summer reads: ready for romance

Choosing a favorite book is quite like choosing a favorite parent to me. I can’t do it! I love so many of them equally yet for a hundred different reasons, just as I do my complete opposite but both amazing, mom and dad.

So, as I set my own summer reading list – I currently have 8 holds at the library and check almost daily for new picks – I thought I would share with you the first books that come to mind when I think of good romance reads for the upcoming season.

While I am certain we all read romance throughout the year, no season seems quite as appropriate as summer to dive into worlds of hilarious meet cutes, awkward first dates, or heartfelt confessions. Whether it’s the dreamer’s dream of a whirlwind summer fling, or just the ease of reading something fun and carefree as you relax into the sun, I felt it fitting to kick off my summer suggestions with this heat for the heat category. Here we go…

The Upcoming Movie:
Me Before YouIf you have yet to pick this gem up, let it be the first on your summer reading list. I say this only because on June 6th it becomes a movie. So, you get two for the price of one (sorta) – you can also make a summer movie date night or girls’ night out of it too.

Me Before You chronicles the lives of Louisa, a somewhat stuck, colorful and zany twenty-something who finds herself as the caretaker for once-adventurous and successful Will, now a quadriplegic. It’s frustrating, hilarious, honest, and heart wrenching to follow these characters as they find their way into not only each other’s lives, but hearts as well. In somewhat of a race against time, Will aims to teach Louisa what it’s like to really get out and live life, while Louisa tries to show Will that there is still a life to live for.

I can guarantee you will not be a disappointed with this guy.

The Classic:
Who Do You LoveBy classic, I don’t mean one of the classics, I mean a classic love story. This is actually the first book that I think of when I hear romance novel. I read it last year, and liked it so much I sent it to my mom. I knew it was just what she was looking for as she lounged and laughed by the pool with her girlfriends…and it was!

Who Do You Love tells the story of Rachel and Andy, who meet when they are eight, in the most unlikely of places. Andy is growing up with a single mom, who is living pay check to pay check, and Rachel sees the world through the eyes of someone privileged and carefree. But we all know opposites attract! Told through a series of constant flashbacks, this goldie follows Rachel and Andy through the decades, as they find their lives continually weaved together, whether by luck or fate. Who Do You Love serves a good reminder that you don’t find love, often times, it finds you!

The Young Adult:
Eleanor and ParkAs far as fiction books go, this guy tells one heck of a truthful – what life is really like – story. Set in a time of decades past, where you traded cassette tapes on the bus, you waited around for your house phone to ring, and you kept in touch through postcards, you can’t help but root for this imperfect story of first love.

In the fall of 1986, Eleanor and Park are 16 years old and both misfits of their own kind. Eleanor is not exactly slim, she wears clothes from the thrift store, and she holds too many family scars and secrets for someone so young. With his all black clothes, his love for comic books, and his nonchalance for caring what his dad thinks, Park is just trying to blend in. This odd couple forge the most unlikely connection and learn too early that life is hard, often unfair, and usually very, very messy.

There are so many themes at work between these pages, that both your high-school and adult self cannot help but identify – bullying, self image, domestic abuse, parental approval, etc.

A must read for all ages.

If you find you like this book, check out other reads of Rainbow Rowell’s. I recommend Fangirl and Attachments.

The Quirky:
Twenties Girl
From the author of the Shopaholic series, this book brings the same wit and zaniness that make Sophie Kinsella books the fun, quirky stories they are.

In an already upside down, mess of a life Lara finds herself now hearing from ghosts. Well one in particular, her great – aunt Sadie. In order to silence, or rather make her bold, fun-loving aunt literally rest in peace, Lara must set out on journey to help her aunt. What starts off as disastrous (read:  hilarious), turns into lessons learned, love found, and family mysteries solved.

This is by far the most of out-of-the-box pick, but you find yourself laughing out loud and rooting for both Lara and her life teacher of an aunt. It’s light and whimsical, and pretty perfect for the pool.

If you find you like this book, check out other stand-alones by Sophie Kinsella. I recommend Can you Keep a Secret, The Undomestic Goddess, and I’ve Got Your Number.

Next up Memorable Memoirs…Cheers!

a 90s kid reminisces.

Squeeze ItsWindbreakers. Nintendo 64. Ribbon Dancers. Walkmans. Fanny Packs. Aladdin. Squeeze Its. Pogs. Blockbuster. Trampolines. These took you back, right? Were you a Mario-Kart-er or a Donkey Kong-er? Could you burn your CDs or did your friend’s sister do it for you? Each of these speical items helped to define childhood memories I have to come not only deeply appreciate, but also desperately want for kids now.

If you have ever read a post about an early millennial missing the 90s this post will likely be no different. It’s simply my take on the decade of my youth. And don’t get me wrong there are many, many things that I covet now that have only come along in the last 16 years. The fact that I didn’t have to wait for a dial up connection to write this blog post for one. My Starbucks iPhone app that I use weekly, and my Netflix streaming service that I use daily also round out the top of that list. But, I feel an incredible fondness for growing up in the last decade of the 20th century and here is why.

LegendsWhen I think of after school as a 90s kids, I think of Full House, the Carmen Sandiego game show, finding a trampoline to jump on, or riding our bikes till someone called us home. In the summer, we would have laughed at staying inside. Who had a pool? Did it have a slide? A diving board? No pool. Where’s the slip-n-slide? Can we ride our bike to Burger King? Can we tie dye something? Then at night or if it happened to rain, we would hope that Legends of the Hidden Temple would be on Nickelodeon, and we would cheer on some kid our age to win a Super Soaker or some new Nikes. (The horror if a kid today won a Super Soaker! Ha!) No Legends? Do you have any of the Mighty Ducks movies?

CK and I watching The Mighty Ducks yesterday, for a snowy Saturday inside.

CK and I watching The Mighty Ducks yesterday, for a snowy Saturday inside.

It’s obviously the understatement of the year to say that kids in today’s culture have so many more distractions than we did. I am certain all of us have wanted to scream before at someone to get the tablet or phone out of a kid or teenager’s hand and show them where to find a book or a bike.  They have access to anything on the Internet – their favorite shows and movies and the newest music and games. Instant gratification literally a click away. And Oh, how much quicker that brings on growing up!

It’s also hit me, that while I was out knocking on someone’s door asking to jump on their trampoline at 10 years old, kids today can jump on a digital trampoline on their Wii. And while I would spend hours in my driveway or yard with friends making up dances to Grease, Britney, or the Backstreet Boys, wannabe dancers now can Dance Dance Revolution themselves inside all day, every day.

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CK and I last Halloween, as Heidi and Al from one of our favorite 90s shows – Home Improvement.

For me, it’s frustrating that kids/teens now have no idea what it is like to have to wait for a CD to come not or a movie to hit Blockbuster…and then to show up and it be sold out. They will never stand in line for concert tickets, or know what it is like to miss an episode of their favorite show and have no way to watch it, and heaven forbid you have to sit through the commercials. They will also never have to wait through a busy signal to talk to their friend, who they called on a landline, after waiting for their mom, dad, or brother to get off the freakin’ phone.

Maybe I am being overly pessimistic that these delayed gratifications of my childhood have made me more of a well-rounded, patient, and appreiative citizen than those of the non-brick Nokia generation. But I can’t help and feel lucky that I was a part of it. Hey, we all still figured out that blowing into your Nintendo game somehow made it work. We didn’t need social media for that…

So, this X-files junkie, Wilson Phillips lover, and indoor-mall goer is signing off. Glad for her email and Amazon 2-Day shipping, but still wishing that mall tours, Movie Gallery, and roller blading were cool.

Until Next Time…

a trip. a surgery. a snapshot.

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Witzs. The morning we left for our first trip of the year to San Francisco, CK found out he would be having knee surgery the following Tuesday.

So, we flew off to San Francisco to mark my first visit to The Golden State and my 32nd state overall. Great times were had with awesome friends that we don’t get to see near enough. Steiner Street. The Bridge. Twin Peaks. Lands End. Dolores Park. Palace of Fine Arts. And the best people watching a city bring you, all stacked up to give the Witzs one adventure-filled long weekend.

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Foggy day at the bridge with great friends!

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If you are looking for the most comfortable way to walk through your next trip, you should definitely check out these Antigua Leggings by Albion Fit. Best purchase I have made in a while, and they were perfect for our first intense day of sight-seeing. I wish I had bought two pairs.

We landed back in the Mile High just one day before CK went in for a definite meniscus surgery and a probable ACL one. Once the team got into surgery, it was confirmed that he would need a full ACL repair. As you know, CK is a champ in all things he does, and this surgery was no different. We are now almost two weeks post surgery and he is doing PT like the baller he is and ready for the road to recovery, knowing it will  be a long and tough one. Major shout out to our awesome friend, Jennifer Wilson, for coordinating with her co-worker to get us set up with her company’s legit pain pump. It helped CK majorly his first few days home.

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In the meantime, we have just been taking it easy. CK is able walk and put about 25% of his weight on his right knee, but he still can’t be running all over the city. Plus, last week Denver was given a wonderful (cue sarcasm) spring snow. It actually provided the perfect excuse to stay in and binge watch RedBox rentals (i.e. Creed & Concussion). Sometimes, its good to just take it super easy when you can, and thats what we have been doing. Being lazy, reading books, catching up on TV shows, cooking – it’s healthy I think to enjoy the simple and small things. Because its usually those things you miss most when you don’t have them. Right?

Cheers!

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Getting my Rainbow Rowell fix.

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Sunday, comfort-food cooking at its finest!

witzin’ around.

Fridays are my favorite! Especially Friday at five o’clock. I honestly adore my job and the incredible folks that make up my work family, but it’s hard to beat the beginning of a 48 hour streak of getting to do your own thing.

And the weekends are of course, also the best time for Christopher and I to discover and explore the obvious and hidden gems, in a city that is still relatively new to us. While in warmer weather most of that exploring takes place outside, on a hike, in search of a beautiful view, we are still a few weeks off from that.

Last night, as it has been been for most of the winter, exploring has taken place inside the city, especially since I have set a new low bar for skiing. (No worries, I’m okay with it…I think.) And while the weather here in late spring, summer, and fall is perfect for restaurant hoping and patio sitting, it’s obviously also during that time that we want to be on top of a mountain, taking in the Rocky Mountain air, or feeling the spray of a can-only-be-hiked-to waterfall. So, all that to say, winter and early spring in Denver are the perfect times to hone in on your favorite eateries and bars.

It’s espeically fun though when you find a place that puts a fun twist or adds another layer to something you have already done. Meaning, we have been to hundreds of bars (thousands   when added together?)…but we have never been to one with organized crafts. One that offers about thirty items for you to choose from and create, all while you drink your IPA or Tanqueray and tonic and munch on popcorn. But that is the exact concept behind Upstairs Circus, and what a fun and unique twist on date night, girls’ night out, or table for one it offers up.

I’ll be honest, I meant to take more photos and document the creation process of my craft, but when you get in there, in the moment, start concentrating, yeah, photos are forgotten. I could have done worse, I guess, but see below for some shots of our night of drinking and designing. Cheers!

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Outside of LoDo Circus. 1500 Wynkoop Street.

Upstairs Circus General 3

Inside the Circus.

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Example of my project.

First item in Libations - Christopher's project.

First item in Libations – Christopher’s project.

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Getting Started.

Part of my supplies.

Here we go…

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Table One. Met some great folks!

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Final Products!

 

 

Wall Art.

I have a theory that there are very few original ideas any more, if any. Much of that is solely thanks to the very item I am currently typing on. Okay, so it has everything to do with the computer and its quite treasured friend, the Internet, but I am certainly not saying that’s bad thing. In fact, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite aspects of mine and CK’s place… our wall art.

I don’t think in any way it’s exceptionally unique. But in the spirit of passing along  ideas, I thought I’d share, as I tend to get my own ideas from material other folks have posted.

Piecing a home together is for most of us the largest work of art we will ever undertake. It’s a complete or combined expression of what matters to the folks who call it theirs, and I love that no one place is decorated the same. Some are cozy, others are modern, some are muted and calm, while their counterparts are bold and shiny. I love the variety!

I tend to go for the cozier take on a home, as I like small spaces and warm colors. Here’s the varied wall art we have chosen to make our place come to life and feel like us…

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Like so many of you (if you are married) we have this photo from our special day. It hangs above our bed and I love it. After we got married, it seemed like all of our framed photos were of the wedding. I assume it is like that for most folks. However, I still wanted to put more photos on the wall of our fabulous day, but Christopher was adamant that he not have to look at any more photos of himself. His offhanded comment actually gave way to a what become a really good idea.


Photos of our wedding day… but with no people in them! Years later, I am still obsessed with how these turned out. Shutterfly produced these beauties and I could not have been more impressed. They hang in our living room above our couch. It is the perfect nod to one of my favorite days, without including a photo of a face.

That brings us to the other living room stand out. Our map. If you have read our blog before, you know it’s arguably both of our favorite items in our place. We love to travel. It’s an excellent conversation piece. And it is perfect for filling up a large wall. Enough said.

And lastly,  an illustration of where you have and are calling home. I think it’s even more a plus, when it is a photo taken by someone you know (right), or when so many friends and family have wished you well (left). To me, this is the fastest way of making a place feel like yours, surrounding yourself with the familiar and treasured.

Cheers to making your place your own!

 

 

 

 

winter is coming…

Now that I have hooked you with my John Snow reference, I have a lot to live up to, right? Let’s just say if I had to spend two weeks in ole John’s shoes, I would have long been a goner. (All non-Game of Thrones watchers are now totally lost, sorry!) Let’s just say this girl and the cold are merely acquaintances, and I don’t see a steadfast friendship forming any time soon.

So, as we inch closer and closer to my lowest ranking season, I thought I would share “my best snow story, ” (great title, I know), from last winter. As, you know I moved to Denver this past March. And luckily enough we only had about three legitimate snows my first couple of months here. Then, spring showed it’s glorious face and I have been relishing in the amazing weather this city is known for ever since. But, inevitably, winter is on it’s way yet again. Therefore, as I begin to mentally prepare for it, I am reminding myself of what I learned last season.

For the most part last winter went great. There is really only one day that stands out… as disastrous! Big red X, what the hell am I doing, I’m going home, head under the covers-kinda bad.

snow ecardIt Starts Here:
It’s roughly 5:45 a.m., I look outside and see the streets look great. No snow on them at all. Perfect! Yes, the rooftops and cars are still covered, but the drive to work should be a breeze!

It’s a Friday, so I am in a fantastic mood, obviously. This also means I can wear jeans, a cute top, and my fave footwear… flats.

I am prepared as I walk out the door, coat – check, gloves – check, hat – check, backpack, purse, keys, lunch – quadruple check! I cross the apartment complex courtyard just fine, to take the elevator up to the top level of our parking deck. I guess I was on my phone or putting my keys up, I honestly don’t remember, all I know is I was not paying attention to the ground. First mistake of the day. 

That is until both of my feet halt in violent, cringe-worthy protest! As the phrase goes, I am literally frozen still. Seriously though, I am in such shock as to what has just occurred, I can’t move. Once I do round up the courage to look at feet, my eyes confirm, what my body already knows. From my ankles down, I am covered in ankle high slush – ice, cold, grimy slush.

Note to self, roadways are cleared by salt trucks and plows.
Top floors of parking garages, not so much.

Like anyone, I don’t always make great decisions when under stress, or when suffering from severe cold. At the time, my brain made the interesting plan to take the remaining 15 or so steps to my car, then drive around to the front door of our complex, run inside, and grab a new pair of shoes. The wet jeans were just going to have to be dealt with. The 20-20 Ashley wants to know why I didn’t immediately go back and change my shoes? Why did I walk through more cold slush? 

Anyways, I throw myself and all my work belongings hurriedly into the car, start the car, and begin pulling out, ready to grab my new, dry shoes. Except, I can’t see a damn thing! There is ice and snow all over my car. I get back out with my ice scraper. Yes, this meant my feet, in my glorious flats, were now soaking up round two of this crazy cold concoction. I frantically scrape off all the snow on my windshield and side mirrors, then hop in the car!

I successfully run up to grab my new pair of shoes, and am once again am on my way. Maybe, I won’t be late after all, I think. My lips may be purple, but at least I will be on time.

Oh, how innocent I still was. 

It Gets More Interesting:minons in winter
See, the thing with scraping snow off your car, I learned, is that you have to get all of it. Because if you don’t, what is left on the top of your car, might melt enough to fall. Onto your windshield. While you are driving. Therefore, obstructing the very foundation of driving. Sight.

As I am sure you guessed, that’s exactly the series of events that happened next. I made it three blocks from my apartment, when I hear a crack, followed by the feeling of something softly sliding, then boom! A huge chunk of ice from the roof of my car has ever so nicely, collapsed itself onto my windshield. And of course, it’s too big for the wipers to move. Of course.

Luckily, I am still on a residential road, but I can’t see a thing. Nothing! Nada. I had to roll my window down and stick my head out the window, like an overanxious dog, to steer myself to the stop sign at the end of the road, to then turn my flashers on, and start the scraping process over again.

By this point, I am getting pretty annoyed. As I said, it’s Friday, and bad shit isn’t supposed to go down on Friday. Especially before 8 a.m. Plus, now I am sweating, in a coat. But I am determined I will not be some Southerner taken down by a little snow. I may be incredibly inept, but I am going to get this!

To the amusement of native and seasoned winter-weather drivers, I am certain I was a sight. Free entertainment as I always call it. Girl at stop sign, off of a main road, with flashers on, soaked pants, scraping her life away on her windshield. I tried to crack the back half of the ice on the roof of my car, so I was certain not to have this problem again… but it wouldn’t budge.

So, I set off again, this time in prayer! Lord, please do not let more ice and snow fall onto my windshield.

However, when God has decided that you are his real life sitcom, it’s just your day. So, buckle up! Or don’t actually. Because then you are probably just going to unbuckle again.

cartoon winterIt Really Sucks Here:
I made it four more blocks. Four! This time I am driving on a large, very busy, main Denver roadway. I have just left a red light and whoosh, the back half of the roof ice gave way. This time, I have a hole the size of a 81/2 by 11 sheet of paper to see out of. But nothing else.

I am now driving on my tiptoes, and severely craning my neck. Think Danny Devito in a Hummer. I also, sincerely hate my life at this moment. I am going to wreck, I am positive. And I have a laundry list of who all I going to blame for this catastrophe.

The hell with being from the South, snow sucks, and I want on the next flight to Boca. Let’s be honest, mostly I am pissed because I couldn’t stop this from happening and I am bigger than this.

As I am honked at and probably thrown the middle finger by half of Denver drivers, I slowly edge way over onto a side road. I once again, get out of my Subaru, grab my god-forsaken ice scraper, and slide off all the remaining snow and ice from my car.

Once I get back in my car and pick my head up off the steering wheel, I realize I am on a one way street.  Going the opposite direction. Sigh! Add it to my tab.

You will glad to know that from here, I turned my car around in a parking lot and set off to work. The rest of the way thankfully uneventful. I, however, had become the sheet of ice. It took me blowing the heat full blast the entire 25 minute drive to work to finally unthaw my feet and face!

So, as you think about cold weather creeping up on us, say a prayer or send a happy thought my way. Fingers crossed that I remember to wear appropriate shoes, no matter what the streets look like, and scrape down the whole car, roof and all.

Cheers to a wonderful winter!

life defined.

IMG_1200I think I’ve posted about this before, and let’s be honest, I’ll probably do it again. After all, I am somewhat notorious for retelling stories…mostly because I just want to make you laugh… but today it’s on my mind again, so I thought I would share (again).

If you have spent two seconds looking at either mine or Christopher’s photos, you know we like to be outside, explore, and well, just see this awesome masterpiece of a world God has created. But as I walked back into my apartment this morning, I realized just how much I love my plain ole, routine, possibly boring Saturdays. I look forward to them. Crave them, even.

On Saturdays I find myself wanting to get up as early as possible. The quite opposite of what I would expect of myself, but yes, 28 year old Ashley is genuinely disappointed to wake up after 8 a.m. on a weekend. And it’s mainly because I don’t want to miss one moment of time with myself, just enjoying doing what makes me the most content.

My mundane Saturday morning ritual would probably come across as snoozeville to most of the weekend world. I do nothing remarkable, yet that’s the very thing I love. I go on a run, usually a much longer one than during the week, because I both have the time and am not as tired. Then, I carefully plan the end of my run to conclude at the Starbucks a few blocks from my apartment. Once I get my grande, skinny hazelnut latte I sit outside (now under the heaters) and catch up on emails, news, or just whatever. Lately, I spend the time watching upcoming movie trailers and getting excited about new flicks coming out.

Then, I walk home, usually to breakfast CK has made and enjoy the morning with him. We usually do laundry, clean the bathroom, and wash dishes. Boring, I know! But it is therapeutic for me. A recharge of simplicity if you will.

Saturday EcardI also fully believe that enjoying the mundane is one of the best things you can do for yourself. A day will eventually come where your regular routine, your norm, is disrupted, and all you will want is it back. You won’t crave the big moments, the ones you took pictures of or posted about. You will miss the rest of the “small stuff” that made up your day. It’s those moments that tend to reflect the intimacy in your life, with both family, friends, and yourself.

Whether it’s the loss of someone, making a big move, or changing jobs, there will be something in the everyday that will define what you miss most about those people or things. In the first few months of moving to Denver, the things I missed most where morning coffee chats with my coworker Sara, random nights spent with friends at Bardog tavern, and evening runs along the river. (And the Grizzlies…I missed the Grizzlies big time). These moments where never captured on camera or talked about in great detail to others, but they are what made up my life there, a life that I loved.

Furthermore, when I think back to time with my uncle before he passed away, the one moment I want back is simply a conversation that took place in the hallway of my dad’s work in the middle of the workday. We were catching up on each other’s lives and just talking. Not a noteworthy moment at all, but it’s the one I think about and miss the most.

So, cheers to enjoying your Saturday! Whether you are cleaning house, running your own personal taxi service, or binge watching your current Netflix obsession, enjoy. We can only hope for a mundane tomorrow.

roxborough. eldorado. golden gate.

2015-03-15 15.10.12Roxborough State Park
This close by state park marked our first trip out hiking in our new city. For Denverites, this park offers up one of the closest spots from the city for decent hiking. You can take on anything from a half mile overlook to a 6.4 mile round-trip trek to Carpenter Peak. For our maiden Denver outing, we took on something pretty easy and did the 2.3 mile Fountain Valley Trail. This trail offered up views of unique red rock formations and rather interestingly, the home and constructions of developer, Henry S. Persse. Henry envisioned the now Roxburgh as a prime spot for a resort or Front Range getaway. Although this vision never came to life, it now makes for a unique site to visit.

If you don’t have too much time or don’t want to travel very far, but still want some quality time spent exploring the outdoors, Roxborough is a great option to check out.

2015-03-21 15.33.34Eldorado Canyon State Park
I have learned a lot of things about myself since we started hiking. One of the biggest findings:  running water is my favorite noise! I am happiest, most calm, and most captivated when next to or observing a waterfall or fast-moving creek. The hubs is great at taking the time to find places with the coolest water features to check out. And Eldorado was my first of now many places that I feel in love with because of it’s awesome stream!

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Crags Hotel Remnants

On our first trip to Eldorado, we hiked the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail. It’s an easy-moderate hike of 3.6 miles round-trip, with elevation gains and decents evenly throughout. It offers an amazing view at the top of the Continental Divide, as well as the plains, and does a good job of making you remember you are a small part of a very big and vivid world! You won’t be disappointed. This trail also takes you by the remains of the old Crags hotel, that burned down. There is not too much of it to see, but it still somewhat interesting.

And just last week, we hiked the Streamside Trail. While it is pretty easy, know that it is also mostly rocky and be ready to climb up and down often. It’s only a mile there and back and gives you plenty of opportunities to stop and and take in the stream.

In addition to these two trails, ECSP has three more for you to check out with varying milage depending on your time or level of interest. This park is also well knowing for it’s climbing opportunities. The Witzs’ knowledge of climbing is very limited, but if this is your hobby, it’s definitely somewhere to possibly check out.

Golden Gate State Park
2015-03-29 13.15.14A vast and spectacular place to visit. We have only explored one trail amid this large park, but it was a great one! Golden Gate offers over ten trails to check out, plus it is one of Colorado’s state parks that you can actually camp at. Since CO offers up so much National Park and National Forest property, a lot of the state parks do not allow camping, Golden Gate is an exception. We hope to go back and camp soon!

For our day at the park, we walked Snowshoe Hare Trail, a three mile loop to Dude’s Fishing Hole (pictured above). It was very fitting to be on this trail when we were there, as it was March, chilly, and a good amount of snow was still on the ground. Although I know we will want to check out other trails when we go back, Dude’s Fishing hole is somewhere I do hope to go back to. I want to hang the hammock, read a book, and just enjoy the day/view again! It made for an awesome reward to get at the end of the trek.

We also found a fantastic view at the top of large rock on the way back, that made the trip even sweeter (pictured below)! This trail was pretty easy, it’s mostly through the woods, pretty shady, and also pretty secluded (at least when we were there).

No matter where you go, just get out, sweat, take it all in, and enjoy!2015-03-29 14.02.36

denver daytrippin

Leaving Memphis was tough. It sucked, actually. Of all the folks I know there, I always got the feeling that Christopher and I seemed to enjoy and embrace the city more than most. We loved the vibe of downtown, trying out new restaurants and bars, and of course our beloved Grizzlies. So, why move? Well when we looked around West Tennessee, it’s not what we saw that made us move, it’s what we didn’t. …Mountains.

In college each of us spent time outside of Denver, and while the South will always be home, there was something incredibly captivating about the Rockies. It was the first place I had ever visited that I thought I could live outside of the Mason Dixon. What the bright lights of New York and Los Angeles do to some, the view of the mountains does to us. It makes everything seem possible, makes you feel free, and well, fuels your fire for adventure.

Yes, while the practical side of our move was of course for Christopher’s job, the heart of it was our love for the outdoors and a plethora of places to explore. So, as much as we can, we get out. Out and explore. Christopher thinks of us as weekend warriors, while I see us as seasoned daytrippers. Either way, here’s a preview of what we’ve have been up to in the months since moving here. Full, detailed posts coming soon.

Roxborough State Park
2015-03-15 15.10.12

Eldorado Canyon State Park
IMG_0331Golden Gate State Park
IMG_0425Garden of the Gods
2015-04-11 11.47.49Castlewood Canyon
2015-04-25 10.42.54-1Camp Hale in White River National Forest (outside Vail and Leadville)
2015-06-06 07.08.53-1Maxwell Falls at Arapahoe National Forest
2015-06-13 16.22.36Timberline Falls at Camp Dick in Roosevelt National Forest

2015-07-04 14.08.11

the honesty continues.

The Story
honestyIt was several years ago that I was sitting on my friend from college’s couch. I was about three months into “big girl life” along with two of my other friends, while my friend whose apartment we were at was in the middle of grad school. We were just sitting around talking and laughing and I literally have no idea what brought up the conversation, but somehow in the middle of it, it was stated and agreed upon as fact by three of my best friends that I would “be that wife that always has dinner perfectly done and set out when her husband (Christopher) comes home.”

I just stared at them. Then I rebutted their comments, to which they just laughed and remained adamant that I was definitely that person.

I wasn’t though. I wasn’t then. I’m not now… just ask Christopher.

I knew then, even three months into working girl life, that my love for getting home, grabbing a beer or a cold glass of milk (my tastes are varied/my days are too), and watching a Netflix episode was probably going to override starting “dinner.” And I put dinner in quotations because that’s another thing… I wouldn’t exactly say that the kitchen is an at home area for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can cook all the normal stuff and it be just fine, but cooking from cans and boxes, must be considered cooking, in order for my kind to count!

I reach back for this story because every so often I would think back to it and again shake my head and at how strange it was that the three people who supposedly knew me best, had this part about me so wrong, even if it was pretty trivial. But now it all makes sense.

It was me.
Figuring It Out
twenties-quoteI have always had a need to get it “right.” Everything. If I knew why, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog – that’s just the way I am wired. Believe me, the go with the flow gene was on vacation when I was born. But when this is the case, and everyone knows you like to plan things out, organize them perfectly, and have them go “just so,” unless you communicate to them otherwise, they are going to make up their own assumptions about you.

Christopher and I tell each other occasionally, “Use your words.” This is our reminder that neither of us are mind readers and if you wanted to do something or not do something the only way for the other one to know is to use words. I wasn’t doing this back then and I still struggle at times to do it now.

The problem lies in that fact that back then I would rather you think I was fine or had it all together, than really get into what was wrong or how I really didn’t have it together. It has been a learning curve for me to learn to open up and share the hard parts and blemishes in life. I blame part of this on small town Southern ways… and the other half just on me being me. Something had to have gone majorly wrong for me to open up.

And that really didn’t change until marriage. I realized early on that the only way Christopher and I were going to get through arguments  and disagreements was if I actually told him in plain English what was wrong. Which for someone who has spent a lifetime having trouble communicating when and why they are upset, this is easier said than done. Oh you know something is wrong, but what is the question? I could venture to say opening up about what is bothering me is one of the hardest things I do. Christopher will be the first to tell you I have come a long way in almost three years, but I could definitely still stand for a few more paces forward.

A Favor to Ask

highlight reelI have a point, I promise. In the last couple of years I have noticed that my favorite social media posts are ones where folks are capturing and sharing moments that haven’t gone exactly right. Or maybe they have! If you post about your kids’ meltdowns or catastrophes, your Pinterest fails in the kitchen or craft worlds, or your “Blonde” moments, chances are I LOVE reading your posts. You are being real and relatable, and I find that both refreshing and necessary for my life. Thank you!

My PSA to everyone is if you are going to share, don’t make your social media life and the real one separate worlds. Be mundane, be messy, be you. It makes the rest of us feel not alone..and at the end of the day folks we are all just trying to get by. Life is hard, so if you are going to share a piece, share a slice of realness.

Also, I am about as up for some small talk as I am a colonoscopy. Okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Seriously, the older I get the less equipped I am to handle this task. I prefer good, genuine conversation (especially when a cup of coffee is involved), where we are both sharing life and debating thoughts and opinions. Good conversation is unparalleled in my book, you just feel, well full!

And I am fully in the camp for being honest when someone asks “How are you doing?” While I normally still refrain from saying “Actually the (four letter word) snow on top of my car fell onto my windshield twice, while going down the main boulevard by my house, which rendered my (piece of four letter word) wipers useless and forced me to pull over twice and look like the freakin’ ill-equipped Southerner, for which I am. But alas, I typically refrain from going into such honest explanations,

My advice though, to find at least two people who you can be this honest with and you can sit and have enriched conversation with.  And when they ask how life is, you own up and give it to them straight. You need this! I am not saying tell the mailman, McAlister’s cashier, or Macy’s attendant your day’s drama, but make it to point that you do share the ins and out, ups and downs with a few close friends and family. It’s necessary for sanity and happiness. Don’t be afraid to be you, you would be surprised when you open, just how much everyone feels the same way!

Thanks for reading this long guy. I think this will conclude my honesty sharing for a bit. It takes a lot to put these kind of thoughts into words that attempt to illustrate my experiences and lessons learned. Hard, but necessary and therapeutic for me! Cheers!