Up Next

After taking an unplanned hiatus from travel during the early months of 2014, I will be embarking on my next adventure in less than a month. Kristin and I are off on another trip, but this time it’s not a roadtrip. We’re off to:

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Iceland!

I blogged about wanting to go there back in 2010, and right after Christmas it became a reality! Denver recently got a direct flight to Keflavik on Icelandair, and as a result I came across a Groupon deal for a flight, 3 nights hotel, and 3 tours for a very reasonable price.  It seemed too good to pass up, and luckily Kristin agreed with me. The weather will be very cold when we go in April, but there is still a chance we may be able to see the Northern Lights. The more people I talk to about Iceland, the more excited I get. Every person who has been raves about it, in particular a very well-traveled couple I know who did a 2-week Scandinavian cruise stopping in almost every port city in the Finland, Norway, Sweden, etc. They said Reykjavik was their favorite, hands down. If you have any recommendations or information about the island, please share!

images via visitreykjavik.is, goiceland.is, biskvitka.net

Canceled

Flight cancelations happen all of the time, but somehow I have been fortunate enough to have never been affected, at least that I can remember. A few weekends ago I was supposed to be on the East Coast, visiting Washington D.C for one night and then heading up to Baltimore for Friday night and Saturday and Sunday.

I arrived at the airport for my 7am flight, and discovered that my flight was canceled. Through the process of figuring out the next step and consequently having to cancel the trip, I learned a very important lesson.

Don’t be the obnoxious, screaming person, but don’t be the easy going, too understanding person either.

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While I was waiting in the 20-plus person line to learn about my options and hopefully rebook, I was surrounded by people of all different levels of upset. After one of the ticket agents made an announcement that the next available seats were for Saturday, two days later, there was the guy who screamed “f*** you, I’m finding a different airline” and jumped the line rope and ran off. There was the guy in front of me who was going to miss his sister’s wedding and was brainstorming all kinds of rental car and train options with his girlfriend. The couple behind me was due in the Caribbean for their honeymoon and would lose out on a $700/night suite. And then there was me. I was very frustrated and disappointed, but by the time it was my turn at the counter, I’d gotten a big dose of perspective from the predicaments of my fellow travelers.

I of course wanted to see my friends in DC and my family in Baltimore, and this is a very important time of year for us, but I wasn’t missing a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, I wasn’t going to lose a huge amount of money on the hotel and I thought about how many times I’ve traveled with few or no issues. So when it was my turn, I was calm and nice to the ticket agent (like an adult should be) and listened as she once again confirmed that the earliest I could get to my destination would be Saturday afternoon. I was due to return to Denver almost exactly 24 hours later.

She then proceeded to say that the weather was supposed to stay bad and that there is a huge backlog of passengers so it was uncertain how the rest of the weekend would play out for traveling– implying that I might have some issues returning home on Sunday. Logically of course, going for 24 hours didn’t make sense. But I do wonder whether being a little bit more visibly angry or clearly frustrated would have helped my case in some way. Here’s hoping I’ll never have to try it out, but I’d love to hear the experiences of others and dealing with extreme delays and cancelations. Has keeping your cool helped you get to your destination, or did making your frustrations known get you better options?

30 Before 30 List: Checking In

The panic is beginning to set in a bit. Last Saturday, my mom’s birthday, was also my half birthday. Which means I have 2.5 years until I turn 30 (scary!) and 2.5 years until my 30 Before 30 list needs to be completed. If you’ve been following along, you can see I haven’t made very much progress.

I do have a few things in the works to check off, which I am very excited about, but I’m beginning to worry about how I’m going to fit in four big international trips in 2.5 years. Especially when the places I want to go are a little bit off the beaten path, but I have faith I will be able to find friends to accompany me on some of these adventures. (Megan, I’m looking at you!)

In related news, I’m happy to report that I have inspired three other people to create their own lists. My friend Kristin created her list this summer and has made progress on reaching her goals, and Megan and Katherine created theirs in January. Another blogger liked the idea, and you can find her list here. They all have lots of fun things on theirs, so I’m hoping we’ll work on our lists together and get things checked off and make fun memories.

On March 15th I will be running my first 5k and I am so excited! I’ve never been a runner, so it’s very exciting to see the distance and time go by when I’m on the treadmill. The next two weeks will be very intense trying to prepare, but I’m confident I’ll be able to fully run the race and enjoy it. After the race, I will have to elaborate on why running any amount of distance is a pretty big deal for me.

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In the meantime, I will continue reading this monstrosity. I wish I could count it’s 700+ pages as more than one classic, but that would be cheating.

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Well, I’ve been working on catching up on all of the big trips and happenings around here, but of course there were also lots of fun little trips and events. Here’s what else happened:

In October I had a large mishap, which involved losing all of the 2800 pictures I had on my iPhone. No, I didn’t have my cloud activated, and I hadn’t back up to iTunes since April. I was able to get back the pictures from before April, which I am eternally grateful for, but all of the pictures I took this summer are long gone. Lesson learned: download DropBox and actually use your cloud.

In mid-October I ventured to LA for my cousin’s 30th birthday. It was great to see all of her friends that I’ve gotten to know over the years, and spend time with my cousins and their boyfriends.

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I also deactivated my Facebook. I mentioned that I was thinking about it here, and in late October, I finally decided to pull the plug. So far, it has been great. Some of the time I used to spend on Facebook I still spend on social media, while waiting in line, those last few minutes before bed, but I consider it more productive time because I will browse news on Twitter or work on my dream wardrobe and plan trips on Pinterest.  I may have missed some announcements from friends, and I’ve definitely missed out on opportunities to brag to friends and acquaintances about my life, but for now, I am content with this.

In December I attended a Christmas party at Mile High Stadium. In addition to a truly awesome dinner and dancing event, we also got to do a behind the scenes tour of the stadium. Here I am in the endzone.

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I took two trips to Vegas in 5 weeks.

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Megan came to visit for two weekends! She had a work training during the week, so the first weekend was spent at my place and around Denver, and the second weekend we went up to Boulder. After the football games the first weekend, when it was determined that our teams would be playing each other here, we decided to splurge and get tickets for the AFC championship game. And what a game it was.

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I hosted a big party in January, but no, it wasn’t a Super Bowl Party… I finally had my housewarming party! About 8 months after I moved into my place. Talk about overdue. Everything went very smoothly and there was a great turnout, and it was fun to give tours to the people who hadn’t seen my home yet. I’ve never hosted a party this big, so I am still a bit surprised at how busy I was the whole time. I didn’t have time to socialize with anyone for more than a few minutes at which time someone would come by to say hello or goodbye. Consequently, I didn’t take one picture the entire day. Not of the drinks table, all of the food, the dessert table, my friends, my family, nothing.

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Loved the invitations

I also don’t know how I could have done the party without a silent co-host, my mother. She was able to answer the door if I was busy, cook, replenish crackers and fruit as needed and completely help to make the party a success. I truly don’t know how someone does a party like this without a caterer or an almost caterer.

The next weekend, Super Bowl weekend, still has me shaking my head. I spent all of Sunday morning working on my blue and orange Broncos tutu and making cake balls for the two parties I was planning to attend. The rest of the day is a blur of underwhelming commercials, a terribly disappointing game and dashed dreams. Still pretty much in shock. Until August, tutu.

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Valentine’s weekend I was supposed to be in Washington DC and Baltimore with my family, but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and I wasn’t able to make it out there. It was very disappointing. More details about that soon.

Let’s Take it Way, Way Back

Going through my drafts, I came across this post, about my trip to NYC… last April. Lest all the formatting and uploading go to waste, here, nearly a year later and with another trip to the city in between, are the details.

This was my first New York City trip as an adult. I’ve been numerous times, but all when I was younger. I’m actually pretty ashamed to admit my last trip was the summer before my junior year… of high school!

So, this was way overdue. As someone who enjoys time exploring on my own, I didn’t mind having Thursday and Friday to my self while everyone was working.

I spent time in places I’d never been before:

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Washington Square Park

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Rolf’s german restaurant, which is supposed to be amazing at Christmas

Tried some delicious new food:

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‘Smac. I’d be 200 lbs if I lived in the East Village near this place

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Unfortunately walked right by Magnolia, but really enjoyed Crumbs

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Brunching is big everywhere, but the group I was with took it to the extreme. Appetizers, coffees, mimosas, main dishes and dessert. I seriously don’t know how people afford this every weekend.

Experienced NYC day drinking… with a view of the Brooklyn bridge:

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Which led to me taking pictures like this:

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And, at a biergarten on Sunday before heading home, witnessed a real fire break out:

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What’s not to love about this amazing city?

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Palm Springs

The day after Thanksgiving I flew to L.A. to meet up with Megan and enjoy a little bit of sun in Palm Springs. Neither of us had been there before and were very excited to check it out. We had beautiful weather, low 80’s all three days, and mostly spent time relaxing by the pool and exploring the food scene.

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View from our room at the Saguaro

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I was very impressed with the Saguaro and would definitely stay there again

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We were in the orange and lime green room, and I was surprised to see my bikini matched the bathroom door

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Ready for night number one on the town, where we tried champagne from a can

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Fun day in the sun

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Pretty colors that can’t even be ruined by a recycling bin

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Night two, aka the night I learned how awkward sitting pics can be

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Crazy, impromptu night out back in Downtown LA. We stayed out karaoke-ing until 2am. It was awesome.

Texas Ranching

Over Labor Day weekend (yes, about 5 months ago) I took a trip to Dallas with a few friends. We spent the majority of the time out on a ranch, which was perfect for my mood that weekend.

There ended up being 13 of us hanging out at the ranch, and it was a non-stop weekend of fishing, ATVing, shooting, monster trucking, drinking games and watching college football. Aka it was a perfect escape from the grind and drama that has been occupying my Denver life, particularly at work.

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Looking back at the pics has me hoping we’ll make another trip down there soon, it was such a great time. And yes, that last picture is me shooting an AK 47. Highly recommend.

The Games

The main reason we decided to take our New York trip when we did was that my cousin’s basketball team had non-conference games scheduled upstate, which seemed like a really cool coincidence. It probably won’t happen again, so I knew that my mom and I needed to take advantage of the opportunity. They won both games, against Binghamton and Cornell, which means they’re 2-0 when I’m in attendance. Hope they will win their game when I visit Baltimore next month and I can officially call myself a good luck charm.

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We didn’t get to explore the Binghamton campus very much, but it looks like its a pretty sizeable school. We had a great dinner in a cool area by the river at the Lost Dog Café. It was great how many family members and friends made the trek from all around New York to come to the games as well.

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Ithaca was freezing and dreary when we were there. It’s a bit of a trek to get to because it isn’t near any of the main highways that run through the area.  When we first arrived we had a great lunch at a place downtown but I can’t remember the name.

Empire State: The Catskills

For the second part of our New York visit, my mom and I spent 4 days in the Catskills region, where her hometown is located. We have many family and friends still in the area, so there were lots of people to see, and I always love hearing stories about her childhood and seeing where they took place.

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View from our family friends’ home, where we stayed.

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Visiting the site of my grandpa’s house, my mother’s childhood home, which was destroyed in a flood in 2007

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Downtown Roscoe, where my cousins and I spent hours riding our bikes and golf cart

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Spent some time at the lake house and Clear Lake, a staple in all of my Roscoe summer trips

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Saw some of the local landmarks on our long drives around the area

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As long as I’ve been going to visit Roscoe, the town has been in a pretty constant state after experiencing it’s bust in the middle of the 20th century. While there are many business that have been around for years, there are two spaces where restaurants go in and out, and a few vacant storefronts downtown. Of course, the recession hit this small town even harder than most places, so I was happy to see that two new business have cropped up, Roscoe Beer Co. and Prohibition Distillery.

It’s always great to go back to a place where you have really fond memories and hope to spend more time in the future. I still need to share details from the games, but I figured this part of the trip deserved it’s own post.

Empire State: The City

To begin our weeklong trip to New York, we spent a few days in Manhattan. After arriving on the red eye, we were checking into our hotel by 7:30. We refueled with some caffeine at the intense Times Square Starbuck’s and then set off for a walk through the park and a morning at the Met.

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The first night we went to dinner at PJ Clarke’s, a Manhattan institution where my grandparents befriended the owners years ago. My mom took this awkward solo pic of me, and on the way back to a bar by the hotel for a drink, I caught the prettiest view of the Chrysler Building.

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On our second day, we went for a nice, long walk around Central Park, attended the 12pm Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then spent the afternoon in Saks before a quick run to Zara. I had a lot of luck in Saks, including a beautiful dress I couldn’t say no to, despite not having an occasion that warrants it. Oh well.

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That night we went for drinks and oysters at the W in Times Square, saw Jersey Boys (amazing!) and had a late dinner at the Algonquin, where I have fond memories of going with my grandfather. It was just as old New York as I remember.

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On our final morning, we took a walk to the Hudson, packed up and waited for our awesome family friend to come pick us up and take us up to the Catskills. Think we over packed??

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