My 30th Birthday Part 2: Tuscany, Italy

Welcome to the Italian villa of my dreams. While I will probably never be a rich, aristocratic billionaire, I can certainly live like one for a weekend! To be honest, renting a huge-ass villa wasn’t necessarily my birthday plan. I wanted to celebrate with some friends in Tuscany, and as the list of attendees grew to around 25 people, it was clear that we would need a BIG place to stay.I’d envisioned a sophisticated birthday weekend, sipping wine in the sun, gobbling up homemade spaghetti dinners at a big table with all of my friends, visiting vineyards, and playing charades around a roaring, warm fireplace at night. Tuscany was my ideal backdrop for the birthday antics, and after pursuing Booking.com (hello employee discount!) I managed to find the MOST DREAMY villa ever to host the birthday crew and our antics. Let me tell you about this villa . . . .  Continue reading

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Christmas in Maine

How is it already January 15th? Time is soaring by and life in Amsterdam is slowly ramping up again after a long and leisurely winter hibernation in the USA. Last night was actually my first night alone in the apartment (so much catching up to do after two weeks away!) so I spent some time sorting through holiday photos, in addition to making a big pot of stew for dinner, unpacking my suitcase, and cooking heaps of bacon (I had an 8am meeting this morning and bribed the whole team with bacon – I know, I’m the most ethical and awesome Account Director ever). Bacon, suitcases, and stew aside, it was a nostalgic evening, as the holidays are over and everyone I love so much lives so far away. This especially sucks in the winter when the nights are long and dark and I accidentally cook too much soup. One girl can only eat so much soup!

Instead of sharing my holiday photos in posts like last year, one by one by one, I’ve just included a bunch of my favorite Christmas images here, all in one place. So let’s take a little journey through winter in the countryside of Maine :) First and foremost, check out Sox, my trusty 6am jet-lag buddy . .IMG_4907He’s the only one in the house who is up before 6am, and year after year he’s willing to hang with me in the living room until all the normal people wake up to start the day. Also awake at the crack of dawn is my best friend Casey, who has a newborn and therefore doesn’t really observe night or day.  Continue reading

Salvage BBQ in Portland, Maine

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. My grandparents live on a beautiful lake, and every year friends and family from all over camp out at their house on the 4th to enjoy bonfires, BBQ’s, boat rides, sparklers, and s’mores. In fact, my favorite childhood memory is laying on their hammock by the water, wearing an over-sized sweatshirt, eating a sticky s’more, smelling the smoky campfire, and watching the Independence Day fireworks explode in the sky as family ohhh’d and ahhh’d nearby. At that moment in time, every human sense I had was satisfied, and I felt filled with love and happiness. After the fireworks, my sisters, cousin, and I would all run around outside playing flashlight tag. Our game would soon evolve into hide-and-go-seek, as Mom and Dad tried to catch us to tuck us into bed. I never wanted the day to end, but thankfully, I was able to re-live this happy moment on the 4th year after year.Lake SunsetAs an adult, I wanted to share this magical day with B and his family . . .

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Girls

Before I get to the Germany part-two post, I wanted to tell you all about the best day ever. Yesterday I woke up at 5am. Thanks jet lag! I took a long bubble bath, unpacked, and then got ready to meet the girls for breakfast. We went to Sea Dog Brewing Company which has (ready for this?!) a build your own bloody mary bar. We all had eggs benedict and mimosas and marys, and after the meal the girls surprised me with the best treat ever. They had booked a massage and manicure for me at Lucinda’s, and then later in the afternoon, we would be going over to Coco Cheveux to get our makeup and hair all done up. The day would end with drinks at Casey’s house before hitting the town for some dancing. Because I live in Amsterdam there probably wont be a chance for a traditional bachelorette party, so the girls wanted to surprise me with some pampering. My mom was even in on it and managed to keep it a secret! My girlfriends really are some of the most kind and generous people around.IMG_6848Amaze-balls bloody mary bar.IMG_6851IMG_6865The chick who styled my hair was awesomely talented.
IMG_6874Meet Gus, Casey’s new pup. He’s still a baby and is already 40 lbs!! He’s a bit of a mutt, and has the most adorable, saggy puppy face. Can we play every day, Gus??? IMG_6889 IMG_6877After some serious puppy snuggles, we exchanged gifts. I brought the girls stroopwafels and made them Miley wrecking ball ornaments!! IMG_6866IMG_6936And Katie bought me this gorgeous bottle opener. . . .which will come in very handy and is stunning to boot.

From there we were total girls. We primped, we giggled, we listened to pop, and we consumed an avalanche of cocktails. We also took a billion photos to document our lovely lips and locks and fun times together. Beguiling banter to say the least, here’s a look at some of my girl’s night favs:

Yes, Amie is eating a whole bowl of vodka-jello. And no, I did not expect the girls to wear their Miley ornaments as earrings!! After an epic night of dancing and flirting around Portland, we all crashed at Casey’s after a delicious late night stop at McDonalds (uh oh!). Shout out to Casey’s amazing husband Adam who not only drove us to and from Portland to dance, but also drove us all home the next morning in a massive snow storm. IMG_7084I’m so thankful for my amazing friends. We live a sea apart, but when we get together it’s as if no time has passed. I’m very, very thankful for my beautiful forever friends. Xx