Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A First Taste of Fall ...

I know that autumn doesn't officially start until this Friday (Sept. 23), but I caught a glimpse of it this weekend when Peter and I went canoeing in Seneca Creek State Park.

I was so excited to see that little bit of red foliage! Fall's a'comin' :)
 Except for the persistent cloud cover, this weekend's weather was great - temps in the 60s every day! I wore my first long-sleeved shirt and fleece jacket of the season :)

I haven't been canoeing since our St. Mary's 7th grade (or was it 6th grade?) class trip to Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky (where my friends and I were stuck on the lake for hours since none of us could figure out how to paddle back to shore!) so we thought it best if Peter handled the steering (very capably too - I might add).

I became quite the nature photographer on this trip. I expect National Geographic to be calling me with job offers any minute now :)

This crane (or heron? I never know the difference between the two) let us get really close to him and never flew away. It must be because of my awesome photography skills and Peter's awesome steering :)
 If you look really closely, you can see two really cute, little wood ducks standing on that log in the water. And yes - the water around the log is fairly disgusting - partly from algae and partly from garbage that people have chosen to decorate the lake with (Seriously, people! Find a trash can!)
We call these "the ducks that kind of have heads and necks like snakes," but I'm pretty sure that's not their real name :) These guys were very nervous as we approached but tried their hardest to pretend to be cool with it!
I'm looking forward to other fall activities - long hikes in the woods, apple picking, a trip to the pumpkin patch, etc. And, of course, sipping my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks of the season :) What are you looking forward to this fall? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Beach!

Wow! It's been awhile since I've last posted, and there's good reason for that, I promise :) Peter and I were on vacation last week and didn't have internet access at the place where we stayed. And I haven't had internet access for most of this week because some fiberoptic cable decided to break somewhere and severed our connection. Cue severe internet withdrawl symptoms for me :) Just kidding - it hasn't been that bad, but I am excited to blog about our vacation to Panama City Beach and share some pictures finally!

Peter and I flew down to Panama City Beach, FL, last week to meet my parents (who drove from Memphis) for a week at the beach. We rented a condo here - the Majestic Beach Towers - on the 14th floor. All of the condos here are directly on the beach and have fantastic views :)

Growing up, my family always vacationed on the Gulf Coast, usually in Destin, FL (a.k.a. "Little Memphis" - the entire city vacations here in the summer :) ), and this was the first time that I had been back since high-school. I had kind of forgotten how beautiful it is!

We chose to stay in Panama City Beach since the major airport for the area is there and since I have a cousin who just moved there, and while PCB used to be called the "redneck riviera," let me tell you that PCB ain't what it used to be :) There are still quite a few airbrush T-shirt shops and 24-hour tattoo places, but the newer condo buildings and houses are really nice. There are also some great new shopping places, like Pier Park, which have more upscale stores and restaurants.

You certainly can't tell from this picture which was taken later in the trip, but when we first arrived, Tropical Storm Lee was brewing off the coast and on our first full day in FL she hit, bringing rain and plenty of wind. Certainly not evacuation conditions, but certainly not nice beach conditions! We did get to see some pretty awesome waves, though :) After that one day, we had wonderful weather; I think September is one of the best times to be at the beach (if you can manage to avoid hurricanes/tropical storms!) - warm but not super hot, very low humidity, and clear waters.

As Peter is demonstrating in the above picture, there were sandbars out in the ocean that you could swim to and stand on. He's fairly far out but in waist-deep water.

Our condo was very "beachy" and cute with lots of pink and green which I loved! How fun would it be to decorate a beach place :)

We celebrated my birthday while we were there, and I woke up to a sweet sign that Peter had "inscribed" in the sand for me :)

We went to dinner at an old-time fave, Captain Anderson's. Capt. Anderson's is one of those old-fashioned seafood restaurants where all of the waitresses have worked there for at least 20 years, there's a lot of wood and nautical decor, and the bartender knows how to make the best cocktails. They also broadcast the nautical forecast in the restrooms :)

We had Publix cupcakes for dessert (the best!) and ice cream.

We also took a side trip to Seaside, FL, (the planned community where The Truman Show was filmed) which I had wanted to see for awhile. It's just as cute as in pictures! I think this is where we will want to vacation the next time we go to FL :)

Is it time to go on vacation again? :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Peter's 30th Birthday :)

My husband turned 30 recently, and we had a small party for him with some of our closest friends :) Peter usually does not like any kind of attention for his birthday and has actually kept the date of his birth a secret from friends for years because he didn't want any hoopla. Since he was turning 30 this year, however, I convinced him that it was time to celebrate. I had a good time planning the festivities, and I think that everyone had a good time at the party. Peter especially had fun, and I suspect that it might not take as much convincing next year to throw a little shindig for him :)

I, being the forgetful photographer that I am, forgot to take any pictures of the actual party (which I'm quite sad about) - probably because I was having such a good time with our friends! I did remember to take pictures, though, of the set up for the party so here's what it looked like when the guests arrived.

This was the dining room table ready and waiting for the dinner buffet to be set. I was so happy that I was able to buy white hydrangeas for the arrangements!

Coffee table arrangement. As you can see, we are well-stocked with board games and always ready for a party :)

Our very small dessert buffet (not including his birthday cake which I brought in later).

This was my first time making glazed sugar cookies and I think that they turned out well! Peter loves mint and chocolate and toffee/almonds and chocolate so those were our candy choices for favors. I was very excited to use some of my Willow House glass serving pieces for the first time (Thanks, Callie!)

Peter's favorite color is green so that was the main color of the night, but I also threw some white and brown in to give some variety (and because those seem like "manly" colors!). It was really difficult to find matching green party supplies, though; there are so many shades of green!!!

At first I had wanted to go all out and have colored poms hanging from the ceiling, "Happy Birthday" banners everywhere, etc., etc., but then I thought that that might not look very masculine and I didn't want to overwhelm/embarrass my husband. I think I'll just have to wait until we have kids to go overboard for birthday parties :)