Denver Date Night: Moontower Tacos

So the other day Juli from PaleOMG name dropped Moontower Tacos on her blog and/or Instagram, and I knew I had to try it.

taco colorado .jpgThe taco Colorado sign was super cute. Yes, Colorado people are weird. And strangely obsessed with the flag and being “natives.” I’ve never seen a Minnesota flag in a restaurant back home, but this is certainly not the first I’ve seen in a Colorado restaurant.

taco salad moontower tacos paleo.jpgWe ordered a ton of food. Carnitas salad, carnitas taco, Buff taco, Colonel taco, and chips & guac. The salad was pretty amazing and actually pretty huge – romaine and spinach! You can take any taco off the menu and turn it into a salad. I like that it’s right on there, and I don’t have to feel like I’m asking for some special exceptions.

tacos moontower tacos.jpgThe tacos!!!! Kevin ate most of these, but I had a few bites too. The tortillas were triple layered because the tacos were super full and… juicy? Haha. So delicious. We had the corn tortillas, and they were great.

guacamole chips moontower.jpgI love you chips & guacamole!!!!! So I totally splurged, but if you wanted to eat fairly strict paleo here, it would be pretty easy! So that’s exciting to me. It also seems that their food is from really good quality sources, like local Red Bird chicken, etc. We’ll be back soon to try ALL THE BREAKFAST TACOS!!!

I think this is my new official favorite taco place! And they have a food truck too so that’s exciting.

My other two favorite taco places are probably Comida which has really unique (but tiny) tacos, but probably not such a good salad choice. And we used to really love Marg’s, but that place can be super loud and is probably better for people who enjoy drinking. I still like them both, but we have a new winner.

Oh!! We also spotted some people (dancers?!?!?!?!) from the Colorado Ballet on the patio. They had Colorado Ballet folders!! That’s a good sign, right? I’m always on the lookout for the dancers, and the other day I met someone who sings for the Colorado Opera! Too bad I missed going to Carmen, I could’ve told him that I just saw him.

kiss spot denver.jpg

Afterwards we walked around the hood a little bit (I’m wearing my wedding shoes – haha!), and ran into a couple of places on the sidewalk like “dance spot” and this “kiss spot.” Okay, then. You don’t have to tell use twice!

Have a great weekend! I’m off to send a million business emails,  go to CrossFit, and then a Rockies games tonight!!! Hoping it doesn’t rain.

 

My Paleo McMuffin

Hi!!! The bad news is that I woke up around 3:30-4AM this morning and couldn’t sleep. This happens to me once in a great while. I tried to fall asleep for over an hour before giving up and getting out of bed. The good news was that I had time to make Kevin breakfast in bed. On a Wednesday! That’s ridiculous.

And I made homemade paleo English muffins! I’ve seen the recipe floating around forever, but, and I mean this in a loving way, I didn’t like the food styling and the yellow background behind the recipe. So I didn’t try it. Kinda pathetic excuse especially if you’ve seen my ugly iPhone pics. :)

homemade paleo english muffin sweetener freeI don’t really do stevia since Real Food Liz told me not to, and I didn’t need honey since I was making them for bacon & egg sandwiches. I used Kerrygold (grassfed butter) for my oil. Looking back, I just realized I forgot to use any milk at all. Hahaha. So this is not a fussy recipe, obviously. I probably used enough butter to make up for it, but I’ll try it with milk next time. I also didn’t mix the apple cider vinegar/baking soda together separately. Because I cook with one bowl. Also, I didn’t read that direction until afterwards. :)

bacon egg mcmuffin paleo.jpgThe biggest miracle is that you can pick it up with your hands and eat it!! That’s impressive for a paleo sandwich. I have bacon, egg, and sharp cheddar on there. I’ve been eating dairy here and there since doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox. It’s delicious, but optional.

Some other good paleo stuff I’ve made lately:

paleomg biscuitsKevin still hasn’t put our camping plate away. Haha. Yes, singular, we only have one. I guess this post is about all the paleo bread, but this is from last weekend when I made these biscuits from PaleOMG. They turned out really well, but they called for 3 types of flour. Yeah, that’s definitely a recipe for weekends only!

Love this stuff:

trader joe's cruciferous crunch paleo

I kind of think TRADER JOE’S IS OVERRATED. Sorry. It’s mostly a lot of packaged stuff and a lot of junk food. I mean that in a loving way because the dark chocolate pb cups are soooooooo good. But I think the fact that I went there for cookies for my students’ recital is telling. :)  Anyways, now that I’m done being mean. I love the cruciferous crunch, and they seemed to have some decent meat. Kevin gets very upset with their bacon selection, however.

do not drink juice

Do you need to drink orange juice? EVER? NO!!!! Lol. Sorry. I have a long and random history of fiercely hating on juice.

Here’s one way I ate it at home:

cruciferous crunch paleo italian sausageHot Italian sausage, cruciferous crunch, Italian Tessemae’s, and parmesan. The cheese again!! Whatever.

What’s more overrated Trader Joe’s or eating breakfast in bed? I think breakfast in bed is where it’s at!!! Although I tend to spill coffee. And Lucky Charms. And I’m kind of kidding about TJ’s. I just thought it was funny how excited people were about it opening in Denver. And I always want to get candy there… I’m just more of a Sprouts girl at heart.

P.S. I forgot to take a pic but I made Sunday dinner for some friends including this Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad. Perfect summer picnic food!! It was delicious!!!

 

 

 

 

Recital Time, Round Two! + A Few Thoughts on Recitals for Piano Teachers

The end of my piano year has been so crazy, but good. I have this week and next of “regular” lessons and then a break until the Summer Session begins in July. Even then, I’ll only be teaching for 6 weeks/3 days per week. So my life isn’t too rough.

recital programs cute

I ended up having 16 of my students perform on Friday evening, and they all did a beautiful job. I know some of them were really cramming at the last minute, but nobody had to know that except for their teacher. I am so proud of them. I love my job.

balloons in the backseat

As much as I tried to keep it simple, we were still up until 1AM the night before crafting, and the back seat was full of balloons. Just in case you’re wondering, 20 balloons will fit in the backseat of the car, no problem!! :)

kevin craftingThanks, Kevin. You’re amazing. Thank you also to Kristy for calling me out on Instagram when I posted a pic of my programs. yes, Kevin’s been crafting again. :)

poor kevinJust for fun, here is last year at this time. To be fair, I helped a lot more this year than I did last year. Mostly because I wasn’t working another full-time job. Last year, Kevin took the whole afternoon off work and set everything up for me while I was teaching! Yeah, he’s the best.

recital refreshments piano

This year for the recital refreshments, I bought everything from Trader Joe’s!! It was awesome. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I should bake everything, but I’m quite certain that would have been disastrous. I also let some students bring cookies because I’m that nice. :) Of course, we recycled the drink dispensers from our wedding once again. They were a great investment!

recital venue piano

This year’s venue was a little bit ugly (music store showroom area), but I was thankful that it was FREE and that my students had an opportunity to play a nice grand piano. For many of them it was their first time. This pic was snapped while we were still setting up, but those seats were almost full. We had a great and extremely supportive audience. Go parents!!!

piano recital teacher corrie

Here are my thoughts and ideas on piano recitals for the benefit of other new teachers:

  • Keep them short. Nobody wants to sit there for longer than 60 minutes and watch other peoples’ kids. I think 20 students would be my max that I would allow in one recital, and that’s only because my students are extraordinarily adorable.
  • Keep them fun. A few balloons really go a long way in creating a festive environment. I don’t know why I decided I needed to decorate for recitals. None of my teachers ever did, but it’s been a great success!
  • Let the students use their music if it makes them more comfortable. Walk up on the stage with them and make sure their hands are in the right position (younger kids) if they need it. I do not care. I want it to be a positive performing experience for them. I even let several students start their pieces over, and that was totally fine. Most of my students are likely not going to Juilliard (though some of them may if they set their minds to it!), but I want them all to be lifelong lovers and performers of music!
  • Make it memorable. Take lots of pictures and video. Send them to the parents. This helps them remember that piano lessons are both awesome and indispensable! It’s better to advertise to the students you already have, right? I had Kevin take a pic of each student as they performed, and I’m thinking of making these postcards to send out at the beginning of summer break. I know my kids would be thrilled to receive a pic of themselves in the mail. They’re cute like that.

P.S. Wearing flats is overrated. For the second year in a row, I wore a pair of brand new heels. I haven’t fallen. Yet.

The crazy news is that since the recital I’ve already had two new inquiries. One of my piano parents must have posted something on Facebook or went home and called all of her friends!! I already have six students on a waiting list for summer lessons, so I have my work cut out for me deciding if I will be able to accept them all and scheduling them!! While I’m really flattered that they would do that, I want to keep the studio at a manageable number (for me) so that I can keep trying new things and growing as a teacher. Also, I want to be able to sleep in and go to CrossFit when I want. Sad but true.

Have you ever participated in a recital as a teacher or a student? What was your experience? What could have made it better? Do you have to do any other event planning for your job?  I’m sure it would’ve been better if your programs had ribbons on them! Haha.

Related: My First PIano Recital (as the teacher)

 

 

Belle @ The Esquire

So we went to a movie! We totally weren’t planning on it, but the weather looked rotten (again!!!) for going to the Rockies game on Friday. I was looking up movies for some reason… there is NEVER anything I want to see. And then Kevin suggested I look at the hipster/indie theaters, and said,”Maybe we’ll see your people there.” Whatever that means.

And then I saw Belle was playing!

belle movie

I had seen previews for Belle on a blog or something somewhere and had looked for it in the mainstream theaters in Denver, but I didn’t think of checking some of the other theaters like the Esquire.

So we scrambled, grabbed a quick salad, and made it to the 7:15 showing! Oh, and I might have strongly encouraged Kevin to change out of his preppy work polo.

So cute:

esquire theater denverIt’s tiny! And adorable!!!

And they had good chocolate bars!!!!!! So happy since I didn’t have time to plan ahead any snacks. They had coffee too (I think it was Dazbog!!!) which I would definitely go for next time, but I shared Diet Coke with Kevin this time around.

dark chocolate esquire theaterBELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

I loved it. And I’m not going to lie, I loved that it was totally super PG. I hate it when they put random weird/gross/violent stuff in movies I would have otherwise loved. And there was at least one actor from Downton Abbey.

Sooooooo…. you should see it. I had a fun & busy weekend, but that’s all I feel like sharing at the moment. Have you seen anything good lately? Where’s your favorite place to see movies?

 

 

 

My Marvelous Mom!

Okay, so I’m officially the worst sibling of the day since I was the last of six to call or talk to you today (in my defense the phone line was busy half the afternoon), but…

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom!!

mom

My mom isn’t the one who taught me to love pointy pumps, Lululemon, and Anthropologie.

mom and matching daughterBut she did teach me that MATCHING RULES!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to her (and Dad, of course) I don’t have a favorite 80’s band, and I never watched cartoons.

wordperfect corrie anne

But I did spend hours writing the next great American novel on WordPerfect. Even if 95% of that time was spent composing lists of possible names for each character (see the printed list in front of me).

corrie mom

My mom taught me to love God, work hard, serve others, and that I can be whatever I want to be when I grow up. She supported me without being pushy throughout all of my years studying piano in high school, and my parents never once suggested that I major in something “more practical” in college. After all, what could be more practical than music? :) She encouraged me when I made decision to move to the Dominican Republic, and her phone calls and emails helped me make it through grad school and that difficult first year of teaching! And she even welcomed the handsome husband I found on the internetz with open arms.

Now if only I could beat your half marathon rowing time…

sick

I’m just hoping for sub-2 hours, but then my mom had to go and do this last week! Sick. :)

Love you, Mom!!!

P.S. My mom doesn’t love camping either. Smart woman. Recap to come… Spoiler: it was cute, but the weather was rotten!!!!!!

 

 

Packing for Our Camping Trip: My Three Important Contributions

1. I made 4 great playlists! One for the drive, one for general camping cuteness, one for morning, and one for nighttime!! I tried to include a lot of songs I used to have burned on cd’s with friends for our trips back to Minnesota during college. Dubble A had some pretty sweet mixes although I spared Kevin from all the Destiny’s Child. Dilemma is strangely one of my favorite songs, and I’m pretty sure it was my first (customized) cell phone ringtone ever.

spotify play list

I bet you’re happy now that you don’t have to be in the car with us tomorrow. :)

2. I pulled out and ironed some of our wedding bunting for decorating the campsite. Yes, that’s a thing. I have pictures from the internet to prove it. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been able to reuse that bunting during the last few years. :) I was actually thinking about sewing some new bunting, but I ran out of time. I’m trying to think of a way to reuse some of it in a quilt or something. But that’s a project for a day in the future when I have someone helping me.

bunting

Joanie, this pic is payback for the terrible old pics you’ve been posting on my Facebook when it’s not even TBT!! :) Who’s that man you are dancing with?!!!! Also, look how tiny my sister, Hannah is at top right!! Crazy!!! 

3. Shopping for plaid shirts, obviously.

plaids

 

Bonus: selected some books to load on to my Kindle for reading after dark. I rarely use my Kindle even when traveling, but I figured camping is the ideal time!

I was actually helpful too. I’m mostly joking, but I am a little nervous. My friends are all super shocked that I’m actually going through with it and actually going camping. And the weather is a little iffy, especially for Sunday. So anyways, my campground has wi-fi. Haha. And the dogs are going to have the time of their lives. I even bought them special treats because I know they will be extra hungry from all the running around.

What’s your favorite road trip or camping song? Have a great weekend!!!!!

 

Going Camping?!

We’ve been living in colorful Colorado for almost 3 years, and we’ve never once gone camping!

Yeah, I’m still not outdoorsy. I’m actually an indoorswoman! People tend to be appalled when they discover this about me, but we didn’t really move here for the mountains or the skiing.  I lived in the Dominican Republic for 3 years and went to the beach less than 10 times so this preference isn’t even really swayed by great weather. It’s not that I don’t appreciate nature, but I generally like to experience it differently. Like by reading about it in books. :) Okay, I’m exaggerating. The truth is that I have come around a little bit in the last few years now that it’s come to my attention that I like to exercise and that the outdoors can present some fun physical challenges. That and Pippa demands daily outdoor exercise so I made that commitment when I brought her home. :)

practice camping

We actually went “practice camping” once last year which went tolerably well (it rained).

So why would we even do this? Well, Kevin James is a pro camper, canoeist, and general outdoorsman. Once when we were dating, he took a trip to the boundary waters in Minnesota and wasn’t accessible by phone for days. That seemed crazy to me, but apparently he’s done it many times over the years. Yes, I know that was normal before like 2005.

Anyways, Kevin is such a giver and cheerfully goes with me to the ballet, the symphony, bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops galore. I figure it’s about time we did something a little more in his element.

Plus we’re taking THE DOGS!!! Boyd is going to be such a hot mess and is likely to interfere our hiking plans. He can generally only make it around the block before he’s huffing & puffing. The good thing about having Boyd with us is that he breathes so loudly!! He’s sure to scare away any wildlife. :)

Also, I chose a campground based on Yelp reviews complaining that it wasn’t a real camping experience in nature. Haha. I saw that as a good sign. I’m willing to give camping a try, but not in one of those places where bears are lurking around. No thanks.

Full disclosure: we were supposed to stay in vrbo house like we usually do, but all the places I wanted were booked up for the weekend. So I gave in:

plaid shirts

 

He knows me so well. :)

fanny pack!!!!!! pinkJust trying on some gear at Dick’s Sporting Goods over the weekend. I thought it would be a good idea to go to the mall this weekend since that’s basically the opposite of camping. I actually didn’t end up buying a thing… I love online shopping, but I kinda miss the whole thing of going to the mall with my friends (or even Target). I know it’s cool for girls to say they don’t like shopping, but guess what, I still love it! :) 

Anyways, what are your thoughts on camping and making it fun? My top two complaints about camping are that it’s a) cold and b) smelly (I hate campfire smell). I did camp occasionally as a child, and I enjoyed it then. I think mostly for the junk food. Although there was one particular campground that was right next door to a library. Not joking even a little. :)