Archive for the ‘out and about’ Category


Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

wanderlust nashville | Where is June?

Not all who wander are lost.  I have recently come to love that phrase.  Though I was never that girl who threw a change of clothes in a backpack and just took off-I have come to crave travel and discovering a new place.  My husband usually shakes his head at me.  Lucky for me, the boys are slowing getting the travel bug as well and three against one is beneficial for my cause.

Aaron, Big W, and I have been watching Sonic Highways.  A documentary created by the band Foo Fighters that W got for Christmas.  He loves music and this documentary follows the band as they visit eight cities in the United States as they record the album Sonic Highways.  In each city they explore the the music scene, which is totally fascinating.  This weekend we watched the episode featuring Nashville.  All three of us agreed, we should GO!  We have added it to the short list of places to visit.

Topping our list of places to visit is The Bluebird Cafe.  A small cafe that has live music every night.  They play in the round and features original music by songwriters.  In the episode, natives shared that playing the Bluebird was rite of passage in Nashville.  What else could we do and see?  Of course there is the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, but like any city there are hidden gems.

Have you been to Nashville?  I’d love to hear all of your “insider” information!

Nashville photo by @4corners via TripAdvisor


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Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

travel argentina

On our recent trip to Argentina, we took a mid-week excursion from Buenos Aires.  We jumped on a local airline and visited the town of Puerto Iguazu and the astonishing Iguazu Falls.  These amazing falls occur at the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.  We did not apply for a Brazilian visa, so we stayed on the Argentinian side of the falls.

The flight, although only 90 minutes, was the most turbulent flight I have ever experienced.  It was no joke! We arrived in the early afternoon to a torrential, sub-tropical downpour.  After checking into our hotel and planning our trip to the falls the following day, we waited out the rain and then ventured into town.  Puerto Iguazu was very different from the hustle of Buenos Aires.  Small businesses lined the streets and it definitely had a small town feel.  The people were incredibly kind and children played on the side walks. We had an extremely fun day and all of us count the time we spent there as one of the highlights of the trip. A completely different side of Argentina and certainly worth experiencing.

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina | Where is June?

Our trip was really short – basically 24 hours -and we didn’t have much time at Iguazu Falls.  In hindsight, our departing flight should have been much later in the day so that we could have really had time to see the entire park.  We made the most of the time we had there and went for the “extreme” experience.  Boarding a 4 x 4 for a trek through the jungle, we bounced for a few miles down to the river.  We stuffed all of our belongings into dry bags, which coincidentally were soaking wet on the inside, and braced ourselves.  A boat ride took us upriver and through some really fun rapids. Then we caught a glimpse of the enormous falls in the distance.  No picture can do these falls justice.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina | Where is June?

The view of the falls from the water was breathtaking, but the view of the falls INSIDE the falls was exhilarating.  Imagine someone turning on a fire hose and shooting it straight at you.  While I would have loved to open my eyes and see the what it looked like-it was virtually impossible.  There was lots of screaming and tons of laughing.  It was really quite something. We should have brought our GoPro.  The footage would be really fun to have.  After departing the boat, we had time to walk the trails.  The views from land were also fantastic, albeit a little dryer.  Would I recommend allowing someone to drive you into these falls?  YES!  Would I recommend a swim suit, poncho and a set of dry clothes for after? YES!  However, the after shots of us soaking wet make me giggle.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina | Where is June?

The surrounding park was filled with trails, monkeys and more vantage points of the falls.  A train takes you to the top with a lookout and viewing deck.  We didn’t have time to get up there, but the pictures we saw highlight exactly how much water is coming over the top.  A TON!  Iguazu Falls are truly a natural wonder of the world.  If you find yourself in Argentina {or Brazil} I highly recommend it!


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Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

travel argentina

We spent a week in Buenos Aires last month and we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.  Why Argentina you ask? Aaron and I had once talked about going to Buenos Aires and then we had kids.  Needless to say, it has been on the list for quite awhile.  I luckily found three other couples excited and willing to travel to South America with us.  Oh and to end the trip -we planned to see Pearl Jam play live in concert. {This made the men very happy!}

First off, it is quite a journey to get to Buenos Aires.  From Dallas Fort-Worth, it is a 10 1/2 hour flight {11 hours on the way home}.  Luckily ours was an overnight flight.  So with a little bit of sleep, we hit the ground running once we arrived!

Click through for the highlights and photos from our trip…… (more…)

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

check or carry on luggage | Where is June?

We leave for Buenos Aires in just four days.  {Pinch me!}  One of my dear friends, who we are traveling with, has issued a challenge.  Carry on luggage only.  My husband has wholeheartedly accepted the challenge for me after lugging my enormous suitcase around Italy for two weeks.  I will admit that I packed too much on our trip to Europe.  We were gone for fifteen days and I had no idea what to take with me.  Now I have a better idea of what I like to wear in a large, international city.  It also helps that it is spring time in South America, so I won’t need big bulky clothing.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be easy to do.  I am beginning to formulate a plan.  I think dresses will be my saving grace. However, what do I do about shoes?  Or outerwear?  Or beauty products?  The beauty products alone are nightmare.  Damn 3 oz. rule!  {I strongly believe that rule is discriminatory toward women.}

So I have to ask:

Do you carry on or check your luggage?  If you carry on, what are your tricks?! 


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Thursday, October 1st, 2015

San Giovanni in Fiore | Where is June?

{San Giovanni, Calabria}

This is Part 2 in a series of posts about my trip to Italy in 2014.  {Read Part 1/Roma here}

Calabria: Days 6 and 7

Leaving Rome, we headed south, 5 hours by train, to the region of Calabria.  Both of my grandfathers immigrated to the United States from Calabria.  Unbelievably, their towns happen to be only 30 km apart.  Prior to leaving on our trip I was able to connect with family and plan time in each town.  My cousin Elena, spoke English and was an immense help!  While in Rome my rusty Italian served us well.  In southern Italy it was a totally different story.  Very few residents spoke English and all of them spoke in a regional dialect, so it was almost impossible for me to communicate.  Aaron can tell an extremely funny story about my conversation with a cab driver in Cosenza.  I mistakenly asked for a 50 km cab ride instead of a ride to the train station.  Funny now, extremely stressful in the moment.

Click through to read more about our time in Southern Italy:


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Thursday, May 7th, 2015

roma trevi fountain

{Fontana di Trevi}

One year ago today I was arriving in Rome!  In May 2014, my husband and I took a two week trip to Italy.  My grandmother left me a small bit of money.  I wanted to use it for something that would make her happy.  Neither of us had been to Europe so this trip was extraordinary for us!  It has obviously been months and months since our trip, but I wanted to be really thoughtful when writing about this experience.  It was life-changing in some ways, stressful at times, and truly unforgettable.  I will post every week for the next several weeks, since our trip consisted of 3 distinct parts-all with their own amazing sights and memories.

Roma:  The Eternal City {Day 1-5}

Rome is an amazingly busy city!  Scooters zip by, cars navigate streets the width of a jogging path, and people fill the streets day and night.  We loved the energy and felt comfortable as soon as we arrived.  Aaron and I quickly learned how we DID NOT want to travel.  Our first two days in Rome were jam packed and crazed with historical sites and museums. And miles and miles of walking.  By the end of the night two, after we left the Vatican, we finally broke down and took our first cab.  As I leaned back in the seat to rest my head I muttered out loud, “If we do that again tomorrow, I will hate Italy and I will hate you.”  A lesson quickly learned:  You don’t need to see it all.

roma street fun

Click through to read more about our trip and all of my tips for Rome…. (more…)

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Friday, October 17th, 2014

little uncle Seattle

Last week I had jury duty for two days in downtown Seattle. Following the judges’ instruction I did now tweet, post or comment on social media about my days of service.  {Such a rule follower!}  One perk of jury duty is the hour and half lunch breaks.  On day 2 I ventured with a few of my fellow jurors to Pioneer Square for a bite to eat!  Lucky for us, we found Little Uncle.

I instantly fell in love with the space the moment I walked down the stairs.  The space was casually cool and very comfortable.  Tons of exposed brick, a library, and a sofa and coffee table.  For those of you who may have partied in Pioneer Square {years and years ago} it occupies the space that was once Marcus’ Martini Bar.  Only open for lunch, the menu is small but mighty!  I ordered the Phad Thai.  The portion size was perfect for lunch and came with individual packets of red chili flakes, sugar, and peanuts.  You could make your dish as spicy or as sweet as you liked!  The show stopper was the house made Hibiscus Lime Soda!  Seriously, amazing.

Little Uncle is certainly worth a trip at lunch time.  For those of you traveling to Seattle, it would be the perfect spot for lunch before or after the Underground Tour!

little uncle seattle

And a quick shot in the Halls of Justice.  The floors were spectacular.

halls of justice

Have a great weekend!  xoxo denise


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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

the herb farm

On Sunday evening, Aaron and I had the chance to dine at The Herbfarm.  Located a short drive northeast of Seattle, it is quite the experience.  It was a gorgeous day and we were able to tour the herb gardens before dinner under blue skies.  The tour, given by one of the owners, was quite educational.  Did you know that tulip petals are edible?  Me either.  They taste a bit like spinach.

Seating was at 4:30 and so began our 9-course meal!  The theme for the evening was A Walk in the Woods-An Exploration of Foods and Flavors from the Early Spring Woods.  The chef and Sommelier gave us a detailed description of each course and its wine pairing.

Herbfarm Menu

I consider myself pretty adventurous with food, especially if I don’t have to cook it.  The beauty of The Herbfarm is that you make no decisions, so the adventure just comes to you!  The menu is set and the wine is chosen.  You just have to sit back and enjoy!  My favorites were the first two courses and the last (although the cod and a mini-grilled cheese were amazing as well!).  A deep-fried farm, fresh egg?  Uh, yes please!  Every dish was beautifully presented.   The variety of service ware was unbelievable.  Each dish or plate perfectly complimented the course being served.  {It’s all in the details.}  The meal lasts about 4 hours, so I took a half-time break and went out to feed The Herbfarm pigs.  It felt great to stretch my legs, walk a bit and catch the last moments of sunlight.

I wanted to take pictures of all the courses, but I got distracted.  And let’s be honest, iPhone photos of food in a dimly lit room are not always appetizing.  I had to include my snapshot of our last course {Roots and Twigs}, french pressed coffee, and the last glass of wine.  The color is off, but you get the idea.


Looking for a splurge?  Celebrating in a big way?  I am telling you, The Herbfarm is the place.  Or if you want to go on a random Sunday night for no reason at all…..that’s good too!


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Monday, March 10th, 2014

All Butter Pie Crust

A couple of weeks ago I took a pie making class at High 5 Pie in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with a good friend.  In two hours we learned the tricks and basic technique to make an all-butter pie crust.  Please hold onto your arteries, because the recipe calls for two {count them, TWO} sticks of butter.   Let’s just take a deep breath and realize that we don’t eat pie everyday and it is ok to indulge every once in a while.  This crust is flaky and delicious.  And if you are like me, the crust is the best part of the pie!

High 5 pie

The High 5 Pie All-Butter Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

8 0z unsalted butter

3/4 cup ICE COLD water

You will also need a few tools. A pitcher for ice cold water, a counter scraper for chopping butter, a rolling pin, and a pastry cutter if you are going to make a lattice top crust.

tools of the trade

Our instructor gave us great tips.  In a nutshell, keep everything as cold as possible. Chop the butter with a counter scraper into small cubes and freeze it ahead of time.  Add ICE cold water gradually until dough comes together and refrigerate before rolling.  Roll a perfect circle by rolling and making many small turns.  Refrigerate the rolled crust in the pan for at least 2 hours before baking.  Before adding your filling, coat the crust with an egg wash.  This prevents the crust from getting to soggy {Brilliant, right?}.  Place the pie pan on a cookie sheet before placing in the oven.  This helps to catch the butter that will spill over while baking.

pie technique

I loved this class because we also got tips on how to crimp the bottom crust and how to make a lattice top crust.  Skills that are much easier to learn when there is someone showing you how to do it and providing feedback as you try it out yourself!  I highly recommend this class if you live in the Seattle area.  We left with an entire pie ready to bake and dough ready to roll and make another at home.  Since my husband couldn’t help me eat it and my kids are not yet pie fans {not sure how that is possible}, I baked the pie and had one piece.  The rest I boxed up and took to the teachers at the boys’ elementary school.  Nothing better than apple pie with your morning coffee!


Photos by Where is June?




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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

destination italia

It’s official and I am freaking out!  My husband and I are traveling to Italy.  It has been a long time dream and now I finally have a ticket in hand.  Skipping backpacking through Europe may be one of my only regrets in life.  While others were sleeping on overnight trains and exploring all of Europe, I went right back to school and began work on my Masters degree.  Responsible, but not very adventurous.  Now we are going for it!  2 weeks, just us, and the enchanting country of Italy.

Our rough itinerary is set.  Fly into Rome and spend time exploring.    Travel to Southern Italy (Calabria) to visit my grandfathers’ villages and meet cousins who still live in the area.  Both of my grandfathers immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 1900’s.  From there, travel to the Amalfi Coast and explore Positano, Capri, and Pompeii.  How amazing, right?

That is where you all come in!  I need all of your tips.  What is the inside scoop to Rome?  What should I pack?  How should we get around once we are in Italy {train or car}?  Should we stay in Positano?  What is the best way to communicate with boys when we are gone?  Have any secrets to getting over jet lag?  Apartment or hotel?  Guide books you found most helpful?

Any and all recommendations are wanted!  May can’t get here fast enough.



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Where is June?


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