Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 : Year in Review

2011 was the year I made the best decision of my life.

In 2010, I hoped that that would turn out to be the case and I am lucky that it did. On January 8 of this year, I packed up (understatement) the Jeep, kissed my mom and Sienna goodbye, and hit the road with The Wiz and Gordon as we headed east.

And I've never looked back.

2011 could easily be described as well as the Year of the Mimosa. It started with Mimosa Mondays with the Wiz in Pine. Pep would later admit to me that she was slightly concerned for me but it was the first time in my life that I took a leap of faith and hoped that the net would appear. And while I was waiting for said net, I made the most of my time off from life - and I have to say, I was livin' it up. Tutus and mimosas. Sleeping in until 10, waking up just in time to catch the 4th hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Making chocolate-covered gummy worms. Hanging with Gord. And yes, applying for jobs in between.

Then in February - the homesickness settled in. I was no longer the girl who was always 30 minutes late because I had packed too much in to my day - I couldn't be 30 minutes late because I had no where to go. Linz was back in school, Josh was back at work - and the dogs got tired of me telling them stories from my Vegas days. I started to get cabin fever, living in sweatpants with the closest Starbucks 15 miles down the road. I wasn't finding a job, and the sessions I was going to at agencies had me realize my competition was now that fresh faced 22 year-old that I once was when I landed my job at SK+G. Now I was trying to enter a market where I had no contacts and no experience. But I did have passion.

And then my last grandparent passed away and I headed to Pittsburgh to say goodbye to Beppee and be there for Pep. From there brought my first trip back to Vegas and a quick cure to that homesickness I was feeling. Time with my +more, a trip to Don't Tell Mama and a few tapas in my tummy and I was home. I said I never looked back, but in early March, I guess I actually did - I thought about coming back, with my tail between my legs - to my old job, to my friends, to my downtown. But then the net appeared and I landed an interview at Scream Agency.

8 hours later, I was offered the position. 24 later, I was at my desk.

Come April, I had done it - my downtown dream had come true. I was working in LoDo, living in Capitol Hill - riding my bike to and from work every day. That was, on the days that my dog wasn't accompanying me to work. I lived and worked in a place where it was totally acceptable for him to be under my desk or at the bar. This is what I wanted.

And then, I never looked back.

Come June, I turned 28 and was settled and complete with a cow chair in my living room. Michael told me that 28 was going to be a magical year (in fact, I still have that note hanging on my fridge), and he was right. I was busy being a Coloradan, celebrating my birthday in Aspen, riding my bike everywhere, camping at 10,000 feet.  Celebrating a family reunion in South Carolina, where the week was spent catching up (see : drinking) with the Knochs and sleeping on the beach. And just like that, it was officially summer - and you know what that means....

Matters of the heart....

I'd spent early 2011 with Bear in a long distance relationship - the distance eventually got to us - but never to our friendship and we, once again, threw in the towel. I decided from that point on to be fully committed to my new love - Denver. I wanted to have two feet firmly on the (downtown) ground before I explored Menver.

By July, I was ready to date. I took a different route than the one that had previously gotten me a whole lot of nowhere and ventured into the world of online dating by joining eHarmony. I was overwhelmed at first - not knowing that it was perfectly acceptable to close matches without even giving them a second glance. I learned a lot but the most important lessons I took away from the experience were : Just because you email with someone for weeks, does not guarantee you will have chemistry when you meet in person. It is all about that first five minutes and if you're not feeling it, leave. Guys can truly be clueless, thinking that admitting to being a Peeping Tom is anywhere close to being appropriate.  Just because a guy is a relationship therapist, does not mean he will be competent in his own dating life. Which caused me to live that saying - why do I keep hitting my head against the wall? Because it feels so good when I stop. I also learned that even if he's the nicest guy - and will go to the greatest extremes for you - or at least to take you and your dog to the vet when your pup is sick and you're out of a car - doesn't make him the right one - even if you both deserve it. I learned not to travel to Colorado Springs for a guy you barely know. I learned that sometimes it feels really, really good to tell someone off and that even a man who is only 5'5 can get even shorter in one quick phone call.

And then I learned that you should never dismiss fate. Especially at 30,000 feet. I'd taken the LAS ---> DEN flight two dozen times before but none could compare to the one I took on November 13, 2011.

It's funny, I was just in Vegas for the holidays and I was telling Pep that technically, I was there just six weeks before - but somehow, it felt like a lifetime ago as my life has taken such a dramatic turn since 11.13.11. Yes, I still get drinks with the Wicklers. I still go to the movies. I still hang with Andy. I still have Sunday brunch. I still walk Gordon at Cheesman. I still sit on my couch, watching bad TV and eating Yogurtland. It's just now, on the lucky days - I have Noah by my side, which always puts a smile on my face.

Speaking of love - Gordon at age 3 is loving Denver, loving the snow - loving living in a place where, as mentioned above, he's welcome everywhere. He loves his visits up to Pine the most, where he runs free in a giant yard with the Wicklers' dogs. We call it Camp Wickler. Sienna is finally settled after stressing out so much over the move that she gave herself a UTI. Our place is small but cozy. And it has those exposed brick walls. And that claw foot tub that Sienna still managed to jump in to to do her business. Some things never change....

Short notes...

The Great Kate Escape. PY's leaving Las Vegas note (runaway as fast as you can...).That drive. The First Annual Superbowl Game Face Party (because, yes - there will be more). Mimosas. Snowboarding Winter Park, thinking Andy was trying to kill me on moguls. Mumford and Sons. Discovering Denver. TV nights at the Lackeys. Making my first pot of coffee. +more visit(s). Anticipating Watch the Throne, then not being let down. Dancing with Kristen at Yeasayer (and all around Denver, really). Girl Scout Cookies at My Brother's Bar. Backyard BBQ's. Mimosas. Will and Kate prompting the name change to Kate. Back to Katie. Ultimately ending at callmewhateveryouwant. #hashtags. The Red Onion in Aspen. The Head and the Heart on the beach. Denver Art Museum trips. Botanic Gardens with Kid Sis. Rockies game with Renee. Fresh-cut flower addiction (#theniwentbroke). Meeting Lindsey Jones. M2B. Toms. Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Friend Baby Boom - Welcome Max, Sebastian and Mia! Dog the Bounty Hunter sighting over margaritas at Morrison Inn. Ikea with Anne. Falling over that rock while camping. License plate stacked. Mimosas. Phone calls home to Pep. Denver Cruiser Ride with Linz in clown noses. Lindi Ortega. Meet and Greet and Beer at Le Cirque. Summer OR with Lora. Boyz II Men at Taste of Colorado. Tour de Fat. Holiday Bar. Mimosas. +more gets engaged! Beach Boys with Jennie. Disneyland with Lisa. Becoming BFF's with Sean. Illegal Pete's. X and Tony tie the knot. Flight #784. Dancing with Noah at Herbs. Brunching. Tebow. Being Andy's date to Pinnacle's Christmas party and having my dad call it a dance. Mimosas. Wine and cheese nights with Noah. Booking a flight to Minneapolis for NYE.

My life has been somewhat turbulent (pun intended) - and I remember people telling me that it should just be easy. I had no idea what they were talking about until I had it. 

Here's to clear skies in 2012 for me and for you and yours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bottomless Trouble

Jonesy's took Sunday Funday to a whole new level yesterday with the board game shelf.

We'd gone to Brunch (note: walked, because it was 60 - today it is snowing - excited to see you this week, Vegas!), and arrived hungry. The bottomless mimosas were only bound to hold me over for so long so I strolled over the game shelf and returned to the table with two options - Yahtzee or Trouble.

Trouble got the vote and the fun started popping off (get it - because you pop the bubble to roll - ok, sorry - it had been years). Before I knew it, I had a man at home and my french toast in front of me.

Thank you, Jonesy's, for supplying endless entertainment - and bottomless mimosas - for our Sunday Funday.

See you next time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shots of Cheese : Thirty : Boyfriend.

Just a few weeks ago, I was sitting in LAS waiting to board my plane. In typical KK fashion, I was busy making love to an Auntie Anne's pretzel ensuring that every bite was perfectly dipped in cheese, when I noticed a very handsome gentleman across the way, down the row.

Wow. He is good looking. Hmm. Eat pretzel. Take glance. Eat pretzel. Take glance.

This goes on until sadly, my pretzel has been devoured and it is time to board. As I stand in line (A28, baby!), I take a quick look behind me to try to see if Mr. Good Lookin' is in the same boarding group. I don't see him and, disappointingly, go on my way.

I take a window seat and am getting situated (see: getting out the Ethel M brittle I just purchased for a mid-flight snack, making sure I have that free drink coupon handy and find my place in my book) as I see Mr. Good Lookin' take the aisle seat.

First thought? Holy. Ok. Keep it cool.

Second thought? Put that Ethel M back in your bag.

Two hours later we landed in Denver and two weeks after that, he was my boyfriend. And yes, this is the stuff that Rom Coms are made of.

So, HSCOOC, meet Noah. Who came in to my life and changed it as quickly as that plane took off.

And this girl couldn't be happier about it.

Taken at Steuben's
Captured on December 4, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shots of Cheese: Twenty - nine : Aspen Livin'

The Scream team headed up the mountain on Tuesday. Our destination? The Sky Hotel in Aspen.

When I first landed this gig, I knew that the Sky would be one of those dream clients - the kind that make my job just so easy. The property speaks for itself to the media and the team at the hotel totally get "it" - and by "it", I mean everything.

After a company dinner Tuesday night, we darted straight for the hot tub. Surrounded by snow, I had my first Colorado Bulldog as I thought to myself - "Yeah, I could get used to this....."

Aspen Livin'
Taken at The Sky Hotel
Captured on December 7, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shots of Cheese : Twenty - eight : Fast Friends

I am so blessed to have the girlfriends that I do, sprinkled all around the country. I grew up as a "girl's girl" - making up for my lack of siblings with the best of friends.

Living in Vegas, I was so spoiled with having the easiest of access to (most of) the amazing women I know. I had SSFS with Eener, countless dinners with Lo, Sunday movies with Benneton, nights downtown with Kid Sis, and trips from the ones who had already spread their wings. 

Then I moved to Denver, reuniting myself with Linzi and by reuniting, I mean moving myself right on in to her house. But, all good things must come to an end and once I was on my feet, I moved to Capitol Hill and unfortunately, 45 miles away from the Wicklers.

So when Andy told me he had a girl for me to meet, Suzy, I was eager to hang out. He told me he knew we'd hit it off - and between her fashion sense, lipstick and love of The Bachelor - he was right.

Fast Friends
Taken at the Tavern Downtown
Captured on December 3, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shots of Cheese : Twenty - seven : Cookie Love

I'm lucky enough to work across the alley from the Tattered Cover bookstore downtown which is amazing for a number of reasons.

One, I can go and buy a new book for a trip on my lunch break. Two, they've got a great little coffee shop in there. And three, and perhaps most importantly, they sell the most delicious M&M cookies. They've got to be homemade they're so good.

So good that just a few minutes ago, I was wrapping my cookie back up for saving and heard in my head, "I love you, cookie." 

WHAT. Normal? No.

But true? Definitely.

Cookie Love
Taken at Scream Agency
Captured on December 1, 2011