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Sunny Palm Springs

June 11, 2017

Mat and I took advantage of our three day weekend and flew to Palm Springs, CA for a quick and relaxing trip. Our three-day weekend can be described in three terms: naps, hats and pool floaties. Palm Springs was a great place to get the summer started because the weather was already HOT, which I loved. We stayed at The Avalon and earned 29k Southwest points for doing so.  I thought the hotel/bungalow accommodations were adorable. With these extra points, we earned the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018! Woo hoo!

After working a full day on Friday (we have to use our time off wisely!) we flew in late so we didn’t really get the vacation started until Saturday morning. However, The Avalon had a wonderful surprise waiting for us in our room-a HUGE plate of the most delicious and fresh fruit we have ever had. Mat went crazy on the fruit Friday night and I finished off some of it when I woke up on Saturday.

We slept in on Saturday and had breakfast at the Chi Chi restaurant, which has tables right beside the main pool at the center of the hotel. I had an amazing assortment of buttermilk pancakes, banana foster’s, barrel-aged maple syrup and candied walnuts. The best part was that it was still steaming hot when they brought it out. It was so good. If you follow us on SnapChat you probably saw me freaking out about it. Mat wasn’t as excited about his breakfast burrito, but it came with more of that amazing fruit and gorgeous poolside views, so it’s kind of hard to complain.

After breakfast we walked into town and did some shopping. This is when we made the most important purchases of the trip: our hats. I have become slightly obsessed with mine and it may have contributed to the fact that I didn’t brush my hair the entire trip. Mat looks extremely dapper in his, and of course they helped protect our skin from the blazing sun.

We made a quick stop at Las Casuelas Terraza for some giant margaritas before heading back to enjoy some pool time at the hotel. The Avalon has three different pools, which is nice that they cater to the different interests of their guests. One of the pools was kid friendly (we checked it out but promptly kept walking), and the main pool, located by the Chi Chi, seemed to be mostly couples. All the lounge chairs at this pool were already taken, so we kept going to the third pool. I called this third pool the ‘party pool’, which usually isn’t really our jam but we totally loved it! For the Memorial holiday, The Avalon hosted a variety of activities at the ‘party pool’ including: live DJ, a taco bar, booze-y snow cones, frozes (frozen rose wine), ping pong and bocci ball! We spent the majority of our time at this pool for obvious reason. 🙂 We then preceded to take a four nap after the sun had zapped our energy. Hey, it’s vacation-we can nap however long we want!

The best food of the weekend was at the hard to get into brunch joint, Cheeky’s. The Avalon provided cruiser bikes to hotel guests free of charge so we checked them out one morning and decided to bike the one mile to Cheeky’s. We arrived just 30 minutes after the restaurant opened and ended up waiting an hour and a half for a table! It was insane! During that hour and a half of waiting, dozens and dozens of people showed up to put their name on the waiting list. The restaurant is only open until 2 pm, so I have no idea if it was even possible to get through the list of people before they closed. The food definitely did not disappoint, so it was worth the wait.

Our last night we decided to drive the one hour and check out Joshua Tree National Park. The trees are so interesting, kind of a mix between a cactus and a palm tree. So cool! But to be honest, after you’ve seen 100, they all start to look alike. The park also has these amazing, huge, boulder structures. The park looked especially alien-like after the sun set and there were shadows everywhere.

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Reviews Travel

The ‘Niagara of the West’ – Shoshone Falls, ID

April 16, 2017

Shoshone Falls is currently dumping more water per second than it has in 20 years.  The falls are only about 2hrs away from our home in downtown Boise, so we decided to go take a look! Shoshone Falls is often referred to as the ‘Niagara of the West’.  After finally seeing it in person we now understand why.  Currently running at about 22k cubic feet per second, this is by far the most impressive waterfall either of us have seen in person.

We were a bit worried about the large volume of people rumored to be visiting the falls this weekend.  Some were saying they had to wait over an hour to park during their visit.  Others had said traffic was backed up for a few miles leading up to the parking lot entrance.  Fortunately, we didn’t experience either of these things.  Whether it was good timing, or luck, we didn’t have to wait at all this past Saturday during our visit.  There were plenty of people there, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking spot about 200 yards from the lookout points.  The entrance fee is only $3 per car and well worth it.  You can find more details here.

We would highly recommend you visit Shoshone Falls, ID if you’re anywhere in the neighborhood.

Let us know if you have any questions while planning your trip!

Shoshone Falls, ID

Shoshone Falls, ID

Shoshone Falls, ID

Shoshone Falls, ID

Shoshone Falls, ID

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Reviews Venture Meridian

Best Pizza in Idaho is the best in the World?

August 14, 2016

During our trip through New York, Italy, Malta and Chicago we were in some of the best locations in the world for pizza. Being pizza lovers, we decided to do some research and sample pizza from highly rated restaurants at each of these stops. A “world pizza tour” if you will. We were definitely not disappointed, but quite surprised at the results.

The first stop was the best rated pizza joint in New York, Juliana’s, which was located just across the bridge from Manhattan in Brooklyn. This pizza set the bar high for the rest of the trip. We ordered a traditional margarita pizza and paired it with a glass of wine (Lacey) and a local beer (Mat). The crust was thin, so of course we folded it, New York style. The basil on the pizza was extremely fresh and flavorful, with just the right amount of sauce and cheese. We easily ate the entire pie.  Juliana’s blend of Italian style with New York style is delicious while the authentic feel of their restaurant beneath the Brooklyn Bridge completes the experience.

The next stop on our pizza tour was Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy. Gusta Pizza is famous for making pizzas in the shape of a heart. These pizzas were just as delicious as they were adorable. This Italian pizza had amazing fresh mozzarella piled on and thin, flaky crust. The basil didn’t taste as fresh or flavorful as Juliana’s, but something about drinking wine out of a paper cup made the entire experience feel authentic.  We were both pleasantly surprised with the quality ingredients and flavor of Gusta’s pizza and charmed by the adolescent “date night” feel of the restaurant.  Who wouldn’t want to share a heart shaped pizza with a love interest? #adorbs

The third stop on our world pizza tour was at Ir-Rokna’s Restaurant on the Mediterranean island of Malta.  Ir-Rokna’s was established in 1975 and is officially the oldest pizza joint on the island.  Trip Advisor awarded this place with a certificate of excellence so our expectations were set pretty high even before walking in.  Their wood burned pizza did not disappoint.  Similarly to Juliana’s in Brooklyn, Ir-Rokna’s pizza is a blend of NY style with Italian style.  The fresh ingredients, most noticeably being the basil, accompanied with the family recipe sauce make each bite more flavorful than the one before.  The owners and staff were fantastic to us the entire night, especially being that we arrived late and were the last patrons in the restaurant by the end of the night.  We never felt pressured to leave or do anything other than enjoy their delicious food and local wines.

Our final stop was one that we were both looking forward to the most; Gino’s East in Chicago, IL.  For 50 years, Gino’s has been serving up their legendary, deep dish, Chicago style pizza from their Superior Avenue location in the windy city.  This old school, graffiti filled, restaurant was where we visited the last day of our trip.  Being veterans of Gino’s (been there once before), we knew that two people have absolutely no chance of finishing a large pizza.  Gino’s pizza is the definition of “deep dish”.  It is about 3 inches thick and has a very dense crust that is unlike any pizza we’ve ever had.  That being said, we ordered a medium this time and still didn’t finish it.  If you’re unfamiliar with authentic Chicago style pizza, the cheese makes up the first layer above the crust and the sauce is on top of the cheese.  It looks kind of funky if you’re used to seeing a regular American style pizza.  Gino’s pizzas require over an hour to bake due to the thickness.  Their sauce is amazing and there is a lot of it on each slice.  It perfectly balances the thickness of the crust and layer of cheese to make sure each bite is juicy and full of flavor.  The original Gino’s East location is full of memorabilia from all of the celebrities that have visited this location over the years.  It makes the experience even cooler knowing that past presidents, hall of fame athletes, and world renown musicians have dined in the very spot you may be sitting in.  We love Gino’s!

After our “World Pizza Tour” wrapped up and we were back home in Idaho, we started reminiscing about all of the wonderful pizza experiences we had during the previous 15 days.  The basil of Juliana’s in Brooklyn, the heart shaped and heart warming Gusta Pizza in Florence, the family recipe pizza in Malta, and the legendary thick crust of Gino’s in Chicago.  It’s hard not to get hungry just typing that sentence.  Anyways, which one did we like best? After a lengthy discussion, we agreed that Julianna’s was our favorite.  Surprising right? Didn’t you think we would pick Gino’s East? So did I.  What was even more surprising to us after our choice was our answer to the following question; “Would you rather have Juliana’s pizza or Idaho’s own, Chicago Connection pizza?”  Without hesitating, we both answered “Chicago Connection”.  Does this mean the best pizza in Idaho (our opinion) is also the best pizza in the world?  You be the judge.

As always, please check out Venture Meridian Magazine and show them some love for supporting us by letting us have our monthly column!

Best Pizza in Idaho

Chicago Connection Pizza in Downtown Boise, ID

Best Pizza in Idaho

Best Pizza in Idaho

Gino's East, Chicago | DitchingNormal

The original Gino’s East in Chicago.

Gino's East Celebrity Wall | DitchingNormal

Gino's East Chicago Style Pizza | DitchingNormal

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana’s in Brooklyn, NY

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Ir Rokna Pizza Malta

Ir-Rokna Pizza in Malta

Ir-Rokna Pizza Malta

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Reviews

The Boise Flea Market

July 10, 2016

A while back my friend Allison and I met to check out the Boise Flea Market one Sunday morning. I love our little city and all that it offers. I grew up going to yard sales so I think this kind of stuff is just in my blood. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, mostly jut to check it out and see what was in that part of town.

The Boise Flea Market is held the second Sunday of each month (which is today!) out by the “State Street shops”, which I guess is what that row of shops calls themselves, but I had no idea. The address is technically 3017 W. State Street, but the market is a few blocks long. If you are looking for vintage/antique items, this is your place! Not only is there an actual antique shop at this location, but nearly every single seller had items that took me back to my childhood. Campbell’s soup thermos? Yep, I saw 4! There were vintage telephones, magazine racks, wagons, kitchen items, even vintage baby strollers and bicycles!

There was also a mix of hand made items from local merchants. I chatted for a little bit with the woman behind Lost Little Things, and she said that her items she makes are sold at several local shops, but items that are flawed (I didn’t see anything that looked flawed-artists are picky about their work I guess ;)) she sells at the Flea Market. It’s such a great way to get unique, hand made items for a great price! I’m kicking myself now for not getting a print she made to hang on our gallery wall.

I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe of the Boise Flea Market and can’t wait for next month’s!

Official information about The Boise Flea:

Second Sundays, April-October

10am-4pm

3017 W State Street

Boise

2016 Dates for the rest of the year:

July 10, August 14, September 11 and October 9

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

Boise Flea Market

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Reviews

West Elm Boise Grand Opening

June 21, 2016

Mat and I were ecstatic when West Elm reached out to invite us to their grand opening for a private tour. We love West Elm and actually just recently purchased our bed frame and duvet cover from them online. We have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the West Elm Boise store since the first sign went up in the window of the old Anthropologie space. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only a few blocks away as well. 🙂

The day of the tour we were welcomed by Nicole Sutliff (I basically want her to be my new bff) and were showed around the new space. It’s absolutely beautiful and I want to move in. Nicole showed us the new lines, their recently updated wedding registry with gorgeous mix and match options, seasonal items, and some amazing reclaimed wood furniture. Gorgeous! Nicole also pointed out how many grab ‘n go gift-y items they have, such as decorative glassware, table topper, succulents, etc. I basically want it all.

We especially loved how much West Elm involves local artisans in their stores. They have an entire section where local Boise artists sell their homemade goods. Nicole also let us know that when someone uses their (free!) styling service, West Elm likes to work with local shops to include items from their stores as well. I’m desperately trying to convince Mat to let us use this service, because our bedroom is really needing some TLC and direction.

My favorite items that are on the “to get” list are:

This light for our bedroom

This rug for our dining nook

This pillow for…anywhere. I just want it.

These Euro shams to go with our all white bedding.

And of course this to create our own faux headboard!

Let us know what you think of the brand new West Elm Boise location!

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

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Reviews

Payette Brewing – Boise

May 4, 2016

Ever since Lacey and I moved to downtown Boise, we’ve been looking for a coffee shop, pub, or restaurant to adopt as “our place”.  You know, similar to how on TV shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and How I Met Your Mother, the main characters always have their established hangout? We so badly want that!  Well, after attending Payette Brewing’s soft opening last weekend, we feel like we might be a step closer in achieving this goal.

Payette Brewing was founded back in 2010 by Mike Francis after he decided to ditch his corporate gig as an industrial engineer to pursue a career that lined up more with his personal interests.  We love hearing stories that include the line, “… left something they didn’t enjoy, to do something they love.”  Especially when it results in a success story.  Well this one sure did as Payette has rapidly become one of the most, if not the most, successful Idaho born brewing companies ever.

We have been excited for this new location to open ever since the construction began months ago.  While it’s in a kind of a subtle, hard to notice area off of River St., I think the location is absolutely perfect!  For all of you Boise River floaters and Greenbelt bike riders, Payette’s new place is about 200 yards from the river take-out point across from Ann Morrison Park.  Genius business move if you ask me.  They are going to absolutely kill it during the summer months.  Who wouldn’t want to get a beer and some delicious food truck grub after floating the river?

The building has an industrial feel to it with a lot of wood and steel furniture filling up the open warehouse space.  Up near the large wooden bar top, is a giant cooler full of Payette’s products that you can purchase to-go.  There are a few garage doors that slide up on the west side of the building allowing for the river breeze to creep in.  While it hasn’t been built yet, we got the feeling that there will be large patio area outside the garage doors.  There is a really big yard that would be perfect for horse shoes, corn hole, or any other park game  Another feature is the “brewing view” area where you can watch the beer being made.  It is located on the far south side of the building through a door and up a stairway leading you to a 2nd story viewing platform.

Payette Brewery did a fantastic job with their new space and we couldn’t be more excited for them to be in our neighborhood.  We’d highly suggest checking it out once they officially open.

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Can you spot Payette’s founder in this pic?

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

Payette Brewing Boise

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Reviews

Guru Donuts

March 2, 2016

There aren’t many things I love more than sweets. Any type of sweets. Candy, cake, cookies, donuts….shoot, my favorite movie snack is raw cookie dough. Healthy, I know. There is a trendy little donut shop in downtown Boise that I absolutely adore. Guru Donuts is the perfect mix of welcoming, comfortable, hipster and family friendly. Mat popped in there for Valentine’s Day to get “a couple” donuts, and ended up coming home with nine. For just the two of us. That’s right, nine donuts. Two people. Don’t you dare think we let those go to waste!

The menu at Guru Donuts has something for every one: cake donuts, glazed, special monthly flavors, vegan…they even have donuts that include lavendar, basil and bacon! They also share a space with Boise Fry Company, so if you like to mix sweet and salty, order some fries with your donut.

One Sunday morning I was jonsing for some more of Guru’s “party girl” donuts, so we walked down and ordered a more appropriate number of donuts for two people along with some juice and coffee. It was such a wonderful morning! The sun was shining through their large windows, we sat on a huge comfy couch and read the Boise Weekly. It felt almost like we were at home in our own living room…except all of the other patrons of course. There was the MOST adorable family that sat with us on the couch. Oh my goodness they looked like they had just walked out of an Anthropolie magazine! I absolutely didn’t mind sharing the couch with their sweet daughters.

The staff, food, drinks and ambiance at Guru Donuts are on point, for sure. Dang, now I’m craving a maple bar.

 

Guru Donuts Entrance

Lacey walking in Guru Donuts

Guru Donuts Mascot

Guru Donuts Menu

Lacey selecting some Guru Donuts

Guru Donuts Selection

Lacey sitting on a couch at Guru Donuts

Mat with coffee and Guru Donuts

Eating Guru Donuts

Coffee and Guru Donuts

Guru Donuts Featured Flavors

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Reviews

“Downtown Boise is dying”….not.

February 15, 2016

Last summer my best friend was in town for a “bridal spa day” at a local spa in downtown Boise. My friend is originally from Boise, but hasn’t lived here in about six years, so she was chatting with her masseuse about the changes that have happened since she moved away. Guess what the masseuse told her? Word for word…”downtown Boise is dying.”  All I can say is….that girl is an idiot.

When my friend was finished with her massage and relayed this conversation to me I was…enraged. Maybe enraged is too strong of a word, but I was definitely defensive. I mean, what does this girl think when she drives to work every day through NEW CONSTRUCTION?! In her brain new construction must = dying.

I am probably a bit more defensive than the average Boise resident because we live downtown. I will admit that the Village in Meridian has stolen two of my favorite stores, but that doesn’t compare to the new additions to the downtown scene.  The other day Mat and I decided to see how many new projects we ran into just on our walk to the gym-which is only about a half a mile. Downtown Boise is dying? I think not.

Simplot headquarters (read more here) and JUMP (check out our post here).

Jump Center Construction Downtown Boise

Clearwater Analytics & Boise’s new underground transit system (read more here)

Grove Construction Downtown Boise

One Nineteen (see it here)

One Nineteen Condos in downtown Boise

Hyatt (read it here) and Boise’s Boutique Hotel-Hotelier

Boutique Hotels Construction in downtown Boise

Not to mention more projects just down the street….

The Afton (For real, we would love to live here)

Payette Brewing (We are hoping this will be our Maclarens *HIMYM reference*)

The Fowler aka “Roost”-Boise’s first mixed use apartment project! 159 apartments, live work units, retail and more. Where Old Boise becomes New Boise.

Coming soon directly across the street from our condo…Embassy Suits Hotel, Hilton Hotel and Parking structure, thanks to Gardner Company. Read about it here.

Capital Building Boise

Grove Construction Downtown Boise

Sky view of Grove in downtown Boise

Farmer's market in downtown Boise

Empty Street in downtown Boise

Mat and Lacey in downtown Boise

Capital Building in downtown Boise

Capital Building and Farmer's Market in downtown Boise

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Lifestyle Reviews

Top 15 from 2015

December 30, 2015

Being that it’s New Years Eve, Eve…we thought it would be appropriate to look back on some of our more memorable experiences from 2015.  We narrowed it down to 15 simply because “Top 15 from 2015” sounded kinda cool.  In 2015, among other things, we watched some sausages race each other, hung out at a waterfall, walked 100 stories over a city, dropped it like it’s hot, and participated in a very important ceremony 😉

When we were putting this post together, we were a little intimidated with trying to figure out a way to make 2016 live up to the year we just had, but that’s a problem we look forward to dealing with. We have been so fortunate and blessed to have had the chance to experience so many amazing events in just 12 short months.

Here are our top 15 for 2015. Hopefully you won’t be surprised with what landed at #1…

15. Brewers vs Cardinals (Milwaukee)

Our seats at Miller Park were AMAZING! It also didn’t hurt that the home team (and underdog) won! Not much better than a sun-filled day at a stadium eating hot dogs and nachos.  Mat was super excited to see the mascot go down the slide after a home run.  We also got to see the famous racing sausages in the 7th inning stretch!

Sausage Race. Miller Park, Milwaukee

The Sausages ran right by us!

14. Halloween

For being last minute outfits, we loved how they turned out! Not to mention we got to hang with our closest friends and have an epic dance party. Don’t play Rhi Rhi unless you want Lacey to put on her own concert.  Our friends had some epic costumes as well.  There was a seductively creepy Bob Ross, Wayne & Garth, Ace Ventura, and some Minions.

Halloween-Day-of-Dead

13. Christmas Snowboarding

Santa (Mat) successfully hid a snowboard under the tree for Lacey to find Christmas morning.  After a couple cups of coffee in our pajamas, we headed up to Bogus Basin for a half day of snowboarding.  There was plenty of snow and plenty of room for us to hit jumps, eat shit, wipe the snow off our heads and do it again!

Mat & Lacey Bogus-Basin

12. Collie Buddz (Phoenix)

On our way home from Cabo during Thanksgiving week, we had an overnight layover in Phoenix.  It turns out this was a blessing in disguise because Collie Buddz was performing that same night!  Collie Buddz is one of our favorite Reggae/Hip-hop artists and he sings the song (Gimme Love) that we used as our first dance song at our wedding reception.

Collie Buddz Phoenix

11. Michael Franti (Boise)

Another of our favorite musicians came to town this summer to perform at the beautiful Botanical Gardens.  This super high energy show was one that left us reminded of what’s truly important in life.  …enjoying each other, loving each other, and having an awesome time while doing it!  Michael Franti is the artist behind the song “Life is Better with You“, which became the theme of our wedding in Cabo.  #LifeIsBetterWithYou!!!

Michael Franti Boise, ID

10. Snoop Dogg (Boise)

I think we were both very surprised that this concert made our top 15.  We both knew the concert would be fun, but had no idea just how much fun we would have.  It was a blast!  Mat rapped every line of every song, taking him back to the age of 13 when he used to listen to Snoop religiously AND Lace booty popped and c-walked to the sick rhymes Mat was bustin’.  Toss in a couple of good friends and this results in the #10 best experience of the year!

Snoop Dogg Drop it Like It's Hot

9. Water Slide Birthday Party (Hagerman)

Lacey’s family were the creative minds behind this awesome idea.  We pulled up to their house to find a GIGANTIC bouncy castle-like water slide set up in their back yard.  The day resulted in tons of (sketchy at times) fun for us and everyone else that attended.  You can check out the full details along with the video in a previous post here.

Lacey Water Slide | DitchingNormal

8. Jump Creek Falls (Marsing)

Jump Creek is a hidden gem about an hour away from where we live and we had no idea it was there until this summer! This waterfall destination ended up being quite spectacular, much to our surprise. Read more about this day trip here.

Jump Creek | Ditching Normal

7. Luke Bryan (Boise)

It is going to be hard to top this concert. Everything just fell into place for us to see Luke Bryan. When the tickets first went on sale they sold out before we could grab any. Mat was able to purchase floor tickets just weeks before the concert was in town, which worked out way better than our original plan. We had margaritas at home before riding our bikes to Taco Bell Arena and rocking out just feet away from the stage.

6. Bachelorette Party (Portland)

Lacey got to experience Portland for the first time while attending a friend’s bachelorette party and had an absolute blast! They stayed right downtown at Hotel Modera, shopped at Nordstrom (obviously), ate to their hearts’ content at the many food trucks and danced the night away at Holocene. Finding a dance club in Portland was difficult, but they knew it was “their spot” when they walked in and Rhianna’s “B**** Betta Have My Money” was playing. On a classier note, the girls even had a fancy dinner at Departure which sits on top of The Nines Hotel.

Lacey-Bachelorette Party Portland

5. Willis Tower (Chicago)

Chicago quickly became a favorite city of Mat’s following his visit this summer.  While Gino’s East had delicious pizza and the baseball game at Wrigley Field was amazing…nothing will top the experience from the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).  Standing in the glass box looking down 100+ stories will make for a life long memory.  The full details of this trip can be found in a previous post here.

view from the Skydeck Ledge in the Willis Tower, Chicago | DitchingNormal

The Skydeck “Ledge” was an experience I’ll never forget. 103 stories down.

4. San Francisco Weekend Getaway (September)

We fit in so many experiences in the long weekend that we were in San Francisco. This city holds a special place for us because it is where we met nine years ago (exactly nine in a few weeks!). We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and hiked in Muir Woods. We had breakfast at The Mill then hung out in Alamo Square Park like the Tanners. One of the most amazing experiences of the weekend was drinking cocktails while looking at the views of the city from the 39th floor of The View Lounge. Our last morning we sipped coffee at the hidden rooftop garden of the One Kearny building. You can read all about our San Francisco trip in this post and this post.

Golden Gate Bridge | DitchingNormal

3. Thanksgiving (Cabo San Lucas)

Our highly-anticipated vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cabo fully lived up to our expectations. This week was packed full of food and delicious pina colladas. The gorgeous weather and surroundings definitely accounted for one of the most memorable weeks of our year. Read a recap of it here.

2. Make the (wedding) Cake Party (Cabo San Lucas)

On the eve of our wedding, our friends and family gathered in the kitchen of our villa to help us make our second most memorable event of the year….and our wedding cake. That’s right, our closest friends and family helped us make our wedding cake the night before our ceremony. Talk about special! This also ended up being a little rowdy because some tequila and flash tattoos were involved. It was such an amazing feeling to have everyone that we loved and loved us be involved in this intimate activity. Mat was the mastermind behind this idea and it was a huge success. Read all about it here.

Lacey Stirring Wedding Cake Mix | DitchingNormal

1.Wedding Ceremony (Cabo San Lucas)

A very special group of family and friends gathered in a white domed gazebo in the Pedregal Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  One of our best friends officiated the ceremony and many of our family and friends shared stories, advice, and loving words with us.  Lacey’s father wrote and recited a blessing over our marriage while our guests stood around us.  We couldn’t have asked for a more intimate, heart felt, personal, and beautiful wedding ceremony.  This is undoubtedly our #1 experience of 2015…and likely of our lives.

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

 

Needless to say, it’s going to be hard to top the year that we have had, because it’s not every year you get to marry your best friend. 2015, you rocked our socks!

We are so excited for what experiences lay ahead for us and look forward to continue simplifying our life to make room for what is important: making memories with family and friends. And of course traveling as much as possible.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Bring it, 2016!

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Reviews

JUMP Center Boise. Still Confusing.

December 27, 2015

Last weekend, we attended one of the open houses that the JUMP Center was holding for the public. We have been excited about this project in downtown Boise for many reasons. We are always excited to see new additions to our little city, but this was especially exciting because the JUMP Center is our new neighbor!

We have been keeping up with this new development since it’s early stages and admittedly were a little confused on the concept of the building from what we had read. Well, since attending the open house, we’re now even more confused. Perhaps it is my total lack of right brained-ness (I worked at a private art school for years-I’m used to not understanding my creative counterparts), but even Mat who is creative had a hard time figuring out what our community would do with this building.

Let’s start with the first floor.

Level 1-Kitchen Studio

The kitchen was very pretty and open to the rest of the floor. I’m assuming cooking classes will be held here, which I can get on board with. There was a giant, odd shaped booth near the kitchen. Does this mean it will also act as a restaurant where patrons can order food? If not, the booth makes zero sense. Maybe you could host an event in the main floor and have your caterer utilize the kitchen? I’m not sure what the constrains are on renting out the JUMP Center. Moving onto Level 3 (yep, no Level 2, because that makes sense).

Level 3-The Garden Terrace

I’m wondering if the designers of this building had Idaho’s climate confused with that of Southern California’s. I would guess about 60-70% of the building is uncovered. Realistically, how many months out of the year can we use outdoor seating/space in this area? I think saying four months a year is generous. The entire third level is an outside terrace, which, don’t get me wrong, will have beautiful views of the urban garden and downtown sights once it’s complete, but how often will it actually get used?

Level 4-Multimedia Studio & Inspiration Studio

The fourth floor consisted of two tiny boxed in rooms. The rest of it was, you guessed it, outside and uncovered. Each room was probably 600 square feet. The Multimedia Studio at least had some sound equipment that could be rented out, but the Inspiration Studio was just a room of windows. Again, the views are great, but what will the room be used for by people of our community?

Level 5-Movement Studio, Maker’s Studio & JUMP Room

I enjoyed walking through the Movement Studio (aka a dance studio with huge windows) because I was able to watch a student and a teacher that I had worked with at the previously mentioned arts school. I have always loved watching any type of dancing and I enjoyed getting to watch the open workshop they were putting on for the open house. The dance studio looked gorgeous with all of the windows, and I’m hoping I can talk Mat into taking some classes in the future!

The Maker’s Studio was quite small, but included my favorite volunteer that we ran into that day, so that helped my take on this part of the center. He seemed so enthusiastic about what this room offered, that it was hard to not feel his excitement. The Maker’s Studio included a 3D printer, which still blows my mind how those things work. I was confused on how the public could use the 3D printer however, since I know how expensive and complicated they can be to run. It must be something you have to schedule and pay for, but that is still unclear.

The JUMP Room was essentially a large open room that could be used for a variety of events I assume. The informational sheet they gave us stated that it was “designed with flexibility in mind…a space of endless possibilities; from indoor winter markets to community art installations.” I was expecting the rest of the JUMP Center to consist of more spaces like the JUMP Room.

Level 6-Pioneer Room and Vintage Tractors & Steam Engines

The Pioneer Room was my absolute favorite. Perhaps that is because they had several performers set up in this room for the open house, including another old co-worker performing aerial silks, which was phenomenal. This was another very large open room with gorgeous views. The info sheet stated it is an “ideal space for inspirational speakers, performances, fundraiser, and other special events.”

To be honest, I didn’t spend much time looking at the vintage tractors or steam engines. It’s December in Idaho, so I spent as little time outside as possible. I was also a little bummed that the five story slide isn’t open yet. Yes, I realize I’m not 12, but I’m probably more excited to try out the slide than most 12 year-olds.

To sum up, we are excited for this addition in downtown Boise, but we are still pretty confused how we will use 90% of it. We do know that once the urban garden is complete we will at least walk through it as a short cut to BoDo, but other than that, we will have to wait and see.

Let us know what you think about the Boise JUMP Center!

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