Sunday, April 22, 2012

A very Wisco birthday celebration, and how best to cure the cheese hangover afterwards

I turned 26 last week. My dear friend, Angelica, also celebrated a birthday this weekend, and my boyfriend John has one in the beginning of May. Therefore, we put our noggins together and decided it would be a great idea to have a joint birthday celebration.

Angelica happens to hail from Wisconsin, as do John and I, and she is an avid themed party planner. We always throw these parties at our place, as we have a large apartment with balcony space and a great view. She is a spectacular hostess and always makes sure our guests are happy and enjoying themselves, and I typically drink and eat as much as I possibly can. We have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to planning parties, and so far, it has worked out very well for us. We toyed with the idea of having a "sinking-of-the-Titanic-themed" birthday party, but decided that finding a chandelier would be a pain in the butt, and also realized that none of our friends have period-style clothing. Eventually we decided on theming our party as a "very Wisco birthday celebration (don'tcha know)".

We highly encouraged our guests to dress in what they deemed to be Wisconsin wear and bring classy Wisconsin-made beers, such as PBR, Hamms and Milwaukee's Best. Luckily, Angelica had just returned from a Wisconsin trip and had brought a significant amount of cheese back with her, including a large bag of cheese curds. For the very first time in my life, I cooked tatertot casserole, a classic Midwestern staple. We love our casseroles in the Midwest (my mom, Mavis, makes a delicious egg souffle with Special K cereal sprinkled over the top).

Tatertot casserole consists of beef, tots, cream of mushroom soup,
milk, and lots and lots of (cheddar) cheese.

John also cooked up about 30 delicious beer-boiled brats.

You can't see it here, but John was sporting cut-off jeans
that reached mid-thigh, tall white socks and hiking boots.
I couldn't take my eyes off of him all night.

We played some classic Wisconsin drinking games, like "shotgun a beer" and "slap the wine bag". Perhaps you've heard of them or experienced them yourself in college.

Here are a few of the fine get-ups my friends procured for themselves, and deemed to be appropriate to celebrate Wisconsin and our birthdays:

 Jake & Courtney just scream "north woods".
Courtney made an inventive choice by pairing her 
striped button-up & collared tank with high-waisted 
white jean shorts.

This hat is ingenius. It shields both your face
and your neck from the harsh rays of the sun.
You can't see it in this picture, but it also has
a fishing lure casually hooked through the brim.

If you're going to cut off a pair of jeans, you might as well
do it up right and cut them short enough to expose the pockets
and let your thighs breathe. This also gives you a full range of motion
and does not inhibit your movement as long jeans often do.

I love Wisconsin; I really do, and I'm proud to call it my home state. In some states, it's just not socially acceptable to eat a brick of cheese as a snack, and that is something I love to do.

I had a slight cheese (and Franzia) hangover today, and I would have been content with napping intermittantly and watching Anthony Bourdain all day, but John coaxed me off the couch and up to Mount Falcon in Indian Hills for a great hike.

Indian Hills is an awesome little town some 30 minutes outside of Denver. I could definitely see myself living there in the future, in a cottage on the mountainside, with a small flock of hens and a goat or two. If I hadn't still been full of brats from the night before, I definitely would have wanted to stop at the Sit N Bull Saloon. We also passed the Mirada Fine Art Gallery, named Best Art Gallery in 2010 by 5280 Mag. This won't be my last time in Indian Hills.

The hike was pretty easy starting out; there were lots of families with kids, mountain bikers, and riders on horseback. 

 There was a pretty big fire here a few years ago, so some parts of 
the trail are rather barren. The views were amazing, though.

 The story is that the Mount Falcon open space once belonged to John Brisben Walker (former owner of Cosmo Magazine!) in the 1800s; he built his home here, and also began construction on a "Summer White House", which was intended to be a vacation home for US presidents. 

The Walker home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground
in 1918. Here I am, checking out the ruins.
The "Summer White House" was never finished, and honestly I'm 
not sure how the presidents were expected to make the journey up there
in the first place. I feel like Pres. William Howard Taft would have complained 
significantly about the change in elevation and rugged terrain on this hike.

All in all, this was another fantastic weekend full of great weather, hilarious friends, and some really innovative dance moves. Thank you to everyone for coming out last night, and thank you to John for pulling me off the couch and into the great outdoors today. Oofda!

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