Friday, May 29, 2015

Pretty Paisley

I snapped an insta of this shot weeks ago, so when we were at the park with our nice camera I decided we had to get on on the real camera too.

Today is FRIDAY! Who else loves a short work week? This weekend Kevin and I are celebrating our anniversary so I've been looking forward to it all month! Part of our celebrations include a yummy breakfast, some grilling, and maybe a zipline adventure. Weather, please play nice.

Paisley Grace is the cutest puppy alive, is she not? This girl. She has stolen our furparent hearts completely. I'm not sure whether we should be embarrassed or proud that she has learned to sit and pose for us in pictures, but she looks adorable in those shots above.

I finally got through all the Copenhagen posts. I still have in mind to do a post on what we saw in Paris and then our list for Malmo but we shall see when those happen. Lately, blogging has been less than a priority but I still love this space and all of you.

Today at work we are having a Bacon Potluck..yes, you read that right, for lunch. Someone came up with that brilliant idea, I'd say less than half are actually going with this theme but either way it will still be a lot of fun. I'm bringing mini fruit pizzas. Kevin and I made them together last night and it was so fun. It might be our first "baking" experience that has gone well together, and it was done with ready-made sugar cookie dough. Bring on the yummy food and fun times with co-workers (and their spouses).

I wrote last Friday that I've lost over ten pounds, this week it became officially 14 pounds! Liz and Samantha have been the best motivators and I'm so thankful for each of them. We've all discussed that while seeing those numbers move on the scale is a great, the best part is just feeling better, stronger and more confident in our bodies. I know speak for all three of us when I saw we feel just that! Thank you Katrina and Karena for the workouts and schedules! I worked on a goals list for the next challenge and found scriptures to pair with them, I plan on putting that together in a post. I'm thinking of also writing about my fitness journey. I never thought I'd write either of these two things, I'm totally blown away, and so thankful I finally learned to rely fully on the Lord and allow Him to lift me out of my pit.
ps: go comment on Samantha's blog and tell her to come back! ;)
pss: go check out Liz's blog for awesome recipes!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Top 10 For Copenhagen

To say we loved Copenhagen is almost an understatement. We adored Copenhagen. The people are so pleasant and kind, and the city itself is just wonderful. Copenhagen is nice and small so you really can see almost everything in a short amount of time. Granted, I had two weeks, but I split things over several days, if you packed a few days, you'd definitely see a lot quickly.

So all that said, I put together a little list of some of my favorite things, that I'd definitely tell you not to miss if you're going to Copenhagen. I'm sure you could find a few different lists on the great world wide web but here's mine in no particular order. This post is a tad long but I've given all I could think to include.

1. Nyhavn: Definitely the "big" tourist destination of Copenhagen but still my very favorite. (did you see Pitch Perfect 2 recently? They showed the girls here!). So picturesque and quaint. We went for a breakfast there and loved it. These restaurants are generally expensive as it is the tourist hotspot, so make it a small meal or make it one of your special meals, but either way please eat there! We were there in March, it was still chilly but all the tables had blankets on each chair and heat lamps, so it was still wonderful to enjoy the water side.

Some other things to check out there: The ice cream (I had the brownie one with strawberry...SO good!). There's a store there right on the street corner called Zane. Go in! I went in this store probably more times than I really should have but I couldn't help it. Kevin is lucky I didn't buy half the store! Many sites will recommend catching the canal tour out of Nyhavn as well. We really loved it and you'll learn different things on this tour (plus see the city from a different perspective) than the walking tour.
You'll see our experience with Nyhavn, here, here, here and here.

2. The Walking Tour: There's two groups that do the walking tours, this is the group we used. Kevin and I went on separate tours (since I went on mine when he was at work, and he did his after I'd already left) but we both learned some different things. We both only went on the classic tour though I'm sure the other ones are interesting too, you go through Christianshavn (or if you're there in May there's another one for northern part of the city), but it just wasn't a place to see on the top of our lists.

This tour was one of the final things I did in the city. It was fun as I'd already been to most of the places and had spent more time in each location than we did on the tour plus I had a good handle on where we were in the city. However, if you've got limited time, I'd do this tour first. You'll get a good grasp on where things are and you'll have a good idea on where you really want to spend time going back to. The tour guides tell great history stories and also some funny ones! I hands down recommend getting a walking tour in!
You'll see our experience on The Walking Tour, here.

3. Get a bike! This will exponentially increase your time touring the city.  Rent a bike for the entire time you'll be there and you'll see more than you ever thought. It is worth every penny! In addition, you'll get the real experience of living in Copenhagen, it's what all the locals do. Rent yourself a bike, pick one that has a basket (for the goodies you purchase, or your purse/backpack), make sure you also get a lock and bike lights(locals don't lock up their bikes and crime rate is VERY low but you're renting so be wise and lock it up. Bike lights are required at night). Their bike lanes are awesome and you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. And do yourself a favor, don't compare yourself with the locals, they've been riding bikes to work/everywhere a heck of a lot longer than you have!

It'd be extra wise to spend some time before your trip familiarizing yourself with some of the biking laws. More people bike than drive so they're particular on what is and isn't allowed and of course there's also certain common courtesy...and you can get a traffic violation on a bike. In the month, Kevin was there and in my two weeks, we neither received one nor saw one being given but it is just something to be knowledgeable about. WE LOVED OUR BIKES!

4. Check out some of their beautiful parks! I used to think it was strange that a lot of people would recommend checking out a park, but the parks of Copenhagen, like many European parks, are stunning and offer more than just your common green space/walking paths. Faelledparken is HUGE and has a cafe in the middle of it. It also is right by the soccer stadium if that's of interest to you.  The gardens at Rosenborg are beautiful as well. And there's also the Botanical Garden by Rosenborg, which is free, and quite lovely. Personally, we loved the Sondermarken and Frederiksberg Gardens (probably because we lived close to there).

Give yourself time for a morning run or an evening stroll and just enjoy these great public areas, locals are always there. We were there in March, it was still winter time and the parks were full of people! I can only imagine how much more beautiful and busy they are when it is warmer.You'll also probably run into a pacifier tree while you're in one of those parks, which is just kind of fun to see.
You'll see our experience with some of the parks, herehere and here.

5. Eat: For lunch sometime you HAVE to go to Torvehallen. I WISH we had a place like this back home so much. I absolutely loved it! Torvehallen is composed of two buildings are each are full of different booths with all kinds of foods. It would be so much fun to get a little something from several and make a meal out of it. The place is almost always bustling with people. Kevin went to Copenhagen Street Foods and says it was awesome too. Otherwise, everything to eat there is great! We had fun trying their famous open-face sandwiches (called smorrebrod), pizza with chicken and potatoes on top, cheeses, and of course Danish danishes (bakeries are everywhere). You can probably find any food type you want (though I don't recall seeing Mexican, haha), and while it might seem silly to get a slice of pizza while you're there, do it! This is the real deal pizza, no pappa johns here!
You'll see our experience with foods, herehereherehere and here.

6. Kastellet: is an old star fortress, one of the few remaining in Europe apparently. I loved walking the grounds, it has a beautiful raised trail around it.They have all kinds of festivals on the grounds in the warmer months. Also, The Little Mermaid isn't far from there. My tour guide called it the 2nd most disappointing tourist icon in all of Europe (not sure what the first was) but it's still fun to see plus if you make it a part of something else over that way, like Kastellet, you won't waste a bunch of time. Overall, don't miss this area, it's too pretty to leave out.
You'll see our experience with Kastellet & The Little Mermaid here,

7. Amalienborg: is where the royals live. It is a very cool square/round-about with four homes that once belonged to wealthy families but now belong to the crown.You'll get to see this on the walking tour. You can go inside the museum but it was pricy and apparently not very worth it, from what I hear. The changing of the guards happens here too so that's neat to see. Amelienborg is on an axis with the Royal Opera House and Frederik's Church (nicknamed the Marble Church) so you can easily see both.

The Opera House is hard and time consuming to get to but the Marble Church is worth all the time you'll give it. Do go inside there! It is such a beautiful church,and they even have little prayer pamphlets for you to spend some time in prayer with the Lord. I loved it. You can go up the church tower for a good view of the city but open times are sparse, and I'd recommend going up the Christiansborg Palace tower (plus Christiansborg Tower is free), see more below.
You'll see our experience with this area, here, and here.

8. Museums & Shops: There are several museums and many of them are free! It's probably going to depend on what you're interested in and what you have time for. If you love museums then take some time figuring out which ones you want to go to because from I understand they're excellent. I only ended up going to the Design Museum but I definitely loved my time in there. At the time it had a special series on the child but it has a chair series, a furniture area, and a fashion collection. I walked the whole museum, it's not a very big one in my opinion, and spent a lot of time in there but you could definitely do it quicker. Bottom line, what is important to you? Artifacts/history/art or architecture/parks/city? Research and set forth your plan.

There are also a ton of wonderful shops to check out while you're there. Denmark is a design mecca of sorts so there are some very beautiful furniture and design icons to see. Stroget (a one mile outdoor shopping street, all pedestrian) is a great place to find several in one place. If shopping is your thing, don't miss Stroget! You'll see plenty of big name brands we have in the states but there are also several more local/European brands. Shops I'd recommend visiting that are "design" shops are Illumnus Bolghius, Hay House, Stilleben (across from there is a great little shop with some cool prints of Copenhaven/Denmark), and the Design Zoo (though it's sorta out of the way, and not in Stroget). Of couse, Lego was invented in Denmark so don't miss checking out one of their shops!
You'll see our experience with the Design Museum and Design Shops here.

9. Get a View! There are several ways to get a view of the beautiful city but we had two favorites. During the day, go to the Christiansborg Tower, and for an evening scene, check out The Round Tower. The Chistiansborg Tower is free and is a part of the Christiansborg Palace (which is a cool place to see, I hear their museum areas are great but I didn't make it to those). You do have to go through a short security process but you take an elevator for most of it and you get a pretty great view of the city.

The Round Tower is part of a church and on Stroget. Most of the locals joke about this because it isn't the tallest tower in the area but we loved it. If you get a clear night while you're there, go at night! They have one of the oldest telescopes in the world and will narrow it onto planets and let you look into it. This part is open on Wednesday nights. We got to see Jupiter while we were there. Pretty darn cool. For this tower you do have to pay but it was definitely worth it. They've also done a spectacular job highlighting the old structure. I loved that part.
You'll see our experience with towers, here, and here.

10. Palaces and Castles. I wish I'd spent some time and money into going inside some of these. There are so many beautiful old palaces with great history but they're definitely on the pricier end to go inside. If you're counting pennies, at least go to the grounds of these great buildings. Usually you can go through the grounds/gardens for free. Of those within biking/walking distance in Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Rosenborg, Christiansborg, and Amielenborg all are available to tour. I had planned to tour Rosenborg and would have loved to check out Frederiksberg but I couldn't go when they were open. If you love seeing interiors, I'm certain these would be well worth their cost!

EXTRA: We went in the winter and I'm sure there are several more great things to check out if you're there when it's warmer. We understand Baakan and Tivoli are some of the coolest and oldest amusement parks in the world. Of course, Copenhagen is on the water so there are some pretty beach areas too (which we did check out despite the cold). In between Frederiksberg (suburb area) and the main city of Copenhagen are some pretty ponds that have little boats you can rent out. And if you're there for long enough and want to check another country off your list, you can get to Malmo, Sweden for about $15 and a 40 minute train ride. It's a small city so there's not a whole lot to see but still worth it

And one more thing! To make planning your trip and your routes easy, use the favorite star feature for pin pointing all the places you want to try and see on Google Maps! This is what we did Copenhagen, Paris, Malmo, and even here in the states for D.C.

Here's a snippet of my map for Copenhagen:

Following our time in Copenhagen?
one-Arriving in Copenhagen: The first bike ride
two-A Sunday together: Discovering Nyhavn, a church, Amalienborg, and more
three-Monday & Tuesday: my first days while Kevin is at work. Exploring the city by a run, seeing historical sites, and some new architecture. 
four-The little home we lived in
five-Wednesday & Thursday & Friday: More exploration of the city
six- The story behind the Pacifier trees of Copenhagen
seven- our 27 hour trip to PARIS!
eight-A preview of our portrait session with the Eiffel Tower!
nine- Changing of the guards, ice cream, The Royal Library...
ten-The day I was on a movie set in Nyhavn
eleven- My final days of exploring
twelve-My thoughts on being a house wife
thirteen- Our final days together in Copenhagen & Exploring Malmo, Sweden

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kevin & I's Final Adventures Overseas

The last week of Denmark was full of rest and exploration. I really enjoyed having time to, take my time around the city. I saw so much and yet there was still so much to see. For Kevin and I'd last two days together in the city we chose to do some of the more tourist-y things and get away to Sweden for a few hours, marking yet another country on our map.

Saturday. We woke up early to go catch the morning sun at the Copenhagen beach (the Amagar beach, I believer), about a 30 minute bike ride from our home. It was fun to see a new part of the city, all of it is just so charming and in the early morning, it's so quiet. The beach was so pretty and I'm pretty sure this was the first time I've ever been completely, bundled up at a beach, it was cold. There was a group of men jumping in the water butt naked, so that was also a first. We snapped some pictures, took in the morning sun, gazed in the water and headed off to Nyhavn in order to catch a ride on the canal tour.

Right before we boarded the boat, we grabbed some croissants, when in Denmark do as the Danish and eat danishes. We really enjoyed the canal tour. It was cool to learn about  and see the city from a new perspective. Did you know the man that invented blue tooth was from here?! After the tour we loaded our bikes again and sped home (we had to grab Kevin's passport). This wasn't part of the plan originally but we realized it was better to take the train closer to home than farther and have to ride back at night. We boarded the metro, swapped trains at the airport, and in about 40 minutes we were in SWEDEN! Malmo to be specifc. Malmo, is, or at least the part we saw, mostly comprised of newer architecture than Copenhagen. There were some older structures to see, thankfully all very close together, so we had mapped those all out. There were several businesses and homes decorated with sticks that had feather glued to it, I read later that this was in preperation for Easter (which was the next weekend). There are two stories out there on the internet, one involved witches and another involves them being symbolic for the palm fralms laid for Jesus...I'm going with the second version.

We ate some really yummy meals in Malmo and enjoyed a much easier site seeing day than Paris (thank you Malmo for being small!).We tried to stop at an Ikea on the way home but it was too far away (as in, a nearly 45 minute walk from the metro in the dark) so instead we loaded the train, went home, watched a tv show while eating some swedish candy we picked up in Malmo. Sweden, really deserves it's own blog post.

Sunday. Sleep in day. We made it to 8am, which technically time just changed here so our bodies are still waking up "early." We lazied around for a bit, talked about our plans for the day. Ate some breakfast and then got going. We wanted to check out an Ikea here so we biked about 30 minutes from home to the nearest one. Ikea's are pretty much the same there as they are in the states but a tad cheaper! We had fun, and even had an Ikea lunch before we went to church, the same one we'd gone to before. It was Easter there (since the host church would be needing their facility for the entire day on the actual day of Easter) and oh was it glorious! The choir was so sweet and we loved sitting in the back and listening to the worship.

Sunday ended up being an incredibly cold and rainy day. It was definitely the most miserable day of our time there together thus far. We'd had plans to check out a museum but after leaving church the rain started coming down harder and all we wanted was to be warm. We went home, and dried up. As the rain started to lighten, we went out to my favorite nearby park so I could take Kevin to the hammocks I'd finally found the other day. We finished our day with another trip to the bakery and our final meal in the apartment together. I couldn't believe my time in Copenhagen had come to an end up I was indeed ready to be back in my own bed.

Thank you Lord for the trip and experience of a lifetime. I can't imagine our life without this fantastic opportunity now. I pray I never ever forget about the sweetness of every single day we had in the beautiful city of Copenhagen. Copenhagen has stolen a piece of my heart forever.

Following our time in Copenhagen?
one-Arriving in Copenhagen: The first bike ride
two-A Sunday together: Discovering Nyhavn, a church, Amalienborg, and more
three-Monday & Tuesday: my first days while Kevin is at work. Exploring the city by a run, seeing historical sites, and some new architecture. 
four-The little home we lived in
five-Wednesday & Thursday & Friday: More exploration of the city
six- The story behind the Pacifier trees of Copenhagen
seven- our 27 hour trip to PARIS!
eight-A preview of our portrait session with the Eiffel Tower!
nine- Changing of the guards, ice cream, The Royal Library...
ten-Getting ice cream, and checking out the Royal library
eleven- My final days of exploring
twelve-My thoughts on being a house wife

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