Monday, September 29, 2014

Picture This: Week 39, 2014.

I Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 


September 22, 2014


Trumping the never-ending busy season, the dive-bombing stinkbug took top spot for enemy number one on Monday.


September 23, 2014


My first, and one of their last of the season, Cleveland Indians baseball games. There is a distinct lack of mozzarella sticks in the stadium.


September 24, 2014


When I'm running late, I really like to commit by hitting all the best traffic options. 


September 25, 2014


Sweet, sweet Starbucks. Tower of joy. 


September 26, 2014


We went to a high school football game Friday to support my friend's new job, and because high school football and bands are really entertaining. I say that with no sarcasm. They did a Katy Perry and Bastille song and it was awesome.


September 27, 2014


Henry and I, sketching out and sharing our latest plant stand plan with Zachles.


September 28, 2014


This is how we catch bugs in this house. Her efficiency rating is amazing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Picture This: Week 38, 2014.


Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 


September 15, 2014


We are now the proud owner of a kitchen table. World Market for the win.


September 16, 2014


Zach used dish soap. Womp womp.


September 17, 2014


They didn't even flinch when I pulled in the driveway, honked the horn, and walked to the front door.


September 18, 2014


Progress is slow in the office, but I finally caulked the baseboards, after amping myself up for roughly two weeks. I hate baseboards. 


September 19, 2014


Friday night measurements. We're in Lowe's too often.


September 20, 2014


We had a jam-packed Saturday. We started with football before heading downtown for a free trolley tour (and less facts than I would like), and topping off dinner and drinks in Ohio City with a trip to Mitchell's. Yum.


September 21, 2014


Henry likes to sleep on the patterned furniture because it offsets her beautiful fur the best. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Read This: XXVI.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour.


  • Zach sent me this story last week about a bear with a bucket on his head. After animal control failed to act, residents took it into their own hands to help the bear and I couldn't be happier.
  • I'm disappointed in the NFL in the most serious connotation of the word. This article does a fantastic job of narrating the situation. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wedding programs.

This post serves no real purpose other than to show off the very basic design skills that I have, of which I am very proud.

I made our wedding programs for a few reasons. We were on the fence about them for so long. Neither of us really felt they were necessary, but I did like the idea of people having something to look at while they waited. The grand plan was to have puzzles and word games. In the last month, all of that creativity wasn't going to happen, but the July 4 date was a little concerning when considering temperature. It was too late to do an elaborate fan, but I thought a piece of 110# card stock would suffice as a fan.  That, and we had the majority of the pack leftover, even after invites. So we set to making programs.



In interest of keeping in theme, and probably mostly out of laziness, I kept with the three fonts I'd used in the invitations: Simple Print, Basic Title, and Jellyka Bees Antique Handwriting, all of which I'd downloaded for free. The rest of the detail consists of lines, which I drew within Microsoft Publisher, and the heart, which I swiped somewhere off the Internet, I'm guessing. Just checked - it's actually a font called Kozuka Gothis Pro EL and I definitely think I found it randomly on Pinterest.

The spacing took the longest, and was the most frustrating, but I made every section in a text box, had the margins tight, and was able to force things into position. I then grouped everything and made a copy because these are each a half sheet. 


I created a word and pdf file for download. I think everything will look crazy because if you don't have the specific fonts I used those areas will appear as blank. I think these files will work, but in the event that they don't and you're interested in using them, let me know and I'll try harder. Or email you. 

I snazzed them up with a corner punch I picked up at JoAnn's. That part of the process was incredibly frustrating - partly because Zach thought he could help but didn't have the patience to line up the corner, resulting in chopped cutouts, and partly because it was a corner cutout so it had to be lined up exactly. The process took a while. We only did about twenty at a time (that's twenty corners, so five programs), before taking a bit of a break to reset and make sure the punch was clear. It was meticulous. We really liked the way they turned out, so we'd probably do it again. We might just invest in a better punch or something less symmetrical. More realistically, we should have just started the programs earlier than thirty days before the wedding.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Picture This: Week 37, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 


September 8, 2014

Veronica sent me a new cup, and it doubles as a mirror! She's the best.


September 9, 2014

Petey.


September 10, 2014

First pumpkin spice of the season!


September 11, 2014

Breakfast prep: a leaning tower of waffles.


September 12, 2014

My coworker could sense it'd been several rough weeks since she'd last worked with me- thus the sweetest surprise note on my car. 


September 13, 2014

We did some Cleveland touring with the parents, including a perfectly timed terminal tower reflection.


September 14, 2014

A question about sealing fixture boxes led to the discovery that our wall sconces were wired through the drywall. Yikes. Zach and dad took to fixing that immediately.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alaska: Part III.

Zach's tagging in for this next Alaskan installment. He's interested in getting in on this blog game, and we're trying to figure out what that all means. That's enough boring talk for now - onto Alaska!  - xxoo S


Alaskan adventure continues…

Day five was the start of our 4.5 hour trek drive to Denali.  We took a leisurely pace as our cabin had a wide window of check-in time and we were now Alaska veterans and assumed we would be stopping many times for scenic overlooks. 

Our first fuel stop on the trip was in Wasilla. Some of you may associate Wasilla with seeing Russia from a certain vice-presidential candidates house. 


We did too.


In fairness, Wasilla was a good fuel stop and provided the landscape and mountain views that we had so far come to love (and expect!) from Alaska. 


Driving resumed with fun filled games of “spot the moose” and delicious, leftover Moose’s Tooth pizza for lunch. 

Even though we live in a neighborhood where a dozen or so deer frequent our yard, we were incredibly amused by the moose signs warning of high moose traffic areas near the highway. 


Our next pit stop was Talkeetna. Talkeetna was not initially in our plans, but after seeing a sign for the Denali Brewing Company I pulled a fast U-turn in the Chevy Sonic and veered us 10 miles or so off course. Talkeetna is a small town with recreational activities that include camping, fishing, rafting, flight-seeing planes, and drinking. It was also full of touristy shops and many stores selling local artists’ wares. We picked up some unique kitchen utensils, handmade from Alaskan birch, and popped in Twister Creek Restaurant for a quick tasting of Denali Brewing Company beer before we were back on the road.



The scenic overlooks ramped up in excitement as we continued the drive to Denali. Each new turn-off promised a glimpse of the mountain ranges of Denali National Park, including, gasp, Mt. McKinley aka Denal aka “The High One.”  After some initial peak identity chart reading confusion we celebrated thinking we were part of the 30% club of visitors that get to actually see the 20,237-foot-high peak. Instead, we were quickly put in place by a nearby overzealous tourist. 



Back to the Sonic!

True to form, we arrived at our cabin with minutes to spare. The views from our cabin were spectacular. We spent the evening grilling overpriced hot dogs and smores before taking a 3 mile walk to a nearby lake. While on the 10 PM walk (it looked like it was 3 PM so we felt obligated to continue) we passed many cool sights as well as a little golf course and putt-putt (ideas for next time). 


This was the sky at 9 PM. 


Day six was arguably our favorite day of the trip and featured our bus ride and subsequent hiking in Denali National Park. 

The bus rides in Denali feature tourists being packed onto buses that would be more recognizable in a movie from the 1960’s. 


The buses then travel along the 92 miles of dirt on the Denali Park Road. We met a few people that had taken this ride before and they were less than thrilled about the park, complaining that it was just bouncing on a bus for a day and seeing some microscopic dall sheep. This made us a little nervous, but we didn’t just travel to Denali National Park to take a picture next to the sign. 

The warnings we were given quickly flashed in our minds as we boarded the 7:00 AM bus and were met with a long orientation by a very intense bus driver. The intensity was more of the defacto caffeine for our day though as we found many of the rules refreshing when compared with other national parks. Denali is serious about it wilderness and keeping the animals wild, making the experience almost like a reverse zoo. The bus rules include:

-speak softly enough to be able to hear the driver
-if you see an animal, yell “STOP” and call out the direction based on hands of a clock
-once we stop for an animal, stop talking, quickly roll down the windows, and quietly take pictures while being sure to let other members of the bus get theirs as well
-never put hands, cameras, or anything, outside of the windows

The importance of all this is to not desensitize the animals to human contact. They should view the buses as another part of the park, not a vehicle containing people. 

We ended up loving our bus driver, because she kept everyone in check and was a fantastic animal spotter if you followed her rules.  Some of the animals we saw through the trip included - 

Pika-The California couple next to us sarcastically called out this little guy 15 minutes into the trip. “Don’t look now but there’s some wildlife right behind us.”



Moose-Walking across a hillside. 

Grizzlies-Mostly sleeping, but some walking with cubs.


Caribou-Walking and also approaching the bus. Silence, stillness, and all appendages inside the bus played a huge role in getting this guy to approach. 



Golden Eagle-A token to the spotting skills of our driver

Porcupine-diving out of sight

Dall Sheep-Somehow chilling on crazy-steep, incredibly high ledges


We joined the Mt. Denali 30% club and saw the peak! After several hours of riding and great sightseeing, Sam and I decided to try our luck at our own hike. Our driver really played up the intensity and excitement of “watching the bus drive away,” leaving you alone with wilderness. We were eager to try, but at the same time a tad nervous because we had just gotten off of a bus where we were watched other hikers, grizzlies, moose, everything all moving around in the same area. 

Despite this, we set off on a trek towards a riverbed that we spotted that seemed to be about a mile away through some very low brush. 


After getting yelled at by a prairie-dog like animal, we quickly realized that the river bed was much….muuuuchh further than a mile and the “brush” was also more of a jungle. We continued on a little further being sure to sing songs to alert any bears to our presence, but quickly turned around after hearing a rustling in the brush and Sam seeing something that was not us. 


We made it back to a nearby ranger station unscathed except for pumping adrenaline and hopped on a bus to the next destination called Wonder Lake. Wonder Lake turned out to be a mosquito breeding pool lake, so not as exciting as expected. We were lucky to get back on a bus with our original driver and saw this great moose on our trip back. 


On the bus ride back towards the entrance of Denali, we decided to try our luck once more on a hike. This time we picked the Toklat river, giving us a solid view in all directions of any impending bears. It was a surreal experience as we walked along the river finding very fresh animal footprints. 


It was also surreal because we returned to the bus stop to find the ranger station closed and no one there. Even after reading the schedule, we were convinced we missed the last bus. On one hand, it was very peaceful, on the other we were concocting survival scenarios of spending the night locked in a bathroom at the stop. After waiting about 40 minutes or so, a bus pulled up and played a cruel joke with a “Bus Full” sign. 


At this point we were tired and ready to face the drive back. Its a good thing too, because our new driver was more concerned with pointing out such exotic sights as:
-hikers walking
-hikers running
-a pond that usually has “this one duck”
-a SQUIRREL!
-a neck pain creating stop to see the SQUIRREL
-and a ptarmigan (which made it worth while)

All in all, Denali was incredible. It was a day of fantastic sights and experiences during which we had to keep pinching ourselves to remember that it was real. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Picture This: Week 36, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 


September 1, 2014

Summer skies.


September 2, 2014


The paint process for the dining/living/hallway has started. Opinions welcome. 


September 3, 2014


Copper Penny, high as a kite and covered in catnip.


September 4, 2014


I started following the US Department of Interior on instagram and their pictures, particularly those of Denali, are filling me with wanderlust.


September 5, 2014


Lowes.


September 6, 2014


Saturday surprises! Only the best surprises.


September 7, 2014


Zach and I finally cut out our faces for a fridge chart. It cracks me up.

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