Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sponsored Post: Shutterfly Holiday Cards

Well, you can count me among the ranks of bloggers who are jumping on the Shutterfly Holiday Card bandwagon! As you all know, we’re newlyweds (uh, duh.)…and I just found out our wedding images will be ready this week!  Perfect timing, since I DEFINITELY want to send out holiday photo cards this year—I’ve had a specific theme in mind since way back when!

I originally saw this idea somewhere on the Internet a long time ago.  I didn’t think to bookmark it, but actually wrote it down on a post-it note and kept it on my desk so that when the holidays came around (and we were MARRIED!) I could utilize it.  So what is this grand idea?  This:

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Kiss-mas Photo cards!  The photo above is the ONE preview shot we got from our photographer right after the wedding, so I knew that this idea was golden.  Obviously the above photo is just a preview, so some cropping will take place by me, but it works perfectly with the idea.  I can’t wait to see what other “kiss” photos she got!

Of course, Shutterfly has a million fabulous photo card options, so I’ve still got to narrow down what we’ll use.  Here are some of the cards I am considering (along with the option above):

Card 1

The inside of this card will say the “Merry Kissmas” slogan.  I liked how this one had “love” and hearts as a prominent part of the card…pretty fitting for a wedding!

Card 2 Front

This one is PERFECT for my theme, no? 
Here’s what the inside would look like:

Card 2 Inside

Card 3
I liked this card because I could actually edit the greeting from Merry Christmas to Merry Kissmas.  Sorry I had to edit some of our last name!

Card 4And here’s the last option—a little fancier than some of the ones above.

So, which one is your favorite?  Are you sending holiday cards this year?

*This is a sponsored post from Shutterfly, meaning I will receive holiday cards in exchange for blogging about their site.  To find out how you can get free holiday cards, too, visit Shutterfly online.

**All card designs are from Shutterfly.  The kissing photograph is courtesy of our fabulous photographer, Sarah Immel.

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The San Francisco Chronicles, III

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking…but I have to say that San Francisco is incredible.  We loved it there!

Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park

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You wouldn’t believe me but Dr. Groomy is actually kind of a hippie.  Ok, maybe not a hippie but he loves the Grateful Dead, so a stop in the Haight-Ashbury district was a must.  I had a good time but found the whole neighborhood was just sort of…dirty.  Sorry, San Francisco!

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The best FRIES ever!  Stopped for a snack at a brewery in the Haight that is housed in an old pharmacy.  Pretty fitting, given Dr. Groomy’s profession.

Golden Gate Bridge

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Muir Woods, aka the Redwood Forest. 

You guys, the Redwoods are INCREDIBLE.  If you are ever out in San Francisco, PLEASE make the trip to see them and GET OUT OF THE PARK and onto the trails!  We did a 3 hour hike and it was fantastic.

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Stay tuned for the Napa Valley Chronicles next week!  Have a great weekend, all!

Missed something?
The San Francisco Chronicles, I
The San Francisco Chronicles, II

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On My Absence

Alternatively titled, Sorry Blog Readers, I hope you’ll forgive me!

As has been apparent by my recent absence, I am bored with writing about our honeymoon.  And frankly, if I’m bored, it means you, as readers, are likely bored too.  It’s not that our honeymoon was boring, at all, because it certainly wasn’t!  It’s just that honeymoon posts are, let’s face it, kind of boring, so I feel I need to apologize.  I strongly dislike when bloggers disappear, and it was never my intention to do so.  Granted, I’ve had a lot of things going on lately (namely a big bout of laryngitis, which I STILL have), but that’s no excuse.  The truth is, I’m just bored with writing the blog lately and I feel like I have some big time writer’s block going on.

This past weekend, we hung out with friends at my alma mater, UW-Madison.  On the way home, we stopped to visit with my parents.  My mom had dug out all of her old scrapbooks of my sister and I growing up, and we had such a blast looking through them.  She also dug out something I haven’t thought about in years:  a collection of short stories I wrote when I was in elementary school.  Tons of different stories—scary stories, stories about sick kids, fantasy stories, stories about relationships…and all of them illustrated and laminated and bound in books complete with “About the Author” sections written by me. 

When I was little, I never said I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.  People would ask, as people often do, and I seem to remember that my answers were always teacher, marine biologist, or whatever exotic career I had read about that week.  Meanwhile, I always had my head buried in a book, and I was always writing.

 

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I don’t know why I’ve never thought about writing as a career.  I’ve always loved to do it.  The written word is something I am passionate about.  I would rather be reading a book than doing pretty much anything else.  I am constantly telling the story of my every day happenings inside my head.  With blogging, I sometimes get to write it down.

The point is, I am refocusing, and that’s why I haven’t been posting as much lately.  I’ve been reading a lot of books and re-reading a lot of great posts about freelancing and writing in general from some other inspiring bloggers.  And I am constantly remembering those childhood stories I wrote so long ago.  They sparked something in me this week, and I want to take some time to fan the flames a little.

As an aside, I am working to get my post-wedding blog up and running, with at least a few posts going before I go live with my readers.  So for now, I’m going to finish the honeymoon posts up by letting the pictures tell most of the story (look for that post later today or early next week).  I hope you won’t mind.  And of course, I’ll still be doing all of the wedding recaps (I am dying to share those with you all!).  I just found out our online gallery of pictures will go live next week, so I should be able to work on some recap posts over the Thanksgiving holiday!  Yay!

Lastly, I just want to say a quick thank you to my readers.  You guys are great, and I have made so many wonderful friends through blogging.  Thanks for excusing my absence lately and know that things are finally moving around here again!

Now you tell me:  what did you want to be when you grew up?  Are you doing that?  Like me, did marriage cause you to re-evaluate things like your career?

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The San Francisco Chronicles, II

*Editor’s Note:  I apologize that posting has been so light this week.  I have been super swamped/stressed at work, so much so that by the time I get home, all I want to do is zone out.  Luckily, I wrapped my big project yesterday so regular posting will resume next week.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!

We wake up from our nap feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another San Francisco adventure:  what should we have for dinner?  After perusing our guidebook, we decide to head to North Beach and check out some of the cool bars and restaurants there.

First stop, Vesuvio.  Easily, one of the coolest bars we’ve ever walked into!  A headquarters for the Beat generation, it serves up some wicked beers.  Dr. Groomy and I love beer (you might say we’re a couple of connoisseurs, much like my friend KJPugs).  We sit in the balcony, looking down over the bar where the likes of Jack Keroac & Allen Ginsberg once hung out, and watch the baseball playoffs, enjoying our drinks.  I make Dr. Groomy take an obligatory wedding-ring-honeymoon-shot.  What, like you all didn’t make your husbands do that too!

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We finish up our drinks and head next door to City Lights Booksellers.  This place is a city landmark and I easily fall prey to the rows and rows of books.  I love bookstores and books—the touch, feel and smell of the paper, the quiet and reverent way the patrons sneak down the rows and past the shelves…I tell Dr. Groomy we have to leave or I could spend hours here.  He promises me a return visit on another day.

We head out of the bookstore and wander around North Beach, where it’s true what the guidebooks say:  there really ARE restaurant hawkers who stand outside the many bistros & cafes and try to lure you in with their menus.  We have a tough time deciding where to eat, but eventually settle in at a little Italian bistro known for their gnocchi called Colosseo—hey, we are in North Beach after all!  (It’s known as San Francisco’s Little Italy). 

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I destroy a plate of gorgonzola gnocchi and discover that those guidebooks are right…it is divine. 

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We share a bottle of wine with dinner and then a few more drinks as we sit at the bar later on and watch Brett Favre & the Minnesota Vikings lose on Monday Night Football (what a great wedding present for this Green Bay Packers fan!  Thanks, Brett…douche.).  Afterwards, we walk back to our hotel tipsy but satisfied, ready for yet another exciting day in San Francisco!

To be continued…

Missed Something?
The San Francisco Chronicles, I

*All photos are mine and may not be used without my express written consent.

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Filed under Honeymoon

The San Francisco Chronicles

We leave for San Francisco at 6:00pm the night after our wedding.  We have spent the day recuperating, opening gifts, and even having a Bloody Mary with friends to watch the Packers play at a local bar.  I am, let’s be honest, pretty hungover—which, while that was not really supposed to be part of the plan, means it was an all-around great party!

Plus or minus 5 hours later, we land in San Francisco.  It is chilly and we are tired, but excited.  We hop an airport shuttle and head to our hotel.  I try to keep my eyes open as we stop to drop off other passengers, craning my neck to see any familiar sites I know of the San Francisco skyline.  We arrive at our hotel, the Fairmont on Nob Hill, and check in goes smoothly.  Our accommodations are amazing!

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The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

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I am DE-lighted to find that our room overlooks the Brocklebank Apartments, which any Hitchcock fan should be able to tell you is where the amazingly awesome “if-you-haven’t-seen-it-ever-I-should-smack-you” flick Vertigo was filmed.  After unpacking a bit and getting settled, we fall into bed exhausted.

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In front of the famous Brocklebank Apartments

Monday morning dawns bright and sunny, and we know we are in for some beautiful weather.  San Francisco’s “summer” season is actually in September and October, which means only one thing:  it’s HOT here.  Hmm, we should have thought about that before we planned our trip—we’re both more of the “we love sweater weather” types.  Oh well, we plan to enjoy the trip regardless, and we set off this morning in search of coffee and breakfast.

We end up walking all the way down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which any San Franciscan can tell you is a major tourist trap.  Oh well, we’re tourists, right?  We walk up and down the Wharf, snapping pictures of Alcatraz and the Wharf itself, which, in the early morning hours, is really an amazing site.  It’s less tourists and more fishermen right now, and we find the inner workings of the harbor to be fascinating.  I have to pinch myself sometimes—I can’t believe we’re here, in San Francisco, on our honeymoon!

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Alcatraz

San Francisco Pictures 014  In front of the Bay Bridge.  I know the Golden Gate gets all the press, but we found the Bay Bridge to be pretty impressive in its own right!

I try desperately to get Dr. Groomy to take a boat trip around the bay, but he hates boats.  Instead, after a delicious breakfast at the Boudin Sourdough Bakery, I make him trek all the way to the opposite end of the Wharf to visit the illustrious Ferry Building—aka the foodie heaven of San Francisco.

San Francisco Pictures 015In front of the Ferry Building…aka Foodie Heaven.

It reminds us of our own Milwaukee Public Market, but it’s much more successful than ours!  We explore the market, taking in the sites and sounds.  Fresh coffee, seafood, oysters, a dairy bar…the Ferry Building has it all.  I buy some truffle salts (I have a bit of an obsession with truffles) and we trek through the financial district to take a cable car back up to our hotel.  What a ride! 

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 View from the cable car line

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On the way back to the hotel, we stop at Grace Cathedral and admire it’s unique labyrinths and architecture.  

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The architecture is awe-inspiring, but it reminds us so much of the Cathedral we got married in that we’re embarrassed to admit that we’re not quite as awed as everyone else. 

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After stopping back at the hotel to rest up a bit, we head just a few blocks away to Chinatown, easily my most favorite part of our trip. 

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We love it here!  We spend the afternoon exploring the sights, sounds and smells. 

San Francisco Pictures 017  Fresh fish at one of the Chinatown shops

It’s like being in a completely different country.  We visit the fortune cookie factory, spend time in the park, and generally weave our way in and out of the neighborhood.San Francisco Pictures 040

In front of the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which was really just ONE room.  You walk in off the street and the machines are right there, whirring, creaking, and dropping hot batter into a press.  Once the cookies have been flattened into discs, little old ladies, who I imagine to hardly have any fingertips left from handling the hot cookies, sit and fold each one, slipping the fortunes in as they work.   We walk past it twice without realizing it, it’s so tiny and unobtrusive.San Francisco Pictures 041

We’re tourists, yes, but we still want to see the parts of Chinatown that tourists generally don’t venture to.  Being in Chinatown makes us feel a little bit more daring…a little bit more cultured.  We stop and have dim sum for lunch at one of the million dim sum restaurants that line the Chinatown streets.  Dr. Groomy tries to learn how to eat with chopsticks…and fails, miserably.  So we buy a set for each of us so we can practice at home.

San Francisco Pictures 043  Dim Sum is the Cantonese custom of small plates.   Waiters wheel the food around the dining room on hot carts, stopping at each table to offer their selections to you.  You pick and choose as you go.  We tried a little of everything and had such a blast eating and drinking with the Chinatown locals (We were probably the only English speakers in the restaurant.  If you ever go to Chinatown, DON’T be a tourist—get off the main drag of Grant Avenue.  Everyone is so friendly throughout the Chinatown neighborhood, and locals are happy and willing to introduce you to their culture.)

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After lunch, we stop in a tea shop and buy real green tea, not the Lipton kind you can get at your local grocery store.  We also pick up some authentic tea cups (no handles!) for $1.00 a piece as well, so we can re-create the time we’ve spent  in Chinatown at home anytime we want.

Feeling happy and satisfied, we head back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap before heading out to dinner in North Beach.

To be continued…

*All photos are mine and may not be used without my express written consent.

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Filed under Honeymoon