We got married!

wedding6wedding3

 

On June 23rd Phong and I got married!

We’d been together for 11 years. 5 years in a long distance relationship, he in Sweden and me in California, and then 6 years together in Sweden.

We met on a writing website and I just adored his work! I was so in love with his writing that I started an msn (that’s how long ago it was) just to talk to him. We talked every day since.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to decide how to go about our wedding since most of his family lives in the south of Sweden and we live in the uber north. And, of course, my family lives in the States.

We didn’t want anyone to have to travel for us so, instead, we decided to do the traveling! We got married in Umeå; a small ceremony with our close family there. Later we went down to Skåne to celebrate with the rest of Phong’s family and in December/January we’re going to California to celeberate with mine!

 

wed1

wedding4

 

The ceremony wasn’t until 4 in the afternoon so Linn and I went out for a morning fika, bought flowers at the market and came home to put my bouquet together.

Linn was amazing! She did my hair, spraying each and every curl so that they were solid and curly for days. She made sure I got there on time and took a million beautiful pictures! Pretty much all of the ones in this blog. Except for that one to the right. That one was mine! Oh, and when we took one of these pictures together, her hair got stuck in my headband.

Phong and I had a civil ceremony at one of the city buildings in the center of Umeå, my very favorite city.

It was beautiful out! It had rained just before, which I was told was good luck, and a pigeon pooped on my father-in-law’s bag, which, turns out, also good luck! I’m starting to suspect that some very clever person just started telling brides and grooms that bad things were good luck to calm them down.

wedding10

wedding9

 

It was perfect. It was small and stress-free and happy and we had a wonderful day.

Phong’s jacket was AMAZING. Let’s all just take a minute to consider his outfit and how fantastic is is. Those shoes!

After the wedding we had dinner at Sagami in Umeå. I’ll do a post about that next followed by the rest of our travels this summer!

And, of course, here’s a cake picture because how often do I post something without a picture of food?

wedding5

 

Continue Reading

A walk through Kensington Palace

ken4

Kensington Palace, open to visitors and allows pictures! We got there just after they opened at 10.

ken1

There was an entry fee but I don’t remember it being very much and we could come and go under the whole day. I think it might also have included other castles.

ken5

Staff was stationed all about to ask questions of but we did pretty well just wandering and reading plaques.

ken9

Ghost shadows! Loved it. The shadows moved on occasion.

ken8

Kensington wasn’t as extravagant as Drottningholm, especially the chandeliers, but it wasn’t completely without chandeliers of its own either.

ken2

Looking out at the garden.

ken18

Shiny! There was a lot of pretty jewelry to see in Kensington but due to lighting, I couldn’t get pictures of all of them.

ken19

One of Queen Victoria’s dresses. There were quite a few on display here.

ken17

Fan details.

This was a really nice visit. Linn and I had great luck on this trip in that most places weren’t too crowded. We made sure to show up at Kensington at opening in hopes of avoiding too many people (because we like to take a million pictures).

ken12

I feel an overwhelming need to own a fan. And perhaps a handkerchief.

ken13

More clothing. We were here for about two hours, until our teatime at The Orangery just on the other side of Kensington Gardens.

ken16

Upcoming posts- A walk through Kensington Gardens and Afternoon Tea at The Orangery!

All pictures of me were taken by the amazing Linn.

Continue Reading

Drottningholm Castle – Stockholm

drott2015_05_23_8286

drottbanner1

Drottningholm castle! I had the pleasure of visiting this summer and it was lovely. Last summer I went to the Royal Castle in Stockholm, where the King works, this time we went to Drottningholm, where the Royal family lives. Of course, they only get to live in a portion of the castle because the rest is an amazing museum (super inexpensive to visit with English and Swedish tours) and they let you take pictures! But no flash. Don’t do it. They’ll get you.

drottbanner6

Grand is not quite a big enough word for the feeling of being inside these places. It’s so beautifully overboard. I always leave Stockholm wanting to paint my apartment gold.

drott2015_05_23_6600

We went on the Swedish tour (because it has less people in it than the English tour) and learned all sorts of interesting things.

drott2015_05_23_8097

Drottningholm is a little outside of Stockholm. We took the subway to a bus. It was about 45 minutes all together but it went really smoothly. In both of my experiences with Stockholm I’ve been crazy impressed with their public transportation. There’s a bus or train just about every five minutes. Subway stations are marked with a T, by the way. Think T for Train. It’s actually T for tunnelbanna (subway) but think T for Train. We bought 24hour cards so we could hop on any train or bus.

Of course it promptly started raining as soon as we got to the castle, so we ducked inside. By the time we could pry ourselves away from it to see the garden and the Chinese Pavilion, it was bright and shiny out again.

drottbanner4

I’m going to post pictures for Drottningholm (this post), the royal gardens and the Chinese Pavilion separately, but they’re all in the same location. There’s also a theater but we didn’t get a chance to see it.

drott2015_05_23_8123

The royal library! This was, hands down, our favorite room. It was built by a very feisty queen and I have to admit, she won a lot of points with me for it. I’d almost be willing to ignore her attempted coup.

drottbanner5

We were told that most of the books are in French. This was one of the few rooms we couldn’t actually walk around inside. There was a glass partition about waist high to keep us out while still allowing us to take pictures and oogle. I think it might have been a spit-guard to keep our drool off the books.

drott2015_05_23_8230

I want my apartment to have these crazy high doors and windows. And painted ceilings…

drottbanner2

And a chandelier. One day that’s going to happen. Just about every room we saw had a chandelier in it and I took pictures of all of them. There will be another post with just those, in case anyone else likes gushing over gaudy lighting as I do.

drottbanner3(Note to self: get a crest and have it sculpted into my ceiling.)

This castle was incredible. I would go again in a heartbeat and would certainly suggest it to anyone in Sweden. I know I’ve put up a number of pictures in this post, but it isn’t even close to as many as I took or how much we actually got to see.

drott2015_05_23_6452

As usual, all pictures of me were taken by Linn. She is an amazing photographer and should not be held accountable for any faces I make in pictures. I can barely be held responsible for those.

Soon to come will be a post about the royal gardens!

-cheryl

Continue Reading

Stockholm

stockholmblog3

My beloved friend, Linn, surprised me with a weekend trip to Stockholm while Phong and I were visiting in Umeå last month! We had an incredibly fun time and didn’t even come close to seeing everything we wanted to.

Many blog posts are to come including: Drottningholm castle, the castle gardens, The Chinese Pavilion (mini castle), a whole post with just chandelier pictures and, of course, a flurry of cafes and a little hotel review too.

stockholmblog2

Above are some pictures of my new favorite street. It’s so little! And below are some snapshots around the city just to get started, mostly from Gamlastan (old town) and the edge of Södermalm.

All pictures of me were taken by Linn.

mini2015_05_23_8461

Gamlastan! The cobblestones were really pretty the first day but a nightmare by the last!

mini2015_05_23_7791

mini2015_05_22_8033

Starbucks is always an exciting and interesting find for me. They aren’t very common in Sweden, at all. I’ve only ever seen 3 and they are all in Stockholm (one here in the city, one in the train station, and another in the airport). There are a lot of cafes I like more, including the Swedish version of Starbucks, Espresso House, but getting a caramel frappuccino always reminds me of home.

mini2015_05_22_8034

Never seen one of these before. I imagine it has a coffee maker inside and some cops taking a break?

mini2015_05_24_7944

Starting to think I might pass for a giant if I ever traveled back in time. Not that I would ever sign up for such a thing. I like my time just fine.

mini2015_05_23_7818

Many more posts with pictures to come! Including fancy Sunday tea in Umeå!

-cheryl

Continue Reading