25 February 2015

Wedding \\ Getting Ready - The Girls

Wedding Prep Toast

The morning of our wedding, I woke up at the condo my parents had rented. N & I had opted to spend the night apart. Our wedding party would be joining each of us at our respective parents' houses, making things pretty easy for both of us.

There were seven of us getting our makeup done, so our day started significantly earlier than the guys did. We were all at my parent's condo by 10 am, whereas the guys didn't meet up until 1 pm. Until I booked hair & makeup, I had never thought about how much time goes into getting seven girls ready for a wedding. It's a little bit crazy.

We started our day with bacon, eggs, & coffee. No surprises there! It seemed like the day flew by from there. Somewhere in there we had lunch, cracked champagne, & exchanged gifts.

Best Friends

wedding makeup

wedding makeup

I gifted each of my bridesmaids (& my mom) a kimono robe. They turned out adorable for our pictures together & were perfect for keeping our hair & makeup in place. N's mom also stopped by as I was getting my hair done. She gifted me a tiffany bracelet (something blue!) & a favourite French perfume we had all received a few years ago (as a something borrowed). It was a really sweet surprise.

mother in law

The girls all did their own hair since they mostly prefer to wear it down. I think they all did a beautiful job. For my own hair, I wanted to look like myself so we started with loose waves, but added a couple braids for a half updo. Kris at Inspirado Designs captured exactly what I had in mind. It felt special without straying too far from my normal look. I was equally pleased with our makeup artist, Bri. Both ladies were so professional throughout my whole experience & we all looked beautiful.
wedding prep

wedding makeup

With our hair & makeup ready to go, we popped champagne for mimosas & opened the last few cards & gifts. N's gift to me was a beautiful pair of Tiffany earrings that match a favourite necklace of mine (complete with handmade card). We moved on to some photos in our robes before it was crunch time. These are some of my favourite photos with the girls. Can you really go wrong with a mini photo-shoot with your best girlfriends? (Made even better with our mimosas!)

wedding day mimosas



bridesmaid hugs

father daughter pre-wedding

bride gift

text jokes


bridesmaids bed

bridesmaids bed

We'd been pretty low key up until this point. As Carly (half of the wonderful 3 haus team) worked to keep us on track, we all got dressed. It definitely felt like crunch time by then as we were running a bit behind (of course). Right until the moment my mom zipped up my dress, I was a little bit nervous that it might not fit. Aside from a couple tricky clasps, it was perfect. That first moment in my wedding dress was really magical, but my dad seeing me for the first time was even more so. There are so many special moments on a wedding day & so many are captured here before the ceremony even began.

bride prep

bridal gown details

wedding dress

wedding dress

wedding dress

wedding hugs

wedding ceremony ready

We did some final shots with the girls & my family at the condo before it was time to get in the limo & head off to Summerhill for the ceremony.




bride and grandmother

bride and parents


Six months later, I'm still having trouble narrowing down my favourites from our day. Thanks for letting me share another bit of our wedding with you!

20 February 2015

A new logo for an old blog

This little blog has been around for a while - half a decade, to be precise. & it's had a lot of different designs. I figured it was about time to update my old header. I created it a few years ago & it was never truly what I wanted. I've been playing around with different design software, & learned how to create some different logos & banners. It's a lot of fun once you get the hang of it!

Here's a little throwback to my old design. I really did like those coffee cups, but it always felt a bit disjointed. & that left aligned menu bar drives me crazy!

I've fixed both of those a bit with this update. They're still not perfect so I'll probably fiddle more with them still. I loved blogger when I first started writing & still think it's a great free tool for beginners, but I'm slowly getting frustrated with its limitations. I've played around with some other options recently & am now trying to decide which route to take. I find myself doing more coding than I'd like in order to get things to display how I'd like within blogger. Even then, I find limitations. Coupled with a rudimentary iPad app, I'm just not sure I'm sold anymore. 

On the other side, I really enjoy how connected to my other google applications this is. & there are always risks with switching to a new platform. 

Has anyone gone through any of this before? What is your prefered platform? 

12 February 2015

Honeymoon 009 \\ Portofino & Cruising

We woke up the next morning to a wonderful breakfast prepared by our Genoese host before heading off to meet our family friend at the cruise ship terminal. She got us all checked in & even took our bags so we could head out for the day unencumbered.

We'd gotten a recommendation to take the train to Santa Margherita & then hop on the boat or bus to Portofino - a small, but well-known Italian fishing village. We bought our tickets from one of the machines in the Genoa Piazza Principe Station for under 10 euros. The only confusing part was finding the right destination. Look for S. Margherita Ligure & a travel time of about 45 minutes. The trains seem to run often that time of year, so we didn't need to book in advance.

Santa Margherita
The weather was perfect when we arrived in Santa Margherita so we opted to take the ferry over the bus. It would also give us the opportunity to enjoy the coastline we'd heard so much about. As a boat lover, I can't imagine a more perfect introduction to the beauty of Liguria.

If you're looking for the cheaper option, the bus is a better choice. Seeing as only we only paid 10 euros round-trip each for the boat, it wasn't a huge splurge either. We had perfect weather too - all blue skies & calm waters. If you're planning on using the ferry service, this is their handy website. Or you can do like we did & just show up in Santa Margherita & buy a ticket for the next boat. We weren't travelling at peak time, but we had no trouble.

As our boat pulled into the narrow harbour in Portofino, the reasons for its popularity became obvious. Crystal clear water, colourful homes, & a slower pace make this little village a breathtaking & relaxing stop. We spent the day wandered the surrounding hilly paths, checking out the castle, church, & lighthouse before sitting down to lunch in the busy harbour.

We hadn't done any research about where to eat so we picked a spot a bit further from the water & hoped for the best. Luckily, Trattoria Tripoli was a pleasant surprise. We went for a local beer (recommended by our waiter) followed by a clam spaghetti for N & the regional pesto & potato pasta for me. I'd read about the pesto in the region & jumped at the first opportunity to try it. I have no regrets.

Italians have this incredible ability to take the simplest ingredients & turn them into something unforgettable. Its origins are in this region, so while I expected it to be great, I didn't expect it to blow me away. I've made pesto many times, but I have never tasted a pesto with such depth of flavour. I truly didn't think pesto could taste like that. The simple fact that I don't love pasta when I'm at home, but ate it daily in Italy certainly speaks to the quality of the food in this country & the level of care that goes into its preparation.

I could write a novel on how much I enjoyed everything we put in our mouths in every city we visited in Italy, but just take my word for it & go. Eat! I promise it's worth it.

I'm drooling over this pesto
After lunch we wandered a little more, hiking a steep road to take it some more of the incredible views, before catching a boat back to Santa Margherita. Trains come through the area pretty often that time of year so, once again, we easily caught one back to Genoa.

Our ship: Ventura!
It was our first time on a cruise so we were pretty in awe of everything from the moment we boarded. We found out which cabin we were in & arrived to our find out luggage had been delivered & we'd been gifted a bottle of prosecco from our family friend. It was such a lovely surprise! 

My parents had also upgraded us to a cabin with a balcony as a wedding gift. They insisted that we would want it & after our week onboard, I couldn't agree more. I'd highly recommend the splurge to anyone. We used ours every day.

As our ship prepared to leave, we popped the prosecco & got comfortable in our chairs. We sat outside watching the shore fade into the distance, sipping on prosecco, & enjoying the perfect evening.

Our first meal was in the main dining room. Each meal included three courses & we took advantage of cheese for dessert every night, ordering Branston Pickle to go with it, of course. Every since my mom introduced us to Branston Pickle with Stilton Blue Cheese, we've been kind of obsessed. (& when you're on a British Cruise, why not take advantage!)

Branston Pickle & Cheese
The rest of the evening was spent exploring the ship. It was huge! You can do pretty much anything from relaxing with a drink to golfing or playing a game of basketball. It's amazing! I think we only really figured out where everything was halfway through our week onboard.

It was nice to get a feel for the ship, but we made sure to get to bed pretty early. We had scheduled an early transfer to Florence so we wanted to get a good night's rest.