Hey guys! So today officially marks 13 years since John and I met. In honor of our 13 years together as a couple, I’m sharing 13 fun facts about us as a couple and as individuals.
1. John and I met at Enclave nightclub in Chicago at a mutual friend’s birthday party on Sept. 25, 2005.
2. Our said friend and recent newlywed officially met his wife and asked her out on a date at my birthday party. (Returning the favor.)3. I noticed John and pointed him out to a friend at a club because I thought he was “really hot,” 6 months before we officially met at our friend’s birthday, although we technically briefly met a month before at the Chicago Scene Boat Party.
4. Although we have been together for the past 13 years, we’ve only been married 4. We got engaged on our 6th dating anniversary and had a 2 year long engagement.5. We technically have two wedding anniversaries. May 1 (our legal ceremony in Chicago) and May 10 (our symbolic ceremony and wedding in Cancun). We can never decide on which date to celebrate our anniversary so we technically celebrate both (or whichever day is more convenient that year).6. I was born in Belgrade, Serbia and came here just before my 5th birthday making me first-generation immigrant. I’ve only been back to the motherland twice since moving here and only recently in 2009 and 2016.
7. I speak Serbian fluently.
8. John is half Italian on his father’s side and their family is from Naples. John nor his dad ever learned to speak Italian and on our first trip to Italy earlier this year, we did not visit his family’s motherland.9. I have a strawberry birthmark on my right arm that I swear has gotten bigger over the years and I always get horrified looks followed by, “what happened?!”
10. John has a scar just below his right hip from hip surgery when he was little.
11. I was named after my aunt who passed away almost 2 years ago. My younger brother was named after our uncle that we never had the chance to meet.12. I danced Serbian Folklore for a decade of my life and begged my dad to let me quit before my junior year in high school so I can join the poms squad.
13. John is a scratch golfer and has played golf since he was 6 years old. He was MVP all throughout HS and the only freshman on varsity for golf.
Hey guys! A week ago my girlfriend Dani and I attended the Victoria’s Secret Influencer Event at London House hosted by Victoria’s Secret supermodel, Martha Hunt, and blogger, Olivia Rink, where we mingled with other local blogger babes, sipped on tasty cocktails and walked away with a couple of goodie bags. It was a beautiful event on a beautiful summer night.
Hi all! A few weeks ago I attended the ultimate bachelorette party in Cabo San Lucas for one of my closest friends. I’ve traveled to different parts of Mexico over the years and this was my third time in Cabo. If you’re looking for a tropical destination with beautiful beaches, sunsets, a nightlife and not too far from home, Cabo is the place to visit! You can read more about Cabo San Lucas in my travel diary from a previous trip that I’ll be sharing with you tomorrow.The girls and I traveled over July 4th and stayed for six days. I was a little skeptical about traveling to Cabo in the middle of summer, but the weather was absolutely perfect. The temps were in the high 80s with clear blue skies and sunshine every day and it actually seemed to be a pretty popular time to visit. There were quite a few birthday and bachelor/bachelorette parties happening while we were there.
Where we stayed:
We rented a beautiful property through Cabo Villas, Villa Desierto, located in Punta Ballena which is adjacent to the Esperanza resort in a gated community and about a 15 min. cab ride from downtown Cabo San Lucas. Honestly we couldn’t have picked a more perfect property for our six day getaway to accommodate twelve ladies. The Matron of Honor and Koumbara did all the legwork including finding the villa and planning out the week for us making it just the right mix of relaxation and fun. Thanks again, ladies!!!This was my first time staying in a villa on vacation and I would absolutely do it again when traveling with close friends. We split the cost between all of the girls and it came out to about $525/girl for the house which included three housekeepers who came out every morning, a house manager that was on call if we ever needed anything as well as our own private transfer to/from the airport.
Our Week in Review
After somewhat of a long travel day (there were no direct flights into Cabo the week we went), we were greeted with margaritas, chips, homemade salsas and guacamole by our house manager upon arrival. We stopped at Costco on the way to the villa to stock up on some groceries since we’d be spending the majority of our time at the house so if you do opt to rent a house over staying at a resort there is a Costco or a Walmart to choose from.
We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging poolside before some of us went out for the evening.
We had lunch reservations at Sur Beach House, a super cute beach front property located on Medano Beach. Medano Beach is actually the only swimmable beach in Cabo and it overlooks Land’s End. There are several hotels on the beach to the left of Sur Beach House and more restaurants to the right including The Office which is one of Cabo’s popular attractions. After lunch we decided to walk a few doors down where we rented a day bed on the beach and spent the day drinking cocktails, swimming in the ocean, getting our hair braided (typical girly girls) and being total beach bums.
We spent the entire day at the house and had lunch catered through A Matter of Taste that the MOH booked through Cabovillas.com followed by a private chef’s dinner in the evening. During dinner we thought it would be a nice gesture to go around the table and say how we met the person sitting next to us and one favorite thing about that person which turned out to be an emotional evening (in a good way). We concluded the night by gifting the bachelorette sexy lingerie and making her do a little runway show for us. Let’s just say the groom is one lucky man!!
We went back to Sur Beach House for lunch (it was that good) followed by a pool party at ME Cabo hotel. The ME hosts Blue Merlin Ibiza pool parties weekly specifically on Saturdays with guest DJ’s, but you can reserve a cabana Friday and Sunday as well. At night we hit up downtown Cabo where there are a ton of nightclubs and bars. We basically spent our evenings dancing the night away at Mandala which is one of Cabo’s most popular night clubs. I would highly recommend getting a table on the weekends because of how crowded it gets. One other fun option to kickoff the night is Nowhere Bar which is kitty corner from Mandala and right before the Marina.
On our last full day in Cabo we spent the day at Omnia Day Club which is a brand new day club at Vidante hotel in Los Cabos. It’s more expensive than ME and a little further from downtown Cabo, but Omnia is definitely worth checking out. We had our own private Cabana which included a private pool, butler, bottle service, food, etc. for about $3500. It was one of the many highlights of our trip and I’m so lucky to have been a part of it!
Hi, lovelies! With summer vacation upon us, I know some of you will be traveling abroad in the next few months and traveling to the same destination I just recently visited so I wanted to share some tips and an easy packing list based on my own experience to help make your packing less stressful and simpler for one of the most popular (and my new favorite) spring/summer travel destinations in Europe![photo credit]
Before we get to my packing list, my best suggestion is that you pack light (or at least try to) and I don’t just mean light fabrics! There’s nothing worse than overpacking and lugging around two/three large suitcases while jumping from city to city. John and I had one large suitcase each, but we could’ve easily gotten away with just one between the two of us. Spring and summer travel is so much easier in my opinion because you can wear less clothes and lighter fabrics so there’s less of chance to overpack.
Note: We traveled April 17-May 2 and it happened to be lot warmer than we thought it would be (high 70s and sunny) so be prepared when you’re traveling during Italy’s peak tourist season (June-August). The summer heat can be really uncomfortable so stick with bright and light colors as well as lightweight fabrics (linen, cotton, rayon). Early spring is still cool enough for jeans and a jacket, but you won’t need to pack either for summer.
Italy is pretty casual so there’s no need for complicated and elaborate outfits, plus you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing so you’ll want to stay cool and comfortable especially when visiting the top tourist attractions (Vatican City, The Colosseum, museums. etc.). Summers in Italy get really crowded and hot (some places don’t have air conditioning) and you’ll be bumping into people, so in this case, less is more.
Pro-Tip: Consider packing one pair of bottoms for every 2-3 tops. You can save room in your luggage if you can re-wear some pieces.
I’m obsessed with Target’s Univeral Thread and A New Day tees/tanks which are currently on sale for 3 for $20! Also, paper bag waist pants and wide leg capris are really popular right now and the ones I wore in Tuscany are on sale for $20!
2. One-piece wonders (e.g. rompers and casual dresses).
Shift dresses or tank dresses are my go-to summer essentials. They’re great options for transitioning from day to night because they look super cute with sneakers while walking around during the day and then you can just slip into a pair of dressier sandals at night for a cute and effortless evening look.
Pro-Tip: Pack 1-2 outfits max per day. If you’re going to the bigger cities, you’ll be gone for most of the day anyway and you may or may not return to your hotel to change before dinner. It all really depends on your itinerary and your preference. There were some days that we just stayed out from morning to night and there were other days when we were pretty sweaty and sticky so we had to go back to the hotel to freshen up before going back out.
Note: When visiting religious sites, you must cover your shoulders and knees so make sure to have a lightweight cardigan or shawl for bare shoulders and stick with capris or mid length dresses.
3. Sneakers, flats, loafers and sandals.
Leave your heels and wedges at home! I can’t stress this enough. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking on cobblestone streets as well as up/down cliffs so you want shoes that are comfortable and easy to walk in.
Pro-tip: Don’t wear shoes you haven’t broken into. I had purchased a pair of cute fashionable low tops before our trip without wearing them beforehand and they completely dug into my ankle and so I couldn’t wear them the rest of the trip. Also, you don’t want to risk the chance of getting blisters caused by stiff and uncomfortable shoes. That’s a sure way to put a damper on your otherwise amazing vaca.
Pro-tip: You might want to save the flip-flops, slides and dress(ier) sandals for the leisurely strolls and beach towns unless they’re cushioned and to avoid getting the bottoms of your feet dirty.
Pro-tip: Leave your big designer totes/handbags at home and opt for a crossbody or a fanny pack/belt bag.
We didn’t have any issues, but Rome for instance is known for pickpocketers especially at the main tourist sites including the train station so you want to make sure everything is secure. I did carry a large tote to/from the airport and in between cities so opt for one with a zipper to secure your belongings.
5. Accessories/Jewelry (sunglasses and wide brim hats are a must).
I mentioned how warm and sunny it was when we went so you definitely want to shield your eyes and cover your head. I love sunglasses so I always pack a few extras to have options for my outfits. Wide brim and panama hats are lightweight which can help keep your head covered from the blazing sun, plus they’re cute and fashionable so it’s a win, win.
Pro-Tip: I’d stay away from baseball caps if you don’t want the locals to recognize you as a tourist due to your lack of effort. European style tends to be a little dressier than American style (think dressy tops and dark jeans) so I’d suggest leaving your gym clothes for the gym and your beachwear for the beach.
As for jewelry, I stick with the basics (e.g. stud earrings, bracelets, a watch and a couple of necklaces).
Pro-tip: Don’t bring any expensive jewelry with you including your engagement ring. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of pickpocketers and if you’re decked out in designer clothes and sparkly bling bling from head to do, you’ll for sure be an easy target.
If you’re staying in a villa in the Tuscan countryside or traveling to the Amalfi Coast and other beach towns where you’re able to lounge by the pool and beach all day, you’ll most definitely want to have a few bathing suits and coverups on hand. I always opt for one pieces in bright colors on vacation and I’ve linked a few of my favorites.
If you have any questions or if I missed anything, leave me a comment below or email me.
We’re baaack! Gaaahh!! Where do I even begin? I’m not even exaggerating when I say our 2 week trip to Italy was nothing short of ah-mazing!! From the flavorful and luscious cuisine made of only the freshest ingredients, to the crisp Prosecco after a long day of walking and sightseeing, to the rosso vino della casa (house red) that never gave us hangovers,🍷😋the architecture and the beautiful art, to the museums and cathedrals, the history, and last but not least, the incredible views (Oh the views!!). Italy will forever hold a special place in our hearts, and yes, we’re already dreaming of our next visit.
As first time travelers to Italy, we visited four cities/regions with a couple of day trips in-between for a total of 15 nights. May is typically considered the start of “high” season which goes all the way through September with June through August being at its peak with the most crowds, uncomfortably hot weather and the priciest hotel rates. We traveled between April 17-May 2, but much to our our surprise, it seemed as if the high season had already begun. There were quite a bit of students and tourists, but it was still bearable so I can only imagine the craziness that summer will bring. Also, we really lucked out with perfect weather during our entire trip with highs in the 70s and a lot of sunshine! I hate to admit it, but we slightly overpacked. Although we kept checking the weather forecast, we for sure thought it would be cooler so we brought a few sweaters, long sleeve tops and I brought 4 jackets (eek!) which of course I didn’t need. We knew the dress code in Italy was casual and laid back so we didn’t bring anything fancy. I brought one pair of wedges that I didn’t even wear, but because of how warm it was, we could’ve easily gotten away with just one large suitcase between the two of us. Now we know for next time.
For a 2 week holiday in Italy, we booked our travel package through Costcotravel.com. I know what you’re thinking. We didn’t know they had a travel agency either, but they do, and it’s the best! A co-worker had told me about it last year and before we decided to book through Costco, we compared prices on Orbitz, Expedia, a couple of other travel agencies and directly through the hotels and airlines before determining Costco was the way to go. We honestly have nothing negative to say about our experience using Costco Travel and we would highly recommend using them for your upcoming travels. I know we will.
Costco Travel offers a variety of different packages to choose from including airfare. We had been “planning” this trip for some time (almost 4 years) and after doing quite a bit of research and the feedback we received from others, we knew which cities were our top priority and so we booked the Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento: Your Way package. You can view a sample itinerary here. Our package included round-trip airfare, lodging, private ground transportation to/from our hotel and airport, first-class train passes between Venice, Florence and Rome, private ground transportation from Rome to Sorrento and a private driver for a day of sightseeing in the Amalfi Coast on the last leg of the trip. Our package also had quite a bit of perks such as free breakfast at each hotel (I never woke up early enough), complimentary welcome drinks at each hotel in the hotel bar, a free dinner for two at our hotel in Sorrento, plus a $40 credit towards our final bill and discounts at all the hotel restaurants, in addition to earning 2% reward on our travel package as Executive Card Members.
Costco works with a variety of moderately priced and high-end luxury hotel chains including Westin, NH Hotel Group, Sofitel, StarWood and Manniello, to name a few, allowing you to customize your trip any way you want for as many nights at the hotels of your choice (depending on availability of course) which would then determine your bottom line. Since we had pushed back visiting Italy for the past couple of years and we just so happened to travel around our 4th wedding anniversary, we splurged and flew first class (hehe). We flew Delta One on the way there and Air France on the way back. Let’s just say we can certainly get used to this kind of travel. 🙂 As for travel times and the logistics, ORD only has direct flights to/from Rome so we flew into JFK in under 2 hours with a 1 hour layover before flying direct to Venice (a little over 8 hours). We flew out of Naples into Paris (almost 2 hours) and then into ORD (a little over 9 hours). I had previously heard Naples International Airport was considered the most incompetent airport in the world, but we had no issues. In fact, I thought it was fairly easy to get around and out of, but then again, our flight was at 6:30am so that may have had something to do with it.
So, now that we got all of the logistics out of the way (unless I missed something), I’ll be working on a travel diary of each city, but you can read about Venice here. Ciao!