Big News!

Well, I haven’t posted anything at all in our year of living in Florida. But we have big news! We are moving back to Denver!! Our house was listed on Wednesday and got several offers and are now under contract! God’s … Continue reading

Backyard Overhaul REVEAL!

Last post, you saw a sneak peek of our newly finished backyard. This post, you can see it fully! I am gonna keep the words to a minimum and let the pictures do the talking. So get scrolling to see the official reveal!

First, some before pics. One from the real estate listing when we bought it, and this crazy winter photo I found on my computer the other day 🙂

beforepics

And now the afters!

sectional view

strawberries and sofa

garden bed and path

full deck view

cats and plants

candle holder and chaisr

night shotWe’ve been getting A LOT of use out of this space already! I can’t wait to continue using it all summer and watching my garden grow. My favorite way to enjoy it? Laying in the hammock of course! My handy hubby made sure to rig up a way to hang it for me 🙂 Now I can recreate one of my favorite parts of our Mexico vacation right in our backyard!

hammockAnd for good measure, a side-by-side before and after pic!

BeforeandafterThis project was a lot of hard work and consumed our lives for about a month and a half, but it was SO worth it! I’ll be doing some DIY posts on the paver patio, raised garden bed, and the deck soon, as well as info on the shed and furnishings, so stay tuned!

Anyone else doing big or small outdoor projects? Tis the season!

Family Time in the Backyard

This weekend my family came to visit! It was such a blast to show them our city and newly finished backyard. And by newly, I mean we finished it the night before they came 🙂 I will have more detailed how-to posts soon, but for now enjoy these sneak peek photos of my family enjoying the space and allowing me to practice using my camera on them!

DSC_0143

DSC_0147

DSC_0150

DSC_0151We also tried to squeeze in a little park time before the rain (and some more camera practice!)

DSC_0157

DSC_0156

DSC_0178

DSC_0180We spent the day Saturday hiking Cheeseman Canyon which is one of my favorite hikes, as you can see here and here. If you’re looking for a beautiful and non-strenuous hike fairly close to Denver (about 1.5 hours drive) I definitely recommend this one!

cheeseman canyon collageWhat did everyone else do on the 3-day weekend? Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all of the service men & women!

I Got a New Camera!

You may have noticed in my last post that some of the pictures were a lot better than they have been! (Or maybe you didn’t 😉 ) But I got my DSLR finally! It’s a Nikon D3200 and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with it and learning how to shoot manually (with some major help from miss Jamie!).

But in my world, you can’t have a fun camera without fun accessories! Here’s a round up of some things I’m eyeing or have already bought!

camera accessories

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Spring Planting for a Cause – Blossom Care Network

Although we had snow here in Denver on Mother’s Day, for the most part spring is here! It’s time to start thinking about what to plant in the garden. I’m a novice gardener myself, and bulbs are a great low-maintenance way to go when adding some life to your yard!

blossom care network

I recently discovered a great organization through our church called Blossom Care Network. This organization is based in Denver and takes in children rescued from sex-trafficking in Colorado. These children are placed into the foster care of people specially-trained by this organization to help these children heal from their traumatic experiences. Also, they continue to care for the children into their adult years and do not abandon them when they turn 18.

One way to support this organization is to buy bulbs through them and a portion of the proceeds directly benefits them. I got some for Mother’s Day gifts and some for myself and wanted to spread the word! They arrived quickly and I can’t wait to plant them!

Click here to get your summer blooming bulbs, on sale until June 1! Bring some beauty to your yard or pot while benefiting a great cause!

An Excellent Excursion in Playa del Carmen

I’m back today with one more Mexico recap and recommendation! I mentioned in this post that we did an excursion on our recent trip to Mexico. Although often these tour-guided trips can be pricey, I thought this one was worth it! The one we did was with Mayaland tours and was called Tulum & Tankah. We were able to book it right at our hotel which was very convenient. One great thing about this company was that the size of our tour group was relatively small. We only had about 5 couples in our group, which made the experience feel less touristy. The other I loved about this particular excursion was how it combined elements of history with adventure. DSC03631 I’ve been to Playa del Carmen a handful of times in my life, but I had never been to any of the Mayan ruins. We were excited (well okay, I was more excited about this part than Calder) to be able to visit some ruins at Tulum! These ruins aren’t the biggest structures in the area, but they sit right on the coast and once acted as a popular port city. The site was beautiful! I love seeing ruins and imagining what life was like when they were fully functioning buildings. DSC03633 DSC03638 DSC03643After spending some time exploring and checking out the “secluded” beach (not so secluded if you count the droves of tourists!) we were back in the van heading to the eco-adventure village called Tankah. This village is inhabited by Mayan descendants still trying to keep some of their culture alive. On site, they had several cenotes that we swam in and zip-lined over. photo 4_2_2_2_2_2 DSC03646After an authentic Mayan lunch, we got to go off-roading in some Jeep wranglers. The boys took turns driving the car and the off-road trail was actually a lot more exciting than we were expecting! Calder loved it so much, when we got home he traded in his truck for one. (Not kidding, we had one within a week hahaha! My husband can be quite impulsive 😉 ) photo 2_2_2_2If you’re planning a trip to the Yucatan and are wanting to do a guided excursion, I definitely recommend this one. The variety of activities will ensure you don’t get bored and the small size of the group will also enhance your experience. Happy planning!

My Favorite Day in Mexico

Happy Cinco de Mayo weekend! I thought I’d keep with the theme and share a little about our Mexico trip.

About two months ago, we went to Mexico on vacation. It was so much fun to escape winter and relax with some good friends of ours. We stayed at an all-inclusive, which really adds to the carefree feeling of a vacation. But my favorite thing we did was off resort grounds: rent scooters and snorkel gear and ride around Cozumel.

scooter post4

I HIGHLY recommend you do this if you go to the Playa Del Carmen/Cozumel area. After walking to the pier from our resort on the Playa Del Carmen side, we went to purchase tickets for the ferry (about $15 per person each way). We passed a woman who started asking us what our plans were on the island and we told her we wanted to rent scooters and snorkel.

scooter post1

Of course, she was a sales lady trying to sell us scooter rental, but she actually was telling the truth when she said it was less expensive to rent them on the Playa side because on Cozumel they mark them up for cruises. We were able to buy a voucher from her for only $25 per scooter for the whole day! We just took the voucher to her company’s office on the Cozumel side and noticed that we saved about $10 on the scooter rental. It always feels good to realize you weren’t scammed!

scooter post2The scooters had baskets on the back that held our snorkel gear. I loved how we had the freedom to just ride wherever we wanted. At the south tip of the island there is an area called the virgin beaches. I think it’s called this because there are no resorts or any development on the beaches. They have some rocky areas and the water is kind of rough, but it had such an untouched natural beauty. We were basically the only people on the beach and it was cool to feel like we had it all to ourselves.

scooter post 3It’s hard to beat the smell of the sea air and the feeling of the sun’s warmth soaking into your skin. The road ran right next to the shore for most of the time and the views were unending. Since we also got snorkel gear, we took advantage of being able to stop whenever we wanted to check out some of the snorkeling. Calder and our friends found some really awesome sea creatures! I’m not very good at snorkeling without a life vest, so after a little stint I just sunbathed on the beach. No complaints on that! I could have ridden around for much longer, but we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

scooter post

While we did several fun things on this trip (look for another post on the excursion we did soon), this was definitely my favorite and the best bang for your buck! If you’re heading south anytime soon, don’t skip out on this! Has anyone else rented scooters on vacation? I think Calder and I will seek this out on all our future trips as well!

 

 

Another HBC Design Project

Last week I was in a suburb of Washington D.C. helping with another install. I posted about our last install here. You can see that this one is a totally different style. It’s more industrial and I love it! Great job to the designer at my firm that designed this one 🙂 Actually, she was the one who designed the other project as well. Shows how diverse she can be!

Here are some photos of the site. It was still a construction zone, so it’s not perfectly clean or 100% finished, but I still thought I’d share! These photos are all from my iphone, so they aren’t the best quality either.

photo 3-3

photo 3

photo 4

photo 1-1

photo 5-2

photo 2-1

Also, this time I was able to make a very quick pit stop at the National Mall before I flew out. I didn’t even know I would be able to see The White House from there, but I noticed some people taking pictures and there it was! The Washington Monument was covered in scaffolding because they are repairing some earthquake damage that happened a couple of years ago.

photo 3-2 photo 3-1 photo 5-1 photo 2

DC is such a beautiful city with the river and all the history and monuments as well as Georgetown university right there. Hopefully someday Calder and I can go and explore it a little further 🙂

June Hikes

For some reason, this summer I am extra worried about it going by too fast and before I know it, it’s over and it’s back to sweaters and boots. That is the LAST thing I want to think about right now. So we are trying to get out and enjoy the weather and especially the hiking as much as possible.

Earlier this month we went to a newly opened state park. There is a waterfall hike but we didn’t have time to do the whole thing this time. We did find an elk shed that Calder was pretty excited about!

DSC03529

DSC03528

DSC03530

DSC03533

DSC03532

DSC03531Since we were in a state park we couldn’t keep it, much to the hubby’s dismay.

Another weekend this month we hiked with our good friends in Rocky Mountain National Park and actually did make it to a waterfall (two, in fact!). We saw tons of wildlife including 5 moose (!) and a newborn elk that looked like Bambi and sounded like a kitten. Seriously the cutest thing ever.

photo-3

photo-5

photo-6

photo-10

IMG_4886

IMG_6547

IMG_1540

the first waterfall-Alberta Falls (and my first real waterfall to see in person!)

IMG_0069

IMG_7097

Towards the end we were trekking through quite a bit of snow!

photo-1

There’s the other waterfall in the distance!

IMG_3988

Getting closer…you can see better how much snow there was!

photo-9Made it! Still tons of snow covering it up, but still really cool.

IMG_3423

Calder, not surprisingly, decided to sled down part of the way on his pack. 🙂 After we got down we saw this big herd of all bull elks. Calder was like a kid in a candy store!

photo-8

photo-7I didn’t get any pictures of the moose or baby elk since my phone died and I didn’t have my regular camera 😦

Last but not least we did the incline, which is sort of like a rite of passage for Colorado residents I hear. Here is a picture of it so you can get an idea of the craziness.

the_incline

Incline 1And here are some terrible quality screen shots of us from the #instavideo calder made:

IMG_4900

IMG_9093

Most intense hour and eight minutes of my life. But so glad we made it to the top! Note to self: next time bring way more water. Note to Calder: next time don’t start sprinting up the first 50 feet. 😉

Anyone else having fun summer adventures?