Friday, September 17, 2010

Hola from Ecuador!

So today is Show Us Your Life : Living Rooms on Kelly's Korner Blog. I have to admit that when I heard that my husband would be posted in Ecuador, I was a little apprehensive.  I pictured living in a cardboard box with third world amenities.  Luckily, I was totally wrong!  My husband's apartment (I travel there frequently) is beautiful with wonderful views.

  (This is the view of the living room)

The best part of the apartment is the beautiful hardwood floors.  There are minimum decorations since my husband is only posted there for 2 years.  Fortunately, my husband thinks a TV is a decoration!   



(The view from the living room window) 

But who needs decorations when you can open the curtains and see the Cumbaya Valley and a snow capped volcano! 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

25 Things You Didn't Know About Me

I love celebrity gossip.  Yes, I understand how pathetic it is but I'm addicted to Us Weekly and People Magazine.  In Us Weekly, they randomly have a column where celebrities write 25 things that are unknown about them.  Since I'm fairly new at blogging and I'm trying so hard to keep it up with it...I decided to steal their idea.  So here goes...

1) I always start my prayers thanking God for bring my husband into my life.
2) I'm a clean freak who hates being disorganized.
3) For me, the idea of travelling is far more exciting than the reality of it.
4)  I'm a country girl.  I raised pigs and was in 4-H as a kid.
5)  Throughout school, the only book I read was Catcher in the Rye.  I used Cliff Notes for the rest.
6)  I hate reading fiction.
7)  I'm terrified of automatic car washes.  It makes me feel claustrophobic.
8)  I love animals and already have the names picked out for my next cat and dog.
9)  You can trace my family lineage back to King Ethelwulf of England.
10)  Aries is my sign and it fits me perfectly.
11)  My favorite color is purple...all shades.
12)  I make wishes when the clock turns to 11:11. 
13)  I'm trying to visit all place in the song Kokomo.  The only two places I have left are Florida Keys (Key  Largo) and Martinique.
14)  I love country music.  Patsy Cline is from my home town.
15)  I think the beach is the most peaceful place on earth.
16)  I've been watching General Hospital since I can remember.  I use to watch it with my Grandmother.  If my husband wasn't in the picture I would name our son Jagger.  Ha!
17)  My favorite ice cream is chocolate.  I know...I live on the wild side.
18)  I'm a morning person and I don't even drink coffee!
19)  I have a bachelor's degree in Banking & Finance and an MBA. 
20)  My first car was actually a 1988 Dodge Ram 50 truck.  Classy!
21)  I love spending time with my parents.
22)  I have over 90 pairs of shoes.
23)  I was 22 when I first flew on a plane.
24)  Running relaxes me.
25)  I think I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Ramblings!

I can’t believe today is the 1st day of summer. We’ve had countless 90 degree days already! I love summer but the temperature is getting in the way of my daily runs. I’m going to try to get up early tomorrow to run before it gets hot. It’s so much easier said than done.


Next week I am going to visit my DH in Ecuador. I’m so excited to spend the 4th of July with him. My parents are actually flying down with me. My parents have never been the travelling type so I’m really excited for them to get away for a while! We have lots of fun things planned and are crossing our fingers that the weather is beautiful.

I’m working on planning our next vacation. I was thinking Vail or Aspen in the winter. I’m not a huge fan of skiing but I thought it would be fun to see the beautiful snow on the mountains. It’s just an idea. I’m still bound and determined to fit in a European vacation before my husband’s next assignment.

My Monday wasn’t too exciting…just thankful for another day that wasn’t promised to me!

Friday, June 18, 2010

We're Engaged...See Ya in Two Months!

Much like most of our relationship, there are tons of highs (my hubby coming home) to lows (my hubby leaving). Our proposal was no different! My husband was leaving the next day for Iraq for at least 2 months. He had only been home for 3 weeks since his last Iraq post (he is a civilian who works for a government agency). We had talked about marriage and we both knew it was in our cards but it’s hard to plan for the future when you are on separate continents! I always told him that I wanted an uneventful proposal because I really wanted to be surprised. The day before my husband was leaving, I was really sad. It was really hard to watch him pack for a trip when I knew that I wouldn't see him for at least 2 months! I was watching Friends while he was packing. We have a very snarky relationship and we often banter back and forth in a jokingly manner. He stood in front of me and I thought he was kneeling down to get something out of the chest that I was sitting on. My response was "you're not made of glass and I can't see the TV through you" (in a lovingly manner of course!).  I think in mid-sentence I realized what he was doing. I don't even remember saying yes (I guess I did at some point). I just remember having tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Although it was tough saying goodbye to him, it was wonderful having a sparkly ring to remind me of our future!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Product Tips!

Over on Kelly’s Korner, its cleaning tips day! I’m a self-obsessed clean freak and I always try new products in hopes that I will find something that reduces effort and time. Needless to say, I waste a lot of money on products that promise a lot but delivery very little!

These are a few of my favorite cleaning products and tips:


My favorite laundry soap is from Charlie’s (www.charliesoap.com). This stuff is wonderful! It’s hypoallergenic and safe for children. It gets some of the toughest stains out and has a nice refreshing smell. Plus, its only 12 cents for each load! I’ve actually turned a few of my friends onto this detergent. My Mom has a front loader and it works great in her machine too. A quick tip…you can usually find it cheaper on Amazon with free shipping!













I’ve tried plenty of window cleaning products and usually get frustrated by the streaks they leave behind. I’ve tried every tip…use cheaper paper towel, newspaper, etc but I always ended up with streaks. Now I use Dirtex spray. You can buy Dirtex at Lowes and it’s usually in the paint section (not with the cleaning products). Dirtex works wonders on windows and glass. Plus it removes sticky, sticker residue that may be on picture frames, plastic containers, plates, etc.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My new favorite product is Kaboom's Foam-Tastic and can be found at Target, Wal-Mart, or other similar stores.  I have spent tons of time scrubbing my shower to remove soap scum. I’ve bought many products and nothing seemed to make this task easier. Recently my curiosity was peeked by the Kaboom’s commercials. Sure enough…this stuff is amazing! You spray and when it turns white, you simply wipe down. It makes cleaning the tubs and showers so much easier! My only complaint is that the spray can is a little messy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few of my favorite products. Cheers to happy cleaning!
 
 
 




 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hola Quito!!

I just got back from my 3rd visit to Quito.  I made the trip for my husband's b-day.  My in-laws were also visiting at the same time.  We had a great time exploring the city.  One of my favorite things that we did was the Teleferiqo.  It's a cable car that takes you to 13,400 feet with a beautiful view of the city!  Although I was a little uneasy to be on a cable car in an earthquake prone area, it was such an amazing experience.








(You can't see the fear in my eyes!) 

Once we got to the top, you could see for miles.  We actually looked down to see the planes landing at the airport.  I was afraid that the altitude may get to me but it didn't really bother me at all.








(At the top and surrounded by clouds)

We also took a day trip to Otavalo.  This is a small town that has an enormous market.  You can but jewelry, clothes, hats, and many other craft items.  The drive was beautiful although a little scary at times.  This could have been my hubby's driving too! 

Although I'm not a huge fan of Ecuador, I have to admit that it was awesome getting to know the culture and its simplicity! 


















Friday, March 12, 2010

Show Us Your Life: Favorite Charities

Kelly's Korner is hosting Favorite Charities this Friday.  I think giving is so important and I love donating to various organizations!  When my husband and I were married, we agreed that we wanted our guests to donate money to their favorite charities in lieu of gifts.  It was so wonderful to hear about the different charities that received a donation because we got married!  That was truly a celebration!
















(Mikey...my crazy cat!)

The charities closest to my heart always involve animals.  I'm a huge animal lover!  I have to admit that I cry when I see the SPCA commercials.  Its hard for me to understand how someone could mistreat or abuse an animal.  Its amazing to own a pet and experience unconditional love from them.  In our area, we have a wonderful non-profit animal adoption center called Briggs Animal Adoption Center.  These animals are treated with care and compassion.  Its an amazing place to tour and I often laugh that these animals are living at the St. Regis of animal shelters!  I am so happy that there are non-profits out there that are dedicated to helping animals finding wonderful, loving homes!

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Heartless Life!

Over on Kellys Korner, this week's Show Us Your Life topic is Valentine's Dates or Memories.

I have to admit...I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day!  A little known fact about me...I hate the shape of hearts!  Yuck!  Do you know how difficult it is to pick out a V-day card that doesn't display hearts?  So I've never felt the need for my husband to make a big deal out of V-day! 


















(The beautiful thermal pools in front of the heatless rooms!)

Even though we don't really celebrate V-day, my husband always tries to make things special for me.  Recently, on one of my trips to Ecuador, he decided to take me to a thermal spa located in the Andean valley.  The scenary was absolutely beautiful and the spa was amazing.  The room was questionable!  Don't get me wrong...I'm hardly a high maintenance girl...but I do require simple things like heat!!  It was 43 degrees outside and we were trying to stay warm with a small space heater.  We were so cold!  The entire night we were laughing hysterically at the situation.  We left at 6 am so we could get warm in the car. Even though the getaway wasn't what we had planned...I wouldn't have changed a thing about it! 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow, Snow, Go AWAY!!

I've just spent the last 2 days digging out from a massive snowstorm.  We got 30 inches of snow!  It was incredible.  We actually got thunder snow too!  It was so crazy to watch lightning and hear thunder during a snowstorm.  I had to wake up every 3 hours to shovel the front stoop so I could get my door open.  In the midst of the heaviest snow, we were getting between 3-4 inches an hour! 



















(My poor tree in my front yard)















(My front sidewalk)

Through the snowstorm, I was so incredibly grateful to be able to shovel and clear my sidewalks and parking spaces.  Although it was a lot of work, I spent most of my time realizing how grateful I am for all of my blessings!! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My hubby is on his way home!!

In a few hours, I will be picking up my husband at the airport for some much needed time together.  I'm so excited!  We have no plans...well he is going to a MMA fight on Sat night.  I passed on that activity.  Can you blame me?  Maybe we will go to a movie, do a little shopping, and of course go to a nice restaurant!  It doesn't matter what we do...we always manage to find laughter and good times. 
















(My first time in first class.  I dressed up for the occassion! Ha..ha.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Other Apartment

As I have mentioned before, my husband is currently living in Quito, Ecuador.  Quito is the 2nd highest capital in the world with an altitude of over 9,000 feet.  Downtown Quito is typical of most large cities...lots of people, dirty air, and traffic!  Ha.  My husband's apartment is located just outside the city and has wonderful views of Cumbaya Valley. 


(The view from the master bedroom)

Most of the apartments and houses in Quito have a contemporary design.  Since Quito has a tepid climate, there is no heat or air conditioning in houses.  People use small space heaters for those chilly nights.



(The kitchen)

The kitchen has a unique feature that is rare in the States.  It has both an electric and gas stove. 




(The living room)

Since Quito has a high altitude, plasma TVs do not work properly so we were forced to buy LCDs.  Luckily, we were able to get them for a reasonable price at Wal-Mart!

Whenever I arrive in Quito, my husband always buys me roses.  Ecuador grows beautiful roses.  In fact, Valentine's Day in the US is extremely important to the vitality of the Ecuadorian rose industry.  Luckily for me (and for my husband's pockets) roses are cheap in Ecuador.  These roses were purchased for $1 from a street market.  What a deal! 


 

The best part about visiting Ecuador is that it makes me so grateful for all of the blessings in my life! 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank goodness for the internet!

If it weren’t for the internet, I’d have maybe 4 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes! The idea of going to a store and rummaging through racks of clothes is nauseating to me. I even bought my wedding dress online! I just couldn’t handle trying on hundreds of dresses.

My personal favorite is http://www.overstock.com/. They have the best bedding and the reviews from other customers are really helpful. I will never go back to 200 thread count sheets again...especially when I can get 500 for the same price. If you find clothing or shoes on another website but it’s a little pricey, try doing a search on overstock. I’ve found several dresses on Overstock that Macy’s was selling for at least $30 more! Plus, you can’t go wrong with the shipping prices.

I’m a huge fan of shoes, so I’ve fallen in love with http://www.6pm.com/. It’s the online discount store for Zappos. They have the best deals on brand named shoes, clothes, and purses. I’m a big fan of Reef sandals and I can manage to get a few pairs every summer for the same price of one pair in the department stores. The have a fixed shipping rate of $6.95 which is a great deal if you buy multiple items.

My new find is http://www.fifteendollarstore.com/. I actually found this website in a magazine of USWeekly. Most of their clothes are in junior sizes but they have some of the cutest clothes. They also sell girls and boys clothes, shoes, and accessories and everything on their site is $15!

These are just a few of my favorites. Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My not so traditional marriage!

As I mentioned before, my husband is currently living in Ecuador.  Initially, I had every intention of moving there and enjoying the overseas lifestyle.  Like many things in our life,  we called an audible midway through.  Ecuador is a beautiful country but because of the crime and the reality that I would spend my days sitting in an apartment, my husband gave me his blessing to move back to the US.  So that's right...my husband and I live on different continents.  It's a strange lifestyle and I have to admit that it's not for everyone.

We love spending time together and these are some valuable lessons that we have learned: 

#1 - Don't sweat the small stuff.  Before my husband moved, we would sometimes bicker about who got crumbs on the countertop (ok this was my issue) and who left the toilet seat up (guilty...my issue again).  Now we understand how valuable our time is together and we spend the time we do have together  laughing and enjoying life.

#2 - Its all about quality.  Since we don't spend a lot of time together, we make sure that we do fun and exciting things while we are together.  We constantly plan trips and rarely do we stay at home and watch TV (although sometimes this is a nice change).

#3 - We put ourselves first.  This may sound selfish but through my experience, I've learned that we cannot make our husband, kids, or family happy unless we are truly content with ourselves.  There is nothing more satisfying then seeing my husband enjoying life and all of its joys.

We are still navigating through this strange marriage but every day I wake up so happy to be married to an independent and selfless man!  God truly blessed me by bringing my husband into my life! 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Out with the old!

I have to admit...I have difficulties with change.  I like to think of myself as an outgoing person who loves challenges but the truth is that I only like change when it fits into my schedule! Ha.  Recently, my 2001 Honda Accord Coupe has been showing its age.  The alarm would go off when turning on the engine and the conventional way of turning the alarm off would not work.  That's right...to my embarrassment I was driving down the road with the alarm blaring.  A little old man stopped me and told me to press the button on the keychain to turn it off. I understand that he was trying to be helpful but seriously did he not realize that I had tried this method!!   I bought this car straight out of college and its been a wonderful car.  Unfortunately, I hit my 30s and I realized that this car is not practical.  Upon my husband's insisting, I recently bought a new Rav4.  I love it!  Its great to be able to get around in the snow and I love that its loaded with all of the bells and whistles.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to part with my 01 Honda.  There is something about a 5 speed that makes driving fun!  The Rav4 is the first car that I've ever had that is an automatic.  It requires so much more thought for me to drive.  I have to think about shifting into reverse and park!  It sounds crazy, doesn't it?  My husband keeps asking when I'm going to sell my Honda.  I told him I would sell my Honda when he got rid of his dirty, disgusting Padres hat!  It looks like I'll be keeping my Honda for years to come! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Staying slim...my ways to success!

I have to confess...I have always been a small girl but as I tack on years I've learned that it takes more effort to maintain my size.  My most helpful tip is working out while doing daily activities. I'm a huge fan of multi-tasking.  Its amazing how you can incorporate exercise during the day while cooking, cleaning, and other daily chores. For example, my toothbrush has a 2 minute timer so while I'm brushing my teeth I do lunges and squats. While I'm waiting for the timer on the microwave to go off, I'll do jumping jacks or push ups.  I lift weights to tone my arms when I'm watching TV.  I've learned that these simple moves tone you up and help fight off extra pounds. The best part is that there are no gym fees or expensive equipment to buy!  Plus for you fellow cold weather readers...you can do it indoors during the winter.

Cheers to a healthy you!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What does not kill us makes us stronger!

It's so horrible to see the pictures coming from Haiti!  I can not help but feel so much sorry for these individuals. Even though I have never been to Haiti nor do I  know anyone with family there...I can't help but feel a huge connection to citizens.  I have made a donation through the Red Cross and I feel so helpless that I can not do more.  My only hope is that with the world's help, Haiti will find peace after this disaster.

With this tragedy, I want to remind people who travel overseas to please register with the US Embassy before travelling abroad.  You can go to http://www.state.gov/ and register your trip.  By doing this, you are providing the embassy or consulate with contact information in case of a family emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.  You never realize how important this small step is until a disaster occurs overseas.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The holidays are over...bring on spring!



I love the holidays but find myself depressed once they are over!  Why?  Its 24 freaking degrees and we still have at least 2 more months of winter.  That's right...snow, sleet, freezing rain, windchill factors, and days that lack sunshine!  I know many people love winter but I'm not sure why.  To combat my rut, I often spend any money or use any gift cards received over xmas to buy spring/summer clothes.  Yes...I know I am paying full price for these items but it allows me to look forward to the days of barbeques, sunshine, and runs through the park. 

In the meantime, I will continue to dream while doing some retail therapy!  Happy New Year!