July 25, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Travel

After we visited Italy in 2012 I couldn’t stop raving about La Torre, an agriturismo in the Bagni di Lucca region of Tuscany. Anytime anyone said they were thinking about a trip to Italy I would urge them to look into this place that felt so magical to me, and it’s a place that I wish everyone could experience. I was thrilled when my friend Ami accepted my submission about La Torre to her travel website because it means even more people can dream about going there!

Ami launched Entouriste earlier this year, a travel blog that accepts submissions of beautiful places around the world. Most of the submissions come from photographers and so the photos are gorgeous (whenever I want to pin a post to my travel-themed board on Pinterest I have a hard time choosing a favorite). I love the site not only for the photos, but for the ways the submission focus in on areas of the world that aren’t often highlighted in travel books or magazines. I know that if I ever go to France that the Eiffel Tower won’t be at the top of my list, the Walled City of Saint-Malo will. If we ever settle in one place long enough I’d love to do a Hometown Highlights tour.

Entouriste’s motto is “Go Ahead, Get Lost“, and it makes me smile every time I click over there. Even if you can’t travel right now, or in the forseeable future, it’s pretty wonderful to spend an afternoon getting lost on the site. The Patagonia post. And the Ring Road of Iceland. Oh! And the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille. I’ll stop. After I link you to this post about The Causeway Coastal Route, which you’ll add to your bucket list of you’re a Game of Thrones fan like me.

Thanksgiving 2012 (Mini) Road Trip

November 27, 2012 By: Jenna Category: family

That Husband started traveling this week and T1 and I are working on figuring out how to adjust to him not coming home at night. I was very careful to use new language when describing where TH is. Usually we talk about how he is “working hard”, but now we say he is “travelling” and I talk about the place where he has traveled to. I hope that over time T1 learns to distinguish between the days that I tell him TH is traveling (meaning he won’t be coming home that night) and the days TH is working hard (meaning he will get to have daddy put him to bed!). Although there are many ways it will be stressful, one positive benefit I’ve already identified is that I’ll get a little more “me time” (if T1 ever decides to go to bed, it’s 10:00 pm and he is refusing to do so as I type this). Usually I make dinner and clean up and then devote the rest of my night to spending time with my boys. Now that TH is gone 3 nights/week, that hour I spent with him can be some time I use for my own little projects.

Of course I’m not going to make any assumptions about what blogging will be like for the next few months, especially with the baby, but I did cross a item off my to-do list last week — I finished sorting and scanning in all of our receipts from the past year! I still need to go into Mint and categorize everything from April/May until the present, and then a bunch of Jenna Cole related tax stuff (which is extra annoying considering I haven’t even been working much!). If I finish that up before the baby comes then I’ll get to attack all of the blog posts that have been building up over the past few months. Hooray!

For now though, I wanted to share some photos from our post-Thanksgiving road trip down to Monterey. We originally planned on doing the 17-mile drive and then visiting the aquarium, but we left late and the weather was so nice that paying a bunch of money to stay inside didn’t sound appealing just yet. So we did the 17-mile drive and then went over to Capitola (and yes, we went to Gayle’s :) ) to check out the beach over there. It ended up being one of our favorite family-together-time weekends ever!

pinterestfail015 pinterestfail016 pinterestfail017

Read more →

Bay Area Entertainment Suggestions

August 22, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Uncategorized

Hiiii! We’re still in Poland. Here is T1 doing what he loves most, playing in my in-law’s backyard.


Here is Krakow:


All of the family members here keep saying “Your time here is so short, too short.” I hope they will come visit us in California soon, now that we have the space to host them!

When I announced we were moving to Chicago two years ago, you guys flooded me with suggestions regarding what to do and see while we were there, and I loved it! If you’re headed to Chicago and would like to find ideas regarding where to eat, I have a Pinterest board devoted to places I’ve been (and a few places I wanted to go but never got to).

I logged in to Facebook this morning and noticed a friend had asked what to see/eat/do in San Francisco which led to lots of fabulous suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for me? Now that we have more disposable income and T1 is a little bit older we are looking forward to exploring a bit more. Also we haven’t been very good about making date night a regular occurrence and I am committed to making sure that changes from here on out!

Although I’m sure most people know and love San Francisco the best (and I’m sure we will make some trips up there!) we’re living closer to Stanford and suggestions related to the Palo Alto area would be much appreciated. Or Berkeley or San Jose if it’s something we absolutely can’t miss.

If you have a whole books worth of ideas and would like to get specific, here are the type of suggestions that fit our current lifestyle:

Family outings appropriate for children under 5

Weekend half-day trips for the whole family

Inexpensive (and delicious!) restaurants in the Palo Alto area where I can take friends and family when they come stay with us, or for meeting up with people in the area

Unique restaurants for date night (they don’t have to all be expensive, though French Laundry and Chez Panisse are already on my list!)

Date night ideas (particularly free ones in the Peninsula area of the Bay)

Activities and places to take guests (with/without kid(s) )

Any and all restaurants (and why you loved them) because I love bookmarking possibilities and looking at menus!


Next week we are going to have a few days together before TH starts work and I want to do something fun before he gets really busy. I’m thinking a day trip down to Santa Cruz (it’s about n hour from where we live) could work. Is there another beach town you would suggest instead? Or something else a sick pregnant lady can handle?

Poland 2011

May 02, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Travel

Look at how much T1 has grown in 6 months time! We were in Poland in September of 2011 and I’m writing this post in May of 2012. Prompt recaps just really aren’t my thing, you know? This is a little taste of the happiness we found in That Husband’s hometown.

My in-laws have a gorgeous backyard filled with trees and bushes that were bursting with fruit when we were there. Pears, berries, apples. We missed the mini kiwis by only a few days!

T1′s grandparents on both sides spoil him shamelessly. On this visit to Poland he found a special chair in the kitchen where he could sit and drink his milk while watching Teletubbies (in Polish of course).

A favorite from the trip!

Read more →

Lake Garda: Where We Ate

April 13, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Travel

My enthusiasm for recaps is running low, and so for my last of our Italy posts I shall copy and paste directly from my notes.

Verdi in Garda
Antipasti d’Italia (assortment of meats with pickled vegetables)
Antipasti of the lake (so so good!)
Mixed salad
Grilled trout (our favorite)
39 euros

Gelateria Paradice
Ricotta Miele e Noci
Skip the cone at this place. Not only was my wafer stale, the coconut on the outside was rancid!

La Vittoria
Ham and mozzarella
Smoked trout on a bed of greens with pink peppercorns
Huge portions!
45 euros

On the last day of the trip, as we drove down from Lake Garda toward Bologna, we had one last stop. I had done some searching to find the best restaurants in Italy, and it turns out that one of the best in the world is located in Modena. Osteria Francescana was the perfect way to cap off a dream vacation for us.  This place is tucked away, and has some of the best service we’ve ever had. It’s a tiny dining room with six tables, and at the beginning of our meal we almost felt like we should whisper because it was so quiet. Happily this wore off with time. The most interesting thing in the room was the young man dining all alone directly across from us. We enjoyed speculating about who he might be, and why he would be eating such an expensive and unique meal all by himself.

At first That Husband wasn’t very excited about me taking pictures, but then the people around us started photographing every course and so I felt it was appropriate to bring mine out for a few dishes.

If you want a really in-depth review of the meal, this New York Times article will tell you what you need to know. But I admit, I liked that we went into the experience not knowing much about what we were getting ourselves into. A few of the surprises that we had really delighted us. No matter what, you absolutely must have the five ages and five textures of Parmesan cheese. I think it is the most whimsical thing I’ve ever eaten.

Here are my notes:

Modern decor
Only 6 tables in the dining room
When you get up and leave your napkin, they retrieve it and take it away, and bring you a new one using tongs

Meat paste is a little strange texturally, but I appreciated the contrast with the salty bread.

Parmesan dish reigned supreme, the crunchiest was my favorite, with the creamy being the next best.

Soup was very complex, the flavors all finished one after another.

Cooked the ravioli pork until all the fat is gone, light butter sauce

The gelatinous covering on the dessert was interesting, and actually took away from the dish. Once I peeled that off it was much better.

The last course was the best!!!

Oh, and if you go, you must visit the bathroom! The doors are really cool. :)


With our bellies full (and my heart aching to see the little one again!) we boarded a plane and headed back to Poland. This trip was everything I had been dreaming of.

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
  • Archives

That Wife
All rights reserved © 2008-2015

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley