Thursday, April 19, 2012


We are officially in the 10 day forecast.
So far so good. 72 and Sunny with a 20% chance of showers. Keep your fingers crossed!!

What Have we been up to lately?
  • Sunday 6 of my girlfriends came over for a DIY craft party. We stuffed hotel bags, put customized water bottle labels on the bottles in the bag, and tied twine with a favor tag around mason jars for our favors! Thank you so much to the girls (Ashley, Meredith, Melissa, India, Sumita, and Kathleen). Afterwards we sat outside and treated ourselves to some yummy food, delicious pie (Thanks Melissa!) and of course vino. It was so nice to relax a bit and get some girl time in.
  • Monday Song and Reading selection (we are a little late on this!)
  • Tuesday- Met with the Pastor. It was really nice to talk about our relationship (in this current crazy time and what is to come in our future). I cannot wait to make this promise before God and marry my best friend.
  • Yesterday, I went with Grace around lunchtime to her final dress fitting. She looks gorgeous!!! Last night I was working late, L had a board meeting, I worked on seating charts and finally finished my thank you notes from my two wonderful showers!
  • Going further back last week
    • We took a little break and went to a cooking and wine pairing class. It was a nice distraction from all of the planning. We made stuffed salmon.
    • We had two different sets of house Guests (Alex on Monday and Jayne and the girls on Thurs and Friday)
    • Last Friday, I drove to PA for my Mom's fitting. I cannot put into words how amazingly beautiful she looked. I cannot wait to see you in your dress on the big day mom.
    • After the fitting I went home and hung out with my family (which includes the Cranwell's!) while Jenna did my hair.
So, we have been quite busy as you can see!!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Less than one month

Long time no chat.

We are officially getting hitched in less than a month. I cannot believe we will be in our wedding month (April) this weekend. I am really starting to feel the wedding stress, as Luis was in Iceland for his bachelor party last weekend, and traveling to Jamaica for work until next weekend, work has been a zoo and I'm trying to iron out the last few details. IT seems like everyone and anyone has their opinions these days! Luckily I have a full supporting cast of family and friends.

Speaking of Bachelorette Parites, Kaitlin did an amazing job summing up my big night out in NYC on her blog: Love & Laughter. I cannot thank my sisters, bridal party and all the lovely ladies in my life who came out to celebrate my last hoorah! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

This weekend, I am focused on slowing down, hopefully some relaxation and getting some wedding ideas together:
  • Vincent needs to be fitted for his tux and since big brother is in Jamaica, I will be helping out
  • Craft stores for some DIY projects
  • Running off some stress with my two Melissa W's in the national arboretum to train for that 10 miler that is coming up the week before the wedding
  • Heading up to Annapolis to meet with the organist
  • Ordering the alcohol for the wedding
I leave you with a picture of our garden, that Luis worked so hard on and is missing the peak bloom since he has been out of the country for the past two weeks! The picture doesn't even do it justice. He made the white window box from scratch, planted all new grass and all of the flowers!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Costa Rica III- Activities

Away from the house we also participated in Activities:

Fishing: As Brett said, we would fish the "Costa Rican" way. We had 7-8 boats with 5 people each in them and would drop line and pull up enormous groupers and eel fish. It was almost too easy. Some highlights of our boat: pouring wine into water bottles so we didn't have to drink from the bottle (hey we are classy like that), Jay pulling up the biggest fish on the first line out, Luis' brite green shirt and Capt. Emilio getting pissed at him when he lost a fish, Jackie's "You have got to be kidding me!" when I pulled up a sizable fish that we were both offered, Kristin driving the boat, all the girls freaking out when we had to "swim with the fishes" to pee. WE all had enough fish to feed an army. We shared our spoils with each other, the crew, and even Mary's restaurant for the welcome dinner.

Zip lining: Now I almost flaked on zip lining. I had been before, was exhausted and was making every excuse not to go. After some peer pressure, and encouragement from my crispy fiance I hopped on board. Oh boy am I glad that I went. First and Foremost, compared to my other experiences: this was a challenging and somewhat scary and perhaps a little haphazard zip linig course. One of the platforms was a swaying dead tree suspended 200 (?) feet in the air. We all mad it out with all of our limbs and rock hard abs from laughing so much.
  • I have never laughed as hard as I did when Susan and Jean sandwiched a guide on the first triple ride. When they came flying, screaming and laughing into the platform, I almost lost it.  Completely lost it!
  • I personally enjoyed the Superman, where they clip you in by the back so you are flying like superman instead of going in the seated position. Don't worry, a "16 year old" (who said he was 16 but appeared to be about 10) guide went with me and I wrapped my womanly thighs (yes, I have big thighs and that is the nice way, I guess, to say it) around his tiny frame as he was to act as my break. Thank Goodness there was a safety on this line as I of course separated from this fragile, poor unsuspecting child. Not to be outdone, Jackie of course did the superman as well.
  • Jackie and I, always competing, both went upside down with no hands. Patty Palko decided to up her game and went upside down, but I'm pretty sure I saw one hand gripping on for dear life.
  • Three words: Paulie Callahan Camcorder. I am anxious to see Paulie's video as he gripped on for dear life to his camcorder on each line.
  • speaking of Paulie, I have to hand it to his brave daughters Meghan & Kelly Ann.

    ATV'S: These four wheelers are a common mode of transportation down here. Although Meredith almost bucked me off of hers, and we rode in the same gear the whole time.. we all gradually gained more experience as the week went on. Jay & Jenn went on to Montezuma in there's. Matthew & Tommy seemed to be attached to theirs, even Brett & Yalile road after their wedding on an ATV. In addition to transportation, we also went joy riding on empty beaches and trails outside of town. Please note: Jackie rode on the ATV's solely to get a picture on one.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Costa Rica- Part II Pura Vida

    Pura Vida! Is the mantra that Costa Rican's (Ticos & Ticas) live by. Roughly translated it means the pure life, but it is used as a greeting, or just to express what a good time/life you have.

    A day in our Costa Rican adventure:
    The Walkway in our backyard out to the beach
    • The mornings were filled with activities. We would get up and begrudgingly head out onto the beach for a jog/run to sweat out the prior nights beverages. Once you got going, you could not help but admire the setting of your exercise.. certainly beats the treadmill!
    • After a run, Our resident Yogi Kristen would lead the group in some morning yoga. As I previously mentioned, our house was amazing. This being said the house was a transient home for much of the wedding guests, so the morning yoga sessions were filled.
    • Beachin' it up: Walks on the beach, dips in the ever so salty ocean, care free and sparsely populated.It was our own private oasis
    • Surfs up: Mostly everyone went out there surfing. I personally had not been out on a surfboard in years! Jay took me and pushed me through the strong rip current of the Pacific. I am happy to report, I got up and also learned how to paddle out on my own. Uncle Tommy also had a hand and getting surfer girls Jean & Linda out on the waves. Most of the guys (Jay, Dennis, Owen, Matthew, Tommy) could be seen multiple times throughout the day riding the waves

    CAUGHT! Even during surfing lessons you get the classic Uncle Tommy Pose!!!
    • Ch Ch Chillin': A good portion of the time was spent around the house, gossiping in the pool, lounging around outside (some of us in the shade.. Luis who got fried on day 1!). You could usually find fresh guac, queso fresco, cocktails, Imperial's or Pilsen's (Costa Rican Beer) in hand. One afternoon there were probably 6 of us napping outside. Around 3pm everyday our resident monkey's would grace us with their presence. Charlie the iguana was always chillin on a log on the path to the beach. 
    hiding in the shade!
    sista sista

    • We go from Chillin to Grillin:Jay & Luis manned the grill cooking up the delicious fresh fish that we caught by hand! and some chicken. I spent a good portion of my time in the kitchen helping out with lunch and some breakfast as well. Everyone took a turn cooking and cleaning. Let's just say we were never hungry.

    Cooking with Momma!
      Lunch: Fresh caugh grouper, mango salsa, fried plaintains, frijoles, rice

      Ali and Bobby were frequent visitors :)

      Sorry for Partying

        Sunday, February 26, 2012

        Costa Rica- Part I The Journey & Casa Ana

        As I previously mentioned, the grizwalds aka the Collinson Clan headed down to Mal Pais, Costa Rica to celebrate Brett & Yalile's marriage. Mal Pais far exceeds the translation of its name (bad country), it is a beautiful paradise. Too get there is quite the hike, it is well worth the journey. Here is a picture in the airport Wednesday morning when a great majority of the plane was traveling down to the wedding.

        Lively bunch at 6Am in Newark Airport

        After arriving in San Jose, we had to take a puddle jumper to Tambor. A quick (45 minute) cab ride and we were in our gorgeous house in San Teresa.

        Charter flight- Oh you Fancy, Huh?

        The boys right behind the pilots. It felt like we were in a flying minivan.

        Out my window (over Jenn's nervous laugh)
        To say the house belonged on cribs is an understatement. Our amenities included:
        • 5 BR house complete with a huge living space, fully equipped kitchen
        • a dining room table that could accommodate 25+
        • The back side of the house was sliding doors, so the back patio was a true extension of the house.
        • The living space, both inside and out was a variety of couches, lounge chairs, hammocks. Included in this was an outdoor cabana that had over a king-size bed of shaded lounge chairs
        • A refreshing, and surprisingly deep pool
        • an outdoor pool table
        • an outdoor yoga studio-this was incredible... with the ocean roaring in the background we were treated in the morning to yoga classes taught by Kristen!
        • most importantly, our house mascot CLEO! This adorable yellow lab puppy (and by puppy we are estimating her to be around 6-8 years old), followed us around on our walks on the beach, hung out around the house, slept in our room, and was all around amazing. I am still mad Carolyn could not fit her in her luggage.
        Here are some pictures from around the house:

        The Gang's here

        Poolside Cabana

        Beach Side Yoga Studio! Thanks Kristen!!

        not a bad backyard..

        BEST OF ALL- CLEO!!

        Lovin' my Lilly Bridal Shower

        This post is long overdue, but life has been in fast forward lately. A few weeks ago I was overwhelmed with love and support at my "DC" Bridal shower. With having friends and family split between NJ & DC, it made the most sense to do two showers so that half of the guest were not traveling 3 hours to as they say, "shower me with love". My mom-to-be Grace (aka my DC mom for now almost 6 years!) graciously offered her house which was the perfect shower venue as it has a great open floor plan. My four bridesmaids split up the shower responsibilities so Ashley and Kaitlin were in charge of this shower, and boy do Jenn & Jenna have a lot to live up to!

        My Escort & Fiance Luis (Yes we kicked him out- Girls only!)

        Ashley organizing the games, the beautiful flower arrangement Jenn made, and of course champagne!

        My Favorite gals!

        Ok Fine, I do love Lucas.. but I Love my Lilly crown!

        My Two Mom's (who both wore purple!)

        Some of my personal highlights
        • Punch in mason jars with adorable straws. We will be serving signature cocktails in mason jars at the wedding, so they kept the theme
        • Speaking of themes: Lilly Pulitzer! Need I say more!! Ok, I will: Pink and green table cloths, napkins, plates, Lilly cups as favors, flowers, balloons (look at all the fabulous pictures)
        • Fabulous Presents. My hand-me-down kitchen is sure getting a makeover!
        • My two mom's coordinating in purple
        • My niece and flower girl Hannah and my two pseudo nieces Rea & Lauren stealing the shower, well just being adorable
        • The games- purse scavenger hunt & the newly wed game. As an added incentive, for every question I got wrong I had to say a reason that I love Luis.. In Spanish! Talk about pressure as my Spanish side of the family was there to correct my grammar ;)
          • swoon: L's answer to when he wanted to marry me- by the end of our summer in Spain!
        • Hannah helping me open my presents, particularly the one from my mom!
        • The food- awesome caterer, amazing cakes, and homemade goodies (queso!)
        • A wine wishing well (each guest brought a bottle of wine w. meaning)
        • RECIPE BOOK- each guest brought a recipe. This was my absolute favorite
        • Sleepovers- our house was an Inn that weekend with my mom, Jenn, Hannah, Rea, Lauren, Kaitlin all spent the night. It was so much fun to have the girls around and play dress up before the shower
        • Speaking of dress up. Thank you to my sister for picking out the perfect shower dress (the day before) and thanks to my mom for buying it for me
        • To Sum it up: On the way out, and in the days since the shower I have received so many comments "I want to hire them to plan my shower, I wish all showers were this fun, Can you have another shower?"

        Thank you so much for all of your hard work, love and support to those who planned, attended and made my shower so special.

        Please check out Kaitlin's amazing blog for additional posts on my BE-A-U-TIFUL shower! She really went into the nitty gritty on decor and food in her post.. check it out!! PS: Follow her blog!!

        Part I

        Part II


        Tuesday, February 14, 2012

        My Funny Valentine

        We will be spending our 6th Valentine's Day together in a very romantic setting: the Northeast Regional Amtrak car (that's right, not even the Acela). Don't feel too badly for us, we are on our way up to Jersey and then headed out tomorrow morning to Mal Pais, Costa Rica for Brett & Yalile's wedding. A good chuck of the Collinson Clan will be headed down for the nuptials. I am especially excited because my parents, siblings and I have not been on vacation together in quite sometime! We will miss the kids (Hannah & Finn) dearly, but they are in great hands at home.

        Everyday is Valentine's day when you're in love.. blah..

        Actually, Luis and I have a Valentine's tradition: We have a $10 limit and try to see who can get the worst valentines day present from the local drug store, CVS, Rite Aid, Foodstore. Wherever. We have found some comical items over the years- 3 foot cards, talking Guido frog, a love bamboo plant that is now several years old, soccer ball shaped hearts...It is a fun way to try to out due each other ( I mean, come on let's be real here, who doesn't love a competition).

        Our first Valentine's day in college we cooked spaghetti carbonara together in Luis' dingy boy apartment. I happened to make it this past weekend, and I have to admit it was not a coincidence. So I am sucker for love. Sue Me.

        <3 Happy Valentine's Day <3