Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Point Reyes Backpacking Trip

This past weekend the hubs and I went backpacking at Point Reyes with two of our best friends from college (who are also married to each other :). We were all friends before any of us started dating - and I think it's especially cool that we ended up dating and falling in love (there was actually a group of about 10-12 of us who all ended up pairing up into serious relationships with each other by the end of college).

It was foggy when we arrived. We hiked in along Limantour beach to Coast camp - only about a 1.8 mile hike, but a nice starter backpacking trip since it was our friend's first time going on this kind of adventure.

The guys were walking together - nerding it up most likely - when Samantha and I spotted an odd piece of driftwood....

that ended up being a seal! I've been to Point Reyes numerous times, and this was the first time I'd seen one (well, an alive one that is - once there was a seal carcass that washed ashore).

The hubs and I have a tradition of taking his picture with wild animals. So far the tally is baby owl, lion cub, baby alligator, and now a seal. Too bad it wasn't a seal pup so we could continue the baby animal tradition :)
It didn't really want it's picture taken, so as soon as I started to take the picture it began waddling toward the water. But at least they are in the same frame!

Once we set up camp, the hubs took us on a day hike - which ended up being a grueling 9 miles round trip!

The fog had lifted, and it was gorgeous! This is toward the beginning of the hike while we were all still feeling peppy.

The adorable couple. Seriously they are so sweet! Still practically newlyweds :) We had such a fun time hanging out with them - there is nothing better than spending time with friends you've known forever! We have seen each other through so much of life's ups and downs. An added bonus? All of us are equally good friends with each other - so there were no awkward trying-to-get-to-know-you moments. We could all totally be ourselves without worrying what the others would think, which is so nice :)

some gorgeous scenery along the coast trail.

hiking along the side of the trail - too muddy to actually walk ON the trail - it only got muddier from here!

exhausted at the end - we arrived back at camp as the sun set - just in time to make a beach fire to cook and enjoy a dinner of hot dogs and s'mores :)

The next morning we awoke sore, but pleased with our previous days' accomplishments. It was freezing though!

The fog was thick

So glad we could get away with such good friends! Here's to more trips in the future (but we promise we won't hike them to death next time :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthday Party Ideas: Sesame Street and The Very Hungry Caterpillar

My nephew is turning 2 in a little over a month, and this has me thinking about party themes :)

The little guy is obsessed with Cookie Monster - it's by far his favorite Sesame Street character. So I thought these cupcakes would be perfect! These make me smile every time I see them.

So....why not keep the theme going and make it all about Sesame Street? This would be an easy game to play with the little kids - especially since toddlers are always trying to get in the trash anyway ;)

(The blog this image is from has other great game ideas too)

Aren't these favor bags cute? They would be fun to make too! Then each kid could take home their favorite character.

When I was a toddler I loved the Very Hungry Caterpillar. My nephew loves to read (including this book), so I thought he might like this theme too.

I thought these invites were super cute! Although it could be a bit time intensive to hand deliver all the invites :)

Instead of a cake, these tiny cupcakes are kid-friendly and easy to make

For appetizers, an assortment of fruits is healthy and delicious (as well as pretty low maintenance and easy to prepare)

These cookies were too cute to pass up - and anyway, you can't only have cake at a party - the more sweets the better! These would be a bit more time intensive if you wanted to get the cool shading affect.

Whatever the theme ends up being, I know it will be fun to get to celebrate with him - since it will only be a year or two more before he is too cool to have his Aunties and Uncles at his parties ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo of the Week

My mom and I got back to California on Saturday after going to Arizona to drop my middle brother off at college. This is one of many pictures I snapped of clouds while we were there. Though the landscape is stark and unvarying, the Arizonian sky is anything but! If I never did anything except watch the sky there, I would still find it fascinating!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brief Sabbatical...

The blog is on a brief sabbatical while Adri prepares to start grad school. Posting will resume on Monday, if not sooner.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photo of the Week

I snapped this photo a few weeks ago when my younger sister was on a trail ride with one of her friends. My mom and I wanted to go for a walk, so we simply walked along the trail behind them. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, with abnormally cool temperatures for Northern California.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #24

This weekend is going to be a blast! The entire family is getting together for one last time before the 3 college kids head off to their respective schools - a hike to what should be a gorgeous swimming hole will hopefully result in a post with some cool pictures next week :)

In the meantime, this past week Ashton....

... discovered Starbuck's secret menu (and speaking of secret menus, if you live near an In-N-Out Burger, you must try your burger "animal style" next time - and your fries too if you like lots of cheesy goodness :) about 11 overused phrases (She's guilty of a few of these!)

...spied on an awesome (and detailed) baby registry

...saw this coop that almost (she said almost!) makes having chickens attractive (she kind of wants to live in that coop herself!)

And Adri...

...signed up to be an editor with Kibin, a company that offers free proofreading services. She hopes it will be useful throughout her two years as a graduate student. this tutorial on how to make a hanging light fixture out of picture frames. She hopes to be able to do something similar in a home of her own someday!

...thought this scarf tying guide could come in handy this Fall & Winter. Oh wait, who does she think she's kidding? She totally wears scarves all year-round!

...listened to this song from Iron & Wine and got all misty-eyed, because her two oldest younger brothers are moving out of her parents house within days of each other!

What are you plans for the weekend?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Facebook Unplugged

Monday night I did something I thought I would never do: I shut down my facebook account. I have been a steadfast proponent of facebook since my college days (my school was one of the earliest schools to join). It has been life changing in so many positive ways: connecting with distant family and friends, taking new friendships to a deeper and more jovial level, cataloging pictures, and keeping in touch with family. Unfortunately there is a negative side to social networking, and after quite a bit of reflection, I decided to disable my account for the following reasons:
1. I was checking my account an obsessive amount (20-30 times per day)
2. Sometimes I was planning my life around how it would look as a status update
3. I had stopped checking news sites, and had no desire to become informed about current events, except for what I saw on my news feed. I could literally feel my brain atrophying.
4. Occasionally I would embroil myself in some sort of drama either of my own making or someone else's

So it's been only a few days, and this is what I've discovered so far:
During the first 24 hours, I thought about checking facebook at least 30 times, how I would word a clever status update 8 times, and had the urge to stop by the profiles of different friends 5 times.

The second day I started missing the positive side of these social interactions: The friend who drops by your page with a random comment, the feeling of shared camaraderie when you and others you know post on the same picture or comment thread. The ease of planning events, finding out about exciting news (like births and engagements), and storing photos and sharing them with others.

Despite that, I have been much more at ease since I quit. I didn't realize how much facebook controlled my thoughts and actions until I started down this path. Today I spent an hour reading the Wall Street Journal, something I never would have done if facebook was accessible. I have been more present (mentally and emotionally) in every conversation I've had the last two days - it's much easier for me to concentrate on what the person I'm with is saying, without worrying about the pull of social networking.

Overall, I'm much happier now! Will I ever return to facebook (or its equivalent)? Perhaps. If I can overcome my addictive tendencies, and use it in a balanced way, it could enrich my life and my interactions with others. But until I am sure that I can do that, I am going to stay unplugged, as inconvenient and hard as that may be.

I will let you know how it works out :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IKEA Wish Listin': Chiefly Decorative

A couple weeks ago, this year's IKEA catalog landed in my mailbox and I was so excited! I immediately dropped everything I was doing and sat down to put sticky notes on every page that had something I wanted to buy on it. My friends and I are planning to go to IKEA as soon as we get our next paychecks. It should be a fun trip because our IKEA is right next to In-N-Out, so after shopping 'til we drop, we can eat 'til we pop! Okay, not really, but we are going to go to In-N-Out for a treat after our IKEA excursion.

My IKEA desires are mostly split between items that are chiefly decorative and items that are chiefly functional. This post highlights the decorative items and a post next week will reveal the items that are chiefly functional.

Ever since I first saw the STOCKHOLM Bowl, I have wanted it! This year it's down to $19.99 (instead of last year's price of $29.99). I might just decide to get it! It would be useful as a bowl, but it would also look pretty hanging on a wall.

My bedroom doesn't have any mirrors in it and it would be nice to have something to reflect more light around the room. This EKNE Mirror is only $9.99 and I think it would look very chic hanging from some ribbon.

When I saw these lacy plant pots in the catalog, I fell in love! I've been wanting to get some indoor plants for my apartment and the SKURAR Pots are so beautiful, delicate, and feminine! This one is only $2.99!

My mom has always liked the look of a white pitcher with flowers in it and I definitely inherited that taste from her! The great thing about the SOCKERART Vase is that it can be used as a water pitcher or vase and it only costs $12.99.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo of the Week

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #23

Things old and new, found across the internet this week:

Katie of Bower Power gave a $10 Goodwill find a makeover to turn it into a gorgeous light fixture.

A fun levitating photo series.

Riots erupted in London, and no one is quite sure what the reason behind them was - or if there even was one.

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick repurposed two outdoor sidetables and created a beautiful, rustic outdoor coffee table.

The Art of Manliness published an excellent guest article on appropriate host/hostess gifts.

Ashton found this room with teal accents! She loves it :)

If you know an engineer, you will understand....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fashion Inspiration: Jaqueline "Jackie O." Kennedy

The other day I noticed that the miniseries "The Kennedys" is available for streaming on Netflix and though I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, when I do watch it I anticipate enjoying a glimpse into an era in the United States' history that I completely missed out on. Growing up, my mom would tell me and my siblings stories about the Kennedys, but I have never had a very concrete idea of who they were or the vast influence they had on American politics, culture, history, and fashion.

I decided to do a Pinterest search for "Jackie O." and I found some common themes among her outfits that I though I would highlight here:

1. Dresses with fitted bodices and full or flared skirts

2. Short strands of pearls

3. Jackets with curvy, rather than boxy, elements

4. Over-sized sunglasses

5. Fitted tops and sweaters

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Laughing Song by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;
when the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha, ha he!"
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of "Ha, ha, he!"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Champagne and Teal Livingroom

I made my first mood board! I was inspired by a shopping trip my friend Jenn and I took to Pier One Imports. She has an awesome eye for putting a room together (something I want to develop myself!) and I was lamenting to her that it would be difficult to integrate my favorite color -teal- into a living room without it overtaking the space. I was worried that using such a rich color could send it in a "teenager's bedroom" direction. She immediately grabbed a teal pillow and a champagne pillow and showed me how combining the two created a very elegant look. I liked it so much, I made this mood board. I would love to hear what you think!

Teal/Champagne... by ashtonia

Champagne is picked up in the rug, curtains and pillow. The teal pillows and artwork (and perhaps an accent piece or two like a vase) add a subtle amount of this rich color to the room. The cream couch provides a clean backdrop, without adding visual clutter to the space. I would probably add a few more textured pillows (in teal, champagne or cream) to add an extra layer to the space. What other accessories would you add to this livingroom, and in what textures or colors?

PS if you would like to find links to the exact items in my moodboard, click over to where it's hosted on kaboodle...I'm not linking to them all here, simply because I'm not going to go out and buy these pricey items. I prefer to shop at discount and used stores - or clearance racks in name brand places :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Photo of the Week

Beautiful petite blooms for a moment of respite during a hectic Monday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #22

Things we found of interest this week:

Adri enjoyed reading Joel Runyan's blog post about creating your own adventure.

Julie Sedivy, one of the writers for Language Log, wrote an interesting summary of a study on resistance to persuasion in advertising.

Katie of Bower Power, one of the originators of the Pinterest Challenge, created this mirror for the project. It's by far one of Adri's favorite DIYs that came out of the challenge.

This hit from 1980 has been getting stuck in Adri's head quite a lot lately.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beer & Burgers at the Cascade Lakes Brewery

Since the racers had a criterium in downtown Bend late Saturday afternoon, we decided to go out to eat afterward at the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company. Nano and I had eaten there the year before with a different group of friends and I had really good memories of how great the buffalo burgers & beers were. Actually, I had a great memory of how one of the beers was, because I only tried one last year, the 20" Brown, and I had purchased a 6-pack that I stretched out until the end of May.

So when we went back to Bend this year, one of my priorities was getting another buffalo burger from this restaurant and getting the taster tray of all their beers so I could purchase a few to take home.

One side of the menu listed all the food dishes that were available. Although there was a lot to choose from, everyone in our group ordered a burger, and most of us paid the extra $2 to get the buffalo patty. It was worth it! Buffalo meat is amazing.

I am a woman of very plain tastes, so I always order my burgers "just the meat and the bun." If it comes with vegetables, I get them on the side and eat them separate from the main dish. The buffalo burger was delicious! I highly recommend getting a buffalo burger whenever you can - they can be hard to find and might cost a little more, but they are oh-so-tender and very tasty.

I tend to put a lot of ketchup on my hamburgers and hotdogs! Also, you can't eat fries without some ketchup for dipping!

The flip side of the menu listed all the drinks offered by the brewery. Since I was planning to buy a lot of beer after dinner, I decided to get the taster tray so I could have a clear idea of which beers I like and which I don't.

Since I don't like IPAs, I substituted the Riverside Red. Clockwise from 11 O'Clock, the beers in the tray are Blonde Bombshell, Pine Marten Pale Ale, Rooster Tail Ale, 20" Brown, Monkey Face Porter, and Riverside Red.

These two were my favorite of the bunch - 20" Brown and Rooster Tail Ale. I'm not a fan of really light ales, but I did enjoy the Blonde Bombshell and I thought it would be great on a really hot summer evening. I couldn't detect any distinctive differences between the Pine Marten and Rooster Tail ales, but the Rooster Tail seemed slightly more mellow and less "sharp" to me than the Pine Marten, though it was still quite enjoyable. 20" Brown was just as malty & tasty as I'd remembered and I once again decided to buy it. I'm not a fan of porters, but the Monkey Face Porter was by far the best one I've ever had and I considered buying it, but since I couldn't think of any occasion where I would choose to drink the Monkey Face over any of the others, I decided against it.

I really liked the Riverside Red, the first red beer I'd ever had, but alas! Cascade Lakes Brewing Company does not sell 6-packs of the seasonal brews! Sad face.

These were the notes I made to myself while tasting the beers. As you can see, I am quite the beer connoisseur - not! The numbers next to the beers indicate how many I intended to purchase. A 6-pack costs $7, and since my beer budget was $50, I planned to purchase seven 6-packs (which would have come to $49). However, when I got to the counter, I saw that a case was $25, so for only $50, I was able to get a total of eight 6-packs instead of just seven.

The taster tray came with this nifty little information sheet on the various beers. It was nice to be able to taste the beers and try to distinguish their characteristics, then read about them to see if I was right.

I brought two of those bad boys home - enough to last for a year with some to share! I asked if they could mix & match the cases for me, and sure enough, they could! So I got three 6-packs of the 20" Brown (still a favorite), two of the Rooster Tail Ale, two of the Pine Marten Ale, and one of the Blonde Bombshell. Cheers!

(In case I didn't make it clear, I highly recommend visiting this restaurant if you're ever in Bend. Here is a link to their website.)