Hurricane Earl? Who’s that?

Well, I may have fooled you (or you may have figured it out because it was so gosh darn quiet on the blog last week), but Dr. J and I took a (very-much-needed-and-overdue-by-about-five-years) vacation to the Outer Banks last week!  Oh, and that Hurricane Earl?  Who dey?!!  In fact, the only telltale sign that he came through and dumped buckets of rain was the fact that the pool water was a tinge cool the first few days….are ya jealous?!  What’s hilarious is that I took over 500 pictures, but when you’ve got the camera, you find that you take very few pics of yourselves!  We were too busy cooing over our ridiculously cute (and rambunctious!) two-year old nephews (we call them The ‘Phews for short).  Check out some of this eye candy (and I have not Photoshopped any of these, so what you see is what you get!):

Ahh….I miss those sunsets!  But it’s good to be back sleeping in my own bed….

Portland, Oregon – locals living like tourists…

This past weekend, Dr. J and I decided to take a break from the usual house projects and took a little respite away from the home in our own fair city of Portland, Oregon.  For the first time we were able to take a little R&R for ourselves and pretend to be tourists!  While we wouldn’t normally be all swanky, we did have a good reason: Dr. J’s big 3-0 birthday!  Shhh….don’t tell him I told you!  But don’t worry, just like my 30th birthday from a few months ago (yes, I robbed the cradle), we made sure that he was well cared for on his birthday…

Happy Birthday from The Nines Hotel

We were obsessed with this corner of our hotel room! The marble topped table, the cascading chandelier, the gorgeous wallpaper....to die for!

Only in Portland :-). These guys were good to me...

Still obsessing over the lighting...

Day 2 had us tasting the wares in the Pearl, including 5 separate breads from The Pearl Bakery

We heart architecture

A study in sustainable architecture...

Portland isn't the greenest city in America for nothing!

So there ya have it!  Obviously this is not a post about homewares or DIY, but we were happy to take a “stay-cation” in our own city and live it up by staying in a hotel, taking a culinary tour of our own city, and enjoying the beautiful weather (while it lasted).  I highly recommend living as a tourist in your own city if you ever get the chance….it’s well worth it!

Mad props and thanks to The Nines Hotel as well as The Urban Farmer Restaurant, a sustainable restaurant in downtown Portland!  If you are ever in town, these are must sees!

I left my heart in San Francisco – and my twenties…

“I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved.” – Mark Twain

Christmas is always a busy time of year for everybody, but couple Christmas with a birthday and it’s downright pandemonium!  Hey, I didn’t choose my birthday, but it just so happened to fall smack-dab in between Christmas and New Year’s of ’79 and as my mother has so graciously explained it, I ruined her big plans for a night out on the town that evening – she even borrowed a maternity evening gown from a friend which she never got to wear!  Regardless, the time felt right to celebrate a certain milestone birthday with the hubs, the pupsters, and a beautiful city named San Francisco…

...but first a stopover in Sonoma, CA

Maggie is always popular on road trips, especially with the kiddies

A backlit Golden Gate Bridge

Frontlit Bridge

A ridiculously happy Pup!

Urban landscapes, daring to be beautiful

A visit with my long lost "Uncle Gee" in Chinatown, The Tea Nazi

Rice-a-Roni'n it up in the Streetcar

Sunset over Alcatraz

So there ya have it!  A very worth it drive down to San Francisco to celebrate a certain milestone birthday….oh, and don’t worry, my hubby took care of me for the big day…

Courtesy of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn...

Feelin’ Salty…

…Salt Lake City, that is!

J&L visited Salt Lake City this weekend to celebrate the dynamic duo of birthdays for J’s brothers.  A fun time was had by all, except for when we were in the car – approximately 15 hours each way (we made a stop in Eastern Washington at J’s parents house).  We learned a few things on this road trip.  We learned, for example that when you turn South on 84 from Rupert, Idaho that there aren’t many pit stops between Rupert and Salt Lake City.  That’s why we got this many miles on my 12 gallon tank and nearly had to push it into Snowville, UT – thank goodness for Snowville and my gas-friendly Toyota!

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We also learned that fires on the highway cause backups and that when you roll down the window to take photos of said fire that it…is…very…*hot*!

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Thankfully, nobody was hurt!  We also learned that the UofUtah has a beautiful campus and that with the Wasatch Mountains as a backdrop, SLC is one of the prettiest cities around!  We can’t wait to go back for our ski trip in January!

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Happy birthday, brothers!

Check back throughout this week and next as we *finally* upload pictures on our Photos tab!  Even though we are nowhere close to being done with furnishing, painting, and/or repairing our house, it will be a fun exercise to see where we were, where we are, and where we’re going!

J&L