Life in Fort Collins – One Month In

Life in Fort Collins is good.

It’s hard to believe that we moved a month ago. It feels like longer & shorter all at once.

At first, we just had each other, our apartment & one income.

So we decorated, took our dogs to the dog park, went grocery shopping (one of our favorite things to do, believe it or not), watched movies, went to the gym, hung out at Barnes & Noble, found “our” church, used our new fire place & occasionally went out for drinks and/or dinner.

It was a nice change of pace from our overly busy life in Kansas.

And it was nice to totally to depend on each other for everything.

Now Cory has a job & we’re slowly getting into a little routine. We’re making some new friends. We’ve fallen in love w/micro brews. We found a “small group” full of very nice people. I discovered a favorite coffee shop. We love going down to Denver. We take our dogs everywhere. We’ve enjoyed having Alex visit & meeting our friends, the Jones’ in Denver for dinner.

Life is just good.

This week we’re going snowboarding for the first time since we moved & I’m really looking forward to that. Then in February we get to spend a long weekend in Montana w/Cory’s family & my dad & step-mom plan to visit the following week.

So I have a feeling that our slow, sweet life might get a bit busier, but we’re really striving to keep it from becoming what it was: non-stop.

Month One has been slow & sweet & I look forward to seeing what next month has in store!

Traveling In Style

Yesterday I flew back to Kansas for a couple of days of meetings & to spend time w/my family. The lunch hour before my flight I was scheduled to attend a Public Relations Society of America CO Chapter luncheon at the Four Seasons in Denver.
Not wanting to change completely from my meeting to my flight, I switched out my pencil skirt & heels for leggings & boots then added some accessories. I don’t know about you, but unless I’m heading straight to a meeting, I refuse to run around an airport in heels. And a pencil skirt might be even worse – so constricting. 
So here is what I wore & why I wore it:
My Kate Spade Mrs. Necklace, Scarf – Forever 21, Cardigan – J Crew, Billowy Cream Tank – Francesca’s, White Tank (underneath) – Target, Bracelet – Kate Spade (gift from my BF), Ring – Holiday Galleria 2012, Lulu Leggings & Boots – Vince Camuto 

I love to layer w/accessories like scarfes when I travel because they are easy to take on & off, in case of temperature changes. Also, loose fitting items on the top pair perfect w/leggings for a super comfy, yet cute outfit. 

And socks are a must for me in winter (in summer – what do you do?!?! All I wear is sandals, which makes for a gross trip through security.), so I plan my shoes around their ability to go w/socks. These boots zip all the way down, making them easy to slide on & off during security.

And you can’t forget your sunnies! I got these pair from the Michael Kors store in SoHo when Alex & I were there last month. 

And if you have some extra time before your flight out of DIA, I recommend you seek out this hidden gem. 

Happy Travels!

This Season of Life

Yesterday in church the pastor mentioned that he was in a full, happy, loud and crazy season of his life, raising four boys between the ages of 3-10 with his wife. This got me to thinking about the season of life that I am currently in, just having moved out of state with my husband of 2.5 years for a big adventure.
Those who know me well, know that I have always been a girl with a lot going on. Starting all the way back in elementary school and continuing to increase to a peak in high school, I was involved in multiple extra curricular activities at once. 
 Dance, girl scouts, cheerleading, youth group, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, competitive cheerleading, national honors society, student council, etc.

(Here I am in high school with some fellow Varsity Cheer Team members. I still keep in touch w/Julie, to the left of me, and consider her a very good friend!)

Being the little over-achiever that I was, burn out was inevitable. When I started college at KU, I joined a sorority & participated in intramural sports, but that was about it. The rest of my time was spent w/my friends & occasionally studying/going to class.  

(My freshman dorms roommate, Jayde & I at a football game. Still one of my best friends to this day, distance & all!)

When I transferred to Wichita State, I worked and went to school. Nothing more. Nothing less. I went through a stage where I didn’t put much effort into anything that I cared about, except for hanging out with my friends.

(Out for my 21st birthday w/Chelsey & Kate, friends from high school that I still adore.)

So post-college, I was eager to jump back in. And jump back in, I did. I jumped into anything & everything that peaked my interest or would help me further myself as a professional. The adult version of me sought balance for my life (instead of going through another burn out, like the college version of me did).

My recent move gave me an opportunity to step back and evaluate what is truly important to me. 

For me, busy is now a bad word. Is my life full? Yes, it is so full. Full of many things including new experiences, being active, cooking, spending time with my husband & puppies, my career, reading and blogging. It’s full of getting in touch w/myself, my goals & dreams. And of course my life is full of exploring my city that I love more & more each day.

But I have room too. Room to grow, room to meet new people & discover new activities. I’ve become protective of who I let in my life & have been even more protective of my time.

(In Denver last week after checking out a wine bar called Cru.)

One of these days Cory & I will have some little babies and life will get loud and crazy again. And while we both look forward to that time, we are also cherishing the slowness & sweetness of the life that we’re making for ourselves here in Fort Collins.

Hello Estes Park!

We’ve been living in Colorado for about a month now, and with the gorgeous weather this weekend, we finally got a chance to check out Estes Park. 
All the Northern Coloradans rave about the city – the amazing mountain views on the drive up, the way the quaint town comes alive in season (May-Sept.) & the array of outdoor activities that can be done in Rocky Mountain National Park (hiking, snowshoeing, fly fishing, etc.). Plus, this weekend the city was having it’s Winter Festival, so it was perfect timing. 
So after a yummy breakfast (can I just say that it is SO nice to have Cory home – he was training in Denver all last week), we loaded up the dogs & our “gear” (my camera, some Nalgene bottles & the iPad – just in case) & headed out about 9:30. 
I wish I would have been able to get pictures of  the views driving up winding roads in the vast & vibrant mountains that are scattered with cute little cabins. Those were some of the most beautiful of the day.
We got to Rocky Mountain Park & let the dogs explore. 
Then we explored the little town.
A local artist’s work displayed in a shop on the main drag. Go Prius!
Our last stop – lunch at the bar!
It was the perfect morning/early afternoon. We can’t wait to go back when it’s a little warmer & enjoy some outdoor activities in the national park + experience Estes “in season.”
Happy Saturday to You!

A Mom Update

As many of you know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in November. If you didn’t know,  you can read about it here
Since the confirmation of the diagnosis, she’s been to a couple more doctor’s appointments & scheduled her first surgery to remove the tumors, all while debating what type of surgery to select. For those new to breast cancer like we are, it was surprising to find that there are quite a few surgical options & choices to make. 
At one of the doctor’s appointment another lump was found in the same breast. After testing it was confirmed to be malignant as well, which made her surgery choice more clear. She’s opted to have a double mastectomy & her first of three surgeries is tomorrow around noon.  
My sweet sister has taken charge of organizing a “menu plan” for those that would like to help out. Check her Facebook for details. I’ll be back home to visit/help out next week & will keep you all posted on her recovery.

Tonight my sister, mom & her two best friends from high school are having a “cleaning party” to get the house ready for her to come home & rest up in for the next two weeks. Since I couldn’t be there to help clean (darn, I LOVE cleaning), I FaceTimed in & discovered why 45 year olds get a bad reputation when it comes to their technology knowledge.

Me: Mom, you’re upside down.
Mom: What?

Me: YOU’RE UPSIDE DOWN.
Mom: No, I’m not!

Morgan: Mom, we’re upside down.
Mom: Oh.

Please keep my gorgeous Momma in your prayers tonight & tomorrow. My sister & grandma could probably use a prayer too, as they will be helping to take care of her immediately following surgery.
Thank you!

Wine & Tapas

Last night Cory & I braved the cold to go to a bistro in Old Town called International Appetite, where we sampled our fair share of red wine & delicious tapas. We tried the gyoza, antipasti, roasted potatoes with Asian BBQ dipping sauce & the meatball sausage skewer w/dipping sauce special + finished with a dessert of a warm double chocolate brownie & black berry brandy ice cream.

We were not disappointed. Yum.

And when I say “braved the cold” I mean it & I want credit. It was 13 degrees outside last night! Brrr.

Here’s what I wore:

The scarf & blazer were purchased from a little boutique in Chelsea. (I loved typing that)
The tank is from Pac Sun., the leggings are from Dillards & the booties are from Target.
The blazer is the most expensive thing I have on & I’m thinking that it was under or around $50. Just call me a bargain shopper! 

NYC

Last month my best girl, Alex & I made our first trip to the Big Apple. 
The occasion? Celebrating her 25th Birthday.
Here are some highlights:

Bryant Park. It was much smaller & more quaint than one would imagine.

Seeing Carrie Bradshaw’s infamous stoop. In person. No words.
SoulCycle. A revolution. Seriously. Please come to Denver!!
A much more emotional experience than I expected – Lighting a candle in St. Pat’s & saying a prayer for healing in regards to my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis. 

Ice Skating, in the rain (and after a couple of cocktails) under the big tree in Rockefeller Center.

Central Park. Enough said. 

We took a page from the Kardashians’ book & at dinner every night we talked about the days’: Peaks, Pits, Praises & Prayers (in Alex friendly terms, the last two were called Thankfulness & Hopes).

It was a really neat practice & one that I wish I could get into every day. Overall for our trip, I’ve listed, as concise as possible, my Peaks & Pits.

Peaks

The street style – all different kinds
Bryant Park
The gorgeous buildings
Visiting Carrie’s (Sex & the City) Stoop
A cozy, bland Italian dinner
Two Pieces of Good News that Alex Received
SoulCycle
Lighting a prayer candle for my momma at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Drinks at The Empire Hotel
Brunch in Soho
NY Style Pizza
Dinner at The Smith
Ice Skating Rockefeller Center
The largeness of Wall Street
Strolling in Central Park
Spending five days in a 5 x 15 ft. hostel-ish hotel room w/my best friend & still being BFs

Pits 

No ranch w/french fries (I know, I’m so Midwest)
My Strange Arm Injury
One Rude Cabby
All.Of.The.Walking (sometimes in heels – boo hoo)
Getting Lost – Sometimes on the subway, sometimes on the street
Sucking (Inside Joke)
Wet Uggs

Though it was our first, it won’t be our last trip to the big city. We got the bug!

I Heart NYC!