A Taste of Brussels

What place to you want to revisit to see something you missed?

After several days of rain, we finally got out to see the beautiful city of Brussels, Belgium. Full of remarkable architecture and beautiful parks, there’s no shortage of things to see.

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A Taste of Ghent

Where is your favorite cute small town or village?

From the moment we set foot in the cute little town of Ghent, we instantly fell in love. It might have helped that the central square is dominated by three massive cathedrals (and I’m a sucker for cool architecture).

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A Taste of Amsterdam

What’s the coolest bar you’ve been to?

Call us crazy, but we were actually somewhat underwhelmed by Amsterdam. Perhaps it’s because we had spent so much time already in its sister, Rotterdam, that it just didn’t amaze us all that much. Additionally, there were a LOT of people – most of them on bikes. We had to be careful to not get run over as we tried to walk the city.

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A Taste of Rotterdam Architecture

Where have you seen the coolest architecture?

Rotterdam is known for its unique architecture. When the city was leveled during WWII, the city voted to start fresh rather than rebuild what was there. This created a city with an architecturally young center.

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A Taste of Heidelberg’s Philosopher’s Way

Where do is your favorite city view?

After a long day of exploring Heidelberg – complete with pretzels and beer – it was hard to stay out after the sun went down. However, a trip to the top of the Philosopher’s Way for sunset guaranteed we’d see the city at night.

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Grouse Mountain

After a trip to Capilano, we had to make our way to the nearby Grouse Mountain. There was so much to discover and more hiking than we had time for. We’ll have to go back sometime!

LotsaSmiles Photography

While somewhat a tourist attraction, if you find yourself in Vancouver, you’ll want to check out the views from atop Grouse Mountain.

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Welcome to Vancouver!

Switching gears once more, we thought we’d give you a taste of our adventures in another place: Vancouver, BC. A long drive, a beautiful city, and a midnight fire scare.. welcome to Vancouver!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Overall, we found Vancouver B.C. to be a very welcoming city.  After all, it appeared to have more tourists than residents, spanning the entire globe.  And it was quite the destination for Canada Day celebrations.

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Chicago: The Opportunity | LotsaSmiles Photography

It’s time to take another break – the holiday season is crazy busy!!  Are you swamped, too?  We have some exciting updates coming to our website, and more adventures on the horizon.  But for now, please enjoy this tale of another opportunity we had to travel on the corporate dime!


I learned from my father many years ago one very important lesson: take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.  After all, you never know when you might look back on a “no” and wish that it had been a “yes.”  I strive to live every day by the mantra of “no regrets,” and thus far, it has served me well.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

When Aaron’s company decided to move its headquarters from Portland to Chicago, they offered him continued work in the new city, along with a relocation package.  To help convince us, they would fly us (both) out to Chicago for a weekend, show us some apartments and the city sights, and wine and dine us – all on the company’s dime.  We’re quite happy living in Portland, and Aaron hated his job at the time, so moving wasn’t even a consideration for us.

Aaron almost told them no, outright.  I thought he was crazy.

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A Weekend in Seattle

As I’ve divulged before, I love surprises.  And fortunately enough for me, Aaron loves to dole them out (when he can keep it secret long enough to actually surprise me).  He particularly loves to plan surprise trips.  So this year, for my birthday, he packed us into the car and just started driving north.  And for me the destination was a mystery.

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