Friday, November 4, 2011

Sisters Gone Wild In Denver

This post makes me oh so happy for about a billion reasons. I smile even as I write, thinking back on what an incredible few days away I had in Denver. Yes, I'm still catching up on posts from back in August (!) but it's kinda fun to do so when it means "re-living" such a wonderful weekend.

Colleen, Allison and I had talked forever about going away somewhere together so, when Colleen suggested going to visit her sister, Christina, in Denver, we both jumped at the chance. I've never visited some of the most beautiful places out west and Colorado most certainly has been on my list for some time. It's always more fun too to visit a place where you've got a local to take you around so I really was excited for this trip! Let me just tell was one of the most wonderful trips I've taken, ever. I say that with sincerity.

Coming off a high of Abbey's terrific birthday celebration the night before, the three of us were on our way to the airport after work and so giddy. The flight felt super quick and, before we knew it, beautiful Christina was there waiting to pick us up. She took us to her apartment where she showed us to our suite (yes, I said suite) that was basically the penthouse. See, she works for the building and they have a corporate suite that they rent out which just so happened to be free the weekend we were there. Christina got it for us at no cost. It was absolutely gorgeous! Talk about staying in Denver in style... We visited for a while over some vino back at Christina's place before heading to bed around midnight.

Waking up Friday morning was just awesome because, right out my window, you could see the gorgeous mountains in the distance:
This might seem like no big deal to most but I've never seen "real" mountains before. We'd talked about taking a drive through the mountains that morning for brunch in a little town called Evergreen so I was really dying to get out and see all that I could. Once we finally got ready, we were off and I honestly felt like a little kid. I was in awe as we drove closer to the Rocky Mountains. At one point, Allison kinda giggled and, when I asked her why, she says you think those are the mountains, don't you? I was totally confused and told her yes only to find out I'd been looking at just the FOOTHILLS the whole time:
Let me just tell you how amazed I was when we finally hit the true mountains. It was so majestic and glorious, truly. I really was blown away at how beautiful everything was. I swear, you could almost feel god's presence surrounding you everywhere you looked. It was a moment I won't soon forget, I'll tell you that much.

When we finally got to the oh so sweet Wildflower Cafe, I pretty much decided then and there that I'd be moving to Denver after culinary school. In all seriousness, I think that really might be my path but that's a story for another time! Colleen had told me this place was one of her favorites and it quickly became one of mine, as well. Adorable (once again, using Colleen's awesome photos):
Bacon bloody mary? Um, yes please:
After brunch, we took a beautiful drive into the cute town of Golden where we were definitely ready to be tourists at the Coors Brewery. I swear, we have fun any/everywhere we go:
Our small tastes of beer may or may not have gotten us a little tipsy in the altitude... After Coors, we went on to Golden City Brewery which was seriously the greatest little home brewery, ever. This guy basically converted his house and yard into a brewery and it was so awesome:
We camped out there for a while before realizing we needed to get a move on to change and get ready for the baseball game that night. I'm telling you, the four of us were seriously having more fun than I can explain. Everything from conversation to laughter to experiencing the beauty of was all amazing so we intended to not waste a minute. We went for drinks before the game at a fun rooftop bar and then had a total blast seeing the Rockies in action:
After the game, we went to Wynkoop, another awesome brewery to meet up with some of Christina's friends. We were there for a while before taking the party back to Christina's apartment. I will keep repeating myself but we literally had so much fun:
In addition to meeting Christina's friends/boyfriend, I also met Bryan. We'll leave it at that for now but it's most certainly worth noting. ;) Fun, fun times:
Friday overall was so fantastic and it was hard to believe we packed in all that we did.

Saturday, we decided to head to Boulder. We stopped for lunch at a cute little Brazilian joint and spent the day shopping and taking in the town:
It was so gorgeous out! When we had our fill of browsing around, it was time to introduce me to what the real Rocky Mountains are all about. We drove super high up, parked and got out to overlook what is some of the most stunning scenery I've ever encountered:
In. Awe. Truly. I had a couple of moments where my palms actually got sweaty due to how high up we were. Realizing you've never been in the mountains like that before is a very trippy feeling but it was totally amazing.

After spending a phenomenal day in and around Boulder, we went back to Christina's to regroup before our Yonder Mountain show at Red Rocks. Ok, if I thought I was mesmerized before, I just died seeing Red Rocks and the surrounding area. The show was awesome but nothing compared to how incredible that venue is:
It really was something, I tell you. What a memorable evening, all around.

On Sunday, we woke up early and it was off to Breckenridge for the day. I swear, I remained in awe every time we drove into the mountains. I felt/feel such a connection with Colorado and it was  a true joy to experience every place we went. Breckenridge was really fun for me since I had several 'firsts' including my first gondola ride and oxygen bar visit! We walked all over, had a terrific lunch sitting outside and all of us just basked in the beautiful weather and scenery:
You can't fake this moment of awe:
I really loved the town as a whole. I could just picture it covered in snow, so beautiful and peaceful. All of us totally enjoyed spending the day there:
Oh J4, we love you:
When we sadly had to head back to Denver, we decided to stop for drinks at Colt and Gray which ended up being simply tremendous. We could've stayed there forever:
The day honestly flew by and, before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head to dinner before going on to the airport, boooo. We met Christina's boyfriend, Tim, at Steuben's and appropriately toasted to our weekend with amazing moscow mules, my new favorite drink:
As if you can't tell by this epic blog post, my weekend in Colorado was one of the best experiences I've had in quite some time. Being with the girls was so special in itself and then adding every experience we had to that just made it priceless overall. I still smile thinking of every detail. I'm pretty certain that a lot of this trip was life changing in a sense so we'll see if I'm right in time...

All I know is I can't wait to get back there, soon. I feel so blessed to have the means to take trips like this and the fact that it affected me in such an amazing way is a gift. Thank you for the wonderful hospitality, Christina! This will be one of my greatest memories for a very long time. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Abbey Turns 30

One of the most fun nights I've had in a while came right before a string of amazing experiences so I kinda think my dear friend, Abbey, somehow rubbed good luck off on me. Right before I went out to Denver (a day before, in fact!), I was so thrilled to celebrate sweet Abbey's 30th birthday and man, did we have an absolute blast. Her parents decided to rent out Corsino for an evening and it was such a perfect celebration.

Over the years, I've gotten to meet a great deal of Abbey's family and friends so the night was as fun for me as it was her. I hadn't yet met her adorable niece, Harper, though and that was a huge highlight of the night for me. I fell in love with her: 
We drank fantastic wine, ate delicious food and ended up dancing into the wee hours of the night at a bar later on. The best part? Allison and I hired Colleen again to photograph everything and it truly was so special. Taken from Colleen's website:
Abbey is one of my first true New York friends and I am so deeply blessed by her. She has been such a bright spot in my life over the years and I cherish who she is as a woman and friend. Celebrating a milestone such as her 30th birthday is a memory I won't soon forget and I'm honored to walk the path of life together as the years continue to pass. Lots of love to you, sweet friend!