30th Birthday Lessons

Hi Friends,

Oh hi, its me.. I'm Abby and I'm 30??? WHHHAAAA, where has the time gone?!!! I remember crying in 5th grade because I didn't want to go to outdoor camp in 6th grade because after outdoor camp meant middle school, then high school, then college, then marriage, then you're 30!! Welp, 12 year old self, you were right!  I have been struggling all week with this birthday, but I woke up today and am so excited about this next chapter.  I think turning a new year older always brings a little reflection, transitioning into a new decade brings a whole lot of reflection.  Through these past few days I've come up with a list of advice that I would share with my younger self and thought I'd share as a reminder to me and hopefully helpful to you too:

Location: Sweet Cooies Ice Cream // Photography: Jenna Sparks

  • Be Kind

This seems simple and obvious, I know.  I've found when I am having a bad day and the last thing in the world that I want to do is be friendly to anyone other than my dog, doing something nice for another human makes my day instantly better.  Kindness makes people happy - happiness makes you laugh - laughter is the best medicine and keeps you young.... so pretty much being kind is the fountain of youth! 

  • Find Your Passion

They say that if you do something you love you will never work a day in your life.  I am not entirely sure that is correct.  I think once you find something you love you will work your a** off like never before to make sure that it succeeds.  Before starting Denver Darling I worked on The Hill in DC, in the non-profit space as a fundraiser, and also at a PR agency.  Each were great jobs, but never got me excited to wake up early or well into the night like I do now.  

  • Be Active

Do something active every. single. day! Before I found workouts that I loved I would stress about working out.  I would plan a trip to the gym days or a week in advance.  I realize now that was because I never loved the exercise I was doing and was just so dang bored at the gym! I fell in love with CorePower Yoga, it turned into an every day thing for me and now I alternate, yoga, CycleBar, hiking, skiing, running, and walking with Sir Stanley.  

  • Don't Diet (seriously)

Just don't do it! If you know me personally, you know that up until recently I was always on some crazy diet.  I realize now that I missed out on some fun times and delicious meals to a save a few extra cals.  I believe that my metabolism has finally kicked in at 30 because I am eating normally and enjoying what my body is craving.  Eat the damn ice cream cone and enjoy it (and this new spot Sweet Cooies just might be the cutest place to do that!)! #yolo

  • Quality over Quantity

My early 20's self worried about doing as much in one day as humanly possible and spending little time with as many people that didn't mean all that much to me.  Now I spend more time doing the things I love with less people that I care the most about.

  • Roadtrip

Jonny and I have been to some fun places for sure (last year we spent my birthday in Thailand which was a highlight!), but one of my favorite trips to date was a last minute road trip we took to Montana.  We took our time, and stopped for hikes, pictures, interesting biker bars and listened to Hamilton on repeat.  We can't wait to do another this summer!

  • Know your go-to's

Find 2 favorite restaurants that you love that are perfect to recommend to friends for brunch, that you can always drop in and have a great meal and perfect for date night (we love Postino and Linger here in Denver).  Memorize a delicious, but easy recipe that you can whip up for guests or take to a friend's (this dessert is always a hit!). Know your go-to beverage orders... mine are prosecco, an oaky chardonnay (this one is sparkly and gives 15% back to charity!), and Cider!

Enjoy your weekend!! I would love to hear your favorite kernels of wisdom always feel free to email or share in the comments below.

xo

Going Red with Kendra Scott Tonight!

Hi Friends,

I am so excited this morning because today kicks off a long few days of birthday celebrating.  Don't get me wrong, I am normally not a birthday person at all!! However, I think transitioning into a new decade feels a little different and I am going to soak in the last days of my 20's and celebrate the heck out of this weekend with my friends and I just can't wait.

Tonight I am celebrating the start of my birthday weekend with Kendra Scott and the American Heart Association and I can't think of a better place with a more important message to kick off the fun! February is Go Red for Women Month and I recently learned that cardiovascular diseases kill about one woman every 80 seconds and about 80% of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable.  Last year, I touched on some heart issues that my mom had been dealing with and how important, as women, it is to be our own biggest advocate.  The last few months, she has been having trouble again and I have been so proud to watch her advocate for herself to ensure that she gets the care that she needs.  Yesterday, she received a heart monitor to make sure that her heart is working properly and I am thrilled that tonight's event will benefit the American Heart Association.

It is highly likely that I will be wearing this exact outfit tonight (please don't judge).  I don't know about you, but when I find an outfit that I love, I wear the heck out of it!  And I love these pants and can't get enough of them!! I have really been into high waist trousers lately, but they also come in a mid rise version.  The fabric on these is so so soft.  This blouse had me at "hello" ruffles, flowers, and a bow? and a price point under $60, game over!  My Kendra Scott earrings are from their Go Red collection and as I mentioned here 20% of proceeds will be donated to AHA and will be a great way to support if you are not able to make tonight's event.  Hope to see you there!! Please see details below. xoxo

Vail Travel Guide

Hi there, Friends!

As you know, Vail holds a special place in our hearts.  Jonny and I got married here in 2014 and before that, many of my childhood memories were spent just outside of the Village.  I received so many notes requesting recommendations about our favorite places in this lovely mountain town and have been meaning to give you a little tour.  I shared a few of my favorite spots last fall, but winter is often the most popular time so I wanted to be sure and share some of our winter picks as well!

Where to Eat 

  • Up The Creek: Serene view, affordable, local favorite, same day reservations
  • Mountain Standard: New, fun and cozy atmosphere, new-American cuisine, early reservations suggested!
  • Sweet Basil: Romantic, modern, new-American cuisine, early reservations suggested!
  • Matsuhisa: Sushi, creative and modern atmosphere, early reservations suggested!

Wheret to Apres

  • The Red Lion: live music, cozy, good drinks
  • Los Amigos: great view of the mountain, endless chips, great margs
  • Garfinkel's: (Lionshead) best nachos in town, drink specials, and yummy apps

Where to Stay

  • The Sebastian: We love the Sebastian (shared our love for this hotel here and here)
  • The Tivoli: Cozy, doggy friendly, ski in ski out, wonderful breakfast in the morning, and a cozy apres scene with cookies and drinks in the afternoon.
  • The Sonnenalp: Charming, walkable, doggy friendly, great spa, wonderful service!
  • The Four Seasons: So cozy, walkable, doggy friendly, wonderful service!

Where to Shop

  • Blitz Boutique: This whole look is from Blitz, wore more from them here, here and here as well! They have a great location, right by the covered bridge into town and just outside of the parking garage (so it is always hard for me to avoid).
  • Gorsuch: Gorgeous furry things and ski outfit inspo!
  • Odd Molly: The whole store and website is painted pink... need I say more?

xo

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What to pack for a mountain getaway

Hi Friends!

It's no secret that Jonny and I escape to the mountains pretty much every chance that we get!  After our adventures last week, I got quite a few notes that a lot of you guys have some fun mountain getaways coming up.  Instead of writing each of you with the same packing list, I thought I should share what I pack in my ski bag here.  

I always start with a few cozy sweaters that I can curl up with after skiing or wear in town after dinner.  This JOA sweater is one of my favorites, so soft (not itchy) and long enough to wear with leggings.  I always throw in as many leggings as I can because I end up wearing them snowshoeing or under my ski pants (no need for real long johns anymore).  I like these because they hit right at my ankle and don't scrunch up in my ski boot.  I shared my favorite coats here, mine is sold out, but it has been great to have a warm coat that is also appropriate for a nice evening.  This one is gorgeous and under $130.   When we are in the mountains Jonny and I always remind each other to constantly reapply sunscreen because it is so easy to get burned.  I like SPF 50 from Dermalogica.

As for ski attire, since I was a little girl, I have worn Spyder.  My whole family has actually.  Spyder is a Colorado company and their pieces are super warm (I run cold all the time!) which is always important to me.  They have also stepped up their design game and I have been really impressed!  If you are a fur fan like I am this jacket is er, fur you! I have also tried on some adorable TopShop snow apparel, however have not tested it in the snow, but I think this orange jacket is super cute and has great price!  The last thing that I pack (other than mittens,goggles, helmut, skis, hats) are after ski boots and right now I am loving these duck boots which are a serious steal ($29).  Stanley chewed mine #typical so will be purchasing a new pair before we head on our next trip.  These exact boots are girls sizes (I am wearing a girls 4 (womens 6-6 1/2).  They are also available in women's.

Safe snowy travels, I can't wait to hear how they go!

Dressed in Holiday Style with MAX

Hi Guys!

I hope you had a wonderful week! I am so excited for some festive fun this weekend.  I love that there are so many opportunities to wear extra special dresses durning the holidays and that it is perfectly appropriate to wear sparkle, bows, and lace on just about everything.  

Last week I stopped in MAX Boutique in Cherry Creek (additional locations in Boulder and Aspen), which is at the very top of my list for for high end boutiques in Colorado!  Max, the owner is one of the friendliest people around and has amazing style! I can't wait to show you some other fun things I snagged while I was there.  They carry a ton of beautiful Self Portrait dresses which are perfect for the holidays!!  My dress is sold out online, but available at MAX and found some similar options (here, here, and here).

I wore this dress to Jonny's office holiday party earlier this week.  It was really snowing so I ended up wearing tights and these black pumps.  As for my new over the knee boots, as you know I was a little scared to try this trend, and now I can't get enough!  I always felt they would make me look even shorter than I already am, but it turns out they elongate and are incredibly comfortable.  My coat is one of my favorite hand-me-downs from my mom, but I found a similar coat (on major SALE here $159) and also here $449.  I've linked several similar dresses and the rest of my outfit details below!

What fun holiday plans do you have this weekend?!

This post is in collaboration with MAX . As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

Holiday Card Ready

Hi Guys!

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I hope you are having a lovely week.  I put real clothes on for the first time yesterday - and today am back in my p.j.'s .... the doctor said this flu is lasting 10 days - 3 weeks and wow, am I red nosed vision in sweats.  My poor husband.  

Right before Thanksgiving we took pictures for our holiday card(s).  My whole family was in town so before Jonny, Stanley and I took our pictures we were able to take a few with my sisters, and their significant others and my mom as well which we haven't done in a long time.  Growing up we would take holiday photos every year, but actually getting the holiday card itself out was always a big task.

The past three years Jonny and I have used Minted and I am more amazed by the way they ease the process every year! I signed in to create our card and was trying to think of our list from last year and was happily surprised that they had it (and the addresses) saved.  They offer free pre addressing, with the cutest design options.  And you can even order personalized stamps or stamps that match your card (so easy!). We selected this design but were torn because we love this one too.

My dress is from Patterns and Pops $68.  I just love the sweet bows on the back - it is so comfy and would also be great with tights and boots as it gets colder.  Jonny's shirt is on major sale $25!  Stanley's bow tie is from a local doggy boutique (Two Pals and Pup), but in case you aren't in the area, I found a similar one here.  Shop the rest of my look and a few of my favorite red dresses (all under $100!) below.

Have a great day!

Pumpkin Pickin

Happy Wednesday Friends,

I hope you are having a wonderful week...  if you are here in CO, seriously, can you believe this weather?  And if you are not, hope it is just as beautiful where you are!!

Jonny and I spent the better part of this past weekend enjoying the sunshine and our new puppy, Stanley.  He is an absolute riot and super smart... I sound like such a crazy dog lady, but I am convinced he is a puppy angel sent by Charlie Brown (why not, right?).  

It is rare that we have a free day that neither Jonny or I have work, a birthday, wedding, or other beautiful commitment so we decided to take a little daycation to Boulder and stop at the Cottonwood Farms Pumpkin Patch along the way.  We searched all over for a place that would also allow Stanley and it seems this is the only pumpkin patch that is also dog friendly.  Well, we were so glad we stopped here because it was incredibly charming.  Entry is free, wagons provided for your pumpkin picking pleasure, and possibly the highlight for me.... they have a mini horse!! One day I am going to get one and my poor husband is just going to come home to a small zoo in our townhouse.  

Jonny and I were so excited enjoy the beautiful fall day at the pumpkin patch.  And, my flannel that I just snagged from Madewell is super comfy! Definitely cozy, so will be perfect for chillier temperatures later this fall and winter.  I love how versatile this skirt is too - I have also worn it with a white tee and booties and will be great with black tights and boots in cooler temps too!  My boots and purse are both tried and true favorites.  Jonny actually got me both for Christmas two years ago and they have stayed in such wonderful condition!  Shop all outfit details below.

Would love to hear your favorite pumpkin picking spots!  Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

Colorful Colorado

Happy Friday, Friends!

I hope you have had a beautiful week.  It has been ggggg-orgeous here and we have just been eating it up! 

Last weekend Jonny and I headed to Vail to celebrate our anniversary.  We are both Colorado natives, but the beauty of peek leaf season in the mountains still amazes both of us.  We thought that this may have been the prettiest season we have ever seen, but I now realize, it is just that the beauty of seeing the colors transition will never get old and always seems more beautiful than the last.  That being said, there are probably only a few more days so if you are in CO you need to get up there!

We stayed at The Sebastian, which is where our wedding reception was held and going back always brings back such wonderful memories.  We hiked Booth Falls, the trail head is just outside of Vail Village so it is quite popular, but it didn't bother us one bit.  We also strolled through my favorite farmers market which ends this weekend, so if you have been hoping to do some leaf peeping and visit the farmers market this is would be the perfect time.   

I had quite a few questions about our matching fleeces... Jonny and I actually received them as a wedding gift and we both love them! They are so cozy and great for cool fall days and very cozy after skiing (also like this for him and this for her).  My vest is one of my favorite things to wear for hikes, sunny ski days, and after yoga.  Also, I pretty much live in these leggings - I love the high waist, so they don't slip down when I am running or hiking.

Hopefully this weekend is as beautiful as the last! Would love to hear your plans and favorite weekend getaways.

xo

 

 

 

This sweet life

Hi Friends,

Hope you have had a beautiful week!  For me, this week has been so special and nothing less than inspiring.  Tuesday was Jonny and my anniversary so started out on a lovely note.  I have to admit, we didn't have a typical fancy date night and we were both more than ok with that - we went car shopping and hung pictures, but it was a perfect night for us and a great way to start our week.  

Yesterday, I attended the Women's Foundation Luncheon - the Foundation raises money so that every girl and woman in Colorado can achieve her full potential.  I loved sitting amidst 2,300 women supporting other women in Colorado.   The highlight was seeing Misty Copeland share her inspiring story of becoming a principal ballerina.  She was so incredibly humble and poised.  I have never wanted to be a ballerina so badly - haha!  One can dream, right?  

Following the event I sat at a table to enjoy the beautiful weather and work outside and saw a young man sprint and yell after a man in military attire.  I thought he had forgotten his wallet or something, when the young man yelled "Sir" and as the man turned around he stood there and saluted him in the middle of the restaurant with the proudest look on his face, then turned around and walked back to the table with his young friends and continued eating his ice cream.  It was one of the most touching things that I have ever seen.

I am headed to another event for a wonderful cause tonight. The Mode fashion event benefitting Denver Health.  I feel so lucky and proud to live in a wonderful place that supports and cares about the community.  If you are interested in going, you can get ticket information here.

I just snagged this dress from Loft (30% off with code shopsmart) when I was in a pinch for some new work dresses last week.  It is perfect for a luncheon with navy heels (like these) or a casual day at work with tan lace up booties (like mine).  I actually wore this look to work then to meet some friends for happy hour.  The weight is great for this early fall weather and will be perfect with tights and boots once snow starts falling.  And this Sole Society clutch is my favorite for fall and an absolute steal ($39.95).

Jonny and I are hoping to get to the mountains this weekend to see the fall colors!  What fun plans do you have?

xo

To Market to Market

Hi Guys,

I hope you have had a wonderful week so far! It has been so beautiful here - it has really been a hard week to get anything done because I just want to be outside enjoying the sunshine.  Does that ever happen to you?  When you feel like a 5th grader just gazing out the window yearning for recess - I have felt like that all week!

As most of you know, I have a serious thang for farmers markets.  Exploring a new one makes me giddy and wandering around a familiar one is always relaxing and brings a smile to my face.  I recently partnered with Cherry Creek Lifestyle Magazine to share some of my favorite things about the new farmers market at Union Station in Denver (read it here). 

This will forever be one of my favorite shoots, and favorite days.  It was one of our last outings with Mr. Brown and it was perfect.  I am so thankful to Cherry Creek Lifestyle Magazine for honoring our boy and making him the cover boy of their "Dog Days of Summer" issue this month.

Whenever I visit a farmers market I love chatting with the vendors and learning about the products that they are so passionate about and have clearly put their heart and soul into.  I was obviously immediately drawn to the beautiful peonies that The Fresh Herb Company had at their stand.  However, I was even more intrigued and loved learning about the Field to Vase dinner they host in their fresh flower farm annually... I am so jealous that Zoe is going next weekend (August 13th) , we will be out of town and I can't wait to see the pictures!

Read about the rest of my favorite vendors from the Union Station Farmers Market in the current issue of Cherry Creek Lifestyle Magazine.  I would love to hear about your favorite farmers markets or vendors around town!

My dress is out of stock, but I also love these (this, this, and this) similar white dresses (all on sale!).  And I have had these wedges forever - they are so comfy and I love that they still look brand new.

Have a great day!

xo

Friday + Fitness + Fun

Happy Friday, Friends!

I hope you have had a wonderful week!  For the first time in a month, Jonny and I are not packing our bags to get out of town and a weekend at home is just what the doctor ordered.

I have talked about fitness on occasion and workouts that I like (here and here)... they may be few and far between as I am not a fitness guru by an means, but when I find something I love I always want to share it with you guys right away.  I am so excited to talk about CycleBar with you.  Not only is it my new favorite workout, but my little sister (Zoe) is instructing at their DTC location and I just can't get enough of these classes (reserve a bike here).  As many of you know she just moved home from NYC and CycleBar has been the perfect place for her to bring her love for music, choreography, and tap-backs to Colorado.

After I shared my Soul Cycle experience with you all, I got a lot of questions about my favorite local spin studio and I had a very hard time coming up with any that I really loved and would return to on a regular basis.  Enter CycleBar... I bumped into master instructor (Kmax) while out to dinner and she explained that her class was a lot like a dance party on a spin bike.  That's I'll I needed to hear - I attended my first class a few days later and have been hooked ever since!

The classes are hard, but I love leaving each time and knowing that I have gotten a fantastic workout in (in less than an hour!).  The time also goes by quickly because each instructor focuses on great music and matching your RPM's to the beat.  I also love the effort and little extras that they provide at each studio... happy hour classes, blow out/beauty evenings, water bottles (for those like me who tend to forget theirs at home), fruit for refueling, plentiful hand sanitizer and chapstick... it's the little things, ya know!

However, I do think my very favorite thing about CycleBar is that they are so involved in the community.  CycleBar is teaming up with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to host 3 CycleNation pop up rides to raise money and awareness for such an important cause.  The first ride is tomorrow (and almost sold out!) get more information here and the next two are October 1st and 2nd (info here).

I am hosting a great giveaway with CycleBar over on instagram - you can enter to win a 5 class package... If you have not tried it yet, enter to win @denver.darling.  

Have a great weekend!

xo

no ticket, no problem

Hi Guys!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and it's been a great week so far.  Jonny and I had a blast in Chicago celebrating our friends and just loved exploring the city.  We spent all day Sunday, with a big group of friends, riding from neighborhood to neighborhood, along the Navy Pier with their bike share program, it was such a fun way to sightsee.

We always love to travel and spend time with friends, but we are home for a few weeks and I am so excited to spend some time in our own wonderful city for a while.  

Amazing restaurants are opening right and left in Denver, but Jonny and I have our tried and true favorites... and Linger is one of them.  They opened a few years ago, but it continues to be one of the best places for brunch and happy hour and our go to suggestion for out of town guests (the view is fantastic).  It is nice to be home to be reminded of the little gems right in our own back yard.

I do love that this dress feels like a vacation all on its own... no plane or TSA headache needed.  It is also on sale ($143) with just a few sizes left (I am wearing a 2 for sizing purposes).  All of Mara Hoffman's pieces feel like a tropical getaway - I also love this one, this one, and this one (also on sale).  Right now is the perfect time to stock up on summer dresses since brands and retailers are getting ready to launch fall lines and they need to make room (jokes on them because there is so much summer left - hehe!).  My purse has been one of my favorite last minute buys this summer - especially since it was only $12! The quality is great and I love adding a bright pop of color to any outfit.

Working on a few Anniversary Sale roundups over the next few days, let me know if there is anything you are loving and would like me to focus on.

xo

Father's Day Fun

Happy Monday,

I hope your week is off to a great start and had a wonderful weekend with your families.  This past weekend we had a lot of celebrating since Zoe turned 25 and Father's Day happened to fall on the same day.  We ended up at Stones, a new adorable spot just around the corner for several of the occasions.... you have to try it!

I loved reading everyone's social media posts about their father's yesterday.  Our dad is a pretty special guy - he has shown my sisters and me that kindness and generosity go a long way.  Although there are so many things that my dad has taught me - like "there is no crying in baseball,", but "it's ok to throw like a girl."  There are a few lessons that that have stuck with me and I hope to instill in our kids someday.

He taught us that you are only as good as your word.  I still remember the disappointed look on my dad's face when he found out that I forged his signature so I could get out of gym class in middle school (I didn't want to mess up my hair.... priorities, right?).  My teacher called him and I immediately knew why he was standing in the hallway to pick me up - his face said it all and he explained to me that you are only as good as your word.  I am sure there have been a few slip ups along the way, but honesty was instilled in me in that moment.  

My sisters and I were quite the handful - I can imagine raising three girls would be serious a task and I applaud our parents daily... As our friends and family are starting to have kids, I realize parenting is not the easy job it once seemed.   One thing that my dad would say (says) to us regularly is that beauty only matters from inside.  As little girls if we mentioned that someone was pretty, he would point to our heart and say, "where does beauty matter?" I think this is such an important thing for a little girl to learn - it teaches kindness and confidence in a few short words and something that has stuck with my sisters and me since day one.

I would love to hear your favorite lessons that have stuck with you! Feel free to comment below or email them.  Jonny and I have some fun travel coming up this week.  Be sure to follow along on snapchat (Username: denver.darling).