Santa Fe Weekend

The Turquoise Trail through Madrid

Sometimes you just need to get away. Not that my life is really all that stressful, but it’s nice to do things that aren’t your ordinary, to spice things up a little (I’m so punny…. because red chile).

Nathaniel and I went to Santa Fe for three nights and didn’t worry about anything. We had no schedule, didn’t hurry to do anything, and had a great time. If you’re looking for a few recommendations, take a peek☺️

Wandering in Madrid, NM, wearing the culottes I made recently! I made it a point to pack several handmade items - and I got compliments on all of them!

We started by spending a night in Albuquerque with my uncle and visiting with him for a few hours before heading to Santa Fe. We decided to take Highway 14, the Turquoise Trail, rather than the interstate. It took maybe 40 minutes longer, but was a much prettier drive. We went through an old town called Madrid, which has a lot of cute shops and galleries along its main street (which is Highway 14). We were hoping it would be a bit less expensive than Santa Fe for art/jewelry, but was actually quite comparable. One fun place to visit, though, is Shugarman’s Little Chocolate Shop. They’ve got a ton of delicious chocolate with unique flavors, and you can sample everything! They charge by weight so you can get as much or as little as you want. We got dark chocolate with pecans, maple and sea salt, and we got a red chile turtle. I highly recommend stopping here.

Now we all know Santa Fe is full of art and culture, but a weirder, newer thing to do is Meow Wolf! This is an immersive art experience, and currently there is a bit of a mystery to solve, too, if you’re so inclined. We tried our best to solve the mystery, but got sidetracked with all the other crazy stuff. It’s difficult to describe what this place truly is, but it’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland because of the psychedelic feel. Here are a few pictures, but really, the don’t do it justice. Being in there and touching and interacting with the art is worth visiting.

I also recommend wandering through the churches near the plaza. We went to Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and there was actually a wedding finishing up as we were approaching and the bells were going crazy! It was great! We got to wander in, and the light was perfect so that the stained glass was making beautiful shadows on the floor. Definitely go to the Loretto Chapel. There is a huge spiral staircase that doesn’t really have any conventional, modern supports. I’m sure an engineer could explain how it stands, but it’s more fun to say it’s a miracle, I guess. Either way it’s gorgeous. I wish we were allowed to stand on it, but instead I settled for a picture of me beside it. 

We did plenty of walking while on our little trip, but I decided to go for a couple short runs. I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately because I was sick for half of September, then I broke my tailbone in early October. My first run since that injury was along Alameda in Santa Fe, and it was pain-free! Woohoo! This street was nice because it had a big sidewalk and was not too busy. I think there might also be a creek that sometimes runs along that road, but it was dry while we were in town.

He’s checking his fantasy football

If you’re looking to grab a drink, the Santa Fe Brewing Company is just a few miles from the plaza/downtown area, and has some silly names for it’s beers, like the State Pen Porter, because it’s pretty close to a prison.

Double fisting like a champ

Otherwise, if you’re looking to grab a beer, go to the Draft Station. They have lots of local beer on tap, and they have a rooftop patio that overlooks the plaza. You can watch the locals circle around the square in their cars. Apparently cruising around town with no real destination is a thing in Santa Fe. 

Osso Bucco at Coyote Cafe

We stayed at the Hotel St. Francis (not cheap, but also not CRAZY expensive - plus AirBNB split our payments up so it made it easier to pay), and they have a little bar called Secreto Lounge. While very dark, they have very interesting cocktails. I got a pineapple drink with hints of cinnamon and cardamom, and Nathaniel got a smoked sage margarita. Another night, we also hit the Coyote Cantina for drinks before dinner downstairs at the Coyote Cafe. The Cantina is MUCH more affordable than the restaurant, but the drinks didn’t wow us as much as Secreto.

We splurged the first night and went to the Coyote Cafe. We split a bottle of Garnacha wine, and the food was incredible. I had the Osso Bucco, and would get it again in a heartbeat.

We also went to El Farol, which is on the same street as a lot of the galleries near the plaza. The paella and Spanish inspired tapas were delicious, but what really stole the show for us was the Chicharones! Perfectly fried pork belly that puts everything else I’ve ever eaten in my life to shame. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but have you ever had this? You have to try it. For dessert we had chocolate olive oil cake with peanut butter honeycomb. This was a winner, too. That whole dinner was great. There was even a live jazz trio!

When we go to Santa Fe, we always try to hit Cafe Pasquale’s for brunch. We really like their red chile, and their brunch is quite fun! Be warned that you could wait a LONG time to get a table, especially on a weekend. We also love going to Maria’s. Their blue corn enchiladas and red chile are delicious. They also have an extensive margarita menu. While only about a mile from downtown, we decided to Lyft to and from Maria’s.

He was making silly faces in all the pictures I took at the French Pastry Shop - this was the best there was!

We tried a couple new restaurants thanks to recommendations from my sister. For breakfast one morning, we had savory crepes from the French Pastry Shop. This place was cute and we didn’t have to wait! Though, I kind of wish we’d had more red chile to smother the crepe in 😉 We also went to The Shed. Practically every dish comes with posole and garlic bread. I’d definitely go back.

If you’re looking for coffee, check out Iconik. It’s also a book store, so you won’t be bored while they’re preparing your drink. And try the Horchata Latte! It was delicious!

Another great place to try some coffee is Ecco, plus they also have some really interesting flavors of gelato! I tried Earl Grey, Oreo creme and avocado. Plus, if you go here, you can get an affogato, coffee AND ice cream together. I got chocolate and peppermint gelato in mine 😋

Showing off my turquoise bling

As far as shopping goes, it’s easy to spend a pretty penny in Santa Fe. There is no shortage of art or jewelry, plus a lot of the work is done by local artists. I suggest just shopping around, wandering slowly. If something catches your eye, you can try it on - just don’t be shocked if it costs more than you’re willing to spend. I found a gorgeous opal ring, only to realize it was about six times as expensive as I was ready to spend. Definitely check out the blankets at the Palace of the Governors, and go back each day you can. You’ll see different people every day. I’m so glad we stopped by our last morning there, because I had been wanting a bracelet, but everything was too expensive and not quite right. On the last day, a new artist was there, and his bracelets were EXACTLY what I was looking for, and they were a reasonable price. I also got a pair of turquoise stud earrings, that are rough and asymmetrical. They’re very simple, and they’re beautiful because the rocks are beautiful.

We drove back on 285 and got to see some gorgeous leaves!

A few other fun shops we hit were the Christmas Shop (we like to get ornaments from each place we visit), the Chile Shop near our hotel (because we wanted a ristra for our front door), and Señor Murphy Candymaker under La Fonda because Nathaniel NEEDED piñon candy. We also hit Jackalope which is a couple miles from downtown. They’ve got lots of pots, blankets, rugs, jewelry and other art. There were even glass blowers making things while we were shopping!

This is the longest we’ve ever been to Santa Fe. Usually we’re just passing through for one night tops, so it was nice to have a few days and be able to experience more things at a leisurely pace. 

The plaza at night 😍

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Drinking Around the World

I love me some Disney. I also enjoy adult beverages. Drinking around the world has been on my bucket list for a while, but I finally got the opportunity to do it a couple weeks ago! 

My sister, who is seven years younger than me, and I finally went to Epcot together for the first time since she’s been of legal drinking age, so we decided to take the opportunity to complete the challenge! Now, it’s not an official Disney thing. In fact, I’d imagine they would rather you not drink nearly a dozen drinks on a hot, humid day…

Two things we did that are probably “cheating”:

  1. We skipped America, because we drink American drinks all the time. We also skipped the “African Outpost” but it’s not an official country, and they didn’t have any special “African” drinks that I could see 😜
  2. We shared each drink - so we totaled 10 between the two of us. (Also RIP half the delish grapefruit beer that spilled on the ground. You are missed, and never forgotten).

The whole walk around the world showcase is only about a mile, and you can either begin with Mexico or with Canada. Or I guess you could go in a weird random order, too. We chose to start in Mexico, but I’d imagine starting with a nice cold margarita is just as good as finishing with one. 😉

Frozen Avocado Margarita (Mexico)

Mango Wine (China)

Italian Sangria (Italy)

Sultan's Colada (Morocco)

Magners Pear Cider (UK)

Linie Aquavit Glacier Shot (Norway)

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Beer (Germany)

Coconut Pineapple Sake Mist (Japan)

Rosé Côtes de Provence (France)

Ottawa Apple (Canada)

We had a lot of concerned friends making sure we were ok throughout this adventure, because we were both documenting the challenge on social media - and luckily we finished in the upright position, not too much worse for wear. I attribute a lot of it to sharing the drinks, but here are some other tips:

  • Pace yourself. I think we did this over a few hours, and even went on a couple rides in the process, which meant we weren’t just continually drinking.
  • HYDRATE - we brought a Camelback, which, honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this at Disney World sooner. Best idea ever, and you just wear it!
  • Eat if you need to. I got a pretzel in Germany, and just nibbled a little whenever I felt like it. It was great.
  • Don’t take it too seriously! We just goofed off, and made sure the other person was feeling ok throughout. And if you have to stop, STOP. I’d rather not finish the challenge than be pukey at Disney.

Cheers!

San Jose & WWDC 2017

Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend WWDC! This year it was in San Jose, rather than San Francisco, which I was a bit bummed about, but I decided to do some exploring!

As I was landing I noticed these gorgeous purple trees, called Jacaranda, that are the same as the ones Nathaniel and I discovered in Lisbon last year! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I guess these trees are pretty common in places with climates like Portugal and Southern California, but my Colorado heart was so happy to see them again!

I stayed very close to the convention center, and nearby was a beautiful Catholic church and a couple museums. I didn’t have the time to go inside because of the conference, but walking/running by them was lovely. There’s also a bit of street art (both the walls and ground) nearby.

If you can, walk along the Guadalupe River Walk a bit. I tried running down it and ended up hitting a dead end one way, but it goes pretty far through the town, and has nice street markers on the ground. One of the parks along it even has a giant Monopoly board on the ground!

As far as food, here are a couple good spots I’d recommend:

Get an interesting cocktail (I got the Habanero Matador) and the octopus at Firehouse No. 1.

If you need some Italian comfort food, go to Original Joe’s.

Happy hour at Mosaic is reasonably priced. I got tuna tartare, pot stickers, and a cocktail (Firecracker Sour).

If you need food late, try Cafe Stritch. This is the jambalaya.

If you want a silly-named Mexican drink, look no further than Chacho's. This drink was called "No Panties" 😂

Definitely get an ice cream sandwich at CREAM (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me), where you can choose 2 cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream, and even get things like sprinkles around the circumference of the sammy.

Don’t forget more dessert at Milk & Wood, where they have interesting popsicle flavors that you can drizzle chocolate and other toppings on 😋

Now, because this isn’t a blog about technology or coding, I won’t go into crazy details about the conference, but here are some of the highlights:

  • The keynote is always fun, because they announce new technology. You can, of course, live stream it, but there’s just something about actually seeing Tim Cook in person and being there in a room full of nerds.
  • Michelle Obama came and spoke! I love that she’s encouraging women to keep working in STEM. Plus I got interviewed for the local news while waiting to see her speak. 😜
  • They have a series of lunchtime talks throughout the week. We got to hear from:
    • Hidden FiguresChristine Darden and how she excelled in a career at NASA.
    • The Quadfather - a man who became a quadriplegic at a young age, and how programming and technology makes his life so much better.
    • iLuminate’s Miral Kotb, who combined her love of coding and dance to create light up costumes for blackout dance performances.
  • On the Thursday evening, there’s always a big party with a concert. This year they got Fall Out Boy, so my inner high-schooler, One Tree Hill loving heart and Disney girl were all happy 😉
  • The swag was fun! Developers got black Levi's denim jackets, and pins! If you went to special events, they had extra pins to hand out, as well.

Running Through May - Part 1: Ragnar

This May brought me my first Ragnar Trail Relay and my fourth BolderBoulder. First I’ll give you the low-down on the Ragnar.

On May 12-13, I was part of an 8 person group that took turns running through trails near Zion National Park. Yes, there are crazy people who voluntarily run miles through the desert at odd hours of the day for fun. 😉 A few weeks before the race, a friend reached out to me asking if I wanted to join their team, because they were short one person. In those weeks leading up to the race my emotions ranged from excited to do something new with my friends to crazy terrified that I’d fail or break myself or something crazy would happen (because I’m not the most graceful person). We ended up having a super fun time and we placed 15th out of 313 teams (despite me dragging down my teams average pace 😜)

Our team name was "El Mem̃o", and we all dressed like memes. Also, none of their systems could handle an M with a tilda, so variations included "El Memzo" and, my personal favorite, "El Mem?_o".

A few things I learned and will hopefully remember for next time:

Detail of my DIY Nyan Cat costume

  1. You won’t sleep enough. Of course, you might have guessed that, but really, I didn’t realize just how little I’d get. Between my runs, I tried to sleep, but often woke in a panic, wondering if I’d missed my next turn.
  2. Eating is hard when you need to run so much. I typically run in the morning on a mostly empty stomach, but when you have to run multiple times in a 24 hour period, you need to fuel your body without feeling too full, and you need to be aware of foods that might not sit well in this sort of scenario. I had my first ever shot blocks, but also tried to eat normal things like bananas and nut butter. ALSO, you don’t want to et caught in a situation where you need to go to the bathroom on the course (you’ll get disqualified, too).
  3. I’m so glad I brought a change of clothes for each run. There wasn’t enough time between runs for my clothes to fully dry, so having extra outfits was amazing. Especially socks.
  4. It’s super fun! We dressed up and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. I started with a bunch of doubt and fear, but my teammates were super sweet, and I couldn’t be happier with how much we as a group cheered each other on.

Some things I would have changed if I were in charge of the whole event… 

Zion through the car window

  • Don’t call it “Zion” because it’s not actually in Zion. It's near Zion.
  • Try to keep track of where teams set up camp so that people who don’t arrive together can find each other because there's practically no cell reception.
  • Don’t break down the event the instant people stop running. There were s’mores the night before we got there and the night that we were running, but not the night when everyone had finished! Seems a little crazy to me - all other races I’ve done make it feel like a party once everyone is done! Instead it felt like a ghost town. Maybe other Ragnar events do it differently, but this was pretty strange to me.

Anyway… We kicked butt, had fun, and did get to drive through Zion National Park when we went back home 😍