Travel

Summer Tour: WI & KS & MO

My second big trip of the summer is complete! You may remember that back in June, I went to Dallas, TX and then various parts of California to visit friends. Well last week I went on another big trip to visit a friend in Milwaukee and then my family in Kansas City!

My friend Sarah, along with her husband and her dog, Bennett, moved to Milwaukee over the winter so I wanted to go visit her in her new habitat. Sarah and I met in a church small group back in Chicago became friends and quasi roommates at one point. Not really roommates… but we lived in the same building just two floors apart.

My first morning there, we went to a Cycle Bar class together and then headed out to kayak on the Milwaukee River! I was actually a little surprised, they just gave us our equipment and sent us off on the river! I guess there was very little likelihood of us being injured or lost or breaking the waterway laws?? We kayaked for almost an hour, stopped at a brewery for a snack and then headed back. It was a beautiful afternoon for being on the water and I have to say a lot more fun than I expected (I hated kayaking at summer camp!).

After kayaking, we walked around the 3rd Ward, which is a more trendy neighborhood in downtown Milwaukee. There were a ton of cute shops and I even got one of the best coffee drinks I think I’ve ever had from Colectivo. Sadly, the chain only exists in Wisconsin and Illinois… I need to figure out how to recreate their Iced Cardamom Honey Latte… For dinner, we went to a seafood restaurant in her neighborhood and I was too much of a chicken to order a whole lobster (has anyone else ever gotten one??) but Sarah went for it! I hope she loves that I threw this photo in here…

On our second day, I needed to run seven miles so I headed out on my own for a while and then Sarah met up with me and we ran the last bit together. She lives outside of the city and it was a beautiful little neighborhood to run in! The rest of the day was spent looking for a dress for her to wear to an upcoming wedding, getting our nails done and then making dinner (okay, she made dinner and I got out of the way after making a mess…) at her house.

For our last day, we checked out a new Barre studio, took our time showering and packing up (Sarah was also headed out for the weekend), and then drove to the lake because I just HAD to see it. As someone who lived by the lake in Chicago, I really missed it and couldn’t come out here without a glimpse. Then we drove to Sprecher Brewery, which makes both beer and root beer (and various other sodas and sparkling water) for a tasting and a tour. It was VERY German themed, haha but very cute and fun.

Sarah dropped me off at the airport on Thursday night and I was off to Kansas City! I have to say this was the most stressful leg of my trip because I had a 45 min layover in St. Louis and my flight was delayed… 40 minutes. Lucky for me, my second flight ended up being delayed about 30 minutes and then we waited another 30 minutes for several other connecting flights since we were the last flight to KC of the evening. I did a poll on my Instagram asking everyone if they’d rather leave on time or wait an hour and it came out to about 35% leave vs. 65% wait. I think I was biased because 1) I was almost one of those people and 2) I travel alone (i.e. without children) so what’s an extra hour of sitting around to save 15 people from being stuck in a random city overnight?

My lovely Dad came out to the airport to grab me and the next day was a fairly relaxing one. I attempted to sleep in, I went on a walk with my little brother (and saw his cat, Butters!), I caught up with my parents, did laundry, and we had steak and potatoes for dinner (extra large potato for me because of my long run in the morning).

Saturday morning was long-run time! It actually stormed all night long, which I miss SO MUCH! Midwestern thunderstorms are so much bigger than they are here in Denver and can last all day long. I absolutely love them. What I do not love, however, is when it’s lightening and cracking thunder at 6 am when I’m supposed to be heading out the door. I delayed about an hour and finally just started running in the rain since I knew it should clear up in the next hour.

The run turned out to go pretty well despite how hilly the neighborhoods were where I ran. I may or may not have run past a certain quarterback’s house… At least I didn’t stop or take a photo? Haha. The last two miles were ROUGH (aren’t they always? Is that just me?) but I made it! The rest of the day was fairly relaxing and then I watched most of the Chiefs preseason game with my mom. It wasn’t particularly thrilling though since our starters played for five minutes but oh well!

The next morning’s activity was the main reason I came to Kansas City for the weekend. My cousin put together a beautiful event in downtown Kansas City to celebrate her mother where we all did a Kalos Experience class and then enjoyed coffee and treats. It was really great to see family and chat with some new people I hadn’t met before.

After yoga, it was time to head home, pack and then off to the airport again! Getting back into a routine has been tough after the week away, especially with how busy things are at the beginning of the school year. Classes start Tuesday so things are on the move whether I’m ready or not!

Do you like kayaking? Do you have a favorite water sport?

Have you ever been to Milwaukee?

Did you take a trip this summer?

Summer Tour: TX & CA

I am so excited to tell you all about my trip! Last week I traveled to Dallas, TX and then to San Francisco, CA to visit two different friends and had such a great time with both of them.

First, I left for Dallas very early on Tuesday morning and was picked up by my lovely friend, Julie, who I first met in a small group through our church in Chicago. Julie and her husband are both originally from Dallas and moved back home a couple years ago. She has two ADORABLE little boys and it was so fun to just hang out with her and her family and get to know the two little guys.

After getting in, we went to lunch at HG Supply Co (I got the poke bowl and it was delicious!) and then walked around the little shopping area. There were so many cute shops! That evening, we went to dinner at Meso Maya where I tried their signature Avocado Margarita (not sold…) and had some delicious tacos. Then it was off to see Aladdin the Musical at the Music Hall at Fair Park. I don’t get to go to many musicals so I don’t have much to compare it to, but this was SO GOOD! The dancing and the costumes and the music were amazing. My favorite part was the song “A Whole New World.” While not actually my favorite song, how they did the set was so beautiful and magical. I also loved “Friend Like Me.” The dancing and costumes were spectacular and the song went on for at least six minutes! Haha quite a show.

On Wednesday, we went to the Dallas Arboretum in the morning. It’s close to their house and they have a season pass, which I’m so jealous of because it was such a beautiful place to visit and walk around in the morning and she mentioned they have concerts and events there fairly often as well. Then I got a taste of mom life with a trip to one of her son’s one-year doctors appointment. The poor kid was NOT happy about being there and getting his shots! But he’s so cute, even crying. Honestly, I just loved hanging out with Julie and doing her “normal” life with her. That evening we had dinner at her house and just hung out talking.

On Thursday morning, I was up and out the door for my 7-mile long run! I was very hesitant to do my run in Dallas since it is so hot and humid there but I made it! I took several water breaks and ran slowly and was able to make it all seven miles. I did most of my run around the SMU campus, which was so pretty and all the people were very distracting (key to a long run alone…).

We went out to lunch after that (and a shower…) and then we went to the pool with the boys. Then it was off to the airport and on to my next adventure! Honestly, when I was packing up I couldn’t believe almost three days had gone by. I miss you, Julie!!

My flight landed in San Francisco and I took the BART through the city and to Oakland where my friend picked me up and we went to her apartment in Berkeley for some GF pizza (she’s also gluten free!) and catching up. I hadn’t seen Caroline since Christmas and we had a lot to talk about but good thing we had a couple days of road tripping in front of us to do so.

We were up Friday morning and ready for adventure! We drove to Santa Cruz and from there took Highway 1 down the coast. I had always wanted to drive along Highway 1 so it was very neat to be able to do so and see so much of the coastline.

We also stopped a couple times (once in Carmel - so cute, I would love to stay there!) and made fun of ourselves with some Instagram photo shoots… we’re such good models.

IMG_6290.jpg

One of our destinations during Friday’s trip was the restaurant Nepenthe, which is on the top of a hill right out on the edge of a cliff. The views were absolutely beautiful and it was so nice to sit outside overlooking the coast. Even at 2 pm it was crowded but we were seated fairly quickly at some bar seats overlooking the view. As you’ll see below, we had to put up a barrier of menus since a bird jumped onto our table and snagged a french fry. Zero fear! Our hilarious waiter suggested we put up another since they tend to like the walnuts that were on our salad! We thought it was absolutely hilarious and had a great time. I highly recommend going here if you’re in the area.

We continued our way down the coast after lunch stopping only for the elephant seal beach. We saw a crowd of people and figured that must be a great place to stop! It was a very cool sight to see. Once we made it to our final destination, Pismo Beach, we checked into the Cottage Inn By The Sea and then went to explore the town. Of course, we had frozen yogurt for dinner…

On Saturday morning, it was time for the one activity I was most looking forward to: surfing!!! I went surfing last year in March when I was in La Jolla and absolutely LOVED IT. I knew I could not go to California without surfing again and thankfully convinced Caroline to join me. We signed up for a group lesson through Sandbar Surf School but apparently we were the only ones crazy enough to want the 7:30 am class. Caroline actually did very well (she’s a natural!) and I didn’t get as many rides as I’d hoped but it was quite a workout. I was actually very proud of myself because twice I made it out past the surf which was VERY hard on that big board. Once you get out there, it’s so calm and peaceful. 100% worth the effort and I even caught a wave from out there!

After our lesson, we rushed back to the hotel and got ready to head out to our next destination, Hearst Castle! We almost missed our tour time but after some great driving by Miss Caroline and running across the parking lot, we were on the bus just in time.

Hearst Castle is a massive home built up on a hill overlooking the ocean. It was built in the 1920s and a location for many of the family’s friends, as well as celebrities and politicians, to visit and enjoy the pools, tennis courts, movie theater, zoo (yes, he had a zoo!) and beautiful art. Honestly, I was BLOWN AWAY by the art we saw in the Upstairs Suites tour. I mean, these pieces should be in a museum and I can’t even imagine how much they’re worth. When the tour was over, we did a little exploring and wandered the grounds.

After Hearst Castle, we headed towards Paso Robles and stopped at a couple wineries on our way for tastings. The second one was highly entertaining as it was family run and one of the family members was outgoing yet awkward. And there was a serious Instagram photo shoot happening with another group of friends who were sitting outside.

Once we made it back to San Francisco we had a late dinner and watched a movie. For my last day we went to a rose garden, got some gluten free breakfast at Mariposa (LOVED being able to go to a bakery and pick anything I wanted!), walked around some shops and then got a tour of a nicer neighborhood in Oakland by my lovely tour guide, Caroline. Then it was back on the BART and back to Denver!

My first summer trip was definitely a success and it was so nice to see my friends as well as have a nice mix of relaxing and adventures.

Are you going on any trips this summer?

Have you ever been to Dallas or Northern/Central California?

The Art of Ditching The Plan

Aug 21, 2017


I'm a planner. I like to know what's going to happen, I like to be in control of what's going on, and I like to have an exit strategy if I end up not wanting to be there anymore.

It's Sunday afternoon and I've just gotten home after leaving my apartment at 7:00 am. Yesterday. I'm covered in dirt, I have grease marks all over me, I haven't showered in days, I'm a little sunburnt and I'm pretty sure I smell enough not to be allowed anywhere a respectable human being should go. My weekend did not go as planned, but I have a feeling you know where I'm going with this...

I had the BEST TIME.

Because I have one of my biggest events for work on Monday (today for the purposes of this post), I've barely been home and I haven't slept well from stress. Yes, I have done everything I could do and now we'll just have to see how it goes but, nevertheless, I worry. I figured I would need a relaxing weekend. I'd planned to spend a few hours with my friend Julie who is visiting CO with her family, have a quiet Saturday night doing meal prep and laundry, then going to church and the driving range on Sunday.

I got up early Saturday morning, drove to the airport to pick up Julie and we had a great morning. We went to brunch at Maddie's, I showed her around where I work, we walked around Wash Park and even went through an open house in a cute neighborhood (I SO WANT THAT HOUSE! Only $1.3 million! ;) ).

IMG_4766.jpg
IMG_4764.jpg

When I went to drop her off to get her rental car, there was quite a snafu and they had nothing for her. Actually, none of the rental places we called had any cars available. I told her not to worry and that I'd drive her to pick up her friend from the airport and take them both to Boulder where Julie's family would come down from the mountains where they were staying and pick them both up. Sure, it was a dent in my "plan," but I wasn't going to leave them stranded and I really didn't mind - I love Julie!

Well, once we were leaving the airport, Julie asked if I just wanted to come up to the lodge with them, hang out and stay the night. My anxiety immediately said to me: "No! That will completely mess up your plan! You probably won't sleep well. You'll be tired tomorrow, you'll get back home too late for church, blah, blah, blah."

You know what I did? I told that voice to shove it. After much practice, I've learned to tell that voice that it's wrong. That spending time with people I love (and I LOVE her family) will be much more fun, refreshing and memorable than a night at home with Netflix. So I said yes. With literally the clothes on my back, I headed up for an evening in the mountains.

IMG_4767.jpg

Yes, I hadn't showered and had to wear a mishmash of other people's clothes to dinner and the put my same Saturday outfit back on for Sunday, but no one cared. Yes, I had nothing with me but my phone and water bottle, but I didn't care. Even in the morning, when I hoped to get back home with plenty of time to go through my Sunday "routine," I said screw it and I stayed. I went on a walk, I had breakfast, I sat around and chatted, I went and rented bikes and rode through a gorgeous mountain pass.

I had conversations. I met new people. I got to see the beautiful mountains. Most importantly, I felt welcomed, loved and appreciated.

IMG_4776.jpg
IMG_4815.jpg

You've heard it before, but I'll say it again: life is best outside of your comfort zone. It's less scary stay at home and do the things you know you like to do. It's easy to read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk around your neighborhood, or even see the same person you see every week. But when I'm actually around other people, when I give up the plan and I do things that I don't normally do or can't control, that's when I feel the most fulfilled, the most alive, most in-the-moment, and the most like myself.

Dear rental car companies, thank you for being rude yesterday. Love, Katie.