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..


      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

      Monday, February 13, 2012

      What we have been up to lately:

      Wedding Appointments!

      Last week we met with 2 florist, stopped by and visited our caterer Zach (Roundz Catering), booked our DJ (CJ from Crow Entertainment), looked at tuxes & wedding bands. We are really squeezing things in because Luis could potentially be traveling for the entire month of March so we are trying to cover a little of everything before he goes.

      Sunday we were in Deale, MD for some appointments. Deal is way out there in a cute small town , also in the country, on the Chesapeake Bay (about an hour away without traffic). We had lunch at Skippers Pier. It was a quaint place on the water with the freshest of seafood
      • Luis had the cream of crab soup, which looked delicious and chock full of huge pieces of crab.
      • I had 1/2 dozen clam steamers- that opened up perfectly, were so clean and not "fishy" at all.. of course they took a nice dunk in butter.
        • side note: steamers remind me of my parents as they had some on their first date
      • L had the mussels- cooked in sherry, garlic and some tomatoes. They were very large, clean and super fresh. The broth was mopped up by the side of french fries we ordered.
      • I had a mimosa for $3 that came with fresh squeezed OJ. There was so much pulp/chunks of orange (in a good way!)
      • L had a shock top on tap
      This was a perfect way to spend our afternoon. It was relaxing, and serene to be on the water. Although it is far out there, I definitely want to come back and have some seafood (crabs next time!) on the deck  when the weather is warmer. Who knows, maybe we can even hit up the Tiki Bar.

      Wednesday, February 1, 2012

      Everyone loves

      New York   Stefanos!

      Stefanos' Birthday Dinner
      Friday Night- Sumita & Chase came over for dinner and stayed the night because we had an early morning bus to NY. Great foods, laugh and a good relaxing evening.
      Saturday Morning- We hopped on the 7am greyhound to get to NY just in time for brunch with  our friends Besty and Jeff. The good/bad news.. it was an all you can drink brunch where they brought us endless bottles of champagne!
      Saturday evening - We all went to dinner in honor of Mr. Stefanos. His girlfriend Nurul did an amazing job organizing a surprise party dinner by closing down a great restaurant. Authentic Italian, endless wine, and amazing time was had by all.
      Sunday Morning- and definitely struggling and missing a high heel.. we met up with my cousins Jackie & Meredith (both funny girls!) and Keri. We had a great time laughing, mostly at our own expense.

      The savior of the weekend was Steph who picked us up from the greyhound station and brought us home on Sunday evening.

      NYC- boy do I love you, but you always get the best of me. Until next time.