I went to Colorado & it was freaking amazing!

Why did I go to Colorado? Wellll, I'll tell you! I reached out to Tessa from Folk & Wayfarer a while ago to see if she wanted to collaborate or if she had an upcoming styled shoot, & guess what, she did! Tessa told me that they were headed to Colorado in May for her birthday & were putting together a styled shoot while there. I was like, "COUNT ME IN!" I planned on going because my best friend lives there & plane tickets were pretty cheap, but my friend was actually going to be in South Carolina when I would be there, so it wasn't going to work. However, Tina (my mom) came through & said "Let's go anyway!" It was soooo cool to be able to go on a trip with my Mom & attend a styled shoot so far away from home. I usually always attend the styled shoots I am a part of & it was definitely rewarding to be at this one. 

The shoot was on the very last day of our 4 day trip, so we filled the other days with lots of driving to really cool places. Our home base was an Air BnB in Denver & we ate most of our meals downtown. If you want to take a trip to Denver, hopefully you can use this blog post to plan your stay! (Want more details about where we went? Just send me an email & I'll gladly give you more!)

Day One:

We got off the plane around 11 & went straight for the Royal Gorge Bridge. The drive was long, the terrain surprised us & the bridge was unreal. The gorge was a little scary as we took a gondola over it to get to the other side of the bridge. The gondola was swaying & you could see all the way down into the gorge. (If you are afraid of heights, maybe this part of the trip isn't for you.) Once on the other side, we walked across the bridge & took pictures with state flags. The rangers kept driving their trucks across the bridge when we were on it & I was like, "DUDDDEEEE, staaaaahhhp!" After a day of driving & gorging, we then ate some yummy tacos near Union Station in downtown Denver. I had a very strong & tall marg, then we both crashed.


Day Two:

The next day was Cinco de Mayo & we celebrated with a margarita at 10 AM at the festival downtown. The festival was not as great as we expected, but at least we got a tasty marg & taco out of it. Then, we headed down to Colorado Springs to visit my first letterpress love, Ladyfingers Letterpress. (I kind of fangirled a lot.) Oh, I forgot to mention that I wore an off-shoulder top & I burn very easily, so in the 75 degree weather, I got sunburnt & all of Colorado Springs felt the need to tell me. Anyyyyywayyy, in between stops in Colorado Springs, we got Dutch Bros Coffee which I had on my honeymoon almost 3 years ago! It was tasty & worth the wait to say the least! We didn't really know what else to do, but luckily we went past the Garden of the Gods & we were like, "Duh, let's stop!" I'm soooo happy we did! It was really fun to walk around & see some amazing red rocks. It felt like we were far away from the city, but we really weren't, which made it even cooler! Some climbers were repelling down the side of one of the rocks, lots of teens were getting their prom photos taken & it was a nice light walk.

I knew that I wanted at least one nice/fancy dinner of the trip, & we decided to have that dinner on day two. Mom chose Italian & I narrowed it down to Coperta. If you are in Denver EVER you MUST go to this restaurant for the best service & experience. We had a four course meal that ended with olive oil gelato. Sounds weird, but it was amazing!


Day Three:

Day three started with a coffee & traveling to some hot springs. The coffee was something I never tried before; it was more like a homemade soda. They told me that it was cold brew with honey & lime, but it was carbonated. Not sure what exactly it was, but I enjoyed it! The hot springs on the other hand, we did not enjoy so much. We didn't want to drive to one that was three and a half hours away, so we opted for one 45 minutes away. The drive would've been long, but I bet the hot springs far away would've been better. The one we went to was in Idaho Springs & they had a swimming pool like "hot springs" inside, which is fine, except there were a lot of babies & children. We stayed in that for like .2 seconds. We purchased time in the caves that the place had & ventured down to them next. The caves were not what I expected either. The caves themselves were neat, but they were closed off which meant that hot air was trapped inside the room & that made it very hard to breathe. You had your own little pool in the cave & you could go in naked if you wanted. (There was one woman there that was 100% naked & it was a little strange.) We didn't stay long in the caves mainly because Mom was hardcore sweating, the water was HOT & I had trouble breathing.

After getting cleaned up, we went to lunch at Avanti downtown. Avanti is a walk up type of restaurant with about 5 or 6 different booth restaurants in it. You can get whatever you want & then sit wherever with a great view of the city. We had arepas & they were super yummy! The rest of this day was kind of up in the air, but we decided to travel to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, the only bummer was that a concert was happening that night & we couldn't actually go into the amphitheater. That didn't slow us down, though! The views from around the amphitheater were MIND BLOWING! You could see so far & everything was very tiny. The views at every place we visited utterly shocked me. After that, we traveled back to Denver where we got some ice cream at a Denver staple & of course we got another margarita to end the day. Before going back to the house, we went downtown & found a cute little waterfront park. So many dogs were playing & I even spotted Oregon's twin! The park reminded me A LOT of Greenville.


Day Four:

The final day started off with Voodoo Doughnuts, our second time there on this trip. We quickly discovered that Mom's favorite was the apple fritter & mine was the Bavarian creme chocolate doughnut. So freaking good! It was another thing I hadn't eaten since my honeymoon. This was the day of the styled shoot, which was like 3 hours from the Air BnB we were staying at, so we started driving early & stopped at places along the way. After Voodoo was more Dutch Bros Coffee. I think we had it 3 or 4 times the whole trip! We shot to stop in Estes Park & it wasn't what we thought it was going to be, but we still enjoyed it. I thought Estes Park was going to be more of a park, but it was actually a little down. We stopped for pizza for lunch & then drove back through the rock walls that surrounded the road we were on. It was surreal to be encompassed in all that rock! We kept going to Loveland Pass, the shoot location, & took a small break at a little lake/pond we saw. There was also a really amazing Catholic Church formed from the rocks it was sitting on in a very picturesque part of the landscape. After going through a very random casino town dedicated to gambling (I think we saw at least 5 different casinos in a little mountain town), we were driving the mountain roads & spotted a moose! It was truly an amazing sight! She was just eating & didn't have a care in the world! Then, finally, we arrived at the shoot location!

As we climbed up the snow capped mountain, the temperature went from around 75 degrees down to 49 degrees. Mom & I definitely were not dressed the part. All I had for warmth was my very light windbreaker & Mom was wearing sandals. Oh, did I mention that we were 12,000 feet above sea level?! Luckily we didn't stay for too long, but just long enough for some great behind the scenes shots. Getting to finally meet Tessa & Chris from Folk & Wayfarer was amazing & the models were so sweet! Andi, one of the models, is actually taking a letterpress class from me in June, so it was really cool to meet her in such a fantastic setting. I stuck around for some shots on one part of the mountain & just long enough for them to take some invitation shots. It was going to get dark soon & we had a long drive back down the mountain, so we headed out. To officially end the trip, we ate dinner at Shake Shack & got ready for our 7 AM flight the next day.


I am so thankful that we were able to take this trip this year. It was fun to have new experiences, see my work in a whole new environment & do things I would've never done on my own! If you have any thoughts about going to Colorado, jump on those thoughts & g

Shana Wanco