2013 Retrospective

Just like last year, I have created a Videogram via Shutterfly, documenting my adventures throughout the year.  I really love making these.  The craziness of the holiday season tends to force you to live in the moment.  But in making this retrospective video, it encourages me to reflect on all that has happened this year.  This has been a mostly happy year for me, and I am really looking forward to what’s in store for 2014.

Best wishes to you for a very happy 2014!

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Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary, I thought I would share some of the pictures we took during our recent visit to Animal Kingdom.  One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing the tigers up and active!  Every time I haved visited them in the past, they have been fast asleep in the shade.  They were stalking each other and playing together.  So cute!

 

Wishing You a Happy New Year

I will be away from the blog for a few days, but I thought I would post one last message for the year before signing off.  I hope to have lots to share when I get back!

2012 has been an amazing year for me and Tadd, and I decided I wanted to make a keepsake of all of the happy times I shared with friends and family over the past year.  I decided to try out Shutterfly’s Videogram feature.  You basically select a group of photos or video clips, choose a display style and music, and it puts together a really cute video slideshow for you.  Once the video is to your liking, you can purchase the digital file in one of 3 different resolution types.  I chose the middle option for $4.99 and think it was well worth the price.  I was able to save the video file to my laptop, share it on Facebook, and post it to YouTube.  So far everyone has loved it, and I told Tadd that it would be fun to do one of these each year.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!  Here’s to 2013!  See you next year!!!

P.S. Above opinions regarding Shutterfly and their Videogram product are 100% my own.  Not being compensated in any way.

Fall in the Northeast

I am back from my trip to Albany, NY for my cousin’s wedding.  Despite some cloudy skies and a little bit of rain, the weather was beautiful, and we really enjoyed the autumnal atmosphere and cooler temperatures.  We had one day to go sightseeing before we let the wedding madness take over, so we made the most of it with a drive from Albany to Cooperstown and back, making a few stops along the way.  The leaves were just starting to turn, so our drive was quite scenic, and we took a ton of pics.

I know this fall tradition stuff can sometimes border on cliche for a lot of you in other parts of the US, but for us Central Floridians, this is pure novelty and so much fun!  As a matter of fact, believe it or not,  Tadd (who was born and has lived his entire life in Florida) had his very first EVER apple cider doughnut on this trip!

A photo walk in World Showcase

Tadd and I were finally able to get back to Walt Disney World this past weekend.  Disney’s summer season is officially over and Tadd’s seasonal pass was no longer blocked out, so we took advantage and went to Epcot.  We were especially interested in working more with our new camera.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate at first, and it was drizzly and rainy for most of the morning and into the afternoon.  Which was nice for crowds (the park was almost empty when we got there!), but not so great for taking photos.

We had lunch reservations at Le Cellier, which is the extremely popular sit-down restaurant in the Canada pavilion, so we decided to wait and see what the weather was like when we were done eating.  First of all, holy crap was Le Cellier good!  It was our first time dining there, and I had to get us reservations back in May because it’s always booked months in advance.  I was very curious to see if it lived up to the hype.  We had a great, really fun waitress, and they even had my favorite Canadian beer, La Fin Du Monde.  I’m not really a steak person, but Tadd kept rolling his eyes back into his head while enjoying his wild mushroom filet.  I had the pork chop and the sauce it was served with was delicious.  But my favorite part was the pretzel bread they brought out at the very beginning.  Soooo good!  Tadd also really enjoyed the cheddar cheese soup (which is one of their signature items).  We both walked out stuffed.

When we left Le Cellier, the weather was starting to clear up.  So we decided to proceed with our day, which included a visit to Captain EO (which I had not seen since I was probably about 6 years old), watching the movie in France, and trying out the wonderful new wine bar, Tutto Gusto, in Italy.  We took photos all along the way.  Here are some of my favorite shots.

A walk in the park (with our new camera!).

Tadd and I have been talking a LONG time about getting a DSLR.  It’s especially important to me now because of my blog.  I feel that a better camera and better pictures will make my posts that much more enjoyable.  We took the plunge yesterday and got a great deal on a Nikon D3100 bundled with a 55-200mm lens!  We are both so excited about our new toy that we got up early this morning to test it out on Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.

 

Boston in Photos

I am back from Boston and miss it already!  This is the first time in about a year and a half that I haven’t had a trip to New England in the works, and I’m sad!  We first started planning my August 2011 trip to Boston/Vermont (where I was really just a tag-a-long with my parents who were headed up for a wedding) back in November 2010, and before I even took that trip, I knew I would be coming back for this trip in April 2012.

Our main reason for this trip was my grandmother’s 90th birthday!  My dad’s entire side of the family was in attendence, which is a rarity.  All of my cousins on that side got together the night before and it was so nice to spend time with family and catch up.  We also spent one day doing the tourist thing in Boston, and spent time visiting other relatives while we were in town.

I took a ton of pics, but compiled the ones I took from Instagram to share with you!

UPPER LEFT: Our plane touched down to a dreary day (the only rain we experienced during the trip).

UPPER RIGHT: Boston skyline from the Avis car rental lot.

LOWER LEFT: TD Garden celebrating the Bruins in the NHL playoffs.

LOWER RIGHT: Brooksby Farm is a historic farm extremely close to one of the houses I lived in as a child.  I used to ride my bike from our house to the farm when I was 7 or 8, and we used the fields and hills for kite-flying in the spring and sledding in the winter.  It’s mostly an apple orchard, but they have expanded to grow other fruits and even some animals.

UPPER LEFT: Dormant apple orchard at Brooksby Farm.

UPPER RIGHT: A seal on the outside of the Brooksby animal barn.  Peabody is the town where I grew up.  Both Peabody and Danvers used to be part of Salem before they became their own towns.

LOWER LEFT: A newspaper dispenser for the Salem newspaper.  I love how everything in this area has witches on it!

LOWER RIGHT: My Great Uncle Rudy makes his own anisette, and when we visit, he always encourages us to have a shot or two of it.  The recipe has been passed down through generations.  He also makes wine!

  UPPER LEFT: One night we visited Kowloon, which is a big, fun tiki-bar-style Chinese food place.  Boston has THE BEST Chinese food!

UPPER RIGHT: Map of the T (subway), from the beginning of our day in Boston.

LOWER LEFT: The gates of Harvard University!

LOWER RIGHT: Old South Church off of Copley Square.

UPPER LEFT: During our day in Boston, we decided to forgo paying the fee to get to the observation deck of the Prudential Tower, and opted to have a drink at the bar at the Top of the Hub restaurant on floor 52 of the tower.  Same view, no cover charge, and we get a beverage too!  I had a strawberry basil lemonade and it was delicious!

UPPER RIGHT: The guestbook table for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party.  I bought the letters pre-painted from JoAnn Fabrics to spell her name, and decoupaged floral scrapbook paper onto them.  They got lots of compliments!

LOWER LEFT: Our last evening, we spent shopping for souvenirs at the mall and ended up at Legal Seafood in Burlington.

LOWER RIGHT: At Legal Seafood, Tadd ordered a drink special called a Watermelon Crush (you can see it in front of him in the pic on the left).  It was made only of muddled fresh watermelon and vodka and it was DELICIOUS.  We had some time to kill after dinner, so we sat at the bar to watch the Celtics game, and I just had to order one for myself.  I will be trying to make this drink on my own this summer for sure.

UPPER LEFT: The shirt I picked out during our shopping trip as my souvenir.  Go Sox!

UPPER RIGHT: Our day of departure was also Foursquare Day.  On Untappd (which is a location-based app for beer lovers), you got a special badge for checking into a beer and pushing your location to Foursquare.  When we had time to kill before our flight, we decided to earn our Foursquare Day Untappd badges with some preflight Wachusett beers.  Blueberry for me, Green Monsta IPA for Tadd and my brother.

LOWER LEFT: One last glimpse of the skyline from our departure gate at the airport.  I love that Logan Airport has such nice views, so that this is the first and last thing you see when you arrive and depart Boston.

LOWER RIGHT: Self-explanatory.  Taken from my seat on our way home.