I haven’t spent a ton of time in Boulder, despite its proximity, but a visit from my sister earlier this year took us up there for some hiking + time with a childhood friend of hers.

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The Betasso Link Trail is a 1.3-mile trail that takes you from Boulder Canyon Drive into Betasso Preserve, which is an open space with great views of Boulder from above. It used to be a ranch, owned by former miners in the early 1900s, and sold to Boulder County in the seventies as their very first open space!

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You gain about 600 feet of elevation over the course of this short trail, so it’s pretty steep but still manageable. Over the course of our hike, we saw a pretty good number of people heading down the trail on their mountain bikes, which I found pretty impressive.

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I think my favorite thing about the Betasso Link Trail (+ the reason my sister’s friend chose this trail for us in the first place) is the variety of flora + terrain that you get to experience over a relatively short distance. When you reach the top of the Betasso Link Trail + connect to Canyon Loop Trail that takes you through the preserve, you leave the pine trees for open meadows, and the ground beneath your feet goes from sandy to rocky to grassy.

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I’m amazed by the diversity of natural life there is in Colorado. The only other hike I’ve done in Boulder looked strikingly different than this one, and the trailheads are only a 15-minute drive apart. You can see the photos from that hike here.




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Happy Friday! I’m continuing to show love to Spain on the blog today with this, my favorite cocktail. It’s called tinto de verano, which I also lovingly refer to as “the lazy man’s sangria.”

The tinto de verano was one of my go-to orders at bars when I lived in Madrid. It’s the easiest recipe ever, consisting simply of one part red wine to one part citrusy soda. Now that I make it at home, I’ve switched from a more traditional lemon soda (like Squirt) to San Pellegrino’s Aranciata, which is orange-flavored. Maybe it’s sacrilege, but it’s such a tasty combo, I’m just going to roll with it.

Another reason I love tinto de verano is the fact that you can use simple table wine – no need for the fancy stuff here, although you do you! If I can use orange soda, you can certainly class it up with fancy wine.

This is the perfect drink for summertime (verano is the Spanish word for summer, in fact) + I can’t wait to mix it up more often as the weather warms up. So if you’re looking for something to sip this lovely Friday evening, join me in Spain with a tinto de verano – at least that is where I’ll be in my imagination!

P.S. Find the other posts in my Spain series here: Video // Photos


My love for Madrid runs very deep. After living there during study abroad in college, I can easily call it my favorite city in Europe (which is saying a lot – Europe has many fantastic cities). Perhaps what makes it even more remarkable is how much it feels like home, still, when I visit.

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There is something about being able to wander the streets of a city without often needing a map. And of course, being able to speak the language makes it feel more familiar. But there is an energy I get here that I get only a handful of other places in the world – a connectedness to a place – like I get when I’m flying into my home city of Chicago.

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The last time I was there, in 2014, I had less than 48 hours to squeeze in all my favorite sites. A wander through Retiro + the botanic gardens, the impressionists exhibit at the Thyssen museum, lots of sitting in squares watching the people go by. Churros con chocolate, jamón, croquetas + tinto de verano. I ate very well in those 48 hours, let me tell you.

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Madrid was just so very lovely in the springtime. After almost 2 weeks of wandering a very rainy Europe (see my postcards from Bordeaux, Salzburg, Munich + Paris for more from this same trip), the sun finally peeked through the clouds in Madrid + everything was blooming.  It was as if the city was saying, “Oh, we remember you, welcome home.”

And I hope it feels that way for as long as I live.

P.S. Last week I posted a video postcard from Madrid’s Parque del Buen Retiro, check it out here.

Today’s post is a flashback Friday of sorts, as it has taken me TWO years to get around to editing this footage from my trip to Spain a few years back. Strangely, waiting this long was almost as if I was editing a client’s vacation footage – I was, in many ways, a different person when I was shooting this video two years ago.

I get homesick for Madrid on the regular, especially for the picnic lunches I used to take to the pond in Parque del Buen Retiro. Apparently I need to have more picnics. Now that the weather is getting nicer + the trees are blooming again, I can’t help but think back to these days wandering Madrid’s parks + gardens. Watching this video is like holding that memory in my hand again. And that’s the main reason I’m super excited about announcing my new service offering through Evergreen Lane!

I want to be able to help all of you have this experience as well – holding those treasured memories from your life-changing vacations in your hand years later. And, VERY VERY SOON, I’m going to be sharing how exactly that’s going to actually happen.

Stay tuned (and sign up below if you wanna be the first to hear the news)!



The best kind of camping trip is the kind where you go driving down random ATV trails to find dispersed sites + have to take photos at every intersection to remind yourself how to get back to the road.

Camping trips exactly like this one near Cottonwood Pass.

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The first spot we found was already being occupied by a mama moose + her baby so we had to wander down a few more trails before we found the perfect campsite, complete with a great view + good tree cover.

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And yes, we literally took photos at every intersection so that we could locate the campsite again when we drove into Crested Butte for the day. Thankfully this method was successful + we were able to return to our tent without incident.

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Personally, I think the point of any proper camping trip is not to pack it full of a bunch of activities, but rather to spend time reading, sitting in front of the fire, playing board games + of course, responsibly partaking in some adult beverages. Oh, we can’t forget about eating too many s’mores! Which is exactly how this went down.

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There is something wonderfully relaxing about spending time just lazing around outside during those long evenings in the summertime. So, I’m over here thanking God that the days are getting longer again at last, which means we’re one day closer to camping season again.

  • AmberApril 12, 2016 - 9:02 pm

    This looks exactly like a place my husband and I would like to go! Thanks for the post. We will have to check it out.ReplyCancel