Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all! Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year! All the best in 2016! 
Maybe I'll get my shit together and get back to a regular blogging schedule! 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Recap

Good Afternoon,

I had intended to get here before Christmas and at the very least wish you all a Merry Christmas but apparently I failed, when we go home its like nothing else in the world exists and naturally the time flies by! I thought I would come by today and recap our Christmas at home and update a little, not that there is much going on.

We left to go home on the night of the 22nd, Jason worked a full day and I was ready to go as soon as he got home. We put everything in the truck and hit the road! I always expect traffic but we've been so lucky and never actually encounter any on the way home. We managed to avoid the rain until we got about 10 minutes from home which was great, got home and unloaded the truck and just puttered around for awhile before going to bed. Jason had a super early dentist appointment on the 23rd so while he was gone I just sat enjoying the house, especially now that its all decorated for Christmas. It was such a peaceful morning, its was chilly and raining outside, the house was so cozy with the fireplace on.. it was absolutely PERFECT!.

I know I say this all the time but I don't take a second of our time at home for granted, I enjoy every single minute of it. These perfect moments with coffee in hand, I take in every single second of it. 

I actually didn't expect Jason to be gone as long as he was so I unpacked everything, got ready for the day and just enjoyed being at home. When Jason got home we had a bunch of running around to do and because it was miserable out we just wanted to get it over it. I was super excited to hit up Trader Joe's though, I love that store and they aren't readily available everywhere so when I get a chance to go I jump on it. I specifically wanted to go there because I was running out of my new all time favorite tea and its a Trader Joe's brand, and seasonal so I wanted to stock up! When we got there I bought 5 boxes and Jason was looking at me at first wondering if I was serious with the 5 boxes and then as if I was crazy when I assured him this was exactly how many I was getting. We toured around Trader Joe's a bit but as usual it was crazy busy and we wanted to get the rest of our running around finished. 

Of course being the 23rd of December every where was ridiculously busy! We finished our grocery shopping and went home for a quiet night. 

On the 24th I was a straggler who still needed a few stocking stuffers and what a mistake it was to leave that until so late. If I had more patience it probably wouldn't have been so bad but when its impossible to find parking and you cant easily navigate the store because there are millions of people and then you wait in line for a year to pay, it just all takes so much longer than usual. When I was finally finished I couldn't wait to get home. The traffic getting home was a nightmare, and I laugh when I type that because literally Walmart and Target are two minutes from our house but the road taking me home was backed up a country mile, literally. I must have waited 27 lights to turn left.. I couldn't believe it. 

We had decided on Christmas eve we would just make some snacks instead of an actual dinner which worked out well as we finished wrapping and just getting things ready for the next day. Did I mention that it was almost 80 degrees on Christmas eve? It was actually hot, people were out doing their Christmas shopping in shorts and flip flops!! On Christmas Eve we decided to take a drive to look at all the houses decorated for Christmas, we do this a lot through the month of December but on Christmas eve it was particularly odd as Jason was in shorts and flip flops and we had all the windows and sunroof open in the truck. There were some pretty great houses though. 

This street in particular was really good, the people across from this house had a very similar set up. Its so nice when people go all out or make the effort to decorate for Christmas, I think people really appreciate it more than they would ever know, or at least I do. 

I have to say although I could care less for winter it was really hard to get into the Christmas with the weather being so warm. After our drive which did not include the usual Starbucks white hot chocolate due to the weather we came home, put all the presents under the tree and got cozy to watch a Christmas movie. 

Christmas day was wonderful, although it absolutely flew by! Jason and I didn't get up until around 8:30am and didn't finish opening presents until noon! I don't really know how that happened, I guess its part of the joy when its just the two of us, we really enjoyed our gifts and talked over coffee, took our time and just enjoyed the morning. By the time we were finish the idea of breakfast was pretty much off the table sadly which sucks because I really fought for it as Jason didn't want to have breakfast. We just munched on leftover snacks from the night before while puttering around. We got ready for the day and cleaned up the house as much as possible, finding homes for all our new stuff and decided what would stay at home and what would be coming back to the apartment. 

Overall we had a really great day, Jason cooked the turkey in the big easy which I always appreciate because it allows for so much more oven space. It turns out so well in there too! 

Christmas day was also extremely warm, in the high 70s! I know that no one really got winter weather this year, except maybe the mid west but it was just so strange. I always appreciate a good sunset though and Christmas day didn't disappoint! Neither did being able to sit outside and enjoy it. 

Saturday again we had running around to do, we wanted to do some exchanging of sizes on certain items and return a few things. It was convenient to do it at home and just get things done so we figured why not. We weren't out long and then just stayed at home for the rest of the day. Sunday was time to leave sadly, as much as I am so grateful for the time at home it definitely never feels like long enough. We stayed to watch the Patriots game which SUCKED and then got on the road just after 4pm. Again no traffic and we made it back in great time. 

Overall our time at home and Christmas was fabulous! We got back Sunday night and are heading back home on Thursday night of this week. Jason will work the full day and then we will head home for New Years Eve, we figure we will get home in time to get downtown for midnight. We will spend the weekend putting away all the Christmas stuff and just getting organized again. 

Not much else going on truth be told, I did however score some pretty awesome boxing day sales. In the States they don't actually call it Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) but they have all the same sales. I got a Old Navy gift card for Christmas and the nice thing about those is that Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic are all linked so if you have a gift card for any of them you can use it at any of the stores. I managed to place one big order from all 3 stores online (via one store) and use all the coupon codes and sales! I got 7 items for $100 and saves $164!! SCORE! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying your time with family and friends. The weather took a turn here and is definitely a lot cooler than the weather we left at home, I am not happy about that. But I suppose it is winter so I cant complain about weather in the 40s and 50s! 

I don't know if I will get back here before New Years but if not I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year! I have high hopes for 2016!! 

Thank you as always for stopping by! 

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

National Harbor at Christmas Time

Good Morning,

Three days in a row.. please don't get use to it. Its not that I don't plan to ever be back but I don't want to commit to a schedule here right now because I still plan to only come and write when the desire strikes or I feel like I have something to say. But as long as I have something to say I will be around.

This past weekend Jason and I planned to tour around the outlets at National Harbor just to see if there was anything that caught our eye for some Christmas gifts and see what they had for deals. Truthfully I didn't find much for Christmas gifts, I could have bought a ton of things for myself though.. those outlets are the devil!! We spent just over an hour there and then headed into National Harbor for dinner and Christmas festivities.

As I mentioned it has been unseasonably warm here as in it was 75 here on Saturday so we decided to go back to the Redstone American Grill because we loved it there so much and they have outdoor seating with a huge fireplace. I have to say there are TONS of options in regards to restaurants in National Harbor but the food at the Redstone American Grill is one of the best places I have ever eaten.

When we arrived at the restaurant there was no outdoor seating but a lovely couple offered to share their table with us. We had a beautiful view of National Harbor, the Navy vs Army game that was on the big TV and the beautiful Christmas tree light show! The food was epic as always and Jason and I decided before leaving that without a doubt we would go back and this time sit inside and enjoy that beautiful atmosphere as well as the amazing food.

View of the tree from the Redstone American Grill

After dinner we toured the waterfront on the way to the Gaylord National Resort hotel, not only was it absolutely beautiful with the Sky Wheel lit up but many of the boats were decorated for Christmas. 

Once we arrived that the Gaylord hotel I was blown away by the beauty, the picture directly below was taken from the waterfront outside. 

They had a huge Christmas tree setup that was absolutely amazing, they made it snow in the atrium with foam and the whole light display was done to music. I have a few pictures but I will try and add a video as well. 

No video, sorry. 

When the show was over, or at least the Christmas portion as it went techno Jason and I decided to get a white hot chocolate and head out to tour around some more. It was such a beautiful night which all things Christmas and white hot chocolate.. we couldn't have asked for a better day! 

Sunday we we over to Dave & Lindsey's to watch football and decorate gingerbread houses with the kids. It was a really good day, and again unseasonably warm! 

The little monkey has learned to roll over, Dave put him on a blanket to show us how he could roll over and he curled up on his side and watched TV, apparently he wasn't into putting on his own show. 

The girls had a fantastic time decorating the gingerbread houses. Ava was very serious about the whole thing and every time she added a new piece of candy she would proudly say "ta da!". She eventually had to be removed from the candy and icing because her sugar levels were I'm sure off the charts! 

I believe that wraps up what we have been up to lately, there are still a few things I would like to write about so who knows when you will see that. Hopefully sooner than later! 

Thank you all for catching up with me this week, I really appreciate you sticking around! Have a great day! 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Christmas Carol at Ford Theatre & The National Christmas Tree at President's Park

Good Morning,

Two days in a row.. I know I know, unheard of around here! As I mentioned in yesterdays post we have been up to some fun things and I really wanted to document them all for myself as well as share them with all of you.

If you haven't picked up on it already Jason and I are really into Christmas! So while being this close to DC we decided that we had to see the production of A Christmas Carol at Ford Theatre. I have always wanted to go to Ford Theatre as it is the place where President Lincoln was shot, I'm not morbid or anything I just really like history. The theatre is has a great history which you can read about HERE. On April 14, 1865 President Lincoln attended the theatre for the first time to see the stage production of Our American Cousin, it was then he was shot my John Wilkes Booth and died the next morning across the street at the Peterson House. After that night Ford Theatre remained closed for 100 years, it reopened in 1968 as a historical site as well as maintaining its original purpose as a theatre.

The theatre is absolutely beautiful inside, naturally things have been refurbished but still maintaining its beautiful original look and presentation. The theatre is obviously small but has a large lobby as well as a full museum in the basement detailing the history of the theatre as well as President Lincoln.

This is a really crappy picture which I didn't realize until I had already left, but it is the gun the actual gun that killed President Abraham Lincoln. This gun is a .44 caliber pistol made by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia. One shot was all John Wilkes Booth took, he favored this gun for its small size as it could easily be concealed in his pocket. It fired a single one ounce round lead ball and was most accurate at close range. 

The production was amazing, I believe they have been running for 9 years and let me tell you they have perfected the show. Believe it or not Jason has never seen A Christmas Carol, not the movie or anything. Crazy! 

We really enjoyed the show, and the theatre while we were there. I didn't realize how popular that play is around this time of year. 

After the show we decided to wander back down to Presidents Park and see the National Tree again as well as all the surrounding trees. Around the National Tree there is a tree representing every State and Territory in the nation. Each tree is decorated by a school or class within that state. 

All around the National Tree is a huge train setup and little villages, its beautiful. We hadn't planned on going there so I didn't bring my good camera and I definitely didn't plan on it being so busy when we decided to go. This place was PACKED with people and we actually didn't have a lot of time as the place closes down at 10pm every night and they shut off all the lights. I am really glad we made it over there again and got a close up look at the tree. Washington is a great place to visit at night during the Christmas season, I have to say its no New York but its still pretty spectacular. 

I wish I could have shared more pictures but sadly during the performance at Ford Theatre you are not allowed to take any photos or videos. However I highly recommend if you have the chance, see the show! 

Thank you all for stopping in today, I am off to finish the rest of my Christmas shopping and enjoy the day before the rain comes in tomorrow! 

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Catch Up & The National Tree Lighting

Well well well.. is there anyone still out there? I cant believe its been a month since I've blogged.. I don't think that has ever happened around here. If it has than its been a really long time since.

I cant really explain why I haven't been around, I just didn't feel like writing. I felt like I didn't have anything to say and forcing myself to come and write about things that I didn't care about didn't make sense. I knew that I wasn't giving up on the blog forever but I just needed some time to regroup and get to a place where I wanted to write. Truth be told I cant say that I'm there yet, wanting to be here and write all the time but I did want to catch up on a few things here because this isn't a place just to fill you in, its a place for me to document my life and have somewhere to come back and remember things.

We went home over Thanksgiving which was amazing and much needed, its hard to describe how great it is to be home to someone who gets to be home all the time. I look so forward to our time there, I feel so at peace, I sleep better.. everything just feels so much better. We decorated the house for Christmas as we are going home this year and I cant begin to tell you how excited I am for that! We actually decorated the outside of the house for the first time as well and it was so much fun. We didn't do anything too extravagant but we put up lights, garland and bows! It was so strange to be decorating the house for Christmas in shorts though. As I'm sure most of you know everywhere has been seeing unusually warm weather for quite sometime.

I love our Christmas tree at home, its big and beautiful and PERFECT!

We put up the a Christmas sign as well, and there is a wreath on the door you just cant really see it. 

We were there for 5 days which was absolutely amazing, I don't take one second of it for granted but in the end its still really hard to leave. We have been really lucky traffic wise driving to and from home which is also a huge bonus. 

Once we got back from Thanksgiving we had lots of Christmas things to look forward to around Maryland and I had high hopes that being busy would make the time fly. I cant say that has been the case but we have definitely been up to some fun stuff. I plan to share all of that with you guys in a few posts but I didn't want to start this one off with being 10 pages. 

Back in November Jason and I entered a lottery in hopes of getting tickets to the National Tree Lighting in Presidents Park DC. You cant just purchase tickets, there are so many people who want them that you had to enter the lottery and just hope. We found out that we got tickets on the 5th of December I believe and we were super excited to attend. 

After doing a little reading on the website they honestly didn't make it sound too great, so we went in with very low expectations. Jason got off work early and we headed into DC, we got a Starbucks and toured around on our way to get in line. I will have to say that their setup was actually extremely efficient and we managed to get through the line and security very quickly. Because of the recent events in California as you can imagine security was over the top, I believe there was just as many cops, military and secret service as their was civilians. The buildings surrounding Presidents Park where the lighting ceremony was held were all lined with snipers, I wont lie it was a little intense. 

While we waited for the show to start they have choirs all over singing to the crowd, it was great! It didn't seem like such a long wait when you were being entertained. It was also an absolutely beautiful day! Sadly not many of my pictures turned out because it was dark, I have a video though of Miss Piggy and Michelle Obama reading Twas the Night Before Christmas that I will try and insert! 

The ceremony was hosted by Reese Witherspoon which was really neat and there were lots of wonderful performers such as Fallout Boy, Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Bellamy Young and my personal favorite Trombone Shorty! There were many more as well, including the Obama's which was pretty exciting. 

After the show was over we were absolutely FROZEN so we decided to walk around a bit and check out a few of the monuments in the dark before getting a late dinner. If you've never been to DC as I have said before it is absolutely amazing, and the monuments lit up at night do not disappoint. The Lincoln Memorial is still my favorite but check out the World War II Memorial lit up at night. 

The Washington Monument

I believe this hotel is called the Willard Hotel, this place is absolutely AMAZING and I want to stay there. 

We grabbed brick oven pizza before heading home and toured around DC a little. It was a really nice to just take it all in on such a beautiful night and really get into the Christmas spirit. 

So that was one of the few outings we have had recently, I plan to share a few of them with you this week. 

I hope you have all been well, and are all ready for the holiday season.. I know we sure are! 

Thank you as always for stopping in! 

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Good Afternoon!

I thought I would stop in today and talk about our trip last weekend to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia! For years we have been driving by the sign to head there and I have heard so many people talk about it and I have always wanted to go but the timing just never seemed to be right. Finally last weekend we decided to get up early on Sunday morning and drive the almost two hours to spend the day!

When I was a kid I visited Black Creek Pioneer Village for a school trip and I loved it, I pictured Colonial Williamsburg being exactly like that, and essentially it was. Obviously the history surrounding Colonial Williamsburg is different and relates directly to the Revolutionary War. I highly recommend visiting here, if not for the history than its beauty! I will take you through our day in this post but if you are looking to plan a visit you can do so HERE and if you are interested in reading about the history related you can do so HERE.

So as I mentioned we got up super early and headed down to Virginia, the drive was really nice as we are coming to the end of fall, the further south we drove the more leaves were still on the trees which was really nice. We arrived and headed into the massive visitors center to purchase tickets for our day. Colonial Williamsburg is open for you to walk around at any time, for free but in order to access the inside of any of the buildings or see any of the tours it is necessary to purchase tickets and I feel like it was totally worth it. I definitely think we will go back, we may not purchase the tickets a second time as we have seen everything but it really is a beautiful place to walk around and have lunch.

When you leave the visitors center you can walk the quarter of a mile (I believe) to the actual town or you can take a shuttle, if you take the shuttle you will miss this windmill which was brought here to be restored.  

Pretty neat right?

The AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL stables at the Governor's home.  

We did an actual tour of this home, it was about a half an hour long but totally worth it. 

The amount of weaponry in this home was quite substantial. 

Beautiful old wood stove. 

The gardens behind the Governor's home. They really keep things alive here, its not just old homes sitting with a plaque stating its significance. What we learned on our day touring around is that all the projects that are taking place in the buildings when you go in are actually projects for around town. The making of window shutters, food being grown to feed employees and so it, it was pretty amazing to know that we weren't just seeing a demonstration but a contribution. 

An orange tree!!!! You could actually buy this, and I wanted to! 

We did not take a carriage tour around this time but we talked a lot about it and decided that we definitely will the next time! 

The court house. 

The magazine and gun house. 

Inside the court house, there was quite a heated discussion going on in there about law practices and what worked/works and didn't so we didn't stay long. 

The blacksmith was one of our favorite stops. Everyone there is so knowledgeable about what they are working on and so willing to answer any questions that people may have. I really enjoyed the fact that all the information you received didn't just come from brochures but from people who told us in the more creative ways. 

The wig shop. Jason was really into this place for some odd reason. 

This was inside the "Joiners" house. A joiner is someone who does the finer details of carpentry. The gentlemen in there was super informative, he told us about projects that were happening around town and what he was working on. He showed us contracts that were signed by apprentices and explained that when a master carpenter took on an apprentice he was responsible for them, he fed them and put a roof over their head and so on. These apprentices were often 13 year old children. This was one of my favorite places we visited, I loved that many of the tools were hand crafted and he explained how they were used and taken care of and so on.  

The public gaol (jail)
We did a tour of this building as well which was incredibly interesting. 

An actual jail cell. People were not held here long term, it was a temporary holding until they were sentenced, often to death. 

The Capitol. 

This sign was for the Raleigh Tavern! The gentlemen on the sign is Sir Walter Raleigh. 

The brick maker. 

Entering the town. 


While there we had lunch at Chowning's Tavern, we had done some research before and decided to eat there prior to even arriving. It was about a 20 minute wait but totally worth it! The place is so quaint, they even have a little back yard bar area which we weren't aware of until after we ate there. The food was great, they had a little performance while we were eating which was fine (truth be told I don't care for that crap while I am eating as cranky as that sounds but it wasn't too annoying, HA!). If you are ever in town I would recommend this place as somewhere to eat. 

I also recommend the cookies at the bakery in town, I recommend the hot apple cider at Chowning's Tavern. When you purchase you tickets they will let you know about all the performances and reenactments happening in town that day. Unfortunately as much as we wanted to stay for the reenactment it was quite late in the day and already having a two hour drive back we didn't want to wait around with nothing to do and than drive all that way. Its fine though as we plan to go back and as I said its free to walk around town and see those things without buying a ticket. 

Sunday was such an amazing day, we thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the day around town was absolutely INCREDIBLE! I am definitely looking forward to going back in the spring and exploring all over again. I really love history so this place was totally up my alley and Jason really loved it too. 

I hope you have all had a great week and enjoy this weekend! We are looking to get some pretty chilly weather and don't have much planned. Jason is going to work tomorrow and help Dave with Christmas lights at their house and I don't have a whole lot planned! 

Tomorrow we are making our own pizzas for dinner which is one of my favorite dinner nights!! If you are stuck for a dinner idea grab the pre-made crusts at BJ's or your local grocery store and all the toppings, easy and fun for all ages!! 

Thank you as always for stopping by!! Have a great weekend!!

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