Super Bowl 50

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Super Bowl 50

Note: This post is a few years over due but still a trip of a lifetime. Below is our NFL Super Bowl 50 experience! ! !

the scoop

This was a trip of a lifetime. Like really it was a trip we can never repeat again! 

To start this story off right, I have to tell you how we won tickets to the Super Bowl. Every year, my husband enters us and everyone in our family in the NFL ticket lottery. You have to mail a letter in with specific information. Yes mail. Funny side note, last year when he was entering us and bugging me for stamps. I was semi-annoyed and said "Why do you enter in this anyway, we will never win!" See you have to enter in late February through May and just when we had forgotten about it, my husband called me at work to let me know that he had been selected! I love it when I am proved wrong, okay not really but definitely in this situation. Without hesitation I knew we had to go. We just had to. The NFL ticket lottery provides real fans a chance to buy tickets in late August/early September at the lowest face value that is posted. In full disclosure, these tickets were $500/each. Definitely the most expensive tickets we have ever purchased but well worth it for this once in a lifetime experience. To top off everything, this was Super Bowl 50, what a milestone, and it was in San Francisco, where my sister lives! Double win! And it was in the brand new state of the art Levi Stadium. We were beyond ecstatic. We booked our flights and hotel shortly after we found out we won tickets before the season even really started. It didn't matter who was playing, we would be there.

Fast forward to late January and our current hometown team, the Denver Broncos, were going to be playing! If the Cowboys are not going to be there, then Denver is definitely my second choice team. This would end up being Peyton Manning's last game, ever. What a special game to go to. Needless to say we had some very jealous friends in Denver.

Here is a recap of our Super Bowl 50 experience!

Thursday

Super Bowl City

Super Bowl City was in San Francisco at Embarcadaro. The stadium is in Santa Clara, 45 minutes away from the city, so all of the pre-game events were in San Fran. San Francisco is one of the coolest cities in America, easily. It has trendy food spots, wine galore, and so many fun activities! Literally everywhere you go it is the trendiest, coolest ambiance. We loved all the special details that this event offered from the food to the wine to the activities. It was just awesome. There are tons of interactive games that include everything from a virtual QB experience to jumping around and dancing like DDR to riding b. Of course we had to do all of them. During the virtual QB game - Ben was selected by an LA news station for an interview. It just so happens my dad was there on a layover and was able to catch it on tv! We were also in the background of several ESPN interviews and discussions. This a premiere event and there was so much to do and be a part of. We LOVED it. My advice is to go to the event during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. We went on Thursday and it was much less crowded that on Friday evening and Saturday.

One of the coolest things about Super Bowl City, is that it is all free, yes FREE! Something the NFL puts on is FREE! There were even free concerts. On Thursday evening, we went to the Little Big Town concert. It was so much fun.

 
 

Friday

Chinatown

We ventured down to Chinatown on Friday during the day to try Hunan Home. Ben found it on Yelp! and had been dying to go try it. It was DELICIOUS! We also ended up seeing Eddie Lacy there eating. The whole town was crawling with football players. Ben was thrilled. 

 
 

I tried the sizzling rice soup, it was amazing! I highly recommend it. I am trying to find a place that makes it in Denver!

I meant to get pictures of our food but clearly we devoured it too quickly. I guess you could say we were completely satisfied!! Can anyone spot Eddie Lacy in this photo?

NFL Experience

One of the must dos at any Super Bowl is to go to the NFL Experience. This is an event you have to pay to go to but it is very reasonably priced. Tickets ranged from $30-45. My husband did so much research for all of our activities this week and found a "flexible pass" for the NFL Experience. We assumed this mean any of the 7-8 days that it was open. We decided to go on Friday, which was supposed to be one of the biggest days there. Unfortunately, when we picked up the tickets at will call we found out that the tickets we purchased had expired on Thursday evening. Annoyed, my husband re-purchased two tickets for Friday. He was frustrated but at the end of the day we were at the Super Bowl and we really, really wanted to go in and see all the exhibits. As you have seen previously, this was a premiere week in San Francisco and famous players and sports gurus were everywhere. I mean just a few feet from so many talented people. So we just chalked it up to the small print and purchased two more tickets.

So here is where the story gets better... before we went to the NFL experience, my husband was looking online at the schedule of players and football gurus and saw that one of our all-time favorite Cowboys players, Troy Aikman, was going to be there at the TD Ameritrade booth. I instantly became fixated on getting to meet Troy and getting his autograph. As soon as we got there, I power walked to the TD Ameritrade booth, where we were informed with a few other Cowboys fans that it was a misprint and Troy was actually not going to be doing a public meet and greet, he was only there for a private event. I was extremely disappointed and embarrisingly whiney about it. Ben and I spent a few hours at the NFL Experience, and everything was so crowded. We were only able to participate in one of the exhibits because of the wait time. We realized, although too late, that there was an express pass for $10 more that would allow you to cut the lines. This was completely sold out by the time we realized it. But there was plan in all of this that was MUCH better than we could have ever expected! 

Watch this video to see how it all went down:

A few minutes after we won the tickets, we were still in shock!

Saturday

Saturday we were ecstatic about the next day! We went to eat brunch at Boogaloos and it was amazing! We also spent some time on my sister's rooftop deck with some of the most amazing views of San Francisco.

Sunday

Super Bowl Day!

We decided to take the Amtrak from Hayward to the stadium. There is a stop right next to the stadium. This was easily the best decision we made because the train was not crowded at all, it was clean, nice, and the ride was smooth! We had such a fun time sitting on the train giddy with excitement about the day ahead.

Since we currently live in Denver, I promised one of my sweet friends I would wear her Denver Broncos socks and earrings if they went to the Super Bowl. She demanded proof that morning!

We arrived at the stadium around 9 am, unfortunately gates were not opening for an hour and a half so we walked ALL.THE.WAY.AROUND Levi Stadium to get to the one gate that was open. We found a Cowboys Super Bowl ring so we had to stop for a photo op.

We are SO glad that we went to the stadium earlier. The security line was quite long, however, we found someone to talk to about getting our tickets that we wont through the NFL Lottery and he brought all 4 of us to a special gate where there were only about 4 other people going through line. We felt like we were so cool and important. haha funny how that happens huh?

Inside the gates there is SO MUCH TO DO! It is so cool. There are press events, free snacks & promo items, free concerts, and more. We highly recommend going in as early as you can so you don't miss anything.

The Game

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Writing this post has made me want to go back to the Super Bowl a hundred times over. This was one of the most fun trips we have taken! 

clear eyes, full heart, can't lose -

chels sig.png
 

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DIY Series: Bathroom Remodel (Before + After)

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DIY Series: Bathroom Remodel (Before + After)

I am so excited to share our before + afters of our bathroom renovation! I will share more details on how it all happened in the future but it is fun to just share the transformation at this point! The functionality improvement is so noticeable and has really improved our daily life in a small space. This is our only bathroom in the house so its an important one!

Before:

Vanity - Before

Something about the brown floors were just so dingy. Also in a tiny house you need vanity storage. period. This pedestal sink just wasn't cutting it.

After:

Vanity - After

We went with a Home Decorator's simple grey vanity with plenty of storage. I am so happy about this! I will take pictures soon of my linen closet. It just freed up so much room & improved how we get ready in the morning. Also toilet paper is now in the actual bathroom! We switched the location of the toilet and vanity so that it was a more normal layout.

Vanity Mirror + Light
Light Fixture

Before we just had a huge mirror that covered the entire wall and a light fixture that was really close to eye level and it was also rusting. Also we had beatboard with a ledge that we ended up using to set all of our bathroom junk on.

Vanity Mirror + Light

I love how simple the vanity area is now. We have a place for all our bathroom things and we can easily get ready and then put everything away in the vanity. I prefer to have nothing on my counters. The new light fixture is at a more appropriate height and brightens up the whole bathroom. 

Medicine Cabinet

This medicine cabinet was above our toilet before and it was really inconvenient. Frequently things would fall out and fall into the toilet, GROSS! We made the unusual decision to just get rid of it and dry wall over the hole. I still stand by this decision 100%. My husband and I have never been huge medicine cabinet people so it is not missed at all.

Hand Towel - After

After removing the medicine cabinet, we had free wall space to FINALLY hang a hand towel! Previously, when we first moved in we had a hand towel rod and I am not even kidding the first day we lived here I tried to wipe my hands and the whole thing just broke off and that was the end of that. This has been so convenient and I love that we were able to use this space efficiently.

Shelves - After
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Since we decided to go with a more normal mirror size, we gained enough space to do over the toilet storage. This is prime real estate in a small house! We decided to go with open shelving that were both functional and cute. Let's be real, I like the cuteness. I use the cotton squares to remove my eye makeup and the cotton swabs daily so having them in a functional place has been really nice!

Toilet - Before

I feel so weird putting pics up of my toilet but oh well. So this toilet had PROBLEMS! First you had to pull the handle towards you to flush which is backwards. Also it would get stuck when people flushed and would run the whole time until you jiggled it. It was so annoying!

Toilet - After

Ahh I am obsessed with this toilet! Is that weird? It is elongated and sleek. I specifically really wanted NO piping to be showing and the smooth surface to the floor for easy cleaning and not letting gunk get on there like dog hair and other unmentionables. Anyways, I could not be more happy about this purchase!

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See there is no piping showing on the side? It is so easy to clean! 

The other reason we moved the toilet and vanity is that previously if you were using the restroom and didn't shut the door then people walking on the sidewalk or that came up to the front door could just see you. Probably TMI but this has been really nice to have these switched.

Shower Faucet - Before

As this picture shows, this shower head would frequently turn in all different directions and wouldn't stay in one position while you were showering. This probably contributed to the mold below and also led to some funny stories of people showering at our house and accidentally spraying the whole bathroom with water.

Shower Faucet - After

My husband and I love rain shower heads but we didn't want to re-route plumbing through the ceiling so this was a great compromise. We LOVE this big shower head. We also moved it up about 6 inches so that it would be at a better height. We also decided to tile all the way to ceiling which has turned out to be one of our best design decisions. It makes the space look bigger. We also decided to go with a slightly smaller subway tile with a matte finish that coordinates with our flooring tile. Subway tile just looked too shiny next to the flooring.

See mold in picture above corner and around the edges. YUCK. Also you couldn't have taken a bath even if you wanted to because we had no stopper! There was some water corrosion around all the fixtures and we had some hot water problems due to the old galvanized piping. We replaced all galvanized piping that related to the bathroom so that has made a huge difference! 

We love the new fixtures and bathtub! They are just clean and new and work like they should. We went with a Kohler simple cast iron tub and its awesome. Our contractor also did a lot of work in the corner of the tub to try to prevent future mold issues, which we are really thankful for!

We had a shelf in our shower and it had two ledges which seemed odd to us. We didn't expect that there would be any piping behind there since the other side of this wall is our closet. When we opened the wall, there was nothing else there! They just framed it weird.

Bathtub.jpg

We love this slightly bigger shower shelf. It is so convenient for all our bathroom items and our contractor even angled it slightly so water runs back into the shower instead of sitting there and creating mold issues.

Bathtub.jpg

Anyone else's husbands hate all the bathroom products you leave in the shower? :)

We had bulky rugs previously that covered a lot of the brown flooring.

We kept our same shower curtain since i had just bought it a few months prior and got a simple round white rug from World Market. The mid-century modern hexagon tile is so smooth and nice. My husband is not a huge fan of the tiny white hexagon tile that most people put in old homes but I still really liked hexagon tile. We love this tile and get so many compliments from friends.

Thanks for stopping by to check out our renovation before + afters! This project went SO smoothly compared to our kitchen renovation. It was only 8 business days and they were completely done. We loved our contractor!

So fresh and so clean -

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Bathroom Remodel

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DIY Series: Bathroom Remodel

When I first started this post, we were starting our bathroom renovation the next week, then life happened and managing a renovation the week of the Women's Retreat I have been planning for 9 months just made things crazier so I never actually published! Anyways - back again to give all the details.

It was a process to get 4-5 quotes over the last few months with all of our travel and hosting family in March, work out the details with the contractor we chose, and ultimately decide we were going to move forward with the project from a financial perspective (renos ain't cheap, let me tell ya!). We ended up using a contractor that came highly recommended to us through a friend of a friend. I always love using someone that someone we personally have a connection to used because it just gives an extra level of comfort that the project will be done well and that they won't do something shady like take your money and run. There are some crazy contractor stories in Denver due to the current housing market and large number of old homes. We decided to do a full gut of the bathroom and despite the title of DIY Series, we are not doing anything ourselves. We only have one bathroom in our house so time is of the essence in this case. Our contractor promised that the entire bathroom would be done in one week and I am pleased to report it took 8 week days and that is pretty amazing. We also host people in our home at least twice a week so we just really wanted this done quickly and all put back together as soon as possible. My mom also came to visit Mother's Day weekend so that was pretty much our deadline.

Our inspiration for this bathroom is fresh and clean. Our bathroom is pretty small (about 10 by 7 feet in total including the bathtub) so we just wanted it to be functional and clean. The previous owner(s) renovated this bathroom several years ago and there are so many weird things about it. The beat board is damaged and drips of paint are visible. There were areas with caulking covering up holes in the wall. Also the light fixture is rusting. Again it is just a MESS. There was even some mold peaking through the corner of the bathtub that they previously tried to cover up with more caulking before we moved in.

We are going with a grey and white color palette. Surprise, surprise! After selecting your contractor the next hardest part of this process is picking all of the materials and staying within your budget. We originally really wanted carrara marble in the shower and on the floor but after calculating the price and learning more about the upkeep of a natural stone we decided to go with more affordable options that require no maintenance. I would describe the look of this bathroom in more of the mid-century modern classic style. Below are the materials we decided to go with:

We absolutely love the feel and look of the Moen faucet we purchased for our kitchen so we decided to go with all Moen brushed nickel fixtures in the bathroom. They are just so smooth and a really good quality. We were also confident that all of the fixtures would match if we stuck with one brand.

I am excited to show you the before and after in the next post! :)

So fresh and so clean -

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Home Projects for 2017

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DIY Series: Home Projects for 2017

This year I am doing Lara Casey's Power Sheets, which I LOVE by the way! I intended to do a whole post on my goals for the year but you know work and 10-Ks and coordinating a move with our church to a new building and ski season have just really taken over... Maybe I will do one later this month though. Anyways, one of my goals is of course home projects for the year. In Denver, everyone goes dormant in the winter then as April starts to come around the whole city kicks it into over drive and does a TON of home improvement projects. The rush is real. Contractors just stop caring and are so over booked there is a wait list of like 6 weeks just to get a bid, it is really something else. Each year I try to start getting bids in March so I can get on the schedule for renovations.

Ben and I had our annual meeting to discuss our house to dos so we can stay focused this spring and summer and accomplish our goals! Here is what we have narrowed down the list to:

  • Bathroom
    • Full gut and renovation (I am so excited... I already have two contractors scheduled to come out this Friday to give us quotes)
    • See my inspiration here!
  • Basement
    • Replace the carpet with vinyl wood-esque flooring
    • Do something with our exposed brick wall (yes, yes I know everyone loves it in theory but its not sanitary, it is crumbling, and just not really practical... We are probably going to put up dry wall.)
    • Fix the windows
    • Paint all of the doors, trim, and ceiling with fresh white paint
    • Paint the rest of the walls grey
  • Paint the front door & fix a piece of glass that has been broken since we bought our home
  • Paint front porch ceiling with a fresh coat of white paint and switch out our old light fixture
  • Backyard
    • Re-seed & re-vitalize our grass (unfortunately it died and dried up last year after we sodded)
    • Expand our garden by building some raised garden beds (SO excited about this!!)
    • Refinish deck (the Colorado sun is so intense!)
    • Organize storage under our deck
    • Setup our outdoor fire pit
    • Purchase an electric smoker (Ben is beside himself he is so excited about this... he at one point was telling me we could smoke 100 lbs of meat... Good LORD.. what are we gonna do with 100 lbs of meat!!)
  • Front yard
    • Re-fresh our front yard flower bed areas by pulling up our old rose bushes
    • Re-vitalize our grass and mud patch (we finally killed all the weeds but now its just dirt)
    • Pull up and replace a ginormous prickle bush by our porch
  • Miscellaneous
    • Patch some wall areas around our new Nest and light switch plates then touch up the paint
    • Replace our old smoke detector with the Nest CO2 and smoke alarm
    • Replace the light fixture in the entry way
    • Replace the light fixture in the hallway to our bedroom
    • Poly the handrail & post
      • This is leftover from last summer and really we have just been procrastinating like its nobody's business and could easily do this before the spring/summer arrives.

I will keep you updated with our progress this year. Our next plan is to finalize our timeline and budget for each of these projects!

Planning is my middle name -

Chelsea
 

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DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door

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DIY Series: Backdoor & Storm Door

Since we have moved into this house we have had heating and air condition problems. It is a 1910 home and we are lucky to even have HVAC in Denver. Most friends do not have this luxury. We have no insulation in our house. Like zero. Behind this plaster is brick.. well hopefully (wink wink). In one instance, we removed the baseboard to the left of the door and we were able to see straight outside. This was also the case next to the pantry. (No wonder there was once a mouse problem...) Our food would be COLD, like icicle cold, in the winter in our old pantry. We wanted to get this door and door jam repaired since it is original to our home but unfortunately the door was just too warped. Look at the top left corner of the door. It was bowing out significantly and we were able to literally see outside at all times. This created a bug problem and also our house was losing air quickly. Throughout the last 100 years or so, this door faced the elements and the storm door was offering little to no protection at this point. So it was concluded we needed to replace the original back door (cue Nicole Curtis yelling at me...) and my dad graciously gifted us a new storm door & installation for a house warming present.

Funny story: When we first bought our house my step mom came in town to help us with a few projects. When she first got here we went to Home Depot to purchase supplies for the weekend projects and I was asking Ben for a new storm door because the one originally at the house would slam shut so loud and it actually ripped several pieces of clothing because it was broken. This was week 2 of owning our first home and Ben was like "No! We can't spend all our money right now!" haha soo my step mom told my dad this story when she got home because real adult life set in for us. Since that day my dad has been set on gifting us a storm door!

This sound so silly but I have been absolutely so excited about this! You will see why below but the full glass allows for this mini indoor/outdoor feel that I just love when having guests over to sit on the back porch under the twinkle lights! Also I like to leave it open when I am cooking to look outside and get all the natural light possible! It even has a self closing mechanism so NO MORE SLAMMING! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this the most about the new storm door. Anyways back to the back door...

Here is a before shot from inside our kitchen. Looking back on it, the door was rough.

I really wanted to keep the integrity of the home and this meant ordering a custom wood door. We went to The Door Store in Denver and their prices were really reasonable (actually WAY cheaper than Home Depot) and they had a style that was really close to our original door. The only detail we lost was the look of the 4 windows. I truly like the all glass because again it lets in more light and I can look outside unobstructed.

This is the day our contractor installed the new door!

I will get into a few other problems we had with the door that are common with old homes and shows you just how much craftsmanship went into this from our contractor. You can see above that the concrete slab under the door was crumbling. Also the deck is right up against the doorway so this causes water to pool up against the house. In addition, the wood around the transom was rotted. Basically we needed help. Our contractor suggested that he could add concrete to stabilize the door below the new threshold, he could add another picture window in front of the original transom to increase energy efficiency and he could install some decking to redirect water away from our house. No sooner than he discussed this with us, we had a major rain and hail storm in Denver. The water came pouring in our kitchen on the newly finished hardwood floors. We had cardboard all over the floors to protect them and the water soaked underneath and to top it all off our floors are of course uneven so we were in a scramble to clean up all the water in the kitchen. Thankfully we were home and heard the water gushing in so we were able to act fast. Once we thought that we had averted this crisis, we went to the basement and there was water everywhere in our office. Oh joy. So we decided we should proceed with making some additional repairs to this back door area to reduce the risk of future water issues. We absolutely do not regret this add on to our project.

Next it was time to pick a door color. We decided that we wanted something bright and fresh for the door. Because why not? On Snapchat I asked friends to weigh on what color to pick. Ultimately we decided to go with the far left color. My signature turquoise... Ben keeps calling it green. I highly disagree. (wink, wink)

After we painted the door, our contractor installed our new storm door! Isn't it beautiful? It has a feature where you can pull down the glass halfway and it turns into a screen. This is so nice to have in Denver. I pretty much leave the back door open all the time now! You can also see the new grey decking that diverts water and snow from the doorway.

After installation of the door, this is what the inside looked like. I was insistent that we keep the original molding around the door so it looked quite rough right after installation. We caulked and painted all the molding and it changed the look of this door dramatically. I was also insistent that we keep the original door handle. However, the latch was very old and a weird shape so we found an online shop that sells antique hardware parts that would allow us to still use our doorknob but were smaller in overall size so wouldn't threaten the integrity of the new door. Door knobs are so complicated! The metal stick that actually turns the door open is a 5/16" square pole. This is not the standard anymore. But luckily for about $25 we were able to order a new inside piece from House of Antique Hardware. I learned a lot about door handles and latches through this process. We specifically ordered this one. This website has tons of great info and I went to the glossary often to determine exactly what we needed and called their customer service #. They were great to work with!

Below is an in progress shot of the finishing details. Again it is so amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your space! Cheapest way to freshen it up!

After:

Some of my favorite elements about the backdoor project are:

  • Buying a traditional wood back door from the Door Store and painting it a fun color! We didn't lose the charm of the old house.
  • Keeping the original doorknob (We just replaced the inner latch hardware through House of Antique Hardware, which has parts for old door knobs and sells antique hardware.)
  • Replacing the light switch plates with fresh, clean ones from Wall Plates Online. (Found lovely mouse poop when I took the old wall plate off.)
  • Putting a fresh coat of white paint on all the trim around the door and in the kitchen to really clean it up!
  • Adding a fun and eclectic rug from West Elm!

P.S. Sorry you can see me in the reflection in ALL of these pictures haha. 

Chelsea
 

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