taking stock | november

Taking Stock November

Making: Lists. Lots of lists. I’ve realized that the only way I can accomplish anything is to write it down. But speaking of writing things down… The awesome people at Colorvale are sending me the Photographer’s Planner and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! I’ve never been so excited about a planner.

Cooking: I’ve had great luck with Pinterest lately. My current favorite is this minestrone soup recipe by Chef in Training and this Louisiana chicken pasta.

Drinking: Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon and peppermint tea. Simultaneously, usually.

Reading: Way too many books. I’ve spent $120 in Kindle books in October and November (gasp!) and B wants to murder me. That’s what happens when you travel to and from Peru, and take a random road trip to Florida. But, I highly recommend the Legend and Shatter Me series to everyone. And I highly recommend visiting your local public library so you don’t find yourself in my predicament.

Wanting: To put up our Christmas tree but I suppose I’ll wait until after Thanksgiving. Although we already have our Christmas lights and wreath up… along with our Thanksgiving pumpkins.

Looking: Forward to seeing my little sister on Friday. We’re going to watch old Grey’s Anatomy Episodes, take pictures of Brandon while he’s sleeping, and consume way too much sugar.

Playing: “Mess Is Mine” by Vance Joy because my Starbucks app told me to download it. It’s good!

Deciding: If I should renew my dogs’ BarbBox subscription. Their toy box is overflowing which is sad really.

Watching: New episodes of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hill. I can’t quit this train wreck.

Enjoying: This weather. Instead of sweating like a man, I’m perfectly content in a sweater and light jacket. Bring on the snow.

Waiting: To try and shave Ollie again tonight (super glamorous). We can’t take him to a groomer because he’s insane, and the last time we brought him somewhere to have his nails trimmed, he acted as if I was going to hit him… for an entire week. He has issues but he’s my evil baby.

Liking: Photo books by Artifact Uprising. I want to make mini travel books!

Artifact Uprising Photo Books

Wondering: About next week’s episode of Homeland.

Loving: The RIFLE PAPER Co. “Bon Voyage” collection. Their notepads are adorable.

Hoping: To book more 2015 weddings! I’m also hoping that my Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t taste like ass.

Marvelling: At the sheer number of pimples on my forehead. I’m completely mind blown.

Needing: More caffeine. This list is taking forever.

Smelling: Bath & Body Works fall candles and my chestnut praline latte from Starbucks. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Wearing: Loft sweaters. They’re the best.

Following: Lots of London bloggers. I’m not sure when this happened, but anyway, they have nice clothes.

Noticing: The teeth marks on our blinds. Damnit, Ollie.

Thinking: About giving Malcolm and Ollie baths. We had apple pie and ice cream a few nights ago and gave each dog their own bowl because we’re weird. Now the boys have crusty beards.

Admiring: My parents. They’re pretty awesome.

Buying: Nothing. I’m on a spending freeze because of my Kindle incident. I’m sorry I read so fast Brandon. Geesh.

Getting: Ready to foster dogs again. The application is filled out and I’m ready to fall in love and ugly cry at adoption events.

Bookmarking: Whenever I’m in a bad mood I watch this video. You should bookmark it too.

Disliking: Photos of body parts adorned with lotus seed pods. They’re always floating around my Facebook feed and make my skin crawl. Please stop.

Snacking: On capers. My love knows no bounds. I’ve been putting them in pasta, sandwiches, even salsa. Help.

What have you been up to lately?


Filed Under: Lifestyle21 Comments

jefferson hotel dc

Jefferson Hotel DC

My husband and I are obsessed with nice hotels — probably because we’ve accidentally booked stays at some really nasty ones in the past. Like the time we booked a one-night stay at a chain hotel near the London airport and a bunch of ladybugs dive-bombed from the hallway ceiling and smacked me in the glasses as I screamed bloody murder. Or that time in Colorado when we needed a place to crash after driving all day in an attempt to make it to Arizona in a timely fashion — ’cause when is a cross-country road trip ever a good idea? That hotel, though. The towels and sheets were yellow, and I sat there attempting to solve the puzzle… were they supposed to be a shade of yellow or had they turned yellow after many years of use? Who knows, but I used Malcolm as a pillow and didn’t shower the next morning because drying off my body with a yellow threadbare towel wasn’t something I was interested in. So, we like nice hotels. Hotels with beds so plush you want to stay in all day and order room service, and hotels with white linens. You can bleach white linens and that’s good.

The Jefferson Hotel DC is one of those really nice hotels.

Jefferson Hotel DC
Jefferson Hotel DC
Jefferson Hotel DC
The Jefferson Hotel

The Jefferson is a 95-room luxury boutique hotel located in downtown Washington, DC and the rooms are elegant and comfortably furnished. We had the chance to stay there a few months ago and if someone offered me the chance to reside there permanently, I’d take them up on that offer in a heartbeat — especially because of the award-winning restaurants and because of the custom treatments at the hotel spa. Yes, please.

Best DC Restaurants
Jefferson Hotel Dining
Luxury Boutique Hotel
Hotels in DC

But back to the rooms. The beds were wonderful and we loved the robes and slippers the hotel provided. The rooms were clean and the furniture made me happy because it was elegant and that’s exactly what hotels in Washington, DC should look like.

Washington DC Hotel
Best Hotels Washington DC
DC Boutique Hotel

And the best part: they’re pet friendly! Dogs staying at The Jefferson receive their own dog beds, bowls, and treats, and owners will get information regarding nearby dog-walking routes and other pet friently places around the city. They even have their own dog mascot named Lord Monticello or Monti (cute, right?) and he’s been living at The Jefferson since January 2014 which I think is completely adorable. We thought about bringing Malcolm and Ollie to this pet friendly DC hotel; however, we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves since they’re evil and horribly behaved. Maybe next time… or after some extensive training.

Have you ever stayed at The Jefferson? You should!

The Jefferson DC
1200 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036


Filed Under: Hotels, Sleeps and Eats, Washington DC14 Comments

barbados holidays

Barbados holidays have been popular with couples, families and groups on tour for as long as air travel has been affordable. Why? Well, the scenery is eye-poppingly gorgeous, the culture is varied and interesting and Bajans have a reputation for being fun and friendly.

For me, it’s been a dream destination for a long time and my top choice for a Caribbean getaway. There are several reasons why I think this small sovereign island sets itself apart, and I want to write about why I think Barbados would make the perfect holiday destination for anyone.

Barbados Holidays

Firstly, let’s do some geography: Barbados is a coral island set where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean sea. These waters are warm just about the whole year round, and Barbados holidays boast some of the world’s most spectacular diving. But the natural beauties of the islands aren’t limited to the coast. The core of the Barbados is made up of caves and underground lakes, formed from coral sediment. That may not sound like much, but they’re a huge tourist pull, not only because they form a network of lakes and waterfalls, but because you can see the changing nature of these caves through the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. Harrison’s cave is the most famous of these amazing underground spaces and has scores of visitors every year.

Though the island is primarily flat, if you are keen on hiking like I am, Barbados does have some higher terrain. The island comes to its highest peak at Mount Hillaby, and if you make the hike, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic sea views from the most scenic lookout in the country.

I’m also a sucker for history, and Barbados has lots of it. There are plantation tours that go into the history of rum, a delicious sugar cane liquor we can thank the Bajans for inventing.Unsurprisingly, being the home of rum, means that Barbados is also renowned for its nightlife. With quiet rum shacks for soaking in the culture and chic clubs for those wanting to hit the dance floor, you can spend the night how you choose.

Visit Barbados

Lastly, I’d have to say one of the biggest pulls for me, is the food. As a lover of seafood, Barbados is like a culinary dream. With all the seafood brought in locally, you can really get a flavour of Barbados. Traditionally, these dishes are served with cou-cou, made with cornmeal and okra, or green bananas and breadfruit.

Imagining myself sitting on the shore, eating seafood freshly caught,topped off with a delicious rum cocktail and a sunset view to die for, I cannot think of a place more suited to the word ‘paradise’ than Barbados.

Have you ever been to Barbados?

+ Images 1 | 2

This post was contributed by First Choice. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.


Filed Under: Sponsored Post, Travel13 Comments

maras salt mines in peru

Visit the Maras Salt Mines and Ponds

We had the opportunity to take a wonderful half-day tour to the Maras salt mines in Peru, and I must say, seeing salt being harvested by local workers was something my husband and I will remember for a long time. You wouldn’t think that a tour of salt production would be anything to write home about, but the combination of the mountains and patchwork look of the salt ponds was really unique. Plus, the bus ride down was the most terrifying 30 minutes of my life so there’s that. Let’s just say I’m glad I waited to google “Peru bus crashes” until after we had arrived back at the hotel, safe and sound.

Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Mines
Peru Salt Ponds
Peru Salt Mines

Salt water springs feed the pools and during the tour, our guide kept telling us to dip our hands into the narrow, rushing rivers. He explained that the water should taste sweet like ice cream, but it was basically potent salt water. Being that I love to douse all of my food in salt — glorious salt! — I could have submerged my entire face and stayed there for a while, but that’s probably weird. We actually saw a little Peruvian girl dip her entire Coke bottle into the spring and fill it up to the brim, so hopefully she didn’t get too dehydrated later on…

Peru Salt Ponds Cusco
Peru Salt Tour
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt
Peruvian Salt Mines
Peruvian Salt Ponds

After wandering around the area and taking plenty of photos of the Peruvian salt, it started to rain and our thoughts automatically shifted to the bus ride back to the top of the mountains. When all of the roads consist of dirt and gravel and are as narrow as a small vehicle, an old bus taking a sharp turn during a downpour should seriously be illegal. Luckily the rain tapered off while we were purchasing bags of flour salt and pink salt (flour salt floats on top of the ponds and rose salt is underneath), then we snacked on massive kernels of corn, covered in salt, of course. And survived the ride back up.

Best Peru Tours
Cusco Salt Mine Tour
Cuzco Salt Tour

As you’ve probably realized from this post, I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I’m also a firm believer that you should step out of your comfort zone when you travel. Yes, I wanted to cry and scream and punch Brandon in the face while I was a passenger on that death trap (dramatic much?), but terrifying bus rides are basically inevitable no matter where you go. I rode up to Hitler’s Eagle Nest on a bus that enjoyed playing chicken with the edge of the summit, Brandon and I booked a horribly scary bus tour up to Delphi, Greece, and Machu Picchu required a bus ride, too. So. Many.

Are you afraid of anything when you travel?


Filed Under: Peru, Travel40 Comments