My Sister’s Wedding

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^^ Check out the amazing cabins that my parents rented for the weekend of my sister’s wedding. [They were in Fishkill, New York, by the way, and they’re called Willow Lake Vacation Rentals, if you’re looking for an amazing fall getaway in the Hudson Valley for next year ;)] We stayed there Friday night, got ready for the wedding Saturday and had a big family breakfast there Sunday before everyone headed out. The following couple of photos are all from the weekend of my sister’s wedding, including a tour of West Point that my dad was kind enough to give Chris’s parents on Sunday after everyone had left.

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12Cabin^^ This was a ladybug on Brian’s jacket, which we all determined was very good luck😉

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The 52 Project: November 9, 2015

FullSizeRender (92)^^ So friends, busy doesn’t really begin to describe these past few weeks, and my poor, sad little blog is suffering because of it! The photo above is from when Chris’s parents were still here visiting and we took them to try out The Great Divide, a brewery that’s right around the corner from us, although this was the first time we had visited it, as well. With my sister’s wedding and the Connor’s visiting and a quick trip back to New York for a work-related meeting, I haven’t had any time at all to update here, which is pretty sad because we’ve been doing some really fun stuff. I’ll do my best to at least get some photos posted in the next few days, but we’re off again this Thursday to New Orleans (wahoo!), so I can’t make too many promises! Hopefully after that I’ll be back to a bit of a more regular routine here, though, and I can get at least those missing couple of weeks posted. (We visited Mount Rushmore, you guys, and it was so much fun!) Anyway, until next time, friends — bis bald!

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The 52 Project: November 2, 2015

IMG_9607^^ Welcome to November, dear friends. Unfortunately it was a weekend of losses in terms of sports for the Connor/Lock household this past weekend. The Nuggets lost on Friday when we went to see the game, the Mets lost the World Series and the Avalanches lost on Sunday when we went to check them out at the Pepsi Center (above). Ah well, you win some, you lose some, right friends? This week will be crazy with work stuff, but I’ll be back soon to post a bit of what’s been going on here in the past couple of weeks (which has also been crazy!). Until then, bis bald, friends!

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Some Photographic Memories of a Poconos Getaway With My Bestie

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Hi friends,

The in-laws are out and about in Denver for the time being, so I thought I’d throw up some quick photos from a couple weeks ago when I took a little trip to the Poconos with my bestie. We stayed in East Stroudsburg (which, to be honest, didn’t have a whole heck of a lot going on) and made a day trip out to Bushkill Falls on the most perfect fall day.

Here’s a little tip for you — if you look at the map of the loop that makes its way around all the falls, you’ll notice that the red trail, which brings you around Bridal Veil Falls, is labeled as a trail for avid hikers.

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So Lisa and I actually connected pretty much all of the trails to get the overall, full view of as many falls as we could, and it really wasn’t that treacherous. Wanna know why? Because we started our hike out to the right of the entrance, meaning all those steps you see off to the left of the map that are part of the red trail, were all downhill. 

Not that we did that on purpose, but watching everyone huff and puff as they ascended those dozens and dozens of stairs sure made us glad we stumbled upon the trick to making it easier.

Anyway, check out this gorgeousness.

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It doesn’t get much prettier than that friends, am I right?

The 52 Project: October 29, 2015

FullSizeRender (84)^^ Oh hey guys! I’m backkkkk! So these past few weeks … phew! Let’s see. Well, that’s Mount Rushmore above. Amazing. Oh, and my sister got married last weekend — so that happened. And I went on a little getaway with my bestie to the Poconos. And I spent the entire month of October in upstate New York. And my in-laws are still visiting us from Australia through early next week. So, yeah — it’s been busy! But I’ve finally had a second to breathe (and update my WordPress account!), and so I’m back and better than ever! After flying back from Denver late Monday night, the Connors and Chris and I hit the road again early Tuesday morning for a quick little 2-day road trip to South Dakota. There will be plenty more on that, and all the other October shenanigans, in the days and weeks to come, but for now, feast your eyes on good ole’ Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson. They were some kind of somethin’, weren’t they? Bis bald, friends! And I’ll be back soon!

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The 52 Project: October 19, 2015

^^ Hi guys! So quickest of quick updates here — I’ve run out of storage room for blog photos on Weary Wanderer at the moment – yikes! And I’m in the middle of wedding madness this week for my sister, so imagine that right here is an image, which I meant to post on Monday and couldn’t, of myself and my bestie Lisa standing in the street in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on our little getaway to the Poconos last week. I promise to get this all figured out as soon as I have a little more time, and I’ll be sure to post all kinds of awesome photos from the Poconos when I do! In the meantime, if you’re missing some WW photos (like I know you are!), be sure to follow me on Instagram @Chezza1022! Thanks for understanding – and Weary Wanderer will be back in full force soon!

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Life Lately: The Fall in Upstate New York Edition

Hi friends,

As much as fall has been a whirlwind, I was predicting that to be the case, and therefore I’ve been able to (as much as humanly possible!) stop and — to paraphrase — smell the changing leaves😉

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to in the past couple (crazy/insane/amazing) weeks …

01_Snooze^^ Snooze with some Aussie visitors before I left for my east coast adventure.

02_DenverCapital^^ Checking out the Colorado State Capitol as part of an expert (not) tour while our friends were in town.

03_PeekskillBrewery^^ Hitting up the Peekskill Brewery for dinner the first night I was home.

04_IthacaLakehouse^^ We rented a lake house in Ithaca for my sister’s bachelorette a few weekends ago, and it was the definition of heavenly.

05_IthacaLakehouse^^ Getting the party started!

06_IthacaLakehouse^^ Cayuga Lake in all its glory.

07_CiderTasting^^ Stopping at the Finger Lakes Cider House on our winery tour.

08_CiderTasting^^ These ladies.

09_IthacaBars^^ I bought these little party hats for our gang to wear out the night of Steph’s bachelorette, and I cannot lie, I kind of love them. What else can I wear this for?!

10_Gorges^^ Checking out the gorges in Ithaca before heading out Sunday. Oh fall — you just get me.

11_Ranger^^ This pup is soooo happy to have me home😉

12_BKWAterfront^^ I headed into the city for a couple days last week for a press event and to visit some friends. This pic was taken during  a walk along the river in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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13_StatueOfLiberty^^ There’s our Lady Liberty, standing all tall and proud!

14_BKNeighborhood^^ It doesn’t get more quaint Brooklyn wonderfulness than my friend’s adorable neighborhood.

15_FayeAndMe^^ Blurry  photo fun down in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

17_BryantPark^^ One of my all-time most favorite places in the entire world — Bryant Park. This little slice of heaven lives amidst all the crazy hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and it really is something special. I appreciate it even more now that I don’t live in NYC anymore …

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19_230Fifth^^ My press event last Thursday took place on the rooftop bar of 230 Fifth.  This place is pricey, but in my opinion it’s absolutely worth it for this view …

19_EmpireState^^ I mean …

20_FlatironBuilding^^ I had some time to kill before the event on Thursday, so I hung out in Madison Square Park for a bit and snapped this pic of the Flatiron Building on my way out.

21_BKPumpkins^^ Pumpkins in Brooklyn.

22_ProspectPark^^ A friend and I walked through Prospect Park in Brooklyn on Sunday before I headed home. Coming back to visit this city — and all the people I love who still live here — is bittersweet now. Still, this was the first time back since we’ve moved away that I thought, “I’m actually okay that I don’t live here.” As much as I adore New York — and I do! — this place can also be exhausting and stressful. Who knows where my life will bring me in the future, but it was a good feeling this trip back to be able to say that for now, I think we made the right decision leaving. Leaving the people there, of course, is a whole other thing …

23_AussieCousin^^ This Aussie cousin of ours is amazing. When he found out a trip he had already planned to New York was happening just days after my sister’s wedding, he rescheduled to be able to attend. Then he found out about our other cousin’s wedding that took place this past Saturday, and he rescheduled again! What a trooper.

24_Wedding^^ A glorious wedding venue.

25_Wedding^^ These two cuties are next!

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27_NewPaltzFall^^ Sunday was frustrating to me, with an unscheduled, unplanned and thoroughly annoying last-minute trip to an Urgent Care Center. The drive out there, however, was splendid in all its fall loveliness, so I rewarded myself with a stop directly in the middle of the road to take this photo.

IMG_8891^^ And this, from a walk around the neighborhood with the dog. Le sigh.

IMG_8574^^ Chris and I haven’t been together all of October, since I’ve been east coasting it — so sometimes we just have to cheers each other virtually, ya know?!

IMG_6118^^ Oh, and he sends me these, too, to melt my heart a little bit😉

And that’s been it so far, my friends! I’m off to the Poconos with a friend this Thursday, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to share with you in the coming weeks – so stay tuned.

Bis bald!

The 52 Project: October 12, 2015

Venetian_Hour^^ Happy Monday, friends! So I’m still back here on the east coast for a few more weeks, and this past weekend we attended a cousin’s wedding in Long Island which was, to downplay it, pretty amazing. The photos above are from the Venetian hour at the end of the reception — otherwise known as a time for you to stuff your face with any and every dessert you can imagine on the planet. Sounds good to me! Bis bald, friends — hope your falls are going swimmingly!

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The 52 Project: October 5, 2015

IMG_8719^^ Welcome to October, friends! We spent this past weekend up in Ithaca, New York, right on Cayuga Lake in a cute little lake house to celebrate my sister’s bachelorette weekend. It was a lot of fun, and we topped it off with brunch yesterday and a view of this gorge. Ithaca is jokingly referred to as “gorge-ous” because there are over a hundred of ’em in the area. I’m glad we got to see at least one amongst the other shenanigans of the bachelorette weekend😉 Bis bald, friends!

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The 52 Project: September 28, 2015

IMG_8657^^ Well friends, it’s been a fun couple of days. We had some Aussie visitors in town, and it was really fun showing them around. We went to a Rockies game, barbecued on our roof and attended a party on our roof that culminated with fireworks over Coors Field, did a little brewery tour, took them to City Park and Snooze, and even got to check out the Denver Museum of Nature & Science … for free! Now I’m off to the east coast tomorrow for the entire month of October, which I’m pretty excited with. So bis bald friends — and here’s to October and all the newness it will bring😉

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Life Recently: The Summer 2015 Edition

Hey kids,

So it’s the end of September already — how the heck did that happen? This summer, our first summer in Denver, has certainly had its ups and downs. Now, as the season fades away, we’re waiting for some guests to visit for about five days, and then I’ll be heading back to the east coast for all of October for my sister’s wedding and a couple other fun things.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look back at how we spent the hot summer months …

01Sunset^^ We never tire of watching amazing sunsets from our roof.

02Guac^^ Trying out a new brunch place (Tamayo) with some guacamole on the side.

03RMNP^^ Early this summer we took Manny (our Matrix) for a spin through gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park.

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08FooFighters^^ Checking out the Foo Fighters at Fiddler’s Green.

09Penny^^ Forcing Penny cuddles is pretty common around these parts.

10CoorsField^^ Our first Rockies game at Coors Field (go Mets!).

11TourdFat^^ A few weeks ago a friend was in town, and she and her sister invited us to join them for the Tour de Fat bike parade in Fort Collins.

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15Sunset^^ More sunsets — this time from our balcony.

16CarePacket^^ The sweetest little care package from my sister.

17Penny^^ See? Forcing Penny cuddles😉

18Snooze^^ Checking out Snooze for the first time …

19Table6^^ … also dinner at Table 6. P.S. Chris is totally up to something in this photo!

20Coffee^^ I like my coffee with a lotta heart😉

21BBQ^^ Grilling some shrimp on the barbecue on our rooftop.

22JAcksonHole^^ Not the best photo, but this little bakery in Jackson Hole (Persephone Bakery) had some seriously amazing treats!

24Wyoming^^ Taking some time recently to explore the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.

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30RedRocks^^ Tailgating before our first concert at the Red Rocks — Counting Crows, baby!

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32RedRocks^^ My blurry photo of Adam Duritz, lead singer for the Counting Crows. We wandered down along the side of the main seating after a couple songs and had the most amazing place to stand and watch them play. Not too shabby for a first experience.

33Golden^^ Chris, carefully selecting the beers we would be drinking at Barrels & Bottles in Golden, Colorado.

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And that about brings us up to date, my dear friends. The fall promises to be full of adventure. We have my sister’s wedding and Chris’s parents coming back here to visit for a week, with a trip out to South Dakota tucked in there as well. We’ll also be heading to New Orleans and Tahoe in the next few months, so there’s lots to look forward to.

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: September 21, 2015

Red_Rocks_Concert^^ Last Wednesday Chris and I ticked off one huge Denver bucket list item by attending a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  And friends — it was everything we could have hoped for and way, way more. If you can, I highly recommend making it out to Red Rocks at least once in your life to see a concert. You won’t be disappointed. Bis bald, friends!

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Yellowstone, How We Love You

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After spending a full day with the Tetons on Thursday, Chris and I packed up our belongings from the Tiny House and hopped back in the car to head over to Yellowstone National Park, where we would be spending the next day and 1/2.

A word first about where we slept — the Kings Inn Cody Hotel in Cody, Wyoming.  While there’s a lot to love about this hotel (the eccentric decorations in the lobby and stairwell and the free continental breakfast come to mind), and the town of Cody appeared to be really adorable and quaint and quintessentially mid-western (although we didn’t really get to explore it), Cody is actually quite a distance from the park (about an hour after you make it out of the park, which can take a while depending where you are), so I’d recommend trying first to find somewhere closer, if that’s possible (which it wasn’t for us).

Anyway, it doesn’t matter where we stayed, because we spent full days in the park anyway, and only made it back to the hotel on Friday and Saturday night to pass out. (We made it back so late on Friday that everything was closed for dinner! We had to order pizza from Dominos and save some for the following night, since we knew that would be a late night, too!)

So Yellowstone — oh, Yellowstone. Where do I begin? There’s just so much to love. For starters, it’s important to recognize that it’s been an incredibly active animal season in Yellowstone this year, which is amazing and also a bit scary. There have been some pretty terrible bear encounters, and even a couple of bad bison encounters at some of the parks recently. So we took our bear spray with us again everywhere, tried to hike only when we were with other groups of people and made lots of noise whenever we were in bear territory … the last thing you want to do is come up on a bear and scare or surprise him. Luckily we were safe the entire time, but it’s important to be smart and stay vigilant every single time you visit a park with wildlife. These are wild animals … and no matter how tame and calm they may seem while you’re watching them from afar, things can change in an instant and you really need to stay on your toes.

Okay — enough of that! Once you have properly educated yourself on the way to handle wild animal encounters (!), there is no end to what you can see and do in Yellowstone!

Here’s what we got up to:

_DSC1687^^ One of our first views upon entering the park — you see this and you just know it’s going to be awesome!

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_DSC1706^^ Our first animal sighting in Yellowstone — an elk!

_DSC1709^^ Overlooking Old Faithful from our hike up Observation Point.

_DSC1721^^ Old Faithful erupting! So cool.

_DSC1743^^ Walking around all the different geysers in the Old Faithful area was amazing — they’re so gorgeous and unique.

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_DSC1777^^ Bison!! The first time we saw one we were like “Woah! Look at that Bison!” Then we quickly realized that they are everywhere in the park … still cool though!

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_DSC1806^^ Big-horn elk!

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 ^^ Bear footprint! We saw this about 20 minutes before a black momma bear and her baby walked right up to our car as we were driving home. Chris and I spent about 10 seconds yelling at each other to “grab the camera! grab the flash flight!” before just sitting back and enjoying the sight. Ah, nature. Perfectly lovely, when you’re safe in your car and can watch from a distance😉

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_DSC1841^^ Guys, there’s a coyote in this picture, I swear! The park was especially active with coyote and wolves around this time, too. Unfortunately we were about 5 minutes too late to catch the wolves on our last night, but we saw some amazing pictures from people who did get to see them!

_DSC1845^^ See that big ole’ grizzly lumbering off to the right side of the photo! We were lucky enough to catch this sighting about 10 minutes after we got into the park on Saturday.

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_DSC1860^^ The Mud Volcano — there are a bunch of different geysers to see around this part of the park, as well, definitely worth checking out!

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_DSC1893^^ The Lower Falls as seen from our ridiculously steep Uncle Tom’s Trail hike.  You guys, this hike is absolutely worth it — if you’re feeling fit enough to do it. It’s definitely not a joke. Yellowstone is over 7000 ft. above sea level, which is pretty high, even for me, coming from Denver at 5280 ft. The hike itself covers a span of about 500 feet, and includes hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of steps. If you take your time and acclimate before attempting this hike, it’s totally worth the view at the end, though. For those afraid of heights, the open metal stairs might pose a small problem, too. I’d recommend just holding onto the railing and looking straight ahead … not down!

_DSC1897^^ The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

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_DSC1909^^ See? Stairs … and lots of ’em!

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_DSC1943^^ This mom and baby big-horn sheep were grazing right next to the side of the road, totally oblivious to the cars and people.

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_DSC1966^^ Views on our Trout Lake hike. This hike is gorgeous (as you can see from the above photo), and it’s relatively short to get to the lake, but it is steep, and it’s deep in bear country, so do not do this hike without bear spray and lots of other people to make noise!

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_DSC1974^^ Not sure where this skull came from, or what kind animal it is, but let’s just say it was a bit unnerving to come across it while walking around such a serene, beautiful lake!

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_DSC2019^^ Dipping our toes in Lamar River, where tons of people were fly fishing, which is so fun to watch!

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_DSC2035^^ The prong-horn antelope in this picture practically blend right in — can you see ’em?!

_DSC2036^^ While the momma and baby bear was my favorite bear sighting, this was Chris’s. There’s a big ole’ grizzly in the middle of this photo (find him!), which some kind fellow watchers were nice enough to let us borrow their telescopes to see closer. He stayed in this field for hours, eating berries, chasing bison and just generally having a grand old time. It was really something to see.

_DSC2051^^ Another prong-horn antelope.

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_DSC2065^^ This bison and a friend of his wandered super close to our group while we were watching out for the wolves on our last night in Yellowstone. I was a tad scared, to say the least, but no one else seemed to mind, and he did end up minding his own business. Still, it was definitely a bit closer than I normally like to get to wildlife, unless I’m in my car. (Makes for good pictures, though!)

_DSC2086^^ There was a fire that had been started by lightening the whole time we were in the park, but it was far enough away that it didn’t pose any real threat to the visitors just yet. The park has a “let it burn” policy, actually, as this type of thing is nature’s way of rejuvenating the land.

_DSC2096^^ Final, farewell Yellowstone photo — gosh darn you’re amazing!

And that, my friends, is it. Our trips to Jackson, the Tetons and Yellowstone, in three succinct blog posts. Here’s what I’ll say — you could spend weeks here and probably see something new every single day. It’s an amazing, amazing place, and I hope to be back again in the future.

Bis bald, friends!

A Day in Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Lake, Wyoming

After settling into our amazing tiny house last Wednesday, we woke up bright and early Thursday morning, ready to tackle the awesome splendor that is Grand Teton National Park.  We got up around 6 a.m., made some coffee, and sat on our front porch overlooking the Tetons while we planned our day.

Here’s how the day went:

We started with breakfast at a cute little bakery right in the downtown part of Jackson called Persephone, where we ordered coffees, breakfast sandwiches and scones to go. It was busy, but we didn’t have to wait too long, and the food was amazing, so I’d highly recommend checking this place out if you’re in town.

After grabbing breakfast, we headed across the street to an outdoor store and grabbed some bear spray.

A note about the bear spray, people — it’s expensive, but it makes all the difference in terms of comfort level when you’ll be hiking (or even just standing!) in areas where there has been heavy bear activity, like there has been this year in both the Tetons and Yellowstone. For example — we ended up seeing four bears in Yellowstone … but that’s a post for another day😉

Anyway, after breakfast and bear spray, we started the drive out to the park. The road we originally wanted to take was actually closed down due to bear activity (see!), but no matter where you drive around the Tetons, you’re sure to see some amazing stuff.

Here’s what we got up to and saw:

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_DSC1591^^ Jenny Lake

_DSC1595^^ The views on our Hidden Falls hike.

_DSC1597^^ Jenny Lake as seen from the Hidden Falls hike.

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_DSC1650^^ After our hike, we stopped off at Dornans to have some drinks overlooking the mountains.

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_DSC1675^^ Doesn’t get much more Wyoming than this.

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On our way back to our tiny house, we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some veggies and smores to grill and some wine to drink. Chris was dying to try out the outdoor grill that came with our tiny house, and I was dying to stare up at the stars all night long — so it worked out well for both of us!

We also decided to try out The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, right in downtown Jackson, which is about as cowboy/Midwest as you can possibly get. It’s definitely worth a stop-in for a drink if you’re in the area!

FullSizeRender (84)^^ You can’t really tell from this photo, but we’re actually sitting on bar stools that are saddles. Fun!

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_DSC1670^^ Grilling for dinner right next to our tiny house. It was the perfect way to end our day full o’ fun at the Grand Tetons!

The next morning we would be up early (again!) to head over to breakfast at The Bunnery in Jackson before driving about an hour or so to start our Yellowstone adventure.

But more on that to come later, my friends. For now — bis bald!

The Allure of a Tiny House for Vacation

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Well friends, Chris and I just returned from a four-day trip in Wyoming. While there we visited Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park, all of which was amazing, breathtaking and incredible — and we probably wouldn’t have done it at all without the generous courtesy of Fireside Resorts, which invited me out to try out their Caboose Cabin rental in the town of Wilson, about 10 minutes from downtown Jackson.

Now, I’ve heard a lot about these “tiny” houses over the past few years, but to be honest I hadn’t paid a ton of attention because Chris and I have managed to live in cities where, for the most part, our living spaces have been what can only be described as “tiny”. Having said that, there is something altogether different about the likes of the Wheelhaus tiny house that we were lucky enough to stay in through Fireside Resorts. These houses, while tiny, are not only beautiful and state-of-the-art, but the views simply couldn’t get any better.

Here’s a bit of what the inside looked like:

_DSC1521^^ We arrived Wednesday after dark, so our first impression of the campground was through the soft lighting of the resorts. That, plus the incredible starry sky, was all the welcome I needed to know this place was going to be amazing.

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_DSC1526^^ The master bedroom had a closed-off porch attached, which was right next to the grilling area and a babbling brook. Talk about idyllic!

_DSC1528^^ The loft upstairs held two beds.

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_DSC1546^^ The next morning we were able to see what the view from our cabin truly was …

_DSC1547^^ And take advantage of the coffee machine, of course😉

_DSC1549^^ Ahh, tetons. I could stare at you all gosh darn day!

_DSC1555^^ The brook next to our cabin.

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_DSC1564^^ Our first morning at the cabin was happily spent sipping coffee on the front porch, overlooking the Tetons, while planning our trip to the National Park that day.

_DSC1569^^ When the keys to your rental come attached to a Swiss Army knife, you just know your stay is going to be bad-ass!

_DSC1570^^ A side view of the house.

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I have more to say about this amazing place, but I’ll go ahead and talk about some other things we loved about it in future posts. For now, I’ll just say that if you have ever considered renting a tiny home in lieu of a regular hotel in the past, now is the time to do it. Seriously, do it! You won’t regret it — I can promise you that😉

Bis bald, friends! I’ll be back tomorrow with everything Grand Teton related!

The 52 Project: September 14, 2015

_DSC1619^^ Happy Monday, friends. So honestly, it was very hard to pick just one photo to post for today, because Chris and I just got back from a 5-day trip to Wyoming that included Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, where pretty much everywhere you look is more gorgeous than the last. For now I’ll settle on this beautiful photo of Jackson Lake after one of our hikes through the Grand Tetons. But fear not, my friends, because I will be back with a couple blog posts later this week covering our whole trip. For now, bis bald!

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The 52 Project: September 8, 2015

FullSizeRender (83)^^ Happy Tuesday, friends! Don’t you just love short weeks. I hope everyone’s Labor Day weekend went splendidly. I happened to have a friend in town, and Chris and I joined her (and her sister) in Fort Collins for the annual Tour de Fat costume bike ride, sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. It was our first time in Fort Collins, and it was really fun to be there on such a happenin’ day. I love the picture above for the two Where’s Waldo costumed peeps photo bombing in the background. Bis bald, friends!

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Baseball and a New Brunch Place

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Last Friday Chris and I took advantage of his boss’s Rockies season tickets to take in our first baseball game at Coors Field. This was especially meaningful for us because the Rockies just happened to be playing … drum roll please … the Mets! Amazing.

And it was an amazing game, as well. (Go Mets!)

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On Sunday we decided to hit up Snooze (which is consistently ranked among the top places to get brunch in Denver). There are two locations near us — one in Union Station and another on Larimer. While the original plan was to get up early and head to the stand-alone restaurant on Larimer to hopefully avoid the (always present) crowds, let’s just say that didn’t happen because of someone (ahem … it was me. All my fault.), so we hit up the Union Station location instead, since there were places we could grab a coffee and hang out outside while waiting.

As a side note: I would highly recommend this course of action for anyone attempting to eat at Snooze on the weekend. We were told our wait would be an hour and 45 minutes (although I think it actually ended up only being a little over an hour), but we barely noticed because we grabbed coffee from Pigtrain and sat outside in the gorgeous weather watching the little kids and dogs run around in the water fountains.

Not too shabby.

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Our waiter was some kind of wonderful. He felt pretty strongly that, since this was our first time at Snooze, we should get to experience some form of delicious pancakes, and because we both ordered from ‘the art of hollandaise’ section of the menu (hello, eggs benedict!), he sent one over for us to try on the house.

And it was … spectacular!

07_Snooze Pancake^^ Behold, the Blueberry Danish pancake, friends. Commence drooling now.

08_Snooze Bennie^^ Chris and I both picked the ‘Benny Due Can’t Decide?! option from the menu, which allows you to mix and match two half orders of eggs benedict options (mine, above, was the Caprese and Bella! Bella! Benny with the prosciutto removed).

All told, while I have to say that there will always be a special place in my heart for The Delectable Egg, I can certainly see why people say Snooze is a must-hit when in Denver. We’ll certainly be back here again in the near future, that’s for sure.

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: August 17, 2015

FullSizeRender (82)^^ The past couple of weeks have by far been some of the most trying times in both my life and Chris’s. There’s nothing particularly fun or exciting to share from the past week, but what has been the lemonade of all these lemons is the generous outpouring of love and support we’ve received from friends and family. Case in point: some of the gorgeous flowers from above. Bis bald, friends — here’s to weeks that are looking up.

A Saturday Spent at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Hey friends,

On Saturday, Chris and I hopped in the car and drove out to Rocky Mountain National Park, a 415 square mile park that encompasses some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve seen yet in Colorado — and that’s really saying something.

So to start, we decided to bite the bullet and purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass for $80. An individual car entrance for just one visit to Rocky Mountain National Park is $20, and we’ve already been to Arches National Park and have plans to visit Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park (we plan to visit Mount Rushmore as well, but there’s no fee to get in to see the monument there, and the parking fee isn’t covered by the annual pass) — so we figured it will probably be worth the cost.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the Trail Ridge Road, which was the first thing we tackled on our visit … holy cow, friends, it’s insane! From the park site:

Covering the 48 miles between Estes Park on the park’s east side and Grand Lake on the west, Trail Ridge Road more than lives up to its advanced billing. Eleven miles of this high highway travel above treeline, the elevation near 11,500 feet where the park’s evergreen forests come to a halt. As it winds across the tundra’s vastness to its high point at 12,183 feet elevation, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34) offers visitors thrilling views, wildlife sightings and spectacular alpine wildflower exhibitions, all from the comfort of their car.

The drive up to the visitor’s center is absolutely stunning, with plenty of places to pull off along the side of the road and gawk. If you’re lucky — like we were — you might even see tons of animals, like deer, marmot, groundhogs, squirrels and chipmunks and, our all-time favorite, the bighorn sheep.

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_DSC1488^^ Bighorn sheep! And if you look very closely, you can see a little groundhog trailing him …

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While the views here are unlike any you’ll find anywhere else, you will need to pay attention to signs of altitude sickness. At over 12,000 feet in spots, I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking visitors here on their first day in Colorado. You’ll need to give yourself time to acclimate to the higher altitude, drink plenty of water and take things slowwwww. There’s no shame in taking your time on hikes around here — no one wants to have to deal with the effects of altitude sickness … blech!

Oh and one other word of wise — wear pants and bring a coat! Chris and I were total rookies and didn’t even think about the fact that high altitude brings chilly weather (we’re talking 50s and low 60s here, people), so we were forced to buy sweaters from the visitors center just to be able to make it through the rest of the day!

We took a couple of hours to see everything we wanted along the ride (I would recommend driving all the way up to the visitor’s center first, checking that out and doing the short little hike near the center, then driving back down to make your stops), and we even pulled over at one particularly gorgeous spot to stop and have some lunch we had packed. After we headed over to the super simple Bear Lake hike, which is only a .6 mile loops with no incline.

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We were going to attempt the Alberta Falls 1.2 mile hike, as well, but at that point we were getting a bit tired and felt like we had jam packed a lot into our first ever trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.

But don’t worry, Alberta Falls — now that we’ve got our annual pass, we’ll be back for ya!

Bis bald, friends!

 

The 52 Project: August 10, 2015

_DSC1509^^ This past weekend Chris and I headed about two hours northwest of Denver to check out Rocky Mountain National Park … and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Holy crap it’s beautiful here, friends! I’ll be back later this week to talk more about everything we saw, but for now, feast your eyes on the beautifulness above (and yes, we did have to buy a jacket and sweatshirt from the gift shop because we were ill-prepared for the freezing cold weather that accompanies 12,000+ feet above sea level! Rookie mistake … ) Anyway, bis bald friends! Hope everyone had an amazing weekend.

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The 52 Project: August 3, 2015

IMG_8021^^ Well, welcome to August, my friends. It’s crazy that we’re here already. This past weekend was relatively mild. We tried out a new restaurant (new to us, at least!), called Tamayo, with unlimited brunch plates and drinks, and we headed to Boulder on Sunday to watch one of Chris’s friends compete in the Iron Man competition there. Those people are so gosh darn inspiring. Bis bald, friends!

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The Art of Asking Someone Else to Take Your Photo

Perfect_London_Pic^^ A perfectly framed London pic … because it was taken by someone else!

If you are anything like myself and Chris, there are many, many times in your traveling life where you’ll be forced to do one of three things:

  1. Ask someone to take a photo of you and your traveling partner.
  2. Take a selfie of yourself and your traveling partner.
  3. Use a camera timer to take a picture of you and your traveling partner.

For a long time, Chris and I avoided all three of these options and just switched off taking photos of each other in the places we were visiting, but I soon came to realize … that blows! I wanted both of us in these photos, so I was going to have to suck it up and figure out the best way to go about that.

Having tried all three, I have to say that asking someone else, however awkward and annoying you might feel about it, is absolutely the best way to go about it … with some etiquette caveats, of course. Selfies, particularly if your traveling partner is much taller than you are (as mine usually is), can sometimes come out like this:

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or

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Hmmmm … definitely not our best. And camera self-timers are great in a pinch, but it generally takes quite a few shots before you get everything lined up right and have everyone smiling with their eyes open at the exact second the camera takes the photo — let’s just say it can be a bit time consuming.

So, that leaves you with the dreaded travelers conundrum — asking someone else to take your photo.  However, if you don’t want your awesome photo to end up like this:

Machu_Picchu Fail^^ Thanks, lady who took our photo directly in front of the Machu Picchu ruins after we had hiked Huayna Picchu. It’s not like you could have told us we needed to move over to the right a bit in order to get the full effect …

… there are some caveats I would always follow.

The Travelers’ Guide to Asking Someone Else to Take Your Photo

1. Don’t be hasty. There’s really no rush. Take your time to scope out the crowd and see who seems to be taking the most thoughtful, well-placed photos themselves. If they’re careful about the shots they have on their own camera, they’re more likely to be careful with your shots, as well.

2. Be polite. I’ve never actually encountered someone who wasn’t happy to take our photo, although there usually is a bit of nerves that can come along with it. (Hey, it’s a big deal to take a photo for people in a place they may never, ever be again!) Don’t crowd people while they’re busy first experiencing a site, don’t ask the single mom chasing after her kids and don’t ask the couple that you’ve noticed bickering all throughout your tour. I’ve found that apologizing for the interruption tends to go a long way, too, as in: “I’m so sorry to bother you, but would you mind taking our photo quickly?”

3. Show them how to use your camera.  Don’t wait until you check the photos someone has taken to realize they didn’t know how to use your zoom — give them all the important intel up front to avoid any confusion. Make sure the camera is already on and ready (sometimes ours goes into hibernation mode when it’s on and hasn’t been used in a while, and it takes a couple seconds to reboot, which tends to confuse people. I’m aware of this now, and try to make sure the person taking the picture doesn’t have to worry about that) and tell them any and everything they need to know about the flash and your zoom.

4. Be very clear about what you want. This is perhaps the most important part of asking anyone to take your photo — what is it exactly that you want? Perhaps if I had thought of this before having that woman take our photo in front of Machu Picchu, I would have remembered to clarify that we wanted the entire ruins in the picture … not just the trail off to the side. Sigh. Do you want your picture horizontal or vertical, or both? What specifically in the background do you want captured, and where do you want to be in comparison to that background? Does it kill you when people cut your feet off in photos? It doesn’t hurt to ask them to take a couple shots, too, just to avoid the inevitable blink or weird smile that can ruin a photo. Politely inform your snapper of how you want the picture to look, and that will help them frame the perfect shot. Believe me, people want to do a good job, so as long as you’re friendly here, people won’t mind a little direction.

5. Don’t be embarrassed to check it. Most people will offer this anyway, but don’t be afraid to really check the photo after it’s taken. If it’s not exactly what you had in mind, just say: “Oh these are great! But would you actually mind just taking one more quick one that gets that waterfall in the background?” If that’s too embarrassing, wait for that person to leave and start over again with someone else.

6. Always reciprocate. It’s just common traveling courtesy to reciprocate the offer back to someone who has just taken a photo of you. Of course if they accept, be sure to go through all the caveats in reverse so that you can be sure you’re snapping exactly what they want, as well. An even better idea — ask them first if they’d like you to take a picture for them. After you’ve already helped them out, they might feel more inclined to do the same for you.

It may seem like a lot to go through to get one photo, but at the end of the day, if you really don’t think you’ll be making it back to that once-in-a-lifetime place, it’s totally worth it.

Do you guys have any additional tips of your own when it comes to asking people to take your photo for you when traveling?

Bis bald, friends — and happy travels!