Oh darling, let’s be adventurers!

[all photos by Coldiron Photography]

We’ve officially been engaged for over six months and the wedding date is now less than a year away. This new adventure that is our journey to marriage is well underway!

Last month we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park with Allie and Marcus Coldiron, the amazing couple that make up Coldiron Photography to have our engagement photos taken.

When I first saw Dream Lake, I knew it would be an amazing place for engagement photos. When Topher proposed and we started talking about all things wedding, Dream Lake was in the back of my mind for an engagement photo session. But then, I started to let that practical part of my brain take over. Hiking after getting your hair and makeup done isn’t practical. Balling a $100 dress that’s been immaculately hung in your closet all week into your backpack and changing in the woods isn’t practical. Hiking in the Colorado Rockies at 3pm definitely isn’t practical.

But, then again, weddings aren’t really about practical. And, more importantly, neither are we – we’re about taking the extra risk and pushing the envelope (which is called deep red and is size a7 in case you’re wondering) to chase those things we dream about.

When we pulled into the parking lot it was already spitting rain. Thunder rumbled in the distance as we started out on the trail.

Luckily, we chose the coolest photographers in the world who weren’t about to be scared off by a little rain and by the time we made it to Dream Lake and did a quick change behind some rocks, the sun had poked out from behind a cloud and was shining through the rain, resulting in the most beautiful scene I’ve seen in my trips to the lake. A rainbow popped through the clouds and then the sun set magically over Hallett Peak.

When I half-jokingly suggested that we take our shoes off and get in the lake, our photographers were all on board and Topher agreed to play along. Allie told me that they rarely get couples who are willing to take off their shoes and get in water.

Mikaela+Topher-35.jpg

To each their own, I suppose, but in my opinion, ten years from now I’m going to look back on these photos and not notice that the hem of my dress got damp or my feet got muddy or that my curls went limp. I’m going to notice that look on our faces that showed the moment of sheer shock and joy at being barefoot in a snow melt lake in formal clothing with each other.

I’m not going to lie, the main purpose of this post is to show you guys the photos I’m so in love with, but I do have an ulterior motive.

Don’t let yourself get stuck in a box. Stop worrying about whether or not something is practical or makes sense or will ruin your hair or get your clothes dirty. If you want to do something, take a deep breath and do it. The only risk you’re ever going to regret is the one you didn’t take.

Enjoy our photos and if you’re getting married anytime soon, I can’t recommend Allie and Marcus enough – visit their website to see what else they’ve been up to.

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Visiting Aspen as a broke, sort of broke, or just normal human being

Aspen is undoubtedly one of my favorite places to visit, but it can also be crazy expensive. Staying, eating and recreating can quickly add up to the point that a stay-cation starts to come with a vacation price tag.

We try to visit Aspen at least once a year, if not more, so I’ve put together this guide on how not to go broke in a matter of days!

Where to stay

My favorite thing about Aspen is its insane natural beauty. There are plenty of campgrounds in the Aspen area, but my favorite place to camp in the warmer months is a dispersed camping area at the very end of Castle Creek Road. From Aspen, follow Castle Creek Road past the ghost town of Ashcroft to the very end.  Continue reading “Visiting Aspen as a broke, sort of broke, or just normal human being”

On Being Afraid & Cold Water Surfing

I’ve never liked to do things on my own.

As a child, having to leave my mom and dad terrified me so much, I’d refuse to go to Sunday School unless my mom was the teacher.

When my sister was born, she was the best gift my little being could have ever dreamed of.

She became my best friend and my constant companion. Having a partner in crime let me be brave in trying new things. Being homeschooled, I hardly ever had to go anywhere or do anything that didn’t involve my little sister.

When I started community college, my best friend Serena became my constant companion. I was the brave one, the one that signed us up for theatre auditions and drug us to parties and instigated college visit road trips, but only because she was by my side.

When I met my now fiance, Topher, he became my constant companion.

Besides random, anxiety filled, singular experiences, I never had to do life alone until I moved to Boulder and started university.

Continue reading “On Being Afraid & Cold Water Surfing”

Walls are meant for climbing.

Walls are meant for climbing.

If you haven’t seen The North Face’s new campaign, click on the link above.

“SOME PEOPLE BUILD WALLS.
OTHER PEOPLE CLIMB THEM.
WE’RE DOING BOTH.

We’ve spent 50 years searching for walls to climb because, to us, they offer both challenge and opportunity and they fan the flames of our curiosity. Climbing has taught us to trust, to work together, to create safety in partnership and meaning out of hardship. We see walls as a place to unite our community, so we’re building walls that reflect the world we want to see.”

When I saw this campaign on social media this morning, it impacted me hard enough to write a blog post for two reasons.

As I scrolled through the page dedicated to this new campaign, it struck me that no matter who we are, we have walls in our lives. Sometimes they’re little garden walls, other times they’re maximum security prison type walls, but walls of all kinds exist in our lives. These walls are built by society, by our haters and sometimes even those that love us. These walls are more often than not, built by us (or if not built entirely, then heightened, razor-wire-added as our self-doubts pile on.)

Continue reading “Walls are meant for climbing.”

A cup of camp coffee.

I love camping because it’s a lot of work.

I know that sounds crazy, but I do. Camping is life in the most basic, primitive state and there is something so simply satisfying about the work that it takes to survive.

In a world where everything we need is at our fingertips, it’s incredibly refreshing to not have every little detail of life be so easy.

Continue reading “A cup of camp coffee.”

Nobody likes you when you’re 23.

It’s my birthday week (yay!) and I stopped to think for a moment today about turning 23.

I asked my dad last week if he’d ever imagined what my sister and I would be like when we grew up when we were kids.

It occurred to me that when I was younger, I never imagined what I’d be like when I was in my twenties. I never stopped to think about what I would like to do, or who I would be as a person.

When you’re a kid, your future is defined by what you want to be when you grow up. It’s the first question adults and teachers and your friends ask you.

The answer from the time we can formulate thoughts to the time we graduate college is very much the same.

It may go from an astronaut to an aerospace engineer, but we learn early on to define our beings, our intentions, by our careers. It defines everything from the toys we choose to play with, the people we choose to hang out with and the colleges we choose to apply for.

I’m about to turn 23 and I’m still struggling with the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” question.

Continue reading “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”

Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Muddy, exhausted and with sore feet I gazed up at Mt. Bierstadt from the passenger seat of our Subaru this last weekend and thought,

Wow.

Our bodies are pretty freaking amazing.

I find myself continually in awe of the places our own two feet can take us. I love having my own car and all but swore off public transportation on my college graduation day. Because I love driving and I love the freedom to get anywhere I want fairly quickly, the concept that our bodies were designed to transport us long distances continually awes me.

Looking up at that huge mountain that I had just hauled my sorry butt up and back down, I found a new appreciation for my own two feet, for my lungs and heart, for my body.

I work out a few times a week and hike on the weekends, but my no means am I in excellent shape. Yet my body, which is very comfortable sitting on the couch watching Netflix with a bowl of mac n’ cheese, was able to carry me 14,000 feet into the sky.

Continue reading “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”