Pura Vida Charleston

Road Trip

Colorado Day #3

Road TripMegan WhitsonComment

Hi loves. Can you guys believe that we are over halfway through December?! What the heck is happening … I want to pause time so I can slow down and savor every single moment of this season <3 Also, I have done less than half of my Christmas shopping and haven’t shipped anything back to SC yet. I should probably get on that - like yesterday.

How was your weekend? My little sister and two of our good friends were in town for a few days and it was SO nice. We had a fun few days of hiking, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking our way around SLC and Park City. They also went skiing on Sunday in Park City but I wasn’t able to join for that - it looked super fun though :)

Okay…so this has been the vacation recap that NEVER ends. Sorry guys…tis the season - literally.

Where did we leave off? Ok…last morning in Boulder! Will and I went to breakfast at South Side Walnut Cafe and it did not disappoint. There coffee was excellent and it took me forever to order because everything on the menu looked so delicious. I got the Big Dill Eggs and the Boulder Latte. Our server was super friendly and made an already amazing experience even better.

After breakfast, we headed out to Rattlesnake Gulch Trailhead in Eldorado Canyon State Park. This may have been my favorite hike that we did in Colorado. There were incredible views the entire time (not just at the top). It was the perfect intensity…I loved everything about it and so did Will. I have a feeling this is probably pretty crowded in warmer months but it was perfect for us in early November…the trail was not crowded at all. It was in the low 30’s but we definitely got warm in the sun once we were moving. I’d love to come back to Eldorado Canyon State Park and do some climbing as well - I spotted several sexy routes ;) I think you can do sport climbing and bouldering here.

Gorgeous, right?? The pictures don't even do it justice…it is truly breathtaking. After our hike, we headed up the road to Fort Collins - but of course, we stopped in Longmont to check out a brewery or two ;)

Our first stop was Wibby Brewing (suggested to us by the girl in the gift shop at Avery). Wibby is known for their American-influenced, German-style lagers. This ended up being one of my favorite breweries of the trip - cool vibe, SUPER friendly/personable staff, awesome selection of well done brews AND a shuffle board table…Will and I are big shuffle board fans ;)

Next up was Left Hand Brewing Co which we were super excited about…sadly, while the beer was awesome (which we knew it would be), the ambience of the brewery and the staff left a lot to be desired. Womp womp. The brewery was smaller than I expected and really dark inside - I am a lover the LIGHT so I wasn’t feeling the cave-vibe I got. That combined with some very bored, uninterested in patrons but super interested in their phones staff = we finished our flights and peaced out. Oh well, I still love their beer.

We headed on up the road and got settled into our Airbnb in Fort Collins which was AWESOME. We actually stayed about 15 minutes outside of downtown Fort Collins in Loveland. We rested up and played with our Airbnb owner’s adorable dog for awhile and then headed out to New Belgium. I’ve loved New Belgium’s beer for a long time so I was stoked to check out the brewery and it did not disappoint. It had all my checkmarks for a great brewery: incredible beer (obviously), funky/fun vibe and friendly and knowledgable staff. Sadly we didn’t get to take a tour (apparently they book out like 2 months in advance!).

We finished off our evening by grabbing nachos and wings at a sports pub in downtown Fort Collins to watch the Panthers game - I can’t remember the name but it was a cool little dive bar. Anyway, that wraps up day 3…hiking and breweries … our 2 favorite things ;)

I hope you have had a wonderful start to your week! Only 7 days until Christmas!!!

I’m off to bake a ridiculous amount of Christmas cookies <3

Big Love & Pura Vida

Colorado Day 2 + A New Coffee Shop

Road Trip, Brewery GuideMegan WhitsonComment

Good morning friends! Happy Saturday :) This is my first Saturday morning in SLC where there have been literally no real “plans” on the agenda and it’s been nice just having a chill morning. I want to share our 2nd day in Colorado with you but FIRST…I have to tell you guys about the cool little coffee shop I went to this morning with my friends Cindy and Ben. It’s called Alpha Coffee and it’s at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. I had the Dawn Patrol which is their breakfast blend and it was glorious. Cindy got the Double Barrel Black Midnight Blend which I also tasted and it was so rich and luxurious. The service was excellent and the vibe was very laid-back with an awesome view of the mountains. Definitely check it out for a pre or post-ski cup of coffee. Also, give the blueberry muffins a try ;)

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Another cool aspect of Alpha Coffee is that it was co-founded by military veterans and one of its primary missions is to give back and support our troops. Each portion of every batch of coffee is shipped to deployed troops. To learn more, check out their coffee for troops page.

Alrighty…Colorado Day #2! Let’s go!

Will and I spent our morning hiking around the Flatirons and it was really solid easy-to-moderate hiking. We took the trails to the First and Second Flatirons from the Chautauqua Park trailhead. I was definitely wishing that I had my climbing shoes, chalk bag and a crash pad on my back as we hiked through some of the boulders…it looks to be some GOOD climbing and I definitely want to go back with gear.

PS - if you are reading on a tablet or phone, you can click on the pictures to see them bigger bc I don’t think they show up as well as they do in the desktop format - just FYI. At the top of the main trail that we took, there were some “couches” set up so that you could sit back and really take in the view. It was beautiful. A morning well spent for sure. I definitely would like to spend some more time out there the next time we are in Boulder.

It makes my heart happy just looking back at these pictures…the mountains always feel like home to me, no matter where I am. We took the Enchanged Mesa Trail back down and it was equally beautiful. It felt so serene and the trees just seem wise to me - I don’t know if that makes sense…but that’s what my hippie heart feels ;)

Will did manage to get a few shots of my mountain goat escapades…despite not having my climbing gear haha

I actually was able to “climb” a decent ways further up on this too…just out of camera sight ;) Like I said, I look forward to coming back and doing some actual climbing. The rocks were pristine. After our hiking, we were starving and headed into downtown Boulder looking for good beer and good food - which we 100% found at The Post Brewing Co.

I had the Townie Ale which was really good and Will had the Ski Tan. For food, Will had their fried chicken sandwich which was probably the BEST fried chicken sandwich I have ever had…and that is saying something y’all because I am from the SOUTH haha. I had the spicy chicken and potato soup with a buttermilk cheddar biscuit and it hit the spot. We both agreed that we would recommend this restaurant/brewery to anyone - huge Yelp win :)

After showers at our Airbnb, we stopped by The Boulder Recyler on our way to Avery Brewing. I was able to get a long puffy coat and some ski pants for super cheap (compared to new in-stores pricing). Its a great way to find high quality consignment outdoor gear if you are in need and in the Boulder area!

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Our evening stop was at Avery Brewing Co. and we were both HUGE fans of the beer. I have to mention that we were rather spoiled at a lot of the breweries we went to and had some of the friendliest beertenders of anywhere I have ever been…but this was not so much the case at Avery. The service was a little slow and not nearly as friendly as what we had become accustomed to in our other dining/beer-drinking experiences but it was still a great brewery stop. Avery had some of the best beer of the trip and I’m sad that it’s not sold in SC. We did talk to a very friendly girl in the merch room who gave us some great Avery beer recommendations, as well as some other brewery recommendations for us to check out the next day :) Will and I also split the cheese board and gumbo which were both excellent. The food was a little pricey but worth it.

Our last stop of the day was at Sanitas Brewing Co. where Will and I split a “night cap” flight. It was just okay. The brewing itself was a cool spot but the beer was nothing to write home about. If you're in the area and happen upon it, pop in…but I wouldn’t go out of my way to check it out. I did really like this US map of breweries that they had - I even spotted our Charleston breweries - shoutout to SC! <3

Sorry the pics a little blurry ;) And that wraps up our 2nd day in Colorado…Will and I both really enjoyed Boulder and were impressed with how friendly so many of the people we came into contact with were. Meeting kind and genuine humans is one of my favorite parts of traveling :) More recaps to come…including more delicious food, beer and hiking…shocking, right?

Have a wonderful Saturday - and good luck to your football team if they are playing! I’ll be checking in on the Tigers score on my phone while I’m at the Utes hockey game tonight! It’s my first ever hockey game so should be fun :)

Big Love & Pura Vida, y’all <3

Tuesday Things & Colorado Day #1

Road Trip, Tuesday ThingsMegan WhitsonComment

Hi friends. Happy Tuesday! Sooo I just wrote about half of this post and then somehow managed to delete it! Sigh…major bummer. So here we go again haha. How has your week been so far? Mine has been busy but great (other than previously mentioned deletion of half my blog post). I am continuing to love my rotation. I absolutely love all of my patients and feel like I am learning so much…and hopefully making a positive impact on their lives <3

I took advantage of the CyberMonday deals on Amazon yesterday and ordered a ski jacket, mittens and a vest…now I just need to actually LEARN to ski haha. I’m researching the best “beginning” ski deals in the area currently - if you know of some good ones, let me know! It is a little overwhelming.

This will be a short Tuesday Things and then I’m recapping my first day in Colorado for you guys - along with some hiking and brewery recommendations :) Sorry I’m a little late on my recap posts!

1. These are the mittens I ordered last night and I’m super excited about them haha…just had to share ;)

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2. I went snowshoeing for the first time on Sunday afternoon up at Alta and it was BREATHTAKING. I literally felt like I was walking around in a snow globe. It was a pretty good workout too! I was amazed at some of the backcountry skiers I saw…holy cow, those guys are IN SHAPE! Big thanks to my new friend Ben for loaning me snowshoes and showing me the ropes :)

3. Now that Thanksgiving is over…it’s time to start thinking about one of the BEST parts of Christmas - cookies! Jessica’s Holiday Baking List will not steer you wrong. I’m going to attempt the chewy chai snickerdoodles this weekend :)

4. Have you guys heard of the AllTrails app?? I think I am super late to the game on this one but I downloaded it this past weekend and it is such a great resource for any and all hiking wherever you may be. I’m planning to do Mount Van Cott this weekend.

5. I recently tried FourSigmatic’s hot cacao mix and really loved it. It isn’t too sweet which I like. AND it is infused with reishi elixir so it is a perfect drink to help you wind down before bed :)

6. Chelsea shared THIS recipe for sweet potato chili and it looks so delicious (the recipe is towards the bottom of her post). I love that it includes regular sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes. I’ll be giving this a shot for my Sunday meal prep!

7. We went to check out the lights at Temple Square on Friday night and despite the rain, it was beautiful. I highly recommend checking them out if you are in the SLC area <3 We also grabbed a drink at Beerhive Pub afterwards in downtown Salt Lake and it was a great experience. They have an extensive, varied beer list and the food was really yummy :)

The Honey Hips Ale by Latitude 33 (above) was delicious; it had just a hint of sweetness from the honey. Definitely recommend!

Alright…better late than never! Colorado Adventures Day #1 : Boulder!

Will and I got into Boulder around 5:30pm that Tuesday (we left from Charlotte on Monday AM, stopped in St. Louis, then drove to Boulder all day Tuesday). We checked into our Airbnb which was super cute and very affordable. I highly recommend staying with Kyle & Lisa if you are ever in the area; they are excellent hosts. Their private studio was so cozy and just a short drive from downtown Boulder. They also had chickens and ducks which made me super happy :)

We went to Under the Sun Eatery & Pizzeria on Tuesday night upon recommendation from Kyle and Lisa. I had one of the best salads I have ever eaten…seriously, it was insane. It was the Power Flower and it had “organic mixed greens, roasted cauliflower, bacon, pickled onion, aged white cheddar, and lemon caper vinaigrette” - the roasted cauliflower was the star. Will and I also split The Wild Boom pizza (roasted Hazel Dell mushrooms, woodfired onions, sundried tomatoes, fontina, Grana Padano, fresh parsley) and had a few beers. It was a perfect, laid-back first night in Boulder.

We also went into a little beer and wine shop in the shopping center that Under the Sun was in - I didn’t take any pictures though and I cannot remember the name…BUT, if you are ever in the area, pop around the corner and check it out! They had a huge, well-rounded beer selection and the staff were super knowledgeable and so friendly. I wish I could remember the name to give them a shout out! We rounded out our first CO night with a beer in our cozy little bungalow and then crashed super hard. Why does driving wear you out so much but all you’re doing is sitting?? Then we were up with the sun the next morning to start our first hike…to be continued ;)

But just a little sneak preview of the Flatirons…

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Hope you have an awesome hump day! I’ll talk to you soon :)

Big Love & Pura Vida!

Good morning from the road...

Road TripMegan WhitsonComment

Good morning from St. Louis, Missouri! Or just outside of it…we’ve been on the road for about an hour now. Sorry for the radio silence over the past week - it was crazy busy finishing up the last week of my rotation in Beaufort, unpacking/repacking for SLC and enjoying a jam-packed weekend of football and friends :) Will and I left from Charlotte around 7:00am yesterday and arrived in St. Louis ~11 hours later. We hit the road again around 6:20 this morning and we have a 12.5 hour day of driving ahead until we hit Boulder! Several long days in the car but it will be worth it for us to have 4 days in Colorado until we continue on to SLC.

Anyway, I hope you’ve had a wonderful past week and had a fantastic Halloween :) I may do a “Tuesday Things” post later today but for now I’ll just share a few photos from this past week with you guys.

Sunrise in Beaufort on my last morning :)

Sunrise in Beaufort on my last morning :)

I came home on Friday night and got to spend some good time with my parents. I hadn’t gotten to see them in about 6 weeks so it was awesome to just have some quality time with them before I head out again until February. I know some people don’t see their parents very often at all but I’ve gotten pretty spoiled over the past few years. My parents only live about 3.5 hours away from Charleston so it’s been pretty easy to see them a decent amount; even going 6 weeks without seeing them recently seemed like a really long time for me. There’s also a very strong chance that they will be selling their house before I get back from SLC which is CRAZY to think about. It’s the house that I grew up in (they built it when I was 3) so it was a little weird thinking that this might be the last weekend that I’m ever in that house. BUT a house is just a thing, a structure made of wood and brick, etc…my home is my family and that never changes no matter where they go or I go, no matter where we live.

On Saturday, Will and I went to the Clemson/Louisville game and it was AWESOME. We got to see and spend time with so many of our good friends. The game was great but the people and fellowship was better. I left with a super full heart…and a Tiger win was pretty good too ;)

Those two lovely ladies at the top and I go WAY back. Hayley and I declared ourselves best friends in 2nd grade and Lindsay moved to our town in 4th or 5th grade. We all went to middle school, high school and then Clemson together. It’s pretty crazy having friends that you’ve known and loved for 25 years. I made Hayley awkwardly take a photo by herself bc I was in love with her fall/Clemson outfit…I’ll link to the clothes ASAP :)

Also…Will and I kinda struggle with taking non-awkward, flattering photos sometimes haha ;) I’ll also link back to my jeans, boots, tee and necklace as well for anyone interested - once I’m not on the road and have a better internet connection.

Don’t you love Laura’s “power pose” with the unicorn and rainbow beer?? Haha…love it. I think that beer is from Resident Culture in Charlotte (one of my favorite CLT breweries). It was so good to spend time with so many of my favorite people all in one day <3

And onto Sunday…Will’s family has season tickets for the Panthers so we went to the Panthers/Buccaneers game. Holy cow you guys - the Panthers set a record for points scored in the first half! It was 35-7 at halftime. What a great game and we had perfect football weather :) Good football, craft beer and a brat…I was a happy girl.

After the game, we went to spend some time with my friend Dana at her house in Madison Park. She made a delicious dinner (as always!) and it was the perfect cap off to a weekend filled with friends. Have I mentioned how much I just love Charlotte? :)

We were in St. Louis for less than 12 hours but we made sure to check out a cool brewery for dinner - 4 Hands Brewing Company was fantastic. I got a flight and loved 3 of the 4 beers (my faves were the Pumpkin CMS, Superflare Brett IPA and Divided Sky Rye IPA. Beer was great, atmosphere and vibe was chill and the food was delicious. Will’s favorite part was the free skee ball ;) We stayed at a super cute Airbnb in downtown St. Louis too. I’ll go back in and include links for everything later today or tomorrow when I have better internet.

Thanks for checking in friends. Send us safe travel vibes…and Boulder recommendations!

Big Love & Pura Vida <3