Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet Virginia

Hello long lost blog! I have had the busiest October & November ever.

A few days after Matt and I got back to Denver from Europe (aka a few days after we got engaged), I received notice that my transfer (which I thought would take around 6 months!) was approved, and that we could move back to V, but I had to start within 3 weeks! It was pretty intense and a quick turnaround, but we packed our stuff in pods, had an amazing going away party, hugged our friends goodbye (still so sad about this), and headed off to be closer to both of our families on the east coast!

We stopped through Ohio on the way back to Virginia to say hello to my in-laws, and see some friends and other family. I had about a week off to drive cross-country, settle-in a bit, then I started back at work. My new role is very similar to my last one but much busier! I am really loving it so far and am definitely never bored.

My Denver girls and I grabbing a girl's night out on one of my last days! Love these ladies!




My first weekend back in VA, my best friend and I!


My bridesmaid Katie, and maid of honor, Tory!


We had the best going away party at Historian in Denver, hosted by my girls Emily & Meredith. We both made so many amazing friends while living in Denver, and it was so awesome to have everyone come out and wish us farewell--we really are such lucky people to have found such an amazing family of friends out in Denver!



A few weekends ago, we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday at L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, VA...amazing!!!...then we went to Great Falls to hang out for a bit. It was a wonderful day, and I was so happy to be home with my family to celebrate my amazing mom!







This past weekend, we had some of our fav couples over for drinks & appetizers :-)...and now we are gearing up for a great Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Venice aka. Engagementmoon!!!!

We arrived to the last destination of our Europe trip, Venice, on September 10th and stayed in a lovely hotel a few blocks from St. Mark's Square (thanks Mom & Dad!!!). Venice is absolutely beautiful, and it was a nice break to just relax after an incredibly busy time in Paris & Rome. While in Venice, we decided to eat leisurely lunches & dinners, and walk around with no obligation to really see anything if we didn't want to. This felt very freeing and relaxing!

We took the train from Rome to Venice, and when we arrived at the Venice train station, we hopped on a public water taxi to our hotel. This ended up being pretty fast (20 minutes or so) and cheap! The private water taxis were very James Bond looking, but definitely expensive, so we just decided to save our dough--plus we mostly walked everywhere.



I have never been to a city like Venice, and it really wowed me!

Cathedral in St. Mark's Square:

Gorgeous clock tower equipped with zodiac signs:


Our sweet balcony at our hotel:


The first evening we arrived in Venice, we dressed up for a delicious dinner at Vini Da Gigio.

We took this very cheesedick picture, and it ended up being our last picture as just girlfriend & boyfriend...so there's that...haha...


Awesome wine that we drank...


As we were walking home from dinner, around 11:30pm local time, Matt wanted to go see St. Mark's square at night (during the day it's so crowded), and I happily obliged (clueless-ly). The clock tower there is extra special and even has zodiac etchings in it. There were still a lot of people in the square, so Matt asked if I wanted to go walk along the water (which was really empty and on our way to our hotel) and I said sure. We were walking for awhile, and then decided to sit down at this really cute bench by some gondolas (empty) with no one else around. We were talking about moving back East to be closer to our families at some point soon...and then he all of a sudden told me that I was the, "most wonderful person he had ever met"....which I responded "aw, you're the most wonderful person I have ever met too babes"--since I didn't get the hint that he was about to propose!!! haha...Then he said, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you," after which I realized what was happening, and my heart started racing...and he got down on one knee--I was still sitting on the bench in anticipation, and he asked, "will you marry me?"...and then I don't really remember what I said, I just remembered giving him a kiss, and him taking the most beautiful ring I have EVER seen out of his pocket (yes, he carried it loose in his pant suit pocket the entire night since I would have been able to see the box---he later said that he kept feeling for it in his pocket, but that he wasn't nervous) and putting it on my finger--apparently, I said "Yes, of course I'll marry you!"...very shortly after, I asked if he had asked my Dad for his permission--not that he would need it, my parents are very "new school" and knew Matt very well at this point---but, Matt of course had--and said that it was one of the most nerve-wracking calls of his life (my parents live cross-country from us)--asking my Dad if it would be okay for him to propose in Venice to me --he strongly felt my Dad would say yes, but it's still a BIG call! My Dad said, "Go for it!" haha which is kind of a hilarious response...and he even kept it a secret from my Mom!

The proposal was over before I knew it, but it was simple, sweet, and a perfect moment I will treasure in my memory for the rest of my life.

Matthew, you truly are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I'm so excited and thankful that I get to become your wife next year! I don't know what mixture of luck & fate brought us together on a blind date in Denver, but I do think it's somewhat of a miracle when you get to marry the love of your life, and I'm extremely thankful for that! I will love you forever!

Sorry, this is gross, but I had to include it...immediate aftermath of engagement!




We came back to our hotel afterwards, and I immediately had to facetime my best friend of 25 years, my maid of honor, Tory! I have always told her that she would be the first person I called, so I kept to it! P.S. Matt and Tory have the same last name actually--so I'll have the same last name as my two best friends now! haha


I am absolutely in love with my ring too!
 

We also facetimed with my girl Cara--who cried she was so happy!!


The phone calls with our happy families, siblings, and friends continued the entire weekend--but we did make some time to head to Burano island for an amazing and fresh lunch of Flounder at Romano...walk around the glass island of Murano...and hang out and celebrate in Venice all weekend long!





We finished our time in Venice, with the most amazing dinner EVER at Da Fiore in Venice. This is rated one of the top restaurants in the WORLD. It was incredible....



My handsome fiancé!



On the colorful island of Burano:





This trip was the absolute best trip of my life, and I can't wait to keep traveling with this guy until we are old & grey!

 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rome!

After Paris, we flew from Orly airport into Rome. We decided to stay at another Airbnb apartment (we did the ones where we got the entire apartments to ourselves) while in Rome--and I'm so glad we did. Our hosts actually picked us up at the airport and drove us to the airbnb which was amazing. Paris was a whirlwind of sightseeing, and Rome wasn't too different!

Our Airbnb in Rome was really nice and in the Campo di'Fiori neighborhood of Rome--which was extremely centrally located. They gave us a bottle of wine and then breakfast foods in our refrigerator which was so helpful since Italians don't really do breakfast. It was nice to be able to eat a light breakfast before a full day of walking.





We arrived pretty late on Sunday night, and decided to go to dinner at Ditirambo in Piazza della Cancelleria (only a few blocks from our apartment). This dinner was phenomenal, cheap, and easy! In Rome, we decided to treat our taste buds a little bit and definitely indulged in dishes I would never order in the US. I ordered the cacio i peppe dish--which was AMAZING...Matt had an incredible rabbit pappardelle dish. All in all, I would definitely recommend this place--also had a really extensive wine list. We will be back to this restaurant the next time we visit Rome--very reasonable prices sealed the deal
.



After dinner, we walked to see the Pantheon at night. It's funny, because you can be walking around Rome and just run into big monuments like the Pantheon without even trying.


The next morning, we set off to visit the sites. We visited the Colosseum first, and were amazed by it. I visited Rome while in college studying abroad and during that trip it rained while I was at the Colosseum, so seeing it in the sunshine was a nice change!









After the colosseum and walking around for awhile, we went to lunch at Da Enzo. This was an amazing lunch of meatballs (no pasta) and salad...plus a glass of red wine! It was a tiny hole in the wall but our meal was so tasty, and the pastas that other tables were enjoying looked so delicious (we just didn't want to eat a heavy lunch). After lunch we went and checked out the Pantheon during the day, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction).


After lunch, we decided to do a little shopping by the Spanish Steps--and stopped into this lovely Italian leather glove shop!



We walked around until late in the evening, then went home to shower for dinner...I swear we walked at least 5-8 miles per day!

That night, we ate dinner at Da Armando al Pantheon (near the Pantheon, obviously!) and it was really delicious, well-priced, and the bathroom actually had a toilet seat!! This is something you expect in the USA, but in Europe, you often have to squat while in public (ugh)...TMI sorry!


The next morning, we woke up early for an extremely informative and well-executed private tour by Easitaly. It was a little bit expensive (about $300 euro) but 3 hours long, and we learned soo much...we also got to cut the lines. I would definitely recommend this tour company--our tour guide spoke amazing English and was so informed--she had her Masters or PhD in Art History. We did a 3 hour tour of Vatican City--which included the Vatican Museums, the cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, the square, and then after three hours, we walked up St. Peter's Basilica for the best view of all of Rome. It was such a wonderful morning!






It was SUCH a hot day out!

Afterwards, we walked the few miles to the Borghese Gallery (which we had pre-booked tickets for online)...and it was really lovely. I adored the exhibits scattered throughout the museum of clothing (made to look like sculptures/armor) that Azzedine Alaia had created over the last few decades. Everything was absolutely gorgeous! We also walked through the Borghese park/gardens.



Later that evening, we walked to the Monti neighborhood and had the best meal of our trip in Rome at La Carbonara. We shared the Carbonara (UNREAL!) and a filet with mushrooms (ALSO UNREAL!)...I was incredibly impressed--again, the pricing was very reasonable...this place is becoming even more popular--though locals definitely frequent it.


The following day, we decided to shop around again and I found a really amazing Italian lambskin purse that I purchased as my trip souvenir! We visited the Bone Museum in Rome (which unfortunately you cannot take pictures of) and it was one of the most unique places I have ever been.
We  had a nice lunch at La Fontana di Venere (where Matt's Bolognese lasagna was incredible) and then walked around some more.

We also decided to visit Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, and Circus Maximus.




After a long day, we hit Nerone in Trastavere neighborhood for excellent pizza for dinner! This was our first pizza of the trip, and extremely yummy.



 
The next morning we woke up early and took the train to Venice! We had the absolute best time in Rome...and especially enjoyed seeing all the ancient ruins & sites...as well as the food!!!