My first flight ever was just mere days after turning 12 years old across the Atlantic Ocean to a new life in America. It would be another several years before I would set foot in the ocean. I was in High School and my friend’s parents’ were brave enough to chaperon four teenage girls on a Spring Break trip to Florida. I don’t remember us (my parents, myself and my sister) ever taking a vacation as a family in America, life was hard enough trying to make ends meet in a new country. For those reasons, I vowed to one day take my parents to see the ocean, especially my dad who might as well been a fish in another life. So, after a long twenty-three years of being in the United States and a year of postponement due to the pandemic, that day finally came! Because traveling has always been a special luxury, I still to this day treasure every single trip I take, reminding myself to never take it for granted. Being able to peruse through previous trips always brings me back to those joyous moments, which is why I love writing these blog posts.
It was during our previous Summer 2018 trip to Miami and Key West that we decided to start trying for a baby. Three months later, as we were decorating our Holiday tree, I ran out of the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test in my hand, crying happy tears of joy. Soon after, we decided to book one last trip as a family of two to celebrate Jason’s 40th, New Year and us soon to become a family of three.
After months if not years of seeing all the enticing photos all over Instagram of iconic modern architecture, bright and colorful facades and palm tree lined streets we decided to check off another travel bucket list, Palm Springs, California. From the windmill farms to Salvation Mountain and Joshua Tree, it was only fitting that we would choose this iconic city as our destination for our last trip as a family of two. By then, we were 10 weeks pregnant and decided to make our exciting announcement on January 1st, 2019 as a way to kick off what was sure to be the best year yet.
If you’re anything like me then you probably spend too much time planning out a perfect outcome in your head to most things in life. Whether it’s how that new dress will look when you wear it out for the first time, how delicious the food at that new place you’ve been wanting to try out for so long will taste like or in this case, how magical every little detail of that last summer getaway will pan out. We planned, we missed places and things we shouldn’t have (if one can only eat ten pieces of key lime pie a day), were disappointed about the things we thought we’d love but in the end, were enchanted with this uniquely vibrant part of Florida.
New Orleans. NOLA. The Big Easy – a city known by many names and unlike any other we’ve visited. The various influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Latin American, Africa and the indigenous people have turned this magical ‘Europe meets Las Vegas’ city into the ultimate concoction of spectacular goodness with its "let the good times roll" attitude. From the flavorful Creole and Cajun food to the colorful façades and live music on every street corner, this proved to be the best escape from the harsh Minnesota winter.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is a living fairy tale city (I know I’ve said that a few times but this one truly takes the cake) and thou shalt not miss this medieval beauty if traveling along the Balkan Peninsula and I have a feeling a few million others can attest to this. Some even call it – the Pearl of the Adriatic and righteously so. As our catamaran approached the port, the walls of Dubrovnik protruded out into the sea reminding every visitor of what once was a great naval powerhouse some 500 years ago.
Tulum » Playa del Carmen » Cozumel
Our honeymoon & my first time in beautiful Mexico was one to remember, the good, the bad and the laugh until you cry moments, which there were plenty of. However, it also has me thinking of how grateful and privileged we are to live in a country where amenities such as a nice hot shower, air conditioned everything, safety, education, steady paychecks, a working vehicle & transportation options for most have come to be the norm, whereas in Mexico people are reduced to hard working conditions for very little money and no prospect of ever obtaining a higher education. Let alone a well paid job to secure a life for themselves and their children. But something we learned is that regardless of the circumstances, the people we came across are some of the most kind-hearted and generous we've ever met.
Our intimate winter elopement took place at the beautiful and historic Minneapolis City Hall. We exchanged our wedding vows on the grand staircase of the rotunda surrounded by stained glass windows and glistening carved Italian marble.
Following the ceremony, we took the party to Coup D'état, our former staple and favorite place when we lived in Uptown. We finally had a reason to use the private dining room with its glitzy chandeliers that we've had our eyes on for quite a while. Many summer nights were spent at this restaurant, including a New Year's Eve, so it held some memories dear to our hearts. Our parents gave speeches, we toasted to love and laughed until we cried tears of joy.
It was truly a day and night we will never forget with people we know will always be by our side.
All of our stunning photos are by Rochelle Louise Photography. You can find her beautiful work and site here and follow her on Instagram here.
2 December 2016
Jason's and I relationship has never followed the traditional route since the day we met. From the first 5 dates in various cities around the U.S. to tattoos (my first one) with our initials even before engagement and to our first home purchase before marriage. That is why after we got engaged in Summer of 2016 and once we started thinking about our wedding plans for the following summer of 2017, "traditional" just never felt right or quite 'us'.
For the second part of our European trip, we decided to make Split, Croatia our home base for a few days and travel each day to nearby destinations whether an island or a national wander. The two island towns we had on our ‘to see’ wish list were Hvar and Korčula. Hvar Island, because of its known luxurious and resort town lure and Korčula, because of its rich history, compactness and narrow streets surrounded by old city walls and crystal clear water.
Following an exciting few days and a proposal later in Slovenia, we embarked on our long bus journey to Istra as a newly engaged couple ready for some Croatian sun and Vitamin SEA. After a pit stop in Trieste, Italy, we arrived at sunset in what seemed was still Italy, the charming town of Rovinj, Croatia. Istria or Istra is a heart-shaped peninsula nestled in the northwestern corner of Croatia on the coast of crystal blue Adriatic Sea. Because of its proximity to Italy, the two towns we visited, Rovinj and Pula embodied the spirit of Italy. Rovinj, with its delicious Italian inspired food, wine and Tuscan like structures and Pula, with its very own amphitheater.