colorado springs anniversary trip

Over Memorial Day weekend we celebrated six years of marriage, and thanks to the long weekend, we chose to head a few hours South to finally check out Colorado Springs as a way to celebrate. It ended up being the perfect weekend getaway. We quickly realized that this city has so much more to offer than a weekend’s worth of activities, so we plan to return to check out the things we weren’t able to this go around. Here’s a breakdown of what we did do during our time there.

Where We Stayed

Adam found the most perfect Airbnb for the weekend at a fairly reasonable price. The location was perfect – a cozy, quiet neighborhood, but still only a few minutes away from the downtown area. Pretty much all the activities we did were within a 15 minute drive of where we stayed. Plus you could see Pikes Peak from sitting on the couch, so that’s a total win in my book. The house itself was the perfect size for just the two of us, and they were very accommodating for us bringing our two pups as well. The decor was minimal and fresh and made me feel so cozy and relaxed while there. I just loved it, and if we have the chance, I would definitely stay there again on our return trip.

Where We Ate

Bingo Burger – Our first stop after getting into town was this fun little burger joint with locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients. I tried the Shooks Run, and while the burger was good, the bleu cheese seemed to overpower it a bit more than I would have liked. Their chipotle ranch dipping sauce with their fries was tasty though.

Denver Biscuit Co. – We had been to the Denver location of this a couple years ago and enjoyed it, so when we found out there was a location in the Springs we wanted to give it another try. I got their Biscuits and Gravy and Adam got The Franklin and we were both very satisfied. Our waiter also convinced us to snag one of their highly sought after Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, and they are not kidding when they say giant. We had just a few bites before taking it to go and having it for breakfast another day, but it was scrumptious.

Dos Santos – When snagging breakfast at Denver Biscuit Co., we really liked the vibe of the collection of other restaurants that shared the same corner, so we made it a point to come back. One of those stops was Dos Santos (also recommended by our Airbnb hosts – actually pretty much all of the local places we ate were). They seem to pride themselves in their drinks as well as (surprisingly) their brunch, but we went for an afternoon pick me up after a hike, so I went with two street tacos – the Arrachera and the Porky Lechon – and they both hit the spot.

Frozen Gold – After Dos Santos we went next door for some ice cream. Frozen Gold serves unique soft serve creations that had me take about five solid minutes to decide which one I wanted. There were some that had cereal toppings, goldfish crackers, and one with Kool-aid candied popcorn (?!). I ended up going with the Samoa Samoa, and for a vegan option, it was still extremely delicious. Adam went with their Peanut Butter Puffy. Honestly, it looks like we couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the options…except for maybe the one with the goldfish. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here when we visit again.

The Exchange – We went for a casual, light lunch at this local coffee shop and bar, and enjoyed our time there on the patio. Their caprese panini was on point, and we both enjoyed their smoothies as well. We didn’t try their coffee but they locally roast their fair trade and organic coffee.

The Melting Pot – this wasn’t a local try, but we saw it one day when we were downtown and decided to make it our official anniversary dinner destination since we had never been before. We tried their classic four course experience. While the experience was cool, I wasn’t overly impressed with the taste of the food, especially for the price we paid. I can’t complain about the chocolate fondue though, and their Yin Yang Martini was pretty tasty too.

What We Did

Seven Falls – This was one of the top things I saw recommended to do in the area so we were sure to cross it off our list. When we first arrived, they directed us to a parking area that was a bit out of the way to drive to, and then we had to take a (free) shuttle back, but I also read that you could park at the Broadmoor and also take a shuttle – we just didn’t realize that the two parking spots would be different. It created about a 30 minute delay for us, but in the end, our timing was still perfect. We probably officially arrived at around 9:30-10ish, and it wasn’t super busy yet. In fact it felt super casual and calm, which allowed a better experience taking in all the amazing views as we walked in through the canyon up to where the falls were. Once we arrived at the base we took on the 224 step staircase to climb up alongside the falls. After we reached the top we continued hiking to Inspiration Point, which overlooked the city of Colorado Springs, as well as some amazing mountain views. The trails were still fairly quiet, so we also did the other hike to Moonlight Falls. The weather was perfect and the hikes weren’t too strenuous. By the time we made our way back to the falls it was around noon and the crowds were definitely picking up. We climbed another set of stairs to get to the Eagle’s Nest for one final great view of the falls, and then we made our way out. I definitely would recommend going, and I would suggest going a little earlier so you can beat the crowds. There was a fee to enter, but they did offer a military discount.

Garden of the Gods – One of the other most highly recommended places to visit in the area was Garden of the Gods. We were given the advice by some trail-goers the day before to go early and beat the crowds and get good parking, especially since it was Memorial Day weekend, so we got there around 6:15am to do so. It was awesome to watch the sunrise over these incredible rock formations and get to explore the walking paths without too many people around. We weaved in and out around the paths to cover most of the grounds, but we didn’t venture off onto any of the hiking trails. Perhaps when we come back that would be something we would do, because I imagine that some of the views would be spectacular between the rock formations and the Rocky Mountain range all within the landscape. This is a free park and definite must see.

Drove Through Manitou Springs – After our time at Garden of the Gods we strolled our way over to Manitou Springs and drove through this quaint little touristy town. I was hoping to take on the infamous Manitou Incline but we chose to save that for our return trip when we get a little more hiking and stair climbing under our belts this summer. We saw it from a distance and I will say it looked even more intense in person that in does in pictures. We didn’t stay in Manitou long due to opting for a nap after our early morning, but I know there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants in the area that could be worth checking out.

REI & Boone’s Birthday Celebration – These are definitely not local things to do, but we had some gift cards to REI, and we knew it was their big Memorial Day sale, so we chose to spend the evening having a little shopping spree. That night we also celebrated our Boone boy’s 5th birthday and followed our tradition of taking the pups to Petco for him to pick out a few new toys and getting special treats.

21 Keys Escape Rooms – It’s truly not a Pruim vacation without an escape room. We took on 21 Key’s “Jester’s New Playmate” room, and had a successful escape in the end. Now I won’t go too nerdy on you all and give my in depth debrief of thoughts on the room, but from our experience, I would give this room a 3 out of 5 stars. There were definitely some challenging puzzles that stumped us, but some of them seemed due to a poor connection of clues in the room. A challenging room is one thing, but it needs to make sense as well. Thankfully they offered an unlimited amount of hints so we used some to still be able to progress through the room and enjoy our time. The decor and set up itself felt a bit sub par too. The staff was nice though, and they had plenty of other rooms to try that could be better.

Apart from all of that, we enjoyed lounging around our Airbnb and taking the dogs for walks around the neighborhood. Like I said, there is so much more to do in the Pikes Peak region, so we definitely plan to come back to check out some more. On my list is the Manitou Incline, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. I’ve also heard amazing things about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. And while getting to the top of Pikes Peak would be a dream, driving to the top didn’t seem as desirable for the cost, and we are no where near ready to hike a 14er (although it has become one of my life goals), so we’ll see if we ever get any closer in the future.

If you are considering or planning a trip to Colorado Springs, this website was a great guide, offering an in depth look at all the different attractions of the area.


As a whole, our weekend was a perfect mixture of relaxation and adventure – just the way I like it. And it was a beautiful location to celebrate our anniversary. I may or may not have asked Adam if we could move there at least 20 times throughout the weekend. Maybe one day the Air Force stars will align…

I hope you enjoyed this little travel recap. If you’ve been to Colorado Springs, let me know what your favorite things to do or places to eat are! And if you’ve never been, which activity seems most up your alley? Let me know in the comments.

the little things // vol. 2

Today I’m sharing with you another installment of The Little Things. These are some recent simple things that have been impacting my day-to-day life in bigger ways. Hopefully you might enjoy one, or all, of them too.

Kristen Ess Dry Shampoo
This is without a doubt my favorite dry shampoo of all time. Most of the dry shampoos I’ve tried leave my hair feeling gritty or stiff, which has been ok for days where I could use some texture or volume in my fine hair, but my hopeful purpose of using dry shampoo is so my hair can look and feel clean without having to actually wash it. And guys, this dry shampoo does the trick. When I use this, my hair actually looks AND feels fresh and clean. It makes day two hair a lot more manageable for me (unless I workout, I usually wash my hair every other day). I will confess that it is a little more pricey in comparison to some of the other dry shampoos I’ve used, and I seem to go through it fairly quickly, but I’ve grown to accept that the end result is 100% worth it. Plus it gives me an extra reason to swing by Target (as if I need an excuse to go there…)

Inkjoy Gel Pens
I’ll admit, I’m kind of a pen snob, especially with the pens I use on a consistent basis. To me, a good pen is one that comes out clean and smooth, without too much pressure, and doesn’t skip out on me in the middle of a sentence. I was recently turned onto Papermate’s Inkjoy Gel Pens and it’s been a heartfelt affair ever since. They come out with a clean, not-too-thin, but not-too-thick finish (I guess you could call it my Goldilocks pen), almost looking like a fine tip Sharpie…but better. I personally love that the ink is smooth and I don’t have to put too much pressure on the pen for it write nicely (I have a tendency to hold a death grip on my pens, so my hand has thanked me). And even though they’re gel, they don’t bleed through and they dry pretty quickly. I only have the occasional smear if I’m writing a little extra fiercely. If this is your kind of feel for a pen, I’d suggest checking these out.

Bombas No Show Socks
It’s taken me nearly 28 years to realize that a good pair of socks can make the world of a difference in your footwear. And boy have I find some good socks. I had seen Bombas around for awhile, but was always hesitant with the price tag – I mean they’re socks. But as I’ve learned the value of investing in quality over quantity when it comes to my wardrobe, I’ve found myself freed up to invest in quality essentials as well. For Christmas I received two pairs of Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks and since then I’ve gone on to purchase numerous more, this time in the lightweight version. I have quite a few pairs of shoes that are the in-between of flats and sneakers. For example, my Keds, Vans, and knock-off Sperrys all require socks, but ankle socks still peek out, and all of the no-show socks I’ve used have been too low cut, are poor quality, and require constant adjustment. But struggle no more – these socks are the perfect cut where they feel like a real sock, but they remain hidden when worn with lower cut shoes. And the best part? They ACTUALLY stay put. Most no show socks I’ve used claim that they will, but these are the first that have actually delivered. They have made wearing the shoes I mentioned that much more enjoyable because they’re so much more comfortable and I don’t have to think about them (simplicity WIN). Plus, they help keep my feet a little warmer even when my ankles are exposed. If you’ve seen ads for Bombas or have been debating giving them a try, I’m here to tell you they are worth it, and you can use THIS link to get 25% off your first order.

The Milk and Honey Podcast
I was recently turned onto this podcast and after starting out at episode one, (which is what I usually do with a new-to-me podcast), I was pretty hooked. Lindsey and Amaris share very openly, intentionally, and vulnerably about the wisdom they have gained from their life experiences, and they aren’t afraid to confront topics that might be more uncomfortable to discuss. I love that they seek truth in God’s wise counsel on all the topics they discuss and they do a really great job at encouraging their listeners to actively choose to honor God in all areas of their lives. So far I’ve really enjoyed Episode 4: Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Gospel; Episode 1: More than Our Mess; and Episode 10: Sex Intimacy. I love hitting play on an episode when I’m on a long drive, making dinner, or folding laundry. It truly feels like getting to listen in on a casual chat with some girlfriends.

Writing Things Down
In an attempt to combat some of the frazzled feelings I’ve had about life the first few months of this year, I’ve been making a more intentional try at writing things down when I think of them to: 1) get them out on paper and out of my head for mental clarity, and 2) so I actually remember to follow through on them. When I leave the thoughts floating in my head I seem to get more overwhelmed as I consider ALL the things I need or want to do. But by writing those things down, I have been able to release the thoughts and then come back to them when I can follow through in a more timely manner. I’ve been actively doing this more frequently for about a month now and I can say it has truly made a difference. I’ve forgotten far less stuff; I’ve accomplished more; and my mental state has felt a little less overwhelmed. I use my bullet journal and have a monthly “dump” page where I basically just list off to-dos, ideas, or random thoughts I want to remember when they come to mind, and add to it throughout the month. It’s actually where I made note of a few of the things on this list to share with you all. If you find yourself struggling to remember all that you want to do, or if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the flowing thoughts in your head, I’d suggest giving this practice a try and seeing if it helps.


That’s it for today – five little things that have been making a big impact on my life lately. I hope that even just one of these things sparks your interest, because they sure have benefitted me. If you give any of these things a try (or if you already use any of these products/resources) let me know in the comments below with what you think!

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit or benefit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Bombas in which case you can get 25% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.

the little things // vol. 1

Hi friends! And happy March! Spring is ever upon us, and while where we live spring still means snow and cold, the sun is staying out longer, and slowly but surely warmer temps are sneaking their way into the weekly forecasts. So that gives me hope.

Today I wanted to share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways in the last month. Because truly it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. So I plan to make this a regular happening here to share these little things with you in case they might impact your life as well. I have gotten some of my favorite recommendations for products, books, podcasts, or life tips from posts like this on other blogs, so I wanted to pass that along and share some things I’m loving with you all. So here are my top five little things from the last month:

1. Humidifier

The combination of cold winter air and living at a higher elevation makes for a lot of dryness this time of year. When the weather started turning cold in the fall, I was determined to avoid another season of losing sleep due to dry mouth or bloody noses, so I purchased a humidifier to help ease those symptoms. I ordered this little cutie off Amazon, and it has been on every night in our room since. For being so small, it has definitely made a big difference in my ability to breathe while I sleep.

2. Reading People

I bought this book last January, but it wasn’t until this month that I finally picked it up, and I was not able to put it down. With the Enneagram craze still seeming to be going strong, and my own desire to understand myself better, this book has helped me take my self-exploration a little further by offering a great overview of numerous types of personality profiles. The book emphasizes the value and power behind better knowing ourselves, not just for own sake, but also for the benefit of our relationships and interactions with others. I just finished it this week and I definitely recommend it as a starting ground for familiarizing yourself with some different personality profiles, and therefore also familiarizing yourself better with, well, yourself.

3. Monthly Massages

In the past, I’ve usually saved massages for special occasions or as a “treat yo’self” kind of thing. But back in November, at the suggestion of my bosses, I started to make a consistent habit of getting a massage once a month. While it has been a financial investment, it has been so worth it for my own self care to use some of my fun money each month towards this. Not only does it feel great and relax me; it also helps relieve and prevent discomfort from knots in my back or muscle soreness. This month I’m especially grateful for this little thing because I went not once, but twice, due to a gnarly knot in my shoulder, and some super tight hip flexors. If you can swing it in your budget, I highly recommend a regular massage. I notice a big difference in my back now that I am going regularly (I seem to get less knots than I used to). It also helps to find a massage therapist you like and that communicates well with you about where you might want some relief.

4. Tula Skincare Products

I have heard good things about Tula from a few different sources for awhile now, so I have given some of their products a try over the last year and it has become my favorite skin care line I think I’ve ever tried. From the daily and consistent use of a few products, my face has felt and looked more hydrated and clean. The biggest note of difference for me has been the decrease of red spots I get around my upper cheeks that tend to get worse in cold weather. With Tula, my complexion seems to get more evened out and my skin truly feels more radiant. Currently I am using the Purifying Face Cleanser, PH Resurfacing Gel, and Hydrating Day & Night Cream. I’m also anxiously awaiting the restock of the Illuminating Serum because that definitely had a big impact on brightening up my skin.

If you’re interested in trying out Tula, you can click this link for access to my referral discount of 20% off your first order. I’d recommend their Discovery Kit as a try-out for some of their most popular products.

5. Taking the Pups to the Park

On the days that it hasn’t been too cold or windy, I’ve been trying to get Boone and Rizzo some extra exercise (because I usually totally slack at doing so). To mix it up from our typical walk around the neighborhood, I’ve been taking them over to the park near our house. Some days I’ve walked them on the path that goes all throughout town here, and other days I’ve taken them to a big open soccer field with their Chuck-It for some fetch (their fave). It’s given them exercise and it’s gotten me out into the fresh air. I usually put on a podcast and watch my dogs become overjoyed at the simplest of activities. I’m hoping to amp up this habit more as it continues to warm up.


And there you have it. Five simple things that add up to make a big impact on my day to day life. Be sure to check out any of these products, or give any of these habits a try. You never know what kind of impact they may have on you. And if you do, let me know!

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Tula in which case you can get 20% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.

worth the read // vol. 3

simple 026

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out already, in the latest post in the From Comparison to Contentment series I shared my own personal struggle with insecurity and spoke on how one of the most natural things for us to compare to others is our appearance. To tag along with that, I have a round up of other blog posts, articles, and movements that are speaking up about the same thing. Each & every one of these, I believe, is worth the read.

This series is one that hits all the points, but this post in particular struck my heart the most.

This movement is sweeping the world. It started a few months after I had already started my own “no make up month” and it directly fell in line with the heart of the matter.

Because skinny people have insecurities too.

“…my perception of personal beauty and worth is about who Jesus is. Because let’s face it, I will always find another woman with better hair, whiter teeth, and smoother skin than me. If I only measure my beauty by the person standing across from me, I will always lose. It’s only when I choose to believe the truth of the Gospel that I can let go of comparison and grasp the value that was bought for me by Jesus on the cross. I am loved and accepted and celebrated beyond my wildest imagination. I will always measure up. I will always be precious – to God the Father, through Christ.”

“There will always be someone more fit, more toned, more tan, or more athletic. There will always be someone cuter or prettier, and there will always be someone with a nicer house/more interesting life/better job. And even when we meet that next goal, lose those last five pounds, or climb one more rung of the ladder…there will always be a bigger house, five more pounds, or another rung. We are meant to be content and find joy, but we so quickly start looking for this in an endless chase after life goals that are impossible to conquer.”

This letter to a daughter says so much that relates to every woman too.

worth the read // vol. 2

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We’ve been getting snow on cold on snow on cold on snow these past weeks – yes, that much of it. Winter is nowhere near gone in North Dakota. Thankfully we have a vacation to Mexico coming up soon. This week has been slow & fast all at the same time. So to send you off into the weekend, here’s some of the more thought-provoking or quality finds I’ve come across on the internet the past two weeks:

Harry Potter fanatics, if you haven’t seen this yet, be prepared to experience ALL the feels.

Social media has taken over our lives, whether we like it or not.

An intriguing idea for expanding the reach of the church

All the single ladies, please let this truth soak into your whole being.

The Gospel & romance

More reasons to love the Blackhawks, & Jonathon Toews.

& I thought this song was my jam. But this guy took it to the next level.

Have a great weekend friends!

worth the read

?????????????????????????????????????

Since hopping onto the blog train this past year, and actually well before it, I’ve discovered the joy I find in reading blogs and connecting with the content that they share. There is so much that gets shared on the internet in this media age and I am thrilled to be able to focus more on the quality substance that gets shared rather than the not-so-valuable crap. Because of that, I want to be able to share with you all some of the thought-provoking and exciting stuff I come across on the internet. Because it’s the kind of stuff that I just can’t keep to myself.

An alternative approach to Valentine’s Day.

Some heartfelt thoughts on choosing contentment.

Time well spent.

I will NOT be going to see 50 Shades of Gray, and here’s just a few reasons why.

All the more reason to love the Marvel universe.

 

Have a great weekend friends!