Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Rain Has Come

No, I'm not being vague about a hard time or struggle in my life, rainy weather has actually made an appearance in California! You know how I feel about the rain, so I could not be more excited than I have been the last 24 hours. Steady rain fall, gusty winds, falling leaves, ahhh! The whole thing is just perfect. You know what's even better? Since I'm no longer living in a cube, I get a front row view to nature's show. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate being able to see the outside world so often in a given hour; it really has lifted my spirits.

How do you feel about the rain? Some friends posted on my Facebook page that they love to take walks in the rain or snuggle up with a blanket or a book. What is your favorite rainy day activity? I'd love to hear!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pinspiration / 01

Pinterest may be old news to some, but if you haven’t heard of it, it is an online (virtual) pinboard where you can organize images that catch your eye or offer inspiration from around the web. You can create specific pinboards that capture your interests in home design, new recipes, fashion, or whatever else you like! They are also a great way to pull gift ideas for holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.

I, personally, love my Pinterest pinboards. I have decided to create a weekly column highlighting the images that are inspiring me most throughout the week. Here is what I’ve been drawn to this week…

You can find all of the photo sources, and a full list of my pinboards on my Pinterest account
Monday, November 26, 2012

Redecorating Inspiration

When Rob and I moved into our house 3 years ago I painted our living room a beautiful, deep red. It looks great at Christmas and really makes our white farm shudders pop. I've definitely enjoyed my time with the red walls. However, we only have one window (that doesn't get much light) in the living room, so any light that does come in gets sucked by the walls. This has left me craving a room redo. I'm thinking of having white walls, a gray couch, and bright accents (via lamp shades and pillows) to bring color into the room. Rob says we can go for it, I just need to map out some of the costs, and I'm thinking about *maybe* asking for Home Depot gift certificates for Christmas! Before we start purchasing paint, here are some of my room inspirations...

(I realize that this is a bedroom, and not a living room, I just love how they've pulled in such bright colors.)

Any suggestions and/ or recommendations for redoing a living room?
(See full inspiration board and sources here)
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful day to enjoy each other's company and reflect on the blessings in your life. Eat lots of carbs, take a nap, and enjoy the people around you!

Happy Thanksgiving! 
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Busiest Travel Day of the Year

Today marks the busiest travel day of the year. Millions of people are set to hit the road, hop on planes, and ride the railways to see their loved ones. The estimates for today: long lines and even higher gas prices.

Rob and I are pretty lucky because our family is close by and we don't have to drive more than 40 minutes to get to almost everyone. I am grateful for this. Rob and I wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest (Portland or Seattle) for a while, but I'm happy we stayed. I remember when my dad lived in Hawaii and we never got to see each other during the holidays; it was a bummer. We usually planned to visit just after the holidays when ticket prices would drop like crazy, but it was never really the same. I'm sure we would have fallen completely in love with our new city and we would have made the most of anytime we could spend with our family, but I also know that I would have missed my family like CRAZY during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What about you? Will you be traveling at all today? Do you have family near or far?
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zoey Makes It Better

I had two different posts planned out for today. Two! And you know what happened? Something got screwed up with both of them. Technology was enemy number 1 and my own absentmindedness was enemy number 2. I was so frustrated.

However, I cannot dwell on what I do not have, so I leave you with this:

A picture of my adorable pup, Zoey. She is so stinkin' sweet and brightens my day each morning. She knows how to cuddle and is slowly becoming infatuated with squirrels. I sure do love my girl.

I hope things work in your favor this Thanksgiving week!
Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Go Lovely

My friend Misty recently started a blog called Happy Go Lovely. She's dedicated the space to share her life, her thoughts, and her family (bonus: she has the cutest little daughter who rocks an awesome Halloween costume). Last week she posted a super personal post about her sleeping habits since her daughter was born. Here is an excerpt:

Last night we were lying in bed trying to fall asleep and for the first time in over a year I could feel Danny's heartbeat. There is something special about feeling or hearing another person's heartbeat. It is so personal. It made me slow down for a second and appreciate him being there, and realize how much I had missed him while he had been snoring on the couch the last year. It also reminded me of the first time I had felt Claire's tiny heart beating after she was born.

Not only do I love the title of her post, "My Heart Beats for Them", I love how vulnerable she is and how honest her feelings are. Since I'm not a mother, I am not familiar with the challenges of adjusting to a little one. I've heard that babies can put a strain on relationships, but in what kinds of ways? Arguing over how to teach? Feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility and lack of sleep? Or simply not being able to give your partner as much attention (or receive it for that matter)? 

I'm sure each couple faces individual adjustments and Rob and I will undoubtably face our own. That is why I appreciate and admire the kind of posts like Misty's. It is encouraging to see different couples working through parenthood in their own ways. How will Rob and I do it? I have no clue. We'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there. Until then, I'll take mental notes! 

Head over to Happy Go Lovely and check out the full post here! If you're feeling extra friendly, say hey! and welcome Mist to the wonderful world of blogging. :)
Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Report

Friends! The weekend is upon us and I am excited for what is in store. I'll be kicking it off with a beautiful baby shower celebrating a dear friend's bundle of joy. Oliver (the bundle) hasn't made his way into the world just yet, but I am SO excited to meet him. I can't wait to hold him, touch his soft skin, and kiss his baby cheeks!

Then on Saturday, I'll be celebrating an early Thanksgiving with some friends. I need to sign up for something, but I'm having the hardest time deciding...

What are you up to this weekend?
Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Are You Making For Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is just a week away! I absolutely love this holiday and everything involved (read: the excess amount of food, the unavoidable food coma, and the wonderfully snuggly midday nap). We will be enjoying Thanksgiving at my mom's house this year, and I need to let her know what I am bringing. Here's where I need some help because I'm not sure what to bring. Should I sign up for dessert (definitely within my comfort zone), or branch out with a side? I won't be signing up for green bean casserole because my sister totally kills it (in a great way) and I wouldn't want to embarrass myself. Let's keep in mind that I am not the most creative in the kitchen, so I'll need to focus on something fairly straightforward. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

What will you be making this year? Maybe I can rip off your idea. :)
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Venice, Flooded

Have you seen the photos of Venice lately? Venice is known to get seasonally high water this time of year, but it's crazy to actually see the city flooded. I love the excited look on the tourists faces and how willing they are to jump into their swimsuits. Based on the others, the waters look chilly.

Would you go swimming in San Marco Square? 
(Full slideshow here)
Monday, November 12, 2012

Florence, Italy - Europe Trip 2012

After bidding farewell to beautiful Venice, we began the trek inland to Florence, Italy. On our way I was hoping to watch some of the beautiful Tuscan countryside go by, but I totally fell asleep instead. Trains just have a way of rocking me straight to sleep, especially when I’m listening to music or audio tours.

When Rob and I were in Florence 3 years ago, neither of us had a strong connection to the city, and I can't remember why. The only thing I can think of is that maybe we were tired and still adjusting to the time change (plus, we remember our shower not having a door and making the rest of our room extremely humid). Being back, I was struck by how beautiful Florence is and just how much life is throughout the city.

Once we arrived, we headed out to do some exploring, combed through some of the markets (I forgot just how many there were) and visited the Duomo. Since there is no nearby body of water to offer a wonderful sea breeze, the weather was super hot, and we were all sweating like crazy. In an effort to stay cool, Sarah wore shorts and a tank top, but wouldn’t be allowed into the Duomo because of modesty. Luckily, the church was gracious enough to offer her a covering. :)

For dinner, Ian really wanted to find a restaurant recommended by a friend of his called 4 Leoni. Somehow we were able to find the address and headed across the river for dinner. The place was pretty packed and Ian was actually trying to make reservations for the next night when they had a table open up. We settled in and let Ian order for the table. It was seriously once of the best meals of the trip. First, the server explained the entire menu to us in English so that we would know what we were ordering. I ordered a tortellini stuffed with pears, served with a creamy cheese sauce. It was SO good and I would love to be able to have it again. Then each one of us ordered dessert and they brought out complementary champagne (I’m telling you, there is something about young Americans that make people want to give free alcohol).  

After dinner, we walked home with full bellies and the city lights. 

By the second day, we were kicking ourselves for not having another day in this incredible city. We hiked to the top of the Duomo Tower and took in 360 degree views of the city. After the tower, we decided to take the Rick Steves audio walking tour! All of us. I love having insight into the city as we are walking around. We would probably be walking in the same areas, but having additional information and history is so much cooler. We grabbed some lunch outside of the Palace Plaza and did a little shopping through the streets. I picked up a couple of leather bags; a small brown carrier and a medium, deep red over the shoulder. I absolutely love them and hope they last me a long time. Once lunch and shopping were done, we headed back home for a mid-afternoon siesta. 

After our siesta, Ian, Sarah, Rob, and I went to visit the statue of David at the Academia while the LeClairs headed out for a date night. David looks so enormous in his custom archway, it’s very captivating. What’s even crazier to think about is that Michaelango carved him out of marble completely free hand! There is some serious detail in that sculpture. The Rick Steves audio guide was pretty good, but the rest of the museum was pretty underwhelming. It’s actually pretty small and there is an odd room with mirror floors (I had a dress on, so I decided to stay out).  

Since we weren’t quite ready for dinner, the others headed back home while I explored our neighborhood solo. I don’t think I would be one to take a long, far-away trip on my own, but I did enjoy some time alone. I like being able to go where I wanted and wander were I felt, but I would definitely miss sharing that with someone else. 

Ian (our Florence food finder) found a couple of good places for dinner, so we headed over the river. Our first choice needed a reservation to be seated, but was all booked up for the evening. So we headed back to our side of the river to a place called, “Il Latini”. It was quite the dining experience! One of the things they are known for is seating people family style. For example, if there is a couple, they would seat them at a four-top with another couple, whether they knew them or not. We didn’t end up with any new friends because they placed us at our own four-top. 

As soon as we sat down, we could tell that there was some major hustle and bustle happening around us. A server came up to us and asked if we wanted to start with some appetizers, mumbled through an explanation, and then we said yes! The first course of prosciutto, melon, and meats was huge and delicious (it set the tone for the rest of the meal). We said yes to everything the server offered, let him take the lead, and the food just kept coming. We had a full four-course Italian meal (appetizer, first course, second course, and dessert) practically needed to be rolled out of the restaurant. Overall, the food was really good and the service was excellent. The entire meal was a bit pricey ($40 each), but it was well worth it for the experience! We were so excited to be able to take part in such a fun local tradition.

We ended up leaving for Rome pretty early the next morning. Florence, we did not get enough time with you!

Click below for more photos! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekend Adventures

What are you up to this weekend? Rob and I are headed north this evening to a little place called San Francisco. Every year we spend a weekend in SF with his parents, either for his dad's birthday or just for fun. On Saturday, Kim (my MIL), some family friends, and I will be seeing the Lion King Broadway show. I've never seen it, but have heard absolutely amazing things about it. Rob and Chuck (my FIL) are totally skipping and are likely to see a movie.

The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy. Usually that would excite me, but we are probably going to be spending considerably amounts of time outside... but who cares?! It'll be fun to bust out some winter wear.

Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend? 
(Photo taken in San Francisco in 2011)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rob!

Oh man, did I score a winner or what?! You are by far my favorite person on this Earth and I am so gratefule to call you mine. You've continued to push me to be a better person and make me laugh harder than anyone around. Thank you for your enduring love. I am so excited to take on new, crazy adventures with you!

Happy Birthday!

(Photo taken in Prague in 2012)
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day!

Today is election day here in the U.S! We vote for the president of the United States, as well as other local government officials, propositions, and measures. This is a fun day for our citizens and I enjoy being a quiet voter. What I mean is that I  like to vote, I just don't like to tell everyone who or what I am voting for. I've been conditioned to avoid having those conversations and discussions publicly. Is that a good thing? I think it is.

I think that people have become bold by the anonymity of the internet and replace face-to-face conversation with status updates and tweets. If you have a Facebook account, I'm sure you've seen plenty of friends expressing their viewpoints on a range of issues. I'm all for people exercising their freedom of speech, however, if you are striving for a meaningful dialogue on the issue, I don't think that is an appropriate forum to conduct it. With politics, religion, or any other personal topics, I believe you need to have a trusting relationship with your audience in order to have a productive conversation on the topic. That's why bull-horn guys on street corners don't work; they don't have any legitimacy in the lives of the people they are condemning.

I think the same goes for social media rants. Yes, these people are technically your "friends", but how many of them do you have a close enough relationship with to have an honest conversation? Where you are willing to listen? I'm sure you have some (as I know I do), but I am not comfortable having these kinds of conversations with the few hundred other "friends" from behind a computer screen. I'd rather be able to read their body language, hear their tone of voice, and take note of any awkward tension. I realize that it is a lot less convenient, but most productive things are.

What are your thoughts? Do you think social media is the right platform to stir conversations? I'd love to hear (and I'll still love you no matter your answer :)!

"I Voted" sticker from Made in a Free World
Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Friday!

Fridays are funny for me these days. They have always been one of my favorite days of the week, but they are not actually the end of my working week anymore (that honor goes to Saturdays). Still, I enjoy the energy of a Friday. People are excited, they're planning fun stuff for the weekend ahead, and they just seem to be in a better mood; it's a universal day to look forward to!

So, what will you be doing this weekend? I'm taking some time to plan a friend's baby shower and hanging with our roommates. Also, Rob is working Saturday night, so I'll be having a girl's night with Zoey. Any documentary recommendations for me and my girl?

See you next week!
(Photo taken in Copenhagen in 2012)
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