{Paul + Rachel // Married}

There are few things I love more than attending a wedding. I am just such a hopeless romantic and I will never get tired of watching two madly-in-love people committing their lives to each other. Corey and I were lucky enough to attend Paul and Rachel’s wedding when we were home in August. They had their ceremony in the Versailles Gardens, with the Fremont bridge perched perfectly behind them and had the reception right next door at The Castaway. What an incredibly beautiful night! Rachel and Paul are the sweetest couple and their love for one another was just radiating off of them the entire day and night. Congrats again, you two! We love you!

P.S. I’ve already gotten a few questions on my dress (you guys are clearly dress people like me!) It’s 2+ years old, I got it for my bachelorette party. It’s the BCBG Heart Applique dress if any of you want to look for it on ebay 🙂 )

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Wine Tasting + Picnic at David Hill}

Things got so busy right before our trip to Portland I didn’t even get to blog about our two-year wedding anniversary. It fell on a work night, the day before I was leaving for home, so to be honest it wasn’t the most incredible anniversary ever. But we did make time to go out for an amazing meal (in a greenhouse!) and for some quality time together before I left Corey for two weeks (torture!).

When we were home, partly as a little celebration and partly just because we hadn’t been back since our wedding day, we went out to the winery where we tied the knot. Corey’s parents and my mom joined as we did a little wine tasting, then enjoyed a picnic among the vines enjoying a fantastic pinot noir. Being back was so special – the place hadn’t changed a bit.  

**Update! Apparently you guys like my dress 😉 Thanks! It’s from Zara. Unfortunately I got it on super sale while I was in Bruges with my sis, and I don’t see it online.

  {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Libby + Scott 8.25.2012}

Wow. Before I get into today’s post I just want to say a huge thank you for all of your incredibly kind and encouraging words yesterday. I was this close to not publishing that post because it was so personal and made me feel very vulnerable. It made me realize (yet again) what an incredible community of friends I have made through this blog. I truly can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my rambling and respond back such thoughtful remarks. It means the world.
Although I’m still not 100% out of my funk I am already starting to feel a lot better today (thanks in large part to your wonderful comments & emails and also to a good nights rest). I’d love to share with you some photos I took at my good friend Libby’s wedding. It’s the main reason I was home (I was a bridesmaid and wouldn’t miss it for the world!) and it was such a ridiculously beautiful, genuine and special day. Since I was in the wedding I didn’t get the chance to take as many photos as I would’ve liked, but of course I snapped a few! Hope you enjoy them.
  {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Rachael + Christian Engaged}

I still have at least one more Greece post for you, but interrupting for today to show you some engagement photos I took for my friends Rachael and Christian last week!
Rachael, an American expat living in Amsterdam, contacted me months ago after finding my blog. She asked if I would be willing to take engagement photos for her and her fiance! I was so excited. It was the first time anyone had contacted me (that I didn’t know) to take pictures for them! Well, we met for coffee soon after and we totally hit it off. We’ve been friends ever since (and she has since started her own amazing blog – Let’s Be Adventurers – which is packed with gorgeous travel photos!). 
We finally got some good weather and I jumped at the chance to take photos for these two. I think we all went into it a little nervous not knowing what to expect, but it turned out to be a super fun and relaxed evening taking pictures of these two. They are so in love, constantly laughing and constantly smooching 🙂 My kind of couple! 
Anyways, here are a few of my favorites from the session!
 {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Santorini Sunsets}

The sunsets in Santorini are famous. I’d been hearing about them for ages, and it was one of the things I was most excited to see while we were there. Our days pretty much completely revolved around two things: dinner and the sunset. If it weren’t for those two things I’m not sure we would have left the hotel at all – or ever changed out of our swimwear for that matter! Most nights we watched from our terrace with a glass of crisp white white made on the island. We went to Oia twice to watch the sunset. Once we watched on the rooftop of our hotel and on our last night we walked further into the village of Imerovigli, where we were staying, to watch. Hands down my favorite place to take in these breathtaking sunsets was from our very own private terrace, but let’s be honest, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house pretty much anywhere on the island 🙂 
Hope you enjoy this photo overload of the famous Santorini sunsets we got to experience.
 {Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Absolute Bliss // Santorini,Greece}

So. Greece.
We’ve been back for almost three weeks and it has taken me this long to be able to even begin to talk about this incredible trip.
I kind of feel like a freak about Santorini. It’s hard to explain. We had such a memorable vacation that part of me doesn’t even want to try to blog about it because I know I won’t be able to explain how remarkable it all was. I couldn’t even think of the words to express how blissful it was. How romantic it was. How perfect it was.
But of course here I am trying to do just that. I’m a blogger, after all!
I’ll begin where every great trip to Santorini should – a fantastic hotel. 
The best part about the island is the views. So find a room with a ridiculous terrace overlooking the caldera and you’ve got it made.
We knew we wanted to go all out for this trip – we weren’t looking for a budget hotel – so as you can imagine I spent countless hours on TripAdvisor, on hotels.com, on boutique hotel websites, the list goes on, trying to find the perfect place.
And what did it end up coming down to? A personal recommendation. A rave review from Ms. Ashlee Gadd (one of my favorite bloggers out there!).
Goodness I am glad we listened to her!!
We stayed at Absolute Bliss in the town of Imerovigli. And it was just that – Absolute. Utter. Bliss.
Now, most people who know about Santorini know about Fira and Oia. Fira is the busy heart of the island – where all the action is. And Oia is where you watch that famous sunset. But if you’re like us, we’d never heard of Imerovigli. Don’t let that sway you against it. After having seen all three, we couldn’t have been happier to stay in Imerovigli.
It sits between Fira and Oia (walking distance to Fira, a cab ride to Oia) and is the most relaxed and luxurious town on the island – and also happens to boast the best views of the caldera. And as my Greek coworker told me “It’s where all the celebrities and rich people stay”, so you know it’s good (no, we’re not rich or celebrities, but we sure did feel like it for a week!)!
At Absolute Bliss the owner Sofia treats you like royalty. She knows how special a visit to Santorini is and she does everything in her power to make it the best vacation of your life. She’ll help you book four-wheelers to explore the island, plan a boat excursion, or recommend you some of the most incredible Greek restaurants. She’ll also back off and leave you to enjoy your gorgeous room and private terrace if that’s all you want to do while you’re there – which is exactly what we did JWe pretty much left our room once a day – for dinner. Sometimes for the sunset, too, but we found that the best place to watch it was from our terrace (yes, even better than watching it in Oia).
So all this to say that if you’re planning a trip to Santorini you’d be wise to choose Absolute Bliss. Feel free to email me if you need any advice or have any questions! Without further ado… the first of many, many photos you’ll see of our trip!
{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Back to Reality}

…yeah, you can say that again! Corey and I got home from Santorini Sunday night only for me to get deathly ill!
I’ve been home from work the last couple days trying to recuperate. Ugh. 
I have so much to say about Greece. And so much to show you…
What I’ll say for now is it was the most luxurious, indulgent, romantic, magical, awe-inspiring vacation we’ve ever been on. Not exaggerating one bit.
I thought Positano was it
And then Greece happened. 
sigh
We will definitely be returning!
Here are some iPhone snaps to hold you over (even some non-instagrams!)
Captions at the end!
2. our hotel room
3 & 4. our private terrace. i know.
5. view (to the right) from our private terrace
6. our first santorini sunset
7. hangin’ by the pool, admiring the stunning view
8. watching the sunset from our private hot tub!
9. walk from Imerovigli to Fira
10. mad about this guy
11. picture perfect sunset in Oia
12. sending postcards & drinking coffee on our terrace our last morning in Greece

{A Relaxing Day in Positano}

Vacations to the south of Italy should be all about relaxation. We put it at the top of our list.
Our favorite way to relax in Positano was to rent lounge beds on the beach (10 EUR/each for the day – worth every penny!) and just lay in the sun for hours.
It didn’t hurt that our view was the gorgeous cliffside hotels and residences of Positano – stunning!
We laid there for hours, only getting up to break for lunch.
There are a few cute and yummy places right in Spiaggia Grande (the beach), but on this day we decided we wanted to lunch with a view (so spoiled we are!), so we hiked up the hill 15 minutes or so to Cafe Positano.
It provided stunning views for a leisurely lunch.
Then we headed back down to our sunbeds that were waiting patiently for us.
Ah, take me back!

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

{Corey’s 30th Birthday in Italy}

A little disclaimer on this post. This blog is just as much for me as it is for all of my lovely readers, so on special occasions such as my husband’s 30th birthday, there are memories I want recorded. I’m aware this post is wayyy too long for most of you, so feel free to just skim over to the photos – no hard feelings. The writing is mostly for me to remember this special day 🙂
—————–
Corey and I met when he was 25. At the time, I was 21 and still in college, so 25 to me seemed really mature and old. Well, not old, but definitely older than me. For some reason, shortly after we started dating, and I was sure Corey was the one, I started obsessing over his 30th birthday. I love celebrations and I love any excuse to go big for them. So in the years since meeting, I’ve had many ideas for his 30th ranging anywhere from a trip to Mexico to a big surprise bash.
When we decided we’d be moving to Europe last summer, I realized all my plans for Corey’s 30th would have to change. The thing that made me the saddest was knowing that his family and friends wouldn’t be able to share in this milestone birthday with him. So, I did two things: One, I planned an awesome trip to Italy for him (who can be sad & homesick when they’re in Italy?!), and two, I got his family and friends involved, from an ocean and continent away. Here’s how it all went down…
The morning of Corey’s birthday we woke up bright and early (4:30AM) to catch a luxurious cab ride (we normally bike to the train station and take the train to the airport) to catch our 7AM flight to Naples, Italy. From Naples we took a series of buses and trains to get to our final destination: Positano, Italy. I’d be lying if I said the journey wasn’t quite a long and tedious one. We touched down in Naples around 9AM and didn’t get to our B&B until 2PM. There were times I started feeling like maybe this was a bad idea – all this traveling on his actual birthday, that’s no way to spend your 30th! …
…Fortunately, the second we stepped into our room at the B&B and saw our gorgeous terrace overlooking the sea I knew this was going to be a very special birthday and it was worth the journey there. There was cake (traditional Italian cake of chocolate & almonds – so yummy!) and wine waiting for us in the room (I called ahead :), so we quickly uncorked the wine, poured two glasses, got into our bathing suits and plopped down on the two sun loungers on our deck. Not two minutes later I sprung out of my chair and announced to Corey that he will now be receiving his gift…
…I disappeared into our room and came back out with a single letter. From me to him. It was more like a novella of sorts, filled with lots of loving words, birthday wishes, and other fun mushy stuff! Also in my letter I informed him that I wanted to get his friends and family to help him celebrate this special birthday, so they all wrote cards and letters for him*. I once again disappeared into our room and this time came out with a big stack of letters. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking wine, eating cake, staring out at the gorgeous view and reading touching and hilarious letters from his wonderful friends and family. Corey is an incredible son, brother, friend, husband and so much more, and it was so clear in these letters how loved he is by so many people in his life. He makes us all better people and he is always there for us, through thick and thin. And best of all, the guys knows how to make you laugh 🙂 The best quality in a man, I must say!
Before we knew it, we’d gone through all the letters, our skin was rosy from the delicious rays of sun and it was nearing time for dinner. We took a quick scenic walk around our B&B and then came back, got ready and headed out for one of the best meals of our lives at La Tagliata.
La Tagliata is a traditional Italian eatery run by an incredibly sweet family. It’s located in the hills above Positano, so it has a breathtaking view of the city below. The second you arrive you are given a bottle of amazing house wine, a bottle of water, and for us, two glasses of champagne to celebrate the occasion. Shortly after, you start getting plates and plates of food. We never saw a menu – and realized about 20 minutes in there wasn’t a menu! They serve what Mama made that day and let me tell you, Mama knows how to cook! We were stuffed silly by the time dinner was over. The meal ended with glasses of limoncello and the entire restaurant singing “Happy Birthday” loudly to Corey. He was mortified, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I knew the years of planning had all paid off when Corey smiled that adorable smile of his and told me “This was the best birthday I’ve ever had”. It’s a day I don’t think we’ll ever forget. One of the best days ever.

{Photos ©  Liz Denfeld}
*I got this amazing idea from Sarah Tucker, of course! 🙂