memorial day weekend highlights

// Willa had her last day of her first season of soccer. She did great with all the drills and practice, but had trouble with the scrimmages against other teams. Glad she tried it, but don't think we'll be signing her up for another season for awhile.

// We got bánh mì at Vinh Xuong Bakery 2. So good. I love the spicy tofu with added avocado. I think they're the best in Denver, but please correct me if you know better! Last time we were there the kids didn't love their sandwich, so this time we got them pork egg rolls and sesame balls, which were both a hit. Willa even asked us to order her a second egg roll! Dan also got a quail egg and pork bao from their refrigerator case to eat a couple days later and reported it was delicious. Also, if you go for lunch get their coffee! The best. 

// After Vinh Xuong, we walked across the parking lot to the Pacific Ocean International Marketplace. I was delighted to find frozen radish cake so I can make Char Kuih Kak soon, and then we bought way too many sweet treats. The best thing about Asian cookies, let me tell you, is that even though they have plenty of crap in them, they don't taste super sweet. They're just the right amount of sweet. The kids also loved looking at the live sea creatures for sale. Cam was squealing as he watched the crabs scramble overtop one another.

// On Sunday, we made a cherry galette and lots of other deliciousness for a BBQ with my sister. Dan grilled Colorado trout and corn, and Alison made a fantastic salad. Willa set the table and was very proud of her (plastic) flower arrangement centerpiece. We also made delicious cocktails and mocktails with cherry juice. The kids were floored when I rimmed their mini martini glasses with sugar. Livin' large! 

// On Monday morning we hit up a newish playground which was a ton of fun for all. Then in the afternoon I drove wayyyyy too far to get Willa a bike for her birthday (shhhhhh don't tell!) at REI. 

// 20.5 weeks! Told ya I was ready for maxi dress season ;)

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 

reducing waste :: groceries

Recently, a few friends have suggested I organize an information session or something similar to talk about ways to reduce waste. My initial response was, “Me? There are so many people who know way more about those issues than I do!” If you Google or search Instagram, you’ll find tons of “zero waste” blogs/feeds that are super informative. 

But. I'm very passionate about this issue, so maybe I'll definitely consider doing more... For now, I thought maybe I'd just share a bit more here on my blog about ways I try to reduce my own family’s household waste.

With that in mind, let's talk grocery shopping! Below is a picture of the groceries I bought in packaging on a recent trip to Safeway. Everything else was produce. I have a stash of washable organic cotton bags that I use for produce and bulk. I love that I can write the bulk number in a washable marker right on the bag and then it comes off in the wash. Most grocery stores (Whole Foods being the exception) won't/don't deduct the weight of the bag at checkout (the cloth is heavier than the disposable plastic bags stores provide) but sometimes they'll give you the 5 cents off per bag. I don't really do it for the money, but it's nice when they incentivize the behavior! 

Here's my rationale (or in some cases, excuses) for the waste I did purchase. I analyze this stuff me it's not about aiming for "zero waste." It's about making informed choices as a consumer and using that power to maybe someday get manufacturing practices to change slightly.

1. Pasta. For some reason, pasta is rarely available in the bulk section. Occasionally I've found whole wheat macaroni at Whole Foods and tri-color rotini at Sprouts. But you can't count on it. So, I usually buy pasta in as much paper or cardboard packaging as possible (instead of in plastic bags). It's hard to find a box that's 100% recyclable, but most stores have pasta in boxes with just a tiny bit of plastic.

2. Alternative milk. I buy cow's milk in reusable glass bottles. I sometimes make nut milks at home. But as a family of 4, we go through a good amount of milk in coffee, cereal, etc. Tetra-pak (shown above, what many milks come in) is not at all a good choice. It's terribly difficult to recycle because it's a combination of plastic, aluminum and paper. Denver now has facilities to recycle it (as do most major U.S. cities), but it's questionable how many cartons are actually being captured and whether or not the material salvaged can really be used in any meaningful way. 

3. Bread. Thanks to my mom, I have an awesome recipe for homemade bread. I make it regularly. However, it's for white bread, and I have yet to delve into making my own wheat/grain bread. I need to learn. I like this Dave's bread because it's one of few on the market that doesn't have added sugar. Plus it has a good amount of protein per slice. The bags are recyclable; you can put them right in your curbside recycle bin if your city takes #4 plastics or you can return them to plastic bag recycling bins available in most grocery stores.

4. Tuna + Beans. Aluminum is one of the most sustainable forms of packaging. Cans contain more recycled content than plastic or glass containers. They are easily melted and reformed into more packaging. They're light to ship. If a type of product is available in aluminum I will chose that over glass or plastic 100% of the time. When I occasionally buy my kids juice, I buy pineapple juice that comes in cans.

5. Yogurt. This is the worst thing I buy! Even though I've started making yogurt at home, and my kids enjoy it, their favorite "special treat" at the store is a fancy yogurt. They love the novelty of it, I guess? I hate it. But I like making them happy, and yogurt is a lot better than many things they could pick, so I cave. I recycle the plastic...but that doesn't really make it much better.

6. Produce stickers and tags. Not much we can do about these unless the industry standards change. Even farmers' markets often have produce with stickers. I try to take the stickers off as soon as I get home so we don't accidentally compost them (on banana peels, avocado skin, etc.).

7. Tortillas. We eat a lot of tortillas. I really want to get a tortilla press and learn how to make my own, but in the meantime I reuse the resealable bags for storing food and produce.

8. Frozen peas. I mainly buy produce without packaging. But I like to keep peas in freezer for those times when there aren't any other vegetables in the house or I'm super tired or lazy. Also, who has time to shell peas? Excuses, I know.


Other things I regularly buy with problematic packaging:

  • Cheese
  • Meat 
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Flax seeds
  • Dates
  • Potato chips
  • Berries
  • Wine

Foods we love but I try not to buy because of their packaging:

  • Clementines
  • Grapes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • Rice cakes
  • Crackers

What about you? Do you think about the packaging on the foods you buy? What tips do you have to share? 

baby items you (i) actually need :: the first year

Last month, the food blog Eater published a post about editor Andra Zeppelin's "Personal Denver 38." For each city covered by Eater, there's a list of the "Essential 38 Restaurants." This is my go-to resource for where to eat. But I loved the idea to feature people's personal lists, because everyone is a bit different. Different food preferences, different neighborhoods, different lifestyles. The same is definitely true for baby items. (I can tie any topic back to food, apparently.) There are so, SO, many lists out there about the "essential" baby items. But what that person needs isn't necessarily what I need. And what I need is not exactly what you need. Someone in a city needs different things than someone who lives in the country or the suburbs. You get my point; there are a few universals, but most baby stuff is a matter of choice depending on your lifestyle, parenting preferences, and more.

Before Cameron was born, I spent a lot of time thinking about what we'd actually need for him and whether or not we needed anything new. I've written about some of my thoughts regarding all the stuff marketed to parents; all the stuff we're made to think we need to successfully raise our children. I struggle with this. A part of me strives to be minimalist, but I also feel an urge to have the "right" stuff to make my life "easier." Carefully selecting quality, useful items can indeed add to your life. But I've come to realize that too many material things makes me feel overwhelmed. It can be hard for me to focus on what really matters when the living room is a cluttered mess.

When Willa was a baby, I discovered we actually didn't need anywhere near as much stuff as I'd thought we would. I was shocked to realize how little we used a stroller. People always talk about how expensive kids are, but for the first several months of her life, I felt like she didn't cost us anything!

Before she was born I'd tried to take a "less is more" approach to my registry, but we still somehow ended up with way too much stuff. We've since gotten rid of some of those things, but we've held on to most and continue to use them since we already have them. And I've of course bought new things. But. If I could go back in time and only buy or ask for the stuff that's absolutely a necessity, here's what I'd recommend to my former self:

Convertible car seat. Unless you are lucky enough to live in New York City, you probably drive sometimes. And if you're going to drive with your baby, your baby needs a car seat. Your baby does not, however, need an infant seat. The car seat companies just want you to think that they do. That way, you'll eventually buy another car seat when your baby outgrows the infant seat. I didn't realize this before Willa was born, but there are lots of "all-in-one" car seats on the market. Meaning, one car seat that you use from birth until they no longer need a seat or booster of any kind. We're a fan of the Diono Radian because it's one of the narrowest on the market and also because it folds flat for travel. (It is not, however, the lightest!)

Prefold cloth diapers. Babies need diapers. (Well, actually, you could go the Elimination Communication route, but that is a whole other topic that we don't need to get into here.) I'm a fan of cloth diapers primarily for economic reasons. There are lots of debates about whether or not they're better for the environment than disposables (I'm inclined to think they are), but it's impossible to debate the fact that you save money by using cloth. The first time around I went with All-in-One cloth diapers because they seemed easiest, but experience has made me realize that prefolds and covers are a better bet. If one or the other gets worn out, you can replace them for relatively cheap, and most adjust small enough that you can use them from day one. I highly recommend econobum, but if you have a bit more of a budget, the Flip "diaper system" is awesome (so glad Alli recommended them to me!). And be sure to get some diaper cream too, as well as bamboo liners so you don't ruin your cloth diapers with the cream (these are also good if you're squeamish about poop and want it to be thrown into the toilet easily). Oh and make sure you have a diaper-friendly detergent. I love Nellie's. You need so little that I only went through two bags in the 2.5 years Willa was in diapers. See, economical!

Cloth wipes. I use cheap baby wash cloths for everything. Diaper changes. Runny noses. Spit up. Ice cream hands. I also cut up old clothes and take them with me on the go. Once used, I sometimes save them, but usually I toss them in a trash can. 

Baby carrier. I read somewhere recently that baby carriers aren't just for attachment parents, they're for parents who like to get sh*t done. You can either hold your baby and get nothing done, or you can wear your baby and get stuff done. Especially when you have a toddler doing the most dangerous thing feasible at the playground on your first outing with the new baby. You need a carrier. Also, babies are tiny. They like to be held close. (Ok, maybe I am a bit attachment-y.) I have two favorites: the Solly wrap and an Ergo. Get both. (The Beco is a close 2nd to the Ergo, but if you only get one the Ergo is a better choice because it's good for toddler carrying too.)

Bloom Alma Mini Urban CribThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in their parents' room for the first 6 months. With both kids, we've had them in a Pack-n-Play in our room and then we've moved them into a crib in their own room. However, during those first months I always stress about where they should be napping and if I'm providing continuity (or does it even matter?). If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy one of these so I could keep it in our room at night and wheel it down the hall or wherever for naps etc. Folded up it's approximately the same size as a playard anyway, and much prettier. Not to mention it looks much more comfortable.

Bottle(s). Nothing drives me more crazy on a wedding or baby registry than "sets." Knife sets. Sets of pots and pans. It's a racket! No one needs both a 6" and a 8" chef's knife. But anyway. Bottles. Here's the thing about bottles: your baby can't drink out of more than one at a time, right? And, once emptied, they shouldn't be left sitting for long or the milk residue will grow bacteria (see useful breastmilk storage/use guidelines here). So. You might need a few bottles. But you don't need 10. And if you're not going back to work full-time, you probably only need one. Ok fine, two.

Blankets etc. Similar to bottles, you do need blankets, but probably not 15. I have 8 of these aden + anais ones and it's way more than enough. I could get by with just 4. Make sure you read the material content of what you get though, because aden + anais blankets are now sold at Target and other stores and they're not all created equal. Get the real deal ones. I also recommend sleep sacks. You don't want to skimp in the sleep department.You can swaddle with blankets, but at 2am when you're sleep-deprived the velcro version is pretty fantastic. When you baby gets a bit older, this one is awesome because it can be used as a swaddle or not, depending on what they like.

Clothing. Your baby needs clothes. But they grow super fast in the first year and you don't need the added stress of making sure he wears all his cute 3 month sized outfits in one week. You'll likely get plenty of clothes as gifts, but if you need more, Goodwill is the bomb. And I love thredUp too. Also of note: sets of white onesies seem to be ubiquitous, but I have no clue why. A pooping baby and a white wardrobe? Stock up on dark-colored basics, like these.

Highchair. I believe it's super important to include babies with you at the table for meals, and to do this you definitely need a highchair. (Ok, you can have them sit in your lap, and if your baby will sit with you and let you eat your food, I am insanely jealous. Mine won't. They need straps.) I like chairs that don't have trays, so you can put your baby at the table with everyone else. Which exact chair you get depends on your table/eating situation, but it's hard to go wrong with the Stokke Tripp Trapp. It resells on Craigslist for almost retail because it's that awesome. I also love Phil&Ted's chairs. We have this one, which was discontinued, but their newer model looks fantastic, and Inglesina makes a good one too. Great for counters, travel, restaurants, etc. I also like the totseat for travel.

Eating accessories. In my limited experience, babies do need a few items in addition to their highchair to help facilitate meals. I do, however, try to limit how much plastic we bring into our lives and baby eating items involve a lot of plastic. Whenever I buy new things I try to stop and really think about if it has to be made of plastic. A place mat? Yes. A place mat is a good idea, especially if you have a table that could be damaged by excess crumbs and food scraps. I'm a big fan of this one because it sticks to any surface (several of them have suction cups which don't work on wood or any porous counter/table). We don't, however, have much by way of plastic dishes or utensils. Willa loves using the espresso spoons that came with our flatware, and I also have some wooden spoons that we use a lot. Around the house I give her food on small plates we already own. However, when she was first started eating I did buy one plastic plate and one plastic bowl from Goodwill. And don't get me started on sippy cups...I'm a big fan of regular glasses...but I did really liked this cup as her first sippy (although beware: it leaks!), and I'm hoping my bottle-hater will take to it in a couple of months. For some reason "they" try to make parents think that kids need all kinds of special items for eating (fancy Disney plates, for example!?) but chances are you already have some small plates on hand as well as a cup or two that it won't matter if it breaks. You also need a few bibs. I like these because they're plain and the velcro doesn't wear out after several washings (I hate, however, that they're labeled "boys." They're primary colors!)

Thermometer. Self explanatory. But don't waste money on a fancy pants one. Rectal is the most accurate.

Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Mat.Part of me wants to say that a baby doesn't really need any toys. And that's somewhat true. But, your life will be easier if you feel like you have a designated place to put your baby down. And this activity mat comes with 5 awesome toys, which makes it a good deal. Also, I recently discovered that almost every single one of my closest mom friends has this exact item. So that is pretty significant.

That's it! But I'm certain I'm forgetting something essential. So you tell me: what are your "must haves?" What could you have done without that surprised you?

32nd ave farmers' market

Thankfully, my annoying sickness only lasted about 24 hours, so by Saturday I was back in action and my parents came down for a re-do last hurrah. There was no baseball game, but we made our own fun. We enjoyed sushi takeout for dinner on Saturday (before they return to the land of no sushi) and on Sunday morning we decided to hit up the 32nd Avenue farmers' market. We've been super excited that a farmers' market opened in our 'hood this year, but hadn't yet had a chance to really check it out. I went down there with Willa and the dog a few weeks ago, but despite their omnipresence at every farmers' market in the nation, navigating a market with a dog and a toddler is NOT easy. Also, when I was there I'd just had a big breakfast, so I didn't need anything to eat. And I didn't have any cash, which doesn't really fly at a farmers' market.

So this time we left the dog at home, had plenty of adults to wrangle the toddler, and purposefully went hungry. There were so many good things to try! Lots of samples from people making their own jams and pierogis and whatnot (all "handmade" with "local ingredients" of course!) and several food trucks. There were also a few cool coffee carts/vans/wagons that I'll try next time. (Reminder to self: must go to the market both hungry and uncaffeinated.)

^^willa's in the middle of saying, "let's go get some food!" and that's indeed what we were about to do. we hit up the japanese hawaiian truck, pacific bonsai, and it was superb!^^

^^top: blackened mahi mahi lettuce wrap / BBQ pork slider. bottom: beer battered fish taco / chicken katsu and egg breakfast taco. my favorite was the lettuce wrap. it was all the right kinds of flavorful: spicy, sweet, and grilled.^^

^^a rare family shot!^^

^^aiko pops for dessert. willa and my mom loved the coconut nutella, but dan and i were partial to the coconut anise. only problem was they melted even faster than the average pop on a hot day. willa didn't seem to mind though!^^

Overall it was an awesome place to spend a couple hours; lots going on but at the same time not overwhelmingly crowded. And we had a lovely time with my parents.

My only complaint: they need to get recycle bins! It hurt my heart to see so much paper and plastic being thrown away.

a weekend in minneapolis

I spent last weekend in Minneapolis. "I." Not "we." My first significant time away from W. Of course I missed my family a great deal, but it was wonderful to spend some time on my own and to see dear friends. I think it's so important to continue to prioritize yourself sometimes after you've gotten married or had kids, but sometimes that's easier said than done. I was proud of myself for making this weekend happen, and I felt lucky to have the chance to focus on my friendships and myself. The weekend was full of serious and silly conversations, laughs, hugs, many moments of just sitting down because I could, and lots of good food.

^^cupcakes! we stopped at cocoa & fig for some treats, and i of course ate more than my share.^^

^^on saturday afternoon we did some antiquing. alli scored a cool old record player cabinet turned coffee table, while i found some great maps at hunt & gather. i could have stayed there for hours!^^

^^for dinner we hit up the rabbit hole, which was pretty darn amazing. basically an updated take on korean street food and "funky cocktails." (don't mind the blurry photo of me, the restaurant in the background is in focus, and that's the important thing to see!)^^

^^poutine with kimchi, brussels sprouts, and mackerel. the brussels sprouts were the best dish of the night, i thought. i'm always a sucker for brussels sprouts and i'll eat an asian preparation of them every day of the week. so. good.^^

^^cheers! to for years and years of friendship and frequent visits.^^

^^snow! i totally forgot what serious snowbanks are like. in denver, snow never stays around long enough to accumulate, but the very opposite is true in minneapolis. i snapped this shot as we were walking to patisserie 46 where i had the most delicious pain aux raisins.^^

^^after staying in and making khao soi on sunday night, we wrapped up the weekend with another sweet treat: sebastian joe's oreo ice cream. i was amazed to see such a packed place amidst the cold minneapolis weather, but apparently everyone likes their ice cream. and it was mighty good.^^

this weekend + last, in pictures.

life lately:

^^last weekend we went up to fort collins to see my parents, and started the visit with a lovely drive around horsetooth reservoir. it was super windy but really pretty.^^

^^beer tasting and mr. potato head playing at equinox. a box of toys at a brewery is a superb idea! it was a really fun place, and great if you're a hop-lover, but i regret that equinox beers aren't my jam. too many ales.^^

^^strolling through old town. W had her eye on the furry friends in the window of this pet store. she let herself inside and would have stolen one if i hadn't intervened.^^

^^up next: new belgium. it was CROWDED. but they offered up some great beers. much better than the ones they bottle and distribute, IMO.^^

^^this friday night, we rode our bikes to billy's inn for dinner. this is the only picture i took, but it was a lovely evening. we're so excited to have a bike seat for willa now, and she loves it. she also loves helmets, which is fantastic. i think it's mostly the buckles.^^

^^the big thing on our calendar for this weekend: ikea. we spent 4 hours there on saturday morning, stocking up on furniture to outfit our basement. that place is maddening. but so great at the same time. we took a lunch break (which was a first for us, we usually try to just power through which does not actually go well), and i have to say i greatly enjoyed the lunch we got for $8. no meatballs, but salmon, eggplant lasagna, and mac + cheese. plus free tea and a cinnamon roll. it kept us sane amidst the ikea crazy.^^

^^after a long day at ikea, dan and i went out to dinner at session kitchen in platt park.^^

^^overall, the food was great! and the portions were much more generous than you find at many restaurants these days. i would say, however, several dishes lacked flavor punch i was expecting given their concept and vibe. the best dish was definitely the perogies and asparagus, with "frank's red hot butter" (basically chicken wing sauce) and crispy potato skins. it was innovative and well-balanced. i pretty much licked the bowl clean. they also had cronuts for dessert. i've yet to have the real deal, but these were delicious!^^

^^on sunday morning, dan got up before 6 to get us voodoo doughnuts! we'd been wanting to try them for months, but didn't want to wait in the line that still is around an hour long. no wait at 6am. we aren't interested in voodoo's crazy concoctions, but their more tame doughnuts were seriously solid. i'll always be a mighty-o loyalist, but these still made my day.^^

^^this girl was a big fan too. her favorite: the sprinkle doughnut. so she can pick off each sprinkle one by one. she calls them "rice." dessert rice i suppose?^^

costo. + thoughts on bulk shopping

Breaking news: I joined Costco. Yep, bulk city. The Kirkland Empire.

One of my dearest friends is a huge (HUGE) fan of Costco. Ever since I met her, she's told me about all the amazing things to be found at Costco. From jeans to snowmobiles! (Ok, I might be making up that snowmobiles part, but you get the point.) Anyway, I'm pretty weirded out by giant box stores, but I'm also a huge fan of a good deal. So today, we made a trip west (to the 'burbs, obvi) and entered the store along with 500 of our closest friends. (Honestly, wouldn't you think 2pm on a Thursday would be an off time? Apparently not.)

Here are my initial thoughts, to be amended and contradicted in the future. I probably once claimed I'd never even join Costco, so clearly I'm a complicated lady.


  • Organic items. Organic blueberries are a staple for us, and they're SO EXPENSIVE everywhere else. We'd been hoping they'd be cheaper at Costco, and indeed they are. $8.99 for a 3lb bag, which is phenomenal. I also snagged a good deal on organic soymilk and organic tofu. Word on the street is you should keep your blueberries and soy products organic, so I try to do just that.
  • Free samples. Why yes, I have indeed been wondering what raw hemp seed taste like. As well as whole grain pancakes. So I'll take one of each and dip my pancake into the hemp seeds (that was Willa's approach).
  • Double child seats in the cart. Uh, genius. I always wondered where the second kid was supposed to go. And, for a change, Willa actually sat in the seat. It could have been the free samples, but perhaps it was also the ample room?
  • No bags. I like what they're doing with the no bags at check out thing. But they certainly make their environmental footprint elsewhere...


  • Bulk. Obviously this is what Costco is all about, but come on, who can drink 2 gallons of milk before it goes bad!? I guess if you have a large family, but couldn't they sell an individual gallon somewhere in the store for those of us with just one milk-obsessed toddler? You need an extra fridge and freezer not to mention pantry to shop there. Some of the products just seem to be too bulk-y for anyone's good. Which leads me to point number two...
  • Waste. As someone who's borderline obsessed with thinking about where waste goes, the amount of packaging found in Costco made me incredibly anxious. I wanted to buy some dried seaweed, but why do they have to individually package every 10 slices? And the bananas need to be in a plastic bag? And those two bottles of oil need to be attached by a plastic ring AND coated in plastic wrap? I could go on an on. Costco's target market is individual consumers (right?) so why so much packaging? Moreover, there were no recycling bins to be found and all the free sample PAPER cups were going into trash bins. Come on, Costco, don't you know that Denver is only capturing a fraction of recyclable materials? And as a Seattle company, I expect more. And this doesn't even consider the amount of items consumers are probably wasting once they leave the store. No one needs everything in bulk.
  • Payment options. You can apparently only pay with a debit card, or one of the credit cards that partners with Costco. So no Chase points for me. Boo.

I will definitely be back to Costco occasionally. And I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make up the $55 annual membership fee. Perhaps on blueberries alone. But I'd love to hear from others - what do you think about Costco or bulk shopping in general? Do we actually save, or do we just buy more?

vintage furniture shopping

The past couple weekends, we've been shopping for used furniture. Vintage. Mid-mod. Old. Whatever you want to call it. It's not-new, local, and pretty much all-around awesome. And finally, FINALLY!, our house is starting to move in the direction of looking furnished.

I don't do well with furniture/decor shopping. It's not that I have a completely terrible sense of style; I just can't pull the trigger. I'll see something I like, but then hem and haw over whether or not it's what we need, and ultimately I'll close my computer or walk out of the store empty handed. Furnishing our house has been slow going.

When we moved in several months ago, we had just a few pieces of furniture to our name. A modular sectional couch. A bed. Willa's crib. A much-loved Ikea chair-and-a-half. We'd been waiting. Waiting until we'd bought a place to buy the "right furniture."  That was an easy cop-out to have random mismatched furniture when we were renting. But now, here we are, finally in that more permanent place and needing to find the "right" pieces for every room. No pressure.

But these past weekends have been extremely successful. When Alli was visiting, she helped me find an awesome dresser/sideboard. Then, on Saturday, my parents were up for a last-minute babysitting session so Dan and I could do some afternoon shopping. (My indecisiveness gets ten times worse when I'm trying to keep Willa from breaking things!) We fell in love with a pair of Harter chairs that ate up most of our allotted funds, so we weren't able to get as many things as we'd planned (lights, coffee tables, and accessories are overrated, right?). But these chairs! Man, we love them. Apparently they are designed to "allow any space to become an impromptu work area." Yep, I'm sitting at one right now.

I am certainly no expert on Denver's vintage offerings, but our recent adventures took us to some awesome places that I thought I'd share. There are surely so many other great places in the area. I can't wait to discover them. Over the next 10 years. Since that's how long it'll be before our house is furnished. But I'm okay with it. It's all part of the adventure.

Red Door Antiques/ 4369 Stuart Street / Denver, CO 80212

Mid-Mod Mall/ 3434 Brighton Blvd / Denver, CO 80216

Garage Vintage / 776 North Santa Fe Drive / Denver, CO 80204

Mid-Mod Vintage / 7174 West 44th Avenue / Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

{cool view from inside mid-mod mall in RiNo}


I'm a girl of many thoughts: I love a good deal. I'm too materialist and consume too much. I like reusing and trying to reduce my consumption. I like new clothes! But I have too many already. Ahh! Thankfully these sentiments can all happily coexist in the world of consignment shopping.

Unfortunately, I've been a bit disillusioned with Denver's consignment scene. Now, granted, I don't have quite as much time to peruse the shops as I did in Seattle, but still. A lot of the consignment stores seem a tad overpriced in my estimation. I'm not going to pay $50 for a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans from 10 years ago when they still had the red tags. That's just absurd. $20? Maybe. A friend of mine visiting from Seattle tried to barter for a skirt that had an unraveled hem, and the consignmentista would not have it. Seriously? Your price is firm on the skirt from 2001 that needs to be sewed?

I'm rambling. The point of this isn't to complain about local shops but rather to rejoice in the most fantastically wonderful consignment solution ever thought up: thredUP. Have you heard of it? You must check it out. Consignment online! Why didn't I think of that? Man, I wish I had. I'd be rich! And all my "what am I going to do with my life professionally?" dilemmas would be solved. If only.

So. Yes. thredUP. It's the greatest. To buy, it works just like any online retailer. Browse, add to cart, check out. They have a lot of promotions for first time customers etc., so it's not hard to get a discount on their already reasonable prices. If you want to sell/donate clothing, you can request a bag and they'll send you a giant green polka dot bag to fill with clothes and shoes etc. I filled up a bag a couple months ago, and while they didn't accept everything, I made over $80, and the clothes they didn't take they donated for me. I used my store credit to buy W the warmer clothes she's been needing since summer is finally subsiding. They have so many great things for $3.49 each! And several items that are new with tags!

thredUP. Check it out. It's a great way to buy clothes, especially if you know the size you're looking for in a particular brand. I have a pair of Adriano Goldschmied cords I love, and I found another pair the same style and size in a different color for a fraction of the retail price!


Disclaimers: It goes without saying that this isn't in any way a sponsored post. I am no where near that big time. I just like thredUP, and wanted to spread the word. And I know, I know, shopping online and having a package shipped across the country is not really that "green" and is still pretty materialistic. But it is marginally better than buying clothes that are newly manufactured...

specialty items

Last month, I was at Pike Place Market with my dear friend Katie. It was her first visit to Seattle, and after showing her the flying fish, the first Starbucks, and all the amazing food vendors, I paused on the cobblestone street and said, "I just need to grab something from this Indian grocer." I quickly strode into The Souk and found what I was looking for: black mustard seeds. After paying a couple dollars, I reconvened with Katie outside the store, and she commented, "I don't think I'll ever cook anything that calls for a spice that's not available at a regular supermarket." Katie's comment got me thinking. Trips to multiple markets = delightful or aggravating? Certainly it depends on the person. But me? I've never met a market I didn't love. Just yesterday I went to three groceries before noon (no way am I buying romaine hearts at Fred Meyer for $2.99 when they're $1.99 at Trader Joe's!). And markets that carry specialty items are the best. Many agree with me, obviously. But several fall into the other camp, usually sticking to the standard spices and ingredients. And then there's actually a third camp, which I sometimes fall into. This is those of us who love using special ingredients, but often don't have what we need on hand and decide to make the recipe anyway, hoping it'll turn out okay. Sometimes it does, but often it doesn't. So from the me who went into The Souk that day to get the mustard seeds, here's my reccomendation:

Step 1: Find a recipe that calls for something you've never heard of. Step 2: Google the ingredient so you understand how it's sold in the U.S. and what you're looking for once you get to the store. (Be sure to check if it has any alternate names in English.) Step 3: Find a store. Step 4: Make the trip, even if it takes some effort. Step 5: Cook the recipe and be prepared to have your taste buds amazed.

For inspiration, here are a few of my favorite recipes that call for ingredients not available at most "regular" stores.

Cucumber Peanut Salad 101 Cookbooks This is the salad that calls for black mustard seeds. It's very easy to make, minus the chopping of the cukes, and the cheapness of the ingredients makes up for the effort you have to make to get the mustard seeds!

Pasta with Mustard Greens Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella Bon Appétit This recipe is borderline. It's very possible to find all the ingredients in a standard grocery, and definitely at Whole Foods, but there are still some specialty ingredients that are necessary to make this recipe as written. And if you're not going to try it as written, you shouldn't bother. The smoked mozzarella and shiitake mushrooms are a must.

Palak Daal 101 Cookbooks The first few times I made this I couldn't find urad dal anywhere, so I substituted chana dal and brown lentils. And the dal was good. But when I finally found urad dal at an Indian grocer, I was delighted by how improved this dish was.

Laarb (Thai chicken "salad") Mark Bittman's "The Best Recipes in the World" Laarb (Laab, Larb) could very well be my favorite dish in the entire world. It's a Laotian dish made with meat, fresh herbs, fish sauce, and lime juice. It's usually served with cabbage and other fresh vegetables. Ground toasted rice is an important component of the dish. It's not too hard to make, but you do need to stock your pantry with some specific ingredients from Asian grocery stores.

Salmon in Bengali Mustard Sauce  Saveur Shout out to Rachel who told me I had to try this recipe. It fit well with a weekend trip to Pike Place, where we picked up salmon and mustard powder. I think it would work well with other fish besides salmon. Serve with some yummy basmati rice.


I absolutely love AmazonFresh. I seriously can’t say enough good things. A few months back, at an alumni gathering for my college, I met someone who works at Amazon. He doesn’t even work on anything related to AmazonFresh, and I had only had half a drink, but I still went on and on and on about my affinity for AmazonFresh. But I’m going to try to calm myself for a moment here, and give a more balanced view. And then I'm going to return to looking forward to my groceries that will be arriving on my doorstep before 6am tomorrow morning. Yes I will have a whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagel with organic neufchâtel cheese for breakfast, thankyouverymuch. PROS:

Convenience – Order from your computer at home or work (shhh!) or from out of town. When travelling, it’s great to tee up a delivery order so your fridge isn’t empty when you get home late on a Sunday night and have work the next day. Last year, my family was heading out to the Olympic Peninsula for Christmas, so we ordered a big AmazonFresh order and had it delivered right when we were packing up the car. The delivery man helped us put the bags in the car right then and there!

Selection - Amazon is regularly adding items so there’s rarely an item I want that I can’t find.

Produce quality – before my first order, the quality of the produce was something I was worried about. I’m one of those annoying people who picks up and inspects every apple before putting it in my bag. You can’t do that online. But the quality of produce is outstanding.

Free Delivery – Orders $75 and above qualify for free delivery. Not hard to meet.

Automatic Delivery & Case discounts – money can be saved when you set up automatic delivery or purchase things in cases. I don’t do this now, but when/if I have more mouths to feed I can see this being convenient. The 10% and 15% discounts would off-set the price difference between AmazonFresh and Fred Meyer.

Great website – Just like, the website is so easy to use. You can save lists for future use, and the site automatically generates things you “might like” which you inevitably add to your cart.

No tips allowed - While some might think it's weird I find this a pro, I really do. There's no awkward moment with you and the delivery person where you give them a few bucks. I am sure Amazon pays their drivers well, and the rule is that no tips are accepted.

AmazonNOW items - Amazon has an ever-growing selection of items you can add to your grocery order. (I wish I hadn't just bought The Help at the UW bookstore for $24.95 or I would add the $13 one from Amazon to my order.)



Price – My grocery bill with AmazonFresh is without a doubt much higher than when I shop at Fred Meyer. However, it’s no more expensive than Whole Foods or even some QFCs and Safeways. While the delivery is free, the somewhat increased cost accounts for the convenience of delivered groceries!

No generics – part of the reason the cost is higher is that AmazonFresh only carries name brand items. For example they only have Talking Rain seltzer water instead of the BigK generic brand I get at Fred Meyer. And there’s only Silk soymilk, no 365 brand which is the cheapest at Whole Foods.

No bulk – A lot of money can be saved by shopping in bulk at conventional grocery stores.  All the items you need are still available at AmazonFresh, but they are more expensive because they’re packaged instead of being sold in bulk.

Inclement weather – I ordered Thanksgiving dinner groceries from AmazonFresh. Seattle got a snow storm. They cancelled my order. An AmazonFresh truck was stuck on the hill outside of my house. Completely understandable, but still a con.

Item sizes – While the descriptions on the website are entirely accurate, sometimes you’re not sure just how big a 4 ounce block of cheese is. Then you get it, and it’s way smaller than you thought. Your own fault, not theirs, but still a drawback to shopping online.