A New Lens, A New Fridge & Old Drapes

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not above setting a few goals, otherwise known as to-do lists. (Remember, where other people enjoy mundane things like world travel, front row concert seats to see Adam Levine and a house on the beach, I get all giddy when I gleefully cross off an item on my list.) 

One such item was renting/buying a new lense or two. I’ve been working exclusively with two lenses since getting my Rebel two years ago. At the time that I purchased my camera, I belonged to a camera club and on the advice of the President, I opted not to get the kit lens and went straight for a 18-135mm. It served me well for several months, but I drooled over the beautiful bokeh effects we all covet so I purchased a prime 85mm 1.8 and slowly but surely that became my favorite of the two. 

For a while now I’ve been thinking about either buying or renting a macro lens and maybe a lens that could zoom a bit more than my 135. Rather than go to Amazon or another on line source, I went to a local camera shop. I knew I might pay a bit more, but I like the idea of supporting local small business and having more of a personal relationship, as well as the ability to ask for help or advice when (not if) the need arises.

So let me cut to the chase and the main reason for this post. I walked into the shop fully expecting to purchase a macro lens, perhaps spending $300 or more.

Instead, I walked out with this: 

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I have known about these filters for a while, but never had the opportunity to try them, so Tony, the shop owner and my new bff, let me play around with them. Notice the detail on the penny? The lens was maybe less than two inches away, and normally I would need to be about three feet away or more from whatever I was shooting for the camera to take the shot.

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I will admit it took some getting used to and I still don’t have the process down pat (focusing is a bit inconsistent), but for $58 it’s a great way to get up close and personal with your subject and not invest heavily in a dedicated macro lens.

Tony also demonstrated extenders in lieu of the filters, but they weren’t my cup of tea. As it happened he inadvertently left the extender on my camera and when I returned the following week to return it, I ended up purchasing a 70-300mm lens. (While in Florida, I had wished I had a lens that could zoom a bit more than the 135, especially when we were in the Everglades.)

Both of these shots were taken at the camera shop while standing in the same spot. The first one was taken with my 135mm camera fully extended, and the second with the new lens fully extended. 

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Much better.

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This next picture, taken with my 18-135mm, demonstrates the closest I could get to my subject with that lens with no macro filters. 

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And this picture was taken using my 85mm, again, no macro filters.

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Heres a picture using my 135mm with one 10x filter.

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You can use as many or as few filters as you want. This next one I was using a 10x and a 4x. Notice it’s a bit larger than the last one.

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Here I used the 10x, 4x and 2x. Pretty cool for $58 bucks, right?

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If you’re just an amateur photographer like me and don’t have the need for a dedicated macro lens, you might want to consider macro filters, but if possible I recommend you try before you buy.

Now about those drapes. Notice in the picture below one drape is lower than the other. That’s because I forgot to take a ‘before’ pic and shot this one while we were in the middle of working on them!

Something that’s bothered me for a while is I always felt the drapes were a bit short for this space. The ceiling is high and it just looked out of whack to me. I dug up some drapes that we had in our former house and extended them about 12″ above the window frame.

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Aside from the fact the light is much better in this next picture, I think it looks better this way, and I also like that the drapes are sheer and airy, perfect for the warmer weather…if it ever gets here!

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I’ve got a few other tweaks I want to do to this room…change the rug, get rid of my ‘Frazier’ chair, maybe slipcover the leather sofa/chair and add some pattern to the space…I’m not really sure yet, but for sure I’ll be asking for opinions/advice. Oh, and remember that centerpiece on my Spring table? It’s now on the cocktail table in this room.

For now.

 

In other news…

 

Since I’ve been boring entertaining you for weeks with my tales and woes about the fridge, I can’t pass up the opportunity to show you the new one.

TA DA!!!

 

living room

I would have loved a cabinet depth, but this was the only fridge that would fit the space and I’m fine with it. Heck, I’m just happy it works!!

We’ve got the Grands this weekend. We haven’t seen them since before we left for Florida three months ago so we’re looking forward to it. Till next time my lovelies…

 

It’s A ‘Sexy Beast’ That Rv…

Those were the words of my daughter when she saw the outside of the RV in a pic on FB and Instagram.

I can only imagine if she saw the inside she might not have been so flattering…but I digress.

We’ve been shopping for an RV for a while. We even looked at several while down in Florida and almost pulled the trigger on a very nice Class C. (For those of you that don’t know what a Class C looks like, you can go to this post, but generally they’re a bit smaller and have more of a look like that of a truck, rather than a bus like the Class A’s).

So after looking at the on line offerings in Class C’s at an RV dealer about an hour away (remember, we’re in the sticks so that’s about as close as it gets around here), we decided to take the drive and hopefully pull that aforementioned trigger. (You know how it is when you’ve been looking for something for a while…you just want to get it over with already and move on.) 

Walking in the lot to the location where the C’s were, we passed a couple of A’s. I remember looking at this one pictured below and thinking ‘hummmm…that’s a new RV that’s been made to ‘look old’, but not in a bad way, but more like in a retro, ‘it’s a little different than all the other RV’s in the lot’ kind of way.

 

fleetwood rv

 

So we looked at the C’s and there was one we liked. But I had to ask the salesman…’are there any A’s that aren’t too big in our price range?’

Surprisingly, he took us to the RV I had been eye balling.

It’s not new. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s a 1997 Fleetwood Pace Arrow with slightly less than 40,000 miles. Apparently its previous owners were in love with it (or highly anal retentive) because it’s in near perfect condition.

Now for the tour.

Here’s the view from the front of the bathroom door. That’s Fisherman doing his best Ralph Kramden imitation.

 

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Those are slipcovers on both the sofa and the chairs, which are quite nice and a departure from the typically horrendous fabric choices that were made on older RV’s (and many newer ones too). 

 

RV-Fleetwood

 

The bottom left of this next picture is where you enter from the side and are looking to your left. You can see not only the kitchen but the bedroom area in the far back, slightly to the left. That’s one of the features about this RV that is unique and welcomed. The bedroom is not totally visible from this vantage point, making it a little more private and tucked away. It even has a ‘real’ door, where many RV’s have plastic accordion type doors, or just a curtain.

 

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Another feature I like is the addition of this chair. That’s something not available in any Class C we saw due to limited space, but comes in handy for TV viewing, which by the way, there are two of, one in the bedroom and one above the driver/passenger area.

 

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There’s even a fold down table you can use for whatever (bottom right of picture)…laptop, snacks, etc.

The ‘box’ you see on the console also pulls toward the seat and can be used for the same purpose. 

 

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Directly across the kitchen area is the dinette and sofa, with lots of cabinets for much needed storage. Both the dinette chairs and sofa convert to potential sleeping areas if needed.

 

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Now on to the bathroom. Plenty of storage and even a small bathtub.

 

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This picture was taken while facing out of the doorway of the bathroom. Whoever designed this, really made good use of every nook and cranny.

 

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And now for the bedroom, my favorite space. I like the way the bed is at a right angle, rather than facing the door. This layout allows for more storage without sacrificing light, which if you haven’t figured out by now, is abundant. There’s additional storage under the bed, and plenty of drawer and hanging space too. 

 

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So that’s the grand tour.

In addition to the things I’ve mentioned that I like, I also like how, because of the abundant natural light, you don’t feel cramped even without slides. (Again, for those of you who don’t know what a slide is, it’s basically a portion of the RV that slides out when it’s parked and expands the living space by 2-3′.) I also like how you can enter from the drivers side, the passengers side and the middle right side of the RV. There’s a button you can press that brings down the stairs on the side which is kind of cool. There’s also pretty good storage beneath the unit, as well as a hand held shower on the outside which is a really nice feature to have. I’ve done some research and learned this RV was considered ‘state of the art’ when it was designed, and I can see why.

Now I’ve told you what I like, now let me tell you what I don’t like. 

I’m not a fan of highly grained oak cabinets.  It was, however, something I was willing to compromise on, and boy did I ever. They’re everywhere in this unit! 

I’m also not a fan of the gold hardware, but unlike the cabinets, that’s a relatively easy fix. There are many other touches I could live without, such as the gold sconces, the floral wallpaper in the bath and bedroom, the flooring, the floral swag in the last picture, and the cheap bedding. 

Will I change these things? Some of them, yes, but probably not the cabinets or the wallpaper, and maybe not even the flooring. If we really like RV’ing, we may trade up in a few years. If we don’t, then I’m not sure it’s worth my time to make any major changes. Time will tell…

 

In other news…

 

Remember the refrigerator fiasco? Well, it turns out it won’t fit in our front entrance, so we had to shovel a path so the delivery guys can get it into the back. This means they have to go up the stairs to the deck, making the process more difficult, but we have no choice. 

We had to shovel a path approximately 40′ long by 3′ wide for them. The snow was packed and very icy, so we had a system where I chopped it up with a regular shovel and Fisherman shoveled it out of the way and so on. It took many hours and a few days to get it done, but we finished on Thursday and hope to have the fridge delivered today. 

Who knew retirement would be so glamorous? 

 

snow shoveling 

 (Sorry about the distorted picture. Not sure why that’s happening.)

 

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What’s It Wednesday 

Mid-Century and Bohemian Design

I’m deviating a bit from my usual ‘once a week’ post routine to show you some interesting furniture styles and designs that I’ve always been drawn to, and when the good folks at Charish asked if I would be interested in featuring some of their designs, after looking at their site I jumped at the chance. Their tag line is ‘where design lovers buy and sell’, so I think that tells you what they’re all about in a nutshell. Their web site is completely addicting and full of unique, original designs with something for everyone. The designs cover the spectrum…from classic to modern, contemporary to vintage, and everything in between. So get comfortable, click on over and see for yourself.

(*note* I am not receiving any compensation for this post)

 

What’s the right way to go about designing a room? Some will say pick out your sofa first, others the rug, and yet others say a seemingly insignificant object can be the inspiration. (Such was the case for us years ago when we came across a beautiful, one of a kind piece of sculpture and designed our entire family room around it, and it worked out well in the end.)

For now, let’s start with the sofa for this mid-century, modern living room. With clean lines, tufted backing and a neutral grey color, this small sectional is a perfect jumping off point. 

 

mid century modern sofa

Next up is the rug. There were so many interesting designs to choose from, but I like how this rug makes a statement without adding bright colors into the design.

 

modern rug

 

Paired with a comfortable, neutral, but interesting upholstered chair (note the elephant on the back) and you have a serene space at home in almost any dwelling, whether it’s a rustic, industrial loft or modern beach side retreat.

 

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If you’re looking to liven things up a bit, this chair will deliver. One of the things I loved most about Charish is the uniqueness of their offerings. There are no reproductions and most everything is preowned, but in excellent condition.

 

first chair pic

 

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Add some glass tables along with modern, vintage lighting, fun pillows and bold artwork, and you have an original, interesting space you’ll never tire of.

 

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side tables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mid century modern design

 

 

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mid century modern design

 
 
 

Could modern, mid-century design be any different than Bohemian?? Not likely, but I love them both nonetheless. When I was a teen a good friend had a home decorated in this style, and not surprisingly it was always the house everyone wanted to hang out in. It’s nothing if not comfortable, and above all, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

Characterized by its use of various patterns and colors, it’s not for the faint of heart or timid. Done poorly, it can easily look disjointed and busy, but do it right and you’ll be richly rewarded with a space that reflects your personality and makes others feel welcome and comfortable.

Once again, I started with a sofa as my inspiration. Isn’t this perfect?bohemian sofa

Bohemian style definitely is an eclectic look, and while that allows for cross over from various styles, it can also be confusing, especially when you start adding various patterns to the mix. The trick is not to overthink your design choices, which is not so easy for someone like myself who likes symmetry and limited patterns in my decorating, but I went with my gut and think most of these pieces play well together. 

bohemian rug

 

This armoire, which is made from repurposed shutters, would help ground the space and give some color and design relief to the overall design.  

 

shutter armoire 

Next up are two patterned chairs whose colors coordinate nicely with both the rug and sofa. Now that our main pieces are set, let’s move on to some accessories.

bohemian chairs

There were tons of side tables to choose from (more below), but these were my personal favs, and for sure I’m loving the beautiful chandeliers and fun pillows. 

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colorful cocktail table 

BOHEMIAN DESIGN

 

bohemian pillows

 

Like Bohemian, but is it a bit too much for you? I hear ya’. How about taking it down a notch? 

 

Start with one of these fun and funky sofa designs in a beautiful brown velvet.

 

 traditional brown sofa

 

 

brown velvet sofa

Add a classic or Moroccan inspired rug…

 

 

moroccan rugs

 

 

and some colorful but classic chairs…

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velvet chairs

 

 

 

blue chair

 

 

or maybe a graphic, colorful settee and some fun side tables…

 

colorful sofa

 

SIDETABLE

 

 

and let’s not forget the all important lighting and some accessories!

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bohemian lighting

 

 

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bohemian accessories 

48f43605-3bda-4806-a5cc-255de99abfa5 86ec14fb-a4e7-4288-b77e-97e4516569a2Even though I was asked to design one room, I was having so much fun I had to do two! 

I’m thinking if I know my readers as well as I think I do, you prefer the Bohemian style, right? What’s your favorite piece in this post?   

 

NOW you can ohhhhhh and ahhhhhh…

My dining table insisted on getting dressed for Spring. In fact, it was downright arrogant about it. 

Can you blame it?

It’s tired of snow, sleet and ice and has no qualms about jumping the gun this season. 

And who am I to argue? (After all, I did promise you in my last post that this one would make you go ohhhhhh and ahhhhh, remember?)  ;)

As for me, I was so bored with looking at the same boring stuff that was here before we left for Florida I wasn’t going to try to change it’s mind, especially after a recent trip to HomeGoods where I fell in love with some items that were quite simply begging me to take them home. 

(Sorta like that Pier1 commercial, except I was at HG’s.) 

SPRING TABLE

I already had the vase, the napkins and beaded placemats that I made a while ago and were sadly sitting in a drawer all this time. I thought they’d be the perfect complement to the green and yellow theme of this table, as well as the vase.

spring table

The flowers I picked up at Michael’s last week. I like how even though they’re fake, they don’t scream ‘HELLLOOOOOO, WE’RE FAKE’!

spring table

 

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I painted some simple brown napkin holders I purchased at a garage sale last year with some MMSMP in Luckett Green, and used some spare trim for a little more interest and color.

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I just this second noticed how the grapes complement the grapes on the napkin. Totally random on my part.

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Here’s a little known fact about me: I eat lemons. I’m not talking about lemon juice squeezed on my salads, or in my water, or anything else for that matter. Although I do that stuff a lot for sure.

I’m talking straight up. I especially like them when they’ve been cooked a bit. It’s no wonder I’m attracted to plates with lemons. ;)

spring table

 spring table runner

 

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While I really like everything I picked up, there are two things that are my favs. Can you guess what they are?

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I’ll spill. Since you’ve seen way too many pics of the flowers, that’s a no brainer. The other item is the white wreath that surround the vase. I love textural things, and both of these deliver. You can manipulate the petals on the wreath in any direction you want also. I use wreaths a lot as centerpieces. Have you ever done that?

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Can I get a collective ohhhhhhh ahhhhhhh please?

Now after saying all that, it’s true confession time.

As soon as I finished taking these photos, I removed the wreath and the vase. This is where we eat dinner, and the vase is way too heavy to move every time we sit down. I suppose if we sat at right angles to each other it would be fine and the vase could stay there, but we sit facing each other. I’m kinda bummed because I was looking to brighten this part of my world a little and the flowers did just that. If I come across a lighter vase that I like the flowers will go back to the table. In the meantime, I put it on the fireplace mantel where it looks ‘eh’.

But hey, I got a post out of it at least.

 

In other news…

 

We got an RV!! After talking about it for what seems like forever, we finally found something that fits the bill. It’s not the one I told you we saw in Florida. I think that was sold shortly after we looked at it. It’s a bit bigger than we had planned, and it’s a Class A, not a C. I posted a pic on FB but I know I’m not FB ‘friends’ with most of you, I’ll show you some pics soon.

 

Want to see more tablescapes? Click here so you can be dazzled beyond belief. You were dazzled this time, weren’t you?

Don’t answer that.

 

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A Tale of Two Fridges…(and some good news!)

I wish today’s post could be filled with pretty pics and inspirational things for you to ohhhhh and ahhhh about. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, I’ll understand if you check out now. If on the other hand you feel like listening to someone piss and moan, you’ve come to the right place.

It seems like since we returned from Florida it’s been one thing after another. (I do have some good news so just hang in there).

In my last post I mentioned that our refrigerator had broken down and that we had some leaks due to all the snow and ice on our roof. I know. Join the club.

We noticed some water stains in the ceiling panelling in Fisherman’s man cave downstairs so we were up till nearly 2 a.m. last week taking down part of it. Then we went upstairs to the kitchen where it seemed to be originating from and came up with a contraption of a plastic cutting board shaped into a cone and funneled into a plastic tube, which in turn went into a bucket. It was harder than it sounds because we had to get the tube to lay just right (in order for it to flow properly) behind the kitchen wall, which has logs behind it so of course isn’t even. 

Here’s an old picture (yes, I was too lazy to take a new one) of the kitchen where you can see the cabinet on top of the refrigerator on the left (you’ll learn why in a bit) and the wall behind the sink on the right is where we needed to get to.  

 hickory kitchen

We had our roof shoveled the other day to mitigate some of the leaking and you can see in this next picture where some of the snow ended up. I think we’ll be looking at snow for a very, very long time. 

Kitchen Refrigerator

Now about that refrigerator. We went shopping for one on the 27th and ended up spending nearly 2 hours at Home Depot and walked out having gotten nothing accomplished. It’s not that we’re fussy. We’re not. It’s just that we needed a certain size and most of them are too tall. Notice the cabinet I mentioned is on the floor now. (We took it down in anticipation of the delivery of the new fridge.) As you saw, it usually lines up pretty well with the existing cabinets. The previous owners didn’t attach the cabinet to the wall or anything else for that matter. It just basically sat on top of the refrigerator.

Now you might think that would give us lots of flexibility with the height of the refrigerator but if we got one too high then the top of the cabinets won’t line up. Oh the horror!

(I said we weren’t fussy, but we do have some standards.)

KITCHEN

So then went to a smaller dealer and found something that would fit and they said it would be delivered last Tuesday the 3rd. They said we could expect a call Monday night to confirm the time, and another one Tuesday about an hour before arrival.

We didn’t receive any calls so Tuesday we got in touch with the sales associate we dealt with and he said that we were on the delivery schedule but he didn’t know what time and he would get back to us. An hour or so later he called to say the refrigerator was on back order!

Now keep in mind we do not have, like many people do, two refrigerators.

Since we came home last Wednesday we have been using our mini bar fridge for some perishables (which I kept to a minimum) and a small chest freezer we purchased in November for some meats. We also put some items in a cooler on the porch but it’s been so cold they’ve frozen up.

I told him our dilemma and to make a long story short (I know, too late for that) they delivered a temporary one Tuesday afternoon, which is the white one you see on the left.

I had been out getting poofed and pampered while poor Fisherman was dealing with all this and when I came home I saw him pulling out of the parking lot of the community clubhouse and I noticed someone in the car with him. (I know what you’re thinking and no, he’s not having an illicit affair).

Turns out the person who delivered the refrigerator pulled into our sloped driveway front first and wasn’t able to get out. The driveway was slippery and he didn’t have four wheel drive. After about an hour of trying to give him more traction with whatever sand we hand and depleting it, they decided to look for some gravel at the clubhouse area and then managed to get some extra help and he was able to finally get out. (He wasn’t a delivery person, just a sales person from the store who used his personal vehicle to deliver the fridge.)

When I walked in I expected to see the temporary fridge in place of the old one, but as you can see that didn’t happen. So for AT LEAST a week this is what we have to look at, but at least we have a fridge!

Enough about that. 

Shifting gears for a moment. If you’re like me, you love lists. Sometimes I even put something on a list I’ve already done just so I can cross it off.

Don’t laugh, I know you’ve done that too.

They also are great reminders for things that need to get done that are all too easy to forget about or get lost amidst all the other stuff that crams up our day to day lives.  Here’s a list I came up with for Fisherman.

It’s not all inclusive (are they ever?) and you can bet some things won’t get done (I’m guessing the GoPro will be a hard sell, not to mention the stairs and the retaining wall. Oh, and the bulletin board might be rough going. Come to think of it, I think the only ‘sure thing’ are the taxes) but it makes me feel good to make the list nonetheless. ;)

 

fisherman's to do list

So you won’t think I’m a complete slave driver, the stuff with asterisks are the ones I fully expect will get farmed out to a professional.

And don’t think I don’t have a list of my own because I do!

househoneys list

Remember that good news I told you about? Remember my Birth Certificate (scroll to bottom of post if you click over) debacle? Well, you are NOT going to believe it, but I finally got my corrected Birth Certificate! Yes, you read that correctly. I’m finally a real, authentic person who actually exists!! After more than 6 months of endless phone calls, countless emails, written correspondence and plain old aggravation, I have it in my hot little, albeit somewhat wrinkled, hands.

*Cue Angels Singing*

birth certificate

Look closely. Can you believe after ALL that all they did was cross out my name and put my correct one in??

Oh, and I also got the refund of the $300 it cost to send the cloche for the bouquet to my daughter in Singapore! That was great news, but tempered by the $375 speeding ticket Fisherman got for going about 15 miles over the limit in NY. Hello?! Can we get a break here?? And…he went to report for jury duty today and I just this moment found out he got picked. Hummmmm…maybe I should slim down that list a bit?

I did a bit of damage at HomeGoods the other day shopping for some items for a Spring tablescape, so I promise my next post WILL have pretty pics you can ooohhhh and ahhhh over  ;).

 

In other news…

 

This isn’t really news, but sometimes life isn’t that exciting, ya’ know. I forgot to tell you about a great tip for keeping mice out of your home, or at least away from specific areas. Seriously, if you have never tried it it really, really works. As you know, we’re in the woods and log cabins are notorious for any number of ways critters can get in, especially mice, so I’m not ashamed to say we’ve had our fair share. I can always tell because I see their poops in my spice drawer. I know. Gross. But I heard about putting Peppermint Oil on a cotton ball and placing it wherever mice typically hang out and it worked like a charm. After not being here for two months there’s not one poop dropping in the spice drawer! Not one!  Usually we can’t go for even one day without seeing something, so I’m sold. I bought some more yesterday and said to the woman who owns the store all smug and know-it-allish ‘you know what I use this for?’ She replied ‘mice’. So I guess I’m not so clever after all…

I almost forgot. I seriously nearly had a heart attack yesterday. I’m still recovering. Our daughter, in her infinite wisdom, thought it would be a good idea to send me a picture of herself all tatted up. You see, she knows I am not a fan of tattoos, especially on women and in mass quantities. I happened to open her email as I was just about to enter a camera shop, and became so upset I burst into tears. I could NOT believe she would do this to her body!!!! After I stopped crying, I went into the shop and was talking to the owner and she called to say they were fake, that she couldn’t believe I thought they were real and that she had told me she was getting fake tattoos for her 50’s birthday party this weekend. I was still so shaken up I couldn’t even think straight and even though I wanted to shop a little more in town, I went straight home. THAT’S how upset I was! Fisherman also couldn’t believe I thought they were real. I think I aged 10 years, and at 61 I need that like a hole in the head. 

I need a vacation…

 Tattoos!

 

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Metamorphosis Monday

Just In Case You Haven’t Had Enough…A Recap of Our Trip

We’re back from the land of gated communities, a Walgreens on every corner, and fashion challenged men wearing sandals and white socks.

Now, lest you think I’m not a fan of ‘The Sunshine State’, it’s also a nature lovers paradise, with miles of unspoiled, pristine beaches, wildlife at every turn, and magnificent sunsets.

 

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I thought it would be fun to give you all the highlights and ‘best of’s’. You know, like Trip Advisor! And I know you’re on the edge of your seats waiting for more details than I gave you in these posts herehere and here. ;).

(If you’re new here or if you haven’t read any of those posts, you may want to check them out.)

We left on December 22, and after two stops, one in Delaware and one in North Carolina, we arrived in chilly, rainy Charleston on the 24th in time for Christmas Eve. I was so annoyed I hadn’t brought a winter coat. It was freezing! But no matter. Once we ended up at dinner, all was right with the world. Which brings me to my first ‘best of':

 

BEST RESTAURANT

 

CHARLESTON GRILLE

 

charleston grille

 

Charleston Grille is the quintessential southern restaurant. High ornate ceilings, architectural details galore and impeccable service all topped off with a pianist and jazz singer situated a few feet from us (our table was situated just beyond the white drape). A fabulous place for any special occasion, or just perfect if you simply feel like a splurge.

We spent Christmas day at Magnolia Plantation, another must see if you’re in the area, then after taking a carriage tour of Charleston the morning of the 26th, we headed to Savannah for three nights where our stay was highlighted by…

BEST TOUR

 

Savannah Ghost Tours

 

Do you believe in ghosts? If I didn’t before, I certainly do now. Did you know Savannah is the country’s most haunted city? Did you also know that many spirits are not visible to the naked eye, but become visible through the lens of a camera? We went to a couple of the places that ranked very high for paranormal activity, and while I was about to take a picture, I saw a fairly large white, translucent orb pass very quickly in front of my lens and disappear up the stairs. We heard many interesting stories about the history of Savannah and why it’s so haunted. Definitely something to consider doing if you’re into that sort of thing. 

We left Savannah for St. Augustine on the 29th where it was still cold and windy, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating New Years Eve outside, with the help of outdoor heaters and a band that was good enough to keep us moving and warm ;). 

 

New Year's Eve in St. Augustine

 

January 1st brought us to Lake Worth, where we were happy to finally unpack everything and get settled. It didn’t take us long to discover this next place!

 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

 

KILWINS

 

I’m sure some of you are familiar with Kilwins. They seem to be in several areas that we visited, but have you tried their hot fudge?! Don’t let the picture fool you. It’s hidden beneath all that whipped cream. Trust me. I hold them personally responsible for the five lbs I gained on this trip.

 

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Since we were in Lake Worth for a while, we had plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas. We took the hour drive to Miami and visited a mansion that was recommended by the person we rented the house from. 

 

BEST MANSION TOUR

 

VIZCAYA

 

Located facing picturesque Key Biscayne, my picture (the second one) does not do this place justice so I grabbed one from their website. Think ‘Downton Abbey’, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the inside of the house is like. And don’t get me started on the grounds!

 

vizcaya mansion

 

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Now here is a twist for you. Here’s one place I DO NOT recommend you go to. If you’re ever in South Beach and are looking for a place to eat or have a drink or two, stay away from Ocean Avenue, or to be more specific, La Baguete. I won’t go into details, but you can go here to see my review (and my reviews of tons of others places. I got a bit carried away with Trip Advisor while we were away) and go here to see the reviews of MANY others who were sucked in

 

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We also took the 10 minute drive north from Lake Worth to Palm Beach and visited one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever seen.

 

BEST HOTEL

 

THE BREAKERS

 

the breakers

 

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Our next stop was Key Largo, where we did a day trip to the Everglades and I was able to get some great wildlife pictures.

 

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In case you’re wondering, this wasn’t taken with a telephoto lens. I was pretty close, but with so many tourists around, they don’t seem to care. Did you know they can move up to 30 miles an hour?? That’s ok. I can do 31.

 

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We also did a glass bottom boat tour (can you say seasick?) and took a short drive to Islamorada just south of Key Largo to visit Theatre of the Sea.

 

BEST FAMILY FRIENDLY ADVENTURE

 

THEATRE OF THE SEA 

 

 

florida

 

Florida

 

After Key Largo we spent a week in Englewood (near Venice) in an RV camper trailer located about a ten minute car ride to the beach. 

 

BEST BEACH EXPERIENCE

 

ENGLEWOOD BEACH SUNSET CELEBRATION

 

I told you a little bit about this in this post, but in case you missed it it is a popular gathering of drummers, dancers and hula lovers and it’s just a whole lot of fun, but not nearly as much fun as Fisherman had catching this monster! It took nearly a half hour just to reel him in, and boy, did we stuff ourselves with his catch that night! :/

 

florida trip

 

Our next stop was in Madeira Beach for a week where we had a unit just steps from the beach, but it was way too cold to enjoy it. Of course, as soon as we left it warmed up. We then went to Sanford to visit a friend and do some RV shopping, after which we headed home, but not before getting stuck in some white knuckle driving conditions in North Carolina. This has been an unusual winter for most of the country. I hope it is just a fluke and not a trend…

 

In other news…

 

We arrived home to find a leak in one of our bathrooms originating from a skylight and our refrigerator has checked out for good, but it’s good to be back and sleeping in our comfy bed and catching up with everyone. After we’re finished with the humdrum tasks that come along with not being home for two months, we’ll get busy planning next year’s adventure, which hopefully will be in an RV and for three months instead of two. We saw one that we liked, but it was a bit more than we wanted to spend. We’re going to keep our eye on it via their website, and if it comes down in price we’ll make an offer. Fingers crossed!

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The Adventure Continues…

Right now we are in Englewood, Florida, but by the time you read this we’ll be on our way a little further north for a week’s stay in Madeira Beach, which will pretty much wrap up the trip with the exception of a two day stop at a friend’s house in Sanford. The weather, while lovely, hasn’t really been hot enough to go to the beach every day (I know. Break out the violin) so we’ve been taking the opportunity to see some area attractions or check out RV resorts to see where we might like to return next year. We’re finding that resorts book up to a year in advance, and many of the resorts we like we may not be able to get into, but I’m hopeful it will work out. 

Now about the resorts. Some of them you truly feel like you’re in an actual resort, with beautiful club houses that rival Spanish style mansions, while others are very basic with few amenities. Some are huge, with over a thousand sites, while others have fewer than fifty. Something for everyone it seems. We’re thinking we’d like to give a few different places a try, rather than book one for the entire season. That in itself limits the parks we can stay in as many restrict your stay to three months or more during peak season.

Back to the trip…

On our way northbound from Key Largo to Englewood we stopped off in Naples to check out some resorts and to see the town itself. It’s a beautiful area, especially the main street (5th Avenue) and it’s immediate surrounding area. We had a traditional English tea at the most adorable place called ‘Brambles’, located in a little side street complete with ornate tables for two and terraces with flowers overflowing out of window boxes. Of course, I had to listen to Fisherman act like Hugh Grant in Sense and Sensibility, complete with raised pinky, for the entire time. *insert eye roll*

 

tea time

 

Not to confuse you, but these next few pics were taken in the Keys. Islamorada to be exact, at Theater of the Sea. I was a little hesitant about going here at first. I’m not a huge fan of places that hold animals captive for our ‘entertainment’, but this is more like a sanctuary where they take animals that are injured for the most part and provide a safe haven for them. 

The color of the blue fish was so bright I wish you all could have seen it in person. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all, but hopefully you get the idea. Notice the turtle in the bottom right corner. You can’t tell, but he had two flippers missing (is that what they’re called?). One in the front and one in the back, but he was doing just fine. The workers at the park said the number one cause of injuries for turtles are boats. :(

 

englewood florida

 

There is a part of the facility that houses nearly 50 cats that have been rescued. Here’s one that was exceptionally beautiful (don’t let the spooky eyes fool you), and that’s a yawn, not a hiss.

 puddycat

 

There was also a nice collection of beautiful orchids in the garden. Orchids are in abundance here, and you can buy them for a fraction of what you would pay up north, as little as $6!

 

orchid

 

On the way back, we stopped to pick up a little lobster for dinner ;).

lobster in Islamorada

 

Once we got settled in Englewood, we did a bit of exploring. Sunday we went to the beach and they were having a sunset celebration. Apparently every Sunday hundreds gather on the beach and form a large circle and play drums while other people do the hula or dance inside the circle until the sun sets. Unfortunately I didn’t capture a picture of that event but I did manage to get a beautiful sunset.

 

englewood sunset

 

Monday we visited friends in Venice, had lunch and went to two RV resorts, one of which we liked and may book it for next year. Tuesday we took a ride to a beautiful area called Boca Grande where we did some biking and enjoyed the best cappuccino we’ve ever had. On Wednesday we went to Ft. Myers, which is about an hour south of us. It’s a vibrant, colorful place with lots of restaurants and shops and it’s fun to just walk around and people watch. Notice the bridge in the background. Even that’s a pretty color blue! I can’t imagine the amount of maintenance that must entail, especially with the corrosive nature of the salt air.

 

ft. myers

 

This guy was so cool looking! He looked exactly like a statue, and when you put some money in his tip urn he would play his guitar for a few seconds. Fun to see!

Ft. Myers Florida

 

While we were in Ft. Myers we paid a visit to 5 RV resorts. Many of the resorts have an abundance of permanent or semi permanent homes that share space with RV’s and one of them was having an Open House for a few of these homes. Although we’re not interested in buying a park home, I thought it would be fun to see what the inside of one looked like. We went to the door and knocked but no one answered so we went inside anyway. Now keep in mind this was an Open House and for all we knew that was standard procedure in Florida. We called for someone more than once but it didn’t seem like anyone was there. We ended up separating while inside and then I heard Fisherman’s voice say something. He then came into the room I was in and said ‘I just saw the owner taking a dump’. Now, you have to understand something. Fisherman has a sense of humor akin to Chevy Chase, so I assumed he was kidding.

He wasn’t. 

We couldn’t get out of there fast enough. 

 

On that note, I will leave you with another beautiful sunset, my favorite time of day.

orange sunset

 

In other news…

 

We keep hearing horror stories of the terrible weather up north. We’re not looking forward to returning, but Fisherman has jury duty and I suppose it’s time to face the music. I may not put up a post until after we return, depending on the wi-fi connection at the place we’re staying (it’s a bit sketchy here in Englewood). So until then keep warm my friends and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville…

Before we go any further, I have some good news!

No, I haven’t gotten lipo, nor have I had my neck goiter removed, and Clooney still won’t admit it’s me he lusts after and his marriage was a huge mistake.

It’s better than all three of those things put together. Some of you already know, but for those of you who don’t…

 

BEAU IS FREE!!!!

 

It happened shortly after I wrote this post asking for your help, and so many of you did just that and your voices made a difference. After four long months, that sweet baby is finally out of that hell hole and with his owner where he belongs.

If you ever are tempted to think your voice won’t make a difference, think again. It does, and it did!! Thank  you!

Now on to our trip. Right now we’re in Key Largo, and we’re staying in a houseboat. Here’s a picture of the outside:

 

househoneys houseboat

And here’s a picture, just before sunset, from the front of the houseboat. If you look closely at the horizon, you can see part of the Everglades. We were going to kayak over there yesterday, but it looked a bit far so we just went around the canals in the area and were lucky enough to see a couple of Manatee, which seem to thrive in the Keys.

view from house boat

This is the spot where the above picture was taken. It’s where Fisherman casts his rod (that sounded weird. Anyway, he’s actually out there right now and it’s 10:00 p.m.) and where we have our morning coffee. 

fishing off the houseboat

A friend said the houseboat looks like Olive and Popeye live here, and she’s right! The outside is super cute, but the inside, well, that’s another story. It’s a bit cramped, to say the least. If you want to see pics of the inside, you can go here, which is the airbnb website we booked it through.

Before staying here, we were in Lake Worth and although I showed you the house we stayed in in this post, I thought I’d show you a few of the cute homes in the immediate area as well and give you some of the highlights of the trip thus far.

Lake Worth is what is described as the ‘old Key West’, before it became commercialized. It’s worlds apart from its immediate neighbor to the north, Palm Beach, and even Boynton Beach to the south. Not surprisingly, it was built as a community to house the workers who tended to the estates in Palm Beach, which accounts for their small size and modest interiors.

This is actually the backyard of a house that caught my eye, and I didn’t even realize it was the back until we biked around the corner and stumbled upon the front (which is the third picture).

lake worth houses

pineapple gate

 

frontofhouse

On our first night here, we decided to walk to town (about a 7 minute walk) for dinner. Good thing we were walking, because when we opened our front door we noticed the street was blocked off by the police on both sides, making it impossible to drive out. When we asked what was going on, they told us they were checking for a ‘suspicious’ package. Well, there were more cops in the neighborhood looking for this package than at a donut sale, I’m talking maybe at least a dozen cop cars, and then we saw the robot that was designed to find bombs. Have you ever seen one of them? They’re pretty big, and pretty cool looking! I wish I had gotten a picture, but it was moving pretty fast and by the time I stumbled to get my phone, the moment had passed. We never did hear any more about it after that. It didn’t seem to be in the news or anything, which was a bit strange.

This next house was one of my favorites, although it was hard to pick an absolute favorite. It had a nice detached garage and a very private yard on a corner lot, and I’m a sucker for white picket fences and arbors.

Househoneys-Lake Worth yellow house

Keep in mind that for every cute house you see, there’s a half dozen that could use a little TLC. Lake Worth is by no means a ritzy area, but not surprisingly, the closer you get to the beach, the nicer the homes, and we were about four blocks away.

Househoneys-Lake Worth front porch

This cottage had so many Victorian type details that I loved, but I especially liked the colorful ‘fish scale’ gate out in front in the next picture!

Househoneys-Lake Worth cute porch

I’m pretty sure this gate was featured in a brochure about Lake Worth. Don’t you just love it?

Househoneys-Lake Worthpretty gate

Wildlife never seems to be too far away while walking, and they have no qualms about letting you take a picture.

bird 

 This little guy walked up to me, rubbed my leg and flashed his baby blues. Photo op!

Househoneys-Lake Worth

Cats are everywhere in Lake Worth it seems. People either have a cat or a dog, or several!

A few nights after we arrived, our power went out. It was due to a nearby house fire which somehow blew a transformer (it was an electrical fire). We walked over two blocks to see the house and learned the owner, who was a hoarder (probably still is), had 13 cats. Most of them survived, but not all. :( The house was completely destroyed. It took the firefighters hours to control the fire due to the clutter inside the home. We went by the next day and the back of the house, which was where the fire started, was completely destroyed, and the front wasn’t much better.

house fire

Less than 10 minutes north in Palm Beach, you’ll see countless estates similar to these. I couldn’t get pictures of the really elaborate ones because they’re somewhat hidden behind walls and/or shrubbery and they just wouldn’t make for good blog pics, but you get the idea. And you know what? Most of these homes are occupied only a couple of months throughout the year, if that! I guess the rest of the time they’re in Paris, or the Hamptons, or the Alps…

Househoneys-Lake Worth firstmansion

Househoneys-Lake Worth  second mansion

The weather was mostly in the low 70’s with very low humidity. Great for biking, which we did a fair amount of, or even going to the beach as long as it wasn’t windy. At night, we would walk to town and have dinner at one of the many restaurants, come home and binge watch Orange is the New Black or Blacklist on Netflix.

Here in Key Largo, our houseboat doesn’t even have a tv, but the good part of that is I have more time for blogging :).

 

In other news…

 

Please keep in mind all these pictures were taken with my cell phone, and on top of that I’m not editing at all. It’s really difficult blogging without my Mac and Lightroom while on vacation, but I’m still making every effort to visit you all as much as possible, which is usually at night before I hit the sheets. Our next stop is Englewood where we will be staying in an RV, then Madeira Beach in a small apartment located directly on the beach. Right now, it’s snowing again in Massachusetts, so we fully expect to come home to snow and ice. I told Fisherman he can go back, but not before dropping me off after taking a small detour to Tahiti. Do you think they have Margaritas there? ;)

 

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Where I’m From

 ‘Where I’m From’ is a writing prompt that has been around for years. (I never said I was a trailblazer). If you’d like to do your own, you can find some info here, or just Google, ‘Where I’m From’.

 

Where I’m From 

 

I am from the land of the Miracle Mile, where pretty party dresses were in abundance and worn with pride.

I am from the smooth, white sanded shores of Jones Beach. and the rocky ones of Oakland.

I am from the pristine ranch house on a suburban, sidewalked street,
where hop scotch and jump rope were played with abandon.

I am from the majestic weeping willow,
whose ethereal branches danced in the wind.

I am from fragrant fig trees carefully covered in winter, and sugar coated zeppoles at the feasts near grandma’s house,
from games of tag with favorite cousins, with nary a thought to tomorrow.

childhood pictures

I am from a moon that is made of cheese,
and the elusive Tooth Fairy.

From magical Christmases,
and tinseled artificial trees.

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I am from where grudges came easily,
and trust was hard fought.

I’m from bouffant hair, 
made with beer can rollers.

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From kitchens with formica tables,
where long nails were polished and secrets were told.

From boyfriends who caged me,

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and friends who set me free.

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I am from a time of innocence and turbulence,
a time that made me,

me.

 

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Please Help Beau!

Imagine this scenario. You live in a trailer in Dyersburg, Tennessee. You leave your dog leashed outside the trailer while you are away. Two young children unleash him, and later claimed he killed a duck. Cops are called and they take your dog without your knowledge. Shortly thereafter a Judge declares he is to be euthanized for allegedly acting in an aggressive manner and killing a duck.

This happened in September. Four months later, he is still at the shelter and if not for the efforts of thousands, would have been killed in October. 

Here is the clincher: Beau is not aggressive, and he did not kill a duck. [Read more…]

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