Weekend Recap: Getting Hygge with Winter Cocktails

I just wrote my recap of the November books I enjoyed, but on Friday, I finished a really fabulous book that also set the tone for this weekend. Amber raved about The Year of Living Danishly, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a memoir about a writer who has to move to Denmark for her husband’s job, and she decides to spend the year researching why Danes are the happiest people on earth. The research is woven into the narrative seamlessly, and the author’s tone is light and sarcastic, reminding me a lot of the hilarious Jen Lancaster. Highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a light but informative read!

One of the concepts explored in The Year of Living Danishly is hygge, the concept of cozying up at home with friends and family. I’m normally a go-go-go kind of person, but this weekend I embraced the concept of hygge and took a lot of time at home for myself too :)

I had a work trip to San Francisco last week, so I didn’t get home until Friday night. After a quick stop at home, I headed out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Empire Lounge. The food is always delicious and the atmosphere is cozy and perfect! This time, we tried a few of the seasonal cocktails as well, and I absolutely loved the Cha Cha Chai that was made with whiskey, Bailey’s, chai bitters, and cinnamon simple syrup. When we got back to my place, I experimented with making my own simplified version: bourbon, Bailey’s, cinnamon, and some chai tea. It was delicious! I think I’ll be serving this at my cookie swap next weekend…

Saturday morning, I stayed in bed to read for a while when I woke up, which felt incredibly decadent. (That was when I finished The Year of Living Danishly.) After some more lazing around and a bit of breakfast, I finally got myself out of the house in the early afternoon to run a few errands and go to an Orangetheory class.

I usually only go to Orangetheory on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I’m in Florida. This week, though, all the Colorado Orangetheory locations were offering a free workout as part of their “all-out open house” – and I figured I couldn’t beat the price! But it’s been a while since I’ve done an Orangetheory workout at altitude, and I found myself totally thrown off by what speed to run. We started the treads with a half mile run, and I was pretty tired trying to keep a 9.5mph (6:18/mile) pace for that, whereas in Florida, that’s a slow push for me that shouldn’t be too hard. This was a solid reminder of how different things are at altitude!

After completing the row and floor, we headed back to the treads for a 12 minute endurance block. I started by trying to do a base of 8.6 / push of 9.6, which is 0.2 slower than what I run at sea level, but I was struggling with that, and kept walking the recoveries instead of going back to base. I couldn’t tell if I needed to go even slower because of the altitude, or if I was just particularly dead because the floor / rower parts had about eleventy billion squats. A big part of what I love about Orangetheory is that I know what paces I should be able to hold for a workout; that means even when it gets hard, I stick with those paces. Unfortunately, with the adjustment to altitude, I kept giving up and taking walk breaks – which wasn’t nearly as good of a workout. Over the holiday break, I’ll be going to Orangetheory in Boulder, so I need to learn how to adjust my paces for altitude so this doesn’t happen again!

After Orangetheory, even though I hadn’t pushed myself as hard as I probably should have, I was exhausted – and so glad that my plan for the night was staying in to recharge, hygge-style. I caught up on a bit of TV, cooked a simple stir fry for dinner, and went to bed early – getting ten hours of sleep by the time I woke up Sunday. Glorious!

But after spending Saturday being pretty lazy, Sunday was the day for me to get into gear. I spent most of the morning doing laundry/chores, and then headed to the trails at 9am. I had a wonderful time on my hike the previous week, but now wanted to up my game and try to trail run it.

When I first started out from the trail head at a jog, I worried that my experiment was going to be an ultimate failure – because I ended up slowing to a walk just a minute in. But after a few rounds of run/walk, I finally hit my stride and was able to run about three-quarters of the trail to the top!

Rattlesnake_Gulch_Continental_Divide_Overlook

Victory was mine, and I was rewarded with this incredible view from the top. You’re out on this big overlook, with the Continental Divide behind you and all of Boulder up ahead. Love it!

Between this trail run and various Orangetheory workouts, I’m starting to learn that I run my best when I’ve had a pretty extended warmup. This trail heads straight uphill from the beginning, so maybe not the best for that… but there are lots of flat breaks as you go, which allowed me to catch my breath and enjoy the views.

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I love running on these cliffside trails, where I can see all the way into the canyon below. Flat, but also beautiful!

While I started a little rocky (pun intended), I was incredibly proud of how fast I did manage to go once I was warmed up. Last week, it took me 111 minutes total to hike up and run down the 6.7 mile trail (with ~1000 feet of climb). This week, I made it to the top in 44 minutes, and down again in 32 minutes – for a total time of 76 minutes. That’s a huge improvement! And not too long of a workout, so I can do it even if I’m pressed for time. I’m looking forward to running this route through the winter and seeing how much I can further improve.

After my run, I took a quick shower and packed for the week, then headed up to North Boulder for a book club that my friend Lauren had invited me to. It was fun to get to meet a lot of new people, and our host Megan lived on several acres of land way up in the mountains – so we got to tramp around exploring the property after we finished discussing the book. How amazing is it that we’re in mid-December and yet temps are in the 60s in town and 40s/50s in the mountains?! I am a little bummed that the ski resorts have basically no base, but I’ll take warm winter hiking instead :)

I stopped home to don my ugly Christmas sweater, and then headed downtown for the rest of the night. Two of my girlfriends and I were meeting up to check out Miracle on Little Raven, the Christmas pop-up bar that’s serving holiday-themed cocktails all season. We got there just before 6pm when it opened, but were dismayed to find that by the time it was our turn to request a table, there was a 90 minute wait. No fun! We decamped to Public School 303, a school-themed bar just over the bridge, and enjoyed some happy hour specials there for a bit. When we got back to Miracle at 7:30pm, there were tons of tables available – so it seems like the trick might be to go later rather than earlier. And when we finally sat down and looked at the menu, we weren’t disappointed: all the cocktails sounded delicious!

Drink_Menu_Miracle_Little_Raven

I just love all the adorable drink names :) I had a tough time deciding what to get!

I got the “Yippy Ki Yay Motherf***er”, a tropical rum punch served in a cute Santa pants cup. Maybe rum punch isn’t a true Christmas cocktail, but I loved it! My friend Sarah got the Christmapolitan (topped with a sprig of rosemary), and Kelli got the Snowball Old Fashioned (an old fashioned with gingerbread bourbon and a literal snowball in the glass rather than a regular ice cube). We loved them!

Miracle_on_Little_Raven_Cocktails

And the menu is in a Christmas card! Adorable.

All our drinks were delicious, and the wrapping paper-covered walls and Christmas ornaments dangling everywhere made it a really fun and festive spot! I found out from our sweet server that Miracle is staying open till January 3rd, so I’m looking forward to going back with my mom when she comes to town the week of Christmas. If you’re interested in checking it out, I heard that Miracle is actually kind of a chain popup, in that they have them in a few other cities as well (New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Austin, Atlanta) – so search around and maybe you’ll get lucky!

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Yup, my ugly Christmas sweater is Mean Girls themed :)

Finally, after happy hour, I headed for a late dinner at a new sushi spot in LoHi, Bamboo. Bamboo is an Oregon import that opened a few weeks ago and had some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten! We opted for the omakase, where the chef asks you about your likes/dislikes as you go and then makes various custom dishes for you. All the chefs seemed to be extremely experienced, and ours picked the perfect things where each bite was better the last and I couldn’t even answer her questions about which pieces were my favorite – they were all so good!

The nigiri and sashimi were incredible, with several of the pieces feeling like they were melting in my mouth because of the high quality. We ended the meal with a kimono roll, which was a uniquely flavored crab and cucumber roll with apple, fried sage, salmon, and lime. It had the perfect hint of sweetness that made me fine with skipping dessert. I can’t believe that Bamboo hasn’t gotten more acclaim yet – if you’re in the Denver area, definitely check out before it becomes impossible to get a table!

All in all, this was a really relaxing and perfect wintery weekend. Although I didn’t pack in quite as much as I usually do (and there are several friends I was bummed not to see at all!), I’m starting the week with a big smile on my face and ready to roll. Happy Monday!!

Comments

  1. We just discussed My Year of Living Danishly at my non-fiction book club last night. Everyone really enjoyed it. Next up for us is Killers of the Flower Moon.

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