Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Rewind

This didn't actually happen on the weekend, but I wanted to share anyways.


BFF Amy lives in Hawaii and sent us a package about a week ago. Along with lots of goodies, she sent us these chocolate covered macadamia nuts and this super cute Valentine's plate. We LOVE chocolate covered macadamia's! We did eat them this weekend, so that counts. And I'm excited to use my new plate to put valentine goodies on.

Another thing came in the mail that I ordered a while back. I had been looking for a planner for a while and am very picky, but was pretty excited to find this one here on Etsy. Other than loving their planners, I was way excited when they told me they would ship here. The planner came about a week or so ago too. It's my very first and only thing (so far) with my monogram and I l.o.v.e. it!


Inside:


So that's just a quick update on life around here.

For our weekend.....Friday we ate lunch at a local restaurant that we both really enjoyed. That afternoon I went to our friends house so she could teach me how to use Taobao. Friday nite Daniel made dinner and it was SOOO good! He made cheeseburgers. Now, I like hamburgers but I don't love them. I have weird meat issues especially when it comes to hamburger meat. I want my patty reallly thin so I can make sure there aren't any weird fat pieces or general weirdness inside.

Anyways.....hamburgers were so delish and I am excited to have him make them again.

Friday nite we watched The Kings Speech. We bought this movie a while ago and I actually forgot we even had it. We both really enjoyed it, it had a great story!

Saturday we just bummed around the house, then had date night. We went to our favorite (and i think only one we've ever been to) Turkish restaurant. On the way to the restaurant I had to stop and take a picture of the sun. I can't remember the last time we actually had seen it. It's constantly foggy and gross here, and seeing the sun is a very rare thing. So you have to document it sometimes to remember what it looks like.


Anyways, dinner was delicious! Their meat kabob is why I would struggle being vegetarian.


What I wouldn't do to know their hummus recipe. After dinner we walked to Starbucks then came home and I beat Daniel at Skippo. It wasn't even close.

Daniel has class this week, but my teacher is still travelling, so at-home-studying for me!

what did ya'll do this weekend? what movies are good in the states right now?

love

laura

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Going Crunchy

(first, sidenote-Daniel has finally blogged!!)

If ya'll remember in these posts.....we started to 'go green,' about a little over a year ago when we were still living in the States. We got rid of almost all chemicals in our house by making our own cleaning products. I did make our laundry detergent, but over time wasn't the biggest fan of the recipe I used. I've found several that I want to try, but I can't get Borax or Fels Naptha (still NO clue what that is.)

I loved using Dr. Bronner's in our house and was a huge fan of the peppermint. However, we've lived here in the EA for close to 8 months (i know shocking right?!) and buying regular house cleaning products was way easy. But it's been bothering me for a few months now. Everytime I used the bathroom cleaner I had a coughing fit and felt like I had just shaved a few months off my life.

So I've been googling/pinteresting all types of homemade recipes for things from Febreze to Shout, to dishsoap, etc...and I kept coming across the term "crunchy." Maybe a lot has happened in the last 8 months but I had never heard this term before. After reading a few blogs (and checking urbandictionary), I realized I totally want to be Crunchy.

No, I'm not turning vegan, or even vegetarian (yet haha), but I do want to make as many household products as I can and in my perfect world we would figure out how to solar panel our apartment and reuse rain water. But until then, I'll just take baby steps.

We recently bought this:


It's a natural water filter that filters tap or rain water. We take the lid off, add tap water into the ceramic pot, and the ceramic filters the water removing impurities.


We were using this before.


We were going through about 2 of these bottles a week which cost about $20 a month. Ridiculous. We paid about $40 for our new filter system, and all we need to get clean water is TAP WATER! Not only is this a great way to save money and be financially responsible, but it's a great way to eliminate using plastic bottles and wasting water.

I have also been recently introduced to a HUGE website that everyone here uses, called Taobao. You can buy tons of stuff on this site. Yesterday, I found Dr. Bronner's and it will be delivered to our house this week. The plan is to eliminate storebought cleaners and use natural homemade products in the kitchen and bathroom. I did find Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent to buy online, but it is about $20 and I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

And yes, when we have children I plan to use cloth diapers and make homemade diaper cream and baby wipes.

Just call me crunchy.

love

laura

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy New Year

Sunday night we celebrated Lunar New Year. The city went crazy!!!!!! There have been people shooting off fireworks for a little more than a week now. They would just go off randomly throughout the day and night. There aren't any rules or regulations really on who can purchase or set off the fireworks. So there are a lot of happy kids around here right now.

Our apartment complex has had the fire hose out since Saturday. It's still there-ready for anything!


Also, things completely shut down Sunday afternoon and most of Monday. The street behind us is lined with tea shops, small noodle shops, and little stores that sell odds and ends. On my run yesterday 90% of all the shops were closed. Here's a pic from Sunday afternoon. This is a little alley of shops that is always open and has people all over.


We celebrated by going to a friends house on Sunday nite to eat Mexican and hang out. The food was so good, and of course I forgot to take pics. A friend of mine made sopapillas, and I decided to try hershey's syrup on them instead of honey. I don't know if I can ever go back to just cinnamon and sugar now.

We headed home at about 10 and are truly lucky to be alive. The walk home was pretty intense because it was so dark and out of nowhere firecrackers would be thrown near you or go off without warning. I love to watch fireworks from the confines of a safe space indoors. I have a very real and intense fear if I am around them outdoors. The unreasonable and psycho part of my personality comes out if I'm near them. I'm convinced they are unsafe. Don't worry, I've already diagnosed myself....it all stems from a childhood memory.

Anyways......as it got closer to midnight the fireworks got more and more intense. We have windows on both sides of our apartment, so we kept running back and forth to see them all and figure out which window had the best ones. We decided to ring in the new year from our living room window. I  tried to upload video that I took but it never would upload. Maybe next time.

Even though New Years was on Monday, people are still shooting off firecrackers. There were a lot last night and we heard that Thursday night is supposed to be another big night.

In running news.....I'm slowly getting back into it. I ran yesterday, and will run again tomorrow, and maybe Friday too. It's below freezing today so I'm pretty happy I wasn't planning on running today. Random, but I used to write down all of my runs on a print out of my Outlook Calendar. I just found where I had scanned them all from June 2010 until April 2011. I was running a lot! I miss those days and hope to get back there soon. Sarah will be running her first marathon relay in February-her part is 8.5 miles. I'm super jealous.

Oh, and I'm on Pinterest!!! I've only pinned a few things, and I'm getting pretty excited about it!

love

laura

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday

I titled this post Wednesday, because that's what day it is and I have no other clue as to what to name this.

I'm tired.

I wish I could say that our new storage room is completely organized and looks great. But I haven't touched it since cleaning it last week. I do walk in about once a day just to appreciate it. And I do appreciate it! I did buy drawer liner to put in the drawers and on top of some of the cabinets. Actually I bought sticky paper that is supposed to be used on windows, because the real drawer liner stuff was almost $15 a meter and oh my word that is too much for something I want to put inside a drawer.

I have high hopes for organizing the room tomorrow.

I'm out of class for the next 3 weeks because it's a holiday. I wish I could say I've been sleeping in, staying in my pj's, all day and watching The Office. Actually, I really don't wish that because I wouldn't be able to handle the guilt.

Life still goes on, with or without class. I've been trying to run errands and get things done. We have friends that live in our city that have been travelling for several months and just returned home. We volunteered to meet them at their apartment when they got in, to help with their bags. They got in about 1:30am. A.M.
Daniel are I learned very quickly that we are old people. I was ready to go to bed on Monday at 9:30p.m. While we were more than happy to help our friends out, it was just an eye opener to us that we are old and can't hack it.
We were in bed at 3 AM and up by 8 the next day. Surprisingly I didn't feel as tired as I thought I would. Until 8pm rolled around and then neither of us were speaking coherently. We were in bed last night at 8:30 and woke up at 8:30 this morning. Sadly, I'm still tired and considering 8:30 to be my new bedtime.

I've already ran twice this week. I had a GREAT run this morning! While I still haven't pushed myself past 3 miles yet, my pace is getting back to where I'd like it. My average page today was 11.19/mile. After taking 6 weeks off, I'm pretty pleased with it. And honestly, today's run just felt great. I loved it. I like the feeling I get when I'm doing something good for my body and health and it's making me stronger.

All that to say, I just ate a lot of candy corn. We got 2 lbs of it for Christmas and I am more than happy to eat my share. This is why I run people.

Happy Wednesday!

love

laura

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good Insanity

(alternately titled "My life is awkward and I can prove it")

Thursday was a day to end all days.

While it was completely chaotic, there were several good things that came out of it.

We have been waiting on paperwork for over 3 months now to allow us to renew our visas. Daniel is making  a sacrifice for our family and continuing his language study at the university while I study one-on-one with a tutor. Daniel studying at the university allows us a visa and ability to live here. But, in order for me to ride his visa, we have to have very specific paperwork from the states.

It was supposed to be overnighted from Houston on Tuesday morning. We found out Thursday morning that it was sent regular mail on Wednesday afternoon. Now would be a good time to share that our visas expire tomorrow.
Thursday morning is when we found out the paperwork would not arrive until one day after our visas expired.
Cue anger towards the Houston office.

Anyways, long story short we had a local friend go with us to the visa office and were given an extension until Tuesday. Problem solved, however there was a lot of worry and nervousness for a few hours.

Then between the hours of 12 and 4:30, we had several people in and out of our house, and it was crazy! Crazy because no one spoke english but us!

If you remember this post, I explained my bitterness about the extra room that we have in our apartment that the landlord wouldn't give us the key too. Confession: I have tried to pick the lock MANY times.

It was time to pay rent (we pay a year at a time here) and we thought since we were meeting with the apartment manager (he manages the apt since the landlord lives in another city) it was an opportune time to ask for the key to this mystery room.

At first he kept telling us no.

I am very persistent.

He finally said he would bring a locksmith to open the door, but he was very busy. So we were pretty surprised when he came this week. It was a LONG process to get this door open. The first repairman looked at it and immediately said he couldn't unlock it. He said for $30 he could get another guy to do it. The manager scoffed and said no to opening it then. Then I jumped in and told we would be more than happy to pay for it. Paying $30 to get access to more space is worth every penny.

Keep in mind, we had no idea what was behind this door. At the minimum I was expecting a small room to keep luggage or something.

Imagine my surprise when we opened the door and found....


THIS wonderful room!!!! I would classify it as huge :) It has built in cabinets on BOTH sides and it goes to the wall and T's and has space on both sides!!!!!!

It had this large mirror (more on that later) on one end of the T. I'm trying to show you both sides of the T.


This is the view from the inside looking back towards the front.


The room was filthy! We don't think it had been opened in about 5 years or so, so there was a layer of black dust and dirt on everything. (i wish i had taken a before pic....there was stuff everywhere!) But I was willing to do anything to be able to use it, ha! That is pure joy on my face.


This is where it gets awkward. When the door was first opened, myself and the manager walked in. (we agreed to store everything that was already in the room and use the leftover space) There was a lot of junk and boxes all over the place. This box was right in the middle of the room.


Except the box was open and its contents were right in front of us. And yes, what is written on the box is really what is inside. And the box was completely filled with the umm, "product." And this is why there was a large mirror inside. We believe it was the "fitting room."

Not only does it weird me out to have a box of this stuff in our house, but now I look at the furnishings that came with the apartment and wonder "Do we have this couch because business was good?"

love

laura

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Toys

Monday was the BIG day. I knew it was coming and I tried to prepare for it.

It was the day I start running again. Technically I ran 3 weeks ago, but it had been about 6 weeks since I'd run with any regularity, and that was the half marathon.

Even though my weight didn't change too much during those 6 weeks, my feel about myself did. Even if i'm not losing weight, I love how i feel when I'm running with some consistency. I feel stronger, healthier, and better about myself as a whole. Lately I've been feeling sluggish and gross.

So I headed out monday in the AM (when it's practically still dark and freezing). I was still pretty excited though because of these!

Daniel bought me this for christmas and I LOVE it! It keeps my ears warm, and my headphones in place!

(it's also reversible-black on other side)

And of course my new Garmin!!

I have had my eye on this for a long time!!! Daniel's parents gave it to me for my birthday. It shows my pace, distance, time, etc.. There is a heart rate monitor that came with it, but honestly I could care less what my heart rate is.

I couldn't find a satellite for about the first mile of the run. It finally located one right before the end of the first mile. So I quickly reset it and started it over. I was SHOCKED at my pace!!! I ran SOOOO slow. Granted, I've been sick and was coming off the longest running break I've ever had. But oh my word!!! I kept looking at the pace thinking it had to be wrong.

Sadly, it wasn't. But I was pretty close on where I thought my mile markers were.

After getting over how slow I run, I synced my watch with the Garmin software online. It is SO cool!!! I could see my elevation for the whole run, my pace per mile, and it even knew if I had stopped at intersections, and had a separate "moving pace."  There's tons of stuff it tells you online, but my favorite is seeing my run on a map. It is so accurate!!!

I want to try wearing it when I'm bike riding and walking around town, just to get an idea of how far I go.

In other news......we are having the worst, ugliest, most disgusting weather day ever. I biked to class in the pouring rain. But it's more than just rain, it's the gross foggy dark stuff. I.don't.like.it.

I am SO ready for vaca........just about a month away and we'll be in sunny Malaysia! woo to the hoo!!!

love

laura


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blogaversary!

My blog has been alive for two years today! That's a little crazy.....

In the past two years, I've changed jobs, countries, and shared with you my running journey.

It's been a great two years and i'm excited to see what I share in over the next two!

Random, I blogged 136 times in 2010 AND 2011. Seriously, what are the odds? We'll see what happens this year.....I could be completely crazy and blog 137 times....get ready.

There's not much else to say in regards to the blog turning 2, so here's our weekend rewind.

Friday night we went out to dinner to continue the celebration of birthday week. We went to a nice italian restaurant, and it was yummy!


This was in the bathroom at the mall, and it just struck me as funny considering where we live.


The chick fil a chicken nuggets made a strong comeback Saturday night. I told Daniel he isn't allowed to make this meal anymore unless I'm running. I wish I could describe how delicious it is.


Also, Daniel and I went and got haircuts today. Something we've never done together before, but was pretty fun! We both got shampoos, head massages, and cuts for less than $10. AND, I didn't cry when I left. It was a positive experience, even in the bang department, which is rare if not borderline impossible.

Here's my cut....I think it might look a little different when I style it, but you get the idea.


And speaking of running.....I'm going to get back on that horse tomorrow. No matter what. It's been a longer break than I thought it would be, but being sick and busy threw me for a loop. My plan is to do 3 at first then slowly work back up.
i'm pretty excited about the run tomorrow because I'll be wearing my new running thermal headband I got for Christmas and my new garmin. I'm pretty excited to know exactly how far I'm running and my actual pace.
Don't worry, I'll keep you posted!

love

laura

Friday, January 6, 2012

THIS is what 30 looks like


Daniel posted this on the mirror-it's my invitation to my 30th birthday party.

Here's my first picture as a 30 year old.


There were lots of presents....

(I get really excited about new eye shadow)

(getting the Garmin Forerunner and pondering if this means I have to start running again...)

I was pretty desperate to get into my new jeans...


I make 30 look good.


Getting ready to eat a lot of yummy french toast!


More presents!!


While Daniel prepared the party, a friend took me for a manicure. I came home to this...


and this...

(Daniel cut all of that out of foam!)

Daniel made chick fil a chicken sandwiches. I have NEVER tasted anything so close. Words cannot describe how amazing it tasted. I'm having him make it again tomorrow. Seriously, delish!

(he also made the french fries.)

My cake!!! White almond wedding cake!


My friend made this for me, and even had tulips, my fave! It was soooooo good!!


My reaction when I saw it...


Enjoying the moment with my man.


I love that we have the same expression here.


Presents can be confusing..


Until you realize that someone just gave you the Anne of Green Gables dvd.


I'm not one to hide my excitement.


30 is going to be a great year!

love

laura

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

And it starts

Well, I'm back from the future.

I know i know, lame, I just couldn't help it after the last post :)

Today I started with phase 2 of the intensive language program. And I felt the 'intensive' part of it. It's such a world of difference to have 3 hours with a tutor, just one on one, compared to being in a class of 13 other students at a university.

I left class today feeling like I was going to make it. That somehow I would really be able to learn this language. And that my friends is a hard feeling to come by, i think.

Today I learned how to say the bird flew thru the window, the bird flew out the window, the bird flies toward the tree, fish bowl, seeweed, worm, the bird is far from that tree, but close to this one, the curtains have spots on them, and it has stopped snowing.

I learned a few other things, but those were the big ones. go me.

What I wasn't counting on to bring me grief during my tutoring sessions was the gross, phlegmy (yes i said that) cough that refuses to leave my body. Granted I haven't had it that long, but a gross phlegmy cough quickly wears out is welcome.

I had every intention of running tomorrow, but the air is so cold and is aggravating my cough, i don't want to lose my lung on the side of the road. So for safety reasons to myself and those around me, I'm gonna wait on that run.

I would love to share something earth shattering from the day, but it mostly consisted of tidying up the house, class, and studying.

I'm turning 30 on Thursday. I know if you're 22 you're thinking man that is old! And if you're 38 you're thinking, wow get over it you have no idea. ha! But honestly I just don't know how I feel about it. When I was younger my plan was to get married at 24, right after getting my masters, and then have 4 kids by the time I was 30. I always wanted to be done having kids by 30. It's ironic that I haven't even started. But that's what we get I guess for trying to plan our entire lives at the age of 18.

Anyone have fun things they did to celebrate the big one??

love

laura

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm in the Future

Most of our new years eve day was pretty laid back. I spent a little time in the kitchen baking, but other than that I was pretty lazy. I'm feeling better, but have a gross cough that is making my throat hurt.

But I wouldn't let a measly cough keep me from celebrating with friends, so we headed over to a friends house last night for games and snacks. I hadn't left the house in 3 days so it was nice to be around other people and have an excuse to eat.  I made molasses cookies for the first time and was very pleased with them.

This is the only picture I took.


Daniel got this hat for Christmas from my parents and he has yet to take it off. If you ask me, I think he looks simply adorable in it.

I officially start my winter break tutoring tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about it. Remember the intensive summer class we did? I'm continuing the same method with my tutor and I have high hopes. I really want to look back in 6 months and see an improvement in my language. Learning language is kind of like trying to lose weight. There are some days you feel improvement, other days you feel like a failure, and then there's the hope that you'll look back and see how everything paid off, ha!

This week is also birthday week! I'm turning the big 3-0, Sarah is turning 32, and it's also the blogs 2 year birthday. It's a big week.

Also, random. I was talking with Sarah on the phone this morning at about 9 am our time, which is 7pm their time.  And I was like oh my gosh!!!! We are in different years right now!!! How crazy is that?!?!? I was sitting here in 2012 and she was still living in 2011. It felt really cool to be in the future, ha!


Happy New Year!!

love

laura