Celebrated Our 4th Anniversary

This adventure was my favorite yet for one of our anniversaries!

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Phase 1 included driving by the entrance to the Bodie Lighthouse on a whim. There were several other cars parked outside the “govt shutdown sign.” We figured that the mile walk couldn’t be that bad.. I mean I’d been training for a 5k at that time…I could jog a mile!

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Heh, little did we know that there were blood thirsty mosquitoes (obviously in league with the govt) to chomp on us as our inappropriately clad feet earned sores.

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The lot of course was empty, though we did see a few other people documenting their time at the lighthouse.

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I’d visited this one before on a girl’s camp out trip. Then, the lighthouse was in the middle of renovations. Now, it had reopened and you could climb inside! After last year’s light house, I didn’t mind only seeing the outside.

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I was feeling a little impish, and when I pictured the entire adventure, I daydreamed about posing while touching the base of the light house. Apparently, it was gated, so I just needed to invoke my country girl skills and hop the fence.

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After phase 1 we returned back to the beach house and soaked our bruised/burnt feet in the pool.

Phase 2 included photography on a beautiful pier. We walked around, hoping to see someone reeling in a fish. One cool thing that we did see, however, was another couple getting married over on the beach!

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I really have such a great catch ;0).

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Phase 3 was a delicious dinner! The dinner was on this really cool structure as part of the restaurant. We actually got to eat on a pirate’s ship! We were able to watch the sun set over the Roanoke Sound.

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Husband even had fun getting some pictures!

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While I was taking pictures this yummy dish arrived:

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Seriously! Best anniversary ever.

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Entertained a Brit (My 2013 Cross Cultural Experience)

When we first got married, husband worked 12 hour night shifts in a computer networking monitoring position. If nothing was broken they were allowed to play video games, and only people in the UK and Europe were awake to play. My husband being the disgustingly extroverted guy that he is, met tons of Europeans and played with them for years. After changing jobs, he maintained those relationships, often talking about visiting each other.

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Early in September one of them came to visit us for a week! I’m not going to lie, I was nervous because I didn’t know D. He flew in, rented a great car, and drove his way to us.

Husband had taken the week off to be able to spend time with him. I was able to join in, in some of the adventures as my internship permitted.

All of 2013 I’d begged husband to let us visit his parents so we could go to Canada (So I could say I’d been out of the country once a year since 2006). Hosting D, I learned that its just as much fun to introduce someone to your culture, as it is to enjoy theirs. He was such a good sport as we shared all of our favorite types of restaurants with him (mostly classic American junk food: Bojangles, Taco Bell, Chikfila, and funnel cake burgers) . He wasn’t a fan of sweet tea, but is craving green tea.

Some British tidbits: 

-A petrol station is a gas station

-A boot is the trunk of a car, while the bonnet is the front/engine of the car.

-Knackered/Shattered is a way to say you are extremely tired.

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One of the best adventures that I was able to join was going to Devil’s Marble Yard. I’d never been, despite how close the hike is. I was impressed at being able to do the hike after rolling my ankle, and breaking part of my spine. Even if I felt slower than all of the guys, they had to keep pausing as I was gasping for breath!

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I had never been so excited to sit on cool rocks as we sat at the base of the large rocks and ate lunch.

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Because I was training for a 5k I decided not to risk hurting myself again and stayed back as the guys climbed the giant rocks.

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But they got some pictures for me!

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By the end of the week I was amazed how close we’d grown. It really was if D was another sibling in our family or something. We would have so much fun driving around in his rental car, and being goofy.

Hopefully, 2014 should either include a visit of our own across the Pond to visit him, or him returning to visit us. It’ll be fun either way!

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Designed a Race Bib Holder

After jogging my first 5k I had 2 race bibs! This past year I’ve tried to be more practical about nostalgia coming up with the rule that I’m only allowed to keep stuff if I have a designated place to store it. For example: an organized scrapbook/album etc. There are many different ways to collect race bibs…but I decided to build a plague to store them!

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Needed Supplies: Paint, brushes, sharpie markers, decorations, hooks, painters tape, pencil, drill, ruler, plague. The plague I purchased for less than $10 at Michaels. (PS they continuously offer coupons).

After deciding upon a nautical theme, I painted the back. I know its not necessary, but I enjoy knowing that it is solidly painted.

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Then I painted the edges. I’d forgotten how much fun it could be to cover something in paint!

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Next, I outlined the lines for the nautical theme. It was difficult to get these straight/proportioned.

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I used regular masking tape. Pressed down completely, I think it would work fine, however, mine produced uneven paint lines.

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Each line I did a couple of layers, until I was happy with the color.

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I had to do some slight touch up to straighten the lines, but I liked the rough look.

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Then, I measured out where I wanted the hooks to be placed.

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Using the silver sharpie marker I wrote out the phrase “Refuse to Sink.” I went back and defined some of the letters after the first sketching.

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Lucky for me, I get to employ the Husband for more difficult tasks like drilling the hole for the hooks.

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In congruence with the nautical theme I found a really cool anchor themed hook from amazon. The small hooks will hold the race bibs, while the anchor hook will be used to hold medals (one day ;0) ).

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Voila! The final product. Let me know what you think!

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Toured GardenFest at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

As a girl who grew up in the 757/804 area of Virginia, Christmas is about the lights. I don’t just mean driving through the neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights…I mean going to see light festivals. In Virginia there is this thing called the 100 Miles of Lights where several cities (mostly in the tidewater) host light festivals that can either been driven or walked through.

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The only one I actually went to growing up was the Celebration of Lights in Newport News. As amused as I was by the skiing elves and the penguins jump over our vehicle, my favorite was the Loch Ness monster…I was puzzled as a kid how they put the lights in the water. (In reality it was on the edge of the lake).

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This year we decided to stay home due to the recent stress from the car accident and husband’s (awesome) but still new job.

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I was on the hunt for a spectacular light festival, thinking with the gorgeous mountains there had to be something around here…I googled and googled and googled… but apparently Central Virginia is not interested in the light displays. Husband explained the reason is the difference in the population density between here and the tidewater region.

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Therefore, I convinced the husband to take a day trip to the Richmond area! Where I was able to enjoy part of the 100 Miles of Lights!

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Driving on the way there we stopped by this roadside Thai place. He’d eaten there before. I ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken, despite that is my default choice at Chinese locations. However, the description of cucumbers and tomatoes intrigued me. I was not disappointed! Our food was brought to us on platters in the typical Thai style. I went to Thailand in 2009 and my Team Leader explained that in Thailand “family style eating out” means that they order multiple meals and each share some, as opposed to our Western idea of each person ordering their own entree.

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I usually get nervous speaking foreign language bits to native speakers. Oddly, I think I’m going to offend them or something. Paying for our bill I wai’d her (a respectful bow with hands bent in a praying formation) and said goodbye “Sa wa de ka!” I’m so glad I did, because she responded with the biggest smile!

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I felt like the drive took forever, but it was definitely worth it. I’d thought maybe we would go to Short Pump to wait until the festivities started at 5pm. However, we turned onto the exit, saw how crowded everything was, said “nope!” and turned around.

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We decided to head to the Gardens even though it was still too early. I wasn’t sure they’d even let us in, or if they needed to distinguish between the day/night visitors for separate prices. Getting there at 4pm we had an amazing parking spot, and many cars were creeping in, and we had no problems being let into the park early.

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We’d visited the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden before with my in laws last September. During that trip I was excited to use my still new camera…but realized upon arrival that the battery was at home! So the images I caught that day were only from my smart phone. I was mostly excited, this visit to document the lights with my schmancy DSLR. Though I suspected the butterflies wouldn’t be there :0(.

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The trick to documenting Christmas lights is a tripod and the lowest ISO possible. I didn’t want to drag the tripod around, so I just experimented with the ISO. Also, the perfect time to document lights is at dusk, when there is just some light in the sky. The sunset was a gorgeous one with purples and blues, my favorite! I loved getting there early enough to see the lights come to life.

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My favorite displays were solid creations. We turned to walk into the children’s area. I literally gasped when I saw a unicorn…and then remember I was 26…and posed for a picture anyway!

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At the gift shop we purchased a hand blown ornament from Germany. It really was a magical evening.

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Feel like you missed out? This event continues nightly 5pm-10pm until January 13th. 

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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