Une Vacación Bien Merecida

Two weeks ago, at 5am on a Thursday, we woke up before the sun and grabbed our large suitcase. We sleepily brushed our teeth, put away the last of the dirty dishes, and watered the plants. L tucked our passports into his jacket pocket and we snuck out of our apartment into an Uber. Airport please. We are escaping.

It’s been one of our busiest months ever. L has been traveling weekly for work and I got a big promotion (read: a big increase in responsibilities!) So our friends’ wedding in Puerto Vallarta couldn’t have come at a better time. On the agenda: reading, sleeping, laughing, drinking, dancing, sunning by the pool, and catching up with old/new friends…Perfección.

I’m not sure why we don’t do this more often! Quick getaways are sometimes even more perfect than long breaks, with just enough time to soak in the sun and get some tan lines and clear our heads. Sure, we dove right back into work on Monday, but it all felt just a little easier…

20140614-201344-72824865.jpg{Pretty tiles in our suite bathroom}

20140614-201331-72811310.jpg{Trying not to burn by the pool. Can you tell we haven’t been out in…a while?!}

20140614-201336-72816271.jpg{This handsome fellow followed us around everywhere}

20140614-201340-72820575.jpg{Wedding by the sea}

20140614-201338-72818637.jpg{Putting away the swimsuits and classing it up}

20140614-201342-72822531.jpg{Final morning relaxation in the warm sun}

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Ici et Là

Some of our iPhone pictures as of…well, from the last few months ok?!

Here’s what we’ve been up to, in no particular order:

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.36.00 PM{After the most epic “Polar Vortex” winter, it’s finally [cross your fingers] spring in Chicago!}

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.36.14 PM{L signed us up for a really neat date: leather crafting!* He made a legit belt, I made a purse}

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.36.30 PM{Playing restaurant with my niece** ; Brunch with our friends K, A & baby}

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.36.45 PM{That night we ordered a small cheesecake from Whole Foods and got a large white cake with layers of frosting! Whaaaa…; We’re loving this Quinn popcorn and all of its interesting flavors}

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.36.56 PM{My chic mother playing along at a New Year’s photo sesh; Hiking in a bamboo forest}

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 9.37.06 PM{So proud of our matching Chaplin halloween costumes; Photo-booth at D&E’s wedding}

*Have I mentioned how amazing this man is?!

**I’m pretty sure she meant “split” and not “spit”. God I really hope so!

Keep Calm and Go to the Beach

Let’s clear the air right away: yes, I’m aware that I haven’t posted in months. Months! Honestly, we’re only 52 days away from it being a whole entire year, so fine, I guess we can just round up and shake our heads in collective shame.

But believe me when I say the last year has been completely crazy. I started a new job in July of last year, and since then, it’s been go-go-go-go-go…Sleep? What’s that again?! That’s not to say I haven’t completely enjoyed my newfound passions and all the extra projects I’ve absurdly agreed to take on (contracted work, volunteering, family crises, and trying my best to be good to those around me). But I sometimes need time just to myself and as it’s gotten harder and harder to carve out, blogging had to take a backseat.

And then, out of nowhere, I woke up this morning dreaming about this cherished little space of mine and thought, It’s Time. I popped some coffee in the French press, made some Marmite toast, and started scrolling through the memories. I smiled, I giggled, and I remembered why I enjoy this so much.

So yeah, I’m back bitches.

Ok, seriously though, I’m going to try to update this more often.

So, where to start when I’ve got a whole year to talk about? That’s easy: OUR TRIP TO HAWAII. Can you believe L had never been in our 4.5 years of dating?! I know, it baffles me too. Then my parents started talking about moving to Boston and selling their Honolulu apartment (sniff, they just closed last week) and we knew it was time. Take a peek at this slice of paradise. Could the weather have been more perfect? For the first time in 6 months, L and I were smiling and relaxed. A true vacation. It was delightful.

DSC_1031{Pillow-soft clouds on the flight}

DSC_0677{A hibiscus flower welcoming us to Oahu}

DSC_0640{Taking paddle boarding lessons with my brother at Ala Moana Beach Park}

DSC_0694{Multicolor tree bark at the Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden}

DSC_0704{The breathtaking Waimea Canyon in Kauai}

DSC_0755{Hiking near the top of the Canyon}

DSC_0781{Hidden beach at Polihale State Park. So glad we had the Jeep to get us there!}

DSC_0815{Playing on the beach like little kids}

DSC_0840{Hiking the Na Pali Coast trail with sore legs and happy hearts}

DSC_0847{I mean, look at this view!!}

DSC_0908{Encountering some of Kauai’s famous wild chickens, freed during Hurricane Iniki of ’91}

DSC_0910{Trying to feed baby chicks. So close, until mama chicken came at me angrily}

DSC_0919{The Wailua Falls}

DSC_1014{Our action-packed helicopter ride. I got over my motion butterflies and really enjoyed it!}

DSC_1005{The colors were stunning. Meanwhile, our pilot was spinning the helicopter around searching for whales and L was trying not to throw up}

DSC_1011{The Wailua Falls again, from a new vantage point!}

DSC_0929{The best frozen snack in the world: banana/pineapple frosties}

DSC_1022{Enjoying our last moments lounging on the beach before leaving}

Splashing About

As you can probably tell from the following photos, we spent most of our holiday weekend tossing little monsters around in a swimming pool! We had some awesome water fights, ate lots of homemade paella and apple pie, played hopscotch, took plenty of naps, created colorful friendship bracelets, and had hilarious dinner conversations. The weather in St. Louis was perfectly sunny but not too hot, ensuring that our getaway felt like a true vacation.

Not pictured: reading books on the porch swing, biking around horseback riding trails, watching movies (including the confusing Unbreakable and the surprisingly hilarious How To Lose Friends and Alienate People), doing a little holiday sales shopping, and waiting an hour in line for delicious barbecue at Pappy’s Smokehouse.

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DSC_0244_Edited{See? Monsters!}

You Look Like the 4th of July!*

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Yes, I know, neither L or I are the deep-rooted patriotic ‘merican types (we both came to the U.S. when we were teenagers, after all!) but we nevertheless feel a total sense of excitement for this sparkling holiday. So, in honor of Will Smith and our country’s valiant fight against alien invaders, we’re both sporting some red/white/blue and taking the Amtrak** to St. Louis to see family.

Hope your weekend is equally filled with barbecues, poolside lounging, bike rides***, popsicles, fireworks, apple pies, and running after little kids with water balloons :)

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*I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to quote one of the Legally Blonde movies. Which, I’m so not embarrassed to say, are my absolutely favorites. Ever. If I ever need a little motivation to get things done, I simply fast-forward to the scenes where Elle studies for the LSATs or where she preps for her battle in the Senate. Because she’s a real person and anything’s possible!

**We met up in St. Louis couple of weeks ago and I decided to drive the five hours both ways. While it was definitely fun to sing at the top of my lungs for hours on end and call all of my friends for entertainment, I have to say it’s a once-in-a-while option. Because I-55 is one boooooring straight line through midwestern plains (man, are they called plains for a reason), and I still haven’t figured out how to activate our car’s cruise-control :S

*** Our last attempt at biking in St. Louis resulted in blowing up my sister-in-law’s tire once we were down a huge hill, followed by lots of walking, a semi-rescue by a park ranger, and ultimately a shameful call to L’s brother for a ride home. So yeah, let’s not do that again, k?!

Riding Around Town

Did I mention we finally bought some bikes?!!! Might be the smartest move we’ve made yet :)

We’ve been riding them around everywhere, to grab a bite to eat across town or to meet friends for a drink on a sunny rooftop. A couple of weeks ago, we took advantage of a slow Friday (hey, you gotta take advantage of working from home while you can, right?!) and decided to go for a casual ride down Lakeshore Drive.

19.5 miles later… (!!!)

Despite forgetting to bring along water or food (I literally shook through the last mile!) we had a total blast. Got a little workout, some sun, explored new territory, and made new memories.

IMG_2736{Meet Schwinny. She comes from Target and is seriously perfect}

IMG_2744{Meet Treckie. He comes from a very fancy bike store and is very handsome}

IMG_2739{The view of the city gets more beautiful as you ride down the lake shore}

IMG_2737{We discovered several cute beaches along the way}

IMG_2738{We also discovered a fun sundial, which I ran around pretending to be Liesl in The Sound of Music}

IMG_2741{A shrine to pie?! We love eating pie!}

IMG_2740{Oh, you mean 3.14159265359…}

IMG_2742{Boats waiting to be taken out for an afternoon sail}

IMG_2743{A long bike ride deserves a beer, some chips and guac, right? YUM!}

To and Fro

Some of our iPhone pictures as of late! Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.42.58 PM{L dusting off his golf clubs on the first warm Sunday; coaching me on my newbie technique}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.46.21 PM{Attending our friend R’s art masters final exhibit; one of R’s impressive sculptures}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.44.42 PM{My favorite painting of the night; a mime artist performing for the crowd)

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.52.38 PM{My cousin’s awesome Bengal cat; shnazzed up for D&R’s awesome wedding in Mexico}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.53.56 PM{My friend K’s adorable munchkin; customizing wedding stationary for my longtime friend N}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.48.14 PM{Rekindling our love for WWF with my 84 point play (boom!); our fave chips from Mexico}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.56.03 PM{Picturesque view in the Jardin des Tuileries; treasures at the Chicago Antiques Market}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.58.29 PM{Looking for one-of-a-kind pieces for our imaginary house; mini versions of my dad’s marimba!}

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 5.57.29 PM{Trying out a new shade of lipstick, a la Gwen Stefani; a proper farewell at Heathrow}

Je Rêve de Paris – Part II

Too. Many. Photos. To. Choose. From!

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this “part II” post is simply to overload you with more picturesque shots of Paris. Because I simply couldn’t help taking 1000000 photos everywhere we went…Can you truly blame me??

This would be a good time to mention that L is the most patient man in the world and should seriously get a medal or something equally shiny. (To be clear, he did not coerce me into writing this, but he did in fact ask if he could have a medal the other day. Like, just because).

Yup, my dude is the best travel partner ever. Awww, right?

DSC_0801{The cool vantage point from inside I.M Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre}

DSC_0809{After studying it in college, I loved seeing the original Winged Victory of Samothrace}

DSC_0816{A peek of the Mona Lisa through the crowd and glass barrier}

DSC_0826{Confronting some sizable works of art}

DSC_0838{Taking a little rest in the Jardin des Tuileries}

DSC_0860{The oh-so kitschy train to Versailles – j’adore!}

DSC_0874{Long lines even with pre-paid tickets. Note to selves: never, ever go on a Saturday!}

DSC_0878{Glamour, glitter and gold…}

DSC_0879{…and lots of super matchy linens, rugs and tapestries}

DSC_0897{The ceiling in the famous Galerie des Glaces}

DSC_0906{Dodging the crowds – not an easy feat!}

DSC_0924{Strolling through the immense gardens – even more impressive than the palace}

DSC_0928{Totally prepared when we got caught under the Parisian rain. And so smug about it!}

DSC_0952{Romantic, even under a downpour. Poor guy rowing though…}

DSC_0938{Fountains and music emphasized the ambiance}

DSC_0968{A quick stop by the Grand Trianon…after which we were majorly glitzed-out}

DSC_0980{Evening mass at Notre Dame}

DSC_1010{Twilight falls on the Seine}

DSC_0992{Another Love Lock bridge. How can you not be enamored with this city?!}

Je Rêve de Paris – Part I

Ah, Paris! The city of light, the city of love.

Oui, c’est vrai, we are totally those people! We adored our five days the city so much (even though I insisted we re-visit all of the stereotypical tourist traps) it actually broke our little hearts to leave. Seriously, we cannot wait to stroll aimlessly along these beautiful streets again.

Plus, Paris would be such a great place to raise children. Right L? (L?? Ok, I think he passed out).

*wink*

DSC_0483{Visiting the Sacre Coeur in the 18th arrondissement, right behind our apartment}

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DSC_0501{The infamous Moulin Rouge, falling apart but nonetheless captivating}

DSC_0567{The food everywhere was so fresh! No wonder the French complain about our culinary habits}

DSC_0559{Walking everywhere, discovering hidden treasures}

DSC_0620{Paris = love. I know, bleh, right?}

DSC_0581{The weather cleared just as we approached the iconic Eiffel Tower. Cue the music}

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DSC_0702{Strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg while L took a work call}

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DSC_0776{One of the famous Love Lock bridges}

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DSC_0461{Heureuse!}

Midnight in Paris

A seemingly typical Parisian evening:

*20:00* A vernissage (private showing) for a techie-meets-olfactory senses project…

*22:00* Impromptu gyoza dinner w/ friends at a hole-in-the-wall Japanese place…

*23:30* Stop through the Palais du Louvre to admire the illuminated pyramids…

*00:30* Drink w/ new friends at a Cuban bar to celebrate someone you’ve never met…

And that is how L and I spent our third night in gorgeous, dreamy and ever-so romantic Paris. Pas mal, non?

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