A Fashion Love Story

Today someone asked me what my favorite article of clothing was.

For a fashion lover like me that falls into the category of unanswerable questions.  There are so many things I love!  To have to answer that would be some kind of torture.  But then I really started thinking about it and one thing kept coming to mind.  I think that’s when I realized I do actually have a favorite article of clothing.

Why is it my favorite?  Well, it has a story.  This dress came into my life after I’d spent the most beautiful last day in Rome with Bethany and Kaitlyn.  We’d trekked all over the place from Campo de Fiori to the Isola Tiberina to the Mouth of Truth taking in every last bit of Rome we could.  For hours we walked breathing in the crisp cool air, committing the smells of the fresh food to memory, and taking mental pictures of our magical home that we could hold with us forever.  And then the time came to rush back to our Tiziano home for the Christmas Banquet.

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But how could I go to a Christmas dinner without a fancy new dress?  After running to Benetton and realizing they’d sold out of the dress I’d had my eye on for weeks I popped into the nearby 10 euro store just to see what they had and that’s where I happened upon my now favorite dress.  The pictures can do the talking, but it’s clear to see why this was the winner.With my pretty new dress in hand I rushed back to the Tiziano to toss it on just in time for the Christmas Banquet.

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That dinner was one of the loveliest, most bittersweet things I’ve ever experienced and after filling our bellies fuller than we ever knew was possible we went off for our final evening stroll of Roma.  The memories from that day and evening are some of my dearest.

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So yes, yes I do have a favorite article of clothing.  It’s a beautiful Italian dress that I bought for just 10 euros and wore on one of the best, most bittersweet days of my entire life.  Each time I’ve worn it since I’ve felt like a million bucks and been filled with happiness and memories.
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I would love to hear about other people’s favorite items!  Or am I the only one who’s had a smashing love affair with a dress?

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One Last Railroad Weekend

For as far back as I can remember the arrival of September and October meant it was pumpkin train time.  My grandfather, who has gotten many mentions in this blog of mine, took his love of all things trains and a lifetime of savings and put it into creating the place of his dreams.  After years in the military and a long, successful career behind him, my grandpa used his retirement as a chance to spend his time with his family doing something he loved.  My grandma, uncles, mom, and all of their families came together over many years and brought the New Haven and Lake Erie railroad to life.

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Each September and October people would literally line up outside the gates waiting for their chance to ride our train back to the pumpkin patch and pick out their pumpkins, gourds, and treats for the fall season.  Grandpa and Uncle Greg were the engineers, grandma ran the ticket office, and myself and the rest of the family took turns doing the other jobs.  Adults, children, families, school groups, and everyone in between loved the railroad and it became famous in the area.

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For a little kid the place was magical.  We got all the free train rides we wanted, our pick of the best pumpkins, and a woods to explore, build forts, and play make believe in.  We even had our own Tarzan vine to swing on.  After my grandparents passed away Uncle Greg took over the railroad, but living far from the property and having all of us scattered across various colleges and cities, and the cost of upkeep growing it became harder and harder to keep NH&LE alive.  So with a heavy heart he made the decision that everyone knew was coming – it was time to let the railroad go.

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Yesterday we had our last hurrah at the railroad.  The big steam engine Arnold unfortunately still couldn’t run, but we had all of the other cars out.  Friends and family came together to bid farewell to a place where we’d all spent so many countless hours.

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It was a sad day, and I genuinely wish we all could have kept it going, but it was so nice to have the chance to have one final crisp, fall day at the railroad.  We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect final farewell to NH&LE railroad.

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A Classic Roman Holiday for the Modern Traveler

A couple weeks back I had the amazing honor of being published on The College Tourist!  For several weeks we have been writing blog entries at work – yes, I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to call doing something I love “work”.   The boss-man submitted it to The College Tourist for me, and the next thing I knew it was up on display for their thousands of readers to see!

Since it’s on our favorite topic (Rome, of course) and co-starring our favorite person (Audrey, of course), I couldn’t resist a little humble brag and a chance to share the link.

Click here to head over to The College Tourist to read my article – Enjoy!!

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An Evening Sail on Puget Sound

As the coworkers and I were leaving the office Friday night our phones lit up with the message “Heading out sailing on the nicest boat in the fleet – be ready in two minutes?”  Generally I like a little time to plan ahead, get the perfect outfit ready, you know the drill – but with an offer like that who can resist.

(sorry in advance for filling this post with more grainy iPhone photos … going home to pick up the fancy camera was out of the question on such short notice!)

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It was the perfect night for a sail.  The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the boat was a dream!

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 El Capitan even allowed Glenn and I to take a whirl at sailing.  Check that one off the bucket list.

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With another glorious sunset on our hands we made our way into shore, docked our total babe of a boat, and dove into some delicious deserts courtesy of our fellow sailors.  To say it’s going to be tough to head back to Indiana would be the understatement of the century.

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Seattle, you’re a stunner! 

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Adventures in Winter Park

In the last two months I am pretty sure I’ve seen more of the United States than I’ve seen in my whole life up until now.  Between the cross country road trip, weekends in the Pacific Northwest, and an amazing wedding in Colorado exploring new parts of the US has been the theme of my summer.

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For the Fourth of July weekend I was so lucky to get over to Winter Park, Colorado for the wedding of one of our oldest and dearest family friends.   Michael has been like a big brother to me so seeing him getting married was wonderful – plus we got the chance to reunite with friends we hadn’t seen in far too many years.

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Winter Park is exactly what you imagine when you think of a Colorado resort town.  In the gorgeous summer weather it was filled to the brim the the most sporty, adventurous people imaginable.  A good portion of the crowd was dressed like these guys, who were channeling Batman with the uber-intense biking gear.

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After taking the lifts up to the Lodge for lunch, we went back down the mountain to head to a neighboring town take in the July 4th fireworks.  Little did we know we’d have a much more beautiful show to watch courtesy of Mother Nature.

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 And then it was wedding time – the moment we’d all been waiting for!  Natalie was one of the most stunning brides I’ve ever seen and Michael was the wise-cracking, handsome groom we all expected him to be.  With a love story like something from a movie these two have a magical future ahead of them!

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Cheers to the loveliest couple and thank you for sharing your beautiful weekend with us! *clink clink

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So You’re Into Vampires?

Well, we all have our guilty pleasures, don’t we?  For me one of them (one of the many, I should say) is Twlight.  I am such a sucker for those silly, ridiculously awful, but somehow still amazing books and movies.  I love everything about them.  So naturally as soon as I found out I’d be calling the Pacific Northwest my home I began plotting out ways to get to all of the places from the books.

On a gorgeous Saturday morning I grabbed a coffee by the waterfront and hopped on the ferry.  On the other side my Seattle family was waiting to sacrifice their entire day to indulge my inner Twi-hard and take me to see all of the places from the films.IMG_6576

We ate a quick picnic lunch in Port Angeles, the town where Bella and the kids go to do their shopping.  It wasn’t too bad, but nothing to write home about. (Instead I’ll just write a blog.)

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Then we hit up La Push in hopes of running into Jacob and some of his shirtless werewolf friends.  No luck on the werewolf front, but the beach was gorgeous!  Just the kind of breathtakingly beautiful PNW coastline I’ve always dreamed of visiting.

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Then, drumroll, it was time to trek on to famous Forks!!  Which, as it turns out, was every bit as depressing as all the locals had warned me.  What used to be a successful logging town is now a dried up little stretch of road with a few cafes, a library, and the leftovers of the Twilight frenzy.  There are still a few shop windows with old Twilight memorabilia, but mostly they’ve all died off along with the Twilight craze as a whole.

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Feeling thoroughly depressed by the entire town of Forks, and the fact that literally none of the movie was filmed there, we hopped back in the car to head back towards Seattle.  We were absolutely starving from our vampire hunting so we pulled off at the amazing Lake Crescent Lodge to grab a bite and take in the scenery.

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Lake Crescent Lodge is like the most perfect place for a little summer weekend getaway.  We had to all but tear ourselves away from the picturesque setting – but I had one last big sight to see before hopping back on the ferry.  We drove all the way up to the top of Hurricane  Ridge to scope out one final breathtaking view before calling it a night.

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Since arriving in Seattle the workload has been wild, but with weekend escapes like this, who can complain?  It’s so surreal – I truly hope that everyone has the opportunity to one day live in a place that is so beautiful it stops you in your tracks daily.

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