Glenwood Springs: a magical, must-see destination in Colorado for all good reasons.
It seems this place was made for a perfect weekend getaway. With the most beautiful hike to Hanging Lake, a quaint town with cute shops and restaurants, and a relaxing hot springs to soak after a long day spent in the mountains, it has everything you need to get your mountain fix.
While the drive from Denver may seem far (about three hours), the views the entire way there were completely worth it. Plus, the incredible 70 degree weather didn’t hurt.
If you’re in town, I highly recommend Deja Brew, a charming, local coffee shop with incredible coffee, tasty breakfast burritos (we got the veggie bean – so good!), and the most delicious zucchini bread (we almost drove back for more).
Hiking to Hanging Lake
The hike to Hanging Lake was about 2.4 miles round trip. Since there was still snow and ice in areas, it made it more difficult to hike in parts. You literally see everyone slipping, sliding, and falling at times (myself included), and quite frankly, it’s the most hilarious thing to watch. It’s like an olympic event, watching how each person comes down the trail, what tricks they add, deducting points for falls, and scoring on how graceful they are lol.
But seriously, look at how unreal this place is…
This place never gets old. Each new season brings out a beauty of its own. Can’t wait to visit again for another mountain escape.
In all honesty, 2017 was one of my hardest years. I say that not for you to feel sorry or to put a damper on the new year, but rather to share some huge insights I’ve learned along the way. Whether it was healing from broken relationships, waiting on the right job (the long process of applying and interviewing over and over), losing my dog, or just wrestling with my purpose and next steps, I can say that all of it has been a humbling experience and that I’m learning to trust the process, persevere, and remain grateful.
Through all the challenges, I feel like I am only growing into a stronger woman and building character for who I am becoming (cheesy, but true). Life is throwing curveballs that are testing my values and maturing my faith. I’m realizing that as painful as hardship can be, there is always a silver lining. It enables you to grow, appreciate, and flourish more than you could’ve ever imagined.
So, here’s to taking it one day at a time, not taking life too seriously, and being our best selves in 2018. Here are 7 takeaways from 2017 that I will carry forward with me into the new year:
Lean on your friends for support. That’s what your friends are there for! You’re not alone in the challenges you face, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Sometimes it becomes easy to shut people out in hard times, but it’s so important to stay connected because we can’t do life on our own.
Give yourself time to be alone. Lean on your friends, but don’t distract yourself so much with people that you avoid having quality time alone. Being alone to reflect is so important to building self-awareness, understanding personal obstacles, and meditating on your own priorities.
Be patient with yourself. We’re all our own worst critic because we often put incredibly high standards on ourselves. Whether it’s grades, promotions, unfinished projects, bad habits, or unattained goals, we naturally put pressure on ourselves. Learn to be patient with yourself in your progress, and give yourself the time you need to heal, process, or steadily work towards achieving your goals.
Journaling does wonders. I understand that not everyone naturally loves journaling like I do, but it has brought me through some of my hardest times. I love that through journaling you discover thoughts, motives, desires, changes, and personal growth. It gives me the ability to look back on where I was and where I am now. Even if you don’t normally journal, it might be worth a try!
Forgiveness and love will always win. Grudges, bitterness, and hate will always leave a burden on your heart that holds you back from experiencing full joy. It’s not always easy to forgive, but it brings healing and softens your heart. Love will always win.
Invest in your emotional well-being first. Prioritize your mental, spiritual, and emotional health first so that you are able to pour out love, compassion, and grace to those around you.
Don’t give up in the wait. You’re close to a breakthrough. Waiting is hard. Waiting takes so much patience that I oftentimes don’t have. But in seasons of waiting, don’t give up. I know that sounds cliche, but it is so true. As long as you are active and not stagnant, you are closer to your breakthrough than you think.
2017 wasn’t all hard. It was also full of adventure, travel, laughter, love, new experiences, and memories I’ll never forget. Each year, I always make it a priority to visit at least one new country and one new city. Gratefully, I had the opportunity to travel New Zealand,Puerto Rico,Israel, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles this year. Investing in travel always leaves you richer than you came. Here’s a look back on travel in 2017…
Salt Lake City
I hope this post encourages you that it’s all a learning process and that you’re not alone.
I wish everyone a happy new year in 2018! I’m excited for all of the new adventures and experiences in store!
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. – C.S. Lewis
There’s nothing like winning a woman’s heart than with flowers and food – and with this recipe, you get the best of both in one!
I’ve been wanting to make these for the longest time (inspiration: Pinterest) and finally made it happen with the help of my friend, Kristen. What I love about this recipe is that it’s actually super simple, tasty, and not to mention, sooo pretty!
So if you need a quick and easy, yet delicious and beautiful dessert for the holidays, this makes a perfect addition to your spread!
Makes 12 rose apple puff pastries
4 red delicious apples
2 puff pastry sheets
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
6 tablespoons of apricot jam or preserves
flour (to sprinkle on the counter)
Remove the puff pastry sheets from the package, and allow them to thaw for about 30 minutes. You can microwave them for about 10-15 seconds each to soften them if they are still a bit frozen.
Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
Cut all the red delicious apples into thin slices (the thinner, the better). Remove the core, but don’t remove the red skin (this will give the roses their red color).
In a bowl, add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and fill the bowl about halfway with water. Add the apple slices to the bowl to soak in the lemon-water mixture (you may split the apple slices into two separate bowls if more room is needed). Then microwave for 3 minutes, or until the apple is tender and able to be bent without breaking.
Let the apple slices soak for a couple minutes after removing them from the microwave. Then drain the liquid.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll each, thawed puff pastry sheet into an approximate 12 x 9 inch dimension. Then cut the dough into 6 even strips (about 2 x 9 inch).
In another bowl, add 6 tablespoons of apricot jam and 6-7 tablespoons of water. Mix these together. Then microwave it for about one minute so that it is easy to spread.
Spread a thin layer of the apricot jam/preserve onto each strip of dough.
Layer the apple slices on the dough so that they slightly overlap. Make sure the red skin sticks out of the strip so that the color and rose detail will show.
Sprinkle cinnamon on each strip.
Fold the bottom half of each strip up so that it seals the jam and apples.
Starting from one end, gently roll the strips of dough, making sure the apples remain intact.
Grease all of the muffin holds on the pan for easy removal. No paper cups are necessary.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Check on them after about 30 minutes – they may be done already if they’ve become golden brown. Make sure the puff pastry is fully cooked and that the rose tips have not burnt.
Once they’re done, remove them from the oven. Let them cool down for about 10 minutes. Then dust them with powdered sugar (using a sifter) as you please!
Voila! There you have some beautiful, rose apple puff pastries!
My favorite season! While I do love summer (and miss those long, sunny days), fall always has its own way of bringing warmth. Subtle and bold colors emerge and reveal beauty beyond words. As leaves fall, autumn lets the past go and embraces a new season of life…shedding its nature (no pun intended) from winter, spring, and summer – seasons past.
So to celebrate my favorite season, here’s 8 must-dos for all the fall feels:
Go on a photo adventure to capture all of the fall colors!
Or even when all of the leaves have already fallen…
Sip on a pumpkin spice latte.
Make a visit to the pumpkin patch and corn maze.
Hike in the mountains – nothing quite like a fall hike.
Dress up on Halloween because it’s too fun not to.
Watch at least one scary movie with your friends, no matter how much you loathe it. Hyunah and I decided to watch It, inspired by Stephen King’s novel. My palms were sweaty, and my heart was racing the entire time (I hate clowns that much more).
Take time for self-care, and slow things down.
Most importantly, cherish your friends, family, and loved ones in every single moment you share. Show compassion, gratitude, and love relentlessly, holding back nothing. Extend strangers and acquaintances kindness and empathy. Live more selflessly, serving others, because that is when you will find joy.
Feel free to also check out these other fall posts from years past:
It was so lovely revisiting Los Angeles for the first time in four years. Not just landing in LAX for a transfer, but being able to step outside and feel those LA vibes.
Fortunately, it worked out that all of my cousins from my dad’s side were also in town, which made for a rare and special reunion. It was so great seeing family and catching up in person.
While my Friday and Saturday were mainly busy with family events (and lots of very, very good food), I was able to explore quite a bit on Sunday. The day started with a visit to UCLA (my cousin is starting school there), then a trip to the Getty Center, and a final stop at Venice Beach.
It always amazes me how much you can do in just a day!
I was shocked at how large the UCLA campus is. It is likely double the size of where I went. The sheer size of the campus calls for a lot of walking, but the unique architecture, tall trees, and beautiful flowers make it enjoyable.
THE GETTY CENTER
I absolutely love visiting art museums of all kinds, especially ones in big cities (since they usually host a wide variety of the best pieces). The Getty mainly showcases American and European art, ranging from classical to impressionistic. I was hoping to also see modern and contemporary art, but the Getty did not have this style.
The Getty has stunning architectural features, an incredible cactus garden, and outstanding views of downtown LA. The views are worth visiting alone. Plus, there’s no admission fee, just a $15 parking fee.
I’ve always visited Santa Monica but never Venice beach. Venice has a completely different feel – it’s more grungy, edgy, quirky, and off beat. The beach walk is weird in its own unique way, creating an identity of its own from the more proper Santa Monica.
I’m a sucker for long walks on the beach, and this was one long walk. The beach stretches a good two miles along the ocean. The water was quite chilly at this time of year though; so it wasn’t great for swimming, just enjoying the view.
LA has so much to see and do and so much great food to try. Every time I visit, even if the trip is short, I love trying new things and exploring new places! I can’t wait to come back and see more.
Fortunately, SLC is a short one hour flight from Denver. Thanks to Frontier for making travel cheap, I got a roundtrip ticket for $70 (score)! So naturally, I visited my best friend for a girls weekend getaway.
With just 48 hours, here’s all we managed to see and do.
SLC FARMERS MARKET // PIONEER PARK
I forgot to take pictures of the farmers market…but the SLC farmers market was our absolute favorite when I used to live in SLC. It’s located at the downtown Pioneer Park and runs from June to October. There’s something so fun and relaxing about walking outside, while drinking fresh squeezed limeade and exploring all of the various vendors (i.e. fresh produce, bakeries, jewelry, crafts, food stands, etc.).
Hyunah recommended Laziz Kitchen, a Lebanese/Mediterranean eatery that serves brunch and lunch. Not only was the place incredibly charming with some of the most beautiful interior, but the food was fresh, delicious, and light!
Hyunah ordered the Shish Tawook, a grilled chicken platter that comes with rice, tabouleh salad, pita, and pickles, while I ordered the Shakshouka, an egg, tomato, onion, and pepper based skillet served with pita and a creamy goat cheese.
Bodega is one of my favorite bars in SLC for its cozy atmosphere and, of course, for its incredible speakeasy. While the top just appears to be a small bar, there’s also a speakeasy restaurant hidden below where you can order food and additional cocktails.
In order to be seated at the speakeasy though, it’s highly recommended that you make reservations since it fills quickly. Overall, this place is totally worth a visit just for its unique interior.
Lake Effect is definitely a classy, high-end bar with the most beautiful seating and bathrooms. Their cocktail menu is a book there’s so many choices, and they also serve delicious food. They also have live music – we got lucky with an amazing jazz band!
I got a Moscow Mule and we shared their fingerling potatoes and calamari (so good). Prices run a bit high here, but it’s great for indulging once in a while.
Ladies: the bathroom is an absolute dream. Be ready to take pictures because it’s just the perfect backdrop.
Publik Coffee is easily one of my favorite coffee shops in SLC. I love the urban, rustic atmosphere and the detailed craftsmanship put into the drinks and food. Whenever I come here, I usually order a latte (hot or iced) or americano and either an avocado or lox toast!
Straw Market is tucked away in the Avenues neighborhood. This local secret is famous for its homemade, $1 cinnamon rolls that are to die for. They also serve bomb breakfast burritos for just $3.50, an assortment of crepes, omelettes, and more.
Unfortunately, I also forgot to take pictures here…so you’ll just have to be sure to try it yourself!
BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON
A short 30 minute drive from downtown SLC, and you’re lost in the mountains of Big Cottonwood Canyon. There are so many great hikes and rock climbing spots here for all your outdoor adventure needs.
Some beautiful hikes I recommend are Lake Blanche, Donut Falls, Dog Lake, Desolation Lake, Lake Mary, and Lake Catherine.
Since we barely got much sleep after a long night out, we opted for Lake Mary. It offers stunning lake and mountain views at the top and isn’t too difficult or long to hike.
We were feeling Italian on my last night…first delicious Carbonara and Pomodoro pasta at Trio, followed by stracciatella and almond gelato at Sweetaly.