Total Eclipse of The Heart

They’re here! The photos of the actual wedding have arrived!

Now that I look back at them I realize that potentially I was having such a good time I may not have stopped to take as many detailed shots as I should have, but what I do have, I love!

Kari and Will were married on May 19 at Chateau de Roussan in Saint Remy. That’s right, they got married in a castle. And it was just as incredible as you might imagine.

Although I didn’t capture as much as I should have in pictures, I’ll give you a brief play by play of the day. The guests arrived at the Chateau by way of a magnificent driveway lined with gigantic trees that appear to be hundreds of years old. At the Chateau, everyone mingled in the gorgeous lobby and on the grounds until we were ushered towards where the ceremony would take place. The chairs had been set up on this little plot of green garden beside the chateau. It had a stream running behind it which was home to swans. SWANS.

The ceremony was beautiful. It was very personal and their officiant, Karine, told the story of Kari and Will as if it was a fairy tale, using each of their unique perspectives to pepper the story with plenty of real life quotes and confessions. It was actually very entertaining to listen to, unlike several other wedding ceremonies I’ve heard (on TLC…). There were also readings from Will’s best man, Rory and Kari’s Maid of Honour, Laura.

After the ceremony, we took pictures in front of the Chateau and let Kari and Will go off to take their own pictures while the rest of us sipped on Pink Cava and stuffed our faces with amuse-bouches (which included mushroom, green bean and tomato mousse in shot glasses…YUM)

Then we filed into the reception area which was a lovely outdoor tent behind the Chateau with a dance floor and a French band that sang classic love songs and French diddys. We had a delicious dinner which was Kari and Will fancy (super fancy) and yummy dessert all the while being entertained and touched by speeches from various loved ones, a photo slideshow made by Kari’s sisters and a very sweet video made by the best man, Rory (with help from his lady, Brandy). They also played the shoe game where the Bride and Groom sit with their backs to each other, each holding one shoe from the Bride, and one from the groom. Then they are asked questions such as “who does more housework” and “who hogs the sheets” and they answer by raising the shoe of that person. It proves to be quite hilarious.

After lots and lots of wine, the dance party began with the traditional first dance between Kari and Will. They were so wrapped up in their own romance that they didn’t even notice the disco ball had been set to flash multicolour lights around at a much faster pace than the slow song they were dancing to. It was almost as special as when the French Band/ DJs played Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” during the throwing of the bouquet. These were my favourite wedding moments. The dancing went on laaaaaaate into the night, and I believe I can speak for everyone when I say the whole night was pretty awesome. Will and Brodie even performed an encore performance of their man dance. The icing on the cake, however, was the late night cheese table that came out with crackers and baguettes and every kind of cheese imaginable at around 2am.

Jamie and I rolled ourselves into bed around 5am, with our alarms set for 7. The next day, we would be racing to the airport to catch our flight to Barcelona, Spain.

Ugly:

Absolutely nothing. Except the sunburn I got yesterday but that has nothing to do with the wedding.

Awesome:

Everything about the wedding! It was so lovely and I feel so lucky to have been a small part of it. Thanks Will and Kari for asking us to be a part of your day (week)!!

Was Blind, But Now Cassis

So, we’re almost through France! haha

This is the last post before the Big One. The Big One of course refers to the post that documents the reason we were all in Europe in the first place – Will and Kari’s glorious nuptials.

But we had so much fun before the wedding, I must include it all!

So, our photos begin in Saint-Remy de Provence, the little town where we were staying. The cottages were a five minute walk from town, so we did a little exploring. Saint-Remy is famous because Van Gogh spent one year at the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy and it ended up being one the most creative years of his life. He produced several of his best paintings there, including Starry Night and Self Portrait. I didn’t get to go in the asylum but a little bird told me it was a primary setting for the boys’ wedding photos.

Next on the agenda was a big group field trip where almost all the guests who were staying in Saint-Remy got on a big tour bus together and visited two local wineries lead by a real oneologist (wine expert man). We were taught how to properly sample wines like Frenchmen. Although we were also told to spit all the wine out which I’m pretty sure no one did. After becoming appropriately sloshed for the occasion, we were then bussed to Les-Baux-de-Provence which is a gorgeous fortress town built right into the Alpilles mountain range so it appears to be almost falling off the mountains. After exploring the castle town and getting lost in its mazes and buying what I thought to be a quaint and unique tin of cookies (until I saw the stores everywhere and realized it was a chain), we all went to dinner at L’Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne. It was here that everyone thought to sample a sweet liquor and no one liked it but me. And thus I was left to do a little more sampling which was perfectly fine by me. Dinner was lovely, the company was awesome and the evening ended with an appearance by Will and Jamie’s alter-egos “The European Ascot Men”.

BEACH DAY! I was so excited for this day I could barely contain my beach excitement and it was well worth it. I love laying on beaches. It is my favourite. Because I am so paley pale most people assume I hate the sun, but in fact we love each other, I just have to get used to the sun before we hang out for an extended period of time. Cassis is like the glamourous beach-side condo life of the rich and famous. That’s what it feels like. I loved Cassis because of the views and the colours, I loved it for the little shop that sold $4 paninis and hamburgers (The least expensive food we had seen yet in Europe) and as Jamie and I went with Brandy, Natalie and Misha, the company was pretty awesome too. The beach is white, the ocean was blue. It was amazing. The end.

After Cassis was the Barchelor/Bachelorette Parties. The Bachelorettes were supposed to be meeting in our cabin, but as luck would have it, Brandy, Danica and myself were taken hostage by the restaurant employees where we were having dinner and we given costumes and shots of minty alcohol. Every time we attempted to leave, they would share with us another shot- this time a mix of apple juice and champagne. Delish. Needless to say, we go to our cottage with a group of 15 ladies who had started the party and were well into having a blast by the time we got there. To our surprise, the boys arrived shortly afterwards and the Bachelorette party turned into dance party for all. Once again, another epic European party was to be had. It was also the first time many of us had seen what was to become the infamous “Will and Brodie Man Dance”.

The next day was to be the last day of rest for everyone before the BIG day, so we played it cool with a delicious lunch in Saint-Remy (Do you SEE the size of that goat cheese??!!!) and some shoe shopping and pool resting to top it off. We had a nice little get together with everyone down by the pool and then it was time.

Ugly:

How pale I still was after being in Hot France for a week. Very evident at the beach surrounded by golden brown tater tots. (Don’t worry though, this subject will make an appearance in the “Awesome” category shortly).

Awesome:

Real vacation moments. Moments that mean I can never again say I’ve never been on a real vacation. Relaxing, exciting, never will get to do again moments.

And in non-Europe news, I get to go to Vegas to coordinate a video shoot in a couple weeks, so….fuuun! Probably won’t have any time for fun stuff as it will be all work, but just going is exciting to me!

Wild is the Wind

Bonjour mes amis!

Europe post number 2! Bam Shabam! I’m excited because this post has pictures from some of my favourite places on the entire trip.

We left off with a crazy party where half the pictures were in fact too crazy to put on the interwebs. Next up: The quintessential southern France event, the market.

It must be said that the day we adventured in to a lovely antique/delicious food market it was so windy that the stalls were practically blowing away. Sometimes we would escape the wind by scuttling into a random store or art gallery that we may not have otherwise stumbled upon. So thanks, wind. But also damn you, wind. It was chilly.

We walked around looking at food mostly, but also jewelry and crafty things and pretty stuff. But I think the best parts of the market were the tiny skinny pedestrian streets that the stalls were set up in. It was such a dainty little part of town. The gals and I split from the boys for a while for fear hat they would cramp our market style, but we met up for a group lunch that will go down in history. I will only tell you this: Danica’s salad contained a secret ingredient. Which was alive.

After the market, we were lead up a mountain through narrow, dusty roads (meaning the road was barely big enough for our car, one side of the road ended with a cliff and the road was actually intended for two-way traffic) and we ended up in a very unique and interesting town called Rousillon which was named that because it’s red. Literally, the ground, the cliffs, the houses, the buildings, it’s all red. And very cool. It was there that Will introduced us to Lavender flavoured gelato. Most of us agreed that while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it reminded us too much of eating soap. But we appreciated Will’s effort. After we filled up on Rousillon’s street food (gelato and crepes) we then departed for YET another adventure.

Driving up the hill to Oppede-Les-Vieux, my energy level was around a 2. It had been a long and exciting day already and I was just wondering how long this next leg of our journey would take. As soon as we parked and started walking, I got my second wind. The more we climbed, the more I saw amazing views and little crumbling pieces of history. The village itself is still home to tons of people, many of whom are artists who sell their work in the little shops, so while you think you’re standing on the remains of an ancient chateau, you are also standing on someone’s lawn. The higher you get, any sense of village is left behind and you just walk up into the ruins of a chateau. There are no safety railings or staff on the very top of this windy peak, there’s just you, a crumbling castle and several fearless friends who scare the shit out of you by jumping effortlessly across death-defying drops to reach perfect photo-taking spots. Standing in the midst of a castle on the top of a towering hill surrounded by green forest was the closest I’ve ever felt to being Maid Marian. And that was wicked.

Ugly:
The little creature nestled inside one of Danica’s endive leaves.
The “mistral winds” of southern France which apparently come and go quickly and fiercely and help maintain the famous climate Provence is known for. We called it “menstrual winds” and then giggled a lot.

Awesome:
Oppede-Les-Vieux was one of the only places in the world I’ve ever been where I felt very unconfined. Sometimes you feel secluded or peaceful because there’s the illusion that you’re all by yourself, but most of the time you know it’s just a perception and 5 minutes away there are signs of civilization. In this place, you could look around you in all directions and see evidence that you were alone on top of a mountain.

Check back soon for Trip post # 3! And don’t forget that you can subscribe to my blog to get an email when the next post comes out! (Click button above that reads “click here for awesomeness” after writing your email address in the field above it. Thanks!!!)

There’s No Place Like Home

I’m back!

I’ve actually been back for about a week now but my brain couldn’t handle the thought of blogging yet. We took approximately 2000 photos over a 3 week period! And now I’ve gone through and edited them slightly (because although some might be boring to you, I’m using this blog to keep them forever in the cyberspace so you can just deal) and I’m breaking up my trip posts into tiny sections so as to not post thousands of photos at a time.

Also, I’m providing a bit of detail in reference to the pics but not as much as I would if you took me out for Sangria and asked me about my trip. This is because right now I feel like I’m one of those people everyone hates who comes back from an amazing trip and literally talks of nothing but their life-changing trip for the next 6 months. So if you actually want me to tell you all about it, take me out for Sangria, otherwise I’m giving the Cole’s Notes.

It begins: We get to France. Woo! We traveled with our dearest pals Chris and Danica on the plane from Toronto to Paris and on the train from Paris to Avignon. We then picked up the rental car and drove to Saint-Remy de Provence where we arrived in our humble abode for the next week.

When we got to the cottages, at first we thought we were in the wrong place as this seemed to be conveniently located to all the town amenities. We assumed that in order for a quaint cottage to be quaint it had to also be far away from everything, hidden in a forest or a field of sunflowers or something. As it turned out all the groomsmen (save for one who had not yet arrived) and their ladies were sharing a cottage that completely exceeded all of our expectations and completely lived up to it’s title of “quaint cottage in the South of France” whilst being close to the town, market, butcher, etc. which was very convenient.

The day after we arrived, we somehow managed to get up early to go for a run where we encountered an amazing view and a herd of sheep and one goat. After our run, the bride and groom (Kari and Will) took us to a gorgeous little village called Séguret where we had lunch at delicious restaurant in the sky, Le table du Comtat. This is where we first got the impression our week would be filled with bizarre and delicious food made to Kari and Will’s very high standards. The food was delicious and the view was amazing. On the way back, the second car left without us because we were taking too long photographing the village. Close your eyes and picture the South of France. If you’ve never been there, you probably picture the fairy tale version. That’s what Séguret was. The exact village inside your head.

That evening, more of Kari and Will’s friends arrived (they were staying in separate cottage next door). We decided to have everyone over for a get to know you party which will go down in history as being the best European party I’ve ever been to (Except the wedding reception of course!). I know a lot of people who like to travel and who have been very lucky to find themselves in many corners of the word from time to time, but I don’t know many who were lucky enough to experience these places with a big group of their best friends. And that’s how the party happened.

Ugly:
Surprisingly, I thought the Ugly list would be longer like I would be extra miserable about normal life things when I got back, but to be completely honest, lots of good things have happened since I got back and even though I’m back at work and not in France, I feel good. I genuinely understand the complete necessity for vacations now. They’re not just for funsies. They’re for your mental health.

Awesome:
Getting to relive memories by sorting through all these pictures! I’m sure I’ll be sick of them soon, but now I love it. Also, gelato. Gelato is awesome.

Check back soon for Trip post # 2 of several!! Or better, subscribe to my blog because you love me! Yay! (Click button above that reads “click here for awesomeness” after writing your email address in the field above it. Thanks!!!)