Europe tour wrap up, where I want to go next

It was so fun reminiscing about my Europe trip, I needed to get those memories and pictures down before I forgot everything. I love traveling so much, and I can't wait for all of the trips in the future. Coming up next in April: Europe tour round two!!!

All Europe posts linked below:

London, England
Cheltenham, England
Brussles, Belgium
Berlin, Germany
Munich, Germany
Lucerne/Zug Switzerland
Paris, France Part 1
Paris, France Part 2
Milan, Italy
Venice, Italy
Verona, Italy 
Rome, Italy
Athens, Greece

I also have a wish list of places I want to visit next:
Spain (Included on this years Europe trip)
Costa Rica 
The UK: England, Ireland, Scotland.
South America: Paraguay, Peru, Brazil
Santorini, Greece
Australia/New Zealand
Kawaii, Hawaii
Outerbanks, NC
San Fransisco
Waco, Texas
Orlando, Florida (Disney and Harry Potter World)

And a million other places I can't think of right now. Whats on your bucket list?

Europe Tour 2012: Athens, Greece

I am finally posting about Athens, Greece! This was delayed because I lost my SD card which housed all of my photos, but while doing some organizing last weekend I found it, and am in the process of backing up my photos! Athens was the last stop on our Europe tour. We LOVED it. This place was full of variety, Private beach one day, tons of tourists at the Acropolis the next.

We rented an airbnb for this stay and it was quite the adventure getting there. We decided hey lets take the bus, that'll be way cheaper! But we forgot that we don't read anything in Greek and the Cyrillic alphabet is pretty confusing if you aren't familiar with it. We got off the bus many stops too early and frantically called our host while we wandered around Athens. Luckily she picked up and spoke enough english to head us off in the right direction. We were SOOOO relieved when we made it to the apartment.

Our host recommended that we take a boat to the non touristy island off the coast of Athens (I cannot remember what it is called for the life of me). It was basically dead when we got there. We had an entire beach to ourselves for most the day. We played on the beach, ate at a local sandwich shop, got some gelato, and took in the beautiful little port! I didn't bring my camera on this venture because I figured we'd be playing the water and I didn't want to have to worry about my camera getting stolen. Had I known we would see basically nobody on the beach I would have brought it!

The pictures above were at a very crowded beach in Athens, still beautiful though!

Weekend vibes

Last weekend, yes its friday and I'm finally posting this, we had a very relaxed weekend full of brunch at a friends house, family, and omelets sunday morning!

I love having weekends where we don't have a full on schedule. It was so nice to just decide Saturday afternoon, hey we want to go to a movie! We saw Race by the way, and it was awesome! I've never heard the story of Jesse Owens, its definitely one you want to hear!

Hoping to have another relaxing weekend ahead :)

Easy Pad Thai Recipe

This is quite literally our favorite dinner to make right now. I have stockpiles of the non- perishable  ingredients in my pantry. The pictures have some different vegetables than the recipe calls for because I just threw in whatever I had, still tasted great! We make this about every two weeks and it feeds a lot so we make it most when people come over for dinner (I usually need a pot and a pan to hold it all)! 

14 oz Thai rice noodles
8-16oz Pad Thai sauce (I get the Kroger brand, we like more sauce so I usually do about one and a half jars)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into small strips
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips and strips halved
1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots (we get the already sliced ones)
2 cloves garlic (we get the already minced kind)
4 green onions, greens sliced
4 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts (optional)

1. Prepare rice noodles according to directions listed on package.
2. While noodles are cooking, Pound chicken thin (optional) and cut into small pieces , heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken and saute until cooked through, Transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pan. 
3. To the pan with the remaining oil, add bell pepper and carrots and saute 1 - 2 minutes then add garlic, green onions and bean sprouts saute 1 minute longer. Push veggies to edges of pan and crack eggs into center. Cook and scramble until eggs have cooked through. Add in chicken, noodles and sauce and toss everything together and cook 1 - 2 minutes. 
Serve warm topped with cilantro and peanuts.

Qualtrics ski day 2016

Last week my work had its annual ski day for the Engineering team, yes I am technically on the engineering team. haha 

I slept in and left my house around 10. Got to the mountain and skied for about an hour before I went to get my free lunch. After hanging out with some coworkers at lunch I went down two more runs and went home early. It was a gorgeous day! and I loved being able to unwind and just have some fun in the middle of the week. I also totally fit in with my subaru. 

When I got home it was about 55 degrees and sunny so I washed my car! I got a ton done when I got home. For some reason I am way more productive when the sun is still out. Its one of the many reasons why I hate winter. When I get home at 6pm and its already dark out I’m like screw it I’m watching 4 hours of Netflix. 

Hope you are having a great week! Im stoked for the weekend. We got invited to brunch at someone in our neighborhoods house and Im kind of excited, we need to meet more people. 

5 tips for buying your first house!

Buying your first house is an amazing feeling. Not only is it an accomplishment (saving for a downpayment, having good credit, etc.) but a solid financial investment for the future. Here are five things that were really helpful for us when buying our house:

1. Find an agent you can trust

Our agent was incredible. She is a family friend I have known since I was little, so I knew I could trust that she was making decisions that were in our best interest. She also showed us as many houses we wanted to see (maybe like 25?) and actually convinced me to look in the town we bought our house in, I was super against this town before she convinced me to just try it.

2. Know your budget and don't look at anything outside of it

We went to a mortgage company prior to getting pre-approved to see what they thought our price range would be based on our incomes and credit history before we went looking seriously for houses. This was incredibly helpful! They had several projection sheets and explained the pros and cons of the different loans we could take out on our house.

Another helpful formula several people told me is to make sure you are not spending more than 33% of your monthly income on your mortgage. Spending more than that can be stressful. Even if the bank offers more, don't go to the top of the range they give.

Also, looking outside your budget when you are seriously considering houses will just set you up for disappointment. Don't do it. You don't want to fall in love with something you cannot afford.

3. Make a list of must haves

Travis and I made a spreadsheet giving weights to our highest priorities (my husband is a nerd with exel) and it helped cut some houses out from the get go. Really tho I knew what house I wanted right when I walked into ours. I was a nightmare because I couldn't contain my excitement and the builders real estate agent knew he had us.

4. Your dream home probably isn't going to be your first home

I absolutely love our first home, but its not my dream home, it doesnt have every single thing I want, but its close! Just keep in mind that if you aren't building, and even if you are, you probably can't get everything perfect (because you can't afford to) and thats okay. For example, I don't love the outside color of our home, but I deal cuz I like that our neighborhood is colorful in general!

5. Have everything organized before you need it

When you are getting approved for the loan on your house you need a lot of documentation. Keep everything organized in one place. Our mortgage people asked me to submit the same documents at least 3 times each (don't ask me why, they like to be difficult) and their online submission site super sucked. Keeping everything organized will help you not go insane when this happens. Things you will definitely need (Pay stubs, taxes, old W-2's, work history, forms of ID, bank statements, etc).

Buying a house can be overwhelming but so exciting!

March Goals!

February was not a great month for getting my personal goals accomplished. Luckily with March beginning I get to start all over again! 

February Goals:
1. Practice the piano everyday- NO EXCUSES. Even 10 minutes will help me keep what I have learned fresh. Major Fail, didn't practice once
2. Go to the gym right after work 3 times a week with the hubby + 1 or 2 times myself (trying to do shorter workouts more often during the week) Rocked this! The last week of february I went to the gym/on a bike ride 4x and took a walk at work 4 out of 5 days- thank goodness for the gorgeous weather!
3. Take pictures every weekend when we actually do fun things and document on the blog! Did pretty good, minus last weekend, took none. 
4. Read scriptures every night even when we're tired. Fail.
5. Be more patient, kind and loving to my husband even when Im stressed.Work in progress. 

March Goals
1. Get outside everyday if its sunny- hoping the nice weather sticks
2. Get Europe plans locked down and everything booked- only 2 months till we go!!!
3. Celebrate Travis birthday in any way he wants, he's turning 25 this year! 
4. Find motivation to learn the piano
5. Kill it at work- I want a promotion!!!