Paris + the Amalfi Coast 2017

I have to start off by saying that I’ve dreamed of going to the Amalfi Coast for so long.  Months ago Zach and I decided we were going to go somewhere before the baby came.  We decided to swing a babymoon/Zach’s Birthday/anniversary trip before I hit 30 weeks.  We discussed where we would go – and thanks to Zika, my dream of visiting costal Italy came to fruition.  I wouldn’t say it was Zach’s #1 choice, but he came around quickly once the planning started.

We’ve been talking logistics for this trip for quite a while – and as each week went on we grew more and more excited to go.  Zach had a great idea to fly the direct flight from SLC to Paris and I couldn’t complain about spending a few days in our favorite city in the whole world.

We left Saturday afternoon and arrived Sunday morning in Paris.  We didn’t waste any time.  We went straight to lunch at one of our favorite cafes near the Madeline.

Afterwards we went baby shopping [Zach’s idea – can you believe it?!] where we found baby boy’s blessing get-up.

The temperatures were dreamy.  We went back to our hotel to change before dinner and walked around the garden near the Louvre before hitting up Cafe Central for dinner.

I didn’t have to convince Zach to get a crepe with a view of the Eiffel Tower, we had the same game plan.

The next morning I drug Zach out of our bed for an early morning run to the Louvre.  My favorite time to go – when the crowds and tourists haven’t shown up yet and we had it almost all to ourselves.

On our run back Zach requested we stop at a breakfast spot he had found and it was so delicious.  They made me a special poached breakfast brioche sandwich with an artichoke pesto.  It was out of this world!

We showered up and got ready to go out for the day.  We did some more shopping in a few different arrondissements.  We stopped in Bonpoint and got a scarf for Sloan for our family pictures coming up and a cozy outfit for baby boy.  While we were checking out – the saleslady asked if we were having a boy or a girl.  I told her we had a little girl at home and a baby boy on the way.  She said, “Oh!  King’s choice!” That’s where we learned that in France, they call one boy and one girl very lucky (or King’s choice) and we heard it each time we mentioned the fact that we were to have one of each from total strangers.  I thought it was sweet and it made me smile each time.

Afterwards we stopped at Laduree for a little snack and then took an Uber to Supreme for Zach.

We walked to the Ile de la Cité and ate at a restaurant called the St. Regis Cafe [Zach loves their burgers].  Afterwards we passed Notre Dame and shopped some more near Les Halles.

Later we had dinner in Le Marais at a new restaurant we both had never been to, but really enjoyed.

We walked around the corner to a popular creperie [I think Le Marais is currently my favorite neighborhood in all of Paris] and enjoyed our crepes as we walked back to our hotel.

The next morning we made our way over to the Orly airport for our flight to Naples.  We arrived in the afternoon and had a car service waiting to take us to Positano.  We made our way along the coast until we arrived.  It was good to familiarize ourselves a little bit with the area before we ventured out on our own.  As we turned the corner and saw Positano down below – I couldn’t help but get teary eyed.  It hadn’t seemed real to me until I saw all those bright beautiful buildings on the cliffs.  We ditched our bags at our AirBNB and changed our clothes to set out and explore.

We walked around and went in and out of shops until it was time to walk back up to the bus stop for our dinner reservation.  Positano has very few roads – and even less parking.  We thought about renting our own car for the duration of the trip, but we are SO glad we didn’t considering how expensive and inconvenient parking is!  In fact, cars are so uncommon there that most of the restaurants have a free shuttle to take you to and from the restaurants.  Our first meal of this leg of our trip was at Da Constantino.  We were picked up by the driver and made our way up the hillside.

The meal was out of this world.  The restaurant received amazing reviews and we were both so excited to try it.  We somehow got a table right by the window with the most amazing view.

Zach ordered the signature dish – homemade pasta with seafood – and I got a fresh grilled fish of the day.  But we both started off with an appetizer of grilled mozzarella on a lemon leaf.  It’s a popular dish in the area and we were not disappointed.

After dinner we rode the shuttle back down and walked from the stop down to the beach.  On our way back up the hill we got gelato and some sodas to go.

We had an early morning the next day.  Before heading down to the beach we stopped at Vini & Panini to get some sandwiches, fruit, and supplies to go.  We made our way down to the dock to pick up our boat rental for the day.  This is what Zach was looking forward to the most about this entire trip.  Most people charter a private boat with a skipper that will take them along the coast.  Not Zach.  He knew he wanted to rent his own boat and be his own captain right from the beginning.  At first I was hesitant.  Not in Zach’s ability to maneuver the boat – but in our knowledge of the coast.  We had a lot planned that we wanted to see and I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to do it with such little experience.  As usual, Zach made the right decision.

They packed us a cooler with ice for our food and sent us on our way.  We didn’t waste any time.  We made our way around the bend – bound for Capri!  We ate our sandwiches [which literally blew us both away – we went back to Vini & Panini several times afterwards] and cruised along the gorgeous coast.

Soon we saw the Fraglioni up ahead.  The iconic rock formation was stunning!  We drove our little boat right through it [4 times] and then continued around the island to the Blue Grotto.

This is the part I was the most nervous about.  The Blue Grotto is a total tourist trap and I didn’t know how it would all work out.  But we couldn’t go to Capri and miss it!  How most people do the grotto is by taking a ferry or hiring a private boat to take you directly out there.  Once you arrive outside – your driver ties his boat to a buoy and these men come out on tiny wooden boats to come get you.  You get off your boat and into theirs, and your driver stays with his boat behind waiting for you.  Then you go to the entrance of the grotto – pay your admission – and the “grotto guy” in the wooden boat takes you inside.  Well, we had our own boat and no driver to stay back on our rental boat for us.  When we showed up there were hoards of boats and no available buoys.  And all of these boats were triple the size of ours.  Zach maneuvered his way, with a little help from some other drivers, and we found a spot and a buoy to tie our boat off to.  After some time I sweet-talked a little Italian man into rowing over to our little vessel to come and pick us up.  Soon, we were on our own little wooden boat and in line to make our way into the grotto.  We arrived when the tide was high and I didn’t realize how difficult getting into the grotto itself actually was.  Our driver told us both to sit down on the bottom of the boat and “get down”.  We were confused, but did as he said.  He grabbed a chain alongside the rock wall near the entrance of the grotto and launched us inside, laying completely down on top of us as he pushed through.

Once inside, the light of the sun illuminates the water in the grotto and the results are incredible!  It glows bright blue, much brighter than I expected.

Our driver sang us a song and gave us a little history lesson as he rowed us around inside.  It was totally worth it, and someday I want to go back after hours and swim in it myself – without a boat.  Obviously not recommended, but Zach and I aren’t exactly by-the-book, anyway.

Once we exited the grotto and our driver dropped us back to our boat – we were relived to see nobody had ransacked our little boat and that it was still securely attached in it’s parking place.  We backed our way out of the crowds and continued around the island.  There were waterfalls, little coves, and gorgeous houses on the cliffs.  We arrived at the main port and someone came out to dock us and bring us into the island.

We were both starving and had a late lunch at a restaurant with a great view of the water.  It was Zach’s favorite meal of the trip.  He got another order of the signature pasta and I had the most amazing avocado, pineapple, and fresh tomato salad.

We’re definitely going back there when we make it back to Capri one day.

We didn’t stay on the island very long.

We went into some shops and then hopped back on our boat.  We decided we wanted to see more of the coast instead of walk and explore more of Capri itself.

We made our way back – stopping to see a few little towns along the way, looking for the secret beaches, and then making it back into the bay of Positano.  We anchored our boat and ate the rest of our fruit while we laid in the sun.

We then returned our boat and walked back up the hill to our apartment to get ready for dinner.

We had some time so we walked down to the beach during the “golden hour” before heading back up to Da Vincenzo.

We had to take a little detour [of about 2,000 steps up a steep hill] but it was worth it.  This was my favorite meal of the trip, by far.  I got a homemade pasta with lemon zest and shrimp.

Zach got the grilled calamari and another fish dish.  I would recommend this restaurant to everyone and anyone.  But you have to make a reservation ahead of time and ask to sit outside.  The view is unbeatable.

We walked back those same steps down to water to get gelato for dessert, then back to our place.

The next morning was even earlier than the one before.  We had the same car service, La Mommola, pick us up at the bus station near our apartment bright and early in the morning.  This day was a bunch of my requests – which I know Zach wasn’t completely ecstatic about.  Our driver took us to Sorrento – where we rented our own little Fiat 500 to drive to Pompeii.  We were really lucky, because this was the only day that projected rain in the forecast.  As soon as we rented our car and stopped for some sodas it started to rain, hard.  We were safe and warm inside our little rental, though, and zipped down the coast to Pompeii.  Like I said, Zach wasn’t thrilled about taking a whole day to see an archeological site, but I promised him it would be worth it.  Once we got there the crowds had dispersed.  We found a killer parking spot and entered the site.  There was hardly anyone there – we assume the rain had driven almost everyone away.

Most people spend half of a day – and some even entire days exploring the site.  But we made it through in 1.5 hours.  In under those two hours – Zach devoured a whole can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles and a bag of Doritos.

We didn’t want to pay for a private guide (100 euros and up!) so we downloaded a free professional tour (along with a map on our phones) via Podcast and made our way to each highlight.  Long story short:  Zach enjoyed it even more than I did.  I had been warned how hot Pompeii can get.  There are zero trees which means no shade and temps were supposed to be high 80’s that day.  Luckily, the recent rain meant overcast skies and it was beautiful.  We saw a bunch in such a short amount of time and then made our way back to our rental car.

Seeing the victims was the most humbling part.  It was amazing to see how these people lived their lives and a little eerie to see how their lives ended.

Afterwards, we drove around Mt. Vesuvius to Naples to get some lunch.  Eating pizza in Naples has been on my bucket list forever – and we got to check it off (twice if you count the fact that we actually came away with two giant pizzas).  We went to one of the oldest and most famous pizzerias in the city – L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele.  The line was crazy long at 3:00 pm.  We waited outside until Zach had the brilliant idea to do a take-away order.  We ordered two mozzarella pizzas (they only make mozzarella or marinara, that’s it!) and decided to eat it on the street.  We purchased some sodas at a nearby cafe and the shop owner let us sit at one of her tables to enjoy our spoils.  It was by far the best pizza we’ve ever had.  Totally worth the hype, and Zach agreed even worth the drive.

After we finished our pizza we made our way back to Sorrento.  Driving through Naples was a total circus.  I’m convinced our prayer for we set off in our little Fiat saved us a few times on those streets.  I thought Rome was madness on Vespas – Naples in a car was absolutely terrifying!

Once we arrived in Sorrento, we dropped off our rental car and then walked to our dinner reservation at Il Buco.  It was our very first experience at a Michelin starred restaurant.  It got amazing reviews [as you’d expect – they don’t give out stars for nothing] and it did not disappoint.  The bread selection alone was enough to impress us both.

They asked us what we were celebrating for dinner and I told them the truth – our anniversary, our second baby, and Zach’s birthday.  So they set us up in this little private cove all to ourselves and after our gorgeous entrees – sent us out a plate of bite-sized desserts.

We finished up late and took a taxi back to our apartment in Positano.

The next morning we woke up and walked straight down to the dock to catch a ferry to Amalfi.  We debated on which cities to see, and decided Amalfi would be best for that particular day.

We walked the streets, got lemon sorbet, and saw the main square and explored until we went back to Positano.  On a whim, I convinced Zach to wait at the dock with me to try and get onto the Da Adolfo boat.  It’s a long story, but this infamous restaurant called Da Adolfo is impossible to get reservations at.  Everyone goes crazy for it, and the recommendations are never ending.  So, before our trip I called them.  I called maybe 14 times to get a reservation.  Nobody picked up the phone, not even once.  I heard that if you are lucky, you can hop on the boat with the red fish and catch a ride out to the private beach where the restaurant is.  Sometimes they have availability for lunch and if you’re lucky you can get a table.  We saw the boat arrive and hopped on with 5 or 6 other couples.  We met a nice couple from New York that had been waiting with us on the dock to get a ride on the boat.

As soon as we approached the dock I hopped off the boat and ran up to the little shack.  Yes, literally a shack.  The restaurant is built on stilts on the rocky beach and the kitchen is in a tiny white house up on the hill.  I was first in line and asked if there was any availability.  Zach and I got a table, along with another couple behind us, but that was all the available room they had.  Turns out we even had to share a large table for six with two other couples – and the couple that was already seated at our table had already been there for over an hour waiting for their spot.  The couple from New York we rode out with didn’t even get a spot.  The whole thing was so bizarre.  Nobody came over and took our order for quite a while.  I mean, at least an hour.  But we were happy – munching on the complimentary bread and sipping on sodas.  We got a table right by the water and group after group started showing up for their reservations on the same little boat with the red fish that we came to the beach on.

How they got these reservations is beyond me, honestly.  But they kept showing up.  Soon the place was absolutely packed – not a single seat was empty.  Then our waiter took our order and later brought out our food.  We both got the special – pasta with shrimp and started off with their mozzarella on a lemon leaf.

The pasta was unreal and although the shrimp completely intimidated me, it is one of my favorite pasta dishes I’ve ever tasted.  Then the situation got even weirder.  I heard that the boats stopped coming to the little private beach around 1:00 and take a break for lunch.  Little did we know they don’t come in OR out for three hours.  Zach and I contemplated waiting two more hours at the restaurant and decided we wanted to get back to Positano to spend our afternoon on the beach.  So we called a private water taxi to come and get us to take us back to Positano.  Best 10 euro we’ve ever spent.  One of the couples who shared our tables asked to split our taxi with us – which was even better!

Once we made it back to Positano I wanted to get some custom leather sandals made.

I quickly got sized before walking back up the hill to our apartment.  We changed our clothes, freshened up a bit, and then made our way back down to the shop where my sandals were ready and waiting for me – and they fit like a freaking glove!

Then we went down to the beach and rented some lounge chairs and umbrellas, which was another strange politics thing we didn’t know about.  The main beach of Positano has rows of beach chairs.  You can’t just sit on any chair – you pay for a chair and an umbrella and you pay depending on which row.  Front row is most expensive, then second row, then so on.  We decided we weren’t fancy and that third row would suit us just fine.  You pay at a kiosk at the entrance of the beach and then a lifeguard leads you to the chairs HE wants you to sit at.  I was nice to the lifeguard and asked him about his day – and even though we only paid for third row, he gave us a front row available spot.  He didn’t seem to mind when I hugged him in appreciation.  We stayed there – swimming in the ocean, laying in the sun, looking for sea glass, and taking in the scenery until it was time to back to our apartment to shower for our dinner reservation.

After getting ready to go out for the night we made our way up a windy road to our dinner spot.  Just our luck – the entire restaurant had been rented out for a private party and they couldn’t honor our reservation.  So we decided to head down to the water and eat somewhere with a beach front view.  It was our least favorite meal, but still delicious.  We were laughing about how it was the Olive Garden of Positano.  The only menu we read the entire trip that was entirely in English (this is usually a bad sign, FYI).  People often tease me about my research on food and my reservation quirk.  I hate going somewhere without reservations.  I don’t know why – it’s just a thing I have I guess.  And this experience reaffirmed that I am not a total nut job!  It really does pay to do a little research and find a table that comes highly recommended.  Or else all you get to experience is the Olive Garden of Positano.  But the gelato that night made up for our mediocre meal.  Half hazelnut – half chocolate for the win!

It was our last full day in Positano and we spent the remainder of it buying souvenirs for all the people at home taking care of our Sloan (mostly lemon chocolate and lemon candy) and exploring the city a little more.  We headed back afterwards and did some laundry – one of the biggest perks of our AirBNB was not only location, but that we could do laundry in the privacy of our own kitchen.  Then we packed our bags to go back to Paris.

The car service picked us up bright and early at 6:30 am and drove us back to Naples to catch our flight to Paris.  It was sad leaving our little apartment.  The drive back was dreamy though – through Sorrento and a few other little coastal towns.

We arrived in Paris in time for a late lunch at Les Antiquaires near the D’Orsay.

Then we walked across the river to the Louvre and took our photo – the same photo we have taken ever time we have visited Paris together.

Afterwards we took the metro to a few stores on Champs-Elysse.  We had a dinner reservation but were both still completely full from our intense lunch.  So we wandered around and decided to ditch dinner for one last crepe.  Worth every calorie and I swear this particular crepe guy smeared half the bottle of Nutella on mine.  I wasn’t mad, though.

We got some sodas and walked back to our hotel.  We had an early night and packed our bags for our departure in the morning.

I woke up early for one last run around the city.  I ran over and down the street where Zach and I first stayed on our study abroad together – off of Grenelle.  The hotel has been completely remodeled and renamed, but it was still fun to see it.  I also saw the restaurant we’ve been going to up the street [We actually didn’t dine at it this time, and ironically it’s called Pizza Amalfi.  We knew it wouldn’t live up to real Italian pizza, so we skipped out this trip.] since our first trip to Paris together back in 2007 – 10 years ago!  It was a short run but just what I needed before the long flight home.  It felt nostalgic to me. I have a feeling we won’t be back to Paris for a while.  With the new baby coming I know it’s only going to be more and more difficult to travel with Zach.  So it was bittersweet to see these little landmarks – it will hold me over for a while.

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle with only enough time for me to grab some macarons for my family at Laduree to go in my carry-on.  We were one of the last people to board our flight.  Poor Zach’s television monitor in his seat didn’t work the entire flight – so we shared mine and watched an entire season of Suits on our way back home.  We were completely shocked when Delta credited us 5,000 sky miles for the trouble!

This trip was an absolute dream.  I can’t even talk to people about it without tearing up.  It’s so hard leaving Sloan – but worth it for the time I get to spend with Zach.  Even just talking to him, uninterrupted, for 8 days was enough for me.  It was magic and I’ll never be able to repay Zach for the time and effort he put into helping me plan this trip.  Even though this wasn’t number one vacation destination, I think it totally won him over.  And I’m smitten.  Forever.

So Much Summer

Family and food.  What more can a girl ask for?  Our summer is officially in full swing.

We went out with Zach’s parents for dinner on Monday evening for Family Night.  Mark, Zach’s dad, requested to sit outside.  The weather was perfect and our meal was delicious.

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This week was my turn to plan our afternoon for Activty Days.  We had popsicles at the local splash pad.  I was worried the kiddie splash pad would be a little juvenile for the girls, but I was wrong.  Sometimes I forget how young these gals really are.  They keep me laughing…and on my toes!

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Wednesday night I totally spaced dinner and decided to drive up to Kaysville with Zach for some “World Famous Corn Dogs”.  It wasn’t fancy, but it was extremely filling.  I haven’t had a corn dog in three years.  This was a great finale to hold me over for the next three years.

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Thursday I took my built-in best friend to the pool to swim some laps.  I have been slacking at hitting up the SDRC [running on the treadmill at our club house is so much more convenient] and decided to break my streak.  Baby girl has been constantly moving lately.  Her movements feel more and more pronounced as the days go by.  As I was swimming back and forth I would feel her move steadily.  I hope she takes up swimming like her mom so we can do laps for real one day.

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Besides the Kaysville Corn Dogs, we checked off another summer restaurant we’ve had on our list.  Rye, a little hipster restaurant, down town.  They are known for their breakfast, but we dined there for dinner.


Zach loved the Coke in glass bottles and I was ga-ga over their branding and menu.

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Zach highly recommends the fried chicken.  I selected a shrimp appetizer and was pleasantly surprised.

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Saturday morning I drug Zach out of bed to hit up the Farmer’s Market down town.


We got tri-tip, a giant bag of sweet basil, and some honey wheat bread.

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Afterwards we had brunch at the Park Cafe.  The pancakes were on point, as usual.

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And because we hadn’t eaten enough, Zach begging me to stop and get an obnoxiously oversized snow cone in Bountiful.  I passed, but Zach was so distracted with his treat that he made me drive home.

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We concluded our Saturday night at City Creek testing out rockers for the nursery and dining at Brio.  Zach is taking this daddy business pretty seriously…

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Our weekend ended at my parents house for Sunday dinner celebrating my dad’s 56th birthday.  I made him a version of his favorite dessert [Eclair Cake] but jazzed it up for the summer by trying it s’mores style.  It was beyond rich, but pretty good if you ask me.  Pinterest is always keeping me entertained with these new summer recipes.

And because I am a slacker, weeks 18 and 19 have officially come and gone.  This week marks the half way point for me and my gal pal.

18 weeks

19 weeks

Viva la Birthday Bowl

This week I turned twenty-six.  Truth be told, I expected to feel no different – but strangely, I DO feel different.  But only in a good way…

My week was really great.  I got Handwritten notes…

I got to lounge on the couch and catch up on watching the Kardashians…

Zach even let me wear his clothes to the gym.  I wear his Notorious BIG and Dr. Dre’s the Chronic tee-shirts when I work out, it gives me street cred at the gym…also, it makes me feel more powerful when I do weights.  I am serious.

I got to go out with some of my college/design friends.  We went to Vivace.  I have been wanting to go there for weeks, and conned my friends into going with me.  It was as great as I had built it up in my head and heart.  [For those of you who like Cucina Toscana…it was created by the same owner.]

Surprisingly, this was the best photo we got the entire night:

I got to go out with some friends from my ward and neighborhood to PF Changs – we literally stayed until they had to politely invite us to leave.  We also were very loud.  98% my fault…

I even got an early surprise gift from my sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew.  The card reads “Happy Birday Katie”.  I am saving it forever.

Also, I had to document this radical birthday card from my one and only…cats and basketball.  What more could a girl ask for?

Friday after work Zach picked me up and we drove straight to the airport.  We were off to Las Vegas and warmer temperatures for the weekend!  It was planned really last minute – I was supposed to go to New York for work, then Los Angeles for work, then Zach and I were going to St. George for the weekend, and then finally settled on Las Vegas.  It’s a looooong story.

We touched down in Vegas at 6:30 pm and went straight to our hotel to check in.  We stayed at the Vdara this go around.  It was our first time, but definitely won’t be our last.  We booked the room with a killer deal on Expedia and were totally shocked at how nice the accomodations were – our room even came with a kitchenette [but more on that later].

We changed our clothes and were off to dinner at the Wynn.

At a friend’s recommendation, we tried the Wynn Buffet.  Zach was elated with the plethora of meat and I stayed in the dessert area for the majority of the time.

After our meal we went to the casino:  to win big at the WAR table.  Yes, I am serious.

Zach and his friends love this game and I quickly learned to love it as well…until I was forced to retire with only a $5 chip left.

We spent the rest of the night playing Blackjack, getting more dessert, and relaxing in our hotel.

The next morning we got breakfast at the hotel’s smoothie bar and then set off to do some birthday shopping.

We started at Fashion Show Mall and made our way over to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s.

The weather was perfect.

Zach entertained himself while walking store to store by taking pictures of me next to every 49ers fan possible.

Also, we spotted Ice-T and Coco in front of Hugo Boss.  Zach yelled/rapped as he continued through the mall.  Our last stop was at the Nike Store: where we geared up for the big game the following day.

Later that night we had dinner at Noodles at the Bellagio.  It’s a long story, but one of Zach’s clients that he charters private flights for always requests this food on the plane when he travels home from Vegas.  So we figured we would try it out and were not disappointed.

Immediately after our dinner Zach started prepping for the Super Bowl.  After shopping through the Bellagio Shops we walked over to Walgreens to get some supplies.

The entire weekend we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do the for the game – we looked into going to a Sports Book, restaurants, and other options – but Zach decided he wanted to stay at our hotel for the game.  We had the kitchenette anyway, so why not put it to good use?  So we stocked up on soda, ice cream, chips and salsa, and some other snacks.

The next morning we decided to hit the pool.  There was hardly anyone else out there – seems like people were scared off by 65 degrees?

After our pool session we went straight to the Bellagio for breakfast.  Yes, in our swim gear – still a little soggy.  We had deep dish pancakes.

Since we decided to stay in the room for the big game we had to purchase it for another night.  Zach decided he would go all out.  He started with rearranging all the furniture in our room to have a “better Super Bowl experience”.

Then, in the middle of the game he ordered us room service.  For those who know Zach well, you would understand that this was a huge splurge for him.  But, it was a special occasion after all…and he wanted something amazing to eat when we were to “celebrate the victory”.

The entire game was a roller coaster – ever since the very first play.  When we started to come back in the last half, there was a lot of celebrating.

 But inevitably, I guess it’s true when they say “you can’t win them all”.  We are confident that the Niners will be back in the Superbowl in the near future, but until then…we drowned our sorrows in the food that was delivered.  Including the molten chocolate cake.

Then it was off to the airport.  We weren’t the only disappointed fans.  People everywhere adorned Gore, Willis, and Kaepernick jerseys and were hanging their heads a little lower.

I feel really lucky.  Blessed to have my husband, family, and friends.  That’s the best part of having a birthday, I think.  Being reminded of the people in your life that care about you really is the best gift.

Paris Day 2 – Versailles

Sunday we decided to take a train to Versailles.  We both had been to the palace before, but we wanted to explore during the off season with less tourists.  I was nervous that going in the fall would be a disappointment, but I was dead wrong.

I have this weird love affair with French history – in particular, I adore Marie Antoinette.  I know, she kinda has a bad rep, but I wasn’t a French commoner during her reign, so I still love her.

The gilded gate, a sight to be seen all on its own.

The Hall of Mirrors.

After walking through the royal apartments, we stopped to eat in the cafe before we ventured outside to the gardens.  It was drizzling off and on for the majority of the day but luckily it stopped raining as soon as we were done walking through the palace.  The chateau is stunning, but the gardens are incredible.  True, the fountains weren’t on and the flowers weren’t in bloom – but it was still breathtaking with the colorful leaves.

We spent most of our time at the Grand and Petit Trianon – The Petit being my favorite.

We also explored the rest of Marie Antionette’s estate, including the farm.  If you were to ask Zach what his favorite part of Versailles was, he would tell you it was the goats.  He loves goats.

I love the structures at the farm, it reminds me of a fairy tale.  It’s a true fact that Marie Antoinette had this farm and its other buildings constructed so she could pretend to be a milk maid and escape “royal life”.  An interesting fact?  She had all the cows washed before she would touch them and would take lambs for walks using silk ribbons for leashes.  Her estate is my FAVORITE part of all of Versailles – truly extravagant and unnecessary, truly French royalty!

After seeing everything we wanted to see [and almost renting a golf cart to get us back to the chateau] we made our way back to the train station for Paris.  We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in a public square near the Paris Opera House.  We ate here on our first trip back to Paris for first anniversary.  The only thing we could understand on the menu?  Cheese and chicken.  We got both of those things.

We stopped for a view of the Opera House on our way back to the Metro station.  It is so gorgeous lit up at night!

We ended our late night at McDonald’s so Zach could get a cone glace [an ice cream cone] this is, in fact, the only food item Zach knows how to say in French.  He says it with an authentic accent, too.  Amongst all the finest desserts and pastries in Paris, Zach wanted Mickey D’s.

Some things will never change.

Rip-offs – Resolutions – Released.

The remainder of our week was kind of random, but here’s an update:

Work is great.  Not slowing down, not even one bit, but so good.  I feel so lucky to have this job.  We have a lot of big projects coming through, which makes my boss happy.  Happy enough to take me to lunch twice this week.  You’d think it would be weird for a 25-year-old woman to go out with her 48-year-old male boss, but I really enjoy his company.  It’s nice to be appreciated, especially by a bunch of hoodlum men.

Speaking of the guys at work – they have helped me form my New Years Resolution.  I know it’s early, but its kind of a bet/challenge.  You see…there’s this pipe that stretches across a hallway in the shop.  Every now and then the guys do chin-up competitions out there.  They L O V E it.  They think they are pretty hot stuff.  I laugh hysterically, and usually pull up a chair (or ladder) and watch.  They challenged me to do just one, and I couldn’t.  My legs just pretty much flailed the whole time.  In my defense, chin-ups are hard for women!!  We aren’t programmed with upper body strength, ok?!  But, they all decided that if I could do a chin-up, they would give me a cash prize.  I have decided this will be my goal – to do one, glorious, chin-up.  Then I will use all the money that I win (by proving them wrong) to buy chocolate.  Lots of Reeses’ eggs, perhaps.  Everyone has to have a dream, right?

We received an early Christmas present from my in-laws, we have Jazz tickets again this year!  We get to go to a few games, but are most excited for the Jazz vs. Lakers game!  I am so excited for basketball to start…

I had lunch with an old co-worker on Thursday – it was so great to catch up with her!  That is the thing I miss most about working at Peppertree, the people.

Thursday night Zach and I had a date at the Bountiful Temple.  It was much needed.

Saturday we cleaned out our closet.  We filled four garbage sacks full of clothes.  I hate getting rid of clothes.  As I was folding some old items Zach looked at an old green dress and said, “You can’t give that dress away!  You wore that on our first date, don’t you remember?”  How is it possible that he can’t remember to pay our utility bills, but he remembers in detail what I wore on our first date?  Another reason I am obsessed with him.  In an attempt to feel even a tiny fraction of comfort for getting rid of all those duds, we decided we would take them to Plato’s Closet to see if we could get any moolah for them.  What a rip off!  I walked out of there with a 20 dollar bill.  Zach, surprisingly, was ecstatic!  He kept talking about how getting rid of our gently used clothes would buy us brunch.  Brunch  has become a Saturday tradition for us.

We then went on an errand rampage!  After getting hosed at Plato’s we went to the Distribution Center, made a donation to the DI, printed some items off for church, went to the grocery store, and then finally went to brunch.  We decided to go to Eggs in the City – my first time!  It was amazing.  Zach built his own omelet [with a side of pancake] and I had this egg white, spinach, and avocado breakfast burrito – B O M B.

After checking off a few more items on my list, we were back at home getting ready for our night out.  We dined at Arella and then went and saw The Trouble with the Curve – you know, with JT and Clint Eastwood.  I got gelato for the movie – my favorite detail about the Centerville movie theater.

Sunday was an emotional day for me.  I, along with the other members of the Relief Society presidency, was released from my calling.  Everyone kept asking me if I was relieved.  To my surprise and to be completely honest, I was really sad.  We had the opportunity to bear our testimonies in Relief Society afterwards and I cried through the whole thing.  I am sad about the possibility of not being in Relief Society with the change of a new calling.  This was the hardest calling I have ever had, and by far the most rewarding.  I hope, that wherever I go in the church, the sisters of the Relief Society know how much I love them.  They made every second of work worth while for me, I adore them.  I also will miss the ladies that I served with.  One is moving to Logan, another has already moved to Colorado, and the rest of us will most likely end up in completely different auxiliaries in the church.  I hope I get the chance to work with them again one day…

Sunday night was spent preparing our Mexican feast – fajitas, spanish rice, homemade salsa and chips, and Zach’s favorite ice cream for dessert.  Don’t be fooled by the super classy dinnerware, this meal oozed class!  Watching Zach eat ice cream is like being punished.  It is literally excruciating.  He takes the teeny tiniest bites – it makes you want to shove a giant spoonful in his face!

We enjoyed the rest of the night watching football together.  I plan to spend all the time I can with him before he sets off on his big hunting trip in Montana.  Even if it takes him a week to eat a tiny pint of ice cream…please tell me I am not the only one who can pound a pint in on night?


Our Pioneer Holiday [#21][#12][#20][#48]

Since I had the 24th off from work, we decided to go out and do something Monday night.  We came to an agreement to do #21 – Drive-in Movie.  We went out to dinner and then killed some time before it got dark getting treats.  We were only planning on getting a few items, but ended up on an excursion.

We got two boxes of Chips Ahoy cookies, two different types of mascara, three magazines, some Reese’s cups, seriously considered buying a flannel…

almost bought a fishing pole…

And at one point, I couldn’t get Zach out of the store because he was taking a free electronic eye exam.  Talk about ADD in it’s purest form.

We finally arrived at the Drive-in.  We made a comfy spot in the back of Zach’s car and read our magazines and munched on our treats until the movie started.  We decided to see the Amazing Spiderman.

The movie was great, and we didn’t leave the lot until around midnight.  But we decided to take full advantage of our day off the next day, so we went on a late drive around Bountiful and North Salt Lake.  We stopped on Eagleridge Drive and checked out the gorgeous view of the valley.

The next morning was really low key.  We slept in, did laundry, and then decided to go to lunch downtown.  Zach took me to a place called Pallet, on 400 W. near the Gateway.  This qualified as another summer list item #12 – Try a new restaurant.

At first glance, the branding and the design of the restaurant was a dream.  I was in love from the second I set foot in that place.

We ordered our drinks [that came in mason jars] and our entrees – we both ordered the same thing.  We got the turkey avocado and bacon sandwich, but I got mine in wrap form.

After lunch we ventured over to the Gateway to do some shopping before heading up to Ogden.

We ate dinner with the entire Henderson clan and watched the kiddies jump off the mountain, slide down the slide, and swim from one end of the pool to the other.

Observe Mark on the waterfall, hanging loose with the kiddies!  Such a fun grandpa.

After the pool-fest at the Hendersons we drove down to my parents’ house for an ice cream date.  We drove to Coldstone, ate our ice cream and chatted until they kicked us out, and then watched fireworks from the car.  This counted as #20 – Fireworks!  We weren’t sprawled out on a blanket, but we stayed cool and listened to some great tunes instead.  I like fireworks just as much that way.

Before returning home, my Dad told me we had to swing by their house for a “surprise”.  He led us both down to the basement and showed me his gift:  a full-scale skeleton model.  It’s plastic, not bone…I promise.  It has all the fingers and toes, and all of the parts are movable.  My Dad knows I love Halloween, and wanted me to have this as part of my decor.  Isn’t he thoughtful?

It was pretty hilarious driving home with it in the back seat.  It’s literally taller than both Zach and my Dad.

He [Captain Skully] will live in our spare bedroom with our Christmas Trees and other holiday decor.  I just hope whoever enters that room has a fair warning – he looks pretty scary just lying there…

Thursday after work, Zach left for another Boys’ Trip.  This time to the US Surf Open in California.  I love Zach’s friends, and I love even more that he still goes on trips with them and does other activities with them.  In his own words, “Kate…sometimes you just need to go to the US Surf Open with your friends.”

He left Thursday when he got done with work, and I didn’t even get to see him by the time I got home.  But when I walked upstairs into my bedroom, I found this on my bed…

Earlier that day at work, my MacBook Pro was having issues.  It turned into a huge complication and I couldn’t even get it to turn back on.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and go get a new one.  I have been saving for a new MacBook for over two years, anticipating the release of this new Retina Display.  I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a new one until my old one died on me, and it finally did.  So I rushed off to the Apple Store to get my new Mac.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but when you use a computer EVERY single day like I do, it is a pretty big part of your livelihood.  I totally teared up while purchasing it.

Yes, I am taking a photo of it in F21.  It was that big of a moment for me.  It rode next to me in the car on the way to dinner, too.

Later that night, my Mom’s side of the family went out to dinner to celebrate my Grandpa’s 80th Birthday at our family favorite – David’s Kitchen.

After dinner we all went back to my parents for cake and ice cream, while Grandpa opened his gifts.

Friday my Mom and Aunt picked me up from work to go to lunch at Paradise Bakery.  We chatted, ate our turkey and cranberry sandwiches, and then shared some chocolate chip cookies.  When they dropped me off, my mother suddenly had to use the restroom.  I took her into my office and showed her where our bathroom was.  About 5 minutes later, I heard her screaming my name at the top of her lungs.  The whole office could hear.  All the guys erupted in laughter.  Turns out she was out of toilet paper, which is better than I expected when I heard her shrieking.  The guys obviously could tell where I inherited my high-pitched voice.

Since Zach was gone, Friday night after work I decided to get a massage at my sister-in-law’s spa.  This activity was also on our summer list #48 – Massage at Beyond Spa.

Zach was really looking forward to this activity, but I went without him.  Don’t feel bad for him, though…because he was having the time of his life in Vegas that night.  I usually request the same girl every time I go to her spa – but this time, she recommended someone new.  I have never been a huge fan of massages – I usually feel sore and achy after, but enjoy them during the duration of the massage.  This time, this therapist did a very unique technique.  She stretched my arms, hands, legs, and even my neck in different positions.  Imagine doing Yoga and getting a massage at the same time – that basically sums it up.  It was my favorite massage…ever.  I can’t wait to go back.  The best part is that I wasn’t sore at all the next day!

After my massage my parents came over to keep me company.  We watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and my Mom helped me put together “treasure baskets” for the Family Reunion the next day.

Saturday I drove up to the Henderson Cabin for Jeanene’s Family Reunion.  We had Madsens from all over join us up at Causey.  My assignment was to come up with an activity for the kids.  I decided to do a Princess and Pirate Treasure Hunt with clues all around the cabin.  There were even more kids than I expected join in.

They had a great time and were even smart enough to skip two of the clues to get to the treasure faster.  They enjoyed the toys and treats – foam swords, ring pops, paper airplanes, princess puzzles, and other Dollar Store treasures.

While I was at the reunion, Zach and his friends were still enjoying Vegas…

Sunday was so relaxing.  I watched the Olympics after church until I went to my Parents’ for Sunday Dinner.

Meanwhile, Zach and the boys finally made it to Hunnington for the US Nike Surf Open and enjoyed the event.

My Grandma [my Dad’s mother] and my Grandpa [my Mom’s father] both joined us for dinner at my Parents’.  My Grandma even came sporting her colored denim.  She’s just trying to stay hip, is all.

We finished the night with some Olympic swimming races and watched the Women’s Gymnastics [my absolute favorite Olympic event].  It was a great week, and for now the only thing getting me through Monday is counting down the hours until Zach comes home!