Voodoo Doughnut: The BEST Doughnuts. Ever.

Voodoo Doughnut: The BEST Doughnuts. Ever.

Happy National Doughnut Day!

It’s no secret how much I love and enjoy food- all of our travels are pretty much focused on trying the most buzz-worthy places in each city- but it’s pretty safe to say doughnuts are my favorite!

I’ve visited lots of different doughnut shops, but one always stands out as my favorite: Voodoo Doughnut.

I first experienced the pure deliciousness of a Voodoo Doughnut doughnut after  becoming a Denver resident. We were driving down Colfax Ave and the bright pink building caught my eye. There was a line stretched out the door and around the block, but I made us pull over and wait. Even with the 45-minute line, IT WAS SO WORTH IT! Among their Raised Yeast, Cake, and Vegan doughnuts, my top two are The Homer (Raised Yeast) and Voodoo Doll (Raised Yeast).

Since this doughnut enlightenment in Denver, I’ve also checked visiting their Portland, OR and Eugene, OR locations off my list!

Doughnut lovers everywhere: If you ever come across a Voodoo Doughnut, wait in the line and get a big pink box of doughnuts!

As they say at VD, “good things come in pink boxes”.

XoXo

Cheers to 23!

Cheers to 23!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 23! Wait, you mean that’s not how the song goes?

I’ve officially retired the unofficial Taylor Swift anthem for all 22-year-olds and joined the “cheers to 23” club. Another year has passed and I can’t believe how much I’ve done. During my 22nd year, I graduated from college, moved to St. Louis, moved back to Orlando, then moved to Denver, CO. I’ve traveled to San Francisco for the first time and then again 8 month later. Some pretty epic road trips across most of the country we’re also apart of the mix. I finally got to check out the new Diagon Alley expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. I was even able to be an advisor to a chapter of my sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, in Missouri! I moved away from friends and family, but this adventure I’ve been on has been so amazing- and it helps that I’ve had Vishal by my side! Really, so much has happened and this is just a little snapshot. I have no doubt 23 will bring even more fun and adventure throughout the year.

To celebrate, Vishal took me out to the most adorable little wine bar-type place on 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. It is called Crú Food and Wine Bar and it was delicious! We each enjoyed a wine flight, snacked on an incredible cheese plate, and I enjoyed the most delicious filet mignon I’ve had in a long time, while Vishal enjoyed a great mini stone-fired pizza.

Cheers!

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.