Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Painting

We finished painting the outside of the south and west sides of the house today. It feels good to have one more thing off our "to do" list, but there is certainly enough on the list to keep us busy for a while! It's hard to believe that these sides of the house were brick less than a year ago. Our house has had a complete facelift, and it's looking good these days...

Like last year, we have grapes again this year! Red and white... they are super sweet because we've had a few frosts recently, causing the sugar content to be higher. When you walk out our backdoor it smells like grape juice, YUM!

Weekend Date Nights

Chris and I had a weekend of date nights, and it got us to thinking about how much we're enjoying married life together, with very few obligations, like a dog or a child. In the last 5 months, 5 couples in our lives had babies, and several others are pregnant. Seeing all these cute little babies born makes us excited to think about bringing a little one into this world and it has been so neat to see our friends become parents. It's so natural, and so awesome to watch new dads scoop the babies up in their arms so naturally, and wives to instantly jump into the role of a mom. We are very excited to be parents and to make the exciting shift from being a couple to being a family. But, date nights like last night remind us of how much we're really enjoying our time together being "just us" and how right it feels to be "just us" right now, spending time continuing to learn more about one another and continuing to fall in love.

Friday night we caught some live jazz at Tony's Market - which is a great little market between our work and home. On Friday nights they have live jazz, so we bought some salami, artichoke dip, crackers and a bottle of wine, and enjoyed some jazz. Chris LOVES live jazz, and lately we've been looking up places to take it in. The last two weekends we've been to Dazzle, which is known in Denver to be one of the best spots to see live jazz. We really enjoyed our time at Tony's and even FaceTime'd with Mollie and Mom a little while we were there :)

After Tony's we did dinner, then rented The King's Speech from RedBox. This movie was incredible, and we really recommend it. The cinematography was very artistic and the acting was phenomenal. After the movie we Googled the history of the true story, and it seems the producer was very accurate in reproducing the true story of King George the 6th. I think we'll probably rent it another time or two, or buy the DVD. It was excellent!!

On to Saturday... Every Tuesday at 10 am, the Denver Center for Performing Arts sells 10 individual tickets to a specific show, for $10 each. I snagged two tickets last week to the show "Blind Date" that is currently in Denver, visiting from Toronto. We used the tickets for a matinee showing Saturday night, and had a great time! The play was the story of a "blind date" between the actress and a man she plucked from the audience. She literally picked a guy from the audience and he was part of the entire show, he was such a trooper to play along! It was hilarious and we laughed through the entire show!

All of the theaters in Denver are located in the Performing Arts Complex, that has a glass ceiling enclosure connecting all the separate theaters, and the architecture is incredible. We've driven past the area so many times since it's located downtown, but have never been to a show, so this was a real treat!

After the show we went to Gaetano's for dinner. We've been eyeing this Denver landmark for quite some time, and were excited to finally experience the italian cuisine that is Gaetano's. Story has it that back in the day, this was the hot spot for Mafia action in Denver, and while diners enjoyed home-cooked italian in the main dining room, "family business" was conducted in the basement. Also, the front door is bulletproof, just another great detail of the restaurant's history! Click here to read more.

After dinner we picked up some Bonnie Brae ice cream to go, and enjoyed it with a RedBox flick at home. It was a great night together, and I'm sure once we do have little ones in our life, we'll look back on nights like this and appreciate the all the wonderful date nights we were able to enjoy together!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Annual Chili Cookoff

We participated in our friends' First Annual Chili Cookoff and had a great time. Unfortunately, our Pesto Chicken Chili did not win, and in fact was ranked very poorly because it contained rice! We were penalized for our creativity, haha! We're going to have to be more traditional with our recipe next year! We had a great time and we're looking forward to making it an annual event.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Season to be Thankful

Summer is officially gone, and with the snow flurries we had yesterday, I'm beginning to wonder if we skipped fall all together, and per usual, the Denver Gilstraps are keeping busy.

A few highlights from the last two weeks, many reasons to be thankful these days.

Chris started a new job and he's really enjoying it. The 3 years and 3 months of public accounting was a great experience and he feels he learned a lot, but it was time for a new chapter and a new challenge in his career. His new office is only a few blocks from his last office, we we are still able to ride together, which is a blessing. Our monthly health insurance premium has been cut in half and our health benefits are actually better, which is another huge blessing. He has already enjoyed two happy hours with coworkers and is learning a lot in his new role. God had this position set out for him, and asked for our patience for the time to be right, and we are very thankful for all the ways the Lord has shown himself over these two weeks in Chris' new position.

Our granite was installed last week and we are really enjoying new (exponentially greater/more) counter space. We cooked dinner twice last week and were able to prep and cook together. We were reminded again how thankful we are to have parents that gave up time and energy to renovate our kitchen. We are so fortunate for mom and dad Duvall's generosity and selflessness in putting in the hours to redo our kitchen. What a blessing.

This weekend we had lots of downtime to relax, and enjoy life together. We spent Saturday on the couch, which was much needed respite and time away from the busy bustle of our normal weekday lives. We are thankful for a quiet weekend together, for a home of our own to rest and relax in, for a new kitchen to cook crockpot chili, for comfy garage sale couches, and for weekends that we don't have to work or worry about greater responsibilities. What a great weekend, how thankful we are for our simple little life together.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two Weeks in Photos

Great American Beer Festival - lots of great micro breweries, and our favorites were the brewers from Missouri! This event draws thousands of people from all over the world to Denver every year - we decided we needed to see what it was all about, and experience it just once!

Volunteering at Race for the Cure - the official philanthropy for my sorority is Susan G. Koman which is an organization that promotes breast cancer awareness, education and research. The largest fundraiser every year is the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. While in college, and now as an alumnae, I volunteer with other Zeta Tau Alpha collegiates and alumna at the race each year. Chris has volunteered with me the last two years as well and the race is always very inspiring and filled with hope. I always look forward to this experience each year.

Snow in Denver - We had our first snow flurries on October 8th. We skipped from 80 degree summer days to 30 degrees and snowing!

Rock and Roll Marathon - The Denver Rock and Roll Marathon passed through our neighborhood this year so we went out to watch. A church down the street hosted breakfast as well so we ate pancakes and watched the runners. The church was handing out grapes to the runners too. It was a neat experience, neither of us have ever seen a marathon before and were blown away by the runners' stamina. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kitch Update

The only "to-dos" remaining on the kitchen is the backsplash and cabinet hardware. We've looked at tile options but nothing has really caught our eye, so we are still looking. As for handles and pulls, we haven't reached a decision on those either. Lots of options to pick from! 
One decision we did make though was on a piece of art for the blank wall near the bench and kitchen table. We found this neat piece of art at American Furniture Warehouse (on sale of course!) and it is an illustration drawing of all the Denver neighborhoods. Very special to us since we've come to really appreciate the neighborhood we live in, and the others we have come to love. Each has its own personality with old homes, local restaurants and shops, and of course, every neighborhood has a park.

The granite really looks nice with the cabinets!

Look at this find! A vintage decanter we found at a flea market. I'm hoping to collect lots of fun glass items for my sunset window shelf. Dad designed the window so I would have a ledge to display collectables.