Wednesday, July 10, 2013

barcelona: architecture and whimsy


For starters, we loved Barcelona. Absolutely loved it. I would recommend Barcelona to just about any traveler (experienced or not) because it is such a visitor friendly environment.


Not only is the city packed full of life and color through its architecture and character but also through its people and the rich mixture of culture that can be found there.

Our first stop (as shown in the two pictures above) was exploring Cataluyna Square.

Bar5 Bar6

The next stops were the ever-so-popular and absolutely fabulous works of Gaudi. First up, the Casa Batllo. For background, prices and more info check out their website here: It looks amazing in pictures but is even more amazing in person.

Bar7 Bar8 Bar9

Next, another work of Gaudi-- La Pedrera. We decided not to go up on the roof of this one do to time restraints but according to the reviews it's a must-see! Check out their website for more details:



We enjoyed walking around, soaking up all the beautiful architecture, and I kinda of fell in love with this random owl.


Now for one of the main reasons my husband was set on coming to Barcelona, The Church of the Sacred Family or Sagrada Familia.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the background and history of this building, it's quite impressive and very intense.


It's designed by Antonio Gaudi who has now been deceased for almost 87 years. As you can see though, it has yet to be finished. Construction continues daily, and they are projected to complete it by 2026. Why so long? The entire building is inspired by the life and gospel of Jesus Christ--and as you can see in the following pictures the detail is quite remarkable.

Take a look at this page on their website and the view of the church from above:

Bar14 Bar16 Bar17

The detail is spectacular. This is one of the front doors in the picture above and in the picture below, you can see the chapel inside.


If you have a moment, take a second and watch this 60 minutes clip on Sagrada Familia. I promise, it's well worth your time & extremely educational. It will make you appreciate this beautiful piece of architecture so much more.

Bar21 Bar22

That detail is crazy, right? Check out their official website here:


Robert had been infatuated with this place ever since he watched the full 60-minute special. This was a dream come true for him.


The next day we headed up to Park Guell. It was an easy trip--their subway system is excellent! Definitely don't pay the extra money to cab around, just use the underground system--we had no problems with it. It will drop you off at the base, and then they actually have escalators that will take you a good chunk of the way up the hill to the park.


It was dreamy. The view was unbeatable.


The park is big--so I'd plan on spending at least a whole afternoon there.

We honestly could not get a good picture for the life of us at this lookout. There were just too many people and not enough space. That's the toughest part about travelling as a couple--if you want to take pictures together it takes a lot of awkward waiting around for the right person and then asking them...and then hoping they know how to use a Cannon or iPhone. We usually try to look for younger hipster looking couples to take our pic. We didn't have much luck in Barcelona.

Bar30 Bar32

There are lots of talented street performers (and weird ones as well)


This one was my favorite. I can't resist the sound of a violin.

Bar34 Bar38

I love this man. He's made my life one constant adventure. Single girls, marry a man that loves to travel! There is nothing more rewarding, humbling and educational then experiencing the many corners of the world with someone you love.


Toe-touch in Park Guell, obviously.


Just having one of those "I can't believe I'm here..." moments.

You can see more on their website here:


Next up, we explored Las Ramblas. We actually stayed in a hotel right on it--so we got a good amount of time on this lively street. It's full of shops, street vendors and lots of shopping.

We decided to have dinner at their famous La Boqueria. Fresh everything (including chocolates) and it was delicious.

Bar43 Bar45

My husband is obsessed with gummy candy. He was pretty stoked about this.

Get more details here:


Oh, and of course you can always count on me to find the nearest Gelato truck.


We spend the next evening exploring the Gothic Quarter. Found a quaint little place to eat called Cera 23. It's a must if you like seafood. And you need to try their Volcano Rice. It was one of the most unique meals I've ever had. It was actually delicious, but the texture of some of the seafood mixed in was a little rough at times. Check out their webste:


A very old man whom my husband spoke to in Spanish took this picture. Not bad, eh? We were definitely surprised.  


The Gothic Quarter was gorgeous. Probably one of my favorite spots to walk around.


Next we went down to the Olympic Port. It was quiet and a bit chilly but a nice get-a-way from the bustle of Las Ramblas.



It's truly a beautiful place!

Mount Tibidabo

This picture I'm particularly fond of because my good friends Erin, Mark and myself are standing at the top of Mount Tibidabo...and for those of you that aren't Friends fans like we are, just take a minute to enjoy:

Below are a few more pictures of some of the different architecture that I'm obsessed with:


Edit 4

I don't think there was anything we didn't like about Barcelona. It was such a dream.

I recommend it to both experienced and inexperienced travelers because it really is an easy place to get around, with great food options, and amazing sites to see! And for those of you that missed it check out my early blog post on the Coast of Brava--which was where we went right after spending a few days in Barcelona. It was one of my favorite places EVER.

Have any of y'all been to Barcelona? Let me know if you have anything to add. We definitely didn't get to do everything we would have liked to do and would love any tips for the next time we're able to go back!

P.S. I'm just now getting on-board the Bloglovin' train. So if you use it please follow me! And if you don't, I just started using it and LOVE its simplicity and design. You totally should get on-board ;)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

throwing it back: the city & my fear of settling

moving day

The day I moved to San Francisco—this picture is worth so many thousands of words.

It’s tough to even know where to begin.

The impact of this moment in time almost leaves me unable to breath—and to think I captured it with a single picture. Most of you already know the tale, but for those of you that don’t, I moved to the city of San Francisco, CA from Salt Lake City, UT early in 2012.

It had been months in the works—overall it was the solution to a problem of being extremely unsatisfied with my life and in desperate need to change. Change what? I wasn’t sure. Something. Anything. But mainly, me—not loving who I had allowed myself to become.

I wasn’t satisfied with the life I had created for myself. It was mediocre at best, and I couldn’t stand the thought of settling. Settling for life. A life that I knew could be more. I was haunted by the idea of settling for a husband that wasn’t 100% meant for me, terrified of settling for a job that just got me through the days paying the bills, nauseated over the idea of settling with little-to-no adventure…all because I was afraid. Afraid of taking a risk, afraid of leaving the bubble, afraid of leaving my past and definitely afraid of failing.

After being in and out of relationships, suffocated by a little college bubble-town that I won’t name, and escaping a culture that as much as I loved, knew was harming me more than helping—so there I stood in front of a u-haul truck, hugging my family, freezing in the icy winter wind, and ready to go—knowing it was for good.

At this moment, I felt some new exhilarating spark within me. An adjective—an emotion—that I had always blindly assumed I had in me but hadn’t felt in a long long time.


Bravery to let go of the parts of my life I didn’t want & didn’t need.

As many of us know, that’s a hard thing to do—much more difficult than it sounds. And to be honest with you, I’ve never been good at it. I’m stubborn & I don’t gracefully stumble—I fall heavy and damn hard at that. Always believing that I can make sense of any mess or fix any broken relationship. Unwilling to let go of something I was convinced should be mine.

And on this cold February day—I was letting go.

This whole change, move, quest—whatever-it-was—was all me. There was a lot of risk involved. All cards laid out on the table. No help from my parents—no money that I hadn’t earned myself and no plan I hadn’t made on my own. And I knew that I had no one but myself and my Father in Heaven to fall back on. There was only one option—to let go of the things keeping me stagnate and move forward.

Little did I know, that letting go would change my life forever.

I’ve talked to my husband about this moment in time—about the sudden spark of bravery I felt during that period of my life. I never once cried—not once—and I’m a crier people! I enjoy a solid teary meltdown from time to time, but from the moment I hopped into that moving van, no tears were shed. Scared out of my mind, but confident in that step forward.

--and I know that wasn’t all me. Because trust me—Kris alone is not that brave.

I know that a very loving Father in Heaven was watching me, knowing that this move was something I needed more than anything. Probably disappointed in some of the decisions I had made but caring SO much for my happiness that he filled me with courage, drive, and intense amounts of bravery.

Though underserving, I know that the He was by my side the entire way.

Weeks passed, I had never felt so alive, so beautiful or so able. I was welcomed by some of the most lovely, charming, and intelligent people I had ever known.

Suddenly, I felt like myself—the me that I always knew was there. The me that I used to know as a child, as I explored through the banks of the stream that ran by our house and along the yards of the chapel.

During those summer months, life was so full of mystery, imagination, and potential. It’s like I understood who I was—a fourth grade girl with crooked glasses, a deep passion for writing mystery novels, and endless dreams of my future adventures.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that girl and lost my way. And apparently that freezing cold, homeless over-run city of San Francisco was my ticket back.

And it was at this time of my life, somewhere in between breathing in that pacific air as I rode my bike over the golden gate bridge and eating one of the best Reuben Sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life —I became me again. 100% me. Seriously, you can read about the infatuation here.

and boom—enter @robc123.

That was God’s cue I guess. Kris is finally in a good place, I think it’s time.

We were an instagram couple from the start. Robert’s good friend gave him a ‘shout-out’ on one of my early instagram posts while in the city—awkwardly tagging his name in a comment left on one of my photos. And honestly, I didn’t know his friend all that well either, but thank heavens his social media game is consistently on point because it’s making ish happen (thanks muffin)

Soon after, we were introduced in person. A few weeks after that, we were on our first date…and the rest…you all know. If not, read about it here. And even if you already know, feel free to read it again. I may be biased, but it’s a pretty damn good story. Romantic as hell and hopeless from the get-go.

 Romantic as hell & hopeless from the get-go.

See. Right there. That’s what I always wanted. That’s what I had dreamed of as that little 4th grade girl playing adventure in those woods. Something magical. Something that would sincerely take my breath away. A life with possibility and air to fill your aching lungs—and a relationship with no games, no hidden emotions, no side-giggs, and no settling. We were 110% crazy about each other from the beginning, and that love gets crazier by the day. Just like I had prayed and longed for.

I remember a moment, that day I hopped into that u-haul—I had this thought. That for the first time, in an extremely long time—I had a fresh start.

No ex-boyfriends to fall back on, no predicting what housing complex I could move into after my progression from King Henry, to Belmont, to Arlington, and absolutely no clue what was going to happen next. Out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.

Why? Because I had finally learned to let go.

And that—that right there—is what it takes to never settle. Because it’s when you can’t let go, that you end up stuck. And to all of y’all that ever entertain these thoughts. Thoughts of needing more and feeling like you’re allowing yourself to settle—DON’T.

Borrow some bravery like I did and head out on a new adventure. And not just a trip to SoCal or a steamy weekend to Lake Powell with the in-crowd. Something real. Something substantial. Something that may change you as a person—forever. It may be moving countries, states or zip codes. It may be pushing for that new job that you want so badly but feel intimidated by. It may be mending relationships that have been left broken or wanting.

And it may not necessarily lead to your dream man/woman but it will lead you to a better place. A place where you can feel confident about your abilities and happy with who you are.

It just takes a little bit of bravery.

“One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.” Robert Holden

my valentine 5 My valentine 6 IMG_0972 IMG_9000

What you're afraid of