The Changing Times

IMG_3397I’m so happy it’s staying lighter later… but what is up with all of this cold weather?? My sinus’s are going crazy and caused my poor little body to go into an over the counter medication over load… anyone else?

IMG_2711I’m pretty sure people at work thought I might have a problem–whatever. All I have to say… Nyquil is a god-send. Taking 2 days off work; however — not so great.

IMG_2651I am very ready for moderately cooler weather so I can spend more time with this little guy outside.

IMG_2704Life has been super busy with LOTS of travel. We took the scenic route home 2 weekends ago and it was wonderful AND we saved on the gas mileage even if it was a little bit longer. But anything is better than being on I-65 for 4 hours!

Things I’m looking forward to in the next 2 months: Birthday weekend, upcoming birthday spa appointment (gift from my parents!), boyfriends spring semester ending, an awesome May Wedding, and a getaway to Europe… in 47 days. I’m ready for everything to hurry up and get here!

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Upcoming Posts: Top 10 Spring Make-up Must Have’s from Mary Kay, The Best Chicken Salad Recipe — ever, AND a Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe. Keep an eye out for ’em!

PLTW

 

 

 

 

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Plano, Illinois: The Farnsworth House

The beautiful, the magnificent, the work of art — The Farnsworth House. Have you ever been to a place and been in awe of what stands before you? I’ve been fortunate enough to have it happen to me a few times. It happened again, when I went here, to Plano, Illinois. It all started when we went to celebrate my fathers 60th Birthday with my brother and sister -in-law, who live just outside of Bloomington, IL. I was thinking of what we might be able to do in the surrounding area and I thought to myself, “What in the world are we going to do in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois?” And then I got to thinking, there is a Masterpiece in the middle-of-nowhere IL! Thank goodness I remembered. It’s such of work of art. I would hate to put my experience into words because I felt like it was so much more than that – like trying to explain a perfect meal, a piece of art… or something along those lines.

We took a Docent Tour that we had to book in advance and as we were the last group for the day, we were able to stay a bit longer and enjoy the grounds and ask questions. Definitely the way to go if you plan on visiting. They don’t allow pictures on the interior, which is a bit of a shame because I can’t show you in pictures the massive amounts of design that went into the space. Even the jamb’s in the door were well thought out. This piece of architecture was a marvel at the time it was constructed in 1951 and is still ahead of its time today. Here are a few of the pictures that I loved. Let me know if you have any questions. BTW, it was absolutely fantastic. My entire family (both those in design and completely outside of design) enjoyed the trip. I think for any one person it helps explain what truly extraordinary design can accomplish. The perfect balance between function and form – a true masterpiece.

Photo taken by NoelR

Photo taken by NoelR

Photo taken by NoelR

Look at those happy design nerds!

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I’m so thankful I got to see some pretty wonderful people this weekend: my bestie, my dad and talked to my mom and my other bestie. AND this weekend I’ve spent the first 24 hours in my new house… have I mentioned that I have now “lived” here for 4.5 weeks!!! Yes, I have been just a little busy.

Photo taken by NoelR

Okay, so we’re not just design nerds… we just nerds.

 

Austria: Where the Hills are Alive

Ok, so maybe it has been too long since my last Austria post… but I wanted to finish up with the last leg of my trip where we stole away to the mountains. This is the Waigrain Region of Mountains in the town of St. Johann im Pongau. It’s better known as a ski resort town but I got to thinking that it would be a shame to be in such a beautiful country, known for it’s lovely mountains, and never actually see any. So we went to see them.

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There is no better time to take ridiculously silly pictures than when you are on a long train ride. So on our way to the mountains we took these… only my bestie can really appreciate how weird I really am and still love me for it. I hope they make you laugh as well.

c/o VLRS

The view. Isn’t it beautiful?!?!  We stayed at the lovely Edelweiss Hotel,  a delicious 4-star (all natural and green) resort. They were incredibly helpful, they picked us up from the train station (free of charge), fed us incredibly well, and were there whenever we needed something. I can’t wait to go back there!!

c/o VLRS

… the spa.

… and a video!

We did actually do some hiking! We were really fortunate because the resort actually had a trail that we could start hiking on — so we didn’t have to take a bus or anything like that to get to the trail head. So that was really nice. The leg out was mostly uphill so it made coming back extra easy. I got this hair brained idea that we should get off the train, take a trail and start hiking immediately and then stay in a farm hut along the trail… and in my head it was going to be beautiful and picturesque and not difficult at all… well let me tell you, I am so happy that we didn’t do it. Staying at a resort was definitely the way to go!!!

Anyone else notice the deer stand?

Gangsta Paradise? It snowed 6 inches the night before we arrived. The day we were hiking, temperatures were in the low 70’s. Needless to say, everything was melting — but we had a good time in the snow while it was there.

I can’t wait to go back. It was so wonderful. Here, I am jumping for joy. I love the mountains. I love the fresh air. I love “getting away from it all”. AND, I love my bestie for agreeing to go anywhere in the world with me… even if that means we have to go hiking…

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Today I am thankful for: it being Friday and getting to see my Dad tonight!! Woohoo!!

Spread the good word.

Procrastination

Hello all. It’s been a while, I know. I made a short business trip to Beaufort, SC for a few days this week. This picture was taken from a site visit. We constructed a park with walking trails and  a lake. People will be able to rent kayaks and buy worms to fish and it’s all surrounded by these beautiful trees. It was really nice and the clouds were just right.

I have to be honest with you, I’ve been procrastinating. I leave for Vienna, Austria next Friday!!! I’ll be visiting my bestest friend in the whole wide world – and I don’t have one. thing. planned. This is very unlike me.  But after you look at a computer for 9 hours… the last thing I want to do is come home and continue researching places to go, stay, eat … etc. So tonight, I found some really great places that we’ll be going to. I’m really excited. I think it’ll hit me about… next Thursday night when I’m stressed out and haven’t started packing — that I’ll actually be leaving the country… but until then — meh. We’ll survive. We always do. So right now, I’m listening to the original soundtrack of the Sound of Music (I want y’all to know I’m singing every lyric and hitting every note!!!), I’ve written down some of the major scenes from the movie that we have to visit (according to my father) – I refuse to go to that gazebo… did you know that it’s not actually the real one, they had to move it due to trespassing– and I’ll be thinking of the mountains I hope to be climbing in 2 weeks. I hope y’all are ready for some serious picture posts! In two weeks, you can just call me freakin’ Heidi!

I hope everyone is doing well. If you’ve been to Austria and have recommendations, please send them in! Have a great rest of the week!

Today I am thankful for: Miss Carol’s chicken dumplings. They are making my stuffy nose feel better.

“She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear…”  (sounds like me)

The Great Wall

Today we went to The Great Wall.  There is an old saying here, “Not been on the Great Wall, not a great man”. We came on the perfect day. It was absolutely gorgeous. I was so happy to be out there. We hiked to 22 towers and I think could have done 22 more. It was incredible.

We could not have asked for a better day. While it was hot… there was also a really nice breeze.

Today, my toes were at The Great Wall. And they were very happy about that!

Now, I’m gonna leave y’all with one thing — ROLL TIDE. Is it football season, yet???

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Today I am thankful for: my grandfather’s 90th birthday. Grampy is 90 today. I wish I could be there to celebrate with him. I am also thankful for my wonderful friends — this time last year, I lost one. AND I am thankful for my certain someone. Happy you-know-what day. I love you, babe. You rock my world.

Chongming, China

Here are some pics from our-site visit when we went to Chongming on Thursday. The house in the distance is the one that will be taken down and replaced with a better design. This lot is on a piece of land that has been leased to the current family for many many years. The brother of the owner of this lot lives next door and his father lives next to him.

This is an old house that sits along the brother and father’s land. It is very old and caved in. But the beauty is in the details. It’s really a shame to see that the vernacular style has moved so far away from this.

This is a picture taken from the balcony of the brother’s house looking down onto his father’s garden. Everyone here gardens! I love it. We even got to see Grandpa’s opium plant. I think his garden was his pride and joy 🙂

A wheat field across the street. And btw — streets here were maybe only 8 feet wide and they were absolutely considered a two lane road. A “normal” acceptable street in the states would be around 18 feet. Throw that around in your head. It was difficult to do a three point turn much less put two cars on the same road. Mind boggling, I know.

And this is one of the many sites that we went to to look at different construction details as well as different construction processes that are local to china. Chinese construction workers are usually not very well educated in the the construction process so designs in China often have to be altered/simplified based on the skills of the laborers.

Today I am thankful for: gchat not being added to the great firewall of China

Pulaski, TN: The Woods End Farm

That’s right friends, I was at my happy place this past weekend. After unloading the moving truck, we decided we get a few hours of sleep — enjoy Mother’s Day with our mothers — and then head up to Tennessee. It was my first time to be up there while things are growing. Woods End Farm is a cattle farm so we just go up there and see the cows and family, but all of the neighboring farms are growing things like wheat… and other stuff. It was all so pretty.

We camped out while we were there. The weather has gotten warmer, but it’s still nice and cool at night — cool enough that we could have a fire. What I didn’t know about camping in May — is that there are SO MANY BUGS. Yep, some how that just didn’t compute for me. Needless to say… we were finding ticks everywhere. We may have pulled 15 each from our bodies -GROSS. So now, we have a new rule: No Camping out After March 15th

Unbeknownst to me, there is actually a good sized Amish community about 30-45 minutes away from Woods End Farm. This is one of the Amish homes and barn that we saw. There is something really beautiful about them. They have rules about not being photographed so I tried to only take pictures of their structures. While they attempt to blend in and lead simplified lives — I think they really stand out. I loved their blue shirts that they wore. It is such a foreign way of living that I am completely enamored by how they do it on a day to day basis. We  even saw them working their fields with their horses and plows. Children looking as young as 5 were out with a team of 3 horses –I don’t think I knew how to tie my shoes at 5 much less work the fields with a team of horses.

I know what you are thinking… what a beautiful house — No-no, No-no — this is their stables. Wowza’s. This is one of the Woods End Farm neighbors. What I love about this property, is that everything is pushed away from the roadway. You can’t see any of this from the roadway and everything is tucked away. You have to be an insider like myself to find these finds. We saw them as we were doing some trail riding on horses through their property. Everyone there was so nice! And you would expect an air of pretension but everyone was completely down to earth. I love this neighborhood. Must. Move. There. Soon.

Another little gem on their property is the Folly. It overlooks the surrounding hills and it is so beautiful. At the center of the structure there is a place to have a fire or maybe even a BBQ. This has definitely been added to my wishlist. Love, Love, Love.

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Today I am thankful for: a productive day at home and some awesome BBQ

CHINA Countdown: 3 days, 17 hours, and 27 minutes

Listening to: Matt Nathanson- Detroit Waves

Spring Break: NOLA

New Orleans. This was first time back since I was around 10 yrs old. I feel as though one cannot really claim a New Orleans experience unless they are over the age of 21 — it’s just a whole different city. And I loved it! One of my dearest friends, Miss Sara, is a local and she knew all the best spots to go to in order to get an authentic experience. We had less than 24 hours to explore the city … (not to mention the fact that she is still in school) and she took a little time off to be an over qualified tour guide.

We started the night off with frozen daiquiri’s from one of those awesome places where they have 50 different flavors spinning in one of those frosty/icee machines. I got one that mixed two different flavors. It was amazing! Watch out though, they make them with PGA (pure grain alcohol). We decided that it would be a good idea to eat some dinner and put some carbs in our system so we went to The Rum House and it was delicious!!! We started and ended with a fried fish tapa and it’s a glorified fish stick with a sweet glaze sauce on the side. It was soo good we had it for dessert, too. That’s just how we roll. We both got the Crab Melt sandwich. And after this meal we were both stuffed to the gills and though Bourbon Street would be a good idea… so off we went.

Yep, that’s right…. baby’s first hand granade 🙂 It was pretty bitter and once again, filled with PGA. We had such a good time.

So what better to cure a night of drinking than Cafe du Monde? That’s right, because we had to do all of the tourist-y things we possibly could, we filled up on delicious beignets. Really it was Powdered Sugar with a side of Beignets. They bring you a glass of water just so you have something to clean off with. Yum…. I love those things!

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Today I am thankful for: procrastination. It will be the death of me, but hey, I get to visit my boyfriend at work in the woods. It definitely beats writing a graduate manuscript — whatever that is.

My beautiful friend, Sara. Best quote of the day:

A: Your base is like my highlighter.

S: Your base is my bronzer!

Spring Break: Day 1

Day 1 of Spring Break has come and gone and I’m already exhausted and I wasn’t even doing any of the hard work. We decided after a leisurely morning of sleeping in (gasp) and watching a little Sebring (no judgements, please — it’s classy racing) that we would have a productive day and take the kayak out.  We went to the Mulberry and it was a perfect day. The weather had to have been in the mid-80s with beautiful blue skies and icy cold water.

This is one of the old bridges that crosses over the Mulberry. It’s closed to cars now… and probably for good reason. But I love the beautiful rusted steel.

The hard work and play time of the day…

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Today I am thankful for: lifejackets and a boyfriend who looks out for me more than himself when floating down stream.

Listening to: Alexi Murdoch Pandora Radio Station

A Wonderful Weekend

So, I must apologize for not blogging… life has been hectic — mid-term reviews, and all — and as I’ve always been told, “School comes first”. Anyways, you might remember that sometime last week I had one of the best weekends ever. And it lasted only 24 hours. I came home for a friends 40th birthday party and had so much fun at this totally cool venue and restaurant called the Cantina (where I must go with Food Team). I got to catch up with old friends and coworkers. There was a DJ, awesome food, and an open bar — Need I say more???

Then my Boyfriend and I were invited to a Mountain Bike Race by one of the sponser’s of the race, Red Mountain Rovers (and they are some totally cool guys). The race was at Stoney Lonesome, check it out here.  We had sooo much fun, even if it did involve waking up at 5 a.m. in the morning. I never voluntarily wake up that early — that would be miserable. Here are some pics from the event. I think I might want to give it a try during the next go-round.

By the way, this car is pretty BAD–in a good way – ya know?

Pre-race talk (+/- a few participants). They even had a canon to start the race.

Our new friends, post race, discussing the difficulties of the course. I love that they have beverages 🙂 — but the beverages started shortly after arriving — it was just that kind of day. Hearts of a champion 🙂 After the race and race activities we caught lunch at an awesome place on Highlands called Rojo. Might have to be a new weekend favorite 🙂 Gosh, I sure am happy, look at all of these smiley faces.

After we went to Rojo for 3 hours we were exhausted, water logged from more beverages, full from a delicious lunch, and yet we wanted more… So we went to Railroad Park. It was just such a beautiful day. And the park was packed–it was beautiful–who ever thought that an urban park would be successful–hmmmmm?

You know I had to find some street art.

Then after Railroad Park we went to both our momma’s houses. The first was planting tomatoes for the coming summer! At the second, we met up with neighbors and drank more beverages until it was dark. The neighbor’s girls’ were still playing on the tire swing, the dog still wanted the ball/frisbee to be thrown, and there were still good conversations to be had — and after an hour or so we had to go home and crash. What a good weekend! But alas, it had to come to an end… and I had to go back to Clemson the following day – bright and early.

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Today I am thankful for: getting to go by one of my favorite sushi restaurant’s – DOZO.