Friday, 31 August 2012

i love friday

(creating volume on my wedding day)

i am so happy it's friday. this week has been really really good. j and i are completely addicted to the good wife, and we have made a pact to eat at home more now that life is slowing down a bit. we are heading to gros morne national park on the weekend to do some hiking and hanging with friends. also, our wedding photos are on the way. i'll be sharing as soon as i get them

Thursday, 30 August 2012

why we use the laundromat

lots of people ask us why we don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment. we can afford it, and our apartment is big enough. we have to go to the laundromat once or twice a week to stay on top of the laundry, especially our work uniforms.

the thing is, we like going to the laundromat. it's like a little date for us. we get coffee, go to the library, chat about the week. i look forward to doing laundry every week. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

hotel review: st. jude's hotel, clarenville, NL

we stayed here on our way to st. pierre on the weekend. this is a pretty ideal stopping place if you are road tripping through newfoundland. 

price: $135 per night
bathroom: super strong pressure in the shower, otherwise nothing special
pool: nope
breakfast: not included
tv: yes, probably the most recently replaced item in the room
wifi: it was free, but it was a hookup, so no good for the ipad
location: right on the highway, very close to the main street of clarenville.
parking: free
notes: this place was not always smoke free. that smell of smoke is still there. maybe due to the old school carpeting.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

st. pierre, france, part 2: camping challenges

i need to mention the more challenging aspects of a trip to the small island of st. pierre and michelon, france. yesterday's post was all about the cool things. 

(very windy on the top deck of the ferry from fortune to st. pierre) 

(the bikes on the way to france) 

(enjoying some beer and chips on the ferry) 

(our tent setup on st. looks private, but it is not) 

(strolling around st. pierre) 

(a cool old building in france)

of note:
-the hours of operation of all the businesses seem like suggestions. the restaurants are only open for maybe 6 hours a day total (a few hours per meal). and weekends have even more reduced hours. if we go again, we will make reservations for all meals.
-this island is seriously tiny. which is cool. we loved fogo island. but here, there seems to be even less to do. i am not a shopper, but there did seem to be a handful of gift shops, if that's what you're into.
-camping on st. pierre: we decided to camp because we love camping, and i had read that camping is good here. there are only a few hotels anyway, and none of them really excited me. there are no real campgrounds here, so the information bureau directed us to a few spots on a map. well, these spots were really just patches of grass. there are very few trees on the island, and much of the island is really rocky, so basically there is nowhere to camp. we ended up camping on a pretty little beach at the tip of the island. it was a really lovely spot, but you actually have to pitch your tent 5 feet from where people are walking and hanging out. maybe some people would be cool with this, but i was soo not. we talked to some fellow campers the next morning, and they had hiked to the top of a mountain to pitch their tents. they ended up with a more secluded spot, but super windy. not ideal. bottom line: unless you are cool with camping in a public park with no trees, you should definitely book a room on st. pierre.

Monday, 27 August 2012

st. pierre, france, part 1: the good

our little trip to st. pierre was pretty cool. tomorrow i'll talk about the not so great parts of the trip, but today, the good stuff.

(sweet view at the tip of the island)

(near the beach)

(evening snack)

(hilly streets)

(on the dock)

(my wheels)

(on the ferry back to canada)

of note:
-the ferry was really cool. there was no problem taking our bikes, and you can take as much luggage as you want (though no vehicles). we brought all our camping gear in panniers. no problems there. also, there was a little bar on the ferry. we enjoyed a beer on the boat, which may or may not have contributed to the seasickness we both experienced. it was a rough ride. the captain was really cool about pointing out sights on the 1.5 hour or so trip. on the way back we saw a humpback whale. it was so close to the boat. amazing
-the island is super small, and great for biking. some hills are really steep, so we ended up having to walk our bikes a few times. other than that, i would say that biking is the best way to travel around the island. we never bothered with our bike lock, and left our panniers on the bikes while we walked around the shopping area. i am confident that theft is not an issue on the island. very very safe. 
-the food. we were only able to have a "snack" at 5:30 pm at this restaurant because we were not there at the proper meal time. but it was lovely, and our quiche came with a small bowl of romaine leaves with balsamic vinegar. i sorta loved it. the bakeries looked soo good, but you need euros and you need to be there at the right times. when we happened to go, the shelves were nearly bare. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

watermelon martini (on a tuesday)

we had friends for supper on saturday, and this is what we drank. i made it really simple, though i am sure it would be even better if you strained the watermelon juice and made your own simple syrup. go get the watermelon now so you can cut it up and have it frozen in time for the weekend.

super simple watermelon martini

2 shots vodka
juice of half a lime
2 cups frozen chunks of watermelon
1 tablespoon of sweetener (i used honey for one batch, maple syrup for another. both perfect)

put everything in the blender, blend it up, and serve immediately. it gets really frothy, which i loved. also, i ran out of frozen watermelon after the second batch, so i just used fresh watermelon. still so good, but not as nicely slushy.

Monday, 20 August 2012

on the weekend + healthy haystacks

 (healthy is a strong word for these...recipe below)

(made my fav cookie pie for supper guests saturday) 

(biked to the local library for some quality time with the magazines) 

(cold water of jonathan's pond early sunday morning) 

(enjoying steve jobs' biography)

i love those weekends where we hang around our little town, read, eat at home, bike to the store. i've been reading steve jobs biography, though i pretty much skim through the details about programming and computers. the book is ok, but i am wishing for more info about his personal/romantic life. also, j raced on sunday here in gander. i love watching his races! i am a proud wife. also, i made a few things in the kitchen... 

super simple haystacks

1/2 cup nut butter (i used macadamia nut butter)
1 cup chocolate chips (i chopped up a dark chocolate bar)
3 cups chow mien noodles

-melt the chocolate and nut butter together in a bowl that fits in a pot of simmering water on the stove. or use the microwave
-pour the chocolate mixture onto the noodles and mix really well to coat the noodles. 
-spoon onto a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge. 

these are so insanely good. j and i had them gone in no time. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

happy friday

this was the first full week back to work since our honeymoon. so i'm glad it's the weekend. also, for the record, the temperature around here has dipped pretty low. like, 12 degrees C low. j has a triathlon on sunday, and i am excited to cheer him on. maybe we will find some more wild berries this weekend too.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

my new fav granola

(my new fav granola with greek yogurt and local newfoundland berries)

we always have homemade granola in the kitchen. and this is the one that i keep making over and over lately. it is truly the best granola i've ever had. 

homemade granola (from david lebovitz, from nigella lawson's feast cookbook)

2.5 cups oats
1.5 cups almonds, chopped
1 cup mixture of other nuts/seeds (i use sesame seeds and sunflower seeds usually)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (i use one of those little lunch cups)
2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil or whatever oil you want

-preheat oven to 300 F
-in big bowl, mix dry ingredients together
-in small saucepan, melt applesauce, honey, and oil together
-mix liquid into dry ingredients really well
-spread on baking sheet, bake for 30-45 min until deep golden brown. stir every 10 min or so

awesome with almond milk, or with yogurt and fruit. or sprinkled on oatmeal. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

past and plans

I love travel, airports, passports, road trips. and i love the tumblr blog a well traveled woman. she once listed off all the places she has been.

these are the countries i have been:
canada (i live here, obv)
usa (lived in texas 3 years)
germany (lived there for a few years)
denmark (my dad is danish)
sweden (had lunch here once)
peru (hiked inca trail)
argentina (wine in mendoza)
turks and caicos (most beautiful beaches in the world)
dominican republic (a few march break trips)
cuba (christmas there once or twice)
mexico (been here numerous times. on the coast and along the texas border)
bermuda (a very close friend lives there. also, it is awesome)
england (london hosteling)
france (as a child and later backpacking in paris)
holland (amsterdam backpacking)
belgium (backpacking trip)
costa rica (honeymoon, of course)

and i would love to visit iceland, italy, greece, morocco, turkey, australia, trinidad. and there are still so many parts of canada that i haven't seen. j and i have been talking about taking a long train trip across canada in the next year or two. also, j and i are headed to france next weekend. little known fact about france is that they own a tiny island off the coast of newfoundland. apparently everyone still speaks french exclusively, and you have to go through customs and everything. very excited

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

home now

we have been married for a month now, and we have only spent a handful of nights at our own house in that month. so this weekend it felt amazing to get into our usual weekend routine.
(afternoon snooze)

(writing, always)

(me and my trek)


my fav part of the weekend: finding a ton of raspberries on a bike ride. seems like newfoundland is good for having lots of berries to pick in summer and fall. i really could have picked berries for hours. i am thinking maybe a little jam? or maybe just something for smoothies. either way, there is nothing better than picking your own food.

Monday, 13 August 2012

on the weekend (two weekends ago)

(in my brother's apartment)

(at the paramedic grad)

(sweet program at a lovely wedding)

(bridesmaids in the pew)

two weekends ago we were in new brunswick and pei for a graduation and a wedding. i have a whole new appreciation for weddings now that i have helped plan one. some of my favourite details from this wedding: ombre bridesmaids dresses (each dress was a lighter shade of pink than the last), s'mores station at the outdoor/indoor reception, live music at the dance. and we spent a lot of time on the beach with my new brother-in-law. 

since j and i live on this slightly isolated rock, we spend a lot on flights to visit family and friends. and every time i am reminded of how well-spent that money is. we don't get a huge quantity of time with our families anymore, but definitely high quality. traveling around has always been very high on my priority list, but it used to be about seeing as much of the world as i could. i still have a million more places i want us to go, but traveling has now become a way to see the people who are most important to us. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

a few of my fav snaps from the honeymoon (and the last honeymoon post-promise)

(third of many, many flights this month)

(one of j's first meals in costa rica. this was not an accident. he wanted a whole deep fried fish)

(chilling at a roadside cheese farm)

(driving. lots of driving)

(our fav beach in nosara)

(the roads were pretty bad. we had to drive through little streams all the time)

(official beer of the honeymoon)

(tamarindo was touristy, but beautiful)

(more driving. love him)

ok, this is going to be the last honeymoon post. i really loved costa rica so much. i would highly recommend it for a honeymoon. it was the best trip i have ever taken, maybe partly because of my new status as a wife. loving that. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

hotel review: melrost b&b, san jose, costa rica

for the last night of the honeymoon before a super early flight out of san jose, i had originally booked us into a fancy hotel in downtown san jose. but the dude who worked at the car rental place told us that place is way too far, and that really we should be staying at the melrost b&b. he quickly had it all arranged, including free shuttles to and from. we should have known that he was related to the owners of melrost...

(our creaky little bed) 

(our balcony with a view) 

(the bathroom complete with nightlight)

price: $75 including airport transfers. i think this is cheap for san jose, but seriously
bathroom: i wore my sandals in the shower. enough said
pool: there was a kiddy pool packed with kids right by the entrance when we got there.
breakfast: included. it was a to-go breakfast. orange drink, a little banana, a prepackaged "tiramisu" cupcake.
location: in a sketchy-feeling part of town. though close to the airport
notes: this was a funny way to end our honeymoon. there was clearly no restaurant on-site, but they provided a map to the nearby mall, which had a food court. so we ate there, then rushed back to the "hotel" because we were scared to walk around after dark in this neighborhood. there was no signage to show that this place was indeed a b&b. on the plus side, the staff were really nice. really, this place was a hostel by my standards. 

k, i think this is the last hotel review i'll do for a while. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

hotel review: tamarindo diria resort, tamarindo, costa rica

so after nosara we decided to drive to tamarindo. i was interested in tamarindo mostly because tripadvisor was highly recommending it, and the beaches were apparently unreal. we booked an oceanview room at the diria resort right on the main strip. 

(our room-bright and clean)

(our balcony with a sweet view) 

(this is something i have always wanted to do!)


price: i think $275 a night for the oceanview
bathroom: tiny and shabby
pool: there was a huge pool with a swim up bar, then another smaller pool basically in the lobby. they were nice, though mostly full of families
breakfast: included. it was a buffet, but nothing fancy. i sort of felt like i was at one of those all inclusive resorts in cuba, but not a great one.
location: right on the main strip of restaurants, trashy tourist shops, smoothie bars. maybe some people would like this, like if you don't have a vehicle. but it does make the resort seem super touristy and dirty. this resort was directly on the beach though, which was a plus. but when the waves were good for surfing, there were a million beginner surfers out there. the beach was super crowded. i would have been loving it on a spring break trip in university. the beach chairs were $15 to rent a pair for the day. we did this. 
notes: if you walk the two steps to the beach from the resort, you can walk along the beach, and there are tons of little bars where you can have a beer with your feet in the sand. that was cool. we walked down for mojitos and coconut cream pie at nogui's sunset bar because everyone on tripadvisor recommended it. it was perfect. the drinks were super strong, and the pie was full of actual pieces of coconut meat. also, j rented a surfboard a lot while we were there. it was i think $10 to rent the board. sweet deal. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

things to do in monteverde, costa rica

(on a guided nighttime hike)

(cool butterfly)

(this tree strangled a tree that was inside it. true)

(beers at belmar)

(just a little something on the side of the road)

things to do in monteverde (aka, the most magical place):
-guided night walk to see nighttime creatures. $20 each i think. we saw a sloth, a tarantula, a bunch of cool insects
-guided morning hike through the cloud forest. $55 each. we saw all these cool birds. and spider monkeys, snakes, insects. one of the best 4 hours we spent. we feel like we know roberto, our tour guide. we practically miss him. 
-bungee jumping. $60. i did not do this, but j did. it looked absolutely crazy!! you can also do ziplining, or walk on suspension bridges. 
-eat at the treehouse restaurant. there is a giant tree in it, which is cool. we ate here, and it was normal pricing and good food. 
-other things which we did not do since we were loving chilling in our suite: visit the cheese/ice cream factory. visit the coffee/chocolate factory.

notes on monteverde: most of the schools were started by quakers from alabama, who are pretty passive and calm people that fit right in with the costa ricans. when a kid starts to go to school, they have meditation for ten minutes every day. by the time you get to high school, you are doing over an hour of silence a day at school. there are no janitors in schools. the kids have chores, and clean the school themselves. pretty cool

and don't worry, i'll probably be done writing about the honeymoon soon. 
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