April Recap: Phoenix, Lantern Fest, & Baseball

I haven’t written in a while, it’s been a little hectic over here in Colorado. April has just seemed to fly by and somewhat in a good way.

About mid-month, Ryan and I packed and headed to Arizona for a lovely wedding. It’s actually been our first wedding that we’ve been to as a couple, other than our own. We kind of like to joke because we have one friend getting married this summer, but other than that we only have a couple close friends in long term relationships. We’re like the old married couple, but without kids because we aren’t wanting those yet.

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The wedding was great! It was for one of my closest cousins, and I’m just so happy he found such an amazing gal. Since Ryan had never been to Arizona, we did some exploring. We had a great time in Downtown Scottsdale. You have to go to Sugar Bowl. Delicious, delicious milkshakes and malts!

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And . . . calling all Baseball fans . . . there is a store called Baseballism. They only have 4 (I think) locations, and let me tell you the CUTEST clothes for baseball fans.

When we got back from Arizona, we had a good time relaxing for these past few weeks. It’s been so hectic lately, I swear we’re going a 100 different directions. But, we did get to attend Lantern Fest that was held in Dacono, Colorado.

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This festival was breathtaking. If you’ve ever seen Tangled, you’ve wished you could be part of the lantern festival, and it was worth it. People were stopping on the freeway to see the lanterns. Click here to see if they’re headed to your city, you won’t want to miss it. Tip: You don’t have to show up early, you could show up an hour and half before dark and still get the feel.

And, now it is May 1st, and I cannot believe we are in the fifth month of this year. These days are literally flying by. I also get to head to Cali this month to see my little brother play some of his last baseball games. It’s probably one of the most bittersweet moments, he is moving on to pursue a career in ministry and be around the one he loves. Yet, it is a closing of the baseball chapter that was such a huge part of his life, as well as our family’s life.

I cannot wait to see him play and hang with my lovely mother on Mother’s day!

– the Helm Household

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My California Birthday Weekend: Hollywood Sign, LeBron James, & Baseball

For my birthday weekend, Ryan and I headed to sunny California. My little brother goes to school outside of LA, and my parents were flying down from Washington to meet us. We kind of had a wrench thrown into our plans when my dad had to be rushed to the ER the day of the flight, so my parents had to stay home (he’s okay, don’t worry!). Honestly, my husband and I think he is avoiding us because in January, when my parents were coming to visit us in Colorado, my mom is the only one that came because my dog had to go to the ER, too.

My birthday weekend was now just going to be the three of us. It was okay, though. A bummer, but okay. We should be seeing them in April for my cousin’s wedding, only if no one goes to the ER.

We were visiting California to celebrate my birthday but also to see my brother play baseball. On my birthday, we went on a hike near the Hollywood sign! The boys put up with it because I just kept repeating, “It’s my birthday!”

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After our hike, we drove down Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive since Ryan had never been. While driving, we were all talking about if we were going to see a celebrity or not . . . AND WE DID. This is kind of how it went:

Me: “Holy crap, that’s . . . what’s his name . . . gosh, what’s his name . . . oh, LeBron James!”

My brother: “No, it’s not.”

Me: “YES IT IS!”

My brother: (Actually looks) “That’s LeBron James! Holy crap, we just saw LeBron James!”

During the conversation, my husband didn’t say a word. But, he did snap this photo! It’s the best we could do since we were driving down the street. 

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If I’m really honest, the celebrity I was hoping to see was someone from Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives, or if I’m really lucky Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars. But, I guess LeBron James will have to do.

For my birthday dinner, we went to Pono Burger in Santa Monica. And oh my gosh, if you live in the area or are visiting . . . it’s delicious! It’s a pretty small restaurant, you sit in something that looks like a greenhouse, but it is the best burger and fries I have had in awhile. Definitely worth the visit!

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We also got to watch my brother play some baseball, which was awesome! And . . . I hate to break it to you . . . I have seen more baseball games than you. And, I know more about baseball than you. This isn’t the life I chose, it chose me! Haha, but seriously, I’ve watched more baseball games than I can count, and it’s always great to see the “little” guy play. He is up to bat in the picture below.

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For my last birthday adventure, we were going to go to Magic Mountain. But, it ended up raining when we could do it, so that didn’t happen. Instead we went and saw Zootopia, which I would probably rate like a 6.5. I felt like they showed most of the funny parts in the previews, plus I’m still on that Frozen bandwagon.

It was a great vacation to see my brother’s school, celebrate my birthday, and just have a nice little getaway. Only three more weeks until our next adventure in Phoenix! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay updated.

– the Helm Household

Buying your First Home: Are you ready?

I’m reflecting on Ryan and I buying our first home in 2014, and I’m truly thinking about the question: were we ready?

BUYING YOUR

 

Let me give you a little bit of a back story:

We bought our home in October of 2014 and sold it in October of 2015. I was 22 when we bought the home, and Ryan was 23 (almost 24).  My work wanted to move me out to Colorado, so it seemed like the right thing to do. I’d truly say God lined up everything and made everything work. The first person who looked at our house, ended up buying it.

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Currently, we live in an apartment. We went from 2,100 square feet to 675 square feet. It was an adjustment: no yard, one bedroom, one bathroom, etc. But, it’s been better than expected for me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be kind of a nomad or never really content with where I live. I always want to change, and I like having that flexibility. But, I struggle because we want to have kids eventually, and I don’t want to be the family that always moves. So, when we bought our house I thought it was the right idea, but now I’m thinking I wasn’t ready.

Mortgages are stressful.

We pay more for our apartment than we did for our house, but if something goes wrong, we don’t have to pay to fix it. When you buy a house, you fix it. That money comes out of your pocket.

You are stuck. 

I was 22 years old going on 40. Yes, you can always sell your house, but it isn’t like breaking a lease. You’re responsible for the house. If it doesn’t sell, you might have to take a loss? Or possibly stay there when you’re ready to move?

Starting out is expensive.

We bought a new construction home, and let’s just say we had at least an extra $4,000 in expenses. We had to buy a washer and dryer. And, we also had to buy blinds. BLINDS ARE EXPENSIVE. SO SO SO EXPENSIVE. Even if you get the cheap ones, they are expensive. Consider yourself warned.

Don’t settle. 

I wouldn’t say we settled, but there was definitely things we found out we didn’t like. We had a really small yard. And, that is fine, but it got old quick. There wasn’t room to spread out and just be outside. We also had a back load garage, where you drove down an ally.  Neither of us had ever lived in one, and it sounded okay but it wasn’t. There was no place to wash your car. And, our front windows then were really close to the sidewalks. It sounds weird, I know, but then if your expensive blinds are open, you feel like someone walking on the sidewalk is in your living room.

Your time withers away.

There is always something to do at the house. Paint, clean, you name it. It literally takes me 30 minutes to clean my apartment. It took me an hour and a half to  clean the house. Think about those things, sometimes it’s nice to not have to clean three bathrooms.

Now, done with the seriousness. It’s time for funny things you don’t think about . . .

BASEBOARDS

AHHHHHHHH! My hatred for flat baseboards. The baseboards that are flat on top. They are a pain in the butt to clean. The dust just sits there, but you have to get on your hands and knees to clean them. I’m not saying don’t buy a house because of baseboards, but seriously you will stare at that dust and hate your life each and every time you have to clean it.

Garage Auto-Lights

Great in theory, however ours would never stay on unless it saw you moving. Ryan and I like to do a lot of DIY projects, so if we were painting something, the light would turn off. We’d be jumping up and down to try and turn the light back on. It was hilarious and annoying all rolled up into one.

Neighbors

Honestly, we had the best neighbor and the worst neighbor. And, you just get what you get. Our bad neighbor . . . he wrote passive aggressive notes on our car if we parked even slightly in front of his house. Let me remind you, we had back load garages, so it was the public road in front of our houses. And, he could still fit 2 cars in front of his house, but he still wrote us notes with the date and a number circled. That number kept increasing each time it happened. So, when I went to confront him about it, he said it wasn’t him. Fast forward: my parents parked half way in front of his house . . . he proceeded to move his car from his garage to the front of his house and then cussed my mom out. He also called me a “little girl”, and I just thought . . . this little girl can afford the same house you can, mister. So, ya neighbors can be a drag.

I’m not saying owning a home was a bad thing. I’m just saying I wasn’t ready. It’s a big decision, and if I could go back, I wouldn’t buy one the year I got married. I would’ve waited a bit to settle in. But, I tend to do things backwards, so now we live in an apartment.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @HelmHousehold!

– the Helm Household

Bring on Spring

I’m not sure about where you live, but in sunny Colorado if feels like spring already. We’ve been in the mid-sixties for a couple weeks now, and it’s been feeling good. I’m not so excited for the season after spring, but I am excited for spring.

Spring is flowers blooming, school getting out, and sunshine! Since I’ve newly moved, I’m excited for better weather to be able to explore more. It’s difficult to explore Colorado in winter because let’s face it . . . it’s snowy and cold.

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Things I’m planning on doing this spring:

The Lantern Fest

It’s probably in your city! You have to check it out because who hasn’t seen Tangled and wanted to do something like this? We’re planning to do one here, such a fun date night. Plus, it is a great way to celebrate in the warm weather! (And there are s’mores).

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Image Source, click here.

Taste of (Insert Your Town Name)

My husband and I will be attending the Taste of Fort Collins for the first time! And, I don’t know if you’ve ever searched google for “Taste of (Insert Your Town Name)” or if you’ve been to one, they are awesome. Normally, they don’t cost to much, but they’re so much fun. It is locally sourced everything, and each vendor normally does samples, etc. In Illinois, we saw the “Taste of Illinois” advertised in a grocery store–we’d never heard about it. And, we decided to try it out for a little date, and it’s been one of the best dates we’ve had!

Winter Attractions: Breckenridge 

Think about the biggest winter attraction around you, the place where everyone flies to your state to go in the winter time. Try it out in spring! Trust me, it’s great. There is stuff to do at every time of the year in the town, but going not during the busy season is kind of fun. First, it isn’t as expensive. And second, it isn’t as busy. It’s always been something I’ve loved to do, and this year, I’m hoping to check out Breckenridge when it’s warm not during the ski season.

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Image Source, click here.

Camping, camping, camping!

Fun fact about me, I had never really been camping until last year . . . and I went twice. The thing about Washington, if you didn’t know, it rains a lot there. Plus, my dad hates camping, so I had never been growing up. But my husband loves camping, and I’d say I like it. So, I’m excited to go this spring with friends because Colorado is warmer in the spring than Washington. We will hopefully get to go more and possibly get to stay in a Yurt one time! How cool would that be?

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Camping in Forks, Washington

I’m really excited for the spring! I don’t like the snow (or the hot), so I’m ready for some mild temperatures. I’m  hoping to be outside and a) not freeze to death and b) not burn up.

Which of these sound most fun to do this spring?

– the Helm Household

Why you need to move in your 20s

I remember being 20, I had just graduated from college, and I was moving to Illinois from Washington. See my boyfriend of 8 months, now my husband, lived in Illinois and was still in school. He flew out for my graduation party, and we packed up and were on the road in the next couple of days.

Let’s just say I balled my eyes out the first night in the hotel. Like balled. I’d miss my family, I didn’t know anyone, what was I thinking moving in with a guy I’d only known for 8 months? Side note: 8 months of living in two different places, and only being around each other for maybe a month of it. 

That was in 2012. Now, it’s 2016, and since then, I’ve lived in Illinois for 2 years, Washington for just over a year, and now Colorado for 5 months. And, I haven’t even turned 24 yet.

It’s kind of unbelievable how much we’ve moved, it’s really been an adventure. Honestly, I’d never want to do it with kids, but since we just have us and our dog it’s been pretty easy.

But why is it important to move in your 20s?

  • Maybe where you grew up, really isn’t where you want to live forever

Shocker! I know. But, if you don’t allow for yourself to move away, you won’t know that. My husband is a great example. He grew up in a town of 1,200 people, and he thought he would live there forever. He then met me, and I ruined that, but he currently loves Colorado. If he hadn’t been okay with moving, he wouldn’t know that.

  • To explore! 

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound awesome to live in the middle of Illinois. At least it didn’t to me. But, when we lived near Springfield, we were 3 hours from Chicago, 1.5 from St. Louis, 3 hours from Indianapolis, 6 hours from Nashville, and 5 hours from Cincinnati. Sounds a little bit better, right? We were able to see so much of the United States from just being there and being in such a close driving distance from everything.

  • Living on your own and relying on yourself

This can be either with a significant other or if you are moving just by yourself. Colorado is the first place where neither of our parents are. We’re relying on each other to do everything. Who knew boarding your dog cost so much? Or that it sucks when your car gets totaled and you only have one car for an entire week?

Let me tell you, you might hate it at first. But, allowing yourself to embrace it is much easier. I had to learn that the hard way moving to Colorado. I did not want to be here at all. I wasn’t ready to move from Washington and near my parents, we had only been there a year.  And, I was mad. Everything about Colorado made me mad, but then I decided to embrace it.

I realize we aren’t going to live here forever, and my husband loves it. But, we do have this time now to explore, and I’ve been realizing it’s been good for us. You can always move back or settle down when you decide to have kids. But, when you’re in your 20s, it’s your time to explore.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

 

-the Helm Household

Exploring Colorado: Garden of the Gods & Celestial Seasonings

Since moving to Colorado in October, I haven’t had much time to explore. One of the major reasons is that I traveled for over a month for work and Christmas. But the last couple of weekends, I’ve been able to wander around Colorado.

Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is about an hour and a half from where we live, and it is south of Denver. I hadn’t been south of Denver, and it is gorgeous there! If I didn’t work closer to Boulder, I definitely would move south of Denver. It reminds me more of Washington than where we currently live.

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We took our little fluff and got to hike around. Originally, we thought there was only the path on the inside where everyone was walking in heels and with strollers. But, you could really take a good three hours and hike on the opposite side of the road and get a decent workout in. It also has great views on this hike.
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We definitely will have to bring family here when they come out in the summer time. It’s gorgeous and worth the drive. I highly recommend bringing a few towels though if you bring your dog, our little guy got more than messy on the trails!

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Kissing Camels

 

Celestial Seasonings

This weekend my parents were supposed to come out, but our family dog was having some issues, so my dad had to stay home. Which means, our plans to go to the Coors Brewery tour would be put on hold.

So, I was looking up things to do in Boulder, and I found Celestial Seasonings. If you’re a tea drinker, this is the tour for you! It’s a great, free tour that is about 45 minutes long. You get free tea, you get to go in the mint room, and you can buy their tea Fast Lane that is only sold there; it has more caffeine than a cup of drip coffee, which is awesome!

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Just an FYI, men if you have any type of facial hair you get to add a beard net to the already awesome hair net.

I’ve had a few great back-to-back exploring weekends in Colorado. And, currently I’m just trying to stay warm from the never-ending snow.

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-the Helm Household

Recap from Charleston and Savannah Road Trip

My favorite thing about a road trip is just getting time to spend with my husband. It’s such an easy way to trap him a car and make him talk to me! Haha, I’m just kidding. In our second month of being together, we took a 5 hour road trip from eastern Washington to Seattle area without any music the entire time. So, it’s safe to say they hold a special little place in my heart.

Our latest road trip adventure was from Orlando to Savannah to Charleston.

Orlando is mostly Disney World. Ryan only joined me for a couple days of that trip, due to the fact that it was a work trip. We did get to enjoy a night at Hollywood Studios, though, and I definitely don’t recommend that park if anyone in your group gets motion sickness. Epcot is definitely the park for you.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and headed to the airport to pick up our rental car. And, we were off! It’s about a four hour drive to Savannah–not too shabby. We only had one night in Savannah, and we chose to do a Haunted Drinking Tour of the town. It was actually more fun than we thought it would be.

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We weren’t sure where to eat dinner. Normally, I’m a planner . . . I mean a PLANNER. But, this trip, I honestly just didn’t have the mental capacity to plan anything, so instead we asked locals. We were told to try out the Public, it was SO good. Totally worth the trip! The venue was gorgeous, but it was kind of small (just an FYI).

The next day, we packed up and were headed to Charleston. But, we decided to stop by Hilton Head first. And, let me say, I wish I was retired because I would move to Hilton Head in a heartbeat. I think if I moved there now, I’d pull the average age to possibly 40. It’s gorgeous! We walked on the beach and just drove around the island for a bit.

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Next stop: Charleston. We were able to stay at the Francis Marion, which is right on King Street. And, every second Sunday on King Street, it shuts down. Only pedestrians and so much great shopping.

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A couple highlights from Charleston was the carriage ride we did around the city. I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to do it, but it was definitely worth the money. It’s such a fun way to understand the history of Charleston.

We also went to Folly Beach, which I highly recommend. It was kind of chilly, but it was fun to walk on the Pier and finally see the ocean again! Being from the Seattle area, I’ve been missing my ocean views now that I live in Colorado.

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For a restaurant, I recommend Fleet Landing. It is on the water, and it is definitely walking distance from King street. We drove just because it was cold, but the food was great I had fresh scallops and my husband had swordfish. I didn’t check if they had many options other than seafood, though.

It was a great road trip. Our conclusion was we would definitely go and vacation in Charleston, again. We liked Savannah, but it just seemed more of a party city, and we’re old and married.

Our tour guide in Savannah said it best: “Savannah and Charleston are sister cities. Savannah is just the rebel child with tattoos.” Truly was a great analogy after visiting both.

Currently, my top cities (not including my hometown) are Nashville and Charleston. Hoping my next road trip is to Waco, Texas because who doesn’t love Fixer Upper?

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-the Helm Household