Jet Set Heart

live life fabulously

fabulous Denver: Cherry Creek North Food & Wine

AmandaComment

So not even a week after my return to Colorado, I already had an excuse to put myself together again and sip on some wine and no, I am certainly not complaining. I was pretty much back to normal (read: no more jet lag) so I could actually enjoy the evening without needing to break for a mid-event nap. Cheers for that. So I popped on my seemingly popular T-bags maxi dress, a pair of flat beaded sandals (because as I previously learned, alcohol and heels do not mix for me) and headed out to the event. I made an immediate beeline right for one of the wine tables. The folks at Vinue Food & Wine Bar had a fabulous spread for the evening where I was able to try my first Cabernet Franc which was super yummy and had my second or third encounter with a Malbec, now probably one of my faves. It was a very effective reminder that a girls night at Vinue is in order very soon.

Now let me tell you about how I then proceeded to eat my way through the event which, of course, is the only way to do it. That's the main draw of the evening! To sample a bit from each of Cherry Creek's best restaurants and hopefully find a few new favorites to frequent. Well I definitely had a bit of everything and I'm happy to say that most of the options were pretty healthy so the night wasn't much of a diet buster after all. My favorites were the ceviches from Pikkas (both traditional fish and vegetarian mushroom ceviches!), the spinach pie from Starbucks (yes, STARBUCKS), the albacore tataki from True Foods, the cookies from So Perfect Eats and chocolates from Enstrom Candies. My favorite Sugarlicious was also there (remember them?) with their fabulous gourmet gummy bears and amazing peanut brittle. In fact, I was so impressed with my new favorites that I ran out the next night to have dinner and drinks at Pikkas (more on that in my next post) and am planning a lunch at So Perfect and dinner verrry soon at True Foods. The awesome thing about dining in Cherry Creek is that it gives you an excuse to step up your fashion game a bit. Dressing up for dinner is not unusual there while the rest of Denver is typically pretty laid back and casual fashion-wise, even a little eclectic. In Cherry Creek there's still a laid back vibe but nicer and more put together, if you know what I mean.

It's a sipping selfie.

It's a sipping selfie.

And just as all that wine started going to our heads, the 9-piece band (Azucar Latin Ensemble) started up to play us into the night.

If you've never been to the Food & Wine, I recommend that you join me and make it a point to go to next year's event. It's well worth the money and time - proceeds go for a good cause (more info on that here), there's tons of good food and drinks, live music and a great crowd. 

#fitnessfriday: back on the fitness wagon and Cherry Creek Food and Wine

AmandaComment

I'm back from Europe and jet lagged as heck. It's the worst part about traveling and indulging my jet set heart. And if you were a fly on my wall this week, you would have witnessed me in recovery mode...(ever so gracefully) laying around in bed or on my couch, shamelessly playing that Kim Kardashian Hollywood game. Occasionally I'd get up for some water or, if I was feeling ambitious, to walk my dogs. To my credit, I did give some thought to working out but actually getting off the couch to do it was something else entirely. The will was there but my body just wasn't having it. It took four days after we got back before I could eke out a whole 25 minutes of Pilates, but today (day 5!) I should be able to get back to my 60-ish minute long Ballet Beautiful workout. So there's my first workout log/diary/report - two whole workouts this week. It's better than nothing, right? There is something to be said about knowing when to take it easy to allow your body to get up to full strength.

So you'd think that with alllll of the eating we did on vacation, I'd jump right into healthy eating or juicing or something like that, right? And that was exactly my plan, but not even a week home and I'm already faced with my first "cheat" evening. Tomorrow night is one of my favorite events in Denver - the Cherry Creek North Food and Wine. It's basically a smorgasbord of yumminess from Cherry Creek's best restaurants. 20 will be there, each presenting a few small bites (pinxtos style!) to give attendees a taste of what they can do. They are also doing some good in the community and helping to raise money for Cherry Creek Arts Festival, a non-profit that provides access to art experiences and art education. At last year's event there was a bar, wine tasting and Stella Artois stand as well, so this feel good event is an all you can eat and drink affair. Add live music and really, there's no way I could skip this in favor of some diet. I'll just have to be sure to be on my best behavior the rest of the week. Oh gosh, that sounds like I'm working on moderation or balance or something, historically not my strong suit. Let's see how this goes.

 A list! 

 A list! 

the great OJ epiphany and dry elbow worries

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Traveling with folks who like to drink to exhaustion is...well, exhausting. As much as I love to travel and be away from home, I'm looking forward to getting back to my regular health routine, my stash of green teas, vitamix, and favorite avocado and tomato breakfasts instead of the pastries we've been downing. And about two seconds into my first fresh squeezed orange juice and croissant breakfast here, I realized that I need a citrus juicer. Yes, need. I'm not even sure how I lived this long without one - drinking store bought orange juice as if it doesn't make a difference. It does! I'm not thrilled with the idea of adding yet another appliance to my itty bitty kitchen but fresh squeezed OJ is magic, guys.

I also miss the dry Colorado climate. Mainly because I schvitz like a mofo in the slightest amount of humidity. I usually just tell people that I'm melting and then they think my icky sweatiness is cute. But this trip has made me realize that while I desperately miss it, dry air is kind of crap for your skin. Having spent nearly two weeks in this humid little seaside town, all of my body skin woes have resolved on their own - no more dry elbows, heels, cuticles, or those little bumps I always get on the back of my arms. And come to think of it, I only got them after moving to CO in the first place. Now that I'm addicted to having soft elbows, I've got to find a way to keep this up. What are the odds that those cute little Evian misters are the answer? Guess I'll find out soon, because I plan to carry one 24-7 after I get home. But be warned that should they fail, the second my elbows start to shrivel up again I'm packing up for the nearest beach town.

And now, enjoy this ridiculous photo my friend took of me dancing at the Jazzaldia festival. The humidity had my hair in full super curl mode but I swear, it was actually cute that night. I was doing the "had too much wine" dance. You know how that goes.

Jazz hands at Jazzaldia.

Jazz hands at Jazzaldia.

Foodie capital

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On our way here, one of my travel buddies informed us that San Sebastián is a foodie capital of the world. We all expressed the appropriate amount of doubt of course - you can't just blindly trust statements like that. But I just had the single most phenomenal meal of my life at what apparently is currently the 8th best restaurant in the world (THE WORLD) - Arzak. 3 Michelin stars, the whole deal. I'm from New York City and at the moment NYC doesn't have a 3 Michelin star restaurant so perhaps my friend was right. Further proving his point, I've spent this entire stay eating my way through amazing restaurant after amazing restaurant, mostly pinxtos (tapas) bars, most of which look like hole in the wall joints. They just do not put up with average food here. And the funny thing is that the best dishes look so simple and then you bite into them and bam(!) - your eyes are rolling back in your head, which yes is the only appropriate reaction to such deliciousness. I've been totally spoiled. What are the chances I can convince a local chef to come back to the US and be my cook? I can offer fun dogs to play with and, uh, free use of my shoe collection. I dare you to find me someone who could resist that.

White tuna with rhubarb and lilies at Arzak.

White tuna with rhubarb and lilies at Arzak.

#fitnessfriday: workout style

AmandaComment

It's #fitnessfriday! I do realize that I may have, um...inadvertently missed last week's fitness friday but don't hold it against me. You just have no idea the kind of internet access I had to put up with and I didn't have it in me to spend hours uploading a single photo. Nevermind putting together a gallery - that was absolutely impossible. So please forgive me loves! Plus we had traveled so much in those first few days that at some point I couldn't even remember what day it was or even where I was on the continent, ha. Plus, my ankles were swollen, does that get me any sympathy? But I DO have a lot of pics to share, I'll just have to do it when I get home. For now, back to our regularly scheduled programming... 

#fitnessfriday

Ok, so I'm currently off the bandwagon and until I get back I absolutely will not be worrying much about working out or eating great while I'm away. In fact, my plan is to eat anything and everything that looks fabulous and interesting and I'll just have to live on the elliptical and in dance classes for weeks after I get back. That should be interesting to report on, but while I won't be sharing much today to work on the fitness part of #fitnessfriday, I can certainly contribute to the shopping part of it. As I get further into the whole ballet and yoga workout situation, I'm starting to have visions of a sleek, dancer-inspired workout wardrobe. Although I'm a Nike girl, I'm also newly obsessed with Net-a-porter's freshly launched sportswear section. As if I need another excuse to be a crazy shiny happy fashion lady, now I can even be that girl while working out. Truth be told, I typically have a hard time justifying spending a lot of money on workout clothing since I'm currently working out at home - out of sight, so really, what's the point? But as soon as I have a reason to venture out into public to workout, I'll go tear a few leaves off my money tree to buy these pieces ASAP. 

Printed leggings are in. my. future. But I had an airhead moment when I first found these...I thought the print was described as a stretch black and white graphic of Jersey, as in - New Jersey. As a native New Yorker my first thought was, "oh heck no" and to find an alternative  pair ASAP but then I woke up a little and actually read the item description. 

And finally, I had no idea but why not - I guess I DO need a clutch for the gym! This is every purse-crazy girl's dream, so how very thoughtful of you, Net-A-Porter!

I'm feeling extra motivated already! I don't ever want this vacation to end but I do look forward to getting back and taking care of myself. 

run the world: Devon, Louboutin and the beaded dress

AmandaComment

The funny thing about being the girl who owns the camera is that while you do take a lot of pictures but don’t wind up in a lot of them. That’s both good and bad - good because I’d like to be a much fitter person before I start throwing pictures of myself on holiday all over the internet (hello vanity!) and bad because, well sod it (Brit term, you like?), I am here in my version of paradise and would like a ton of pictures of me cavorting about in the countryside or beach or whatever else have you. Let’s wait and see which side of the argument wins for me on this trip, shall we? But truth be told I’m sure it will be vanity. Don’t judge - I’m sure you know exactly where I’m coming from and maybe have been there too! Current level of squishiness aside, I’ll have you know that I knocked everyone out with my choice of dress for the wedding we attended over the weekend, so I don’t feel too off my game. We all get squishy from time to time, right? 

So…we landed at London Heathrow early Friday afternoon and I somehow managed enough discipline to bypass the duty free shops and head on to our final destination of the day. I won’t go into too much detail on our first stop other than to say it was a phenomenal time. We stayed at Combe House, which was also the hotel where the wedding was held. It is a centuries old house turned hotel in Devon and the staff was some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to deal with. In fact, they were so good that they helped confirm the ridiculous notion that I need a personal assistant or butler of my own. Hopefully one day I can make that happen but I should probably start playing the lottery soon as that’s my current best chance at it. Ugh and sigh. Anyway, as I'm prone to do, I drank far too much champagne. There were also the. most. delicious. finger sandwiches that I could not stop eating. Here, enjoy some random pics that I couldn’t get onto Instagram because apparently wifi isn’t really a thing in old English manors:

The spectacular Combe House in Devon.

The spectacular Combe House in Devon.

Combe House was open only for guests of the wedding.

Combe House was open only for guests of the wedding.

View from the room.

View from the room.

The scene outside Combe House.

The scene outside Combe House.

Gin and juice. I kid you not. Dress pic coming soon to Instagram and I'll probably update this post once it's up. I was a little too drunk on champagne to remember to document everything - naughty blogger! 

Gin and juice. I kid you not.

Dress pic coming soon to Instagram and I'll probably update this post once it's up. I was a little too drunk on champagne to remember to document everything - naughty blogger! 

I got a lot of compliments on my dress and there was apparently quite the discussion about my shoes. I finally got to break in my basic black Pigalle pumps and I guess the red bottoms drew a lot of attention, although I didn’t know it at the time. That’s actually the one thing I hate about Loubs, which is weird since most people buy them for the attention-grabbing red soles. Good news, they were far more comfortable than I expected. But then after the ceremony, we were all ushered out for drinks and canapés on the lawn - which if you’re a girl you know that spells trouble for high heels. Oh yes, I was doing that dreaded walk where my heels were sinking into the sod with each step I took but I was far from the only one, which was oddly comforting. I could only take so much of that before I just took the shoes off to stand barefoot in the grass. I looove my fashion goodies but I’m also a very practical girl at heart. High heels and grass do not mix, folks! And do you know what else doesn’t mix with high heels? Champagne. Eventually I had to choose to either keep on drinking champagne or continue wearing the heels since bubbly makes my ankles go wobbly. Guess which one won out. Thankfully I had a pair of beaded Steve Madden sandals to slip on and keep my ankles safe to see another day.


down to the wire and...does my wish list ever end?

AmandaComment

T minus ONE day to takeoff and I'm finally taking care of my trip prep to do list like a boss. Whoo hoo. I spent the morning making phone call after phone call, sending emails, straightening out my calendar and am about to head out for some (more) last minute shopping. Yeah that's right, more shopping. I spent the last few days stocking up on cute summer pieces and now I have some last minute swimwear issues to attend to. While I'm excited to finally get away, I seriously wish I had a couple of more months to get ready for this. Although I fully realize that anything I have left undone is entirely the fault of my procrastinating self. I get it, change is a process, whatever. 

I'll have to point out my new pieces in my live-from-the-road posts, but I wanted to share with you a few things I'm already planning to snag once I get back. One thing I'm taking with me is a new T-bags maxi dress that I found and am absolutely obsessed with...so while I hate the brand name (I mean c'mon...T-bags?), I think their stuff is amazing. I want to grab one in all black because it is the perfect casual but dress-up-flexible piece for summer nights and I could even see it going into fall with the right layering strategy (Rick Owens draped leather jacket, anyone?). The biggest reason behind my new obsession - the cut and drape of this dress will flatter pretty much any figure and make you look good even on, um, "fat" days. You know what I'm talking about. If you're on the shorter side, you'll have to trim the unfinished edge of the dress so you're not dragging it on the ground. I'm 5'8" and it hits the top of my feet. 

Ok, so these are for fall, but I have my eye on these booties from Pedro Garcia. A few months ago, these slouchy ankle lovelies went on sale down to $119 so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that type of goodness to happen again. 

Aside from these pieces, I also have to start planning a few Vegas-worthy outfits because I'm going to spend a few days there in September. Hooray, I see more swimsuit and dress shopping in my future.

sweat it out: gym search, Ballet Beautiful and #fitnessfriday

AmandaComment

I love to workout, but I just can't deal with most gyms. To avoid crowded classes or waiting for equipment, I usually workout only at home or in private training sessions. That's one thing I miss about NYC, I had my favorite fitness spots and I was spoiled rotten. I worked out at Equinox and the Reebok Sports Club/LA which were both places I could hang out all. day. long. What was so great about them? The staff, the equipment, the locker rooms (one word: plush), the spa, and even the classes since they were usually cutting edge, led by phenomenal instructors and limited in size. And both gyms also had fantastic cafes so I'd literally go in the morning, workout, take a snack or lunch break, get a massage, do some yoga and thus wind up spending nearly all day at the gym. I miss that! So now I'm currently searching for the Colorado equivalent to my NYC fitness havens. I'm thinking a petition for Equinox to open a location in Denver is totally in order, don't you think?

In the meantime, I am getting my sweat on at home. I've got all the same goals most of us do and big plans to follow when I meet them, so I'm one motivated girl. Bonus: I'm nicer when I get a good workout in. I don't have a trainer to come to my home but I just started Ballet Beautiful, which funny enough has an option to do private workouts with a trainer via Skype. But for now I'm just working with the DVDs and streaming videos and let me tell you, Ballet Beautiful only looks easy. Seriously, if you were to watch any of the routines, you'd think you weren't in for much of a challenge but then about one minute into the workout it becomes clear that you were very, very wrong. Be warned that Mary Helen (trainer and creator of the system) likes to do 32 reps of each exercise so if you're not a fan of high-rep workouts, this one isn't for you. Since I just started this a week before having to take a 2.5 week long break (due to the trip), I'll have to update you on results after I get back and into the routine again. But I'll take this chance to declare every Friday #fitnessfriday on Jet Set Heart where I'll give an update on my week's fitness adventures and any new fitness fashion and gadget favorites. That last part is a must because cute fitness fashion is honestly half the battle for me to enjoy my workouts in the first place. You too? We have so much in common ;) Take a look at my current wish list and be sure to let me know what's on yours!


countdown to takeoff

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In 7 days I'll be leaving on a jet plane, headed for England, Spain and Iceland. I'm pretty freaking excited and yes, that is a bit of an understatement right about now. After all, it's been SEVEN YEARS since I've been to Europe. Wait, seven years? Wtf? It used to be that I HAD to go at least every two years, just to keep my sanity. But somehow, moving to Colorado changed that and I haven't cared as much about escaping to foreign lands. Well while it's lovely that I adore where I live - I miss my wanderlust. It's who I am! My guess is that this trip will be all I need to fire that back up again.

With only a week left, I've got a lot to do to get ready. Did you know that I am a master procrastinator? It's true, I am a master procrastinator. I always wait until the very last minute to do just about anything. But I'm trying to be better in my prep with this trip because packing the night before and frantic last moment shopping is stressful. That said, I'm supposed to be out beach-outfit shopping right now and am blogging instead, so...old habits die hard. But I have accomplished one big trip-prep thing in buying a new laptop. I sold my heavy 15" Macbook Pro and brought home a new travel-friendly 13" model instead. It's super cute and way faster than my old one. 

So I should probably make a to-do list or something, huh? That sounds like a very get-stuff-done type of thing to do, very anti-procrastination. I'll do that right after breakfast.

I have to rock a bathing suit and I'm worried about my hair?!?!

AmandaComment

My euro trip is fast approaching. Yes, I'm stoked but I'm also...panicking, just a bit. There's still a crap ton of stuff to do - some outfit shopping, sorting out the luggage sitch, packing, etc. And I'm trying to figure out what the plan is for my hair. Yes, I said that. I have naturally curly hair that I go through love/hate phases with and lately it's been on the hate side of that cycle which means I've been rocking the straight look for months now. But seeing as how I'll be on a beach for about 10 days straight, and since I'll likely be going straight from the beach to the tapas bars most days, I need to be ready to deal with my curls. Usually on vacation I'm super laid back and don't care if my hair looks crazy but that will get tired very fast over the course of 10 days, so a plan here is vital. But I'm thinking I'll be ok if I have a few braided styles up my sleeve, so I'm spending my last week at home trying out a few options. A pic or two from my experiments will be up on my Instagram this week so tune in for potential hilarity.

Braids all over:

I love this kind of look, especially with the added interest of having two types of braids. The tutorial is courtesy of The Beauty Department, which I mentioned in a recent post as a regular source of inspiration. Find the full tutorial here.

This next one was done by the phenomenally talented Ashley at Matthew Morris Salon. How fab would this be for both on and off the beach?  

Pic from the Matthew Morris Salon & Skincare facebook page.

Pic from the Matthew Morris Salon & Skincare facebook page.

Cornrows:

Thank you Elizabeth Ruedas for breaking it down for me. I'm planning on something similar to the one she puts together, except with just 2-3 slightly bigger braids at one side in the front but then my curls can go crazy everywhere else. I could also throw the rest of my hair into a loose french braid or a few knots...think the Kristen Stewart / Chanel campaign look (btw I hated that campaign but the hair was fantastic).

Kristen Stewart / Chanel

Kristen Stewart / Chanel