24 hrs in San Diego

I’ve been in San Diego since 11 pm pacific time yesterday, 2/26/2014.  For the first time, I experienced the rain there which was a pleasant mist. Check out the shots I took below before moseying on back to the airport to fly home to Denver – a storm is a’brewin’!

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Boats hangin’ and rockin’, waiting for better weather. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

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No room at the inn. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

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Storm’s coming! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

Until next time, San Diego…

Support the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver at Crossfit DeCO!

This weekend, February 23rd, 2014, CrossfitDeCO and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver are teaming up to hold a fundraiser to sponsor student athletes.

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Thanks to CrossfitDeCO for posting this awesome photo for the fundraiser – click on the photo to be re-directed to their site for more information on the event and how you can help. Credit: CrossfitDeCO, Feb 2014

Stop in at CrossfitDeCO from noon to 2 pm this Sunday to see how you can help a student with an 8 week Crossfit membership. No donation is too small, and this is a great way to get kids active in the Denver area. Don’t believe us? No worries – there will be a sample workout performed to make you a believer. Note that while childhood obesity is increasing in awareness, Colorado’s childhood obesity rate continues to increase, per the Denver Post.  What a great fundraiser to help out with this issue!

Check out CrossfitDeCO’s Official site for more information.
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SIA Snowshow Jan 30 – Feb 2, 2014

SIA Snowshow Jan 30 – Feb 2, 2014


 

Check out the SIA Snow Show going on in Denver, CO, this weekend at the Colorado Convention Center. This is where you can find virtually everyone in the snow sports industry under one roof – from textiles to prints and designs, equipment, networking, and socializing, they have it all.

Click on the link to be brought to the homepage to view schedules, vendors, and find out more information regarding the On-Snow Demo / Ski-Ride Fest & the Nordic Demo happening at Copper Mountain Feb 3rd & 4th.

The SIA Snowshow also offers an app for download on iOS and Android phones here. Stay connected the entire time!

Here are a few other helpful links:
Free Skiing / Snowboarding for Attendees
Show Floorplan
Exhibitor List
2013 Show Review

Crossfit DeCO – A Workout I Never Regret

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Meet Steve Mercer, part-owner of DenverSpeax LLC! Steve’s stepped out from behind the scenes to write about a new passion of his.

While living in Michigan, I stumbled on Crossfit via Youtube, and became instantly hooked / curious; it was different. Everything about it screamed “this is NOT your normal workout”.

This was about two years ago, and since then I’ve followed Crossfit fairly closely, but never actually visited or joined a Crossfit gym (aka, “box”). Since moving to Denver, I’ve been searching for a new gym in order to keep myself fit; let me tell you, this is not an easy task when in a new city. Some are too far away,…some too expensive,…some are just too much of a singles meet up, or even too boring. Crossfit came to mind as a good option.

Today I can gladly tell you I hurt…I hurt in a good way.

About two weeks ago, DenverSpeax was approached by Leslie Friedman, owner of Crossfit DeCO, to give them a try. Honestly, we’ve all heard some sort of negativity surrounding Crossfit, which caused a bit of hesitation for me at first. Crossfit has developed a reputation for being too intense and only for high-performance athletes. However, wouldn’t you want to support a locally owned business, be surrounded by other health-conscious people who support you, and become more functionally fit for a more active lifestyle?  Hopefully, you are answering “uh, YES!”.

 

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Crossfit may be hard work, but it’s also a ton of fun. Check out Crossfit DeCO’s class schedule by clicking the picture above. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Located at 923 W 9th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80204, I nervously walked into Crossfit DeCO, and was immediately greeted by many of the coaches and members. Looking around the gym (or “box” via Crossfit lingo), I noticed all different age groups, fitness levels, and experience were in attendance.

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Yeah, Crossfit can seem intimidating, but it’s important to try it out for yourself – create your own point of view. Click on the picture above to be brought to CrossFit DeCO’s website. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Each day, as a member, you are given a warm up and a “workout of the day” (aka WOD) which is designed to help improve your overall functional movement. A WOD can be anywhere from 10 to 40 mins long, involves a variety of different movements, and will whip you into shape.

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It doesn’t take a lot of fancy machinery to get in shape. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

I am starting in the functional classes, or “Level 1”. In these classes, you learn the basic movements while still getting a good workout under the guidance of one of DeCO’s experienced coaches. An approach you will find at DeCO is that everyone is expected to try their hardest, but not everyone is expected to perform on the same level; this mentality is not always found in a Crossfit box that I really appreciate. At DeCO, workouts are easily scaled to a person’s capability. Your workout is YOURS.

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It’s amazing what you can do in an encouraging, supportive environment! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

DeCO offers services outside of your day-to-day WOD as well, which is very cool – it’s not just the same, old Box. They offer chiropractic services, massage therapy, Olympic lifting, nutritional counseling, and personal one-on-one training. Check out the rates on their website here. Trust me- the cost is small compared to getting these services independently.

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Oh, just hanging out… Click the above picture to be brought to Crossfit DeCO’s Facebook Page. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

We have experienced other gyms, and this is nothing like going to 24 hour fitness or your local fitness center. A new visitor to DeCO may be confused about the lack of equipment and machines, but don’t worry – you can still workout without giant weight machines or treadmills. What stood out for me, and became reasoning behind joining as a member, is the honest encouragement from classmates as well as the coaches. Understanding that it is most important to give all you can, and to do YOUR personal best each time, will prove to be rewarding in Crossfit; Crossfit DeCO encourages you to do so in the most supportive way, making each class enjoyable. I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s tough, but the experience is incredible. Sure, sometimes it’s difficult to get our of bed in the morning and show up. To put it best, one morning after the most thoroughly exhausting WOD at DeCO, I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:

“I never regret it (after it’s done)”.

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C’mon- they’re your friends! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

If you want to join DenverSpeax on this journey, Saturdays are free to drop in! Stop in, give it a try, and let them know DenverSpeax sent you. All fitness levels are welcome. Like I’ve mentioned – it’s a great Box with coaches that are highly knowledgable. They’re happy to help with any questions you may have about the Box, or even CrossFit in general.

For more information, visit http://crossfitdeco.com/ and like their Facebook page to see the daily workouts and upcoming events.

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Weekend Getaways: Seattle, Washington

With Frontier Airlines catering to us Denverites, it’s not uncommon to find plane tickets like we did to Seattle, WA, for $58 each way, per person. This has opened a whole new door to weekend traveling for us, starting with Seattle. Take a look at our trip, a Friday night through Sunday afternoon, two weekends ago!

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12th man! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

We entered the city by taxi from the airport; there is a railway that will bring you from SeaTac to downtown Seattle, however we were on a time crunch. The cab was approximately $40 versus the approximate $5 we would have spent journeying via public transportation. We always suggest taking public transportation when you can, but with an arrival time of 11:30 pm at night and only about 36 hours, we wanted to get downtown as fast as possible!

The weekend we visited, the playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints was taking place – as you can see in the picture to the left, the city was alive with the “12th Man” spirit.

Many office buildings arranged lights in the shape of the numeral “12”, representing Seattle’s fan as being the 12th man on the field. Their stadium was built to accommodate the 12th man’s ridiculously loud spirit, which we heard first hand echoing throughout First Ave that Sunday.

We stayed downtown on Pike street to help accommodate some of the walking for the weekend. Our hotel was a short, walking distance from Pike Place Market allowing us to spend time checking out the tourist attractions we HAD to see.

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View entering the Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

After a hearty and FREE breakfast at the hotel, we hiked the mile through downtown Seattle to the Pike Place Market. Of course we stopped and watched fish being tossed around by a bunch of funny gentleman. Of course, we creepily eaves-dropped a city tour to hear a few generic facts about Seattle. Then, we simply meandered around! It’s great what you can find when you get lost.

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Steve accompanying a famous resident of Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014.

We wandered in and out of the market, checking out each vendor on each floor. Outside, we strolled down Post Alley, famous not only for the beautiful street art (pictured directly below), but also for the Seattle Gum Wall (pictured further below).

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Eyes on Post Alley in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

While patrons waited to enter the Market Theatre in the early 1980s, they began sticking their gum on the outside wall upon entry. Tada!, a wall of gum is born. Ranked one of the top 5  germiest places in the world, I found it easy to find simply via smell from quite a distance away! Yuck. A very cool sight, but not for anyone with a weak stomach, just a fore-warning.

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Seattle’s Gum Wall. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

In addition to the Pike Place Market, we also visited First Ave, the avenue leading up to the Seahawks’ stadium that Saturday. The evening was devoted to football, which meant finding a location to cater to New Orleans Saints fans in the city of Seattle. Impossible? Oh, no… not at all! We located The New Orleans, a great restaurant and bar on First Ave, serving delicious food and beer from the South. Check out the creole stew and mouthwatering jambalaya, served with a side of red beans and rice!

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Amazing creole food, just how we like it! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

The food was moderately priced, and worth every penny. I haven’t found another place that can make red beans and rice like my Momo in Metairie, Lousiana… until we visited The New Orleans! Absolutely delicious with a great staff to boot.

 We even saw the sun for a few hours off of the deck of The New Orleans!  The stories are true – Seattle is quite grey, but that doesn’t prevent those who visit from having a great time. Nonetheless, we were ecstatic to see the sun shine down, if even for a little while on our short trip.

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The sun shining on First Ave that Sunday in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

When leaving Sunday afternoon, we provided ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport. Locals advised that traffic can be unpredictable, and with so many people entering the city for the game, there would more than likely be long security lines in addition to traffic on the road. After wandering around the city and seeing the sites, we were on our way back to sunny Denver, Colorado, to begin our work week.

Helpful Tidbits learned on this travel:

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On one of our many walks – the Washington State Convention Center. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

  • Need to buy souvenirs? Buy cool postcards of the city and send them to those you love! Everyone loves getting mail, and this is an inexpensive way to show people what you’re up to.
  • The Pike Place Market is full of interesting things to do year round – try the local’s guide to Pike Place Market and see what events are happening while you’re in town.
  • Seattle is full of microbreweries, many of which formed in the past few years. Take a tour to check a few out! Or, ask the locals to write down a few of their favorites, and you can create your own Seattle Pub Crawl.
  • To lessen expense and ensure a great start to your day, make sure the hotel you stay at serves breakfast. With so little time, it’s important to start the morning off right. Check out the Homewood Suites in Seattle on Pike Street where we stayed – complete with kitchenette, and short walking distance from Pike Place Market.

Watch for the inexpensive flights on Frontier and go visit the Emerald City when you get the chance. The locals are fantastic and providing suggestions of where to visit, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Check out more pictures from our trip on Instagram – @denverspeax
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Tuba Christmas 2013

After brunch at Osteria Marco yesterday, hundreds gathered in Skyline Park downtown to watch tuba players from across the country to play Christmas carols. Ranging in age from 6 to 90 years old, and with a variety of tubas, the group played for an hour. Not only was there beautiful music, singing broke out through the crowd as well. We can’t wait for next year! What a great way to join the community in getting ready for Christmas.

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Steven and Kirsten at Tuba Christmas, 2013. Credit: Scott, Dec 2013

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Hundreds gathered in Skyline Park in downtown Denver. Credit: Steve Mercer, Dec 2013

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Osteria Marco – An Italian Staple within the LoDo Community

Not sure if it’s the cozy ambience accompanied with the hardwood floors, or the simply-dressed tables sporadically placed within wine-bottled lined walls, but Osteria Marco was the perfect place to check out before seeing Tuba Christmas today; the restaurant provided the perfect setting to get us all into the spirit.

Friends had made reservations a week prior for brunch at Osteria Marco, a quaint, Italian-inspired restaurant situated on 15th and Larimer in downtown Denver. We parked near Larimer & 17th, taking a brisk, sunny walk down to the restaurant.

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Dining at Osteria Marco before Tuba Christmas. Click on the pic to be brought to their website. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013.

We were greeted by friendly, knowledgable staff as we settled in and removed our layered clothing. Our server patiently waited to take our drink orders, suggesting a few of their specialty cocktails. Each drink has its touch of Italian flair, which made it difficult to choose!

The good old classic Bloody Mary decided on was impressive; spicy, hearty, and seemingly not easily recreated. It is evident that even the most basic of cocktail classics,  Osteria Marco goes above and beyond to deliver for their customers.

They cure many meats in house, as well as make a variety of cheeses. After hearing this, of course we had to order the Chefs’ Assortment of both.

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House-made cheeses and cured meats at Osteria Marco. Click the pic to check out their menu online. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

The menu has a variety of Italian-inspired appetizers, small plates, pizzas, paninis, and beyond. It took the table a while to read through all of the delicious-sounding options. Steven and I opted for their paninis, even though Osteria Marco is well known for their pizzas. With so many reviews raving about their pizzas, we will definitely have to visit again to try them out. Or, take advantage of their take out option!

Pictured below is the Italian Dip, a tasty twist on a classic favorite; the juicy beef is paired with sautéed-style onions and peppers, smothered in melted provolone, all atop of a crispy bread. The au jus was light and served perfectly tempered alongside a heaping pile of slightly salted and dressed arugula salad. The portion size was perfect; actually, the panini was so hearty that I was unable to finish it all! Luckily, my friends were able to help finish it off – I would’ve felt terrible if such a fantastic experience was left on the table. No panini left behind!

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The Italian Dip, a hearty and simple twist on an old favorite. Click on the pic to check out their full menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

Osteria Marco puts on the Italian charm without being forceful; while the wine list boasts nearly one-hundred solely Italian wines, the prices steer clear of pretentious, producing a more casual, fine-dining experience. Definitely aimed at the social eater, the menu is one that you can play Russian Roulette with – close your eyes and point; whatever you land on will be delightfully satisfying. Definitely a restaurant we will be visiting again, as we’re excited to continue to check out the items that make Osteria Marco a staple in the LoDo community.

Check out Osteria Marco on Facebook.
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Denver Christkindl Holiday Market Visit

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Ornaments created by a local Denver vendor. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

If you haven’t been, check out the amazing items at the Christkindl Market in downtown Denver. From ornaments, hats, treats, to authentic coo coo clocks – the market has everything, and from what we saw, at a great price. The vendors are friendly and helpful with crossing people off of your “To buy for” list.

Not quite down with the shopping? No problem – check out the performances, mulled wine, and beer located in the white tent! On your way to the tent, authentic German food for sale line both sides – get a bite to eat and enjoy great Christmas performances while warming up.

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Performances located in the tent – sweet accordion players! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

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Inside the tent – many gathered to join in the festivities and watch the performances. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

Make sure you visit the Denver Christkindl Market before the season’s over – help yourself to a mulled wine and get in the spirit! We’ll see you there.

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Christkindl Market – Authentic German Market – Downtown Denver

Another event to be sure to check out this weekend is the kick off of the Authentic German Christkindl Market in downtown Denver, an all-ages holiday event. Held at Skyline Park across from the Daniels & Fisher Clock Tower on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall, the authentic German music, flavors, lights, and sounds are sure to get you headed in the right direction… right into the holiday spirit!

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Great picture courtesy of the German American Chambers of Commerce website – check them (and the event out) out by clicking on the image!

 

The event will open this Friday, November 22nd, and runs through Saturday, December 21st, 2013, so if you’re unable to attend this weekend, just know there are plenty of other opportunities to check it out.

Dates & Hours

November 22nd – December 21st, 2013
  • • Sunday through Thursday 11am – 7pm
  • • Friday and Saturday 11am – 9pm
  • • *Thanksgiving Day 11am – 4pm

Opening weekend holds many special events, like the Grand Opening events on Saturday, November 23rd, including Bavarian-style dancing, accordion players, and a performance from the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra. Take a look at the complete list of events the multiple weekends here.

Multiple vendors will be available with unique gifts ranging from modern, German lace, to ornaments, to glass art, and jewelry pieces. Check out the list of vendors here.

For full information including events, vendors, and schedule, stop by the Denver Christkindl website. See you this weekend when we start to get our holiday on in Denver!

 

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