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Spice Up Date Night: Cooking Class

Lana Hawk

The weekend is quickly approaching which usually means DATE NIGHT. How many of you are tired of the normal dinner and a movie date option? Me too! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie, but sometimes change is a good thing. Adam and I have been working to change our tendency to do the same thing every weekend by mixing up our date night options. We are also big fans of activities and experiences across the board. Hikes, snowshoeing, and general action over inaction. I know, we’re crazy. So one of our new favorite things to do together is take a cooking class. We took an appetizer class as our Christmas date at Kitchen Table Cooking School here in Denver. The appetizer class was amazing because we made 6 different appetizers and took a ton of leftovers home. They also serve wine with their classes. Bonus! We took a couples class here back in 2011 too and it was equally amazing. Highly recommend Kitchen Table if you are in the area.

Recently, Adam and I decided to celebrate our May birthdays at Sur La Table with a Pasta for Two cooking class. We loved getting to spend time together in the kitchen, talk with other people, learn a new skill, and eat wonderful food. This class featured homemade pasta with asparagus and pancetta, as well as a salad, and homemade gelato (so good). We loved it! All of the classes we have taken have taught us something new, filled our bellies, and introduced us to some fun people. No more same old, same old for us.

So, next time you plan date night, spice it up a bit with a cooking class and woo your significant other in with promises of good food and wine. Sur La Table is everywhere, but check for a local option as well!

**Originally posted on Old Pink House in May 2016

Life Goals and a Zoo Date

Lana Hawk

This photo. Be. Still. My. Heart. Adam and I are both May birthdays and most years we tend to give the gift of experiences to one another like our latest cooking class. Spending time together to celebrate a birthday or holiday is way more valuable to us then more stuff. So, this year for my 32nd birthday (yikes!) we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo down in Colorado Springs. Why you ask? Because I am in love with giraffes. Seriously. They are awkward and gangly, but so beautiful and graceful in their gangly-ness. I think the awkward and gangly qualities help me relate to them a bit. I mean have you seen me as a little high school freshman? Giraffe.

Sidenote: When my husband was teaching me the art of clipping in on the ol’ bike in prep for my half Ironman, he said I look like a baby Great Dane. A baby Great Dane. Apparently I didn’t look like I had much control over my gangly limbs. True love ladies and gentlemen.

Anyways, so Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a place where you can feed the giraffes. To me this was crazy talk. You can FEED A GIRAFFE? Dreams. Life goals. All coming true. Come to find out later this is actually a normal thing in a lot of zoos, but this sheltered Indiana girl didn’t know that. We drove down to Colorado Springs and spent the day walking around the zoo and seeing all the animals. It was fun to do something different with one another and get out of our routine, plus it was a beautiful day to be outside and life goals.

So, next time you plan a date or a birthday celebration for your significant other, think outside the box and go to the zoo or any number of other things that don’t require a dinner reservation at the same old standby. And also, always remember, life goals.

Aspens Y'all

Lana Hawk

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I met up with some friends in Buena Vista for a weekend away. Lucky for us, our timing couldn’t be more perfect because the Aspens were in all their golden glory. Fall is my favorite season for a lot of reasons, but the fall colors are really what make my heart flutter. Not to mention, the crisp fall air and the fall blue skies. Brilliant. Plus, the Aspens are just fascinating. You can look over the mountain and see an endless sea of evergreens with these bright, vibrant pockets of golden Aspens. They are the only tree that high up that has leaves that change, creating this polka-dotted landscape. Again, brilliant.

We hiked Mount Yale, explored Buena Vista, took a dip in the Mount Princeton Hot Springs, hiked to Windsor Lake just outside of Leadville, and spent plenty of time unplugged around the campfire. The majority of my past camping experience is from my college (and some post-college) summers spent as a camp counselor at Kanakuk. I spent many a night and day on the river canoeing with a bunch of 11-13 year olds in the hot Missouri summer. Not ALWAYS ideal. It was fun, don’t get me wrong, but this whole Colorado camping in the fall thing is another story. Cool, crisp and quiet evenings and mornings, and the fall colors.

Both Buena Vista and Leadville are just outside of Denver (about an hour and a half to BV) and both provide a glimpse into the world of a small mountain town. So many people just experience the ski resorts of Colorado and they don’t do justice to the mountain town life. So, if you get a chance, grab your car and go beyond the touristy Colorado and explore these little gems.

If you find yourself in Colorado, Cottonwood Pass outside of Buena Vista in October is a FANTASTIC idea. Also, how about that beard on the hubs in the picture below? Pretty unbelievable, right?

**This post originally appeared on Old Pink House in September 2015

St. Mary's Glacier

Lana Hawk

Well, I am officially a resident of Colorado now. Well official in the sense that I live here, not completely official yet when it comes to license, registration, and those not-so-fun tasks. Anyways, I digress. Crazy to think I’ve been here for a month already. Time flies when you are insanely busy! It’s been a fairly swift and immediate jump into the Denver life. We moved back in August, and I started my job three days after we arrived.

One of our goals in the move was to dive into life here right away. No excuses. No “I’m too tired” or “I’m not interested” or “I will do it later.” We wanted to immediately reach out to people, get out and experience Denver, build community, and all that fun stuff. So that has been our attempt this last month. Slowly but surely we are transitioning and getting settled. Transition is a wonderful and terrifying thing (more on that in a later post). One of the big reasons why we wanted to move back to Colorado (we both lived here from 2010-12) was because of what the mountains had to offer. Hiking and snowshoeing and skiing. The beauty of the mountains bring adventure and the ability to stand in awe of God’s creation. Pretty cool.

So, this past weekend, I hit my “I’m recovered” mark from surgery. With my “all clear,” we took to the trails and made a trip to St. Mary’s Glacier. It is a quick trip from Denver (just over an hour) and easily accessible in our non-mountain ready Toyota Matrix. It was a beautiful day and despite the crowds, it was a great first hike of 2015 for me! You hike up to a beautiful lake with great views of the mountains and then, if you’re up for it, you continue up the glacier for even better views. There were people, children, and dogs everywhere up until the lake, at which point the crowd thinned out. Up higher on the glacier, we got a little peace and quiet and even better views. If you’re in the area for the weekend, it’s an easy hike that offers more views than something else in the Front Range. I highly recommend it! Get out of Denver and explore what makes this place so popular.

And, since no post would be complete without pictures, here are a few from our day in the mountains.

**This post originally appeared on Old Pink House in Sept. 2015.