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1 | Elsie girl loves to come visit me at my "castle work" so Aunt Beth brings her by and we walk and run and skip across the castle grounds. It makes my little heart so happy.

2 | Most days I still can't believe I get to work at a place this beautiful. I make the most of my breaks here and try to get in lots of walking and outdoor meetings. :)

3 | My weekends in Colorado always feel so full, in the best ways. This summer my weekends are always spent with my best friends: going to the farmer's market, grabbing coffee, cleaning the house, making meals together, working on the basement, and watching movies. Just being together is my favorite.

4 | This girl. We've been friends for ten years and we are still learning new things about each other. This whole living-in-the-same-city thing is super fun, a growing and learning process, and a great adventure.

Behind the scenes of Star Wars: Episode VII
Hermione is my favorite.
The greatest wedding toast I've ever seen.
Wooden watches? Yes, please.
Stanley Brand is my go-to for lots of camping equipment these days.
This is one of my favorite quotes these days. It makes me teary eyed every time.

Homemade Butter Beer
Rainy Broadmoor Days
The Meadow
Iced Chai Tea Latte To-Go
Not a Native | Old Colorado City




Last month I started a new series called "Not a Native" that is a way of documenting my adventures in this new city and state of mine. If you missed the inspiration for this series, here's a quick recap: There is a bumper sticker you will more than likely see if you happen to drive through Colorado. It has green mountains with white lettering that says "native". People are proud to be from this state. I get it. I love my home state too. There's another bumper sticker you'll see that is almost identical, and it says "not a native, but I got here as fast as I could!" That's me. ;) Not a native, but so happy to be here and incredibly eager to explore as much of Colorado as I can. So there you go, the inspiration for my new adventure series.

To me, adventures don't necessarily have to mean exploring the mountains and forests of the wild, wild west (although I do love those kinds of adventures), but they can also mean trying out a new restaurant, or learning your way around downtown, or checking out a new-to-you coffee shop. Each of those things hold a little bit of adventure. A few weeks ago, we headed to Old Colorado City for the morning to grab coffee, hit up the farmer's market, and go wherever the day might take us.

This little part of town has so much character and history. It feels old and important in so many different ways. In 1859, the original settlement, which was the eastern entrance through the mountains on your journey west, was renamed Colorado City and became the very first permanent town in the Pikes Peak area. Pretty cool, right?

Old Colorado City is one of my favorite spots to walk around, grab coffee at Jives Coffee Lounge, and stop in at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. One caramel apple for my best friend and me? Yes, please. #nomnomnom

Where are some of your favorite spots to explore in your city or state? Are you from Colorado? Leave me a comment with some suggested locations to explore! :) Stay tuned for more of my adventures in the "Not a Native" series as I continue to explore this new city and home.



I loved going backpacking as a youngster, and I still remember cool, early mornings, when my mom and dad would be building a fire to make us breakfast with our camping cookware. They'd make maple cinnamon oatmeal and rich hot chocolate, which I would always fail to let cool before sipping. My parents have always been all about being prepared, so they never failed to have all the right tools for making our camp meals out on the trail.

It is summertime in Colorado, which for me, means being outside as much as possible. We like to play outside, eat outside, and adventure outside whenever we get the chance. I don't know about you, but sometimes I just want to whip up a yummylicious drink while out exploring. So that's just what I did. You don't always have to head to your neighborhood coffee shop in order to sip on a tasty chai. You can create something equally delicious even when out and about on your adventures. We were heading out for an afternoon last week, so I threw all of the ingredients I needed in my Stanley Adventure Cooler and we hurried up to the overlook as an afternoon Colorado thunderstorm was rolling in.

- 1 scoop (3 tablespoons) of chai mix
- 2 oz. hot water
- 8 oz. ice
- 2 oz. cold water or milk
- Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set
- Stanley Adventure Cooler

1. Mix 1 scoop of chai mix (mine is from Trader Joes!) with 2oz. of hot water. When camping, you can use your handy adventure cook set to boil water. Stir chai + hot water thoroughly to dissolve.
2. Pour over 8 oz. of ice.
3. Add 2 oz. of cold water or milk.
4. Enjoy!

Do you love the outdoors? What kinds of delicious drinks are you creating this summer? Keep your ingredients cool with the Stanley Adventure Cooler. This baby will keep your things cool for up to 27 hours (mind blown) and is plenty spacious enough to carry what you need for this chai tea latte recipe! :)



READING | I just finished reading Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, and just like everything else she writes, this book spoke deep down into my heart. Half of the book is underlined because there was so much of it I wanted to remember. I need to get through the rest of the Maze Runner books and read Andrew Peterson's latest novel and re-read all of the Narnia books...just to name a few things on my list.

EATING | All good things. All good things. Okay, so I'd eat at Chipotle every day if my budget could handle it. It is yum town, and their guac is my favorite. Bring me all the guac.

MISSING | My Tennessee people. Last week one of my best friends sent me pictures of her precious baby girl, who I haven't gotten to meet yet, and I kind of burst into tears and proceeded to have a tear-filled day. Sometimes you just get stuck in a teary-eyed funk, you know? Then another best friend's birthday was this week, and I was so sad I couldn't be there to celebrate with her. It's hard missing out on all the things you used to be present for.

LISTENING | I am kind of obsessed with cover songs these days. This one of Hold Back the River has been on repeat since yesterday. It is seriously SO GOOD. I'm amazed by creative people. You should also go check out Megan Davies on Spotify like immediately.  What are you listening to these days?

WATCHING | Guys, I'm slightly embarrassed by this, but I just flew through the first season of When Calls the Heart. It's a Hallmark show on Netflix that was so ridiculously cheesy and wonderful that I literally could not stop watching. I stayed up way too late a couple of nights this week so that I could finish just one more episode (or like two or three more episodes.) Oops! ;)




The meadow. It's a breathtaking spot on our way up to camp, and it's one that holds really dear memories for me. I still remember my first time heading up to Eagle Lake as a high schooler (eleven years ago. whoa.), sitting in a twelve passenger van, face pressed to the window as we wound back and forth up the mountain roads. You turn a corner and the meadow spreads out in front of you, taking your breath away. It offers the most glorious view of Pikes Peak, and there is just something so magical, so grand about the way the 14er rises up behind the gentle rolling meadow. I remember driving through that meadow on foggy Colorado mornings and watching deer and elk prance through the tall grass. I remember driving through the meadow with my best friends as snow fell all around, covering the ground and trees and transporting us to Narnia.

It's the road through the meadow that took me to camp where I met my best friend and the man who would become her husband. It's the road through the meadow that took me to camp where I fell more deeply in love with Jesus that I ever had been. It's the road through the meadow that took me to camp where I was changed forever and for good. You could say that road played a part in changing our lives.

I'm so thankful for those years at camp and for the road through the meadow that brought me there. I'm thankful for these friends that have turned into family. For the siblings I'd never had and never knew I needed. These are some of the people who help make Colorado home.

Do you have your own "meadow"? What places are special to you? What places do you feel have played a part in changing you for good? XOXO.