Hawaii- Part Two

part2Aloha, again!

I hope you enjoyed my first post about our trip to Hawaii. It truly is a beautiful state and I had a dream last night that we booked a trip back! Though Waikiki was fun, we were ready to get away from all the hustle and bustle and check out another great spot of Oahu that I found while doing some research. We booked an Airbnb and when Nick was done working for the week, we took the scenic route to the North Shore. First off, I would highly recommend you take the long way when doing this drive to be along the coast. It’s truly beautiful! The photo above was taken from the car. The North Shore of the island is so much more laid back and much more our speed. Haleiwa is the main town there which looked like it was taken straight out of some sort of surfer movie. It was quaint and so much more relaxed than where we had just been. Noticing the laid back trend yet? There is only one resort in the area! Here is where we stayed, The Little Studio by the Sea. If you find yourself needing a place in the North Shore, I highly recommend it. So like Hawaii- Part One, I’ll run through what were my favorite activities:


Lucky for me, Nick had a surprise planned for me during our first day of “official” vacation since he was finally done working! We were going ziplining!! So this was a bucket list item for me that I was also always kind of worried about so never pursued. He booked us a tour with CLIMB Works and the adventure started right from what beginning where we took an ATV ride up the mountain. It was all seriously SO FUN! Don’t get me wrong, I was nervous every-single-time it was time to let go, but the staff was incredible. They were entertaining, personable and knew their stuff. Their mission, in a nutshell, is that CLIMB is an acronym: Challenge. Learn. Inspire. Master. Believe. It was super inspiring and they eased you into pushing yourself within the course. Plus, it’s through their farm, which meant tropical snacks along the way!



One of the major perks we found through Airbnb was that our place had all the beach equipment you could need while on vacation, which included snorkeling gear. To get to one of the most popular snorkeling locations in the area, we just had to walk down the street and we were there at Sharks Cove! It was pretty crowded there and no sharks were in sight (whew). We ended up going out a little further away from all the kiddos and explored until our hearts were content. It’s so cool to see the fish and coral in their natural state! I didn’t take the camera with us, but we walked back in the morning to snap a quick photo of our snorkel spot!


Food Trucks

Holy food trucks. If you haven’t figured out yet, we happen to be staying in the best sport ever and we were also next to food truck heaven! We ate at a lot of different places and even had the very popular garlic shrimp at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, but we had two favorites.

The first was the pizza from Impossibles Pizza, sounds crazy, I know. Pizza in a food truck is good? We put in our order while walking down for sunset and it was ready for pickup by the time we walked back. You can see for yourselves with the reviews! Though we heard when the surf is good you can’t find this truck anywhere. I’m 100% serious. Hawaiin life sounds pretty amazing sometimes.

The second was Aji Limo, where we both had poke bowl dishes. Poke is kinda like raw seafood salad, that is a cross between sushi and ceviche. It’s seriously so good and I don’t know how I didn’t have it in my life for 28 years!


We opted for a beach day over shopping in Haleiwa basically for lack of space to bring back and because we are in Hawaii after all! All of the beaches are gorgeous, we hopped around to a few, but we spent most of our time at Waiamea Bay and Three Tables Beach. We relaxed, took in the sunshine and watched some surfers catch the waves! We spent our last day beaching it until dark. I couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip.


Just like that our two night adventure in the North Shore and our Hawaii trip had come to an end. We endured the ten hour flight and were back in the chilly Pittsburgh. It was a trip that I will alway be very gracious for, for many different reasons. But, the main reason was that it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life and was an amazing recharge for a start to new career chapter. Mahalo, Hawaii for being so friendly and beautiful. Until next time…

XO, Anna

Hawaii- Part One

Hawaii- Part OneAloha!! Holy cow guys, it’s been 3 months since we were in Hawaii and I’m still swooning over here like we just got back. Nick gets to travel quite a bit for work and when his work trip to Hawaii came up (total job envy!), I just had to go with him! Not only would it make it affordable, it was somewhere I’ve been dying to go! I have so much to share about the trip so I’m going to split it up into two parts. The first part of our trip was spent in Waikiki because that’s where Nick needed to be for work. We stayed at the beautiful Waikiki Beach Mariott Resort, right on the beach! Waikiki is a bustling place, to say the least. It’s super commercialize which was fine for a couple days because it’s still stunning there! Since I spent most of the days solo while Nick actually had to work (bummer) I did a lot of exploring and relaxing on the beach/pool. Here is a quick recap of a few of my favorite activities around the area!

Hawaii- Part One Manoa FallsManoa Falls

So I have a thing for waterfalls and I wasn’t leaving Hawaii without seeing one. With major jet lag, we were all messed up and kept waking up super early. So we took advantage of it the first morning and went to Manoa Falls bright and early for a hike. Just a short drive out of the city and you are in the lush mountains of the Oahu island. It was a fun and easy hike that introduced us to a different side of Hawaii. It was gorgeous and unlike any hike I’ve ever done. Everything was vibrant green unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. The lush forest of bamboo with it’s pop of florals was a beautiful sight to see. We made it to the waterfall and it was the most breathtaking waterfall I’ve ever seen. It was SO tall! I could’ve hung out there all day, but the bug bites were getting outa control even with all my bug spray. We headed back and they were making lei’s in the resort lobby. YES!

Hawaii- Part One- Luau Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium

We felt obligated to get to a luau while visiting because what better way is there to really get into the Hawaiian vacation spirit? Was it touristy? Absolutely. Was it fun? Absolutely. When planning the trip I randomly checked Groupon and there was one for the Diamond Head Luau. Score! Because luau’s are not cheap. It was in walking distance to our hotel and a great price so we went for it. There was lei making, ukulele lessons and so much more before the show and dinner. The show was so fun to watch the dancing and learn more about Polynesian culture. The food was okay but it did force us into trying some traditional Hawaii food that I ended up falling in love with (poke!!). Would I go again? Probably not. But it was definitely fun for our first Hawaiian trip.

Hawaii- Part One- Photo TourOahu Photography Tour

Recently we bought a new camera to document life together and for trips like these. I’ve always loved taking photos for fun so when looking for activities this one spoke to me. I’m by no means a photographer but they said all skill levels were welcome and I needed a way to explore without a car. It was a small group unlike many other large bus tours in Waikiki and enjoyed this experience so much. The photo above is from one of my favorite stops, Makapu’u Beach. How pretty are the contrasting colors of the greenery, lava rock and bright blue ocean? I’ll write a separate post about my tour with the Oahu Photography Tour soon with some of my favorite photos!

Hawaii- Part One- Diamond HeadDiamond Head State Monument

Who doesn’t want to hike an inactive volcano crater when in Hawaii? It erupted like 300,000 years ago so don’t worry. I recommend not doing this hike in the heat of the day, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do when the hubby is working and gets off at 3 pm. It was so hot and all uphill, but so worth it. The view from up top is gorgeous! It was so sunny and crowded that I didn’t see signs of any other islands. But it is said that you can see the offshore islands of Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Maui! Very cool.

Waimanalo BaySunrise at Waimanalo Bay

What’s better than starting your day with watching the sunrise, I’m not sure? Because I love it. After my photo tour, I fell in love with Waimanalo Bay and I just had to get Nick there. When a light bulb went off that a sunrise would be gorgeous there, I convinced him that we could wake up and drive to sunrise before he had to go work. We cut it close because it was about 35 minutes to the east side of the island and traffic is kind of crappy in HI, whoops. Regardless it was worth every second to about the only ones on this beautiful beach and watch the start of the day. I can’t get over the glow of the sun on the beach. It was unreal!

With gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, a zillion rainbows, great food and mai tais, how can you not be in love with this island already? Little did we realize how cool the North Shore would be. Stay tuned for part two! Mahalo, Hawaii!

Xo, Anna

Hawaii- Part One

DIY Memory Ornament

DIY Memory Ornament

Hello, again!

I’m popping in for a quick DIY post. I realized after I was done making my ornament that I should’ve maybe taken some photos along the way to share to process. I’ll get better at this blogging thing eventually, I swear!

An ornament could be made in memory of so many things, whether it be a wedding, a birth, etc. My mom made me one with my tassel from graduation! If you’re someone like me, you keep things to remember the special days. Those knick knacks can sometimes end up stuffed in a drawer and you just don’t know what to do with them! I decided I could take some things that I had saved from our wedding and put them in an ornament. As a personal preference, I am someone who is a big fan of Christmas trees filled with ornaments that hold many years of memories. Plus, it makes them so much more fun to decorate.

This is what I used…

  1. Clear glass ornament bulb
  2. Wedding dress scraps from fittings
  3. Pin from bouquet
  4. Dried flower that would fit without breaking
  5. Tag from our invitations
  6. String used to wrap around our invitations to hang the tree
  7. Toothpick to move the pieces around to be in the order you prefer

Basically, just put in whatever you’d like the ornament to have a forever keepsake! Using a toothpick helped me move things around once I got them into the bulb to get the positions that I preferred.

Here is a close up of the final product!

DIY ornament

What do you have sitting around that you could put in an ornament? Let me know your ideas!

XO, Anna

St. Lucia Day


St Lucia Day

Can you believe we are in the midst of the holiday season and that next weekend is Christmas?! It’s the time of year where the word tradition is used more than ever and families have their special ways to celebrate the season. Some people look for the pickle ornament in the tree, some make cookies, but ultimately a lot of traditions come from a family’s heritage.

My mom is Swedish and my dad is Italian. Basically, the Italian side of things is celebrated all year long since everything Italian is readily available and scrumptious. The Swedish side of things, however, is always put a little on the back burner. There was one day a year my mom wouldn’t let that slide and it was every December 13… St. Lucia day. Here is a quick video on what the heck this day means: Swedish Lucia For Dummies.

One of part of this tradition is that the youngest daughter is “Lucia” aka me. Which for many years I thought was cool because my favorite American Girl doll, Kirsten was Swedish and had an outfit to match me. Eventually, I was too cool for it, but hey, I came back around. In our family, we typically decorated the tree, drank hot chocolate and ate the delish St Lucia buns (Lussekatter) that my sweet mother slaved over. Those buns were the best part! I remember helping my mom shape the dough in the shape of an “S” and sneaking some extra bites of the Swedish pearl sugar.


As the years go by I develop a deeper appreciate of where my family is from and how it’s molded us. This year I decided I wanted to give the whole St. Lucia Day thing a go, as the youngest daughter is supposed to, and also test my baking skills. I was super nervous but my mom gave me the recipe, some special key ingredients and I was off to the kitchen to give this a go, with a little help from Goggle of course. But really, who scolds milk before using in a recipe and why?

It was a fun and long (5 hour!!!!) challenge, these buns really pushed me out of my baking comfort zone! To my surprise, they were just as good as I remembered! Okay maybe not… everything my mom makes taste way better when she does it, but still, I did it!! I had family over to our apartment and we spent the afternoon munching on Swedish food and enjoying each other’s company to recognize St. Lucia Day.

We may not celebrate it as traditionally as they do in Sweden, but it’s nice to spend a day acknowledging our roots! I don’t know anyone else besides our family that celebrates this day. Does your family have any unique holiday traditions?

Happy St. Lucia Day and God Jul!

Xo, Anna



Thanksgiving it’s always a fun day to stuff our bellies, drink wine and laugh. Nick and I have been on a rotation and this year we will be in Michigan celebrating the day with his family. No matter which side of the family we are with, it is always so nice to have everyone in one place. Since I’m a sentimental gal, I always find myself reflecting on the past year and what I’m thankful for. If family would let me, I’d have everyone say what they are thankful for around the dinner table!

Nick and I have said multiple times that the best part of the wedding besides marrying one another, is that for one day we were lucky enough to have everyone we deeply care about in one room.  So this year, I am so thankful for that moment. We had guests in from 10 different states… for us! From the year leading up to the wedding to all the days in between, we have been so fortunate to have such a supportive and loving group of people in our lives.

Here is a photo of all of these special people standing up and making their promise to support us throughout our marriage. I hope they all know we how much that means to us and we will be forever grateful.


I could go on and on about all the things that I feel thankful for, but this one is by far the best moment of the year. What memory are you most thankful for this year?

Wishing you a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Xo, Anna



(Image by Veronica Varos Photography)

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

6 Ways to Save on Your Wedding

Being a newly wed I constantly find myself thinking about all the things I learned from wedding planning that I’ll never use again. With that being said, I wanted to incorporate some wedding posts to share our special day with you all and how we made decisions in the planning process. Nick and I wanted to make our special day about us, with traditions and details that were actually important to us as a couple, not the wedding industry.

It’s really easy to get sucked into the dream weddings that are the cost of a house because well, they are EVERYWHERE! These weddings truly are stunning, but the majority of the time they are only good for one thing and that’s inspiration for the majority of us. A lot of vendors do an excellent job of upselling you, which I totally get it. It’s their job and they want to help make it the most amazing day for you… but it’s gonna cost ya! You need to know when to say no and keep your expectations realistic in what you can afford. Pick what parts of your wedding you want to splurge on. For me, that was food and photography! Because who doesn’t like a good meal and your wedding photos will last a lifetime, right? It was easy for me to decided, but it isn’t always easy for others. So here are some ideas to think about and 6 ways to save on your wedding day.

  1. Interchangeable flowers. This was an idea from the first florist that my mom and I met with that ended up being the only florist we met with because she was so great. Shout out to The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers! Anyway, when trying to stay on budget the idea was brought to us to make the ceremony flowers transportable so they can move inside for the reception! Brillant! We choose urns of flowers that were to be on each side of us during the ceremony, that then would be transferred to another location for the reception (side note; this didn’t end up happening thanks to mother nature, but that story is for another day). This obviously is only easy to do if your ceremony and reception are in the same location. If you need another idea for separate venues, have vases set up on your tables (guestbook, head table, etc), so that your bridesmaids can just plop them in there for decor rather than just sit on the table for the rest of the night!
  2. Ask a friend to play your ceremony music. Luckily my family is a huge fan of live music and some are musicians themselves. Of course, you should still pay whoever is playing for you. But, I guarantee you this will save a ton of money! Thanks, Ed! If you don’t have a musician friend, think about contacting a local college’s music program. Many of their students do freelance work, and which was going to be a backup option for us.
  3. Wedding resale groups. I followed a few of these groups on Facebook, and only ended up using it once for prettiest table number holders ever (see above), that nobody remembers besides me and my mom. But, join these as soon as you are engaged and stay on top of it because the good stuff goes fast! With that being said, always price check what someone is selling their pieces at. I’ve seen sellers get tricky on here and try to make money off these used pieces and that’s not cool. Also, don’t go into this as a free for all, or you’ll end up with a closet full of things that you’re not actually going to use. Have a game plan on what you need and stick to it! And if you’re feeling frisky, see if you can negotiate the price of those chalkboards that you HAVE to have!
  4. Keep the guest list down. This can be really hard for some people who have extremely large families, a big group of friends, and about a million other excuses out there. But honestly, keep it down! How? Pull on your big girl and guy pants and take a hard look at who is relevant in your life today as a couple.
  5. Reconsider the ceremony program. We just totally eliminated this detail expense, even with having free graphic designer thanks to my brother. I went back and forth on it a lot, but after much discussion, we decided with a short and basic ceremony, nobody will miss them. I will add that sometimes it can be an amazing detail to your day. My brother and his wife had a Greek orthodox ceremony their programs were a huge help in guiding guests through their different religious traditions.
  6. Look at your favors in a different light. Favors have gotten out of hand! They can cost a lot of money and a lot of times forgotten at the table! Personally, my favorite favor is a photo booth. Wait, the photo booth is a favor? I think so! They bring so much fun to your guests, and guess what… they have a fun souvenir to take home with them aka a favor! If you already have a photo booth booked, you’re all set! We used Pittsburgh Prestige Photo Booth and had a great experience. Plus if you’re from Pittsburgh, I can almost guarantee your guests are walking out of that wedding with a bag full of cookies. As long as your guests aren’t going home empty-handed, I think it’s a win!

If I added a number 7 it would be to have a crafty family, but I know that I hit that jackpot with that one. My mom and brother made so many of my wedding ideas a reality with their talents. We’ll chat about wedding details another time, though.

I hope these ideas help with your planning process! And to any reading bride’s, take a deep breath, I promise any stress is worth it. What are some things you did to save a buck or two during on your wedding day?

Xo, Anna


Day Date- Apple Picking

Day Date- Apple Picking

When you want to get in some fall activities and the budget is tight, what do you do? Our conversation went something like this…

We could pick pumpkins? Eh, that’s fun, but we’ve done it a million times. We could go to a haunted house? Eh, that’s too scary. Then my husband says, “In Michigan, we picked apples in the fall!” And guess what, I never have!! Thank goodness for my smartest friend, Google. She found Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum, PA that was only 15 minutes away from us. Score!

We pulled up to Norman’s Orchard not knowing what to expect. What we found was the owner sitting in his garage full of apples for the less adventurous, a good old fashion scale, and some baskets. We had to sign a waiver (smart!), learned the science of the questionable ladders and about all different apple trees around the orchard. Then finally, we were handed a basket to have some fun!

We had a great time walking around the orchard in the crisp fall air, finding the “good” trees to pick from. After climbing the somewhat scary ladders and collecting the very best apples, we went back to scale our apples. Our fun day date cost us around $14 dollars. That’s including a gallon of fresh apple cider and a lot of apples! Norman’s Orchard is old school, but that was part of its charm. With that being said, if you visit, wear your boots and bring your cash.

We not only took home our apples but a new memory. Nick and I love trying new things together. Even when one of us has already done it before, it’s always a beautiful thing to show your loved one something new. This is especially the case when it comes from your childhood!

With that being said, what is your favorite apple recipe? We have a lot of apples to eat!

Xo, Anna Day Date- Apple Picking


Welcome to my new blog! I’ve tried this blogging thing before and got myself pigeon holed into a subject. The subject this go around is a little more broad. If you know me personally, you know that I have a lot to say, so why not share it with everyone else?

Follow me as I dive into topics relevant to life as a late twenty-something based out of the beloved city of bridges, Pittsburgh.

So I guess that’s what this is, a Pittsburgh gal’s lifestyle blog. Yinz ready? To start, check out the About Me page to learn more about little ole’ me!

I would love to hear what topics you’d like for me to talk about. Leave a comment below for your suggestions.

Xo, Anna