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Posts Tagged ‘Boulder’

Apparently it is NaBoloPoMo, yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I looked it up. National Blog Posting Month, where folks challenge themselves to blog everyday to get [back] into the habit of it. I’m not sure I can come up with something worth sharing EVERYDAY, but I can go for 2-3x week (at most).

Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Between my new job, (which I started after returning from Labor Day/Rosh Hashanah week Boulder, during in the middle of the High Holidays), commuting, and general house chores I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully the major holidays are over and things have settled down to our new normal. We attend Segulah Minyan every other week, and blob out at home and maybe stock up on local produce and other items at the farmers market on the alternate weeks. Ben has been keeping me sane by packing my lunch every morning, otherwise I’d be spending all my hard-earned on lunches (plus I’d be breaking my personal policy of not eating out more than 1x week).

Here are a few photos from our week in Boulder. It was SO nice to spend time with friends (and their baby bellies and babies), as well as have some time with Ben where I didn’t feel like I was keeping him from work or where either of us were competing with a laptop for the others attention. Sometimes we have trouble putting our gadgets down, it’s a work-in-progress.

Yom Kippur was a Segulah Minyan event, at a rented church social hall in Sheppard Park/Silver Spring. Services were great and I actually felt present for most of them, but it really punctuated how much we miss CBS in Boulder. Speaking of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the synagogue was CRIPPLED by the flooding in Boulder in mid-September (it started 2 days before Yom Kippur, which was thankfully held at nearby Naropa University’s East Campus). Reading the news out of Boulder in mid-September was terrifying and sad. If you have any pennies to share, I’m sure Bonai would appreciate them (instructions on how to donate via email or phone are on their website).

You’ve already seen our photos of the AMAZING sukkah Ben built on the patio, and my friend Jennifer came down from NY for the day for the first day of sukkot (we dwelled with dinner, brunch over the news paper in the AM, and general lazy lounging in the afternoon after a nice walk exploring my neighborhoof) before she had to head back to the city for work the next day. Boo. We don’t see each other enough. I guess I need to take a turn and go to New York again!

What else is going on….

Weight Watchers as a program is great, but my progress has been glacially slow. lately I’ve either hit a plateau or gotten lazier at tracking than I thought. Blergh. Soon it will be cold enough to blame it on heavy winter clothes, but that trick only works once!

Now that we’ve moved past the craziness of ALL the Jewish holidays feeling like they are ALL AT ONCE (it always feels like that when they swallow Shabbat whole, or turn it into a virtual 3-day chag), and I’ve gotten more used to my 8 hour + lunch day, things are settling down.

In more upbeat news:

In late September we helped my friend Andrea, from way-back-when at IAC, move from her temporary furnished apartment into a gorgeous flat in Adams Morgan. She’s pregnant and her husband was traveling for work and Ben and I didn’t want her trying to unpack without help! We also explored her neighborhood a little (all new to all of us) and ate some awesome falafel and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner, YUM! It was the first real fall-weather day we’d had and it was crisp and beautiful. It was a bit of a shame we spent it unpacking, washing bedding, installing a new printer, and buying what felt like ALL THE THINGS at Target, but it showed off how great her apartment is that the windows really let in the light and air and it was still nice and quiet even though she’s 1/2 a block from a major urban shopping/dining area (think Pearl Street in Boulder). I’m kinda jealous.

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When I first got there, on 10/9/09 around 3:45 PM, it was slightly gloomy out and there was a big white tent on the [ceremony] lawn. I wandered around taking photos for a while, called a friend and chatted on the patio for a good 30 minutes, saw a hawk (and took it’s photo), before heading home via the grocery store to prep and cook shabbos dinner.

The next day (Saturday the 10th), it snowed. That’s not quite true, it started at about 9 PM the night before. There were about 2″ total after 1.5″ overnight and flurries all day. The temperature never got above 24ºF and it was COLD. Just to remind you all, that new record low (17ºF) set that day was set on our -1 year anniversary.

BE PREPARED AND CHECK THE LONG RANGE FORECAST BEFORE PACKING TO VISIT COLORADO. It would be unfortunate if you say packed a sun dress to wear to a wedding accompanied by the first snow of the year, or if you packed something fall/winter appropriate only to find it sunny and 75ºF.

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Ben and I met with Tiffany, the catering coordinator at the St. Julien Hotel on Friday. I’d asked her to draw up some estimates/proposals for us on how they can work with our budget and IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GOING TO WORK OUT WELL!!!! Huzzah!

We were hung up on the prices for a while, and seriously considered other venues, but this one had everything we wanted (most important being a weather-proof ceremony backup plan), and the fewest restrictions (out by 5 PM, not 2). It was also the priciest, but as long as they understand that the budget is strict, it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, Sunday lunch can be WAY cheaper than Saturday dinner, the typical wedding meal.

Ben’s favorite venue was the Chautauqua Dining Hall, which would have been perfect if 1) the patio could seat more than 75 people for the ceremony 2) we hadn’t had to stick with either 9:30 AM-2 PM or 5-9:30 PM hours. Blocking out the afternoon like that was the straw that broke the camel’s back when we noticed that it would stomp out our afternoon wedding party ideas and mean that we’d have to have the ceremony at 10:30 in order to have lunch and be out in time. Sorry, but I’m not waking up at 6 AM to get my hair/making done on my wedding day.

Tomorrow (Monday) we’re meeting with a potential wedding coordinator whom I found via The Budget Savvy Bride, a blog of DIY tutorials, wedding photos, and price break-downs of weddings held all over the country, submitted by brides (and maybe some grooms too?). Anyway, we’re going to chat with her tomorrow about helping us pull it all together, herding cats (AKA relatives), and vendor references. Plus, the St. Julien requires we have a coordinator if we also have the ceremony there. I guess Tiffany, the catering lady, can only hold down the fort in one space at a time.

We still need: lighting, photographer, a DJ (who will mic the ceremony too), to finalize my dress with the seamstress, and to pick out a kettubah. I’ve tasked Ben with picking out the wording of the ketubbah, I trust him to find a nice egalitarian text, where the English isn’t too far off from the Hebrew/Aramaic, and includes the Lieberman Clause.

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Friday night, Ben and I went to check out the Hazel Miller Band at the Millennium Hotel, the place with the yurt. Remember how I couldn’t check out the bathrooms when we visited because they were locked. I kinda wish I’d never seen them….

Yurt Bathroom

I told my dad that they reminded me of CCC park restrooms. His response: “Heh, oooh. Not good.” Correct, not good. The public restrooms on Pearl Street are nicer! There is almost nothing that can be done with just a bathroom basket to nicen this place up, it’s just BLAH. Small, cramped, un-heated in the winter and BLAH. So, we decided that lest our guests believe that we never checked out the restrooms before booking the beautiful yurt, we said good bye to the Millennium Hotel.

From there, where the music was too loud for Mr. Ben’s sensitive ears anyway, we were still in search of dinner. The original plan had been to try out the food at the Millennium while there were other people there instead of being doted on in an almost empty hotel restaurant. I would have felt awkward when they asked where we were visiting from as opposed to going on a busy night meant for locals.

We decided to check out the Chautauqua Dining Hall for dinner. From inside the Millennium I called to see if we needed a reservation (we didn’t), and we were on our way. 15 minutes later we were walking up to the Dining Hall. At first I thought we were under dressed, wearing jeans and all, but once we got there I noticed two things 1) there was a wedding inside the main dining room and 2) not only were were not under dressed, in jeans, hiking shoes and a fleece jacket we were dress EXACTLY like 90% of the clientele that evening who weren’t wedding guests. Even the waitstaff were wearing kaki cargo pants/shorts and t-shirts with a silhouette of the Fiddler on the Roof with the caption of “a taste of tradition…” I like blending in.

Pasta Primavera

We shared a very good salad caprice as an appetizer, Ben had the Trout Amandine and I had the Fusilli Primavera. I thought Fusilli were the bowties, oh well, giant elbows are good too. Both our dishes were perfectly cooked and delicious. After we inhaled the appetizer and were sopping up the balsamic vinegar with the crusty sourdough table bread, I said “I just got a waft of something yummy.” Almost immediately, our food arrived! I’ll have to take Ben’s word for it since his dinner was covered in evil allergens, but he said his food was perfect too. Mine was so good that I couldn’t resist digging in before I shot the above photo. Sadly both photos I tried to take of Ben’s plate came out sad and fuzzy looking. Oh well. Low lighting is not the best for an older digital point and shoot.

Dessert was by far the best course. A lemon tart. Yum. Ben said the decaf was good too, again, I’ll take his word for it since I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

So, now we’re still deciding between the St. Julien, somewhere else (which is now the Chautauqua Dining Hall), and the elusive Flagstaff House Restaurant. We haven’t gotten to visit Flagstaff because we wanted to try the food but it’s too pricy for us while I’m out of a job. St. Julien is no wilting flower in the price department either, but we can still afford to go there for lunch and know that the food is wonderful. Flagstaff is only open for dinner by reservation only.

Would anyone like to gift us a fancy night out for two? We’ll be responsible (fiscally and calorically) and share the starter and dessert, or main and dessert, and drink tap water too so that we can keep our tab under $100. Anyone? No?I didn’t think so. My dad had better come visit soon, maybe he’ll take us….

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Friday night, Ben and I went to check out the Hazel Miller Band at the Millennium Hotel, the place with the yurt. Remember how I couldn’t check out the bathrooms when we visited because they were locked. I kinda wish I’d never seen them….

Yurt Bathroom

I told my dad that they reminded me of CCC park restrooms. His response: “Heh, oooh. Not good.” Correct, not good. The public restrooms on Pearl Street are nicer! There is almost nothing that can be done with just a bathroom basket to nicen this place up, it’s just BLAH. Small, cramped, un-heated in the winter and BLAH. So, we decided that lest our guests believe that we never checked out the restrooms before booking the beautiful yurt, we said good bye to the Millennium Hotel.

From there, where the music was too loud for Mr. Ben’s sensitive ears anyway, we were still in search of dinner. The original plan had been to try out the food at the Millennium while there were other people there instead of being doted on in an almost empty hotel restaurant. I would have felt awkward when they asked where we were visiting from as opposed to going on a busy night meant for locals.

We decided to check out the Chautauqua Dining Hall for dinner. From inside the Millennium I called to see if we needed a reservation (we didn’t), and we were on our way. 15 minutes later we were walking up to the Dining Hall. At first I thought we were under dressed, wearing jeans and all, but as we got closer I noticed two things 1) there was a wedding inside the main dining room and 2) not only were were not under dressed, in jeans, hiking shoes and a fleece jacket we were dress EXACTLY like 90% of the clientele that evening who weren’t wedding guests. Even the waitstaff were wearing kaki cargo pants/shorts and t-shirts with a silhouette of the Fiddler on the Roof with the caption of “a taste of tradition…” I like blending in.

Pasta Primavera

We shared a very good salad caprice as an appetizer, Ben had the Trout Amandine and I had the Fusilli Primavera. I thought Fusilli were the bowties, oh well. Both our dishes were perfectly cooked and delicious. After we inhaled the appetizer and were sopping up the balsamic vinegar with the crusty sourdough table bread, I said “I just got a waft of something yummy.” Almost immediately, our food arrived! I’ll have to take Ben’s word for it since his dinner was covered in evil allergens, but he said his food was perfect too. Mine was so good that I couldn’t resist digging in before I shot the above photo. Sadly both photos I tried to take of Ben’s plate came out sad and fuzzy looking. Oh well. Low lighting is not the best for an older digital point and shoot.

Dessert was by far the best course. A lemon tart. Yum. Ben said the decaf was good too, again, I’ll take his word for it since I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

So, now we’re still deciding between the St. Julien, somewhere else (which is now the Chautauqua Dining Hall), and the elusive Flagstaff House Restaurant. We haven’t gotten to visit Flagstaff because we wanted to try the food but it’s too pricy for us while I’m out of a job. St. Julien is no wilting flower in the price department either, but we can still afford to go there for lunch and know that the food is wonderful. Flagstaff is only open for dinner by reservation only.

Would anyone like to gift us a fancy night out for two? We’ll be responsible (fiscally and calorically) and share the starter and dessert, or main and dessert, and drink tap water too so that we can keep our tab under $100. Anyone? No?I didn’t think so. My dad had better come visit soon, maybe he’ll take us….

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Here’s my report on my visit to Boulder’s St. Julien hotel yesterday morning:

lawn

This is the view that we’d have for the ceremony (imagine the retaining wall with a lattice work the hight of the taller posts, to block the street view better). The chuppah would be in the corner, with a table over the electrical access plate, and the isle running diagonally across the lawn.

gazebo

This gazebo is where a lot of people set their ceremony. How dull. Who wants a view of a the hotel? The mountains are a much better backdrop than the hotel, IMHO.

Xanado III

This is the far end of the ballroom. There are 3 parts, this is the smallest.

chandelier

This is one the chandeliers that are in the ballroom. Just thought I’d show off how the ballroom is more modern/contemporary, and less East Coast opulent.

table settings

Here’s the closer/front of the ballroom with breakfast table settings on cream cotton waffle table linens.

carpet

Here’s a picture of the carpet. It’s a dark bluish charcoal with a leafy motif. Definitely not the plushy paisley  we were seeing on the East Coast.

mountains from loby

Here’s the view from the lobby. I LOVE BOULDER!

lobby fireplace

This is the lobby. The window looking area on the left is a HUGE gas fireplace. It has broken industrial glass on the bottom, instead of the fake logs that you usually see. The reason it looks like a window is that it can be opened on the other to provide a fireplace for the patio (where we’d have cocktails).

entrance

The main entrance. I like being pampered at nice hotels. It’s a great touch when they open the door and greet you as you’re coming and going. Such a nice touch.

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Here are photos of the tour the dude and I went on this morning. The minimum is $10,000, with a $500 setup fee. They only hold one event per day so there’s no need to worry about not having a weather backup plan because someone else got in the way. I’ve annotated the photos. I forgot to take photos of the day room that we would have access to all weekend, but it’s about 800 square feet and has a large bathroom. It also has a wall of windows and they’d bring in whatever furniture we want in there, we only saw it bare. The only rules for the day room: no sleeping overnight in there and no liquor. They would also provide one complimentary “superior” room for Ben and I to have the night of the wedding.

The hotel is totally OK with us using an ice cream cater (though they would rather arrange it, like most other places) as well as having a flambe station. Candles and open flames are fine. There are a bunch of glass/mirror things we can use for no extra charge to make up table decorations, and their regular china is just fine but they have an arrangement with a rental company if we want to upgrade. I wonder if we can have a bonfire too…. That would be icing on the cake.

The Pavilion, or as I like to call it, the yurt, can hold up to 300. They put down a portable dance floor out on the side where the tennis courts are. There are dark green, waterproof canvases (I think they have windows) that can be rolled down if needed. There are also space heaters they can bring out if we want to stay outside even if it’s totally freezing. The bathroom is on the right.

Here’s the covered pathway from the hotel to the pavilion/yurt. The bathroom is on the left. It was locked, so I didn’t get to check it out.

This is the lawn where most people set up their ceremony. You can see the mountains through the frees. The bridge goes over the creek and joins the Boulder Creek Path, it goes all the way out to the synagogue (34 blocks) and up to Boulder Falls (passing Pearl Street, about 1 1/2 miles away). That’s the edge of the pavilion on the far right.

The tennis courts in the background are covered in big white bubbles by mid September.

This is the indoor/snow/rainstorm option. It’s a ballroom. It has windows that overlook the courtyard where the pavilion/cocktail area/lawn are.

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