T Lazy 7 Ranch

9 Oct

Jenna and Andy got married in the mountains. It was a beautiful September day and it’s like the stars aligned for them on their special day; it snowed two days before and rained the day after. But the sun was shining bright, with cool 68 degree mountain air.

Their wedding was held at the t Lazy 7 Ranch near Aspen. The T Lazy 7 Ranch has been owned and operated by the Deane family since 1938. They hold weddings at their facility, but also have horse riding stables and host snowmobile getaways. You couldn’t tell the facility itself had been through any wear and tear; it was very well maintained, offering an outdoor patio off the main dining and dancing area, as well as a yard complete with lawn games, a pond filled with fish, old farm equipment used for western-themed pictures, all nestled in between two mountain peaks.

T Lazy 7 Ranch

The wedding ceremony was held in a meadow near the top of the property. Behind the makeshift altar was mountains for as far as the eye could see. Much like our trip to Maroon Bells, the only way into the ranch was by bus (or it was designed that way because of the open bar). Buses took us from the hotel, to the ceremony spot, to the facility for dinner, dancing and drinks.

T Lazy 7 Ranch house

Our own wedding aside, it was one of the best weddings I’ve been to. It was a beautiful wedding for a well-deserving couple who have been through a lot together, in one of the most amazing settings I’ve ever been lucky to be a part of. Congrats, Jenna, Andy and little Taylor!

 

A Place Where the Beer Flows Like Wine

7 Oct

“Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?”

“I’ll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where  the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.”

As soon as we received Jenna and Andy’s wedding invites in the mail for their wedding in Aspen, Colorado, my husband walked around the house for the next few months reciting ‘Dumb and Dumber’ movie quotes to me. And it was only the beginning of what was to come once we were actually there.

Aspen is a beautifully quaint town about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Denver. The drive to Aspen is nearly as beautiful as the destination! I’m an awe with mountains though, because the closest thing we have to a mountain in the Midwest is Spirit Mountain – or my parent’s driveway. There are two ways to get to Aspen: Independence Pass on a windy two-lane highway on the edge of the mountains (literally) or the main freeway. We opted for the main freeway because they had gotten snow the night before – not exactly our cup of tea – and we were pressed for time.

Aspen drive

Driving through the mountains to get to Aspen. The view is alright, I guess.

We rented a condo through Frias Properties which was right at the foot of the ski slopes. The location was perfect. Aspen is a relatively small town, so we walked nearly everywhere we went. Our condo was on the third floor of the building and had a pretty amazing view once you stepped outside. Why would anyone who lived there ever leave?! Either way, I’m thankful they did because we got to take advantage of the view.

Aspen condo

The view from our condo rental in Aspen.

The reception dinner was at 39 Degrees, the restaurant that was a part of the Sky Hotel. The next few days encompassed mini-golfing, taking the gondola to the top of the ski slopes, hiking through Maroon Bells, going to the Aspen farmer’s market on Saturday morning and enjoying some restaurants unique to the area.

Aspen Farmers Market

The Aspen Farmers Market is several blocks long – and has everything from fresh veggies to jewelry to petting zoos!

If I enjoyed winter or skied. I would without a doubt make an annual trip to Aspen to ski. However, I a) don’t enjoy winter, b) don’t enjoy driving in the snow, much less on mountains, and c) can’t ski much more than a bunny hill or extremely easy downhill. That said, I’d glad go back in the summer or fall to enjoy the rafting, hiking or general sightseeing Aspen has to offer.

Winstock weekend

10 Jun

Summer season officially kicked off this weekend. Not in terms of the weather, however. BUT, the first country music festival near the Twin Cities – Winstock, happened, officially kicking off summer outdoor concerts.

This year was the first time in Winstock’s history that they completely sold out of tickets AND camping – VIP, reserved, general admission – everything. Lucky for me, I know someone who knows someone to get tickets to attend.  A few years prior, I was working at Winstock – and it was an unreal site seeing so many people (over 21,000!!) cram into a small, open field in the middle of Minnesota.

This was also the biggest ticket Winstock has ever had, in terms of their lineup. Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert headlined the festival on Friday night, with Kip Moore and Luke Bryan closing down the grounds on Saturday night. I didn’t get a chance to attend on Saturday night, but Friday night was well worth the two-hour trip. The thing I love most about festivals is there’s not really any down time between artists; once a main stage artist has finished their set, another artist starts their set at the back of the grounds at the emerging artists stage. The emerging artists stage is generally reserved for those with only one song on the radio or local bands trying to make it big.

We saw Charlie Worsham rock out for a 30-minute set shortly after we arrived – and got to see this guy working hard, giving a stage intro!

Pat at Winstock

 

Charlie currently has one single out on the radio right now called “Could It Be.” He took a chance during one of the choruses to put the mic in the audience’s direction to see if anyone would sing along with him; the crowd surprised him with a convincing rendition of his own song – so much so, he nearly forgot to sing the rest of the song! Talk about a cool moment to witness: an artist seeing the audience sing their own song back to them for the first time EVER.

Miranda Lambert performed in the lineup for the spot that should have been the Pistol Annies; the group, for whatever reason, backed out last minute. She honored the commitment she had made and came with her “normal” sassy-pants on. Another thing I love about festivals is since each artist has only about one hour to perform on stage, their set list is pretty much what would be on their greatest hits album – with very limited slow songs included. While Dierks Bentley is one of my favorites to see in concert, he was a little – shall we say – sloppy (?) for his set, you could tell that he was having a blast, and in turn, the crowd did too. I saw Dierks perform at Winstock a few years back when there was no more than 10,000 or 11,000 people; he kept commenting on how awesome it was to see a sea of people that large on the Winstock grounds. I couldn’t agree more.

Winstock

I’d say this weekend was a success; a perfect kick off to summer concert season. Good company, accompanying good music on a cool summer night? Couldn’t have been better.

Inspired by many

13 May

For the past five or six years, the gals on my mom’s side of the family have gathered on Mother’s Day morning to participate in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure at the Mall of America. Each year, the event gets progressively bigger – and more inspiring. The signs, the people, the groups, the support and the atmosphere all conjure to create a memorable experience worth it for anyone to take part in.

Walk for the Cure

While I only know of two people in my entire extended family who have conquered breast cancer, it is two too many. I am thankful for how healthy our family is, but am inspired with the strength of the families who have witnessed loved ones lose or defeat this horrible illness. I feel strongly about kicking (any and all) cancer in the butt – and truly hope for a cure so these walks aren’t needed anymore. But until that day comes, I will continue to participate in such an inspiring event – and I think you should too.

Baseball is HERE

1 Apr

The day has finally arrived. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this day’s arrival since last fall. Today marks the first official day of BASEBALL SEASON! While I’m no major league team owner or savvy businessman, as a fan I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the Minnesota Twins’ off-season moves (or lack thereof). They got rid of some good players for, what I would argue, too little in return. The Pohlad’s make money, there’s no doubt about that. How about throwing a little of your bazillions at Minnesota’s only major league baseball team to get a team worthy of contending?

Target Field at night

Alas, I am a baseball fan nonetheless. I will cheer for the Twins regardless of how much their owners don’t invest in them.

However, as a baseball fan, I am excited for Mariano Rivera; he is returning to the game for his final season and he looks just as good as he did pre-injury. Even though I don’t want to admit it, my special someone has opened my eyes to appreciate the way other teams and players play the game – including his absolute favorite player, Derek Jeter. It broke my heart to see his ankle snap in two and I wish him well on a speedy recovery to finish out what is a remarkable career.

Even though the snow is basically still falling, I’ll say what I’ve been waiting to say since late last fall: LET’S PLAY BALL!

The World’s Most Uncomfortable Chair (and a Little Comedy, too)

25 Mar

Saturday night was date night. And we’re not talking any ordinary date night – this Saturday, we dared to venture to the…. MALL OF AMERICA. AH! On a Saturday night. During (an increasingly annoying, long) winter. What were we thinking?! Truthfully, the worse part was finding a place to park, even though I can navigate that mall like my own backyard.

Mall of America

While we try to have at least one date night each week (even if it’s just running to grab some sushi quick), it’s been difficult the past few weeks with how busy life has become! Between covering for people at work on spring break and the Minnesota Wild playing well, Pat has been a busy bee working extra long hours. I’ve been playing catch-up at work ever since the beginning of the year when a co-worker left for a great (well deserved) opportunity and becoming more involved in expanding on my online marketing knowledge. It was a much needed night out.

While we had our sights set on going to the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis, tickets sold out much more quickly than we had anticipated to see Henry Phillips. Since comedy was the desired activity, we searched for a new option and stumbled upon Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy at the Mall of America; Joe DeRosa was performing and though we were hesitant to venture to THE mall on a Saturday night, we thought we’d give it a shot.

The House of Comedy was quaint and provided an intimate experience; we didn’t feel like we were one of hundreds of people crammed into a dingy, questionable auditorium – it was actually quite the opposite. However, the House of Comedy has the world’s most uncomfortable chairs. I’m positive I was re-situating myself every three minutes to try and get comfortable – nothing worked. Our lovely table mates must have thought I had A.D.D.

Amber Preston (a fellow Midwesterner) opened for DeRosa and certainly played up her northern accent. Normally, I’m not a fan of female comedians – with the exception of Chelsea Handler – but I enjoyed the way Preston accented her “o’s” and played off the audience. There was one awkward sketch where she pulled some poor soul on stage to make hand gestures and imitate  her while she sat in the audience talking.

Once Joe DeRosa hit the stage, I feared for our boredom over the next hour. Not knowing anything about him, I wasn’t sure what to expect. His first words: “I hate my life. I’m so unhappy.” Ugh. What did we get ourselves into?! I guess DeRosa’s schtick is to play up how miserable life is, but it turned out to be quite entertaining (and sadly, quite true at times!). My favorite sketch was at the end of his show when he rambled on about Kentucky Fried Chicken for 15 minutes (!). Post-show, we wandered around the mall and I conned Pat into buying fresh cookies from the Nestle stand – only because there was a line of 20 people waiting to get Coldstone ice cream and I was too impatient to wait for sweets.

Would I attend the House of Comedy again? Absolutely. Would I attend another Joe DeRosa show? Maybe, though I might opt for someone – or something – a little more upbeat. Would I go back to THE mall just for Nestle cookies? Hell yes! Overall though, it was a fun (and much needed) evening out.

20/20 The Experience

20 Mar

After what seems like a decade hiatus from the music industry, Justin Timberlake is back with his much anticipated album, “20/20 The Experience.” I have four words for you: GO BUY IT NOW!

Justin Timberlake CD

Coolest CD label ever. Or at least since Jason Aldean’s ‘My Kinda Party’ JA album.

Seriously, this album on been on repeat since we opened the casing. Now, technically I bought it as a gift for the hubs because he is by far a bigger Justin Timberlake fan than I am. However, it wouldn’t be fair of him to deprive me of such quality music, right? At least that’s the argument I’m going with.

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