FOX 31 News – Toy Fair 2020

Hey y’all! For my third year in a row I’ll be promoting the New York Toy Fair on FOX 31 Denver! This year we’ve got some amazing products to promote – Ones that enhance creativity, reinforce screen-free play, and STEM based toys that provide educational fun!

With the rise in awareness among parents and the same being taught at schools, it has been noticed that most children are shifting to sustainable choices and that includes toys! Green Toys™ is a line of eco-friendly toys and children’s products Made in the USA
from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs.

Green Toys™ Stacking Cups are colorful and fun, and teach basic counting and math concepts. Six graduated cups, dozens of possibilities for bath and play time. Scoop and pour water, build towers by turning upside down, or just sort sizes to nest. Fill cups 1 and 2, for example, and it will equal the volume of cup 3. Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Green Toys™ Tide Pool Set is a set includes a starfish, scallop, abalone, snail, squid, and jellyfish. Scoop up water with the abalone and create a cascading waterfall with the holes along the edge, or fill the jellyfish and watch the water run down and out each of the legs. The palm-sized shells are the perfect size for scooping and pouring water to wash little ones in infant tubs, while also great for the beach and backyard, too. Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Green Toys™ Tugboat allows kids to embark on a cruise across the bathtub. Navigate the
wading pool and even splash around in the occasional mud puddle. There’s
no end to the fun! Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Twinkling Twilight Turtle – New Calming Lights + Soothing Sounds! Now with 2 soothing MELODIES and 100’s of stars that TWINKLE on and off in a colorful, magical light show. Projects constellations in blue, green or amber. Fun, vibrant light effect on shell. Two soothing melodies built in, with adjustable volume control. Available for all ages. MSRP $34.99.

Lil’ Shuckies Large Shell Case from WeCool – Unboxing, blind bags and slime continues to captivate children nationwide. This colorful clam shell is also a carrying case complete with all the essentials one needs to shuck their Lil’ Shuckies and store their discoveries. Includes clam tool, two glitzy slimes, magic and 60 colorful pearl beads and
a necklace string. MSRP: $19.99, AGES: 4+, is available at Walmart!

What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups?, a new card game from Authentic Agility
Games
because adults like to have fun too.. How often have you wished that your teen would stop playing video games, sending friends videos you can only hope are appropriate, and going out, and instead, share what they’re thinking… with you?

A fun way to engage kids of all ages, the 500-question card games creates an
open two-way dialog that allows you to make new connections and deepen
your bond. It’s simple to play as each participant rolls the dice and then selects the category in which you are asked to answer a related question.

There’s plenty of research out there reminding parents how important screen free play has become. From toys that teach fine motor skills to STEM, screen free play is essential for the growth of our children.

That’s where smART Pixelator comes in. The smART Pixelator empowers kids to design and build 2D and 3D projects using Bluetooth connectivity, easy-to-follow lights, and smART Pixel Beads, Sequins or Pegs. Right out of the box, kids have a choice of creating 50 step-by-step designs using Pixel Beads. A smART Pixelator app and any mobile device also let them engineer their own projects, encouraging customization and experimentation. Additional beads, sequins, pegs, and projects are available to keep the fun flowing. Ideal for kids 7 to 107 years old. MSRP: $59.99

Construction toys can help kids develop cognitive and social skill as well as fuel creativity.

CREATTO™ Light-Up Crafting Kits is a simple yet versatile building system that consists of just two primary components that can be woven together into countless 3D creations. The flexible yet durable plastic tiles interlock quickly and easily for all skill levels; no additional materials or hardware required! Each Creatto kit includes assembly instructions for four different configurations, but the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Add strings of colored LED lights to illuminate your works of art from the inside out. Five Creatto kits will be available Winter 2020. Creatto will be available in 3 fun sizes: mini, medi, and maxi.

Kids can choose to build the Moonlight Elephant Safari (MSRP $9.95; ages 6+), Magical
Moose & Forest Friends (MSRP $9.95; ages 6+), Starlight Kitty & Cutie Crew (MSRP
$19.95; ages 8+), Shimmer Shark & Ocean Pals (MSRP $29.95; ages 9+), or Sparkle
Unicorn & Friends (MSRP $29.95; ages 9+).

Harlem Globetrotters

All-New Harlem Globetrotters Pushing The Limits World Tour

I’ve been wanting to take my son to a Harlem Globetrotters show for FOREVER – Between their amazing athletic ability and their hilarious skits it’s a show the entire family will enjoy! We’ll be going with our best friends and we cannot wait to show y’all the pictures.. Or come with us! 25% off coupon below!

This is more than a basketball game. It is more than a show. It is the one and only Harlem Globetrotters in an all-new, larger-than-life world tour. You’ll be on your feet, out of your seat, laughing until it hurts and loving every moment. The 5th Quarter – The game isn’t over after the final shot! Meet your favorite Globetrotter court-side after the game to get an autograph and photo.

Don’t miss out – get your tickets today and save SAVE 25% for ALL Harlem Globetrotters Games with promo code FUNFAM. Must purchase 14 days before Game Date. https://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/world-tour/schedule http://www.usfamilyguide.com/coupon.php?bid=13043&dealid=2964

Mile High Epidemic – Teen Vaping

I’m sure y’all have heard comments like this before: “Vaping isn’t nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.” or, “It’s just water vapor – How can that be worse for you than straight cigarettes?”.

Well, these thoughts and ideas are filling our teen’s heads and they believe they’re actually making a “safer” decision by keeping to e-cigarettes. In reality, a JUUL pod (an e-cigarette cartridge) contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes. TWENTY CIGARETTES.

Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, most recently, on Sept. 12, 2018, the FDA declared vaping as an epidemic across the United States.

How terrifying is that?! Colorado is ranked at TWICE the national average. As the mother and step-mother of almost five children that absolutely horrifies me. That could be one of my children. My 14 year old step-son could so easily hear these misconceptions and think it’d be “cool” to try vaping and then get addicted. Getting hooked on e-cigarettes could introduce horrible chemicals and nicotine into his body and within a year it could be a gateway into actual cigarettes.

There is little known about the long-term effects of vaping, however it is proven to have negative effects on their mental development as it harms their memory capabilities and causes depression. There is enough going on in our teens’ brains at this vulnerable age and we cannot have them stunting it with smoking.

This is not the future I want for my children and that is the reality of many teens right now in our state and country. So I implore my fellow parents and educators to cultivate their children’s thinking on vaping, even if it is not cigarettes. It Still.. Isn’t.. Safe.

According to the Tobacco Free Colorado website, about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine and a statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent think those risks apply to vaping nicotine.

As parents, we hold the responsibility in informing our children of the risks – even if they don’t smoke or have never tried it. It’s important to bestow the knowledge onto them.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has created a suite of materials to help parents and askable adults to understand the risks of vaping, and prepare them to have informed conversations with teens about it. The materials are available on the new Tobacco Free Colorado website at www.TobaccoFreeCO.org/know-the-facts.

(I was compensated for this post in partnership with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. All opinions are my own and I truly feel passionate about this as my children are my world!)

KidSpace A Children’s Exploration Center

Y’all know I love to do local places – This is one I really love to take Hudson to! It’s fun, educational AND health conscious so wanted to share them with y’all incase you’re looking for some fun places to hit up during these cold Colorado winters!

You walk in and it just screams interstellar.. There are themed sections everywhere! You see scientific experiment games based on Archimedes’ work, a launch lab where kids can use different levels of strength to get a rocket ship to different planets, a ballistics zone where kids can run, play, climb and use air launchers to shoot balls – And SO much more!!

Wherever you look there’s STEM play and that’s an amazing feeling as a parent to have the opportunity to have your kids learn as they play! I believe STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is so crucial for children, especially at a young age as it allows their minds to bend and flex in ways they wouldn’t be able to ordinarily.

They have hourly planetarium shows in an amazing blow up igloo which is so fun for the kids!

Something all parents can appreciate is the extreme cleanliness of the entire facility – I never feel as though I’ve got to give Hudson a bath after he leaves! Another parent pleaser is the amazing full espresso bar with delicious coffees and healthy snacks!

The owners are so friendly and passionate about their creation and they should be. You can easily spend hours here.. So if you’re looking for a fun, indoor place to take your stir crazy kiddos – Bring them here!! You won’t be disappointed and they’ll be begging you to come back!

Boulder Clean Natural Cleaners

In our household we exclusively use eco-friendly, kid-safe products. As I’ve said many times before I believe that it is just as important what you put on your body as what you put in it. Our skin can easily absorb harsh chemicals – You wouldn’t ingest bleach would you? Then why spray it all over your home only to have it produce harmful fumes and toxic surfaces?

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My kids play in every inch of our home, so I would never want to douse it with chemicals I knew could easily get onto their hands and possibly in their mouths/eyes/nose/whatever! All of these and more are reasons to choose a natural cleaner. After trying all of the different natural cleaners I could I found that my favorite was always Boulder Clean. They’ve got all the items needed to tackle any type of house cleaning project: Laundry items, dishwashing products, soaps, cleaners and more!

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My dishes always come out cleaner, my clothes always come out smelling fresh and are safe for my kids’ skin, and their cleaner sprays smell amazing all with different surface cleaning specialties!

It took me awhile to adjust to the natural cleaners when I first got into it because I always thought bleach means clean but once you do your research and realize how much of a difference it makes for the environment and your families health you’ll never go back.. And Boulder Clean has their ingredients transparently listed on their website so you know exactly what you’re using!

Now, I want to help jump start some of y’all’s future in eco-friendly natural cleaners with a…..

GIVEAWAY!

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With back-to-school around I want to help you give your kids some fresh, amazing smelling clothes they’ll feel comfortable and irritation-free in! I’ll be giving away an entire laundry bundle to one lucky winner! This will include their Original Natural Laundry DetergentFabric Softener Dryer Spray, and Oxi-Smart Pre-Treat Stain Remover SprayI use these for my family and they’re incredible (Especially the Stain Remover Spray! I actually spilled red wine on my favorite white shirt and it took it out like friggin’ magic!)

Giveaway is hosted on my Instagram so head there to enter! Contest will end September 29th at 12:00PM MST so get those entries in! ❤

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Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria and Wine Bar Launches New Sunday Brunch with Italian-Inspired Menu

My FAVORITE Denver restaurant – Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Wine Bar, located in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, is thrilled to announce the launch of Sunday brunch featuring chef-driven cuisine inspired by authentic Italian recipes. The menu includes shareable antipasti, hot and cold plates, pizzas, soups, salads, pastas and delicious brunch entrees. There will be Sangria Sundays, $20/person bottomless; Bellinis, mimosas and bloody Mary’s in addition to Italian wines, handcrafted cocktails and local beer. To kick-off brunch, the restaurant will offer bottomless sangria for just $10 on Sunday, August 19 and Sunday, August 26.

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“Brunch has become a widely popular event for locals and visitors alike,” said Dain Cooke, general manager at Marcella’s. “We are thrilled to bring it to our LoHi location and offer guests a chef-driven menu with Italian-inspired twists. From brunch celebrations and day parties to family and communal gatherings, our Sunday brunch has something special for everyone.”

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The brunch menu includes specialties like: a Nutella Waffle with chocolate, hazelnut and whipped butter; a Ricotta Crespelle with crepes, macerated strawberries and marcona almonds; and Short Rib Hash with Yukon gold potatoes, pepperonata and sweet garlic sauce. In addition, there are such items as Truffle Eggs with poached eggs, toasted ciabatta and taleggio as well as Shrimp Polenta with poached eggs, toasted garlic, tomato and basil.

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Marcella’s seats 152 guests inside and 40 guests on the patio, which faces downtown Denver. The large patio offers unobstructed views of the city. Marcella’s is located at 1801 Central Street in LoHi. Free parking is available in the Centric building where the restaurant is located and complimentary valet is available on weekends for dinnertime.

Marcella’s is open Monday-Thursday from 4-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 3-9 p.m. On Denver Broncos home game Sundays, Marcella’s will open at 9 a.m.

For more information visit marcellasrestaurant.com or follow them on Instagram @Marcellasdenver.

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ABOUT MARCELLA’S RISTORANTE, PIZZERIA & WINE BAR

Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Wine Bar, located in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, is a bustling Italian café featuring chef-driven cuisine inspired by authentic Italian recipes and serving Italian wines, handcrafted cocktails and local beer. The restaurant offers shareable antipasti, hot and cold plates, pizzas, pastas and entrees. Marcella’s bar provides a vibrant venue for sampling 50 Italian wines served by the bottle or quartino, as well as handcrafted cocktails and weekday happy hour from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restaurant is located at 1801 Central Street in Denver and is open for dinner Monday-Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday for dinner from 4 p.m. to midnight; and dinner from 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Denver Broncos home game days the restaurant will open at 9 a.m. For more information visit marcellasrestaurant.com or follow us on Instagram @Marcellasdenver.

Birch Benders

As y’all already know – We’re big paleo eaters. It’s been amazing for our health but it can be a little challenging at times when cravings kick in. A big one in my family is waffles and pancakes. Hudson is obsessed with waffles and the kids always want pancakes on the weekends. However, I really hate using regular sugar and flour – So much bleach, gunk and chemicals, so I would take forever trying to make paleo pancakes and they’d only come out “okay”.

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But when I stumbled across a Birch Benders’ Paleo Waffle/Pancake mix in Sprouts I was SO excited. “Only Add Water SO much easier than 20 minutes worth of trying to get the consistency and taste justtt right.

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Well.. 2 years later and it is a staple in our home. That long being a customer and I happened to get an invite to an exclusive writer’s event thanks to Sprouts to Birch Bender’s Denver office!! I was literally giddy!

Once we got there we were greeted by the sweetest people ever – Their employees were so friendly, really passionate about their product and just happy with life (I would too if I worked for such a fun company!)

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The event was hosted by Sprouts and as usual they supplied delicious meals and drinks! Thanks Sprouts, y’all are the best!

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Now.. Something I hadn’t known (Not sure HOW) was that they had created some DELICIOUS new products – Frozen Waffles!! Even PALEO waffles which they had learned to make straight from master waffle makers in Belgium.. How amazing it that?! They were so dedicated to creating delicious and healthy waffles that they searched all over the world. That is a company I love to support!

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Now I had a delicious, REALLY quick option for Hudson for breakfast since he’s obsessed with waffles! (And not just any kind… But specifically the frozen kind, because it’s an on-the-go-can-hold-it-while-I-am-rambunctious kind of waffle.. LOL) They taste just like a normal waffle but fill my children’s tummies with the good, wholesome ingredients they deserve.

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Their theme for the event was Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches. They had a whole bar set up ready with all their new waffle types, different ice cream options and toppings. It was so delicious and brilliant – Decided I am going to do this for Hudson’s birthday party in November at the Colorado Railroad Museum! It’s going to be SO fun, so you’ll be seeing more of these kinds of photos soon 😉

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Birch Benders is such an amazing company – Not just because of their delicious products but because of their passion behind it. We’ve been their fans for 2 years now but this event has only exacerbated this.. We’ll forever be Birch Benderites and we’re so proud they’re in our gorgeous state!

_20180717_182333Thanks Sprouts and Birch Benders for such an amazing experience!

Massage Benefits

As an active Mom with an even more active little man I am constantly tired (Like any other parent 😉 ) With fitting in exercise as often as I can, getting us out of the house 4-5 days a week for activities and being a house wife I am constantly on the go and although I’m only 26 I feel it catching up with me where I would welcome a nap with a smile and a mini-mom tear.20180120_133642.png

So I cannot be thankful enough for my biweekly massage. It isn’t just for releasing stress and aches and pains but preventing my pinch nerve problems in my neck that cause my arms to go numb when I over-exert. I’m a parent – I ALWAYS over-exert.20180120_133700.pngHaving Bodhi Body know specifically what my problem areas and concerns are make it a pleasurable yet needed appointment. If you’ve got an issue like that I highly recommend you checking them out or if you’re out of state trying your own local therapists. It makes a WORLD of difference!

Also, for those weight loss or strengthening New Years resolutions, when you feel stiff and achy from exercising when it may have been awhile or you’re trying something new it can be so disheartening to get back onto that yoga mat for more! But getting a massage totally works those aches and gets you back and ready for more by the next day!Screenshot_20180120-133729.jpg

It’s all around beneficial and I LOVE my massage studio. Stephanie is the best and it’s an adorable yet relaxing environment that puts you at peace as soon as you walk in. Try them out for yourself if you’re in the Denver area! Free 30 minute massage with code SIMPLY .

(I am compensated for these posts and my affiliate code, however all opinions are my own!)

 

Marcella’s Ristorante Denver

Italian food has always been a temptation for me. The smells, the pasta, the marinara sauce. It’s all. Just. Amazing. So when I heard about Marcella’s Ristorante opening in September in the fancy new LoHi neighborhood I jumped at the chance to try it!

As soon as you drive up you’re hit with an absolutely gorgeous view of downtown Denver. (Picturesque place to take anyone visiting Denver for the first time, or anytime!) And an even more stunning scene is when you walk into the restaurant itself. The interior embodies elegance yet the music keeps it hip and inviting. It’s got an upscale feeling without the outrageous upscale pricing – Which is SO nice for families (Especially parents on a date night 😉 )

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Marcella’s Gnocchi – Photo by Suzanne Bastien (My Mom who also went!)

I was seated by the nicest hosts we’ve had in awhile and our server Hannah was delightful. The smells instantly made us hungry and we were excited to try it all! But we started with their Tuscan LiMonata cocktails first and fell in LOVE – It was made with their Housemade Limoncello and you could absolutely tell due to the sheer freshness it had ❥

We had some delicious bread brought to our table but when we mentioned our usual strict paleo habits they brought us their gluten-free menu and bread to try. It was SO SO good – And so thoughtful! They’re so considerate they even have a whole different pizza oven dedicated for gluten-free sensitive people so it doesn’t touch gluten!

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Marcella’s Braised Veal MeatBall – Photo by Suzanne Bastien (My Mom who also went!)

We decided to next try their appetizer meatball and were blown away. It was literally the best meatball we’ve EVER had. HOW can something be cooked fully yet crumble apart in your mouth?! *Drool*

This definitely excited us for the entree which we decided on their Sicilian Pizza with Banana Peppers added. SO GOOD – And the star of the show?? THEIR BANANA PEPPERS. Never EVER had more fresh tasting peppers in my life. It was crazy how much it happened to stand out against everything else, it just showed how dedicated they are to fresh, real ingredients.

We ended the night with two desserts because we couldn’t decide.. We had their Profiteroles (pistachio, chocolate & honey vanilla gelato, warm chocolate ganache) and Zeppoles (Essentially beignets that you dip in chocolate and my cajun boy HAD to see what it was all about 😉 ) Needless to say we destroyed both desserts WITHOUT guilt!

And this was my SECOND trip here. I had been here previously with my Mom and we got to try some more of their incredible menu items.. It was just so good I had to bring my Husband because he would appreciate it’s atmosphere and delicious foods and he SO did.

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The photos above are some photos my Mom snapped on our last trip through and it doesn’t even capture how delicious these foods looked, smelled and tasted. SO come try it for yourself – You’ll never EVER be disappointed.. We’re already trying to plan another trip down (This time at night because the patio is lit up so beautifully you’ll feel like royalty along with the lights of downtown beside it!)

Marcella’s Denver

1801 Central Street,
Denver, Colorado 80211
(720) 484-5484

(I was compensated with some delectable food in exchange for this completely honest review of their amazing restaurant!)

Mmm… Coffee! Paleo Bistro

There are some amazing paleo restaurants in nearly every state and I love discovering the hidden healthy gems near us, so was very eager to try Mmm… Coffee! after reading some very promising reviews.

Their menu had many delicious paleo options so my Husband and I decided to make a trip downtown to try it out! It was in a very trendy and artistic side of town in the Lincoln Park area off of 9th and Santa Fe. Their bistro was hidden in a gorgeous and secluded courtyard shown only by their adorable sign out front.

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We were immediately greeted by some of the friendliest people we’ve met in a long, long time. The owners Jami and Derek were so very sweet and inviting which made the already lovely ambiance even more comforting. We asked what they were best known for and wanted to try it all! (They were one of the first 100% grain free restaurants to open in the nation!)

 

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We started with their amazing soup that changes daily (They’re REALLY popular for them!) And my Husband LOVED it. Said it was the best soup he’d ever had and it was accompanied by some delicious plantain chips (My obsession) ! 

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I had their Paleo Power salad which was amazing and we split their tuna wrap (SO GOOD) and INCREDIBLE bacon wrapped stuffed dates which was chicken breast roasted in enchilada sauce, stuffed into dates and wrapped in turkey bacon! *drooldrooldrool*

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We couldn’t stop there. Jami was so passionate about the food she made we had to keep trying more as they were so creative, delicious and unique! Their mocha latte was delicious and they make their own chocolate IN HOUSE, so I had to try some of their delicious concoctions!

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Hudson enjoyed the chocolate too 😉 Yummm!

We finished our lunch with two delicious chicken legs which were simplistic yet delicious!

 

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We asked what the best desserts were and decided to try one of each (of a few!)

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Again, Jami is INCREDIBLE. Her food was amazing but her desserts were out of this world! She’s been eating paleo for a long time so has been able to master so many different techniques. We tried their muffins, cookies, cake, granola, macaroons, and punkin’ bar. It was all SO GOOD. Did NOT taste paleo or healthy but it WAS.

Her cake was AMAZING. It was a made from BEETS. It was an adorable dark purple color with delicious looking frosting on top and tasted JUST like a red velvet unhealthy cake would taste. We decided we’re coming to her for any cakes we ever need (She had sold a wedding cake she had made while we were there!)

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The inside of their shop was adorable and warm – They have wonderful options for comfortable indoor seating and gorgeous outdoor courtyard relaxing. One thing I love is when a local business supports other local businesses. They have many items available inside from other Colorado companies such as kombucha, kale chips, beef jerky, etc.

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After we were done I wanted to thank them so much for all of their kindnesses, wonderful food and inspiring creativity. I had the pleasure of getting to speak with them about their journey and got to take a fun photo with them in front of their paleo sign!

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And it was Derek’s idea to grab their sign from in front with the mini bike attached to take a photo with Hudson on it.. HOW CUTE?!

This is by far our favorite new paleo stop. The people were amazing, the food was outstanding and the location was comfortable and upbeet (Like my food pun? 😉 )

We’ll absolutely be back and recommend anyone in the area (or visiting the area) to try it out – You’ll never want to leave.. I’m already missing it!!