Thursday, August 14, 2014

Everett Foyer Table

Just a few short weeks ago I showed you the end table that I painted to match my navy console table. And now I’m showing you my new console table…yeah, I know… 


I really liked the navy console table, but it was a little too small for that large wall. I’d planned on flanking it with a couple tall plants, but Ringo vetoed that idea by destroying the fiddle leaf fig that I bought for that spot. Yep, it survived almost a month without even a hint of being touched by doggie lips. Then one day I came home from work and found whole thing completely destroyed (luckily he didn’t get sick). So, the large plant idea was out.  


I’ve been casually searching for a longer console table, but nothing in my price range really caught my eye. Until I spotted this picture on Pinterest last week (from Honey We’re Home):  


I instantly loved it and wanted it. As you can see, it’s from World Market (Everett Foyer Table) so it only took a quick search to find the table. And it was even on sale!


So the following day I took a trip to World Market to check out the table in person. I loved it and there was one in stock, so I bought it. My boyfriend wasn’t home at the time and I was too impatient to wait, so I ended up dragging the box inside and putting the table together all by myself. 

As you can see, it’s about two feet longer and an inch or so taller than the navy table. It fits the space SO much better. I love it!  


Because the table is bigger, I probably need to get a bigger lamp (maybe 2) and some different decorations. I also want to replace my abstract art with a gallery wall of our travel pictures. I’d also like to add a white bench near the front door. 


As for the navy end table, for now I’ll probably paint it white to go with the rest of my furniture. Yeah, it’s a bummer that I wasted time and money on a piece just to replace its mate a few weeks later, but oh well. I’ve been stuck on the direction of this room for awhile now (I didn’t love where it was heading), but now I’m motivated again and have a plan! Expect to see more living room projects soon!




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Kenai Fjords National Park

Today I’m taking you all along on a boat tour to see glaciers and wildlife in Kenai Fjords National Park!
 

Honestly, my only request for this trip to Alaska was to see a glacier. I promised I wouldn’t complain about spending my entire vacation fishing if I got to see a glacier. This cruise was our solution, so Thursday morning we made the two-hour drive to Seward to catch our Kenai Fjords National Park cruise. 


We chose the 7 ½ hour tour from Major Marine Tours. We ended up booking through Alaska Tour & Travel because they offer a deal that includes the all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib lunch (normally an additional $19/person). The tour was really well organized and we also really enjoyed the food. Next time we’d probably only take the 6-hour tour because my boyfriend was getting pretty antsy by the end of the tour. That might be a better option if you are taking little kids too. Although, we had some kids on our boat and they seemed to really enjoy it…probably because we saw so many animals. Anyway… 


While we were walking along the dock my boyfriend spotted a jellyfish. It was just floating in one of the empty boat slips. It was the first wildlife we’d seen on our trip (not including salmon), so we thought it was pretty cool. 


Once we boarded the boat, we found our seats inside the cabin (Major Marine assigns everyone seats/tables inside the upper and lower cabins). We decided we’d rather sit outside while the weather was nice, so we grabbed one of the seats on the back deck (the seats outside are first come, first serve). I’m glad we decided to sit outside because right as we were pulling out of the harbor we saw a couple sea otters. So cute! 



Not long into the trip, I saw my first glacier! Actually, three glaciers – from left to right: Prospect, Spoon, and Porcupine glaciers! These glaciers are called alpine glaciers and they don’t extend to the valley or water’s edge like the ones we’ll see later. 


A few minutes later we saw a pair of humpback whales! I’d never seen a whale before, so I was pretty excited. We also saw some fin whales later on the tour!


Eventually we made our way into Aialik Bay to eat lunch and see Holgate Glacier.  


The captain turned off the engines while we were stopped in front of the glacier so we could hear the ice cracking and breaking off (called calving). It sounded like loud thunder. We saw a few chunks break off while we were there and I got some great action shots.  



While we were stopped, the crew pulled up a chunk of glacier that was floating in the water and made margaritas out of it! Of course I had to try one =)
 

Our next stop was Aialik Glacier, which is a tidewater glacier like Holgate Glacier. 


It’s always hard to tell how large something actually is in pictures, so I’ve circled a tour boat in the picture below. You can barely see it, but it’s a great way to show scale in this picture and show you how large this glacier actually is.  


Nearby we saw a large group of seals lounging on some ice chunks. We also saw a mama sea otter swimming her baby around on her stomach! It was definitely a great day for viewing wildlife!  


As we travelled out of Aialik Bay we saw a smack of jellyfish in the water. There were thousands of them in the water! 


We also had a couple Dall’s porpoises approach our boat. I’d never seen or heard of them before, but they kind of look like small killer whales. They were really cool and it was fun watching them play in the boat’s wake. 


And finally our last stop, the Chiswell Islands, is home to puffins and stellar sea lions! Now, I’m going to be completely honest and tell you that I don’t like birds (actually I’m kind of scared of them), but I love puffins! I think they are the cutest little things! The park ranger told us that sometimes puffins will eat so much food that they aren’t able to fly! We actually saw a couple struggling to get into the air. How can you not like little fatty birds?!


And on another island, a group of stellar sea lions were busy sunbathing on the rocks.  


Except for this guy – he’s king of the rock and had to keep an eye on things while everyone else rested.  


After we finished watching the sea lions, we headed back to the harbor (we did see more whales on the way) and then drove back to Soldotna. It was a long day, but it was a great way to see another part of Alaska and see some amazing wildlife!




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spice Shelf Organization + Giveaway

As I’ve mentioned before, I love to cook and try out new recipes. I typically cook five dinners a week and try to make at least one of those meals with a new recipe. That being said, I end up buying a lot of different spices to use in all these recipes.  At first it wasn’t a big deal, but eventually my spice shelf ended up looking like this:


Trying to find a specific spice in there is quite the challenge. Plus I could never see what was all in there, so I ended up buying spices I already had (such a waste of money). Seriously, this is not an efficient system.

So when the people at Spicy Shelf contacted me about trying their product, I jumped at the chance to get this shelf organized. The Spicy Shelf is a stackable organizer that increases usable storage space and makes everything easily visible, which is exactly what this shelf needs. 

I started by pulling everything out of the cabinet. I combined duplicates and threw out a few expired bottles, which left me with all of these:


While my shelf was empty, I started assembling the Spicy Shelf. Assembly is really easy and no tools are required – everything just snaps into place. The shelves expand to fit different sized cabinets, so they work with narrow and wide cabinets. My cabinet is pretty large so I had to place mine side-by-side, but you can also stack them if you have a smaller cabinet. I also chose to use the legs included with the shelf, but you can also install the shelves using shelf pins.


Once my new shelves were installed I started adding back my spices. I organized everything by brand/jar, but I’m wondering if alphabetical would be easier? Although, for the most part, I remember which spice is in which jar, so that might be quicker than reciting the alphabet to find where the Italian Seasoning should be. Hmm, I’m still debating that one…

Anyway, after putting all of my spices back in the cabinet, I ended up with this organized beauty! Everything fits perfectly and I can actually read each label!


So although this product was provided to me for review, I’d honestly recommend it and say it’s worth the $19.95 price tag. You could even use it to organize nail polish or craft supplies! 

If you would like to order your own Spicy Shelf, you can use promo code SPICE5 to save $5. Or you can enter the giveaway below and win one! Open to anyone in the continental US (must have street address, no PO boxes), please use the Rafflecopter widget to enter!


 a Rafflecopter giveaway






Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Salmon Fishing in Alaska

Today we’re talking about my favorite part of our trip – fishing! Now for those of you who know me, you might be a bit surprised because I’m not really known for being an outdoorsy person. I go fishing with my boyfriend every once in awhile (he goes pretty much every weekend), but I’m not a huge fan of fishing or any other outdoor activity and I hate camping (I’d rather sleep in my own bed thankyouverymuch). But I do like exploring new places and trying new things, so I jumped at the chance to spend a week fishing in Alaska. And you know what? I had a great time!  


We arrived in Alaska late Monday night and then drove to the small city of Soldotna the following morning (read more here). Later that day we met up with our friends and we joined the rest of our group at the river. I’m so thankful we knew someone who had been there before. They showed us a great spot to fish that we would have never found on our own. It was down a couple dirt roads and then a mile or so hike to the perfect spot on the river. Otherwise, I think we would have had to hire a guide. 


We fished until late Tuesday night – most of these pictures were taken around 10 p.m. I ended up catching my limit (3 sockeye per person per day) plus one pink salmon! I caught more than my boyfriend…and yes, I rubbed it in a bit =)


The following day we tried another spot on the river, but it was really crowded. We had to wait for another group to catch their limit before there was enough room for the four of us. I didn’t catch anything in that spot, so I was glad we didn’t go back there. 


But my boyfriend caught one of the biggest fish of the trip there, so he wasn’t complaining. 


Later that night we tried another spot close to where we fished the previous day. The water seemed way colder in that spot and my legs were freezing by the end of the night (even with the waders and 2 pairs of leggings). I didn’t catch anything there either. That’s what I get for bragging the day before…


Thursday we had reservations for the Kenai Fjords National Park cruise, so we didn’t do any fishing that day. I’ll share all of the cruise details next week. Anyway, Friday morning was our last chance to fish so we went back to our original spot. I caught four sockeye salmon, but one got away like two feet before I could get it on shore. That was kind of a bummer, but I’m still telling everyone I caught eight fish on our trip…close enough. Everyone else caught their limit too, so it was a very successful morning and a great way to end the trip (despite the rain). 


By now I’m sure you’re wondering what we did with all that salmon we caught…
 

After we finished fishing each day we cleaned and filleted the fish by the river. Although, I didn’t do any of the filleting because a couple people in our group were way more experienced (don’t want to waste any meat). Then we bagged up the fillets and took it to the processor. They cut it into meal size portions and then vacuum sealed and froze it for us. They also held the fish for us and packed it for travel.


We ended up bringing home 45 pounds of salmon! Two shelves in our freezer are now packed with fish. We’ve already cooked up a couple portions and it’s delicious. Definitely a lot fresher and more firm than store-bought salmon! 


Long story short – I’d definitely recommend salmon fishing in Alaska even if you aren’t outdoorsy! And we're going to be eating salmon every week for the foreseeable future!



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