Dream Location: Lake Como

Lake Como is such a beautiful destination!  Talk about a dream wedding location.  Lake Como is on my list of dream destinations to photograph a wedding, and rightly so.  It's incredibly romantic. 

Some of the mountains made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park, but with an Italian feel and totally free of dinosaur danger.  I went with one of my best friends, Reka, the year before I got married.  Derrik and I had been dating a few months at the time.  I remember the long list of different international calling apps he looked into so we could stay in touch during my trip.  It was so sweet.  

One of the best moments was when the ferry dropped us off in Varenna.  It was dusk, so the glow of the sky mixed with those classic Lake Como views left us giddy.  It was a beautiful introduction.  Then we tried to find our hotel...

In retrospect, we probably should have done more research on how long it would take for our ferry to arrive at Varenna.  The ferry ride was actually one of my favorite things of the trip, but we weren't expecting for it to last three hours.  It ended up taking an hour or two to find our hotel on foot.  Reka wasn't phased one bit, while I was the one who needed some reassurance that our evening wouldn't turn into the plot of the Taken movies.  We did eventually find the hotel, after walking up roads that placed us well above most of the town (right alongside the lake - so picturesque!).  All was right when we woke up to this view...

We stayed at Eremo Gaudio.  Simple rooms, great views!  Make sure to check if there's air conditioning when you book a hotel (we didn't think to ask and ended up being pretty warm during the night even though it cooled down nicely outside).  We were there in August, so it might matter less depending on the time of year.  

Don't you just want to jump into that water and splash around?!

The picture above was our daily breakfast view.  Not bad, right?  It was a peaceful way to start off our adventures.

My biggest regret of my trip to Europe, particularly Italy and France, was not eating enough carbs.  There, I said it.  I was trying my hand at Paleo at the time (bless you Whole 30 people!).  I remember eating boiled eggs, dried out swiss cheese and scraping a tiny Nutella packet clean (not Whole 30 approved) as I took my time savoring that "I'm really here!  This is happening!" feeling while I looked out on Lake Como from my hotel patio.  I think the moment could have been better with a croissant to give that Nutella a proper job. I digress. I could really eat anything with these views in front of me.  My next goal is to go back with Derrik.  It's by far the most romantic place I've ever been (even more so than Paris, at least for me).

There are multiple areas on Lake Como to explore.  I went to Varenna (furthest from where the ferry rides depart near the train station).  By the end, I hope you'll be adding Lake Como to your travel list!

This was the view from one of the hotel patio areas.  The perfect spot to break open a fresh new book and doze off into a effortless nap.  

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

Dear Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches,

I think I like you the most.  I think I might even like you more than my first love, creme brulee (but don't tell).

I tend to walk past you after I've stocked up on spaghetti squash, right after feeling good about making a healthy decision.  But you have carrots, so make that two healthy decisions.

I think it might be a bit odd to write a note to a dessert, but if everyone could experience the mouth watering texture of your whipped cream cheese icing hugged between two soft carrot cake cookies, they might just take to their blog to honor you, too.  

*Inspired by Love Taza's "little letters" series.  This post wasn't sponsored - I just have a quirky yet intense appreciation for carrot cake cookie sandwiches (and Trader Joe's in general, which is where you can go to share in my delight!).


Favorites Vol. 1

For the Foodie

Low Carb Mini Chicken Pot Pies from Zuzka Light (recipe here).  One look at Zuzka and you'll find yourself investing in kettlebell stock (hello, abs).  I've enjoyed using her workouts for a few years when I want to switch things up, but she also has some yummy recipes.  I made her Mini Chicken Pot Pies for Derrik's birthday and they were a hit!  I think they're the best low carb recipe I've tried, which is a high compliment coming from this low carb loving household.  

Your New Reading List

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

I just finished a wonderful book, The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera, and I think your life would be enriched if you read it.  The Huffington Post got it right on the back cover - "An ode to the simple joys of life."  I found myself continually pleased at how easily I related to revelations sprinkled throughout Natalia's writing.  It might leave you longing for a trip to Spain or Italy, but that's just one more point in favor to give it a try.  I'm going to meet with some other women who've read it to discuss the book over tea and cookies.  How refined, right?  The simple things in life, like walking slowly around your neighborhood to enjoy the new spring blossoms because you've nowhere to be, sometimes seem to be the most luxurious.

Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson

I also just finished Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson.  I'm so glad I read it.  I went to a weekly book study with women from my church and found that added accountability was so valuable.  I sometimes find myself wrestling with thoughts like "do my prayers actually make a difference?", "how do my prayers mingle with the mystery of God being sovereign over everything?".  This book helps flesh out those questions in a way that leaves you refreshed and encouraged that your prayers do matter, and we can trust God with the outcome.

The Life Giving Home by Sally & Sarah Clarkson

This book is a joy to read for a homebody like me!  If you enjoy brainstorming ideas to make every day feel cozy and special for your family, this is for you.  Sally and her daughter Sarah do a great job giving ideas for special celebrations and how to make your home an inviting haven for everyone who lives there and any guest who might stop by.  Home is where we spend a majority of our time, so it makes sense to be thoughtful about traditions and ways to serve there.  Have your highlighter ready - there's so much to underline that you'll want to remember!

Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley

"You can't be perfect so just give up."  I feel like that sentiment is floating around out in the social media sphere, but I don't think that's what this book is about.  It's about choosing from a pool of good things and giving your time to the best things, or "what matters most" as Emily phrases it.  Something you'll notice immediately about this book is that it. is. beautiful.  It's like a how-to guide mixed in with magazine spreads and the vulnerable heart to heart type talk you have when you ugly cry with your best friend.  It's a winner.

Tea, Please

Sometimes I joke about trying to convince myself I like tea.  I only started drinking coffee in the last 2 years, so before that I usually opted for tea (or what tasted like dirty water) whenever I'd find myself in a coffee shop to meet up with friends.  But that was before I discovered this sweet, spicy, cinnamon delight

Let me know what you think about these favorites!  Will you try any?  Which books should I add to my list?  Have a great week!