Saturday, September 20, 2014

This blog has moved!

My blog has a new home now--connected to my website! Click HERE. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Kentucky Bourbon Birthday

The summer of endless traveling continues. I promise that I have actually gone to work a few times since my last post, but--you guessed it--I want to share some photos from summer vacation #4! This trip was not to the other side of the world; it was my home state of Kentucky! The stars really aligned for this one. My husband had only been to Kentucky when it was cold and dreary, and I had been trying to find an opportunity to show him how beautiful it is when the weather is nice. He's also become a bit of a bourbon enthusiast over the past couple of years (thanks in part to my dad), so he had been wanting to visit some of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. When I found out a dear friend of our family was getting married in my hometown in the summertime, I new this was the perfect time to plan a Kentucky trip! And it also happened to coincide with my (30th!) birthday. Perfection!

My parents coordinated a two-day trek through the bluegrass for the four of us, complete with visits to FIVE bourbon distilleries. We started big, with the home of Alex's favorite bourbon, Woodford Reserve. This one turned out to be our favorite distillery, too. It was classy and beautiful.

Don't you agree?

Our tour was incredibly informative. We learned about the entire process of making bourbon and got to see--and smell! Oh, the wonderful smells!--each step for ourselves. 

And of course, like each tour, it ended with a yummy tasting. I am admittedly not that into drinking straight liquor, but I loved the bourbon balls. ;)

After Woodford, we drove through some beautiful horse country on the way to Frankfort.

 After lunch, it was time for distillery #2, Buffalo Trace. This tour was not our favorite, but we made some hilarious memories that are sure to be running jokes for years to come. (You'll always love Becky the middle school teacher, right Mom? ;))

There were some beautiful grounds at Buffalo Trace, though. I had visions of photographing a bride and groom on this bridge amidst all the amazing gardens. Doesn't it almost look like Claude Monet's water lilies should be under it? Beautiful. 

Next, we took a lovely stroll around My Old Kentucky Home. I hadn't been there for several years and enjoyed showing this famous landmark to Alex.

That evening, we celebrated my birthday (did I mention I'm 30?!) with a delicious dinner and a musical. The Steven Foster Story was very well done and so appropriate for our thoroughly Kentuckian trip. The next day, it was time for more bourbon! Our third distillery tour was at Barton, the makers of 1792 bourbon. We had a great tour guide and tasting there, and the massive bottling facility was especially fascinating.

Next up, Maker's Mark! Like Woodford, this distillery is in a rural area and is perfectly manicured and really pretty. I loved all the red shutters.

There is also a replica of the house where the Samuels family lived, complete with adorable 1950's kitchen.

Our tour here was quite educational and included a lot of interesting history about the family. I especially enjoyed learning about the role of Mrs. Margie Samuels, who gave the brand its name and designed the bottle, including the iconic red wax--which we got to see being added to each bottle by hand on the assembly line!

We visited one last distillery on the way home: Wild Turkey. We got there too late for a tour but still had fun wandering around the fabulous building and tasting a variety of bourbons.

By Saturday, I was ready to relax, so I spent some time on my favorite back porch swing. :)

My brother was able to join us that evening for the wedding. It was a great celebration, and the perfect ending to this wonderful trip. 

Stay tuned for my final summer vacation in my next post. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Vacation #3: Australia!

You know you live a privileged life when you're annoyed by the fact that you let your fourth summer vacation come and go before managing to blog about your third vacation. Ha! I am so thankful for the crazy opportunities I've had to travel the world this summer. When Alex told me he would be doing presentations at a conference in Australia, I was pretty insistent about tagging along. Luckily, thanks to self-employment and lots of saved-up Delta sky miles, it was possible! Hello, Brisbane!

This city was clean, safe, friendly, and full of things to explore. Our hotel was right across the street from the city botanic gardens, so I spent quite a bit of time examining all the gorgeous flora there.

Fauna, too! These birds, called Ibises, were everywhere.

I did a lot of walking along the Brisbane river. It was so picturesque and peaceful.

One thing that surprised me was the plethora of pay phones all over town. I was also amused by Hungry Jack's. Eventually I learned that it is indeed the same thing as Burger King, but the name Burger King was trademarked in Australia already, so they had to change it. Ha!

I did a lot of touristy things, like riding the Wheel of Brisbane (not nearly as cool as the London Eye) and taking the elevator to the top of the tower at City Hall (cooler than you might think, actually.)

My favorite place for wandering around was South Bank. 

It was colorful and beautiful--both the manmade stuff...

...and the fabulous plant life. I loved it!

I keep saying "I" and not "we" because I spent a lot of the time alone while Alex was working, but he did get to spend a few days touring with me before and after the conference. One day, we took a tour to a place called Tamborine Mountain, where we took a lovely "bush walk" through the rainforest...

...and admired this amazing view from the top!

We also took a day trip to Morton Island, just off the coast. The water was so clear!

We had a lot of fun on boats, Segways, and even a four-wheeler. So many sights to see!

The pinnacle of our trip, though, was our day at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We got to see TONS of koalas, as well as all sorts of other native wildlife, like wild turkeys and kookaburras. 

And of course, kangaroos! I was shocked that we were allowed to just roam around among them without any sort of barrier to separate us.


And I even got to cuddle this adorable koala named Caxton. Isn't he cute?

It was fun, Australia! I hope I get to come back someday to explore other parts of this fascinating continent. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wild Horses

On to vacation #2! It was our annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my husband's extended family. In many ways, it was the same as always, but this year was my first time seeing wild horses! 

Aren't they beautiful? Which ones would you like to see in the shop? I can't decide!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Vacation #1: Puerto Rico

I can't believe it's almost August! This summer has been crazy. We've been doing a lot more traveling than usual, and it's been so fun! One of the perks of being self-employed is that I can (sometimes, anyway) take time off work to go on my husband's business trips with him. And they're usually in interesting places! In June, we went to Puerto Rico! We stayed in the heart of Old San Juan, and I loved it. 

Especially the cobblestone streets. 

And the old, colorful, architecture.

Our hotel was right across the street from this gorgeous cathedral.

There was some amazing plant life both in the rainforest and around town.

I wish I knew the names of all these species! (If you do, let me know!)

And of course, the beach was lovely!

Stay tuned to my Etsy shop--some of these images will be showing up there soon! And coming up next on the blog: vacations #2 and #3! :)