Utah is for Burgers

Since leaving New York in June of 2015 people have been asking us, “Have you been to Utah yet?” When I thought of Utah I had visions of Mormons and weird liquor laws. I thought back to the time my ex-boyfriend was on tour through Salt Lake City and got stuck by a broken down van then threatened by militant straight-edge kids. As someone who had previously not been particularly outdoorsy I didn’t really picture much else.

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Utah is full of surprises.

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In Moab we found this amazing sign for a restaurant that boasts the best margaritas a specialty we did not get to sample due to it being very early in the day.

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Everything looks insane in Utah. No matter what direction you’re looking in it’s more than likely going to be spectacular.

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We skipped all the national parks because of a combination of time constraints, general brokeness and already being absolutely flabbergasted by the landscape no one felt the need to charge admission for.

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We spent a few nights holed up on BLM land where we encountered another storm that left beautiful patterns in the ground after it moved on.

At that same BLM land there were actual dinosaur tracks preserved by a combination of good fortune and algae.

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There are signs all along I-70 beckoning you to pull over and take in a scenic overlook. We were able to resist the call of most, but one proclaiming “GHOST ROCK” was too good to pass up. We were not disappointed. It was like a scaled down Grand Canyon. It had all the majesty and none of the crowds.

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After Ghost Rock I noticed that Kyle had turned off Tom, our GPS. He said it was an accident but it didn’t matter because we knew we were continuing down the 70, so it was fine. After a while I re-entered our destination. When we were getting close Kyle started telling me a story and missed the exit. It was six miles down the road before we could turn around again and as we had just made a rule that banned back-tracking more than five miles Kyle decided we should just head on to the next stop. Forty-nine miles down the road.

Now I knew something was up. Kyle doesn’t like driving more than a hundred miles in a day. And while, yes, we were slightly behind schedule, we weren’t THREE HUNDRED MILES behind schedule.

So what was so important? What could possibly be in Washington, Utah that just couldn’t wait? That warranted driving hundreds (HUNDREDS!) of miles?

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That’s right. In-N-Out.

You can take the boy out of Southern California, but you can’t take the Southern California out of the boy.


News!

We are gearing up for Designer Con 2017 where Kyle is organizing another custom show, this time with Willos AND Blooms.

We’ll be in booth 1434 – so come visit us in Pasadena on November 11th and 12th!

In addition to the show we’ll have enamel pins, trading cards, and other fun surprises! It’s going to be the best. We love DCon.

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Happenstance 3 – The Coloradoing

We bid farewell to my family in Boulder and continued westward to see what the Rockies had to offer. Our first stop was a rest area in Georgetown that looked like this because everything between Denver and Vegas is absolutely breathtaking. It. Just. Doesn’t. Stop.

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Immediately after this photo was taken a bald eagle flew by. I am being 100% serious.

Our next stop was in a little town called Frisco in Summit County, Colorado – home to places you’ve actually heard of, like Keystone and Breckenridge. One of the cool things about Summit County is the free bus system that drives around so you don’t have to. With the amount of bars and breweries we saw, this was definitely a good thing. Also it’s a lot easier for us to catch a bus and see the sights than figure out what to do with Sandwich.

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We never made it to Keystone, but given the choice between Frisco and Breckenridge I’d choose Frisco any day. This might have something to do with the fact that I don’t ski, but Breckenridge made us feel poor. I’m not sure how else to describe it. There was an overall feeling of wealth and privilege that just made us uncomfortable. There was, however, one holdout of gentrification: a used book store called Old Man Berkins that was spectacular. They had rare books, they had popular books, children’s books, cook books, crafting books and incredibly weird greeting cards made by the owner.

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We overheard the guy who was working saying that there are two pianos in the space and for ages they had ragers in the bookstore with live music and booze. The fun was ruined by some new neighbors who called the cops with a noise complaint.

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Back in Frisco we decided to hit up a brewery near where we were parking called Outer Range. My first comment to Kyle was that it reminded me of one of our favorite breweries in Brooklyn: Other Half. We got to talking to John the bartender and found out that Lee, the owner, had done an internship at Other Half before opening his own space. Because as always the world is smaller and weirder than you could ever imagine.

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John is working on a Sprinter Van conversion, and an avid camper – so he gave us tons of tips on where to stay that weren’t the incredibly cramped Walmart parking lot near the brewery. We immediately took his advice that first night and were rewarded with this view for the next few days:

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We were also rewarded with some beers he brought us after his shift ended. We heard a knock on the door and assumed the worst, but it was just our new friend with a four pack.

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After five days or so in Frisco we were having trouble breathing (it’s almost ten thousand feet in the air) and decided continue on. We were also desperate for a shower. In over two years on the road we had never gone more than ten days between proper showers, until the Rockies. We were low on water and there were no Planet Fitnesses along the way, so we made do with whore’s baths and not getting too close to anyone. After a shower in Grand Junction we eventually ended up on BLM land in Mack, Colorado where the weather turned on us.

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Maybe that’s why the mouse got in

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If you haven’t checked out my Patreon yet, please do!

Boulder, Land of Rocks

Hello again! Sorry about dropping off the planet for a little while – we spent two weeks bouncing around the Rockies followed by the state of Utah which has the least reliable wifi I’ve ever encountered. I’ve finally been able to get some by sitting in a for sale trailer outside of a Walmart. I wish I was kidding. Anyway! Here’s what we thought about Boulder:

After being disappointed in Denver it was time to check out Boulder where my aunt Katherine has been living for more than a decade. We arrived in town and she directed us to a street we could park Sandwich on without anybody bothering us. I have to say, since getting solar panels back in July boondocking has been such a breeze. We never have to worry about running out of power or annoying our temporary neighbors with our generator. We can just chill out and leave Sandwich behind, as long as she has access to the sun. On of the first things that strikes you about Boulder is that it is IN the Rockies – you’re suddenly very much in the mountains.

We got in around dinner time and Katherine took us to Rayback Collective – a beer garden with rotating food trucks – basically my definition of heaven. They had some really awesome looking Mexican food, but as we’d just come off of two dinners in a row at Illegal Pete’s we got the BBQ.

When we got to Denver Kyle was convinced he had been there before, but that the 16th Street Mall had undergone a tremendous change since his last visit. As it turns out he’d actually been to Boulder and explored the Pearl Street Mall, a much better experience overall. It’s filled with little shops and restaurants and is overall very adorable. They have a candy shop that sells this attack on taste and human decency:

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On our first day we had Mexican food with our friend Amy and had such a good time that we forgot to take pictures, while on our second day we went to Zoe Ma Ma an asian street food restaurant that was so tasty I wanted to cry.

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Katherine took us out for amazing Japanese food at a place called Izakaya Amu. After dinner she had to run and meet a friend, but suggested that we check out Bramble and Hare for a cocktail. Being both bartenders and snobby New Yorkers we’re always wary of unknown cocktail bars, but this place was legit. The cocktails were all made perfectly, I got to taste a variety of Fernet I’d never had and that doesn’t remind me of summer I had to stop drinking Fernet, and the staff was all lovely.

On our final night in town Katherine got some pizza, my cousin Alec came over for dinner, and we went through old family photos. There was a photo of my grandmother in a bikini!

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Here’s a photo from my aunt’s wedding way back in 1987:

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Here’s a photo of my grandparents as newlyweds:

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There’s a photo of my grandmother and all of her children when a number of them thought curls and center parts were the way to go:

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It was a great visit and I’m sure we’ll be spending more time in Colorado. Aside from the elevation it’s a pretty magical place.

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During our hiatus I posted over on Patreon about a mouse named Herbert who lived with us for a little while because I was able to update it from my phone – head on over to check it out!


IT IS OFFICIALLY FALL! There’s all sorts of new stuff up on my Etsy! Go get cozy for autumn!

 

Denver, Colorado Was…Less Than We Hoped For

We sadly bid Fort Collins adieu and made our way south to Denver. Everyone said such good things about it that we wanted to get a few days in before heading to Boulder to visit my aunt. We learned that they had a bunch of paid municipal lots we could park in so we headed downtown to where they were.

As it turns out, the pay to park lots existed, but they were cramped and all the double spaces were separated by chains meaning we couldn’t park in them. That means our introduction to Denver was driving around in circles for an hour – never a good first impression. We finally found a lot we could park in about a fifteen minute walk from the main strip in town and headed over.

I think our first mistake was going to downtown proper instead of making our way to whatever the cool neighborhood on the outskirts is. As it is it felt like we were wandering around Herald Square in Manhattan but with ten times the homeless population. San Francisco is the only other place we’ve seen nearly so many homeless, it was severely off-putting.

In an effort to keep this blog positive here’s a list of the things we enjoyed about Denver!

Illegal Pete’s is a Colorado chain featuring fancier Chipotle style build a bowl Mexican food and a full bar. You can get a pretty decent margarita for about five dollars and they always serve Bloody Mary’s. It was close to where we ended up parking for two nights, so we actually ate there twice. It was good!

-There were a lot of photo booths!
Unfortunately not the proper ones that take four (lies! It always takes longer!) minutes to develop a proper strip of photographs that are slightly damp and smell like eggs for half an hour – but digital ones housed in the old machines that look really decent. My main problem with the digital booths is that the photos always turned out blurry, but these were solid.

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– Almost every business we went into had a sign saying it was a safe space.

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Apparently Colorado has some issues with hate groups warranting this practice, but it was still nice to see.

Fancy Tiger Crafts  is a lovely yarn store on North Broadway.

Immediately I was reminded of Brooklyn General – the store that got me knitting to begin with. They had nothing but the most beautiful supplies and everyone there was so nice. If I had a million dollars I would spend all of it on fancy yarn at that shop. It was the best.

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A hidden designer toy store! We had no idea! They had customs! They had blind boxes! They carry Clutter Magazine! It was adorable. They even had something called “The Trade-in Tree” for blind boxes you wanted to trade back.

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But the creme de la creme was Grandma’s House.

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Grandma’s House is a theme brewery based on, you guessed it, your grandma’s house.

There was a giant TV in a wooden box with a huge dial hooked up to a Super Nintendo. There were doilies. The coasters were all crocheted, the tap handles had been yarn bombed. The music was all from the 80s and very Morrissey heavy. There were tchotchkes everywhere. There was a cross stitch party going on.

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The beers were good and served in jam jars on an E.T. tray. It was definitely my favorite place in Denver and I’m so happy we found it.

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If you want to see all the things I didn’t like about Denver hop on over to the Patreon!

Fort Collins is Filled With Beer

We’ve been in Colorado for over ten days now and have worked our way into the Rockies on our constant push West, but our first stop was Fort Collins. We were worried about the altitude coming into Colorado, then checked it out and realized we would actually be going down in elevation from where we were. Immediately our fears about having trouble breathing or passing out or anything else embarrassing were laid to rest.

On our first night in town our bartender at High Point Bar (housed in an old bank) told us that within twenty-miles of Fort Collins there are something like ninety breweries. I counted for myself and within the city proper there are at least twenty. As someone who has ~feelings~ about beer this was already a very promising atmosphere.

We didn’t get to go to New Belgium or Odell because their hours were prohibitive for us, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try some local stuff! Both New Belgium and Odell distribute nationwide anyway, so it’s not like we won’t drink their beers even if we can’t make it to the tasting room. We visited Equinox Brewing Company and Coopersmith and enjoyed them both.

Equinox is much more of a standard brewery offering flights and outdoor seating in a very reclaimed wood heavy environment. We were blown away by how much outdoor seating there is in Colorado, but apparently it just doesn’t get that cold. It isn’t at all unheard of to sit outside all winter drinking local craft beers with your buds. Or Coors, I guess. (::rimshot::)

Coopersmith reminded me a lot of Heartland Brewery. It was a large space with a lot of food and solid beers made right there. They were a lot more experimental with their choices, though. I got to taste two of their chili beers, one was super mellow with a nice kick at the end while the other was like being punched in the face with a  habanero. I made Kyle taste that one and he woke up in the middle of the night cursing my name.

Simply walking around Old Town Fort Collins made us fall in love with it a little bit. We spotted a pinball bar and a bar that’s just covered in TVs and Nintendo 64s. There’s a lot of cool art-deco-y architecture. We realized that it reminded us a little bit of a lot of places we’ve really enjoyed: Portland, Savannah, and The Hudson Valley but without all the humidity. Or any of the humidity. Good lord it is dry up here. I think it’s a real testament to how much we were enjoying ourselves that I took no photos save for a blurry photo of a beer flight at Equinox and a badly lit photo of a waxing studio called, no joke, SCREAMIN PEACH.

We talk about the jobs we’ll take when we stop moving. Of course we’ll continue as we always have – I’ll write and knit and work on any craft that seems interesting. Kyle will sculpt and paint and fiddle with innumerable other skills (did you know he decided to pick up needle felting one day and just made a Dunny? Like it was nothing. I tried needle felting and made a set of sad lumpy coasters and bloody fingertips.)

Bottom line – With the added overhead of things like rent we’ll need to get normal jobs again. We’d preemptively taken bartending off the table because neither of us wanted to go back to staying up until 5am and forgetting that the rest of the world doesn’t live like that. Outside of Brooklyn I could absolutely bartend at a restaurant and be in bed by midnight. It sounds amazing.

So slowly but surely we’re figuring out our next moves. Making lists, comparing Craigslists, wondering if we’ll be able to save up six months of rent because our credit is in the toilet. You know. Adult things.


If you want to get a taste of the things I’m working on over on the Patreon, check out this piece I wrote over on The Tusk about my unconventional childhood!