It's a (2 month old) boy!

11:04 AM Mallory Nicole 3 Comments

This is what I've been up to in my absence. This little guy. He'll be two months old on Tuesday, and he has been such a delight! Everything about him has been so easy so far, and we are definitely spoiled.  I cannot say that I feel like a "mom," but I have enjoyed snuggling with him and winning his smiles.
Samson is pretty curious about him and tries to steal kisses when we're not looking (and when we are). I cannot wait for them to play together.
Daniel has been amazing, too. Those first couple of weeks when I was recovering, he made sure that everyone had just what they needed. He is starting a collection of frisbees, fox tails and nerf guns to play with Soren when he is able. I know he is excited for that time, and I'm excited to watch them play.



11:17 AM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

Warning: This post will seriously lack in thought out photography. You will experience only phone photos. And it's long, because I wanted to convey the delight of cruising.

Cruising...didn't know what I'd think about it honestly. I'm a girl who loves to stay in one place for a while and experience the culture. In this case, a cruise was the answer. I would have probably never seen Croatia otherwise, or even Ephesus.

We sailed with Norwegian Cruise Lines and they are all about "Freestyle Cruising." What does this mean? You eat when you want (as long as the restaurants are open), and you sit where you want (not necessarily common among cruise lines). There are several restaurants that are included in your cruise package...2 buffet, 2 sit down, and all VERY nice with lots of options. There is no shortage of food. There are also restaurants that require you to pay $20 like a Brazilian Steakhouse, a Sushi Bar, a Steak Place...all very nice, and there is no way you would get away paying $20 pp normally.

The nice thing about Norwegian is the night before they give you a schedule of events that are happening and you can choose what you want to do: table tennis tournament, pool party, shuffleboard tournament, lectures teaching you about something that is common to the area, bingo, musical performances, dance lessons, and much much more. On Thursday, there was a chocolate buffet in the evening with all kinds of chocolate sculptures to marvel at, as well as, a wide variety of chocolatey things to stuff yourself with.


A 7 day cruise in the Mediterranean with 4 ports (besides Venice).
Saturday - Board ship. You take your luggage to a warehouse looking place where tags with your room number are put on them, then you walk to check-in and go through security. There is one restaurant open to enjoy some lunch, and they announce when your room is available where you find your luggage waiting.
Sunday - Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Monday - Sea Day. It sounds boring, but it's nice to relax and get to know the ship.
Tuesday - Athens,  Greece
Wednesday - Ephesus, Turkey
Thursday - Sea Day
Friday - Split Croatia
Saturday - Back in Venice. The night before you pack your bags (with a small bag for toiletries that night) and leave them outside of your room. You should have already selected which time you'd like to leave the boat. That morning there is time for breakfast and looking out the windows at Venice. You then exit the ship and pick up your bags.

Turns out we are QUITE the shuffleboard champs. Daniel and I beat a couple in their 60s from Scotland. And later that week my dad and Daniel beat a bunch of guys in a tournament. At the end of the week I had "shuffleboard shoulder."

Our cruise director was AWESOME! His name is Gary. He made announcements every morning and evening in 5 languages with a perfect accent: English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish...he also knows Greek, but apparently didn't need it. His vocabulary is out of a movie and all you want to do is listen to him...he could probably sell poop. His history is SO interesting, and any place Gary was speaking, Daniel and I were there, along with a bunch of older women who probably had crushes on him, as well. He has a book about his showbiz days, cruise directing days, and his animal shelter...we haven't bought it...yet. We probably miss him the most.

Our room was smaller than a hotel, but we really only slept in there, or watched movies on the various stations. We often switched between the English and German station (the Muppets in German are great!).

Out of all the shows, the husband/wife acrobat duo was AMAZING (they use to perform with Cirque Du Soleil)! I had a little crush on them, too. One day I was getting tea and standing right next to them...that guy had arm muscles the size of my waist (pre-pregnancy), while managing to be 6 inches shorter than me.

The whole cruise was awesome, love Norwegian Cruise Lines and hope to go to the Baltics and Alaska with them some day!


Venice, Italy

1:09 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Venice is a beautiful city tourist attraction. Yes. I would not really call the island a city, because
there is not a feel for local life, just for tourism. You may be fine with that, you may not. I am glad we were able to visit, though we generally life to get a feel for the culture.  

                                                 Gondolas                                                                                                                                    St Mark's Square

We managed to see what we wanted of St. Mark's the morning before we got on the cruise ship (our cruise began and ended in Venice), though we never walked inside any of the attractions. Lines are long, and the place was crowded. Throughout our time on the island we saw a lot of St Marks, as we often found ourselves passing through it to get to different sections.

 View from the Bridge of Sighs

The sites are definitely beautiful, and there is no lack of souvenirs to be found. We stayed and extra two nights in Venice, thinking that we paid to fly over there, we might as well get the best of it. This brings me to my tips for Venice:

1. Yes, you should visit if it's your heart's desire, but I would recommend visiting while on a tour of Italy, maybe just a one night stay. We were seriously twiddling our thumbs by the evening we got off of the Cruise ship. Maybe we would have wanted to see more, if we had not spent a week traveling around the Mediterranean just before that. On our second day off the ship our mission was to find the McDonalds (we saw an advertisement for it on a trash can near the Rialto bridge).

2. Dress nicely. Jeans, no tshirts, well fitted clothing. Europeans dress remarkably well...all the time. We saw men with fitted jeans (not skinny, they just weren't baggy), button up shirts tucked in with sleeves rolled up and casual shoes (not chucks, or tennis shoes). Women were often wearing skinny jeans with little to no fading, flat shoes, and a nice blouse or shirt. You would also see dresses and skirts, all of the clothing fitting well.

3. Be prepared for a weather change. The day we got off of the boat, we were all sweating in our shorts and short-sleeved shirts...I was even wearing a sleeveless shirt. The next day, temps dropped, and it was cloudy. Daniel and I had to run around trying to find a warm jacket to wear that wasn't expensive. Yes, there are plenty of stores there like Burberry, Mui Mui, Versaci, and other various high priced stores. Finding a place that was right on our price tag...more tricky.

4. This wasn't really a shock to us, but I think I should mention it: Americans tend to add more fat and flavor to their meals...Mexican food in Mexico is more bland and less cheesy than Tex-Mex, and Italian food in Italy is less creamy and cheesy than say...Olive Garden. It still tastes great, but some people may want to be warned.

5. Pack tightly. Please. You will regret having to pull more than one small suitcase onto water buses and over cobblestone streets with a lot of steps (there aren't ramps). Daniel and I each brought a suitcase the size of a carry on, with all of our clothes rolled tightly. Others in our travels packed a large suitcase that a human body could fit in, plus an extra carry on sized suitcase. Out of those people, one had some leg troubles, and one has had back troubles in the past that I was worried about flaring up. SO the pregnant girl and the strapping young lad tried to take as much of the luggage of their hands as possible. After many...subtle...comments about packing tendencies, they agreed that they would pack more tightly and lightly next time, and pay for a laundry service is needed.

Water buses are packed and busy; you do not want to be even more overwhelmed than you already are.

6. I've heard Europe is pricey, especially with the Euro to Dollar exchange rate, but Venice probably got away with even higher prices, since their sole income is tourism. Just be prepared. If you are a wine drinker, it will be cheaper than bottled water and soda, so I'd say go for it. Tap water is drinkable, so drink it, and don't waste $4 on a 20oz bottle of water if you don't have to. AND as with most of Europe a public Water Closet (toilet, restroom) will cost you 1 Euro with minimal places to find one.

View from the Rialto bridge of the Grand Canal

It was all worth admiring a city built out of the water, older than our country. And I'm happy to be able to say that I went there, so in 20 years (I may be exaggerating) when it has been taken over by water, I can say I have been there.


Split, Croatia

12:34 PM Mallory Nicole 3 Comments

Split was one of those ports I was glad to visit at the end. It was easy, and more about experiencing the Croatian culture than being a tourist. Unlike Dubrovnik, Athens and Ephesus, Split had a real life perspective. It seemed like there was a University near by the students we saw all over, as well as some stores we recognized.

From the cruise ship we had to take a tender to port, but once at the dock, you were in the city; for all of the other ports you needed some sort of transportation to get to the sites. The photo above is from the dock, and it was a spectacular view. There is quite an area to explore by foot where no cars can drive. There were so many locals at cafes in alleys enjoying wine or espresso.

There was also a HUGE farmer's market. We walked through the market where fruit was sold, and thought that was huge, then we saw it continued in another square, THEN we saw that the vegetable market was in another square. This was obviously how locals shopped, their way of wasn't something people trying to be green, organic, or hip were doing. A much different perspective!

The photos above show the older part of the city, including a wall, that you can tour. It is definitely the most "touristy" spot you can visit.

What I didn't see until we were taking the tender back to the ship, but there was a beautiful beach tucked away behind cliffs. If I ever went back, I'd take a bus there!

Tips for Split:
Relax, enjoy, observe and eat gelato!

Only one more city to go...Venice. There are tons of photos to choose from for that post...we'll see if I can keep them down!


Our Big News

11:27 AM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

7 months pregnant. Yes. We have waited a long time to put it online, but with only a couple of months left and the bump being a bit more obvious, we decided it was time. Our wee Wiese is due in the first days of October.

We are a mixture of excitement and nerves; for a long time the pregnancy was surreal (I didn't really start showing until a month and a half ago), but now that this baby will be here in 9 weeks or so, we're nervous.

The morning of the anatomy ultrasound we decided to find out if we were having a girl or a boy, with the intention of keeping that to ourselves until baby showers. Now our family knows, and with that friends in San Antonio, but we still have a couple of showers in Houston.

So, in two months we go from a family of three (we count Samson), to a family of four!


Ephesus, Turkey

11:09 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Ephesus. It's beautiful! Turkey is beautiful! This was our favorite port. We booked a tour since the drive from port is about 1.5 hours. It was the four of us and our tour guide; very personal. While planning this vacation, I thought I'd be wasting 3 hours driving around, but our tour guide told us all about the country, culture and history on the way. He pointed out ancient buildings propped on hills, and was so knowledgeable.

I didn't throw in a picture of it, but we were able to see the temple of Artemis, one of the ancient wonders of the world. The tour guide told us enough history to make it interesting without overwhelming us.

 The library at Ephesus is amazing, and it has been restored so beautifully.

When you get the the ancient city, you are able to walk through the ancient marble city, and it takes about an hour and a half when you include time to stop and admire the place. We were able to get an idea of what life was like for the people living in the city, including seeing the public bathrooms that were used.
Ephesus was lost from the third century AD til the mid 19th century, so only 10% of it is uncovered. While we were walking through the city, we were amazed that all we were saying was 10% of it.

Advice for Ephesus:

1. Visit it. Go when you are steady on your feet, but visit it!

2. Take a tour, especially if you can do one that is so personal. It was worth the extra money, and we got a free lunch with typical Turkish food at the end of the tour.

The only theater mentioned in the New Testament.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

10:54 AM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

Old Town from the wall

Dubrovnik, Croatia has spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea, especially from the wall surrounding Old Town Dubrovnik. This city is trying to build up tourism to stabilize their economy/ During the Serbo-Croation War (1991-1995), Dubrovnik was bombed though they held no military an effort to destroy morale of the country.

There is still evidence of the war as you walk along the wall; destroyed homes were transformed into gardens, and much of the Old Town is being rebuilt. Daniel and my experience was with the Old Town alone not the main city. I couldn't resist the photo opportunities that descriptions of the wall depicted. Despite the war, Old Town Dubrovnik is still a beautiful city.

 The rest of Dubrovnik can be seen past the wall.

The wall around Old Town was built in Medieval times and is about 1.25 miles around. Due to the fact that some areas of the wall are thin tourists can only walk around the wall one way. If you go, you'll be thankful for that. In keeping with my Athens post, I wanted to share some things for you to know when visiting Dubrovnik (Old Town):

1. The stairs you climb to get up to the wall are as old as the wall itself and people are ascending and descending. It doesn't seem important, until you realize the steps are not very wide, uneven and slippery due to traffic. My parents did not see the wall like we did, and I was thankful; my mom doesn't have the best stability, and she is afraid of heights. Which brings me to...

2. The wall is high, and as I said before, some parts of the wall fit 1.5 people across. There is some security in the walls that border the walk way all the way along the wall, so for someone like me, who is not afraid of heights, I felt fine. Daniel on the other hand, had to walk across these parts fast, until he felt more secure. I would often lag behind and take photos while he went to an area that made him feel safer.

3. Take photos. It's beautiful. How often do you get to walk along a Medieval wall with spectacular views?

4. I mentioned that we spent our time in Old Town only. My parents took and excursion, through our cruise line, which was much different than our experience. They LOVED it, a highlight of the whole trip. They took a bus through the scenic country and saw just how beautiful it is. They spent some time with families who make their living off of oyster farming and the production of olive oil. It was really neat for them to see the less touristy part of the country. The Croatian families were very hospitable, showing them just how their day looked, and giving them lunch, and allowing them to try everything. My mom bought me a bottle of the Olive Oil they made. I can't bring myself to open it, until I have a delicious bread worthy of dipping.

5. If you like coke (or diet coke), buy some there. In Venice and Athens (and even the cruise ship) we were paying from $3-$6 for a can of soda. In Croatia you could get a bottle for about $2. I know that seems silly, but when you're drinking tap water in these countries, the little things seem so great. Later we wished we would have bought an extra bottle for the ship.

6. Buy something from the locals. Daniel and I didn't know what sort of struggles the city has gone through until the next day when we spoke to our cruise director (who is awesome) and he told us all about being in the first cruise ship to return to the city after the war. The locals appreciation for their stop was heart wrenching.

I don't know what it is like to stay in the city overnight, but it would be worth researching, especially with views like the one below.


Athens, Greece

1:19 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Wow, I have really neglected this blog. There was so much going on that I wasn't ready to share, so I didn't share anything. Now, after being back for over 2 months, I want to tell you a bit about the Mediterranean Cruise my husband and I went on.

I've decided to share our trip by port, going in alphabetical order starting with Athens.

The "Front Porch"

The Acropolis in Athens was amazing; our US history is not so old, so this was quite an experience.

While looking at the detail in the architecture, I wondered if we could create such masterpieces by hand these days. The task seems daunting, now that we are so comfortable with our machines.

  A theater before you begin your ascent to the Acropolis.

The Acropolis is on a hill, but surrounded by the city. While walking through the city, you find a lot of pieces of ancient Greece surrounded by modern structure. I love that history is so imbedded in everyday life, not just stuck in a museum.

In Athens itself, the photo above is a common sight. The beauty of the Acropolis is not matched in the city, as I had imagined. The current Greek economy is in duress, and that is reflected on every building of the city. That is not a reflection on the Greek people we met, though. The shop owners we spoke to, and our waiter at the restaurant we ate at, were sweet and helpful.

There are somethings that I think all people should should know when traveling to Athens:

1. Make Athens a one day stop to see the Acropolis. Some friends of ours were planning on staying there while traveling around Greece, but after seeing their hotel options, and the state of the city, they opted to leave sooner then originally planned.

2. Wear a money belt. Never did I feel like someone was about to take my money, but I felt better knowing that my purse couldn't be grabbed off of my shoulder. While at the restaurant, a man, not originally of Greek origin, tried to sell us a cheap piece of plastic that threaded a needle for you. Our waiter warned us to ignore them, because when we pulled our money out for him, he would grab all that he could. The security of the money belt was really nice after that.

3. Visit the Acropolis while you are young. Not only do you walk up slanted steps to get to the acropolis, but once there, you are walking on centuries old, smooth marble, uneven paths and masses of tourists squeezing by trying to keep up with their tour group. Once you get by the "front porch" and Parthenon, the place opens up much more, and you really only deal with slippery marble.

4. We did not have a tour guide, and I was happy that we didn't spend the money on one. I do think my dad (who, with my mom, traveled with us) would have liked one, but he is all about hearing every detail about history. So that is to say that a tour guide is a personal decision.
BUT with the acropolis being about the only thing I really wanted to see in Athens, I was happy to just book a ride on an "On and Off" bus. These buses had set stops that took us from port, to the Acropolis (with stops in between) and from there you could take the bus around Athens. They provide headphones for you to plug into a station (with many language options) that told you about the sites you are driving by. It was enough to satisfy me, and I could stay or go, and wait for the next bus when I was ready to head somewhere else.

It was amazing to be in such an ancient place, and we are so glad to have been able to visit!


A Busy Season

1:55 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

The pops of color are so great in this room. Working that into my guest room!

I've been quiet here lately, but I've been keeping myself busy:

• Full-time office job hunting
• Keeping up my own design/illustration/photo business
• Planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party (making them awesome on a budget is a challenge)
• Secretly giving awesome advice for a bachelor party
• Making art for a room redecoration that needs done desperately
• Finishing off final details of vacation, while getting super excited (how early is too early to pack?)
• Going to shows for my husband's band! (He's the bass player)

And trying to remain social, meeting new people, plus general house care. It seems like I always have appointments, meetings, and such at 2 pm. I don't know why that's the magical number.
I'm loving this time though; I feel productive, and life is good. Design has been rolling in, and I traded photography for a cake. Life is swell!

Last October I said 2012 will be great. I can say that the above list (minus vacation) was not in my plans for 2012, but I know it's going to be the best year yet!



My Favorite Room

3:05 PM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

Not only does this room have the most sunlight pouring in, but it holds many of my favorite things: books, childhood knickknacks, music boxes, blythe dolls, love letters from my husband, photo albums and our piano.

Eventually I'd like to add a mid century modern love seat of a fainting sofa to this room, so I can read in the sun.

Have you heard the Civil Wars? They're amazing! You should check them out if you haven't heard them.



7:18 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I'm obsessed with mint these days, though I don't own anything in mint.
Hope you have a mint-filled spring!

12, 3



8:07 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I am gearing up for my trip to Italy and the Mediterranean; the weeks can be counted on my fingers. This photo of Cinque Terre, Italy is making me more anxious!



Day Dreams

11:21 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Daydreaming has been on my mind.

I could win a prize in daydreams; I go into depth of what I want to happen. But, let me be frank, often my daydreams end up disappointing me, because they aren't real, and they probably won't happen.
I daydreams come in wide variety:

• I've been an actress in a rave movie and gotten past my fear of people watching me.
• I've moved to California and become a great designer/photographer.
• I've been a highly desired photographer, doing shoots for fashion and travel.
• I've casually run into various famous people and made a difference in their lives.
• I've owned tiny elephants.

Right now I can't help but daydream about jobs. I get so caught up in a daydreams about various companies that have open positions that I qualify for, but they require a move; something harder to do as a couple. I daydream about the ways it will boost my design, and career.

The daydream I need to get lost in now is my trip to Venice, Italy and the subsequent Mediterranean cruise. It's not far off (after 2.5 years of planning it), and it's real.

What sort of daydreams do you get caught in?



6:47 PM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

I redesigned my Mallory Nicole Design & Illustration logo today, refreshing my portfolio and resume as well. I feel better. I've also been working on a wedding invite.

Today's February Photoaday prompt was "sun," but I forgot about it until the sun set. So, in honor of my missed photo, here are a couple of West Palm Beach photos I recently edited.


Oh, Hello

11:32 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

I'm alive. I promise. One of the worse sicknesses I get are a case of the lazies. Seriously, it is hard to shake. For a couple of weeks I have only taken care of what I needed to. It's bad. But I feel like I'm back on track! So I leave you with photos of my awesome dolls. (thinking about putting the first one in the guestroom.)


The Wiegands

9:06 AM Mallory Nicole 1 Comments

I am usually a sucker for design blogs, but for a couple of months now I have been reading a blog written by Casey Wiegand; she has a beautiful soul, full of compassion. God has used her posts to comfort me and challenge me to have more faith.
At times, when I get caught up in daydreams about a new car, or the couch that I want for my library I get overwhelmed by the lack of freelance work I’m getting. I worry about how I’m unable to get nicer things, forgetting that I have more than I need already.
Casey and her husband have so much faith that God will provide what they need when they need it, not just for them, but their two beautiful children. Reading her words has moved me in many ways to be a better person.
I don’t want to give away all of her awesome qualities and details; you can check that out on her blog here.
Photos are from here.



12:00 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Drawing is one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, I don't take the time to brainstorm many ideas. I just wanted to share a couple of my favorites.

Before Daniel and I started dating, I drew him a photo of a man in a top hat. Soon after we were dating a lady with a parasol came about. This is the first of many "Daniel and Mallory" drawings that were made.

I really wanted to draw something with a lot more detail than I normally put in, and I love birdcages. Thus, the birdcage body was created.