Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Sangria

This past weekend, J and I attended a Surprise Birthday Party (which also turned out to be a surprise engagement party!) for one of our friends. Her now fiancĂ© planned the whole thing & provided the basics and asked that everyone who came bring something for the party. 

Instead of going the typical chips & dip or potato salad route I decided to make Sangria! And it was a huge hit!

This drink totally screams summer to me! An outdoor BBQ wouldn't be complete without a super refreshing, ice cold drink like this. I ended up throwing a ladle into the top at one point during the party and people started munching on those watermelon cubes like hot cakes but I will warn you, the fruit and the drink itself and be quite dangerous if you're not careful. ;-) 


Cherry Lime Watermelon Sangria
Recipe from here (with a few changes)
Prep Time: 10 min || Cook Time: 4 hours || Makes about 2.5 gallons
  • 6 cups of watermelon
  • 4 cups of bing cherries
  • 6 limes, sliced
  • 2 750ml bottles of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay work best)
  • 1 1/2 cup white rum (we used Bacardi)
  • 2 liters of lemon-lime soda (we used Sprite Zero)
Cut up fruit and place in large pitcher or drink dispenser. Carefully pour the wine and rum over the top. Cover and place in the fridge for 4-5 hours. Add the soda right before you're ready to start drinking. Pour over ice and enjoy!

This drink will most likely be my go-to summer drink for the rest of the season!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homeowners: The Disaster of a Move

I never thought the day would come when this would be the sight out our front window. This was the first time J and I have used a moving company for a move and we learned so much from the experience. We learned about reading contracts, about taking someone's word and about the importance of customer service towards satisfaction. We learned new things about each other, what really makes a home and how generous those around us really are. The companies we used were downright horrible and we were honestly worried about our things even making it to us in the first place so when this truck backed down the cup-de-sac we both did a version of a happy dance.

And after 3 very long weeks we finally have all of our stuff from San Diego. 

A bed, a glorious non-airmatress bed. A pantry full of food. A new kitchen table to enjoy meals together. Lots and lots of things for the walls. All our kitchen supplies. Fresh clothes and shoes. Yesterday was an awesome (and tiring) day and as I sit on the patio this morning, drinking my coffee and enjoying the shade of our umbrella, I'm feeling a thousand times more excited for our new life in CO.

And this my friends, is the aftermath of our unpacking efforts from yesterday. I'm pretty proud of us and all we were able to do in just one night. There are about half a dozen boxes still unopened or partly full inside the house but we made so much progress already that waking up this morning felt glorious!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homeowners: Bits of Color

Having an awesome backyard space is something that's a huge priority for J and I. Between enjoying dinners on the patio together, having a space for our O-dog to play, and hosting lots of get togethers with friends and yard games we can't wait to get our yard in tip-top shape. 

When we moved in the yard was in rough shape, not quite as bad as our first yard, but it still needed a lot of work. The former owners knew they were selling so they spent little time with anything yard related, even watering unfortunately. I spent a whole day pulling weeds and wild-grass (something that we'll always have to deal with since we back to a green belt) and we're still working to get the grass back to life. Lots of water and some new seed should definitely help in that area. 

But we have been making lots of progress in the yard already and I can't wait to share! We've spent a ton of time getting our planter boxes filled with gorgeous perennials and have made some progress with shrubs around the edges of the yard as well. We wandered around the nursery for quite some time picking out items that we love, things that will fill out in years to come and I can't wait to see them grow!

J named our smokebush Smokey Robinson, such a silly husband I have.

Here's a list of what's in our yard so far!
Double Play Gold Spirea :: Gaillardia // Celosia // White Sage // Coneflower :: Aurora Deep Purple Delphinium // Purple Picotee Dianthus :: Royal Purple Smokebush :: Blue Mist Bluebird :: Rabbitbrush

Now if only we could get our patio furniture and fire pit from the movers. It seems as though the moving truck took a detour to Alaska before delivering our stuff so it could be a while still. Oy vey!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Homeowners: An Adult Guest Bath

Updating the guest bathroom upstairs was pretty high on the to-do list once we moved in and since we still don't have our stuff from the moving company (also read, the horrible nightmare where we just hope we get our stuff someday) I decided to tackle this project to keep me (and my mind) busy. 

Incase you didn't believe me that this bathroom was in serious need of an update let's take a look at the before.  

Yep. It was seriously that color. I understand that the previous owners had 3 young kids but really? We found the paint can in the basement and it's literally "Alien Green". Why any company would actually choose to make such a color is beyond me but regardless, it needed to go!

The color in the "After" picture is the most accurate to the true color in the room. Bathrooms and their lack of natural light are always tricky to photograph. And the best part of this project? It was basically free. The can of paint we used was completely full in our basement which equals free. The shower curtain, rod and liner were extras from my mom's house after she moved, free again! The towel rods and such were already there and the white frame was a Goodwill purchase for around $4. Add in a few bucks for painters tape and I am thrilled with our guest bath!

On to another project in the new home!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hollandmoon: Dublin part 2

The second half of our time in Dublin was spent just like the first half, touring the must-see places of the city, walking everywhere, and actually getting some down time which was much needed after our adventures in the south. The nice thing about Dublin, and specifically our hotel, was that we were smack in the middle of everything which made our long to-see list really easy to accomplish in only a few days. 

Our hotel was located right across the street from Christchurch Cathedral so we got to wake up every morning to it's beauty. Once inside it was just as stunning and very similar in construction & architecture to St. Patrick's. The one part that was different was that there was a crypt underneath that was restored to it's original state and I have to admit, it was pretty creepy down there. 

Connected to the church was the Dublinia exhibit which explored the history of the vikings on the island of Ireland. Granted it was pretty focused towards kids and we didn't actually learn that much but one of the best parts of our trip was that we could just explore together. Even if that meant weaving through school field trips and playing dress up with my husband. 

Even though we had already visited the Jameson Distillery in Middleton we decided to stop at the place in Dublin too. Originally Jameson was made in Dublin and the distillery was later moved to the south so we thought that this museum might offer something different than the first. Unfortunately, the tour in Dublin wasn't as interesting and impressive as the one in Middleton but it gave us another opportunity to do some whiskey tasting. This time I ended up volunteering for the "extra tasting" where we were given 3 different types of whiskey to taste and compare. Jack Daniel's from the States, Johnnie Walker Black Label from Scotland and Jameson from Ireland. I have to admit, I am definitely a Jameson fan. 

Our last stop was, of course, the Guinness Brewery! You can't go to Ireland without going here. The tour was self-guided and really interesting. You walk through all the different processes of beer making and the history behind the brand and the coolest part is that the building is situated around a 10-story tall pint glass. At the very top is the Gravity Bar, a 360-degree glass bar with amazing views of the city, where you enjoy your free pint of beer. I'd only had a few pints of Guinness before our trip so I don't know if it's true that Guinness in Ireland tastes better than anywhere else but it definitely did taste delicious!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Hollandmoon: Dublin part 1

We're still in "adventure mode" as we're settling into our new life here in CO, especially since we still don't have our furniture from the moving company yet which means this blog is a little behind schedule. I can't wait to show you what we've been up to in our new house but until then, I want to get the last of our Hollandmoon recaps finished. 

In case it's been a while since you've read these recaps, at this point in our trip we had made it back to Dublin via train for the last leg of the trip. Most of the things we decided to do in the city were touristy but what can I say, they're touristy for a reason because we definitely wanted to hit some specific places.

First up was a trip to Trinity College. As Ireland's largest university and my nerdy obsession with seeing campuses this was a must see for us. We signed up for the guided tour which was given by a current student and learned so much about the history of the school. The ringing of bells to signal finals week beginning, the wine cellar that only honors students know about, the lack of bathrooms in many of the older housing units. We were just fascinated by all the old age of the campus.

Located on campus is also The Old Library which houses all of the oldest books of the school as well as The Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is regarded as one of the oldest written accounts of the New Testament and is one of Ireland's greatest national treasures. The library itself was absolutely stunning inside. The books are ordered by size, not alphabetically or standard Dewey decimal, which makes librarians' jobs that much more complicated I can imagine.

Next up was St. Patrick's Cathedral. There unfortunately wasn't any type of tour inside which left us feeling like we didn't quite take away everything from this historic place as we could have. But it was absolutely gorgeous inside so that definitely made up for it. The detail on the tile work, the age of some of the pieces inside, the stained glass and the overall architecture was something you'd never see in the states. Services are still held inside which added to the cathedral's charm and elegance. 

One more recap and I can no longer relive my honeymoon. 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Homeowners: We've Moved

It has been quite the stressful, busy, hectic, and yet amazing last week or so as we finished preparing for our big move, made the drive to CO and are finally in our new home. We have yet to get all our belongings delivered by the moving company and are anticipating their arrival on pins and needles but we are thankful to be in the new home even if it is a little off still. 

Here's a glimpse into the adventure so far....

 the sweet pup finally starting to adjust after being pretty out or sorts // generous spare items from family to make things a bit more workable around here

porch lights that signal we're home to the neighbors // delicious homemade & warm treats from next door

 the dying front tree that we're fighting for // the back tree that doesn't quite know where to grow leaves from

 air mattress beds and bits of home in the form of dog toys // a master bathroom with super high countertops that I love

cozy house pants that bring a bit of life inside // a front porch on a cul-de-sac to display more gorgeous blooms

lavender waiting to go in the ground // empty planters waiting for a garden

this view from our upstairs, I seriously can't get enough

Now let's just hope that our stuff arrives sooner rather than later so we can have more clothes, furniture and a full kitchen again. Until then we're making due with what we have, relying on the generosity of our friends and family and loving our new life back in our home state. 


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