Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 - prepare to be ROCKED

I just got back to Beantown after a crazy AWESOME week in Colorado. I went on an adventure with my friend Andy (you never know what's going to happen when you're with him) and here's what happened:

Most good weeks start off with a bit of pampering :)

Off on my adventure - 6 am flight from Boston....

...touchdown in Denver! First stop - lunch and cocktails

Here we go!

It always fascinates me when I travel to see how some mundane things are done differently (like studying abroad - grocery stores out there were so different!). In CO, they have round conveyor belts for your groceries...

My lodgings for the week

First Colorado sunrise

I could DEFINITELY get used to this

Can't get over the landscape....

First ride on an ATV! 

Andy and I stayed with his friend Paul and his family. They live on a ranch that has alpacas, cows, and chickens, so while I was there, I got to help out with chores

Feeding the alpacas (and them taking turns popping their heads up)

2nd one

3rd one...

Jeff (Paul's dad) taught me how to hold an alpaca... I did!

Feeding the hungry alpacas

Solo ride - driving these things is such an adrenaline rush!

I got the coolest surprise while out there - Jeff founded a company and wrote a book about the ADKAR model. He gave me an autographed copy! Can't wait to read through the whole thing - great information no change management in organizations.

More scenery...

NEW FAVORITE ANIMAL ALERT: Anatolian Shepherd. These pups are originally from Turkey and were used as guard dogs for herds. Now they are either used as herd guards or as family pets (when they're puppies, they are allowed to associate with people and animals and some dogs gravitate towards animals while the others like people). Vasi is the guard dog for the alpacas...and he's HUGE.

One day when I've settled down I want one. REAL BAD.

Enjoying my nice wine glass of whipping cream haha

Aaaaah 2013...I could get used to this...

On Wednesday, we headed out to Vern's for a good ol' country breakfast. First course - ginormous freshly made cinnamon buns (yes, topped with butter!)


Nom nom nom

Can't beat the decor ;-)

I opted for the country fried steak, eggs, and hash - SO GOOD

More's just SO different from the Appalachian mountains

Next stop - bull shopping! Can't step out into a cow pasture without bogs...


Moooo moooooooo mooooooooooooo

Andy and I got to meet Willie, the owner of the Altenburg Super Baldy Ranch. (If you need to buy any cows or bulls, you should go to this guy)

So. Many. Bulls.

And still more...

Yep, they're for sale!

I definitely learned a lot that day - more than I ever thought I'd know about ranching and raising cattle!

While we were there, a package arrived containing...a drone! Got to fly it around the house a bit :)

Highly recommend this margarita to anyone who can get their hands on it - served over ice it's perfect

Mary (Paul's mom) let me take over the kitchen on Wednesday to make dinner (my newly-minted signature dish of Beef Wellington)

How many college-educated men does it take to get a Beef Wellington from the cooking pan to the serving dish?

Yep - took all 3

Me with 3/4 of the Hiatt family (minus Annie, Paul's sister).

For dessert, Jeff made his very own chocolate 'mousse' (the term mousse is used loosely here)... ;-) It was quite delish - a great end to the meal!

After dinner, we all had to play with the drone

Mary took a turn! She was really good at it :)

Vicious game of ping pong played with Andy - OUCH

Another Colorado sunrise - I could definitely get used to this

Can't get enough

On Thursday, I took an ATV ride around the property exploring a bit

Having a BLAST


I could see myself as a ranch hand...maybe.... ;-)

First ever time playing Settlers of Catan - I had many friends who played in college but for some reason I never tried it out...

...I have no idea why, though - it was actually really fun! (after the boys spent 45 minutes figuring out the directions....)

Almost winning!

This shot of Pike's Peak was taken out of the car window as we were driving to Boulder. Crazy Beautiful.

I bet this place is beautiful in the summertime

Gorgeous decor

The interior was just as pretty 

Apparently they shipped it piece by piece from Tajikistan - everything is hand-carved and original

Fountain inside...

I had the Tibetan Kung Po - scrumptious beef with eggplant and  tomatoes and blue cheese and bok choy and potatoes

Dessert - a simple (but delectable) warm ricotta cake with caramel drizzle 

From lunch we met up with Sheila (WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!) and drove into Denver (this is the mile high stadium)

I asked Joseph to take a picture of me and Sheila...instead he decided to fake us out and reverse the camera to take pictures of himself and Andy. Har har.

Reunited after TWO YEARS!!!!!!!!! Love her to death :)

Being usual

This is what happens....

....when your wife parks too close to the curb and you can't open your door (you have to be pulled out of the window)

We demolished that sushi dinner

Scariest piece of sushi I'd ever seen

Sheila and I had dressed up and were in heels so we weren't in a good position to be walking to our next we hopped in the back of Kevin's truck and drove over

Holding on for dear life (not really - we were going really slow, don't worry parental units!)

In a leopard print minidress and heels in the bed of a pickup driving in downtown Denver to a classy bar....yep, these are the sorts of adventures you go on when you travel with Andy. I've just come to accept them :)

View from the bar on the 26th floor of the Hiatt Regency 

My strawberry shortcake martini

Bye bye Denver (crazy security lines at the airport)

Quick stop in Charlotte before finally heading home - had to indulge in a childhood treat :)

This sleep mask (a Christmas gift from my friend Sam) was a LIFESAVER on this trip - I slept like a log through all 4 of my flights!

I had an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING time in Colorado. Huge thanks need to go out for this trip:

First and foremost, I want to thank Andy - without him this trip never would have happened. He is a wonderful friend and we have one of the coolest dynamics I know of and I know I can always count on him...and I know that whenever he's involved, some crazy shenanigans will inevitably follow.

The Hiatts - Jeff, Mary, Paul, Annie, Vasi, and all the rest of the farm animals...this was such an amazing experience!!! Everyone was incredibly nice and welcoming and I had a lot of fun getting to know them, spend time with them, learn how to take care of a farm, and show them a few of my own cooking tricks :) 

Sheila and Joseph - I am SO THANKFUL I got to see you both, even if it was only for a short time. I've missed you and I always love hanging out with you (and being a complete and utter goofball with Sheila). I love you both very very much :)

2013 is off to a fantastic start....I can just tell it's going to be one helluva year!

And now...on to the next adventure!!! (Who knows what it will be????)
[ Share on Pinterest ]


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I loved reading about this trip! I always tell you what my favorite photos are, ususally based on your beautiful self or the excellent photography job you did--this time, though, it's all about the alpaca! I simply never thought I'd see you hugging an alpaca.

  3. We are an agency and work for Vern's Place. We LOVE your photos from Vern's and would like your permission to use on our social channels. Please respond to this message granting us permission to use your photos. Thank you!