new place, new space

It’s been ages since I’ve written anything here, but certainly not ages since I’ve written.  Currently, I’m hanging out at, where I (and sometimes Danny too!) talk about our travels around Spain and Europe, what it’s like living abroad, and our daily life.  That’s right – about three months after I wrote my last post here, we moved out of our apartment in Colorado Springs and got jobs teaching English in Spain.  It’s been an adventure, that’s for sure, and we’d love it if you came along with us! :)

santa fe days 3 and 4

On Saturday, our third day in Santa Fe, we drove about 45 minutes out of town to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.  (I’ll be referring to it as Tent Rocks, though.)  While I was in the shower that morning, I wondered if I should bring cash for the entrance fee at Tent Rocks, but just forgot.  Sure enough, we got to the gate and they rejected our credit card.  So, note to all of you future Tent Rocks visitors: bring some cash with you.  It’s only $5 per car, and there’s a gas station with an ATM about five minutes down the road, but we could have avoided a handful of fees by just bringing cash with us.

Tent Rocks is so neat.  I don’t know how it was formed, I don’t know why the rocks are the way they are, and I don’t know why the rangers at the gate don’t accept credit cards, but that’s okay.  My apologies for including more pictures than I can count, but as you’ll see, it was hard to resist…














We combined the Cave Loop Trail and the Canyon Trail, and were hiking for a little less than three hours, although the total distance was only around 3 miles, we definitely took our time.  The weather was just right, and being that we were there in the spring, the crowds were definitely manageable.

We had a late lunch at Bumble Bee, and walked to Canyon Road in the afternoon, where we spent two hours wandering through galleries.  We enjoyed all of the paintings and sculptures and photographs, but got a little a tired by the end.  One highlight was seeing sculptures by my high school art teacher being sold at one of the galleries!  We also stopped for pictures at a few places we’d admired over the past couple of days and walked around the Santa Fe National Cemetery – a sobering, beautiful place.




For dinner, we went to Thai Vegan, an Asian restaurant that offers only vegan food (two things that could probably be assumed from the name, but it never hurts to clarify).  The food was good, but the ambiance could probably be improved and the number of Hindu idols reduced just a tad.  On our way back to the hotel at night, we stopped at Trader Joe’s for some cookies that have been sold out every time we look for them at our TJ’s.

Sunday morning was snowy – not our favorite to see at the end of April, but we were just thankful it was on our last day and not on a day we wanted to be outside.  We packed up the car and went for breakfast at Annapurna’s (told you we wouldn’t be able to stay away!) where I had some banana cardamom pancakes that were just too good.  I’d gladly eat them once a week.


Our drive home was rainy but largely uneventful as we took I-25 straight from Santa Fe to our apartment in north Colorado Springs.

I’m so glad we finally took a trip to Santa Fe.  Our route down, while a bit longer than necessary, was fun with stops at the Rio Grande Gorge and in Taos, and I felt like even though we were only in Santa Fe for a couple of days, we got a good taste for the town and it’s beauty.  There are many museums and hiking trails I would have liked to check out, but due to time and weather constraints, we just couldn’t do them all – now we have something to do the next time we go!



santa fe: day 2

Friday, our first full day in Santa Fe, began a bit rainy and cool, so we started our day indoors at the Palace of the Governors.  We arrived a little after 10am, wandered around a bit, and caught the 10:30am guided tour.  In retrospect, I’m not sure we would take the tour again.  It was a bit dry, but it did give us a good overview of New Mexico, and more specifically, Santa Fe, history.

The Palace of the Governors is connected to the New Mexico History Museum, and even though we were a bit done with learning and museum stuff after our tour, we decided to give it a try.  And we were so glad!  The history museum is so good.  If you are in Santa Fe, you should go.  It’s new, it’s high quality, it’s well done, it’s interesting, and (best of all?) it’s not overwhelmingly big.  Seriously, give it a chance.  I’d recommend going to the history museum first, and giving it your full attention, and then breezing through the Palace of the Governors, if for no other reason than it’s a neat, old, historic building.

DSC01569^^ Danny in the history museum, looking into the semi-covered wagon because there’s a video projected onto the inside of the cover.  Told you it was cool.  ^^

After the museum(s), we walked back to our hotel and headed to lunch.  We both had veggie burgers and fries at the Tune-Up Cafe, an eclectic and cute place with decent vegan options, and then headed for the New Mexico State Capitol.  We wandered through the halls and into the rotunda and felt a little like we were breaking the rules at times (even though we weren’t) since we were the only visitors there.  Compared to some of the more traditional state capitols out there, New Mexico’s certainly isn’t as grand or eye-catching, but it does have some fun and unique features, and we enjoyed getting to check it out a bit.



^^ I know it’s not the best picture ever, but I have a picture of Mysteridge and I in front of this same buffalo from years ago, and just couldn’t resist.  It’s made of all sorts of random materials, and looks so cool both up close and far away. ^^


The weather was just so dicey all day on Friday, that even though there’s so much great hiking in the area, we just weren’t sure if we were willing to take a chance and actually get outside for any length of time.  However, late in the afternoon, around 3:00, we decided to give it a shot.  We drove outside of town about 15-20 minutes to the Rio en Medio Trail, and got hiking.


The trail follows a stream for about three miles to the base of a waterfall, and then continues up above the waterfall, to other (much smaller) waterfalls and pools.  I believe that the trail eventually leads to a good view of Santa Fe and the surrounding area, but going that far was never our intent.  We went to some of the upper waterfalls, but turned around so that we could have dinner at a reasonable hour.



^^ Some people and their selfies… ;) ^^




There were no other cars in the trailhead parking lot, and we saw no one but each other while hiking, which felt a little weird to me, especially since it’s such a great trail – it’s wooded, involves crossing the stream a few times (always fun), and is fairly flat the whole way.  I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re in Santa Fe – I think we’d do it again if we went back.  I know it will look different depending on the season, and maybe next time we’d do the complete trail.  So peaceful and quiet and beautiful.

We made it back into town for a late dinner at Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe.  It’s won the Best of Santa Fe award for Best Vegetarian Restaurant many years in a row now, and I can see why.  The menu is EXTENSIVE, and has many options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, for those who like Indian food and those who do not (me).  I had a hunch that we would really like Annapurna’s, and planned to go there early on in our trip, so that we would have a chance to go back again if we wanted to.  The menu suggests dessert first, so we gladly partook and shared a piece of (vegan) pecan pie before our entrées arrived.  It was great, as were our meals – I had the shepherd’s pie which was very good and Danny had the falafel wrap (which included quite possibly the best falafel we’ve had since we ate lunch at Camden Market in London last September).

And that was Friday!  A good mix of history and indoor exploring, as well as being outside (weather permitting) and, of course, plenty of tasty vegan food.

Check out day 1 here.

santa fe: day 1

Three weeks ago today, Danny and I loaded up our car and headed south on our very first road trip.  We’ve been on a variety of trips together, but most of them have been via plane or less than two hours away (by car), which I don’t really consider a road trip.  I was really excited for this trip – I have such fond memories of taking trips to Illinois to visit family and exploring Colorado and neighboring states by car throughout all of my growing up years – but then Danny started making me a little nervous in the weeks before our trip.  He said things here and there like, “I don’t really like road trips,” and “I don’t like driving for a long time.”  Uh oh.

When we got in the car around 7:30am on Thursday morning, we had at least six hours of driving ahead of us before we got to Santa Fe.  A long ways for my plane-preferring husband, but we were excited.


We switched drivers every hour, which may have extended the time we were on the road a bit, but it seemed to work well for us.  Our first stop was in south Pueblo, and happened to be right next to this fun comics store that was right up Danny’s alley.  We took a few pictures, stretched our legs, and got on our way again.


Another hour, another stop.  And look at those mountains in the background!  They were a lot closer than this picture makes them look, and I’m not going to lie…I was pretty happy when it was Danny’s turn to drive again so I could look out the window to my heart’s content without putting our lives in danger.


And then on our final stop before we made it to our picnic lunch destination, we just pulled off on the side of the road.  I ran a couple of laps around the car and Danny stretched out…our GPS took us on some pretty deserted roads!


We stopped for lunch at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  There’s a rest area with picnic tables and bathrooms and even vendors selling different things (vague because I have no idea what they have – we didn’t look).  We ate our sandwiches while overlooking the gorge, and afterwards walked across the bridge.    The area is about 15 minutes from Taos, and for us, was totally worth it.  We thought the gorge was pretty neat, and a great place to stop for lunch and a little walk.  It’s also very unexpected – up until we were driving on the bridge, I thought we had the wrong address into our GPS – we had no idea we were approaching the gorge.





After our time at the bridge, we headed into Taos.  Neither of us had been before, and while we weren’t there long enough to form much of an opinion, it seems kind of charming.  We stopped in the library to use the wi-fi for a couple of minutes and walked around the plaza.  Now, I don’t have a lot of experience with plazas, but Taos’ seemed pretty average.  We were there mid-day on a Thursday, so it was very quiet – we only stopped in a store or two, and enjoyed an especially beautiful blossoming tree.  A fairly quick visit as we had places to go.


I was on the fence about Taos Pueblo up until we started our tour.  And I suppose, I still am on the fence about it.  I just wasn’t sure if it would be worth it, if it was a tourist trap, if it was ‘fake’ sort of like the Manitou Cliff Dwellings…I just couldn’t get a good feel for it from what I read online and in guide books.  In a small sense, it was sort of what Paris was like for me: a lot of people love it so I wanted to go and do it, but overall, it was overpriced and overhyped (in my opinion).  That being said, we did enjoy our tour and the chance to walk around a bit afterwards.  The weather was great, the scenery pretty, and the pueblo historical.  I’m glad that we went, but I do wish it cost less than $16 a person to get in.

DSC01549 DSC01552


^^ We wanted to try some of the legendary Indian fry bread, but apparently taking a tour late in the day means they could be sold out, which was what happened to us.  So we got an (overpriced) cherry tortilla thingy.  It was okay.  ^^




^^ There is something really historic and significant about this cemetery, but unfortunately, my memory is rather poor.  I guess you’ll just have to go and take the tour yourself.  Or Google it.  ^^

After our tour, we were ready to be done with the car and driving from place to place.  We drove the last hour to Santa Fe and checked into our hotel, the Villas de Santa Fe.  I stayed at the villas over Christmas years ago with my family, thanks to my grandparents’ timeshare, and was happy to find a Living Social deal offered for them recently.  We didn’t just have a room – we had a bedroom with two beds, a kitchenette, and a living room, access to the pool, hot tub, and game room, plus the all important free wi-fi for around $65 a night.  The location can’t be beat – it’s in a very central location in a quiet neighborhood, a block or two away from a Sprouts, and a short (five to ten minutes, depending on your pace) walk to the plaza.

We had dinner our first night at Bumble Bee Baja Grill.  Bumble Bee is a great place for all the people – their menu is extensive and is friendly to all types – those wanting gluten and those not, those wanting meat and those not, those wanting to spend a lot and those not.  My parents went to Bumble Bee a few times while they were in Santa Fe last year, and brought us back a menu, thinking it’d be somewhere we’d like.  They were right.  Check out Bumble Bee if you’re in Santa Fe and looking for good food, an unpretentious, down-to-earth atmosphere, and a lot of options.  They have two locations in town – we ate at the one down the street from our hotel off of Jefferson Street.

After dinner we walked to the plaza and wandered around a bit.  We were glad to have our jackets – it was chilly!  One thing I wasn’t expecting was that most of the shops were closed.  It wasn’t very late, but apparently most of them close around 5pm.  Maybe it was because we were there in the off-season – perhaps in the summer some places have expanded hours?


There you have it – day one – our travels and stops from home to Santa Fe!

march adventures

It’s the seventh of May today, but on the first of March, we went out to brunch at Overeasy with our friends Mark and Allison after church.  I went for my classic lemon blueberry pancakes, and Danny tried the new veggie burger.  Everything was great – Overeasy has quickly become one of our favorite places in Colorado Springs.

The following weekend, we checked a few more things off our Colorado Springs bucket list and went to the Pioneer Museum.  If you live in Colorado Springs, you should check out the Pioneer Museum – once.  If you don’t live here, well, I don’t necessarily recommend it.  The building itself is beautiful and historic, but the displays are dated and sometimes lengthy.  I’m glad that we went, but I probably wouldn’t take out-of-town visitors.



 After the museum, we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, our first visit of 2015.  It was a bit snowy, but we were bundled up, and found that the animals were easier to spot against the backdrop of the snow.


The tiger was pacing along the fence, and kept slipping on the ice…we felt a little sad for him, but to be honest, it was kind of funny too.


 On a Tuesday evening, we went to a screening of “Trade of Innocents” at Colorado College that I had seen advertised at the library.  It was a very well done movie on human trafficking in Southeast Asia, and the Q&A panel that followed was eye-opening as well.

During the third weekend in March, we spent an afternoon hiking at Ute Valley Park.  A great park that is literally IN Colorado Springs, we enjoyed checking out one of the trails on a nicer-than-expected Saturday.


 On Sunday, we went to Danny’s parents’ house after church for a walk to Garden of the Gods, veggie burgers, and games – it was another beautiful day.  Right before the sun started to set, Danny and I headed up to Palmer Lake and played a game of frisbee golf as well.

In the evening, we capped off a busy Sunday by hearing Kevin Campbell, a vice president of The Exodus Road, speak at a small group we sometimes attend.  I read “The Exodus Road: A Wife’s Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue” by Laura Parker (who is a co-founder of The Exodus Road) in the fall, and was intrigued when I heard that Kevin would be speaking.  Hearing Kevin was very interesting and impactful, and I think we both left glad that we had taken the time to attend.

We spent the fourth weekend in March in Denver, which I recapped here.

The last weekend in March, we took advantage of spring finally coming and being outside both Friday night and Saturday.  Friday evening we rode our bikes along a trail we’ve had our eye on for a while.  We got on the trail off of Nevada Avenue, right behind Costco, and rode north for a while, before we turned around and went south for a bit and saw one of the best views of Pikes Peak I’ve seen in the Springs (not sure why I didn’t take any pictures).  A tasty dinner at Smashburger capped off a great evening.


On Saturday we played mini golf at Adventure Golf off of Woodmen Road and I-25, and checked out the Money Museum, which is located on the Colorado College Campus.  Where the Pioneer Museum was lacking, the Money Museum was not.  I think we were both pleasantly surprised by the Money Museum, and while I may not take visitors there (it’s not necessarily a museum that would appeal to wide range of people), I was really glad that we went.  The exhibits were attractive and engaging and the information educational and new (to us at least).  We even skimmed (as opposed to attentively reading each exhibit) the whole bottom floor because we were enjoying the museum so much but wanted to get hiking before the sun went down!




We intended to hike the Seven Bridges Trail in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, which I had seen pictures of online and had have on my Colorado Springs bucket list, but alas, it was not be found – at least not by us.  We started out hiking a trail we thought was leading us to Seven Bridges, and then we abandoned hope and decided to follow the trail to St. Mary’s Falls, until deciding it would be in our best interest to turn around before it got dark out (if I remember right, we didn’t start hiking until around 4:30).  For some reason, we came across a lot of…interesting?…people on the trail.  I don’t know…it was kind of strange.  We haven’t been on a trail with so many characters like this one.  Despite not finding the trail we wanted and feeling a little weirded out by some of our trail mates, we enjoyed being outside and being together and exploring a new area.  Colorado Springs has so much to offer!





And that about sums March up!  Now let’s see if I can do an April wrap-up before June starts! :)

a denver getaway

Over the third weekend in March, Danny and I headed up to Denver for a little getaway.  We’ve been trying to leave town for at least one night at least once a month in 2015 (trips to Greeley don’t count), and Denver was our destination of choice for March.  It’s close, has a lot to do, and is the home of some of our dear friends.

We broke our (very short, hour-long) drive up by stopping on our way up north for a hike at Dawson Butte.  It was a great hike, located not far off of I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock, and includes section through both woods and prairie.  Here we are in our (light) jackets, right after we started…


DSC01465^^ Danny was feeling like quite the Colorado hiker with his wool socks pulled up and his Merrells.  I can’t say for sure, but he may have gotten a little warm in those socks as we continued. ;) ^^


Our jackets were around our waists as we made our way out of the woods and around the plains.  We may have gotten a little pink on our faces as well…we weren’t expecting such nice weather in mid-March and didn’t bring the sunscreen!

After a picnic lunch at the trailhead, we drove to downtown Denver and toured the Byers-Evans house.  We really enjoyed our tour – it was just the two of us and our tour guide!  An beautiful (and deceivingly large) home with some interesting history.


From there we drove a few blocks to the Denver Firefighters Museum.  I’m not gonna lie…the museum wasn’t all we’d hoped it would be.  The highlight was probably dressing up in the coats and hats (made for children, if you’re wondering why they look a little…ill-fitting?…on us) and climbing into the (fake) fire truck.





The day was so beautiful, we knew we had to get out of museums and back outside.  I searched for parks in our GPS, and decided to head for Sloan’s Lake.  Neither of us had been there before, but it was a perfect choice.  A little longer of a walk than we were expecting (much to Danny’s and my TOMS-clad feet’s dismay), but a great way to enjoy a pretty spring day.  We also stopped halfway through to cross the street for some Chick-fil-a waffle fries and lemonade.  I’m not especially proud that this is my favorite guilty pleasure, but it’s true.


I did a bit of research on vegan friendly places in Denver before we left, and we decided on Sputnik for dinner.  We shared a cubano and mac-n-cheese, and while both were good, the cubano was amazing.  It was our first experience with jackfruit, and we can’t wait to get some more.

After dinner we checked into our hotel, but found a few things about it to be not quite as we had hoped and spent a while in the parking lot trying to get the room cancelled and refunded, and then deciding whether we’d just head home or find somewhere else to stay in the area.  We ended up at the Hampton Inn, just off of the last exit in Denver, and only thirty minutes from our apartment.  Oops.  It was a very nice place, though, and we thoroughly enjoyed its breakfast, fitness center, and pool.

We’d planned to go to church with our friends Amanda and Oliver on Sunday morning, and then out for lunch, but due to our more-hectic-than-expected evening the night before, we took a rain check on church and met for a delicious brunch/lunch at 11am at Watercourse Foods.  I had been hearing about Watercourse Foods for about a year and half, but had never gotten around to checking it out, and now I know that we’ve have been missing out.  Big time.  Everything on the menu is vegan, and as far as we can tell, tasty.  I foresee many more trips to Watercourse in our future.

After lunch Danny and I headed to Washington Park for a walk and some people/dog watching.  I went to Washington Park with my mom last year on my birthday, and knew I wanted to check it out again (and again).  It’s a great place for sports, walking, and checking out the gorgeous houses around its perimeter.  I wish we had something similar near us!  There’s also a pretty sweet ice cream place a couple of blocks away, Sweet Action, that we visited.  We split a vegan ice cream cookie sandwich and – wow – what a way to wrap up our weekend!


Thankful for beautiful weather, a chance to get away, dear friends to catch up with, and parks that remind me (just a smidge) of the glorious parks of London.  Until next time, Denver!

february adventures

February… feels like a long time ago!  Maybe that’s because it’s almost May.  Regardless, I wanted to do a quick overview of some of February before I totally forget.

We watched the Super Bowl on the first day of February at home with our friends Mark and Allison and ate our weight in seven layer dip (and chips and guacamole and cupcakes).  It was nice and low-key…my favorite type of party.

February 5 – 9th we spent in San Antonio in a combo business trip/vacation (well, it was basically all vacation for me, and mostly all work for Danny, but it was great fun nonetheless).  I shared lots of photos and thoughts on San Antonio here.

Valentine’s Day this year fell on a Saturday, which was all kinds of fun.  We made cinnamon rolls (with PINK frosting) for breakfast, played a couple of games of Ticket to Ride, and went on a tour of Serenity Springs Wildlife Center in the afternoon.


I had bought an Amazon Local deal for Serenity Springs a few weeks prior, and the decent weather we had that day prompted us to use it.  We enjoyed our hour-long tour of the center, and saw lots of tigers and lions, as well as some more unusual animals like ligers, servals, leopards, coutimundis, and caracals.  Our tour group was very large, which was kind of too bad, but we still got plenty of chances to see the animals up close.  My favorite was probably definitely the baby tiger (only a few weeks old!), but we enjoyed all of the animals, really.






DSC01373We had a late lunch at Tokyo Joe’s (thanks to a great BOGO coupon) and then headed home and started dinner because I knew dinner was going to be a process but I didn’t know it was going to be a PROCESS.  I chose a homemade (vegan) ravioli recipe, thinking, “Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day!  We should make something extra special together because that will be so fun and, of course, yummy!”  I overlooked the fact that our cinnamon rolls that morning had taken hours longer than anticipated, and we had spent the afternoon walking around a wildlife center and probably would’ve been quite happy to just eat pizza and park in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.  The ravioli, while quite labor intensive, was good, but the primary thing you should know is that Danny is a CHAMPION in the kitchen.  I have a twelve photos of the ravioli-making process and Danny is in every one of them, which I think is evidence that he really did all of the work.

DSC01385I think we might have watched “Maleficent” after we finished with our dinner, but I can’t quite remember. If it wasn’t that night, it was sometime around then.  I do remember making another questionable decision which involved us making lemon strawberry cakes that looked oh so cute for Valentine’s Day…when someone else is making them for you.  I don’t want to relive this poor choice more than I have to, so I’ll just say that they did not turn out well at all, and it was probably my fault and not the recipe’s.

We also took an extended trip to Greeley in the middle of February.  We drove up on a Wednesday night after work, and stayed until Sunday after lunch.  I got to see my friends Sarah and Kaci, we had lunch with Danny’s brother and his wife, I helped my mom in her class all day on Friday, we went bowling (and experienced bowling alley food for the first time), and had an overall very good time.




And that just about sums it up.  February 2015 in the Everett household!  A good month indeed.