A few blogs I follow have been doing this so I thought I would join in. I haven`t been to many places, but here are the ones that I love, some far, and some very close.
# 10 - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Matt and I first went here in March 2008 on our first real vacation together (when I had dark hair!). It has great beaches, friendly people, and next summer, my brother is getting married here!
# 9 - My Backyard
I spent a lot of time this spring trying to get the backyard cleaned up and ready for our family BBQ this past summer, and I've come to love having a drink on a Sunday afternoon, and enjoying a meal outside. Haven't had much of an opportunity lately, but it reminds me of family and friends, and just a nice relaxing day.
#8 - Toronto
Of course I love the city I live in - I moved downtown in November 2007, and have spent birthdays out at great restaurants, nights of dancing at clubs for celebrations, seeing movies, shopping, concerts, going to the zoo, Jay's games, engagement pictures, our wedding, other weddings, both our condo and house, and just time wandering around and enjoying the sights.
#7 - Las Vegas, Nevada
I went here in the summer of 2008 when Matt was working in Elko, which is about a 7-hour drive north of Vegas. I met him on the August long weekend to celebrate his birthday and we spent 3 days in Vegas. It is so fun - always something to do, even without gambling (which we barely did) - restaurants, shopping, lying in the sun, coffee in Paris, roller coaster in New York, dolphins at the Mirage, lions at MGM grand (where we stayed), the Bellagio fountains, just taking in the large-scale EVERYTHING! I would definitely go back!
#6 - Nassau, Bahamas
This is where we went on our honeymoon - it is beautiful. Once again - gorgeous beaches, friendly people, and just a relaxing place to be.
#5 - Rome, Italy
I just came back from here, and spent two days in this beautiful city. I loved the cobblestone streets, the ruins in the middle of the street, the beautiful palaces, and the food - ohhhh the food. Never had better pizza, pasta, caprese salad, and gelato. So excited to come back!
# 4 - Kingston, Ontario
I had so much fun in my 4 years of university at Queen's. From frosh week to formals, and everything in between like nights out drinking and dancing, dinners at The Keg, Halloweens all dressed up, tanning in our front yard, fashion shows, MarioKart, convocation, and meeting my future (and now current) husband. This place is just another home with so many memories.
3. Santorini, Greece
I just came back from here as well - beautiful place, espeically Oia - white buildings, blue roofs, cobblestone and marble, the sea, and great food - incredible. You can ride an ATV around the entire island, see some donkey's, spend the day at the beach, or grab a sweet thick greek coffee at a cafe and watch the sunset.
#2 - Niagara Wine Country
Matt and I have been on three wine tours in Niagara - one in the spring of 2007, and two in the fall of 2009 and 2010. Each time they were tons of fun - definitely get a driver and tour yourself around the vineyards, and enjoy a nice meal. Plus, you come home with great wine for weeks after to enjoy - mmm ice wine on Christmas morning! I just love being out there in the vines and seeing the sites.
# 1 - The COTTAGE!!!
My favourite place on earth is cottage. I love it - whether the place is full of people or it's just Matt and I. I met Matt's family there for the first time, I've met all of their friends, I've gotten some sun (sometimes too much), soaked in the hot tub, rode on a jetski for the first time, hung out with all my friends, had my bachelorette party there, took some (pre) engagement pictures there, danced with my husband on the boathouse roof, and done a million crosswords and read a million books curled up by the fire. I am so relieved to be out there after a stressful week at work - a glass of wine and the fresh air makes everything better. The best time to be there is fall, which is just around the corner!
This past weekend was Matt's aunt's 60th birthday party, and we all headed up to Muskoka Woods where she works as a nurse, and to the owner's cottage to have a surprise party for her! Connie is an incredible woman - I am always happy to see her, I feel like she always listens when I am speaking and is truly interested, and I feel like I can be very honest around her. She had so many people at this party who loved her, and took the time to say some nice words about her. I'm pretty shy sometimes about that kind of stuff, but here are some words I think of when I think of aunt Connie: Patient, Listener, Healer, Tea Buddy, Understanding, Loving, Caring, Genuine, Honest, Hilarious, Calm. We`ve had some good times drinking tea together, attempting to cook, and just lots of laughing and sharing stories. I love her so much and can`t wait to see her again soon. Here are some pictures from the celebration:
Family picture with the hostess
Why they are all laughing I don`t know, but I love it!
Connie arriving via boat...surprise!
Hugs for everyone!
Would not be a party without momma!
Connie demanding to cut and serve every piece of cake
Praying that Connie stays incredible and rubs off on us
Family photo in some great light
Just us girls
This past weekend I got pictures from my mother in law from our Europe trip. She was really good at making sure we got some group shots, and some of them are hilarious - I thought I would share. Which would you decide is the best contender for the family Christmas card this year?
# 1 - Airport Moose...yes...we are Canadian...
# 2 - Trevi Fountain Shot (had to crop out the little girl leaning over the side almost exposing her underwear...
# 3 - Spanish Steps - again, had to crop out many people...so really they could be any steps...
# 4 - First night in Rome...not much of a view, but at least we're clean and smiling after a very hot day!
# 5 - The Forum - I am awkwardly perched on Matt and Lynn is breathless as she ran into place from setting up the shot on the ledge across the way...
# 6 - Walking around in Rome after some drinks...
# 7 - First afternoon on the boat - nothing says vacation like bikinis and Lionel!
# 8 - Dubrovnik - little people, big boat...
# 9 - Corfu - had to crop out the satellite dish next to the ruin...
# 10 - Canadian party on the boat...had to sneak Hope in...
# 11 - We changed our mind at the last second to not be Olympians...Lynn didn't get the message...also Hope looks like she is a creeper trying to sneak into our group shot...
# 12 - Ancient Olympia - not bad, but I am standing awkwardly...
# 13 - Santorini - beautiful view at least - but why am I always awkwardly perching?
# 14 - Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like ATV's on the beach...wow...
# 15 - it's all Jamie in this one...also it looks like I have no hair and Hope is attached to her drink...
# 16 - Ephesus, Turkey - Jamie and Hope playing again, and Meg looks confused...
# 17 - The Acropolis - Jamie is proud and Hope is the hulk?
# 18 - Can ALMOST block out the crane in the background - those ruins are always under construction...
# 19 - Downward angle - not good - ALWAYS shoot from above!
# 20 - Almost perfect as the last one...if not for Hope being a cross-eyed blowfish and Matt looking high...
Wow - we are an awkward bunch - hope you enjoyed that!!!
Just got back from the cottage. Had a great weekend, as usual. Headed up Friday evening with Matt and his dad, relaxed and caught up with the family. Saturday did some shallow water landscaping - moving rocks to side, pulling up weeds and algae (and found 2 mussels), and also had time to read a book in the sun, called "Ladies and Gentlemen Stories" which was pretty good - a whole bunch of great short stories in one book - very good character development in each! Had a great pork tenderloin dinner on Saturday too - I must cook more.
Sunday it was windy and cool, so finished the book, relaxed by the fire, and we also had a family party to go to. It was Matt's aunt Connie's 60th birthday, and they had a surprise party for her at Muskoka Woods (where she works) at the owner's cottage on the lake. They had lobster - I tried it - didn't love it, but it was still cool to see! Left early this morning and got Matt to work, then I headed home. Beat most of the traffic, too!
So, now that I'm back, I have to actually start prepping for school. Every year I say I'm going to start earlier, and every year I never do. My goal is to go in and do some copying tomorrow and Wednesday (which means I need to buy printer ink - I haven't used it since we've moved, just printed stuff at school), and then we have a PA Day on Thursday. Ugh, back to school already. At least I probably won't go in on Friday (unless I can't get stuff done earlier this week), and then cottage long weekend again! Going to enjoy the last bit of summer. Yesterday was cold, we had a fire, and went in the hot tub without boiling - felt like fall - my favourite time to be at the cottage!
Here's some cool "back to school" inspired art I found via Apartment Therapy
So I heart my Google Reader. This is because I probably browse through 50+ home and decor blogs among other things daily, and they all show up in one spot. This is great as reading material while I eat breakfast, and when I get home. Not so good when you get home from two weeks in Europe and have 914 entries to read...wow that took some time, but other than that, it is great. So, rather than just skimming them this week, I went through a few of them looking for some inspiration and exceptionally pretty pictures, and here is what I found.
Beautifully pretty bathroom (Source: A Life`s Design)
My basement bathroom could look like this...(Source: House Beautiful)
Gorgeous lilac hallway, gallery wall, and stair decor (Source: MadebyGirl)
Modern kitchen in country cottage (Source: Elle Decor)
Great storage display among personal items (Source: 6th Street Design School)
Soft white living room is so inviting - I want a fireplace! (Source: Apartment Therapy)
I love this kitchen poem (Source: Oliver Yaphe)
Happy Weekend everyone - I`m headed up to the cottage this afternoon! :)
I am currently watching my wedding video for the first time. I've had it probably since September, but never really watched it. I am feeling nostalgic so decided to watch it. A few things I noticed
Before & Ceremony
- I couldn't remember what I scolded Hope for filming - it was "back fat" as my mom got my dress on, lol
- Megan laughed the whole way up the aisle
- There were a lot of late people trying to get seats without interrupting the processional
- I was smiling the whole way up the aisle, and trying to say hi to as many people as possible
- So glad I had a little train on my dress - it looked GREAT!
- Hope had to probably lift her hands so high to see us and film the ceremony - THANK YOU!
My Parents' Speech
- My parents talked...A LOT...in their speech. They were very complimentary...it's very embarrassing to hear, actually. They did a timeline of my life.
- Funny part - my mom works in healthcare and was talking about my birth. She mentioned that she was induced and her cousin helped by giving her a coke, and said, in a teacherly way "now we all know that coke can induce labour", to which my brother says "GROSS!" very loudly, lol. Science is always necessary in speeches.
- Lots of awkward clapping in speeches - so funny.
- My mom made my friends from the pool stand up when she mentioned them.
- My parents told a story about how I got badly cut on a boogie-board when I was in Virginia Beach, and how I still have a big scar on my leg, and how I thought it was such a big deal, and I yelled out "I thought a SHARK was going to EAT me!"
- Awkward story about me meeting a boy in Spain...so uncalled for...
- Mom talking about my thesis from 4th year about arsenic speciation in contaminated mine sites - way to bore the audience...
- Also made my UOIT friends stand us as well...
- Always have to mention those deceased...awkward silence
- It's funny hearing my parents talk about Matt and I together - it's nice to know that people see us happy together and all in love and gross stuff like that...
- My dad says "thanks to Lynn & Pete for providing a wonderful man for our daughter" - and Lynn goes "woo-hoo!"
- My mom read a poem said at Chelsea Clinton's wedding the week before entitled "The Life that I Have" by Leo Marks.
"The life that I have Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours."
Matt's Parents' Speech
- Matt's side of the family claps way louder than mine!
- Matt's mom says "Kathleen, now you can worry about him instead of me" - and I do. Ohhh that boy!
- Hope went a little camera crazy during this filming - she may have been having a seizure?
- Matt's dad saying "wow Kathleen, you are really the only one to put Jamie in his place" - so true, but I have passed that torch on to Hope.
- Awww, Matt's dad's speech was a toast to ME!
- Note to Hope - don't clap and film at the same time, lol.
Steph's Speech as Maid of Honour
- So sweet and typically Steph
- She calls me "Littlin" and did throughout the speech - so cute
- Rice Krispie Bowl - haha - we couldn't wait to put it into a pan, so just ate it out of the bowl
- An "extremely organized" jab before she loses it to tears
- Hope background commentary "just so everyone knows, Matt's crying, Matt's crying" - hilarious
Jamie's Speech as Best Man
- Jamie getting a cheer as he walks up
- He starts off as abrasive as always, saying "I have my phone in my pocket, and I'll let you know if Thomas Kaberle gets traded"
- "There are a lot of ways to ruin a wedding, and the best man speech is one of them. So Matt, this is for kicking me off the top bunk when you were five. So Kathleen, he's a monster, you can still get out of it." - hilarious
- I love that Jamie laughs at all his own jokes
- "Matt, you won the lottery with Kathleen, and Kathleen, you could do better" - nice, Jamie.
OHhhhh well that was fun.
We got back from our trip last Tuesday evening, and since then I have been lacking motivation to do, really, anything. I had plans - lots of cleaning, baking, working out, prepping for school, but it has been a week and I have done little of anything. I did clean enough so that when Joni came over yesterday for coffee (yay visit from for-real cousin), my house looked presentable. Other than that? Lots of web-surfing, TV watching, relaxing, and eating. So yeah...need some motivation. Found lots of great images of houses that have definitely welcomed me back to the home decor and nesting thing, but none that really jumped out at me enough to post here.
Since we got back, I did babysit Evan with Matt for Marta, went to "Dream in High Park" with Jeff and Liz to see "A Winter's Tale" and caught up with them after over drinks, went to my parents house for dinner on Sunday and caught up with them, talked about the trip, and my brother's wedding and new house. I had coffee with Joni yesterday, as I mentioned, which was very nice because it has been ages since we saw each other. Today I am going for dinner and seeing "The Help" with my mom downtown (aww), and tomorrow I have to pick up my dad from the Bauchner Eye Institute after his laser eye surgery! We are heading to the cottage this weekend to relax in a different location, and that's about it. Oh, I do need to go and get my nails done, as the wonder Shellac I got before the trip is now growing out and chipping - still, almost 3 weeks - that's impressive! I know - so exciting.
School starts for me next Thursday officially - just that one day next week as a PA day for teachers, then the students come in the following Tuesday. I myself will probably go in Tuesday and Wednesday morning next week to copy and prep and get ready for my year. As of the end of the year, I have a 11 university chemistry, a 10 academic science, and a 10 applied science, exactly what I had last semester. I should start going through my stuff - mainly just the 11's - updating things, etc.
Somebody motivate or inspire me - even my posts are boring me!!!!!
I mentioned this in my trip blogs, but didn't officially tell the story. Well, my brother in law, Jamie, and his beautiful girlfriend (now fiancee) are engaged! He did it on her birthday, July 30th, in the park beside Buckingham Palace (she's from England) - the same spot her own grandparents got engaged years ago! Being Jamie, he first proposed with a fake big gaudy "Kate Middleton" ring, but ended up giving her a gorgeous antique ring. Of course, she said yes, and they went on the celebrate with friends and family. I love Hope and am so glad that she is now a part of the family! Congrats to you both!
At our rehearsal dinner last year
At our wedding last year
Being walruses in Rome
Taking a stroll in Rome
Engagement celebrations on the cruise
So again our cruise was with Holland America, on the ms Noordam, and the cruise was called "Roman Empire." I had never been on a cruise before, so this was a whole new experience. Boarding was pretty quick in the beginning, our bags were in our staterooms very promptly, and the staff was really friendly. We had two days at sea - one before any ports, and the other on the second last day. We spent those days lying by the pool and relaxing. There was one issue - something was wrong with the pool, and it was really warm and not very clean up until the second day at sea, so we resorted to using the outdoor showers a lot to refresh ourselves from the heat.
There were formal nights on the days at sea, which were nice to get very dressed up, and the food EVERY SINGLE DAY was incredible! I ate way to much (and hopefully all that walking we did burned off some), but it was just all excellent food. We had the late seating (8pm) which was definitely the way to go. The wait staff was really good, they anticipated what we wanted, and were very helpful.
At night we went a few times to the piano bar with a great singer, we did the disco on the first day, never again - I'm too old and the DJ was too bad. We saw a "comedian" one night in the lounge who was horrible too (just not our age range for the show). We spent one night at the casino - Matt played craps and won a bit, I just played the slots of lost $10. Oh well! Matt and I looked up at the stars on the full moon night (awww), but mostly we were done dinner by 10 and had to get up early to go to ports, so we usually went back to the rooms with a glass of wine enjoyed the night on the balcony.
Our room was always clean and stocked, and it was just a really fun experience. There was only one evening I could really feel the boat move at all, which didn't feel great, but other than that it was smooth sailing - so cliche, I know. Definitely recommend this cruise line and cruises in general when you want to see a lot of places in one shot!
Our stateroom - celebration balloons!
We had nice balconies that connected together
First night on the ship
Dance time at the disco
1st formal night, 1st wedding anniversary!
Champagne Cheers for all the celebrations!
Very entertaining piano man - Roger Carr
The newly engaged couple, Jamie and Hope in their festive gear
Brithday celebrations - Matt on the 4th, Pete on the 16th
Sunset Canadians party
Formal night # 2
Greek sail-away party
Typical tea granny
Family portrait on the last formal night
Man men pose
Stromboli - the active volcano in Italy
Last night at sea!
Waiters dancing and singing for our last dinner
A differently cuddly cute towel creature every night!
Our last stop was Messina, in Sicily. It was only a half-day stop, so we left the ship pretty early and had a driver/tour guide take us around to the town of Taormina, which was beautiful. We grabbed some Italian coffee in a cafe and excellent chocolate croissants, and then walked around some more. We saw Mt. Etna in the background erupting slowly, as it has for months, and explored all the beauty to the little quiet town. We were desperate for a last pizza and gelato in Italy, so even though it was 10:30am, we found it! I really wanted more time to explore this port, and I would definitely go back to Italy and specifically, Sicily.
Messina from the ship
All the beaches were already packed!
So many amphitheatres in every city!
Posing in the sunbeam
View on the way to Taormina
Catholic Church made by a Jewish Architect - lots of stars of David around it...
Little piece of France in Italy
Last Italian pizza (and beer) at 10:30am!
Last Italian gelato - ohhhh chocolato...
Last view of Sicily before heading home