Sunshine & Sustainable Living

The Great Colorado Springs | Colorado 2016 | Post 3

The Great Colorado Springs



I am currently sitting in a Hampton Inn’s lobby, drinking (surprisingly good) hotel coffee out of my favorite ceramic mug and listening to a multitude of conversations; from men in suits discussing politics, to three little kids begging their parents to let them go swimming. Then there is me, sitting here in yoga pants and “Just Do IT” tank top. I’m not wearing shoes and my shoulders are pealing from a good sunburn I got yesterday.

After writing my last blog post two days ago, I took over driving. We drove about 3 more hours through open plains until we were (according to the “ways” app) about 20 minutes from the hotel and wondering when we would see civilization. During those 3 hours of straight driving I downed a few bottles of water and ended up pulling over and peeing in a ditch beside the main road. (Yes. Main road. There was no sign of life so I was fine.) I also think my “blue grasses” Spotify playlist played through about 4 times during that drive. Anyways, our first sights of CO were the mountains and the snow covered Pikes Peak in the distance. Then, just as we were losing hope that there was actually a city, Colorado Springs came into view.

Driving through a relatively new and clean city surrounded by mountains is nothing short of breathtaking. In the morning I saw FOTF headquarters for the first time, the place I would be working and spending the majority of my time. The welcome center and main offices are situated on a hill which overlooks the city and Pikes Peak. It is beautiful and the overall atmosphere of the place is incredible. I can’t really put into words the safe, professional, and empowering the vibes I got while walking around the FOTF grounds were. While driving out, in search of a place to eat lunch, my dad made the comment “This place just has a good feel”. I feel like that summed it up pretty well.

​We found a little Greek restaurant to eat at for lunch which served Gyros (pronounced “year-ohs”). My dad is obsessed with this stuff. Picture a slab of meat on a stick, standing upright, spinning in a hot roaster and being scraped off as needed in super thin strips (or just google it, its pretty cool). Anyways, after stuffing ourselves there with plenty of protein, I typed in the address of my host family for the summer into the gps. Now, I’m not moving in until tomorrow because they are on Vacation, but my parents wanted to see the place I’d be living all summer. We found the house in a newly developed neighborhood, with open fields and trails behind it- as promised. Syd was parked smack in front of the house for a solid 5 minutes while we talked about the area and my mom attempted to take pictures of it. We moved when I suggested that the neighbors might be getting concerned.

Our next destination was Garden of the Gods. About a week ago when my dad suggested we go to the Garden of the Gods while they were here, my mom began talking nostalgically about a huge flower garden in Minnesota that we used to go to when I was little. My dad debated whether to tell her what Garden of the Gods actually was, but after seeing my sarcastic expression, she wanted to know. So, for those of you who don’t know what the Garden of the Gods is, I’ve included pictures below (and don’t feel bad if you pictured a fancy flower garden too). Being that it was over 80 degrees most of the day, we didn’t actually do much hiking, also, I’ll be back on Sunday with the FOTF interns.

So we hopped in Syd again and drove into Manitou Springs- a cute little historical town at the base of Pikes Peak. It reminded me a lot of the town Lake Placid up in the Adirondacks, just more hippie. There were lots of little shops, cafes to eat at, and places to purchase weed if you’re into that sort of thing. My parents tried turkish coffee for the first time (which, if you don’t know what that is- its basically like drinking really fine ground coffee grounds). After walking around Manitou Springs for a while, we spent some quality time on our apple devices googling “restaurants near me”.

My dad found a place (with gf options) called “The Wobbly Olive”- which, based on the name alone sounded pretty fantastic. The first thing I noticed (graphic designer probs) was that their branding used the same typeface (“Paulistana Deco” incase you were wondering), as what I used on a restaurant branding design project in a Graphic Design class last fall. So S.O. to “The Wobby Olive” for good typeface choices. My parents and I had recently had a conversation about menus, and how you know a restaurant is good if the menu is only one page and changes its entrees based on what is in season. This place was that to the T. Anyways, the food was marvelous- was very well plated and tasted amazing. Our waitress was super friendly too- her daughter owned the restaurant and everything on the menu was basically her and her husbands favorite dishes from all ethnicities. My dish was Indian, while my mom’s was more Mediterranean and our desserts were French. Anyways…. that was a long rant about food. But it was one of those places that you just feel good about when you leave. Like, the food was really good, but you’re also supporting local business- so much better than a chain.

This morning my parents flew home so I’m officially on my own now. About an hour ago, while I was brushing my teeth (with my favorite Trader Joe’s toothpaste) and fixing my hair, I was listening to a podcast. Now anyone who knows me well knows how obsessive I can be about my podcasts. Being a designer/ artist/ photographer means sitting in front of a computer for long hours, for this reason I enjoy listening to something inspiring/ educational to help me stay driven. My current podcast obsession is called “The One Part Podcast”. I won’t go into details on it, so you can look it up if you want, but I basically love the host and a lot of people she interviews I was familiar with prior to listening to the podcast. This morning I was listening to an older episode where the girl being interviewed was talking about “packing up and leaving” (which was funny cause I just wrote my last blog post on that). Anyways, she packed up and left the city life for the farmland. She decided that while she was young and didn’t really have ties to anything, it was time to do what she wanted and what would make her happy. In the end, after months living at a farm and making meals for farmers, she realized it was time to move on and get back to her “previous reality”. She was thankful for the time she spent “doing what would make her happy”, but realized that there was a time and place for everything. For her, (as a new author and food blog writer) it was best to move back to the city. It is funny how similar, yet opposite my current story is. I packed up and left from the country and am now in a city. I’m doing what I have dreamed of but I realize there is a time and a place for everything. I’ll learn and grow here, and when the time comes to leave, I’ll be happy and content with that as well. Anyways, just another word of encouragement for ya’ll- cease the moments you’re given, God put them there for a reason.


And a current fav quote to leave you all with:

“Oppurtunity is missed by people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
-Thomas Edison

1) Focus on the Family Welcome Center 2) Pikes Peak 3-5) Views from Garden of the Gods (feat. adventure sandals) 6) The Wobbly Olive 7) Mango Salad w/ Bamboo Rice appetizer 8) Indian Chickpea Curry entree w/ garlic toasted gf bread

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