13 5 / 2012

We miss all of Mom’s and special women in our lives today so much! We are virtually hugging you through this message all the way from over here! XOXOXOXO 

And to my angel mother, I love you and miss you every day more and more. I can feel you smiling today! Just a little something I wrote for her—

Choosing a favorite moment with my mom is like trying to pick your favorite star in the sky.  You think one is special, but when you continue to search for more, you realize that they’re all so beautiful and special in their own way.  Every memory of my mom is filled with laughter, love, positivity, and an uplifting energy she always carried with her. She filled any room she walked in with so much light.  I remember seeing her for the first time after being away for four months in New York, and seeing tears in her eyes as I walked to her.  As she always did, she held them back and told me that she loved me and missed me while I was gone, and that everything would be okay.  I hugged her as tight as I could and told her I loved her more than anything. She always stayed strong for my sisters and I, never letting on if she was feeling pain or sadness.  She always put us first.  Even our feelings mattered more than her own.  She was the most selfless person I have ever met in my life, and if I can live to be half the woman she was, I’ll be proud to make it that far.

The special relationship she and I had was something words can’t really even explain.  It’s something I’ll never get back, but am so grateful that I was blessed to have such a woman raise me.  We had a strong mother-daughter relationship, but also a unique kind of friendship.  I knew she never judged me.  She always supported every decision I made in life, and she trusted me.  I reciprocated all those things back to her, and tried to implement those values in other friendships and relationships I’ve made in my life. 

My promise to my mom is to live the rest of my life spreading her positivity and amazing energy.  I will keep positive and I will never forget how she taught me to always see the light in every situation.

Thanks Mama, for showing me the true definition of PMA. I’ll never forget to keep a smile on my face, especially when I think of you. “)

11 4 / 2012

There cannot be any other place on Earth that has better parks than Barcelona. Words don’t do them justice. From mountain tops with castles, to labyrinth mazes, to city center hang out spots— this place has it all. My favorite part about all of them is that somehow in a metropolitan city, these vasts pastures of green continue on far longer than you’d imagine. They are huge hidden gems of nature inside an already charming city. Matt and I often visit a park more than once and each time find something new- a path to walk on, a lake hidden away, a small garden, or a stairwell that takes us up to a high point to look over the town. It’s incredible.

Parc de la Ciutadella is the equivalent of San Francisco’s Dolores Park. Always tons of people hanging out, puppies everywhere, drum circles, hippies, dreadlocks— you get it. It also has a lake with paddle boats to rent, the Zoo of Barcelona, and the Catalan Parliament. This is one of our go-to-sunny-day destinations because the vibe is mellow and everyone else is there just to enjoy another nice day in Barcelona.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta— a Labyrinth Park at the base of a mountain. It was, again, huge and glorious and grand and most importantly it was quiet. We were two of maybe 10 people in the whole park. It’s far out of the city and next to a University, so the vibe was very different than any other urban park. This place has a much more historical feel. Finding your way through the Labyrinth was so great. It was a lot harder than I imagined it would be, which made it so much more fun! In addition, there were small benches tucked away everywhere, so you’d walk a for a few minutes, find a cute sitting spot take a seat and continue on. You can do this through the entire place. I’m in love. I’d go here everyday if I could.

Parc de Montjuic is one of those places you don’t think really exist in the real world. Up on a hill lives this beautiful castle. You walk up, or take the escalator up, about five large fights of stairs along side great big fountains and trees. Once you reach the top, or what you think is the top, you are at the doors of Palau Nacional which houses the Muesu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia). You’ve now got a great view of the city but have so much more to explore. On the hill and around this park there is a Botanical Garden, the Estadi Olimpic (The Olympic Stadium) and Font Magica. We also found a super old Greek Theater and surrounding fountains especially interesting as well. The best way to explore this park in my opinion is to just get lost and see what you come across, that way you are surprised for what you might run into next!

Palau Nacional

08 4 / 2012

Babies everywhere!

08 4 / 2012

New rides

08 4 / 2012

After all the travelling a ton, we were definitely ready to settle down for a second and plant our roots in Barcelona. We started cooking a lot at home, going on bike rides, exploring parks and beaches, meeting new friends, and doing a whole lot of straight hanging out. The weather usually permits all outside activities so we naturally take advantage of it as much as we can.  

More importantly, we have been endlessly looking for jobs, but it turns out being an American in Spain during an economic crisis proves to be a bit problematic. Continuing the search in a positive way is imperative though, so we are making sure to keep each other motivated and not discouraged. We have both gotten odd jobs working for new friends at bars, Matt cooking and Drea working the door, so it hasn’t been a total loss but not exactly lucrative. More so, it’s been something filling our time and keeping us socially fulfilled. We hope that something comes up soon, but try not to let it damper out experience. 

A lot has been happening back home since we’ve been gone, so keeping in touch with everyone has also been kind of a part time job in itself. Between the two of us many babies have been born and made in the last 2 months, believe it or not. Matt is an uncle again! His brother Thadd and sister-in-law Melissa had their first born! A son! Thaddius Henry La Rue was born on May 29, 2012. We were lucky enough to Skype with him recently(thank gah for technology) and oh man, what a good lookin’ baby they’ve got themselves! Congratulations guys! In addition, one of my dearest and oldest friends from high school, Kassi and her husband Eric had their first born as well just hours after Thadd and Melissa became new parents. It’s crazy how the world works sometimes. Braden Henry Oswald was born at midnight on May 30, 2012. I am way stoked for my friends and look forward to meeting this ball of baby next time I’m home! In similar news my Aunt Stacie who is like an older sister to me is expecting her third chid sometime time in September, as well as my eldest cousin Monique who is also on her third and has an extremely similar due date as Stacie. This is like 2 of my sisters being preggo at the same time, so naturally I am elated and terrified all at the same time! “) A bigger family only means more love.

16 3 / 2012

Oh London. What a great town those Brits have got. Where do I begin?

Initially we had such a good reason to visit because a great friend of Matt and his family, Hannah, had a 30th birthday the same weekend we were to be in town. Fancy that, eh? Being the doll she is, Hannah offered a place for us to stay during the days we’d be in town. She had friends in town from everywhere that weekend so not only did we get to be part of the festivities, we were able to make a ton of new friends. It was loads of fun. The night we arrived we were welcomed to snacks and cocktails, and that was the beginning and the end of that story :P

After brunch the next day we walked along the river and saw all the necessary landmarks. It was absurdly gorgeous that day! So uncharacteristic of London, but no one was complaining. Hannah joked saying all the Californians brought the good weather!

From our balconny
 

Borough Market

The Thames and the London Eye in the distance

Big Ben

Thames

Contrary to popular belief, we had some really amazing food and drink in London as well. From brunches to dinners to cocktails, definitely super impressed and pleasantly surprised. Saturday night we had made sure to treat ourselves to a nice dinner and then headed over to Hannah’s big celebration. We had a blast! Way way too much fun. Word of advice- dance music and photo booths ais the magical mixture to a really great evening. 

The evidence
 

I’m won over- London has a piece of my heart. I’d return there in a heart beat. It was the ideal ending to an incredible journey through the European lands. 

I visited more countries in 2 weeks than I had ever been to in my whole life. Success? I’d say so. Exhausted? No doubt. Happy? Beyond. On an ultimate high from life. 

08 3 / 2012

After my crazy amazing time in Copenhagen, I was sad to leave but really stoked to see Matt in Paris the next day! He wasn’t meeting me until next afternoon, so I was able to have a night by myself to wind down from all the fun-havings from the week passed. I rented this cute room in Monmarte to kick start my Paris excursion. This is the view from my 7th floor balcony. So freaking gorgeous.
 

This was the only city we were visiting that we didn’t have friends to hang with, so we decided to be the ultimate tourist. As I mentioned, I had never been before so we visited Notre Dame on Ash Wednesday, The Lourve, and The Eiffel Tower. Pretty crucial and definitely worth taking the time out to see. 
Notre Dame
 
The Lourve
 
The Eiffel Tower
 

We ate some really good food, drank lots of delicious wine, and had an all around positive experience in France. 

08 3 / 2012

Luckily while I was in the states still, I planned a pretty rad little vacation to see more of Europe since this is my first time I’ve ever been here. SO, on the agenda was: 6 days in Copenhagen with one of my best friends Carly, 4 days in Paris, and 4 ays in London. Sounds terrible, right? I know. 

I travelled to Denmark alone to spend some pretty crucial girl time with Carly. We really took advantage of all the fun we could have, as I’m sure you can believe. IT WAS COLD. But we didn’t let it stop us. We walked around Copenhagen a bunch, went to really cool markets, skated on the lake in our Converse, made yummy dinners and hung out with friends. I had a super cool experience. The city is so clean and organized, the people are awfully nice, and man do those Danes know how to party “) We took a little day trip over to Malmo, Sweden which was only a 20 minute train ride. It seemed really similar to Copenhagen except a ton more English was spoken.

I really don’t have a lot of good pictures from this portion of my trip. I was way too busy having fun. 

Ice skating in our shoes:

Swedish (spaceship)train station:
 

Kroner:
 

Carly had a Groupon type deal for a hotel room she never used at Hotel Fox. This hotel gave 21 different artists 61 rooms to design, so that one room wouldn’t be the same. We had last minute choice so we got the lemur filled forest room. Kinda creepy, yet KIND OF amazing. We loved every bit of it.

 

Happiness:
 

08 3 / 2012

YEOW! We’re here— in Barcelona! It’s been a long road, but a beautiful one. So, here we are to keep everyone informed and in the loop of our lives on this new hemisphere. We’ll opt for the short version for the sake of you who have received my rather detailed e-mails up to this point. “)

After departing from different locations, myself flying from New York and Matt from San Francisco, we both landed on February 2nd about 5 hours apart- Matt being the frist to touch ground. To my surprise Matt was waiting for me at the airport and swept me away to the apartment we had rented for the first 10 days. It was in L’Exiample which is a cute, quaint neighborhood just a metro ride away from the center of the city. Besides being up on the 6th floor without an elevator and having a really slow internet connection we loved it! Our roommate, Elsa, was really accommodating as well as helpful in getting to know the city. Here’s a peek at our view from her dining room.

 

To our surprise it was a cold winter in Europe, so we had to adjust really quickly. We made sure to walk around a lot and see great parts of the city, but also search for permanent apartments. Our persistance paid off! We ended up landing a great flat in Barri Gotic, which is basically the center of the city, with 4 other flatmates and a perfect BIG room with a balcony. We really couldn’t be happier. Most importantly, there is plenty of space for visitors to come crash. So there is your ope invitation to come hug us!

The view from our balcony!
 

08 3 / 2012

Epic view from the three crosses/ Parc Guell