Sunday, September 30, 2012

Boat ride in the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Finland)

One of the prettiest ways to see Helsinki is by a boat ride in the Gulf of Finland, or Baltic Sea.  We did it twice because it was so beautiful!  We went on a sunny afternoon as well, and unfortunately I didn't take pictures.
Make sure you check out the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress (above) and the Helsinki Zoo.
Read more about our time in Helsinki.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I love football season

I know this is a little late... but I am so excited that football season is here.
It means cheering on our niners, spending time with TL's bro, going to games, and having people over on game day!

Last Sunday, we took my girlfriend Melissa with us and had a great time tailgating before the game!

The niners are off to a great start - although, right now behind to the Vikings.
I believe in them, though... let's do this :)

Football season also means my favorite time of the year is quickly approaching.

Happy Sunday
and go niners!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Best Views in Helsinki

 We read online that the Ateljee Bar in the Torni Hotel has the best views in Helsinki.  We found it on the map - and went their for a drink after dinner.  It didn't disappoint... the views were so pretty, especially over the Baltic.  You ride in a tiny elevator to get up there, and then go up a windy staircase, but it's worth it.
We went here on our last night and it was neat to see the city we were exploring from up high.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Visiting Helsinki, Finland

The first place we stopped in Europe was Helsinki, Finland... I know, it's up there, right?
We weren't sure what to expect - but we were really charmed by this place.
The people are very friendly, the city is beautiful, and being so close to the Baltic Sea gives it a cozy feeling.  We got pretty lucky with the weather... it only poured rained on us the very first morning we were there.  
The rainy morning gave me a little time to visit one of the coolest department stores I have ever been to... Stockmann!  (It's a close second to Harrods, ladies!)  They have a huge variety of items and unique areas of the store.  They also have a massive grocery store at the bottom.  The "S" in Stockmann has a unique logo to look like an escalator because they had the first ones in Finland.  It's a historical place as well - and definitely worth a visit if you go to Helsinki.

They eat reindeer, I tried it!  Wasn't too bad.  We spent a lot of time in Esplanade Park and a beautiful restaurant that is at the end of it (next to the harbor).  They had live music, festivals, and lots of reindeer souvenirs.  The harbor offered lots of food options, and was a covered street fair everyday we were there.

One of the funny things we learned while we were there was the obsession the Fins have with saunas.  (It's understandable with how cold that place gets!)  We had several of them in our hotel, and on our tour we learned that they even have important government meetings in saunas sometimes.  It was odd, but you can tell it's an important part of their culture.  Of course, we got in one a few times while we were there :)

It's a great place to visit.  We got the impression that they like tourists and have a lot of pride in their city.  It's a special place and we are so glad we went.

 Side streets off the main drag.  We ate dinner here on our first night.
 The very rainy first morning there. Stockmann is behind me.
Reindeer mania everywhere.  Wasn't a fan of these skins, they freaked me out!
 Loved all of the colorful buildings and flags.
 The street fair vendors in the harbor.
 A huge art exhibit went up in Senate Square and brought the crowds.
 The Rock Church - built completely of rock - worth a visit if you go!

We thought it was odd that nothing happened early in the morning in Helsinki - none of the coffee shops opened earlier than 8am.  This is a shot of our last morning there... it's only 7:30 or so and completely empty.  But it was neat to see the city so raw.

If you are going to Helsinki or are thinking of going, let me know if you want some tips.
It was a great place to kick off our adventure.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

5K Foam Fest

Last weekend, a few girlfriends and I did a 5K foam fest 
(I was slightly jet lagged as it was the next morning after we got home - so it was entertaining)
It was a lot of fun... and very dirty!
Between the mud, water, foam, obstacles, and crawling all over the grass - we were all a disaster at the finish - but it was a blast!

Here are a few pictures.  None of us took our cameras because they wouldn't have survived swimming in mud!
Trying to be "gangsta" before the race.
At the finish line (didn't purchase pictures)
After we finished.
 We went out for a celebratory lunch afterwards!

It was fun - next we're signed up for a zombie run in October - apparently you get chased by people in costume?  Should be interesting ;)

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A little taste of our European Vacay

Thank you for all of your sweet comments about our 3 year anniversary.  It truly is amazing how quickly time flies!

We had a wonderful vacation in Europe... it is always so hard to leave.  It was very nice for both of us to have an extended break from work, and just time to spend together uninterrupted.  We really enjoyed it and feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit 5 more cities together.

I am going to start writing about each place we visited after I get a little more caught up with work... but for now, here are a couple pictures.  We visited Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Istanbul... each were very different and beautiful in their own way!

Helsinki, Finland
 Stockholm, Sweden
 Copenhagen, Denmark
 Berlin, Germany
 Istanbul, Turkey

A little taste of each city... LOTS more to come!!
Hope you're doing well - enjoy your week.

September 11th - I won't forget.  Thinking of all of the families and friends of the people who died on this day 11 years ago.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Guest Post: Top 3 European Experiences

Hello from Holland! I’m Jeanelle from Glocal Girl and am super excited to be guest posting for Then I Got To Thinking today.  Like Tracy, I am also from Sacramento, CA but now live and work in the very charming (rainy) country of the Netherlands. I moved here two years ago with my Dutch love and each day is a new learning experience away from home.

We have had a great time travelling around Europe: sunning in France, celebrating birthdays in medieval castles and of course, eating our way through Barcelona.

Today I decided to share my top three European experiences, for anyone thinking about travelling (or moving) abroad:

1.         Chateaus.
For my 26th birthday, Steven surprised me with a weekend getaway to a 13th century chateau in the South of Holland. We enjoyed a romantic dinner on the estate grounds and drank sparkling wine made from the on-premise vineyards. It was one of the most breathtaking experiences that could only happen in a place rich with history and art. As much as I love the US – we are infantile compared to Western Europe.

2.         Italian Pasta.
Before I lived in Spain I spent six months studying in Florence, Italy and it forever changed my perspective on good food.  Delectable meals don’t need to be complicated and fussy, but just comprised of simple ingredients like roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, swirled in fresh pasta and glistening with generous glugs of freshly pressed olive oil. Perfecto.

3.         Eat slow.
In any restaurant in Europe, you will have to ask for your bill. This may be a foreign concept for Americans (where the bill is promptly plunked down after our plates) but for the Spanish, French, Dutch or Italians – to eat well is to eat slow. Be prepared for lackadaisical service, but not with bad intention. Bring a book and stay awhile! Long meals have taught me to slow life down, plus it does wonders for the digestion.

Feel free to follow along more European adventures at Glocal Girl or daily on Twitter @GlocalGirl. Thanks for having me, Tracy! xx

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

3 Years...

Can't believe it's been 3 years since we said "I do".
It's gone by fast... but so much life has filled these 3 years.

We've moved homes, traveled abroad to 16 countries, made new friends, had career adjustments, hundreds of new experiences, and so much more.

I had always hoped I would marry a guy who makes me laugh, encourages me, and loves me unconditionally... this guy fits everything I could have ever imagined.  And more.  He treats me so well and I am thankful for him everyday.  He's the best friend I have ever had.

I'm crazy about him.

Of course, it hasn't been perfect... but it's been pretty damn good.

Cheers to 3 years, my love.  Cheers to hopefully starting a family in the coming years... more traveling, exploring, experiencing, and enjoying life.

I love you.

{an engagement photo}

This year, we're celebrating our anniversary in Istanbul, Turkey.  This is our 5th and final stop on another adventure.  We are abundantly blessed.

Thank you to our supportive & loving family and friends... we're grateful for everyone.

... and I thought I loved you then.

Monday, September 3, 2012

La Mia Vita in Malaga, Spain

Most of you already know my dear (irl) friend, Nicole of La Mia Vita.  She is fabulous - and her blog is wonderful.  If you don't already follow it - she's beginning a brand new adventure moving to Madrid for a year... start reading if you don't already, you'll love her wit, charm, and sweet heart! :)  

Hola! I'm Nicole from La Mia Vita
I just got back from four months in Barcelona, Spain.
While I was there, I was lucky enough to travel a bit.
One of my favorite places was Malaga in the south of Spain.
It was what I pictured Spain to be.
Hot weather, colorful buildings, beautiful coast, flaminco dresses and lots of sangria.

If you ever get the chance, Andalusia (the south of spain) is a must see. 
I'm moving to Madrid for a year and so wish Tracy and my paths were crossing in Europe!
Have a great trip Tracy and Tim! 
Can't wait to see all your pictures!