Wedding Vibes: #cortezinthewoods
If you've been following the blog, you know that I have had five weddings to attend this year. I have been chronicling my life as a destination wedding guest; it's so fun! My fifth and final wedding took me to Colorado! I had never been before and was super pumped to visit. I have been raised as a beach babe, but am trying to explore more mountain vibes. It just so happened that the wedding fell during the same week as my reading days, so I didn't have to miss school! My dear friends from NYC, Seattle, and L.A. all flew in for this wedding, so love was truly in the air.
I recently read an article that discouraged people from taking 5am flights, but it is my favorite way to travel. Early as hell and totally worth it. Before we left, I remembered that I had a piece of tiramisu in my fridge and didn't want to leave it there for 6 days. So I ate it on the way to the airport and thought of my girl, Tiramisu for Breakfast!
Andrea made us travel pillows stuffed with chamomile and lavender. What a peach. I can't sleep on planes though, especially when there were three children crying the ENTIRE time from CLT > DIA.
Welcome to Denver. James farted on the escalator.
I could not understand the weather in Colorado. Andrea and I changed 5 times on our first day. Sunny, then shady, then hot as hell, then freezing. I don't think I packed properly.
We were obsessed with this kombucha. I'm pretty sure I had one every day that I was in Colorado. Upstart is made in Boulder. Still a very small company & they only have four flavors. Rosebud was my favorite.
Cherry Creek Trail, 24.6 mile pedestrian & cycling trail that runs through the city. There were so many cyclists and I wished I had my bike. James and Andrea were content chillin' on the rocks, but I was feeling anxious as hell, so I ran 2 miles. I felt totally cool exercising on vacation. Then we saw these happy pups, frolicking through the water.
We walked through the Capitol Hill neighborhood where we picked out our dream homes, took pictures of every VW van, and spotted an RVA sticker.
We stayed with an old friend from high school, who took us to HopDoddy for burgers. James is still talking about the ahi tuna burger that he had. Afterwards, we walked to 1UP, a barcade that has pinball and video games galore! Andrea set a PR for Galaga and we were paitently waiting to play Tetris. James spent about $15 playing Attack from Mars. This is about the point where our long travel day caught up to us. It was about 9pm, so I'd say we did pretty good. We finished the night off with oyster shooters and rosè.
The next day, we hit up Wax Trax while waiting for Lauren and Makiko to arrive. I am not a record collector and can often get bored. However, I was loving their miscellaneous section. There were records on how to train your bird, dance for your sultan, and know more about your astrological sign. I was into it.
Not pictured: the most perfect & delicious vegan curry cauliflower croissant from Pablo's Coffee
How to Belly Dance For Your Sultan
When in Denver......
Girlfriends in Denver Botanic Gardens. We got the peep the infamous Corpse Flower behind a glass case. A few highlights were the Deborah Butterfield: The Nature of Horses exhibit and the Bonsai area.
After the Botanic Gardens, we hoofed it to WaterCourse Foods, Denver's Original Vegan restaurant. One of the best meals that I've had in a while. Cauliflower 'wings', Cauliflower 'fried chicken', a Cubano, Kombucha & Champagne, and a Raw Key Lime Tart for dessert.
Then I accidentally got an UberBlack and a dude in a tux drove us home in an Escalade. Still bummed on that.
THIS IS WHAT JUDYS DO. Face masques and gossip and take selfies while watching Bad Santa.
Our last stop before leaving Denver, Cheeba Hut. A marijuana inspired sandwich restaurant where you can get Dorito nachos as a side or Kool-Aid to drink. Somehow, we got a free order of pretzel nuggets too. I got the Bikini Bottom and it was dank. Then we got a parking ticket.
Salida is about 2.5 hours southwest of Denver. What a gorgeous drive. The town is known for 300 days of sunshine, I hear. Salida is tiny and quaint. There is a grocery store, a few thrift shops, a few restaurants, and a liquor store. What else do you really need though? They have the best murals!
Possibly the best mural I have ever seen.
While in Colorado, I learned about 14ers. A 14er is a mountain the meets or exceeds an elevation of 14,000 feet or more. Colorado is a hub. My latest fitness goal is to climb a 14er. Maybe next Summer? Mt. Elbert is the highest point in Colorado as well as the Mississippi River drainage basin. It was also the name of the cabin where we stuffed 10 friends to share 1 bathroom. The most important fact is that there was a hot tub! It was only an 8 minute drive from the meadow where Erica and Princess got married! The meadow was incredible. It felt like we were the only people on Earth. There were atleast 10 pups running around the entire day and I thought I'd have a good chance at being protected from a bear.
The north fork of the Arkansas River
Coffee in the Hot Tub
Cortez in the Woods!
E + P // 9.26.15
Waiting for the brides!
Among many other things that are cool about Colorado, you can self-unite your marriage! The whole event was so completely them. From Princess posing with her bb gun,then running down the meadow to the ceremonty site. My favorite part was when Princess said they could do anything because they like the same pizza toppings.
The Ladies of Mt. Elbert
Billy, Princess, and I have always been a squad. Why didn't the 3 of us get a picture? :(
Goat Wadi Meadow
Cutting the cake with an ax, very fitting.
Jeff & Dana taking a hammock nap
Billy getting his swerve on.
Mrs. & Mrs. Cortez
We ended the night around the campfire. When the Sun is shining, Colorado is beautiful. Once it goes down, it's cold as hell, especially at 8,000 feet. James joined a freaky drum circle and there were fire dancers. Needless to say, we were geekin' out. We got in the hot tub after the wedding and it was magical.
The next day, we drove to Manitou Springs to stay with our friend Eddie. It was about 2 hours northeast. We did A LOT of driving in this little trip; we saw so much of the centennial state.
Roadside Photo Op!
The crew! James doesn't hard style, in case anyone was wondering.
We took a spontaneous drive to the summit of Pike's Peak. Needless to say, the entire way up I was tripping out and my palms were sweaty. It was cold as hell and I was wearing shorts. Makiko had to buy a couple of blankets. I think Pikes Peak should be my first 14er..
Are we on Mars?
Pikes Peak Summit
Freaky Santa at the bottom of Pikes Peak
Full Moon in Manitou.
Popped into the Royal Tavern for beers. We got ID'ed everywhere in Colorado, btw.
Manitou has 8 natural springs where you can fill up! We got magnesium water to help us sleep better.
Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
Lauren won, OF COURSE.
No trip is complete without a photo booth picture. There was no way that our big heads were all going to fit in the booth, so this was our next best option. I totally hate my facial expression. I told everyone mugshot and then I went full goofball. This machine only takes quarters, FYI. Thanks Billy & Caitz for putting us onto this photo booth.
I had such an amazing time in Colorado. Catching up and traveling with my friends reminded me of our younger days and I savored every moment. I can't wait for more trips with my framily. Maybe it was the altitude, but I swear I felt my heart opening while were in the mountains. I was beyond thrilled to witness the marriage of one of my best friends. Erica + Princess, you are perfect. Thank you for inviting me to your new home and showering us with love!