Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Since Tom & I got our iMac for Christmas I've started a new blog through our dotmac account, it's just easier to use.

So tag the new address:

Our wedding website is also hosted through the account and can be found at:

:) Eventually I'll delete our blogger account all together, once I move all the posts that is which is taking a bit of time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We're getting hitched!!

Incase you haven't heard as of yet... on Saturday Dec 22nd Tom popped the question! He got down on one knee in down town Oak Park as we were on our way out to dinner. It was about 7:30pm and the Christmas lights were all up on the cobblestone street lined with shops. It really was a perfect moment.

Below are some pictures of the gorgeous ring he picked out (completely by himself!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

1 Year Anniversary

Well I can't believe it's come (and gone) but Tom and I have officially been in our condo for 1 year! Things have been kind of busy, otherwise I would have posted this on Nov 3rd (instead of 9 days late!).

It's crazy to think that we've been here, in Oak Park, for a year. As I'm sure all new home owners think, I don't have nearly as much accomplished to the house as I would have hoped at 1 year. But I think that is the beauty (?) of owning a house, the transformations are never complete. We got the kitchen painted the first week we were here (amazing and maybe a little insane), we painted the dining room after 2 months. Since then we haven't picked up a paint brush... but I'm dying to paint the bedroom. Finding time is the hardest part. Before we know it the holidays will have come and gone and 2008 will be here. :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Prague, Czech Republic

So it’s been a while since we were actually in Europe on vacation, so it’s about time we told the world (or the 3 people who read this) how it was…

Friday June 29 -> Day of departure. We didn’t really give ourselves enough time to get from Oak Park to O’Hare via the green/blue line trains. Plus it didn’t help that once we got off the blue line at O’Hare we were sent meandering around the airport as they were doing construction and getting to the International terminal took forever. Checking our luggage didn’t take but a few minutes, but that security line was about 2 miles long (or so, it seemed like there was no end). I, Alichia, almost had a panic attack in line because I was certain we were going to miss our flight. We eventually made it through security, but let me say that there aren’t enough metal detectors/x-ray machines for the international terminal, the whole thing becomes a giant funnel and there really isn’t a single file line that people use… it’s nearly a free for all. With probably about 20 minutes before departure we made it on the plane, but of course it didn’t take off on time anyway so we were good to go.

The flight wasn’t nearly as bad as either of us expected, given we’ve never flown internationally before. We left around 6pm and arrived (local time) at 9:30am in Vienna. They served dinner, and then Tom and I were some of the only people to actually decide sleep was a good idea. While we didn’t sleep super sound, it was enough to feel fairly decent that next day. We unfortunately however woke up later than we anticipated and had missed breakfast. Luckily one of the stewardesses’ was kind enough to get us something to eat before landing.

Saturday June 30 -> After landing in Vienna we had a connecting flight to Prague, this flight also was delayed a little bit, but we weren’t complaining because after 8½ hours on a plane who wants to get on another immediately? The connecting flight though… man it was small! There is a picture of my view from the window… the propeller! Compared to the first flight, the connecting one felt like it was done and over in 10 minutes!

Once in Prague we had to exchange dollars for crowns (Czech isn’t on the Euro), find a taxi and get to the hotel. Taxi drivers abroad are just as crazy drivers as they are here in Chicago. Our initial reaction to the city, especially the area our hotel was in, was that there was a lot of graffiti. Our hotel was really cute, not a very large hotel (number of rooms or room size), but it was definitely new and clean. We did nap for a while once we checked in, I think it was more the fact that we could sleep laying flat as opposed to just slightly leaning back on an airplane.

We did get out that first day to see some of the city. We had to find an ATM and figure out the tram system. I’d say that Prague’s public transportation system is easy to use, once you get the hang of it. We just walked around the Old Town Square and grabbed a bite to eat in an out door cafĂ©. A lesson was learned from our first meal however, the few outdoor cafes right in the center of the Old Town Square are a rip off… we paid nearly $40 for two sandwiches and two cokes! So you can imagine we only ate at that place once.

Sunday July 1 -> Day two in Prague. A lot of our time in Prague was spent in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. In Old Town Square there were tons of small and winding streets just filled with touristy shops, ice cream stores and cafes. Wenceslas Square was a bit more modern in terms of shopping, seemed to be where department stores were located.

This day was also our 5 year anniversary… the whole reason for our trip!

Monday July 2 ->
Day three in Prague was spent exploring more of the city. We started out in search of the National Gallery… but it turned out Tom didn’t exactly read the map correctly so we were WAY on the other side of the city. So instead we just explored what we were near. We started out at Petrin Hill, which one of the cities largest parks. It sits more than 1,000 feet above sea level. There were some really great views from the top, especially from the Observation Tower. Unfortunately the tower only had stairs and therefore only Tom went up (I wouldn’t have been able to walk the rest of the day after doing that many stairs, stupid bad knees).

From there we wandered down the giant hill and over towards the Royal Palace and St. Vitus’s Cathedral. These two items are one of Prague’s must sees for tourists. The great thing about Prague is that there are so many locations in which you get amazing views of the city. We thought Petrin Hill had good views, but the Royal Palace had even better. We did the non-guided tour of the Royal Palace, which included the actual Royal Palace, Golden Lane (a row of old shops), an old torture chamber, and St. George’s Basilica (chapel).

Tuesday July 3 -> As our last full day in Prague we had a few more items on our list we wanted to see. First up was the Charles Bridge. This is one of the major tourist spots, as every travel book pointed out it can get very crowded in the afternoon. What makes this bridge so attractive is that it has 30 statues that line both sides (obviously it is a pedestrian only bridge). The statues are all saints and other religious figures. Here we did pick up a 8x10 watercolor of Prague which we intend to hang, with other pictures from our trip, in our bedroom when we redecorate.

We also tried to go to the National Museum, but it turned out that was closed the first Tuesday of every month. So we then tried to, again, find the National Gallery which we knew was going to be hard given it was on the outskirts of the city. However once in the general area we couldn’t figure out where it was at! We decided being our last day we didn’t want to waste time lost, so we headed back to our favorite part of town… Old Town Square. I did get my art fix in as there was a small gallery in the OTS that has a Salvador Dali exhibit (they also have Mucha, but we weren’t as interested). The Dali exhibit, I thought, was really fantastic. He had a whole series of small paintings about Dante’s Inferno. There were also a couple of larger pieces of his that I’ve never seen and are now my favorites.

Our last day we also ended up doing something that was probably one of favorites, the Old Town Hall viewing gallery. So in the OTS there the Astronomical Clock, which is supposed to, on the hour, be quite the show (dancing statues, bells, etc)… but every time we were around for it nothing would happen. But what was really great, is you can go up in the clock tower to the viewing gallery. This had the ABSOLUTE most AMAZING view of the city. Tickets were cheap and you could spend all day just admiring the city and taking pictures.

And that was Prague... I'm working on remembering what we did each day in Vienna and then I'll post about that. Pictures are linked to the left [on Webshots]!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Passport is confirmed...

When Tom's passport didn't come yesterday or today I was really starting to freak out. I mean we're only 2 days away from when we're supposed to leave for Europe, how could it not have come?

Magically today when Tom called the passport office to try and get an appointment for tomorrow he was able to speak to a real person (normally you just get that awful automated system). This lady confirmed his passport was mailed out today and should arrive tomorrow via FedEx!!

I was SO thrilled to hear this news. I am still very frustrated with the system, in that it takes over 3 months to get a passport and that they keep coming down to the wire with so many (I keep reading stories of them coming the day of trips and then even worse of them not coming at all).

My biggest issue with this whole process is that the Passport agency keeps saying their main goal is to make sure no one misses a trip. YET there are so many ridiculous issues that could be easily fixed to help smooth out the process. Such as:

1) The website & phone # both say you can make an appointment at the passport office as long as you're traveling within 2 weeks... but that is WRONG information. You SHOULD (i don't say can, because it will let you, as it did Tom, but when you get there you'll be sent away) if you're leaving within 48 hours! --> This would be such a simple fix to the website and the phone message.
2) They aren't priortizing passports by travel date. My aunt applied for her passport the week before Tom did his, but her trip isn't until October... of course she got her passport like 2 weeks ago! They should start with all passports for the trips that are soonest (this is information you put on your passport application).
3) Speaking to a live customer service rep shouldn't be that complicated. Most call centers have the option to press 0 for an operator for more assistance... Passport line doesn't have that.
4) When checking on the status of your passport online it just continually says 'processing'. Because that is very descriptive... It gives you no clue as to how far along it is in the process.

Those are my issues with getting a passport... so if you don't have one but are even considering international travel... APPLY NOW!

So as long as the lady from the passport office is correct, we will get his passport tomorrow... just in the nick of time.

This will probably be my last post until we get back from Europe... so until then...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Can't Sleep

It's quarter after 11pm and I can't sleep. I should be tired given it's Monday and I worked a 10 hour day, but for some reason I'm just not. Tom went to bed a while ago so I decided to clean up the house a bit. Now I'm on the computer just browsing.

According to it's going to be quite the gloomy trip in both Prague & Vienna. Figures. Lots of rain in the forcast. But it has rained there all week so I can't see how it will continue to rain through next week too... doesn't that seem like too much? Guess I'm just not familiar with European weather patterns.

Read on one of the gossip blogs that the Brangelina (Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie) are back in Prague today, who knows maybe we'll have a celebrity citing while on vacation. Wouldn't that be something?

But that is IF we get to go on vacation. Tom's passport STILL hasn't come. It has been 3 months now. He tried going to the passport office in Chicago, but they wouldn't let him have a meeting because he wasn't leaving for his trip within 48 hours (this was last Friday). Apparently both the website and 800 # have the wrong information. You can only come in for an appointment withing 48 hours of your departure, not 2 weeks like it says. So he has to try and get an appointment for Thursday morning just incase he doesn't get it Tuesday or Wednesday. From what I hear everyones is coming down to the wire, so I'm not totally freaking out yet (just a little). I'm glad I already have mine, because what a pain this has become.

I really need to start packing and making sure I have everything on my list of things to buy/pack. Traveling is fun, but packing and unpacking is not.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So close yet so far...

So vacation is a week from Friday. Nine days away. I can't believe it is so close, it is finally becoming real. I've been wanting to go on this trip for so long (well any trip of this magnitude). We still have a ton of things to look into, buy and decide but I think we'll be fine. The biggest issue is Tom's pass port. My Aunt applied for hers on 3/15 and got it 3 months to the day later, so if that is the case with Tom's then he should get it on 3/24. Thats cutting it close, but to be on the safe side he is going to call about it tonight (he tried the other day but the automated system takes forever!).

Prague & Vienna... here we come!