Thursday, December 31, 2009

Look alive.... my top 5's!

My Top 5's for the Year 2009

The end of the year is a time when you look back on the past year and think about all the wonderful things you did, what you would have done differently, and how you'd like to make the next year even better. I like to make lists. Specifically, I like to write about some of my favorite things from the past year. So, here it goes. My Top 5's from 2009.

DISCOVERIES
1) Robert Pattinson: seriously, where'd this guy come from?! He fascinates me.
2) Glee: Favorite new show of the year.
3) Laineygossip : guilty pleasure to pass those overtime hours
4) Freaks & Geeks: why didn't I watch this show when it was on television. hilarious!
5) Twitter: its a fad that I've caught on to. I'm not a big tweeter but I really enjoy reading others tweets!


CONCERTS:
1) Needtobreathe @ Simon Estes: we talked with them before the show and asked if they would play Haley, because Haley Janssen requested it. They said they didn't plan on it but during the show they gave us a shout out and played the song!
2) Jon McLaughlin and Parachute: I was introduced to one of my new favorite bands, Parachute. These guys are awesome!
3) Celine Dion: way back on January 4th. We were so close to Celine and her magic! LOVED this show. Thanks Janer
4) Ray LaMontagne in MN. I've never heard Ray talk so much!
5) Kelly Clarkson & Erik Hutchinson @ Iowa State Fair: who doesn't love fair shows. I jumped up and down like I was 15

Other noteworthy shows: Matt Nathanson (specifically the Eminem rap portion of the show); Needtobreathe cd release concert, Keith Urban & Taylor Swift

TOP 5 EVENTS
1) Trip to Europe: Favorite thing I did all year. Period.
2) Family Vacation: Chicago Cubs game and then Florida: Even though I got fried like a lobster and had sun poisoning, I'd do it all over again (but I'd wear more sun screen). I love baseball, I love my grandparents and visiting them in Florida, I love rollercoasters, and I love the beach! Great vacay.
3) Midnight Release Parties: New Moon and Harry Potter. Who doesn't love movies at Midnight!
4) My 26th Birthday Week: I spent the entire week celebrating with friends
5) Chicago trip with Swilson: the trip where everything went wrong... but we made it into an adventure

Other noteworthy events: Dad's induction into the High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Weddings: Katie Meyer, Emily & Trent, Laura & Jared, Justin and Allison, Allie & Matt;

TOP 5 TOTALLY RANDOM EVENTS THAT TURNED IN TO WAY TOO MUCH FUN
1) Apple Party: who knew there were so many products inspired by apples
2) 80's rollerskating: I love the 80s
3) American Idol viewing parties
4) Mission: Find Adrien Brody
5) Summer Service Team trip to the Omaha Zoo: Mary almost had her hand chomped off my an alligator!

Other noteworthy random events: Harry Potter Exhibit with Jason, Fishing & the snacklebox, ELeFant Party

MOVIES
1) NEW MOON: pretty obvious this was my #1. I could go on for days. I'm a Twilight junkie
2) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
3) The Proposal: loved loved loved this. Laughed a lot.. out loud
4) Up: it's been a long time since I really loved an animated movie
5) District 9: the surprise of the Top 5. I was thoroughly entertained through this entire movie. It's like nothing I've ever seen.

Other noteworthy movies: Hannah Montana The Movie, I love girly movies; Michael Jackson's This is It, it was the old lady dancing in the aisles that made this one great.
Let Down of the year: Paranormal Activity, I was bored until the last 40 seconds of the movie. And I felt like I was going to vomit through the whole thing.


BOOKS
1) Into the Wild: finally got around to reading it.
2) Twenties Girl
3) A Room with a View
4) Celebration of Discipline
5) Comeback: A mother and daughters journey through hell and back

** sidenote: with the invasion of the Twilight franchise, I didn't read much else besides the series over and over again. My favorite book list was limited this year. Of everything I read this year, I would give nothing 5 stars.


CDs
1) The Outsiders, Needtobreathe: Favorite band, favorite cd.
2) Glee Soundtrack Volume 1
3) Only by the Night, Kings of Leon (came out in 2008 but I didn't get the album until 2009
4) Brand New Eyes, Paramore
5) Battle Studies, John Mayer

Other Noteworthy, Losing Sleep, Parachute; Lines, Vines, and Trying Times, JB; Crazy Love, Michael Buble; The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack


SONGS
1) I Got a Feelin by The Black Eyed Peas: definitely the hottest song of the year
2) The Climb by Miley Cyrus: I sang this song on repeat for about 2 months straight
3) Dead and Gone: T.I and Justin Timberlake: JT always makes the list
4) Heartbreak Warfare by John Mayer: I'm a sucker for a good breakup song.
5) Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys & Jay Z: this one barely snuck in there. I love everything about this song.

Other noteworthy songs: One Time by Justin Bieber; Single ladies by Beyonce; Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson

And that's it. My Top 5 list for 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Elfing Good Time

My bible study comes up with some of THE craziest party ideas, which is why I love them all so much. For Christmas this year, Jenni and Rianne decided to host an EleFant themed party. Everyone was encouraged to come dressed as an Elf and bring a white elephant gift to share. Some of the Elf outfits were hilarious.

Some of the girls sporting their best elf outfits


Jenni: the happiest elf on the block


Kelli and I. So.. my hair didn't turn out like I hoped it would and stand completely up but this is an okay attempt.


Ean, a creative mastermind, decided to come dressed as an Elephant instead. His enthusiasm was much appreciated.


There were lots of holiday treats and LOTS of laughs. See: Justin and his man thighs


The white elephant gift exchange saw a plethora of treasures. When the evening was over, I walked away with a Water Rocks set. That's right, you can grow your own rocks! Awesome, I know. Others were fortunate enough to get some etched glass goblets, protein supplements, body building and buns of steel dvds, used up gift cards, and my personal favorite The Petal Top. (it was my favorite because it was originally given to me as an actual Christmas present from my grandma).

Here is Karen sporting the petal top. She was the proud winner


The evening was capped off with the movie Elf. What a fun way to spread holiday cheer. Here's McKenna and her big booties


Sara and Kelli were clearly excited to be at the party.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Trost Christmas

I previously posted about the Trost Family Christmas so I thought I would share some pictures.

My cousin Audrey and I after the first competition


My Aunt Laurie. The mastermind behind this years competition


The Grandkids with Grandma (Jon is missing and we have some new additions to the group)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and were able to celebrate with your friends and family. Somebody special wanted to wish you a Happy Christmas as well! (I couldn't help myself)



Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thanksgiving..... delayed post


I know, it's Christmas Eve and I'm posting about Thanksgiving. However, I just now realized that I never posted a picture of our turkey that we decorated at work. Last year we were unjustly defeated in the turkey decorating competition so this year we wanted to go above and beyond. I'd say my coworkers hit a home run with this one. Can you spot the turkey? In case you can't, the frozen turkey is Santa's butt. And with that, we won!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Paranormal Bathroom Activity Log

Day 3: The other day my coworker came back from the bathroom and asked us what the sirens were from. We all looked a little bit confused because we never heard sirens. She said "when I was in the bathroom, I could hear sirens." You guessed it, there were never any sirens going off.. anywhere.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday traveling with my brother

My brother and I always seem to have the worst luck (which actually turns out to be good luck.. I'll explain) when traveling together for the holiday celebrations. Last year, you may recall my story about us hitting a "mysterious tent" when driving home from thanksgiving. Whatever it was, we hit it, it obliterated into nothingness and we've never been able to figure out what it actually was that we hit. Thankfully, no damage was done to my car.
Well, this weekend we were traveling to the Annual Trost Family Christmas and right in front of us, a Durango comes flying in the air and all I can see is a giant cloud of snow. Seconds later its smashed on top of the cement barrier separating the north lanes from the south lanes. So scary as it happened right in front of us but again, thankful that it wasn't our car. Everyone was okay thankfully.

In other news, the Trost Family Christmas Competition this year involved hard boiled eggs. The brackets this year saw me facing off against my father in the first round. I walked away victorious as my egg didn’t crack! I eventually made it to the final round against my cousin Mitch but sadly, I was defeated. I then proceeded to lose miserably in Phase 10 however, I was fortunate to come away from the day with a Target gift card, some ring pops, and a copper candy cane cookie cutter! I love Trost Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paranormal Bathroom Activity Log

Day 2: My coworker entered the bathroom and noticed that one stall door always remains shut and no one ever goes into it. She has also noticed the pipe noise I experienced. New activity to report: her bathroom toilet rattled/moved!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some crazy paranormal activity going on...

So, I'm thinking there's some definite paranormal activity going on in one of the bathrooms at work. This afternoon, I walked into the bathroom and the toilet was flushing.. And wouldn’t stop flushing. It continually flushed for the entire time I was in there. I obviously left the bathroom but when I returned a couple of hours later, it started up again. Weird non?

But that’s not the only instance, the pipes or something within the walls seem to be making this weird noise. It's almost like someone bangs a giant board against them or something. Totally random and totally unexplainable. But here's the kicker, I was working on a Sunday afternoon so basically no one was in the building. I walked into the bathroom and suddenly, one toilet flushed in a different stall. Then, another toilet flushed in another stall. I got so creeped out I ran out of the bathroom. Either I have the ability to set off motion detectors in toilet stalls without actually being in them or something is seriously awry! Freaky! I knew I was special. ha

Monday, December 14, 2009

No. 1 Album of the Decade... says msnbc

I had no idea about this!!! But I'm glad to say that I was a part of this phenom!

'N Sync's 'No Strings' decade's No. 1 album
Billboard magazine says the boy band led by Justin Timberlake had the decade's best-selling album with "No Strings Attached," which sold more than 10 million copies.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34378315/ns/entertainment-music/from/ET

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm trapped....by SNOW!

I woke up this morning around 5 am hoping that work would be canceled. As I looked out our front window, this is what I saw. Even if work wasn't canceled, I was completed trapped by snow. There was about a 2 foot drift surrounding my car and our front door and at the end of our driveway, a 4 foot+ drift. (I jumped in it!) SO, with all this snow surrounding my house I'm forced to stay inside and get those much neglected chores completed and checked off my list. I think the entire city of Des Moines is shut down today! I Heart Snow days! (and yes, work was canceled!)





Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Shopping

The following things were witnessed/heard while Christmas shopping with my mother today:

1) A man asking his wife which Snuggie, the blue or the pink, made him look less fat! (I'm going to assume he was joking)

2) A lady giving herself a facial with a humidifier in BB&B... for 15 minutes. How do I know it was for that long? Because I timed her!

3) While my mom and I were looking at Christmas music, I suggested I would make a playlist for her. Her song request: "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas

4) A child screaming in terror, throwing themselves on the floor, rolling around, flattening themselves on the floor so they couldn't be picked up... and the mom... texting.

5) The guy's name tag at the register in TJMaxx read: Jesus C.

6) "If he doesn't get me the Edward doll, I'll probably break up with him" (This was my favorite)

Ahhh,... the joys of holiday shopping. My feet hurt.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New Moon Premiere Day Recap


5:00 am To say that I bolted out of bed this morning would probably be an understatement. I literally hurdled myself off my bed. It was New Moon premiere day! My coworkers and I have been talking about Twilight for over a year and specifically this day. My work environment has been taken over by Twilight fever. You walk past people's desks and everyone has some sort of Twilight paraphernalia hanging on their wall or on their desks. Its quite funny actually. Even the guys around here know we're serious fans and if they bring up anything in the realm of Twilight, we talk about it for hours. We've all been so excited for this day its been the topic of about every conversation. I knew exactly what I would wear on this day (my Team Edward shirt of course) and knew that my brain would not be able to function coherently as the premiere day drew near. Now that it's actually here, my assumptions were correct (I know myself to well).

1:00 I'm having a hard time concentrating ( pretty much all day.) I'm firing off emails like a mad woman, running back and forth between meetings, and trying to be as productive as possible. But lets face it, I'm a crazy super fan. I've never been able to sit still for long but today is just driving me crazy. I'm bouncing up and down in my chair like a 5 year old at Christmas.

4:30 I'm so amped up, its like I've got an IV pumping red bull into me! Finally able to leave work and am speeding home to "try" to take a nap. Yeah right. My mind is going 1000 miles a minute. I can't sit down I'm so excited. Rpattz, only a couple of hours away.

7:00 Thankfully I am able to meet up with some friends to keep me pre-occupied before it's time to head to the premiere. My bff Melissa has seen first hand what Twilight does to me. When we were in Italy, the first New Moon preview was released and I literally was jumping on the bed in the hotel! Thankfully, the couple of hours before the premiere are all about her (we're wedding dress shopping for her) so I'm able to concentrate on that (and I use the word concentrate lightly).

8:45 - Time to snap some Pre-New Moon pictures with Rob. Sarah and I were pretty creative with our picture taking. I of course had to get one of Rob and myself in my Team Edward shirt. After pictures, we run to the store to pick up our snacks.


A little light reading with Rob watching over us.


Sarah recreating a Twilight moment


Team Edward


1015 - I get a text from Christie telling me there's a fairly long line at the theatre but they're letting people in to be seated already. Sarah and I frantically run out the door and head to the theatre to get our seats! Rob Rob Rob.

10:30 - we are in our seats and there's a crazy buzz in the air. People are watching Twilight on their portable dvd players in the theatre, some teenage girls in front of us are quizzing each other on Twilight trivia, and Sarah and I are laughing at variety of age ranges in our theatre. My coworkers are in another theatre and they told me the atmosphere was the same. Lots of excitement and anticipation.... I stopped by their theatre to say hello and its true.. there's people everywhere excited for Twilight.


11:45 - we're starting to get a bit delusional in the theatre


12:01 - I get a text from my coworker in another theater that people are chanting "Edward" and that the previews have just started. Crazy smiles!


12:05 - lights go down.... and the first preview is Rob Pattinson's newest movie "Remember Me." There's lots of screaming happening, myself included. I suddenly turn into a 14 year old girl when Rob is on the screen.

12:17 - OMG Its NEW MOON - lots and lots and LOTS of screams as Rob appears on screen... then when Taylor appears even more screaming.


2:30 - New Moon = AWESOMENESS! Loved loved loved the movie and how they ended it! Can't wait for Eclipse and we get to do this all over again!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

European Adventure: Rome



When in Rome… such a motto carried out by many tourists, myself included. I've never eatten more Gelato in a 5 day span than my time in Rome. And so the Roman adventure began. We arrived by train in the late afternoon and hopped on a crowded city bus the stop that would take us near our hotel. We navigated the streets and quickly found out that our hotel sat on the corner of Piazza Nuovona, one of the best squares for local artists of all kinds (more about that later). Our hotel, being on the corner of the piazza was also smack dab in the middle of the best kept antique stores of Italy. A gem of a location if my opinion is allowed. The place was perfect as our last stop of our trip. Conveniently the only television station that came in clearly was Italian MTV. They played the same 10 songs on repeat pretty much the entire time so we got a good laugh about a few of the songs (Specifically: Tocco No No and When Love Takes Over were some favorites, Theresa didn't understand the Nelly Furtado video concept and kept watching it and saying "I don't get it", I kept trying to convince everyone that Robbie Williams had a hit song in the USA in the early 2000's, and we all were fascinated by the Italians love for Lady Gaga. She's crazy even translated in Italian).
Our first evening out we didn’t venture to far from our hotel and ate right off of the Piazza. The joke of the evening was regarding the waiter at the restaurant next to ours. He was pretty dreamy in that Italian sort of way. I was half tempted to ask our waiter if there was "Italian beefcake on the menu?" I'll take one of those! The piazza was really great during the day but it really livened up at night. Many local musicians, artists, B-Boys, break dancers, etc made their way to the piazza to showcase their talent. One night a guy made these spray painted pictures and to watch him make them was really amazing! Cindy and Melissa both ended up buying one. There were also some musicians that should definitely have record deals.
Our first full day in Rome we decided to take a tour bus around the city to see as many sites as possible. Our first stop: The Colliseum. W.O.W. Talk about stepping in to history. Its big, its old, and its brilliant. We spent a majority of the morning touring the colliseum and the surrounding grounds which included old houses, court yards, gymnasiums, and gardens. Another high point were the Roman Ruins and the Roman Forum. The history that we walked through really made me stop and stare. I always thought the coliseum and the ruins were in the middle of an open field, away from everything. I was so amazed that Rome was just built right around it... right on top of it! That afternoon we climbed the Spanish Steps, tossed some coins into the Trevi Fountain while wishing for love, and did a little more sight seeing. Our waiter that night was hilarious. He kept trying to speak English and he gave us all "typical" American names. We laughed a ton! That night I saw the preview for New Moon. I was jumping up and down on the bed. I think Melissa was a little worried! :)
Second Full day in Rome: We spent all morning touring the Vatican and Vatican city. Incredible. The amount of paintings and collections that are held within the walls of the Vatican and the worth of it all is unimaginable. Sculptures, maps, paintings, entire rooms crafted by famed artists. Dali paintings, Michelangelo paintings, the Sistine Chapel, etc etc etc. You could spend a month touring and still not see everything. The afternoon we toured the government building and the Pantheon. I know Rome wasn't built in a day but seriously, how long did it take to build this city? These buildings are incredible and HUGE!!
Our last full day in Rome was spent shopping!! I found this great jewelry store a couple blocks from our hotel that I spent a good chunk of cash in. Melissa and I also ventured to a local grocery store to get some snacks and PARMESAN cheese! We spent the night eating our favorite meal from Italy, eating our 40th helping of gelato, and people watching in the piazza. Rome was really really great. I would love to tour the city again and spend more time researching the history.

This trip has been amazing. I love the USA but there's just something about Europe. The lifestyle and pace is so different from the USA, it's got its own charm. If you can get past the smoke, the lack of blacktop roads, the modern convenience of America (thanks in part to our instant gratification complex), Europe will grab ahold of you and keep drawing you back. Everyone fits in, they take their time to enjoy life, and the best part... you can't walk 2 blocks without seeing a gelateria!

Trevi Fountain


Our sweet ride


Roman Ruins


The Coliseum


The Vatican


Our last day in ROME!


In the airport... awake for about 26 hours so far...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NEW MOON Premiere TONIGHT!


The day is finally here! I'll be sure to post a recap of this entire day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day of Ray... here I come

Finally, I'm taking a day off. I've been going in super speed since I've returned from Europe and it doesn't seem like I've been able to stop. Finally, tomorrow, I'm spending the day at the Mall of America (missing the New Moon cast by a few short days… tear) shopping until I drop and then it’s the Ray Lamontagne concert!! I've been looking forward to this for some time but it's unfortunately been overshadowed by work and the excitement over the upcoming release of New Moon.

Today however, I can honestly say I'm relieved that I can just spend tomorrow with friends at a mall (whether I buy anything or not) and cap off the evening with some great music. Ray's pretty mellow which is exactly what I need. I'll try to post some pictures after the event (if I have time) The Day of Ray… here I come.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This Is It

I saw the MJ flick "This Is It" tonight and there was definitely a 60 year old woman dancing up and down the aisle to Thriller. It was pretty much life changing!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thankful

My life right now is nothing short of crazy…. And I'm mostly referring work. At times I really enjoy the extra work (strange, I know) but I've really learned a lot about myself in corporate america over this past year. Working for the company that I do, I've seen a lot and I've learned even more. I've put in long hours… and then even longer hours on top of that. The term "workhorse" has been thrown around my vocabulary as of late. I've had to push myself and really be confident in my abilities. My coworker Christie and I have become the "co-captains of the sea of hell" we like to say. I am so grateful for her, everything she's taught me and helped me with, I wouldn’t be sane without her (and the fact that she's willing to talk about Rob Pattinson any time of the day helps. We're becoming so much alike, its hilarious). A lot of my "awake" hours have been devoted to work and with that, I've had to let some things go. I've let some people down and haven't spent the time with them that they deserve. I know they're understanding but it's still hard for me to find that balance. Thankfully, I've got a group of friends who love me no matter what. As I sit here, typing away, there's a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my desk thanks to a few of my favorite friends. I had a big meeting today and when I came back to my desk, there they were. It took everything in me not to cry. They are so wonderful (my friends and the flowers) I couldn't thank them enough. This week has been especially hard with the passing of one of my coworkers as well and I'm so thankful to know I have the friends that I do and to know where my eternity is. While work is just temporary, I'm encouraged to live my life with an eternal perspective and to put my hope in Christ. Thanks buddies for the flowers…. You know who you are.

And in case you don't know, one's bff who's a school teacher who likes basically the exact same things I do, one's a WF bff who has the best jeans and music selection ever, another is a WF bff who can seriously make me laugh.. And has the longest legs ever, and the last is a bff for a long time who once saved my life and loves a good mustache. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kids are Quick

Kids Are Quick
____________________________________
TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America .
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS: Maria.
____________________________________
TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.
__________________________________________
TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
(I Love this kid)
____________________________________________
TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
DONALD: H I J K L M N O.
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.
__________________________________
TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
WINNIE: Me!
__________________________________________
TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.
_______________________________________
TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I.'
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'
________________________________
TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand.
______________________________________
TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.
______________________________
TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
CLYDE: No, sir. It's the same dog.
___________________________________
TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher
__________________________________

Thursday, October 29, 2009

European Adventure: Pisa


Pisa is like a one stop shop. We literally unloaded our luggage from the train, hopped on a bus to the leaning tower courtyard, toted our stuff with us for about an hour, hopped back on the CROWDED bus to the train station and caught the next train to Rome. We saw Pisa in about 2 1/2 hours and I'd say I was satisfied. The Leaning Tower is pretty amazing to look at. After all, it leans! We took some great pictures around the courtyard and stopped at a few shops to admire the trinkets and togs. One thing I've noticed about Italy is that they take historical monuments and incorporate them into boxer shorts somehow. In Florence we were flashed with the David by Michaelangelo every where we went. In Pisa, well, they used a suggestive version of the leaning tower printed on the shorts. I had to avert my eyes many times. Theresa provided some commentary about the history of the tower and surrounding buildings so that was helpful. Before long, we were back on the train heading to our last stop, ROMA!

It's a falling building!


The duomo


Everybody was doing it.... so we thought we had to as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

European Adventure: Cinque Terre


We piled in to two cars (literally packed ourselves in… europeans drive small cars) and headed out of Pistoia for Cinque Terre. They (the guys) were estimating a quick trip there because there's not exactly a speed limit on the freeway and you can basically do whatever you want. I hid my eyes for much of the ride. You could tell we were getting into the mountains of Italy because the roads started to curve at more direct angles. Being in the back seat, you can imagine how worried I was getting mainly because I get pretty car sick. We started weaving and weaving and weaving and weaving and yep, more weaving. Basically, we climbed this mountain by weaving and the twisted down the other side of it back and forth and back and forth. I'm so thankful it was dark outside and I couldn’t really see the passing scenary because I would have for sure lost it but at the same time, I know the view was beautiful because we were along the coast. And here comes the kicker. We driving up towards the Cinque Terre area and we see all these flashing lights. As we look ahead towards the approaching mountain, there's fire shooting out the side. Yes, a wildfire and we can no longer travel on that road and we have to find an alternate route. That means, oh brother, we have to go back the way we just came (weaving and weaving and weaving). It was at this point we stopped at a local eattery so we could all get out of the cars (and I could lay down).

After what should have been a 3 hour drive, 5 1/2 hours later we made it putting us in Vernazza at midnight. We met our hostess and she showed us to our room. It was the cutest room we stayed in during our entire trip. We didn’t say much that night, just jumped in to bed and went to sleep. That next morning I went for a walk down by the coast. Vernazza is a cozy little town situated on the coast of Italy making up 1 of the Cinque Terre villages. We grabbed a quick bite for lunch, explored some of the shops, and waited for the Italian crew to join us. When they arrived, we headed to the beach for a relaxing day in the sun. After our friend Lorenzo got stung by a jelly fish, we were pretty much done with swimming in the water. As Melissa and I were making our way off of the giant rocks in the water, Melissa ate it and busted her ankle pretty hard. 2 disasters in a matter of minutes. The Italian crew went up for drinks while a few of us changed and went for walks. We took some group pictures before the sun set and then the Italians had to head back to Florence and Pistoia. They were great tour guides and we're so thankful they were able to join us for part of our trip. They really made experiencing Italy much more enjoyable. That night we got dressed up for dinner and ate at this restaurant that literally sat right along the ocean. After dinner we hung around the water and took some awesome jumping pictures. When we were taking our last one, Cindy got a little excited and kicked off her flip flop into the ocean. It was her way of leaving a piece of her in Italy. Haha.
That night Vernazza had one of the biggest thunderstorms ever! I was convinced that there was going to be a mudslide and our hotel would start sliding down the mountain because it was raining SO hard and for SO long. The thunder and lightning were extra loud because you're in the mountains and its echoing! I didn't get much sleep that night. The next morning we had planned to hike between the villages. However, because of the giant tsunami rain storm, the trails were closed so we were only able to hike around Vernazza. We decided to take the train to the rest of the cities which turned out to work in our favor because we got to see them all. We took some great pictures in Riomaggiore, got ice cream in Manorola, and ate dinner in Monterosso. We walked a ton that day and thankfully, Miley Cyrus' The Climb kept me motivated! (haha, j/k) I would love to come back to Cinque Terre and spend more time but for now, this worked. We caught an early morning train the following day, waived goodbye to Vernazza, and headed to Pisa.

Beautiful Vernazza


Overlooking Vernazza, Italy


View from the top


I love trees!


A man and his red boat


And all the blue boats


Our Italian friends


After dinner... along the coast


A night out in Vernazza