Steph in Singapore

Steph in Singapore

Some interesting observations while in Singapore:

  • Singapore is absolutely the cleanest place I have ever been
  • Gum is illegal- no where sells it and no one has any
  • Singapore is home to the 100th Starbucks location ūüôā
  • At first, you don’t realize what it actually is, but the Singapore SkyPark is the coolest place and gives¬†the best views of the area

With Love,

Steph

#TBT : California Summer

#TBT : California Summer

With the weather teetering between 20 and 50 degrees and tons¬†of snow here in Denver, I thought it be nice to throw it back to the my much warmer trip to northern California over the summer. It was my first time visiting the state, not to mention the my first time to the west coast, and I was instantly in awe by San Francisco, the scenic views, Pacific Coast Highway, and WHALES! I still can’t believe I saw whales just out in ocean roaming freely and giving me (and the hoard of other people stopped in amazement) a nice little show.

From the moment we flew into the city (on my favorite airline, Southwest, obviously) I couldn’t believe where we actually were. We did so much throughout our trip and all in just four days! We made San Jose our home base during the stay, which made traveling between San Francisco and down Pacific Coast Highway super easy. On our first day, we took a drive down PCH to travel down the “17-Mile Drive” and check out the most picturesque little town of Carmel. It was probably my favorite part of the trip. We saw whales, sea lions, and admired the views from the stops along the drive. (Weird thing we noticed: all of the squirrels we encountered were extremely fat. Like, they were mutant squirrels. See picture below for reference)

Over the next few days, we saw the red woods, walked on the Golden Gate Bridge after hiking through the park to it, walked throughout the city, experienced all the quintessential touristy things to do, and took a day trip out to Napa Valley for some awesome wine, We also visited Alcatraz, which was SO cool! I highly suggest doing the audio tour when you go there. The narration makes the experience seem that much more real. Another highlight of our trip was taking the hike to the park that over looks the Golden Gate Bridge. We did it with friends who live there and met up with more to end our hike with a picnic. We had drinks, tons of food, music, good company and all with the GGB as our backdrop. It was the best last day in San Francisco I could ever imagine.

I was seriously in amazement the entire time we were there¬†and, basically, the¬†only adequate way to describe my trip is “a¬†travelers’ paradise”!

Check out below for pics from my travels!

With love,

Steph

Moving On and Starting Over

Moving On and Starting Over

Well, I’ve been living in St. Louis for three¬†months now! While I never thought I would end up in Missouri, I can really see why people fall in love with this city.

When Vishal announced our new destination, I was beyond nervous and had no idea what to expect. I had never visited the area before and the only background knowledge I had on STL was that it was home to the Arch. That’s it. But, with only two weeks to pack up and move out of our place, I was more worried about how I was going to fit all of our stuff into my sedan (not an easy feat), than how life would be in our¬†new city.

After a few weeks here, an¬†overwhelming feeling I had when on my own was how cut off from my familiar world I felt. After living in my college town for the previous four years, having friends all around me, and always having someone to call up to hang out with, I began to realize that growing up sometimes means leaving the familiar behind. It was also hard that I used to¬†only be a three hour drive from home and was accustomed¬†to seeing family¬†just about every other month. It was all just very comfortable. That comfort is what made it so hard, yet so easy, to leave. It is a shocking and in-your-face type of thought, but I’ve realized how necessary this experience was for me. I was able to reevaluate myself and given the chance for a period of introspection to better understand my wants and my needs, discover what’s important in my life, and where I want my life to lead me. If there was any a time to experience something like this, the time was now. This is time before there is anything holding Vishal and I back from being truly “free” in the we-have-no-real-responsibilities way.

A few things I have discovered during this new journey:

1. You realize who the important people are in your life. I cannot tell you how much I wish I could be just a short drive away from my family and friends.

2. You get away from the drama you always had to deal with before. Sometimes, when you’re around your friends and peers and just those various groups you end up interacting with, you get pulled into or are around negative people. When you move away, you get to leave all of that negativity behind and just focus on the people who matter!

3. You can start over fresh and have the chance to reinvent yourself. You¬†have left the people who have formulated¬†concrete perceptions of you, so if there is something you want to change about yourself, you can without being nervous of people’s reactions.¬†You have the chance to make a new impression on the new people you’ll meet in your new city.

4. You discover how valuable hanging out with friends you’ve known since elementary/middle/high school is. It was a strange thought I had, but there is an interesting comfort in surrounding yourself with people who have known you through various stages of your life. You realize the relationships and friendships you form with people in your adult years are in a separate league than ones from your childhood, teenage, and college years. This is not a bad thing, it’s just something about growing up that¬†makes those older friendships even more special and meaningful.

This experience has been amazing, scary, exciting, anxiety-enducing, but overall so important and valuable. So, take the leap, jump in with two feet, and take advantage of new experiences while you have the chance. It is the best opportunity for self-discovery and I urge you all to take that next step towards a new adventure.

With Love,

Steph

Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds
During my trip to Denver, CO, the boyfriend and I decided to trek down deep into the earth at Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs- technically Manitou Springs. About an hour from Denver, this attraction was definitely worth the drive.
You can pick from two different tours, the Discovery Tour (more suited for families) and the Lantern Tour (for the more adventurous). We decided to toughen-up and go on the Lantern Tour. So worth the extra $10.
A bit of a disclaimer, the Lantern Tour is not for the faint of hearts. It is a pretty long trek with lots of almost crawling, ducking, steps, and some slippery floors. You can really feel it, especially with the altitude and temperature change, but it is obviously doable.
We did have to wait a bit before our tour began, but there is plenty to do and see until then! The building has two decks that overlooks an absolutely beautiful mountain and valley, so we just posted up in the rocking chairs admiring what Florida is seriously lacking in appealing landscape.
The tour started with pictures at the entrance of the cave before we made our way to the grand cavern (If you’re a picture person like I am and its a slower day, they’ll let you retake it at the end of the tour until you’re happy). Our tour guide, Chris, was wonderful. Very informative and funny. He gave the group a brief history of the caves, which were discovered in 1881. I love learning and hearing about the past, so I was all about this tour. There were so many interesting tid-bits we learned about the caves themselves, their discovery, the man who discovered them, and some “ghost stories” that linger in the caves.
After completing the majority of what the Discovery Tour covers, we moved onto the sections that were exclusive to the Lantern Tours. This involved going up a few more flights of stairs to another make shift entrance. Before going in deeper, we were all given hand-held, gas-and-wick lanterns (so cool!). We explored more passage ways, cool illuminating rocks, and experienced total and complete darkness after putting out our lanterns. During the darkness phase, Chris talked us through the sensations our eyes were going through trying to adjust through the darkness. It was a really interesting experience.
The trip wraps up as were taken back through the caves. After working our way through different passages and witnessing so many other holes in the walls, I can only think about how many other passages that have yet to be discovered!
Oh and there is a section of the cave where previous visitors have left personal mementos to mark there trip to the caves permanently, so be sure to bring a business card or old school ID with you! I wish I had known that before, but I’ll just have to go back next time I’m in town!
Extra bonus for those of you who experienced Greek life in college and were lucky enough to know brothers of TKE:

No idea how it got there, since it’s about three stories up, but how cool?! Try and find it on your visit!

Overall, the Cave of the Winds tours are a definite to-do attraction when in Denver or the Colorado Springs area. You’ll experience history, folklore, cavern passages over hundreds of years old, and it is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. ¬†Plan in advance and purchase tickets online for a discount!
Anyone else experience Cave of the Winds? Let me know what your favorite part was in the comments!

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
One of the most beautiful places I have been to: Garden of the Gods. Wonderful and picturesque. This is a place you definitely NEED to visit. It is a free public park and National Natural Landmark located in Colorado Springs; about an hour drive from Denver. Stop at the visitors center for a map and the volunteers who work there are a great resource for special sightings around the trails.
( View from the Visitor Center observation deck)
There are designated trails, all featuring something special. You can start wherever you’d like, as each trail as easy and accessible parking. We started off with the scenic paved trail. It was beautiful and there were tons of people enjoying their morning there that day, some with their dogs (made me really miss my Simba back at home). Throughout the entire park, you enjoy amazing dramatic views sandstone rock formations towering 300 feet above you and sights of Pike’s Peak (another favorite of mine) in the background. There were plenty of opportunities to explore unpaved paths, which the boyfriend and I took complete advantage of. We climbed, explored, and found the coolest areas that you otherwise wouldn’t see. Finding all of the different famous formations like the Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, and the Window Rock, where our favorite activity. I highly suggest visiting the Window Rock. It is a rock formation with a hole in the middle that perfectly frames a sight of Pike’s Peak through it.
¬†Garden of the Gods is a great place for easy hikes, biking, and horse trails. I swear we could have spent the entire day in Garden of the Gods, if only our trip wasn’t so short.