The Source Hotel + Market Hall and a Bacchanal Celebration of All Things New Orleans

Happy Monday, friends! This past weekend I was hosted by The Source Hotel + Market Hall, where I got to stay in a King suite (and soak in the glorious tub), shop at Market Hall, eat at their different restaurants and attend Bacchanal, a New Orleans-style wine, food and music festival that was held in the parking lot of The Source. Besides the fact that having a full weekend in a hotel all by myself was glorious (love you Chris & kids!), it was also a great opportunity to see all the ways that this particular Denver neighborhood — called RiNo — is really developing.

To start, the modern-style King suites came stocked with a living area, shower and glorious tub (just look at that glorious tub!) and my corner room had some pretty cool views of the Denver skyline and the mountains in the distance.



After checking in on Friday, I headed down to the second floor to check out the stores that are part of Market Hall. There was an artists’ installation, a flower shop, the Israeli-focused restaurant Safta, barbecue restaurant Smok, New Belgium Brewing’s inaugural Denver brewery and some pop-up bespoke stalls.





Dinner and drinks on Friday were at The Woods, the rooftop restaurant of the hotel. The views were gorgeous, the drinks tasty and the sweet soy cauliflower appetizers were a must-try.

^^ Morning Denver views from my room.

^^ Breakfast on Saturday morning was a pastry from the Reunion Bread Company, juice from Isabel and a latte from Caffe Figurati.


The hotel is also a block away from Zeppelin Station, which features a rotating retail space called Made in a City. “Made in Mexico City” was the current experience for the weekend I was there, and there were shops and restaurants that featured Mexico City-based experiences. I had a beet veggie salad and a ceviche tostada from Campobaja, which were both really delightful.

IMG_6100IMG_6101IMG_6102After Zeppelin Station, I met up with a colleague at Safta to grab some food before heading over to the Bacchanal event. Safta specializes in Israeli cuisine, and their mushroom hummus was without a doubt some of the best hummus I’ve ever had (sorry Hummus Place in NYC — you’ve got competition!)


After our quick bite it was off to Bacchanal! Here’s where I admit something silly — I’ve actually been to the real-life Bacchanal in New Orleans (blogged about here), but didn’t remember until about halfway through the event Saturday night. Once I did remember, though, the whole event snapped into focus for me. Bacchanal in New Orleans is basically one big outdoor house party — it’s a very laid-back scene with amazing food plates and buckets of wine that you stand in line to order. There are colorful string lights, picnic tables in the yard and fantastic, live music. So that was what the Bacchanal team was attempting to recreate in the parking lot of The Source on Saturday and Sunday, and they did a pretty great job. They even managed to bring over two of the original Bacchanal bands from New Orleans to perform, too.


The team has actually been bringing this event around the country for a while now — they’ve been in LA twice and in Chicago, and a few others, as well — and I think it’s such a great idea. For people who have never been to New Orleans, getting a chance to partake in some of the culture is a great way to entice them to take a trip, and for people who have been, it’s a lovely reminder of what makes New Orleans so special.

On Sunday we all got to test out the new brunch menu at Safta before heading out. Here’s where I tell you that, if you enjoy eating Israeli-based foods as much as I do (I have never met a hummus flavor I didn’t love), then this brunch is for you. I mean there is so much more than hummus (just look at those pictures!), and they even bring in Rosenberg’s bagels which, I just learned on this trip, adjusts the pH level of the water they use to create the bagels so that they closely match what you’ll find in NYC.


IMG_6140IMG_6141IMG_6142IMG_6143IMG_6144IMG_6145IMG_6146Safta, we learned, means grandmother in Hebrew, and so the restaurant is meant to evoke homestyle feelings of being back at your grandmother’s house eating a big ole’ Sunday meal. Quaint and cozy with a dash of elegance … and all the tasty treats you could possibly ask for.

And that was my weekend in a nutshell, friends. I really enjoyed my relaxing time at The Source Hotel, and I’m so glad I was able to attend the Bacchanal celebration and find a new amazing eatery, too. It was an area I will definitely be heading back to.

Bis bald!

The Rustic Wedding of Every Instagram Account’s Dream

Happy Monday, friends! We spent the weekend in the Albany area for my cousin’s wedding, and it was, without a doubt, the most gorgeous wedding I have ever attended. The M&D Farm describes itself as a rustic chic farm for barn and garden weddings, and every one of those words describes the exact atmosphere of Alyssa’s stunning day. Although it poured right before the ceremony and they had to move that part inside, the rain stopped just in time for cocktail hour and for the rest of the night, so we could wander around and check out the grounds. We also rented a house in a town near the ceremony that had a pool and lake and lots of land for the girls to run around on, so all-in-all it was a pretty successful and fun weekend.

^^ My cousin also invited us to the rehearsal dinner Friday night, which was at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in Albany. My scallops were so tasty and, as an added bonus, it was nice to be out without the girls for a night (and then a second night on Saturday for the wedding) 😉

^^ Look at this gorgeous couple <3

^^ We stopped at the cutest little diner for breakfast on the way out of town on Sunday.


And that was our wedding weekend in a nutshell, friends. I have to throw in some photos of the little outing my sister put together for Lotte last Thursday to celebrate her birthday — we did Build-a-Bear (how cute is it there?!) and then went bowling for the first time with the girls. G was upset she couldn’t pick up every single heavy ball she saw, but Lotte really had a ton of fun, including all the fried food and ice cream that came with it 😉


And that brings us to the end of our trip, friends. As you read this, we are probably on our flight back to Denver. We have been in New York for 13 days, and to be honest, I’m ready to get back to my own bed and our normal routine and all that jazz. I’m so glad we were able to make this trip happen, though, and I will have these memories — so many memories — to tide me over for a long time to come.

That and the fact that my sister and brother-in-law and niece baby will be out to see us in a couple weeks, too 😉

Bis bald, friends!

Your 2019 Colorado Summer Bucket List

I mean … G is barely even in this photo, but you get the gist — Colorado is amazing in the summer, and summer is right around the corner! I mean, it’s pretty amazing all of the time, but the summer is a great time to check out the mountains, lakes, hikes, breweries … and everything in between.

To help you out if you happen to be in the hood, here are a few of our fave hangouts when the weather gets warmer:

Ice cream at Little ManGetting your first ice cream of the summer at Little Man is almost more about the experience itself than the ice cream … although the ice cream is pretty darn fantastic, as well. Lotte had her first taste of ice cream here, and it was one of the first spots we visited when we were testing the area out to see if we actually wanted to move here. If you can rent a bike and stop here on your way to touring other spots of Denver, you’ll make the whole experience even more quintessentially Denver-esque.

Every single thing Golden related: Check out the quaint old Main Street, grab a beer at Golden City Brewery, tour Coors Brewery, drive up the scenic overlook pass and take a peek at Buffalo Bill’s grave … all in gorgeous Golden.

Hikes, hikes and more hikes: Hiking in Colorado is basically an essential, but fear not, there is a trail for every level. Some of our favorites have included Hanging Lake, St. Mary’s Glacier, Gem Lake and the Flat Irons.

Check out a 14er: Okay, okay, to be fair I’ve only actually done one 14er, and it was a drive-up one, but still, it was glorious and I would highly recommend it! The mountain was Pikes Peak, and it was well worth the altitude. 

Visit the mountains: Mountains are a-plenty here in Colorado (duh), but the summer is the perfect time to visit. Glorious hiking, delicious drinks and food, hot tubs and pools and hanging out in the warm summer sun — there’s just nothing like it. Some of our favorite summertime mountain adventures have included camping in Boreas Pass, visiting Telluride for Easter (not technically summer, but always gorgeous), Beaver Creek for a getaway before G was born and checking out the Maroon Bells in Aspen.

Head to a National Park: The National Parks in Colorado are not to be missed, even if they may be a bit off the beaten path. Be sure to check out Rocky Mountain National Park (which is easily combined with a trip to Boulder), and if you have time/happen to be in the area, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a place you won’t want to miss.

Find the rock formations: By which, of course, I mean visit Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks, two must-not-be-missed spots in this great state called Colorado. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a concert at Red Rocks and/or get to take a morning yoga class. Both are pure magic.

Besides those big-ticket items, there are unlimited places to find great brews and get great food. Living in Colorado has been such an adventure, and I’m so grateful for all of the amazing things we’ve been able to see and do. So, without further adieu ‚ bis bald, friends — and I hope you all have a fantastic summer ahead!

The Perfect Mountain Retreat in Massanutten


Happy new week, friends! I just returned from a wonderful press trip to Massanutten Resort in Virginia, which is about a 20 minute drive from where I went to college at James Madison. This trip was so much fun, not only because the resort itself is full of any and every activity you could ever want (more on that later), but also because I got to meet up with my dearest girlie bestie for it, and we were able to take a pit stop at JMU on the way to Massanutten, as well. Top on our list of places to hit for our quick college reunion were our old Mexican food fave, El Charro, as well as ice cream at Kline’s and a quick walk by the quad to visit the James Madison statue and the offices of our old college paper, The BreezeLisa and I could not stop talking about how our love for journalism began in those tiny Breeze offices … as well as our love for each other 😉

^^ This campus sure is glorious. I’m just sayin’, if either of my girls wanted to go to school here, I wouldn’t be too sad …


After our JMU visit it was on to Massanutten, where we were lucky enough to be put up in a Regal Vistas townhome for our three-night stay. The homes were so quaint and cozy, with electric garages, porches, full kitchens, fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs (you know I was all up in that), and a private pool and fitness center just for Regal Vistas guests.


We had quite the packed itinerary for this trip that included all the adventure you could want, topped off with a Signature Massage at their spa on Saturday before heading back to the airport.

I’ll get more into the amazing food and activities in a sec, but first I want to say a little something about Massanutten in general. I live in Colorado where the mountains are a plenty, right? But here’s thing thing — Colorado is an arid, desert climate, and the mountains, while glorious, sure, are rarely green.

Massanutten, however …. well it doesn’t get more gloriously green than those Massanutten mountains. Plus they aren’t as high as Colorado, so altitude wasn’t really an issue for me, either. The whole week just felt like the perfect mix of outdoor adventure and nature coupled with challenging activities, as well as the opportunity for relaxing respites and catch-ups with Lisa.

What I’m essentially saying is, I’m so sad I never knew this little oasis was only 20 minutes away when I went to school at JMU. They’ve actually added a lot on since I graduated, though, and the resort staff should be super proud of what they bring to the area, which includes:

^^ Amazing meals. During our stay we ate at Campfire Grill and Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co., as well as had a barbecue prepared for us by the chef and staff and had a private dinner with wine/beer/liquor pairings on our final night. The ceviche on our final night was probably my favorite seafood dish I’ve had in a long time, but really, everything was stellar.

^^ All the adventure. Our Thursday started with a trip to the Family Adventure Park right down the road, where we went summer tubing down the mountain, climbed rock walls and took a chance on the Mega Zip line. It was the. most. fun.


Our afternoon on Thursday consisted of a tour of some of the newly renovated facilities in other parts of the resort, as well as a trip up the mountain to see the views and mine and Lisa’s first ever experience with an escape room and virtual reality games (again … so. much. fun!) at Real Escapes, followed by ice cream at Fun Factory next door.


On Friday we got to check out three other huge draws in the area — the Water Park (I’m pretty great a lazy tubing, if you really want to know) with private cabanas, the petting farm and then mountain biking in the afternoon.

To be honest, Lisa and I didn’t really know we would be mountain biking when we went in for the activity. We were originally mean to be trying out their new e-bikes, but when one got a flat tire we were happy to use regular bikes. It didn’t occur to us that the regular bikes were mountain bikes and that we would be mountain biking up and down a hill.

But you know what … we ROCKED that mountain biking! It was definitely a little scary at first, but I gotta say, once you get the hang of it, I could totally see how that activity would be addicting.

^^ I mean … how can you not love him?!

^^Our private lunch back at the water park included the most amazing drinks, and even better tuna tacos. Tuna in tacos … who knew?!

^^ Big smiles because this was after our big mountain biking excursion, and we had made it out alive!


Our final dinner of the trip was a private event with the chef and some of the staff, and it was absolutely amazing. The bar tender served up some tasty drinks, and everything was just so delish.


And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. I have to truly thank the fine folks at Massanutten for sponsoring this trip and really pulling out all the stops to make it as incredible as it was. If you’re ever in the area, I can honestly say that it doesn’t get much prettier than the Shenandoah area, and Massanutten has an activity for every level and age. It’s a no-brainer to stop here when you’re rolling through.

Our next trip will be the whole fam of four and it’s back to New York for a bunch of events — Lotte’s birthday, my cousin’s wedding, G’s first foray into New York City … it should be a pretty great time. But until then … bis bald, friends!

Making Memories on Memorial Day in Upstate New York


If you are looking at that above picture and thinking, “Stop it. Just ding dang stop it right now,” then you know how I feel about my new adorable niece.

Before I get any further, let me start this post by stating that I have a fabulous husband. As a surprise birthday treat, he booked a little New York getaway just for me — sans children! — for this past Memorial Day weekend. I flew in on Friday and got to spend a glorious three and 1/2 days with Steph and Ro and Brian (and a whole cast of other amazing people, as well), before flying back (and landing at 3 a.m. – thank you hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and hail … oh my) on Tuesday.

Having those three full days was so nice because we really got to space out our activities and combine some chill time with some other fun things, as well. We got to visit my Grandmother on Saturday morning, and then Steph and I got drinks and appetizers at the most adorable little spot in New Hampton called Mason’s Marketplace. On Sunday we visited the Warwick Foot Spa & Tea Bar for a little relaxation and reflexology before heading over to the Gardiner Brewing Company, which is really and truly a fun little gem, and I’m not just saying that because Brian’s sister Meg was integral in setting it up and works there (even though, you know, seeing her cute face does help – hi Meg!). We met up with Brian’s parents there, as well, and a high school friend of mine, before heading over to my Aunt and Uncle’s place on Memorial Day Monday to hang with them and my cousins and my cousins daughter. Then my stepdad stopped by Steph’s place on Tuesday before I flew out.

Even though I got to pack in time with so many different people, because they were all spaced out it didn’t feel overwhelming like it sometimes can. Plus, with the girls not there, I got to actually focus on my conversations without any distractions.

Besides Rosalie, obviously. Her constant cuteness is always a distraction to me 😉

I did miss the girls, obviously, but honestly, sometimes it’s just so nice to have a little one-on-one time. You Moms get me.

I would be remiss if I ended this post without mentioning the amazing woman who sat in my aisle on my flight back. Apparently a hail storm in Denver two days earlier had grounded 29 Southwest planes with damage, so the airline has really been struggling to play catchup ever since. My flight was originally supposed to leave at 6:20 p.m NY time on Tuesday, and after being delayed two hours, being rerouted through Canada (which would have been an extra 1.5 hours of flying time) to avoid weather, then sitting on the tarmac for three hours, unloading back into the airport, then loading up again … we ended up finally leaving around 11 p.m. NY time. By the time I got my luggage, found the car (shout-out to Manny the Matrix for avoiding any hail damage in the airport parking lot!) and drove home, I wasn’t in bed until 3:30 a.m.

Tired doesn’t begin to cover it.

But anyway, about my seat-mate. She was about 75-years-old, has five grown children (one of whom is a pilot with Southwest), had lost her husband when her second child was just graduating high school, was a nurse, worked in Saudi Arabia and now spends her time traveling the globe. She was just coming back from Spain on Tuesday and was supposed to catch a connection in Denver to Phoenix, which obviously didn’t happen. When we departed at the airport at around 2:30 a.m, she was just waiting for her luggage so she could go find an open restaurant in the airport to eat something before heading to her next destination. With luggage in hand, she decided to skip Phoenix altogether and simply continue her adventure. She thought maybe Vegas sounded good.

I mean, she was basically my hero, wrapped in a tiny little 75-year-old woman’s body. Traveling the world by herself. Unfussed by the insanity that traveling can sometimes present. At one point when she was first explaining how she had just come from Spain and had been traveling all day I said, “Oh wow! I shouldn’t be complaining then!” to which she laughingly replied, “No, you shouldn’t!”

I love her, is all I can say.

Anyway, I hope you guys all had nice holiday weekends, as well!

A Girls’ Weekend in Nashville

That right there is most certainly the picture of two very happy mamas. Why? Well because, as I’ve come to discover, finding the time to hang with your girlfriends — just you and your girlfriends — is just as important after you have babies (maybe even more so?) as it was before.

I say this as someone who waited almost three full years after becoming a mom to do so.

Carla and I began planning for this past weekend’s trip to Nashville in February, and it was everything I could have dreamed of and more. Besides the fact that Nashville itself is adorable (which pretty much everyone knows by now, but I had never been before), I got to remember what it was like to travel on my own (no screaming babies!), to sleep through the night, to have an uninterrupted conversations, to dress up and do my hair and stay out past 7 p.m.

Listen — it’s not that you can’t do those things as a mom as well, it’s just that they are harder, oh so much harder. This trip was such a nice reminder that I can have my separate life as a friend and leave my babies for a couple days, then come back home and slide right back into our life and everything is totally okay.

Chris had a great time on his own with the girls, as well. So you know, it was basically a win-win!

Lucky for me, Carla is an amazing travel planner (we were roommates in college our freshman year, but we also traveled abroad to Germany and Salzburg together, so I already knew we were a good travel match), and she sent me an email about a week before we met up with a tentative itinerary, complete with reservations she had made and tickets for a show that she had already purchased. The thing is, she was also way flexible if I wanted to make any changes to her proposed plan, but why would I when I knew that whatever she suggested was bound to be great? Plus, it was super lucky that she had made reservations at the places she knew we might want to hit up since, low-and-behold, not only was it the Nashville Marathon on the same weekend, but the NFL draft, as well, which brought 200,000 people to downtown Nashville.

I was expecting this revelation — which I only found out about three days before leaving — to put a real damper on the trip, but honestly, it had little to no impact. Where we stayed (the Kimpton at first, then, after Carla left, the Hyatt House) wasn’t anywhere near the main drag where the draft was taking place, so we were never bothered.

Instead, we planned our days around food, pool hangs, drinks and live music … and it was a splendid experience.

^^ Our first stop on Friday night was The Mockingbird, where we drank rum and punch in a bag, sat outside, watched allllll the bachelorette buses go by and caught up for a couple hours.


We didn’t stay out too late Friday, since Saturday was a busy one, starting with coffee by the hotel pool and brunch at Husk, which included shrimp and grits (the JMU college girl inside of me was so happy they had that on the menu!), biscuits and bloody mary’s.

After Husk we walked down the main drag where the draft was happening and the marathon was finishing up. It was early enough that it wasn’t too crowded yet, and it was actually fun to take part in something that so many people were so excited about. We walked around and soaked it all in, then did a little bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel.

^^ How I refrained from buying these for Lotte, I’ll never know.

After some more lounging by the pool (and an afternoon snack and coffee at Caviar & Bananas) we headed off to dinner at Rolf & Daughters. I knew I would love it there when the evening started with a drink menu theme of ‘things you would say after you won the lottery’. The drink I picked (you love me, you really love me) was good, but the food was even better.

You might think that by this point I’d be getting full, but really, I’m pretty good at eating 😉 Especially when it comes to pasta, I can really dig in for quite a while before I need to slow down. It’s something to see.

After dinner we headed to The Listening Room Cafe  to watch three performers. The three guys sat on stage with their guitars and belted out everything from country to hip hop to rap to R&B. And they were really good, but at one point they brought a college girl up on the stage to perform just one song, and she just blew everyone away. Seriously, it was a standing ovation for this girl, which made me so happy for her.


Carla left Nashville on Sunday, but not before breakfast at The Row Kitchen & Pub. Although it was too early for me to order a bloody mary (stupid laws), the beignets and breakfast were fantastic.


After Carla left, I walked over to my new (cheaper!) hotel, had a little rest and then hit up 12South, a sweet little section of Nashville that has tons of restaurants and shops (including Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James) and, of course, murals. All the murals.

I didn’t know much about the murals before going to Nashville, but it’s a thing. People will stand in line for an hour to take a selfie at the mural that Taylor Swift commissioned. Luckily I didn’t have to wait in any lines. People were taking photos of these murals, but they must not have been the really popular ones, because for the most part, I could walk right up and shoot.

Lunch on Sunday was at Taqueria del Sol, where I ordered a marguerita, the trio of salsas, a fish taco and a veggie one, and sat outside on their deck watching all the people go by. The weather was gorgeous, and I so rarely get alone time these days, I didn’t even mind having lunch to myself which, I’ll admit, would normally make me feel somewhat self-conscious.

Back at the hotel, I called it an early night with a glass of wine and cable (which we don’t have). My flight left around 2 on Monday, but I had time to walk to Hillsboro Village and get breakfast and coffee at Fido first.

In the end, this trip had it all. Catching up with an old friend. Good food and drink and music. Down time. Pool time. Fantastic weather. And even some alone time tacked on at the end, too. I came home yesterday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to join back up with these amazing peeps of mine …


The heart just melts, am I right? Because being away helps us realize all that we have right at home.

And for me, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

Bis bald, friends.

Day Dates in Evergreen


Happy Monday, friends! This past Sunday, my sister-in-law and I decided to try our hand at a day date in the tiny mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado. Evergreen is about 40 minutes away from us, and we pass the exit every time we head to the mountains. I’ve been wanting to check the area out pretty much ever since we moved here, and Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Kate and I started the day by hiking in Elk Meadow, which was really beautiful and just the right level of difficulty (which is to say not much) that we were looking for. There are a few different loops that make up this hike, so if you’re doing it, it’s best to figure out the trail you want to follow ahead of time. We did not do this, of course, but we did run into some very nice fellow hikers along the way, who were more than happy to let us know we were on the right path back to the parking lot. All-in-all we hiked about three miles and got some glorious views of the meadow in all its snowy glory.


After the hike we headed into the tiny and adorable town to have lunch (and humongous margaritas because hey, we earned it!) at Maya’s Cantina & Grill. Fish tacos and veggie fajitas were just the thing we needed before heading off to our final activity of the day — ice skating (one of my all-time favorites!) at the Evergreen Lake House.

^^ Chris bought me these ice skates about nine years ago when my obsession with ice skating at Bryant Park was an all-time high. It’s been a while since I’ve used them, but it sure was nice to dust ’em off and take ’em for a spin!


And that was our girlfriends’ day date in Evergreen in a nutshell, my friends. It was exactly the break I needed, and I’m so glad we got the chance to make it happen!

Next week we’re off to New York to MEET MY SISTER’S NEW BABY! I’m excited, in case you can’t tell. Then another friend and I are heading to Nashville for a little Momma’s getaway (who am I, anyway?!) at the end of April. So far 2019 has been filled with lots of fun and family and travel and festivities, and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.

For that, I am incredibly grateful.

Bis bald, friends!

A Day for Family Photos, a Sneaky Get Away in Mudgee & Our Final Days in Bathurst


I mean, could this family be any cuter? The answer is no. No, they could not.

The day after Boxing Day, the Connor Clan headed over to a park in Bathurst to take some professional family photos. Of course waiting for professional photos to arrive really isn’t my thing, so you know I had to snap a couple of my own.

^^ All these cute Connor grandkids together makes my heart pretty happy <3


While there were a bunch of things that Chris and I were excited for when it came to this trip, one of them definitely was taking a night away, just the two of us. Believe it or not, Chris and I had not been away together just the two of us since we had kids, and I have only ever been away from Lotte for one night, and never from Grace.

In other words, some time away was definitely overdo.

So after our family photo day, Chris and I packed up and headed over to Mudgee, which was about two hours from Chris’ parents house. We stayed at the Parklands Resort & Conference Centre and took a wine tour with Country Escape Tours, where we visited three wineries, one distillery and a cheese making company. The town of Mudgee was so cute, and the wine tour was really intimate and fun. Unfortunately we did return to a pretty sick Lotte (the next day after we got back was when we brought her to Urgent Care), but sickness aside, it was really nice to take the time away.

^^ It’s not so hard leaving your kids when you know they’re in great hands.

^^ We headed out to Mudgee Brewing Co for dinner the night we were in town. They had live music and we ate outside in their pretty garden and I had a delicious shrimp salad. It was pretty great, friends.

After we returned and took a couple days to get Lotte checked out and feeling better, we spent our last couple of days in Bathurst ringing in the New Year with Chris’s parents and brother and his wife, taking laps around Mount Panorama with the girls and having a picnic in the lovely Cook Park in Orange with Chris’s grandma.

img_4714 2img_4788
^^ This is potentially my favorite shot of the entire trip <3


And that takes us pretty much through what I think of as the first part of our trip. After Christmas and New Years in Bathurst and Mudgee, we packed up the car and headed back to Sydney to spend our final couple of days in Australia staying at Chris’s aunt’s place, and then his uncle’s, and touring around all the best parts of Sydney, according to us seasoned pros. I’ll take you through our final couple days in two more posts, but until then, bis bald!

Great Sand Dunes National Park For an Epic Birthday Celebration


Happy Tuesday, friends! Chris & the girls & I got back yesterday from a weekend away in Alamosa, where we stayed at the adorable 40 Winks Inn and visited Great Sand Dunes National Park. We only found out about the Great Sand Dunes over the summer when a cousin of mine was visiting Denver with her family and they went to see them. Chris really wanted to plan a visit for his birthday, and I’m so glad we did. They are the tallest dunes in North America and are surrounded by grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. It’s honestly, truly magnificent. And although Lotte originally referred to them as a “big pile of dirt,” I think she honestly had the most amazing time sandboarding with Chris and just playing in the sand in general. We had the most glorious weather, packed a picnic, and even did a little off-roading afterwards.

Colorado, you are one beautiful state, and you never cease to amaze us.

So, are you ready for lots of photos of sand? Well good, then you won’t be disappointed!

^^ These ladies were the most amazing travel buddies on the four-hour ride. We were a little nervous about Lotte and the whole potty situation, but she only had one accident, and honestly it was our fault because we should have been paying closer attention. Overall, we were so impressed with these little travel warriors.

^^ We stopped in Bueno Vista and had sandwiches at Biggies Sub Shop, which turned out to be way delicious and the perfect little half-way pit stop.

^^ Colorado road trip roadside views = pretty epic.

^^ Someone was less excited about the views 😉

^^ How cute was our Airbnb, 40 Winks? And how cute is little Lotte, making herself right at home on her potty! There were two bedrooms in the space, but there was also a Queen bed in the living room around the corner, so it was perfect because Chris and I just slept there and gave each of the girls their own room. It was a great little spot, and only two blocks from Main Street which, while very small, had some nice restaurants and breweries.

^^ Our Airbnb was made for Insty 😉

^^ Our first stop after rolling in on Saturday was Square Peg Brewerks on Main Street, where Lotte made the cutest little friend, fell in love with a dog and had the best time playing cornhole.


I didn’t take any photos there, but we also visited San Luis Valley Brewing afterwards for drinks and dinner, which was super tasty.

^^ Sunday was the big day. After renting a sandboard and a sandsled from Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa, we headed to the Dunes, which was about a half hour from Alamosa. Our first stop was the visitor center, which small enough to not feel totally intimidating but had all the info you could possibly want about how the Dunes form (the Medano Creek brings the sand down, and the wind blows it back up … in a nutshell).

^^ This studmuffin carried the sandboard, sandsled and our 2-year-old in her hiking backpack up the mountain of sand. I had G strapped to me and I was huffing and puffing. We only went to the closest dune before plunking down and having Chris take Lotte on some sled rides, but still, it was enough for me to know that anything further would have been really, really hard to do. One note about the sandboarding – Chris didn’t love it. I guess he was hoping it would be somewhat similar to snowboarding … but it’s not. Oh well, lesson learned, and at least he tried.

^^ Epic and amazing.

^^ G slept during most of our Dunes adventure, but she did wake up in just enough time for some adorable pictures.

^^ We weren’t exactly sure how Lotte would take to sand sledding (she doesn’t necessarily love getting dirty) … but she loved it! Every time they got to the bottom she’d squeal, “More, again!” And even though she had dirt flying into her face, eyes and mouth the entire ride, she always enjoyed it. I was actually quite proud of my gal.

^^ Sand babies <3

^^ The dirt on Lotte’s face in this pic gets me every time!

^^ It didn’t hurt that it was the height of fall for our trip, meaning the trees had all turned glorious shades of yellow.


After a full day at the Sand Dunes, we headed back to our place and chilled for the rest of the night, made dinner and let the girls rest. It was really the perfect first day at the Dunes, and I hope we get back some time soon.

Monday was Chris’s actual birthday, but we had to pack up and head back to Arvada … but not before stopping in Buena Vista again, but this time at Eddyline Restaurant on South Maine, which turned out to be so adorable and picturesque.

^^ These two <3

^^ More roadside Colorado craziness. Chris actually took this picture from the car while I was driving, which I’d say is pretty impressive.

^^ Heading into Eddyline … how cute is this little neighborhood?!

^^ Not a bad lunch view.

^^ This one, too <3


And that was our trip, friends! For a place that we never knew existed before a few months ago, it was pretty amazing how beautiful it was and how much fun we had. Plus, you just know we love ticking National Parks off our bucket list! This was Lotte’s fourth National Park (Yosemite, Sequoia and Rocky Mountain being the other three), and G’s second, so we hope to keep up the tradition with them and tick some more off the ole’ list soon.

And also, how are we almost in November already?! In other travel news, we booked our trip to Australia for Christmas last weekend, and we even have a couple hours of a layover in Vancouver on our way out, which Chris is very excited about. I’m a little nervous about the flight, I can’t lie, but here’s hoping everything goes smoothly … or as smoothly as it possible can with a 2.5 and 1-year-old … right?!

Bis bald, friends!

Ticking Things Off Little Lotte’s Bucket List

Happy Tuesday, friends! The above video is of my little Weary Wanderer, about to explore her world. We just got back from a trip East for a whole bunch of fun reasons. We celebrated my sister’s 30th birthday (only a month early, no big deal), visited with my Grandma, saw all the cousins, and of course, ticked one big thing off Lotte’s bucket list – seeing the Statue of Liberty in person. 

I don’t know how it started, really, other than the fact that Lotte has about five New York City books, but she has really become obsessed with the Statue of Liberty, and it’s the most adorable thing ever. So, when we flew into Newark, we hopped in our rental car and drove to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, with a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan. It was a really fun time for us, and Lotte was so in awe. It’s definitely something Chris and I will never forget.

The rest of the weekend was amazing, as well. We spent two days at a mountain house that a friend of ours was renting near Woodstock, and Lotte had an amazing time playing in the pool and running around with my friend’s daughter, and Grace had the best time playing with her son, who is one month younger. We also visited a whole bunch of new locations (like Weeds Orchard and Brown Barn Farms) and on Sunday, we met up with Robert for breakfast at Chadwick Lake Park before hiking a trail near the lake that was built and dedicated to my Mom by an Eagle Scout neighbor of hers. They had been close and he was so upset when she passed, that this was something he wanted to do for her. The trail was beautiful, and being there with the girls meant so much to me. I’m glad this place will be there to be able to take the girls for years to come.

Here’s a bit of what our trip looked like …

^^ Lots of photos even before we left airport, because that’s what a one-hour delay will do to you.

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^^ And there she is, in all her glory! Lotte literally whispered “Statue of Liberty!” when she first saw her … she was so blown away. We spent about two hours at the park, which is so amazing, and let the girls run around and get some energy out before heading on over to my sister’s.

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After spending the night at Steph’s on Wednesday, we headed to Woodstock to hang with Carla and her daughter and son at their summer house. It was so much fun to spend time with them, playing in the pool, barbecuing, drinking and chatting.

^^ This moment where we spotted a frog in the grass and let Lotte hold it was pretty special to me, too. The extent of her knowledge about frogs up to that point had been seeing them in books and knowing that they say, “ribbit, ribbit.” To watch her see and touch one in real life was a super fun moment.