Heading home pt. 6

Dear, goodness, if I never see mountains again, it will be too soon! Fall has hit early in Colorado, and the leaves are already changing to vibrant orange, yellow, and red. There is even snow capping the peaks at higher elevations and blocking out the view of your windshield as we cross over the range. It’s an eerie feeling driving over a snowy mountain in a state that doesn’t believe in guardrails.


The ride back to Denver over the mountains is bittersweet. I’m so happy to be going home, but leaving my newly wedded friends two thousand miles away hurts me. I have the curse of waking up entirely too early after a night of partying, so the morning of our departure, we pack up and hit the road for our five hour drive back to Denver. It makes me sad not to be able to say goodbye, but the memories of the night before will be all I need to carry me through until next time. 

It was my second time off the East coast. My first time in Colorado and it’s time zone. My first time to the Rockies and seeing the Rio Grande. The furthest from home I have ever been. The longest time away from my daughter I have ever spent.

And the biggest moment of my best friend’s life thus far, getting married.

It was a huge trip full of amazing experiences and moments to remember for the rest of our lives, but as our flight lands, I am so happy to be home! 

I can’t wait to see my little girl and feel her little arms and legs wrap around me in the biggest monkey hug her little body can give me! I can’t wait to hear that little voice and see that sweet smile when we pick her up and bring her home! Anticipation is driving me nuts! 

Wedding Time! Pt. 5

Every last minute detail is in place for the ceremony and reception, and we are all trying to calmly get ourselves ready. Nerves are on edge as we make ourselves over and do up our hair, but none of it seems real. Just another day of getting ready for a brunch outing or night out with the girls until the fake eyelashes are glued in place. 

We had locked the bride away from the groom since the night before, and it is clear she isn’t happy. She wanted to be out and organizing, decorating, and cooking, but we stuck to tradition. To try and ease her anxiousness, we wait on her hand and foot, pour her mimosas, and work on her hair and makeup. 

The photographer arrives, and we race to get our dresses on. She takes pictures of the boys first, thankfully, as we pin the final touches to the bride.

My longest known friend who has been there for me through so many stages of my life is dawned in white, a beautifully beaded gown with lace and sparkle. She beams the biggest smile I have ever seen touch her lips, and I know she is ready to become a Mrs.

We pair off with our groomsmen and bounce on our toes at the end of aisle. We all titter with excitement as the music plays and we slowly saunter down the bridge and to the white cloth covered runner. The groomsman I walk with saves me from tripping, but I dont think amyone notices but me. All eyes are dry and full of happiness until the music changes.

My best friend walks down the aisle in the middle of the Rio Grande running over the Rockies toward her always and forever. Her soon-to-be husband stares at her in awe while tears well in his eyes. The moment he reaches up to wipe a tear away, the entire wedding venue breaks into sobs.

The vows are promised, short and sweet, the rings are exchanged and placed on their forever home, and they kissed happily ever after, but first, the reception!

The first dance is to a throwback, Crazy Love, sung by the best man, and it is perfect! The mother and son dance is to You Raise Me Up, and everyone is crying again. A surprise dance is next, and it’s with the bride and her mom to I’ll Be There For You, and I’m hysterical! I have known this girl for so long and her mom is in so many memories, too. Through the young years when we needed rules, to our teenage rules when we broke them, through adulthood when we missed them, her mom had always been there.

I was a sobbing mess!

By the time we got to eat, through the heartfelt speeches, and on to the night full of dancing, every moment was a memory. Every minute I will keep in my heart as another treasure in the long line of moments I already hold dear.

This beautiful bride allowed me to not only be part of her special day, but her exceptional life, and I cannot wait to where the next adventure takes her. From Virginia to Colorado, all the way to the moon, I will always be there for her, and I know she’ll be there for me, too.

Setting up the big day! Pt. 4

Day 1

After traveling for over ten hours in the span of two days, we finally are here in South Fork, Co. doing exactly what I have been anxiously anticipating for months! Setting up this gorgeous wedding!

The venue itself is beautifully set at the base of a mountain on a fork of the Rio Grande. Two cabins and a garage sit on one side of the river while a bridge connects an island in the middle of the river. The island is covered in stunning wildflowers with a gazebo and arbor in the center where the ceremony will take place. The river runs at the base of the mountain covered in beautifully changing foilage, providing the area with the most gorgeous scenery.  
We are only adding personal touches to this already perfect setting, but there’s a lot of work to be done! Hanging tulle, lights, flowers, and monograms in the perfect spots. Cooking food, baking cupcakes and cookies, and prepping the bar are necessary. There’s always something to do, and it must get done! My best friend’s wedding day will be nothing short of the best if I have anything to say about it.

Now, if only this rain would stop.


Day 2

It hasn’t stopped raining since we arrived in this gorgeous tiny town. We’ve ventured out to a few of the small shops and restaurants like the Mexican restaurant with the amazing food and the coffee house with tasty coffee and breakfast, but after our bellies are full, it’s back to work! 

Steaming tablecloths, shirts, skirts, and the wedding gown. Test run of makeup and hair and the rehearsal dinner. We are all running around finding the last minute items in hopes of leaving no stone unturned, but there isn’t much we can setup outside right now without it getting soaked and muddy. 

Please stop raining!

The bridesmaids decide to lock the bride away from the groom for the night into the day of the wedding, and she is none too happy. She had anticipated being part of setup through the next day, and being stuck in her room had not been part of the plan, but we stand by the tradition and keep her hidden. We pamper her and serve her drinks, play games, and have a sleepover. We talk her to sleep and try our hardest to keep her that way!


Day 3 – countdown to wedding time!

This is it! The final countdown before the wedding begins! The rain stops, leaving an icy coating  on every surface, but the morning is warming up and taking it’s time melting it away. A new shipment of flowers and various other decorations come in, and we quickly get them up and start working on the outside items. The final food preparation is underway as chaffing dishes are heated and covered. The bridesmaids take a final run through the ceremony and receptionareas before beginning hair and makeup, and I already need a drink!!


Denver & South Fork, Colorado, A Journey pt. 3

Fying into Denver, seeing those huge mountains in the distance, it’s still so weird that we were there. I never would have guessed a few years ago that we would have made it out that far west, that far from home. Hubby hates flying, so his willingness to go out there for one of our longest known friends was the only reason we made it! And we just barely did.

After a near miss in midair freak out, we grabbed our rental car and started out on our five hour drive through the Rockies. In the middle of the night.

Denver seemed to stretch for miles in the valley beneath the mountain, and I felt a large familiarity as we sat in bumper to bumper traffic, but as the miles slowly slipped away, the mountains suddenly popped up and we’re right next to us as if we had only blinked. I swear the sun was more intense at that altitude as it descended below the looming mountains, and the night sky began to sprout sparkling light. I had no idea how much manufacturing was based out of Denver, but the Purina plant sticks out in mind the largest with it’s signature pet food smell. The skyline of Downtown sprawled across the horizon as the city passed us by just as the interstate gave way to the mountain pass.

Two things I realized about Colorado during this drive which may be exclusive to the mountain roads. One, whoever built the roads does not believe in guardrails, probably because if you’re going to fall, your gone regardless of speed. And two, streetlights are reserved for cities.

After a five hour plane ride, we drove for two and half hours in the darkest night I have ever seen on the windiest roads I have ever been on before we called it a night for sanity and safety reasons. We figured we’d finish the last half in the morning, so we pulled into the least spookiest hotel we could find. (I’ve seen too many scary movies to stay in a small hotel in a small town as a tourist.) 

Sleeping was another oddity at that elevation. Every time I tried to slip into a deep sleep, my breathing would cause we to wake again. My mind wouldn’t shut off, and my dreams sent me on wild rides through the dark mountains. I woke up many times through the night trying to catch my breath as my heart raced from my latest dream.

When we woke up in the morning, I dreaded getting back in the car and continuing the drive on those roads, but I wanted so badly to see my friend. With coffee in hand, hubby and I pushed on to South Fork, and our final destination for the weekend. We passed red rock mountain after mountain, but the last half of the drive was nowhere near as teeth clenching as the first. With the sun shining brightly, the land lit up in it’s vast array of colors of the changing leaves, rocks, and valley floors. It was beautiful! All apprehension melted away as the last two and a half hours melted away in gorgeous sights and breathtaking scenery! 

When we finally arrived in the sleep  it off South Fork, we checked into the hotel and before even making it to our room, we were out of breath! At 8,000 feet, breathing at what we knew was a normal rate was going to be hard!

Off To Colorado for a Wedding! Pt 1

Moving on now to the wedding weekend festivities! This will be a multi-part series much like the Bachlorette posts. Hang tight as I go from start to finish on this second and final piece to a wonderful ride!

Our bags are packed, and we’re ready to go.

A beautiful bride, dressed in white, accented by the snowcap mountains in the distance.

A handsome groom, waiting at the alter nestled beyond a bridge as the river ripples beneath the marching wedding party’s feet.

It’s an image I can picture as easily as I can my own reaction. My long time friend getting married to the man of her dreams, the look in both of their eyes as they see each other for the first time at the alter; it’ll be all I can do not to cry!

Here begins another chapter in my book, an exciting tale of travel, but this is the first in the chapter of my best friend and her soon to be husband’s lifetime together!

New title: Aunt pt. 2

Just left the gender reveal! My sister and her significant other made cupcakes. Each had a pink and blue swirl icing top to a yellow cake filled with icing the color of the gender of the baby, blue or pink.

We each first guessed as we ate dinner (my guess was a girl) then for dessert, we were given a cupcake. I was too excited, couldn’t help myself, I cut the darn thing straight to the center and found..

BLUE!

I’m going to be an Aunt to my NEPHEW! Such a happy memory!

New title: Aunt!

I’m going to be an Aunt! 

You know how you look at a word, spell it a few times, see it randomly, etc., and it just looks like it’s spelled wrong. That’s me right now. Aunt. Aunt. Aunt. Weird.

My sister and her significant other are expecting their first child and tonight is the big gender reveal! I can’t wait to know what my potential niece/nephew is going to be! A new playmate for my daughter! Just so many new moments to be had, but my absolute favorite will be giving my niece/nephew back to their parents! Ha! Just like my dear sister did to me so many times. Hype them up, and send them home! Wahoo!

On a serious note. I try to look at each stage in my life, each milestone or chapter, as the next great adventure, and becoming an Aunt is absolutely falling into that category. I have big shoes to fill as my aunt and godmother treated me as her own child. I have so many memories of her and my cousins; I can’t wait to make them now with my niece/nephew!

By the way, I’m guessing niece! Stay tuned!

Austin Pubcrawler pt. 7

I know I have been dragging the events of this bachelorette party weekend out, but there is just so much to show and tell of this glorious weekend in an awesome town!

I’m cursed when it comes to the morning after a night of drinking. My eyes pop open at the slightest glimmer of dawn regardless of the pillow covering my face. I lay in bed, trying desperately to convince my brain it isn’t time to get up yet as I roll over and cover my entire body with my sheets. My head threatens to spin me toward nauseum, qnd I finally push out of bed and stomp toward the bathroom, knowing the only cure for my spins is warm water running over my face.

I soak in the shower and slowly put myself together. I climb gingerly up the stairs to the main floor where my blessed roommates are sleeping soundly through their hangovers. I make myself a cup of instant coffee which is surprisingly good and scarf down a protein bar and ibuprofen. I let my friends sleep in, not wishing the same fate of feelings on any of them, but then I remember.

While in our inebriated state the night before, we scheduled an early Pubcrawler experience! If you’ve never heard of it, let me tell you what an experience that was! 

You jump on a mobile bar with peddles beneath your seat, and a bartender/guide is only steering and serving you for two hours through the town. We made three stops with multiple bars in the vicinity and got to see what Austin looked like in the daytime. Every stop we made, we entered a different type of venue including the Tiniest Bar in Texas, Fado Irish Pub, and Rustic Tap. All excellent choices, and all a great time! 

We played music the entire ride through Downtown, drank the drinks we brought with us, and had a drink at each stop. A little hair of the dog action. Our guide was fantastic, funny, and showed us a good time, but nothing could have prepared us for the fantastic workout our bodies generously thanked us for following the end of the ride.

It may not have been the best idea following a hangover, but it is a great memory. I would recommend this type of event, whether in Austin on the Pubcrawler or any town that has a similar version. 


 

Keep Austin Weird pt. 5

That’s the saying around Austin. One you will find on tshirts and various other souvenirs in storefronts along 6th street. It’s also found in script in graffiti at Graffiti Park or on signs throughout Downtown. Everywhere you look, you can find the saying, hidden in inconspicuous places and blurted by the live bands. 

I never expected Austin to be so green and have so many hills. I never expected Austin to be so metropolis and teeming with the latest and greatest in not only the music industry, but in food, fashion, and art. 

I never expected to find one of the greatest times in my life on a street with two polar reputations, Dirty 6 and West 6. 

When I first spotted the saying, I admit I was a bit confused. Why would a city want to be weird? The word itself at times can have a negative connotation, thus allowing it to essentially become the motto of the town doesn’t seem like a good idea, but it is probably the best idea I’ve ever heard!

Austin isn’t weird in a Barnum and Bailey circus show sense. That’s not the meaning and message behind the slogan. After spending these past few days in this wonderful city, Keeping Austin Weird to me means experiencing something you may never be able to elsewhere. It’s a reminder to those who live there to push innovation and create the next big thing. And it’s a promise to tourists that this town isn’t like anything you’ve ever seen before.

*These past few posts about my time in Texas for my friend’s bachelorette party weekend we’re all written a week before Hurricane Harvey hit. For this reason and the kindness and generosity I experienced while in Austin, my heart aches for those suffering in all parts of the state. If you can, please donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief here.