10 Photos from December 2018

During the holiday season this past December, my mom, myself and Markell went to Santa Fe, New Mexico as well as Boulder and Denver, Colorado. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

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My 29th birthday lunch!

My birthday fell during the first full day of our trip which is also when we arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hungry for an authentic New Mexican lunch, we went to a restaurant where I got a assorted platter (taco, enchilada, beans, etc) and a verrrryyy boozy margarita. It was a great way to get my birthday started!

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Mom, Markell, and I in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Despite what so many people think, northern New Mexico can get really cold in winter – snow included. It actually snowed on my birthday and we had to leave New Mexico early because of a blizzard that was heading that way. In the meantime though, we had about a day and a half of good weather to explore.

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Markell using his new camera

Markell and I went on a quest just outside Santa Fe to see a petroglyph site. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the petroglyphs required about a mile and a half of rock scrambling, which was a bit risky in the snow (and without hiking or snow boots on). Markell enjoyed taking photos with his new camera he got from his grandpa for Christmas.

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Petroglyphs outside Santa Fe, New Mexico

We found two boulders with petroglyphs. It is always fascinating to me how these drawings have been there for hundreds of years. Who drew them? And why?

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Boulder, Colorado

Next on our trip was Boulder, Colorado. A friend of mine had raved about the town so we thought it was worth a visit. We ate on Pearl Street which is the main street in town, and then went to the Celestial Seasonings Factory which is based in the town!

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Snazzy hair nets as part of our Celestial Seasonings Factory tour

The Celestial Seasonings Factory tour in Boulder, Colorado, is free to visitors. Better yet, as you wait for your turn on the tour, there are several teas you can sample. Celestial Seasonings is a true operating factory so we were able to see their manufacturing processes (as someone who studied Products and Process in grad school, I was so excited for this!) and learn more about the company’s operations and history.

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Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

The next day I went on a early morning solo hike on the Fowler Trail at Eldorado Canyon near Boulder. Eldorado Canyon is truly one of the most beautiful places I went on the trip, as the trail had constant views overlooking the canyon. It was a bit nerve wracking though as parts of the trail were snowing and icy, so I had to tread carefully. It was worth it for the surroundings though!

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Argo Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado

Into the mountains, we spent the afternoon in Idaho Springs, Colorado at the Argo Gold Mine. This was an functioning mine up to the 1940s when a massive flood made it impossible to continue operations. We were shown how to pan for gold, learned about the history of gold mining in the area, and went into the beginning of the tunnel for the former mine (you don’t go into the actual mine as it still has several feet of water).

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Markell and I in Red Rocks Park, Denver

No visit to the Denver is complete without going to Red Rocks Park. Markell and I had been to see the amphitheater when we in Colorado in 2015, so this time we went for a hike with a guide on the Trading Post Trail. The hike was fun and Markell enjoyed posing on the rocks for a few photos!

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Posing on the red rocks!

And that’s a rap on our Colorado and New Mexico trip. Colorado is such a stunning state and now that I’ve been three times in winter, the goal is to go in a (warmer) season next time!

x Noelle

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Small City Charm in Marietta, Ohio

Marietta, Ohio is the kind of place that once you’ve been, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make it there sooner. Named as one of “Ohio’s Best Hometowns” by Ohio Magazine, Marietta is the kind of place where you come for the charm but stay for the community. Continue reading “Small City Charm in Marietta, Ohio”

The Bear Truth of Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park is known to many as the home of California’s large, giant sequoia trees. That’s at least what I went looking for when I had some free time during a work trip and made my way to the Ash Mountain entrance of the park. Although I never made it to the trees themselves (more on that below), the massive park has a lot to offer for nature enthusiasts like myself.

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Tips on Surviving Your First Year Abroad

Moving abroad is something most people only dream of, so when it actually happens the focus tends to be on the move itself, finding somewhere to live, and settling in. But what happens beyond that initial stage?

If you’re anything like me, I had a few goals when I moved abroad: learn more about the culture, travel throughout Europe, and gain some international work experience. But there were also other parts that I was less sure about – like making friends, how my relationships at home would be impacted, and if I would become out of the loop of what was going on in the United States and my local area.

In the end, I survived my first year abroad – and I know you can too. Here are tips on what helped me make it through.

Continue reading “Tips on Surviving Your First Year Abroad”

A Stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia

Great Wolf Lodge is a destination in and of itself. Known for its massive water parks, their aim is to be a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy. I recently stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for my son’s birthday, and wanted to share our experience.

Continue reading “A Stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia”