We are so excited announce that a new addition will be joining the Graziano family! We had only been "trying" for a couple of months and were not expecting this little one to come so soon, but we are so happy to be bringing a new member into our family. We can't wait to see how Porter and Barley will act as big brothers! Stayed tuned for more info about this little bundle of joy!
Justin and I had been dying to go to the Denver Zoo since we moved here! We were lucky enough to get free tickets from our friends, Julian and Karen. So we put the dogs away for a few hours and headed to the zoo, which is only about a 15 minute drive from our home. Being from California, I have been to the zoos in San Diego, LA, Santa Barbara, etc. They are all great, but I have to say that Denver is my favorite!
Denver Zoo has a lot of the typical animals that you expect to see at the zoo, but what I liked most of all is how close you were able to get to them. The best views! They set up their exhibits in a natural wildlife way, which I appreciated. When we first walked in, we saw the lions, front and center. They were lounging around, but not sleeping like usual.
There was an interesting exhibit that we had never experienced before-- monkeys outside of their cages! These little guys had a small forest-like area for them to play on and were only separated from the zoo-goers by a thin surrounding stream. They could obviously cross it and interact with us, but chose to mostly stay in their habitat and watch us as we watched them. It was pretty cool.
Both of our favorites were definitely the bears, because they were very active and kept playfully walked back and forth between their two areas like they were putting on a show. They had a huge group of people watching them and taking pictures, but they didn't seem bothered at all. The gorillas were great too! They sat up against the glass and stared right at us. We followed this big guy over to a different area and watched him chomp on some bamboo.
We happened to visit the zoo during their summer dinosaur exhibit, which was fun and silly, with some big animatronic and surprisingly lifelike creatures. They moved around and made dino sounds. It was an amusing addition.
Walking into the elephant's area, there were monkeys sitting on posts, crossing back and forth between them on long ropes. There was a tour (or maybe a show?) going on at that time, and the monkeys were very interactive, catching treats from the trainers and making all the guests ooh and ahh. The monkeys were definitely loving all the attention!
Anyone who knows me, knows that elephants are my all-time favorite animal! They were obviously the main attraction that I wanted to see and the only show that I cared to attend. Walking through their Elephant Passage, I was able to get pretty close to a beautiful one that I had to take a picture with. We ended up getting a little caught up earlier in the gorilla area, so we were unfortunately late to the show and there wasn't any seating left. But we did stand off the side for a couple minutes and got to see an elephant swim and eat treats. We took some pictures and moved on, but next time we will plan to get to the show early so we can sit down and enjoy it!
Another couple zoo favorites that we got to see were the tigers and the giraffes. The tiger enclosure was huge, and had multiple connecting bridges that allow the tigers to walk right over your head. There was also a viewing area with a perforated wall, where we watched a tiger play around in water, only a few feet away from us. The giraffes had a special encounter where guests can walk up stairs to get to their height and hand-feed them. I really wanted to do it, but it was expensive and the line was super long. Maybe next time! We had an amazing day at the Denver Zoo and will definitely be back soon to take it a little slower and maybe catch some of the shows.
July 22nd marks Skylar and I's 3rd year together as a couple and almost 8 months of marriage! So we decided to get someone to watch the dogs for us while we went off to Fort Collins for the day for some exploring!
Fort Collins has always been one of our top destinations to visit while in Colorado so what's a better day to come visit other than our anniversary. We headed straight into downtown and just started walking around enjoying all the street art and outdoor shopping.
As we were walking, we stumbled on a small cafe called The Little Bird Bakeshop. So we popped in there and got one of their lavender lemonades to sip on while we walked around enjoying the sights.
As we walked around, up and down different alley ways and streets, we came across a cool old book shop called The Old Firehouse Books, which Skylar loved. It was super tiny, but had a ton of options from new to used books for you to buy. Once we finished checking that out we were hungry so we started to look around for someplace to eat.
We ended up walking into a Beau Jo's, which is a Colorado chain restaurant. They had a pretty decent tap list, so I ended up ordering a Juicy Bits by WeldWerks Brewing Co. and Skylar had a water because she didn't feel like having a beer that day. We weren't super hungry so we just ended up ordering a couple things off their appetizer menu: a small order of the Boneless Buffalo Wings and a Hipster Pizza Skillet, which is cheesy skillet with roasted garlic, olive oil, spinach, fire-roasted red peppers, pineapple, peperoncini, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses all on top of a wheat tortilla served with two pieces of garlic toast. We thought this large skillet needed more than just two pieces. Overall, the food was okay and the service was pretty poor.
While we were eating, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do next. So we searched around on our phones and noticed that New Belgium Brewing was only about a 10 minute walk down the street so we decided to head there to check it out since we've heard so many cool things about it. The walk there was pretty nice. We saw some cool apartments buildings and crossed a bridge over a small river.
When we finally arrived at New Belgium, all we could say was "WOW, this place is huge." It was gigantic. They had an entire field out front to play corn hole and other games, a few food trucks, and plenty of seating room. We signed up for their brewery tour then headed inside where I saw they were serving up a Hazy IPA called Ales for ALS, which I'm assuming was some kind of charity or fundraising beer. It was actually so delicious that I ended up having two pours. When it finally came for our turn to go on the tour we noticed that the person taking tickets had switched. Long story short, the guy working the booth now basically told us we couldn't go, even though we had our names in line. So he turned us away and left us with a little bit of a bitter taste in our mouth, kind of ruining the end of our trip to the brewery. The only perk of going there was that I have an AHA membership which gave me 10% off my beers plus sent me home with a free glass. Other than that the whole brewery tour thing killed our experience of going there.
After leaving New Belgium, we headed back towards downtown and went straight to this cookie shop that Skylar saw when we first came into town and we said we would stop there before our day was over. It was called Mary's Mountain Cookies. They had so many sweet treat options! We ended up leaving with a few too many cookies. We got 2 snickerdoodles, 2 peanut butter, a caramel sea salt, a s'mores cookie, and even a bite size edible cookie dough. We felt a little guilty leaving there, but it was well worth it! And the cookies lasted us into the next week.
After walking around some more, we decided we better get something to eat for dinner, so we stopped at a place called Austin's American Grill. They had a ton of american style cuisine to choose from. We ordered the hot artichoke dip, chicken street tacos, and chipotle chicken salad. It was all great, but reminded us of eating at BJ's or another chain restaurant.
We took one more spin around town before leaving. We ran into a cute little spice shop called Old Town Spice Shop. Neither of had ever been in one so it was a really cool experience. Seeing all the different varieties of salt, peppers, chiles and more that we aren't usually used to or that you can't just get at your local grocery store. We had to at least get a few things to try at home, so we left with lavender flowers (so that Skylar could make her own lavender lemonade) and hop salt, which is salt made with, yep you guessed it, hops! There was still a few more things we wanted to check out, but we were so tired and missed our dogs so we decided it was time to head home. Next time we come to Fort Collins we already have a few places in mind that we need to stop by!
Every year my parents take a trip to Idaho for the 4th of July to spend time with my my Aunt Nancy and Marsha and to celebrate the holiday. My aunts own a big house right on the golf course in Pocatello, ID, so theres plenty of room for the whole family to stay. Not only did we come up for a visit, but so did my sister, Lisa, and her husband, Scott, and their kids, Kade and Stella. Plus, everyone brought their dogs so we had five pups running around!
Before we moved to Colorado we lived in my parents guest house and Porter would get to play with my dad's dog, Rowdy, all day long. So this was the first time they were going to see each other since we moved to Colorado! They were so excited to finally be reunited and picked up right where they left off. And as you can see, Porter could not leave Rowdy alone. They were nonstop playing (and humping) the entire time we were there.
Barley has always been an independent player, until he laid his eyes on Casey Jones and Amber, my Aunt's and sister's dogs. They got along so well and would run around chasing each other. It was so cute! All the dogs were having so much fun together. They were fetching balls, chasing each other, and running in and out of the doggy pools we had set up for them. For some reason, Barley did seem to have a problem with the neighbor's dog though, who he couldn't stop barking at. We couldn't tell if he was flirting with her or genuinely did not like her. Either way, it was pretty fun to see Barley's reaction to her because we had never seen him act like that towards another dog before!
Stella was so helpful with all of the dogs the whole time we were in Idaho! She is a natural-born dog trainer and caregiver. There were times when things seemed tense between some of the dogs, so we were really lucky to have Stella there to supervise and make sure everyone was getting along and was taken care of.
Before heading up to Idaho, we stocked up on some beers to enjoy while we were there and to share with family. My brother-in-law, Scott, lives in San Diego and is also a craft beer enthusiast. We brought beers from Colorado to bring up so our family could try what we've been drinking. We made a pit stop at Cerebral Brewing, Weldwerks Brewing and brought some other treats from recent trades.
It was so nice to have time with family! We spent a lot of time outside, hanging out in the blow up pool, jumping on the neighbor's trampoline, barbecuing, drinking beer and playing fetch with the dogs. We celebrated 4th of July while we were there. We attended the Pocatello 4th of July Parade at the university and then came back to the house for Aunt Nancy's annual party. Once it got dark, we watched fireworks from the front yard and then went out back to light our own fireworks! While we were out front enjoying the show, my mom fell on Aunt Nancy's front steps and broke her wrist, banged up her knee, and broke one of her toes. She ended up going to the hospital late that night with my dad and got a temporary cast until she went back to California to see an orthopedic doctor. We were all so worried about her, but she's already healed now!
Our little family of four had so much fun in Idaho with our Graziano family! We are so thankful to Aunt Nancy and Aunt Marsha for opening up their home to us and all of the crazy dogs! We plan on continuing this tradition and spending every 4th of July in Pocatello, ID.
While researching our move to Denver, one of the most highly rated places we saw was the Denver Botanic Gardens. After moving here, we kept seeing signs and advertisements for it, and I was really itching to check it out. Then, after a day of barbecuing with our friends Julian and Karen (and their adorable kiddos), they told us they had a fob to the gardens for entering through the next-door park. And offered it to us! Yay for free entrance!
The Botanic Gardens were absolutely beautiful. Hands down, the prettiest garden we've ever been to. They have a rainforest room with a waterfall, a beautiful pond with many different types of lily pads, a cactus and succulent house, a Japanese garden and tea room, koi fish, two cafes, plenty of sitting areas and benches, sculptures and art, and so many beautiful and vibrant plants.
At first, just by looking at the map, it was super overwhelming. But we think that we hit every area and saw everything there was to see! I loved how everything was organized and separated. The grounds are pretty big, but it's not like it was a strenuous hike. We feel like we got our steps in, but weren't exhausted by the end of it. It was a beautiful day!
So after walking around all day, we were definitely craving a beer! We had met Matt from Baere Brewing the day before at Cerebral, and he really got us excited about trying out what Baere has to offer. So we headed there after the gardens and he was working! He was so great, and gave us tons of tasters. They do great sours, saisons and hoppy beers. A very well-rounded brewery that excels at all styles. Thanks Matt for your hospitality!
Denver, CO is a craft beer lovers heaven! Since moving here in March, we have had the honor of trying so many amazing beers from some top notch breweries. Our favorite, of course, is Cerebral Brewing, where we go every Friday. While we were there one night, we noticed that they were selling local brewery coupon books. We bought one, thinking it was the perfect opportunity to get to try to even more Denver breweries, at a discounted rate! Most were 20% off, buy one pint get one free, or free glassware with the purchase of pint.
We decided to dedicate a day to using up a few of our coupons and trying lots of delicious beers! Our first stop was Ratio Beerworks, located in RiNo, Denver's Arts District. I had been to Ratio once before while my best friend, Jasmine, was in town visiting. I not only enjoyed their beer, but really loved their hipster style and the space's vibe. Super colorful with bright patterns and an awesome outside space that has a muraled wall and corn hole. The best beer we tried there was New Wave, a strawberry berliner weisse. (Justin even came back another day to buy a bottle to consume at home!)
While we were there enjoying a couple beers, they had a food truck out front serving buffalo wings and such, Sha-WING Food Truck. We loved their buffalo cauliflower. We've tried quite a few over the years, and these are definitely up there with some of our favorites!
Station 26 Brewing Co. was our next stop! I loved the idea of this place because it was built in an old Denver fire station. The red brick building is super cute, with a food truck parked where I imagine a firetruck would be. Justin had tried one of their beers recently at Hops & Pie, and wanted to try more! We didn't exactly love everything we tried, but we've heard such good things about them and we wanna give them another shot so we'll definitely be back.
As a bookworm, Fiction Beer Co. was one of the breweries here that I had been dying to try. I had purchased a single can of one of their brews at Molly's Spirits, so I knew their beers were pretty good, and literary-inspired! First, I have to say that their taproom is absolutely adorable, with library-like decorations and a bar built out of books. Big, comfy chairs, famous author quotes on their tables, and board games are all apart of the fun. To be honest, their beers were our favorites, but we would definitely give them another try.
One of the best parts of stopping by Fiction that day, was getting to try Brooks Smokehouse BBQ & Cajun Cuisine food truck. Some of the absolute best BBQ food I've had, especially coming from a little cart with a smoker-- emitting the most mouthwatering smells! We shared the Rib Platter, which came with two sides and a cornbread muffin. The ribs were incredible, super juicy and flavorful and topped with a BBQ sauce that was to die for! The potato salad was awesome and the cole slaw had chunks of pineapple and seemed to be marinating in a juice instead of mayo, with raisins. Their staff was super friendly, delivering the food to our table inside the brewery and then coming back after to check that everything was tasting good.
When we first moved to Denver and were making a list of places to see, Tennyson Street was one of the first places recommended to us. Especially because that's where Hops & Pie is located, their neighborhood craft beer and pizza joint. The bartenders at Cerebral Brewing raved about their awesome tap list and super delicious pizza, so we took the first chance we got to check it out!
The first thing that truly impressed us about Hops & Pie was the outstanding beers they offered. Not only did they have a great line-up of beers of draft, but they have an entire binder listing their can and bottle options. Justin and I both ordered beers on draft, Windows up by Alpine Beer Co. and Juicy Banger by Station 26 Brewing Co. (a Denver local). I loved that they had local beers as well as brews from California and the East Coast. Too many good beers to choose from!
Basically their pizza menu consists of a choice of the slice of the day, pizza of the month, or build your own. Plus, appetizers and salads and stuff, of course. I was a little surprised to see they didn't have their own specialty pizza menu with more choices to choose from. They also have awesome daily deals! We decided to do a build-your-own. We chose to go in a "bacon blue" route and got mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon, house made Italian sausage, and basil. The pizza did take a while to get to our table, but luckily we were seated next to a super friendly couple and had tons to chat about while we waited! We definitely had fun (plus, time to enjoy our beers)! When we finally did get our pizza, it was wonderful. Every bite was flavorful and delicious. Even the crust was good!
After our yummy lunch, we walked around Tennyson for a while. It's a super artistic area with lots of street art, small shops and random eye-catching things. We stopped into Bookbar, a "book store for wine lovers," where we found that huge mural of the Cat in the Hat around the bookshelves outside. We'll definitely come back to spend an evening here! We also passed by another Atomic Cowboy location; SecondLove, a secondhand clothing store, and more!
While exploring, we ran right into Small Batch Liquors, another place recommended to us that we had been excited to check out. Their shop is tiny, but adorable and definitely well-stocked in craft beer, wine and spirits. We found a few things we wanted to try, but decided to come back another day!
One of my favorite parts of Tennyson St. was a huge mural of a sunflower field. Sunflowers have been my favorite flower for as long as I can remember, so I was super excited to see this display and had to take a picture in front of it! We had a great day at Tennyson Street and will definitely return soon to check out what else it has to offer.
After unpacking and getting settled into our Denver Airbnb (which was adorable by the way!), of course Justin and I had to try out a couple local breweries. We were most excited about Cerebral Brewing, which we had heard so many great things about. And we were not disappointed! Justin ordered their house IPA, Rare Trait and I ordered a flight of almost everything else on the menu! And loved it all!
We also tried Great Divide Brewing Co., which is one of Denver's big name breweries. We also had to try Epic Brewing Co., after loving their location in Salt Lake City, Utah a couple years ago. Then, we went back to our favorite spot, Cerebral. We not only loved their beer, but loved their staff as well. They were so warm and welcoming to us. After they found out we had just moved to Denver, they gave us a long list of all the great breweries and eateries to try out. Plus, they gave us two of their bottles and a couple beers on the house. It was super sweet.
I had always wanted to go to Voodoo Doughnut, but I had no idea that they had a Denver location until I passed by it on my way down Colfax (the longest street in America). I was immediately excited and made Justin promise me that we could go first thing the next morning. It was exactly like I pictured it, super pink and punk inside with crazy/fun doughnuts!
Meanwhile, between all the beer-drinking and doughnut-eating, I was going on one million apartment tours. We had booked the Airbnb for month, hoping that it wouldn't take longer than that to not only find a place, but that something would be open and available for us. Well, we lucked out! After less than a week, I fell in love with The Huron. I took Justin to tour what I had narrowed down as my favorites, but he felt the same way as I did. The Huron not only had the perfect location and the best interiors, but it was the best price for what it was. We were luckily able to cancel our Airbnb stay early and moved into our first real apartment together about a week later.
Before we left Zion to make our way to Colorado, we had to make one last stop into the park. We drove through again, this time stopping in a couple different spots that we didn't get to the day before. Our favorite spot was next to a bridge over a stream, where we had views of the mountains as well as some eroding rocks.
The dogs did so well on this road trip! We had set them up in the backseat with plenty of room. They had their dog bed and lots of toys to play with, but they spent most of the drive snoozing. Even though Barley was still a puppy, he only had one accident. Driving with them definitely took longer because we made many more stops than we would have, but we were so proud of how well they did!
We left Zion and got back on the road towards our new home. While we were passing through Utah, we kept seeing signs for look out spots, and we finally stopped at one in Ferron, Utah. It had a huge gaping overlook and you could see for miles in every direction.
So exciting! We finally made it to our new home state! Of course we had to stop to take a quick picture at the state line. From here on out there was absolutely beautiful views on our drive. There was lots of snow, rivers, tree-lined mountains. We were already starting to fall in love with Colorado.
Our next overnight stop was in Grand Junction, Colorado. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and got changed before going out to check out their Downtown. It was a cute little outdoor shopping area with lots of restaurants and mom and pop type shops. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs, but we all were exhausted. So we picked up some fast food on the way back to the hotel and stayed in and drank beer and rested.
The next day we only had a couple hours to drive to Boulder, which is only a little less than an hour away from Denver. We could have gone straight there, but our Airbnb wasn't booked until the next day. So we decided to kill some time in Boulder and walk around the Pearl Street Mall with the dogs. And wow, Barley was an absolute celebrity! Everyone stopped us, asking to pet him or take pictures with him. There was one point where I left Justin outside with Porter and Barley while I shopped in Free People, and when I came out he was surrounded with people-- or should I say fans! And of course, the pups loved all the attention and pets.
We loved Boulder and there was still so much more to see and do, but it was hard with the dogs. So we'll have to make another trip soon, especially because it's so close. Our last stop that day was Avery Brewing Co. to pick up some beer and barbecue food! The next morning Justin ran out to grab us some breakfast from Snooze AM Eatery (our favorite San Diego breakfast spot that originated in Colorado!) and then we hit the road! We got to our Airbnb less than an hour later and we were finally home.
Before Skylar and I got married we had one goal, which was to travel and to find a nice place to settle down. So we set our sights on Denver, Colorado first. We were waiting for our marriage license to come in the mail to set a date to move, but it was taking too long so one day we decided we would just start planning our trip and leave in a month. That exact day we got our marriage license in the mail. It was a sign that we were finally ready to make our move to Denver. So we held a garage sale, sold or gave away all of our furniture, sold our cars and bought a joint car, and then on March 17th we packed up and headed out towards Colorado with a few stops along the way. Our first being Zion National Park.
One of our early pit stops was in Baker, CA where we went to one of my favorite places, Alien Fresh Jerky. While I went inside to get some spicy jerky, Skylar let the dogs out to stretch and go potty. Once we were all done we hit the road again and headed towards Vegas. There we stopped at a Sonic (one of our road trip traditions) to get a bite to eat and stretch our legs. We still had a long drive a head of us!
After almost 10 hours of driving we finally made it to Springdale, UT, which is called the Gateway to Zion, where our first hotel was. We stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, which was located just a few minutes outside of Zion. Not only was the hotel super nice and dog friendly, but the view was amazing!
Since we planned on leaving pretty early the next morning, we unloaded the car and then headed out again with the pups to explore Zion National Park. The park was just a couple minutes away. Once we got inside (and bought a National Park Pass), we drove up through Zion's winding roads and stopped the car many times to take pictures of our beautiful surroundings. The views were breathtaking. Unfortunately, because we had the dogs, we were unable to do the tour, which gives the "best" views, but we definitely were still able to see some incredible things. We will definitely be back to explore more someday, we still want to do The Narrows.
Before heading back to our hotel, we stopped by a liquor store to grab some beer-- of course-- and then ordered a pizza and salad from Zion Pizza & Noodle Co. to take back to the room to relax with.
Let us start by saying that we were not planning on getting another frenchie -- at least not this soon. We had been talking about it a little bit and keeping our eye out, but nothing serious. On Superbowl Sunday I woke up to a text that my mom had sent me of a screenshotted Facebook post. A breeder in Santa Clarita was selling French bulldog puppies! I had seen this same breeder's post before and we had noticed that out of all the puppies he had posted, our soon-to-be Barley was by far the cutest. Now this new post was focused specifically on Barley, with lots of pictures and info -- AKC, UTD shots, etc.
I woke up Justin and asked him if we should inquire more, or if we were even ready to get another puppy. Puppies are a lot of work, we know that from raising Porter. Plus, we are planning on traveling very soon and weren't sure how it would work out traveling with two dogs, let alone one. But we decided to take a chance and I had my mom message the breeder for more information.
He was very friendly and told us that he had someone coming over to see Barley at noon, but we could stop by at 11 am. He had ten other puppies that were also available. We thought it couldn't hurt to at least check out the frenchies, we could always say no.
We instantly fell in love with Barley, watching him run around and play with his brothers and sisters (and cousins). We were prepared to adopt a puppy, but weren't completely sure until we met him. There was no way that we could have walked away from him. The other puppies there were adorable, of course, but Barley really stood out to us. Plus, the breeder and his family told us that he was their favorite. He was a lover, super playful, and the best looking.
We made the decision right then and there to adopt him. He even had to call the person planning on coming after us to let them know that he was no longer available. We signed our puppy agreement, got the AKC paperwork, learned about his food and eating schedule, and took him home with us!
We were so apprehensive about taking a new Frenchie home to meet our first baby, Porter. Porter is very attached to us and loves having our undivided attention, so we weren't sure if we would be accepting of a new addition to the household.
When we first brought Barley home to meet Porter, Porter rushed up to us and tried to jump up and see what we were carrying. We brought the two dogs inside the house to meet and Porter started sniffing Barley and then barking at him. He showed a little aggression, but we had read that was normal -- trying to show the new pup who's boss. We took them both in the car with us to go to my grandparent's house to watch the Superbowl.
Once we got to my grandparent's house, they quickly became friends! They started chasing each other around the house and playing. Porter continued to sniff Barley and try to get to know him. He always wanted to be next to Barley or at least know where he was. When Barley fell asleep in my lap, Porter kept coming up to him and checking on his new baby brother. It was so sweet.
Since that day, they have become the best of friends. Porter has taken on his role of big brother perfectly. They play together, take naps together (sometimes cuddling, sometimes in their separate beds), explore the house together, and share the same toys.
Barley has quickly become very special to us. He is incredibly sweet-natured and loves to cuddle. He loves to follow us around the house and always wants to be wherever we are, trying to jump up onto the bed or couch. He loves to bite our feet and pants and play tug-of-war with them as we are trying to walk. He has been a pain too, potty training and crate training have been pretty difficult. At night he whines so Justin or I have to sleep next to his crate on the floor to get him to stop crying. But of course, we adore him and Porter adores him. Our family feels complete!
Justin and I were thinking about taking a day to go up to the mountains for a fun little snow day. Luckily we live in an area that is only about an hour away from the snow so we could easily make a day trip out of it. Originally we were planning on going to Frazier Park because it's a bit closer, but the more we looked into it, Mountain High seemed to be the best option because there was more snow and more things to do in the area!
As we got closer to the resort, we saw tons of cars parked along the side of the road. We decided to stop and check out what was going on. There were people sledding, building snowmen, and taking pictures. We went ahead and joined in on the fun! It was a small area, but there were a bunch of hills where kids (and some crazy adults) could sled. Next time we will definitely bring our own. There were even people who planned to camp out in the area all day, bringing coolers and food. Great idea!
We walked around the little area and took plenty of photos. I had some trouble staying upright in the snow. We didn't have on the right shoes and the ice was super slippery. Justin kept making fun of me every time I fell down. But we definitely got some good pictures and had a ton of fun.
Next, we were planning on going into the resort to go tubing, but we both were getting pretty hungry so we decided to head into the town to get some lunch. The town of Wrightwood was adorable. They had a few diners and eateries, plus a couple bars, even a brewery and a "winery." They also had a lot of shopping and sightseeing.
We ended up choosing The Yodeler to have lunch at. Surprisingly, they had a great selection of craft beers, so we wanted to order a flight. We ordered Green Flash's Comet Hopper, Bell's Cherry Stout, Epic's Tart and Juicy, and a special release from Alpine (which was by far our favorite). We sat outside in the sun, with a good view of their quaint little town. It was so pretty and such a change to see the snow and icicles on all the buildings.
The food was bomb. We shared fried pickles for our appetizer; they were one of the best I've ever had. So crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. We stepped out of our comfort zone a little bit when ordering our pizza. We almost decided to do a build your own with our typical pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeno, but instead we wanted to try one of their speciality pizzas. The Works was awesome. It came packed with so many toppings, every bite was full of flavor.
After lunch, we explored town for a bit. We came across their little "winery," called The Village Grind. It was actually an espresso and wine bar. We walked by and were originally a little disappointed -- until I spotted Pliny the Elder through the window! We hadn't tasted Pliny in a while so we went inside and sat down with our bottle to share.
Of course we had to try their local brewery, Wrightwood Brewing Company. It was a cute little place with small board games on all of their tables, but we were pretty disappointed with their beers. We shared a flight of four and didn't like a single one of them.
We kept walking through the town, stopping in a couple gift shops and boutiques and then a used book store, Beverly's Books. The place was massive and stuffed with all genres of books -- I was in heaven.
Originally we had planned on going into the resort and tubing on their track, but we decided that we had already had a long day (and tons of fun) that we didn't need to spend the money on that. Instead, we just wanted to come home to Porter. As we left Mountain High, we pulled over a couple times at their lookout spots to take in the view -- and take some more photos.
Our final stop on the way home was one that we had already planned from on the way down, Charlie Brown Farms. This has been one of my favorite places and is always a must when we take the Pear Blossom Highway. I love walking through the aisles and looking at all their odds and ends, plus their amazing homemade candy selection. This time we decided to try something different and ordered a deep-fried twinkie and a chocolate-marshmallow malt. After waiting almost 30 minutes, we finally got our dessert and devoured it in the car on the way home to Porter Bear.
Today Skylar and I woke up and had plans to spend the day in Anaheim to get out of town and have a date day. All morning I was sitting around in anticipation of Monkish possibly releasing a new canned beer. As we were getting ready, we saw the anouncement post and started heading down in that direction.
Once we got there, the line was already over 200 people deep. Skylar dropped me off to get in line while she ran to 7/11 for some water, a car wash, and then to park the car. When she got to back to Monkish, she got in line for the tasting room to grab us beers while I waited for the cans. We got cans of their Smarter Than Spock and tried it on tap, as well as their Lessons is Learned IPA. After we finished our beers we headed straight to the Anaheim Packing District.
Before we got there we told ourselves we would branch out from what we normally do at the packing house, so the first place we decided to try was Urbana, which is a Mexican Gastronomy & Bar. Skylar had their Paloma and I tried their Spicy Margarita, trying to branch out a little and have something other than beer. We also ended up ordering something small to eat, their Queso Fundido a melted queso oaxaca with chorizo and served with small handmade tortillas. It was so good! We love chorizo! After that we headed to Hammer just upstairs.
Skylar was craving another cocktail and it looked like this was the place to go for one so we checked out the menu. She ordered the From Russia With Love, which she loved. I tried a few sips and it wasn't too bad.
From there we ended up at our usual spot, Iron Press. They have a menu focused on savory waffle sandwiches, plus always a great selection of beers. We ordered a small flight to split of Bottle Logic's German Chocolate Cake Stout, Bottle Logic's Boysenberry Berliner, Unsung Brewing's Simcoe Pale, and Noble Ale Works' Tongue Tickles. We've had some of these before and knew we liked them already. Overall they were pretty good, but our favorite was definitely the Boysenberry Berliner. And we had to order something off the menu so we tried their Fried Pickles that were made with sweet pickles. I loved them, but Skylar wasn't a huge fan.
Pretty much after we finished up snacking, we met our friends Jasmine and Donny here. While Skylar and Jasmine were in the bathroom, they over heard from a former employee that the hidden speakeasy was open to the public in the afternoons and gave them a hint on how to get in. After a little research, Skylar figured it out where the hidden "door knob" was and we were able to get in.
The Blind Rabbit was something completely unreal for all of us! Walking through a hidden door in a wall display that lead to a bar! It was so dark in there that we could barely take a picture. We all ordered craft cocktails (except for me, I stuck with beer). Their creativity didn't stop with just the entrance to the speakeasy, their check book was made of an old library book. It was awesome and super creative. After we paid and headed out, they make you leave through another book shelf, which is pretty awesome. As we walked back into the Packing House everyone stared at us, wondering where we had come from.
We didn't really know where to go from there so we just kind of wandered. I heard about a new brewery that had opened up just across the street called Unsung Brewing. So we decided to take a stop and check out what it was like.
It had an awesome comic book vibe to the entire tasting room. Their beers weren't too bad either. We even ended up taking home a small souvenir, a wooden coaster with a bottle opener on the bottom. From there Donny and Jasmine headed home, but we wanted to stay and explore the brewery more. It had a really awesome vibe to it. Outside they had seating made from wheelbarrows around fire pits, an old-fashioned car, and walls made of glass bottles. We played around on their cork wall before heading back to the Packing District.
Since this was the trip that we had decided to branch out, we had to make one last stop before leaving. We had been dying to try Popbar, which is like a build-your-own popsicle. We got a green tea bar, drizzled with white chocolate and then sprinkled with pistachios. It was one of the best things we've ever had.
After that it was just about time for dinner and we were so excited to go to the new Beer Belly location in Long Beach, which happened to be on the way home. As we arrived to the building we noticed that there was another familiar looking place next door. It was Beachwood Blendery, which we have both been dying to visit. We couldn't not stop and try something. So we shared a quick flight while enjoying the ambiance of the tasting room before heading to dinner.
The new Beer Belly location probably couldn't have been any better. The entire place looked amazing, down to every detail. It reminded you of the K-Town location, but it also had a new look to itself. The food menu was pretty much the same, but now with the introduction to cocktails. Skylar ordered a shandy and I ordered Noble's Codependent, which is one of their juicy IPAs. Our food finally came and it was amazing as usually. I got my normal, which was their Buffalo Blue Cheese Buffalo Wings and Skylar ordered their burger with a side of duck fat fries. We could barely finish half of our food from snacking all day, but left room for some dessert. On the way home we stopped by Cold Stone, just before we finally got to see our frenchie, Porter!
We finally received our wedding photos! Thank you so much to Chris Vicari for all your hard work and for documenting our special day. We are especially thankful to our friends and family, who made us feel so loved and supported. We couldn't have done it without our parents, grandparents, best man and maid of honor! We hope you enjoy going through these photos and re-living the night. To see the whole collection click here.
Our final day of our honeymoon! Our flight was scheduled for almost 9:00 pm, so we had plenty of time during the day to explore. There were so many more things to do on our list, we hoped we had time to finish it all!
Our first stop of the morning was at the Boudin Bakery & Restaurant. This Fisherman's Wharf location was one of many in SF and it happened to be just down the street from our hotel. We had passed by this place many times and I had been wanting to try their famous sourdough bread.
Justin ordered the Crab Benedict, which was an eggs benedict that came on (of course) a sourdough English muffin with a dungeness crab cake. I ordered the sourdough french toast with lots of syrup. We also made sure to stop by the bakery on our way out to grab some snacks for later-- a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate croissant.
Another one of the attractions offered by our CityPass was the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, which tours the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge. We were so happy that we had time to do this cruise because we almost thought that we weren't going to be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge OR Alcatraz on our SF trip, even though their the most popular tourist spots.
As we pulled away from the pier, we got to see a stunning view of San Francisco from the water. This city is truly one of a kind with it's hills and high rises.
It was absolutely breathtaking to be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge this close. Our boat even took us underneath it so we had a totally different view. With, of course, tons of photo-ops!
Seeing this beautiful bridge was by far the highlight of our boat trip. After we passed by and started to head to our next view point, we decided to head down to the boat's bar to get Bloody Marys.
Next we got to see both Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. On this trip we didn't have time to do the tour through the prison, but we were happy that we got to see it's island from the outside. Next time we get to visit SF, we will definitely make time to see the full tour of Alcatraz and learn it's history.
Another perk of our CityPass was getting see the Exploratorium, the museum of science, art, and human perception. My parents highly recommended this place, saying it was the best part of their own SF trip.
Walking into the Exploratorium was overwhelming. There was so much to see and so much to do that we didn't know where to start. We walked through countless interactive stations where we got to experiment with our own perception.
One of the craziest parts of the museum was getting to see Scott Weaver's Toothpick Sculpture, made from 100,000 tooth picks and glue that he's been working on for 30 years. It's a homage to San Francisco and it's incredible architecture, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, and more. It's honestly awe-inspiring.
We had so much fun with their light and shadow exhibits, which includes a shadow box room. There was also a giant bubble maker, a long exposure camera, and a kaleidoscope room.
There is an endless amount of things to do at this museum, we could have spent a couple days here instead of a couple hours.
On our way over to the Ferry Building, we found a cute lamp-lit pier that we stopped to take a couple pictures on. There is literally beauty everywhere in SF.
The Ferry Building is a super trendy little landmark. It is known for it's gorgeous clock tower, an SF icon, and it's marketplace that showcases their food community. We stopped to see Beekind, a honey and beekeeping booth; Cowgirl Creamery's artisan cheese shop; Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, a bottle shop with wine tasting; Stonehouse Olive Oil for more olive oil and vinegar pairings; and so much more.
We then took the Muni back to the hotel to grab our bags, get one last beer at a local bar, and get a couple souvenirs to take home.
One of the most disappointing spots on our SF honeymoon was Jack's Cannery Bar. Justin ordered Anchor's Christmas Ale, which he had on our first day of the trip, and it tasted completely different. My beer was from Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, and though I hadn't tried it before, I knew this wasn't what it was supposed to taste like. What a dud.
We hadn't really gotten anything to take home with us (other than lots of beer and wine), so we hit up the souvenir shop across from our hotel where we got a hat, magnet, shot glass for his brother, and a Christmas ornament. We picked up our bags from the hotel because they were storing them while we spent our last day exploring, and called an Uber to visit one last brewery.
Long story short, we had really been looking forward to visiting Almanac Beer Co. because we have had their sours many times and love their Farm to Barrel series. We knew they were located in SF and on our way to the airport. We Ubered a little out of our way to get there and then realized that it was the actual place where they brewed their beer, but not a tasting room. After walking over to the Dogpatch Saloon and doing a little more research, we figured out that their tasting room is in the works, but has not opened yet. We were disappointed, but we just decided to head straight to the airport and have dinner there. We were anxious to get home to see Porter!
Justin ended up having yet another one of San Francisco's famous bread bowls at SFO, where they had a Boulin Bakery inside. I got a pizza and we pigged out before settling in to wait for our flight. Once again, our flight back home was super short and easy. We were sad to say goodbye to San Francisco, but we know we'll be back someday soon!
When Skylar and I started planning our trip to San Francisco one the spots she was so keen on visiting was Union Square so she could go shopping. So we decided to take the cable car to Union Square since we already had our CityPass and that was part of it. We were the first ones on the cable cars and got the best view spot. We had the opportunity to see a lot of the city on the cable cars and even saw the top of Lombard Street. It doesn't look as good from the top, but was stil awesome to see passing by.
We got to Union Square before some of the shops were even open, so we decided to take a walk down the street for breakfast and ended up running into a spot called Brewroom. We weren't just ready for beer yet, but they had a breakfast menu. I ordered their breakfast wrap, which was scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese wrapped inside a tortilla. Skylar had their avocado toast that was topped with arugula, olive oil, and pepper.
After breakfast we walked around Macy's where Skylar found a Free People jacket she just had to have, so we got that for her and headed out towards the rest of Union Square. We ended up running into a shop called Minted Local, which is where we ordered our wedding invitations from. It was their first store ever and was pretty cool to see everything in person. They even had a free photo booth. We took a few photos, bought some post cards to send back home to our families, and bought a journal to write in about our whole San Francisco trip.
From there we just kept on walking straight and ended up walking right into China Town, which was one of our key destinations of this trip. We didn't know much about the area so we just strolled around looking at all the cool architecture, paintings, and culture.
Not knowing where to go in China Town, we only had one place in mind which was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. It was basically just a hole in the wall place, not very big, but they were making fresh fortune cookies when we walked in. I also happened to notice they were selling Cow Ears, which is a family tradition of mine that we always get a few bags when we visit China Town. It's basically a very thin, chocolate-swirled cookie, similar to a fortune cookie (not an actual cow ear).
From there we didn't know much else to do so we started walking back to Union Square and thought about making our way towards a spot we wanted to hit for lunch. We stopped at a few shops on the way and of course their Nordstorm Rack, where Skylar found a new Marc Jacobs purse she had been dying for (you gotta spoil the wife on your honeymoon). We finally arrived at Mikkeller Bar, which is where we planned on having lunch and a beer.
Shortly after ordering our beers, our food came. We ordered their Little Smokies and Mac N Cheese. The smokies were not what we were expecting them to be (we're used to the lil smokies from the market), but ended up being so amazing with super crispy bacon wrapped around a chopped sausage. The mac n cheese was also incredible! It came piping hot in a skillet with a crispy bread crumb topping.
We planned on going to Cellarmaker next, but we looked it up and it didn't open for another 2 hours so we had time to kill. We ended up going a little further to visit 21st Amendment Brewery & Cafe. We have had their beers before from bottle shops and other pubs so we were already familiar with their tap list. We ended up having their Watermelon Funk, their soured version of their staple Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale, and their Chill Factor which was their version of a hazy IPA with Belgian yeast.
Once Cellarmaker opened up, we headed over there and it was a nice location. We tried a flight of some of their hoppy beers, but a few that stuck out was their Simcoe Galaxy, Haze Valley, and Mo Citra. All of them were super hoppy and easy drinking. We probably liked the Simcoe Galaxy the most. They also had one called the Blammo! which was a 14% ABV, made with coconut, pecans, treacles, cacao, and cinnamon. It was a heavy beer, but was awesome to try.
After Cellarmaker we headed back towards Union Square to take the cable car back, but it was broken down so we ended up having to Uber back. Then we headed to McCormicks & Kuletos. When we visited the Wattle Creek Winery, they gave us a free appetizer card so we wanted to take advantage of it and have a nice dinner.
We ordered the Fritto Misto which was fried calamari, mussels, and shrimp with a basil aioli and cocktail sauce. It was wonderful. For our entree we ordered Atlantic Stuffed Salmon stuffed with dungeness crab, bay shrimp, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, pan-roasted mushrooms, peppers and brie cheese. This was probably one of the best dishes I've ever had. It melted in your mouth with every bite you took. And since we were feeling fancy, we ordered gnocchi with pesto sauce as our side dish. It was our first time having gnocchi and we very much enjoyed it.
We were exhausted from a very long day of shopping, beer tasting, and eating delicious food, so we headed back to our room pretty early to get a good night's sleep.
We decided that our second day would be spent exploring Fisherman's Wharf! Everything that we wanted to see was within walking distance. Our first stop was for breakfast. We found a cute little place on Yelp called Eight AM that had a creative menu and great reviews.
We both started with a latte, mine was chai and Justin's was matcha green tea. There were so many fun options on the menu that I wanted to try, but I decided to I order the Bagel Two Ways. There was a list of about 6 options for bagel toppings and I decided on one with scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, and mayo and the other with Nutella, bananas, and Rice Crispy cereal. It also came with a bowl of the freshest fruit.
Justin ordered the Spinach, Mushroom, & Swiss Frittata, which came with a side of potatoes and fresh fruit as well. We were both so happy with what we ordered. We had planned on trying to come back another day so that we could try more of their breakfast options, but ended up not having enough time. Next time we go to SF we'll have to make another visit!
Justin and I decided to get an City Pass, because my parents had gone to SF recently and had recommended getting one. Admission includes a 7 day Cable Car and Muni passport, California Academy of the Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, Exploratorium OR de Young Museum, Aquarium of the Bay OR Monterey Bay Aquarium for $94/person. It was definitely worth the money and time! We had so much fun exploring.
Aquarium of the Bay was our first use of the City Pass, and it did not disappoint. It was a small aquarium, but it was packed with so many sea creatures!
Probably our favorite part of the aquarium was the two huge walk-through tunnels that were filled with tons of sharks, rays, sturgeons, and more. There was even a scuba diver in there swimming with the sharks as he cleaned the tank. It was such a fun experience.
After we went to their Touch the Bay exhibit and pet small sharks and sting rays, we got to meet two of their playful otters! The otters were so interactive with us, playing in their habitat and even stopping to take a selfie with me! It was super cute!
Another one of the souvenirs we got to take home was a bottle of Pier 39's bath salts at SF Salt Co. Right on the pier you get to choose from dozens of salts and scents to create your own mixture.
At the very end of the pier was a great view point of the bay and Alcatraz! We stopped to take a few pictures there, hung out with the famous sea lions, then got a drink at Wipeout Bar & Grill.
Justin tried a Corona-Rita for the first time while I ordered their Blueberry Breeze (skinny-style). It had blueberry vodka, lime and club soda. After our drinks we decided to head back to Ghirardelli Square.
As we approached the shopping area, we saw The Pub at Ghirardelli Square, which is a waterfront BBQ joint. I ordered another cocktail while Justin decided on a beer. We also got an order of their Chips & Dip, which is a caramelized onion and roasted garlic dip with house-made potato chips.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was finding Wattle Creek Winery, where I tried some of the best wines I've ever had. Justin and I are just starting to get into wines and are having fun branching out and trying new things. We also had a great time talking with the woman working at the winery, who actually had the same wedding anniversary as Justin and I. We tried a very rare red sparkling wine, which I didn't even know was possible because I'd only seen sparkling whites. We were very lucky to try it, she only brought it out because it was our honeymoon and we were celebrating. I took home a bottle of their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, it was amazing.
Bluxome Street Winery was also located in the Square. Justin and I both did a tasting here, where we got to try some of their reds and whites. Again, the staff was super sweet and even gave me a complimentary glass of wine. I also decided to take home one of their Sauvignon Blancs!
Afterwards, we walked around the shopping area a bit more. We saw an adorable dog clothing shop called Yap, a stationary and greeting card store called Lola of North Beach, and bought a bottle of rosemary olive oil at Vom Fass.
Next, we took an Uber to a cocktail bar called the Comstock Saloon, which was a highly recommended spot in North Beach. I was struggling a little with the menu so I asked the bartender to just make me something yummy with vodka, and he did a great job!
Right around the corner was another cool cocktail bar called The Devil's Acre. Justin had another beer and I had their Call a Treuse, which was super citrusy, sour and delicious.
Needless to say, we did an incredible amount of drinking on this day, so we decided to head back to our hotel room for the rest of the night and order room service in. The Argonaut has a restaurant inside called the Blue Mermaid and their food was delicious. I ended up ordering a very pricey feast because I just wanted to try everything on the menu! A bread bowl of clam chowder, a seafood pasta dish, grilled cheese and fries off the kids menu, caesar salad, and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Don't judge.
Our day started off pretty early. We did not waste any time sleeping in for the first full day as husband and wife. We woke up at The Hyatt around 6:30 am, quickly packed up and got ready, then picked up breakfast at Corner Bakery, and headed home. We couldn't leave for our honeymoon without saying goodbye to our baby, Porter. At home, we cleaned up our room a little bit (it was such a mess from the wedding), finished packing up our bags, and then my parents came to pick us up to take us to Burbank Airport.
The airport in Burbank is way less stressful than going to LAX. It probably took us 15 minutes to check our bags and go through security. So we had plenty of time to grab a drink at the bar! Justin and I both ordered Bloody Marys (with his extra spicy, of course), and they were delicious. We hung out for a while and waited for our plane to board. When it was finally time to get on, we were disappointed to find out that we wouldn't be sitting together. Luckily, it was a very short flight-- around 50 minutes. After we landed, we took a crazy driven cab to our hotel that we would be staying in for the next 3 nights, The Argonaut. When they found out that we were on our honeymoon, the front desk upgraded our room! It was a beautiful too, probably the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. With a red brick wall, octopus wallpaper in the bathroom, and nautical touches all over, it was the perfect experience, especially with us staying in the bay area! We were so excited to see that we would be staying right on Fisherman's Wharf! Everything was within walking distance.
I had their Cucumber-Basil Gimlet, consisting of cucumber vodka, basil, cilantro, and lime. Then I had to try Fog Harbor's award winning clam chowder, in a bread bowl of course. It was absolutely delicious! Super creamy. This would be the first of many bowls of SF's clam chowder-- we ordered it at practically every restaurant we went to!
After we finished lunch, we called an Uber to take us to the BART, which is San Francisco's public transportation system similar to a subway. We decided to try this system out to save some money and not have to pay tolls crossing the bridge to and from our trip to Berkeley. It was pretty simple to figure out, but got a little complicated when our Richmond track was down and we had to take a connector station.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed that our first day in SF would actually be spent in Berkeley, but it was the only day that the breweries Justin wanted to go to would be open Either way, I ended up having a ton of fun! Our first stop, Fieldwork Brewing blew us both away. We shared a flight of 6 and not one of them was disappointing! Their line-up was amazing, but our favorites were definitely Fog Ripper (a sour fermented with passionfruit, cherries, oranges and limes) and Gosaic (a gose with mosaic hops). And-- surprise, surprise-- Justin took home a few crowlers.
Next we took an Uber over to The Rare Barrel, which is an all-sour beer company and was the main reason for our trip to Berkeley.
We shared another flight so that we both got to try as many of their sours as possible. Again, we were so blown away by the quality of these beers and loved everything that we tried. There Are Rules was my favorite by far, a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with raspberries, apricots, and peaches. Yum! Justin took home a bottle of their Arrows of Neon, a citrus-packed sour, as well.
When trying to plan our Berkeley day, a few weeks before we left for the honeymoon, we were struggling to find somewhere to have dinner that night. Then we stumbled upon Jupiter!
Jupiter is a little hipster pizza joint, that pours some awesome beers as well as brews their own! It has a beautiful outdoor patio with strung lights, live acoustic music, and a bonfire. Neither of us were very hungry, but we ordered their fondue because we knew we needed food in our stomachs. I tried their house Session IPA, and Justin was stoked that they had de Garde's Bu Weisse.
That was the end of our trip to Berkeley! Amazingly, the BART station was literally right outside of Jupiter's front door so we took it back to SF. From there, we Ubered to none other than Ghirardelli Square for some ice cream!
Justin ordered mint and chip ice cream and I got the classic chocolate ice cream, both in a cone. So good! We took home some chocolate to bring back to our families as souvenirs. We tried to walk around the rest of the square, but it was late (and cold) and most of the shops were closed for the night.
We walked back to our hotel and called it a night! Our first day as husband and wife was an incredible one.
Justin: The day that we've both been waiting for is finally here! The day I get to officially make Skylar mine forever. This day started off very busy right off the bat. Skylar and I decided we would stick to tradition and sleep separately the night before. So I slept on my parent's couch and woke up early the next day with errands already stacking up.
Justin: The first thing I did when I woke up was get in my car and went down the street to pick up flowers for Skylar which I arranged in the trunk of my car. I was planning on leaving them on her car seat, so she would find them when she left to go get ready. As I came home I spotted Jasmine's car waiting to pick her up. I quickly gave Jasmine the flowers to give to Skylar and hid in my car until I could go inside without seeing her. Shortly after Donny showed up to help me pick up the kegs for the wedding and to help with any other setup we needed.
Skylar: Justin and I haven't spent a night apart in a very long time, so the night before our wedding I slept absolutely horrible. I don't think I was asleep for more than an hour or two because I was tossing and turning. I pulled myself out of bed a little before 7 and showered real quick, then Jasmine came to pick me up. It was really tricky trying to not see Justin while we both were at the house, so as I was about to walk out to her car, Jasmine had me wait inside for a few more minutes while Justin was giving her the flowers. When I got in the car and they were there waiting for me, I almost immediately broke down. They were white roses and absolutely beautiful, the best bouquet I've ever received. Everything was starting to feel so real!
Skylar: Jasmine took me to her house for a little bit while she got her things together. She fed me cereal for breakfast and I watched TV while she was getting ready upstairs. Then we went to my mom's house to get our hair and make up done. We met up with Randi, who was doing Jasmine's make up, then Georgia and Dana, who were doing my make up and hair. We opened up a bottle of champagne for mimosas and got right to work! Both Dana and Georgia did an amazing job on me, I was so happy with how everything turned out and they truly made me feel more beautiful than I'd ever felt in my life. After they finished with me, I did my little sister Tyler's hair, curly and half up/half down with a little baby's breath to match mine.
Justin: Once it got closer to noon my family told me to stop whatever I was doing and that they would finish up. I just needed to relax and get ready for the wedding. So I did as they said and went in my room and hung out in there and waited for a few of my friends to come over. We hung out for a while and then we all realized that it was starting to drizzle. So they all helped us move the chairs into the tent and rearrange the tables, so we could have the ceremony inside.
Skylar: Around 1:30 everyone was ready to go. It had started to rain pretty hard, but we only had one umbrella so my dad had to walk everyone under it to the car back and forth until everyone was loaded in haha. My mom texted Justin on the way there to let him know that we would be arriving soon and we were going to our bedroom so he needed to move inside the big house.
Skylar: It was so nerve-racking having to wait inside Justin and I's little house while everyone was outside getting things ready. I wanted to see the final set up and do any last minute touches, but no one was supposed to see me before the ceremony. Originally, Justin and I had planned on doing a first look outside between the big house and our little house before the wedding, but now it was raining so we couldn't be outside. We even talked about just going back to back so that the first time we truly saw each other was when I was walking down the aisle. But when my mom went inside to talk to Justin, he was so nervous that he wanted to do a face-to-face first look, thinking that seeing me would calm his nerves.
Justin: Luckily we got everything setup before it started to rain too hard. I let everyone finish up what they were doing and then had to go hide out inside the house because Skylar was about to show up and I couldn't see her. I was so nervous that entire morning with anticipation of seeing Skylar. We decided to do a first look and ended up doing it in the hallway. Skylar entered in and I was waiting for her around the corner. She came in and tapped my shoulder to turn around. It was the most amazing feeling turning around and staring into her eyes after not seeing her all night and morning.
Skylar: Justin looked so handsome! He turned around to look at me and his eyes were already filled with tears. I had never seen so much emotion from him and it was such a beautiful moment. He was nervous that I wouldn't like his tux or that he shouldn't be wearing the jacket because we had talked about him just doing the vest and bowtie, but he looked amazing. Absolutely perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.
Justin: Skylar was so incredibly beautiful and she looked amazing in her dress. I couldn't stop looking at her. I had so much happiness coursing through me it was hard for me to hold it together. But getting to see her before the ceremony made me feel so much more confident and a little less nervous.
Justin: It finally came time to walk down the aisle in front of all our family and friends, and finally get to say "I do". Even though I had already got to see Skylar before the ceremony, seeing her walk down the aisle was even more of a rush of emotion. It was the greatest feeling. Once we said our "I do's" and kissed for the first time as husband and wife, we walked down the aisle together and with Porter. We took endless amounts of photos after that.
Skylar: A wedding is a crazy day for the bride and groom. There's so many pictures with the photographer, then you have to wait in private until your MC announces you to your guests. Then you have to have a first dance, and father daughter dance, and mother son dance. Then MORE pictures because the photographer is chasing the light. Then you have to eat (Justin's first time all day), listen to toasts (and cry), make your "rounds" to visit all your guests and thank them for coming, toss the bouquet and garter. It's nonstop! But it's an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.
Justin: The entire morning felt like it was going by so slow and once night hit when we started to celebrate it went by in a blur. We had so much fun with all our friends and family whether it was talking or hitting the dance floor. Everyone who gave speeches made our day even more special. The words that people convey can be super touching and make you feel so great. The entire night was the greatest we've ever had.
Skylar: After the ceremony, everything was such a blur. But a fun and happy blur! Everything went so smooth, even the rain couldn't have ruined our special day. You go through months and months of planning and then when the day finally arrives it just feels so surreal. Having all of our friends and family there to support us felt amazing. We were so touched by what everyone had to say to us during our speeches and as they spoke with us throughout the night. We truly felt so loved.
Justin: Once the reception was over we headed to our hotel room at The Hyatt, where we got complementary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries sent up by the front desk. We even decided to order room service. Skylar got a juicy burger and I had a "pound of wings."
Skylar: Our wedding day was hands down the best day of our lives so far. It was long and exhausting and sometimes stressful, but it was pure joy. Best of all, now I get to spend the rest of my life as this man's wife. Nothing makes me happier.
Skylar and I decided to do a joint bachelor/bachelorette party and all we wanted to do was hang out with some friends and visit a couple of L.A. breweries. Joe and Jasmine put together a day for us to go out and have a few beers. The first spot they picked was Golden Road Brewing.
Our next stop was Mumford Brewing which is one of my favorite spots located in the L.A. arts district. They make great IPAs and have recently started brewing some North Eastern style IPAs. We all enjoyed our beers very much, trying all the different styles they offered.
This place is always a fun spot to go to they have a ton of games to play while you hang out and have a beer. We hopped onto the corn hole and skee ball right away.
Once we got tired of playing the games we took a walk down to Angel City Brewing, which has always been one of Skylar and I's favorite places to go because of how great the aesthetics are. We had our few last beers here before calling it a night.