Pakems: Conveniently Packable Sporty Shoes

The Pakems + Kid Project Giveaway ends today! Go over and enter to win a pair of low-cut Pakems now!

Wearing my high-top pair of Pakems this past winter.
Wearing my high-top pair of Pakems this past winter.

This post is part of a series of Support Local pieces on my blog. To check out other posts in the series, check the category “support local”

I don’t quite remember how I came across Pakems late last year: could have been another random Twitter find. Pakems is a Colorado-based company that makes portable shoes for after skiing/snowboarding and general travel for outdoor sports. From the Pakems website:

Pakems are lightweight, water-resistant, packable shoes engineered to take anywhere. They feature lightweight rip stop fabric, rubber soles for traction, and a strapped bag for packability.

I got myself a pair as an early Christmas present and I certainly have enjoyed this purchase. I’ve worn Pakems during the snowstorms earlier this year and they held up with their waterproof promises. The shoes are also good for slick sidewalks since I hadn’t slipped in my Pakems when I wore them. The high-top shoes are great to keep my ankles warm, although I may cave and buy a low-top pair for other reasons, hehe.

High-top Pakems in Lumberjack Plaid.
High-top Pakems in Lumberjack Plaid.

Pakems has shoes both for men and women, which come in a variety of colors and patterns. Each pair comes with its own carrying case so you can store away the shoes after you use them. Super fun!

Might be cute to see Pakems make kids’ shoes in the future. For now, I say buy a pair for yourself and check them out. Ski season may be winding down in Colorado, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying a pair for summer vacation hiking and other outdoor activities.

Pakems are currently sold in-stores at only a few locations, but you can always order your own pair on their website! Heck, why don’t you take a stab at the giveaway ending today? You just might be the lucky one.

***DISCLAIMER: I received a discount on a pair of Pakems, so in no way did the company offer me a free pair. This post is written from my own free will, so it is not a paid advertisement from the company. :)

One quarter into the year

Downtown Denver on a sunny January day.
Downtown Denver on a sunny January day.

Well, that blog schedule I listed in my previous post hasn’t surfaced. Oops.

I find that this website here has had a severe identity disorder. I first started helenekwong.com back in 2009 to get my writer platform running; since then, this blog has evolved and gone all over the place. I am not sure if I am ok with that.

However, I suppose this describes the changing seasons of my own interests. My brand, Helene Kwong, has seen a lot of change in interest, passion, etc. since 2009. Some passions dialed down a few notches while others flared up; some disappeared and some exploded into reality.

Anyway: I will be getting back on a regular posting schedule next week. I find my posts about highlighting local businesses (or small businesses in general) are the most helpful for those businesses. My posts on the job hunting process were a hit last year: perhaps I will evolve this topic once again.

We shall see.

First post of 2014: what you can expect from my blog

This is what you get when you use a cookie dough tube. (Photo circa 2005)
This is what you get when you use a cookie dough tube. (Photo circa 2005)

How’s everyone faring so far in this next revolution around the Sun? Thirteen days in, and I feel like I have learned a lot already in my day-to-day experiences. This past weekend was especially a learning lesson (well, two combined): I know I must overcome this hurdle I have encountered. In due time.

So, since this is a new year, I would like to incorporate more themed posts throughout the week. Last year, I left off with posts highlighting local businesses; I plan to continue this on Mondays so I can honor each of the local businesses for their unique offerings. On Wednesdays, I will keep my posts to personal updates, thoughts, etc. Since I am currently getting my novel reviewed by my wonderful friend, Shonell Bacon, I may also include updates on that novel (I aim to publish it this year). On Fridays, to exercise my creative writing muscles, I will include short stories to give the work week a bit of flavor at the end.

Anyway, that’s how things will be on my blog this year. Help me stay accountable on this!

Another Eventful Year Ends.

IMG_6545
Artsy year 2013

The ball has dropped in New York City for 2014, but I still have a little time left here in Denver to reflect upon 2013.

It’s been a crazy year for sure, both in good and bad ways. 2013 was the year I showed my Twitter prowess through winning conference passes and owning conference hashtags (see #launch2013 #incleadership #sxswv2v). This was also the year I realized that I didn’t want to do TAOpivot anymore. Some career turmoil throughout the summer plus another car accident….aiya >_< Then, the rise of Ms. Kwong’s Baked Goods and my transcription business.

Every year serves as a roller coaster ride for me; however, 2013 felt like the year where I realized my stage in life. I understood that I was no longer a flippant 20something (early 20s); I was well on my way towards a more stable time in my life. My group of friends changed (as it always does); I noticed that the age and demographics of my friendships skewed towards my age or older.

I became more aware of my finances and the negative self-talk I told myself; really focused on more overall self-care and creating a fitness/health plan based on what was best for me. Granted, the July accident threw a lot of my schedule out of whack for most of August to October; however, I am thankful for all the work I’ve had done with my chiropractor, cognitive therapist, physical therapist, and so forth.

2014 is already going to be a great year; I feel it in my bones.

Cafe Max: Bringing Europe & the US Coasts to Denver

Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis
Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis

I first discovered Cafe Max back in mid-March on my way to get a pedicure. I do not remember what was there before the cafe; I just know I walked by and looked up and realized the cafe was there. I went on to my pedicure and asked the staff if they knew of anything about their new neighbor next door. “Oh, it’s a nice place; they have sandwiches, coffee, and other things.”

After the pedicure, I decided to scope out Cafe Max…and the rest is history (haha). I met Max on that first visit, and since then, we’ve become close friends along with his partner, Yuki. There was a period of time in late summer/early fall where I was at the cafe nearly every evening, doing work or keeping company with Max and his employees. I have joked that I am Cafe Max’s “biggest investor” because of the cash I have spent on the cafe’s offerings.

View of Cafe Max from the back table.
View of Cafe Max from the back table.

When people first walk into Cafe Max, they immediately feel transported to another place in the world: I have heard patrons call Cafe Max a “European-style cafe”, or “This reminds me of San Francisco/New York City.” Max will take any of the above: he wanted to bring a different concept of a cafe to Denver. Raised in the Bronx, Max has lived all over the country doing public relations and working at restaurants, so he has experienced a lot of different business environments. Cafe Max’s mission is to “provide nourishment and inspiration, inside a stylish environment that balances eclectic worldliness, with a welcoming sense of place. ”

At Cafe Max, patrons experience a cozy, almost “living room”-like environment: there are magazines and books available to peruse while patrons wait for their food or drink. The menu itself is different from what folks would expect in Denver: instead of the same ol’ pastries, Max has all unique desserts, either made in his kitchen or from local businesses (e.g., Humble Pie). In addition, Cafe Max’s menu has breakfast items (served all day!–my favorite!), continental plates, and coffee products (French Press, Cappucino, *authentic Cafe con Leche, and strong, bold cold coffee from La Colombe). If coffee isn’t your preference, there are also teas from all over the world to choose from; both caffeinated and herbal teas are available. Cold drinks include San Pellegrino sodas and sparkling water, organic juices, and unique offerings of beer and wine.

prezzolini prosecco at Cafe Max; what a cute little glass!
prezzolini prosecco at Cafe Max; what a cute little glass!

Cafe Max’s menu items are also accommodating to those with a gluten intolerance, having dishes and desserts gluten-free. Some items are also lactose-free.

I have practically eaten my way through the whole menu over the course of the past nine months: my favorite dishes are the Frittata w/organic greens, the Organic Salad w/goat cheese, and the Prosciutto Panini (also served with organic greens). The entrees are light and prepared to order. Cafe Max is not a place to grab-n-go quickly; Max and Yuki want patrons to linger, take some downtime at the cafe between business meetings, errands, etc.

Cafe Max is open on Mondays thru Saturdays from 8:30am to 10pm. On Sundays, the cafe closes at 6pm.

When you get the chance, Denver, come visit Cafe Max and experience the place firsthand. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to meet Max; he is very approachable and kind with an interesting sense of humor. You can visit the cafe on the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street: 2412 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver 80206.