A Jumble of Thoughts and Goings-On…Brought to you by Hurricane Sandy

It’s a very quiet day around here today.  At work, most of our clients and colleagues are based in NYC, so many of them are quite understandably spending the day preparing for Hurricane Sandy and not concentrating on sending me stuff to do.  Nice change of pace for the day, but it can get a bit boring.  However, I am definitely thinking about all of my many family, friends, and colleagues who are dealing with this Frankenstorm.  Please stay safe, all you North-easterners!  Having been through the Florida hurricane-palooza of 2004 (Charlie/Frances/Ivan/Jeanne), I know it can be scary!

We were not planning on dressing up for Halloween this year, which would have been kind of sad.  But a friend of ours put together a last-minute party about a week in advance, so we had to scramble to figure out costumes!  We decided to do the reverse of what we did 5 years ago.  In 2007, I was an angel and Tadd was a devil.  This year, I got to be the devil!  And Tadd was an angel (although let’s be honest, he’s no angel…ha!).  I reused his pitchfork and the red cape from my Little Red Riding Hood costume from last year and found a $5 set of horns, bow tie, and tail.

Here we are in 2007:

And here we were last Saturday (sorry about the poor quality…as you can see from my friend’s reflection behind us, it was taken with a phone in dim lighting):

Tadd and I went on a date night to one of our favorite Park Avenue dinner spots last night, but beforehand I was able to convince him to take me to JoAnn Fabrics!  I spent way more than I should have, but I got all kinds of stuff to make a few Christmas presents, and what I hope will be a Thanksgiving wreath.  So stay tuned!

I did get started on a new sewing project last night, but something in my sewing machine malfunctioned and it just was not working correctly.  Tadd is going to try to fix it tonight.  I hope so, because I was almost finished with what I was working on.  It was frustrating to be so close to finishing without being able to finish.

And in the spirit of Halloween, I will leave you with this:  At work, one of the executives’ wives is an amazing baker.  Their family had a Halloween party over the weekend and the leftovers were brought to our company breakroom for us to share.  Incredible!  There is a brownie graveyard, a haunted castle cake, a huge cauldron of candy, adorable cupcakes, etc.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I took one of the cupcakes and a chocolate oreo kitty.  How cute are these?  That little knife in the “bloody” cupcake is actually a tiny cookie!

A day at Animal Kingdom

One of the things I love about this park is that it can be a totally different experience each time. The animals are never in the same spots doing the same thing twice, so you’ll never know what you might see!

It’s also seemingly the hottest of all the parks. Maybe it’s all the extra foliage trapping in the heat & humidity? All I know is that I won’t likely be returning until it is much cooler. The bonus of attending Animal Kingdom on a cooler day is that the animals always seem more active when it’s cooler.

Buy all the things!

I had promised myself that I would pull out all my fall & Halloween decor last night, but I got something in the mail that I had been waiting for, so that derailed me for the evening.  However, I have now re-promised myself that TONIGHT will be the night!  Tadd and I stopped by JoAnn Fabrics on the way home from work yesterday and it was Halloween-palooza!  They have some freakishly adorable Halloween stuff.  I wasn’t as keen on their fall stuff this year, but they had one aisle where I seriously wanted to BUY ALL THE THINGS!

I bought a few items, but will probably go back for more.  And I need to stop by Dollar Tree.  Even though I REALLY don’t need anymore Halloween decor.  I think I have a problem.  I started shopping for this season hoping for more fall stuff and less Halloween, but for some reason I am always drawn to the Halloween stuff.  Go figure…

I didn’t buy any of this stuff, but I wanted to!

I also bought some fall fabric, which I am HOPING to turn into something pretty.  My idea is simple, but since I am still fairly new to sewing, I sometimes worry that constructing something very simple on my own (without a tutorial) will still conclude in failure.  But I don’t know until I try, so I suppose we will see.

I bought about $54 worth of stuff, but only paid $18 out of pocket, thanks to my favorite shopping combo: sales + coupon + giftcard (I still had $10.78 left on one card from my birthday).  Tadd was impressed with how much stuff we got for so little.

All that rambling to tell you that hopefully I will be able to share my new purchases, and some of my old items in new ways starting tomorrow!  Bring on the fall decor!

A beautiful day full of love.

As a follow up to my last post, I thought I would share some of my favorite pics from the beautiful wedding we attended on Sunday!  It took place at the Dr. Phillips House at the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, a breathtaking historic inn right in downtown Orlando.

Dr. Phillips House

Beautiful courtyard for the ceremony…

Happy couple…

In lieu of favors, they had a cookie/pastry bar with personalized take away boxes.

Fancy living room/parlor. Check out that fireplace!  And antique furniture everywhere.

First dance! Awww…

Loved spending time with some of my closest friends too!  These are some of my favorite people on the planet.

Cheers!

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.

Instagram Link Party: Easter Recap

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I thought I would share some of the Instagram pics I took over Easter.  As mentioned previously, Tadd and I exchanged baskets, then went to my parents’ house for a big family dinner.  I brought my chocolate chip cheesecake to serve for dessert (which was a hit!).  My mom also put together a little basket for all the “kids”, including a very cute UCF necklace for me (and a UF necklace for my sister)!

Linking up with the weekly Instagram Link Party at a {little} dash of ash!

An Instagram Hodgepodge Post!

I realize things have been kind of slow lately around these parts.  Work is still crazy, and it’s still leaving me mentally exhausted every night when I get home, although it’s starting to calm down a bit.  At least for now.

As tired as I am today, I need to go shopping for 1) sewing project supplies and 2) Easter basket stuffers!  So after work I will be swinging by Starbucks for a jolt of caffeine, followed by a trip to a few stores.

I thought that today I would just share what I have been up to lately via my most recent posts on Instagram.  I guess you could say that this is in honor of the brand new Android app that Instagram released yesterday.  I am an iPhone girl, but I am happy that my Android friends can now join in the fun!

Last week I decided to try a tutorial I found that promised 3 cosmetic cases using 2 fat quarters.  I only had 1 matching zipper on hand, so while I cut out the pieces to make 3, I only actually sewed one.  And while I love the prints I used and the size, my own botching of the construction left a lot to be desired.  Still working on getting used to sewing with zippers!  You can’t really tell how badly I screwed this one up from the pics, since my hand is artfully covering it.  Still, at least it’s usable…Just a little wonky.

Saturday we drove over to my parents’ house to do our taxes (procrastinators, I know…), and I spied their lovely poinsettia plant still blooming away in their yard.  I know it’s almost Easter, but how pretty is this?:

Sunday night was dinner with the girls!  We ate at Sushi Pop in Oviedo, which I have discussed is one of my favorite quirky local places.  My favorite beverage to order there is the raspberry saketini.  It’s sake mixed with fresh raspberry puree served in a frosted martini glass.  So yummy!  I also love their truffle salt edamame, and the Oviedo chicken roll!  It’s was 80′s pop star night (every night is themed at Sushi Pop), so the wardrobe of all the waiters/waitresses was very sparkly and bright.  Perfect for girls’ night!

Monday night, we went to the Wine Room on Park Ave in downtown Winter Park to support my friend Lara, who was hosting trivia!  Tadd and I love any excuse to have a relaxing evening on Park Avenue, so I picked him up after work (he even got out early!) and we strolled around Central Park a bit before going to trivia night.  This is the main fountain in the park.  It was so peaceful and nice in the shade (but too hot in the sun!).  Incidentally, the Wine Room’s mushroom truffle flatbread is amazing.  As is Southern Tier’s Mokah Stout beer.  Yes, I had beer at a wine bar.  But it was REALLY GOOD beer!

Follow me on Instagram!  I’m “sunshineteablog”.

A quick (but exciting) shout out!

Work has been brutal to me this week.  I have not had the energy to do much of anything after work aside from try to regain my strength and sanity.  It’s always tough to get posts out everyday or even every couple of days when I have weeks like this.  So thank you for bearing with my lack of posts the past few days.

I did make it out Tuesday night for an impromptu date night with the husband.  We went to Macaroni Grill and had TERRIBLE service (our complimentary bread wasn’t brought until halfway through the meal…I asked for chicken marsala and they tried to bring me mushroom ravioli…also, they served me wine in a water glass?!?!), but as always the company was lovely and made up for the lackluster meal.  You know how they encourage you to draw on the tablecloths?   I was looking at the menu, not paying attention to what Tadd was doing, and when I put the menu down, this was next to my place setting:

Awwww…Sweet guy.  I’m a lucky girl.

Anyways, the main purpose of this post is to thank Kristi at Addicted2Decorating.com for featuring my DIY terracotta coasters on her blog!  I can’t say how honored I am.  People seem to be really excited about this project on Pinterest too.  Exciting for me and my little blog!  If you haven’t checked out Addicted2Decorating yet, you should.  Lots of great ideas!  Especially the hallway project she has been working on for awhile.  She hand-painted her own beautiful argyle on the wall!  Stunning!

Instagram Link Party: St. Patrick’s Day at Epcot.

Hope you had fun this weekend, especially Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day!  We spent ours at World Showcase in Epcot, celebrating many different cultures around the world.

My St. Patrick’s Day celebrating started early…Friday night, I was drinking iced tea from one of my favorite pint glasses…Mickey makes a cute leprechaun, don’t you think?

Saturday morning, we woke up, put on some green clothing and accessories, and hit the road for the 45-minute drive to Walt Disney World.

We spent pretty much the whole day in World Showcase, starting with having one of my favorite beverages, a blood orange margarita at La Cava de Tequila in the Mexico pavilion.  We got our favorite booth against the back wall of the bar, and chilled out in the air conditioning for awhile.  I really love that place!  So cozy (and so air conditioned…it was HOT that day!).

In addition to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Epcot, we also got to take part in the International Flower & Garden Festival, which runs from now until May 20th.  Everywhere you looked there were fun topiaries, like these pandas outside the China pavilion.  I have many more pics of the various topiaries around the park from my regular camera that I will share later this week!

While in “China” we stopped to check out the Tomb Warriors exhibit, which I love.  These are smaller replicas of the life-sized Terracotta Army sculptures that were buried with China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang back in 210 BC!  What I love about them, is that, while they are all in uniform and appear standing in a regimented fashion, no two warrior is the same.  They all have different expressions, facial features, etc.  Read more about the Terracotta Army on Wikipedia.

Eventually we made our way over to the UK pavilion, and of course, we had to stop in for an Irish beverage.  I had a Guinness (Wish a shamrock drawn into the foam!  Wish I could have gotten a good pic of it…), and Tadd had a green beer.  Some of our group of friends had green cocktails, Irish whiskey, and even one green Sprite.  We were all very festive with our beverages.  And, of course, as expected, this was one of the most crowded spots in all of Epcot that day!  But we just had to brave that long line…  Well, technically Tadd braved the line for the both of us while I waited off to the side and took pics of the madness.

As I stated previously, there will be more Epcot Flower & Garden Festival photos to come this week!  So stay tuned…

This post is linked to the weekly Instagram Link Party over at a {little} dash of ash!

Things I am excited about this spring.

I was just sitting here thinking about all I have to look forward to this spring.  I thought I would share.

St. Patrick’s Day at Epcot

Click for source...The Official Disney Parks Blog.

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival (click for source, wdwinfo.com)

When I saw that St. Patty’s Day fell on a Saturday, I knew we had to take advantage and do something fun.  What better place to celebrate than Walt Disney World?  Especially Epcot!  Chances are there won’t be anything big or special going on for the occasion, but I hear they might have some kind of small celebration or acknowledgement in the UK pavilion in World Showcase.  Even if they don’t, we will be wearing green and drinking Irish beer in a multicultural atmosphere.  Works for me!  As a bonus, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is going on right now (through May 20).

Easter

It might sound dorky, but Tadd and I exchange Easter baskets every year.  It’s something I always have a lot of fun with.

Visiting friends and family!

We have a couple of short trips planned to see some of our favorite people this spring.  One trip for family and one trip for friends.  I can’t wait!

Star Wars Weekends

We got to meet Warwick Davis! Remember him from the movie Willow (Harry Potter too)?

Another one of our springtime traditions.  This is a special event held every year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It includes chances to meet celebrities, cute photo ops with the characters, and a great parade.  It’s fun to see everyone all geeked out at the parks.  We pretty much always go the first weekend, which is almost always right near my birthday, and it usually marks the last time we go to the theme park until mid-August (we skip visiting Disney during the summer, too hot and crowded!).

What are you most looking forward to this spring?