Posts filed under Travel Diaries

Hello, World! It's Been Awhile! Some (small) Updates to Follow...

First things first, WE ELOPED! 

Let me start by sharing a little bit about our story - it's a pretty simple one. Robert and I met on a Friday, the 13th, and we have been inseparable ever since. We knew we wanted to marry each other on our second date. We also knew we wanted to have kids together on that same date. It was a looooong date but also one of my favorite memories of my life. I was about to hop on a plane to Italy the next morning, and he cut a work trip short to make sure we saw each other before I left. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were living together. Some more things happened, and before we knew it, we moved to Washington, DC. 

And through all these adventures, we became a family - a family that supported each other through the good, the bad, and the unexpected. A family that wanted to explore the world together, grow old together, and grow wise together. A family that saw each member as a teammate and a partner. A family that felt like home, no matter where we were.

And, when we decided to actually get married, we wanted one thing only: a day for ourselves, where we'd only have eyes for each other and the place we were at. So... we decided to elope! To NYC!

The story of our elopement is quite fun in of itself. But we should save this for some other time. The one thing I would note is... Why doesn't EVERYONE elope? It's amazing! Best decision we ever made! But I am saving this story for another time because...

In other news.... WE'RE PREGNANT! Like, VERY pregnant! 


As I mentioned before, we knew we wanted to have kids together on our second date... So, not long after we settled in DC, we decided to go for it! And it wasn't too long before I found myself six weeks pregnant on a trip to Iceland and England. Overall, I have been fortunate to have a fairly easy pregnancy. The short version goes like this:

  • First trimester: a whole lot of nausea and an international trip that didn't exactly make things easier. But it sure gave us plenty of stories to tell one day (such as, chasing the aurora borealis amidst 10-ft waves on a tiny boat...). In other words, I spent it mostly napping.
  • Second trimester: a whole lot of discomfort from a growing belly plus some minor complications that got resolved on their own (these doctors know way more than they should these days). In other words, I spent it mostly on the couch. 
  • Third trimester (so far): I have to say, this has been my best trimester so far. I got my energy back, I got to feel the baby kick (you're kicking me, smalls! like, all the time!), and, for the first time, I got to feel confident that we've got this!

So, this is it! A catch-all, long overdue, catch-up post.

Truly though, what matters is the bottom line, right? 

And the bottom line is... WE'RE HAPPY! And extremely tired (already). 

PS: Today happens to be my birthday. I don't necessarily believe in New Years' resolutions but shall we try to do birthday resolutions? Let's see how that works. My birthday resolution is to resurrect this blog... Fingers crossed, a new baby and a hectic new life don't throw me off too much! 

Happy Tuesday!

My favorite things about Washington, DC... So far

It has now been almost 4 months since we moved to Washington, DC. Below, I quickly share some of my favorites thus far. The things that you won't see here are food places (yum...) or museums. The first will be hard to write about... I refuse to take pictures of my food :). The latter requires a whole dedicated post to itself.

So, without further adieu... My three favorite things in DC! (So far):

1. The Commute

I am sure no one has ever muttered these words before, but I absolutely love my commute to work every day! Unlike in Houston, public transportation here is an integral part of the city and many people take full advantage of it (including me). I am lucky enough to not have to switch buses... and the above images are taken from my daily walk to catch the bus. It is easy on the eyes!

And I never realized how stressful a driving commute can be until I no longer had to go through it. In Houston, I had to drive an average of 30-40 minutes to get to work and from work. This was peak rush hour and inevitably, it resulted in plenty of almost-accidents, honking, swears, and fake road rage... Well, road rage no more! My daily bus commute involves me, my podcasts (NPR One!) and peace and quiet. 

2. The Office

I have noticed that working for universities has many wonderful pluses (vacation, anyone?:), one of which is that typically, your office location is rather beautiful. AU and Kogod don't disappoint. Actually, AU's campus is a nationally registered arboretum! Being surrounded by trees and gorgeous landscape calms the soul, even if you have had a long and tiring day.

3. Local Travel

The East Coast feels so tiny! Aka, very easy to travel! Since we moved here, we have spent time in Maryland, Virginia (Great Falls and Wine Country), Pennsylvania (Falling Water) and NYC. The longest of these trips was our Falling Water trip that took as about 3.5 hours each way... 3.5 hours in TX would barely get you to Austin! Needless to say, Chewie likes joining in on the fun because of that!

So this is it... the three simple joys of our recent move! I am sure there will be plenty more to come :). Have a great Friday!

Posted on November 10, 2017 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Some news...

Time to say goodbye, Houston!

Houston has been my home for nine years now... And Houston has been good: the people I've met, the relationships I've built, the food! This is the place where I had my first home away from home, with my family away from family.  This is where I found Chewie. And Robert. I'd like to think that this is the place where I have grown the most. Where I learned to be more patient, more kind, more generous... heck, I even learned to love running!

So, yes, Houston, you will be missed. But...

Your replacement is not too shabby either. World, we are moving to Washington, DC! And my oh my, does it feel like I am finally coming home! Our frequent visits to DC reminded me exactly how much I miss Bulgaria. The four seasons, the ability to walk everywhere, the crowds of international people, the plethora of foreign languages around you, the old buildings, the old world cafes and restaurants that invite you into their priceless sidewalk vistas for people-watching... there is so much to savor!

So stay tuned! As you might expect, a cross-country move is so much fun! And I hope to be able to tell you all about it! 

Now, back to packing and making sure this place is in tip-top shape for the market :)

Posted on July 8, 2017 and filed under Travel Diaries, Design + DIY.

'Tis the season... the azalea season!

Tardy in more ways than one...  

I can't believe I am posting these a year late, but since one of my favorite Houston to-do's is right around the corner, I was inspired to dig through the archives. This year marks the 82nd Annual Azalea Trail. Packaged as an enjoyable and manageable walk through the city, this event hits some of my all-time favorite museum gardens, such as the Rienzi and Bayou Bend. 

These lovely flowers came courtesy of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Where, by the way, you can enjoy one of their sip and strolls, if you so happen to miss the Azalea Trail (which I would highly suggest against! :). 

If I have peeked your interest with these pictures, below are some logistical details, beautifully created by none other than our friends at Papellerie:

Happy Sunday!

Travel and design, reunited!

Hello, strangers! Long time, no see!

Before we know it, it's already December, it almost feels like it's fall in Houston (ahem, rainy and below 75F :) and we have arrived at a great spot to share an update of all of our recent trips and the few updates we made to our home!

If you have been following Instagram, you may have noticed it has been a busy few months. In this short timeframe, we managed to travel to Gulf Shores (hello, pretty beaches), Miami (hello, posh beaches), Portland (green, green, green!), Seattle (rain...) and Vancouver (even more rain...)! And, in doing so, we have been experimenting with different ways of commemorating the places we visit... Because it seems we are rather nostalgic and sentimental when it comes to travel memories and pretty pictures just don't cut it :).

So, while browsing one of the many museum gift shops we visited (yup, we love these... sometimes better than the museums themselves!), we came across the above incredible novelty... A kind-of-a-globe! But so much better!

So... we started a thing:

This concoction of organic paper, fun watercolor markers (to shade the countries we have visited) and white calligraphy (to showcase the cities in each country we visited) seems to be just the perfect fit for chronicling our adventures! 

Some of our favorite spots for each city are shown below... And, with all good intentions, I do hope to be able to take you on a quick tour of each... In due time!




And just because I really can't help but wanting to share... Other favorite outtakes from the trip! But, more on that later! :)

And... to finish off, there is one more, rather more indulgent and logistically challenging way of keeping up with our travels... Starbucks mugs!! Yes, we haul these from all over! In fact, I can recall carrying at least two of these beauties in my backpack on our way back from Vancouver! 

And, I have a suspicion we may be adding one more of these before year-end!! Let's hope we don't freeze in the process...

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Posted on December 4, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY, Travel Diaries.

On Instagram...

Welcome, welcome!! We have just enough time for a quick re-cap of the week... (John Oliver, we miss you. When do you get back on air??). Let's start with the important announcements. This week, this blogger starts her new job... also known as, Katya's new and improved career, 2.0! In seven words, I landed my dream job rather unexpectedly. In a few more words, as all things wonderful, this opportunity come around in a rather unplanned and uncalled-for manner! But more words on that interesting story shall come some other time.  

Meanwhile... Also this week, as a last hooray before meaning real business, we took another incredible trip to DC! This city doesn't cease to amaze. I have a feeling that having the best tour guide in the world helps though... Either way, it is beautiful out there! Which brings us to the main story of the week...

A new Instagram approach! Or simply put, allowing two distinct and rarely overlapping passions to grow and become their own thing! So without further adieu... Make sure to check out:





Traveling and design. Each now belonging to its rightful world, topic of interest and audience! Such a little definition change yet so exciting to announce! And it has already been a bit addicting... the ideas keep on coming and I can hardly contain them all! 

So what prompted the change? Well, it was becoming rather obvious that the original Kaya Instagram account was turning into a travel diary. No complaints here... None. At all! But that also made the few interior design shots I dared to share really seem out of place. And, after the (very) kind and generous encouragement of friends and family, a new avenue to share design ideas was born! 

So... I hope you check it out!! Content will be featured (as it is with this blog :), as often as humanly possible! Well, as often as possible for this human :).

And now that we have covered all things important, we are moving onto some other fascinating to-do's for an average Wednesday... Such as selecting medical and retirement plans :). Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Posted on August 31, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY, Travel Diaries.

Sorrento, eye candy... tomayto, tomahto

After spending two nights in Naples (which were, of course, educational in their own right...), it was time to move south and arrive at our resting spot for the next three nights: 

Ahhh... Sorrento.... hands-down favorite spot of the entire Amalfi Coast (or at least the small portion that I saw :). What a shame I have some OCD tendencies and have to go in order. Otherwise, I'd definitely save Sorrento for last. Alas. Second it is! Before I dive into my favorites though, let's pause for some more eye candy:

But wait... there's more...

This place is unbelievable, ins't it? I wish I could say these images were a function of the amazing photography skills of this blogger, but let's be real. That was not the case. Not even close. It's just that every turn, every corner, every lookout... all of it presents itself to be perfectly captured in a hard-to-believe completely perfect photograph. Every time. Even this shot below, courtesy of my iPhone's camera, is hard to believe. As evidence would point out... Sorrento boasts incredible vast skies, deep turquoise water, and the warmth of all those Italian rooftops. Also known as, heaven.

Right. So now that I am done selling you on the scenery... let's suggest a few things to do there, shall we?

1. Eat. Come to think of it, that is probably the only thing you need to really be doing there. Oh, and take pictures, in case I was not explicit before :). But I digress.. back to food. I have to tell you about this place. It's called L'Antica Trattoria, a Michelin-rated gem, in the heart of Sorrento, where everything placed on a plate in front of me deserved a medal of some sort and then would quickly disappear within minutes.

For the record, L'Antica Trattoria was the ONLY food reservation I made for the entire trip. And it was worth every drop of sweat and effort. I mean... who knew zucchini flowers tasted this good?!? 

Now, I would not let you assume that I am this pompous traveler who only knows the high life. Not even close. We just had a great reason to celebrate. Namely, this guy (happy belated birthday, dad!!). 

Which reminds me. The one thing I would suggest you should avoid in Sorrento: riding in a cab! You will feel greatly ripped off. There, I warned you! Even if the driver is charming (and rather handsome) and wants to woo you. Nope, do not do it! And also because the longest distance in Sorrento is 2KM max.... 

Ok, that said... I think I should tell you the second thing you should do when in Sorrento:

2. Visit Capri.

But more on that... next week!

Happy Monday!!