London: Sunday Roast with Aunt Kim + Jules

We purposely left Sunday morning free to meet up with Kim and Jules, who proposed lunch at a pub on the Thames. To get out there we took the Tube to the Kew Garden station and met up at Tap on the Line pub for a quick drink, then took an Uber to The Bell & Crown for Sunday roast.

The Bell & Crown in Chiswick  The Bell & Crown in Chiswick

We arrived promptly at noon and discovered Kim had booked us a lovely Thames River view table. Our waiter was charming and I was pleased to see the menu was a la carte. I went for the traditional beef roast while Eric chose the butternut squash soup and helped me out with my Yorkshire pudding. :)  We each enjoyed a (large) glass of wine and the relaxed company.

They needed the table back by 3pm, so we snapped a quick photo along the chilly Thames and then it was time to part ways. Until next time!

lunch date w/ Kim + Jules


2017 Travel Overview

Previous years-in-review – 2016, 201520142013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Some of our travel stats for the year:

  • 122k+ total air miles on 6 airlines: American Airlines, Southwest, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, WestJet, and Malaysian Airlines
  • 8 countries visited: we returned to the UK, Italy, Canada, France, Hong Kong, and China, plus we added first time visits to Malaysia and Vatican City.
  • Domestically, we made return trips to Chicago, New York, Portland, Seattle, and Florida, whilst (finally) visiting Minnesota.

2017 was a year of memorable food and art:

  • lime juice, curries and satay plus Georgetown street art in Malaysia
  • multiple pubs plus theater shows in London
  • amazing pasta and paninis plus the Uffizi Gallery and Vatican Museums in Italy
  • Speyside whisky festival in Scotland
  • big Midwestern portions plus the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis
  • beef stew, wine and pastries plus the Fontainebleau Palace, Musée d’Orsay, and the Louvre in Paris
  • wine tasting in Oregon and Washington
  • xiao long bao and the circus in Shanghai

And as always, our annual end of year video, featuring “One Foot” by Walk the Moon. Enjoy!

2014 Travel Overview

Videos from previous years – 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 (recap post)

Some of our travel stats for the year:

    • 109,409 total air miles on 16 airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, US Airways, Garuda Indonesia,Wings Air, Southwest Airlines, AirTran, Air Canada, SAS, United Airlines, Austrian Air, Brussels Airlines, Thai Airways, EVA Air, Lufthansa.
    • 11 countries visited: UK (multiple), France (multiple), Germany, Belgium, Spain, Austria, plus several new-to-us: Italy, Indonesia, Denmark, Sweden, Taiwan
    • Domestically, we visited Sonoma, New York, Los Angeles (2x), New Mexico (first time!).

And as has become our custom, our 2014 video of our year in photos-

Asia/Australia 2013: the tennis

The Australian Open, known locally as ‘the tennis,’ was a motivating factor for our trip. However, tickets didn’t go on sale until October, so we had to wait 7 months after reserving our flights before we would know if we’d have seats in the main stadium. We jumped online the moment tickets went on sale (at our friend Andrew’s house!) and were lucky to get the times we wanted, namely the second Monday night session and the day session on Tuesday.

Our apartment was very close to the stadium so we simply walked (up Batman Drive) to the stadium. Security was light, mostly interested in glass and cameras with lenses larger than 200mm. Rod Laver arena looked nice in the late afternoon sun.

Rod Laver Arena

The outside air was pleasantly cool and dry but inside the stadium the humidity was definitively higher, and that was with an open roof.

getting ready for tennis!
the famous blue court!

Serena Williams vs. Maria Kirilenko were first up in a 4th round match.

Maria Kirilenko Serena Williams

The second night match featured Roger Federer vs. Milos Raonic.

Roger Federer Milos Raonic

Our first impressions of the Australia Open – decent energy at night, and we found most people to be very snacky – nearly everyone had brought food and people were constantly going to the concession stands for more.

The next day we were back at the stadium for the 11a start. When Leandra was purchasing the tickets they offered shaded seating for a slightly higher price and it turned out to be a wise decision with a bright sunny day ahead of us.

The first match of the day featured a quarterfinal between Li Na vs. Agnieszka Radwanska.

Li Na Agnieszka Radwanska

The sun burned through the morning clouds by the end of the match that Li Na won. Nicolás Almagro vs. David Ferrer was the second match of the day and probably the best we saw at the Open. As you can see, the court was quite bright in the early afternoon.

Nicolás Almagro Nicolás Almagro

Both players battled hard and put on a great show with Ferrer eking out a win in the end.

The third and final match on Rod Laver was a quarterfinal match-up of Maria Sharapova vs Ekaterina Makarova.

Ekaterina Makarova Maria Sharapova

We had a feeling this would be an uneventful match for Sharapova and left after she won the first set easily. It turned out we were right as she won 6-2, 6-2.

We enjoyed walking around the grounds as they are quite busy with sponsor tents, music events, a beer garden and more.

Australian Open grounds  Hisense Arena

2012 retrospective

Leandra recently completed our now annual (2011, 2010, 2009) year-in-photos recap with a 3 minute video overview highlighting our travels (domestic and international) and home renovations (backyard) from the last year.

Eric and Leandra – life and travels 2012 on Vimeo.

As you can tell from the video we travelled quite a bit in 2012, eventually racking up 83,755 total air miles on four airlines (American Airlines, British Airlines, Sky Airlines (Chile), and Southwest).


Our travels took us to several states and 8 countries including Spain, Chile, Israel, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Belgium, and three trips through the UK.

For 2013 we are set to continue our travels with two booked trips to new cities in Europe as well as our upcoming Australia/Asia adventure! Check out the right sidebar to keep up with our future adventures.

Eleven years ago…

Eleven years ago we got all dressed up, said our vows and danced the night away with family and friends.

Then we got on a plane to a beautiful place, drove around the entire island and took several silly photos.


Happy anniversary to my best friend and the best travel partner a girl can ask for…

Ava’s christening

We made a quick trip up to Chicago his weekend for our niece’s christening. I figured it would be good to show up since I am the godmother and all. :)

The day started with a relaxing picnic at a lake by my sister’s house with about 15 of Ava’s cousins running around. Everyone got along well and the weather cooperated nicely. My favorite part was my brother-in-law walking the grill back home while cooking Lauren’s cheeseburger!

my little niece
look at those chubby cheeks!

proud parents
all dressed up for the ceremony

Ava was a sleeping angel until she had warm water poured over her head. No surprise there. Please note the lovely dress that Lynn made for the special occasion. She used my mom’s old wedding dress, preserving much of the original lace design in the new iteration.

the baptism
the baptism with parents and godparents watching

our immediate family
our family – me, Eric, Ava, Lauren (sister), Mike (brother-in-law), Lynn (step-mom) and Manny (dad)

Ava at the end of the evening

It was Saturday and all of Mike’s family is from Michigan, so of course, we ended the day with UM football (what a crazy exciting end to that game)! All the rest of the photos from Saturday are on Flickr.