Top 5 Things to do in Estes Park, Colorado

Top 5 Things to do in Estes Park, Colorado

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that I just got back from Colorado and while it didn’t go exactly as planned, we had an amazing time!

So without further ado, here are my top 5 things to do in Estes Park!

#1 Visit RMNP – this is a no brainer and was actually the purpose of our whole trip. After several trips to Colorado in the past, we were stoked to finally get to see Rocky Mountain National Park. We were looking forward to camping and hiking inside the park for the long weekend.

We chose to stay at Moraine Park Campground which is easily the prettiest campground I have ever stayed at. The sites are really spread out which is wonderful. When you are making reservations on rec.gov you can actually see a little photo of the campsite which is great. Sites come with bear locker, picnic table and fire pit!

Hikes: We hiked to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake, a super easy hike from the parking lot. And for our more difficult hike, we headed up to Fern Lake from the trailhead just below Moraine Park Campground. This hike was beautiful but due to snowy conditions, I considered this a pretty hard hike with a large altitude gain.

#2 YMCA of the Rockies – when we couldn’t handle the cold any longer, we ended up sleeping here! The grounds are absolutely spectacular and the view of the Rockies is unbeatable. A family vacation dream! They have horseback riding, archery, zip lining, rock climbing, fishing, mini golf…  We decided immediately that we would have to come back with Sophie ASAP.

#3 Stanley Hotel – Not only is this beautiful and historic hotel a landmark of Estes Park, movie buffs will probably recognize this hotel from the Stephen King movie The Shining.  The gorgeous hotel built in 1909 gained the reputation of being haunted after Stephen Kings novels popularity.

Now if you are in the Rockies for a little adventure, these last 2 activities are for you!

#4 Estes Park ATV – one of Steffen’s favorite things to do is ride ATV’s, so I thought what better way to celebrate our anniversary trip than by riding in the mountains of Colorado. What I absolutely love about this company is that they set they give you the safety lesson, tell you the rules, explain the routes (and difficulty levels) and then let you go for it! It was great to have different routes for the more experienced drivers. This was an absolute highlight for us!

#5 Rapid Transit Rafting – on our final day, we opted to go river rafting. I do have to note that the actual rafting took place in the Cache La Poudre river about an hour from Estes Park (near Ft. collins). They provide transportation or you can opt to follow the bus with your own vehicle. I have to admit that I was pretty scared but once we got to the rafts and I saw the little footholds, I was just excited. The 44 degree water just added to the fun of the experience!

I hope you enjoy these recommendations- please enjoy this video with plenty of footage from our trip!

Amazon Designer Dupes | 2019

Amazon Designer Dupes | 2019

I had seen so many of these fun amazon designer dues videos floating around on YouTube that I was totally inspired to purchase some of my own to try out!

I picked very different items to try out and surprisingly, they are all fantastic! I am going to link everything below, please let me know if any of the link stop working and I will do my best to find new ones!

Louis Inspired Watch Band: https://amzn.to/31lPS8P

Gold Bangle: https://amzn.to/31p7aC1

Tote Bag: https://amzn.to/2KnNDwl

Mini Dress: https://amzn.to/2yHLl4a

Leopard Sneaker:
https://amzn.to/2YOfeP1

Red Mules:
https://amzn.to/31lQgnN
https://amzn.to/31mMM4l
https://amzn.to/2GTRZsC

Giant DIY Paper Flowers

Giant DIY Paper Flowers

Hi Friends! I’m happy to be sharing this DIY on how to make giant standing paper flowers! I created these 2 years ago for a whimsical children’s photo shoot that I had planned and as you can see, they have held up so well. Since I knew these would be for a photo shoot, I needed to make sure that they traveled well – which they do! These are fantastic for any photo shoot or an event where you want to add some whimsy.

Here is a list of supplies you will need:

For the Flowers:

Crepe Paper: https://amzn.to/2XBAkRa
Pipe Cleaners: https://amzn.to/2XuxCN7
Dixie Plates: https://amzn.to/2LFN5Tj
Faux Grass Rug: https://amzn.to/2JsTNJG (optional)

Here is the in depth tutorial for the flowers: https://www.smilemercantile.com/blogs/tutorials/giant-paper-flower-for-a-diy-wedding-backdrop-craft-tutorial

I go step by step in the below video and please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Things to do in Houston | Part 1

Things to do in Houston | Part 1

Hello Friends! Today I am going to share with you a video that I have been working on for quite some time and that’s the first part of my Houston Guide. Since this is the city where I was raised and now live in again, I wanted to be sure and do it justice. There was no way to get all my favorites in one video, so I’ll be splitting this up in to multiple parts.

First Stop: Sam’s Fried Chicken and Donuts

Located in the Heights (601 HEIGHTS BLVD, HOUSTON, TX 77007) this little restaurant has the best donuts with the best flavors. My favorites being Mexican chocolate and Blueberry. But if you are going for the first time you definitely have to get the double donut chicken sandwich.

2: Allen Parkway

Allen Parkway is a gem that I somehow just recently discovered – mainly because I don’t live in town, but I love it. Such a fun place to have a picnic with a gorgeous view of downtown, great if you have kids because the have tons of room to run around and explore. Be sure to check out the video to get a better idea of what the different parts of the trails look like! Shout out to my husband for the beautiful drone footage from the video.

3: Houston Murals

From the feedback that I have gotten, I will make a more in depth video on this in the future but one of my other favorite things to do in Houston is to drive around and look at the murals. Winter Street studios was a really great one stop shop for tons of different little murals and colors. Great for taking those instagram pictures or having a photo shoot if you are a photographer. I’m also a big fan of the Houston/ Texas ones that just popped up on McKinney Street (right by Discovery Green).

Thanks for checking out this blog – stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

Family Photos: tips & BTS

Family Photos: tips & BTS

For today’s post I wanted to share with you some of the family photos we just had taken by the super talented Renee at Domus Aurea Portraits. I though it would be fun for y’all to see what goes into an in home family session from the view point of a photographer. There are lots of little tricks you can use to make your home look amazing (fresh flowers, hiding cords, etc.).

So for the day of the shoot I took my camera to pick up a few last minute things I needed and then walk you through how I rearranged the parts of my home that I knew we would be shooting in.

When picking outfits for our photos I knew I wanted something colorful because our house is pretty neutral in color, so my bright pink dress actually acted as a pop of color! But if you are ever struggling with what to wear for photos, you can never go wrong with jeans and a white shirt. Looks casual and put together AND timeless which is important if you don’t have pictures taken too often.

I hope you all enjoy my video and seeing some behind the scenes. Please leave me a comment below and let me know which outfit you like best!

5 Things you need to know before visiting: Big Bend National Park

5 Things you need to know before visiting: Big Bend National Park

Here are some of my tips about what you need to know before visiting Big Bend National Park! If you have been, let me know if I missed anything.

Tip 1: Campgrounds

There are 3 campgrounds in Big Bend National Park – Cottonwood, Chisos Basin and Rio Grande Village. All 3 campground are relatively far apart so plan accordingly – Chisos being the most popular! If you can make reservations ahead of time.

Tip 2: Cell Service

Do not expect to have cell service within the park! We had service at Chisos Basin and at the visitor center but other than that it was really sketchy. So my advice is to just make sure you have maps and important numbers already saved to your phone.

Tip 3: Weather

Big Bend is known for dramatic changes in weather, so even if you are going in the summer bring some kind of a jacket. We went for Labor Day which happened to be the tail end of monsoon season (who knew!?) and our tents flooded and we ended up having to find a hotel at 10:00 at night. It was not ideal.

Tip 4: Distance

If you need to know anything at all about BBNP it’s that EVERYTHING is far apart. This park is huge!!! The map looks very deceiving. We spent way more time in our cars then we would have liked just driving from point A to B and back again, so plan activities accordingly.

Tip 5: Lions and Tigers and Bears

Finally, just be prepared to see some critter. Whether you are camping or out hiking, chances are you will run across a tarantula or some giant lizards and maybe even a snake. In our case we also had an encounter with a bear (see video) and mountain lions are also prevalent within the park. So just be mindful of that and be safe!

5 things you need to know before visiting Germany!

5 things you need to know before visiting Germany!

In this weeks blog (and video), I will be taking about 5 practical things you should know before traveling to Germany in 2019!

  1. Cash is King
  2. You have to pay to use the restroom
  3. Recycle to get money back for plastic bottles
  4. Restaurant water & tipping culture
  5. Traffic Laws

In Germany cash is still very much the prefered method of payment and actually the only method of payment that is accepted. ANd this is not just at Mom and Pop shops, this is at restaurants, tourist attractions, some grocery stores, etc. SO be prepared and always have cash on you.

Another thing that will come as a shock to most visitors, is that you have to apy to use the restroom at gas stations and shopping malls in Germany. At gas stations you get a coupon that can be used towards a purchase (the fee is usually .50 cents). Ins hopping malls you can choose how much you leave as a “tip”.

Tip 3 is all about recycling. Ever wonder how Germany is so clean? Recycling! Pay attention to the plastic bottles and cans you purchase. IF you look for the recycle symbol you will see if you can get “Pfand” back for the bottle. They give you .25 for every can or plastic bottle you recycle, it’s a refund of a deposit you paid when you bought the drink. I think it’s an awesome incentive to recycle! Another thing to note, if you are staying at an Air BnB or with someone, people split there recycling up into AT LEAST 3 bins inside their home. Just be mindful of that, it will probably be labeled. German efficiency and all that.

And last but not least, let’s talk about the “rules”. Now I know many of you have heard that Germans are notorious rule followers and well, I cant deny that… so here are some basics to keep you from getting yelled at in the streets. Bike lanes are for bikes. Period, end of story. Don’t walk in them, don’t stop to chit chat in them… people take there bikes very seriously and you will get reprimanded by a shrill bike bell if caught. I’m only half kidding. But the other things Germans don’t mess around with are the rules of the road. There is a reason why there are spots on the Autobahn where you can drive as fast as you want and it’s because everyone knows the rules. Left lanes are for passing and or ‘hauling ass” only. If you see someone coming in the rear view, speed up or get over FAST. Vroom Vroom.