One Time, We Went On Vacation

To Europe! For two whole weeks! Together!

Europe Vacation //

As Alex was considering which capstone track to pursue, we very quickly decided that he should absolutely do the study abroad track. (Well, in real life, he wasn’t 100% sold at the beginning but I aggressively talked him into it; 6+ WEEKS IN EUROPE! WHEN ELSE IN YOUR LIFE WILL YOU HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY! I HOPE NEVER UNLESS I’M WITH YOU! GO TO EUROPE!) So Europe it was!

Tepper encourages students to travel during their breaks and gives an extra ‘experience week’ during winter and spring breaks. There are typically ‘treks’ organized that students (and partners!) can participate in and experience Japan or Israel or Yacht Week or Silicon Valley and more. We did not participate in a planned trek either year but we certainly made the most of our experience week this year!

Europe Vacation //

We planned to spend 2 weeks in Europe together, prior to Alex’s capstone starting in Germany in mid-March. Before the unexpected anxiety, we’d planned to bounce around, spending a few days in various places. After anxiety, we opted to chill out instead: 5 days in Paris, 2 days skiing in Chamonix and 1 day to explore Germany before I left and his program started. It was relaxing, recharging and perfect.

Rather than a play-by-play, I’m opting instead to share snippets of our week via photos.

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

Europe Vacation //

I can’t even overstate how much we needed a vacation – both as individuals and as a couple. Sitting on the plane to Frankfurt, we reminisced about the last time we took a vacation…4.5 years earlier for our honeymoon. Between vacations, we took many long weekend trips, road trips, ski trips with friends – but never a vacation for just the two of us with the sole intention of doing whatever the heck we felt like.

Now, I’m back into the swing of Denver life while he finishes his last few weeks in Europe before coming home for graduation. To say I’m anxious for him to be home (especially with current, unpredictable government) is an understatement. 3 weeks!


Heading West, Again

It’s a gorgeous fall day in Pittsburgh; humidity is low, temperatures have dipped and the sun is shining brightly. The kind of day that makes me appreciate spending time in the midwest for this moment in my life, yearning for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk Philly around our neighborhood, snuggling under a blanket with my husband in the evenings in our poorly-insulated old apartment.

But this is likely my first and last midwest fall day this season because, today, I begin a drive west to move back to Colorado.

Earlier this summer while working in Denver, I knew spending this upcoming year working remotely would not be the best decision for me, professional or personally. Truthfully, I knew this the moment I left Colorado last July.

Working from Home //

Being the sole remote person on my team was challenging; I missed interacting with my coworkers and I felt really isolated. Growing and leading a team remotely is extremely challenging and, this summer alone, I added 4 new members to my team and currently have open several open positions for my territory. Things at Ibotta are moving so fast and it’s such an exciting time to be part of this company that I don’t want to miss out on the unique opportunities and experience in front of me.

Alex immediately supported the move; he’s always encouraged me to find and follow what’s important to me in a career. After many thoughtful conversations, we made a game plan and I found a short term apartment in Denver before I left at the end of the summer. I will be spending most of my time in Denver and ‘reverse remote working’ where I’ll work remotely for a week in Pittsburgh every few weeks so I’m able to still spend time with Alex.

I’m as excited to move as I am sad to leave. 

For much of the past couple of years, I’ve felt like I’m in the passenger’s seat, figuring out how to fit my plans into my husband’s school schedule. This, though, is me taking the driver seat (literally) and making a decision about what’s best for me, a decision that sets me up for current and future success and is a decision I feel really good about. I’m excited to continue to grow in my career and be in the office as the next months unfold.

Of course, it’s not without it’s tradeoff. I’ve cried many tears about leaving Alex and Philly. About the life experiences Alex and I will have separately from each other. About missing out on the precious little time I have left with our Pittsburgh friends before graduation in May. About not living a short drive from Cincinnati.

It’s going to be hard and exciting and lonely and rewarding, all a the same time. In the end, these 10 months of long distance will fly by and be an interesting story in this ‘unconventional’ moment of our lives. (And after 2.5 years of long distance dating, 10 months feels like the blink of an eye!)

Moving to Denver // lynnepetre

See you soon, Denver. Just 1500 miles to go.

How Is It Already August?!

For the first weekend since my first weekend in Denver, I am IN Denver with NO plans. For the past 8 weekends, I have either traveled, backpacked or had friends in town and, while I’ve loved every single minute of it, it feels really decadent to have a down weekend…before the next round of madness.

This weekend, I am packing up the room of my ‘summer home’ in preparation for the next, full-time tenant who moves in next weekend. On Tuesday, I leave Denver to meet up with Heidi for a wild west road trip through Idaho and Oregon in the #YourLead van. When I return, I move in (very temporarily) to a friend’s basement until I shift to another friend’s house where I’ll be house/dog sitting while they’re out of town. From THERE, I’ll fly to *back* to Portland, OR, to run with Paula, Katie, Heidi and others in Hood To Coast. From THERE, I’ll red-eye myself to Pittsburgh to spend a (probably exhausted) day with my husband before he starts his second and final year of grad school the next day. Aug Updates //

The past few weeks have brought roller-coaster emotions, from the very high (Alex surprising me with a ticket to spend a weekend in Vegas with him) to pretty low (finding out important but scary family health news). I backpacked in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness for my final backpacking school overnight. I spent a final weekend in Los Angeles with Alex before he ends his internship this coming Friday. My brother and his girlfriend visited this past week and we went to Red Rocks Amphitheater for LCD Soundsystem (which was AMAZING!). And as work goes, I feel as passionate as ever and am very excited about what the next months hold.

I’m honestly flabbergasted that the summer is already coming to a close. And while it feels like I just arrived, I also packed so many great experiences into these past 11 weeks.

It’s hard sometimes for me and Alex to see the forest for the trees of this season of life. We can get so laser focused on how much we miss each other, how much we miss ‘real life’ together in the same city (with two incomes!) and forgetting this chapter is a finite moment.

The past year has brought so many interesting and important adventures into our life that we otherwise would never have experienced. Never in my life was Los Angeles on my radar or in my consideration set for a place to visit or consider living. We’ve road tripped across the country multiple times (and will do so a few more times before this season ends). And this summer, I’ve rediscovered my self-reliance in so many facets of life and have been humbled by the outreach and willingness of friends to loan a car or ride or, most importantly, an ear.

Alex and I have grown so much as a married couple, as individuals and as professionals this summer and past year that, without taking a step back to reflect, it’s easy to forge ahead and not appreciate what we’ve learned and who we’ve become, together and separately. And I’m pretty damn proud of who we are and where we’re headed.

With a few more weeks of summer chaos, I’m excited for the last adventures each of us has on our schedules but more excited to reunite in Pittsburgh at the end of the month. Less than 3 weeks till our little family is reunited!

Currently: New Normal

2 weeks ago, Alex dropped me off at work and continued driving west, bound for Los Angles. Days prior, I’d moved all my stuff into my ‘summer home’ but over the weekend, we stayed at a friend’s house while she was out of town. Coming home to the summer home on that Tuesday evening felt a lot like walking into my college dorm room after my parents drove away that first night. I’d only met 1 of my housemates prior and, walking in on Tuesday night, the other 2 girls were hosting a spirited book club discussion. I quietly sneaked past and holed up in my basement room, unpacking and situating myself.

I felt the, OMG WHAT AM I DOING panicky doubts – should I have rented a place with no roommates? What if they don’t like me? What if our schedules totally clash and I’m always in their way? What if they get tired of seeing me wearing 1 of only 10 outfits I brought with me?

As the book club carried on loudly, jovially upstairs, I talked myself off the ledge. Don’t be inflexible, Lynne! Just like moving to college…the first few days of not knowing where things are, how to get places without a car, what to talk to your new friends about, those days are challenging.

But those days pass quickly. And then you find the bike path to ride to work and to the gym, and you make friends with your housemates, and you realize, no one actually cares that you only brought 10 outfits to wear this summer (but WHY DID I ONLY BRING 10 OUTFITS FOR NEARLY 4 MONTHS IN DENVER?!)

It took a few days but I settled into my new normal and, now, can hardly remember those panicky moments 2 weeks ago. I love starting my day with fresh air and sunshine as I bike 4 miles to work. I love working in the office with my co-workers (and am a little terrified of having to go back to #remotelife at the end of the summer). I love the simplicity of not having a car and having to be very intentional about my plans. I love spending time with friends and putting myself in situations to meet new connections. I love being to consider only myself and what I want to do. I love the independence.

I’ve been at this ‘new normal’ for 2 weeks now and it’s easy to forget this is a temporary normal. For the next 10ish weeks, I’m relishing this moment in my life.

Hellooooo Colorado!

Has it been a whirlwind or WHAT!

We arrived in Denver 2 weeks ago and have been living the nomadic Airbnb and guest-room-crashing life thus far. It’s been fun living within walking distance to work, in our old neighborhood, near the parks we loved but I’m ready to settle into my ‘summer home’ and get into a routine again.

It’s so wonderful (and weird) to be in Denver and know I’m *staying* for the next few months. It already feels as though the summer will fly by and I’ll have to pack up to head east again in just a few moments. What’s that saying? The days are long but the summer is short? I’ve packed my upcoming summer weekends with camping, backpacking, visits to LA, visits from friends, yoga at Red Rocks, concerts at Red Rocks and most importantly, tackling a whole list of new breweries that need their IPAs tested.

During the weeks, I’ll be waking with the early Colorado sunrise, biking to work (!!), enjoying face-to-face meetings again, playing kickball with my co-workers, running on trails (mountain + urban) and not apologizing for one second for the giant smile on my face.

Up Next: MBA School Summer Break

The first year of Alex’s MBA program has officially finished and he is on ‘summer break’! Kind of a misnomer because ‘summer break’ in business school is the time between school and internship. For Alex, he has a month off between classes ending to his internship beginning but other students had just a few days to get from Pittsburgh to their internship (but they have typically have a longer break at the end of their internship before classes start again in September).

Most of the first year of business school is focused on finding a summer internship and we always knew that for Alex, this likely meant not working in Pittsburgh. We spent many hours discussing cities, companies, lifestyles, future goals and more together as Alex identified his target companies for the summer. In many cases, the internship leads to a full time offer so we wanted to set ourselves up for the best post-MBA decision possible.

In March (on my birthday, in fact), Alex landed the best internship for his skills set and ambitions – it’s the perfect bridge between what he had been doing before school to what he wants to do after school. He’ll be working for a super cool media tech company, in Santa Monica/Los Angeles, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that his apartment will be 6 blocks from the beach. Homeboy is living the Summer Internship Dream!

Ibotta Entrance //

We also knew, before we even moved to Pittsburgh, that if Alex’s internship was not in Pittsburgh, I wanted to spend my summer in Denver. Working remotely is hard and working remotely and leading a team at an aggressively growing and extremely innovative company is even harder. While I’ve come to enjoy my personal life in Pittsburgh and feel like I am in a good ‘working remotely’ rhythm, I’m missing out on in-office collaboration and career growth opportunities. Plus, it’s lonely! I miss talking to my coworkers in person and socializing. Without Alex in Pittsburgh, I would surely become the crazy hermit lady who goes days without talking to anyone in real life and nobody (especially not me) wants that.

So, all this to say that Alex and I are en route across the country, wheels pointed west! We are spending a couple of days with our family in Cincinnati and then will drive to Denver. Alex doesn’t start work till early June so he’ll/we’ll have a few weeks of downtime in Colorado before he finishes the last, 17-hour leg from Denver to Los Angeles.

Petre Road Trips //

These next few months of Summer Break are sure to be chaotic with both of us working at companies we’re excited about and traveling/exploring on weekends and I couldn’t be more giddy. And bookended by a cross-country road trip?

Summer 2016, I already love you.

Beach Vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Last week, I lived the (insanely) good life in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There is, quite simply, no other way to put it.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico //

Earlier this year, one of my best friends, Elizabeth, asked if I had any interest in a trip to Cabo, Mexico to celebrate her 30th birthday.

Elizabeth and I are friends from college and, through the years, have kept up a long-distance friendship that includes visits to each other’s cities but also big trips to explore the world around us. We’d been brainstorming ways to ring in our 30s – maybe with a trip to Costa Rica? – but hadn’t landed on anything that felt exactly right.

When she called and explained the situation – a friend in Minneapolis, WL, was also turning 30 and lucked into a sweet deal on 2 condos at the Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach and we’d only need to cover our airfare – Sold! I was in. A quick search secured me a $400 plane ticket and we were booked.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico //

There were 9 of us in total throughout the week and it’s impossible to succulently recap the trip – from the first class upgrade on our MSP>SJD flight (thanks, WL!) to the incredibly beautiful resort to lazy days spent in a beach cabana drinking margaritas to playing in ocean waves, it was all so dreamy.

We ventured into town a couple of days – once for Elizabeth’s birthday dinner, once to spend the day at the sister resort, walk around the town looking for local shops and dinning on non-resort food. (Insider’s tip: Cabo’s downtown caters to the tourists on vacation so there was less local shopping than we’d hoped but it’s still worth wandering around.) We tossed out our watches and lived a relaxed life, (mostly) disconnected from the ‘real world’.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico //

We watched sting rays jump out of the water making their way up the shore in the evening light; we walked through a beautiful cactus garden, taking millions of photos. We ate avocados for breakfast, tacos for dinners and spoke a teeny bit of Spanish we knew whenever possible. The 7 days flew by in an instant and I can’t believe I’m already back home in Pittsburgh, nursing the last bit of sunburn on my back.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico //

Lazy beach vacations are not my typical choice for spending free time but, damn, did it feel good last week! It was a perfect celebration a new year, a new decade and a great friendship. Truthfully, I’d never considered a trip to Mexico before but Cabo is definitely on my radar for a future long weekend beach getaway.

Cheers to 30

Last Monday, I celebrated 30 successful years on this Earth. Which, as I’m sure everyone feels when they turn 30, feels completely nuts. How the heck am I already 30?! And then I stop to think about all that I’ve done in the past 30 years – even just the last 10! – and I feel like 30 is an appropriate age.

On recent birthdays, I’d lamented that I didn’t even FEEL like I should be turning 26, 27, 28, that I still felt like I was years younger. And that was probably true.

But these days, I feel much more ‘adult’ about life thanks to things like: buying a car with my husband, working for a high growth tech company and growing/evolving as a manager of an expanding team, working remotely for said company, moving across the country to support Alex’s dream of earning his MBA, celebrating the marriages of so many friends and family and most recently, excitedly welcoming babies! The past couple of years in particular have had a lot of growing and stretching which has made me realize that I am very much an adult. (Maybe being the single source of income for our family has something to do with feeling like a responsible adult, too. #sugarmama)

Birthdays, like the new year, lend itself to reflection on the past and what the future will bring. I can’t help but think about what the next decade holds: Alex’s MBA graduation, settling down in a hopefully more-permanent location, probably buying a house, likely expanding our family (Alex already agreed to a new fur child when we find our next home!), maybe dancing at weddings for a sibling or two or all, definitely buying my youngest sister a beer on her 21st birthday.

THIRTY feels like such a big number but really, I feel content. (6 months ago? Not content. Today? Content.) We’re almost halfway through this MBA journey and are looking ahead to ‘the rest of our lives.’ It’s stressful but also exciting. I’m ready to not be in limbo, to not move nearly every year from apartment to apartment, to have a place to grow a garden, to have money for a big vacation. I’m excited about the next decade and undoubtedly looking back, thinking, Holy cow! Look at everything we did in the last 10 years!

Oregon March 2016 //

This year, I woke up on my birthday in Oregon with Alex visiting a couple of our favorite people. How unlikely and completely amazing is it to have Couple Besties where both genders are best friends, too? We couldn’t have been luckier that the universe crossed our paths in Wilderness Trekking School in Denver.

We spent our time in Bend, OR hiking to giant waterfalls, trail running in national forests, dropping our jaws at Smith Rock, skiing on a VOLCANO! and – most importantly – laughing/lounging/hugging/savoring every moment with our friends. (We also cheers-ed Alex locking down a killer internship during our trip! More to come but we’re both pretty psyched about our summer plans.)

Oregon March 2016 //

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to ring in 30 than with a few of my favorite people, playing outside in a beautiful place. Looking forward to the new adventures ahead in the upcoming year and beyond.

It’s Britney, B*tch

I spent last weekend in Vegas with my friends and let me tell you, it was just the recharge my soul needed.

I know, soul recharging and Vegas? Seemingly contradictory but in this case, 100% true.

Britney in Vegas //

As I put together my out of office list at work for my trip, I realized I hadn’t taken a vacation day since mid-September which is kind of crazy. I, of course, had the standard holidays off but I used nearly all of my PTO time in 2015 to move across the country. So taking a couple of days off from work, from Pittsburgh, from real life was much overdue.

I met one of my best friends, Nancy, and her longtime friend (and my new friend), Cheryl, in Vegas for a long weekend of girl time. The main event was to see Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood but before and after that, we spent hours catching up, strolling the strip, eating delicious food and sipping expensive cocktails. I even managed to see my sister, who lives in Vegas, TWICE during my trip! And to top it off, I found a Jersey Mike’s in the Vegas airport. My favorite sandwich shop has no nearby locations in Pittsburgh so at 8:30 a.m. PST, I stepped in line and ordered a Club Supreme for breakfast.

But Britney! What a show!

Britney in Vegas //

Nancy snagged us floor tickets so we were RIGHT next to the stage, close enough to practically touch her. As we were waiting for the show to start, we kept an eye on the VIP section just behind us and a few minutes before the show started, we noticed a couple of familiar faces stroll in. AJ and Kevin from the Backstreet Boys!

Britney in Vegas //

Teenage Me could not even handle what was happening. The show was so fun – Britney changed costumes at least 6 times, sang all her best songs, nailed all her dance moves and dropped confetti paper from the ceiling at least 3 times. We sang and danced our little hearts out and soaked in the experience.

As the weekend came to a close and my plane lifted off the ground to return me back to Pittsburgh, I felt so grateful for amazing women in my life, both near and far. I’ve been fortunate to meet really great lady friends in my adult life and I cherish these friendships; we may not see each other as often we’d like or talk every week but when we do get together, it’s like no time has passed at all and we pick up exactly where we left off.

Britney in Vegas //

After 5 months with no PTO, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend a couple of days away from real life. Good friends, great times and a happy heart.

Currently, February

…relaxing in a condo room in Vegas, on the strip, with one of my best friends. Tonight, we’re going to the Britney Spears show at Planet Hollywood but not before brunch, pampering, a fancy dinner and toasting at Chandelier Bar. A girls weekend with friends and  my sister who lives in Vegas is just what my soul needed.

…gearing up for a lot of fun travel in the coming weeks. From Vegas to Oregon to Mexico to Denver, I am so, so excited to travel to new places and see some of my favorite people.

…enjoying PTO days! As I put together my Out of Office items for my team this week, I realized I haven’t taken a PTO day since September. Which is just crazy. That’s 5.5 months! Of course, I’ve had company holidays off, like everyone else, but to have a day or two off for just me? It has been too long!

…ignoring the fact that I turn 30 in a couple of weeks. I mean, WUT. How is it even possible?! I’m not having ‘OMG NO!’ feelings, just surprised it’s already here. A lot has happened in this past decade and I’m certain there will be many huge milestones in the next’s just crazy to finally feel like an adult.

…feeling in limbo. Despite the short term travel, I’m anxious to nail down what my summer and 2017 will hold. Being the wife of a grad school student forces me to be patient and flexible…which is something this planner struggles with.

…making a last ditch effort to accomplish at least one of my February goals. This month, I’d said I would:

  • buy no GT’s Kombucha (so good but so expensive; fail)
  • read one book (started a book, hoping to make a big dent this weekend! Not yet a fail)
  • do one creative thing (decided that registering for a creative class will count, even if the class happens in March; not yet a fail)
  • sell GMAT books and a dress (haven’t even listed GMAT books, dress is on eBay with no bidders; mostly fail)