Archives for May 2017
Sales on sales on sales! Sooo many good sales happening this weekend so after too much fun in the sun relax and shop!
Nordstrom – The Half-yearly sales is from now until June 4th which basically everything on sale!
Backcountry – 20% off one full-price item with code BCTWENTY and 40% off a huge selection
J.Crew Factory – 50% off Everything
Loft – 40% off everything like this eyelet dress and gingham off the shoulder top
Revolve – Basically, everything I wanted in February is now on sale yay!
American Eagle – 25% to 60% – I am getting basically everything
Old Navy – 50% off Tees, tanks, shorts and swim!
J.Crew – 30% off Everything
Shopbop – tons of great items added to sale like these Kenzo Espadrilles and BB Dakota Dress
Ann Taylor – 40% off everything online
Neiman Marcus – Up to 40% off Designer sale
Net-A-Porter – Up to 50% off MAJOR designer deals
Destination: Great Sand Dunes National Park
About: Located in the San Luis Valley against the San Di Cristo Mountains, the Great Sand Dunes began forming 44,000 years ago. The Park is home to the largest sand dunes in North America.
Route: i-25 South then cut over after pueblo or the more scenic route of 285 then stay south after Salida
Distance: 240 Miles
Time: 4 hours
Trip Length: Overnight
Season: Year-round – Best Fall & Spring
Sleeping: Camping or AirBnb
DOGS: Dogs are allowed in this national park only on the front dunes and not in the back. This trip was a few years ago and we did not know the rules – so keep your dog on a leash! And be very mindful of the weather it can get extremely hot in the summer here. Read more about dogs in the park here.
I first visited Great Sand Dunes National Park in 2015 and fell in love with the area. The Sand Dunes are INCREDIBLE! It’s mind-boggling when your crest the first range and all you see is sand dunes. The juxtaposition of the dunes against the valley and snow cap mountains is simply stunning. This has been one of my favorite Colorado trips and it’s hard to believe its only 4 hours from my doorstep.
A Little Great Sand Dunes Geology
When the San Juan Mountains to the west and the San De Cristo mountains to the east formed they left in between the San Luis Valley. After Lake Alamosa receded and evaporated from the valley floor, prevailing winds picked up sediment and sand from the valley and deposited them at the foot of the San Di Cristo, creating the sand dunes. The two creeks that flow around the sand dunes carry that sand back to the valley only to be picked up and deposited back on the dune field. Read the full geology and history of the area on NPS.
Where to Stay
Camping – Each time I have visited I have camped at Zapata Falls, located 7 miles south of the park. This developed campground is nestled on the side of the San Di Cristo providing absolutely spectacular sunsets. We have never had a problem finding a spot in Spring but you might want to check reservations.
Check out the NPS site for other camping recommendations.
Airbnb – There are some pretty funky Airbnbs in the area which is going to be your best bet for finding somewhere to sleep indoors. Most are located near the northern part of the park near in Crestone which is actually pretty far from the park entrance.
Hotels – There are two hotels very close to the park Great Sand Dunes Lodge and Great Sand Dunes Oasis Lodge. The Oasis actually has a general store and restaurant, the only one nearby for miles. For ritzier accommodations but a little further away check out Zapata Ranch.
Where to Eat
Cook! The Oasis lodge is the only restaurant within 25 miles. Your best bet is to bring your own food and cook. Alamosa is solid a 40 min drive from the park and food options are pretty slim.
So if your plan on cooking, stop well before you reach the dunes as again there are only a few small convenience stores in the area and the closest full grocery store is in Alamosa.
I highly suggest going in the Spring or Fall when it’s not terribly warm and the sand is still comfortable to walk on barefoot. The area is naturally windy but be mindfull of this when checking the weather. Its much harderd to crest the dunes with the wind throwing sand at you. With the right clothing it can be doable too!
What to Wear to Great Sand Dunes
- Pants/Spandex – If the wind blows your going to want your legs covered
- Layers – It can get chilly so I suggest a puffer and windbreaker
- Sandals – I have chosen to walk barefoot rather than lug around in shoes. We did have leftover snow in the sand so socks were also great to walk around in
- Handkerchief or Buff – The first time around we didn’t bring these and were a live saver the second trip when it was super windy
- Sunglasses/Ski Goggles
- Bag + Water – There is no water so bring enough for you to drink and then some
- iphone + charger and GoPro – I am so blown away that the only thing I want to do is take pictures and then my phone dies. Do not take a nice camera, sand and lenses do not mix.
You will find sand everywhere after your trip, in your ears, armpits, and underpants. Areas that were totally covered will have sand, so be sure to bring another pair of underpants.
I am so excited to partner with some of my favorite bloggers in gifting 4 WINNERS $175 CASH!! Enter in the fields below. Simply enter your email in to agree to subscribe to our blogs and follow us all on Instagram. Please note, must follow all to win the prize. Remember 4 winners will win $175!! Giveaway ends 5/28 at 12am.
Summer is basically here (as I prepare for a snow storm) But it’s basically here which means my adventure time is about to kick into high gear. And this year I am replacing all my old gear with new fabulous gear. It’s been a while since I invested in some new gear, so I have been reading the review sites, comparing prices and even went to REI to test out some gear. Which is where I learned that…
REI sale STARTS NOW!
Backcountry.com is having a huge sale! Plus you can get 20% off one full-price item with code BCTWENTY
I had still been using my sleeping bag from when I was 15 making it a 15-year-old bag now I am 30. SO it was high time for an upgrade. We have 3 backpacking trips planned this year so I am also going to be picking up a backpacking stove, bear box/bag, hiking boots and water filtration kit.
If you are looking for a new tent I highly suggest the REI Half Dome for 2 this tent is incredible, its SO easy to put up, light weight and compactable for backpacking and the perfect size. Right now REI members can get 20% off this tent with code ANNV17 thru May 29 too!
Destination: Glenwood Springs + Sunlight Mountain
About: Located in the Roaring Fork Valley along the Colorado River this town has been a vacation spot for Coloradans since its inception in 1883. Because of its Geothermal activity the area has an abundance of hot springs.
Route: I-70 W and CO-82 E to CO Hwy 117 to Sunlight Mountain
Distance: 157 Miles
Time: 2h 33m (Depending on Boulder traffic)
Trip Length: Overnight
Season: Year-round or Winter for skiing
Sleeping: Resort Living
In December, I got an Instagram DM saying I had won a trip! To my total surprise, an Instagram of mine had been picked at random by the Colorado Tourism board to win their December Trip Package to Glenwood Springs!
Woah! I know right?! After coordinating with the Glenwood Springs tourism we settled on a trip date for March. February and March were unseasonably dry, not ideal ski trip weather but great adventuring weather!
Downtown Glenwood Springs is absolutely adorable. The shops and restaurants are all centered around the Colroado River, creating a fun walkable downtown. The area was under construction but still easily accessible during our visit. I really can’t wait to go back after the construction to walk along the Riverwalk.
Where to Stay
Included in our trip was two nights at The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. The hotel is perfect for families. A stay at the resort includes free passes to The Hot Springs and a hot breakfast! The decor is really standard but all of the included amenities are great as well as the service.
If you stay at the Glenwood Springs Resort passes to The sSprings are included with your room. Otherwise, the prices are totally reasonable for a day pass. We, of course, had to buy slide pass as well. These aren’t dinky slides either, I screamed on both lol. The pool was crowded but totally worth it. We tested out all the pools, soaked up the sun and decided against indulging in ice cream. The Resort also features a Spa and Gym. Note you can rent a “cabana” for the day to secure some shade.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs – We did not go to Iron Mountain Hot Springs but I have read this is a more “Adult” setting with a spa and private pools.
Where To Eat
Dinner – We got in late and were torn between a few places for dinner but when we walked past CO Ranch House we knew we had found our spot. CO Ranch House decor is perfect! White wash walls, warm lighting, and a tasteful western cowboy decor.
We had a really hard time decided what to order but eventually settled on the Porcini & Mushroom Soup, Trout and Lobster Ravioli. The soup was incredible. I love everything mushroom and this was hands down the best Mushroom soup ever. The Lobster Ravioli was the winner between the entrees, as well. It was pretty chilly that night but CO Ranch House have a huge patio that would be perfect in the summer time. In the picture bellow – behind the bars is the patio.
Lunch – We settled on BBQ for lunch and headed to the highly reviewed Smoke. We sat at the bar, ordered pulled pork sandwiches with mac ‘n’ cheese and margs (of course). The service was great and we enjoyed chatting with the bartenders and waiters.
An ode to my 20’s on the last day…
You were awesome.
I left Georgia only to befriend other southerners across the country, except for that one friend from OKC! Fell in love with margaritas and queso. College is a lot of small talk and dealing with crazy people, but the memories are worth it, and the real friends will be there to remind you of it all 9 years later. Rosedale. An ice cold glass of milk can cure any hangover. Realized that I am happiest while dancing to live music, anywhere, any place, anytime. Memorized every viral YouTube video from 2008. Galavanted my way across Europe. Played softball on the Washington Mall. Danced on elevated surface. Became obsessed with Google Groups. Lost my best friend and too many others. Learned to grieve. Followed WSP around the southeast. Zig-zagged the country for 52 Phish shows. Learned to always buy cheap sunglasses. Got my first job and loved it. Got my second job and hated it. Fell into my dream job on the third try. Learned to be strong for others and when to let them be strong for you. That breakups always suck but learning to love being alone is the KEY to happiness. Took a pottery class. Was a bridesmaid 9 times. Hiked a 14er. Started a blog. Found that blue Gatorade and Pretzel Pizza Combos make everything better. Met my ocelots. Learned that sometimes the only thing you can do is “put it in a box, up on the top shelf.” Ate the best meal of my life in Madrid. Partied too hard in Vegas… a lot. That everything in life is either fuck yes or no. Walked the tunnel at Red Rocks. Felt the incredible energy of Telluride during bluegrass. Therapy is the best money you will ever spend and everyone needs to go. Trolled. Mastered turkey chili. Saw The Dead in Chicago. Met my soulmate and fell head over heals in love. Remembered how much I loved the Gulf and vowed to buy back my beach house. Figured out how to stay healthy. That adventure time is my favorite time.
And finally, that the best ideas happen on the dance floor, communication is everything, cheese is life and that home is wherever you are with your best friends. Book the ticket, change your flight, go to the show and figure out how to pay for it all when your 29. JK, don’t do that last part.
So long 20s! I will remember you fondly. You were also incredibly well documented.
This is 30.