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Colorado Local/ Travel

Denver Staycation at the Hilton Inverness

When summer weekends leave you with a bleak future of the weeks dishes piled in the sink and a mountain of laundry to get through a staycation not far from home is just what you need to relax and get away from the duties of home, even if only for a night. I’m the kind of person who has a really hard time relaxing, so sometimes the only way I can really not work on projects is by not being at home at all. 

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to visit the Hilton Inverness to enjoy a bit of relaxation, just far enough from home to forget anything lingering on my to do list. While most Denverites know of the Inverness for their impressive meeting options, booking a stay as a weekend getaway is the perfect way to enjoy resort living without the cost of a plane ticket. 

Just off the beaten trail, driving up the the Hilton Inverness is like coming upon an oasis in an otherwise busy metropolitan area. Located off i25 and County Line Road on the south side of Denver, the beautiful grounds open up as you enter the parking lot, making you forget that you are just down the road from the city. 

We arrived on a Friday night, ready to enjoy some time together watching a movie and relaxing at dinner. We popped over to nearby United Artist Theatre to watch Wonder Woman [AMMMMAAZZZING, if you haven’t seen it you need to] and returned back to the hotel for a late night dinner in the Spotted Dog Pub. 

The Spotted Dog is on the lower level of the hotel and is perfect for meeting up with a group of friends to enjoy drinks and dinner over a friendly game of pool or shuffleboard. While the pub is open to the public, it’s a bit of a hidden gem for those who are over the loud bar scene, providing the perfect place for meeting up with a large group, and being able to actually hear the conversation. The full assortment of bar games are completely free of charge and the kitchen is open late so you can have a meal with your drinks. We enjoyed some classic pub grub, including a grown-up spin on grilled cheese with tomato soup. 

Vacation isn’t vacation without sleeping in, so the next morning we got a late start and headed down to the outdoors pool to snag lounge chair for some poolside reading. One of the great things that separates the Inverness from other hotels is the poolside drink and meal service. There is nothing better than having drinks brought right to you so you could stay outside all day under an umbrella. 

When the started to heat up, we headed back inside for some late brunch at the Garden Terrace. They were serving a full brunch buffet but we opted to try a couple of the dishes off the menu instead and were incredibly happy with our choices. The service was attentive and quick, ensuring that we could enjoy our meal before heading off to our separate activities for the day. 

One of my favorite things about vacation is spending a bit of time by myself, so I headed to the spa while Drew was off to the on property golf course. 

The luxurious and relaxing interior of the spa did not disappoint. The ladies changing room includes a lockers for storing your belongings, a steam room and a full assortment of toiletries for getting ready after your treatment. Waiting for your service you get to enjoy the co-ed lounge and hot tub area, fully stocked with tea, infused water and snacks. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the lounge you can even order a meal or drinks delivered to you from the restaurant. There is nothing better than a massage and a facial to help relax and forget all the stresses at home. 

The spa has a full menu of services that are completely open to the public, so even if you can’t get away for a full weekend, you can enjoy a couple hour retreat any time you want. 

Drew spent the afternoon on the Inverness golf course. The semi-private course is open to the public after noon (and available for members only before) and the championship course provides a challenging experience to help test your skills. The course is beautifully landscaped, making a warm afternoon on the green the perfect escape.  

After a day at the Inverness, it was time to home and back to reality but with their summer stay & play special, I know next time we need to relax I’ll be booking another stay!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary stay at the Hilton Inverness to inspire this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.  

Travel

Road Tripping with the Mazda CX-9

Prior to last month, the only time I’ve been in Los Angeles was for a quick conference, just one hotel shuttle away from John Wayne airport. When we started planning our California vacation, I knew I wanted to check out more than just the airport so flying into LAX and heading out for a mini-road trip was the perfect way to really experience the state (and the traffic it’s so well known for).  

My husband is a huge Mazda fan so when we were given the opportunity to try out the Mazda CX-9 for our road trip we were excited to see what features Mazda would be loading into their top sized SUV. We planned to arrive in LA with a couple of friends and head out on highway towards Palm Springs with a truck full of luggage and two sets of golf clubs. 

In most cars, this much luggage would be a problem, but thanks to the ability to fold the 3rd row down we had no issues loading up all the gear and getting on the road to beat rush hour traffic out of town. 

As we took to the road, the Active Driving Display projected the navigation in a non-obtrusive location onto the windshield. The heads-up display is only visible to the driver and allows you to focus on the road by putting speed and navigation just below your line of sight. I’ve never seen a heads up display before and I was amazed by what a difference it made in my driving experience. There was no need to wonder what the next direction would be, because it was already there right where I could see it. 

Once we arrived in Palm Springs and unloaded the car, I met up with a few more friends who would be joining us for the trip. With the ability to fold the third row seats back up, we could fit all 7 of us in the car, making it perfect for getting out into town for dinner. Even with a full car and tall men, no one was uncomfortable. With Drew over six feet tall, usually leg room is a huge issue, but the spacing between the seats meant that he and the other tall riders were all comfortable no matter who was sitting in front of them.  

Spending a week driving all around town, I fully expected to need to fill up more than once. I was amazed to learn that the all wheel drive model has an averages 23 MPG, making it a very fuel efficient car for it’s size.  

I’m used to driving a mid-sized SUV, so I was afraid that I might feel a bit overwhelmed by the size of the CX-9. Usually big cars are heavy and have large blind spots that make me uncomfortable. The back-up camera made maneuvering in and out of parking spots easy, and the weight of the car was not noticeable at all. 

We even drove up the Palm Springs Tramway canyon and the get up and go on the steep roads was a nice surprise. Heading into the canyon, the road warns drivers that they may need to turn of their AC to get enough power to get up the road – completely a non-issue in CX-9.  The turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine had no issue carving up the canyon road at all – which would be a must-have if I was to drive this car in Colorado. 

Overall, I am very impressed with the performance of the Mazda CX-9 and feel it’s perfect for big groups or large families. With all the bells and whistles, the CX-9 price is way less than I expected, with an MSRP of $45,655 and the entry level version of this vehicle is priced at $31,520. For how luxurious the interior was, I expected the price to be substantially higher and feel that the bang for the buck is unrivaled in this class. 

What type of features do you look for in a good road trip car? Leave a note in the comments!

Disclosure: I received the opportunity to borrow the Mazda CX-9 as a complimentary experience. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review. 

I love...

Get ready for Summer with Lularoe Amber Affleck

Note: This post has been sponsored by a LuLaRoe independent consultant. 

About a year ago I was introduced to the world of Lularoe by one of my oldest friends after she became a Lularoe consultant last summer. The clothing is insanely comfortable and I love finding patterns and styles that suit my personality, but won’t be everywhere else. There are a few things that make shopping for Lularoe unique and part of why I love the brand so much. I’ve put together a few of my favorite reasons to wear Lularoe and Amber, my long time bestie and go-to Lula Lady is generously giving one lucky reader a $70 gift certificate to her shop

Lularoe Perfect Tee // LulaRoe Cassie Skirt // Accessories: Kendra Scott Dira Earrings & Bridgete Necklace 

Incredibly Comfortable 

We all have those days where it would be nice to get to wear pajamas to work.  Lularoe’s entire line feels as comfortable as PJs, but makes you look like you got dressed in the morning. With dresses, soft tops and leggings, you can dress up any outfit with accessories for a day at the office, or lounge around the house. The Carly dress is my personal favorite to wear those lazy days because a belt and cute shoes makes it look like you actually wanted to get dressed up before heading out of the house.

Online Shopping Fun 

Shopping online is convenient. You don’t have to go anywhere and like magic everything in your cart arrives at your house in a few days. With Lularoe, online shopping is not only easy, it’s a lot of fun. Each consultant receives a unique selection of patterns, making every item a one-of-a-kind find. The company only produces 2,500 of each pattern and divides those across the sizes available in that style. That means that shopping for Lula is like a treasure hunt. Once you’ve found a pattern you like, that’s your Unicorn! There is nothing more fun than when you get to snag your unicorn and bring it come.  

Amber’s VIP group has a shopping party every Sunday! It’s a great way to relax watching TV while I browse for my next favorite piece of clothing. 

The Leggings, Oh the Leggings

Even if you haven’t heard of Lularoe, chances are you’ve seen the leggings. The fun patterns and colorful styles are perfect for pairing with a tunic top or under your favorite dress. I was an avid proponent of Leggings are not pants until I was introduced to Lula. These leggings are thick enough that they feel like pants, but soft enough that you will never want to take them off. During the warm months, you can even roll them up into capris so you can wear them all summer long. 

These are my favorite reasons to wear Lularoe and I hope you to check out Amber’s shop to learn more about the styles and give it a try for yourself! Before you go, enter the contest below and you might get to take home a $70 LulaCash certificate to use when you shop with Amber! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by a LuLaRoe independent consultant. All opinions are my own. 

Arts & Crafts/ Home Decor & Projects

Easy DIY Herb Planters

It’s the perfect time of year to start your herb garden and I can’t wait to put together my own set of Herb Planters using Amanda’s tutorial! See the full project below and be sure to head to the bottom of the post to enter to win a prize from one of our Spring Party sponsors.

 

Hello! I’m Amanda, and I blog over at The Kolb Corner, where I share all things related to the home from DIY projects and seasonal crafts, to yummy recipes, meal plans and even decorating tips. My husband and I try to stick to a budget when it comes to keeping our home, so everything I make and share focuses on frugality.

I’m so excited to be participating in this Spring Craft Blog Party! Today I’m showing you how I made these super cute, super easy, easy DIY herb planters for my deck. I love having fresh herbs on hand throughout the Spring and Summer to use in all sorts of recipes. These labeled herb planters are not only cute, but they’re also practical! If you have a hard time keeping track of what plant is what, or losing the little plastic tags that come with your plants, then this project is for you!

Easy DIY Herb Planters

Items You’ll Need:

•Plastic pots

•Painter’s tape or transfer tape

•Spray paint in color of choice

•Silhouette Cameo or other cutting machine

•Vinyl (color doesn’t matter)

•Weeding tools

•Herb plants or seeds of choice

** If you don’t have a Silhouette or something similar, you can still do this project using alphabet stickers

First, clean the pots really well to make sure there is no dirt or grime stuck to them.

Next, open up Silhouette studio and type the names of the herbs you are planting. I chose herbs that I use a lot of; Oregano, Chives, Cilantro and Basil. Be sure to pick a nice chunky font for this project. If you choose a script or something with thin strokes, it may be hard not to get bleed through, and it will also be harder to pull the vinyl off later on.

Once you have the names and fonts chosen, cut them out onto the vinyl. You could also use contact paper for this, but I felt like the vinyl stuck to the plastic pots better, therefore making bleed through a little less.

When the names are cut, weed out any excess vinyl until you only have the letters left. Using painter’s tape, transfer the vinyl letters over to the plastic pots. You do this by lying a strip of tape over the letters, then carefully peeling the backing away from the vinyl.

Carefully peel the painters tape away from the letters, leaving them attached to the plastic pot.

Now you are ready to spray paint! Give the pots a few good coats of paint, letting the coats dry between applications. I love using the Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Paint and Primer because it sticks to plastic really well.

Once the paint is dry and hardened, carefully peel up the vinyl labels. I used my weeding tool for this, but tweezers can also work well.

Plant your herbs as you normally would and stand back to admire your hard work!

I love these easy DIY herb planters, and the same tutorial would work for labeling any type of planter. Or you could put some kind of cheeky saying on them too for a bit of fun! I’m excited to have fresh herbs again, but it seems I’ll have to wait just a bit longer since I chose to grow mine from seed. It has just now warmed up to where I can plant them in my neck of the woods. Luckily I chose varieties that grow quickly!

If you love this project, you can check out my other DIY projects here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Contest prizes are provided by sponsors. All writing and opinions belong to myself or the post contributors.