La Alhambra

During my sister’s visit in February we took a road trip to Granada. On our second day there we toured La Alhambra. La Alhambra is absolutely breathtaking. The castle, gardens and Alcazaba date back to the 9th century! We did a self-guided tour and packed in as much as we could in the few hours we had to spend there. If you’re ever in Southern Spain I definitely suggest a trip to Granada and La Alhambra. Below you’ll see some of my favorite photos of the day. The detail in the castle are simply stunning. I was in awe!

IMG_4277          IMG_4270 IMG_4276


IMG_4318 IMG_4306




IMG_4373          IMG_4342 IMG_4339



IMG_4284          IMG_4411 IMG_4395


IMG_4416 IMG_4435

IMG_4438          IMG_4424 IMG_4436


Granada – Day 1

My sister, Vanessa, graduated last year from Vanderbilt with her Master’s degree in Women’s Health as a Nurse Practitioner. This year she landed her first job in her new profession, and I couldn’t be more proud! On a bit of a whim, she decided to treat herself to a much deserved vacation before she jumped head first into her new career. Lucky me she decided to come to Europe and her last stop was Southern Spain! We took an amazing road trip to some of the must-see sights in Andalucía and our first stop was Granada.

When we finally arrived in Granada (about a 2 1/2 hour drive) we couldn’t figure out why everyone was staring at us in our car. Then we realized that we still had our California plates on the car. Most people probably hadn’t ever seen an American license plate! We got a lot of funny looks. Once we got all checked into our hotel we set off on our first adventure. We were headed out into town to explore. We were able to find our way to a bus stop with ease and hop on board to go to the Albaicín district. This area of town is the ‘old town’ lined with cobblestone streets and some wonderful buildings.

IMG_4068 IMG_4071IMG_4075

Our first stop was at an amazing overlook that had amazing views! We took the opportunity to take a photo.


While we were enjoying the overlook we saw a cafe on the street below. We decided to make our way there as it was less crowded and we were ready to warm up a little with some drinks and good conversation. It was such a great find and if you go to Granada I highly suggest you find this place!

IMG_4135    IMG_4114IMG_4118


IMG_4112We took advantage of the empty restaurant and relaxed there for quite some time while we talked about our plans for the rest of the afternoon and the following day. Vanessa had purchased a wonderfully informative travel book from Lonely Planet and it had a ton of suggestions for things to do in the area as well as a ‘must see/must do’ list. Alhambra was of course on the list and we (luckily) were able to get some last minute tickets for the following morning! Just a heads up – get your Alhambra entry tickets in ADVANCE! I had been keeping an eye on the tickets the week leading up to our visit, and there were plenty available. I had every intention to purchase them online a day or two before we arrived in Granada, but it slipped my mind. Once we arrived in Granada and decided we would visit Alhambra the following morning, all the tickets were sold out! After a few panic stricken moments, and some googling, I found out that the La Caixa ATM’s also sold tickets. We high tailed it to the nearest ATM and were able to secure our tickets for the following morning. I definitely learned my lesson there to plan ahead, throughly!


IMG_4162    IMG_4166IMG_4181

IMG_4193IMG_4192After we left the Albaicín district we took our time meandering the streets and making our way back down the hill towards our hotel. During our walk we passed by a church. Every church/cathedral in Spain is breathtakingly gorgeous. We popped in for a moment to check out the beauty. My husband took a moment to say some prayers. I don’t know who or what he was praying for, but boy did I fall a little more in love with him in that moment. He never ceases to amaze me with his spirit.

We continued on our way and we stopped into a few places to grab a caña (a small glass of beer) and a bite to eat. We had heard that the tapas in Granada were amazing, but we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! We ordered one of my favorite foods, croquetas de jamón, unaware that we would be getting complimentary tapas with our drinks.

IMG_4194 IMG_4195 IMG_4196

Not only was the plate of tapas HUGE, the croquetas were also the largest I have ever seen! We happily indulged until we could not possibly eat anymore. We had to turn away food with our next round of drinks. As long as you order drinks they will keep the food coming! We were officially ready to call it a night after a long day of traveling and exploring. We just happened to stumble upon a hookah bar on our way back to our hotel, and who can say no to hookah?! Not us! We had a nightcap of some delicious tea and more hookah than we could smoke. It was the perfect end to our day! Stay tuned for the next of our adventures with Vanessa!

IMG_4207 IMG_4210 IMG_4209 IMG_4212

Bringing in the New Year

Wow! It is hard to believe that it is already the middle of March! Marcus and I have been having a ton of fun here in Spain, and I need to catch y’all up on what we’ve been up to. Here is  a flashback to how we spent our New Year’s Eve.

Marcus and I had a lot to celebrate and New Year’s Eve was the perfect opportunity to get out and do just that! We decided to take a little trip to explore a new town and Sevilla was our destination. With the dogs in tow we headed out for a fun weekend. If ‘Sevilla’ does not sound familiar it is probably because it is spelled Seville in American English. I prefer the Spanish spelling and pronunciation though. Sevilla is the capital of Andalucia, the area of Southern Spain that we live in. We kicked off our weekend with a night out. IMG_3497We started the night around 11PM. We walked around, grabbed some food, and at midnight we ate 12 grapes. The 12 grapes at midnight is a tradition in Spain and it is believed that each grape signifies a lucky month in the coming year. The nightlife here differs a bit from what we are used to back home. The club we went to, New Theatre, didn’t even open until 1 o’clock in the morning! Well that was what time they were supposed to open at least. We arrived at about 1:30 and we were the first people in the club! People don’t start coming out until at least 2:00am, and the club is really going around 3am and lasts until 6am. We made sure to take a nap before we went out.


On New Year’s Day, when we finally woke up, we had a great time walking around Sevilla and taking in some of the sights. Every town here in Spain has an ‘old town’ area with the cobblestone streets I’ve come to love so much. We did have Joey & Lola with us, so we were a bit limited on what we could do. We were able to find a horse&carriage that let us on board with the pups!

horse & carriage Sevilla joey the boxer lola the boxer

The girls seemed to enjoy the carriage ride, and we definitely got some funny looks from people passing by.

square in SevillaThis is a pretty common scene in the afternoons in Spain. Many people go out to have lunch, or tapas and a drink. One of the many things I love about Spain is that people take their children everywhere. You’ll notice many children in the photo on the right playing together. I have fallen in love with the culture here, it is very family oriented!


It is so much fun just walking around exploring. Along with the cobblestone streets, I absolutely adore the beautiful doors and entry ways here in Spain.

sevilla gorgeous spanish entryway Lola the boxer modelingthree crosses in front of yellow building in Sevilla three crosses yellow building details

IMG_3664The very best part of this trip is that I got to share is with this handsome guy! Every day I am thankful that we are on this adventure together. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to begin our marriage this way and I know it is helping us to build a strong foundation for the rest of our lives. Until next time, adios!

Our Road-Trip ReCap!

Hello family, friends, and anyone else who has stumbled across our page! Marcus and I are in Spain and getting settled in. I’ll update you all on our adventures here in another post. Today I want to give everyone a recap of our epic road trip!

As many of you know, we left California on November 26th to drive across the US. We made many stops along the way…not necessarily in the most direct way across the states…to see family and friends. We were so happy to spend time with nearly everyone we love and we cherished it very much. Here is a day-by-day outline of our travels; where we went, miles we drove, who we saw. ENJOY!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Day One : November 26th THE START OF OUR THREE YEAR HONEYMOON! We drove from El Dorado Hills, CA to San Diego, CA to make our first stop, a visit with my sister for Thanksgiving! Our drive was around 505 miles and about 7.5 hours. On our way down we stopped for lunch with Marcus’ cousin Mike in Venice Beach. It was so nice to sit on the boardwalk at the Venice Ale House and catch up with Mike over some delicious food and a well-deserved beer.venice beach It was definitely hard to get back into the car after that…we were ready to be done driving for the day. We (of course) hit some terrible LA traffic leaving Venice. I really don’t know how people drive through that every day! We FINALLY made it to San Diego and the warm welcome of my sister and her roommate Shari. That night we went out on the town and checked out Kettner Exchange for some tasty bites and yummy craft cocktails to start it off. My sister is always so fun to hang out with! I miss her infectious laugh and silly jokes. We decided to see where else the night would take us and went to the hot new club, Parq, in the Gaslamp District. The three of us danced the night away and had a blast.IMG_3779

Day Two : November 27th – THANKSGIVING! Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. There are few things I love more than spending time with loved ones…and eating…and this holiday combines the two. My sister and I spent the morning cooking a couple of dishes for our feast later that day.IMG_3783 This Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to get to spend time with not only my sister, but also with some of our extended family that I have not seen since I was a very young girl and some that I met for the first time this day! We went to dinner at Nicolee and Mark’s house. Mark is the son of my grandmother’s cousin. I think that makes us second cousins twice removed…or something like that. There were about 20 people there and it was so much fun to meet and get to know everyone. We unfortunately had to continue on our journey the next day. Although our time in San Diego was short, it was definitely sweet!

Day Three : November 28th – COLORADO OR BUST! We drove more on day three than we did on any other day of our road trip. Our goal was to drive from San Diego -> Denver, and we almost made it! We drove around 900 miles over 14 hours. We got into Rifle, CO around 1:00am and stayed the night with one of Marcus’ very best friends, Josh. It was great to get to spend some time with him and hang out for a bit. Leaving California we passed through Arizona, Nevada, Utah and into Colorado that day. Five states in one day! We tried to make a point to take a photo with each state sign.

colorado nevadaDay Four : November 29th – FAMILY TIME! We got an early start leaving Rifle this day to get to Denver as early as possible. We arrived around noon and had such a wonderful day with Marcus’ mom (Mama), step-dad (Papa), brother (Yanek), sister (Catalina) and abuelo. We took the pups for a walk around the neighborhood and spent quality time together. Papa is from Poland and a family tradition around the holidays is to make pierogies – a handmade dumpling stuffed with a variety of fillings. I begged Papa to teach me how to make them and he was happy to oblige. They turned out amazing and I can’t wait to make them again! Marcus got to spend some time with his abuelo and ask him many questions about his career as a horse jockey and start practicing his Spanish! After a good night’s sleep it was time for us to load up once again and continue on. It was terribly hard to say goodbye, but we can’t wait for Mama & Papa to come visit us in Spain!

Day Five : November 30th – LET’S GO BRONCOS! Sunday is a day reserved for one thing…FOOTBALL! (Side note – My 2nd question when Marcus asked me what I thought about moving to Spain was, ”Can we watch football?!”) Marcus and I were so excited to get to watch a Broncos game in Denver with his dad (Dave). We had some fun around Denver during the day with Dave and his wife (Lynne) and although the Broncos didn’t have a home game, we stopped by their stadium to check it out. I am hopeful that someday we will get to experience a game there together. We decided to go downtown to watch the game and had a great time at Blake Street Tavern. After a great WIN we called it a night.

Day Six : December 1st – COLORADO SPRINGS! Once again we had to jump on the road in the morning. We headed down to Colorado Springs to spend some quality time with Marcus’ younger sister, Catalina. She moved down there from Denver to take a job at The Broadmoor. If you haven’t heard of it…look it up! The place is spectacular! We got to take a tour around the hotel grounds and it is impressive. IMG_3735After our tour we met up with Tyler, Catalina’s boyfriend, and had a delicious sushi dinner. We got to spend the night and the next morning with Catalina and it was much too short. She is the little sister I always wanted and I love having her in my life. I married into the best family and I count my blessings for that!

Days Seven & Eight : December 2nd & 3rd – SANTA FE! When we first started discussing our road trip and the places we HAD to visit, Santa Fe was on that list. Marcus’ paternal grandparents live there. We knew that we would get some great advice from them about living abroad; they lived in Italy and they loved it. They shared with us that they would love to take another trip to Italy and we are hoping to be able to meet them there some time next year! We were reluctant to pack up and hit the road again, but we were very excited for our next stop.

Days Nine – Thirteen : December 4th – 8th – AUSTIN! Austin was one of our most anticipated stops; for a couple of reasons. Natalie and Worth live there and they are among our favorite people in the whole world.DCIM100GOPRO Natalie is Marcus’ sister/best friend and Worth is her amazing husband. They have been married for 4 years and their relationship is one that we look up to. Marcus also had some business to take care of in Austin, but we can save that for another post. We were finally within our 10 days of travel window and had to get Joey & Lola’s health certificates taken care of in Austin…so we were juggling quite a few things during our time there. We were still able to squeeze in tons of fun from Top Golf to delicious meals, and even a holiday photo shoot! If you are ever in the Austin area, go to dinner at Jacoby’s. They have the most delicious mac&cheese on Earth. Everything else we had there was yummy too, but my mouth is still watering over that mac&cheese! Marcus and I both love Austin, and we hope to call it home someday. On our way out of Texas we drove through Tyler and stopped to have dinner with Worth’s family. We hadn’t seen them since Natalie’s graduation in 2013 so it was great to catch up with them. After dinner we continued on to Little Rock, AR to get a some sleep.

Days Fourteen – Sixteen : December 9th – 11th – NASHVILLE! I had been to Nashville earlier this year with my sister and I knew that I had to go back with Marcus. When we started planning the road trip it was one of those must visit places. It was the first stop on our road trip that we weren’t visiting with anyone and just had some time to have fun, just the two of us. I guess in a sense it was the actual start of our ‘Three Year Honeymoon’ and it felt like it too! We had no agenda, no set plans. broadway stWe enjoyed the Broadway strip aka ‘NashVegas’, stopped by the Country Music Hall of Fame and visited Centennial Park. We also took advantage of not having any set plans and slept in! After being on the go for 2 weeks we were in need of some R&R. We definitely made the most of our short stay before we hit the road once again. On the 11th we planned to make the long haul to Virginia, our final stop. We ended up getting a little bit of a late start and made a detour in North Carolina to have an impromptu dinner with a friend. After dinner in Statesville NC we would have had to drive another 5 hours to make it to our destination – Norfolk VA. We decided to drive about halfway and get a little shuteye in Durham NC.

Days Seventeen – Nineteen : December 12th – 14th – THE FINAL DRIVE/NORFOLK! After getting a couple of hours of sleep in Durham, we hopped back in the car for the final leg of our road trip. We were in a bit of a hurry because we had to get our car to the shipment office that day. After we arrived in Norfolk we picked up our rental car, checked into our hotel and then Marcus went to start the process of shipping our car. After all that we were starving and grabbed a bite to eat. Then we made a trip to the pet store to get a kennel for Lola since she would be flying under the plane. After our busy day we had an early night and just relaxed at our hotel. Saturday we had a couple more things to take care of before we could have some fun. That night we went out and enjoyed some tasty bites and drinks at Field Guide in Norfolk. We decided to walk around a bit after that and we happened to stop by Gershwin’s, a piano bar. The bartender, Hillary, was wonderful…and so was her suggestion of the pimento cheese! There were 2 ladies sitting next to us at the bar and we started chatting with them. Judie was in town visiting her childhood friend Casey. Judie overheard us talking about Spain; she had spent some time in Barcelona a couple of years ago and was happy to share some of her experiences with us. Casey lived in the Norfolk area with her family and when she found out I was a photographer she asked me if I had time to do a holiday photo shoot of her family. GrayFamilyAs fate would have it we had some time on Sunday morning to do just that! Marcus and I went over to her home and got to spend some time with Casey, her husband Anthony and their 3 beautiful children; Vaughn, Landon and Alexa. It was so great to meet them and get to spend some time with them. Hanging with the kids really helped me too because I was missing our Landon and Kaitlyn so very much. After our photo-shoot that morning it was time to pack up our hotel room for the final time and take Joey & Lola out to get them tired before the flight. Once we got to the terminal on base it started to really hit me…we were MOVING TO SPAIN! I had so many emotions going on, but more than anything I was feeling very excited for this new adventure with my husband. I was also a little nervous, I had no idea what to expect…

Stay tuned for our adventures in Spain!