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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Florida: St. Augustine, Stiltsville and the Coral Castle #traveltuesday

I found a Hodge-Podge of photos when we lived in Florida. I decided to post them all at once because there are so few photos.

I have photos of St. Augustine. I also have a few photos from The Coral Castle that is located in Homestead, FL. It has a great story behind it. And, I also have a few pictures when we were able to visit Stiltsville. Enjoy!

St. Augustine

St. Augustine holds a special place in my heart. It was the place where Tom and I took our very first overnight trip as a couple. What I remember about St. Augustine is that it was funky.

It was not what I expected. The areas around St. Augustine are pure Florida, lots of strip malls and fast food joints and flat. There are parts of Florida that are ugly. But once you cross over into St. Augustine, it was like being somewhere else.

I remember we stayed at a cute B&B. We also visited the Castillo de San Marcos fort. That was amazing. I love forts. The weather was chilly and, one day, I remember a storm came in and it poured down rain. So much so, that the water was breaching the walls from inter coastal.

I remember we went to dinner and it was so rainy and nasty. But it was a great trip because it was at the beginning of our relationship.

If you get a chance, you should visit St. Augustine. I think our trip was probably 17 years ago so it might have changed. I also look back and see I was a lot skinnier then. Sigh. I wish I had more pictures but no go.











The Coral Castle

I won't go into detail about the Coral Castle because you have to click on the link above to read what it is all about. It's a fascinating story but sort of sad. This guy loved a woman and built her this Coral Castle. Let's just say it is sort of crazy and I think she realized that. But it is the kookiest coolest place.










Stiltsville

Stiltsville is a bunch of houses built in Biscayne Bay, right off Miami. We were able to visit because I used to work at The Historical Museum of South Florida. One of our board members knew one of the owners of one of the houses and he allowed us to host a party there.

It was fantastic. The house was no great shakes but it is the coolest thing. We got there by boat. We had to take all our stuff there as well. We had food and drinks and just had a great time. Tom's mom lucked out because she flew in that day for a visit and she was able to come as well.

It was beautiful because you are literally in the middle of the water. We were at the Jimmy Ellenburg House.








Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring is finally here!

It actually rained ALL weekend but yesterday I walked out to see how high the river was and noticed how green everything is. The river is super high by the way. I am not sure if you can see it in the pictures but it is almost to the top. But I am not worried of it getting any higher.

Anyway, I thought I would share a couple of pictures.




The fern is now the new condo of a bird that set up house. Every year that fern becomes a home for some new bird. Sometimes we find eggs and leave them. The birds freak out when we go outside and get mad. But oh well, they need to learn to share the space.

Besides the rain that is bumming me out, all the green makes me happy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting! #foodiefriday

The other day, I received a bag of Beer Bread Mix. I won this from a blog giveaway. I decided to make the bread. It would have been easy if I had found my loaf pan but I couldn't find it anywhere. So I looked around and decided to make bread cupcakes instead.

Luckily, I had cupcake liners. The bread was easy to make. All I had to do is open a package and add a bottle of beer. I also added some cheddar cheese and jalapenos just because. Then I noticed I had some avocados in the fridge so I decided to get really crazy and make an avocado frosting.

I know it's weird but I had seen a similar recipe a few years back and I figured, why not? So here is my experience in making savory cupcakes.



Just add beer to the bread mix. 


Mix


Add sharp cheddar and jalapenos. 


Put batter into cupcake liners. And bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.



Yummy and golden delicious! 


I made the frosting with avocados and cream cheese. I would have used sour cream if I had it. But the cream cheese worked well. I also added some lemon juice so the avocados would not brown. 



These were actually quite tasty. The frosting was delicious with the cheese and jalapenos. It's weird to have savory cupcakes but these were like little mini breads!

Buen Provecho!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What We Have Been Watching These Past Two Weeks

I haven't updated our "What we are Watching" list for a while. I wasn't sure if I should continue telling you what we watch but some people really like. Some people have discovered new shows from my recommendations. Others have thanked me for steering them clear of the duds. So, I will keep doing it.

Here is what we have been watching.




I loved, loved, loved this movie. Tom was so-so on it. I am a bigger animation fan than he is. Plus, I thought the movie was so cute. It's perfect for kids and adults who act like kids. The story is fun. The animation is great. It's funny. I loved Vanellope and, of course, Tom said she reminded him of me. I will take that as a compliment, thank you very much. She is adorable and scrappy and, yes, a little annoying. But everyone, except Tom, knows I am not annoying. I totally recommend this movie. 




Game of Thrones, Part 2 rocks. Game of Thrones, Part 1 rocked as well. Although it left us a little disturbed. I won't spoil it for people who haven't seen it. But, we were not happy. Anyway, Season 2 was almost as good as Season 1. There is so much good acting and action. Now if you don't like action, violence, incest, killing, torture, death etc. you won't like this. But if you do like all that then watch Game of Thrones. It is one of my favorite shows. 



The Borgias is like Game of Thrones but set in Italy. So if you don't like sex, violence, killing, betrayal, death all set within the Catholic Church, then run. If you do, watch this show. It is sooooo good. Jeremy Irons is fantastic. He chews up scenery but in a good way. The rest of the cast is great. The writing is so fantastic. Plus, you get a little bit of a history lesson as well. Every so often when I am watching an episode, I go on the Internet to find out more info about an event that takes place or a person who is in the show. 



We had heard so many good things about this show that we decided to rent it. We actually liked it, a lot. The writing is fantastic and it's funny. There are things that make us go WTH? But then the Girls are in their 20's and we could be their parents.  There is a bit of a generation gap and this new generation is funky. But, I already put season 2 on the queue because we really liked it. There is a lot of weird sex and a lot of  other weirdness going on but it is worth a look. We are learning a lot about 20 somethings. 



No, I am not turning into a conservative like Rand Paul or Paul Ryan who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand. But, I will say that I actually like Ayn Rand's books. The Fountainhead is one of my all time favorite books. The funny thing is that when I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I took from it an opposite view of what most people do. And also an opposite view of what Ayn Rand was professing. Go figure. Tom did too. So when people on the other side of the political spectrum use Ayn Rand's philosophy,  I couldn't understand why because it was nothing like what I read. Maybe it's because I had no idea about Rand's philosophy before I read the books so I was able to read the book from my point of view. Who knows?

Anyway, the movie sucked big hairy balls. There is actually an Atlas Shrugged Part 1, which was not bad. Part 2 was a snooze fest. The acting is terrible. The writing, not so good.  It also took us about 3.5 hours to finish the movie because we kept stopping it to talk about the movie and the philosophy behind it. I say skip the movie and go read the book. In fact, skip Atlas Shrugged and read The Fountainhead



The Expendables 1 was great. It was fun and had tons of action. I love action movies so I am always on-board for any movie that blows stuff up. Unfortunately, this movie fell short. It is not funny, not good and it is pretty much boring. I liked the action because they have old school action. Old school action is when you know they actually blew up the car or building with some good explosive guy doing it. Computer generated action sucks. What's the point of blowing up stuff if you don't really blow it? I have to say that it is actually fun seeing all the old action heroes together in one film. I mean, Stallone, Willis, Arnold, Jet Li, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren were huge way back when! But I say, skip this movie and rent the first one. Or better yet, go back and rent Rambo, The Terminator or Die Hard. Those are so much better. 



Sherlock is a BBC show. We started watching it because we seem to like BBC shows. This one is great. It's Sherlock Holmes updated. Dr. Watson actually blogs, which makes laugh. The show is well written. The acting: Fantastic. According to Tom, who is the resident Sherlock Holmes fan, the show does a good job of doing what the books did . And he likes the updated show. I love it. I was never a huge Sherlock Holmes fan but now I am. I like the mystery and all the sleuthing. I highly recommend this show. 



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Walter

This was given to me by my friend Lizzy who is an artist. His name is Walter. She created him along with some other characters. And she made this herself.

There is a story behind little Walter. You can find it here. He is demented but I love him.







Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Washington DC and Philadelpia, PA #traveltuesday

We actually took these trips at separate times but I could not find that many pictures so I decided to lump these trips together since both locations are a huge part of US history.


We went to Philadelphia when we lived in State College. I can't even remember if this was part of a bigger trip but it might have been. I remember going to New Hampshire as well but, of course, we have no pictures. Sigh.


What I remember about Philly was that it was summer when we visited. It was hot and humid. We stayed at a hotel right in downtown and we had a great view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. It might have been during Fourth of July because I remember we could see fireworks from our room one night.

I loved Philly. It was bustling and interesting. I remember eating at an Italian restaurant near our hotel and the pasta was delish. The next day we walked around the city and, of course, we went to Independence Hall. Wow, I just remember being amazed that I was standing where this country was started. I remember going in and looking around.

To think I was standing where Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and the rest of the founding fathers stood gave me chills. Yes, that sound totally overly dramatic but it's true. As an American, it was humbling.


Our next stop was the Liberty Bell. It was so much smaller than I thought it would be. And it was housed in a little glass building. It was so amazing to see the Liberty Bell.


We also stopped at a tiny museum that was either a Human Rights Museum or Civil Rights Museum. I cannot remember. What I do remember is that it was a pretty amazing place although it was tiny. For lunch, we stopped at the City Tavern. This is the oldest restaurant in Philadelphia. It was delish! I remember the mushroom soup because it was some of the best soup I have ever had.


I can't even remember when we went to Washington DC. I just remember we stayed at a little boutique hotel and it was small yet cute. I could not even find that many good pictures when we visited. I know we saw the Lincoln Memorial but no photos. The Vietnam War Memorial, no pictures. WTH?


We stayed there a few days. We visited Tom's friend in Silver Spring, MD. We ate at a Thai or Japanese Restaurant. Then we went down to the Mall. We also stopped by the Roosevelt Memorial. Washington is simply amazing.

Again, it was one of those places where you feel history. It was awesome seeing the Washington Memorial and the Capitol Building. The Lincoln Memorial is awe inspiring. But I remember the one memorial that was my favorite was the Vietnam War Memorial.


When you walk up, you see it and don't realize how big it really is because it is just the black granite. But as you get closer and start seeing the names, it hits you. I just remember I put my hand on the memorial and started crying.


When I was the the University of Miami, I took a few courses about the Vietnam War and it really affected me. Our professor was awesome. I even remember his name: Dr. Michael Krenn. In any case, those classes were some of the best I have ever taken.

I remember walking up and placing my hand on the wall. It was sobering. I think the reason we have no pictures is because there were some people around who were leaving gifts and tracing the names of loved ones.


I remember seeing grown men coming up to the wall and crying. Then there were others who would come over and say something to them and they would hug. They were at that age that led me to believe they were also in Vietnam. I also remember seeing others who were probably looking for the name of the a family member or a friend. I cried like a baby. It was one of the most amazing things I have experienced.

All I have to say is that every American needs to go visit Washington DC and Philadelphia.