Thursday, July 28, 2011

thankful thursday {link up}

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) Visits from friends. Yesterday we had a visit from some very special friends that have been living and teaching in Saipan for the past year. Well, now those same friends are about to move to Georgia... the country. They will live and teach in Tbilisi, Georgia for the next year. So there was no way we were going to miss a chance to see these two friends before they head out on their next adventure.

2) The Bayou Burger. Ummm, seriously... this thing was incredible. This was my dinner last night. We took our friends to one our favorite restaurants, Ramsi's on the World. They have everything... lots of Mediterranean dishes, tons of vegan and vegetarian options, and then... they have the Bayou Burger... "cornmeal encrusted green tomatoes, cheddar, tempura onion rings, creole remoulade." Sounds amazing, right? It was.

3) Family reunions. This weekend we will be in Georgia for the annual Black Family Reunion with all of Lance's family. They are super serious about this thing and have kept this tradition for years. I had to miss out last year because of work, so I am really excited to see everyone!

What are you thankful for this week? Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the very real magic of the magic eraser

Once upon a time there was a boy and girl that moved into a fabulously old house.

But in this fabulously old house was a very evil, dirty bathtub. This bathtub was the queen of filthiness... the dirtiest bathtub in all of the land. The boy and girl decided they simply could not bathe or shower until the filthiness of the bathtub was destroyed.

The girl scrubbed and scrubbed with all of her might. But the power of the dirty bathtub was too strong for her. She tried everything... but the filthiness was just too powerful.

Then, one day the boy came home with something very special... the Magic Eraser. This eraser claimed to have real magical powers.

And real magical powers it had indeed! The boy and girl were amazed by the work of the Magic Eraser. The Magic Eraser lifted up dirt and scum that had lived in the bathtub for decades.

The boy and girl celebrated their triumph over the evil, dirty bathtub. They sang and danced and had a feast (okay, not really), but they were happy to finally be able to shower.

This is a true story of the very real magic of the Magic Eraser. It's powers are real. Even Little Cat can hardly believe it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

making the move...

We have spent the weekend moving. Making trip after trip... old house... new house... old house... new house. Loads of fun, let me tell ya. And I keep thinking that after 4 moves in 5 years we should be better at this by now. Or at least not have so much crap.

We returned last weekend from the trip of a lifetime... all tan and elated from our beautiful Alaskan adventure... while reality just waited to smack us right in the face. We unpacked from our trip... I did laundry... but only to pack clean clothes right back up. Basically, last week was lived in complete and utter chaos. Here's the proof...

Then we started the trips. Every night last week we took a couple of carloads of crap, (ahem, I mean our precious valuables) and took them to our new house. We even revived the truck and filled it up with stuff so it could putter it's way to the new house.

Then we cleaned and scrubbed... swept and mopped... sigh... the joys of renting a 100 year old home. We gave the floors our best effort and were at least able to remove a thick layer of dust and dirt, but the rest is just credited to "character" and we'll leave it as is. Don't even get me started on the bathtub. Gag. Saving that for a full post of it's own.

We rented a truck and moved all of the furniture in this past weekend. Now we're just trying to find a home for everything. Little Cat seems to like the new place so far, which is good, since he is now officially an indoor cat only... no more of this in & out business. Hopefully we'll have some more photos soon, as we continue to make this house a home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

how many years bad luck??

Soooo.... some of you may remember several months ago when I showed off our thrifty bathroom update... you remember the one...

...where I replaced the little oval prison mirror...

...with a fabulous framed mirror that I scored for 30 bucks?
Yep... that one.

Well... the large beautiful framed mirror might have fallen right off the wall the other night... and it might have just smashed into a billion little pieces. Yes. That really happened. And the worst part is that I was JUST ABOUT to take the mirror down and put the little prison mirror back up the NEXT DAY. No lie. Horrible timing.
I mean, I had big plans for that gorgeous framed mirror in the new house...

...maybe over the little mantle?

...or maybe leading to the staircase?

Well, not any more. Does anyone have any brilliant ideas for craft projects involving thousands of shards of broken glass? Hmmm....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

thankful thursday {link up}

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) Most awesome Alaska trip ever. Okay, okay... I promise I will stop going on and on about my Alaska trip. Last time, promise. I'm so thankful that my parents gave us the opportunity to take such a fabulous trip with them... to explore a beautiful countryside that we might not have otherwise seen.

2) Homemade peanut butter cups. I don't really feel like I need to say much more on this one. I had an amazing homemade peanut butter cup the other day when I went to a new lunch spot with a girlfriend. It was incredible.

3) Friendships. I am so, so grateful for the amazing friendships I have... both old and new. I'm thankful that my friends support and care for me... challenge me to be a better person... make me laugh... are willing to help me move (wink, wink;)

What are you thankful for this Thursday? Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below.

embrace the camera

This week's embrace the camera photo is from none other than my recent Alaskan Cruise trip... but technically... this photo was taken in Vancouver... the day before we boarded the cruise ship. Love this man.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

alaska is big.

Like really big.

I couldn't help but to notice how huge Alaska was while we were cruising along the Inside Passage. I mean, even their islands are ginormous. Just mountains and mountains as far as the eye can see.

Alaska is 2.3 times the size of Texas... something Texans are still getting over... and something Alaskans are quite proud of. You should see the t-shirt designs based on this information.

Alaska takes up an entire fifth of the continental US. Alaska is approximately 365 million acres in size... and was purchased from Russia for a measly $0.02/acre. 5% of the state is made up of glaciers. Alaska holds 17 of the 20 highest mountain peaks in North America. Told you... Alaska is big.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

top 10 :: reasons why my alaskan cruise was awesome

Beware. This is a heavy-duty-photo-happy-post. If you don't enjoy seeing pictures from other people's vacations (or photos of amazing Alaskan scenery) then stop reading now.

In an attempt to explain how incredibly awesome our Alaskan cruise was, I am resorting to the ever-faithful "top 10 list" method. Hopefully this will bring some type of order to our trip and experiences... and will prevent me from trying to download 100 photos to this blog post.

Here are the top 10 reasons why our Alaskan Cruise was flippin' awesome:

1) Amazing weather.
We were told that it usually rains (a lot) on these cruises. Bring warm clothes, your rain jacket... and an umbrella. We were told to expect cloudy, drizzly and cold weather. However, what we got was gorgeously clear, bright, sunshiny weather. The days we were at port were all in the high 70's to low 80's. This apparently is unheard of. In the city of Ketchikan, AK, it rains over 300 days a year... they call their rain "liquid sunshine"... but the day we were there we got the real thing... and it was fabulous.

2) Pictures.
Pictures, pictures, pictures. I mean, who needs a better excuse to take a bajillion photos than breathtaking views, Alaskan scenery and lots and lots of family time? I took the advice of Molly from her traveling guest post. I came home with 644 photos on my camera... no lie. And I even took a few on my phone. But I wasn't the only one snapping away...

3) Mountain top views.
We experienced so many beautiful mountaintop views. In Vancouver (before we ever even got on the ship) we took the tram to Grouse Mountain... which was about 4,000 ft above the city of Vancouver. Then Alaska was filled with mountain top views... or actually just filled with mountains, rather. Did you know that out of the 20 highest peaks in North America, 17 of them are in Alaska? I know... me either.

4) The ship amenities.
How about the cruise ship itself? We were on The Diamond Princess... which was absolutely beautiful. We could be found watching movies under the stars on the huge big screen on the top pool deck... or in the casino playing BINGO, the slots, or Blackjack... or sipping champagne on my parents back balcony... or dancing the night away. Let's just say the cruise ship staff knew us by name:)

5) Seafood.
We ate our weight in salmon, shrimp and crab. Seriously. Not a day went by that we didn't have a bite of fresh salmon. They had loads of it on the breakfast buffet. I often opted for the Jewish breakfast combo... bagel, cream cheese, salmon and capers. And there was no shortage of Fish & Chips stands. Oh... and jumbo fried shrimp? Yep... got those too.

6) Celebrations.
It seemed like every night we were celebrating something. Of course the whole trip was in honor of my parent's 35th wedding anniversary (I made them a special scrapbook that I gave them on our first night at sea... more on this another day). We had birthday's galore, which meant the waiters were singing at our tables practically every dinner, and this always had us laughing. Then my Nana & Pop were recognized at one of the late shows for being married the longest... 59 years. We are always up for a good reason to celebrate:)

7) Glaciers.
Glaciers are No really... they are awesome. Taking the ship into Glacier Bay was hands-down my favorite part of the trip. It was AMAZING. And I don't even like cold weather. We saw several big-time glaciers during this trip... the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau... the Marjorie Glacier in Glacier Bay... the Harvard Glacier in the College Fjords. The coolest part was when we saw (and heard) the Marjorie Glacier calve, which is basically when parts of the glacier actually breaks off into the water... absolutely incredible.

8) Wildlife.
I was super excited about spotting some wildlife on this trip. I read that I would possibly see whales, bears, bald eagles, moose, seals, and sea otters. From the boat we spotted several humpback whales and a handful of bald eagles. We also saw quite a few sea otters floating by on the last day at sea. I saw a bear... but it was a rescued brown bear that was in a fenced in area in Vancouver... so I guess that doesn't really count for wildlife.

9) Amazing port cities.
The port cities we visited on this cruise were fabulous. We stopped at 3 smaller cities all along the Inside Passage. Our first stop was Ketchikan, AK. Ketchikan is the "Salmon Capital of the World," and known for it's rainy climate. In Ketchikan we shopped Creek Street and ate the biggest shrimp ever (see #5). Stop #2 was Juneau, AK. Juneau is actually the third largest city in Alaska. Juneau is where we visited the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. This is also where Lance had some fresh-right-off-the-boat Dungeness Crab. Our final port city was Skagway, AK. A charming little city known for it's gold rush history. We took a great bus tour, saw a quick rock concert, and ate the best cupcakes ever from Sugar Mamas.

10) Quality family time.
Probably the best part of this trip was all of the uninterrupted family time we had. Not only were we able to hang out with my parents, my Nana & Pop, both of my Aunts (on my mom's side) and their husbands, my sister and her soon-to-be husband.... but Lance and I were also able to spend time with his mom and her husband. I was so thrilled that my mother-in-law and her husband were able to come on this trip too... and even more thrilled that we are blessed to have family that genuinely enjoys spending time together. Definitely a blessing.

If you made it to the end of this post... congratulations. You must be my friend... or have a lot of free time at work. Either way... thanks for sticking it through and taking part in my Alaskan adventure.

Linking this up to Oh Amanda.