Oh America, how we missed you… Special Events Edition !

as promised…

Special Event #1:

We’re Engaged!!!


to be married of course!

Shane mentioned in the previous post that we spent some time back in Pittsburgh visiting friends. What he didn’t tell you was that he proposed while we were there!

It’s New Year’s Eve, and he wakes me up at 5:30am. “Get up, let’s go somewhere!”

How did he get me out the door that early with no questions asked?

The promise of coffee and that he wanted to steal a moment for just us in our old city. Logical explanation.

Why did it have to be at 5:30 in the morning?

We may or may not have had a FaceTime date with Meatball at 8am…


Anyway! Off we go, up to Mt. Washington. If you’ve ever been to Pittsburgh then you know why it would be our favorite spot in the city. The view there is incredible. Even in the dark & cold.

A little back story. We basically live our lives by the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother’. It’s the best. In the very first episode, Ted (the main character) steals a blue french horn for Robin as a romantic gesture for screwing up the first date, and the blue french horn remains a theme throughout the entire series.


Shane didn’t screw up any first dates, but he did give me a blue french horn the morning he proposed on top of Mt. Washington. 🙂


And my friends even threw me a mini-bachelorette party (while in North Carolina)!

December 31st was full of reasons to celebrate: New Year’s eve itself, the engagement, and my birthday!

Speaking of birthdays…

Special Event #2:

Harry Potter World!


For my 30th my parents and sis surprised me with a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!

Sis and I have only talked about wanting to go since before it opened. I don’t know how many years ago that was but it’s too damn long. But don’t worry.


(even though sis missed the ‘we’re making an exaggerated excited face’ memo)


This place is magical.

LITERALLY! (get it?!?!)

We started the day in Hogsmeade where we sipped butter beer, toured Hogwarts & checked out the shops. The Hogwarts ride is probably one of the best rides I’ve ever been on. It’s a blend of roller coaster and 3D. One minute you’re riding your broom around the castle with Harry and Ron, and the next minute you’re zooming down the track escaping a dragon! It’s fantastic.

Naturally, we couldn’t stay in Hogsmeade all day so we hopped the Hogwarts Express to head into London & Diagon Alley.


When we got there, we were in awe!

Diagon Alley did not disappoint. We saw the Daily Prophet, The Weasleys’ Wizard Weezes, Gringots, Knocturn Alley, and ate lunch at The Leaky Cauldron.

Oh, and took a few goblin selfies.

Thanks again, family, for the perfect present!


Well, I think this about sums up our American adventures!

We’re heading to Prague in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Tot ziens,



Well that was a whirlwind trip! Absolutely worth it, but a whirlwind none the less!

This past weekend I headed to State College, PA to see some friends get married!

…and who was waiting for me in the Pittsburgh airport? SISSY!!! 🙂

So we hopped in our rental car (yes! I still remember how to drive!) and headed to my favorite spot in the city… Mt. Washington!

Coming here really makes me miss Pittsburgh. When I’m here, in Groningen, I’m more than happy don’t get me wrong. I have nothing bad to say about The Netherlands, and I really love my job, but coming back to Pittsburgh felt like coming home. Maybe that’s because it was the first place Shane and I were really “starting out” on our own together? Regardless of the reason, it was really  nice to be back even if it was for only 18 hours.

After our detour, we headed to Brian & Alicia’s new house! We may have only been there for a half day but we really packed it in. Friday night we were off to a restaurant downtown with an awesome rooftop terrace. Saturday morning took us to my favorite breakfast place in the city, Square Cafe, and cruising through some of the old haunts. In between I got a little overdue puppy snuggling.

After breakfast, we were off to State College. Two things.

  1. Mountains DO exist! I almost forgot! It was so nice to see elevation changes greater than a bridge!
  2. My love for Sheetz has not faltered.

Car trips are the best!

The wedding was at a country club just outside of downtown State College. The wedding itself & the hotel for guests were both at the country club. This made for a really fun time since all the wedding guests were in the same place. Saturday was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, with Sis as my date, and the rest of the night was spent catching up with everyone.

Sunday was Wedding Day!

…up bright and early for hair and makeup!

I know it’s kind of awkward to post pictures of my head, but I just really loved my hair. I asked her for a “braided something pretty” and she definitely delivered!

AND it survived all night dancing! Which, if you know my dancing, you know that basically means all night flopping around.

The wedding itself was beautiful. The weather was hot, but perfectly sunny and the bride and groom looked great!

I just have to share one picture the photographer took. It has a little backstory.

All day, we’ve been saving this giant bottle of champagne. Not to drink after the ceremony, but for a picture. Michelle found on Pintrest a picture where the bridal party was surrounding the bride and groom & the picture was taken right as the champagne popped. I’m sure you can imagine this. I expect she anticipated something of this nature (picture courtesy of google)…

So, that champagne is saved! After we take all the other bridal party pictures we start to get together for this last shot. Steve (the groom) is shaking up the bottle… and he gets his finger a littttttleeeee too close to the cork…. and POP! Before everyone is ready the champagnes a flowin! This is the resulting picture. (Photo taken by Philter Photography)

!! I mean, I think it’s the best. The absolute shock on Steve’s face is priceless, and the mix of emotions out of the bridesmaids who were close enough (clearly I was distraught haha). Really, I don’t think it could have been more perfect.

You know what else couldn’t have been more perfect? The selfie sticks. I know Shane ranted on these before, and I still stick to my opinion that in touristy places I want to rip them out of people’s hands, but in this case it was SO MUCH FUN! Each table got their own selfie stick and so the rest of the night everyone ran around taking tons of pictures. You ended up with ones like this….

and this…

and this…

Ok, so that last one is a nice one, but you get the point.

Oh, and don’t worry. Shane was able to make an appearance. He got to hang out with his friend Mike!


The DJ followed the bride’s rules (no slow songs & no Michael Jackson) so the rest of the night was spent dancing away with good friends…

and taking photobooth pictures of course!

So, it was crazy, hilarious, exhausting yet refreshing, and made me a little bit homesick but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything!

Congrats again Steve & Michelle! I am so happy I was able to be there!

Tot ziens,