Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cute Bundle of Fur OR Demon-Possessed Creature From Hell!?

Exhibit A: Look at this cute, cuddly ball of furry goodness!

Guillermo (or Gui-man, around the house) is a lovable and very passive cat. He's still a kitten, just over a year old, but he loves being held and snuggled. I adore him...well, most of the time! The times I don't like him so much...when he does stuff like this:

Behold Exhibit B

The absolute worst thing about Gui, he love chewing on cords! This cord happened to belong to the extension cord we were using for the Christmas tree. Luckily, it was not plugged in when he decided to do this or else we would have had fried kitty on our hands! And here I was stressing about the cats climbing in the tree, Cheese chewing on the tree, or all matter of creatures chewing the tree...when I should have been more concerned with the extension cord! Fingers crossed that the next extension cord won't fall pray to Guillermo. Hopefully dosing it in bitter apple first will help deter him, if not, I'm not sure what to do!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Preview

Here's a couple of quick shots I took this weekend at the dog park with the new fancy camera...

I know they're not crazy awesome, but for first-timer shots they're not too bad! It's a learning process after all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That Darned Challenging Movie Challenge

You'd think that with four full days off from our real jobs Antoine and I would have made at least a little bit of progress in the challenge...nope!! Not one single movie! In my defense, I did work three of those four days at Sbux (after being called in Friday night when I wasn't even supposed to work) and spent the rest of the time being one of those nut-jobs who wakes up before the sun on Black Friday to face the hoards and find deals! It was a mad, fun, semi-chaotic, and busy couple of days, and while Antoine and I got a lot of things accomplished (i.e. Xmas shopping, laundry, Xmas decorating, and a little bit of cleaning) we did not get anywhere on our Movie Challenge! Alas...maybe this week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Xmas Came Early This Year

Antoine and I have been talking about getting a dslr camera for a while now, but it's mostly been a daydream...until last week! We ventured into Best Buy...never a good idea for Antoine and I...and what do you know there was a pretty little Nikon D3100 bundle on sale with free financing. And like a horse to a carrot...we were hooked!

Isn't it pretty!?

We only just got a chance to really play around with it today, but it was oh so much fun! But, we have a lot to learn! In the meantime...expect lots of pictures on here! I hope to take pictures every single chance I get! Horray!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday...

...there's a reason it is called "black" Friday! Sometimes it has a way of blackening the spirit! After about 10 hours of shopping (self-inflicted, so I shouldn't complain) I got called into Sbux after one of our baristas didn't show up! So, there goes my two days off in a row...

Damn you, Black Friday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the first image that appeared when I did a google search for "Thanksgiving"! Pretty sweet, huh?!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! While you're chowing down on your turkey and sweet potatoes, wearing your stretchy pants and sweating from the sheer amount of food you're ingesting, I'll be slaving away at Sbux. Because everyone knows that the Indians gave the Pilgrims overpriced espresso beverages to accompany their gift of maze and poultry. Or, the people of Madeira and Indian Hill just need their coffee fix to counteract the chemical properties of the tryptophan in their turkey. Either way I'll be celebrating the generosity of the Native Americans to the evil white man by slinging coffee and scrubbing down espresso machines. Oh, what fun!

No worries though, I'm closing with two of my favorites from the Bux and it'll be a good time. Plus, Antoine's bringing me home a plate of Turkey day goodies from his parents house! And I technically already celebrated Thanksgiving with my family earlier in November, so go ahead and stop playing that teeny-tiny violin for me! Also, I'm not a huge fan of Thankgiving...I mean, the food is great, but as long as I get some turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie...I'm good!

Happy Holidays you party people...see you tomorrow!

Oh, and happy two and a half year anniversary Antoine! I like you! Like, a lot!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Proof...

...that the dog park is a magical place and that Basset Hounds are hilarious! The other day, while I was at work, Antoine took Cheese to the dog park. And this is what I came home to...

Usually he's just passed out on his bed or in his crate after an afternoon at the dog park. But this time I think he was a little excited I was home, so he followed Antoine and I into the kitchen.

And, of course, immediately dropped to the ground from sheer exhaustion!

If I hadn't known that he had visited the dog park earlier that day I would have been worried.

As soon as Antoine and I left the kitchen, Cheese mustered all the energy he had left to follow us into the livingroom...and plop down onto the ground. Such a tired guy!

Needless to say, we've become regulars at the dog park (generally going more than once a week) and this is a pretty regular sight around our house! The dog park is like recess for a kindergartener...there's so much running around and playing going on that he falls asleep as soon as he gets indoors. Not only is it a great way to socialize him (with dogs and people) and keep him active (a big struggle with many Bassets), but it also gives Antoine and I a break from his puppy antics later in the evening!

*Please excuse the crappy iPhone pictures.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crafty Supermarket

This past Saturday Antoine and I ventured out to do a little (or a lot) of shopping before he had to head off to work that evening! I picked up two (much needed) pairs of shoes and some socks (also very needed as 75% of my socks have holes...please don't shun me) at the outlet mall. After that we made our way to Clifton to check out the Crafty Supermarket.

I had heard rumblings about the Crafty Supermarket some months ago, but had nearly forgot about it until someone put up a poster on Sbux's community board. I was pretty psyched about it, since I grew up going to craft shows with my mom. Well, this wasn't your grandma's craft show...it was very hip and fun! The crowd was crazy big, for such a small place, and the vendors were fantastic! There was an assortment of pretty much everything: jewelry, clothing, accessories, pottery, art prints, screen printed items, up-cycled goods, food, and drink etc. There was even a d.j. playing some pretty decent music! And the definite plus...most of them were local (or at the very least, from OH)! For instance, my favorite local business (besides my sister's, of course), Dojo, was there slinging their world class gelato-goodness. While there I was able to find a couple of cool little Xmas gifts, along with far too many things for myself! And, you bet your sweet ass I'll be there the next time the Crafty Supermarket pops up. For more info check out their FAQ section, here, or you can get on their mailing list and they'll keep you posted on upcoming happenings.

Here's some of my favorite vendors:

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Feel Like A Teenager

My sister always reminds me that your body changes about every ten years. Your tastes change, as well as your actually physical make-up or something like that! I generally just roll my eyes every time my sister says this (which seems like every couple months or so). But, you know what I think she may be onto something. Of course, don't tell her I said that! Lately, my tastes have changed a bit. I feel like I'm a teenager and strange things are happening to my body...like at any moment my voice might drop (not really, because I'm a lady...not a fella) or I might start liking mushrooms (my #1 most hated food).

While I'm still not keen on mushrooms there have been other foods that I've come to enjoy. For instance, eggplant. I could have sworn that when I originally tried eggplant I thought it was disgusting...but now, I'm a fan! But the craziest thing that's changed recently...Indian food! Now, I've never claimed that I hate Indian food, but truth is I was never an admirer of it! Friends would suggest Indian for dinner and I would wrinkle my nose. Now...I want it...I crave it! Maybe it's biology, maybe my body has finally decided that Indian food is where it's at...or maybe it's just that I've found my dish, you know, the dish that's your go-to. Chicken tikka. It's lemony chicken that has been skewered and surrounded by grilled onions and green peppers. And it's not the least bit spicy, which I love. And I get it with a side of buttery, rich masala sauce! It's heavenly! A tad bit expensive, but oh-so delicious! Add some garlic nan and I'm done...it's so flippin' good!

I just got back from lunch with Antoine. We went to Ambar India and I now have a belly full of rich, tasty Chicken Tikka! And I already cannot wait to polish off my left overs for dinner! YUM!

P.S. Amanda, I thought of you as soon as we decided on Ambar! Wish you could have gone with us. But hey, at least the next time you come into town and are craving Ambar I'll actually want to go with you this time! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Hooked...

...on this ridiculously easy and tasty recipe for blondies from Smitten Kitchen! I love blondies! Sometimes I even prefer them to brownies! And there's nothing better that a warm blondie topped with some vanilla ice cream and drizzled with some caramel sauce! YUM!

Seriously, I've made them twice so far and they are SO easy to make! And the major plus, is that the ingredients are things that I usually always have in my kitchen (which is limited). Oh, and they are totally customizable! For instance, the batch that is currently in the oven have an assortment of chocolate chips, pecans and Johnnie Walker. They smell...deliciously potent! Now, I'm going to go patiently pace in front of the oven until the blondies are done...

See you tomorrow!

*Update: Pecan chocolate chip Scotch blondies are heaven! You should try them! HLP, I'm talking to you...I know my HLP usually has a bottle of Jack lying around the house. And it would fabulous in some tasty blondies! And this recipe is even Amanda proof.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter Goodness!

What everyone is saying is true...it's pretty freaking good! This past Friday, at 12:01 in the morning, I was one of the many nerds lining up to see the newest Harry Potter. I've seen all the others...but I've never been to opening night before! It wasn't the madness that I expected, but it was certainly strange seeing people dressed up. As I tweeted in the wee hours of early morning, the five teenage boys seated in front of my friends and I, all dressed up as a different character, were a hoot! But the movie...the movie was the definite highlight! I'm even contemplating going to see it a second time while it is still in theaters...yeah, it was that good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sometimes Days Just Suck...

So, Wednesday night was another back to back day. Worked at the library 7:30am to 4:30pm...then I had to be at Sbux by 5:30pm. Those days are not the funnest. I'm generally tired and cranky and hungry! So, I got to sbux (on time) and started cleaning. A woman came in and ordered a eggnog latte...I was on register and my friend Vanessa (aka the shift supervisor) was on bar. She poured said eggnog into a pitcher to steam it, but before she got a chance the woman changed her mind and ordered a salted caramel hot chocolate. Vanessa set the unsteamed nog aside and made the lady's hot chocolate. Then she put the eggnog into a paper cup for herself (yes, she's one of those weirdos who actually likes that stuff). I was going about my business trying to shut down the bar when I accidentally bump the cup of eggnog with my arm. Now, I was standing right up against the counter when this happened...so the eggnog traveled across the counter, to the edge, and then a full stream of it, probably the equivalent of half a short cup, cascaded directly into my right apron pocket! Now, under normal circumstances this would be no biggy! Gross, but no big deal! Well, not last night! No, last night I happened to have my iPhone in my right apron pocket, instead of on the counter where I usually have it, or even in my back pocket of my pants!

I immediately freak the frick out! I plunge my hand into my pocket o' nog and fish out my lovely iPhone...which was completely covered with a rich, thick layer of eggnog grossness! I panic. Vanessa throws me a towel and I collapse onto the ground and attempt to preform iPhone CPR! I wipe off the initial eggnog on the cover, then I notice that the eggnog has went to all my iPhone's "special places"! The headphone jack...filled with eggnog. The dock connector thing-a-ma-bob...filled with eggnog. The speakers...filled with eggnog. I shake it, to try to get out some of the nog and it's almost as if a river of eggnog flows from the "special places". And I sit there, hunched over on the floor, almost in tears!

I take a dry towel and attempt to preform triage, cleaning all the nooks and crannies where the eggnog is lurking. Then the thought occurs to me to see if it's working. I've killed a (Verizon) phone before by placing it next to a sweating glass of water, but nothing this extreme! I held my breath and home button...IT'S ALIVE! I immediately see my adorable picture of the Cheese-man on the cover and feel slightly less panicked! Then, I attempt to text...SUCCESS!! Then, I test my apps...SUCCESS again! Then, I tell Vanessa to call me...


... nothing.

Apparently she could hear me, but I heard nothing. The panic flares back up! This is my phone...I have no land line/home phone...this is IT! For the rest of the night I have a proverbial storm cloud over my head. And to top it all off, we were pretty busy all night and each minute that went by I was getting further and further behind. I was distracted, distraught, exhausted, uncaffinated, and pissy. Not a good combo...not conducive to productivity. A couple hours pass and I'm finally vacuuming the leftover espresso beans from the espresso machine I had been attempting to shut down for the last hour or two, and...LIGHTBULB!! I take the wet/dry vac and start vacuuming the crevasses of my phone. And soon I see ribbons of eggnog goo being pulled out of the iPhone's special places! I vacuum every single centimeter of the that phone.

Time for call test part two...SUCCESS!!! I can't finally make out Vanessa voice on the other end of the phone. She sounds a bit muffled, but I'll take it! Now, I felt much more at ease and I began to focus, hardcore, on trying to get out of sbux at a reasonable time...which obviously wasn't in the cards, because apparently wants me to have an mini-emotional breakdown and then...TRY TO KILL ME!! Yes, you heard right...Sbux is trying to kill me!

Let me explain, I was going about my business...trying to breakdown my second espresso bar. I need an empty silver coffee bag (aka bullet...aka giant bags of coffee that are in shiny silver bags). We keep our empty bags in a cabinet directly under the coffee brewing station. I was rifling through the bags trying to find an empty espresso bag (because I'm anal like that) and all of a sudden there's this bright blue *FLASH* and this loud *POP* just inches from my hand. I instinctively recoil in fear...then Vanessa and I carefully remove all the empty bags and see that the gigantic outlet (that the brewer is plugged into) in the back of the cabinet is hanging from the wall...not normal! Vanessa and I then spend the next 15 minutes calling it in and attempting to find the right breaker to turn off. As Vanessa is leaving a note for the morning crew she notices that one of the coffee bullets from the cabinet was singed...proof that Sbux is trying to kill me:

I kept pointing at it and saying, "That could have been me!" So Vanessa had to do this, so the morning crew could get an idea of how fantastic our night was.

We ended up getting out of there around midnight...about 30 to 45 minutes later than we usually do. So, I didn't get home until 12:30. Then Antoine took apart my iPhone, we soaked up what little remainders of eggnog we could spot on its insides. Then, another phone test...this one was the best so far! It sounded mostly back to normal. The speaker/volume is still a little muffled, but not that bad. It could have been worse...but then again, it could have been better too!

*Alternate title to this post: "Eggnog: the Devil's Juice"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We're Cuddle Buddies

So, the title of this post is probably only amusing to me, and possibly Antoine or my HLP. See, when I read "we're cuddle buddies" in my head I'm actually singing it...a la Rob and Big! For those of you who haven't seen the episode with the "We're buddies..." song...then you are missing out on life! Get out from under your rock and check this shit out...

Season 3, episode 4: watch it NOW! The song takes place in the last couple minutes, fyi!

Anyway, this weekend...Cheese-man I were buddies for sure! I had an easy weekend at Sbux, only 6 hours in the early morning on Sunday, but unfortunately Antoine had to work most of the weekend at his part-time. But this allowed Cheesy and I to enjoy some quality bonding time, just the two of us! So, while Antoine was at work on Saturday Cheesy and I went to the dog park for a bit. It was my first time taking him by myself. Now, I know this doesn't seem like a big deal, but for me...it kind of is! The dog park is a semi-social place...aka not my kind of thing when I'm solo! But sacrifice is part of being a puppy parent, right? Things went well at the dog park, Cheese ran and tumbled with his puppy pals and had a good ole time! And of course, in the process he got all kinds of muddy and gross! Thankfully I put a blanket down in my backseat because by the time we got home it was covered in mud...

That is one exhausted and muddy puppy!

Following a 15 minute bath, where Cheese got mostly clean...it was time to cuddle! And cuddle we did, for the rest of the weekend...it was pretty awesome!

I think he looks a little like an alien in this picture, his abnormally long ears, gigantic paws and that oddly shaped noggin...I love it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Adventures in Aftercare!

For those of you who have gotten a tattoo or have known someone who has gotten one, tattoo aftercare is serious business. How you take care of your tattoo after your sitting affects the final product. Each artists instructions for aftercare are slightly different, but cleanliness is always key. Some will wrap your arm in plastic wrap and instruct you to take it off several hours later and wash it for the first time, others will bandage you up and tell you to keep it on overnight. It all depends on the artist and you should always ask your artist what they suggest.

With Meghan, once she had completed my tattoo she cleaned it and then placed a bandage over it. The bandages that Mother's uses are basically those absorbent pads that you find sitting under the steak that you buy at the grocery store. They absorb the blood and goo seeping from your tattoo without drawing out the ink! It's pretty cool! Also, they advise that you keep it covered by this bandage overnight and do not remove it until the next morning (in order to keep bacteria and dirt out). Then, on day two you are able to wash it with fragrance free, mild soap. On the third day you can start applying lotion to the tattoo: she suggested Lubriderm (fragrance free of course).

So, needless to say, once Antoine, Vanessa and I left Mothers we were all sporting our black bandages. Antoine's wasn't visible since his tattoo was on his upper arm, but Vanessa and I looked a little strange with our matching bandaged wrists. After Antoine and I dropped off Vanessa at her house, we decided to grab an early dinner at Chick-fil-A (aka Antoine's and my favorite fast food joint). I was particularly craving Chick-fil-A since it's the time of year when they release their Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake...aka pepperminty heaven in a styrofoam cup! Seriously, it's all kinds of good...go get one!

As soon as we made our way through the food court, towards the Chick-fil-A, I became immediately aware of just how strange I must have looked to everyone...

Exhibit A

People must have thought that I was all kinds of crazy...you know, being a wacko wrist cutter and all! Or, at the very least, an extra for Girl, Interrupted: Two! Needless to say, we didn't stick around at the mall for too long since I felt all weirded out by the peculiar looks I was getting from strangers...and no, I wasn't wearing my obnoxious, oversized glasses so it was definitely the bandage that was drawing attention, not my face! Note to self: when your tattoo bandage makes you look like a suicidal crazy person...avoid large crowds, especially malls!

*Please be advised that I am not a tattoo artist or medical professional! I know nothing about tattoo aftercare except for what I have been instructed to do by my artists! Please contact your own artist or a reputable artist in your area for information regarding aftercare practice for your tattoo. Do not listen to me!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Unveiling

Now, remember how yesterday I was an incredibly rude person who you wanted punch in the face? No? Remember when I wrote a post about how I got a new tattoo but then I was evil and didn't reveal it you? No!? Geez...come on people! It was only yesterday! Now I know just how many people are actually reading this thing, yikes!

Anyway, consider this the grand unveiling. Outside of Antoine, the tattoo artist and a couple of folks at Sbux no one else has really laid their eyes on my new tat! So, here goes it:

It's about four inches long and three inches wide on my right wrist. It's a tad bigger than I originally envisioned and a little more detailed, but I absolutely love it!

Here's a black and white shot for you, I think it gives you a better look at the shading Meghan put into it! I just love it!

When I say I got this for my Dad everyone asks if he was in the Navy. No, he wasn't. To me, an anchor doesn't denote the Naval Forces. Instead, it's the part of the ship that keeps things grounded. It keeps ship stable and secure...and that's what my Dad is to me (and my family), my anchor. Plus, a big part of my Dad's character is his sense of humor and one of my fondest and funniest memories of my Dad took place a number of years ago when the topic of conversation drifted to pirates. My Dad proclaimed to everyone, "Every little boy wants to be a pirate!" It was one of those you-had-to-be-here moments but it was hilarious, so matter of fact! And so, an anchor seemed like the perfect way to represent my Dad in tattoo form.

Monday, November 15, 2010

And My Mother Rolls Her Eyes Yet Again...

This past Thursday was Veteran's Day (thanks Vets) and if you were lucky enough, like myself, you had the day off from work (thanks again Vets). For Antoine Thursday meant something else entirely though...the last of his three appointments for his tattoo! His first appointment was all the way back in April (you may or may not remember a certain ink-obsessed post that was sparked by his first tattoo sitting). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go with him to his first sitting but he came home and raved about the artist, Craig, and his shop Mothers. So, I was determined to go with Antoine for his second sitting with Craig, which was about a month ago in October. Everything Antoine had said was true...Craig was an amazing artist and really cool person with a calming presence, and his shop was really nice. While we were there for his 4 hour sitting, I noticed one of the other artists at the shop, Meghan. She was younger (maybe mid to late twenties) with a really lively personality and great wit. She immediately reminded me of my cousin Christa who is a musician and has the best sense of humor ever (she gets that from her mother/my aunt Connie...they are both a riot and I adore them).

So, while I was at the shop watching Antoine get tattooed I was feeling a definite itch for some more ink! After we left, I mentioned this to Antoine and he said, "Why don't you get that anchor on your wrist that you've been wanting? And why don't you have Meghan do it?" He was onto something here...I've been wanting an anchor on my wrist for a while now...probably since I got my flowers on my arm and my Dad said, "You didn't get a tattoo for your Dad?!" So, the plan was made...I marched myself down to Mothers about a week later and made an appointment with Meghan for the same day Antoine had his last appointment: November 11th.

While I was mentioning this to one of my best buds at Sbux, Vanessa, she told me how she's been dying to get another tattoo for a while now. So, naturally, we insisted that she tag along with us. We got there around noon on the 11th. Craig got right to work on Antoine's tattoo. Then after Meghan was done with the touch-up she was working on, it was my turn. The anchor would be my second time getting tattooed on the inside of my wrist (a very sensitive area for tattooing)...that's where I got my first one. I remembered the pain being somewhat equivalent to a giant needle being jammed all the way through my arm repeatedly for 15 or 20 minutes. But on the 11th I thought to myself, "I must have been making that up...exaggerating it...to make myself sound tough or whatever". I wasn't exaggerating ANYTHING! For a solid hour it felt as if a gigantic needle was being jammed into my wrist, but instead of being pulled out it was just twisted around in there! OUCH!! Oh, the pain of tattoos...how are they so addictive when they can hurt so bad? My guess is that it has to do with the end result! If you get a really awesome tattoo then it makes you feel like it was all worth it. Plus, at least with me, as soon as the tattooing stops the memory of the pain goes with it. It's a funny thing! Now, onto the tattoo...

Well, you're going to have to wait for tomorrow for the unveiling! Yes, I'm an evil person! But it's NaBloPoMo so I needs all the posts I can get yo. See you suckers tomorrow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Demonstration by Antoine

Here's one thing you might not know about Antoine: he's super anal about the proper closure and disposal of potato chip bags. Well, not just potato chip bags...popcorn bags, Combo bags, pretzel bags, etc. To him, closing a bag or disposing of it is serious business! He's weird, what can I say! But, I just happen to think it's completely and utterly endearing.

Now, above, you'll see a link for the "proper" closure of a potato chip bag...to ensure freshness and lock out air, I guess?! But for you, and only you, my fair readers I have a pictoral demonstration of just how Antoine ties and disposes of empty bags of chips. He starts by flattening out the empty bag, folding it in half (long ways), and then folding it in half again (long ways again)...

Then he proceeds to put every ounce of energy he has into tying it into a knot! This requires making some semi-odd facial expressions and maybe a little sighing and/or Grrr noises.

Then, he stops, takes a breath and contemplates his next move.

Then he pulls out the big guns: aka crazy facial expressions and ferocity!

Ta-Da!! An empty potato chip bag tied into a knot! He says he does it to prevent leftover crumbs from getting everywhere. I think he does it to make himself even more adorable in my eyes...either way, he's a keeper!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Walk in the Woods: Part Two

After Ash Cave, we made our way to Cedar Falls, which at this time of year with the drought we've had should just be called Cedar Rock with Little Trickle of Water. Still, it was pretty. Even though it's not really Fall any more...the leaves have fallen from the trees and there's that crisp bite of winter in the air...there's still something so beautiful about this in-between stage of everything. The stark yet golden tones of rocks, the brown, gray, and white shades of various species of trees, the pale blue sky, and the hints of green at the tops of pine trees and the thin layers of moss covering rock faces and tree bark.

After our short hike to Cedar Falls we made our way to Old Man's Cave, which sits in a little valley surrounded by rock and filled with evergreens. Before we starting exploring we stopped at a little picnic bench that overlooked the valley and devoured out Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches I had made the night before. Then it was off to Old Man's Cave...

I'm not sure if you are actually allowed to crawl into the caves, but we did. Hey, some kids were doing it so we figured what the hell! And yes, if those kids jumped off a bridge I would too, BOOM!

That was about it for the hiking. We had a really nice time, despite it being a little too nippy. It was nice to get away, just the two of us and explore for a bit! I really hope to go back sometime in the near future! I'd love to see it covered in snow (maybe with a thermos full of hot chocolate)!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Walk in the Woods: Part One

The weekend went too quickly and before we knew it it was Sunday morning and everyone was starting to pack up their junk. Luckily with the time change waking up at 7am didn't seem that extreme and I was able to function and make everyone some scrambled eggs and bacon before the serious packing and shower taking began. But, in the blink of an eye, the clock hit 10am and it was time to vamoose! We all said our goodbyes and gave our hugs and we were off. Mom and Dad...back to the middle of nowhere Ohio. My sis and brother-in-law scurried back to Cincinnati...well, it was more like "hobbled" than "scurried", since said bro-in-law was/is slightly (read: not so slightly) injured...herniated disc! OUCH!

Antoine and I, on the other hand, were neither injured nor ready to go home just yet! Plus, we couldn't pick the puppy up until 4pm, so we had some puppy-free time to kill. And what better way to kill time when you're in Hocking Hills than go hiking, right!? So, that's what we did. While Antoine has been hiking in Hocking Hills before (with his ex girlfriend...and no, I'm not jealous, thanks for asking), I had never been. Well, at least not to Hocking Hills...I had traveled to Lake Hope before with the family, but hadn't even come close to Hocking Hills State Park. My family is notorious for picking a place and not venturing to surrounding areas! Seriously, a trip to the grocery store is about as far as we generally get! So, needless to say, I was really looking forward to some good hiking...

Antoine and I (in big obnoxious glasses...once my mom saw them she made a face! It was not a nice face!) just starting our hike. Of course we were thoroughly underdressed, freezing our butts off in the 40 degree air! And Chucks make horrible hiking shoes, by the way...but we had fun and no one hurt themselves, so that's all that matters, right?

First up was Ash Cave...beautiful! Seriously, gorgeous!

Surrounded by pine trees and filled with shadows and beams of morning light!

I immediately fell in love with it! We are totally going back during a different season, I can only imagine how much it changes! It would be a beautiful location for an outdoor wedding...maybe I can convince Antoine of that when the time comes!

Antoine and I, again, freezing in the cave.

Making our way to the top of the cave in order to hike above it!

It was a nice little hike with a great view of the cave from above...I highly recommend it!

Despite the expression on Antoine's face, we really enjoyed our little hike at Ash Cave. Sure, we might have enjoyed it more with a thermos full of hot cocoa...maybe next time!

Stayed tuned tomorrow for part two of our hiking adventure in Hocking Hills State Park. Until then, happy Friday everyone...I'll be seeing you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday!

My family is weird and strangely efficient when it comes to celebrating holidays. Proof: this past weekend's family getaway was not only an excuse to chillax in a cabin in the woods, it was also a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, a partial Christmas, and my Dad's birthday. It's kind of strange...but it works for us. Yesterday was in fact my Dad's actual birthday (his 57th to be exact). But Friday night was when we celebrated it as a family. Making any sense yet? Since my parents live about 4 hours away and my sis, my bro-in-law, Antoine and I are super busy people we don't get a chance to actually celebrate birthdays together very often, if ever!

This year for my Dad's birthday, I decided to make the cake! Don't get too impressed, it was just box mix. It's good stuff though! Don't fix it if it ain't broken, right?! It wasn't the best cake I've ever made/decorated, but I was proud of it, considering the time constraints (I finished it about an hour before Mom and Dad arrived at the cabin). Anyway, here you are...

Sorry, for the shitty pictures...I almost always forget that there's actually a flash on my camera! Oops!

Not crazy awesome or anything, but a decent cake! And I thought it tasted pretty good, even though my Dad likes white cake with vanilla frosting and I'm a yellow cake with chocolate frosting kind of girl!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Gingerbread Haus

So, after our leisurely drive to Hocking Hills this past Friday we finally arrived at our cabin around 3pm. Antoine and I were the first to arrive (since my parents, my sis and her husband had to work earlier that day). We were eager to explore and tour this adorable place.

The outside was cute, just as it appeared online. Very German looking and surrounded by trees.

At the back of the cabin their was a pretty substantial deck that overlooked a little fishing pond. The various tiers of the deck led to a screened in gazebo with a dining area, a hot tub, a small dock, and the main deck with a grill and lounge chairs.

The inside was much more roomy than I expected! And frankly, I felt like the property's online photos didn't do it justice (and neither do mine). It was roomy and beyond perfect with hard wood floors and rustic yet gorgeous wood beams and accents. Here's a picture of part of the spacious living room!

There were adorable little touches everywhere that made this cabin ideal, including these little lanterns that hung on either side of my parents bed.

Here's a peak into our room, which was very spacious with a king bed, a couch, two dressers and two closets.

Everyone had their own private bath, which is key for any family getaway! This is a peak into ours...I have a thing for vessel sinks!

I would highly recommend this cabin to anyone looking to go to Hocking Hills with family and/or friends! There were three bedrooms (one on the main floor with a queen, two on the second floor...one with a king and another with three twin trundle beds), an extra daybed upstairs in the game room/office area, plus a sleeper sofa in the living room. Each of the bedrooms had a full private bath, plus there was an additional half bath just off of the living room. There was plenty of seating for 6+ people and the kitchen was large and accommodating! Plus, nearly everything you could imagine was included...from shampoo to laundry detergent to towels to parchment paper to ketchup! It was pretty awesome! I think there's a very good possibility that my family will make a visit to this cabin again in the future! Our stay was comfortable (read: very comfy beds) and relaxing...making for a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Effed Up Camera

So, as I was uploading pictures from my recent excursion to Hocking Hills my camera (which is not that old) decided to go mental! A decent amount (maybe one-fourth) of the pictures I took this week turned out like this...

Not sure what the heck happened there...fortunately I didn't lose any majorly important pictures...just a lot of pictures of nature and a couple around the cabin.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more on the Hocking Hills trip, including pictures that don't look all kinds of funky! Hope the anticipation isn't killing you!