Garden of the Gods

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We took a day trip to Colorado Springs this weekend! We’ve passed through on road trips but never really spent much time so it was nice to explore a new part of Colorado. The Springs are at higher elevation than Boulder and has a more western feel. We hiked the main loop trail at Garden of the Gods and it was stunning! The rock formations are towering and bright red. It’s a must see if you’re in the area. Pikes Peak sure makes for a gorgeous backdrop! We also drive through Manitou Springs and hiked around. We love the Springs and definitely plan on coming back!

Boreas Pass Camping Trip

Over the weekend we camped at the summit of Boreas Pass near Breckenridge in Summit County! We were all itching for an extended dose of mother nature so we packed our packs and hit the road. Spontaneous camping trips are so fun! It was not a far drive from the Boulder/Denver area at all and it was so incredibly beautiful! We camped pretty much right at tree line so around 11,000 ft. There were even still a few patches of pink (bacteria) snow on the mountains. We found the perfect camping spot nestled in the trees with a stunning panoramic view. There were tons of wild bluebells, indian paintbrushes, and purple daises all around. We ate completely paleo while camping- cashews, apples, sliced turkey, hard boiled eggs, and cracklins/pork rinds. It’s most efficient to bring protein rich foods backpacking and camping. I love unplugging and running around with Tyler and Waldo in the mountains!

home is wherever we are together
home is wherever we are together
view from our spot
view from our spot
that little grey spot in the middle is our tent tucked away
that little grey spot in the middle is our tent tucked away
their love is the cutest
their love is the cutest
waldo feeling the camp vibes!
waldo feeling the camp vibes!
sun going down on the mountains
sun going down on the mountains
tent chilling
tent chilling
waldo & mommy snuggles
waldo & mommy snuggles (note the gun in the tent pocket–I am one protected woman between myself, my man, my bulldog, and our gun!)
one of my favorite pictures of us!
one of my favorite pictures of us!
ty snapped this artsy but awesome shot of me
ty snapped this artsy but awesome shot of me
running wild
running wild
waldo was definitely posing here
waldo was definitely posing here

 

sunset
sunset

Recap of Aspen vacay + life lately

I want to share some more pics from our Aspen vacation and from my Dad’s wedding on top of Aspen mountain! We had so much fun. It was great for our family to all be together in such a beautiful place. We ate lots of good food, drank lots of champagne & sparking rosé, enjoyed the Aspen farmer’s market, tubed the Roaring Fork river, some daredevils of the group (not me haha) cliff jumped at Devil’s bathtub, and just relaxed! The Roaring Fork valley is definitely a special and stunning place. I feel like it’s necessary for me to take a week off from work a few times a year just to unplug and get back in touch with myself and my family.

Tyler & I at the Little Nell after my Dad & Heather got married
Tyler & I at the Little Nell after my Dad & Heather got married
me, our grandmother Lele, and my cousin Katherine Ann on top of Aspen mountain!
me, our grandmother Lele, and my cousin Katherine Ann on top of Aspen mountain!
My beautiful cousin & I !! We look like sisters!
My beautiful cousin & I !! We look like sisters!
obligatory flower crown selfie before the wedding
obligatory flower crown selfie before the wedding
view of the Elk Mountains from the top of Aspen mountain
view of the Elk Mountains from the top of Aspen mountain
Tyler & I at the Creperie du Village in downtown Aspen! It was so delicious. Highly recommend if you visit Aspen to eat here! Get the beef bourguignon crepe and rosé
Tyler & I at the Creperie du Village in downtown Aspen! It was so delicious. Highly recommend if you visit Aspen to eat here! Get the beef bourguignon crepe and rosé!
Tyler, Kat, and I!
Tyler, Kat, and I!
Katherine Ann, Morgan (my step-sister), and I at the Red Onion Saloon in downtown Aspen! Blondes are the best.
Katherine Ann, Morgan (my step-sister), and I at the Red Onion Saloon in downtown Aspen! Blondes are the best.
treating myself on vacation
treating myself on vacation
rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon!
rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon!
tube crew
tube crew
tubing the Roaring Fork River...which at this section was not exactly roaring haha hence me trying to paddle
tubing the Roaring Fork River…which at this section was not exactly roaring haha hence me trying to paddle
this living flower wall at The Little Nell is too awesome...see the snow capped mountains?!?
this living flower wall at The Little Nell is too awesome…see the snow capped mountains?!?
I think this was everyone's favorite spot while in Aspen...the hammock we hung up in the backyard between 2 aspen trees! Something about hammocks just makes me soooo relaxed.
I think this was everyone’s favorite spot while in Aspen…the hammock we hung up in the backyard between 2 aspen trees! Something about hammocks just makes me soooo relaxed.
Love spending quality time with my awesome Dad!
Love spending quality time with my awesome Dad!

Now more of life lately since we got back from Aspen! Life has been SO wonderful lately…there is truly so much to be grateful for every single day we wake up!! I love summertime in Colorado, pretty much everyday is gorgeous with the occasional afternoon shower which puts me in such a relaxed state. I also got a raise at my job!! I was super stoked on this because it’s the first real promotion/raise I’ve ever received!! Maybe that’s TMI for the blog but whatever, this is a place where I can share stuff like that. Waldo has been so sweet and snuggly per usual which I absolutely adore about him. It’s pretty amazing that I have a 105 lb. lap dog who looks intimidating but is actually a huge, spoiled baby.

Tyler and I were not exactly good about keeping to Paleo when we were on vacation…we were bad haha. It’s always really hard to unless we are the only ones which is not often the case. But what matters the most is how fast and how well you bounce back after having some cheat meals. We immediately resumed back to strict Paleo upon returning home and I feel sooo much better!! I mean yeah that ice cream cone made me feel awesome at the time but afterwards I felt fat and I did not feel great physically. Instances like that remind me why we eat Paleo in the first place; we just feel better. This week we kind of started to transition to low-carb Paleo (with one Paleo sweet treat a week- on Sundays!). We are doing this to help us both cut down our weights (not the number on the scale but the fat on our bodies) so that we look good for upcoming events and for our wedding!! Operation wedding body begins. For diet, we will be sticking to strict Paleo, low-carb with some built in cheat meals. For exercise, I will continue to go to my CorePower classes and do more sculpt and circuit classes. We are also going to join a gym near our house because it is most accessible for us and we both need to start lifting more weights! I love my yoga so dearly and I could never go without it but my body has really been craving more cardio and weights sooo gym here I come! I am also thinking about doing ClassPass where I can go to a bunch of different yoga, pilates, barre, and kickboxing studios. If anyone has ever done ClassPass, let me know how you like it because I am really interested! Comment below.

Tyler and I have also been doing a lot of wedding planning! Our venue is set for our ceremony and reception at Chautauqua. We booked our wedding and engagement photographer, Tina Joiner, who does great work. We’re taking engagement pictures in mid September!! We reserved a block of rooms at the St. Julien for our guests. Other guests will stay at the Chautauqua cottages and cabins. I made an appointment to go look for my wedding dress in Denver at this super cute place called Emma & Grace Bridal!! I am so excited!! My hairdresser and her sister got their dresses from there and they are so pretty. My mom and Tyler’s mom are going to fly up to help me pick out my something new! My bridesmaids and I have also been discussing my bachelorette trip. We are thinking Napa and I literally couldn’t be more pumped!! I am looking at my countdown app right now and we are exactly 10 months and 26 days out from the wedding!!! This is probably the most exciting time of my life. Ever. There are already 2 events planned thus far (other than the wedding obviously) which are: bridal shower the day after Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge at my awesome aunt’s house and announcement/engagement party the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge at one of my sweet bridesmaid’s houses!! Both parties will be so much fun and I can’t wait to see all my friends and family. Here are some pics from life lately!

Me and my giant baby! Caught him mid-yawn.
Me and my giant baby! Caught him mid-yawn.
Had to take a selfie because for the first time in my entire life, I found a lipstick that I actually like! Most of them make me feel/look like a clown but this liquid matte lipstick is the bomb.
Had to take a selfie because for the first time in my entire life, I found a lipstick that I actually like! Most of them make me feel/look like a clown but this liquid matte lipstick is the bomb.
Making homemade hemp milk in the Vitamix! Hemp milk is so nutritious and definitely the healthiest of all nut milks. We don't strain ours so that it keeps the whole food in tact.
Making homemade hemp milk in my Vitamix! Hemp milk is so nutritious and definitely the healthiest of all nut milks. We don’t strain ours so that it keeps the whole food in tact.
Waldo was looking too cute in Tyler's hat! Make America great again!
Waldo was looking too cute in Tyler’s hat! Make America great again!
Another work selfie because I'm obsessed with this shirt and the only colors I wore this day were blue, white, and blonde!
Another work selfie because I’m obsessed with this shirt and the only colors I wore this day were blue, white, and blonde!
Here is a healthy treat that I have been loving lately!! Coconut water & whole fruit pops.
Here is a healthy treat that I have been loving lately!! Coconut water & whole fruit pops.

Maroon Bells

The #1 thing we wanted to do while in Aspen was to hike the Maroon Bells! It’s the most photographed place in Colorado and for good reason. It’s been on my Colorado to do/bucket list for years now. I was seriously in awe the whole time just soaking up the vast beauty of the lush valley surrounded by 14,000 ft peaks and aspen groves.

My brother Robson, Tyler, and I parked at Aspen Highlands and took the local bus up to Maroon Lake. The bus comes every 15-20 minutes and they do this to limit the traffic that drives over the aspen groves root system. Not sure if this is really true or not haha because we saw a few RV’s and other cars driving up so I think they just do it to limit the number of people parking at the trail head. We were actually glad that Waldo was not with us on this hike because the bus was pretty crowded and standing room only by the time we got on.

Maroon Lake is stunningly beautiful! It’s turquoise blue-green and crystal clear. The wildflowers were blooming EVERYWHERE. Again, I am obsessed with Colorado’s wildflowers- we saw daisies, columbines, lupines, Indian paint brushes, blue & purple bells, berry patches, sunflowers, etc. It was a wildflower wonderland. I love fresh flowers but I am pretty conscious and respectful about not picking them so that everyone can enjoy them and so that I don’t disturb the natural habitat. The massive, snowy peaks behind Maroon Lake are breathtaking.

wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake
Maroon Bells lovin'!
Maroon Bells lovin’!
Maroon Bells in the summer
Maroon Bells in the summer

We hit the trail and headed up past Maroon Lake to Crater Lake. It’s a 3.6 mile round trip hike. The elevation gain is not too bad at all (less than 1,000 ft) but the trail had a lot of loose rocks on it so you have to watch your footing the whole time which is nothing new (thank you hiking boots/ankle support). We passed multiple huge aspen groves on the way to Crater Lake. Crater Lake was even more beautiful than Maroon Lake! It was a more vibrant turquoise and I spotted about 5 waterfalls up on the cliffs and peaks! It’s pretty much right at the treeline. We found a nice log and chilled by Crater Lake for a while just absorbing the beauty and high country sun. Robson decided to head back down the trail at this point but Tyler and I continued on West Maroon Trail which is a pass that can actually take you all the way to Crested Butte. We obviously didn’t go that far (that is a multi-day backpacking excursion) but we hiked probably another mile or 2 beyond the peaks and into the valley. The crowd thinned out significantly after Crater Lake (I think we only saw like 2 other people) so that was nice because the rest of the trail was pretty crowded. West Maroon Trail is prime bear and moose territory so we stayed alert and had our eyes and ears open the whole time. We crossed over creeks and rock fields, hiked waist deep in wildflowers, and got great views of huge waterfalls on the cliff sides. Highly suggest West Maroon Trail! Overall, the Maroon Bells were amazing and unforgettable. If you are ever in the Aspen area, go see and hike them! We might even have to go back in the fall when all the aspens turn bright yellow.

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in White River National Forest
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in White River National Forest
surrounded by peaks in all directions
surrounded by peaks in all directions
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aspen groves galore
looking back on Maroon Lake from
looking back on Maroon Lake from the trail
approaching Crater Lake
approaching Crater Lake
wild columbines
wild columbines
Crater Lake
Crater Lake
Crater Lake with my love
Crater Lake with my love
2 tier waterfall on the cliff side
2 tier waterfall on the cliff side
castles in the sky
castles in the sky
West Maroon Trail/Pass
West Maroon Trail/Pass
waterfalls, canyon walls
waterfalls, canyon walls
We live in paradise! West Maroon Trail
We live in paradise! West Maroon Trail

Exploring the Grottos

Tyler and I recently arrived to Aspen for our family vacation/my dad’s wedding (which is today at The Little Nell up on the mountain- another post on that to come). The first full day here we hiked and explored the Grottos!! It was so freaking cool!! It’s up Independence Pass (probably the world’s most beautiful pass) a few miles from Aspen. When I was researching it, it honestly didn’t look that awesome but let me tell you, it’s underrated! It’s not a long trail but there’s a lot to see and do. The Roaring Fork River runs along the trail so there are tons of beautiful river spots to hang out at and foot bridges to cross and cascades that were literally roaring! Tons of wildflowers which are my favorite. The best part by far were the ice caves! You have to climb down in between some sketchy crevices to get to them but it’s so worth it! There are these huge glaciers down there. Highly recommend this hike for anyone in the Aspen area. Check out our pictures below! We have a bunch more adventures planned for while we are here so stay tuned!

us on top of Independence Pass!
us on top of Independence Pass!
when the cave drips on you haha
when the cave drips on you haha
wildflowers at 12,000+ feet
wildflowers at 12,000+ feet
roaring fork river
roaring fork river
Ty climbing down into the ice caves
Ty climbing down into the ice caves
my man leading the way
my man leading the way
inside the ice caves
inside the ice caves
snow melt
snow melt
cave vibes
cave vibes
kind of a weird pic haha but Tyler caught a candid of me checking out the ice
kind of a weird pic haha but Tyler caught a candid of me checking out the ice
cave shadows
cave shadows
rainbow
rainbow
roaring cascades
roaring cascades

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admiring
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blissed out
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chill river spot

looking down into the caves from a footbridge
looking down into the crevices from a footbridge
<3
our happy place

Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness

Our first high country summer hike this season was to Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness! It was exceptionally cool and sunny which made for perfect hiking weather. This was my first real hike where I brought my new camera and it was so much fun taking pictures along the way. Tyler even enjoyed it too! The wildflowers were blooming and there were tons of creeks babbling everywhere from all the snow melt. Truly peaceful. I spotted a few wild columbines and some sweet hydroponic alpine flowers. We crossed over probably 10 foot bridges which are always fun and make me feel like a kid again. We started at the East Portal Trailhead near Rollinsville and it was a 6 mile roundtrip hike with about 1,400 ft elevation gain. The trail was heavily forested but still had great mountain views. We chilled at lower Crater Lake for a while and let Waldo swim/run around. We also climbed some rocks and played on the snow fields. It was really fun sliding down the snow! After a while, I noticed that Waldo’s paw was bleeding and realized that he cut it open somehow so we had to bust out the first aid kit. It was my first backcountry first aid experience and I managed to clean it off and bandage him up pretty nicely! We decided to head back down after that and thankfully he wasn’t limping or in pain. He’s such a tough and sweet boy! He never lets us see him sweat, that’s for sure. We had a great time and plan on backpacking/camping in James Peak Wilderness sometime soon! All the pictures below were taken with my canon rebel camera. None of them are edited due to my lack of expertise in that area. IMG_0354 IMG_0367 IMG_0358 IMG_0370IMG_0385 IMG_0415 IMG_0419 IMG_0422 IMG_0433 IMG_0475IMG_0481IMG_0494IMG_0485

Boulder Falls

Over the weekend Tyler and I went to Boulder Falls for the first time ever!! We made the choice not to bring Waldo since we were unsure of the trail conditions and since it’s technically closed. I like to follow the rules (sometimes) but in my opinion, you can’t close nature. C’mon Boulder! The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising to do much else outdoors so we decided to say screw it and adventure anyway!!! I’ve been dying to see Boulder Falls but it has been closed for almost the entire 5 years I’ve lived here. I came to the realization that people safely visit all the time and just go around the closed off rope sign. It was a great day to visit because 1) we were the only ones there so that was really nice and 2) it has been raining recently + snow melt so the falls were raging. The canyon was all foggy and mystical, it was so romantic and relaxing. Pics below 🙂 IMG_2273

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spring break getaway

Tyler & I just got back from a week in Longboat Key, Florida (aka paradise)!! I’m soo glad we missed the blizzard in Colorado. We stayed at his grandparents’ adorable beach bungalow. They are seriously the sweetest for having us! Their backyard is literally a tropical oasis full of palms, beautiful exotic flowers, and an awesome pool–where we spent a lot of time chilling. It’s also right down the street from the beach so we would ride bikes to and from every day, multiple times a day! We forgot how much we love riding bikes together so we are both going to get ours tuned up asap! I desperately needed some salt water therapy & vitamin D in my life and I got my fix! We were able to totally relax, let go, and be in an island state of mind for an entire week. One day we paddle boarded in the ocean which was so much fun! I even busted out a few yoga moves on the board which was challenging but so so cool. It’s probably the most relaxing thing ever to just lay on the paddle board with your eyes closed as the ocean rocks you. The weather really couldn’t have been any nicer! Every day was sunny and warm with a cooling ocean breeze. The beach is where I’m totally in my element. One night we went down to the beach with Tyler’s whole family with our drinks and played bocce ball as the sun set, it was wonderful. We really only had one overcast day and that happened to be the day after Ty dislocated his shoulder body surfing soo we caught up on Better Call Saul and laid out by the pool that day for him to recover. We had lots of fresh seafood and fruit–two of my favorite food groups! Tyler took me out for a date night just us two one night at this awesome restaurant on the water, conveniently across the street from his grandparents’ house. It was such a fabulous getaway! If you can’t tell by my pics, I’m obsessed with high necklines right now–dresses, tops, bikinis, etc.
On another note, I found out that I lost one of my greatest friends the day we left for Longboat Key. It’s been very hard but I am learning to turn my grief into gratitude. Rest in peace Tevis. You will never be forgotten.
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backyard goals
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riding bikes to & from the beach
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my love & I

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NOLA wedding weekend

This past weekend (February 19-21) Tyler and I had the pleasure of flying down to New Orleans for my cousin Clay’s wedding. It was so much fun! We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel which was awesome. Their lobby is beautiful and the Sazerac bar is located inside the hotel (where Heather asked me to be her bridesmaid!!!), as well as one of Chef John Besh’s restaurants, Domenica. The weather was amazing so we lounged at the rooftop pool and Tyler swam (unfortunately I forgot a swimsuit). As soon as we got there we headed to R’evolution, one of Chef John Folse’s restaurants, for a late lunch and drinks. I had some of the best gumbo of my life and Tyler ordered some fancy turtle soup. Of course we took our drinks to go!

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