27 March 2015

Honeymoon 10 \\ Florence

The first morning on the ship, we woke up to a knock on our door. We'd pre-ordered room service the night before to make our early morning transfer a little more relaxed. While the meal was nothing to write home about, the luxury of enjoying breakfast in a comfy robe & slippers on your personal balcony certainly was. It became our favourite way to start the day!

Our transfer left Livorno for Florence at 8:45am. We opted for a self-guided day in the city so on the bus we received a map & some additional details on navigating the city including where to eat & what to do. It was the perfect choice for us - we got a few tips for our day, ample time to nap, & the freedom to wander at our own pace.

Florence is really compact. It doesn't take much more than 10 minutes to walk between sights so it makes for a pretty easy day. We saw most of the sights - Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria (filled with many important statues including a replica of the David), the Galleria dell'Accademia, & the Duomo - within an hour. There were throngs of people everywhere we turned. I still can't get over how busy it was.

People everywhere!

Ponte Vecchio

Lock everywhere
On the Ponte Vecchio

Since we were a bit limited on time, we hadn't planned on visiting any museums. I overdid the museums on my first trip to Europe (as did N) so now I prefer to wander - eating, drinking, people watching, & maybe exploring a church, here & there. We'd expected our wandering to take a bit longer so when it didn't we decided it was worth waiting in line to climb the Duomo's cupola. The line was quite long so it took us over an hour to even get to the start. We were rewarded with incredible architecture from the minute we stepped inside & breathtaking panoramas from the top.

Florence's Duomo is quite impressive

The climb is slow & crowded

Maxi dresses & narrow staircases don't really mix

By the time we left Cathedral Square, we were ravenous from both the intense climb & the later hour. We picked a little restaurant with a terrace for a late lunch. Once again, the pasta was incredible - carbonera for me this time, followed by a shared calabrese pizza. Likely more food than two people needed, but we figured we deserved the reward. & it was our honeymoon - a phrase we repeated many times throughout our trip. You only get married once, right?!

After lunch, we wandered around looking for some wine to take back to the ship. We'd heard we might not be able to bring any back onboard, so we chose a cheap bottle just in case. This isn't exactly a feat in Europe, but we found it especially easy in Italy. It turned out to be a non-issue for us so we enjoyed a couple of drinks on our balcony as the ship left port. This became another staple in our cruise. I'm so glad we we gifted the upgrade to a cabin with a balcony. It really made our first cruise experience  incredible.

The best way to enjoy a class of wine
That evening, we met our family friend for a glass of wine at the Glass House, one of the onboard restaurant. She gave us some tips for making the most of our week onboard & we made a plan to do dinner at another of the ships restaurants later that week called East. It was really great to catch up with her & get tips from such an expert.

That night we decided to forgo the formal dining room & try the Glass House instead. There is a small charge for menu items there, but it's nominal & the food is great. I'd definitely recommend checking out some of the options outside the main dining room if you're ever cruising.

Quality photography c/o my iPhone 4s
We had a sea day the next day so we decided to end our night at the ship's club, Havana. There, we proceeded to repeatedly clear the dance floor with our country music requests. Sounds like us.

18 March 2015

Gymnastics Fun

As a child, I remember spending an entire summer learning to do a cartwheel, & then practicing every single chance I got in order to perfect it. I think that kind of dedication is pretty common in children. Many of my favourite activities involved functional types of fitness like this.  No one thought of it as fitness though so it remained fun. Recently, we've gotten back to those roots.

I read about Kyle Shewfelt's latest gymnastics classes in the Herald this summer. They've offered non-competitive gymnastics classes for kids since they opened their doors, but last spring they added a few adult options. I immediately knew this was something I would love to do, & told N about it. When my birthday rolled around, he gifted me a class. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who thought this would be an amazing opportunity & the class was full before I had a chance to register. Members get first dibs so I missed the winter session as well. A coworker of mine did get in, however (the only non-member to make it!), & convinced N & I to come down for Open Gym after his class a couple weeks ago.

Open gym gives you supervised access to the amazing facility. We tumbled, swung, climbed, jumped, & flipped our bodies around for an hour & a half. You couldn't wipe the goofy grin off my face the whole evening. It's a little bit like being a kid again. Tanis teaches the Adult Gymnastics class from 6:30 - 8:00 pm followed by the Open Gym session.

The gym features a tumble track, ring, uneven bars, parallel bars, beams, a plyo floor, foam pit, vaults, & tons of different shaped mats like octagons & wedges. We've been to two sessions so far & I already feel like I've learned so much, all while getting great workouts. I only wish I'd started going sooner! My coworker has brought his Go Pro & recorded some of the stuff we've done. You can follow him to see more but I've posted a couple of my favourite videos below. I'm excited to see how we improve as time goes on (N & I both have 10x drop-in passes now).

Donkey kicks & a flip by me:

Nathan flips:

My coworker:

As someone who wants to get into an adult class, it probably isn't the best idea to blog about this fun new workout find, but I couldn't resist sharing. If you're looking to try something new & challenging, while feeling a bit like a kid again, I highly recommend checking out Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics!

3 March 2015

February In Instagram

No matter what, this recap seems to sneak up on me. Granted, February is the shortest month,but it still amazes me how quickly time can fly by. We got up to a lot judging from my Instagram feed. The unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in much less hibernation than usual. We got outside more than you'd normally expect. It's a nice change, but I'm a little bit wary about what this means for our Spring & Summer. 

We also booked some exciting things. We've decided to go to Big Valley Jamboree this summer & we're officially going to Mexico again next February. As we continue our house hunt & hold off on big trips, it helps to have a couple vacation plans to look forward to. 

Here's what we got up to this month according to Instagram: 

1. Once again, we headed out to Panorama for a ski trip with some friends. Despite a rocky start, it was a great weekend. We even ventured into Taynton Bowl - a backcountry-style part of the resort I'd previously found intimidating. Overcoming that fear meant skiing some of the best powder & terrain I've ever encountered. 
2. Now that they've settled back into daily life after 3 months of travel, we presented our friends with a homemade (slightly risqué) calendar we made while we had access to their house.
3. H, Z, N, & I attended a wine tasting at Metrovino. We learned quite a bit & picked up a couple beautiful bottles of wine. This wine shop continues to impress me with every visit. 
4. N & I had a lovely Valentines Day. We started with oysters & cava at the recently opened Rodney's Oyster House followed by an incredible dinner at Cucina. Their Chicken Liver Parfait is one of my favourite appetizers. 
5. I took in a Flames game with my dad. Always a fun way to spend an evening. 
6. N & I decided to take advantage of our proximity to the mountains & put our Banff Park Pass to use. Our first adventure was a leisurely hike at Johnston Canyon. It's a bit icy due to our warmer winter, but still an easy hike with some unique sights. 
7. Another welcome addition to the food scene is The Nash, Michael Noble's latest restaurant venture. N's brother got us a gift card for Christmas so we decided to check it out with some friends. A week later, I'm already looking for an excuse to go back (despite it being a definite splurge).  
8. H & I got a sneak peek at some of the eggcellence going down for Beakerhead this year. We were visibly eggcited to learn downtownfood is involved. (Confused? Keep an eye on Twitter for more info!
9. Night riding with some friends at YYC Cycle to cap off the month. Glow in the dark paint, lululemon giveaways, Juice Because samples, & an amazing workout with two incredible motivators = a fantastic Friday night! 

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!