12.17.2015

Thanksgiving 2015

    
     

  

    



I'm loving Thanksgiving more and more. A holiday centered around food and one big meal of savory delights? Sign me up!

We were with the Snyder's this year. It was just a small gathering: My parents, Lizzy, Greg and me, my Uncle Jerry, and my Grandma Marilyn. I like small gatherings for holiday meals because there is less quantity of food, but more quality. It was a beautiful spread. Lizzy rocked the table decor, Jerry rocked the pies, Grandma rocked the marshmallowed yams, I rocked the green bean casserole, Greg rocked the roasted root vegetables, my dad rocked the turkey, my mom rocked the salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and probably a lot of other things I'm forgetting about.

I bought a new gingham dress the week before that I have lived in ever since. Might be my favorite dress I've ever purchased. Could be the gingham, or could be the fact that I had to spend hours reconstructing the sleeves because they were too tight on my arms, but I refused to not buy it.

The next day Greg and I spent a fun time with his parents. We went to lunch, shopped a bit, and saw a movie. But alas, I didn't get any pictures.

Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect start to the holiday season!

1 Year Anniversary Photos

 


 


 

 


A few months ago, I was thinking of how fun it might be to have our "family" photos taken every year. And just always plan on getting some photos taken so that we make it a priority. But then I felt kind of silly about that because it's just Greg and I, so if we took photos together, it would pretty much just be another engagement shoot. Conveniently, my childhood friend, Alise, needed some web work done and we decided to do a trade for a photo shoot. 

I decided it would be fun to have our picture taken in the Avenues. I had debated having our engagement photos there because we spent SO much time walking the streets of the Avenues while we were dating. I lived really close to my ward's chapel, which is adorable and historic. After Greg and I got engaged, he transferred to my ward where we took a fabulous marriage preparation course together. We had such fond memories of the area and the church, it was a perfect spot to take some pictures and remember that important time in our life together. 

We also went up to Lindsey Gardens, which is at the tippy top of the Avenues next to the cemetery. Greg took me there after our 3rd date so we could sip some delicious Hatch hot chocolate. We went back there on our 3 month anniversary where we said "I love you" for the first time. We went back on a few Sunday afternoons to read and people watch. And we stopped here on our route the evening he proposed. 

 












Looking at these new pictures got me a bit emotional. We're a bit more comfortable with each other this year. We are pleased as punch to have a year behind us! I had heard that the first year of marriage can be difficult, but I assumed it wouldn't apply to us. But in all honesty it was hard, harder than we expected. It's serious business to bring 2 adult lives together! The first month was probably the most difficult, especially because it was the holiday season immediately and then the dark months of winter. We envisioned having a simple, cozy winter. And it was for the most part, but I convinced myself that I was a bad wife unless I had a nice homemade dinner on the table each night, and Greg felt like it would hurt my feelings if he did something alone or with his friends. We both worried about spending any money since we now had joint accounts. I felt guilty every time Greg did the dishes and I wasn't helping. And then of course trying to balance time with both families while still making everyone a priority. 

We also had a lot of learning to do about each other. Greg re-learned that I LOVE having a plan ahead of time. I learned that Greg loves to be very prepared for any sort of travel: plane, road trip, train, rental car. Greg learned that my schedule revolves around my stomach and eating plans. I learned that Greg could be happy tinkering in the garage all day everyday. Greg learned how much fabric costs, I learned how much go karting costs. Greg learned that I am no longer myself after 10 pm and I will collapse into sleep. I learned that Greg will wake up early to hang out with me, but he'd prefer to sleep in. 

Of course I could go on and on. Lots of things were learned this year. We've had to make a lot of compromises and learn the best ways to communicate with each other (something I'm sure we'll be mastering the rest of our lives). But all in all, I never knew that one person could make me so incandescently happy. He's my greatest advisor, my favorite friend, and he's made my life light and bright. He continues to support me and encourage me everyday, and I hope I'm doing the same for him. It's so nice to share so much time with him and know how invested he is in our family and our future together. 

Last night I was talking with my mom on the phone. I mentioned that Greg was over at his grandpa's house trying to fix his snow blower and then he was going to stop at his parent's house to fix theirs as well. Then she told me that he had reviewed my little sister's math assignment that day and emailed her a bunch of feedback. And then I told her about how he paused our Star Wars marathon to go and take me to see the lights at Temple Square because he knew I had a hard day at work. I started crying as I told her, "I just seriously think he is the gift that keeps on giving. He continually goes above and beyond my wildest dreams."

He's my other half, and I know it's only been a year, but I couldn't imagine my life without him.

11.19.2015

9th & 9th Date Night


  
  
   
  
  

  

I love living in Salt Lake City! There are so many great neighborhoods that have lots of my favorite things. I've wanted to spend more time at the 9th and 9th area and we made it happen! 

We got dressed up on a Saturday night and drove over in the drizzy rain. Our first stop was The Children's Hour. It's this cute little shop that started as a book shop and now they carry luxury women's clothing- kind of odd combinations. They have lots of beautiful things, most of them being above my preferred price points. I do really like their shoe selection. They have lots of shoes that I love- cute flats that are comfortable. They also carry great designers you don't usually see in SLC like Orla Kiley and Paper Crown. We browsed for a bit. Whenever we're at a place like that, I like to look at everything and tell Greg about why it's cool or special. And then he follows me around the store and says, "Do you want to buy it? Should we buy that? Do you want to have it?" It's really sweet. 

Then we went next door, and visited Pago.

I listened to a podcast about the restaurant community in Salt Lake, and the guest went on and on about Pago. He said it was the first restaurant of its kind in Utah. They focus on the farm to table concept with a seasonal menu. We've tried a lot of great places in town, so I thought Pago would be a fun one to visit. 

We shared an appetizer and 2 entrees. The appetizer was called BBQ beets with smoked honey, toasted grains, yogurt, and a shaved root slaw. It was pretty fun, probably my favorite thing we got. We also had a beet salad when we went to Pallet, and both were great. So I've been buying beets a bit more and pleasantly surprised. I do think they need to be paired with something creamy like yogurt or goat cheese. 

For our entrees, Greg ordered the Pago burger with bacon, gouda, pickled onion, black garlic aioli, and truffle frites on the side. This was a great burger! They even cut in half for us since they we'd be sharing it (I always appreciate that). I was worried about the pickled onion, but it ended up being fabulous. A really nice acidic crunch with the rest of the warm, familiar flavors. It wasn't the best burger I've had, but it was really great. 

I ordered the gnocchi with Morgan Valley Lamb Bolognese, heirloom tomato, cured egg yolk and topped with chevre. We buy gnocchi all the time at Trader Joe's but I have never had fresh gnocchi and it was really good! Very soft, little pillowy wonders that picked up the sauce really well. I had high hopes for the bolognese because I don't ever eat lamb and it sounded fancy. Maybe it's because I've upped my red sauce game in the last few years, but I thought it tasted really similar to what I make at home. That was a bit disappointing but I still really enjoyed the dish. 

After dinner, we walked across the street to Dolcetti Gelato. Greg got cookie butter gelato and I had the lemon sorbet. I really like the decor there, but I think Harmon's is a much better deal for the same quality of gelato. But Dolcetti does have them beat on the ambiance. 

So there we go! A fun night in a few hundred foot radius. I love our city! 

P.S. I've been wanting to start writing Yelp reviews, and I finally created an account. I have about 25 reviews thus far, mostly restaurants in Salt Lake. 

11.17.2015

Woolston European Honeymoon


This past September, Greg and I got to travel through Europe for 2.5 weeks! We had talked about going for our honeymoon, but it just didn't make sense at the time. So instead, we saved our pennies and made it a priority to go in our first year of marriage. It was an absolute dream come true!

We saw some amazing things! Far too much for any one blog post. So I've organized them by country and then category here:

England:

London
Liberty of London
Notting Hill
Jamie Oliver Recipease
Borough Market
English Countryside

France:

All Around Normandy
Our House in Normandy
Omaha Beach
Pointe Du Hoc
Utah Beach & WW2 Museums
Normandy American Cemetery

Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart
Gardens, Laundry, and Food
Eiffel Tower & Montramarte

Belgium:

A Belgian Food Stop
Riding Trains

The Netherlands:

Vlissingen
Middleburg AirBNB
Driving Through the Dutch Countryside
Nijmegen & a Bit of Germany
Mormon Churches in The Netherlands
Haarlem
The Hiding Place
Amsterdam Canal Boat Tour
Amsterdam
Anne Frank House
Rijksmuseum and Bike Rentals
Amsterdam AirBNB

Conclusion:

Coming Home From Europe

Coming Home From Europe


 


 

 


If you look close, you can see little windmills in the middle of the ocean :


The morning started bright and early when we left Amsterdam to catch our morning flight. As much as we loved our adventures, we were ready to come back home. Here are a few stats of the trip:

  • 18 days
  • 5 countries
  • 24 cities
  • 138.9 miles on foot (Greg's fitbit tracked for us)
  • 6 apartments rentals, 1 hotel
  • 11 trains (not including the subway)
  • 2 rental cars
  • 2 bike rentals
  • 2 laundry visits
  • 10 supermarket visits
  • 27 desserts (yes, I kept track!)

We feel so grateful that we were even able to take a trip like this. We know that most people don't get to do an adventure like this and we have so much gratitude that we're at a point in our lives that we were able to make it a reality. We had to save a lot of money and we had to have jobs that were OK with us skipping town for us that long. We had to have coworkers that were willing to pick up our slack. And we just really appreciate everyone who helped us make this happen.

In all honesty, the complete trip was so much more work than we expected. I now understand why people hire travel agents or tour companies, because we had to put tens of hours into planning and coordination and research. It was difficult doing it all ourselves, but we loved that we got too customize everything to what we wanted and hoped would be fun. Some days we just couldn't walk anymore and would do Facetime with our family and watch movies. Some days we couldn't bear to go back to our rental because we were having so much fun.

For Greg, the trip was a reconfirmation that he was happy to be where he is in life now. He said that it's easy to think back about his mission and remember all the good times and how enjoyable it was. Because when you come home, you just remember all the good things and you long to be back at that time and in that place. But going there together was great for us. It was great for me to see where he was for those two years and why he loves the Dutch so much. And for Greg, it was good to see that life carried on without him and that his life carries on here in Utah. In different ways, but still good ways.

As a couple, it made us more grateful for one another. When everyone speaks a different language and you are only meeting vendors and drivers, you don't have a lot of people to communicate with. But Greg was all I needed. I still can't believe that I never tire of him. I usually need some sort of break from all humans at a certain point in the day, but not of Greg. I love being with him all day, everyday. I believe our marriage is stronger now because of our trip. We had to learn to really depend on each other and communicate what we wanted to do each day. I had to be flexible and go with the flow. When I was nervous about talking to people who barely spoke English, Greg rose to the occasion. He handled pretty much all communication with strangers and I felt so, so grateful. He took care of me like a champ and it made me feel like a million bucks.

We talked a lot about travel and why we took this trip and whether it was worth all the time and money to make it happen. We agreed that yes, it was worth it. It was worth having a shared adventure just for us. As two people who just barely met early last year, we still have a lot to learn about each other. Traveling together and having no one to talk to, but us, definitely sped along that process. I learned so much about Greg and everything I learned made me love him even more. When you have childhood friends, you grow together, you have lots of inside jokes and shared experiences you can refer to. And for us, going to Europe was part of that growing together and being able to have new shared memories as a couple, that were just ours.

As we discussed our life and our priorities we definitely want to make travel a priority as we encounter all that we will in our upcoming life. People travel for lots of reasons, but for us, we need to get out of our homes and experience something new, mainly, as a way to remember what we have. It's easy to take for granted the blessing of having a car, and space for your hobbies. We came back with a renewed sense of gratitude for our lives here. We loved seeing how other people live and we can definitely appreciate the differences, but it's especially nice to have the confirmation that where we live and what we're engaged in at this time in our lives is great. We came home more passionate for what we love about Salt Lake City and Utah and America. We've become more focused on what we want in the long term and how we want our lives to look and feel.

Thanks so much for reading along and for the kind comments on Instagram and Facebook. It was so fun to share our trip with others and get their recommendations and support along the way.

XOXO