Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Ok, Jason called it...I couldn't resist writing down what happened on our trip each day. I don't want to just look back at my pictures and try to remember everything that happened. I have had so many thoughts and memories so far that I want to make sure I don't forget a thing! Unfortunately this means my photos are un-edited and in raw and perhaps not so fabulous form. Some of them are from my point and shoot camera and others with my dslr. I will just include a few and the rest sometime after we return. Here is what has happened so far. 
Day 1: We arrived in Lima late last night after a long, but not as bad as we thought, six hour flight. We started off our flight meeting a very nice and fancy pantsy couple from Lima.They were standing behind us in line to get on the plane and gave us all sorts of restaurant recommendations. They told us they owned a hotel (a fancy one!) here in Lima and gave us their card and told us to call them with anything we need. So nice!! : ) I spent most of the flight reading 'Breaking Dawn' (still have a ways to go) and Jason spent it playing games on the iPad. It wasn't bad at all. 
We were greeted right as we exited the baggage claim by a cute old man with our name on a sign. We felt so VIP. He led us to his car (taking my bag for me and all!) and then drove us to the hotel. He was such an interesting person to talk to. It made me sad that we would only be meeting him this once. He spoke fabulous English but had lived in Peru his whole life. He is retired and does airport transfers for different travel agencies when he feels like it. He told us all about Lima, asked us questions about Minnesota, and surprisingly he knew a lot about Minnesota. He gave us some great tips about Lima and then dropped us at our hotel. He was a very sweet man and he started us off on a fabulous note.
We got to our hotel and weren't sure what to expect because it was fairly cheap. It is super nice! If you've ever been to the Graves 601 in Minneapolis, it's kind of along those lines. It has windows that you can open without screens and let a ton of fresh air inside. We love that. 
Excuse the smudge on my lens...took me awhile to figure out it was there:

As Jason was looking out the window admiring the view and the fresh air, we heard a 'crash'. I asked him what it was and he didn't answer at first. I walked out of the bathroom and saw him looking out the window. "I dropped the iPod out the window!'' is what I heard next. Apparently in his excitement, he hit his hand on the window and it flew out of his hand and out the window! Luckily it landed on a ledge and not on the street below...the question now was...how are we going to get it out? He tried to climb through the window but couldn't quite fit (I was releived actually...I didn't want him climbing on a ledge on our first night in Peru...I'd like to avoid injuries if at all possible) so we had to call the front desk and they had to grab a huge ladder to climb up on the roof to get it for him. It was pretty embarassing for him but pretty hilarious for me. The iPod on the ledge: (it was fine and still works!)
We ended the already late night with some room service (which was surprisingly good!) and some Monday night football on the spanish ESPN channel. Pretty entertaining. 
Basically, I ended yesterday feeling like everything was on the right track...super excited for the rest of the trip! I was worried no one would meet us at the airport and that our hotel might be gross...but neither of those were an issue! So happy!

Day 2: This morning we went downstairs for breakfast which was good stuff. The coffee was impressively delicious and we are kind of sissies when it comes to coffee and don't like it bitter...but it was good! We were also a little tentative to drink it because we have been warned by many to only drink bottled water because tap water here makes you sick. We weren't sure how they made the coffee but once we had one taste we were goners. So far so good, no poop explosions or puking yet! Yes!
We then made our way to the tour bus where we drove around on a fancy bus to see the sights of Lima. We saw and heard about all sorts of different areas of the city. There are several districts in Lima and we are staying in Miraflores...near the ocean. After the bus tour the guide took us out and brought us into a museum. Not 10 minutes into the tour, a LOUD LOUD siren started going off and a man was yelling something in spanish through the loud speaker. Everyone looked a bit panicked and our guide told us we needed to leave the museum immediately. We got outside and entire street was filled with people. Everyone everywhere had evacuated their buildings. Students, lawyers, everyone. It was a mad house!
Turns out it was an earthquake drill although we saw TV reporters and police officers giving interviews and wondered if it was perhaps something more. We were told that it was just a drill but who knows. Jason had mentioned yesterday actually that he'd like to experience what an earthquake feels like. I of course took this opportunity to ask him if he still felt so enthusiastic about feeling an earthquake and he said a .06 on the Richter Scale would suffice just fine. Haha. 
After that madness, we finished our tour and headed to a pretty cool church. Underneath the church there are catacombs that hold the bones of over 25,000 people. We were able to go underground below the church and see these bones. It was pretty cool but kind of creepy too. Especially a bit creepy to be in an old brick 'basement' right after a 'fake earthquake'. Just sayin'. But we survived and it was interesting for sure. The church itself was also very beautiful and ornate. Unfortunatley no photography was allowed so nothing to share besides words. 
After the tour we hoped off the bus early to check out the coast that was nearby. It is what I have wanted to see most in Lima and it turns out it was for good reason, it is beautiful! We walked around to check out the sights a little. There were several people para-gliding...right of the cliff...I wish I was more brave because oh hell no I was not going to do that! 
After checking out the coast we took a loooong walk back to find food for lunch and/or our hotel. We of course did not pack a map in our bag because who needs a map in a foreign country you've never been to? Not us surely. Well...we could've probably benefited from one. But on the bright side, we got a lot of exercise and eventually did find our hotel : ) But before that we found a yummy restaurant and tried the alcoholic drink of choice...a Pisco Sour. It tastes kind of tequila-y, kind of different...but strong nonetheless. Good thing this restaurant happened to be 1 block from our hotel (little did we know) because we were deeeeerunk after lunch. After one drink you ask? Apparently! 
We got back to the hotel, freshened up, forced ourselves to not take a nap which sounded like heaven at that time and went back out on the road. We went to a highly recommended (in our tour books and online) restaurant that has been serving Pisco Sours for 50+ years. So of course we had just one more...followed by a large delicious coffee. While were there we met a very nice older couple from Sweden who have been traveling to South America for 12 years or so. They told us about all the small towns they have discovered and grown to love and recommended that we check them out if we ever come back. I'm sure we will be back. I love meeting new people wherever we go...it's what makes traveling so interesting and fun!
After that it was time for dinner and oh what the heck....another Pisco Sour (might explain the gut rot right now). We were the only couple in the restaurant and every restaurant seemed dead...I guess that's what happens in the slow season on a Tuesday night! We WERE going to be brave and try seafood (neither of us likes seafood) since we were right on the coast and people raved about the ceviche but we wimped out. There is still time, but we will see what happens. 
On our way back to the hotel we saw a homeless girl who asked us for our leftover food. Jason, my sweet husband of course gave it to her and we made our way back to the room : )
Tomorrow morning we have a very early flight to Cusco so I better go to bed. I am SO looking forward to the next leg of this journey. Friday we will be going to Machu Picchu which is what I am of course looking forward to most. I am pretty nervous for tomorrow though because I hear the altitude sickness can be wicked and horrible. Here's to hoping it's not too bad! 
Here are the pictures from today : ) They are in order of what happened so I'm sure you can guess what's going on...for some reason this app isn't letting me label them. 
The tree in downtown Lima...it was made out of disco balls and wasn't a tree at all

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Florida Photo Shoot & Off We Go!

Jason and just arrived in Miami after a long day of driving from Gainesville. We had a great time with family as usual. We tailgated for the Florida/Florida State game which was very fun and of course had tons of fun seeing our neices and having late night chats with Nikki and Justin (well mostly Nikki since Justin would always fall asleep mid-conversation) : ). 
We are sitting in our hotel room and tomorrow afternoon we take off for Lima, Peru!! We are so excited. I told Jason I am so thankful that he is so excited to go on my dream trip. I know it isn't his dream trip but he's still excited and is happy we are able to do this. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. 
We will be spending 2 days in Lima, 4 days in Cusco, 2 days in Quito, Ecuador, 4 days in the Galapagos, and 2 days in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I hope everything goes smoothly and there aren't any major disasters! I am sure it will be great. 
I am going to go to bed soon but first of all, I had to download a special app that I just learned about today in order to upload some pictures...clearly I need to learn more about this iPad (Jason kind of hogs it). But it's an app just for your blogs! Pretty sweet. And dangerous. I still am not sure if I will be blogging at all in South America because I really want to have time to go through the pictures first and include those...but we shall see. 
On Friday I did a photo shoot with my sister-in-law Nikki's in-laws. We did group shots, kids shots, family shots...all sorts of pictures! They turned out cute and we had a great time taking them. My sister-in-law's land is simply gorgeous...it is truly the perfect setting for any kind of photo. : ) It's the perfect place to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, and you can just relax and think there. I'm so glad it worked out that everyone could come over for these pictures!
Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bags are packed...

Ok my bag has been packed since last Monday...but now both our bags are packed!
I am so excited. But I'm also a little nervous. I have never been anywhere outside of the country besides Mexico, St. Lucia, and cruise ports and those were all kind of cushy and in their own little safety bubble. This is the real deal. We are going from city to city...for 2 weeks!! In South America!! I am sure everything will be fine, but I am still just a little nervous. I am also nervous that this is going to open a bag of worms which will lead to wanting to travel everywhere...asap. We may never have children. Ha!
But no need to worry now, tomorrow we are headed to Florida and will be there through the weekend before heading to SA on Monday. The only thing I have to worry about there is whether or not the mouse in my sister-in-law's house is really gone like she says it is. If not, I will not sleep for the whole weekend. Severe phobia. My 4 year old niece thinks the mouse is cute...what does that say about me? Such a weenie.
When we get there we are going to hang out, drink wine from a jug as usual, tailgate for the Florida/Florida State football game this weekend, play with our nieces, drink coffee on the porch and talk, and just have a great time as usual. I always look forward to my time in Florida. I am lucky to have a fun family in-law!
While we are in Florida I am also doing a photo shoot of Nikki's family and her husband's sisters and their kids. I am so excited. Only problem is I won't have my laptop with me so I won't be able to edit photos. It's going to be torturous.
Jason nixed bringing the laptop on the trip. I know it's probably for the best...I don't want to lug it around, we have enough to carry. Plus it's good for me to enjoy the moment and not stare at the computer screen in the evening...we should probably be going out drinking and dancing instead ; )But I won't be able to edit my photos or blog about anything til I get back...unless I become a pro typer on the iPad. Doubtful. So I am planning to write the highlights of the trip down and then blog about it in a few different posts with pictures when I get back : )  I hope to have many photos and videos upon my return!
Ok I really am having a hard time stringing together coherent thoughts at this time so I guess that's my cue to go to bed.
Goodnight everyone : ) Happy Thanksgiving!!!

p.s. this is what I saw when I came into bed tonight...my adorably organized husband is all ready for the trip:
this is funny because I have no clue what I'm wearing tomorrow...

my favorite is the rolled belt in his shoes

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Day of Bri

That's right. I named today after myself.
I took it upon myself to be selfish all day long. And it felt so goooooood! This is yet another thing I am savoring knowing that it won't be as easy to accomplish once we have babies. Jason had to work all day followed by an evening work commitment as well so my day off work was wide open. At first I was bummed that he wasn't going to be home because I feel like we haven't seen each other much in the last week but then I realized we will be seeing each other non-stop for several weeks on end starting very soon. Therefore, today was Bri's day. Whatever I want to do, to eat, it's all gravy (and no I didn't eat gravy).
I always promote self care to my clinical students, like they did to us in nursing school. I figured I better take my own advice. 
So here was my ideal day: (although a massage would be part of the perfect day I suppose)
I slept in a bit and then went to get acupuncture. I haven't gone in many months and it's something that I realllllllllly like. But the place I was going to was pretty far away so it was hard for me to find time to get all the way over to the other side of town just to relax and get mini needles stuck in me : ) Well a post card came in the mail this week saying they were opening a location near me! In Maplewood! Woohoo! If anyone is interested in very reasonable acupuncture try out Minnesota Community Acupuncture! It is anywhere from $15-35 per session, you choose what you feel you can pay at the time. Also if you tell them I sent you, you get a discount on your first session (and I get one the next time I go in too!) But seriously if you've ever been curious about it, check it out. It's not painful but rather quite an amazing experience. It's helped me fix a few problems without resorting to medication so far....plus it's just incredibly relaxing.
And after zenning it up at acupuncture, I got a hot sandwich, soup, and latte from Panera. I proceeded to home where I shut myself in the den, grabbed the stack of magazines I have been meaning to read but haven't had time to, and sat my ass on the couch in front of the space heater and chilled (or warmed). I had a movie on in the background (Eat, Pray, Love...so it was also zen-ish...and I would like to go to Bali please) but otherwise no other use of technology...I locked my laptop in the basement until this evening...and it felt good!
Then I had an afternoon nap...beautimus. Aren't those just the best? The kind where you wake up more refreshed...not more tired.
After that I did dishes...it wasn't zen but I knew it would make Jason happy so it made me happy...as happy as doing dishes can make a person...and a not so clean person at that. At least I listened to soothing music during it : )
Then I went to boot camp and worked out mega hard. Awesome. I needed that.
And now I am finishing my evening, back in the den...eating Thai food (classic dish when Jason is away since he's not a fan of Thai), drinking a warm alcoholic beverage, deep conditioning my hair, and wearing a face mask all by candlelight....I'm quite the sight. Oh and I'm watching Eat Pray Love again.
I plan to officially end my night in bed with some sleepytime tea (I new thing I'm trying), a half of a benadryl (tea can't work that great), and a book (finally starting the last Twilight book...shhhh!). I have three 12 hour shifts ahead of me this weekend and I intend to start the weekend off right with a good night's sleep for once! Usually I can't fall asleep til after 1 am the evening before I work the weekend for whatever reason...so I'm hoping that's not the case tonight.
That is a whole lot about me me me, but I need to record this in history so someday I can look back when I am elbow deep in baby shit or something like that (and no I'm not pregnant) and remember that I should try and have another day like today : ) And you should too...everyone deserves this...frequently!
Here is your prize for listening. The recipe (very simple) for my warm alchy beverage:
Warm Apple Cider, Jameson (as little or as much as you like), shaved cinnamon to taste, and a cinnamon stir stick!
I hope most people don't have to work this weekend and can enjoy it. Even though it will be freaky cold I'm sure. But hey...know you have something warm to drink : ) Happy almost Friday everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Storm Twins

This is going to be a polar opposite posting from yesterday because I got to photograph two incredibly adorable twin boys and I have some cute pictures to share!
Maegen (their mama) and I were in the RN Residency program at work together when we first graduated so we got to know each other very well. We carpooled to work and at the time talked about my new boyfriend (Jason) and how she had just gotten engaged (Josh). We've been to each others weddings and remained friends since that time. Although we haven't seen each other in far too long, we had so much fun getting together when I took these photos. It was great to catch up with her and I have to say...I am very impressed with her mommy skills. I can't imagine raising twins!
The boys, Carter and Brody, are such good babies and it was so fun to meet them!
Hope you enjoy the pictures : )
Such cuties
Bumbo time!
Carter does not like hats...he was the master of wiggling out of them but I caught this one!

Thumbs up for me...I got out of the hat!
Night night
I love this one

brotherly love : )
I had so much fun with you Maegen. It was wonderful to meet your boys!