflected my weepy soul. Tears and excitement fueled the drive and once I got there my dear friend Tina helped me process and identify what was going on - she didn't realize it though because I told her I didn't want to talk about it. :) Time completely escaped me over coffee with an incredible friend, Tricia, at my very favorite cafe in Des Moines, La Mie. (Sidenote: La Mie is as French as you can get... outside of France, of course. The food and ambiance is out of this world and absolutely perfect, check it out on 42nd just off 235!) The fun continued downtown at Malo -- also an incredible dining experience! 

Tricia treated me to a cocktail at Malo's and I picked 'El Jefe'
in honor of my dad as that's what we have called him for the past decade or so.
Tricia got a 'Templeton Mule', which was surprisingly subtle and refreshing!
It was made of Templeton Rye whiskey, brandy, lemon juice, and ginger beer.

I remember sitting there trying to take the evening in... my two best friends from growing up were sitting kitty-corner from each other; one to my right, the other across the table from me to my left, sweet Tina was on my left, my old roommate and her fiance were across from me, and my wonderful Cody was the head of the table to the right. I can't fully explain how full and content I was during this meal. The location was something to be appreciated, most certainly, and the food was perfect as well... but there's just something to be said (that I'm clearly struggling to put words to) for having a full day week of being surrounded by people you love and who love you and who you know so well and who know you so well... on my way down to Des Moines, I was feeling guilty for not being content at home, for always having this longing to go and explore and experience things. At dinner I had countless moments where I was second-guessing whether or not I was making the right decision in leaving such a great place with so many people that I not only love, but so enjoy as well. 

If you're wondering, I still feel a bit guilty for leaving such a good thing... but I'm confident I'm heading in the right direction. :)

I do have to confess that it's my hope and prayer that I can find a community out west where I can know and love people like I do the ones back home. Obviously not to replace anyone, just to know that full-hearted feeling I had at dinner Monday. I know God will provide as he always has before, but it is one of those things I have identified as a serious need in my life. 

So, after dinner Monday, a few of us continued on to my friend, Cody's new downtown loft (or fancy new bachelor pad! as I like to refer to it.) The conversation and laughter never ceased. It was the perfect ending to a heavy-hearted day. 

Yesterday was not my favorite... the spitty rain on my way down to Des Moines Monday was a bit depressing to drive through, but I was so thankful that it wasn't windy. Tuesday was not so lucky. The wind was unreal. The struggle was out of control. I could have filled a cuss jar before lunch rolled around. It was pretty much me and a bunch of semi's and campers, so not only was I struggling to keep my vehicle on the road, but I was doing my best to dodge the large swerving trucks and the like as well. 

Fun fact.
I had to stop quite a few times because the wind was such a pain. I stopped at a coffee shop at an outlet mall just outside Omaha and had the most incredible dirty chai! I can't for the life of me remember the name of the coffee shop or special drink though! :( (Looks like I could have used a good dose of lotion on my alligator hands - yikes.)
The wind finally died down and it was flatlands for miles.

Nebraska in and of itself wasn't horrible - I really should blame the wind. It was pretty. I was pretty thrilled when all of a sudden I realized I was in Colorado and saw mountains for the first time! I stopped at a gas station trapped in the year 1982 to reload on water. 

I washed my windshield three times before this... 
So many photobombers.
The sunset was beautiful in my rear views!
I pressed on through the super intense sun and gorgeous sunset and drove a bit more through the dark before I hit Denver. O. Man. Another second guess whether this is the right choice or not. I hate city driving. White-knuckled, I listened to my navigation system, sailed over and around the Mile High stadium, cruised in and out of construction zones, and finally made it over the hills and through the woods to my incredible Hannah's house. The poor thing had to listen to my rambles for a while before we could both call it a day... 

More fun is planned for the next few days. :) Can't wait to see where this journey takes me!

Pictures to come.

Monday, October 13, 2014

today's THE DAY.

If I'm being honest with you, I have to say I feel like I'm tearing my heart out and throwing it across a lake...

Dramatic. I know... 

You see, I have this problem... this bug of sorts. 

I have to travel. 

I need to explore. 
I thrive off meeting new people and being in places that aren't familiar. 

As the title of this blog suggests, I'm a bit of a gypsy. I don't speak Romani. Unfortunately I don't have dark skin nor do I live among a commune or tell fortunes. I am, however, a free spirit and I love to see the world.

A few times along this journey we call life, I've had the opportunity to live in places with incredible people and opportunities every way you turn... I suppose every place is like that if we allow it to be, but while living in a couple of my places, the very deepest parts of my heart just felt so alive. I'm heading back to one of those places... because it's overall mentality and culture is what I need to achieve my dreams. 

For the past five years, (a record for me!) I've lived back in my hometown. It's been absolutely wonderful, but there's always this tug on my heart pulling me elsewhere. 

This past season (the past year or so) has been one of discovery and liberation as I have slowly been able to uncover interests and gifts that I can put to use as a career. (Extra liberating as I have always wanted to be a momma and just in the previous season of life came to grips with acknowledging that as a good and healthy desire and goal!) I am very excited about the things I'll be learning and the way I'll be able to pour into the lives of others.

However. Right now. In this very moment, I am very sad. I am also a little terrified. 

I've been feeling this way for a couple weeks now - it's taken a while to wrap my mind around this being my new and current reality and no longer a dream.

I'm sad to leave the ones I love so dearly.

As much as I love being somewhere unfamiliar and new, I'm sad to be somewhere other than my hometown where I know people and can freely hug and wander. :) (Two of my favorite things!)

I've been trying to pinpoint my fear and I've been able to acknowledge that it's not the journey out west that I'm afraid of. It's not the fact that I don't have a job and am not entirely sure when I will have one again. I'm very much excited for the unknown and the fact that I don't have a concrete plan, so it's not that either... it's that I won't have constant, tangible access to my family. Ugh, I tell you, that's just the worst right now. If you haven't had the opportunity to meet them... first of all, you're missing out. And, secondly, they might sometimes have a bit of a front that's difficult to read ;) but they're absolutely the most wonderful people alive. But, then again, I'm SUPER biased. :)

Okay, so what I've been trying to remind myself over and over lately is that I can't dwell on what I'm leaving because there are such incredible things waiting for me ahead. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this is the right timing and the right action for me to take, but goodness, it is hard! 

In a few hours I'll take the first few steps in my new adventure...

Tears make it hard to put words together, did you know that?