Vacation!

Luke and I had a really fun time renting a house with some friends of ours who moved away last year. They now live in North Georgia where Barrett coaches the Young Harris tennis team. They were in Florida for some tennis matches so we drove a couple hours to meet them and spend the week with them. The tennis team had an awesome week where they went 3 and 1 and even beat a nationally ranked team! The house was awesome with beautiful views of the bay. It was all a big surprise to me as Luke and Barrett planned the whole thing. I have to say I was quite impressed with the house!BeachTrip_1BeachTrip_2The house was just a few miles from Honeymoon Island. We spent most of our time by the pool at the house but we did get to the beach one day. It was the perfect day for the beach, 70’s with a cool breeze.BeachTrip4One of our favorite things about the house was the zip line into the pool and the hot tub! Below are some animated photos of the boys being boys ๐Ÿ™‚2014-11-03-BeachHouse-111 2014-11-03-BeachHouse-176 2014-11-03-BeachHouse-187…and Aimee and I ๐Ÿ™‚BeachTrip62014-11-03-BeachHouse-318_870The house even had a kayak that Luke took out one day. He went all around the bay looking at all the big houses.BeachTrip3It was a super relaxing trip โ€ฆas you can see from the pics below. Luke definitely had a relaxing time ๐Ÿ™‚ He cracks me up!
BeachTrip7But alasโ€ฆwe had to say goodbye and leave our friends and the beautiful bay. We’ve been back to work for about a week but Luke has a conference in NYC next weekend so I should have some more travel pics up soon!
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My Husband

I was recently inspired by another photographer to take pics of my husband and since Luke is such a good sport, he played along ๐Ÿ™‚ As you can see from the pics, they don’t call this the golden hour for nothin’. There was some pretty crazy sunflare on the first three images despite my lens hood. I’ll have to learn how to avoid that better in the future.

Exhibit A: my handsome hubby!

Luke&Katie_blog1He also took a few of me…this is my half smile smirk ๐Ÿ™‚Luke&Katie_blog2Luke&Katie_blog3Isn’t he handsome?! I guess I’m biased! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Black Bear

Yesterday evening I received a text from a friend saying there was a bear in their back yard and that he was headed towards town! Immediately following, Luke and I both received recorded phone calls from Florida Fish and Wild Life alerting us of the black bear and telling us to make sure our trash was indoors and our garages were shut. This isn’t the first black bear to make an appearance in our town…it’s actually becoming quite common! You can read about last years black bear here. I guess it’s just that time of year! In any case, Luke and I decided to go scout him out! We figured he couldn’t have gone far so we drove by our friends house and there he was! He roamed into someone’s driveway and took a look at their trash before sitting down next to a fruit tree. There he knocked fruit down with his paws to eat…it was actually kind of cute ๐Ÿ™‚ย As we drove over to find the bear we found it quite comical that basically everyone’s garage door was either open or their trash was out. There was even a group of people barbecuing in their driveway…that’s probably where he was headed! Eventually the police came and scared him away. Just a little small town entertainment ๐Ÿ™‚
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Key Largo

Last weekend Luke and I were invited to go snorkeling in Key Largo! I’m normally quite timid when it comes to swimming in the ocean but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I did because we had so much fun! We woke up super early Saturday morning and drove 2.5 hours to catch the morning boat. The boat took us 30 minutes out into the ocean to a place called Grecian Rocks. After a quick 5 minute lesson on snorkeling we were off! The water was beautiful and we saw lots of pretty fish. I expected to be scared but I wasn’t at all because I could see everything around me. Snorkeling took all the fear out of the ocean for me (however, I’m sure a shark would have put that fear right back in me!) A highlight for Luke was seeing some sort of crab or lobster hidden under a rock! Some other snorkelers on the boat saw eels, nurse sharks and lobster. I was hoping to get some better pictures under water but I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a $14 disposable camera! If you haven’t been snorkeling, I highly recommend it…totally worth the trip!KeyLargo

Sara came to visit!

My old roomie and good friend Sara came to visit us! I haven’t seen her since my wedding over a year ago so it was so wonderful catching up. We had a great time lounging at the beach and checking out downtown Naples. I wish she could have stayed longer! I miss her already!! We are gearing up for some more visitors tomorrow. Luke’s mom, dad, sister and little brother are coming to town. We can’t wait!! ๐Ÿ™‚SarasVisit_blog1Sunday evening we had dinner on Fifth Avenue at a Yabba’s Island Grill. We had eaten there once before with Luke’s dad and brother and knew it was a good choice. After dinner we headed to the Pier for sunset. Unfortunately, it was a pretty cloudy evening so we didn’t get a sunset…but it was still beautiful. The beach always is ๐Ÿ™‚SarasVisit_blog2

Thanksgiving

This is a little late…but Happy Thanksgiving!! Luke and I are so thankful that our family was able to travel down to see us here in Florida. Even my parent’s dog Lucy made the trip! We had such a fun week together hanging out, eating, going to the beach, eating, playing mini golf, eating, poker and did I mention eating?? ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out our week in pictures.ThanksgivingWe took everyone to Clam Pass Beach. Our favorite beach in Naples. The weather was perfect! We spent hours lounging and throwing around the football followed by a delicious meal on the grill ๐Ÿ™‚
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Sunday morning we all went to Mass together before parting ways with the boys. They went to Luke’s favorite sports bar to watch football and us girls went downtown to walk around. Later that evening we all met up for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Pazzo.
Thanksgiving-3My brother Paul arrived a few days after everyone else so we took him back to the beach to catch the sunset…gorgeous!
Sunset
Below are a few photos Luke snapped on his phone. My dad, brother and Luke all went golfing the day Paul got here. Check out the visitor they had, below. The other pics are from mini golf. I had three epic hole in ones!! But I lost…Paul came out on top!phonephotosThanksgiving day we received beautiful flowers from our family in Oregon. They were the perfect center piece! Thank you Ann, John, Laurie, Sean, Ian and Kevin! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was fun having Thanksgiving at our place. We usually spend Thanksgiving with family in Kansas City and my aunts do all the cooking but since it was just a small group this year my mom and I did all the cooking. Everything turned out delish! We decided to cook the turkey on Luke’s beloved grill and it turned out great!Thanksgiving DayI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Thank you Mom, Dad, Ann, Paul and Reza for making the trip down here…we miss you guys already! ๐Ÿ™‚Mom and Dad

Happy Birthday to me!

Luke and I celebrated my birthday this weekend! We headed out for an early dinner downtown Naples at Pazzo’s. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a table outside on 5th Avenue.
Whenever I go out to eat I love to go somewhere that doesn’t just offer gluten free options (meat, potatoes, veggies) but has food that wouldn’t otherwise be gluten free….like pasta! Naples is awesome for gluten free options and they have tons of authentically Italian restaurants. Pazzo’s is rated the number 1 Italian restaurant in Naples and it lived up to it!

They had a separate gluten free menu with lots of options. They had four pasta dishes that could be made gluten free by substituting the regular noodles with your choice of gluten free penne or spaghetti.

I had the tomato soup (so good!) and Pappardelle Ragu Alla Bolognese: Noodles tossed with slow roasted ground veal and beef, arugula, peeled cherry tomatoes, crushed red pepper, pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Luke had bruschetta andย Linguini e Crabe:ย Jumbo lump blue crab, king crab and linguini tossed in a spiced marinara with jalapeรฑo and fresh basil Topped with toasted ciabatta bread crumb.

Both our meals were incredibly yummy! They also gave us a complimentary drink afterwards. It was a combination of chocolate and red wine ๐Ÿ™‚After dinner we walked around downtown for a little bit before stopping into Grace and Shelly’s for some gluten free cupcakes and then over to The Brickย where Luke had some coffee.It was such a fun night! We thought about going out somewhere to dance but I felt pretty tuckered out at the late hour of 7:45 pm ๐Ÿ˜‰ So we headed home and snuggled up to a movie instead.

Oh! I should also mention…Luke did AWESOME on my birthday presents! First he got me a gift card to Gap so I could get some much needed shorts! (Shorts are year round in Florida :)) Then he totally surprised me and got me the most beautiful drapes for our bedroom!! They are gorgeous! I had registered for drapes when we were married in January but didn’t receive them and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable spending our money on since we didn’t really need them. Every now and I again I would think about how nice they would look but figured we could get them in our next move (in a few years). When I opened his gift I was so surprised! Drapes weren’t even on my radar anymore! Plus they are even more beautiful then the ones I had originally registered for (that were no longer available) so it worked out perfectly! I have the best husband ever…just sayin’ ๐Ÿ™‚