February 27, 2015

Pre-Coffee Mind Dump on Flyday Friday

Happy Friday morning.  I'm writing from an ungodly hour in my hotel room in Kansas City.  I try to stay on East Coast time (I know it's only an hour, but it's just easier) when I travel, but that means I go to bed like a little old lady and I'm up way before the sun.  It's freezing out and I wish I had a nice crackling fire.

Here is a pre-coffee random ramble about things:

- I logged onto Facebook this morning and everyone is talking about the colors of a dress.  It instantly stressed me out.  I have a strange obsession with colors.  Think about this, we are all taught about colors by someone pointing and telling us what color it is.  What if we all see something totally different?  You could see grass as my color purple and think it's totally normal.  I can go on for hours about this, so I'm refusing to get sucked in to a color debate about a dress... at least until I have time to kill at the airport.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, just look up #thedress

- I had fish tacos twice this week.  I'm continuing on my journey to have fish tacos in every city in the country to find the best ones.  Last night, they were from Manny's in Kansas City and I have to say that I was impressed.  They were no San Fran tacos, but I would definitely go back there.

- On that note, there are a lot of meat eaters around here.  I finally did the smart thing and went to the grocery store and stocked up my hotel room with smoothies, fruits, veggies and snacks.  Best decision ever.

- I binged on Bravo while in my hotel room.  It made my evenings way more entertaining.  I also didn't open my book once.  Oops.

- ICELAND IS BOOKED.  More to come on that, but we are now only 2 months away from this amazing trip and I dream about it every day.

- It's been one year since I hung out with Jimmy Fallon, Shaq and Paul Rudd.  Read about it here.  I need to get that on the schedule again.

- Last but not least, our MS Climb is on Sunday, so if you want to donate click here (we are only $50 away from our team goal).  Otherwise, please pray for my glutes and my will power.  It is a lot of stairs and I'm terrified.  EEEEEEEK!  Also, if you have anyone in your life with MS, I will happily add them to my bib for the climb, just email me steph@insertclassyhere.com or comment below.

I think that's all I've got for now.  I'm off to find some coffee and get ready for my flyday Friday.  I'm supposed to fly through Charlotte today and I'm a little worried that my flights are going to be all kinds of messed up today.  Wish me luck!

February 24, 2015

We Quit

We gave up a huge part of our lives and it feels amazing.

Cable TV.  Well, TV in general I guess because we didn't go and buy one of those funky antennas and don't really plan on it.  We called Verizon and had cancelled our service 3 weeks ago and we are so happy with our choice.  Not only will it save us $125 a month (YES THAT IS INSANE) but we will save ourselves from time on the couch.

Let's be honest.  We've all sat down and turned on the power and flipped through 600 channels and found nothing good but settled on some stupid reality show marathon and then spent hours getting sucked in.  What a waste.

We already had a Netflix subscription and we added Hulu Plus a few months ago.  Less than $25/month to have all those shows at our finger tips.  We can still watch new episodes of Jimmy Fallon or Modern Family the day after they premier, which was already what we were doing with DVR.  Amazon Prime members get access to their library as well, which we haven't spent too much time looking through, but I know they have the seasons of Drunk History - WIN.

The only network that seemed to be missing from my streaming services was Bravo.  I needed a plan to watch my favorite crazy housewives, so I made a deal with my husband.  I can purchase those on iTunes, but I can only buy one at a time and I have to watch it on the treadmill.  Another win.

Sports is another issue, so we are researching different subscriptions that you can stream a bunch of different games and events.  I think we'll end up going to a few more live games this year instead of paying for any subscriptions, but we'll see where my husband lands with this.  We do have a TV in our rec room with cable if things get desperate.

So, this is not a public service announcement that you shouldn't have cable, but I felt that it was my duty to tell any of you that have considered it, that it is pretty great.  We've read more, wrote more, watched movies we haven't seen in years and even in the cold winter, we've gotten out more.

Do you have cable?  Is there something holding you back from quitting?

February 20, 2015

Thank You Notes Vol. 6

It has been a few months since I've done a round of thank you notes.  Plus, I spent an hour last night watching Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube.  I'm kind of in love.

Thank you tiny hippie lady who has a store in Lake Placid for selling me the greatest pants I have ever owned and I've worn them at least 7 times in the 2 weeks since we've been back.  They are fuzzy and colorful and my BFF has a matching pair.

Thank you Apartment Complex for reminding me that I should not be doing food prep in the trash room's sink.  I had no idea that you shouldn't prepare food in that sink on the floor where people dump their trash and recycling, but now I do.  Also, thank you neighbors for doing weird and stupid things so I can get a laugh in the mornings reading my emails.

Thank you Ice T for living in my neighborhood.  The check out man at the grocery store loves to tell me what you purchased this week and for some strange reason, I love hearing about it.  Maybe one day, Coco and I will be best friends and will walk the dogs around the neighborhood together while you cook up $100 in meat.

Thank you Year of the Sheep for this epic parade I'm going to watch this weekend.  I haven't been to a parade since Thanksgiving 2 years ago and I'm so excited.

Thank you Barkbox for throwing our dogs a Mardi Gras Party.  I've held off on signing up for this box because I knew there would be no turning back, but my sissy sent me a free month and I couldn't resist.

Thank you Tulips for making this freezing ass winter morning feel a little brighter.  Spring is less than 30 days away.  I love winter, but I won't miss long underwear and frozen dog paws.

Thank you feet and legs for your forgiveness in a week and a half when I climb 66 stories with little to no "training" - I've been climbing the stairs at the apartment for the last few weeks, but it's only 5 floors.  I think I'm in trouble.  If you still want to donate, my husband is a little further away from reaching his goal of $1000, so you can help him (and our team) out by clicking here and donating.

Thank you Embarrass, MN for being in the news all the time for being the coldest place in the US.  I don't know why that's funny, but I always giggle when I see it.  You can read the article here about why it's so cold.

Thank you in advance to dragons, books, coffee and warmer weather for making this weekend awesome.  Happy Friday friends.  Make sure to send your thank you notes.

February 18, 2015

The Home of Olympic Miracles - Lake Placid

One GoPro, 4 friends, mountains, Olympic miracles, lots of food and a condo near Lake Placid = a super fun weekend.  

It was our 2nd annual ski weekend with Katie and we had a blast.  Last year, we were in Vermont and had a blast.  This year we opted for a place with a little more to do off mountain, so Lake Placid was the perfect choice.  We rented an awesome 3 bedroom condo with a beautiful fireplace.  We had a view of the lake and the mountain - when the snow wasn't falling heavily.

The off mountain day was full of Olympic fun.  We checked out the Bobsled run, the main street full of bars & restaurants, the ski jumps, a snow tubing experience, the museum and the arena where the Miracle on Ice took place.  If you are a hockey fan at all, you know what the miracle on ice is.  If you don't know, you should definitely check out the movie starring Kurt Russell - it's the 35th anniversary this weekend and the perfect time of year to celebrate one of the greatest sports moments in history.

There's something special about ski towns in winter.  The snow fell the entire weekend and it was the perfect place to enjoy it.  I think the final count was between 21-30 inches.  We played in the backyard with snow pants on and made snow angels.

I can't wait to get back up there again soon.  Thanks to an awesome group of friends and an awesome little town.

February 16, 2015

Winter Weekends

We used to spend our winter weekends holed up inside eating crappy food and bored out of our minds.  I'm so happy we've figured out how to embrace the winter.  Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, checking out new museums, hot chocolate walks, move marathons - those are all common weekend events for us now.  Don't get me wrong, I still love weekends with the couch, but not as often.  Life must be lived friends.

This weekend was pretty perfect.  Friday night, we worked on some creative projects.  I started to change a few things on the blog and helped J with a project he's been working on.  

Saturday, we woke up slowly and had some quiet reading time.  We left the house when we started to get hungry and headed into the city.  The restaurant, good, is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to brunch.  We had a goat cheese asparagus egg scramble and cream cheese stuffed french toast with bananas and some brunch punch on the side.

We lingered for a few extra cups of coffee and good conversation.  We spent a few hours walking in and out of shops in the village.  We enjoyed a few beers at one of our favorite dives and then grabbed a few slices at John's Pizza on Bleecker.  The snow was falling and it was the most beautiful evening in the city.  We finished up our day of eating and strolling with donuts at Chelsea Market and walked our way back to the bus terminal.  My fitbit and my stomach were incredibly happy.

Sunday morning, the wind chill was in the negatives.  Taking the dogs out sucks so bad when it's that cold.  Justin put on his favorite cold weather accessories and Lola made me carry her inside my jacket.  There was some yoga and then some Cinnamon Rolls.

We bundled up and got in the car and headed to Queens to check out the Queens Museum with a few friends.  The New York Panorama is pretty amazing.  We spent over an hour just walking around and taking it all in.  It was awesome to check something off our NYC Bucket List.  It is one giant room with a scaled model of New York City.  1 inch = 100 feet.  It was originally created in the 1960's for the World Fair, but they've been working at updating it little by little.  

After the museum, we spent a few hours at Singlecut Brewery playing board games and drinking some good beer.  We skipped our grocery store errands and came home to spend the evening with Netflix and the dogs wishing we had President's Day off of work.

Happy Monday.  I hope you all got a 3 day weekend.

February 15, 2015

Tool for Bloggers - JotForm

**This is a sponsored post on behalf of JotForm.com

I'm constantly on the hunt for tools that make blogging easier.  I have an entire Pinterest board full of different posts about blogging.

I was pretty excited when JotForm reached out and introduced me to their site.  Basically, JotForm is a form builder on the web and has thousands of templates available.  It can be used for surveys, contact us pages, submissions, invitations and Etsy sales - just to name a few.  You can have the submissions emailed to you or sent to a Google drive spreadsheet or a bunch of other convenient ways.

The other feature in JotForms is the apps and form widgets already built and ready for use.  There are date pickers, signature boxes, custom terms & conditions options and the usual social media outlets.

I have been updating my blog little by little over the last few days and I've had so much fun playing around on this website.  I added a form to my sponsor/advertise page and have a few more that I'm playing around with.

Next time you are doing a signup for a book exchange or possibly looking to update your contact page, check this website out.  You just create a free account and start playing around.  Click here to check it out.

Also, if you are more interested in ways to use JotForm, they have a list of 11 different occupations that use these tools and a pretty amazing YouTube library of how-to videos and different ideas.

Let me know what you create.  Happy Sunday.

February 13, 2015

Weird Love

It is so damn cold out and I can't stop dreaming of a nice wood burning fireplace.  Happy Friday the 13th and day before Valentine's Day.  Here are some links and things that you might enjoy on this weekend of weird and love and weird love.

+ Remember when I talked about Hygge a few weeks ago?  I saw this article about Danes holding the key to happiness and it helps prove my point.  Have some Hygge time this weekend and tell me about it.

+ I can't seem to stop looking through pictures of National Parks in the US.  How many of the 25 Coolest National Parks have you been to?  Which is your favorite? 

+ I know we've all seen a whole bunch of these videos, but I can't stop.  I love each one of them and I'm waiting for the day I see my sister in law and my niece doing something similar.

+ My friend, Steph, is doing a giveaway on her blog for a book I keep seeing on my Goodreads page.  You can enter here, but it ends tonight so do it quickly.

+ Our MS Climb is just a few weeks away and the registration has hit max capacity.  It's awesome that they have so many people that want to participate, but it's a bummer because we can't add anyone else to our team.  This makes our goal of $2000 harder to hit.  If you'd like to help us hit that goal, you can donate here.  We are 63% of the way there.  A HUGE thank you to those that have supported us so far.  

+ In the spirit of weird love, here are 9 VERY bizarre love stories... click here.

+ If you are looking for a way to brighten up a little piece of the world this weekend, here are letter requests and you can go and check one off.

And I'll leave with you with one of my favorite love quotes:

Go get some weird love.

February 12, 2015

Gators & Juice Boxes (FL Photo Dump)

We are back from our annual New England ski trip.  It was wonderful, but now we have no trips booked in the near future which makes my imagination go crazy with possibilities.  Our Iceland tickets will be booked before the end of the month, so in the meantime, I'm going to finish recapping Florida so I can look through beautiful beach pictures.

Round one of the trip was recapped here.  Like I said, we decided to each plan a full day of fun. After our kayaking trip with the Manatees, I was worried that my plan would be a bust, but we had a blast.

We drove about an hour south of Fort Meyers to Everglades City.  The drive was beautiful.  The section of Southern Florida that we were in was very remote and the landscape was very different from what we are used to up north.  We arrived at Jungle Erv's Airboats ready for the first tour.

The weather had been pretty cold for Florida the last few weeks, so we didn't see any Gators on the air boat tour, but cruising through the Mangroves was so much fun on the air boat.  We saw some other little creatures too.

After the tour, we walked around the area and saw lots of Alligators everywhere.  In the mud near the river, on the side of the road, plus we got to hold a baby.

After our Everglades experience, we drove to Naples and had an afternoon on the beach.  We drank sangria out of juice boxes, flipped through travel magazines, caked on sunscreen and enjoyed our surroundings.

Our final full day of the trip was our most relaxing.  We got up in the morning and headed to the beach and rented cruisers and biked around for a while.  We had lunch in the sun and then headed back for some pool time just when the rain rolled in.  We sat on our covered patio and plotted out our future adventures and finished the nights with snacks, sangria and the Golden Globes (and matching shirts obviously).

It was an amazing weekend with an amazing friend.  I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Having each of us plan a day and surprising the other was a great way to shake things up and try some new experiences.  Hope you're doing something warm and awesome today.

Until next time Sunshine State.

February 9, 2015

Love is in the Air

It's the week of Valentine's Day.  I think the holiday is kind of silly, but it's fun to celebrate whether you are a single gal out with girlfriends or parked in front of the TV at home with candy & wine OR if you are in a relationship and celebrating a little extra love in the air.

J and I have never done gifts or anything crazy for this day.  I hate roses because they die so quickly and that seems like such a waste.  Plus, they are super prickly.  Restaurants are too expensive and busy.  A perfect VDay for me is champagne, pizza and pjs.  Like I said, not much different than any day in the this household.

I do love love.  I wish you all a week full of love - self love, dog love, people love - all the good stuff.

Jam out friends and treat yourselves.  All you need is love.

February 4, 2015

Snapshots of Home

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus

We have spent the last year and a half simplifying our lives.  We have purged and cleaned and donated and thrown away things that we've accumulated that we just don't need.  It feels amazing.  One of the benefits of this practice is the gratitude I now have for my favorite things in the apartment that I use every day.  These little corners make this place home for me.

The place I lay my head down every night and wake up every morning.  Our furniture was from our old guest room in St. Paul.  We bought it at Ikea shortly after getting married.  We talk about getting big kid furniture, but not knowing where you'll be living makes it hard to purchase anything too crazy.  Deep green is my favorite, so finding this Lacoste comforter was a big win for me.  Candles, plants, books, face cream.  That's my jam.

Obviously, the coffee corner.  I love this Keurig.  My in-laws bought it for me for Christmas 2 1/2 years ago and I use it every day.  I also love the Starbucks "you are here" mugs.  I can't get enough of them and I try and get one everywhere that I go.

The messy desk where no magic happens, but lots of blog posts get written, daily entries into the 5 Year Q&A journal happen and occasionally I handwrite letters to my grandma.  I moved my work "desk" to the dining room table and I've taken over that section of the apartment.  It's taught us that in the future, I need space bigger than 3 feet.  Messy or not, I love that little nook with all my crap.

Last, but not least, our couch and the creatures that rule over it.  We got a very large couch that doubles as our guest bed.  My dogs cuddle together every single day and rule their tiny kingdom.  Home is wherever your dogs are comfortable napping.

What about your house makes you feel at home?