Gothenburg // Part II

July 3, 2015
After a couple of days exploring gothenburg, ryan and I had a very rare and extremely exciting weekend planned. My cousin anna who is an incredible soccer player, was recently recruited to play for a swedish team, mere hours away by train. It worked out perfectly for us to hop on a train and head to central sweden for a weekend of soccer and catching up with family across the globe.

(left to right: our train from gothenburg to karlstad  /  the Ă–stra bron bridge which is the largest stone bridge in europe  /  a beautiful church we stumbled upon  /  goddess of peace; the most well-known statute in karlstad)

Ryan and I took a train to karlstad; a larger town 30 minutes from where anna lives and plays soccer. She met us for the evening as we explored the charming city and had a very delicious dinner at kitchen & table, a restaurant by marcus samuelson. It was ironic and truly amazing to meet up with family in another country. Anna stayed with us at our hotel for the night and we all fell asleep talking, laughing and telling stories about her adventures in sweden over the past couple of months. It was honestly one of the top highlights of the trip.

(a beautiful building in town  /  one of the many european styled buildings in karlstad  /  dinner at kitchen and table  /  the covered patios which lined the city center in town)

Anna had a soccer game on sunday which we could not miss so, after a yummy breakfast at our hotel, anna headed out early to get ready while ryan and I spent the rest of the morning taking in the sights. We made our way to karlskoga just in time for the game. Ryan had never seen her play before, even though I had talked to him about what an established and good player she was. Only a couple minutes into the game ryan says to me, 'wow, she is really good' and I don't know why but I felt so much pride watching my cousin running up and down the field. Anna scored 2 of the team's 4 goals and had an assist too. Their team walked away winning 4-1 and anna was named the day's m.v.p.

(a bunch of shots from anna's game)

Sadly we could not stay long after the game because we had to jump on a train back to gothenburg. For our ride back, ryan got us tickets in the first class section which was a real treat; we had a private pod to relax in as we took in the gorgeous swedish countryside and even visited the bar cart which had live music. It was the perfect ending to the weekend; a 2-day trip that I will never forget either.

(waiting for the train back to gothenburg  /  our first class digs on the train  /  one of the very small quaint towns from our trip  /  beautiful scenery  /  ryan and I traveling the swedish countryside)

I have one more post to share on our sweden #babymoon so come back here monday. 

And because I am a very proud cousin, here is some really cool compilation footage of my cousin college soccer career. 

Gothenburg // Part I

July 2, 2015
Our trip to sweden has come and gone but it honestly was a once-in-a-lifetime getaway that I have spent so much time thinking and dreaming about since getting back stateside. I am horrible at editing down pictures to share so, I have decided to break up my vacation recap into multiple posts so I don't totally overwhelm or bore you. Hang on tight, here we go...

(the view from our hotel, the gothia towers, on the 29th floor. sorry for the poor photo quality, these were taken through glass)

A little background on our decision to go to sweden for our #babymoon... ryan's company has their european offices based in gothenburg and he was asked to book a trip in june. So, before you know it, we were booking an additional plane ticket and extending his business trip to create our last international vacation before our little bebe arrives. Traveling when you are 6 months pregnant brought on a couple challenges but I think I will save those details for a follow-up post.

(left to right: a snap of the cobble stone streets which are everywhere in the city  /  sunny afternoon walking by the paddan canal  /  overflowing irises found during one of my lost jaunts  /  me, the day we landed  /  ryan while at dinner at 8:30p in the sun on a patio  /  ryan's cheeseburger and fries... with an extra large serving of tasty aioli)

We arrived in gothenburg right as the rainiest and most brutal month of weather in history was literally wrapping up. 'Summer' was upon us and in sweden that meant temps in the high 60's and the sun was out... which we learned quickly was a very big deal. Every restaurant and cafe patio was crowed with people soaking in the sun, even when the wind kicked up or the temps dropped into the high 50's. I packed a lot of pieces I could layer together which worked out nicely for our 10-day vacation.

(more images of the padan canal and the stunning botanical gardens which run along side the canal)

Ryan had 2 days of work on the front end of our trip which left me to do a little exploring on my own. I learned quickly that I need to work on my map reading skills and also to check my 'tourist ego' at the door because in fear of looking like a complete sightseer with my map out, I got lost many times while venturing out on my own. Now, I have to admit, getting lost was not the worst thing ever because I stumbled upon some great parks and shops along the way and got in a lot of extra exercise by walking additional miles looking for my destination. However, it was a bit frustrating at times.

(ryan's company threw a big party in conjunction with sweden's big mid-summer festival; we got dressed up for an awesome evening and party)

Below are some highlights of our trip along with some fun facts we learned along the way. I have a lot more sweden to share so come back tomorrow for installment.

Trip highlights:
- The city of gothenburg is the 2nd largest in sweden; it is bustling with every mode of transportation you can think of which is great for getting around (and it’s super affordable)
- The sun does not set in the summer months until 10:30p which was a nice placebo to our jet lag, allowing us to see and do a lot more in the evening hours
- If you enjoy fresh seafood like oysters, salmon, shrimp and cod, there is no better place
- There are hundreds of islands called an archipelago that are scattered up and down sweden’s coast; we loved jumping on a ferry for a day of island exploration
- The entire city is covered in cobble-stoned streets… while gorgeous, plan on comfortable walking shoes
- I would highly suggest taking a train into the center of the county; all of the beautiful small towns and vast country side was awesome to see

Interesting Facts:
- Swedes love their coffee and sugary treats; they even have a name for it… fika. Fika is taking a coffee break in the afternoons with a friend to talk and relax together before getting back to your work/schedule
- A customary greeting upon meeting or interacting with anyone is ‘hey hey!’
- Everyone speaks english but nearly all signage is in swedish
- The entire country is gorgeous! Men are super g.q. and put together while the women have the most stunning skin and dress incredibly fashionable
- Swedes love butter! Many dishes are served in rich cream or butter based sauces and every meal comes with bread and butter.
- The summer months are precious and sweeds will spend every possible moment outside. Every restaurant has outdoor heaters and cozy blankets to keep you warm as the evening passes.
- There are very strict alcohol restrictions and laws… .02 is the legal limit. So, most people will not even have 1 beverage while out because the fines are so steep. 
- Over the course of our trip we took planes, trains, trams, buses, ferries and taxis to get around... and there are bike lanes on every street in the city

4th of July // Inspiration Board

July 1, 2015
Independence day is just moments away and I am looking forward to our annual 4th of july bbq with our family and friends. This holiday is always associated with food, drinks and our loved ones but of course, I want to add in some decorative details to infuse the soiree with red, white and blue. 

I have some inexpensive but hopefully impactful diy's in the works to liven up our outdoor space. Check out my inspiration board below for this year's 4th of july party and to see last year's, click here.

Oh, and for some more nostgic fun, here is the 2014 4th of july video I created and here are some great recipe suggestions for an americana meal that will be both tasty and gorgeous.