April 27, 2016

The Beaches of Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Part 2


Oh hey, here we are for round two of beach pictures galore. The warm weather kind of disappeared in the last few days and I'm back to dreaming of beaches. Here is part 2 of my Costa Rica beach recaps. If you missed part one, go experience it here.

These beaches were a little closer to the house we stayed in, so we spent a little more time in these areas. Again, I'll tell you that each beach is a little different and that's what is so cool about the country.

Playa Brasilito



The area around Brasilito has a lot going on. There are lots of little restaurants and bars, gift shops and tours. We did our ATV tour from a place near this beach. Our favorite restaurant was called the Spot. We visited the very strange casino/bar on the beach and even had a lengthy conversation with a man that spoke no english, but kept leaving his horse with us... like for ten minutes at a time. A HORSE. Seriously.

We also watched the sunset from this beach and you just need to watch the sunset over the ocean - it's incredible.



Playa Flamingo


Here is where the Monkey Bar lives. That's my dad's favorite place in Costa Rica. The beach is beautiful. There are lots of resorts in this area which means lots of food and drink options.



Playa Danta



This was a small beach with a resort on it, but it's secluded and beautiful. The water is a gorgeous color and the restaurant on the beach and it's lovely. Two of our friends rented kayaks here and loved it.  The hammocks here were like something out of my dreams.

Playa Amor



This beach was a highlight for me. We reached the beach via boat. There is a trail, but it's long and tough. We were on a sailboat and they anchored here for lunch. We were able to swim to the shore and enjoy the beautiful waters and green trees on the shore. Lots of awesome snorkeling and scuba diving here.





So that's what I've got. Which beach is at the top of your list? I wish I was on a sailboat right now getting ready to jump into warm ocean water and swim to a private beach. Instead I'm drinking wine and binge watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I guess things aren't too bad. Bring on summertime!!!


April 25, 2016

Tomorrow


I am looking forward to tomorrow. After two full weeks of driving, remodeling, working and sleeping, we will be back in our apartment in NJ. We have a work meeting in Rochester, NY in the morning and then we are driving home.

Here are the 10 things I'm looking forward to:

1. Coffee in a mug, not in a paper cup.
2. My shower.
3. The Manhattan skyline.
4. Real Housewives stocked up to binge watch.
5. Pizza.
6. Drinking the beer I've picked up in the Midwest.
7. Routine.
8. Not touching a paintbrush for at least a few months.
9. My full collection of sweat pants - not just the few pairs in my suitcase.
10. Seeing photos of a for sale sign in our yard in Saint Paul.

Sorry for the insane amounts of snapchats I've been posting - it's the only form of communication I've been capable of lately.

Also, I'm currently tearing up over this commercial. I may need help soon. Wish me luck getting through one more day.



I mi
Also, I'm currently tearing up over this commercial.

April 14, 2016

10 Things I Love Right Now

We made it to Chicago tonight. It's nice to have the long driving day out of the way. We are heading back to Minnesota for a super busy week of home projects to get our house there on the market, a whole bunch of work meetings at our headquarters, a wedding and hopefully a little fun. Since it's a bit of whirlwind, here is a list. I love lists.


1. Spring flowers. They are planted outside, I have a bouquet inside and every candle I'm lighting right now smells like springtime. Bring on the sun.

2. Snapchat. Those damn filters are so much fun, especially after a few glasses of wine. Come follow along - stephgregerson - and comment with your user name because I love seeing other people's drunk snaps. Plus I guess it's the only social media that doesn't have some sort of algorithm - read Bonnie's post here for more info.

3. The Pop Sugar Must Have box is one I've had the last few months. I don't wear enough make up or jewelry for the subscription boxes that are super specific. This one is more random things and it comes once a month. If you are interested in Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, you should definitely sign up for the April box because it includes that book plus some other goodies. Click here to sign up.

4. This shirt - can someone get it for me?

5. Podcasts. Long road trips - like the one I am currently on - are the best for podcasts. Our current favorite is Presidential which gives you some new insight on a different president each episode. They are counting down to election day. I have been a bit embarrassed how little I've known about some presidents. Learning is cool.

6. My sister-in-law started an Etsy shop, called Molly & Me Dog Boutique, making awesome things for dogs. Our dogs each have bowties that just slide right on their collars. Lola is getting a snuggle sack (check out her site for more info) when we go home and I'm so excited for her. She loves to burrow, so this will be right up her alley.

7. Snail mail. I CAN'T GET ENOUGH. Every time there is something in our mailbox from a real person, it makes my day. We just had friends send us the greatest card in the world and instead of picking up the phone and responding to their question, we took the time to write them a letter back. The fact that it isn't instant makes it that much better.



8. Flamingos.

9. The planning for an epic summer of eating and loving every second of the east coast. I bookmarked this post about foodie daycations last year and it's time to plot these out in our summer weekend. Plus, we have a few weddings and travels this summer. I'm looking forward to our adventures.

10. This video. Please people - start doing better for this Earth. It's way overdue.




When did we become a plastic society?
Posted by Jeff Bridges on Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Thursday. Do awesome things.  

April 13, 2016

The Beaches of Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Part 1


Guys, I swear warm weather is coming. I just looked at the weather for Minnesota when we are supposed to arrive and 70 degrees is happening. Because of that fact, I don't feel like it's torture now to share some of our favorite beaches in Costa Rica. Today, I'm sharing 3 of our favorites and I'll be back with the rest in another post. It's possible I took more beach pictures than anything else on this trip.

Tamarindo



If you don't have a car, this is the best beach to stay near. There are more shops, bars, restaurants and nightlife in this area than anywhere else that we visited. My dad stays here when he comes to visit and loves this area. Justin tried surfing here because there are lots of rental places, but that also means there are lots of people learning to surf in this area - that can be super dangerous. There were multiple surfboards flying through the air on Justin's first paddle out. If that's your thing, find a local and go first thing in the morning before the masses are there.






Playa Grande


This beach is right across a small river from Tamarindo. If you don't have a car, you can take a "ferry" ride for a few dollars across this river to visit Playa Grande. This is the place to go if you want to watch super talented surfers. Hotel las Tortugas is at the end of the road and has a great restaurants with 2 for 1 margaritas and mojitos all day. We enjoyed lunch there one day and loved the atmosphere. They had lots of hammocks and great beach access. We spent some time watching the surfers and wishing we would have saved some room for Taco Star.





Playa Conchal


Playa Conchal was the beach with the most beautiful water. There are crushed shells at the bottom which help make the water turquoise. Driving to this beach was a little tricky because you are driving through town and then all of a sudden, you're cruising across a beach until you find a small driveway that goes up and over a rocky mound and you are at the beach. The parking is a little crazy, but if you get there early, you'll find a spot. You can find all kinds of souvenirs and coconuts full of drinks on this beach. They also have a BBQ set up with food being grilled all day long. We visited this beach early in the trip and then returned on our ATV's. I wish I would have got a great picture of the water, but just pretend you are swimming in it. I promise, it's amazing.



I promise, I will be back in the near future with the rest of our beach pictures. In the meantime, tell me where your favorite beach is in the world because I'm thinking I need to plan my trip for next winter already.

April 12, 2016

The Bookshelf

I'm learning my lesson with these. I should probably get in the habit of doing them once a month.


I have been cruising on my reading goal for 2016. I have finished 10 books this year. I have a goal of 40 books this year and I'm just a tiny bit behind that right now.


Looking at my list for the year so far, I feel like I've read a bunch of beach reads, but I'll fill you in on what I loved and what was just OK.

3 Stars - which means it was good, but not anything to write home about.

The Charlaine Harris book - I've had these on my bookshelf for years and I kind of just got over it. I watched the show True Blood for a few seasons and just got bored of it all. Now that it's been a while, I'm going to finally read the rest of them and give them away. If vampires and other fantasy creatures are your thing, these may be your thing.

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen - I loved Skinny Dip. This book wasn't as great for me. It was entertaining, but a little too odd for me. It's like a tabloid magazine blown up into one long book. I will for sure give him another shot. 

4 Stars - which means I liked the book a lot and would probably recommend it.

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty - I liked this story. It was another story that switches view points throughout. It was an interesting story to follow. I've read many of her books and they all have a similar style and it doesn't disappoint for me. It wasn't my favorite of Moriarty's books, but I liked it.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams - This would be a great beach read. It is a story of friends from the early 1900's that find themselves in a love triangle with lots of interesting turns. It is set in a little beach town in New England and you feel like you can picture every detail of the quiet town as you're reading it. 

How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo - This was very Eat, Pray, Love for the single girls. It was interesting to read the sections in different countries, but a lot of it was really unbelievable for me. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'll netflix it when it's on DVD for sure. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - So I love this book, but it's not a five star book for me. It is a very well written story, but the ending seemed rushed for me. I wanted to cry like a baby at the end, but it didn't happen, so I just feel like there could have been something more. Tell me what you think. My husband gave this five stars and I think maybe I was expecting too much?? 

After You by JoJo Moyes - I love that this story has characters from Me Before You, but it was different. Sometimes sequels can just be milking the original wonderful stories, but I thought this was a great transition to a new story line with the same characters that I loved from the first book. 

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff - This book made me think lots. It was a book for me that I didn't know how I felt about it the entire time I was reading it. I'm still thinking about it over a month later. It wasn't a story that made me feel happy or warm, but just emotional in a way that is hard to describe. Who else has read this?? 

5 Stars - which means I loved the book and I would read again and send it off to others

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso - I could probably write a separate post about this book. I love "self-help" books that are real people just telling you their stories. I also live in the real world and understand that sometimes people get extremely lucky doing something awesome. I loved reading her story because it was a simple version of the happenings in life that got her where she is. It's a book I will read again and one that I have shared with coworkers. Lots of people have mixed reviews, but I went in with little expectations and felt like the book gave me a little boost of happy and a bigger boost of inspiration. 

So that's what I've got for the great reading link up from Steph and Jana. Go see all the people that link up and find some new books to read.

Tell me your favorite Carl Hiaasen book or your favorite how to be awesome book. Maybe I'll read all suggestions and then share the best ones. I love that shit.


April 8, 2016

Tell Me Something Good

Friday has arrived and it has me feeling all kinds of awesome this week. Awesome feelings should be shared. 

1. I got to check off another state on the map this week. I visited Texas for my first time. It was a fairly quick work trip to Houston, but I was able to eat some good food and get a quick tour of Minute Maid Ballpark. Plus, we got to see some awesome work things that will be coming up in the future. 


2. All three of the library books I had requested came in yesterday. There's a couple books that I've had on my to-read list for years and this will allow me to check those off.

3. We have tickets to the mac & cheese showdown in NYC on Sunday with two of our partners in crime. Two hours, tons of cheesy noodles and some beer to wash it down. I will obviously have photos of this to share with you soon.

4. You can use the code STEPHGREGERSON20 to get 20% off my favorite bracelets at Pura Vida. They are a pretty awesome company with colorful and beautiful bracelets, plus clothes and other accessories.


5. I watched The Intern this week and it was so cheesy, but I loved it. I love Robert DeNiro. I don't hate Anne Hathaway (although it seems like the rest of the world does.) I love cheesy movies, but they are even better if DeNiro is involved.

6. I love the fact that these is a link up for good things. Let's put some good things out into the world today. If you are looking for some ideas on how to spend your weekend, go check out Chelsea's list of adventures for April.

Tell Me Something Good Friday!

April 4, 2016

A Weekend of Food and Relaxation

A weekend update - something that hasn't been done on this blog in a while, but when we ate as much good food as we did this weekend, it should be documented.

We started our weekend with date night at Porto and we skipped pizza for the first time ever and opted for a few of their pasta dishes. They were unreal. After dinner, we enjoyed a thrilling game of Jeopardy and an early bed time.

Justin went surfing Saturday morning. Yes, we are in New Jersey and it's the first weekend of April, but he has all the necessary wet suit stuff and this is his second weekend in a row. Once he got home, we jumped in the car with friends and headed directly to Williamsburg to enjoy the first day of Smorgasburg for the year. If you've never been, you need to.


That is just a sampling from Meredith's instagram that is dedicated to food (you should probably follow her too.) We ate a BBQ Jackfruit sandwich and it tasted just like BBQ pork (from what I remember.) We enjoyed Sopapillas, tacos, mozzarella sticks and donuts. Going with friends is a must because you can sample so many things.


After that, we tagged along while our friends checked out a couple possible wedding venues. There was more drinking and eating involved, plus I got to see some awesome places in Brooklyn I've never been to before.


After an important stop at Crif dogs, we headed back to Jersey and drank some wine and played some board games. We also enjoyed a giant block of cheese from Costco.


Sunday was beautiful - but only if you were looking out the window. The wind was crazy and cold. We spent the day reading, cleaning and watching Star Wars with the dogs. It was exactly what I needed before my work week.

Now, I'm off to Houston. This is my very first trip to Texas and I'm excited to get some warm weather for a few days. I don't get much time to explore since it's a work trip, but I always love seeing new places even if it's from a car window from the airport to the hotel. Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday - hope you get to start it off with something like this:


April 1, 2016

Currently...

Happy April! Today is the day of fake pregnancy announcements, Facebook posts that Trump was just joking about running for president this whole time and all kinds of other pranks. Since I'm not that creative, I'll just tell you what I'm up to currently.


Reading one of the Sookie Steakhouse books. I bought a bunch of these a while back and I don't want to keep them in our apartment anymore, so I'm reading them and then getting rid of them. They are quick, easy and a little cheesy. Also, I just got The Nest and I'm so excited to dive into it.

Smelling flowers and spring candles. Also, cleaning products because our apartment is in serious need of a deep clean.

Watching Grey's Anatomy. I had given up on this show a long time ago, but we decided to give it another chance on Netflix and I'm not mad about it. However with the weather getting more and more awesome each day, I doubt that the TV will get much time in the near future.

Loving the flowers blooming everywhere. From the Tulips outside on the riverwalk to the beautiful flowering trees in the city, everything just looks gorgeous.

Planning a trip home to Minnesota in April. It's hard on normal trips to try and see everyone we want to spend time with, but this trip will be extremely tricky because we are also getting our house ready to sell and there's lots of work to do. I'm ready to get my hands dirty, but also looking forward to eating mashed potato pizza and a good Walleye sandwich.

Eating Girl Scout Cookies. It's confusing that they all have different names here than they did in Minnesota, but they are still fantastic and our 4 boxes of Samoas/Caramel DeLites will be lucky to make it through the weekend.

Packing for Houston next week for a work trip. This will be my very first time in Texas, however I don't think I'll really have any time to do anything other than work.

Excited about Smorgasburg this weekend and I'm hopeful that my favorite vendor that makes pancake wraps is back there again this year.

Wearing my mint green pants again. They just don't seem appropriate in the cold weather. They are also the only pastel colored item I own.

So what about you? What are you doing currently? Which girl scout cookies are your favorite?