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. 


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:


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


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


A Belgian Food Stop
Riding Trains

The Netherlands:

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


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.


Amsterdam AirBNB

Our AirBNB rental in Amsterdam was so pretty. Because it was our last rental, we spent a little more than our others. And I'm so glad we did because by the end of the trip we were getting a bit worn out from all the rental spaces. We were anxious to be comfortable back in our home, but this place was pretty darn great. 

It was in a nice area of town. And even though it was a bit further from the tourist attractions we visited, it was nice to feel like a local. We learned that all of those tall buildings that face the street are pretty narrow. But in the middle of two rows, they have a big private garden for the surrounding tenants. The only way to enter is through the back doors of the homes that surround the space. We felt pretty lucky that our cute, red, double french doors greeted the garden space. 

One afternoon, we came home really tired from all the walking. All the travel was starting to wear on us and we were getting pumped for normal schedules. So we came home earlier in the day, took naps, and then got dressed up to go to a fancy pizza shop around the corner. After our nap, I wandered through the gardens and then Greg came and found me so we took a few pictures. We set up our camera on the picnic table and did set up self-timer. Then we started doing some jumping pics, but it took us awhile to figure out the right timing, so I think we were getting a bit loud laughing each time we totally missed the chance to jump. I looked up on top of one of the buildings and there was an older Dutch fellow sitting on the top, watching us laughing. He looked down and smiled. It was a nice moment. But he must have thought we were two love-crossed young crazy folks. 

Rijks Museum & Bike Rentals

On one of our full days in Amsterdam, we rented bikes. We'd been pumped for this the entire trip but alas, I wasn't quite so good. We went to the rental place and they gave us matching red bikes. It's known in Amsterdam that only tourists use red bikes, so that was a nice way to fit in with the locals. :) 

No one wears helmets but the thought of not having one made me so nervous, that I swallowed my pride and asked for a helmet. Unfortunately my head is so small that I couldn't fit into an adult-sized helmet so I had to use the child size, which meant neon with little ladybugs. 

We rode our bikes to the Rijksmuseum and barely survived. Actually, we were totally fine. But I did make us stop twice and I cried because I was so nervous. Just for the record, I can ride a bike alright, but downtown biking with lanes and cars and tons of pedestrians is a whole different story. Greg was leading the way, but is much more confident riding than I am. I had to remind him that he spent two years becoming very comfortable with this type of urban biking but that he is married to a worry-wart who really didn't want to crash on the streets of Amsterdam. Ha! 

So we finally get to the museum, park our bikes, and have a lovely stroll. We had a great breakfast, stopped by the Van Gogh Museum, walked through the Rijksmuseum and found nearby Vondelpark to ride more comfortably. Everyone was cutting through the park on their way to different places and the people watching was superb.