Last year Jon and I were lucky enough to fly to New Orleans, spend a week there, then another full week driving back to Los Angeles. At first we were thinking about going to Orlando, but figured that Disney World would be a much better choice when we have kids. So after months of planning, we set off on our first long road tripping adventure.
We left early Tuesday morning and the beautiful geese we saw outside our house was a great sign for travel.
They have a menu board as well as a ready to eat deli cabinet.
Living in Los Angeles basically means that you’re required to go to Las Vegas at least once a year. Of all the times I’ve been there, I had never really explored outside of the strip. On this family Vegas outting, we decided to try something new which was Lao food. This Loas Market was about 10 minutes from the strip and had everything from Lao pantry staples to fresh vegetables, and even a little restaurant in the back corner. Being that it was the first time we had Lao food, Jon’s sister’s boyfriend did all of the ordering. They frequent this place and knew exactly what to order.
Fresh Papaya Salad, green papayas are sliced into thin strips and mixed with everything from palm sugar, salty fish sauce, lime, chili, to create a very complex flavor. Though it sounds like it would be a sweet dish being that it’s made from papayas, its actually savory. The texture of the papaya reminds me of raw zucchini noodles. It’s slightly chewy, firm, and a little crispy. It really is very refreshing. At the Laos Market, they offer both Laos and Thai Papaya Salad. The only difference I’ve read online is that the Lao one has fish sauce, but I’m really not 100% sure.
Though our trip to Fort Collins was a short one, we had some pretty memorable moments. Here are a few photos that I’d love to share from our trip.
Akane, the smallest adult cat I’ve ever met. This cutie pie had the tiniest little paws and the chubbiest cheeks. She loved to lay right by us. Close but not too close. This made me want to squeeze her even more (queue mental image of Elmyra Duff). One afternoon we came back and saw that she had dropped her little toy mouse on Jon’s slipper. Though this might had been on accident, I’d like to believe that she was confessing her love for him by offering him her greatest treasure.
Veronica, the first Belgian Malinois I had ever met. She was sweet, very gentle, and loved to get petted. She was great on walks and we even got to go hiking with her. Though she was many times bigger than Akane, we knew who really ruled the roost.
After asking many Denver locals for suggestions on what we should do while we were in Colorado, we noticed that everyone would tell us the same thing… “do something outdoors!” At this point I’m just going to throw it out there, I am not an outdoorsy kinda of person. I enjoy sightseeing, taking photos, but the high elevation of Colorado + female monthly problems + the heat (it was in the high 80s that day lots of people were hiking in bathing suits) = a very cranky Jen. Even with all of that combined, I knew that we could not pass up hiking in Colorado. Reluctantly, I agreed to go something outdoorsy… LOL
Since we were in Fort Collins, Jon’s cousins drove us to Horsetooth Mountain Park, and we all hiked the Horsetooth Falls Trail. This trail was 5800ft at its highest point and was about 2.5 miles round trip. It was steep, sometimes very narrow, and had nothing on the sides to catch us if we fell. While I whined all the way to and back from the waterfall, Jon’s cousins were saints and put up with all of it with a smile. Just imagine a person afraid of heights, not in hiking shoes, had Los Angeles lungs breathing in high elevation, wore jeans, extremely hormonal, and hiking in 80+ degree weather. They were saints I tell ya…absolute saints…hahahaha.
Here’s Jon’s cousins’ Belgian Malinois named Veronica, getting ready for the hike. She was such a trooper and was so good at finding the proper footing for the path.
I am a huge fan of drinking teas. I am actually a bit obsessed with teas. We have 2 cabinets in our pantry devoted to everything from American Tea Room’s Brioche, Adagio’s Roobios Vanilla Chai, Bird Pick’s Premium Silky Green Tea, to bags of Korean Barley Tea, and of course some good ole PG tips. Since Boulder Colorado is the home of Celestial Seasonings, I made sure that we took their free factory tour before we left Colorado.
The Celestial Seasonings Factory was about 40 minutes from Denver. Jon’s cousin was sweet enough to pick us up and played tour guide for the trip. The Tour Center is where we checked in and where they had as much free tea as your heart desired. (I have to forewarn you, I don’t have any pictures from inside of the facility because we were asked not to take any photos :( . I will have to do my best to describe everything I remember lol). They had their full range of teas out for everyone to sample as well as milk, sugar, and honey ready to go if you wanted to sweeten up your cup. Of all of the teas I tried, my favorite was their Honey Vanilla Chamomile. It was caffeine free, smooth, flavorful, but still very light. Then for my second cup I added a touch of milk and honey and it instantly transformed into a dessert tea.