TAKING STOCK 15

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Making: furikake chex mix
Cooking: Korean bulgogi
Drinking: Shirley Temples
Reading: Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Wanting: a baby girl
Looking: pretty pregnant now that I’ve reach 24 weeks!
Playing: slot machines
Wasting: chap sticks…I keep losing those suckers!
Wishing: everyday that the baby is healthy and that deliver will be a piece of cake
Enjoying: all sorts of face masks
Waiting: to see if ThredUp bought any of my clothes
Liking: the Baby Pics app, such a great app to see the belly transition growth
Wondering: how my belly will shape with the scar and all
Loving: our lit up pine smelling Christmas tree and coming home to it
Hoping: to start weaving looms
Marveling: at how lucky I am to have such an amazing guy by my side!
Needing: a new winter jacket, it is so damn cold right now!
Smelling: fried chicken!!! the bf makes them so damn perfect!
Wearing: Paige maternity jeans
Following: the Seahawks to San Francisco
Noticing: that my dreams are more vivid and crazy since the pregnancy
Knowing: that I did a pretty good job with picking Christmas presents for friends & family
Watching: all sorts of movies on Kodi
Listening: to Moth Podcast, I even got a chance to attend a live showing! It was great!
Thinking: of baby names…won’t know the sex of the babe till April 2017!
Feeling: pain in my lower back…thank goodness for those pregnancy massages!
Bookmarking: everything that deals with baby stuffs! I’m so excited!
Opening: Christmas presents!
Giggling: at the baby movements and loving every minute of it!
Feeling: extremely grateful to be surrounded with wonderful people this holiday season

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!! I hope you all get to relax and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

DEAR SANTA:

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I told myself that once I had a family, I would start the holiday tradition of Christmas cards!
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My friend is an avid Christmas card giver and she has used all sort of sites and recommended that Minted was the best one. So I tried it for our first family card and I absolutely loved it! Minted takes 90% of the stress out of the holiday cards. You can customize every aspect including back of the cards, addresses, return address and even stamps with pictures. The uploading of images and appearing on every card design, having a personal designer at your fingertips and their FREE address assistant makes addressing holiday cards so freaken’ easy. Talk about a time saver!

Have the best weekend everyone!!! Merry Christmas Eve!

xoxo

TEA FOR TWO!!!

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This has to be one of the most fabulous, emotional, wonderful posts I have EVER written and I am SO happy to share this news with you.

I never thought this day would come…I have dreamed for years of being a mama … thought about how I would tell people … how I would feel … what kind of mom I would be … and here we are … Andre and I couldn’t be MORE STOKED to grow our little family!!

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant which translates to a little over 4 months! I feel GREAT and so far we are all very healthy and SO excited! We are going to keep the gender a surprise, so we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl till April 2017!

Being pregnant has been the WEIRDEST thing I have ever experienced. Maybe I will call it beautiful once the baby is here but for now, it’s just WEIRD. I am literally growing a tiny person. I still can’t get over that.

I have put off this post and telling people for a while, mostly because … I wanted to make sure that I was doing good. Since dealing with cancer, surgeries, and routine scans I had to make sure that I was able to do this without any hiccups. Both my oncologist and OBGYN have been really AMAZING in answering all my questions relating to pregnancy, giving medical advice, and just overall being very supportive!
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Special thanks to my sidekick Nancy for dolling me, taking amazing photos, and sharing a delicious cup of tea with me!

ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

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For Black Friday we ventured out to my usual u-Cut tree farm over at Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm in Snoqualmie and chopped ourselves a 6ft Noble Fir Tree!
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The place is simply magical and there’s no better way to get excited for the holidays than bundling up, hopping in the car, cranking some Christmas tunes, sipping on cider, strolling through the farm, and picking out the perfect Christmas tree.
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Have a safe Black Friday shopping everyone!

DIY: E.T. & ELLIOT COSTUME

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I got this idea from the 1982 film E.T.! It was VERY easy to put together and it turned out better than expected! I got so many compliments, high fives, and everyone wanted to take a picture with E.T.!

Here’s how it all came together!

Materials for E.T. Basket:
grey spray paint
basket (I got mine thanks to Fred Meyer)
string
duct tape
2 paint rollers

Directions for E.T. Basket:
-spray paint basket grey
-saw off the paint rollers to create the bike handles
-use duct tape to attached the handles onto the basket
-add string to the basket so you can wrap it around your neck for support
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Materials for E.T. Face:
cotton balls
printer
needle & thread
transfer paper
white blanket
white t-shirt
glue gun

Directions for E.T. Face:
-find a picture on E.T.’s face online
-when you find the right one, print it out on the transfer paper
-from the transfer paper follow instructions to iron it onto the white shirt
-once it cools, cut about an inch around E.T.’s face
-cut out another shape of E.T.’s face so it has a backing
-turn it inside out and start sewing on the 1 inch (leave a small opening so you can stuff it with cotton balls)
-once you’re done sewing, flip it back so that E.T.’s face is up front and now you can start filling it with cotton balls
-now that E.T. is all stuff, grab the white blanket and start wrapping and gluing around the head to the neck
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Complete the look by wearing a red hoodie and you’re off to bring E.T. home!!!

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Let me know if you have any questions and have a Spooktacular Halloween!

Happy Birthday Mom!

THIS IS HALLOWEEN

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The spooktacular This is Halloween showcases a live orchestra, cabaret, burlesque and visual art installations that provide entertainment with every lively move at the Triple Door. Inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, this seasonal spectacular is a ridiculously fun time.
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We got great seating and enjoyed a fantastic menu from The Wild Ginger Kitchen along with delightful cocktails & desserts! It’s a def. must when Halloween season rolls around!

HIDDEN GEMS OF FLORENCE

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Visiting the Uffizi Gallery museum is like taking a journey into the Renaissance. It holds some of the most important masterpieces of all time from Italian artists like Gioto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

Duke and Duchess of Urbino, from Piero della Francesca

Duke and Duchess of Urbino, from Piero della Francesca

The Sleeping Ariadne

The Sleeping Ariadne

Tondo Doni, from Michelangelo

Tondo Doni, from Michelangelo

The Birth of Venus, from Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus, from Sandro Botticelli

Annunciation, from Leonardo da Vinci

Annunciation, from Leonardo da Vinci

Medusa, from Caravaggio

Medusa, from Caravaggio

The museum is organized in theme rooms about artistic periods or specific artists. So we made a plan to see certain rooms that house famous art pieces!
This is obviously the GO-TO museum if you only have a day in Florence!

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Next up is one of Florence’s oldest landmarks, the Ponte Vecchio. This special bridge runs through the Arno River that contains shops physically built into its structure, most of which sell jewelry and gold. However, artisanal goods of all sorts have been sold here since it was first constructed as far back as the 12th century.

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As we continue to make our way around the city, we stumble upon Piazza della Signoria which has been the center of political life in Florence since the 14th century. We got to see amazing statues of Hercules and Cacus, Loffia dei Lanzi is a free open air museum that had sculptures like The Rape of the Sabine Women or Perseus with the Head of Medusa.
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Since we didn’t have time to make it to the real David from Michelangelo (located in the Academy Gallery), this replica will have to do.

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We found this shop, Bartolucci by accident, while walking through various streets in Florence. I’ve always been a fan of Pinocchio and its many characters. This shop is overloaded with the guy, toys, figures and gift items, but all made from wood. The shop is really small, but magical!

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Since our hotel is right next door to The Church of Santa Maria Novella; there was no excuse not to visit one of the most important Gothic churches in Florence. The exterior is the work of Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti. The interior holds extraordinary works of art including Masaccio’s Trinità, Ghirlandaio’s fresco cycle in the Tornabuoni Chapel and Giotto’s Crucifix, among others.

463 STEPS LATER…

From Pisa, we took another train to Florence. We arrived Florence a little after 1 pm and went straight to our hotel room where we relaxed after a looooong morning of traveling and climbing The Leaning Tower of Pisa!
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Since I had already pre-purchased ticket to see the Duomo the day we got there, I figure that’s where we should start. So after freshening up we ventured out into the beautiful city of Florence around 5 pm. We got to Duomo thinking that we are just going to see a church…not realizing that we were being set up to climb another set of stairs. Oh boy! We were NOT prepared for this, but there was no turning back!
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Florence is home to the Duomo, the city’s most iconic landmark. Filippo Brunelleschi won the commission in 1418 and set out to build something the world had never seen. It was revolutionary at the time, and honestly, it still kinda is.
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During the climb we had awesome views of the interior of the Duomo. These paintings are the “Last Judgement” frescoes, showing heaven and hell. They are very graphic, in particular the creepy portrayal of hell.
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So, if you ask me if climbing the 463 steps to the terracotta-covered Cupola is worth it. Um, YES! Absolutely! Yes it tends to get claustrophobic, but it all feels worth it when you reach the dome, with all of Florence at your feet.

THE TIPPING POINT

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After spending 2 days in Rome, we took a train to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. After arriving at the Pisa Centrale train station, it was just an half hour walk to the Leaning Tower.
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We took a quick detour to view the mural of Keith Haring: Tuttomondo – the theme is that of peace & harmony in the world.
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My first impression was is this for real? Is it really leaning?!? Yep, it sure was! The ‘lean” is about 15 feet and became apparent during construction : the culprit was soft land on one side that was insufficient to hold the tower’s weight!
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After an airport-style security check, I was climbing the tower. The first thing that became apparent is that the entire tower is crooked…including the stairs! They are made from marble, rather slippery, and ‘grooved’ from the many people who have climbed over the years. It was quite disorienting to climb and I often caught myself laughing a couple of time because it was such an unusual sensation.
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There are 294 steps on the north side and 296 steps on the south side. I was a little concerned about the fact that there was no solid wall or barricade, only a (presumably strong) wire fence, and YES, I was rather scared the whole time I was up there! From the top you simply have breathtaking views of the Piazza dei Miracoli as well as The Baptistry and the Duomo!

After a few more circuits around the observation level, I was craving level ground and descended quickly! It’s incredible how disorienting even a slight tilt can be. I’m so glad that I climbed the tower and experience an iconic structure in such a direct way…but I’m also emerged with a newfound respect for engineering and proper planning!
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But we couldn’t leave the Leaning Tower of Pisa without doing the ‘perpective photo shoot’ – you know the ones…where it looks like you’re kicking down the leaning or tower, or saving it from topping over, or just holding it up!

MAKE A WISH


Legend has it that by throwing one coin into the fountain ensures a return trip to Rome. I can’t wait to go back!
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The Trevi Fountain is spectacular both day and night. I was lucky enough to see it in both scenarios. It is a massive, two-tiered fountain, sunk into the street and big enough to swim a pool length in. Above the fountain basin hovers many large and beautiful marble statues, the most prominent one being the statue of Neptune, God of the Sea.
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Beautiful blue water spills over the ledge where the statues rest, and into the basin, which is lit with sunken lights. In the evening, light falls majestically onto the statues, and glows from underneath the water. It is a stunning effect. I think it is almost better to view in the evening than in the day, except in the day you really notice the wonderful blue tone to the fountain’s water.

A DAY IN THE VATICAN

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On our second day of our Italy trip, we went ‘out’ of Rome to visit The Vatican City. Not exactly out and away of course since Vatican is situated within Rome itself. The Vatican City, with a population of 900, is the smallest sovereign nation in the world. It covers just over 100 acres, but it packs a lot into this space, having the most important collection of artifacts, art and archaeology in the Catholic world.
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We started at St. Peter’s Basilica which is free of charge so the only line you must face is the security line and the only way to skip that insanely long line is with a paid guided tour…which we did and we highly recommend! I can’t even begin to describe how insanely BEAUTIFUL St. Peter’s Basilica is. It was breathtaking, words can’t even describe the feeling it gave me and the beauty of it – it was the single most beautiful building I have ever stepped foot into. You just have to see it to believe it. The sculptures, ceiling, altar, prayer halls, mosaic floor, bold pillars, decorations … everything is intriguingly marvelous.
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As we exited we came across the famous Swiss Guards & St Peter’s Square
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Water coming from the aquaducts are safe, clean, and cold throughout the whole city!
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Next we went to the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museum is HUGE!! I don’t know whether it’s humanly possible to see everything, the amount of stuff is simply too overwhelming. Right from the start, it was painting followed by more painting, a mecca for art connoisseurs. Same went for the sculptures that followed, the collections are equally enormous.
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From then onwards, we’re walking around with our heads held high, literally, in order to admire the paintings on the ceiling.
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The Sistine Chapel was next, quite possibly the most well-known place inside Vatican Museum. Ok, I know I am not supposed to take picture inside the chapel but I couldn’t help it. I eventually put my camera away and admired Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam & The Last Judgement. There are no words to describe how unbelievable remarkable this piece of art is. Extremely grateful to be able to experience this!
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Vatican’s famous spiral staircase exit.

WALKING THE SAME STREETS AS JULIUS CAESAR ONCE DID

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After the Colosseum, we headed to the Roman Forum.
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Between eras of rule by kings and emperors, the Roman Forum was where the first senate and republican government held court. Today, it is an archeological site of ruins, temples and royal residences that stretch back to the 7th century B.C.

It is a confusing complex if you ask me, but worth to see and visit, especially if you like to solve puzzles!