Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Booked a trip up North

E and I have agreed: this year might be one of our last years to take a big trip together without children. Since we've decided to start trying for a baby, we've realized that our life is going to change more than we ever know. Before that happens, both E and I would love to take one more international trip. Over the last four months we've been throwing around trip ideas, doing research, and coming up with budgets. I'd like to go to China or Thailand, E would like to go back to Italy or visit Norway.

Both of us agreed that all of the above might be a little expensive, with our limited funds. So, we started looking into Canada. We can fly for free with Skymiles to Calgary, rent a car and take a week long road trip into Banff and Jasper National Parks, something both E and I have always wanted to do. Hotels are surprisingly affordable even in the high season and we are happy to eat picnic lunches most days. So, last night, while checking prices one last time we decided to book it! We will be heading to Canada in August for a week among the most beautiful mountains the world has to offer. AND, we decided to splurge just a little and spend two nights in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (again, quite affordable when you book through sites like!).

Here are a few photos of what we have to look forward to. Right now I am grinning from ear to ear, as you can imagine. Happy travels!

Here are three of the nearly thousands of lakes in the Canadian Rockies. All of them are stunning. I imagine we'll have to rent a canoe while we're there.

Like I said, we decided to splurge a little and say here, in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This hotel was built by a railroad tycoon over 100 years ago to try to persuade people to travel to this part of the world. I think it worked.
I'm sure one of the things E and I will do while at the Banff Springs Hotel is to get a day pass to their spa. Looks awesome. From the skylight you might think you were in New York City, but I think that is just one of the towers on the hotel.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fish tacos

I have been craving Mexican food lately, and there are few places that hit the spot like Lone Star Tacos. Lone Star is know throughout Utah for having very authentic Mexican food and the BEST fish tacos found anywhere. Actually, they've been featured in a few national magazines for just that, the best fish tacos anywhere.

Anyway, E and I decided to head to Lone Star for Fish Tacos on Saturday night. I decided to grab my camera because I was upset that I had forgot it earlier in the day, when we went to Lamb's Cafe for breakfast (yep, we went out for breakfast and dinner on Saturday).
The fish changes every day, depending on what's fresh. Today's fish was ahi tuna.

Rainy weekend indoors

E and I spent a rainy weekend indoors. The rain was constant, beautiful, and relaxing. On Saturday we woke up and installed our new rain chain. A rain chain is something we saw in Japan and just loved, it is a string of little funnels that you hang on your gutter. Why hide the site of beautiful falling water in a rain spout when you can watch it? Installing the rain chain was a wet, messy job because our gutter was filled with black dirt. Once we had it installed, however, it was beautiful! Watching the falling water spill through the rain chain and splash over the edges was enchanting. I also stepped outside when the rain quit for a moment to take some photos of my garden. So, here they are:

The rain chain. I like the middle photo the best with the splash rolling off the edge. Pretty!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I have a very special announcement to make, my wonderful sister-in-law got engaged yesterday to her boyfriend Joe. These two have been inseparable for a year and very much in love. Yesterday Joe decided to make it official and ask for Chelsea's hand in marriage. They want to get married June 2010, but I don't think they can hold out that long. ;)

Here is how it happened, in Chelsea's words-

Joe and I spent the day at our favorite spa - it's at a hotel at a ski resort- with a pool and hot tub on the roof. It was foggy and snowy and very romantic. He played it cool the whole time we were there.

When we were ready to leave, I changed out of my swimming suit and went to meet him. My makeup was smeared from swimming and my hair looked awful. He said there was something cool he wanted to show me on the roof. It had cleared up so I thought that we might be going up to look at the fantastic view.

But, that wasn't the case. He proposed and I, of course, said yes. We went home and I prettied up and we went out for a very nice dinner.

And here are two very cute photos of the happy couple. Congratulations Chelsea and Joe!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More time in the garden

The weather in Utah has been lovely this week, just perfect. I invited Connie and Chelsea to join me at Red Butte Garden to enjoy the daffodils on Tuesday and my Grandma invited me to join her at the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point yesterday. There is no better way to spend the afternoon than enjoying the garden.

On Tuesday Connie, Chelsea and I met at a local supermarket and picked up sandwiches and drinks for lunch. We arrived at Red Butte around noon and had a fantastic picnic lunch on the patio looking at the daffodils and the mountains. I brought a couple of dolls along and lots of the photos can be found on Violet's blog. The afternoon was hot and we enjoyed all the paths, trees and gardens.

Yesterday's garden trip started later in the afternoon because we wanted to pick up my cousin Kendra from high school and her friend Maurice before heading to the garden. We arrived at Thanksgiving Point around three and were blown away by all the tulips instantly. Every color, every variety, all planted in beautiful beds with pansies, daffodils and hyacinths. We were awe struck. Plus, the huge size and awesome architectural of Thanksgiving Point kept up interested for a couple of hours. We all chose a favorite flower, mine being a double tulip, and we walked all over the garden. My Grandma knows the names to most of the flowers and we were able to ask her just about anything about the garden.

After a fantastic time we headed back to Salt Lake City where my Grandma hosted a little impromptu pizza dinner party. E arrived after work and we enjoyed cocktails, appetizers and pizza in her garden. It was perfect.
Me, Kendra, Grandma and Maurice

Do you spot any gnomes? Yes, I brought the sister and brother gnome along for a garden adventure!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday in the garden

Yesterday E and I did something we have been dying to do for ages - go to Red Butte Garden and enjoy the daffodils. Red Butte is know for their 150,000 daffodils that bloom each spring, but for weeks it has been rainy, snowy and cold on the weekends! This weekend however was GLORIOUS! On Saturday E and I worked in our own garden, and on Sunday we brought a picnic lunch and our cameras up to Red Butte.

Before we left the house I insisted that we not only both dress in yellow but bring the tripod along. E was hesitant, but I'm glad I persisted. I love this photo of the two of us.
Daffodils as far as the eye can see.
And Alyssum joined us too. Doesn't she look happy that it is finally spring?
I love these daffodils, the look almost like lilies.
And the cherry blossoms were in bloom.
Along with the plum blossoms.
E brought his big lens to the garden and was able to capture these awesome photos:

Stay tuned for lots more garden photos, it was such a great time, I am going to go again with Connie and Chelsea tomorrow. And then on Wednesday I'm going to the tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point with my Grandma and cousin Kendra.

Grandma's most beautiful items

My Grandma is wonderful about keeping herself busy. She works very hard and always has tasks planned, even throughout the gloomy winter months. Last week was as gloomy and wintry as ever, so she asked me to me to help her with a task she has been thinking about for awhile, documenting her most beautiful possessions. My job in all of this was to take photos of many of her items so she could reference the photos in the typed documents. I took dozens of photos, but here are some of my favorite items with their story:

My Grandpa was an incredible artist. Many of the most prized positions of my Grandma’s are original pieces of his. The painting in the middle is one such example. My Grandpa loved oil painting outdoor scenes from his most loved locations. This painting, the last painting my grandpa did in his lifetime, is of Zion Canyon. My Grandma said he worked on this painting for months. He would adjust, scrape off paint, and rework for ages. Finally he was happy, and here is the end result. The carved woman on the table playing a horn was a present from my Grandpa to my Grandma when she graduated college. And the silver lamp is an antique kerosene lamp that my Great Grandma had converted into an electric lamp years ago. The funny old-fashioned shade works perfectly with such an old lamp. The vase, carved wood box, and antique table also have stories, as does everything in the house.
This panel of tiles hangs in the entryway of my Grandma’s house. In all honestly, there are so many lovely things to look at in her home, I’ve never paid much attention to this piece. As we were taking photos of everything my Grandma asked if I knew the story behind these tiles. She said that when my Grandpa was about 35 he was working downtown in a florist shop on South Temple. During that time many of the historic mansions were being torn down making room for more modern buildings. It just killed my Grandpa to watch this, since the treasures inside were being broken and thrown away. So, one night, after all the workers had left, my Grandpa and his dad (my Great Grandpa) sneaked into one of these mansions and took the tiles off of the edging of the fireplace. Many of the tiles were already broken and destroyed, but they took what they could and sneaked back out. These are those tiles. This type of behavior was not a lone incident, there are many things my family enjoys that were taken from homes that were being demolished, this is just one very telling example. In addition to painting, etching and watercolor, my Grandpa also loved stained glass. There are five original pieces throughout the house that my Grandpa created. Each one is huge, taking up an entire window and spreading colored light everywhere. This one hangs in the bedroom, and, like his painting above, was his last piece he did before he died. The design was of his own vision, and each piece of glass and each strip of lead was placed by him, he had no help. It is a little hard to see in this photograph, but the entire piece is edged in gold glass. After my Grandpa died my Grandma decided to paint the bedroom in the same warm gold, giving the feeling of warmth and summer. It is lovely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April snow

It is not unusual for Utah to get snow in April, May and even June. But this year I have spring fever worse than ever. I want to garden, want to plant, want to stretch my legs outside and take walks in the warm sun.

Today however? This is a photo I took out of our office window only moments ago.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter weekend 2009

What a memorable weekend. I love Easter. This year we were hoping for fantastic spring weather but instead we got snow, rain, and wind, which in Utah is quite springy. Finally on Easter Sunday we got some sun though! E took Friday off of work and we headed down to the farmhouse.

It was cold and yucky outside so instead of going on a drive, going on a walk or even doing anything outdoors, E read for awhile and I took a hot bath. Chelsea, Joe and David showed up later that evening and we did our customary egg dying experiments in the farmhouse kitchen.
On Saturday we woke up to snow - the wet, cold and very drippy snow we get in spring. We all wanted to go get breakfast at the best place in town, a little ‘50s dinner on Main Street called the Dairy Freeze. We ordered hot breakfasts and the guys mostly talked video games.

That afternoon the skies still didn’t clear and E and I were getting sick of sitting in the farmhouse wrapped up like it was the middle of winter. We decided to go for a little drive and had some great luck spotting some neat birds. There was an entire flock of black and yellow birds that were beautiful! I still need to look up the type. We also spotted a kingfisher near the river, quite an unusual sighting here in Utah! Plus, almost all the sheep down there already had babies, and they are always fun to see. We had a great time and didn’t even mind the rainy weather.

Later that afternoon Connie and Steve (E’s parents) both arrived at the farmhouse. We cooked and sat down to an awesome dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes in E’s dutch oven, asparagus, rolls, deviled eggs, and macaroni salad with white chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Everyone was extremely happy and we laughed and talked and laughed some more. By the end of the night we were all overly full and tired.

On Sunday morning (Easter!) we woke up to more wet and dreary skies. Connie (aka The Easter Bunny) had prepared fantastic Easter baskets for us. Each was spilling over with candies, treats and chocolates. We made a quick breakfast of hash, cleaned up and headed home. There were lots of other Easter things we needed to get to throughout the day.

We arrived home at noonish (to clear blue skies and sun!) and E jumped in the shower while I called my grandma in New York. After E was done we made a few other important calls and headed up to E’s family’s house for the annual hunt! Steve always does and amazing job putting on a scavenger hunt every year. Not only are the clues funny and clever, they are also often so tricky that five adult children have a very difficult time figuring them out. This year the hunt lasted two plus hours because of some very tricky clues. In the end we found our treasure in something that is “green by being blue”. Hmmm… what could that be? We finally figured it out, the large blue recycle bins!

Here is the first clue... hmmm....
Treasure found!
After the wonderful hunt E and I headed over to my Grandma’s for another Easter feast. We started out having cocktails and appetizers and I even had a little present for everyone. Then we headed outside where my grandma had hidden eggs in her beautiful garden and my mom had hidden treats. We laughed and joked as everyone hunted for eggs in the ivy, tulips and rocks. Soon E and I also found an Easter platter my mom had hidden with even more treats to devour.

We went back inside and continued with our appetizers while my grandma prepared a fantastic dinner. We had ham, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, asparagus, salad, orange rolls and strawberry cake for dessert. We laughed and talked well into the evening, and overall had a wonderful time.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Saturday the fun continues

E and I often joke how funny it is that I was born on April 3rd and his mom was born on April 4th. What is also weird, is that E and my mom both share a birthday month, yet they aren’t just a day apart. Anyway, because every year the day after my birthday it is my Mother-in-law's birthday, the fun always continues. On Saturday we joined E’s family at Royal Indian, another favorite restaurant, to have a Indian feast and open presents.

At 6:30 we arrived hungry and excited to be together. We ordered drinks and appetizers and joked about everything under the sun. Soon we began to open presents and I was delighted to get even more fantastic goodies. I got two lilac bushes that bloom all summer (a new variety!), a Home Depot gift card, a Millcreek Garden gift card, the entire set of Twilight books (yea!), and lots of other wonderful things. Connie (E’s mom) got lots of things she had been hoping for too including a new American Girl doll, a few doll accessories and a really neat pirate book.

Soon the food arrived and we all dug into our favorites, chicken and shrimp kurma, biryani, curry, allo mutter, naan, and more. We ate and ate and laughed about everything. Soon we were stuffed and all piled into the cars and headed to E’s family’s house for a fantastic dessert, lemon bunt cake. We laughed and talked some more, and a lucky few were able to finish their cake while the rest of us complained about how full we were. It was another fantastic evening.
Related Posts with Thumbnails