Italy – Florence

September 21, 2016
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I received insight from so many people that despite Florence being walkable, it was worth staying there longer than we did Rome. We were trying to decide where we wanted to spend three nights and I am really glad with our decision to stay here for the time we did. This allowed us to take a day trip to see the Tuscan countryside, Siena and San Gimignano, which I will post about in a separate update. Between the friendly pigeons, historic sights and architecture, delicious food and amazing street music we had an amazing time. The only thing I missed out on was being able to consume wine on the streets, a good trade for the opportunity to go with our little babe. – Already so well traveled!

I think one of the most magical moments in Florence was when we were walking through the streets and stumbled upon three string instruments being played in the courtyard of the Ufizzi Gallery. We had a chance to just sit and enjoy the beauty and really absorb the culture.

Aside from finding hole in the wall restaurants the one big name meal we would recommend getting is La Giostra, order the pear ravioli and you won’t be disappointed! Yum!! Ironically, we also had really good ramen in Florence, right by our AirBnB. It was what changed Andrew’s mind, he wasn’t a big fan prior.

Again we were able to walk all of Florence, and did so numerous times, twice (again) with our suitcases, those poor suckers really held up well!

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Italy – Venice

September 18, 2016
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We had been anticipating going to Italy for 10 months. I bought our tickets last February after I got a new job, Andrew had never been to Europe and I was excited to get to see the parts of the Mediterranean that has long inspired my home decor tastes. Due to the limitations of Andrew’s rigorous job, we had ten days to squeeze in as much as we could of the historic and scenic country from Venice to Positano.

Here is our itinerary:

1 night in Venice

3 nights in Florence

2 nights in Rome

2 nights in Positano

1 night in Naples

After all of our anticipation, as travel does, our trip’s start didn’t get off on the right foot. Our first flight was delayed which would have caused us to miss our connection. Long story short, we didn’t get to Venice until 12 hours after we were planning. Hence why all of our pictures are during the night time and very early morning.

Venice is incredibly magical with hidden secrets around every corner, and when they say Venice is a city to get lost in, that’s exactly what you do there. You might think you are going west and somehow find yourself going north. Either way, we were able to walk around the entire island, to our AirBnB and then to the train station – even while dragging around our suitcases.

We took a water taxi to the island where we had to get off at the Ospedale stop which Andrew pronounced osen-dayle in his very Californian accept ::forehead smack:: it took us about 48 hours to realize that ospedale actually means hospital in Italian; which explains why the first place we walked into, looked like some sort of campus, with everyone dressed in white…. Imagine someone walking into a hospital with their suitcases asking where they are. Ah memories.

Now excuse my photo dump:

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Holding the wine for effect, don’t worry I only tasted it ;-)

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Preggo at a Bachelorette

July 31, 2016
Preggo at a Bachelorette

Here is a riddle for you. You are seven-almost eight weeks preggo at a bachelorette, how do you hide it? Well, it was pretty hard for me. I actually had a great time, considering I wasn’t drinking. However, between, pouring my champagne down the sink when no one was looking, (what a waste! I know,) and feigning headaches/hangovers etc. it became a little overwhelming to keep up the charade for an entire long weekend.

Luckily the bride is one of my closest friends and I did end up revealing it to her halfway through. I hit my tipping point when I asked the bartender for a virgin vodka soda with fruit in it, and he brought me some elaborate Mai Tai. Of course someone ended up tasting it while I was away from the table, paying my tab and trying to cover for the “virgin” that was going to end up on the tab. ::sigh::  Whatever, luckily it became a lot easier to just stop drinking at that point, AND there was another “preggo at the bachelorette” (as I have now lovingly coined it) who was incredibly sweet and insightful and I spent my time with her.

The rest of the girls were courteous enough not to ask what was going on and why I wasn’t indulging in any libations.

My recommendation if you’re really trying to keep it on the DL? Bring/request some vodka and supply with soda water. Another mixed drink that I invented, and love is a Bloody Mary with soda water, particularly Lime La Croix. – This way you don’t have a drink that is all just Bloody Mary Mix, and the fizz adds something special.

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Still no bump, (no wonder) and taking advantage.

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Extremely sweet Mai Tai – The bartender really up-sold me on that one, without even asking…

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Beautiful sunset over Lake Tahoe, I made everyone sprint to catch the colors on the clouds, still I couldn’t do it much justice.

 

Four Weeks Pregnant

July 1, 2016
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I have a major fear of not getting my regular body back after this process, which I realize is totally worth it; (and it should be noted that I’m not saying I have the most amazing body but…) Anyway, here is proof of what I need to at least get back to at four weeks pregnant – granted I am suffering from major bloat, or at least that’s my excuse. Now you can all keep me on point and tell me to go work out or something. :)

I haven’t had many symptoms yet except for slight cramping tugging and pulling in my lower abdomen, and the aforementioned bloating. It was actually the first thing I felt, even before taking a pregnancy test that made me think this was it.

I have had some incredibly mild nausea after eating big meal but nothing that can’t be resolved by laying down for a little bit. So far so lucky!

 

 

We’re Pregnant!

June 25, 2016
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We both knew that we always wanted kids, now that the opportunity is here we are ready for the challenge and, needless to say, terrified. :)

We found out extremely early because I knew it might be coming, (3 weeks, 4days or 10 DPO). I’m not sure but maybe not knowing for longer would have made it easier, if you don’t find out for 6 or 7 weeks then you’re already that much closer to being able to go back to being your normal self.

I can tell you it has been quite the journey hiding it from friends and family. I am typically a very open book and horrible at lying to people so not drinking has been a challenge. Pretending to have a drink in hand, saying that I’ll be the DD, and not trying to be obvious. I wouldn’t consider myself a big drinker but I don’t typically turn down a glass of wine. It’s funny how common drinking is in our society that it is a red flag if you don’t have anything.

We will keep enjoying our little secret for now, but can’t wait to tell everyone!

Welcome to our New Home

June 24, 2016
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Not just a house, but a place that we plan to share date nights, entertain our loved ones, decorate and grow our family.

Buying a home has been a dream of mine since I was a child. Some part of me knew that it was not only a way to truly love where you live but also a great investment; don’t ask why I was thinking about investing as a kid. When I was in middle school I remember saving all my lunch money and waiting until I got home to eat because I was putting my pennies into my piggy bank.

My parents finally helped me open a bank account in high school and I had immediately set it up to auto-deposit $50 a month, or whatever I could afford, in to my savings account. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to shop, but as soon as that money was removed it was out of sight, out of mind. I never touched my savings. “Just pretend that money doesn’t even exist.”

I know that it was a priority for Andrew too. Buying a house in the Bay Area isn’t easy, especially when you want size, location and a good price. The housing market is at a peak right now, but rents in the area are almost equivalent to mortgages and when we found the place we loved we knew, despite the process that buying a house is, we were making the right decision.

We have already painted the living room and moved our stuff in. The walls were peach before, and the furniture in the two pictures below is from staging.

Old living room

old living room

Painting the house, grey and white are much more our taste. :) Or mine at least, and I think Andrew typically likes my style; and let’s be real, I don’t think he has much of a choice. At least we don’t have to worry about that. We opted to paint the shelving unit white because we felt there were too many different colors of wood. This was no easy task, I could have done my homework better (lesson learned) but the wood didn’t grab the paint very well so my mom and I probably put several coats of white before it got to an acceptable state. Happily, the result really amplifies the light in the room and looks great with our books and decor. Can’t wait to add lots of plants!

painting the living room

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Here is a make-shift cozy nook we set up while waiting for our couch to arrive. Sophie loves all the new light in the house.

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We will post new changes to the house as we make them. It’ll be slow since we soaked all of our dimes into buying the actual property. :)

 

 

Rehearsal Night

May 13, 2016
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Wanted to share these images from our wedding rehearsal. We are so lucky to have been surrounded by so many amazing friends and family. It was a really fun night, practicing a flash mob that didn’t even happen because people were having a little too many refreshments to actually remember the dance ;-).

 

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Making the Bouquets

May 4, 2016
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Something that I really wanted to do for our wedding was make the bridal bouquets and centerpieces the night before with my closest friends. I felt like it was a good way to spend time together and be creative, not to mention it was a cheaper alternative to spending money to have someone else do it. My mother and sister are very artistically inclined, (and I like to think I am, somewhat, too) and so we figured if anything looked odd we could always adjust it somehow, but I do strongly believe there is a lot of beauty in imperfection.

I feel like it gave the girls some ownership of their own bouquets and everyone would be happy with what they ended up with.

The look that we were going for was a garden theme or as Aileen put it: “Like you ran through a field and just grabbed a random assortment of flowers.”

I found a floral farm in the area and they dropped off buckets of flowers that we selected as well as a floral crown and my personal bridal bouquet. – This was one of the few setbacks that I think happened during the entire process of the wedding, I had asked to avoid a color scheme of reds, oranges and yellows, (and NO regular roses, they are just too stiff for me) and the bridal bouquet was exactly that. – Life is hard.

I just got to make the bouquet I had actually wanted; though looking back I might have used olive leaves for the leafy part instead of the willow. I was really happy with the results of everything, the flowers were truly perfect for me.

 

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Honeymoon in Thailand

April 26, 2016
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This post is long over due, but what can I say, sometimes I get the urge to blog and sometimes I feel none. We went to Thailand on our honeymoon back in November and it was an amazing trip. Seems like it’s the place to go these days since it is so cheap but really absorbing the culture is something else. Aside from Turkey, I’ve never been to Asia before, and Andrew has never left the continent so it was a very eye opening experience for both of us.

I have shared our itinerary below as a full overview of our trip. I have included recommendations and what we did. If anyone has the opportunity to go for 16, or so, days like we did I would recommend doing exactly what we did as we don’t really feel like we missed out on anything except a Half Moon/Full Moon Party.

 

Flight to Bangkok  (with a layover in Gangzhou, CH) – (2 Nights)

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Le Bua State Tower – Where they filmed Hangover II and where the famous Sky Bar is.
In Bangkok we took a river boat to Chinatown and walked all the way through to where the temples are. (About 6 miles) where we got tricked into going to get Andrew a suit. – Whether you get tricked into doing it at a specific place or not I’d definitely get a suit though – We spent about $400 for pants a jacket a shirt and tie btw. – You could probably get it for less.
It WILL rain on you, have a poncho or a lightweight umbrella and don’t wear leather sandals lol – I would actually suggest buying a couple of the cheap ponchos for your bags too incase you end up traveling on a rainy day.
Flight to Chaing Mai – (3 nights)
We considered spending 1 night in the city of Chiang Mai instead of 3 nights at the Spicy villa but we were already bouncing around so much that we thought it would be nice to stay in one place for a longer period of time. I don’t think either of us regret this.
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Spicy Serene Villa – We spent $40 a night plus $300 total for transport from the airport and back, river rafting, jungle trek to the waterfalls (about 7 mi), elephant rides, thai cooking class, all of our meals and we had a tour guide who hung out with us for the entire time and taught us about all the plants, villagers, lifestyle, cooked us all our meals, etc.
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I can’t say enough good things about this place.
This place is basically one step above camping. You will basically stay on a random mattress with a comforter (no other bed sheets) a bug net and four pieces or parchment board nailed together and plastic lining on the floor. The shower is basically above the toilet and there is no wifi and just newly electricity. – THAT BEING SAID if I can handle it you can too. Just don’t go in with high expectations because it was amazing.
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Flight to Phuket – (2 nights)
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Kata Beach Resort & Spa – The hotel is nice but don’t get massages at the hotels, the massage places are EVERYWHERE and are super cheap. – I mean you can get one if you want to splurge (Thailand splurge) but… try the ones that aren’t part of the hotel first cause you may be able to get your fix.
Phuket was a little lack luster (maybe because this is where I found out I lost my job) but there are a TON of tourists, we just got huge beers and got drunk in the water. Played in the pool, got overly expensive ( for Thailand $15?) cool looking drinks that we didn’t even use the photos of because we were too buzzed to take good ones.
We got three massages in two days AND the fish massage. We went to Patong Street which is where the Lady Boys and ping pong shows are. Took a tuk tuk. MEH
Cab & Ferry to Koh Phi Phi – (3 nights)
We had left a night open between Koh Phi Phi and stayed here an extra night to recoup. We were tired of packing up our bag every two days so it was nice
Koh Phi Phi Cabana Hotel –  (site seemed to be down, not unusual for Thailand ha) This hotel is prime placement. It’s super close to the ferry, there is a beach on either side of the hotel and our room had the most perfect view out into the bay. You are really close to all the bars and shops too so it’s not a long walk to get anywhere – Actually it isn’t a long walk anywhere on the island regardless of where you stay but it seemed like this was one of the best hotels in general.  There are no cars on the island
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It seemed a little dead the first day that we got to Koh Phi Phi because we didn’t realize that you just have to turn left into all the streets where all the people are! Once we figured this out we were able to find lots of people watching and much better food. We took a longtail boat the day after we got there and we did the full day. – When deciding between full or half day, I’d just say do the full day because you are going to have someone showing you the best spots to snorkel and sightsee, plus you get to sit back and enjoy which is a nice breather. We made some friends on the boat that showed us what they had learned so it was also nice to hear other people’s experiences. – I’d just bring your own booze – There is a booze cruise but I kinda wanted to be sober for all this stuff we were going to get to see for the first and maybe last time. – Eventually I was like, ok I’ll have a drink haha.  – The lunch they serve you is rice and eggs and watermelon so don’t have high expectations for that either. – Though it wasn’t bad.  – Oh on top of the price of the long tail trips you will have to pay an extra 400 baht a person or something like that for a “national park fee”. They don’t tell you this until you are at the island and they won’t let you get off the boat unless you pay it…. everyone eventually caved and paid it because no one wants to sit in a boat the entire day. – Also worth noting that I had to pee really bad and the guy let me pee off the boat while it was speeding along – would NEVER happen in the US.
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The longtail boat includes Monkey Beach and Maya Bay (or more famously The Beach)
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View point – Not as hard as you would think. We climbed up there in ~15/20 minutes for an awesome view and I was just wearing sandals.
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Get a bucket. Alcohol + Booze super fun.  – We found a bar where a guys was singing all of the most popular currents songs you could sing along with him and people watch.
There are also fire shows and stuff on the beach, worth watching.
Ferry to Cab to Longtail boat to Karbi/ Railay Beach - (5 nights)
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Railay Village Resort  – This was the best part of the trip. It was pouring when we got there and we had just dragged our suit cases along in the rain and mud ACROSS the peninsula (which isn’t that long) but we were wondering what the hell we got ourselves into.  As soon as we got to our room we were super impressed it was beautiful and the beach was lovely too. There are two sides to the peninsula (duh) a three minute walk across. The first place we stayed was on the far side (but the one with a bit more of a view) Not to say the other side doesn’t have a view too.
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We drank and ate good food, we got a Kayak and paddled around the corner to a couple of the islands and through a cave – AWESOME – honestly I don’t think you’d need the kayak for more than 1.5 hours though, unless you’re really trying to get aggressive. This is when we found PraNang Beach and Caves. We returned the kayak and if you walk to the side of the peninsula with the pier and walk all the way south, you can walk BACK across the peninsula (around some cliffs) where there are often a ton of monkeys! And to the caves/ beach.
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This may be just about the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and there is a cave with a bunch of wee-nees too – not so beautiful but interesting….
We loved Railay so much that while we initially had plans to take the ferry back to Phuket stay a day, fly back to Bangkok and stay a night we actually just decided to stay here an extra two nights, ditch the flight and get a new one directly from Krabi > BKK. Definitely a wise decision and this is the only thing I would really do differently.
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When we extended our stay we were being cheap so we decided to stay here:
Railay Princess Resort  – Still not too shabby at all.
Tipping is not mandatory though some people expect it and sometimes you feel like a jerk if you don’t. I kinda let Andrew decide who we tipped and didn’t (definitely tipped our tour guide in Chaing Mai as much as possible though.)
We didn’t do a full moon party but that would be something to look into – Another place people go is Koh Phangan for the partying but we didn’t go there either.

So We’re Married…

September 21, 2015
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It happened. That surreal day that you dream about your whole life as a young girl. Minus a few minute details it went perfectly as planned, but as they always say, the journey is half the fun. I think back on all the DIY things that my family got to do that we got to bond over and hone our creative skills.

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Invitations

I decided early on that I wanted to try to make the invitations myself. If I haven’t said it enough, I think the personal touches that people have in their wedding are the most special and memorable, yet I’m not crazy enough to draw/paint, cut, glue rinse and repeat 150 times over so I thought if we could do something that we could fix up on Photoshop and get printed that would be a nice medium.

I started by painting imitations of different flowers I found online, I’ve never really worked with watercolor as a medium, in college I most of my classes were mostly acrylic and oils, so it was experimental/a good learning opportunity. HA

We actually didn’t end up using any of these.. but maybe one day.

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Finally I found a good example that I liked for the look we were going for, our venue had so many beautiful gardens and floral varietals that I wanted a whimsical/garden theme and I felt this exemplified that pretty beautifully.

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Here is the final product for the invites:

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Ribbons

Something I really wanted to incorporate were these ribbon streamers with different styles and colors of ribbon. Well when it comes to buying ribbon in massive quantities it can get a little pricey but we did find great prices for bulk ribbon and tulle at Paper Mart. I would definitely recommend it if you ever need these types of things. It came in very handy because we used the tulle for the runners and the arch too.

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Seating Chart

For some reason the seating chart was something I decided to put a lot of effort into. Going with the water color theme I mixed the colors on little cards on which I stamped everyone’s names. We strung these on separate ribbons (ribbons woo!) for each table.

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Signs

I did them all with chalk pens and a ruler. Eek; I guess you get better with practice. I personally still like the personal touches with the imperfections more than when people buy these from a professional. I feel it comes with a little more pride. These items were my babies, but they did make it a little harder to toss/paint over them at the end of the process.

 

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A candid from when we were deciding how to hang the seating chart ribbons (probably should have tackled that problem in the beginning oops). We were playing around with bamboo and my mom and Andrew started literally playing with it.

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