Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elisalou Designs

I came across this web site today and thought it was too cute not to share. The ladies over at Elisalou Designs have all kinds of bags and accessories that come in custom fabric AND they ship anywhere in the US. The only drawback is it takes 6-8 weeks to receive your product because everything is custom made. But it's never too early to start your Christmas shopping!
I think Meeko and Charlie would look precious with these dog collars. And, their messenger bag and camera strap would surely dress up my camera!

All photos courtesy of elisalou designs

Monday, September 28, 2009

Music Monday: Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson

I'm not sure how I feel about artists overlapping in genres. Not many actors have been successful crossing over into the music world and vice versa. But I have to admit, the duo of Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson intrigued me. I saw Pete Yorn this summer and fell in love with his charismatic voice. And, Scarlett Johansson is one of my favorite actresses. Here is the track, Relator, off of their album Break Up. Starbucks is selling the album if you are interested in listening to more of this sexy duo.

What do you think? Does Ms. Johansson have what it takes to sing or should she stick to the big screen?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Follow Friday: Design Sponge

Sometimes I have so many design ideas for our home in my head that I feel like it will explode. I'm constantly walking around the house thinking of ways I can improve. And there are web sites that specifically fuel this creative drive. I should probably stop looking at them until I can tackle all 837 current projects I have started. But I can't help myself, I'm a design cutter.

Design*Sponge is by far one of my favorite sites to check out. I especially love the before & after and DIY sections. D*S is to the blogosphere what Martha Stewart is for YSA (Yuppie Suburban America).

Here are some things I have been lusting after lately. They make my heart happy!

What are your favorite design blogs, just in case the 487 I read aren't cutting it?

*All photos are from Design Sponge

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

We decided to take a trip to Northern California for my birthday this year. I was excited to get out of town with my sweetie and see more of the state I love. Our first stop was San Francisco. We arrived late on a Tuesday night and stayed through Thursday afternoon. Just enough time to fall in love with the city by the bay. Thank goodness we tacked on an extra day in SF at the end of our trip because I was not ready to say goodbye just yet.

The following day was my 30th birthday and by far one of the best I have had. We woke up early (me very early b/c I was still on East Coast time) and went downstairs for breakfast. I'm not a huge breakfast person but, oh my god was this something. Definitely the way to start your birthday. Markus had the buffet which looked pretty amazing but I couldn't pass up the lemon meyer and ricotta pancakes with crème fraîche. To die for. I would have taken a picture but I had already licked my plate and people were starting to stare.

The next several hours we spent wandering the streets of San Francisco. Falling more and more in love with each turn we took. The vistas were amazing. Everywhere you turn their is a view of the bay, rows and rows of beautiful houses, and hidden stairs. We loved the stairs because they usually led to somewhere even more fantastic than where you were just standing.

We stopped by the Ferry Building for lunch, another must do in San Francisco. It's a very cool sustainable indoor market with local shops and restaurants. We did a little shopping/sight seeing and then decided on Hog Island Oyster Co. for lunch. Most of the restaurants overlook the Bay and the Bay Bridge, another reason this place is so cool.

That night we had dinner reservations at Yabbies but the night was young so we headed to Top of the Mark for a champagne toast while watching the sun set. It has 360 degree view of the city, but about 5 minutes after we got there the fog rolled in. We couldn't see the building in front of us, much less the sun setting. But it was still cool, another must do in SF.

After dinner we decided to check out the Tonga Room, which is located in the basement lower level of our hotel. It was...interesting. A few people had told me they had gone so we thought why not? Every birthday girl deserves a birthday drink. Markus and I paid the $5/per person cover, got leid, and took our seats at a tiki covered table. Next to a swimming pool, with a floating stage, that had a "rainmaker" and a 40 something cover band. Uh huh, like I said, interesting.

The next day we were leaving San Francisco and heading to wine country but there were still a few things we needed to see (hello, the Golden Gate Bridge!). So on the way out of town we drove by the Painted Ladies, through Golden Gate Park, and down to see that bridge. I was in awe and couldn't believe I was standing next to the Golden Gate. Stunning! I wish we had had more time, and who knows, I might have even gotten the courage to walk across it. Maybe next time!

Directly across from San Francisco (over the bridge) are the quaint little towns of Sausolito and Tiburon. Who knew they aren't just a cookie and a Hyundai! And, If I didn't know better I would have thought we were somewhere in southern Europe. Colorful houses are nestled in the hills and beautiful boats sit in the crystal blue water of the bay. Markus and I joked that this would be where we would keep our sailboat if we lived in San Francisco. You know, when we weren't jet setting the world.

A trip to California wouldn't be complete without visiting our favorite residents. Markus' best friend Chris and his girlfriend, Alexa have helped us immensely with the planning of both of our trips out west, and it just so happens Alexa lives in SF. So our last night in town we met her for a drink at The Thirsty Pig and then tried out A16 for dinner. A recommendation of Chris', who was in LA that weekend. He was missed but I'm glad he shared his girlfriend with us because we had a great time out with a local.

I know I say this about a lot of places we visit in the U.S. but San Francisco is hands down my favorite city. But, don't tell New York that!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Summer: Recap

I posted this blog at the beginning of the summer with a list of all the things I wanted to do in the summer of '09. So I thought now that fall is officially here and summer is just a memory it would be cool to look back and see how many things I can check off my list, and how many things I did that wasn't on the list.

I think I did pretty well in accomplishing my goals. There weren't as many lazy summer days as I would've liked to have had but that's okay. I also would've liked to get out in the garden more but it was so hot and the mosquitos were awful this year. Dang bugs!

There were some really cool things we did this summer that I didn't expect, like our trip to Northern California, which I plan on blogging about this week. I also got to see both of my sister-in-laws. Something that doesn't happen that often. And, there were a few home projects I tackled that I didn't expect to get around to. More on those later. Oh yeah, and I got braces!

All in all, I'd say it was a great summer!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

So, besides vacationing, what else have we been up to the last month? A lot! August was a very busy month. Let me see if I can remember it all. Okay, it's starting to come back to me. I remember a wedding, a lot of birthdays (including mine), starting school for the first time in 11! years!, and another vacation.

I'll start with the wedding of Misty and Ryan Cartwright in Nags, Head, NC. I drove down on a Friday night and got there in time to see the bride and groom before the big day. Misty was all smiles and so excited! The wedding took place on the beach and it brought back memories of our beach wedding, except it was sunny. Here is a shot I got of them right after the ceremony ended. I love the look on each of their faces. It fits their personalities so well.

Markus had to work that weekend so technically I did not have a date. However, there were a few single ladies that filled his shoes and we just as fun! The whole weekend was a blast, the Carwright/Morton's really know how to throw a party. Congratulations, Misty & Ryan!

There were also lots of birthdays to be celebrated. It appears I like to hang out with my sign; The Virgo. All 4 of the ladies pictured above had a birthday in August/early September. I turned the big 30! Which was a lot of fun, as most birthdays are. I like to spread it out and celebrate all week so the festivities started the weekend before my birthday with a couples dinner hosted by Suzi and Christina. Christina went all out with food, even making me a chocolate ganache and raspberry cake by scratch! The next night we had a girls night out at one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood. I was super excited to have everyone there, thanks ladies!

Happy Birthday to all my fellow Virgo peeps; Erin, Suzi, Lindsay, Reilly, Alexa, Courtney, Teri and Jennifer. And, twins Capri and Weber turned 1!

One more thing that I think is worth celebrating. I am FINALLY going back to school. Something I have wanted to do for a long time but never had the courage or guts to do until now. I enrolled in 1 class at University of Richmond, School of Continuing Studies to get my feet wet. I hope to take 2 classes next semester and will be working towards my Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. School started August 24th and so far so good. Wish me luck on my mid-term next week!

Music Monday: She & Him

There is a rumor that Zooey Deschanel wed Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard this weekend. I love both. So in honor of this perfect harmony, I bring you Zooey's band, She & Him. This is off their debut album, Volume One.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vacation One: Part Four, Down The Shore

If you aren't from the NJ/New York area, you might say you were going to the beach or heading to the shore. But that is wrong. The only way to describe going to a beach in NJ, is "down the shore". Even if you are south and you are going north, it's still down. Crazy New Jersians (is that a word?). Anyway, that's where we go next, down the shore. Specifically Cape May, NJ, which is as far down as you can get.

I wrote this post a few months ago expressing how I was dreaming of going to Avalon, NJ. Little did I know I would have the opportunity this summer. Cape May is 2 towns down from Avalon so the first night we were in town we went to the tiny island for dinner. It had stormed earlier in the evening and we got a fantastic view of the sky by the beach afterwards. Sorry for so many pictures, I couldn't help myself. The sky looked so different the further the sun set.

The next day we decided to rent bikes and explore before hitting the beach. We rode through town, grabbed breakfast, and then rode along a country road that lead to the lighthouse with great views of Cape May.
Cape May is known for having beautifully restored Victorian houses. This one was outside our hotel window. I wonder when it was built and who has lived there.

We hit the beach after our bike ride and stayed there for hours. Markus had to drag me away from it. I knew it was going to be one of the last times I saw it. And, oh how I love the beach.

We ended the trip with a great seafood dinner, a ferry ride, and some corn fields.

The end!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vacation One: Part 3

When Markus took me home to New Jersey the first Christmas we were dating, I didn't really know what to expect. New Jersey to me was The Sopranos and what you see along the turnpike driving into NYC. But Markus insisted it was nothing like that. It was beautiful and a great place to raise a family. Uh huh, sure. The south is beautiful and a great place to raise a family. I had to see it for myself. I was stunned to find beautiful country, small towns with a Main Street and local shops, and gorgeous old houses on big lots with trees and gardens. Madison, where Markus spent most of his childhood is picture perfect, literally. Movies have been filmed using their Main Street. It's the best of both worlds; small enough to have the hometown feel, yet just 25 miles outside of New York City. A train ride away to theatre, restaurants, shopping, and everything else the best city in the world has to offer.

We try to visit Heikki as often as Markus' schedule allows but usually it's just for 2 or 3 days. Not long enough to do much of anything. So we decided to turn one of our vacations into a trip to Heikki's house. We arrived Monday morning and stayed through Friday. It was so relaxing and really nice to spend time with Heikki. We ate, drank, swam, sauna'd, napped, ate some more, and visited friends. Perfect trip!

I now agree with Markus, New Jersey is beautiful and a great place to vacation! Our trip to this great state isn't over yet. Next up, we head "down the shore". Stay tuned!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vacation One: Part 2

I can't believe it's September SEVENTH! 1/4 of the way through the month that means summer is over and fall is on it's way. I also can't believe it's taken me so long to post a real blog. Where to begin? So many things happened in the month of August; vacation(s), weddings, birthdays, life! I think the best way to sum it all up would be through pictures. After all, they say a thousand words.

Waaaay back at the end of July we took a trip to NYC. I blogged about the first half of our weekend here. The next part of the story will take place in the Bronx. You know, where Jenny from the block grew up. I don't think I got to see her part of town but I did get to see where the Yankees play.

Markus, being a long time Yankee fan, was beyond excited to see the new stadium and see the game. I, being a Yankee fan by marriage, was mostly excited to take pictures, eat a hot dog, and drink beer. The game proved to be a lot more exciting in person and we both had a great time.

We headed a little further north after the game to visit Miira and Keith in Connecticut. It was a short trip but we got to see their new house and spend some time with them, which is always nice.
Part 3 of our vacation will take us to New Jersey. Stay tuned!