Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites!!!

Wow...has it really been over a month since I've blogged?!? Life has gotten a little crazy, so I haven't had the spare time to devote to blogging. Don't worry though, the crazy is really good. Hopefully I'll have more details in the coming months. (No, it's not baby related). So...here goes for my Friday favorites:

- Teeth Cleaning - We had our dentist appointment this week. We had to re-schedule it twice due to snow, so I was glad it finally happened! Maybe it's weird, but I love having my teeth cleaned!

- Game night - Last Saturday, we had another couple over for games. We had a nice, low key night at the house, but it was tons of fun! I can't wait for the next one!

- Snow - We've had a good amount of snow this year! We had a couple inches a few times then 6+ inches on 2 separate occasions. Bailey has been loving it! I really enjoy the snow, but I'm getting a little tired of the cold weather!

This was after I arrived at work one day a few weeks ago. With the windchill, it was around -20 this day. This Southern gal is NOT cut out for negative temperatures!

This is Bailey pouncing for her stick. I love watching her play in the snow :-)

- Skype - I got to Skype with my niece this week. I love that little girl so much, we should definitely do it more often!

- Vacation - Speaking of snow and cold weather...we decided last year when we went to Mexico during hurricane season that we wanted to go somewhere warmer in the winter. During the past few weeks, we've been planning our trip to the Dominican Republic!!! I'm quite ready for it! Our 10 day forecast shows a chance of snow on 5 days! The 10 day forecast for DR shows some scattered showers, but weather in the mid 70s to mid 80s. Yes please!

- Honey Pig - If you ever have to opportunity to eat at a Korean BBQ restaurant...DO IT! you choose your meats and they're grilled right at your table. It's similar to Hibachi, but better in my opinion. It was just our personal table, and I like the intimacy of it. The downside is you leave with your clothes smelling like the food you had, but it's worth it!

 This is the duck BBQ that Josh picked. I chose Bulgogi, which is marinated, thinly sliced beef. Both were awesome!

- Superbowl - I was more excited about the Superbowl this year than I have been any other year!
4 former Wolfpack players got to play on Sunday and I am SO excited for all of them! I was pulling hard for the Seahawks, but I wouldn't have been horribly upset if the Broncos would have won. Nate Irving still would have gotten a Superbowl ring. Fortunately, the Hawks were able to pull out a win! Congrats to Russell Wilson, JR Sweezy & Steven Hauschka!!!

- Spontaneous date night - After we finished getting our teeth cleaned, we realized that I was completely out of it when I booked our appointment, because it was rush hour! We didn't want to spend a ton of time in traffic, so we decided to go out for Happy Hour at On The Border. We were planning on using the time to be productive and trip plan, but it was worth putting it off one more night :-).

- Happy Hour x3- On Wednesday, we met friends at DuClaw for a beer release and yet another Happy Hour! Another thing you should definitely try if you ever get a chance is duck fat fries. They're delicious! We have another Happy Hour planned for tonight with Josh's work team. After tonight...I'm back on my vacation diet...seriously this time!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!!!


I hope everyone has had a great start to 2014!

I have no complaints. We kept it low key and brought in the New Year with the Smiths at our house. 2013 was a great year and it passed by so quickly! I look forward to seeing what 2014 brings our way.

I thought it might be a good idea to post my resolutions. Here we go...

1) Get back to my goal weight - I reached it in 2013 but put it right back on. This time I would like to keep it off!
2) Get organized - I plan to tackle the house one room at a time. We need to do some serious de-cluttering and organizing. I plan to start the first major part this weekend in the craft room. Before and after pictures to come!
3) Meet our financial goals (that we haven't specified just yet).

I would also like to take advantage of the time we have and travel as much as possible. We hope to start trying for a baby in about a year and a half...so we want to see as many places as we can before that happens :-). 

What are your resolutions?

2013 Recap

2013 was a pretty eventful year. Here's what happened...

January
We spent New Years at home with the Smiths. Low key, but a great time!

February
Bailey turned 2. I can't believe how much she has grown!


The Ravens won the Super Bowl and we took off a day of work to go to the parade.


March
Our friends Nikki & Bryan had their beautiful triplets 2.5 months early, the day before our dating anniversary!

We celebrated our 12th dating anniversary! We went to Flying Dog for our first tour then out to dinner with friends. We had a great time!!!

Josh's cousin got married in VA.

Love weddings!

We FINALLY finished our bar.


We got the biggest snow of the "Winter" on March 25th.

April
We got sod put in and our yard looks SO much better!

Before and immediately after. It's still pretty green in January!

We celebrated Easter with my family here.

Natalia stayed a week with us.




We updated our master bathroom by painting, replacing the light fixtures, faucets and mirrors, AND by painting the cabinets and adding new hardware.


Cabinets Before                                                   Cabinets After


We went from this...


To this.

May 
Our niece, Ally was born!


We celebrated the 2nd anniversary of us buying our home!

We went to NC for Sherry & Aaron's wedding!

We went to NC for Natalia's 6th birthday party


We had to replace our HVAC.

I finally reached my goal weight (then put it back on over the next few months).

June
I hosted my sister's baby shower.


We paid off the last of our student loans!!! Woohoo!

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in Mexico!


...during hurricane season


July
I ran my first 5K/Mud Run!


Baby Zachary was born
Photo

August
Our nephew, Jaden was born!


September
We took Bailey for her first hike.


We updated the guest bathroom.

I ran my first 10K.

I finished in 1:08:10. My goal is to finish in less than an hour this year.

October
We went to Busch Garden's for Jen's birthday.
Photo

We flooded our kitchen and ruined the ceiling in the State room.


...then we fixed it


We went to Raleigh for the State v. Clemson game.


November
We went camping with Bailey for the first time.


We went to California!


December
We bought our SUV!


We celebrated Christmas at our house.

I got a Vitamix AND we got a new camera. We got a Canon 60D! Now to learn how to use it :-)

Bailey posing for the new camera :-)

We went to NC to spend Christmas with our family and friends.

Then we ended 2013 just the way we started it. Hanging out here with the Smiths. Except this time, baby Zachary was with us!

New Family Member

Nope...no baby for us, but we got a new car! Well, new to us. Josh and I have been considering buying a second car for quite a while. Our work schedules are getting less flexible and it's just getting harder and harder to share a car. We've done lots of research and talked to friends. We have known for quite a while that we wanted to buy an Explorer next, but we were going to test drive the competitors just in case. We needed to go to the Honda dealership to get the Civic serviced one weekend in December. We were going to drive the Pilot while we were there anyway. We actually weren't able to get an appointment, so we decided to just go drive Explorers instead. I was fine with that. I don't care for the way the Pilots look, I just felt like I should give them a chance. 

I've been keeping an eye on Explorers for months. I was hoping to buy a new one and Josh wanted to buy a used one. I didn't mind buying a used one, but I was having a very difficult time finding used ones that had everything we wanted. I checked our company's discount website not really expecting to find anything and I found a 2011 Explorer that had leather seats (a must for both of us) and a tow package (a strong preference for Josh). That was great, but the price was awesome! We decided to go ahead and test drive it. We thought we would go drive it, try to talk them down a little more, then hopefully buy it later in the week if we liked it. We didn't expect them to come down much at all based on our last car buying experience. We drove it and we loved it! I didn't look at all the features when I saw it online, but it turned out it had EVERYTHING on our wishlist, not just the must haves. It was in great shape. We drove it and we loved it! 

I was sold, but Josh was determined to get a them to come down another $1,500 on the price. At first, they just came down $1,000. Josh told them no. The salesman said that was the best they could do on that day and asked if there was anything else they could do to change our minds. I said they could throw in the extended warranty. They came back and said they could come down the $1,500. Woohoo!

We got it at the perfect time too! It's nice having a 4 wheel drive vehicle in the snow!

So, here it is!


We've had it for a month now and we love it!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

California Love!!!

This is quite late, but Josh and I were in CA for 10 days a couple weeks ago. We had such a great time! Just a heads up, this is going to be a long post.

We drove down to NC so that we could fly out of Raleigh since we would be going there for Thanksgiving right after we got back from CA anyway. Anna and John were nice enough to keep Bailey for us while we were away, so I felt better knowing she was going to be with her best friend while we were away.

We flew out of Raleigh Saturday morning. We had a VERY short layover in Denver...just 35 minutes. Luckily, our gates were side by side. We literally hopped off one plane and got on the next. Once we landed in San Francisco, we realized Josh didn't have his license. NOT a good thing! We looked EVERYWHERE and we just didn't have it. Luckily, Josh remembered that the plane we were on was going to San Jose after Denver. He called Southwest and it didn't take long at all for us to find out that it was in San Jose. Luckily, that's less than an hour away from where we were. Whew! We decided we would go pick it up that night.

Beautiful! 

This is the shadow from our plan taking off in Denver.

The salt flats flying into San Francisco.

We went to pick up our rental car after getting our luggage. We had reserved a full size sedan, but we were offered a 2014 Mustang for $8 more. Sure, why not!
She's pretty, even in white!

We had plans to meet up with our friend, Nick at his brewery! We took a look around, sampled his beers, watched some football and just caught up. We had such a great time! After hanging out for a bit, we went to dinner with Nick, his wife and his daughter. They introduced us to Afghan food at Kabul and it was delicious! 


 Some beers Nick has aging.

 The new bottling line! 

Josh and I with Savannah. We haven't seen this little lady since she was about 4!

We had a great time with the Armstrongs! We definitely want to get out to visit again before too long. Nick has plans to move his brewery into a larger space, so we really want to go see it!

Sunday morning, we drove down to pick up Josh's license from the San Jose airport. This seemed kind of silly since we were going to San Jose that night anyway, but we were going to have to have Josh's license to pick up the rental car we were getting for work. After picking up his license, we drove north of San Francisco to Muir Woods to see the redwoods.

Our first time going over the Golden Gate Bridge!



 Look at how old this tree was!


 SO tall!

 I've heard about how big Redwoods and Giant Sequoias were for as long as I can remember, but I was still amazed at how huge they really are!

Massive! This thing is bigger around than my master bathroom!

The view leaving Muir Woods, so pretty!

There was a small brewpub close by, so we decided to stop by for a beer.


 We enjoyed our beers here, but we didn't eat here because we were planning to grab lunch in Sausalito.

We got to Sausalito and just picked a place to eat. We didn't have a lot of time before the car needed to be dropped off, so we didn't have time to do any research. We ended up going to Taste of Rome. As it turns out, it gets really good reviews. I wasn't very impressed with my meal.

 I got spaghetti with clams. I expected amazing homemade sauce. I didn't care for the sauce or the garlic bread. I'm a fan of garlic, and it was even too much garlic for me!

 Josh got some kind of gnocchi. I don't remember what all was in it, but his was really good!

After lunch, we returned the car and picked up our next rental car. This is where the "work" part of our trip started. We drove down to San Jose, which is where we were both taking a class.

 This is where we spent the next 5 night. Cute room!

We actually didn't have much time to do anything in San Jose. We mostly went to class and went out to dinner. We even had dinner in our room a couple nights. We were still on East Coast time, so we got tired super early. 

 We tried In-N-Out Burger. The food was fine, but not very impressive. The shakes were delicious though!

We had a couple days of rain, then we went to downtown San Jose on our next clear day.
 A double rainbow! We could actually see the entire rainbow (just the smaller one)! I wasn't able to get a picture of the whole thing, because Josh was driving down the road when I took this one.

Toilets on the street.

 Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph. We weren't able to go in, but it was beautiful!

Levi's Stadium, the new 49ers stadium under construction in Santa Clara. This will be the site of Superbowl L. This was just around the corner of where Josh took his class. Very cool!

After our class, we went to check into our hotel in San Francisco. I was SO excited to go back to San Francisco. There was so much I was looking forward to doing! Josh found our hotel on Priceline and we got a great deal. We stayed at Chancellor Hotel in Union Square. This was actually our favorite hotel we stayed at the entire trip. It's very old and still family owned. Not something you see a ton. It's also very close to so much! 


 Pictures of the hotel being built.

 Clocks with different time zones.

They had a 13th floor! We were on the 4th though.

 So cute. We left the ducky behind and later realized Bailey would have really enjoyed it. Oh well.

Super cute and super comfy.

They had an amazing pillow menu! I was so excited about this :-). I ordered the magnetic pillow and Josh ordered the buckwheat pillow. I used one each night. Josh ended up just using the regular pillows, which were also very comfy.

Cute little seating area we didn't really use. I love the green chairs though!

This was our view outside our window! We could hear the cables from the cable cars running underneath the streets. So cool!
  
Hearts in Union Square

A street performer. He made really cool robot sounds with his mouth.

We saw puppies training to be therapy and guide dogs. There was a group of about 20 of them. So cool!

There were normal stores in really old, beautiful buildings!

Walking up Lombard street. This was a VERY steep hike!


At the top of Lombard!

We decided to walk back down to the bay rather than waiting for the cable car.
I'm glad we did. We found this Norwegian church with this beautiful view!

An electric BMW

Ghiradelli Square!

Yummy sundae! It was very good, but to be honest, I would have been just as excited with a Ben & Jerry's sundae. It was cool to see where Ghiradelli started, but since there was no tour or anything, this is probably part of the trip I would skip if we could go back and re-do it. It's just a very touristy area and there are other things we didn't get to do that we would prefer. 

We saw some cool things while searching for the sea lions!

A 2 story carousel. Are you serious?!?

We found the sea lions! They were so funny!

The Painted Ladies! So pretty and such a nice view of the city!

This is the Full House house! You would think by the show that it's close to the Painted Ladies (or that it is one of them!) and the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not close to any of those things! It also looks very different. It's purple now, and no more red door. Obviously, the owners don't like to be bothered.

Apparently, these are really cool in San Francisco.

The Oakland Bridge. So pretty at night!


A historic streetcar. We rode these a couple times. They are the original ones from way back in the day. Pretty cool!


Look at all that sourdough bread! Yum!

So many cool shapes!

Last ride on the cable car!

Windmills and flowers in Golden Gate Park. So pretty!


We decided to visit the Pacific. Josh has never put his feet in it and I hadn't in the US. It was COLD!

...but I found out there were lots of sand dollars and I didn't care, I had to find some! It was worth it, I found 3 whole ones :-).
Next...we made out way to wine country!

We went to a couple wineries and had a nice lunch in Sonoma, then we went to our hotel room in Napa. 

We found this really cool dessert bar, Sift. They had delicious cupcakes! I got the Battle Royale. It was delicious! I didn't know it until I just looked up their menu to find it, but it was a Cupcake Wars winner! 


Wine grapes!

Josh is standing in front of an olive grove.

Brand new wine barrels. 

Wine Country was lots of fun, but quite expensive. The wines are undoubtedly better than the ones we make on the East Coast and it was absolutely beautiful! We have been able to find several of the wines that we tried and liked at Total Wine here. You would think it would be cheaper to get it from the source, but that's not the case. I guess they upcharge it so much because it's such a popular place to go and they can.

Just before going over the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time.

With my favorite person in the world!

Almost time to say goodbye to Cabernet!

We went on to the airport and began our really long trip back to Raleigh. Our flight left a 1:40 and we just had a short layover in Atlanta. Unfortunately, 45 minutes turned into over 3 hours. It was after 2:30 am when we landed in Raleigh. Whew! That was a long day of traveling!