Travel

Europe Day 1: Cambridge, England

July 25, 2016

We just got back from our two week vacation to Europe and had such a good time. We came back exhausted, but in a good way. Originally planning this trip for September/October, we switched things up and went in July. I wasn’t happy about this at first, but I think everything worked out exactly how it was suppose to in the end. We hit up Cambridge and London, England, Paris, Bern, Switzerland and lastly Barcelona.

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After hearing great feedback about using Delta for international travels, we decided to give them a try. Overall we were really satisfied with them! We flew STL to Detroit and then over to London. Not kidding when I say Detroit’s airport was really nice! We flew with Delta’s partner airline Virgin Atlantic over to London and landed right at 6 AM after a 7 hour flight. I don’t think either one of us slept at all on the flight over. After landing in Heathrow, we took the Underground to the King’s Cross station and bought a separate train ticket up to Cambridge. That journey alone took two hours. The best man from our wedding and his wife live in Cambridge, so we really didn’t mind the extra travel. We were so excited to see them.

Once settled into our friend’s place, we headed into the main center of Cambridge and walked through the various schools. I didn’t understand this at first, but each school/program at the University basically has it’s own campus. There’s over 100 constituent college campuses within Cambridge (if I remember that fact correctly). We checked out the King’s College Cathedral, St. John’s College, and the Trinity College campus and some of their buildings. They’re all quite beautiful. It rained for a portion of the day, but we didn’t care. Rain became a common theme for our time in England.

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We grabbed lunch at The Anchor before heading back to the apartment for a bit. Of course we had to get fish and chips. The portion was big enough for Tim and I to split because neither one of us were terribly hungry. By that afternoon, both Tim and I were crashing from jet lag and needed a nap. Napping also became a common theme on this trip. (Apparently it’s harder to travel east and jet lag recovery time is double than when you travel west.)

The weather had cleared up that afternoon, so punting was in order! It was pretty hilarious to do/watch, but also really enjoyable from my standpoint because I just had to sit there. We rented the boat from Scudamore’s (no chauffeur, though). You’re able to take drinks and food out with you, so everyone got a beverage from The Mill beforehand. It’s super easy to run into things because the boats are so long and awkward. The boys took turns punting to get us up and down the canal. I’m glad we ended up waiting until later in the day to go because there was considerably less people out on the canal by that point.

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We ended the evening by hitting up The Grain and Hop Store to grab a bite to eat and watch the Euro Final. Portugal beat France in overtime. The bar was packed! We couldn’t even go upstairs because there were so many people. When Portugal scored and then won, people went insane. It was fun to experience. We decided to work off our drinks and food by walking home to call it a night. We were headed back into London the next day!

-m.

Everyday Moments

Summer-ing

June 29, 2016

“Summer-ing” (v): A word I made up to describe what I’ve been doing lately–enjoying summer.

Life has been busy since my trip to San Francisco!

  • I ran my first trail half marathon, and finished faster than I thought I would.
  • Flew back to Nebraska for my 10 year high school reunion. I got to see some of my favorite people that I don’t always get to when I go back.
  • The Mr. went to Europe for 10 days on a guys trip. Lucky them. He brought me back Gouda cheese from Amsterdam. Lucky me.
  • We have attended three weddings – two on the same day even!
  • Went and saw The Wizard of Oz with my BFF at The Muny. And get this – Karlie Kloss was there (she’s from STL) and her mom walked up to me and asked me to take the family’s photo! I had to do a double take when I realized who I was taking a picture of!
  • Had the Mr. do an IKEA hack
  • Helped get a new bathroom vanity installed on our main level (yay!)
  • Rebooked our Europe trip. Instead of leaving in September, we now leave in just over a week!

So about that last point…that had me all sorts of stressed for about a week. I’m just glad I hadn’t already booked more than just the first stop of our trip! I did have to rebook our international flights, a train ride and an AirBnB. The cost to rebook the international flights hurt. But…vacation! It also means I get to cross off another item from my 30 Before 30. I’m so far from being able to complete that list. Not what I had intended.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be summer-ing until after my trip. Then I have lots to share.

–m.

 

Travel

San Francisco + Alcatraz

May 11, 2016

I headed west last weekend to visit a really good friend that lives in San Francisco. It had been almost a year and a half since my first visit out there, so it was time to get back! I’ve lucked out with weather because both times I’ve been there because it was absolutely perfect.

Friday
It took almost six hours to get from STL to SFO because of a connecting flight in Denver, but I was ready to hit the ground running…literally. I made a pit stop at Nicole’s office before heading to her place since she had to work the rest of the afternoon. I’m training for a half marathon so I decided that would be a perfect time to get a 10 mile run in. I ran from her apartment down near the Golden Gate Bridge before turning around to head back.

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Well I got 3 blocks from the apartment and tripped over uneven sidewalk and fell. Hard. Two very scraped up knees and a hand later, I called it quits after 7 miles. I had to walk to a pharmacy to buy bandages after that. My knees are still fairly bruised a week later, but healing pretty well.

We went to Uva Enoteca in the Lower Haight for dinner that night with a coworker. Such a cute little Italian place. We split a salad, pizza and stuff shell pasta. It was all super tasty.

Saturday
Saturday started off with a trip to CAW Pacific (Craftsman and Wolves) for coffee before heading down to Pier 33 for our trip to Alcatraz. The cafe had this really neat hanging display of a motorized bike parts on one of the walls.

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The boat ride to Alcatraz is only 10 or 15 minutes long and you get a great view of the Bay area. Once at Alcatraz, you’re free to roam and take in the island at your own pace. Not everything is accessible to visitors, but enough to stay entertained for 2-3 hours. The admission price includes the boat rides to and from, visiting the island itself and also an audio tour. I’m not the biggest fan of audio tours, but considering this one has won an award it was worth listening to.

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The audio tour consists primarily of the main cell house and a couple surrounding areas. I knew was Alcatraz was, but I wasn’t terribly familiar with its stories and the events that unfolded there, so it was pretty interesting learning about it all. I kept comparing it to the tour of the old Idaho State Pen that Tim and I had toured about two years ago in Boise. One thing I did not like about Alcatraz was how staged it was for visitors. The Idaho State Pen left everything untouched and as-is after it closed, whereas cells were cleared out and staged at Alcatraz.

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The rest of Saturday was spent walking through the farmers market down the Embarcadero. We stopped for hummus samples, bought macaroons from Tout Sweet Patisserie, got this delicious roasted cheese & bread dish from Cowgirl Creamery and then an empanada from El Porteño. From there we headed to Sight Class Coffee in the Mission. Since we were in the Mission, I wanted to find Jessica Hische’s studio because the design nerd in me really wanted to see it. After snapping a couple pictures we continued walking through the Mission and checked out Dolores Park, which was absolutely packed. We went to Town Hall Restaurant for dinner that night and had some fancy (and delicious) fried chicken and jalapeño corn bread.

Sunday
Sunday was our active, but lazy day. We started out with coffee (again) before grabbing our Getaround car for the day. The service comes in handy for when you don’t have a car, but at the same time it was more expensive than traditionally renting a car for a full 24 hours like we do on trips.

We headed north out of the city into Marin County to run some errands and then up to the Novato area for a friend’s going away party–they’re moving to Australia! It was really great to meet some of Nicole’s friends I hadn’t met on my last trip out.

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The rest of the trip was pretty low key and I was picked up the next morning before sunrise to head to the airport. We have plenty on our to-do list left for the city so I’ll be back again. In fact, there’s talks of a girls trip to Napa in 2017 so I’ll be really excited to head out that way!

–m.

DIY, Our House

DIY Tree Stump Table

April 10, 2016

I’ve always loved the look and the idea of having a tree stump as a side table. It’s such a fun way to bring a natural element in to your home’s decor. Luckily for me, we had to have a couple problematic trees cut down last year.

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We kept the wood from one of the trees so we could eventually chop it up and use in our fire pit, so I sorted through our wood pile and picked out what would become a future side table. I wrapped it in a couple garage bags and let it sit for several months in our garage to dry out and make sure any leftover bugs would eventually die. I actually forgot about it and the wrapped stump sat in our garage for much longer than I had intended. Oops.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I pulled it out and started working on it. I didn’t take many pictures of the process because it’s not overly complicated. In a nut shell–sand a ton and use some poly to seal it. My father-in-law used a saw to even out the one end since it was cut at a slant. After that, I used a belt sander on both ends of it and a block sander on the sides.

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After getting the sanding to a point where I was happy, we got our air compressor out so I could blow all of the saw dust and any leftover dirt off the stump–you want all of that gone before moving into poly. Then I took a damp rag and wiped it down really good.

I had picked up some Minwax Fast-Drying Poly in satin to apply to the stump. I wanted a bit of a sheen but not high-gloss, so satin was recommended. I applied a total of four coats of poly, which did darken the stump a bit because it’s not a true clear poly. I let it sit out in the garage for a couple more days because of the smell before brining it into the house. Felt feet were also applied to the bottom of the stump so it wouldn’t effect the hardwood floors.

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I’m debating whether or not I should paint just the top of it white like this picture because I don’t love the grain on the top. But overall I’m really happy with how it’s turned out! Our guest room isn’t terribly big so this is a great alternative to having a second nightstand in that room.

–m.

 

Everyday Moments

Oh Hey, Blog.

April 4, 2016

I took a bit of break from this little blog / online-diary of mine this winter and it was pretty great. Not that I’m constantly posting, but it is one other thing I think about and tend to. And that takes time. So now that my schedule has hopefully calmed down, I can give this little thing more attention 🙂

• I’ve taken several trips with groups of friends–some of have turned out better than others. This is a great write-up about the topic and how to have a successful trip.

• The lace up shoe trend is one I just can’t get on board with. That also goes for the off-the-shoulders trend. Just can’t do it.

• I’ve been dying to stop into this antique mid-century store here in St. Louis. I wish I had more space so I could buy everything they post on Instagram.

Personal care post aimed at momma’s, but in reality applies to all women.

• Thinking about my return to Paris this fall.

• If only I needed a new desk chair…this would be the one I pick.

• And lastly, words to live by.

–m.

Fitness, Reviews

Stridebox – Feb ’16

February 20, 2016

Oh hey, February (and almost March). We’ve had a couple REALLY nice weekends this winter. We normally do, and then the weather changes by 40 degrees the next day. It’s in the mid-70’s today, which I took full advantage of and went running this morning. Half marathon training starts in 2 weeks!

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GU Energy Gel: GU is a brand that’s regularly sent by Stridebox, and we’re okay with this! I don’t love gels, but this Cucumber Mint flavor has me super intrigued. This flavor has caffeine.
Value: $1.45
Vegan, Gluten free

Detour Simple Protein Bar: I love when Stridebox sends protein bars! This one has 20g of protein and only 4g of sugar-so it checks off some personal requirements for a good protein bar. The chocolate caramel flavor sounds good, too.
Value: $2.00
Gluten free, Whey Protein

Bumbleroot Superfood Hydration Mix: This hydration mix is made with Baobab, monkfruit and dried coconut water to bring you electrolytes and antioxidants. I love getting hydration mixes and this one is lemongrass flavor.
Value: $2.00
Made with organic ingredients

Honey Stinger Gluten Free Waffle: Honey Stinger is another brand Stridebox sends out fairly often and it’s a brand that we love. We really like their waffles as a quick snack before or after a workout. I don’t worry about cutting gluten out of my diet, so that doesn’t matter so much to me. The cinnamon flavor is a win, though.
Value: $1.50
Gluten free

ThinkSport Shampoo & Body Wash: Nothing feels better than a refreshing shower after a good workout (and maybe food), so this is a great addition to the box. I don’t normally use 2-in-1 shower products like this, but I’ll still give it a go. They also donate 10% of orders to one of five charities!
Value: $0.35

Doc Spartan Combat Ready Ointment: At first I thought this was chapstick, but nope! It’s an ointment used to help heal scrapes, cuts, blisters and chaffing. The lid has a clip if you wanted to attach it to something, too. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like using Neosporin because of how goopy it is, so this will be a great alternative.
Value: $5.00

LED Flashing Slap Bracelet: Stridebox has sent out a variety of light-up wearables, and while they’re certainly appreciated… I’m starting to have a collection of them. It has two different flashing states and a solid state.
Value: $8.00

I’m really happy with this month’s box! I can’t wait to chow down and try these products.

–m.