Sunday, June 13, 2021

Summer Vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado


It’s good to date your husband. It is even better when you can hop on a plane and vacation together in a cool location like Steamboat Springs, Colorado. While Jon and I had been to Steamboat before, this was our first time going without a big family group. Obviously known for its winter skiing and sports, there is something extra magically about Steamboat in the summer. 


Foodie Central 

We plan trips, stops and whole vacations around food. Whether you love good food as much as we do or are simply wanting a good bite to eat between activities, Steamboat has you covered. Each night we made sure we had a reservation. I only started on reservations a week before our arrival and dining times and options were limited. With some schedule rearranging, we could still get into some of our favorites, but I would recommend getting things locked in earlier than later. 


Another tip is happy hour is your friend. Traveling from central time to mountain played in our favor. At most restaurants, we were able to catch the end of happy hour and grab some half-priced drinks and snacks. 


Our Favorite Restaurants 


Breakfast: Highly recommended by the locals, The Egg is no fuss, true American breakfast spot. We loved it so much that we did breakfast here two days in a row. Don’t pass up the biscuits and gravy, the waffles or anything that has bacon in it. We went here during the week and never had to wait, but have heard it is an incredibly popular weekend spot with longer wait times. Freshies also came with high reviews, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out. 


Mexican: Taco Cabo was phenomenal. I am not sure I have ever had a better carne asada taco. This was the last place we ate on our trip but I think if we would have tried this place the first night we wouldn’t have eaten anywhere else. 


Steakhouses: E3 Chophouse is in the most beautiful locations along the Nampa River. Highly recommend making a stop here for happy hour. The lavender honey slush was my favorite cocktail of the whole trip. Excellent steak and fantastic key lime pie will make it a memorable dinner. We’ve done 8th Street on past trips. Here you get to choose your steak and then grill it yourself. While a neat experience we have enjoyed other places more. Ore House was another local recommendation that we have added to our list to try on future trips. 


Italian: We decided to go with more classic Italian and choose Mazzola. Again great food. We loved the fried calamari as an appetizer and they do family-sized salads. Mambo looked good, too with a patio option and a slightly more modern Italian menu. 


Small Plates & Signature Cocktails: Jon is not a big fan of small plates but I convinced him to try Laundry, and I am glad we did. A fantastic collection of seasonal plates with a really cool vibe. Laundry is also known for its whiskey and tequila infusions, and craft cocktails. 


E3 Steakhouse Patio
How to Spend Your Time

While you might decide to simply eat your way through Steamboat, there are a plethora of other activities to fulfill your time. I’m going to specifically stick to the activities we have done during our summer trips. 


Golf: Jon and I are big fans of golfing and there are two courses we have spent time on. Let me preference by saying that I am by no means a pro golfer, probably somewhere below average but I do love it. Don’t let the challenge of these courses stop you from visiting them. The Haymaker is a wide-open course; however, it is easy to lose a ball with deep rough/long grass areas. Rolling Stone is a stunning course with incredible views. A river crosses through the course multiple times and it is common to catch sightings of wildlife. It was easy to rent clubs at both courses, but did add to the expense. If we had to make a choice Rolling Stone would be our pick. 


Horseback Riding: I don’t remember the name of the outfitter we used, but we did this on one of our family reunion trips. Half of the group did the trail ride and the other group rode a wagon to a meeting point where we then enjoyed a "cowboy" dinner together.  


Whitewater Rafting/Tubing: Whether you are looking for a thrill or want to more lazily float the Nampa these are two popular activities. Again, tons of guides offer these services and other companies that will rent you the equipment. 


Pro Rodeo: On Friday and Saturday nights from mid-June to mid-September you can catch the Steamboat Pro Rodeo. There are lots of options for food at the event as well as a bar to grab a cold one. 


Zip Line: I am not a huge fan of heights, but we had so much fun at the Steamboat Zip Line Adventures. You’ll get to see breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains from a whole different vantage point. 


Strawberry Park Hot Springs: We were scheduled to finally make a visit here and then it didn’t work out, so I have a few tips. According to the locals, Strawberry Park has become one of the biggest attractions in the Steamboat area no matter the time of year. It is slightly out of town, and you can visit the hot springs as a guest or stay at their hotel and have access. The hot springs do require a reservation (make this early!). However, we made an error. If you are not driving to the hot springs yourself, you need to book THEIR shuttle. We thought we could use our condo’s shuttle to get up there, but by the time we figured that out it was too late and we had to cancel our plans. There are hot springs in downtown Steamboat, but we’ve been told that Strawberry Park is substantially larger and the place you want to be. 


Gondola Ride: It is fun to take the gondola up the mountain. No matter the season the views are stunning. When we were there (June 2021) major renovations were happening to the gondola and at the base of the mountain so this area was all shut down. 


Where to Stay:


Jon’s family owns a timeshare at One Steamboat Place, located at the base of the mountain. The location, amenities, and condos themselves are fantastic. Most of the condos are 3-4 bedrooms, with large living rooms and kitchens. One of the other huge benefits is that they will shuttle you anywhere in town and offer complimentary pickup/drop off from the airport. I believe anyone can rent at One Steamboat Place, but you would want to call to get those details. 


Other options in that area include the Sheraton Resort Villas and Steamboat Grand. However, there are TONS of hotels, Airbnb and VRBO options in Steamboat. I think it would be fun to stay in downtown Steamboat sometime. If you have traveled there before and have a favorite place leave a comment below.

Other Things to Know 


You really can’t beat the summertime weather in Steamboat. Even when it is hot the lack of humidity is ideal. It is cool in the mornings, and be prepared for an afternoon rain shower – especially in June. However, any rain typically moves out as fast as it moves in. 


We fly into the Hayden airport when traveling to Steamboat. It is about a 30-minute drive from Hayden to Steamboat. While the flights are not exactly cheap, the time and money saved from flying into Denver, renting a car and then making the 3+ hour drive makes it simpler to choose Hayden. 


We spent three full days in Steamboat and then had two travel days on either side that allowed us an afternoon and morning. I felt like we got a lot done in this amount of time. I would really like to hike to Fish Creek Falls sometime. If we were going to try to fit everything that we did on this trip (two days of golf and an almost hot spring trip) I would definitely want to add another full day. 


Here is to all the summer travels! Make sure you don't miss any of my summer tips and finds by subscribing to my weekly newsletter

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Spring Loft Haul

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I LOVE the Loft. I would say almost half of my closet is LOFT, partially because the quality of their clothing is so good and it lasts forever. Once I had my "colors done" and finding out that I am a House of Colour Spring it was time to refresh my wardrobe. 


I loved these two outfits. One of the best things about Loft is that they also offer petite sizes. I am 5'2" so going with the petite in the coral dress made it the perfect length. See all the items I tried on in the LTK app or click on the photos below to be taken to each item.





I could have come home with a whole closet full of tops. I love these because they will be perfect for summer, but then I can easily layer them under a jacket or cardigan in the fall and winter. 



You can see the entire Loft try on here. Make sure you don't miss any tips and finds by subscribing to my weekly newsletter

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Small Business Gift Guide for Spring

This post is sponsored by Travel Iowa. All opinions are my own. 

Between year-end teacher's gifts, graduations, bridal showers and even Father's Day you are going to need to keep your gift closet stocked. This winter I was introduced to the Shop Iowa online marketplace. A one-shop stop to find hundreds of unique products from small business owners that makes gift giving easy.

I've pulled together a few of my favorite gift ideas, but you'll definitely want to check out the site yourself. I promised you'll find the perfect items to treat your friends, family, or even yourself. 


1. DIY Crossstitch Kit: I LOVE these kits. Either spend some time creating this work of art for your favorite person or send them the DIY and they can create the masterpiece themselves. 

2. Iowa 319 Ballcap: I am a 319 girl. Your favorite new grad, mom or dad can be repping in this hat all summer long. 

3. Almost Famous Popcorn: I LOVE visiting Almost Famous in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but it is even easier to order online. I am a sucker for lemon desserts so Lemon Cookie was an obvious choice for me, but they have some great sampler packs. 

4. Personalize Cookbook Holder: One of my favorite wedding gifts was a cookbook holder. It is the handiest thing while whipping up my favorite recipes, but it also looks super pretty on my kitchen counter. This one from Blossoming Creation can be customized with your favorite chef's name. 

5. Greeting Cards: You know one of my love languages is notecards so I made sure I grabbed a couple from Iron Leaf Cards.

6. Handmade Pottery: support local artists through the DKW Art Gallery in Marion, Iowa. Each mug is one of a kind and they offer free shipping. 


If there is anything that came out of a LONG 2020 it was an emphasis on supporting small businesses. The Shop Iowa website has made it super simple and FUN to find unique items. And if you are an Iowa small business owner reach out so you can get your items included! I can't wait to shop more goodies.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Iowa Best Burger Tour

This blog post was sponsored by the Iowa Beef Council. All opinions are my own. 

When you are a self-proclaimed foodie, and you get asked to try the best burgers in your state you instantly say yes! Each year Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Iowa Beef Council crown one restaurant as having the best burger in the Iowa. However, it is up to a secret group of individuals to taste test the Top 10 Burgers in Iowa. So while the secret judges were tasting and casting their votes I got to drive across the state and back and share my findings. 

My Top 3 Picks (in no particular order)

1. The Map Room, 416 3rd St. SE Cedar Rapids, IA
There is something about the seasoning that they use on their burgers that makes that beef flavor pop. The Map Room is a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will surprise you with its internationally inspired burger recipes. Consider visiting on a Tuesday as once a month The Map Room participates in Cheeseburgers for Charity and donates 10% of their proceeds to a non-profit or fundraising effort. 


2. Bambinos, 102 N Lydia St., Ossian, IA
When small-town bar and hole in the wall collide you get Bambinos. You aren't going to find them on social media, but what you will find is the most AMAZING burger. So good that Bambinos ended up being named the 2021 Iowa's Best Burger. Sue, the cook and co-owner, has a heart of gold and is a true scratch-cook. We are already planning on making a trip back and getting in some golf at the Silver Springs Golf Course while in town. 


3. The Saucy Foccacia, 5100 Foundations Dr. NE #100, Cedar Rapids, IA
Eastern Iowa really brought it with their burgers! What started as a food truck has grown into two Cedar Rapids locations. Their burger has been named a Top 10 Best Burger five different years and I could taste why. I LOVED the buns they use for their burgers and they were so juicy without being greasy. You'll also want to grab some of their pickle fries. 


On our tour, I thought a lot about how hard these small business owners have worked to stay afloat this past year. Each day they work to grow their business by serving a product that my husband and I raise. Whether you order a burger from a restaurant like these or a fast-food joint, buy beef at a grocery store or directly from a farmer you support the beef industry and that means supporting farms like us

You can see a complete list of the 2021 Top 10 Burgers here. And if you want more behind the scenes of my tour make sure you check out my Burger Highlight on IG. Don't forget to follow @IowaBeefCouncil so you can have the opportunity to nominate your favorite burger joint for the 2022 Iowa's Best Burger Contest. 

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