Next Stop…. Boston

The beginning of December was pretty awesome! I got the opportunity to accompany my grandfather to Boston. He had a conference to go to, and I was going to play the tourist. 🙂 I had never been to Boston before and was totally excited to go. I called Andy and made plans for him to arrive shortly after I did so we could spend time together. It was the first time I was able to see him since I left Indonesia, and I deeply missed my traveling buddy…even if one of our last trips together had me hiking up a mountain because Andy refused to pay the driver the extra money he was trying to get from us…. But I have promised to let that whole incident go…. but if you want to know more about it read the post, “And Your Point Was?” here.

Anyhow a flight at the butt crack of dawn got my grandfather and I into Boston by 2:30pm. Andy arrived at 3:30pm leaving him and I most of the day to catch up and do what we do best…. EAT! Our first stop was to the grocery store to get snack for the hotel room, and then we ventured out for dinner. We ended up on the T-Train and went in to ChinaTown to a dumpling house. The restaurant was pretty small and jammed packed with people… Andy and I had to wait for 20 minutes in between tables with people eating because there was no waiting area. We finally got to sit and eat and ordered a table full of food! Our dinner consisted of Udon Soup with chicken dumplings, pan friend noodles with vegetables, Pork Dumplings, and amazingly HUGE chicken wings (that tasted like duck for some reason). Everything was amazing! We had dishes stacked on top of each other because there was not enough room for all of the food we ordered and our bill was less than $40 for 4 plates of food and hot tea. Sweet! We ended the night by watching “A Christmas Story.”

Andy and Me About to get on the T

Andy and Me About to get on the T

Dinner in ChinaTown

Dinner in ChinaTown

The next day Andy and I made out to the Sam Adams Brewery for a late morning Tour… which apparently ended with a beer tasting. So at 11:30am after learning about how they make beer, Andy and I had started consuming. It was pretty awesome.

Beer Tasting

Beer Tasting

We left the brewery with a light buzz to go have lunch with a friend of mine from college, Matt Sanders. Matt and I have been friends since our Freshman year in college when we lived on the same floor. We had lunch at a Kabob place that also pretty amazing. After lunch and a stroll down memory lane with Matt, Andy and I left to take a walk to Boston Common. The weather was FREEZING but it was still gorgeous out. The buildings were breath-taking, the fountains were beautiful, and our walk was relaxing. There was an iceskating rink at Frog Pond, and the swan boats were closed due to the cold weather, but the bridge was still beautiful. There were huge geese in the water, and one of them decided to follow Andy and I over the bridge.  Later that night we went to Quincy Market to meet up with friends of Andy for dinner. Quincy Market was all light up with Christmas lights, and every half-hour the lights would blink in time with the Christmas music that was playing. Andy and I sat outside in the cold watching the lights for a little bit. After our fingers grew numb we went into some of the shops where Andy and I found the most awesome thing ever…. Dinosaur Knee High Socks! We both agreed that I needed them!  For dinner we went into The North End (Little Italy) for pizza and then finished our meal at Mike’s Pastries with some freakin’ awesome Cannoli pastries. I had an Amaretto Cannoli and it blew my socks off!

Pretty Scene

Pretty Scene

Bridge in the Gardens

Bridge in the Gardens

Quincy Market

Quincy Market

The next day Andy had to head back home since he had to work the following day. Before he left we made it out to Cambridge to check out the Harvard campus. It was a pretty campus, and the red brick buildings reminded me a lot of where I went to college. We made into COOP to buy souvenirs… I got an awesome pair of sweatpants and a key Chain.

Fun at Harvard

Fun at Harvard

Afterwards I said my goodbyes to Andy and then headed to meet Matt for dinner. We also ended up meeting up with another friend from college who also lived on the same floor as us Freshman year, Sarah Quinn and her new husband.  We had a great time and it was wonderful to catch up with them after not having seen them since we graduated.

Sarah, Matt, and Me

Sarah, Matt, and Me

My last day in Boston was reserved for quality time with my grandfather. He took me out walking and showed me all of the sites that I had missed. It decided to rain the whole day, but we didn’t let that stop us. He took me see the site of the Boston Massacre, we walked the Freedom Trail, I saw the house in which he used to live, and walked up Beacon Hill. We went back to Boston Common and walked over to the Bull and Finch Pub where the TV show Cheers was filmed. That was pretty awesome since I used to watch that show with my mother when I was younger.

Me and My Grandfather

Me and My Grandfather

Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

Site of the Boston Massacre

Site of the Boston Massacre

I was only in Boston for 4 days, but they were definitely 4 fully packed days. I had a blast and I have to say that Boston is definitely a place I would love to visit again. Maybe in the Spring or Summer where I will be able to see and do more. Boston is a Gorgeous City that should be on everyone’s list of places to travel at least once.

Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings

Cityscape

Cityscape

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Trip To Savannah, Georgia

Being better again has many perks. I am up and walking, I could burn my wheelchair and cane if I wanted to!, I can stand long enough now to cook again, and I can sit long enough now to travel.

As some of you may already know, I love to travel. I love to see places that I never have been. They could be amazingly awesome places or just humble towns. It doesn’t really matter to me because every trip is a learning experience and another place you can say “Oh! I have been there!”

The first trip after my surgery was to Savannah, Georgia. Tybee Island to be exact. I have been wanted to go to Savannah for YEARS…. actually it was ever since I saw the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” (Yes, I let movies influence my life that much… You are looking at a woman who picked her college after watching “Remember the Titans.” My family still makes fun of me for it.) Anyhow, my wonderful Uncle and Aunt presented the opportunity for me to see Savannah and Tybee Island when they came up with the genius idea to have Thanksgiving there this year. The idea was to have a relaxed, low key, holiday to regroup and enjoy each others company. And it proved to be just the ticket! We were in a cozy cottage and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to relax and get my head together after all that had happened over the past year.

Cottage

Cottage

Though before we departed for Savannah I decided to put together a goodie basket for my hosts to say thank you for inviting me on a much needed vacation. I ended up making homemade apple butter, pink popcorn, peanut butter fudge, chocolate caramel sauce, orange honey butter, garlic herb butter, and apple cheddar biscuits. The kitchen was a mess by the time I finished, but all of the food was a great hit, especially the fudge. I will be blogging the recipes on my craft blog here. (If you look and they are not there…. have some patience with me. They are coming soon! I promise.)

Pink Popccorn

Pink Popccorn

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

My first long car ride after my surgery went pretty well. I wore that horrid back brace contraption thing I was supposed to wear, and made the trip in relatively good shape. Tybee Island was GORGEOUS and quiet. I got to see all of my cousins and my Aunt and Uncle which made me the happiest I had been in a very long time. My cousins are all super active and we had a great time freezing and playing soccer on the beach (I didn’t play too much since my mobility was still a bit limited), going on a nature hike, and going into downtown Savannah to the River Front to shop and have lunch.

My Cousins and Me

My Cousins and Me

Downtown Savannah was beautiful! It was so nice to see all of the gorgeous statues and gardens. The riverfront was also nice. It was full of shops and restaurants. I discovered a store called The Savannah Bee Company! OMG. That is really all I can say about it. There are tons of different types of honey to try, lotions, lip balm, soap, candles, and much more made from Bees wax. I got some amazing hand lotion and lip balm that I now cannot live without! If you haven’t tried the Savannah Bee Company’s products, you should see if you can find it somewhere! The water was gorgeous and there were amazing ships out on the water.

Ship

Ship

Statue

Statue

The nature hike was also amazing. I love seeing animals be it at the zoo or what have you. I always want to take pictures and get as close as possible to them. We were able to see wolves, bald eagles, bobcats, a baby raccoon that was taunting the bobcats on the other side of the fence, lots of sheep and other farm animals, cranes, etc. It was a wonderful 2 mile hike and I had a really good time.

Baby Raccoon

Baby Raccoon

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

All in all, Savannah and Tybee Island was an amazing getaway and I would definitely visit again. If you have never had a change to visit and you are looking for a relaxing time away from the troubles of life.. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Sunset

Savannah Sunset

Stay Tuned!

So Now that I am up and walking about I have been busy! I have been traveling a little bit and cooking a lot! The result has been some awesome times and a whole slew of back logged blog posts for both of my blogs.  Sooo…  I promise to start posting them soon! Let me first survive this holiday and then we are back in business. Just don’t give up on me. I am still blogging and posts are coming!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Angela 🙂

Poison Apples

I LOVE Halloween!  There are so many cool things you can do craft and cooking wise.

Today I decided to put on “Snow White: A Tale of Horror” and make some eerie Poison Apples! (If you haven’t seen that movie, its pretty awesome.)

So these were super easy to make, and came out pretty awesome looking.

You Will Need:

1 1/4  cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon of salt (or less) (Optional)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 -2 cups special dark chocolate chips (Depending on how rich you want it)

5-10 drips of black food coloring (optional)

5 of your favorite apples (I used Honey Crisp apples and they were beautiful and tasted AMAZING!)

What You Need To Do:

1. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan.

2. Allow the sugar mixture to settle on the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium / medium high heat and let the sugar to dissolve. Continue to heat until the sugar mixture starts to turn to a golden color. Shake the pan occasionally to redistribute the sugar on the bottom of the pan. This will help to brown the sugar evenly and keeps it smooth and creamy in the heating process. (You can stir the mixture before it heats up with a wooden spoon but not too much. The sugar has to stay in contact with the heat on the bottom of the pan to brown and dissolve completely.)

3. As soon as the sugar turns a golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream into the hot sugar mixture. Adding the cream causes the mixture to bubble up and transform into caramel. Stir to combine until the sauce is creamy and evenly golden throughout. Cook the sauce on low heat for one more minute, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, add the vanilla, Chocolate, salt (optional) and stir well with whisk.

5. Skewer the apples to prepare for dipping, and dip them into the chocolate caramel sauce. Evenly turn the apple in the sauce until evenly coated.

6. Place apples on parchment or wax paper and let dry for 2-3 hours (the chocolate will become solid– allowing them to be wrapped easily).

7. Pour the extra sauce into a jar and enjoy another day with ice cream… (well that is what I am going to do)

This keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or so. But I think it will be consumed before it can go bad.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

I Love Surgery

The last week before surgery seemed to fly by. It was full of doctors appointments, pre-operative testing, a class on proper care after surgery, and iPhone!  I got a wonderful iPhone and it really helped my time waiting for my appointments fly by. I also discovered Instagram. So between iPhone and Instagram, I am able to share my surgery experience with you! 🙂

I had to be at the hospital at 7:00am. So I woke up at the butt crack of dawn, and stumbled to the car.

 

I went through the whole prepping ordeal really quickly, and can I just say… HOLY CRAP… with the IV in the hand thing.  That was the worst part of the whole thing. I got a pretty blue hat, some stylish white thigh high stockings that were supposed to help with blood flow (and put on by a very handsome male nurse.. lol), and an awesome gown…

But as I was about to go into surgery, my doctor came in and was like ‘So you remembered your pictures right?’  So…. that answer was that to a lot of cursing (on my part) and then I proceeded to cry as I realized that my spot for surgery was pushed back while I waited for my grandfather to run back to the house to get my MRI that was left sitting by the door.

So a few hours later, with a nap during that time, I was back in the surgery room and a few minutes later I was out of it and then waking up in the recovery room.

I felt pretty good upon waking up and my mood and everything continued to improve over the next couple of days. I was able to get up and walk the next day with very little pain. I was slow but I didn’t need a walker or anything. I met with the doctors and they said that the mass that they removed from my back was much larger than was expected. But now that it all out I should notice a huge difference. And that was so correct. I was able to sit up in the car the whole ride home and felt no pain…. though I am sure that a large part of that was due to the morphine they gave me in the hospital.  But I arrived home to a wonderful recovery package on my bed, with a halloween bucket from the Popcorn factory, a letter from my friend George, and a couple of books from my friend Megan.

I have been home from the hospital for a week now. All I can say is… It feels like a MIRACLE!

I am moving like a normal person and I am pain free.  The only discomfort I really have is a sore back and a hella itchy incision. I meet with the doctors again tomorrow for a check up, and hopefully to hear that everything looks good. It feels good to finally be on the road to recovery. It has been a long time coming.

So these pictures and others can be seen on my Instagram profile. Feel free to take a look and follow if you are interested. 🙂

 

Fat…. So???

I have been home now and relatively inactive for 5 months now.  I have lived those 5 months in yoga pants and t-shirts. It was brought to my attention that I really should put on some real clothes, and then maybe get to feeling better about everything.  So we took a girls’ trip to Lane Bryant to try on jeans. I grabbed a size 18 pants, knowing that the 16 would be too small now that I had gained a whopping 30 pounds since being home. Now the size 18 pants with up and over and i could button them, but they created the most fantastic and unignorable (if thats not a word it should be) muffin-top I have ever seen in all of my days. So I did what any level headed and rational female would do… I sat in my sitting room and cried.  My mother and Aunt came in to give me a pep talk, and what was said really made sense to me…. Its just a number. Who cares? It didn’t have to define how I felt about myself. So I picked myself up, went and got a pair of jeans a size bigger and prayed that the would fit correctly. They did and they are comfortable! I complemented my new jeans with a pretty camisole and sweater and left the store feeling pretty good about how I looked and the new size 20 outfit that I just got.

This will bring me to a little pep talk to all the ladies out there who have things they hate about their bodies. They are just things… They do not define you. The imperfections are what makes us who we are. I have wanted to lose weight for so many years. I have lost and gained back over and over again, and my overall underlying motif was the same each time I lost…. I wanted to look good so that some guy would think I was worthy for him to be with. And anyone can tell you that is the wrong reason to lose weight or go on any type of diet.  The decision to change something about yourself be it your hair, weight, breast size, etc has to come from a pure place within yourself, or you will never be satisfied with those changes and who you are. We women can look beautiful no matter what flaws we think we have… and if they are that noticeable to you, I can guarantee there are ways to hide them without going to extremes.  For example… I carry a spare-tire around my stomach… its not flattering at all and I am very self conscious in everything that I wear that it can be seen. Solution…. Don’t go out and buy low rise pants! I now know to buy pants that sit at my natural waist… and hell if I have to I will wear them a little higher than that… and make sure that I get the tall length so it doesn’t look like I am Steve Urkle’s relative.  The other tip I can give you is this… and listen carefully! I do not care what Old Navy and the Backstreet Boys try to tell you…. Skinny Jeans are NOT for everybody!  If you take nothing else away from this, remember that!

Moving away from the big girl talk…. I had an outing this Sunday with my mother. Apparently there is a Fresh Market the first Sunday of every month in Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida, so we decided to go and see what it was all about. It was totally awesome. I had such a good time. I went decked out in my new outfit! There were good vendors everywhere! I got fresh baked rosemary bread, I met a man who carves all of his jewelry by hand made from wood and ivory. I had old fashioned strawberry lemonade that was out of this world, and a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with red pears, almonds, and goat cheese that was to DIE for. It was a bit on the hot side, but this man who was an absolute genius was selling ice cold coconuts that he drilled a hole into the top of and stuck a straw in… Happy delicious drinking for everyone. It was totally worth the 10 minutes I waited in line. It was a fabulous day, and I cannot wait until next month to go again.

My back surgery is in 2 weeks as long as everything stays on track, and I am really looking forward to being pain free and getting back on the right track to life. Until then, I am just taking one day at a time and remaining size 20 and fabulous!.

Crafting A.D.D

I like to try my hand at many different crafting endeavors.. Some are successful, and some…. Not so much….

So the most recent endeavor I decided to undertake is Cross Stitching.  I came across some awesome patterns at weelittlestitches and Iamnotadoll. I decided on some patterns that I would like to try. Weelittlestitches has a Labyrinth pixel people pattern that was an absolute MUST seeing as The Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies of all time. So that is going to be my first attempt.

I purchased the pattern, downloaded the PDF (it only took about 3 minutes to be delivered after purchase), and went to the store to get the color thread and canvas I needed. While at the store I became completely taken with all of the different color threads, and organizer boxes for the thread, and the bobbins to wrap the thread on. I left Jo-Ann Fabric with much more than I needed to start my project.

I talked to my sister about starting my cross stitch pattern and she had this wonderful suggestion that I attach the thread color number to the bobbin so I will always know what color it is and make organizing it easier. So I decided to take her advice. Since taking her advice I have gone completely off track with my project! It has been four days since I went to the store and got my organizer and a plethora of thread that I didn’t need for my project. I have since spent HOURS winding bobbins with thread and organizing those bobbins by color then by number. I could have actually started and probably gotten quite far in my project if I hadn’t contracted this form of crafting ADD. All of that said… I am very thrilled with how wonderful it looks, but I have yet to start my project. The good thing is that I actually ran out of bobbins and am almost out of room in my box for them. So the rest of the thread has been stored away and will be wound when I actually need that color….maybe.

Hopefully I will have a progress photo from my project soon.