Winter in Colorado
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
In my typical fashion, I took an 8:30 am final and went straight to brunch at Portage Bay cafe with friends for a celebratory end to Autumn Quarter and exchange Secret Santa gifts (thanks Crystal for my Humans of New York book). I scurried home, finished up my packing (because why would I be proactive and pack ahead of time) hopped on a bus, then the link, and jetted back to Colorado for the holidays!
Coming home is generally packed to the brim with friends and activities, which I'm totally fine with. Right off the bat, we strolled around downtown Fort Collins, which, fun fact, was inspiration for Disney's Main street. We made a few stops for some last minute Christmas gifts and popped by our one of favorite bakeries, Little Bird Bakeshop, for a snack.
Later that evening, Lauren and I ventured down to Boulder to sleepover at Cristin's and have a girls night together. We hadn't all been together since JUNE and quality time was overdue. The weather was not on our side with a fresh dumping of snow, but Lauren and I inched our way there.
Once we finally made it to Cristin's house, we made Cristin drive to Pizzeria Locale for dinner. Let me tell you, it was FRIGIDLY cold. While we waited for our table to be ready, we attempted to walk around Pearl Street, but wound up popping in and out of stores since it was way too cold (I'm talking below zero) to stroll outside.
Pizzeria Locale is probably my favorite restaurant in Boulder, and we gorged ourselves on the delicious pizza. The rest of the evening was spent drinking some wine and, for whatever reason, watching Under the Tuscan Sun and dancing, lots of dancing.
Later that weekend, we all attended a family friend's annual Christmas party. It's always a blast. I come for Tina's (Lauren's mom) pigs in a blanket and stay for the good company. All the parents chitchat and the kids catch up converse about college, which is insane since we've known each other since KINDERGARTEN. This is sixteen years of friendship.
The night ended with a white elephant and lots of laughs. Also, this picture of the Spencers + Cristin (who was filling in for Alex) is probably my favorite picture of all time.
The fun times kept rolling when Lauren, Gina, and I ventured down to Boulder (again haha) to hike around Chautauqua. Every single time I come home, I end up bopping around Boulder and Denver. Over the summer, I went to Denver four times in a row, not that I'm complaining, it's just funny to me. We enjoyed the sunny weather and took a few pictures of the beautiful scenery.
Later that week, we visited Cristin in Boulder (again) and grabbed a nice brunch at The Buff. I opted for an excellent Eggs Benedict to go along with our $1 dollar mimosas. This was a little moment of sanity for Cristin since she was pounding out last minute details for her friend's wedding because she was a maid of honor.
Itching to get outside and enjoy some of the snow, Kass, her friend Daniel and I went up to the Poudre Canyon and went snowshoeing. Growing up, my family didn't ski or snowboard, we snowshoed. We got so into that one year we signed up for a snowshoeing 5K which is one of the worst and funniest memories. It was brutally cold, probably the coldest I've ever been and I was miserable for a good portion of the race. As we neared the finish line, a man whizzed past us to which we remarked "Good for him! Finishing strong". Turns out he was the 10K winner...
Anyway, I love snowshoeing. We found a road to trek along and enjoyed the lovely Colorado winter time. Kass is one of those friends who is always up for anything and I so appreciate that about her. We've known each other for quite some time now, and recalled funny memories about soccer and our love of One Direction on the car ride home. I love this kid!
Mom, Gina and I went to Denver one day to do a little shopping and hit some of our favorite stops down there. Along the way, we found some awesome buildings and murals which made great photo-ops. Shopping took up most of the day, but Gina managed to take a load off at the massive Restoration Hardware in this fun chair. To recover from our retail therapy, we grabbed some ice cream from Nugg's Ice Cream. On their walls, they had these cute little ice cream murals! My kind of place. To finish up our day we checked out the newly opened Denver Central Market. I ADORE these little food halls, and they've done an incredible job with this place.
On one of our last days in CO, we had a lazy day around the house and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to venture to Rocky Mountain National Park in the late afternoon. Once again, it was freaking cold, but absolutely breathtaking. We drove through the park to Bear Lake and tried to enjoy the great outdoors. I had found my mom's old heavy duty Patagonia jacket (my dad has a matching one) which had been purchased for when they moved to Minnesota and I was still freezing. We made the most of this family time as we scurried around the trail.
And that was that! Colorado is the best. Now that I'm older, I appreciate going home WAY more. Spending quality time with family friends is worth much more to me than any gift. Every time I come home, I realize how much I love this place and how lucky I was to be able to grow up here. with these people. Regardless of whether I end up in Colorado in the future, it will always be home to me. Also, a big thanks to everyone who made this particular trip awesome, this was some of the most fun I've had in a while! :)