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  • Lifestyle, Travel

    Wedding Adventure Part 2: Rome, Italy

    After dancing our hearts out in the hills of Belgium, we hopped on a plane over to Italy! We learned a huge lesson from our first trip to Europe, taking a train is NOT the best transportation traveling from Belgium to Italy (19+ hour commute, YIKES!). Also, I definitely wanted to limit how many different planes and trains I had to drag my dress through, she was already A LOT of dress to carry through Europe with us as-is. The only airlines that allowed me to store my dress in the captains closet was our Delta flight from the United States to Paris (we love you Detla), all the European airlines didn’t have any additional storage space…so we just had to make it work.

    Off to Rome!

    I never said bringing my dress with us was easy!

    Rule #1 if you are traveling internationally with your wedding dress…the dress does not leave your sight, EVER. That means you DO NOT check the dress in a bag, don’t even think about it. Especially in my case, if I checked my dress and it somehow got lost, I literally would not have a wedding dress for our actual wedding when we got home, so the dress stayed with me at all times. I learned my lesson really quick, the ONE time I let an Uber driver put my dress in the trunk of the car, instead of holding it in my lap, the trunk got STUCK CLOSED!! Yes, my wedding dress got stuck in the trunk of a car, I only had a mild panic attack. After that incident, I refused to let the dress leave my sight, it was either right next to me or locked in a hotel room.

    You just make it work.

    Once we landed in Rome, the hotel arranged a driver to pick us up from the airport, lucky for us, our driver acted as our personal tour guide as he drove us into the city, telling stories and pointing out monuments along the way. We arrived at the Elizabeth Unique Hotel that afternoon and soaked in the magic of Rome! Rome is absolutely amazing and according to our driver, it has more monuments per square mile than any other place in the world. Everywhere you walk there is something to see, there is live music playing in the streets and of course, incredible food. If you’ve never been to Italy, the food is hands down the best part!

    Eating Your Way Through Rome is Half of the Fun


    Gelato Solve All Problems

    We chose our food wisely for our limited time in Rome and somehow stumbled upon the most amazing restaurant! Dilla ristorante, as they say in Italian, had THE MOST amazing pasta I’ve ever had in my entire life, here I am a year later and I still haven’t stopped thinking about it. Order the Aglio olio e peperoncino pasta, and the bruschetta (obviously) you will not be disappointed. If I can give you ONE recommendation of something you must do the next time you’re in Rome. GO. TO. DILLA. We only stayed in Rome for 2 nights, we ate at Dilla’s both nights we were in Rome. Yeah, it’s that good.

    Dilla’s Bruschetta


    Dilla’s Pasta – Aglio olio e peperoncino pasta

    Our photoshoot was scheduled for 6AM the next day. Rome is the busiest tourist destination in the world with more than 100 million tourists each year, meaning if you don’t get up early you will have swarms of people crowding your photos. The photoshoot was the greatest thing we could have done in Rome simply because it got us outside exploring the city so early, there was hardly anyone outside and it truly felt like we were the only ones there. Irina Odoardi was an absolute dream to work with, I’ve had so many people reach out to me asking about my experience with her and I would work with her again 1000x over! I especially loved working with Irina because she told us incredible stories about each place we visited, my favorite being the story of the Trevi Fountain.

    Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    Legend has it if a couple drinks from the Trevi fountain they will be married forever. Naturally, we went back later that evening and drank from the Trevi fountain, our forever love was worth risking dying from any bacteria that was likely in the dirty water. Coincidence that we both woke up sick the next day…we’ll never know for sure. But what I do know is I still love him more than ever before, so I’d say it was 100% worth it.

    Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    The photoshoot was scheduled for 2 hours and consisted of us walking around Rome from site to site, it was a personal tour plus a magical photoshoot at the same time. We visited the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Ancient Rome and of course the Colosseum! By the end of our shoot it was mind blowing how many people had started to fill the streets, especially by the Collosuem. Each person we passed shouted at us in Italian, after several people kept passing us saying the same thing, the photographer explained they were all saying congratulations.

    I’m sure all of the Uber drivers loved me for the amount of glitter I left in their car…oops.

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy -Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    I couldn’t think of a more magical way to experience Rome, dancing in 1000 year old buildings in my princess dress, walking down the streets with my prince, and soaking in every moment without anyone else around. We went back and visited the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain that evening after our photoshoot and you truly don’t understand how many people pack the streets of Rome, until you see it without any people at all. If you ever visit Rome, my best advice is wake up super early and go explore at dawn, it truly an experience of a lifetime. Then don’t forget to go eat at Dilla’s for dinner, you won’t regret it. Perhaps my favorite thing about Rome is how it is a city full of stories, every person you came in contact with would tell you a story about the place you’re in or the food you’re eating and what makes special. Rome is definitely my favorite city I’ve visited in Italy so far, and most certainly will be going back. If for nothing else than to enjoy another meal at Dilla’s.

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy -Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    As Promised, here’s more magical moments we captured while we were in Rome. Huge thank you to Irina, I cherish every photo she captured. You can find more of her work on Instagram @irinaodoardi.photographer.

    Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    Ancient Rome – Photographer: Irina Odoardi



    Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Ancient Rome – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Pantheon, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy -Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Pantheon, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy -Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Ancient Rome – Photographer: Irina Odoardi



    Pantheon, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi



    Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Pantheon, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi


    Pantheon, Rome, Italy – Photographer: Irina Odoardi

    Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy -Photographer: Irina Odoardi

  • Music, Travel

    Wedding Adventure Part 1: Tomorrowland

    When Taylor and I first started dating in the summer of 2012, we spent that entire summer going to concerts and dancing our hearts out together. Our love for music and dancing was something we bonded over straight from the beginning, we would get lost in the crowds at concerts and dance for hours together. Since that was such a huge part of our love story in the beginning, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our epic wedding adventure than heading back to Tomorrowland to dance in the hills of Belgium. Going to Tomorrowland was a huge bucket list item for both of us, we were able to cross off a bucket list item together in 2017 when we made our first adventure to Tomorrowland.

    Tomorrowland 2018

    Tomorrowland is one of the biggest music festivals in the world, with an attendance of approximately 180,000 people. It is a 3-day festival held over 2 weekends in July, in Boom, Belgium. You can choose to go the first or the second weekend, or both if you’re feeling crazy! Now that we’ve gone both weekends, I have to say the second weekend was definitely my favorite. Boom is a tiny town outside of Brussels, you have to take a 45 minute bus ride from the hotel to the festival grounds, unless you choose to camp on site in Dreamland. The entire city of Boom will welcome you as you drive into the city, hanging Tomorrowland flags out their windows and standing on the streets waving at you as you drive by.

    Tomorrowland is something that you will never be able to fully describe in words, capture in a video, or accurately explain to someone; it’s a place you just have to experience for yourself, which I highly recommend you do at least once. The insane attention to detail, intricate costumes, next level performers, massive art installations, impeccable stage production, and amazing music to truly unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Every inch of the festival grounds is covered in decorations and filled with magic, it’s impossible to capture everything that goes on in a photo or video. They go above and beyond to give you an experience of entering an entirely different world from start to finish.

    It’s MASSIVE! Tomorrowland spreads over 185 acres of land.

    My favorite thing about going to Tomorrowland is there are over 75 countries in attendance, not everyone speaks the same language, but they all dance to the same beat. Love and music are both universal languages. It’s amazing to see so many people with different backgrounds, religions, and beliefs come together in harmony for the love of music. I love that we’ve made friends from all over the world that we met at Tomorrowland, friends that we have visited in their home town and have stayed in contact with ever since.

    My beautiful friend Ella!
    We had lunch while she was visiting Salt Lake City 6 months after I met her in Belgium, how cool is that?!

    Both years we have purchased the Global Journey Package, definitely recommend, since they take care of hotel stay and transportation to and from the festival, plus access into Invited, which is a private event the night before Tomorrowland begins. This year we stayed at The Hotel, which was nice, but I definitely preferred the hotel we stayed at the first year, but more on that in another post about our first time adventuring to Tomorrowland! We also went VIP both years and I wouldn’t go any other way, the VIP experience is definitely the way to go with private balcony areas, bathrooms, food areas, bars, hot tubs, pools, snacks and tons of other wild stuff you would never expect. It helps minimize the lines and crowds, which are my least favorite things about big concerts…I mean when you have to go to the bathroom the last thing you want to do is stand in line for an hour! So for me it made all the difference to have the option of private VIP areas at all the stages. If you’re going to go, I recommend going big, going VIP, and have the time of your life.

    The Hotel Brussels, Belgium


    Global Journey Check-In at The Hotel

    Invited – Tomorrowland 2018


    Making New Friends in New Places


    Belgium Fries, a must in Belgium.

    Exploring Brussels

    At least The Hotel is smart.

    The Hotel Brussels, Belgium

    VIP Tomorrowland 2018


    VIP Tomorrowland 2018


    Yes, there are actual swimming pools and hot tubs in the VIP areas at Tomorrowland. I saw people use the hot tubs all weekend long, you could put your clothes in a locker and rent swimming suits to use, then change when you were done. However, I never saw anyone get in the pool….

    VIP Tomorrowland 2018

    Taylor and I had the time of our lives going back to explore the world of Tomorrowland, which is basically the world’s biggest adult playground. We met up with old friends and made many new friends while we were there. While the people you meet are incredible, I loved spending the first stop of our honeymoon honoring the part of our relationship that created an amazing bond between us when we first met. Anytime we have a chance to dance the night away together, our love for each other always grows stronger as we reconnect back to the moments from when first started falling in love. You’re never too old to dance the night away with the love of your life, and I highly recommend you do it as often as possible.

    I love you.

    While the photos and pictures we captured will never do Tomorrowland justice, here is my attempt at capturing a small piece of the magic you will find while you’re there. I hope you get to go experience the real magic for yourself one day, it’s an experience that you will never forget.

    Tomorrowland 2018


    Finding Old Friends in New Places!


    Tomorrowland 2018


    Tomorrowland 2018


    Tomorrowland 2018

  • Travel

    Our Epic Wedding Adventure

    For nearly a decade my dream travel destination was to visit Paris, and in 2017 my dream finally came true when my amazing boyfriend at the time took me to Europe over the summer! We had an epic 2-week adventure through Europe, visiting Belgium, Venice, Milan, and saving the best for last, Paris! Just when I thought my first trip to Paris couldn’t get anymore magical, he proposed to me on our last night there in front of the Eiffel Tower! Talk about a dream inside of a dream come true. On our way back home from getting engaged in Paris, I came up with crazy idea that it would be so fun to take my wedding dress back to Paris on our one year wedding anniversary to take some photos…

    As we continued the wedding planning process, we started discussing what we wanted to do for our honeymoon. We both agreed that we definitely wanted to go back to Europe for another epic adventure, after all we had SO MUCH FUN the first time. When we were talking over logistics of the date we chose to get married and when we could go take a 2 week honeymoon trip to Europe, we decided to go on our honeymoon two weeks before the wedding, I know, not your typical wedding timeline. After all , we definitely aren’t your typical couple either, we don’t play by the rules.

    Once we decided we were headed back to Europe for a totally unconventional honeymoon, I got so excited because here was my opportunity to take my wedding dress back to Paris to get photos where we got engaged. I became dead set on bringing my wedding dress with us on our trip to Europe and not only getting photos taken in Paris, but to find photographers to take pictures of us in Rome and Greece too. I mean, the dress was going to be there with us anyway…why not?! Everyone thought I was absolutely INSANE, and maybe I was. But looking back, what’s insane to me is the fact that I almost let everyone’s comments talk me out of doing it.

    Just about everyone I told that I was taking my dress to Europe to get bridal photos done before the wedding said something along the lines of…
    “…but what if your dress gets lost?”
    “…but what if you ruin your dress?”
    “…but what if your dress gets dirty?”
    “…but what if someone steals your dress?”
    Every single one of those things were 100% possible and valid concerns…and all I could think was, “But what if it doesn’t…?” If everything goes as planned, I get the most insane, once in a lifetime, fairytale photographs of my dreams. So, I took a chance of everything going wrong…because maybe, just maybe, everything would turn out absolutely perfect.
    And it did.

    Yes, my dress got dirty.
    Yes, my husband saw my dress before the wedding.
    Yes, my dress wasn’t absolutely perfect on my wedding day.
    Yes, I was concerned it would get lost.
    Yes, my dress momentarily got stuck in the trunk of an Uber in Paris.
    Yes, it was a pain in the butt to carry around Europe from plane, to train, to car, to hotel…
    But, it was 1000% worth it!

    I had this beautiful vision in my mind I was 100% set on making a reality. Despite everyone making me feel crazy about my wedding adventure idea (even my husband) I was determined to make this vision in my head happen. (PS – he’s now so thankful that we got a little crazy and captured all of these amazing photos on our honeymoon.)

    The experience of taking my wedding dress to Rome, Santorini, and Paris to take photos is something I will NEVER forget. We saw and experienced these cities in a way we wouldn’t have without taking these photos. It was truly magical to see Rome in the early hours when it was deserted and free of the massive crowds of tourists. It was the craziest adventure to be guided through the tiny streets of Santorini by the local photographers, standing on rooftops to see all the “picture perfect” views on the island. It was an absolute dream come true to create my fairytale vision, wearing my over the top princess wedding dress, in my “dream city” of Paris, where we got engaged.

    When you travel, you typically take pictures of all the sights and places you go. This was a truly remarkable experience to not just take a picture of these places, but to BE a part of the picture. There are somethings in life you only get ONE chance to act on, if you miss it, the chance is gone forever. I am so glad I trusted my heart instead of listening to everyone else’s concerns, so I didn’t miss this chance to create the most amazing lifetime memory.

    Moral of the story: Quit listening to what everyone else has to say and trust your heart.
    This is your life, you get one shot at it…make it absolutely legendary.

    My favorite part of this adventure? Knowing I left a trail of sparkle everywhere we went. A piece of my dress will forever be glittering the streets of Rome, glimmering in the Santorini sunsets, and sparkling next to the Eiffel Tower.

    Don’t worry, there’s more! Dragging my beautiful (and very big) Liliya wedding gown across Europe with us was an adventure in and of itself, not to mention the insanely beautiful photos we captured along the way. Click the links below to see the magic we captured in each stop!

    Wedding Adventure Part 1: Tomorrowland
    Wedding Adventure Part 2: Rome, Italy
    Wedding Adventure Part 3: Santorini, Greece
    Wedding Adventure Part 4: Paris, France
    Wedding Adventure Part 5: Wedding Day, Salt Lake City, Utah, 8.11.18