Dec 31, 2013

An Ode to 2013

It all started with a dream to travel the world
Quit my job and explore
December thirty first two thousand twelve
For one-fourth of the year in Europe I roamed

Czech Republic Sweden France Italy
Slovakia Switzerland two times Germany

Norway Denmark Luxembourg Scotland
Netherlands Austria Belgium England

Wanderlust clinging growing
I itch and scratch
Job free, three hundred sixty five days
Not the original plan, not complaining

Utah Hawaii DC Virginia
Colorado New York Idaho California

Snowshoes to snorkeling and two pierced ears, pain
Just a little, chocolate, gelato in the US not the same

Nine one-way flights, five round trips, my favorite mode oftravel
Feet and Train
One pair of boots carried me through
Resoled battered I sure wish they had drains

Black, houndstooth, plaid umbrellas
Silver and polka dots the latter the good fella

How many days ‘til the money runs out
hmmm, that’s no fun, let’s not count

The people the experiences precious time with: Christmassisters
College roommates
Supportive Family, Friends priceless.
My nieces and nephews in all their cuteness are the realhipsters

December thirty first I sit on a Seattle bound plane
What a beautiful year twenty thirteen

Dec 18, 2013

Sweets for Christmas

For the record I'm not a lover of cupcakes but when a cupcake is splendifurous I am in love.

The formula for a Perfect Cupcake =not too sugary butter cream frosting (no shortening-esque icing, bleck)+moist crumb+the right cake to frosting ratio+flavors that taste like the advertised flavor

With all locations being at least 2 states away Sprinkles is a day dream (do you hear that Sprinkles, just bring one to Denver already!) BUT, next week I will be in close proximity to my second love: Sweet Tooth Fairy

Nov 6, 2013

Blue Doors

For this Too Good to Miss Tuesday I must address a universal truth . . . blue doors are beautiful. The evidence: substantial number of instances found throughout Europe.

With shades ranging from chicken egg blue (yes they exist--my sister has a chicken that lays blue eggs) to "almost green" turquoise I love them all. Included are a few "un-door" examples too significant to leave out.

"Sky on a snowy day blue" with a "dash of retro vibe aqua"

Clockwise from top left: Riomaggiore Italy, Bratislava Slovakia, Paris France x2, Verona Italy, Paris France

"Solemn-enough" grey/blue fit for nobility and a monastery

Clockwise from top left: Modena Italy, Prague Czech Republic (x2), Inveraray Scotland. Center: Prage Czech Republic

"You know you want to know more" electric blue  juxtaposed with "sophisticated sky" blues

Clockwise from top left: Bologna Italy, Amsterdam Netherlands, Zurich Switzerland, Amsterdam Netherlands. Center: Paris, France
The unorthodox mix . . . of course the Gelato University sign is blue, and the 2 black doors in Amsterdam are made even more stunning by the neighboring blue paint. Those sky blue/grey door and window frames in Zurich are the portals to a cozy home decor shop. I dream of wallpapering a nook with their library/book wall covering just as they did.

Turquoise that's all I'm gonna say

Clockwise from top left: Ghent Belgium, Inveraray Scotland, Dozza Italy, Gothenburg Sweden, Verona Italy, Edinburgh Scotland

And below, the pic of that romanticly lit door caught in a drizzly haze was the last blue door I captured on my last night in Europe.

Ardently Indigo

Clockwise from left: Bergen Norway, London (Notting Hill) England, Paris France

Oct 30, 2013

Art-full Greenwich Village

Today I'm kicking off a weekly post: TOO GOOD TO MISS TUESDAY. On tuesdays I will share past travel faves that deserve appreciation, fun stuff that has been kept in my back pocket--due to no fault of its own.

Starting with one September day in NYC, the end to a week of beautiful weather in the Big Apple. We hit many of the iconic landmarks but found the most fun wandering the neighborhoods. Our last day we (my old/new roommate Amy and I) went back to an area close to our hotel with a hip vibe: Greenwich village!

Looking to do some last minute shopping we stumbled upon the motherload: blocks of street vendors selling jewelry (oh if only that ring had been in the right size), 10 minute back massages (they know how to reel you in), t-shirts screenprinted with balloons and bicycles, food. . . and art of all kinds.

Welcome to The Market NYC

I still dream of these beauties especially those 2 on the far right, in the lower background, but alas my carry on max was already at its limit and those are whopper woven creations, even if they are aqua. So I went with a baby lavender version. I love it, but the visual impact is just not the same.

Who can pass up the "best CANNOLI . . . imported from Brooklyn". Hey that's what they advertised. It was pretty good.

My favorite part was sauntering down the street and seeing this art display out of the corner of my eye, doing a double take, walking over trance-like without telling my travel buddy where I'm going and being sucked into these beautiful ink drawings. I pulled one after another out of the stack, my new favorite friends. The artist is Dan Butler, yep that's him, totally cool guy. He draws primarily without looking at his paper . . .

And he openly tells you about each piece, a story for each one. Like my purchase on the right of a fire escape in Chinatown, where a large crowd gathered to watch him. And Amy's purchase on the left, he just had to get the tree outside his window at the moment he was struck by it, making him late for an appointment, oops.

Bonus: I (and you) can buy more at his Etsy shop Handmade in Brooklyn.

Oct 23, 2013

Girl-power day in Denver

I proclaimed Today Girl-Power Day: seeking inspiration and motivation in all my activities to refresh and renew my energies as I doggie paddle through this job-search-thing.

So of course I . . .
1. Got a manicure
2. Devoured a homemade poptart or "popster" at a new bakery (to me): Sugar Bakeshop
3. Was enlightened by a visit to . . . (*see below for details)

4. Perused the shops at Cherry Creek North, store and restaurant lined streets all decked out in the finest fall leaves.
5. Devoured a hamburger at  the Cherry Cricket with BACON--true girl power food.
6. Went halfsies on a Bread Pudding Cupcake at Big Fat Cupcake
7. No girl-power day would be complete without a chocolate or 2.

*but back to  number 3
On Pennsylvania Street in the Capital Hill area of Denver, majestic, historic, brick, stone, victorian, modern, restored and reinvented homes, offices, churches and coffee shops stand side by side shaded by wise leafy trees.

One building, one former residence was the centerpiece for this girl-power day!

From 1894 until her death in1932 the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" lived here. Fun facts I learned on the tour:
  • She learned 5 languages as an adult and spoke them fluently
  • She worked to create the first juvenile court system in the nation
  • She founded one of the first humane societies in the nation, The Denver Dumb Friends League
  • No one ever called her Molly.  She went by Maggie and/or Margaret. The newspapers got her name wrong after the sinking of the Titanic and again when reporting her death. But Molly rhymes with more pleasant words than "Maggie" so the error was perpetuated in the musical "the Unsinkable Molly Brown"
Go girl!

Jul 25, 2013

The Wild West

First stop Maddox Ranch House in Brigham City, Utah where the beef is raised outback and served in large portions, the parking lot is full and the log cabin interior screams down home cookin'. My mom and I shared a 12 oz New York Strip Steak served with squishy fresh rolls and corn pones (and raspberry butter!), soup or salad or seafood cocktail, your choice of potato (baked please!) and steamed vegetables. I don't like cooked carrots but I could eat bowl after bowl of these. And then a homemade rootbeer. Oh how I could take another one of those RIGHT NOW.
Then rolling rolling rolling, with our extra full tummies, through northern Utah to Idaho
We stopped for the night in Pocatello, Idaho. Oh darn, we missed the entertainment on July 14th: Midget Wrestling, seriously?!

Next Stop: Idaho Falls, Idaho. As my mom and I were getting out of the car a senior citizen dressed in red plaid sporting a gun holster was waving his handgun outside his truck. I threw my arm across my mom and said, "wait, do you see that guy with the gun".
My mom replied, "yes, I think I just heard him ask his wife 'do you think it's ok to take this in the store with me or should I leave it in the car?'" Well, he left it in his car, just laying on the front seat. After reluctantly following him into the store he turned to me with the broadest grandpa grin and a twinkle in his eye saying "did you see that crazy guy out there waving around the gun". Yep folks we're in Idaho. But not even a gun can over shadow the ice cream at Reed's Dairy. Again the cow's are outback. I had a softball sized small of a scoop of chocolate, oreo, marshmallow and peanut butter cup heaven called Mom's something or other. Sorry I can't remember. I would take another scoop right now, right along with the aforementioned root beer!
Then on to Rexburg, Idaho for a trip down memory lane. I spent my first 2 years of college here. So much has changed (see left) and so much has stayed the same.
Last Stop: Twin Falls, Idaho. I've been looking for a potato ricer with zero success, because I refused to pay $40 for the only option available at a certain store. Well at Rudy's they had 3 options--bonus. And my favorite was the most economical $14 option--double bonus.
Twin Falls has a wee bit of shopping and some spectacular scenery. Even in the middle of summer when the water level is low the views of Shoshone falls are breathtaking.

Jul 15, 2013

A Bathroom Makeover

An update from Lehi UT a couple more trips up my sleeve, traveling withdrawals, my iPad working overtime as Meg's escape from her brothers, road trips, gelato making, a lot of unknowns, my new favorite painting gadget discovered while working on a show stopping (if I say so myself) bathroom redo and about that bathroom redo . . . my sister Christy and I worked our magic. Ok it was mostly Christy. I offered my consultation services and provided some manual labor. You can see all the pics here House of Normandy

May 31, 2013

An update from Denver

Yes, I'm back in the U.S.A with a lot of extra luggage and one gigantic carry-on of mixed emotions.

My first stop in America was Washington D.C. And now I'm in Denver, Colorado. The last month has been insane-o: lack of internet access, fellow travelers ill, a night without my luggage, general anxiety about the end of my trip, a very full heart, and overall amazingness. I have a lot of catching up to do sharing my travels in Europe and here in the States. Yes, that means more blog posts forthcoming starting with...
Breakfast at Snooze...2 days in a row. Snooze is a Colorado based breakfast/brunch eatery (who now has a stop in San Diego!). So, those pancakes from left to right: Key Lime, Pineapple upside down cake, sweet potato. Not pictured: One of the best breakfast burritos ever (according to Tawnya), english muffin bread pudding with raspberry preserves, housemade chicken sausage, and brioche french toast filled with mascarpone and topped with strawberries. All shared with my college roommates, Amy and Tawnya. I wish I could say we were carb loading for the open tryouts. But there are no contestants in this picture.
Only in this picture. We caught this guy during an interview for an upcoming taping.
Instead our breakfasts (not to mention our fried fare from H Burger) fueled our shopping and strolling down 16th street
past the big bear
And to the Denver Art Museum
The best part though--hanging out and talking as if our late night card games and visit to Craigo's were just last week.

May 23, 2013

GerBeNeLux A-Z

GerBenelux = Germany + Benelux the tri-country area consisting of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. These events were recorded in April.
Averting our eyes in the red-light district in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bicycles in Amsterdam
Canal ride in Gent, Belgium
Dizzy climb to the top of Cologne Cathedral Dome, Germany
Exits off highways are sometimes on the left in the Netherlands. Took a few "exits" to figure that one out.
F "(insert explitive) respect" said our neighbor with a a double fist pump to his chest when Amy and I returned from our water bike tour ALL THE WAY AROUND the lake instead of taking the shortcut we didn't know about in Vreeland, Netherlands
Ggggent. Our b&b host teaching us how to pronounce "Gent" in Dutch.
Hold the Chocolate!!!! I'm on overload!
Imagine the flower fields in full bloom, because they're not blooming yet
Jovial Cyclists stopped "us" and snapped our picture with them
Ketchup or Friet sauce with those fries. Both please!
Late night dorm room chats. Some things don't change after twenty years. Traveling with my college roommate Amy.
Muddy tunnels and castle mines in St. Goar Germany
Nice people only in Gent, Belgium
On the Road Again . . . our road trip song
Passionfruit ice cream is the perfect end to a four course meal at the castle.
Queen for the day at said castle
Red rope--a mile of it--leads us through Amsterdam to the relocated Van Gogh museum
St Agnes--the patron saint of single women. For all the single ladies out there this is for you
Trails in the Rhine Valley, Germany
Uno games accompanied by ants
Waffles, of course in Belgium
Xylophone--ok not really , but there was a stylish string trio playing Pachelbel's Cannon on the street in Antwerp, Belgium
Yellow varigated, Blue Flowers, Gold polka dots and Neon stripes. A girl can never have too many scarves
Zero space left in the trunk of the rental car after all our shopping.