I’ve been stuck at home for past 4.5 days with the flu. No bueno. Get your flu shot people!! It’s given me a chance to look back at 2017. It was a year with lots of up and downs but for me, it was another good year. Travel continues to be a priority (this blog apparently not as much.. about a year since my last post!) I love it. New places, new faces, planes, boats and bikes.. it all just feeds my soul. Also, people travel to visit me which is all <3 <3 <3. Looking back on 2017 I had LOTS of good trips and good visitors.
Of course there were plenty of less shiny, smiley moments. I’m deeply sadden, disturbed and disgusted by our President. I’m both empowered and heart-broken by the stories my fellow woman are sharing in this most current wave of feminism. Being all the way out in Colorado and other travels means missing birthdays, holidays, a major surgery (my mom’s got a new knee!) and opportunities to snuggle my friend’s adorable new babies that I just have to love from a far. It’s a choice I make but not easily. I miss my family and friends back on the East Coast! I’m hoping to be home this summer for a nice visit! That said, here’s a 2017 full of highlights (and probably typos)…
My first visitor of 2017? My oldest friend! Megan Purtell came in from DC and the her visit was wonderful and weird, as always.
Group trip to Steamboat Spring, CO! So pretty and just about 3 hours away. Apparently I took no photos with my friends? I swear there were a whole bunch of us and we had a great weekend. #SteamDream
Birthday! A girl’s trip to Denver for the parade and blockparty celebrations was the perfect way to turn 31. We also had a super fun, incredible sunny celebration in FOCO.
I visited Tney and Mike down in Denver and we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I’m not normally a zoo person but this one is awesome!
Ciara and I went hiking AND AND AND we saw a rattlesnake! It was crazy both because it was bizarrely early in the season but also, that rattle!
I visited Natalie and Christopher in Colorado Springs. Got to see their new house and we each drank tiny pitchers of beer. Apparently not a lot of photos were taken but it was a great visit!
FOCO got a visit from Mother Nature. First day of summer school and we got a snow day! Weather is crazy.
My Uncle Kevin came through Fort Collins as he drove cross-country to move from New York to Utah. We had a great dinner and talked about the potential of another, younger O’Donnell heading to FOCO!
A Bonas reunion! Kristen, one of my college roommates came into town from Florida and her friend, Charlie came up from Durango. We explored around town, went to Rocky Mountain National Park and had a chance to see Tom Petty on what would be his final tour and last ever time to ever play at Red Rocks. RIP Tom.
Meg made a quick visit out to Colorado. She had to do some pre-move paperwork before starting work for Banner Hospitals. We went to the Res and took weird snapchat photos.
Not long after that Megan and Pete made their official move to Fort Collins! Summer is Colorado is amazing and with the Horsetooth Reservoir in our backyard we took advantage of our backyard playground with several BBQs.
I made it back to the homeland! I had a few days in Dublin for work and then Katie, another one of my good Bonnie friends came to meet up with me for a 10 day road trip. We covered A LOT of ground. Dublin – Belfast – Derry – Letterkenny – Donegal – Sligo – Galway – Dingle – Cork – Dublin. An epic journey. It was beautiful and fun and a lot of driving on the other side of the road! I got to connect with traveling friends and meet friends of friends. Irish hospitality is real. :) A new blog post worthy trip for sure!
Katie and I said goodbye in Dublin and in our last few days I had managed to get real sick. I was going to Madrid for another work trip and what was supposed to be a bit of exploring in one of my favorite cities. Turns out a 103 fever will really slow you down. I showed up in Madrid feeling like I was swallowing glass and slept in my hotel for 28 hours. A few days of work, sweating, naps and a little exploring then it was back to FOCO. I love Spain but that visit I didn’t get to do nearly as much as I hoped. Luckly I did get to see a friend! Ryan is an American who I taught English with in Colombia. He is now living in UAE and was on his summer break traveling. I was finally feeling better and nothing like friend from Colombia to make you want to dance the night away!
July wasn’t over yet! A week after I got back Kait and Zach O’Keefe came to Fort Collins! We had a blast. Gotta love the Scotia – O’ connection. Some crazy unexpected weather blew in and we got absolutely drenched at Buddhist temple basically in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain — you know, like you do. Despite the rain we had a blast and their visit flew by!
Summer really is the greatest. Looking back through photos I’m amazed at all the good stuff that happened. Back to Steamboat, this time to compete in a sprint relay triathlon! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am not a triathlon person but, we did it! I started us out with the half mile, open water swim. Chloe did the 12 mile bike and Rachel finished it off by running a 5K. Now for the real shocker… we came in first place?!? Several teams DQ’d so the competition wasn’t that high but still – we did it! There were 16 of us from FOCO I think. Relay, sprint and olympic triathloners. It was great. It felt like back in my crew days of high school. Such a fun, good group! My picture is missing a few :(
We finished out the FOCO summer by renting a pontoon boat and let me just say, the water is my happy place. Add lot of friends, a boat with a driver, coolers full of cheap beer and music blaring and it’s just about as good as it gets.
I got one last summer weekend in going out to Minneapolis to visit Dadalynn (Madalynn & Dustin), NYC friends of Megan Purtell that we’ve all become obsessed with. Annie was able to add it onto a work trip and we all crowded in a one room apartment airbnb. The Minnesota State Fair is amazing. Thankfully Madalynn is a true local and navigated us through the fairgrounds and most importantly ALL THE FOOD. Because we really ate ALL the food. Corn dog was prob my fav. Butter princesses? Animal ears? It’s GREAT.
We didn’t travel but it’s basically like going to another universe… Tour de Fat! Approximately 25,000 people in crazy costumes in the slowest bike parade imaginable. Our group theme was Lisa Frank and it couldn’t have gone better. I was a glitter dolphin queen with a blowhole. Megan was a unicorn. We had bunny rabbits, foxes, dalmatians.. all the neon and sparkles imaginable.
Time to head home! One of my family’s favorite people, Rachel was getting married! Rachel is truly another sister to me and watching her and Andy get married (on top of a mountain in a cloud) was wonderful. #SimplySchmitten
We also celebrated Christmas since Megan and I would not be able to make it back to Scotia for Christmas this year.
Fall is for road trips! Ciara, Sarah Olson and I set out for South Dakota! We stayed in Rapid City and visited the Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills. Road trips are the funniest. It was gorgeous and we had a blast! Also, if you’re ever out there – Wall Drug is a MUST.
Another one please! This time Megan and I set out for Jackson, WY. We stayed two minutes from Grand Teton National Park and planned to visit Yellowstone. Well.. plans don’t always work out. We had two and half days to explore the area which was going to be quick but doable. Except.. for two of those days the Tetons were so fogged in you couldn’t see anything and the roads to Yellowstone were closed. We were staying in a REAL budget hostel but found brewpubs, overpriced shops and cheap bottles of wine to keep us occupied. On the last day, as we were driving out the fog cleared! The Tetons appeared! It was absolutely beautiful and it felt like our reward for sticking it out! We’ll be going back for sure but.. probably not in October.
I kept things a little more local. We day tripped down the Butterfly Pavillion and held a tarantula! They are super soft and extremely light weight. If you drop they will shatter! So, no pressure just a giant scary spider but also I could accidentally kill it really easily. Ahhhh.. don’t know that I’ll really need to do that again.
Group Thanksgiving when we all agreed that we’re thankful for butter and Phil Collins creeped in the background. Thankfully my friends are both hilarious and amazing cooks. <3
One more visit with the Niebs in Denver and I finally saw their beautiful house! Also, we ate on a roofdeck and I learned why people wait in redic lines for Little Man Ice Cream. Wow, delicious.
ThanksMas! My (now) annual holiday party! A potluck Thanksgiving dinner, 15 minutes of frantic yelling where everyone puts away all the food and hand turkey decorations, bring out the Christmas tree, put up all the decorations and pull on your Christmas sweater – Merry Christmas! The party includes separate photo booths for each holiday, rumchata and a fire in the backyard. I love it. It’s crazy but the best way to do holidays friends! I took like no pictures though so you’ll just have to trust me that my house was FULL and everyone looked great.
Megan and I have decided that Ciara’s boyfriend (and our friend) Pierce looks like he could be our brother and I did insist on a family photo shoot. Good news, that was properly documented. Pierce already has three “real” sisters so he’s been well conditioned to get on board with sisterly insistence, kudos Hansen sisters!
December brought the biggest trip of the year.. Vietnam! Ciara and I found cheap tickets and couldn’t resist the opportunity to go explore! It was hard not to be home for the holidays but Vietnam was really wonderful. Hanoi was my favorite place. Bun was my favorite food. The shopping was insane. The people were nice. The inner-country flights were super easy. The hotels were hella cheap and totally fine. Ha Long Bay is stunning. Ahh.. so much good stuff. A full blog post worthy adventure!
Jetlag is real so I accidentally slept through New Years once we got back. Like took at nap at 5:30pm and woke up at 1:00am. Whoops. Sending 2017 out with a snooze!
Thanks for taking the time to look this. I hope you enjoyed and didn’t feel it was too over the top! Cheers to 2018! May it be a year full of fun, adventures, friendship and family and maybe, just maybe we can get our shit together politically?