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Super Bowl 50


Super Bowl 50

Note: This post is a few years over due but still a trip of a lifetime. Below is our NFL Super Bowl 50 experience! ! !

the scoop

This was a trip of a lifetime. Like really it was a trip we can never repeat again! 

To start this story off right, I have to tell you how we won tickets to the Super Bowl. Every year, my husband enters us and everyone in our family in the NFL ticket lottery. You have to mail a letter in with specific information. Yes mail. Funny side note, last year when he was entering us and bugging me for stamps. I was semi-annoyed and said "Why do you enter in this anyway, we will never win!" See you have to enter in late February through May and just when we had forgotten about it, my husband called me at work to let me know that he had been selected! I love it when I am proved wrong, okay not really but definitely in this situation. Without hesitation I knew we had to go. We just had to. The NFL ticket lottery provides real fans a chance to buy tickets in late August/early September at the lowest face value that is posted. In full disclosure, these tickets were $500/each. Definitely the most expensive tickets we have ever purchased but well worth it for this once in a lifetime experience. To top off everything, this was Super Bowl 50, what a milestone, and it was in San Francisco, where my sister lives! Double win! And it was in the brand new state of the art Levi Stadium. We were beyond ecstatic. We booked our flights and hotel shortly after we found out we won tickets before the season even really started. It didn't matter who was playing, we would be there.

Fast forward to late January and our current hometown team, the Denver Broncos, were going to be playing! If the Cowboys are not going to be there, then Denver is definitely my second choice team. This would end up being Peyton Manning's last game, ever. What a special game to go to. Needless to say we had some very jealous friends in Denver.

Here is a recap of our Super Bowl 50 experience!


Super Bowl City

Super Bowl City was in San Francisco at Embarcadaro. The stadium is in Santa Clara, 45 minutes away from the city, so all of the pre-game events were in San Fran. San Francisco is one of the coolest cities in America, easily. It has trendy food spots, wine galore, and so many fun activities! Literally everywhere you go it is the trendiest, coolest ambiance. We loved all the special details that this event offered from the food to the wine to the activities. It was just awesome. There are tons of interactive games that include everything from a virtual QB experience to jumping around and dancing like DDR to riding b. Of course we had to do all of them. During the virtual QB game - Ben was selected by an LA news station for an interview. It just so happens my dad was there on a layover and was able to catch it on tv! We were also in the background of several ESPN interviews and discussions. This a premiere event and there was so much to do and be a part of. We LOVED it. My advice is to go to the event during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. We went on Thursday and it was much less crowded that on Friday evening and Saturday.

One of the coolest things about Super Bowl City, is that it is all free, yes FREE! Something the NFL puts on is FREE! There were even free concerts. On Thursday evening, we went to the Little Big Town concert. It was so much fun.




We ventured down to Chinatown on Friday during the day to try Hunan Home. Ben found it on Yelp! and had been dying to go try it. It was DELICIOUS! We also ended up seeing Eddie Lacy there eating. The whole town was crawling with football players. Ben was thrilled. 


I tried the sizzling rice soup, it was amazing! I highly recommend it. I am trying to find a place that makes it in Denver!

I meant to get pictures of our food but clearly we devoured it too quickly. I guess you could say we were completely satisfied!! Can anyone spot Eddie Lacy in this photo?

NFL Experience

One of the must dos at any Super Bowl is to go to the NFL Experience. This is an event you have to pay to go to but it is very reasonably priced. Tickets ranged from $30-45. My husband did so much research for all of our activities this week and found a "flexible pass" for the NFL Experience. We assumed this mean any of the 7-8 days that it was open. We decided to go on Friday, which was supposed to be one of the biggest days there. Unfortunately, when we picked up the tickets at will call we found out that the tickets we purchased had expired on Thursday evening. Annoyed, my husband re-purchased two tickets for Friday. He was frustrated but at the end of the day we were at the Super Bowl and we really, really wanted to go in and see all the exhibits. As you have seen previously, this was a premiere week in San Francisco and famous players and sports gurus were everywhere. I mean just a few feet from so many talented people. So we just chalked it up to the small print and purchased two more tickets.

So here is where the story gets better... before we went to the NFL experience, my husband was looking online at the schedule of players and football gurus and saw that one of our all-time favorite Cowboys players, Troy Aikman, was going to be there at the TD Ameritrade booth. I instantly became fixated on getting to meet Troy and getting his autograph. As soon as we got there, I power walked to the TD Ameritrade booth, where we were informed with a few other Cowboys fans that it was a misprint and Troy was actually not going to be doing a public meet and greet, he was only there for a private event. I was extremely disappointed and embarrisingly whiney about it. Ben and I spent a few hours at the NFL Experience, and everything was so crowded. We were only able to participate in one of the exhibits because of the wait time. We realized, although too late, that there was an express pass for $10 more that would allow you to cut the lines. This was completely sold out by the time we realized it. But there was plan in all of this that was MUCH better than we could have ever expected! 

Watch this video to see how it all went down:

A few minutes after we won the tickets, we were still in shock!


Saturday we were ecstatic about the next day! We went to eat brunch at Boogaloos and it was amazing! We also spent some time on my sister's rooftop deck with some of the most amazing views of San Francisco.


Super Bowl Day!

We decided to take the Amtrak from Hayward to the stadium. There is a stop right next to the stadium. This was easily the best decision we made because the train was not crowded at all, it was clean, nice, and the ride was smooth! We had such a fun time sitting on the train giddy with excitement about the day ahead.

Since we currently live in Denver, I promised one of my sweet friends I would wear her Denver Broncos socks and earrings if they went to the Super Bowl. She demanded proof that morning!

We arrived at the stadium around 9 am, unfortunately gates were not opening for an hour and a half so we walked ALL.THE.WAY.AROUND Levi Stadium to get to the one gate that was open. We found a Cowboys Super Bowl ring so we had to stop for a photo op.

We are SO glad that we went to the stadium earlier. The security line was quite long, however, we found someone to talk to about getting our tickets that we wont through the NFL Lottery and he brought all 4 of us to a special gate where there were only about 4 other people going through line. We felt like we were so cool and important. haha funny how that happens huh?

Inside the gates there is SO MUCH TO DO! It is so cool. There are press events, free snacks & promo items, free concerts, and more. We highly recommend going in as early as you can so you don't miss anything.

The Game

Photo Feb 07, 8 00 01 PM.jpg

Writing this post has made me want to go back to the Super Bowl a hundred times over. This was one of the most fun trips we have taken! 

clear eyes, full heart, can't lose -

chels sig.png


May Round Up


May Round Up

I thought it would be fun to share a monthly recap of a few of my favorite things. Some are worth sharing but aren't big enough for a full post! Let me know if there is anything you would want me to add to the list!

Good Food:

Korean Beef with Jasmine Rice - substituted stew meat instead of ground beef. Absolutely delicious!

Herb crusted lamb chops with asparagus & skillet sweet potatoes.

Crawfish Boil at a local favorite - Max's Gil & Grill

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Surge graduation & celebration: We completed our year long discipleship program with Surge, where we read through 4 books, tons of scripture, and various articles. We also had 4 intensives, where speakers were flown in to speak to us about the topic of each quarter. Surge changed so much about our perspective of our place in God's unfolding story, what it means to be an everyday disciple of Jesus, and improved our study habits! I am sad this is over, but our love of Jesus and desire to more about Him has only strengthened and we continue to read various books and material about how to proclaim Christ in all that we do, say, think, and believe.

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Fun stuff:

Weekend getaway at the cabin: We spent some much needed R&R at the cabin and rode ATVs at Four Mile outside of Buena Vista. The views are breathtaking and just affirm over and over again that we have a creative Creator.

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House Projects:

Installed house numbers (FINALLY!) Now our friends and family can finally spot our house!

Continued work on our backyard. See post here.

Kitchen Demo!

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What have you been up to?



Punta Cana


Punta Cana

Over the July 4th weekend, Ben and I snuck out of the country for a little R&R. {I know it is not very American of us.} We love to travel so in February we got the itch for a "second honeymoon" aka an excuse to go to the beach! We ended up booking a 6 day 5 night trip through and it could not have been more satisfied with this decision! We booked the flight + all inclusive resort and everything from our condo, to the cabanas, to the food was superb and exactly what we were looking for! We stayed at the Presidential Suites in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was immediately hooked on these cabanas on their website and that is mostly why we booked our vacation there. 

This trip was different than our others in the sense that we decided not to "plan" any excursions or big activities. The plan was to not have a plan. We followed through on this and I am so happy that we did! We literally got up every morning, snagged up a cabana, then laid in it, read books, ate delicious food, jumped waves in the ocean, & participated in the resort activities! This included yoga on the beach, some beach games, a foam party, + more! We met some amazing new friends that we were sad to leave! This is more of a boutique hotel so you saw the same people all the time! I really liked this about the resort. Each night the buffet restaurant had a different theme and the food was just great! It was way better than I expect at an international all inclusive resort. We ate our fair share, let me tell ya!

Something that stood out to me the most about Punta Cana, besides it being absolutely beautiful, is the people. Everyone was so nice. This is a very familial culture and you feel that while you are there. We really enjoyed getting to know the entertainment staff and could always count on them for a good laugh + some energy!


Dreamin' of the beach -



Mount Quandary


Mount Quandary

This summer, I am excited to say Ben & I successfully hiked our first 14-er!! A true Coloradoan right of passage! We took our gospel community group up to the cabin for a retreat in July & 5 of us decided to take on Mount Quandary near Breckenridge, CO. 

Our crew consisted of Ben [my husband], Jack, Anna, Christi, & myself. We woke up on time [which is a big feat for this group, let me tell ya!], made coffee, ate breakfast, finished packing our packs, & were out the door only 5 minutes behind schedule! That is a win if you ask me. Our goal was to leave the cabin by 4:40 AM. We expected the drive to take us about 15-20 minutes. We had some slight GPS problems, aka we would rather follow Google Maps than take the signs that read "Mount Quandary Trailhead" at face value.

We made it to the trailhead at about 5:40 AM and began our trek. To give you some background on our experience level, Jack hiked Mount Quandary sometime in the last decade and told us that 1) If we were to get lost we had bigger fish to fry and 2) it was the "easiest" 14-er in Colorado [Anytime someone uses the words "easy" and 14-er in the same sentence is crazy!]. Anna hiked another 14-er like 4 years ago before she moved to Denver & also claimed it was pretty easy. Ben, Christi, & myself had NO previous 14-er experience. whatsoever. To sum it up - this is no group of professional hikers! 

The first quarter mile or so is quite steep. We got to a stopping point and I am like what? I thought this was "easy"!! I had noo idea what lay ahead of us. Our first 1.5 hours or so consisted of hiking in the treeline, taking layers on and off, taking pictures of the sunrise, laughing, talking, & eating snacks. 

Quandary - Sunrise
Quandary - Sunrise 2
Quandary - Group
Quandary - Girls
Quandary - Ben Morning
Quandary - Anna Morning
Quandary - Ben + Sun

We hit the top of the treeline and everything changed. We went from dirt & soft ground in the trees to all ROCKS. Loose rocks. Boulders. Everyone talked less & stopped more to catch our breathe. We eventually reached a certain point where the girls broke away from the boys and forged on. We were convinced we had some good momentum going and wanted to keep that up. Above the treeline there are several mountain goats that roam.  This provided some welcome distraction!

Quandary - Goats

So one thing to know about Mount Quandary is that there is mini peak that seems like it is the summit, but its not. My heart dropped when we realized that there was a whole other mountain to climb to reach the summit! See picture below. I was like "You want me to climb that? The snow capped mountain? You must have lost your mind!"

Quandary - Summit

This is where Anna and I decided that we were going to keep our own paces so that we wouldn't lose steam and give up. At some point on this last 2.5 miles, I started asking every single person coming down the mountain how much further I had. I had a variety of responses {One person would tell me I needed to stop focusing on how much further, its not that hard, & I should pick up the pace #rude and had one person encourage me and tell me exactly what the last part of the climb would be like and that I could do it!} but mostly encouraging responses. There were a few people on the climb that I would like to point out:

  • A kid, yes an 8-10 year old kid, passed me on the way up and then was coming down the mountain right as I was about to summit. Yeah - that will make you feel really good.
  • One guy was rogging (run-jogging) up the mountain..with no shoes on..yep that is right just barefooted.
  • There was a guy maybe in his mid 40s (the positive encourager I previously mentioned) who summit-ed in 2.5 hours - which is 30 minute miles! That is really hard to do. He seemed not even phased by the physical exertion!

Somehow, someway Anna, Ben, & I all made it to the summit of Mount Quandary! We were ecstatic. As we all trickled in, we could not stop talking about how hard it was & just completely in awe of the views & our accomplishment. It took me 4 hours to summit.

Quandary Summit - Chelsea
Quandary Summit - Anna
Quandary Summit - Ben
Quandary Summit - Anna + Chels
Quandary Summit - View
Ben + Chels at Summit
  • God's Plan to Cross Paths: We are at the summit when someone yells "Chelsea Garner!" Anyone who calls me by my maiden name, probably knew me from Texas or Georgia so I know its someone that I am not expecting at all! I yell "Who is that?!" and come to find out it is one of my community group girls from Watermark in Fort Worth, Texas!! There were four of us who were in community together for a year. During this time span we all got engaged & married. This was such a sweet, sweet season and I am forever grateful for these girls and how God orchestrated putting us altogether in a time where we really needed each other. I am still shocked that I saw Emily at the top of Mount Quandary!

On the way down you would think that it would be easier but it brings on a whole other set of difficulties. Your toes jam up against your shoes over and over again & your knees really start to hurt. Stay tuned for a future post about our 14-er tips! We wrote these down in our cabin log book and I think they are great tips to share! 

Quandary - View on the way down
Quandary - Clouds

There is something about being in nature and truly taking in God's beautiful creation that is almost indescribable. I never knew I would be one of those people that felt so close to God while surrounded with trees, blue skies, high elevation, & so many rocks! But there is just something about the wilderness that brings you to your knees and lets you know that you are so so small compared to God. That might sound scary but it is so comforting. I don't have to have it all figured out. But over the last few months of living in Colorado, I am seeing God's beauty all around me in a new light. This is not just in his creation of mountains, clear blue skies, clouds that cannot be real but also the beauty in community, friendship, and marriage. I am so thankful, so so thankful for this life.

Shout it from the mountains!



San Francisco


San Francisco

Hey, hey, hey! 

This past Memorial Day weekend Ben and I went to visit my sister, Braea, and her boyfriend, Zac, in San Francisco! They moved there last summer and we have been itching to go and visit! San Francisco is an amazing city filled with spectacular food, rich history, charming neighborhoods, and many, many fun things to do and see! My sister knows my love language and planned an entire weekend of sight seeing and fun activities, she even made me an itinerary! She knows the way to my heart! haha Here are just a few of the many places we explored.

Saturday we ate at Tropiseuno for lunch - my sister's favorite Mexican restaurant! It did not disappoint and to be honest I ended up drinking several cups of salsa because it was that stinkin' good and I am that deprived of decent Mexican food in Denver!


First stop on Saturday was-- Pier 39! This is the sight of the famous sea lions and stunning views of Alcatraz and the bay!

Pier 39 - Sea Lions on Docks
Pier 39 - Sea Lion
Pier 39 - Alcatraz
Pier 39 - Ben & Chels
Pier 39 - Sailboat
Pier 39 - Braea & Chels

We also visited (from left to right): 1) The Financial District, 2) Fisherman's Wharf, and 3) Hiked some serious hills to Lombard Street.

Financial District - Braea & I
Fisherman's Wharf
Hiking to the hilltop

We also visited all 3 Ghirardelli's in the city, including the original one! The specialty desserts here are delectable! I highly recommend sharing though because they are so rich and the sizes are really big.

Ghirardelli - my ice cream
Ghirardelli - View from the Park
Ghirardelli - Braea & Zac

I couldn't get enough of the beautiful views in San Francisco. It seemed like every corner we turned there was another amazing view! This was at the top of a large hill on the way to Lombard Street after leaving Pier 39.

View from Hilltop

Lombard Street is the famous street with 8 hairpin turns. This was quite the tourist attraction, let me tell ya! If I must admit - I had no idea what this was but it was quite beautiful and really charming/captivating. Below are some of the amazing flowers that grow up the side of some of the houses throughout San Francisco, and specifically Lombard Street.

Lumbard - Flowers 1
Lumbard - Ben & Chels
Lumbard Street - Flowers 2
Lumbard Street - View

We also trekked down to Ocean Beach to see Riley's favorite place in San Fran! If you don't know who Riley is, just look for the happiest puppy you have ever seen running on the beach below!

P.S. The beaches in San Fran are not the kind you wear your bikini to and lay out in, they are the kind that you need at least 2 north faces and uggs on to survive the wind chill!

Ocean Beach - Ben & Chels
Ocean Beach - Braea & Chels
Ocean Beach - Braea & Zac
Ocean Beach - Ben & Chels 2
Ocean Beach - Riley 3
Ocean Beach - Riley 2
Ocean Beach - Riley

On Sunday we made our way out to Napa to explore! The views and crispness of the air out in Napa are unrivaled and just breathtaking. We thoroughly enjoyed our time visiting the wineries, sitting in the sun, and just laughing and catching up!

Our first stop was Artesa Winery and the views were mesmerizing!

Artesa - Ben & I
Artesa - View
Artesa - Ben
Artesa - Cheers
Artesa - Group

After Artesa, we stopped by the oldest grocery store in California, Oakville Grocery, which was founded in 1881! Here we grabbed some Italian bread, sheep milk cheese, and some prosciutto as well as some sandwiches to take to the next place to snack on! We went to Sequoia Grove next, where they let you bring in outside food as long as you purchase a tasting, glass, or bottle! Their outside patio was so relaxing and we enjoyed sitting among the trees while telling silly stories!

Sequoia Grove

Our final winery of the day was at Peju Province Winery, it was open late (6 pm in Napa) and the lawn was just so appealing. You can see in the background that many people had the same idea as us! Although - one guy decided to take a little nap, so I would say he really ENJOYED this lawn! haha

Peju - Ben & I
Peju - Zac & Braea
Peju - Braea & I

A few tips I have for anyone travelling to San Francisco:

1) Bring a jacket, or multiple! It is frequently cool in the morning, evenings, and any time the sun hides behind the clouds!

2) Bring your walking shoes, and don't even attempt trying to walk all over town in high heels, wedges, or new shoes! You won't look nerdy I promise, people know the hills are steep haha.

3) Be prepared to add about a 10% surcharge on your meals due to the Mandate that covers employees in the service industry's healthcare.

4) Uber is the way to go!! Uber is headquartered in San Francisco and they seem to always be testing new market ideas out here. Hey - you may even meet Zac as your driver!

Zac Uber

We so enjoyed hanging out with Braea & Zac and seeing what their every day life looks like! I miss my sister SO SO much so this weekend was very needed! I can't wait until our next adventure!!! Until next time San Francisco!