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At the end of April I headed West to Chicago for a little family shin-dig, we were surprising my grandpa. Sidenote, I was born in Chicago and my dad is from there, but I had never been there as an adult to visit. Gosh, I loved the city so so much. Plus, in all honesty there are few things better than a Chicago style hot dog.

After 4 days in the Chicago ‘burbs with the family, the ying to my yang flew in from the Rockies for 3 days of fun. We stayed in a great little AirBnb near Logan Square, and roaming the different neighborhoods was a real treat. I like how spread out Chicago is, I like the two-story buildings, the wide streets, the street art and all-around industrial feel. We saw the main sites: Millennium Park and the Bean, the Loop…. We had an insane dinner date at Frontera Grill (THE GUAC BTW…) followed by cocktails at Three Dots and A Dash. We had coffee and savory breakfast biscuits and tacos and beer and ice cream and it was all just fantastic. It was three days of grub and catch up, and I honestly can’t wait to go back to Chi-town.

Bang Bang // Breakfast spot, biscuits & pie
Barrelhouse Flat // Cocktail lounge
Big Star Tacos // Taquería
Billy Goat Tavern // Iconic restaurant
Frontera Grill // Mexican Restaurant (reservations needed!)
Goose Island Brewing Co. // Brewry & Tap room
Half Acre Beer Company // Brewery & Tap room
Hopeleaf // Restaurant with extensive beer list
Lula Café // Breakfast spot, Café & Restaurant
Map Room // Pub
Piece // Pizzeria & Brewery
Three Dots & A Dash // Tiki bar

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My twin sister lives in Boulder. My brother works in Boulder. A human I adore is from Boulder. I didn’t realize until after I got back from my trip how much I’m actually linked to Boulder. I even took Louis to a high school friend’s frat party on New Year’s Eve there in 2010 for the perfect first-time-in-America experience. Ha. Oh, Boulder. I always hated driving up there in High School for orchestra stuff, hiking or whatever, because of all of the pedestrians! Ah!

This time it was a different kind of spin by Boulder. One where I got to get off the beaten path for some snazzy places, awkwardly spread out, which I secretly really like… we had delicious beer and the best Mexican in town. I’m anxious to get back there next time I’m home.

AVERY BREWING // Home of deliciously crafted beers, get a flight or two

BRU // Restaurant and handbuilt ales

EFRAN’S II // Best Mexican in town

THE KITCHEN NEXT DOOR // Friendly and casual spot on Pearl Street

SANITAS BREWING COMPANY // Try their black IPA

UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY // Try their Thai Style White IPA

 

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When flying through Dallas home for the holidays last year, I knew I had to make a pit stop in Dallas to see my doll and favorite Texan, Annie, with whom I went to Uni in Paris. Depsite the super duper early morning flight after a snow storm hit Denver that previous evening, I was perky as can be and so stoked to finally go outside of the DFW airport walls.

Annie was one of my main partners in crime in Paris, the girl is passionate about good food with quality ingredients and homegirl knows her history. It was damn exceptional to finally get to her hood and see her fav’ spots. Our day was a quick one: around 9am to 4pm when had to be back at the airport. We kicked off the morning right: with coffee and breakfast tacos in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Super wide streets bordered by brick buildings and precious storefronts and colorful street art… damn, in my eyes Dallas is incredibly charming! Downtown we made a quick pit stop so I could buy some cowboy boots (when in Rome, right?) before heading up for pie and a stroll in the Bishop Arts District. I was rather intrigued by the deserted areas with bail bond shops and supersized billboards and Texan flags blowing in the wind… it was the perfect speedy tour of Dallas. The southern draw truly brought a smile to my face. Of course, the trip couldn’t wound off better, as we headed to chill a bit at one of Annie’s favorite places, the Katy Trail Icehouse in Uptown. This magical venue is an outdoor beer garden with fried jalepeños. We sipped Deep Ellum Brewery’s IPA and chatted away until I had to head back to the airport to get my bum back to frogland. Le sigh, next time for more than just a layover, Dirty D.

All Good Café – Deep Ellum – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Magic
Emporium Pies – Bishop Arts District – Pie Stop
Katy Trail Icehouse – Uptown – Beer Garden Hangout/Lunch/Dinner/Late night

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While in Denver over the holidays, a weekend in Santa Fe was the perfect getaway within a getaway… entre filles. With my homegirls Liz and Caroline we made the trek due south for a mini 1-night road trip. Only 6 hours from Denver, one of the sources of my mom’s inspiration and taste and a place my bestie knew pretty darn well, believe it or not, I had never been. This entire post was prepared while listening to the song “Santa Fe” from my favorite musical, Rent, on repeat by the way. Ahem.

On the drive down we saw quite a bit of diverse landscapes: blue skies, a blizzard, icey mountain roads, South Park, the Collegiate Peaks covered with hats made of fog, lonely general stores that almost looked abandoned, the Great Sand Dunes from afar, the Colorado/New Mexico border…

Santa Fe is small but filled with history and traditions and it’s own vibe. The adobe buildings bring a whole completely, uniquely and utterly adorable look to the cityscape: one with more nature and for some reason a bit more of a cozy feeling. Something about it is just as charming as fuck. Many of the details were those that inspired my mom to decorate our home, so it all seemed awkwardly familiar. Having always seen my mom in her Native American jewelry as an Arizona-born gal, the local shops had windows filled with silver adorned with stones I somehow knew the name to. Alas, it was a fun experience, and our brief spin through the town still felt so worth it to me with two of my favorite gals on the planet.

Dragon Room @ The Pink Adobe // Restaurant & Bar // Cocktails out

Pasqual’s // Restaurant // Fancy New Mexican meal

The Plaza // Main square with local jewelers and shops

Tune up café // Café // Killer breakfast burrito