How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoes for Your Next Summer Adventure

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Are you swapping poolside cocktails for sandy hiking trails this summer? If so, you’re going to need to rethink your footwear, because comfortable sandals aren’t going to cut it.

Hiking shoes and hiking boots aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of footwear, as the type of hiking shoe you need all depends on what you want it for. It sounds tricky, but as long as you know what you’re looking for you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect boot.

Here are some of the best and most popular types of hiking footwear that would be ideal for an adventurous summer of hiking.

What Kind of Shoe Do I Need?

Hiking shoes: Low-cut hiking shoes with flexible midsoles are perfect for your average day of hiking and backpacking. Backpackers also swear by trail-running shoes for long-distance journeys.

Day hiking boots: Mid- to high-cut models of day hiking boots are ideal for day hikes or short backpacking trips, just as long as your load isn’t too heavy. The best part of day hiking boots is that they’re flexible and don’t need a lot of time or effort to break in. The only downside is that they lack the support and durability of stout backpacking boots, which would be better suited for longer trips or heavier loads.

Backpacking boots: Backpacking boots are perfect for heavier loads, especially if you are embarking on a multi-day adventure deep into the backcountry. You’re likely carrying everything you’ll be wearing and using on your back, so you want to make sure your boots help you handle the extra weight. Most backpacking boots are designed to have a high cut that wraps above the ankles, which provide excellent support for on-or off-trail travels.

How should they fit?

Once you have the right hiking boots, you need to ensure that they fit you like a glove. They’ll likely have a somewhat different fit than your favorite supportive sneakers, but that’s to be expected. You’re using the shoes for very different purposes, after all!

Make sure you try your hiking boots on at the end of a long day (a prime time, as that’s when your feet are more likely to swell) with the exact socks you will be wearing. They should fit like a second skin, while feeling snug but not too tight. The rule is that if you don’t have room to wiggle your toes, then they’re too tight!

Get the right size. Getting the right size is extremely important. We recommend having your foot's length, width, arch length and volume measured by a specialist – preferably by the same people you’re buying the shoes from. You can double-check the fit by pulling the insoles out and standing on them. Ideally, you should have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the insole.

Wear appropriate socks. Make sure the thickness of the socks will be exactly the same as the ones you intend to wear on your hike. We suggest taking the exact ones to the shops to avoid any mistakes. As for the type of socks, we recommend synthetic as opposed to slow-drying cotton socks, as the latter are more likely to give you blisters.

Wear them in. Don’t wait for your hike to take them out of the box for the first time. Hiking boots should be properly worn in, so walk in them whenever possible. Try finding an inclined surface and walk up and down on it, or scale your stairs a few times a day. The more surfaces you try, the better!

Know your knots. The way you lace up your boots can affect their fit quite dramatically, so make sure you’re familiar with the different types of knots to guarantee the best fit possible. The surgeon’s knot is great for keeping your heel from slipping, while window lacing can alleviate pressure points on the top of your foot. Toe-relief lacing is a great makeshift remedy to get you back to the trailhead.

Do your homework. Trying on boots from several brands at the store is always a great idea. But if you must shop online, it’s advised that you go with a brand you’ve worn before, as the sizing will generally be consistent. You don’t want to order a pair of boots that don’t fit properly.

Most importantly, have fun! Summer hikes are always a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and quiet. Being comfortable while doing it will just make the experience all the more special.

*This post provided by Taos Footwear.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Boulder, Colorado

BOULDER, COLORADO

Hotel Boulderado’s historic stained-glass ceiling lobby.

Hotel Boulderado’s historic stained-glass ceiling lobby.

Background: I’ve actually lived in Boulder, Colorado before, so it was a treat to be invited back by the historic Boulderado Hotel for a stay recently. You can read my full feature on that adventure here. Below I’ve also offered other options for things to do in the area in case you want to explore the city a little more than I did on my last stay. My outfits and restaurant choices below are featured strictly from my Boulderado stay. If you’d like other eating or entertainment recommendations for Boulder, send me a message on Instagram.

Hotel Boulderado’s   Historic King Suite   features victorian-era decor throughout.

Hotel Boulderado’s Historic King Suite features victorian-era decor throughout.

What I Wore: Outfit one is a white dress like this one from Banana Republic. I love their line because they offer petite sizing and classic looks. My shoes are throwback Jessica Simpson patent white pumps that I’ve had for a couple of years. Browse pumps like mine here. I wore a pair of pearls to complete this classic look.

Outfit two is a vintage 60s gogo-style cutout floral print dress worn with black Jellypop Mozart Wedges (a $13 steal right now for summer!) and a pair of pink tassel bow earrings. I couldn’t find my exact earrings (bought them about a year ago) but browse similar styles here.

Hotel Boulderado has a mix of historic and modern decor with lush, fun furniture pieces on every floor.

Hotel Boulderado has a mix of historic and modern decor with lush, fun furniture pieces on every floor.

What I Did: You can see much of Boulder in just one day. I recommend hiking Boulder’s beautiful Chautauqua area near the Flatirons, wandering the downtown shopping district Pearl Street Mall, checking out University of Colorado at Boulder’s incredible campus, walking the downtown Boulder Creek path, snagging some fresh produce at the Boulder County Farmer’s Market, or taking a Celestial Seasonings tea tour (the Peppermint room is my favorite part!).

waking up at hotel boulderado with their plush bathrobes and other luxury amenities.

waking up at hotel boulderado with their plush bathrobes and other luxury amenities.

What I Ate: I stopped for a glass of Cabernet at Boulderado’s The Corner Bar before dining at the farm-to-table fresh Spruce Farm & Fish restaurant for dinner. At Spruce, I sampled the Blue Crab Cakes appetizer (delightful and paired with citrus), the Sweet Pea & Mint Linguini (phenomenally fresh with a soft poached egg and delectable English peas), and the Crème Brûlée (a tasty rich custard with fresh berries and a perfectly caramelized top). It was a seriously incredible meal.

After dinner, I headed downstairs to the hotel’s speakeasy, License No. 1, where I sipped one of the bar’s specialty cocktails, the Boulder Mule. Served in a copper mug, the delightfully refreshing drink is a combination of vodka, St. George pear liqueur, house ginger cordial, and vanilla ginger syrup perfect for summer. License No. 1 has an entire book of custom cocktails, some spirit-heavy; others floral focused or sweet. You can read more about my wining and dining adventures on this trip here.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

Where I Stayed: In the Historic King Suite at Hotel Boulderado. This suite features Victorian-era decor, a spacious sitting area with amenities like fresh spring water, and plush Boca bathrobes perfect for winding down or starting your day. The floral wallpaper, iron headboard, and soft colors of the room add to the suite’s beautiful decor details while the room’s vintage desk area allowed me to get some much needed work done before exploring the rest of my stay. Hotel Boulderado was the first luxury hotel built in Boulder, Colorado and it remains one of the top places to stay in the city. Learn more about it in my full feature on Hotel Boulderado here.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Cologne, Germany

COLOGNE, GERMANY

Aboard a   KD Rhine     cruise.

Aboard a KD Rhine cruise.

What I Wore: These black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. I wore a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket for the water cruise since it can be breezy on the river, but I’d recommend any of their jackets.

What I Did: Saw the Koelner Dom, took a Rhine River boat tour with KD Rhine, and explored the Cologne shopping district. I was here for less than 24 hours so this is all I managed to fit in!

What I Ate: Funkhaus Cafe had a seriously delectable bread and cheese breakfast plate. I liked it so much I had it twice- once when I arrived in Cologne and once before I left for the train the next morning. It’s very close to the Cologne train station and Koelner Dom, so it’s a convenient eatery. If you can snag a table outside, it’s great for people-watching too!

I had dinner at the Brauhaus Reissdorf, which was right across from where I stayed in Cologne. It poured rain during our dinner, but we sat on a covered outdoor patio with brews and had a blast. The staff were very friendly and helped me practice ordering my dinner in German becuase they wanted to and not because I asked. It was a great, local, no-frills joint.

At the 70s style flat.

At the 70s style flat.

Where I Stayed: Benno’s Stylish Attic in the Center of Cologne Airbnb- Benno’s fantastic apartment has a spacious bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Benno is in the film industry and his apartment is full of fun film relics and 70s-era styles. Though we weren’t here much, Benno is the reason we decided on Brauhaus Reissdorf for dinner. Benno is a superhost for a reason! I’d definitely stay here again.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Amsterdam, Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

I love the architecture here!

I love the architecture here!

What I Wore: I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a basic striped H&M jersey top, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip-ons. For nighttime, I wore a sundress like this one with these Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals and the aforementioned jacket and scarf. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Wandered the flower market, took an early evening canal tour with Lovers Cruise (it rained so we did a closed-boat cruise), walked to Dam Square for photos, saw the Anne Frank house, had ice cream on a canal bank, toured a few free local art galleries, and went out in the evening near the Red Light District.

My lunch at   De Koffie Schenkerij  .

What I Ate: I stopped for a sandwich and pie at De Koffie Schenkerij for lunch- it was a lovely find! We ate in their outdoor garden area which is near a canal and was very peaceful. I also recommend stopping in Amsterdam’s Chinatown on your next visit- dim sum at Oriental City was delicious.

Where I Stayed: XO Hotels City Centre- This was a tidy spot on the edge of the Red Light District, which is where the most activity happens in the evenings if you want to explore Amsterdam’s night scene. It was clean and small but certainly nothing special. I chose it because it is within walking distance of a lot that I wanted to see and do, but I wasn’t in the room much. It’s a short walk from the main train station, canal tours, and a lot of the city’s attractions.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Paris & Versailles, France

PARIS & VERSAILLES, FRANCE

Paris is for lovers.

Paris is for lovers.

What I Wore: In Paris, black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. In Versailles for the all-day walking tour, these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Madison in Ox Black/Wolf Grey/White. Sunnies from H&M. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Read my five favorite things about Paris here. Had a dinner picnic at Champ de Mars, took an Eiffel Tower tour to the top (worth the views!), did a walking tour of Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, The Louvre, Sacré-Cœur, Galeries Lafayette, Pont des Arts, Moulin Rouge, and viewed several exhibits at Halle Saint Pierre Gallery; did a full Palace of Versaille walking tour featuring stops at the Royal Gardens, Hall of Mirrors, King’s Apartment, Queen’s Apartment, Royal Chapel, Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, and ending with a Royal Garden Fountain Show (Sundays only so book accordingly!). I wanted to see everything I could here and it was so worth it- it took the entire day and round trip was about six miles. Great exercise and so fun!

Picnicking at sunset.

Picnicking at sunset.

What I Ate: Picnic at Paris’ Champ de Mars; dinner at La Place Creperie in Versailles. For the Paris picnic, we just stopped at a Franprix and picked up apples, French cheeses, smoked salmon, cucumber, chips, and wine. It was quite honestly one of my favorite meals on my entire European adventure. I highly recommend picnicking at Champ de Mars if you can- at dusk the Eiffel Tower lights turn on and it’s such a splendid time. A true highlight!

Where I Stayed: I can’t recommend where I stayed because I got bed bugs!! It was awful. I’ll be writing about that adventure soon so stay tuned!

Read my five favorite things about Paris here, see more of my travel guides here, and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Brussels, Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Grand Place.

Grand Place.

What I Wore: Depending on the day, sundresses like this one with a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket (but I’d recommend any of their jackets here), a nude H&M tank with these black skinny jeans, an oversized scarf with either outfit, these Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Madison in Ox Black/Wolf Grey/White with the jeans, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals with the sundresses. These gladiator-style sandals were actually my shoe staple for my June trip around Europe. They are fashionable enough to dress up or down, are incredibly comfortable, and even have a slight heel! Fave. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: You can read my five favorite things to do in Brussels here!

What I Ate: Chocolate from several of the chocolatiers in the Sablon, Belgian beer from The Delirium Cafe, waffles from street merchants near Mannekin Pis, and a tasty Italian gnocchi dinner at Gabbiani Reali. The chef even came out to watch us take our first bite and make sure we liked it! It was fabulous.

Where I Stayed: The White Coloured Studio Avenue Henri Dietrich Airbnb. This was one of my favorite stays of the trip. Though it was a necessary 13-minute Uber ride away from Grand Place, it was roomy, clean, and cool. The host provides amazing little amenities throughout the room like makeup remover pads, tons of books and maps on nearby activities, and extra linens. It was a spacious studio setup and easy entry.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do in Bruges, Belgium

BRUGES, BELGIUM

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

What I Wore: I visited Bruges, Belgium in early June. Since it’s not too far inland, it was a cool temperature at this time of year (50s Fahrenheit). It was cloudy but it did not rain during my stay. I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip on sneakers. All of these items were staples since I backpacked around Europe for 2 weeks. I took almost everything in very similar color tones to have an easy mix and match (a lot of black, white, and gray with accessories that served as a pop of color, though I’m rocking the all-black lewk in this photo). Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: I visited Bruges’ Markt, Burg Square, climbed the Belfort Clocktower (totally worth it!), entered the Basilica of Holy Blood, and saw the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo at the Church of Our Lady (so beautiful!). Of course we had a photoshoot at the famous Rozenhoedkaai too! It’s truly picture perfect and everyone waits to take their photo there.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

What I Ate: Books & Brunch had one of the best brunches I’ve ever had!! Just look at that spread!

Where I Stayed: Hotel Biskajer was a lovely spot to park for the night. The room was very small but tidy and comfortable. The gentleman working the front desk was very friendly, gave us some local tips on things to do, and even called us a taxi to the train station once we’d checked out. While we waited, he made us coffee! This hotel does not allow children but it’s perfect for singles and couples to stay. It’s in walking distance of everything I did.

See more of my travel guides here. Have you been to Bruges? Tell me your favorite spots by connecting with me on Instagram!


10 Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Reflecting on 2018.

Reflecting on 2018.

I always find myself reflecting on the past year around the holidays. Between the decorating, the shopping, the dinners, and the parties, it’s important to take some time to think about where you’re at and where you’re going. After all, New Year’s Resolutions are right around the corner! So this week, I took some time to look at my last year and reflect on some of the things I’m most grateful for. Here’s my list of ten things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  1. Health - A few years ago, I found myself in the hospital for an unexpected procedure around Thanksgiving. Not the best way to spend the holidays, let me tell you! Since then, I’ve spent time every year paying attention to my health and taking care of my body. It’s amazing how we take our health for granted until we don’t have it. Take time to slow down and listen to your body this season! After all, it’s the vehicle taking you everywhere in this wonderful life.

  2. Family & Friends - There’s no one I love spending the holidays with more than friends and family. I love having the excuse to slow down my work life for a few days to be present and connect with those I care about most. I also can’t believe the number of new friends I’ve made this year, including all of you! 2018 has truly been an amazing year in so many ways and there are so many humans I have to thank for that. So thank you!

  3. Good Music - I have been to a ridiculous amount of incredible music experiences this year, from the many nights I spent at Red Rocks to the days in the sun at Grandoozy, to all of the club and living room shows I’ve seen and been hired to photograph. Good music is all around and it motivates me all the time. To all of the artists who have played their hearts out and shared their art with me this year, thank you!

  4. Travel - Anyone who knows me jokes that I really am always on the run. And this year, I’ve been roaming more than most. I’ve seen so many new places and am really grateful for the opportunity to have shared them with you (see some of my travel features here!). I think every time you travel, you learn something new about yourself, even if it’s something small. This year has been a real exploration of destinations, people, amazing food, and more. I’ve learned so much about who I am, what I value, and where I want to be. Comment on this picture if you have an idea of where I should go next!

  5. Debt Free - Student loans had me dowwnnnn friends. It took me five years to pull myself up out of their stronghold, so I completely sympathize if you’re going through this life. I currently work around 80 hours a week, though it’s all doing amazing things that I love, so working that often definitely helped me end my debt this year. I actually paid off a large portion of my loans through side gigs though, and I’ll be publishing on this soon in its own feature. Stay tuned!

  6. Work - Is it weird to be grateful about work? I don’t think so! I am working on so many amazing projects- from music photography gigs, to working with blockchain companies on their content strategies, to running press campaigns for companies like FL+G, I have had an absolute blast working this year. A few years ago, I felt stuck working in a career I didn’t absolutely love until one day, I decided life was too short and I started chasing the things that mattered to me, like public relations, content creation, blockchain, travel, tech, health, and more. I feel super fortunate to now be doing things I’m so passionate about. If you want to pivot your work life, DM me! I would so like to help you find joy in what you’re doing. It took me a little time, but now I’ll be forever grateful I took the leap and went for it!

  7. Connecting with Other Creatives - Though I’m super into science and technology, I definitely have a creative side. It’s taken a while for me to find work that lets me use both sides of my brain everyday, but the way I found what I love to do was by reaching out to other creatives: bloggers, publicists, PR coordinators, photographers, marketers, and more. Each one of them taught me different skills and techniques that I now use in my work everyday, so I am very thankful for all of the creatives I’ve connected with this year. You rock!

  8. Blockchain - At the start of the year, I was fortunate to publish a feature in VICE News about blockchain technology in healthcare. This opened a ton of doors for me- now I work with different blockchain companies on communications strategy and content creation and I love it. I’m so glad I was introduced to this space and that I’ve connected with so many others who are passionate about it. There is much more to the blockchain world than cryptocurrency, I promise!

  9. Colorado’s Music Community - While I’m on the go often, Colorado is my home base. There is an absolutely wonderful music community here- artists, musicians, promoters, photographers, publicists, and more. Whether it was jumping to a good show, photographing one of my icons like Ringo Starr, or speaking with a ton of you at Denver’s Balanced Breakfast chapter, one thing’s for sure: I love the Colorado music community. I’m excited to continue to see this community grow- what will next year bring us y’all!?

  10. Opportunity - If you want something, you have to chase it. I feel like I’ve spent all of 2018 doing just that! Whether working with clients, on my own creative outlets, or with any of you on your projects or passions, I’ve been so fortunate to have so many amazing opportunities this year to do what I love. But they didn’t just flood my inbox- trust me. I went after them with a fire that’s still burning. What’s the thing that keeps you motivated to chase the opportunities you want? Share it with me in the comments on this post.

What a year 2018 has been! I have so much to be grateful for, and so many of you to thank for that. Now, I want to hear what comes to mind for your list. Share yours with me on this post!


Denver's Inaugural Grandoozy Music Festival an Overall Success

Life at the ‘Dooz.

Life at the ‘Dooz.

Last weekend, Superfly Presents- the brainchild behind events like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands- showcased their first major Denver music festival: Grandoozy. The three-day musical extravaganza featured headliners like Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Hip-hop and indie rock were the mainstay genres for the weekend, with notable performances by De La Soul, Mavis Staples, Miguel, Phoenix, Snow Tha Product, St. Vincent, The War On Drugs, Young The Giant, and more.

From the start, I was very impressed with Grandoozy’s inclusion of Denver businesses, musicians, and artists. Whether you had the chance to pick up some exclusive merch from Topo Designs or Kleen Kanteen, catch Dragondeer or Gasoline Lollipops at one of the main stages, or wander by the live murals by Rum Tum Creations or Dink C, the Mile High was well represented across all areas of the fest. Local vendors made up the food and beverage curation as well- Denver restaurants, food trucks, and breweries were everywhere. Some of my favorite treats from the weekend were from Elysian Brewing (pumpkin beer!), Habit Donut Dispensary, Mac N’ Noodles, and Stoney’s Bar and Grill.

Another fantastic part of the festival were the entrance times. I never waited in line more than 1-2 minutes, which was great! With the clear bag policy in place, security did not seem to be too overwhelmed with bag checks, which made for a smooth entrance inside, and from what a lot of festival attendees mentioned, the feeling of a “safer” festival experience. Exit was equally easy at night.

Grandoozy also delivered on the Colorado mantra, “Pack In, Pack Out.” The grounds were meticulously clean upon arrival, and throughout the fest each day. There were trash, recycling, and compost bins everywhere and even during the headliners, I saw volunteers collecting items around patrons to make for an easy exit. The flushable porta-potties were equally clean, with staff regularly ensuring their sanitation. There were water stations to actually wash your hands at too (not just that Purell life!) which was great.

Speaking of water though, there were not enough well-marked drinking water stations this year. I heard complaints from many attendees that they had given up at times and just bought bottled water when they failed to find the areas to refill. Since this is expensive and not environmentally friendly, it would be awesome to see Grandoozy provide more of these stations in better marked areas next year, especially if we’re once again chasing 94-degree heat.

Shop my “Mermaid Festival Jewels” from Tarte Cosmetics   here  .

Shop my “Mermaid Festival Jewels” from Tarte Cosmetics here.

The transportation piece of Grandoozy was complex. Though there wasn’t any parking at the festival, Grandoozy did provide shuttles from the I-25 Broadway light rail station. I took the light rail to this stop each day and the shuttle time to the festival grounds was 20 minutes or less, even on Friday during rush hour. To get home each night, I then took a walking path out of the Jewell exit over to the Evans Street Station. The first night, my crew and I hopped the wooden fence behind the festival exit and walked through a neighborhood to get to the station. I got a splinter from the fence, it was a poorly lit path, and there was not a lot of security on this route. The second night, the wooden fence had been removed and my group proceeded to walk through the same neighborhood, which was now well-lit with generator lights provided by the festival and security. This route was quick and felt safer with  these additions, but unfortunately, some festival goers disrespected residents’ property in this neighborhood. For this reason, on the third night, all neighborhood access was shut down with a heavier police presence and caution tape. This time, we were directed down a very long walking path, which eventually spit us out on the overpass near the rail station. Because this particular path was so extended compared to the neighborhood route on previous nights, my group almost missed our train. Obviously, transportation issues were being worked on by the festival each night for success, but moving forward, if required exit paths are established, it would be great if Grandoozy’s mobile application provided these directions and instructions with estimated walking times so attendees can plan accordingly. Also to note- the Uber and Lyft rideshare drop-offs were reportedly very complicated, and though I didn’t use them, I’m sure the festival will look at these options very closely to improve for next year.

Finally, Superfly, I have to ask: Paper tickets?! In 2018?! This is the one piece that has got to go. Any music festival I’ve ever attended uses wristbands- they’re easy to put on (especially if they’re mailed in advance), they’re hard to lose (even after a few drinks), and they typically allow one to come and go during a festival (Grandoozy was a no re-entry situation). Best case in my book would be a festival utilizing the blockchain for tickets; otherwise wristbands are a must.

Overall, Grandoozy’s inaugural year was a fantastic start with minor hiccups that are to be expected with a festival of this magnitude as close to 60,000 people attended. It was great to see so much of Denver incorporated, and it will be interesting to see how people and the the festival organizers continue to develop Grandoozy’s culture. Like frontman Thomas Mars said during Phoenix’s Friday evening set, “This is the first year of Grandoozy, right? You can make this festival whatever you want…” So what will you make it Colorado?

See more posts from my Grandoozy experience on my Instagram.


Why You Need to Experience Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Hanging in the pit before a recent Red Rocks show.

Hanging in the pit before a recent Red Rocks show.

If you’re a Coloradoan, chances are you’ve been to a Red Rocks show. And if you haven’t, what’s stopping you?!

Red Rocks is one of the premiere concert venues in the world, and not just for its views. The acoustics of this place are magical for music lovers and performers alike. Recently, Vance Joy even shared with me backstage that Red Rocks is “the best venue in the whole world!” Although it’s in my backyard, I have to agree.

If you’re curious about the history of Red Rocks, I highly encourage you to read more about this geological masterpiece here and consider visiting outside of concert hours. They have a grill and gift shop where you can find out more about this iconic place and even see a list of every band who has ever played the stage in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (the Beatles show is always a fave find).

A sold-out Red Rocks crowd.

A sold-out Red Rocks crowd.

If concerts aren’t your thing (then I’m not sure how you found me? they’re half my life but... ) Red Rocks also hosts movies and yoga at the venue. These are special treats (I’ve done both!) so keep an eye out for them.

And finally, if you’re a music lover, keep up with Red Rocks’ schedule here and buy your tickets while the season lasts! It’s one of my favorite places to be in Colorado and people travel from all over the country to see shows here.

You can check out some of my Red Rocks concert photos at this link and find more of my experiences from the rocks on my Instagram. Make sure to tell me about your favorite times on the rocks by commenting on my pics!


The Five Things I Loved The Most About Paris

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Often referred to as The City of Lights or The City of Love, Paris is well known for its mystical vibes. Here are my favorite things about the enchanting city:

The Fashion

Paris is quite fashionable, whether you’re talking about its citizens, the amount of shopping the city has available, or the fact that it is one of several cities known worldwide for its modeling and fashion events. Sporting your favorite yoga pants will be laughable here, so make sure to browse my guide for dressing in Europe before you jetset over! If you missed it and you’ve already landed, I recommend dropping by Galeries Lafayette to pick up something a little more dressy. Even your most “I only shop online” friends will be impressed by the architecture of this space, and it doesn’t hurt that the galeries feature some of the most luxurious and famous brands in the entire world.

The Food

French cuisine is exquisite, and I found both cheap and more gourmet examples of this. After dining at delicious cafes and restaurants, I stopped by a market near the Eiffel Tower and picked out a selection of fruits, cheeses, crisps, a baguette, and wine which made for a fantastic picnic at Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. This was one of my favorite experiences of my entire Paris visit and my whole meal cost around 20 euro! You can find delectable pastries and sandwiches just about anywhere too, and what’s Paris without trying a croissant?  

The Architecture

There are a number of incredible sites to see in Paris just for their architecture, like the Gothic-style Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, and of course, The Eiffel Tower! You’ll also notice the style of the buildings throughout a large part of Paris feature balconies with French doors, which are great for snagging fun photos on like the one featured on this page.

The Art

Obviously, Paris is known for the Louvre. But if you’re not wanting to wait in the lines that Beyonce and Jay-Z paid to skip, there are plenty of other art spots in Paris to check out. I had a beautiful afternoon at the Halle St-Pierre in the Montmartre area, where I wandered a Balkans exhibition before making my way outside and walking across the street to the The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. So whether you’re looking for a specific artist’s work (like the Dali Museum) or just an afternoon escape from the rain (that was my sitch!), Paris has the perfect place for you.

Walking Tours

Depending on where you’re headed in the city, like most metropolises in Europe, Paris is very walkable. In just the span of one day, I saw the Notre-Dame de Paris, Pont de l'Archevêché, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, the Galeries Lafayette, Halle St-Pierre, The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Champ de Mars, and the Eiffel Tower. Plus throw a couple of great cafe stops in there and a night picnic while the Eiffel Tower lit up! I recommend mapping out the main sites you want to see on your walk and then using TripAdvisor to pull up other things near your main plans. That’s one way I was able to see so much in so little time- strategy! That and a couple of delicious cappuccinos…


Kauai From the Sky Is the Best Way to Experience the Garden Isle

UPDATE: After the floods in Kauai in April 2018, there is much to be repaired on this beautiful island. Please consider donating to the relief efforts here.

Kauai, the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii, is a very lush island covered in tropical rainforests. Much of the island is protected with the Na Pali Coast State Park and the Waimea Canyon State Park. The island’s origins are volcanic, wild chickens roam freely in city and rural areas, and the island has dozens of waterfalls scattered throughout its mountainous climate. If these reasons still haven’t sold you on why you should adventure in Kauai, just look at these pictures of the Na Pali Coast. You’ll never want to leave its beauty!

Just before takeoff!

Just before takeoff!

Several Hollywood films have used Kauai as a location, including South Pacific, Lilo & Stitch, the first Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost ArkTropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blue Hawaii, and The Descendants. Once you’ve seen this island, it’s easy to see why it’s been a scouted as a tropical paradise so many times!

My favorite way to see as much of the island as possible in a short amount of time is by helicopter, and more specifically, with Kauai’s Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. With business class style seats, two-way communication with your pilot, and a chopper that is mostly glass for your viewing pleasure, explore Kauai in luxury! The ECO Tour, which is the one I did, includes a flight around Hanapepe Valley, Manawaiopuna (also known as Jurassic Park falls!), and Olokele Canyon which eventually opens into the sweeping views of Waimea Canyon. This area is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and it’s breathtaking! My favorite part of the ride was along the Na Pali Coast, where we caught a few rainbows out over the ocean and swooped across the shoreline near the Bali Hai Cliffs and Hanalei Bay. Most tours will even visit Mount Waialeale, which is the old volcano that helped form this island.

A Na Pali Coast shot from my window.

A Na Pali Coast shot from my window.

I had an absolute blast talking to my pilot the entire tour too- he used to fly in the military and now flies the Kauai skies as a private pilot. He was extremely knowledgeable about the island and there was plenty of time for questions on our 45-minute tour. My group felt safe from start to finish in the ECO Star chopper and they even filmed our ride. National Geographic has called Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Kauai premiere helicopter tour company for good reason- they offer a safe, professional, luxury tour of Kauai at a very reasonable price.

Kauai really is the sapphire gem of Hawaii’s crown. It’s one of the wettest places on earth due to its annual rainfall, which makes for some crazy biodiversity in its plant life and the view of it from a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter ride is unreal! Fly in luxury and see all the beauties this island holds- you can book your sky tour here today!


Why You Should Book A Submarine Tour On Your Next Tropical Vacation

Exploring the deep blue below!

Exploring the deep blue below!

Kona, Hawaii is known for more than just its coffee. In fact, the Big Island’s city boasts National Park access, the historic Hulihee palace, and even Michael Dell’s $64.7 million home. The city has a lush landscape and its boardwalk shops and restaurants along the coast of Kailua-Kona bay make for a great day of just cruising the coastline if you’re looking to keep it more chill.

But if you’re looking for adventure…

Then here’s why an Atlantis Submarine tour is for you!

After checking in right off the bay, you’ll board a mid-size boat which jets you out to the submarines. The subs are far enough off the coast to take you to shipwreck sites and a coral reef. You’ll spend 45 minutes with 48 other passengers sinking to 100 feet below the water’s surface where you can see Kona like no one else can (unless you’ve got your scuba license).

As you climb down the ladder into the submarine, you’ll be seated at your own personal window so that you can really take in everything the ocean’s going to throw your way. You’ll see schools of fish, crabs, sea turtles, and even dolphins if you’re lucky. There is a wide variety of fish to look at and throughout the trip, your guide will educate you on all of the creatures you come across.

But hold on- if you’re thinking squeezing into a sardine can with 48 other people to look at fish sounds like hell- chill! The seats on Atlantis subs are actually roomy enough to keep you comfortable and the ship is air-conditioned. Plus the tour takes you places you really couldn’t otherwise explore. And when else are you going to be able to say you’ve been on a submarine?

When your tour is over, you’ll board the ship back to the bay and Atlantis will drop you off right on the shore. You’ll leave knowing you’ve seen some rare spots in Kona and hum Beatles tunes all the way home (you know the one).

Not trekking to Kona on your next Hawaiian adventure? No worries- Atlantis offers tours in Maui and Waikiki too. Book your underwater adventure today.


Why Skydiving Should Be On Your Bucketlist

Freefalling.

Freefalling.

Skydiving.

It’s something everyone should do once.

That feeling of shooting through the sky at top speed, looking out over the world… there’s nothing like it!

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or you’re just looking for a new adventure, here are the reasons skydiving has got to be on your bucket list:

1. To conquer your fears.

If dropping out of an airplane at 18000’ above sea level at 130MPH isn’t conquering your fears, I don’t know what is! There is really no rush like skydiving and whether you’re afraid of heights or just the unknown, tackle it with a dive! As a beginner, you’ll always be paired with an experienced tandem jumper, so you’re strapped on to another person when you jump. When I went, my instructor had over 10,000 jumps in his career! I never felt out of control or concerned. And besides, once you’re up and about to jump, there isn’t much time to think anyway. That’s why it’s nice to know you’re with someone who is going to get you to the ground safely.

2. For the rush.

Let’s be honest- if you’re someone who loves adventure or a crazy adrenaline rush, skydiving is definitely going to give you that hit. Especially if it’s your first time. My energy totally heightened when I was standing with my toes at the edge of the airplane door just before the jump. As I looked out over the Rocky Mountains, I couldn’t believe I was about to just blast out into the sky. And then we did. And it was awesome. And you should do it.

3. It’s a whole different view.

Sure, you’ve probably been a passenger in an airplane. But when that’s gone and it’s your face against the sky (with your goggles on of course), the world has a whole different view. During my freefall, there was really just one word that kept repeating in my mind: nirvana. The fall felt like nothing I’d experienced- hurtling toward the ground as the mountains crept closer and closer somehow felt like it’s own strange paradise. I remember looking out across the vastness and considering, “We’re not all as far apart as we think we are.” Somehow being up so high and then coming closer and closer to the earth made me think about how connected humanity is. What will your view be?

4. You may just discover your new favorite hobby.

Remember the guy I mentioned who had more than 10k jumps? Well he had to start somewhere! While jumping out of planes as your pastime might sound crazy, you’ll never know if you’re meant to make it your new hobby until you try it! Most skydiving companies offer the standard tandem beginner jump along with lots of other training programs. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that “thing” you’ve been looking for in a dive and end up getting your solo license, or jumping from space. Get out there.

5. It’s a chance to learn something new.

Though skydiving sounds as easy as just stepping off the ledge of an airplane, there’s a little more to it than that. Your guide and the staff where you book will spend some ground time with you going over your gear, how to “fall,” and most importantly, when to pull your parachute! The entire experience is a chance to learn something totally new and different, and doing so will also make you feel a little more in control when it comes time to plunge.

Ready to book? Here’s where I went. Happy jumping!


The Top Five Reasons To Snorkel In Hawaii

Snorkeling in Hawaii is paradise.

Snorkeling in Hawaii is paradise.

There’s a whole other world underwater, and Hawaii is the place to see it! With black and white sand beaches, some of the clearest waters in the world, and a variety of coral reef and marine life, Hawaii is a snorkeler’s paradise. Here are the top five reasons you should snorkel on your Hawaiian vacation:

1. The animals! Duh!

Snorkeling will open your eyes to all of the amazing sea life that Hawaii has to offer. Coral reefs, turtles, and tons of fish and marine life surround several of the Hawaiian islands and can be explored just off the beach. Some areas also have the added bonus of whale and dolphin watching, letting you see a ton of beautiful creatures in just one day! On my snorkel tours around Molokini crater and Turtle Bay, which I did over the course of one day, I saw coral reefs, fish, sea urchins, plant and marine life, turtles, dolphins, whales, and more! Most animals I saw in Hawaii were on my snorkeling adventures (except for Kauai’s chickens!), so it’s worth getting your hair wet for.

2. Snorkeling is almost free.

I bought my own cheap Target snorkel set a few years ago and it comes with me on all of my tropical adventures. After trips to the Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel, my set has already paid for itself in what would have otherwise been rental fees. But don’t fret if your suitcase can’t handle one more thing! There are plenty of affordable places to rent snorkel gear in Hawaii, from actual snorkel tours to your hotel. Several of the islands have different beach options for snorkeling, so if there isn’t one you can walk to, there’s likely one a short distance away. If you have the funds, splurge on a Molokini Crater snorkel tour with PacWhale Eco-Adventures. It’s a short boat ride from Maui’s shore, but swimming around the volcano crater with Hawaii’s wildlife will be an experience you won’t soon forget. Plus proceeds benefit whale research and your guides are marine biologists who know their stuff!

3. The water is crystal clear.

If you’ve snorkeled in seaweed or dark waters, you know that clear water is a snorkeling MUST. Hawaii’s beaches are full of just that and you can see all the way to the reef floor in some places. In Turtle Bay, I thought I was closer to the reefs than I actually was (which was confirmed by a quick dive down until my ears wouldn’t pop!) just because the water was so clear. You can see so much.

4. The conditions are usually solid year-round.

Yes, Hawaii has seasons even though it’s in the tropics. Winter tends to be rainier; their summer tends to get pretty warm. Wind is really the only factor that will hold you back from a good day of snorkeling though, since it can cause the waves to get choppy and make conditions dangerous. So if you’re spending more than a day or two in Hawaii, it’s likely you’ll have one with snorkel-friendly weather. So get out there!

5. Every island you can visit has a spot.

Most traveling to Hawaii aren’t island-hopping, though the lucky do! Whether you’re staying on The Big Island or jumping between Oahu and Kauai, there are good snorkeling spots at every island. Though the beaches and marine life will vary, there are interesting things to see throughout the state’s waters. Just don’t forget your organic sunscreen- seriously! Choosing organic brands without oxybenzone and other harsh chemicals preserves marine life so check out this list for what to buy.

Time to dive in! Book your Hawaiian vacation today. See more of my snorkel adventures on Instagram.