Sep 29, 2011

Turning 28- hey, when did that happen?

I'm officially 28 years old, woah.  It's so far from 20 and so close to 30.  That's a little bit scary.  In my mind I still feel very much early 20s so I think I'm okay with it for now...
Yesterday was pretty low key, we went to the brand new Ikea and now I'm totally inspired to change up our bedroom decor.  I skyped with my Mom ( Hi Mom!) and I was totally alone for the first time ever since Francie was born when Martin took her out to the store with him.  My mother-in-law made my favorite dinner and a cake and we drank a bottle of red wine.  Pretty perfect evening.

On another note, we had the opportunity today to send Francie off with her grandparents for 2 nights.  She has never spent a night away from me since birth and I just don't think I'm ready yet.  Am I being weird?  I mean, it would be so nice to have time to ourselves, to hop on the bus and wander around downtown, watch a movie, stay out past 8 p.m.  But I couldn't do it.  What if she misses me?  What if she makes some major developmental advancement and I'm not there to witness it?  What if, what if?  The thought of waking up and not scooping my little bundle of love, all sweet and smiley, out of her crib just felt wrong.  When will I be ready?  I told them maybe next weekend we can try a one nighter.  I don't know about Francie, but Momma can't handle 2 nights apart yet.

Sep 28, 2011

Thessaloniki, Greece

Today is my birthday, woohoo!  I won't tell you how old I am, but I will say that I'm working on my 30 before 30 list and I have 2 years to finish it.  So, yeah.

 So onto the photos!  Here's a few shots from Sunday when we were in Thessaloniki.  I had some fun editing them with Lightroom using presets that I downloaded for free thanks to Rachel at and then, she snapped after she shared the link on her blog a few days ago.  I like the way the first one turned out the best, and no, not because it's of me! :-P


Sep 27, 2011

Come inside and 'av a nice cuppa tea!

Yesterday a packaged arrived for Francie and I.  It came all the way from Pennsylvania and made it here unscathed!  This is great news because I didn't know what to expect with the Bulgarian postal service, I've never actually received a whole box of goodies here before.  Inside we found these:

And this guy:

Do you know who that is?  No, not the baby, she's mine-
Yeah, that would be a limited edition plushie of the worm from Labyrinth, my all time favorite movie.  Do you know Labyrinth, do you love it too?  I could pretty much quote the whole movie with spot on impressions of characters but I'll spare you for now.  Thank you to my dear cousin Kelly for thinking of me and sending him my way!  Francie doesn't know what to make of him but she does want to eat his scarf.  Sorry sweets, but this stuffed toy is for momma!

I am so happy that my aunt and uncle sent the books for Francie because children's books in English are hard to come by here.  You can find some in bookstores but the selection is slim and can be really overpriced. Also, I'm obsessed with amassing a big collection of Little Golden Books for Francie, I just love them.  So many thanks to my family for thinking of us, it really makes your day to get something good in the mail, ya know?  

Sep 26, 2011

Back in Bulgaria

We got home from Greece last night.  The vacation just flew by and it was a dream- the weather was perfect, the sea was salty and warm, the ouzo was sweet and strong, and the baby traveled well.  A few more stamps in my passport.  We're already thinking of where we'll go next.  

Sep 21, 2011

Take a hike

This isn't the first time I've posted pictures from Skagway, Alaska and it certainly won't be the last.  I spent 3 amazing summers there and Martin and I hope to return someday.  I most definitely left a piece of my heart up there. 
 I often find my thoughts drifting to memories of Skagway, I think of evenings spent down at the docks watching the cruise ships pull away, their lights twinkling in the dusk off the canal.  I think of rainy days off spent wandering around town, Martin and I pretending to be tourists as we browsed through the shops.  And some days when we wake up I joke with Martin, "wanna hike to Lower lake today?"  How lovely that would be...

Sep 20, 2011

Shake it off

So remember the other day when I said that little things like rain and excess baggage weren't gonna stand in the way of my having a nice time in Greece?  Well I found something that will- me being totally sick!  I woke up 2 days ago with a sore throat and it has progressed into a full blown sickness.  We're talking fever, stuffed nose, sore throat, all that fun stuff.  So yeah.  I've got a day and a half to shake it off.
On the bright side, fall arrived today.  It's chilly and cloudy out, perfect weather for laying around with a cup of tea and eating big bowls of homemade vegetable soup.  Alright, I'm off to sneak in another nap if this little lady lets me...

Sep 17, 2011

Halkidiki, here we come!

This is my fourth time in Bulgaria and every time I've been here we've done extensive traveling around this beautiful country.  There is still so much we've yet to see here but we've always wanted to make a trip to Greece.  It's never been the right circumstances until now and next week we're finally headed south.  Yes, come Friday, I'll be laying on the beach in Halkidiki, sipping on Ouzo. Hah!  I wish, but actually it may or may not be raining and chilly and we'll probably be doing a lot of sight seeing.  This will be our first real trip with Francie and it's a road trip.  That means lots of rest stops and ten times as much luggage as I'm used to packing but it will so be worth it.  
We're leaving early Thursday and I'm planning on getting a head start with packing this weekend.  I still can't understand how one tiny little person requires such a ridiculous amount of stuff.  You should see how much stuff we bring to the country house for our overnites, it's insane.  Gone are the days of tossing a toothbrush, a t shirt, and some undies into a backpack and heading on our merry way.  (Who am I kidding, I never packed quite that light)
But, yeah.  Another little travel dream of mine is about to come true and I'm not going to let a little thing like rain, or 60 lbs of luggage dampen my spirits.  Halkidiki, here we come!

Sep 14, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday- Anniversary Edition

 A tale of 1 love, 2 hearts, and 3 cities

A love that climbed mountains and crossed oceans...

A love that was patient.

A love that makes us feel alive.

1 year

A year ago today we awoke in our suite at the MGM Grand hotel, giddy with anticipation, a jumble of nerves.  We got dressed up in fancy clothes that we waited months to wear and caught a cab downtown.  Inside a little chapel, just the two of us, a witness, and a pastor,  we exchanged rings and we said yes.

Sep 12, 2011

September Sun

It was a bright and colorful weekend in the countryside, also-hot!  The heat is still going strong here in Bulgaria.  Francie napped in her homemade hammock and together we swayed under a canopy of grapevines to the soft buzzing of bees.  We stuffed ourselves with fried fish, peppers, and potato salad.  As the sun was setting over the mountains, we took a walk around the village and happened upon 3 tiny kittens digging through garbage for scraps.  I rushed home for a piece of leftover fish and as I was tossing pieces to one of the kitties, Martin got a little too close for her liking and she let him know.  We spent the next 2 hours debating whether he needed to seek some medical attention in case the cat had any diseases.  At 10pm we drove off into the darkness of the countryside to find the emergency clinic in Septemvri.  It was just the kind of adventure I love, something unexpected and out of the ordinary and at the same time, not really much of an adventure at all.  I suppose it's all part of being a stranger in a strange land.  All was well with Martincho, nothing to worry about they said.  On Sunday we cut down bunches of grapes for rakia and I got a taste of the hard work that comes with village life.  Although I'm ready for these days of 90 degree heat to be over, I know come January I'll be cursing the cold and cloudy days that will seem unending.  So for now, we enjoy the sun.

Sep 8, 2011

Thrifting in Bulgaria

Thrift shopping is something I've always enjoyed, whether it be for clothes, books, tchotchkes, you name it.  I wasn't too sure what, if any, thrift stores Sofia had to offer so I was resigning myself to the fact that my thrifting days might have to come to an end while I'm here.  But as luck would have it, we happen to live a 2 minute walk from a second hand clothes store. 
 I ventured in there with high hopes of finding some items worthy of joining my wardrobe.  I hoped maybe, with this being Europe and all, that I could find some designer gems among the castaways.  Ummm, no.  This is Bulgaria, lets get real- most people here probably do not have the budget for designer duds and if they do then they're probably not tossing it off to the Maxx Market.  What I did find was rack after rack of familiar labels like Old Navy and H&M.  (On a related note- H&M is set to open it's first location in Bulgaria next spring-woo hoo!)
The only thing I found to be really unusual about the store was that the clothes are not tagged- you pay by the kilo or per item, whichever is cheaper.  There was actually a scale in the middle of the store where you could weigh your finds and see the total price.  The prices vary by day.  New merchandise comes in every Wednesday, hence Wednesday is the most expensive day and Tuesday is the cheapest.  I just so happened to be shopping on a Tuesday- score!  I ended up settling on one sweater and on my way to the cashier I found a tank top that was calling my name.  The tank top was so light that it didn't even register on the scale so I pretty much got it for free.  I paid 4 levs for 2 shirts so I'd say my first thrifting experience in Bulgaria was a success.  The only downside is that this store doesn't sell any housewares or books, but no worries- on the walk home we passed by a pensioner with a table of used books set up on the sidewalk.  There's always those random sidewalk sales to look forward to. 

Sep 5, 2011

Season of Change

So I pretty much lost my fashion sense after three summers in Alaska.  Up in the last frontier I was more concerned with comfort and practicality so my wardrobe was reduced to t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and sneakers. And then there was that whole pregnancy thing, which really did wonders to restore my personal style, let me tell ya.  
It's been almost five months now since Francie was born and I'm just starting to feel more like myself again.  Of course it's not the same me, it's a new me.  I'm a mom now and inching closer and closer to the big 3-0 (yikes!)  But I'd really like to get back to being the gal who gave a damn about the way she looked and I think this fall is the perfect time to start.  Fall is my favorite season for fashion- chunky sweaters, soft flannel, and boots!  Here's some lovelies from Pinterest for this most wonderful season of spiced lattes and crispy cool air...

P.S.- It is still 90 degrees here, will this heat ever end?  A girl can dream...

Sep 3, 2011

Bulgaria vs. England

"Bulgaria will lose", Martin told me before we'd even bought our tickets to the game.  Alright then, expectations lowered on that front!  But my expectations for my first European football game were set high, and reality did not disappoint. 
Last night we put on our team spirit and headed out to Levski stadium.  Excitement was in the air as we approached the entrance and I was only slightly intimidated by the hundreds of menacing police and young fans with Bulgarian flags draped over their shoulders.  Once we got to our seats I was relieved to see we were surrounded by fans of all ages- young kids, senior citizens, fashionably dressed young women, and more than a few shirtless testosterone fueled dudes.
  The English fans were cordoned off in their own two sections of the stadium and I found it all quite fascinating.  Coming from Philly, I'm no stranger to sports rivalries but to my knowledge, a Phillies-Mets game has never called for the use of riot police.
The game started out on a high note as some Bulgarian fans in another section had smuggled in fireworks and a huge cloud of smoke overtook the stadium.  There was lots of chanting and cheering and flag waving.  Things quickly went downhill on the field for Bulgaria and after England scored their second goal I asked Martin if he'd rather switch his allegiance to the winning team. ( No verbal response, but his eyes said it all- that would be a big fat NO).  I almost wished I was over on the winning side, I mean the English fans had an entire brass horn section in the stands!  An announcement was made that the English fans would be leaving the stadium 30 minutes after the game, another interesting precautionary measure to prevent violence.  Team spirit is just taken to a whole nother level in football here.  
In the end, Bulgaria lost to England 0-3, but the evening was a win for me.  I had an awesome time and I can't wait to go to my next game!  A few phone pics from the night...
Waiting for the game to start
England fan section


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