Hopdoddy Burger Bar & Denver Bloggers Club: Fun Times in Denver

Hopdoddy Burger Bar & Denver Bloggers Club- Fun Times in Denver

 

Two weekends ago, I got to attend my first Denver Bloggers Club meetup, which was graciously sponsored by Hopdoddy, an Austin-based restaurant with a hot location here in Denver at Union Station.

Ryan ordered the El Diablo: Angus Beef, Pepper Jack, Habaneros, Serranos, Caramelized Onions, Salsa Roja, Chipotle Mayo. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.
Ryan ordered the El Diablo: Angus Beef, Pepper Jack, Habaneros, Serranos, Caramelized Onions, Salsa Roja, Chipotle Mayo. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.

Now, let me back up the story here a little: I have a hard time describing myself as a blogger, even though I have been more or less blogging since the early 2000s (oh, Livejournal). Since the inception of this website and blog, I have tried multiple times to brand the blog in a certain way, starting with my creative writing and then branching over to a San Francisco theme to a Denver theme to a business theme…and on and on to where now I just consider this blog more or less my musings of the moment, which changes a lot as I grow older. I’m glad that Jenny Finke, the founder of Denver Bloggers Club, finally helped me figure out how to ‘categorize’ my blog: lifestyle! Yes, that’s it!

Even Hopdoddy's Kennebec Fries were delicious and Ryan actually liked them (he doesn't like fries usually). Hand-cut daily! Photo taken by Ryan Kane.
Even Hopdoddy’s Kennebec Fries were delicious and Ryan actually liked them (he doesn’t like fries usually). Hand-cut daily! Photo taken by Ryan Kane.

Anyway, back to the outing: I loved going to Hopdoddy, since I had been to one of the original locations in Austin in 2014 and really enjoyed the burger that I ordered while there; alas, I don’t remember the name of that burger, but I do know that the one I chose two weeks ago was just as tasty: The K-Town Belly! A diverse mix of Korean and American flavors mixed into this burger makes for a delicious and slightly spicy mix. Yum!

K-Town Belly: Grass-Fed Beef, Braised Beeler's Pure Pork Belly, Kimchi, House-made Gochujang, Korean Rice Crispies, Mayo, Basil Leaves. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.
K-Town Belly: Grass-Fed Beef, Braised Beeler’s Pure Pork Belly, Kimchi, House-made Gochujang, Korean Rice Crispies, Mayo, Basil Leaves. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.

The Denver Bloggers Club had the honor of listening to the Denver location’s general manager, Melissa Withem, talk about the history and craft of Hopdoddy, and we even got to view the meat-grinding room and learn what “Narnia” means for each restaurant location. What makes Hopdoddy unique is that they have a huge emphasis on freshly made ingredients, from daily-grinded meat patties, daily-baked bread, to made-from-scratch sauces. Melissa was excellent with her professionalism and vibrant personality, which just added to the overall enjoyable experience that weekend.

Me & Melissa Withem, the general manager for Hopdoddy in Denver. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.
Me & Melissa Withem, the general manager for Hopdoddy in Denver. Photo taken by Ryan Kane.

We bloggers also spent some time discussing about general strategies and tactics with one another about increasing blog traffic: I know I want to do more with my blog soon, so having this group will help me out a lot!

Yum. We had to end our meal with a Caramel Oreo milkshake. Great combination! Photo taken by Ryan Kane.
Yum. We had to end our meal with a Caramel Oreo milkshake. Great combination! Photo taken by Ryan Kane.

Thanks to Hopdoddy for the amazing hospitality and to Jenny Finke for organizing such a fun outing! I hope to stay motivated and active with my blogging through Denver Bloggers Club.

My Adventure into the World of Beer & #GABF

Urethra Franklin beer from Renegade Brewery at 9th/Kalamath in Denver.
Urethra Franklin beer from Renegade Brewery at 9th/Kalamath in Denver.

Before I moved to Denver, I preferred wine or mixed drinks. Beer was rarely ever on my radar before Denver: my earliest memory of beer was when I was a kid and noticed one of my uncles loved drinking Budweiser. I snuck a taste of the beer and immediately went, “Blech!” So ever since then, I wasn’t interested in beer…

…until I moved to Denver. I didn’t know beforehand that Colorado was very proud of its craft beer culture, but once I started making more friends in Denver, I discovered the diverse world of beer. I met Adrienne Rinaldi, aka Beer Snob Chick, and started attending Brew Asanas (yoga & beer events organized by Adrienne); I gradually went to more networking events and experienced many more varieties of beer; and then finally, I met my boyfriend, Ryan.

Ryan enjoys a good IPA but loves trying other kinds of beer out as well. I discovered early last year that I, in fact, could not stomach IPAs as well as I’d thought, so these days, I stick to porters, lighter ales, and recently discovered sour beer. Yum!

I remember last year, Ryan had complained about how the tickets for the Great American Beer Festival (aka GABF, #GABF) had sold out within minutes of going on sale. He had wanted to go with a couple of his friends, but to no avail. When the ticket dates were announced for this year’s GABF, we banded together and attempted to get tickets. I sat at the computer at 10am in late July, ready to get tickets no matter what; after all, I love a good challenge! The Ticketmaster website was slow and it *seemed* like tickets were all gone, but I kept hitting ‘refresh’ and finally got to reserve two tickets. Exciting!

Hehe, Ryan with the Kane Brewing sign. Kane Brewing is located in New Jersey.
Hehe, Ryan with the Kane Brewing sign. Kane Brewing is located in New Jersey.

So as a belated birthday treat for Ryan, I bought the tickets for us to attend GABF. I didn’t think much about any ‘prep’ until the week before, and kept hearing about pretzel necklaces from others, but Ryan and I received mixed messages about whether we were to bring our own pretzel necklaces or to just bring our own yarn to string pretzels onto at the festival.

We attended GABF on Thursday, September 24th, which was the first day of the festival. Luckily we both had the day off (and the next day!), so we could enjoy the evening with no worries about the next day. We were already downtown pretty early and decided to start lining up around 3:30pm; as it turned out, many other people were already lined up for the doors to open as well. As the crowd grew larger, we realized we made the mistake of NOT bringing our own pretzel/food necklaces: we saw a large array of necklace combinations from other attendees, including necklaces with beef jerky sticks, cheese sticks, and even some fast food hamburgers!

Lots and lots of attendees at GABF! Photo by Ryan.
Lots and lots of attendees at GABF! Photo by Ryan.

Once the bagpipes started up around 5:30pm, we were one of the first attendees inside. Despite downloading the GABF app beforehand, we at first didn’t have much of a strategy and just approached one row of breweries and sampled all the beers down the line. After that round, we decided to be more strategic and hit up breweries from other states such as Virginia and Indiana before hitting up Colorado breweries. I definitely enjoyed a lot of the sour beers I tried! There were quite a few pumpkin beers and also chile pepper beers.

Some of my favorite beers from the evening:

Cannabis-infused beer from Dudes Brews Co.
Cannabis-infused beer from Dude’s Brews Co.

Of course, all the Colorado beers were fantastic. We even tried cannabis-infused beer from Dude’s Brews Co.! Alas, we couldn’t try EVERY beer there (we think it’s near impossible for ANYONE to do that, even if they attended all three days!).

Despite there being so many attendees, we ran into a handful of familiar faces as some of our friends were also attendees or volunteers pouring the beer samples. We were happy to finally catch our friend Jared at the name.com booth at the end of the night; he was busy filming video montages at the festival for name.com, such as this video about all the beards at GABF:

Overall, the night was so much fun! We were happy to have the opportunity to attend GABF and hope to attend (or volunteer) in the coming years.

Yay for beer!

I'm being a dork with Jared from name.com. Meanwhile, Jared looks relatively normal :P Photo by Ryan.
I’m being a dork with Jared from name.com. Meanwhile, Jared looks relatively normal :P Photo by Ryan.

Four Years of Denver For Me!

My first Colorado Rockies baseball game in September 2011
My first Colorado Rockies baseball game in September 2011

I forget the exact date I moved to Denver in 2011, but I’m celebrating my four years here in Denver this whole week.

Yay! Four years of Denver for me!

I feel like my life so far has gone through 4-year cycles: yes, I went through four years of high school and four years of college. But then I spent *nearly* four years in San Francisco: I moved to San Francisco on June 15, 2007, and almost made it to my fourth anniversary in San Francisco, if it hadn’t been for my meltdown in late January of 2011, which caused for me to move out of San Francisco on January 30th, 2011.

And now, four years in Denver.

Four years in Denver has made me quite quirky!
Four years in Denver has made me quite quirky!

What next?

Well, I don’t currently plan on leaving Denver anytime soon. There was a brief period of time where I fancied moving to New York City, but that feeling has subsided (well, at least for now).

The past four years in Denver have certainly been an adventure, and I believe the next four years will be even more adventurous.

 

 

Just a brief summary of what all has happened to me in Denver since 2011:

  • Started and stopped my MBA studies
  • Started three companies: closed down two and going strong with the third one!
  • Ended an abusive relationship
  • Began a nurturing, more fulfilling relationship
  • Spoke at three Ignite Denver shows
  • Rescued three cats (#crazycatlady)
  • Became more extroverted through networking, Leads Group 7, and social media
  • Met some of the most wonderful people in the world
  • And so much more…
You're awesome, Colorado.
You’re awesome, Colorado.

Here’s to the next four years….!

Taking a step back & a step forward

Speaking at Ignite Denver 20 on June 11, 2015. Thanks to @b_wleung for the photo!
Speaking at Ignite Denver 20 on June 11, 2015. Thanks to @b_wleung for the photo!

Last month, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my business, Hashtag Hustler, and what direction I want to take it. I also spent some time thinking about what exactly I want out of my life–do I want to go back and work for someone else? Do I want to actually succeed as an entrepreneur?

The first half of June, I spent running around getting stuff done for a couple organizations I’m a part of here in Denver: I gave my third Ignite Denver talk on June 11, talking about the lessons I learned from working at a hot dog stand in San Francisco. Hopefully the video will be up shortly so I can share it with you all!

Ryan and I in Times Square after watching Les Miserables on Broadway.
Ryan and I in Times Square after watching Les Miserables on Broadway.

After that, though, I spent the rest of the month with my love, Ryan, and went to New York City for vacation. It was Ryan’s first time to visit the Big Apple, so we visited many tourist attractions, such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, and so forth. We went to see Les Miserables on Broadway and walked the Brooklyn Bridge as well. All in all, it was a great respite from life in Denver, and gave me space to really think about what I want out of my career and business.

Unfortunately, after we got back from New York City, I got sick with a terrible stomach virus. I’m feeling better now, but that sickness forced me to take off several more days and think about what direction I want the rest of the year to go in. On Monday, I received a rejection letter from a job I really wanted, and that was when I knew I had my answer: it’s time to go full-force with Hashtag Hustler.

It’s not that I haven’t been going at it with Hashtag Hustler since the official launch at the start of the year: it’s that I have been getting rejections from prospects the past several months, and I want to fix that. So I’ve hired a business coach to work with me over these next six months to revitalize the business.

Since the beginning of June, I’ve been hearing others talk about how we as professionals need to seek out other professionals to help us in our careers and lives. Why would a real estate agent act as his or her own expert in financial management if he or she doesn’t even have the background in that field? Why do so many businesses insist on doing their own marketing when that is NOT their speciality?

If you don’t invest in your own career or your life, you will receive that energy back from your clients or your friends. I realized this when I kept receiving rejection after rejection: I haven’t invested in my own business since my first business! Why would others want to hire me as their social media coach/manager if I don’t myself seek out a coach for my business?

So, onward I go. I have high hopes for this new adventure.


 

Speaking of adventures…

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may know that I spoke at the inaugural Denver Startup Week in 2012. I would love to speak at this year’s Denver Startup Week about social media, but I need your help: please click on over to vote for my two sessions before Friday, July 10th. Much appreciated!

What Businesses Do Wrong On Social Media (& What To Do Instead)

Make Your Event Social Media Sparkle!

Plummeting Temperatures

2014-01-07 07.06.26-1The weather has changed drastically this week in Denver (if you haven’t already noticed). On Monday, the day started off around the 50s-60s range; by the end of the day, we had plummeted to about 10 degrees. Today, the temperatures have hovered around 0 degrees with snow on the ground and icy conditions at night.

I am probably one of the few who actually enjoy this cooler weather: I get a mix of emotions when it comes to the seasons and the weather. In the wintertime, I get a little sad from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but then I also get really happy from the snow and the cooler temperatures. I was born in January, so I am naturally a winter person.

Today I had to go downtown for my Leads Group 7 meeting and I was so excited bundling up to go outside. I think the idea of bundling up to stay warm just generally excites me: getting to choose which sweater to wear, which jacket, which hat, how to wear everything, et. al. Maybe it’s just the fact that I get to play with my clothing choices a bit more that allows for me to enjoy wintertime.

Snow before Christmas is always a bit whimsical anyway: it evokes those images of hot cocoa, a warm fireplace, and carolers around town. One thing I am thankful for though: I am not driving in this weather (I don’t have a car of my own). Driving in snow is one of my bigger fears; kudos to those who are competent with winter driving!

The temperatures are supposed to stay cold through this weekend, and then it’s back up to a balmy 40 degrees for “normal” late autumn/early winter temperatures. I’ll take it; I’ve been ready for this weather the past several months.