"The greatest day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. The gift of life is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you get to determine the quality of it. Live the next five years on purpose. Now is the time. Imagine the possibilities. Go places, have adventures, make a real difference, do what you love. Follow your dreams, they know the way."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

my first 14er!!

You're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
so get on your way!

Last weekend, "my mountain" was Quandary Peak, a 14,265' mountain outside of Breckenridge. There are 54 "14er's" here in Colorado and I plan on doing as many as possible :-) Besides the actual hike and the lack of oxygen at 14,000 ft, having to wake up at 3:30am (you have to summit before noon so you don't get caught in a thunderstorm) was pretty rough. But the 360 degree view at the top was UNREAL. Can't wait for the next one!

the whole group at 14,265'!

me, Randon and Kim
we saw mountain goats!

Coloradans - if you have any suggestions for other easy/moderate 14ers, let me know!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The past seven months...

Sorry about the total blog neglect but I've been alive and well here in CO for the past seven months!

Quick review of the past few months:

I learned a new sport: skiing!! My friends Kim and Randon (among others) have been the most amazing personal ski instructors and I could not be more thankful for them. We had the opportunity to ski all over Colorado - Breckenridge, Vail, A-Basin, Keystone and Eldora. The season ended with a powder day at Vail - absolutely fantastic! Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding...I am officially hooked on winter sports :-)

skiing in champagne powder!
my CA --> CO loves
Spring and summer have brought a myriad of new adventures. I traveled quite a bit in May (East Coast and California) and ventured to Italy and Switzerland for work in June. Finally, July and August are Colorado months! This state has really allowed me to appreciate the beauty of seasonal change. Those mountains that I loved to ski in winter are now my summer playground. From camping at Wellington Lake with my cousins to hiking with friends in the Fraser Valley over the 4th of July (we hiked in snow due to the late seasons this year - quite the surprise!) to discovering one of Colorado's most picturesque hikes (Hanging Lake) to Rockies games galore to Wash Park BBQ's, the summer adventures have been non-stop and I'm loving every minute of it.
beautiful Hanging Lake

Lake Isabelle (snow on 4th of July??!)
Also, I'd like to say a quick thank you to all of our visitors in 2011. Each and every one of you has made our Denver home feel well, a little more like home :-) Thank you for the love, thoughtful house-warming/California gifts and wonderful memories. Can't wait for more in the future!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

snow adventures: the good, the bad and the hilarious.

well well well. this has been one crazy/hectic/amazing month. but most of all AMAZING.

I decided to re-start my 2011 on January 2nd (I got into a small car accident on Jan. 1st...learned the hard way that Civic's don't like snow). But on a more positive note - I got to spend time with my friends Kelley and Kristine up in Breckenridge. It'll be the first of many visits being that one of my best friends from Cal Poly is living there for winter. In fact, it turns out I was up in Breck just 5 days later for a retreat/ski trip with my company and had a blast! And then Kim and I moved into our great little loft right in "LoDo" (Lower Downtown) and got going right away making it our cozy Denver home. It's such a blast being able to walk everywhere around downtown - especially my commute to work (a whole 6 blocks).
exploring RMNP with the girls!

And then, we had our very first visitor!!!! Erin graced us with her presence the very next weekend :) After a night out on the town, we went to one of my favorite brunch spots in town (my "favorite" list keeps growing...) called Gaia's on this adorable little street (South Pearl) that reminds me a bit of SLO. They serve you french press coffee...does it get any better?! Estes Park was having a winter festival so we headed up into the mountains (in Kim's car this time) and found ourselves in the stunning Rocky Mountain National Park. My friends Courtney and Rachel joined us for the mountain escapade of snow hiking, big horn sheep encounters and attempts at jumping pics in the snow (fail). Thanks so much for coming to visit Erin!!! Can't wait for you to come during baseball season!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

that one day I realized I am completely unprepared for this cold weather a.k.a. the first snow hike

So my friend Mark asks us (myself, Courtney and Rachel) if we want to go hiking this weekend. As new CO transplants excited about outdoor adventures, of course we all said YES!! As we are driving up into the mountains and the temperature continues to drop (I think the lowest it got was 14 degrees), I started to think maybe I don't have the correct outdoor clothing for these sort of adventures.
on our snow hike on Echo Mountain (photo courtesy Rachel Stevenson)

I don't. I definitely don't. Next on my purchase list: snow boots (preferably Sorels), snow/ski jacket, a beanie, ear warmers, face mask (I think my nose almost got frostbite), thicker gloves, more thermal clothings, snow pants, and the list goes. Dear REI: please have a sale soon.
Rachel, Mark, Courtney and I found a gazebo on our hike!!

Regardless of my lack of proper clothing, we had a blast! We started hiking up near Echo Mountain (about an hour from Denver) to a fire lookout tower and never actually made it to the tower but had fun hiking through the beautiful and isolated winter wonderland. To warm up, we stopped at the Little Bear Bar in Evergreen - a little bar with a lot of character. I love that there are so many fun outdoor activities just minutes from Denver! Can't wait for the next snowy adventure!!

The fam bam visits Denver!!

the fam bam visiting Denver!!

jumping pic at Coors Field...standard

my amazing mom!!!!

two of my wonderful other "moms"

Last weekend my wonderful family came to visit!! Nantie had a conference in Denver so Mom and Jeannie decided to come visit along with Meggie and her kids. We had a absolute blast playing around the mile high city - from ice skating in downtown Denver (and having a dance party with Coco on the ice) to the Parade of Lights to the Christmas market in Georgetown (cute little mountain town) to the closing ceremonies for the NLC conference and just all spending time together :-) We grew up going to Nantie's conferences so it was such a treat to have it be in Denver this year!     Thanks for spending time in Colorado family!! LOVE YOU!!
Pretending that we can actually ice skate :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the beauty of the first snowfall

There is something quite inexplicable and amazing about the magic of the first snowfall. It's like the heavens decided to share a bit of their beautiful charm with us. It's like the pines, firs and alders decided to wear strings of nature's pearls to show that beauty revels in every season. It's like the world stood still for a moment and reminded us to admire the grace outside and treasure the warmth within.  
Kasey and me with our 'first snow' snowman!!

Yes, I've seen snow before, plenty of times. But I've never EXPERIENCED a first snowfall. So of course, I was overly excited and immediately called my friend Kasey (also a native Californian who has never lived in snow) and expressed my dire need to make a "first snow" snowman (I sense a tradition arising). So we proceeded to freeze our butts off while making a handsome snowman and then rush inside to drink hot cocoa, eat roasted acorn squash and watch the snow continue to turn Denver into a winter wonderland.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Discovering Denver with the Dudziks!

above the fruited plains...

Well the past week has been jam packed full of adventures all up and down the front range. Some of my good family friends (the Dudziks) from home came into town for my friend Ashly's wedding and we've had a blast!

Purple Mountains Majesty:
my first CO snowman!!
Friday, we headed down south and visited the Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods (spectacular rock formations!) AND we took the cog railway to the top of my first 14er, Pikes Peak, the mountain immortalized by Katherine Lee Bates in her famous poem, 'America the Beautiful'...and boy, was it beautiful! We lucked out with a cloudless sky and 80 degree weather (it was 40 at the top which is extremely mild for Pikes Peak). After enjoying a lunch at the top, I made a snowman (my first of the season!!) and we enjoyed donuts. Apparently, everyone who goes up to Pikes Peak eats these donuts - seriously, there was a big line for those chocolate covered balls of dough.

                                                                Ashly's Wedding:
the newlyweds!!
Saturday of course was Ashly and Jay's wedding and she was an absolutely STUNNING bride! We were blessed with the most beautiful fall day possible. The reception was in Golden, CO and the fall colors set the town ablaze...combined with beautiful weather and wonderful company, it couldn't have been a better day :)

The Denver Marathon and my debut as a Downtown Denver Tour Guide:
Sunday, I had signed up to volunteer at the Denver marathon...which means I had to awake at 4:30am...after a night of dancing and drinking at the wedding, I wasn't the happiest camper but it ended up being a blast (of course) and inspired me once again to someday soon run a marathon. Later in the day, I got to show my first set of visitors (Bob and Judy) around my new town and it was SO FUN. I'm sure you all know my affinity for being a tour guide so we had a blast. From Larimer Square to LoDo to 16th Street Mall to the mile high Capitol step to the arts district to the sketchy civic park, we experienced all that downtown Denver has to offer and then enjoyed a scrumptious meal at one of my favorite breweries in LoDo where Scott, Angela, Jenna and Chris joined us!

the Wynkoop gorilla and Bob pounding it
Judy and I at the mille high step!

Rocky Mountain National Park and MY FIRST SNOW!!
Monday, we day tripped up tot Estes Park and the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park Estes Park is a lovely little mountain town where elk seem to just wander through the streets...it's also where I had my first elk burger. RMNP was beautiful and the minute we drove inside, it started to snow!!!!! So naturally, we made little snowmen and had a snow ball fight and then I honestly thought I might have frostbite. Hmmm, gloves might be a good idea if I'm going to be living in snow? Goodness, I have become very thin skinned living in SLO for the past five years... And we saw tons of elk in RMNP - they are such majestic creatures! We ended the day by driving through more of the Rockies and having dinner in Boulder :)
majestic elk in the blanket of snow

Thanks for coming to CO Dudziks - I had a wonderful time with you!!