Our New Home, the Western Slope!

It has been a while since my last post.  I have no excuses.  But I will admit, I am addicted to Instagram.  That is where I have been keeping up with lovelivingincolorado social media.  Since my last post, we moved from Denver (where we lived for 5 1/2 years), which is also known as the Front Range to Grand Junction, which is known as the Western Slope.  We have always enjoyed visiting the Western Slope.  When the opportunity popped up for us to relocate to the Western Slope we jumped on the chance to relocate.  Some may read this and think, “why would you ever leave Denver?”  I had a hard time at first, thinking about moving away from the city, but then I remembered all of the reasons I truly love the Western Slope.  Below are some reasons, if you have any you think I should add, please let me know!

  1.  Affordability.  We were finally able to buy our first house.  While we loved living in a little over 800 square feet for 5 1/2 years in Denver, having a home with over 1600 square feet, more than one bathroom, a 2 car garage, a backyard for our pup, as well as absolutely NO shared walls, well, we feel spoiled!  Did I mention no more shoveling out our cars????
  2. We are about 20 minutes from wine country.  Yes, that is correct.  Colorado wine country, also known as Palisade, Colorado is a little piece of Heaven!  Visiting the wineries via bike, a must!
  3. The Colorado National Monument is literally minutes from our house and the views never tire.
  4. Many, many trails to hike.
  5. Close proximity to skiing at Powderhorn as well access to the Grand Mesa (largest flat top mountain in the world).  No more fighting the crowds on I-70 trying to get, well anywhere to ski.  We are on the other side of Vail Pass and we don’t have to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel.
  6. We are about an hour and 45 minutes from Moab, Utah, which is home to not one but two National Parks.
  7. Telluride is about 2 1/2 hours away, Aspen 2 hours and 13 minutes, Crested Butte 3 hours, Durango 3 1/2 hours, and Glenwood Springs now only takes us 1 hour and 21 minutes.
  8. Have you heard of Palisade peaches?  Yum!
  9. Love the outdoors?  The western part of the state is for you!
  10. The landscape, Mount Garfield and the Bookcliffs are absolutely stunning!

Colorado is wonderful for many reasons.  As much as I miss Denver, it is exciting to experience another part of this wonderful state!  If you need any Western Slope recommendations, please leave a comment below.  The West Slope is the Best Slope!  Thanks for reading!

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Aaron Woo featured Chef at Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management

It is spring!  That means there are new cuisines to enjoy at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.  In previous posts I have raved about the School of Hospitality Management. Before I begin this post, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management…it is a Denver must!!!!!    On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 the school will be welcoming chef Aaron Woo, Sunset Magazine’s Best Chef of the West, and Chef and Owner of Natural Selection in Portland, Oregon.  This dinner appeals to me in many ways.  First, we lived in Portland, Oregon (http://ouryearinportland.wordpress.com/)for a year and I loved it.  Next, the cuisine will be vegetarian.  If I have a choice, I prefer not to eat meat.  So I am very excited about this vegetarian cuisine.  Last, the School of Hospitality Management is phenomenal.  I sing their praises as often and as much as I can.  If I could dine at the School nightly, I would.

Aaron Woo is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy who has worked in such notable San Francisco kitchens as Absinthe Brasserie, La Folie, Stars, and as sous chef of PlumpJack Cafe under Chef Keith Luce. In Telluride, Colorado Aaron worked as Executive Chef at 9545 and Chef de Cuisine at The CosmopolitanRestaurant. Upon moving to Portland he worked with Morgan Brownlow and Jason French at ClarkLewis.

The dinner will include a wine pairing and is $70.00 per person.  Cocktails start at 6:00 pm and dinner is at 7:00 pm.  The dinner will be held at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management Joy Burns Center, 2044 East Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80210.  To RSVP for this amazing night please check out the website:  http://knoebelschool.ticketleap.com/aaron-woo-guest-chef-dinner/

Please check out my other posts about University of Denver’s School of Hospitality Management: 

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/tour-ditalia-dinner-at-du-with-gina-stipo/

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fritz-knoebel-school-of-hospitality-management-and-gina-stipo/

https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/university-of-denver/

We have been very honored to attend these FANTASTIC events at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management:  Beer Pairing Dinner, the Guest Chef Dinner with Gina Stipo, and the Spring Showcase (picture featured below is from the Spring Showcase).IMG_20130326_221214Of course, I can’t close this post without giving my favorite peeps at the School a shout out!!!  Chef Raymond and all of the exquisite students you are the best….talented, professional, and extraordinary!!!!  ????????????????????????????????????

Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons, Colorado

I was traveling through wonderful, colorful Colorado when I came across this sign:IMG_20130124_183332Naturally, I had to stop and take a picture.  However, I didn’t stop inside because I was on the clock!  So, I showed my husband the picture and told him that we had to stop by this place.  The place is Spirit Hound Distillers and it is located in Lyons, Colorado.IMG_20130124_183846It is fairly new but has lots of spirit!!!!  All kidding aside we got to sample Gin, infused Vodka, and Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liquor.  I don’t drink Gin too often but I have to say this Gin was very smooth and flavorful.  The Gin is made with fresh Juniper berries (see picture below) from around the area.  The Gin also has a wonderful lemon lime undertone.IMG_20130124_184416My second favorite sample was the Pepper Infused Vodka.  Nice and spicy.  We ended up ordering a specialty drink.  I ordered the Hot Ricky (Spirit Hound Vodka, Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur, hot chocolate, and whipped cream–see picture below).  IMG_20130124_184339(1)My husband ordered a Hot n Dirty (Spirit Hound Chili Pepper Infused Vodka with Dirty Dog Mix).  We went on a snowy day and had a great time seeing Lyons, Colorado.  The folks at Spirit Hound Distillers were extremely kind and very eager to share samples of their wonderful spirits.  If you are out and about stop by Spirit Hound Distillers.  **I recommend trying a sample of their Gin first.  I didn’t know Gin could taste so smooth!**IMG_20130124_184256Please check out Spirit Hound Distillers:  4196 Ute Highway, Lyons, Colorado 80540, 303-823-5696

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

We finally went to our first winery in Colorado.  We were on our way to Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in Canon City, Colorado when we were pleasantly sidetracked by The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  I am glad we stopped at the winery.  To be honest, I had a little too much coffee and I needed something to take the edge off of my caffeine high.  We decided to try the complimentary wines.  We also tried the reserve wines for a $1.00 per tasting.  The grounds are beautiful.  We were able to walk our dog around the property before we went inside to taste some delicious wines.   I am by no means a wine connoisseur.  I usually play it safe by drinking Pinot Noir.  I enjoyed tasting the wines at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  Honestly, I like tasting wine pretty much anywhere.  Sadly, we didn’t buy any wine.  Instead I bought some early Christmas gifts at the gift shop.

We tried the white wines and the red wines.  My husband tried the sweet wines at the end of our tasting.

If you are going to Canon City, Colorado soon I recommend a stop at The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey.  Pack a lunch, bring your dog, and enjoy the wines as well as a picnic on their beautiful property.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is located at 3011 E. Highway 50, Canon City, Colorado 81212 (719) 276-5191.

Colorado VisionWalk

This post is dedicated to my friend Ellie who has been living with Retinitis Pigmentosa since she was 5 years old.  On October 13, 2012 at City Park in Denver, Colorado the Colorado VisionWalk will take place.  I am not asking for you to donate.  I am just making people aware.  I actually didn’t know about Retinitis Pigmentosa until I met Ellie.  This is a little bit of Ellie’s story from her Colorado VisionWalk page:

As many of you know, I have been living every day since I was 5 years old with a blinding eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Because of this disease, my worst enemies in life seem to be bright yellow caution wet signs and large orange construction cones! It doesn’t matter how big or bright they are or the fact that they are in the direct location of where I am walking, it is inevitable that my fabulous eyeballs won’t see them and I trip over them every time. Then smoothly look around to make sure no one saw me! (hehe!)

VisionWalk is a signature fundraising event of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Over 10 Million Americans are affected by blinding retinal diseases including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome. The Foundation Fighting Blindness is working to find treatments and cures for these devastating diseases. By funding leading edge research in area such as genetics, gene therapy, transplantation, artificial retinal implants and pharmaceutical and nutritional therapies. The Foundation Fighting Blindness is making a difference today to make the world a brighter place for those suffering with retinal degenerative diseases.

To find out more about participating in the Colorado VisionWalk please visit:  http://www.fightblindness.org/site/TR/VISIONWALK/VisionWalktr?fr_id=4714&pg=entry&AddInterest=1561

Networking Your Blog

I know that “networking your blog” must seem like a  random post in the midst of a blog about love living in Colorado but, I think it is important.  I have been blogging about wonderful Colorado since February 28, 2012.  To be honest, I had never blogged before.  My mission for the lovelivingincolorado blog is still the same.  I want to share all of the wonderful things to see, do, and eat in Denver and all around the state of Colorado.  I want my blog to be positive.  With this being said I have tried to figure out how to get more blog traffic.  To date I have 247 wonderful followers of lovelivingincolorado and as I am typing I have 13, 340 all-time views.  But, how do I get more blog traffic?  This is what I have done so far to increase lovelivingincolorado traffic:

1.  I set up a lovelivingincolorado facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Living-in-Colorado/340789435975068

2.  I am on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lovelivinginco

3.  My dear friend graciously (http://www.etsy.com/shop/GrayciousDesigns) made me calling cards for lovelivingincolorado.4.  I pass out my calling cards while out and about.

5.  I reply to comments left on my blog.

6.  I ask questions on my blog to initiate conversation.

7.  I highlight key words and make sure I have links in my posts.

8.  After I have blogged about a business or restaurant I contact them immediately to let them know I posted about their establishment on lovelivingincolorado.  For example, my post about d bar Desserts in Denverhttps://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/desserts-again/ was my busiest post generating 372 views in one day.  I was so excited.  d bar Desserts featured me on their facebook page after I contacted them about my blog.9.  I try to blog Monday-Friday.  I read that posting often is a good way to generate blog traffic.  This has been a little bit difficult this month because we have had a full house with family and friends but I am going to get back into the swing of things.

10.  Finally, I try to like and comment on other blogs.  This is a little tricky.  I want to like and follow blogs that interest me and entice me to comment.  I don’t want to just like to like or follow to get followed (does that make sense?).

In my inbox this morning I found this great post by Bucket List Publicationshttp://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-importance-of-social-media/ .  It is a wonderful post that will keep you motivated to generate more blog traffic.

I would love to hear your recommendations on how to generate more blog traffic.  Please let me know what you do to entice readers.  I appreciate any and all feedback.  Have a great Wednesday!