{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! 🙂

{Weekend Snaps}

I’m kind of addicted to the latest iPhone photo editing app, VSCO Cam. So I thought, what better way to showcase my love than sharing weekend snaps I took using the aforementioned app. Here’s a bit of what we were up to the last few days (captions below). 

Hope you had a stunning weekend!
Loving every minute of being reunited with our sweet pup, Henry.
2 & 3 
Kentucky Derby party! How handsome does the huz look all dressed up? 🙂
4 & 5 
Enjoying the most delicious cappuccino I’ve ever tasted (and perhaps the prettiest too!) while doing some research for our next trip (Positano in 3 weeks!).
Stopping by the Sunday Market in Westerpark & admiring the awesome outdoor terraces in the area. This is one thing Amsterdam definitely does better than Portland – incredible and huge places to dine & drink al fresco!
7 & 8 
A lushy ladies brunch at G&T’s Very Nice Place. We chatted and sipped bellinis for 3 hours!

{Weekend Recap}

Is it Monday already? Just like the week, this past weekend flew. Here’s what were were up to:

+Friday I took my cousin to a cute little French restaurant along a canal for dinner. It was so fun catching up and partaking in some good ‘ol girl talk.

+Brunched at Le Pain Quotidien (and enjoyed the most delicious freshly made mint lemonade)

+Experienced the Anne Frank museum. It was incredibly powerful and heart wrenching. If you’re ever in Amsterdam I recommend you not miss it.

+Shopped around the Nine Streets.

+Took my cousin to our favorite Thai restaurant

+Discovered a new (adorable!!!) pastry/sandwich shop called “De Laatste Kruimel” (The Last Crumb) that is dangerously close to our apartment.

+Started Season 3 of Dexter. 

+Met our downstairs neighbor who had us over for drinks. She’s super sweet and she gave us a bunch of restaurant suggestions we can’t wait to try!

+Had dinner with a bunch of coworkers who are in town from the States. You have no idea how comforting it is to have them all here. I miss their familiar faces!

What did you do this weekend? Do you feel like you need another day to recover like me?

Our First Visitors!

While it still feels like Corey and I are practically tourists ourselves, it was so fun having visitors in town and attempting to show them around like we were locals. We did our best, and I think our friends Aly and Mike enjoyed their three-day stay in Amsterdam. We ate lots of delicious food, drank tons of yummy Belgian beer (and not so yummy Heineken..sorry, Amsterdam, not a fan!), went on an evening boat tour of the canals and wandered the streets of the city. Now I’m dying to have more people come to visit!

{Photos © Liz Denfeld}

Date Night at Irving Street Kitchen

This date night was one of our last in Portland. I have to say, I am really going to miss living in a city where I know every street, store and restaurant. I’m sure we’ll find our new favorite places in Amsterdam, but Portland will always be home to us. I truly do miss it already. 

I have so much going on right now, I wish I could tell you all about it, but won’t for two reasons: One, I’m afraid I’ll bore you to death and two, I am just so exhausted and can’t find the time. Maybe someday I will tell you all about the chaos we’re experiencing, but for now you’ll just have to trust me that things are absolutely nuts! We fly out Thursday, yet this whole thing still doesn’t seem real. I suppose that’s normal? Anyhow, wanted to pop in and say hello, sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger, and I promise I’ll be back soon. Hope this little post will tide you over!

{dress: bb dakota, necklace: j.crew via ebay, shoes: cole haan, belt: h&m, bag: cole haan, sunglasses: d&g}

{Photos © Liz Denfeld}

{Way Overdue} Weekend Snaps

Figures the weekend my sister was in town was a rainy mess! We still had lots of fun with delicious meals (Screen Door, Nostrana and Tasty ‘n Sons being the highlights), mani/pedis and lots of long chats. Here are a few snaps from the weekend (mostly of dinner from Tasty ‘n Sons!). I have so many more pictures to show you from the last couple weeks, so stay tuned!

{Photos © Liz Denfeld}

Dinner Date at Nostrana

Normally our favorite thing to do on a Friday night is to order take out and have a relaxing night in. After exhausting work weeks we often don’t feel up for a night out. But lucky for us, our company celebrates a little something we like to call “Half-Day Friday” during the summer months. You work a couple extra hours during the week, and then come noon on Friday, you can start your weekend early! It’s kind of the most amazing thing ever. So these days, after vegging out for a little and taking the pup out for a nice long walk, we feel energized and ready to try new restaurants. Which is exactly what we did Friday.

Nostrana is an Italian restaurant located in southeast Portland. It’s not small, but it somehow still feels very cozy. We got to sit at the pizza counter, where we watched the chefs toss the pizza dough and slather it with delicious tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. Yummm. I can’t say enough about how incredible our food was. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water! I also enjoyed a fun trio of sparkling wines, all which I loved. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic date night if you’re ever in the area.

P.S. Just a fun little memory. Half way through our dinner another customer stood up and clinked his glass and asked if everyone in the restaurant would help him sing happy birthday to his friend, who was celebrating her 60th birthday. Everyone in the restaurant bursted out into song, it was so fun! 
{Photos © Liz Denfeld}

Sunday Snaps

I didn’t take many pictures this weekend, mostly because I was feeling kind of lazy about it. But Sunday I finally got my inspiration back and brought my camera along with me to brunch. Boy was I glad I did, too! 

We tend to frequent the same breakfast/brunch spots and we felt like trying something new, so we ended up at Irving Street Kitchen. We had been once before but ate outside. They were having a special barbecue for the Fourth of July and we weren’t crazy about the food, so we steered clear of it after that. Big mistake. Clearly we just caught them on an off day – and eating inside is the way to go.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves as far as decor, but in one word I was obsessed. I seriously wanted to move in and never leave! And they were playing 1920s tunes, Frank Sinatra, and even some Pink Martini. After a while I was starting to wonder if their playlist was solely dedicated to me, each song even better than the one before! 

And then of course there was the food. I totally indulged in what they call the “Smothered Southern”: Sunny side up eggs, cheesy grits, fried chicken and chili creole wedged between two buttery biscuits and served in a skillet. Did that gross you out? The description was a bit much, but the waiter insisted it was one of their specialities, so I went for it, and it was worth it! It somehow wasn’t actually as heavy as it sounds. Corey had their Bacon Cheesburger with gruyere, avocado and herb fries and he gobbled it up in no time. Moral of the story is… We’ll be back to Irving Street Kitchen very, very soon.

And of course I couldn’t wait home to get home and snuggle with my little Henry. He got sicky this weekend, but I won’t gross you out with the details… He’s on antibiotics now and feeling much better!

{Photos © Liz Denfeld}

What I Wore: Russell Street BBQ & The Nike Hoop Summit

I want to start this little outfit post (this pathetic, sorry excuse for an outfit post…) by saying… all you fashion bloggers out there deserve a gold medal. These outfit pictures are hard. Clearly I’m not a natural. I feel silly, I hate the way I look in 99% of the photos and somehow, my hair, makeup, outfit, everything seem to look just a bit better when I look in the mirror. Then when I see these pictures, I kind of cringe… Now, please don’t acknowledge my whining over here. Swear I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m just saying, this blog will not be turning into a fashion blog anytime soon 🙂 Here’s what I wore on Saturday night. Hope you enjoy the photos!

 {Top: Hurley, Cardigan: Urban Outfitters, Flower pin: Forever21, Cropped Pants: Gap, Flats: Urban Outfitters}

Weekend Recap

This weekend we…

Took Henry over to the in-laws, ate take-out Chinese and cooed over photos and videos of our adorable niece.

Double-dated with my sissy and her boyfriend who was in town from L.A. We had a delicious dinner at Jo Bar and then played Taboo ‘till 1 a.m. It was so much fun!

Finally experienced the famous Mancakes from Stepping Stone Café. They are huge buttermilk pancakes that were featured on Man vs. Food (one of Corey’s favorite shows). They were gigantic, fluffy and delicious!

Took a walk in Washington Park. It smelled like Spring and there are so many beautiful houses in the west hills. We daydreamed about buying a home up there someday and taking our kids to play on the swing sets.

And Henry lost his first baby tooth! Our little man is growing up so fast…

Hope you had a great weekend! What did you do?