Category Archives: Travel

Arizona Trip – The Zoo


When my mom called to tell me that my Grandpa Pete’s beloved cat Scooter had died, my first thought was that she, we, SOMEBODY had to go visit him.  Once I spoke to my grandpa on the phone and heard how truly, truly sad he was, there was no doubt about it;  we were headed for sunny Arizona to give Grandpa Pete some love and R & R.

It turned out to be a great deal for me because my Aunt Megan and Uncle Chad came too as well as my little sister Livi.  I hadn’t seen anyone since Thanksgiving so not only was the warm sunshine good for my soul but the people didn’t hurt either.

I am convinced that mornings in Arizona are what it’s all about.  We arrived late in the evening so it was such a treat to wake up and walk outside into the beautiful mild weather. We enjoyed many mornings in the backyard and as you can see, made ourselves quite comfortable.  : )


My Grandpa is a long time collector of trains and has several actually set up in his house.  I’m not talking simply train and tracks either.  These are elaborate set ups with billowing smoke, train sounds, scenes with people and all sorts of fun stuff.  He loves it.


Cool as the trains are, sitting all day at a Grandpa Bachelor pad isn’t how we love to spend our days, so we hit the ground running with the zoo on day one!







A highlight is always getting to feed the Giraffe’s!  Talk about up close and personal.



Livi enjoyed the Giraffe’s, but what she was looking forward to most were the Llamas.  That is until this one spit right in her face.


There were a few tears from Livi as it was everyone else’s fist instinct to laugh, but she recovered and we moved on to more zoo fun.



The zoo is always exhausting but usually worth it.  Livi had fun and it was nice to spend a day in the sun just wandering around.  We got some great photos and enjoyed a lovely late lunch together surrounded by squawking flamingo’s.



Go West – Part Two


Here’s a pretty picture of Lake Powell.

That’s about all I have to say about that.  I can see how Lake Powell would appeal to some, but to us it was sort of a dud.  Sure, it was pretty but it was absolutely packed with tourists and there was nothing to do in the nearby ‘town’.  I think if we’d have rented a boat and headed out on the lake we would have enjoyed ourselves more, but we hadn’t really set aside time nor the energy for that.  We ended up leaving a night earlier than planned to get to Telluride, but that’s for later.

First I’d like to show photos from the reason this area was worth going to.

Antelope Canyon.


Yes that is real life.  It was pretty mind-blowing.

This is what you see when you arrive.


Just a bunch of red earth.  Once you look closer you can see cracks and crevices in that earth, but until you go down into the canyon, you have NO IDEA what lies beneath.


Sometimes you’d see browns and tans and beiges and then the sun would hit and everything would light up purple and red and orange.  The surfaces were as smooth as they look, almost silky or liked whipped cream at times.  I couldn’t believe I’d never seen photos of this before!


The tour was great (you can’t go in without a guide) and he was helpful with pointing out angles and light for photographs.  I could have wandered around down there all day.  It’s one of the most naturally beautiful things I’ve ever seen.



Here are some random images from around Lake Powell.


I know I griped on Lake Powell earlier, but the reason we went there was really for its proximity to Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon, both of which were amazing.  So thank you Lake Powell, for your location.  : )


Jon had never been to the Grand Canyon and when you’re already THAT close, you’ve just gotta go.  We went to the less visited Southern Rim as it was about 4 hours from Lake Powell.  We got up early to knock it out there and back in one day.  Little did we know what the weather had in store for us.


I’d been to the South Rim before as a teenager and remembered it being stereotypical Arizona and packed with tourists.  The Northern Rim was not like that at all.  It was quiet and very green and pasture like upon arrival, which was very unexpected.  It felt like we’d entered a midwestern state instead of Arizona.


We did some wandering before we sat at the restaurant overlooking the canyon to watch the sunset.  Once we realized we needed to head back, it started pouring rain.  Not raining, not misting…DUMPING. RAIN.  We headed out of the park and made it about 2 miles before it started hailing golf balls.  We pulled over with no shelter in sight and just cringed silently while we listened to Jon’s new car get pummeled with hail.  For over 30 minutes.  It was complete torture but we couldn’t move due to visibility.  Miraculously, the car wasn’t damaged.  I still don’t know how that’s possible. It was totally bizarre because just prior we’d been sweating it out in the heat and were headed back to complete desert.  Weird.


I tried loading the video I shot while it hailed, but I’m not tech savvy enough to upload it.  It sounds like someone smashing the car with 100 baseball bats.  Terrible.

I’m glad we went but at this point Arizona had worn us out.  We were thrilled to get back into Colorado to visit our long lusted after Telluride.  It did NOT dissapoint.


Telluride is a special place and was a perfect ending to our trip.  We got there a day early after bouncing out of AZ earlier than expected and used that time to just relax.  The scenery is breathtaking, the locals friendly, and the food and shopping is quite good.  If you’ve ever debated the trip to Telluride, swing through Denver first and I’ll go with you.  It MIGHT be my favorite mountain town (although Park City was pretty sweet) and I can’t wait to get back.


Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of photos because we were busy just chilling.  : )

I posted a lot of snapchats, but as I stated earlier I’m not tech savvy enough to get them on here.

We were in Telluride over the 4th of July so I do have some photos from the epic parade.


This itinerary is really good if you’re in Denver and looking to do a loop around the area.  Let me know if you need any tips as I turned out to be quite the psychotic little planner.  : )


Go West – Part One


On June 26th of last year, Jon and I loaded up the car and went on a meticulously planned (by me) 4th of July road trip.  We had been talking about it forever and it ended up being one of my favorite vacations we’ve ever been on together.  There’s just something about hitting the road on a sunny day and heading west.


I didn’t have my camera out much for the first couple stops so most of these early photos are from my phone.  I apologize for the average quality.  : )

Our first stop was Fort Collins, CO for lunch and then onward to Salt Lake City.  This ended up being a perfect place to stop for the night and we woke up the next morning to do a bit of exploring and eventually make our way to the beautiful Deer Valley.

Salt Lake City wasn’t really on our ‘must see’ list and was instead a place to land after driving for 6 hours.  I’m glad we got to see it, however, as it was pristinely beautiful and full of fun shopping.


This whole part of the city (the mormon part) remains a bit of a mystery to me but the city can certainly be enjoyed without partaking in the religious aspects.  It was a beautiful city and it’s amenities are LEGIT.  Deer Valley, for example…



We stayed at the beautiful St. Regis Deer Valley and I enjoyed every minute of the weather and hotel.  Deer Valley is about a 30 minute lovely drive up the canyon from Salt Lake City and about a 5 minute drive to Park City, which is where we enjoyed dinner both nights.  We ate at the highly recommended Grappa Italian (which I would not recommend) and at the well known Riverhorse on Main (which I can’t recommend enough).


After a fantastic dinner at Riverhorse in Park City, and on our last night in Deer Valley, we headed up the mountain for a sunset and a stroll.  We saw beautiful rolling green hills, views of the city, and a baby and mama moose crossed the road right in front of the car.  My heart is in Colorado, but Utah put up a serious fight for it.  For anyone living in Denver I would highly suggest you make the trip.  It’s under 7 hours to the good stuff and the drive is beautiful.



Jon had to drag me out of that gorgeous hotel so we could get to our next destination: Sundance!

WHO KNEW how amazing Sundance is?  I didn’t.  I suspected, but I didn’t have any idea how much we would both love it.  The drive down from Deer Valley is about an hour and it is stunning.  I never realized how close all these amazing places were to one another.  Sundance resort was just what we needed after being pampered at the St. Regis.  Don’t get me wrong, Sundance was pretty luxurious, but in a different way.  It had such a sense of adventure.


This was our sweet little patio outside of our cabin we stayed in for the night.  The one mistake I made in planning this trip was that we only got one night at Sundance, but because of that, we made the most of it.




We went on a hike to a waterfall shortly after we arrived and hustled to race the sunset.  We made it, rushed back to catch dinner and then crashed hard for a night’s sleep.





The next morning we woke with the sun and set out for what ended up being the biggest hike of my life.  We had a great pace the whole way through and went as far as we could before running out of food and water.  It was pretty spectacular.




It was a really long and at times very difficult (physically and mentally) hike and looking at the photos of us looking at the view from the top makes me tear up.  We really needed this trip right at the moment we took it and I remember feeling like we exhaled at that top of that mountain, unloaded if you will, and then turned our backs and walked back down.  It was awesome.  We got back to our cabin, back up our road warrior, and continued onward to our next location…Lake Powell.  Next time.


Pelican Lake 2015

It’s that time of year again!  Time for the ‘annual lake visit’ post where everybody reading this blog falls asleep looking at variations of the same photos I’ve posted every year regarding this trip.  People smiling!  People doing water sports!  People drinking!

Look, I get it.  You know that people go to the lake and it’s really fun.  You don’t need to see photos of it year after year.  However, the simplest way for me to get said pictures in front of the faces of the people who care, is to post them here.

So deal.  : )

Also, there are babies this year!  And TWO dogs instead of one!  And people smiling!

The first day there deserves no photos because it was dark, rainy, windy and overall shitty.  I don’t want to talk about it.

Luckily, Miss Charlotte showed up with her parents and brought smiles and sunshine our way.  2015Pelican-2IMG_2060_2

Day two was much better as the sun came out and we got out on the water for a bit. 2015Pelican-32015Pelican-1 2015Pelican-52015Pelican-62015Pelican-7Have you ever seen anything cuter IN. YOUR. LIFE????  Look at those chunky legs.  : )

We made the routine trip to Zorbaz for terrible food and average drinks where we met up with the last piece of our amazing puzzle who had just arrived from Minneapolis.  The Strub Family!  We like them because they bring Miss Ellery.2015Pelican-10


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2015Pelican-112015Pelican-82015Pelican-122015Pelican-152015Pelican-132015Pelican-142015Pelican-182015Pelican-162015Pelican-172015Pelican-19As you can see, Charlotte got passed around quite a bit.  Poor girl never got a break from us.  : )

That evening, Jon and I gave Ellery her birthday present to celebrate her 2nd birthday.  I think Jon ALMOST had more fun picking it out than Ellery did playing with it…almost.2015Pelican-20 2015Pelican-21 2015Pelican-22 2015Pelican-23 2015Pelican-24 2015Pelican-25 2015Pelican-26Push a button and it drives.  What more could a two year old want!?2015Pelican-27 2015Pelican-28 This night was SO beautiful.  Jon, Michael, Jessica and I drove four wheelers up through shanty town to lay in the grass and stare at the insane sky full of stars.  There aren’t many places I’ve ever been that you can see stars like you can in MN on a clear night.  It was great.2015Pelican-29The following day was pretty crappy weather as well, but when the sun peeked out for a brief moment we made the most of it.2015Pelican-37 2015Pelican-36 2015Pelican-34 2015Pelican-33 2015Pelican-39 2015Pelican-31 2015Pelican-32 2015Pelican-302015Pelican-382015Pelican-412015Pelican-402015Pelican-512015Pelican-53These three (soon to be four) were so sweet cruising the sandbar that I had to snag some shots.2015Pelican-42 2015Pelican-43 2015Pelican-44 2015Pelican-45 2015Pelican-46 2015Pelican-47 2015Pelican-48 2015Pelican-492015Pelican-502015Pelican-522015Pelican-572015Pelican-582015Pelican-562015Pelican-552015Pelican-542015Pelican-642015Pelican-592015Pelican-602015Pelican-612015Pelican-622015Pelican-632015Pelican-65I just love these photos of a beautiful momma with her almost two year old.  2015Pelican-66The wheels almost came off on Saturday when the weather took an ugly turn.  Not to be defeated, we chose gun shooting and beer pong to keep our spirits  up.  2015Pelican-692015Pelican-722015Pelican-732015Pelican-742015Pelican-702015Pelican-712015Pelican-762015Pelican-782015Pelican-79Everyone looks all cute shooting the BB gun.  Below, you’ll find out why I’m never in any photos. Because THIS is what happens when I hand my camera over.  : )2015Pelican-802015Pelican-812015Pelican-82Not to let weather get the best of us (but mostly because of the beer pong) we jumped into the ocean like lake before dinner at Spanky’s.  It was a wonderful way to cap off the weekend, both the freezing lake jump AND the dinner.   : )2015Pelican-832015Pelican-842015Pelican-852015Pelican-862015Pelican-882015Pelican-87On Sunday Ellery celebrated her 2nd birthday with singing, world famous cormorant cinnamon rolls and a bunch of old people.  It was awesome!IMG_2132_2IMG_2125_2Before heading to the cabin, I asked Jon (knowing already what my answer would be) what he was looking forward to the most.  He said ‘it’s going to be good for my head, to slow down a bit’.  I said I felt similar, that it was going to be good for my heart, to spend that time with these people.

It was.  IMG_2121_2


A Weekend in SF


Hello strangers.

Walk with me as I stroll down memory lane to my latest trip to San Francisco.

As everyone in the world knows, San Francisco is a hideous place.  I hardly took any photos.



My first morning there we hustled to Starbucks, hopped in a car, and continued to hustle our buns in order to catch our ferry to brunch.


Doesn’t everyone ferry to brunch?

Anyway.  My friend Erin has lived in SF for a few years and my OTHER friend Ryan just recently joined her there.  They live right down the hall from each other.  LITERALLY!  My FOMO (fear of missing out) had never been higher.  I am happy to report that we didn’t skip a beat in becoming conjoined triplets for the weekend.





SanFran-8I swear we were triplets.  I just don’t have proof.  SOMEBODY had to take the exquisite photos. SanFran-10SanFran-9You may have noticed the subtle fact that the girls are in workout clothes.  Well, this is because the plan for the day was an alcohol free brunch to be followed by a 3+ hour hike.

About 3 mimosas in we bailed on that and decided to call our chauffeur (E’s boyfriend Stanley) and have him charter us to Napa.

Way. Better. Idea.


Why was this a way better idea you ask?

Aside from the complete and total obvious (the wine) …it’s because of the light.

There is nothing…NOTHING…like California light.

SanFran-25 SanFran-24 SanFran-32 SanFran-33 Look at the next photo.  I cannot even handle how inferior the light (photography wise) in Colorado is compared to this.  It’s so ethereal and so gorgeous.  SanFran-29

Alas, I had priorities consisting of laughing, bonding, and wine drinking.  The light would have to wait.

SanFran-27SanFran-28SanFran-30SanFran-26SanFran-31Napa-1SanFran-20The three of us are natural ‘seekers of the sun’ if you will.  So we sought the sun right into an incredibly thick and green patch of grass.  We didn’t leave until the sun did.  I love these photos so much and have to thank Stanley for capturing them.
Napa-3 Napa-4 Napa-5Napa-6 Napa-7 Napa-8

This day was perfect.

SanFran-36 SanFran-34 SanFran-35 SanFran-37 SanFran-38The rest of the weekend was spent recovering (too much wine) replacing E’s broken iPhone (too much wine) and of course, eating all the food (with more wine).  My last night there, we enjoyed a chilly sunset on the water and made plans for our next adventure.  SanFran-39 SanFran-42SanFran-41SanFran-40 See ya next time SF.  SanFran-43


Here are some fun iPhone shots as well.

unnamed-6Pretty wall at the SF airport!

unnamed-3The view from Ryan’s window.

unnamed-1Ferrying to brunch!

unnamed-5Casualty of brunch.  : )

unnamed-7Good life choices.

unnamed-4I left my heart in Napa.

unnamed-2Love.  Love.  Love.

unnamed-9Napa Recovery

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetShopping Day

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetFamily.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAirport Bound

Punta Mita

PuntaMita-7Jon and I went to Punta Mita back in early February with his company.  Last year, the trip was in Costa Rica (read parts one and two) and we had such a great time.  This year was no different.  The resort was breathtaking and we both got some incredible R & R.

I decided to only bring one camera with one lens to avoid feeling tethered to my camera bag.  It worked out great!  I didn’t even take my camera out of the room, except for once.  The third or fourth day Jon had an early golf round, so I took the morning to watch the sun rise, wander the grounds, and snap some photos to bring home.  It’s a pretty refreshing way to do it.  The company has hired photographers at the resort and they are pretty great about getting photos of us, which gives me the freedom to leave my camera behind.  I don’t have any great stories like last year, so I’ll just let the photos do the talking.

PuntaMita-17PuntaMita-11PuntaMita-8 PuntaMita-3PuntaMita-15Mexico2 PuntaMita-19PuntaMita-4PuntaMita-30PuntaMita-18PuntaMita-29Mexico1PuntaMita-24Mexico3PuntaMita-27PuntaMita-31PuntaMita-10PuntaMita-35Mexico4PuntaMita-36PuntaMita-28PuntaMita-2PuntaMita-33PuntaMita-37

Here are some iPhone photos and the shots from the photographers.  I should mention, we were there over Bronco’s Super Bowl weekend, hence the football photos.

PuntaMita-19PuntaMita-18The only four in the whole place from the Denver office!  PuntaMita-1PuntaMita-8PuntaMita-3Cheering what I think was the ONLY good thing the Broncos did the entire game.PuntaMita-5PuntaMita-6Things are starting to get ugly at this point.  Well, cheers to next year?PuntaMita-7PuntaMita-2IMG_5941IMG_5943PuntaMita-17They always do an excursion day where you can choose from about 30 options and go have some fun.  We chose whale watching and snorkeling and this was the only time I wished I would have had my beautiful zoom lens because the whales were out of control.  It was incredible.IMG_5952PuntaMita-10PuntaMita-11 PuntaMita-12 PuntaMita-13PuntaMita-14PuntaMita-16What?  Don’t tell me you’ve never been tempted.  : )PuntaMita-15IMG_5926IMG_5928IMG_5929IMG_5951Mexico5

Fancy dinners and cocktails parties filled the evenings with a costume party to send us out with a bang on the last night.   PuntaMita-22 The theme this year was Prohibition Era.  I went the flapper route and Jon, utilizing his creative juices, went as a speak easy bartender serving ‘moon-shine’.  PuntaMita-23He’d moon ya and then shine a flashlight in your face.  Some people got it, most just thought he was wearing a butt.  I thought it was hilarious and it only matters what I think, right?PuntaMita-24It was a fun week and more important it was filled with fun new experiences with my favorite guy.  Thank you for reading!  I’ve got a few more posts in the works so check back this week! PuntaMita-9IMG_5943IMG_5918