Wednesday, November 19, 2014

volcanos, red sand & tomato fritters


after our epic day in athens, when we exhausted ourselves trying desperately to see everything we possibly could, we woke up for our first morning on santorini ready to continue the extreme touring madness.  we found this to be an excellent strategy for travelling in greece.  we wore ourselves out at the beginning and enjoyed relaxing later on in the trip.

i was stunned by how much there was for us to do on santorini.  the island has such a reputation for being a relaxing paradise, i think it occasionally gets a misleading rap for being just a pretty view.  while you’ll certainly still enjoy yourself on santorini if all you want is cliff-top scenery, there were definitely more amazing activities than we were able to squeeze in to our time on the island.  while we were there, we had to skip the local wineries, and we did not make it to any of the black sand beaches or the ruins of ancient fira.  we didn’t try our navigational skills on a four-wheeler, nor did we get to do the hike between fira and oia.  oh well, just means we will have to go back!

now in light of all those amazing sounding things we missed, what we did do was absolutely fabulous.  our first day, marios from hotel Antonia (i seriously cannot oversell how helpful marios was) booked us tickets on a boat trip to see the volcano of santorini.  on our way to the port, we picked up a hot sundried tomato and feta breakfast pastry from a gelato shop.  it was unbelievably delicious (we went for another the next morning too).  we had no idea what to expect from our boat trip, and thus, flip flopped and swimsuitless, we boarded one of the gorgeous tall ships taking tourists out into the blue caldera, to the sounds zorba the greek and other traditional music.

when our boat docked at the black, ashy volcanic island in the center of the santorini caldera, we learned that we could hike to the top for some natural history lessons, sulfur stank, and breathtaking views.  though we hardly had the footwear for such an occasion we trekked to the top of “new burnt island” where a panorama of the entire island of santorini waited for us.  but 360 degrees around we were able to see more than just santorini.  across a suspiciously brownish orange channel of water, we could see “old burnt island,” which looked like something out of a tropical middle earth style fantasyland.  the island of therasia lay not too far off as evidence of the atlantis-legend ancient eruption that sunk most of santorini.  it was, as the tour guide promised, breathtaking.

after our hike we were taken to swim in the brownish orange channel, which is the hot spring created by the active volcano.  we weren’t as prepared as most of our shipmates, but decided to jump off the boat in our underwear anyway to swim in the lukewarm water.  a saltwater-in-contact-lens fiasco took place, but other than me looking like a victim of violence for the mascara-smeared afternoon (thank goodness for big sunglasses) the boat tour was a total hit.

in the afternoon we rode the bus down to the village of akrotiri to visit the famous red sand beach.  akrotiri is a hidden gem on the island in my opinion.  it seemed like the village is probably busier in summer months as it has a very “beach town” feel.  it is a small trek from the bus stop to the red sand beach and there are some really wonderful sights and smells of fresh agean seasfood along the way.  it’s quite the rock climb getting to the beach, and the “sand” is really more like pebbles, but the view was one of the best of our entire vacation, if you ask me, and the beach itself was definitely one of the coolest places i have been in my life.  there are mysterious doors into the cliff that i can only hope lead to incredible cave dwellings where steve and i can stay next time we go.

after the beach we stopped for a drink with growltiger the one eyed cat of akrotiri (as christened by myself) and by the time we got back to fira we were absolutely starving.  fortunately marios (that magical human fountain of knowledge) had hooked us up with the what’s-what and we headed out to carboload on homemade bolognese and tomato fritters at o souvlaros, a very sweet little family owned taverna in fira, where our english finally did us no good!  fortunately pointing to the menu worked out fine, and let me just repeat the phrase “tomato fritters,” because no amount of gushing about how amazingly delicious they were will do them justice.  we continued to eat them at every opportunity, but i am certain o souvlaros were the best.

so yeah.  day one on santorini was pretty darn good.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

skylarks jazz


as stated before, music was a huge priority for me in the whole wedding planning process.  one of the biggest highlights of the night i got to marry steve was our absolutely PHENOMENAL band.  i discovered the truth in jazz orchestra online when my grandma gave me the name of one my grandfather's old band buddies, whom he used to play with when he was a professional musician.

it was amazing getting to work with friends of my late grandfather, and dave collee, my point of contact with the group, was extremely kind and helpful assisting us with our plans.  though the truth in jazz orchestra was a twelve piece jazz band, dave and some of the band's other members comprise a smaller ensemble as well, called the skylarks.  the seven of them were perfect for our reception.

i received so many compliments from our guests about the skylarks and genuinely consider them to be a favorite part of the evening.  we can't thank them enough for the fantastic job they did.  click here to listen, learn more, or book them for your own event!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

fira heights



our first stop on the island of santorini was the main town of fira.  we spent our first two nights on santorini in fira at a really charming little place called hotel antonia.  they were extremely well reviewed on trip advisor, and for good reason.  priced extremely affordably, we were welcomed by marios with wine and a quick map-rap session where we were directed to the best restaurants, views, and things to do on the island.  truly, the hoteliers of the greek islands are absolute gems.  we always felt like the most well-treated guests.

after enjoying a little welcome wine on the spacious balcony of our room at hotel antonia, we continued the somewhat lush, dionysian evening with a stroll through the winding staircases, considered to be streets, per marios' recommendation for the restaurants with the best views in fira.  we stopped for a few big mugs of mythos at a caldera view bar, to give the sunset a little catch-up time so it would be part of the entertainment at dinner.

of the many delicious looking restaurants over-looking the caldera in fira, we settled on fanari, where we enjoyed incredible service, local wine, and a sampling of the seafood specialties we would spend the next week eating.  i had my first taste of grilled octapus at fanari and life has genuinely never been the same.  goodness gracious is it ever fantastic.  i'm also pretty sure the waiters on santorini all have training in photography.  they are pros at capturing that view.

it's still pretty mindblowing to think the trip only got better from here, but our first night in fira really set an unimaginable tone.  if ever you're looking for a spectacular value in fira don't hesitate to check out hotel antonia.  we felt incredibly welcome and centrally located between all parts of the island we ultimately visited.

these are probably getting boring, but oh well, i'm going to keep posting one day at a time!  happy new week everybody!


Friday, November 7, 2014

wedding dinner and cocktail hour playlist


steve and i were unbelievably lucky to have such fantastic music at our wedding and to have such wonderful people involved.  our DJ, todd brown, of kalamazoo's mobile music entertainment did an absolutely phenomenal job with both our ceremony and our reception.  he was an excellent MC, he saved our ceremony rehearsal, and he worked with our band extremely well, i cannot recommend his work highly enough.

on top of all this he also flattered me immensely by complimenting my taste in some of the music he had never heard before.  i have to admit, music was a huge priority for me, having spent tireless amounts of time (shh over the years) planning my wedding playlist.  we wanted to keep it classic, but still nicely unique.  but now that we're married y'all can enjoy it all the time!  the playlist is on spotify:



happy friday!!!!



Friday, October 24, 2014

wedding programs world-life and whatnot


obviously i fell off the grid before the wedding because i was busy doing things like cutting my fingers open with kitchen scissors while trying to tie 200 black ribbons on 200 printed programs. steve’s and my wedding programs were a shameless DIY rip off of these programs from etsy. i loved the way they look, but I felt the call of the DIY fairy and believed programs were an appropriate place to try my hand (because if I totally screwed them up they were only programs after all… also there’s a pun in there somewhere about ‘trying my hand’ what with how much my hand was bleeding from that scissors hack job). the interior and exterior spreads i designed in photoshop, then i had them printed by uprinting, and then spent a couple evenings binge watching jersey shore and tearing through ribbon like it was my job.

speaking of things that are my job: let’s talk about the other reason i was so M.I.A. before steve and i tied the knot. since coming to texas i have more than 20 job interviews of varying nature, and let me tell you i am still really really sick of recounting the professional version of my life story (which is still ongoing as people at my new office introduce themselves). though some of the hiring (or not-hiring) experiences were more horrific than others and though i’ve had my hands full since the wedding trying to juggle offers, i’m finally standing on stable ground with an awesome marketing job at a construction company less than a mile from where we live (in houston a commute of this scope is kind of a big deal). i’m still getting used to going to work every day again (alas, no more leisurely days of late morning gym, early afternoon pool time with infinite jest, cleaning, errands, and dinner-cookin’… sigh… housewifery suited me) but i’m loving the chance to get dressed up again, and i love being up for espresso and green smoothies in the morning with stevedor.

on the subject of green smoothies both combos below (which really yield more like brown smoothies) are both super yum:

2 cups spinach

4 pineapple spears

3 cups frozen cherry berry mix

2 cups almond milk

&

2 cups spinach

1 orange

1 peach

1 pineapple spear

2 cups frozen berries

2 cups almond milk


now that our wedding is done it feels like steve and i are fresh turn of the century immigrants off the boat on the atlantic coast staring west across the country. between the move, the wedding, the honeymoon, and the job hunt it doesn’t seem like we’ve had a chance to actually think about anything else, such as “what do we do now?” now that we’re lucky enough to be two, happy, married, stable, employed, cat-owning adults in a fairly new part of the country the world kind of feels like our oyster, all we have to do is decide what kind of adventure to have next.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

vintage street style


life magazine sponsored by time.com is running a collection of photos featuring high schoolers' fashion choices in the year 1969.  it's pretty awesome and worth checking out.  view the slideshow here.



Friday, October 17, 2014

coconut peach green smoothie


so i've decided to give the whole green smoothie thing a try and i'm also trying to get back to blogging a little more normally these days now that the move/wedding/honeymoon thing is FINALLY over.

don't get me wrong: i'm not trying to become a health nut, but in my feeble attempts to eat my fruits and vegetables i wish i had someone telling me "this makes a decent smoothie," or "this does not make a decent smoothie."

i'm not digging the texture banana can produce thus far, but today's smoothie without banana was worth reproducing.  it was based on this recipe from over at simplegreensmoothies.com, but i tweaked it to this based on there being no fresh or frozen peaches at trader joes and the fact that pineapple is delicious:

2 cups spinach
2 cups canned peaches
2 spears pineapple
1 orange
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)

twas good.  would recommend.  (bear in mind that i like coconut quite a bit).