Road Trip Audio – Your Suggestions

And this, my friends, is why I love the internet. Last week, I asked for your suggestions for what to listen to on a road trip and HOLY COW! Y’all sent me a treasure trove of interesting audio options.

Road Trip Audio Suggestions





I’ve downloaded a handful of podcasts to get us through the first leg of the trip at least and we’ll decide to download more of the same or try something new at our pit stop visiting our sister in Vegas.

Have a podcast, audiobook or musician you think we should check out? Leave it in the comments! We’ll check ‘em out in Sin City.

Thank you to ChrisLaura, Marisa, Mel, Jon, Heather, Heidi, Kevin, Calee and Annie for suggestions!

On Endings and New Beginnings

After high school, I could not WAIT to get out of the house and start college. I was so excited to be out on my own, spreading my wings and discovering who I really wanted to be, even if it was just a handful of miles away from where my parents lived.

As I packed up my prized possessions that would come with me to my dorm room, I still hadn’t grasped what was about to happen. My parents loaded up the car that evening and we navigated to Calhoun Hall at the University of Cincinnati. I was the second girl (of four) to arrive and I had my choice of beds. A couple of trips later, the car was empty and reality was setting in; my life was about to change forever. I had offiically moved out of my comfortable and safe comfort zone into a room with three strangers. The ensuing panic and questioning if I was ready to do this brought hot tears to my eyes as I hugged my parents goodbye.

Of course, within the first week, I’d settled into my new role as ‘college student living in a dorm’ and had forgotten that I’d once been nervous about leaving home. THIS was where I was meant to be!

Looking back, I smile at 18-year-old me, feeling insecure and nervous about the change ahead of her.

Today, I find myself in a very similar emotional state.

work life //

After 5.5 really excellent years, today markes my last day at my current company. I started at this company fresh out of college and as a Colorado resident for mere days. I’d packed up my car after finishing classes, drove west and parked in Denver on a Sunday night. I showed up for a Marketing Coordinator interview on Tuesday and was offered the position on Thursday. Since that day, I’ve worked for people I respect and admire. Coworkers have felt like family. I’ve navigated significant life changes here. I’ve grown up as a professional and a person here.

But today I permanently set my out of office notice and turn in my badge. I hug my favorite coworkers goodbye, fighting back those familiar tears of temporary panic. I question if I’m truly ready to embark on my next adventure – there is still so much I can do here! But I pull myself together, gather the last of my things and walk out of the giant copper building for the last time.

Today, I think back to 18-year-old me and smile. She stepped out of her comfort zone and thrived.  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, right? So today, 10 years later, I take a deep breath, smile for the experiences I’ve had and for the experiences I’m about to have, and step right out of that comfort zone again.

The next stop on my career timeline is so exciting and such a perfect fit for my personal and professional strengths and interests. My life is about to change forever and I could not be more excited about what lies ahead.

But first? A road trip.

Catch y’all on the flip side!

Car Camping under a (Nearly) Super Moon

Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO //
Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // lgsmash.comGordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO // Gordon Gulch Camping, Nederland, CO //

My brother and his girlfriend are living in Boulder for the next few months and, even before they parked their van in Colorado, they’d told us they wanted to go camping. With a free weekend and promise of a giant full moon, we scouted a nearby area to go car camping for their first mountain camping experience.

After a failed attempt at finding a spot off the Hessie and Fourth of July trailheads, we lucked out with a spot at Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping Area. We set up our tents and spent the night goofing off, sharing snacks and swapping stories.

While we had a really fun night playing cards, tossing a football and watching the pup chase squirrels, I would not come back to Gordon Gulch for car camping. You can’t judge books by their covers but neighboring campsites did not seem to be car camping for the same reason we were; they seemed more…transient. I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach as we turned in for the night and spent most of my night awake.

Our trip concluded without an incident but as I was looking up the exact name of our campground, I came across this news story from last May where 2 campers were stabbed by a homeless man in Gordon Gulch; the police chief acknowledges ‘Gordon Gulch [...] has been the scene of many assaults, a couple of murders and a couple of suicides.‘ Uneasy feeling validated and next time, we’ll do a bit more ‘backup plan’ research before settling in for the night.

But to end this blog post on a happy note, Philly’s second ever camping experience went swimmingly! I’ve never seen her so excited, so in her element. She ran around like a young puppy and wagged her tail more than I’ve ever seen. A huge triumph over her last camping experience when she spent a solo night in the woods…maybe we do have a real mountain dog on our hands after all!

Help! Road Trip Tunes and Podcasts!

To say the last few weeks have been a whirlwind is an understatement. Big changes in my life happened swiftly and suddenly and I’ve seized the moment, set the wheels in motion and am riding a beautiful wave of change.

road trip //

But guys! I need your help!

I’m in the midsts of planning a (very exciting) solo road trip to take in the very near future (like…next week) and need your help! My plan is to be driving 4-6+ hours on my driving days and I *know* I don’t have enough music saved to keep me interested.

So tell me! What are your favorite road trip songs? What podcasts do you love? (I listen to This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me already) Any audio books I should try? (I’ve never listened to an audio book!)

Lovin’ on Trail Runnin’

Trail Run Love //

It’s not a secret that my running has been sporadic. I run when I feel like it and find something else to do when I don’t. The problem lies in the fact that if I’m running, I’d rather be running on mountain trails than city streets. I can’t quite motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning to run on concrete sidewalks very often!

Trail Run Love //

Not running but a cool photo of what *should* have been a trail run.

Trail running is so much prettier than road running. More challenging, more exciting. It’s not about how fast you go but how hard you work – and you work hard to climb those hills! Trail Run Love //

I blame Heidi for my current lust – to use her term, she ‘runabled’ me into trail running a couple of years ago and it’s still something I enjoy doing (and many of my trail runs include Heidi!).

I trail run when I can and run ‘urban trails’ when I can’t get west. Living in the city presents a bit of a challenge to regular trail running – but, like anything, if it’s important and you love it, you find a way to make it work.

Trail Run Love //

So I’m finding random, local trails during the week and driving west on my weekends to run in the foothills; I hope someday I can convince my trail running friends to take me to a legit mountain to run. But until then, I’ll keep exploring the nearby trails and get my fix locally.

Yoga on the Rocks (+ A Yoga Giveaway!)

DISCLOSURE: Corepower Yoga offered me free passes for the Yoga on the Rocks I just attended and, because I was already planning on attending, I took them up on the offer. All opinions are my own, as always.

Last year, Corepower Yoga, my favorite yoga studio in Denver (and in 13 other states!), partnered with Red Rocks Amphitheater to host a few ‘Yoga on the Rocks’ sessions. I wasn’t able to attend last year’s sessions but it was definitely on my ‘must do’ list this year.

Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater //

Saturday kicked off this year’s Yoga on the Rocks sessions and my friend Brooke and I met bright and early at the Red Rocks parking lot to get ourselves a spot in the amphitheater. We found ourselves a spot, rolled out our mats, (bumped into Marissa!) and basked in the early morning sun before getting stretchy.

Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater //

Shortly before 7 a.m., opening remarks were made, the morning’s instructor was introduced and we began flowing! The hour-long practice was great for beginners who’d never done yoga before and advanced yogis alike – modifications were offered through each flow for those who wanted an additional challenge for their practice.

Yoga is powerful enough when practiced in a studio but outside? In an incredibly beautiful space? It’s on another level entirely. The session flew by; it was hard to wipe the ridiculous smile off my face as I looked around at the beautiful scenery, overlooking a city I love and surrounded by passionate, active people who also chose to get up at sunrise to practice yoga in the most amazing amphitheater.

Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater //

It was also incredibly challenging. The cement rows/seats at Red Rocks are not uniformly flat. At all. The ground under my mat sloped in weird, uneven ways – away from the center of the amphitheater and also down towards the stage. Since balance is a major focus of yoga, achieving balance on an uneven surface created it’s own fun challenge, ensuring we yogis did not get too comfortable in our practice.

Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater //

I will definitely be returning to Red Rocks for another Yoga on the Rocks session…and Corepower Yoga wants you to join, too!


For Denver/Front Range locals, Corepower Yoga is offering a really fabulous giveaway – one I wish I could win! One lucky local will win:

  • 2 free passes to any of the upcoming 3 Yoga on the Rocks sessions (Saturdays 8/1, 8/9, 8/16)
  • Corepower Yoga kit (yoga bag, mat and t-shirt)

To enter, simply leave a comment below! For an additional entry, tweet about the giveaway and leave a second comment with the URL of your tweet. Winner will be selected at random and notified by email.

This giveaway is only open to Denver/Front Range locals or someone who will for sure be able to attend one of the upcoming sessions; the yoga kit will be picked up by the winner at Red Rocks before the Yoga on the Rocks session of choice. This giveaway will close on Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken

Recently, I wrote about my love affair with massaged kale salads. I even forced my family to try it last week on vacation and converted a couple non-believer siblings! Unfortunately for my husband, though, kale salads just aren’t this thing. Also unfortunately for my husband, I am not the most creative person in the kitchen. I am really good at making 2 or 3 dinners and don’t usually stray too far from my standbys.

But the other night, I knew he’d be working late and I wanted to surprise him with a tasty dinner when he came home. With only kale and chicken as my ingredients, I knew I was in trouble. If it were up to me? I would have made that kale salad and grilled the chicken and enjoyed them separately but equally. I knew Alex would want something a bit…more interesting.

At a loss, I emailed ladies who know a lot more about food than me (hi Val, Marisa, Lauren, Tiffany!) and they came to my rescue. I wound up with eight (EIGHT!!) dinner ideas for wowing my husband with chicken and kale.

Enter: Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken

Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken //

Admittedly, I picked this recipe because I had most of the ingredients already and it looked the easiest. Not only was it super easy to make and took not very much time (two key requirements in my cooking endevours), it was such a fabulous meal!

I could not believe how frickin’ awesome this tasted. Usually my food turns out decent but never zOMG SO GOOD. This, though, is zOMG SO GOOD. I was pretty proud of myself – so proud of myself that I tried to take real food photos so I could share this supidly easy and awesomely flavorful recipe with the internetz. When my foodie husband told me it was on par with my favorite pad thai he makes, I knew this recipe made it to the big time in the Petre Kitchen.

Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken //

Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken Recipe

  • (adapted from this recipe)
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • 16 oz spaghetti
  • 10 oz package of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound pan cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • s/p to taste

De-stem and wash kale; chop into small strips. Bring a pot of water to boil, cook spaghetti as directed; drain pasta and set aside in a large bowl.

Cook chicken in large saute skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt and peper, to taste. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut into bit sized cubes.

In same pan, add a bit more olive oil and bring pan to medium heat if cooled. Add garlic and onion; saute for a few minutes until slightly brown. Add chopped kale; cook for a few minutes or until kale is completely wilted.

Add kale, garlic and onion to cooled pasta. Add tomatoes, pine nuts, juice of lemon half and chicken. Toss/mix well. Top with fresh, shredded Parmasean cheese.


Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken //



How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Grand Haven, Michigan

Last week, for the first time in my adult life, my brothers, sisters and I all met our mom in Grand Haven, Michigan for a week-long family vacation.

We started planning this vacation in January and knew we wanted a location near water, driveable for most of the group and near-ish to a major airport for those of us flying in. With people in Cincinnati, Chicago, Las Vegas and Denver, we settled on Grand Haven, Michigan. It’s a 3 hour drive from Chicago, less than 6 hours from Cincinnati and flyable into Chicago or Grand Rapids for my sister and I. We searched on for a rental house suitable for 8 people available for our desired week in July – as soon as I found one, I booked it and vacation was set!

We rented ‘The Retreat at 526′ through Grand Haven Cottage Rentals. Our rental started on Saturday afternoon and my family checked in and settled in. I joined them on Monday afternoon, flying into the Grand Rapids, MI airport – only 40 minutes away.

We really had no idea what to expect going into this vacation – no of us had been to Michigan for vacation – and we had an excellent time! If you’re vacationing in Grand Haven, here are some fun, active ways to spend your trip!


Grand Haven Vacation, Silver Lake Sand Dunes //

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are just about an hour north from Grand Haven and is a perfect day trip activity. We packed some snacks and drinks and hit the road. These were impressive dunes – situated in the Silver Lake State Park, there are more than 2,000 acres of dunes to run up, roll down and lay on. The park also features an off-roading/dune buggy section that looked like a lot of fun. We spent probably too much time ‘long jumping’ off a dune ridge and racing each other up the sand hill but it was so fun. At the base of the dunes is the large Silver Lake, perfect for cooling off after running around on hot sand.


Grand Haven Vacation, Kayaking on the Grand River //

We rented kayaks from Lakeshore Kayak Rentals and spent a beautiful 2 hours paddling around the Grand River. Many company rent kayaks (and canoes and stand up paddle boards) and initially, we tried to rent kayaks from a company near Grand Haven State Park (close to our rental house) but made reservations with Lakeshore Kayak when the other place was sold out and we’re so glad we did.

The scenery along the Grand River is stunning – beautiful lake houses, lily pads littered along the banks and wildlife hiding in the tall grass. Lakeshore Kayak Rentals had a few route options for 2 and 4 hour rentals and can point you in the direction for the type of afternoon you’re looking for (ie – more adventurous, more relaxing, one with stops for kiddos to get out and play). Rentals were affordable ($48 for a tandem kayak for 2 hours) and the staff was extremely accommodating.


Grand Haven Vacation, Pontoon Boat Rental // lgsmash.comFrom the minute I showed up, my mom could not stop suggesting we book a pontoon boat rental and on the last night, we made her dream come true. We rented a pontoon boat from a local company for a 2 hour rental in the evening and had an absolute blast. We were able to bring on our own snacks and drinks and the boat had an auxiliary input for music – we had ourselves a regular boat party! Just under an hour into our rental, we parked the boat and hopped into the lake, cannonballing and flipping our little hearts out. It was pure, unadulterated joy just being a kid again.

BIKE RENTAL in GRAND HAVENGrand Haven Vacation, Bike Rental //

Many places in Grand Haven will rent a bike for hourly, daily or weekly rentals. Our rental house had 3 bikes for us to use and my family rented 3 additional bikes ($50+ for a week). Where we stayed in Grand Haven, biking is an excellent way to get around. We were just over a mile from the beach and downtown area with shops and restaurants. Grand Haven has one busy street that is a bit scary for riding a cruiser bike but the majority of the town consists of quiet neighborhood streets which are great for bike commuting.

Overall, we had such a blast exploring and playing in and around Grand Haven. The quiet town offered the perfect mix of active adventures and quiet mornings and evenings with really excellent warm weather with blue skies. As we packed up on Saturday to head back to reality, we all agreed that we will keep Grand Haven, Michigan on the short list for future summer vacations.

Currently… (July)

Currently July //

…loving family vacation time in Grand Haven, MI.

…(but) rebelling against Eastern Time Zone and morning alarms.

…reading BOOKS! (finished Friday Night Knitting Club, now reading One Day).

…realizing I’m a non-soaker but also, very much a soaker sometimes (Semi Rad explains here). Vacation is for both – and I’m maximizing my ‘soaker’ time this vacation.

…climbing sand dunes! and riding bikes! and kayaking! and cooking dinners! and hanging out! eating all the ice cream in Grand Haven! reconnecting with family! (non-soaking)

…(but also) sleeping late, watching movies, taking naps, finding long moments to read, sitting quietly on sandy beaches, running to and around the beach in the mornings. (soaking)

…wondering why summer vacation isn’t mandatory in the US like it is in Europe? (life is so much BETTER on vacation!)

…checking off Summer Resolutions, left and right (popsicles, a 14er, vacation, book reading, swimming pool visits).

…looking forward to my brother and his girlfriend temporarily landing in Boulder this fall.

…drinking interesting local IPAS (this imperial IPA with honey and this pineapple IPA).

…pondering the future and what’s in store in the next year(s).

…listening to little voices laughing downstairs (after 1 a.m.!) while I’m in bed and feeling like an oldie.

Rope Management: Flaking and Butterfly Coiling Your Climbing Rope into a Backpack

Recently, I went rock climbing with my friend Chris at North Table Mountain in Golden. You may also know Chris as the videographer for Sierra Trading Post. After a successful morning of climbing, we called it a day as dark clouds rolled in and we began packing up our gear. As I was flaking and coiling his climbing rope, he offered to shoot this quick little video for me to post on my very own YouTube channel!

So without further ado, here’s how to flake and coil your rope into a backpack:

You can find more awesome videos by Chris on his YouTube channel or on Sierra Trading Post’s channel.

You can find less impressive videos I’ve made myself on my YouTube channel.