Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Alaska

I’m back from Alaska and I’m exhausted! We had an amazing time, but it was definitely the most physically demanding vacation I’ve ever been on. There was a lot of hiking whilst wearing heavy, uncomfortable waders and sore shoulders from fly fishing for hours, but it was all worth it. I’m still sorting and editing pictures from our trip, so today I’m only going to share the first couple days, including our drive from Anchorage to Soldotna. Next week I’ll share all of our fishing stories and pictures and the following week will be all about our Kenai Fjords National Park boat tour. 


OK, let’s recap:
 

We landed in Anchorage around 9 p.m. Monday night. It was almost 10 p.m. by the time we picked up our luggage and rental car and made it out of the airport…and it was still light outside! We knew it would be, but it was still really strange. It completely messed up my internal clock during our trip and I never seemed to know what time of the day it was. We checked into our hotel and turned in for the night. We were tired from traveling and my right ear never fully popped during our flight so I was pretty uncomfortable. Luckily it felt better in the morning and popped during my shower.
 

The following morning we checked out of the hotel and went to Cabela’s to buy some fishing gear. We had bought waders ahead of time and we already had fishing reels, so we really only had to buy fishing poles, flies, and our fishing licenses. Once we had everything we grabbed breakfast and drove out of town. 


We headed towards Soldotna, where we would be staying for the remainder of our trip. It’s a small city along the Kenai River and is a popular spot for salmon fishing. It’s about a three hour drive from Anchorage. I have to say that it has to be one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever been on. The first part of the drive is along the coast with the bay on one side and mountains and trees on the other side.


The rest of the trip is through the mountains, surrounded by trees and rivers. We stopped at one point to walk down to the river to take some pictures and stretch our legs. Alaska really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.



We arrived in Soldotna in the early afternoon and explored the town a bit. We also went to check out one of the lakes in the area, but never ended up fishing there. Trout just didn’t seem that exciting to catch once we started fishing for salmon. 


We ended up fishing that night and Wednesday night/morning. Thursday we drove to Seward to take a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park. Friday was our last day in Alaska so we fished in the morning than drove back to Anchorage in the evening for our 2 a.m. Saturday morning flight (ugh). Anyway, I’ll be sharing more details over the next couple weeks.
 

Before I wrap up this post, I do want to talk about a couple of my favorite meals while in Alaska. For dinner Wednesday night I had a caribou burger and it was delicious! The following night I had a reindeer sausage chili cheese dog. That was also delicious. Neither was gamey at all. I ordered both of them at Buckets Sports Grill, so if you are ever in Soldotna, I recommend trying at least one of those dishes.  



Next Week: Fishing for salmon in Alaska!




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Fun Facts About Alaska

I’m in Alaska! Our flight left Phoenix yesterday afternoon and we arrived in Anchorage last night. By the time we got our luggage and rental car it was almost 10 p.m. and it was still light outside! I knew it would be, but it still throws you off and is totally strange. Anyway, in celebration of our trip I pulled together ten fun/interesting facts about Alaska. Hopefully some of these are new to you and you can say you learned something today. If not…well, aren’t you a smarty pants!


17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska. Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, is 20,237 ft. above sea level.
 

Alaska is the largest state in the United States (it’s twice the size of Texas). When a scale map of Alaska is superimposed on a map of the 48 lower states, Alaska extends from coast to coast.


Juneau, the capital of Alaska, cannot be accessed by road. It’s currently only accessible by boat or plane! 
 

In Alaska it is illegal to whisper in someone’s ear while moose hunting. It’s also illegal to wake a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a picture. Although, I think the law is the least of your worries if you wake a sleeping bear! 


Alaska boasts the lowest population density in the nation at 1.3 people per square mile. If New York City had the same population density as Alaska, only about 30 people would live in Manhattan. There are more caribou than people in Alaska.
 

Giant vegetables are common in Alaska due to the extremely long summer days. A world-record breaking, 138 pound cabbage was grown in Alaska in 2012. The previous record holder (126 lbs) was also grown in Alaska. 


Barrow, Alaska is located just 800 miles from the North Pole. Between May and August, the sun circles above the horizon, but never sets – also known as the midnight sun. The sun finally sets in November, but won’t rise again for another three months.
 

There are approximately 100,000 glaciers in Alaska, covering about five percent of the state. Alaska has more active glaciers and ice fields than in the rest of the inhabited world.
 


Alaska has no native snake population. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the only native reptiles are 4 species of sea turtles.
 
And for my single ladies - about 52 percent of Alaskans are men – the highest percentage of any state! 

 

I’ll be back next week with the first recap from our trip plus I finally crossed another item off my living room to-do list!



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Purging & Adding

I’ve been on a serious organization/purging kick lately. So much so that I’ve actually made enough room in the master closet for my boyfriend’s clothes!  


When my boyfriend moved in three years ago (has it already been that long?), we put his clothes in the guest bedroom closet because I have a lot of clothes/shoes and I’m an only child so I don’t understand how to share (kidding…kinda). It’s been working fine, but I feel kind of bad about being a closet hog.
 

After a no-holds-barred clean out, I had cleared enough to give the front half of the closet to my boyfriend. Although he doesn’t have that many clothes so I ended up taking back the bottom half of the rack. 


And of course I have to share the pile of clothes, purses, and shoes that are being donated. Actually, these bags of clothes are going to my mom’s coworker. She’s raising her two grandkids and they are about my size. I think they are in high school, so obviously everything won’t work for them, but they just donate what they don’t want. My mom says they are always so excited to get my bags of clothes, so that makes me feel a little bit better about all clothes I buy (and money I end up wasting).  


I also ended up moving my boyfriend’s dresser into the bedroom too. It’s been in the guest bedroom with the rest of his clothes.  


I definitely need to start looking for a set of dressers to replace our current ones. I think that might end up being my next big purchase!

How do you and your significant other divide up the closet?





Friday, July 11, 2014

Flashback Friday: July at The Junk House

So I have an idea for a new monthly series - I’m calling it Flashback Friday at The Junk House. Basically I’ll pull some of my favorite posts from years past and talk about my opinions now and/or their current status. I thought it’d be a fun way to see what I was up to in a year (or three) ago and it’d be a good way for some of my newer followers to discover some old posts. And maybe it’ll be a wake-up call for me to see how long I procrastinate on projects (I’m looking at you Master Bathroom mood board that I’ve done pretty much nothing with over the past year).
 

What do you think?
 

OK, let’s kick the series off with a flashback to July 2013 –
 

Last year I bought an apothecary cabinet from Target for the living room. I still love it and I am totally happy with my purchase. I love having a place to store additional blankets for snuggling on the couch in the winter.


As I mentioned above, last July I put together a mood board for the master bathroom. So far I’ve replaced the shower curtain, artwork, and medicine cabinets, but I haven’t even started on any of the bigger projects. Yeah, I should probably get moving on that…



Let’s rewind another year and look at July 2012 –
 

My favorite post from that month has to be the one with the Ringo and Abby videos. The video of Ringo howling at his squeaker toy still makes me laugh. And a 6-month old Abby bouncing around in muddy puddles - so cute!
 

  


 
Also in July 2012, I shared my ‘The Shops at Target’ bargains. We are currently using the Privet House plates for our every day dishes. Although to be totally honest, we’ve only been using them for the past 6 months or so (before that they were just hanging out in my china cabinet). I don’t know why I put off using them for so long…As a side note, Miss Mustard Seed recently wrote a great post about using your “special pieces” every day and not just saving them for special occasions. I thought it was a great message.  I know I’m definitely guilty of hiding things in cupboards for safe keeping and then never really enjoying them (like these dishes for the past year and a half). If you are interested, you can read it here. Some of the comments are great too. Anyway, back to my dishes, I love them, but I do wish I had a couple more dinner plates. I search eBay occasionally, but so far only serving dishes. One of these days! 



Time to go WAY back to July 2011 – my first year of blogging!
 

Three years ago I shared my first attempt at a gallery wall in our hallway. I’ve updated it twice since then and I’m still planning on updating it again. I’m still not quite satisfied. 


I also shared one of my favorite (and cheapest/easiest) projects. I spray painted 3 mismatched jars for my guest bathroom makeover. We still use them and I still love them!  


So that’s what I’ve been up to in July for the past three years. It was kind of fun reading/looking back at old posts and projects. I definitely think this series is a keeper!




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