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Intimate Wedding in Cabo

September 7, 2015

Wedding Ceremony Blessing | Ditching Normal

Since today marks our six month anniversary of marriage, we thought it would be a fun time to post about our wedding. After getting engaged in June 2014, we knew we didn’t want a long engagement. We also knew we didn’t want the typical, local, big wedding. We had elopement plans ranging from a house in Italy (near where we got engaged) to a rooftop in San Francisco (where we met). Lacey was really pulling for a surprise wedding disguised as an engagement party, but Mat wasn’t on board.

We decided to rent a villa for a week in the Pedregal Hills of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This was a happy medium and a good compromise for everyone. Since we were planning this wedding on a strict budget, we decided to focus on what we really cared about, and what we wanted our wedding to feel like for guests. We also wanted to make sure it was unique. Continue reading to see how we created our own, very “Lacey and Mat” wedding.

  1. We knew we wanted more more than just one night with our guests. We have been to countless weddings where we were able to talk to the bride and groom for MAYBE five minutes during the reception, but that was it. We didn’t want to feel rushed, and didn’t want our guests to feel like just one of many. That is why we chose to rent the villa for a week and have this time to spend with family and friends. We had an itinerary which invited everyone to participate as much or as a little as possible-hey, it was their vacation and they can choose how to spend it!
  2. We wanted our guests to feel included. The way we look at our relationship is that we wouldn’t be where we are now without the help and influence of those that love us; kind of like the whole “It takes a village” thing. We had our close friend marry us (which was AMAZING, by the way), we had nine people speak during the ceremony, two speak during the reception, our mothers performed the beginning of a ring blessing ceremony and Lacey’s dad wrote a prayer that he prayed over us right after our exchange of rings. Everyone also helped out a TON, including a close girlfriend that did Lacey’s hair and make up, and Mat’s sister who did all of the flowers.
  3. Focus on the ceremony. We understand most people go to a wedding for the party after the ceremony, and not the ceremony itself. Don’t get us wrong, we like to party at weddings as much as the next couple, but we always feel a little cheated when the ceremony is so quick. We wanted our guests to leave knowing they had witnessed an extremely important proclamation of commitment, and not just a party. We planned to put our energy into writing our ceremony, and then go out dancing in downtown Cabo for the “party” portion of the evening. Also, our Make the Cake party turned into a real party!
  4. Don’t make people feel obligated to come. This was the main reason we chose to not have bridal parties. We didn’t want to force anyone to be there that didn’t absolutely want to.
  5. Above all, we wanted to the ceremony to feel intimate. We were literally surrounded by the people we loved during the ceremony.  We wanted them to feel the love we shared for each other and we wanted to feel the love and support from our guests.  This is why we chose to have the chairs set up in a semi-circle around us, rather than chairs in rows facing us.

We know that this type of wedding isn’t for everyone, probably not for most, but we absolutely loved it and wouldn’t change a thing! We will forever be grateful to those that traveled to spend this time with us and help us celebrate the most important decision we have made thus far. We love you all and want to do it all over again every year!

Clara Vist Villa, Cabo San Lucas | Ditching Normal

Wedding Table Setting | Ditching Normal

Post Wedding Drink | Ditching Normal

Wedding Drinks | Ditching Normal

Mat Before Wedding | Ditching Normal

Mat Before Wedding | Ditching Normal

Laughing & Crying Wedding Ceremony | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride Walk Out | Ditching Normal

Lacey Wedding Dress | Ditching Normal

Lacey Wedding Dress | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride and Mom | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride and Mom | Ditching Normal

Bride and Groom Ring exchange | Ditching Normal

Bride and Friends | Ditching Normal

Bride Wedding Dress Beach | Ditching Normal

Mat and Lacey Kiss the Bride | Ditching Normal

Wedding Invitation Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Party Cabo | Ditching Normal

Mat and Lacey 1st Dance Wedding | Ditching Normal

Wedding Dinner Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Dinner View Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

 

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Travel

Sayulita Love

May 16, 2017

Mat and I recently had the opportunity to visit the sweet surfing city, Sayulita, Mexico for a friend’s wedding. The verdict is out and…we are in love with it. So much so that we may or may not have looked at property while we were there. 😉 This was such a wonderful trip because we were able to travel with our good friends Tony and Heidy! Travel is always enhanced when you can spend it with friends and family.

We found a great villa to rent on Airbnb (Casa Kukana) that came with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and our own private pool. We did some research before we went and found that most travelers rent golf carts (how great/cute is that?!) to get around the town. If you are traveling to Sayulita, I would definitely recommend getting one mostly because it’s so fun. Plus, it helps you get around fast and is easy to find a parking spot.

It is important to note, however, that depending on where you are staying or wanting to visit, a golf cart may not get you there. There are two neighborhoods in the town that a regular ol’ golf cart can’t access: Gringo Hill and Nanazal. The town is built up in the hills, and these two areas are too steep to access with a regular four-seater golf cart. If you are staying in these areas you will need to rent a larger golf cart or a Polaris.

Sayulita is about a 45 min drive north of the Puerta Vallarta airport, so we arranged (through our Airbnb rental) a private taxi to pick us up. What was great about this arrangement is that not only was it a luxurious SUV, but the driver had ice-filled coolers in the back full of water and beer for us! Perfect for after the semi-long flying time to get there.

Scheduling a private ride from the airport worked out great because the price we paid included a stop at the Mega, which is basically the Wal-Mart of Mexico. Since we had a full kitchen in our rental, we stocked up on food and drinks for the week. Mat and I spent less than $100 on food and alcohol for the week, and if you know how often Mat eats, you will understand how much money this saved us! We also picked up some other items at the Mega including SPF, tanning lotion and a sports bra for me. Long story about the sports bra…but it’s nice to know that items like this are available if needed!

The villa we rented also provided all the filtered drinking water we needed, which is a must in Sayulita so you don’t get sick drinking the unfiltered water there. We even used the filtered water to brush our teeth just to be cautious. I loved our villa so much that it was difficult to ever want to leave it! We had the most amazing views of the beach and the town from our pool.

The town itself is what totally won me over. It is basically everything I want to be able to do every day including: laying on the beach, never brushing my hair, not wearing a bra or shoes, macrame, live music, yoga, delicious food (including pizza and dessert!), cold drinks and amazing shops. All of this is available in this adorable city! We found that Sayulita is a vacation destination for both Americans and locals, which is so cool!

Heidy compared the little town of Sayulita to one of her favorite travel destinations, Costa Rica. Mat and I haven’t been to Costa Rica (yet), but we thought it reminded us a little bit of Curacao. The adorable surf and yoga town is a bit more jungle-y than other places we have visited in Mexico, which makes me feel like I’m in a tree-house up in the hills. I loved it.

One of our favorite parts of the trip happened because we took a wrong turn on the way back to the villa one night and randomly came across a street we nicknamed Carnival Alley. The reason for the nickname was because on this street there was the greatest carnival-like game ever. I don’t think it has a name but we called it Beer Toss. There was a large makeshift wall with rows of glass beer bottles held up by nails, and in front was a table filled with rocks. Yes, glass beer bottles. And yes, rocks. So simple yet brilliant. You pay 30 pesos (equivalent to about $1.60) for three rocks to throw and try to break a glass beer bottle. For every bottle you break, you get a beer. No joke. So, you could potentially win three beers for for about a buck and a half. And it’s oddly satisfying to break a glass bottle with a rock. We had SO much fun in Carnival Alley.  You can see the bottle breaking action near the end of our video below this post.

All in all, the wedding was beautiful (congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs. T!) and the laid back, surfing town won us over. I’m hoping to see you next year, Sayulita!

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Travel

Happy Maui-versary! – our anniversary in Maui

March 12, 2017

Last year I got Lacey a push-pin travel map for our anniversary.  It’s a really cool map, but I realized that it might have been kind of a sucky gift for an anniversary.  Anniversaries probably call for a little more effort than just ordering something online.  My bad.  This year, Lacey and I put our heads together about 4 months in advance and came up with an awesome idea.  Rather than doing material gifts, we were going to spend our 2nd wedding anniversary in Maui, HI.

This trip was a rare case because we actually paid for most of it out-of-pocket and did not use any rewards points.  We did, however, get 1 of our flights for $99 + taxes while using the Alaska Airlines “companion fare” that comes with this card.  So we still saved about $600 dollars on flights.  Our tax returns covered the rest of the trip including a 5 night stay in an ocean front studio suite at the Honua Kai Resort.

The Honua Kai is beautiful.  The resort has multiple pools, a water slide, a lazy river, a charming ocean front restaurant, and easy beach access.  We would definitely recommend staying here if you’re planning a trip.  It is located on the northwest side of the island, minutes from Ka’anapali Beach and Lahaina.  The studio we stayed in was incredible.  We had a full kitchen (where we baked our wedding/fun-fetti cake), living room, large bathroom with a tub and shower, and a large patio equipped with furniture.  The best part was the sliding glass door leading out to the patio.  You could slide and fold this door together creating an “open air” feel leading from your room out to the resort and ocean.

While we didn’t have much planned for this trip, there were a couple of things we really wanted to do.  I wanted to see some waterfalls and Lacey wanted to do some cliff jumping.  We knocked out both pretty quickly and stumbled upon some awesome plants, animals, and geography along the way.  We visited the Heart Shaped rock near the Nakalele Blowhole and we happened upon the Twin Falls and Garden of Eden along the road to Hana.

We spent our final evening in Lahaina on a bench facing the ocean and sunset.  We shared a giant shaved ice while marveling at nearby whales as they lept out of the water.  So incredible!

For us, this was the perfect way to spend our 2nd anniversary.  Hopefully this becomes a Thompson tradition!

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

the Honua Kai sent us an anniversary gift!

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

baking our wedding cake!

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Travel

Los Angeles for President’s Day Weekend

February 26, 2017

Lacey and I didn’t originally plan on taking a trip in between Aruba (late Jan.) and Maui (next Saturday!), but the weather in Boise continues to be absolutely miserable.  The buzz from the Aruba trip wore off quicker than we’d hoped as the wind, rain, snow, and inversions of Southern Idaho kept coming.  Lacey and I are both really affected by ugly/dark/cold weather (who isnt?!).  I’m not sure if it’s to the level of seasonal depression disorder, but it sucks nonetheless.  After a few days in a row of being bummed out, we decided we had to seek out some sunshine.

With plenty of Southwest points paired with the Companion Pass and our recently earned 2 “anniversary” nights with Hyatt, I started doing some searching for a Presidents Day Weekend getaway.  From Boise, Southern California is usually our best bet for a quick trip to sunshine this time of year.  I had a little trouble out of the gates finding award night availability with Hyatt.  I searched places like San Diego, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach.  No luck.  It seemed this was just too short of notice to book a room with awards.  Then I remembered Lacey telling me about how much fun her and her mom had wedding dress shopping at Manhattan Beach.  I quickly searched for, and found, availability at the Hyatt House near Manhattan Beach.  After a quick chat with Lacey, we booked the trip.

The conversation went something like this:

  • Mat – “How do you feel about going to Manhattan Beach for President’s Day? We can get there for free, use 2 free nights at a Hyatt, and then book a 3rd night with a points+cash combination.  The entire trip would cost $83.”
  • Lacey – “Oh my gosh, yes! Book it!”

So I did, and we enjoyed a quick and casual, no plans, just hanging out, Netflix by 7pm, awesome weekend in the Los Angeles/Manhattan Beach area.

The weather was a little chilly during the trip, but the sunshine did come out each day after some morning clouds.  We ventured to Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, while hiking to the Griffith Observatory.  We made our way to Venice Beach and crushed some In and Out Burgers on the way back to the hotel.  We even caught a movie during a couple hours of cloudy drizzly weather one morning.

Another awesome experience courtesy of rewards points.  We saved $900+ on this trip by using the Southwest Airlines companion pass and the Hyatt rewards programs.  Let us know if you have any questions on how you can do the same!

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

Sunset Blvd Hollywood

Sunset Blvd Hollywood

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Zoltar

Muscle Beach Venice Beach

Los Angeles for President's Day Weekend

Griffith Observatory

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Reviews

West Elm Boise Grand Opening

June 21, 2016

Mat and I were ecstatic when West Elm reached out to invite us to their grand opening for a private tour. We love West Elm and actually just recently purchased our bed frame and duvet cover from them online. We have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the West Elm Boise store since the first sign went up in the window of the old Anthropologie space. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only a few blocks away as well. 🙂

The day of the tour we were welcomed by Nicole Sutliff (I basically want her to be my new bff) and were showed around the new space. It’s absolutely beautiful and I want to move in. Nicole showed us the new lines, their recently updated wedding registry with gorgeous mix and match options, seasonal items, and some amazing reclaimed wood furniture. Gorgeous! Nicole also pointed out how many grab ‘n go gift-y items they have, such as decorative glassware, table topper, succulents, etc. I basically want it all.

We especially loved how much West Elm involves local artisans in their stores. They have an entire section where local Boise artists sell their homemade goods. Nicole also let us know that when someone uses their (free!) styling service, West Elm likes to work with local shops to include items from their stores as well. I’m desperately trying to convince Mat to let us use this service, because our bedroom is really needing some TLC and direction.

My favorite items that are on the “to get” list are:

This light for our bedroom

This rug for our dining nook

This pillow for…anywhere. I just want it.

These Euro shams to go with our all white bedding.

And of course this to create our own faux headboard!

Let us know what you think of the brand new West Elm Boise location!

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

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West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

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West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

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West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

West Elm Boise, ID

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Lifestyle

Checking in on our 2016 Game Plan

April 13, 2016

We figured since it’s over a quarter of the way through the year, now would be a good time to check in on the 2016 game plan we set at the beginning of the year. How obvious is it that I’m left brained? I blame work for making me think of the year in terms of Q1 , Q2, Q3 and Q4. Anyway, since Q1 is now complete, we are practicing what we preach by holding ourselves accountable and evaluating where we are on our goals. This is good because it gives cause to celebrate and pat yourself on the back, as well as realign the next section of the year to focus more on the goals that haven’t gotten a lot of attention yet.

As a recap, our goals are listed below:

  1. Visit 10 different cities
  2. Continue downsizing
  3. Continue paying more on our mortgage
  4. Spend more time with family and friends
  5. Improve photography skills
  6. Bedroom remodel
  7. More collaborations
  8. Save $15,000 by using rewards points
  9. Learn a second language
  10. Add yoga to the workout routine

To be honest, I’m fairly shocked that we have even started this list. To say I’m proud of our progress is putting it lightly. I’m ready to celebrate how far we are on our game plan! Let’s see how we are doing:

  1. So far we have been to two cities (San Diego and Houston) this year, and in another month we will add five more to total seven. We have more destinations on our list for the remainder of the year, but nothing is officially booked yet. I have been to San Francisco, but since Mat wasn’t with me, I figured it wasn’t fair to count that.

    Gas Lamp San Diego

    San Diego was a blast.

  2. Well, we did it. We sold Mat’s car and are now down to one! Oh my gosh are we crazy or what?! Our plan with this goal was to find out the Kelly Blue Book value of his car and put it up for sale at that price; no budging at all. We planned to leave it up for a couple of weeks and then if nothing had happened we would re-evaluate. The car sold in less than three days! I wasn’t entirely sure I was even on board with the whole one car thing, so I panicked a little. I will admit it does take a little more pre-planning, but so far, totally worth it!
  3. We were paying double on our mortgage, but since we sold Mat’s car, we put that extra money toward our condo each month. We are trying to have a free place to live as soon as possible! Seeing the principle balance on our mortgage go down each month is motivating and slightly addicting. We understand that we might not always be at a place in our lives where we are able to pay extra, which is why we are trying to take advantage now!
  4. We are known to be homebodies, especially in the winter, so we have been making a conscious effort to spend more time with people we love. We have been meeting up with other couples for dinner, drinks, brunch, etc. We spent the last three weekends in a row with family. We also plan on meeting up with five friends on our next big trip! Anybody else want to join in on the fun?
  5. We just purchased a camera and plan on meeting up with a friend (who just so happens to have been our wedding photographer) to learn more about it this weekend! As I type this, Mat is messing around with the different settings. I may or may not have just made him do some karate/ninja moves to test out the action setting. We definitely have a ways to go on this goal, but at least we have started!
  6. We also have a ways to go on our bedroom remodel, but we have completed the most important task-getting a king sized bed! Oh it’s so wonderful. I always feel like I get in it too late and have to leave it too early in the morning. I want to lounge in it all day because it’s so big and inviting. New West Elm bedding doesn’t hurt either. 😉
  7. We sort of fell into a collaboration of sorts with Venture Magazine and are stoked about it! The individuals we have met through this magazine are amazing and we can’t wait to get even more involved in this community! We also did a rad photo shoot collaboration with the ever entertaining Damon of Dynamic Shutter Photography. I also was a part of a photo shoot/event for an amazing cause, Speak Your Silence. More on that when I can give some sneak peeks. I also have another collab coming up next week that I am SO excited about! All I can say at this moment is that it involves some insanely talented individuals, including personal stylist (and my friend!) Laura Tully, amazing photography duo Ben and Joella, and Will from Flowers at Will.

    Couples Workout

    Some fun collabs with Venture Meridian Magazine so far!

  8. So far (thanks my brilliant husband) we have saved roughly $10,000 in travel costs. This includes flights to San Diego, our hotel in Houston, as well as flights and hotels for our big trip coming up to New York, Italy, Malta and Chicago. We have a few more tricks up our sleeves, but will wait until things are finalized before sharing.
  9. To be honest, we have done nothing to further our learning of a second language. Now that we carpool to work, I talk the whole drive (not surprising, I know) so Mat isn’t able to listen to his Rosetta Stone. We need to carve out some time on the weekends for this, as it helps immensely when traveling. Mat picks languages up MUCH faster than I do. I actually think it’s not possible for me to learn another language. This is me. For real.
  10. Guess how many times we have been to a yoga class this year? The answer is zero. We need to work on that. Any suggestions on where to go? Please let us know, we need help in this area!

Now is a great time to check in on the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Remember, don’t focus on the negatives, but celebrate the positives! That will give you more energy and encouragement to get back on track with your goals. I’m always down to celebrate any accomplishment, no matter how small it might be. Speaking of that, I think it’s time to open some wine to celebrate our progress.

2016 Game Plan

photograph by Ali Smith Photography

2016 Game Plan

photograph by Ali Smith Photography

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Lifestyle

Ditching the Normal Date Night

March 20, 2016

Mat and I love “ditching the normal” anything. Hence the name of our blog. That means ditching the normal way to travel, ditching society’s views on how we should live, ditching the normal wedding ceremony, engagement rings, etc. That also includes date nights. Don’t get us wrong, we like to watch Netflix as much as the next couple, but after an entire winter of hibernating, it’s nice to get out try something different. To mix it up. That’s how we came up with the idea to have a “patio party” date night. It just so happened that we were able to score a few hours at an incredible downtown condo, not to mention the exact one that started our entire downsizing craze!

We wanted to keep it simple and romantic (and budget friendly), so we brought almost everything from our house. We brought cozy blankets, pillows and poufs as well as wine glasses and our Idaho cutting board. We stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up some light appetizers, wine and flowers. Prepping for the date was half the fun!

We spent the afternoon drinking wine, checking out the gorgeous and intimate views of downtown from the patio as well as playing a little card game. Mat won. Weird. (<—Sarcasm. He wins everything.)

We were lucky enough to have Damon of Dynamic Shutter Photography tag along to capture it! Not only is he an amazing photographer, but it turns out he’s a craftsman/wood worker as well! The end table in the photos was handmade by him! How cool is that?!

If you find yourself growing bored of the typical date nights, keep in mind that your options aren’t limited to dinner and a movie. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ditch the norm! Let us know if you have any fun ideas that we should try for our next date night.

P.S. Even with the wind, how smooth does my hair look?! That’s all thanks to the Brazilian blowout that I had that day by the lovely Shawna Hines! This woman is a hair genius and is fun to hang out with while she is working her hair magic. If you are lucky enough to schedule an appointment with her, mention my name and you get $25 off. 🙂

 

All photos in this post are courtesy of Dynamic Shutter Photography

Date Night Boise, ID

Date Night Boise, ID

Veltex Building Boise, ID Date Night

Date Night Boise, ID

Wine Opening Boise Date Night

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Kissing on Date Night Boise, ID

Date Night Boise, ID

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Lifestyle

We Got Married Again! Kind of…

January 5, 2016

So we didn’t really get married again, per say, but a couple of months ago our amazing wedding photographer Vlad from Radion Photography asked if we would like to participate in a promotional wedding shoot.  Of course we said “Hell yeah!”. We said yes because we loved our wedding photos and Vlad and his wife became like extended family on our wedding trip to Mexico. Vlad is not only an amazing photographer, but he is an even better human.  Plus, another chance for me to wear a wedding dress? Of  course I will be there!

The shoot was styled by the amazing Heidi from Ira & Lucy, my hair was done by Shawna Hines and my make up by Jamie at Blush. There were also videographers with Next Adventure Studio from Sun Valley which made me totally wish we could have somehow squished videography in our tiny wedding budget. This also got me thinking we should probably plan mini-weddings and renew our vows every year. Who doesn’t want to go to another party every year?

It was really fun getting to see some of the behind the scenes work that goes on for a styled wedding shoot. Not going to lie, it was also fun getting to play “bride” again. Check out Oregon Bride Magazine for their feature on this shoot!

BTS - Lacey - dress

BTS - Lacey - flex

BTS - Lacey - table

BTS - table

BTS - videographers

BTS - Vlad - Lacey - Candle

BTS - Vlad

All photos below from Radion Photography.

Wedding Bouquet

Bride Veil Eyelashes

Vintage Style Bride

Wedding Table Vintage

Bride and Groom Toast

Bride and Groom Vintage Kiss

Contemporary Bride and Groom Snuggle

Vintage Wedding Rings

Vintage Style Groom

Shawna Hines Hairstyling

Groom Snowing

Vintage Style Bride

Groom Snowing

Bride and Groom Wedding Photo Snow

Married Again

 

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Lifestyle Reviews

Top 15 from 2015

December 30, 2015

Being that it’s New Years Eve, Eve…we thought it would be appropriate to look back on some of our more memorable experiences from 2015.  We narrowed it down to 15 simply because “Top 15 from 2015” sounded kinda cool.  In 2015, among other things, we watched some sausages race each other, hung out at a waterfall, walked 100 stories over a city, dropped it like it’s hot, and participated in a very important ceremony 😉

When we were putting this post together, we were a little intimidated with trying to figure out a way to make 2016 live up to the year we just had, but that’s a problem we look forward to dealing with. We have been so fortunate and blessed to have had the chance to experience so many amazing events in just 12 short months.

Here are our top 15 for 2015. Hopefully you won’t be surprised with what landed at #1…

15. Brewers vs Cardinals (Milwaukee)

Our seats at Miller Park were AMAZING! It also didn’t hurt that the home team (and underdog) won! Not much better than a sun-filled day at a stadium eating hot dogs and nachos.  Mat was super excited to see the mascot go down the slide after a home run.  We also got to see the famous racing sausages in the 7th inning stretch!

Sausage Race. Miller Park, Milwaukee

The Sausages ran right by us!

14. Halloween

For being last minute outfits, we loved how they turned out! Not to mention we got to hang with our closest friends and have an epic dance party. Don’t play Rhi Rhi unless you want Lacey to put on her own concert.  Our friends had some epic costumes as well.  There was a seductively creepy Bob Ross, Wayne & Garth, Ace Ventura, and some Minions.

Halloween-Day-of-Dead

13. Christmas Snowboarding

Santa (Mat) successfully hid a snowboard under the tree for Lacey to find Christmas morning.  After a couple cups of coffee in our pajamas, we headed up to Bogus Basin for a half day of snowboarding.  There was plenty of snow and plenty of room for us to hit jumps, eat shit, wipe the snow off our heads and do it again!

Mat & Lacey Bogus-Basin

12. Collie Buddz (Phoenix)

On our way home from Cabo during Thanksgiving week, we had an overnight layover in Phoenix.  It turns out this was a blessing in disguise because Collie Buddz was performing that same night!  Collie Buddz is one of our favorite Reggae/Hip-hop artists and he sings the song (Gimme Love) that we used as our first dance song at our wedding reception.

Collie Buddz Phoenix

11. Michael Franti (Boise)

Another of our favorite musicians came to town this summer to perform at the beautiful Botanical Gardens.  This super high energy show was one that left us reminded of what’s truly important in life.  …enjoying each other, loving each other, and having an awesome time while doing it!  Michael Franti is the artist behind the song “Life is Better with You“, which became the theme of our wedding in Cabo.  #LifeIsBetterWithYou!!!

Michael Franti Boise, ID

10. Snoop Dogg (Boise)

I think we were both very surprised that this concert made our top 15.  We both knew the concert would be fun, but had no idea just how much fun we would have.  It was a blast!  Mat rapped every line of every song, taking him back to the age of 13 when he used to listen to Snoop religiously AND Lace booty popped and c-walked to the sick rhymes Mat was bustin’.  Toss in a couple of good friends and this results in the #10 best experience of the year!

Snoop Dogg Drop it Like It's Hot

9. Water Slide Birthday Party (Hagerman)

Lacey’s family were the creative minds behind this awesome idea.  We pulled up to their house to find a GIGANTIC bouncy castle-like water slide set up in their back yard.  The day resulted in tons of (sketchy at times) fun for us and everyone else that attended.  You can check out the full details along with the video in a previous post here.

Lacey Water Slide | DitchingNormal

8. Jump Creek Falls (Marsing)

Jump Creek is a hidden gem about an hour away from where we live and we had no idea it was there until this summer! This waterfall destination ended up being quite spectacular, much to our surprise. Read more about this day trip here.

Jump Creek | Ditching Normal

7. Luke Bryan (Boise)

It is going to be hard to top this concert. Everything just fell into place for us to see Luke Bryan. When the tickets first went on sale they sold out before we could grab any. Mat was able to purchase floor tickets just weeks before the concert was in town, which worked out way better than our original plan. We had margaritas at home before riding our bikes to Taco Bell Arena and rocking out just feet away from the stage.

6. Bachelorette Party (Portland)

Lacey got to experience Portland for the first time while attending a friend’s bachelorette party and had an absolute blast! They stayed right downtown at Hotel Modera, shopped at Nordstrom (obviously), ate to their hearts’ content at the many food trucks and danced the night away at Holocene. Finding a dance club in Portland was difficult, but they knew it was “their spot” when they walked in and Rhianna’s “B**** Betta Have My Money” was playing. On a classier note, the girls even had a fancy dinner at Departure which sits on top of The Nines Hotel.

Lacey-Bachelorette Party Portland

5. Willis Tower (Chicago)

Chicago quickly became a favorite city of Mat’s following his visit this summer.  While Gino’s East had delicious pizza and the baseball game at Wrigley Field was amazing…nothing will top the experience from the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).  Standing in the glass box looking down 100+ stories will make for a life long memory.  The full details of this trip can be found in a previous post here.

view from the Skydeck Ledge in the Willis Tower, Chicago | DitchingNormal

The Skydeck “Ledge” was an experience I’ll never forget. 103 stories down.

4. San Francisco Weekend Getaway (September)

We fit in so many experiences in the long weekend that we were in San Francisco. This city holds a special place for us because it is where we met nine years ago (exactly nine in a few weeks!). We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and hiked in Muir Woods. We had breakfast at The Mill then hung out in Alamo Square Park like the Tanners. One of the most amazing experiences of the weekend was drinking cocktails while looking at the views of the city from the 39th floor of The View Lounge. Our last morning we sipped coffee at the hidden rooftop garden of the One Kearny building. You can read all about our San Francisco trip in this post and this post.

Golden Gate Bridge | DitchingNormal

3. Thanksgiving (Cabo San Lucas)

Our highly-anticipated vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cabo fully lived up to our expectations. This week was packed full of food and delicious pina colladas. The gorgeous weather and surroundings definitely accounted for one of the most memorable weeks of our year. Read a recap of it here.

2. Make the (wedding) Cake Party (Cabo San Lucas)

On the eve of our wedding, our friends and family gathered in the kitchen of our villa to help us make our second most memorable event of the year….and our wedding cake. That’s right, our closest friends and family helped us make our wedding cake the night before our ceremony. Talk about special! This also ended up being a little rowdy because some tequila and flash tattoos were involved. It was such an amazing feeling to have everyone that we loved and loved us be involved in this intimate activity. Mat was the mastermind behind this idea and it was a huge success. Read all about it here.

Lacey Stirring Wedding Cake Mix | DitchingNormal

1.Wedding Ceremony (Cabo San Lucas)

A very special group of family and friends gathered in a white domed gazebo in the Pedregal Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  One of our best friends officiated the ceremony and many of our family and friends shared stories, advice, and loving words with us.  Lacey’s father wrote and recited a blessing over our marriage while our guests stood around us.  We couldn’t have asked for a more intimate, heart felt, personal, and beautiful wedding ceremony.  This is undoubtedly our #1 experience of 2015…and likely of our lives.

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

 

Needless to say, it’s going to be hard to top the year that we have had, because it’s not every year you get to marry your best friend. 2015, you rocked our socks!

We are so excited for what experiences lay ahead for us and look forward to continue simplifying our life to make room for what is important: making memories with family and friends. And of course traveling as much as possible.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Bring it, 2016!

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Lifestyle Travel

Adios Thanksgiving!

December 9, 2015

This year, Lacey and I decided to go a different route for Thanksgiving.  Instead of sticking around our home town of Boise, and freezing our asses off, we decided to leave the country and hit the beach for some R & R.  Being that we’re always ballin’ on a budget, we decided to go the very affordable, all-inclusive, Solmar Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  This place is insanely cheap.  From Boise (and I imagine most other cities) you can book a full week of all you can eat and drink (including booze) for about $1100 per person.  That price includes flight. Yeah…insane.  Anyhow, Lacey did a full review on the resort here if anyone is thinking about checking it out.

So this trip couldn’t have come at a better time for Lacey and I.  The weather had been getting colder in Boise, work had been going through a stressful patch, and we hadn’t been on a “do nothing” vacation in a LONG time.  We very much needed it.

My goals for this vacation were as such:

  1. Sleep 8-10hrs a night
  2. CRUSH food throughout the day
  3. Drink 6-8 Pina Coladas per day (sometimes substituted with a different fruity beach drink)
  4. Nap by the pool for 1-2 hrs a day
  5. Take a lazy 15 min. stroll on the beach at some point in the day (you know…gotta stay in shape and all)
  6. Hammer an enormous dinner and a variety of desserts
  7. Watch the sunset
  8. Repeat steps 1-7

We absolutely nailed these goals each and every day we were in Cabo.  Not gonna lie, it actually got pretty hard to keep up with this pace by the time we got to day 6.  I was feeling like an about to explode balloon.  ….but yet, I still powered through the last couple of meals even though I was nowhere near hungry.

Throughout the week, we saw some amazing sunrises and sunsets.  We caught a private boat to the famous Lover’s Arch.  We ate some amazing food…and some that wasn’t so amazing.  We set and broke our own records for blended drink consumption on a daily basis.  The main highlight, however, might have been the super awkward Thanksgiving buffet hosted by the Solmar Resort.

I still want to say thank you to the Solmar for going out of their way to cater towards us chubby Americans on our (eat-your-face-off) holiday.  They put together a solid spread of typical Thanksgiving foods.  There were performers playing what was seemingly a selection of Selena’s greatest hits throughout the evening…which Lacey loved.  I think the main thing that made this dinner awkward was the fact that there were only about 6 people there to enjoy it.  The restaurant is giant, so it seemed even emptier than it probably was.  When the performers finished a song, there was definitely a shortage of claps trying to fill the silence between songs.  Lacey and I were actually kind of dressed up, while the other 6 people in the restaurant were dressed as if headed to a Cousin Eddy look-a-like contest.  There was one 85ish year old lady rockin’ a Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys jersey, so I’ll give her some credit for at least wearing sleeves to the restaurant.  If you watch the vid at the bottom of the post, you’ll get the overall vibe.   AWK-WARD

Lacey and I had fun in Cabo, no surprise there, but would likely subtract a day or 2 from the trip next time.

We left Cabo on a Saturday afternoon and headed for Phoenix to catch a Collie Buddz (reggae) concert.  I’m guessing most of you aren’t familiar with him, but he’s really special to Lacey and I.  We first discovered him years ago on our very first vacation together in Hawaii.  Fast forward to last spring when we used one of his songs as our first dance song at our wedding.  All that being said, we were both really excited to see him in concert.  …we ended up being in the very front row.  It was awesome!  Check the vid on our instagram if you wanna see me killin’ it.

All and all…this was the best Thanksgiving of my life thus far.  I couldn’t be more thankful that I have a smokin’ hot and hilarious wife to spend it with.  We hope you all had a great holiday week as well!

…I’m not sure how X-mas is going to compete with this. Ha.

Additional good news, we put this entire vacation on our Citi ThankYou card and reached the 50k bonus point offer with these expenses.  These 50k points are going to transfer to the Hilton rewards program at a 1:2 ratio.  So thanks to Cabo…we’re getting 100k more points to use for some free nights at a Hilton during our next vacation!

Lacey Airport Cabo

Cabo Airport

Lacey Grand Solmar Cabo

Lacey Cabo Beach

Mat Beach Cabo

Mat-Lacey-Cabo-Waves

Land's End Cabo

Land's End Cabo

Land's End Cabo

Lover's Arch Cabo

Lover's Arch Cabo

Lacey-Boat-Cabo

Waves Cabo

Lacey-Beach-Cabo-Waves

Lacey-Sand-Writing

Mat Beach Cabo

Porch-Sunset-Solmar

Mat-Plank-Solmar

Lacey Cabo Beach

Lacey Sunset Cabo

Buffet-Thanksgiving Cabo

Lacey Thanksgiving Cabo Solmar Resort

Lacey-Sand-Writing

Mat-Toes-Pool-Solmar

Land's End Cabo

Land's End Cabo

Stormy-Sky Cabo

Mat-Waves-Funny

Holding-Hands-Beach

 

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