Archive for birthday

Turning 30 in Paris

Posted in Special Occassions, Travel with tags , on April 15, 2012 by grandersons

I realize that many people dread the thought of turning 30, but oddly enough I’ve actually been looking forward to it.  My best friend, Gioia, and I have always said we would “peak at 30” and and it certainly feels as if that’s true, however I’m now going to shift that to “peaking at 40” just so this trend continues!

In honor of my big 3-0, Kyle and I took a trip to Paris and it could not have been more incredible.  We basically walked and ate our way through the city – our favorite way to travel.  And we were lucky to have recommendations from our friends, Mattieu and Chloe, who have lived in Paris and gave us some inside scoop into their amazing city.

We stayed at a fantastic hotel in Monte Marte, an eclectic neighborhood that is home to the Moulin Rouge and where the movie “Amelie” was filmed.  We loved it!

Our friends, Chloe and Mattieu, gave us some wonderful recommendations for our time in Paris.  We particularly enjoyed a new little restaurant Chloe recommended that a couple from Seattle opened near the Palais Royale – Verjus.  The atmosphere was incredible, as if it was built into a little cave, and the food (an assortment of small plates) was perfect.  I know not many people rave about broccoli, but let me tell you… the broccoli was amazing!

Another major highlights was a boat tour on the Seine.  It was a perfectly clear day and after walking the entire city of Paris it was a pleasant change of pace to sit on the boat and soak up the sights.

We loved seeing pad locks on all the bridges – apparently the tradition is for couples to place a lock on one of the bridges on special occasions like their anniversaries or wedding days.

A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a stop my Notre Dame…

The Louvre…

Or the Eiffel Tour…

We were excited for a night out on my actual birthday and couldn’t resist taking a quick photo to capture the growing baby bump!

Speaking of bellies…did I mention the amount of food we ate on this trip?  Croissants, baguettes, crepes, chocolate…  Here’s a picture of me with my chocolate gorilla friend – do you like our matching bellies?!?

And since I’m not drinking alcohol these days, I was quite pleased to discover ‘jus de pomme’ or sparkling cider.  One night we got crepes to go and popped open a bottle at the hotel in place of our usual champagne!

Here are a few more pics of this amazing city…

I cannot imagine a better way to kick of my 30’s!


Partners and Picnics

Posted in Life in Madrid with tags , , on October 8, 2011 by grandersons

Kyle’s school, IE or Instituto de Empressa, formed a “Partners Club” for all the wives, girlfriends, partners, and supposedly husbands (though we’ve yet to spot one) of students who might otherwise be sitting at home alone for a year while their partner is off at school for 8+ hours a day and has social activities planned for nearly every night of the week.  While it may sound a bit cheesy, I can honestly say that I don’t know how I would have survived this year or enjoyed Madrid as much as I have if it hadn’t been for all the amazing partners I’ve met!

One of my favorite “partner” activities is picnics in the park.  We started planning picnics last spring and they’ve continued here and there throughout the summer and now into the fall.  There are a few ‘regulars’ that show up every week without fail and there tends to be at least one ‘newby’ at every picnic as well.  We all bring something to share and spend a couple of hours lounging in the shade, catching up on each other’s lives, helping each other with “where can you find x in Madrid” questions, and enjoying the down time.

These photos are from a particularly fun picnic when we celebrated my wonderful friend Rachel’s birthday!

I’m going to miss these incredible women and our afternoons in the park desperately when we head back to Seattle!

Feliz Cumpleanos

Posted in Special Occassions with tags on November 21, 2010 by grandersons

Just another day in Madrid…except for the fact that it was Anne’s 29th birthday!

A run down of the day…

Anne wakes up and enjoys a walk with Abby and Kyle to meet her new friend, Rachel, for a ‘work date’ at a nearby Starbucks.  A cinnamon roll and chai are the perfect way to start the crisp, sunny morning and Anne is happy to get out of the apartment and make the most of the ‘pomodoro technique’ with Rachel.  The Pomodoro Technique is a pretty simple idea that has been Anne’s life saver working remotely in Madrid.  The general gist is that you set a timer (or use a handy widget on the desktop of your computer) for increments of 25 minutes with 5 minute breaks and a longer 20 minute break once you’ve done several rounds of 25/5 minute sets.  The purpose of setting a timer is to force you to focus on one thing for 25 solid minutes and take an intentional break before going back to work.  It’s the best thing ever!  And it’s even better when Rachel and Anne ‘pomodoro’ together because then they can be super productive with their work and still get to chat during every break!


Next, she makes a quick stop by the apartment to say hello to Kyle and Abby before going to lunch at El Azul de Fucar with her new friend, Erin. To her surprise, she was greeted not only by Erin, but also by a few other “IE partners” – Celeste (and her darling little girl Makenzie), Alison, and April. It’s tough to beat a lunch of pita and hummus, veggie quiche, topped off with carrot cake – especially sitting in a darling cafe with a group of amazing women!

The afternoon and evening were spent in the apartment on calls and the computer for work before heading to dinner at Isla del Tesoro with Cesar, Karina, Rachel, and Kevin. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner and great company!

After dinner we were off to a bar on Plaza dos de Mayos to meet up with several more of our new IE friends. A few rounds of cerveza and good conversation made the perfect end to a wonderful birthday in Madrid!

Not to mention the “midnight snack” (or 2am snack as it seems to go in Madrid…) of cupcakes from Cupcake Madrid that Kyle had picked up earlier.

Anne certainly missed celebrating this day with her fabulous twin sister, Erin, and good friends in Seattle but was happy to squeeze in a few phone calls and loved the sweet emails and facebook posts that made it feel like she wasn’t quite so far away.

A big thank you to everyone who made this such an amazing day for Anne.