Friday, March 30, 2012

Keep On Rockin Me Baby

Seven years ago, Tim and I made it official and...held hands!  You know, real hot and heavy for a cradle robbing 19 year old and a devilish 17 year old.  Well I finally let him kiss me (on the cheek, proof below).  Sometimes I even kiss him back!  But mostly, I make him sit across the room while he fans me with palm leaves and throws grapes in my mouth.

Here's a look at our past seven anniversaries, including one from our anniversary trip to Kauai this year!!

He's a great person to share the details with :)

Excuse me while we enjoy one last night of our trip with a bounty of Thai food!  Here's to seven more wonderfully weird, wild, and crazy years with you Cinnamonsation!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Eco Tip: Cord Wrangling and Energy Saving

It's Friday, Friday!  I hate myself a little bit every time I wake up singing that every Friday, but whatareyougonnado??? 

Hey look Tim's finally wearing a shirt on the blog!  He was changing out our monster cable cord for a much shorter one, because we've had like 80 extra feet of cable we've had to hide behind stuff to keep it from the bunnies.
Rockin the whole grandpa look, nice.  He knows how to bring the seduction to changing cables. 

Anywho,  I'm here to talk about how we outfitted our console table with the 8,834,182 cords we need to keep ourselves entertained 24/7.  We have a pile of cords that 
A. Needed more outlets space than we have,
B. Needed to be easily unplugged so that we're not wasting electricity when they're not in use, and
C. Needed to look presentable and organized.
Tim found this cord wrangler that would fit our needs perfectly:
It has a shelf at the bottom for your surge protector, and then a big area to wrap all the extra cords around before feeding up to where you want to use them.  
We use surge protectors with a switch that you can use to shut off the electrical flow to the cords when they're not in use.  Remember that if you have something plugged in, there is always wasted electricity flowing until you unplug it.  Or use a surge protector with a switch.  Otherwise, we're all just converting lots of energy into wasted energy and throwing money away on our electricity bill. 
Why are all our chargers and power cords so different from one another?  We've got the Playstation and Apple TV cords, my Droid charger, Kindle charger, IPad charger, and MacBook charger and none of them are remotely similar!
Anyways, we planned to mount that cord case underneath the console table we recently built.   We also had to tuck away the cable cord to keep the bunnies from chewing through it. 
So, I used some of those cool tack things they give you with the cord to hammer it neatly along your baseboards or where ever else you want to feed the cord.  I used it to hammer the cord up against the bottom of the table.
Then we mounted the cord box directly under the table and next to an outlet:
Voila!  We mounted the power cord of the surge protector under the table as well, away from those precious bunnicaulas we call pets.
On the shelf, I fed up the chargers for the Macbook, IPad, and Kindle.  I could make them prettier looking, but you barely see them unless you're taking photos from this angle. 
Then on the top, I brought my phone charger through so I can continue to keep it charging 24/7 since the battery only lasts 5 minutes (November, come quicker!). 
And there you have it!  I wanted to make a cool little charging station because they're so cute, but it just doesn't work for our needs.  Most of our chargers in this station are for big bulky items that we keep on the shelf when not in use, so it doesn't make sense to house them together.  Do cords drive anyone else crazy as well?  Why haven't we all invented invisible cords that change to bright orange while we're trying to find them?

Check out how we used a cover to hide cords along our open walls here, and more projects here!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Sar for Thursday Thoughts!

I'm sickened by all the controversy over women's health care in this country. Has everyone forgotten the very principal of separation of church and state?  It's a terrifying idea that my life and my body are going to be regulated depending on the moods and current religious ideals of our political leaders.

Arizona's latest is that they can interrogate a female employee about their sexual activity, and fire them for being on birth control if her employer's religion is against it.  Seriously??  What kind of messed up bull is that!  And now there is a bill in Georgia that necessitates women to carry their stillborn child to these male politicians not understand how messed up that is to a woman?  Having to carry a baby who you'll never get to mother?  This is in additional to a Virginia bill that requires women to have a sonogram before choosing abortion.  C'mon guys get real.  If you don't want an abortion, then don't get one!  It's none of your business who else wants to choose that for themselves.  Alaska is even getting into the game with Rep Alan Dick saying that men should have to approve abortions.  Insert a photo of my gagging and rolling my eyes here. 

I'm sure many people just roll their eyes at all this and think, I'll leave it to those crazy liberals to get upset over this- but it's a huge freaking deal to me and none of it really even affects me at this point in my life!  But then again, since I'm a married woman, I guess I'm exempt from being called a slut by Rush Limbaugh.  Sorry Rush.  But this recent serge in attacks and the so called "bringing back religion" ideas are such a backward thinking, bullshit notion in today's world of long hard freedoms for women and minorities that have taken decades to fight for and aren't even real equality. 

You might have seen this article floating around Facebook, and it's a great summery of the whole fiasco.

Leaving for Kauai in TWO days!!!!  We're spending a night in San Francisco on the way over, and we're so excited!!  San Francisco was the first place we ever traveled together, and we're obsessed!!! 

I took my final on Monday, and have been enjoying a week of NO reading (at least in my textbook), NO quiz taking, and NO studying!!!  I am so excited to start my next class though- chemistry!!  In the meantime, I just spent all my Christmas gift cards to Barnes and Noble and am starting with an Omnivore's Dilemma!

Did you all have a great St Patrick's Day?  Tim and I woke up early to run the fun run in the rain and snow, and then did a little of this and that until we met some friends before the Sounders Game- first of the season!  Afterwards, we met up with some other friends for a night of festivities and ended up sleeping past noon on Sunday morning!

We saw 21 Jump Street last weekend- so.freaking.hilarious.  Definitely worth seeing!  And Mamma Mia was last night, also wonderful.  If you live in Seattle, definitely try checking it out before they leave town!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cover up that Back Door!

I have sooo many posts to write!  But in between finals, being super busy at work, and jumping into whatever book I could find post-final (Forget About It), I haven't been in the mood to do anything but sit there with a big old sappy smile on my face while I think about our upcoming vacation next week!

But today I finally decided to dust off some of those ol' typin' fingers of mine to show you one of the projects that Tim and I have been up to! 
We replaced the blinds on our sliding glass door!  Previous, they were a horrendous off-white double vertical set of blinds- and I can't find a photo because all my "before" photos are randomly gone from my Condo Tour post...weird? 

Anyways we kept them open pretty much all the time we could get away with it, but when it's super cold out and your heater is located right next to the windows, you kinda have to keep them closed.  A lot. 
Anyways, these blinds are about 100% better.  You can't even tell from this photo, since they are half open and messy from going out to the deck every five minutes for a project, but they are bright white and so classy looking.
And see that big long top piece that extends well beyond the door's region? Don't worry, we never bothered to trim it to the right side because we're building a window valence.  Stay tuned for more details!
Check out the rest of our condo here!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Sar for Thursday Thoughts!

I know this commercial is a few months old, but I just love it!!

My mom and I got matching juicers last weekend!  I've been having fun making all kinds of fruit and vegetable mixes!

Tim made his first slideshow video!  I passed out in exhaustion after we went snowboarding last weekend, and when I woke up he had made this video!
Untitled from Tim Gihring on Vimeo.

This weekend Tim and I are running the St Patrick's Day 5K in Seattle, then going to the Sounder's first game of the season!  Should be an exciting day filled with green!

Next Monday, I take my final for my Environmental Science class, and then I've got Spring Break for two weeks, woo!  I really liked this class, wish it could go on for longer! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Costa Rica: Pura Vida

Between Kristen Bell's recent sloth meltdown, and the plethora of articles that keep falling in my lap about Costa Rica's incredible commitment to sustainability, I've been missing the sweet sloth and monkey infested country where Tim and I spend our honeymoon.
View from our hotel

Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia- tiny!  We spent two weeks near Manual Antonio National Park, soaking up the rays and enjoying some nature.  This area is located on the Pacific Ocean, right in the middle of their coastline. 

The original plan was to spend three weeks in the small country- we saved up every last vacation day we earned at our new-ish jobs in order to take off for almost a month after our wedding.  I spent four weeks living in a small community of Aberystwyth, Wales after high school and loved every minute of it that wasn't spent crying because I missed Tim (we had started dating just two months before I left).  So, I figured three weeks in Costa Rica would give us a great insight to the country and allow ourselves to immerse in the local culture.
However, two weeks into our trip, our underwater camera was washed out to the ocean with half our vacation pictures- and if you know me, you know what a huge deal photos are to me!  I broke down sobbing like a three year old and we flew home a week early instead of spending the last week of our vacation at Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano.  In hindsight, I probably over reacted and we should have stayed...but when I get upset, I get upset!  In the end, it was all great.  We saved ourselves a bunch of money because our last hotel graciously refunded our pre-paid stay, and we spend a few days at a resort in Lake Chelan, then a few more days to decompress before returning to work.  Perfect!
But back to the main story here- Costa Rica is a wonderful country that leads the world in sustainability.  They've invested wisely in renewable energy (hydroelectric power, wind power, and geothermal), unlike most countries who can't seem to lessen their dependence on coal and oil even a little bit.  Costa Rica has even discovered oil in their own country, but still chose to make strides towards sustainability.  Carbon and water taxes that go towards maintaining forests, along with economic incentives for farmers and eco tourism companies to keep the country clean, have greatly influenced everyone.

What's really interesting about Costa Rica is that there are more bird species in any one of their parks than all of North America.  They have around 500 species and plants and animals- biodiversity that is very important!
25% of their land is protected as nature reserves, more than any other country in the world!  They use a practice of mixing national parks with "buffer zones"- land that local people protect while using to their economical advantage.  This helps reduce human impact on those most delicate lands that need protecting from our pollution and degradation.
Because of their smart conservation efforts, they now bring in more Eco-tourism commerce than any other country in the world, which is also their number one source of income!
They also had a great bus system!  I've mentioned before how Tim and I always try out the public transportation no matter where we go- we are huge believers in downgrading the importance of cars.  I know some people may think this sounds like a crazy way to spend your honeymoon, but we loved taking the bus from the small community at the beach up into town and then back to our hotel! 
We always pack light- we both only brought a duffel bag for our three weeks in Costa Rica- so that maneuvering around buses and trains isn't difficult.

Bikes were a popular mode of transportation as well.  It wasn't uncommon to see lots of people pedaling around each day.
They were big on reuse as well.  Our favorite place to hang out was actually the interior of a retired plane, and check out this common way to reuse glass bottles:
Isn't that just wonderful?

All these practices were things we noticed while there, but never really comprehended how much importance they really have!

During our trip, we spent most of the time laying on the beach, having margaritas and buckets of Imperial brought to us like lazy Americans, but we also got to get out and do some activities.  Most of our photos- all I can really remember are the jet skiing and beach lounging one- are on the bottom of the ocean, but we did manage to purchase some photos of us zip lining:

Costa Rica has almost every sport imaginable, from surfing to canyoning to visiting coffee plantations.  It's a great place to have an adventure and to watch some breathtaking sunsets.
Bottom line, I can't wait to go back to Costa Rica one day!  Tim and I are just dying to see the turtles hatching and to visit the cloud rainforests, as well as the hot springs at the base of the active Arenal Volcano.  Maybe in the next 5-10 years we'll make a return visit!

What has been your most interesting travel journey?

Check out more of our travel tales here!

P.S. Kristen Bell- here are some of the sloths we saw:
This guy was hanging out in the tree next to a restaurant we went to every night to watch the sunset.  He was there every.single.night. in almost the same spot.   I named him Jerry.
This guy was in the national park.  He was either one of the annoyingly super fit guys, or had just seen a spider because he was crawling through the trees!  I shall call him Larry.