Halloween Fun

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I can’t believe it is already November, time flies!  This year was our first Halloween in the house (Since we didn’t move in until November of last year).  I was really excited for trick-or-treaters so we stocked up on candy and did some outside decorations.

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Since we just had the landscaping done, we sat at the end of the driveway with our candy and blankets (it was cold!).  I still had my zombie makeup on from my work costume (dead prom queen).  Ralphie had his Yoda costume on (he wouldn’t wear the ears).  Ray had some Halloween music playing on his cell phone, and we had some seasonal drinks.

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To my surprise, we did not get many kids.  I am estimating about 20, give or take a few.  Our neighbors started a fire in their fire pit next door when they got back from trick-or-treating with their kids, so I went over and asked them if this was the normal amount.  Apparently, since not many people on our street give out candy, most people do not come down the street 😦  We were a little disappointed, but Ray said next year we will just decorate a lot more and hope people see early on that we will definitely be giving out candy.

I love decorating for the season, so we will have to invest in bigger, better decorations for next year.  We had a few little things around the house and this was our Halloween mantle.

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Just recently it has been updated with Thanksgiving decor!  Changed the eyeballs and skull vase to pine cones.  Switched out the big skull for a turkey.  Changed the vases of bloody roses and skeleton hands, to fall flowers, pine cones and berries.  And of course switched out the picture of Ralphie (I used the Walking Dead – Dead Yourself app to create a Halloween picture of Ralphie LOL).

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I can’t wait to decorate for Christmas, only 7 weeks of shopping!  Have a great November!

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Carry on Folks, Carry on!

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We are planning a trip to Italy in May 2015, and when I started thinking about making a list, I remembered how stressful it can be to try and remember everything.  Whenever I travel, I like to be prepared, comfortable, and entertained.  I am a little impatient, so I need plenty of options to entertain myself while waiting in an airport terminal, or waiting at a hotel for my room to be ready.  You never know how long you will be waiting because sometimes there are delays for various reasons.  Not to mention, airlines lose luggage quite frequently.  It is always good to be prepared, and if you check bags at an airport, it is best to have some essentials on hand (in a carry on) just in case!  When we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon last year, I think I over packed, but at least I was prepared.  I have had many friends ask for suggestions when packing for a honeymoon or big trip.  I also participate in wedding forums to help brides when they are planning.  So I created a Polyvore board and list with my go to essential travel needs.  When you click on the picture, it will bring you to the Polyvore site, that will have links to each of the products.

travel essentials

1. Document holder – something convenient that can hold all your tickets, id, passport, transfers, etc…  This is handy to slip in your purse or tote, since you have to constantly take these things out and have it at the tip of your fingers.

2. Gum – I don’t know about you, but my ears pop and hurt during take off and landing on the airplane, gum is a MUST.

3. Eyeliner – because I look tired without it, if I were stuck in the airport overnight because of some freak storm, well I would need this so I don’t look like a zombie the next day!

4. Portable cell phone charger – this thing is great if you don’t have a plug close by.  Not only convenient, but completely helpful if your cell phone starts dying! I use mine a lot when I am bored.

5. Chapstick – my lips chap easily, and this is a no brainer.

6. Mini lotion – you can only take small bottles of anything through airport security, so a mini bottle of lotion is a must.

7. Face wipes – again in case of a delay, freak storm, whatever, these are great when you might need a refresher.

8. Sunblock – another no brainer, especially for a beach vacation.  I bring it every time, yet I still get sunburnt because I am stubborn and think umbrellas keep me safe (they do not).

9. Tote – to hold all of the essentials, and one that is big enough for magazines, spare clothes/shoes, and possibly a laptop if necessary.

10. MP3 player – yes this picture is an ipod shuffle because they didn’t have any other options to choose from.  I have a zune, but whatever your fancy, great to have for the plane and whenever you have to wait.

11. Magazine – to read, even while listening to music.  Keeping myself entertained is key, so I don’t get too antsy.

12. Cardigan – it is always good to keep layers, and depending on the season, a heavy coat would be good as well.  But even in the summer, the plane, or transfer vehicles can be chilly, the more options you have, the better.

13. Sweatpants – I don’t need to look cute in an airport, sweatpants, or a maxi skirt are comfy and easy to travel in.

14. Flats – Again I like to have options, can’t hurt to have an extra pair of shoes.

15. Pain reliever – I get headaches easily, especially if I am stressed.  This also has to be a mini bottle, or one of those 2 packs so you can go through security.

16. Flip flops – so I usually wear flip flops since they ask you to take your shoes off at airport security, and then I keep my flats in my carry on in case my feet get cold.

17. Skort – if I am wearing a skort, I might bring sweatpants in my carry on, or vice versa.  I love skorts, you don’t have to worry about showing anything, and be comfortable at the same time.  These are great during the summer.

18, Neck pillow – even though I may not fall asleep on the plane, it is nice to be comfortable.  Those little pillows they sometimes hand out are not very supportive.  After a car accident I had in December 2000, I have a bad back/neck.  This is a must for me so I don’t end up with a strained muscle in my neck.

Not only is it important to have these essentials, but DO NOT FORGET YOUR TICKETS, IDs, and DOCUMENTS!  I know it sounds dumb, but yes, this happens.  I always double check my reservations, have everything in my phone, and copies of documents just in case.  Remember to make your reservations way in advance for airfare, hotel, car rental, transfers, etc….

EXTRA EXTRA:  I recently heard about a genius car sharing option that I wish I knew about sooner!   It is called RelayRides, which is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, and rentals are available in most U.S. cities, as well as airports. Not only is it mostly more affordable for the renter (depending on the car and condition), but also a great money making opportunity for those who don’t drive often and can spare a day or five.  RelayRides has been all over the news, and you can read more about them and follow them on Facebook.

I hope you have found this post useful, and I would love to hear suggestions on what you deem travel essential.  I love to hear feedback and your comments make me happy (when I get an email that a new comment is added it is just like Christmas morning! haha).  Toodles!

Pittsburgh trip

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We had the pleasure of driving up to Pittsburgh for Labor Day weekend.  It was quite a long drive, but we had a great time.  Our friends Dana and Fred live close to Pittsburgh, and our friend Tom (Fred’s brother) also visited the same weekend.  We sampled quite a few restaurants and bars, good food, good drinks, karaoke, and fun times had by all.

Saturday afternoon we had lunch at Dino’s.  We then pre-gramed at Dana and Fred’s house before going into the city to experience the Hofbrauhaus.  Ray has been to the one in Germany, but this was my first time at a real, authentic, German brewery.  I got a few pictures before we went in.  We ordered food and had HUGE beers.  After eating, we enjoyed the sing-a-long time standing on the tables inside the restaurant after dinner hours.

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We then went to the Double Wide Grill down the street, where we sang some karaoke and enjoyed watching all the other drunkards sing songs.

Sunday we got a little tour of Ligonier.  Dana and Fred are getting married in May, 2015, so we got to see some of the area where the wedding will be held.  We had lunch at Fat Daddy’s, they had great burgers.  Then we went to Joe’s bar, which had a museum of taxidermy.  It was amazingly sad, but really impressive.  All the animals were killed by the same person, so he obviously traveled many places and spent a lot of money to have all the animals stuffed.  Here are just a few pictures.

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Lastly we went to The Wicked Googly bar that not only had a mini bowling alley, but KARAOKE!  If you know me, you know how much I love singing 🙂  We had to purchase some socks, which I tried to haggle, but only got down to $1 a pair haha.  (Most of us were wearing flip flops).

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I am excited to go back in May for the wedding, and I am glad we finally got to visit a city that we had never been to before!

Cape Cod

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I only get to take maybe 2 vacations a year, and this year was Oklahoma and Cape Cod.  I posted about Oklahoma in May for my cousin’s wedding. Then I went to Cape Cod in August, and it is one of my favorite places to vacation.  My Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Tom live in Brewster, MA.  Ray and I had planned on taking the trip and bringing my grandmother to see Tom, Cynthia, all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Ray happened to get a new job and started the Monday before we were going to leave, so he could not go.  I was very disappointed, as this was going to be his first time visiting Cape Cod.  We hope to go together next year.

My family started renting a house in East Dennis, MA in 1981 (before I was born).  I started going every summer when I was young.  My grandfather would drive my grandmother and I the long 7 hour drive, listening to Patsy Cline, and cursing at the traffic.  My mom came a couple times, and we usually picked up my Aunt Dot in New Haven, CT on the way.  I have very fond memories of the trip and love reminiscing.  Uncle Tom and Aunt Cynthia bought a house in Brewster in October 2004, and this is only the second time I was able to visit since then.

The first day on the beach I stayed under an umbrella, and still got burnt!  It was beautiful weather, not too hot, perfect temperature, no humidity.  There was wonderful food every night, with plenty of wine to sample.  The kids put on a talent show the last night Mommom and I were there, it was very entertaining.  We had a wonderful time, and I can’t wait to go back!

Front of the house

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Beach day

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Sunset

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Dinner table set

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Pizza night! Look at all these toppings!

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Just one of the many pizzas made

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More pizza, almost gone! 9 pizzas later, we still had a lot of leftovers!

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Opening birthday presents!

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Tom M., Tom T. and Matt did a 68 mile bike ride in honor Tom M.’s birthday!  I love the shirts they had made, Murray Metric – A Cape Cod Tradition 🙂

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Little Updates

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So we have been able to do little updates here and there the past few months.  I got a Groupon for a city scape canvas and I am loving the way it looks in the dining room!

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We replaced the foyer light when you first walk in the door.  We haven’t decided yet if we want to purchase the same one in a smaller version for the upstairs hallway or a different style, too many to choose from!  The current upstairs hallway light looks exactly the same as the old foyer light, just a tad smaller (but we are definitely replacing it).

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I never posted pictures of the new water heater.  In the old picture you can see what NOT to do (we were told some of the tubes/attachments were not done correctly).

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This clock used to be in the living room of our apartment.  Ray spray painted the wooden part black (it was a light tan color before) to match our bedroom furniture and we put it on the wall between the closet and bathroom doors.

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Ray and two friends are cutting down the ugly trees in the backyard today, yay!  It will give us more space and hopefully we can get the weeds under control.  I can’t believe it is almost August, this summer is going way too fast!  Hope everyone is doing well, and if you are still reading, thanks for following 🙂

What’s up with June

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Yay for summertime! I haven’t posted much lately because we haven’t done a whole lot in the house.  Most recently we have been working on the yard and trying to increase the ratio of grass to plant life. It feels like we have pulled thousands of weeds in the last couple months!  There are more flowers growing than we know what to do with, and even our neighbors helped us since we looked like amateurs, haha.  I know it will be a never-ending process, but we can only do so much here and there.  I don’t plan on being the type of gardener to tend to the yard every day….  I will add pictures of some of the flowers we are seeing at the end of this post.

Our first anniversary was May 25th. We had a really nice weekend going to Sea Isle City, NJ and a nice dinner in the city.  It was nice to have that Monday off for Memorial Day, which was an extra day of rest for us!  We hope to go to Italy next year for our 2nd anniversary.  We already started a savings plan 🙂

I hope to do some more small projects this summer, but after buying a new water heater and garage door opener, we don’t want to have anymore large expenses until next year.  I will post little updates here and there, and hope to have more pictures soon!  Hope everyone is having a great summer!

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Oooooooklahoma

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Ray and I traveled to Bartlesville, OK at the end of April for my cousin Amber’s wedding to her now husband, Matt. In order to make the most out of our trip, we flew out Thursday night and stayed until Monday. We flew into Dallas (which was much cheaper than Tulsa) and rented a car. We drove through the night, which took about 5 hours to get to Bartlesville. Our first day we did some exploring, napping, and eating. Route 75 was the main road running through Bartlesville with plenty of restaurants to choose from. Saturday we had a nice breakfast at Eggberts (love the name) with the bride, bridesmaids, and my cousins. It was nice to see Amber before all the wedding hustle and bustle. The ceremony was at 4 in the afternoon and it was a beautiful day! It was a lovely ceremony at the church, and the reception followed at the Technology center close by. The bride was beautiful in her gown, and the groom looked dapper in his vest and tie. The speeches were great, and I loved the music and dancing, we had a lot of fun!  Here are a couple pictures – Ray and I, then my cousin Amber with her husband Matt and my cousin Kathie.

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Monday we started out bright and early so we could stop in McKinney for lunch with a relative, and get to Dallas to do some sight seeing.  It was SUCH a beautiful day.  When we got to McKinney, the weather was perfect to sit outside for lunch.  It was such a cute little town, I wish I had gotten more pictures.  We ate at Rick’s chop house with my grandmother’s brother’s nephew, Marc.  We stopped at a chocolate shop called Goodies after a little walk around the block.  Then we headed to Dallas.  We would have liked to go into the book depository museum, but decided not to pay the $16.  So we took pictures of the grassy knoll, memorial, x spot on the street, etc…  It was a great trip and I am glad I got to see my little cousin married, and see some history in Dallas!

Below is the JFK memorial and the “x” spot on the street of the assassination.

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Updated Dressing Room/Closet Room

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Ray has been busy!  I am so happy with the closet space and added the vanity that was in the bedroom.  I still need to get window treatments and we plan on eventually adding in an overhead lighting fixture. That requires a lot of work, wiring, cutting into the ceiling etc…. That will have to wait.  So here are some pictures of this GLORIOUS room.

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What do you think?  I can’t wait to get nicer window treatments, I am still torn on what to choose.  I don’t have to keep this rug, but I did buy it in Morocco so I need to use it somewhere!  This is an ‘in between picture’

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Real pictures, lots of mess, hey I am human!  I look forward to posting more updates to the house.  We have been working diligently on the back yard but it is taking FOREVER.  I wish we had the money to just pay some landscapers, I mean this yard needs a total overhaul…  I just don’t think it is bad enough to warrant a popular show coming in and doing it for us on t.v.! HAHA!  Although, that would be amazing… A girl can dream.  We did get vines off the one pergola, took 2 days of cutting!  Here is one pic of it almost all gone, and my next post will be updates on the yard! Have a great rest of the week!

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Things I <3

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As I complete the finishing touches to the closet room (I hope to post pictures this weekend), I wanted to write about things I am loving right now.  I was inspired by Drew Barrymore’s book “Find it in Everything” where she collected photographs that had things in the shape of a heart (like a straw wrapper, a scallion in miso soup, etc…).  Most importantly, it is about finding the beauty in everything.  Of course I have bad days at work, feel tired, barely get to check off things on my to do list.  However, it is nice to stop and appreciate the things we do have in life that make us happy.  It happens so often, that we forget to cherish the good things around us, especially those that we love.  I take pleasure in the little things that can distract me from everyday hustle and bustle, so I can sit and relax.

My Favorite T.V. show(s): Right now it is The Walking Dead.  The season premiere is this Sunday!  I waited a while to board the TWD train, but I eventually had time to binge watch 3 seasons on Netflix last summer and caught up this season.  I am so happy my husband got hooked too, so we can watch it together (hey it counts as spending time together, right?).  We watch quite a few shows together like How I Met Your Mother (almost over!), Two Broke Girls, New Girl, The Middle, Modern Family, Suburgatory and Big Bang Theory.  Game of Thrones starts up soon (April 6th).  As soon as House of Cards Season 2 came out, we were finished in a weekend.  We are looking forward to the next season of Orange is the New Black!  I also have my personal guilty pleasures that I have to DVR and watch when Ray is out, like Grey’s Anatomy, Revenge, Nashville, The Bachelor/ette, and Big Brother.

My Favorite Blogs: I have to read other blogs to help keep up with the blogosphere, get some ideas for home decor, and for fun!  I love The Curtis Casa and Bliss at Home. Their styles are so unique, and give me great ideas for my own home!

My Favorite Music: I can’t get the Cold Play song out of my head “Magic.”  I also find myself singing Black Keys, Young and The Giant, Foster the People, lots of good stuff!

My Favorite Recent Movies: We watched Gravity and American Hustle.  They were good, but the best one we have watched this past month was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  I can’t wait for the next one!

Of course when I think about the things and people I appreciate, I have my husband, my dog, my grandmother, and my close friends and family.  I even appreciate some of my co-workers, they keep me sane on a day to day basis!  I am so grateful to finally own a home with my husband. I have to say I am pretty happy, even when there are little things bothering me, I have to be thankful for what I do have.  What are you grateful for?

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How can you not love that face?!?!

Taking a Challenge

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So we BOUGHT some of the closet pieces, but we still need one more piece that was not in store…  We hope to go again next weekend so we will have the complete set and get it installed. 

In the mean time, I am going to post about a new challenge I entered to help get me back to my pre-wedding weight!  I did the Jamie Eason Live Fit program before the wedding and lost 33 pounds!  It really was an amazing outcome and I am so glad I did it, and know that I can do it again.  The reason I gained back the weight was because after the wedding I decided I wanted to eat unhealthy again, stopped working out, and knew it would eventually add up.  Jamie Eason recently posted about a new challenge on her Facebook page via Labrada Nutrition called “The Lean Body Challenge.”  I will spare most of the details (you can click on the link for the resources), but I was excited to give myself a goal and hold myself accountable for my actions.  I had to take a couple before pictures, and once the 12 weeks is up, take after pictures and mail in a packet with some essay questions.  The sign up ended February 17th, but another one starts sometime this summer. 

There is a Facebook page where all the women participants can post questions and results (they have a separate one for the males).  It is great support and motivation.  The women post pictures of their progress and it is so helpful for everyone to see the progress potential.  The grand prize is awarded to one woman and one male, and the other winners are decided by age group.  Isn’t it fun to actually have something to look forward to?  Even if I don’t win I still get a t-shirt and a completion certificate 🙂

Is anyone else doing a challenge or making a lifestyle change?  I feel so much better, less bloated, and just all around healthier by exercising and eating clean.  I can’t wait to share my progress down the line!  Hopefully I will be back to this physique!

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