Friday, July 30, 2010

Forever Scarred

Since we returned from Europe we have been finding these rice-like oranges thingy's in our bed. We generally found them in the morning and as each day went by we were becoming more and more perplexed. They were always on my side of the bed, so I was extremely paranoid. Were they spider droppings? Were they dried eggs? Why are they only on my side of the bed? Why are they after me? I was ferociously washing our sheets in scolding hot water. At one point I even washed my hair with my dogs flea and tick shampoo, thinking that maybe a small European bug was living in my hair. Gross, I know. Honestly ladies, her shampoo cleansed my hair so nicely - I'd do it again!

I even did what any confused girl would do..... I called my mother.

She always has a suggestion, comment and advice that makes sense. She told me to take these rice-like orange thingy's to Home Depot and ask the men in the Garden Center what they might be, as they know about bugs and whatnot.

Yeah, this was some motherly advice that I didn't take.


Bryan went to New York a couple weeks ago and while sleeping alone in my King sized bed... all stretched out with my little dog, I realized that these rice-like orange thingy's were not coming from me *thank God* but that they were coming from my poor Cali, as I found them on the side of the bed that she was sleeping on. Cali generally sleeps right next to me... on me really..... so that is why I had thought these little rice-like thingy's were coming from me, when in fact they were coming from my little puppy.

Once Bryan returned from his trip, I explained the situation to him and he decided that he would attempt to solve this 2 month mystery by collecting the rice-like orange thingy's over a period of days in a ziplock bag. Today he brought the Ziplock filled with our little mysterious bed friends to Cali's veterinarian. The vet didn't even bat an eyelash when she said

"your dog has a tape worm"


"those are small segments of the worm that you've found in your bed"

Are you kidding me?

We've been sleeping with tape worm segments expelled through my puppies hiney?

For 2 months?!

Gross beyond belief!

I still want to think of them as rice-like orange thingy's, but now that I know what they are, I am forever scarred!

Oh, and Cali is okay. She always was okay. It's just gross. The vet gave her a pill to take, which took care of the wormy situation...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm Such A Sucker...

Okay, so I am proudly not one of those people who dresses my dog up like a person... in little dresses and bows, but I did really want a girly little dog who was sweet and demure.
What I got was crazy Cali.
She is playful and adorable and wild and spunky and full of life and personality.
She is not girly by any means.
Bryan and I have had her in a pink collar from the day we got her, but recently I've started to look for plaid or purple collars - Cali's just not a "pink" kinda gal.
Funny thing is, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love this dog more than life!
Bryan and I just marvel at her.... watch her every move... envision the wheels turning in her tiny brain...... think she's just the cutest.. the best....... Pretty much, she's our child.
We hate leaving her at home when we go on hikes and long walks.
Therefore it only seems fitting that Cali gets carried around in her new Outward Hound *Outward "Hound" - makes me laugh every time!* that arrived in the mail today.
She loves that her tail and legs hang freely at the bottom! I'm such a sucker for my puppy.....

Too cute, right?

Men At Work

Bryan and Matt cleaning up a spilled RED drink while us girls sit around and gab -- these husbands are keepers!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Queen's Feast

Twice a year Charlotte, the Queen City, hosts a 10 day culinary extravaganza called Queen's Feast aka Restaurant Week. An obscene amount of upscale restaurants participate in Restaurant Week and offer a 3-course prix fixed menu for only $30/person. There are many restarants in Charlotte and the surrounding suburbs that we've wanted to try, but BLT Steak stood out to us. We had heard of the BLT brand, as it is in several large cities across the country AND it's in the Ritz Carlton... so that made our decision easy - BLT Steak it was! $30/person to eat at the Ritz Carlton? A good excuse to get all dressed up and mingle with the posh? Were in! We had a fancy meal and good wine followed by a nice evening walking around the city. Have I mentioned how much we love living in North Carolina?

4th of July

Now I understand why the 4th of July is Bryan's favorite holiday. I mean... family and friends, sun, lake, margaritas, BBQ, no fuss, no dressing up -- pretty much the perfect day!
This year was our first 4th of July being celebrated as a married couple and let me tell you, nothing feels different. And that's a good thing. We had a blast with our friends, and our whole weekend revolved around lake activities. Bryan and I feel so fortunate to live within walking distance to the largest lake in North Carolina. Although you have to drive to most places on the lake, it's really only a 2 minute drive. Everyday we miss California. Everyday. However, we love our life in North Carolina and are just so glad that we made this move to the south. Lake Norman is our new home and we're loving every second of living here.
We had a wonderful 4th of July weekend this year. It began on Friday evening with a free concert in Birkdale Village, which is an adorable shopping area *think a small 'Spectrum'* Our friends live in the apartments above the shops in Birkdale, which is only a 5-10 minute walk from our apartment through a cute housing development. Cali enjoyed her concert on the lawn too! After the concert we all came back to our place to play a board game and cards. Fun night!
The following night we enjoyed fireworks with friends at Queen's Landing on Lake Norman. We arrived much too early and were forced to endure the extreme heat that has set in on this part of the country. Bryan played cornhole while I hid in the shade. There was miniature golf, a dj, BBQ, and tiki hut serving alcohol and, of course, a view of the lake. It was a nice night with friends capped off with a long and powerful fireworks show over the lake.
Sunday was the 4th and we spent the da out on our friends boat with them. Lake Norman has an area called "the sand bar" which mimicks the one in Lake Havasu. It's much smalled, but similar in that people tie their boats to one another and party all day. We spent a good portion of our day in tis area, but mind you, we're not as crazy as we used to be so there was no tying the boat up to other boats *what if it scratched?* or extreme partying *I can hardly drink like I used to* I think the extent of our drinking that day consisted of 1 beer and massive amounts of Crystal Light and water. Bryan, however, did use a noodle as a beer bong at one point -- this was absolutely hilarious! He then had the ride of his life on the tube!
After our fun day on the lake we came back to our place to hide from the sun. Bryan and I put together a BBQ for us and our friends. Thanks to Renee's parents we have one of those Margaritaville margarita machines, so we broke it out and made some margarita's. We then headed back onto the boat that night to watch fireworks from the lake.
4th of July is Bryan's favorite holiday, but he hasn't really been abe to enjoy it these past couple of years. This year was just perfect and he couldn't have been happier! Oh, and we capped the festivities off with a Charlotte Knights baseball game. They played the Durham Bulls, and the Knights kicked butt! We were secretly routing for the Bulls... shhhhh, don't tell anyone................
Birkdale Village concert
Queen's Landing fireworks with friends
Queen's Landing fireworks
4th of July on Lake Norman
Bryan's paddling out to The Sand Bar
Hanging out
Bryan and Cali grilling together
Bryan being Bryan and lighting fireworks in our yard
Knights vs. Bulls baseball game

2 Weeks in Europe

Bryan and I spent 16 days in Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey. Upon arrival into Venice, Italy, we spent the first few days at a charming little hotel just of St. Mark's Square. From there we hopped on a week long cruise down the Aegean Sea. We saw so many things, including the Croatian coastline and Cit Walls, the Acropolis, the 1st modern Olympic stadium, the Virgin Mary's last house and burial site, Ephesis and a gorgeous beach town that served as the capital of Greece not too long ago.
Once off the cruise ship we took a train to Rome. Rome is not what we had expected at all. It is very metropolitan and crowded. Between the traffic and the modern buildings lay the Forum and Colliseum. St. Peter's Basilica took our breath away! It is beautiful and stands out as the tallest point in the city. We climbed the dome for a great view of Rome.
From Rome we took a train to Florence, dropped off our bags at our hotel *ahhm hostel* and hopped back on a shorter train to Pisa. The Leaning Tower of Pisa isn't far from Florence and was a site in itself. We're so glad that we were able to squeeze it into our busy schedule. Back in Florence we ate wonderful food, viewed Michaelangelo's 'David' and walked around the town for hours eating massive amounts of gelato. On our last evening in Florence we walked up the bazillion stairs *good thing I've been doing cardio* to Piazzale Michaelangelo, which provides the most wonderful views of the city, including the Ponte Vecchio and the Renaissance era's Santa Maria Del Fiore. Here we ate at the plaza's cafe and drank a hefty amount of Italian red wine. We watched a storm roll into the city and got rained on for a short time. While sitting in this most lovely spot we realized that 1 month prior to that day we were married. This made that moment and evening just that much more enchanting and romantic. On the way back to our hotel *ahhm hostel* we stopped by a lovely plaza and danced to the street performers music, listened to the children laugh on the carousel and ate *more* yummy gelato. Can you tell we loved this evening? I remember EVERY detail of it!
The following morning we packed up our backpacks and took the train back to Venice, which is where we concluded our trip. We spent the day walking around Venice. That evening, our last evening, we went back to the same restaurant that we ate our first dinner at while on this vacation. It has canalside seating and is off the tourist tracks, so it is calm, quiet and romantic. What a great way to end our 2 week journey through Europe.
Although backpacking through Europe exhausted us, we truly did enjoy ourselves. We have now been married for 2 months and these past 2 months of marriage have been some of the best months of our lives. We can't believe all that we've done and accomplished together already... and it's only just begun.
Venice, Italy - amazing food
Venice, Italy - our favorite canalVenice, Italy - St. Mark's Square
cruise ship
Dubrovnik, Croatia - walking the walls that surround the cityDubrovnik, Croatia - walking the City Walls Athens, Greece - 1st Olympic stadium Athens, Greece - the Acropolis Ephesis, Turkey
Ephesis, Turkey - learning how to make Turkish rugs
Ephesis, Turkey - Virgin Mary's home and burial site (recognized by the Vatican)
Nafplion, Greece
Rome, Italy - the very famous and romantic Spanish Steps
Vatican City - St. Peter's Basilica
Rome, Italy - the colliseumBologna, Italy - en route

Florence, Italy - Piazzale Michaelangelo (1 month anniversary!)Florence, Italy - gelato shop Florence, Italy - Piazza del Duomo
Pisa, Italy - Leaning Tower of Pisa
Venice, Italy - last night

Our Wedding Day - May 22, 2010

What can I say other than spending 2 weeks in the Caribbean ain't too shabby! I mean, spending the week leading up to our wedding with family and friends was more than we could ask for. Our wedding day was magical and memorable for all who were there and our added week in Jost Van Dyke was the cherry on top.
I am unable to describe how blessed and loved we feel. 50 people attended our wedding. 50. That is one of the largest destination weddings our photographer and coordinator had ever seen. Family and friends traveled from all over the country to enjoy some time in the Caribbean and attend our wedding. We really do have the BEST family and friends! Our wedding day was truly a magical day. And now Bryan and I get to annoy each other forever :-)
Following our wedding, we took a ferry to Jost Van Dyke, a British Virgin Island, to decompress and unwind from all of the wedding hoopla. We enjoyed a relaxing week in our beachfront bungalo... sipping on Pain Killers and Bloody Mary's at the world famous Soggy Dollar Bar, kayaking through the Caribbean and eating lobster dinners on the sand. This island is as tiny as they come. Our hotel consisted of 6 huts on the sand. Relaxing doesn't even begin to explain our time on the island -- we felt like we were comatosed... so much so that we left the island a day early to return to St. Thomas for 1 night. The Marriott on St. Thomas was the PERFECT way to end our 2 week stay in the Caribbean -- turns out I'm a resort kinda gal. Shocking, I know! But hey, anyone would have a hard time sleeping without airconditioning and finding lizards in your room!
After coming home from our wedding extravaganza, we quickly unpacked our suitcases, did laundry and began packing our backpacks for our trip to Europe...