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On Labor Day weekend, Matt and I traveled back home to Louisville, Kentucky for my older brother Tony’s wedding to the ever-wonderful Anastasia.  Weddings are always so much fun and we love seeing all the family and friends that come into town to celebrate a new family.

Wedding day started off bright and early with hair appointments!

Her dress was absolutely beautiful!

My sisters, Claire and Natalie, showing off the flower girl flower bundles.

Here are Anastasia’s shoes. Now, this is a good story. So, their wedding happened to be on the same day as the big UofL/UK football game and oddly enough, most of her family members are big Kentucky fans and our family roots for Louisville. She had shoes dyed blue for her “something blue”, but since UK’s colors are blue and white and she is a big UofL fan, she had one of her friends draw this on the bottom of the shoes to show a little Cardinal pride.

Mona getting all dolled up!

Now, we depart from my pictures and into some photos that I borrowed from Facebook. Since I was in the wedding, I didn’t have a chance to take any pictures during the wedding or the reception.

The wedding ceremony was at Our Lady of Lourdes in Louisville.

Here’s the entire wedding party. It was a big group!

Now, for those of you who don’t know, I have two sisters and four brothers ranging in age from 26 to 6. And we were all in the wedding. My poor mother.

But, it turned out to be a beautiful day. The weather was perfect and everything fell into place.

The reception was at the Starks building in downtown Louisville on the atrium floor. It was a courtyard converted into an indoor room, so we were surrounded by buildings and the ceiling was glass which meant lots of natural light.

The awkward sweet tradition of tangling arms while drinking champagne.

To satisfy the family members who gave up their tickets to the game, Tony and Anastasia had the game on in the corner. Unfortunately, the Cards lost the game. But, hey, at least we scored!

It was a beautiful day and we are so blessed to have Anastasia as a sister! Congrats Tony and Anastasia!

Wedding and Reception photos taken from here and here.

Well, I just don’t have time to put up the first dining room post today, so I thought I would let you have a look see at the European Excursion that Matt and I took a few years ago.

We started in New York, visiting some of our dear friends, Greg and Lynn, who were living in Long Island at the time.

We hit all the New York stops: a show on Broadway, Starbucks, Central Park, the Apple Store. Good times. Then we caught a flight to Athens!

That picture is of an olive tree and the Acropolis above it. Did you know that olive trees can live basically forever? There are olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane from the time of Jesus! Athens was pretty cool and everyone was super nice to us obvious American travelers.

We then boarded a cruise ship to take a tour of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  First stop, Cairo by way of the port in Alexandria.

Besides being massive, the pyramids are pretty much what you would expect. It was a little strange to see cars just parked all around them with the occasional camel walking by.

Next up, the Holy Land. We visited Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, and these places:

The Holy Land was amazing, but we were not able to spend nearly enough time there. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back sometime!

After Israel, we hit up a few more stops in Greece including Rhodes and Santorini and Ephesus, Turkey. By the way, Greece was by far the most beautiful country we visited, Santorini in particular.

St. Paul’s Bay (Rhodes)


After the beautiful country of Greece, we stopped at the not so pretty country of Tunisia, in Africa. If you’ve never heard of the country, do not be alarmed, neither had we. Apparently their claim to fame is having been the location where George Lucas decided to film Tatooine. We also saw these spices at an open market that was otherwise a bit scary.

We learned later that there is terrorist activity in Tunisia. We still can’t figure out why the cruise ship decided to have Gabes, Tunisia as a cruise stop.

Anyway, our next stop was Malta. A tiny tiny country south of Italy, Malta was so refreshing after being in Tunisia!

This is part of their port.  It was beautiful! Did you know that Malta is the most Catholic country in the world? They are 98% Catholic.

On our way to Rome, we floated past the active volcano Stromboli, near Sicily:

After the cruise ended, we stayed in Rome for a week. I think that we would have stayed in Italy for a month if we could have.  The center of our culture and religion is in Rome, the food is divine, and we were surrounded by so much culture that one week was just not enough time to take it all in.

Here’s St. Peter’s Square from the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Colosseum:

And what trip to Rome is complete without hanging out with the Pope?

After Rome, we headed back home to Louisville, Kentucky for a family visit, just in time for Halloween with my youngest brothers and sisters.

This trip home also marked Matt’s first ever solo pumpkin carving experience.

We were disappointed proud of him.

Overall it was a fantastic trip!

Next up, Dining Room, Take 1!

As many of you know, this is the week before the Kentucky Derby. Matt and I are hosting our 2nd Derby Party this year, the first one at our house. While it is very exciting, the preparations for the party are also exhausting. So, this week I thought I would share some of my past Derby experiences with you.

If you live in Louisville, you have to go to the Derby at least once in our life. In 2006, I had the opportunity to go. But, since I was a poor college student, I could only afford the infield (still expensive at $40!).  Look, there are the twin spires!

Look how crowded it was! If you squint, I’m sure you can see someone really famous like Nick Lachey in Millionaire’s Row. (I actually don’t even know which on is Millionaire’s Row!).

There were lots of people dressed in strange get-ups trying to get the attention of the local media. Like this guy dressed as a jockey…and his horse.

When it came down to it, it was hot and there was no shade. We had to arrive super early in order to get a piece of grass and we all couldn’t get up at the same time because we might lose our spot of grass. There were lots of drunk people and this was the closest we got to see the horses:

We watched most of the actual Run for the Roses on the big screens and stood on tippy toe to see the horses whoosh by. It was wonderful to experience once, but I’m not sure I would go back to the infield for the Derby.

The best part of the day were these folks.

Some of my besties from back home. This was just a few weeks before I moved away from Louisville to Florida.  It’s hard to believe that was 4 years ago! We weren’t even old enough to order Mint Juleps! I miss them dearly!

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you how we brought the Derby fun to all of our Florida friends. They didn’t know what they were missing!

Past Posts

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