Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: Year in Review

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be where I am today, there is no way I would have ever believed you.

And that's the truth.

If 2011 was the Year of the Mimosa, so was 2012. Kidding! Kind of. I'd say that 2012 was the Year of Travel. And growth. In January, I celebrated one year of living in Colorado with good friends at the Irish Snug, experiencing a little something called Tebow Time. A few short weeks later, I was on the slopes in Steamboat and feeling the heat in Strawberry Hot Springs.

February brought my first snow day (let's hope for more in 2013!) and celebrated a birthday for HSCOOC, it's fourth or first, depending on your view on leap years. And Valentine's Day, I celebrated Valentine's Day.

And then in March, my world got absolutely flipped upside down. For the first time in my life, I was the girl crumbling against the door as I found out that even when you meet at 30,000 feet, it can all come crashing down in an instant. Since it was the first time in my life that I crumbled, I allowed myself to do so - I was not OK and I wasn't going to fight it. Eventually, of course, the six glasses of wine turned in to two and the numbness began to subside. And eventually, I found shiny, happy Katie again with help from great friends, understanding family and the acceptance that sometimes you do not get answers. Even 9 months later, I do not have answers to my breakup with Noah but I've made peace with that. I wrote a letter, we had a beer and that was my closure.

Well, that and a booked trip to London.

The end of April brought me back in the online dating world, a place I had hoped to never be again but this time was different - this time was FUN because I wasn't looking for anything serious for obvious reasons (see above). And well, we were writing about it. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to eat, I wanted to drink and I wanted to feel alive - and luckily, my first date did just that. A bloodied knee, tequila shots, shuffleboard and a slap in the most, it probably would have been the worst date in history. To me, it was exactly what I needed. And Neil kept being exactly what I needed for the next six months. We saw each other a few times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes we ate in. Sometimes we went out and got hammered. Sometimes we'd talk. Sometimes we wouldn't. But every single time, we had a blast. And I have never, ever encountered a man who was more open to talking than Neil. Instead of running in the opposite direction, he'd scoot closer and ask me 'what's up, darlin?'. We always had the same conversation - is this turning in to more? Do we want it to? But we always came back to square one. And although it ended, very amicably, my time with Neil taught me two things - one, sometimes square one is exactly where two people need to be and two, that southern gentlemen truly do exist.

And I was seeing others, too. Jeff Goldblum with his Bachelorette date. Ethan with his Peanut Butter and Jellies. And then there was Nick. But Nick and I were friends. And then sometimes we'd have some wine and make out. And then it would get weird. And then we'd be friends. And then sometimes we'd have some wine and make out. And then it would get weird. I didn't know what was going on with Nick. Hell, I didn't know what was going on period. What I did know was that above and beyond all the aforementioned, I was, I am (we call this foreshadowing), the absolute best version of myself with Nick.

But we'll get to that.

April also brought a ski trip with my dad, which thanks to our lack of snow, actually ended up being more of a beer tasting trip with my dad. May was full of celebration - the first, a Quincenera to celebrate Scream's 15th birthday, the second, a bachelorette trip for +more, a bride to be and the last (and the best), a wedding for Lauren and Scott. Then I turned 29 in June and had my first (certainly not my last) bottle of Veuve Rose to commence Champangeloe. In July, I celebrated Independence Eve with good friends spread on a blue blanket, dressed in white, drinking red wine, listening to the Colorado Symphony - how do you get more patriotic than that? And Pengs surprised me with a train trip through the Royal Gorge and we introduced Lisa to Colorado.

The entire summer was filled with concerts at Red Rocks. Somehow, they had managed to fill the bill with all of my favorites - Head and the Heart, Blind Pilot, The Shins, Florence + the Machine, Bon Iver, Mumford and Sons - so we danced, we sang and yes, even some of us (me) cried.

September was our annual trip to Disneyland and my very first helicopter ride as we flew from outside of Vegas and landed in the Grand Canyon, an experience I will never forget. In October, my +more came to visit for a taste for Fall. And the month ended with a Day of the Dead Halloween night.

I've noticed that November tends to be my big month - in 2011, it was the month that I met that boy on a plane. In 2012, it was when I went to London and when Nick and I finally stopped getting weird and decided that hey, maybe we should give this whole relationship thing a shot. I wish I could tell you it's been a cake walk, but it hasn't. This relationship challenges me on a daily basis but I've learned so much about myself in the short two months we've been together. I'm not rushing, I'm not anticipating. I'm just really enjoying getting to spend time with a person whom I adore, respect and who makes me laugh harder than you do.

December has been filled with visits and boxes. Kid Sis and David came to visit and heard my 'why you should move to Denver' pitch. I spent my first (white!) Christmas in Denver with my mom and Sam. I can't even begin to explain to you how much it meant to me that when I said "I'm so sorry, but I'm not coming home for the holidays this year...." they made it happen and hopefully, enjoyed seeing this city decked out in lights and holiday joy with snow on the ground, as much as I have.

The boxes are because I am moving UP, literally and figuratively. As much as I have loved #17, my very first Denver apartment - filled with exposed brick, hardwood floors and a claw foot tub - I am bidding it farewell on January 1 with a move to Summerhouse. If you're not busy over the next week, I could use some help moving a few boxes about five blocks. I promise your help will be rewarded with an open door to my new amazing apartment with views of the city to die for. And you know that that open door comes with mimosas.

Short notes. C-O-M-E-B-A-C-K. Spot It. Second Annual Superbowl Face Painting Party. Thursdays at Streets of London. Jamba Juice over breakups. Wiz's Bar Crawl. Hunger Games. Beta. Dining Out for Life. Rockies Games. This is the Voice. Double Mint Twins kayaking. Jazz in the Park. Sangria. A rained out Zoo Cruiser Ride. Yves Saint Laurent. Moonrise Kingdom. Camping. June 30th. Bike rides. Sweet Action. SamSam. Stealing sausages. Strongballs. Pengs on trains. Le Central. UMS. Film on the Rocks. Top of the Town. Suburban dinner dates. Nat Geo. Dons. Cam at the Corn Maze. Lucky finds! Mixed Taste at MCA. 2nd Annual Cousin Day at Waterworld. Let's go to Iceland. Summer Scream at Lakeside. Carry On. Manning. Tour de Fat. Geena Davis. X Bar Dance Party. Long Long spelt Lang Lang. #whitegirlproblems. Beauty Bar. London. Westminster Abbey. The Eye. Stonehenge. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm quite pissed." Dancing to 'Call Me Maybe.' Matilda. Meeting BFH. The Tate and Rothko. The Lumineers. Warren Miller. Copper with Nick. Winters Mist. Mussels on Thanksgiving. Hot Tubs. Curse Me Good. Cosby Con. Vesper love affair. Backyard ziplining. A white Christmas. 

And a happy New Year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

London Town

It happened. I traveled abroad before I turned 30.

Not only did I travel abroad but I did it to the right place to see the right things with the right person. Chloe and I figured out on Day 8 that the word we used the most during our stay was simply "perfect."

Since I can't tell all of you the trip breakdown over a cup of tea, a crumpet, fish and chips, a glass of wine or a Strongbow - I will do my best to honor it here. Just add in a lot of hand usage, more picture showing and maybe even a tear when I get to the final day.

Wednesday, November 7: Chloe and I land at Heathrow at 9:30 a.m. We've barely slept but are high with anticipation of our arrival. We immediately are in love with everything around us. "I love how they say Mind the Gap." "Cider is so much better over here." "Look at the taxis!" "What are the poppies?? I love them!" "I love their accents!" - I think you get the point. We made the decision that we MUST stay up. Even if we go to bed at 7 p.m. night one (which we did), we must make it until then or our whole schedule will be out of whack for the week. So we spent the day toasting Obama's win back in the States and seeing the sites of the city from atop the London Eye.

Thursday, November 8: We rise early after the first night's rest in the worst beds on the planet. Pep says this is what we get for staying at "affordable yet trendy" hotels. A little Advil, a cup of coffee and we're good as new - which is necessary because today is our Windsor Castle/Stonehenge/Bath tour. Loved Windsor Castle - felt like home (insert giggle) - and got to watch the changing of the guard which was awesome, at least for the first five minutes. There is just so much history - everywhere. Speaking of - Stonehenge. So glad we did this tour - especially for the first two legs mentioned here. I knew of Stonehenge but didn't really know ABOUT Stonehenge and was completely fascinated by the time we arrived. Our guide had told us "You get 45 minutes at Stonehenge and that may not seem like a lot - but it's enough. You see the stones, you take some pictures and you go." He was pretty right. This feat was on Chloe's List so I am extra happy that we got to tick it off together. Bath - where the Roman Baths are - was cool, just slightly underwhelming compared to the rest. But we did pick up our Banksy prints there and I officially started my collection of Christmas ornaments in Bath so I'll always remember :) That night was our Fish & Chips night. Best of my life. Seriously, if you ever find yourself in the Covent Garden area of London - you must go to the Golden Hind for Fish & Chips. Bring your own wine, they encourage it! We ended the evening at a pub (as we did every evening from this night on...).

Friday, November 8: Our first goal for the day was getting our hands on tickets for Matilda while we were in town. We knew this could be a lofty goal since it is the best musical in the West End but high hopes, high hopes...we headed to Leicester Square and after being basically bullied into buying the "last pair of tickets" available to the Sunday matinee, we headed to lunch at Wagamamma (delicious, it wouldn't be the last time we ate at the Ramen joint before we left the UK) to then sweat it out over lunch if we just got shamed. We headed to Cambridge Theatre, home of Matilda, to confirm that our tickets were yes, indeed real. What a relief! We celebrated with a trip to the Tate Modern where I had never seen so much modern art in my life. My favorite part? The gift shop. But an incredible museum and definitely worth a stop, especially if you're into starring at paintings until something shows up or really want to figure out what that broom means. Friday evening was really the only night we sat down to enjoy a leisurely dinner - wine over Italian. Followed by - you got it - another pub. Where we met Rory. Who was "quite pissed" and apologized about a thousand times for being so. So drunk and yet still so polite. Gotta love that.

Saturday, November 9: We got up early to experience the Portobello Road Market, in the heart of Notting Hill. It's one of the largest street markets in the world and Chloe and I spent a good part of the morning going in and out of shops, picking up antiques and unique gifts for our loved ones at home. There was a band, tea to keep me warm and endless trinkets to purchase. We had been warned that the market tends to get quite crowded around mid-day and that ended up being an understatement (although in their defense, everything is 'quite' in London - quite pissed means you're actually falling down wasted - just sounds so much prettier). So, not thinking about the fact that it was a Saturday afternoon and raining - Chlo and I decided to head to the Natural History Museum. Which, I have to say, was the most impressive I have seen (this girl grew up with drinks to The Mall in D.C. after all) - and apparently, the fact that it's the best was no secret because there were one hundred million people (approximately) there that afternoon. Because, oh right, it was a rainy Saturday afternoon in London. So after waiting in the dinosaur line for an hour, Chlo and I skipped the gift shop and headed straight back to our hotel to NAP. Being around all those people can really wear on a girl! We woke up just in time to freshen up and grab dinner before our reservations at the Experimental Cocktail Club (see: must go) where we had the best drinks of our lives and met our two new UK best friends - Greggory and Francesca. Experimental cocktails led in to late night dancing (as they should) and all it took was one play of "Call Me Maybe" in an underground club in London for Chloe and I to determine that this would go down as one of the best nights of our lives. We ended the night with a London Taxi ride home where we snacked on a homemade cheese + charcuterie board thanks to the 24-hour grocer across the road from our hotel. It was certainly one for the books.

Sunday, November 10: We slept in. Ha! And rose just in time to grab a quick lunch (thanks, Chipotle) before Matilda The Musical. We had to arrive early to toast the occasion with champagne, of course. Matilda debuts here in the U.S. on Broadway this Spring and I highly recommend you get your tickets now. I don't know how it will compare to the UK version since those kids have the magic touch (see: BRITISH ACCENT) but I am sure it will not disappoint as kids from the U.S. can be pretty darn cute, too. Great music, fantastic performances by the entire cast and an overall five star experience. Right after the show, we headed back to the Covent Garden area to meet Jos, a friend of Chloe's who lives in London. There we shared good company over quite a few pints.

Monday, November 11: This will forever now be known of the day I was introduced to Top Shop. Yes, friends, the retail loving girl in me was totally unaware (well, not totally) of the sweet, sweet shopping glory of Top Shop. I was so excited as I wandered through their flagship store in Oxford Circus - tearing through racks, falling in love with pieces I couldn't afford (but it's SO perfect for NYE!), searching for that perfect holiday dress - that I lost my purse. Yup. Let panic set in. Oh yup, there it is. Panic panic panic panic. Calm down. Retrace your steps. Two dressing rooms. Endless loops around the massive store. I was finally led to security where they had my purse - with everything in it no less. You can only imagine my relief. After all, I hadn't yet made my official London purchase of my Superdry coat. That was all fixed in a stitch though and before we knew it, we had spent the entire day shopping, leaving us little time before our evening plans. That night, we caught a little band from Denver, CO called The Lumineers, performing their first sold out London show at KOKO. It was my first time seeing them live (which will happen again this NYE, just this time - only two blocks down from my apartment) and they did not disappoint. High energy, foot stompin', hand clappin' good times were had by me, Chlo and a few hundred of our closest British friends.

Tuesday, November 12: Our final full day in London and only one thing to tick off the list (at least on the 'must' list - the other list could go on for pages and pages) - Westminster Abbey. My eyes just watered as I typed it. I know, I know but you guys - I have never experienced such an overwhelming, take-your-breath-away, sweeping moment as I had when I walked into Westminster Abbey. My heart was as full with hope as my eyes were with tears as we wandered through the church. It is, by far, the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on. From the detail work on the outside of the church to the arched ceilings and tomb work on the inside. The history - you can feel it. From the monks in the tenth century kings and queens to Darwin to Dickens to Princess Di to Princess Kate - it is truly a 'if these walls could talk' place. We spent hours wandering around, listening to our tour, lightening candles for our beloved, and if you're me - drying eyes. Please, please, I beg of you - if you're ever in London, do not miss this holy, historic landmark. We truly did save the best for last.

Our trip wrapped in the same way it started - with Obamabombs and good company as Jos joined us for our last supper at a pub in London. 

Wednesday was the longest flight of my life but worth it as I arrived home to a dirty Doodle and a homemade meal (not by yours truly - to state the obvious). And with memories that will last me a lifetime.

First trip down, Chlo - see you in Iceland!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


As you know, any occasion will do for me to organize an outing for friends. On the first day of fall 2012, that involved a trip out to the Corn Maze at the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.

What a better way to welcome fall than with a corn maze complete with good company, a quiz about corn and even a little controversy thanks to Cameron.

This was my first corn maze ever and apparently, it's one of the better ones. It took us nearly two hours to complete (not that we were trying THAT hard - I was obviously more concerned with taking pictures than getting us out).

Things to note:

A majority of us struggle with sense of direction. This only intensifies in a corn maze.

An average ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows.

You can smuggle wine in anywhere if it's in a tin water bottle.

Deep friend Snickers are delicious.

Even though summer is over, it doesn't make lemonade any less delicious.

In the U.S., corn production measures more than two times that of any other crop.

That still doesn't mean you can eat it. 

Cameron was escorted out of the maze for snacking on well, the maze. Apparently, this is a big no-no and crop security takes this manner very, very seriously (way too seriously if you ask any of us - he actually made Cam recite Rule #2 aloud after he was escorted out of the maze).

Regardless, it made for a great story. And an even better welcome to fall.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Discovering Denver #4: Attend the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market

Lucky Finds!

I finally made it - crossed another one off the Discovering Denver (love that 20 months into the move, I'm still 'discovering') list this past Saturday.

Linz had come down from Pine, we were in a state (see: hungover) and at Brunch with Bill and Cam when I said "You guys, I have to make it to the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market, it's been on my list forever and I've been out of town for the rest that were held this year!"

Good friends being good friends, they agreed to go with me (even though it was all of 38 degrees outside). My other Pinterest addicted friend, Miranda, met us there and we chattered through the rows and rows of booths - it truly was like Etsy come to life and OH! if we could only Pin things IRL, our boards would have been filled!

Then came my lucky find on a cold fall day! One of the last booths we stopped at had an afghan that caught my eye - is that Chevron?? Well, yes - yes it is, it just happens to be a blanket version of the couch I so desperately have been pining after. I glanced at the price tag - $15?!? No. There must be another 1 in front of that figure. So I ask the gentleman tending the booth - 'excuse me, sir, is this $15?' 'Yup, $15.' I was so excited I blurted out their tag line, "LUCKY FIND!" which got me a cute pint glass which then inspired me to buy the shirt!

So, folks - I got all of these goods for $25. And on Sunday afternoon, I snuggled up under my new chevron afghan and finished my book as one happy girl.

Do you understand why Miranda and I already have the date saved for December 8th when the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market brings a Holiday Market to life?

Don't worry, I'll be sure to pick you something up.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Esmeralda's Prophecies: 2012

For those of you not aware, on our annual trip to Disneyland, I always get my fortune read by Ms. Esmeralda (see here for last year's).

Here is what she had to say this year:

You are indeed a most fortunate person. While you think your life has been hard and you have struggled with poverty, you have been fitting yourself for the great change that will come when five rainbows have spanned the heavens. Not only yourself, but four of your relatives will be benefitted by your good fortune. It will not only be in money but also in social position and influence. You will also meet one who will love you, but will be prevented for a time from marriage. Be patient. In time the obstacle will be removed, the union will take place and happiness will be yours for a time. This happiness will continue as long as you are true to your marriage vows, and are kind to those around you. Your lucky stone in onyx.

One of your lucky numbers is 14.

Drop another coin in slot and I will tell you more. 

Can someone please let me know when they see five rainbows span the heavens? Thanks. Would hate to miss it....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Tradition of Happiness

If there is one thing us Knochs are known for, it's our dedication to annual traditions. At my grandparents house, we weren't allowed to touch the presents until after dinner (they called it tradition, the cousins and I called it torture). Every Thanksgiving at Pep's, the turkey I made in second grade is propped in the middle of the table. And every year for the past 21 years, between Halloween and Christmas, we go to Disneyland. 

So that's what we did this past Friday. I know what you're thinking, 'September 28 is not between Halloween and Christmas, Kate. Don't try to pull a fast one on us!' but what I mean is Disneyland's Halloween and Christmas season, which begins on September 19 and runs all the way through New Years.

This year was extra special though and not just because our annual tradition finally turned old enough to drink but because my Aunt Karen was kind enough to share her Disney Travel perks with us by gifting us some nights at the Grand Californian. Now being from Vegas, I've seen my fair share of the insides of hotels but let me tell you - this place fell in the top three. The architecture was absolutely stunning. Apparently I'm a big fan of the 'Craftsman' era - and thanks to the company of Pep, an avid HGTV watcher and Lisa, an interior design student, I had lots of detail pointed out that I would have never noticed. I felt like a queen (or in this case, a Disney princess).

Another perk of staying 'on property'? Early access to the park. That's right folks, by 8 a.m. we were in and on our way to Cars Land (the newest addition to California Adventure) and by noon, had knocked out more than half our rides for the day. Sadly, Indian Jones was closed but Cars' Radiator Springs Racer, Soarin' over California, Pirates and Space Mountain made up for it.

We packed the day full, making sure to keep the traditions alive within the tradition with a beer at lunch, an ice cream cone in the afternoon and of course, a reading from Esmerelda (post to come). We always wrap with a wine-filled dinner at Naples on the patio and topped the the evening of with a viewing of 'The World of Color' where I rediscovered my top three Disney movies (Little Mermaid, Lion King and Beauty and the Beast).

I realize that when I get older, the experience will become less for me and more for my own kids but in the meantime, it's all for us and I couldn't ask for a better tradition. Ears and all.