Monday, May 14, 2012

L'Italia Qui Veniamo!!!!

First stop Venice, Italy...

Molino Stucky Hilton here we come...

I thought I'd share a few pictures off of their website that wisked me away...

The gondola ride...
Wow...what a view...

Maybe, a great dinner with my sisters right here....

I really can't wait to be poolside...

I plan to take a ton of my own photos to share! 

T-5 dayz...and counting!!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting organized

I ain't takin' nothin' that will slow down my travelin' - Johnny Cash

If I've heard it once...I've heard it twenty times from Amanda.  You can't bring any bag over 22" - we are traveling light...seconds later I refresh my browser...another email from Amanda....here is a picture of a woman traveling with too much luggage (she had a relatively small roller bag and a backpack) hmmm....

I finally sent her a note.  I love you, but I get it.  We are packing light.  I promise not to bring anything I can't carry myself. 

As the story goes, I have decided to create my packing list and then compare it with Vee (beauty of having a twin you are traveling with -- we have double the wardrobe) and then chop it down again. 

Arguably, one of the most important parts of a trip is what you are planning to pack.  It determines so many things... size of bag (we already know we are going small), the weight of the load (remember to only bring what you can carry) and ultimately, your state of happiness...right? Do I have everything I need?

My packing list...or a list of reminders as I like to think of it...began last week.  I started with the basics and then have added to it as I think of something.  I like to consider the destination...what we will be doing...the weather... where we are staying, etc.  Seems logical...and a good way not to forget anything.

Let the packing begin!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Take me out to the ball game!


With peanuts and popcorn and craaaacker jacks...I don't care if I never get back....root root root for the home team...ladedah...

My friend Jill and her family were in town and lucky for me, they included me in their day at the ball park.  We had so much fun in spite of the rain. 

We grabbed lunch and bought some new Cub gear (check out my new visor) and then made our way into the park. 
With all the rain our seats were dripping wet.  I may have gasped when Jill casually used her LuluLemon sweatshirt to start wiping down the seats.  Next thing I know, I say to the man in front of us, "hey, can I borrow your shamWOW?"  Jill looks at me, "Really Mel, did you ever think you would say,...Can I borrow your shamWOW?"

Ha!  We thought it was so funny...and I still do.  But to answer her, no, I never thought I would say that...but I may invest in a ShamWOW -- loved it!

I won't claim to know anything about baseball...but it seems like a simple game.  Just get home, right?

One of my favorite memories growing up, Vee and I would ride our bikes every weekend to the ball park and sit in the bleachers and watch baseball.  I'm not sure if it was the bike ride, the boys or the frozen icees we always ate but it sure was fun.

Did you know a regulation baseball has 108 stitches and can only be used once in an MLB game?  Kewl factoids.

L to R - Mel, Ivy, Jill and Annette

What a great way to end my weekend...with great friends, lots of laughs and a little baseball! 

GO CUBS!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dear Melissa,


I collected my mail this afternoon and found an unexpected, hand-written letter from my mother.  I talked to her this morning and she didn't mention it.  What a suprise...and how exciting, I thought to myself.  I wonder what she has to say? 

I mean...when was the last time you received a long, hand-written letter...sadly, it seems like a bit of a lost art. 

I looked at the envelope...her handwriting has always impressed me.  Perfect cursive.  She once showed me how they practiced this in school when she was growing up.  She takes her time...where my sloppy letters clump together and are barely legible.  Sigh. 

I loved the 'miss you' sticker in the bottom left corner and how did she get them to stamp the heart with MOM spelled within a banner flying through the stamp...kewl...I guess it is almost Mother's Day...but I'd like to think they knew it was from her...to me...

As I read her letter, I began to cry.  It was so special...so touching and so heartfelt.  She was writing me about a conversation we had last week.  I shared with her some things I was up against and I was feeling a little down and out. 

She wrote, "Do you remember when you and Vanessa won the 'mental attitude award' your senior year on the swim team?  I was so proud!"

She underlined it and put an exclamation point after it...and that's when I started to cry.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bit emotional.  But, I guess...the unexpected nature of it all...those four words written down..."I was so proud"...kind of tugged at me and although the thought crosses your mind...well, you're my mom...you're supposed to be proud of me, right?  But, it was like twenty years ago...and most likely back then, I didn't accept the award thinking...my mom must be so proud of me for my attitude.  I may have thought...darn it, I didn't win most valuable player...and yet...isn't it ironic that as we go through life...we strive for the top...and in the end...if you have a great attitude about it all...you really are the most valuable player, afterall?

Perhaps, one of the greatest discoveries in life, is that we can alter our lives by altering our attitudes.  Thank you momma for the unexpected touch of love today.  Thank you for being proud of me.  Finally, thank you, because at the end of your letter, you also said, I make a difference to you. 

I'm planning to save this letter...to pull out from time and again...what an unexpected treasure.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Oh, the places we'll go


Amanda sent a rough outline of our itinerary today.  I feel like I have so much research to do.

Venice, Italy
I know it may sound cliche, but I am totally eating pizza, gelato, shopping and riding a gondola! 


Trieste, Italy
We will take a two to three hour train ride (it appears as if it hugs the coast) to meet up with some good friends of Amanda's. I'm hoping we make a quick stop in Croatia!

Portoroz and Piran, Slovenia (We will be celebrating Amanda's birthday here!)
Sailing in Piran!  Sounds so...magical.  Then a party to celebrate our sister! 


Bovec, Slovenia
Hiking through ice caves -- wow...white water rafting, kayaking, hiking and canyoning...so exciting!


Salzburg, Austria (We will be celebrating our birthday here)
We will most likely take a train to Lake Konigsee, hike and a take a boat ride.


Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Castles and kayaking!


Prague, Czech Republic
Walking tour of the city, ditz

Paris, France
Jim Morrison's grave
La Marche aux Puces - famous flea market
Eiffel Tower


Home


As I mentioned, this is a very rough draft of the happenings.  If you have any travel tips, things to do at any of these amazing places...please share!  I'm so excited! 

**Photos from Amanda's previous travels**

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May is birthday MONTH!

In twenty-four days...Vee and I turn 41. We celebrate all month...I'm not kidding.  In fact, tonight, I went and bought ice cream...my favorite, butter pecan.  We do little things all month to celebrate eachother.

My favorite thing to celebrate in life is my twin. So, right this second, it seems as if a month isn't enough.

I wasn't blogging when we turned 40.  However, if I had been, I would have told you we may have received one of the kewlest gifts of all time.  Our sister Amanda wrapped up a crafty, creative, hand-made passport with a note giving us an all-expense paid trip to EUROPE! 

Did you have to let that soak in?  I did.  As you might be reading this saying...what??  I didn't get it at first...I was like, what is this?  Really? I think we even called her...the passport is super cute...but, does this mean what we couldn't possibly think it means?  CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT???  IT DID!!!

Our trip is approaching.  We leave May 19th and return June 3rd.  I can't wait to spend two full weeks with my sisters...galavanting around Europe. 

I have started researching all of the places we are going.  It has been so interesting to learn about these amazing places.  So fun imagining the amazing cultures we will experience.  So exciting wondering about all of the exploring and all the people we will meet.  I'm excited to share it with you.

On another note...I want to wish my dearest friend, Megan, an amazingly wonderful day celebrating her 40th birthday today, with her twin sister, Erin.  Meg, I haven't stopped celebrating you all day.  I can't wait to see you in 8 dayz!  I'm counting it down!

Ice cream is one of my favorite sweet tooth satisfiers!  I have a friend named, Edy!


It's delicous...I should go ahead and finish it.