Friday, May 31, 2013


Wait, wait, WAIT. I forgot this one. And it's pretty important. It's so important that Dan has since told Chris that we ruined sushi (oh, and beer) for him and Kelli back in the United States.

We've always had our favorite restaurants that we frequent (okay, only when visitors are in town) but since we knew that K&D have a love for sushi even greater than ours, we thought we'd try a new place while they were in town. Sakura Sushi and Sashimi is a restaurant that was recommended to Chris by Japanese coworkers of his which pretty much ensures it to be very, very good.

It. Is.

Please take note of how large that sushi tray is. You will see a vanishing act in a second...
Giant pieces of Avocado!
Abracadabra...don't worry, they finished those too. 

I was only reminded of all this because Erin and I were planning out her and David's upcoming visit and all of a sudden I remembered they like sushi so we can take them here! We only treat ourselves either while on "vacation" or while on others' vacations so this will be a great excuse!

Enjoy your weekend! Chris and I are heading off to a tiny Belgian town for a race so I can get my paces for upcoming workouts. I have pre-race butterflies just writing this which is absurd because last year only 124 people ran in it. See you on Monday!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

For the sake of truth... (Mom(s) you may want to skip this one)

This will be the last post of Kelli and Dan's visit. I've dragged it out as long as I can make it! Thankfully they FaceTime us when driving through Irondequoit and Skype with us when our 6 hour time difference allows so it's not as if we won't see them until we move home. That's a relief!

Now. About this post. This was one of my favorite things that we did while they visited. However. Mom Hanlon, Mom Maloney, various aunts and uncles, and maybe even may not like the result of this particular outing. So if you think you should stop it. Turn off the computer, walk away from the screen...

Are you still there?

Think you can handle this?


Kelli and I got tattoos! 

This one is slightly more visible one than the one I had before (gasp, another one!) and definitely more visible for Kelli too. Luckily though, we live in Rochester, NY where sunny weather, shorts and short sleeves are not to be had for more than 4 months out of the year (unless you count running).

We'd been talking about getting tattoos together while they visited us in Europe for quite awhile. We called a few places until we found a gem right here in Leuven. Chris and Dan decided to accompany us to the shop to see how legit it was and sit with us through the pain. The artist acknowledged us when we walked in with the guys and said it'd be about 20 more minutes seeing as he was working on a young man at the time. Kelli and I said we'd wait it out there in the little shop. The guys practically bolted for the closest bar and said they'd be back soon. Side note: I love Chris. He keeps talking about getting a sleeve tattoo, but one look at his face while he watched the tattoo being done just 5 feet from himself and I know that is just never going to happen.

Kelli and I talked quietly and nervously while we waited for our turn to talk to him. When we did he looked at our two different phrases that we wanted and began to determine the possibilities. He enlarged my design a tiny bit, and Kelli's he hemmed and hawed over a bit since it was in courier new and he wanted her to understand that he wasn't a "type writer" but we came to a positive conclusion and set to getting started!

We flipped a coin and Kelli ended up being first. I got to sit in the big comfy desk chair and "watch". By watch I mean made sure his body blocked the actual needle (I'm still a little terrified of that part) and she was cool as can be, not even a wince. She emboldened me and I began to feel brave too. When he was finished I couldn't help but be impressed! It looked so great and went so quickly! My turn. I started feeling the pre-race butterflies and no cold feet but just nervous energy. I think we amused him, we're definitely not the typical tattoo-getting personalities, and I was jumpy and talking nonsense and Kelli and I were cracking each other up right up until the moment he started. It went so fast though, 10 minutes, 20 tops. Then BAM, done! I need to mention that through all this the guys did eventually come back...halfway through Kelli's tattoo and left shortly afterwards. Now, there was a chicken cooking back at the apartment, but I think they were only too happy to have that excuse to run to. Okay, onto the reveals!

Kelli's is a verse from the book of Ruth in the Bible: "Where you go I will go" 

It is Ruth talking to Naomi and the rest of the verse continues like this: "...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."

Mine is in my own handwriting and is from our wedding vows: "to have and to hold" 

We decided to go with traditional vows for our wedding and I'm so glad we did because it makes me feel very married. It is contained in the following: "I take you, Christopher, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

I hope I haven't traumatized too many of my relatives with this post. I figured that it'll be seen eventually so might as well put it out there now while I'm 4000 miles away from the closest person bahah.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The number one beer in the WORLD

(via Beeradvocate)

Ever since we found out we were moving to Belgium, Chris has been hearing about all the wonderful beers it has to offer. Since I'm not a drinker myself, I took no real notice of all this conversation but found it unavoidable when person after person told the story of the illusive and illustrious Westvleteren Twelve.

(If you've heard this from Chris before, please skip the following paragraph) A little background: The brewery was was founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in the Belgian municipality of Vleteren. To buy this beer you have to call ahead and make an appointment with the brewery itself. When you show up they take down your license plate number and you can only return a year later to buy again. What's more is that you can only buy two cases of it or 48 beers total. It is illegal to resell it, but people do. The monks don't like all the attention they have received in recent years from their beer. Their aim is only to make and sell enough to finance their community. 

Cut to two weeks ago in Bruges with Dan and Kelli. We are perusing the shops on the side streets as we make our way out of town when Dan points out a small drink store and we stop in to get drinks for the ride home. I'm checking out the glasses when I look over to Chris and his face is slightly flushed, his mouth hanging open and in his hand is an unlabeled beer bottle. He looks up at me wide-eyed and then back down at the bottle. I walk over and read the cap: 

I kid you not, this was his face for about 17 minutes. 

The beer was being sold for 12 euros a bottle but of course we bought one. Dan had already heard about this beer from Chris at least once or twice in the past week and a half that he'd been living with us so he followed suit and indulged as well. 

They did not waste this beer on the train ride home, however, but instead set to planning out when they were going to drink it. As it turned out, the final Liverpool game (their favorite team) of the season was in a days time so the game became their taste test. All good things rolled into one; best beer ever, favorite team, old roommates, final game, and Kelli & Kelly (right?) hanging out all at the same time.

the Toast 
 the Taste
the Reaction: Best Beer Ever.

Great, now I'm thirsty. Anyone have some ice cold Rochester tap water?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Venice (the final act)

Our last day in Venice we visited the two islands already talked about and then took a "gondola" ride through the grand canal back to our apartment. By gondola I mean water taxi and we shared it with 43 other people. I'm still checking "navigate the canals of Venice by boat" off my bucket list and calling it a day.

We needed evidence of our cute outfits AND Kelli made me this skirt! I love the label she sewed on, it reads: "This Took Forever" 
Rounded the corner and bam! Rialto bridge!
This is the balcony of our little Venetian apartment. Have I mentioned how much I love airbnb?
Kelli. give me that dress. 

Farewell, Venice. I hope to see you again someday!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Early-morning wake up call

Kelli, Dan, Chris and I left our apartment in Venice at 6:00. And thinking back on it, that might have actually been 5. While that was very, very early it also made for a few beautiful shots as we left the city.

I'm posting this today because our latest visitors just left this morning and reminiscing on morning take-offs is all the rage. Hannah and Robyn left a few hours ago and I forgot how quiet it is here with no other people. I've had constant company for three weeks and it's been refreshing. I know it's nice to have alone time and I don't mind that as much as I did a few months ago but wow. It is quiet here.

Our next visitors land in July so we're about to have a month with just the two of us. I'm sitting here planning trips as I slowly post today...June is going to be fun!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Venice (act four)

Murano was a lovely little island but I'm not sure we saw its best parts. We walked along several streets and all we found was either glass blowing shops or the stores that sell their products. Which, mind you, isn't a bad thing, just monotonous, so we didn't stay very long. You're getting as much of a glimpse as we did.

These lamps are so great! 

Goodbye, Murano!

Hello the last bit of Venice on Monday! The visiting girls and I are heading to Paris for the weekend, so I will see you on Monday. Enjoy your sunny days (hopefully)!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Espresso shots

Today Hannah, Robyn and I are up at 6, leaving the apartment at 7 and arriving in Amsterdam at 11. We get 8 hours in the city until we have to turn around and repeat the process backwards, arriving in Leuven at midnight. As long as every train goes exactly according to plan (oh pleeeeeeeease God, let it be so!) this is going to be a whirlwind trip into Holland! I can't wait to show them the city, still a favorite. How many favorites can one have...?

But I'm guessing at some point we'll be stopping for the Netherlands version of Italian to-go espressos like these guys did in Murano:

Not Burano, Murano. Burano has the cool houses. Murano has the glass blowing. But trying to determine if your water taxi was going to the right island got a little hilarious when they attendants were yelling "Bbbbooorano" or "Mmmoooorano" to help all of us tourists figure it out. More of Mmmmurano tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Venice (act III)

Our second day in Venice we traveled to the nearby islands by water taxi. This is Burano:

This is Chris playing "defense" on my shot of this sign with his Mom's maiden name on it. I let him take it.
Nope, that's not my camera. That church tower really is leaning over like that.

It was such a beautiful and colorful place. It reminded me a bit of the Bahamas with their tropical colored houses. The sun and the playful tones made this island feel like paradise!

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