Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Italy Part One: Roma

We took the most amazing trip of our lives in April of 2015.  Almost a year and a half later we wanted to reflect on this adventure and have enjoyed reminiscing our travels by reading our travel journal and looking through picture and souvenirs.  After years of dreaming about traveling to Europe, and months of planning our trip to Italy by ourselves, we spent a total of nine days between Rome, Florence and Venice.  I will write a separate post for each city so prepare yourself for photo overload.

Ancient Rome

Our first full day started out with trying to learn the metro and making our way to the Colosseum.  There is a metro stop called Colosseo but we figured it would probably be a bit of a walk to get to the Colosseum.  Boy were we in shock when we walked up the stairs to street level and the Colosseum was right there, right in front of us, and HUGE!  Such an incredible piece of architecture and SO much history.

The Colosseum was built in 70 AD and was used for brutal gladiator spectacles. It seated about 65,000 blood thirsty Romans and you can still see the remains of some of those seats today. We spent hours walking all over the Colosseum and marveled at its magnitude. You can see the lower level where they would hide various animals and surprises to add into each battle. It was incredible to see!

From the Colosseum you can see the Arch of Constantine and start the walk into Ancient Rome.  It is surreal because all of this is right in the middle of the city, with the modern buildings and apartments built around the historical sights.  All of the architecture and art is so intricate and grand.  We also lucked out that it was a beautiful sunny and warm day to take this walk.  It did rain later in the week so we were grateful that we could enjoy these sights with perfect weather.  Walking around these ruins we were able to see remnants of temples, columns and Romes ancient market place.

After visiting the ancient Rome ruins we followed Rick Steve's recommended heart of Rome walk up to the Spanish Steps.  The Spanish Steps are a popular meeting spot for the locals and are considered the place to be in the evenings as well.  Surrounding the steps are streets of shopping and very high end designer stores.  There is a popular saying in Rome, the "beautiful chaos", meaning the chaos and crowds are part of what add to it's beauty.  We found this to be very true and enjoyed doing as the Romans do every chance we got.  We enjoyed lunch at Piazza Novana and then finished our evening with our first taste of gelato at Piazza Del Popolo.  Unfortunately the Trevi Fountain was closed for renovation but we still tossed a coin into a makeshift "fountain" that was put up for tourists.  

This picture perfectly shows the crowded and beautiful chaos of Rome.


Gelato quickly became our favorite meal of the day!

Our final stop in ancient Rome was the Pantheon.  The Pantheon is Rome's best-preserved monument and is still used today for mass every weekend.  After walking through the ancient ruins of Rome it was amazing to see how well preserved this building actually is.  The Romans sure know how to create breathtaking architecture.  


Vatican City

 The Vatican City includes St. Peter's Square, The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica.  Fun fact: Vatican City is actually it's own country all by itself.  The line to get into the Vatican was  F O U R  hours long.  We spent that time reading from our Rick Steve's book about what we would soon be seeing inside the Vatican, and time went by surprisingly fast.  I would highly recommend purchasing your tickets online beforehand which also reserves you an entry time.  It would definitely be worth the extra fees, so please heed our advice.  Inside the Vatican Museum it is so grand and large seems to never end!  The halls continue with statues, carvings, paintings, tapestries, and intricate designs from floor to ceiling.  Here are some of the incredible pieces we were able to see inside.

Waiting in line for four hours!

The Belvedere Torso



There is no shortage of Roman busts and statues

We found Lord Voldemort!

The last room of the Vatican Museum was the famous Sistine Chapel.  The ceiling took six years for Michelangelo to hand paint.  He later painted The Last Judgement on the main wall of the chapel which took another four years to complete. You are not allowed to take pictures inside of this sacred chapel so I have attached some thanks to google.

The Last Judgement

Mykel did sneak this perfect picture of "The Creation" on the ceiling.  This is an image of God reaching out and touching Adam symbolizing the creation of man.

Our Rick Steve's Rome book completely paid for itself because of the information about the secret entry that was inside The Sistine Chapel that led straight to St. Peter's Basilica.  We were able to use a hidden doorway and were literally the only ones that went through it.  We read about the possibilities of getting sent back or turned away by the guards, but we were lucky enough to sneak through and avoid hours of standing in yet another line.  Instead we were able to gain immediate entry into St. Peter's Basilica. 

St. Peter's Basilica is such a beautiful and massive church. We paid the extra euros to hike to the top of the dome and it was an incredible experience! We were able to look down into the church from the inside of the dome, and then get a great view of the city by hiking to the very top. To our surprise on our way down we were able to walk along the rooftop of the basilica and see even more incredible views. There was also a small shop on the roof run completely by nuns. Those nuns must be in great shape having to hike to the top of the dome everyday!

Looking down into the church from the top of the dome

Picture perfect view of Vatican Square from the rooftop of St. Peter's Basilica

Capuchin Crypt

We walked miles and miles and miles each and every day. If it wasn't for the carb and gelato overload we probably would have lost much more weight than we did.  We also saw the Capuchin Crypt, a group of somewhat morbid, but sacred, chapels beneath a church, containing the skeletal remains of more than 4,000 friars.  Each chapel has a theme which makes use of the different bones, including the Crypt of Skulls, Crypt of the Pelvises, and Crypt of the Resurrection.  They do not allow photos inside the crypt, however we snuck some anyways because we did not want to forget this eerie spectacle.


Churches and other sights

The churches in Rome were each so unique, and they were all free, so we took advantage and went into every church we found along our walks. I must admit the ceilings inside were my favorite.  There was one church called St. Peter-in-Chains which had on display the chains that bound St. Peter while he was jailed in Jerusalem.

The chains on display that bound St. Peter

One of my favorite features of all of the churches that we went inside were the incredible ceilings.  Some were covered in gold, others stone, but each of them had such dimension and beauty.

The famous cobble stone streets of Rome.  I twisted my ankles too many times to count!



The amount to see and do in Rome was beyond anything we could have imagined.  While we only spent four days there, and most travel sights recommend that amount of time, we could of easily spent our entire trip just in the city of Rome.  Despite falling in love with bella Roma, we were excited to continue our adventure and explore both Florence and Venice next.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Four Years Later....

I have a blog? What!? I bet you are even more surprised than I am!  But it's true, I created this blog four years ago to journal about married life and our adventures together.  The crazy part is that we are in SUCH a different place now then when I started this blog.  But I wouldn't change our journey for anything.  Back then Mykel wanted to go to dental school and I was starting Aveda cosmetology school...

Fast forward four years and Mykel has graduated from BYU with his bachelor degree in exercise science.  We moved to Salt Lake City and he went to the University of Utah for a year taking post graduate science classes.  He is now a certified medical assistant working for Providence, and taking more online science classes in preparation to apply for PA school! We have experienced a lot of changes but I am proud of all that Mykel has achieved and his excitement to be working in the medical field.  He will be applying to PA school next year and continuing his educational journey wherever that takes us!  My journey has been just as confusing.  I graduated from Aveda and worked for one of the most amazing Aveda salons in West Jordan, Utah called Life Salon.  I was also working as a nanny at the same time for an amazing family in Sandy.  We suddenly came to a point in our lives that made us realize there was nothing serious keeping us in Utah.  And if we wanted to move, specifically back to Oregon, it was the perfect time to do so.  So we made the crazy decision to quit all our jobs and take our two sweet pups with us to Portland, Oregon!

And speaking of our K9 pups, these two boys are our pride and joy.  Ezra is our stubborn 2 year old yorkie-poo and Duke, who we rescued, is an almost 3 year old long-haired dachshund/chihuahua mix.  They are spoiled beyond belief - but aren't they cute!

Back to our move... we moved in with my parents and ended up staying with them for an entire year.  At first it was a difficult transition for everyone, but we all figured out how to adjust and soon began enjoying our tradition of Crepe Sunday's together.  We are so blessed that we were able to stay with them during that time and I feel lucky that I can call my parents some of my best friends!  Mykel was able to complete the medical assisting program through PCC during this time, and we were both able to find jobs that we love.  I decided to stop doing hair and am working full-time at a medical office called Northwest Rheumatology.  Mykel works for Providence as a floating/staffing MA, where he is able to float around to different clinics and gain all kinds of experience.  He enjoys working in urgent/immediate care clinics and the fast-paced environment there.  I am going to school online through BYU and just started a new semester this week.  Needless to say we are busy but do our best to make time for each other, our boys, and Netflix of course. ;)

Anyways I guess that just about sums up the last four years as well as I can in one blog post haha. I'm looking forward to creating a post soon about our travel obsessions and our trip that we took to Italy, with many pictures included of course. Until then, stay classy San Diego.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Mykel started fall semester at the very end of August and is seriously killing it so far this semester!  He has all A's and B's so far and is half way through.  I am so proud of him and all of his hard work.  He gets up at 5am Tuesday-Friday to work before he starts his classes, and then works every other Saturday and I am so thankful for that.  He is also getting involved in the BYU Dental Club and has already toured one dental school that is pretty new up in West Jordan.  They were able to eat dinner with the assistant dean of admissions and a few faculty members, asking them any questions and getting to know them as contacts when it comes time to apply!  Plus many dental schools around the country send representatives to BYU for the students to meet as well.  We are definitely going to be struggling these next two years left at BYU since he will soon stop working to focus on school full-time and prepare for the DAT, and I am only able to work part-time now that I'm in school.  But I know we will be blessed as long as we continue doing the right things like going to church and paying our tithing.  Even if we have to take out a small loan, it is worth it for our education.  And P.S. this dental school picutre below is a random one that I found online... but soon enough that will be Mykel! :)

And speaking of me starting school, I finally started at AVEDA!!  I started September 26th and am in school Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9-6.  Then I work Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday so it is definitely a very hectic schedule for the both of us.  But I am so glad that I chose to go to Aveda I really love everything about it.  It's not just a company but a lifestyle.  If you read their mission statement you'll see that overall it's not only about beauty, but also about keeping your body healthy and caring for the environment.  These are all things that are very important to me and I'm so glad that I get to be surrounded by people with these same values each day at school.  If you don't know much, or anything, about Aveda I definitely challenge you to do some research, experience an Aveda salon, and think about the impact that you make in the world and how you can improve each and every day. 

Right now I am in my first phase of school, Earth phase, which is mostly learning all of the foundations and basics of Cosmetology, along with everything that we need to know for the state board exam we will take once we graduate to get licensed.  I'll be honest it's not the most exciting some days... but other days it's a blast.  We've started learning manicures and pedicures, and soon enough we'll be learning about hair cuts and colors!  I seriously cannot wait to be out on the floor taking clients and doing what I love!  There are six phases total and if you get high enough grades in at least four of them you can graduate with a high honors diploma.  I am positive that I will be getting that. :)  And I am already a member of the AMP team, which is basically like student leadership.  We plan and participate in all of the events that Aveda puts on, as well as charities and many other opportunities.  I have already helped out with a Young Women's group that came in for a self-esteem class where we gave them a little lesson, hand and back/shoulder/scalp massages, and then the more experienced students styled their hair!  Next month I get to help at the Twilight VIP party doing makeup, styles, putting on a fashion show at the theater and then seeing a special 4:30pm showing the day before the midnight premiere.  Even though I could care less about Twilight haha.. it will still be a great event!  Oh and did I mention that I get hours, that count toward my needed 2000 hours for school, for every event that I attend?!  AND Aveda offers 4 free fitness a week to keep our bodies healthy that we also get hours for going to.  As you can see I am very excited to be doing what I love in the perfect school and am looking forward to learning more and more at Aveda. 

Some exciting things I am sure I will be posting about in the near future are the holidays!!  We will definitely be attending a few haunted houses and Halloween parties this month.  Next month is Thanksgiving and I am thrilled my parents decided that they are going to come up since I don't get any time off from school.  So it will be a fun family filled Thanksgiving in Provo, with them finally getting to see our new apartment and our little kitty.  And then in December I get an entire week off so we get to go down to California and spend Christmas and New Years with Mykel's parents!! We are so excited for all of these fun plans and will keep everyone updated! :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Year Anniversary

Yesterday, August 14th, was our one year wedding anniversary!  It is so hard to believe that we have been married for a year already, time sure flies by when you're in love.  In honor of our anniversary, and because sadly I didn't have a blog when we got married and couldn't post pictures and memories from it, I'm going to do a post that combines both our wedding day and our anniversary celebration.

This is a picture of all of our friends and family that were at our wedding ceremony in Manti, Utah.  We were so thankful and blessed to have so many loving people who supported and shared this amazing day with us.  Even though we were in a random city of Utah and the sun was blazing hot, everyone that was a part of our wedding helped to make this day so incredibly special.  One of the biggest questions we got about where we were getting married, and still continue to get about where we chose to get married, is why Manti?!  Well ladies and gentlemen, look at this next picture of my amazing hubby and I in front of the Manti temple, or should I say castle of a temple, and this might give you a good idea why.  This temple is absolutely gorgeous, it is the house of the Lord and we were able to be married for time and all eternity.  When trying to decide which temple to get married in of course my first instinct was the Portland temple, my home temple.  But when discussing all of our wedding plans with Mykel, we both decided that it would be best to get married in the central location of Utah, where most of our family was located or could get to easily.  Then we went on the church's website and looked through pictures of all of the temples in Utah.  We quickly agreed on Manti, went for a little day trip down there to check out the temple and town, and knew it was the perfect temple for us.

The wedding planning continued and I had no trouble deciding what my wedding colors would be.  I wanted a summer wedding since I was a little girl, and anyone who knows me wouldn't think twice about what my favorite color is, which I'm guessing you're smart enough to figure out just by looking at these wedding pictures.  Next I decided on my flowers, which were beautiful, bright gerbera daisies.  And of course the dress shopping, which was an intimate and special day spent with my mother finding the wedding dress of my dreams.  Let's just say that the classic story of crying when I found the right dress definitely applied to me and I was so blessed to have such perfect details added to my already perfect day of marrying the man of my dreams. 

Our photographer was incredible and really gave us some amazing shots.  I would highly recommend her to anyone in Utah or even outside of Utah if you were willing to pay for transportation and she also does portraits, family pictures and baby pictures too!  She was so fun to work with and had such great ideas.  We were able to do a photo shoot with her a month before our wedding of our bridals/groomals.  Some people are against the groom seeing the bride in her dress before the wedding day, or don't think these shots are necessary.  But I am so glad that we decided to do them because we had some beautiful pictures with a mix of scenery.  The biggest positive part of it was that on our wedding day I didn't have to stress about getting the perfect wedding picture or about getting a certain amount of wedding pictures, because I knew we already had such amazing shots from our bridal/groomal session.  Here are a few more of my favorites from our wedding.

August 14th was one of the very best days of our lives and we were ecstatic to be able to celebrate it again yesterday, being one year later.  Now I guess that I should admit that there is one negative thing on this post... we forgot our camera on our anniversary weekend...  Isn't that ridiculous!  We managed to pack everything else but forgot our camera.  Luckily the hotel we stayed at had pictures online that I downloaded so we can share that, as well as the restaurant, but no pictures of us haha.  Oh well, we still had the most amazing weekend and memories to last a lifetime!

I mentioned the website City Deals on the post about our birthday celebrations and am definitely going to give props to the website once again.  An entire month before our Anniversary, when we still weren't sure what we were going to do to celebrate it, I found the ultimate deal!  It was a one night stay in a really nice hotel in Park City, Utah.  The hotel was actually called Hotel Park City and our room was an "executive suite".  This included a king size bed, jetted tub, triple-headed shower, balcony, fireplace and a kitchenette.  The deal also came with a $25 gift card to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, as well as a $25 spa credit for a purchase of $100 of more which unfortunately I knew would go to waste haha.  And all of this put together for the incredible price of $105.  Now of course that didn't include the hotel "fee" and hotel "tax", or the fact that Ruth's Chris is one of the most expensive restaurants I've heard of... But it was all SO worth it.  Here are the pictures from hotelparkcity.com of our room:

We got to the hotel on Saturday at about 4pm to check it and relaxed in our room until our dinner reservations at 6.  Ruth's Chris was basically a part of the hotel and so all we had to do was take the elevator down to the 1st floor and we were able to enter the restaurant from inside the hotel.  Now if you haven't been to Ruth's Chris they do everything "A La Carte" and it is definitely pricey, but the steak is sensational!!  We each got a filet mignon and Mykel got shrimp with his and then we got a side of mashed potatoes to share.  They gave us a free dessert because it was our anniversary and we barely had any room at all to eat it.  But of course my stomach always makes room for chocolate dessert no matter how full I am.  This steak dinner was probably the best filet we've ever had.  They cook the steak in broilers at insane degrees and then bring them out on 500 degree plates with the butter all over the plate sizzling.  The steak was so tender, cooked perfectly and tasted incredible with nothing but the salt, pepper and butter. 

We definitely spent a lot of time just relaxing in the hotel and enjoyed having some quality time together without any worries from the world around us.  We drank lots of Martinelli's sparkling cider, watched a few movies, and did some other celebrating that I definitely won't be posting about...  Anyways, check-out Sunday wasn't until 1pm so we were able to have a relaxing morning with lots of cuddle time.  On our way home from our anniversary weekend we of course stopped by the Park City outlet mall and bought a few things.  Who can pass up outlet prices? :)  Overall the weekend was incredible and it was so special celebrating and remembering the event that happened one year ago, our marriage to each other for eternity in the Manti temple.