6.21.2014

loving you for 2,191.45 days

happy wedding anniversary to my best friend, my partner in crime, and my love. thanks for sharing your life with me. I love you with all my heart and soul. 

6.12.2014

a happy birthday list for me


1.   2.    3.    4.    5.    6.

My birthday is on Monday and I wanted to share with you a few things that have graced my birthday wish list. 














6.11.2014

A Day Spent in Bernardsville


A couple Saturday ago we took a spontaneous trip to Bernardsville, NJ. I had recently read about  Cross Estate Gardens and marked it on our list of things to do this summer. 

The town of Bernardsville was lined with gorgeous houses and mom & pop shops. Before going to the gardens we grabbed lunch to go at the local deli.

The gardens were landscaped in the early twentieth century and they feature a perennial garden, a wisteria- covered pergola, a mountain laurel allee, and a native plant garden. Plus, a maple leaf tree that the family planted when they first built the place in 1905.

The wisteria-covered pergola was magical. It reminded me of the secret garden and how I always wished that one day I would find my own enchanted garden filled with pink flowers and willow trees.



The family that built up this land in 1905 also built a gigantic water tower.  The tower is made entirely of stone and was used to pump well water into the home.

After exploring the gardens, we headed to the ShermanHoffman Wildlife Sanctuary. The area is filled with miles of hiking trails that weave through forests, fields, and along the Passaic River.

With the area being a wildlife sanctuary and Bear being a lover of birds, we did our share of bird watching :)

And toad hunting. These little guys are great at hiding, they camouflage themselves into whatever tree bark they are sitting on.  Bear making sure that we are on the right trail. He makes for a great hiking companion. 


We ended the day with some delicious chocolate and coffee ice cream from the local ice cream shop in downtown Bernardsville.

The day was spontaneous, unplanned, and perfect. I can't wait to go back, next time we will try one of the local restaurants. There was plenty available and they all looked yummy. 

6.09.2014

life lessons for the month of may


I've been thinking a lot about lessons, life lessons. I have been working hard to become a more positive person and taking pleasure in small things. Like yesterday, I did yoga on our deck and it was beautiful. The sun was shining brightly and my yoga mat fit perfectly in the shady part of our deck. Life lessons don’t have to be ground breaking, they just need to make you pay attention to your surroundings and make you think.

Every month I will be sharing little thoughts, reminders, and lessons that I have learned or noticed through out the past four weeks. 


This month I learned that a wedding is a moment in time between two people and the amount of love and affection that is felt is incredible. I remember when Bear and I got married, I thought the day was perfect. All of our family and friends were in attendance and we became husband and wife. I thought I couldn't love Bear any more than I did that day. Little did I know that the memories and feelings we created at our wedding will never be replaced, but the love we have for each other continues to develop and get stronger every day.  

I learned that being around family is like an instant boost of sunshine and happiness. Their warmth, love, silliness, and comfort makes everything in the world seem right.  

I learned that facing a fear, a fear that causes tears and anxiety, can feel like you have climbed a thousand mountains and made it to the top to look out onto a stunning view. Being able to look out onto that view reminds me how much strength and control I have over situations. That view is my life in a panoramic picture and every step I take gets me closer to something good.

I learned that I was reminded the importance of appreciation and counting your blessings. It’s the little things that matter and remembering to show gratitude is what it's all about. 

I learned that as time moves forward people change, and not always in ways you expected. Dealing with differences and separation is hard but relying on the saying “Trade your expectations to appreciation and the world changes instantly” from Tony Robbins helped me set things into perspective.   

5.27.2014

happy tuesday


We stayed around the house for most of the long weekend - I don’t think I changed out of my running shorts (I never even went running) and old t-shirt for three days. Bear had writing/work to get finished and I got into a weird mood that consisted of me wanting to deep clean and organize everything.

Since the weather has gotten warmer we spend most of our waking hours outside. We got a BBQ this past week and I planted flowers in pots on our deck. We spent Sunday evening sitting outside under the white twinkle lights that hang around our deck. It was a romantic evening. Sometimes romance can come when you least expect it, we weren't making out under the dark sky- even though that would have been fun too- we were just enjoying each other’s presence and having conversations about gun control (how romantic huh), raising kids, if we are a good judge of character, and why we love hanging out with each other. 

Together we have been reading Love Does by Bob Goff. It’s funny and creatively written and although Bear doesn’t love every story that he writes about, it has given Bear and I topics to discuss and think about with our own life. One of my favorite quotes so far from the book is “We get to decide each time whether we will lean in toward what is unfolding and say yes or back away.”  There are so many times in my life that I want to back away – run away for that matter, and sometimes I do. More recently, I have been trying to embrace what is in front of me, good or bad, and feel blessed that I have the decision to say YES.

Let’s enjoy this week. Take some time to plant some flowers, have some romance, and say YES to something unfolding in your life!


have a happy tuesday, and a happy week for that matter. 

(photo source

5.21.2014

Easter

Easter is a refreshing holiday. The flowers are starting to showcase their colors and new life starts appearing. The birds are chirping outside and the sun and blue skies shining brightly are an instant pick me up. Oh how I LOVE this time of year.  

For Easter we spent most of the day at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens. Things were just starting to bloom and have some color. I can’t wait to go back when all the flowers and trees are in full bloom. 



After we got home from our day spent at the gardens, we did our annual Easter egg hunt for Shento. He has perfected his craft of finding eggs. Bear hid them all over the yard, on top of a tree branch and in a flower pot, and Shento found every single one of the eggs.

video
He did eventually find the blue egg in the flower pot :) 

January - February - March - April


January
We rang in the New Year pretty uneventful. Some loud cheers, dancing in the living room and a kiss at midnight was what we mustered up.

We  visited one of our best friends in Charlottesville, VA. We had a great time, like we always do with him. We explored the town, went out to breakfast, and took a day trip to Roseland. The Roseland day trip was quite eventful, we got turned around and went the wrong direction for some time before realizing that we might be going in the wrong direction. A couple hours later, an ice cream pit stop, and a lot of quality time together, we arrived, just before the sun set over the hills.  We spent the evening by a huge fireplace eating food and enjoying some yummy drinks at Devils Backbone Brewery.

February
February was by far our worst winter month. It was filled with snow, rain, ice, freezing temperatures, and more rain. The entire state seemed like it was one big ice skating rink.  We watched a lot of Parks and Rec. and British Murder mystery shows.

March
In March we went to an all Beethoven recital by the wonderful Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes at McCarter Theater in Princeton. Bear loved it and I appreciated the talent that he had. Incredible.

We also cheered for the Gators during March madness.  We don’t have cable so we watched most of the games at our local pizza parlor.

April
On the first semi warm day the local ice cream shop opened, and you bet we went and tested out a few flavors.


For Easter Bear brought home the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers I've ever seen.   

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m so happy to be finally posting about the most wonderful time of the year.  December. This December felt more magical than most, and although we weren't around any of our family, sad face, we loved every minute of being together and really tried hard to do lots of holiday stuff. 





Our first holiday outing was to a small town just West of us, Clinton, NJ. They put on an annual Dickens festival complete with horse drawn carriage rides, old Saint Nick walking the streets, and holiday decorations that made the small town sparkle. We walked through the streets and ventured into a couple local shops. If you happen to be in the Clinton area stop off at Citispot Tea & Coffee. We ordered the pumpkin spice latte and it was wonderful. 




Next up, we got a Christmas tree. No, not the gigantic one on the left, even though I think that one would have been perfect, we opted for the cute five foot tree that was little crooked and missing a couple branches on the lower half. We always feel bad for the little Charlie brown trees  



One afternoon we drove to the shore and spent the evening enjoying the sights and sounds of Asbury Park. A lot of the area is still in the re-development stages after hurricane Sandy but Shento, Bear, and I were able to enjoy parts of the beach and boardwalk. After tiring Shento out we headed into the old conventional hall for some delicious dinner. If you look closely in the picture above you can see the convention hall and inside it was all decorated for the holiday. 


One of our newly acquainted holiday traditions is trying a new restaurant that normally is out of our everyday price range. This year we got all fancied up and went to Delta’s. A southern style, jazz music playing, fried chicken kind of a place. The chicken and waffles (with a hint of powdered sugar on top) were out of this world good. 

By the middle of December the weather was starting to get pretty terrible, and venturing outside in the ice and snow didn't seem like a good idea. But visiting numerous coffee shops throughout the area was the perfect date. There is something I love about sitting at a cozy coffee shop enjoying the company of a loved one. 

Bear baked some delicious pecan tassies.  Thanks to an old family recipe that his Mom gave him and his amazing baking skills these quickly became one of our favorite treats. 



Christmas morning was magical. We sat on the floor together and opened our presents. We felt so blessed to have family who graciously sent us wonderful gifts and my Mom who (always) put together the best stockings. We acted like kids, laughing and loving each other. I don’t think we go out of a PJ’s until after 1pm.  

Happy Holidays to everyone 5 months late. 


5.15.2014

September, October, and November Adventures


I still have updating to do from the past several months. I have made this a goal to get all the updating done so that we have some sort of documentation on the last several adventures Bear and I have been on. This process has seemingly taken forever. I sit down to go through pictures only to realize that I have thousands of pictures all un-organized and in separate folders because that's the way they have downloaded to my computer… ridiculous.  But hooray for me, I'm slowly making progress on the photo organizing front and updating our life over the post 6 months. 

To those who still read this crazy blog of mine, the months and months of updating will soon be over and I will get back to posting regular posts.

September.
We were still on the hunt for furniture to fill our empty home. I stopped by every yard sale I found and frequently visited the thrift store.  I was able to find some great things, see below the 1980’s record player hutch. With some sanding and a new coat of paint it looked great.

We enjoyed our favorite Chinese noodle restaurants in New Brunswick. 

The weather was so beautiful in September that every moment we had we got outside and went for runs/walks to our local park.

We celebrated Shento, it was a happy 7th birthday filled with dog cupcakes and a new stuffed animal.  

I traveled to WA to visit Miss. Milly, Whitney & Joey.  I had such a wonderful time. We packed the 5 days with eating Cronuts, wondering around the unbelievably beautiful Chihuly garden and glass museum, went on a girls date and devoured Mexican food, took lots of walks, and explored a little bit of Seattle.

October. 
Bear and I wanted an adventure, and we had always heard that upstate New York was beautiful during  the fall months, so the weekend after I got back from Washington we hoped in the car and drove to the Catskills.  We camped out in our car for a night and explored the little town of Windham.  

Janice came for a weekend visit. We walked downtown Highland Park stopping at the farmers market and our favorite bagel shop. 

Vicci and Charlie, Bear’s Aunt and Uncle, were visiting Maryland and it’s only a short drive from our house so we went to enjoy the day with them. We ate the absolute best crab cakes ever.



November
Bear rang in another wonderful year of life. He was busy the entire day so we celebrated that evening with a stombolli, cake, and the opening of gifts.  

Ryan took a spontaneous trip from D.C to come visit us. Always fun having him around. 

Bear went to Chicago to present a chapter of his dissertation. This was a big deal and I was a very proud grad student wife. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving by each picking two new recipes and making them together. The top favorites were the spinach sausage tart and the mushroom pilaf.


4.27.2014

It feels like home

The first couple weeks were filled with searching for furniture and household essentials. While sitting in the passenger seat for umpteen hours I made a list of all the basic living necessities that we would need.  Silverware, plates, bowls, hangers, towels, and the list went on and on.  The morning after we arrived to our new home, and with a sore back, thanks to our blow-up mattress that had just a small enough hole to cause the middle of the mattress to sink to the ground during the night, I headed to Ikea.
I wondered around Ikea in circles for what seemed like hours and hours.  I had never experienced this feeling. I was over-whelmed with the amount of stuff that I needed to purchase and the ample supply of options.  So instead of making decisions on what color plates I should buy, I kept wondering. 
Somehow after many hours I was able to get enough items in my cart to justify checking out. I knew I had forgotten things on my list, but at that point I didn't care.  
As I drove home from Ikea I looked around. The highway that connects my new home and Ikea is one filled with strip malls, dunkin doughnuts and factories.  It's an ugly area of New Jersey. But as I slowly drove home hitting traffic and stop lights, I felt at home. Peaceful, and so grateful to be back in the garden state.
The following days were filled with exploring our new town and getting settled into our home. We ate at our local hamburger joint (conveniently located around the corner from our house), went fishing at Bears favorite fishing spot, found a good close  wooded area to take Shento for walks, and enjoyed exploring our local farmers market. Fresh produce is always the best.  

We arranged the silverware and put away the blue plates that I bought from Ikea. It was going to take some time to get everything we needed, but with empty rooms and only one towel, because I forget one of the most important essential items on my Ikea list,  the little empty house really felt like home.

^ Our first dinner we made at home^           ^Cucumbers from the farmers market^ 

^ Bear is getting excited about trying our local hamburger place and I painted a picture for our living room^
^Bear out fishing in the pouring rain^              ^On a walk to the farmers market^