Getting married internationally!

Why we chose France and some tips from a fellow wedding vendor

Sean and I got married September 2018 in Provence, France and it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! We honestly couldn’t have planned a better week and everything worked out so well. I feel like most people are happy to be finished with planning when their wedding is over, but I would 100% plan and do the whole thing again!

There were many reasons why we decided to get married in France, even when we live in the beautiful wedding destination of California!

  • We first decided on a destination wedding because I wanted to be able to spend more than 1-2 days with our family and friends. As a wedding photographer I see how quick the day flies by and I feel like if we are spending all this money for a wedding, I wanted to leave time for everyone to meet and form friendships. It’s also an excuse to keep the celebration going and to make a long weekend/ week out of it :)

  • We love to travel!! We are super fortunate to be able to travel internationally at least once a year. Traveling is something we enjoy and make it a priority, so that’s where we would like to spend our money. Having a destination wedding was a pretty no-brainer.

  • France was the first country Sean and I traveled to together so it holds special meaning to our relationship. Sean is a Francophile (sounds so negative, but it really means, “a person who is fond of or greatly admires France or the French”) and spent time after high school and in college visiting, so he knows conversational French. This was super helpful in our planning! It would have been way more difficult/ maybe impossible for us to connect with all our vendors. The French wedding industry doesn’t seem to be as crazy as here in the States (or at least can be), so many of the wedding vendors didn’t have great websites or even a website. I found our florist via Facebook!!

  • We wanted to give our guests an experience. Many of them had not been to France and for some, it was their first international trip. We were so full of gratitude when looking around and realizing 29 people traveled by plane, train and then car to celebrate us. We wanted to show off how amazing France is and give the experience of the French way. Croissants, wine, cheese and beautiful Provence countryside.

Now a few tips:

It’s so important to decide what is really important to you and your partner. Since I work in the wedding industry and probably follow more wedding accounts than the non-wedding vendor, it was easy to get swayed by looking at others weddings and thinking I needed to do certain things and if I didn’t have things as a part of our wedding, it wouldn’t be great. This is so wrong!! Every wedding is different and if you don’t have things or you have ALL the things for your wedding day, it doesn’t change how important your wedding day is. Remember, your wedding is about celebrating your love and you two, so do what makes you happy! There is no right or wrong way to get married :)

  • For example: the need for many details, including table design, presentation of food and drinks, programs, invitations, etc.

    • Honestly, you could have no details and tablecloths on the dinner tables and you would have an amazing wedding dinner. Remember it’s about the people and celebrating your love. Case and point: we had our rehearsal dinner in the same space we were having our wedding dinner and didn’t have anything on the tables (no candles, flowers, tablecloths) and it didn’t affect our dinner. Honestly, our guests probably didn’t notice the things we DID have on the table on the wedding day, haha.

    • We didn’t send invitations because we did Save the Dates/ tentative RSVPs all-in-one because we needed to know our guest count much further in advance, so didn’t feel like invitations were necessary. We sent these around 11 months before our wedding date. I did ask Stephanie of Bowerbird Atelier to design one invitation for photos though, haha. Kinda silly, but the photographer in me did want one invitation photo!

      • We did send out “A Pocket Guide to Provencal Success” that Sean created! It was pocket sized so everyone could travel with it and the guide wouldn’t take up too much space. We included our week schedule, directions to the venue, food+drinks to try, road sign examples and what they mean, FAQs and custom wedding playlists for anyone to download. We wanted to give all the info we thought our guests would need in print so they wouldn’t have to depend on phones because you never know if you’ll have wifi access or if your phone will work. I DID want to send something to our guests, so we mailed the pocket guide and our custom made BON VOYAGE luggage tags.

  • Hire a videographer! Best thing we splurged on. Sean said it was the best thing I convinced him of that we needed. It’s amazing to have video from the day because it captures the movement of the day and us interacting. It also included clips from our ceremony, speeches, and sounds of the French countryside. The video really brings our day to life and makes me tear up every time I watch it (and of course hire an amazing photographer!! Hint hint ;)).

  • Searching Instagram hashtags was how I found a lot of our vendors. Like I said above, many French wedding vendors didn’t have great websites or even one at all so it was hard to google search and find vendors I wanted to work with. I was able to find recent weddings in the area we were getting married and find the profiles of the vendors they used. I even ended up messaging a bride who got married at our venue to ask her a few questions, which was so helpful! I found her because she had the venue tagged in her photos.

  • Know that email/ communication response times will take longer - they’re on France (or wherever you’re getting married) time! The time difference made it interesting and not as convenient, as we had a few Skype calls at 11pm or 7am… but TOTALLY worth it :)

Have questions about planning a destination wedding or getting married at Clos d’Hullias? I would be happy to answer any questions!! We highly recommend a destination wedding if it works for you :)

Getting married in Provence? I would LOVE to recommend our vendors!!

venue: Domaine du Clos d'Hullias // planner: Jai 2 Amours // makeup: Belle Comme le Jour // rentals: Couverts Location // dj: Crystal Beats Disco // florist: Ver'Ttige // wine: Famille Perrin (we didn’t use a traditional caterer, so we supplied the wine for the wedding dinner and during the week! So inexpensive :)) // videographer: I am Paul Van (hire him!! He’s UK based, so hire him for any European wedding) // photography: Lindsey Denman Photography (hire both of us for your wedding! She’s one of my close industry friends here in SF <3)

Tahoe Sugar Bowl Wedding // Sally + John

Sugar-Bowl-tahoe-wedding-sallyjohn_chelsea-dier-photography_0017.jpg

Summer wedding at one of Tahoe’s iconic ski resorts, Sugar Bowl


Sally and John’s wedding last summer was so full of smiles and love, like seriously so many smiles from all! I personally LOVE Tahoe and was so excited to spend the weekend with them and their guests in my favorite summer spot.

We started the celebration with their welcome dinner the evening before at Lake Mary (just down the road from Sugar Bowl), where I got to meet their closest friends and family. There were many heartfelt speeches with no dry eyes to be had and so much excitement for the wedding day!!

Their wedding day was pretty perfect! We did their first look, wedding party photos and their portraits before the ceremony, which allowed them to join their cocktail hour post ceremony+family formals. The pops of red and bright colors in Sally’s bouquet was the perfect addition to her form fitting dress that was PERFECT on her. So stunning Sally!! I also loved her bridesmaids dresses. The light blue color was so flattering on all the women. John, you and your groomsmen were looking handsome as well :)

Once dancing got started we sneaked away for a few sunset (more like blue light, post-sunset) photos at the Donner Pass overlook. My second photographer Lora showed us where the secret swing along the overlook was and took a few photos there as well. It’s always nice to sneak away from your guests for a small breather and really take in that you’re married (!!), before re-joining and dancing your heart out!

The day was so wonderful and I felt so thankful to be included in their day. Thank you Sally and John! <3

VENDOR LOVE: photographer: Chelsea Dier Photography // planner: Tahoe Inspired Events // videographers: Reel to Real Video // venue+catering: Sugar Bowl // florals: Holly Fleur // dress: BHLDN // suit: The Groomsmen Suit // band: The Lucky Devils Band // HMAU: La Di Da Beauty // second photographer: Lora Wagener

Sugar-Bowl-tahoe-wedding-sallyjohn_chelsea-dier-photography_0026.jpg

bonus image: I photographed Jessie+Shane’s wedding in Brooklyn in 2017, which is where Sally+John saw me in action and wanted to hire me. LOVE getting to photograph my couple’s friends weddings <3

Gig Harbor Private Residence Wedding // Dana + Colin

Gig Harbor wedding portrait on beach

Dana and Colin’s Gig Harbor wedding was super special to me for a few reasons!

  1. They got married in my home state of Washington! Dana is also from Washington and her parents live on Gig Harbor. In typical WA weather, it was cloudy all day with a high chance of rain, but the rain held off until their reception which they planned for and had a tent to cover the area!

  2. Their wedding was the weekend before I left for my wedding in France!! Maybe a little crazy on my part, but when I first talked to Dana I knew I wanted to make it work — and it totally did and was 100% worth it!

  3. Lindsey is one of Dana’s besties and one of the bridesmaids, along with being our wedding photographer! It was so fun to see her as a guest at their wedding, knowing I would be seeing her in a week in France. World travelers we are ;)

Their wedding was full of Dana’s contagious smile and Colin’s undeniable love for his new wife!! These two were surrounded by family and friends in their wedding party who gave us no shortage of laughs. It was a really good, genuine, no fuss wedding day. They even sneaked in a drink at the local bar before heading to their reception! I also got to work with some amazing vendors!! Their video team was so easy to work with and my second photographer was so helpful. We had such a blast working with each other, we stayed after we were finished and share a few dance moves with Dana+Colin and guests. How freaking fun!

VENDOR LOVE: planner: Laura Gram // videographers: Gently Crafted Films // catering: Act3 Catering // florals: Susan Hoskinson // cake: Maribel Cobey // Dress: Calla Bridal // dj: Events Tacoma // HMAU: Jax Salon + Dolce Salon // second photographer: Carley Jane Photography

Oahu Beach Wedding // Jaime + Darren

hawaii_oahu_beach_wedding_chelseadierphotography_0010.jpg

This wedding is extra special to me because it is my Aunt and her husbands wedding!! They live in Oahu (lucky!!) and were originally going to get married on the SE side of the island, but decided on Honolulu instead because it’d be easier with family visiting. The Royal Hawaiian is where they had their first date and Darren has been a patron for many years, so it held a special place for them… and they could get away with having the wedding on the beach ;) For their ceremony, we all met at the hotel bar for a welcome mai tai, #obvi, and then walked out and created a circle of sorts around them. They are a mellow couple so it was absolutely perfect for them to be surrounded by friends and family, but in a non-traditional set-up. After the ceremony, it was time for more mai tais, pina coladas and food!

Hawaii has a special magic to it and every time I visit, I never want to leave. But when I do, I come back feeling so refreshed and relaxed, ahhh. Oh and the water is warm enough to swim in! I wouldn’t mind another Hawaii wedding or two this year ;)

West Coast Adventure Elopement Location Ideas

Adventure elopement location ideas, by an outdoor and adventure loving photographer!

When I think about adventure elopements, I want my couples to choose a place that is special to them, but sometimes there are TOO many options and they all seem great! At least that's my current predicament. As a recently engaged photographer, choosing where to exchange vows with my fiancé is an exciting choice to make, but I would also love a list of places I could potentially choose from, to help narrow down the options. So here are mine (and ones I would love to shoot at too, so you know, keep me in mind!) *photo credits given below*

Yosemite National Park - Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Taft Point, backpack from Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Falls *permit required for all Yosemite elopements

(Samantha Smith Arroyo Photography)

(Samantha Smith Arroyo Photography)

Mount Tamalpais - Iconic Bay Area mountain with endless hikes. You can have trees and the beach at your fingertips!

(Michelle Beck Photography)

(Michelle Beck Photography)

Angel Island - 360 degree views of San Francisco and the Bay, only if #Karlthefog stays away

(unknown)

(unknown)

Your favorite hiking trail Michael and Catie found their Redwoods elopement spot because they hiked in the area often with their dogs, and it was pretty perfect!

Big Sur - The most gorgeous coastline in California, with endless pull offs and bluffs to make your commitment to eachother official

(Laura &amp; Rachel Photography)

(Laura & Rachel Photography)

Camping adventure elopement - Reserve a weekend camping spot and get married one of the days. I know of a fabulous spot off I-80! I was actually just camping there and all I could think about was how it'd be such a great spot to get married, along with continuing the celebration with camping.

West Coast - It's a broad suggestion, but anywhere along the coastal line is bound to be gorgeous. It isn't referred to as the best coast for nothing. I may be biased since I am from the West Coast, but it really can't be beat. Olympic National Park in Washington, Bend in Oregon, Lost Coast, Mendocino, North Tahoe and Joshua Tree for a few in California

And one International suggestion...

Iceland - Well, because it's Iceland and it is the most beautiful country. If you go during our summer time you'll be greeted with baby sheep and endless sun!

(Pat Furey)

(Pat Furey)

image credits: Samantha Smith Arroyo, Michelle Beckwith Photography, Unknown, Chelsea Dier Photography, Laura & Rachel Photography, Pat Furey Photo

 

Rooftop Garden Welcome Dinner // Jessie + Shane // Brooklyn Grange

RooftopGardenWelcomeDinner

And now for the first evening of Jessie and Shane's wedding weekend! Peek their wedding here :) They had their welcome dinner to kick off their wedding weekend at Brooklyn Grange, which is a working farm on the roof of an industrial building in the Navy Yard that produces much of the produce for the local restaurants and farmers markets, as well as being a place for education and stewardship. It was so cool!! Not to forget, it has basically 360 degree views of the NYC and Brooklyn skylines. When we were planning their photo timeline for the weekend, we decided to do a few portraits of them before their guests arrived here, since we didn't do an engagement session. They were naturals and since they had this "warm-up", it made their wedding day portraits that much easier! :) We were able to walk all around and in the garden beds, just being sure to not step on the plantings. 

The dinner they planned for their guests was served family style, with guests serving each other and helping out. Community and welcoming friends and family to their home has been an important part of their relationship, so it's only fitting for them to honor this and continue this welcoming. No joke, the moment I met Jessie I felt like we'd known each other for ever. These two have the biggest hearts and have built an amazing community around them. It was truly an honor to be included!! Cheers to continuing the adventure full of love, laughter, and Presidente! ;) (The Dominican Republic is a key location in their relationship, so of course they had to have it at their welcome dinner!)

Photographer: Chelsea Dier Photography / Venue: Brooklyn Grange / Dress: Alice & Olivia / Caterer: El Nuevo Cibao / Videographer: Tom Boyden / Planner: Dame Forbes Tyson

Jessie + Shane // Urban Brooklyn Wedding // Brooklyn, NY

JessieShaneBrooklynWedding

I honestly don't know where to start! I have just returned from an epic weekend in Brooklyn for their wedding and I couldn't think of a better wedding to kick off my new job title: full time photographer!! 

I met Jessie and Shane through a mutual friend (hi Katie!) and the moment I met Jessie, I felt like we were best friends. She has the warmest, welcoming heart and I could not wait for their weekend to arrive. They started their festivities with a welcome dinner at the Brooklyn Grange, which I'll give its own post! Let's just say there were amazing NYC skyline views, family style dinner, and chickens, all while surrounded by a working farm that produces many of the produce for local restaurants and markets. 

For their wedding, they had their ceremony at the Old Stone House in Park Slope. It was totally a city wedding! There were a few onlookers for their ceremony that were playing at the park/ ball field area and we also took a few of their couples portraits on the swings! Many thanks to the kids who let us borrow them for a few moments :) 

Post ceremony we had a short walk to the reception site and since there was a walk, Jessie and Shane decided to have their ceremony band join for the walk and create a second line. It was SO cool! Walking down the Brooklyn streets with brass instruments leading the way, it was the best way to kick off their party!! Some how J+S got just about all their guests on the dance floor for the evening and I'm sure the live band helped. They pumped up the energy and rocked it!! Oh and Jessie wore a JUMPSUIT+skirt for their ceremony, because she's the romper queen, and Shane had no idea!! See the unveiling below, mid-dancing! These two were full of surprises :)

It was such an honor to photograph their wedding weekend and I cannot believe I went to Brooklyn and photographed a wedding, ahhh!!! Thank you thank you thank you! HUGS!! Now cheers to the best honeymoon and taking a breather :) (Jessie also just graduated with her MBA a week before their wedding!)

Photography: Chelsea Dier Photography / Planner: Dame Forbes Tyson / Caterer: Avlee Greek Kitchen / Florist: Trader Joes / Dessert: Insomnia Cookies / Dress: Rebecca Schoneveld / Suit: Trumaker / Second Line Band+Reception: Silver Arrow Band / HMAU: Glamsquad / Videographer: Tom Boyden / Second shooter: Laura Huertas / Venues: The Old Stone House + The Bell House

Heather + Aniekan // New York City Engagement // New York City

heatheraniekanNYCengagement

While I was in New York in January, I had the opportunity to shoot Heather and Aniekan's engagement photos! This was also the trip I booked my first out of state wedding (!!) and will be heading to Brooklyn in May for Jessie and Shane's wedding, so this trip is extra special to me!

Heather and Aniekan brought the spiciness and love to their shoot. It was a chilly day, but they didn't let that stop their style and it just made them cuddle even more! Heather is a fellow #girlboss in the e-commerce world, so of course she's rockin' those heels. I don't know how she did it! Thank you so much for having me along and giving me the tour of your neighborhood. Wishing I was joining you in Tuscany for your wedding ;) 

Yosemite National Park // On Film

54630002
54630002
54630006
54630006
54650023
54650023
54650003
54650003
54650009
54650009
54650012
54650012
54650016
54650016
54650024
54650024
54650025
54650025
54630010
54630010
54630016
54630016
54630029
54630029
54630034
54630034
54630023
54630023

Lindsey and I did 3 days of hiking in this beautiful National Park and it was amazing. She's a fellow film shooter so it's always great to explore with her because she understands the want for taking photos... and lends me an extra roll of film when I run out! Who's up for an #adventureelopement or wedding here?! I'm your gal to photograph it :)((oatmeal and coffee=camping musts))

shot on my canon ae-1 with fujifilm and portra

#franceonfilm

46940014
46940014
46940017
46940017
46950005
46950005
46950008
46950008
46960012
46960012
46960028
46960028
46960029
46960029
46960034
46960034
46970020
46970020
46970021
46970021
46970010
46970010
46960008
46960008
46950010
46950010
46950001
46950001
46950016
46950016
46970032
46970032
46970035
46970035
46940018
46940018
46960031
46960031
46940013
46940013
46950011
46950011

This past November we traveled to France for about two weeks and it was so great. This was my first trip to Europe so it was all new to me. I met Sean in Paris, then we went in a circle around the country - Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg, Paris. We will be going to Germany in September, so I can't wait to see other countries!

Images taken with my Canon AE-1 on Fuji film. There pictures are so special to me and NOTHING compares to having film photos of your travel. Love 'em!!

Updates

Yikes, I kind of neglected this space. Exciting things have and are happening though! I have been working with a wedding photographer and have assisted him on four weddings so far, with four more to go. I will be building my wedding portfolio soon so y'all can take a look. I will also be shooting my first SOLO wedding in two weekends... woah! It's going to be awesome. I came here to post a few pictures from Guatemala and our Seattle trip, which are from Deception Pass. I'm not too good with words, so I'll let the photos do the talking...

(Guatemala photos taken on a GoPro -- what a great travel camera -- compact, unsuspecting, and fun fisheye!)

GS-8
GS-7
GS-5
GS-4
GS-3
GS-2
GS
GS-9
GS-14
GS-13
GS-16
GS-17
GS-18
GS-19
GS-20
GS-22

 Semuc Champey -- beautiful, magical jungle doesn't those last two pictures remind you of a waterfall? 

Austin, TX from the iPhone

Austin-2.jpg

I joined my friend in Austin, TX a few weeks back. She was visiting her family for two weeks, so I decided to tag along for four days. This was my first time visiting Texas. I know Austin is such a different city compared to other Texan cities, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The hipster vibe brought me right back home (craft coffee, suspenders and so much flannel). This was such a whirlwind trip. We were always on the go and constantly eating - true Austin experience. I think I covered all the bases in my Texan adventure.

-BBQ at the Salt Lick -Food trucks -Amy's Ice Cream -Shopping along South Congress -Seeing 6th Street - Live Music -Taco Xpress + Hippie Church -Topo Chico -Cowboy Boot trying on -And most fittingly, visiting different coffee shops

I want to take Sean back with me, so I am sure a visit will happen in the future.

 

 

Burning Man 2013

This year was great. About half way through the week in Black Rock City, I stated this would be my last Burning Man. But as I look back on the week, I only have positive thoughts and know I need to go back at least one more year. The only real kicker for me is the heat during the day, but we succeeded quite well in being gifted with cold beverages and even popsicles!

Through our morning coffee delivery of cold-brew, we met some awesome folks and a few that live in Oakland and were familiar with my work place. In a community of 60,000+ it is still a small world.

These past two years I have brought disposable cameras and my simple point and shoot camera. I definitely prefer the disposable over the digital. The first two pictures are from one disposable camera. The feel of the photos, what gets captured on film and knowing I can't see the pictures until development makes it much more exciting and enjoyable for me. My favorite photos are the ones from the disposable cameras. Film is awesome!

Until next year Black Rock City... Stay dusty :)

En Route to Black Rock City

And we're off! Sean and I, along with two friends leave in the morning for Burning Man !!! The boys have been working around the clock on the geodesic dome, so I'm stoked to see it in completion. I have only seen it assembled and when the cover was being worked on.

So much more packing and cleaning to do, but I can sleep when I'm dead, right?! Be back Tuesday!

Brother's Going Away Party

My younger brother just started ARMY boot camp on Monday and we had a going away party for him up in Washington. I can't believe he's off growing up. I still think of him being about 4 years old... not 18! But, I am extremely proud of him for following the dream he's had for MANY years! He is ready for this experience and I think he will gain so much from it. I'm proud of you Marcus and I love you SO much! MarcusParty-1

(mom and siblings)MarcusParty-2MarcusParty-4MarcusParty-5MarcusParty-6MarcusParty-8MarcusParty-7MarcusParty-9

(all but second to last picture taken at party site)

 

 

Mexico 2013

Mexico Film 2013 In late May, Sean and I went to Cancun, Mexico for a week. The trip can be summed up in three "r" words: reading, relaxing, refreshments.

Aside from a day trip to the Tulum Ruins, we stayed within the resort and made ourselves comfortable on the beach or by the pool.

When we visited the Tulum Ruins, it was very hot and humid and a little uncomfortable. But, we were able to dip our toes into the Caribbean as it's the only ruins along the ocean.

Mexico Film 2013Mexico Film 2013

Some pictures from the resort grounds below...

Mexico Film 2013Mexico Film 2013Mexico Film 2013

I took all these images on an old Canon AE-1 film camera with Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400. ((Loving the film!!))

 

 

Seattle + Bellingham

Home Sweet Home.

I went up to Seattle (well Normandy park, if we're being specific) for a long weekend to visit my best friend who had just moved back. I also took this as a chance to see some other friends I have been missing and an excuse to get up to Bellingham.

Aly and Travis just happened to get engaged a few months earlier AND got a new puppy so I knew a visit was a must. I went to college up in Bellingham, so it holds a dear place in my heart. The last time I visited Bellingham, it wasn't quite personally satisfying, so I wanted a re-do.

Low and behold, it was a success! I came back home to Oakland (wait, what? this is where I'm calling home now?) feeling refreshed and filled with love. Now if I could just convince them all the move down here, I'd be set!

PS- my Washington ID expires in one month!! Uhhhh... meaning I will become a Cali resident? Don't know if I am ready for that yet! :)

San Francisco to Burbank

About a month ago, Sean and I were to fly down to Burbank and see my best friends Erin and Jessica. Well, San Francisco’s weather decided to rain and be windy for multiple days in a row, and of course our departure day was right in the middle of that. Our flight was first delayed until the afternoon which was acceptable... and then they decided to delay it for TWO days. Well, that wasn't going to work since it was only a weekend trip to begin with. I still wanted to make it down to Burbank since this was a rare chance to see them both, so we decided to rent a car and drive down there. Why not?! We took Highway 1 because the views are supposed to be gorgeous and spectacular, but all that rain I had mentioned decided to follow us the whole drive down so the view was very foggy. There was one break in the weather and we made a stop then to see the coast line.

endless

keep out

ocean

Around 9 p.m. we finally made it to Burbank, just in time for a bbq and board games. Phew, that was a lot of driving.

One day and evening we went to Santa Monica and the weather there didn't cooperate too well either. It was super windy and cold. So much for the SoCal hot weather that they had the week prior and post to us visiting. Humph.

Santa Monica Pier

 

Part of Shore HotelShore Hotel

The next day, Santa Monica was the finishing line for the LA Marathon so we decided to rent bicycles and ride down the boardwalk. I rode my first tandem bike with Sean. That took some getting used to, but once so, it was fun to ride. Aside from the sand storm it felt we were stuck in on the ride back, the day was good.

The trip went by so much quicker since we had to allot driving time, but still worth it. On the drive back we took Highway 1 again, but most of the drive it was dark since we left Burbank late afternoon. We did get to see the sunset though from the beach!

The 700+ miles were worth it though. Seeing my best friends and having them meet my boyfriend is priceless.

sunset

 

Cancun, Mexico

Sean and I went to Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico at the end of January for a vacation. We were gifted the room so how could we pass up this opportunity for a tropical vacation. We were there for a week and it was wonderful. Since we stayed at an all-inclusive resort, we didn't need to worry about much and were able to truly relax.

While we spent most of our time at the beach and walking around the resort, we did leave the resort area twice. One day we visited Chichen Itza (one of the new Seven Wonders of the World) and another day we went to Cancun proper.

Chichen Itza was an all day tour outing. It was a two hour drive to and from the resort. The Mayan ruins were amazing to see and to learn about all the numbers and their correlation with the how the ruins were built. The perimeter of the ruins are lined with local vendors trying to sell their woodworks, shirts, nick-knacks and everything between. Our guide said when TV stations or anyone who is filming come to the ruins, these vendors disperse to give Chichen Itza the "sacred" and serene appeal. Here's a good article about this and the battle between its ownership dispute. It is amazing to say I have visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but the perimeter lined vendors definitely distracts from its beauty and architecture.

Chichen Itza

Since we were located south of Cancun, we decided to visit the hotel zone for a few hours. Oy, were we pleased that we stayed outside of the hotel zone. Sean and I are more of the rugged, off the beaten path travelers, so being in this small area jam packed with hotels and people made us realize this even more. The beach was quite beautiful though.

All in all, it was a great vacation. We are planning our next vacation and this could include a road-trip, Europe countries and backpacking.

Flea Market

Cancun

grasshopper

film

Oregon Coast

>This past Memorial Day weekend Matt and I took a road trip to Cannon Beach and Portland as a last hurrah before my move. The weather held out for us while at Cannon Beach and then was overcast the rest of the trip. We didn't need sunshine to explore Portland though.

We stopped in Seaside for a beer and some taffy. Cannon Beach was at first consumed by finding a place to stay - beach camping isn't legal and could lead to a ticket. Mis-planning on my part. At 10pm we found a campground with a few open spots (thank goodness!) In Portland we walked all around and visited some breweries. We planned better for Portland - we had a place to stay. Rounded off the trip with a visit to the Federal Way to see family and then Stanwood for a BBQ.  705 miles later, we were home.