Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Currently: June Edition

I can't believe how quickly the past few weeks- and really, this summer- has flown by! I've been trying to blog as much as possible, but between new jobs, a new city here in Des Moines, vacation planning, and going back and forth between Iowa and Minnesota every weekend- life has gotten in the way, and I'm totally fine with that! So, a quick "currently" post for today!

Throwback to last week at Jasper Winery in Des Moines!
Anticipating: an amazing trip to Los Angeles and Napa Valley in 3 short weeks! I'll be visiting a friend in LA for a few days before meeting up with Nick in Napa. While in Napa, we already have plans to visit several stunning vineyards, including Trefethen, Silver Oak, and Nickel & Nickel! This is truly going to be the trip of a lifetime, and I am so excited about all of the vineyards we will be visiting. The days can't go by fast enough!

Expanding: on my wine knowledge! Although I currently know a fair amount about wine- I've run a weekly feature on it previously!- there is always more to learn! I am trying to learn as much as possible, and pinpoint what areas I am most and least knowledgeable on before heading to Napa. I can't wait to ask the experts some questions, and really learn from them!

Lily cooling down with a popsicle at Pride 2015!
Loving: that the U.S. Supreme Court has finally legalized same-sex marriage! This past weekend was Pride in Minneapolis. Nick and I had already planned on attending, but with the recent news we knew it was going to be an even bigger weekend. Lily tried to tag along for the day, but our girl can't quite keep up- she got a little too hot on the walk to the parade, so Nick cooled her down with a popsicle and then carried her the rest of the way home.

Nick carrying the girl home!
Feeling: a new sense of appreciation for all of the people I know with full-time, 9-5 type jobs! After the last few weeks of work, plus my MBA classes, blogging, and every other thing that has to get completed- I have a new sense of appreciation for the hard work and dedication it takes to get everything done. Most days, I feel like I am on the go from the time my alarm goes off at 6:30 until my head finally connects with my pillow at 10:30 at night!

Celebrating: the end of another MBA course! I just completed my accounting course tonight- so right now, I'm almost halfway done with my MBA and have a 4.0 (straight A's)! Now, I have a week off until a new finance course starts. The end of a semester is always nice, because so far it has marked another A+ in a course. At the same time, it means that a new course is upon me and it is time to buckle back down!

Appreciating: that hard work pays off. I've been working hard in what feels like every aspect of my life- professionally with my job and this blog, personally on my relationships with Nick, family, and friends, and physically on getting into a routine for this new life. Slowly, I'm starting to adjust to things and it is all becoming easier, bit by bit!

Eating: A couple of Cheetos on the couch. Shopping for 4th of July weekend turned into a bit of a treat for tonight!

celebrating weddings & love in Duluth!
Wondering: how it can possibly already be almost 2 years ago that Nick and I got married! We attended a friend's wedding this past weekend in Duluth, and for both of us it was the first wedding we had attended since our own. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown, yet at the same time how it feels like we have been married forever!

Watching: the weather report for the upcoming 4th of July weekend! The 4th is always a great holiday, and Nick and I will be headed up to the cabin to celebrate with friends. Unfortunately, that means we have a 6 hour drive - each way - ahead of us. At the same time, it will be well worth it!

Throwing it back to our wedding in September 2013!
And the last verb for today.... dreaming of sleep! Like I mentioned previously, life has been pretty go go go lately. As such, I'm ready to hit the hay before taking on another day. Hope everyone is having a terrific week so far! What do you have planned for the long weekend over Fourth of July?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tourist in My Own Town: Jasper Winery in Des Moines, Iowa

Since moving to Des Moines two weeks ago, tons of exciting things have happened. Both Nick and I started new jobs, and we booked a little summer getaway to Napa Valley in July. Combine the recent move, new jobs, and the fact that I'd never been to a vineyard before, and we decided it was high time that we took on the day as tourists in our new town and head to Jasper Winery!

Jasper Winery is located just a few miles from downtown Des Moines, and is super easy to get to. The actual wine tasting property has a ton of cool features, and several vines to give you the feel of being a vineyard- despite the actual vineyard being located about 30 miles from downtown Des Moines.

Upon walking up to the tasting room, we noticed that it was very busy- and for good cause. About once or twice a month Jasper Winery hosts a wine & painting event, and there were certainly tons of people present for the event! Unfortunately for Nick and I- regular old guests- this meant that we were asked to take a seat and they'd get to us as soon as possible for a tasting. While the 20 minute wait wasn't exactly what we had in mind, it was fortunately the only negative aspect of our visit to Jasper Winery.

Once we stepped up to the tasting counter, you are instructed to choose between two different tasting sets: the "Best of Des Moines" flight or the "Sweet & Feisty" flight. Because this vineyard is located in Iowa- and hence, not the ideal growing season for many different grapes- a lot of the wines can be fairly sweet. This is exactly why an entire flight is dedicated to sweeter wines, or more interesting wines- such as one made with hops from Jasper's sister brewery! Nevertheless, both Nick and I chose to taste the Best of Des Moines flight.

The best news about the tasting flights at Jasper? They are completely complementary for guests to enjoy! The Best of Des Moines flight features a Seyval Blanc, an unoaked Seyval Blanc, a JW Rosé, the 'Behind the Shed Red', the Marquette, and a Noiret. Upon speaking with Kylie, our helper for the day, she informed us that the Noiret was one of the most popular favorites among guests, and her personal favorite.

The Seyval Blanc was dry, fruity, and it was quite easy to taste that it had been aged in oak barrels. I would most recommend this to chardonnay lovers because of the oak barrel aging- while it was a good selection, it was not my personal favorite. However, the unbaked Seyval Blanc was quite delicious, with the same fruity flavors, and aging it in stainless steel made it almost reminiscent towards a Pinot Grigio. Ultimately, Nick and I decided to purchase and enjoy a bottle of this.

Each of the red wines was fairly dry and fruity. As Kylie mentioned, the Noiret was definitely the best selection. If Nick and I had been visiting the vineyard on a different day, and would be drinking inside instead of enjoying the sunny & 90 degree day, we would have selected the Noiret to enjoy. After purchasing a bottle of wine and ordering a meat and cheese platter, we headed out to the patio to enjoy the beautiful day!

The property at Jasper Winery is beautiful, and had a lot of great touches. Tucked away from the major highways and roadways, you really felt you were out in the country at a vineyard- versus being right in the city, like we essentially were! There are tons of picturesque spots at the winery, from the vines outdoors and the other gorgeous landscaping to inside the tasting room with the wine barrels behind you.

Overall, I would highly recommend Jasper Winery to anybody from the Des Moines area or swinging by and visiting! The wines were delicious, and definitely had a bottle for everyone's palette. Customer service overall was very good, and each of the workers were very knowledgeable. For a picturesque Sunday (or any day of the week, really!) afternoon, consider a trip out to Jasper Winery!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Would You Rather // Travel Edition

I think we all remember as kids (or, truthfully, even as adults) playing the "Would you rather" game. After seeing the Would You Rather / Travel Edition post on Shane's blog, I decided that today would be a perfect day to participate! Without further ado, here are my answers to the Would You Rather game with a focus on traveling...

Travel or focus on your career at 25?

Ouch. #CurrentLifeDilemma. As much as I'd love to answer travel, that is where my heart goes. And over the last month or so, my head has won- and as such, I'd say career. Nick and I just announced his retirement, round two, from hockey, in order to focus on career. We had a great couple of years in Sweden and traveling throughout Europe - and the world - but at this point in our lives, it was time to focus on long-term careers and to be closer to our family. So, career, you win for now. Especially as we are still able to travel a fair amount- we are living in a brand new city (and state) and already have a trip booked to Napa Valley and LA for me.

tuk-tuk rides while in Thailand!
Have a $10,000 budget for a holiday and fly first class for $5,000 and stay in mediocre accommodation OR fly economy for $1,000 and stay in luxury accommodation?

Well, this one is pretty easy. Nick and I flew economy to Thailand - 12 hours from Minneapolis to Tokyo, 8 hours Tokyo to Bangkok, and then another 1.5 Bangkok to Koh Samui. In part because of flying economy, we were able to spend an entire month in Thailand for our honeymoon- as such, economy is definitely the way to go! We have been fortunate for the last two years that during the off-season, time is not our travel constraint- as such, we would much rather skimp on some things (like flying economy) and have much more time to spend in our destinations!

private plane trip while in Dominican Republic... can't give up the amazing views from the air!
Never take the train OR never take an airplane again?

Another easy one...I'm liking the start to this! Definitely never taking a train. I've enjoyed train rides in the past- but, you are limited in your destinations. On the other hand, you can fly pretty much anywhere in the world- so I'll keep on flying!

Stay in a palm hut along the seashore for 7 days OR stay in a log cabin in the woods for the next month?

Palm hut for sure. Unless if the log cabin was more luxurious than what I'm thinking- but right now I'm picturing spiders everywhere, of which I'm not a fan. Give me the beach all day, every day!

Wake up without your wallet OR wake up without your passport and phone?

Hmm... I'd say wake up without my passport and phone. First off, I'm stuck in about 2011 people- still rocking an iPhone 4s! Yep, I'm that person. Passports can always be replaced, and I'd love to replace my phone. Still having my wallet, with all of my IDs, credit & debit cards, would make life a little bit easier!

Be left behind in the bush on an African safari OR be left behind in the water on a scuba trip?

I'd much rather be left behind during an African safari for sure. While I've loved scuba diving, it is a different experience for sure and I would not want to be stuck bobbing in the ocean all day!

Lose your luggage and land on time OR land 12 hours late but with your luggage intact?

Lose my luggage for sure. I've had this happen a fair amount of times (truthfully, way too many to be normal), when I've been forced to check a bag. I usually fly with just a carry-on bag so I'm good to go! I hate plane delays more than anything, so going without luggage is easier to replace than 12 lost hours.

Have an awesome job in a mediocre city OR a mediocre job in an awesome city?

This is a tough one, especially for right now. Both Nick and I have landed pretty awesome jobs in Des Moines, but ... I'll let you read into that what you will. I think I'd have to answer a mediocre job in an awesome city- life is not all about work. I love the Swedish standard of 6 weeks paid vacation per year, plus a paid holiday at least every month (or so it feels, I swear!) I'd much rather have a mediocre job that I don't love and be living somewhere awesome!

Greece is near the top of my list!
Be able to teleport to places you've already been OR only be able to teleport to places you've never been before?

Definitely only teleport to places I've never been. There are so many terrific places in the world that I have yet to explore, that it would be awesome if I could just magically appear there!

Be stuck on a seven-hour delay OR show up at the airport and find out your flight is tomorrow?

Hmm...I suppose show up at the airport and find out your flight is tomorrow. Again, I hate delays. If I am honest, I'm usually much too organized to not have the date of my flight right- but I can't imagine life would be too difficult if I showed up a day early. Just means that I would have a full 24 hours to double and triple check everything all over!

Be able to play every musical instrument that you touch OR speak every language that you hear?

Hands down, every language. I don't think this is even a question. I picked up a fair amount of Swedish over the last two years, and of course it helps that Nick is fluent. I've got to admit though, I am insanely jealous of his fluent Swedish, German, and passable Russian. Don't get me started on the Europeans who easily speak 3+ languages fluently- which is pretty standard. People don't realize how important languages are, or how valuable of a tool it is to know several. Side note- one of my favorite things about knowing Swedish while in the U.S. is that it is Nick and I's secret language, and whenever we don't want people to know what we are saying we switch right over to Swedish. It is our secret language!

enjoying Oktoberfest in Munich with my family
Travel back in time to meet your ancestors OR travel in the future to meet your descendants?

Hmm....I've gotta go with ancestors. I enjoy history, and Nick loves it- so all of our travels have a bit of history wrapped into them. My family is pretty cool (see above photo, visiting Oktoberfest), so I can't even imagine how awesome my ancestors would be! My ancestry is mostly German and Norwegian, so they come from pretty cool places too.

Have in-flight WiFi but no legroom (0 inches) OR in-flight legroom but no WiFi?

Legroom, legroom, legroom. I've had flights with WiFi before, and while it is a nice perk- it absolutely isn't necessary for me. Flights are usually an awesome time for me to sleep, so what good does WiFi do if I don't even use it?

Be able to eat anything and any quantity of food with zero negative health effects OR be refreshed and well rested after only three hours of sleep?

Three hours of sleep, hands down. I swear, my body only functions normally when I get 9+ hours of sleep. I'm currently battling with this right now, as I just started my new (full-time, grown-up!) job this week. Waking up at 630 A.M. to get a run in before working 9-6, then trying to work on my MBA and blogging, only to fall into bed dead tired around 10 or 11...my sleep is lacking. And I miss it. This decision was also made pretty easy by the fact that I can stomach anything I really want to eat- so there is that!

Travel along the ocean floor OR take a trip to outer space?

This is a tough one, because I don't know if I have a strong desire to do either. I suppose I'll say outer space, because why not?

making faces while in Riga, because why not?
Die happy in 5 years or die unhappy in 65 years?

I'd rather not think about it, but happiness is so important. I don't understand why anyone would want to do something, continuously, on repeat, if they weren't happy. Obviously I understand that not every aspect of our lives is going to be perfect- but you have to have an end goal of being happy. If you aren't working towards that, whats the point?

So there you have it with my travel edition of would you rather! And with that, I'm off to enjoy the gorgeous weather down here in Des Moines. Hope you all have a great weekend! What are your answers for some of these questions, and is there anything special affecting your current travel decisions?

Friday, June 12, 2015

1 Week in Des Moines // Napa Next!

515 Brewing

It has officially been a full week since Nick and I moved down to Iowa! At just about this time exactly last week, we announced that we were moving on from hockey, and moving to Des Moines. Since then, we have both been busy bees getting settled into life down here- and new jobs! Upon arriving, we moved all of our stuff in, assembled our Ikea furniture, and started making the place feel like home. My Mom drove down from Minneapolis to help us move in (and bring a trunkful of our things!). As such, Friday and Saturday were pretty busy days getting organized and settled. When Saturday night came, it was time for a break...so we decided to check out the local scene, and headed to have a couple of drinks at 515 Brewery! 515 Brewing is a local brewery about ten minutes from us, located in West Des Moines. Full review on them coming later!

DIY-ing a table!
Since the move, I've been DIY-ing like crazy. So far, I've created a unique coffee table for us- just a slight modification to an Ikea table. In addition to that, I've been working on making some awesome drink coasters with pictures of our travels. DIY can really help to make an apartment feel like your own, so Nick has put up with me driving all over town getting supplies and getting set up here in Des Moines. My favorite DIY that I've completed so far is our coasters- they have pictures of our travels throughout the world (including several pictures of Västerås!), so they are a very unique piece to us.

Lily chewing on her keys
Lily, our bulldog, has taken a couple of days to get settled. She wasn't too sure about the move at first- especially when we had no furniture- but is finally starting to enjoy the place. Right now, she is curled up next to me on the couch snoring away. Also, you might notice our throw pillows- we saw the funky pillow, and knew that we had to have it as a touch of Sweden!

living room
Our place is starting to come together nicely! We purchased a couch last Saturday, and then spent some time running around town and picking up throw pillows and our bright footrest. Really serves for a pop of color in the place! One of my next DIY projects is possibly to recover it to a less stand-out-ish blue (to match our Scandinavian pillow). The first thing I hung up on the walls is our scratch-off travel map. While the frame isn't 100% complete- we still need to mat the picture- we love the uniqueness it adds to our living room.

Jobs...Nick has started his training, and is just working on the products. Think of it almost like hockey, where the guys have to learn the plays and things like that before getting out and practicing. I got hired for a couple of restaurant jobs right away, but have ultimately decided to go a different route...I'll be working as a Leasing Professional! Our apartment complex was hiring, and I went in a whim to apply and ended up getting hired. I start work on Monday, and am super excited for the career change and to get going. The new position sounds awesome, and perfect for me with my marketing and sales background! With the career change, Nick and I have to head up to Minneapolis this weekend to pick up all of my more business professional clothes.

Next Stop: Napa Valley!
The other piece of exciting news around here...Nick and I will be headed to Napa Valley in July! I've never been to Napa before (or California at all) so this will be my first trip, and I am so excited! We are staying at a great airbnb location near Oak Knoll. For anyone who has been to Napa, shoot me your best recommendations- I'd love to hear them!

So that is life in Des Moines over the past week! What do you have planned for the weekend? Any fun trips coming up?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chic by Royalton in Punta Cana: Review

Chic by Royalton Review
Chic by Royalton, Punta Cana
Close your eyes for just a minute. Imagine the sun warming your skin, the sound of ocean waves crashing, the chill of an icy cold cocktail in your hand, and the smell of salt water. Sounds like a little slice of heaven, right?

This is exactly what Nick and I were looking for when we booked the end of our stay in Punta Cana. We had already experienced days jam-packed with awesome activities (the best scuba diving in Punta Cana with Passion Paradise Adventures, adventurous days at Bavaro Adventure Park, and awesome tours with Bavaro Runners). After a week and a half of this, we were ready for a bit of a break. As we researched resorts, we discovered that Royalton had recently opened a new property in Punta Cana: Chic by Royalton. We couldn't resist the urge to try out and review a brand new, luxury, all-inclusive resort in a perfect location in Punta Cana. Upon our arrival, Chic had only been open for a few months, and we were excited to try out this luxury brand hotel. Without further ado, here is the full review of Chic!

Chic by Royalton Review
the grounds & buildings at Chic Punta Cana
Chic is an adults-only all inclusive resort, and overall a very luxurious one at that. Nick and I elected to stay at Chic by Royalton for a four-night stay, anticipating not having a care in the world. Overall, the level of service, amenities, and staff met and even exceeded our expectations, from the moment we arrived until long after leaving.

Upon arrival at Chic, we stepped out of our taxi and were immediately greeted "Welcome, Angells!" ...I cannot say how much it impressed me that upon arrival, we were greeted by first name. Our luggage was whisked away, and we were taken to the check-in desk. Laury helped us through every step of the check-in process, and even assisted in getting us upgraded accommodations to a Presidential Suite. As we arrived at 10 A.M., unfortunately the suite would not be ready for a few hours- but it was not to worry, Laury provided us with our wristbands to begin enjoying the accommodations. Rather than changing into our suits and heading directly to the pool, we decided to stop for a visit at the lobby bar. Felipe, or "shake-it shake-it baby" was an amazing bartender who always greeted us by name and provided our favorite cocktails without asking. He must have just learned the "shake-it shake-it baby" saying as each drink was presented to us with his signature expression. Overall, the staff was incredible and treated all of the guests with a lot of respect, energy, and enthusiasm for their jobs.

Chic Punta Cana Review
Nick and I enjoying our last evening at Chic
Beyond the staff, the best part about Chic by Royalton is definitely the accommodations. There are two different tiers: Diamond Club, and the regular all-inclusive. Diamond Club access gets you either a poolside or ocean view suite, upgraded drink selections in your room, access to private areas of the resort, and a personal butler, among other options. While staying at Chic, I heard rave reviews about the Diamond Club access- but personally, did not feel it was entirely necessary. The 'regular' drink selections are still widely varied and name-brand varieties of beer, wine, and liquor. At a lot of all-inclusive resorts, the liquor selections will be domestic, cheap brands. Chic Punta Cana had premium brands available from the U.S., as well as local liquors available.

best hotel in Punta Cana
The Presidential Suite at Chic by Royalton Punta Cana
Another view of our room
Our suite was amazing, and more than we could have asked for in a hotel room. With a living room adjoining the king-sized bedroom and bathroom with dual-waterfall shower, jacuzzi, and dual vanities, Nick and I felt we had more than enough room. The decor was very swanky and definitely could be described as chic. The maid service swings by in the mornings, and there is also a turn down service provided at night. I certainly didn't mind returning to my room after dinner and having the bed turned down, ready to tuck right into! Speaking of the beds- amazing, super comfortable, king-sized bed. The only problem (if you can call it that!) is that the bed was so large it was difficult for me to be a bed hog.

best hotel in Punta Cana review
Enjoying the ocean view & sunset at night!
Outside of our rooms, the resort had impeccable grounds. Seaweed on the beach was swept up each morning. Although some guests complain about this, even in the evenings there was a minimal amount of seaweed. It is the ocean people, it happens. The pools were huge, and had calmer areas and more of party-areas. Daily and nightly activities were fun to partake in, especially the dancing in the lobby bar. The staff all work very hard to ensure that each and every guest has a memorable experienced. Activities ranged from foam parties in the pool, to yoga and dancing classes, to evening dances and parties. Beyond the structured activities, there is of course the pool, beach, and mermaid pool to enjoy, as well as a life-sized foosball game, giant chess set, and more. Personally, I also loved how picture-perfect the resort was- finding great picture spots was super easy!

Chic PUnta Cana
Just one of many picture-perfect spots on the resort!
Chic Punta Cana review
working away- not a bad way of working!
Another terrific lounge spot
Chic Punta Cana review
Who doesn't love a swim-up bar?
Hunter, the steakhouse, and Vespa, the Italian restaurant, are the best restaurants at the resort for evening meals. Even during the day, and other dining hours, the buffet is a great choice with plenty of fresh selections and meals to please every appetite. A highlight of Chic by Royalton is the room service available, which was always fairly timely (less than 20 minutes from order to arrive) for Nick and I.

A side note- when you read reviews online, there are a fair amount of complaints. One of the first is regarding the language barrier. In my experience, each of the staff members at Chic had fairly good to exceptional English. Keep in mind, you are traveling to a country where English is not their first language- and often, the staff members spoke English, Spanish, and even a third or fourth language. The ocean will be wavy and rough at times- but there is always a pool available. Another frequent complaint is the persistence of the TravelSmart representatives to sit down, take a tour, and consider becoming a member. To avoid this, just be upfront and honest, say you aren't particularly interested, and they will leave you alone.

chic punta cana review
enjoying cocktails with our new friends!
Another bonus factor of staying at Chic Punta Cana is actually the other clientele. Nick and I found that each of the other guests staying here were super friendly, easy to relate to, and overall terrific people. We definitely made some great friends on the trip, and are so happy that we met each of these people while staying at Chic!

Nick enjoying a cigar before dinner
Chic really has everything you could ever want in a resort. Impeccable accommodations, friendly staff, daily and nightly activities, and great food are just some of the highlights to touch on. The resort also has several shops, including a cigar shop, touristy shops, and a convenience store with anything you may have forgotten at home.

One thing I do unfortunately have to touch on, is the importance of locking up your belongings when you aren't in your room. One of our friends did have a cell phone and wallet stolen from their room while at dinner. The management did say they were going to work to find out who had accessed their room, but ultimately, things like this shouldn't happen- especially when you are staying at as nice of a resort as Chic. While Nick and I did not have any issues (because our valuables were always locked up or with us), this is something that unfortunately happens. Just a few bad apple employees- like this one- can ruin an entire experience. There is a lockbox provided free of charge, so as long as you stick things in here you should run into no problems.

As you can see, I really don't have anything but great things to say about the resort at Chic by Royalton Punta Cana. If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive in Punta Cana, look no further- Chic is one of the best!

**Disclosure: We received a complimentary or upgraded stay in order to facilitate this review. As always, this did not affect my review in any way and all opinions are my own.**

Friday, June 5, 2015

Next Stop. . . . Iowa?!

Yes, you read that right. Right now, Nick and I are on the road and moving to Des Moines, Iowa, and starting a completely new life together. Over the past few days, as I've released this news to those close to us, everyone has asked if this is for hockey. No, it is not for hockey. The days of playing professional hockey are over, and as Nick says, he has decided to hang up the blades and retire the axe. However, the men's team I play on in the winter could definitely use another player, and I think he would at least make the third or maybe fourth line. Of course, assuming he does well enough at tryouts ;)

For those of you curious, Nick has accepted a terrific job working for a mutual fund company. He will be working with people, and having the chance to meet tons of people from all around the U.S. and world. While this new job will not be taking place within a hockey rink, it is taking place within an arena where he is completely comfortable with- meeting and interacting with new people.

To be honest, this has been a tough decision. We weren't necessarily 100% ready to be done with the hockey life. There are so many terrific people, things, and experiences that are associated with the lifestyle we have had for the last two years. When we left Sweden less than two months ago, we were fairly certain that we would return and have another few years of hockey in front of us. And then things changed.

This is probably the 5th or 6th post I have written on the subject, and I am just now accumulating them into one. This change has thrown both of us for a loop, because this is not only the first time that Nick has retired from hockey, but the second. The first time around, he had no idea it was going to happen until a few days before he officially decided to do it. Then, we spent a wonderful year here in Minneapolis, until we got a call to go back to Sweden and hockey, and jumped on the opportunity. This time around, we also didn't know we would be retiring. Our five-year plan included a few more years of hockey, living in Europe, and traveling. We left 4-5 boxes of our things, including a TV, Nespresso, printer, and treasured belongings in Sweden- because we 'knew' we were going back.

And now we aren't.

We have decided that our time in Europe and playing hockey has come to an end. There are so many factors going into this decision. The few people who knew of this decision asked why we decided it was time...and that turned into quite the story. There is no ONE reason. There aren't two, or even three reasons- there are about a million. I will delve into those many reasons in a future post!

So yes, it has been an adjustment, and a bit of a surprise. Not only to us, but to everyone. No matter what, both of us are excited to get started with the next phase in our lives. We loved our time together in Sweden, and are already looking forward to visits in the future.

In Des Moines, both of us will be starting new jobs, and we will be exploring a new city together. I plan on continuing to work on my MBA and growing this blog, and I'm sure both of us will be in frequent touch with the hockey world- I'm already exploring teams in the Des Moines area to join!

So, to those among the hockey world, I suppose this is a 'see you later'. For the many that have joined us along the way, this is simply a change of pace. I'll still be blogging several days a week, and continuing to use this as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.  And with that, it's time to start jamming to some Taylor Swift on the way to our new home!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Time for another update post around here! This is a quick one, but don't worry: hopefully within the next couple days Nick and I will have some news to announce. So, while this post won't be super exciting, I should have more information within the next couple days here. Don't worry- you will be the first to know! Now, back to the rest of summer...

Celebrating: My recent midterm exam score in my accounting class. I had been worried that accounting would be the death of me- and I still think it will be! But I'm sitting a little more easily after receiving a 93% on my midterm. Less than 5 weeks less in the course!

Chasing: Squirrels. Nick & I have been going on frequent walks with Lily, our bulldog, and squirrel chasing is one of her favorite activities. There is almost a shortage of them in downtown Minneapolis this year, so we may have to find a new place to squirrel hunt!

Wearing: my coziest robe. Minneapolis mornings still have a slight chilly note to them, so with all the doors and windows open in our condo a warm robe is definitely a necessity!

Thinking: about how much I really need to go for a run today. Minneapolis is my all-time favorite place to run. I have a great little 3-5 mile route I take right by the Mississippi River, and in addition to the route the people watching simply can't be beat.

gorgeous summer day for a ball game- absolutely no filter used on this picture!
Wondering: how it is possible that the Minnesota Twins are in 1st place, the year after we got rid of our season tickets. After years of close to 100 loss seasons, it was time to get rid of the tickets- and now they are in first place! We were able to catch a great afternoon game this past Sunday, so it was nice to enjoy a game from the winning side of things....sitting in the first row was not bad either

Planning: on nailing out a couple of Pinterest projects throughout the rest of summer. I was just at my best friend's house, and she has this super cute coffee table that she made using an Ikea table, covering it in 2x4s and staining the wood. It looked awesome, and I will definitely be attempting that at some point in the next few months!

So, there you have it with life lately for Nick and I! We have both kept busy with various activities, including spending time with friends and family, schoolwork, and regular work. Both of us are quite happy that the month of June is finally here and we can start looking forward to warm weather and weekends at the cabin. And with that, it is time for me to run off and get some things accomplished around the house here. Hope everyone is having a terrific week, and is able to enjoy some gorgeous weather sooner rather than later!
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