rooftop sessions

puppy play, love, and one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life.

and that's the end of my recap on our colorado trip. i can't believe it's taken me so long to document it, but i've seriously been THAT busy ever since. so many things are changing and rearranging in my life. it's been tough to keep up with, but it's nice to have images like these to remind me to soak up the beauty of it all. i am so thankful.

free beer and boulder

on the third day of our Colorado trip, steven, peter, and i drove to the mountains.

first, we went to Golden to take a tour of the Coors brewery. 

when we learned there was a 2 hour wait for the tour, we skipped it and went straight for the free samples (the brewery generously offers 3 free beers to each thirsty visitor), since we were VERY thirsty for that fresh Golden beer. ;)

we'll go back and see how it's made, one day.

with tummies full of free beer, we went on to Boulder, which is the most charming little city just outside of Denver. i've been a couple times before with my family and i just continue to fall more in love every time. while we were there, we went to Chautauqua National Park, played in Boulder Creek, and had lunch in downtown Boulder. 

it was my favorite day of the trip :)

garden of the gods

Our third day in Colorado, Peter and I rode down to Pueblo with our friend Alexis, to meet up with Peter's best friend Sam. Alexis has been in Denver for the summer with an internship while Sam had just arrived in Colorado after having biked all the way from Virginia... on a bicycle.

Sam has been biking with an organization called Bike the US for MS, which raises awareness and funds for research for Multiple Sclerosis. We met up with Sam in Pueblo about two thirds of his way into the trip. The riders started with their toes in the Atlantic Ocean of Virginia and will finish with their toes in the Pacific Ocean of San Francisco, a total of 3,785 miles.

Suffice it to say, we were honored to be in Sam's presence that day, and grateful to meet many of the other people who have so bravely embarked on this experience for such a wonderful cause.

And because Sam had a day off when we visited, we went out and explored an area outside of Colorado Springs called Garden of the Gods. It's a natural park with these magnificent red rock structures that truly make you feel humble and small.

kissing camels :)

holding a little man as he hikes

red rocks, white mountains, and blue skies. oh, and 22.

on the morning of the 4th of july, just as i was turning 22, i did something that i never do. 

i mysteriously woke up just before sunrise. 

maybe it was my body's recognition that it officially survived the crazy age of 21 and must now behave as adults do, waking up at a responsible hour... or maybe it had something to do with the puppy that found joy in bouncing on the air mattress i was sleeping on. 

the latter is most likely, because i'm never up before the sun is and i like it that way. my 22-year-old body does too. that morning, i fought for sleep, pushing the puppy away and squeezing my eyelids shut with all my might.

eventually i gave up the gig and thought i'd sit on the wood floor by my cousin's floor-to-ceiling windows and watch the sunrise. however, that same charming puppy left me a smelly birthday present right where i was going to sit... and i'd be damned if i was going to pick up poop first thing in the morning on my birthday. it just didn't seem like the proper start to my 22. 

so i ignored the shit, put on my poncho, and poured myself a cup of coffee that was luckily waiting for me in the pot because steven brewed a batch at 11 pm the night before and forgot it. (and it was still warm :). 

then, i made my way toward the rooftop terrace of steven's apartment building, unaware that the door leading to it is normally locked before 8 am. my lucky birthday angel must've been in denver this year because just as i read the sign that said i wasn't allowed on the rooftop, i noticed that the door had been left just slightly propped open. so i tip-toed through the door to find a rooftop terrace with a gorgeous view of denver all to myself. 

and that is where i sat, with my warm cup of coffee, to watch the sun rise on my new year of life.

it was heavenly.

after a couple hours of rooftop bliss, the boys began calling me, wandering where i'd run off to. i went back to the apartment for more coffee before heading out to red rocks with them for a morning hike. red rocks is a park and amphitheater just outside of denver. i saw death cab for cutie there last august and it was one of the greatest, most surreal moments of my life. 

the amphitheater rests at the base of two huge red rocks, providing brilliant acoustics and a completely unique atmosphere. it is hands down my favorite concert venue, ever. but aside from concerts and festivals, red rocks also hosts movie nights called "film on the rocks", and is also a place where many colorado locals go to hike and workout. 

we hiked one of the trails leading around the park. then we headed to heritage square to ride the alpine slides. i was mildly terrified going into it, and even took the slow slide while all the boys went on the fast one. but it was so much fun and offered such a pretty view of the valley and the city on the way down. 

after the slides, we went back into denver and began partaking in 4th of july activities. we feasted on delicious food, drank star-spangled vodka, hung out at the pool, went on a late afternoon bike ride with friends, grilled dinner on the roof, crashed a party, and ended up on the very same roof that i started the day on. 

dear 22, please be as good to me as this day was.

first day in denver

our first full day in denver, we broke out the bikes and saw the city at a pedaling pace.

we rode from pearl to 16th, then walked the bikes down the mall to the creek. we rode up larimer square and through cheesman park for some jumping and meditating. we watched the sunset at city park and smelled the pretty roses.

and we had dinner at Stueben's, a restaurant on the corner of pearl and 17th, which i highly recommend for its unique menu and retro ambiance. the sandwiches we had were borderline divine.

at home, we made sangria and sipped it as we watched a movie that i can't remember because i dozed off so quickly. peter woke me up at midnight to whisper, "happy birthday, babe." i smiled wide in a half-sleeping stupor.

and that was the beginning of our beautiful, active, indulgent, exhausting, and insightful stay in colorado.

In ,

more from denver

i flew into Denver on Tuesday morning.

Steven picked me up from the airport, took me back to his apartment for a delicious dose of coffee, and then we embarked on a 4 hour walk around the beautiful city.

it was an unusually warm and sunny day. steven said that a couple days prior, it had been snowing. i wouldn't have believed him if it weren't for the delicate little corners of ice still remaining near the curbs of his street, soon to be melted away by the 72 degree heat. 

we walked all the way down the 16th street mall, past the train station, and over the bridge of this charming little river, where beginning kayakers were learning on the modest rapids.

on the stairs over there, in the upper left of the picture above, eccentric looking hippies danced to music, played instruments and bathed in the sunshine. colorado really comes alive in sunshine.

and then we came home to this sweet little disco ball. yes, his name is disco. he's adorable.

i napped with disco on the couch to the sound of soft indie music.

steven woke me up just before sunset so we could watch it from his rooftop.

that night, we drank red wine, ate chinese take out, and watched funny movies. 

the next morning, steven and i drank lots of sweet coffee and hung out in his beautiful studio apartment, as the temperature outside had dropped to a bone chilling 28 degrees. maybe that's not so chilling to denver bones, but it's certainly icy to these florida natives. 

in the afternoon, while steven was at work, i mustered up the courage to go out for a walk to 16th. i couldn't very well pass up the chance to eat in a cafe and shop in Denver's new two-story H&M. and steven met me there, as soon as he was done being a cool graphic designer for the day :)

another night was spent drinking red wine, eating delicious food (steven's boyfriend is an amazing cook!), and watching fun movies. a perfectly relaxing two-day stay in a city that i love. :)

spring breaks with cousin steven

so i happen to have the coolest cousin in existence. 

steven is a 23-year-old graphic designer now living in Denver, Colorado.

he's probably my closest family member (besides you, mom), and one of my favorite friends.

steven has been the most consistent presence throughout my life. when we were little, we made elaborate forts out of sheets draped over couches and coffee tables, and slept in them. when we were really little, he played barbies with me all the time. when we were kids, we ran through woods and pastures making bizarre movies with a video camera that we probably shouldn't have been allowed to play with. when we were teens, he taught me how to drive (and immediately forgave me when i crashed his car the day of my driving test). he shaped my musical taste, constantly sending me home with indie playlists that he knew i'd adore. i had my first alcoholic drinks with him and when mom found out, she couldn't ground me from him because we were just always around each other. and, he nearly drowned me with laughter on too many occasions to count, in pools, beaches, and rivers all over central florida. life-threatening laughter is the best kind, isn't it?

so naturally, i try to find my way toward him whenever i can. just recently, i realized that i've spent at least a part of every single spring break of my college years with steven. i absolutely adore unintentional routines. i hope this one becomes somewhat of a tradition :)

 

spring break 2009

this spring break, i got a new car. but, beach cruisers were the favored form of transportation. he liked weaving in between tanning people and i liked chasing little seagulls. 

 

spring break 2010

for part of this break, i went to see steven in lake helen. at 10 pm one night, we felt compelled to pack the car and drive to miami right that moment. for no other reason than to swim in water so clear that we could see our feet, even when we were neck-deep. we parked on the coast and slept in his car until the sun rose. we spent the day people-watching and sleeping on the beach. we had a late lunch and free mimosas at a cafe as the sun sank below the buildings.

p.s. i was underage at the time, so those mimosa's were extra tasty.

 

spring break 2011

this spring, i got in a cab before the sun rose and didn't tell a soul where i was going. i called steven from Charlotte and asked him to pick me up from the Denver airport in a few hours. we went to thrift shops and played dress up in art museums. we made cocktails and watched french indie films. we went to a st. patrick's day parade and started drinking green beer at 10 am (that mile high altitude surely got the best of me). we weaved through green rocky mountains to casinos and saw pastures of buffalo.

 

spring break 2012

it was a short stay, but it was just what i needed. we spent hours walking around 16th street, crossed the bridge over the river past the train station, and ate at the market on larimer. i spent a day getting inspired. we talked about photography and web design. we drank red wine and watched melancholia, which prompted interesting intellectual conversation.

i'll never have another proper spring break (i haven't decided whether i should be mournful or ecstatic about this fact), but i'm hoping steven and i can find our way toward each other every mid-march or so. it just wouldn't feel natural without him.