Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back to the Grind

We've officially been back in the USA for over 24 hours. Ryan and I both go back to work today. Vacation is officially over. Yesterday we picked up our kittycat (who is cuddled up on me at the moment, love our snuggle sessions). We went grocery shopping, cleaned, did laundry, and caught up on our budget. It's crazy how behind you can get after ony a two week hiatus.

Due to two weeks of vacation and way too much indulging, I'm avoiding the scale for a while. I know without even stepping on it that I gained while we were away, so I'm saving myself the misery of seeing exactly how much I gained. I made some tabouleh, but didn't follow an exact recipe. I used cracked wheat, celery, onion, tomato, cucumber, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I'm sticking to fruits, veggies, and minimal carbs for a little while... Hopefully those extra pounds slip off as easily as they went on (wishful thinking, it's never that easy)!

The weather is much chillier than when we left. I'm guilty of breaking out my uggs yesterday. By the late afternoon, the temp rose to the 70s so I felt like it was a little soon, but then I reminded myself that it is officially fall so anything goes as far as I'm concerned. I can't wait to break out my mustard cardigan this weekend!

I can't complain about work, especially because my work week is beginning with a Thursday. Pretty nice if you ask me. Hopefully I still remember how to be a nurse after all this time off ;-)

Someone thinks that the new rugs we bought in Turkey are actually new beds for her!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer's End

A few weeks ago, I blogged about not being ready to accept that summer was nearing an end. After our vacation and since its the end of September, I'm officially embracing the season change.

Today is our final wakeup in Rome, as we leave this afternoon. This was the longest vacation Ryan and I ever took together (12 days) and it has just been incredible. I'm going to need to dedicate an entire post to some of the pictures. Have you ever taken a vacation and dreaded coming home because "it went by too fast?" I know I have, but this vacation feels different. I think we spent the perfect amount of time here, and I feel ready to go home (and reunite with our kittycat). Now getting up and going to work for three days... that's a different story.

It seems like the entire month of September totally flew by. Fall is in full swing. We already have plans to visit a pumpkin patch, and I already put up most of our decorations before we left. The navy ball is just around the corner as well. We have a lot to look forward to. In the same breath, I'm starting to realize how little time we have left in DC. This is our last fall here. We have about 9 months left here which sounds like a lot, but I know it will fly.

Here's to fall... A new season to celebrate and enjoy. Here's to pumpkin patches, pumpkins carving, pumpkin spice lattes (umm and hello new pumpkin spice frap), cardigans, apple scented candles, leaves changing, cooler weather, oranges, mustards, and browns...

For your viewing pleasure, a few sneak peak pictures. Happy fall, everyone!

Obligatory cheesy cruise photo
Unconditional Surrender sculpture... AKA a sailor kissing a nurse, which is so appropriate for us!
La pieta

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cruise Journal

The following were written over a series of days while on our cruise. We are still in Rome for the next few days, and we are having an incredible time!

Tuesday September 18th
I'm writing this post on my phone, to post at a later date once we get wifi (which we will have free in Rome on Sunday). We are traveling to Kudasi, Turkey today. From there, we've booked a tour to see Ancient Ephesus. We were at sea yesterday, and the day before that we were in Messina, Italy. While in Messina, we took a tour to Sicily and visited Tindari where we saw ancient ruins as well as the famous black Madonna. Ryan and I love history, so all of our tours involve visiting historical/ancient landmarks. Some of them I remember learning about in school, and others I am looking forward to reading up on once we get wifi.

We've gone to a musical, ice skating show, rocked climbed, and visited the onboard fitness center two out of three days we've been on the ship. Hopefully that helps us keep off the pounds (or kilos rather) since we've been doing a ton of eating. Cruising is such a fun way to travel. We did our last cruise with Royal Caribbean and loved it so much that we booked this one with them too. I'm certain we will be booking our next cruise with them as well. 

It's hard to believe that we've been vacationing for 5 days, and still have a week to go. This vacation has been the best one we've ever been on!

Wednesday September 19th
Our visit to Kudasi, Turkey was absolutely incredible. I never had a specific interest to visit Turkey, but I am so thankful I was able to today. On top of just being a completely gorgeous country filled with mountains and surrounded by the bluest of blue water, the people were completely wonderful and hospitable. We visited the ancient ruins of Ephesus, which was completely breathtaking. We saw the Library of Celsius, a stadium where St Paul spoke that seats 22,000, and the famous Arcadian Way where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode down. There is much of this ancient area that has yet to be excavated, which is so crazy to think about because its already such a huge area. While we were there, we saw archaeologists busy at work. 

We then visited some shopping areas. Turkey is famous for making handmade rugs, and we went to a demonstration where they showed us how they made them. They served drinks and snacks. I absolutely loved their apple tea. Ryan and I ended up purchasing two rugs, which we will put in our living room. They have shades of brown and greens. I have had trouble figuring out how we want to decorate our living room, but these rugs have helped bring my entire idea together. I am planning on getting some green pillows and a table cloth for our coffee table to complete the room. I'm very excited about that.

Tomorrow we visit Greece. We have a boat ride and tour set up. Ryan did a fabulous job organizing all of our tours. I am having a blast!

Saturday September 21st
The cruise portion of our vacation is drawing toward an end. We spent two days in Greece (Mykonos and Crete), and today we are at sea. Greece was tremendously beautiful. The towns have the narrowest streets, yet somehow cars manage to drive through without any problem. We visited the ancient ruins on Delos Island, tried a cheese and honey tart made in Crete, visited the only lake in Crete (which was more like a glorified pond by American standards), and shopped. One souvenir I saw all over Greece (and in Turkey, but not in Italy) was the evil eye. I bought one for our home. Its basically a bright blue glass medallion that has an eye painted in the center. It's meant to deter evil spirits, negativities, and thoughts that are cast towards you. 

We've been enjoying the food on the cruise, as well as gameshows, musicals, and other activities offered onboard. We were planning a trip to Disney in the spring, but now Ryan is trying to convince me to go on another cruise. I'm a Disney fanatic, but after this cruise I am strongly considering that option. There's a port out of Baltimore (where we left from last summer for our vacation to Bermuda) and so it's very accessible and convenient being so close.

We arrive back in Rome tomorrow. We are planning on visiting the Pantheon and touring the Coliseum. Monday we will visit the Vatican. Today we plan on relaxing, napping, hanging by the pool, and soaking up every minute of relaxation aboard this ship!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

When in Rome...

I find myself feeling so undeniably blessed. Many people never have the chance to visit the amazing city of Rome, Italy... and I am so fortunate to be visiting for the second time in my life. We spent the day walking around the streets of Rome. We walked past the Coliseum, Forum, and Trevi Fountain. We ate authentic Italian pizzas and gelato. We have plans to tour the coliseum next week, as well as visit the Pantheon, Spanish steps, and some other historic spots.

We leave tomorrow for our cruise. I can hardly believe this entire trip is real. This is by far the biggest trip I have ever planned for Ryan and I, and so far everything is going perfectly. I could not ask for a better travel companion. We are so fortunate that we are able to have the time off of work as well as financial resources to make this vacation happen. I am so thankful Ryan is just as travel hungry as me! We are already talking about where we want to vacation next. To us, this is what hard work and living well is all about: taking time to explore the world!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Computer Hysteria

There's been a lot of hysteria circulating around my work. We switched our charting system from paper to computer based, and several people are struggling. I am thankful that I've grown up with technology and have easily adapted to the new system. Surprisingly, it's our physicians who seem to be most resistant.

When I started planning our Europe vacation 5 months ago, I didn't realize it would align perfectly with the start of this new charting system at work. I only have one shift left, and then hopefully when I return to work in two weeks some of the excitement/kinks/problems will have resolved.

On that note, we are leaving so soon! I have almost everything ready. I'm starting to realize how much Im going to miss our cat (insert crazy cat lady name calling), but I know she will be in good hands with my coworker. I will miss her dearly nonetheless!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sister Time

Call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of football. I think there are a million other things that come along with fall that are more appealing to me than football. For one, I'm looking forward to some cooler weather. This weekend, the weather here in DC was beautiful. I was supposed to work Friday, but I was able to take a personal day thanks to my wonderful coworkers. My sister unexpectedly came to DC for less than 48 hours, and I was so thankful to fill our time with fun filled activities!

We visited Georgetown Cupcake for the free Super Secret cupcake
We did yoga at CorePower (followed by some authentic Indian food in Georgetown!)
We went to an Art Festival in Alexandria
We walked with Posh in her new stroller!

We had a wonderful visit together and I am so glad we got to spend time together! I love having siblings and being so close with them! It is truly a blessing! ❤

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Week Countdown

It's crazy to think about, but we are down to one week until we leave for our 12 day vacation to Europe! We are heading to Rome for two days, then going on a cruise to different places in Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Then we are returning to Rome for another two days before coming home. I am a huge planner, and planning this vacation over the past few months has been a huge process! I can't wait to finally go and enjoy the fun activities we have planned!

Today we booked some last minute excursions for the different cruise stops. We decided not to hold back, so we splurged and planned one activity each stop. This way, we have planned tours and transportation already set up and don't have to worry about finding our way around in foreign countries.

My family visited Rome in 2006, so I am semi familiar with navigating around. I still need to print out maps and walking directions from the bus station to our hotel and to different tourist attractions. It's crazy that its finally here, as we've been booking things for the last 6 months!! Time flies!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Night Shift

In my four years of nursing school and first year of working as an RN, I have never worked a night shift. I am definitely not a morning person, but I'm not a night person either. I currently work the 11am-11pm shift at work, and that's perfect for me. However, we have had a need to fill our night shift  (7pm-7am) recently, and with the $250 bonus offered along with it, I couldn't resist. So here I am... trying to stay up as late as possible tonight so that I can sleep in late tomorrow, and head in to work at 7pm without feeling too much like a Zombie.

This weekend was amazing for Ryan and I. We spent a full three days having fun together. We stayed up late, slept in each day, went to Busch Gardens, baked chocolate chip and banana cookies, shopped, and after much pressing... I convinced Ryan that Posh needed a cat stroller.

Despite much negativity and not nice comments, I am so excited about this new purchase... and so is Posh! She was a little unsure at first, but now that she's comfortable I can tell she enjoys going on walks. She has even jumped in it herself without me having to pick her up. She either sits and looks out the screen, or lays down and takes a nap in the sun. I know I sound like a bit of a crazy cat lady, but I just love our kitty so much! She completes our family!

It's time to put away my white pants, sandals, and purse... Labor Day has officially come and gone. I'm totally in favor with starting my week on Tuesday, though. Have a great week y'all!