I’m Back!

Ok, so I took quite a long break from blogging, for no particular reason, but now I’m back! Recently I thought about getting back into blogging and even created a blogging plan for the next couple months to get myself started out right. Hopefully being an organized blogger will help me be a regular blogger.

So what’s been going on around here since February? Well, I rocked the New Orleans Half, running it in under 2 hours. I got a new job with my same company and now I can take the bus to work. Dave finally made it down to Blacksburg for a visit to Virginia Tech for our 2nd wedding anniversary. We’ve been working on some house projects, the biggest being updating our back patio (my husband is a rock star!). And we just got back from a visit to Denver and New Mexico to visit with lots of my family.

I’m excited about blogging again. Look for some new posts to come!

Patio - b4 and after

Here’s a before and after of our back patio.

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At the moment…

…I’m super excited because I got a promotion at work today! Long overdue, but well deserved. Unfortunately with how promotions work at my company, I likely won’t get promoted for another 10 years, so I’m enjoying the moment while it lasts

…I’m loving the 2012 Project 365 photobook I made and just got in the mail yesterday. It’s a fun view into my life in 2012. Not sure if I will do it again, but it has made me realize how important it is to take photos of life.

…I’m missing Homeland. Dave and I watched the first season in the fall last year and because we found out it was Showtime Free Preview this past weekend, watched the entire second season in 24 hours. I’m totally hooked and counting down to the start of the third season.

…Finding it so hard to get motivation to run more than 4 miles on the treadmill. I came up with a training plan and getting some long runs in on the weekends, but struggling with treadmill running during the week.

…Love making all kinds of lists in my new planner by Erin Condren. My super organized list making self from 3rd grade is making a come back (I use to make a ‘Nightly To Do’ list for myself)

…Totally behind on blogging about our fun European adventure last fall

…Excited to start my French class next week

…Planning some birthday fun for my husband

Kitchen Update – Countertops

This post is way overdue!

Back in July we decided that the cabinets in our kitchen looked amazing, but the countertops were painful to look at. The whole point of doing the cabinets was to give the kitchen a cheap face-lift,  but we weren’t sure if we were willing to put money in for some new countertops. We did some research on options for countertops, got a few price quotes and realized that it wasn’t as expensive as we thought it would be. So a decision was made and the next thing you know we were in a warehouse full of granite slabs.

Our new countertops were worth every penny, I love them! Here’s the evolution of our kitchen, enjoy!

This was the color of the kitchen before Dave moved (pictures are from the mass painting of the house Dave did when he first moved in)

And this was the kitchen before we updated the cabinets

After we updated the cabinets, see post here

And finally, with the new countertops!

We choose Kashmir White after almost going with another color. We wanted something light, but not white, with a little bit of something, without being too busy. I love how they look in our kitchen and I especially love my new sink!

We also got a new range hood and some Dash and Albert runners.

One final before and after comparison

The biggest decision we had a hard time making was around the backsplash. We would have loved to do a subway tile backsplash, but with this being an older house, we had some really funky lines we were working with. And from the photo above, you can see that our oven isn’t even in line with the hood. This is because the gas line is not in a logical spot, but if we move the stove over, you can see the gas line and basically whoever but the kitchen addition on to our house, did a crap job.

We are making the most out of what we got to work with and I love how everything turned out!

Happy Fall!

Hi Friends,

I’ve been missing for awhile, but sometimes one just has to live life instead of blog about life. Our last month of summer has been fun, there was time spent at the beach with Dave’s family, drinks and dinner at various Wilmington restaurants, a visit to Arlington, my photo class photo exhibit opening, camping with a hiking mishap and winning some good deals at a silent auction during the Farmer and Chef event.

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I’m happy fall is finally here. Don’t you just love fall? Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I’ve already been enjoying many pumpkin treats and loving the cooler weather. And we have many fun upcoming adventures, our fall will be quite exciting!

Look for some fun blog posts to come, I have so many updates including our destination for an upcoming vacation and the exciting changes we made to our kitchen.

Happy Fall!

One Hot Summer

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Holy hotness! It’s been quite a hot and muggy summer here in Delaware, especially that last few days.

We’ve been enjoying our summer so far with a couple trips to the beach, Game of Thrones, a visit with my Dad, enjoying some summer cocktails with our fresh mint, a visit with my friend Kate, a day trip with Kate to NYC to the Met, homemade burgers on the 4th, watching some Tour de France and just trying to stay cool this past weekend.

I’m taking a photography class this summer at the Delaware Art Museum. So far it’s been fun, I’m learning a lot about my DSLR.

Also, we are thinking of updating our kitchen countertops. We’ve been checking out our options and trying to decide if we do a backsplash or not, decisions, decisions.

It’s been tough to run outside in the heat, but on days when it’s not too hot, we run. We haven’t signed up for a race yet, hopefully we will figure something out, a couple half marathons would be nice to do this year.

We signed up for a CSA (Community supported agriculture) again this year. Every week we get a fresh selection of fruit and veggies from a local farm. We are almost experts on what to do with fennel, kale and beets!

We have no big vacation planned for the summer, we don’t even have a single wedding to go to. The plans for the rest of the summer are to go to the  beach a couple more times, go camping one weekend, maybe visit the west coast, a visit one weekend in DC and plan some kind of fun overseas adventure for the fall.

Hope you are enjoying your summer so far!

Update on Daisy

Back in January we found out that Daisy has IVDD. After a month of strict resting (no walks) and carrying Daisy up and down the stairs in her dog carrier (her own personal elevator), I’m happy to report that Daisy is back to her old self and her back doesn’t appear to be bothering her. We are still trying to prevent her from jumping and running too much, but it’s good to see her feeling and acting better (aka getting into mischief and patrolling the backyard for squirrels).

Daisy also just celebrated her birthday last week, she turned 9!

Kitchen Update – Cabinets

We spent almost a month in January giving our kitchen a little face lift. Although it would be amazing to redo the countertops, add a back splash and put in new cabinets, such things were not in the budget. So we painted our horrible 90’s cabinets and added some handles to give our kitchen a little update.

Check out the before and after:

Before

After

We matched the white color of the old cabinets, spread them throughout the house and gave them each 3 new coats of paint.  Got some shiny new handles and have what seems like new cabinets at a fraction of the cost!

The difference almost seems like night and day! Next maybe we can find a inexpensive way to update our countertops…

Honeymoon Journal: Part 5

We headed back to Picton the next morning to spend a few hours cruising on the Queen Charlotte Sound. The boat had an open upper deck and although it was a nice sunny day, on the boat, it was freezing! It was the best place to check out the view. We cruised all the way to Ship Cove, a small bay that Captain James Cook was famous for visiting. After making it all the way to Ship Cove and a few stops along the way, we made it back to Picton.

Seals on the Sound

QC Sound

Dave on the boat

We were making our way to Nelson from Picton, so we drove along the very twisty and tiny road, the Queen Charlotte Drive. We passed a few 100km speed signs on this road, but there was no way you could go more than 30km it seemed. We stopped for a late lunch in Havelock, to enjoy the world famous green-lipped mussels. These mussels are so delicious!

Mussels!

So big!

Based on a local recommendation, we also stopped along the way at the Pelorus Bridge, a site that would be used in the upcoming Hobbit film. The water was beautiful and there was this really cool, very long, swing bridge.

Pelorus River

Dave on the swing bridge

We made it to Tasman, where our B&B was located. In our search for accommodations in the area, we came across a very unique place and knew we had to stay. The B&B was located on the property of the Jester House Cafe and called The Boot, well, because it’s in the shape of a Boot!

Us at The Boot!

This place was awesome! We enjoyed dinner out at the Boatshed in Mapua for some fresh Nelson scallops And then we came back to our Boot to enjoy an evening by the fire outside, drinking wine, listening to music and trying to count the millions of stars we could see in the night sky.

Dave tending the fire

And to top it all off, every morning we enjoyed a lovely fresh breakfast in our cozy boot cottage.

Yum!

We headed North for the day to go sea kayaking near Abel Tasman in the Tasman Bay. Sea kayaking is no joke, it can be tough, especially in choppy water, but we had an awesome time exploring in our kayak. We even got to see some seals in the water, see Split Apple Rock, and relax on our own private beach.

A seal waving at us in the water

 

Look at us kayak!

Split Apple Rock

Our own private beach

After our kayaking adventure, we headed to Abel Tasman National Park to hike for a bit. Most of the tour company’s offer a water taxi drop off and hike back option, but we didn’t make it in time, so we just hiked in and hiked out. It seems our whole trip was doing the opposite of what all the out tourists were doing, so it seemed fitting. Abel Tasman is pretty nice, hard to compare to the hikes down further South on the island, but I’m sure if we had more time to explore, we would have seen some cool sights in the park.

A tunnel to explore at low tide

Bird on the beach

We made it back to the Tasman and were told we couldn’t come stay here at the Boot, without feeding the eels, something everyone does when visiting the Jester House cafe.

This was pretty weird, Dave was totally grossed out by the eels, but still kept feeding them. They are like big fat snakes in water. Basically, you are given some minced chicken meat and a stick. You put some chicken on the stick and feed the eels, although you have to hold on to your stick because these eels have sharp teeth and tug on the stick.

Dave feeding the eels

We enjoyed another night in our cozy little Boot and then the next morning headed to the Nelson airport for the North Island. The South Island was amazing, we had such a great time exploring and taking in all the beauty. One could easily spend a month on the South Island and still not see and do it all.

Thanks for the memories South Island and now on to the North!

Booting the Boot

Honeymoon Journal: Part 4

Finally a day to sleep a little later than usual! We had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get to the Marlborough region, basically on the other side of the island.  And sleeping in worked to our advantage because our first stop was to Punakaiki National Park, home of the Pancake Rocks. After a twisty drive along the coast, we made it in time to see high tide of the Tasman Sea spray through the blow holes.

Stacks of Pancakes!

Blowhole spray

After a nice stroll through the park, it was back on the road. We wanted to pet a lamb so we got a couple carrots at the store and while on the back roads stopped on the side of the road. Our attempt was a total bust, the lambs are big scaredy cats and ran away every time we came near them.

Along our drive, we had lunch with a rooster at the site of the historic mining town, Lyell, along the Buller Gorge. And we drove up to the top of a small mountain to try and spot a kiwi while checking out Lake Rotpiti in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Lake Rotoiti

Finally, after driving across the South Island, we made it to the Marlborough region! Oh what a glorious sunny day to drink some wine!

Vines of Wine

By the time we made it to Marlborough we only had time to stop by 1 winery, but we picked a good one, the wine was delicious. All the people are so nice, the lady at the wine place gave us some fabulous recommendations and we dinner at Raupo Riverside Cafe. They have delicious food, especially their hot chocolate.  Dave was annoyed they weren’t giving him any water though, said it was because he was wearing jeans, it was quite amusing!

There actually is quite a lot to do in this area, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do it all. We had wanted to hike some of the Queen Charlotte Track, but you have to take a water taxi out there and it would have taken all day, leaving no time for wine tasting. So instead we did a local hike with lots of lovely views of the Queen Charlotte Track in Picton.

Queen Charlotte Sound

After a nice hike, we grabbed some fish and chips and sat on the water to enjoy lunch. We were greeted by the cutest little black and white terrier dog, we named Henrietta. She would slowly make her way closer to us, as if we didn’t notice, to try and get some of our lunch.

After our lunch, we headed back to Blenheim to go wine tasting! There are a lot of good wineries also in a town called Renwick. It was a very windy day, so we didn’t rent bikes to go around to the wineries. We went to about 5 different “cellar doors” as they call them. It was very unlike Napa, not crowded at all, maybe it was the time of year, but it was a Friday afternoon. Everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable about wine.

Wine tasting!

Some samplings we picked up

Today was our Friday, but Thanksgiving in the US. So we did what any Americans would do to celebrate the holiday, ate pizza! Turkey does not exist in New Zealand, so pizza seemed like the next best option. We went to a place in downtown Blenheim, the pizza was ok, not as American as we would have wanted, but still fitting for the holiday.

Up next…Cruising the Sound, green-lipped mussels, and a boot!

Honeymoon Journey: Part 3

Today was the big day of our BIG adventure and luckily there was nothing but clear blue skies. We headed to the office to meet up with the guides and the other people as crazy as us to go Canyoning. We had a small group of 6, most had never done this before, so it was a little comforting that we weren’t going with a bunch of experts.

We drove out to a farm, put on some wet suits (over plenty of layers), helmets, gloves and shoes and then hiked up the mountain. Once at the top, we were given some instructions, but it’s more kiwi-style to just explain/learn as you go. So first thing first, we jumped into the freezing cold water to get use to the temperature. And then the fun began.

Here’s a recap of our day. First, repel down a waterfall, then slide down a waterfall, repeat repelling, slide, jump from ledge into water, repel, zip-line across the canyon water, repel, slide, slide, repel, zip-line, in shock that you somehow lived through this whole adventure without dying, hike back to safety, enjoy hot tea and english sandwiches, arrive back in Wanaka. I’ll let the photos do the real storytelling.

Thinking: I could be wine tasting instead right now

Dave sliding down a waterfall

Honeymooners

our guide going down the waterfall – same way we came down

Dave about to slide down waterfall

Me jumping into water

I was beyond nervous when we were first walking up to the top of the canyon to begin the day, but by the end of it, I had a total adrenaline high, it was so awesome! I would highly recommend anyone going to New Zealand to do this trip, the company is called Deep Canyon. After the canyoning, we drove 3 and half hours to Fox Glacier and talked for about 3 hours straight about what we had just experienced. We had a blast, Dave said I looked freaked out the whole time, which I was at first, but after you rock a few waterfalls, it’s all fun!

So as I mentioned, we drove to Fox after our canyoning adventure. We had already done part of this drive the day before, luckily this time it wasn’t raining. The Haast Pass drive has a ton of one lane bridges, they seem to be all over the South Island. The drive from Haast to Fox has some really cool ones, some cable bridges and even a really long one land bridge with passing landings in the middle. We enjoyed our Subway sandwich dinner on the side of the road overlooking the Tasman Sea, quite lovely except for all the sandflies. We got to Fox around 9 and after a hot shower and a glass of wine to celebrate our canyoning achievement, headed straight to bed.

One lane bridge

In the morning we had booked a half day glacier hike. It was raining (this seems to happen a lot on the west coast) and a bit cold. The Fox Glacier Guide company gave us pants, jackets, socks and boots to use for our hike. We walked to the foot of the glacier and then hopped the fence to continue onto the glacier (only paid hikers can get to the glacier). We put on some crampons and hiked on to the ice.

It’s cold and raining

The glacier is pretty awesome, we learned all kinds of new facts about glaciers. We got to spend about 3 hours walking around on the ice, just checking out different things happening on the glacier. I get the sense that since the glacier is constantly changing, so does the tour and all that you get to see.

Dave checking out a moulin

Us on the glacier

After our glacier hike, we went to have lunch and do the Lake Matheson hike, which on a clear day offers amazing mirror lake images of the Southern Alps, but it was cloudy after the rain stopped. Still a lovely walk around the lake and a chance to take a few pictures of some cows.

Hello Cows!

We continued to drive up the West Coast and ended our day in Greymouth. Greymouth is one of those towns that is probably lovely on a sunny day, but they get way to much rain and clouds that sunny days are not too common. We found this awesome restaurant to eat at downtown called The Coalface. Your meal comes out on a lava rock and continues to cook while you eat.

Don’t touch the hot rock!

What a week it has been! Up next, pancake rocks and wine tasting!