Travel Edition: The Colorado Rockies

The summer after my freshman year in college my family took a road trip to the Colorado Rockies in early May. We drove 35 hours from Maryland to Denver, CO with a few stops along the way.

Road Trip!

We stopped off in Columbus, OH. We stayed for a few days to tour the zoo. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by the zoo (although it is famous) but the people were great. I like Ohioans for their friendly but not overly friendly attitudes. It’s the good part of the midwest.

After Ohio we made our way to St. Louis, MO. We have family that lives in the area and we were lucky enoughCousins_fun to visit them for a few days before going on to Colorado. My dad’s family took us all over the city before we headed to another part of MO to stay with my dad’s brother and see his grandkids. Aren’t family reunions nice? Sometimes? Well, they are for us! We enjoy getting together and talking about old memories while making new ones. Both sets of my grandparents are dead so any memories our parents have of them the kids cling to. It’s nice to know where your roots are.

From Missouri we headed across the great state of Kansas. Tumble_weedsSeriously, this state is rather dull. 15 hours across the place and I saw nothing but prairie. Beautiful honestly, but I couldn’t do the drive again. We saw old sod houses in the middle of nowhere, tumbleweeds blowing across the highway, prairie grass on fire, and two tornados. Ok, we didn’t see the tornados per se, but we had to outrun them twice knowing they were close by. We saw a bunch of storm chasers heading towards them though, which was neat. It was hot out there and the climate was perfect for tornados!

Driving_in_the_snowOnce we got into Colorado the weather changed. It went from 84 degrees to 25 degrees! It started to snow! When we got to our hotel in Denver I jumped out of the car in flip flops. People stared at me  until I changed into my warm Ugg boots.

The next day we went up in the mountains. What a drive. I’ve never done anything like it. I thought the mountains in New York state were big but compared to the Rockies they’re little hills! We climbed rocks and took photos. We saw wildlife in their habitat munching on the thawing ground. We couldn’t hike too far for the simple reason that most of the trails were under 9 feet of snow!

We found a little town called Estes Park towards the base of the mountain. It was so quaint and just a lovely place to be during the day! So many pretty antique shops and interior decorating stores! Lots of adorable clothing stores as well as many yummy places to eat. There was also a small river that ran behind all the shops and we got coffee and cocoa from the local Starbucks to drink while taking a break from the day.

On the drive back home we stopped one last time to see our family before heading back. It was one of those vacations where absolutely nothing was expected but that’s what made it exciting. Memories are what life is made of.

Enjoy the photos!

~Liz

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Weddings, Engagements, and Kids… Oh My!

The time has come in most of our young lives where seeing people get engaged and going to their weddingsPlanning_a_wedding isn’t just a nice celebration, its starting to become a norm. This ‘special time’ in our lives revolves not so much around the events themselves but more so around the pressure and internal sighs of seeing a new engagement or wedding and God forbid I say ‘baby’ announcement. For the people who are starting out on this new adventure in life this really is a special time for them and we send our congratulations. No really we do (or at least I do). To the rest of us, we’re having our own special time in this crazy new chapter of life.

Lord help any of us who have been dating someone for over a year because inevitably someone will ask when we’ll get engaged or if he or she is the ‘one’. Believe it or not, it usually takes longer than a year before we can be sure. So relax, just chill like we do.

I can’t get on Facebook or Instagram without a new engagement The_great_gatsbyannouncement or bridal portrait on my newsfeed. By all means friends, I’m glad your lives are happy and you have something to celebrate! However, the rest of us who aren’t quite there yet feel a little, how do I put it, bewildered? It was only a few years ago that we either started college or graduated college and now our beloved friends, roommates, and old pals are growing up so to speak. We’re left wondering where the time went and what the heck has gotten into these people? Just a few years ago we were talking about how we wanted to be young forever and live our 20s like it was an on-going party. Way to jump ship guys.

Nights out on the town with our group of friends are starting to dwindle in numbers between the frequency of nights and the amount of friends. Sooner or later these events will ultimately be replaced by dinner with the in-laws and date night with fiance/spouse. Both can be enjoyable events but sometimes there’s nothing like hanging out with your buddies.

Suddenly our friends are moving out of their coveted lofts/apartments and are thrilled with their new 3 bedroom house in suburbia. The two-door sporty cars they used to drive have been traded in for a four-door something. Our mail boxes are flooded with save-the-dates, we’re expecting announcements, and wedding invites that just don’t seem to stop coming. I literally have a fund set up for these sorts of announcements because its only appropriate to at least send a card.

Laying_by_the_poolThis special time in our lives has become a contemplative period where we just sit and wonder what’s going on and when will everything go back to normal? I’m slowly figuring out that it never will go back to ‘normal.’ Our youthful existence is slowly fading and we, or some of us, are becoming adults. This transition time is difficult and truthfully I don’t know how I’ll handle it. But for now I’m going to sit back in my lawn chair by the pool, sip my pina colada, and flip through Vogue. Why? Because today I still can!

P.S. I’m not jealous, bitter, or hater of love. I’m only a little lost and confused.

~Liz

 

10 Things I learned in College

Hint: Academics didn’t make this list. 

 

1. You’re on your own

Regent_University
My university’s campus

No one will be holding your hand through this experience. Get used to it. Your advisors are not there to register you for classes or create your life plan. They are there to advise you on what you should do. You have to decide what you will do. 

2. All nighters are stupid

All nighters seem to be a staple in college. On Facebook people are all like “Yeah, pulled an all nighter and drank so much Red Bull!” This is bad for you. Don’t do it. I admit to doing it on several occasions (particularly around mid terms and finals weeks). Unless you’re doing it with friends to keep you awake and totally wired (in this case you probably aren’t getting anything done anyway), then you will end up writing something completely incoherent. I distinctly remember writing a paper that had a paragraph of nonsense that I was thinking about and didn’t realize I was actually writing it down. I was that tired! 

3. Money doesn’t grow on trees

No, Seriously. It doesn’t. Learn how to budget the little money you have so you aren’t running to mom and dad for a loan. I wish I had been smart enough to figure this out. 

Bonus tip: If you think you can afford something expensive, then you probably can’t! 

4. Get a schedule

I cannot tell you how important it is to have some sort of a daily schedule for yourself. It really helps to know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it at least during the day. I preferred to keep my days really busy (i.e. homework, exercise, classes) so that my nights and weekends were mine to enjoy. 

5. Work out

Just do it. Besides the freshmen 15 you have the chances of gaining you will be building up stress. Exercise of some sort helps with this. My sophomore year I went to a YMCA across the street from my campus and I would run or lift weights. My stress levels were a lot lower than the year before. I also succeeded in losing some of the 15 pounds I gained the year before. 

6. Be involved

College is a hub of activities, clubs, and committees. Get yourself involved in one of them. Its a great way to be connected to your school and also find people that have the same interests as you. Plus, when you’re looking for summer internships (see next point) you will have something to put on your resume that says you are involved and dedicated. 

7. Intern, intern, intern!

Supreme_Court
Semester in DC (in line for tickets at Supreme Court, we pulled an all nighter)

Internships are a God send. Sometimes. As long as they are paid (all of mine have been) and offer you substantive work to do then you have hit the jackpot. Don’t be afraid to branch out and go to knew places. You really don’t need to be at home with your high school buddies every summer. Just go and make something of yourself to improve your chances of being hired after college. 

8. Read the textbook

I hate reading (thanks to college) but there are definitely times when I wished I had read the textbook. Particularly in my freshman year when I was fulfilling my general education requirements. I found that the best time for me to read was when I had gotten in my pjs for the night with a cup of hot cocoa or tea and just read. Not only did this slowly chip away at all the reading I had to do, it also helped me go to sleep a lot quicker because the material was so boring (bet you didn’t see that coming). 

9. Build your professional wardrobe

After you graduate the world you will be entering is full of suits and pencil skirts. Prepare early. If you see something work appropriate on sale, buy it and save it for your not so far off future. If you do those internships I recommended, then you will be needing these a lot sooner! 

10. Make memories

Don’t live your life in your dorm room. Get out, make friends, take pictures, and savor every last minute of this awesome time in your life. The college years (for most people) really are the best time in their life. It goes by so quickly. I know, everyone says that about something. But its so true. Have fun and live it up!

What were the 10 most important things you learned in college or even high school? Comment below!

-Liz