Thursday, January 28, 2010


I finally got my act together and started purchasing photos and frames to hang up on our very bare bedroom and living room walls.

We knew that our honeymoon photos and photos of E's trip to Europe in college were much more likely to match our style/decor (what little there is of it) as well and be more aesthetically interesting to people than our wedding photos.

I ordered my photos from mpix(dot)com and I'm anxious to see how they turn out. Last week while running an errand for work I stopped by a Calumet Photography store and asked them about price info for prints. The guys at the counter recommended mpix for amateurs that don't have access to professional photographer's printing sources, as a cheaper option than going through their store.**

Here are a few of the photos I picked to get printed. I can't wait to show them to you in frames and on our wall!

*PLEASE do not use these photos without permission! They belong to me, and I'd rather they not leave my blog. thank you :-)

**I also found out that we can get a similar high quality photo album from mpix for 1/3 of the cost of getting it through my photographer's vendor.
I realize some of you may have some concerns about quality with a situation like this, but I reminded my self that after the first year or so, we will probably only pull out this album on anniversaries and other special occasions. I know ten years from now I'm not going know the difference between a $200 album and a $500 album, and that money could be much better used now!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Italian Honeymoon, part VIII: Florence--The Duomo & Ponte Vecchio

We navigated the streets of Florence after getting off the train.

We tried to save money where we could, so avoided public transportation whenever possible. This meant a one+ mile walk with three suitcases to our hotel! I don't regret our decision, but I'm sure hubby can attest that I was whining at the time! (it wasn't exactly sitting in the lap of luxury) But that's how we did this Italian honeymoon, and I wouldn't have traded it for any amount of cobblestone streets with suitcases in tow!

We loved the place we stayed: Residenza Il Villino, another family owned, tiny, charming hotel, with another lovely courtyard.

And a view! Sure we had to walk up three flights of stairs in a claustrophobia inducing was worth it for this:


We navigated the streets again, based solely on the sight of the duomo from our window, and eventually arrived




and he isn't too bad looking, if I do say so myself:



we made plans to climb up the duomo the following day, and continued to stroll through the streets of Florence, with a gelato stop or two, until we got to the Ponte Vecchio bridge




Then we crossed the bridge (while ogling all the pretty jewelry) and began our trek up the hill to Piazza del Michaelangelo, which boasts some of the best views of the city.


these stairs were no joke! But much better scenery than a stairmaster.

the view a little more than halfway up




The view from the top was lovely and we wanted to spend more time there, so we made plans to come back on our last night in Florence to watch the sun set.


ahh, there's so much more! can you handle it all?

Here is a really quick summary of some more of Florence.

We climbed the 463 steps to the top of the duomo
halfway up I snapped this picture of the amazing muraled ceiling:

The climb was not for the claustrophic or smokers amoung us.

but the view was totally worth it! I'm hoping to stitch these photos together for a sweet landscape, but here is a taste:



To give you an idea of how high we were up: see those teensy ants toward the bottom of the picture? yipes! I'm feel nauseous.


But the best part! E is really good directionally, and he found our hotel from the top of the Duomo. (see photo from other direction near the top of this post.) Check out our windows!

i love the juxtaposition of sweet country side with this [gorgeous and historic but] dense city

Are you totally overwhelmed by all these pictures of Florence? I sure am. More to come. promise.

no really, I'll be back this time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Blogging failure + news!

I'm back. phew!

I was off of work and really out of it all for the last 12 days.
Until Thursday, I was still climbing out of Christmas/travel chaos (we went home to the midwest for Christmas), and then we had New Year's and a couple days of laziness bliss before getting back to the grind today.

I just finishing plowing through the wedding half of my google reader (still have the newlywed blogs to go), and I'm feeling so behind!

I didn't do a Merry Christmas post, a recap of 2009 (though one may be coming), 2010 goals/resolutions, or holiday recaps, like every other good blogger I I'm feeling like a loser---but I do have some exciting news!

My sister is engaged!

I'm thrilled for her and her hubby-to-be, who have been dating for 3 years. J is also one of my brother's really good friends! He'll fit right into the family (he's already been a part of it for years!)

When I traveled home to IL, I did a little photo shoot with her ring on my new camera (it's not a DSLR, but a huge upgrade from my old point and shoot!)





But here's the clincher...they're planning a wedding in just over three months! J's brother is in the Navy and getting deployed March 15, so they're planning the wedding for the only weekend he'll be home, and we're all running ourselves ragged with the preparations!

It is a little bit strange to think that she is getting married so soon after me (my poor parents!)
My sister and I are really close in age and for whatever reason there has always been a sort of competition between us, despite the sibling love. We might be only 16 months apart, but we are really different people!


white choc. and me on Christmas Eve

I'm looking forward to see her wedding come together in a style that's all her own and celebrate a much different type of wedding from mine, filled with just as much love!

but the other big new is:

I have wedding my photos!!

I stopped by to see our photographer/friendor while I was home over Christmas and she had a little package waiting for me...

Get ready to see a lot more of this in the near future:


I'm finally ready for my recaps, folks, and I can't wait to start!

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