Monday, August 22, 2011

Anniversary Stay-cation: Day Two

Day Two of our anniversary stay-cation was spent lazing around the hotel... and it was AWESOME! The temperature in Portland got to roughly 95 degrees... we Pacific Northwesterners are NOT used to that.  Jacob and I were perfectly content to spend the day inside, vegging in the air conditioning.  But, we did have to eat.  So, after a shower (and taking full advantage of the hotel bathing amenities),

Jacob and I left in search of a Big Ass Sandwich.

My co-worker convinced me a few weeks back to try one of these monstrosities, and, though it was delicious, I felt like a fat, greasy cow afterward. lol  But, after telling Jacob about it, he just had to give it a try.

I, on the other hand, opted for a felafel sandwich... little did I know it would make me feel almost as gross afterward (but, what can you expect from cart food, eh?)

Felafel and Strawberry Lemonade

Big Ass Sandwich

After lunch we cruised around downtown a little bit, and then, when we thought we were going to die of heat exhaustion (or the food we just consumed!) we headed back to the hotel... which was serving complimentary fruit juice with grapefruit slices in their lobby.  LOVE IT!  Then, back to the room for more vegging before we ventured out for our next meal.  =)

As hotel guests, we were given a discount at the hotel's restaurant.  So, for dinner we gave it a go.

I'm not so great with the food photography (I want to EAT it, not take pictures of it!), but I do love any place that serves dinner by candlelight!

After dinner, Jacob and I headed out to Staff Jenning's Marina to board a sailboat for a 90-minute sailing expedition up the Willamette.  I found this deal several months ago on Groupon and have been waiting for this weekend.  I was really excited about seeing all of the gorgeous downtown lights from the water.  here's a couple of photos... but be pre-warned, it's REALLY hard to take long-exposure photography from a moving boat!

We had a great time this weekend.  Even though we didn't go anywhere, or really do much more than sit in our hotel room, we appreciated the opportunity to relax without distractions... and a quick drive home. =)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anniversary Stay-cation: Day One

Since we had a couple of other things going on last weekend, Jacob and I celebrated our first anniversary this weekend.  With the home purchase and all of the home improvement related expenses we've had over the last several months, we knew that we weren't going to be able to afford a get-away vacation, but thanks to my cousin and her awesome discount at a boutique hotel in downtown Portland, we were able to afford a pretty nice little "stay-cation!"

Our weekend started on Friday.  I got off work and walked to two blocks to our hotel (shortest commute EVER!  I loved it! lol), the Hotel Vintage Plaza.  I checked in, went up to the room, and took lots of photos! lol


There was even a nice little note (with a bottle of champagne and some chocolate candies) from my cousin waiting for us.

After the mini photo shoot (and a browse through the mini-bar) was complete, I got a head start on a weekend of relaxing while I waiting for Jacob to get there.

"Say Yes to the Dress" Marathon... pretty appropriate I thought!

When Jacob arrived, we packed our bags (and anniversary cake!) up to the room, relaxed for a little while longer, and then headed to dinner.  We had a reservation and gift certificate for Chez Joy, and I was excited to try out a real French restaurant.  However, much like our luck with everything else we try to do, this did not go according to plan.  We arrived at the restaurant only to find a sign on the door stating that gift certificates were no longer being accepted.  We went in, and I pointed out to the maitre de that the gift certificate clearly states that there is no expiration date.  I was told, in much nicer language, that we were SOL and there was nothing that could be done.

More than a little frustrated, Jacob and I left in search of another restaurant (as I felt quite put off by the way they handled the situation, and I didn't want to pay full menu price).  We headed down to Mother's Bistro and ended up having a fantastic dinner.

Still got a little taste of "fancy"

Then, as we were only a couple blocks from the river, and it was such a beautiful night, Jacob and I headed in that direction.  We walked for awhile, and then started to play with some long-exposure photography, and then sat on a bench and just talked (I think this was my favorite part of the weekend!).

We also got a shot of ourselves in front of the fountain where we got several of our engagement photos taken almost two years ago.

Oct. 2009

Aug 2011

After it got dark, we headed back to our hotel... it was time to dig in to our complimentary (I LOVED this part!) first anniversary cake from the bakery that did our wedding cake.  I was ex-i-ted! =)

Made to replicate the top tier of our cake

Chocolate chip cake with fudge filling... mmm mmm mmm!

After cake, it was time for vegging and bed.  It is also getting to that part tonight... I'll tell you all about day two tomorrow. =)

From Blog to Book

When I was younger I kept a journal.  I have about four of them that chronicle my middle school years.  In high school and college I had WAY too much actual written school work to complete, and didn't take the time to write for pleasure.  However, about 3 years ago, when I decided to make the move up to British Columbia for grad school, I discovered the blogging world, and finally found a reason to write again, starting a blog about my experiences as an American girl in Canada.  And then I got engaged and started a second blog, and then I got married and started a third! lol

Blogging, for me, has been both a way to chronicle my life (much like my journal was in middle school), as well as a way to collect ideas and gather feedback.  Unfortunately, I've never loved the fact that I don't have some tangible once I blog something.  It just goes off into cyberspace... who knows what will happen to it, how long it will be able to stick around out there, or if something can magically happen to erase it (I'm not  overly trusting of today's technology).

I've heard about people turning their blogs into books, but the one time that I looked into it, it was REALLY expensive.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across this post from a fellow post-wedding blogger who used SharedBooks to turn her wedding blog into a keepsake, for much less that I had seen other companies do it for.  So, I uploaded both my wedding blog and my Canada blog, and got a quote... both blogs into books for a little over $60 (which included shipping!).  I was so happy!  I decided to black and white pages in order to save money, and hit the "order" button.

I was told that I'd get the books by Sept. 7th... however, they came on Friday!  And I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.  I think I'm planning to do one of these every year so that I will have something tangible to hold on to.  I'm sure my kids will, one day, appreciated the ability to go back and read about their parent's lives... or just give me a laugh in a few years when I read over what my 20's were like (much like a do from time to time with my middle school writings).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Uff Dah!

Every year in August my hometown celebrates its cultural history with the Scandinavian Festival.  Four days of food, dancing, artisan booths, people dressed in costume and, did I mention, food? =)  Last year Jacob and I were unable to attend because we were getting married (good excuse I think), and the year before that I was finishing up my grad program in Canada... so, it's been about three years since I've been able to partake in the baked, fried, syruped and sauced delicacies of the Scandinavian cultures... this year I was ready!

While Jacob and I were in town for my high school reunion, we took a couple of hours to wander around the festival.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to eat any of abelskivers, as the line spanned for at least one full city block, but we still enjoyed ourselves!

Random woman... just notice the windmill and vikings =)
Ewwy, gooey, DELICIOUS funnel cake!

Troll.... kinda creepy, even when you're expecting it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dining Room Addition

Well, after surfing around online, and staring at my dining room decor for a few days, I decided to go for it and get the vinyl decal for the wall.... Jacob helped me put it up yesterday, and I think it looks pretty good!

We also got one for the bedroom (one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou)... I felt like I needed something on the wall above our bed, but i don't like the idea of anything heavy hanging over my head while I'm asleep.  i figured vinyl wall art was a little less crack-my-skull-open-scary.  We haven't put it up yet, but you can bet there will be photos of that as well. =)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

JCHS 2001... or, The Stroller Brigade!

This weekend was my TEN YEAR high school reunion.  I really don't feel old enough to have one of these already!  The unfortunate thing is that the reunion date happened to fall on the same weekend as our one-year wedding anniversary.  =(  This means that Jacob and I will be celebrating our anniversary next weekend (and I'm REALLY looking forward to it!  We have a bunch of fun stuff planned!).

Jacob and I drove down to my home town of Junction City Friday evening.  Saturday morning I headed to a local park to meet some of my high school girlfriends to spend some quality time together outside of the structured reunion activities.

Holly, Meghan and Lauren were all able to make it... with children and husbands in tow!  Our friend Matt, and his wife showed up with their two little ones, too. I am currently the ONLY one from my "group" in high school (who were in the same class) who does not have a child yet.  I was surrounded by babies!  And they were all frickin' adorable! =)

The "Stroller Brigade"
Little Miss Elsa Marie!
Lauren with her little one, Ben
Lauren's oldest, Josh
It was great to see them all again, reminisce about high school, fill each other in our lives (not much left after blogs and Facebook though! lol), and spend some time with the next generation. 

Here's a photo of Meghan, Lauren, myself and Holly (from left, skip over the first girl in the photo) during our sophomore year of high school:

And here we are today (plus Matt and babies!):

I attended the actual reunion later that evening and, while it was nice to see a couple of other people that I haven't seen in quite some time, I mostly just visited more with these lovely ladies... and was very grateful for the opportunity!

P.S.  As I mentioned before, each of these great women have blogs chronicling their lives and families.  You can find Meghan at Mama Meghan's Musings, Holly and Holly's Berries, and Lauren at The Chronicles of Yorgesen (this one is worth a look just for the header! lol  Makes me laugh every time!)

**Jacob and I also attended the yearly Scandinavian Festival while in town... more on this later!

One Year

One year ago today....

Here's to many more laughs and smiles to come!

** More on how we "celebrated" a little later....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Heart of the Home

When I was growing up (and even now) the heart of our home was the kitchen/dining room.  It seemed that my mother was always in the kitchen, and, to spend time with her we just take a seat on one of the bar stools at the counter.  We also always ate dinner as a family, around the table.  On special occasions we would finish with dinner and either sit around talking (for hours) or play a game of some kind (we were big fans of Sequence and Spoons). 

When purchasing our house, it was important to me to have a space for a dinner table, not only due to my memories of my family, but also because I enjoy hosting dinner parties, and truly believe that the heart of a home is where laughter and socialization occurs... the dinner table.

We found a great table on Craigslist, but the space around it seemed kind of bland/empty.  I wanted some artwork to hang on the wall above the table, but couldn't find anything (at a reasonable price) that I liked.  Until, one day, I got an e-mail from ArtsCow.

ArtsCow is an online photo product printing company.  If you sign up (free) on their site you get a BUNCH of free stuff, and killer deals.  I've made several photo books with them and only paid for the shipping fees.  I pretty much love them. =)

Anyway, back to my story... I got an e-mail from ArtsCow letting me know about a promotion that they were doing for three canvas prints.  I was immediately interested, however, didn't have any shots that I felt went with the natural/neutral theme in my living/dining room/kitchen space.  So, one weekend, not too long ago, Jacob and I went to the International Rose Test Garden here in Portland and went photo happy.  From those photos, I uploaded three for prints, placed my order and then purchased stretch bars from a couple of art supply stores.  When my print came in the mail, I sent to work mounting the canvas and hanging them on the wall.  The mounting was a pain (the print was a little too small for the bars, but totally my fault and could easily be avoided had I thought about things a little bit more before placing the order) but I am ultimately quite happy about the way it turned out.

I still feel like it needs a little something more though, so I'm contemplating buying some vinyl word art such as this.  Has anyone used this type of thing before?  Does it work well?