Tag Archives: photo

last day of Vancouver

We slept in a little, but not too much knowing this was our last day here.

Woke and decided an impromptu photo shoot on the sweet roof of our airbnb was in order.  Somewhat coordinated tops and an hour later playing with the Camera Remote app on our Apple Watch’s produced these gems.

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He snagged me this simple triangle necklace at Pike’s Place back in Seattle.  Love it.

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the watch doesn’t fit well under the sleeves of this Lulu top when the thumbholes are in use…

We headed to 49th Parallel for a morning experience. I remember coming here the last few times I’ve been in town for the Lululemon Seawheeze weekend.  It’s all sorts of fantastic espresso and Lucky’s Doughnuts. On the weekends is insane. Lines out the door for this joint.  Wish there was one in Minnesota!

Any establishment with a line like that deserves to be experienced.  A garage-style door lifts up where we were sitting, fresh air when the weather wants to cooperate.

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Cool vibe and amazing peanut butter and jelly doughnuts like this one with the peanut crunchies.

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baby espresso / wild mane / wake me up

I purchase a large latte cup & saucer for a souvenir.

We walk around the city and explore the sights.  We have a photo shoot with the new cup and saucer. For nothing more than to kill time on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. Reapplying more Peppermint Halo from Saje – an amazing essential oil + therapeutic shop in downtown Vancouver.

For lunch, we put our name on the list & wait another 45 minutes for a table at Medina Cafe. Now our favorite place for lunch on this side of the planet.  Gold goblets of fresh water and all.

We had the Avocado Toast (duh), Saumon Fumé and a few of their signature Liege-Style Waffles [White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater + Salted Caramel].

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IMG_2591Everything about this spot was to die for. The bathroom had dimly lit displays nestled into the walls… their matchbox takeaways are square and the logo of their sign out front.

We slowly sauntered our way out of here and set out to explore more of the city. This was our last day, so we really wanted to take it all in!

When more directions are needed, we sit outside one of the many Starbucks available to us on every street corner (thanks!).

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We explore the art installations scattered throughout town. Old world, modern, metal & sky-high.  The sun is shining and we are traveling all over this town.

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We got some Vegan Pudding & Co. from a tiny shop that took up all of 3feetwide street space between storefronts.  Be jammin’ out to your music and you might totally pass it by. Keep your eyes open for these gems!

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I cannot remember what flavor we selected but I’ll bet it was the Coconut Milk & Sugar one.

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It was some sort of custardy-flany-syrupy-goodness dish, amazing.

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We get back to the airbnb to have a FaceTime chat about our upcoming wedding with The Adventures Of videography team.  A few hours of creative discussion and we are feeling very excited about our upcoming wedding video (to be delivered next week!).

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We head to Granville Island Public Market via the public bus and walk the aisles, look at art, have some snacks, talk on the river… pet the local dogs waiting for their humans.

 

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Who knows how much time passed.  We switch back to nice clothing and head to a date night.  We wanted a special spot, good food, awesome service, cool location… Yelp led us to Seasons in the Park.

The directions had us on a public transit bus for quite a while, headed somewhere into the suburban surrounding downtown Vancouver.  We got off in a large public park.  We hiked the sidewalks down, around, for what seemed like forever.  We took pictures + took our sweet time, happily enjoying a beautifully warm evening.

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We hiked a small, Mount Kilimanjaro-sized mountain to get to the restaurant.  Breaking a small sweat and feeling the burn in our quads.

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This was the first of 53 hills we climbed 🙂

Seasons on the Park has a view of all downtown Vancouver.  We were seated at a huge glass window.  As the sun set on the incredible view, you couldn’t help but feel like you were on another planet, looking at another colony, from a land far, far away. Gorgeous + galactic!

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After dinner (fantastic, not a clue what we ate… but was it good!)  We splurged and got espressos. It seemed like a perfect idea for a day that has been one for the record books.

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Vancouver: until next time, you gorgeous city!

ejh

 

Listening to this song because I heard it on Peaky Blinders [watch it!]

 

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Right out of a movie

I’m going to give all credit to Carley on this one. She researched and booked the world’s most incredible brunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.

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Let’s just say, this isn’t your standard 3-Michelin star restaurant. This place is, quite honestly, a friggin’ Swiss Family Robinson-style experience, complete with servers that have timed deliveries and round-table speeches to introduce each individual plate.

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Our brunch took place outdoors on the wraparound deck overlooking California’s Napa Valley. I was half expecting to have chimpanzees swing onto our shoulders during the dessert course.

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This is one of those, when in Rome, experiences – we all ordered a cocktail and cheers’ed to ending this first couple’s trip with a bang.

Bloody mary’s and mimosas all around! Of course, they were ordered using the table iPad in front of us.

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The brunch menu looked a little like this.  You choose a drink, a beginning, a sustenance, and a dessert.

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By memory, Brett and I shared the half dozen oysters, the cow’s milk burrata with grilled radicchio, a Maine lobster omelet, a Kurobuto pork chop, and two fantastic desserts from this menu.

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I know for sure we choose the Chocolate Peanut Butter one, and I couldn’t guess what the second one was. Let’s just say they both rocked our socks off. Finish up with a little cappuccino and we are ready to see that bill, server!

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Somewhere along the lines of $700 and vacation, we didn’t care what this meal cost. Once in a lifetime, eating on a beautifully exotic deck overlooking Napa, with some of the best friends life could give us.

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We took one more pano picture and all piled into the cars. Windows down, wind whipping our hair all over the place. We took the scenic route home. Along the rolling vineyards of Napa, promising ourselves we’ll be back some day.

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We stopped at the nearby grocery store on the way to Oliviera, to pick up dinner supplies (I know, we just had brunch… but we didn’t want to have to drive again once we got home.) We taste-tested some frosting, picked up some grilling materials and a quinoa salad or two – then we headed back.

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The rest of our last full day in paradise was spent laughing, listening to music, jumping in the hot tub, grilling and playing Cards Against Humanity.

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Without going into the details of our sad goodbyes the next morning, let’s just say this trip was a terrific first couple’s trip – one we won’t soon forget.

Where will the next one take us? Locations we have thrown around : Hawaii, Colorado Backcountry, to the coast of North Carolina…

The world really is our oyster. And traveling in groups allows for a more exotic lodging experience since we’re splitting it 8+ ways…

Thank you for a truly memorable trip : Carley & AJ, Katie & Scott, Molly & Chris, and the best traveler I know and love, Brett

Until next time,
e

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Round two!

We wake up with barely a hangover. Win! Refuel with a little morning java and enjoy our patio before getting ready for the day and more importantly, before our limo arrives.

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Since we already had a mug of coffee down the hatch. We figured it’s time to get the party started.… poppin’ bottles.  Before you get worried about our alcohol intake, please remember, the whole point of renting a limo for this trip was the sole fact that we planned to be inebriated.  As classy and sophisticated as we could… but definitely not sober.
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Our first stop is one that we highly recommend for those visiting the Sonoma area.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard. We scheduled their Food & Wine Pairing experience for 11am on a Friday afternoon filled with sunshine and cool breezes.  This vineyard is built on some beautiful landscape (aren’t they all?) A very popular place for people to get married.  Gorgeous mountains in the background.
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The pairing took place inside a lovely structure, the doors open to the fresh air outside.  There were two tables positioned half-circle style with the seating on the outside of the curves.  The wine experts walked through and around as they introduced each pairing.
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Each place setting had a leather-bound portfolio with the menu details & a notepad to write tasting notes in.  I vaguely remember doodling hilarious stick figure pictures and Bob Marley quotes on mine… at one point during the experience, Brett looks over and exclaims, “My feet feel like cotton!”  He is entirely enjoying himself, on top of the dosage of DayQuil (for his head cold) taken 30 minutes prior.  It’s amazing what a little vino and a little acetaminophen will do to ignite the senses!
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To be honest, I don’t even remember what all we had {so zoom in on this picture & read it!}  Nevertheless,  it’s true when they say pairing wine with a specific food enhances the flavors, it really works!  The whole experience was a delight. Something we would do again in a heart beat.
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Back in the limo we go.  The next stop, Ledson Winery and Vineyards. Originally, it was being built as a home, with 17 acres of Merlot planted on the grounds.  But as the structure was built, and the public became more interested, they ended up turning it into a vineyard and tasting room.  (well played Ledson clan!)  The structure is built with a French Normady-esque style, 16,000 square feet of woodwork and marble staircases.  Never missing the opportunity for a photo op, we enjoyed the front garden area with beautiful white roses and fountains.
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Their tasting room had wood floors and a beautiful bar area.  We sidled up and started to learn about their vines.  Little breadsticks were my saving grace as we sipped and sipped some more.
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After the tasting, we bought a bottle and went out back on their patio.  Some of us took naps in the sun : star-fished on the ground & loving life {cough, Carley}.  We toasted to friendship & love, as we looked at the rows of vines grown there.  What a neat place to have a summer party or a murder mystery dinner!
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A pretty spectacular roundup of the troops and we’re onto the next one!  Benziger Family Winery for the win!  This next one is a little blurry for me.  Understandably so; three vineyards in and I’m reaching my limits.
We made a pit stop potty break upon arrival (extremely necessary says the girl with the squirrel-sized bladder).  Then we hop on an extended golf cart for a tour of the vineyards.  Our tour guide explained the wine-making process at their location and the background story of the family that built Benziger into what it is today.
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I’ll be honest, a lot of what he said went in one ear and out the other.  We stopped along the tour at a little wooden hut and cracked open a white bottle of wine.  He served it to us in logo-etched wine glasses – nice touch.
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Cool little place.  Gorgeous farm animals to fertilize the soil.  Fluffy, mop-headed cows and little baby goats.  Ten points to Gryffindor for the golf cart ride, as I was not about hiking all over those poo-filled rows of vines.
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The middle of the tour took us into the wine caves where, guess what we did?… had some more vino.  It’s a lot of traveling small distances and then drinking wine.  Rinse & repeat.
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There was a really neat room deep into the cave that we all grabbed a spot at.  It felt very Knights of the Roundtable-esque, with tapestries hanging on the wall and unique art pieces.
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In the wine cave, I got in trouble for trying to snag some more breadsticks, but, please, this was a girl looking after herself!  Atleast some part of my mind knew I needed water and food.  Stat.
We circled around the vineyards on the golf carf and finished the tour in their Main Bar / Tasting Room.  I couldn’t tell you what took place in that space.  The next thing I remember is getting into the limo and somehow making it home in one piece.
Now, THAT was a tour of Sonoma.
Dinner plans were supposed to involve a bacon-infused local hotspot called Zazu, but we couldn’t make it happen.  We grabbed a variety of chicken breasts and brats at the grocery store to grill-out instead.  And it rocked our socks off.
Oh yeah, and we drank water, lots of water.
xo,
e
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Sonoma recap : it’s about time

It’s time for a Sonoma recap! I have so many pictures, it’s taken a bit to edit them, filter them, put them away for awhile and then revisit.  Here we go!

A little pre-flight stretching while waiting for our early morning flight in MPLS. It doesn’t really matter where we go and for how long, I love traveling with this man. Nothing but memories and adventure!

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Brett and I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday & planned to meet up with the rest of the crew Wednesday morning. In cost-effective fashion, we booked the cheapest hotel we could find.  Turns out the cheapest hotel in San Fran at that time was ten minutes from the airport, Hotel Focus. I’m not sure what they were focusing on because this was a less than basic hotel, and by basic I mean, not entirely sanitary.  There were mattresses leaned up against the wall along the hallway.  The “continental” breakfast had about 4 cheese danishes that may or may not have been expired.  I will say this, we knew going in that it was not going to be the average hotel experience.  I think we overestimated it, still.  We both slept with one eye open, wearing flip flops.  Our feet do not touch the ground while we are there.  Necessary precautions were taken.

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We hiked a few miles through an industrial area near our hotel to get to the closest Target.  Which coincidentally was connected to a mall.  We walked around, mostly people watching.  Came across a tiny nail salon and decided if their manicures were less than $25, we would both get one.  Low and behold, they were $20.  We got ’em. Yes, Brett enjoyed it.  After nail time we had happy hour at an awesome spot whose name escapes me.  For dessert, we hiked across the way and ended up at BJ’s Brewhouse.  It was crazy hoppin’ busy.  We easily decided on the Pizookie (pronounced pa-zoo-kee) Trio (cookies w/ an ice cream scoop) because who passes up the chance for a Pizookie?
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It was darker than dark and we weren’t interested in sprint walking back the way we came, so we cabbed home and called it a night.
xo,
em.j
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(NYC) is incredible

Other creative outlets have consumed me… but I’m back to blogging.  Let’s talk about NYC for a minute. What a beautiful place!  We made 72 hours an adventure, chasing the subway, laughing, doing it all.

a few of my favorite images.

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Fresh off a 6am American Airlines flight and feeling like a pair of travel ninjas.

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A brief pause at Starbucks.. we felt it was appropriate considering the locals had one gripped in their right hand at all times. #caramelmacchiato

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Walking around at night is a whirlwind, people everywhere & buildings as tall as the stars.

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Enough said.

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95% of the time we walked the streets, everywhere, these boots aren’t half as comfortable as my purple New Balance kicks.

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Eyeing the rest of his Australian Meat Pie – what a foodie paradise at Chelsea Market.

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The entire underground subway system was amazing, efficient, and the only way we’d travel.

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SuperDry is a brand we love – smack dab in the middle of Times Square it sits. #shoppingspree

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Love.

NYC was our first adventure using airbnb – which rocks.  We stayed in a highrise apt and shared the space with a woman from France, a couple from England and a younger gal from Vancouver.  We had our own bedroom, shared everything else – what a perfect central spot to be able to affordably stay while in and out at all hours.  The host is a middle aged man : extremely personable and ended up buying us drinks at a little place he DJ’s… The Crooked Knife.  NYC, we’ll be back, many times!

xo

High five to Amacci for proving himself worthy with this song. (more about him later)

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a slower pace in Seattle

Molly landed next. Then Katie. And the three of us jumped on the Light Link Rail and rode the tram all the way to International District/Chinatown. The Amtrak station is located there and would hold our bags for a measly $4 while we explored downtown Seattle. The weather is stunning, sun shines and a cool breeze blows.

The first order of business was a drink. And soon. We asked a passerby where a good local watering hole is located and they recommended FX McRorys around the corner. We hightailed it there and found a spot at a high top. The bar was insanely impressive. I tried to take a pano but there was just too much. Any liquor you could ever want, in every flavor and infusion. There was a ladder to reach the top shelf bottles. A round of Long Islands were in order and truly appreciated.

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We anxiously awaited Carley’s arrival and when she showed up, we were that much closer to a full crew. Giggles, drinks, and a few too-garlicky apps were consumed before we blew that pop stand. There may have been a desperate q-tip session in there prior to departure. Sometimes it’s a seriously necessary action, even when smack dab in the middle of a Seattle bar.

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Off we went, walking blocks and blocks to Pikes Place Market. Fresh flowers, produce, and amazing pastries everywhere! We were on stimulation overload and slightly tipsy.

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There was a little ice cream place called Shy Giant Frozen Yogurt. The flavors were ridiculous. I settled for Honey Lavender and Pistachio. Both if which were divine. Totally worth the $6 price tag.

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A spot I stopped last year for cherries was still there, although no cherries this year. He did have some sort of plum grape hybrid that tasted a bit like coconut and greatness.

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We shopped more, people watched even more, and surprise surprise, ended up at Von’s Gustrobistro for mimosas and my randomly chosen vodka martini.

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Megan was due to get in any minute now. As we were paying our tab, she called and told us the airline lost her luggage. That is the worst case scenario for the situation we had since timing was crucial. She ended up spending the night in Seattle with some friends and waited for her luggage. In the morning she’ll jump on the bus and meet us in Couve’.

The time was getting closer to train departure so we headed towards Kings Street Station. Due to the fact we’ve all been traveling nonstop, we grabbed a little caffeine pick me up at Zeitgeist Coffee. Cutest condiment bar ever.

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The Amtrak Station was packed. The train was sold out. Not a seat left. We were late to the party (surprised?) and very near the back of the line. We waited our turn and by the time we got on the train, there was no chance in hell we would find four seats together. We split up and hoped to rearrange once the dust settled.

Half hour into the journey of a 4.25 hour train trek, we finagled seats near each other. We munched on farmers market finds, tried to sit comfortably, and giggled for a large part of our journey. Sometimes louder than our train car mates were happy with. Towards hour 3.5, I was so tired my eyes wouldn’t stay open. So while Molly and I tried to snooze, K and C were the responsible ones. They filled out (and forged) our Declaration Forms and signatures. (thanks mamas!)

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Arrival into Vancouver was as disorganized as ever, luggage stacked outside the train cars, wheelchairs everywhere, people moving like a giant mass towards border patrol and the special people with the stamps that make our passports look more like scrapbooks. We made it through, no strip searches this time. Our apartment was a five-minute walk from the station.

A property manager let us in, at midnight, and showed us up to our apartment on the 16 floor. Walking like zombies, we peeked at the rooms, divvied up the bedrooms and called it a night. The dark sky didn’t show us much of the view but there were shadows, and a cool breeze, and you could hear water, so we were optimistic….

Goodnight from ‘Couve!
xo

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Scottsdale: Saturday

Good morning sweat box! We woke up and got our daily caffeine fix at Village Coffe Roastery. Dirty Iced Chais and a pistachio muffin. Both of which we’d all vouch for. There was a small shelf for the locals to store their coffee mugs (kinda like beer mugs being kept in lockers in beer halls of Germany). Cool location, great coffee, definitely gave us some energy! photo 1photo 2photo 3 Next up : SPIN! One of the first times I visited Scottsdale – Kates exposed me to this exercise phenomenon called Spin. But down here, they do it WAY differently than I’ve been used to. The room is black, blacklights, concert-volume mixed pop music, and everyone is 110% balls to the wall. You leave dripping with sweat, feeling like you just scaled a mountain and conquered world peace after 60-minutes. We took spin at the Madison Improvement Club. Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.32.51 PM It’s a swanky spin/yoga boutique with a modern health cafe on the inside. You even have the option to preorder your food before your class so it’s ready and waiting for you to inhale afterwards. Yesterday was Orange Theory and today was Spin… let’s just say our thighs and quads were on FIRE. Like literally on fire. The music was excellent, the instructor faced us and called people out over the eardrum blasting noise to “sprint! sprint! spring!” At the end of the class, on a normal, non-Hell temperature day, they open up the front wall to a gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. We were thankful they kept the doors closed this time around. photo 1 copy 2photo 3 copy 2 photo 2 copy 2photo 4 copyphoto 5photo Our refueling took place at a great place in Old Town Scottsdale called Chop Shop. Are you getting the theme of a Scottsdale visit? Workout, REALLY hard, and eat at REALLY awesome restaurants! Cardio, fuel. Spin, brunch. It’s a cycle (ha!) and we love it! At Chop Shop I had the Zen Bowl: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, white cheddar and brown rice. Ah-may-zing. We dined outside under the misters and gradually live was returned to our legs. photo 1 copyphoto 2 copy photo 3 copyphoto 4
After refueling, we ran a few errands. Katie dropped her iPhone and completely shattered the screen. Is this a sign she’s on it too much? 😉

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It was time for a dip in the pool. Two hours of pool to be exact. After we cooled down, we showered, made a few drinks for the road and headed to Fashion Square Mall to get the heck out of the heat. The drinks were not, in fact, for the road but instead for a little adventurous shopping. We had a few dressing room dance parties, and enjoyed the latest in POS checkout technology. #nerd

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Something that lights my heart on fire when I’m with these girls is we always make friends where we go.  One stop at Fashion Square was to LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.  The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a young man who inquired what brought us in.  He told us about himself, how he’s a ballet dancer, and recommended tons of products to us!  I told him I really wanted to get a great facial mask and also something to tame down my insane long locks in this heat.  He recommended, and I purchased, Mask of Magnaminty and Sea Spray for my hair.  The whole place is well done with a beautiful font and the way they display their products.  The masks look like they’re displayed at a salad bar on ice.  The large wedges of soaps reminded me of the enormous wheels of Gouda cheese in Amsterdam.  I fell in love with Lush today after I read their We Believe statement.

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After we exhausted all that Fashion Square had, we drove to Scottsdale Quarter to continue our night. A stop at the Apple Store allowed us to get Kate’s a new iPhone and also allowed a little time for Carley to change the backgrounds of multiple devices to showcase a really hot picture of Hugh Jackman.

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Dinner took place at True Food.  Another Scottsdale staple – incredibly healthy, organic spot.  You can order anything and everything on the menu and be 110% satisfied.

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I always get the Chicken Chopped Salad.  There’s something about the way the manchego cheese, marcona almonds and jicama mixes together that it takes me to my happy place every time.  We split the Vegetable Crudités starter – it was like a wonderful garden on ice with fabulous dipping sauces.  Really cool presentation – we were impressed.

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Katie is friends with a manager and she brought us these delicious honeydew melon vodka cocktails (which we of course, cheers’ed).  The back end of the restaurant near the outdoor restroom held this garden, sink washing station that caught my eye in the setting sun.  Love True Food, always have, always will.

photo 2-1photo 2-2The end of the evening brought us to a 3-story Restoration Hardware, because let’s be honest, you know there’s going to be some good stuff in there.  I only fell in love with 75% of the store.  Carley tried out many chairs and we decided this one most resembles her walk-on role in Game of Thrones and thus she had to buy it ($15,000 later….).

photo 3-2As we walked up the flight of stairs, I marveled at these hanging chandeliers inside of bird cages, hung by thick shipyard rope.  I need a big house, with tall ceilings, so I can properly hang them. #wishfulthinking

photo 1-2We made friends with the gentleman that greeted us at the entrance, named Brian.  He took us on the Grande’ Tour of the store and priced out different couches we laid on.  We, of course, knew at this time they were out of our price range but we laughed and he enjoyed chatting with us.  He looked up prices on his iPad and we walked through all the different rooms, quickly falling in love with every duvet and medieval spoon we found.  We bid Brian a good evening, bought a few little trinkets, and made a swift stop at It’Sugar candy shop for some pineapple gummi bears and chocolate covered oreos.

The evening ended with another hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity.

Loving this adventure,

xo

 

Listening to.

 

 

 

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ready or not Belfast, here we come

Everyday feels like a gloomy Sunday here, with the rain. Except for us, it’s not gloomy, it’s an adventure. But, could you imagine living here? No sundresses, no skirts, no swimsuits. Pale skin pretty much year round. I love, love passing through but don’t think I could spend my life here in Ireland.

Today we woke up and took super hot showers which resulted in very foggy castle windows. #castleproblems When else are we going to spend the night in a castle? We had to make the most of it! Breakfast was much appreciated before we packed up and shipped out. We took one of the four local taxis to the bus stop where we were dropped off our first day in Collooney. It is on the side of the road, next to a stone wall. The bus was a tad late and it was raining, drizzle-raining that Ireland is so well known for. I passed the time by perfecting my handstands and wearing my hipKNOTies in strategic placement.

The bus arrives at 11:10 and we board. We pay the bus driver in Euros (€17.50) to get to Derry. We make a 15 minute pit stop in Sligo (super cool surfer town that I wished we had a chance to visit… next time!) and spend about 2 hours en route to Derry. In Derry, we really quickly find a toilet (not restroom, or bathroom, they call them toilets) and pee. Then even more quickly we buy our bus ticket to Belfast. This happens within 2 minutes as the bus leaves on time. The currency now has changed to pounds (£) and the fare to Belfast is £11, about $17.58 in US dollars.

The train ride is about 2 hours and the majority of it is spent passing very yellow fields. How are they so yellow and dried out when it is always raining in Ireland? Don’t get me wrong, there has been a TON of greenery here… I’m just shocked to see any dry grass whatsoever.

There are these billboards that say “Old age isn’t a problem, loneliness is” and it makes me want to cry for all the old Irish folk that are lonely. Then I see the many kegs set outside the local taverns and pubs and a string of lyrics come to mind, “I stopped by the bar at 3 am, to seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend” (“Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls). A therapeutic song, YouTube it.

I continued reading the only book I have loaded on my iPad, the second book of the trilogy series, 50 Shades of Gray… the lady a few rows up was reading it, too. Funny how those best sellers span other continents like that.

Finally, finalllllllllly, we arrive in Belfast. One of the bigger cities in Ireland. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere… it really has the hustle and bustle of city life. Urban life. We like it and we find our home at the Global Village hostel about 15 minutes walk from the bus station. I don’t know what has happened but apparently, my bag is bigger than it was. I’ll have to revise my packing strategy as I’ve only bought two tshirts?! The hostel is £55 ($88.00) for 2 people, for 2 nights. This is the way to see a country cheap people. Public transportation and hostel sleeping. You sleep in bunk beds and share bathrooms, but it’s extremely cheaper than a 4 star Hilton… and you meet other people from around the world!

We searched for a dinner spot and settled on boojum, a replica of Chipotle. But better, more eco-friendly, and their burrito bowls tasted very good. We hiked around the city and realized the Apple Store Belfast closed at 6pm. That’s a hell of a time to close?! Six!? How do they make any money? We plan to visit them tomorrow! And request a back of house tour. 🙂

The weather here is much colder than we expected. Between the 50 degrees and drizzling rain, it’s downright bitchin cold. My sweatshirt hoodie and two layers of long sleeves will have to do. A wise man once told me, “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing….”

Chelsea and I end the night sharing a bottle of wine, dark chocolate, and planning tomorrows adventures.

I got the chance to FaceTime the parents home in Minnesota and for the first time I had a pang of homesickness. It’s the people that make time for you, that I plan to make time for. Whether we’re in the same time zone or not. Technology is absolutely freaking amazing. I was able to iChat with them as I vacationed in Costa Rica a few years ago, and now as I adventure throughout Ireland.

I’ll end with a quote I read on the side of a building tonight that, for some reason, resonates with me… and very well may end up as a tattoo someday, in some form….

Today’s plan is already yesterday’s – the streets that were there are gone.

Seize the day people, you only live once,
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to the castle we go!

Our roomie from Columbia left in the wee hours this morning. We woke up slightly early and began our packing process. But not before enjoying the most fabulous cappuccinos I’ve ever had.

The weather was beautiful, slightly chilly but clear and no rain drizzles. We went back to the cafe from day one in Galway. Located on the corner of the town square. We sat outside and enjoyed a solid 45 minutes of straight people watching, sipping on our cappuccinos and basically giddy at the fact that we are on a hell of an adventure clear across the world from home.

We grabbed pain chocolat pastries (chocolate croissant) for takeaway (to-go). Coincidentally it is the best pain chocolat I’ve had. It’s true, pastries just taste better in Europe. We bought our one way ticket to Collonney (€13.50) at the bus station and said adios to Galway.

Two and a half bumpy hours later, a dozen stops along the way, we make it to the tiniest town ever, Collooney. Home of maybe 3,000 people. The bus drops us literally on the side of the road. As the bus pulls away we see Quigleys. A gas/grocery/bar/lounge. I mention that it’s a fine time to purchase some wine so we cross the street and enter. Smallest grocery in the smallest town ever. Your typical old-as-dust Irish grandpa is manning the place and he’s gosh darn adorable. We buy the only two bottles of red wine left in the place. He calls a taxi (one of four in the city), bless his heart, and we bid him farewell.

The taxi picks us up and drops us right underneath the stone archway of Markree Castle. A beautiful location with lots of history. To recap, it belongs to an untitled family named the Coopers who were gifted the land as payment for serving in some war.

Our room overlooks the back lawn with rolling landscape as far as you can see. We feel right smack dab in the middle of a Disney fairy tale.

Two separate beds, a shower and toilet all to ourselves, now this is luxury, especially after being in hostels so far this trip. Not having to wear sandals to shower? Heaven.

We drop our bags in the room. An antique desk and chair sit near the window. Chelsea braids my hair as we listen to Lady Gaga. Afterwards, we explore the grounds. Well, some of them… with 300 acres of land, we didn’t exactly cover nearly a piece of it. The castle has their own flock of pure bred fluffy white Wensleydale sheep. Of course they do. Link to sheep

On the other side of the castle we walked on the road for half hour until we arrived at the Markree Riding Stables. A dozen horses grazed the grass on top of the hill as we inquired about riding options. Tomorrow night (Sunday), there is an evening ride around the premises (€25). We agree this is a must do activity.

On our walk home a momma horse and her foal were grazing in the pasture. The baby came right on over and greeted us. I discreetly tried to come up with a way to get her thru customs and take her home with us.

I couldn’t come up with anything logical. :/

Dinner consisted of road snacks (trail mix, these hilarious things Chelsea introduced me to called Digestives, our fave traveling item Justin’s Peanut Butter), a pint of Guinness and light bar fare. We dined in the castle bar area complete with shoddy upholstery, huge windows and terrible lighting. I felt like I was a dignitary or an extra in Beauty and the Beast.

Now we drink wine, giggle like little girls and watch a movie on the iPad (probably Gladiator to match our abroad theme)… this is the perfect spot for a sleepover.

Meet us in the castle basement for scary story time at midnight?
Xo

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