Monday, November 26, 2012

Europe 2012 highlights

Europe was amazing!  I’m very glad I went but it will be a long time until I go back.  We visited 3 countries over 13 days.  We spent 3 days in Rome, got a rental car and drove 6 hours north to  catch our 4 day cruise.  The cruise stopped in:
Barcelona, Spain 
Ibiza
Marseille, France and back to
Genova, Italy

Then we spent 2 days in Tuscany exploring the winding roads and hilltop castles.  What a beautiful countryside!

I’d go back to Spain before anything else. We didn't have enough time in Barcelona especially because it was the most welcoming beautiful city full of culture and love!  And if I did it again, I’d pay someone to plan it to the T.  The unknowns and trying to navigate the Italian roads and Autostrade was a nightmare!

Europeans smoke ALOT! I had a headache nearly every day from inhaling that nastiness secondhand.  And it was really challenging trying to communicate.  I wish my Spanish teacher would have drilled it into my head that I really should pay attention if I ever intend to travel.  And ordering food at times was a nightmare.   

That being said, I LOVE the culture and the architecture and the history.  I loved walking 50+ miles.  I devoured the food!  The cappuccino’s are to die for and the food is glorious! We fared pretty well and had an unforgettable experience!

My favorite city was Barcelona, but my favorite memory and experience was Siena. 



Siena is like nothing else we saw.  It literally took my breath away when we walked into the main piazza:Piazza Del Campo.
 



Siena was so cool!  it still had all of the original Gothic construction with the pointed arches compared to the rounded renaissance feel everywhere else in Italy. 

They also aren’t an industry city.  It’s simply a banker’s town.  Literally they strive on lending and borrowing and shops and trading.  They didn’t make or grow anything!

Also, the whole city is broken into 17 districts.  If you’re born into one, you die in it basically.  You’ll have a representative in coat of arms in your colors for births, baptisms, communion, marriage, and death!  Nuts huh?  


Oh, and the cathedral was so cool!  the colors of Siena are black and white and inside there are stripes everywhere!
 




And they have the Palio Horse races every year where the 10 of the 17 districts race.  It’s intense !


The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys. For several years, the Palio has been the focus of numerous protests by animal-rights organizations, including the Anti-Vivisection League. Concerns include primarily race incidents causing falls, which in some cases have led to horses’ deaths. Site...

You can watch a YouTube video of this year's race where only 4 of the 10 horses made it through to the finish!  There are not any rules to this race, you'll get to see the first lap on the sharpest corner where one horse barely doesn't make it and takes out 5 others.


I just loved Siena!  Browsing the streets and getting yummy fresh pizza or a coffee, or checking out the fine Italian retailers was so relaxing and energizing at the same time! We had AMAZING dinner at a local restaurant twice with Gnocchi I’ll never forget! Mmmm! It was called Osteria La Piana. The owner's & cooks looked just like Trevor.  Same facial features and shaved head.  It was unmistakable!

And not to mention it’s in the Tuscan Wine Valley so we spent 2 days touring vineyards and drinking wine!  LOVE!

I want to do a full blog post broken into the three main parts of our trip. Hopefully I'll get around to doing that in the near future.  I don't want to forget anything we experienced.  It was a wonderful trip and the first one my husband Trevor and I have taken 100% on our own without friends or family.
Now I'm looking forward to adjusting to the correct time zone and not waking up wide awake at 4:30 every morning.  I am also full swing into the holiday season with Christmas Music and holiday decorations about to ensue!

I'm very lucky to have had such an amazing opportunity to visit a world beyond my imagination!

And now it's time for:

FINAL THOUGHTS BY LINDSAY!!!

If you're contemplating learning a language: do it!  I wish I had.  And Italian and Spanish are similar.  We were both surprised at how much we remembered from 2 years of highschool.  It wasn't enough though...

Why do we 'americanize' all of the worlds words?  Like Rome.  It's not Rome, it's Roma.  And Genoa, it's actually Genova.  Wine is Vino! And why aren't we on the metric system yet?

To Drink or Not to Drink!

Despite what I think, drinking is actually not worth it.  The challenge lies in convincing all of your friends/acquaintances to do things that don’t involve the go-to alcoholic consumption so you don’t want to blow your brains out as the only sober one.  If alcohol temporarily makes us feel better or more confident it’s only a fa├žade to the realities of our insecurities.  If we spent the time we devote to drinking to the gym, or healthy cooking classes, or hiking/biking/crafting, we in turn wouldn’t want, need, or desire the relaxing poison strumming through our veins.  In its place confidence and natural energy would be surging.

Easier said than done though. 

Wine is fine. 
It even rhymes
Let’s drink wine
All the time!

Every person that's had 'a night to remember' (or not remember) has made this comment:
"I'm never drinking again!" I wish I agreed with myself the first time I said this.  It's so much easier said than done.  I find myself constantly making excuses or exceptions to the rule. 

The longest I've gone without a sip of alcohol was just over 4 months early this year.  I was healthy and didn't waste days away with a hangover. I accomplished more tasks and felt more whole and complete.

Knowing this, I still don't know why I keep going back to the occasional drink with friends or on the expected weekends.

Alcohol is full of empty calories and encourages terrible eating choices. 

In a conversation with a friend today she said:
"The drinking blues are areal thing. I swear...except even though I just said I wouldn't drink, I almost want to recant and say only drink when it's worth it and only out of happiness not just to make something fun or because it's expected."  


Truthfully, I've had some hilarious encounters and unforgettable experiences that involve alcohol that I wouldn't trade for the life of me.  Laugh out loud, are you kidding me, stories! 

Hey, I've probably had enough of those right?

Maybe instead I should just live vicariously through TV shows and movies dipicting such behavior. Then I would avoid things like:
-Losing my phone in Europe
-Burning my MIL's carpet by snuggling with a straightener
-Getting a "no Service" bracelet at Oktoberfest
-Brawling with a security guard
-Juvenille Detention
-Broken glass lodged in my foot

Wine is the hardest part of this.  I love wine.  In fact, I'm in LOVE with wine! I could easily stop at a glass or two of wine if I had an exit strategy.  Meaning: I can't go all night on wine so I'd need to be under the legal limit or have my own transportation. And honestly our bodies aren't designed to stay up that late anyway! 

So in summary: I'm back to where I started.  To drink or not to drink: That is the question!

What are some of the things you enjoy sans alcohol?
What's yoru favorite non-alcholic drink?
What group activities are your favorite?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

50 Shades of Interested!

So I'm sure you're fully aware of the controversial response to the series 50 Shades of Grey.  I've only read the first book but I'll tell you what: I couldn't put it down.  And my husband reaped the benefits when I finally did put it down.

I LOVE reading books first and then see the characters come to life on screen.  Most of the time my imagination is a thousand times better whilst reading than during the 2 hour movie rendition of the written word.  Even though it's rare the movie is better than the book, I still make a promise to watch the movie after I've finished a book.

It all started with Harry Potter in the 6th grade.  I still haven't seen any movie past the 3rd because I refuse to watch before reading, and I haven't had the time to read, or have chosen to read other material.  My favorite books are Nicholas Sparks.  Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic that gets a huge kick out of reading and watching the first kiss unfold and live vicariously as the love blossoms over an over again with each new novel he spits out. 

The only MOVIE that was BETTER than the BOOK was Nicholas Spark's: The Notebook.  This is my all time favorite movie.  I could watch it again and again and spout at least 80% of the conversations word for word. 

The only other Nicholas Sparks Movie that came close to being as good as the book was his most recently released: The Lucky One.   Watch it!  It's so great and the chemistry between the actors is intoxicating.

I love snuggling up by myself and paying attention to every word and action as it's being experienced.  I HATE it when someone interrupts my TV show or movie or book and I always have to rewind or re-read.  My husband can attest to this annoyance I've created.  If I miss any of the words or non-verbals I instantly feel like I'm not part of the story.  WOW.  I admitted it!

Anyway, back to the prompting for this post: 50 Shades of Grey adaptation to movie.
Remember Twilight and how upset everyone got when they announced the characters for Edward and Bella?  Well, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of who they've chosen to play Christian and Anastasia! 

The top guesses are Mat Bomer and Alexis Bledel



Or

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev (Hello Vampire Diaries!) And, they're dating in real life.  Like for realsies!



Speaking of VD...who LOVES watching Vampire Diaries on the CW?!?!!  I'm totally addicted and get super excited every time I get to watch another episode!


Which character cast do you prefer, Mat & Alexis or Ian and Nina?
Or, what other actors do you think would suit the roles more effectively?

I love romance!


And now it's time for
FINAL THOUGHTS BY LINDSAY:

If you're interested in reading 50 Shades: here's an excerpt from E L Jame's website:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.


Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October | 2012 in the Rearview Mirror




It's the day before the end of October.  I feel overwhelmed and as if this month AND YEAR have flown by faster than imaginable. I've been to countless places and had some of the greatest memories added to my  memory palace.  There have been ups and downs, happy's and sad's (Shout out to the nieces/nephews dinner talk) and there have been times I've felt I haven't been doing enough.  I've missed my husband and on multiple occasions have only seen him right before bed for a quick hello and goodnight.  I've visited family and grown as a person.  I've also started to really pump out my rainboots which has been exhausting and exciting all balled into one!

With two more months to explore life, the times aren't even close to slowing down. . .

As I reflect on the first 10 months of 2012 I feel rather accomplished. Busy and sometimes exhausted, but accomplished nonetheless. 

2012 Accomplishments and Activities:
-I've been on only 5 Round Trip flights (much better than the 21 RT flights from 2011!)
-8 weddings
-Sun River Ski trip
-Epic St. Patrick's day celebration!
-Razor Clam digging (1st time ever!)
-I got crabs!  (96 of them!)
-Puerto Vallarta Mexico Trip
-Got a Puppy!  Love you Luxey Loo!
-Portland Brewers Festival (Trevor and I's first kiss years and years ago!)
-Seafair 2012!
-Red Rubber Show down!
-Juan visited from Texas + Lianne and we all attended Kyle's wedding!
-Taught myself to sew a blanket!
-Visited Phoenix and the nieces/nephews 3 times!
-New Orleans to watch the Huskies become Tiger Bait to LSU
-Chelsey LaRowe moved back from Alaska and moved in with Bre next door! YAY!
-Ran the Portland Color run with Chelsea Stover (Funnest 5K EVER!)
-Boots, boots, and more boots:  I'm drowning in Boots!
-Oktoberfest 2012.  WOW: memories made!
-Football season!  Co-Ed Flag football is my favorite Underdog sport of the year!
-Go Huskies!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Shannon & DJ's wedding. Beautiful bride!
Lindsay & Brandon's wedding
 

Weddings!


Photo: SAEs and their ladies!  ...I got to be in a wedding photo!
Wedding Season


Sun River: Best powder day EVER!  March 2012

St. Paddy's day!  Boom!
Razor Clam Digging on the Coast!

Crabs!
 
                                      
Puerto Vallarta

The girlies in PV Downtown.  We made a new friend in Shelly and her hubby Matt from Boise
Luxe



Luxe the Vizsla loves beer!  Shame on Trevor!

Portland Brewer's Festival 2012!


Seafair 2012! Shotgun!
Seafair Day 3, 2012


Red Rubber Show Down 2012!
Yay!  Thumbs up for Juan!

Lianne and I fighting over Juan!
Lianne and I at Kyle and Jaymee's wedding.  I heart Lianne!


New nephew Hayden's baby blanket!
Seth, Brooklynn, Talmage, Emmalyn (Hayden was in the stroller)
Baby Hayden, Seth, Brooklyn, Emmalyn, Talmage


New Orleans Swamp Tour!

Purple & Gold EVERYWHERE!

Sister in Law in the middle: Chelsey
Random Feather hat dude!


Boots Boots, and more boots!

OKTOBERFEST 2012...
Flag Football 2012: Detox!
Huskies beat the Beavers!

Before I started this post I was feeling like there wasn't enough time.  Now I'm seeing why, but I know it's all been worth it!  I'm blessed with the most amazing Husband, wonderful family and extended family, perfect friends, and blessed with a life I couldn't have dreamed of as a little girl.


The next few months are not going to be any easier or less exciting which is daunting and exciting at the same time. We started CrossFit three weeks ago and waking up at 5:30 AM 6 days a week has been SO MUCH EASIER than I thought!  I love the feeling knowing I'm doing something good for my life and my overall health.  I also enjoy seeing and feeling how much stronger I'm getting week after week and the community that Burien Cross fit and super hot trainer Joe have created!

Before the end of the year: Trevor and I are headed to Europe for a 12 day exploration extravaganza!  We have 6 days to explore Italy and a cruise to Spain, France, and the Balearic Islands.  This is something I've only ever dreamed about and I can't believe it's only 8 working days away! Any advice about where to explore in Italy would be greatly appreciated! I'm so excited because this will legitimately be the FIRST vacation Trevor and I are truly on our own. I'm looking forward to some 1x1 time with my hubby!

Once we come back, who knows....it might be time to start a family that doesn't consist of grand kids only of the four legged-furry kind! ;)

Then by first quarter 2012 we will have been to Chelan for a wine weekend, and Cabo for some sun!  Love travel!



And now it's time for:
FINAL THOUGHTS BY LINDSAY:
GO HUSKIES!!! Put your dubs up!


Thank you to everyone that has been a part of my life this year, in the past, and in the years to come!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Last 3 months...

Some of you may be wondering where I've been the last three months. 
Trust me, I haven't been shopping: at least not for myself. 

I've been working on my etsy shop and sending out orders left and right.  It's been a lot of fun, but I'd be lying if I said it were easy. I've spent many many hours creating boots and designing logos.  I love that I'm getting to be creative and that some of my EXPENSIVE proprietary schooling has paid off.  Stupid student loans! 

Getting started wasn't easy.  I had an old pair of rainboots that were sitting next to a gold can of spray paint and decided to get busy one day in January.  You can see the details from an earlier post by clicking here. 

Those boots turned out so fun that others started wanting them.  My first trip to WalMart was an expensive one but I came back with what I thought were the necessary supplies.

What I found out later was that not all rubber likes paint.

Lesson 1: The first story of failed boots 

My college friend Necia wanted some Iowa Hawkeye boots in black and yellow.  I made them and they were adorable! When I placed them in the box ready to ship, the rubber flexed and the completely dried paint started to crack.  So I moved it a little bit more and large flecks started falling off.  Boo.  FAIL.  There's no way I could keep Necia's $30 with a product like this so I sadly returned her money. I was so upset!

Lesson 2: The second fail 

This story of how I discovered sticky paint is slightly more embarrassing.  I created a gift last minute for a friend's Bridal shower.  Leopard print boots painted pearly white with a gold Husky "W" on them.  As I was rushing out the door (already late) I noticed that the boots weren't completely dry so I carefully placed them in an oversized gift bag and headed out the door.  I thought they'd dry within the hour like the can of paint says they will.  WRONG!  

My friend let me know just recently that she was too embarrassed to tell me that they never dried even months and months later and that she had to throw them away. LOL! Not a very good product is it?!?! The best part is that while I was painting hers, I also did the base coat on 4 other pairs.  It's been at least 6 months and I just rummaged through the garage yesterday and they are still not dry.  So sticky and disgusting!  I'll have to try some paint thinner but more than likely, those boots are toast too. 

The good news is, because of this failure I had to think of some other way to make these work.  They really are so neat and eye catching.  My thoughts ran dry and so did my creating of boots.  I really was deflated and didn't know what to do.  Then, low and behold, through my etsy shop, I got two orders of boots.  One for some that say "Just Married" and one with the Cal Bears logo. They sat in my etsy sold page for too long because I knew that the paint wouldn't last. I was totally into blogs at this point and time and by happenstance ran into a creative blog that had an add for the Silhouette Cameo.  I was skeptical because I'd looked into the CriCut a few times and you can't create your own designs.  So when I read user reviews and looked at YouTube videos of how cool this machine is, I was sold.  "Now I just have to sell my husband on it!" I thought to myself. It didn't take too much begging and pleading and before I knew it I had his card information and my machine on its way from Amazon.

Product perfected right!?!? Permanent Vinyl sticking to the rubber.  I'm in!

Not that easy Lindsay, not that easy!

I shipped off my first 2 orders (shipping is ridiculous: upwards of $15!) and I was pleased. Not so much.  I asked for feedback from the two ladies and while they loved their product, the paint was an issue. The bride's base of her boots were painted silver and even though they dried effectively, the silver wasn't fully set.  She kept them anyway and loved the way they looked.


Lesson 3: Wait longer for paint to dry AND put on a sealant. 

The Cal boots were a different story.  Luckily my buyer is the nicest person on the planet.  I couldn't find a pair of blue men's boots so I bought black ones and tested the spray paint on them.  They dried and weren't sticky.  So I did 2 coats and a sealant coat and then placed the vinyl on them. They were adorable!  She said she loves them, but that the paint was sticking and the vinyl was peeling.  I thought she was over-reacting until I opened up the box she shipped back.  HOLY COW, they are terrible!  If I were her I would've been so upset.


Lesson 4: NO MORE PAINT. PERIOD. 

I hope I don't have to keep learning lessons the hard way.
For the Cal boots I'm waiting on an online shipment of navy blue boots to replace hers free of charge.
From now on I'm only creating on solid colored boots that I won't/don't have to paint!

Yesterday and today I'm re-doing Necia's Hawkeye boots, finishing another pair of Just Married boots, and  making 2 pairs of Seahawks bright green on navy blue boots in size 6 women's and size 11/12 kids. The vinyl is permanent and no paint on these boots! :)
My Kitchen workspace.  

Seahawks, 3rd order of Just Married, and fixed Hawkeyes

Luxe peaking her nose up into my business, literally!

Luxe our Hungarian Vizsla Puppy is a whole entire additional "Where does the time go?" story that I will share later.

I also have an order of boots for the Annie quote: "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" which seems pretty fitting for all of this boot and paint debauchery!

Until next time!